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Old 01-17-2012, 05:12 AM
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Arrow Prelude - Raena

Raena Mordaine took a deep breath and let it out slowly. For the umpteenth time that afternoon, she wondered how she had gotten here, and what was she going to do about it.

She sat at a desk in an office in Sharn, the City of Towers. The office, as well as the flat above it, belonged to her now. She’d just signed the paperwork this morning.

There were stacks of paperwork piled up on the desk before her obscuring the top surface almost completely, with letters and invoices and broadsheet pages sticking out of drawers that would not close to either side. The wheeled chair behind the desk looked about ready to collapse, its cushions so flat as to be nothing more than leather covers over a wooden frame. It took her nearly a half hour just to adjust the seat height properly so she wasn’t banging her knees into everything, as the previous owner of the place had been quite short. And heavy, she noted not unkindly, but it was difficult to ignore how worn and uncomfortable the chair really was.

A week ago, Raena had been in the village of Tamiset, some three days journey from Sharn in the farm-belt of Breland. It wasn’t very large by any standard, but it was home. She was a priestess of the Sovereign Host, serving the village and its outlying farming communities. She had a life of her own, people that depended on her, students to teach. But all of that changed when she received the letter…

Her uncle had died. She was to come to Sharn for the reading of his will.

The solicitor had neglected to mention what her inheritance would be. Nor did he mention in the letter that her stay in the city would be required to be more than just a few days to put things in order.

“Essentially, his will is very succinct,” Rygar Howe had said with a sober expression. “A portion of Antos Keldoran’s estate is to be given over to a few named charities, but his business and all of its accounts and assets are left to you.” The solicitor peered over his pince-nez to study Raena’s reaction. “’Keldoran Inquisitive Services’ now belongs to you. I trust this is satisfactory?...”

Satisfactory?! Host preserve! She was a priest, not an inquisitive! She served the divine, served the people. She had no idea what to do with a detective agency!

At least the triumvirate at her temple had allowed her to take leave for a while, and the Tower of the Sovereign Host in Sharn had welcomed her with open arms, offering shelter and respite. They even offered her a guide in the form of a Paladin at her beck and call. Though appreciated, she dismissed Altus just this afternoon when she came to the office for the first time. There was no sense in him sitting around doing nothing while she sorted through things.

She sat with her head in her hands for a moment, her mane of wavy auburn hair falling over her face. With a deep sigh of resignation, she composed herself and forced herself to deal with the stack of paperwork nearest her with the intent to sort things out.

Antos Keldoran was her uncle, and she loved him dearly. He’d served in the Brelish Army with Raena’s father during the Last War. Uncle Antos had been seriously injured and nearly lost his right leg, but he made it out of the war alive. Since he was not fit for combat, he retired from the military with a considerable pension. Raena’s father had likewise finished his service to the crown, and the two had been constant companions throughout Antos’s recovery. It was then that Antos fell in love with Brin, Raena’s aunt, her father’s younger sister.

Antos and Brin were married after a whirlwind courtship. Not long after that, Raena’s father fell in love with and married the woman that would give birth to her. Antos was there the day Raena was born. He was as good an uncle as anyone could ever want.

Raena’s aunt died eleven years ago, a random act of violence that was shocking even during a time of war. Antos and Raena’s father hunted down the murderer and brought him to justice, but her uncle was never the same after that. Not more than a year had passed before Uncle Antos moved to Sharn to start a new life for himself. Aside from the occasional letter, Antos slowly faded from Raena’s life.

Little did Raena realise Antos had become an Inquisitive.

And now he was gone. Murdered apparently. The ache in Raena’s heart became that much deeper at the thought of it.

Paperwork. Right. Work is good for the soul. Raena focused her will and began sorting.

Not long after she finally developed a system for sorting the documents, there came a knock at the office door. She could make out two silhouettes through the frosted glass, one tall and one short. She was halfway to the door to answer it when it opened inward, the bell above tinkling a cheery announcement as the two visitors stepped inside.

“Miss Keldoran?” the halfling asked as he crossed the threshold. Behind him, a hulking brute of a man lumbered into view, nearly blocking the whole of the doorway.

“I’m Priestess Mordaine,” Raena corrected him, studying the very finely dressed halfling. The few of his race she’d encountered before were from the Talenta Plains, and tended to be more...tribal in their appearance. This man was dressed in a fashionable suit perfectly tailored to fit his diminutive frame. The human behind him, on the other hand, was dressed in a rusty chain shirt with a wide belt full of rusty weapons. This sent a shiver up her spine despite her calm demeanour. She mentally kicked herself for sending Altus back to Sovereign Tower.

“Mordaine? I was under the impression Keldoran passed the business off to his niece,” the halfling said as he studied the office.

“I’m his niece. Who are you?”

The halfling snorted, obviously expecting a dwarf. The tall attractive human before him was definitely not part of his plans. But he was quick to push the thought aside and he carried on regardless.

“I am Tommin Boromar. I’m here to discuss…insurance matters with the new owner of the Keldoran Inquisitive Services.” The halfling smiled, his perfectly straight teeth sparkled menacingly in the afternoon light.

“Insurance matters?”

“Indeed,” Tommin smiled. The thug behind him cracked his knuckles for effect. “Let us call it a business arrangement. You pay the Boromars a modest fee, say twenty gold sovereigns a week, and we ensure that your business doesn’t come into any…unforeseen accidents. Fire, burglary, vandalism, you understand, don’t you?”

Raena’s hand clenched into a fist.

“Get out.”
Pessimism is just an ugly word for pattern recognition...

Necessity is the mother of moral reletivism...
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:13 AM
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Rhakir Rhakir is offline
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Default Confrontations

“Excuse me?” the halfling nearly choked. “Do you have any idea who I —“

“Get. Out,” Raena repeated, more loudly this time. She reached out and grasped something within reach to throw. Her hand came back holding a teapot from the sideboard she stood next to.

She hurled it with deadly accuracy, striking the halfling square in the face. Tommin dropped to the floor clutching his nose as blood poured freely down his chin.

“Whudda byu thtandink dere bor? Ged her!” Tommin sputtered at the lout behind him.

With deliberate slowness, the chain-clad man stepped forward and reached for Raena, attempting to grab hold of her. The priestess ducked under his reach, his grasping fingers just missing her hair.

Tommin, still busy trying to stop the blood flowing from his smashed nose with a handkerchief, reached beneath his coat and drew out a hand crossbow. By the time he had it loaded and ready to fire, he wasn’t able to get a clear shot at the priestess because his lackey was in the way. Good help was so hard to find…

My sword! Raena thought frantically, realising it was propped against the wall behind the desk. She feinted to the left then dove back to her right as her assailant fell for the ruse. She cleared the desk and grabbed the hilt of her weapon and drew it out in a fluid motion—

—Right through the stacks of paperwork on the desk…

Papers and invoices and broadsheets exploded across the room into the faces of the two men. The thug grunted as he cleared a few sheets off his face and rushed the desk. His hands closed over the edge and he heaved with all his might, attempting to pin Raena against the back wall.

Despite the man’s strength and momentum, the desk moved only an inch. But his movement gave Tommin an open target. The halfling raised his crossbow and fired.

The bolt thudded into the wall just over her left shoulder.

Raena hefted the sword and raised it toward the man pushing against the desk, the point just touching the tip of his nose. She had him dead to rights, and could finish him with a gentle push forward. But that wasn’t her style…

Raena Mordaine, Priestess of the Sovereign Host, began to pray, “In the name of Dol Dorn, God of Strength at Arms, I command thee, Retreat!”

The Command spell welled up within her and washed over her target without mercy. The man in chainmail twitched and backpedalled his way out of the office, never once taking his eyes off the cleric. He nearly fell down the steps when he reached the door, but that didn’t slow his hasty departure.

Tommin watched all of this as he reloaded his crossbow, hampered by the fact that his fingers were covered in his own blood and his nose was still throbbing badly. Muttering an oath under his breath, he raised the crossbow, aimed, and fired again.

The bolt thudded into the wall just over Raena’s right shoulder.

“Bollocks!” Tommin screamed in frustration. He could’ve sworn he was aiming at her midsection! Of course, his aim wasn’t as steady as it could have been, but still…

Raena moved quickly around the desk and up to the halfling, bringing her sword to bear on the little man. The blade struck him in the right arm, inflicting a shallow gash. It was enough to cause him to yelp and drop his crossbow.

“Get. Out,” she repeated once more, her eyes blazing with fury, “And never come back!”

Tommin wasted no time scurrying out the front door to catch up to his hired muscle.

Raena stood there grasping the longsword tightly, her breathing still heavy as if she’d just run a mile. The indignity of being attacked in her Uncle’s office - no, in her office - was mixing with the adrenaline of combat. And the embarrassment of scattering all the paperwork across the room…

After what felt like an eternity, but was more like just a couple of minutes, she composed herself and took a deep breath. Then she began to take stock of the office and the litter of papers everywhere.

The knock at the door made her start.

She saw two shadows through the frosted glass again, one taller and one shorter. She gripped her sword tightly and stalked to the door, intent on giving the halfling and his henchman a thorough thrashing.

She threw open the door and shouted, “I thought I told you to NEVER COME BACK!”
Pessimism is just an ugly word for pattern recognition...

Necessity is the mother of moral reletivism...

Last edited by Rhakir; 01-17-2012 at 05:15 AM.
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