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Old May 31st, 2015, 02:59 PM
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Chapter One: The Fairhaven Estate

To be invited into the ranks of the Wayfinder Foundation is often considered one of the shining moments in the life of an adventurer. The coin from the wealthy pours in to allow expeditions to strange and exciting locales, the strings are pulled to allow one to venture into areas that would normally be forbidden. Knowledge is brought together in such a way that clues that may be missed by one generation of adventurers can be put together by the next to find still greater journeys. And to those lucky few inducted into the rank, their journey inevitably begins from what is affectionately referred to as the Fairhaven Estate.

Located outside of the city streets of the capital of Aundair and tucked away next to vast farmland, the Fairhaven Estate is the sprawling collection of buildings purchased on the farmland that Lord Boroman ir'Dayne purchased after contracting an unknown ailment on an expedition. It started simple a central building that matched typical Aundarian sensibilities, with large open rooms soon filled to the brim with those collected artifacts that were not immediately moved to the universities of Khorvaire. As he expended more of his fortune and attracted more like-minded followers, it started to grow vastly. New buildings were added on to the land, each in the style of those who designed it.

Now, it is a strange sight to behold for the first time, as each new recruit comes across it after leaving the colorful streets of Fairhaven. Imposing Karrni architecture presses against elaborate Cyran designs, colorful Aundarian banners flutter alongside traditional tribal totems of the Talenta Plains. Alchemical labs and libraries and training grounds and taverns are clumped together in a haphazard way with nary a connection to be seen, almost feeling like a small town outside of Fairhaven proper. At the center of it all is Lord ir'Dayne's now private estate, from which he has not been seen in quite a long time now. Still, as long as the coin keeps things running, adventurers begin their journeys from these halls and return with new tales and artifacts and the beginnings of greater mysteries to plumb in the future.

Today, each of the new recruits arriving has been chosen and recommended by their sponsor for a specific task. While the details have not been released to you, each recruit has received a letter that has asked them to report to one of the more scholarly members of the Wayfinder Foundation, one Scholar-Prince Seltose. It also says he is undoubtedly to be found inside of the Crypt of Knowledge, though the specifics as to how to find such a thing are not terribly specific. As large as this location is, you may well wish you had a map.
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 02:46 PM
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Going to the Galloping Stallion!

Zanserath (Kalashtar) "Zan"

Zanserath awoke from his meditations and began his routine of exercises and movements to center himself for a new day. His "dreams", though not really dreams, but half-remembered memories of his quori forebear who was one of the 67 refugees from the Dreaming Dark. The ones Zansearth had experienced from last night were particularly interesting as he smelled the sound of laughter and tasted the sight of golden clouds... but those thoughts also turned to the smell of the darkness the memories of battling his own brother and the remainder of the shadow watch cell that he helped to destroy and then cover up. Pangs of guilt, but ultimately no regrets. They had fallen to darkness and once they crossed over those lines, not even Zan could turn them back. He had to stop them for the sake of all. That did not mean that there was no pain...

"Sir, my senses have picked up an incoming presence... it appears to be a woman... again." Jenga, Zan's psi-crystal noted to his master alluding to his past... indiscretions."Perhaps this one will not be with child."

"Ha, ha, ha, ha..."Zan managed a fake laugh in good humor at his psi-crystal's quip. "Now shut up and open the door... you wise a$$ crystal."

"I haven't slightest idea on what you mean, sir. " Jenga replied in a pseudo-serious tone as he opened the door through which a stunning raven-haired woman with olive skin walked in. She was impeccably and alluringly dressed, with just the right touch of everything. It was almost too good to be true. "Ms. Inara Helsinger, sir."

"Well, it is good SOMEONE around here remembers my name... how are you Jenga?" Inara laughed as she nodded to the psi-crystal that had grown legs like a spider to open the door.

"Very well, madame. Thank you for asking." Jenga replied cordially before he excused himself and then scuttles off to get the remainder of the pair's preparation. "If you will not be needing my services presently, I will go to attend to getting the rest of our equipment ready for our next expedition."

"So, what brings your ladyship to our humble abode?" Zan replied warmly, not trying to hide at all that he was pleased to see the stunning young woman. "Coming to visit the little people to see how we were living?"

"Well, as YOUR sponsor, one of my duties is to ensure that you are gainfully employed... asides I don't want you getting bored and getting into any...mischief." Inara says just as affectionately as she hands Zan a piece of paper with a set of simple instructions. "And this here is a job with some instructions... simple enough... once I get the rest of the details, I will get them to you. In the meantime, you can meet up with the others in the Galloping Stallion before you look for Seltose in the Crypt of Knowledge."

"Inara, have you ever wondered why all of these expeditions always seems to start in the bar of a tavern?" Zan answered with a smile even as Inara good naturedly rolled her eyes. Zan rolled the parchment in his pocket, the contents in his memory.

"It is probably because some ultra-divine being, that is scripting our every move and writing a story about us using a game like system to replicate the probabilities of our world, couldn't think of a better place." Inara responded with a tongue in cheek. "Or it is because it is good for business for a certain sponsor... and she provides LARGE kickbacks. Anyway, as your sponsor, I am also here to make sure you're not a total dork, so I wanted to talk to you about your name... what kind of name is Zan Solo anyway? It sounds a like rip off of a very poor play or theater production... and it sounds... you know, old."

"Stop falling in love with me, Inara, you're just going to embarrass yourself..." Zan replies with a laugh. "And what's wrong with my name? It is a hero name... an outlaw name... and I think that it is absolutely dashing... makes me sound mysterious and dangerous... just ask the ladies..."

"Whatever, you dork. Just get to the Galloping Stallion and try not to get into any trouble..." Inara says with a mischievous smile and small laugh of her own.

**** Flashforward to the present ****

Zan arrived early to the Galloping Stallion and being a regular, he ordered up an ale and looked around the room. His eyes immediately went to the gnoll, the minotaur, a dwarf, and an armored beauty. Thankfully, the fair maiden's face was not masked by her helm... because wearing your helm in the bar would be weird. Then again, if not the armor, the minotaur, gnoll, and what looked like dwarven knight together were a dead giveaway for non-regulars and the people he was supposed to meet. It is definitely not something you see every day, even in the Fairhaven Estates. Might as well get this started.

"So, what's a good looking gnoll like you doing in a place like this by yourself?" Zan said casually as he strolled to the group and addressed the rather grim and serious looking gnoll. From the looks of it, this crew could use another round... or four. The silence that answered Zan's attempt at humor was deafening. "Wow, you guys are tough... how about this one? A gnoll, minotaur, dwarf, and a human walk into a bar. The bar tender sees them as says "Is this a joke?""

Similar silence.

"No? Nothing? Well, I'm out... and this is a bit awkward." Zan says in pseudo-embarrassment. "So since that failed magnificently, let's try this. My name is Zan. Zan Solo. Perhaps you heard of me? Anyway, not that a gnoll, minotaur, dwarf, and a human congregating at this time in the morning is not normal, but I am guessing that you guys are here like me to go find this Seltose character in the Crypt of Knowledge. If not, then I'm zero for three and probably embarrassed... probably... okay probably not, but maybe just a little concerned about my jokes."

"Maybe..."
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Last edited by Xian; Jun 4th, 2015 at 10:19 PM.
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Old Jun 6th, 2015, 02:21 AM
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Artemy d'Deneith is a name particularly well-known among the members of the Wayfinder Foundation. For both good and ill, Artemy has proven himself a prominent figure-head for House Deneith; the uses for well-trained mercenaries on the Foundations expeditions are myriad, and Artemy's own reputation has left a cordial working relationship between the Dragon-Marked House and the Wayfinders. Such is Artemy's particular brand of absurd, when he all but demanded that a gnoll be inducted into the organization, most of the Wayfinders simply endured his odd behavior. Kazimir "The Gnoll" was inducted with no shortage of resigned sighs and lackadaisical form-filling.

There is no doubt that Kazimir does not belong. Aside from the simple, obvious fact that he is a gnoll in the heartland of Aundair, everything about him sticks out. Unlike the usual plate armors and straight swords of the most iconic Deneith mercenaries, Kazimir carries a curved, two-handed sword. His armor is itself almost a work of art. Composed of a mixture of heavily lacquered steel plates and lamellar segments; his color palette is a mixture of cobalt blue, silver, and onyx trim. The highlight of his ensemble is his multi-part helmet: fashioned in the likeness of a three-headed wolf. The ho-ate mask protecting his face, throat, and neck is a crimson-colored lamellar shaped and formed into an image of hellfire.

Kazimir had quickly grown accustomed to the looks. His very existence left every guard or soldier reach for a weapon, and only valid documentation bearing every stamp House Deneith possessed had allowed him to pass through the "civilized" lands to reach his destination. The more cosmopolitan cities were better. Slightly. More likely, city-folk had never had to deal with gnoll raids out of Znir.

The Fairhaven Estate, however, is unlike anything Kazimir has ever seen. It both interested and bored him at the same time-- the presence of so much "culture" was fascinating in its own way, but so much of it was well and truly beyond Kazimir's limited, gnoll-ish knowledge. The least he could do was explore a little. Maybe find a few clerks to scare. Kazimir enjoyed doing that almost as much as Artemy.

His explorations eventually landed him at a tavern of some stripe. Well, it had the most people in it. The more the better-- the greater the chance that someone can point him in the right direction. Then he meets Zan. Or, perhaps more accurately, Zan announces himself with the mirth and levity of humor. Surprisingly *clean* and *polite* humor. Artemy would most certainly not approve. However, anyone willing to approach such a motley assortment of... inevitable violence, must have some steel to them.

Kazimir takes a moment to properly examine Zan. After a just-shy-of-being-awkward pause, Kazimir responds. His voice is husky and inhuman, but his words are intelligible and well enunciated. He is likely the best spoken gnoll. Anywhere.

"Yes, Zan."

Two words. Well. Language is clearly not one of Kazimir's strong suits.

"I am Kazimir. Do you know where the Crypt is?"

Although Kazimir says very little, a tiny, light jingle accompanies his words. Woven into the the fur of his jowls are a quad of tiny bells. Their light sound chimes every time he moves his head or speaks, ringing out from the covering protecting his face.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 05:40 PM
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ThrakThe long trip from the grove to the Estate was something that Thrak found truly enjoyable. The wind rustled through his fur as he sprinted through the unkempt wilderness and only as he and Guardian finally got into the lands of humans did he realize two things he had never really thought of before; Thrak was incredibly large and as such frightening to most humans, and that having an only vaguely humanoid tree running after a large, scary, horned bull-man is genuinely terrifying to the point that most villagers would rather lock their doors and cower behind them than even come out to say hello.

The long trip became a true burden only when he was made to go into towns to cross over bridges and finding himself surrounded by humans that appeared only to want his death. He was cut by a strangers knife on multiple occasions, and the town guard followed him and made him leave their towns at spearpoint. Despite the horrid treatment Thrak did not hold it against them, most races had come to fear his kind and for very good reason...

Finally Thrak found himself in the Fairhaven Estates and it truly was a sight to see. The riotous buildings made walking through them difficult at times and there were a few allies that Thrak refused to even attempt to enter but all in all the place was surprisingly alive for being in a "civilized" land. As he continued wandering he eventually found himself in a tavern called the Galloping Stallion and it was rather easy for him to find who he would prefer to sit beside, a gnoll, a heavily armored dwarven warrior, and a human who didn't seem terrified by the gnoll being so close. As he walked over and Guardian stood silently at his side another human looking person approached.

The attempts at jokes were rather simplistic but it appeared as if the man was fairly good natured. The gnoll's response was rather short but he didn't appear to be particularly upset and so Thrak focused more on the human looking man. "Hello sir. I am Thrak. By some known as Thrak The Green. My companion is Guardian. I am supposed to head to the Crypt upon getting my bearing but I fear I don't know how to get there and more importantly I don't know if the way to get there will be impossible to traverse with my horns and general size. Could you help me?"
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Old Jun 9th, 2015, 03:05 AM
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Going to the Galloping Stallion!

Zanserath (Kalashtar) "Zan"

"Wow, so the gnoll and the minotaur are going to do the talking for you... seriously?" Zan says to the armored human and the dwarven knight, off of whom you could just feel the goodness oozing out of his pores. "Also Kazmir, I think that you might be coming down with something, because there appears to be tinkling sound every time you talk... yeah only slightly odd... slightly... might want to get that looked at and check by the doc."

"Also, do you always wear that face protective... thing? I mean not that it is not totally intimidating and awesome, but it is probably a buzz kill for any social conversation in the tavern and probably makes eating and drinking unnecessarily challenging." Zan points out as he motions to his face indicating the item protecting Kazmir's face and the source of the tinkling sound. "But if it is your thing... just saying..."

"Anyway, well-met Kazmir and Thrak! Well-met, Guardian! And of course, well-met silent serious looking dwarf and lovely lady in the steel underpants! Thank you for confirming that you are looking for Seltose just like me... I can only assume the lovely lady and the dwarf are with you on the same quest... mission... job... or whatever it is that we are on." Zan continues with a flourish as he seats himself in the group. Seriously, this group needed a drink. Bad. "So in honor of that happy fact, the first round is on me, team! Boilermakers for everyone! And the only catch is that you have to drink it!"

"As for this Crypt of Knowledge, I have not the foggiest idea. I came down here hoping that our sponsors or at least mine would give us a clue where to start looking or a map, but it looks like with the talent here, we can probably figure it out even if they don't deliver." Zan answered Thrak and Kazmir's questions. "I guess the first thing to do, once we have our first round, since pretty good number of people know Seltose, they probably have seen him about town and maybe after correlating that information we might be able ascertain the location of this Crypt of Knowledge... I'm sorry... hold on. The Crypt of Knowledge? Honestly? Have any of you wondered why they call it a Crypt? I mean that is kind of a creepy and morbid name to give to a library or whatever it is."

"Do you go there to get bored to death and buried...? I mean it, they definitely need a new PR rep...you know what I am saying? So, who wants seconds?"

 


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Last edited by Xian; Jun 9th, 2015 at 03:09 AM.
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Old Jun 9th, 2015, 09:40 AM
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Theyda ir'Wynarn was accustomed to all manner of accommodations and company, but this journey was not shaping up entirely to her liking. She certainly suspected her uncle had connected her to this Wayfinder Foundation as an excuse to get her out of the house. And the first-class lightning rail tickets were a handsome way to do so, sending her all the way to Fairhaven in style and luxury suitable to her title. But now, here, she found herself sipping a grossly acidic vintage of Eldeen wine and being forced to listen to this "Zan" prattle on.

"My drinking companions are my own, lout." she says with a glare right at him, "And perhaps I have selected them for the quality of conversation they provide, not the quantity." When the server brings over the absurd "boilermakers", she raises her glass to the side and says "Crushed ice, to water this down." Pushing aside the chatty man's offering of alcohol, Theyda crosses her arms and says "I am Theyda ir'Wynarn, Captain-by-Right, Princess of the Blood, and so far the gnoll, the minotaur, and the dwarf are being far more impressive than you."
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Old Jun 9th, 2015, 11:29 AM
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This human shall prove to be tiring...

Kynon sat with the mug of lemon water in front of him, observing the exchange. This Zan fellow sure liked to listen to himself talk. But, that is the way of it, isn't it?

"Kol's blessings to you, I am Kynon. I would wager that your sponsors have provided you with more information than I. I've yet to meet the fellow. All I know is that we're to head to the crypt of knowledge to find this Seltose. I'd wager a thick gold coin that there's some giant rats down there somewhere..."

He takes a sip of water and listens some more, interested in the minotaur. "Although they'd probably scatter from you..."

He shakes his head at the mention of a drink. "You can keep that if it please you, I don't partake."

And here it comes...a teetotaler of a dwarf was always something of a spectacle...
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