Quest Rogue's Hollow

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Xyrdithas, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Xyrdithas

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    Xyrdithas Member

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    In the waning hours of the day as the sun descended on the far-off horizon, a cool evening breeze blew in from the east. With it, a thick cover of cloud yielding a gentle rain rolled across the sky. In a shallow and open valley, set on the eastern banks of a great river flowing south, the flickering lights of a town along Falwoods outskirts offered sanctuary as the low booms of thunder bellowed in the distance. The clicking of hooves on stone joined with the sound of rain, and from beneath his dripping hood Eren lifted his eyes to see. The town’s gates were still some ways off, and with what light remained he could see the scattered remains of a larger settlement all around. To the north he could see the road cresting a tall hill and there where the river began to fall stood a large decrepit looking tower overlooking all the valley. To the south was another road leading to where the trees and the waters met, and there stood several buildings on their own built alongside and cantilevered over the river.

    Eren had been here in the past and in those days, there was a prosperous and diverse culture here and the town did indeed stretch out much farther, more like a fledgling city. But rarely do things stay the same, and it would seem this place had suffered from times ability to enact change. No doubt plundered by bandit and barbarian alike, its people have become obviously wary of the outside, encasing what still stands in a single fortified wooden wall complete with several watchtowers, eastern and northern gatehouses, and uncovered barbicans. The southern end was far less impressive, guarded by only a singular gate with minimal reinforcement. The West was protected by the river, the only crossing being located just outside the northern gate.

    As he came upon the eastern gate, the large wooden doors clad in iron swung open to him revealing a contingent of about two dozen soldiers set before him, and several men patrolling atop the battlements with crossbows. A second gate resembling the first, remained closed at their backs.

    You there!” a voice rasped out from the upper gatehouse, his speech broken and his tone harsh, “what brings you?!

    Eren whispered something beneath his breath which brought the dark coloured horse he rode to a halt between the open doors. There, they passively waited and watched the clamouring before them as the soldiers lazily formed rank. The elf cast upon them an almost scornful gaze – judging by how they were behaving even he alone would have little trouble dispatching such a... beleaguered group.

    I seek lodging, and stable for my steed,” he replied in like tone, “would you leave me out in such a state?

    Whoever it was shouting from the fortifications above went silent, then finally spouted “And what kind are ya?

    He was unmoved; he too had a discomfort for certain company but still he hoped that surely, they were still friendly to the elves here. With a brush of his hand he removed his covering to reveal pointed ears reaching out from beneath flaxen locks. He looked upward in the direction of their supposed captain who was hidden from view, but one could only suspect that he had been watching. After a moment he heard a quick, grumbling chuckle and then a wooden shudder abruptly slapped open to one side. Peering down at him, a rather homely looking man with half a shaved head and a gnarled smoking pipe popped his head out and looked intently at the elf.

    From atop his horse Eren gestured in a friendly manner, spreading his arms and offering open palms.

    I bring no evil with me,” he proclaimed.

    The man studied him quietly for a few moments, his head dripping wet from sticking out in the now intensified rainfall.

    Enter in elf-kind, but beware,” the guard captain said, his tone now almost sombre, “evil may yet find you here.

    Then the shutter abruptly slammed closed and with a shout the inner gate opened and the men in his path moved aside. After a brief discussion with a couple of the guards regarding his transport, they granted him passage and Eren began to proceed as the gates closed behind him leaving the captain and his band of misfits free to frolic in the rain. Along the cobble street lined with buildings of wood and stone, he found himself well guarded from the windswept downpour and though a storm was well on it’s way he couldn’t help but notice that years ago even on a night such as this there was a calm vibrancy, but now it felt stagnant and dull. Another curiosity was that the town had seemingly forgotten its name – he had seen no signs, no indication anywhere. In tandem with the looming thunderstorm there was a darkness here that made him uneasy, and the added whistling and slamming of the increasing winds only heightened the anxiety.

    The town square was set near the southern part of town, right alongside a sharp bank in the river. He knew of a suitable inn that was situated close-by. As Eren drew near, the sound of several people speaking loudly over the roaring crackles of fire echoed through the street and soon, carried to him by the twisting winds the odour of burning flesh touched his nose. Apparently, his horse had also caught the scent, causing him to halt and huff in protest. The elf snarled in disgust by what may lie ahead, though there was no alarm or sign of immediate panic, so with a little coaxing he and his steed cautiously carried on.

    He emerged out into the square from between two closely set structures on the north eastern end. From there, he observed dozens of people standing by a series of heaped carts and wagons blazing alongside the river. Some were well burned, and a few had yet to be set. He quietly watched them for a few moments; at the far end a handful of men wearily piled long rolled bundles atop the remaining carts until finally they too were set ablaze. After determining it at least seemed safe he dismounted and with his horse in tow started forward, catching the attention of a nearby bystander who seemed gleeful about his arrival.

    M'lord!” the man cried as he hurried toward the elf, “M'lord thank Astra you've come!

    Eren stopped dead and looked at the man. He didn’t look impoverished but he was terribly dirty, soaked of course, and shook violently from either the cold or from the hysteria that was evident in his eyes. Eren could only surmise that he possibly appeared to this man as some kind of saviour, or holy champion perhaps. However, Eren was neither of these, and his last visit here was long before any of these humans would have been even thought of – there was no way he’d be recognized.

    You praise Astra that I have come,” he looked over toward the flames as they whipped out over the waters, “and why do you believe I come?"

    Why for this accursed ailment, M’lord? Be the work of devils I say,” the man eagerly he replied.

    Eren’s looked back to the weary man, who stared at him with tear-filled eyes.

    I am no healer,” admitted Eren, his eyes cast down before looking back to the burning wagons, “neither the priestly sort.

    The man continued to stare, then nodded in silent acceptance as he too turned to look toward the fire mournfully. Together they stood there in silence for a moment, until Eren grew sufficiently tired of the evening’s weather and turned toward the inn. As he approached the building to the north end of the square a tall elf robed in white came from within and stood on the covered porch which encircled the structure. Eren looked up at the elf to see him beckoning to someone inside, and a shorter fellow came forth quickly and offered to escort his horse.

    After relinquishing him graciously, Eren ascended the steps onto the elevated enclosure to meet this other elf. Coming to stand before him, he nodded his head respectfully to the apparent host.

    My thanks, I did not expect such a reception.

    Please, my brother,” said the white elf, gesturing his hand toward the door leading in, “join me inside and warm yourself.

    He led Eren into a long, and wide building whose main floor was divided in two sections. The first which he stepped into was a small pub with a short bar directly ahead and several tables in a sunken room barred with wooden railing to his left. To the right, just beyond another table and a subtle divide in the space was what looked more like a library with books lining its walls as well as finer, more lounge-worthy furniture available. On the far wall stood a great fireplace of stone and it, along with the entire interior, was ornately decorated with relics of numerous cultures. Placed near the divide on the southern wall was a grand set of stairs which led both up and down. Earlier, he’d noticed the inn was three stories tall, but he could only imagine the state of the lower level, any possible windows hidden from view. There were several entrances all leading out onto the porch which encased the entire southern wall and wrapped around the east, save for one doorway on the north side which led to another separate porch, whose only other access was where it wrapped around the west side over the river, directly out into the square adjacent to the main entrance.

    The kind host had offered lodging at no expense for his first night, saying he often did so for travellers when the weather turned sour. Not only this but upon entering his room on the second floor he found dry clothing folded and awaiting him atop a tightly made bed. This sight was a delight to him since he was thoroughly drenched, and he hurriedly disrobed and hung his belongings over a grated opening in the floor where heat from the fire below rose up. He returned to the main floor much more comfortable - wearing dry leather boots, black canvas trousers laced at the hips and partway down the leg over grey hose, a short light coloured linen undertunic with cuffed, bag shaped sleeves and a dark brown short sleeved jerkin laced up the centre, fitted with a lightweight hood overtop. Across the room by the northern door stood the tall elf holding two steaming mugs, who motioned for Eren to follow him out. He obliged and was handed a hot mug of tea which smelled sweet to him. He gave his thanks and drank, and the tall elf too drank before speaking.

    Forgive me, my name is Ril'thilian, and you are most welcome to my establishment. But if I may ask...” he bowed his head courteously, “when shall the rest of your force arrive? I sent word to Fal'Addas some time ago.

    Eren stared blankly at Ril'thilian for a time until their eyes again met. He couldn’t help feeling an uncertainty welling inside him like an open pit, like there was something he was missing. He thought back to the interaction he had shared with the town guards but couldn’t place any obvious connection.

    I know nothing of which you speak friend. I have travelled here from much farther East, and I’ve done so alone.

    Ril'thilian seemed distraught but not terribly so, and with the shake of his head started toward the western end where the burning wagons once again came into view.

    Once casting his eyes toward the fire, adding to an exasperated sigh he uttered “I fear then that my outreach may have fallen short...
     
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  2. Edmund Adelard

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    The downpour had trapped him in this strange town. Edmund was meant to travel to Vel Anir in order to receive a package for a man back in Elbion. He had no idea what the package contained and despite being a sellsword, he took the job solely for the gracious amount of coins it would leave him with. Yet Edmund sighed. He was not well suited for the type of work that kept him waiting.

    He was lucky to have found the inn he sat in now. Edmund had taken a carriage since he was short coin for this month and couldn't afford a horse. Some knight he was. But the tea was comforting and while he did prefer a drink with a more masculine taste, it would suffice.

    Edmund had left his belongings in the room the elven man had so kindly let him stay in free for a night. He felt naked without his sword by his side and the book that lay in his lap wasn't doing much to distract him. It was a tale about a jealous prince, something Edmund had heard thousands of times over back in his forgotten home in the Blightlands. His late king's mother would tell them both the stories of the countless jealous princes when they were children. Edmund didn't want to hear these tales anymore.

    WIth a heavy sigh, he wrapped a hand around the cover of the book and gently shut it. When he reached for his mug, he found that it was still too hot for his liking. Edmund prefered cold drinks. So he sighed again and pushed himself up from his chair to return the book to its shelf.

    The book slid into its place and Edmund let a finger trail down its spine. He was tired. Going back to retrieve his mug, he decided it was time for him to retire for the night, but a figure in the corner of his eyes caught his attention.

    Edmund had seen his fair share of mysterious men. He himself was growing closer each day to becoming one of them. An untold past, an unseeable future, and the ever present aura of guilt. It was all routine at this point in his life. But this man was more than just a mystery. He was a shadow. A shadow dressed in layers of armor. It was a kind of protection Edmund could recognize with just a single glance. There were many men who wore it.
     
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  3. Fèlen

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    Fèlen Member

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    Wooden shoes knocked back and forth as slate eyes watched the road beneath the cart pass by. In her left hand, she held an incredibly thick stem, the growth stretching above her with a large leaf sprouting from the top, protecting Fèlen from the downpour. She had caught a ride on a small trading cart, loaded with wooden crates intent on making coin. When she had approached the merchant he had agreed as long as she didn't have any specific request as to location. As a wayward traveler, she had agreed. Now she sat on the back of his cart amidst his wares, her feet dangling over the edge.

    Water spilled from the clouds above, her leaf assuring that her delicate crest would not get drenched, however, her slender legs were exposed. Her attire was colored a deep plum, flowing fabric cinching at her ankles, waist, and neck. The overcast droplets could not soak into her garments, the threads refusing to dampen as the water simply rolled away. Her free hand cupped outside her cover, allowing the life-giving liquid to gather. A soft smile touched plump lips, thankful for the water that would feed the land.

    Their cart came to a bumpy stop outside the large wall, the merchant taking a moment to exchange words with the guards before they were allowed within. She gave a small wave and bright smile to those standing at the gates, regardless of any warnings he might have provided on their way in.

    This was not the sort of town she had expected to come upon. There was a desperation that hung in the air, seeped within the very buildings, whispering from the wood. A stench wafted from deeper within, one the falling rain could not wash away.

    "There's an inn near the markets, I'll be dropping off my load and then heading back." The experienced merchant called back to the half-nymph. He had to raise his voice over the rain, encouraging her to simply remain silent and allow him to assume that she had heard him. Once the cart came to a halt she hopped down, offering her help with the goods to which the merchant declined. She was a delicate woman, after all.

    She gave a final smile to him before following his guidance towards the inn. She left the monstrous leaf outdoors, finding a suitable patch of mud to thrust it into and allow it to take root before she pushed open the door and entered, her sterling hair only slightly damp from the brief exposure.

    "Greetings." She proclaimed with a generous smile as she approached the bar.
     
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  4. Huang Tien

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    Huang Tien 黄天

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    "I come from a family of teachers, and I believe ideas matter; the good ones deserve reverence, and the bad ones, defiance."
    -Nancy Gibbs


    A peculiarly dressed stranger in yellow...whom was currently sitting at the counter right in front of the windows...his eyes were covered by his wide-brim strawhat, but it was clear he was looking down In front of him were a number of things; the most obvious of the lot being a tea pot and a handless teacup, half empty, but still steaming from the heat. Right in front of the stranger was a piece of parchment...and in his hand, was a brush...as the man had appeared to be doing some sort of "painting"...painting various pictures in a column...with black ink from a stone ink palette...meanwhile, resting next to him was what appeared to be some sort of staff, resting against the wall immediately next to the window.

    It was clear that this man was a stranger to this land, if his clothing themselves did not make him stand out, it was the colors he wore...of course, in a tavern such as this, stranger of his caliber were expected...

    The story behind went as such: This rather particular man had seemingly wandered in out of nowhere, almost startling so, considering the present circumstance. Aside from his rather...foreign...dress...the man seemed of very little interest, as he spent the day wandering the markets for most of the day...come the afternoon, he had plopped himself against some building or another, which given the raggedy way he was dressed, had many assuming that he was some sort of beggar...or gypsy...or a crazy person...as passersby would occasionally hear some sort of gibberish uttered from his mouth...yet there he stayed...sitting up in a crisscross, his staff leaned against the building...with one hand held out vertically to the ground...the stranger might have stayed like the for the entire night, as even when it rained, this man did not seem to respond...it was only at the insistence of the kind innkeeper, coming out and offering him a place to stay, did he snap out of this statue like state...and with a word of thanks, would follow him in.

    However, to make matters more interesting...when the man was offered the room immediately, he politely denied...least for the moment...as he opted to stay in the common area of the commons...however, he did ask the owner if he couldn't pay him to boil some water in his teapot...a strange request to pay for...least that's what the innkeeper had thought, but refused the money, offering to do the deed for free...earning some kind words of thanks from the strangers...

    Fact was, this all happened not but a few moments ago...but ever since he had received is tea pot of hot water, he stranger in yellow had been seated in the exact same position...seemingly not even noticing who came or left...to focused on his...pictures...
     
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  5. Xyrdithas

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    Xyrdithas Member

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    From where Eren stood he could not see around the building, but despite the blowing winds he could hear the racket of horse and carriage arriving out front. Though it was dark on this side, the light of the fires in the square illuminated Ril’thilian’s now contented expression. The sight of whomever was out front was perhaps what he had been waiting for.

    ...but at least some things are as they should be. If you’ll excuse me for a moment.

    Ril’thilian bowed his head and then moved to speak with the new arrival. Alone, Eren stepped back inside the door and started toward the “library,” just when yet another stranger entered in. As his eyes darted to see, he beheld the likes of which he did not expect in such a time and place; a rather striking young lady in dress which he could tell was of interesting quality. There was something about her, perhaps her seemingly cheerful demeanour, but something he couldn’t quite place caused him to feel uncomfortable, almost jealous. After a moment he realized that his mind had been racing. In fact, he had been staring.

    Just then, the shorter fellow from earlier rushed past him and out the door, shattering his focus - or rather lack thereof. Realizing his state, he quickly composed himself and offered a somewhat awkward greeting to Fèlen before retreating toward one of the bookcases, locking eyes with Edmund as he turned. He nodded to him somewhat hastily as he moved passed, feeling somewhat embarrassed with his lack of tact. Arriving in front of the rows of literature he reached out without aim and slipped one of the uncounted books out from its place. It felt warm in his hand. As he flipped through the pages, he didn’t pay much attention to the text, instead found himself wondering how much longer Ril’thilian would be – he had some questions for him.


    Meanwhile


    Ril’thilian descended the porch down into the rain and met with the merchant. Though the rain was about him he seemed unbothered, unlike the salesman who held his old tattered hood over his head while they exchanged words over the still strong winds.

    Thank you for coming,” he looked over to see some of the men leaving their posts around the fires to funnel toward and into the inn, “as you can see, some people have been expecting you!

    Just then, some randomly sprouted growth stood right beside him briefly caught his attention. How wonderful…he thought.

    The merchant man nodded to him, his expression stern, “when I had heard what had happened, the least I could do was my job!

    Ril’thilian and he continued to exchange words for a few moments until out of the corner of his eye the elf caught the guard captain amongst the men, followed closely by two others heading inside. Panicked, he rushed to complete his exchange of payment with the man while his helper began unloading the goods. Beverages of the stronger sort, as well as some other things.

    As he turned, Ril’thilian hollered to the captain, “Thorgauld! I’ve warned you before!

    Quiet, elf-scum! I’ll tolerate only so much from you!” the captain turned and spat, “you know who I’m here for don’t you! He’s in here isn’t he?

    Ril’thilian scowled, “don’t be a fool, he’s been here but a day! What sense can you make of this?

    Snarling at the elf, captain Thorgauld – from the eastern gate – drew his sword which cued his immediate companions to do the same and then he turned to boot in the front entrance. The door swung to the side with a loud slam, causing the half dozen or so guards who had entered prior to go silent. Some, the drink just inches from the lips sat perfectly still as their captain’s heavy footfalls thumped across the floor. He stopped about halfway between the door and the bar. As he began to speak, he lifted his sword and pointed it toward Huang Tien, whose back was to him.

    You,” he hollered loudly, his voice harsh and rough, “I’ve heard all I need; how you've come here casting your spells in the streets, coming here to finish what’s been started I'll wager!

    Just then Ril’thilian followed in and hollered back to Thorgauld in protest, muted and kept at a distance by the shouting guardsmen the captain had in tow, seemingly powerless to stop them.
     
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  6. Edmund Adelard

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    The mysterious man had locked eyes with him. It was strange, feeling that connection, that understanding with a person he had never seen before. Edmund watched as he took a book off the shelf and began reading through it. It was curious. The man's eyes wandered over the words, but never read anything. He seemed to be waiting.

    Whatever it was he was waiting for, Edmund would gladly take part.

    Edmund went to grab his still steaming mug of tea and took a sip, but didn't sit back down. The liquid burned the back of his throat and as it did, the knight twisted his face into one of slight pain. It was a dramatic reaction, but he decided to go back to his room. Whatever it was that awaited him, it required his sword.

    The stairs creaked awkwardly under his weight and he ascended them. It was a comforting sound. It gave the place personality. Edmund reached his room shortly after and set his mug on the table next to the door. His sword lay in wait on his bed, which was made with delicate precision.

    Edmund reached for his sword. It was on the large side, the blade being a bit longer than half his height. A strap was sewn to the sheath and the knight caressed the handle sweetly before swinging the blade over his shoulder. He quickly adjusted it so that it fit snugly against his back.

    Next to where the sword once laid, a belt with four pouches rested. Edmund took it and fastened it around his waist, but underneath his cloak. He checked that each pouch was still full of its contents. The first contained small vials of strange concoctions which soothed pain. The second contained blocks of coal to help him with his magic. He found it hard to conjure a flame without them. The third held his money bag and the fourth was home to a ring. Just a single ring. It was his late king's and Edmund carried it with him wherever he go.

    Satisfied with his appearance, he took one last sip of tea, swallowing it harshly, and turned to rejoin the strange man on the floor below.
     
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  7. Fèlen

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    Fèlen Member

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    Blue opal eyes followed Fèlen's entrance, though she was not immediately aware. She happily sat at the bar, ordering a warm drink before twirling around on the stool to gather her surroundings. She had been followed in shortly by a group of guards, their nightly ale finally arriving with the merchant she had hitched a ride from. Silveresque orbs continued, pausing a the strange man in canary-hued cloth, eagerly maintaining focus on his paint. She moved on, another man begrudgingly drinking his tea, steam roiling almost angrily out of the cup. Finally, her sight caught with one who had his own trained intently on her.

    She blinked, pale lashes fluttering from the motion in surprise before another smile pulled at her peached lips. She lifted her hand in a light wave to return his greeting before his attention turned to that of the books. By now her drink had made an appearance with its own cloud of angry steam. She inhaled the sweet, smokey scent before giving it a light blow and taking a sip. It burned as it journeyed down her throat, though that was not only due to the temperature. She abandoned her perch to approach Eren.

    "Do you kno-!" A faint yelp interrupted her soft lilt as the door crashed open. She looked on, eyes wide from the barbarity of the captain's entrance. An accusatory sword pointed towards the painter, though Fèlen shrunk back. She had learned a lesson in minding her own from her time in Vel Anir.
     
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  8. Huang Tien

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    Huang Tien 黄天

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    "Please, honorable sir...there are other patrons in this establishment, and it be rude to disrupt their evening..." The stranger spoke, at first not looking at the captain, as he placed his brush down and reached for his tea cup. "...I have no plans on going anywhere, so we can settle this in a civilized fashion...so please, bring your voice down for the sake of curtsy..."

    The stranger would take a sip out of his handless tea cup before continuing,

    "Now, what is your quarrel with me?...Ah yes, accusing me of a crime, naturally...but, out of sheer curiosity...what is it exactly am I being charged of? And what kind of "evidence" do you have to bear against my...alleged arcane activities, so to say?" The stranger tilted his hat to the side, making eye contact with this captain. "Is it the fact that I am not of local origins? Or is it is because I spoke a language beyond your comprehension? Or perhaps this..." The stranger reached over to grab the parchment he had been writing on, fanning it out to show the captain. "...my writings, of the same language that you still have no knowledge of?...truly, I can see why this settlement has entrusted the law into your hands..."

    The stranger would proceed to gently lay his work back down on the table, spreading it out to it's original position.

    "If I had to judge...you are that certain type of fellow whom believes that any form of correlations equates to causation...hm, if I would to say that these words on this paper made the sun rise and fall, you would probably believe it..." The stranger picked up his teacup once again, shaking his head a little in the process. "...such rigidness in your thinking...probably gotten more then one innocent soul in this town thrown into a jail cell...never mind those you probably have let free to roam...I truly pity the people under your...I hesitate to say "protection", but for a lack of a better term...I suppose that'll just have to do."
     
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