The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    Default Among the Rough [IC]


    Among the Rough
    Seek thee out the diamond in the rough.



    The sun shone over the brass facade of the Brazen city, the city walls radiated the morning heat from the desert, but with the coolness of the metal that had embraced the cold silent night, a strange juxtaposition of sensation, but a welcome one. As the sun rose in the east, it tickled the spires of the great city, and the sparkling of the spires could be seen for miles as they jewels on the domes began to reflect the light. The city was already alive, everyone knew you had to do business before the sun was fully up, people slept then, and awoke in the waning evening to begin their daily routines.

    Such was the life of this city, it was winding down for the day, guards were beginning to become eager for soon to come relief, merchants were looking and counting their wares for the daily calculations of income to loss, and thieves began waking, nudging their counterparts to see if the marks were good or not.

    The brazen city never let down expectations, and because of it's physical location, in the middle of the desert, and on top of a magical leyline that intersected with a magical focus point, (which rumor had it, was an oasis) the city had never suffered from attack, assault, or any calamity that would affect normal cities.

    The Brazen city was, as far as anyone could tell, the safest city, in the world.

    And as such, was the city of choice to proctor treaties, alliances, declare wars, and general political meetings, as it served as the ultimate neutral ground. And it's Emir, the great Tanri-Pasha of the Immutable desert brooked no conflict within his realm, and was enforced with an iron fist by his efreeti, the Kiralık katil. Though, he allowed all within his realm, nothing was off limits, as long as it was in the appropriate areas, there would be no lawlessness in this city, as long as he had a say.

    Though, the great Tanri-Pasha would long be bored, such are the ways of an immortal being, and so he lets the rule of the city to his second, the Emniyet Genel Iblis, lord of the Kiralık katil.

    If you were to walk the streets this evening, you would hear several rumors, demons assault the Alabaster tower in the East. The Borderlands are reporting more unrest in the wilds. The Ironcrags in the South have gone silent, ore imports have been cut short, and are at a premium, especially mithrial and adamantium. A horde of green skins and monsters have begun a siege of the Starlit halls of the Thuendweir dwarves, all communication has been lost. A shadow rises in the east, goodly people are leaving in droves, a sinister whisper of undead walking the earth unbidden, hunting down the living.
    "I have a high art; I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me." -Archilochus
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    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Cassiah stretched out in the hot sun, finally able to relax for the first time in a long time. The road here had been long, and walking the desert road meant sand in her shoes and hair. But now that was behind her. In front of her was a chilled glass of white wine and a duo of musicians playing in the street. She leaned back easily in her wooden chair, popped the front two legs into the air, and spun her glass. She stared at the stirring drink, her brown eyes very distant.

    Six others were supposed to meet her. She was still fuzzy on the why, but the Librarian hadn't steered her wrong in the past so she figured he knew what he was doing.
    Aajo. Their meeting was rocky at first, but once they had gotten on the same page things were better. The woman was... vicious. But In a good way. In a passionate way. Truth be told Cassiah was looking forward to seeing her again. It was probably a good thing that that old man broke up their fight.
    Ugh. What is his name? Firzu. Firuz bothered Cassiah from the first moment he decided she needed 'guidance'. No doubt the man had spent his youth sitting under waterfalls or... meditating on big rocks, or whatever it is you were 'supposed' to do. Pass. But he did seem to understand the nature of her powers better than she did. So what? Birds don't know how they fly, and that doesn't seem to stop them.
    Firuz reminded her of another soon to be companion, Anjin. Another old man, steeped in 'tradition' or whatever. Oh gods. If the two of them get talking we may never leave this bar. The old swordsman was ridiculous to Cassiah. He claimed to want adventure, but the way he was at his family's beck and call...

    Family is just a word. The phrase bubbled to the top of her mind unbidden, like half-remembered lyrics to a song. Cassiah took another sip - a long one - and let the thought slip out of her mind.

    Masiko. She was friendly enough. She reminded Cassiah of Anjin, but with less... stillness. Their road together hadn't been a long one: more of a crossroads than anything, each of them on their own hunt. Cassiah guessed with enough time those roads met again.
    Bart and Bendak were both more of mysteries. She hadn't met them long, but that's about where their similarities seemed to end. Bart was large, loud, and straightforward. Bendak was... Cassiah wasn't sure what Bendak was, literally or figuratively.

    Slowly, the psion's thoughts drifted away from expectations of her new companions to older memories, none of which were real. Surely the others would be along soon enough.
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    Masiko did not much care for the desert. The heat was one thing. True enough she could manage against the desert scorch without much trouble if needed, but resistance to the worst of the affects was still not enough to make it comfortable. The dryness to was a similar issue. She missed the sight of clouds in the sky, and dew in the morning. The air was unpleasent on her lips, and robbed her of any desire to engage in much conversation without something to refresh herself with in hand. Worse was the sun. Her skin was naturally pale, much more so than the westerners who surrounded her, and under the unforgiving fiery daystar, she'd been tinged red with mild burns across her face and exposed skin. Much as she tried to aquire local garb which offered better protection from the light, it felt uncomfortable to wear. So in truth, Masiko did not much care for the desert at all.

    Still, there were positives. She'd found the people who lived in such unforgiving environments to be welcoming and gentile, of good spirits all around, and that was a great help in keeping her spirits lifted. The food wasn't to her liking, but the beverages were quite flavorful, if all the more so due to her own nagging thirst. And there was immense beauty to be found upon the streets, as traders from a thousand miles in every direction flocked to barter their wares. In the span of a hundred paces, you could see trinkets from ten times that number of kingdoms.

    Masiko found the meeting place, and spotted a familiar face amid the crowd almost at once, moving quickly towards e the gunslinger at the table. "Cassiah, you look well" She said, smiling "I am glad to find you here, I was worried I'd gotten turned around. The streets here are hard to navigate at times." She gave a polite bow, a gesture which was nearly effortless in its execution due to the frequency with which it had been practiced. "May I join at your table?"
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    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Hearing her own name brakes Cassiah out of her musings. She gives the older woman a smile and slides out a chair beside her.

    "Masiko! The more the merrier."

    There's a pause where she takes another sip. "You would think a city in the desert would be more... well, deserted. Nothing but hot sand for miles and miles. It makes for a good place to get a tan, but not much else."

    She glances Masiko and says with some humor, "Or a burn."
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    Aajo crosses her first set of arms across her chest and the thin chain shirt adorning it. Her second set finishes securing her cloak around her waist as a makeshift skirt, a couple twists and tucks later and it's about perfect. Throughout all this, she glares at the gate guard who'd tried saying her outfit was 'lewd'.

    "Small minded fool..."

    Now, a woman like Aajo doesn't really 'walk' through a city. She prowls through a city. She treats nearly everything like a threat is hidden behind or under it.

    Eventually, though, after many wrong turns, she arrives at the tavern she'd been told of. When she enters she looks more that a little disheveled, but her eyes noticably brighten when she sees her old friends. Well, 'friends' might be a strong word, but outside her tribes, this is as close as she has.

    She stalks to the table and perches on a chair. "I don't like this place already."
    Last edited by LairdMaon; 2019-11-13 at 02:22 PM.

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    Masiko took a seat as she was bidden to, even letting out a genuine chuckle at the comment. "Yes, these lands do not much agree with my complexion.Come midday, I find myself wishing for the shade of a tree grove and the cool refreshment of a pond. Still, it has its charms all the same"

    A thought occured, and she held up a hand to call for a pause "If you'll forgive me" she said, as she reached into her traveling bag and located a small amethyst gemstone, roughly the size of a thumbnail, still uncut "I spotted this while I was making my way here, resting in a mountain stream. I am taken to understand such stones often have use to those who practice the mental arts, and thought you might find some worth to it" She smiled, passing the stone across the table.

    Aajo was next to arrive, prowling up and perching upon the furniture, looking agitated as always, and growling about her dislike of the city. Masiko gave a nod, trying to be polite "I am sorry to hear that, Great Wolf, did something happen?" it was a fairly neutral showing of empathy, meant to give Aajo a chance to vent whatever frustrations were weighing on her mind, hopefully without enflaming any aggression. Though she made no outward motion, indeed she was the very portrait of stillness, Masiko did alert herself to the positions of nearby patrons, in case an eruption was imminent.
    Last edited by NineOfSpades; 2019-09-28 at 12:10 PM.
    High Reverend of the Church of the Icosahedron

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    "Cities. They make me uncomfortable. Too many packed in one place, it's like a battlefield with hidden blades and random prey."

    Absently, she nibbles at the fingers on one hand. All three other hands work to manually comb out her hair. "And the gate guard called me lewd."
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    Quote Originally Posted by LairdMaon View Post
    "Cities. They make me uncomfortable. Too many packed in one place, it's like a battlefield with hidden blades and random prey."

    Absently, she nibbles at the fingers on one hand. All three other hands work to manually comb out her hair. "And the gate guard called me lewd."
    Masiko nodded "I suppose that is one way to look at it. Though on the other hand, my experience has never suggested that a city utterly devoid of people is a far more worrisome place." She left the reasoning unstated, trusting that it would be obvious enough to those present given their relative expertise in the life of an adventurer. Cities that were empty meant that something had made them empty, and that something usually was still an active threat.

    The comment about the guard was a bit harder to parse. In truth, Aajo's attire was far far below the standards that even a generous interpretation of decency could allow. Subtle prodding on Masiko's behalf in the past had either gone unnoticed, or unheeded. But the samurai certainly agreed with the guard on the matter. "Well...different customs can be difficult to adapt to" It was about the most diplomatic way she could respond.

    As a tavern maid passed near to the table, Masiko flagged her down. A brief exchange ended with her ordering the house specialty beverage, and turning to the others at the table to see if they wanted to place an order as well.
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    Before Aajo arrives, Cassiah picks up the gemstone and studies it, admiring the way the purple color gleamed in the sun. "A thing like this must be under so much pressure. And yet you found it resting. How... impossible." She beams with appreciation at the complicated thing. With a quick, sudden motion of her hands the stone disappears, no doubt secreted away in some pocket. "Thank you. When I come across something impossible, I'll return the favor."

    Her sunny mood is carried along by the arrival of Aajo. The shifter woman stood out by both her attitude and her appearance. Cassiah's face wrinkles in shared annoyance with her interaction with the guard. "People are afraid of someone with nothing to hide. And frightened things lash out. Anyway, we're glad you're here, even if you aren't."

    When Masiko calls over the waiter, Cassiah just gestures to her glass to indicate she's already set.

    "What's new in your world, Wolf?"
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  10. - Top - End - #10
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    "I'm my world? Last word was that Henley tried sending a loose pack of wizards into the wilds. They were slain before they had the chance to cast a single spell."

    A pitcher of clear water is all the feral woman orders. "How went your travels? Both of you."
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    Bart


    Bart strolled through the street with purpose. He traveled in a precise straight line and let everyone else walk around him - breaking left and right like water around a stone in a creek. He only paused for women and children to scurry out of his way during his inexorable approach. Bart finally spotted the right table. He assumed they had all spotted him before he spotted them since he tended to stick out in crowds.

    Bart offered no greeting or acknowledgement. He looked long and hard at the chair he was going to sit in and found it wanting. He gathered another chair from an empty table and proceeded to sit on both, spreading his weight evenly. "The chairs here are....inadequate." Bart still had reservations about Brother Maximus sending him here, but he was here none the less.


    He looked over his companions and did the mental math on who he could count on and who was dead weight.

    "Hmmm Probably be the old man who dies first. I guess I'm okay with that. He looks light enough that I could pick up his dead body and use it as a shield or to wedge a door shut." Bart mused to himself.


    Bart turned towards the server and waved her off. "Oh no thank you." He said.

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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Anjin had been walking around for weeks now and he had started getting bored again. Sure, at first it was interesting to see all these strange people and their weird cultures but the mainland seemed to be just as lacking in perill as his homeland. Admittedly he had not talked to many people since the first night he had was om the continent and he met those "adventurers" in a bar who said they were on a "quest" and looking for help. This had gotten Anjin very excited until he saw his new companions struggle against a bear... clearly they would not lead him to the challenge he was looking for.

    Since then be has avoided most other people, wandering around in the hope that something would just jump at him, like how it all started centuries ago. So far however he had not had any luck and he had gotten tired of sleeping in the open air. So he decided to go to the find a ciy and enter the first Inn he found.
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    Firuz took his time making it to the meeting place, content to take in the sights, such as the were in the dark. Though he long ago ceased noticing temperature changes, he still felt uncomfortable in this dry, desolate region. A small smile made itself present on his face.

    Which is exactly why I'm here. He had for too long neglected this part of the world. Iksandr could very well have been here for years, unbeknownst to Firuz.

    Walking the streets, Firuz kept his mind open, seeking out hurt, loss, or anger. When he notices a child's panic, he helps her find her father in the crowded streets. He lends a pointed, shame-laden stare at passers by to see a blind beggar's bowl clink with coin. A dozen small people needing a dozen small nudges to make a dozen small changes in their lives.

    When he arrives at last, he notices most of the group has gathered already. Though tardiness is no sin, excusing it is. A calm smile toward Cassiah and Aajo is followed by a respectful nod to the rest of the group.

    "Please accept my apologies for being the last to arrive. I allowed myself to be distracted by this city."

    When the server returns with the others' orders, Firuz simply shakes his head at the implied question.
    Quote Originally Posted by Slipperychicken View Post
    That is the question-
    Whether 'tis more noble in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of Tucker's Kobolds
    Or to take arms against a Sea of Mooks
    And by casting Protection from Arrows, end them?

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    Bendak was, as usual, the last to arrive. He had had to take a very circuitous path, moving around the country at random, to try to throw off his enemies. He did not wish to bring his own problems back to haunt his companions. He did not know them well, but allies were, to him, a rare and valued commodity. Once he was in the city, he figured he should be reaonably safe. There were few undead in the city, and especially one in the middle of the desert. He doubted he had been followed, but still, he took a roundabout route to the meeting.

    He entered the tavern and immediately stood out. His clothes were formal and black, but were also a century or more out of date. And although he carried a weapon, a large greatsword, to the casual observer, it looked to be a shovel. Only through magic could its true form be detected. But seeing him with a shovel looked appropriate, as he appeared to be what he mostly was, a gravedigger. His appearance did, however, fit better with a land more green than the desert, where fewer clothes were more common. His clothing covered all of his body except his face and hands. He looked old, but distinguished, as if he were on the verge of a well deserved and earned final rest.

    He saw the others, and took a seat. He settled with the sigh of a corpse's last breath. He didn't bother ordering drinks, nor speaking, for a long moment. He still didn't bother with the drink, but he did speak up eventually. All business, his first question was, "There have been no reports of undead in this area, have there? I have just arrived in the city, and do not want to encounter any if I can help it." He did not seem to speak from fear. Indeed, his voice was dry as sand, and totally without emotion. But he did seem concerned, if his slight facial features gave anything away.

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    Bart

    Bart frowned at Bendak. "You should relish the chance to vanquish evil. The undead should be asking their friends if there have been reports of 'Bendak' in the city." Bart gives a toothy smile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LairdMaon View Post
    [COLOR="#FF8C00"]"How went your travels? Both of you."
    Masiko reflected on her recent travels and events that had passed since her last encounter with Aajo. "Recently I've been exploring the southern lands. I sought audience with the spirit of the great rivers, and was fortunate enough to be granted a chance to hear their wisdom. If you have not been there yet, I recommend going, though do take care to avoid the rainy season"


    Quote Originally Posted by JBarca View Post
    "Please accept my apologies for being the last to arrive. I allowed myself to be distracted by this city."
    Masiko spotted The Al'awsu approaching and reflexivly stood and moved to provide a chair to help the elder sit. "No apologies needed. Indeed, I hadn't caught wind you were joining us today, it has made your arrive all the more welcome, whatever time it has come. How have you been, Master Inburg? I hope you.." Masiko trailed off, her eyes shifting to the middle distance, as she felt a presence on her back. Without pause her hand was at her waist, slender fingers holding the blade of her sword, head swiveling round to locate the shadow that was being cast across the proceedings.

    Quote Originally Posted by paradox26 View Post
    He saw the others, and took a seat. He settled with the sigh of a corpse's last breath. He didn't bother ordering drinks, nor speaking, for a long moment. He still didn't bother with the drink, but he did speak up eventually. All business, his first question was, "There have been no reports of undead in this area, have there? I have just arrived in the city, and do not want to encounter any if I can help it." He did not seem to speak from fear. Indeed, his voice was dry as sand, and totally without emotion. But he did seem concerned, if his slight facial features gave anything away.
    Seeing Bendak, Masiko made a concious effort to still herself. The gravedigger put her ill at ease, much as she tried to quiet those thoughts, and could do little to restrain herself from small displays of anxiety. She gave a small nod towards Bendak, somewhere between a greeting and an apology for any rudeness shown by her actions, but not committing to either, before addressing the question. "There were tales of a ghost that I overheard on the road, but that was some two weeks ride by horse from here, and by all accounts the specter was content to haunt a single water-mill. Beyond that, none" Masiko kept her words professional and to the point.

    Looking around the table, Masiko took stock of the assembled. It amused her momentarily to consider the scene before her. Whatever paths they traveled, whatever divergences in philosophy or attitudes, it was quite likely that this table was currently the center-point of a gathering of the most powerful champions that the world could assemble. And yet despite its status, the table seemed largely unconcerned. "Are we expecting anyone else to join us?" She asked, speaking to the group as a whole, since she didn't have a complete list of who would be attending this
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    Quote Originally Posted by NineOfSpades View Post
    "Are we expecting anyone else to join us?" She asked, speaking to the group as a whole, since she didn't have a complete list of who would be attending this

    Bart

    Bart stroked his chin. "Rico is retired, Bellany is missing, Thorran is off ruling some dwarves, Cassianic is dead, Mordren retired..no.. dead, Tharrick dead..." Bart rattled off more names in his head and observed most were in fact dead. "Not sure who else to expect."
    Last edited by Ragnarok'n'Roll; 2019-10-04 at 04:27 PM.

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    Surrounded now by individuals she considers friends, or at least allies, Aajo's chest rumbles with something that could easily be a purr. There's no real smile on her face, but she's definitely at ease.
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    Bendak offered the hint of a smile. "I do not fear the undead. I can destroy any that I encounter. But they are sent after me, and follow my tracks. And when they come, they kill and destroy before I can stop them. I am simply hoping that I have not brought any with me this time. Or at least, I hope that they do not find me before I have moved on from this peaceful city," he said.

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    Firuz smiles appreciatively at the offer of the seat. Before he can respond to the query, though, Masiko's wandering attention has her elsewhere.

    As Bendak explains his concerns, Firuz nods. "It is good to be so concerned. We must always work to ensure the consequences of our actions, no matter how innocuous, fall short of harming others. If need be, I am happy to accompany you to hunt any such creatures that have come to this place. I do not doubt your skill, mind. But an extra set of hands could serve to protect those who cannot protect themselves."

    At Masiko's last question, Firuz shakes his head. "I'm afraid I do not know."
    Quote Originally Posted by Slipperychicken View Post
    That is the question-
    Whether 'tis more noble in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of Tucker's Kobolds
    Or to take arms against a Sea of Mooks
    And by casting Protection from Arrows, end them?

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Bendak offers a slight smile, which is the most emotion he has provided so far, but which is in line with his usual emotional range in the past. "Thank you, my friend. Another set of hands will reduce the damage they can do before they are destroyed.", he says.

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    As Anjin scans the inn he entered and to his surprise spots a woman in a style that reminds very much of home. After weeks of solo travel through these foreign lands, it would be nice to talk with somebody from his home country again and so he decided to walk towards her table. "Excuse me, but would you mind if I joined your table for a bit? I never would have imagined to meet another Samurai so far away from Tsukino."
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    Quote Originally Posted by NineOfSpades View Post
    Masiko reflected on her recent travels and events that had passed since her last encounter with Aajo. "Recently I've been exploring the southern lands. I sought audience with the spirit of the great rivers, and was fortunate enough to be granted a chance to hear their wisdom. If you have not been there yet, I recommend going, though do take care to avoid the rainy season"
    "I didn't think rivers could have spirits... Aren't they just, you know, water?"

    Cassiah considers her own response. "Things have been... busy. I thought stopping the Golden Chain leaders would bring their slave trade around here. And it did, but... It seems like every week now there's some splinter group looking to dominate the market. And worse, they've gotten better at hiding. Not good, but better. I swear, groups like this are like hydras: kill one and two spring up. New people call themselves 'The Sand Prince's Gentlemen'. Same ideas as the old group though."
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    Masiko quirked an eye at the stranger that approached, taking a moment to get a sense of them. Their garb was similar to her homeland, and at the strangers words, Masiko recognized the nation of origin as being a neighboring state. They had the air of a warrior about them, but had approached offering no hostility, so the blade of the east nodded "If you would care to sit, I have no objection, so long as you are willing to share in good company." She said, with a smile warm and welcoming. "It is true, this is quite a journey from the east, though I hail from the crane lands in Rokugan, not from Tsukino"
    High Reverend of the Church of the Icosahedron

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Among the Rough [IC]

    Bendak studies the newcomer closely. He seems to be okay, though. Certainly he is no undead, and his enemy very rarely uses servants who are not in that benighted form, since few mortals worship such an unholy god. He wonders what made this man come and sit beside such a strange looking group willingly, and without prompting. Perhaps it is like in the tales, and he has come to a tavern to offer a quest to a group of heroes. Though, looking around the table, it is hard to be sure that they look like heroes. "I am Bendak. Take your ease here, for here, if anywhere, you are safe from whatever may trouble you in your life," he offers the stranger.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Among the Rough [IC]

    Bart

    "Safety is an illusion and death stalks us all - some more then others. But please have a seat." Bart smiles in jest.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingRangerGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Among the Rough [IC]

    "I do apologise, it's been so long since we from Tsukino have made contact with the other nations that I know little about our neighbouring states. Everything has been so different so far that the first sight of familiarity reminded me of home" Anjin said as he said down. "Nice to meet you all. My name is Anjin Yay§su and I'm not so much getting away from trouble as looking for it. I can't help but disagree with you good sir" Anjin says to the Dragonborn "life seems pretty safe to me.
    Remember: Offence is taken, not given



    Play-by-Post Characters:

    Sir Balduin of Buckwood (OOC | IC)
    High Priest Azrael (OOC | IC)

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Among the Rough [IC]

    "Safety in numbers. Safety of the pack. Is that our relationship now?" Aajo rumbles from deep within her chest.
    My Homebrew
    Gravesoul
    Tower Guard



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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

    Join Date
    May 2016

    Default Re: Among the Rough [IC]

    Cassiah eyes the older elf as he joins their group, her brown eyes sizing him up curiously. He couldn't have picked a more conspicuous group to join. The six of them assembled had reached such peaks of mastery in whatever their craft that they stood out in the world. That much was too painfully obvious to ignore. Had this man really just stumbled across them, looking for a bit of action, or was he sent by someone?

    In the end, Cassiah decided it didn't really matter if it was planned or by chance. There's no such thing as chance. Just coincidences. She smiles and nods in affirmation, and the others had already invited him.

    But talk quickly turns a shade darker, to their personal safety. She thought it was odd, that a gathering of trained professionals like themselves should be so concerned with their well-being. "What draws you to trouble Anjin? Have a death wish?" she asks flippantly.
    Spoiler: Small Grammatical Library: use as desired. Please return links to front desk after checking them out.
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  30. - Top - End - #30
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BelGareth's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    ಠ_ಠ
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Among the Rough [IC]

    As you sit around and reminisce for those of you who know each other, and get to know those you don't, you suddenly all receive a mental intrusion, like a pebble thrown into a pond, the stillness of your mind is interrupted, pushed upon, violated. For Cassie it's a familiar feeling, though, the voice she hears is different, to everyone else, it's unnerving, grating upon your psyche, like the screech of a rusty sword on a rusty sword, like nails on a chalkboard, it breaks your concentration, and leaves you feeling nauseous.

    Everyone stops talking, for your concentration is inward, on the mind that broke into yours, it speaks.

    "DO NOT TRUST HIM, HE IS A CHARLATAN, A LIAR, A THEIF! HE WILL...."

    It breaks off as suddenly as it entered your mind, and with a puff of smoke, a handsome human man, of mid thirties stands before you with a disarming smile, he bows low to you all, with a flourish, and then stands, hands behind him, smiling at each and every one of you.

    "SO good to see you all here, very nice that you all made it?" he says, looking around, he doesn't make eye contact, but seems to look at you askew, as if he was looking over your right shoulder. His voice is smooth as silk, and you find yourself becoming enraptured by his very presence...."YES, it would seem so! Very good, very good, so nice when a plan all comes to a finish, or perhaps, a beginning?" he says, smiling again, if that were possible "I DO hope you all had a good travel? Yes yes, I'm sure you did, though, the river spirits helped at least two of you, yes?" he finishes, by snapping his right hand, and a shot glass filled with something fluorescent orange appears in his left hand, which he deftly downs in one go. "Abraxian Whiskey, best there is!" he exclaims and then claps his hands, and a shot glass filled with the same liquid appears before you all.

    "I have a high art; I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me." -Archilochus
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    "Airsick lowlander!"
    Threat, Timer, Treat
    Discord

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