The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    Default [dnd 5e] Skaldlands (IC)

    Spoiler: preamble
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    Our story begins in the small coastal town of Harvuk, one of several towns that comprise the Beltlander nation of Jotun. The summer solstice has come and gone, bringing the first signs of autumn the fields and forests that stretch across the rocky flood plain upon which Harvuk sits. It is a town of only a few hundred people. Life here is simple, the people are fishermen and farmers. Over the coming months, they will harvest, baking what bread can be made and storing the remaining grain in preparation for the long winter. All winter, the townsfolk will keep close to their hearths, living off stored grains and root vegetables and relying heavily on those fishermen brave enough to venture out upon the Ruthva’err’s violent winter waters.

    The coming of fall marks the last of the trade wagons that will be sent over the low hills that boarder Harvuk’s valley. Merchants eagerly load their carts with furs, oil, and ivory for trade with the inland towns that comprise the rest of Jotun. Final tithes are owed to Lord Buldon, baron of Jotun and protector of its people. These caravans are essential for Harvuk’s survival through the winter, they will return loaded with preserves the townsfolk rely on through the dark, cold months.

    Some of you may have been in Harvuk for a while, some may have even grown up here, others may be newly arrived for the recent solstice festival. Whatever your reason for being in the town, you recognize that wintering here, in the claustrophobic mustiness of Harvuk’s many hovels is less than ideal. You have signed on with the last wagon heading out of the valley.

    The wagon in question is owned by a stout, smelly merchant named Lubbud. He is middle aged, with a long, messy mustache and a balding mess of sooty-brown hair. Reluctant to be gone long from his shop, he has entrusted you with seeing his wares delivered to a fellow merchant named Albrecht Lans in Jotun's central city, Jotun-heid. The wagon is loaded with furs and raw ivory, nothing of particular value on its own, but for trade, it will ensure that Lubbud’s family eats through the coming winter.

    You have been promised 75 gold each for your efforts and, most importantly, free passage out of the valley before winter sets in.


    It is early morning when the six of you gather by Lubbud’s wagon, there are bags under his eyes and he looks weary as he hails you.

    “Morning friends, Priest,” Lubbud is one of the few devotees of Lor in Harvuk, and holds Pierce in high esteem. “I’ve been up all night, packing.”

    He gestures at the wagon, piled perilously high with bundled pelts and tusks from the walruses that summer on Harvuk’s shores. The wagon is small, scarcely large enough for one person to drive it. Piled high as it is, it looks as though it will tip violently left and right at the slightest bump in the road.

    “Not much room in the wagon for your provisions, I’m afraid,” Lubbud smiles apologetically. “One can ride, but the rest will have to walk. At the top there, I’ve packed enough food to last each of you 15 days. That should be plenty enough to get you to Jotun-Heid.”

    “Now, for those who haven’t yet made this trip, your path will head west out of the flood plain and through the low hills that boarder it. Traveling south, you will skirt the Kalvow valley, the forest that blankets this valley is called Wildheart – do not enter this forest, it is said that men who enter lose their way, no one in my lifetime has entered and returned.” Lubbud pauses hear for effect, and then sneezes. “After the valley, you will head northwest, eventually arriving at the gates of Jotun-Heid. Here, I’ve drawn you a map of your journey.”

    Lubbud holds out a piece of parchment toward Pierce. The map is crudely drawn, it is quite obvious that Lubbud is illiterate. “When you reach the city, get in touch with Albrecht Lans, he’s a merchant friend of mine and will compensate you upon delivery of the wagon. He and I have a standing arrangement. He will cover shipment of the goods back to Harvuk, for those of you wanting to return,” He looks at the priest and the hunter. “You’ll be compensated for passage back as well. Are there any questions you have before you set out? I've only met the four of you but the one time, but I trust the priest will ensure no harm befalls my cargo.”
    He glances hastily and fearfully at the witch before quickly averting his eyes.
    Last edited by gabado; 2018-03-17 at 12:59 PM.

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    Default Re: [dnd 5e] Skaldlands (IC)

    Quote Originally Posted by gabado View Post
    Spoiler: preamble
    Show
    Our story begins in the small coastal town of Harvuk, one of several towns that comprise the Beltlander nation of Jotun. The summer solstice has come and gone, bringing the first signs of autumn the fields and forests that stretch across the rocky flood plain upon which Harvuk sits. It is a town of only a few hundred people. Life here is simple, the people are fishermen and farmers. Over the coming months, they will harvest, baking what bread can be made and storing the remaining grain in preparation for the long winter. All winter, the townsfolk will keep close to their hearths, living off stored grains and root vegetables and relying heavily on those fishermen brave enough to venture out upon the Ruthva’err’s violent winter waters.

    The coming of fall marks the last of the trade wagons that will be sent over the low hills that boarder Harvuk’s valley. Merchants eagerly load their carts with furs, oil, and ivory for trade with the inland towns that comprise the rest of Jotun. Final tithes are owed to Lord Buldon, baron of Jotun and protector of its people. These caravans are essential for Harvuk’s survival through the winter, they will return loaded with preserves the townsfolk rely on through the dark, cold months.

    Some of you may have been in Harvuk for a while, some may have even grown up here, others may be newly arrived for the recent solstice festival. Whatever your reason for being in the town, you recognize that wintering here, in the claustrophobic mustiness of Harvuk’s many hovels is less than ideal. You have signed on with the last wagon heading out of the valley.

    The wagon in question is owned by a stout, smelly merchant named Lubbud. He is middle aged, with a long, messy mustache and a balding mess of sooty-brown hair. Reluctant to be gone long from his shop, he has entrusted you with seeing his wares delivered to a fellow merchant named Albrecht Lans in Jotun's central city, Jotun-heid. The wagon is loaded with furs and raw ivory, nothing of particular value on its own, but for trade, it will ensure that Lubbud’s family eats through the coming winter.

    You have been promised 75 gold each for your efforts and, most importantly, free passage out of the valley before winter sets in.


    It is early morning when you gather by Lubbud’s wagon, there are bags under his eyes and he looks weary as he hails you.

    “Morning friends, Priest,” Lubbud is one of the few devotees of Lor in Harvuk, and holds Pierce in high esteem. “I’ve been up all night, packing.”

    He gestures at the wagon, piled perilously high with bundled pelts and tusks from the walruses that summer on Harvuk’s shores. The wagon is small, scarcely large enough for one person to drive it. Piled high as it is, it looks as though it will tip violently left and right at the slightest bump in the road.

    “Not much room in the wagon for your provisions, I’m afraid,” Lubbud smiles apologetically. “One can ride, but the rest will have to walk. At the top there, I’ve packed enough food to last each of you 15 days. That should be plenty enough to get you to Jotun-Heid.”

    “Now, for those who haven’t yet made this trip, your path will head west out of the flood plain and through the low hills that boarder it. Traveling south, you will skirt the Kalvow valley, the forest that blankets this valley is called Wildheart – do not enter this forest, it is said that men who enter lose their way, no one in my lifetime has entered and returned.” Lubbud pauses hear for effect, and then sneezes. “After the valley, you will head northwest, eventually arriving at the gates of Jotun-Heid. Here, I’ve drawn you a map of your journey.”

    Lubbud holds out a piece of parchment toward Pierce. The map is crudely drawn, it is quite obvious that Lubbud is illiterate. “When you reach the city, get in touch with Albrecht Lans, he’s a merchant friend of mine and will compensate you upon delivery of the wagon. He and I have a standing arrangement. He will cover shipment of the goods back to Harvuk, for those of you wanting to return,” He looks at the priest and the hunter. “You’ll be compensated for passage back as well. Are there any questions you have before you set out?”
    Why do Elves have point ears? jokes Muun. No offense he says to the elves (or half elves) in the party. Seriously though, I don't have many questions. Is the money in advance or upon our return.
    Last edited by Leostales; 2018-03-17 at 12:08 PM.

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    Pierce strides up to Lubbud and accepts the map. The sandy-haired half elf is clad head to toe in gleaming plate armor. Lines of fire form an elaborate pattern on the metal, an obvious manifestation of the divine power that Pierce wields. "None taken, friend," He responds to Muun's statement. He looks back at his wife and daughter, standing a short distance away and waves to them. He turns to the group. "Akkila! It's been a long time! How've you been?"
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    *With an accepting nod Akkila steps forward where Pierce is.* "It is good to see you Brother Pierce, I'm glad we will be making this journey together. Perhaps we can keep you out of trouble with the natives this time." *A smile can be seen under her helmet, Akkila hefts her traveling pack on one shoulder, and glances at the map.* "Straightforward delivery this time?"

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    Default Re: [dnd 5e] Skaldlands (IC)

    Muun's wife is here as well. She is standing by his side when he asks about the money.

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    Thunder yawns, not particularly used to waking up early. Nevertheless, she grins at the rest of the party. "I don't mind walking," she brightly informs the group. "Someone else can have the wagon seat."

    She slinks towards Pierce, unobtrusively peering at the map, before it eventually proves uninteresting. "So, will we be heading off soon? No sense in hanging around here till the sun comes up." Thunder's tail is twitching, showing a hint of impatientness, but the tabaxi's posture is overall casual and relaxed. She curiously scouts out the other arrivals, getting lost for a few minutes in the intricate designs of Pierce's plate armor, though she appears to be trying not to be rude. Trying.

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    Having said her final goodbyes to the town of Harvuk early this morning, Jacira arrived at Lubbud's wagon, stony-faced and silent for the moment. The half-elf is clad in orange robes, orange like dry autumn leaves. She wears a backpack and carries a large book under her left shoulder, but otherwise appears unarmed. Jacira nods in assent when Lubbud describes the path their journey will take and moves up to stand beside the wagon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leostales View Post
    Seriously though, I don't have many questions. Is the money in advance or upon our return.
    Lubbud turns to address Muun. "You'll be payed upon delivery of the goods to Albrecht. I don't currently have the funds to pay you up front," Lubbud looks a bit ashamed at this. "He'll take your pay out of the proceeds of the wagon."

    Quote Originally Posted by mtatosky View Post
    "Straightforward delivery this time?"
    "Yes, it should be relatively uneventful. We haven't had bandits or highwaymen along this route in several years. You should be able to make it there and back before the snow sets in." Lubbud glances around the gathered group. "Just please, avoid the forest, if you enter you'll likely never return."

    Quote Originally Posted by saltstorming View Post
    "So, will we be heading off soon? No sense in hanging around here till the sun comes up."
    Lubbbud claps his hands. "Yes! Hasten and you should make it to the hills before nightfall. And do be kind to old Lomp here, he's the only horse I've got." Lubbud pats the shaggy mane of the emaciated and weatherworn horse pulling the wagon.
    Last edited by gabado; 2018-03-18 at 10:55 AM.

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    Pierce waves one last time to his family. "Bye Cwen, bye Kendra! I'll be back before you know it!" He turns to the group. "Let's get a move on! These goods won't transport themselves!"
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    "So," Thunder states conspiratorially to her companions, "we'll be going into that forest, right?" She laughs. "I kid, I kid. Still, seems like it'd be interesting."

    ”Anyways, I'm with him. Let's get going!"
    Last edited by saltstorming; 2018-03-18 at 02:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gabado View Post
    Lubbud turns to address Muun. "You'll be payed upon delivery of the goods to Albrecht. I don't currently have the funds to pay you up front," Lubbud looks a bit ashamed at this. "He'll take your pay out of the proceeds of the wagon."


    Lubbbud claps his hands. "Yes! Hasten and you should make it to the hills before nightfall. And do be kind to old Lomp here, he's the only horse I've got." Lubbud pats the shaggy mane of the emaciated and weatherworn horse pulling the wagon.
    "Ok," says Muun. "I won't take the driver's seat. It makes too easy a target." He then kisses his wife one last time. "Goodbye my love," he says. Once his goodbyes are said, he says. "Lets go, people. I'm ready to head out of here."

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    Jacira climbs up on the wagon's seat and says, "Well, if nobody else wants it, I'll take the seat. Should give a decent view, hmm?"

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    Lubbud gives the decrepit horse a final pat of farewell and then nods to the rest of you. "Safe travels, may Lor guide your way."

    It is still before sunrise when your small caravan leaves the town center. The wind begins to pick up, and you can feel in its bite the sharp cold of the coming winter. As you wind westward through the valley along deeply-rutted roads, you see many farmers laboring in their fields in the pre-dawn grey. Many glance up at you as you pass and gawk openly at your procession. The sight of Pierce and Akkila, resplendent in gleaming plate armor is truly something to behold. Tethys trails behind the caravan, drawing stares and whispered prayers from superstitious farmers. Mist hangs low about your feat and Lomp's nostrils billow steam into the cold, thin air.

    Your first day is relatively uneventful, several times the cart becomes lodged in deep furrows and a coordinated effort is needed to free it from the muck. It is clear that Lomp is a large part of the problem, the horse is old, frail, and of bitter temperament. As the sun climbs overhead, the mist lifts from the fields, casting small rainbows above the heads of the field hands. These brief moments of serenity between Lomps nasal neighing and the cart's violent seesawing are enough to keep the group in relatively good spirits.

    At midday, you reach a small field to that looks like a good place to take a rest. Most wouldn't have noticed it, had it not been for Lomp turning abruptly off the road toward the pasture and stalwartly refusing to turn around. The field is bordered by a low stone wall covered with moss and small ferns. Trees hang low over its borders and the sun gives the meadow a nice warm glow. Lomp sets about finding some shade and good turf. Lubbud's provisions are meager, dried fish, hard tac, and water.

    There are a few sheep sharing the small field, and after a little while a farmer pokes his head over the wall. He's a halfling and greets you with a wide grin. "Hello travelers, I am Barleybuck, what brings you to my field on this fine afternoon?"
    Skaldlands OOC
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    dope avatar Lomp, the Horse by Honest Tiefling

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    "Well Barleybrook, to be honest a stubborn horse and a long trail." Akkila smiles under her helm. "Apologies for the intrusion but I hope you won't mind if we take our midday meal here. I fear our good friend Lomp here isn't going to be willing to go farther without partaking in your bounty." Akilla pats Lomps back gently and then approaches the Halfling. "I'm Akkila, it's a pleasure to meet you." She takes a small respectful bow towards Barleybrook.

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    Tethys was in a sombre mood the morning of their departure. Never had she been more than a few minutes' walk from the ocean and she was secretly dreading tasting air not laced with the familiar tang of salt. But, still, the sea had spoken and its will was not to be argued with. Like the waves rolling onto the shore, she would cast inland, drawn like the tides to some unknown destination far from the only home she had ever known and from the way of life that had preserved and fulfilled her.

    It was these reflections that kept the half-elf from joining in the merriment and good-natured chatter upon their departure. She had watched in stony silence as the merchant had explained their path and had been absent-mindedly stroking the tusks of the walrus that had been harvested during the spring. Such a sad thing, to see the shore's nobility reduced to trinkets and baubles she thought, remembering the time she had spent among the walrus colonies every year, helping them birth their pups and keep the cows safe from over-predation by greedy hunters.

    Feigning that she didn't see the superstitious glance cast by the merchant, she drags her feet, but keeps to herself, as the journey began, unsure and awkward among these land-folk who couldn't see as she did. There would be more than stares that awaited her inland, that was certain.

    ---

    Hours later and Tethys was anxious. She could no longer smell the sea except on errant gusts of wind and kept gazing backwards wondering if she had made the right decision. She settled in for a rest and massaged her hide-bound feet, stuffed with kelp and moss for padding, as the party took a break. When the halfling appears, she nods a weary greeting and goes back to gazing sorrowfully at the way they had come, letting the more friendly group members treat with the cheerful small-folk.

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    Muun is light-hearted for most of the journey, but slowly becomes more and more annoyed at each delay. My family's knees could be getting broken now, he thinks. For some reason, the thought of a voluntary delay makes him even more angry. Trying to containing his anger, he asks "Are you really all that hungry?" although the strain in his indicates he's trying hard not to crack.

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    "Hello friend. We're just passing through. Could you spare a meal for some passing travelers?
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    Thunder had reveled in the curious stares sent her way throughout the journey; tabaxi seemed to be uncommon in most parts of the world and as a bard, the more attention, the better. She often stopped for a few moments to chat with passing travelers, an act that left her continually dashing to keep up with the group.

    By the time the group finds a suitable resting place, Thunder is admittedly tiring, though trying not to show it. She outwardly seems to have as much energy as before, though the spring in her step is noticeably less pronounced.

    Her stomach growls. "I'd hate to impose, but we are all weary and tired from our travels. What say you, trade a meal for some tales? And I'd rather not mine," she jokes.

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    Muun, feeling ignored turns to Barleybrook and asks, "Would it be safe for me to continue down the path alone." Hoping to be able to make the journey by himself if the delays continue.

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    Jacira observes the conversation of the other party members with this farmer, and hearing the tension in Muun's voice, turns toward him. "Might I ask, friend, what ails you? I doubt it will serve you well to go on unaccompanied." To Barleybrook she adds, "We've recently begun a journey. I believe one of the others here is carrying a map. Would you be willing to point out our currently location, to ensure we are on the right track?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by CardboardDragon View Post
    Jacira observes the conversation of the other party members with this farmer, and hearing the tension in Muun's voice, turns toward him. "Might I ask, friend, what ails you? I doubt it will serve you well to go on unaccompanied." To Barleybrook she adds, "We've recently begun a journey. I believe one of the others here is carrying a map. Would you be willing to point out our currently location, to ensure we are on the right track?"
    Muun calms down and says sheepishly, "Forgive me, but I owe a very large debt and although I have no proof connecting the two occurrences, my family has been menaced by thugs recently. As far as I know, they are being attacked right now. Because of this, I am suppose I am getting anxious." He chuckles and says, "Do not worry, the company of you fine people is not my reason for wishing to continue alone."
    Last edited by Leostales; 2018-03-19 at 05:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leostales View Post
    Muun calms down and says sheepishly, "Forgive me, but I owe a very large debt and although I have no proof connecting the two occurrences, my family has been menaced by thugs recently. As far as I know, they are being attacked right now. Because of this, I am suppose I am getting anxious." He chuckles and says, "Do not worry, the company of you fine people is not my reason for wishing to continue alone."
    "Ah..." Jacira says, glancing back in the direction from which the party has been traveling thus far. "Would that I had known earlier this was happening. Perhaps I could have done something to help." She pauses, looked down at the spell-book lying between her hands, briefly back toward Barleybrook and then to Muun again. "This job will pay your debt in full, I hope?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by CardboardDragon View Post
    "Ah..." Jacira says, glancing back in the direction from which the party has been traveling thus far. "Would that I had known earlier this was happening. Perhaps I could have done something to help." She pauses, looked down at the spell-book lying between her hands, briefly back toward Barleybrook and then to Muun again. "This job will pay your debt in full, I hope?"
    "Well, the person I owe money to keeps raising the fee. Calls it interest. Interesting to him maybe, but not to me." Muun muses. "I doubt you could have done anything to help, the merchant has powerful friends. But I appreciate the offer.

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    Tethys turns at the sound of her new companion complaining about thugs and loans and threats and on-and-on and chimes in without a hint of emotion in her voice, but a great deal of inquisitiveness, Why did you not just kill those threatening your kin?

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    "By all means, welcome to my pasture!" Barleybuck grins from behind the wall. "It's too beautiful a day to waste in solitude. Here, one of you, help me hoist this damned basket."

    The halfling struggles to lift a massive picnic basket above his head, teetering under its weight. Once it's over the wall, he hoists himself up after it, grunting and panting, collapsing against the stone on the other side. "My, my, I wish my grand gaffer had bothered to make a gate! Come, I would gladly exchange some of my lunch for a story or two, I might even be persuaded to share a tale of my own."

    Barleybuck's basket is loaded with various breads, cheeses, and dried fruits. As you sit down to eat with him, he opens a small bottle of wine and passes it around. At the edge of the pasture, Lomp mingles with the sheep.

    The halfling seems a bit concerned that several members of the group aren't intent on eating and will make gestures offering the bread to anyone who's eye he catches. He will listen eagerly to any stories you tell him, he will ask the bard for sagas and tales from afar and is curious to learn about the adventures of the Lorbringers and what brought them so far north.
    Last edited by gabado; 2018-03-20 at 08:22 AM.
    Skaldlands OOC
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    dope avatar Lomp, the Horse by Honest Tiefling

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    Default Re: [dnd 5e] Skaldlands (IC)

    *Akkila goes with the Halfling attempting to help, she sits down and removes her helm revealing her Tiefling heritage for all to see. She has a red glow around her eyes and what looked like rams horns attached to the helmet, were actually attached to her head. Her skin has a pinkish hue to it.* "You want to hear a story,
    then why not list to a story of Lor and the grace and mercy that comes with it. Long ago and far away, there was a priestess of Lor. She stayed near a few other followers and they would travel the land spreading the word of Lor with all. One day, she came upon a man who was crying. She spoke to him, "Hello sir, why are you crying, why are you so sad." The man looked up to her with red in his eyes. "Because I am evil, and because I am evil I cannot ever be loved."
    The priestess was taken aback. She did not know what to do, the man did not look evil, he wasn't acting in a way that was evil. "Sir, why do you think you might be evil?" The man replied, "I have done deeds, and I have sacrificed people to get what I want, and then I found I did not want it anymore." The man went back to sobbing. The priestess was distressed, she was supposed to comfort people, she was supposed to help, but she was also supposed to fight evil in the name of Lor. What could she do, how could she hold to the principles of good and mercy if she did not find a way to help this distraught man. The priestess pondered, and then sat next to the man crying. The priestess then started to cry herself. The man stopped his crying and looked at the priestess with surprise, "Why are you crying?" The priestess looked towards the man, and leaned her head on his shoulder. "I do not know how to help an evil man, so all I can do is empathize with him and feel how he feels, hoping that it will help." The man sniffed, and slowly put an arm around her, and they sat and cried together."
    *Akkila beckoned to her companions to come enjoy a brief peaceful meal, knowing they are few and far between.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Default Re: [dnd 5e] Skaldlands (IC)

    Quote Originally Posted by atlastrembles View Post
    Tethys turns at the sound of her new companion complaining about thugs and loans and threats and on-and-on and chimes in without a hint of emotion in her voice, but a great deal of inquisitiveness, Why did you not just kill those threatening your kin?
    "HAH!" shouts Muun as if the very idea were absurd. He then explains why that wouldn't work, "Now I don't have any adversities to killing the man's thugs, I actually have killed some of them already. But, even if I did kill the merchant, I would no longer be welcome in Harvuk and I've fought to hard to long to find a perfect hid-home, to be laid off by a stupid debt."
    Upon seeing the food, Muun realizes how hungry he actually is, "If we eat enough now," he thinks, "Maybe we won't have to stop for our next meal." He then concedes defeat and accepts the meal.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Feb 2018

    Default Re: [dnd 5e] Skaldlands (IC)

    Jacira sits down with the rest of the party as Muun explains his distress. Pretending not to have noticed what Muun almost said instead of "home," she looks over to him, eyes narrowed in concern. "Yet are your debts not your own affair, and one to be settled with civility? This merchant you speak of has been threatening your family with violence, although he must know you are working to repay the debt. This is unjust. Killing him in retribution may be disproportionate, but if there is one who should no longer be welcome in Harvuk, it is this merchant. Not you."

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Orc in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: [dnd 5e] Skaldlands (IC)

    Quote Originally Posted by CardboardDragon View Post
    Jacira sits down with the rest of the party as Muun explains his distress. Pretending not to have noticed what Muun almost said instead of "home," she looks over to him, eyes narrowed in concern. "Yet are your debts not your own affair, and one to be settled with civility? This merchant you speak of has been threatening your family with violence, although he must know you are working to repay the debt. This is unjust. Killing him in retribution may be disproportionate, but if there is one who should no longer be welcome in Harvuk, it is this merchant. Not you."
    "And I'm sure he would not be welcome, if I could actually prove his involvement. None of his thugs has ratted him out, and if I accused him, he would simply deny anything." Muun explains. "I am sorry I am heaping my troubles on you, I am sure you have your own and don't wish to burden you too much."

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Oct 2017

    Default Re: [dnd 5e] Skaldlands (IC)

    Tethys approaches tentatively and eats what meat there might be available, but also taking tentative bites of bread. She had always thought it tasted like dusty air, but with her stomach growling she wouldn't turn it down. When Akkila takes off her helm and begins telling her story, her eyes flash with interest at seeing the paladin's infernal heritage - more eager curiosity than suspicion - and then shine brightly as she shares her story. It had been ages since she had heard a new story other than tales of woe from desperate fishermen and their wives and so she sat with rapt attention, easily forgetting the dry mouth the bread was inflicting. When Akkila finishes, Tethys clears her throat and adds her own tale:

    I have a tale of an immortal and tears as well. Long ago when the world was empty, the immortals amused themselves with their own intrigues and games. As with mortals, the immortals too had their petty jealousies and heartrending strifes. But the consequences of the immortals' grief are as great as their power is greater than that of mortals. Among the immortals, there was one who was considered strongest and most formidable of them all. They were the land, the soil and rock that now lies under us all. Stretching far as belief and supporting the world itself, the immortal of the earth was loved by all the beings-that-were-and-are. Two of the immortals, bored with endless existence and inspired to change reality, for it is but another plaything to them-that-never-die, competed for the love of it-that-is-the-earth. They offered the earth cooling mists and quiet rains, driving snow and searing steam, each competing with the other to show the earth what could be if it chose to be with one of them for good and all. The earth-that-is-and-was enjoyed their competition for a time - ages to us mortals - but as with all immortals, the earth-and-rock eventually tired of the sport of their adoration and chose one. Driven to grief and endless spite, the unchosen immortal wept bitter teas and swore their rage against the uncaring rock and pitiless soil. To this day we mortals live with the consequences of the earth-that-is-and-was' choice: the fresh waters of the lakes, rivers, and rain soothes and nurtures the earth, bringing forward their children, trees, crops, and beasts and the bitter raging waters of the oceans, seas, and waves which poisons the beasts of land and withers the things that grow on it. To this day the sea-that-was-spurned rages against the earth-that-is-the-shore and swears it will consume it. The ocean-that-was-unloved weeps bitterly, it's grief and rage reflected in our mortal's tears which are salted as the ocean-that-rages.

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