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The barkeep's eyes looked from Annabella's to Karlus', and stayed locked on the mage for a moment. He then looked to Captain Rial "Se vero Senore Armonte, lo cantante era un idiota borracho. Lo pallido regazzo es inocente." Where once the barkeep stood chest out, now was the visage of a shrunken man.

Captain Rial Armonte sat with himself for a moment, mulling over the situation. The crew seemed experienced. He'd likely only cut down one or two before the others could retaliate. Even still, he had his orders. He turned his head back towards the younger guards. "Come passiamo determinare se e con La Lega?" The guards shrugged in response.

"La Lega de Magi sono magusi de lo sangue, no senore? Controlla eventuali bende o tagli sulle bracia." One of the younger guards finally spoke up. He didn't seem confident. The captain nodded before looking back towards Isabella.

"Levanta lo maniche e poi la camicia, l'orco."

As Kjellfrid pressed against the lip-plate her phantom flute echoed a waning cry, but its semblance fractured. Despite her protests, the barrel of the instrument flickered as if being suppressed by some ethereal force. For her efforts it seemed some of the tension previously suffocating the room had dissipated. Many of the patrons, despite being packed into the common area like rats, were more relaxed. A few travelers gathered together and quietly hummed sea shanties among themselves.

By this time, it must have been almost noon. Still there was no sign of the Trading Company’s representative.

As if by some divine intervention, commotion picked up from just outside La Resplenda. There was a swelling of chatter, though from within the tavern it was difficult to make out anything concrete. Just as sudden, did the door swing open as the sound of squealing metal filled the room. The door hinges buckled slightly at the force of the intrusion.

Idiotas! You better have the quantma to fix that,” the barkeep called out from behind the safety of his bar counter.

There was no answer for the barkeep. Instead, a man spilled out through the doorway and unto his knees. He only barely managed to catch himself with the ball of his palms. His robes were ripped, and his left eye blackened. If not for the gasps and hushed whispers, one might've even heard the drops of blood form a small pool on the wood floors beneath him.

Positioned behind the beaten man was the guard captain that had previously occupied the docking area as well as a small troop of guardsmen. The clanking of swords and armor rang out in the now silent bar. The guard captain stepped forward into the doorway, as sunlight crept in with him.

Where,” he demanded before forcefully lifting the man to his feet. The beaten fool was left to a mere whimper. He shakily lifted a finger in the direction of Karlus. Balling a piece of the man’s robes in his hand, the captain tossed him back towards the doorway. Another guard stopped the man from falling over himself. “Illio,” called the captain. There were no more words between the two guards. They simply exchanged a knowing glance before the underling nodded. Illio forcefully pulled the sobbing man out of the door.

Please,” the minstrel’s voice cracked through webs of spit and mucus as he begged tearfully.

I gave you what you wanted.

It was only a silly song, I meant no offense. I can fix it!

The remaining guards seemed unresponsive to the minstrel’s fading cries. The guard captain quickly approached the table, as he peered over each of its occupants with prejudice. He hadn’t expected so many of them. His hand never left the hilt of his sword, and his thumb danced almost frantically along the pommel. His gaze fixated on Karlus.

By order of Prince Stantos, first of his name, and rightful heir to Caracas; I, Guard Captain Rial Armonte, place you an...your party under arrest for the use of magic and suspicion of illegal affiliation. You will surrender your weapons, and be escorted to the Caracan Pits where you will await judgement from his highness.” Armonte’s gaze shifted among the group, likely in an attempt to suss out hasty movements.A few guards approached from behind their captain. Armonte's hand sat threateningly upon his pommel, now, awaiting compliance...or resistance.
The brith had attempted to to keep her eyes down, wanting nothing more to not draw attention to herself just as the Wolframs would have desired. However, when another imposing man had seated himself at the table, Kjellfrid could not help but look up to inspect the stranger. It was a grave mistake as she had immediately seen the head of one of her kind draped on his shoulder, terror had immediately consumed her mind. Her claws felt glued to the table, the lines of her previous digging into the wood being visible as she just stared at the man with large and terrified eyes.

She hardly understood him, not because of any language barrier, but due to her ears being unable to hear anything other than the pounding of her heart and the worry of her mind. Kjellfrid’s head snapped to the side when the tiefling spoke, again almost unable to understand him because of her unableness to focus on anything other than her terror. However, a flash of slow green movement caught her attention her eyes once more shifting to see a female orc moving behind the brith-pelted one. While there was no outward hostilities being displayed, the orcish tongue was enough to make the brith trip over herself and fall out of her seat, the chair coming down with her as she scrambled along her back.

It took a moment, but eventually she made her way to her feet and pushed through the crowded tavern to try and escape her fears. Her form bumping into people as she eventually made her way to a quieter area, not fully secluded due to the business of both port and tavern, but enough to allow her curl up against a wall without too many eyes.

Annabella watched as the brith made her hasty and rather ungraceful escape with concern. She was prepared for scorn and vitriol from one of her kind, but not fear. The idea that seeing a brith skull adorning a man’s shoulder causing distress never even entered her mind. In any case, there was no question about what to do next. The orc bowed slightly at the remaining party members. Hopefully they wouldn’t be too terribly offended by her leaving suddenly after just having introduced herself.

“Excuse me for a moment.”

While Kjellfrid had needed to push and shove through the crowd, the other patrons more or less parted around Annabella’s broad frame as she made her way toward the frightened woman. A hand that might’ve lost a fight with a bramble bush a long time ago settled on her shoulder with surprising tenderness. Though, the brith seemed to still tense up at the gesture.

“What troubles you?”

Kjellfrid looked upon Annabella with still terrified eyes, her form attempting to back away into a wall that remained unmoving despite the brith’s terror. In a hurried breath, she responded.

”I do not want t-trouble, orc.”

Her eyes went away from the Annabella, no longer wishing to gaze upon a source of her current terror as she felt her heart wanting to escape her chest as her breathing maintained it’s quickened pace.

The orc gave a welcoming and hopefully reassuring smile. This one was frail both inside and out. Perhaps she was a magic user like the scarred human? Annabella could only hope for her sake. The weak rarely have a joyous life, much less a long one.

”And yet you already have it here.” She tapped the brith’s temple with her finger. ”Come, grasha and sit at the table. One branch snaps easily, but many together are like steel. Drink, eat, and be merry.”

She gestured at the gathered party of who she assumed to be the brith’s friends. Perhaps allies. She would take acquaintances at the very least. Kjellfrid’s eyes remained fixated on the floor as she curled herself further into a ball, the words of the orc not finding ground within her mind. The brith could not afford a glance to the table, especially with the one wearing one of her kind.

”N-no. I c-can’t,” she spoke, shifting her form along the wall and away from the persistent orc.

She made no move to restrain Kjellfrid and took a step back. No use in pushing the issue further A horse cannot be made to drink after all. Still, Annabella felt a twinge of pity for her.

”Then don’t. If you change your mind, I’ll be with your compatriots.”

With that she waded back through the crowd toward the gathered party and put on her best smile. She could only hope the rest would not flee in terror from the very sight of her. Though she doubted that would be the case. The rest appeared to be made of sterner stuff.

”I apologize for leaving so suddenly, but your friend seemed, as you say, distressed. Is there still room at your table for one more?”

Sigemund had let the orc’s question hang in the air a moment. Long enough for her to leave and return. While the brith was panicking, a healthy reaction to his favorite cloak, and this Annabella creature was tending to it, he took stock of the tiefling. It was intimidating. Perhaps smaller than the one that had wounded his father, but not necessarily weaker. He had strangled several brith larger than him. Do those horns break with steel or bind with it? He could not recall. He’d have to take the skull down from above his bed in Dreamer’s Draugr and test it with Hrunting later. For now there was a pressing matter in this very alive tiefling being here, among these folk. Can they truly see through illusions? Again he could not recall. Every piece of folklore and old wive’s tale and fact and fiction was blurring together in his mind as he considered this threat. He chose to distract himself for a moment, watching the elf across the way receive comfort.

An orc is a good warrior, is it not? That is what you greenfolks are yes? Warriors are surely welcome given our little collection of imps. The brith seems perhaps unsettled and the goat seems to have taken offense to my taking offense at her presence. So join us, Annabella.

Then he looked at the brith against the wall. What a strange mutation of their folk. He considered for the first time how he might react were he to see a man cloaked around an enemy’s frame. He decided eventually that he wouldn’t react. Still, he set his right hand on his pommel and his left flat on the table.

My name is Elric Farmoon. My ears are clipped short, can you not see? I am an elf. As an elf I do as I ought, and as I ought is to insult a brith and call on your physiognomy with lordship. The latter is a kindness.

Annabella was visibly puzzled by his declaration but sat down in Kjellfrid’s now empty seat anyway. What a strange man. Then again, most men of the frost lands were strange from what she knew. It dawned on her that he was likely making a joke and she laughed a deep resonating laugh. She slapped the table once with a powerful arm, making it shudder just slightly.

”And I am a very tall dwarf! Your jokes are appreciated. Many of the sort you and I belong to avoid humor as though it burns them.”

Her smile softened toward genuine gratitude as she repositioned herself in her chair to get more comfortable.

”Regardless, I thank you for the invitation.”

”Likewise. Although I cannot claim to be joking type.”

The mage had quietly crept up to the side of them as the others had been focused upon the flight of the Brith and the comings and goings of the Orc. His face was blank, inscrutable. His green eyes roamed over the three faces at the table, the Orc, the Not-Elf, and lastly the Tiefling. A single pale finger scratched at the edge of the horrid scar on his left cheek.

”I presume you called me over for a reason. Since I do not see Tali Riverend here, perhaps one of you can tell me where to find her. If you would be so kind.”

If one had wanted to find a definition for the term of 'steady decline', just looking at Vekyzz's face might have been a good source for it. The Tiefling was anything but amused as events had unfolded pretty much in the way predicted. Well, at least a part of him was able to understand the Brith's feelings. Seeing one's own kind being degraded into a mere piece of more or less cruel decoration was something he'd find very hard to accept either. Ironically though it seemed that the very latest addition to their party, the proud orc woman named Annabella, was of the much more reasonable kind -- assuming that she had not thrown a bunch of insults at Kjellfrid while talking with her in the distance. The parchment had not mentioned an orc, but she had demonstrated knowledge that she could only have obtained from Riverend herself.

Anyway, Vekyzz started to hope that she would be one of the lesser problems of this endeavor. The obvious number one of those was sitting right in front of him, claiming to be an elf and definitely eager to demonstrate his destructiveness. However before Vekyzz could address him the other elf he had called over previously finally showed up.

"We are all waiting for Tali Riverend, but I have been instructed and authorized to assume leadership in case she's unavailable. Feel free to sit down as we probably will not leave right away." The mage took up an empty seat.Then the tiefling's gaze turned towards Sigemund, his voice still more of a whisper instead of a roar.

"Goat knows how to handle Sand Wraith. Goat will make one of them eat oversized elf when we enter goat-land. Goat is wondering if oversized elf's ears were clipped because clipped away pieces were the most valuable things of oversized elf's body. Goat has adjusted his language so oversized elf can understand goat more easily. Goat is pissed off by oversized elf's behavior."

A smirk made a brief appearance on the tiefling's face.

"Alright... and now much more seriously: I have to lead all of you through this and this won't work if we start hating each other right away. I can't force you to comply, but I strongly recommend that everybody shoves all of his habitual slurs up his ass in one go for the sake of efficiency, if not even survival. The better we work together the sooner we'll be over this and, just as a bit of additional motivation, I don't care what anyone of you does afterwards."

As the teifling settled those at the table, a smooth and gentle sound began to ebb over the tavern as a flute made its way through the crowds, calming those within earshot. A simple head turn would be all that it would take to see the form of Kjellfrid playing a dimly lit flute that gave off a ghostly aura. As she moved her head, wispy trails flowed off of the ghostly flute, and the calm seemingly coming too naturally. Her normally solemn eyes were closed, concentrating on trying to get the flute to play to its full effectiveness, though something prevented her.

However, that did not stop the Brith as the solemn sound soothes the surrounding souls from the wears travels and crowded spaces, though the song was ultimately meant for herself. As she opened her eyes, though, she did notice that many eyes had turned to her, staring at her as the music slowly died away until the silent hum of the flutes form disappeared. Kjellfrid hid the last remaining bit of the flute on her person before she got to her feet and dusted off her dress. Her head kept down as she walked to the table of the strange party, not making eye contact with any who looked to her.

”I am sorry for my disruption, I will try t’ keep my fears to herself,” Kjellfrid said curtly in a line clearly said more times than the poor soul could count.

Despite the Astorian mage’s inquiries the barkeep seemed determined to argue with the minstrel seated in front of him at the bar. The barkeep was a stout man, no younger than forty years. His eyes were tired, and the wrinkles that lined his features were growing deeper with age. In another life, he'd likely been decently handsome, but the years seemed unkind. His goatee was a mess of black and gray. His mustache was fanciful, and spread outward like troll horns. His hair was thinning, but he'd enough of it to avoid stares.

The minstrel was a younger, and more beautiful, man. He had no facial hair save for small amounts of stubble. He was fair-of-skin compared to the typical Caracan native. His hair, falling just above the shoulder, was partly tied back in a mess of dreaded locks with small golden adornments scattered precariously throughout.

The pair continued bickering among themselves for another twenty seconds before finally noticing Karlus’ presence. The barkeep glanced over in his direction. “Ah, a man of sense!” As he spoke he filled a glass with a fine golden ail before sliding it along the surface of the bar towards some eager patron. His attention only briefly left Karlus’ before returning his gaze. “This idiota is trying to get us all killed,” he said as he gestured towards the minstrel. The barkeep’s accent was as thick a Caracan one as the guard’s from the docks.

The minstrel nearly rose from his chair to challenge the barkeep. “Idiot,” he questioned as his palms buckled into the edge of the bar. “You’d sooner lick shit off the boots of the mad princes than inform the poor fools who whittle away drunk on your stag piss that their city is burning.” The minstrel turned his torso towards Karlus. “I mean only to entertain and educate through my art, sir. This philistine would see my work silenced.” It was difficult for the mage to place the man’s accent. It wasn’t so foreign as to mark him as an outsider of the Union, but it was distinct and clearly not Caracan.

You got drunk, off my stag piss mind you,” the barkeep’s eyes trailed to yours for a moment before continuing. “And in your stupor you wrote your foolish little song. A song that will have us thrown in the Pits, if not to Veruun himself!” The barkeep turned again to Karlus. “If you can get this man out of my establishment, I will be happy to assist you in information and in quantma. Let him sing his damned songs out there; away from my caupona!

Before Karlus could offer an answer the minstrel spoke up. “I’ll double that pay if you keep him from interrupting my performance,” he said as he threw a small pouch of coins on the table. “And I can promise that my quantma are much heavier than this malaka’s.

You mistake me, sirs.” Karlus' eyes darted back and forth behind the pair. “I have no want of your gold. I am looking for Tali Riverend, nothing more. Your dispute is none of my concern.

I must disagree, my friend, what I have to say concerns us all. This city is at war, and only in the arts may the lost citizens of Caracas find refuge.” At this point it seemed clear that the minstrel had begun to succumb to the drink.

The barkeep rolled his eyes at the patron’s rambling, but largely ignored his philosophies. “The name sounds familiar,” he remarked coyly to Karlus. “Though, with this madman in my ear I find it difficult to recall.

Karlus raised one hand towards his face and turned his gaze away from them, almost as if to study his fingernails.

Please. I do not suffer foolishness.” He raised the hand to his mouth, whispered something into the closed space between his fingers, and opened it. A swirl of green flame was suspended there, twisting and dancing in the air above his upturned palm.

Skata," the minstrel's glassy eyes widened as green embers danced before them. "You’re with the League!” As he recoiled his stool followed suit and tipped backwards knocking him, and the contents in his satchel, to the floor. “I..I..meant no offense,” he said in a worried frenzy as he tried desperately to carry what had fallen in his arms. Despite his hurried rush for the door, and Karlus’ display the tavern seemed relatively unaware as banter and drinking continued throughout the ordeal.

Before the barkeep could reward the mage for his help Karlus turned away. There was a sound of someone calling to him from behind. The source of said voice was a large tiefling sitting with another human, and the brith he’d noticed earlier. "Ahem.... here, please!"

Karlus looked at the bartender, closed his hand, and walked towards the table.

By this point, the tavern had become quite rowdy. It seemed that the ale and wine had worked its own magic on the throngs of patrons. The swelling of multilingual chatter was finally cut through by the sound of one of the dock workers.

Knife-eared fuck! I’ll gut you for that,

The worker rose from his chair as playing cards sputtered to the ground from the table. The outburst was enough to silence nearly the entire tavern. He clumsily pulled out a small curved dagger and pointed it accusingly at a middle-aged elven man. The elf nearly fell out of his chair as he scrambled to make distance from his accuser with arms raised in surrender. It took a few moments, but before long most of the tavern positioned themselves to inspect the commotion.

Before anyone could continue the barkeep yelled out from his post, “Outside, now or it'll be the Pits for you,

The dock worker looked towards the direction of the barkeep before dropping his shoulders and foregoing his hostile stance. He snatched a satchel from the table before making his way towards the door in compliance with the barkeep’s command. “Che culo, elf. Dangerous times afoot, and your kin are dying like flies,” warned the dock worker before exiting the tavern slamming the door shut behind him. The bar remained quiet for what felt like minutes before chatter began to pick up again. Some of the other workers situated at the same table as the elf either dispersed or quietly made their exit. Others still comforted the older elf, who seemed visibly shaken as he tried to comb the cards up from off of the tavern floor.

Collab between @Famotill and @Kassarock
@Jarl Coolgruuf Annabelle is accepted! You are free to add her to the character tab!
@Jarl Coolgruuf Could you PM with what you had in mind (just a rough idea, no need to fill out a full sheet for now)? Someone had previously expressed interest, but didn't get back to me via PM. My goal was to keep the party at 5 people, but I can try to be flexible if you have particular interest. As well, I'm always willing to bring on side or villain characters. Either way just send me a PM and we can see where to go from there! Thank you for your interest!
@Kassarock Hopefully this helps, but if not I can try to explain it more clearly!

I've emailed a discord link to everyone :). For the sake of keeping the OOC alive I'll post general announcements here, and people are always welcome to chat both here and in the discord. Discord just allows for faster communications.
I'd also like to make note that your characters were given lodging documentation as well which could be used at the tavern. Just something to make note of. You can flex or lie or use whatever perceived advantages you have. You have a breath of options, but if you're unsure of something feel free to ask me!

PS. This isn't a hint, promise. Just want you all to know you can explore your options.
@ParzivolOkay excellent, I was going to start naming them if you didn't in your post, but I wanted you give you the opportunity to name them (and your ship) as they may play a role in the story directly.

As for the discord, @Fetzen what do you think? If nothing else I can provide my discord in PMs for faster communication, but I agree that a group one might help in that regard.
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