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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by POOHEAD189
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Year of the EverGod 2189 A.D. (After Decimation)


The city of Riverhope was a sprawling settlement of beautifully built structures and lush foliage. If one were to look at it from a Hawk's eyes, they would see a crescent moon of silver, white, brown, and green stand out amidst the ever thickening wilderness that spread beyond. It was famous for its beautiful Riverhope Bridge, nearly a mile in length that stretched from the front gates across the widest point of the River Dúemen. Its foundations were made of Whitestone and Valdium, though it was layered with well crafted timber that gave it a humble feel as one rode or walked across its length.

If he were in the North, a Wood Elven traveler riding upon a great red Elk would have drawn attention in a heartbeat. Here, however, Calanon Aenarion was but a small oddity among a city of people who see the work of the Elves daily. Well, truly he was a Quarter human, which he supposed was quite rare, but it wasn't a very noticeable trait about him other than his more solid build and handsomely Half Elven-esque face. His mount Brogach's hooves clopped and clicked upon the timber laywork of the great bridge. The smell of the flowing river reached his nostrils, and he breathed in deeply. The spray was a welcome relief, for the Elf needed a small measure of peace after traveling hard for days now to see if his friend was truly alive. It would ease his heart to see him, he did not doubt. However, that was not the only thing that had hastened his steps, for no one dared be late for an audience with the Queen of Riverhope.

Above him in the sky, a great eagle screeched into the air and dived, claws extended to capture its meal for the day. Small peddlers sold trinkets and traveling food to the left and right as he passed, with an Elven, Half Elven, and even Human guardsman or two standing vigil every dozen yards or so. Stone faced and clad in Elven steel, with great spears that glinted in the sunlight. A Dwarf with a mule walked passed him away from the city, grumbling in his alien language at his beast of burden. Once Calanon reached the River gate, the guards welcomed him with respectful nods, and one gave a smile. He introduced himself, and was given directions to the place he was to visit.

There were three walls that layered the city. The outer wall made of Whitestone and great works of timber that stretched around the city proper, touching the forest to the west and licked by the river to the east. Within this area of the city were most of the newer businesses and peddlers, as well as where most visitors were housed. The middle wall was of similar design, mirroring the outer wall, only in a smaller area, guarding the living areas of many permanent residences as well as old/established businesses. Further in, to the Inner wall was where the Queen's Palace was located. Its walls were made of Valdium, Silver, and you guessed it, more wondrous Whitestone.

Conveniently for Calanon, the young Elf merely had to turn left at the gate, heading south as the City slightly curved. He did not need to travel a minute before he made it to the front of the Hearth and Flagon. A small contingent of soldiers strode by, but none seemed to be station at the front of this humble, two story establishment. It was a structure made of Southland wood, with a stone base. There was an inviting porch with two rocking chairs up front. Lamps framed the unimpressive door.

"Wait here, Brogach." the Elf said as they stopped at the front of it. Leaping off his steed, he gazed at the wooden door with his midnight blue eyes for a moment or two before striding in without another word. His Elk steed decided to stride to the building's side, grazing upon some grass that had sprung up next to the establishment. Inside, the common room was empty, just as the message had said it would be. The Queen had bought the tavern for the night! There was only a man at the counter, with shoulder length brown hair, rolled up sleeves, and a hardened look about him. He seemed to be the barman the message spoke of, Dirk Swordhand. The man isly wiped the bar counter with a cloth, only glancing the Elf's way.

His Elven ears twitched as a burp could be heard from the other room, and a smile bloomed upon his face when he saw his friend emerge from the kitchen. "Beren," he said simply, the Eru'Dai glancing up at him with a mouth full of sausage. "Well met my friend!" He ended his statement in a chuckle. Beren chewed and did his best to give his greetings, but knew it would be indecipherable, so they embraced in a hug. The tanned Warrior Monk nearly lifted his friend up in the hug. "What are you doing here?" Beren asked Calanon. Calanon shook his head, rich reddish brown hair swaying. "I'm not sure. Were you not told?"

"No one was." the barman said gruffly, then nodded to the massive feasting table at the center of the common room. There was a merry atmosphere about the room, the scent of fine foods and good drink wafting all around them. Comfortable chairs surrounded a long table, lighted by many lamps hung along the walls. Paintings of exploration and wilderness were set between the lamps. "Now take a seat, Queen's orders." the man said. Above the feasting table was a balcony that reached out and surrounded the room, merely an extension of the second floor.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by TheWizardLizard
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Over the past decade, Carver had born witness to all the wonders of Andred. He had ridden through Emerald forests in the height of the spring, scaled mountains that reached up to touch the heavens, worshiped in shrines of marble and cut glass. He had seen the sun set on seaside cliffs and counted all the stars on clear nights, and all these things he took as infallible proof of the love and generosity with which his god had shaped the world. And even so, Riverhope, with its fine buildings and resplendent greenery, was one of the most majestic sights the knight had ever laid his eyes on.

He'd had plenty of time to appreciate it as he rode from the harbor, where the ship that had borne him from Andred had just made berth, to the stable he had been told was nearby, where he could leave his horse for a few nights for a modest fee while he attended to his business in the city. The stable itself was a homely affair that smelled of hay and horses, which Carver supposed was what one looked for in a stable.

He stepped inside, coughing slightly to gain the attention of the elf currently busy shoveling hay into the stall of what appeared to be some sort of giant elk. Carver furrowed his brow at the sight - the South would take some getting used to. "Good day, friend," he spoke, "I am Sir Carver Brightarm, servant of He Who Shaped The Heavens. I was told I might leave my horse here for a time?"

The elf turned to him and bowed low. "You were told true, then. Pay no mind to the price - I'll not take coin from a man of the cloth, whatever god you serve."

"I am no missionary," Carver replied with a smile, his steel-gloved hand already extended with a few coins. "I am a Crusader - an adventurer in search of a righteous cause. I insist you take my coin."

The elf shrugged and pocketed the money before turning back to his task. "Suit yourself. She's the chestnut outside, aye? My boys will bring her in, have no worry. Return for her whenever you like, Carver Brightarm."

Carver brought his hand to his chest and bowed. "May you walk in His beauty, friend." He turned and left, stopping only to pat August on the nose and promise to return for her before he set off in the general direction of the Hearth and Flagon. He had a summons, after all.

The knight had no idea how the Queen had known he would be arriving - as far as he knew, the Elders of the Order had not sent word of his coming to anyone in the South, and even if they had, the timing of the Queen's invitation would have been extraordinary - the message boy was waiting for him literally as he stepped off the boat. Doubtless there was some form of magic involved - best left to those who understood it, as far as Carver was concerned.

After a brief bit of wandering completely lost through the city, some helpful folks were finally able to direct Carver to the inn. He had little use for taverns like this as a teetotaler, but he was not about the ignore a personal summons from the Queen of this new land. The building was rather unremarkable for a Queen's feasting hall, it had to be said. Carver hesitated only a moment before stepping inside.

The room, true to the invitation's promises, was empty, save for three men - the bartender, a slight elf, and a tanned, rugged looking man, the later two of which were warmly greeting each other. Carver strode up to the pair, armor clanking. "Good day, friends! I am Sir Carver Brightarm, of Andred. How shall I know you?"
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by BCTheEntity
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It seemed to Settionne, as he walked into the tavern, that Fineki was paying real close attention to him right now. Maybe seeing how he handled a bit more adversity before he walked into more of it than he could handle. Mere minutes after he'd stepped off the boat into the city of Riverhope - and what a nice city it was, far cleaner and prettier than the place he'd come from, or at least the parts of it he'd been around - some messenger elf strolled up to him with a message from who else but the Elf Queen herself, informing him- Settionne, personally!- that his presence was requested in the Hearth and Flagon inn in the Southern parts of the city. And why not? There'd be patrons, after all, of a sort that might perhaps be of a very high quality, maybe even the Queen herself. And with high-quality patrons would come high-quality donations, or so he'd imagined.

So far, his experience had not been that grand. A couple of thieves had already presented themselves during his travels through the back-alleys- even the prettiest of cities had places Sett was at home in after all- to reach the tavern in the first place - a child pickpocket first, whose hand he'd grabbed and held as it rifled through his belongings, only to flip the boy a gold coin and tell him to "get out of here"; and later on a mugger, a human with a knife, who Settionne had laughed at, then drawn his shortsword on. That scared the guy off very quickly. And yet, now he was here... well, this building, and most of the city that wasn't downtrodden slums, was a much nicer affair than Sett was used to. Dreadlands, even the slums were pretty damn decent as far as streets went, if he was honest with himself. Either way, the inn was decorated simply enough, with nice calm paintings and a long table, and so on and so forth. Homely, one might even call it, given how few people were in there at the moment - just the tough-looking bartender, a Wood Elf, a tanned guy who seemed to be friends with the Elf, and a knight of some sort greeting the other two anew. And if that wasn't the least likely group of people he'd be able to acquire donations from, he didn't know what was - Elves, he knew, were known for their keen eyes and ears; knights were surely unlikely to carry much of worth save the armour on their bodies, and there was no way to hide something so bulky; and the bartender... well, he didn't seem like the sort who'd miss anything happening in his bar. At least not without distraction, anyway. Maybe Sett would buy a round of drinks for everyone, and he'd figure out a way of getting his money back from them whilst he was pouring those out.

For now though, he supposed he might as well make himself known, and ideally make a good impression to begin with. Less suspicion that way. He wandered over to the group of three next to the table, and introduced himself... loudly.

'GREETINGS, fellow men of the world and its various locales!' he exclaimed. 'And what a way for us to MEET, wouldn't you agree? Why, just a few weeks ago, I was in Praelior of all places, wouldn't you believe it? And now, here I am! What a world, what a world, what- a- WORLD! But enough about me, very nice to meet you all, might I ask what your names are, perhaps where you come from?'

Of course, priests were paid to talk. Or to distract, in some cases, as was happening here. He'd never even seen a painting of Praelior, but he figured it'd help to avoid a conversation about his actual home country, and then swiftly to his past, if he brought up a random location once, then swiftly moved to the next topic before anyone could ask about it: introductions... them first, naturally. It didn't do to tell everyone exactly who you were from the get-go.

@POOHEAD189@TheWizardLizard
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Luminosity
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"What did you do next?"

Mira flashed her teeth, a gleaming, playful smile. "I dropped down carefully, bent my knees at the landing, and drew my sword. Darted from tent to tent, quick as I could manage. I crept up behind the Gnoll chieftain and... I yanked his tail, hard as I could!"

The little human girl's eyes went wide with wonder, jaw gaping open, and Mira's smile grew, from where she sat beside her on the side of the street. She had curly red hair and the cutest nose Mira had ever seen. Rose, she'd taken to calling her. When they'd met, the girl wouldn't tell Mira her name, said she didn't like. So Mira made one up, and the little girl loved it. For all intents and purposes, she was Rose. At least in their world.

"Was he angry?" Rose demanded to know, and by her tone, she certainly expected him to be. Mira pushed messy silver hair from one side of her face, blue eyes shining with mirth down at the little girl curled up next to her.

"Oh, he was furious. I'd never seen a Gnoll so mad before. But when he turned around, poof, I was gone, and there was only his second in command standing there, wondering what the problem was. The chieftain was in such a rage, he attacked the other Gnoll, thinking he did it!"

A roll of giggling thunder followed, Rose letting her head fall against Mira's shoulder while she laughed. "You're funny."

"The Gnolls didn't think so," Mira said, kissing the top of the girl's head lightly. "But I grabbed the elf boy they were hoping to have for a treat and made a daring getaway. Took him back to his parents." Despite the ending, Rose's laughter dampened a little, and Mira noticed. "Hey, how are you? Liliana treating you kids alright?"

"Mhm." The orphanage Rose lived in was just down the street. Mira made sure to check in every time she stopped by Riverhope. "Are you staying long this time?"

"Afraid not," she admitted, rubbing Rose's messy hair. "I've been called for a meeting. I doubt it'll keep me here. But you never know. Either way, I'll come see you as soon as I can, love." The two said their goodbyes, and Mira left the girl with a coin to buy herself something tasty for a snack. After that, it was back on the horse, and off to her duty.

The Queen's daughter never ignored her mother's call, especially not when it was sent by one of the city's best trackers. Poor guy had to leave several days early just to find Mira's trail, and give her the message in time for her to get back. She hoped he was being paid well. And she hoped whatever she was wanted for was important. Mira loved staying connected with everyone in Riverhope, but her place was out beyond the walls.

No one stopped her on her way to the Hearth and Flagon. Much as she might wish otherwise, many people knew her face, and who she was. Bastard daughter of mixed-blood, the wild wandering girl, Vanya's unsuccessful protege, fathered by a Praelian... really, only a few actually judged her for such things, but she would prefer if they were not known at all. People like Rose didn't care for her titles or origins, but instead for her company and her deeds.

She strode inside the tavern confidently, her hair done up in a loose and lazy bun so as to keep it from her face. Mira certainly wasn't going to clean up that much for a meeting in a tavern, but she did at least try to change into the least worn and dirtied of her available clothes. She caught Dirk's eye as she neared the feasting table, and he gave her that tiniest of smirks back.

"Fetch an ale for me, handsome?" she asked, pushing a chair back far enough so she could prop her boots up on the table. She sighed. Comfortable chairs. The barman huffed a single gruff laugh back at her. She loved that.

"Sure thing, Mira." He set to it, and brought around her cup a moment later. She took a long first drink, before checking over the early arrivals, one of which was inquiring as to each of their origins. They looked to be from all over. She wondered what was going on.

"Hi," she said casually. "I'm Mira. I'm... a regular patron here."
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Lacks
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Yaroslav sat in the dark dirty alley his back against the cold wet wall with his feet outstretched before him. He stared forward watching the large orange and white stripped rats scurry between the forgotten rotting barrels and piles of moldering debris. He had spent the last four hours trying to force himself to move but had thus far been unsuccessful. Every time he attempted to stand his limbs seemed to turn to lead and he would fall back down into the damp filth.

He had arrived in Riverhope five days prior. Before this he had been preforming enforcer work for an upstart elf Lord by the name of Galvish Bramblethorn in a small muddy town a three day walk to the North. His duties to the Lord had been varied, one day he would be leading a team of mercenaries against one of Galvish’s many enemies the next he would be extorting gold or food from some backwater eleven village that was unfortunate enough to be under Galvish’s control. Despite the unpleasantness of the work Galvish had been Yaroslav’s kind of leader; a man of action who almost preferred when things got messy and did not set limits on how much or in what ways Yaroslav had used magic. Yaroslav had briefly been content there, then the messenger came.

A short confident human had ridden into town on horseback with a letter he said was for Yaroslav’s eyes only. It only took seeing from whom the letter had come from for Yaroslav to know that he needed to comply. After a brief confrontation Galvish had released Yaroslav from his contract and the mage had begun his journey to Riverhope.

He had heard the stories of Riverhope’s beauty and of the happiness of its people, and the moment he entered the city Yaroslav had known the stories to be true. This was not his place. His place was one of blood, mud, and death, this city was a place of love, art, and life. As soon as he entered the city and realized that he did not belong he had found this alley between a tannery and a brickworks. He had been here amongst the dirt and decay for the last two days unable to will himself to go forth into this wondrous place.

Yaroslav was about to attempt to stand once more when he felt something crawl up onto his lap. He did not have to look down to know that this creature was the small young black cat that had been his only companion the last two days. It was an obvious stray, hunger and disease apparent in its features and demeanor but after a time it had become friendly and loving. Yaroslav enjoyed its company and would feed it little bits of dried elk jerky from his pack and would stroke it under its chin as it slept on his lap. As Yaroslav started to pet the cat now he began to entertain the thought of bringing the little creature with him on his travels, he had seen many soldiers keep a sturdy leather pack to carry small pets along during his time in the service and he thought that his new friend deserved a better life than living on the streets. Then as his hand gently passed over the length of the cat’s body Yaroslav snapped out of his daydream and felt an all too familiar wetness.

He looked down to see his feline friend’s body covered in blood. A gaping wound ran the length of the cat’s back down to the bloody stump that had once been its back right leg. Yaroslav did not know how the cat had been injured so terribly but he did know just by a brief glance that the wound was fatal. The cat looked up at him and mewed weakly. Yaroslav looked down at his hand now covered in the animal’s blood and he knew what must be done. He began to let his magic flow.

At first the blood on his hand seemed to begin to steam then boil as it evaporated into a thin red mist. The magic flowed through his body as he looked down at the animal he had hoped to be his travel companion and he watched as its blood began to pour thick and red from its wounds. The cat laid its head down on Yaroslav’s lap and closed its eyes while its blood spilled down onto Yaroslav’s lap and soaked into the fabric of his robe. Then the flow of magic stopped. This was how his spell Blood Siphon worked a steady painless flow of blood out of a wound and when the target’s heart stopped beating the flow of magic stopped.

Yaroslav slowly and painfully stood cradling the limp dead body of his friend in his arms. He carried the poor creature to a small patch of bushes next to a tree on the sunny side of the main road outside of the alley. He used his hands to dig a shallow grave and buried the first creature that might have loved him in a long time.

Once the grave was finished Yaroslav turned and walked toward the Hearth and Flagon. It was time for this mysterious meeting with royalty and he was cover head to toe with filth and blood. He actually smirked at this as he thought “At least everyone there will know exactly what kind of man I am.”

He entered the tavern ten minutes later. He saw that many other individuals had beaten him there and they were mingling. He heard tones of familiarity in some of the conversations and the enthusiasm of introductions in others. He paid no mind to the people or their conversations as he walked directly to the first available chair sat down and closed his eyes in thought of what might be to come.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by VoiD
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Edryd growled in frustration. How was it that he managed to get lost in nearly every single gods-damned city he travelled to? It was like he had a knack for turning down into dark alleyways, missing street signs, and being oblivious to landmarks. Although, as far as alleyways went, Edryd had to admit the one he presently found himself in was amongst the nicest he had found. Even the shitty parts of the city are pretty nice, He mused, though he supposed he should have expected that. The first glimpse of Riverhope he had seen off the boat had made his jaw drop. Edryd could not recall seeing a more beautiful city, and he had travelled to quite a few in his young life.

Thinking of the boat, his thoughts wandered to the messenger elf. He still could not quite believe he had been personally summoned by the Elf Queen herself. Was he more well-known than he had guessed? The thought made Edryd smile. He had no cause to complain if it was true; in fact, the idea made him positively giddy, almost wiping away his black mood before he tripped into a filthy puddle. Cursing, he wiped the muck off his kit and marched onwards. Minus the whole lost-in-an-alleyway-in-a-foreign-city part, Edryd was quite pleased with his decision to travel south so far.

He turned right at the next corner and suddenly he was back into the city proper. Light and fresh air greeted him as he escaped the clutches of Riverhope's alleys, and he smiled broadly. Now if he could only find the inn. He stroked what little stubble he had managed to grow. The Hearth and Flagon, wasn't it? He looked for any landmarks he could go off of. Best not to get lost again, after all. Judging from the multitude of stalls and shops, Edryd guessed he was in the city's markets. He walked up to one of the stalls and asked for directions, and then he was on his way again.

It wasn't long before he reached the tavern. Edryd nervously checked the name and location half a dozen times before nodding to himself. He patted down his clothes, smoothed his hair, and checked his kit to make sure all was in order - he had to look at the least presentable before the Queen! Finally, he took a deep breath, adopted what he thought was a serious-looking expression, and walked inside.

There were several others already mingling, and he hesitated before heading over to the bar. Edryd cleared his throat and asked for one ale, before slowly sitting down in a chair nearby. He swallowed, fidgeted, and elected to continue looking around instead of saying anything more.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by POOHEAD189
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Beren and Calanon both turned to the Knight, Carver, as he greeted them. Calanon's smile was polite, but Beren's grin was more enthusiastic, as if to say 'I approve' to the Knight's manner. "Well met." Beren said, nodding. "Hello," Calanon added. His bow was formal but warm. Before they could get into a conversation however, Settionne's extravagant and loud entrance had them all glancing his way. A wave from Beren was what he managed to get from the confused looks.

They were so confused for a second that they didn't pay much notice to the adventurous and confident woman that strode in after, other than civil smiles in greeting. All of them seemed to enter one after the other in such a fashion that, the Warrior Monk and Ranger seemed surprised to see Yaroslav walk within in such a manner, albeit less so than they normally would from the colorful characters around them. He didn't seem hurt, and the barman didn't seem to surprised, so they kept their mouths shut for a moment.

After a moment or two of mingling, it seemed their chance of getting to know one another would be cut short for a minute. Dirk seemed a bit perturbed by the bloodied mystic and the overzealous, rogueish looking character. If one looked close enough, they'd see the bottom of his left eye twitching ever so slightly.

"Alright now," he said to Mira and Edryd, waving them up. "Sit your asses over to the table that was presented for you." he continued, eyeing Mira more than Edryd, but gave a gruff nod for him to move as well. He seemed like a guy you didn't want to piss off, and Mira knew it was true from her previous visits here. Dirk never hired a bouncer because he did the rough work himself. The man wasn't a stranger to conflict, as an Ex-Mercenary.

As if on cue, Elven servants wearing silver and blue vests began wading out of the back, each holding plates with the most exquisite of foods. The smell was mouth watering. Salted pork, warm Honey Ham, and a freshly cooked Turkey was placed in the center of the dining table, surrounded by potatoes, peas, apples, and various other appetizers being systematically placed down before them.

One Elf with short cropped red hair and blue eyes that danced in the candle light looked to Yaroslav and retrieved a cloth out of his vest pocket. "Um, my good...sir. Would you like to clean yourself off a bit?" Despite Mira and Edryd's drinks, their goblets were filled with wine just as every other Goblet was. Beren raised his hand. "Can I have some water?"
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by The Fated Fallen
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Alice and her dwarfen companion Geradin had been heading to Riverhope for about half a year by now. The reason the journey took so long was because they were travelling adventurers (or vagabonds as the less savoury types shouted.) When your life was on the road at your feet travelling from A to B was never just a simple journey. Still, here they were now and Alice's heart was warmed by the sight.

From a hill to the east of the city the pair had a clear view of the curved walls and delicate architecture. The midday sun seemed to stop being so bright and annoying and instead became warm and welcoming, and even from here every house seemed unique in its design, and yet the whole picture never stood out as garish or varied. It was truly a wonderful place to live and retire. She knew that Geradin would hate it and spend the entire time grumbling

They headed down the road and over the famed Riverhope bridge, of which Alice had seen paintings of in various places over the world. It was so odd to be crossing such a large bridge made out of wood. Such a delicate building resource was intricately carved along every centimetre, if not by elven hand at least in elven design. It quite a sight to see, and Geradin seemed to complain for every centimetre of that famed mile.

"Why did they make it out of wood? This will hardly last a few centuries! Shows what happens when you don't hire a dwarf to work on a grand project. And look at this silly design over it, pfft, you can hardly notice it! Where is the jewels and gold? All these designs are pansy elven work, you can tell because it's overly-pretentious shite! Alice you know I won't insult the race of elves as a whole but their building work practically insults itself. To call it building 'work' is an insult to other different race's architecture. And honestly, where are the braziers along the side? How's a drunken dwarf supposed to find their way along here at night?"

Alice looked aside from the bridge over rolling countryside and responded mainly in nods and sounds of agreement to Geradin's 'critique'. She did respond to the last one, "Are you going to test that theory? Drunken dwarfs over the bridge, I mean." she interrupted his flowing speech

He seemed to ponder the question, before responding "Too early to tell, we'll have to see if they have some good dwarfen brew around here first! I tell you Alice, I'll live in an elven house, defend a human castle and eat gnomish food for the rest of my life. But if I have to give up dwarfen booze..."

"I'll pray to Ragnarok for deliverance." they finished together, she'd heard the saying from several dwarves before, in every variation in every state of sobriety. To be honest, she could see where they're coming from

Walking down the main street they were shouted at by a dwarf from across the quiet road. Needless to say it was like a thunderclap in the calm place. "ROCKHAMMER!" Geradin turned beaming, "AYE!" he cried back, "THAT IS I! WHO ADDRESSES ME!"
"Do you need to shout a response when we could just go over and talk to him?" Alice asked Geradin as they headed over
Geradin laughed heartily and endearingly "My father always said if a conversation is important enough it should carry for miles, Alice, and he was a wise Dwarf he was, long of beard and brain." Alice had been in the middle of some very important dwarfen meetings before and their shouting carried for miles, though nobody was listening to each other

The Dwarf who had shouted across was a friend of the Rockhammer clan, and had recognised Geradin from years ago. He was a hero of human lands, and had finally retired to this place. "Last week I got a letter from the queen, asking me to meet in a tavern and alluding to a quest. Alas, I am too old and committed to such a task, but I bet this would be your kind of flagon. Go in my stead, if you have no other commitments, please. I'm sure it'll be easy for you even with a frail human at your side."

Geradin became more and more excited through the whole conversation, in response to the last comment he turned to Alice and said "She isn't that bad, she drinks and fights like the best of the dwarves, and that's good enough for me. Though a quest from the queen, hey? Aye, we'll make short work of it I'm sure! Thank you friend!" and with that they headed off to this tavern, The Hearth and Flagon, Dwarven customs never demanded idle chatter or even politeness of the same sort of level as human interaction. It was quite normal for someone to just walk away in the middle of a conversation, and the other dwarf would normally stand there talking to the empty space (whether out of pride or failing to notice the other person having left). "Perhaps we'll be lucky and this place will have dwarfen brews." Alice said half to herself
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by BCTheEntity
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'And it is VERY nice to meet a lady as fine as yourself,' Settionne offered to the lady who stated her name after his request for introductions. 'Very nice, m'yes... and you fellows, what abou-'

He cut himself off, double-taking as a man... the only fair word was caked... in blood and mud entered the tavern. A brigand of some sort or another, then, and not afraid to show it. Much unlike Settionne himself, since the topic was being broached, but he certainly did not state this out loud.

'...well, that's one way to make an entrance,' he stated with a clipped laugh, attempting to recover his cool, though he imagined most would be very shocked to see such a sight in a setting like this. 'As I was saying, what about you fellows? It'd be nice to know who you are, get to know you all, and so on, and so forth, and I am SURE the Queen will be most pleased to hear you too!' He took a seat, prompted by the bartender's own annoyed statement- not directed toward him or the rest of the small group he was with, but nonetheless threatening to hear- and took a swig from the goblet before him.

'Ohh, now THIS is some high-quality wine!' he exclaimed to nobody in particular, knowing not very much about wine other than what the Kindly Church of Fortune's Devoted offered in some of its communions, even though it was the more common brew for the middle and higher classes. His usual brew was stout. 'You can tell by the, ah...' Exaggerated sniff whilst swirling. '...yes, the fruity aroma, the way it lingers on your palate, subtle intricacies of that sort.' And given that wine was made of grapes, as any Vrettonian with any cultural pride knew, then of course it was fruity, it couldn't be much of anything other than. Sometimes other flavours were... mixed in, he supposed, flavours like chocolate and other sorts of fruit, but wine was a fruit-based product at the end of the day. Though this was quite nice as far as wine went, he'd gladly admit.

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It was at that moment that the tavern door swung open, as if by a breeze. It had been fully closed beforehand however, and those with a penchant for the mystical could sense high magic being subtly woven. The wind itself touched none of the guests or the food, and simply ceased as the door opened fully. The redder, afternoon sun filtered through the door along with a bit of heat, before their new arrival strode into the Hearth and Flagon.

The only ones among the group at the table that wouldn't have been at least somewhat in awe of the newcomer were Mira and Geradin, though Beren seemed less than surprised as well. It wasn't the Queen that walked in, but an Elven maiden outfitted for travel. She was gorgeous to look upon, with a lithe body of fit muscle and soft curves. Her hair was an exquisite mane of Silver, so long and thick that it trailed down her back and tied into multiple sections, as if wrapping it once in a ponytail could not contain its unbridaled luster. Her face was lovely, but stern, glancing at them imperiously as she strode past the group to stand at the head of the table, her green cloak billowing behind her. She wore the leather and valdium garb of a high ranking ranger, but carried a mythic scepter of awesome power whose diamond gave off a noticeable gleam that seemed to linger, even past the torchlight. The most curious thing about her though, were her iron eyes. They had a soft glow that seemed never to dim.

Calanon sat at the edge of the table nearest to her, and next to Beren. He looked at her in open curiosity. Geradin and decided to start digging in, his Dwarvish disposition keeping him from being effected by Elvish witchery, much less Elvish Witches. Still, even he gave her a glance, as if trying to decipher what to think. Beren watched her at first, and she gazed back at him for a moment, causing him to let out a breath and look at the food instead, staying stoic to his credit. She then gazed at Mira, and raised an eyebrow, before turning to the rest of them. The faintest curve of her lips only hinted at a smile from when she regarded the Half Elf.

"Well, it seems we're all here then." she said suddenly, planting her Scepter upon the ground, a low 'thump' from the sound almost emitting a magical silence to allow her to speak. "Let us get down to business then." Her words fell upon them akin to a soft spring shower. "The Queen would like to apologize for not being able to attend, and it is with further regret that you will not meet with her tomorrow, either. For what I am about to tell you is something of utmost secrecy. But first, I shall introduce myself. I am Vanya Eldendawn, the Queen's sister, Princess of Riverhope, and Mage-Knight Errant of the Realm."

She drew herself up like a proud stallion as she continued. The lamp light flickered as all Elven servants seemed to disappear into the back rooms. "Tomorrow, a council will be convened to discuss a matter of trade, taking place of what the Queen would have met you for, for what you are tasked to do is a matter of the safety of the realm in its entirety. You will leave today, and you will leave without the aid of royal guard or direction, for it must be kept in utter secrecy within these borders, for everywhere spies slip past our patrol. This group, if you accept this charge, will travel deeper into the Southland, and infiltrate the Dark Elf city of Dal'Maroth. The Queen and I have...foreseen a plan that is being wrought by our dark kin, to sink this city into the ground, and to pave their way into the Elven coast, to undo the very Kingdom of Leth'Arian."

Geradin sniffed, and chewed a bit of sausage. "That is the price of steel." he said. Vanya glared at him, and he stared straight back at her, before Beren gave him a look. To the surprise of everyone save Calanon, the Warrior Monk uttered a language only Geradin seemed to understand, for Dwarvish was a closely guarded secret among the stout folk. The Dwarf too was taken aback, before he reciprocated and they spoke of a few sentences in a tongue that sounded both archaic and harsh all at once. "Fine." Geradin said at last, then bit into another sausage, chewing in mild annoyance. "The lad has a point. A good Dark Elf is a dead Dark Elf."

"Make no mistake, Dwarf, that if they succeed and gain a foothold here, your lands would be in danger as well. As would the North. For the Dorcha have also allied themselves with a prominent clan of Vampires." Geradin nearly spit out his food. "Dorcha and Leeches!?" he cried. "I'd be shoved into the book of reckoning for not aiding in this quest!"

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The elven servant stood before Yaroslav offering a clean cloth. Yaroslav was too deep in thought to really hear or understand what the attractive young elf was saying and Yaroslav dismissed him with a wave of his hand. To add emphasis to the gesture Yaroslav let out a small pop of lightning from his index finger. The servant withdrew with a look of both dismay and confusion on his face.

Yaroslav sat at the table covered in food and drink, gave a brief glance around the other individuals at the table, then closed his eyes and concentrated. He wanted to know if any of the others where users of magic and the Vailhearth Guild technique Song of Magic could help him do just that.

As his concentration grew he began to hear the steady bass of new magic user, eager and full of potential, this he believed was the song of the half elf sitting farther down the table. This is the song of all new magic users but this one was deeper and louder than most. He felt that if he were to go questing with this individual he might blow the dust off of his teaching skills and give some pointers maybe he would even teach her some simple spells good for questing.

As Yaroslav day dreamed about being a useful teacher again his mind focused on another song. It was hard to hear at first and he began to concentrate deeper barely making it out. Whispers and chatting in unknowable languages. His brain began to ache as he heard words and hymns not meant for mortal minds. He quickly unfocused as he realized he was hearing the song or songs of the Gods. At least one maybe even two or three of the people in the room were favored by at least one God. This group was going to make for a very interesting adventure.

Yaroslav began to think about his own song of magic. The sound of steel clashing against steel, flesh being pierced and torn, and the guttural moans and screams of dying men. His song had been shaped and made hideous by his own obsession with the art of using magic to kill. He hoped that no one else at the table knew how to hear other peoples' song of magic in fact he hoped no one would ever have to hear the hideous sounds of his magic. He was going deeper into his dark mind when he heard the wind.

At first he heard a gentle breeze, then the breeze became a prominent wind. The sound of trees swaying back and forth in the wind while a thousand wooden wind chimes gently clanged was drawing near. Yaroslav was sure this had to be the sound the queen’s Song of Magic, but as the door to the room opened in walked what appeared to be an elven mage warrior.

He listened as Vanya Eldendawn, the Queen's sister, explained the situation and who they may be up against. Dorcha and Vampires, there was no way they would be completing this quest without a fight. No one on this team would expect mercy from these vile races which means Yaroslav did not have to show them mercy. The excitement began to well up in Yaroslav, they were about to face an enemy that he would not have to hold back against, he could truly let his magic flow. He began to breath heavy and he stopped focusing on the room around him as all he could think about was the amount of magic he would soon be using. He heard the dwarf make a quip when he snapped back to reality, he realized in his introspective state he had accidentally made a wine cup, a plate, and several piece of cutlery before him levitate several inches above the table. He focused and somewhat gently placed the items back on the table. He turned his eyes up to Vanya, cleared his throat, and in a voice just barely containing his excitement said “It is an honor to serve the Queen.”
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The inside of the inn was as regular as all other lands, in stark contrast to the exotic and distinct exteriors. To be honest Alice would feel much better sleeping in a familiar environment tonight. She was barely given a moment to scan the current patrons of the bar before their reason for being here arrived. From what she could tell at a glance, they all seemed different from your average denizen of the plane, and that meant each and every one was used to sticking up for themselves and becoming very dangerous in the process

Alice remained undaunted by the elf's flamboyant display of magic, despite the implications. To just wield magic at one's leisure simply to make an impressive entrance revealed a deep set and natural power. Alice didn't feel like testing what the effects of strong innate power and hundreds if not thousands of years of training would leave this elven lady capable of. Despite this display of grandeur and power it was recognisable to those in certain circles this lady was not the queen, though she certainly looked royal enough. There was no battalion of guards following, and if the queen was planning to arrive in secret she wouldn't have hired the inn to herself and made such an entrance. She opened with that fact, stating she was the queen's sister, Princess Vanya Eldendawn, a name Alice did not know since she was unfamiliar with the politics of these parts. What she could infer, however, was that she must be either the Queen's right hand or her left hand just by her being here. She most likely earned her place in court, as oppose to simply sharing blood, the system most human kingdoms have. If it wasn't already abundantly clear, Princess Vanya Eldendawn was a very dangerous and capable lady

Not a hint of this revelation of cogitation showed itself upon Alice's composed form, and she listened intently to every word. She may not be elven, but she liked to think she had the grace of them. What did reveal itself on her face was a little surprise at Geradin's quick acceptance of the quest. Once she would have thought the Dwarf would have hated the 'skittish' elves like many of his kin, but perhaps her friend just enjoyed the idea of warring against a more hated enemy. "A good Dark Elf is a dead Dark Elf." he said through his eating. Alice admitted to herself that she too was quite hungry after the long journey, but wouldn't stoop so low as to show such weariness to the Elven company.

"Make no mistake, Dwarf, that if they succeed and gain a foothold here, your lands would be in danger as well. As would the North. For the Dorcha have also allied themselves with a prominent clan of Vampires." Geradin coughed greatly, eliciting a slight grimace from Princess Vanya. "Dorcha and Leeches!?" he spluttered in the way Dwarfen folk do. "I'd be shoved into the book of reckoning for not aiding in this quest!"

A man Alice had failed to notice beneath a beaten and mudded cloak spoke up, "It is an honour to serve the queen." though the sentence seemed to be sarcastic, he said it in an upbeat and juvenile manner. Alice had other more pressing questions for now and chose not to dwell of the oddity

"Princess Vanya, Alice Peerbane." followed by a slight nod of the head from both parties, as was custom for nobles across the civilised lands. "Word has it the vampire clans around these parts are small in number and weak of blood. I profess I do not know the intricate workings of their circles, but what might have changed? And why are the Dark Elves attacking now. Is there a particular reason for this sudden increase in hostility, and as to why your current defenses are now inadequate to defend against an ancient foe so that you must look to outside help?"

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It was shortly before the somewhat flamboyant entry of the queen's representative and while at least one could already her 'song' that someone else's magic presence went completely undetected - for a virtually complete lack of existence. An-Hasst approached the Hearth and Flagon in a rush, knowing that there wasn't time left to loose for him. If it had not been the queen herself that he had expected, he would probably have hurried even more.

The half-elf almost slammed open the door, but managed to intercept its journey towards the wall 180 degrees around before there was a loud bang. At first glance it could have seemed that he had just stumbled over something in an unlucky moment, perhaps a piece of uneven pavement, or that he was just so exhausted that he bent forward. Then it became clear that it actually was the only way for him to get through without hitting the frame. An-Hasst combined turning around to close the door with casting a glance at the group that had assembled around the longish table in front of him. These had to be his future companions, or at least he hoped so because one of the last things he could afford now was to be busy finding the right gathering in here.

He wore some sort of cloak, however the thing was bristling with scales out of a material that possibly was not very familiar to everyone. The sound of them sliding above and hitting each other as their owner made his way to the next chair didn't fit the suspicion that they could be made out of metal and the very dark brown color didn't match up with that thought either. The chair he sat down on was so low in relation to his body that it just had to lack a serious bit of comfort, but apparently a Skayleigh wasn't what people were expecting here. Aside from that, the piece of furniture did put on a considerable amount of audible protest against him as well.

For the lack of time, it was not until both the queen's sister's address and the initial reactions to it had ended that An-Hasst raised his own, very chesty but not unfriendly voice: "I have to agree to these questions. I'm likely completely lacking personal expertise in this region, but... There must have occured something that either greatly increases their power or greatly decreases that of Riverhope, doesn't it ? A sudden increase in available might would explain why they are suddenly so eager to attack, now that they would feel able to carry out plans with the chance of success waving at them."
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Vanya gave a light scowled at Yaroslav, and waved her free hand hand dismissively. She was indeed powerful in magic, for she had given no incantation nor looked to have even paid much attention, and the man's clothing was mystically wiped clean within moments. "If you choose to stay and travel in this group, that means being unassuming. Someone covered in blood will be quite the eye sore. In all honesty, if it were up to me, I would go myself and bring a contingent of Silver Knights with me, but it isn't my decision."

Her glowing orbs met Alice's when she spoke, and inclined her head with the barest movement. Respect for a fellow (and sane) magic user, if nothing else. "I do not know if what you have heard is or is not rumors, but I was not aware of any Vampire covens here for some time, though of course, things can change. Riverhope is no weaker than it ever was, in truth. But as you all know, Torek is dangerous at the best of times."

She gripped her mystical staff with both hands, and gave an ethereal summoning word that somehow dimmed the light of the fires around the tavern common room without snuffing them out. In unison, a small image began to form above her diamond headed scepter, as if they were gazing into a looking glass. Before them was a thick forest of tall trees, with no sign of civilization in the picture save one single tower. It was a structure tall and strong, with well carved stone and a shimmering power to it beyond reckoning. Only...freshly mangled corpses were hung from the windows. Bleeding human and Elven skins were stapled by spears along the stones, and debauchery and vice of the worst sort were being performed by firelight from within judging from the shadows viewed from the window, and screams that echoed within the halls. The Image flowed downward, until they saw the forest floor that was streaming with scarred barbarians, feral demons, and Death Knights wearing armor made of black iron and wielding blades of hell metal. The image dissipated shortly after...

"These are dark times." she said as the light returned to the room, her words carrying intense and ominous weight. "The last of the Mythic towers of Vigilance, used to guard the Dreadlands, have been corrupted by the Demons beyond. Orcs have grown more agitated from the recent wars of the north, growing ever bolder and wilder. And now this menace has arisen to face us. If I were to recite all of the threats of this world, we would be here for quite some time. It is up to you...a task given by my sister the Queen, to embark upon this quest and disrupt this ritual that will destroy this city. Succeed, and you can ask my sister of anything you so desire, and will receive your weight in golds and jewels. Do you accept?"
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It wasn't often that Settionne was stunned by incomparable beauty. However, he'd made an exception for the sister of the Elven queen, for her appearance was as rich as her personality... and the woman herself was gorgeous on top of that, but the loot she had on her was surely priceless! So shocked was he to see such powerful artefacts that he barely paid attention until the image of corpses hung from the walls of a great tower was displayed. One of the towers of Vigilance, from her subsequent words... the last one. Now desecrated beyond repair. That would probably suck for everybody else.

And then golds and jewels were mentioned. A lot of them. Regardless of what the quest itself was- something to do with Dark Elves and Vampires, a proposition that he wasn't quite fond of but had no reason to assume he couldn't deal with or avoid when push came to shove- there was no way he could return to his church having passed up an opportunity like that. Dreadlands, with that much money, he could skip the return and build a full-blown cathedral to Fineki wherever he wanted! Regardless of how much luck he had in that endeavour, he was sure his deity would smile upon him for such a praise-inducing endeavour! Although, it might be wise to gather additional funding for such a project, just in case... oooor just have the Queen set up the construction right here in Riverhope? Why return to the rat-infested streets of Vrettonia when he had a perfectly fantastic city to build in right here? He'd get just as many worshippers for his god, maybe more for the incoming travellers; he'd have no obvious opposition for the role of high priest of such a cathedral, since it seemed Fineki's presence wasn't particularly grand in this location yet; and he certainly wouldn't mind if he spent the rest of his life in this place, beautiful as it was... hmm, choices, choices...

'Well, m'lady,' the priest finally spoke, a polite grin on his face masking his glee at the possibilities presented to him, 'I do have something in mind as far as requests go. But, if it requires that we deal with these, ah, Dark Elves? If we must eliminate them first, then I suppose there is no reason to assume I should not assist in this endeavour to whatever degree I can manage, no? T'would be my honour to help such a stunning individual as yourself, after all, my fairest lady...' he concluded with as much of a bow as he could muster from sitting. Again, "stunning" did not necessarily refer to the lady herself, but he was perhaps overly confident in the security of his own mind, and felt no need to reveal his true opinions about her... equipment.

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Alice considered the request as another man spoke up, pledging his allegiance which was dipped in far to much petty flattery for him to be part of any aristocracy, despite his well tailored clothes. The Vretonnian edge in his voice, just like Alice's, meant she could guess he was a priest, either of Fineki or Tirdel or something she couldn't quite remember the name of know about. Truly the aforementioned religions were so rare in her homeland it was incredible she remembered their names at all, so she had no idea of which one he might be. To be honest she didn't much care to find out, and was just idly musing while she considered the Princess' question.

There would be much danger, that was obvious and not concealed by Vanya. The image she showed perturbed Alice and most of those in the bar. Other than Geradin, she noted, who just seemed to get even more pumped up for the coming conflict. Alice sighed, and resigned herself to the fact that many people would join this venture, and not all too many would come back. "It seems we cannot shirk our duty. If this city were to fall it would give invading forces a strong foothold against the rest of the civilised world. Another question, though. What assistance will you lend us?"

She fruitlessly hoped the Princess would say "Our army and five hundred magical tomes." but life could never be that easy. None of the gods wanted it that way if you subscribed to such beliefs. Besides, such wishes were not based in reality because it was doubtful the princess could spare them, such as it is recently with such danger around. The time for adventurers is normally when every other source of might has been exhausted.

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Harvan sat back in his corner chair and thought about what he had just heard. When he received the letter from the Queen Harvan had just assumed it was a recruitment effort for guardsmen, either on the road or in the townships of the southlands. Harvan had been travelling around the North for a few years now, guarding caravans until he made enough to take the pass south to Riverhope. He had seen a couple of familiar faces in the city and assumed that they had put in a good word for him. This was full scale adventuring though, something Harvan had never done before.

Harvan took a moment to look around the table. He was glad that the Queen's sister, Vanya was her name, had cleaned up the blood covered mage. Harvan had been covered in blood his fair share of times, but there is a difference between being covered in something and wallowing in it. Aside from the mage, who made Harvan uncomfortable, he felt fairly at ease in this group. Harvan didn't consider himself an adventurer and picked at his clothing nervously. Harvan stopped suddenly, smoothing the white and green cloth. He decided the question was, would he be needed? It looked to him that most of the people around the table would be able to take care of themselves but that didn't mean he wouldn't be of use.

The half-elf woman and the priest, Mira and Settione if he heard correctly, both looked very scrappy, they probably wouldn't need much assistance. The knight looked, well, like a knight. No need for Harvan's assistance there. The Queen's sister radiated power and Harvan felt like she had no use for a boy such as himself waiting at her heel. There was also the wood elf in scale armor, not someone who looked particularly helpless. Harvan made a note to ask the elf about the nature of the creature he was wearing before he left, there had to be a great tale behind that. There was also a nervous looking mercanary fellow. He was probably fine on his own, though he looked the most approachable to Harvan. Out of all of the group he looked like the best travelling companion.

This finally left the... two mages? The grimy, bloody one was obviously a mage, and would need protection. It looked like the man even needed help standing up. Harvan shuddered, worried that he would be stuck helping keep that one safe, although if he was covered in that much blood the mage might never be near enough to danger to need protection. There was also the young human woman. She looked like a noble and didn't seem particularly well armored. Harvan assumed that she was a mage, she had that look, especially if she has travelled far wearing the clothes she was. Again, he was always happy to put a shield between himself and a comrade but it is hard to judge how much help a magic user needs.

Realizing he was getting nowhere Harvan pulled out a small bag of multi-sided charms, each decorated with small inscriptions. Silently asking if he should join this quest Harvan dropped them on the table, making as little noise as possible. Harvan deflated a little as he looked at the stones. His Grandmother had taught him the basics of throwing rune stones but he usually couldn't get more than a simple yes or no answer out of them, and whatever he was looking at right now was far too nuanced for him to read. Harvan went to pick them back up but stopped as he felt eyes on him. He realized he didn't manage to cast them as serruptitiously as he was hoping. Harvan wasn't sure who was watching him but he stopped and mimed studying them a little harder. He then swept them into the bag and stood up. "I would be honored to join this endeavor. You have my help." He then bowed and sat back down. Harvan had no idea how he looked.

Hopefully not as silly as he felt.
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An-Hasst had to suppress a chuckle. The trail of slime that this other guy had laid out with so much effort for the Queen's sister to slip upon was... awe-inspiring. What was his name ? Oh well... the half-elf half-giant didn't know. He didn't know the name of anyone here, with the exception of Vanya. A major flaw resulting from himself being late that required fixing once he had the opportunity. For now, Settionne was secretly assigned the designation the-guy-who-does-barely-reach-my-waist by the elf. Last but not least he hoped that some of the others shared his opinion about this kind of verbal approach.

Even without her verbal explanation, the images presented by the Queen's sister would have been quite acceptable as an answer for his question. With it, they became just even more dreadful. It made the half-giant even forget that the reward would be his weight in gold, despite the fact that this meant that he would get much more than everybody else of the party. It was clear that something had to be done, and fast. Perhaps if one had been able to travel to the northern shores and tell the Andred people about this, valuable resources would have been transferred to fight against this threat instead of continuing a stupid war. However things weren't that easy. If they had been, the queen or her sister probably would already have initiated efforts going in this direction. And how could he know that they didn't ? Perhaps they had failed.

It was when Alice brought up the question about assistance that An-Hasst made his full return to the here and now. "Yeah. Will there by any members of the guard accompanying us ?" Something told him that this would not be the case... "Also we will need supplies, and probably mounts if we want to be fast. I don't know if everyone has already got anything necessary or will be able to muster it in a reasonable amount of time." Oh... he had entirely forgotten to explicitly tell her that he accepted the quest. Hopefully the implicity in his questioning would not go unnoticed.
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"Oh I would be ecstatic to hear what you would request." Vanya said, sarcasm evident as she spoke out of the corner of her lush lips. As the Vrettonian man said he was honored to join the quest though, the Elf was pleased. Despite her harsh nature, she was after all, very concerned for the well being of the city and the orders of her elder sister. She breathed deeply into her nose, gathering her poise once more as she turned to Alice.

"Ah yes, to the point. Very good." she said. "Under your seats, you will find a few notable items that are within fine packs of Elven silk." For those of them who were learned, or familiar with Elven ways, Elven silk was a fine fabric that was not only flexible and could be used as clothing, but was as durable as steel. It was a very rare substance, wrought of an intricate mixture of sorcerous alchemy and linen.

"Within these packs, you will first find a silver necklace that allows those of you with less than apt vision to see in the dark beneath the world. Albeit not as well as your compatriots like Geradin here. It will be as if you are walking upon a field under a full moon with naught a cloud in the sky. You also have 3 jugs of Guarden Juice..." Calanon perked up at that, giving a smile. Vanya inclined her head in a small nod to the fellow Elf. "One jug can sustain you for days without food, keeping you at full strength. You will also find a vial of Holy water, as well as various, more mundane things such as rope, a few days worth of rations, flint and tinder..."

She turned to the Skayleigh, first eyeing the young guardsman before continuing to the Half giant, and gave a snort. "You've not been to the Southland for long have you? We have Elvish steeds, yes. But we would need them back, for they are fine beasts and could not follow you into the dark. However, I can teleport you some miles away from here, to where you shall then link up with my Half sister, Verya. She and a small contingent of Rangers will guide you to your next destination. This is where it becomes more of a problem, for we do not exactly know where this Dark Elf city is, but we know how to find out. The Lizardfolk of the region have the most accurate...maps of the Southland, both above and below ground. You will need to infiltrate one of their Megaliths. There you will find the proper route to the City state known as Dar'kvallen. Now, if you've any more questions speak up. You have some time to eat before you must go. Do so, and get to know one another. Your lives will depend on you cooperating. Not to mention the lives of those dwelling within this city."
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Almost all the assembled reached down in unison to find the bag aforementioned, sifting through the items as Princess Vanya listed them off. All of these items were of extremely good make, and the enchanted ones can't have been easy to make. Missions like this one must not be a one off to have prepared enchantments to these exact specifications. Alice had drunk some of this Guarden juice back in the courts of her homeland, but it had never been for her really. It had a cloying fragrant taste to it but there was no doubting the revitalising properties, with every drop drunk aches seemed to disappear and it felt like you stood that little bit higher and straighter. She took a sip of it there and then, to help relieve her of the journey here. Pretty quickly her senses snapped back from their fatigued state, she lowered and stoppered the jug.

Alice went back to her original article of fascination, of which was the enchanted necklace. She rolled it in her hands delicately, though she knew it would likely be the toughest thing in the room thanks to the magic fused into it. Every one of them looked to be a different design, and were likely made by different mages (or one who was bored by the idea of making identical items over the course of a year.) Alice's design featured a large and deep coloured amethyst with small points of some sort of silver inside, shimmering as it moved like the night sky. It was a truly remarkable item that would have captured her heart had she seen it anyway, let alone with it's powers. She calmly fastened it around her neck where it fitted nicely and hardly expected it to have much of an effect in a room like this, and her attention was too quickly back on Princess Vanya to test it.

She seemed to speak to the strangely short Giant about a question Alice had glossed over "You've not been to the Southland for long have you? We have Elvish steeds, yes. But we would need them back, for they are fine beasts and could not follow you into the dark. However, I can teleport you some miles away from here, to where you shall then link up with my Half sister, Verya." Half sister? Alice dismissed the curiosity, and listened further "She and a small contingent of Rangers will guide you to your next destination. This is where it becomes more of a problem, for we do not exactly know where this Dark Elf city is, but we know how to find out. The Lizardfolk of the region have the most accurate...maps of the Southland, both above and below ground. You will need to infiltrate one of their Megaliths. There you will find the proper route to the City state known as Dar'kvallen." That sounded like fun. Shouldn't these rangers already have maps from the Lizardfolk? Either in preparation for this mission or just for their own reference. Alice once again didn't bring this up, though it nagged at her.

"Now, if you've any more questions speak up. You have some time to eat before you must go. Do so, and get to know one another. Your lives will depend on you cooperating. Not to mention the lives of those dwelling within this city." Alice didn't raise her voice, she knew she'd need as much time as possible trying to learn about the others. She was sure they had long stories worth the telling if they much cared to

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