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  #31  
Old 09-24-2014, 09:41 PM
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“Fifteen and not a coin more,” Eladara retorted. She returned Flint’s resolute glare with one of her own. They both knew he had few other options, but nonetheless she decided to sweeten the deal slightly. “Though I will add accommodations for the night as well. A bed, food and drink shall be yours,” then she turned to Barnabas, “not unlimited in quantity, however. I’ll pass along the information to the barkeep at the Treasured Tankard.” She paused only briefly with an upraised eyebrow to ensure the inquiries were done before she departed.

Though the city was mostly dark by that time, the trip to the tavern was quick and devoid of any pickpockets. Their arrival was met with a loud and well lit common room. Smells and noises and sights all meshed together to attempt to disorient any who walk into the place. Most of the tables were full but there were enough open spaces for all of them to sit together if need be. Drink flowed freely whilst tavern wenches seemed to bounce and weave through the cluttered tables.

First light brought them Eladara once more, and she quickly led them through back alleys towards their ultimate destination. This walk seemed to last for a while before the group finally took one sharp left turn that led to a long flight of stairs. Two men waited at the bottom, nodding towards their female patron as she walked passed. On they walked and everyone began to realize the trip was long and confusing on purpose to keep the place a secret.

Down a large stretch of underground hallway they moved until another turn brought them to a portal of dim steel. At first glance it looked rather un-ordinary aside from its large size. Yet looking a bit closer one could see that there was no reflection in the metal, but instead a picture of a breathtaking valley. It was hard to make out the features clearly but was certainly a wild, overgrown place. Eladara stopped with a slight smile on her face and gestured towards the oval shaped item. "The first of many wonders on this journey, I would imagine. Please stay through and find us an artifact." It was now or never for them to pass through and head to a place few humanoids had apparently been in a long time.
 
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  #32  
Old 09-25-2014, 03:18 AM
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Prior Night
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cidolfas View Post
“Though I will add accommodations for the night as well. A bed, food and drink shall be yours,” then she turned to Barnabas, “not unlimited in quantity . . . ."
"Madam, I am but a small man," the halfling Barnabas declared, still standing atop his chair like a boy playing King of the Mountain, "but I confess, Brandobis encourages his followers to have big appetites!"

For a good natured fellow more likely to quip a joke than argue a point, Barnabas strenuously pushed the line of 'not unlimited in quantity.' He ordered different drinks from different lasses in different mugs, distributing them amongst different people until the barkeep told him, under no uncertain terms, to knock it off.

Then, Barnabas took a different tack. He loudly (and convincingly) declared the hospitality of the Treasured Tankard second only to his own Halfman's Helping. This, of course, spurred a lively debate between the barkeep and Barnabas, and generally those of Silvery Moon and those of Sundabar, about what establishment indeed treated its patrons better. With a few rounds of choice words (Liberal use of Guidance and Thaumaturgyand assistance from Brandobis, of course), Barnabas maneuvered the barkeep into either admitting the Halfman's Helping superior hospitality or granting all present a round on the house to prove his declaration. At this moment, the crowd, sensing free ale mere moments away, quickly rallied behind Barnabas and extolled the virtues of the Halfman's Helping, regardless of their own experiences (or lack thereof).

Soon, no mug lacked ale.

But Barnabas knew tavern keeping and how to square things with the smarting barkeeping. Mug in hand, Barnabas went on a furious yarn-spinning rampage. The Halfling spun fantastic stories with excellent presentation (again, Continued liberal use of Guidance and Thaumaturgywith a little help from on-high). The riveted patrons listened intently, clapping and singing, dancing and howling, as appropriate given the tale. Their gold flowed more freely and soon the barkeep could hardly keep up with demand.

Likely, this increased business balanced the Treasured Tankard's books that night. And when Barnabas found himself in a upgraded room with real feather pillows, a colorful rug, his own watercloset, and a beautiful woman, he suspected all was well in the world.


Portal Time
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cidolfas View Post
"The first of many wonders on this journey, I would imagine. Please stay through and find us an artifact."
Still half asleep and rather groggy, Barnabas blinked blankly at the magical construct.

A smarter man probably would have let the stalwart dwarf through first. But Barnabas was not a smarter man. And he wasn't thinking straight anyway.

"Brandobis provides adventure, my friends. Onward!"

And so Barnabas stepped through.


 
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Last edited by Spankucus; 09-25-2014 at 03:55 AM.
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  #33  
Old 09-25-2014, 11:51 AM
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~~~ Previous Evening ~~~~

Flint met the steely gaze of the woman as negotiations were completed. He gave her an almost imperceptible nod of approval and respect. With that, the meeting was quickly brought to an end and they headed to the inn for a last night of warm food and soft beds; luxuries that the dwarf did not take for granted.

He ate in silence, drank one ale and went to his room. He sat alone for a time, listening to the laughter and stories being told. He could hear the clunk of earthenware tankards on the wooden tables and the playful advances made to the barmaid. It had been a long time sense he'd had an evening with friends and he found he missed it. Leaving his armor, shield and weapons in his room, the dwarf returned to the tavern area dressed in his more comfortable travelers clothing. The cloths were still muted earth tones with minimal adornment. His tunic hung open at the chest, exposing a nest of chest hair that seemed to blend into his beard seamlessly.

He joined Barnabas and called for some whisky. Surface whisky was so mild, he could enjoy several glasses without worrying about the effects. The flavor was good, if a little subtle for a dwarven pallet accustomed to more robust alcohol. The dwarf actually smiled and sometimes laughed. His laughter was like a the barking of an ill-fitting wooden door skittering across a stone floor, but it was genuine. He even tried to tell a story of his own, but he got bogged down in ancestral references and he was soon overshadowed by someone more interesting. Humans had such sort attention spans.

~~~ Present ~~~

The morning arrived too soon. Flint quickly gathered his gear and donned his armor. He pocketed the small 15gp advance when it was given to him, securing it in a tucked away inside pocket. He followed the others silently, plodding along as they wound their way through the streets and alleyways. It felt good to be underground, and the dwarf's step seemed lighter somehow once they were inside the subterranean passages. They eventually stopped at the portal. Flint was unsure. It could be a trap. What if she led them all here to trap them in some kind of artifact, using their trapped souls to feed her dark powers? No matter how much he eyed her, no matter how long he stared, the dwarf could not detect a hint of such treachery in the mysterious woman. He suspected it was there, but that she was very good at hiding it. He returned his attention to the portal. It could be dangerous. How does one even go about activati -

Barnabas stepped through.

Flint took a deep breath and followed the halfling, stepping into the metal surface, half expecting to hit a solid wall.

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Last edited by Still_Pond; 09-25-2014 at 03:46 PM.
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  #34  
Old 09-26-2014, 12:33 AM
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After concluding their business, Sylruil wanted nothing more than time to relax and consider the days ahead, but the night was not yet over. That evening, he conducted himself as a gentleman, fully acting the part of a noble. He enjoyed a meal of local cuisine followed by Waterdhavian wine and cheese. Rather than drawing attention to himself, he prompted others to speak. Then, when the tavern was reaching its peak liveliness, he excused himself from the table and went outside.

Having had his fill, Sylruil had much to digest as he wandered the empty streets. Walking helped him think and there was much to contemplate. Two hours passed and he returned to a much quieter inn. He took his time bathing, then finally in the dead of night began his trance.

Sylruil arose that morning well rested. While following Eladara, he was alert and conscious of his surroundings, doing his best not to become lost. Sylruil watched as Barnabas and Flint made their way into the portal and then continued to watch. He was in no hurry to follow them.

"Quite fascinating. Well, let's not waste too much time here and get going." Sylruil motioned for the others to go on, waiting for them to pass through the portal before joining them on the other side.
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Old 09-26-2014, 01:13 AM
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Celeste Alianne:

The Previous Evening:

Celeste ate until she was full, then made an "offering" to Brandobis by "donating" the rest to Barnabas after the bartender cut him off the first time. It was kind of strange being the only human in the group, she'd of course had dealings with other races, but mostly her life had been spent around other humans.

She would have been happy to just sit in the quick quietly, but it was hard to ignore Barnabus's antics, if that was the right word for it. She noted that even the dwarf Flint got involved, which kind of surprised her honestly. When prompted she had a couple stories of her own and maybe a song or two, if anyone was so interested.

She went to bed alone that night, there wasn't any time for pleasant distractions with any of the young men or women in the tavern that evening. She had to plot how to survive this upcoming quest? mission? adventure? she wasn't really sure what to call it. She just knew it was dangerous.

The Next Morning:

She was one of the first up and ready to leave. While she tried to keep her air of cool aloofness going, you could tell she was all nerves. As they walked through the maze she ended up next to Flint. "Do you think you could find your way back out of here if the need arose?" She was pretty sure that if anyone could find their way through this twisting maze it would be him.

Once they'd made it to their destination Celeste watched Eladara intently as the first two went through the portal to make sure she caught it if she slipped up there somehow. Unless someone makes a fuss about it she'd be the last one through the portal.


 
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  #36  
Old 09-26-2014, 02:37 AM
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Flint - Addendum
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celeste
"Do you think you could find your way back out of here if the need arose?"
The dwarf maybe doesn't hear the question, as he doesn't seem to notice or react to it. Then, just before he steps through he answers her, "Eventually."
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Old 09-26-2014, 05:53 AM
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Evening:

When it was time to leave the meeting place, Aeofraldon realized that just one night was not enough to study Silverymoons rich cultural and magical history. Confronted with an all but mute Dwarf, a mysterious woman, a cheerful halfling and a moon elf, he chose to take part in social activities as an observer. When the group arrived at the tavern, Aeofraldon looked for a quiet place near a wall, unpacked his journal, quill and ink and prepared himself to take note of everything interesting that might happen. Soon he had to accept that taking notes was not possible at all; too much drink-spilling, arm-wrestling and shoving happened next to him. He packed his equipment again and sat nearer to his companions. He ordered a cup of very disappointing wine and looked around.

Several people greeted him and wanted to know more about him. The moment he had introduced himself the visitors seemed eager to move on by some reason. One notable exception was a young woman, lightly clothed who seemed to be very interested in Aeofraldon. "Tell me more about your family." or "Elves are so interesting", she would whisper and smile. Aeofraldon enjoyed the attention and even overcame his aversion, when the young woman suddenly attached herself to his shoulder and arm in a very intimate, inappropriate way. This behaviour strike him as odd, but he wanted to go along with local customs. Aeofraldon's explanations about certain magical operations and experiments were met with much excited interest on the young woman's part and a tale about his misalignment of the focus crystal in an arcane goniometer provoked such laughter that he himself had to smile with her. The woman seemed to be rather thirsty as well, because she asked Aeofraldon several times to buy a bottle of wine, a very expensive one at that. Aeofraldon checked his travel purse and altered the request to a cup of his simple wine, which seemed to make the young woman very sad. The elf feared to lose his listener and so he tried to cheer her up again. "Do you want me to show you my imp?", he asked with a proud voice. The woman looked at him with wide eyes and giggled: "I thought you'd never understand, my large elf." She sat a bit straighter for a moment, before she continued, "That would be 4 gold for the night or 2 for two hours, my dear."

Aeofraldon didn't move a muscle for serven whole seconds, before the last sentence and the situation was completely processed, at which time he stood up, forgot to bow and slowly walked over to Celeste, Barnabas and Flint. He stopped short with frozen face, politely nodded with a "I'll... take my leave... Until tomorrow moring." As quickly as his dignity and social standing allowed, Aeofraldon scurried up the stairs towards his room. Accompanied with a lot of headshaking and protesting noises Aeofraldon prepared himself for the night trance.


Next morning:

Aeofraldon seemed rather meek the next morning and avoided stares and talks. The long walk through the city had a liberating effect, he felt. Many new impressions pushed away the shame of last night. When they arrived at the guarded stairs, Aeofraldon was completely focussed again. He gave the metal mirror an appraising look and was almost too fascinated by it to followe his companions when one after the other entered the portal. His eyes met with Celeste's who seemed to prefer to walk at the rear. Aeofraldon was happy to oblige and carefully stepped through the portal.
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