Successfully Half Assing It

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Successfully Half Assing It

Postby Borin Drakkmurl » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:32 pm

(I still have notes and memories of the backgrounds of most of my main characters. I decided, for the fun of it, to try and properly condense them all into stories that include both pre Arelith moments and important things that happened during their stay on the island. They will all follow more or less a 10 chapter structure, so that I can get myself to actualy finish the damned things in a reasonable way, and not get too long winded. Now that I have stopped ranting at myself, here goes.)




Evermeet


Swirling mist slowly curled its way out of the sea and into the forested hills. The tops of the pine trees floated above the silver fog like deep green pyramids and a damp silence settled upon the world. High above all of this rose the elven city of Evermeet, an overlapping míriad of pearly white walls and glistening towers.
Alone in one such tower, Daedin Angthalion kept a silent watch over the city and the island below. The mithril helmet on his head bothered him, the fancy black cloak of the city guard was too hot and the long spear that he could not let go of felt increasingly heavy and useless. Furthermore, his thoughts felt as thick and opaque as the morning mist that swallowed the forest.
Why did he keep up with this charade? What was the point in continuing down a path that he detested? He knew what was expected of him. He could predict with certainty what his life would look like fifty years down the line. One hundred years down the line. Two hundred, even. Each step taken to please others, each new stage just another vague bump in a boring road. A road made a lot narrower by his impending marriage, just a couple of days away.


When his shift ended, Daedin went back to the barracks and removed the guard uniform. He washed himself and then stared at his own face in the mirror. He did not like what he saw. The issue was not the far too pale skin, even so for a moon elf, nor the gaunt features or the jet black hair. No. The issue was the desperation he could see in his own eyes. The panic of a caged animal, of someone drowning inside a closed well. With a frustated sigh he got dressed and left the tower.

It was mid afternoon and so the city was wide awake. People walked leisurely about,but most seemed to be headed to the western ramparts, likely to participate in the dusk cerimonies. Daedin made sure to go in the opposite direction, yet was soon stopped in his tracks by a figure coming his way. A tall elf, his long black hair streaked with silver, gestured him to stop. His long blue robes hung heavily about him as he finally aproached.

"I was hoping to run into you, son."
"Well, you succeeded."
"With a degree of effort. You have been avoiding me."
"Then I guess I failed at that, father."
"Do not be crass, Daedin. You know why we need to speak."

The younger elf did not reply. His gaze went to his father's feet.

"Your Captain tells me that you have shown no pride in your duties. No motivation. He says that promotion is not only unlikely but impossible, at this rate."
"Has it occured to you that I do not want to be promoted?"
"That makes no sense. It is irresponsible. You were kicked out of the Temple, failed in the ranger trainning and did not even bother with the main army. You are to marry and start a family soon, and that was a decision of your own making. What kind of life will you two live?"
"Don't you worry about that, father, for it does not concern you. In fact, less of your meddling would be great as a whole."

Daedin pushed past his father and walked off into the street. He had not dared raise his voice then, but in his mind he was roaring. How dare he? To rub his failures on his nose like that, as if he was some poorly behaved pet! Yet, what truly made him angry, what had him boiling, was how true those words had sounded, how his mediocrity was so plain to see.

Moments later, he stopped outside the doorway of his house. The sky was already fading into purplish blues and velvet blacks and through the light glowing in the window, he could glimpse the movements of his wife. Daedin put a hand on the door...but did not push. His eyes closed, he took a few deep breaths, and walked hurriedly away.

He was barely thinking as he rushed outside the city gates and into the forest. Truthfuly, too many thoughts raced through his mind for him to be able to make any sense of them. One sentiment, however, did surface above all else, one very primal instinct: to escape. To get away from it all, from the pressures and the goals and the echoes of his own stupid attempts at doing something worth doing, something that he could be proud of. That they could be proud of him for.
It was all worthless and pointless, he decided. Foolish dreams not meant for him, illusions cast upon his eyes to fool him into not following his desires. Whatever those were.

Daedin reached a small break in the forest, an edge that plunged suddenly onto a beach below. There were steps carved against the rock that led down to a small pier and a handful of boats that swayed peacefuly in the smooth ondulation. He was halfway there when a voice called him from above.
Night had fully set in now but he could see her silluette drawn by the moonlight, her dress billowing in the light breeze.

"Daedin? Where are you going?"
"Go home!"
"Tell me where you are going!"
"It does not matter! Go home!" His voice nearly cracked as he shouted at her.
"You'd leave like that? You would abandon ME?!"
"It doesn't matter! Forget all of it, go home!"

She did not beg. She did not even cry. As he climbed down the steps, he did so to the sound of her insults. A couple of rocks even flew over his head.
But soon enough he was at the beach and jumping onto a boat. His body trembled all over, tears streamed down his cheeks, but still he cut the rope and began to paddle away from the shore. Looking up at the top of the cliff he could no longer see her. She was gone.

He rowed hard and fast and kept his head lowered. He just focused on the movement and on trying to keep the boat in as much of a straight line as he could.

When at last he raised his head, Daedin could no longer see the lights of the city. Evermeet as a whole was but a faint dark outline in the horizon. Night was all around him, kissing the endless ocean.

He panicked.
Last edited by Borin Drakkmurl on Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Successfully Half Assing It

Postby Borin Drakkmurl » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:48 am

Mainland



The boat flew against the rocks and exploded into a thousand slivers of wood. Waves hammered down from all directions, white foam swirled like a hurricane and the cold clawed at the bones.
Nothing made sense. There was no up or down, no east or west, only the impenetrable pull and push of the angry ocean.

He kicked and flailed and screamed and despaired.

Then a void opened somewhere and he felt himself being swept away, only to then be launched, tumbling and rolling and gasping until suddenly his face was buried in sand.
Daedin retched and coughed and grasped for air. He was spent. His body drained of all strength. Still he clawed and crawled his way up the beach, the fear of the sea biting at his heels. The elf gave up half way up a dune. Muscles were spasming and burning, his sight blurry and aching. Darkness swallowed him.

When he came to, it was to a repetitive sharp pain on the top of his head. Tap tap. Tap tap tap. Tap. The image of a vulture pecking at his brain rushed through his mind and he jumped up, screaming.

"AAAAAAH!" Something screamed back. And kept on screaming, as a little boy ran away from the beach in sheer dread, the stick he was holding flying through the air. "AAAAaaaahhh...." The child ran and shouted all the way back to a house in the distance.

The region was a desolate one. Between the shore and the homestead stretched an open field of dunes covered by shallow and spindly vegetation, the only trees in sight being miles and miles away, near the base of distant mountains. The other houses Daedin could see were also far away,little spots of white and red scattered among the windswept dunes. So he followed the boy to the nearest one, from which a man was already coming out.


***



Daedin stayed among these fishermen for several months. Their friendliness and welcoming nature were a surprise. Even the children, once convinced that he was not some manner of sea wraith, were eager to help him recover. Life was both harsh and peaceful there. The wind whipped them during most hours of the day and the ocean was moody and spiteful. Yet those men ventured into its waves every dawn and returned only with the setting of the sun. The nights were spent by the fire, sharing tales, warm food and hearty beverages.

They never asked for anything in return, nor even for him to pull his weight. He was made comfortable, nursed back to health and treated like an old friend come to visit. However, and Daedin could feel this coming even before it happened, once he was completly recovered, it was made obvious to him that it was time to go. This was not his place. Not his home. And it would never be.

He was given warm clothes,including spares, supplies to last him a good while, and was seen off to the road. Honest handshakes and even a hug or two were exchanged before he was left alone, the ocean and the fishing village on his back, the entirety of Faerun before him.


***



The road was long and unforgiving. A lot of it he walked alone, never daring to go too far. Sometimes he shared it with traveling merchants, peasants and ordinary folk. Other times, he ran and hid as more menacing groups came along. In some small villages he was welcomed, in others shunned. There were fights, most of which he lost, and there were many nights spent sleeping outside, through rain and cold and icy misery.
He was forced to beg for food when his own ran out and, though his conscience fought it at first, he also stole whenever the chance presented itself. Guilt, he learned, was easy to forget when your stomach was glued to your back.

Through these many months he tried to keep thoughts of home at bay but, despite his best efforts, the pristine white towers of Evermeet still haunted his dreams. At times, when camping in some small forest or meadow, the scent of the pine trees alone was enough to sail his mind cross the ocean and to the vast forests of his childhood. One memory was sharper than any other,though, and there were nights when, even while wide awake, he could swear he felt her touch on his skin, her lips against his and the smell of her hair on his face. The guilt that burned him then could not be fed with stolen food, it was a regret so visceral that it made him sick with self hatred.

But he could not go back. Not now. It was too late for forgiveness.

So he kept walking, always north and west,for no particular reason other than personal fancy.

The miles were long, life was rough and lonelyness clung to his shoulders with heavy claws.

It was all that he deserved.
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Re: Successfully Half Assing It

Postby Borin Drakkmurl » Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:22 pm

Waterdeep


Daedin entered the city through its sourhernmost gates, but he had known that he was in its vicinity many hours, and many miles, before that. The foot traffic alone was incredible, and an endless procession of wagons and carts and horses and mules trickled up and down the road all day long. No questions were asked by the guards. He doubted that they had even noticed him among the crowd. Ragged and dirty as he was, there were others far worse than him.
As soon as he crossed the gates, Daedin turned left and walked down a side street at the end of which he could glimpse a sliver of ocean. The noise got louder the further he walked and as he turned a corner and stepped into the immense docks he was hit by a wave of sounds and sights and scents.

Multi colored sails dotted the bay in every direction, vessels of all sorts and sizes slowly drifted into or away from the piers where small armies of men and women ran this way and that, unloading cargo, boarding ships, pulling down masts and sails or hurriedly making their way to the nearest tavern. There was shouting, arguing and singing, a chaotic chorus that somehow made sense, acompanied by the constant cries of the thousands of seagulls that clouded the sky above them.

Hungry and tired and thirsty, Daedin made a bee line for the nearest inn. It was a two story building and the sign that hung by the doorway read: "Ser Seagull". The painting beneath the words was that of an obese seagull coated in chainmail.
He feared the worst as he entered, dock side taverns having the reputation that they had, but was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps because it was still early in the afternoon, the place was maybe at half capacity, with only a couple of people at the counter and a dozen others scattered throughout the tables. In one such table, a bald elf sat alone, his back against the wall, his hands busy with a pile of papers before him. When their eyes crossed, the bald elf smiled widely. Somehow, Daedin knew, things were about to change.


***


That was the day he was hired by the emerging merchant house Hamr-Audrig. The bald elf, whom he only ever knew by the nickname "Pony Tail", promissed a stable income and easy advancement, all in exchange for rather simple work, from menial tasks like moving merchandise around, to standing guard on important warehouses and store fronts. Daedin's empty purse was reason enough to accept and Pony Tail's friendly nature and convincing arguments did the rest. He was tired of roaming aimlessly, of being hungry and cold and alone. He was ready to settle down.

House Hamr-Audrig had its headquarters a few streets above the main docks, a stone building large enough to house roughly one hundred people. Daedin was given a small room, fresh clothes, a vest of leather armor and a short sword for self defense. Pony Tail had not lied about the job either. It was at times hard work, but simple and not too demanding. At night, they would gather at the Ser Seagull, which they actualy owned, and relaxed. It was a good life and Daedin quickly settled into it.

It was only a couple of months into it that he began noticing the strange little details. He never saw anything being bought or sold, only moved. Their warehouses were often temporary ones, used only a couple of times before being abandoned. Most shipments arrived and departed at the dead of night.
It became evident that a lot, if not all of their operations, were illegal. Daedin found it...only mildly uncomfortable. He was warm, fed and well payed. All else seemed unimportant.

Soon enough, however, Pony Tail presented him with new tasks. Rather than guarding their own warehouses, he was to keep an eye on the competition's. To follow some of their employees around town, learn their routines, their contacts and dealings. Daedin spent more and more of his waking time during the sunless hours, roaming taverns and drink holes, dropping coin purses in some hands, collecting reports from others.

He excelled at it.

In less than a year he had established his own little network of informants and bribed officials. Within their niche of the market, there was little that Daedin was not aware of. Comfort turned into smugness, survival was replaced by profit. Evermeet had stopped haunting his dreams.


***



Daedin was sitting at his favorite table in the Ser Seagull when Pony Tail came calling.

"Angthalion, something came up. We have some work to do."

Daedin pocketed the reports he was reading and took a close look at his superior. A hooded cloak covered his head and dark leathers hid any hint of skin. A black hilted dagger was almost invisible in its scabbbard. A shiver ran down his spine, but Daedin gave no argument. He stood up and followed.

They walked in silence, snaking their way through side streets and narrow alleyways. The night was damp, the cobbled stones still glistening with the left overs of the earlier rain. Daedin noticed that they had gone a couple of blocks away from the docks and into a residencial area where most of the windows were now darkened, the doors locked shut.
Pony Tail led him past a square with a fountain and they they turned a corner into a dead end. There he opened a set of iron double doors on the floor and they descended into a basement.

Crates and barrels and bags covered the walls from top to bottom, but a small space had been cleared in the center. Under the light of a single torch, Daedin saw a halfling man tied to a chair. His eyes were swollen shut, his nose crooked and teeth and blood glittered on his lap and the saw dusted floor.

Pony Tail lowered his hood and pulled out the dagger. The halfling wimpered and moaned at the sound.

"You have done good work with us, Angthalion. Everyone has been pleased with your progress."
There was no hint of joy nor happyness nor friendship in his voice. Even his eyes seemed to have turned a cold black, a bottomless void that saw through everything.
"So much so that the big bosses think you deserve to be brought in, introduced to the upper circles of Hamr-Audrig. They think you could do some real work for them."

Daedin did not reply. He had not been able to look away from the sobbing figure on the chair. Through the gore and the bruises, he had recognized him. He had ordered his men to keep an eye on him just a week before.

"They just require a show of dedication. Proof of your loyalty." Pony Tail twirled the dagger in his fingers, and presented the hilt to the other elf.
"Your reports were right. Our friend here was indeed holding out on some of our merchandise. Worse yet he was selling them to our competitors. Not a wise choice."

Daedin looked at the dagger and then at Pony Tail. His mind had become a blur of panic and confusion and it was almost as if he was looking at himself from outside his own body, watching as he took the blade and walked slowly over to the halfling. A cold emptyness had spread throughout his limbs, his mouth was as dry as parchement.

One gesture, one simple push against soft flesh, and his life would change forever.


His father's voice whispered something in his ear. Something he could not quite understand, but that filled his chest with warmth and burned away the thorns in his thoughts.

With a quick swipe, he cut the halfling's bonds, then turned and threw the dagger at Pony Tail.

"RUN!"

He did not wait to see if he had hit or not. He flew up the stairs and then was sprinting down the empty streets. Through the corner of his eyes he had the impression of seeing other figures come running out of side streets and shadowy alcoves. Other steps echoed his own. He did not dare look back.

A memory popped into his head. A schedule from one of the smaller docks, detailing the departure times of smaller ferries and trade ships. One should be about to leave or had already set sail, a one masted vessel headed for a remote island he had never heard of before:

Arelith
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Re: Successfully Half Assing It

Postby Borin Drakkmurl » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:20 am

Arelith


The ship slowly bumped against the dock. Sailors jumped over the side and quickly set about tying it safely to the wooden platform. Night still hung heavily over the world, the sea whispered lowly and, sprawling away from the pier, rose the city of Cordor. White stone flickered under the fiery light of thousands of torches, buildings of all shapes and sizes elbowed each other and, even at that late hour, groups of people roamed the streets.

Daedin took a slow step outside the boat. It felt like passing through a bubble, a dense dome that kept the rest of the world away and, with it, his past life.

He meandered into the main square that opened up just after the docks. A large and tall building rose to his left,and another just ahead of him. To his right, a squat string of houses stretched westward, signs and pendants announcing shops and merchant stalls. After a quick accounting of his meager posessions he decided it was wise to visit the market first.

Daedin took two steps. As the second foot touched the ground he heard a light click.

Then all was fire and a roar and pain and then...darkness.


***



The world faded backwards into view again. Gentle eyes looked down at him. Deep crows' feet drew lines at the corners, snow white hair drifted graciously down a creased forehead. Was this the face of a goddess? Some elder being come to welcome him to the after life?

"Hello dear. Everything is fine now."

Her voice was a soft warm whisper. But very human.

Slowly all other sounds crawled up towards his brain. There were moans and groans of pain. Daedin looked left and right. Other people were sprawled in cots and matresses, their legs covered in bandages

"You are the fifth one this night alone, dear. The thirteenth if we count the past two days. They still haven't caught the one placing all the traps."

"But I..." His eyes felt far too heavy. The pain throbbed in pulsing waves from his toes to his eyebrows. The nurse ran her hand through his hair. It was as if he was a child again. He liked it.


Darkness overcame him again.


***



A day later his wounds were completly healed and he was gently pushed back onto the streets. For the first five minutes he could hardly breath, let alone walk. Daedin just stood there, frozen in place, staring at each cobbled stone on the ground, at any odd looking patch of grass or piece of trash.

Danger was everywhere.

His panic was interrupted by loud, histerical laughter. A moment later, a man ran past him, sword in hand and...completly naked, eyes wide with blind excitement. Half a second after the nude warrior came a handfull of guards, cussing and shouting and waving their weapons in the air.
They all disappeared as they turned a corner into another district, but he could've sworn that he heard a blood curling death scream not long afterward.

Daedin finally moved. He turned and reentered the safety of the Temple of Torm.


***

Another couple of days went by until he finally managed to brave the streets of Cordor again. Following the directions given by the head priest, a young man by the name of Haulfest, he took his first job on the isle of Arelith. Like so many others before and after him, he was given a handful of parcels to deliver around the city. He met with the wild eyed, insane map maker, traded words with the old sargeant, got kissed with too much tongue by an old gypsy, was grunted at by the sweaty dwarf blacksmith, endured the drunk ramblings of a failed bard and, finally, was forced to peruse the magnificient and discounted scrolls of Thoramind the Wizard.

When all was said and done, he had enough coin to buy new leathers, another sword and a long bow and some arrows. Still following the advice of the priest, he signed up to yet another traditional and highly sought after job: Rat Catcher.

Daedin descended a greasy ladder, pulled an even greasier lever, and a brown stained door swung open. Beyond it opened a darkness with a palpable aura to it, a presence that the elf could taste as much as smell. With a shiver and a gag, he ventured forward. As quietly as he tried to walk, the slosh slosh of his boots on the runny filth that covered the floor seemed as loud as the footsteps of a giant.

And something took notice of it.

Red eyes glittered in the dark. Yellow teeth shrieked when a rat bigger than many dogs leaped at his groin. Daedin swung his short sword in a wide clumsy arc that, by chance, sliced the rat's head in two. Then there was a crazed growl behind him and he turned just in time to see a man, or what was once a man, come running in his direction. The vagrant's clothes were tattered to the point where he was barely covered, a patchy and moldy beard grew from his chin and in one hand he shook a broken piece of wood.
Daedin took a step back and his boot slipped on the dead rat's mooshy brains. Then a dry thud made his consciousness explode into tiny fragments of dark void.


***


"Hello again, dear!"

The same eyes full of kindness welcomed him back into the world of the living.

"Good thing those nice adventurers ran into you when they did. You would be nothing but rat food by now if it weren't for them."

Daedin groaned a low and miserable groan.

He felt like crying
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Re: Successfully Half Assing It

Postby Borin Drakkmurl » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:52 pm

Blood Ravens


Daedin sat alone at the bar. The Nomad was quiet that evening. Griff rubbed an old rag over the counter for what seemed like the hundreth time. It still failed to make the old bloodstains disappear from the wooden surface.
On a nearby table three dwarves downed pint after pint of ale and through their bushy beards and moustaches they rambled on about the old times, about lost homes and beautiful snow capped peaks. "Elfis" stumbled around in a corner, his belly protruding from a shirt that had become too tight years before.

The door opened and, for a moment, the hub hub of the city poured into the otherwise peaceful room. When the door closed, it pushed the shouting and the slamming and the talking back onto the street.
Another elf took a seat next to Daedin. He had deep red hair at shoulder length, framed by elegant braids that tied around the back of the head. He wore plain dark clothes and a rapier hung from his belt. What trully caught Daedin's attention, though, was how miserable this person looked. Just as miserable as himself.

With a quiet gesture to Griff, Daedin ordered another glass of wine, which he then pushed over to the other man.

"Iracce."
"Oh, hello there. Thank you."
"Rough day?"
"Rough month. This town is insane."
"You're new here too? I've only arrived about a month ago as well."
"I know. My ship arrived at the same time as yours. I saw you at the docks."
"You mean..."
"Yup. Saw you fly through the air and land on your butt, wisps of smoke trailing after you."

The red haired elf grinned at him.

"Don't worry. When I went to the lower district that day, my head was nearly cut off by this...this raging, drooling, war axe flailing orcblood. Out of nowhere."

This time, they both laughed. Then they shook hands over their shared miseries.

"I'm Daedin Angthalion."
"Elvewyn Nerevar."


***



From that day forward the two of them spent quite a lot of time together. Cordor quickly became a home and soon they learned to navigate its moody temperament, at times lazy and idle, then suddenly erupting with chaos and murder.
Aristotlus Street was a regular spot for them and countless others. From there expeditions were organized, rivalries born and loves torn to pieces.
The back alleys and side streets were their hunting grounds. Not for banditry nor violence, but knowledge, because in the Cordor of those days knowing who was a friend or a threat could be the difference between life and death.

Slowly but surely, Daedin and Elvewyn carved a place for themselves on the island. As time went on, their list of connections and acquaintances grew, as did their ability to fend for themselves.


***


Fist-sized gnats swarmed over the reeds in endless clouds of hunger and blood thirsty bites. Things crawled and skittered, unseen, among the brown pools of water. It stank. Everything stank.
Daedin hated the swamps.
Yet the need for coin was an ever present pain, as had been the boredom of Cordor during the previous week. So he decided to join with the most callous, dirty and brutal people that Arelith had to offer: Adventurers.

Their target was the throng of lizardmen tribes that squatted in the quagmires between Cordor and the Bitter Coast to the West, their goal a simple one: to kill all that they could find and take their valuables. Daedin did not think twice about it. Those creatures had long been a threat.
Thus he followed along with the rest of the group. There were four of them in total: a red hooded sorceress of some kind and her boyfriend, a seasoned warrior clad in dark crimson leathers. There was Daedin and then the one leading their venture, a man named Sian. He was, overall, a plain looking person. Sandy colored hair, a gentle smile and a positive attitude about everything, including the stabbing of murderous lizard people.

They made good progress through the swamps, even if the fighting was rough at times. As they rested and searched the mangled bodies of a recently defeated patrol, Sian and Daedin traded words, as casually as if they had been sitting by a fireplace.

"Have you heard the news about the new captain of the guard, Daedin?"
"The one rumoured to be paid by the Banites"
'The same. Do you think it is true?"
"Maybe. It's been known for a while that the Church of Bane is trying to gain a foothold in the city."
"Is it now? Curious. Where did you hear that?"

Daedin stood up and pocketed a couple of rings. He smiled politely at the other man.

"Around."
"I see." - It was all that Sian replied as they stared at each other.


***



Snow had started to cover the fields in the Cordorian Outskirts. Last season's crops were stored safely away and now the farmers waited for winter to pass. Pastor Holvin kept his flock indoors, close to warm fires.
Daedin made his way to the city's gate. There was some commotion toward the Rosewind's Troupe, people shouting about demons and the end of the world. He payed them no more attention than he would a random rock.

Aristotlus Street was packed. People sat at the tables outside the Nomad, others stood by the corners and against the walls, seeking shelter from the snowfall (some, weirdly enough, just stood in the middle of the street, enduring the cold snow for hours on end). Among several familiar faces, Daedin recognized the one he sought, smiling at him, and they walked toward each other.

"Hello Daedin!"
"Greetings, Sian. I have those recepies we were talking about the other day. Pies and meatloaf, all of it."
"Ah, perfect! This will come in handy soon. Thanks! Here, for your trouble."

They exchanged papers for some coin.

"See you around Daedin!"
"Be safe."

And they parted ways.

Later on, Sian would find that his recipes, rather than ingredients and stoves, spoke of a battle between a well known guard and a necromancer, somewhere in the Arelithian Forest to the North. He would read of the movements in and out of the Temple of Mask, deep beneath the city. The last note would detail the rumours surrounding guard Commander Eldafire, and her efforts to root out any moles among her ranks.

Daedin, on the other hand, found a small piece of paper inside his coin pouch. It read:

"Sewers. Right. Front. Left. Down. One after midnight. Be careful."


***


The man huddled over the open entrails of a rat. Drool trickled down his lice infested beard as he muttered angrily at himself. He never heard the cloaked figure crawling behind him and deep into the large tunnels beyond.

Daedin nudged a door open and squeezed into a large treatement plant of sorts. He hugged the wall as he inched his way to a pile of boxes and crates not too far away. With the tip of a sword he lifted a lid and, inside, he saw that there was no bottom, just a hole cut straight down into the ground.
Noiselessly, he slipped through.

The small chamber below was in complete darkness, but two figures could still be seen in its center, their shapes revealed by the faint magical aura that sourrounded one of them. Daedin stayed low on the ground and slowly, inch by careful inch, made his way to a corner. The voices hung in the dark as the figures continued a conversation.

"The route is well studied now. We can start sending people up as soon as you are ready."
"The goblin did its job, then."
"Yes. It somehow managed not to get itself killed."

Daedin's heart jumped to his throat as his head bumped against something...soft. He looked up in a panic, only to find two wide eyes staring back down at him in equal dread and confusion. It took every ounce of will for him not to curse out loud. Elvewyn Nerevar, crouching in the corner, had come very close to stabbing him in the head.

Instead...they huddled together, knees against their chests, glaring at each other, while the creepy silluettes finished their plotting.

"...then all is set. At sundown, a tenday from now, your House will be led up to the city's Lower District and strike from there."
"Xas, it is agreed."

One of them produced a spherical, mirrored object, broke it and promptly vanished. The other spoke a couple of odd sibilant words and disappeared just as suddenly.

Minutes passed. Half an hour went by. One hour faded away in perfect stillness and silence. Then it erupted in a cacophony of cusses and insults.

"What in the hells are you doing here?!"
"I almost killed you!"
"I would've gutted you!"
"Why-when did you get here?!"
"None of your business!"
"Elvewyn! Those were dangerous people! You could've gotten yourself and me killed!"
"Don't lecture me! I know full well who they were."
"Then what are you doing?"
"My job."

They paused. They were both out of breath.

"Daedin."
"Elvewyn."
"I was told I'd find a third person here. Someone for me to watch over. Keep tabs on. I think that someone is you."
"Wait...who sent you?"
"Have you ever heard of the Blood Ravens?"

Daedin rubbed his eyes. His shoulders dropped as he sighed.

"I am IN the Blood Ravens."
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Borin Drakkmurl
 
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:07 am

Re: Successfully Half Assing It

Postby Borin Drakkmurl » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:36 pm

Hinvasion


It was another good day for Aristotlus' Street, which usually meant a bad day for poor Griff and The Nomad. People walked up and down in large groups, others loitered in tables and chairs or just stood idly around. Conversations criss crossed the street in every direction.
Daedin pretended to read a book while he waited for a certain someone to walk into town. He had been given a description and a set time, along with instructions to follow this person around. The suspicion was that they belonged to a rival spy guild, the Shadow Daggers.

"I will break your head open if you don't shut your mouth!"
"Well that's not nice!"

Above the crowd and a little ways down the path Daedin spotted a mess of wavy red hair and bright colored clothes, pinks and golds and reds. A bright eyed hin looked up at a massive mountain of metal and muscle and fat. The warrior's face was dark with barely surpressed anger, yet the hin did not seem to notice or care.

"Don't need to be ashamed, fellow. It's okay to be fat."
"I could use a fat henchman for my evil plots!" - Another halfling joined the first. This one wore dark clothes and a cheap skull mask.

"I. Am. Not. Fat!!" - The man's hand went for the hilt of his sword.

Daedin could not say why, in fact he barely even thought about it, but he quickly ran across the street waving his hands in the air, to try and calm the warrior down.

"Hey, hey! There's no need for that! You wi - "
"Aaah! A zombie!"
"A zombie!!"

Both hin were now pointing at his face.

"What are you talki-"
"It speaks!"
"The zombie speaks!"

The fat warrior was now laughing at him. Half the street was.

"Listen, I am an elf."
"But you're so pale!"
"Are you sure you're not dead?"
"He could be your pet zombie, Refestus."
"Good idea!"
"I. Am. Not. A zombie!"

There was a moment of silence.

"...Are you sure, fellow?"
"It's okay if you're a zombie."
"Moon elf. I am a moon elf. This is normal."
"Doesn't look normal."
"Maybe you're an elf and a zombie. A Zombelf!"
"Zombelf, yes!"

Daedin sighed in defeat. It was all the distraction that the hin needed.
The red haired one pointed up the street, toward the gates, where a group of people clad in black and gold armor were stomping out of the city.

"Oh look there cousin. Those seem like nice people!"
"Let's go say hello!"

The elf stared at the two in slack jawed disbelief. Then he jumped in front of them.

"Are you crazy? Those are dangerous people!"
"Don't be silly Zombelf. It'll be fine!"
"No, no it won't!"
"He is right, Feste." - The calm voice came from a robed and midle aged man that had walked up to the scene. His hair was shaven in a circular fashion around the top of his head.

"Oh, hello Bald Guy! Don't worry. I'm sure they're nice!"

They pushed past Daedin, who exchanted a desperate look with the other man.

"They're going to get themselves killed. That's Azour."
"I know, friend. We best go after them, then." - And he took off at a walk that was faster than most people's sprints.
They cought up with them just outside Cordor's outter gates. The banites were gathered at the top of a small hill. Below, Feste and Refestus waved happily at them.

"Hello!'

Helmets shifted noisly to glare, silently, at the pair.

"Hi there!" - Refestus repeated.

Daedin ran up behind the hin. He was sweating and shaking, but only partialy so from fatigue. A cold dread clung to his guts. He whispered angrily at them.

"What are you doing!? They'll kill you! Come back to town!"
"Don't be silly, Zombelf!"
"Hey, where's Bald Guy going?"

The robed man power walked up the hill. The one banite with a plumed helmet gave him a respectful nod.

"Amadeo."
"Azour."

Daedin was too busy to listen to the rest of it. He tried his best to block the haflings' path as, from the corner of an eye he saw Amadeo's placating gestures and the banite force slowly disappearing down the other side of the mound. Feste, peering from under one of Daedin's armpits, grumbled sourly.

"Bald Guy scared them away!"

It was as if a weight had been lifted from Daedin's shoulders...only to be dropped on his head when Refestus spoke.

"Hey, what's that over there?"
"Oh, that looks interesting. Let's go say hi."

They both pattered on toward the Bramble Woods and the nasty looking group of people skulking by the forest's edge.
Daedin and the returned Amadeo stared at each other for a moment. Even through the calm appearance, Daedin thought he saw a hint of frustration shadow the other man's blue eyes.

Without much of a choice, they ran after Feste and Refestus Fizzlebiscuits.


***



The Hawk'in of Fort Bendir were having a terrible day. Their gates were open and were supposed to stay that way. All manner of people were trickling into their land, many of them strangers, too many of them sworn enemies. That evening, however, there was to be no clash of swords nor bloodshed.
The Hinvasion were performing.

Inside the Fort, a crowd was piling into the Meeting Hall. Daedin was there, keeping to himself on a corner. A wide wooden table formed an arch that occupied most of the chamber. Several people sat all along its length, from cordorian merchants like Dante Lyons, to Brogendenstein officials like Hera Braidstone. The two most noticeable figures, however, sat on opposite sides of the table.
Erik Silverarms, in his blindingly blond glory, smiled widely at everyone, but his eyes were cold steel, fixed on the man across the room. Azour was an ominous presence, a dark mass of metal and oppresion that loomed silently over the gathered.

Double doors opened somewhere in the Meeting Hall and two small figures came marching into the center of the room, in plain view of everyone.

Feste had a blond wig on his head and was clad in silvers and blues and golds. Refestus' face was hidden by a purple-plumed black helmet, and he wore a fake suit of armor also colored black and gold. They both bowed to the audience.

Then it began.

There was drama, threatening monologues and heavenly choruses. There were tears and wooden swords poking at padded fake armor. Each character was a silly yet cleverly deconstructed portrayal of the original individual.
When the play was over, an awkward silence settled over the room. All eyes were on the real Erik and Azour.

After what seemed like an eternity, a slow clap echoed across the place. The Banite Dreadlord nodded his aproval, and was joined by the thundering laughter of the Duke of Lightkeep.

Daedin, along with everyone else, let out a long sigh of relief.
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Borin Drakkmurl
 
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:07 am

Re: Successfully Half Assing It

Postby Borin Drakkmurl » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:57 pm

Light Keep


It was a cloudless day. A vast blue emptyness glared down at the island of Arelith and the trees on either side of the Trade Route did not so much as twitch. Birds peeped tiredly, sweatily, on the shadow covered branches. The road itself was deserted, except for Daedin Angthalion, who made his way North.
Under the cloak, the leathers and the weight of his gear, the heat was unbearable, but he did not dare remove any of it. This was, after all, the Dale, and between the roving bands of goblins, the orcs, rabid animals and bandits, one could never have enough protection.

He took his time, avoiding the crevasses and valleys that were so often ambushed. Fort Bendir was not so far away and, in it, he hoped to meet Feste. It had been several long, frustrating months since the two first met, but an odd yet sincere friendship had formed. More over, they always seemed to have tales and interesting information to offer one another. Daedin hop-

"AAAAAAAAAaaaahhh!!"

A small figure jumped out of the bushes somewhere down the road, landed at a full sprint, and came flailing down the road in his direction. Daedin had the bow out and an arrow ready to shoot at the goblin the moment it appeared, but when he released, he aimed higher, at the larger, lumbering orc that had bursted through as well.

"AAAAaaah!!"

The smaller creature, which Daedin could now see was a human boy, kept running and flailing its arms, tears trailing at the corners of his eyes. The moment he spotted the alabaster-white, raven haired elf coming out of the tree line, the boy almost piruetted on the spot, and ran off up the road.
With a dismayed grunt, Daedin took off after him.

It was only at the edge of the kobold infested foothills of the Skull Crags that the elf finally managed to grab a hold of the child and, after avoiding a series of kicks and punches, calm him down. Eyes like opals blinked up at him, sending fat tears rolling down dirty and scrapped cheeks. Daedin offered him some of his water.

"All is well now, no need to cry. Can you tell me your name?"
"Lonan.." - The boy sniffed a blob of snot back up the nose, then seemed to regain a bit of confidence as he proudly declared his family name: "Silverarms! Lonan Silverarms!"

Daedin was preplexed. Hands on his hips, he stared hard at the infant for a couple of seconds.

"Why...what were you doing all the way down in the Bendir Dale on your own?"
"I...I got lost."

A hand shielding his eyes, Daedin turned to look beyond the river that cut the southern border of the Arelith Forest. Past tree tops and the blurry haze of summer, even at that distance, he could just barely see a silver-blue line reaching for the Heavens. He looked back down at Lonan.

"Come, then, young Silverarms. Let's get you back home...But you're going to have to tell me how you ended up this far away."
"Oh, thanks mister! Well, me and father went out to do some fishing by the ponds, not far from the castle. Father said it was a perfect day for it...but it was boring! The "glorious, heavenly-sent fish", were not biting. What's worse, father dozed off! He was holding his fishing rod all crooked, and was leaning against a tree, and snoring, his mouth all open! So I then saw this badger, and I was sure it was a druid, so I went to say hi, but it ran away, so I went after him, but then I saw this huuuuuge bird, so I chased after it, and then, and then..."

By now they were already deep into the woods. A perpetual shower of crimson and golden leaves turned the forest floor into a soft, padded carpet, the slender yet ancient trees rose like so many palace pillars and the sun pierced the distant canopy in a fragmented pattern of dusty shafts of light. Daedin loved the place. He also hated it. It brought to his heart memories of home, of Evermeet, images that he would rather keep in the basement where they belonged.

"...and this orc came at me out of nowehre and it had this huuuuge axe and oh! Look Daedin, it's my father!"

Some two hundred meters up the road, they could see a quaint house to the left, horses hitched to postes on the side and a pleasantly smelling smoke drifting up from a chimney. Beyond the tavern a bridge stretched over a moat and into towering white walls. Blue and gold and red banners hung loosely on the windless merlons.

Just before the moat-bridge was gathered a small army. Silver white suits of armor shone like mirrors under the sunlight and divine magic made the air vibrate and shimmer. Daedin saw Garrisson, Stratta and Silverarms, among many others, all geared as if about to set out on a crusade.
When Erik heard his son's voice, his winged helmet went flying to the ground and he sprinted down the road, toward the open arms of the also running Lonan. They met in a warm hug, the father raising the son up in the air. Tears flowed freely from both their faces, their splendid hair glittered and sparkled and, somehow, a ray of solar radiance fell upon them like a spot light. From somewhere in the distance, perhaps a temple inside the castle, there was a perfectly timed chorus of heavenly voices.

Daedin found it all extremely over dramatic.

Still, he aproached and bowed his head. Meanwhile, all the other sirs and dames had also gathered around them.
"Greetings, Duke Silverarms."
"That's him dad! He's the one who shot the orc dead!"

Daedin found himself buried in a mighty hug, his cheeks squashed against a breastplate. He felt his feet drag across the road as Erik very much so carried him toward the Keep. People were clapping him on the back and shaking his hair.

"Come, master Angthalion!" - Roared Erik. - "Leela will want to meet you. Open the gates!"

And so he was led, or carried, into Benwick, painfully aware that, hidden in a secret pocket, he had reports about the lives of most of those people cheering his name.


***



The Silverarms homestead was surprisingly small and humble for someone of their station. All was well kept and neat and the furniture and the art on the walls were of impressive quality, but all of it together merged into a simple, lived in cozyness. Daedin shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He had not realized until then just how much he had missed such a thing, and how it made his chest ache and his mind heavy with the weight of a thousand surpressed memories.

Leela Silverarms smiled at him. She was an aparition, something straight out of a fairy tale, her long hazel-nut brown hair cascading freely over a simple white dress, and her eyes were of a brown-green so vivid, yet so deep, that Daedin felt like a whole forest was staring, kindly, at him.

"We can not thank you enough for what you did. We were worried sick."
"You're a true hero, my friend."

The elf nodded politely, awkwardly, at them.

"I just did what anyone else would've done. I am just happy that I chanced upon young Lonan when I did." - Daedin made sure to omit, as begged by a very nervous Erik, the fact that it was the Duke's sleepyness that had started all of it.

"Speaking of Lonan, he was very impressed by you. And so are we, my friend. Thus..we decided to ask another favor of you."
"Oh?"
"Would you be Lonan's godfather?"

Daedin blinked stupidly.


***



Visiting Benwick became a weekly thing. At first he told himself that it was all out of self interest. Having a foot inside Benwick, and a trusted place inside one of the island's most powerful families, would only serve to advance his rank in the Blood Ravens.
The problem with that, was that he had taken an honest interest in, and fondness for, the boy he had saved. Worse still, he had developed an actual friendship with the parents as well.

Erik would drag him into all sorts of demented quests for glory, missions for the smiting of the foulest evils and feats of manly bravery. The fact that they often nearly died, were chased away by undead dragons, fell and got stuck in frozen lakes, or were caught spying on Wharftown necromancers inside their bedrooms, did not seem to phase the man one bit.

On the other hand, Leela would regularly take him on walks around the Forest. She showed him to the Heartwood Grove and the Dreaming Tree, she revealed to him the many other small secrets of the golden woods, tales and riddles and mysteries that quickly clung to his soul, to the part of him that still remembered the star-watching on the forests of Evermeet, with his wife's head resting on his chest.

The repports that he brought back to Sian became les and less common, until he stopped outright.

It was enough.

He could not live that life any longer, and it became clear what he had to do.

First, he met with Erik and Leela, once more in their living room. His palms were sweaty, and his tongue dry. A permanent shiver had taken hold of his body, but there was no shadow of doubt in his mind as he finally spoke.

"I...I have to confess something to you. You...this family, has shown me nothing but friendship and love...over a fluke. A matter of chance. And I deserve none of it. I...I am not the kind of person you think I am. All this time I have been...there's no better word for it, I have been spying on you, reporting back on what I see and hear here, and I am not even sure to who or why." - Without noticing, he had broken down, tears were falling heavily from his eyes, which he had by now half hidden in his hands. - "I am sorry...I am so terribly sorry. I will surrender my self to the Captain, I accept any..."

A strong, firm hand took hold of his shoulder. A gentler one dried his cheeks. Through the haze of fear and shame, Erik's benevolent voice fell like a warm cloak over him.

"That's enough, Daedin. You never lied to us, only yourself. You were always the good, loyal friend we know you to be. It just took you this long to realize it."


***



A few days later, Sian met him on the back of the tavern just outside the walls of Lightkeep. It was a quiet night and only a few sentries were on patrol. The two of them took shelter on a small alcove, in which a brazier burned and popped against the cold. With a huff, Daedin spoke first.

"I can't keep doing it, Sian. Not anymore."
"I had figured that out by now. May I ask why?"

Daedin looked back at the castle. It was an imposing sight, specialy at night, when a pale blue film seemed to coat every stone and brick.

"I found something that I value more than the coin and the masochist excitement of the job."

Sian laughed.

"Then I am glad for you. Though..there's one final thing we should do. Someone you should meet. Perhaps it will...help a little. It should've happened some time ago, to be honest with you. Come, follow me. It isn't a long walk."

Daedin stared at the back of his head for a moment. Before following along, he discretely dropped a bag full of papers and notebooks into the fire.

They made their way quickly but quietly through the forest. When they reached the ancient temple of Silvanus, Daedin began to feel aprehensive. This only worsened once they stood before the pillar of whispering blue light that was the Mythal. Beyond the cliff where it was located, Daedin could see the faint outline of the floating city of Myon.

Sian grinned at the evident displeasure on the elf's face.

"Just a little bit more." - And then he vanished.
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:07 am


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