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    Default The Wrong Guys IC III

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajadea View Post
    The amount of Common spoken appears to have completely stupefied the halfling. "No. Speak no, speakin'," he says, looking bewildered.

    The cloaked halfling chooses this moment to interject, as you begin walking on. "Some hae ne'er bin t' th' cities, ne'er had th' learnin'. Some hae lang bin hidin' in th' hills, like ye in th' forest, an' can spick only wee bits now. Still others hae the kennin's, but choose t' forget. Some things are better t' lose than t' hae."

    The halflings seem to warm up to Antal quickly, chattering away in something that sounds vaguely like Common until you start listening closely. Jess's Common seem to provoke considerably more confusion, and no one appears to have a response. Mari is slightly more forthcoming with answers, though understanding anything through an accent like hers is a chore by itself. "Jist few ay them, haur an' thaur. Fewer still 'at woods tak' th' likes ay yer ma an' pa. Nae much fur th' bigguns like ye, most." She does not look back when speaking, eyes fixed on some non-existent path in front of you. Every so often, she turns, or stops and surveys the horizon for a few moments before heading off in another direction, not always entirely forwards.

    In the shadows, you can catch glimpses of yet more halflings - at least two and possibly five or more, always staying so shrouded in darkness and shadows that it is impossible to tell if they are always the same ones. They are not making an effort to stay silent in the least. You can hear their footsteps crunching through the grass alongside your own.

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    The halflings are quite impressed at the snippets Antal gives. In return, they offer plenty of information. There are maybe 40 other halflings at camp, including elders and children. They are hunters, skinners, and bandits, all halflings born in the hills or adopted into this band after falling out of the graces of the city. They were planning on robbing you blind for trespassing into their territory. They don't kill people if they can help it - they take things, not lives. And they won't steal from other halflings or the helpless. Those of you who have eaten their bread and accepted their hospitality are not viable targets for robbery either. They are extremely vague about the potential fate of those who have not partaken of the bread.
    Mari is in charge - what she says goes. If she believes that there is a foe you are chasing, then the rest of them get some arms sized for big folk in a hurry. She is quite strongly religious, and in fact instantiated some of those rules against killing and such.
    Hilltopple, the literal translation of what more often refers to giant-slaying, is an honorific well-earned in battle - they say she's fought an ogre and lived to tell the tale, that she carries its fang with her and fears no foe living or dead. Though none of them, apparently, have seen this tooth, nor do they have anything other than 'everyone says so' to back up the claims of giantslaying.
    You arrive at the camp swiftly. There are three lightweight wagons here, with roofs of sackcloth and sides marked with carvings or paint. Their size clearly marks them as of human make, and a small ladder leaning against the teamster's seat allows easier entrance for the halflings. As well as the wagons, there are maybe half a dozen tents of varying size, construction, and shape. A human trying to enter one of those would likely get stuck in the entrance. Together, the tents and the wagons form a large oval, providing some measure of protection to those within.

    The halflings here are not only warriors, it seems. There are old men and women, hair streaked with gray and wrinkles worn into their faces, and bright-eyed young children, who eye you with a mixture of wariness and curiosity. Most of fighting age are clad in leather armor of erratic quality, but a couple wear cloaks of gray or dust-brown cloth that hide all but their boots and the bottom halves of their faces. Almost all, except the youngest of the children, seem to tense as soon as you look at them, and many bear scars on face or hands.

    There are three horses, grazing quietly at the far end of the oval, and a dozen riding dogs a distance outside it. The dogs are seemingly bounded only by a fence that looks as easily moved as the rest of the structures here, and watched only by a lone halfling wrapped in a thick coat to protect him against the chill of night.

    You can smell bread baking - different from the one they gave you, and certainly fresher, and there are rabbits carefully being roasted over a fire. Mari says something in what you are beginning to recognize as the Halfling tongue, and the attitude of the camp denizens visibly relaxes. "'Main 'en noo, we dornt bite. Jist teel me whit ye need, an' I'll gie it fixed up fur ye."

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Rana glances around her companions, hoping they have something they want enough to justify this side trek....
    Knowledge is power.
    Power corrupts.
    Study hard.
    Be evil.

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Audric passes an hand through his hair. "Whatever you think you can spare" He notices a small child looking up at them with an awed expression - humans must seem so impossibly big to an Halfling child- and addresses him a tired smile, before turning again towards Mari "You have your people to think of, first. Other than that, the most important thing for us would be information. We are headed towards Edveras Ridge. It would be useful to know what we should expect on the way."

    "Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot" - N.Gaiman, The Sandman

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Jess is smiling as she walks through the camp, looking around with a joyful glint in her eye. She waves at the few children young enough not to tense when she draws near, and walks confidently for the first time since she left the city. When Mari speaks, her face lights up.

    "Let's see if I can drop the city accent. "Da was always talking about the accent..." She mutters, and then starts speaking remarkably fluent Halfling. "Mari, yew got a sun-symbol necklace? One of the Aldaran things?" She traces a finger around her neckline for a guide. "They do good as camouflage from the Church."

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Mari looks slightly startled when Jess begins talking in fluent Halfling. To her credit, however, she recovers quickly and responds with a rapid stream of something unintelligible to most of you. The cloaked halfling makes a small sharp interjection about halfway through, which Mari seems to ignore.

    The rest of the halflings that accompanied you here shed their face wrappings and weaponry, melting almost seamlessly into the crowd. Only the spear-wielder and the cloaked one remain, flanking you. They are almost perfectly still.

    After a moment, the cloaked one stiffens, then very deliberately flees into the crowd, seeking out another of its ambiguously gendered and heavily cloaked kinsmen. They disappear into a tent, one leaning slightly on the other. They might be talking, but it's too loud to hear much.

    Halfling
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    "I'm impressed. Not many humans speak our language, and fewer still as well as you. I don't know why a good lass like you would need to hide from the Church, and I'm not going to ask. Gods know everyone deserves their own secrets. But I can give you a symbol. Sounds like where you're going, the favor of any god would be welcome."

    Whatever the cloaked halfling said, it wasn't in Halfling.

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Jess grins brightly at Mari, responding with a scattering of steadily more confident Halfling. Partway through the flow of words, hits her head and then she gestures at the tent where the two Halflings have disappeared to, tilting her head in time to her curious tone.

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    "My parents taught me how to speak this. Couple of Halflings who took me in. Blame 'em. They also - hospitality! Always told me to help out a Halfling on the road. Anything I can do for you, then?

    What's happening in that tent? If it's trouble, I think I might be helping - able to help, I mean. There's got to be something - life doesn't feel easy here."


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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Audric doesn't understand what she is saying, but he can follow the general tone and the gestures well enough. Frowning, he turns towards where the two cloaked halflings have disappeared.

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    Spot and listen checks, just in case.
    spot - (1d20+3)[7] and
    listen - (1d20+3)[23] Edit:whoa. Well, if they are talking in Halfling, that's only so far a natural 20 is going to help me. I said 'just in case', didn't I?
    Last edited by Strawberries; 2013-03-18 at 01:56 AM.

    "Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot" - N.Gaiman, The Sandman

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Rana also eyes the tent the halflings have disappeared into.

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    I believe the roll I want is Sense Motive -- are they just happy to see each other or is there something more sinister going on?
    (1d20+4)[22]
    Knowledge is power.
    Power corrupts.
    Study hard.
    Be evil.

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Whatever Jess said, it seems to surprise Mari nearly as much as the fact she speaks Halfling at all. She answers with a barrage of words, a smile and shake of her head. It seems almost impossible, to the non-halfling speakers, that even a single word could possibly be understood in that rush. She pauses, as if considering, and then gestures at a nearby halfling child, who seems to be quite in awe of all the giants that have shown up at camp. He clutches a knit blanket around himself in a mimicry of the cloaked people, though it does not make him look mysterious so much as silly.

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    "Then you aren't human at all, are you? Not really. Just a tall halfling." She shakes her head here, brushing off Jess' concerns. "Ach, don't worry about them. They're an odd bunch, these priests, and no question. Sorcerers, miracles. It's all unnatural, if you ask me. Best to let them and their trickery well alone."

    "Life's not easy. But we get by. I think the young ones have taken an interest in you, though. Talk to them. They don't know much of the outside world, and them here... most don't want to talk about it. Not knowin' things doesn't make them go away though. Sooner or later, it'll be that one of them takes a fancy to going to the mysterious cities, an' I'd not have them go blindly."


    Audric
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    You can't really see where they went, but even through the noise, you can pick out fearful and concerned tones in their voices.


    Rana
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    The two cloaked halflings didn't look happy. There was fear in every gesture of the halfling that fled, and deep concern in its friend.
    Last edited by Ajadea; 2013-03-18 at 01:41 PM.

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Rana, still holding Audric's hand, rests her head on his shoulder casually. She whispers in elven "[They don't look happy to see us, especially the one that ran away. I don't think this was a good idea.]"
    Knowledge is power.
    Power corrupts.
    Study hard.
    Be evil.

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Audric looks slightly startled when Rana puts her head on his shoulder, but he realises what she's doing quickly enough. He leans slightly towards her and answers in Elven, matching her volume "[They seem frightened, more than hostile. I do not know why. Perhaps of us.]"

    Perhaps of me, he slowly realises. The fact that he can't perceive if the cloaked people are magic users anymore doesn't mean that the others wouldn't believe him capable to. He bites his lips, looking around the camp for the possible location of other cloaked halflings.

    In normal circumstances, he would have crouched at the child's eye level and tried to make him laugh - he likes children, and one of his regrets has always been that he never managed to see Adria's twins - but he's too tense to do it now, so when the little Halfling gets near, he just smiles briefly at him, tensely and somehow distractedly.

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    Well, I guess another spot check couldn't hurt, could it? spot - (1d20+3)[16]

    "Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot" - N.Gaiman, The Sandman

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Still speaking Halfling himself, Antal smiles at the child, Someone who could tell me what this cloak is would be great, I think, and if you've got someone who knows alchemy, we could certainly use some reliable potions. Other than that... got any mythical swords waiting around for the destined wielder we could test out?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ertier View Post
    A good background is like a skirt. Short enough to keep my interest, but long enough to cover the important bits.
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    Derailed in the best way, thank you good sir.
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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    The halfling child smiles cheerfully back up at Audric and Antal, apparently nonplussed or simply ignorant of the former's distraction. He is missing a tooth.

    Mari blinks a few times, apparently rather unprepared for the nature of Antal's request. She responds rather more slowly this time, with a cautious edge to her voice, though she manages a wry smile at the end.

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    "We do have one alchemist among our number, and I suppose you could ask one of them adepts to take a look at that cloak of yours. Mmm... afraid we're fresh out of folkloric swords, but I can get you a decent enough blade if that's what you need."

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Rana nods slightly. "[Perhaps. I still don't like it.]"

    Shadow seems less concerned than his mistress, and leaves her side to begin sniffing around the tents nearby.
    Last edited by Savannah; 2013-03-20 at 03:57 PM.
    Knowledge is power.
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    Be evil.

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Jess smiles at Mari, taking her leave with a wave, and heads over to the children nearest the tent. She sits down and spreads her arms wide, chattering like a bird in spring, only letting her eyes flicker once to the tent as she listens to what's inside it.

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    "Hello. I've been told to educate you young ones on the world that's outside there, best as I can, so shoot the questions that you like. Preferably the ones about the city, because I haven't been anywhere else."


    OOC
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    Listen roll: (1d20+6)[7]

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    The halfling children are incredibly tiny - none of the five around Jess appear to be more than two feet tall. Three have slings tucked into their belts though, and one also bears what looks like a human-sized dagger across his back like some sort of misshapen greatsword. They gather like flies to honey, chattering away at a tone so high-pitched it almost makes the insides of your ears hurt. They appear to be excited, and not at all afraid of the human in their midst. Indeed, quite the opposite - four crowd so close that all concept of personal space for those talking to them quickly becomes a mere fantasy. The last hangs back, toying with her long braid and staring with massive hazel eyes.

    Jess
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    Whatever is going on inside that tent, the kids drown it out through sheer volume alone. They all sound very similar - you can just barely pick out the difference between male and female.

    "Ah! You're so big!"
    "Maybe she's one a' them ogres?"

    "No, she don't have claws. And I don't think they let ogres in cities. They'd stab 'em first."
    "Is everyone in cities big like you?"
    "Well, there might be ogres in cities. Big, nasty, smelly. Seems like they'd fit in fine."
    "Well, but she ain't nasty, else she'd not be here. So she ain't an ogre, even if them are in the city."
    "There ain't ogres in the city, are there? Tell 'em."
    "Are you from that fort place? Only Auntie said it burned down...."
    "Are all them bigfolk really as mean as they say? Like, with the taking things that ain't theirs to take, and not doing any hossy-hospi-" The boy scrunches up his face in confusion, but soon settles for "-er, thing? Like, not even for other bigfolk?"
    "Well, not all. She's a big."
    "She don't seem like a bigfolk to me."

    .........
    "She's twice as long as my da."
    "But she's nice, an' she hasn't tried to cut off anyone's ears yet."
    Last edited by Ajadea; 2013-03-22 at 01:45 AM.

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Jess falls back under the Halfling onslaught, holding up her hands in an amused gesture for space and silence. It takes a while for the noise to die down long enough to allow her to speak, and even then it seems more because the children have run out of anything to say than Jess's command. She speaks fast, so not to be overridden by the children, and at the end of the conversation she points at the hazel-eyed child at the back, attempting to draw her in to the conversation.

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    "Hey, hey, that's a lot of questions! We'll do this a city way - I answer one of your questions and then you answer one of mine, okay? That way we both get to learn about each other.

    Now, I may look like a bigfolk, but the thing is the people who adopted - looked after me were Halflings. So you could say that I'm both a bigfolk and a really tall Halfling! Difficult telling the bigfolk that, though, because they don't understand family like you.

    Now, for my question - what are your names? Gotta introduce ourselves. I'm Jess, and after you've all told me who you are... you can ask me the next question, okay?"


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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    "Sandry... " before Audric has time to say anything else, to point out how in a hurry they are, the sorcerer is swarmed by small children. Audric sighs and turns towards Mari: may as well use the time to get some information "Mari.
    Do you know anything about the road between here and Evedras Ridge? Can you tell us what can we expect on the journey?
    "

    "There is another thing. " He throws another look to the cloaked halfling that he has spotted in the crowd. "Your people there, seem worried. Is there... ah, is there something we can help you with? "
    Last edited by Strawberries; 2013-03-22 at 10:05 PM.

    "Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot" - N.Gaiman, The Sandman

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Mari shrugs. "Ne'er bin thaur, but ahve got a wee kennin' o' th' way. Big road runs up ben dwarf lands. Shoods be an easy trip up most th' way, wi' aw ay those staineheids about. Th' lest leg is a bit o' a hike, thocht ahm sure ye can manage it. Th' lain up top is supposed tae be haunted by th' deid soldiers. Personally, ah think it's jist th' win', an' fear ridin' it. Few woods gang up thaur, wi' 'at history about it." She follows Audric's gaze briefly. "Ach, they ur aye loch 'at. Dornt min' them," she says dismissively.

    Whatever Jess said, it quiets the children down, though at the distance they're at, it's too far to hear much. They back away very slightly, which affords her about an inch of breathing space.

    The girl with the braid glances at the rest of the group, still standing near the entrance of the camp. "Did they try to kill you too?" Her Common is not broken or accented, and seems to bypass ears in favor of jamming the ideas directly into your head.

    Though no one seems to pause for more than a moment, the sudden tension in the air is palpable.

    Jess or DC 13 Spot & Listen (both checks required)
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    Once the movement and the incessant babble dies down, you can just barely pick out slight differences - very slight - in their voices and appearance. "Carrie" is darker of hair and slight of build."Eileen" is freckled and does not carry a sling. "Tommy" has large ears and is constantly fidgeting. "Bran" goes last. He is the tallest of the four, and the one with the greatsword/dagger on his back.

    The girl with the braid does not introduce herself.

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Rana jumps slightly and stares at the girl with the braids. "Ah. I see.

    "Who do you mean?"
    she asks the girl.
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    Power corrupts.
    Study hard.
    Be evil.

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Audric tenses at the girl's voice speaking directly into his mind, and takes a step towards her almost without realising... then he notices what he's doing and forcibly stops himself. Let Rana handle this. You will probably do more harm than good he thinks to himself.

    "Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot" - N.Gaiman, The Sandman

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Jess is stunned into silence, even as she feels like her mind is working faster than ever to find something to say that would both answer the question and not out herself. Finally, she speaks, in a chatter of Halfling barely distinguishable from her earlier carefree use of the language.

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    "City's a rough place and one or two of the people there aren't nice, and took it to try and kill me. Why'd you ask? Thinking of going there?"

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    The girl's hands move in patterns as she continues to talk. She looks up at Rana, though she does not step closer. "The big folk. Humans and dwarves. Only two tried, among all those people?" She looks down, and up again, now at Jess. "Maybe I should go there one day." If she is joking, she doesn't give a sign of it.

    Though movement has resumed in most of the camp, you notice that they seem to be giving the girl with the braid a larger berth.

    Mari smiles uneasily. "Weel, if there be naethin' else, i'll jist see abit gettin' ye whit ye need noo." She heads off into the crowd, stopping every few second to talk with another halfling. Their moods range from worried to ecstatic, but their voices almost never vary from a low buzz of conversation.
    Last edited by Ajadea; 2013-03-26 at 05:10 PM.

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Rana squats down to be closer to the girl's level. "A lot more than that have tried, little one. I would stay here if I were you."
    Knowledge is power.
    Power corrupts.
    Study hard.
    Be evil.

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    This time, Audric does take a couple steps towards Rana and the little girl, ready to intervene in case of troubles. He is visibly tense: he hadn't realised how dependent he had on his magic detection abilities, till now: he doesn't understand what the little girl is doing, and the strange way in which she is moving her hands makes him uneasy. Still, she is just a child: Audric is careful not to make any threatening gestures and to keep his hands well away from his weapons, to avoid scaring her.

    "Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot" - N.Gaiman, The Sandman

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    Llaars

    Being well over three times the height of the Halfling children wasn't enough to stop Llaars from crouching down to as close to eye level as possible for a friendly conversation. "I don't really have too much on my wishlist, but if you got a hot meal I could take part in, I'd be real grateful."

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    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    "More than a village, that would come with torches and knives that cut tongues?"

    There is a flurry of translation, and then a smiling halfling comes up to the party and gestures Llaars towards the fire. You can smell roasting meat and other hearty food, and, after some consideration, what looks like halfling-sized serving platters are brought out.
    Last edited by Ajadea; 2013-03-27 at 06:52 PM.

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    Tayet

    Tayet inches his way to Rana, trying to block out the talking of everyone around him. Halfling sounded like gibberish, and he only understood some of the common around him, and even then, only when they spoke at something normal speed. A dull headache was starting to appear. Behind her, he whispers. "Miss. Am uncomfortable. Still wary of help, still wary of halfling camp, and language barrier is still becoming problem for me. Small girl with braid is unnerving."*

    *Sylvan
    Recovering from unexpected violence from past weekend. Excuse my lack of posting, games I run.
    Avatar drawn by AmberVael, many praises and prayers be to she.
    I am writing a post-love romance novel. Please ask me about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ajadea View Post
    Your $0.02 is a very large $0.02, Cardea.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Humanoid (human) in the Playground Moderator
     
    Savannah's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Texas. It's too hot here.
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    Rana nods, "Yes, little one. My whole village came to kill me when I was your size. You should stay far away from the big folk -- here in the wild you can be safe, if you are careful." She absentmindedly rubs her small amber necklace as she speaks.

    She looks up at Tayet standing behind her. (sylvan) ["I think she's why they're here,]" Rana says, quietly. "[I don't fully trust them, either, but....well, we have to stay until everyone else is done.]"

    OOC
    Spoiler
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    As far as I can remember, this is the first time Rana's said anything about her past around the rest of the party. Just in case someone wants to react.
    Knowledge is power.
    Power corrupts.
    Study hard.
    Be evil.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Ajadea's Avatar

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    Jun 2010
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    Not Here

    Default Re: The Wrong Guys IC III

    The girl seems to finally react, stepping closer to Rana and looking up with sadness in her eyes. When she speaks again, the magical nature of her words becomes impossible to ignore. She has dropped all pretense of pretending to speak, and replies without even moving her lips. "They are so cruel even to their own?" The words are faint, tinged with disbelief, as if she cannot possibly wrap her mind around the idea. She stops gesturing and wraps her arms around herself.

    "I am sorry. And but I wish I can be like you, sister. To be strong, and run away without getting hurt." The word sister seems to be stretched to fit the bounds of imagined language, but the concept - of kinship, of trust - is clear.

    You can see several halflings pause, or twitch, when she addresses Rana as 'sister'. The other children begin to drift off, arguing and pushing each other lightly. None are looking particularly happy at being upstaged by the girl with the braid.

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