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Old Mar 28th, 2022, 01:08 AM
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Chapter 1: The Greatest Happiness Principle

Welcome to the FortAdventurer, let's face it. You've had a long grey day of hiking in the moors. Plenty of people start their hero career in a tavern in town, maybe down by the docks or even at a big crossroad, but not you. You had to pick a remote outpost to answer your call, and the thing about remote outposts is that they're really far from everything. The dust-blown road gets rockier as you go, the hills get steeper and the clouds knit themselves together suspiciously in a steely sky. It's cold. Where there were bushes, now there's brush, and then scrub. As you climb, the birdsong and bunnies fade to breezes and squirrels, and then nothing but the caw of the occasional raven in a twisted tree. A hawk hunting high above scours the heath for whatever scrawny vole is out hunting for a scrawny blade of grass. The bird circles in a widening spiral. Yikes, it's pretty bleak out here. And as the last town fades into the distance behind you, you realize: this is really the edge of the kingdom. There's nothing beyond but wilds.

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As grey light fades to charcoal and the road has constricted to a path, you finally see it at the top of the next rise -- the Old North Fort. Now, you were expecting a pretty scrubby joint. And hey, good news! It's not that. You were expecting a place that looks neglected, unnecessary. The folks in the last town had said it was probably going to be decommissioned. But it doesn't look that way to you. Not now, at dinnertime, when there are meat smells in the air and torches already lit in the twilight. The wall around the fort is wooden, well-maintained, and you see two guard towers, brightly lit. You pass under a formal awning, and two stone monuments stand beside the path. The first one tells you that this land belongs to the Kingdom of Orthrosia. Dang right it does. And the second bears the kingdom's motto: You're safe here, and evil is not. Heck to the yes. You smell something cooking, and the gate is answered promptly by a man in reasonably serviceable military attire. Welcome to Old North Fort.

Inside you see to your left a fabric tent, patchworked but sound, with crafting items inside, neatly stacked on crates. Straight on there's a bonfire -- the guy who let you in goes back to his buddy who's tending the fire after saluting you, using his spear to jab at the burning logs. There are two guard towers, one just a series of platforms but one a proper building set on a small hill with its own wooden fence. Then there are two A-frame buildings and a couple of sheds. The smaller A-frame that looks like it must be a barracks, but the larger one to your right, that's the one that smells like dinner. A metal sign squeaks on a chain in the brisk wind, picturing two mugs of ale crashing together in a toast, with the words: World's End Tavern.

Where would you like to go?



OOCTime to polish up those stat blocks and make your first post! You could write about what you left behind, your journey to the fort, or just what you do when you get inside the gates. The guards will talk to you if you like, or you can explore the buildings or enter the tavern. Posts will happen in the order they're written, so if someone is already gone into the tavern, you won't see them when you come in the gate. If someone is already talking to a guard, you can join the conversation.

Even if we're not in combat, and even if you're not doing a skill check, it's useful to me if you use the action line in the action block to give me a short summary of what you're trying to accomplish in each post, if you're moving the story ahead. Looking forward to seeing everyone's brave faces as the adventure begins!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2022, 01:44 AM
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Thistle Marmalade Brambleweaver
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The journey to the Old North Fort started off innocent enough. Thistle, the three foot four tall Gnome with bright and curious acorn-brown eyes, was dressed in her finest (and only) traveling clothes of berry blue and beige, all decoratively stitched with leafs and little birds frozen in a dance of geometric patterns. She was prepared for the difficult walk, having explained this to Roofs and to a passing buckskin pony who sadly had other things to do, like wait for her 'Mistress' who was fetching her a carrot from the tavern. Thistle's lovingly carved staff, taller than she was, and a new leather rucksack strapped to her back, plus a long leather jerkin to protect her from the harsh reality of the world proved that she was meant to be on an adventure. And look! She had a ring of woven twigs and flowers decorating her mass of chaotic locks of wren-brown hair that landed at waist length. It was not meant to be a nest, though between dried petals and fresh ones, in addition to thin crooks of sticks looking less than 'woven'...one could reasonably wonder, as Roofs asked her openly in the most friendly of manners.

On the first leg of the journey after the village noise faded, and the welcome sounds of lush nature surrounded them, Thistle softly whistled an illusion of a puffed up sleeping bluebird to nest atop of her head to see how long it would take for Roofs to say something.

On the second leg on the journey, when the cheerful and playful Gnome decided a game of 'kick the speckled rock' would be joyous, once - and only once - she whispered an illusion of the rock in front of Roofs so she'd end up kicking up dirt instead of the rough stone that ended up lost in a tangle of brambles where she picked two handfuls of wickedly sweet n' tart deep purple berries for her new companion in an apology, needed or not.

When Thistle slowly walked up the dry dirt path, her gaze drifted up to a dark sky brushed over with silvery stars to get her bearings. The vision of brightly lit guard towers overshadowing two watchful standing stones in front of the giant wood wall - this overwhelming sight caused her eyes to widen in fascination and glee - how wondrous this place was under the night sky. Whatever sore muscles she had, or weariness she felt from such a long walk, quickly disappeared when the excitement shot through her like a spark hitting dry tinder. The Gnome danced around the amazingly blue Tiefling while they still remained in the darkness of the front of the fort. She would not embarrass them, or herself, because this was serious business, all of this exploring and adventuring and work that consisted of who-knows-what. The mystery of it all was astounding!

The bright joy that lit Thistle's face when she was saluted by uniformed people nearly made her burst. As she drew in a deep breath, taking in the scent of the rural wilds beyond the Fort, and noting both the sky above and the scratchy dirt beneath her feet, she smiled at Roofs with much hope…and hunger. "What do you think they are cooking? Fried potatoes stuffed with boiled eggs? Birdtail mushrooms crisped with a side of garlic pond snails? Do you eat garlic pond snails? They are delicious and make the best sound when you pop them out of the shell. Do you think, Roofs, that they'll take berries and sprigs of mint for payment or do I have to use those oversized coins again? I don't understand why someone wouldn't take something so useful as berries and mint for a roll of bread, or a little bowl of buttered beans." As puzzled as she was by such ponderings, the young Druid of Toadstump Hollow playfully bumped her shoulder against Roof's side, tugged at her cloak and gestured toward the large A frame that emitted such drool-worthy scents. The building held promises of a warm supper and the company of strangers, and possibly Roofs' friend. What more could the young adventurer want? She waited for the lively and brilliant Tiefling to go first, following right on her heels, staff in hand and head held high, minus the imaginary, illusionary bird.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2022, 11:11 PM
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Late.

They were late. Days had passed after that beautiful fool Flyde Butterroot had decided to get to this sprite-forsaken Fort after a conversation with her. The wild crazy girl who said her name was Thistle. What kind of a name was Thistle? At least Roofs used an alias. The blue-skinned tiefling broke into another pout, blowing her navy-blue hair off of her face. Some strands got caught up again on the curled horns above her ears, but she didn't care about that. Mother wasn't here to reprimand her. The last letter she wrote, sent to the exact village where Roofs and Flyde and Thistle had actually met, was stuck waaaay inside the back of her pack, unread. They all had the same words anyway.

Daughter, come home. Daughter, you are forgiven. Daughter, your family thinks you're a disgrace and you should stop using that silly name and blah blah blah.

Roofs shivered, hugging her thick woolen cloak closer to her slender form. She was short for most tieflings - an inch taller than five feet - but quick and nimble. And she didn't mind warmth at all, but didn't like this extreme cold. Thistle didn't seem to mind, despite wearing almost nothing but leaves and skins and stuff. Thistle seemed at the same time lost in her own world and wide-eyed about the one outside her head. She liked illusions and pranks, that's for sure. It was one of the things they found common ground in, after realizing that they were both headed to the same Fort. The tiefling could conjure illusions easily too, thanks to her demoni- sorry, her ancestral heritage. Roofs shook her head, but had a small smile on her lips. She then said to empty air, "There's a funny one, huh Jack?"

Jack was a friend, of sorts. He taught her how to scale walls and slide under merchant's legs, as well as other useful tricks and secrets. Roofs was groomed in talking and posturing when she was young, since she belonged to a minor house back home. But Jack had taught her that it was much more fun doing and going.

Now though, it seemed all the going Roofs was doing was away from her parents. She'd thought meeting Flyde would lead to better, more exciting adventures, but so far all he'd done was smile at her with that stupidly handsome face and promise great riches and treasures. He was super excited to meet Thistle, after they all read the same stupid job notice.

Now here she was, finally at the Fort, but stuck with the cold and with the crazy girl. There was no sign of Flyde.

Roofs had started to narrow her eyes when the guard who had let them in the front gate saluted. Did my parents contact them already? Can they reach even all the way out here? She suddenly jumped, only then realizing that Thistle was talking to her.

"Huh? Pond whu-"

A growl in her stomach - not Jack; Jack never growled. He hardly made sounds, and even if he did, no one would hear them - informed Roofs that the last time they'd eaten was about a day ago. She shared a look with the druid that said, "Race ya to the door!" then sprinted off with a laugh.


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Old Apr 4th, 2022, 12:01 AM
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EvaEva trudged along the road, eyes on the ground. At the moment, she had to focus on putting one foot in front of the other. That was partially because of how tired she was; forcing her body to continue moving required a modicum of concentration it usually didn't. But it was just as well, because without something to focus her mind on, it would take to wandering. There were more than a few occasions on the moors where she'd allowed herself to think about what she was doing. How much she had given up to be here, how unlikely it was to accomplish anything, but more than that, how long it taken her to do something. Anything. About Thomas. If she wasn't careful, the weight of twenty years that had passed her by before she knew it would come crashing down on her.

So. One foot in front of the other. Left, right, left, right, left right.

She was barely aware of the fort until she was nearly a foot away from it; thankfully, she was not so unaware of her surroundings as to walk into the door, but it was a near thing. She knocked, and was let in with only a questioning glance at the slab of lumber she dragged behind her. This far inland, she doubted if anyone recognized it as a bit of railing from a navy galleon, especially as Eva had taken the past few years to saw and sand it smooth, removing the rough ends where it had initially broken, the dowels that had once protruded from it. One more distraction to keep her hands occupied when she wasn't working.

As she took stock of the fort, the smell of food hit her like a punch to the gut; she had eaten something out on the moors but she barely remembered what, and had little concept of how long it had been. She was ravenous. She walked to a nearby wall and leaned against it, making a rather poor attempt to appear casual and inconspicuous as she pulled out her coin purse. She hoped there were no pickpockets on a millitary base, but she couldn't really be sure.

Back home, fifteen crowns would be more than enough to get her through a normal week. But she hadn't had a normal week since leaving home, and she didn't expect that to change anytime soon. She'd relied on guild halls to cover her expenses where she could, but here on the edge of civilization, the cost of food and lodging was surely at a premium. This would run out very quickly, if she wasn't careful.

Which, of course, was why she was here in the first place. She'd left home with a tidy sum, after hastily selling most of her possessions--if there had been anyone in the market to buy it, she might very well have sold her house entirely. But the coin had dwindled away, faster than she could have imagined. Buying supplies. Renting rooms. Her shoes had worn out within a week, and the cheap replacements she bought had fallen apart in a matter of days. Her current boots were holding up well, which was the least they could do after all she'd spent on them.

And then there were the palms that needed greasing. It hadn't been an expense Eva had really anticipated; the information she wanted wasn't worth anything to anyone but her, and even she doubted it would amount to anything. And yet, time and again, it was, "buy me a drink" or "I'll tell you over a hot meal." And the one time she'd lost her temper, picked up some damned fool and shaken him until the answers fell out, she'd been fined by the city watch. It would have been cheaper to bribe the cretin.

All of which brought her to the pressing, current question: could she afford to eat here? It would be a nice change of pace from trail rations, but was it worth it? Or maybe what she couldn't afford was to run out of rations on the road because she had eaten them at the fort.

In the end, what tipped her decision was the social advantage. Sometimes, eating with people could get them talking almost as well as paying them off. It still wasn't free, but at least it was a more efficient use of the money.

With that resolution made, Eva tucked away her money pouch, took up her lumber, and headed into the World's End Tavern. She headed for the front counter, only dimly aware of the people she was dodging around to get there. She found an empty chair and sat down--and almost immediately passed out as a wave of weariness caught up to her, now that she was no longer on her feet.

She slapped a calloused hand against her cheek and rubbed her face, trying to wake herself up. When one of the staff caught her eye, she cleared her throat. "What are you serving tonight?" Equal parts dust and disuse added a raspy edge to her low voice.

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Old Apr 4th, 2022, 01:23 PM
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Sigur's Journal
Do not laugh at me, Eldrake, but the only adventures I have had so far consisted of sleeping on common room pallets instead of down mattresses, and eating trail rations instead of stuffed game hen. Life on the road sounds so romantic in the tales of bards. But in reality, it means poor night's rests where you awake itching from vermin bites, and the leering, pawing attention of drunkards. Keep your seat…I was more than able to handle those situations, thanks to the anatomy lessons you provided when we were sparring. A swordpoint in the right location is better diplomacy than all the examples of my tutors!

I did have one encounter of interest, though. In a wayside tavern in the northern foothills, I witnessed a performance by a minstrel of the gnome race! They are similar in stature to our mountain dwarves, but more slender of body and limb and with a less full beard. After his show, I bought him a flagon of mead and we talked until I could not keep my eyes open (note: it is not good etiquette to tell a gnome that he is cute). His name was Periwinkle, and he offered to show me something interesting the next morning, and although I was anxious to be on my way, curiosity got the better of me. Soon after sunrise I accompanied him into the lightly wooded hills, and after a pleasant hour we came upon his object: a family of badgers by their burrow. And what do you think, but my friend spoke to the creature in its own language, and the animal offered us a share of its beetle grubs! Periwinkle toasted them over a campfire, and although the flavor was surprisingly nutty, the consistency made my stomach turn. The incident has given me much to think about regarding our view of other races of the world.

I expect to reach the Old North Fort this afternoon, and although I am excited I cannot pretend to not be anxious, for I expect them to turn me away because of my age or my sex. Pray they are enlightened as you are, and not hidebound like our parents!



Sigur Borthi
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In fact when she announced herself at the gate as Sigur Flag-Raiser, Heroine of Grenfall, Youngest Daughter of Baron Borthi, the one guard's eyes had crinkled just a bit. But to his credit, the man hadn't laughed, or told her she was just a slip of a girl and to run along, or sneered that he "loikes a girl wif spirit". He had just glanced at the sword at her hip and led her through with a salute, then left her to her own devices.

Sigur's pulse quickened as she stood in the open entry yard and scanned the fortifications and scant buildings. "Impressive that the fort has stood on the frontier for so many years with such a simple wooden palisade. Goblins would have burned it in a trice. I imagine this was a relaxing if boring outpost. Until now, perhaps?" She considered warming herself by the campfire and raising her questions of security with the guards, but in the end the smell of food from the building that announced itself as the "World's End Tavern" was too overwhelming. She strode eagerly to stand before its inviting door and muttered dramatically to herself "So it begins" for at least the fifth time since leaving home – although this time she really meant it.

Then she pulled open the door and stood on its threshold, a 5'4" shield maiden with black hair tied in ribbons, dressed in a chainmail jerkin above fine yet dusty skirts. Her gaze swept the room as she wondered who her first acquaintances in this new life might be, her blue eyes widening beneath their heavy black brows with every patron they rested on.

First, there was a tall woman with greying black locks seated at a dining table, some sort of cudgel laying beside her. Then there was another person who looked a lot like her new gnome friend, Periwinkle, but without a beard and who seemed to almost certainly be a woman, chatting with a strange blue-skinned person with a horned head, who although Sigur could not be totally sure, looked and sounded an awful lot like a woman as well! In a wave of relief and triumph, she suddenly could not stop herself from laughing out loud.



 

 
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Old Apr 4th, 2022, 05:08 PM
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World's End TavernRoofs. Roofs! Not a silly name -- no, a name like an angel flying high over a town, and just calling out a report! You tumble along with your miniature friend, skipping lightly away from the mother, the others, anyone who wouldn't love this name you've adopted, that sounds to you so much like fun. Jack doesn't mind. Jack thinks Roofs is cute, both the name and the game little tiefling. Good for him! But coming into the fort, maybe you're expecting a bit of side-eye, a raised eyebrow from the locals? People this provincial can't have seen many of your kind around before, can they? And yet, this military guy just waves you in, both of you, and turns on his heel to go back to the fire. No particular welcome. No particular slight. His eyes slide right off you. Well, the poster did say all races will be accepted. Could it be the poster was right?

Thistle, you are a gnome's gnome, from the birds and branches embroidered on your traveling cloak to the illusory bird that perches on your staff. A gnome in the company of somebody blue, her mouth set for serious business, and thinking about... food! Buttery beans and berries and nuts and delicious snails that pop and---

"Deer," says the guard. Oh, answering your question to Roofs about what they might be cooking. Oh. His voice is gravely and deep and slow. He sucks in his lips, his eyes half-hooded, and then mushes them back out. Opens his mouth with a prolonged smack to say, "What there is to eat is. That. I shot it. And already et my part."

He slouches away. So big. That's right, a serious man in a serious place where serious adventuring happens and large men who talk slow and shot deer and have half-hooded eyes and dirty hands go back to sit at bonfires! You slam through the door of the tavern with your new friend and see:

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The World's End Tavern is a rustic joint. Wooden walls, high pointed roof, and a wide plank floor. An iron chandelier set with small flickering candles hangs wherever the beams cross under the rafters. A few round tables are scattered about, and a low wooden bar stretches across one end of the room, with three-legged stools to sit on, and a rack of bottles behind. It's clean. Smells like dinner, if dinner is roasted meat and roots. There's a door behind the bar, and one off to the side. Behind the bar is a middle-aged dwarf with a warm smile in a weathered face. He's speaking to a gnome with a blue dress who's sitting on one of the bar stools when you come in, but he turns to greet you in a mild, friendly voice:

"In my mind this guy talks like Jimmy Stewart. Like, a later Jimmy Stewart.Oh, hello! Welcome! Welcome to Old North Fort and the World's End Tavern! So nice to have you come in this evening. Now, what can I get you? We have an ale in every color from sunshine to orcs***, and a couple of liquors too. What can I put in a glass for you? Please, take a seat!"

Eva, you're living so close to the line. Every step a calculation, and the numbers always spinning in your head, like measurements of a cut to make a join, a wider angle here means a narrower one there. When eating or sleeping are balancing on the same coin, it's exhausting. But the balance keeps shifting, and your attention is always demanded. Fractions of an inch of shoe leather. Sharp bits sanded away after every fight leaving just a little less to hold onto. After some rough mathematics, you sit and ask the dwarf for food. He comes right around the bar, showing no surprise in your weapon of choice, and approaches you with a wide smile, hand outstretched.

"Well, well, well, a stranger, up here in the sticks, what an honor, what an honor," he says, shaking your hand if you'll let him. "The name's Gronch Rockwalder. I run this tavern. I can offer you deer, very fresh, or a pheasant, a little dry, both brought down by our men in the hills here. Root vegetables, grown on the fort, and I have a little cheese -- we've been dabbling with dairy, goats you see. And brown bread? My, that's an interesting cane you have there. Now, what else can I do to make your stay at the Old North Fort a pleasure? "

Sigur, you enter the fort, your armor shining in the firelight, making a satisfying clink as you take your first steps inside. Better armor than the militia-men who greet you, bunch of dopes standing around in leathers and shoddy hats. No wonder they nod and defer. By the looks of them you're cleaner than they've ever been, even road-ragged, with a straighter back and a more valiant tilt to your pale chin than they would have had even at your age. You question them about the fort, knowledgeable and pert. They mumble explanations: Not a proper border really, since the orc wars wiped out the biggest threat, and the alliance with the gnoll chieftains keeps the goblins away. Haven't had any action in a long time, they confess. They talk about hosting trappers and travelers, spotting game from the tower. Sounds more like a trading post than a military installation to you. They look around at the wooden buildings as if seeing them with your eyes, and shrug.

You head into the tavern. Not only do you clock these three women that you first saw: blue tiefling, woodsy gnome, and tired human at the table, but there's a fourth: a gnome in a blue dress who's sitting at a bar. Well. Gnomes to the left, gnomes to the right. Is it that you're seeing more gnomes now or that you are just alerted to their presence now, that chatty Periwinkle catching your attention and allowing you to notice these little folk. She catches your eye and waves timidly, then turns back to her glass of... milk?


OOCI divided up the information as I addressed different parts of the post to different characters, but anyone would have gotten the same greeting, handshake, and menu options from Gronch Rockwalder. Anyone would see the gnome at the bar and the couple of sleepy militia dudes at the table. I tend to use "you" when writing because I like to DM in second person, but I do hope everyone reads all sections of the DM posts, not just the ones addressed to your character. There may be useful info throughout, and sometimes what's relevant to one character may be addressed to another character's "you." Some of it is specific to one character in tone, like the construction metaphors for Eva Dale, but some, like the paragraph describing the room, or Gronch's greeting, would be identical for all.

Quixotic42, when Palona enters, she would encounter the same as above, and she'd see all the characters, so feel free to jump in wherever.

For your planning purposes, my next DM post will be Thursday evening.
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Old Apr 5th, 2022, 01:33 AM
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None. No hints, no second glances, no narrowed eyes of vague recognition. Roofs almost grinned in relief, if she wasn't already grinning from the sounds and smells inside the tavern. They don't know I'm here yet! Good. That was good. With any luck, once she finds Flyde - and after getting paid for this job that they were supposed to do - she could skedaddle and lose her parchment trail of letters. Thoughts darted to the unread letter inside her bag. She elbowed it aside, which turned out into an actual elbowing of her wide-eyed gnome kinda-friend, who was busy gawking at everything.

"I won! Ha! Means ya get ta pay for breakfast. And no, not with those berries, ya goof. Coin! Shinies."

Well, Roofs' own stash was getting thin, which was part of the reason she considered coming out here anyway. That and to get away from her idiot relations. With enough money, she could go somewhere even farther.

A fresh start.

Something about what the dwarf said distracter her.

"From sunshine t-? Hey Thistle, hear that? They gots beverages! Lots and lots! You've never had that, have ya? Hey mister, give us yar strongest! And breakfasts! Lots and lots..." Roofs suddenly glanced around, self-conscious. She didn't see Flyde when they came in, but she didn't exactly look carefully either. There were at least two patrons who didn't look local. One was even... did her armor shine?? Smelled of nobility. Roofs couldn't recognize the heraldry, but she'd always been bad at that. And did she just look this way?? Uh oh. Roofs quickly turned back to the barkeep, careful to have her back to the shiny armor girl.

"Oh yeah! Uh, how much is it though? And how often ya get cute halflings ta visit this place? How often ya get... y'know, people like me?"

Roofs should ask about the dungeoneering job too, but first things first.


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Old Apr 5th, 2022, 11:50 PM
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Thistle Marmalade Brambleweaver
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It was too late to weave an illusionary image of a gawking, bug-eyed brown bear to appear in front of Roofs by the time the Tiefling sprinted to and through the front door of the World's End Tavern. Not only was the announcement of this spontaneous race a surprise, but to think that Roofs found her to be an equal in speed! What an amazing travel companion to be so complimentary, even if it was going to cost the Gnome breakfast, and possibly supper since it was only polite. "We don't eat deer…" Thistle whispered to her true blue companion with a hint of concern in her voice. The Human soldier was strange, and possibly needed more sleep, or at least a meal of fresh, bright berries, acorn cream, and mint to chew - at least that's what any Elder in the Hollow would recommend. She crinkled her nose at the burning scent of the comforting fire, watching those caught in the brightness and exchange of shadows as the Old North Fort was kept guarded and safe outdoors.

Indoors was a whole new wonder that put her more at ease, though she felt the creep of shyness that normally encompassed her outside of Home like the old comfort of her worn blue cloak. There was so much to take in from iron worked chandeliers with so many individual candles to the curious patrons who may also be here for work. No stone walls, nor the scent of musty trees mixed with herbal meads and berry liquors that ol' Malt Honeyweevil had been brewing to perfection for over a hundred years with his family, filled this tall-ceilinged place of meat and greetings. The two taverns she had been to so far on the Outside have lacked that earthy, mossy feel and everything smelled strange and extraordinary.

"Well, if I can't pay in berries…and they're ripe brambleberries.." Not that Thistle was trying to sell the Dwarf on taking them in exchange for coins, but she simply was looking for confirmation that it was money he wanted. "..then for silver coins, something that fizzles in a shade of sunset orange. Yes? A strong shade of orange. And, if you will kind sir, a pot of hot water and cups all around so I can make brambleberry tea for everyone. I'll pay good coin for honey, if you have any, please. Oh! And roots would be so grand for supper. Roots not Roofs." Thistle smiled brilliantly now that she could brighten the room with some berry tea. This is absolutely what the dark-skinned, older woman, who looked ever-so tired and weary, needed; she knew her Elders would approve of such a suggestion. "I do know about beverages, Roots!" She laughed at the Tiefling, finding this absurdly funny. "I can make some, but not alcohol, but I can make tasty drinks, and soothing remedies. I've brought everything with me for this job." With a nudge, the small Gnome bumped her shoulder into the Tiefling's leg merrily as she watched Gronch Rockwalder leave the bar proper to speak ever-so respectfully to the graying woman who seemed to need brambleberry tea and meat, that of which was understandable with her being Big.

At the sound of a sudden feminine laugh, and Roofs turning her back to the room at the bar, Thistle cautiously turned to look wide-eyed at the very shiny armored young Lady…with ribbons. No wonder why this Gnome in a Blue Dress waved at the shiny armored Lady. She wants her ribbons TOO. She was told about City Gnomes, and personally has met Rock Gnomes, and Tinkering Gnomes, and Gem-carver Gnomes. Even other Forest Gnomes can be quirky depending if they hang around too many fox dens, or if they are next to a busy deer path that gets trodden constantly with important shrubs getting gnawed on day and night. Thistle wasn't sure if she should greet this Blue Dressed Gnome or ..

"I'll give you two sprigs of wild mint for a ribbon! No, wait…!" And Thistle's deep brown eyes dart to the Gnome at the bar to see if she'd whack her with a twig, which sometimes happens 'by accident' in the Hollow during Swamp Meets. "I'll make you ice! You can have ice! A frozen tankard for a cold drink of mint iced tea. Or brambleberry tea, but not hot…but winter-chilled. Or, I uh…um.." The overly-excited and excitable frazzle-haired Gnome nearly dances about as she stuffs one hand into an interior cloak pocket while she jams a finger at a pouch, feeling for something she may have forgotten. "Not a stupid coin. Five speckled peapod seeds? Two ..two two two not fish teeth, uhum…Two carved horn buttons. One! Wait. Maybe two. Carved! Or ice. Roofs. Roofs?! That's fair for one ribbon, isn't it? Unless it's silkworm, then…it'd be buttons and ice."

Thistle pulled a seat away from Eva's table, scraping wood against wood. "Pardon!" Her gaze lifted to look at the larger woman, then the Dwarf, somewhat but barely apologetically, as she plopped her satchel onto the seat, ready to tear it apart for trade negotiations with Sigur, whether she had any idea what was going on or not. The unexpected whirlwind that was an overtired Thistle was all ready to go, shyness be damned when something possibly could be bartered for without coins.
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Old Apr 6th, 2022, 12:55 AM
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Sigur Borthi
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Sigur stared at Thistle's frazzled negotiations for a moment, self-consciously placing a hand on one of her hair ribbons and wondering what the etiquette was. But the gnome relieved her confusion by turning away and throwing her bag on a seat, in which she started rummaging. Sigur hesitated, trying to piece together the relationships in the room, without much success. There did seem to be one area where she could make a contribution at least. She raised a hand in the direction of the bar, where Roofs was apparently attempting to bargain for a drink.

"Do not concern yourself with the expense."

It was an authoritative voice, confident in the resources underlying its declaration, but undeniably warmed by overtones of magnanimity, implying a jaunty grin and a twinkle in the eye. Or so it would have been, if Sigur's voice hadn't cracked slightly at the start, bedeviled by thirst and nerves.

Cheeks reddening, she attempted to breeze past the long-rehearsed yet ultimately botched moment, sweeping by Eva's table and the wild-haired gnome with the dirt-smeared face while fishing a gold piece from a silken belt pouch. She arrived at the elbow of the blue-skinned woman, and plunked the coin onto the bar.

Sigur rallied with a jovial, "Allow me to buy a round for everyone!"

She tried to catch the eye of the curious-looking horned patron beside her. The woman seemed to be trying to ignore her, possibly sensing that she was a fish out of water. But Sigur meant to start off on the right foot. "I imagine we have all converged here for a similar purpose. I am Sigur..." She paused, wondering what made her stop short of giving her surname. But she decided to leave it at that.

"Are you a satyr?"





 

 
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Old Apr 6th, 2022, 02:59 AM
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Palona Greenbottle
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Palona padded along the path at an even pace. She wore a beautiful but hearty deep-auburn cloak--perfect for travel. The cloak hid her usual clothing fare--a flowing, off-white, embroidered cotton blouse and an ankle-length brown skirt of the same material--decidedly NOT travel clothes. She thought they were holding up rather well, considering... She'd need to get different shoes, though. She hadn't travelled like this in years--she should be permitted a few adventuring faux pas. Her feet did ache though... So much that she had to let the delightfully enthusiastic tiefling and her small leafy(?) companion get ahead of her as she took more frequent rests. The two of them were quite a pair. She was disappointed to lose sight of them as watching from a distance made the travel go by more quickly.

She was anxious to be off the road. As exciting as it was to set out on an adventure, she had forgotten how much world there was out in the world. For decades, her world had been small, though only in size mind you. The heart and mind of it was big--her children and her work were always enough to fill her up and then some. But the entirety of it fit into her small home on the border of a smaller town. But as children left, the house got bigger and yet less filling. So travel and adventure was a nice change of pace. She might even forgive her silly daughter, Marabelle, for inspiring this quest to look for her and enough gold to get her out of the trouble she got into. Maybe Palona would get into her own trouble and Marabell would have to come bail HER out! With Tymora's own luck, Palona was sure things would work out.

She immediately picked up her pace when the fort came into view. She gave only a half-glance at the guards and the entrance as she walked with purpose and authority straight to the most tavern-looking structure she could find. Her eyes brightened when she recognized her tiefling and gnome friends from the road. But she quickly found her true quarry--a perfectly satisfactory chair near the bar. She didn't bother to remove her cloak, or even remove the ridiculously-oversized satchel from her shoulder. She just needed a minute to enjoy her the weight not on her feet.

Her silent revelry was interrupted by an offer of food and drink from the kind dwarf to the various newcomers. She perked up at the friendly voice and the idea of a cooked meal. She caught names for Roofs and Thistle, and watched Sigur make her offer. Palona gave a knowing smile and hopped down from her chair and over to the three young women. "Well aren't we an excited bunch! It sounds like we can certainly find a way to get food and drink for everyone. Shall we sit? We can talk and make friends while we eat." Palona gestured the women to Eve's table, who also looked like she needed a hot meal and that brambleberry tea Thistle mentioned. Her smiling eyes were filled with firm but warm expectation--that of a practiced grandmother, weilding her age and status expertly. She put her hand lightly on Thistles back, gently guiding her toward the table as she continued, "Now, what was this you said about Brambleberry tea? I'm sure I have something that can sweeten the pot."

Off to a great start, Palona thought with sore feet all but forgotten.



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Old Apr 6th, 2022, 09:51 PM
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EvaVenison, fowl, vegetables, cheese... Eva weighed her options carefully. She didn't want to spend too much, but if she didn't get something filling then whatever she spent would be a waste. And then, of course, was her intention to be social, and talk to people.

Before she could give the proprietor her answer, she was overwhelmed by noise and movement--laughter, chattering, scampering. Several young ladies were making their presence felt; one seemed a bit reserved, but perhaps that was just in comparison to the other two. Their vigor, and the offered drinks for the house, was invigorating. Not enough to wipe the weariness of the road from Eva's feet and knees, but enough for a smile to tug at her cheeks.

She felt terribly cynical for thinking that, if they were all so eager to talk, she might be able to get some information from them. But, she had come here for a reason. Besides, the woman in armor was probably looking for something, if she was buying drinks. And hadn't she heard the blue girl asking the owner about something? They had questions, and Eva, for her part, would be happy to answer if she could.

"Just vegetables." Eva told Gronch. "Although, if the young lady's buying, I won't turn down an ale. If you happen to have anything with a note of citrus..." She doubted they had the makings for a proper gimlet, and even if they did, that was probably imposing on the young woman's generosity.

With her order placed, Eva turned her full attention to the three girls, noting that they were now joined by a woman whose calm, composed demeanor reminded Eva of her grandmother. She found herself set at ease, if only by the thought that she might not have to keep up with the energy of these youngsters all by herself.

"So what brings you all here?" She eyed the blue woman. "Looking for something?"

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Old Apr 7th, 2022, 10:53 PM
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World's End Tavern
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Gronch Rockwalder slides back behind the bar and sets out a row of glasses like little bowls. "Now now," he says companionably, "Since it's a special night, so must a special spirit--" he whips a clear bottle of clear liquid out from under the counter. "--fill our glasses." The militia guys at the back table perk up a little, drain their ales. Dang, Gronch is getting out the good stuff. The dwarf takes a theatrical sniff of the bottle and turns to Roofs: "Juniper?" To Thistle: "Brambleberry?" Over Roofs' shoulder to Eva Dale: "Piiiiine?" He splashes it into the glasses, with a friendly flourish. "And as for my finest? Why here it is now. He pulls a small metal pitcher out from under the counter, full of a frothy citrus juice, which he uses to carefully fill the glasses the rest of the way. He grins at Thistle and asks her to frost the drinks, if she will, since she said she could. Whether or not they're frosty, he nods and says, "A round for the party, and on the house."

Sigur, there are five drinks, for you to distribute as you like. As you stand there with your shiny elbow on the bar, you see the gnome in the blue dress casually slide her glass of milk into her lap, and then tip it into a spittoon against the wall while smiling at you brightly. Heh, what milk? Heh, what? "That's my favorite liquor to have," she whispers to you. I imagine her talking like Victoria Jackson.Her voice is high and a little silly. "I always drink very strong drinks, and get drunk and wild. I really do!" Then she tucks her little knees back under the bar, tugging at her collar and spinning back and forth on the stool.

Palona, having served cocktails, Gronch Rockwalder puts water on to boil for those with milder tastes, and shows you a ceramic teapot by the hearth. "I haven't got tea, but if you've brought you're own you're more than welcome to use it."

Roofs, he thinks for a minute before answering your question. "Cute halfling, hey? I do recall there was one such person through here a few days back. But he was impatient, and went on to the mountains. Lots of people use this place as a pit stop on their travels. Some like you, and many not like you. But you know, there's only one just like you, you know?" He gives you a fatherly grin, it feels like a firm grip on your shoulder, but not pushy. "Now I'll just get the dinner up."

Gronch disappears for a while through the door behind the bar, and when he emerges again loaded with plates and platters, the gnome girl in the blue dress helps him lay everything out for you. Venison, a pheasant, a platter of beets and carrots and roasted artichokes. Bread. She tiptoes around the table, arranging everything just so, as the Gronch sets the plates down. "Family style dinner," he says. "And family style rooms, if you care to share. Five silver gets you dinner and a bed, and eight will get you your own room, maybe window, if you go to bed early."

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Tibby Greykilt
Thistle, after Gronch Rockwalder smiles and goes back to the kitchen, the gnome timidly approaches, first to replace a fallen napkin on the table, and then to speak to you. She scrubs her toe into the planks, blushes, blinks, and says quietly, "Hi, I'm Tibby." She looks like a forest gnome, moves like one too, light on her feet, and bowing gently in greeting with her hands folded behind her back as is the custom of your folk. You are great respecters of personal space. "Pleased to meet you."

Eva, you see this little scrap of a thing drag herself forward to meet the strangers after dipping around the table placing spoons. You recognize determination and resolve being deliberately engaged. That first intro to Thistle she almost swallows, but then she tries again louder, "Hi you guys! Are you adventurers? I'm Tibby Greykilt, also an adventurer." She looks around the room, wide-eyed. "I'm an adventurer, and here to adventure! I followed the ad to come here, did you? Did you follow the ad? That's why I am here." Big grin. Good lord. The dress she's wearing... and her voice... and the... just the whole thing. What?
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Old Apr 10th, 2022, 02:28 PM
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Palona"Oh are you now? We'll we're all just getting to know each other, would you like to join?" Palona gives another warm, crinkled smile and scoots and waves for everyone to find room.

She takes the pitcher of water, and rummages through her large satchel pulling out an assortment of dried leaves and powders. "Thistle dear, you said you had some bramble berries? Hmm, I think that will go nicely with this batch. I harvested the leaves myself you know." Palona rambles a bit about growing and drying various types of plants used for tea, mixed with arcane incantations and sprinkles of her ingredients. The water warms to a perfect temperature and a comforting sweet, minty smells wafts over the group. Go ahead an enjoy your young-people drinks. The tea will keep warm for an hour.

She then sits back, content with her contribution, and waited for the others to jump in. The combination of inhibition-loosening alcohol and warm, comforting tea should get the group in the mood for sharing. She knew having friends on adventures is important. This group looked like it would do the trick without too much tinkering.


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Old Apr 11th, 2022, 01:22 AM
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Thistle Marmalade Brambleweaver
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Thistle felt momentarily confused at Sigur who had walked past her, ignoring her bids and negotiations for at least one ribbon. The Forest Gnome removed a narrow, polished pale-wood box from her pack and placed it on Eva's table, wondering if she needed proof of having things to trade. A beat went by, so Thistle's curious brown-eyed gaze landed on Eva. The Human woman did not wear ribbons, unfortunately, so could not offer her a trade of mint sprigs. But, being a hopeful sort, she meekly smiled at Eva and was about to ask her if she had something like that, or perhaps fancy buttons, but Eva instead turned to ask Roofs if she was looking for something and what brought them there. Maybe she was included in the 'them', so she brightly smiled over at the blue Tiefling but couldn't be sure if she was seen or not on the other side of the table. As she packed the box back into her rucksack, she found that Palona was talking to her. An Elder Gnome! Palona could very well be a Forest Gnome, but Thistle didn't know for certain, but she could tell that she could possibly be an Elder and Leader of her village…if she had a village. But if she had one, why would she not be there? The Druid owlishly blinked at the Elder Gnome as a slow smile brightened her dirt-streaked face. As to keep to her village's respectful Elder traditions, she said with a bow. "Elder, I am Thistlethread Marmalade with the Sparrow's Seed-seeking Eye, born of the Brambleweaver family of Toadstump Hollow, chosen seeker of the Melonchowder Fungi necessary for a proper Solstice celebration, and Human and dog saver-from-bandits at the Sheep Field farm." Then the three foot four Druid lifted her staff and stamped it to the floor as though she needed a physical representation of that period. She added, "At your service, even though I'm with Roofs, the blue faun. Excuse me, I must fetch my drink."

Thistle thrust her hand into a soft pouch and laid out four plump brambleberries onto the table and winked at Palona as she dashed back up to the bar for a moment. "What does piiine, brambleberry and …juniper taste like in this …frothy citrus-fruity concoction?" This was fascinating to her, and she kindly asked Gronch for a pitcher or bowl of water. One by one, she excused herself ever-so politely to each person whose glass she slid over to the water. One might even say shyly, except when it came to Roofs, she grinned at her like a woman who had just won a lifetime supply of mushroom-flavored cotton candy. Each glass got dipped into the water, and with a little bit of help from magic, the water enveloped the outside of the glass, then splashed back down. After each glass was beaded in water, Thistle lightly flicked two fingers against her thumb, directing the cantrip's frosty transmutation to each glass, frosting over each with little bumps of suspended frozen water droplets.

When Tibby approached Thistle, who was eyeing the family style root vegetable fabulousness - and the strange artichoke that reminded her of her namesake - she brightly smiled, as she tends to do. Following suit, she bowed as well, tucking her hands behind her back best she could while still holding onto her tall carved staff. "I'm honored and happy to meet you, Tibby. Are you here to get a second or third name for yourself? I'm hoping to get one that my family and village can be proud of. Maybe we can earn one together! All of us - how grand would that be? Like my friend Roofs over there would earn a fine third name, I'm sure."

The Druid looked absolutely pleased as punch as she took a long sip of the fruity citrus, frothy brambleberry cold drink. Her fingers were a touch numb from the frosted glass, but that was part of the experience.

As soon as others started to feast, she'd have plucked a golden beet, a carrot and stare at the artichoke on her plate. Rather swiftly, realizing how hungry she was from the very long walk, she moved her pack and climbed up to the seat at Eva's table. Sensibly, she unsheathed her eating knife and started to cut and slice everything but the artichoke in front of her, eating with such contentment while suspiciously eyeing the jagged green giant plant-head before tearing off one of the petals and stated. "Be wary of the thorns. I believe this is some sort of giant thistle." Thistle started to laugh at that very thought, then decided to pluck the petals off with care. Stabbing into one, she drew the blade down until she could take a peek at the soft, fleshy inside. She didn't want anyone to think that she was raised by shrews or opossums, and therefore didn't try to suck the insides out. Instead, she gingerly drew the flat of her blade across each petal, scooping up the innards with a crusty piece of bread. This continued for quite a while as she listened to those around her, drinking her fancy Dwarven drink, and offering artichoke-goo'd bread around the table starting with Palona, respectfully.
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Old Apr 11th, 2022, 01:28 AM
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Eva"Adventurer?" Eva shrugged. "Don't know if I can quite claim that; I'm just a traveler. But I've had a few scrapes on my way from Port Augustus, and I can handle myself well enough. And there's a chance I'll learn something useful on this mission, so." She hesitated a moment, looking down at her hands as she debated how much of her circumstances she wanted to reveal at the moment. It wasn't as though she had anything to hide, exactly, she just didn't feel like dragging it all out.

And then there was her financial situation. Eva was a little embarassed about that, to be honest. She had not thought this journey through, and hadn't been as careful as she should have been with her money for the first few weeks. It really shouldn't have come to this.

But... it seemed like they were doing this together. She understood enough about adventuring to know it was done in groups, and she supposed this was how they formed. And if she was going to work with these people, she wanted everyone on the same page about why she was doing it. "And I could use the coin." They didn't need to know how little she had, how long that was going to have to last her, how stressed she was going to be about it. But she didn't want anyone surprised when she took a firm stance on, say, her cut of the pay.

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