Open Chronicles Blood and Wind

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Flint

The Barber
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A storm raged outside the inn. Raindrops shattered on the cobbles, pooling between the stones that made up the roads coiling around that village. A savage wind whipped in the air, drowning out the sound of anyone or thing that was caught in it. Not that there much sound to drown out. Few dared to venture out under such conditions; even the beggars hid under whatever cover was presented to them. Tonight, the outdoor world belonged solely to the Gods, as it had all those years ago.

Such storms were actually unusual in these parts. The village was normally shielded from such conditions by the surrounding folds and mountains, with rainfall rarely even reaching torrential-level. It was to little surprise, then, that most of the village's houses, shops and taverns weren't faring all too well under the hellish winds that battered down on them. Reed was torn from thatched rooftops, some wooden doors were left whipping on their hinges. There would be need for severe reparations when the morning came.

That is, if the storm had let up by then.

Flint had not intended in staying in the village overnight. He'd been travelling for months, and yet still had a strong desire to put Elbion even further behind him. It was as though something sinister had driven the man from the city. Daily work began to feel painfully monotonous to him, something that had not been an issue before. Beyond that, well, there were those damned nightmares. Vivid imagery that felt more like clairvoyant visions than tricks played on him by his own troubled psyche. He'd not spoken of these visions... or whatever they were, to anyone, tried to push them from his mind. Yet, they returned every few nights, and had only gotten worse. A weekend away from the city at his hometown had relieved him of the nightmares, and he'd decided to take some time to travel.

He pushed the visions from present thought, lifting a mug of ale to his bearded lips. The inn was packed, tenants packed into seats at the bar, a few beggars huddled by the hearth (the innkeep was a charitable man, it seemed). Spirits were high, as travellers exchanged stories, but Flint was uneasy. He'd grown accustomed to movement, to travel. Right now, he felt trapped. and feared what that meant for tonight's attempt at sleep. Taking a long swig of ale, he signaled the innkeep for another round, casting his eyes across the room.

(Bit of a return post! My character is on the road, so this can hypothetically begin anywhere that suits your character, once its not too close to Elbion. Potential for some weather-related monster, or some crazy dream related stuff. Drop in and see where it takes your character!)
 
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Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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There was no more travelling for the day, that much was certain. As the wind whipped Ras' cloak back and forth, the cold rainfall drenching the cloth and leaving him feeling heavy, he realized that a night in a rowdy inn was far preferable to possibly contracting some illness from exposure to the elements. Curling his lip at the thought of being surrounded by drunkards and whatever other rabble the village had to offer, he decided to suck it up and head inside... It wasn't worth groaning over.

He made damned sure that his hood was pulled firmly over his head, hiding his visage in shadow as he opened the wooden door, immediately hit with warmth from the lanterns, and the burning fireplace off towards the far wall. His cloak dripped against the floorboards, more than one of the guests grimacing at him as he walked a bit too close, threatening to get them wet. People came here to escape the rain, after all.

He passed slowly around the crowded tables, eyes scanning each inch of the establishment for a place to rest his feet. None particularly jumped out at him, each empty spot was coupled with a fat bearded fellow that stunk of booze. Was it so much to ask that he sit alone, unbothered by another human for a few short minutes? Nobody paid him much mind, even as he scanned the place awkwardly. Everyone was too distracted by their own reveling to care what he was doing, and he used that to his advantage as he plucked a piece of bread from a lady's plate while her back was turned to her food.

Quickly shoving the bread underneath his cloak, he eventually paused as he happened upon a relatively empty booth, with only one other patron. He didn't seem like an overly happy drunk... He seemed clean and sober, too. Approaching Flint, he merely gestured with a gloved hand at the table. "This seat reserved?" He asked, raising a brow. "I didn't find any other spots that looked too appealing." There was no real manipulation of his tone of voice, or his mannerisms. This was one spot on the road, after all. After this, he'd likely never see this man again.
 

Flint

The Barber
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A soggy gloved hand cast flecks of water onto the table, rousing Flint from his fixed ale-directed glare. He looked to the dark figure that stood over him, raising a brow of his own. He was met with a face that did not differ much from his own, though the mop of hair on his head could have used a tidying. His eyes were a deep green, standing out against the richly dark tones of his cloak. His glare was a piercing one.

By how he spoke, Flint made him for a fellow traveller. He was short of a place to settle down, and lacked the booming confidence of the drunkards who thought this place a castle, themselves kings. Flint was pleased by this. With the cramped conditions, it was only a matter of time that someone would seek to sit by him. He'd rather a man with a story to tell than one who could barely speak and reeked of grog and piss.

"Take a seat, but er... maybe ditch the drenched cloak?", he suggested. A barmaid arrived with his second round, and the barber smiled his thanks. He sipped as Ras took his seat, his curious mind already wondering what had brought this man into town. "Name's Flint", he greeted. With a fresh drink in hand, and someone to share a story with, the man felt more at ease now, thoughts of nightmares being sidelined.

"Just taking cover from the storm, or are you a local?".

Ras Sorane
 
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Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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Ras cast a glance down at the soaked article of clothing, taking a deep breath before looking back towards Flint. Offering a weary nod, he reached up to unclasp the single silver button, removing the cloak and hanging it over the back of the bench before taking his seat. He felt vulnerable now, the dagger and hatchet on his hips, the throwing knives draped across his chest, the grenades hanging from his belt... As if he wanted everyone in this establishment to know his business.

"Ras. Pleased to meet you." He spoke professionally, looking to one side as the barmaid returned, to which he gave only a faint smirk. "An ale. Keep them coming, if you would. It's been a long day." Hearing Flint's inquiry, he turned back to him, fingers drumming against the table. Considering his answer somewhat carefully, he shook his head. "Nah, not a local. Not here, not anywhere. I follow the roads and hope it leads me to coin. Or at least something interesting."

There was no way in Hell that he planned on revealing his convict status in his homeland to this guy he'd just met. He couldn't cause that kind of panic right now, especially if anyone here knew that he was being hunted by those bastards day-in and day-out. "How about yourself? What's your story?"

Flint
 
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Flint

The Barber
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The stranger spoke in a proper tone. It indicated that he was open to conversation, but that it was conversation simply out of necessity. The barber assumed the stranger was in no mood for making friends, and that he'd have preferred sitting alone if it was an option. Nevertheless, the stranger engaged in conversation, briefly describing himself but quickly moving the focus to Flint.

'Not a local. Not here, not anywhere...' .Well, that couldn't have been true. Flint had made it his business to learn of people's stories. He'd done so with the customers at his shop, and those he met on his travels. The world was a weird and wonderful place, and most people had something interesting to say. He found those who were most avoidant of talking held the most interesting tales of all. Ras added to this hypothesis as he uncloaked, revealing a variety of blades secured across his midriff. Flint had a few blades of his own, but these were stowed in his bag, upstairs in the room he'd rented.

Flint wouldn't press the stranger for information just yet. Maybe he'd buy Ras (if that was even his real name) a drink or two first. If not to satisfy his innate curiosity, then to relieve him of the painstaking boredom that had been settling in just before Ras' arrival.

"A wanderer..", he mused, but didn't ask any more of it, instead moving to speak of himself, as Ras had wanted. "I'm a barber-surgeon by trade, though have tried my hand at more... deviant activities", he too played some cards close to his chest. He thought of his time as a Loot Runner, or when he'd sponsored monster-hunting expeditions. The life of a tradesmen was a noble one in his eyes, though he'd always found himself drawn to outrageous things. "Life in Elbion was becoming a bit claustrophobic. I'm taking some time to travel the lands," he explained, again wary of his own unwillingness to part with personal details. It was unlike him to be reserved in any way. The past few months had taken their toll on the barber.

"So coin and interest, eh?", he asked, leaning forward in his seat. "And what sort of things are interesting enough to warrant being substitute for coin?"

Ras Sorane
 

Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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Elbion... Ras was familiar with the floating city, for sure. He couldn't imagine living there, though. A busy trade capital, floating high above the earth? Two things he wasn't fond of. Unstable magic, and greedy merchant scum. Hearing of Flint's role as a barber made him question why the man was even out traveling. Most men would pay any price for a decent cut, so why abandon that stream of income for a life as uncertain as adventuring was?

Just as Ras sparked the barber's curiosity, he sparked Ras' suspicion. That's all he could be anymore. Suspicious, always expecting the worst from people. No matter how kind Flint came off as. Crossing his arms, he nodded, listening to his new acquaintance as he spoke. "Deviant activities? Such as blowing money on fine ales at the local inns?" He mused, glancing to one side as his ale had arrived. Taking the mug in his hand, he swished the liquid around a bit before tipping it back against his lips. Fine ale, it was indeed...

He paused as Flint inquired on his interests. It was actually a decent question. What was more important than coin? "Well... Hearing a few beautiful bard songs is worth traveling for, I suppose. Or the way the light reflects off of a forest stream. Sights, sounds... Things that transcend petty human squabbles." He murmured, his explanation pretty vague, overall. "I guess a better, shorter answer is that I've grown tired of society and everything it does wrong. A man can't go without coin to feed himself, but he can step away from the busy life of the city streets, yeah? Bard songs and beautiful sights are still free."

He flinched as a loud crack of lightning practically shook the inn, a heavy gust of wind causing the windows to rattle, prompting a few swears to escape the inn patrons, some looking around worriedly as they expected the structure not to hold. "But unfortunately, it's a bit too chaotic outside to enjoy nature, and I don't see a bard among those trapped in here, so drunken revelling will have to satisfy for now." He shrugged, a took another swig of drink, watching as people settled down once again.

Flint
 

Sharon Trask

Wandering Warrior
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Storms... They were great to watch, not great to walk in.
The wind blew her hood back and she got another face full of rain before she could pull it down tighter over her head.
Of course she was used to it, the road was like a home she couldn't leave, always came back to, never wandered away from. And so all of its hazards and downsides were old hat by now.
Still, when she passed through the open gates of a village she was beginning to get hopeful for warm bed, warm food, and cold ale.
The lights from inside a sturdy tavern were a most welcome sight as she stomped through what was now a river instead of a cobbled street.

She pushed the door open and stomped inside, knocking mud from her boots and shedding rain from her cloak. She was soaked all the way through but her cloak had done its job and protected her equipment from the worst of it so she took it off and folded it over her arm. This was preemptive to a majority of the rowdy patrons who weren't quite drunk enough to miss the leather and steel armor, the bow and quiver on her back, and the longsword on her hip.
She shook her hair free of her hood and let the wet brown locks fall where they may, hazel eyes behind heavy lashes and weary lids spotted the bar.

She lurched her tired and waterlogged feet forward and elbowed between two burly patrons laughing their fool heads off at a lewd joke, accidentally spilling a couple ales.
She leaned on the bar and got the tenders attention.
"Ale... And a lot of it."
She set a gold piece down for the bartender.
"Keep me saturated."
She groaned and her head hit the counter but she only rested for a moment before the guys she bumped shoved her back from the bar. She stumbled a few steps before regaining her balance, she heard two stools scoot back and she smiled with a light chuckle, "Listen... boys... honest mistake, I'm tired from the road, just let me drink in peace..."
She turned to face the two peeved angry drunks, "... I'll buy the next round, how does that sound?"
At that the two toughs hesitated, looked at each other, shrugged and smiled at her, "Sure thing girlie, no harm done."
Once again she joined them at the bar and they made room for her this time.
She got the tenders attention again, "I got the next round for these gentlemen as well, it's a long night."

When her ale finally arrived she picked up the mug and downed it all in three gulps, she slammed it down with a sigh before grabbing her second one. This time she sipped it and turned to examine the rest of the bar. She wasn't looking for anything in particular, she certainly didn't expect to recognize anyone at the very least.
Humanity was an interesting topic, and she considered herself a fairly good student.
 

Flint

The Barber
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Flint laughed in response to Ras' remark. Sitting there, hunkered down with a mug of ale, Flint didn't look like much of an adventurer. "Well, there isn't much one can get up to under a storm such as this one, is there?". Despite saying this, Flint wasn't so sure what he'd be doing even if the storm had subsided. His travels had become aimless, and he hadn't come across anything of huge interest in weeks. Perhaps he needed to rethink the intentions behind his travels...

Ras spoke of the world's simple pleasures, those which existed outside of developed civilization, where the lands had been marred by towns and cities. Ras seemed cynical of the developed world. In Elbion, and indeed other cities, you had to fight to make your way. Fight for coin, for food, for a home. There wasn't so much time for enjoying the simple pleasures Ras spoke of. Flint hadn't been taking enough time to appreciate such a thought.
"Coin, kingdoms... Maybe we've ruined the world with such things. Do you mean to say a life away from it all is a life better lived?". Sipping his ale once more, the barber's eyes danced across the room, noticing as a figure entered the tavern, equally as drenched as Ras had been.

Thunder boomed as she made for the bar counter, shrugging off her cloak to reveal weaponry and armor. Not as heavily equipped as a knight, but even moreso than Ras was. The barber raised his brow at Ras, nodding in the woman's direction. She sat with her back to them between two burly drunkards, knocking back a tankard with relative ease.
"By the looks of it, drunken revelry won't be in short supply".

Taking another swig, Flint aimed to readdress their conversation. "I suppose society is beginning to irritate me too. Elbion is nice and all, but staying there long enough can leave a man feeling trapped. I take it you share similar feelings? "

Ras Sorane Sharon Trask
 

Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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Just as Flint redirected his attention to the newcomer that was causing a ruckus off towards the bar, so did Ras, eyes narrowed at the woman as she roped herself into paying for both men's drinks, only after making enemies of both. He scoffed at Flint's comment, eyeing the blade sheathed at her hip, and the rather slick suit of armor she wore. "Can't say I'd be foolish enough to mess with a woman who owned a blade like that..." He couldn't help but be impressed at the entrance she made, all things considered.

Flint's questions made him curl his lip slightly... Was he really in the mood to talk philosophy with this man, instead of enjoying his ale in peace and quiet? Well, whatever quiet he could achieve in a place as busy as this. "Flint... I can't speak for all societies. All I know is that the one I left behind turned me off from this a long time ago." He explained, eyes darting around the inn. "All these people, so oblivious to how unforgiving it all can really be. I came from a cruel place that yields memories I drink to forget. Memories that would break these fools' tiny minds. This topic makes that very hard. You know?" He didn't want to be so forward as to tell Flint to shove off and change topic, but the hint was there.

Downing the rest of his ale, two more were already on the table by now, and he didn't hesitate in starting on his second of the night. He was only faintly tipsy now, which may have been why he was still entertaining the man across from him. He couldn't help but chuckle a little bit... It was probably because he sensed the tension his last words had caused, and felt the need to make up for it somehow. "I'll tell you what... You're the first friendly face I've seen in around a week. The first that's carried a decent conversation, anyhow. I want to be a little transparent." He started, taking a deep breath.

"I robbed an alchemist two days ago. Right there, in the middle of his workshop. Man carried a good business, and made good coin. That's how I can afford my drinks. If that makes you uncomfortable, I suggest we cut this conversation short, yeah?" He asked, giving him a hard stare. It was for his own protection, really. Allies were hard to come by, and if he was going to make any tonight, he wanted them to be people he could trust. People that wouldn't run at the first signs of who exactly Ras Sorane really was. A thief, a killer, and an overall bad man. "I like you, Flint. I wouldn't tell you this if I didn't. And hey, if you don't care what trouble I get myself into, maybe you and I can go sightseeing sometime, once this storm passes."

Flint Sharon Trask
 

Sharon Trask

Wandering Warrior
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A bandoleer full of weapons and a mostly empty table besides one other person was difficult to miss. Taking another swig of her ale she pushed off from the bar and began weaving her way across the room, around tables of drunken revelers, over a passed out lightweight on the floor, and past a rambunctious couple of patron and barmaid getting frisky.
She stepped up to the table of two men having a deep conversation.
She draped her cloak over the back of an empty seat, "Mind if I join? I like good scenery with my drinking."

She gave them both a once over with her eyes, both of them fit, the one with the bandoleer obviously a fighter of some kind, both of them not bad to look at... Not bad at all.
If given permission she would pull the seat out and sit down before taking another drag on her ale.
 

Flint

The Barber
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Flint laughed even louder then, nodding in agreement with Sorrane. He had to hand it to the newcomer; he wouldn't be so eager to wedge himself between two drunkards after pissing them off. Ras seemed to hold similar views, the dark-haired man visibly impressed by the woman's actions. Sorrane's expression darkened, however, as Flint began to prod him for information.

The barber's mistake, really. A couple of drinks weren't quite enough to have him slurring his words. They did, however, make the man even chattier than he normally was. Any filter he'd normally apply in his questions and remarks would slowly dissolve away as he sank the next few pints, and Ras' response reminded the tipsy Flint that he should try and be more mindful with his words. They were only strangers, after all.

Ras had been dealt a bad one by society, that much was clear. Flint had heard of many men who'd experienced the same in life. If one strayed too far in the wrong direction, the world would eat him up. Hell, sometimes a man didn't even have to stray, though he himself was lucky to not be among those. He wondered what had happened to Ras to have given him such views, though in this instance Flint was wise enough not to ask. "Apologies, I forget that not everyone winds up in a place like this out of choice, especially on a night like this".

Ras downed the rest of his drink and Flint found himself doing the same, perhaps in solidarity. As he placed his tankard back down, he noted the man's expression had lightened. Against expectations, Ras opened up, admitting to his most recent wrongdoings. Robbing an alchemist... an honest one, by the sounds of it. An honest man would judge Sorrane, though Flint couldn't exactly call himself an honest man. He'd gotten into plenty of trouble in the past, and even more recently as a loot runner. He didn't come into owning his shop through an inheritance or anything. In fact, most of that funding had been generated from less... legitimate means. So, to judge Ras in this respect would be hypocritical. Flint had done others wrong before, when it was necessary.

"You come from a cruel land, as you said. Can't exactly blame you for having to steal to get by". Ras floated teh idea of the pair travelling together at some stage, to which Flint felt open to. Sorrane had an air of mystery about him, and the barber reckoned an adventure with him would be one to remember. He reckoned they'd get along well, once he appreciated the man's evident boundaries. It seemed Ras had decided to open up because he liked Flint, to which the barber laughed.
"You're too kind, Mr. Ras. I assure you, I've had clientele who've admitted to much worse than you have just now". It wasn't a lie. Too often had Flint beem halfway through a haircut or stitching only to find his client admitted to all sorts of obscenities. It was just something an honest tradesman such as himself had to deal with.

The fluctuations of laughter and tension had drawn their attention away from the knife-clad woman, who'd made her way to their booth and began dressing the free chair with her cloak. It sounded like she was out to charm the whole damn tavern going by how she addressed them. The woman's eyes met his, and he looked to Ras as she glanced his way, shooting a puzzled look his way. Then, looking back to the woman, he smiled.

"By all means. Though, er, I'm afraid we haven't much room for your two pals", he nodded to the bar counter, where the two drunkards were knocking back two more ales. The barber sipped at his drink, debating moving on to something stronger once he'd finished this one.

"And who might you be, hm?"

Sharon Trask Ras Sorane
 

Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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Ras nodded his thanks to Flint, not only for respecting his wishes and moving on from their previous topic of conversation, but for not reacting the way most would to hearing of the man's sins. Of course, he'd done worse... That was a topic he was fine leaving for another day, though. He couldn't help but smile at Flint's openness to remaining in contact long enough for a venture together. Rarely did he find people tolerable for such a thing. Yet, here one was, in the flesh. A barber, of all things...

He looked to the side mid-sip just in time to see the armed woman from before waltzing her way over. Gods, he was catching a lot of attention tonight, wasn't he? However, seeing her up-close made him decide that perhaps he didn't mind her company too much. He'd gone quiet now, as he did with most new faces. Couldn't be too careful, after all. Still, he greeted her with a nod, regardless.

Glancing towards Flint as he invited her to join them, he didn't object. "My name is Ras. Lovely to meet your acquaintance." Same monotone, soft-spoken voice as always. This time noticeably friendlier than his first words with Flint. Maybe that was his natural way of speaking to the opposite sex, but it was anyone's guess. He perked up as a voice from the bar shouted over the crowd. "Last round of the day! Any takers!?" Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of raised hands. The masses seemed to be thinner than when he arrived, though. The hour was getting a bit late...

"Damn... Here I was, hoping I could binge all evening." He mused, finishing off his second mug, and then quickly moving to the third. Getting drunker... He could tell, because his vision grew blurrier. Still coherent, thankfully. His attention was redirected to a few patrons who passed by their table, a dark-skinned dwarf with a wild, greying beard catching his attention with a notable remark. "Better hope those rumors about the Dream Demon ain't true... I'm exhausted." He didn't press the stranger, but his eyes did narrow. 'Dream Demon...?'

Ras believed in demons. Who didn't? There were enough written accounts of stupid mages dealing away their souls and communing with the Helllish creatures to fill countless books. It would only be his foul luck to wind up in a village that had a problem with some monster looming over its shoulder... Shaking his head, he returned his attention to Flint and their new guest. He'd deal with it when it became relevant, he supposed.

Flint Sharon Trask
 

Sharon Trask

Wandering Warrior
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"By all means. Though, er, I'm afraid we haven't much room for your two pals",
Sharon glanced back at the two drunks and shook her head as she sat down with a grimace.
"Like I said, I like 'good' scenery."
Her grimace turned to a wry smile as she gave the two men her full attention and gave the barber a playfully unsubtle wink.

"And who might you be, hm?"
She slammed back the last of her ale and set her tankard down with another sigh.
"Acquaintances call me Sharon, friends call me Shar, strangers call me whore, family calls me a disgrace, and enemies call me 'Oooh shit'."
She finished with a chuckle, her road weary eyes drifting from one hot guy to the other.

"My name is Ras. Lovely to meet your acquaintance."
She gave Ras another appraising look, before she looked over at flint, she gave them both one of her charming smiles.
"Such a proper introduction. Who knew I'd be lucky enough to find two men of class in this cow pie of a tavern!"
She ran her finger along the edge of her tankard and licked up the remaining foam.
Then she looked and met their eyes individually, "I apologise if I interrupted something important. Please, just pretend I'm not here."

"Last round of the day! Any takers!?"
Raised her hand and groaned, "Shit... I'm not nearly drunk enough... What rotten timing to arrive."
She looked pitifully at the fresh mug they put in front of her, all alone, it was her last drink and only the third one she's had all night and she only just got in from the rain.
It was enough to make one cry, she didn't, but she almost wanted to.
She began slowly sipping from the foamy tankard trying to make it last and maybe get her a little tipsy.
 
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Flint

The Barber
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Ras took on a more formal tone as he addressed the woman, sending a curt nod her way. Was there a true gentleman hidden behind that rough exterior? He flashed a brief grin Ras’ way as the woman spoke. She seemed to have noticed the properness of their introductions, and Flint wondered if he’d come off as a bit of a snob. As she went on, the barman called for a last round of drinks, which drew Ras’ attention from the conversation briefly.



Trask was a charmer, that much was certain. He wasn’t sure what she aimed to gain with her compliments. He was inclined to believe her intentions pure, that she was simply looking for some camaraderie on a miserable night such as this. But then, Flint was one to allow his imagination to get the better of him. She’d been eager to interact with plenty of the bar’s tenants (at least those who hadn’t retreated to bed by this stage). Perhaps she was in search of information, or was tracking someone. There had to be some reason the woman was so heavily armed, especially around this relatively peaceful corner of the world. He quickly dispelled the idea, deciding to give Sharon the benefit of the doubt.

As she listed her the many titles she’d gained throughout life, Flint waved for two more tankards to finish up on (perhaps a bit greedy of him, but it had been a long week). He stifled a laugh as the woman’s titles became more and more crude. If she was to be believed, she’d gotten into a fair few escapades in her time. Apologising for her interruption, she ordered her final round for the evening (though seemed quite unimpressed that this was the case). The barber looked back to Ras, who looked troubled by something. Deciding not to prod, his eyes widened in the man’s directions, wondering whether he’d overheard something, or if something upsetting had come to mind. Then, looking back to the woman, he said

“I think I’ll stick with Sharon, for now. There’s no need for apologies, Ras and I were just discussing our thoughts on this… charming little village”.
Not a complete lie, but nowhere near the full truth. He was giving Ras the opportunity to steer the conversation away from his misdeeds, should he deem Sharon untrustworthy. If Trask persisted in pressing Sorrane, Flint could always interject with one of his many tales of intrigue.

“What brings you to these parts, Sharon? A local, or a wanderer like ourselves?”
 
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Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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Ras couldn't help but chuckle towards Flint a bit. Not much for modesty, this one... Hearing her titles made him a bit envious, to be quite honest. 'The Betrayer' wasn't really one he'd grown too fond of. Hers at least had a hint of humor to them. "I already like her." He commented, sipping his ale with wandering eyes over her form. It was rare to find a woman with such a confident presence these days.

Flint's question regarding her background made him cock an eyebrow at him. As if a woman decked out in equipment like herself wouldn't be in the line of work as an adventurer, or mercenary of some kind. Far cry from a barber, that was for certain. As another heavy gust of wind rocked the inn, he grimaced. "When we wake up, the damned roof will be gone."

This didn't seem to dissuade the crowd within its walls, too frightened to brave the storm to seek stronger shelter. It seemed that as quickly as the last round of drinks were called, several of them dispersed upstairs, with a select brave few opening the door to the outside to continue on their way. As flashes of lightning filled the inside of the inn as those few filtered out, Ras turned his attention back to Sharon, leaning back in his chair a bit.

"That's a fine blade you've got there." He piped up, examining her sword. He had decent experience with longer, heavier weapons like the one she wielded. The dagger was easier though, and it worked for someone as light on his feet as he was. Still, he'd never have the satisfaction of a wide, powerful swing as one would have behind a longsword.

"It's rare that you find good smiths nowadays... All of them make weapons for the reliability, and leave the fine details until last. You get a good sword out of it, but half the time it looks ugly as shite. Most of the time, it's all the rabble class can afford..." He murmured, scratching his chin as he scanned the hilt a bit. Part of him wondered if she came from a place of good wealth to get her hands on a sword like that, or if she picked it off of a dead man. Not that he cared, though. "Let me guess... Family heirloom? Some kind of inheritance?"

Flint Sharon Trask
 
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Sharon Trask

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Sharon chose to ignore the grumblings of the other patrons, the storm, her lack of liquid entertainment, and her wet clothes. These two gentlemen were far more interesting, especially because of their own visitor status.
A charmer she was, in some cases the life of the party, thus the name strangers often give her after one night. But her flirtatious façade hid far more than her physical weariness.

“What brings you to these parts, Sharon? A local, or a wanderer like ourselves?”
Sharon chuckled, "I'd die of shame if I were local. Definitely a wanderer, I've been most places between here and Elbion and slowly working my way outwards."
She sipped her ale periodically while they talked, dragging out the contents as much as possible.

"That's a fine blade you've got there." He piped up, examining her sword. He had decent experience with longer, heavier weapons like the one she wielded. The dagger was easier though, and it worked for someone as light on his feet as he was. Still, he'd never have the satisfaction of a wide, powerful swing as one would have behind a longsword.

"It's rare that you find good smiths nowadays... All of them make weapons for the reliability, and leave the fine details until last. You get a good sword out of it, but half the time it looks ugly as shite. Most of the time, it's all the rabble class can afford..." He murmured, scratching his chin as he scanned the hilt a bit. Part of him wondered if she came from a place of good wealth to get her hands on a sword like that, or if she picked it off of a dead man. Not that he cared, though. "Let me guess... Family heirloom? Some kind of inheritance?"
She smiled when he noticed her sword and shifted to face him more, she had been glancing at his bandoleer of weapons as well.
"Mister Ras! Are you flirting with me? Maybe you'd like to stay strangers for a while longer..."
Her smile turned to a mischievous grin and she unbuckled her sword from her belt, placing it on the table.
"Nothing so special as an heirloom, though I do plan to keep this blade around for quite some time. A rather unique piece with a history of its own."
She began listing off its previous owners on her fingers.
"First, it belonged to a warrior prince nearly two-hundred years ago.
Second, it fell into the hands of a warlock that turned said prince into a vampire and destroyed him with sunlight.
Third, it passed down through the warlocks family over the generations till it was taken by bandits, then stolen from the bandits by goblins, the goblins were then slaughtered by a necromancer who was in the possession of the sword when I found and destroyed him with it."


She placed a hand on the hilt and looked deep into his eyes, "I tell you all of this with a full disclaimer that everything I just said... Is complete and total bullshit."
She fell into a little giggle fit, thankfully feeling a little tipsy at this point... finally.
"I had it commissioned from a Belgrathian dwarven smith visiting Elbion."
She leaned back in her chair with her tankard and a self-satisfied a teasing smirk, "Yeah, I know, I make a pretty comfortable living."

She looked over at Flint, "And you seem to do very well for yourself, though I notice you don't have any weapons on you... At least, none that I can see..."
She turned her seat to face him this time.
"Tell me, what's your secret to staying alive on the road... Magic?"
 

Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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At her comment about flirting, Ras lifted his hands a bit, smirking in amusement. "Guilty as charged." He joked, watching as she unfastened the weapon and placed it down for them to look over. People didn't usually make him laugh, especially those that seemed like they were in a similar business to himself. This profession seemed to always attract the miserable bunch. As he looked over the weapon, he reached out a hand to brush against the scabbard, nodding approvingly.

Her long-winded explanation of the sword's origin prompted him to blink at her a few times, staring blankly as she retracted her statements with a laugh. "You were starting to sound like a pompous scribe for a moment." He mused, glancing back to the blade. "Still... Never say never, you may kill a necromancer one day." He humored her, shaking his head a bit. "Dwarven ingenuity... It's something else." He wished he had a good story for his weapons, but truthfully, they were just the handiest tools he acquired from his time in Olwin. Not too noteworthy.

The question to Flint about his possible magical talents momentarily drew his interest, studying the man for a bit. "A barber and a surgeon with wizardy background? I'd be intrigued to learn if that's the case, myself." He mentioned, wondering himself how a mostly unarmed man braved the open roads so long... Unless he was genuinely that smart in his survival skills.

Looking over towards the bar, he finally noticed more and more people filtering out of the main room, the innkeeper wiping his hands clean with a dirtied rag as he looked over at their table. "You looking to get rooms, before I finish up for the night?" Ras looked towards his two companions, giving the man a nod. "One for me, yeah... Storm's too rough for any real travel." He stated, the innkeeper huffing as he looked towards the door. He mentioned,

"Thunderstorms like this... Wonder if the superstitious folks are quaking in their boots right about now."
He mentioned, looking a bit annoyed. Ras raised a brow. "Dream Demon, yeah?" With how casually he used the term, it wasn't surprising that he received a wide-eyed stare. "Careful where you use that name... People get easily spooked when anyone speaks of it." Ras nodded, standing and walking over. "So I assume you wouldn't be willing to enlighten me?" He asked, the innkeeper shrugging. "What's there to say? People sleep during these storms, and wake up with wounds. The ones from their dreams. Had an older fellow die in his sleep from some kind of magical effect in the night. His wife said he was sleeping peacefully, there were no intruders, nothing. It's just a big misunderstanding, as far as I'm concerned."

Ras listened intently, eyes narrowed. He wanted to tell him to be careful in his lack of belief, but he simply let it slide. Hopefully he wouldn't be the next victim to whatever creature hunted people during these storms... "Well, you're likely right... Who can honestly say? One room key, if that's fine. I'll be finishing my drink and conversation, then I'll be up to rest." He said, the innkeeper quickly retrieving a key as Ras placed some gold on the table. Returning to the table, he sat before the both of them again. "Well... Looks like we picked a good place to get stuck in, hmm?" He asked sarcastically.

Flint Sharon Trask
 

Flint

The Barber
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Sharon and Ras seemed to get along like a house on fire. Flint was genuinely surprised to see Ras return the newcomer's flirtations. It seemed he was well capable of smooth-talking, much to Trask's delight. The barber smirked to himself as the pair exchanged words, delighted that Sharon was able to get the man to move a little more out of his shell. Perhaps Flint would learn more of this alchemist now, and whatever other skeleton's Ras hid in his closet.

Sharon recounted the tale of her sword, which gradually gained in absurdity, before promptly letting them know that it was a load of bullshit. Damn, she did like to entertain. Were she not armed, Flint would have pinned her for a bard. Ras seemed impressed by the blade, remarking on its design. The barber could see that it was a fine weapon, but couldn't say much beyond that. He was by no means an expert swordsmith, and was happy enough with any blade that could cut hair or save his own skin. So, again he kept quiet, continuing to enjoy the pair's exchange. It was rare enough he kept his words to himself.

This was not fated to last, however, as Trask questioned his own lack of arms. In truth, he'd a belt of throwing knives stashed in his room, but hadn't seen a need to bring them to the bar. Were he to rub anyone the wrong way, he'd talk them down. If that didn't work then, well, his fists usually sufficed. Then there was the question of magic... Flint had never thought himself to have magical potential, though many regarded his use of barber tools and small combat blades as unnatural. He'd been meaning to see a sensitive mage to determine whether such comments held any credibility, though admittedly had been avoiding it up until now. He supposed the question of his magic (or lack thereof) was one he just didn't want the answer to right now.
"No magic, as far as I'm aware". Not a complete lie. But the truth didn't warrant subjecting the pair to a lengthy explanation. "I left my weapons in my room. Reckoned I was in the company of friends here". He looked to each of the pair individually, grin yet to fade. "The tavern is for kicking back after all."

Ras looked to the innkeep to request a room, and Flint went on speaking to Sharon. "Making it on the road can be pretty easy once you keep your wits around you. Choosing your words carefully, fighting when its right and running when its not... 'Course, there's an element of luck to it all, and I've had a few close scrapes, but I'm here aren't I?"

His eyes danced back to Ras and the innkeep, who was speaking of a recent death in town, as well as unusual wounds that the townsfolk had been receiving overnight. Flint's face took on a more sombre expression as he spoke to the owner of the inn.
"I appreciate your hospitality, but did it not dawn on you to mention all of that when I decided to book in for the night?". He'd been having a good night in this village, at least since his new companions had joined him. In all honesty though, if he'd known of some accursed sleep demon, he'd probably have just toughed the storm. At least you were aware of what damned rain was doing to you.

Ras returned to the pair, and seemed somewhat humoured by his conversation with the innkeep. The barber feared he might have overreacted in response to the tale of the old man's death. Did dream demon's even exist? The innkeep didn't seem to think so, and Ras was speaking lightly enough of the whole thing. Flint finished one of his drinks, folding his arms.
"Either of you believe in that sort of stuff?"

Ras Sorane Sharon Trask
 
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Sharon Trask

Wandering Warrior
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"A barber and a surgeon with wizardy background? I'd be intrigued to learn if that's the case, myself."
She raised her eyebrows and and pointed to Ras, "Now that would be quite the conversation starter!"
She grinned at Flint, "Come one, come all! Flint the magical barber with steady hands! He'll trim your top, treat your ills, and entertain you with a magical sideshow all for a modest fee!"
She laughed aloud at her own joke, seems that stretching out the ale was indeed having an effect on her.

"No magic, as far as I'm aware". Not a complete lie. But the truth didn't warrant subjecting the pair to a lengthy explanation. "I left my weapons in my room. Reckoned I was in the company of friends here". He looked to each of the pair individually, grin yet to fade. "The tavern is for kicking back after all."
Sharon quirked a wry smirk at Flint, "Careful, Mister Flint. I might think you're inviting me up to your room..."

"You looking to get rooms, before I finish up for the night?"
Sharon turned in her chair, "Yes, I'll get a room!"
She pushed her chair out but stopped with another mischievous quip.
"Unless one of you are offering?"
She got up with Ras and went over to the bartender. She listened in to their conversation and it wasn't boring stuff.

"Either of you believe in that sort of stuff?"
Dream demons and injuries? Sounds fun!
"Sounds like we've got a pretty kinky spirit messing around. Sounds like fun, anyone up for a seance?"
half joking, half not. She put another coin on the counter and jangled her new room key at the two men, she finished her ale with a final gulp.
 
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Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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The innkeeper raised his hands, giving Flint a defensive look. "Ay, I can't predict each time the weather will be sour. Besides, the attacks are few and far between. It's quite the assumption, thinking you'll be next in line." Ras, still distracted by Sharon's flirtatious attitude, chimed back in as the innkeeper went back to cleaning up the bar for the night and Flint posed his question regarding the supernatural. "I've definitely heard stories. Enough for me to come to the conclusion that they're real, yeah." He gave a nod.

Sharon's laid-back, jovial attitude about the situation put a sour look on his face. Oh, the naïve and the innocent... Just scoffing, he shook his head. "Of course you'd be all in, you've been trying to bed the both of us all night." He joked, and looked back to Flint. "Keep your wits about you, barber... You heard the man. No telling that there's any such demon stalking people in their dreams." At least, he'd never heard of such phenomenon. Demons struck contracts, played on the weaknesses of their targets for some kind of gain. They weren't often brutal, just conniving.

For one to stalk you in your dreams... It was a scary thought. The time you're most vulnerable, in the depths of sleep... Noting that they played on mental weakness, and all of a person's worst fears and turmoil taking shape during slumber... Unless Flint or Sharon held something back from open view, he had more turmoil than most men had at the old age of 70. All that negativity was sure to draw unwanted attention at some point.

Giving the table a firm smack, he rose from his seat, shrugging. "If we have to worry, I'll worry when the time comes. No sense in panicking now. Besides, what am I to do? Lose rest over it?" As thunder cracked loudly once again, he gave a final wave and moved up to his room for the night. "Sharon... I'm sure the beds are large enough for two, if you're still optimistic." He teased a final time, retrieving his wet cloak before moving up the creaky wooden stairs.

Flint Sharon Trask
 

Flint

The Barber
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The barber chuckled at Sharon's exclamations, the idea of holding his own magic shows amusing him. It was fair for her to comment on his multiple trades and endeavours. Flint often found it difficult to settle on one thing for too long without getting uneasy. He sometimes worried he'd become a jack of all trades, but a master of none.

Again Trask flirted tried to coax further flirtations out of him, and the barber couldn't help but wonder which of the two men she was truly pursuing. Perhaps she was just toying with them both. Rather than play into her game, he countered with a smirk. "You seem eager to get us to bed, Ms. Sharon. So eager, I'd almost suspect you of being a scheming demon, in a most beautiful disguise!". He meant this in jest, of course. He didn't think anything, even a demon, could hide their intentions well after having as much ale as Sharon had by now. Or at least, he certainly hoped that was the case

Flint found himself quickly regretting his previous words following the innkeeper's reply. He couldn't control the weather, nor any hypothetical dream-demon. The innkeeper had kept the ale pouring late enough, and he'd even made room for each of them, despite the tightly packed crowd from earlier. "Forgive me, friend. Its been a long and miserable day out. I may have taken things out on you by effect".

His expression darkened at Ras' words. Until now he'd convinced himself that this demon-talk was hearsay, a fabricated rumour to explain the village's recent tragedies. To hear Ras speak of it so gravely unnerved him. The dark-haired man did not seem the type for cruel jokes, and to lie about the possibility of such a demon was certainly cruel. Ras urged him to be wary overnight, and Flint met him with a curt nod. He sometimes needed someone to keep his hardy head in check. He wondered how he'd fare if a demon visited him in his sleep. Was it even possible to fight back in such circumstances. Flint took a generous swig of his drink as Ras sought to lighten the mood.

While as skeptical of her intentions, Ras seemed more open to returning Sharon's teasings as he approached he staircase leading to his room. The smile returned to the barber's face as he reached into his bag, retrieving the travel log he'd been carrying since leaving Elbion. A quick entry about the night's events would help put any thoughts of demons and nightmares to rest. It would at least give him something to do while he finished his drink. The barber looked to Sharon, wondering just how she might react to Ras' final jest.

"S'been good meeting you Ras, good night".

Sharon Trask Ras Sorane
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Butcher of Alliria
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In the wilds on the outskirts of a village, three men stood on stumps in the blacked stormy night, their necks in nooses tied to the long twisted arm of a dead oak. One man in ragged clothes cried and whimpered in fear, the second and shortest of the three spat every curse and insult he could think of: to a point his language become incoherent. The third and oldest of the trio only looked stoically at the monster that was to seal their fate. Before them stood a giant, one armed, rusted metal warrior. Who paced back and forth with a cold militant gate and held a unsettling detached judgment, as he patiently waited for the angriest of the guilty to speak his peace.

The condemned had been found by the rusted behemoth to be guilty of brigandtry, as these were the only men of the group of bandits to allow themselves to be captured alive. He was simply insuring they had their last rites before they met their gods, but his patients for verbal trade was now wearing thin. The man finally ended with a scream over the storm, "...AND YOUR MOTHER WAS A CUNT!" ,after the fact the man finished with an exasperated sigh, his rage spent. Cauldwin then turned on his heel and to face the older man and yelled over the storm with his guttural voice that exited his crude helm with a strong metallic echo, "Does the final member of the guilty have any last words to be said before justice is carried out?" The old man stared at the single glowing green dot that pierced into his eyes from that black cavernous hole in the rusted monster, "Your goanna kill us regardless, so I don't see the point in prolonging the inevitable." ,the old man answered with a deep, bitter, hollow voice.

"Well put!" ,cauldwin shouted over the storm before kicking out the stump from under the old man's feet and he began to choke and he twisted from left to right on the noose as he asphyxiated. In response the man in the ragged clothes bellowed out a mournful cry of fear and desperation, and the fiery man raged and cursed. Cauldwin as he had so many times before turned on his heel stepped to the left, turned to face the man then kicked out the stump from under him, leaving him to the same fate as the first. As he approached the ragged man he pleaded and begged him to spare his life, but he simply kicked out the final stump and watched him hang until dead.

The three corpses blew in the strong winds like mocob windchimes, and Cauldwin concluded that his work for the day was done. He knew that one of the villages this group had been taking tribute from was nearby and although he could not rest he could at least find some warmth for his afflicted body. He made way for the village concealing his severed jagged arm with a worn shoulder cloak from one of the briggands and entered a tavern, a mostly empty tavern, to his enjoyment and walked up to the keeper who was winding down for the night.

The man looked up at what had stood before him with a wide-eyed expression before stuttering out, "Wha- What'll b-be, m' lord?" ,Cauldwin smiled warmly behind his helmet, he sometimes forgot how intimidating he appeared to his fellow man, he then pulled a fair fistfull of coins out of his coin purse and stated as softly as he could, "Just a room for the night, my good sir."

Flint

Ras Sorane

Sharon Trask

 

Sharon Trask

Wandering Warrior
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Of course it's all real, if you've seen witches and goblins in the forests and dragons burning across the skies then there was no doubt in Sharon's mind that demons were real... I mean, with the events of Pandemonium and other documented attacks made by these extra-planar beings you just can't make this stuff up!

"Of course you'd be all in, you've been trying to bed the both of us all night."
Sharon put on a mock shocked expression, "Me? I wouldn't dream of it!"
Then she shrugged wit a coy smirk, "Well... I might dream of it if I don't happen to get lucky tonight..."
The two men discussed the topic a little more but it was indeed getting late and it was getting time to say goodnight.

"Sharon... I'm sure the beds are large enough for two, if you're still optimistic."
She raised an eyebrow at him, her smirk still playing with the corners of her lips, "Careful, I might take you up on that. It's hard to have nightmares when you don't sleep alone... I'll find out if your serious after I've freshened up a bit."
She blew a kiss at him and was about to head up to her own room when the door burst open. She blinked at what she saw stepping out of the storm, an honest to goodness giant of a man in full rusty plate armor.
The sight almost made her sober...
"Shit he's big..." She stumbled against the stair railing as her tipsy brain processed the new guest in the tavern.
 

Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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Ras let out a low chuckle as he heard Sharon's retort from down the stairs. Well, it wouldn't have been the first time he went to bed with a stranger. In all honesty, he'd done much, much worse than she. He'd be pretty curious to know what was under all that armor, and if she was as fiery under the sheets as she made out to be in plain conversation...

Whatever lustful thoughts entered his brain were quickly silenced by the slamming open of the main door downstairs. He whipped around, eyes narrowed as a hand instinctively went to the hilt of his dagger. However, upon seeing who the newest guest in the inn was, he wasn't so sure his weapons were worth much in the moment. A rusted, metallic behemoth, standing well over any other patron he'd seen today, practically causing the innkeeper to piss all over himself in fear. He stuck to the shadows, ready to use the element of surprise if needed.

He scanned the creature, unable to gauge if it was man, or some twisted Dwarven machine given life. Only one arm to speak of, and a half-gaze that seemed to pierce through the darkness of the helmet keeping his idenity a mere secret. He addressed the innkeeper with a surprisingly cordial tone. Certainly not a voice he was expecting, but it helped to calm his nerves a little. Of course, not enough to prevent him from sinking into the shade of the stairwell just a bit more. "Just what the doctor ordered... Two headaches to worry about..." He murmured quietly, slowly and silently unsheathing the blade, just in case.

Ras watched the innkeeper stumble back towards the bar, going behind it to shakily retrieve a key before approaching the behemoth in a terrified manner, placing it in his one hand before practically rushing off somewhere safer than where he stood at the moment. The creature would be coming up the stairs soon... There was no point in waiting to be caught with a weapon in hand. Sheathing it, he slowly descended to the base of the stairs before addressing Cauldwin. "Man, machine, or some kind of giant seed?" He asked quite bluntly, eyes trained on the newcomer in a kind of glare.

Flint Sharon Trask Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 

Flint

The Barber
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Flint got to writing as Sharon made her way for the stairs. He'd barely dabbed his quill in ink when the door swung open. In strode a figure in rusted metal armor, a cloak somewhat concealing it. The man (or whatever it was) was a behemoth; much taller than he or Ras, and twice as imposing. Old and corroded was his armor, to a point where Flint had to wonder if there was even a body under all that metal. Perhaps he was some old specter, haunting the village just as the dream demon supposedly was. Maybe this was the dream demon, taking on a horrifying form to petrify them even while awake. Flint set his quill down, but remained seated comfortably. He scanned the tavern floor for the nearest exits. If this thing meant harm, Flint imagined it would be better to avoid fighting it. He Ras and Sharon would need a way out.

He watched the figure closely as it approached the poor innkeep, the billowing of his cloak revealing a missing arm. Flint was surprised when the figure spoke in a formal tone, requesting a room in a way that didn't at all suggest a desire to instill fear. Unfortunately, he'd nonetheless terrified the innkeeper. Contrary to expectations, it seemed the hulking figure meant no trouble.

Ras and Sharon were as wary of the armored man. Sharon nearly broke her neck tripping on one of the stairs, while Ras descended to question the newcomer. Flint was impressed with Ras for this. He just as easily could have retreated to bed for the night, and he seemed in no way afraid to challenge the armored man with regards to his humanity. While the armored... thing, was threatening enough to warrant such a question, Flint reckoned there was surely some humanity to the figure, who spoke so politely. Demons ghosts and machines weren't known for their etiquette.

The barber finished his drink, folding his arms as he eagerly awaited Cauldwin's response

Ras Sorane Sharon Trask Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr