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Passive Perceptions:
Lauk the Wizard - 16
Markus Flintbrook the Fighter - 15
Aurix the Warlock - 14
Ardour the Monk - 13
Vodalus the Cleric - 10

Initiative:
Ardour the Monk - # +5
Lauk the Wizard - # +5
Markus Flintbrook the Fighter - # +2
Aurix the Warlock - # -1
Vodalus the Cleric - # - 3

Quests:


Post Archive:


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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Mae
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Mae Crayola

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》THE YAWNING PORTAL
@Cao the Exiled@Lauder@Vertigo@duskshine749@Ellri@DTHar

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It is a fine evening in the city of Waterdeep and the usual suspects are gathered in the Yawning Portal tavern. Raucous laughter fills the air amid the chatter of a myriad of voices, coloured in a cacophony of all kinds of people and races. The sturdy door creaks on it's hinges as yet another crowd bumbles past the stoop and seeks merry shelter from the pouring rain and wind. Out there it's a nightmare. In here it's a party.

Duran slams another couple drinks on the bar and slides them down to awaiting greedy hands. Someone calls out to him, shaking a tankard at the red writing on the board above the bar. "I've got fifteen on Daggerford," they say, "Their times almost up."

People lounge on the staircase up to the lower balcony, slowly ambling into more of a queue then a gaggle. There's some loud haggling going on up there. On the highest floor of the Tavern, a halfling bard plays a lute relatively decently, his leg lazily dangling over the side of the balcony as his song is mostly drowned out. A few folks try to nip and duck their way to their rooms they have rented for the night, though your party accounts for a number of those locked doors.

In the midst of it all, surrounded by drunks and guffaws, sits the maw of the Yawning Portal itself. A pit that descends deep into the belly of the earth, and the reason for your travel. The winch used to transport those who dare make the trip into Undermountain sits beside the well innocently, a simple rope and pully system with a small bucket nearby. A crude wooden sign is attached to the stones of the well, reading "1 GP per journey, both down and up" in sloppy red paint.

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Lin has managed to grab a table directly next to the Portal itself. Behind you, a fire crackles merrily, and above you is the lower balcony. Your benefactor Esvelle is here somewhere, but today the tavern is jam-packed with patrons and it's hard to discern her among the crowd. She approached your party a tenday ago with a job involving Undermountain, paying in advance and covering the costs of your lodging here - starting yesterday - until the job she has hired you for is completed. Your arranged meeting time is shortly.

In the meantime, why not settle in?
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Lauder
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Aurix





She looked down upon all the other soft ones in the tavern, no natural armor or weapons to call their own and having to rely upon their own devices. Yet, she knew that she could not judge them nor view them as defenseless hatchlings as most of her species did for even Aurix had to do things for power. Yellowed eyes looked among the patrons, seeing the food being served caused her hunger to grow before she inevitably decided to push her way through the crowd to the bar. When there was someone in her way, she merely put a hand on their shoulder and pushed past them, many moved others made her move.

A lizardfolk was an odd sight, especially in this part of the world and Aurix could certainly feel the eyes of the soft ones scratching into her hide. Such a feeling may warrant nervousness from one who was not a lizardfolk, but she felt nothing towards the prying eyes that seemed to focus on her. Eventually, she reached the bar, leaning against it before she would finally speak.

“Meat!” Aurix demanded.

Her voice was loud and deep, loud enough to be heard over the merriment of the tavern but without hint of aggression nor happiness. Her stomach brought hunger and she sought to remedy the problem. Aurix looked at a human who was seated next to her, now staring at her with a confused look.

“Are you food?” She asked the man, her voice lowering menacingly as she merely gazed at the man with unblinking eyes. He merely hiccuped in response as the smell of his drink hit her nostrils, causing her to reel back slightly. Stated a moment, Aurix let out a low rumbling in her throat that went on and off, it sounded like a laugh. Such a trait was not common amongst her kin but it seemed that Aurix had mastered the laugh before she turned her attention back to the bar.

The joke things that the soft ones seemed to like were pleasurable. It made her as close to happy as a lizardfolk could feel knowing that she had mastered jokes as well.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by DTHar
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Lin was seated casually in the table closest to the pit.
She did not plan to perform tonight, but as it was, muse struck. And when the muse strikes, who was she to deny it? No one, nothing.
She was wearing her leather armor, her long gray hair was braided in a soft, loose, practical braid. She had one leg leaned against the seat in front of her. On her lap laid a large Dulcimer, an instrument consisted of strings and a wooden hollow trunk. She held a fret in one hand, and the neck of the Dulcimer in the other, looking up at the halfling that had played before her.

A smile formed on her lips. She placed a hat on the table, because why not? she could earn some coins with this.
Then, she began playing, interweaving her melodic tones between those of the halfling's, jamming her way into the crowd's ears.
Soon, the halfling was quite taken with the sound and skill the Dulcimer's player, and came to a cease.
But it was too late. Lin was already too deep into her own playing. Her eyes were closed, and her entire body moved along with her playing.

Solo dulcimer, songless

The music shifts to a more structured tone
She then broke into singing, adding her voice to the mesmerizing show:

Her voice was soft and gentle.

"Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing
Onward the sailors cry.
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye
Loud the wind howls
Loud the waves roar
Thunderclaps rend the air
Baffled our foes
Stand by the shore
Follow they will not dare
Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing
Onward the sailors cry.
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye
Many's the lad fought on that day
Well the claymore did wield
When the night came
Silently lain
Dead on Colloden field
Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing
Onward the sailors cry.
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over…"

Every now and then, a person would come, nod in gratitude and place a coin or two in the hat. She would return that nod, offfering a bittersweet smile.

At some point a gnome man tried to sit on a chair around that table, and she moved in a quick movement to block his way with her leg, -not- stopping her singing nor her playing.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Ellri
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Even from the outside, the Yawning Portal tavern was clearly lively this night. The hub-hub of lively behavior could easily be heard from the street. Slowly a hulking figure made its way towards one of the tavern’s double doors. While not tall for a human, the figure was considerably wider of shoulder and body, with thick legs. It clearly wasn’t in any rush, but also clearly was planning to travel if the amount of goods and equipment it carried was any indication.

The doors’ well-oiled hinges moved soundlessly as he pulled them open, stepping inside. Where he had been a dark figure that wasn’t easy to tell much about out in the dark street, the light inside the Yawning Portal was more than sufficient to illuminate his body. While burdened with some equipment, the figure was quite unusual, even more so than the lizardfolk who just shouted out about meat as he stepped inside. His thick, tree-trunk-like legs were tough-looking, perhaps indicative of significant strength, rising up to a thick, black-and-purple tortoise-like shell out from which poked a short tail.

He looked neither young nor old, his eyes almost glowing in the light of the fires within. Scanning the room, he did not need much time to find some of his compatriots at a table right next to the stony wall surrounding the hole for which the tavern was named. He stomped over, shaking off a few droplets of water from the rain outside, then seated himself on a stool with his back to the fireplace to dry off, his thick, wooden staff casually leaning against his shoulders, a couple of the numerous leather bands attached to it hanging down loosely.

Sitting silently he listened to the song of another of his companions, waiting to speak until after she finished up. It was a nice song, one that was clearly made near oceans, but which sparked memories of his home that was both similar to and worlds different from the oceans. Eventually, her song stilled, being replaced with the somewhat boisterous cheering from the tavern’s current denizens.

“So. What be happening? Why did you call me here? And where’s the honeyed mead?” He knew perfectly well why, but he wanted to hear it anyways.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by duskshine749
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While normally Jhimas would have been the first to the meeting place everyone had agreed on he decided today he would try taking his time. He had been out that day, making sure all this equipment was sturdy and he had enough supplies for their mission. Many people in town either had umbrellas or were hurrying to find shelter from the wind and rain. Not Jhimas though, the cold and wet of the day reminded him of home, reminded him of Kholmos, the best friend that he couldn't protect.

The thing about crying underwater was that you couldn't feel the tears stream down your face, but on the surface you felt all of it. Right now Jhimas felt a tear going down his face, even with all the rain. But right now he had a small smirk on his face, thinking of his friend from long ago. He was in a better place now, watching down on him, probably mocking Jhimas whenever he missed his mark with a blade. "Lucky bastard, not like you have to fight anymore," Jhimas may have seemed like he was talking to himself, but he knew Kholmos was with him.

Jhimas then made his way to the tavern and dried himself off as best he could be going in. He wasn't the best when it came to understanding the ways of humans and the like on the surface but he knew that walking in to a place completely drenched was generally not appreciated. A man came stumbling out the door, clearly intoxicated, and eyed Jhimas before asking him, "hey buddy, why do you look like you're ready for a fight?"

It wasn't an uncommon question, Jhimas spent all his waking hours in his armour with his weapons on hand. "You never know when evil will rear its ugly head, I'm most comfortable when I'm able to defend those who need defending."

The man just scoffed and continued on his way, and Jhimas entered the tavern. It was a busy evening, that was no surprise given the weather. Jhimas wasn't the most observant person, so it took him a moment to notice Lin's music among all the other tavern sounds. But he did hear her and followed the music to find her sitting at a table right next to the portal, appropriate. "Good evening friends," Jhimas said as he took a seat opposite Lauk, "Lin your music is wonderful as always. Lauk...good to see you too." Jhimas always felt like he had no idea how to compliment Lauk, it didn't help that they weren't always on the most friendly of terms. He didn't know the whole story but he knew Lauk had a not so great experience with a demon of some sort and the end result was he didn't like cheese or fish. Good thing Jhimas was only a fish person or else that might have been awkward. They've warmed up to each other now, but Jhimas still felt like Lauk was a bit uneasy around him.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by DTHar
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When Lin had finished her song, she bowed, and grabbed the coins she collected, tossing one in the air, tugging on the rim of her pocket, and it landed ~~~riiiiiight in there.

She kept playing quiet notes, and smiled at her friends. "Evening..."

The music stopped for a moment, as she counted with her fingers, pointing one at each - thumb for Lauk, "One..." Index finger for Aurix which she had noticed, pointing in her direction "Two!" then the middle finger for Jhimas grinning amused at him "Lucky number three!"

"We two short, aint we? a monk... and a hunter. hmm... sounds like the opening line of a joke... what was it?" She tapped her chin trying to remember.

she then waved that finger in Jhimas's and Lauk's direction.
"I know! here it goes!:

A monk, a hunter, and a druid go into a tavern.
The hunter orders a pitcher of mead, and three jugs.
The Innkeeper offers them three metal glasses.
The hunter asks - Who wants a bit (=beat) ?
The monk said - 'I dont drink'
The druid said - 'I dont do metal'
GET IT??"

She laughed to herself, shaking her head, while going on with her playing.

"Oh... I didn't call you all here. Esvelle did. She here somewhere...I'll find her when we are all here. In the meantime, are those tears or are you just sad to see me?" She slapped her knee laughing again, shaking her head.
"Aaah... I crack myself up"
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Ellri
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As the bard told her joke, Lauk sat there listening. She laughed at her own joke. He stared. Then he chuckled slightly about half a minute later, having successfully analyzed the unfamiliar joke. These people really were strange. (Insight vs. joke: 14)

After a while, one of the wandering barmaids walked close by and he signaled for a tankard of honeyed mead, which arrived reasonably fast, paying her the cost of four nibs and whispered "for you." as he passed over two additional nibs. It never hurt to be on the good side of the serving staff.

"Esvelle, you say? Interesting." He thought over what he knew about the quest they had been given and realized he knew far less than he preferred. Still, surely something would be given eventually. Not often parties like theirs were hired to delve into the underground. Certainly shouldn't be any wars down below Waterdeep. Or so he thought, at least. Though it could be that they would be teleported somewhere, he supposed. 'Oh well, time will tell...' he thought to himself as he settled down with the mead to await the last two.
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Cao the Exiled
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Atanase had been out, walking the busy streets as he often did at night. He liked his solitude for multiple reasons, mostly for what he was, and who he seeked. Atanase had walked into the tavern with his armored leather coat worn close to him while a hood covered his head and face. "You as a person is wonderful and charming. As a bard, you're skilled unmatched. But please Lin, keep the ill jokes to the obnoxious gnomes. As a comedian, you are as dreadful as the mist it's self". Atanase would sit down, using his 'hard senses' to examine the room. Atanase would remove his hood, nodding a greeting to the rest.





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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Lauder
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Aurix





Eventually, someone at the bar came to help Aurix and her increasingly hungry stomach, and she gave the bar worker an expecting look. The two merely stared at each other for a moment before the worker let out a sigh before looking at the drunk man that was next to the lizardfolk, currently laughing with Aurix. Such was the way of a drunken fool who had probably never even seen a laughing lizard in his life, but all the same, Aurix continued her rumbling laughter.

“What would you like,” the worker asked, rather unenthusiastically,

“Meat,” Aurix answered.

“Deer flank or wolf steak?”

“Meat,” the lizardfolk insisted, earning another sigh from the worker.

“Deer flank it is,” the worker said before looking at Auirx, “That will be eight silver pieces.”

Aurix gave the man an inquisitive look before shifting her backpack around her body to inspect what she had. As a lizardfolk, she did not truly understand the necessity of currency as it did not aid the survival of one’s self, but if the soft one’s insisted on using a useless metal then she would gladly give it to them if not to lessen the weight on her back. She sifted through the backpack and eventually retrieve a small golden coin, setting it on the counter.

“Keep silver,” Aurix said, closing her backpack and hoisting back into its place. She watched as the worker walked off, leaving her to patiently wait for her flank of deer, which she did receive after some time. Her mouth salivated as she lifted up the plate to walk to where her allies had been sitting. Pulling up a chair, the lizardfolk began to rip into the flank in a rather savage manner, without a word spoken to her companions and without the use of silverware.
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Vertigo
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Ardour had arrived to the tavern many an hour ago.

In no time at all, he'd lost sense of time among the merry folk. The tiefling had always thought taverns to be intriguing; ale flowed, people mingled, and information was exchanged with far less care than was wise. It was true that in many of the taverns he'd visited in his life, his kind was hardly present - or liked, for that matter. But with enough people, music and merrymaking, it was not impossible to become just one face in a hundred. And the more alcohol was involved, the more open people were to entertain even a supposed descendant of a demon.

He must've sat at a dozen tables by now. Some for a mere second before he'd been shooed away, some for so long that he could've sworn the morrow had come.

This table was, without a shadow of a doubt, a case of the latter.

A middle aged dwarf had climbed atop the table with a pint of mead in each hand. He waved them around with reckless abandon, splashing precious alcohol onto everything and everyone not quick enough to duck away. By now, Ardour himself had gotten his fair share of the liquid [Acrobatics: 13] on his hair and clothes.

What's worse, try as he might have, he'd been unsuccessful in starting a conversation with anyone else at the table. Every time someone finally opened their mouth, the old dwarf saw fit to interject with a bout of drunken ramble. Ardour swore, if the man hadn't looked old and battleworn enough to have seen a thing or two of worth, the monk would've likely left long ago. As things were, he was holding out hope for at least one tale worth the wait.

Oh well. At least he needed to do nothing to get information out of this man; the dwarf was practically vomiting out stories, be that most were as dull as they were fake. Come to think of it, many of the tales he'd heard tonight had been of similar worth.

He had heard a few rumours that had piqued his interest enough to commit them to memory, but nothing he could have put an immediate price on. Pirates, knights, dragons - he never did get the chance to ask for more details on Halaster's apprentices, before the man's attention had been irredeemably claimed by another. He doubted he could find the half-orc again to ask for more details, either - the tavern had long since devoured any trace of him.

It occurred to him that the drunken dwarf was still talking.

"Ye sure love to run yer mouth, lad!" the man hollered at him as if trying to make the gods themselves hear. Considering he was not smitten on the spot, Ardour presumed they had not.

"Do I now?" Ardour wasn't sure if he could feign either surprise or remorse well enough, but it didn't seem to make any matter. The dwarf had no ears for anyone else's voice but his own.

"Aye, goin' on and on and on and on... must love the sound of yer own voice, huh? Knew someone else like ye once, kiddo. 'E got his tongue cut right off, I tell ye! Messed with 'em wrong folk down in the Undermountain... what was they called? Clan o'... Many Tongues, aye, them's was it! Nasty lot, I hear."

"Terrifying," the monk mumbled absentmindedly, remembering the name and the threat they posed, disregarding the rest.

"There ya go, blatherin' on again! Your lot's got no manners. Am I right lads?!"

One of the man's companions shouted in enthusiastic agreement. Another had passed out long ago. The rest seemed as fed up with the drunken dwarf as Ardour did.

"Indeed," he grabbed his pint before the drunken elf next to him could steal a sip. "Well then, my pardons, it is about time I take my rambles elsewhere...."

He stood up and excused himself with a small bow, the dwarf's roaring laughter a tailwind that pushed him to walk away faster.

The Clan of Many Tongues that ought not be crossed... he supposed it would do for his final piece of information for the night. Perhaps there would've been more to be learnt from the man, but at a cost far greater than he could bear. He could already feel an incoming headache pound at his temple.

Besides, it seemed as though the rest of the group had arrived by now. A ragtag bunch of misfits they were, sticking out among the common crowd like misshapen thumbs. Merfolk, animals, freaks.

Just like him, in other words. No wonder Ardour felt kinship towards them.

He slid to a free seat in the table just in time to hear the latter half of Lin's joke. Whether purely out of courtesy or not, he chuckled.

"A monk that does not drink?" he repeated, bemused. "Why, I've never heard of such a thing. They all drink, dear girl, they're just less like to get caught."

He took a sip of his ale - the last sip, he noted duly, and pushed the empty container away. He smiled.

"Suppose I got caught."
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Cao the Exiled
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Atanase would stare out at the crowed as he scanned the tavern. Though most would not no this, he was using less of his eyes and more of he ears and nose. His nose would scrunch, looking over at Aurix's meal that disgusted him with both smell and sight. With enough training with his sense, he would look down at the table, returning to his ears for a bit. "Buying artifacts from Undermountain" he slowly whispered, as the words of a exotic woman came to him from the balcony behind him. "Not a dragon more, you won't get a better deal in all" he mumbled, before losing interest in the battle of bartering. "Daggerford gotta be dead as doornails by now", he whispered before his ears twitched again. "Y'all ever remember them dwarfs? Put another 5 on them for me. This year's the one.", His slightly long nails, roughly half an inch from his tips, drummed softly on the table. "We gotta be gettin some fresh meat soon, I'm itchin for the right run to sweep your pockets", he would look up at Aurix, slightly sneering as he looked at her maw.

The tavern would dull down as the time passed before the girlish squeels of two lasses took his attention. His inhuman eyes darted up behind the counter as a barmaid snatched the arm of one of the servers who had entered from the back. He listened in on them, this time without mimicking. "Did you meet him? Is it true he's in the backroom?", "-he's really friendly, my brother's a big fan-". He rolled his eyes, uninterested in the girlish behavior of the two before his attention was taken once more. He took in a breath, taking in the rather pleasant scent of a well crafted perfume.

He followed the trail with his eyes before finding the owner. "Lady Esvelle", he whispered, nearly unaudiblly. He took note on her unamused look as she looked down on the lower floor from the upper balcony. He could assume that she was scanning the room for her hired help. He would slowly rise, walking to the counter and bowed his head to the barmaid. "Two glasses of wine please". Giving the bar maid a gold piece, he would take the glasses and make his way up the their employer. Using his vampiric grace, he moved through the crowd, making sure not to spill a drop of the sanguine liquid before taking place beside her. "Surely you could have pick somewhere a little less- packed. It's obvious my party and I stand out like a sore thumb. But also it's unbearably crowded. Might I suggest we see if their is a vancant balcony or room for our little meeting?" He would nod to her as he offered her a glass.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Mae
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》ESVELLE ROSZNAR IS ESCORTED TO THE GROUP
》THE YAWNING PORTAL

@Cao the Exiled@Lauder@Vertigo@duskshine749@Ellri@DTHar
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Esvelle looks up in relief from behind a Firblog patron as Atanese approaches from the stairway.

"It's hard to see anything from my viewpoint," replied Esvelle, casting a side glance at the offending giant before slipping past him gracefully. "but all considering, you might be right. Durnan may well give us use of the backroom, but I'd like to speak with you all again first. It has been a tenday, after all. If you would be so kind to lead the way to your table?" Lady Esvelle was quite at ease walking in the wake of the 6"2 man so as to avoid being jostled. "So Atanese, I trust all has been well since we last spoke?"

Approaching the table, the noblewoman looked perplexed as she observed Aurix's eating habbits. She then promptly sat down beside Ardour instead, and obstinantly refused to look in the lizardfolk's direction for the time being, the shadow of a smirk mixed with disgust crossing her otherwise blank visage for just a moment. "well then, it seems like we're all here. Good evening Lauk, Lin, Jhimas, Ardour." A dainty nod to the head greeted each followed by a extended pause in which a new set of guffaws and cheerings filled the room from the doorway and then promptly died down. "Aurix."

"I am so glad to see all of you here in Waterdeep. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on you in my travels that you were the exact group of individuals who could help me with a particular task that has plagued me for some while. It is an issue that pains me greatly, for it involves my brother, and there is simply no one within the city who is willing to lend aid."

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Ellri
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From diagonally across the table Lauk watched the dressed human seat herself down, greeting him and all the others. Except for Aurix, whom she clearly disliked. He chuckled a bit at this, not caring about the propriety. Besides, he still found it odd how all those humans, elves and the like covered up their bodies. He certainly didn't think there was a need for anything like that, but then, he had a proper shell, so...

He sipped his mead, only vaguely paying attention to the conversation at hand. The important bits weren't in yet and he did have some interesting magical formulae to think about... Something about fireballs was just fascinating... Sniffing the air, he scented cheese, which brought to life the memories of its unnatural role in this world. He had been told that that wasn't true, but how could they be certain? It certainly tasted wrong. There was certainly something satisfying about burning it all away. That last thought was accompanied by a few subtle tendrils of fire wandering across the fingers of his hand. Not enough to be considered a firebolt, let alone a fireball, but the potential was there.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by DTHar
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Upon catching sight of the nearing pair, Lin strapped her Dulcimer in it's case and to her pack then she sat straight.
A soft smile touched her lips at the woman's greeting, and she bowed her head in return.
"Esvelle, how lovely to see you again. Please, sit with us."

She reached for the pitcher of mead, and offered to pour the woman a glass as well, despite the fact that she was the one to pay for it eventually.

"May I just say, what a lovely pair of earings you are wearing?" Her lips pursed at that, leaning forwards squinting at the shiny jewels. Eventually, she moved one leg above the other, placing both her hands on her own lap, swirling her leg in the air casually.

"Please, by all means, tell us what plagues and pains you so. How can we be of service?"

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Aurix watched as Esvelle and Atanese had come to the table, all the while she was stuffing her face in a brutal and savage manner. She could see the woman avoiding to look at Aurix as she ate, not that it got any response from the lizardfolk who merely continued to eat before nodding when Esvelle eventually got around to greeting her. Before long, Aurix had finished devouring her food as her tongue began to lick around her mouth to lick up any juices or messy debris that had failed to make into the massive, tooth-filled maw.

Eventually, Aurix began to gaze around the table as she tuned into the conversation properly. She looked at Lin, who had first spoken in response to Esvelle’s plea for help. Family meant little to a lizardfolk, however, there was the chance that her brother could be useful in aiding Aurix in the great game of survival, much how her her current party helped her.

“This party may be of help,” the warlock spoke, her eyes staring at rich woman. The lizardfolk, dug a claw between her teeth, feeling a piece of meat lodged in her maw. “Is your brother of use for survival?” Aurix asked, her neutral voice being apathetic to the situation as a whole, on top of her strange linguistics which accompanied lizardfolk as a whole.
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@Cao the Exiled@Lauder@Vertigo@duskshine749@Ellri@DTHar
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A waitress ducks between the table and a gaggle of patrons as she delivers a plate of mutton and particularly pungent cheese with ale to a nearby group. Lady Esvelle holds out a glass with a warm smile to the bard as Lin offers her a drink.

"Thankyou kindly, Lin. Say, was that you performing earlier? It was the most delicate tune. I've not heard much music quite like it. If you ever do decide to change your vocation, I think a number of the aristocracy would be quite interested to hear you perform." She offered, tilting the glass a little in thanks before taking a contemplative sip.

"Is your brother of use for survival?" came Aurix's question, and Esvelle slowly turned to look over at her with a perplexed yet amused expression. She had not met many Lizardfolk in life, and she couldn't decide whether she was fascinated by Aurix or found her abhorrent. Actually, the whole party was a strange lot - she cast a sideways look at Lauk which then bounced between a slightly teary Jhimas and Ardour - and briefly had an out of body experience where she questioned her life choices that led her up to sitting at this table.

Yes, they were a strange lot, but they seemed perfect for her needs, and she had learnt a little of their achievements in the time they'd been apart. They were good and the fact that they were still alive after an Underdark campaign spoke for itself.

"Pardon?" replied Esvelle as she briefly forgot the question, staring transfixedly at Aurix's long fangs - "Oh, yes. Ho hum. Well, he has perhaps destroyed the limping survival of the Rosznar name, but I imagine he's quite good at saving his own skin, you know. Yes, he's probably doing quite well for himself down in the depths of that dungeon, I should think." she sounded bitter, "Kressando Rosznar has always been good at looking after Kressando Rosznar."

She swirled her cup in her hand absentmindedly before letting out a long breath she hadn't realised she had been holding. Her eyes fell on Jhimas' holy symbol and then she locked eyes with him, "Listen. I harbour no warm sisterly feelings towards my brother but neither do I wish to see him harmed. I need him returned to the surface from whatever place he's hold up in down there but before I speak more of my family or my quest. I need you to promise me you will do your upmost to keep him safe from harm, no matter the temptation otherwise."

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Ardour had barely noted Atanase's absence when the man already emerged from the surrounding crowd. He did not came alone, either; following in his trail was none other than Lady Esvelle herself, her attention clearly stolen by Aurix's meal - or rather, the way she had chosen to consume said meal. The tiefling chuckled. Ah, rich folk, they truly were the same the world over.

She sat down next to Ardour, and he offered her a polite nod and a smile in return to her greeting. Lin was quick to douse their benefactor in kindness and mead, then prompted her to share her woes. And Aurix, well-- she, hm, asked a question too, he supposed. Sometimes, her inability to read the atmosphere was... astounding. One could even say admirable.

Watching the noblewoman try to keep her composure in face of such a question was well worth it, however.

Her answer was quite intriguing as well, particularly in conjunction with what came after. So her brother was quite adept at survival, and she believed he was doing well for himself - yet she wanted him returned? Was it simply a sister's worry, or did she have reason to believe that something might go - or have gone - awry? And then there was the last bit - the mention of a temptation to do otherwise.

Ardour's interest was piqued.

"My, he sounds like quite a character, this brother of yours," he mused, taking the opportunity to pour himself some of the mead on the table. "Worry not, you've been most accommodating to us thus far, it is only fair that we keep our end of the bargain - no matter these... temptations we might face on the way."

It would've probably helped his cause had he not flashed a visible grin at the word 'temptation'. Regardless, he paused to take his time and try the mead. A bit too sweet for his liking as he'd expected, but he fancied the texture.

"With that said," abandoning his drink at last, Ardour crossed his fingers and finally turned to look at Esvelle, his pupilless, unblinking eyes fixed on hers. "I'm afraid the less we know, the less we can do for you and your cause. Surprises sow discord, my dear. I would simply hate to see harm come to your brother due to inadequate preparation. Do help us ensure our success."
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Jhimas gave Lady Esvelle a polite nod as she joined the group, "you're looking lovely tonight Lady Esvelle." He sat back and listened to Lady Esvelle tell them about her brother. She apparently thought he was probably doing just fine for himself, so why ask the group to help her? Jhimas didn't linger on that thought too long, if she wanted help with something she couldn't do herself who was he to deny that help?

She had looked directly at Jhimas when she mentioned falling prey to temptation. Was that because she just happened to be looking at the holy symbol on his shield a moment before or did she believe Jhimas to be one who would fall prey to such things? At any rate, Ardour was the first to speak up. Jhimas rolled his eyes, Ardour could barely hide that he would be more than happy to be tempted if the offer was good enough.

"Lady Esvelle I can assure you that I will make sure no one fall for these temptations, despite what the others may lead you to believe." He gave a side glance to Ardour before continuing, "but my friend does bring up a fair point, we can help more if you give us more details. I would hate for us to fail because of some trivial detail we did not know, anything more you can tell us will greatly increase the chances of your brothers safe return."
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Aurix could see through Esvelle, all the rage that was being hidden behind a front that many humans did to seem more appealing to their allies. Such a thing she could understand as she has developed her laugh to put her allies at ease when in stressful situations, though how much it actually helps is to be debated. However, Aurix was not the smartest being, and so knowing why other beings felt the need to hide such feelings was beyond her, especially for being a creature that had a different mindset than most others. Her eyes narrowed upon Esvelle all the same, she could see through many things all the same, including the facade that the noble put up.

“You do not like your brother,” Aurix said, her voice holding nothing but an emotionless observation as she leaned forward. “You need him,” she continued, her eyes running around the form of Esvelle as if she was absorbing the hidden rage before continuing, “He is needed for your own survival.”

Aurix’s eyes then seemed to focus as Esvelle’s chest as if she were staring straight into the soul of the human in a rather absent-minded fashion. The lizardfolk cocked her head to the side before she blinked and looked to her allies, realizing that she had not been paying much attention to the words that they had been saying. She leaned back in her chair as her mind began to focus on the table as a whole rather than just studying Esvelle and the clear anger that she held for her brother. Her massive frame shifted to get more comfortable in the seat before looking to Jhimas and Ardour.

“And there is fear. Maybe of what happens if we do not return with him?”

Aurix understood these emotions, recognizing what Esvelle had been feeling despite being unfamiliar with them herself.
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There was a momentary dark look on Lauk's face as the stank of cheese passed by, but with a will of steel he kept himself from reacting beyond that moment's lapse.21 People really should know better than to eat cheese that was clearly rotten. With as bad a smell as that had had, it must've been crawling with sewer-maggots.

"I don't really care about brothers, sisters or things like that. Since you're hiring us for this job, it is clearly dangerous. What we be wondering is these three things:
Firstly, what it is you need retrieved. Secondly, what we need to kill to retrieve this, and finally what magics won't work on these things. I detest wasting spells. Oh and the 'why' of this is irrelevant, so long as you can pay appropriately, which you can."

Lauk had never fully understood the close ties these mammals had with their siblings. Sure, he had some siblings too, but he didn't fawn over them or speak with them every year. Half of them hadn't even ventured onto the material plane, making communication troublesome even if he had been interested, which he wasn't.

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