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Old 09-25-2012, 05:12 AM   #26
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Livy had heard the title Knight Commander and the name of Oban Greysteel during her times in the Royal medical corps, and had once even bandaged one of the Knights of the Mist. She had heard rumors but had discounted them as just tales, but here standing and in civilian attire the one who starred in many of the same rumors she'd dismissed out of hand.

Curiousity and perhaps maybe a plea with this man would get her help? She straightened her shoulders and stepped in front of Oban.

"Hello Oban Greysteel. I have healed one of your men, many years ago. I am Medica Olivia DeSantos and need some able assistance from those skilled in the arts martial in a just cause. There was an attack on the village of Twillingsmarch, leaving everyone dead and the village itself destroyed. Not being very able, I was not able to find any evidence as to what or whom did this. I came to the city to seek the Guard Captain and his help, but he may be busy. Could you help me?"
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:00 PM   #27
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Victor sat back from the journal in front of him, rolling the quill between his fingers as he contemplated his next entry. Taking the measure of his work so far, he glanced through the previous ones:

"Day 27: Completed inspection of Fort Greg. Garrison satisfactory, minor repairs delayed departure. Consider sending a stonemason to perform evaluation of structure."

The men stationed at Fort Greg were well provisioned; however, during a recent storm lightning had struck the tower and had knocked a stone block loose which went hurtling into the stables. Victor spent an extra three days there so that his men could help with repairs.

"Day 32: Negotiated deal with Yohan of Nahir to purchase remaining ore for a fifth less than the previous arrangement, payable up front in three months time. Cook by the name of Patrick has joined the house staff."

He had struck a deal with a merchant from Nahir who agreed to purchase the surplus from the mine at a somewhat reasonable price. It had cost him an excrutiatingly boring night with the merchant and his wife, where Victor was regaled with tales of both the merchant's numerous ventures and his wife's keen interest in gardening. Luckily, years at his brother's court had provided Victor with a charming smile that he could plaster onto his face. The one exception to the ordeal was the cooking, which was some of the best he had ever had. He had given the merchant a deal on the price of the metal in return for being able to hire his cook, bringing the total number of his meager host to 22.

He jotted the last note down and put down the quill:

"Day 36: Half-point of the tour. Heading south into Drumgard tomorrow to restock."

Finally done, he lifted himself out of his chair and strode through the tent flap, stopping first to affix his cloak about his neck with a clasp sporting his sigil, and buckling on his gilded sword. "After all" he thought, "a lord, even a petty one, must maintain appearances." His men were completing the night's tasks and supping by the fire. Patrick was already proving his worth and his men's morale were at a height he was unaccustomed to at this point in the circuit. Yohan had told him that Patrick was 15, but looked younger. At least, Victor couldn't imagine that he looked that young ten years ago. Ten years ago his father died and his brother Brian became Lord Almain and holder of his lands. Victor remained a landless noble and a minor player in the court. Not that he would have had it any differently - the lack of power that he held was better than the lack of freedom his brother had. Victor had had the benefit of all the best training, both courtly and military, that befit a man of his brother's station. And though he would probably never have occasion to use the majority of his training, at least he got to be out in the world.

"Lord Almain," he was addressed by an older man who approached him from the camp.

"Roman" he nodded in reply.

Roman was officially labelled as Victor's steward, but was more a combination of bodyguard, squire, and advisor. A man of forty years, he was still strong and stable, if a little wider around the waist. He kept his hair cropped short like most of the guard - unlike Victor's shoulder length hair, which was more agreeable at court. Roman continued, "Orders for tomorrow?"

Victor knew that most of the men were looking forward to the town tomorrow - usually they would stay a night and the men would use up a week's pay at the brothel. However, he wanted to try to make up some of the time they lost at Greg.

"I'll take you, Marcus and three other men of your choosing into town with the cart and the coffer. Iris has the camp while we're away. We'll restock and come right back. The following day we're heading out again." He knew the men would be disappointed, but it couldn't be helped. The whores would most likely be disappointed as well.

Surveying the rest of the camp, he observed the men and women of his house guard as they busied themselves with their work and couldn't help but compare them to the companions he would have in a months time. His companions at court interacted with each other much the same way that his men did, but there always seemed to be an underlying current of power struggles and one-upmanship at court that was lacking here. He would like nothing more than to have a seat and join in the festivities, but he knew that even though his men were fond of him, joining them would be an intrusion.

He sighed. "And Roman," he called after his friend, "Ready my breastplate." Though less comfortable for travelling in then his leathers, the breastplate had his coat of arms embossed on it, and he wanted to strike an impression heading into town. After all - a lord, even a petty one, must maintain appearances.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:45 AM   #28
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Zarik had tended to his horse, and was walking back to the group as he studied the fighters inside the barrack’s main commons square. The Nightwatch guardsmen wore distinctive wolf-leather cloaks and could be easily examined. He particularly watched the ones practicing with their throwing axes. They had skill. In fact, all the fighters at this barrack seemed capable and able fighters. Well organized, with good bearing. Nonetheless, they all gave him a wide berth … this pleased him. He also noticed a Nightwatch captain entering the square from the main administrative building, a man who looked as if he'd seen many battles, scars of fighting visible. His pale honey-colored eyes studied the minotaur as Zarik studied him. “Most likely drawn here by my outburst” Zarik thought. They both reached the main group at about the same time.

The odd collection of souls were still discussing things and an additional person had joined them. Zarik picked up the last thing she was saying “… There was an attack on the village of Twillingsmarch, leaving everyone dead and the village itself destroyed. Not being very able, I was not able to find any evidence as to what or whom did this. I came to the city to seek the Guard Captain and his help, but he may be busy. Could you help me?"

Twillingsmarch was on the northern border of this human kingdom. It was a good distance from the Minotaur's mining camp, but not too far, given the time that had elapsed since the first attack. Zarik decide to remain silent for now, and learn as much as he could from this newcomer.

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Old 10-03-2012, 06:32 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by emipet View Post
Curiousity and perhaps maybe a plea with this man would get her help? She straightened her shoulders and stepped in front of Oban.

"Hello Oban Greysteel. I have healed one of your men, many years ago. I am Medica Olivia DeSantos and need some able assistance from those skilled in the arts martial in a just cause. There was an attack on the village of Twillingsmarch, leaving everyone dead and the village itself destroyed. Not being very able, I was not able to find any evidence as to what or whom did this. I came to the city to seek the Guard Captain and his help, but he may be busy. Could you help me?"
Greysteel turned from where he had caught himself in Iola's gaze to look upon the newcomer, this medica whom had spoken to him.

"If it please My Lady," he answered her, "then my bow and sword are yours," he finished with a short bow. He then spoke again, "and, as it were, I am familiar with your aide to my man at arms during the fighting at Longreach. Though that was a long time ago, and I no longer hold the rank to speak for the MistWatch, I should like to say 'thank you', Lady DeSantos, for your service."

Greysteel looked to Iola. "This is a debt I must repay," he said to her softly. "Without her healing intervention the battle at Longreach would have been for naught, and Ehdan would have found itself in the grasp of a usurper, a kingslayer."
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:01 AM   #30
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Greysteel turned from where he had caught himself in Iola's gaze to look upon the newcomer, this medica whom had spoken to him.

"If it please My Lady," he answered her, "then my bow and sword are yours," he finished with a short bow. He then spoke again, "and, as it were, I am familiar with your aide to my man at arms during the fighting at Longreach. Though that was a long time ago, and I no longer hold the rank to speak for the MistWatch, I should like to say 'thank you', Lady DeSantos, for your service."

Greysteel looked to Iola. "This is a debt I must repay," he said to her softly. "Without her healing intervention the battle at Longreach would have been for naught, and Ehdan would have found itself in the grasp of a usurper, a kingslayer."
Livy blushed, she was not a Lady, just good common folk, but she curtsied. "Thank you Sir for your compliment, I am just a simple medica in service to the King and the people. I am impressed you remember my simple aiding your man. I had heard reports of caravans and farms getting attacked, and I suppose Fortune smiled upon me. I was late in arriving at Twillingham and probably would have been in the thick of the attack."

Looking around she surveyed the crowd. "It seems a lot of people are having business in town. It would be nice to get a few more herbs and such and a hot bath before setting out again."

She leaned in and gently laid her hand on his arm. "Please, I only was healing as I am trained and love to do, Sir. As I cannot help the poor unfortunates at Twillingham, I am at a loss on what to do and it causes me great hurt and sadness. I was able to at least lay the unfortunates to rest and say a few words over them." A tear slid down her slightly dusty face as the hurt came back in a tidal wave of feelings and pain and sense of loss. She turned away and shook her head.

"Forgive my emotional state Sir Oban."
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:26 AM   #31
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The stony, impassive lines of her face momentarily softened as Greysteel spoke, his voice warming her to her very toes. "This brings me here for the finest fletchers beyond Ehdan make their shops here."

She rose, brushing grit from the knees of her riding leathers, gathering her composure as she turned to glance back at her people. The Minotaur had already seemed to move on from the offense, and her relieved smile spoke volumes. The last thing she wanted would be to be on corpse detail on Captain Vincent's own footsteps. She turned back to Greysteel, locking eyes with him for a brief, heartwrenching moment.

"My Lady," he said, his voice a near-whisper, "I am at your service."

Her lips parted as if to speak, but as soon as the moment passed between them, it was shattered by another voice.

"Hello Oban Greysteel. I have healed one of your men, many years ago. I am Medica Olivia DeSantos and need some able assistance from those skilled in the arts martial in a just cause. There was an attack on the village of Twillingsmarch, leaving everyone dead and the village itself destroyed. Not being very able, I was not able to find any evidence as to what or whom did this. I came to the city to seek the Guard Captain and his help, but he may be busy. Could you help me?"

"If it pleases, My Lady," he answered her, "then my bow and sword are yours," he finished with a short bow. "and, as it were, I am familiar with your aide to my man at arms during the fighting at Longreach. Though that was a long time ago, and I no longer hold the rank to speak for the MistWatch, I should like to say 'thank you', Lady DeSantos, for your service."

The Sheriff seemed to consider this situation in placid silence for some moments, then addressed Oban and the Medic, her voice hushed. "The King will want to hear of this. I was sent for because an entire village just a few leagues north of here was completely wiped out, swept away as if by some terrible storm. This cannot be a simple coincidence." Her expression impressed some importance, some urgency, the set of her shoulders stiff.

Greysteel looked to Iola. "This is a debt I must repay," he said to her softly. "Without her healing intervention the battle at Longreach would have been for naught, and Ehdan would have found itself in the grasp of a usurper, a kingslayer."

She nodded, small, private, as if it were intended just for Oban's eyes alone. The empathy was clear in that simple gesture. "Come with us..." but of course, she was asking him much, much more than that.

The Medicine-woman curtsied neatly "Thank you Sir for your compliment, I am just a simple medica in service to the King and the people. I am impressed you remember my simple aiding your man. I had heard reports of caravans and farms getting attacked, and I suppose Fortune smiled upon me. I was late in arriving at Twillingham and probably would have been in the thick of the attack." Iola stepped back a pace as the Medic affectionately leaned into Greysteel, placing her hand on his arm.

"Please, I only was healing as I am trained and love to do, Sir. As I cannot help the poor unfortunates at Twillingham, I am at a loss on what to do and it causes me great hurt and sadness. I was able to at least lay the unfortunates to rest and say a few words over them." To Iola's private surprise, she began to cry. Iola shifted uncomfortably, clearing her throat as if to impress that it was not a good time or place for such emotional displays. "Forgive my emotional state Sir Oban."

Iola directed her attention fully onto the medicine-woman, her face impassive again. "My people," a sweeping gesture meant to include their entire party, "are on our way to see Captain Vincent, the General of King Jordan's army. Join us. I'd welcome more evidence to the threats and treachery coming from the Wastes." She drew in a deep breath, as if steadying herself for some coming battle. "Something must be done...now, before any more lives are lost."
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:20 PM   #32
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She leaned in and gently laid her hand on his arm. "Please, I only was healing as I am trained and love to do, Sir. As I cannot help the poor unfortunates at Twillingham, I am at a loss on what to do and it causes me great hurt and sadness. I was able to at least lay the unfortunates to rest and say a few words over them." A tear slid down her slightly dusty face as the hurt came back in a tidal wave of feelings and pain and sense of loss. She turned away and shook her head.

Iola shifted uncomfortably, clearing her throat as if to impress that it was not a good time or place for such emotional displays

"Forgive my emotional state Sir Oban."
Greysteel put his hand over hers on his arm and patted it gently. "There is no shame in tears for such wasting of lives," he told her. He then took her hand from his arm and squeezed it gently before letting it go. "If more would offer up such feelings we would be less in need of men such as me." Oban then cut a glance towards Iola as she cleared her throat. There was the briefest hint of a smile at one corner of his mouth, for her attention-getting shift and sound might have meant something more personal to him: had she already marked him as territory to which no one shall intrude? But, perhaps, in truth she was being practical as she shifted his attention back to the matter at hand.

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Iola directed her attention fully onto the medicine-woman, her face impassive again. "My people," a sweeping gesture meant to include their entire party, "are on our way to see Captain Vincent, the General of King Jordan's army. Join us. I'd welcome more evidence to the threats and treachery coming from the Wastes." She drew in a deep breath, as if steadying herself for some coming battle. "Something must be done...now, before any more lives are lost."
Oban nodded his head in agreement. "Surely you speak truth," he announced, "for if we should tarry overmuch precious life may again be lost." He cupped his chin, "And," he added, "I have purpose with the good Captain myself." Oban looked about for a stable boy or errand boy. He found no such, but he shortly saw a young lad attending one of the shopkeepers. He paid the boy a silver piece to fetch his horse from the inn livery just outside the NightWatch gate. "Make haste, lad," he ordered. The boy sped away at a run.

In the saddlebags of his mount Oban carried a rare prize intended for Captain Vincent.

It was a bottle of mead. But not just any mead; it was a bottle of Sveldgrif mead.

The famed meadery of Sveldgrif was, literally, in Oban Greysteel's backyard. Oban lived in the small village of White Creek. The village was, for the most part, a farmstead with only a few shops and one inn on the roadside. On the outskirts, however, and just beyond the fertile fields and farmhouses was the cold water of White Creek. This small branch twisted its way down from the snow of the mountains and wound through this valley where the village and farms lay. The creek also supplied crystal clear and cold water to ferment sweet clover honey into the finest mead ever made in this land: Sveldgrif Mead. The meadery itself was a small operation by most standards, and it only made a few hundred barrels a year.

Oban had been given a small two-room house on the back property of the meadery just near the rows and rows of apiaries where the bees who made Sveldgrif's purely sweet honey lived. The house was a gift when he had first ventured away from Ehdan. The owner of the meadery hired him to see to the bandits who had been steeling not just some of the fine honey but the bees themselves. Of course, without honey, there would be no mead. That, see, would just not do. And Oban Greysteel spent a few nights in the fields watching in wait the apiaries and soon there were bandits no more.

Oban looked back to Iola, remembering he actually carried two bottles of the mead with only one promised to Vincent from their last meeting. "Perhaps," he told her, a tiny glint in his eye, "something for you as well."
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:54 AM   #33
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Livy squared her shoulders and nodded to Iola and Oban. "I would be pleased to join in this. Maybe my healing skills would be useful to the quest. I give you both my thanks."

She curtsied low and took a look around. "Mayhaps I should stable Beau here and put up my cart, first. It would be out of place I fear." She smiled at the incongruity of Beau and cart in a grand meeting hall eating oats while grand schemes were plotted. Unconciously she pushed a untamed strand of ebony hair back behind her ear.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:13 PM   #34
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Victor led his small procession into Drumgard later than he had expected, and preoccupied himself by organizing the list of equipment he needed to purchase in his mind. So preoccupied was he, that he almost missed the signs that something of interest had just happened.

A woman was leaning out of the window of a shop, talking in a quiet but animated voice to another woman in the street. A small group of men had congregated in the middle of the street where one with a flat nose that made him resemble a stubbled boar was motioning to two others as if to relate some event. In general, people seemed to be in a more conversational mood.

He trotted over to the gathering of men, who stopped talking at his approach. One of the men, bald but for a ring of hair around his brow, eyed his breastplate and moved to the side to make way, muttering "Forgive me, m'lord."

He smiled and waved away the apology, replying "No please, forgive my intrusion. I was merely curious as to what has you all so excited."

"'Twas a minotaur, m'lord!" beamed the boar. "Huge beast he was, walked in here just as proud as you please, down the middle of the street causing all kind of ruckus, 'til the Sherrif she come down and took him off to the barracks. Must have locked him up good she did" he nodded sagely.

The third one interjected, "I don't think she locked him up..."

"You weren't there, Ned, was ya?" Ned shook his head. "Well I was, and I say she did. Rode right up to him, looked him in the eye and told him to march along to the barracks. And he did, his tail between his legs."

"Now hold on a minute," the bald one retorted. "My sister was there and she said it was all nice and friendly-like."

"Your sister don't have a lick of sense in her ugly head, Rog!" grunted the boar.

"You listen here-"

Victor turned his horse around to rejoin his companions and let the trio continue.

Roman addressed him as he approached. "Trouble, m'lord?"

Victor shook his head. "Apparently Drumgard has received a visit from a minotaur. Most likely all is in hand, or I expect we would have seen bodies lining the street. Let's get our provisions, and depending on how long it takes I may follow up on it before we leave."

Roman nodded and started barking orders to the rest of the men, handing each a pouch of silver and sending them on their way. Victor glanced towards the barracks, wondering what might be happening inside.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:47 PM   #35
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After the party settled, she fell into point and led them into the inner keep of the barracks. The stones inside had been polished smoothly, their gleaming softened by many patterned rugs and lushly embroidered tapestries. The sparse but well-made furniture was darkly stained Ironwood, brass fixtures reflecting gold on door handles and candelabras. Stained glass windows shone multicolored patterns across their faces as they were directed through the long hallways.

It felt...warm. There was something supremely comforting and homey about the inner keep, it's designers intuiting the needs of the peasants during wartime for a comfortable and beautiful place to be safe during even the heaviest battles. The party had long fallen into companionable silence, as the growing concern over the threat from the Wastes seemed to put a damper on all their desires for conversation, the sound of bootsteps and the distant murmur of commoner's voices from the square their only companions in the warmly lit keep.

Finally, they reached a large and heavy-looking double door of deeply stained Ironwood. Just before the Sheriff reached it, it was pulled open to reveal Captain Vincent's office.

Much like the Keep, it was hung with tapestries, dominated by a large fireplace and massive wooden desk.

Captain Vincent stood formally, his pale honey-colored eyes glittering in the dim golden light. One might not have called him handsome, but he bore a striking quality that was difficult to verbalize.

Charisma.

The Sheriff saluted smartly, then motioned to Oban Greysteel in silent acknowledgement of rank and importance by addressing him first.

"Captain Vincent, this is Knight Co-"

"I know who he is."

A smile split his bearded face, showing many large white teeth. A wolfish smile. His long strides ate up the distance between the two men, and Captain Vincent warmly embraced the former knight.

"Oban, my brother! My eyes do not deceive me?" He let him go, clapping him fondly on the shoulder, and then grinned deeply at Iola's shocked expression. "I've been through many bloody battles with this man at my side, Sheriff. I might as well have been nursed by the same woman, so long have I known him." His warmth and smile seemed so personal and genuine. It was heartwarming to see the Captain, a man she held in very high regard, so pleased.

She couldn't keep her own smile from creeping onto her own face. That sort of happiness was just infectious.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:04 PM   #36
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Zarik needed to duck to get inside the Captain’s Office. Once inside his hulking form filled up one part of the room. He was glad they had made it to the man in charge, now he could finally get some answers.

Zarik watched the two warriors embraced, he grinned as well as he recognized a bond forged in battle. He was still not so sure about the former knight commander … Oban Greysteel. The man had been removed from his position, “dehorned” in Minotaur slang. And in the conflict in the courtyard, Zarik felt he had apologized too quickly. A fighting man of his alleged proficiency should have told him to watch where he led his clumsy horse. But instead his eyes to the ground … he took the subordinate role. Most confusing. But Zarik could not say the same thing about Captain Vincent. When he first entered their eyes had locked, both proud warriors, unbending sprites. And if a man like that respected Oban Greysteel, then Zarik needed to keep his first impressions in check. Zarik watched and waited to be introduced, trying to learn more from the group assembled in the captain’s office.
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:05 AM   #37
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Livy stood off to the side and watched the greetings. Something was vaguely familiar in the Captain's features and she could not quite put her finger on it. Mayhaps she had treated him those years ago. She looked with open curiousity at the minotaur and smiled wishing she could examine him, as she'd never had the pleasure (or difficulty she gently reminded herself) in ever having one as a patient. Their reputation as fierce fighters was well known, but Livy found herself wondering at more of what was he and others of his race like at home? She softly walked over and curtsied.

"Greetings Sir Minotaur, I am the medica Olivia DeSantos. I am pleased to meet you." Politeness was of such import in dealing with other. "Please forgive my lack of knowlege of your customs of greetings. I hope to learn more so I am less awkward with any of your peoples I might meet."

It also helped in gathering new patients.
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:40 PM   #38
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Joren and Ingrid returned with their provisions first, and while they waited for Marcus, Victor took the opportunity to do some shopping of his own.

Thorgrid's shop was dark, grimy and smelled of sawdust - altogether as appealing and welcoming as the dwarf was himself. He looked up from the carving he was doing behind his counter just long enough to scowl unapprovingly at the intrusion. Victor donned the gruff expression he normally used for dealing with Thorgrid's kind. "I didn't think it was possible," he said, motioning as if to sweep away cobwebs from his face, "but I think both you and your shop are uglier than the last time I saw you."

"Hmph" replied the shopkeep, frowning. "Strutting around in your finery like a blasted peacock, Jordan himself might seem a beggar - much less a simple shopkeep."

"Oh, simple shopkeep, is it?" Victor raised his eyebrows. "A viper more likely. How much are you bleeding your customers for this second rate tripe?" He picked up a wooden carving of a horse. "What's this, then? Something your son made?"

Thorgrid put down the chunk of oak where Victor could see a remarkably lifelike dragon emerging from the wood, and placed his hands squarely on the counter in front of him, regarding Victor intently. "Tripe?!? That's the finest wood this side of Stonespire, and you won't find better craftsmanship unless you dig your way down to the seat of the Paragon himself. Worth 4 crowns that is, and you should be thankful I don't charge you more for pissing me off!" Victor noted Throgrid still held his whittling knife firmly in his hand.

Victor stifled a smile and instead adopted a look of righteous indignation. "4 Crowns? You charge a crown per minute? Because it couldn't have taken you more than that to hack this out. I'll give you 1 crown for the horse and throw in a couple of silvers so you can afford a bath."

"How about you give me 2 crowns for the horse, and another for the knife I'll need to replace because I've lost this one up some stuffy nobleman's arse?"

Victor breathed an elonged sigh and, reaching into his pouch, produced two shiny golden coins. "I should summon the guard for this blatant robbery, but here - for the horse." He tossed the coins onto the counter. He added, "You can keep the knife."

Thorgrid scooped the coins off of the counter before picking up his project again. "You're lucky it's hard to find a good knife," he muttered. "Now get out of here, you're scaring off the locals."

Victor opened the door to leave, pausing a moment to glance back at the dwarf. "That dragon will be ready in a fortnight?"

"Might be..." said the dwarf, his eyes twinkling.

Victor smiled. "See you then, you old goat."

When he returned to his companions their errands were complete. He packed away his treasure as he inspected the equipment.

"Shall we?" asked Roman. Victor nodded. Although he'd like nothing better than to spend the night buried in one of the local girls (or three), there were appointments he shouldn't delay. They filed out of town, back towards camp.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:47 AM   #39
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Zarik looked down at the small 5ft 4in female from his 7 foot tall heights, and did something surprising. He lowered himself down onto one knee so his eyes were level to hers. This might not seem a big deal to humans, but his deferral of his position of power and dominance was a big deal for minotaurs.

He did not know what to think about this healer … he had seen her cry during her mission debrief. Zarik had needed to restrain himself from slapping the human female cow for the foolish act. How did crying help? It did not bring back the dead. In fact, it slowed down the exchange of useful information so a war party could be deployed to avenge the village! But Zarik was a guest here and needed to let the human’s do things their way, no matter how inefficient. On the other hand, she was clearly brave and had the respect of the other fighters. And finally, she was female … Zarik had always had a soft spot for females. He spoke softly so as not to disturb the other greetings on going in the room.

“Hail … Healer?” Zarik said not exactly sure how to address this Medica healer. His bull’s face had a look of determination. “I might ask you the same question. Do I shake your hand … or do I (Zarik did not know the word for curtsy) bend my knees to you?” He asked unsure of the correct custom.

“As for myself … please call me Zarik … I’m from the Honmar kingdom … I’m here on diplomatic business.” He finished bluntly in minotaur fashion. “As for how we greet, males bang their heads together or what we call “lock horns”. Females are generally greeted simply with a “hail cow”” he explained.

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Old 10-10-2012, 04:47 AM   #40
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“Hail … Healer?” Zarik said not exactly sure how to address this Medica healer. His bull’s face had a look of determination. “I might ask you the same question. Do I shake your hand … or do I (Zarik did not know the word for curtsy) bend my knees to you?” He asked unsure of the correct custom. "

Olivia smiled and put her hand under the large minotaur's elbow. "It is human custom for a woman to curtsy" and she demonstrated the move and continued speaking. "While a gentleman would bow slightly, or perhaps tip his hat to a woman. A man going to his knee is either a father with his child, or a suitor asking for the lady's hand in marriage, or a lesser person to one of great station say a commoner to the royalty. Please Sir Minotaur, rise and do not make me higher than I am. I am simply Olivia. Some address me as Medica, my friends and family as Livy. I must confess a great curiousity about your people. I have only seen them from afar. As to 'locking horns' I think I shall continue to greet any other minotaurs I meet, as I have been taught." She giggled. "I think that would save me MANY headaches and bumps."

She looked into his large eyes and saw a depth of soul she marvelled at. "As for my emotional scene earlier, my peoples are a passionate and emotional sort. I am still grieving for those I laid to rest. A few I had helped come into the world, many I have applied salves and bandages to for what ills and injuries they had. I lost many friends at Twillingham Reach. I want to know why and what happened to those who were missing."
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:50 PM   #41
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Greysteel stepped back from Captain Vincent after the crushing hug and, before anything else could be said, produced the bottle of Sveldgrif mead from the saddle bag slung over his shoulder. (It was fortunate the young lad Oban had sent to fetch his horse had returned just before they entered the main hall).

"As promised," Oban stated as he handed Vincent the mead. Oban's lips curled into a smile and he put his right hand on Vincent's right shoulder. He held the man's shoulder for a moment, then his face became a mask of seriousness.

"Strength and honor," he said, quoting the creed of the Knights of the Watch. Greysteel and Vincent had grown up together. They had trained together. They had fought together. Their bond went beyond most things, a bond of childhood friendship that had been tempered in battle.

He removed his hand and turned to the Sheriff and the others.

"Your sheriff seems to have recruited me," he said with a nod to Iola. He turned back to face Vincent. "What need have you of my bow and sword, Brother?"
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:19 PM   #42
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Zarik rose back up, his bull face, red in embarrassment, and bowed to the healer. “Thank you for the lesson in proper greetings.” He whispered to the healer so as not to disturb the others. Zarik felt like he was a big blundering bull in the china shops of diplomacy and interpersonal relationships. And he had just knocked over a cabinet of expensive china! The silly weak crying female human cow had corrected him and had done it firmly! By going to his knee, he had been trying to be nice … but she thought his act was an insult calling her a child, or his lover, or acting as if she was royalty!! UGH! It could not have gone any worse.

To get his mind off his stupidity he brought his attention to the two human fighters, Greysteel and Vincent. He sensed, important information about the threat to the human nation was about to be divulged.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:44 AM   #43
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Livy smiled gently and hoped she had not hurt Zarik in some way. She watched the interaction of Oban and Captain Vincent and waited patiently for her turn to speak and tell her tale.

She prayed she wouldn't cry with another retelling.

"Capitano Vincent? I am the Medica Olivia DeSantos, sent on the King's charge to bring my healing arts to the further reaches of His Kingdom. Please forgive my interuption of greetings with your friend Sir, but I have terrible news and need to seek help in solving what happened at Twillingham Reach a few days ago."

She damned herself mentally for not bathing and dressing formally, but this was important she felt.

"I arrived at Twillingham Reach delayed by my cart having lost a wheel. When I arrived there it was burned and plundered. The few corpses left I buried and I did try to seek a trail or some evidence of the perpetrators of this horror upon my patients and their families, my friends. Not being particulrily good at any sort of trcking I was unable to find even tracks."

She looked around a little fearful, yet unwilling to stop now. "It was as if the others were lifted away by the sky. I had heard rumors of attacks on caravans, and to be honest, Twillingham Reach is not an important place. It was a farming village. The public house served good ale and their bread was considered very good for the area. It wasn't even important enough for a garrison or a tax collector in station. But they were my friends, and they were subjects of His Majesty. Their souls cry out for justice. Please, please, help me find out what happened and if the others can be rescued Capitano Vincent!"

She stopped and looked about uncomfortable with the scene she made, yet pleased she didn't weep.

"If my pleas do anything to move you Capitnao, I will gladly offer to come with the soldiers you send and tend wounds and ills for the expedition." THERE! She'd done it now, almost offering to be re-instated in the military just to get her friends back. She unconciously and distractedly pushed the wild strand of her hair back behind her ear.

"Or I shall take my crossbow and seek the perpetrators out myself and..." She let the thought die at her lips and blushed at her effrontery of almost daring the captain to ignore her plea.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:49 PM   #44
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"As promised," Oban stated as he handed Vincent the mead. The Captain took the mead with a grateful smile. "I won't dare break the seal on this til we can sit together and drink it."

"Strength and honor." The captain clapped Oban on the shoulder fondly, repeating the code. "Strength and Honor, Brother." "Your sheriff seems to have recruited me," he said with a nod to Iola. He turned back to face Vincent. "What need have you of my bow and sword, Brother?" The Captain's smile was grim and humorless. "Dark times, Brother. Stay a while, and listen."

He turned his eyes to the Sheriff. She swept her hood back in a sign of respect to her Captain, ducking her head in reverence. "Sir." He seemed to consider Iola for a moment, then Oban, a considering expression on his face. "It does my old warrior's heart good to finally see us together. Once our grim duties are done, we will drink Oban's fine mead together. As brothers."

Iola swallowed her shock, managing to keep her face carefully stern. "It would be an honor, Sir, Sir." She said, nodding to both men. "I think perhaps it would be prudent to speak of these duties first, before we're all lost to nostalgia."

The Captain let out a bark of laughter. "Practical to a fault, wolf-child." A spark of a grin twitched at the corner of her mouth. The Captain turned to look at the entire party, and motioned them to a group of chairs in front of the banked fireplace. "Come and sit. Speak. I know why you have come, Iola, but the rest..." He arched an eyebrow, ready to hear their tale.

The Sheriff waited until they had all settled into the chairs. The Minotaur was almost too large to fit into even the Captain's largest plushly cushioned seat, but the ironwood bravely held up even in the face of his massive bulk. Iola silently gave thanks to the talented carpenter whose hands held obvious talent and care.

"The Medica Oliva should speak first." She motioned to the woman, nodding in a go-ahead.

"Capitano Vincent? I am the Medica Olivia DeSantos, sent on the King's charge to bring my healing arts to the further reaches of His Kingdom. Please forgive my interuption of greetings with your friend Sir, but I have terrible news and need to seek help in solving what happened at Twillingham Reach a few days ago."


"I arrived at Twillingham Reach delayed by my cart having lost a wheel. When I arrived there it was burned and plundered. The few corpses left I buried and I did try to seek a trail or some evidence of the perpetrators of this horror upon my patients and their families, my friends. Not being particularly good at any sort of tracking I was unable to find even tracks."

Captain Vincent's eyes narrowed grimly, but he remained silent, allowing her to finish her tale of plight.

"It was as if the others were lifted away by the sky. I had heard rumors of attacks on caravans, and to be honest, Twillingham Reach is not an important place. It was a farming village. The public house served good ale and their bread was considered very good for the area. It wasn't even important enough for a garrison or a tax collector in station. But they were my friends, and they were subjects of His Majesty. Their souls cry out for justice. Please, please, help me find out what happened and if the others can be rescued Capitano Vincent!"

The Captain glanced over at the Sheriff, who nodded, her expression dark.

"If my pleas do anything to move you Capitnao, I will gladly offer to come with the soldiers you send and tend wounds and ills for the expedition."

The Captain seemed to consider this for a moment. "I will speak to the King about your offer, Medica."

"Or I shall take my crossbow and seek the perpetrators out myself and..."

The Captain flushed darkly, his face stony. "I am not the king, Medica. My authority only reaches so far. Stay your tongue, and be patient. The souls of your friends will not find paradise if their speaker, meaning you, dies to some foolhardy rush with no forethought behind it."

He looked over at the Sheriff. She nodded to Zarik. "The citizen from Honmar would speak now."
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:20 AM   #45
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Zarik was uncomfortable in this small chair, he did not think the human’s had put him here on purpose, but he was not in his element. He was a warrior … not a gossiping cow that sat around and talked. He stood back up, his bull horns almost hitting the ceiling, and raised his open hand towards Captain Vincent
“Hail …Captain Vincent” He said, “My name is Zarik … I’m in your fine city on diplomatic business.” He stated bluntly. ”Your very competent, Sheriff” He stated with praise, as he glanced at her and then back to the Captain “has done an excellent job in her duties, as I feel welcome in your city and well cared for.” He ended his statement with a genuine smile.

“Please allow me to think before I continue” Zarik stated. And stood there thinking, this was a common practice for minotaurs … they are pretty intelligent beings, but not as quick minded as the other races. These silence pauses were uncomfortable for humans … who had a strong desire to fill the silence … luckily, no one filled the silence except for Captain Vincent who had nodded “yes” to the minotaur’s request to think.

What Zarik was thinking about was his mission. “Find out if the humans had attacked the mining camp and if not, ascertain if they knew anything about the attack.” From the healer, it sounded like there had been another attack, a while later, on a human village called Twillingham Reach. Was it the same creature or creatures? The medic was unable to provide that information.

The Sheriff had also told a tale, earlier outside the barracks stating “an entire village just a few leagues north of here was completely wiped out" this was even more evidence of a similar attack. All the attacks, the mining camp, Twillingham, and the Sheriff had the same results, completely destruction of the settlements, and little or no evidence of the attackers! The two human settlements wiped out meant these humans had not been involved in the mining camp attack, as he suspected all along. There was something terrible coming from the northern Wastes and it was attacking human and minotaur settlements alike.

He needed to get word back to the minotaur king, before that bullheaded fool continued under the false assumption the human’s had been behind the attack on the mining camp. If the king ordered the Minotaur army to attack the humans as he had threatened … they would be at war with two enemies, the humans and whatever was coming from The Wastes! A terrible strategic position to be in. A sealed letter with his signet and signature should be enough to stay the Minotaur King's hand. Additionally, he would recommend moving some Army forces north to better protect the settlements. But what were they facing? … and how could it be defeated? He needed more information, he needed to go north to where a recent attack occurred. Joining with this human party seemed his best choice.

Finally, a thought occurred to Zarik. If the minotaurs had suspected the humans …might not the humans suspect the minotaurs of these attacks? He needed to make sure the humans knew the minotaur kingdom was on their side.

Zarik pulled his mighty battle axe from his back. The weapon was massive! But Zarik twirled it about like it weighed almost nothing. Slowly spinning it in his hands, to show off his extraordinary skill with the weapon, it also quickly got everyone’s attention.

“I was told ONLY to tell this tale to your king … but I feel it is important that this group hear it as well. The minotaur kingdom has been attacked. Our mining camp in the far north of Hommar was demolished. No survivors, over 75 minotaurs killed. I examined the camp, a few weeks later, there were no signs of who or what attacked” Zarik paused in his tale … his eyes turning redder, the axe in his hand spinning faster. His voice rising …

“This attack is an ACT OF WAR against the Kingdom of Honmar!! AND IT WILL BE AVENGED!!” he said … staring in each of their eyes … trying to detect guilt … but saw none. He continued in a softer voice, “I understand now, that your kingdom was not responsible for this appalling act” He paused again and his next statement was delivered slowly but with a minotaur full force of personality behind it.

“This terror from the north is threating us ALL! … and The Minotaur Kingdom will stands with their human allies against this threat!! I pledge my axe to your efforts to thwart this threat!”

At the word “threat”, to punctate his statement, he THREW his axe into the large mantle of the dominating fireplace … the axe SPLITTING the stones in two like they were made of butter. The blade sinking in up to the head of the axe as the group of heroes in the room stared at his display.

He walked over to the axe and with a grunt plucked in out of the fire place wall and he returned to his seat. The fire place had a nice vertical axe cut right down the middle, had anyone measured, it was within 1 mm of the exact center of the fire place.
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Old 10-17-2012, 03:23 PM   #46
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Livy sat down properly admonished and nodded. Her threat to go boldly out was more than foolhardy, it was blatantly stupid. She listened to Zarik, and paid close attention to his way of thinking and solving delicate issues. She realized the minotaurs, or at least Zarik, thought before they spoke, a good sign of tact and diplomacy, and certainly no sign of ignorance. Her respect for the huge warrior rose more and more with her being with this huge being.

She also realized a minotaur was not to be trifled with or dismissed lightly. The sudden vehemence of his statement about war and standing with "Their human allies..." punctuated with the throwing the axe into the mantle caused her to make a shocked gasp.

"I do believe these foes of both our peoples are in trouble" She whispered as the group watched Zarik gather his axe.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:48 AM   #47
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Greysteel listened as the Medica spoke to Vincent, and then Iola announced it was the minotaur's turn to speak.

As Zarik told of his mission Oban couldn't help but remember times when he himself had been dispatched to uncover the culprit of treachery.

And as the minotaur spoke he became more agitated, clearly stating his purpose and his thoughts. But, when the axe came into the creature's hands, Oban himself found his hand around the hilt of his longsword at his left side.

Zarik pulled the war axe back, and although he shouted a pledge of loyalty, the pledge of a warrior, actions surely spoke louder than words.

Oban stepped in front of the Captain and with his left hand he pushed Vincent away from the proximity of the mighty minotaur. No one would harm his friend, his brother, while Oban Greysteel still had breath in him. Oban's right hand swung his longsword around.

And Zarik's axe thudded into the stonework of the fireplace. Oban looked to it, saw it there, quivering, the stones split. He had stopped his blade mid-swing, and he now understood the demonstration of strength and honor Zarik had given him. The minotaur paid him no heed as he went to retrieve the axe.

Greysteel sheathed his blade. He gave the minotaur a short bow and then clasped his hand around Zarik's arm.

"Strength and honor, my friend. Strength and honor."
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:15 PM   #48
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Zarik had not realized his axe display would cause the humans concern. He had not noticed but the former Knight Commander Greysteel a drawn his sword and could have struck him as he threw his axe. Even in his golden armor, a warrior of the knight commander’s skill ... the resulting blow would have been deadly! Now the former knight commander clasped his arm.

"Strength and honor, my friend. Strength and honor." He said.

Zarik turn to him, looking directly into his eyes.

“I have pledge my axe to this cause … I have join this herd” His hands sweeping through the room at the heros assembled, indicating the herd as the people in the room. “Once part of a herd, a bull will do everything in his power to protect it. You have my full strength and honor behind my pledge” Zarik said as he returned to his seat.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:29 PM   #49
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Captain Vincent's face was dark, the dimly banked fire casting his eyes in deep pools of shadow. For some tense moments, he was silent, brooding, then raised his head to look at the people gathered before him. He turned towards his broken mantle, and locked eyes with the Sheriff, who nodded grimly, as if some silent message passed between them.

He stood.

"King Jordan suspected the worst when the citizens began disappearing from the northern villages." He shook his head slowly, as if in disbelief. "I fear that..." he swallowed visibly.

"No. I won't speak of it here. We must speak to King Jordan at once. The longer we delay, the closer..."

Iola stood, as if sensing the urgent energy that thrummed in her Captain. "I'm with you, Brother. Strength and Honor!"

He clasped her shoulder, then reached out to clasp Oban's. "Come. We have much to prepare for."

"What can I do?" the Sheriff said, a smile flickering on the corners of her mouth, almost as if she were anticipating the activity to come.

"I'll arrange for transport to the King's estate. We'll travel by carriage, it'll be..." he looked over at the massive Minotaur and grinned. "easier for the horses." Iola stifled a bark of laughter.

"Sheriff." She straightened to attention. "Get to the armory, arrange for weapons and horses." She nodded. "Sir."

He turned to Oban. "I take it you remember your way to Frauline Gretchen's? Head there and arrange for traveling funds. Pressed gold coins only, from the Nightwatch treasury fund."

He looked at the Medica. "Madame, I need you to head to the market and arrange for traveling rations and medical supplies, just have the Nightwatch treasury billed."

He finally looked at the large bull, and seemed thoughtful for a moment. "You, my fine Bull, will accompany me to the carriage service." To everyone, he nodded. "Head out."
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:40 AM   #50
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Livy nodded at the new orders. She stood and put her hand on Zarik. "Is there anything special I will need for your diet Sir Zarik? Or a particular item you have a fondness for?"

She felt the heat of his body and smiled up into his eyes without fear. He is a very strong person. Sexy in a bull-ish sort of way. Oh stop that you silly girl! You have prvisions and supplies to gather!

She already had a short list, but would definitely re-examine her stocks and add to it for this great expedition.
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