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  #31  
Old May 31st, 2022, 02:47 PM
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Supplicant Exit
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If lying to the feat of some primordial creature was exhilarating in some sense, then Jimmy at least knew for himself that it wasn't quite the comfortable position to be in and not one that he wanted to reside in for that much longer. Swiftly he signaled to Boanagh that he wanted the two of them to crawl away while keeping their supplicant demeanor. The darkling elder was clearly showing his own discomfort with the situation and so at Jimmy's urging he began to lead the way. The king of the mountain let out a loud snort when the two men set into motion, but it didn't seem to provoke him all that much. No attack followed. Jimmy attempted further communication, both in elvish and in common, but when the elemental responded it was very uncertain if he was lending the half-elf's concerns his ear. "Take my message to them. I do not excuse attacks against me. If neighbour strikes at neighbour, you'll learn that my kind knows how to strike back. The trust of the mountain erodes as you break it down intentionally. But I am not easy to break."

The crystalline behemoth kept staring as the adventurer and his guide crawled away, slowly gaining distance from the angered colossus. The scent of the mushrooms uncomfortably stung inside Jimmy's nose, but if that was the greatest harm that came to him in this encounter that was certainly a very fair trade. In a hushed voice he inquired from Boanagh whether the fae knew of any material belongings that this kind of elemental might be interested in and that could appease him, yet the darkling elder racked his brains only to keep crawling with furrowed brows. "I know of no such things. I don't know much of them at all. I don't think we have ever spoken about having conflict with them. In fact, I would have suspected them to care about our silver mining, yet according to what I know they are indifferent to anything we do. They pass through, and the dubh sidhe know to remain respectful. This kind of approach, it seems abnormal to me." The darkling elder gulped visibly. "I was wrong. Of course the shadows cast on my home create larger ripples. I already knew this!" Boanagh sounded upset with himself and quickly fell quiet. Eventually the two men reached the exit to the current cavern and looking over their shoulders, the elemental still stood where he had let them go. Four menacing eyes pierced through the darkness, a hulking figure of crystals and primordial power letting Jimmy and his companion go untouched. More questions than answers.
 
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  #32  
Old May 31st, 2022, 07:55 PM
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Once Jimmy and Boanagh were safely away from the elemental, Jimmy let out a big sigh and brushed the fungus dust off his clothes. "Yeesh!" he exclaimed. "What was that about?" He pondered this as they walked. "He was in a fight - that's for sure - and it sure looks like it was with some a' you guys. So you got some trouble-makers?"

That solution was straightforward, but something bothered Jimmy. "Y'know, you couldn't hear 'im, but...it wasn't so different than Kosev. Maybe he's the crazy one, startin' fights with darklings outa paranoia...and the way he moves right through the ground like that, with no trace..." Jimmy shook his head and glared back into the darkness behind them. Then he turn ahead again, and shuddered. "I don't like this," he said. "More and more it looks like we got some kinda head games goin' on, and I don't want no part a' them - 'cept for mine, a' course."

OOcJust thinking out loud. Happy to hear any Boanagh thoughts, but ready to get to Loch.

 

 

 

 

 

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  #33  
Old Jun 4th, 2022, 11:55 PM
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Reunion in the Colony
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When both Jimmy and Boanagh had gotten a safe distance between themselves and the elemental, they finally could relax a little. But the bizarre encounter had certainly left them with questions. When Jimmy proposed that there could have been darklings who had attacked the king of the mountain and thus provoked the hostility that he had shown just now, the darkling elder's expression was one of disbelief. "Trouble-makers? One that would take up weapons to assail a king of the mountains?! It would be folly!" The sylvan clansmen pondered for a few more moments before he elaborated on his response. "Every community has its strife and the young'uns certainly get up to no good from time to time, but the kind of trouble they make certainly doesn't extend to armed conflict. Our colony lies beneath the earth and is fairly secluded. The territories above ground are a wild and hazardous land, but I haven't heard about open hostilities in months, and it's certainly a consideration far from my mind. Who would ever have a reason to risk their life to challenge such a creature? You've said multiple assailants attacked him?" When Jimmy explored the notion that maybe the elemental had fallen victim to paranoia similarly to their former companion Kosev, Boanagh's troubled expression only deepened. "Head games... But what does it mean Jimmy?" A brief pause. "You said he was wounded? I will be honest, I did not see any wounds when he towered above us. It was... intense. I barely glanced up."

The darkling elder shook his head as if he did not understand. "I keep wondering about the things that I have learned that I didn't know before I went to your city to recruit you. I firmly believe that there is a dark influence at play, more than I did before. Even if my fellow elders shirk away from that notion, the scope of machinations at play seems broader than I thought. You said before that you think someone is turning the people in the colony mad? Is such a thing even possible?" Boanagh visibly shuddered, even as he began trudging along again. It seemed like right then he felt a heavy weight on his shoulders. "I see no sense behind any of this. There must be a perpetrator, a reason this his happening. We must strike at the heart that lies hidden behind vague hints and incomplete premonitions. The state of unrest in the colony is something that I've felt deeply, even before I traveled to you. That it could even embroil old, primordial beings like the king... I have no idea what to make of it, nor how to combat it." With his gaze turned forward, Boanagh marched on. "We must find and ascertain more clues. The answers to our questions must be out there. But first we raise our numbers without risking more of my bretheren. A true boon to us that the satyr managed to overcome his previous... lack of motivation." And then Boanagh fell quiet for a while unless talked to.
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The march, or rather the spelunking through the colony continued unabated without further incidents, and once again Jimmy's stamina was tested as he was working under a heavy load. By the end he couldn't but inquire if they could take another rest or if the outpost would be reached soon, and with a slight bit of encouragement from Boanagh to keep pressing on, the two travelers eventually arrived in another large, wide cavern that showed very similar dubh sidhe activity to the border outpost which Jimmy had seen in the north. The welcome was also similar, though slightly less withheld as now Jimmy was the only foreigner in the company of one of the elders. Darklings of all ages and genders gathered to hear news from Boanagh that he could have to report, and although Jimmy had a though time telling most of these small-statured fey apart he did notice that some of them weren't entirely surprised to see him arrive here. Slightly harried that everytime the warlock reached these outposts he was exhausted by the previous day of travel, the mystery behind being recognized was quickly cleared up when the darklings eventually after half an hour led Jimmy and Boanagh to another small party that had been waiting for the two men just like they had promised. "Jimmy! My guy! Looks like no yeth have swallowed neither you nor me on our way here. Look who I've brought!"

Although Loch certainly gave the loudest welcome after Jimmy and Boanagh had been led to one of the stands covered with a roof tarp just like the adventurer had seen was the darkling custom before, the bare-chested, utterly confident and smiling satyr wasn't the fae on scene who took Jimmy's attention the most. While Loch sat wide-legged on a small stool where he had been telling some kind of sylvan fairy tale to a group of star-struck darkling children, on the edge of the roofed area stood a pairing of two dryads that seemed to have arrived only moments before after they had been fetched by a few more dubh sidhe that had run ahead when Jimmy and Boanagh had still been exchanging words with the darklings that had passed them up after they had entered the outpost through a large, open arch. And of course Jimmy recognized one of the two tree spirits immediately. It was none other than Sashaya. The dryad and her sister had been who Loch was referring to as the satyr spread his arms to point them out to the adventurer while he regarded Jimmy with a knowing grin. But unlike Loch, Sashaya didn't burst out with a shouted welcome, instead she kept standing right next to her sister, staring at Jimmy with a coy smile, but her body language was much shyer than the half-elf remembered her. And next to her was another daughter of the Heart Tree, yet Jimmy's gaze only met hers secondarily. Once he did though, he noticed that she regarded him even more intently than Sashaya, though her expression was very evidently hostile. She was almost looking at him like he was some kind of dirty bug. Something definitely was up with that and also with this slightly distant reunion where Loch appeared much happier to see him than the one who Jimmy had spent the night with.
 
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  #34  
Old Jun 6th, 2022, 05:28 PM
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“Yeah, yeah,” Jimmy agreed with Loch, “getting’ here was half the fun.” He moved to embrace his brother-in-arms, but, noting the satyr’s continuing minimal attire, opted instead for a hand on his shoulder and a warm handshake. “You brought some muscle like I asked?” Jimmy inquired hopefully, then looked as Loch directed. “Oh…damn,” he said, with mixed emotion.

“Sashaya…jeez,” Jimmy began as he approached the dryad. “You came all this way? Whaddya doin’ here? I mean: it’s great ta see ya! It’s just…we’re here for a fight, y’know, maybe a bad one.” As Jimmy neared the pair, his eyes hopped over to Sashaya’s companion a few times, but he didn’t address her directly. After a pause, he did ask, “Everythin’ OK witchu gals?”

 

 

 

 

 

Last edited by secretID; Jun 9th, 2022 at 07:32 AM. Reason: Dryad, not nymph.
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  #35  
Old Jun 11th, 2022, 01:23 PM
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Dryad Troubles
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Loch regarded Jimmy with a sly smile and a hint of curiosity after their greeting, and as the adventurer approached the pair of dryads they seemed to wait for him to talk first. Sashaya was looking at him from a bit of a coy up-glancing angle while her sullen sister stood as straight as she could, her arms hanging still at her sides. The daughter of the forest that Jimmy had befriended previously seemed somewhat nervous about their reunion, and albeit it looked a little shakey, she was smiling slightly and so was at least somewhat happy to see Jimmy again. The second dryad's glare seemed to only intensify after the half-elf had finally stepped directly before the pair, but she didn't interrupt or talk first. When Jimmy began rekindling the amiability that had been between him and Sashaya before while also showing his worry that descending into the colony and seemingly coming to lend her support would most likely endanger her life, there were rich emotions on the otherworldly female's face, and her smile seemed to fade into a longing to explain herself. For the dryads the distance to their home was of course only about an hour or two and so she had lived through a far less arduous journey than Jimmy had, but at that moment she managed to look even more distraught than the adventurer. "Yes! We came to help! We did..."

The idea of fighting appeared to be uncomfortable to Sashaya, but the beautiful frown on her face also displayed determination despite anything else that was mixed in her expression. If Jimmy was feeling mixed emotions to find her here, then this fae creature certainly had some of those that she could call her own. "The hounds have left so the path was clear... And when Loch explained that you were desperate for his help..." She broke off her explanation, seemingly conflicted between two clashing sentiments. "Father said we shouldn't go, but I couldn't think what else to do..." Losing her train of thought like that gave Jimmy the opportunity to ask if everything was all right with these two ladies of the woods, and though his question made Sashaya's expression waver again, this time it was her sister who brashly interjected herself and took the word. "It's not only father's word that she's going against, rootless! Any of the sisterhood understands that following you into this pit right now is idiotic and dangerous! So if anything further untoward happens to my little sister, you'll have me to contend with! Are we understood, cretin?!" With the slightest step forward the angered fey interposed half her shoulder between Sashaya and Jimmy, and although Sashaya looked afflicted by her sister's handling of the interaction, she didn't actually voice any contention and simply shot the warlock a saddened look of uncertainty. When a loud, fanciful whistle cut through the tense moment of silence, the trio and all the surrounding darklings turned around to look at the satyr bard who had made the noise. Loch wore a wide grin while sitting on his stool and his expression suggested that he was amusedly impressed by the second dryad's attitude. But other than a furiously heated glare from the interposer, his antics were left uncommented by the dryad and her almost aggressive gaze fell back on Jimmy.
 
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  #36  
Old Jun 15th, 2022, 08:28 AM
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Jimmy listened to Sashaya’s short story with evident concern, until her sister very rudely interrupted. He scowled at the other dryad momentarily in shock and irritation, then turned back to Sashaya. “Who pruned her buds?” he asked, indicating the other with his thumb. Then he addressed the hostile dryad directly.

“‘Cretin?’” he repeated. You’re the one who brought her here. Where do you get off blamin’ it on me? Who are you, anyway? – you say ‘sister,’ but you seem ta think Sashaya’s your little girl. If you were, I wouldn’t give your parentin’ real high marks, with you bringin’ her out to a deadly situation to meet some guy. And your father – don’t get me started on that guy. When’s the last time he said somethin’ useful? – you count that in, like, centuries…?”

Jimmy’s expression completely softened as he turned back to Sashaya. “It’s real nice you came out here to help, Sashaya,” he said, taking her hand, “but we might be headed into some real bad stuff here, and we don’t even know exactly what. It’s hard enough keeping Boanagh here safe…I know you can help, but I dunno if I can protect you.

“Hey, I know!”
said Jimmy, looking back at the other dryad. “Why don’t you come along instead? That way we can keep Sashaya safe back here.”

OOCThat proposal is just sarcastic, though I suppose she could volunteer.

This isn't quite the NPC support I was hoping for. Is Jimmy to be the party tank? Urdo continues to warm the bench in Westhaven...with Prrup-tik...and the 2L warforged Shield...

 

 

 

 

 
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  #37  
Old Jun 18th, 2022, 09:13 PM
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Furious Chaperone
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Sashaya's sister seemed only further irate as Jimmy responded to her rudeness with a confrontational surge of words of his own. Her eyes were shooting daggers and she clenched her feminine hands into fists when the half-elven warlock turned the berating back on her. Sashaya only seemed to grow smaller as Jimmy vented and she even flinched when he ridiculed the entity that the dryads called their father. Even when the half-elf's features softened as looked at her, he could read on her face that he had made her feel uncomfortable. With her sister still half-interposed and in Jimmy's way, once he reached for Sashaya's hand the other dryad pushed her vulnerable-looking sister behind her back and Jimmy could only conclude the worry for her safety that he meant to convey through the expression of his words. With the insufferable sister blocking his way, Jimmy sarcastically offered to her to run into danger instead, but no matter how it had been meant it seemed to enrage the dryad further as she was visibly holding back from turning to violence.

"Swine!" Insulting Jimmy seemed to be the least that this dryad required to keep from acting out even further. "You and him!" 'Him' seemingly referring to Loch as she pointed at the satyr. "I would never let the dolt be together alone with one of you again!" Sashaya reached for the other dryad's back but without even looking the sister slapped her hand away. "Yoouu!!!" If Jimmy had vented earlier the female fae seemed unable to even give her anger shape in words. Then her voice turned into a dissonant hiss. "Seductor!!" Finally Sashaya gathered enough resolve to force a word in edgewise. "Noo... Ilala..." Obviously she didn't want this conflict to escalate any further, but the pitiable sound of her voice didn't seem to carry enough weight to challenge her sister's overbearing stance. Yet as this trio of Jimmy and the dryads was surrounded by a crowd of onlookers, only her sister's plea seemed to soothe the fury of the accusing dryad, if only by a minuscule amount. "There you have it, rootless! She doesn't listen to reason!" Ilala's eyes were fixated on Jimmy as she saw nothing else. "We will do this, but she won't be receiving any of your protection! Where are we going??! I don't want to look at your vileness any longer than I must!" And then she lowered her voice threateningly. "Don't you dare lay a hand on her again..."
 
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Old Jun 21st, 2022, 01:28 PM
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OOCEven without the history, Jimmy wouldn’t be too keen on this treatment of an innocent.
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“Hey! – c’mon…” Jimmy began, as Ilala began insulting Sashay. But then Ilala actually struck her sister. “That’s it!” he said, reflexively leaning in to her, his free hand on the old dagger at his belt. Then he lifted that hand to jab his finger toward her chest, only inches from touching her. “Yer done, here,” he told her. You put another hand on Sashaya, yer not gonna like where this goes. I don’t think she’s so safe with you, so now you can turn an’ walk away, or you can eat dirt.

“Boanagh,”
said Jimmy, his eyes still on Ilala, “I dunno this chick, but I wonder if we got another case a’ the crazies happenin’ here. Either way, we may hafta put her down.”

OOCI understand that this may just put us into initiative, such that Jimmy can't finish all of his statements, but c'est la vie.

 

 

 

 

 
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  #39  
Old Jun 26th, 2022, 09:27 PM
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Asserting Dominance
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Ilala's furious eyes followed Jimmy's hand as it moved to his magical dagger, but even though she didn't know that it was the source of his power, her eyes widened slightly as she tried to suppress a flinch and failed. Her eyes wavered between wrath and something less certain, and as the hexblade jabbed his finger towards her chest she didn't retort with further insults, staying quiet with an indignant expression instead. When Jimmy hit her with his ultimatum to turn away or to face him, the dryad took a defensive step backward, making her lightly collide with her sister who had still been standing there. But just as it seemed like she would raise her hands and fight or defend herself, something internal seemed to hold her back. Jimmy called for Boanagh, suggesting to the darkling elder that he was ready to end Ilala's life after the behavior that she had displayed, but before anybody else had time to insert themselves into the situation, the agitated dryad already broke out in tears and made any actual armed combat undue.

"I, I, I... can't bear this!!" Sashaya's hand appeared back on her sister's shoulder and Jimmy caught a glimpse of her conflicted expression as she regarded the other dryad which had flipped from fury to bawling on the hit of a switch. Seemingly unable to withstand Jimmy's ire any further, Ilala threw herself into Sashaya's chest where she desperately clung to her younger sister. "Why... am I... the only... one...!!" The fey woman was crying bitter tears, her voice echoing through the dome of the darkling outpost as she couldn't contain her emotions in a different manner than before. "I can't watch these things... happening to my sisters... anymore... Sashaya!!" Ilala was slightly rambling and had to repeatedly take snaps of breath as she hid her face in the other dryad's leaf-like body. Sashaya's gaze drew up to meet Jimmy's for just a moment before it fell back to Ilala as she wrapped her thin arms around her and tried to comfort her sister. The sylvan whom Jimmy had tried to defend looked both hurt and sadder than before, but she wasn't crying herself, occupied with consoling Ilala instead.

"Ah. If I may?" When Jimmy turned away from the sudden breakdown of Ilala, he saw Loch who had finally left his seat in front of the darkling children and now approached on his hooved legs. A few steps behind him was Boanagh, seemingly having readied himself to come to Jimmy's aid or to end the conflict on his own authority. But with Ilala suddenly crying, the darkling elder looked slightly confused as if he wasn't sure how to handle it. The satyr bard though wore the same confident expression as ever, seemingly unperturbed by either of the distraught dryads as he walked up to Jimmy and carefully tried to put a hand on the other man's shoulder. Loch wore an apologetic little smile, irritatingly as if he wasn't at all surprised or affected by the intensity of what just had transpired between Jimmy and the fae woman. "Look. We weren't planning to head out just this minute, did we?" With gentle pressure the satyr attempted to encourage Jimmy to follow him away from this scene that was surrounded by shocked darklings, most of them never having seen an outlander and a dryad fight like this before. "How about we head over to the cave that they left for us and then I, you know, hear out your side of the argument?" A glint in Loch's eyes suggested that he had caught that Jimmy had been very serious about viewing Ilala as a threat, but the curiosity in his face explained that he wasn't exactly sure why.
 
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  #40  
Old Jun 28th, 2022, 09:19 AM
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Jimmy allowed Loch to lead him away, though the half-elf continued to shake his head in disbelief. “You believe this gal?” he asked the satyr when they find a little privacy. “Blamin’ me for bringing Sashaya here is bad enough, but then when she started abusin’ her…” Jimmy clenched a fist and glared over at Ilala. “Why, I oughta…”

It gradually occurred to Jimmy that Loch was trying to adopt of the roles of diplomat and counselor, a strange situation indeed. Jimmy looked back at his acquaintance. “Well, I guess that’s settled, anyways. Makes me wonder, though: was Ilala like this when you left the tree? I’ve been noticin’ that different people seem to be goin’ a little batty, and I’ve been wonderin’ whether that’s what’s really happen’ with the darklings.” Jimmy suddenly thought of his new wand. “Y’know, maybe I should…” he trailed off. “What’s on your mind, Loch?”

OOCDepending on Loch's answer, Jimmy may Detect Magic in a second. Wish I had done that near Kosev. I thought I'd pause here anyway, as Loch seemed to have an agenda.

 

 

 

 

 
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Old Jul 2nd, 2022, 08:55 PM
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Instigators and Grudges
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Both the dryads and the crowd of darklings stayed behind as Jimmy let himself be maneuvered out of their immediate vicinity for the moment. Loch began to leisurely walk with him on his bowed legs, and Boanagh began to follow as well as the darkling elder hastened to close the gap after the other two had a small headstart. Instead of completing this slightly skewed reunion at their designated sleeping cave, Jimmy wasn't able to wait that long before he stopped and turned to face the satyr bard just after they had fallen out of earshot of the previous scene. Ilala was still in Sashaya's arms crying audibly, and Boanagh stepped to the side of his trusted ally as Jimmy voiced his dismay and gripes about what just had occurred. Loch maintained the apologetic grin that he had put on as he listened to the warlock wonder about Ilala's erratic behavior and finally his request for the satyr to share his own insights. And with the same smile playing around his lips, the bearded fey began to explain plainly what was on his mind right now. "You don't remember her, do you? Well, I don't fault you. To the untrained eye these dryads, beautiful and unique creatures that they are, might easily blind an outlander to the delightful differences that they have." The bare-chested satyr seemed genuinely enamored with these ladies of the woods as a whole, but right now he was looking at Jimmy with an intent to convey more than just his own defined tastes. "Ilala is the one that put a charm on your big friend Kosev. I'm certainly glad he went to the caves ahead of us, or else we might have found ourselves at the same impasse as we had before."

Now that Loch was pointing it out to Jimmy, it did appear possible that he had failed to recognize Ilala although they had met each other and been in conflict before. The daughters of the Heart Tree were mesmerizing females, that was for sure, yet they lacked a certain individuality that made it easy to get them mixed up. Jimmy was sure that he would recognize Sashaya among them as he had received the opportunity to study her more closely in the past, but the same seemed to not be true about the disgruntled dryad named Ilala, who had been furious about Loch before she had ever shown any qualms about Jimmy. It was an oversight that could be attributed to dryads being of a different race and that Jimmy had already been needing a restful sleep since at least two hours ago. But after the interaction of a mere moments ago, it seemed less important that Ilala had crossed Jimmy's way in the recent past, and much more that her abrasive actions had been incomprehensible and highly offensive. It was bidding Loch to explain more about how she had followed him down into the colony in the first place. "Now before you become cross with me, Jimmy, let me solemnly admit to not being at fault at all! You did say to bring some backup, and neither of these dames was easily swayed when I said my piece about how dangerous participation in your quest might be."

Despite the state of emotions that Jimmy had been put into by his aggressive confrontation with Sashaya's willful sister, he had at least enough clarity to tell from Loch's slight grin that the satyr was only so far sincere as he hadn't managed to dissuade either of the two dryads in following him. Although Jimmy was better at flapping his gums than reading a room, there was a rather blatantly opportunistic side to this bardic satyr and he didn't at all appear to feel guilty about having let this situation come to pass. It didn't seem to be vindictive at first glance, but the bearded fey definitely did appear to have some kind of agenda. Putting his hand once more onto the half-elf's shoulder, Loch continued to make his case. "Now, believe an expert. In my wealth of experience with the subject, you are best to assume that there will be one or two batty things about any of these forest girls. They are pretty things, but their wild side is what makes the game so much fun." The bard's self-satisfaction almost oozed out of his every pore, but then his smile changed to a bit more serious look. "Point in case, Jimmy, I wasn't surprised by anything that Ilala said or did. She seems to be a sore loser, that she is. No, I was much more surprised by how you handled her rigorous temper. What happened since you gave the hounds the slip? What is on your mind, Jimmy? I verily believe that there is cause to worry, no? Bare your heart to me, friend!" As the satyr finished his plea, Boanagh was wearing an increasingly troubled expression. But when the darkling elder looked over at Jimmy and furrowed his brows, it appeared that the sylvan decided to defer to Jimmy in addressing this convoluted situation first. Somehow this newest conflict surrounding Loch and Jimmy would turn to affect the outcome of the quest for the darkling people. Just right now it was inscrutable for anyone to foretell what about it mattered and how it would play out.
 
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 09:10 AM
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Loch's explanation momentarily flabbergasted Jimmy. They're the backup?” he asked rhetorically. Jimmy looked over at the dryads with great skepticism. “I distinctly remember sayin' 'bruisers.’”

After a few seconds, Jimmy realized that he probably seemed ungrateful...because he was. “Ahright,” he said, “I really appreciate you comin' like this, buddy, and bringin' all the...help an' everythin'. Let's see what kinda lemonade we can make here.” Jimmy folded his arms and regarded the dryads from this distance. “That Ilala is a piece a' work,” he said. “She don't seem ta work and play well with others,* does she? A little grumpiness is one thing - you met Glanlaniel - but this one is just nasty, and when she started puttin' hands on Sashaya...” Jimmy glanced at Loch, who had seemed surprised by Jimmy's assertiveness. “Well, I dunno what you thought I'd do there, but I tell you now, I'll do it again if she starts that up.”

Jimmy sighed, and his posture relaxed some. “Ahright,” he began. ”What are we even workin’ wit’ here? Dryads, like, charm people, right? An’ animals, I guess…? Don’t expect to see too much a’ any a’ that. What else can they do?” When Loch gave Jimmy I assume Jimmy will get it from Loch or from the dryads.a full report of the dryads’ abilities in a fight, the half-elf listened, then concluded the discussion with a shrug. ”OK,” he said. ”Let’s go talk this out.”

Jimmy strolled over to the dryads, Loch in tow. He shook his head and rolled his eyes at the still visibly despairing Ilala, and at first addressed only Sashaya. ”Look,” he said, ”I really ‘preciate you comin’ here ta help. I didn’t ask Loch ta ask you; I was thinkin’ somethin’ a little more military, if ya get me. I think it’s awful dangerous for you out here…but I ain’t gonna tell you ya can’t come. You’re a big girl…an’ I mean that in the most complimentary way.

”As for your sister, here…”
Jimmy glanced at Ilala, then sighed. ”I can only assume you’re gonna wanna come if Sashaya does,” he said. ”I’m alright with that, so long as you keep a handle on this ‘cretin’ an’ ‘dolt’ stuff. Don’t come ta the party if ya don’t like the guest list. An’ if you get handsy with Sashaya again, we’re gonna have real trouble. All of us can just save the violence for the bad guys, capiche?”

 

 

 

 

 

 
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  #43  
Old Jul 15th, 2022, 06:08 PM
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Three is a Crowd
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At Jimmy's apparent misgiving about receiving the help from feminine dryads of all things, Loch gave himself casually unaffected by any fault that he might have felt implicated for. "Bruisers? Is that some kind of adventuring lingo? Let me assure you, the daughters of Daraidh are quite a lot sturdier They are just as sturdy as the MM statblock suggests. Which is quite a lot compared to normal people or unarmored satyr bards.than they look. I certainly also wouldn't suggest provoking one to punch you in the face, though I will say that you appear to know your way around that, my dear friend!" But as jovial as he was, when Jimmy brought back the topic to Ilala himself, the bard at least showed himself apologetic once more. "I will say, personally I wasn't exactly of the mind to invite her. Nor your special friend, although she seems to play nicer. Well, with you at least. I don't think she can stand me much more than her choleric sister, truthfully." Loch gave a shrug as if such a rejection didn't even come close to putting his own qualities into question. But beneath his usual posturing, he was looking at Jimmy quite keenly. And as if on the hit of a switch, he turned a whole bit more serious with his next assertion. "More importantly, I have yet to consider the daughters of the forest seriously harming each other. In terms of coming to blows, I would have thought either of us first in line, going by Ilala's temper. Something for us to handle with as much grace as is left to us in these kinds of unhappy situations. But I did not imagine you would ask for her life at the offense." This seemed to be the point that Loch had been getting at. "I'll ask plainly this time. Is the dryad implicated? What happened since last we met? Now that I'm here, I'm quite serious about unraveling this mystery. Earning sweet, withheld Alysha's favor is not the only thing on my mind."

Boanagh was keeping his thoughts to himself as he kept listening to Jimmy and Loch, both during banter or serious conversation. Eventually the half-elven adventurer was able to reaffirm his knowledge about dryads by consulting the satyr's own insight on the matter. Jimmy's mind had fully turned to battle strategy for the moment, trying to come up with ways how he would be coordinating with the two sisters before it was fully decided that they were still willing to help after what had just occurred. For the moment the warlock's own temper had been calmed after talking with Loch. But once he took the bard and the darkling elder to confront the dryads once more, Ilala had visibly not calmed down as she was still lying in Sashaya's arms. At first she didn't acknowledge that Jimmy had returned or maybe she didn't even notice, although her sobs had abated. Sashaya was still looking saddened while she listened to her half-elven friend explain how she was not military and that he wouldn't have expected her to risk her life for this quest. Initially he failed to get a reply from her and so Jimmy continued to address Ilala instead. The dryad still didn't turn around to face him even when the adventurer asserted that he assumed she would make good on following her sister. Only when Jimmy laid down the law of how things would be did Ilala turn around. Her green eyes were filled with spite and her voice came out as a cautionary hiss, clearly fearing to take the same tone as before. "I never meant to work with you, rootless! The human and the elven priestess will still aid us, even if you talk like this! I-" But she didn't get any further as Sashaya grabbed Ilala's face and pulled her sister's face into her chest to muffle her words. Her eyes were still sad, and Jimmy noticed that part of it at least was her being upset with him. "We will help. Please, we need some time..." She cast down her eyes behind green eyelashes, but then turned them back on Jimmy with a newfound glint of determination. She didn't speak further, apparently waiting if Jimmy would take his leave.
 
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Old Jul 16th, 2022, 08:56 AM
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“Yeah, well,” Jimmy conceded to Sashaya, “so long as she grows some manners. If she'd rather give Kosev and Alysha a try, well…” Jimmy smiled slightly. “Good luck with that. The door’s that way.”

Distracted enough that he failed even to consider more gratifying sleeping arrangements, Jimmy left the dryads to prepare his sleep space. On the way, he gave Loch the answers the satyr had patiently awaited. “Look,” he began, “I wasn’t looking for a fight with Ilala, but we’re on a job here, an’ I ain’t gonna watchacall countenance no troublemakers. There’s a time for mouthin’ off an’ a time for gettin’ in line. I gave her a fair choice to button up or hit the bricks. If she decided on ‘none a’ the above,’ then that woulda been her throwin’ her life away, if it came to that – not me demandin’ it.” Jimmy opened his mouth to continue on this point, but realized that he wasn’t sure why he was defending himself to Loch. “Anyways: no, I don’t think so. I got no reason to suspect any dryad a’ nothin’ – other than bein’ a pain in the rear.

“But we should watch out. Lotsa people been actin’ funny on this mission. Glanlaniel…well, she was never real agreeable…actually, she was downright murderous when she thought she had a reason…but still, I was a little surprised when she just split. Then, once we made it to the darklings – ah, man, was that a job – Alysha got real sick with somethin’ no one could figger out. She’s back at their main camp, with the darklings lookin’ after her.”
Jimmy frowned at the reminder of how much grimmer this mission had been than his earlier forays into adventuring.

“Weirder than any a’ that, though, was Kosev. He just…he just lost it,” Jimmy summarized with resignation. “Angry, paranoid…I mean, I can’t say him and me were ever, y’know, besties, but we were watchacall comrades-in-arms. We been on a few jobs together, and we had just finished fightin’ for our lives together. People don’t just turn on each other after that kinda thing, right? – ‘less they’re just no good ta begin with, and I don’t think that’s Kosev. So I guess what I’m sayin’ is I think he’s real sick too, in a different way. Boanagh and me tried ta help, but it just wasn’t happenin’.” Jimmy fell silent for a bit.

“So that’s about it,” he began to conclude. “Oh, wait!” he added. “There was another thing. On the road, B an’ me bumped inta one a’ these ‘king a’ the mountains’ guys. You know them? – like a…a crystal elemental, I guess? – but anyways, this thing was all riled up, in a way Boanagh said wasn’t normal, an’ the thing was talkin’ like maybe darklings had attacked it – an’ I think it had a darkling weapon stuck in it! I woulda loved ta ask it some questions, but it doesn’t understand any people talk, so all we could do was listen. Like, magically. We was barely able to get outa there alive.

“So – I dunno – I’m wonderin’ if the ‘king’ was sick like Kosev is, or maybe some darklings are, and they attacked the king, and maybe that kinda thing is what’s been goin’ on this whole time – darklings just going crazy an’ killin’ each other. I mean, Kosev made it pretty clear that things were gonna get ugly if I pressed him any further…an for all I know, he’s just gotten worse since we left. Hm,”
Jimmy pondered aloud, “you fae are all about your charms, ain’t you? Make you wonder.” He shrugged and moved onto the practical matter of concluding his bed preparations.

OOCIf Loch wants to hear about the trip from the tree to the darklings, you can assume that Jimmy him in whatever detail he wants. If Loch has any interesting insights into anything, of course I’m eager to hear them, but I’m happy to move through the night of sleep.

 

 

 

 

 
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  #45  
Old Jul 31st, 2022, 09:34 PM
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Jimmy managed to get his final quip in against Ilala as he shockingly revealed to the dryads that his number of allies had decidedly dropped since last they had known him to be following the darklings' quest. But without awaiting or receiving any reply, the half-elf left the two sylvans to themselves as they had likely their own matters to discuss, if not possibly to determine if they had any second guesses about joining Jimmy's party. When the warlock reconvened with Boanagh and Loch, the bearded satyr accepted Jimmy's explanation for his temperamental argument with the infuriated dryad, and there was nobody disagreeing that Ilala wouldn't have been a match for the Hexblade as he was the sole remaining adventurer left in this outing. And although the new allies that he was making had their own areas of expertise, it was definitely Jimmy who commanded the most combat experience as he kept raw eldritch powers at his beck and call. The darkling elder and the satyr as well listened seriously as their little trio slowly moved over to their sleeping cavern, and when they reached it and finally had some privacy, Loch didn't interrupt once as he let Jimmy finish his tale while he absentmindedly stroked his luscious, dark beard.

Only when Jimmy concluded and started preparing his beddings, Loch sat down on his own futon that was laid out on otherwise naked stone, before he vocalized his own musings now that he had listened to the adventurer's recollections. "Those are grave tidings, Jimmy, far less favorable than I've been naive to hope for. Your plated human has turned his back on your quest? Who am I to hide behind now if the yeth do make a reappearance?" Although the satyr wasn't confidently smiling for once, from his tone it came across that his concern was more a matter of practicality than a sign of cowardice. "I will say, I was able to verify for myself that our dear Glanlaniel is indeed fairly unapproachable despite her beauty, but I would also say that your buddy Kosev is another matter. Boanagh, might you convey to me what kind of being this 'King of the Mountain' is?"

After a brief explanation about the mighty earth elemental, the bardic fae was once more stroking his beard as his mind was clearly working behind his roguish face. "Hmm, no charms that produce a sickness in heart or spirit come to mind. But I will say this, Jimmy, my instincts as a storyteller are complaining to me that the evil at the Heart Tree and the evil in the darklings' colony are symptoms of the same illness. Figuratively speaking, of course." A bit of a humorless smile curled around Loch's lips, but after shaking his horned head he returned to seriousness. "Unless you want us to turn on your comrade Kosev and put him under a charm like he has succumbed to before, I don't feel equipped to sway him from how you've described his condition. But truthfully, with the vast expanse of this colony, the logistics of keeping him under fey magic seems slightly difficult under the circumstances..." Noticing that Boanagh was wearing a frown, Loch quickly relented. "And also it would be immoral, I suppose. But the ends justify and such."

Although they were both fae and part of the same neighborhood in this region of the West Marches, it was obvious to all that Boanagh and Loch weren't very similar in character, maybe even near opposites. But before any further arguments could ensue, the satyr bard quickly brushed past the ruthless methodology that he had suggested employing on Kosev and proceeded with more practical ideas. "Either way, how far out did you say you came upon this elemental? While I always deferred learning any kind of real translation magic, if I were to meet this king there is a single opportunity for me to possibly reach out to him, using the same spell that I cast to call on you, Jimmy." The satyr didn't bother to acknowledge that his previous message had suggested that he wasn't able to cast more of his strongest magic, but it was a lie that was now easily forgiven.

"If we can convince the elemental to talk to us properly, we might have an opportunity to learn any truth that might help us to entangle this web of ill omens and to expose who has been causing both the enclave and the dubh sidhe such strife." But then Loch gave a non-committal shrug. "Or pursuing the elemental ends up backfiring. I couldn't rightly say. Anyways, what was your original plan here, Jimmy? Without your former allies, it has become much more heroic that we even attempt this. But as long as we aren't blatantly obviously running into our deaths, I am ready and willing to attempt any trickery and righteous plotting to help your people's cause, Elder Boanagh. The colony is protected to not let any beasts like the yeth inside, correct?" And with a serene nod Boangh confirmed. "Yes. All the outposts like this one have proper gates. At every exit to the colony."
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The discussions between the trio of men continued a good dozen minutes longer, and together with Loch and Boanagh, Jimmy decided on his next course of action. The satyr bard had evidently overcome the reluctance which he had displayed when he had claimed that this quest didn't concern him before, and now he openly shared to his new comrades that despite possessing an interesting variety of bardic magic, he was in fact not quite as combat-oriented as a common adventurer. Though Loch kept insisting that he definitely had his own share of adventuring behind him already, most of them having him ending up either at the table of a feast or in the sheets of some beautiful dame. Eventually though despite any of the satyr's boastfulness, sleep had to take Jimmy as he was far more exhausted than the bard who hadn't been accosted with any of the burdens or challenges that the half-elven warlock had to face during the last few days. With all of the dark omens coursing through Jimmy's dreams, he eventually awoke and then left his cavern to reconvene and confirm with the dryads that they would still come along just as Sashaya had promised, once more accompanied by Boanagh and Loch.

Just as soon as Jimmy and his new party were moving across the outpost, one of the small darklings found Boanagh with a message and the elder quickly confirmed to his group that the two dryads were already awaiting them at the exit that led back into the colony. Seemingly their lot was cast with Jimmy and Loch, though it was unlikely that Ilala in particular had forgiven them. It wasn't even a long walk before Jimmy could clearly spot the greens of the Heart Tree's daughters, his magical sight revealing their verdant beauty even in the lightlessness of the darkling outpost. "We are ready. Where are we leaving to?" Seemingly the night apart had not relieved any of Sashaya's sadness that now seemed almost etched into the dryad's features whenever she looked at Jimmy. Although both she and her sister appeared stubborn and determined to follow the men despite any danger to themselves, aside from minimal responses the half-elf quickly realized that both of the siblings were giving him the silent treatment as much as was reasonable. Ilala was clearly still irate and holding her tongue while trying to avoid another verbal beating, but Sashaya's silence was a bit more difficult to interpret.

It didn't take long for the group to confer the next steps that had been decided on, but before anything actionable could be undertaken the newly formed party was interrupted by a commotion between the small crowd of darklings that had been nosily observing their possible departure. Looking around as hushed, sylvan whispers erupted, Jimmy spotted a familiar face between all of the cursed, smaller dubh sidhe as one of the darkling elders from the previous council in the north ushered his way through the crowd and he still wore the angry expression witch which the adventurer had seen him leave before. "Darce..." Boanagh spoke in a dimmed voice to remind Jimmy of the name that he had learned before, and then the other elder was already upon the party with an added gathering of darklings in tow. His expression was filled with animosity and his words carried the tone of his misgiving. "What is this, Boanagh? Aren't you trying your hardest to prove me wrong now?" Darce coursed his stare over both the satyr and the two dryads, and while Loch responded with a magnanimous smile, the darkling elder felt evidently slighted by their mere presence.

"A joke! Is this how you will be bringing a stop to the killings? What? Have you lost your knight on the way somewhere? You're weak, Boanagh. Weak and misguided." As Darce insulted the guide and companion who had led Jimmy and the others on this quest in the most chiding manner, if Jimmy meant to respond in kind it was Boanagh who pushed himself forward and finally spoke up with authority. "You mistake yourself, Darce!" Jimmy had seen Boanagh walking with heavy shoulders under the pressure of his people's suffering, and now this open accusation of his fellow elder was making him straighten up as a visible vein popped up at his temple. The darkling elder clearly restrained himself in his response, but Jimmy had not seen Boanagh this angry before. "I do not have seen how you are solving this grievous terror that has befallen our colony! Me? Yes, I turned to outside help! Yes, I promised some strangers our silver! What worth does it have in dead hands?! You may think yourself wisest in your views, but as an elder, your word and insights count no higher than mine! The deal has seen agreement, and now we will finally strike out to have a chance at seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! Step out of my sight, Darce! Your mistrust and bile will ruin us much earlier than it will aid anybody!!" And as the two elders locked eyes with the force of their anger, one could have heard the drop of a needle as there was a thundering silence at the edge of this border outpost and none dared to speak a word for several seconds.
 
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