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Chapter Fifteen: The Wayward Wanderers Return to Highwind!

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
(Okay! Part 3 of 2! D'oh! =) )

Kaerri Kaerri Sherwood Sherwood Psychie Psychie Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus D. Rex D. Rex

Back at the Kings Tables, the Wayward Wanderers are sharing good times. Even the magical items appear to be having a time of their own as Bren's Cratian Edge and Kaerri Rainshadow's Wave silently brood at each other as if for the sheer heck of it. Suddenly, a happy little shriek carries from the bar through the tavern as Bria spots a certain Shadowdancer. "Kaerri! Hi-hiiI!!" In moments, Bria of the Ko, looking like nothing more than an attractive serving girl, tray in hand, comes grinning ear-to-ear as she sets down a round of quality potent ale, mead, and one heavy mug of something dangerous-looking for all of you. "Here! On the house from Olgerd! Dwarven Gold, Heartsmead, and one Black Pudding Lager for anyone daring enough to try the last! Eeeee! Kaeeerriii!" Rainshadow is "attacked" by Bria in one of her warm and loving hugs. "We'll talk later! We're shorthanded tonight!" Then Bria runs off to continue serving.

* * *​

Lord Callen replies to Kaerri, "Oh, nothing of the sort! Alignment is its own matter. Since when were all Shadowdancers of good natures, I wonder?"

* * *​

Glider has delivered his shield to Bren and gives him a big hug back as the other Wayward Wanderers continue to enjoy themselves. "Now, my heart is at ease! Oh, I've just felt so terrible about that ever since it happened!"

"Glider-face!" Powerpaw interjects. "You waz cursed wif dat crown-thingy on yer head!"

"I know! Still, doing this just makes a guy feel better. Even a monk-guy!"

"Yeah, I gets it! Nuffin' like sayin' 'sowwy I broke yer shield even tho I wuz not me at da time. Dang enchantment spellz!"

* * *​

About this time, three Kobolds show up together and appear to politely wait their turn as they examine Brendoran head-to-toe and make quick little comments to one another. Two are wearing the livery of Highwind City Guards (though something tells each of you they are not here on official business) while another is dressed in fine-looking green robes with a satchel full of books. All three of them are wearing small, shiny silver charms around their necks. They wait for Bren patiently...

...however, it is another member of the Wayward Wanderers, simply sitting there, having a drink, that overtakes their attention!

Otiorin Taletreader notices a faint pulling from deep within him, soft but unable to be ignored. As the Half-elf turns, there he sees two of the three Kobolds staring up at him in awe, their silver charms shining brightly.

Grit, being D. Rex's character, gets to decide how his little Kobold reacts, of course!

Before Otiorin or any of the Wayward Wanderers can say a word, the Kobolds are on their hands and knees chanting to Otiorin right there in the middle of the tavern! This draws attention from everyone nearby as the Kobolds cry out, "Charmsring! Great Charmsring! Mightiest of all Silver Dragons! Allow us to serve you, we of the Kobolds of the Silver Sun would have you as our god!!"

What do the Wayward Wanderers do? 8D
 
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Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
By this point, Luna is starting to feel the effects of the wine she's been drinking, and is feeling quite good. She joins in the welcoming of Kaerri with, "Well now! It seems that everyone of the Wanderers know you quite well indeed! I look forward to the 'getting to know you' part of our adventure. Allow me to introduce myself! I am Luna Callen, pyromancer extraordinaire!" She then gestures up at the pseudo dragon on her neck. "And this lovely one here is my dear friend, Sparkle. Say 'hello', Sparkle!" Luna giggles a bit, taking another big drink of her wine.

Then she sees the trio of kobolds come up to Otiorin and proclaim their devotion to him and she raises an eyebrow. "Oh, really? Otiorin? Is there something you wish to share with the rest of the class?"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Oreleth is enjoying her conversation with Dendarian, and spends some time sharing the highs and lows of the past ten years that they have been apart, going into detail on the words of the spooky fellow in the frozen lands of Loviatar's realm. She says, "Between what he told me and the fae hairs that you have provided, I am a step closer to crafting my own Songbow, assuming that I can't find one that's already built."

She then looks over with a grin as she watches Luna try to have a coherent conversation with all the alcohol she's had. Oreleth raises up her mug in greeting to Kaerri. "Well met, Kaerri. I am Oreleth Soumral, and I must say that I am glad that I am no longer the newest member of the Wanderers. It has fallen to me to take care of the cooking much of the time, and now I happily turn that chore over!" She grins again as she takes a drink of her beer.

"Seriously, I have a --" Stopping suddenly, Oreleth looks over at the trio of kobolds as they talk to Otiorin. "What is all that about?"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
In decent Wood Elfish, the beautiful old dragoness upon Luna's shoulder says to Rainshadow, "Shade and sweet water. I am Sparkle, Luna's *hic* familiar." Sparkle wobbles a little and looks over at Luna, but before she can query or protest, a shadowy being lifts up beside them and in a young man's voice, he speaks.

"Allow me to get you another, sis!"

The the shade of a man is gone and soon another full glass of wine is floating before Luna. "What? Where?" Sparkle looks around, a little too dazed to realize it is Alec, Luna's brother, performing the serving.

* * *​

She says, "Between what he told me and the fae hairs that you have provided, I am a step closer to crafting my own Songbow, assuming that I can't find one that's already built."
Denarian waves to Rainshadow. "Dendarian of the Forest Eternal. Shade and sweet water to you! Illri's daughter, aren't you? There's a grouchy, blood-hunter if there ever was one! Stay out of his way, no matter the season!" Dendarian gives Oreleth a sideways grin for not introducing him to one of the few Half-elves either of them has ever beheld.

Dendarian raises his hand and with a broad grin, the handsome Wood Elf wearing fine dark studded leather armor with a Wood Elfish recurve bow strung over his back and a pair of blades sheathed safely on his athletic hips, he says, "Perhaps you should go pay a visit to that magic shop where the vigil was being held? Sure, it's run by the largest humans I have ever seen, but if their quality matches their size, then they may be able to lend a hand in your quest, hmm?"

Then he spots the Kobolds and the shining charms they wear. Once he hears their chanting, Dendarian shoots Otiorin then Oreleth the most puzzled of looks. Oreleth has not seen Dendarian this off-balance since their first battle against the Bloodland Minotaurs together.

"By Solonor's bow, Charmsring?! The Silver Dragon?! Here?!"


A hooded elf some of you recognize as Shalin Riversbane raises a hand into the air and in the Common tongue, electrical words beautifully writ, flash into the air. "Stranger things have happened within these walls!"
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Grit stared. It was Charmsring! Here! Already! And the journey had just begun. To think it would be this easy. Though while he counterparts bowed and chanted, Grit oddly enough did not find himself compelled to do so. Well okay, he felt a little compelled to do so, but he resisted. His time away from the tribe had been an eye opening adventure. Learning more about gods and dragons, even. The nature of good and evil and how it isn't so clear cut as black and white.

Breaking himself from his awe, Grit wrapped a knuckle atop the noggins of the stooges, "Quits yours grovelings. Masta Charmring won't appreciate us making a scene for him here."

The blue kobold hastily bowed to the dragon, "Please forgive us Lordie Charmsring, we are desperate. Our tribe is abandoned and alone and we really really really needs yours help. The Pain Lady Clan has put a curse on us and ares trying to destroy the new life we's be's trying to building. Please, Great One, our Clerics needs your blessings and our tribe needs your hope."


Kaerri Kaerri
As great as the dragon was, Grit could not forget the other reason he was here. Hurriedly, the tiny lizard man pulled out the bone scroll and holds it up high (though still pretty low) to the esteemed man. "Masta Sera Bina! The Grand Poobah is in need, and Captain Comander has pointed me's to yous. We wishes to hire yours Waywards Wanderers against the threat of the Pain Lady Clan. Ours eggs and everyone are in danger, we's will pay well! We's will, we will."
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Otiorin Taletreader

Like nowhere in the world had Otiorin experienced anything as intense as the Adventurer’s Guild. In distant Waterwind, the inns were sedate affairs more given to the sound of Elven musicians and bards playing or singing and the pleasant scent of seasoned rare woods crackling in the hearth. In the smaller human towns, the inns ranged from bawdy houses where the ale ran as freely as the fistfights and the sound of some minstrel’s voice fought with the general clamour of the thirsty farmers, dockers and assorted roughfolk who tried to get their orders into the parochial innkeeper and his family.

But this place, this place was different. It seemed to be a glorious combination of the two plus so much more. Creatures of races Otiorin had never even heard of rubbed shoulders in the most companionable of ways. There were, indeed, no races here, just Adventurers doing Adventurer things. Cat-like centuars mingled with Hobbits and Elves, lizard-like humanoids ate and drank with men who had strange glowing rocks plaited into their bushy beards and hair, several Familiars drifted lazily through the air around their masters and a group of troubadors played a lively jig on a low stage that set the heart pumping faster and defied anyone to rap their tankards on the tables, clap or stamp their feet in time.

Otiorin was a little dismayed when Bria peeled away to aid the bar staff, but he smiled as he saw her change her garment and weave her way sinuously through the crowded taproom. She had such a good heart and such a shining soul, none in the world could behold her and not feel happier for the sight. For his part, Otiorin sat at the table set aside for his now much-inflated party and watched with interest as the others interacted with the trident-bearing woman they all seemed acquainted with. Kaerri. That was the name uttered by Powerpaw. Rainshadow. A name Bren seemed to know her by. He watched her as she cast her eyes across the Wanderers and felt a moment of foreboding as they settled on himself a moment longer than anyone else. His brow wrinkled under a light cloud of consternation, but she moved on to talk animatedly with the others as old friends are wont to.

As his fellow Wanderers and their friends, family and followers-on chatted, laughed and shared memories, Otiorin laid out the cloak of his thief's attire on the corner of the table that he had taken for himself and carefully set the newly acquired weapons he had been gifted by Malakye upon it. Two blades of Elven steel, two crossbows of Human artifice. The grace and power of the elder race paired with the innovation and artifice of the youngest race. Combined they were almost a poetic match for a Half-elf like Otiorin and the fact made him smile. But they would need proper harnesses and hangers if he was to wield them and carry them. He would not deign to drop them into the fathomless depths of his Bag of Holding along with the rest of his adventuring detritis. Perhaps Ben and Misha would have a fitting item, or the proprietors might direct him to a leatherworker who would make a custom rig for him. Thornblades up behind the shoulders, perhaps and crossbows in the small of the back, bolt clips in pouches ready to draw across the chest. Otiorin sat and figured the design as the others talked around him.

(Edit to add!)
Otiorin's mental plans are suddenly dashed upon the rocks of reality as a strange pull on his dragon-kissed soul was accompanied by a chorus of voices from somewhere near what would be his waist height that began to speak in unison.
"Charmsring! Great Charmsring! Mightiest of all Silver Dragons! Allow us to serve you, we of the Kobolds of the Silver Sun would have you as our god!!"
The Half-elf's jaw drops open at the sudden outburst and his eyes glanced madly around him at the many pairs of eyes suddenly turned his way. He hopped out of his chair and backed up against the table, nudging it enough that the unregarded mead set at his place rocked alarmingly close to falling.
Luna and Oreleth's comments brought a shade of red to his cheeks, but it was the words of one of the Kobolds that drew his attention most.

"Please forgive us Lordie Charmsring, we are desperate. Our tribe is abandoned and alone and we really really really needs yours help. The Pain Lady Clan has put a curse on us and ares trying to destroy the new life we's be's trying to building. Please, Great One, our Clerics needs your blessings and our tribe needs your hope."

"I-I-... What?", he stammered, looking at Bren desperately.
 
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Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
Suddenly, a happy little shriek carries from the bar through the tavern as Bria spots a certain Shadowdancer. "Kaerri! Hi-hiiI!!" In moments, Bria of the Ko, looking like nothing more than an attractive serving girl, tray in hand, comes grinning ear-to-ear as she sets down a round of quality potent ale, mead, and one heavy mug of something dangerous-looking for all of you. "Here! On the house from Olgerd! Dwarven Gold, Heartsmead, and one Black Pudding Lager for anyone daring enough to try the last! Eeeee! Kaeeerriii!" Rainshadow is "attacked" by Bria in one of her warm and loving hugs. "We'll talk later! We're shorthanded tonight!" Then Bria runs off to continue serving.

Kaerri reaches for the ale, Brendoran for the mead; neither of them feels like courting a Fortitude Save at this time! Kaerri's reaching is interrupted by Bria's exuberant greeting, which the half-elf whole-heartedly returns, with a quick reply of, "OK! Noms for the table when you've got time? Whatever's easy!"

Lord Callen replies to Kaerri, "Oh, nothing of the sort! Alignment is its own matter. Since when were all Shadowdancers of good natures, I wonder?"

Kaerri just shrugs. "I haven't met 'em all, so who knows? I'd guess they're about as varied as rogues, m'self."

"I am Luna Callen, pyromancer extraordinaire!" She then gestures up at the pseudo dragon on her neck. "And this lovely one here is my dear friend, Sparkle. Say 'hello', Sparkle!" Luna giggles a bit, taking another big drink of her wine.

Kaerri grins and waves at them both. "Hiya, Luna and Sparkle." She cocks an eyebrow at Lord Callen. "Should we cut her off after another couple glasses, you think?"

Oreleth raises up her mug in greeting to Kaerri. "Well met, Kaerri. I am Oreleth Soumral, and I must say that I am glad that I am no longer the newest member of the Wanderers. It has fallen to me to take care of the cooking much of the time, and now I happily turn that chore over!" She grins again as she takes a drink of her beer.

That gets a laugh. "I can't say as I'm all that good at it, but I'll do my best if it's my turn. My vote goes to Bria, though; unlike me, she's had training!"

Denarian waves to Rainshadow. "Dendarian of the Forest Eternal. Shade and sweet water to you! Illri's daughter, aren't you? There's a grouchy blood-hunter if there ever was one! Stay out of his way, no matter the season!"

Kaerri switched to Elven, her Wood Elf accent as clear as her speech was suddenly less informal. "Greetings to you, Dendarian. Yes, that's me, and he's only grouchy when... well, all right, that's most of the time. I get a pass for being his daughter, though."

Before Otiorin or any of the Wayward Wanderers can say a word, the Kobolds are on their hands and knees chanting to Otiorin right there in the middle of the tavern! This draws attention from everyone nearby as the Kobolds cry out, "Charmsring! Great Charmsring! Mightiest of all Silver Dragons! Allow us to serve you, we of the Kobolds of the Silver Sun would have you as our god!!"

"I-I-... What?", Otiorin stammered, looking at Bren desperately.

Kaerri stares at her fellow half-elf in complete surprise for a moment, then bursts out laughing. "Sorry," she gasps. "Sorry, sorry, not making fun, promise!"

Bren shakes his head at her, then regards the kobolds with respect. "She's got a quirky sense of humor," he excuses her to the kobolds, then moves to rest a hand on Otiorin's shoulder (unless Otiorin objects). "This is Otiorin," he explains. "He is a true friend, and a good man, and strongly connected to a dragon, but he's not a dragon himself." He glances at Otiorin in case that needs correcting, then points at Kaerri. "She's met Charmsring, as has Shalin, the sorcerer there, which is probably why she finds the situation amusing. I'm not sure even so great a silver dragon would want worship, but as an ally I think you cannot do better." The paladin pauses to think what next to say, and finds himself directly addressed by one of the kobolds.

As great as the dragon was, Grit could not forget the other reason he was here. Hurriedly, the tiny lizard man pulled out the bone scroll and holds it up high (though still pretty low) to the esteemed man. "Masta Sera Bina! The Grand Poobah is in need, and Captain Comander has pointed me's to yous. We wishes to hire yours Waywards Wanderers against the threat of the Pain Lady Clan. Ours eggs and everyone are in danger, we's will pay well! We's will, we will."

Bren drops to one knee so that Grit won't have to strain to look up at him, and glances at the scroll, then past the kobolds to Gromash, to whom he offers a salute before returning his attention to the small man in front of him. "I won't be with them much longer, I'm afraid, but I'm sure they'll give your need all the consideration its due. Particularly if the Pain Lady is Loviatar? We've something of a score to settle with her, you see." He holds out a hand. "May I read your scroll?"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus D. Rex D. Rex Kaerri Kaerri Psychie Psychie Sherwood Sherwood

He holds out a hand. "May I read your scroll?"
The Adventurers' Guild is lively with the sounds of chatter, rollicking laughter, dining, and lively music. More than a few eyes beyond the Kings Tables are planted on the Wayward Wanderers after the exclamation from the kobolds and Grit's declaration. Their silvery charms still shining, the scroll passes from kobold claws to human hands. Upon opening the scroll, a gout of magical flame-like light bursts forth in a heatless pyrotechnic attention-getting display. When it dissipates, it is replaced by the image of an aged kobold with curved fangs wearing heavy banded mail armor with a thorny staff in one hand and a kobold-sized shortsword in the other.

This impressive (for a kobold) figure stands straight-backed and serious. He also, at least at first, seems a touch unsure as if he is examining something you cannot see.

"Isss thisss... working? Do I ssstart talking now? Yesss? Oh, oh!" He places his sword over his chest and speaks with authority. "It's me! Da Grand Poobah! I iz here leadin' my faithful tribe, an' lemme tell ya. It's not easy. It's really not easy when you gotta spooky nasty-sick goin' around and dats what we got! Even worse, its da Goddess of Pain, dat Low-vee-ah-tar icky-chick out dere tryin' ta ruin our day! Tis a baaad time when you can't even go out ta find food fer your tribe wiffout gettin' da eeevil-sick from dis here plague!

"So I'm here ta ask youse young-un' adventurers ta come out an' give us a hand, see? I know what you want! Fames and fortunes! And we gots both!" He places his sword and staff down and seems to wrestle with what looks like an open chest filled with coin, items, and some jewels. "See dis here? It's all we gots left from when we wuz livin' in the Underdark - an' it's aaall yours if you can get rid of da evil-plague! You kin also do it ta protect yer own kingdom! Think plagues stop at high city walls an' such? Nope! Goes right over 'em! Sooner or later, you won't be ables ta leave yer shiny-city either lest ya wind up like some of da poor folks here in da woods!

"So come out an' see us an' make a name for yerself before someone else beats ya to it! I'm da Grand Poobah an' I approve of dis here message! Umm... are we done yet? Well, turn da blasted ting off already! Yeah! Dat knob right--" The vision of the regal kobold fades and the arousal of nearby adventurers rises as young folk from all kinds of backgrounds, Classes, and races share looks of interest. But... the Kobolds of the Silver Sun return to addressing the Wayward Wanderers. Especially Otiorin!

"This is Otiorin," he explains. "He is a true friend, and a good man, and strongly connected to a dragon, but he's not a dragon himself." He glances at Otiorin in case that needs correcting, then points at Kaerri. "She's met Charmsring, as has Shalin, the sorcerer there, which is probably why she finds the situation amusing. I'm not sure even so great a silver dragon would want worship, but as an ally I think you cannot do better." The paladin pauses to think what next to say, and finds himself directly addressed by one of the kobolds.
Looking back to the charms about their necks, one of the kobolds in the livery of the Highwind City Guard steps forward, pleading. "But... but... you gotta be Charmsring! Our tribe iz at our darkest hour here! An'... an' our charms never lie!" He wails, "somebuddy please tells me - what's goin' on?!"

This evokes a number of sympathetic comments from around all of you, the least of which is "awww!"

Then the robe-wearing kobold steps forward and stamps his little clawed foot. "Nitwit! This is no way to represents our tribe!"

"B--but Skiviks, what're we gonna dooo?"

"Simple!" Skiviks grins with great confidence. "Grit! Tell us what we're gonna do!" And as each second passes, Grit feels many adventurers from all over turning their fullest attention on him. In your area of the Adventurers' Guild, a quietness like a thick fog spreads as seemingly all eyes stare at Grit the Kobold for answer.

* * *​

Meanwhile, Luna's new glass of blueberry wine arrives, courtesy of her brother Alec who deposits it before her without a word. Sparkle is also at a lack of words and is sharing Luna's buzz though the pseudo-dragon has yet to touch a drop herself.
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus D. Rex D. Rex Kaerri Kaerri Psychie Psychie Sherwood Sherwood



The Adventurers' Guild is lively with the sounds of chatter, rollicking laughter, dining, and lively music. More than a few eyes beyond the Kings Tables are planted on the Wayward Wanderers after the exclamation from the kobolds and Grit's declaration. Their silvery charms still shining, the scroll passes from kobold claws to human hands. Upon opening the scroll, a gout of magical flame-like light bursts forth in a heatless pyrotechnic attention-getting display. When it dissipates, it is replaced by the image of an aged kobold with curved fangs wearing heavy banded mail armor with a thorny staff in one hand and a kobold-sized shortsword in the other.

This impressive (for a kobold) figure stands straight-backed and serious. He also, at least at first, seems a touch unsure as if he is examining something you cannot see.

"Isss thisss... working? Do I ssstart talking now? Yesss? Oh, oh!" He places his sword over his chest and speaks with authority. "It's me! Da Grand Poobah! I iz here leadin' my faithful tribe, an' lemme tell ya. It's not easy. It's really not easy when you gotta spooky nasty-sick goin' around and dats what we got! Even worse, its da Goddess of Pain, dat Low-vee-ah-tar icky-chick out dere tryin' ta ruin our day! Tis a baaad time when you can't even go out ta find food fer your tribe wiffout gettin' da eeevil-sick from dis here plague!

"So I'm here ta ask youse young-un' adventurers ta come out an' give us a hand, see? I know what you want! Fames and fortunes! And we gots both!" He places his sword and staff down and seems to wrestle with what looks like an open chest filled with coin, items, and some jewels. "See dis here? It's all we gots left from when we wuz livin' in the Underdark - an' it's aaall yours if you can get rid of da evil-plague! You kin also do it ta protect yer own kingdom! Think plagues stop at high city walls an' such? Nope! Goes right over 'em! Sooner or later, you won't be ables ta leave yer shiny-city either lest ya wind up like some of da poor folks here in da woods!

"So come out an' see us an' make a name for yerself before someone else beats ya to it! I'm da Grand Poobah an' I approve of dis here message! Umm... are we done yet? Well, turn da blasted ting off already! Yeah! Dat knob right--" The vision of the regal kobold fades and the arousal of nearby adventurers rises as young folk from all kinds of backgrounds, Classes, and races share looks of interest. But... the Kobolds of the Silver Sun return to addressing the Wayward Wanderers. Especially Otiorin!



Looking back to the charms about their necks, one of the kobolds in the livery of the Highwind City Guard steps forward, pleading. "But... but... you gotta be Charmsring! Our tribe iz at our darkest hour here! An'... an' our charms never lie!" He wails, "somebuddy please tells me - what's goin' on?!"

This evokes a number of sympathetic comments from around all of you, the least of which is "awww!"

Then the robe-wearing kobold steps forward and stamps his little clawed foot. "Nitwit! This is no way to represents our tribe!"

"B--but Skiviks, what're we gonna dooo?"

"Simple!" Skiviks grins with great confidence. "Grit! Tell us what we're gonna do!" And as each second passes, Grit feels many adventurers from all over turning their fullest attention on him. In your area of the Adventurers' Guild, a quietness like a thick fog spreads as seemingly all eyes stare at Grit the Kobold for answer.

* * *​

Meanwhile, Luna's new glass of blueberry wine arrives, courtesy of her brother Alec who deposits it before her without a word. Sparkle is also at a lack of words and is sharing Luna's buzz though the pseudo-dragon has yet to touch a drop herself.

Grit had an answer. At least until all eyes turned to him. "Uh..." he said, looking back at all of them. "Uh..."

His blue tail twitched as he thought a few moments longer. "If it not be him, I do'nt be him. But he may know. Anyway, tis is what we are going to be doing." He finally said resolutely.

"We needs the master Charmsring. You twos find the dragon. Use 'Not Charmsring' for clues, he musta be knowing something."

Grit pointed at his chest, "I'z will go a kill the Pain Ladies. The Wandering Waywards will need directions home. I-if they choose to go, please say you'll go. But I will go home. I'z will protect them. The Wanderwards and the clan. And we's will finally be free of the bad juju and bring good juju to Highwind. "
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
( Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag!)

"Yeah, yeah!" Nitwit hops gleefully at Grit's direction. "Good idea, Grit!" Nitwit hefts his spear over his shoulder and turns to Otiorin. "So, uhhh, Mister Dragon sir? Would ya pleeeeeeeaze help us find Charmsring? We really needs him wit' tha plague an' all! You be a good guy ain't'cha? Won't'cha help us?"

Skiviks the Kobold paces back and forth from the bar and back to Otiorin, all the while watching his silver charm glow and recede, glow and recede, until he is certain of its magic. Finally, he folds his claws, gulps, and addresses Otiorin.

"Hay now. Mebbe you aren't Charmsring, but you are a silver dragon, right? Our tribe is fulla kobolds trying ta be nice instead'a naughty!"

Skiviks drops to his knees and says, "Let us follow you'se, Great One! The evil dragons won't have nothin' ta do with us, but that's only because we're tryin' ta be goody-kobolds! You're the party leader bein' a dragon an' all, right? Whaddya say? I make a great cleric!"

About this time, Powerpaw stands up with a menacing growl that gets everyone's attention nearby. People part and back away as Powerpaw glares; the kobold spine no friendliness there.

"Hay, ya wittle lizzy-faces! Mebbe you wanna do the healthy thing an' leave my buddy in peace! Dese guyz botherin' you, Oti? Don't worries! I'll take care'a dem!"

Powerpaw begins to reach for Nitwit who is rigid as a statue, paralyzed in fear the great hunting cat above him. Skiviks looks up in awe, speechless.

* * *​

From the entrance of the Adventurer's Guild, Gromash the Terrible returns Bren's salute with a frown toward the kobolds and the not-so-minor stir they have created. Bria spins by the armored wemic, hands him a drink, which he sniffs ones, and nods his thanks to Bria.

Then Gromash points Bria towards your table. The peaceful healer pauses and assesses the situation. Nodding thanks of her own to the Captain of the Guard, she proceeds toward you through the crowd.
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Otiorin Taletreader

The harassed Half-elf, so normally happy to be the center of attention, was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the constant fawning and groveling of the Kobolds. Even with his limited knowledge of his grand-sirens culture he knew that pretending to be a dragon was likely to annoy actual dragons if they caught wind of it and he had to nip that in the bud.
”Look, listen. I’m not a dragon, but I am related to Charmsring. And as for your request, I’m sure my friends and I could possibly be able to help you.”
He looked at the rest of the Wanderers, a desperate expression of anguish playing across his features.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Luna looks over at the desperate expression on Otiorin's face with a slight smile. "We can certainly discuss this. I don't know what direction that the Wanderers are going to be heading out from here, but if there is a need for us to go somewhere, I am sure it can be looked into."
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter

Character sheet
Hit Points: 128/128
Armor Class: 27 (+2 vs evil creatures)
Touch Armor Class: 13?
Mighty Blow uses remaining: 12/12
Interpose uses remaining: 12/12
Action Points: 12
Color code: 3399ff
Bren clearly wanted to help the kobolds himself, but his goddess's request that he take up a different mission prevented his offering it. Instead, he smiled gently at them and at Otiorin, and said, "Fear not, little friends. Look around; there's no lack of those willing to help here."


Art by Peritwinkle
Character sheet
Hit Points: 99/99
Armor Class: 27
Touch Armor Class: 17
Shadow Illusion: 3/3
Shadow Call: 2/2
Shadow Jump distance: 80/80 feet
Defensive Roll: 1/1
Rogue Talent Resiliency: 1/1
Stinger -- uses of Slow remaining: 3/3
Charm of Bastet -- uses of Cat's Grace remaining: 1/1
Action Points: 14
"That's true," Kaerri added. She looked at Luna, Oreleth, Otiorin, and the rest of the Wayward Wanderers. "If I get a vote, which I'm not entirely sure I do, since I don't know if you guys have voted on me yet, I'd say this sounds like just the kind of thing to help us get to know each other out in the field. Teamwork and all that, right? A warm-up for when we go after that bridge. And a warning to Loviatar that she can curse all she wants, but she can't keep a good party down!" She waved at Powerpaw. "Ease up, fuzz-Face! They just need help, and pretty badly, sounds like."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Oreleth looks over at the group and says, "While I am all for helping these kobolds, we are still facing the threat from the bridge that Loviatar has made and the war that is still going on. Something needs to be done about that, too."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
She waved at Powerpaw. "Ease up, fuzz-Face! They just need help, and pretty badly, sounds like."
With his mother, Mamapaw, with her back turned right beside him and oblivious to all of this, mighty Powerpaw pauses - his sharp claws just inches from Nitwit's head, but pause he does when Rainshadow asks. Powerpaw frowns. "Aww, c'mon Kaerri! Sure, dey need our helps, but dat don't mean dey git ta make Otiorin all fidgety like dis!"

"Hay!" Nitwit shakily taps at Powerpaw with the tip of his spear. "Lissen up! You-- You're kinda gettin' between us an' our dragon-friend, buster! So uhhh, you'd better lay off if uhhh, you know whut's good fer you?"

"Yeah!" Skiviks pokes Powerpaw's paw with his mace with more force than his brethren. "Nobody gets between us an' a buddy of Charmsring! We don't care how big you are!"

Powerpaw sticks his toothy maw straight into Nitwit's. Gleefully, he snaps. "Wuz dat a threat? Please lets it be a threat! Nobody's messed wif me all day!"

Nitwit nearly leaps out of his skin and looks to Skiviks. The lean pair of them glance down at their glowing silver charms and back up to Powerpaw. "Uhh, yeah?" says Nitwit.

"You guyz is all right!" replies Powerpaw.

Powerpaw grins, bright-eyed and pleased. The two kobolds snarl back at him in mock-savagery and Powerpaw gives off the goofiest giggle you've heard out of him. They are just starting to get along together with smiles and mock-threats as Skiviks climbs up on Powerpaw's head and playfully bonks him with his mace, which of course does the Felane no harm at all, while Powerpaw picks up Nitwit by the scruff of his little reptilian neck and swings him around a little causing the diminutive fellow to repeatedly whack at Powerpaw's offending claw with the blunt end of his spear. They're laughing and having fun...

...but this is the Adventurers' Guild! Nothing ever goes on too long here without something crazy happening sooner or later! Perhaps it's a curse laid out on the place? None who know can tell. One moment you're all having a good time in normal conversation...

...And Then... It Happens.

Scamp the Giant Honey Badger sticks his head into the Adventurers' Guild's entrance. Overprotective of his best friend, Grit, the curious and twitchy (some would say demonically-so) creature rises up as far as he can on his hind legs making him about as tall as a human being. There, he looks for Grit because he cares for him. But Scamp is not a normal honey badger even for one of his great size and the Adventurers' Guild is not a normal place (it's like a full moon in here that never goes away). So perhaps it is the combination of these things that come together when Scamp spots two kobolds shouting, stabbing, and pounding away on a big cat creature that Scamp thought he should recognize, but doesn't. All Scamp sees are kobolds in trouble! One of them seems to be Grit's little brother! That might mean... Grit is in trouble!

So just at the moment when Oreleth states...

Oreleth looks over at the group and says, "While I am all for helping these kobolds, we are still facing the threat from the bridge that Loviatar has made and the war that is still going on. Something needs to be done about that, too."
...to Nitwit's reply, "Duh bridge? I thought only we ko-be-bolds knew about dat?"

That a great scream suddenly thunders through the entire main floor! Adventurers reach for their weapons and spell components! People behind the bar put their drinks and bottles down as hands disappear behind the counter. Servers, some of them with bonafide combat experience, get out of the way, and Gromash the Terrible himself takes one look and facepalms as Scamp the Giant Honey Badger leaps into the Adventurers' Guild, runs over tables and people as he charges Powerpaw, his fangs and claws bared in preparation for mortal combat!

"EYAAAAAAHH!!" Scamp screams. "YAAAH, YAAAH, YAAAAAAH!!"

In moments, Powerpaw is standing on his feet with the biggest grin on his face shouting to his fellow Wayward Wanderers. He has a kobold in one paw smacking him with his spear, another kobold on his head bonking him rapidly, and a fierce rabid-looking Giant Honey Badger snapping and snarling in his other paw. "Guyz, guyz!" Impressed by their fighting spirit, Powerpaw joyfully implores to all of you. "We gotta help dese koboldses! I love 'em! I mean, jus' look at 'em go!"

Mamapaw turns around, her red studded leather armor creaking, and her jaw drops. "Son! I can't leave you alone for one moment before you start a brawl!"

"But Mom! I love dese guys! Whaddya say? Can we help 'em?!"

"C'mon, Grit!" Skiviks shouts from atop the huge cat-warrior's head. "You get his ankles while I distracts him!"

"Wheee!" shouts Nitwit.

Farther down the table, Count Varelys and Tarros the Tamer exchange a puzzled look and ask the nearest Wayward Wanderer. "Perhaps I should set up shop here? There's nothing like this in the Summerset I grew up in! Is this what life is like nowadays?" asks the merchant/adventurer.

Tarros watches the show. "If it is, I'm staying. This place is growing on me!"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Oreleth leans forward and looks close at the kobolds. "You know about the bridge between worlds that Loviatar has set up? Helping you may be helping us at the same time. Can you please calm down and sit? Then we can talk about what is troubling you, and what you know of the bridge. Please?" She motions towards a seat, then says, "Powerpaw, can you please set them down so we can all talk?"
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Luna is doing her best to not completely break down in laughter at the sight of the tiny kobolds trying to intimidate the hulking figure of Powerpaw. But when Oreleth speaks up, the pyromancer quickly settles down and feels herself sober up. The Bridge. That is a critical matter to deal with, and these little guys may have some information about it. She then joins the elf in trying to calm the scene before the kobolds get completely out of control. "Yes, you need to stay calm and let us know what is going on with you that you need help with. What is wrong that you are seeking aid? What do you know of the Bridge?"
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
((Referring back to Chapter Eleven))
Shalin's fingers danced in the air again. The golden letters he left hanging in the air spelled out his feelings. "While you have the sense of duty to take on this great task, unless you're hiding great magics from me, I think you and your people lack the means to carry it through. Even if you reach it, how will you destroy the ice bridge?"

He gave Luna a glance. "No evoker of your experience possesses the power."

Then Shalin grinned. "But this is a matter I can alter. For the archmage bestowed upon me more than the Firespike - I have the means to make another."

"With that ring, I can find you, dear friend, and arm you with mighty magics that will perhaps even make the Maiden of Pain tremble in doubt. Having detonated one firsthand, it is my utmost belief that even a completed ice bridge cannot stand against the Firespike's power."

Character sheet
Hit Points: 128/128
Armor Class: 27 (+2 vs evil creatures)
Touch Armor Class: 13?
Mighty Blow uses remaining: 12/12
Interpose uses remaining: 12/12
Action Points: 12
Color code: 3399ff
Bren hands the scroll back to the kobold he's borrowed it from. "Thank you, friend." He returns to his chair to avoid the "melee" that follows, but smiles as he does so. Ordinarily, kobolds were the enemy, but these clearly are not. He turns to Shalin. "How go the preparations for the Wayward Wanderers' dealing with the bridge?" he asks, not quite able to hide his wish that he could go along on that quest, as well. "If you still need more time, perhaps they can help Grit and his friends while you finish?"


The Adventurers' Guild is lively with the sounds of chatter, rollicking laughter, dining, and lively music. More than a few eyes beyond the Kings Tables are planted on the Wayward Wanderers after the exclamation from the kobolds and Grit's declaration. Their silvery charms still shining, the scroll passes from kobold claws to human hands. Upon opening the scroll, a gout of magical flame-like light bursts forth in a heatless pyrotechnic attention-getting display. When it dissipates, it is replaced by the image of an aged kobold with curved fangs wearing heavy banded mail armor with a thorny staff in one hand and a kobold-sized shortsword in the other.

This impressive (for a kobold) figure stands straight-backed and serious. He also, at least at first, seems a touch unsure as if he is examining something you cannot see.

"Isss thisss... working? Do I ssstart talking now? Yesss? Oh, oh!" He places his sword over his chest and speaks with authority. "It's me! Da Grand Poobah! I iz here leadin' my faithful tribe, an' lemme tell ya. It's not easy. It's really not easy when you gotta spooky nasty-sick goin' around and dats what we got! Even worse, its da Goddess of Pain, dat Low-vee-ah-tar icky-chick out dere tryin' ta ruin our day! Tis a baaad time when you can't even go out ta find food fer your tribe wiffout gettin' da eeevil-sick from dis here plague!

"So I'm here ta ask youse young-un' adventurers ta come out an' give us a hand, see? I know what you want! Fames and fortunes! And we gots both!" He places his sword and staff down and seems to wrestle with what looks like an open chest filled with coin, items, and some jewels. "See dis here? It's all we gots left from when we wuz livin' in the Underdark - an' it's aaall yours if you can get rid of da evil-plague! You kin also do it ta protect yer own kingdom! Think plagues stop at high city walls an' such? Nope! Goes right over 'em! Sooner or later, you won't be ables ta leave yer shiny-city either lest ya wind up like some of da poor folks here in da woods!

"So come out an' see us an' make a name for yerself before someone else beats ya to it! I'm da Grand Poobah an' I approve of dis here message! Umm... are we done yet? Well, turn da blasted ting off already! Yeah! Dat knob right--" The vision of the regal kobold fades and the arousal of nearby adventurers rises as young folk from all kinds of backgrounds, Classes, and races share looks of interest.

Art by Peritwinkle
Character sheet
Hit Points: 99/99
Armor Class: 27
Touch Armor Class: 17
Shadow Illusion: 3/3
Shadow Call: 2/2
Shadow Jump distance: 80/80 feet
Defensive Roll: 1/1
Rogue Talent Resiliency: 1/1
Stinger -- uses of Slow remaining: 3/3
Charm of Bastet -- uses of Cat's Grace remaining: 1/1
Action Points: 14
Kaerri, meanwhile, is wondering if Luna had been paying any attention to the kobolds before the little guys got into the scrum with Powerpaw. The human woman has clearly missed the whole message from the Grand Poobah explaining "what is going on that they need help with," despite the magical pyrotechnics at the start. Well, perhaps it was all the drinks she's had (Kaerri, for one, doesn't believe the wizardess' pretense of suddenly sobering up). The half-elf shrugs it off and leans to answer Count Varelys' question. "It is in here, anyhow. Things are a bit more boring outside, but not by much. Highwind's a hoppin' place!"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag! (to keep our Cap'n in the know!) =)

Oreleth leans forward and looks close at the kobolds. "You know about the bridge between worlds that Loviatar has set up? Helping you may be helping us at the same time. Can you please calm down and sit? Then we can talk about what is troubling you, and what you know of the bridge. Please?" She motions towards a seat, then says, "Powerpaw, can you please set them down so we can all talk?"
"Sure, sure, elfie-face!" Between hearty gusts of feline laughter, Powerpaw snatches up both Skiviks and Nitwit and plops them down on the table before the drinks offered to you. "You guyz are great! Here's ta you!"

Puzzled but relieved, both kobolds look around in a daze. Nitwit bats Powerpaw one more time with the butt of his little spear for good measure. "You means... we iz okay?"

"You kiddin'?" Powerpaw nods eagerly. "Anybuddy yer size who shows dat kinda fightin' spirit against a big Kitty-face like me is just great in my books! But what iz I gonna do abouts you? Hey mom! Lookit! I got a giant honey badger! I didn't tink Highwind had any a' dese guys!" Powerpaw turns to the snapping, slashing giant badger in his left paw. The creature wears barding of a small and comfortable nature and the leather bags on his person rattle noisily, every sign that this savage animal is someone's mount.

"EYAAAAH!!" the badger kicks at Powerpaw even with the kobolds settled down peacefully.

"What say you, son?" Like a building storm, Mamapaw rises out of her chair with building purpose. The massive Mielikkian druidess steps over and stares the creature in her son's paw something fierce. A strong flicker of recognition flashes over her as she lets out a surprised snarl right there in the middle of the Kings Tables. "By Bountiful Bastet!"

"Eh?" squeaks the badger as he turns toward the other Felane. Then a dawning of terrible recognition captures the badger's features too as he sees Mamapaw! Like a child caught red-handed in the midst of something he wasn't supposed to be doing, the tough, furry creature lets out such a shriek as Grit has never before heard out of him! For it is clear to all - these two know each other!

"SCAAAAAMP?!"

"EEEEEEEEEEK!!"


Scamp the badger tries to take off out of the Adventurers' Guild at full speed, but Powerpaw's mighty grasp prevents it. The badger's panic begins to build!

Mamapaw goes off in a language none of you know, but shortly, she switches to Averlundian Common. "What in the River Styx are you doing here?!" Mamapaw demands while Scamp's four limbs comically paw at the air in a futile effort to try to scramble away from her. "Wait," she notes his gear and takes a big whiff. "Kobold! Which one of you three has been riding this giant honey badger?!"

Immediately, many eyes turn to Skiviks and Nitwit both of whom are planted on their little reptilian behinds before a tray of frothy mugs. Without saying a word, both of them look at Mamapaw as if she were their own mother and unashamedly point straight at Grit! Skiviks explains, "That honey badger belongs wif Grit! He's da only kobold wif stones big enough ta call dat guy a mount!"

Mamapaw turns to Grit, her paws on her hips. "You must be an unusual spirit indeed to make friends of this... this... rapscallion!"

"EEK!" Scamp cries.

D. Rex D. Rex "Grit, if Scamp gives you any trouble, you just hand him over to me!" Mamapaw turns and stares Scamp in the eye and for once, Scamp looks guilty of something! Maybe... many somethings? Whatever the case is, Scamp the Giant Honey Badger knows his limits and seems quite convinced that Mamapaw is far beyond them.

She sighs. "Wayward Wanderers? Keep a sharp eye on Scamp! He gets into everything - including things he's been told not to! Put him down!" Powerpaw drops Scamp to the floor and in a manner Grit has never before seen, Scamp runs behind Grit for protection!

* * *​

"Yes, you need to stay calm and let us know what is going on with you that you need help with. What is wrong that you are seeking aid? What do you know of the Bridge?"
Powerpaw points to Luna. "Hay, bartender! I want what she'z havin'!"

Bria glances at Luna's glass. "But she's only having blueberry wine!" Then a call of 'order up!' from the kitchen gets the Ko Healer's ear. "Excuse me again!" Server Bria smiles and hustles away, her glamered serving dress showing off her pretty legs as she heads over to collect the food.

Her furry tail swishing, Mamapaw peers at the scroll Bren is returning to Skiviks. "It was all in there. Will you tell us about Loviatar's unholy bridge?"

Skiviks and Nitwit exchange a baffled look and stare right back at Oreleth, Luna, and Mamapaw. "Oh no, ya don't!" Skiviks snarls. "What's ta stop you all from actin' on our knowledge once we give it to you, huh? We need your help too!"

"Yeah, yeah!" Nitwit catches on to this logic. "You'se been nicey so far, but if you wants us ta help you, den you gotta do somethin' about da plague! Didn't ya hear da Grand Poobah?" He turns to Skiviks. "Tink we needs ta play da scroll again?"

"I dunno,"
Skiviks scratches his head.

At that moment, thirsty little Nitwit, without taking his eyes off of any over you scoots his little arms and wraps them around one of the many nice brews offered. However, Kaerri Kaerri Rainshadow notices one of the brews is clear, not foamy, and dark with a sinister swirl about it - Blackwater Tea! One glance over to the bar and Rainshadow notices one of the gruff, mischief-loving bartenders, namely the tall, bearded Olgerd, quickly glancing away from the tray and the kobold.

* * *​

Bren hands the scroll back to the kobold he's borrowed it from. "Thank you, friend." He returns to his chair to avoid the "melee" that follows, but smiles as he does so. Ordinarily, kobolds were the enemy, but these clearly are not. He turns to Shalin. "How go the preparations for the Wayward Wanderers' dealing with the bridge?" he asks, not quite able to hide his wish that he could go along on that quest, as well. "If you still need more time, perhaps they can help Grit and his friends while you finish?"
"Wha?" Nitwit clutches his spear as he looks up to Bren. "You meen we is friends?" His little arms raise in a cheer. "Oh, hooray! Grit! Skiviks! Da big friendly human iz on our side! Uh, I tink he's a... Mayhleekee... uh, Myleekeein? Uh, ya know, dat forest goddess of theirs!"

Shalin raises a glass of his own wine Bren's way, his free hand scribing electrical words across the air before him in the Common tongue - words he does his best to keep between himself, Bren, and any Wayward Wanderers nearby who hold interest. "I gather necessary components for the Fire Staff. Tomorrow morn, I depart to a place familiar to Kath, Kaerri, and I - the Temple of Thor where I am expected to meet with Agnon Most-Holy. Time has not dulled his mind, only his steps. The master of the temple has offered me to sell me some of the more-dificult-to-come-by. Like the secret of holding fire inside wood that the Fire Giants have learned. My heart looks forward to meeting Agnon Most-Holy again for his presence in my life has done me the better and I seek to repay his part in that.

Shalin takes a sip and appears thoughtful. "Wayward Wanderers? Is your leader and my finest of friends departing your talented company for more-secret climes? Who now will lead you into the din of battle and the solving of mysteries all adventurers eventually encounter? Whom will you call upon to act as your guiding voice?" asks the Silent Sorcerer.

How do the Wayward Wanderers respond?
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter

Art by Peritwinkle
Character sheet
Hit Points: 99/99
Armor Class: 27
Touch Armor Class: 17
Shadow Illusion: 3/3
Shadow Call: 2/2
Shadow Jump distance: 80/80 feet
Defensive Roll: 1/1
Rogue Talent Resiliency: 1/1
Stinger -- uses of Slow remaining: 3/3
Charm of Bastet -- uses of Cat's Grace remaining: 1/1
Action Points: 14
She sighs. "Wayward Wanderers? Keep a sharp eye on Scamp! He gets into everything - including things he's been told not to! Put him down!" Powerpaw drops Scamp to the floor and in a manner Grit has never before seen, Scamp runs behind Grit for protection!
"Will do!" Kaerri offers MamaPaw a sort of casual salute and winks at the hiding honey badger.

At that moment, thirsty little Nitwit, without taking his eyes off of any over you scoots his little arms and wraps them around one of the many nice brews offered. However, Kaerri Kaerri Rainshadow notices one of the brews is clear, not foamy, and dark with a sinister swirl about it - Blackwater Tea! One glance over to the bar and Rainshadow notices one of the gruff, mischief-loving bartenders, namely the tall, bearded Olgerd, quickly glancing away from the tray and the kobold.
"Whoa, hang on, little guy," Kaerri says, reaching out to swap Nitwit's chosen mug with one filled instead with foamy ale. "That one's more for someone Powerpaw's size. You'll like this one better, OK?"


Character sheet
Hit Points: 128/128
Armor Class: 27 (+2 vs evil creatures)
Touch Armor Class: 13?
Mighty Blow uses remaining: 12/12
Interpose uses remaining: 12/12
Action Points: 12
Color code: 3399ff
Shalin raises a glass of his own wine Bren's way, his free hand scribing electrical words across the air before him in the Common tongue - words he does his best to keep between himself, Bren, and any Wayward Wanderers nearby who hold interest. "I gather necessary components for the Fire Staff. Tomorrow morn, I depart to a familiar place to Kath, Kaerri, and I - the Temple of Thor where I am expected to meet with Agnon Most-Holy. Time has not dulled his mind, only his steps. The master of the temple has offered me to sell me some of the more-dificult-to-come-by. Like the secret of holding fire inside wood that the Fire Giants have learned. My heart looks forward to meeting Agnon Most-Holy again for his presence in my life has done me the better and I seek to repay his part in that.
Bren nods, then looks at Oreleth and Luna. "So, you have some time before you can deal with the bridge in any case. Why not help the kobolds in that time? It might be that some of the treasure they hold in keeping for their helpers will be of use, too."

Shalin takes a sip and appears thoughtful. "Wayward Wanderers? Is your leader and my finest of friends departing your talented company for more-secret climes? Who now will lead you into the din of battle and the solving of mysteries all adventurers eventually encounter? Whom will you call upon to act as your guiding voice?" asks the Silent Sorcerer.
"Indeed, my friend," Bren replies to the first question. "Mielikki herself has requested my assistance in another matter, and I'm unlikely to return to Highwind very soon."
 

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