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Old Jul 13th, 2014, 12:46 PM
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Trespasser Trespasser is offline
Juvenile Dragon
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The Showman

The Showman

How did I let Haram talk me into this? Squiff thought to himself as the wagon trundled over cobblestones towards the market gate of Eblis. Haram sat next to him on the runnerboard and idly tossed a coin, grinning at the fortune of his latest plan. Squiff had somehow offered to join the company of Zane Owen, itinerant adventurer and supposed celebrity. He apparently had an opening or two...for unstated reasons. Evidently their latest excursion had left them a bit short-handed. Now Squiff has to stand in as a seasoned adventurer, freshly returned from their 'Expedition to the Undying Halls'. Zane had provided few other details, hoping for Squiff's numerous scars and a stoic (even haunted) silence to do most the talking for him.

The children were already gathered in the square, giggling and unable to contain their excitement at the prospect of a visit from Owen's Wanderers. Even many curious adults were beginning to gather in windows and doors, trying to look a bit more nonplussed by the arrival of the debatably noteworthy group. Within a few minutes the wagon is closer within sight and accordingly has assembled a legitimate crowd within the gate square to welcome its arrival. As it pulls up to the gate, a cheerful guard waves it in. Each turn of a wheelspoke is rigged to musical instruments, cymbals and several types of small drums to form a whimsical marching beat as it pulled in front of the crowd.

The gayly painted wagon made quite a sight in this dust washed corner of Eblis. Murals of exotic beasts and glittering gold adorned the cracking wooden sideboards beneath a flourishing script that christened the vessel 'Owen's Argo'. As the wagon rolls to a stop, the dashing figure of Zane Owen himself hops to the flagstones. He is a man of indeterminate age, indeterminate character and indeterminate honesty. Even so, in his carelessly unbuttoned white shirt, lapis blue cape, roguishly cocked slouch hat and easy assurance he cuts a fine figure of effortless heroism. Without preamble he launches into some tale of dubious veracity, the aforementioned 'Expedition to the Undying Halls'.

He pulls from within his cape a twisted black kris, a nasty looking dagger with a black wood handle crosshatched as a hilt. There are no adornments to the weapon other than the unusual and vaguely organic shape of the blade. While the other Wanderers set up, he launches into a story about the origins of this curious weapon. He claims to have found it in the clutches of an ancient skeleton in a cave-tomb deep in the jungle reaches of the continent. As he pulled the blade from the skeleton's locked hands, it let out a echoing screech that very nearly brought the entire cave down on him! And if not for the quick thinking of his companions it very well might have trapped him there forever...perhaps to be the next skeleton holding this ill-fated blade...he suggests with a trailing and ominous silence. And to punctuate his eerie tale he jabs the wicked blade at a curious boy who jumps back in fear, eliciting the laughter of the crowd.

With a shooing gesture, the young mechanic Carleton Lynn clears off Haram and Squiff, and with some tinkering with unseen mechanism within, the whole wagon begins to recongifure, with candy-striped awnings and a tented pavilion bursting from the side of their erstwhile conveyance. And so the music starts, a jangling clockwork melody with swirling pipes and tambourine. The booming and resonant voice of a dwarf beckons the crowd to a swirled-blue tent to view a man of iron, a true creation of the strange ancient wizards. Owen carries on about the artifacts of their latest expedition, contained within the main pavilion as he accepts coins thrust by the eager visitors.

Carleton herds both of the newest company to within the main pavilion through the back and mutters something about remembering to use the words 'unfathomable' and 'unspeakable', they are supposedly descriptors of high effect. And with that, Carleton leaves them to the onrushing mass, ducking out under the tent. Squiff stands between two display cases. The case to his left bears an inscribed gilt plaque reading "Quest to Recover the Redoubtable from the Tangled Marshes of the Ape Kings" while that on the right bears "Expedition to the [sic] Undieing Halls". The tent is already packed with an expectant crowd, and Zane is still taking admittance fees and so is of no help to the overwhelmed newcomers yet. A boy looking up at the scarred stony face of Squiff awaits his words like an oracular pronouncement.
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