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.

The Adventure Begins

From: Mark

Subject The Adventure begins

The seven strangers stared at each other from across the room. There was one odd thing that Fal-Tor noticed, there was not a single human in the group. There was the huge half orc in breast plate with the symbol of the Order of the Silver Sword. The orc's black hair and dark skin seemed softened a bit by the thoughtful black eyes. Fal had never meet a half orc who was not a ravening lunatic, but this one seemed different. At least he knew how to use a spoon and fork. Next to the ? orc was a tall half elf. This ? elf seemed to know the ? orc as they were talking to each other quietly. This ? elf was dressed in a very fine suite of elven chain mail. He looked to be a bit over 5 ? feet tall, with jet black hair and piercing blue eyes. The fair skin of his face reflected a worried expression and Fal wondered what was bothering him.

Next Fal inspected the only true elf in the group. She was also dressed in elven chain mail and had a fancy longbow and a sword at her side. She seemed average height for an elf, just a few inches under 5 foot, with stunning auburn hair and blue-green eyes. She seemed to have a stronger build then most of her race, but carried it well. Talking to the young elf maid was the only other non-human. The halfling stood just a few inches over 3 feet, so even he had to look up to the elf girl to flirt with her. His dark skin showed that he had spent a lot of time outside in the weather, but his sparkling blue eyes showed the sense of mischief that he possessed. His thick mop of black hair looked like it had not been cut in months.

Off in the corner Fal looked at one of the other ? elves in the room. He would not have believed he was part elf from how tall he was. At 6', the young man in the leather armor would have passed as human if it were not for the ears. He also had the tanned skin of someone who spent most of his time out of doors. He had the blond hair and the green eyes of the Raf clan. He seemed to want to keep apart from the rest of the group, although he and the halfling seemed to know each other.

The last person in the room was his friend from school, Bel-Ril. He was short for a half-elf, at a few inches under 5'. Fal himself was 5' and his dark brown hair and gray eyes set him apart from the others in the Tor clan. His friend Bel had shown up at the wizards school in Ivo 6 months ago, looking for information on his sudden magical abilities. He and Bel had roomed together since then. It turned out that they had both known Quarion Smith. Smith had sent Bel to the school to find out more about his powers and to try and get some control over them. It remained to be seen if it has worked.

At that moment the main door to the room banged open and Quarion Smith walked in followed someone who was even bigger than the ? orc. This man was truly imposing at well over 6 ? feet tall and 300lbs, a shiny bald head and gold eyes. But that was not the most noticeable thing about him. The wings. The wings had to be the feature that caught everyones eye. He wore a suite of full plate armor, emblazoned with the symbol of the Order of the Silver Sword. This man was obviously a Paladin of the Order. When the winged man entered, the ? orc practically lept to attention. The large man moved to the head of the table and signaled for quiet. Quarion shut the door and moved next to the Paladin.

?I want to thank all of you for answering my request for you to be here today? Quarion started. ?There are important things happening in the world and I would like you to be a part of it. This? gesturing to the Paladin,? is Heronin Angelwing. He is a Knight/Captain of the Order of the Silver Sword, a group which I am sure you are all familiar with. Captain Angelwing has a couple of problems that he has asked my help with. However I am only a single person, so I thought I could help him out with one of his problems and you folks could help him out with the other. Captain?? With that Quarion motions for the Captain to step forward.

?I want to thank you all for being here. Quarion says you are some of the best he has trained and I hope it is true. What I am going to ask you to do is of a personal nature. I am to be married in a few weeks. My bride is on her way here now and we have received information that an attempt may be made on her life. She has an escort, but I would feel better if someone I knew and trusted were to help her get here. She is from Mnuhl and is taking the Mountain Road through Eld and Bhyo and should be fairly safe. However that road takes her close to the Pass of Undulant. If any attempt is going to be made on her and her escort, it will be there. Undulant would hate to see an alliance between Schon and Mnuhl. I would ask that your party go out along the Mountain Road and meet with her party and escort her here. We can not send the army as we are in the middle of some peace talks with Bhyo and any infiltration of our army would be seen as a sign of war. A small party thought should not be bothered. I am going to put my friend Ran-Ell? he motions to the half elf sitting next to the ? orc, ?in charge and Corporal Harp will be his second in command.? motioning to the ? orc. ?Quarion says that a couple of you are rangers?? At that the young elf girl raises her hand as does Fal's buddy Bel. ?Good, you can help keep the party from getting lost and finding her escort. You should also have some magical support. I know that Quarion asked the Wizard school for some help and the Druids of the Great North Woods.? Quarion steps forward and says ? Yes, the Wizard school sent my ?protegee Fal-Tor and Salix Wealward represents the Druids. And we have little Surin here to keep us all honest.? Surin laughs at that, knowing that his sense of honesty probably does not match up with that of the Paladins.

?Again I want to thank you all for your help.? With that Angelwing leaves the room. Quarion gets up and asks ?Any questions??

OODM: Ok guys this is the start. You can ask what questions you have of Quarion.

On a game note. If you want your character to use a skill or a feat, you need to tell me in your write up. For example if Cai wants to do rapid shot then she should say something like, ?Shooting as fast as she can she fires two arrows at the Orc.(Rapid Shot) or ?Surin tries to sneak around the guard(Move silently and or Hide.) If you do not specify which skill or feat you are using I might forget a bonus or something.

From: Kevin

Subject The Adventure Begins

Harp is excited to have been chosen by the Knight-Captian for this mission. Given his history of "adminstrative correction" (usually administer by the Knight Captain) he is suprised to have been entrusted with this mission. If he gets a chance, he will ask to speak with the Knight-Captain (and/or Ran-Ell) regarding anything special he thinks Harp will need to know about this journey.

OOC: Mark, I am unsure from the previous posts, what season is it now? This is something Harp would know and I am sure I would if I had and inelligence score above 10.

From: Mark

Subject Season

It is the first week of Spring and a half Orc's heart turns to drinkging. :)

From: Randy

Subject Leadership

Ran looks uncomfortable at being singled out as the leader of the mission. Despite his apparent discomfort he finds himself evaluating each of his new companions. He looks over the people in attendance and idly wonders if it is coincidence that there are no full blooded humans among them. He requests a briefing with Heronin, Harp, and Smith to discuss the situation and to state his concerns with the leadership.

Once in a more private environment Ran directs his words to Heronin, anger rising in his face.

"You said nothing about leadership! You said I would be your representative, not that I would have to direct others."

Ran is quite angry and his blue eyes are directed intently on Heronin, his brow furrowed in rage.

From: Derrell

Subject Elves

Fal-Tor wondered what Quarion had gotten him into. He was wary of the half orc, but curious because the orc's demeanor seemed so much different than other orcs he had encountered. Fal-Tor was nervous about the coming quest, but excited none the less.

Fal-Tor kept looking at the female elf, hoping she didn't notice for fear that he might end up on the wrong end of her sword. She was truly beautiful.

From: Mark

Subject Leadership

Heronin holds up his hands at Ran's outburst. "Ran, calm down. I just assumed that you knew that you would be in charge. You did agree to be my representative on this mission. That makes you the primary person. You have been trained in leadership, even if you do not want to use it. And this is not like a real military command. You can not court martial someone if they leave the group or turn tail and run. This is a group of people doing a favor for a friend. Even that type of mission needs a leader. This mission has no formal sanction. It is friends helping friends. Again, I ask you, will you help?"

From: Randy

Subject Leadership

Ran regains his composure and takes a few deep breaths. After a moment he speaks.

"I apologize for the outburst my friend. I am not feeling particularly competent as a leader right now. I am barely able to direct my own life. I appreciate your confidence and trust and I will of course do as you ask. As a friend, truer than any other I have known, I will do my utmost to bring your bride here in safety." Ran stops as if just realizing he was speaking in front of others. He looks to Master Smith and then to Harp and says:

"I apologize to the two of you as well for this. I should not be so out of control of my emotions. I hope that you will forgive this."

Ran's expression softens when he looks to Harp. He thinks to himself that he must be a better example to Harp so that his self-confidence can be improved.

"Harp, I am grateful to have you with me on this mission and I look forward to working with you and more importantly continuing to get to know you."

"Heronin and Master Smith, is there any information about the other members of the party that you think should be brought to our attention? Any personalities that may conflict? Any skills that I should be aware of in case of need? Is there any reason for keeping full humans out of this group?"

Ran awaits the response patiently.

From: Mark

Subject Leadership

The Knight/Captain motions for Quarion Smith to step forward. The 1/2 elven ranger does so and starts to talk. "The young elf maid,Cai-Ril, is a ranger that I have been mentoring. The halfing, Surin, is a young man who I have come to trust. He can seem to almost disappear and can move more quietly than a mouse. He might come in usefull. The value of Salix, the 1/2 elf druid, in the wild should be obvious. The other two half elves, Fal-Tor and Bel-Ril are young men who I have delt with and know can be trusted. Fal is versed in the ways of magic, which may prove usefull and Bel has some fighting skills, although he recently discovered some magical abilities that worry him. I would think that Salix and Surin would have the most trouble getting along, but they seemed to have come to an agreement on their journey to Gorn. Other than that I do not forsee any major problems amongst your members."

Quarion steps back.

From: Kevin

Subject Leadership

"Friend Ran, no need for apologies to me. I too have been learning, sometime unsuccessfully, to contol my conflicting selves. I had begun to despair that I would ever be able to succeed in the human world, much less within the Order. I feel honored that the Knight Captain would choose me to assist you in this task. He knows better than most the struggles I have had these past two years in the order, and the problems I had before that.

Come, let us bring his bride to him safely."

From: Jake

Subject The Adventure Begins

While Quarion is talking Surin produced a dagger and begings paring his nails, although his occasional glances up at Quarion and the others indicate that he is listening and taking stock of the people who will be his companions in this. When Quarion has finished speaking, Surin clears his throat. "So, what'll you be doing for our friend here while we're leading the bridal procession, if you don't mind my asking?"

He listens to Quarion's reply. When an opportune moment presents itself he addresses Quarion again. "I'm glad to give you a spot of help Quarion, but I don't quite see how you'll be needing me on this little trip? It isn't too common to see a halfling acting as a bodyguard, after all, and I'm better at avoiding a fight than I am in meeting one head on. Also, Salix said something about 'dark forces'? I don't reckon there are many as would hold that Undulant trying to stop this wedding would be a good thing, but I don't hardly think that that qualifies as 'dark forces'. Occurs to me there might be more to all of this than meets the eye, if you don't mind my saying."

From: Karl

Subject Questions

Salix takes in the group silently. At first he is shocked to see a half-Orc among them. He had never had dealings with Orcs that hadn't ended badly. Never met one that respected the forest either. Cut and burn, kill and devour. That was all Orcs knew, as far as he could see. He couldn't help but wonder what kind of human could bring himself to mix with their kind. It was all he could do to keep his astonishment at seeing the half-Orc in their group from showing on his face. But it - No, "he" - was there because he was a friend of Quarion and that, in Salix's experience, meant a great deal. Quarion wouldn't deal with anyone who had no redeeming qualities. Salix resolved to try and learn what those qualities might be in the case of this creature.

Why the others were in the group Salix could understand. The rangers would be invaluable on this trip, as would their new leader, the half-Elf fighter. Surin, well, while Salix had grown to like the Halfling during their journey to Gorn, he didn't quite understand why Quarion thought they'd need a pick-pocket on this trip. But with Quarion it was just as likely he thought the experience would be good for Surin if not so much the other way around.

That left the wizard. Well, Salix would have to wait and see about him. Salix had always viewed Wizards as almost a kind of heretic Druid, wielding the power of the unseen forces without respecting their nature. Wizard magic seemed to rend the natural world rather than tend it, using its life force with little regard for balance or replenishment, as if 'magic' - unlike all other resources - were inexhaustible. Still, there were many good wizards, just as there were good people everywhere cutting a life out of a world they didn't know how to respect. And there was no doubting a wizard could be useful in a fight. And here again, Quarion wouldn't have included him if he were a bad sort.

"Any question?" Quarion asked.

Salix simply shook his head "no". The assignment seemed straightforward enough. Head out and meet the Captain's bride and her entourage and escort them back. Could be easy, in fact, depending on how much Undulant is willing to risk just to disrupt the wedding. After all, it's not like the wedding couple are royalty. Or ---

"Actually, I do have a question," Salix says. "If you'll forgive my bluntness, is your bride a person of great importance? I mean other than to you personally?" He tries to formulate the question delicately and fears he is failing badly. (Diplomacy) "I mean do you think that Undulant would expend a great effort to disrupt your wedding? Or are you just being extra cautious?" He chances a glance at Quarion in case he thinks the question entirely out of line. "I'm at your service, regardless," he adds. "I'm just interested to know what kind of trouble you think we should expect."

In the Meeting Room

From: Rob

Subject The Adventure Begins

Bel-Ril looked quietly at his new companions, sitting next to his friend Fal from the school. His trip to the wizards school had been fairly useless to him from a magic standpoint, but at least he had made a friend there.

He just hoped that his skill with a bow was all they would need if trouble powerful as his magic could be it was too new to him to trust it yet.

From: Mark

Subject In the Meeting Room

As the Knight/Captain leaves the room by a side door, the young half elf he had indicated jumps to his feet, his blue eyes blazing. He follows after Angelwing into the adjacent room. Corporal Harp, looking a little unsure of himself follows the man he was told he would be second in command to. Seeing Ran-Ell's face, Quarion motions for the others to stay put and follows the other three out of the room and shuts the door behind him. The 5 people here a short heated conversation in the other room but are unable to make out the words. A few minutes later Ran-Ell, Harp and Quarion re-enter the room. Ran and Harp take a seat and Quarion starts to talk.

?Maybe I should have done this before, but I neglected it in my haste. This young man here? gesturing to the half-elf Ran-Ell, ?is a personal friend of the Knight/Captain. He will be in charge of this mission, only because he is doing this as a favor for the Captain. He has no rank with the Order, and this mission is not an official one. An official armed group going into Bhyo at this time would cause too many problems. His second on this ?trip? will be Corporal Harp. Do not be mislead by his looks. His fighting spirit is tempered by his gentle soul.? Moving around the room, Quarion introduces the other people in it. ?The young elf maid over in the corner is a young Ranger that I have been mentoring. I think it is time to test her skills on her own. The young Halfling bothering her is Surin Bitteroot, a scoundrel whose heart is better than his upbringing. He is quick as a fox and can be quieter than a mouse. Next to him is a Druid of the Great North Woods, Salix Wealdward. The Stormfather has tasked him with learning about the world at large, so he has entered my service for a while. His knowledge of nature and the wilds should be very useful.? At that comment the tall half-elf bows slightly, a little embarrassed by the attention.

Walking behind the two remaining members of the group, Quarion lays a hand on each shoulder. ?These two? motioning to the two half-elves sitting in the chairs, ?are Fal-Tor and Bel-Ril. I have known them for several years and thought that their abilities with magic might come in useful if my worst fears are realized.?

At that Surin pops in. "So, what'll you be doing for our friend here while we're leading the bridal procession, if you don't mind my asking?"

Quarion looks at the Halfling with a look of amusement. ?I am going to try and find out who poisoned the Knight/General Corron.? When he says this Ran-Ell looks a bit ashamed, but quickly hides his emotions.

Surin then asks "I'm glad to give you a spot of help Quarion, but I don't quite see how you'll be needing me on this little trip? It isn't too common to see a Halfling acting as a bodyguard, after all, and I'm better at avoiding a fight than I am in meeting one head on. Also, Salix said something about 'dark forces'? I don't reckon there are many as would hold that Undulant trying to stop this wedding would be a good thing, but I don't hardly think that that qualifies as 'dark forces'. Occurs to me there might be more to all of this than meets the eye, if you don't mind my saying."

Quarion gives Surin a piercing look. ?The ?Dark forces? are what I am going to try and find out about. I just do not like coincidences, and the attempt on the Knight/General comes to close to this wedding. They may be unrelated, but they may not.?

?Now we have spent enough time talking. Salix and Cai should know the way. The escort party will be coming down the North Mountain Road. The only real place where there might be problems is near the pass of Undulant. The North Mountain Road is fairly easy from here to the foothills in Bhyo, but then it becomes a bit more difficult terrain. It is about 56 leagues to the border and you should be able to make that in about a week or so. The Pass of Undulant is another 60 leagues north west of the border, but I would guess it would take you 10-12 days to make that. We do not expect Rochelle, Anglewing's intended to be at the Pass for another three weeks. That should give you enough time to get beyond the pass, meet her party and escort them beyond the Pass.?

?Any other questions?

OODM: Ami I went on with out your response because I wanted to get the story moving. Please try and get some type of response in, even if it is ?I do nothing?. Thanks

From: Jake

Subject In the Meeting Room

Surin grimaces at the reference to the poisoning (OOC: Mark, is this the first he'd have heard of it, or is it the sort of thing that would have reached the circus in the form of a rumor?).

Nodding, he listens to the rest of what Quarion has to say. "So, when do we leave?"

From: Mark

Subject Poisoning

OODM: This is the first he would have heard of it. In fact there is a good chance he has no idea who Quarion is talking about.

From: Karl

Subject When to leave?

Salix nods to Quarion, "We'll bring her in safely." Then he walks over to Ran-Ell and extends a friendly hand. "As Quarion said, I'm Salix. Good to be serving with you. May the Spirit of the woods be with us on this errand. I'm at your command." He glances then at Harp and simply nods to acknowledge his position as second in command.

"I know the North Mountain Road and can depart when you are ready."

From: Jake

Subject Who is he?

Surin nudges Salix with his elbow and whispers "Who is this Corrin?"

From: Randy

Subject Leaving

Salix nods to Quarion, "We'll bring her in safely." Then he walks over to Ran-Ell and extends a friendly hand. "As Quarion said, I'm Salix. Good to be serving with you. May the Spirit of the woods be with us on this errand. I'm at your command."

Ran accepts Salix's hand gracefully and replies, "I look forward to the opportunity to journey with you. I am told that your skills in the wild are quite impressive."

Noticing the glance Salix gives to Harp, Ran says "Do not be too quick to judge my friend Harp. He is much more than he appears to be."

Ran extends his hand to Surin and says "Surin, I have been given the impression that you will make a good scout on this journey. Quarion says that you have his trust and I hope that I will be able to trust you as well."

Surin nudges Salix with his elbow and whispers "Who is this Corrin?"

At the mention of Corrin, Ran's face grows cold. He quickly turns away and moves towards Cai-Ril and introduces himself. "I am grateful for the skills a ranger will add to our mission." Seeing her hawk he adds "I am sure we will be able to take advantage of some eyes above us as well"

He next makes his way over to Fal-Tor and Bel-Ril. "Fal-Tor, I am glad to meet you. I am grateful for the presence of a wizard, though I hope we are not in too much need of your spells." Mentally, Ran is kicking himself. I hope he doesn't think I meant that I dislike magic, I just hope that things go smoothly.

Looking to Bel-Ril he says "I am told that you are a capable fighter. Your strength will come in handy, but hopefully we can stay away from combat." Ran conciously avoids mentioning anything about Bel-Ril's magical abilities not wanting to add to any worries that Bel may already have.

After making his rounds, Ran returns to Harp and says "It looks like we have a good group here. Quite well rounded skills. I would like to put you in charge of our watches while we are out. You, myself, Salix, Cai-Ril, and Bel-Ril are probably best suited to this task. I am not sure of Surin as of yet, so please do not assign him watch without checking with me first."

Ran turns to look at the group and waits for their conversations to die down.

From: Mark

Subject Suspicions

"Any question?" Quarion asked.

Salix simply shook his head "no". The assignment seemed straightforward enough. Head out and meet the Captain's bride and her entourage and escort them back. Could be easy, in fact, depending on how much Undulant is willing to risk just to disrupt the wedding. After all, it's not like the wedding couple are royalty. Or ---

"Actually, I do have a question," Salix says. "If you'll forgive my bluntness, is your bride a person of great importance? I mean other than to you personally?" He tries to formulate the question delicately and fears he is failing badly. (Diplomacy) "I mean do you think that Undulant would expend a great effort to disrupt your wedding? Or are you just being extra cautious?" He chances a glance at Quarion in case he thinks the question entirely out of line. "I'm at your service, regardless," he adds. "I'm just interested to know what kind of trouble you think we should expect."

Quarion replies to the group. "Rochelle is not royalty but she is noble. She is the fourth daughter of a minor house, but one related to the King of her country. Her marriage to the Captain would be the first step in an alliance between our two countries. There are many besides Fornax and Undulant who would like to not see that happen, but those two are the the most likely to do something about it. Either of those countries would likely go to some effort to prevent the wedding. However, we have tried our best to keep the information about her travel dates from the public eye. I want to be extra careful about this. My contacts in other countries have heard of some strange goings on. Nothing detailed, but enough to get my hackles up."

From: Ami

Subject Leadership

"I am grateful for the skills a ranger will add to our mission." Seeing her hawk he adds "I am sure we will be able to take advantage of some eyes above us as well"

Cai nods her head. "We will do our best." She stroked Grey. Grey seemed to be much the hawk his mother, Wind of the Forest, had been, but was still untested. Now, at this time when Quarion was trusting her to be on her own, Cai wished more than ever that Wind of the Forest had survived her last encounter.

From: Ami

Subject Leaving

Cai watched all the proceedings quietly. The others had voiced her questions well, but she was uneasy. It should not be difficult to find their way through the mountains. Though she had not been through the pass, she had been near the foothills of Bhyo and was acquainted with the feeling of the land. Her young hawk, Grey, would be of use in scouting as they traveled.

Still, she wondered what dark forces Quarion was going to investigate, and wished not just a little that she was going directly to the source of the problem rather than escorting a delicate flower of a clan so weak the paladin could not trust the escort they sent.

That wasn't a fair thought. She did not know what kind of a woman this bride would be. And if the paladin was in love with Rochelle, then of course he would take extra measures to protect her. Even if they had never met, such an escort would be diplomatic.

She noticed Fal-tor taking too many glances at her. She stared back openly. So, young wizard, what is it that you think of an elf who fails where you succeed?

From: Kevin

Subject Harp

Harp responds to Ran-Ell

"I understand Sir. I will begin to work up a watch schedule prior to our departure. I will try to vary it somewhat during the first week of travel so that each of us may get a chance to meet our new companions.

Now with your permission Sir, I would like to introduce myself to the rest of the party. While the member of the Order here in the Keep maybe familiar with me, I doubt that any of our companions have had many dealings with someone of my background."

Assuming Harp gets a nod of approval, he will circulate amongst the new arrivals, paying particular attention to try to sit when he introduces himself to Surin. During these introductions, he will give a brief background on himself. When he reaches Salix and Surin, he says the following very quietly:

"Corrin is the Knight-General of my order, the superior of both myself and Kight=Captain Anglewing. It was he who took me in and instructed the brothers here to look at me as a challenge sent from above. He is a paladin of exceptional piety and devotion. There is a history between the leader of our group and the Knight-General, but I will leave it to him to broach that subject, should he choose to do so. Just know that Ran Ell is one of the closest friends my Knight-Captain has, and as such has my complete trust and loyalty.

I am sure that you are curious about me, as I know from personal experience that people of my particular background are uncommon in these lands. Suffice it to say for now that my mother was the victim undesired attention from my father during the sacking and razing of her village. It was with great sorrow that she left me with the Order, but she had had no luck in trying to control my natural tendancies. The only thing that seemed to give me pause was when she played her small harp, hence my name. The brothers here took me in, showed me the good their diety had done, and taught me to contral my baser impluses as I grew. It has been two years now since I actually joined the order, though I have not advance much. My more "aggressive" side occasionally balks at the stricture placed upon it by my order, but I strive, through both prayer and training, to grow in my faith and in my "human" nature.

I look forward to travelling with you and learning more about both of you. If you will excuse me, I must go check with Ran-Ell on any addtional preparations before we travel.

OOC: I know, I know, music soothes the savage beast.

From: Karl

Subject Ran-Ell

Salix nods quietly at the answer. Now the task was beginning to justify the skills of the assembled party. He should have known Quarion wouldn't have called them all if the task were a simple escort of a minor noble. There must be good reason for him to be expecting trouble. It would be nice to know the details that clearly Quarion was reluctant to divulge at this time, but Salix long ago learned to live with secrets. Some things were best known up front. Others were best withheld until the proper time. The trick was knowing who you could trust to know the difference. Quarion was one Salix could trust.

Ran accepts Salix's hand gracefully and replies, "I look forward to the opportunity to journey with you. I am told that your skills in the wild are quite impressive."

Salix bows politely at the praise. "I will give you my best."

Noticing the glance Salix gives to Harp, Ran says "Do not be too quick to judge my friend Harp. He is much more than he appears to be."

"To be sure," Salix replies. "Anyone who Quarion trusts has the benefit of any doubts I might otherwise entertain."

He turns to Harp and adds, "Forgive me if I seem wary. I . . . have not had the opportunity to know many of your kind personally. I look forward to learning much on this trip." He offers a hand to the half-Orc and returns to his place near Surin to escape any further awkwardness.

Surin nudges Salix with his elbow and whispers "Who is this Corrin?"

"I have no idea. Never heard of him," he replies, then, noting Ran-Ell's reaction to the question whispers to the halfling, "There's one who seems to know, but I'm not sure now would be a good time to ask." Clearly there was history there, but just as clearly their new leader didn't want to pursue the topic.

From: Derrell

Subject Cai-Ril

Fal_Tor notices Cai staring and wonders if he should talk to her. He walks over. "I,uh, I'm sorry I was staring, but I've never seen an elf quite like you, before. I do apologize if I made you uneasy. "

While waiting for a reply, Fal-Tor looks out the window and calls to his raven. The bird glides effortlessly through the window and perches on its master's shoulder.

From: Mark

Subject Birds


I hope everyone realizes that there are 4 bird familiars/animal companions with this group. If they ever get hungry they can just eat the eggs. There are two hawks, a raven and an owl. :)

On the Road

From: Karl

Subject Introductions

Salix takes in this introduction thoughtfully. This Harp fellow is truly a remarkable creature. Salix had never met an Orc or even half-Orc who didn't revel in his capacity for destruction and violence. He could not help but be touched by the tale of being given up at birth. His own mother had given him up to The Order when she left him in the sacred willow grove so long ago. Salix knew well how such a child could cling to the new family. Luckily for him life in The Order seemed a perfect fit from the beginning. He wondered how he might be different if the fit had been a struggle.

From: Mark

Subject Clarification

OODM: I just want to make it clear, the group is going to escort the bride to be of the Knight/Captain, not Quarion Smith. Smith is a friend of the Captain and is doing him a favor by supplying a non-official escort for the young lady.

Anything else anyone wants to add?

From: Karl

Subject Moving Out

Nope! Let's move out!

From: Randy

Subject Moving Out

As the conversation dies down Ran looks to the group and begins to speak.

"I am impressed with the group that has been assembled for this task and I am confident that we will be able to work well together. It appears that we have a lot of this day remaining and unless there are any objections I propose that we move out."

From: Ami

Subject Moving Out

Cai-Ril watched the raven light on Fal-Tor's shoulder and sighed. "I suppose you haven't. Not many elves bond with animals."

At that moment, Ran addressed the group, proposing that the journey started immediately. Cai nodded. It would be better to not waste time.

She looked again at Fal-Tor and then Ben-Ril, remembering how long it took them to get ready to leave the school. They'd had some time now on the road. A wry smile grew on her face. She leaned over to Fal-Tor and whispered, "Do you need a bit more time to prepare to leave, wizard?"

From: Derrell

Subject Moving Out

"I'm ready to go. I haven't unpacked from the journey here." Fal-Tor looks at the raven. "Are you ready to begin this adventure, my friend?" The raven caws in the affirmative. "Fal-Tor turns back to Cai. "We are ready. Let the adventure begin. My horse is well rested and anxious to travel again."

Fal-Tor turns toward his friend Ben-Ril, looking for signs of nervousness. "So, Ben, are you ready to begin the quest?"

From: Kevin

Subject Moving Out

Harp, having had a chance to introduce himself to his new companions, heads back over to Ran Ell and indicates to him that he (and the rest of the group) seem ready to depart.

From: Karl

Subject Moving Out

Salix for his part has already moved to the door and is looking back expectantly.

From: Mark

Subject Moving Out

OODM: I will get there. I was hoping to hear from Rob, but I will just assume that he and Fal-Tor will stay together.

Turn forthcoming.

From: Mark

Subject On the Road

Seeing that Ran-Ell has taken control of the group and that many of the members are eager to be on their way, Quarion says ?Gods speed and may the good Gods be with you. If I am able I will try and find you, but do not count on it. My quest leads in another direction.? With that he leaves the room.

Ran suggests to the group that they all get their supplies and meet at the Western Gate in two hours time. That should still give them time to get some food before they leave and still get a good half days journey in. The North Mountain Road actually ends up in Gorn. They would have to take the West Gate and just follow that road for a couple of weeks and they should be where they needed to be. Everyone nods their agreement, although Salix seems a bit put out that everyone else is not ready to go right now. Each member of the party spends the rest of the morning gathering their things for the long journey ahead and thinking about what is to come.

The sixth morning bell rings, signifying noon. Ran is waiting on his large horse for the group to arrive. In his time away from the order he had gotten a bit more used to the schedules that civilians kept. Corporal Harp is there with his heavy horse and a pack horse. Salix is there on his horse, with a huge owl on the pommel of the saddle. A few minutes latter Bel-Ril and Fal-Tor mosey up, each on a light ridding horse and birds perched on their shoulders, a raven in Fal's case and a hawk in Bel's. Cai-Ril joins the group on her horse as well, her hawk Grey standing on the pommel of her saddle. The last to arrive is Surin, riding his little pony. He is also laden down with food that he is still eating. Blushing a bit at the looks he gets from the others he says ?You never know when we will get good food again.?

Ran looks over the packs. It looks like most of the people are well prepared. He assumes that the ranger can hunt for some fresh meat on the road and that they might be able to buy the occasional vegetable while on the road. Ran stands in his stirrups and speaks to the group. ?Lady Cai, would you mind going ahead of the group as a scout? Let us know if there is anything we should worry about. I do not expect any problems this close to Gorn, but I would like to get in the habit of having a scout out ahead of the group.? Cai nods and starts her horse down the road at a trot. ?Corporal Harp, would you mind bringing up the rear, making sure that no one falls behind.? Harp salutes and moves off to end of the group. ?The rest of you should stay with me, if you don't mind. We will be in civilized lands for a while, but it does not hurt to be prepared.? With that Ran gestures to the group and they head out into the sunny afternoon.

The traveling is easy. The road is wide and well kept this close to the city. There are farmers, merchants, guardsmen, traders and all sorts of people on the road. The land is mainly farm land, gently rolling, with the occasional large stand of trees. The group gets about 4 leagues from Gorn when Ran calls for setting camp. Consulting with the rangers, they pick a spot just outside of a small grove of trees. This pleases Salix to no end. Corporal Harp starts handing out duties for setting camp. Cai offers to go hunt some food in the woods and Ran gives her permission. Harp, seeing that setting up camp seems to be moving smoothly, especially Surin with the tents, volunteers to gather wood. Salix offers to go with him. The group settles in for the night.

OODM: Ok we are at the first night. If any one wants to discuss anything with anyone else now is the time. If you want to role play any conversations that might have gone on during the day, go ahead. When you are already for the night to go please check in.


From: Kevin

Subject Getting Wood

As Harp and Salix wander through the nearby woods, Harp attempts to make small talk with his companion.

"Master Salix, I am unfamiliar with the followers of your way. I have heard stories, of course, of those who commune with nature, speak with animals, and in some cases, I have been told, though I find this hard to believe, even become animals. I have never had much occaison to spend much time in the wild, other than travelling through it. I have met very little in the forest that I have ever feared for most things seem to flee before me, wether out of fear or hatred.

How is it you, and those who follow your way, have found such an affinity for the wild? Do you not miss the cammeraderie of your fellow man, though I should use that term loosely given our current company."

Harp will continue to collect fire wood, waiting to see if Salix answers.

From: Randy

Subject Looking over camp

Ran looks over the camp. Seeing that Surin has the tents well in hand, and that Harp is doing a fine job delegating the duties he wanders off to a more secluded area not too far away. Reaching into his tunic he pulls out a carved holy symbol that he wears around his neck. Holding the symbol in his hand he kneals down and begins to meditate. His breathing slows and becomes steady as he clears his mind of all thoughts and repeats a soft mantra. As he reaches a state of peace, he begins to pray in a quiet voice.

"Corellon Larethain, father of my spirit, I bow before the in need. Please guide my heart and mind that I may lead this mission well. Help me to follow a path of honesty, strength, and compassion." He pauses for a moment before continuing, tears welling in his eyes. "Help me to forgive my father and to restore a connection with him. Help me to know that my mother is at peace."

Finishing his prayer he once again steadies his breathing and returns to meditating.

As he rises, he wipes his eyes clean and looks back to the camp. Pushing his hair back out of his face he slowly begins to walk back towards the others who seem so happy and carefree and he looks on them with envy.

From: Karl

Subject Civilzation

Salix give a small snort when Ran mentions "civilized lands". What he meant, Salix was sure, were lands where if the people hadn't killed nature outright, they had at least crippled her.

From: Karl

Subject The Druids

"The problem as I have come to see it, Harp, is that people tend to think too much in 'us/them' terms when it comes to the natural world," he pauses and gives a light whistle. A moment later the huge horned owl that had ridden all day on the pommel of his saddle swoops down from the perch it had taken up in one of the nearby trees and lands on Salix's shoulder.

"While I do enjoy the company of my 'fellow man', camaraderie can be found in many places."

"Harp, this is Noctis." Salix strokes the owl lightly with his left hand and holds his right arm out to form a perch. The great owl moves down his arm to his forearm. "Noctis, this is Harp. He is a friend." Salix follows these words with a soothing slow hooting sound and extends his owled arm toward the half-Orc. Noctis instinctively inches back a couple of steps along Salix's arm away from Harp, but Salix continues the soothing hoot and again strokes the great owl lightly on his back. "He is wary, as are most woodland creatures. But if you let him get to know you on his terms, and you are not a threat, he might accept you as a friend.

"Noctis and I have been friends for a few years now. He answered my call while I was still a neophyte. There are many individuals of the humans, elves, and . . . other. . . so-called 'sentient' races I have met whose company I would not prefer to that of my winged friend here.

"And that, in its most basic form, is the explanation for the 'affinity' you asked about earlier. Nature is not only all around us, but we are all part of her. Most men - of all races - have lost the connection because they have thought themselves separate from nature and view her as a force to be fought or at best plundered. Those who follow the Druid way foster the connection with Nature. We seek to reclaim our position as her sons, and have found that she has many endowments to offer her faithful ones.

"But now I sound like the Stormfather, and that is a deception. In truth I am only a beginner. I am a Wealdward, a guardian of the forest - only the first and lowest of the active charges in my Order."

Salix pauses a moment, considering his traveling companion. He had confessed a struggle to control is more violent nature, but in fact Salix has witnessed nothing of this on the trip so far. Not that Harp had been easy to observe, taking up the rear of the group as he had. "What about you?" Salix asks. "What has led you on your path? It seems that by all accounts most individuals with your . . . heritage choose to embrace the . . . well, the more imposing side of their natures. What keeps you on this . . . gentler path?"

From: Ami

Subject Cooking Dinner

Cai took the saddle off her mount, rubbing him down and hobbling him before she let him graze. This was unfamiliar territory and she did not want him to get far.

After getting permission to hunt, she walked deeper into the grove of trees they camped by. There would likely be no deer here, but that was no matter. Their group was too small to devour such a catch on this night and the next. It would take too much to prepare such a load of meat for traveling any longer. A brace of coneys should meet their needs.

With Grey's help, she had three plump rabbits sooner than she'd anticipated. The ease of her hunting and the health of the rabbits spoke of few predators and much to eat. She decided it might be of some advantage to scout the area a little more closely as she returned.

When she arrived at camp, yam roots, a few leaves of bay, and some thyme also weighed her bag down. The fire was well started. She sat down and started skinning the coneys, splitting them first down the middle and up the limbs, then deftly sliding the knife between the skin and muscle.She rubbed the meat down with the bay, thyme, and some salt from her rations, then speared all three rabbits on a green branch.

She carefully pushed the burning wood of the fire to the side, revealing hot coals. On those, she placed heavy cook pot laden with the yams and some water, then buried the oven in more coals. She added wood to the fire, and then used two forked branches to support the skewered rabbits.

She smiled. This might show Surin that eating off the land was better than he had feared.

Her job done, Cai looked up at the group around her. All but Ran, they laughed and talked together. Still unsure of how she fit, she listened carefully, waiting for a chance turn in the conversation that would admit her.

From: Kevin

Subject The path

Harp laughs deeply, scaring some of the local animal habitat.

"For one, there has been nothing to catch the attention of my more orcish instincts.

It has been a long path for me, and I have learned much from the Order of the Silver Sword, both as a lowly member and as a fosterling before that. While I suffered greatly at the jibes and jabs of humans as I grew up, it was nothing compared to what my orc ancestors have wrought upon the world. My brothers of the Order have taught me that strength is a responsibility, that those that have it should use it for the benefit of those less fortunate. My father's race has abandoned that belief, if they in fact ever had it. Pray that you are not around should we encounter any of my orcish "kin", for it will challenge all of my learned skills of patience and wisdom to keep from attacking them."

With that, Harp reaches up to a large limb on a dead tree, exerts himself, and snaps the limb clean free of the tree.

"Well , it might be a little large for the camp fire. Maybe Noctis would like to use it as a perch tonight. In all honesty, I have never seen such a collection of birds in all my life. I have no such affinity with wild life. The only animal who seems to tolerate me is my horse, and he is so stupid I actually named him that.

The Order gave me a home when I had none, raised me when I had no family, and has given me a chance to repay their kindness to me by allowing me to join their order. It has not always been an easy path, for my natural tendency is to make something happen instead of trying to think my way through. However, Knight-Captain Angelwing worked with me, maybe because of his highly unusual background, or maybe because of some higher calling. I do not know. Suffice it to say that I have not advanced very fast within the Order, but, really, I have no where else to go.

Forgive me, I am rambling on. This mission is the first important task I have ever been given, and I very much want to do well in the eyes of the Order.

Well, I think we have about as much wood as even I can carry. What say you to heading back to camp and seeing what our ranger friends have managed to round up for us to eat?"

From: Derrell

Subject Camping

Fal-Tor sits in front of his tent, studying his spell book in preparation for the dangers they may face in the coming days. The raven, Lenore, sits atop the tent, watching the goings on in the camp, so that she can alert her master if someone should approach. Fal-Tor would offer to help set up camp, but figures his time would be better spent preparing his spells, so that he can help ward off any attacks that may occur in the night, or on the morrow.

From: Karl

Subject Camping

There wouldn't happen to be a pallid bust of Pallas atop your tent too, would there? ;-)

From: Jake

Subject Dinner

Surin bustles around the camp, directing people as to where to place their tents, helping them to drive tentpegs, and so forth. When everything is settled he walks over to the fire, the scent of roasting rabbit drawing him. Picking up a stick he pokes idly at the coals. "Smells good! What are we having?" he asks, turning to Cai. He sees the rabbits roasting on their spits and a look of dismay spreads across his face. "Mimsy? Tell me you aren't cooking Mimsy! She's been my faithful friend since she was a kit, but I haven't seen her since we stopped and I sent her off to play with a pair of her friends!"

From: Kevin

Subject Dinner

Harp and Salix return to camp, their arms loaded with fire wood. They organize the faggots of woods close to the fire, but not so close as to pose a hazard. Harp then seeks out Ran Ell.

"Sir, I have come up with a watch schedule. I am going to suggest that while we are still so close to Gorn, that we split the overnight watch into 2 hour shifts. I will take the first shift so I can police the area and make sure all of the animals are properly set up. I am plannin on having Salix take the middle shift - I am sure his owl would be of some use in the darkest part of night. Cai can take second shift, Bel fourth shift, and I will leave the last shift to you. You and I both have some military training and the other three have their companions to help them keep watch.

I will likely go to a two person watch when we get closer to the pass."

Gaining approval from Ran, Harp then heads back to the fire where Cai has been preparing their evening meal. Upon seeing the small rabbits she has prepared, he asks what she will be serving after the appetizers.

From: Randy

Subject Watches

"Sir, I have come up with a watch schedule. I am going to suggest that while we are still so close to Gorn, that we split the overnight watch into 2 hour shifts. I will take the first shift so I can police the area and make sure all of the animals are properly set up. I am plannin on having Salix take the middle shift - I am sure his owl would be of some use in the darkest part of night. Cai can take second shift, Bel fourth shift, and I will leave the last shift to you. You and I both have some military training and the other three have their companions to help them keep watch. I will likely go to a two person watch when we get closer to the pass."

"A sound plan Harp. Thank you for getting everything set up here."

Ran watches as Harp walks away. 'He would make a good leader if only people could get past his appearance' Ran thinks to himself.

Ran becomes aware of the scent of herbs cooking and approaches the fire. As he does so he notices Cai observing the others. Ran takes a seat on a stump near Cai and looks into the fire.

"Good work nabbing the conies, they smell delicious." Ran looks to Cai as he speaks.

"I appreciate your cooperation taking the scout position this morning. You seem to be quite a capable tracker."

Ran turns his gaze back to the fire and sits quietly, waiting to follow Cai's lead on continuing a conversation.

The Border

From: Rob

Subject Camp

Bel goes off by himself to look for firewood. After gathering several armfuls, he sits at the fire and begins checking his bow and arrows for flaws ...without finding any.

He then begins sharpening his sword and dagger.

From: Karl

Subject Harp and Salix

Salix considers this. Indeed, he would hope they didn't encounter any Orcs on this trip. But if they did there would likely be battle anyway and it would be good to have the extra strength on their side. Still, he wonders what kind of negative effect giving in to that kind of rage would have on Harp's progress towards patience and control. Best they not find out.

"Sort of an unkind name," Salix muses on hearing Harp's name for his horse.

"Still, we name things as we see them I suppose." After a moment he adds,

"It is good to have you in the group, Harp. I can see that I have much to learn from you."

From: Karl

Subject Camp

Before bedding down, Salix will ask Noctis to keep an eye on the camp as well and to wake him if he sees anything threatening. Since Noctis has spent most of the day sleeping on the pommel of his saddle, he should be rested enough to patrol most of the night. During Salix's watch, he will send Noctis out to circle the perimeter of the camp, watching for trouble.

From: Kevin

Subject Camp

Harp makes his way around the camp, stopping to talk to those who will be keeping watch. He lets them know which shift they have, who they replace and who will replace them.

After eating dinner, he will survey around the camp to make sure that the animals are correctly hobbled and the camp is correctly set up for the evening. He will join in any conversation around the fire but will also prepare himself for the first watch.

From: Ami

Subject Around the campfire

"No wonder they were so easy to catch," says Cai, raising an eyebrow at Surin, "And fat too."

"If I underestimated your needs, Harp, I apologize. I've never before had the honor of cooking for your kind. Next time I'll hunt more. But I'll think you'll find the meal an improvement over the rations in your supplies, especially with the roots cooking in the pot there."

Soon, Ran comes to sit next to her and compliment her on the catch on her tracking skills.

"Thank you," she says. "I'm sure I'll continue to be successful if Surin has befriended all the creatures of the wood."

"You've taken this company in hand well, Ran. It will be good for us to have a leader such as you. But I'm curious. How did you come to know Quarion?"

From: Randy

Subject Around the Campfire

Ran blushes slightly at the compliments on his leadership.

"This company has given no sign of being difficult at all. We have faced no troubles yet, so don't be praising me too highly before I am tested." A slight chuckle escapes from Ran and this is the first time he has shown any level of relaxation since joining the group.

"I wouldn't say that I really know Quarion. I am pretty sure I saw him around when I was growing up here but I don't really know a lot about him. I am very good friends with Heronin though, so if he trusts Quarion then I am sure I can as well. How about you? How did Quarion become your mentor?"

Ran feels some relief at being able to make small talk and to get to know at least one of his companions a little better.

From: Mark

Subject Camp and moving on

The group sets up camp with a surprising lack of problems. Each person seems to take to their assigned tasks without much complaint. Salix and Harp return from the woods with a large supply of firewood, mainly carried by Harp. Cai-Ril returns from her hunting trip with several rabbits that she starts to prepare for stewing. Surin has the tents set up properly in short order, his days as a carny showing. There is some good natured joshing between Surin and Cai about the origins of the rabbits and how hard they might have been to catch. Harp looks at the pot of stew and wonders what he others are going to eat. Most of the birds have been out to feed, but Noctis is just waking up. Salix has to take some time talking and murmuring to the bird before he flys off near sunset. Surin asks Salix??What did you say to Noctis??? Salix replied ??Not much, he was grumpy from having to sleep on the saddle all day. I told him he could go hunt before it got too dark.??

The party members eat their dinner, with only Harp thinking that he could have used another helping or two. As night starts to fall, Harp lets them know what the watch schedule is. The others nod in agreement. Ran then talks to the group. ??Tomorrow we will need to be on the road fairly early. We still have a long way to go and I would like to put as much distance behind us as we can while the weather holds. I figure we can make 8 leagues a day with out too much problem while we are on the main road. We leave at two hours after sunup.?? With that he goes to his tent to sleep. The rest of the party, with the exception of Harp, who has first watch, head off to sleep as well.

The night passes uneventfully. At just before dawn the camp starts to rouse itself. A breakfast of gruel is made and quickly cleaned up. Salix gives a few pointers on the proper way to leave a camp so that it will have little effect on the surrounding area. Easily on schedule, the group sets off.

The next several days are almost boring. The rain on the third day was the only excitement to speak of. The country became a bit wilder, with signs of people becoming fewer and fewer. There were still the occasional town and farmsteads, even the odd garrison in some of the larger towns. However the party was slowly approaching the mountains to the west. The road curved a bit north of west. On the seventh day, around noon, the party finally reaches a fairly large garrison, housed in a stone keep. A small cadre of soldiers on horses comes out to meet them. The five men on horses approach and halt about 10 yards away. They do not look hostile, but they do look wary. The leader shouts at them ??Hail, who you be and what is you purpose???

OODM. If any of you want to fill in Role playing for the trip you can, but I know that some of you are eager to kill something. Warning, these 5 are not for killing. ?? The first encounter should happen mid next week, if all goes as planned. Your group has been able to hunt and buy supplies along the way so most of your rations have been left untouched.

From: Randy

Subject The border

"We are representatives of Knight Captain Heronin Angelwing of Gorn."

Ran leaves it at that, choosing to give only as much information as necessary before he knows who he is dealing with.

From: Kevin

Subject The border

If Harp recognizes these soldiers as members of his order, he will remain where he is. If not, he will scan the surrounding area for a potential ambush or attack from the flanks. He does not expect that to happen, but his military training requires this dilligence.

From: Mark

Subject The border

These are not members of your order. The Order of the Silver Sword is an elite group of Paladins. This would be regular army, and with this post, probably not the highest of quality.

They look like regular border guards.

From: Kevin

Subject The border

Harp, familiar with how his presence is normally taken, will stay at the rear of the group, but will keep a watchfull "overlook" (given his size) to the sides and rear of their location.

From: Rob

Subject The border

Bel looks around, and maintains contact with Ebon. Both are on the look out, Bel near the rear of the party with Fal (probably) and Harp.

Bel scans the wood behind them and to the sides of them looking for an ambush, while Ebon looks ahead and behind at the road, looking for any other people.

The guards

From: Karl

Subject The journey

Salix doesn't mind the uneventful nature of their journey thus far. In fact, the further they move along, the higher his spirits seem to be. As they leave the farmlands and villages behind, he can feel ever-stronger the spirit of the woods and the power of nature undisturbed. He seems to ride a little higher in his saddle and become more talkative, pointing out various interesting flora and fauna as the group passes them by. Far from distracting him from the task at hand, however, his noticing these specimens is a result of his constantly scanning the area around them looking for trouble. He doesn't expect any, at least not from the people in this area, but it's not unheard of for the occasional wolf or bear to come down into the valley looking for food. But that is more a concern in the winter weather when game is scarce or asleep higher into the mountains.

When the rain comes on the third day, unlike some of the others who do their best to avoid the rain, Salix uncovers his head, throws his head back and lets the water soak his shoulder-length hair and run down his back, feeling the cool refreshing water caress his skin. He is thankful that the weather has finally become warm enough to enjoy this gift of rain so intimately.

On the seventh day as the group approaches the stone keep, Salix increases his wariness, scanning the area now for more intelligent threats, knowing any dangerous animals would likely avoid the noise and activity of the garrison housed there. He pays close attention to the mounted men as they approach, but does not say anything, waiting for Ran to take the lead.

From: Mark

Subject The guards

When Ran gives his reply, the officer relaxes a bit. ?You would be Ran-Ell then? We have been expecting you. We received a messenger bird a day or so ago telling us that you would be passing this way and to give you what aide we could. I am Lt. Halpin and these are my men. We have some food stuffs you can have, some salted pork and a few vegetables. We also have a well with fresh water. Is there anything else you require??

From: Ami

Subject Quarion

Cai explained how Quarion had been her mentor as she learned to be a ranger. After relating several of their adventures together, she excused herself to bed down for the night. It had been easy this night, in lush provinces she was at least somewhat familiar with, but she worried about the days ahead.

From: Kevin

Subject Spell components


Mark, should we assume that the characters with magical abilities have the basic requirements for the spells available to them? I was reveiwing the Handbook this past weekend and realized that I did not specifically list some items that may be required by certain spells. I am not talking about expensive or exotic items, but simple items that are required by the simpler 0 and 1st level spells.

If we do not have those, then Harp will request, through Ran Ell, small amounts of those items required for his 0 and 1st level spells that he cannot get from the environment.

From: Mark

Subject spell components

Any character that has spell abilities can be assumed to have all the material components for all spells, assuming that the components costs less than 1 GP.

However, most divine spells do not use a material component. They use a divine focus, which is the holy symbol.

From: Karl

Subject Spell components

I was also operating under the assumption that spell materials were implied in our supplies. Let me know if this is not the case

From: Ami

Subject the guards and a food question

Cai had tensed at the appearance of the guards, instinctually taking position to shoot her bow with ease. She knew there were such posts scattered across the whole border, but they were not all reliable in how friendly they were.

At the officer's words, Cai's shoulders and arms relaxed visibly and she nodded, grateful. Some bolstering of their supplies would be welcome.

OOC: This might be a newbie question, but we have been on the road for several days, and such things as the cooking of gruel has been mentioned. But as per the text, we've picked up a few supplies on the way too. At this point, I assume we are now in territory where that is not possible. So from now on, unless we put our survival skills to use, every day on our journey one of our days of rations gets deleted from our char sheets, correct?

From: Mark

Subject Food and Hunting

It might be possible, but more unpredictable. You might find a farmstead that would be willing to sell you some supplies. At this point I would start actually making the Rangers survival rolls for them to find food for the group, but it should not be that hard. You are getting closer to more wild regions. Countries claim the area but have little influence over it as a practical matter. Animals and creatures from the mountian make raids into the farmlands looking for livestock and other stuff.

You can pick up 4-5 days worth of basic food here. Like the guy said, salted pork, a few veggies and some water. Nothing you would want to live on for weeks at a time, but enough that you will not starve.

From: Kevin

Subject Food

Harp will consult with Ran Ell on the advisability of buying some addtional food stuffs (or other supplies that might be needed) while at the outpost. He will also mention that his pack horse should be more than able to carry the additional weight.

From: Ami

Subject The guards

Cai wonders if there is any information to be had from the border guards about the road ahead, but does not feel she would be the best one to do the asking. (00C Would this need a diplomacy roll?)

From: Mark

Subject Questions for the Guards

Yes this would be a diplomacy roll, although there would be bonuses since they have been instructed to help you and this is a LG country.

From: Rob

Subject The Border

Bel spends the day hunting, looking for fresh meat...hopefully something substancial, like a deer . Also, he sends Ebon ahead to check the road, making sure that Ebon knows to stay high up and be safe.

From: Jake

Subject The guards

For Surin, the journey is one of the happiest events in his life--it's one of those moments in which you know, even as you're experiencing it, that you're creating what will be a fond memory in the years to come. For the first time in his life, he is enjoying the pleasure of the company of adults who don't simply want something from him. Well, that's not completely accurate, he thinks--he wouldn't be here if Quarion hadn't wanted something from him, and his newfound companions certainly have expectations of him. At least some of them, though, seem to appreciate him for himself, rather than simply for what he can bring them at the end of the day, and he is slightly embarassed by how much this touches him.

Add to that the luxury of having to do far less work than usual, the plesant weather, and the stream of fascinating information Salix relates about the world around them, a world Surin had simply never thought about before this journey, and the sepia tint of nostalgia isn't necessary for him to feel the specialness of the moment.

He feels a pang as they near the keep--it seems almost to punctuate the carefree segement of their journey, bringing it to a neat close.

"Eh, watch yourself Surin," he thinks, "easy enough to get drunk on comraderie and sentimentality, but if they could read your mind they'd say you were three sheets to the wind."

Heading into the mountains

From: Mark

Subject Waiting

As far as I know I am waiting on a response from Derrell, Randy and Jake.

Have you guys sent in a turn or did I miss something?


When they have checked in I will do the next turn.

From: Mark

Subject Waiting

Sorry I did get a turn from Jake, I just filed it wrong.

So I still need to hear from Randy and Derrell.

From: Randy

Subject Information

OOC - Sorry I didn't get a response in yesterday. I was away from my desk all day at work and I didn't get a chance to check my email last night.

"I am grateful that you have been notified of our pending arrival Lt. Halpin. I am Ran-Ell and these are my companions for this journey and hopefully friends beyond that."

"We will gladly accept whatever food and water you can spare. Our horses could also use a good rub down if you have any squires available for the task."

"If you can spare the time, I would like to discuss the lay of the land coming before us on our journey and any concerns you may be aware of that could help us out. There are still several hours of daylight left, so if we could discuss things for about an hour now while our supplies are replenished we could be back on the road and be a little closer to our destination."

From: Derrell

Subject The guards

Fal-Tor sits atop his horse silently. Subliminally, he instructs the raven, Lenore to keep an eye on the soldiers. Fal looks at the various members of his party to see if any of them show signs of nervousness. Fal will treat the strangers as if they mean no harm, unless they do anything to prove otherwise.

From: Mark

Subject In the Mountains

The Lieutenant laughs at Ran's request for a groom. ?This is not the big city, but the borderlands. We have learned to take care of our own needs.? Turning to one of the men with him he says ?When we get to the keep, take their horses and get them water and a quick rub down. Maybe some feed. Treat them well.? The soldier nods and turns his horse to head back to the small keep. Halpin and the rest of his crew draw along side the party and escort them the hundred or so yards to the keep. The party sees a total of about 50 men milling around, practicing swordsmanship, drilling in the yard. The sound of a smithy pounding shoes for the horses or weapons can be heard around back. To Ran and Harp's eyes, the soldiers look like common conscripts, nothing like the armored knights of the Order. However, discipline looks good and the yard is neat.

Lt. Halpin leads the group to where the soldier is waiting to take their mounts and leads them into a medium sized office. On the way there he orders another soldier to bring food from the kitchen so that the party can eat while they talk. The group can see the soldier watching them, giving them the once over. There are many whispers when they see Harp with the sigil of the Silver Sword on his armor.

In the Lieutenant's office extra chairs are brought in so that every one can sit and eat. Halpin starts to answer Ran's questions. ?Well things have been fairly quiet in this area. Of course we border with Byho and they are never any trouble. Have you ever been this way on the North Mountain Road?? Salix raises his hand to indicate that he has been along the road before. ?Well then? replies Halpin, ?you know that the road follows the northern foothills of the mountains you see ahead of you. While the area is claimed by Bhyo, it is really wilderness. Creatures from the mountains sometimes raid down from there if the weather has been bad. Other than that I would not say that there is anything in particular to report. You know that you actually pass through a bit of Camlost before you get to Bhyo. Camlost does not patrol up here though so most travelers have no problems. The only real place to be wary is the Pass of Undulant.? He looks at the group, expecting them to recognize the name.

Most of the grouphas heard of this pass, but know very little about it. Seeing their looks Halpin goes on. ?The pass is the one area where the mountain drop down enough that people can get through the mountains. It is still very hilly and rough terrain, but light cavalry could get through, if they took their time. The robber barons of Undulant use it to raid caravans using the road. Not often enough to make it worthwhile for Bhyo to keep a garrison their. Undulant, of course denies that they are responsible for this, but the monsters of the mountains, like orcs and goblins and such know that if they need work they can go to Undulant and they can find work. Watch yourself around the pass. It is about 5-6 days ride from here. The path gets rougher the further you get into the mountains.? With that Halpin stops talking and start eating.

The hour passes quickly and soon the party members are all mounted up again. The Lieutenant sees them off, the pack horse laden with food.

The next few days sees the truth of the Lt.'s words. The road becomes much rougher and the party travels a bit more slowly. (OODM, think of the Ozarks, lots of trees, fairly hilly, not mountainous). There is rain the day after they leave the garrison, and it is a cold rain. However the next few days are clear. It is about noon on the 4th day when Cai's hawk comes back all excited. Cai seems to get some impression that the hawk saw something up ahead.

OODM: Ok guys what do you do now?

From: Karl

Subject The hawk

On the second rainy day, Salix wants to enjoy it like the previous rain, but the drops are colder and less inviting. Almost as if Nature were telling him to keep his guard up despite her pleasures and beauty. Salix's excitement that has been building as the group has moved into the less "civilized" land, while undiminished, seems to take on a tinge of caution as they enter wilder lands. Here he could feel the raw power of nature which, like a raging river, was exhilarating, beautiful, and dangerous all at once.

On the fourth day the Ranger woman's hawk returns, obviously with news. Salix rides up to Cai and asks, "Can you speak with her? If not, I might be able to with your permission."

From: Derrell

Subject The hawk

When Cai's hawk returns, Fal-Tor considers sending his raven ahead to investigate, but will wait to see what the leaders of the party decide to do. If the Ranger is unable to communicate with the hawk, Fal-Tor will offer to send the raven ahead to see what the hawk saw.

From: Kevin

Subject What is ahead

Harp will look to Ran Ell for directions. Absent anything direct from Ran Ell, Harp will keep a trained eye out for any hints of trouble and will listen to any conversation that takes place between the other travelers.

From: Randy

Subject What is ahead

Ran calls the company to a halt and approaches Cai along with Salix. He starts to question Cai but stops as Salix mentions talking to the bird. The rest of the group form a circle around Cai intent on hearing any news she can share.

If it sounds like trouble then Ran will organize the group into a formation with Bel-Ril and Cai-Ril moving out to the left and right respectively and moving ahead to check for traps/ambush. Ran and Harp in the front with Fal-Tor, Salix, and Surin following closely behind.

He also suggests that the birds take to the sky and watch for possible enemys moving to come in from behind the group (if the bird owners can communicate well enough with their birds).

From: Kevin

Subject Setting up

When and if the group has to form up as Ran suggests, Harp will ask Salix if he can tie off the pack horse to Salix's mount, leaving Harp mount free at the front of the group.

From: Mark

Subject Riding horses

Please remember that all of the horses in the party are riding horses and not warhorses. They are not trained for battle and will require ride checks to keep them under control.

Those of you with 5 or more ranks in Handle Animal get a +2 bonus to your ride check. It is a DC20 to control a horse/pony in combat. If you fail you can do nothing else. If you succede you can make a normal attack. It is also a move action so you can not do that and get a full attack.

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