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  1. - Top - End - #331
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Alec half-smiles to himself; sometimes he forgets that it's much more comforting for most people to indirectly cause harm rather than pointedly aim it at a face they can see. They may very well steal from entire banks in Stormgate, bankrupting many and dooming them to poverty, but it won't produce nearly as much guilt.

    "Certainly I would pick people who were suited to it; little short of your spells or extreme desperation would convince the average villager to set off to a life of banditry. I'm just as confident that I can find at least a handful of souls similar to mine in Seabreak, waiting for the right opportunity to take up a sword. Such people would suit this purpose far more efficiently than 'innocent' counterparts in both the short and long-term. Scapegoats must be believable above all else, after all.

    "That said, I'm always open to alternatives."
    Last edited by Blarghy; 2012-09-03 at 10:41 PM.
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

    ~ Sophistemon

  2. - Top - End - #332
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    Indrys smiles. "I see that you're set on this course of action, and one would think that by now I would have learned it wiser to leave you to your devices, instead of attempting to corral you into doing something otherwise." He chuckles. "But I haven't. I cannot see the recreation of a bandit gang so shortly after our having defeated one to be anything short of the most egregious hypocrisy; short of having acquired the wealth that we did, we might have done nothing at all, all for the sake of you and your chaos." He pauses, looking a bit startled, and then glances at the wine. "Pardon me, Alec. It was not my intent to disparage your faith." He clears his throat, then, and straightens his collar. "I know of a spell that can disguise the shape of a man, that can alter his form into that of another, or into one wholly original. I wish, very much, that I knew how to cast it, but magic like that is beyond my current skill, and may be beyond my capabilities altogether. It would be of great and glorious use during circumstances like these. I can cast a spell that makes me harder to recognize, but its scope is too limited, and it cannot be applied to another." He shakes his head. "But that doesn't mean that I'm completely useless to this endeavor, or that I've run out of ideas. You have seen me, I think, use my magic to fog men's minds, to make them more amicable towards accepting my thoughts as their own, my will as their purpose. I propose that I use this magic to incite the bandit into attempting an escape -- perhaps we could even let him loose, so that he draws the attention of the town guards. While the local authorities are thus preoccupied, you two could go about your business and acquire us some more capital." He smiles. "There, you have your 'frame', and you have the bandit freed, and nobody needs to be hurt anywhere but in their pocketbooks... well, excepting the bandit, if he gets caught, but it serves him right for the trouble he's caused in the past."
    Last edited by Sophistemon; 2012-09-03 at 10:54 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #333
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Alec looks far from offended; if anything, he tips his glass. "Such a mask would be a gift from some god, whichever you prefer; if you can find a way to get it in the future, I'd be happy to help. Regardless, your plan would probably work. I might recommend that we give the bandit whatever advantages we can manage, within reason. So long as he escapes, he'd surely be suspected of any crimes committed after his release. If he's caught again and questioned, that might cast some doubt on the matter, especially when he doesn't have whatever I'll have stolen.

    "Again, we have to wait and see what we're dealing with, exactly, but this is a fine idea to set us off."
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

    ~ Sophistemon

  4. - Top - End - #334
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    Slii Arhem's Avatar

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    Time Split

    Glaffin responds to Adrian's request by handing a sack full of one share of the money to Alec with a grim nod, "I'm sure you can take care of it for him, and at least he'll know where to find you if he needs it." The dwarf seems to be referring to all the times that Alec has stuck to Adrian's side and spoken to the lad, but it's hard to tell from his tone alone.

    He does lean in before he lets his grip slide from the sack, and speaks quietly to Alec, "If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to have a word with you once we make camp for the night. Nothing important if you feel the need to sleep instead. I think we'll all be feeling that urge after what we've been put through." With that said he lets the bag go and walks off to scavenge some canvas from one of the tents. Could never have enough canvas with how useful it could be in harsh weather.
    Julie, everyone's nth favorite succubus, by Gulaghar.
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  5. - Top - End - #335
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Later-than-late that night...

    Following his talk with Indrys, Alec slips out of the wagon and goes hunting for a second time, now to find the priest. Somehow, he doubts the conversation will be too full of cheer.
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

    ~ Sophistemon

  6. - Top - End - #336
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    Once they return to the caravan, Thorus goes to his quarters and removes his armor. It was always nice to be rid of it after a long and exhausting day. He then empties his new coin pouches on the wagon's floor and begins counting his gains; he has no particular reason to suspect he's been cheated, but it was better to be sure, just in case. While doing this, his mind wanders to the subject of Seabreak, pondering what resources the town might have that he could spend his money on. He wonders if they have a library of any size or prestige, and wonders how he would visit such a place without his companions discovering. Perhaps there's a museum with powerless artifacts that could still be unfathomably-valuable, and not necessarily in currency...

    When he's done, he scoops up his coinage back into pouches and puts it in a safe place, out of sight. He then steps outside the wagon to begin a strenuous regimen of stretches and exercise.
    "The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together." - Carl Sagan

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  7. - Top - End - #337
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blarghy View Post
    Later-than-late that night...

    Following his talk with Indrys, Alec slips out of the wagon and goes hunting for a second time, now to find the priest. Somehow, he doubts the conversation will be too full of cheer.
    Later-than-late That Night

    He'll find Glaffin by the cook fires with an apple in one hand and the shimmering silver cloth in the other, running his fingers over the material and perhaps idly imagining what he could make with the strange, flexible metal.

    He looks up when he notices Alec's approach, and smiles wearily in a way that spreads old wrinkles across his forehead and cheeks. He rolls up the few feet of cloth he was holding and sets the bolt gently at his feet before patting the log beside him, inviting the sailor to sit a spell as they talk.

    "The longest day I've had in recent memory. I think it may have gotten the better of me to be honest." He remarks to no one in particular.
    Julie, everyone's nth favorite succubus, by Gulaghar.
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  8. - Top - End - #338
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Glaffin

    Alec sits, stretching his legs, and slips into the dwarven language with deep, rumbling words from the bottom of his throat. Maybe it's a sign of camaraderie, or maybe it's just good for privacy.

    "/Yet here you sit. I would say that is a sign that you got the better of the day.//"
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

    ~ Sophistemon

  9. - Top - End - #339
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    Glaffin

    Glaffin snorts, but doesn't take offense to his native language being used. He's hardly even surprised, "<I only sit because I'm too tired and too wounded to stand, and too restless to sleep.>" The dwarf rolls his head from side to side, trying to work out some kinks in his neck before giving it up as a lost cause.

    "<So you've taken a shine to the young Adrian then?>" He starts conversationally. Seems to be a good place to start really.
    Last edited by Slii Arhem; 2012-09-04 at 03:14 PM.
    Julie, everyone's nth favorite succubus, by Gulaghar.
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  10. - Top - End - #340
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    After they returned from the bandit camp, Tallhelm assured Alec he would draw up contracts for himself and Adrian, but they wouldn't be ready until the next morning. The wagons, he said, made any sort of accurate writing quite impossible while they were in motion. It seemed the merchant meant to press on until nightfall.

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    Unless anyone else has anything to say to Tallhelm, I'm advancing until 'later that night.' I think Laelaer wanted to discuss the matter of horses with him?
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  11. - Top - End - #341
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Glaffin

    So they're jumping right into it, then. Alec's smile stretches a little further at one corner; in the poor light, it's a little more sharklike than cheery.

    "/As have you. He's a shineable boy.//"
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

    ~ Sophistemon

  12. - Top - End - #342
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    Glaffin

    "<Perhaps.>" Glaffin rumbles agreeably, not turning his eyes away from the fire, "<But it's good you'll be here for him. I can't say for how long I'll be around the caravan, so it's better he has someone to watch over him.>" And the dwarf leaves it at that, apparently satisfied with what he'd said.

    It's several moments before he speaks up again, on a completely different topic, "<The last time I had to deal with wounds like yours, my cousin was coming home from a goblin raid on a stretcher with a pair of arrows through his gut. I'd already spent myself healing others, and we didn't have any surgeons on hand. I've gotten the feeling that you don't like me, and although you've held your tongue more often than not I can tell we don't agree on everything." The dwarf stops himself there with a short sigh, knowing that this isn't the path he wants to be taking, "<But I'm glad that when the time came I had the ability to pull you through. I'd do it again for both your sake and Adrian's, for as long as I'm here. Thought you might want to know you can rely on me, at least until we reach Seabreak.>" And after that, who knows. Glaffin may not agree with Tallhelm, but assuming the contract is good and the road ahead to Stormgate is clear, he might even push past his irrational distaste for the man and stick through. With Indrys and Cecily around, he's certain he'll never be without interesting conversation.
    Last edited by Slii Arhem; 2012-09-05 at 01:47 PM.
    Julie, everyone's nth favorite succubus, by Gulaghar.
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    For anyone in plots run by me, know that I always tailor solutions to those in the plot. The answer may not be obvious, but it's there, and doable by the displayed abilities of the present characters. If you need help or hints, I'll try to be available to provide them.

  13. - Top - End - #343
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Glaffin

    Perhaps the dwarf will be a bit surprised when his companion laughs lightly, although it doesn't seem to be at his grim story, but rather what came after.

    "/My Thariussian friend,//" he says in a fondly teasing tone. "/On days like today, our worlds could not seem more different. I do not dislike you. Your views are not my views, and we are both so immersed in our paths that I think we would be liars if we pretended to love the other side. But I do not dislike you. Conflict is in my blood and my soul; I could not walk the road I have chosen if I hated those with whom I disagreed. Hate, if you do not know, has no place with the Laughing God. His servants make their choices because we believe the world is better for it. Or, sometimes, just because we want to,//" Alec admits with a flip of one hand. "/But those of us who hate have missed the point.//"

    Finally, to demonstrate, Alec reaches out and puts his palm on Glaffin's shoulder. "/And I am sorry for your cousin, although our feelings on death must differ. What does Tharius tell you of where that soul resides?//"

    Dwarven, by the way, seems like a great language for formality, to him.
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

    ~ Sophistemon

  14. - Top - End - #344
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    Glaffin

    It is indeed. A great many honorifics and adjectives for all sorts of occasions lie sprinkled among the gruff, utilitarian words that make up its base, "<You know, I'm as unsure of the purview of the laughing god as I am of how others worship Tharius. My worship of the creator is practical, as was my father's. He provides the tools I need to create works far beyond what I could on my own, and I worship him in my own way. What separates us is not who I pay lip service to, but the morals I was born to and raised under. There is healthy conflict, but there are some forms of conflict that benefit no one, and instances of cooperation being the only path to betterment. If you can agree with me on that, then I think we can move forward despite our personal opinions on which of our paths is the right in each situation.>" That's all Glaffin is looking for. Some hint that their differences weren't going to turn irreconcilable, even if they continued to disagree at almost every turn.
    Julie, everyone's nth favorite succubus, by Gulaghar.
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    For anyone in plots run by me, know that I always tailor solutions to those in the plot. The answer may not be obvious, but it's there, and doable by the displayed abilities of the present characters. If you need help or hints, I'll try to be available to provide them.

  15. - Top - End - #345
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Glaffin

    "Ahh." Alec folds his fingers together and shakes his head with another light smile. "/Move forward, yes. I'm sure we can. But agree on this point, no. I like cooperation; life means little without friends. Yet, I believe all conflict has a purpose. Every skirmish teaches something, makes you stronger, whether it's on the field of battle or by a fire discussing matters of philosophy. The wise learn from them all. The foolish are the lessons. We shouldn't turn every day into a constant fight with whomever and whatever we encounter, but when we meet a problem, I think we cheat ourselves by avoiding it.//"
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

    ~ Sophistemon

  16. - Top - End - #346
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    Glaffin

    The dwarf sighs and pokes at the smouldering logs and cinders, throwing a shower of sparks into the air momentarily, "<I suppose that's all I can ask for. We'll just have to keep disagreeing and smiling through it then, for the sake of cooperation.>" He gives Alec a wry smile, and holds out a hand for the sailor to shake.
    Last edited by Slii Arhem; 2012-09-05 at 04:46 PM.
    Julie, everyone's nth favorite succubus, by Gulaghar.
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    For anyone in plots run by me, know that I always tailor solutions to those in the plot. The answer may not be obvious, but it's there, and doable by the displayed abilities of the present characters. If you need help or hints, I'll try to be available to provide them.

  17. - Top - End - #347
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Glaffin

    Alec accepts his hand. "/For what it is worth, my smile will not be faked. No friendship is without its arguments, and I see no reason to let our differences tear us apart.//"

    Maybe a time will come when one of them just cannot stand by while the other acts, in which case the swords and morningstar might come out. But that's a matter for another day.
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

    ~ Sophistemon

  18. - Top - End - #348
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    Glaffin

    "<I just hope I can say the same for mine. I think though, after today I'll have to get back into practice for conflicts of the more visceral nature. Swinging a mace is no more my style now than when I first bought the thing, but my family knows more than a few things about combat I can lend, now that I've had a taste of how dangerous this life can be. Every wound I prevent is one more I don't have to worry about healing.>" That, at least, is a good use for combat prowess in his opinion. Preventing death when there is no other option but to fight.

    "<I think I've kept both of us from our rightful sleep for long enough. Unless you'd like to add anything of course. Thank you for giving me the chance to speak in my native tongue as well. Cecily uses it far too seldom in my opinion.>"
    Julie, everyone's nth favorite succubus, by Gulaghar.
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    For anyone in plots run by me, know that I always tailor solutions to those in the plot. The answer may not be obvious, but it's there, and doable by the displayed abilities of the present characters. If you need help or hints, I'll try to be available to provide them.

  19. - Top - End - #349
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Glaffin

    "/Then we must make a habit of it.//"

    He rises and dusts off the specks of bark from the log. "/I hope you will stay with us after Seabreak. Adrian should have the opportunity to hear both of us and decide for himself which sounds best. Besides, a day will surely come when Thorus cannot protect everyone by himself.//" While the last is a joke, given that entrusting his life wholly to someone else goes against Alec's nature, he seems honest enough about the rest.
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

    ~ Sophistemon

  20. - Top - End - #350
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    Glaffin

    "<The day nearly came today. He's a sure hand at soldiering, but there were more casualties on our side than I could stomach. I'm just glad we only lost one.>" Glaffin doesn't disparage Thorus' ability in combat, but it's clear the cleric is still ruminating on the one that was beyond his ability to save.

    "<Good night Alec. It was an informative talk.>"
    Julie, everyone's nth favorite succubus, by Gulaghar.
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    For anyone in plots run by me, know that I always tailor solutions to those in the plot. The answer may not be obvious, but it's there, and doable by the displayed abilities of the present characters. If you need help or hints, I'll try to be available to provide them.

  21. - Top - End - #351
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Glaffin

    Alec knows when to take a hint, particularly one that plain. He's off without another word, slipping between the wagons again. That went somewhat better than he'd expected, although it's also pretty clear that Glaffin left the conversation less satisfied than him. But you can't please everyone, especially when you weren't really trying. Still, a business relationship is good enough.

    Not-Glaffin

    There's just one last thing left to do tonight, unless someone else ambushes him for a talk. The pirate leaves the safety of the camp and walks a bit away from the road for some privacy; he doesn't have his own wagon like Indrys (how the elf pulled that off in the first place is something of a mystery anyway). Now that Alec and his fellows have established themselves as the most dangerous living things in the hills, he isn't too worried about trouble. When he listens and stares through the dark, it's for curious members of the caravan rather than enemies.

    He eventually clears a spot on the ground and sits. There, he makes some brief preparations, digging up some fresh soil with his fingers and twisting several strands of grass together. When he's finished, he regulates his respiration with long, slow breaths.

    First, he takes the dirt in his hands. To it, with firm thoughts of staying the course even if the people around him don't understand, he whispers, "Terran."

    Alec puts the dirt to one side and uses his waterskin to fill his palms again. He tells it "Aquan," and pictures flowing adaptation that washes away anything and anyone that would try to sit unchanging and eternal like a rock in the river--what Indrys mistook for chaos.

    Now comes air. He breathes into his cupped hands. As he exhales, he thinks of many different fates; they manifest as an older Adrian, sometimes leading a white-clad congregation with Glaffin, proud, by his side, sometimes crushing the head of an undead sorcerer who thought to live forever, and sometimes working in a small shop with no desire to deal with what he sees as foolish faith. "Ventan," he says, and thinks of choice and free-will.

    The last is the most dangerous, in more than one sense. Alec strikes a few sparks to set his prepared grass strands on fire, then scoops them into his hands and lets them burn in his palms. He imagines roaring, blind, unguided destruction with no purpose but to wipe the slate clean and prepare for new growth, which will someday be burnt in turn. It's a merciless power that he thinks should be handled with great care; some release it when they can, either because they trust some good to ultimately come of it or because they just love the crumbling monuments and the ash-fields afterwards, but to be honest, Alec fears the fire, not just thanks to what it can bring to the world, but because of what it can do to the people who use it. When he speaks "Ignan," he pictures uncontrollable wrath that eats everything in its path, including whoever gave it life.

    There's no guideline for the rest of the prayer; he asks for what he wants, not for what a laughing priest told him he should request. "Give me guidance when I pause, show me wealth when it sits stagnant so I can take it, lead me to life that is not lived so I can return it to the other side, and strike me down when I enter the stasis that I fight against."

    Alec finishes feeling both resolved and drained; the places on his chest ache where the crossbows hit, and his previously deflated lung burns lightly when he inhales. He breathes one long sigh when he slowly stands. On his way back, he takes his time, and doesn't hesitate to set up his bedroll in camp. After the day he's had, he should sleep deeply. Unless, perhaps, if something comes to visit.
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

    ~ Sophistemon

  22. - Top - End - #352
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    The Pirate had little trouble going to sleep, but once he did his dreams were... odd. He saw a city spreading out below him, like a spiderweb, streets and alleys crossing and re-crossing, but it was like no city that could have been devised by mortal hands. Some of the roads rose up into the sky, or terminated abruptly, shattered as if by an immense hammer. Some looped back in on themselves, providing no access but for those already on them. Some were lit, some were dark, and as he looked on, he saw that some were still being built, bricks and mortar and stone being laid by masked and hooded masons.

    Then he fell from the sky, landing on one of the streets. His lungs hurt as the air rushed out of them, but they stopped when he stood up. The doors near him were dark, shades drawn across their windows. Above, the moon rolled overhead, phases shifting. He started walking, the streets all around him empty of people. Occassionally, one of the masons would slip past, barely visible in an alley or sidestreet. There were no signs, no system of labelling to give him any clue as to where he was, where he was supposed to go. The dream led him on. The houses loomed overhead, ominously, closing in above him. Up ahead, a door stood open.

    Entering it, Alec found himself on the deck of a ship at sail, ropes and timbers creaking in heavy wind. He stood at the wheel, holding tight against the force of the gale around him. The ship was spinning, he saw, and he fought to right it, but there were no landmarks. Nothing was visible in the sea around him, and there were no crewmen on the deck, none in the lookout station high above. He was alone, it seemed.

    A voice from behind him made it jump, cutting through the roar of the wind as it did.

    "So, Alec, where are you going today?"

    Turning his head, he saw a grizzled old ship's captain standing beside him, the man's coat flapping gently in a wind that should have had it blowing wildly. It was a uniform coat, but old and soiled, patched in many places, and of a style that had been out of fashion before Alec took to the ocean. The pirate wanted to answer, but found he couldn't, and the old man simply held up a hand.

    "That was a rhetorical question. I'm fond of those." He smiled, but it was the unsettling sort. Like he knew more than he said. Nodding in the direction of the prow, he spoke again. "You should mind the ship. It's falling apart."

    Looking back, Alec saw he was right. The boards had rotted away, waves washing over the deck and forcing the ship lower in the water.

    "Don't worry," said the captain. "You'll be in port soon enough. Never was much for fishing, myself. Little fish are too easy to catch. But if you found a nice big one, with some fight in him, ah, there was a prize worth the taking."

    walking leasurely over to the railing, he leaned over the side and pulled up a net. It was ragged and torn, and he shook his head in disgust and walked forward. Alec could see a light now, a beacon of flame just on the horizon, and he steered the ship towards that. The wind filled the sails, driving the dilapitated ship across the waves while the captain stood, ankle deep in water, hands folded calmly behind his back, just next to the forward mast. Jagged rocks burst up out of the water, and the ship hit them hard, sending Alec sprawling. When he looked up again, the old captain was standing over him.

    "Have to watch out for those," he said. "Tear you to pieces if you aren't more careful. Here." Tossing a fat golden fish into Alec's lap, the captain began to walk away. "Found that, while you were out. There's more than just the one in the sea, but you'll never catch any with a torn net."

    He stopped, standing by the stairs to the lower decks, and turned back, fixing Alec with a piercing stair. "Get yourself a better net, Alec."

    The pirate jolted awake, lying on his bedroll next to one of Tallhelm's wagons. The sky was getting light, the sun just edging up over the ocean to the East. Alec shook his head, the captain's last words ringing in his ears.

    "get yourself a better net."


    The next morning dawned on a tired night guard, Tallhelm's caravan much the way it had been when they settled in for the night. No bandits had come from the hills to take them all unaware, a fact Tallhelm had no difficulty espousing over breakfast.

    "We must have gotten the last of them when you all went and raided that camp of theirs," he said, gesturing with an apple. The caravan owner had made a point of rounding them all up, presumably so he could talk to them. The goods they'd brought back from camp combined with the way they had sent off the ambushing bandits had, apparently, turned them into Tallhelm's new favourite people.

    "That'll show them, yes sir. No more bandit trouble after this, you'll see. Wouldn't be surprised if the whole lot of them from here to White River just gave us the pass, now. But that's not why I came over here, no, it isn't. I've drawn up those contracts you wanted last night, Mr. Alec, and I've got a few more I made just in case the rest of you want to take up my offer and sign on for the long hall. I've changed things a bit, though, in light of your recent victory. See, someone's got to be selling those goods you brought back, and I think it's only fair if you get your own wagon to do that yourself. You'd pay me a fee like the rest of them as have attached themselves to my little endeavor, of course."

    He paused, to see what sort of effect this was having on them, and continued once satisfied. "If you like, I can assign Erhlson to your wagon, since he helped out with that little skirmish of yours. Unfortunately, however, I do not yet have any spare wagons to put you in, so we'll have to get one at Seabreak."

    "Unless," he added, looking over at Indrys, "Indrys doesn't mind using the once he sleeps in for this purpose. This is all a brainwave I had last night, you could say, while I was working. Just an idea. I think it's a fantastic one, always looking for more partners to add to the caravan, you know, and since you brought back those horses we wouldn't even need to get you some of those. Now."

    He took a bite of the apple, the green fruit crunching loudly. "What do you say to THAT?"

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  23. - Top - End - #353
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    For someone who slept through the night, Alec looks remarkably pale today. The battles and his near-fatal injuries are apparently just now catching up to him; he even twitches at sudden noises and seems to keep rubbing his beard almost nervously.

    He manages to more or less compose himself for the meeting, although he takes out one of his new coins to keep his hands busy. The slim, gold disk spins between his fingers as he stares almost blankly at Tallhelm. Only at the merchant's final loud question does he snap back to life with a small jerk of his head.

    "..." This proposal doesn't remotely excite him at first. He didn't decide to stay with the caravan so he could actually sell things, sitting at a booth all damn day when he'd rather be out scouring each new city for more hands-on opportunities. You don't just wait for good leads to wander by because they felt like buying a yard of silk or some apples, like fish blindly swimming into a n...

    Alec blinks, then coughs almost weakly.

    Surely he's jumping to invent his own interpretations of frustratingly vague hints, but on second thought, this arrangement might actually have promise. A merchant can, and indeed is supposed to, talk to whomever walks close enough. By chatting up anyone within range, there's no telling what kind of information he could gather; he'd be less suspicious in this context than if he went bar-hopping, which isn't as effective as most people think, purely because everyone expects strangers with private, even sinister, motives to buy drinks and ask questions. Running a wagon-stall has the small benefit of actually making him money, too, rather than bleeding off his funds. And of course, there's the potential to see who has bags full of silver and gold without needing to sneak through their window first.

    Yes, this could work.

    "I think it's a generous idea," he answers Tallhelm. "I'm interested."

    This pirate's going to catch himself some fish.
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

    ~ Sophistemon

  24. - Top - End - #354
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    Glaffin sits down to seriously consider the offer. For all the man's boasts, he knew how to run a caravan or he wouldn't still be running it, and being a partner would mean he could get back on his feet as a shop owner that much sooner.

    But while the offer was favorable, the dwarf held back for a moment, considering just what he was getting into. He decides on a compromise, to see if Tallhelm is open to negotiation.

    "If I agree to sign on as a partner, I still expect to be paid a fair wage if you want my services as a healer and craftsman between towns. That's what I signed on for, and I don't want you to think that I've forgotten it." While the dwarf would probably consent to healing those in need on the road, he's certainly not going to be repairing wagon wheels and straightening horse-shoes for nothing.

    "Also, if you have any inks used for spell scrolls in your stock, I'll buy them at a fair price before we hit the town. I can pen a few scrolls to either sell in Seabreak or keep with us and use when someone is beyond my ability to heal that day. Always good to have more to sell." He supposes that that makes for a fair ultimatum. If he's treated fairly and given the materials he needs (provided Tallhelm has them) then he can reconsider his opinion of the loutish merchant and put the past where it belongs.
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  25. - Top - End - #355
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    Later that Night (The conversation between Alec and Indrys)

    The elf nods, pleased by the praise. "Very good, Alec," he says. "But, as you've said, more concrete planning should be postponed until we have a firmer understanding of what we're to be dealing with. They may well execute the bandit only minutes after we arrive, and a new plan will need to be concocted. And, well, you know what they say about plans... they only work until they don't, and then they're useless." He smiles wanly, his thin lips curving only slightly as he sips from his glass. "You've taken a shining to the boy, Adrian, haven't you? So have I. His pain... it reminds me of my own. I have empathy with him." He sets his glass, now empty, on the table. "Go easy on him, if you can. I can see already that you and Glaffin will be playing against each-other for his affections. Try to keep from breaking him; that benefits nobody, least of all the boy himself." He eyes the empty glass and the still more-full-than-empty bottle, but then shakes his head. "My tongue is loose enough tonight, isn't it?"

    The Next Morning (Tallhelm's proposal)

    Indrys, who is looking far less rumpled than he had the night before, thanks partially to a dreamless sleep but more to the hour he had spent primping himself before the meeting was called, stifles a yawn with one slender hand. Tallhelm was talking. Tallhelm was always talking, a trait that the Gray Elf found inconceivable annoying. Some people, he mused, Just don't know when to keep their mouths shut. Not everything you want to say needs to be said. The hypocrisy doesn't seem to mind him. In any case, it's only when the caravan-leading recommends turning his sleeping wagon into a portable shop that the elf begins paying actual attention. He manages to hide his statement behind a legitimate-looking smile and he raises his hands palms-up to show his acquiescence. "Of course," he says, and his voice is as smooth as ever. "There's plenty of room in my wagon for our various goods, and if we're looking to make a profit, we should save the money that would need to be spent on purchasing another."
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  26. - Top - End - #356
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    Cecily raises an eyebrow at the offer. Their own wagon. She didn't exactly have any plans for the immediate future, but she didn't imagine she was going to be staying with Tallhelm for a more significant amount of time. On the other hand, opportunities like this don't come around very often at all, and she'd be a fool to pass it up. "I'm glad that you think so highly of us. It would be my honor to be a part of such a prestigious caravan."



  27. - Top - End - #357
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    Thorus folds his arms and thinks, trying to maintain an impassive face. Sitting around all day peddling wares sounded awfully dull, and he wasn't all that much of a people-person anyway. The only upside was the revenue, and even then, it's not like the caravan was selling anything of extravagant value or particular interest to him. He decides to not make up his mind yet. "If ya don't mind me askin', what exactly would this arrangement entail?" he asks.
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  28. - Top - End - #358
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Indrys

    "Perhaps a bit too loose," he says, this time with his mouth set into a neutral, straight line but his eyes narrowed slightly. Maybe it's the rapid criticism of his faith and methods, or maybe he isn't keen to take advice on this matter from someone who shows little adherence to any philosophy, his or Glaffin's. The nature of the warnings itself might have mildly annoyed him; they imply that he doesn't care much for Adrian's welfare or choices. Either way, this doesn't seem like a topic Alec wants to pursue, especially when he switches to a different one.

    "I've been watching more than just Thorus. Cecily could also be useful, but I get the impression she doesn't care much for me. Nothing specific, just a feeling. I definitely don't think she'd sign on for most of our plans. That doesn't mean she couldn't still help, though. No one spreads news and tells tales like a bard, and reputation is worth more than gold. If she was to sing her songs and spin her stories about our 'good' deeds, the caravan as a whole could build the right kind of prestige, even enough to outweigh suspicion if we're implicated for some crime or another. I was thinking she could start immediately, if she's convinced. Those bandits were too big a threat for the local forces to remove, but we did it just because we stumbled over them and only lost one man in the process. I'd say that makes for a nice story. Seabreak being as small as I've heard, there's nothing to stop us from even becoming local celebrities if word gets 'round. That reputation can only spread as we follow Tallhelm's route.

    "Of course, Cecily would probably need to not hear about what we're doing after dark. You'd also have a better chance of encouraging her to tell the people what we've done than I would. Hopefully she'd like to build up her own name too; that'd make it easier."
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

    ~ Sophistemon

  29. - Top - End - #359
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    Indrys colors, slightly, and it looks strange on his porcelain skin, like a purplish bruise quickly spreading over his hollow cheeks. "My apologies, Alec," he says, speaking quickly in the hopes of repairing the conversation. "I'm sure that you know what you're doing. It's just that the boy is vulnerable, and I can relate to what he's going through. I spoke out of turn, though; I hope that you can forgive me. In regards to this, as I do for all of our topics of discussion, I trust in your judgement." He swallows nervously. "The wine," he says. "Stronger than I'd thought..." He shakes his head to clear it and muses over Alec's assessment of Cecily. "Yes, I agree; she would be very useful if we could bring her around. What about her makes you think that she doesn't like you? I haven't noticed anything particularly inimical about her behavior." After that, he laughs. "Oh, yes, she could compose an epic tale about my great heroics. 'Hail, Indrys, he who was shot! Oh, mighty warrior, who so bravely charged in the opposite direction!' Ahh..." He's smiling, now, and the wine-fueled blush has spread to his neck. "No, I didn't quite prove my courage today. But perhaps, eventually..."
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  30. - Top - End - #360
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    "Excellent, excellent. And of course, I'd pay you for any work you did outside taking care of your own goods and things, Master Dwarf. I'll see if I can't dig you up some supplies in a moment" Taking another bite of the apple, Tallhelm looked to Thorus.

    "It's quite simple, really. There's a small fee that goes to paying for guards and basic supplies, food and the like. Many of the wagons here are mine, but a few of them are owned by other people, who pay that fee. You're responsible for what you sell, which can be most anything you have on hand, for whatever price you can get. Any money you make is yours to keep. It's a good arrangement, I think, and works for everyone I've had tag along so far. So, what do you say?
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