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Thread: Gai-len [IC]

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    As you exit the cave you see the elf transform. He produces a big smile and inhales deeply as he darts to a tree and starts hugging it. His laughter is interrupted by a short "oh, the forest...it has been so long." Siel, happiness is perhaps not your thing but his current emotional state tickles you softly inside. Far from sadness and suffering, but this emotion is very pure and strong.

    As you reach the river, he plunges in while Nala inspects the surroundings. After two seconds he jumps out again. "Oh! Almost forgot!" He runs to a tree with a small hollow in it and peers inside. He bursts out in laughter and runs back to the river. "Unbelievable!"

    After a few moments he calms down and sits on the river bank, meticulously scrubbing every inch of his body. "I had food and exercise this morning, so I don't expect any drow on the graveyard today and tomorrow. Unless there's a funeral planned, which happens only very rarely." He looks around, admiring the trees and some flying birds. "I have a long story to tell indeed. But let's focus on what you asked and start at the begin."

    "About 35 years ago I was sent to this continent. In the same manner as you, I presume. We arrived not far from here, the coast to the east. Fifty, sixty young men and women, full of ambition and vigor." He stares in the distance as he digs in his memory. You notice his eyes become a bit watery. "And then....then the giant dwarves came. Six of them...seven." He looks you in the eyes. "It was a horrible bloodbath, you can not possibly imagine."

    "I had a friend. Herman. A human. He was a mage. And a coward. He could produce this aura that made him and those close to him invisible. That is what he did, immediately, when the giant dwarves showed up. I started using my magic to strengthen our forces, but it was pretty soon obvious that it was pointless. Herman pulled me in his aura and we fled. I don't think anyone else survived."

    "The poor guy died a few weeks later. Mauled by a bear. I told him not to move....to stay still, but he could not control his nerves. He ran off, screaming like a little girl and the bear chased him. Also not a pretty sight..."
    He pauses again a moment and thinks. "Then I was alone. Luckily I had this special hat that would alter my appearance, so I could try and integrate in Orc society and travel. Looking for signs of others." As he sees the expecting looks on your faces, he shakes his head. "My parents were weavers and I picked up some of the craft when I was younger, so I could use this trade to sustain myself and use the produced fabrics as an excuse to travel"

    "I did that for about 30 years and saw quite a bit of this continent. But then I decided that I would not find anyone in the cities, so I decided to move here, to the rich and wild forests and try my luck."
    He is done washing up and gets out of the water and stands in a spot in the sun to dry. "Anyway, not long after I arrived here I find this river. I put all my stuff in my bag and hide the bag in a tree and start bathing. At some point I open my eyes and I find a troop of Kobolds aiming bows and spears at me. Shouting something about territories. I did not want trouble, so I decided to run. I was lucky, because my elven senses told me of a secret tunnel, next to a cave entrance, so I escaped the Kobolds. It turned out this cave was the home of the Drow....what are the odds, huh?" He walks to the tree where he had been looking in just a few minutes ago and pulls a bag out and turns towards you and repeats himself, now a bit more merry: "What are the odds, huh?"

    He opens the bag and looks around. "So, that is the short version. What is your story?" He starts emptying his bag while listening to you and produces a longsword, a chain shirt, a bow and quiver, some clothing, a holy symbol, a knife and some more. That's a very special bag.
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    "We arrived just about the same way," Vrishchika starts, her voice still growly. "All but four of us were killed on landing, I think - by the same oxymorons, no less. We were captured, and in the process of being escorted to gods-know-where, we escaped. We lost two of our companions a short time after that, but happened upon friendly locals," she gestures to Siel and Tralkor.

    "We helped some fey deal with encroaching orcs, then learned the orcs were reneging on their promise to keep their civilization out of the homes of the fey." She shakes her head, as if condemning the orcs' actions. "We're here to muck up their plans, basically."

    "Oh, and you can call me The Great and Powerful Vrishchika. Or Vrishchika the Amazing. Either will do." Her voice at this point is much growlier and rough, almost like someone else is speaking through her.

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    The elf looks at you with a grave look in his eyes. "The same story, huh?" He shakes his head. "That's just....horrible..." After donning some cloth he now pulls his chain shirt over his head.

    "Pleased to meet, Vrishchika...the, Uhm..azing." He smiles. "So, how long have you been here.....and, what exactly were you doing at the Drow graveyard?"
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    As Vrishchika and the elf speak, Siel feels something. It isn't a fully-formed emotion, exactly, although it closely resembles one. It's a cold feeling, one that gathers in her hands and feet. To think that so many beings like these, who had such unique tastes and seemed to be wonderful sources of suffering, had simply been massacred. Yes, survivors felt more grief because of the loss of their comrades, but such a loss of pain was simply unacceptable.

    Siel knows the feeling. It's the one that comes before she kills things. She remembers when she encountered a small band of goblins tormenting some smaller beings - before the fey could arrive and feed, they murdered them. Siel had felt the same cold feeling, and had cut down each of the small creatures. She didn't kill them until she had made sure they gave a bountiful harvest of pain, to pay for their reckless destruction of such delicious-smelling sources of hurt.

    If Siel's eyes weren't entirely black, one might have been able to tell that her gaze shifted while she was remembering. She was looking off at the ground, rather than at any one person, but her eyes made it all but impossible to notice.

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    Stuff like this is why Siel is LN and not LG, with the way she's been acting so far.
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    "Vrish," Nala chides her, "There’s no need to mess with him. Are you feeling alright? You sound a little odd."

    To the elf she adds, "But she’s right about our story. We’ve only been here…" she pauses and tries to count. "Three or four weeks. Give or take a little. Everything is a little fuzzy around the beginning of it all. We were aiming for the city – not the graveyard – to…" here she hesitates for a brief moment, "Find something we heard the orcs were looking for. Some kind of gem they use to power their machines. Helping out the fey that gave us shelter in the early days. Hence why I’m disguised as an orc. I’m actually human, if you can’t tell. But we appear to have overlooked the actual entrance and ended up in that awful place." She takes the opportunity of being outside to sit in the warmest available spot to let herself dry.
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    "A gem?" Cor (that's his name, as you might recall) ponders a moment. "And you are sure the Drow have it?" He points in the distance. "I think the best chance of finding gems and shinies is with the Kobolds." He tests the tension on the string of his bow and starts adjusting it. "Finding a gem with the Drow might be a problem, as most things of considerable value, like really special gems, are property of the princess and the royal quarters are I think forbidden area for non-Drow. Or is it a very common gem?"
    Last edited by Autopsibiofeeder; 2012-07-07 at 08:22 AM.
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    Siel shakes her head. "We were told the gem is with the drow. It isn't a common one, but has specific properties that the orcs want to use. Their doing so will indirectly increase the rate at which they expand into the as-of-yet fairly untouched oases," the fey explains.
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    "From the sound of it," Nala says with a groan, "It's one of those special ones. The orcs wouldn't be so worried about it if it was common. Before we try anything too dangerous, we need to find out exactly where it is." But how? she wonders. "Maybe if we can find out something about the orc-drow negotiations over it..."
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    Tralkor shrugs. "Can't we simply go in and take a look? It would be nice to know what we're up against and what the situation in there is like. And at least we now know where the front entrance is, right?" he laughs and then continues "I'd say; if we can disguise Nala as an Orc, disguising Cor here as another kind of Elf shouldn't be much trouble..."
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    "Well, should we go in there, I won't be going as an elf. The only elf they tolerate is a drow, and that would be a pretty hard disguise to pull off there." He smiles and adds: "I will be an orc, that would also make our group a bit more homogeneous."

    "Would it be okay if I rested for a night first? I will be much more useful then."
    Cor thinks a moment and then comes to a conclusion: "Yeah, sure, we can go in there. Is any of you good at gathering information? Oh, and we will also need a good story as to why we are there."
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    "Hm? Yeah, I'm fine. What's wrong?" Vrishchika mutters to Nala, her voice still deeper than normal but losing its edge. She looks at Nala as if nothing were different, but there's a bit of tension in her eyes.

    "I think maybe resting for a night would be a good idea, though we'll want to find a good place to hide first. As far as disguises go, I could try to be an orc or something. I don't know how they'd take to my...kind." She gives a halfhearted shrug and fanged smile.

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    "Fair enough," says Nala. "We can all use a rest. Since we're so close to this city, we probably shouldn't light a fire or make too much noise. We don't want to have another encounter with the inhabitants of this area. In the morning we'll touch up our disguises and see this place." The idea frightens her, but excites her. A city for the first time - true civilization. Curiosity has constantly ate at her since they heard about the gem, but patience and caution have to keep holding out, for their safety.

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    Can I trade in my Knowledge:geography for Knowledge:architecture and engineering? It would explain why she's so fascinated in the city, the machines and how the gem ties into them. Knowledge:geo just doesn't make sense, since this entire continent is completely foreign to her.
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    "Okay then, we rest and enter the city tomorrow." Cor finishes donning all his stuff and ends by putting on a small green hat, after which an illusion turns him from an elf into an orc. "Best get the disguises going, no telling who might bump into us today. So what's the plan exactly?" He looks around.

    "You do have a plan, no? I mean, even before you ran into me?"

    Nala
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    Yes, sure, go ahead.
    Last edited by Autopsibiofeeder; 2012-07-16 at 07:14 AM.
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    Siel looks over to Nala. She seemed to have a thing for planning and having plans - the fey wouldn't be surprised if she had been preparing one during their trip there.
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    Nala coughs slightly. "Yes, there was a bit of a plan." She isn’t exactly sure how much of that statement is a lie. "Because we don’t really know what the city will be like, at first we need to figure out how to navigate the place – where the important buildings are and so forth. We’ll have to locate an inn that will accommodate our sort for when night comes. As for locating this magical gem…" she pauses. "That will be a bit more troublesome. Your clue about the royal quarters is helpful. My initial thoughts were to keep an ear out for anything about orcs, or gems. Since I look like an orc, maybe listening around at an orc bar would be helpful to hear if there’s any news relating to the Oasis-inns and the gem they need. I’m a bit familiar with structures and buildings, and might be able to pass myself as a city planner or architect if the need arises."

    "I am very hesitant to walk in there and start talking about rare gems. Listening should come first. Once we get the lay of the land, and the feel of the city, we’ll come up with a...better plan." At the last sentence, she feels a bit of heat rise from her skin, although it would probably be difficult to notice her blush through the disguise.
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    Tralkor nods at Nala. It was nice to have someone around with tactical insights and such. He never was all too brilliant in devising plans himself, so someone around who actually was, was quite a relief...

    Just before taking a rest, Tralkor settles himself against a tree or something for a bit to write a scroll or two.
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    Cor listens and nods. "Yeah, well, an inn will not be a problem. I think we can safely hang out in the visitor's quarters and listen what is going on." He then shakes his head. "But what I don't get: I am pretty sure that any special gem would have been delivered to the royal quarters immediately. That is the way of the drow. We stand very little chance of getting our hands on a gem possessed by the ruling ladies, not without a small army."

    "So, what has me confused: what makes the orcs think they can retrieve the object? They are in general fairly smart about things. Do they know something we don't know?"
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    "It’s good to have someone with a little local area knowledge." Nala says with a shake of her head. In answer to Cor’s questions, she shrugs. "Now that we do not know. They seemed confident that they could retrieve it, or at least, certain that they had to. To a warrior’s mind, no difference. But that makes me think… do they have an army on the way?" She rubs her forehead with one hand. All this speculation with little concrete knowledge wears on a normally exacting mind. "If so, we would have to move quickly to get it first or escape in the chaos." She shudders at the thought. "Either way, we know that there is a party of them on our heels, so we can’t linger."

    "While we have to move quickly," she adds, "We shouldn't just leap into there. There are several things I want to learn, that it is perhaps possible to learn in our first day, if we focus. Drow-orc relations, for one. How likely is it that there’s an army on the way? I know that party said that the gem was stolen – but is that a common occurrence? How much trouble is it for them? How do they typically respond? Such things. And we need to locate the royal quarters and learn everything we can about the ruling family. We should get as close as we can to the location itself and see if we can spot any deficiencies that we can exploit. The more I think about it, the more sure I am that the gem is there."

    Clear frustration shows on her face. "To answer your question with complete honesty - yes. Absolutely. There is no doubt. As to what? Hmph." She shrugs.
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    Siel considers what Nala says, but is confused by some of it.

    "If they were sending an army, why would they have sent that small group ahead of them? If that group would be of any use, wouldn't they be going with the army? They could be advance scouts, but that doesn't seem all that likely to me," Siel says.
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    Cor nods at Siel. "They would not send an army to fight the drow. They prosper because they have relative peaceful relations with all the humanoids that are not active in their society. Like the drow and kobolds here. In many cases there are trade relations...kobolds, and in some there's an 'I do not bother you if you leave me alone' relationship...the drow."

    "Locating the royal quarters is no problem. I can lead you straight to it. Heck, I have been held there for a few months, untill she grew tired of me."
    He ponders a moment. "It is so obvious you would have spotted it within an hour of arriving. But anyway, there's no way we can enter it. Or, at least, leave it alive. It is heavily guarded and every drow: man, woman, child and elder will die for their ruler, their Godess. Without a moment of hesitation." The expression on his face makes clear that there's still things not sitting well with him.

    "So...the drow stole a gem. But they stole it from the kobolds. The orcs wanted to buy it from the kobolds...so badly they are sending a group to retrieve it. It must be very unique." He looks around. "Are they even aware that what they stole is precious to the orcs? How sure are we it was actually a gem, you know, in the way an average man thinks about gems?"

    "It would be so much easier if we found a way to figure out what it is we are looking for..."
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    "If I recall correctly," Nala says, thinking back, "it was described as a ‘green gem’, and ‘about head-sized’. Really big for a gem, as far as my knowledge goes. Whether or not they know it’s precious? I’m not sure. But I think something like that would look extraordinary."

    "What do they even need these gems for, anyway? Powering machines like the orcs? I don’t get that sort of idea, if they go straight to the royal family."

    She shifts her weight from one foot to the other. "I don't see us just suddenly coming up with the answers to these questions. We need to get in there. In the morning, that is. Unless anyone has some insight or information that hasn't been expressed, we should try to rest and prepare."
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    Cor nods. "Let us rest, then."

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    I am going to fast forward to the next morning tomorrow, so if you want to add some plan element, be quick.
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    Nala prepares for the night, laying out everything that still needs to dry and finding a safe place with her back to something. She lays her spear within arm’s reach of her bedroll, the unlit lantern and dagger at her head. Before retiring, she wanders over to Cor and coughs quietly to get his attention. "Er," she begins, appearing unsure how to progress – or if at all. "How long has it been since you’ve seen anyone here? Have you met other expeditions? Within the past…I don't know…four years or so?" She tries to give the impression of pulling the number out of thin air, but knows even as she says it that it's not particularly convincing.
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    Before settling in for the night, Vrishchika sets up her makeshift bed out of packed clothes, and begins casting a spell. ""Prestidigitation!" After a moment of hand movements and magic words, she gestures towards the bed and her own clothing, cleaning them of the grime and dirt they may have accumulated since...whenever the last time they were cleaned.

    "Might as well use up what I've got left. Anyone else want their stuff cleaned?" she offers to the others, her hands still alight with magic.

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    Using Prestidigitation's ability to clean her clothes and the stuff I've been using for a bed. I'm sure it stinks by now .

    If no one wants it now, that's fine. I'll just be sitting on a pile of clothes, brushing my hair while singing quietly to myself in Infernal before going to sleep.

    Cicho teraz, cichy teraz, czas na sen. Cicho teraz, cichy teraz, czas isc do lozka.

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    "I am sorry, Nala. I have been in captivity with the drow for over thirty years, and even before that, I haven't heard about or seen anyone from our world. Well except for my own crew, but none of them lives. You are the first." The elf turns out to be fairly empathic and notices your expectation and disappointment. He produces a fatherly smile and tries to cheer you up: "This world is big, though and I am but one silly elf. There could be hundreds of 'us' here."

    With not only a new ally, but also clean beds you spend the night close to the river. No wild animals, territorial dragonkin or scouting drow disrupt this night. You notice that Cor does not sleep in a bed. He merely sits around on a tree branch and meditates for a few hours and otherwize lazes around a bit, does some praying and happily entertains anyone on watch with a bit of small talk.

    The next morning Cor asks you all to sit around him. "This may sound a bit strange, but please hear me out. In the morning, I like to do some praying and I want to ask you to join me. Now you don't have to actually pray, or pray to my god....you can pray to anything you want, but I just need you to focus on this little ritual I have. You will come to understand later, but it allows me to create a magical connection between us. A web of magical strands that allows me to protect you better in times of combat." He nods and smiles: All right? Once you are all seated, he produces a hempen rope and hands you all a piece so it connects you all. "Please hold this." Then, he starts walking circles around you while chanting softly in Elven, words of prayer and of the love for the living. After a few minutes, he is done and walks to the middle of the group. "Now it has been a while, let us see if this works..." He starts gesturing and casting a spell, touching you all briefly in the process. Once he is done, you all feel the warm tingling sensation of a protective spell trickling down your spines."Yes, very nice, all done!"

    "So, what do we do now?"
    A night's sleep in the forest has done him good and he seems to be very high-spirited.

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    You don't get how he did it, but he somehow managed to cast one Endure elements and have it affect all of you. When you think it through, this has quite some implications for tactical spellcasting.

    This also means you always have the benefits of Endure elements as long as Cor is around.
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    Nala wakes with the sun and has her miniature nest of supplies and bedroll packed up in short order. She produces a breakfast of mostly preserved meat and trail rations, but it’s enough. Familiar, but is that a bad thing? It would be an understatement to accuse her of a simply unrefined palate.

    She yields to Cor’s strange request, and while the elf walks his circles and chants his spell, she rolls her portion of the rope in her fingers and uses the time to think more on her plan. A prayer it certainly is not, but to her mind, it’s the best comfort that could be gained from sitting still, aside from healing.

    She stifles a shudder at the tickling feeling as the spell covers her – Gah! Why does it always feel creepy? – and stands up.

    "We should get you disguised, touch up ours, for those at need it, and be off to the city. No point in trying to pretend we don’t know each other. Too complicated. We’ll get the lay of the land and secure ourselves a base. Er - a room in an inn,"
    she corrects herself. "We can spend the rest of the day on information-gathering. I mentioned that I want to find an orc hangout, but if anyone else has interest in something, we can split off for a time and return to the base – room – to share what we learn. As long as it looks safe enough to wander on our own, of course. Maybe small groups would be better. We’ll see."

    She goes over to the river to check her reflection and, when satisfied, returns to her pack and throws it on over her armor. "Shall we?"
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    Cor gives a tug on the cap of his hat and transforms into an orc. "I am ready. May I suggest we are fortune-seekers, on our way to the jungle mountains to dig for gold? Dunno, we just wanted to witness and experience the splendor of the underground world of the drow, since we were close anyway?"


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    Let me know if you want to do something before I propell you into the underdark.
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  28. - Top - End - #478
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Autopsibiofeeder's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Bern, CH
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Gai-len [IC]

    All ready to go, you head back for the cave. Cor ignores the sphere on the pillar and points you to a secret passage, hidden in the plant growth on the side of the cave. As he shrugs, he says: " 'Tis an elven thing." You step through a, roughly, one foot thick mass of plants and find yourselves in a fairly narrow corridor, just high enough to support ogre visitors.

    "If I remember well, this goes on for about two or three hundred yards." You step through the corridor which is perhaps much to your amazement lit with small candles in lanterns that are attached to the walls every 15 feet. "They see in the dark, much like orcs and ogres, but they appreciate colours and therefore prefer to light their homes and cities."

    The corridor might be natural, but the finishing is man-made, albeit coarse. Tracks and marks on the floor show that this corridor has been in use for ages. After a while you see that the corridor bends to the right and that the part of the corridor that is for now obscured by the bend is even more intensely lit. Before the bend, there are two elves clad in chain shirt, rapier hanging loosely on their belts standing guard. Dark elves appears to be an appropriate term, as these elves have a jet black skin and contrasting gray, whitish hair. Their features are otherwise similar to 'normal' elves, but it seems as if their facial features are a bit sharper. A bit more feral, perhaps.

    One of them steps forward and adresses you in orc, and quite friendly so: "Greetings, visitors, please state the nature of your visit. Places, people you intent to visit?"
    Avatar by Recaiden

  29. - Top - End - #479
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    TinselCat's Avatar

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    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Gai-len [IC]

    Nala squeezes through the mass of plants which snag on her armor and pack. She is silently grateful for the candles, so that she can leave her lantern hanging from the back of her pack. When the guards come in to sight, she scrutinizes them with a fighter’s eye. Not power fighters, not with a rapier, but if they know how to use it – and there's no sign that they didn’t – they would fight with finesse. Her reach would give her an advantage if she could keep it, but they’re likely faster than her. Not a fight she would willingly step into, even with her friends for backup.

    But the words the first guard says are much friendlier than she had been expecting, and she reacts accordingly.

    "Just that, a visit,"
    she says, settling into an even balance between politeness and her take on the characteristic orc gruffness. "Restock and resupply for our journey, rest for a few days. Been traveling long. No particular people or places in mind – first time in the city."
    Very awesome avatar by Derjuin.

  30. - Top - End - #480
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Autopsibiofeeder's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Bern, CH
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Gai-len [IC]

    The drow looks a bit sceptical. "Anywhere in particular you are travelling to? Most orcs we see here have a goal in the city." He does not wait for an answer but continues immediately: "Be adviced that ten percent of any profit you make in the city by selling things or through gambing, et cetera, needs to go to the Queen's house. Failing to pay these taxes can have serious consequences. Otherwise, behave...no fighting, stealing, but I am sure you were not planning on any of that. Please put down your names in the book here and you can stay in the city for 7 days free of charge." He points at a book with a lit candle and a pen and ink vial next to it. "Report to this station should you desire to extend your stay."
    Avatar by Recaiden

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