The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: Ansalonian Adventures IC III

    Eren sits down to slowly spoon the stew in his mouth. "Yes, I suppose so... Just wanted say I think you had a point, though maybe master Morhar thought he had too... I think I've been too cloistered my whole life, and I suppose that comes with certain preconceived notions that never really got challenged..." Eren scratched his beard, lost in thought. "I can see why I came across you. Seems you have a great moral character."

    Eren glanced at where the lizard man was sitting, taking a while to listen to the haunting tones before speaking more. "Well, I suppose it's rather late...." Eren said, starting to get up. "One more thing... I wouldn't be surprised if the Blue Lady had a plan for you. It might not be the easiest path, and perhaps it'll be filled with hardships, but I'm confident in the end it'll work out. And... I'll be happy to talk if you feel like you need to share." Having finished his meal, Eren was ready to leave, unless Jason had something more to say. He wasn't sure if his words had done any good, but he'd wanted to reach out in any case. Eren had always been good at manipulating people, but not really connecting with them. Books were so much easier...
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  2. - Top - End - #182
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    "Master Morhar?" Jason asks. "Oh, you mean the dwarf," he realizes. He had never caught his name in the chaos earlier. "Anyway, hopefully you're right...about Mishakal having a plan for me. Because right now, it feels like I'm just drifting in the sea like jetsam." He bids the half-elf good night when he leaves.

  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Qwermish/Endday Road Rest stop

    The leader – and others who overhear – are surprised by the sudden loud, low hum of the old flute, but remain frozen with indecision, having never heard anything like it.

    For their part someone gets out a hand drum and small guitars, and they play rapidly and haphazardly while eating and chatting in rapid Estwilde. This traditional music is very rhythmic, and people sing along messily, with gusto but no harmony to speak of. It must be quite a thing at local festivals, everyone but Achuak thinks.

    As for the bakali’s explanation, the leader only nods, clearly not understanding, but seemingly satisfied he doesn’t mean anybody immediate harm.

    The following day everybody packs and moves on readily, and within hours the groups of merchants and travelers have separated down other roads or stopped at their intended villages. The rest of you continue on toward Loaz, and believe you’ve finally found it at the very end of Endday road – appropriately enough – at sundown.

    Loaz is an idyllic village behind a low palisade. Low houses are lined in rows along streets made of loose rock. Ranches sit on steplike hilltops, flocks of sheep and goats being managed toward barns and sheds for the night. The roofs of taller buildings can just be seen behind a rise about a half-mile away. A number of guards, wearing identically-bland dun tunics are closing the wooden gate when you approach, and they talk amongst themselves as they wait. All big-boned, ruddy, and dark, they are less colorful than their big-city kin. Two hold crossbows while a third, leaning on a massive flanged mace, says, “You’re not merchants. You have no goods. Vat you vant?”

    They give Achuak unpleasant looks.


    OOC: I encourage you to do IC discussions before/while approaching Loaz.
    Last edited by Gorgon_Heap; 2019-10-31 at 07:46 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Jason, for the most part, kept to himself. Although the worst of his anger had largely subsided, he was still very contemplative, broody, and quiet. The days, while traveling, he spent just staring forward, lost in his thoughts, his legs moving automatically and it would take a few seconds before he would respond to anyone or anything. And once the distraction had passed, he would resume his march and his deep thoughts. At night, he took his meals alone and would pray or just sit and think.

    Now, standing before the gates of Loaz, he seems a bit more himself when confronted by the guards. "We are not merchants, we are travelers. We have come to visit the monastery in the mountains. We're only passing through and mean no harm to anyone."

  5. - Top - End - #185
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    They don't appear happy about it, but they allow you in, pointing generally through the village and saying the road you are looking for lies approximately "thattaway."

  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Once in town, Jason starts looking for an inn to stay at for the night. No sense in trying to reach the monastery with night falling upon them.

  7. - Top - End - #187
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    "Hmh, the locals certainly are... succint", Eren said, as he observed the exchange between Jason and the guards. At least they hadn't wanted to start anything.

    Eren decides to talk to the lizard man, as he hadn't heard much about him last night, aside from the melody. "Was that you playing last night, with the flute? The sound was most pleasant. Oh, and I see you are a worshiper of Zivilyn's", Eren says and gestures at Achuak's holy symbol. "A great deity, not enough people seem to respect wisdom and knowledge."
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  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majin View Post
    "Hmh, the locals certainly are... succint", Eren said, as he observed the exchange between Jason and the guards. At least they hadn't wanted to start anything.

    Eren decides to talk to the lizard man, as he hadn't heard much about him last night, aside from the melody. "Was that you playing last night, with the flute? The sound was most pleasant. Oh, and I see you are a worshiper of Zivilyn's", Eren says and gestures at Achuak's holy symbol. "A great deity, not enough people seem to respect wisdom and knowledge."
    Achuak

    Achuak looked sideways at Eren as he approached and then listened intently as the softskin began to speak.
    "Oh? Yes that was Us. It is an instrument of Our people's Priesthood, primarily. This one tho has gone as heritage from father to son, father to son." the Lizardman replied.
    "With no Wisdom, we are but mere animals. Intelligence is about being smart, Wisdom is about a show of control, awareness, understanding." Achuak added in with a nod to Eren for at least understanding in part that there were more to everything than just intellect or brute strength.
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  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majin View Post
    "Hmh, the locals certainly are... succinct", Eren said, as he observed the exchange between Jason and the guards. At least they hadn't wanted to start anything.
    Jason nods. "The people of South Shore in general don't seem terribly friendly so far," he notes. "Or tolerant of outsiders."

  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Listening in on Eren and Achuak, I find myself agreeing with what the lizardman is saying about wisdom. I've always thought true nobility required a well-rounded approach to life, after all. "That is an enlightened notion, sir. Is it commonly held in... actually, where in the world do you hail from?"
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  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Achuak

    Achuak looked towards Sorawyl as she spoke. "S... Sir? Ah, We understand now 'honorifics for someone of male gender'... We thank you for agreeing. Sadly, many of Our fellow Jarak-Sin tends to loose themselves into the extremes of Chislev's guidances. They are not wrong in this, however for Us, it must be tempered through the understanding and wisdom that Chislev's honored husband and companion Zivilyn provides. As to where We are from. Up north. More We cannot say. The Qwalmish Swamp Area as you softskins call it is the outer edges of Our home. It is not a place for the weak, nor the unprepared." Achuak replied and sighed a bit, head turning in the knowing direction of where his home would be towards.
    Last edited by Hemnon; 2019-11-05 at 07:33 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Village of Loaz


    Over the gentle rise you see a lovely vista sprawled out – village center on the right, more fields and stands of trees abutting a small mountain lake to the left. Houses circle the lake at large intervals, as do handfulls of small fishing boats. The village proper is surprisingly dense, its building tall and thin and seemingly all atop one another. Rows of homes and businesses are punctuated by tiny alleyways even Jason would feel uncomfortably constrained in. There’s a large open square with a sizable pavilion, but no sign of any temple. In the dimming light you can just make out the wall continues on the far side of the lake, and the road disappears through a gate and up a mountainside.

    In your immediate area are three taverns, two of them inns. The loner is likely expressly for locals. There are still plenty of people about, though most are cleaning up for the night, and the rush is on for meals. The inns are at opposite sides of an intersection just beyond eyeline of the square, and are very little different from each other, at least to your eyes, and the language continues to prove a barrier; the first shingle bears a large fish, the second an owlbear.

    You enter (whichever you choose) and find yourselves in a large open tavern hall lit with racks of candles on the walls, tables, and above the bar, though there's a fireplace at each end. The blank pale stonework is largely hidden behind beautifully crafted wooden panels and shelves festooned with piles of bowls, dishes, bottles, and wooden carvings of every sort. It's warm and friendly but busy to the eye. There are perhaps a dozen people here, getting drinks and awaiting meals. None but a big-boned bartender are dressed like locals, and a rather dandy-looking Kender sitting near the lefthand fire is tuning a lute with scraps of well-worn Solamnic tunes. "I am Trodel, this is my place, and you sit where you like. You vant rooms, ve haf rooms. You eat - be polite. No fighting. No biting," he says pointedly to Achuak, for reasons he can't imagine. The food, when a hefty serving wench passes by, smells much less pungent than what you were served in Haligoth - obviously toned down for visiting palates. You are offered either fried fish or roast chicken with fried potatoes, and a selection of several potently hopsy local beers or vodka (it seems catering to outsiders doesn't extend to the alcohol).

    A whip-thin mustachioed man in a fine shirt and embroidered doublet approaches readily and speaks Common. "Good evening, travelers. Gods, you're not merchants, are you? Haha, no certainly. Pierre Sochés, a purveyor of table spices and flavorings. I know it sounds mundane, but you wouldn't believe the amount of salt and pepper the Estewilde import, and it does manage to bring me to lovely little hovels such as this. So what's your business, eh? No business at all, no no. I don't suppose you'd like to play cards or dice?"
    Last edited by Gorgon_Heap; 2019-11-06 at 11:06 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #193
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    A spice merchant, eh? Sounds interesting, and it's nice to hear an accent with less Estwilde in it. "No dice for me tonight, I think. Luck is a valuable commodity and I would rather hold onto mine for now. Perhaps tomorrow though, if you are staying the night?" I leave a pause in case any of my companions want to take up his offer tonight. Assuming he's still open to conversation, I ask "have you been long in Loaz?"
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  14. - Top - End - #194
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    Jason orders the chicken and 'taters, along with a beer he chooses at random as he isn't sure the difference between them all. He also orders a room for the night.

    The sight of the kender brings a slight frown to his face, as he is reminded of Darrik and Devil. He hopes they are well, wherever they are now.

    To Pierre, he says, "We're heading up to the monastery. We heard the monks there needed help. And sure, I'll do a few rounds of dice with you."

  15. - Top - End - #195
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    Achuak

    In response to being told to note bite people, Achuak just stared at the softskin saying that with a rather 'does not fully get it' sort of expression. "Are you calling Us a Nighthunting Bloodfeaster, Vampire you call them, yes? We are no such thing, why would we bite anyone?" Achuak replied cocking her head a little to the side in confusion.
    "You Bite your enemies, you bite your food, one does not bite without reason. At least We do not. Zivilyn teaches to wait and think before acting.... So Why would We, who is not a bloodhungering undead, nor a beast of nature, nor a frenzied abnormal monstrousity Bite softskins around here?" The Jarak-Sinn continued adding, still sounding as baffled and confused as to why he would be questioned about something like this.
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    Village of Loaz


    "Only a few days, mores the pity," Pierre says. "I'd like to take in some fishing but I fear once the orders are placed I must away and see they are delivered. A set of wagons is leaving for Haligoth in two days' time and I know well that travel is best done in numbers in this country."

    He sits and happily plays several games of dice with Jason while idly chatting away about nothing in particular. He's not very good nor very interested - it's merely something to do. He admits to knowing nothing about any monastery despite having visited Loaz at least five times.

    The bartender, Trodel, listens to Achuak at first with trepidation, then discomfort, then apparently decides the lizard man is no danger after all and goes about tending to other customers even as Achuak keeps talking. When his vexed complains and questions end, Trodel answers with a sort of impatient "sure, fine, go away" wave.

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    Still restless from the recent events, Morhar orders 3 orders of chicken and potatoes, diving into the meal with a fervor he has not felt for a meal since he began his sobriety, clearly taking a toll on his demeanour not easily sated. After arranging a room, as well, he approaches the relatively chipper half-elf he'd overheard discussing dice at a later time. Struggling to get the first bit of coherent words out of his mouth and some rough gesturing, he finally manages to say what needs to be said to her.

    "Hmm. Ah know dis be a bit bolder d'in a stranger ought ta be b'oot I thoot ta git it oot nawh inst'ah ah later. See'in' ya seem to be intent on some'in importan', ah can only hope to ask what it be aboot. First, tha...? Ahm sorrah ah've been not givin' tha best of impressions. I'm nay a smart man nah a calm one. Ah dunnae what ta do wit m'self since every'tin I luv gets wrenched from me grip anna cannae afford tah do it much more. Not on me own, at least. Ah oonder'tand if tha lot of ya would rather be rid of me. S'pecially tha one lad. B'oot...if'n y'll havvan ah bit low on blades fer yer travels, ah'd 'preccit if ah could be joinin'. At least til ye git tah where ya needin' ta be.

    Ah know it should be took'd over wit yer friends so I can certainly be waitin' til tomorrow for tha annsah. Fer now, I shud git to me room. Need a bit o' time ta t'ink what ah need t'do. T'ank ya."

    With that, he awkwardly leaves to get his belongings up to his room and wait for the nerve-wracking answer.
    Last edited by MechaKingGhidra; 2019-11-09 at 08:41 PM.

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  18. - Top - End - #198
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    Achuak

    Achuak just shook his head in ill-understood acceptance of the way he was being treated, and just fished out a piece of smoked Rabbit-meat and chewed.
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    Jason is more than content to play low-stakes dice games, for coppers or not even coin at all, if Pierre prefers. He's happy to have something to take his mind off things. "So I take that, like us, you aren't from Estwilde?" he asks Pierre.

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    I am unable to formulate a response to Morhar before he shuffles off to his room, mostly because it takes me a good minute to disentangle his meaning from his accent. Idly, I wonder if comprehend languages would work for that sort of thing.

    He wants to know what we're up to, and to come with us? I'll definitely need to talk to Eren and Jason... I'll get myself a beer and speak to Eren first.

    "Say, Eren, what do you think of that dwarf who killed the giant? He has asked if he might travel with us a while... I know he seems a little unhinged, but perhaps his strength would be useful to us...?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by JadedDM View Post
    Jason is more than content to play low-stakes dice games, for coppers or not even coin at all, if Pierre prefers. He's happy to have something to take his mind off things. "So I take that, like us, you aren't from Estwilde?" he asks Pierre.

    "Goodness no," Pierre says, grinning madly at a particularly good roll despite there being no stakes. "Coastlund originally, though business took me to Sanction and I've been there ever since. Marvelous city, Sanction, once you become accustomed to the sooty smell. My concern is there, dealing with a dozen mining villages throughout the Khalkists and a similar concern in Khur. Years I've spent making the Estwilde route. I know the people can be on the grim side and travel is mightily dangerous compared with home, but one you get used to their ways and ingratiate yourself a bit they are warm hosts and caring, dedicated friends.

    "They're self-sufficient to a fault, these folk. Estwilde as a territory has been under siege for two thousand years, you see. A harsh land of monsters and ogres and barbarians, the people have to work hard to survive, and then comes Istar trying to conquer them a dozen times, and Solamnia a few more. South Shore's a little different - the Dragonarmies descended and used it as a fortress and recruiting site, and Solamnia never came to their aid, they say. Even the gods forgot the people here, so they got fed up and decided if they had to be on their own, they'd embrace it. Qwermish didn't become South Shore until the War of the Lance, when a hundred petty lords and village mayors and such saw banding together was the only way to expel the Dragonarmies.

    "But trade is a universal language. Well, so's Common, but you understand. They do love their salt and pepper, so here I come every year."

  22. - Top - End - #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    I am unable to formulate a response to Morhar before he shuffles off to his room, mostly because it takes me a good minute to disentangle his meaning from his accent. Idly, I wonder if comprehend languages would work for that sort of thing.

    He wants to know what we're up to, and to come with us? I'll definitely need to talk to Eren and Jason... I'll get myself a beer and speak to Eren first.

    "Say, Eren, what do you think of that dwarf who killed the giant? He has asked if he might travel with us a while... I know he seems a little unhinged, but perhaps his strength would be useful to us...?"
    Eren had ordered himself a wine, and was just leafing through his book quietly. He had listened to the dwarf's proposal too. "He is, maybe even a little dangerous. But perhaps so all of us are, and we certainly could use a friendly blade. It does seem he does intend well, even if his judgement is... rash. I don't think it a coincidence we met him either. Though perhaps extracting a promise from master Morhar that he'd behave himself wouldn't hurt."

    Eren looks at the lizardman's direction. He'd not yet heard Achuak was going to be doing. "And what of you, master Achuak? Are you traveling anywhere in particular?"
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  23. - Top - End - #203
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    After arranging his things and stepping towards the bed, Morhar takes a knee. It'd have been decades since he had last done so, faith never having been strong within him, despite desperately wanting to do his mother proud and assure her that he wasn't going to be lost in the darkness.

    Finding his voice, he closed his eyes and began to pray.

    "Tha gods that be, moih'tay beyond all mortals, honor'd an' wise til tha end ah days. Please...be grantin' this lonelay soul some peace. Ah'm nay the same as ah thoot ah was 'cuz I 'no me mind is slippin' farth'r 'n' farth'r. Ahm gunna lose all ah evah was 'n' am if'n ya don't guide me for woonce in mah bloody loife. Family, be it blooh'd, adoopt'd, ah otherwise, was all ah ever had 'r wanted an' it jus' seemed like yer tryin' to push mah hands away from evah holdin' it too long lest ah know tha taste of what happiness truly be. What did ah EVAH DO to be barred from all of yer embrace? Eh? Ah've nevah heard nary a whisper or dreamt a dream 'n all mah loife. It be all endless black that feels ta be swallowin' mah very soul ahn still ya forsake one of yer children?!"

    The rage courses through his body as he throws the bedside table across the room. Thankfully, he'd not yet lit the candle so there was no...fiery repercussions, though it was certainly heard from the next room over. Upon realizing what he'd done, he'd taken his place again and paused.

    Stopping as his sobbing finally broke free, tears streaming down his young but weathered face, clenching his eyes even tighter yet, he mustered his will to continue his prayer.

    "Ah jus'...(sniff) be needin' ta kna I shood ev'n keep goin' or I jus' be wastin' mah time wit tha lot of ya! Tha pain...(gulp) nevah heals ev'n a touch nah do I wanna go on like dis. But ah will. Ah will if'n ya don't t'ink me too fah from grace. Jus' show me sum, just SUM, grain o' hope. I s'pose if ya don't (hacking/coughing)...ah cannae be blame'n ya for abandon'in' me if ya were nevah dere ta start wit. I wan'ta believe there be some'n so please...let me see tha loit. I dun' wanna be jus' anotha one ah tha mons'tahs ah lay low. Ahm afraid...ahm so, SO afraid."

    With that, and a few minutes to compose himself before standing up, Morhar begins readying for bed. He looks over to the table across the room and just shakes his head, disappointed in himself yet again and just leaves it there but sets the candle upon the tray and lights it, setting it on the windowsill.

    Once he undresses and places one of his handaxes under his pillow, he finds enough comfort to drift off to sleep. The dwarf has been through a long day and is physically sore, mentally fatigued, emotionally drained, and spiritually exhausted.
    Last edited by MechaKingGhidra; 2019-11-10 at 05:16 PM.

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  24. - Top - End - #204
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    Default Re: Ansalonian Adventures IC III

    "They may be self-sufficient, but by only relying on themselves, I wonder what they've lost in the process," Jason muses. "What about North Shore and Midland? Ever get up there? Are they much the same as South Shore?" he asks Pierre.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JadedDM View Post
    "They may be self-sufficient, but by only relying on themselves, I wonder what they've lost in the process," Jason muses. "What about North Shore and Midland? Ever get up there? Are they much the same as South Shore?" he asks Pierre.
    "Oh, that I don't miss. You need to travel some more, young man. Solamnia's a fine place, but that arrogance is one of the reasons we tend to be disliked away from home. As if it's the only bright spot in a dark an dismal world. We've been lucky in many things, friend Jason. That's all.

    "I've watched these folk toil against fate. They're to be admired. My miner friends in the Khalkists work through blistering heat in hardscrabble mountains, eating rabbit and goat on the spit and with their families at their sides are proud of a good day's work. The great caliphs in Khur maintain gleaming cities in a sea of burning sand. They don't look at Solamnia and ask, 'Why can't we be more like them?'

    "Sanction is a jewel all its own, and I've come to appreciate it. Taken a local to wife. As for Estwilde north of us? Nah. There's nothing there worth risking your life over. Ancient roads swallowed up by swamps and caravans swallowed up by dragons."
    He shakes his head and sips some wine.

  26. - Top - End - #206
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    "Oh, that I don't miss. You need to travel some more, young man. Solamnia's a fine place, but that arrogance is one of the reasons we tend to be disliked away from home. As if it's the only bright spot in a dark an dismal world. We've been lucky in many things, friend Jason. That's all."
    "I haven't been in South Shore long, but from what I've seen so far, they have far more in common with the Solamnics than they probably care to admit," Jason comments, remembering how quick that mob was to go all 'torch and pitchfork' on that sleeping giant. It reminded him all too well of the atrocities he witnessed while serving the Solamnic Knights. That deep, uncritical hatred of anything 'other' or different that seems to have lasted since the days of Istar.

    "Sanction is a jewel all its own, and I've come to appreciate it. Taken a local to wife."
    "Sanction, up in Taman Busuk?" he asks. "I've never been, but I've heard stories of how much it's changed since I was a kid. I might like to see it some day. Your wife lives up there then? Do you get to see her much, with so much time spent on the road?" he asks.

    "As for Estwilde north of us? Nah. There's nothing there worth risking your life over. Ancient roads swallowed up by swamps and caravans swallowed up by dragons."
    Jason almost chokes on his beer. "Dragons?! Not like the Overlords, I hope? I heard they were all wiped out."

  27. - Top - End - #207
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    Achuak

    Looking towards Eren, Achuak cocked his head a little in thoughtful contemplation. "We are.... We are wandering, here and there. We have a destination, however Our final stop is not yet known. We only know that we are to travel, experience the world and then return home from time to time, bring the wisdom outside the Qualmish, as you call it in your Tongue. One can say that it is the travel, not the destination that is important." The Jarak-Sinn replied with a measured tone.
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    Eren nodded to Achuak's explanation. "I think there's wisdom in that, though I could offer a temporary destination at least. Me and my companions are traveling to a local monastery to offer some protection, as apparently they've been target of several attacks recently. We find ourselves lacking several friendly swords, and I certainly would appreciate help. There's of course monetary compensation in it as well." Eren wasn't certain, but thought the lizardman could hold his own in a fight, and of course a cleric was always a valuable ally in any battle. "...I suppose if my companions agree to taking another member for this job." Eren glanced at Sorawyl. Jason seemed still tied up with the game, but he hoped the warrior wouldn't oppose these possible new companions.
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  29. - Top - End - #209
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    Achuak

    With a thoughtful cough-like hiss, Achuak seemed to mull over that offer from Eren. "We had been seeking a temporary goal in any case.... However, We do not trust easily, even the softskins here treat us like a rotscale-victim..... a Pariah, without reason. We have never broken rules, nor have We behaved unbefitting for this 'civlized place'. Nature has treated Us better than softskins like yourself." Achuak replied to Eren, clearly hesitant to just accept a stranger's offer of work, just out of the blue.
    Last edited by Hemnon; 2019-11-13 at 09:54 PM.
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  30. - Top - End - #210
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    To Eren: "certainly I am in favour of expanding our party. I am expecting this job to be dangerous, and I have had quite enough near-death experiences for one lifetime already."

    Regarding Achuak, I do agree that he hasn't done anything to deserve the hatred he's been shown, at least in the day or so I've known him. My feeling is that it isn't fair to judge him by anything other than his own actions. On that basis, I'm willing to give him a chance, plus he seems somewhat different from the stereotypical depiction of a Jarak-Sinn.

    Perhaps it would be best to get to know him a little better, before going any further. I try to sound neutral, and to ignore his strange mannerisms. "Well, Achuak, temporary goals aside, your overarching aim is to serve Zivilyn, yes?" I have no problem with that, for sure. "Do you have any kind of long term plan for how you are going to do that?"
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