Chapter 17: A Small-Town Girl (IC)

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Talanall
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Chapter 17: A Small-Town Girl (IC)

Evening, 13 Verdil, 973 IR
The Copper Crosier
Port Hope, Mereflow Valley

As night settles over Port Hope, the Bastards assemble in the common room for supper—Oskav will be finished with his spellbook maintenance within a matter of another day or so, and it's time to have a meeting of minds about where to go and what to do next. Berger Cole might return from the Spirit World at any time, the summoned dragon that destroyed Morville remains at large and unaccounted for, and the rest of the Mereflow Valley teeters on the brink of war. Most of you didn't ask for any of these things to involve you, but nevertheless your actions could tip the scales in determining the fate of thousands.

deadDMwalking
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Garren looks to Chuul. "Your fight against Cole is the reason I sought you out. I know that your desire to see him punished for his crimes has not dwindled because he has fled this plane. I have no counsel for how best to pursue him, but whatever course you choose, I'll help."

HVB

For any that look up from conversation or food when the door flies open, a human girl dressed all in white steps into the room and turns to gently and deliberately shut the door behind her.
She scans the dining room until she spots the assembled group of adventurers. Her eyes pass over each and a look as if she were figuring out a complex equation crosses her face as she looks from Chuul to Alannah, and then back to the orc. Her expression quickly fades and is replaced by a smile.

"Don't move!" She exclaims as she quickly closes the distance between herself and the Bastards. "I mean...that's not an order or anything...I've just been looking for you and, well I got a little lost."

The petite girl turns her palms up to indicate that she means no harm.

Darker

Alannah looks up to regard the girl and simply asks, "Why?"

Board Rider
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Avar, who has been leaning back in his chair and listening to the conversation without input, leans forward in curiosity. His pupil less eyes studying the human female.

HVB

The girl nods and addresses Alannah. She keeps her dark blue eyes slightly averted and when she speaks her accented words indicate that she is not from around here. "well, I'm supposed to be taking note of anything strange and unusual and I'm thinking that an evil dragon summoned forth by a werewolf worshiper of Welerus definitely qualifies. Temple Warden Burke says that you are the ones who cleared the survivors from Mooreville," she glances at Garren momentarily. "So...I'm looking for you because...to maybe find out more about that dragon. Or to at least find out which way it was pointed when you chased it away." Her last sentence has the inflection of a hopeful question.

HVB

"Oh!" As an afterthought she reaches into her belt pouch and draws out a folded paper and holds it out to the group. "He gave me this. Temple Warden Burke. So you won't think I'm crazy or however he put it..."

deadDMwalking
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Garren takes the note and scans it before reading it aloud.

Talanall
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The note is folded up tightly, and sealed heavily with wax that has been embossed with the official signet of the Temple-Warden of the Port Hope diocese of the Church of Derena. Garren is quite familiar with it. It reads:

Lady Alannah, Moonguard Baur, Sir Avar, Masters Chuul and Hruthsson,

The bearer of this missive, a young woman of the human race with dark hair, blue eyes, and likely attired entirely in white garments, is named Kyanite. She is a mendicant friar dedicated to the Watcher in the Night, who is nearing the final stages of her novitiate training, and lately of service to the temple as a guardian at one of our shelters for women in difficulty.

Kyanite is a native of Emerald Hollow, having arrived in the city in the company of her mentor, an experienced friar in good standing with the temple, known as Kenro. It's my understanding that she has traveled widely throughout the valley, primarily as an itinerant caravan guard alongside Kenro. News of the tragedy at Morville and your likely involvement in bringing those responsible to some kind of reckoning having reached her, she seeks to add her strength to your efforts.

I hereby commend her to you, and in particular to Moonguard Baur, whom I hope will see to her further doctrinal education and spiritual well-being, as an ally of good and trustworthy character.

Geddan Burke

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
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Chuul examines the girl for a moment. "What is it you are hoping we can give you?" he asks.

Board Rider
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Avar nods to himself and adopts a "good enough for me" face.

Darker

Alannah, put off by the incongruity of the girls last question and her appearance, replies to Chuul with what sounds more like a question than statement, "She's a dragon hunter?"

HVB

A look of confusion passes over Kyanite's face. "No!" She shakes her head emphatically in response to Alannah's question. "I dont know how to track a dragon down and send it back to wherever it came from, and I probably shouldn't fight a powerful servant of Welerus and his pack on my own...sooo I was hoping," she turns to Chuul, "that would be what you could give me. I think the Goddess put you in my path to give me a better chance. Or maybe to give you a better chance...either way..." she trails off and her eyes widen suddenly. "Wait, is this weird? Did I mess something up?"

Fixxxer
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Chuul seems oddly amused. "This is certainly weird, yes. But relax. If Burke recommends you, that is good enough for me. Just know it is a more dangerous thing we do than you might believe. Where do your talents lie?"

HVB

Kyanite attempts to relax but it does not seem to be working out so well."I guess I'm pretty athletic and fast,and a good look-out, but a pretty poor sneak," she looks down to her bright white attire and runs a hand through her thick curls as she thinks. "No magical spells or divine miracles or anything like that, but I can fight. I didn't bring my weapon here, but i practice everyday. And ok, I've never smote a dragon," she glances at Avar, "but I've been in battles against insane monsters...and, what else...oh, my Teacher says that I have a mind like a sieve, whatever that means..." she lowers her head slightly and continues standing at the table.

MinusInnocence
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Oskav has been observing the exchange passively. Tearing strips of meat off the pork roast with his hands, he periodically feeds a piece to Baldr. It is during mealtime, when the two are focused solely on the task at hand and neither is speaking, that they most closely resemble a single being.

The dwarf takes a long draw from his cup and swallows, putting the drink down and drawing the back of his sleeve across his beard. For the first time, he looks up at Kyana. "None of us has ever killed this dragon, either. You are in good company."

HVB

Kyanite smiles at Oskav's remark and shifts her position to stand at parade rest.

Darker

Alannah looks annoyed, "Ok, but this is awkward with you just standing there while we eat. Would you sit?"

HVB

"Oh, yes. Apologies Lady Alannah." She quickly moves a chair from a neighboring table and sits.

deadDMwalking
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"Geddan Burke's commendation is certainly enough for me. I think it carries great with with our entire small company except perhaps for Lady Alannah."

HVB

Kyanite mulls this over. "I guess there's a charm to being the only girl in a group, but don't worry, Lady Alannah. If you let me come with you guys I won't get in the way, plus I'm not even interested in your boyfriend, not that I'd have a chance anyway...I mean, uh-" She snaps her mouth shut

Board Rider
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Avar cannot help but burble a clipped laughter.

"Kyanite, I think you will be okay. Is this your first time with a group of adventurers?"

Darker

Alannah's slight irratation at Burke's name fades quickly. Her dislike for the high priest had diminished significantly since his unsolicited apology. In a tired tone, she answers Kyanite, "I have no boyfriend, lover, or paramour among the bastards and though I am fond of some of my companions, I have no interest in a relationship with any of them. That was an invention of the playwrights."

"But whatever, you have to be better than the last strays we picked up," She conciders the girl a moment more, "And besides, I wouldn't sell yourself short. I'd say you are already above what I have seen of Avar's standards."

HVB

"Oh! In that case,apologies again, Lady Alannah."

Kyanite turns toward Avar,"Sir knight, I mostly just travel with Master Kenro and sometimes we've teamed up with some of his allies, but never for too long" she pauses and frowns,"I don't think he would like me being here, but he's away and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to find you if you guys leave the city soon." She brightens up, "Maybe I can get Temple Warden Burke to write him one of those magical letters to smooth things over..."

deadDMwalking
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"It sounds like you're joining us. The question we still need to answer is when we leave and where we go. Stopping this dragon is one of our aims, but I think the one that brought him here remains higher on our list of priorities. That's Berger Cole. I can't imagine he could do something like this again, but if he is put down like the cur he is, he certainly could not." Garren is his normal grim gaunt self with this proclamation.

Darker

"I want to go visit with the halfling tribes before we go anywhere else. Its not to far away, won't require any extranious preperation, and could help us find another piece of the necklace. I have reasont to believe another piece is there. We can visit with Golden Sheaves nearby and make sure everything is well there, then evaluate what's next."

"Besides, if I can find information that leads me there, Cole could as well."

Fixxxer
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Chuul nods at Alannah's words before digging into his dinner.

deadDMwalking
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"Oskav, have you completed your work? Should we leave today? Or tomorrow?"

HVB

"Well, it's getting pretty dark out there, maybe we should wait 'til morning." Kyanite suggests. "I just have to let Temple Warden Burke know that I'm leaving my post at the shelter, oh and leave a letter for Master Kenro along with my offering to the temple. That shouldn't take too long." She looks around at the others. "So just let me know when and I'll meet you guys back here."

Talanall
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The Bastards quickly determine that since Oskav is done, they've shopped for what supplies they expect to need, and their political activity has been concluded, there's really no reason to stay in town any longer. Tomorrow morning is as good a time as any to get back to travel, unless Cole suddenly reappears to Alannah's magical contrivances intended to locate him. They'll depart from the Copper Crosier.

Morning, 14 Verdil, 973 IR
By the time Kya gets to the Copper Crosier, the Bastards have had a quick breakfast, retrieved their horses from the nearby stables that the Crosier uses for its patrons, and are in the process of getting loaded up for travel.

A young man with long, dark hair pulled into a tight queue at the nape of his neck is hurrying along toward the innyard ahead of her, and a raven flutters from perch to perch along with him, urging, "Hurry up, hurry up! You know she'll leave without seeing you if you're late. It's just how she is."

The bird is loud enough that Alannah, for her part, hears it as evidence of her brother's approach long before she sees him.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

At the sound of the raven's voice, Alannah turns to see her brother and smiles, "Boromil, you made it! I was afraid my message may have arrived too late."

HVB

Kya follows the man toward the inn. She is fascinated by the talking raven so much so that she nearly crashes into the man's back as he stops to meet Lady Alannah.
Kya adjusts her backpack and moves carefully around him and toward the others, not wanting to offend the Lady again.

Talanall
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Boromil flashes a grin at his sister, even as the raven perches on his shoulder. "Of course. I made sure the staff at the house knew where to find me. Jalen will be here, too."

As if summoned, a tall half-elf appears out of a side street, and strides hurriedly toward the inn. He's dressed in shades of green, brown and grey that Kya recognizes as the habit of a woodsman from the elven forests in the western part of the valley. The newcomer raises a hand in greeting.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

HVB

Kya returns the woodman's greeting as he approaches the group.
"So are they joining us too?" She asks the others.

Darker

Alannah shakes her head, "No, they are just coming to see us off. Boromil, the one with the bird, is my brother. Jalen, the half-elf, is one of our traveling companions who is going to stay in Port Hope a bit. They will both be traveling north with a regiment to fight the goblins if they become a threat."

HVB

"Oh, wow,"Kya is visibly disappointed (about the prospect of traveling with only one raven that can't talk, but maybe it could learn how), she brightens up and smiles.
"I'm Kya, My Lord." She greets Lady Alannah's brother. "May the Moon Lady grant you her blessing if you do find war with the goblins. Oh, and I simply adore your raven."
She looks over at Jalen to see if he has any Interesting animals with him.

Talanall
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The half-elf appears disappointingly free of animal companionship, although he smiles slightly at Kya's gushing over Boromil's raven.

For his part, Boromil makes an elegant leg for the Derenar warrior's benefit, and replies, "Thank you. The bird's name is Jetbeak. He's my familiar."

"Dash that. Boromil is my familiar," retorts the bird, scratching the back of his head with one foot. "When you have two people, and one can fly and the other can't, the one who can fly is the one in charge. Everybody knows that."

Boromil rolls his eyes, and offers a wry, "My mistake." Of Kya, he asks, "You're joining my sister and the rest of the Bastards, I take it?"

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

HVB

"Hello jetbeak, I totally agree about the value of a good pair of wings."kya laughs.
She turns her attention back to Boromil. "Yes, My Lord, at least for now. But one thing," she looks around. "Why are you guys called that, I mean, the Bastards?"

Fixxxer
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"Because of me," says Chuul as he leads a humongous charger of a horse to the group.

Talanall
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Jalen offers, cheerfully, "He's really a decent person, although the name has a certain . . ." he pauses, searching for the right word, then settles on, "something. It captures the imagination." Inspecting the orc's horse, he adds, "Where on earth did you find this?"

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

HVB

Kya looks up at the huge horse with wide eyes and moves carefully toward it. "Yes, where did you find it, it's great!" She glances back at Jetbeak. "Does it talk?"

Fixxxer
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Chuul looks confused by Kya's question, but offers "Garren helped me find him. It seemed cruel continuing to subject that poor beast I was riding to carrying my bulk."

Talanall
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"Well, he's magnificent," Jalen replies, still a little wide-eyed himself over the sheer bulk of the animal. "Have you named him?"

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Chuul looks slightly uncomfortable. "The bill of sale says his name is Sir Fluffernutter. I am not certain whether to believe that this is actually the case or whether the stable hand was having some fun with me. As I do not envision having a conversation with a horse, I doubt it matters greatly."

Talanall
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Jalen visibly struggles to keep a straight face, but agrees, "I don't suppose it does." Composing himself, he suggests, "Given that he's apparently an intact stallion, maybe you should make a point of stopping by that steadhold where we passed the night when we were on the way into the city. Fifeleah, wasn't it? The master of the steading would be interested in working out an arrangement to have this fellow service a mare or two, I would think. If he's a genuine Ilmuktan, I mean." The half-elf presses, "He is, isn't he? I've never seen one before, but he must be a purebred."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

HVB

"I'm sure he will tell the mare his name," Kya adds with a smile.

Fixxxer
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"He is supposed to be purebred," confirms Chuul. Garren and I looked for some time before we found him. Either way, he is strong as an ox."

HVB

"Do you all have horses?" Kya asks. "I wasn't sure if I should buy one, but I guess I can just walk. I'm pretty used to keeping pace with horses unless you plan on going fast..."

Board Rider
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Avar eyes the young lady and asks, "Your stride matches that of a horse? Impressive."

HVB

Kya shrugs, "Oh, we walk everywhere, Sir Knight. Master Kenro always tells me to keep up or get left behind...and you know what's out there. Not the kind of places you want to be by yourself."
Kya adjusts her backpack again, ready to go once everyone is ready.

Talanall
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Early afternoon, 14 Verdil, 973 IR
Somewhere on the Winterhome Trail
Mereflow Valley

It isn't long before everyone is ready. So after a round of farewells from Boromil and Jalen, Kya and her new friends make for the gates of the city.

The next several hours pass quickly; having a new traveling companion, especially one as friendly as Kya, is a natural incitement for people to indulge in idle chitchat, especially once it becomes clear that the young woman is able to keep up with Chuul's behemoth of a horse. It's equally evident that if Kya had to try to match pace with the lighter-footed steeds favored by Alannah and Oskav, she would gradually fall behind. But even with this limitation in mind, she's impressively quick on her feet.

If the company is relaxed and pleasant, the same cannot quite be said for the weather—starting approximately from your exit from the city, the late spring day shows a blustering rawness that threatens rain. But Chuul and Garren reach a consensus between them that the bluster is only that, and they're correct. By the time the sun climbs overhead, the weather has calmed and warmed.

You're just about ready to start looking for a nice place to stop for a midday meal when Kya notices that there's a cart coming down the trail toward you. A couple of men, one in late middle age and one probably just barely out of his teens, are riding on the seat at the front.

Spoiler: Highlight to view

OOC
Orange squares indicate light undergrowth. A space covered with light undergrowth costs 2 squares of movement to move into, and it provides concealment. Undergrowth increases the DC of Tumble and Move Silently checks by 2 because the leaves and branches get in the way. Running and charging are impossible.

Alannah - Blue 1
Avar - Blue 2
Chuul - Blue 3
Garren - Blue 4
Kya - Blue 5
Oskav - Blue 5
Human Male (Driver) - White 1
Human Male (Passenger) - White 2
Mule - Yellow

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

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