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Old 02-19-2012, 03:44 PM
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Arrow Inquisitives - Turn 5

Hawksley, Wireburn, and Anselm

Hawksley remained silent for the moment, given that this was Anselm’s house. As the inevitability of conflict became apparent, he gathered his will, closing his eyes briefly, visualizing his opponents’ vital organs and systems -- his eyes snapped open as he squeezed, attempting to crush their cardiovascular processes.

The man with the psychic blade seemed to slow in his advance shaking off the effect of Hawksley’s psychic onslaught, but gritted his teeth and launched himself the last bit of distance to reach Wireburn. His shimmering blade of energy seemed to literally bounce off of the armour plating. Unfortunately, this put him practically face to face with the implacable Wireburn...

Anselm spoke his infusion rapidly and unlike the previous infusion, exerted an effort of will to produce the results faster.

Drago staggered under the Telekinetic Grip that Hawksley had manifested. He shook his head to clear it, then drew something slender from his robes. With a flick of his wrist, he pointed the tip of the wand at the artificer, sending a wave of force forward.

Anselm shook off the wand’s effects, very aware that he would likely be targeted again...

Wireburn loomed over his foes, grasping his adamantine great blade in two hands. His steam valves whistled like a locomotive, and his eye crystals glowed red. This is what he was made for.

His first attack was an overhead downward blow, cutting through the Soul Knife’s defenses. The return swipe a horizontal cut on the backswing aimed at the swordsman. The manoeuvre was devastatingly effective. The sword sliced clean through the soulknife’s armour and chest, and the follow through caught the swordsman off guard, tearing a rent in that man’s armour as well...

The man with the sword also staggered under the force of Hawksley’s telekinetic attack, as well as the unexpected hit from Wireburn’s massive sword. He intended to slip around the warforged and attack the man in the greatcoat and tri-cornered hat, but slowed his advance since the man didn’t seem to be posing an obvious threat yet. He decided to flank Wireburn instead, bringing his sword around in a wide arc. The blade drew sparks as it slid across the adamantine plating, but didn’t even leave a scratch...

Seeing his quarry engaged with Sir Wireburn, Hawksley deftly and silently sidestepped and drove his rapier at the soulknife with an oblique lunge. His blade bit true, entering through a chink in the layers of leather armour near the man’s kidney.

The soulknife reeled back from Wireburn’s initial attack, looking down at the gash across his armour that was now showing exposed and torn flesh beneath. He then felt the bite of a rapier thrust through his lower right back, where Hawksley managed to manoeuvre while he was distracted. He felt cold seeping into his bones; not a good sign. With a glance over his shoulder at Drago, the man threw caution to the wind and made a leap for the door...

Hawksley lunged forward in a daring flèche as his opponent sought to escape, his rapier biting even deeper this time.

Anselm followed suit and shoved his dagger at the soulknife.

The soulknife fell to the ground in a heap, his body ravaged by too many wounds. He breathed his last breath, shuddered, and lie still, his blood pooling around him.

17 Anselm
Anselm yelled at the Archduke, “Stop this stupid waste of time and effort. Is your intellect so small that your ego easily defeats it? For someone of your stature, I would have expected more.”

12 Drago
“Foolish boy,” Drago spat. “Do not vaste your breath on useless vords. I vill haf my formula! You vill pay for your arrogance!” He raised his wand and aimed it at Wireburn this time.

“Vhy aren’t you stoppink?! Vhat?... Oh damn...”

Wireburn glanced at the wand wielding Archduke and pointed to a small stamp on his adamantine body; CERTIFIED: CONSTRUCT.

Hawksley marvelled briefly to himself at Drago’s lapse, but did not dwell long on the matter, choosing instead to enjoy the fickle charms of battle-field fortune when they made themselves available.

Anselm looked at Drago, flabbergasted for a moment at his stupidity. “I repeal my comment. You are not worthy of being in my lab. Get out!”

10 Wireburn
The four-armed construct ignored the felled soulknife, focusing his attack on the swordsman on the other side of him instead. He brought his greatsword to bear in a devastating overhand swing--

--Only to have the end of the blade clip the rafters above, ruining the attack and allowing his opponent to dodge aside. The swordsman brought his own weapon to bear, but seemed to have difficulty handling it. The swing went wide, bouncing harmlessly off Sir Wireburn’s armour plating. [AoO ruined by massive negatives for the Heat Metal infusion]

7 Swordsman
With a yelp, he dropped the sword, unable to maintain his hold on the weapon. The sword hit the floor and made an odd sound; an odd popping and pinging came from within it. The blade came to rest on the wooden floorboards and began to smoulder, turning red from tip to pommel as Anslem’s infusion took full effect, heating the weapon immensely.

The swordsman glared at Wireburn, but backed away. He drew a shortsword and held it at the ready, unconvinced it would do anything to breach his foe’s impenetrable armour.

[Round 3!]

23 Hawksley

17 Anselm

12 Drago

10 Wireburn

7 Swordsman

***
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:48 PM
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Default June and Mardu

The walk from the station to the orphanage was silent as well. June glanced at him under her lashes a few times, but he seemed pre-occupied, so she didn’t speak.

When the reached the worn doorway it was almost a relief to have an excuse to converse again. The Safe Haven Orphanage, did not seem an opulent place. The exterior nearly forbidding in it’s harshness However, a potted plant near the door seemed a small attempt by someone to soften that grim exterior.

“What can you tell me about Sister Sydower?”

"Not a lot, really," the half-orc explained. "All I know is that she's made a big enough fuss to be noticed by the Korranberg Chronicle. And if it's in the broadsheets, the Watch has to tread a bit more carefully."

Mardu knocked on the heavy weather-beaten door. They waited a few seconds before someone opened it from within. A young girl peered up at the pair through a pair of thick glasses. She couldn't have been more than eighteen years old. She was small and thin, with her hair drawn back severely into a plait that ran down her back. She wore a simple tunic and trousers under an oversized coat, all of which were obviously second-hand offerings and much mended.

"Can I help you?" she asked in a wary tone.

"We're looking for Sister Olivette Sydower," Mardu said as he showed her his badge. This seemed to ease her obvious discomfort a small bit.

"You're speaking to her," replied the girl. "What can I do for you?..."

June looked at the younger girl in surprise. “Oh, wonderful. My name is June. I’ve taken on finding the missing children. May I speak to you for a moment?” While the girl put together her answer, June touched the stone of the doorway, tracing with fingers, then eyes, the pattern that this girl fit into.

June blinked her eyes in surprise. Either this girl was so insignificant as to not be a part of the immediate pattern of things, or she was the centre of something far too large for June to begin to comprehend just yet. There were patterns that could be seen, like the deep creases in the worn clothes that showed that Olivette was a hard worker, and the lines in her face and the rough surfaces of her hands only seemed to confirm this. But there was something more - something June couldn’t quite make out - that seemed to tug at her senses.

Olivette eyed the pair carefully before speaking again, resigned to the fact that she was being sized up herself.

“You’ve taken on the case for Mr Keldoran? Please come in. I’ll put on some tea.” The young girl ushered the curious pair in. The interior of the orphanage was nearly as stark and undecorated as the exterior. A small receiving room had a worn couch and and even more worn desk and chair sitting on opposite sides of a faded rug; ‘worn’ doesn’t even begin to describe the state of the poor floor covering. Olivette indicated they should take a seat while she slipped through the other door across the room.

“I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting anyone to take any more interest in the children,” she said from the small kitchen area. June and Mardu could hear her gathering some cups and pouring water in a kettle. At least this place had running water, which was a small blessing in a neighbourhood like this. “Captain Hadris wasn’t very impressed with my nagging. I was certain he’d let this all get shuffled away to be forgotten.”

The girl came back and sat on the edge of the desk facing the couple.

“Water is on to boil. It’ll be a few minutes. We don’t have much in the way of modern heating elements like you’re probably used to,” she said as she continued to study June and Mardu. “So, who sent you then? I see a badge on him, but if you’re a Watchman, I’m the Queen of Zilargo.”

June smiled, “Well, your majesty, I’m not a watchman but I am ‘consulting’ on this case so that I have authority to investigate.” June ran her fingers lightly over the faded brocade, tracing what little was left of it’s original pattern.

“Everything is a part of the pattern that creates this world. Part of the great prophecy.” She looked back at the girl, who was watching her with a puzzled frown. “You, surprisingly, and the children are a part of the prophecy that drew me to Sharn. I need to find them to understand what danger is here that is so large, so sweeping, that the draconic prophecy itself would manifest it.” She quirked her head at Sister Sydower. “You... you’re part of this too. I didn’t expect that.”

She sighed and then looked the young girl squarely in the face. “So, to business. The first child, there is something about that one that is significant. Tell me about Rhysson Alton, first.”

For a moment, it looked like Olivette would protest. There was an indignant look on her face at being ordered by the beautiful stranger. But she took a deep breath and composed herself.

June noted the reaction, but didn’t soften her request with a smile. The young lady was more than the little girl she seemed.

“Rhysson is human, about eleven years old,” she said quietly. “He’d been here for about six years, actually. One of our more stable children. He helped me take care of the others. He was very mature for someone so young. I think his parents died during the war. To be honest, I’m not really sure, as he was here before I arrived two years ago, and the records in this place were appalling.

“I also think he had magical talent,” Olivette continued after remembering something about the boy. “He seemed to be able to recharge our burned out glowstones just by concentrating on them. I never had a chance to take him to anyone to find out for sure, but I think he was mageborn.”

Mageborn, like me. June thought to herself. “What does he look like? Any identifying marks on his body?”

“He had a small mole on his left shoulder. Nothing else that I’m aware of though,” Olivette replied. “He’s about yea-high,” she said, holding her hand about four feet off the floor, “kinda skinny, with sandy brown hair that’s always messy, a round face, and a gap between his front teeth. He also had a faint accent. Aundarian, I think.”

She stood restlessly and paced the room as she thought. “I’m sorry if I seem peremptory. I feel finding these children is very important and I plan to do so.”

“Well, at least somebody seems to be taking this seriously,” Olivette said, sparing a scathing look towards Mardu.

June looked back at Sister Sydower with a softening smile, finally.”You are a good person. I hope you will be happy when I do so, in spite of your misgivings right now. Would you take me to where he spent the most time? His bed or his study area? I will also really want to know about Avril Landru and Mathis Ellessil. Keldoran had narrowed something down to these three, I believe. I would like to know what.”

Her smile became a wry grin. “And lastly, in my many requests, I would like to know more about you. You are part of this pattern and important to finding the answers.” She watched the girl carefully here, without seeming to do so. A closer inspection than before...not to determine her place in the pattern, but to determine her veracity.

“I can show you the rooms and the rest of the orphanage after we have some tea. As for the kids, Avril was a human, but Mathis was Khoravar, a half-elf,” the girl said thoughtfully, ignoring the comment about her role in things. “I think Mathis might’ve been mageborn too, but I’m not sure. Avril was a quiet little girl. Lots of bad memories haunting her, poor thing. She was always hiding behind everyone else, afraid to be seen. I think her and Mathis got on alright though. He used to be really open and friendly, but was really upset when Avril went missing.”

She excused herself when the kettle whistled, which gave June and Mardu a moment to themselves.

“I think you’re being a little rough on her,” Mardu said, not unkindly. “She looks like she’s barely sixteen, and she’s got to run this place? This might be a bit much for her to take in, let alone her ‘place in the pattern.’” He kept his voice low and his tone wasn’t scornful; he seemed genuinely concerned for the girl.
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:49 PM
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Default June and Mardu - Continued

Before June could say anything, Olivette returned carrying a tray with a teapot and some cups.

“I really can’t think of much else that makes any of those three significant, other than they seemed to be the first of many,” she said, picking up where she left off. “It was a shock to us all when Taryn went missing almost a month later.”

June and Mardu looked at each other. Neither had heard of a Taryn.

“You mean another child went missing from here?” the half-orc asked incredulously.

“Yup. Taryn Galland, an elf. I’m not surprised you don’t know about him. Nobody seemed to take me seriously at the Watch when I reported it. I think they were all tired of seeing me.” Olivette offered a mismatched cup of tea to each of them. “Sorry I don’t have any milk or sugar to offer. That stuff is really expensive, and I’d rather spend money on vegetables and meat. And tea. I can’t live without tea...”

“I completely agree. Tea is food of the dragon.” June took her cup gratefully and, after allowing Olivette to drink first, gingerly sipped the hot beverage.

“Did Taryn seem to have signs of being mageborn too?” June asked between sips. “Tell me about him as well, please.”

“There’s not much to tell, really,” Olivette sighed. “Taryn was a child by elven standards, about seventy-two, I think. I don’t believe he displayed any magical talent at all. He seems somewhat afraid of it, really. He always insists on candles instead of glowstones, and prefers his meals cooked over open flames. He loves to read, however, and would simply devour any new book he comes across. He gets on alright with everyone else, but is kind of quiet like Avril...”

Once Olivette had told what little she knew about Taryn, June smiled at her and put the empty tea cup aside. “Mardu, would you be so kind as to give me a few minutes with Olivette alone. I’d like to speak to her without your intimidating presence.” She gave him a grin to take any offence from her words.

Mardu scowled in an exaggerated manner, and made a show of flexing as many muscles as he could while he stood. “I’ll just wait by the door,” he said, and ambled out of the room. He really was massive, June realised, as he turned somewhat sideways to fit his shoulders and arms through the doorway.

Once the large half orc had taken his ‘intimidating presence’ to the other room, June took a deep breath and, spoke in a quiet voice.

“Mardu seems to think you are a fragile little girl. He thinks the same of me it seems. But I know that’s not true of either of us. I left my home at around your age, which wasn’t very long ago, and have learned, much as it seems you have, that this world isn’t kind to children alone...Unless we become strong of character.” June looked very closely at the girl.

“You don’t speak of yourself. But you are at the center of this pattern. I need to know more about you. Please. I will keep it from him and anyone else, if you’d prefer. If you really don’t wish to speak, then I will respect that.”

She stopped speaking and, as she gave the girl time to respond or not, put all her focus on finding the center of this pattern here. She’d touched it already, when they first arrived, but now was time for depth. Was it here, in this room with this girl? Or was it upstairs where the children slept? How did this girl fit in? Her sense was that she was more important than she seemed, even though everything else seemed to indicate differently.

“You know, your eyes go kinda glassy when you do that,” Olivette commented around a sip of tea. There was no accusation or malice in her words, just a statement of fact. “It’s like you’re trying to see something that should be looked at from far away, but you’re too close to get a decent look.” The young girl cocked her head to the side as she studied June, somewhat amused by the shocked look on the beautiful woman’s face.

“You want to know about me? There’s not a lot to tell, I’m afraid. Aside from the Speaker, Jaela Daran, who is only eleven, I’m the youngest ordained priest of the Silver Flame. My first assignment landed me here two years ago when I had just turned sixteen.” Olivette paused to straighten her large glasses. “I was supposed to be assisting Sister Llovandre, but she died six months after I got here. I sent word to the church, and they said they’d be sending me a new mentor. I’ve been waiting ever since. Every time I write my Bishop, I’m told the same thing; times are tough, and I’ll have to be patient. ‘It’s the will of the Speaker,’ he said.”

“I don’t like that you have so little here. It...bothers me...I want to help.” June hadn’t really thought about the poor before, beyond her own struggles the last thre years, anyway. It was a new feeling.

“Every copper bit helps,” Sister Sydower replied with a gentle voice. She suddenly seemed so much older and so very weary.

Olivette stood and stretched, her tiny frame popping and clicking like a brittle old lady. June could see she was skinny as well as short. The poor girl looked almost malnourished.

“I do what I can, what I have to,” the priestess said with quiet conviction. “That is my purpose. I live to serve these poor kids, and I love every single one of them like they were my brothers and sisters. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop harassing the Watch until they get off their collective arses and do something about all this.”

Just as she was about to say more, a knock sounded at the door, interrupting her disturbingly quiet emotional outburst.

“Oh for the love of couatl, who could that be now?” she muttered. “Pardon me, I’ll be right back.”

The small priestess went past Mardu to answer the door. The half-orc spared a glance at June to make sure she was okay before moving to see who had come calling.

Olivette opened to door and asked, “Can I help you?” in a familiar tone.

“I hope you can,” came a familiar sounding woman’s voice. June could almost make out the soft out-of-town accent. “We have a child here that we think came from Safe Haven. Do you know who this boy is?”

Mardu stuck his head back into the room and motioned June over.

“Guess who turned up,” he said with a wry grin. “Miss Mordaine and the elf. And they brought friends...”

“Friends?” June moved to peer past Mardu into the hallway. It was harder than it seemed with his bulk in the way, and she had to squeeze up against his side to peer past him. Of course, that made her all aware of him again and she had to pull her mind back to the matters at hand with a stern internal speaking to.

“Do you know them?” She looked out at the group in the doorway.

[Rh: Mardu's response is below, at the end of the next section...]

***
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:51 PM
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Default Raena and Durion

“It seems to me that you’re being played, Master Durion,” she said finally. “I don’t mean to be so blunt, but I can’t think of a reason why someone would leave you such a blatant clue for such an elaborate endeavour. Can you tell me anything about your past that might tie into this somehow? Do you suppose that someone you know is responsible for all of this?”

Durion dropped his head and shook it. “I really don’t know. I can’t... Most of the people I used to know are lost to me now. I lost them in the war, or when this happened to me.”

He traced the scars on his face.

“I used to be a great and powerful Magus. Now, I struggle to do what I once did effortlessly. I can’t remember who might have done this to me. Perhaps we will have to find out together.”

“I’m sorry,” Raena said quietly. “I didn’t realise. I know the War has taken its toll on survivors in many different ways. Perhaps the man you once were did know.” She paused to consider. “Maybe this is all related somehow.

“I wonder... You said you can’t remember who might’ve done this to you. And the little boy you found with the message has no memories. What if there’s some sort of significance to that?” The priestess was thoughtful, running her thumb over her lower lip.

"My memory loss? A horde of undead caused mine. I hope this boy was not subjected to the same experience. That would be..." He looked away.

"I'm sorry," Raena said, regretting that she brought it up. It looked as if she would say more, but she remained quiet and contemplative the rest of the trip.

Their sky taxi arrived at Morgrave in short order. The rain had lessened, so only a light drizzle could be felt as they disembarked at the platform. It was much more crowded here as students and scholars and various others waited for the next vessel to whisk them off to other parts of the city. No sooner had they stepped out than a pair of Shifters leapt in.

Once they emerged from the chaos of the landing platform, the open courtyard of Morgrave University opened up before them. Raena marvelled at the size of the campus, vaguely aware of the fact that she was gawping like a tourist. This was a fair assessment, since she had never been here before and had no idea how grand the place was.

Durion led her through the main entrance and into the halls of higher learning. To Raena, the main lobby was a blur of giant artefacts recovered from Xen’drik displayed side by side with trophies of the ancient goblinoid nations that once spanned Khorvaire. There was so much to see, and she was whisked through the area by the ever efficient military man, giving her little time to appreciate the sights.

They made their way up to the library offices, where Durion had left Ymaine with the boy. He knocked at the Assistant Head Librarian’s office door and stood at attention until it was answered. Raena hid a smile at the elf’s adherence to military propriety.

“Hello, Master Durion,” Ymaine greeted when she opened the door. “I’m glad you’re back!” She introduced herself to the priestess with a friendly smile and nod, but both Durion and Raena noticed that she looked a little worn out, both physically and emotionally. The reason for this became apparent when she ushered the pair into her office.

The young boy was currently sitting in the corner with a handful of crayons happily scribbling in an ancient tome, defacing the manuscript with blissfully childish ignorance. There were at least a dozen other books that had received similar treatment scattered about, and there were handfuls of papers and pages thrown about the usually tidy office. Durion was pretty certain that Ymaine had some crayon on the lens of her glasses.

“I hope you have some good news about the boy,” Ymaine said as she sank into her chair heavily with a sigh. She immediately sprang back up with a yelp when she realised the boy had placed one of her ink pots on the seat. Her dress was now streaked black, as it dripped down her legs and onto the floor. She looked like she was about to cry.

“I came to see the boy,” said Raena as she moved forward to help the beleaguered young woman. “My uncle was the inquisitive on the card Master Durion found with the boy. I’m not sure what I can do about him, but I’ll do my best to find out what I can.”

As the two women tried to sort out Ymaine’s skirts and the now ruined chair, the young boy came up to Durion proudly displaying his artwork scribbled in A Treatise on Giantish Religious Customs, Volume III. It was a monstrous image of a man with clawed hands, blue lips, red eyes, and fangs that dripped blood. The roughly drawn figure loomed over a pile of what looked like dead people; there were crosses where the eyes should be and they were coloured in with blood red crayon. The boy looked up at Durion for his approval of the masterpiece...

Durion swallowed a rising gorge. How long ago had been his last full meal? He struggled to prevent a repeat performance. He murmured to himself. "I need a drink."

Then he remembered his last meal had been a lamb stew at one of his favorite bars. It had been liberally flavored with whiskey.

Raena came over to see what was going on after the she and Ymaine had done the best they could with the spilt ink.

“How lovely,” she commented as she took the book out of his hands and set it aside. “Why don’t you and I get to know each other a bit while Master Durion helps Miss Ymaine, okay?” She waved Durion away and led the boy to the corner where he was when they first entered the office. She sat and talked quietly with him while Durion approached the assistant librarian.

Before he could offer her any assistance, a knock sounded at the office door. Ymaine excused herself to answer it. A young boy, perhaps a little older and only marginally better dressed than the misplaced urchin, popped his head in and handed Ymaine note and a small pouch. She looked over the note and shook her head.

“Tell him I’ll reply as soon as I can,” the librarian told the boy before sending him off. She tucked the pouch and note away and turned back to Durion. “Timing is everything,” she said vaguely. “Any luck with the boy? Or anything new about the artefact, for that matter?”

Raena looked up as she inspected the child. Her eyes were quite wide, which drew Durion's attention.

"I think I found two things that are important," the priestess said quietly. "First, I found a tag sewn into the boy's shirt. It says 'property of Safe Haven Orphanage'. He might be one of the missing children that Uncle Antos was looking for. And second, I found this..." She turned the boy's back towards Durion and Ymaine and pulled down the boy's shirt where the tag was sewn in. A Dragonmark spread across the boy's left shoulder, pulsing an angry reddish-purple, its shape unlike any of the known Dragonmarked House's. The boy bore an aberrant mark, with unknown powers...

"Safe Haven." He mused. It took his mind off the thought of gin. There were questions to be answered. Gin could wait. Whiskey... No. Whiskey would wait too. The boy needed him.

"Let's go."

Raena collected herself and buttoned up the boy's clothing. Durion certainly seemed to be a man of action.

"I'd like to stop off at Sovereign Tower before we head off," she told him as they made their farewells to Ymaine. "I need to check in and let them know what's been going on all day. It shouldn't be too much of a delay."

Delays... Delays... How he hated delays... He gripped his sword hilt with his left hand and attempted a smile, then straightened his already perfectly straight officer's cap and stared at her from just under the brim. "As you wish."

His perfectly shined boots gleamed with readiness.

Ymaine saw the trio off to the campus grounds at the top of the tower where they could catch a sky coach.

"I'll hold down the fort," the assistant librarian told Durion. "If anything new presents itself, I'll send word to you. Be careful." With a smile, she ruffled the boy's hair. "And you take good care of Master Durion and Lady Raena, you hear me?" The boy nodded solemnly.

Aside from sky taxis that ferried passengers to and fro in the city, there were also sky coaches that carried large numbers of passengers on regular routes throughout Sharn. One such coach stopped regularly at Sovereign Tower as part of its path through the Central Plateau. Durion, Raena, and the boy boarded one of these to make their journey easier.

The trip to Sovereign Tower took quite a while longer than they expected, since there were so many stops along the way. But when they finally did arrive, it seemed that most of the passengers on board disembarked with them. It was apparently a popular stop on the coach route.

"I won't be very long," Raena promised as she led them to the main pavilion. "If you wait here, I'll be able to find you much easier. I shan't be long!"

Durion looked about for another option. Not seeing one, he agreed wordlessly.
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Default Raena and Durion - Continued

More waiting. He hated waiting. Waiting made him thirsty.

While they watched Raena head off, the nameless boy reached up and took Durion's hand absently. It seemed a mere reflex, comforting and unnerving at the same time.

At the feel of the soft hand in his, the old soldier remembered something. It tickled at the back of his memory and his eyes lit up. He looked both ways down the street and kneeled down until he was face to face with the small child. He reached into his pouch and pulled out a small drawstring bag.

"Lemon drop?"

The boy's face lit up, and he offered Durion a gap-toothed grin. "Please!" he said enthusiastically. He was apparently fond of sweets. Or he was hungry. The elf noted how thin the boy was, and suspected he could probably count the lad's ribs at ten paces.

The two shared some lemon drops in contented silence; the boy apparently wasn't much of a conversationalist. Fortunately, their wait wasn't long enough to draw the silence into awkward territory. Raena returned much sooner than Durion expected. And she wasn't alone.

"Master Durion, may I introduce Altus Cirrith, Hand of Dol Arrah, Paladin of the Host," Raena said indicating the tall man at her side.

Altus was well over six feet tall, bald with a fringe of beard on his lantern jaw. He wore gleaming plate armour that had seen a few battles; the repairs were expertly done, but apparent to Durion's critical eye. A well-worn sword pommel could be seen beneath the folds of Altus's cloak, and a simple holy symbol hung from a braided leather cord from his neck. He offered a large hand to the elf.

"Pleased to meet you, sir," the paladin said politely. "I've been assigned by my commander to escort Priestess Mordaine. I hope this isn't an imposition on you" He offered the boy a genuinely warm smile as well.

Durion made a show of inspecting the Paladin, ignoring the hand. "What is your title and chain of command while deployed on this mission, and what are your rules of engagement?"

Altus smiled at this, taking in the elf's uniform a second time. He straightened his impressive physique to stand at attention.

"My title and rank is Hand of Dol Arrah," he replied with military precision. "My chain of command for this mission is Dol Arrah, High Priest Phthaso Mogan, and Priestess Raena Mordaine, in that order. My orders are to protect her from harm or threat at all costs, and to assist in her endeavours to the best of my ability. My rules of engagement are that I have the right to use force to defend myself and my charge against attacks or threats of attack; hostile fire may be returned effectively and promptly to stop a hostile act; I am to use the minimum force necessary under the circumstances and proportional to the threat; I may seize the property of others as I deem fit to accomplish my mission; and the detention of civilians is authorised for security reasons or in self-defence. Sir."

Raena watched this with an amused expression on her face, but didn't interrupt or say a word. Likewise, the boy watched with interest, awestruck by the big and shiny paladin.

"Excellent, Hand Altus. It is a pleasure to meet you." He nodded to Raena. "Lead on, my lady."

"Raena has filled me in briefly on the boy. I suggest we take a sky taxi directly to Greyflood. It's growing late, and the lower wards get dark early."

"And I brought food," Raena said, displaying a bag that smelled of fresh bread and roasted meat. Actually, her attendant had provided it, which was still a bit unsettling to the young woman. She wasn't used to anyone waiting on her, seeing to her needs like that. "At least we can have something on the way. I'm sure this young man is quite hungry."

The boy nodded emphatically, crunching the last bit of lemon drop quickly.

With that, the four made their way to hail a taxi.

Durion watched his companions, and kept his head alert. These young people thought they could live forever, but he knew it was attention to detail and being alert to surroundings that resulted in longevity. That and pointy ears, he chuckled to himself.

That thought kept a smile on his face for quite some time.

The journey was much quieter than Raena had expected. The boy had curled up against her side and fell asleep within minutes of departing. Durion stared out onto the city as it scrolled past the window of the taxi, lost in his own inscrutable thoughts. Altus kept quiet out of respect, not wanting to disturb the elf, the sleeping child, nor Raena. He made eye contact with the priestess a few times to make sure she was holding up, but remained stoic for the duration.

Once they made it to Greyflood, Raena noticed a definite change in the surroundings. So far, the parts of Sharn she had travelled through and past were kept up well and looked quite nice. Down here, it was another matter entirely. Economic deprivation were the first words to come to Raena's mind. The place was dark and dirty and in disrepair. The people on the streets seemed to keep their distance, apparently wanting to avoid the imposing paladin and the military elf. Altus was carrying the boy, even though he'd woken up when they docked. The boy looked around the area as if searching for familiar sights or faces. He looked disappointed.

The Safe Haven Orphanage wasn't difficult to locate. The modest doorway was clean and tidy, or as clean and tidy as anything in this miserable place could be.

Master Durion strode forward and knocked with authority. There was a short wait for the door to be answered.

“Can I help you?” asked the young bespectacled girl that opened the door. Durion hesitated, taken aback by the diminutive person before him.

“I hope you can,” said Raena politely as Altus lowered the boy from his shoulder. “We have a child here that we think came from Safe Haven. Do you know who this boy is?”

"By the Flame!" Olivette nearly wept as she knelt down and wrapped her arms tightly around the boy.

Mardu stuck his head back into the room and motioned June over.

“Guess who turned up,” he with a wry grin. “Miss Mordaine and the elf. And they brought friends...”

“Friends?” June moved to peer past Mardu into the hallway. It was harder than it seemed with his bulk in the way, and she had to squeeze up against his side to peer past him. Of course, that made her all aware of him again and she had to pull her mind back to the matters at hand with a stern internal speaking to.

“Do you know them?” She looked out at the group in the doorway.

“I can hazard a guess that the kid is Master Durion’s ‘misplaced urchin’. I think he's one of the missing children, by her reaction. And I’d bet my badge that the big one is a paladin,” Mardu replied dryly. He folded his arms over his chest and remained quiet while Sister Sydower held the boy tightly...

Durion spied the two familiar faces across the entry; the blonde beauty and her half-orc body guard. The half-orc nodded politely to acknowledge the elf.

[Replies? Comments? Actions?]

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Last edited by Rhakir; 02-20-2012 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Adding in last minute text...
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:53 PM
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Default Han and Shae

As expected, the two men at the entrance began pushing their way through the crowded room, upsetting tables and shoving people out of their way. They were quietly efficient in their malevolent advance, nary uttering a word as they crossed the room...

“Looks like its time to go...” Han said before taking her hand and moving faster to the rear of the taproom. “I’m sure between the two of us we can lose them once they cant see us.”

Shae instantly morphed her features into that of a dark-haired half-elf with blue eyes as the two made it out the back of the taproom. Han had to admit it was a good look for her.

"I recommend you slip into something a little more comfortable," she smiled. "I don't think they got a good look at us, but it wouldn't hurt to be safe." She drew a wicked looking curved dagger and eyed the door they just came through. They were in a tower-alley; the space behind the back of the Broken Bridge was as narrow as an alleyway, but had a sheer wall on one side and a sheer drop on the other.

"So, do we make a stand and ambush them as they come out, or do we make a run for it while we can?"

Han took a moment to change into blond female half elf before replying, “I’d say run, then change again, and run some more. Leave them guessing then the chance they have more friends to help them out. No stranger to street violence but better if we don't.”

Shae nodded her agreement. “Follow me,” she said, leading her now blonde companion away from the rear of the tavern.

“You know, that’s not a bad look for you,” she commented as she glanced back to see what their pursuers were doing. The rear of the Broken Bridge had just been kicked open and the two men were searching the immediate area, as if looking for an ambush. “Too bad about the clothes, though. Too butch. You should wear something a little more androgynous. Those make it look like you stole your boyfriend’s outfit.” Despite the danger they were in, the female changeling seemed to be flirting with Han.

“So, what should I call you now? You really don’t look like a ‘Raul’ anymore.” Han ignored the question.

Shae wound her way around the tower and into the main thoroughfare of bridges and terraces. There were enough people around to blend in a little easier.

“So, where to now? Do you want to check out the info I provided you? Or do you have something else in mi--” Shae’s question was cut off as she ran smack into a man that stepped into their path.

“Well, well, well. Seems we didn’t lose you after all,” the man said, peering over a pair of strangely tinted spectacles. He was one of the pair that chased them out of the ‘Bridge. His partner was approaching them from the rear.

“Are we going to do this the easy way, or do we drag you out of here on stretchers?” the second man asked. He was less than ten feet away from the pair.

“Stretchers” Han says as he pulls a dagger from some where, before attempting to tumble past and stab him in the back.....

[Initiative!]

18 Han
Han’s successful tumble placed him in the perfect position to drive his blade into the man’s back. The blade slid in between the man’s armour right above his kidney.

15 Glasses guy
The man with the glasses yelped in pain as he felt the dagger pierce his back, and he twisted around to elbow the blonde half-elf in the head. His swing went wide, which sent a shock wave of pain through his body. Breathing heavily, he drew a shortsword from his side and took a fighting stance to face the one that stabbed him.

14 Shae
Shae watched the blonde’s quick actions with admiration. With a smirk at the approaching human, she flicked her left wrist and three daggers appeared in her hand. Not waiting on the man to close the distance any further, the threw two of the blades quickly, aiming at his chest.

One of the blades struck, sinking deep into his armoured chest, but the other glanced off his shoulder and flew over the side of the terrace. The man slowed down, staring down at the dagger in his chest, surprised that it seemed to appear out of nowhere. Blood began to pour down his front.

10 Other guy
With a grunt, he pulled the dagger free (instantly regretting it), tossed it aside, and charged the remaining few feet to try and tackle the dark-haired half-elf. Perhaps it was the loss of blood, or maybe the uneven footing on the terrace, but his charge was not well timed and he blundered past Shae nearly colliding with his companion.

Shae brought the last dagger in her hand around to slash at the man as he stumbled past. It wasn’t a well placed shot, and only tore a strip out of the leather armour on the man’s side.

[Round 2!]

18 Han
Han took advantage of the near collision to stab the same guy again. Unfortunately, his blade didn’t find an opening in the man’s armour.

15 Glasses guy
The man with the glasses looked for an opening on the changeling in front of him. He feinted left, then put his weight behind an lunge to the right, his shortsword taking a bite out of Han’s side.

14 Shae
Shaw took advantage of her opponent’s compromised position and jammed her dagger into his exposed back. The blade bit deep this time, sliding past his armour just behind his shoulder. The man shuddered once, twice, then fell on his face. Shae grinned savagely at her victim.

The other people in the vicinity had sensibly cleared off by this point, but a few were watching from what they thought was a reasonably safe distance. Shouts for the watch could be heard from those that fled the area...

[Round 3!]

18 Han
Never one for a fair fight, Han rolled past his opponent to come behind him.

Once behind the man, he stabbed him in the back, but missed his opponent, his armor turning the blow.

15 Glasses guy
The human spun on his heel and thrust with his blade. Han managed to pivot at the last second, and the shortsword missed him by a hair.

14 Shae
Shae found herself standing next to the blonde half-elf/changeling. With a grin, she hefted her dagger and launched it at their common foe. The dagger struck the man in the shoulder, splitting his armour and drawing blood.

“Stop!” someone shouted with authority behind them. “Drop your weapons and surrender to the Watch!” Two men in breastplates and helmets had just arrived. Each man was wielding an iron-shod night stick, held at the ready.

[Round 4!]

18 Han
Han tripped and fell in surprise at the folks behind him in his escape attempt to roll past the bad guy. His opponent reached out and landed a vicious punch in Han's midsection before he even landed on the ground.
[Rh: AoO - Improved Unarmed Strike]
Result #1 (1d20 + 4): 15 + 4 = 19
Result #2 (1d3 + 2): 3 + 2 = 5 Non-lethal Dmg

15 Glasses guy
"Gotcha now, changeling!" growled the man with the odd glasses as he laid the point of his shortsword at Han's neck. "Grab the girl! Don't let her get away! I think Trask is hurt pretty bad!"

It took Han a second to realise the man was talking to the Watchmen that just arrived.

14 Shae
"Sorry, Darlin," Shae said to Han before turning and leaping over the side of the terrace. Someone in the crowd screamed as it seemed the dark-haired half-elf had chosen suicide over capture by the Watch.

10 The Watch
One of the Watchmen ran to the balustrade to see what happened to the girl, while the other came over to help the man standing over Han. Without warning, a booted foot caught Han in the ribs, sending waves of pain and nausea washing through him.

"That was for Trask," snarled the Watchman as he put a knee in the small of Han's back with his full weight to keep the changeling from escaping.
Result #1 (1d20 + 4): 16 + 4 = 20
Result #2 (1d3 + 2): 2 + 2 = 4 Non-lethal Dmg

[Response? Comments? Actions?]

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Necessity is the mother of moral reletivism...
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