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Party 1

ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
"I say we visit these supposed devils, the Vistani. In my experience, those who see demons in others are more likely seeing their own reflection. If it is true that they possess the power to leave this place then there is at least more hope than we see around us in Vallaki." Hircus claps Tegan on the shoulder. "I mean no offense, my friend. I am frayed at the seams from this eternal day. What's done is done. Allowing Moire to return there with this item will only invite trouble. Let's move forward on our path, not back."
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
Arasek Stockyard
Early Evening
Your walk back from the Baron's has brought you to the stockyard once more. It's darker here than along the main street and Yelena and Gunther's trading post is closed for the day, but a note on the door directs you to their home a few doors down. "So you done it," approves Yelena. "How'd you like Mr. Izek Strazni? Nasty piece of work that one. Gunther'll show you to your lodgings. We can settle up for that amulet, plus whatever else you want to trade, in the morning."

Gunther lights a lantern, gathers a few musty old blankets and walks you across the open stockyard to a low building somewhere between the coffin-maker's shop and where the bright green wagon is parked. It's cold inside and smells of damp grain. Crates and sacks are piled along the walls. After checking the sliding shutter that covers a window in the heavy rolling door, Gunther drops the blankets, places the lantern on a small table, and addresses you. "Well, here is where you spend the night. Not the inn, but try to be cozy." He makes a little bow and starts to leave, then turns back. "This will seem silly to say, but...since you are new here, if somebody knocks on the door in the night, do not invite them in. Talk through the little window or go out to meet them. If Yelena or I need to come, we will step in without being asked. Don't worry, nothing will happen, but just in case."

Looking at Hircus, Gunther chews his lip a bit and then, reaching into his vest, takes out the worn old amulet of Torm. "Here, sir. I know you will pay in the morning, but you can have it how. It seemed important to you." He places the amulet next to the lit lantern on the small table and opens the door to leave you to your rest.
 

Epiphany

Behind Your Chair
Moire smiles slightly at Yelena, though the exhaustion of the day has rapidly overtaken her and it's all she can do to make the effort to emote in the way she's expected to. "I suspect there's a story to Mr. Strazni. Perhaps it's one you'd be willing to share tomorrow? For our parts, it's been a long day and we're grateful to you for putting us up for the night while we find our feet in this strange land."

The accommodations are...well, not intended to be accommodations. But it's closed off from the elements, it's in-town so there's (hopefully) little threat from predators, and the blankets will go a long way towards offering enough warmth to actually sleep through the night. Not for the first time, Moire's struck by how little they all have. Only what's been salvaged from others, and little enough coin that simply finding food may take more of a priority than putting together a suit of armor. It's not a situation a Paladin finds herself in very often. And beneath the chivalrous exterior she's spent years cultivating, there is still the Pirate who coldly calculates that looting the stockyard would not be difficult, nor would killing the pair when it could easily be blamed on other things in a land like this.

"Thank you, Gunther," Moire says, accepting the blankets with a grateful smile, and then accepting his advice with a serious nod. "Your warning is heard and will be heeded. You've both been so kind to us. Should our fortunes continue to change for the better, it's my hope we can repay it in the near future with a meal and fine fellowship. In the meantime, let us bid you goodnight, good sir, so you can get to your own bed to face the day tomorrow. We'll see you in the morning."

Moire's gaze lingers on Hircus' old holy symbol and sighs, touched by a kind deed in a cruel land, and reminded of her own need. She drops her pack into a corner before fetching out what they were able to salvage of the rope. Taking her handaxe, she carefully slices a short section and begins splicing the strands together, a sailor's hands never forgetting how to tie a knot. "What a place this Barovia is," she observes to Tegan, Ina and Hircus as they settle in for the night. "Here we are, strangers to him, settled down in their own storehouse admist who knows what in these crates and sacks. And rather than worry for his own security, he worries instead for our own. Whatever troubles these people, it's a great deal more dangerous than the prospect of bandits, to be sure. We do need to learn more. Hopefully the Vistani can shed light on what we don't know."

Heaving a sigh, Moire rubs her eyes, then gives her companions a wan smile. "Good night, my friends. I'll be turning in myself after I say my prayers." Turning her back to them, she cleans the head of the handaxe as best she can with a stray piece of cloth before carefully slicing a length of her forearm (not the hand, she'll need full range of motion there to be sure). As blood wells up, she rubs it against the length of woven rope strands, anointing it. It's a crude symbol, the most desperate object of veneration a follower of Ilmater can make. But if ever there was a God to worship in this situation, it's the one that saved her. The one that showed her how to save herself and everyone else she can.

Grateful once more to never be alone, Moire bows her head in prayer before retiring for the night.
 

TemplePhantom

New Member
At this point, Tegan is too tired to think of anything witty to say to the benevolent couple who's been so kind as to allow them to sleep on the filthy floor with filthy blankets, and frankly, he just doesn't care tonight. Tegan then begins the repetitive task of cleaning himself and his clothes with successive casts of prestidigitation and offers the service to any of his friends who desire it. "Wake me when you need relief, Hircus." He says before fastidiously cleaning his blanket and lying down.

As he closes his eyes, his mind recounts the events of the day. He just barely makes it to the scuffle at the bar when he finally succumbs to his exhaustion.
 

ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
"Gunther, you are a kind man." Hircus reaches out to receive the amulet and instantly realizes that the dull throbbing pain in his hand subsides. He had almost forgotten the remnant ache of a boot stomp, but now the vision is once again vivid in his mind. "Very kind, sir. We shall square up in the morning." Hircus gives the man a smile and a clap on the back. Emboldened by the release of pain, the good deed and the prospect of a decent rest Hircus says, "You need not worry about us, Gunther. We are more capable than we may appear." With a quick wink toward Moire's shoulder where Vanwandir would be hiding Hircus lets out a bellowing laugh. He bids Gunther a good evening and takes up a spot near the door of the building where he will spend the next two hours on watch.

At some point, once the others have settled in for the evening Hircus takes a look around the area outside of the building then drops to a single knee. Leaning on the hammer he bends to press his hand in the soil leaving an impression of his palm. After that, he draws a circle around the palm print and leans back on his haunches.

"Torm! Very seldom in my service to you have I been so informal and bold as to speak plainly in prayer, but I want to make sure that my meaning is clear and not hidden behind symbolism or rote recitation. I know, now that you have guided me here. I can see that you have surrounded me with capable comrades. I vow to continue down this road until my legs will not carry me further." He places the amulet over his head and presses it against his chest. "With my father's strength and my mother's devotion, I will serve you oh Torm."
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
Arasek Stockyard
Hircus' Watch

It's quite dark out in the yard as Hircus begins his watch, but Gustav's lantern at least makes the immediate surroundings clear. Beyond this perimeter, A tiny dim glow marks where the coffin-maker Henrik sits outside his shop smoking for a bit before going back in for the night. After about an hour, a small gap actually appears in the low cloud overhead, revealing a patch of stars and a pale gibbous moon. The rest of the time passes uneventfully, until it's time to wake Tegan.

mportrait.jpgFor his part, although he sinks quickly into slumber, Tegan's sleep is troubled by dreams inspired by that name "Markovia" that Ina and Moire were bandying about earlier. In scene after scene, Tegan enters different, dusty old rooms to find a young woman with short dark hair. Her breastplate is stamped with the same round symbol he saw tattooed behind Moire's ear back in the mysterious grove so many hours ago. Ina, Hircus, Moire, and numerous other people, also come and go in the dreams. But it is always Tegan and Markovia who end up face to face, going round and round debating obscure points of philosophy that make perfect sense to Tegan's dreaming mind, but slip away to nonsense as soon as Hircus rouses him. The only thing he's left with is Markovia's declaration, "When I was younger, I might have insisted you share my creed before I would have you at my side in battle. It doesn't matter now. I know you have your own reasons that call you to the castle, your own justice to mete out. As long as you fight with us, we will have your back."

Vanwandir, once more a large toad, is sleeping on the ground by Tegan's head when he gets up for his watch. The next two hours pass uneventfully as Tegan sits groggily in the damp night air outside the warehouse. Occasional openings in the clouds continue to let brief swathes of stars shine out.

Two hours later, Ina has completed her restorative meditation and is fresh and ready to go, despite it being some time in the middle of the night. She and Tegan are standing together outside of the warehouse when a roiling form of smoke and fire crosses the sky, heading towards the center of town. It's low enough to make out its form: a galloping, burning horse that carries a rider cloaked in shadow.
 

jfish

Junior Member
Ina, feeling much better after her rest, uncurls her legs and goes through a short, habitual set of stretches. She keeps her eyes closed as she turns over the previous day and its events in her mind, cementing herself in the situation. Her fingers gently untangle a particularly stubborn knot in her still-unwashed hair. She’s somewhat reluctantly donning her newly acquired armour - would she really need it in the village? - but decides if nothing else, it might help her stay warm on her watch.

She joins Tegan outside, squeezing his shoulder as a silent greeting and smiling at the smell of the night air. Now she was in a better mindset, the fresh air held a tickle of familiarity that hovered on the edges of her mind. Ina wondered if they had a habit of sleeping rough - she imagined that at least herself and Tegan would be more inclined to stay somewhere with real beds, but there was definitely something charming, something raw, about sitting around a campfire after a hard day’s travel.

Distracted as she is, it takes her eyes a second to adjust on the form that appears in the night air, the imaginary campfire in her mind replaced by a flaming horse in the sky. She blinks, glancing towards Tegan and hissing under her breath to him to make sure she’s not going mad.

"Te, do you see that as well? What in the hells is this place?"
 

TemplePhantom

New Member
"The terrifying black rider on a flaming horse headed directly to another part of town? No, no I did not see that, because it did not happen, and because I am just too tired to deal with it, if indeed it happened."
Tegan takes a deep breath and shakes his head as he puts the rider out of his mind. "Also, why did I even keep watch outside? This damned place and it's visions have my mind so preoccupied that I'm standing guard for a rundown shack. Curse the name Markovia."

Tegan turns around and places a hand on Ina's shoulder as he walks past her. He opens the door and plays with the sliding piece of wood which would allow someone inside to see any visitors.

"I think the rest of watch may be safer inside, given what I just didn't see. Whatever your choice, I bid you good night. I'm off to see if Vanwandir has a dog form stashed away in his bag of tricks. They make for much better sleeping companions in the absence of a legitimate sleeping companion."
 

jfish

Junior Member
Ina frowns slightly at Tegan brushing off the sight, then lets out a slow, deep breath. She couldn't help but agree with him about dealing with it or investigating further the next day - unless, of course, there's screaming or something suspect. That would probably warrant action, she figured. But until then, she hoped her friends would be able to rest so they could better deal with their situation.
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
Arasek Stockyard
Dawn
henrik.jpgHours pass as Tegan, Moire, Hircus and, apparently, Vanwandir sleep inside the warehouse. Come dawn, it is the cawing, footsteps and ruffling of birds on the roof that wakes them.

Out in the wide, open yard, Ina sees the town of Vallaki coming to life again—another gray, overcast day. Over on the opposite side of the yard, Gunther swings open the doors of the depot and waves to her. Elsewhere, the rickety side doors of the coffin shop open too, and a dour bearded man pushes out an enormous hollow orb, taller than himself, that appears to be made of curved wooden slats.

Inside the warehouse, Vanwandir the toad crawls around impatiently. "Good morning, Peaches, Puzzle Box, Lonely Teeth. I trust you are rejuvenated from your many hours of rest. Shall we review our itinerary for the day? I believe there was something about paying a visit to Sachramenadies, the Powdered Lover. If the opportunity arises, perhaps a fine gift for the lord of this land would be in order. We do, after all, want to make a strong first impression."
 

TemplePhantom

New Member
What starts out as a pleasant morning yawn ends with a furrowed brow as Tegan's jaw pops uncomfortably. He addresses the familiar with a less than sincere "Good morning, Van."

Rising from bed, Tegan whistles the tune to a raunchy caravan chantey he picked up while traveling near Daggerford. He's surprised by how much better he feels this morning, the fog in his mind somewhat cleared.

Tegan proceeds to walk around the shop, shoulders slumped, until he finds a metal mug just clean enough to cast a rough reflection on its surface. He straightens his back, which causes a series of satisfying pops, before opening his right hand and closing it on the grip of a familiar dagger.

Surveying his old friend, Tegan notices that both of the marble sized impressions on the grip, meant to contain some form of adornment, are vacant. Tegan sighs with disapointment and begins running the edge of the cobalt-blue steel blade across his cheek to trim his beard. As he shaves, Tegan recalls the day he won his dagger in a game of dragonchess against another member of his caravan.

At the time, the dagger had two sapphires within the grip, which matched the deep blue tones of the blade's steel, and Tegan was dead set on owning it. The man had been so befuddled by the three dimensional structure of the game, that he neglected to keep an eye on the pieces he had claimed from Tegan, and a seemlingly endless horde eventually overwhelmed him.

While rotating up the mug to view his finished work, Tegan calls out ""What do you think, Van, is my handiwork suitable for an audience with your Powdered Lover?"
 
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jfish

Junior Member
Outside, Ina smiles and waves back to Gunther. Hesitant to leave her post, she pokes her head in to see the signs of her friends stirring and smiles to herself. Figuring they’d know she wouldn’t go far, she wanders over to the depot, seeking out one of their hosts in order to thank them - she had been far more concerned with resting the night before. She halts suddenly, also recollecting her... freakout at the tavern, groaning audibly. She had so many people to apologise to already and she’d been in town for less than a day. Her mother’s derisive voice echos in her mind: Wonderful first impression, Inawenys. A credit to your family.
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
Arasek Stockyard Depot
Ina

Ina finds Yelena inside, going through a stack of papers and apparently figuring some numbers in her head; the woman nods at her while silently mouthing numbers. Gunther comes back in and starts rearranging some of the wares that are most visible to customers at the counter. He offers to locate any wanted items for Ina, since this is her first time here.

Not much time has passed before two young human lads enter the shop. Ina recognizes the older one as the serving boy from the Bluewater Inn. He hands Yelena a sheet of paper, which she looks over. "Morning, Brom. More things for your folks then? Let's see. Most of this we have on hand, but the glass panes might be hard to find a match for. What happened, the Wachter boys get drunk and kick out your windows?"

"Devil came calling," says the younger boy, who might be eight or nine.

Yelena shakes her head and half-smiles, but then Brom, the older one gives a nod of confirmation and her expression darkens. "The bastard," she mutters. "I'm sure we've got something to fill those windows. You'd think he'd be able to find fun enough up in that dreary old castle without coming down here to trouble us. I wonder what he was hoping to find." Observant as she is, Ina does not miss the look exchanged between Yelena and Gunther, not the meaningful darts their eyes make over in her direction.

"Looks like you and your friends chose the right place to bed down last night," says Yelena as she begins hunting down the items on the boys' list.

Arasek Stockyard Warehouse
Tegan, Hircus, Moire

Vanwandir the toad looks up at Tegan's freshly-shaved face. "To my mind, this is certainly an improvement in any case. Presentation of oneself can be a fine art in the proper hands. As for Sachramenadies, I know him only by reputation, and in less deatil than would be ideal. I must confess that, at the time, I might not have appreciated the importance of certain germane tidbits presented to my former master. They therefore flew by unrecorded, and are lost on the wind. We five will have to put our heads together and discern what attitude will best please the Powdered Lover: the earnest supplication of those who know and appreciate their lower stations, or the warm embrace of fellow nobles visiting an equal."
 
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jfish

Junior Member
Ina makes sure to thank both of their hosts for their hospitality and begins to peruse the shelves near the front of the shop. She notices the two boys and frowns as she overhears the conversation, then briskly joins Yelena, offering to lend her a hand grabbing the required items. As they move around the shelves, she keeps a cautious eye out for anything that might catch her eye. She felt a lot better now they were more equipped, but it never hurt to look, she justified.

"It would appear so... thank you again, we truly do appreciate it." She pauses. "You think we’re the cause of the trouble last night, don’t you? With this ‘devil’? I had... a moment, if you will, when we visited the tavern. Before we delivered the goods to the Baron. But none of us would intentionally bring trouble or harm to anyone."
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
Arasek Stockyard Depot
Ina

Yelena lowers her voice so the two boys can't hear. "Even supposing he did come looking for you four, you're not to blame. It's the way of this land. The mists bring us strangers and the Devil has his spies. They keep a keen eye for what's new here and rush back to report to their master. Stumble all over each other to win his favor. Some even live here among us, despite Vallakovich's orders about civic spirit. Be sure, once word new arrivals reaches the castle, it's just a matter of time before the Devil rides out to see his new playthings for himself."

"But that doesn't mean it was on your account what happened at the Bluewater last night. They've had other guests: old storyteller named Rictavio, I think, as well a young woman who came here from the village to the east. Either way, though, I'm afraid Gunther and me can't risk you staying here another night." She takes Ina's hand. "I wish I could tell you where to go and be safe, but there's no such place. Krezk has walls, but they don't let nobody in. And what are walls when the Devil rides the night on his burning stallion?"
 
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ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
Hircus wakes and immediately sets to a number of tasks to prepare for whatever the day will bring. First, he finds a quiet corner to pray and prepare for the day. His prayers this morning consisted of a rhythmic recounting of Torm's battle with a legendary monster and it's ultimate defeat. This is followed by his chanting for spell preparation. Quiet muttering transitioned into the more aerobic physical prayer of his morning exercise to loosen his muscles and prepare for the road ahead. Once his time with Torm is over he moves to his gear, casting mend on his torn backpack, damaged clothes and any damaged links of his armor.

Once his preparations are done he grabs his gear and heads over to the Stockyard to gather the others so the business transactions can be settled with Gunther and Yelena. Walking in the Stockyard he sees Ina has already made it here.
 

ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
Hircus inspects a pile of rough weave, brown material. "I'd like to add an armload of this cloth." Noticing the material is actually a type of clothing he says, "Robes! Even better. It's been many long years since I was forced to wear such a piece of clothing. When I was a boy my mother would dress me in just such a garment. I couldn't stand the itching. I think the monks wore this stuff as penance." Hircus throws the large robe over his shoulders and tucks his hammer in to conceal the weapon. "I'd like to thank you for your generosity and kindness Yelena and Gunther. Ina, I will be waiting out front."
 

Epiphany

Behind Your Chair
Rested and ready to face the day, Moire finishes her prayers while her companions finish their preparations. Then the Paladin approaches Yelena and Gunther and extends her hand in a firm handshake, accompanied by a warm smile.

"Thank you both for your hospitality. Especially now that we know a bit more of the risk you bore for it. My friends and I aren't here to make your lives harder, only easier if we should find the means. In the meantime, rest assured we will have only praise to share with others of the Arasek Stockyards and its proprietors."

Once she's gathered her things and joined the rest of the companions outside in the Stockyard itself, Moire looks at Hircus, Tegan and Ira before looking once more at Vanwandir, still feeling a touch of unexpected wistfulness that the familiar had chosen another after all. "We've had a night to sleep on it. And Vanwandir makes a good argument for meeting with the Devil directly. That said, we still know precious little of him and we're barely armed and armored. There's something to be said for gathering some intelligence first. These Vistani are said to have a good rapport with him. Surely they can answer our questions to ensure our first encounter with the...Powdered Lover isn't a surprising one. What do you say, my friends? Shall we pay them a visit or go directly to the castle?"
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
Old Svalich Road
Dawn
You gather your scant possessions and make your way one by one over to the depot. Gunther heads back to the warehouse to lock up. While you make any additional purchases with your trade credit, Yelena responds to Hircus' inquiries about the Vistani camp west of town:

"I can tell you're a bull-headed man, and there's likely no turning you away from that den of theirs, but I wouldn't go if I were you. Free as they are, they have only pity or contempt for the rest of us, and there's no telling which way the coin will come up any given day. I'll give the notion this though: If the Devil is hunting you, delivering yourselves to his children the Vistani will certainly rob him of the thrill of the chase."

"Their camp won't take you much trouble to find anyhow: Just leave town by the Sunset gate, walk hard south to the skirt of the forest, and trace it west for about a quarter mile until you come to a well-traveled footpath leading in. That'll take you to a little hillock where they live with them elves."

Your departure coincides with the boys from the inn loading up their wagon, so unless you deliberately create some distance, you walk near them on the Old Svalich Road through town.

donkey.jpgIt's still very early—dew sparkles on the ground—but you spot bleary-eyed locals sweeping their porches and hanging lanterns from the eaves of the houses along the way. The four of you start to feel a bit peckish; some breakfast soon wouldn't be unwelcome (an inspection of Ina's pack reveals that the three remaining berries from the "Elementalist" are looking a bruised and starting to lose their form).

About halfway to the Bluewater Inn, you see four of the town guards approaching on the road—one is the woman from the burn pit. They are leading a group of five sorry-looking men and women. Three of the five members of this train wear donkey masks that cover most of their faces.

rictavio.jpgBrom and his brother stop to watch the sad procession go by, and Ina and Tegan recognize the bespectacled half-elf Rictavio, from the Bluewater Inn, watching from the side of the road as well. He spots your group and waves you over. "Gah!" croaks Vanwandir, once again an invisible bat on Tegan's shoulder. "Deadbeat Gargoyle!"

"Good morning, my fellow inmates of Barovia!" says Rictavio. "I had no idea where you'd gotten off to. We 'new fish' must stick together; it's our only protection against the abuses of the 'old hands'. I was just out for my postprandial stroll and got waylaid by this pretty-poor piece of entertainment." He gestures to the guards and donkey-headed townsfolk. "Oh, have you heard? You missed some rougher thrills at the the Bluewater last night; we withstood a fair siege I would say, a scene out of Vadvan Goltethran's Vanquished Ghoul."

"Oh, hello, friends," he says, suddenly acknowledging Moire and Hircus, "I am Rictavio: wanderer and raconteur. You are the companions of Ina and Tegan I presume. I don't believe we've met, though perhaps they mentioned me."
 

ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
As Hircus walks he looks to the sky as he runs through the directions to the Vistani camp in his head. He is surprised when the man in glasses begins to speak to the group. Hircus watches the man then takes notice of the procession for the first time. As the procession walks away he turns to Rictavio, "I am pleased to meet you, fellow traveler. I am Hircus Hornbrow, a priest of Torm and a traveler on his path bringing his light to the dark places." Hircus nods and claps the man on the shoulder. "What siege did you endure last night? Does it have something to do with this grim parade?"
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
rictavio.jpg"What, this lot? This is the burgomaster's business. Just the small criminals of the town reporting for their daily stint in the pillory. I wonder if they consider themselves fortunate to have their punishment fall on a festival day, though what day is not a festival day here in Vallaki? I've been in residence a mere month and have had a year's worth of holidays already."

"Now, let's see," he continues, pointing to one of the unmasked villagers marching to their punishment, "I think she's the one who was selling bowls of raspberries half padded up with fern leaves below the fruit. That fellow is a notorious rumor-monger. The three asses have been declared habitual malcontents."

"As for the scene at the Bluewater, it was a dire confrontation with the darklord who none dare name. At midnight's tolling he descended on his fiery dragon. The windows all burst at once and loathsome creatures of the night within did crawl and squirm. There was a rapping at the door; their master called, 'Serve forth Tatyana, my bride.' But none would abide. The Martikovs rebuked him. 'You cannot enter uninvited!'"

"The Devil circled the Inn thrice and beat his breast, spat rats and promised doom. We held our tongues and cowered in our rooms. Efstoons he flew again, back to his castle. But these two brave boys: how they walk under open skies knowing what transpired, I cannot comprehend." The two Martikov boys turn red at this attention.

"That is my tale, Brother Hornbrow. And now I must be about business this way." He points east with his cane, in the direction you just came from. "But I won't be long. Maybe if you breakfast at the Bluewater, I'll be back in time to hear a tale of yours in turn. I'm especially intrigued by the one called, 'Two Wayward Shields Change Hands.'" He lowers his thick spectacles to give Hircus an awkward, exaggerated wink.
 

jfish

Junior Member
Ina greets Rictavio with a smile, listening with interest as he recounts the "siege" of the night before. As he leaves, she makes eye contact with Tegan and then turns to Moire and Hircus, filling them in on the flaming visage they briefly saw during the night.

"There was hardly a point in waking either of you," she shrugs, "But perhaps we can help in other ways. None of us are at our best right now, even with a full night's rest, no?" Ina sighs wearily. "I would think it'd be worth gathering any and all information we can before meeting this Lord, whoever he might be. We have no idea whether we've tangled with him before, in our previous travels, and how much, if anything, he knows about us. Sorry Vanwandir."
 

Epiphany

Behind Your Chair
"Rictavio," Moire repeats back to the man they just met. She extends a hand in a firm offer to shake. With a slight smile, the Paladin adds "Inmates indeed. Always nice to meet a fellow prisoner. Wish we knew more about our jailer, though. I am Moire Cassiel, Paladin of Ilmater. Well met."

Moire found the sight of the five evident 'criminals' being marched by a touch unusual, but less so than many elements of this land. Their crimes seemed petty enough, but then so did their punishment. Public humiliation didn't do the people of the town any credit but neither did it do much harm to these men and women, and if it changed their behavior, all the better. Besides, Paladins were not appointed by the Gods to dictate the terms of laws by which men must live. Others had that commission, as she had hers.

"Tatyana, did you say? A name I'll make a note of," she says to Rictavio. "Do you know who she is, or why this Devil evidently looks for her in town?"

When the bard admits to having other business, Moire graciously inclines her head and says "Of course." But when he expresses interest in their shields, the Paladin sighs and says "I have the sense that many tales in this land are sad. Certainly ours has not been a happy tale and the particular part concerning these shields is among its saddest moments. If you have an ear for it, though, I don't mind sharing seeing how free you've been so far, and hopefully continue to be."
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
rictavio.jpgAt Moire's promise of the tale of the two shields, Rictavio stops in his tracks, then comes back over to the paladin, holding his cane with both hands. "Yes, indeed, my ears are ready. My other business can wait. Let it not be said that Rictavio turned tail on a tale! Share your sad saga and I will, in turn, treat you to the tragedy of Tatyana."

The procession of pillory-bound commoners has passed, continuing east on the main road for a block before turning south towards the town square. The Martikov boys move on towards the inn with their wagon full of building materials.

Vanwandir, hearing Ina's tidings of delay, invisibly replies, "Do you really think so, Haskafadoux? Because, for my part, I wonder if the Powdered Lover wouldn't mistake such temporizing for caginess. And wouldn't that make our eventual overture all the more fraught?"
 

TemplePhantom

New Member
The thought of being hazed by this Devil character unnerves Tegan. "What sort of person waits for an invitation to enter an inn and how often does he visit?"
Tegan ponders his own questions and would have continued to do so if his ears hadn't perked up at Moire's suggestion that she would describe the heroic moment they acquired their fine equipment. "Oh, Moire, you're so dramatic. Selling such a mundane story of shield acquisition as equal to the romance between a man who rides across the sky on a flaming horse and his long-lost lover."
 

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