Intro to Salix and Surin

From: Mark

Subject Intro to Salix and Surin

Salix wiped the froth from his lips and set the ale down on the table. This wasn't the seediest inn in Duocirc, but is had to be close to it. Why had Quarion asked to meet him here? He had finished his recon of the Greenwood Forest just 4 leagues to the east of town and when he had checked the usual place for messages, there had been one from his ranger friend and it told Salix to meet him here. The Sleeping She-Goat was on the outskirts of the capital of Fornax and seemed to traffic in the worst sort of people. There were slavers, bounty hunters, drug dealers, pimps and whores. The slime of humanity. Fornax did not have a problem with this, as long as it got its cut of the profits. The King and his Dukes made sure that they made their cut off the suffering all around them. What was depressing was that so many people were willing to put up with it.

The door from the outside of the bar banged open and another disreputable bum staggered in. He was singing loudly to himself and stumbling his way to the bar. He stumbled over a chair leg and crashed into Salix. Salix could smell the stale beer on the bum's breath, and the stink of flesh not washed for days. He pushed the bum away, yelling at him ?Watch where you?re going, old man.? The drunk, apologizing profusely, weaved his way to the back room of the inn. Salix, knowing a bit about how towns worked, quickly checked his pockets to make sure nothing was missing. To his surprise, everything was there, including something that had not been there before. He gently took out a piece of paper, and in the dim lantern light read it. ?My dear Salix Wealdward, sorry about the unconventional way I had to get you this message, but there is a chance you are being watched and I could not take that risk. Meet me in 1 hour at the fountain three blocks east and 5 blocks north. Your friend, Quarion Smith.?

An hour later finds Salix sitting on the edge of the fountain, waiting for the ranger to show. A few minutes later he sees his friend walk out of an ally and approach. ?I don't have much time. You were not followed, but that may not last. The quicker our business is done the better. First, give me your report on the Greenwood.? Over the next ten minutes Salix does a good job of condensing the last six months into a quick report. When he is done Quarion holds up his hand, signaling for silence. ?You have done well. I have much to think about. However, I have a new task for you. Two actually, but they are related. I need you to find someone and escort them someplace? Are you willing to help?? Salix nods, remembering the words of Stormfather Acer.

?Good?, says Quarion. ?The person you seek is a Halfling by the name of Surin Bitteroot. He is the member of a traveling circus that should be getting to the town of Halburg in Camlost in a few weeks. You should be able to meet him there. When you find him you and he need to get to Gorn, in Shon, as fast as possible. When you get to Gorn, you need to go to the temple keep of the Order of The Silver Sword. Ask for Captain Angelwing. He will get you quarters. Wait for me there. I may even get there before you, but if I don't I should not be too much later than you. I have to go collect some other people. Salix, there are large forces at work in the world, and you and I are about to get messed up in them. Can I count on you??

Salix thinks for a moment and answers ?Yes, as the Stormfather said, I need to learn about the world, and if forces are at work, I might as well be there.? Quarion smiles and slaps Salix on the shoulder. He heads off in a different direction then the one he came in. Salix returns to the inn and gathers his belongings. By night fall he is on his horse and heading east. As he leaves town he whistles once and a great horned owl swoops down and perches on his shoulder. ?Well Noctis, it looks like we will be on the road again. Keep an eye out behind us and make sure we are not followed.? The owl takes off, silent in the night.

It takes Salix three weeks to get to Halburg. It is early morning and he can see the small town from the ridge he is on. Halburg is in the foothills of the SilverPeak mountains. He can see the circus set up on this side of town. Even from this distance he can tell that they are almost done packing up. It looks like he just made it in time. Salix rides down into the valley and approaches one of the Halflings who is busy packing up one of the booths. ?Hail sir Halfling, I am looking for one of your troop. Do you know where I might find a one Surin Bitteroot?? The Halfling looks up at the druid, and squints at him. ?Why would you be looking for Surin, if I might ask?? Salix tells the Halfling part of the truth, ?I have a message from him from an old friend.? The old Halfling thinks for a bit and finally decides. ?He is over there, helping roll up the main tent. Just remember, us circus folks stick together, so if you are of a mind to cause problems, you should think twice.? Salix nods and heads over to the Halfling that was pointed out to him. As he approaches, he sees a young Halfling, barely over 3? tall, with dark hair and dark skin, but with crystal blue eyes. This Halfling stops working on the tent as Salix approaches.

OODM: Ok Jake and Karl, your turn. When you are ready to go to Gorn let me know and I will take over for a bit.


Intros Continue

From: Kevin

Subject Intoducing Harp and Ran-Ell

Harp, unsure of himself, looks around the elevated platform. It seems obvious to him that the young man is praying or performing some type of ritual, something that Harp is vary familiar with. Remembering his teaching - that patience is a virture - he kneels quietly behind the young elf and waits to see if the object of his search will finish soon.

After 15 minutes of waiting and watching, he finally decides to try and be subtle. He clears his throat lightly, trying to gain the elf's attention. Unfortunately, given his ancestory, his effort produces a grunt that sounds more like the mating call of a wild beast. Fear rises up in his heart that he has not only interupted his subject's prayer but may have startled him as well.

Trying to minimize his error, Harp speaks as softly as he can - "Master Ranthir, I bring tidings from your father".

He waits nervously as the elf slowly stands and turns to him.

OOC - Randy, please pardon my feeble prose and stilted action. I am relatively new to this and still tyring to get into the swing of things.


From: Randy

Subject Introducing Harp and Ran-Ell

"I apologize for not acknowledging you sooner but I was in the midst of deep meditation and did not wish to break my focus." Ran states in a calm, almost distracted voice as he seems to look through Harp rather than at him. Ran seems to have barely registered what Harp has said to him as he shows no concern at the mention of his father. "It is Harp is it not? I believe I have seen you before though many years have past since that occasion. What is the news that you have for me that you came all this way?" Ran asks and then before Harp can reply says "No, not now. First we must share a meal with my grandfather and then we may converse. Follow me." Ran starts walking back towards his grandfather's residence without waiting to see if Harp follows.

OOC - Kevin, no worries, I'm new at this too. Everything sounds good so far.


From: Karl

Subject Salix and Surin

"Hail Master Bitteroot," Salix says bowing slightly and looking quickly to see that they are not being overheard. "My name is Salix. Wealdward of the Northern Forest. I bring word from Master Quarion Smith. Can we talk here?"

From: Jake

Subject Salix and Surin

Surin laughs. "Master Bitteroot? May be you're speaking to the wrong man, sir. My father is by the wagons, most likely, seeing to the ponies.

At the mention of Quarion, Surin's eyebrows raise. "Quarion, eh? Well, may be you're speaking to the right man after all then. I don't reckon Master Smith would have much use for my father, if you take my meaning. As for talking here, best not, if your business is private. Never know where a curious ear might be lurking, eh?" With a blur of movement almost too fast for Salix to see, Surin's arm whips out, flinging something, and there is an indignant yelp from immediately behind Salix, followed by a muffled jingle as Salix's coin purse hits the ground. Surin steps forward, scooping up the pouch in one hand and a small, tightly packed leather ball in the other, and hands the pouch back to Salix.

"Go on with you, Kinnit, or I'll be telling Jarl how you got that bruise!" he shouts, and the halfling child pelts away, sucking his fingers where Surin's ball had struck them.

"Sorry about that, sir. Now, you were wantin' a little privacy? I'll be done here in another 15 minutes, and the caravan won't be leaving for at least another hour or two. Say you meet me down at the King's Bitch in half an hour--I'll have a mug of the Copperhead Ale, and wouldn't take offense if you were to order me a mug if you were to get there ahead of me. Take is as a kindness, in fact--breaking camp is thirsty work. We can get ourselves a booth down there, or a room if total privacy is worth a few extra coppers to you."

Harp, Ran-Ell, Salix, and Surin

From: Kevin

Subject Harp and Ran-Ell

Harp, somewhat at a loss, rises to his feet and cautiously follows the young elf back across the rope bridge to the room he had left just a few minutes ago. In it, he sees Ranthir Corron and Gar-Ell talking in muted voices. He notices some similarities between the two, but is unsure if it is a family resemblence or if all elves look so much alike. Unsure of the correct ettiquette (having slowly learned that concept over the past few years), he waits to take his cue from his host.

From: Randy

Subject Harp and Ran-Ell

Ran beckons for Harp to join them at the table and starts serving up a simple meal of bread and vegetable stew. He and his grandfather are very comfortable together and seem to act as if they know eachothers thoughts. They pass seasonings and fill eachothers glasses without requesting and eat without much conversation. Ran seems to notice again that Harp is with them and starts to speak, making small talk about Gorn and seems to avoid mentioning his father. "Harp, how are you faring these days? Have you been in contact with Heronin recently? How long do you plan on staying with us? Oh, and by the way, I would prefer if you referred to me as Ran or Ran-Ell. I no longer go by the name Ranthir Corron." The name is spoken with some noticeable distaste.

From: Karl

Subject Salix and Surin

Salix nods and leave the Halfling to finish his work. He makes his way into town in search of the tavern. "King's Bitch", he says quietly to himself. Well, let's hope they're referring to his dog. . .

The sign over the door doesn't help dispel that question, however, as the image it proudly shows is that of a very buxom wench with a small lap-dog in her arms. Salix can't quite suppress a smile at the joke, but at the same time can't quite keep from blushing, especially when he notices that the wench seems to be winking slyly.

Inside, the place looks rather clean for an establishment of its type, even if the patrons don't. As early as it is, the only three patrons inside are the type that have probably worked just enough in the past few days to fill their cups and, from the looks of them, have emptied them again more times than is wise.

He quietly takes a booth in the far corner of the tavern and sits so he can watch the door. He notices that the adjacent booth are empty, all the patrons apparently not wanting more than a bars width between themselves and the kegs.

A woman with a deeply wrinkled face moves from behind the bar and stands expectantly at Salix's booth. "A pint," he says politely, then remembering he has not eaten since breakfast adds, "And a loaf of bread and some cheese if you have it." The woman nods and hobbles back toward the bar. A moment later she returns with a nice-sized loaf of bread and a generous portion of cheese. Noticing that Surin has entered the tavern, he thanks the woman and asks for a pint of Copperhead Ale for the Halfling.

As Surin sits, Salix motions for him to help himself to the bread and cheese, waiting for him to do so before serving himself. "I have been sent to meet you by Master Quarion, as I said," Salix begins. "We are to leave as soon as possible for Gorn in Shon. We are to meet him at one of the temples there."

He waits to see how this news affects his new acquaintance.

From: Jake

Subject Salix and Surin

Surin says something unintelligible from behind a startlingly large mouthful of bread and cheese. He then holds up one finger, gesturing to Salix to wait a moment. and washes the mouthful down with a good sized swig of Copperhead. He sighs contentedly, then turns his attention back to his companion.

"We're to leave for Gorn? That's Quarion, nothing if not imperious, eh? He say what was so important there in Gorn?"

From: Mark

Subject Intro's

I want to thank Kevin, Karl, Jake and Randy for doing a great job with the intro's. You guys can keep it up until the characters are ready to go or until Jan 13 or so. I would like to have every one in Gorn by Jan 17th so that the real story can begin. :)

For the three that have not been introduced yet, your time is coming. I already have the basics worked out and will hopefully get to it mid next week or when ever Rob and I get to flesh out his character.

Just a couple of reminders. First, please use the addy from now on if you want to contact me directly. I have been unable to access hotmail from home and I will be able to access the erinet addy from work, so I think I will use the erinet one for this.

Second, when you are writing replys, you can delete all of the prior conversation except the one most recent. It makes for shorter e-mails. I hope everyone is having fun so far and that what has been happening is whetting the appitite of the others.


More Intros

From: Karl

Subjent: Salix and Surin

"Well, er, No." Salix responds, considering for the first time that such information might be necessary to persuade the Halfling. After all, Salix had sworn to assist the ranger, so the details of the task at hand were pretty much irrelevant. Master Smith would tell him what he needed to know when the time came and that was good enough. He had to keep reminding himself that not everyone has taken the oaths that he has. Indeed, not everyone keeps the oaths they've taken for that matter. It wasn't the first time since leaving the protection of The Order that he'd caught a glimpse of his own naivety. "Master Smith said only that 'dark forces' were at work and we were about to be caught up in the middle." After a pause, he adds "I imagine he'll fill in the details when we meet him in Gorn."

From: Karl

Subject Distances

How far is Hamlost from Gorn? We can either wrap this up and wait for you, or if Kevin is willing Salix and Surin could get to know one another better on the way between now and 1/13.

From: Mark

Subject Distances

The little town you are in is on the very west edge of Camlost and there is some fairly heavy terrain between there and Gorn. However, I have set it up so that you have several weeks to get to Gorn before the main story starts. The internal calender is not set at this point.

Lets just say every one has enough time to get to Gorn in time for the main story to start. If you and Jake and Kevin and Randy want to spend a few weeks doing this type of role playing, fine by me. I am in no real hurry until the second week in Jan. By then I need to start getting people to Gorn.

From: Jake

Subject Salix and Surin

"Dark forces, eh?" He tears off another hunk of bread and pops it in his mouth, thinking as he chews. When he swallows he says "well, that's not the sort of thing Quarion'd say lightly, I suppose. He didn't tell you anything else? And that was enough for you to just drop what you were doing to hurry to Gorn?" He takes a pull from his mug.

From Karl

Subject Salix and Surin

"Of course," Salix replies. "I've taken an oath to assist Master Smith for as long as he needs me." He pauses a moment considering how he's learned that not everyone takes oaths seriously before adding, "my people do not pledge lightly."

He continues eating in silence for a few minutes, thankful that the bread and cheese seem to be of good quality and in generous portion. More than a few times he'd eaten food in a tavern he'd dare not touch without a purification blessing first. He looks at the Halfling before him with a discerning eye. He looked like someone who could be trusted. His actionback at the circus with the young pick-pocket certainly showed some of that.

"I, um, I've been meaning to thank you for saving my purse back there. It's not much, but it's all I have to last for the next several weeks at least." Salix nods gratitude to his new companion.

After yet a few more moments, he asks, "How is it that you know Master Smith?"

More Intros

From: Jake

Subject Salix and Surin

"Funny story actually, but don't reckon it'd make all that much sense, without a little bit of background information." He holds up a finger again, gesturing for Salix to wait a moment. "Estrella", he says, catching the elderly barmaid as she passes, "a little mutton to go with this bread and cheese, would you?"

He glances down at his nearly empty tankard. "And another round for both of us, I'm thinking."

He turns his attention back to Salix. "Now, where was I? Right, right, how I met Quarion. Well, I' the wealth redistribution business, if you catch my meaning. I'm one of the ones works the crowd while it's busy watching my cousins up on stage. Few years back, though, it got to bothering me. Some of the people, spoiled nobles and the like, sure, no problem. They probably loose more in the cushions of their overstuffed couches every day than they loose to me. Okay, no problems there. Other folk, though, farmers and tradesmen and the like...well, I got to thinking that the coin I took from them probably made a real difference in their lives. They'd feel it if I cleaned them out, you know? Could be some might go to sleep hungry after I'd lightened their purses, and I'll tell you true, that thought bothered me. I'd have just stopped there and then when I got to thinking about it, but my family didn't see it quite the way I did, and I was too smart to think that there'd be a place for me in the wagons if I didn't earn my keep."

"Ah," he says, seeing Estelle heading their way with a platter piled with mutton, "just a minute". Once the barmaid has departed, he goes resumes his story. "As I was saying, I knew my family wouldn't have it if I were to tell them I was out of the thieving business. So, I didn't tell them. I just started taking my redistribution duties a little more serious. I'd pick a rich man's purse, the family would get a fair cut, sure, but I'd hold some for myself, not tell them about it. Created a little pool of coin for myself, used it to tide me over on days when there were too many in the audience needed their money worse than I did.

One day our friend Quarion came to see the show. Must've been in disguise, because he was dressed in rags, or near enough as makes no difference. Thought he was a beggar, to tell you the truth, and a bad one at that. Didn't look like he'd eaten in a week. I thought that I'd do him a favor, so I made my way over to him, started loading his purse with coin. He caught me though." Surin laughs and takes a pull at his Copperhead. You should have seen his face when he realized I'd been slipping money *into* his pouch. Ah, it was priceless. Only time I've ever seen him look surprised, I think. Anyway, he said he owed me a meal, and who am I to turn down food? I ended up liking him more than I thought I would, and every now and then one of us'll do the other one a favor."

From: Karl

Subject Salix and Surin

As Surin mentions working as a pickpocket, Salix feels a glimmer of disgust.

But as the Halfling continues, Salix finds himself warming more and more to his new companion, beginning to sympathize with him. He had met many on his travels who were born to a life lower than they were meant for. Perhaps he had met another one in Surin.

"Well, from the sound of it, Master Smith is asking for a bit more than most people would consider a 'favor'." Salix watches Surin's face carefully.

"But of course it's not my place to question your resolve. I'm just here to deliver the message and travel with you to Gorn, if you are willing." He pauses then continues, "If you *are* willing, we should leave with all haste. What loose ends have you to tie up here? If you could leave in an hour, we could gain a few miles before dark. If you need longer, we should depart at first light."

In the Half-Elf's House

From: Kevin

Subject Harp and Ran-Ell

Harp eats quietly, trying to determine how to respond. Being 1/2 human himself, he understands that there are at times conflicts between the two backgrounds of 1/2 humans. He responds...

"First, I would like to extend my thanks to you and your Grandfather for your hospitality. It is rare enought that my mere presence does not evoke suspicion, if not outright fear. My plan is to not stay long. Knight Capitan Angelwing is the reason for my journey. He personally has asked me to come here and ask you if you would travel with me back to Gorn. There are disturbing things happening, some of which involve your father. I am but a lowly corporal, and not a very good one at that, but my impression was that something is very wrong and Knight Capitan Angelwing would not have sent me on this quest if it was not important. I do not know how familiar you are with the Knight Capitan, though you have called him by his given name, but if you have a knowledge of the type of person he is, then the fact that he sent me with his signet ring will give truth to my story."

Harp takes Angelwing's signet ring from his pocket and places it on the table.

From: Randy

Subject Harp and Ran-Ell

Ran picks up the ring and rolls it around on his hand. He stops picking at his meal and his face suddenly shows some concern. "I have no doubts about the truth of your story, but you had only mentioned my father and that would not give me cause to listen. My father and I have no relation except the blood that flows in my veins. Heronin, however, is as much family to me as my grandfather here. If Heronin has sent you then I must here what he has to say." Ran continues to roll the ring around in his palm as he looks expectantly at Harp.

OOC - I will be away from January 8th to 15th and I won't be accessing email at that time so we should try to wrap up our part of the introductions by then.

From: Kevin

Subject Harp and Ran-Ell

Harp considers thoughtfully. Knowing now that Ran and his father have some type of rift between them, he tries to figure out how to convey his message without damaging his chance of success.

"Knight/Captain Angelwing is concerned about certain activities that are going on through out Gorn. He did not divulge specifics to me, but did tell me that one of the symptons of these activities has been the severe decline in your father's health. He is so concerned that he asked me to tell you that he thinks your father may be dying, and not from natural causes. Given your father's normal protections from such occurances, The Knight/Captain is concerned that the unnamed events I mentioned earlier may be having far greater effects than we have yet seen.

He has asked that you join him in Gorn to discuss these goings on. I do not know what knowledge or wisdom you may bring, and I have little additional information with which to answer any questions you may have. I have been given a task by a superior of my order, and simply ask if you will return with me to Gorn. I have transportation at Woodsedge awaiting our pleasure."

More in the House of Ran-Ell

From: Randy

Subject Harp and Ran-Ell

A brief twinge of emotion crosses Ran's face before he catches it and restores his expression to a mask of unconcern.

"I don't know if I will be able to return with you." Ran says.

At this his grandfather speaks for the first time since Ran and Harp began conversing.

"Ran, have you forgotten entirely the studies you have been doing in the last months? Even if you do not love your father you must know that there was a time that your mother did. He is your family whether you choose to accept it or not. Aside from that, you know that there are things of this world that are beyond our petty concerns. I too have felt that there are disturbances. I don't know their nature but I do know that if you have an opportunity to help then you must do so."

Ran looks shocked at the words from his grandfather.

"I am not ready to abandon my studies here. I need to learn more from you grandfather. I can't believe you would say that my mother loved my father. He is the reason she killed herself."

"No, she always had the choice to take her own life or not. It is because she loved your father that she didn't just flee the city and return here. You may not be ready to accept that but it is true. Read her journals more thouroughly and you will see it for yourself. As for studies here with me, there are complete for the time being. I will not allow you to study here if it means keeping you from an opportunity to make amends with your father and to help your friend Heronin."

With that, Gar-Ell stands and walks out of the room into his private chambers. Ran, still looking shocked, turns to face Harp once again.

"Well, I don't know what to say. I, I suppose that I don't have much choice in the matter now. I will gather my things and be prepared to leave by morning."

Ran, his expression filled with sorrow, begins clearing the table. As he is doing so, he drops his cup and wine spills onto the floor. Ran lets out a cry of equal parts rage and grief as he falls to the ground and begins to weep. After about a minute he regains his composure and politely asks Harp to meet him in the morning outside of Gar-Ell's home. It is clear to Harp that Ran does not want any further company.

From: Kevin

Subject Harp and Ran-Ell

Harp sits in silence, trying to digest the conversation he had just heard. His new companion seemed to have a family life nearly as interesting as Harp's.

Harp, realizing that he has not been offered the courtesy of staying the night in the elves home, climbs down the rope ladder and prepares his small camp site. He says his prayers to his diety and retires for the night, hopefull that he will be able to complete his task. He very much wants to prove to Knight/Captain Angelwing that he will make a good member of the Order.

The night proves instructive to Harp, as he had not slept in the wilderness (much less and Elven forest) in quite a while. The night sounds, while familiar, had a much less threatening tone to them. Every thing seemed peaceful and benign, so different than Harp's youth.

After a while, Harp drifts off to sleep, wondering what tomorrow will bring.

Salix and Surin

From: Jake

Subject Salix and Surin

OOC: Okay, so, I don't seem to be going to bed; may as well write my turn now.

IC: Surin produces a dagger, seemingly from nowhere, and procedes to carve himself a healthy portion of the mutton, which he piles onto a thick slab of bread. As he cuts a thin slice of cheese and lays it over the meat, he purses his lips, considering.

"I'll tell you plain, Salix, I haven't much fondness for the circus these days. It's what I know, sure and all, but me and the circus may be about through with each other. I've been working up my nerve to leave for more'n a week now?just trying to decide where to go, what to do; no sense in leavin' if I'd just have to go into the property liberating business on my own, eh?"

He places another generous slab of bread on top of the meat and cheese, smashes the sandwich as flat as he can with the palm of his hand, and takes a bite, washing it down with a swig of ale.

"Besides, never could resist a mystery." Looking over his sandwich as he prepares to take another bite, he says "he didn't say *anything* else?"

After Salix has answered, and Surin has swallowed another bite he says, almost to himself, "now, when to leave, eh? Daylight won't work--there's those as wouldn't want to see me go, and might get it in their heads to stop me. Can't have that. First light won't work by the same token. Camp'll be rousing itself--I'd be seen. Tell you what, why don't I meet you someplace at, oh, say, the second hour before dawn? Yonder maybe, at the treeline, by that old lightning struck oak?"

He drains the last of his ale, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, and laughs. "You know, most folk run away from their responsibilities to join the circus. Seems I may have things a bit backward."

From: Karl

Subject Salix and Surin

Salix, having long since satisfied his hunger, watches with a kind of morbid fascination as the Halfling continues to eat, making a sandwich that had to be half his weight in mutton. Where could he put all that food? He certainly wasn't fat.

At mention of some resistance to his leaving, Salix simply says, "Well, I have a few tricks up my sleeve that will likely surprise anyone who would try to stop us.

"Nevertheless, best to avoid a fight when possible. I'll meet you as you say. It's getting late. It would be best if I leave while it's still light so anyone watching will think our business is done. And I have a campsite to prepare. Eat your, um, *fill* of the remainder. It's paid for." Just to make sure, he drops a couple of extra coppers on the bar on the way out, nodding politely at Estrella.

Salix makes his way to the edge of town and disappears into the forest. He walks at a leisurely pace out of town for almost an hour, then backtracks to the treeline at the edge of town, within site of the lightening struck tree Surin had mentioned, where he makes camp, take care not to be seen. Once the camp is set, he moves to the edge and appears to say a quick prayer. Immediately he takes the form of a small willow tree, and keeps watch on the town until dark. Fortunately, no one seems to have taken an interest in his departure. Hopefully, the rest of Surin's afternoon was just as uneventful.

At dark, he resumes his human shape and prepares to sleep. He makes a hooting sound, and Noctis, who had spent the last few hours sleeping in a nearby tree, comes swooping over. He orders Noctis to take watch until the second hour before dawn and to wake him if anything unusual happens.


At the appropriate hour, he is awakened by a slight pricking feeling on his shoulder as Noctis prods him gently. Instantly alert, he looks into the darkness toward the tree and see that Surin has nearly arrive there. He quickly gathers camp and meets up with the Halfling.

"Good Morning to you, " he says. "Or nearly morning, at any rate." They proceed immediately deeper into the trees, walking about half an hour before picking up the road they would need to take toward Gorn. They then travel mounted and in silence, for the most part, until the first rays of lightbreak through the cloudy dawn. Salix motions for them to stop for a light breakfast, and as he unpacks his rations, he asks, "So in the circus, I imagine you've seen a good portion of this land, yes?"

From: Jake

Subject Travels

Surin nods. "Sure, more than some. All from the caravan though--this is the first time I've been this way alone. Well, not alone, but you know."

"And what of you? Travel much?"

From: Karl

Subject Travels

"Well, I've traveled a bit over the last year or so. Mostly doing various tasks for Quarion. Most of my travels have kept me in the forests, so I've learned quite a bit about the differences - and similarities - of the various wooded areas of the land. I have visited the cities, but all in all I prefer the woods. People tend to show their worst side the more they're crowded together." He looks carefully at Surin to make sure he hasn't taken offense. "But, it's good to have a companion to travel with," he adds with a smile.

Breakfast finished, they mount and again begin the journey toward Gorn.

Periodically a large horned owl swoops down and lands on Salix's shoulder. On these visits, the owl will often hoot and whistle for a moment before swooping off again. A couple of times Surin thinks he might have heard Salix hooting back.

From: Mark

Subject Harp and Ran-Ell

Randy has contacted Kevin and said that he would be too busy to do anymore before he goes on vacation. Therefore I will finish up their meeting and get them to Gorn.

Have a good vacation Randy and we look forward to playing when you get back.

From: Jake

Subject Travels

If Surin takes offense at Salix words, he shows no sign of it. He seems to be in high spirits after having left the circus.

"Don't reckon I'd fare so well out in the woods, myself. It's all in what you know, I'd say. There's good and evil everywhere--just have to watch out for different things in different places, I'd say."

After one of the owl's visits, Surin says "that's a fine bird you've got there. Owl, innit? What kind? He a pet, or more of a...friend?"

>"But, it's good to have a companion to travel with," [Salix] adds with a

Surin smiles. "Sure and it is at that, Salix. Always good to have someone to talk to. So, how'd you come to be a wealward? What kind of a life takes a man in that direction?"

From: Karl

Subject Noctis and Druids

Salix realizes that he hasn't introduced his animal companion. "Where are my manners? Surin, this is Noctis. Noctis, Surin" he says, looking at the Owl and nodding toward the Halfing. Noctis in turn, looks at Surin and cocks his head. It's unclear if the owl actually comprehends the words, but he seems to understand that the newcomer to the party is not a threat.

"Noctis, here, is very much a friend. He has been with me for quite some time and I don't know what I'd do without him. I've had him scanning the area ahead of us and it seems that we might want to be leaving the road for a few miles." Salix dismounts and motions for Surin to do the same. He clasps his right hand over a small wooden object tied to his left wrist and says a small prayer that they and the mounts might pass the next few miles without leaving any trace. This done, he motions for Surin to follow him into the forest with his mount. He makes a hooting noise to Noctis and the great owl flies off, gaining height,but apparently following the road.

To Surin's inquisitive glance, Salix answers, "I'm not sure what the trouble is, but something has him spooked. That usually means caution is the best idea. Noctis will let us know when we've passed the danger and can safely get back on the road.

Traveling in the woods seems a little easier than before, and if Surin looks back he will see that they leave neither footprint nor any other trace that they have passed that way. Indeed, even the dried and fallen leaves seem to spring back untouched after they pass by. After several minutes of silent travel into the forest, Salix speaks again. "You asked about my coming to be a Wealdward.

Well, I feel that I was destined to the calling. I was left in a grove of Willows sacred to the druids of my order when I was just an infant. It was clear that I was meant to be found by them. They taught me all that I know and have given me a very good life." He pauses. "But that is how I became a druid. Becoming a Wealdward took a lot of training. It is the first level of any real significance in my order. All lower order designations emphasize an acolyte or training status. Wealdwards have a small degree of autonomy in deciding how they will fulfill their obligations to the order."

Surin gives an unconvincing nod and Salix re-phrases, "I have sworn to protect the forests and wooded areas of this land. As a Wealdward, I can decide how best to do this within my own abilities, with the understand that I will report back to my order and will have to give accounting of my time. Normally, new Wealdwards are sent to learn more about the forests and lands outside The Order. In my experience, they are sent to a specific place for a specific time period after which they return to The Order and either resume training or take a new commission from the council."

"I say, 'in my experience', because that is all I've known of Wealdwards before me. But my commission is different than I expected. My mentor, Stormfather Acer, asked me to assist Master Smith, er, Quarion, and I have sworn duty to him for an unspecified time. I have been under his direction for over a year now and I'm not sure much longer this duty is intended to last." Salix's voice trails off at this last bit and Surin can see a hint of . . . what? Homesickness maybe? But it fades quickly and Salix picks up his pace.

After a couple of hours Salix hears a loud hooting from the direction of the road and turns the small group towards the sound. A moment later, Noctis swoops into view and lands on Salix's shoulder, hooting softly. Salix gives the great bird a pat and the company returns to the road.

"I don't know," Salix says, anticipating the question. "Bandits maybe? At anyrate, I'm sure it was something we're better off not meeting."

"So now I've told you more than you've asked. I'm not used to having someone new to talk to. What about you? What took you to the circus? And why were you so careful to leave unnoticed? Do you think your friends will come looking for you?"

If he looks back, Surin might notice that it's well over an hour before the group starts making footprints in the dusty road again.

From: Jake

Subject Druids

As they make their way through the woods, Surin seems fascinated by the fact that they leave no trail. He listens attentively to Salix's story, but even as he does so he is kicking his foot into the loamy soil, then watching delightedly as the hole seems to melt away, and generally playing with the effects of the spell.

>"So now I've told you more than you've asked. I'm not used to having
>someone new to talk to. What about you? What took you to the circus? And
>why were you so careful to leave unnoticed? Do you think your friends will
>come looking for you?"

He snorts. "Nothing took me to it. Was born into it. I'm probably related to more than two thirds of that caravan. If my family had known I was leaving...well, there's those as would have had a mind to stop my going. Not out of love, I'd say, 'cept for maybe some of the little ones. That one that was picking your pocket, he'll miss me, and I'll miss him. Left him a note explaining myself before I headed out. Wanted to wake him, but he'd've woken the others, and I couldn't have that."

"You see Salix, I'm good at my job--better than most, though there aren't many in that caravan as would admit it, least to my face. They'll get by fine without me, but it'll take them a good long while to find someone who can bring in as much, on a daily basis, as I'm able to. They're not going to like loosing that income."

He pats his pony's neck affectionately. "Plus, they're not going to be too happy with me when they find out I took Pelas here. I reckon there'll be some unhappiness about the rest of my gear. It's mine though," he says, slightly defensively, "mine true enough. I just saw to paying myself for my years of service, and paid myself a fairer wage than others might have."

From: Karl

Subject Surin's wages

Salix smiles inwardly as Surin justifies the "payment of wages" as he put it. "You don't have to explain yourself to me," he says with a grin. He's surprised at how much slack he's willing to cut this roguish Halfling. Just six months earlier, he'd probably have ended the relationship at the first mention of pick-pocketing. But if there's one thing he's learned from Quarion it's that there are many precious gems that have not yet been cut and polished. It's taken him the better part of the year to understand that, and he's beginning to feel that Surin is a fine example of that phenomenon. "I've been. . . . fortunate, I guess, in that I've never had the need to provide for myself in a manner others might question. That has got to be hard for you sometimes." He says the words, then realizes how patronizing they sound out loud -- not at all like they did in his head -- and quickly looks away from Surin, searching the road ahead of them.

After several more hours of travel, they again move off the road and make camp. Noctis, having picked up a rather fat squirrel somewhere, perches on a nearby branch and begins voraciously tearing at his kill.

"I'm not sure what you brought, but you're welcome to some of my food." Salixsays. "I have plenty, but I'm afraid it's all trail rations. Not exactly mutton and cheese."

(OOC - Jake, feel free to move ahead with the story from Surin's point of view. If you want to cover a day or two of the travel time, that's fine with me. If I think of anything exciting or interesting, I can introduce it later.)

From: Mark

Subject Harp and Ran-Ell

In the morning Harp is awakened by Gar-Ell.

?I apologize for what you had to witness yesterday. My grandson has not come to terms with his dual heritage. I see that you also share in a dual heritage, although one much different then Ran's. You do not seem to have the usual attitude of one of your background.? Gar holds up his hand, stopping Harp before he has a chance to talk. ?No, say nothing. Maybe you will be a good influence on Ran. If he can see how you deal with your split background, maybe he will be able to come to terms with his. I will send him out in a few minutes. Please look after him. I do care for him. ? With that the elf turns and enters the house.

A few minutes later Ran exits the house, carrying his belonging. He takes them over to a small stable and puts them on a horse. When he is done he hops lightly into the saddle and turns to Harp. ?Well, let's go see if my father is still alive.?

With that the two head off back to the port town. When there they catch the next ship to Schon.

Weeks later, after an uneventful voyage, they reach Gorn. It is mid-day when they finally slide into the pier and the Captain says that they may disembark. Ran leads his horse Kir, down the gangplank, with Harp following. When they get to the bottom, Harp moves forward and says? I think we should go stable your horse at the chapter house and then go see Knight/Captain Angelwing.? Ran nods and heads off to the chapter house. Harp is surprised a bit that Ran knows the way and then remembers that Ran grew up here.

An hour later they are standing outside the door to Angelwing's office. Harp looks at Ran-Ell and says ?You ready?? Ran nods and Harp knocks on the door. Angelwing's voice booms out from inside, ?Enter?. Harp opens the door for Ran and let's the half elf enter first.

The commotion is incredible. Angelwing seems to be shouting, Ran is almost yelling just to hear himself over the loud voice of the Knight/Captain and Harp just stands back in the corner, waiting to be called on. After a few minutes of greeting, Angelwing motions to the men to sit down.

Sinking into the comfortable chairs, Ran and Harp wait for the Captain to speak.

?First Ranthir, let me give you the good news. Your father is going to live. Our clerics and other learned members were able to figure out a way to stop the poison. We still do not know how your father was poisoned our who did it, but his is not getting any worse. Now the bad news. He is not getting better very fast. We have our best people working on it and I will keep you updated with out it goes.?

?So it looks like you might have made the trip for nothing. However, now that you are here, I would like to ask you a personal favor. You have been gone for a while, so I would guess you have not heard. I am to be married. She is the fourth daughter of a minor noble from Mnuhl. It has been announced in the city, but the actual date she is to arrive has not been announced. There are many people in the world who would not like to see an alliance between Schon and Mnuhl. I am going to tell you that no one else, but a few, know. She is on her way here now. She has an escort, but there are parts of her journey that lead by dangerous areas. I am going to be sending out a small party to meet her party and help her find a way here. I would like you to go with this group as my personal representative. I am sure she will have questions about me and you can give her all the answers, good and bad. Her name is Rochell.

?Will you do this for me??

Ran thinks for a moment and replies ? Heronin, I will do this for you if you never call me Ranthir again. You know that I want no part of my human background. However, for the friendship we share, I will go meet your bride.?

Angelwing, gives Ran a big hug, and then turns to Harp. ?Corporal Harp, you have done a fine job getting Ran back to us. I would also ask you to go on this mission??

Harp nods his head and says ? Of course, Knight/Captain.?

?Good,'says Angelwing, ?it is settled. Meet me in the main conference room tomorrow after 3rd bell. I will introduce you to the rest of the party.? He then dismisses Harp.

OODM: Ok Harp and Ran-Ell are in Gorn and ready for the main introduction.


Smoking and a Map

From: Jake

Subject Druids

Surin doesn't appear to take offense at Salix's words, although he does snort quietly at the man's words.

When they halt to eat dinner, Surin readily accepts Salix's offer of food, offering in turn to share the loaf of bread and wheel of fairly unplesant cheese that he produces from his pack. He eats what looks like a much more sensiblysized meal than Salix might have expected, given the previous day's gastronomic performance.

After the meal is over he rummages in his pack for a moment, then draws out a small pouch of tobacco and a rectangle of some sort of thin, almost translucent paper. He quickly rolls the tobacco into a tightly packed cigarette, which he offers to Salix. If Salix accepts he rolls himself another. If not, he shrugs, puts the cigarette in his mouth, and lights it from a brand from the fire. He takes a deep drag from it, holding the smoke in his lungs for a few moments. Exhaling twin streams of smoke from his nostirls he settles back, looking inordinantly comfortable as he leans against a convenient rock.

"Nice out here. Peaceful, like. I could get used to this, I'd say." He draws a length of cord from his pocket and begins tying and untying it in a series of increasingly complex knots. It's obviously an almost meditative act for him, punctuated by the occasional drag from his cigarette.

"So, how'd you do that, that trick back there in the woods, making our tracks disappear?"

OOC - Karl, I don't really have anything else exciting up my sleeve, but I'd be happy to RP back and forth for the next week

From: Mark

Subject Map

Sorry I sent out the first map with out making sure all the North Continent countries were on it. I missed Camlost, which is where Salin and Surix met.

From: Karl

Subject Smoking

Salix accepts the smoke graciously, though it seems from the way he draws deeply and holds most of the smoke in his mouth that he is more interested in the amusement of blowing smoke rings than in any bodily effects from the smoke itself.

"The tracks?" he says in response to Surin's question. "I don't leave tracks unless I want to," he says with some pride. "It's a skill taught to members of my order and requires a very close relationship with the natural world around us. What you're asking about, though, is a little different. If I have sufficiently prepared, nature grants me the privilege of taking a small group with me, leaving no mark upon her. At present I can do this with only 4 individuals, but I've seen the Stormfather do this with over a dozen."

He finishes his smoke and prepares to sleep.

Intro for Cai-Ril, Bel-Ril and Fal-Tor

From: Mark

Subject Intro for Cai-Ril, Bel-Ril and Fal-Tor

?Where is that creature?? Cai murmured to herself. She had spent the last three days tracking the rabid wolf that had been terrorizing the little hamlet of Shrewsbury. It had already killed several sheep and almost killed a child. Luckily the local priest had been able to make sure that the child did not catch the disease. It had been her job to track the beast down. This was a canny brute and she had thought she was close several times. She even had been able to take a shot at it once, but had missed.

She was sure she was close this time. The tracks looked very fresh and she had found another kill of the creature just an hour ago. It should be just over this next rise. As she slowly works her way to the top of the small hill, she notices that the tracks just disappear. One moment they are as clear as day and the next nothing. Cursing in annoyance Cai starts to get up when she hears a voice speak to her.

?Cai, I told you that you needed to work on your tracking skills.? Cai turns, startled, to see her mentor, Quarion Smith step out of the woods. ?You have been following a track I set for you for the past hour. I found the wolf and disposed of it. Now before you get all mad, I just wanted to see how you had come along on your tracking skills. I think we still have some things to work on.?

?However, that is not what I needed to talk to you about. I need your help. I need you to go to the Wizard School in Ivo and collect a couple of people for me and bring them to Gorn. When you get there, go see the headmaster and ask him to let you see Fal-Tor and Bel-Ril. They are both half elves of my acquaintance who are studying there at the moment. When you find them bring them to my cottage out side of Gorn.?

Cai remembers the cottage well. It was a small house about 5 miles outside of Gorn where Quarion lived when he was in town. It was located in small woods that he used to test potential students. She had learned a lot in those woods.

Knowing that Quarion did not like long farewells, Cai nods to him and heads off, calling her hawk to her. She had spent the last few weeks training this young hawk, hatchling of her beloved Wind of the Forest. She would have to find out the name of this bird soon.

It was several days journey to Ivo, over on the coast. She arrived in the large sea port just before noon. She had visited Ivo many times in her travels with her father and Quarion, so knew exactly where to find the Wizards school. After being granted access through the school's front gate, she wandered through the courtyard, watching the wizardlings talk and practice some arcane rituals. Her brother would be right at home here. She had learned the hard way the first time she was here that the wizards had some odd specializations. She had lost a week's wages in a dart game against a wizard.

She found the Head Master's office and knocked quietly. A low, weak voice told her to enter. She opened the door and walked into the cluttered office. An old man hunched over a table, his face just inches from a book on the table. He seemed to have forgotten about her. After a few minutes, she cleared her throat and he startled at the sound.

?Oh my, what are you doing in here? Oh, wait, I remember now. Where you the person knocking at my door? Well you must be, because if you weren't then those damn ghosts are acting up again. Please, please sit down. What can I do for a young Elven lass on a day like today??

?Master Renfro, I am Cai-Ril and I have been tasked to ask a couple of your students to accompany me to Gorn. My mentor, Quarion Smith, has asked me to find two students here, one by the name of Fal-Tor and the other by the name of Bel-Ril. Could you please have someone summon them so that I might talk with them??

Renfro studies the young elf for a few seconds. ?Smith you say? Well, well I do remember him. And the two half bloods he brought here. The one with his wild magic, not properly trained. The other, more respectful, but a little distracted. Yes, yes I can have them brought to you.? The old man pulls a cord and a bell sounds. Within seconds a young boy is at the door. The Headmaster tells the young boy who he needs and where the boy should be able to find them. He then turns back to his book and starts studying again.

Most people would be offended by this, but Cai was raised in a wizard family. She is used to being of second importance to a wizard. 10 minutes later there is another knock at the door and Renfro startles from his studies again. ?What? Who are you? Oh wait; yes you are that elf girl here for the two half bloods. I would guess that that is them at the door. ENTER.?

In walk the two half elves, both dressed in wizard cloaks. They bow to the Head Master. He says ?This young lady has been sent by your sponsor here, Quarion Smith.? They turn and look at her expectantly. Cai tells them ?My name is Cai-Ril, and Quarion has sent me. He requires your service. We are to travel to Gorn and meet him there. He will explain more when we get there. Can you leave today??

The two look at each other and almost break out laughing. Fal-Tor bows to her and replies ?My lady, we who study the arcane arts usually need a bit more time to prepare to leave. While my friend Bel here might be ready to go at a moments notice, I need time to gather my stuff, if I am to be of any use to Quarion. May we leave at dawn tomorrow??

Cai nods at this and tells the two men that she would meet them at the front gate of the school at dawn. She makes her farewells and goes to find a nice inn for the night.

The next morning finds Cai at the gate at the appointed hour. Surprisingly both men are there. More surprisingly, is that both of them have birds with them as well. One has a raven and the other a hawk. The two hawks fly off, testing each other. The raven stays by his master, Fal-Tor. After greeting the men, the three of them head off to Gorn. The trip is uneventful, which is not surprising considering the country.

Within a few days they are at the small cottage that Quarion calls home. He is there and greets them all. ?Cai, it looks like you made good time and found the two. Fine, I need to see the three of you tomorrow morning in the main conference room in the castle in Gorn. When you get to the North Gate, tell the guard that you are with Quarion's party and he will get you a guide to the place you need to be. You should be there by the third morning bell. Trust me you do not want to be late. Now you three can go to the city and spend the night if you want. Just be at the North gate ? hour before the third morning bell.?

With that he dismisses them.

OODM: If Ami, Derrel or Rob wants to do any roll playing for the rest of the week that would be fine, otherwise we will start on Monday at the conference room.

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