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  1. - Top - End - #361
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Indrys

    The prince's self-deprecation goes unmentioned; Alec expects he'll go back to it eventually, but for now he doesn't want to get sidetracked again.

    "Because she seems like a nice person," he dryly returns to Cecily. Really, aside from one or two tiny signs, the main reason he doubts they'll end up on friendly terms is because of her close connection to Glaffin. If she's anything like him, it might be tough to carve out a good relationship. Still, jumping to such conclusions is bad form, so Alec at least decides not to admit to it aloud.

    "Laelaer is less nice," he moves on, "but just as clever as you and twice as much as me. I can't see her sitting around that little fishing village without wanting something active and lucrative to relieve the boredom, and even if she doesn't help with our plans, we might lend a hand with hers, so long as she gives us a share of any profits. We should have a talk with her about it once we've all seen Seabreak. Maybe she'll think of a better idea than any of ours and we'll pool our resources for it."

    The Rest

    Having already agreed, Alec nods occasionally to show he's listening but doesn't add any questions. He doesn't care too much about the specifics of the arrangement; any money he helps make from the sales is a secondary gain at best until they have more to offer than used weapons and cloth.
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

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  2. - Top - End - #362
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    Slii Arhem's Avatar

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    Glaffin sets his jaw, and nods once to himself, "I'll look over this contract then. If the fee is fair, I'll sign on as a partner. If not, you'll still have me in my old role." Hardly old after only a few days on the road, but Glaffin doesn't sweat the details. Instead he waits to see what this contract entails, wondering if the money for food and protection is merely sufficient or Tallhelm is overblowing his cut to make a bit of extra profit from the other members of the caravan. Even if it's the latter, the dwarf supposes he can't begrudge the man his dues. Organizing and directing such a large number of people and being responsible for all the wages is work all its own, and Tallhelm deserves to be paid fairly for doing it just as anyone else would.
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  3. - Top - End - #363
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    Thorus scratches his chin, thinking some more. He was about to say that he didn't like the idea enough, but then a thought occurred to him; he had heard nothing to indicate that he couldn't just up and leave if the arrangement ever got too far out of his liking. And even if there was a contract in place; what was Tallhelm going to do? Stop him? He had to stifle a smirk.

    "Yeah, alright. I'm in."
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  4. - Top - End - #364
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    "Wonderful. And please do note, the fee is per wagon, not per person. Since you'll be using the same wagon, or so I assume, you'd only have to pay it once collectively. Normally, it's paid per week. Now, what about you, Laelaer? You've been awfully quiet, over there. What do you think of my proposal?"

    While Tallhelm waited for his answer, the others skimmed the contract. It seemed fairly standard to Alec. They agreed to pay Tallhelm five gold a week, and he would cover the cost of guards and provide the safety of numbers. It seemed a bit steep, at first, but the size of the caravan justified that somewhat. Food and wages for this many people would run up, after a while.
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  5. - Top - End - #365
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    The drowess looks up, having been thinking hard about Tallhelm's proposal. Back in Vayentsia, she had agreed to accompany Indrys across the sea and to aid him in his quest to reclaim his family's rights. She hoped, if he was successful, to benefit from his newly raised position. However, she was not fond of the idea of tying herself down to this caravan. Still, it was not as if the contract could not be broken at any time, and she was going to continue guarding the caravan anyway. Why not take the chance for more profit?

    "I will sign on with this venture as well, provided I will continue to receive my wages as a guard." Laelaer agrees. "In addition, I would like a horse. If I am to guard this caravan effectively, I will need to be able to reach the trouble quickly. When there are so many wagons to watch, on foot, I could only hope to guard one, perhaps two, total. Certainly not the length of the entire train."
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  6. - Top - End - #366
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    "Oh, welll..." Tallhelm coughed. "I suppose, you brought back those three horses... Well, I guess you could have one of those."

    The merchant looked a little uncomfortable effectively giving up ownership of one of the animals. Horses, as he himself had said earlier, were expensive. He'd likely been meaning to sell the extras, or put them to work himself.

    "And, well, anyone who continues to assist with guarding the caravan shall continue to be payed their fair wage. Let it not be said that I take advantage of my people, no sir." He was getting some of his bluster back, evidently. Tallhelm, whatever else could be said of him, was fast to recover.

    "In any case, if everyone's happy with the deal, we ought to get moving again. Daylight's burning as it is, you know."

    With that, the merchant collected the pile of signed contracts, with a promise to Alec to pick up Adrian's once the boy himself had seen it, and went off to oversee the caravan as everything was cleaned up from the night's rest.

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  7. - Top - End - #367
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    With so much on his mind, Alec has a hard time focusing on it, but he still does his best to memorize every curve and line of Tallhelm's signature, along with any trends in his overall handwriting. That's got to be useful eventually. His own name is written as an A followed by a vague scrawl: perhaps simple enough to replicate, yet that in itself casts more doubt on replicas than specifically detailed print. The harder something is to copy, the more legitimate it seems when done correctly. Alec isn't keen on falling prey to his own crowd.

    The caravan is almost certainly free from danger for today. So, this particular guard leaves his armor off (between the heat and his reddened, tender injuries, it's just dead weight), takes only one sword, and sets to helping pack things up and hitch the horses. He's eager to be off.
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

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  8. - Top - End - #368
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    That revelation made the deal sound a little bit sweeter to Thorus. Though, if he had or wanted to bug out on the merchant thing, it would also mean he would have to stop being a guard. But it made the idea of sitting around all day slightly more tolerable. Nodding his head, he agreed "Aye." and began making preparations for travel.
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  9. - Top - End - #369
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    Glaffin thinks about the price, and does a quick mental tally in his head before nodding to himself, "Feel free to take the five gold per week out of my wages Willam. I can afford to lose a third of my wages to keep some of the expense off the others. Just for this wagon though. I'm not rich enough to cover the cost of two wagons, but I can live on a lower pay than this while selling goods." Glaffin's tone doesn't make much out of the fact that he's accepting the burden for the entire cart to himself, but he has an additional motive behind it. Even though he's rather sore about what he's being paid by Tallhelm after being shot at in the defense of the caravan, he's aware that it's quite a bit more than a guard's wages since he's doing multiple jobs. Since Indrys managed to swallow his own pride and offer the use of his personal wagon, Glaffin wants to shoulder his fair share of the burden as well. He knows the grey elf is more than used to hardship from what little conversation they've shared, so helping him with his ambitions seems to be the right thing to do in his mind.
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  10. - Top - End - #370
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    Cecily signs the papers given to her without further discussion. That done, she says. "Alright, I'd better prepare to get going again, then." She nods to Tallhelm and starts to walk off. As she does so, however, she makes a point of nudging Indrys and nodding discretely in the direction she's headed. Hopefully he got that she wants to talk alone out of that, because she walks off without further delay.



  11. - Top - End - #371
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    Alec

    The elf blushes at the compliment but shakes his head. "You're too hard on yourself. Without you, none of this would be even remotely possible. You are an integral aspect of my efforts. You have a... how do they say it? A cunning, yes, that doesn't come from books. That cunning makes you useful, and it makes you dangerous. I am both grateful and lucky to have you as an ally." He doesn't want to think about having Alec as an enemy; the thought makes him shudder. He smiles before continuing. "Insofar as Laelaer is concerned, she is one of my closest, dearest friends, and she has been since we both attended University together. I daresay that she knows just as much about my ambitions as you do; why else do you think that she followed me here?" He sighs. "Like you, she is cunning. I would be wiser by far if I took after your examples." With that, he chuckles. "Regarding Glaffin and Cecily... allow me to be the go-between, if you feel that you can't get along. I believe that the dwarf has taken a shine to me - a I have to him - and if that's enough to bring Cecily on board than so be it. If not, well, so be that, too. But I want Glaffin involved. He has..." he pauses, thinking. "He has a strength inside him that reminds me of my father and, well, let us face it; having him lends a degree of acceptability to our enterprise that it doesn't currently possess, being composed of two outcast elves and a pirate. Having a priest to advocate for our efforts would be a boon, don't you think so?"
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  12. - Top - End - #372
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    With the business of the morning taken care of, the caravan made ready to move. There were no clouds, the day promising to be hot once again; reaching the town would hopefully provide some shelter. Adrian helped with the loading, trying his level best to keep up with the more experienced workers. In very little time, Tallhelm's caravan began its slow, lurching movement down the road.

    The morning passed uneventfully, and there was time enough for what work that could be done within the confines of a moving wagon to be done. Indrys' home was a sight more cramped than normal, their goods stacked neatly off to one side. The elf noted that the red silk was gone, claimed by Laelaer for some project or other. In its place was some of the armour and weaponry looted from the site of the first ambush. Tallhelm seemed to feel it was only right that they get a few of those items to add to their stock. For a merchant, the man had some surprisingly non-dubious morals.

    As the day wore on, they found themselves passing more civilised surroundings. Fields of potatoes by the side of the road, a farmhouse or a barn in the distance. It was distinctly picturesque, like some of the paintings Laelaer and Indrys had seen in Vayentsia. Once, they had to stop while a shepherd cleared his flock off of the road.

    The caravan arrived at Seabreak shortly after noon, pulling up alongside the road into town. If it could be called as such. The road was the same dirt road they'd been travelling for the past few days, unpaved, and the center of town wasn't especially impressive to those who had lived in a city. It was a cleared dirt square, with a few half-hearted flagstones dotted around, and a number of buildings squatting in a cluster around it. The only purpose built shops they could see were a butcher's and a blacksmith, and there were maybe twenty five buildings in total. Wooden steps ran from the square down to the coast, where a good sized dock had been constructed, its pilings leading out into the water. A single boat was moored there, its lonely mast pointing skyward. Other boats were just visible on the horizon, floating out in the ocean. Seabreak had been built a ways back from the water, for the most part, a pair of low buildings by the waterfront the only ones beyond the square on that side of town.

    Across from the wagons was one of the few multi-level buildings in town. Built of stone, a sign depicting a skeleton slumped over a treasure chest hung over its door. Bold lettering declared this to be the Dead Man's Chest, for those who had somehow missed the sign. Dirty windows obscured the view of the inside, but the smell of alcohol confirmed this to be the local inn. Next to the inn was the town hall, a tall, narrow building with a wooden belltower, Seabreak's only spire. In front of the town hall was a small wooden shrine decorated with Tharian devotional icons, and next to the hall was the butcher's, all the other constructions around the square appearing to be simple houses. The blacksmith's was a ways up the road, towards the hills. A number of houses appeared to be built partially into the hills, the smaller doors marking these as the homes of halflings. Set back from the rest of town, beyond the Dead Man's Chest, was a brick structure that looked sturdy enough to survive a small explosion. The only other thing of note in the town was a small jail, its purpose marked by the bars covering half the windows.

    The wagons, Tallhelm decided loudly, would have to stay partly outside the town. Those that could fit begin to file into the square, setting up in a rough circle around the center. By now the townsfolk had begun to show themselves, rousing from their homes to gawk at the wagons. This was a sleepy little place, Alec thought to himself. They probably didn't get too many visitors, and the big caravans would have to be spaced out properly if they wanted to make any money...
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  13. - Top - End - #373
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    Glaffin surveys the town as it stands with a slow smile dawning on his face. It was a homey little port, without much in the way of a general store beyond the blacksmith, which meant they probably wouldn't have anything in the way of novelties besides what trade came in off the boats. The boats themselves, as much as he despised sea travel, had given Glaffin a marvelous idea for a bit of entrepreneurial opportunity, and took the time during the morning's trip to brew up something from his mountainhome that he knew would catch the eye and draw attention.

    There was just one problem. Glaffin knew from his experiences running a failing shop that he didn't have the natural force of personality to sell goods without establishing a rapport with his customers first and allowing them past his exterior, which he could admit came off as gruff and argumentative. Luckily, he had someone with a good head on her shoulders who he knew exactly how to get on people's good side as one of his best and only remaining friends.

    The dwarf walks up to Cecily with a tray of sliced up gel cubes, twelve in all, with a happy grin on his face, "Care to help me sell these? If you'll go half in on the cost of the materials to make it, I'll split the profits with you evenly. Sailors ought to love them even if the local folk aren't as interested."
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  14. - Top - End - #374
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    Cecily greets the dwarf with a wide smile. "I'm guessing these are what you've been working so hard on all day." She takes a closer look at the little cubes. Nope, she has no idea what they are. "I guess I'd better find out what I'm supposed to be selling before I agree, huh?" She says jokingly. Really, she'd be glad to help her friend regardless.



  15. - Top - End - #375
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Indrys

    Well, this isn't an angle he'd considered. Alec has his doubts about how well it'll work in practice--he can't see Glaffin agreeing to be the public face of this small, questionably-legal group, and tricking him into it sounds like a tall order--but there's little reason not to try. Beyond the obvious risk that it might draw the dwarf's attention to their activities and earn his enmity, that is.

    "That's a project you'll need to handle largely on your own, but if you can make it work, then more power to you. The priest surely has his talents. My only concern is how he's likely to feel about our goals, not to mention our methods. If you can keep him happy, and more importantly keep him from interfering, I won't complain."

    Seabreak

    As he'd expected, this place is tiny. The odds of making much profit, or finding much to do in general, look pretty low at first glance. Alec thinks he'll have to keep his eyes open and work hard to wring some use out of the town, although he already has one or two ideas. The first order of business is to make sure he can spend as much time in the square as possible for the first day or two, though; he needs to meet people, ask questions, watch daily schedules, see the guard rotations at the jail, and keep an eye on who spends the most time in the town hall. He'll find some kind of opportunity, surely. It's just a matter of spotting it.

    For now, Alec just hangs off the back of the group's wagon, having chosen that position on the ride into town to enjoy what little breeze he could. He thinks that soon someone important will make an appearance to greet Tallhelm, like the mayor or chief or whoever runs this blip on a map. That's one face and name he definitely wants to have for his mental records.
    "It was a GOOD plan, just completely impossible."

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  16. - Top - End - #376
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gulaghar View Post
    Cecily greets the dwarf with a wide smile. "I'm guessing these are what you've been working so hard on all day." She takes a closer look at the little cubes. Nope, she has no idea what they are. "I guess I'd better find out what I'm supposed to be selling before I agree, huh?" She says jokingly. Really, she'd be glad to help her friend regardless.
    Glaffin nods, smiling, and pulls out his waterskin and a rag he acquired from somewhere, "Just a short demonstration then, wouldn't want to ruin them for the paying customers." Glaffin uncorks the skin with his teeth, placing the tray on the dirt for the time being so he can pick up an individual cube.

    Carefully keeping the water away from the other eleven cubes, he pours a small amount over the one he's holding and it ignites into a mass of blueish-green flames, engulfing his hand and bathing them both in pale blue light that mingles with the mid-afternoon sun. He lets it burn for a few moments before taking the rag and smothering the cube, wiping it down and removing the moisture so that it becomes an ordinary block of gel.

    "It's hearthfire. It burns cold, doesn't need a match, and lights like a torch when you put it in water. It's more expensive to make than simple torches of course, but it'll stay lit underwater and doesn't burn up your air when you're underground like a fire will. Miners and sailors used to trade with our clan for as much as we could give them. Each cube lasts about a day with a good batch, and you can always dry it off and light it again later if you don't need it anymore. If we've got time and you manage to sell out of what we've got, I can make more while the caravan is still in town."
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  17. - Top - End - #377
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    Cecily's eyes light up when she sees that. That's pretty cool, she has to admit. "Okay, so they're a lot more exciting than I thought." She holds out a hand to take it and get a closer look. "I'd bet these would be handy. So how much did they cost in materials, and how much do you think we should be asking for them?" Looks like she's already onto the idea of selling them.



  18. - Top - End - #378
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    "A bit under three silver worth of various chemicals and thickeners each. We should be able to get a gold piece for each of them, but no less than eight silver and five copper if we want to make a good profit between us." Which should work out to anywhere from ten to twelve gold in his opinion. If they can get twelve that extra two will cover most of the cost of making it, leaving almost five gold each in profit.

    Glaffin picks up the tray after corking his waterskin and putting it and the rag away, holding it out so that Cecily can place the slightly used cube back with the others, "Think you can sell this? If we strike out with the locals, we can probably attract some interest from ship captains looking for emergency lights during storms. Maybe we'll even run into a dwarf looking for a bit of home they can carry with them."
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  19. - Top - End - #379
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    "Sounds good to me. Sign me up. I bet we can sell most of these." Cecily doesn't really have any real experience with selling things, but she thinks she can do it well enough.



  20. - Top - End - #380
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    Alec didn't have long to wait. While Cecily and Glaffin were talking, Tallhelm had hopped off his wagon to greet the people beginning to migrate towards the wagons, the merchant demonstrating why he was successful at what he did quite adequately.

    "Hello, my friends," he called loudly, voice carrying well amongst the loosely grouped buildings. "Glad to be back! It's been a while since I've been around, hasn't it? Axel, how are you? How's the wife? Come on, everyone, come closer, have a look at what I've got to sell you today! Dried apples and vegetables, curios from Altyria, if it's something worth having, I gaurantee I can find you one somewhere!"

    With a wide smile that Alec could tell was well-practiced, Tallhelm loosened the pegs holding up the side of one of the wagons and letting it swing down on its hinges, exposing the interior for everyone to see. The wagon he'd chosen for this purpose was one of the more interesting ones, containing an assortment of general goods. Colourful fabric, dyes and jewelry were on display alongside jars of dried herbs and spices, painted wooden toys, and an assortment of tools. Laelaer saw one of the bows they'd acquired from bandits resting next to a quiver of arrows. It was an eclectic collection of things, and she suspected the merchant had set it up specifically for his opening speech.

    Speaking of the speech, he was still going, waving a hand at a tall-ish man with long brown hair, standing near the back of the crowd. "Martin, you old rogue, are you still mayor around here, or did they elect someone else yet?"

    The comment elicited polite laughter from the crowd, Martin bowing slightly and stepping forward, those in front of him moving to let him pass. He was well dressed for the company, though his clothing wouldn't have been anything special in a bigger place. Black trousers, well made, paired with a white shirt and green waistcoat, he at the least would not have looked out of place in the markets of Ferrum.

    "Master Tallhelm, it has been a while. I'm still mayor, of course. For some reason, these folks seem to like me."

    There was another polite laugh, and with the ice appropriately broken, the two men fell to small talk while the rest of the people crept closer to the wagons, peering past them and looking for things they might like to buy. More than a few ran off towards houses, presumably to fetch purses and the like. All in all, it was as warm a welcome as one might expect from this sort of place.
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    Glaffin allows Tallhelm his moment, understanding the importance of ritual and ceremony in drawing attention. Still, the dwarf is not idle, mingling with the crowd and smiling amiably at the unfamiliar faces as best as he can on his way towards Tallhelm's display cart.

    "Never in my days have I seen you so modest Willem! Five minutes into town and you haven't even told them of the bandits we thwarted just yesterday in a stirring rout. Why, that very bow was being pointed at my heart this time yesterday, and I can only be thankful that its previous owner was a worse shot than he could have been! His friend with the crossbow was a bit more lucky, but we pulled through and made the roads a bit more safe for us all."
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  22. - Top - End - #382
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    Thorus has to raise his eyebrows upon seeing the town. He knew it was a small fishing village, but he didn't realize it was that small. It would have to do, he thought, hopping out of the wagon and onto the earth. He began pondering what exactly he was going to be selling - probably the looted weapons, since that was the only real craft he knew anything about. He then wondered how exactly he was going to go about doing this. The soldier knew he probably should have asked somebody about the basics of market, but he didn't want to appear foolish, asking about something so simple.

    As he pondered this, he eyed the various buildings in the small village, especially the brick structure. If such a sturdy building was separate from the jail, what could it be in such a town?

    As the townspeople congregated around the caravan, Thorus' guard instincts kicked in, whether he wanted them to or not. He scanned them all idly for weapons, despite the obvious lack of threat.
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  23. - Top - End - #383
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    All very good, very useful. Alec enjoys a sharp grin when Glaffin steps in on Tallhelm's show; he's curious to see if the merchant'll be annoyed or pleased to have a partner. Since Alec can't see the other man neglecting to talk about the bandits, he suspects that the news was being saved for an opportune moment.

    Keeping an eye on that business is secondary to watching the crowd, particularly to see who returns to the first wagon with plenty of coin. Alec also looks for townspeople who're watching the caravan. Keen-eyed locals could complicate his plans, so he'd rather spot them now.

    And of course, he's always on the lookout for anything that seems out of place, interesting, or important.

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    Mostly I'm looking for anything you think is worth sharing, but the categories above would particularly catch Alec's attention.

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  24. - Top - End - #384
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    "Right you are, Glaffin, right you are. I was just getting to that." Tallhelm didn't miss a beat. Either he was good at improvising, or he was good at putting on a show face. Galffin suspected the second.

    Sewwping his arm back, the merchant indicated the bow in question. "Yes, good people, it's true. Let it not be said that Willam Tallhelm doesn't help out where he can. Just yesterday, we were set upon by bandits on the road, and if it weren't for us seeing them off so handily, I might not be here today."

    The mayor looked askance at Glaffin, an expression of amusement crossing his face. "So, Willam, you took care of them, did you? All by yourself, no doubt. Glad to hear it. They've been a thorn in our side for a good couple of months now, and we've not got the manpower to go riding across the hills to see where they were hiding."

    Martin, clearly, was familiar with Tallhelm's penchant for embellishment. He was right about manpower, too. Thorus couldn't see anybody with much more than a sharp knife on their person. The ex-soldier doubted that anybody here really knew how to fight properly. Similarily, none of them seemed especially perceptive to Alec's eyes. There was the usual amount of polite interest, curiosity about what the other wagons might have in them, that sort of thing. He spotted a few halflings too, amongst the crowd, and what looked like a couple of half-elves, once. Seabreak wasn't entirely populated by humans, it seemed.
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  25. - Top - End - #385
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    Whatever else he was, Laelaer could see that Tallhelm was a good salesman. The way he arranged things would certainly catch the eyes of these peasants. He still talked too much, and did not actually say enough. She was glad Glaffin mentioned the bandits, as it would surely indebt these people to them. At the very least, it would make them less likely to give her, especially, the cold shoulder.

    The drowess was undoubtedly drawing stares from the crowd. This was not unusual. She wondered if these poor fishermen had even seen an elf, never mind one of her kin. Laelaer was particularly noticeable today, however, as she was riding atop her new horse. The Duskblade had taken the time as they travelled to get used to the mount, and it was behaving well, but the massive beast still dwarfed the slim elf. Were she to dismount, her head would barely reach the creature's shoulders.

    She rode alongside the wagon train, sticking close to the wagon they were all jointly renting, now. Perhaps her presence would draw curiosity, and also customers.
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  26. - Top - End - #386
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Maybe he could play on racial tensions between the halflings and humans, or half-elves, in any combination. Historically, it's an easy thing to do. Alec isn't very invested in the idea, though. Sure, it'd create lasting change and set the stage for much testing even after he left the village, but racism isn't exactly a productive lesson. Not to mention an uncivilized one.

    Serious brainstorming should probably wait until he has more information to work with, anyway. For now Alec hops off the back of the wagon and walks down the caravan train to find their bandit prisoner. Tallhelm might call for him soon, to show him off to the crowd. Even if not, someone will have to take him to the jail this afternoon; that someone might as well be the person who wants to see the inside of the building.
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  27. - Top - End - #387
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    "Not quite all by himself, it was a concerted effort as these things often are, but he certainly played a vital role in organizing and advising what guards were present into the best force we could muster, and it paid off quite handsomely. Why, if he weren't already a merchant I'd call him a General!" Glaffin proclaims boldly, gesturing with wide sweeps of his arms as he relays Tallhelm's part in the conflict. The dwarf, even with all his distaste for the results of armed conflict that he has to deal with, grew up on tales of war brought home by his uncles and cousins who fought off both beasts and men looking to besiege their mountainhome, and knew how to embellish when the situation called for it. The caravan had fought so that these people wouldn't have to, and so glorifying the conflict afterwards did little lasting harm. It was a way of remembering those who had fallen valiantly, instead of as a lonely corpse buried under a stone cairn at the side of the road.

    "But I'll leave Willam to tell the rest. If you don't mind, I have business with the master of your smithy before I set out my own wares." At least Glaffin hopes he does. He's banking on this town having a dwarf manning the forge that he can tempt with a bit of a taste of home before he shows off the Hearthfire to the rest of the population. If not, maybe he can speak to whoever is there about some other work while passing the sale of the cubes off to Cecily.
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  28. - Top - End - #388
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    "Of course, sir Dwarf." Martin bowed slightly, indicating the direction of the smithy with his hands. "It sounds like a proper rousing tale though, Willam. I'd like to hear it all, once you've got a moment."

    "And so you will," the merchant proclaimed, looking out at the crowd. People had begun to trickle back with little bags of coin, pushing past the rest of them to get at the wagons. Laelaer was turning a few heads, Alec noticed, but as far as he could tell it was all simple curiosity. He caught a few glimpses of silver on his walk back down the wagon train; it seemed the people were eager to spend, at least. The prisoner was, of course, right where they had left him. He looked sourly at Alec when the pirate appeared. He was still tied up, but someone seemed to have felt it necessary to remove the gag.

    He could still hear Tallhelm from where he was. The merchant's voice carried well, going on and on in his typical bombastic fashion about the glory of combat, the clash of steel, and a great many other details that Alec didn't recall actually happening.

    "When the dust had settled, we found that one of the blackguards still lived," Tallhelm was saying, as Glaffin made his way up the street towards the blacksmith. "He told us where their camp was, in exchange for his life, and my brave guards were more than willing to hunt the rest of them down in their hole..."

    The forge was running, Glaffin noticed as he got closer, smoke curling from the thick stone chimney that topped the blacksmith's shop. It was an odd building, half stone and half wood, with two doors leading outside. A large round rain-basin had been built on the roof, tin pipes leading out of the bottom and down into the smithy. Opening the door, he stepped inside.

    Laelaer watched him go from atop her horse. She had a good view, from the big animal's back. Much better than she would have had amidst the crowd.

    "Scuse me, miss."

    Looking down, the dark elf saw a young looking man, his pointed ears marking him as an elf... but not a full elf, she thought. He was taller and more strongly built than most elves, and the eyes... you could always tell by the shape of the eyes. Half-elf.

    "You're an elf, right? Me sister says you must be."

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    The forge was neat and well-ordered, tools hanging from hooks on the walls or propped against the workbench. The tin pipes continued in from outside, ending in a spigot over a water-filled barrel for quenching the metalwork. The blacksmith was a thick-set human, he was sorry to see, in his mid-thirties and slowly balding. The smith was busy with the woodpile, hefting firewood to keep his forge running, but he turned when he heard the door, the looking over his shoulder at Glaffin.

    "Hello there," he said, dusting off his gloved hands and straightening up from the logpile. "You must be with the caravan that's just rolled in. What can I do for you?"
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  29. - Top - End - #389
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    "You might be able to tell me a few things, and then perhaps I could do something for you." Glaffin remarks as he walks over to the woodpile and reaches out, wordlessly offering to lend a hand with stoking the flames while they talk. He learned the same way everyone else did, and still remembers fondly his days of being a Striker for his father, when his only duties were pumping the belows, shoveling coal, changing the slack tanks, and hammering out nails on the rare occasion they needed them. You rarely need nails without wood, and dwarves used what wood they could find on expeditions sparingly.

    "I was wondering if any other dwarves happened to live around here. I've been away from home so long, you understand. It would be nice to speak my own tongue a while. And perhaps, if you won't take offense, I could inquire about the quality of your tools. I'm always glad to help with a fellow smith's work, and would be honored to help you upgrade your tools if it's needed." Glaffin knows that he has to phrase these things carefully, as he doesn't want to seem like he's boasting of his own skills, even if he's almost certain that he has more experience and skill than this human smith in a no-name town. If the man gives in and lets him make a set of masterfully crafted tools, then even if the man can't pay what would normally be the full price for such a thing, the dwarf will have someone in this town who will recognize his name when he comes around again next time, and owes him a good deal of debt.
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  30. - Top - End - #390
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    "I am." Laelaer confirms, looking down at the young man with a bit of curiosity. Mostly she wondered what elf would settle for a human, if even for a short while. "A Dark Elf, as you can see." She felt certain that would be his next, inane question. Best to limit those. "Do you require something of me?" The Duskblade asks, raising an eyebrow.
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