Midsummer was always a good time of year. The refreshing breezes and warm sun putting the smile on many tired faces. Those with little income rarely had to worry about warmth and food, able to fish in the streams and the temperature never dropped enough to freeze the water. The animals roamed as if they owned the world, the insects fluttered by your face with every chance they got, and the crops were plentiful. Especially in the small town of Halamead. Their grains and fruits for making their ale were in their peak, those breezes making the fields of grains dance just like the ocean.
And today was a very special day. Music filled the streets of Halamead, the smells of delicious foods and ale mixing with the sweet scent of summer. They were having a party! The reason was...well, the reason was unknown. It was a simple town, but they loved having a festival or two. Maybe it was someone's birthday, or maybe it was an anniversary of some sort. Or maybe they were just celebrating their craft. Which, seeing as how the booze flowed freely and the fights were encouraged and bet upon, might be the real reason. Songs were sung loud and most of the time, badly, boasting about old battles or the popular songs from the boats. Baked goods were sold on stalls, a large fire roared in the center of town, various meats roasting above it. It was a good day to be in Halamead.
The locals weren't the only faces among the crowd. A few travelling merchants from Odelun sat with the warriors, drinking and sharing stories. Elves out to see the country sat with the local women, talking about the differences in scenery. And among the crowds, are you. It doesn't matter why your here, if you're perhaps just passing through or stopping for supplies, or maybe there for a job. No matter the reason, you may as well enjoy the festivities.
Aurelia Barrows Location: Halamead, Town Square Interaction: Open Mentioned: N/A
Aurelia was having the time of her life. Antiva had festivals a lot. Public birthday celebrations, harvest festivals, the Ice Fishing festival. And she loved those, she really truly did. But this...this was a festival like she had never experienced. Halamead was known for it's alcohol, the fresh, sweet scents of Mead and wine mixed with the summer breeze and wafted over the cobblestone streets. But that was not the only scent on the air. The streets were line with various carts and stalls from all over, street foods of all variety available for sale. There were the savory scents of the meet carts, the smell of fresh bread and pies from the bakers, even the almost too rich scent of dwarven chocolate. You wouldn't know it from the bright smile and enthusiastic almost skipping around that this young woman had spent nearly an hour that morning begging her traveling companion to stay for the festival. They had been in the area to turn in a hunting request for five deer, and had learned that the animals would be used as part of the giant meal at the end of the festival. And it just sounded like so much fun...
Aurelia was successful in convincing Roman to stay, bringing up the fact that they never knew when their next change at some down time would be. And! He would get free ale during the festival! That was the nail on the head. Aurelia let out another giggled as she went speeding by the stalls again, giving her companion a brief wave as she passed the tavern he had decided to sit down to just watch the festival. Aurelia didn't know where to start, having passed by each stall three times now, the young woman was also overwhelmed by choices. There were sweets and savory, small toys and other trinkets, jewelry and even a blacksmith. There were a few game to play as well! Tossing horse shoes and chess, plus a few challenges of skill such as axe throwing. Roman warned her against the archery challenge. "You'll win too easily and they'll think you cheated," He said.
"Yeah right!" Aurelia replied. Much to her dismay, there was a no elves sign at said challenge. Oh well, she'd have fun other ways.
Like finally deciding on something to eat. Aurelia on her fourth pass of the stalls, finally spotted a small stall that was almost hidden selling a filled steamed bun. Aurelia immediately headed over to stand in line, bouncing in place as she waited. These buns were an elven treat she hadn't had since last seeing her mother over two years ago. They were soft, and most of the time, had a sweet filling of some kind of fruit. They'd make a delicious breakfast. Once it was her turn, Aurelia decided to buy two, one apple filled and the other a sour-ish plum. They were warm, and smelled wonderful...Aurelia had to use all of her might will to wait until she had found a good spot to sit before digging in. Since the buns were chewy, and the insides were piping hot, Aurelia spent the next little bit enjoying her breakfast as the sun slowly rose. In the morning, the festival was lively, but not nearly as busy. But as the hours slowly ticked past...by mid-day, it was a festival exactly like you would expect.
Not being able to partake in the archery contest meant that the majority of her time after eating breakfast was spent just wandering and looking at stalls. She wasn't the biggest fan of alcohol in the first place, but Aurelia would occasionally find herself roped into tasting some free samples of new brews. Her favorite was a dandelion whine, but not enough to actually have the woman drop 30 silver on a full bottle. Anyway, as much as she would have loved to stay for the big feast at the end...her interest was slowly dwindling. Aurelia was just a few minutes away from going to find Roman again when she suddenly heard a swell of lively music carried by the breeze. Her attention was drawn toward the town square where a band was set up on a small stage, and the young woman couldn't help a smile.
She approached the square almost hesitantly, watching as some of the festival goers moves to the center and began dancing. Aurelia had hoped for exactly that, rushing forward to join the crowd. The steps they were using were slightly unfamiliar to her, Aurelia herself stiff an unsure about what to do and how to step. But after a few moments and some encouragement by a kind plump woman, Aurelia fell into pace with those dancing, the smile on her face refusing to fall
Roman Durant Location: Halamead, The Fairy's Fall Inn Interaction: Open Mentioned: N/A
Compared to his companion's morning, Roman's had been rather...static. Upon entering Halamead early that morning, Roman and Aurelia found an inn/tavern. The Fairy's Fall Inn to be exact, which was built with an exterior, but covered, seating area. With both of their rucksacks, Roman and Aurelia's wolf Magni, settled at a shaded table in the corner to hopefully go undisturbed as Aurelia ran off to do god knows what. He ordered a sandwich and some ale and... that's pretty much it. As he waited for the festival to pick up some, he'd eat his breakfast, tossing what was left to Magni before he started going over their map to plan for their next destination. Aurelia had no new leads about her father, but she refused to give up. Which was fine with Roman, he still got to travel like he wanted to. His only complaint was sharing a tent with her. She would hit him sometimes in her sleep and he...he just didn't understand why. Anyway, during the first few morning hours of the festival while nothing was happening, he'd switch between looking over the map and watching Aurelia.
As much as he didn't like the elves, or half-elves, Aurelia wasn't that bad. Young, and a bit naive, he didn't want someone's anger to be the death of her. Already he noticed the few odd looks she had gotten, the girl refusing to cover her ears in any way shape or form...which only caused Roman unnecessary stress. Though it was a small relief to see her wave each time she ran past the inn. The hours would tick by slowly, which Roman didn't mind. What he did mind was the nearby drinking contest nearby. A pair of loud men dressed in traveling garb, they were no doubt there to enjoy the festival. Currently, they seemed to be taking part of some sort of drinking contest. Roman didn't mind contests like that, hell he had even partaken in a few himself. But why did they have to be here, in this, the very same room as Roman! For two hours they drank. For two hours, Roman considered going to yell at them or leaving entirely. He found peace at one point, able to block them out.
At least until they started singing.
With a huff, Roman looked to the loud group, brows furrowed some in annoyance as they always were. He gained to Magni, the giant wolf whining, paws hitting his ears as if he were trying to block the out the singing. "Me too," The man mumbled, sighing softly. Drunken singing wasn't uncommon of course, it was a past time for many people. The soliders liked doing it in the barracks and the forward camps. That didn't mean Roman was ever a fan, he was often considered the stick in the mud always judging everyone from the sidelines. Which is very much what he was doing in that exact moment. Oh well, he'd suck it up for now. Beats trying to socialize anyway.
It had been a long few nights for Leo. A few days ago, he was minding his own business in the forest to the east of Halamead, traveling straight from the border of the Liomura to seek a few days worth of proper rest and fresh food. He had been used to making these sorts of long journeys on foot before, and he knew how to take care of himself, but that knowledge couldn't protect him from all of the banes of traveling on foot. Trees with leaves so dense it made the daytime seem like night, old roots that protruded from the ground, making every path an obstacle course, and beasts with senses of smell so strong that hiding was pointless. Even though there were a litany of trials, there were also a lot of breathtaking scenes Leo managed to experience and even sketch out as he rested in the mighty trees of the forest. He managed to escape the forest with getting at most a couple of hours of sleep and some minor scrapes and bruises. Being out of the thick of it, Leo had decided to push on, traveling the remaining distance as quick as he could.
Just approaching the town filled the rather-weary rogue with a new wave of encouragement. The summer breeze dipping down from the hills and mountains surrounding the area and rusting the half-elf's hood while the sun beamed down, making the surrounding water glisten all around. The scents became stronger and more intoxicating as Leo approached the outskirts of the town. Even from out here he could tell that he had strolled in on some sort of special occasion. Halamead had always been somewhere Leo had wanted to travel to, mostly due to the world-renowned alcohol. Not many things in this world made the young ex-mercenary quite as happy and relaxed as quality booze, and he was standing in the capital of it. The worn and tattered traveler may have looked rather beaten up and exhausted, but he had the stride of someone who was on a mission.
The town square was bustling as Leo made his way down the road without too much trouble. His head stood tall as he gazed around at all the stores, stalls, games, and other attractions as he was careful not to make eye contact with the plethora of passersby. As the noise filling the town grew louder, the half-elf knew he was in the right place. Sure enough, in no time he had made it toward the center of the festival. The first thing to catch Leo's eye was the large fire roaring in front of him and the aroma of cooked meat following soon after. He let out a deep sigh of relief before continuing to stand there, looking left to right for someplace to get a drink. It didn't take long before seeing someplace that was handing drinks to happy customers. As the rogue walked up to the stall he reached toward his waist and patted the rather-full, leather money pouch hanging from his side. As much as Leo wanted to make a change and do something right for once, he wasn't above stealing from the right people, and those people were about to buy him some peace and escape. Soon enough he found himself paying with a generous tip for his large tankard of ale. With a bit of searching, the tired rogue found a little opening just outside the main square with grass and trees where no one was walking through. He took a seat in front of a smaller tree, leaned back and finally relaxed. Leo rested an elbow on his bag sitting next to him while he silently enjoyed his ale, accompanied by the mouth-watering aroma of cooked food and baked goods as well as lively upbeat music playing in the background. This was something he could get used to.
A sword wielding adventurer began to approach the Halamead gate out of breath and looking for some respite after his recent adventure. He had been tasked with guarding a caravan from monsters and bandits and was worn out. Upon closer inspection the man was described as follows; a tall man with short fair hair, a longsword on his back, and was wearing chain mail with extra armor plating over his vitals. The guards nodded at him and motioned to allow him to pass. *ka-chink* *ka-chink* *ka-chink* echoed his boots as he made his way into the city. It did not take long for Alaric to become fully aware of the aroma of pleasant drinks and delicious foods. Food, however, was not on his mind as he needed to find a place to sleep before he would satiate himself.
Walking along the streets, one would not suspect the armored swordsman to be a noble-born son; however, his signet ring was stashed away if Alaric deemed it to be necessary to flash it. ~I need to find an Inn before they fill up it looks like~ Alaric thought to himself. ~Besides, this is probably the busiest time of the year this town is.~ The first tavern that appeared before him on his walk was known as Fairy's Fall Inn. ~Huh, what a weird name~ he thought to himself. Entering inside his ears started to ring with the drunken singing of patrons, something he was accustomed to hearing as a mercenary. He didn't mind it as it reminded him of his travels, but it was not his primary concern. Sitting down at the bar on one of the stools the wood sagged a bit with a *creeeak.* Either the bar owner didn't care too much about maintenance or this was a popular spot. Waving over the innkeeper, he paid for a simple room for himself as well as a flagon of ale and a good-sized piece of bread. The bread was an old trick his father taught him, much to his mother's chagrin, of how to mitigate the alcohol. Sighing heavily, he then began to enjoy his bread and drink his ale in peace with the loud bar patrons in the background.
Aloi was in Halamead for the same reason as all the Big Folk, to have fun. The Little Folk, the Faye, like him were very different from the more private and secluded ones of his family back home at the Academy. They were more open, more risky at getting spotted by the other races. He felt a strange kinship with them and quickly got pulled into their games and events. While the Big Folk continue to dance and celebrate, there was an equal amount of celebration going on in the shadows and underneath in the crawlspaces and unused basements of the kind folk of Halamead.
The Faye had their own source of alcohol. Spending time around those who made it often meant that they had their own ways of creating it and just like his own family they often helped out with the locals.
In short. Aloi was a little drunk and more likely to take risks. He and a bunch of other young Faye were playing a game. When the Big Folk started dancing, they'd use their high speed, the natural inclination to be ignored, and their skills to make small alterations to the clothing, shoes, ect, of the dancers. Aloi was leaving his signature design, a single line stitch of a mouse.
The most recent one was the most difficult as the dancers had gotten into it as well as some new people who clearly did not know the steps. Aloi took a drink from his thimble of mead and focused, a flash of green catching his eye and he grinned. That would win him the competition. On a count of three, the group shot out towards their targets. Aloi used his agility and maybe a small burst of his magic to lighten his steps as he kicked off of feet, grabbing a skirt as it swirled and used the momentum to toss himself higher. He even kicked off of someone's head, a hand swiping up to bat at him and a mutter about oversized flies before he was tumbling through the air.
He wiggled his tail, catching the air and righting his angle as he turned a tumble into a graceful drop. Then the woman moved slightly and instead of landing on the outside of the hood like he intended, he gently fell into a open between her shoulder and the hood and rolled into the dip. He blinked and looked around before frowning 'Great...now I'm stuck' he'd have to wait for the young woman to remove her hood at some point.
But...it was soft and comfortable. He could nap...but first he was going to do what he set out to do.
He spotted a small tear, either made when he landed or just wear and tear. He could in theory cut it open and get out that way...but that went against his instincts, his helpful nature wouldn't allow him to make things difficult for someone else just to make it easier for himself. Instead, he pulled out a small needle and began to do stitch work, making his signature as well as repairing the hood. Now that he was examining it, he could see plenty of places that could use improvement.
The rich scents of cooked meats and good alcohol wafted past the gates of the town and was carried by the wind, along with the music and chat of the residents and visitors. Eventually it found its way to a tall vaguely faun-ish woman perched on top of a stone, overlooking the valley and forest below her. Apples had heard the festivities of other events, but not quite like this. Chewing on a twig, she got to thinking. Typically she would either discard the human activity and retreat further into the wild, or simply sit here like an observant hawk, studying them. For whatever reason, the deity’s curiosity was peaked- or was it annoyance? Or maybe she was just interested in knowing exactly what was causing all this nonsense in the first place? People had this very irritating habit of celebrating every small thing. Perhaps it was something worth exploring.
It took a while for her to make her way down the mountain and towards the town, but Apples paid it little mind. She liked the tranquillity of the woods, even though it was being interrupted. Reaching the treeline close to the gate, she waited a moment, watching as people went through. A small bird, a robin redbreast she had seen before (she recognised her wing shape) landed on a twig close to her, ruffling her little feathers and looking at Apples with her beady little eyes.
“Hm, I suppose they woke you up too?” The partial-Deity asked her. The tiny bird trilled and waggled her tail, “Yes… well. I suppose it is about time to see exactly what all of this nonsense is about,” the robin tweeted once, “of course, I will just observe for a short time then I will go home. I need to finish my sleep.” As she was about to leave, the robin perched on top of her wooden staff. She sighed with a roll of her eyes but still gave the little bird a pat on the head with her index finger.
“If you must,” she started walking again, “How are the eggs? Close to hatching, yes? I will visit soon, I promise. Yes, yes I know, I will bring more next time…”
“Friends! Brethren!” A voice would continuously ring out, belonging to a mangy-looking man in a plain green tunic, flanked by three others in matching clothing, all trying the same methods in trying to convert every unfamiliar face that passed through the gate, most who which either politely waved them away or awkwardly quicken their pace and staring straight ahead.
“Fools!” The main yeller, a man by the name of Heit Burr (but insisted upon Windsong) yelled at a young pair who were decidedly uninterested in the rotten tree bark he had tried to shove in their face, “We are surrounded by the divine work of the Mother Goddess and her kin, to deny this path is denying the world of nature itself! She is what makes the sky blue and the fires hot-!”
“Shut up, fleabag!”
“Repent, sir! Or face Her wrath!”
“I’ll repent you!”
“Huh,” Burr flicked his batted ponytail, “miscreant. May the Mother Goddess strike the roof of his house.”
Meanwhile, above the roofs, Apples looked over the wall of the town. She had looked at the gate but did not quite fancy her luck walking through it and being surrounded by humans. She perched herself up further. It seemed to be a celebration of some sorts. The deity huffed as she climbed higher. Her hooves were especially good at gripping onto rocks like this. But she seemed to overestimate how far she had actually tipped.
"YAH-!" Apples yelped as she felt her body tip over the edge, the robin tweeting in fright and flying up and watching as Apples fell, landing on a thatched roof with a grunt and rolling onto the cobblestone ground. The Nymph bleated irritably as she stood up, unnerved at the harsh sound her hooves made against the cobblestones. She grabbed her staff and looked aound. Many seemed un-interested in what just happened but that suited her. There were a couple of people looking in her direction and making odd "drinking" motions. Apples had no idea what that meant. The slam against the stones rattled her head, sending it spinning. Her expression must have been humourous as a rogue honey bee, probably drawn to this place by the scent of sweetness buzzed around its head in such a manner that it may as well be laughing at her.
"Funny, hm?" she spoke to it. The bee bumbled around and buzzed, entertained.
"No, I can't do that again. I mean, I could but I will not." Apples grumbled as she grasped her staff and began slowly walking. The bee zig-zagged around in front of her.
"Well then you do it then, give me a laugh," Apples responded, the bee let out a dejected hum, "I thought so! Also, would you mind telling me where I may find your hive? I do not usually eat but I will say, I do enjoy honey once in a while." Another buzz, "No of course not, just a small amount I can assure you."
Loud cheering sounded from one of the stalls lining the streets as a small crowd of merry makers gathered to watch a heated drinking contest. On one side of the bar sat a large man of burly stature. Long trails of mead wet this beard as it spilt over the sides of his mug. Slamming it down on the table hard he called out to the booth keeper. "Amother! I'm no' done yet!" He slurred before looking over at his competition. Long and sturdy fingers grasped around a nearby barrel of mead as the tower of a woman across from the drunkard lifted it to her mouth and began to chug. The small crowd around them began to shout in glee as Alixaviah downed the barrel all by herself, leaving yet another competitor in the dust.
"Top that, tiny people!" She cried as she dropped the now empty barrel. Viah loved the taste of Halamead's booze. "See if you can outdrink the Captain of the Roalon Guard!" The giantess challenged.
"I told you, this isn't some simple trick. It is a spell for curing severe toxins!" Enver sighed in frustration. It seemed whenever he went out for a festival, his classmates would quickly distance themselves, snickering as he was roped into using his magic to treat someone's drunkenness.
"Oh, come on, son! We're intoxi-hic-- intoxicated. I think that has 'toxic' in there," the persistent drunkard slurred merrily.
"Yes, Bronte! This man clearly needs your help!" came the voice of one of those cheeky colleagues.
"Ugh... Fine, but this is the last time," Enver asserted. He raised his hands over said drunkard, his fingertips glowing before arcane symbols flashed and a single shimmering drop descended upon the man's head. On impact, a gleam rippled across the man's skin before his posture improved and he seemed more focused.
"Keh! That's quite something, lad... Now I can go again. Back to drinking! KEEP 'EM COMING!" the guy declared, causing a ripple of cheers before resuming his normal harmful activities. Enver simply groaned and removed himself from the scene, slipping out of the packed Fairy's Fall Inn as his classmates cackled. It disappointed him; he loved festivals, but every time he went somewhere with heavy drinking, he was compelled to help someone on the verge of passing out. Next, other barely-coherent people would want to abuse a talent he developed to help those genuinely in need... and yet he somehow felt worse refusing.
The fresh air outside did much for him, the odors of sweaty bodies and strong ale having made him queasy and the raucous singing making him cringe. Certainly, he was in silent agreement with the man with the wolf. With a tin cup in hand, he sat perched on a railing across the street, aerating his wine while looking back on his accomplishments over the past twelve years. He went from beginner to adept healer in that time and secretly pledged to serve the common good. The fond memories made a certain warmth well up in his chest.
Aurelia Barrows Location: Halamead, Town Square Interaction: Grimmlock
(Leo) Mentioned: Seraph Darkfire
As she continued to dance, the young half elf would let her hood fall away completely (but something might still find it inconvenient to escape), her light hair and ears exposed to the world. She had been warned by the important people of her life to be careful. Roman would even warn her despite the comments and the way he acted around non-humans. But this wasn't like Grayport, or Dewgate, or even the capital. This was Halamead, everyone was welcome. This was the safest she had ever felt in a town. That being said... occasionally, she'd catch a glimpse of the hateful looks of visiting merchants or guards. It wouldn't kill her joy, Aurelia wouldn't give them that satisfaction. That being said, she'd slowly migrate away. But that unintentionally put her in the path of an unknown creature. Not that Aurelia had quite noticed his presence, but she noticed her hood felt a little heavier. At roughly the same time, she heard a loud laugh from nearby. "Look! The wee thing got me this year!"
The voice in question was a short, plump woman who had her skirt hitched almost all the way up to show off something on the hem. Aurelia expected her to be shouted out for doing something so "indecent" but instead the small group she was showing off too were all silent for a few moments...before suddenly erupting in a series of cheers. Aurelia cocked her head as she watched. One of the group seemed to notice and beckoned her over, the woman showing off her skirt quickly turning to show Aurelia. There on the hem was a small, looping stitch of what appeared to be a frog. "What's that? A taliors mark?" The younger woman asked. Instead of laughing at her cluelessness however, the other woman just smiled.
"Nah lass, this festival attracts more than us bigguns it does, the wee creatures come to celebrate too! Every year, some people notice their marks, we think it's a game they play!" She said, gesturing to what seemed to be a little table of offerings made for easy grabbing. "The Faye enjoy parties as much as we do! And 'ere in Halamead, they're as welcome as everyone else! Don't socialize much, but can't blame 'em. If you're sticking around for the feast, make sure to fix a tiny plate too!" The woman explained, her voice slowly getting louder as she was pulled away to join a new wave of dancers. Aurelia couldn't help a smile. But either that smile, the young woman realized she was rather thirsty, and quickly turned to approach a nearby stall. From it, she ordered a tankard of some sort of sweet ale that was more refreshing than usual. Aurelia giggled to herself as a few bubbles popped against her nose while she sipped, looking around to see where she could sit to enjoy said ale.
After a few moments, Aurelia spotted a man sitting by himself. There were other festival goers sitting nearby him, but keeping their distance from the hooded and somewhat intimidating looking stranger. But Aurelia saw no problem in approaching him. "Hello!" The woman chirpped. "Mind if I sit for a few minutes? I don't know the steps to this song, so I'd just spill my ale."
Roman Durant Location: Halamead, Fairy's Fall Inn Interaction: Open Mentioned: Frozen ThymeClockwork Syringe
Making merry really wasn't his forte. Once Aurelia has wander off to have fun, the man sitting alone in the corner, a giant wolf between him and the crowd. The scowl that say upon his features could have curdled vinegar. The more the contest went on, the louder they got. The louder they got, the more annoyed Roman grew. The more annoyed Roman grew, the more he considered rising from his chair and using it a projectile. It didn't matter what scene that would cause, or the fight it would more than likely start. It also didn't matter that he seemed to recognize some of those drunken fools. He had to assume that the rest of the normal patrons there were just as annoyed as he was. The newcomer in armor and the one who slinked away from his friends like a sane person. By now he had ordered another ale and a second sandwich. Plus a snack for the wolf though the bartender made him swear on a...well, rather reasonable request. "That beast know where the bathroom is?"
"Will it shite in here?" The man asked, glancing to the door as the bar wench came back in from whatever task she had to handle outside.
"No, it's rather well trained."
"Yes." The bartender huffed a bit, eyeing Magni before finally sitting the platter of meat chunks, entrails, and other bits the two legged folk wouldn't eat but the wolf would. "But if he does shit in here, I'll let you rub his nose in it."
People must have thought the forest deity had more than a few screws loose in how she conversed with this little bee. There was so much to look at, smell and learn about, but Apples simply decided to keep walking. The bee was telling her all about her journey around the woods to find the sweetest flowers for its queen and how she found them, and it made the queen very happy, and they made some excellent honey that she was sure, if Apples asked nicely the queen would be happy to give her some.
“So if she were to give me some of that honey, I tell her where I found that patch of marsh blazing star?” The bee hummed and landed on her antler, rubbing its little legs together, “And the black-eyed susans, yes of course. We got a deal?” The bee thought for a second before waggling its bum happily. Apples smirked but it quickly faded as the saplings on her lower legs quivered uncomfortably.
“Hmmmm,” she mused, “now I am craving honey. Doubt the mortals would eat it without doing unorthodox things to it.” The bee got up from her antler and circled around, being batted away from a passer-by. Apples glared at them, the amount of disrespect! The bee bumbled a few things that made Apples smirk before it turned its antenna toward a building where many seemed to be gathering. It had a sign hanging from the door.
“The Fairy… Falls… Inn.” She read out loud. The bee flew to the door, before returning to the deity and excitedly buzzing around in front of her, “There’s some in there? Um… I do not know.” The bee sat on her nose and waved its antenna encouragingly. Apples raised her open palm and allowed the sit on it, and she walked inside.
As Apples crossed the door, she felt a rattling in her skull as her antlers struck the top of the door frame. Grumbling under her breath, Apples shut the door and looked around. Her hooves clicked against the wooden floor and Apples was instantly put off by the amount of people. It also smelled very strongly of yeast and bodies. She looked around, feeling her saplings retract further into her fur for protection. Apples frowned at the stares she was getting and flicked her hand dismissively.
Turning to the man behind the counter, Apples flicked her long mane over her shoulder and walked over. He eyed her but seemed undeterred, though expectant through a cock in his brow. Apples blinked, realising she hadn’t conversed with a human in… two hundred years?
“…Your sign’s spelled wrong.” She said finally. The barman frowned.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“The sign, it’s spelled wrong. Doesn’t In have one ‘n’?”
“…No?” He blinked, “Y’wantin’ a drink then? And what’s with the bug?” Apples hesitated, exchanging looks with the bee.
“Anything with honey?” she asked. This was well out of her comfort zone. Taking it in his stride, the barman turned and scanned the shelves for a bottle.
“Well, we got this high-end mead in for the festival. Made outta elderflower honey. That what you’re lookin’ for?”
He poured some of the stuff into a tankard and pushed it toward her. Apples took it and looked into it, the amber liquid seemed nice enough. She went to take a sip.
“Woah hey,” the barman clicked his fingers, “two gold for that.”
“…Um.” Apples blinked, not sure how to tell him that she had no idea how human currency worked.
“Or you wanting a tab?”
“Payin’ later, you want that?”
“Well… yes, yes I will do that.”
“Aight suit yourself.” He shrugged and turned around to work on other matters.
Apples took the tankard and let the bee fly off. She buzzed something about needing to go back to work so flew out of the window. Apples sighed. Great, now she was surrounded by humans and… a giant wolf? A truly giant wolf! He took up practically a corner of the pub himself! But unlike other onlookers, she did not mind. Apples let out a small sigh of relief to have at least something from nature in here. Granted a giant wolf would not be the first thing on her list but it was something at least. There was a stoic burly-looking man sitting with the wolf and there was some other maniac who was really enjoying the festivities and harassing another stoic-looking man who cut his losses and left. Apples shrugged and leant against the bar and swirled the tankard before taking a cautious sip.
At once she felt a burn in her sinuses from the unfamiliar alcohol, making her cough. But once she was over the shock, she realised that it tasted… delicious! Very sweet with a distinct taste of honey. She took a longer drink from the tankard as she looked around. Maybe the mortals did have a good idea for once with this stuff.
Alaric was enjoying his well earned drink when he became aware of a few encounters within the Tavern. First, he turned his head at the sound of drunken slurring to notice two individuals talking about curing drunkenness. The one administering the curing, however, did not look too happy in doing so. The man did get up and leave by the looks of things so that resolved itself. His father had told him his own drinking tales, but Alaric was not so bored as to partake in them; yet. On the other hand he noticed a MASSIVE wolf sitting with a regal looking man. Alaric had a mind to ask the man if he was its' master or they had a tacit agreement between the two of them. If the man could tame such a beast there might be a good tale to go along with it.
Alaric was about to go talk to the man with the wolf when a new more pressing issue came to his attention. A female humanoid deer from the looks of things walked into the bar and began to talk to the bartender about honey. Based on her want to drink it immediately before paying made Alaric decide to jump in to help. Whilst moving a few chairs over to talk with her he also noticed a bee buzzing around her and how fast she seemed to be consuming her drink; ~Ok now I NEED to give her some friendly advice~ he thought to himself. Moving to sit next to her he began to speak. "Hey, uh, you may want to have something to eat with that or you'll feel that in the morning; friendly advice. What's your name by the way?"
Loud noises filled the town around Leo as he sat up against the conveniently placed tree near the town square, and he was enjoying it. Ever since he was a child, Leo would always lay in his bed at night and fall asleep listening to the commotion around him. Whether that be sleepless, drunken thieves he used to call his companions, or the late night shift change of guards to protect the warhorses in Clearborne, the noise became something that gave him a sense of relief. The cacophony of footsteps surrounding the rogue half-elf felt soothing to him. That, as well as his ale, almost putting him out of commission for a quick nap after his long journey.
Leo's head was tilted back, resting against the tree with his eyes shut, enjoying the aromatic breeze wafting by. His hood was lowered, allowing the wind to brush his silver hair around his pointed ears. One of his arms was still resting on top of his bag, holding the remaining half of his ale and the other was resting across his sword on the ground beside him. The recovering rogue swished his tankard around gently in circles as he enjoyed the music playing in the background. The song had just recently changed when he heard the voice a young woman directed towards him.
The half elf raised his head from the tree and opened his eyes, meeting what appeared to be another half elf's gaze with his own. Leo was a bit surprised to see another one of his kind, but after taking another second to consider it, he realized exactly what his surroundings were and that it wasn't something terribly shocking. He continued looking at the woman for another second before nodding and swinging his tankard of ale to his side, welcoming her to have a seat.
"Ale, huh?" The rogue noted as he brought his booze back towards his chest. He started to bring it towards his lips to take a sip before stopping himself and reaching his arm back out, holding the cup up for a cheers. "I'm Leo."
"Don't get too many dragoons around here. Or Tieflings for that matter," Alfreus said, aiming the throwing axe carefully before arcing it into the high point range. "Probably gotten your fair share of odd stares I'd reckon."
"Hmm," Sondwin said, his golden eyes following the next throw of Alfreus. "I hadn't noticed."
Alfreus just smiled at the solemn warrior, his third and final axe hitting the target dead-on. "Ah, bullseye. Well you're up, my friend. Deal's a deal, you win, and you get a room at the inn, on me. I win..."
"And I pay you for the room, indeed," Sondwin nodded, stepping forward. "Although we didn't set a stipulation for if we tie."
For some reason, this made Alfreus laugh. Puzzled, Sondwin took hold of the throwing axes Alfreus had set aside for him. They were cheaply made, weighted terribly and would more than likely fall apart before hitting anything but the light wood at the end of the range. Alfreus breathed slowly through his nose. Still, he had been practicing.
First throw - Alfreus applauded lightly as Sondwin hit a low-point. The dragon knight frowned. Had the board moved or was it his imagination?
Second throw now. Alfreus watched Sondwin carefully as the Tiefling took his stance. His hand moved forward but the axe remained.
The board did indeed move, Sondwin thought to himself as he considered the man next to him. Did Alfreus want to win that badly? Alfreus had not mentioned the actual price of the room at the inn. I see, he is taking me for a fool.
"Something wrong?" Alfreus asked, his smile not reaching his eyes.
"Not at all," Sondwin replied, readying himself again. "I just could feel the handle slipping." He tightened his grip, and threw. The axe missed the board entirely.
"Oh, tough luck," Alfreus said, the flush of his success coming to his eyes and face.
"How much do I owe you for the loss?" Sondwin asked gently.
"Oh, just 200 gold coins and I'll even throw in a meal for you," Alfreus chuckled, rubbing his hands together. "That's a bargain in these parts. Shall we get going?"
"I still have one more axe," Sondwin said, picking it up. "This one's special, you know. I have a sense for these things sometimes. I can tell when there's magic in the air."
"O-oh?" Alfreus asked, a bead of sweat forming on his brow. "Interesting!"
"Yes, and this axe is enchanted to always fly true," Sondwin said, raising the axe to his eye level and inspecting it. "Except... when there's cheating involved."
"Cheating eh?" Alfreus asked, still smiling but with narrowed eyes. "Truly?"
"Yes, you see, then it will invariably strike the one who has cheated," Sondwin said, clicking his tongue. He drew the axe back. "I'm sure you have nothing to worry about, my friend."
"W-wait a second now," Alfreus said, but Sondwin threw the axe forward. Alfreus' eyes widened as the axe twisted in midair, flying straight for the gambler's face only to be caught again by Sondwin inches away from his sweaty, pale brow.
"Interesting," Sondwin said, his eyes unflinching as he stared at Alfreus. "Very interesting."
Aloi finished with his alterations and decided he needed a better view. Fortunately, this young woman had lots of hair with which he could use to hide. Moving gently and lightly, he found himself a perch between her shoulder and neck where the hood and her clothing would cover his weight as well as hide his little head poking out to view the world.
It was a wonderful world too, he often envied the large folk and their height advantage. They could move great distances in very little time whereas he'd have to catch a ride on the shoulders of beasts even to travel in a city. Getting out and exploring was a great challenge for someone as small as him. This woman was striking up a conversation with another of the large folk, elven blood if his guess wasn't off the mark, and he was a little curious as to what they'd talk about. The little folk often enjoyed life to the fullest as a majority of their time was spent trying to survive. Even in relatively safe locations for the large folk, for them, even a spider could be a monster waiting to kill them.
But it was nice to listen and learn from their stories, and in those interactions, he often found that they weren't that dissimilar in nature. They all enjoyed a good drink and a party after all. He gently rest his hands in his paws, keeping one ear turned towards the rest of the party, listening for danger, while the other settled in to listen to this upcoming conversation. Mentions: FireMaiden
(Inside Aurelia's Hood) Grimmlock
It’s been a few decades since Crow had returned to Halamead. Over his time away, he’d been moving from town to town every four years. His extended absence made him itch all over for his hometown’s frequent partying, and now that a festival was here, he could finally relax and do the thing he loves most: stealing shinies. The Damned Bird makes his return!
Though, as much as he wanted, he couldn’t really start at the moment with his thieving spree. It was only when everyone was piss-drunk that he’d begin stealing things en masse, which meant he’d start much later in the day. For now, it was time for him to enjoy the festivities, perched above the walking masses as he watched over the bustle. People getting into drunken arguments over the smallest things, children running in between adults and knocking their food onto the ground (to which Crow helped himself), and the performances done by various street artists. In particular, there was one harlequin juggling brightly colored balls to entertain some children. When Crow saw the harlequin, a naughty idea streaked through his head. Crow positioned himself behind the juggler, and as the juggler performed for the children, Crow flapped his wings, creating a strong gust. Flustered, the juggler tried to grab the balls, but alas, one of them landed on the face of one of the seated children, causing the child to cry.
“Oops,” Crow thought, feeling sorry for exactly one second before letting out honks of laughter. The harlequin turned around to face Crow, and seeing how Crow was clearly mocking him, the harlequin’s face grew red as a beet.
“You damned bird! Get out of here!” Immediately, the harlequin threw the ball at Crow, but without much effort, Crow avoided it by ducking and flew away as the harlequin went to attend to the crying child. With his desire for mischief satisfied, Crow resumed watching people. Strong looking hunters, women dressed scantily for the occasion, magicians showing of their magics, and then there was the Faye. She was a half-woman, half-goat looking creature, a type of Faye he’d never really seen around these parts. He would have introduced himself to her, but he’d noticed her at the perfectly wrong time as she walked into one of the local pubs. At that, he tilted his head side-to-side before moving on to find other interesting individuals.
After a bit of searching, he finally happened upon an elf-looking lady, perhaps a half-elf. Normally, he wouldn’t be interested in such a character, but what caught his attention was the brownie stuck in the she-elf’s hood. Crow already figured it got there due to their “bets,” but he was curious to see how the brownie would get out of its situation. He began following the she-elf, hopping from roof to roof, until the surroundings led to the town-square. There, the she-elf struck up a conversation with a shady figure, a half-elf for sure. Crow flew down towards the tree where they stayed and settled on one of the branches. Juicy bits always came out from conversations like these.
Aurelia Barrows Location: Halamead, Town Square Interaction: Grimmlock
(Leo) Mentioned: Seraph Darkfire
(Aloi) Parrot Parfait
Aurelia would of course do the polite thing and wait for the man's answer before she plopped down. She's done it before a d while thankfully most of the time, they've been welcoming people, Roman once had to defuse a situation with bandits while the young woman sat there, confused. Thankfully, this grumpy looking elf man welcomed her to sit with a nod, and with a smile she did. Aurelia would take a few moments to get herself comfortable before taking a sip of the ale. "Oh wow, it's incredible!" She giggled. It had a robust flavor, honey and citrus with some earthy pine notes. Sweet enough to hide the taste of the alcohol itself, and with minimal burn...this was a dangerous drink. "I'm Aurelia, Aurelia Barrows, it's nice to meet you Leo," The woman chittered. She seemed in bright spirits, swaying a little as she slipped on her drink, the lively music filling the air accompanied by the chorus of singing folk anf footwork. "How're you enjoying the festival? I've only been to the ones in my hometown, and they're nowhere as big as this! It's so much fun!"
If Leo had wanted a peaceful sit, he may have welcomed the wrong person, but she would fall silent again to drink some more ale. Her cheeks were already taking on a slight rosy appearance, either thanks to the alcohol or made more obvious by her pale skin. The extra weight in her hood would still go unnoticed for now, though with the rustle of leaves above them, Aurelia would look up, spotting a crow. "Oh look! I though all the birds would have been scared off by the music," She commented, gesturing upward. Though said gesture would only last a few moments as she quickly returned to the drink, finishing it this time. Which just so happened, to be in time for the song to change. Her eyes lit up, Aurelia springing to her feet like something but her on the ass. "Oh I love this one!" She giggled, bending over to put her tankard down before her eyes landed on Leo. "Wanna dance?"
Roman Durant Location: Halamead, Fairy's Fall Inn Interaction: Rumble Fish Mentioned:
Roman never would get use to the sound of Magni eating. You would assume the crunching of bones and ripping flesh was a sound a solider like him could deal with. And in any other situation, that would be the right assumption. But there was something about hearing a giant predator that could easily break your standard man in half that triggered something primal in Roman. His skin crawled, spine tingling. It always reminded him of the bear he and his team encountered an angry bear. Thankfully, the wolf would finish eating quickly, sitting there licking his maw as a peculiar creature walked into the inn. She? Yes, she looked incredibly out of place and was talking to...a bee? Some sort of insect. Roman would stare for a few moments, his brows furrowed. "I see they let anyone in here," He'd mumbled, his words little more than a whisper as he finally turned his attention back to his own meal. Someone though, was still interested in the odd woman.
Magni's eyes had not left the creature since she entered, eyes staring, unblinkingly. Something about her called to the wolf, and his curiosity would finally get the better of him after a few minutes. Slowly, the furry lump on the floor would rise. As big as wolf he was laying down, people always seemed surprised when he stood to his full height. He looked like a demon, small amounts of blood still covering his lips, the wolf would lumber forward; with a surprising amount of grace you wouldn't expect from something his size. He would approach the woman carefully, making sure to avoid stepping on any drunkards on the floor or dancing around. Once he was close enough, Magni would sniff the woman, his nose close to her check and arms, and then her face. He almost looks puzzled for a few moments, his golden eyes searching until...he smiled! Apples would suddenly find herself being assaulted, a fury of licks as Magni showed his approval. The assault would only last a moment before he'd sit down nest to her, watching with a cocked head.
Apples was on her third tankard now and feeling unbelievable. It was extremely strange but… not in a bad way. Everything felt very light, and she found herself leaning against the bar for support. She had just taken another swig from the tankard when a voice caught her attention. She narrowed her eyes, for some reason her vision had become somewhat blurry. At his statement of needing to eat, the half-deity scoffed.
“Aha-uh.” Her own voice surprised her. Why did it sound so… squiggly? “I have no need for ‘eating’. Never saw the point of it. I’ve seen what you mortals have left in holes in the forest, so cannot see what the worth is.” She took another, slower sip this time, an orange eye studying the man. Well, studying the best she could since there seemed to be… three of him? He seemed healthy enough. Dressed a little more highly than the others but Apples saw no reason to bring that up. At his question, she ran a hand down her face.
“Hm. I have several,” she answered truthfully, “I am sure of it. But I do not remember any of them. And truthfully, any of them are so long, kingdoms would rise and fall in the time it took to pronounce just on syllable. But I suppose if there must be something to call me by,” she hiccupped before she could finish, catching her by surprise. She went to take another sip but realised the tankard was empty. The barman, who had been watching in bemusement, sighed and simply handed Apples the bottle of mead. She took it wordlessly and poured more into the tankard, before realising she had left this stranger hanging.
“I-I uh, if there is a name needed, call me Apples. They grew on me one summer and mortals seemed to like them.”
She was going to ask the stranger his own name, assuming this would be customary, when there was a small prickling pain in her legs and she looked down to see the saplings which had previously retracted, emerge from her fur and quiver. As they did, her ears flicked up and she stood fully-upright (or as much as she could) as the giant wolf she had seen before had gotten up and was making his way toward her. Several people looked alarmed but, even when under the effects of this evil-honey, Apples was not worried and simply waited to see what would happen. Granted, being attacked would be unideal but, that did not seem to be his intent. The wolf then stood and stared. Apples stared back.
Suddenly she was practically knocked off her hooves as the behemoth of a canid suddenly smiled and she was subjected to an onslaught of licks. She spluttered and tried to shield herself with her staff but could not help but laugh at this display. Maybe it was the mead but this behaviour coming from such a giant wolf was not only surprising but also extremely endearing to Apples.
“Pfft-wha-alright- alright! Hello hello, I see you brother!” she finally managed to push him back by his great muzzle and the wolf sat down. He looked so curious, “Aren’t you a handsome one? Huh? Look at you!” she scratched either sides of his muzzle as she said this. Magni grumbled in pleasure and tilted his head. His back foot wagged, which made a couple of drunkards back off as if he was trying to kill them. While this happened, the saplings quivered toward the wolf but did not touch him. He looked down at them and seemed curious.
“Hup no no, ignore those,” Apples reached down and lifted one of his giant paws. She felt his fur and admired his claws, “Hmm, you’ve been on a lot of adventures haven’t you? You have well-travelled feet. Good strong claws too.” She stroked his paw and let out a small sigh as he looked him in the face.
“You’ve really come far from where you started, yes?” The wolf’s ears perked and he boofed once to voice his surprise at this, but he did not seem to disagree with this. "You've got a good heart, I can tell. Do not tell anyone else this, but personally, I have always thought wolves were especially remarkable in creation." Apples grinned at him and scratched him on the chin. The large wolf rolled his eyes and groaned happily at this gesture, sliding so he was lying down. At this point, Apples had practically forgotten everyone else was there as she continued to converse with the wolf, feeling infinitely more at home now, despite being in this roofed and hot building surrounded by mortals.
Magni Interaction: Rumble Fish Mentioned: Clockwork Syringe
Once the wolf has settled down and had Apples full attention, he sank right into that attention she was giving him. Something about her felt like spring itself, it called to his very soul. There was some sort of bond there whether they knew it or not. His bond with Aurelia was similar, he felt called to the elven woman just as he did this fae one. Only time would tell of course what this would mean. But for now, he was focused on the scratches and pats. The thumping of his back leg seemed an after thought as she scratched the Spot. Oh the Spot. Magni loved the Spot, it felt so nice. He was also so itchy right there and it was always out of reach. He loved it when people scratched the Spot. He eventually found himself on the ground, stomach exposed for those so desired belly rubs. Who didn't want belly rubs. His head turned a bit in annoyance when he heard the human Aurelia traveled with scoff, Magni's teeth barring for a few moments. That man annoyed the wolf to no end, but he wasn't allowed to eat him. That was bad wolf behavior. And bad wolves were sent to naughty corners, and Magni didn't like the naughty corners. Aurelia would always let him come back sooner than she said though.
Magni's tail wagged happily as Apples continued giving him plenty of attention, thumping into chairs and tables and maybe the legs of another curious human. Most of the humans in here held very little interest to Magni, but there were a few he could sense were different. But once again, Apples had his full attention. Even if he couldn't respond with words, it would seem as if he understood what she was saying, and did his best with the sounds he could produce.
Alaric listened as the woman disdained his advice for eating to disperse some of the alcohol. ~At least I tried,~ he said to himself while shrugging on the outside. Alaric did watch in utter bewilderment as this woman kept pounding back drinks despite her size as well as telling him her name, Apples. "Well since you've told me yours let me tell you mine," Alaric began. "My name is Alaric, I'm a swordsman and mercenary, not much else to it." He shrugged, took a drink from his tankard and for any onlookers It looked as though he would continue to talk to Apples. That was the case, until a very furry friend showed up.
Alaric was taken aback for a moment as the Wolf he initially wanted to go and ask about suddenly came over here instead. Apparently Apples loved wolves as evidenced by her sudden shift in voice and attitude; or maybe it was the alcohol speaking. In any case the wolf seemed to cause her to become excited and the wolf fell like butter in her hands. The wolf seemed to also make a bit of a movement encouraging Alaric to pet him as well. Chuckling he decided that he would grant this wolf's request, but not before mentally thinking to himself. ~I guess you're not so scary once people get to know you, similar to others it seems.~ Mustering whatever courage he had, Alaric reached out a hand to pet the wolf.
Leo's eyes remained a tad heavy as the woman sat down beside him. His previous moments of solitude, paired with the weariness from his venture to the legendary Halamead had started to hit him at roughly the same time as his ale. He continued to rest his head against the tree, but kept his eyes open, staring at the amazing view of the uneven rooftops of the inns and pubs meeting the majestic mountain range behind it, all being looked down upon by the wispy clouds dotting the sky. He could see his company in his peripheral vision and couldn't help but curl the ends of his mouth into a small grin at hearing her reaction to trying the legendary booze. Leo took one more mental image of the scenery to draw when he had a chance before rolling his head to the side, continuing to use the tree as a headrest as he now looked upon Aurelia, this time, more closely observing her as she made her introduction. Her hair stood out the most to Leo. Theoretically, the ex-mercenary had met plenty of half-elves on the battle field, but this was his first time meeting someone with even whiter hair than himself. His gaze lingered until the rogue nodded once more toward her, acknowledging her courtesies.
Leo never was very good at conversation, or people-skills in general for that matter. Even after his time with the bandits, people typically went out of their way to avoid him however they could. Most likely due to his shady initiation tattoos, intimidating look, and strong eye contact. The few times that Leo would end up talking with strangers, the typical outcomes tended to be either snide remarks or fights, but this never really bothered him because he never particularly cared about others opinions of him, and he was quite confident in his ability to win, or escape a fight if needed. He didn't mind the change of pace for once, but however normal of an interaction this might be to people, it was strange for him. Leo continued to study the fellow half-elf's blue-green eyes, as he stoically listened to her continue the chat.
"Oh, well this is my first time. At a festival I mean," he answered bluntly, slightly raising his drink. "I can see why they're popular." Leo had just had the thought of taking another sip from the remaining half of his ale before Aurelia gestured toward a bird. The rouge tilted his head as far upward as his laziness would allow right towards a crow in a branch above them. He could've sworn there wasn't a bird in tree before he sat down, but for all he knew, it might've just been a particularly strong ale affecting his memory. He refrained from comment, but continued to look at the bird, finding it odd as well that a simple crow would tolerate all this noise and foot traffic. His glare at the bird only lasted until he was shocked out of it by something he'd never received before. An invitation to dance. The rogue almost instantly thought of a thousand reasons to decline the offer and take a nap where it was comfortable, but he couldn't help but look toward the crowds of people dancing to the song, seemingly having the time of their lives and only one things stuck in his mind. When in Halamead...
"Let's dance, Aurelia Barrows," Leo stated rather confidently before downing the remainder of his booze and setting the empty tankard next to his sword and pushing himself up to his feet. Impressed with his balance, he nodded again towards Aurelia and followed her toward the crowd of dancing strangers where Leo tried to follow the lead of those around him, but to no one's surprise, his first time dancing appeared to be something resembling the half elf trying to stomp out a fire with one leg. Continuing to attempt to mirror the other festival-goers Leo looked over to Aurelia and attempted to shout above the music. "I don't think I'm doing this right!"
As the festival continued (with a certain half-elf teaching another to dance), not far from Halamead, about a mile away laying out just before the crest of a hill laid a lone man. He wore no armor to reflect the sunlight, his hood simple undyed canvas to protect his eyes and seamless blending into the horizon. Only the glint of the spyglass could be seen, but after a moment it would have passed. Something so simple, a blink and you miss it moment. Of course with everything going on in town, the scout was certain nobody had noticed. Perhaps a crow or two would have seen, but a lone human was nothing to pay attention to. He stayed there, unmoving other than the subtle shift of the spyglass for another few minutes. He'd wait until the music picked up again, the notes rolling over the hills with the breeze. Once they had hit his ears, the man would fold ths tool and slink back down the hill, only standing when he knew his form wouldn't be seen from anyone perhaps paying attention. The hill was steep enough that after a few steps, he was sent jogging down until the ground once again flattened just at the edge of the woods. Hidden in those trees, shaded by a canopy of lunch, dark green, sat a small army.
"Reporting back sir!" The young man spoke to an older figure sitting atop a decorated horse. "The festival is in full swing, the fugitive is certainly in the crowd." The older man said nothing, but nodded in anknowledgement, glancing to another sitting on a less decorated horse. With only that glance, the other man would nod and with a single whistle the rest of the army would fall in line. The people of Halamead would be ignorant of what was approaching them, as the army kept their flags low and their horns silent. Only the thunderous sound of footfalls, dozens strong would be heard as the army grew closer to the town. The music drowned them out until finally, the head of the army reached the first cobblestones of Halamead. Those who noticed quickly gave way, the non-human folk making themselves scarce as quickly as possible. The man leading this army was a sight to behold. A stern scowl was set permanently into his features, his skin tanned and scarred, steely eyes focused forward to the square.
He, his horse, and the men who followed were all dressed in the royal colors, but his family crest was embroidered on his chest. The little armor he did wear was both invitation and threat. He was a man confident in his skills and wanted those around him to know it. Behind him was man who wore similar armor, but was clearly of a lower rank. These two were The General and his lieutenant. Anyone who knew anything about what Liomura's army was like knew that whatever brought this party along wasn't good. As they continued on, the silence in Halamead would grow louder and louder until at last, when they reached the square, it was deafening. The General would scan the onlookers. From the half elves nearby, to the drunks, to the non-humans, they'd each feel his burning gaze pass over them. "Good afternoon everyone," The man spoke, his voice flat with the regal sound of Teberis. "Is the mayor present?"
"Yes!" Another man would call from the back of the crowd. "Yes one moment please!" The tapping of a cane would grow closer to the General as a short, portly man wiggled his way through the crowd until he finally reached their unexpected guests. The General had waited patiently, taking the time to pull a piece of rolled parchment from his saddle bag. When he turned his attention back, the mayor would speak. "Here I am, Gerald. Gerald Oswald, lovely to meet you sir. To what do we owe the pleasure."
"This is a military matter I'm afraid," The general spoke, handing over the parchment. It was sealed, a shimmery emerald wax with the royal symbol. An official document that almost seemed to clean to sit in Gerald's hand. The man would stare for a moment, hesitant to break the seal. But after a glance up at the General, he would finally do so. Unfurling it slowly as he read, the color would slowly drain from the man's face.
"This...this can't be right," Gerald spoke. His words, even as close as he was, were nothing but a whisper to the General. Of course, the man expected as much, and allowed Gerald a few seconds until the Mayor spoke again. "This has to, to be a mistake! There's no-"
"Are you saying the Emperor made a mistake?" The General cut in, leaning down to snatch the parchment back.
"All, all I'm saying is-"
"Enone does not take kindly to cowards you know," The General interjected again, her brows set deeper now that his patience was tested. The General would clear his throat, straightening his posture as he did. "To the people of Halamead, the Emperor has declared one Malachi Fields a fugitive of the crown. You are therefore obligated to hand him over into our custody. Have I made myself clear?" The question was more an order. He would wait a minute, knowing the course shock took when discovering one of your own was a criminal. Somewhere in the crowd, a woman tried to stiffle her sobs, but as the minutes ticked on, nobody came forward. "Once more, you are to hand over Malachi Fields this instant. Surrender him to our custody now, and you're festival shall continue," The General's voice boomed, his tone only holding mild annoyance. As much of a hassle as this was, it wasn't like he didn't understand. But his patience was thread bear. Were it water, it would hardly fill a thimble. With a heave of the riens, his horse would turn. "Lieutenant!"
"I want Malachi Fields found at any cost! A threat such as himself cannot be allowed to roam free!" He commanded. After he spoke, the General would dig his spurs into the sides of the horse, setting it off in a trot. "Burn it to the ground!"
"You heard the man!" The Lieutenant shouted, the men letting out a chorus of cheers, picking up lanterns and torches as the General returned to their forward camp. The townsfolk, for the moment, believed it may just be a tactic to scare them into obeying. Until the first torch was lobbed over their heads and onto a thacted roof. Fire engulfed the roof, torch after torch, lantern after lantern lobbed into the fray. Screams of the town people replaced what were once cheers and music, smoke billowing into the air and streets as the heat from the fires grew.
"Quickly!" Gerald shouted, as loud as he could over the chaos. "To the town hall! It will survive the blaze!"
Aurelia Barrows Location: Halamead, Town Square Interaction: Grimmlock
(Sondwin) Mentioned: Seraph Darkfire
(Aloi) Parrot Parfait
Those dancing in the square would be among the last to see the soliders approach. It was instinct that took over though when those familiar colors overwhelmed the crowd. With a quick tug, Aurelia would yank her hood back up to cover her ears and in the same motion, pull her dance partner further back into the crowd. Her eyes steeled watching the royal soliders and that General converse with mayor Gerald. That weight in her hood was more apparent now, but the least of her concerns as. Her eyes would widen, scanning the crowd as it was revealed who they were there for. "Malachi Fields?" Aurelia muttered to herself, brows furrowed. She felt as if she'd heard the name but nothing came to mind. And the young woman would have no time to consider further as the General gave his order. "Burn? He can't be serious, that's so-" She was cut off by screams as the blaze began, spreading rooftop to rooftop. "Oh dear gods, they were serious!" Aurelia squeaked. Who would just burn a town down like this?! What the hell? "What the fuck?!" The words left her lips faster than her brain could process what she was saying. Her hand had been around Leo's wrist the entire time so when she moved as the crowd began to run, he'd be pulled along as well if he didn't pull away.
The crowd, understandably, was chaos. The Mayor yelled for everyone to get to the town hall, but Aurelia knew that would only be possible if the soliders didn't try cutting anyone off. But they had already spread through Halamead, a straight shot to the town hall would be near impossible. That task would only be made harder as smoke billowed into the streets. It was thick, and heavy, choking with every inhale. Her eyes were already stinging, heat licking at her arms and face as the fire grew and grew. The young woman would come to a hault as soliders moved across infront of them, hitting someone with the pommels of their swords. Her head darted side to side, Aurelia quickly deciding on dashing down an alleyway to their left. At the end, it turned left again putting her out into the main street again but further away from the town hall. But a little closer to the inn Roman was at, maybe she'd be able to reach him. Lifting to fingers to her lip, the elven woman would begin a shrill whistle. But the inhale had pulled smoke into her lungs and interrupted the sound with a violent cough.
"Damn it!" She sputtered, moving further into the middle of the street. Magni needed to be called, he had her weapons. Without him, she was unarmed. She needed a temporary option, panicked eyes scanning the now burning festival stalls. "Archery contest! There was an archery contest!" Aurelia beamed, blinking a few times to clear her eyes before once again she dashed forward, vaulting herself over some seating into a roll that sent her past a few soliders. They didn't notice, but someone else further up the street did. The slight tint of an over polished bodkin managed to catch her attention as she stood, Aurelia managing to move just in time as it whistled past her head. "Shit! Shitshitshit!" Oh this would be so much easier with the giant wolf! She saw the archer move again in the corner of her eye, continuingto aim the woman who maybe stuck out just a little with the bright clothing. Aurelia had set her sights in that archery stall from earlier, bobbing and weaving around a few unnecessary items to try and throw the enemy archer off.
She'd hear that whistle again, other royal soilders making sure to steer clear and with no more cover to get around, Aurelia would launch herself forward. That action would send her body into a teifling, and with luck, move him just enough to avoid an arrow that embedded itself into the target down range. "Sorry!" Aurelia spoke, correcting her stance quickly as she grabbed one of the contest bows and an arrow. Notching it, she drew quickly and released. She hadn't aimed to kill, but the archer didn't know that and took cover as her arrow went sailing past him. "Archer! Might want to get down."
Roman Durant Location: Halamead, Fairy's Fall Inn Interaction: Frozen ThymeClockwork SyringeRumble Fish
(Apples) Mentioned: N/A
The merry making even at the Fairy's Fall Inn had stopped when the soliders had arrived. It was tense silence that washed over even the drunkest of patrons. The bartender went out front, ushering those using the outdoor seating and small porch inside to take shelter. Roman could see it in the man's eyes, he may not have believed something would actually happen but he was cautious. That was good. Roman moved from his table in the corner to one of the windows at the front to watch the army march. His brows furrowed watching the General, the hair on the back of his neck standing on end watching the decorated war hero pass by. He knew something had to be wrong, or was going to go wrong. The man could feel it in his bones, but he didn't pull away from the window. Watching intently. There was little he'd be able to hear from the General as he stopped in the square but it didn't take one with above huma hearing to hear the last command the General gave. Roman's eyes widened, already moving to the door as the first torches were lit and lobbed onto roofs. He'd lock the door, lowering the baracade bar. Magni tore away from Apples and Alaric, growing at Roman. "Don't sass me," He scales the wolf as the creature began to scratch at the door. "Stop it!"
"You trapped us in here! I say it has the right idea!" The bartender yelled, now armed with a large butchers knife.
"You think those men are going to be content just burning this town? Soliders or not, they'll be looting whatever they can. Including your booze," Roman spat, returning to his table to hoist his sword up onto his back. He'd then place Aurelia's gear on the wolf. "There's a back door yes?"
"If you want I avoid a fight, we'll be using that. I won't stop anyone who desires to waltz right out into an army of who knows how may should your stupidity win over your common sense," Roman said. The drunks didn't seem to take that too kindly, but none of them would make for the door. Half of them could barely keep on their feet. "You there!" Roman would speak, pointing at what looked to be another solider. "I'm assuming you can fight. I'll lead, you will stay at the back, watch our flanks," He told Alaric, glancing at the non-human woman. She'd be no help. So he continued to look around until he spotted perhaps a familiar face. The one babysitting drunks earlier. "You! Hang in the middle, keeps these people in line. The better you do that, the faster we reach safety." He'd pause, looking around as smoke began to flutter in under the door. "Understood? We don't have much time."
Things were going pleasantly for Aloi, this woman, Aurelia, from the introductions with Leo, was light on her feet and he enjoyed the gentle sway of her dancing as she danced with the man. Each step was so wide though, at least for someone of his size, steps that would take him a leap and more to reach were so simple for them. Once again, he found himself slightly jealous of their size.
Then things began to get strange. Humans in armor, soldiers, appeared looking for some individual. The bigger folk were always committing some sort of crime and it was never pleasant when the armored ones showed up, but to come in full armor and in such numbers for a single individual. That seemed to be a bit much for Aloi to understand, a small disguised group would have been more effective, they'd have to comb through the entire town for a hiding person...oh...oh no.
Aloi grit his teeth as they began to set fire to the village. Humans and other large folk were both destructive and creative. They spent lifetimes creating large and beautiful structures, filling them with art and literature that could expand the mind, such as the ones he'd used for his own studies. Then they were off, Aurelia running through the chaos and smoke and Aloi being pulled along for the ride. The smoke and chaos made it easier for her to get around but an archer spotted her. He held on tightly as she tumbled, getting herself a weapon to use. Archery, he preferred to be up close and personal with his style, but mainly because any kind of long range weapon he used would be useless.
But she was slow, even with the adrenaline he could smell coming from her body, she'd been sluggish from the drinking and the dancing. He could help...but that would certainly reveal his presence on her person...that would be breaking rules...
He'd also never tried casting the spell on such a big creature before. It was highly effective on himself, enabling him to travel quickly and lightly. Her much heavier body would reduce the effectiveness of the spell and he'd have to spread it over a wider area...but...it might work.
Aloi gave a soft sigh and moved closer "Apologies for my rudeness my dear" he said softly as he pressed his small hands against her neck and focused. For a moment the magic didn't want to move and then a cooling sensation traveled across Aurelia's body as Aloi's magic traveled from her neck, down across her chest and then spread out to her limbs "Zephyr's Step"
Suddenly she was lighter, breezier, her arms and legs moving with alacrity, enabling her to dodge and weave arrow shots or even draw her own bow much faster. Aloi himself felt sluggish and heavy as the mana in his small body was nearly overtaxed from casting a spell on a creature so much bigger than himself as he slunk back a bit into her hood to avoid being thrown out should he pass out. But for the moment he was still able to keep an eye out for other dangers. Mentions:Grimmlock
(Leo) Interactions: FireMaiden
(Inside Aurelia's Hood)