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Dustyn
06/04/2007 9:57 PM

See the Out of Character/Recruitment thread.

Whizkid7
06/05/2007 7:07 PM

"This way, quickly!"

The young man and his companion came crashing through the brush, panting from exertion. In the distance, they could hear voices shouting and heavy footsteps crunching on the forst floor.

"We can't keep running forever!" The man's companion panted, brushing his unkempt hair out of his eyes.

"We have to keep going deeper! This forest is thick with cover! If we can get far enough away, we can hide out!" The first one said, looking back to see if their pursuit was still behind.

They were. Four armed men wearing light armor were cutting a swath through the trees, bearing down on the two fleeing men.

"Faster! Hurry!" the man pleaded as he and his companion spurred themselves on.

Then the companion's boot caught on an upraised root, and he hit the dirt floor with a loud crash. The man turned back suddenly to help his friend, grabbing him roughly and dragging him up.

"Come on!!!" he cried, trying to get his friend moving. Their pursuit was catching up.

"My leg...I think I twisted it..." his companion moaned, straining to stand up.

The man looked around frantically for some kind of cover, but they were still not deep enough in the forest to find any.

In no time at all, the four armed men had their weapons pointed at the two mens' throats. "Running is pointless. We'd have found you sooner or later. Now be good boys and stand still. This won't hurt...much." One of them, the leader, stated, raising his blade to strike the killing blow.

A rustle above caught the soldiers' attention, and a cloaked figure dropped from the trees to land between the men and them.

"Hey! Who're you?!" The soldier cried angrily.

"Leave. Now." the cloaked figure stated with little emotion.

"Who do you think you are, trying to order us around?! Kill him!" the leader ordered, and the other three moved on the cloaked man.

The two men huddled behind this mysterious figure watched in fascination as the cloaked man drew a sword from within his cloak and met the three soldiers head on.

It was over in a matter of moments; the three soldiers lay unconscious on the ground, and the cloaked man had made almost no movement.

"Wha...What the?! What the hell are you?!" The leader cried.

The cloaked man moved towards him, his icy blue eyes locked onto the leader.

"S...Stay away from me!" The leader shouted, unfastening a bow from his back and dragging an arrow from the quiver.

"You would be wise to put that away." the cloaked man said to him.

"Screw you!!" The leader said, pulling the string taut and letting the arrow fly.

It never reached its mark. A sudden gust of wind came out of nowhere, sending the arrow flying into a tree a good thirty feet to the left.

"What...The hell was that?!" The leader screamed, visibly shaking now.

"I will say it again. Leave. Now." the cloaked man said, forcefully this time.

The leader seemed to determine then that his life was worth more than the two men he'd been chasing. "I'll be back for you two!! And you're going to regret this!!" He turned and fled, leaving his unconscious comrades behind.

The two men breathed a sigh of relief, rising from the forest floor and looking upon the cloaked man with gratitude. "Thank you...You saved us."

"I was doing what I must." the cloaked man responded, sheathing his weapon.

"I didn't believe the stories, you know. About a man in a cloak who lived here in this forest, helping the townsfolk. But you're real. You really do exist."

"...Return home. That man will be back to retrieve his fallen comrades soon. You should not be here when they do."

"Yes, of course. Thank you again." the man bowed, and he and his companion shuffled off towards the city.

Vanderbilt watched them go, a small sigh escaping his lips. [i]These incidents seem to be happening more and more these days...[/i] He moved away from the sight of battle, heading back into the forest. [i]People with stones have been targeted and hunted down like dogs more recently...I have heard rumors that some have begun to suspect me as the culprit, since no one has ever seen the people responsible for these deaths.[/i]

He moved up into the trees, surveying the domain that had become his home. The forest was filled with the noise of nature, as woodland animals and small creatures jumped about in the trees and shuffled about on the forest floor. The trees were a lush green, and the thick foliage served to filter most of the sunlight out, making the forest a darkened cave of sorts. He liked it this way; it served to hide him better, and let him forget his past.

[i]I have no way to prove my innocence, save for those two men that I was lucky enough to come across. Then again, the city here has long accepted me as I am, and I doubt simple rumors will change their minds so easily.[/i]

He spoke of the port city that sat beyond the forest, a bustling trade center filled with marketplaces, shops, taverns, inns, beggars and hagglers. People came through almost hourly, so information was readily available. Recently he had been hearing talk of these so called stone hunters, but none of them had ever come to his town.

Until now, that is. Vanderbilt sat on a branch, thinking. [i]If they are coming here, then this town may not be safe for much longer...I will have to keep a more watchful eye on proceedings. But first...[/i]

He jumped down from the tree and started heading for town. [i]I will need more information on these 'stone hunters'...Time to go into town...[/i]

His cloaked form disappeared into the darkness of the forest, heading for the city.

Deathword
06/06/2007 2:33 AM

The leader continued to run farther away from the forest until he ran into a small party of soldiers. In front of them were two young people on a black horse; when he saw the person's hair and the blue eyes of one of them, he recognized the captain. He waved the troop over and, when the horsemen stopped, he began to speak.

"Captin! I need your men to help me!"

"What is the matter?" The captain asked curiously. If someone suddenly came up to her, asked to use her men, it must be serious.

"I was after two men from the town and this monster came out and attacked my men. I got away with my life and he-"

"... What crime did they commit?" The man stiffened, and she noticed immediately. "If you have falsely accused some townsmen of doing something wrong, it wouldn't be wise to suddenly come up to a soldier and ask him to help. We have a code of honor...." She paused before sighing. "But, since I am in a hurry, I will allow you to get a few yards ahead of my men.

The man gulped slightly before stepping back slowly.

"Now be gone!" As she watched the man scurry across the grass, several of the foot soldiers behind her were trying to retain their laughter. Of course they'd laugh at the man. But now was not the time for fun; she gave them the word and they went along their way to the nearest town. From what she heard, it was a small yet content port town, so they would find some assistance.

As they came within eyesight of the dwelling, the group stopped and took a break along the way. While the men went to retrieve water, the captain wondered through the woods alone. It gave her time to think without being interrupted. Within these woods, according to some, there is a cloaked man who protected the town near by.

"Hm... If such a person existed, he must be very lonely." She winced as she rubbed her left arm; it was unusually sore and the fabric of the glove was not helping. Figuring that no one was around, she took the glove off and continued to rub her arm, hoping to cur it of its soreness.

Terra_Withers
06/06/2007 9:47 PM

Leoraki smiled as he continued smacking his hammer against the soon to be finely crafted axe that was laying on the anvil. The noise made by the hammer and axe clashing did not change Leo's expression, he liked it, just like he loved being a blacksmith, and a popular one to. Everyday he would recieve at least five orders made by nobles, master warriors and army captains.

"Finally!" Leo yelled as he raised the axe over him not caring of the weight. "I have completed the axe... I hope the noble who ordered this comes in soon, or I might just have to take this beauty home myself" he gazed upon the axe which gleamed in the blacksmith.

Suddenly a man in a light leather tunic had entered the blacksmith with a sack of gold and silver coins. "Is my axe ready blacksmith?" he asked as his expression was friendly, but judging by the little pieces of wood on his hand, he was a lumberjack.

Leo smiled "Certainly sir, crafted just for you, just don't touch the steel yet, its just been finished" He said as he handed the axe to the lumberjack in return for the sack of coins.

Leo placed the coins down as he remember the last order, a dagger. Leo thought quickly and began to form the steel together with flame and the clashing of his hammer. Near the bag of coins were two sabres and a golden necklace, seemingly hidden, but very visible. Next to the golden necklace were two other precious gems, one a diamond and the other a strange amber color.

As Leo continued he finally finished and sat down for a bit sighing and whiping the sweat with his hand off his forehead. "What a great life for me..." He laughed slightly.

adamsonite
06/06/2007 11:09 PM

A young looking man with a mellow grin leaned against the window of the small blacksmith shop, greatly admiring the master craftsman's work. The blacksmith was a tall looking male with an average build.

He observed the axe that the man held, a wonderful piece...he only wished that he could own a wonderful item like that of the axe. He Unfortunately, the events that had occured in his life had overwhelmed him with sorrow, and he had blown all of his money on the last resort of stress, alcohol.

His father was still on his consciense, and he felt sad, and abject mood of sorts for his liking. He was usually calm and cheerful, but he felt that something had affected him. As if he was chosen for a master plan.

He had never really thought about it before. Emm Adams, son of a humble priest. Off on some long, epic adventure. "HA!" He chuckled, "I'm going to get drunk"

His father never approved of his drinking. He only drank for a good time, never go to the point where he would do anything stupid, or embarrasing. When he was intoxicated, he was more like an old dog, never able to do anything, just lying there for hours on end...until it wears off and he goes to confess, something he does often.

His father being a priest made him overly religious, but not too perfect. He always attended mass, at least once a month or two, and he felt a deep root for God in his heart, but recently, he has felt more open-ended, getting bored with being a son of a priest.

Sure, at one time he was a private of the army, but he was given premanent leave when his brother was killed in a small scurmish, over a two-pence.

He walked to the bar and sat at a table at the far end of the room. He walked to the bar and to the stubby looking bartender he spoke, "Give me the heaviest stuff you've got, and lots of it."

He accepted the drinks and took a sip, then he reached for his wallet, which wasn't there. "Bloody, Jesus, Lord, God!!" He exited the bar, depressed, knowing that some crook had made off with his last money, and he prayed in his head, for money, health, and for those curses he had just made.

Deathword
06/07/2007 7:32 PM

As the group of soldiers entered the town, Jaspar looked at the faces of the locals who dared to look at them. Some were obvious faces of fear and anger. Others were hard to read with her hands cover; however, she refused to waste her energy on these people's emotions. There was a good chance that she'd be leaving this place in a few days. Never the less, she found herself reflecting on previous encounters in other towns; although she had plenty of experience with welcoming citizens, she had an equal amount of nonwelcoming people.

After everyone checked into the station point assigned to them (a small hotel on the edge of town), she dismissed everyone and allowed them to wonder town until their curfew. Everyone, including herself, went off to do whatever they pleased. The woman decided to go to a near by blacksmith to fix her sword; although she bumped into a man who seemingly was dwelling in his sorrows, her walk to the shop was not difficult.

"Good day, Blacksmith." She greeted as she entered. "If I may, I would like to ask for your assistance."

CandlestickJay
06/07/2007 7:58 PM

((Adam, do you mind if I'm the crook who ran off with your money? If you do then I'll edit this, but if not, here I go...))

Brianne turned the corner into the dank alley quickly, leaning back against the cold brick wall and pulling out the wallet she had just found. She cackled slightly to herself, a grin on her slender young face. "One more day I don't have to spend with Perfidious and being his little errand girl."

Her bright blue eyes slowly ran over the money she pulled out of the wallet and the other objects inside and she giggled. "Perfect!" Dropping the wallet in a muddy puddle, she scuttled out of the alleyway and down the street towards Perfidious Ralph's Used and Old Goods.

She slipped in the back way, her new found money rattling in her pocket as well as the other items that had been in the wallet. She would hang on to them for now, perhaps they would do her some good eventually. Maybe even earn her a little more money getting the reward. Suddenly a large, round, hooked - nose man shoved his way into the back room. "Brianne! Get your lazy ass to the front counter! We got customers and I need a beer!"

When he finished his rant he stumbled out the back door and was gone into the night. She glared after him with a slight weariness to her gaze, obviously familiar with the sight. "Stupid idiot." Running her fingers through her stringy blond hair, she went through the door and approached the front counter, looking for whoever the new customer was. It was probably yet another of the thieves and blackmarket nasty old geezers who frequented the store.

Whizkid7
06/07/2007 8:47 PM

Vanderbilt entered the town quietly, slipping into a passing crowd with little notice. The people paid him no heed; they had their own business to attend to, as did he. He passed by a blacksmith's shop on his way, where a young man was watching a blacksmith work on an axe. The blacksmith was obviously well skilled, as the axe looked to be finely crafted and well worth whatever price the person who desired it was paying.

[i]I just hope the blacksmith's work is not destroyed by a fool wielding his weapon.[/i] Van thought as he moved away from the shop and headed for the nearby tavern. He knew the place well; he always came here for information, especially since the bartender was well known to him.

The familiar smell of alcohol and small chatter of the drunk filled his senses as he entered into the tavern, his cloaked form filling the doorway. A small group of men who looked a little tipsy were playing cards, and groaning as they lost to a young woman. She was grinning widely as she won another hand, and the men groaned louder.

[i]Taking advantage of the drunk? Not a hard task, I suppose...Well, if they wish to waste their money, I should not interfere. It would not be my place. Besides, that is not why I came here.[/i] Vanderbilt moved to the bar and sat down, taking one more glance around. Aside from the group playing cards, he was the only one here.

"Well, if it's isn't my favorite customer." the bartender said as he noticed Van sitting there.

"Hello again, Jon." Van replied. "Everything in order, I assume?"

"Oh yeah, no problems since the last time." Jon replied, drying a glass on his apron. "I still can't believe how you beat those guys."

"Heh..." Van couldn't help but chuckle; Jon was referring to the last time Van had visited him. Two men had gotten into an argument over payment and were drawing weapons. Jon could do little to stop their tirade when Van stepped in. He had placed a bet before the two men: If he could disarm them in less than ten seconds, they would pay their bill and any damages caused during the fight. If he couldn't, he would pay for it. Thinking him a fool, the two men had taken the bet.

They never stood a chance. One second they had been standing there, weapons drawn. The next, Van stood in the same spot, with their weapons in his hands. The two men had been stunned stupid, and quietly paid their dues and left. Jon had been more than grateful to Vanderbilt and had told him he was welcome any time. Van had visited a few times since then, listening for rumors and having a few drinks.

Jon turned away towards the stacks of bottles behind him. "So, you here for the usual? Or is this more than a social visit?"

"Just one, Jon. You are correct in your assumption." Van responded. Jon nodded and poured a glass of a dark liquid, handing it to Van. Van took a slow sip, savoring the burning down his throat.

"So what are you here for?" Jon said in a slightly lower tone.

"I require information. Have you heard the rumors of these so called stone hunters?"

"I've heard it, yeah. People coming in here all the time talking about it. Scary stuff, huh?"

"I just had the pleasure of meeting four of them."

Jon looked shocked. "You're not pulling my leg, right?"

Van said nothing, and Jon sighed. "Well, that's just great. Are we going to hear about some bodies in the woods?"

"No. I merely incapacitated them. But I fear more will return. This town may not be safe if they do."

"No kidding. Practically everyone in this town has a stone. I'm amazed they didn't come sooner."

"Regardless, they are here now. I need to know everything you've heard about them."

Jon turned away, picking up another wet glass and drying it. "Not much to say, really. All I know is they look for anyone with a stone and kill them, regardless of whether the give the stone to them or not." He turned back, and leaned a little closer to Van. "Some people seem to think you're the culprit, you know."

"Yes...I have heard that as well. It is....distressing." Van grimaced, downing the rest of his glass.

"Well, I know you wouldn't go back to that. Anyway, the only other thing I've heard is that some people think these hunters are being dispatched by one of the kingdoms. Rumor has it this kingdom is collecting the stones for military purposes."

"Military purposes? Hmm..."

"Yeah. Bunch of power crazy nuts, if you ask me." Jon sighed.

"Yes..." [i]It appears that I will have to find out the truth of these rumors to keep this town safe...[/i] "Anything else, Jon?"

"That's all I've heard. Can't be much more help than that, I'm afraid."

Vanderbilt nodded. "That will be enough, friend." His hand moved inside his cloak, slid onto the counter, and back into his cloak. On the counter lay payment for his drink. "I will see you around, Jon."

"Yeah, see you." Jon called after Vanderbilt as he left. He looked at the money on the counter and noted that he'd left double what the drink cost. Jon smiled lightly and put the money away.

Outside, Vanderbilt moved back through the town, heading for the forest. [i]I will need more information to discern the truth from the myth. But first I will return to the forest and rest. Then I will keep watch over the town for those men.[/i]

He approached the blacksmith's shop that he had passed earlier, noting that the man that had been waiting there was now gone. In his place was another young woman who looked almost like...

Vanderbilt froze. [i]It...It can't be...[/i]

nanuk
06/08/2007 7:19 AM

A small smile crept across Iesha's lips as she stared intently at the bowl of water in front of her.

She could see Eown as if her were reflected in the liquid, rather than three days travel away.

He was berating his newest assistant with vigour, even in the colour-drained image in the bowl she could see his face redden, and the boy cower before the burly carter.
That was what made her smile: the lad would soon come to know Eown for the gentle bull he was, and the carter knew it, and so was enjoying the brief moments of inspiring terror.

The pressure in her chest was increasing, and there was an uncomfortable ringing in her head, when she was startled by a brusque knock on the door, immediately followed by it bursting open, her held-breath being released in a surprised gasp.

"Sorry, dear! Wind's picking up and the handle got away from me."

Sherra bustled in the door, skirts being lifted by the breeze and her shawl almost torn from her shoulders.
Pushing her greying hair back from her face once the elements had been shut out she took note of the bowl in front of Iesha.

"Practicing again? How's Eown?"

The younger woman nodded and smiled in mild embarrassment, putting the stone down on the table.

"Well. Thriving, as his last letter said. His promise of retiring here is looking more and more distant- he breathes that business".

"My brother likes work- and bustle. Cragaven is too quiet for him yet, but don't worry; a day will soon come when the town will lose it's appeal and he'll want to smell the salt breeze. The sea's in our blood- he'll return".

Iesha smiled, comforted by the woman's faith.

"I know, I just hate to think of him alone there, getting older. He should be with the people who care about him."

Sherra laughed and sat down heavily at the table.

"We're [i]all[/i] getting older, girlie, but [i]some[/i] of us-" she winked meaningfully, "have not yet learned patience. He's lived his whole grown life as a batchelor, and isn't ready to be looked after yet. Besides, you can keep an eye on him now with this magic pebble of yours".

She picked the stone up from where Iesha had set it down on the table, and rubbed it thoughtfully with her thumb before holding it up before her eyes.

"A strange thing, this, and wonderous, true, but be cautious- don't get lost in it".

Iesha rose from the table, suddenly uncomfortable, and went to the fireplace, checking to see if the ever-present kettle was boiled.

It wasn't that she regretted telling Sherra and Tavin about the stones- they had taken her in, and half raised her, she trusted them and Eown with her life- but Sherra seemed so... [i]disapproving[/i] of them, distrustful, handling them gingerly as if they would sting. To the younger woman they seemed like incredible gifts: not to be taken lightly, surely, but wonderous gifts all the same.

"I won't- and I am careful." She sprinkled some tea leaves into two cups, swirling them with a little milk before adding the boiled water. "But you know why I wish to practice using it- if I am to go away then I want to be able to know that you are well."

"Pfft." Sherra made a gesture with her hand as if to dismiss Iesha's concerns. "I will be fine, child. Don't worry for me."

"I want to know [i]all[/i] of you are well, Sherra- the whole village. What use is it petitioning for extra patrols if we come back to find everything razed in a raid? We've been lucky so far, but luck only holds for so long".

The woman's face became solemn at Iesha's voiced concerns.

"This village is built on luck. Every time a boat goes out we risk our luck failing, but we can't let the fear stop us from leading our lives, Iesha. Yes, we might be raided while you're gone, but we might not. And if we are sure what else do the militia train for? If luck does turn against us then we have our stores and we have our hiding places, so try not to worry for us".

The younger woman sipped her tea silently, knowing that unvoiced was the thought that she would carry the greatest danger to the village with her, away from it.

Only Sherra, her husband Tavin, and Locke Rennel, leader of the militia, knew about the stones. With the increasing numbers of raids on small villages along the coast, and the tales of people hunting the magical stones, Iesha had not wanted it kept a secret from Locke, knowing that their presence could affect the safety of Cragaven.

The trip to petition for an increase in patrols in the area had been planned even before the stories had reached the village, but once they did Locke had suggested that Iesha travel with them, hoping that along the way or in the town they may learn more of their origin and use.
She had laughed off his comment that as she was a city girl at heart she would be of great aid to the 'poor fishermen' travelling on behalf of the village, protesting that she'd lived almost half her life now by the sea; but inside she had been uncomfortable at the thought of returning to a hectic and heavily-populated town, worried at the memories it might stir.

She had agreed, though, and their planned departure was now but a day away.
All the preparations had been made: provisions arranged, extra training run for the militia before Locke's leaving, assigning of duties- it was now just a matter of going.

Drawing her attention back to the moment Iesha lowered her cup, smiling wryly at Sherra.

"I will try not to worry- although I promise nothing."

The other woman returned her smile, and made to stand up.

"I suppose that will have to do. Now, don't forget, supper is at six- and don't even think about coming over early to try to help. Get organised and rested".

With a final smile she left in as much of a bustle as she had entered, leaving Iesha alone with her thoughts.

adamsonite
06/08/2007 2:02 PM

Emm walked into another pub. This one was one for murderers and theives. It was a haven for crime, but the city guard avoided this place for some reason. He had always wondered why. He figured there was probably some old law that they followed.

He sat down at the far end, in the back corner and watched some ugly looking, seemingly pirates, gamble their way into debt. He imagined them invading a port and gathering money, then blowing it on gambling, rum, and women.

He decided to take advantage of them. His conscience was bugging him, but he ignored it and planned his strategy. With no real money to gamble with, "Hmm...maybe its time to put these stones to good use"

He sat in on the game, which had just finished, leaving way for another one. He observed the game. It was...roulette? He questioned why they play this. "'cause old rust-bucket over here won't stop cheatin' at poker" He laughed conformatively and played on. He observed. The game was single round roulette, an unusual favorite of pirates.

One man went, there were 4 men, and him. He put some on black 42, all of his gold. He replied, "Last game gents, all or nothing." Emm was in a bunch. He had no valuables. Nothing.

The other men played, putting different pieces onto different colors, red and black. He thought, "Wait...I do have these two stones that don't do anything...I found them with the other ones. Maybe they will take them." "Are ye goin' sir?" said one of the pirates, the only one that hadn't bet all of their money. "Yes. But I think I can match and overdo the bets of you guys." The men laughed, drunkily, and they all said, "Ye wise guy, move!"
He placed a red stone on the table, one that was useless. All were silent.

The last pirate played all of his money, like the others, and they were all drooling. "They think its real stone, heh!" He put his bet onto black 13. A chubby one spun the wheel. He clutched his useful stone. He thought of his father, being brutally stabbed in front of him, and him not being able to do anything. He got angry.

The ball spun and stopped............at black 22. He sighed and the one pirate soared up in hilarity and excitement. He groaned and his eyes watered. All of it....gone. The stone was useless, but the fact that he could have won so much money. He paused, "maybe I can"

"Say, fine sir, would you mind entering a re-match, and i'll wager another stone." He immediately agreed and the men went outside. "This game is simple. You simply have to take a rock." They both picked one up off of the ground, "And you try to skip it across the lake, the farthest one is the winner. If I win, I get half of the loot AND the stone that put in inside on the roulette bet. If you win, you get this stone. He handed his strength stone, he knew he would win. They skipped the rock, Emm chose a relatively flat one. The man chose an excellent looking one. They skipped them. He thought again about his father, and the stone went 15 skips, 4 more. He won.

adamsonite
06/08/2007 2:02 PM

Emm walked into another pub. This one was one for murderers and theives. It was a haven for crime, but the city guard avoided this place for some reason. He had always wondered why. He figured there was probably some old law that they followed.

He sat down at the far end, in the back corner and watched some ugly looking, seemingly pirates, gamble their way into debt. He imagined them invading a port and gathering money, then blowing it on gambling, rum, and women.

He decided to take advantage of them. His conscience was bugging him, but he ignored it and planned his strategy. With no real money to gamble with, "Hmm...maybe its time to put these stones to good use"

He sat in on the game, which had just finished, leaving way for another one. He observed the game. It was...roulette? He questioned why they play this. "'cause old rust-bucket over here won't stop cheatin' at poker" He laughed conformatively and played on. He observed. The game was single round roulette, an unusual favorite of pirates.

One man went, there were 4 men, and him. He put some on black 42, all of his gold. He replied, "Last game gents, all or nothing." Emm was in a bunch. He had no valuables. Nothing.

The other men played, putting different pieces onto different colors, red and black. He thought, "Wait...I do have these two stones that don't do anything...I found them with the other ones. Maybe they will take them." "Are ye goin' sir?" said one of the pirates, the only one that hadn't bet all of their money. "Yes. But I think I can match and overdo the bets of you guys." The men laughed, drunkily, and they all said, "Ye wise guy, move!"
He placed a red stone on the table, one that was useless. All were silent.

The last pirate played all of his money, like the others, and they were all drooling. "They think its real stone, heh!" He put his bet onto black 13. A chubby one spun the wheel. He clutched his useful stone. He thought of his father, being brutally stabbed in front of him, and him not being able to do anything. He got angry.

The ball spun and stopped............at black 22. He sighed and the one pirate soared up in hilarity and excitement. He groaned and his eyes watered. All of it....gone. The stone was useless, but the fact that he could have won so much money. He paused, "maybe I can"

"Say, fine sir, would you mind entering a re-match, and i'll wager another stone." He immediately agreed and the men went outside. "This game is simple. You simply have to take a rock." They both picked one up off of the ground, "And you try to skip it across the lake, the farthest one is the winner. If I win, I get half of the loot AND the stone that put in inside on the roulette bet. If you win, you get this stone. He handed his strength stone, he knew he would win. They skipped the rock, Emm chose a relatively flat one. The man chose an excellent looking one. They skipped them. He thought again about his father, and the stone went 15 skips, 4 more. He won.

Deathword
06/08/2007 7:10 PM

"Oh! Most certainly, Ma'am. What can I help you with?" The blacksmith smiled. Leo recognized the clothes as a nobleman's clothes, but he knew that this woman was not from this town. This didn't surprise him at all. What caught his interest the most was a pendant on her jacket.

"I have been traveling quite a distance.... and my sword has broken in half," Jaspar pulled out a broken long sword: the blade from the bag she had carried with her and the handle from her side. The two pieces were clearly sliced into two; how this happened, even the captain understood. The man who did this was unarmed (she made certain of that), yet he was able to break her sword with no effort.

Leo picked up the two pieces, nearly amazed. "How could something like this happen?"

"I don't understand it myself." The two exchanged a nervous laugh before Jaspar decided to change the subject. "This is such a beautiful town." It was also much different from her town. The houses were smaller than the noble houses her mansion was surrounded by. "I am certain that you get a lot of business... being in a port town and all."

"Indeed I do."

"Good then. So, how much would it be to fix this sword?" She reached for her wallet.

"I can fix this... although I'd imagine you would've gotten a new one rather than repair it..." He had a good point. A soldier with money and especially nobles would've gotten a new sword if it were broken like this. Even so, she had a connection to this sword more than anything.

"Oh, I'd rather enforce a blacksmith's repairing abilities than their creativity-" She stopped herself and added. "Which I am certain you are great at!"

"I see..."

"Well, to be honest... I am too used to this sword to get rid of it." This answer made Leo more content and started to talk again; Jaspar would've paid attention, but she was sensing a very strong feeling. If it was so strong to go past her gloves, then not only was the person near by, but very bad off. Then she realized there was a figure behind her; the captain turned, ready to attack, but was caught off guard by the man standing at the door. He was in a cloak and she was unable to see anything of him. Still so many emotions from him were slowly eating at her defense against her own power that she was starting to feel them herself. [i] Who the hell is this person? [/i]

[Edited by Deathword on Friday, June 8, 2007 7:56 PM]

[Edited by Deathword on Friday, June 8, 2007 7:58 PM]

Whizkid7
06/08/2007 7:48 PM

The woman had turned to face him, and she was gazing upon him with a mixture of confusion and sadness.

But Vanderbilt was frozen, his eyes growing wider and his mind beginning to reel. [i]No...It cannot be...Not her...Not her...[/i]

"Is...there something I can help you with?" he heard her ask him. He could say nothing, only stare in shock as his body ceased to heed his mind.

[i]She can't be real...She can't be...She....I saw her die...[/i]

The woman was feeling very uncomfortable now, and this man was staring at her unwaveringly. The emotions emanating off him were beginning to overwhelm her. She took a step forward towards the man.

Vanderbilt moved back, his brain filling with terror. [i]It...It must be some kind of trick...She can't be here...She CAN'T be![/i]

The woman took another step forward, and he took another step back. "Why are you avoiding me?" She asked, a little more forceful this time.

"Not real...Not real...You can't be..." Van whispered, backing up even more.

The woman narrowed her eyes, and moved briskly towards him. Vanderbilt backpedaled as quickly as his frightened body could and stumbled out of the door into the town. He barely noticed where he was; He continued to slide back on his haunches as the woman continued to approach him.

"I just wish to speak to you!" The woman asked forcefully.

"Stay away from me!" Vanderbilt cried, fear now edging into his voice. His mind was screaming at him; he could barely distinguish reality from his own memories.

"I said I just-"

"STAY AWAY!!!" The cloaked man screamed, and found himself at the mercy of his own memories. He clutched his head in agony as a bloodcurdling scream escaped his lips. His own mind assaulted him with memories of the girl this woman before him looked like.

The woman felt herself being overcome by such intense sadness and pain that she had to fight to keep herself standing. [i]How...How powerful...This man...Why...?[/i]

People began to take notice of the cloaked man lying on the ground, clutching his head and moaning in agony. Vanderbilt knew this, yet he was at the mercy of his memory. He could do nothing but lie there, reliving those painful moments over and over again.

The woman finally managed to fight off the emotions overwhelming her, and started to approach the cloaked man. "Are you alright, sir?" she asked quietly.

Van shot off the ground, causing the woman to gasp in surprise and fall back. For one fleeting moment, he found himself staring directly at her face. The woman saw his icy blue eyes widen in terror.

The pain was far more than he could handle. He screamed again, clutching his head even harder, and sped away, the crowd parting before him as he disappeared into the distance. He bumped into people left and right as he was guided by no more than instinct towards the forest and his hideaway, making a mad dash for it and disappearing within.

"Wait!" The woman called after him, but he was already gone. The crowd began to disperse, and the woman heard people murmuring amongst one another: "Hey, was that...?" "Yeah! That was him! The guardian!" "What was that all about?" "Who knows? I always thought he was a myth!" "Wow...He really does exist."

The woman heard all this, and turned to look back at the direction the man had gone. She had seen the pain in his eyes, and she did not know why. [i]Who was he...And why...?[/i]

[Edited by Whizkid7 on Friday, June 8, 2007 7:49 PM]

adamsonite
06/09/2007 12:34 AM

((Sorry bout the short post I quickly posted one before going to bed))

Emm slipped off his shoe and placed the bills and coins flatly on the bottom of his shoe. He place the rock again in his pocket. With a smile he headed back to the pub and hopped onto the seat he was on. The bartender said, "Hey stranger" He replied, "I'll have the strongest stuff, and lots of it...hmm...actually, only 2."

He received the drinks and sipped one. "In some better fortune now?" He nodded and said, "Yes, I managed to trick some pirates" The bartender laughed.

Emm turned to his left, at the door, and observed someone walking in. "A lot of people coming in and out of late, eh?" The bartender nodded as he helped another customer and overheard some gamblers mumbling about how they lost all their money. He finished his drinks quickly.

He left to the blacksmith shop, a seemingly popular destination this morning and walked inside. He pondered a while and said, "I'm interested in a new axe. I just...got lucky...how much do they go for?"

glenn_frog_knight
06/09/2007 9:38 PM

(OOC)Just a quick note: I assume the village is normally friendly, but they don't normally have guys in full plate and heavy weaponry approach them. If you'd rather me change this, I'm more than willing to, but honestly, it's what I'd expect of a town where everyone's raised to be able to repel oft-occurring raider attacks when a man armed to the teeth comes in.

Leo making an axe and this one breaking are unrelated, if anyone's wondering. Oberon's in a different town, so it's pretty impossible.(OOC)

He looked into the town, from the outskirts. "A fine town, noble and simple. It looks like a fine place to stay for a while," Oberon said to himself. He quieted for a second. [i]I need to find some room and board, first. I haven't been able to have decent food in a while.[/i]

As he entered the town, he was a sight to behold. In full plate armor, well-polished and cared for, and with a broadsword on his back, he reminded onlookers of a commander of an army. He approached the nearest villager he could find. "Excuse me! I-"

The villager cut him off. "You're not from around here. You have one warning. We won't be easy prey to bandits. You don't look like one, so I'm not going to get the active militia, but know that if you cause any trouble, everyone here is an able warrior."

Oberon looked at the villager, opened his mouth, decided better, closed it, and turned away.

As he wandered aimlessly around the city, he began to notice that all the villagers seemed to view him with suspicion. [i]What an odd habit. They must have had something happen to them to make them so wary. I suppose the warning I received wasn't something to be taken lightly.[/i]

Ahead, he could hear a large commotion. [i]Probably just a social gathering. Good, I'll be able to make a proper introduction.[/i] He nodded to himself in satisfaction, and hurried over.

As he got closer, it became readily apparent it wasn't a social gathering of the sort he had hoped. He saw a small ring of people, and a man lying in the middle of it, unmoving. "Oh, no..." He ran over, and made his way into the circle. The shaft of an axe had broken at the top, sending the blade into a man's thigh. Oberon looked on in horror for a second, then made his way to the wounded man.

"Just hold on a bit longer. You're going to be fine. Just trust me." Oberon bent over, and pulled the axe head out of the man's leg. Blood began gushing out at an ever more alarming rate. The small crowd around the man began to yell. "What are you doing?! You'll kill him!"

Oberon put his hands over the wound, closed his eyes, and began to concentrate. "This one does not deserve to die now... please, help him." It came out as a quiet mumble, unable to be heard with the enraged, advancing crowd. Slowly, the soft, golden glow around his hands began to intensify. The flow of blood started to lessen.

The group stopped. Only one in the group, one who stayed near the back, quiet, said anything when they took notice of the glow. [i]Iesha... I need to tell Iesha![/i]

[Edited by glenn_frog_knight on Saturday, June 9, 2007 9:39 PM]

CandlestickJay
06/09/2007 9:55 PM

She sniffed, practically tasting the alcohol on the man's breath from the air alone.

"What can I do ya for?" Brianne asked simply, leaning over the counter and eying the ragged, drunk man before her. No wonder Perfidious had run away so quickly. Had she the choice, she would have too.

"I need...the thing..." the man wheezed, slobbering slightly at the mouth. His clothes were torn and dirty, and he had the wild look of a man long past his prime in money, fame, looks and....well, everything. Her nose twitched, watching his unseemly and shaky walk to the counter.

She coughed. "Well. That would involve telling me what the...uh...thing is." she replied, humoring him.

Faster than a drunk man should be able to move, he pushed forward, grabbing one of her bare shoulders and yanking her toward him. "The stone foolish ch-child! Th-e one with p-" he leaned in, breathing directly in her face, and she coughed, wrinkling her nose. Just nasty. Why men drank was beyond her. Women too for that matter. "Powers!" he finished, breathing out the word like an evil thing itself.

Brianne stifled a laugh, yet her mind raced to the two colored stones in her pack behind the counter. She met his eyes to avoid glancing back in the stones direction. That would only be dangerous. "Magical stones? Thats just plain stupid." She responded, an impish grin flitting across her lips. "Besides, its not like you could pay for it now anyway."

She purposefully allowed her gaze to stray to his toes and follow his body back up, a grin on her young, slightly grimy face. Then he growled. Thats right, growled, and then threw her backwards across the counter and against the shelves. They shook precariously as she regained her balance, staring back at him in shock.

"I find em...ye wait...I find em...Lost the money on me and mebbe the clothes of me back to a foolish woman, and now anuther won't even give me mah damn stone..." he grumbled, stumbling out the front door.

"Well that was a mess." Brianne said quietly, raising an eyebrow as she surveyed the damage. She shrugged, leaving it the way it was and diving behind the counter for her own pouch. She pulled it out and slowly drew out the two stones. The orange, and then the navy. Their glimmering surfaces drew her eyes, and she began to puzzle over them, her stringy blond hair falling into her face as she thought.

adamsonite
06/09/2007 11:02 PM

Suddenly a large boom erupted from, seemingly, a ship in the bay. "Pirates!" Emm shouted as he jumped from the stool he was observing the blacksmith from. "I think I better go and check this out."

He quickly ran out the door and into the street, moving past a large group of children. He took a glance at the bay, sure enough, a large booming galleon was open firing on the hillside.

He turned his head and laughed silently, "Bloody drunk." He sighed and headed to the dock, where the smashed pirates had stopped firing. The captain looked over the side to him. "That Hill-shide wahsh ...hic! It...err...attacked firsht ...hic!" He promptly toppled over as a crew mate, seemingly the designated steerer spoke to him, "We intercepted a rum runner running out of Port Tilsdale. The crew decided to reap the benefits. We have a fresh stock of pricey wines and beers."

Emm replied to the man, "How are the seas of late?" The man replied, "Very good, but with storms coming out of the west, we be needing to rest for the night, are you the dock keeper?" He shook his head, pointed to a passed out man, resting against a large whiskey barrel and obviously smashed and said, "Theres your man"

The ship mate and Emm shared a laugh and the crew of the ship docked up and threw the drunk man a few coins, waking him up, "Blasted kids keep waking me! Ya think its a joke, don't you?" He looked and saw no kids, so he returned to his slumber.

((Sorry 'bout the whole other town thing, heh, mis-communication.))

[Edited by adamsonite on Sunday, June 10, 2007 12:21 AM]

nanuk
06/10/2007 4:39 AM

[OOC: yeah, they're normally friendly, but you're dead right about the reaction, lol]

For the second time in one day the door to Iesha's small home burst open, to be followed by a hurried Sherra.

This time, however, the woman's whole demeanour was different: she pulled the bar down across the door before even a word of greeting, then , eyes closed and breathing heavily, lay her back against it.

Iesha sat down the blouse she had been darning and moved swiftly toward the older woman.

Sherra! Sea's mercy- whatever is the matter?"

Taking her hand she tried to lead her over toward a chair but the woman resisted, shaking her head.

"Man... Jerrol... blood, so mu-.." the words came out in a strangled gasp.

"Calm, Sherra- wait a moment, catch your breath."
Concerned, now, Iesha glanced out the small window to the side of the door, half expecting to see villagers fleeing from a raid; but all appeared quiet.

The high colour was fading slowly from Sherra's cheeks, her chest no longer heaving so alarmingly as Iesha rubbed her arm comfortingly.

"There, that's better. Now, tell me, what has so upset you?"

"You must leave! Now! I'll tell Locke to meet you on the road, past Hall's bluff, but go, please!"

Stepping back in confusion Iesha's brows drew together in alarm.

"Why, Sherra? What has happened?"

"Please, child, just go! Delay no longer, I beg you!"

The woman was growing distressed again, and Iesha was tempted to do as she said just to calm her: instead, she took both trembling shoulders in her hands, squeezing them gently but firmly.

"Look outside, Sherra- no one is coming. I am packed already and can leave if I must, but I will not do so until I know what I am to be running from".

Seeing the stubborn set of the younger woman's features she nodded in resignation, the words spilling from her lips with speed.

"Jerrol was chopping wood when the haft broke, blade went straight into his leg. You know how sharp he keeps those things- gods there was blood everywhe-" breaking off, she shook her head and continued hurriedly.

"It had only happened, Hap's boy had run for Locke, when a man walked up... oh the sight of him..." her eyes grew wide. "Head to foot covered in armour, he was, if you could have seen him... I half expected raiders to come screaming after him and us all to be murdered but..." she paused again, shaking her head once more in bewilderment.
"He pulled the blade out- I've never seen blood gush so quickly- and then he... he put his hands on Jerrol, where his leg was torn, and- save us- his hands [i]glowed[/i]! They glowed! And the wound started to heal".

She gripped Iesha's hands with intensity.

"It was [i]magic[/i] girl- what if he's one of those hunters? You've got to go! Now!"

Stunned as she was by Sherra's tale Iesha nevertheless remained reasoned.

"Stay calm- why would he have helped Jerrol if he meant harm, Sherra? And you've been here some minutes now, the village stays quiet- there's no sign of raiders."

"I... maybe he's trying to gain our trust, being sly".

"By walking into the village in armour? That would hardly be the best way to gain our trust."

Stepping back from the other woman she pulled a worn, green shawl off a hook by the doorframe and cast it about her shoulders.

"What are you doing?" Sherra's voice started to raise in panic once more.

"I'm going to go have a look at this stranger. Now-" seeing Sherra open her mouth to protest she cut her off, "I'll be fine. If he's stone hunter why would he heal Jerrol- and if it was a ploy why would he make himself so noticeable [b]and[/b] if it [i]is[/i] a trick then it doesn't matter anyway- most of the village will be there by now, he won't be able to do anything."

Sherra's mouth closed again.

Smiling reassuringly Iesha moved her gently from in front of the door and unbarred it, walkling quickly toward the center of the willage.

Deathword
06/10/2007 6:38 AM

Those that surrounded her and the cloaked man had gone about their way. Jaspar turned to the blacksmith's shop once more, ignorant of anything that was happening around her. As she stumbled numbly into the store, Leo took notice.

"Are you ok?" He asked worriedly. "You don't look so good."

"I guess it's obvious.... well, as long as I don't throw up or faint on the street I am fine." The captain groaned and her head landed onto a table near by. Her head felt like lead and her body slowly dieing off on her. "Now... my sword-"

"I will work on it. Right now, I think you should go somewhere for this... we'll talk of money later." He interrupted her. She nodded slightly and left the shop; she went along the streets (in her head they were spinning)that lead back to the hotel. Those around her were probably staring, but all she could focus on the spinning roads around her. Another hallucination was in store, so she ran as fast as she could into the hotel. Lucky for her, Lieutenant Sevrrir was in the lobby.

"Captain?" Before he could say anymore, she fell to the floor, groaning.

"Get me to my room... I feel sick...." Jaspar slurred. Sevrrir picked her up, gently, and carried her up the stairs. He was quite used to this; also, of all her men, he is the only one who knows of her power and its side effects.

"Let me see...." He muttered to himself after he placed Jaspar in bed. "A fever... not that bad though..." He reached for a medicine bottle he had brought with him; then he heard a rather loud gulping sound. "... Vomiting..." The lieutenant gave Jaspar a pan. "You know its bad to hold it in."

"Yes..." she replied after letting it out.

Sevrrir gave her two pills from the bottle. "What happened?"

"... I think I met this 'guardian' locals have spoke up. He saw me and was panicking...."

"What was he feeling?"

"So many things I couldn't separate one from another."

"I see..." He rubbed his head in frustration.

"I think I will meet him again tonight." The captain concluded, getting up wearily.

"You are not!" Levrrir shouted demandingly. "You are sick... I refuse for you to go out until you get better."

"..." There was an uneasy pause between the two. A Lieutenant demanding a Captain was not common and against the rules of status. "I am not your wife, you know." Then she grinned slightly. "As much as I know you want me to be, I will never ever be." As expected, he began to fluster. Jaspar loved pulling that on him. Levrrir was always bashful of women, except her when she acts like a man. "Fine then, doctor. I will get some rest. But I WILL meet this man again. I must."

[Edited by Deathword on Sunday, June 10, 2007 11:20 AM]

Whizkid7
06/10/2007 6:38 PM

Vanderbilt crashed through the brush, running as fast as he could deeper into the forest. He didn't care where he ended up; he just needed to get away, into the comfort of darkness and obscurity.

When his body finally cried out for rest, he stopped. Gasping for air, he managed to force away the painful memories long enough to get an idea of where he was. He was deep in the forest now, having left all sight of the city behind. He was beneath the thicker section of canopy, where almost no light penetrated, covering him and his surroundings in darkness.

Vanderbilt breathed deep, calming himself and taking in the smells of the area. He recognized the faint smell of burnt wood, and knew it to be the remains of his campsite. He made his way towards it and soon found everything as he had left it.

Not that there was much there to begin with. The remnants of a fire and a fallen log were all that marked someone had been there. Taking a small stick and some leaves lying around, Vanderbilt started a small fire, being careful to keep it small so as not to attract attention. He'd chosen this spot because of how deep in the woods it was, and few chose to venture this far into the woods. Those that did never found him; he came back here only for a few short hours of rest and contemplation.

Now was one of those times. He sat on the log and watched the small fire crackle and snap. His mind was finally calm enough for him to think clearly.

[i]There is no doubt about it...That woman looked just like her...[/i] He thought grimly. [i]But...I do not understand...Why did I react as such...?[/i]

He stared deeper into the fire, as though the answer to his question lay there. [i]Is it because of my failure...? Do I feel this ache because I could not keep my promise...? Yes...It must be so...[/i]

Van sighed, looking up into the dark canopy above. [i]Never did I expect to see that face again...I did not expect such weakness in myself...I will have to be very careful should I run into this woman again.[/i]

He turned back to the fire, quietly staring into its crackling center. [i]Fire...How I hate the memories that you bring...[/i]

Absently, he reached within his cloak and pulled out a bluish stone. He held it before his eyes, turning it in his hand. The light of the fire danced beyond the jewel, twisting and distorting within the jewel's visage. He found himself remembering another promise he had made in what had been another lifetime.

[i]"Van?"

"Yes, dear?

"...Come back safe, alright?"

"I'm just going to the town. Nothing will happen."

"I worry. You know that. "

"You have nothing to worry about. I will always be here."

"Hm...I know. But will you be here when I need you?"

"You should know the answer to that by now."

"...You're right...Silly of me to say such a thing."

"...No, it's not. You can't help but worry."

"Of course I can't. But you always said that was what you liked about me."

"Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking when I said that."

"Hey!"

"Haha...I promise I will be here when you need me. Now and forever."

"...You do?"

"I do."[/i]

He felt a single tear escape from his eyes.

[i]Liana...[/i]

[Edited by Whizkid7 on Sunday, June 10, 2007 6:39 PM]

Terra_Withers
06/10/2007 9:51 PM

Leo yawned as he gathered different tools for repairing the sword, he again yawned slightly "Gosh I'm tired..." he remarked as the sound of the hammer clashing with the steel kept him awake.

Leo kept pounding and pounding against the blade until finally it connected weakly, he left it there for and hour as he sharpened his sabre's against a sharp rock, the screeching sound was like music to Leo's ears, he knew many people hated the screech of a rock smoothing out a fine blade.

Leo then grabbed the blade from the wooden table, he swiftly swung it and slashed it against metal, it sliced the wind without pressure, he then placed the blade in a weapon rack filled with other blades, axes and daggers.

Leo looked at the golden necklace sealed on another table, the gem inside it was giving some kind of signal, it wanted to be used, it wanted to be of service, but most of all... It wanted to kill. Leo was astonished, he grabbed the necklace and placed it in a crate and then sealed it in by placing the wooden crate in a small shelf near the anvil. Leo decided he needed a break, therefore closed the blacksmith and went to the local tavern.

Leo wasn't a drinker, he only liked certain beverages, like wine. He addressed the bartender "I would like some wine, if you have it?" The bartender looked at him sharply "Yeah, we have it..." He replied as he slammed a polished mug in front of Leo and poured some nice, lush wine, or so Leo thought. Leo sipped it slightly and spat in the the bartender's face. "You call that wine?!"

The bartender sighed "Yes..." Leo wasn't happy, instead he stomped out of the tavern, the timber floorboards seemed to make a loud noise when this happened.

Dustyn
06/11/2007 12:23 PM

The creaking of the wheels could be felt from within the wagon's walls. Alten was positioned in the middle, lying flat on the hard wood surface and staring out the hole in the top of the leather tarp strapped onto the frame. He watched as the clouds rolled idly through the night, and when they cleared, he watched the stars, the events of the past few days haunting his mind.

"... I could've stopped it. I could have saved them. If only I hadn't been so afraid." Alten sighed silently, his hand subconsciously going to the dagger at his side. He gripped it firmly, tightening his grip until his knuckles cracked and turned white. He released it, thrusting his hand into his pocket and curling his fingers around his stones, pulling them out and throwing them against the low wooden wall. He broke into sobs, cursing violently and smashing a crate to his right with his fists.

However, his violent rage ended quickly, as the wagon began to come to a stop. He heard the hooves of the large beasts slowing before going silent all together.

He heard the two large men stand from their positions in the front of the vehicle, coming around to the back and thrusting the doors open. "Get out. Now."

Alten's hand went up quickly to cover his face before he could grab his mask. He released his dagger, stumbling to his feet and tripping over the empty bottles of rum that he found packaged within the crates. "And you drank our cargo? After we were doing you this simple service? We risked our lives sneaking you through that border, and this is how you repay us? Well then, I suppose I owe you this!" The other man, not as large as the first but just as menacing (and, of course, Alten could not hope to defend himself in his drunken state), jumped into the wagon and ran forward, grabbing Alten by the shoulders and thrusting his oversized knee into Alten's stomach.

Collapsing on the ground in pain, Alten grabbed for his dagger, but could not reach it before another blow came from the man; this time, his foot was directed at Alten's face.

A rush of pain coursed through Alten's head as he felt his nose shatter. Blood began to flow, and his vision started to go black. "Useless cargo," the man said, lifting Alten's drunken body by the wrist. "Oh, and look at this! The reason you had to escape to begin with," he motioned to the glowing stones lying on the floor, leaning and lifting one up, holding it in front of Alten's face. "We'll be keeping these," was the last thing Alten heard before he was thrown from the back of the cabin. He hit the ground face-first, and knew no more until the next morning.

----

Alten awoke slowly, head throbbing. His eyes opened and closed slowly, bringing the world into view for a moment, before the spinning and turning of the world around him proved too difficult to overcome. He layed there motionless, letting the events of the night before come back to him.

"We'll be keeping these," the voice repeated, and Alten's hand went quickly to his pocket.

"Gone? My stones..." He cursed his luck and his drunkenness, forcing himself to his feet. After a slight battle with his own sobriety, he checked for his other posessions. Money, weapons, and, thankfully, the letter he had been asked to deliver were all still there. Suddenly, he remembered. He dug through his wallet, pushing the gold aside, and allowing the glow of four stones to permeate the gold above it. He smiled. He knew this fortune meant that the gods were still on his side.


Alten continued to walk for half of the day, until his fatigue caught up with him. He rested when he came to an intersection of roads. His path was lined out clearly ahead of him, but the means of travel now posed a large problem with his plan. The roads seemed well-worn, though, so perhaps this was a common route of travel, and he should merely wait for passers by, and perhaps bargain his way into a carriage to the city.

"At any rate, sitting here won't solve anything," he decided, standing and walking southward down the path. "I can smell the sea already. Perhaps this port isn't nearly as far as I thought."

Terra_Withers
06/11/2007 4:17 PM

Leoraki wasn't the only blacksmith, there was rivalry... Just on the other side of town, he knew he was the best out of the two... Or was he? He didn't boast about his work in public, just in his private time. He would always disguise himself and took a little 'peek' of the rival blacksmith and noticed he wasn't a very occupied man, he had droopy eyes just like a sloth and frizzy brown hair that looked like it was never washed, he was muscular but he never got the job done on time.

He was a poor man, and Leo always felt sorry for him. Once a week he would fill a sack with a proportion of his daily intake of gold and give it to him as a donation, but also occasionaly if Leo was seen by the rival blacksmith, they would apparently fight, but Leo refused and was usually defeated, but now Leo was sick and tired of it and has made a pledge that he will not spare mercy upon the competition!

"Hahahaaa... Look who i've found, my competition and you know what happens" the Blacksmith remarked.
"Yes... and today you wont be so lucky, Slate" Leo laughed as he grinned.
Slate adjusted his body into a classic wrestling stance while Leo stood their not moving. "Well, are you going to make your move?" Leo asked.
"A'ight" he laughed as he charged at Leo who avoided him. Slate continued punching at Leo and began sweating monstrously. "Poor, poor Slate... Getting tired?" Leo asked as he pounded his palm on Slate's chest sending him into a wall. "I'm not sparing you this time..." Leo laughed as he gave a 'bring it on' signal.

"YOU'LL DIE WEAKLING!" Slate yelled as Leo bend down and performed a 360degree spin and kicked Slate's leg to the side making him lose balance, while spinning Leo stood up and performed an upper cut under Slate's chin making his fall upwards. "What's changed? Your so ... good at this now... Arghh" Slate remarked as Leo helped him up, they soon went their seperate ways and Leo was back in the blacksmith and noticed one of his gold sacks had dissapeared, Leo unleashed an anger he would never unleash, he hated items being stolen from him "I HOPE THIS THIEF ROTS IN HELL!" Leo shouted as he looked at his cabinet, a soothing sound came from it, he opened the cabinet and noticed the crate was gone, but look... His necklace was there... He placed it around his neck and sat down to think about who might have done it.

[Edited by Terra_Withers on Monday, June 11, 2007 5:57 PM]

[Edited by Terra_Withers on Monday, June 11, 2007 8:10 PM]

Deathword
06/14/2007 12:19 PM

Several hours passed when Jaspar woke up; her head was still spinning, but less so than it had when she was brought to the room she was in. Sevrrire was not beside her at this point, so she debated with herself: Sneak out to look in the forest or to stay and sleep some more. She laid down once again so she could think straight. Fingering her pendant, she started talking to herself.

"I'm certain if I go, I might end up in trouble with Sevrrire... but what else is new? You're always in trouble with him. Besides, you're his superior! He shouldn't be telling you what to do..." After some more thought, she nodded. After putting on another shirt and new gloves, the captain moved to the window. Lantern and jacket at hand, she jump safely to the ground.

As she walked along the path, her mind started to wonder some more. [i] If this man begins to panic again, what will I do? Most certainly I will feel his feelings again... Maybe I can snap him out of it somehow. How though? [/i] She stopped by the blacksmith's shop. "Violence? I doubt it would do much-" Then she realized something. [i] I was on the verge of fainting back then... what if I do faint with no one around but this man? [/i] She sighed. [i] The best I can do is hope he's not out to harm others. [/i]

The blacksmith was not inside when Jaspar entered. "How odd." It was that odd, she objected to herself. A man has a right to a break. She was tempted to go into the man's workspace to retrieve her sword; instead she refrained herself and chose to sit down outside the building. There were few travelers, which allowed her to relax and enjoy the smells of the water, damp wood, and fire from the lantern. "This wouldn't be a bad place to vacation at," She sighed contently as she leaned her head against the wall behind her and closed her eyes. "Not a bad place at all..."

--

As she departed the blacksmith shop with her repaired sword, she looked up to the forest that lay beyond the town. That was where this guardian was running towards when she first met him, and that was where she'd most likely find him. Even if the encounter with the man would be much worse than her first, Jaspar was willing to risk it.

"Off I go then..." she raised her lantern and walked on towards the forest.

[Edited by Deathword on Saturday, June 16, 2007 7:08 PM]

Dustyn
06/18/2007 1:03 PM

[OOC: I named the city Falia, if no one else is going to.]

Half of the day had been lost to his walking before he realized that he had to turn back. The northern gate, which was the main point of access for the city, was to be his entrance. However, in hindsight, he recognized the main method of entering the city would also be the most watched -- and likely regulated (for it was, after all, a port town) -- by the local guard, or even by those from whom he hid.

And so, he found himself walking southwest through the forest after travelling back north and to the east for sometime. The brush was thick, and hard to navigate. Eventually, he pulled out his dagger and began hacking his way through.

After a few cuts and scratches to his arms and legs, he finally found his way to a clearing. A beautiful, pristine brook trickled along the forest floor, casting a beautiful array of colors into the trees above. The small amount of sunlight that permeated the treetops cast a broken multi-beamed light that shone down and gave the area a beautiful shine.

There was a small pool to his right that had filled with water and settled. He checked his reflection in it. "Hah, I'm glad I did not walk into a town looking like this." He splashed water onto his face, wiping the blood from his face that had dried from the night before. He also closely examined his nose, which he could see had been broken, but not noticeably to anyone that did not know how it was shapen beforehand. He drank from the pool, taking a rest for a short time. The mystical glow of the area seemed to give him a further inner peace, hastening his recovery time. After a short hour's rest, he began to traverse the forest once more.

It was a large forest, stretching on for miles. Alten attempted to climb the tallest tree he could see, but settled for a smaller one when the tallest lacked the branches to continue his climb. And from there, he saw some buildings of the city in the distance, for the forest was on a slope toward the coast -- and his destination, which he determined to be around a two hours' walk away.

And he saw many things within the city. He saw houses, buildings, docks, ships, boats, the ocean... and a large windmill in the center of the city. However, one more thing now caught his attention: down the hill a bit, smoke could be seen rising from the treetops.

He quickly but silently descended the tree, making his way quietly down the hill. Within moments, he could see the glow of a small campfire, and a cloaked man. Though his face was hidden, Alten could Alten instinctively reached for his mask, sliding it over his face. Then, he stepped forward, and began to speak.

"Hello!" but, this was all he could get out before the man jumped up, stumbling and rushing for the nearest tree, pulling himself up quickly onto a low-hanging branch. A hand went to his blade. Alten's did the same.

"I mean you no harm, if your intent is the same," he said in a calm voice, trying to keep from scaring the man off -- or leading him to attack.

"What is your purpose here?" the man grunted at him.

Alten wasn't sure if he could be trusted. "My purpose is my own," he said. "However, I must tell you that my reasons are pure, and if you are also a seeker of light and goodness, I can trust you with the intentions of my quest."

Alten released his grip on his weapon, and the man seemed to loosen his. "Know that I will strike you down in an instant if you try to harm me or the people of the city nearby." He then came down from the tree, landing gracefully on the ground. The clumsiness that came from his sheer suprise of Alten's presence was gone. "My name is Vanderbilt. I protect this forest and the city to the west."

"I am Alten. I have come to the city by directions from a man whose name I cannot speak, and a location that I am only able to recall if he wills me. However, I am not his pawn, nor he mine. We are, in fact, brothers: we speak the same and support like ideals. I have been sent to deliver this letter." He pulled out a sealed letter. The seal was simple, but effective. It glowed with a dim blue light: "It carries an enchanted seal. If it were to be broken by any but the man to whom it was written, every inch of the letter would burst into flames, and the person that held it would perish."

"That is a strong enchantment," Vanderbilt said, slightly suprised. "And if it is to be delivered with such an enchantment, then it is certain that your friend does not trust you. What kind of partner has death linger so close to his compatriot without calling him a pawn?"

"It is not like that. You see, I helped him write this letter. However, the enchantment has also caused us to relinquish memory of ever having written it."

"And yet, you are certain he resides in this city?" Vanderbilt eyed Alten with confusion.

"Yes. This is the only point I am certain of," Alten sighed. "I will not know who it is addressed to until I hear his name. It is also not written within the letter."

"Hmm, many measures are taken to keep this letter quiet. I am curious. However, aware of the enchantment, I couldn't possibly do anything to remove it from your posession, or attempt to read it. And so, I offer you this: I am familiar with the city and the people within. I do not claim to know everyone or everything within, but I know much of what has happened in this city recently, and can likely help you with your search. However, there's a catch: In return for my helping you, and because you seem like you would be aware of the situation, I would like information. The Stone hunters." Alten was unable to contain his familiarity with the subject: it was apparent in his face. "So, you know of them?"

"... I know much of them. However, I will only exchange the information that I know you are looking for. There exists a large gang of thugs, run by a man named Naliasan and known as The Aliasans. They've been raiding cities across this continent, and are now on their way west. They have taken ports north and south of here. However, they seem to be avoiding Falia, and I am here to find out why."

[Edited by Dustyn on Monday, June 18, 2007 1:28 PM]

Whizkid7
06/18/2007 8:14 PM

[i]Interesting...He seems to know far more about this whole situation than he is willing to reveal...I think I should keep my eye on this Alten...[/i] Vanderbilt thought to himself. Speaking to Alten, he said "Their avoidance of this town may have to do with the rumors of my presence here, although I did run into four of them earlier in the day."

Alten seemed to be thinking as he spoke. "So they've gotten bold enough to start on this town..."

"You seem to know quite a great deal about these stone hunters..."

"...I have given you your information. Now what about your end of our bargain?"

Vanderbilt snorted inwardly. "Very well. Let us move quickly." With that, Vanderbilt turned on his heel and moved in the direction of the city. Alten hesitated for but a moment before following behind the cloaked man.

It was another hour before the two reached town. Vanderbilt had led them through the lesser known sections of the forest. When Alten had questioned why, he'd answered with "To attract less attention." Alten had remained silent the rest of the trek through the forest. The two entered the town and Van led them briskly to Jon's tavern.

The tavern was more lively now, having grown later in the day. There were several tables full of people drinking, and some off-color music was playing in the back corner. The sounds of drunken laughter and clinking mugs filled the atmosphere as Van and Alten entered.

Their entry did not go unnoticed, as people turned to look at the the cloaked man and his companion. The music stopped abruptly and all eyes were now turned to Van. The once noisy atmosphere was now deadeningly quiet.

[i]I thought this man said he knew these townspeople...These people look ready to attack![/i] Alten thought worriedly as his hand slowly drifted to his blade.

A voice broke the silence. "A nice strong drink for the guardian and his friend!" one of the men in the back called. The rest echoed him with jeers and shouts.

Van smiled under his cloak, and moved to sit at the bar as Jon brought his usual drink before him. "Don't usually see you in here at this hour." Jon commented.

"Circumstances have dictated my presence. This man is looking for someone." Van replied, motioning towards Alten, who had sat down next to him.

Jon looked Alten over. "Didn't think you were the type to babysit, Van."

"He has given me information. I am returning the favor by aiding him in his search for his missing person."

"Ahh...So who're you looking for, son?" Jon asked.

"I do not know his name, and will only know it when I hear the name spoken. " Alten replied quickly.

"Not giving much to go on, are you?" Jon asked him.

"It is all I know."

Van leaned a little closer, and Jon instinctively did as well. "He mentioned a powerful enchantment upon the letter he carries. All he can remember is that the person he seeks is in this town."

Jon nodded slowly. "Huh. Well, I can't do much without a name. But if your friend here hangs around for a bit, he might hear the name he's looking for."

"That would be most appreciated, Jon." Vanderbilt stood up, polishing off his drink in one swig.

"Where are you going?" Alten asked him.

"I am going to look for anyone expecting a letter to be delivered. I do not expect to find anyone, but it will be better than just sitting around here." Vanderbilt replied.

"And you expect me to just wait here?" Alten looked angry.

"The people here are harmless. They will not harm you unless you provoke them. I will return shortly."

"...Fine. I suppose I can't fault you for sticking to your end of the bargain. I'll be waiting." Alten returned, turning back to the drink Jon had placed before him.

Vanderbilt nodded and left the bar. He'd told Alten only the partial truth; he would go looking for someone expecting a letter, but after he'd returned to the forest for a few brief moments of solitude. He needed some time to sort out his thoughts, and decide on a se course of action. Being in the forest helped ease his mind and allow for clearer thinking, he found.

Moving briskly through the late afternoon, he approached the forest and slipped in quietly. Once far enough away from prying eyes, he took to the trees, sprinting through the treetops leading deeper into the forest. Small birds and tiny animals fluttered away in fright as his large cloaked form disturbed their resting places.

[i]This Alten character is suspicious to say the least...But he has left me little choice but to aid him. If I am to truly keep this town safe, then these stone hunters must be dealt with, and he knows enough to make that possible. I will keep my eyes and ears open for him, and if I find this person, perhaps I will be able to get more information out of him.[/i] Vanderbilt thought to himself as he moved through the trees.

He noted a faint glow farther ahead in the forest, but he had only been traveling for a few moments, so it couldn't be his campsite.

[i]Someone is here...[/i] He slowed his passage and moved silently among the branches, edging closer to the source of the glow. He soon discovered it to be a young woman holding a lantern. She seemed to be searching for something...

[i]Could it be...? Yes...It is the girl from before![/i] He stopped himself well short of getting a good look at her. [i] I cannot allow the previous incident to happen again. No doubt she has come looking for me...Hmm...What should I do...[/i]

adamsonite
06/19/2007 2:44 AM

((Yes the imagery is intended, it's how I feel))

Emm watched from the bushes as he stayed silent, breathing ever so softly, he was sure to remain unseen. He changed his attire to a more serious look, wearing an all black theif's suit. He moved swiftly to the other side of the clearing in order for him to hear the conversation [i]This is definitely the man, he hides a mysterious past...suspicious[/i]

The stories that his father had told him back when he was a child were mystical and magical. They spoke of far off lands and ancient magic. But non more magical than one that his father told him when he was much older, when Emm first joined the militia. He spoke of a mystical item.

[i]"The item I mention is made of an ancient cloth, taken from the cloak of an ancient magical warrior. It is very special."[/i]

He remembered his father's words clearly, as if he had heard them yesterday. For a moment he drifted towards sadness, he thought of his father and his brother. His brother's death was an accident, he was told that there was a large raid on his brother's post by pirates from another colony. They were mercenaries hired to storm the city, a major trade city much like the one he had just came from. He was asleep in the quarters and a stray torch fell in the rush to get to the armory due to the raid. All men were woken, but Edgar hadn't, he perished.

His father's death, however, wasn't. He was murdered, probably assasinated, and his only clue was a strange tattoed marking that was on his father's chest. His father told him that he received it when he got drunk during leave back in the army days. This marking was slashed out, a simple quick slash to the tattoo, it was a sign. Emm was a medic in the army, he knew. A coroner determined that his father died from a blow to the head, the slash was afterwards. He thought to himself...

[i]Why would someone take the time to make such a precise marking after the person was already killed?[/i]

Emm wanted to know why.

He was tired of being the useless one. While everyone else was pointing fingers, he would be the one to step up and speak. He would play his role in making the topic his own and find the person who killed his father.

He heard a shout and was hit in the head, he blacked out and was dragged into clear sight by the men, who knew all along that he was there.

[Edited by adamsonite on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 2:47 AM]

Deathword
06/21/2007 4:42 PM

Jaspar journeyed deeper into the forest in search of the cloaked person she met before; she had many questions about what happened and the only person who would answer it was the man himself. For her safety, she held her lantern high so she could see anything that was within arm's reach. Anything was possible in the dark, so one had to be extra careful. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt continued to watch the woman from a distance. Suddenly, he disturbed a group of birds that were in a near by tree. They fled, and Jaspar turned sharply to the tree, hand on her sword.

"Show yourself!" She demanded sternly.

[i]Blast[/i] "Why have you entered my forest?" Vanderbilt asked from where he stood.

"I have come in search of the man I met this afternoon. I must speak to him." After that was said, the cloaked man came down from the tree he was in, his gaze downward to avoid looking at her face again.

"Then you have found him..." The captain looked at him, not certain what exactly to ask or how to say it. Many things crowded her mind, but she was having trouble bringing one out until she finally came up with one.

"You feel a lot of pain and sorrow... I can feel it. Why?" There was a pause between the two; Jaspar waited patiently until he asked.

"Why does it matter to you?"

"If a person's feelings can go past my defense and affect me like it did, it matters very much."

"Defense? What defense do you speak of?"

"I have a power... the ability to sense people's emotions. When I sense someone's emotions and feel them as my own, willingly or not, I become very sick. I was throwing up a lot after we met. So, to protect myself, I wear these gloves to prevent myself from feeling them." She raised her left arm to show Vanderbilt the gloves she was talking about. On this arm, there was a bracelet that dangled slightly near her elbow. On it was a large blue stone.

[i] Empathy...A strange power to say the least...Yet I have heard and seen stranger... [/i]"You would tell a complete stranger something so personal?"

"I trust you, body and soul." Jaspar smiled to the man. The answer reminded him of the girl who shared the same face with the woman in front of him.

[i] Just like her...[/i] He chuckled slightly. "It seems fate is most cruel to me."

:"How so?" The man turned away from Jaspar and explained redundantly.

"I... I made a promise once, long ago. I promised to protect a young girl. But I failed and she... died." He paused. "You... you look just like her, and your honesty to me now reminds me of her even more."

This was an interesting response: a girl that looked like her was involved? She had a feeling that this was a matter of fate that she ended up looking like the now dead girl. But something else was on her mind; the captain blamed it on the curse of being a woman. "Did you care for this girl?"

"I do not know. All that matters to me is that I failed to keep my promise, and she died because of it."

At this, the woman crossed her arms. "Just because she died doesn't mean you failed. She might of been fated to die. Either way, if she is the kind to be protected, I am certain she'd see no fault on your part."

"You know nothing of what transpired...How could I possibly explain?" Sympathetically, Jaspar sighed.

"If you wish to release your frustration.... I will lend you an open ear. But if you wish to keep it within, I will either leave or give you company despite your adverted gaze."

"Frustration..." Vanderbilt uttered. "If only it were that simple."

"A deep wound then?" She offered.

"Perhaps...I know not how to explain it. But seeing her...your...face returns the memories in a most...painful fashion."

"Maybe you need to give yourself another chance... as some say there is no such thing as failure, but there is such a thing as lessons."

"I have already learned one lesson because of her. If there is another, I have yet to discover it. But perhaps I may find it if I continue my search..."

"Search for what?" This peaked her interest.

"...You have trusted me...I will trust you. The stone hunters. If this town is to be safe, I must stop them. Permanently."

"Stone hunters..." [i] I have heard of them before from nobles in my home.[/i] "If there is anything I can do to help, I will not hesitate to assist."

"If you wish to help, then find as much information as you can. Return here tomorrow at this time and we can talk further." The cloaked man then turned around and began to walk away from Jaspar.

"I shall do so," Then, she smirked slightly and joked light heartedly. "But must I go back now? Surely you wouldn't send a lady into the darkness where unknown danger could be lurking around every corner " To this, Vanderbilt snorted.

"The only dangerous thing in this forest is standing before you. Besides, you have a lantern. You may stay if you wish, but you will not find me should you try to search again. I will find you when it is time to talk again." From there he jumped into the closest tree, disappearing into the darkness.

"That's no fun!" She shook her head in amusement as she went to walk off; before she did however, Jaspar realized she forgot something. When she turned back to the tree Vanderbilt jumped into and yelled, "I will be in the hotel! Ask for Alexis!!!" And with that, she ran out of the forest and back to town.

[Edited by Deathword on Thursday, June 21, 2007 5:01 PM]

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