Old February 24, 2018, 05:58 AM   #46 (permalink)
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It was odd sort of dichotomy, the sense of achievement the elf felt at having successfully recruited at least one to their party who might have some idea about what the feth they were doing, and the accompanying dismay that he was now going to have actually work alongside said dwarf.

Though at least not sit alongside him, which was probably for the best as Calanon got a sudden surge of doubt on their journey, the sight of the village becoming a distant speck as they travelled away a undeniable reminder that he was heading in the opposite direction from home. "Did we specify how long we'd be away for?" he asked Moss, his tone more casual than he felt. He had sent a note though, and that had to count for something? Calanon hoped whatever they might find would make up for the argument he felt might be awaiting him when he did make it back to Port Alyxandrya. What was a couple of extra brightenings really?

Still, the carriage ride gave the elf a little too long to contemplate the wisdom of his decision, as did his appraisal of all the funny tools and implements he could see the dwarf was hefting. He was an elf, not made for the dark and cramped underground. And really, where were they even heading?

" So you know the area then?" he asked the dwarf rather sharply, thinking they might as well use the tedium of the journey to find out a little more about what lay ahead. " And this..Mercuria place...It is in the caves?"
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Old March 5, 2018, 01:56 AM   #47 (permalink)
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oocBye Barthelme! We shall miss you, good sir. Thanks for having joined us for a bit of small town fun.

Diamea & Gye'ronThis is Gye'ron's last week to rejoin the group. If you want to continue on with us, please post before my next one. See below.

Gye'ron's horse had earned a well deserved rub down and stabling with some tasty oats by the time that he and Diamea arrived in the vicinity of the city of Arconis. It had taken them a couple of brightenings to make it, but as darkening fell again they were less than half a brightening's ride to the city itself, still within the bounds of the Maevewood, not all that far from the gem mines that the area was well known for.

Dwarves were thick on the ground here, and the common room of the inn that they found to take their rest at was full of miners of multiple races, not yet free of the dust of their work and quenching a heavy thirst. Boisterous folk, some danced to the tunes spun by a fiddler that was earning her darkening's wages, while others diced or played cards. They were heartily assured by the innkeeper that - contrary to what it might look like now - they were hard workers all, and the room would empty before long so that they could get up with the sunsrise to head off to the mines.


Hoskuld, Moss, & Calanon

As it turned out, the three were actually semi-comfortable in the interior of their conveyance. The two benches provided them with room enough that they didn't need to all squeeze together, though whoever ended up on the bench with the dwarf was sitting shoulder to shoulder with his broad frame, both of them squeezed in snuggly against the walls of the carriage. This was, of course, a tighter fit with the dwarf and the human sitting side-by-side than it would have been had the elf been willing to snuggle up with his more diminutive companion.

The proprietor of said conveyance had been downright enthusiastic at the bit of business that had walked his way, and was sure that - if nothing else - he'd have come up with a few choice jokes by the time he returned home.

An elf, a dwarf, and a human all took a ride together...

Surely there was a punchline there somewhere.

In the meantime, it was not the most luxurious of rides; bumpy, with a wheel that squeaked on every revolution, it had seats that had absolutely no padding, but more than a few holes in the upholstery that looked as if it had once been quite fine.

Pulled by a horse that anyone with an eye to horseflesh would have been downright worried about, it was not much faster than walking, but the benefit of not having to carry their heavy packs could not be discounted. The saving grace was that they'd left only a few candlemarks behind their companions, who really were not traveling much faster riding double as they were.

So, while the trio did not catch them up on the first darkening, as luck would have it, they were forced to stop in the same town on the outskirts of Arconis that their wayward companions had arrived at a few candlemarks earlier.

Assured by the stable girl that there was definitely a room left to rent for the darkening, the scene they walked into was far different than the boisterous one that had greeted Diamea and Gye'ron earlier. No music now, nor tables filled with those intent on gaming, it was quiet and empty save for those lonely few still nursing drinks. Almost exclusively, what remained were old codgers who'd earned their retirement and their late nights spent spinning tales of their glory days, or complaining bitterly to whomever would listen of the bounty they'd been so close to discovering, but never had... the one lucky strike that would have set them up in style for the rest of their life.

Still, by the pickaxes, ropes, and helmets adorning the walls as decor, it was pretty clear that they were in a far better starting place than they'd been out in the middle of farmland.


 
Barthelme gave up on the quest after waiting an extra candlemark for Sarah to appear, and will not be joining us for the rest of this adventure.

The rest of you have, by total and complete luck, ended up at the same town and the same inn at the outskirts of Arconis, close to the gem mines. Whether or not Diamea and Gye'ron are waiting for the rest of you in the common room when you arrive is entirely up to them. Otherwise, rosyun will bring a delightful surprise for all of you, no doubt.

It's finally time to get down and dirty! (Get it?)

I will be posting next early next week, after the 11th. Gye'ron has till then to rejoin us and continue along for the next chapter of this adventure, or we shall be forced to proceed without him as well.

Onward and downward!
 
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Old March 5, 2018, 10:07 PM   #48 (permalink)
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There was no desk at hand on which a dwarf could slam his own forehead, but luckily there was a hand at hand.

“And this..Mercuria place...It is in the caves?”

*smack*

For the next several moments Hoskuld said nothing as he delved the seams in his palm for veins of patience. Feth all Haya’s fat friends this elf was foolish! Or were the effects of that village’s water permanent? Was the human affected, too?

”Mercuria. is. a. legend.” he enunciated at last, lowering his hand from his face as slowly and calmly as he could manage.

” What makes you think Mercuria’s under the Khardans?” he demanded, looking between man and elf. ”What makes you think it’s anywhere? It’s just a story, and the version of that story I heard puts Mercuria far under the Great Mountains of Centripax, not the Khardans.”

The dwarf mused for a moment, scratching his beard as the brightening’s light faded and the carriage grew dim, then broke his pause with a slightly pained sigh.

”Still,” he resumed in the wake of that sigh, ”if you insist on looking for adventure and a chance of some sort of buried wealth in Enamoria, the mountains around Arconis are probably your best bet.

”The most practical place to look would be a mine,”
he continued after another pause, ”rather than a random cave. You’d want a mine that’s abandoned, because operators aren’t going to let you poke around an active one, now are they?

“You’d want a mine that’s large, and was prosperous in its day, because that’s where you’re most like to find something worth exploring.

“And finally, you’d want a mine that has something really interesting in its history. And I don’t mean just ghost stories or rumors of evil spirits or monsters. Pretty much every mine has its knockers an’ bluecaps an’ the ghost o’ Freaky Fritz haunting it. Miners are a pretty superstitious lot, to tell the truth.

“No, I mean a mine that’s got something unique that sets its story apart. I got one or two possibilities in mind from what I remember from my time here, but we should ask around and catch up on the latest before doing any exploring.”


Twilight slid steadily into darkening while the dwarf spoke, and it was quite dark by the time he finished.

Sometime afterwards the carriage slowed and stopped in front of an inn. Hoskuld didn’t recognize it, but he was pretty sure they were still well south of town, and thus not too far from prime mining country.

Once they got out of the carriage, but before they entered the inn, Hoskuld bent towards Moss and Cal and spoke furtively, as if this were a last discreet chance to comment on some embarrassing secret.

”If ye’r all still Aeternia-bent on finding *Mercuria* then maybe the best place to look would be in books at the Regio, if you can get to ‘em. I’m not just saying that to be smart. If there’s clues to where Mercuria might actually be, it’ll be in them books, those...” He trailed off and wrinkled his brow as he tried to recall something, with only partial success. ”Grimwars, memwars, whatever they’re called,” he continued, waving his hands somewhat vaguely. ”I think I heard there was one called Caligula Socrates or something.”

When they entered the inn, Hoskuld looked around at the few remaining patrons and saw that they had hit the mother lode of local mining gossip. He looked at his companions and gave a grin that was the happiest expression he had shown them since they had met. ”It’s late, and I’ll bet some of these codgers are soon to nod off, but these are just the sort who’d know the kinds of stories and rumors I was talking about earlier.”

Leaving Cal and Moss to look after the room and board arrangements, Hoskuld shuffled over to a table where some of the patrons were talking and introduced himself.

”Cetheron’s Blessings, I’m Hoskuld Coal-beard. From Primus Gaudeo originally, but I worked in Arconis from end o’ nineteen to spring of twenty-three. So I been gone about two eras. Could I trouble you for what’s new around here since then? News don’t seem to travel lately like it did before.”

A round of drinks even for just these few gentlemen would pinch the dwarf’s modest budget, but he reckoned it might be a good investment, and so he would order one at first opportunity. Besides, he needed an ale or two himself after the brightening he’d had.

Once the drinks had arrived and he had managed to take a much-welcome swig, Hoskuld looked around at his retired colleagues, grinning at them as winningly as he could manage, with flecks of foam on his beard. "What about Tumbletree mine, for example?" he asked. "Did Cetherik Gods'-heart ever return to the world and re-open it?" Asking about a specific rumor might help keep the elders' ramblings closer to topics he and his new-found associates were interested in.
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Old March 9, 2018, 08:23 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Now that the dwarf mentioned it, Calanon did recall Shouty girl using the word legend. He frowned. It didn’t mean he much cared for the derisive response his innocent question provoked, and the elf levelled a hard stare at the stout fellow opposite and crossed his arms.
His irritation was not all for the dwarf though. No, a good portion of it was for himself What the feth was he doing here? His gaze shifted balefully to Moss, who could at least have talked him out of such a foolish idea. Yes , perhaps some of it was for Moss too.

But they had committed now, the bumpy and uncomfortable progress of the carriage a testament to that fact, and the elf heaved his own sigh as he processed the words of the recently recruited dwarf. “ Well, even legends have their roots in truth do they not” he muttered defensively, shifting his attention to the sweep of countryside that passed them by.

Glad at least that he was not sandwiched against either of his travelling companions, Calanon brooded on what the dwarf had to say. There was, to his dissatisfaction, quite a lot of sense in what the man said, if one ignored his obvious opinion that he was talking to idiots.

Mines. The elf tried to quash the roll of discomfort he felt at thought ,though perhaps it was just the bouncing of the carriage? It was not his natural habitat for sure, and he questioned what his skills would offer in such a place. Certainly, even if mildly irritating, their dwarven companion would prove more useful. Pointed ears pricked up at the mention of trying to learn more of their destination through..books? That was something he might be more useful in, he could read at least, and one didn't like to assume what ones companions were able to do. Besides, if he was going to risk upsetting his beloved to pursue this quest, then he had a vested interest in ensuring it was worthwhile. Which meant not stumbling around in some abandoned mine with nothing of interest in it.

He was still considering his options when the carriage bumped and jostled to a halt, but was not disheartened to leave the minimal comforts of their transport. The tavern, when they entered, immediately signposted that they were indeed in mining country and Calanon could not have felt much more out of place had he tried. As the dwarf scuttled off to win people over with his dwarven wit, the elf shot a dismayed glance toward Moss. “ Do you suppose there is much point in trying to learn more of where we’re looking for? Or will it just delay us further?”. If so, perhaps he would away early in the morning towards the city proper and try and find out what he could in the library. Surely there would be one in a city such as Arconis? He could rejoin with his companions afterwards. Wherever they ended up heading.

Walking alongside the human, he approached the bar keep and ordered ale for all three of them - he was not without manners after all- and then enquired after accomodation. “A room” in the singular had slightly perturbed him before, for he was absolutely not cuddling up with a dwarf and a human for the darkening.
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Old March 18, 2018, 10:19 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Moss was not surprised to find himself sharing a bench with the dwarf, while Calanon got one all to himself. The human had never expected his elven friend to get close to their new traveling companion, so he had made no mention of it, even as the Sylrosian had carefully navigated his way around Hoskuld and to the opposite corner of the carriage as he'd climbed in.

What did surprise Moss, however, was the dwarven visitor's willingness to join them - for the journey, at least. Surely the dislike between two such great races couldn't be only one way?

And then the dwarf opened his mouth.

Moss was impressed by Hoskuld's knowledge, and the diminutive fellow had wasted no time in providing the pair with some useful starting points, but his tone had been cold and harsh. Clearly the man did not suffer fools easily.

How curious, he pondered, that the one who is so used to have to look up at others is so talented at speaking down to them.

The one-sided conversation had devolved into an awkward silence by the time the vehicle pulled to a halt in a town on Arconis' outskirts. Moss, for one, was pleased to be able to pry himself out of the squeezed seating arrangement and seize the opportunity to properly stretch his legs.

He and the elf naturally separated themselves from the dwarf for the few moments it took to walk from the carriage to the tavern, but once inside, they found themselves together once more.

"Aye," Moss agreed with Calanon's suggestion of visiting the library, "though you'll need to be quick. The others didn't wait for us to hit the road last time, and there's nothing to say things will be any different on the morrow."

Moss had then opened his mouth to suggest to Calanon that the elf shouldn't seek refreshments or board, as he'd likely get charged more, but his friend had never been the most patient man, and so the order was placed.

Not that Moss particularly minded, of course. A free drink for having had to endure the travel interactions between Hoskuld and Calanon seemed reasonable enough.

Once the drinks were provided - assuming they were at all - the human would take a long, slow drink from the tankard, remaining at the bar, dark grey eyes casting themselves over Hoskuld as the dwarf spoke to his own kind.
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Old April 4, 2018, 11:46 AM   #51 (permalink)
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Unforgettable... it was the opposite of an adjective that could define the travel on horse she did with the dark knight. He was okay... but it had to be said the conversation was often stagnating. Still, she made a good face of a bad game, she hadn't to walk with the backpack and all, so she wasn't gonna complain.

She really was unlucky when speaking of men... she mused as she laid with a book and a beer mug in her little room. As fast as they had come to the tavern she was now, he had disappeared. She really should work to find a better company once in a while and the beer didn't really work in the long run.

All so far from home... all for a legend. But if she didn't try to do something now she could, when would she do so? When she was old and scrawny? Tsk. She sipped on her mug as she heard the room below quiet down as the innkeeper said it would. She hadn't been much hopefull about that but she was somewhat happy it did.

Her mug came empty too soon tough, well it hadn't been that soon but... anyway! She made her way down, dressed in just trousers and black blouse without gear or cape or all, just herself, hairs pulled back, mug in hand. She didn't really care for who could see her since she was only looking for a second mug to finish the evening.

Only that... the same one she had left behind were there. Oh well, it looked like they caught up with them and then, all by pure luck, of course, came in the same inn she and Gye'ron came. At least it spared her the trouble of going to look for them the next morning.

"You made it there in the end." she said as she came beside Calanon, resting the empty mug on the table and requesting for a refill of said mug. "Sorry for not waiting but Mr Knight was a bit in a rush." she half apologized, nodding to Moss and looking around not seeing Barty or Sarah "Do you lost someone in the meantime?"
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Old April 14, 2018, 05:30 AM   #52 (permalink)
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Hoskuld

"Aye aye..." grumbled the nearest grey-beard as Hoskuld interrupted him mid-rant, "blessings blessings." Missing one hand, he had just gotten going on his favorite topic: safety regulations. And while he looked mighty disgruntled (otherwise known as 'like a dwarf' to those uninitiated few in the room), his table companions couldn't hide the relief that flashed briefly across their bearded countenances.

"It's news yer lookin' fer, isit?" The dwarf across the table from where Hoskuld stood made a small show of setting down what seemed to be an empty tankard, if the hollow thunk it made was anything to gauge by. "That's thirsty work, at t'end of a dark'ning."

The chair he stood in front of rocked a bit, as if an unseen foot had kicked it toward him, "have a seat, laddie. Two eras, wasit?" The second speaker scratched absently at his beard as Hoskuld settled himself down, glancing up only long enough to catch the bartender's eye, before shouting, "this here laddie's got a round for us, Magda!"

The grin he then turned on the newcomer was fiercely cheerful, with the barest bits of sparkling blue eyes visible from behind luxuriantly draped white brows. "Coal-beard isit? I'm Skalgik Goldbringer, that's Dorlin Whiterock, and this here's--"

"I can name m'self, Goldy, and I'll thank you." If the black shooting through his beard was to be believed, the grumpy one that turned to Hoskuld was younger than Goldbringer, but not by much, "I'm called Whurnir Flintarm, and I ran a crew down in Tumbletree before Gods-heart took it over, and a right beast of a bitch she was, too. Took me gods-damned hand, she did! We'd no business digging so deep. And what do I have to show for it? Nothing. Not a thing! Then Gods-heart come in, starts bringin' up iron and copper and whatnot, easy as you please." His heavy sigh blew the mustache away from his lips, lungs filling like bellows as he seemed primed to continue his tirade when four foaming tankards of ale were set down on the table and the empties gathered by a quick, efficient Magda. After taking a moment to appropriately show his appreciation for the freshly delivered drinks, he sat back and stared at Hoskuld, clearly - and blessedly - having been derailed once more, "where'd you say you worked, anyway?"

"Most o' the major operators will be t'same, I reckon. Yer lookin' fer work, laddie? That why t'interest in poor ole' Cethrik?"

"'Cause Tumbletree's veins are sealed up tighter than a virgin in a chastity belt, and has been since all that strangeness a few eras back. Ye'll have no luck there." The third, quieter member of the trio finally spoke up, eyes glittering softly as he looked Hoskuld over as if sizing him up. "All that comes out o' there now is ghost stories."

"Eh, and money enough, too. 'Gintri's Tours and Treks'," there was no small amount of scorn dripping from the words as Flintarm spoke the name, "rakin' in the cash from tourists too dumb to know a pickaxe from a mattock. I know Tumbletree better'n he ever did. Shoulda been my idea."

A snort from Whiterock, "Aye, and when have ye ever had an original thought, eh Flinty? No doubt he'll be shut down soon enough, what with the rumblings I've heard of late."

"Ye canna believe that codswallop, Dorlin. Orcs 'n ratta I'll give ye. Goblins, too. But t'rest? Gintri's smart, he is. Drummin' up interest wee a fancy story r' two, an' nuthin else."

It was quite clear they could go on like this for quite some time, should Hoskuld let them, and should the ale keep coming, no doubt.


Calanon, Moss, & Diamea

Meanwhile, back at the bar, Calanon and Moss were slid the three requested ales, and the elf was informed that there was just the one room left, though of course they could supply an extra cot should it be necessary. If Magda's smile curled a little further at the pronouncement, she hid it by quickly turning back to the business of cleaning up for the darkening.

They had some small measure of privacy with which to talk, then, until their wayward companion sauntered up with her empty mug to find a refill and, incidentally, to alert them to the fact that they'd actually managed to catch the pair up.


 
Sorry for my gigantic delay, everyone! We are once again underway, and it should be relatively smooth (and increasingly exciting) sailing from this point onward.

Since Hoskuld seems likely to have a quick conversation here that may take a couple posts to complete, you don't all need to be on the same time frame. If some of you want to jump forward to the next day and begin whatever actions you're taking (while Hoskuld continues his information gathering), go for it.

However hypocritical it might seem, I am going to go back to weekly posts at this point to keep us moving. That means I will be posting again next Saturday, at the latest. Please let me know if you have any issues with this.

 
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Old April 14, 2018, 05:10 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Hoskuld nodded in acknowledgement to each introduction. “Goldbringer…Whiterock…Flintarm” he repeated as each of his new drinking buddies got named, to help himself remember. His intent on getting and remembering the names momentarily distracted him from taking the offered seat. ”Oh! Yes, thank ye. Coal-beard, aye,” he answered, as he finally did seat himself. ”On account of this,” he pointed at his beard, which was strikingly darker than the reddish brown hair atop his head. ”Clan’s actually Horn-hold. But everyone remembers ‘Coal-beard’ once they lay eyes on me.”

He looked about at his table-mates and grinned. It was good to be around normal folk once more. It also looked like he had stepped onto an already briskly-moving mine-car of conversation like to take him to a mother-lode of information; at first opportunity he would try to catch the eye of one of his travelling companions across the room, whereupon he’d nod-point towards the dwarves, accompanied by making talking gestures with his hands, followed by a pair of thumbs-up. Hopefully the village drinking water’s effects had worn off by now and they’d be smart enough to figure out what he meant. Having completed his attempt at sign language, he turned back to the three dwarves.

Whurnir One-Arm did most of the talking to start, and he seemed to have the most recent and interesting news, though Hoskuld had sense not to ignore the others. When the older dwarf told him about the accident at Tumble-tree that had cost him a hand, he nodded empathetically, allowing himself a glance but not a stare at the poor dwarf’s stump. Most likely a wayward cable, he guessed silently. Really deep shafts meant plenty of ropes and cables under lots of tension.

”They say Findir Tumbletree wouldn’t shut up about the mithril he was gonna find in those hills”, Hoskuld recalled. ”‘Findir the Finder’ folks called him. Every’un thought it was funny for a while. Then it just got sad and dangerous.” He nodded aside to Whurnir: ”’Course I don’t need to tell you that.”

The moment was interrupted briefly by the arrival of the next round of ales. Hoskuld counted out the coins; paying as he went seemed like a good idea, as he didn’t want an outsized tab sneaking up on him. *That* would be embarrassing. After taking a swig of his own fresh mug he looked around to the group and addressed the questions he’d been asked earlier.

”I came to Arconis from Primus Gaudeo on account of an arrangement with the Fire-Setter family; those are big gem traders up there, or *were* before the Xet came. The original plan was I was goin’ to be the assistant in their buyin’ office here.” The young dwarf sighed and looked into the foam ring swirling around the surface of his ale. ”The Xet made a hash of those plans, as they did to a lot o’ plans. With the war goin’ on the bottom dropped out o’ the gem trade, and I had to do other things. Odd jobs, mostly: helping the city an’ Xaxit Industries register refugees that showed up from Lauryl, exploring inactive mines to see how easy they could be re-activated for workin’ iron, helpin’ the extra shifts in some of the mines that were pulling up that iron,” he counted the items off on stubby fingers as he recited them, then lifted and opened his hands into a gesture of emptiness. ”But nuthin’ stable. An the gem trade never quite bounced back as we’d hoped, so plans changed, and I eventually moved on, away from Arconis.”

Hoskuld looked around at the dwarves: ”An’ I do remember when Tumbletree closed. It was so odd: why’d anyone close a solid iron-mine when there was a war on and the stuff was in such high demand?

“Now as to why I’m here now, well, I ran into some folks who had been talked into this notion that they’d find Mercuria -that’s right, you heard that right: Mercuria!- by digging random holes in the Maevewood. I think I managed to talk them down into tryin’ something more practical, and came with to make sure they didn’t get thesselves killed. And that’s when I remembered Tumbletree.”


Hoskuld took in another mouthful of ale and looked at Flintarm. ”So I suppose that kinda means that I’m in the same line o’ business as this Gintri fella, only with a more specific goal in mind.” Putting his mug down deliberately he looked around. ”So what you’re sayin’ here is interesting. What more can you tell me about these ghosts? Anything different from every other mine, ‘cause they’re pretty much all haunted, aren’t they? And what all do ye know about this Gintri character?”

Ghosts, orcs, ratta, goblins, and this interloper Gintri, he thought to himself. And he was taking a group of crazy fools -of which there was apparently at least one more, he noted ruefully- to meet them. A call to adventure indeed!
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Old April 17, 2018, 06:50 PM   #54 (permalink)
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Calanon pursed his lips, Moss was right. Their party had not proven the most patient after all, and if he did divert to the city proper to follow up on the suggestion of the dwarf, then there was no saying if anyone would be here when he returned. And it would only make their little side excursion longer. So perhaps not.

He handed over the coin for the drinks and the room, pausing as the barmaid confirmed that yes, it was just the one room. There was no hiding the dismayed expression that slid over his face, and it was a few beats before Cal realised she was still holding out her hand and waiting for him to release the coin into it and he was gawping like an idiot. With a sideways glance towards Moss, the Sylrosian nodded in the affirmative. ‘ Definitely another cot” he said dejectedly, wondering how the fates could be so cruel.

He had just turned to lean his back against the bar, lifting his own mug of ale and taking a long gulp to wash away the sour taste of the rooming arrangements when his gaze came to rest upon a familiar face.

Azure, making her way toward the bar, dressed simply and looking like she’d had a more relaxing afternoon that he had, for certain. He gave her a nod, and when she came to a halt next to him and set down her glass, he reached to slide the third tankard toward her. The dwarf seemed to have made some friends anyway. “Here” he offered “Have this. Glad we could catch up with you.” It was only slightly sardonic. He followed Blue Black’s eyes and understood her meaning, for they were rather depleted in number from those she had left behind.

“We lost a couple and gained a new one” he said, nodding toward where Hoskuld say, already deep in conversation. Loud and brash conversation, as was usually the way with his kind. The elf’s lip curled a little and he heaved a sigh before shifting so he could see both Moss and Azure and they were not all three stood in an awkward line.

“How was journey then? Have you lost your brave knight?” For there was no sign of the man she had rode off with. Idly, he wondered what her bunking arrangements were, before deciding quite quickly it was probably not a route to risk exploring.No. Definitely not Not even in an entirely platonic, he loved Kailin and just didn't want to room with the dwarf kind of way.

He chatted a little with Moss and Azure, before excusing himself with the pretence of wanting to stretch his legs after having been jolted around in that carriage for so long. Instead, he slipped deftly out into the dark and skirted the Inn until he found a secluded spot where he might run through his forms. The familiar motions settled him a little, and after a couple of run throughs, the elf sank down to his knees, hands resting on his thighs and slowed his breathing. Finding that quiet he sought was not so hard now- though he still rued the day he had ever said it was easy- and Calanon embraced the silence whilst he could. In a room with a dwarf and a human for the night, he was sure he would not get much more of it.
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Old April 20, 2018, 06:58 PM   #55 (permalink)
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As the single available room was announced, Moss let out a slight chuckle, shrugging his shoulders as he made eye contact with Calanon. His friend was a curious fellow, happy to share the hard ground of a forest glade as a bed, but a mattress, filled with straw to actually offer some much needed relaxation was a discomfiting thought?

"We'll top and tail, Cal," he grinned, clearly humoured by the elf's response.

Moss turned then, settling comfortably atop one of the stools by the bar to enjoy a long, slow draught from his tankard as the dwarf went about his gruff conversation in a way that only dwarves could. The froth of the ale caressed his upper lip, draping over his moustache like a warm and soft coat. He sucked in his upper lip, catching droplets of ale before the back of one newly ungloved hand took care of the rest.

Dark grey eyes refocused, then, having been lost in the relaxed moment of a fine drink after a foul journey, and settled on Diamea as she entered the room, looking as though she had settled in comfortably enough at the inn. It was a pleasant sight, for it meant they would not have to search the other inns to gather the group before the morrow.

"Serale, Miss Azure," his newly refreshed voice spoke. "I trust your journey was comfortable enough?"

The question was sincere, though he didn't envy the woman. Riding pillion in a saddle would surely have been less relaxing than his own carriage ride - surly conversation company notwithstanding.

Moss raised his tankard in a salute to the woman - before nodding to Calanon as the elf excused himself - and lifted the tankard to his lips once more for another taste of dwarven ale.
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Old April 21, 2018, 01:07 PM   #56 (permalink)
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"Thanks." Diamea said getting hold of the new tankard; at his slightly sardonic words she shrugged lightly,she had already said sorry, she wasn't going to keep being sorry on that matter. "Ah I see..." her eyes slided on the dwarf that looked so at home with his kind and her eyebrow shot up just a little "Going below might help have someone like him even if... I'm not that sure." because yes, she was all doubtful of Hoskuld. Barthelme had been a less unknown variable in the bigger equation of this adventure. "What do you know about him?" she pointed with the tankhard to the dwarf.

"Journey had been... okay I guess. At least it had been the horse that walked and not me. The conversation stagnated some tough." she shrugged, giving the filled tankhard a try "Mr Knight left me without much words as soon as we arrived here. Not that I complain but it had been somewhat rude of him." she held a slight, not so slight, pout before she took a sip "At least I got to relax by myself into the afternoon."

"Do you have found a place to stay?" she asked moving her gaze between Moss and Calanon "The tavern seemed quite full by the people here in the early night." Not that she was going to share her single room. Enough things had happened for a one night. Unless... he was going to be really convincing to convince her to share the room... not the bed. That was all for herself alone.

As Calanon excused himself Diamea nodded to him "See you tomorrow I guess." she said before turning to Moss nodding lightly "I think I'm going too." she said looking at him, he could have a chance to stop her if he wished so. If not, she was going to retreat in her room and go through the night.
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Old April 24, 2018, 04:28 PM   #57 (permalink)
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Calanon, Diamea, & Moss

There was definite amusement in Magda's eyes as she looked across, palm open, waiting for the elf to drop the money she was owed. At his request for the cot, she gave him a winning smile and added, "that'll be extra, then, won't it?" And her palm, now happily filled with the money he'd dropped into it, remained right where it was until the elf added the requisite funds for the cot.

"A pleasure doin' business, luv," she said once he'd done so, before making the money disappear with alacrity. "Full house!" She shouted to the room at large, and from the kitchen behind the call was repeated.

They were joined by their wayward companion, who made it just in time to accept a fresh beer. Some time and conversation later, Calanon left to find a place to practice, and Diamea shortly thereafter returned to the luxury of her room to find her bed, alone.

Exiting the inn, Calanon was hard pressed to find a quiet, secluded spot in which to practice, but - after making good on his pretense and being forced to stretch his legs a bit - managed well enough to find a place he was mostly sure would remain private at this later candlemark.

Hoskuld

Back in the tavern room, there were nods all around as Hoskuld spoke of things that his table companions had been around for and knew of well enough. The Xet had changed things, certainly, but mining (like blacksmithing) was one trade that was generally in higher demand in times of war. You just changed what you were focused on bringing up.

Whiterock finished a long drink of his ale before slapping a thick palm down on the table with a resounding smack, "eh, the gem trade is bouncin' back, right enough. The Maeve need us diggin' up their wealth, after all."

He sat forward, directing his next words mainly between Hoskuld and Flintarm, "but I heard tell that Gods-heart never stopped pokin' his way down. No doubt 'twas greed or foolish curiosity, but whatever he found down there... everythin' stopped."

And that said, he gave Hoskuld a direct and meaningful stare before shifting back in his chair again and lifting his mug.

Only to spray an impressive amount of his drink across the table at Hoskuld's next words. Flintarm gave him a couple solid blows on the back as Dorlin started sputtering, coughing and laughing at the same time, before his own strength was taken by the laughter that curled him over, singular fist pounding instead on the table top and rattling the drinks set there.

Goldbringer was grinning broadly, only the merest slice of blue showing through the amusement that folded his eyes into slits as he looked to Hoskuld, brows dancing with his silent chuckles. "One hole looks jest like 'nother, eh?"

The truism was followed by a chorus of snorts from the other two, until Flintarm let out a long sigh and wiped at his streaming eyes and the ale that Whiterock had sprayed. "Mercuria? Even if it weren't a legend, sure an' they'll have to know that it's nowhere near here where the legend began? They must be payin' you well, Coal-beard, to put up with such foolishness as all that."

"Gintri can be found near the head of the ol' Tumbletree, hard to miss. Claims he can speak with the ghosts, guarantees that his tour will scare the pants off anyone brave enough to go down," a snort to show just what he thought of that idea, and the tourists who clearly had no idea of the dangerous reality of working down in the mines.

"Aye, he claims t'know a lot of things. Claims he found a lake down one of the abandoned shafts, too. But if yer plannin' to take yer group down into the ole' bitch, best you talk to him. Just know..." and here Whurnir lifted his stump, looking at Hoskuld over the end of it, "it's more'n just haunted, an' there's sure to be a good reason we ain't workin' her nomore."

And with that, he sealed the warning by taking down the rest of his drink in one long pull, punctuating it with a deep belch.
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Old April 25, 2018, 10:01 AM   #58 (permalink)
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Moss watched, with the slightest hint of humour at Calanon's expense, as his elven friend was forced to pay extra for the additional cot. He was tempted to suggest that he had told the Sylrosian that such would be the case, but he stopped short - partly because that would be decidedly rude, and partly because it would be decidedly wrong. Though he had wanted to issue a warning, the elf's impulsiveness had ensured he'd pay a higher price for their lodgings.

Instead of reveling in his companion's failings, however, Moss made light conversation with Diamea - feigning a lamentation at the news of Gye'ron's departure, and explaining that they had, quite fortuitously, managed to secure the last room in the tavern - and Calanon until he later excused himself, and he even chatted with the barkeep, who was sure to think even a little more of a human than she would of an elf.

After a pair of drinks, however, the mystic was ready to retire. Calanon had left the building, the woman he knew as Miss Azure had retreated to her room, and the group's dwarven traveling companion was still deep in conversation with his kinsmen, and Moss suddenly realised how tired he was. He hadn't had a proper opportunity to stop since rosyun, and far too many candlemarks had passed since then.

As he eased himself away from the bar, Moss looked in the direction of the group of dwarves, hoping to catch Hoskuld's eye, but offering a polite nod of farewell to any of the group that happened to cast a glance in his direction. From there, it was off to bed, lumbering to the room his friend had just paid for, and setting his overladen pack by the main bed, before stripping down to his underclothes and climbing into the main bed, conscious that both Calanon and Hoskuld would need to enter the room at some point in the darkening.
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Old April 27, 2018, 08:02 PM   #59 (permalink)
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Hoskuld weathered the rain of ale and snow of foam with good humor. There were many worse things than being showered with beer and dwarf spit, and if what these fellows were telling him was even half-true, he and his assortment of associates might well be experiencing some of those things before long. Moreover, wiping his face and beard gave the dwarf occasion to cover and close his eyes a moment to gather the raft of revelations his new-found friends were telling him into something like a coherent picture. That and the pause provided by the general guffawing at his story gave him some moments to think.

Gem trade rebounding…Cetherik had kept digging down right up until he stopped…Gintri said he could talk to ghosts…an underground lake? Hoskuld’s practical mind sorted through the jumbled puzzle pieces for corners. He didn’t need the whole nor even most of the picture; what was important was piecing together enough to know what to do next.

The continued digging meant that they had picked a ripe target for exploration; it also meant they needed more rope, and *lanterns* rather than just torches -preferably good, hooded, oil-burning lamps. Whiterock had not said as much, but Gintri’s tenure near the headframe suggested that said frame was still intact, and perhaps the elevator still worked. That would certainly help with his tours.

Ghosts? He’d just have to see about that. The underground lake? Mines gathered water even more surely than they gathered ghosts, especially ones dug deep, and if Tumbletree’s pumps hadn’t worked in a few eras, well…that could mean flooding. Perhaps.

With the merriment subsided and Hoskuld’s face as dry and clean as it was going to get without a proper bath, he lowered the rag from his face and resumed grinning at the gathered dwarves. ”Well, gentlemen, ye’ve given me a lot to think about, and to work with, and for that I thank ye much.” Noting that Whurnir and the others had drained their beers, Hoskuld did a quick inventory of his purse and reckoned he could afford just one more round for the four of them, which he ordered at next opportunity. After all, they *were* paying him well, right?

”Just a couple more questions, if I may, and then I’ll leave ye to your darkening so that I can check on me wards.” He said this last as he noted the elf heading outside for some fresh air and Moss heading for bed.

“First, where’s the best place to get equipment around here? I figure we need lamps for a place this big, rather than torches, and more rope never hurts, neither. Secondly,” he nodded meaningfully at Whurnir’s stump, ”at the risk o’bein’ nosy, is there aught else specific you can tell me about what might be down there?”

Hoskuld then drained his beer while he awaited his response, to make sure he was ready for the second. It was not his intention to pump his new friends dry, nor to stay up drinking until the moons were ready to set, but he wanted to make sure he could face Moss and the others with answers to some of the most obvious questions they would have, as well as some suggestions as to what to do next. He also wanted to show Whurnir and the others proper appreciation for their time and information.
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Old April 29, 2018, 10:32 AM   #60 (permalink)
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Unsatisfactory rooming arrangements aside, the Inn had at least reunited them with Azure, and the ale was a welcome refreshment after the tedium of the carriage journey over here. Calanon’s gaze lingered a moment where their new found dwarven companion sat with his kinsfolk, and at Azure’s question he gave a shrug.

“Not a lot. What do we need to know? He’s a dwarf...a miner. Seems better placed to start this thing than you or I”. The elf frowned a little as he spoke because really, what was he doing? Caves and mining and dwarves. It was all well outside of his comfort zone.

It seemed Blue Black had lost her travelling companion too, and the elf wondered if the man had simply come to his senses as he surely should as well. Gods, he hoped that letter got to Kailin, or all this was going to have to be damned well rewarding to make it worth the fallout. There was a brief look of consternation that flickered across his face at the thought, but it could just as easily have been in response to Azure’s enquiry about accommodations and Calanon tried not to sound too grumpy as he assured her that they had rooms. Room.

“ We will see you at rosyun then, arwenamin” he said, before excusing himself and heading out into the cold of the night air. Having to walk a little further than he had anticipated, he nevertheless found a spot that afforded him the quiet he desired, and when he returned to the tavern he had shaken off the discontent of earlier, and felt calmer, more focused.

Even opening the door to the rather pokey room that was to house the elf, man and dwarf was borne with more tolerance that it might have been, and Calanon moved quietly so as not to disturb the slumbering form of Moss in the main bed. With a sudden relief that the dwarf was still downstairs gabbing with his cronies, the Sylrosian claimed the single bed that had been unceremoniously deposited under the window. It was adequate. Shedding his pack and his cloak, he paused only a moment before stripping down to his undershirt and sliding into his bed. If they were going to be sleeping in the wilds a few more nights he was going to be comfortable this night at least.
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