(There are certain places in the many lands in which various . . . peoples live, that seem to draw travelers. Of course people live everywhere that will support them, but those who remain where they have always lived are rarely the heroes or villians of songs and stories. No, the songs are sung, and stories told of those with goals loftier, who crossed mountains higher and rivers wider to attain those goals. Whether they succeeded or failed, helped others or hurt them, they struggled hard for what they most valued or desired, and their names are remembered in myth and legend.
Such people pass through certain places that draw them, and this is a story that began in one such place. Or rather than began, several notable lives came into contact with each other there.
it was at the center of a village in a broad mountain valley. This particular village was significant because it sat at a bend in the river where it flowed wide, allowing shallow bellied ships to anchor and their crews to conduct trade. Upstream of the village, however, the ships could not go. People would embark over the mountains by mule, or if they were sufficiently daring, by horse back, wagon, or other conveyance from the village. It was a hub of sorts for people from all the surrounding drainage.
In the center of the village, more or less, sat several Inns, taverns, hostels and other places of temporary occupation. One such, simply called the "Travelers Inn," had a bit of a reputation about it. It was said some entered and never departed, but could be seen happily going about their business within its walls. Others entered, and exited some time later, profoundly changed. Some passed through but usually found it uncomfortable if only because of the others who frequented the place. It was an inn, tavern, pub, arena and place of entertainment that welcomed all sorts of creatures including those that residents of the village insisted were myths. Many had wings or horns, used magic or strange machines, were taller or shorter than the others. Some liked to live in trees and others in the ground. Some were very quick, and others very slow. Many people would come to the Inn just to see what strange creature would enter next!
The Inn was open and airy, with a significant landing pad for, some said, dragons. But just about anything could land there and then descend the stairs into the common room, assuming they could fit. There was a bar that served all kinds of non-alcoholic beverages, including some with a kick. There were rooms in which to have private meetings, and in which to sleep. There were tables and chairs arranged around the room, and no matter how many were broken in the fights that occasionally broke out, there always seemed to be enough. For the many who preferred to sit in the corners and watch from the shadows, it always seemed as though there were a corner waiting just for them. A dance floor sat on one side of the common room, a stage next to it, a large fireplace in the next wall. Behind the dance floor was a grassy slope down to a sandy arena. The rules were that fighters needed to go to the arena to spar or whatever, but since when have rules been followed?
Elsewhere in the Inn, it was rumored, there was a room in which the veils between dimensions and universes was thin. People would come and go via that room to and from places and times far distant. But it took great knowledge, courage and skill to appropriately use that room. It was not advertised, but if one asked the right questions of the right people, using the right currency, they could sometimes learn its secrets.
As in any such place, the Inn Keeper was something of a fixture himself. It seemed he could be whatever was needed by whomever entered the place. One would find a soothing grandmother. Another an understanding neighbor. Another a gruff middle aged giant who could set things to rights within the bounds of his domain with a quick flick of his ginormous club. But whatever they needed when they entered, and not necessarily what they wanted, they could find in the Inn Keeper.
As far as the writing in this thread goes, I'll apply the same guidelines and rules as in the Post-post apocalypse thread. Feel free to go on a quest or have epic battles or whatever, but keep it believable. If someone brings Anime into this I'll have a problem with it. Although there is the room for crossing dimensions and universes I'd like the PCs to be the sort familiar to Tolkien, Lewis, Robert Jordan, Karen H a n c k o c k, World of Warecraft, Dungeons & Dragons etc. No firearms, though bows and crossbows and the like are cool, as is "greek fire," in limited quantities and not very well controlled. As usual, no godmodding. Introduce as many PCs and NPCs as you can handle. If there's a question as to what actually will happen as a result of some action or other, and it can't be resolved within three rounds of posting I'll make an executive decision.
Keep in mind that we have writers here from many backgrounds, including conservative Christian, although we tend to be more "tolerant" than some. Thus, questions may arise as to the appropriateness of writing of magic, vs. miracles. I will say here that I don't want that to become an issue. Let's just have our PCs react to what they face in the way that their character demands they do. If my PC is Christian, for instance, magic attacks won't work on him. IRL if a Christian walks into a seance, the seance won't work. For the purpose of this thread, however, no one's magic or faith will affect anyone else's unless it is directed at the other PC. Then it becomes up to the other PC's writer what affect the magic or faith will have on their PC. If you have any questions about that just ask me. I think I've been doing this long enough to have figured out a way for it to work.
All that being said, welcome to the Traveler's Inn! May you all have food, drink, fellowship and rest to your heart's content.)7/29/2011 #1
Malachi tried to slip into the Traveler's Inn he heard about upon entering the town. Not that "slipping into" a place were really possible, but you didn't have to be austentatious either. So he walked in, head bowed a little, a slight limp to his step, and removed a shapeless but broad brimmed hat from his head to reveal a cloth wrapped around his head, perhaps something like people at sea would wear.
Beneath a large cloak of difficult to determine color he wore stained brecks of buckskin and siarc of wool. Various pockets hung about his person, and the hilts of various weapons. Over everything was the dust and mud of weeks in the wilds. In-spite of his limp, his walk was quiet, but not too quiet. In build he was, perhaps, a little taller than average, but his slight stoop disguised that fact. It could hardly be seen beneath all his layers of clothing, but he was built as one who lived from day to day by being able to move and change direction quickly.
He moved to the left of the door and toward the counter after entering, but several patrons noticed him and watched for a moment, before going back to their drinks and conversations. After surveying the crowd for his own part, Malachi moved to the counter and flagged down the bartender. He slipped a copper piece onto the counter.
"Might I get a mug of mead, sir?" he asked.
"Commin roight up." charming northern accent. The large man turned quickly, drew a mug of frothy something or other, and set it down infront of Malachi. "Enjoy! and if ye be wanten anything else whoil ye're here, Oil' see what Oi can do."
As he turned away he coughed a little into his sleeve, and Malachi thought he might have heard the word "bath." He couldn't be sure.7/29/2011 #2
Ashala paused at the edge of the forest hesitating to set foot past the pine trees. The map, currently rolled up and stuck in her vest pocket, was clearly marked with an X to indicate what house she would have to scope out. Shaking her head, she moved forward keeping her hand resting on the hilt of her sword. She walked through the peaceful square, cursing the lack of movement and noise. Quite towns made it more difficult for her to complete her mission - whether that be stealing back an item or murdering a specific target.
'At least you aren't stuck in a stone house learnign to sew,' a voice said in the back of her mind. The mere idea of "becoming a high-born lady" sent shivers down Ashala's back. Of course, as part of her punishment, she was being refined. However, as with every other skill she learned, she was using this refinement to earn profit, rather than become a member of high society.
Pushing these thoughts to the back of her mind, Ashala glanced at the various signs hanging from the Inns. One sign was weather-worn and nealry falling to the ground. She decided not to venture into that inn, mainly because it was digusting and she wouldn't be able to pick good pockets there. Instead, she turned to an inn that seemed to have a good crowd going. Plus, she was intrigued by the armor-clad dragon taking a snooze in the side-pen. Reaching into her pocket, she grasped some gold coin flipping one to the man by the door. When she entered, her eyes were caught by the gleam of many swords, pertaining to a man, who not unlke herself, liked to spend time in the wilderness.
Today, though, Ashala was cleaner, having stopped in a small vilage, to gather information, before stopping here. Her walk was smooth, with a slight elevation to it, and she made absolutely no sound, despite the crossbow, quiver, and swords attached to her body. She waited for the wilderness man to finish speaking, before she cleared her throat.
"How much is a room?" she asked. While she waited for an answer, she reached up swiflty unweaving her coiled braid, so her hair fell in slight kinks to her waist. She quickly hid the dagger, which had been hidden at the center of the coil, sliding it into the thigh-sheath where it belonged. All around her the noise of chatter, glasses, familiars, and a few drunkards kept her onguard. She kept an eye on the woodman in her peripherals, strangly drawn to his presence.
'Perhaps,' the voice whispered in her mind, 'perhaps, you can ditch the job and find a new, worthwile adventure.' The other, mostly ignored part of her brain added, 'with a worthy man.' The thought itself made her blush, and Ashala quikcly pushed it out of her mind.7/30/2011 #3
The man walked strongly down the well-used path that lead to the inn. He had been there once before, but only when he was very young. Before he had become someone better. Someone... more. He adjusted the hood of his grey/green/brown dappled cloak, a special kind of camoflauge known only to those in his line of work. If someone passed him on the trail, they would catch nothing more than a shimmer in the trees. Usually, that is. It helped that, despite wearing solid leather boots, he was completely silent as he moved. Again, usually. His other shoes would be better for stealth, but he wasn't trying to be stealthy right now. Just... overlooked.
The one thing that would definitely give him away was the blood trail he was leaving. A thin but steady stream ran down the side of his legs, spilling over the dirt road. As for his horse... Things like that are best left unsaid.
He approached the inn. He entered the door swiftly, letting it close silently. A few people noticed him. One even recognised the cloak and looked terrified. Why, though, was anybody's guess. Approaching the barkeep, the man slipped two silver coins for a booth and flagon of mead. Taking his own whiskey, potent stuff, he went to an assigned booth. He pulled up a leg of his trousers, fitted and sturdy, with several sturdy pockets.
He examined the wound for a while, then pulled out his throwing knife. He poured the alcohol on it, wiped it dry, then stabbed it into the wound. He gritted his teeth hard, before pulling out the tip of an arrow. Unpoisoned. He poured more whiskey onto the wound, then pulled out thick string and a needle. He closed the wounds, and cut the excess with his knife. He cleaned his knife before replacing it in his double scabbard, snapping it in quietly. He rolled down the leg, and started drinking from the flagon like nothing had happened.
He had to leave soon, but there was some business to take care of here, at Traveler's Inn. And Garren Holt was a busy man.7/30/2011 . Edited 8/2/2011 #4
Another man walked in. Silently. This place must be like a predatory plant drawing stealthy people. If it weren't for the door opening and shutting, Malachi might not have noticed him. He was wounded, but bore it well. One to keep an eye on if it could be spared.--------------------------------------------------------then a woman of some sort walked in, even more silent than the man, if that were possible. Among the rangers and nistarim Malachi was rumored to be the greatest woodsman. It seemed in this place, though, that his skills were merely average when it came to stealth. That pride was a painfully large and prickly fruit to swallow. ------------------------------------------------------------- Malachi's intention, after seeing that the latest person to enter the inn wasn't going to attack him just now, was to ignore her. Sure, she moved well, maybe better than he, and she was wasn't ugly -- long hair always did it for him in a woman -- but he wasn't looking for female companionship. Even if that sort of thing were allowed.--------------------------------------------------------Oh hang it all, he was obsessing again. And she'd sidled up next to him. So much for going unnoticed. It didn't take an expert judge of non-verbals. He'd just have to make the best of it.-------------------------------------------------------------Malach half turned toward her and bowed at the waist. "Hail, m'lady," he said, trying to be more formal than usual. "I am Malachi, a man with a few great interests. You wished to speak with me." It came out as a statement rather than a question. "I apologise," he amended. "Perhaps we might share some interest or other."7/30/2011 . Edited 7/30/2011 #5
[Hmm... I'll still keep it quiet for now, but after seeing your post, I'll give you a hint. It's probably pointless, and no one will look for it, but the meaning of his name, and the meaning of his profession are the same. When it comes out into the open IC, though, I hope it will be received well...]
Holt turned his gaze under the hood to the man at the bar. That man was wise enough and experienced enough to have taken notice of Holt, and to regard him cautiously. Of course, this made Holt wary of that man, even though he didn't show it. That is, if his expression could be seen under the hood. Then he turned his eyes to the woman. Very attractive, she was, even if he wasn't into such long hair. And the way she moved was extremely graceful as well. Not the kind of grace one would expect, even from someone of an apparently noble upbringing.
And then the man starting trying to "pick up" the woman. Overexaggerated and clusmily, Holt thought. He almost writ him out as a threat, but he was well aware that doing so lead to danger.7/30/2011 #6
She could hear the slight noise his shoes made against the ground. She wondered if he was injured and quickly chastised herself silently. Of course he was injured. She could smell the tang of blood when he stopped to throw some coins on the counter. She didn't turn around to get a good look at him though. Instead, she kept an eye on him in her peripheral's for the short minutes he stood at the bar, taking in the camoflague cloak.
The colors were familiar to her, although the pattern was quite different. She wondered if he had been apart of the band of rogues she'd known for part of her younger life. Perhaps she would have to ask him, later. Now, she turned to the barkeep reaching for the glass of spiced-cherry cider she had ordered.
She took a sip, noticing how the woodsman to her left seemed to tense at the actions of the newcomer. However, she could tell that the newcomer had moved off on his own. Her wary thoughts were broken by the sudden movement to her left. Turning her head slightly, she watched at the man bowed. However, it was his voice that caught her attention. It was a low tenor with the quiet, yet commanding quality of a leader.
"Hail, good sir," she replied. Ashala tilted her chin down slightly, looking up through her lashes as she had been taught to do when completing a curtsy. She lifted her head, meeting the eyes of the speaker.
"I can see that you are a woodsman," she said. "And yet, you are also an experienced swordsman." Glancing at the barkeep, she could tell that the owner of the Inn thought the man could use a bath. The assumption wasn't incorrect, but Ashala didn't find herself paying attention to how he smelled or looked.
"Have you been to this village before?"
She found herself genially interested in this man's story. He seemed to be high born, like she was. She wondered, briefly, if he had stopped in her father's lands, but decided against asking. It was far better to keep her adopted name than to return to a family who was ashamed of her.8/1/2011 . Edited 8/1/2011 #7
A warrior from a distant land took his final step from the road and his first step into the village. His destination had been this place all along, and his journey had taken him over oceans and mountains alike. As he made his way through the village to the fabled Traveler's Inn, his intuition caught the glances of the people he was passing. Some were staring at his blade, others his armor. He was a stranger in this land. A stranger more strange than most, at that.
He wore the traditional armor of a traveling samurai in the colors of his master's guild, red and white, but what was different about him was his sword. He wielded the Holy sword, Kusanagi. A dark-colored longsword that formerly went by the name Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi, or in english, Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven. In another region of the world there was a similar sword, commonly known as Excalibur, and both blades held the same power.
The warrior's name was simply "Shichi," or "seven" in english. He was searching for the brothers of his order who had gone missing, Roku, and San. [Six and Three, respectively].
Roku had gone rouge four years prior, after striking their master with his katana, the evil blade Muramasa, which was a blade that instilled violence and bloodlust in its user. The blade itself would refuse to be sheathed until it had drawn blood from a human.
San had left in pursuit of Roku nearly immideately, taking the blade of completeness with him, the powerful katana known as the Masamune. He had left without a word, and it was not known that he had left until four days later, when another swordsman of the order went to San's dwelling. It had been assumed that San had been meditating and fasting, but when the swordsman opened the door, he found only a note saying, "I have left to bring our brother Roku to justice. Whether or not you send one to follow me is your choice."
And the next morning, Shichi took up his own blade, the Holy sword Kusanagi, and left in pursuit of San.
Four years later, he had finally arrived at the Traveler's Inn. It was said that Roku had come here one and a half years ago, and none knew if he had ever left.
Shichi entered through the door, handing a silver piece to the doorman.
"I apologize that I could not have given you more," Shichi explained, "But my funds must last me for my journey, and I am beginning to run low."
After saying this, Shichi went to the inkeeper, who bore a striking resemblance to his master, only younger by about twenty-five percent.
"Kon'nichiwa. Nani ka heya wa arimasu ka?" Shichi instinctively spoke this in his native tounge, then realized his slight mistake, "My apologies, sir. I said, 'Hello. Is there any room here?'"
"Ah, yes," The inkeeper said, "For one gold coin I can give you a room."
Shichi extracted a gold coin from his coin purse and placed it on the counter before the inkeeper.
"I hope you do not mind," He said, "It is a foreign coin, but gold nonetheless."
"I will take it," the inkeeper said, "Could I interest you in a drink?"
"Yes, Orange tea please. One lump of sugar."
The inkeeper seemed to think about this for a moment, then began to prepare the drink.
"We do not have a large supply of this drink," he explained, "But every once in a while, a trader from a distant land brings some to this place."
"My thanks, sir," Shichi said, paying for the drink. He took a sip and looked around the room. It didn't seem like Roku was here, but after he finished his drink, he woud begin to ask around.8/1/2011 . Edited 8/2/2011 #8
There seemed to be many new comers entering the Inn. From the changing image of the barkeep, who must be a shape shifter, Ashala decided, she realized the newest person to enter must be from a country she had never heard of. The language sounded high-pitched and garbled to her ears.
For the time being, Ashala contented herself with overhearing the man's conversation, instead focusing her attention on the man she had begun to speak with. She wondered if he was carefully considering his answer, or if her words had gone unheard.
"Is this your first time in this village?" she asked again, keeping her tone polite with a hint of curiosity. She glanced up briefly, signaling to a petite, yet well-built woman. She dropped a few coins on her tray, saying quietly. "I'd like some celery sticks and turkey legs."
She waited paternity for the woodsman to answer. That's when she realized she had forgotten the most important rule of etiquette. Turning back to the woodsman she said, "My apologies, good sir. My name is Ashala."
Then she waited for him to continue their conversation, currently content with a situation where she wasn't fighting for her life or evading a search party.8/1/2011 . Edited 8/3/2011 #9
Malachi took another swig of his non-alcoholic mead *grins* while thinking about how to word his answer. Not that it was a difficult question to answer. He'd just been away from talking people long enough. He'd slowed down in the wilds, adopting their own pace. Here, however, three people had walked into the place within five minutes or less. It was enough to make his head spin. Why'd he come here anyway? Surely the impetus that drew him had its reasons.
He turned his head to look at the woman again.
"A time or two," he answered, as though there was more to that answer than simply the number of times he'd come here. "It's a different place," he explained. "Draws . . . people. Drew you and I, for example. Surely this is more than merely a stop for refreshment on your way. Not to pry, but since we're talking and all, I wonder what it was that drew you here? You are more quiet than a doe in the wood, and more regal than a peacock in full color." He frowned. "But only the male peacock are regal and colorful. Never mind. _I_ can see that you're no local." He smiled a little at that, and gestured and nodded for her to respond as she saw fit.8/2/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 8/3/2011 #10
Halt waved over a wench. "If you can, could you bring me some of the home special?" he asked, seeing that it was a surprisingly well rounded dish.8/2/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 8/3/2011 #11
There was something veiled about his answer. She wondered if he had experienced a horrible turn of events in this town or if he was one of the Elder-creatures.
Shrugging off her curiosity Ashala replied, "I'm here on business." It wasn't a lie, but it wasn't the whole truth, either. She processed the words he used to describe her, figuring he had been around long enough to tell if someone was of noble blood or not. "I'm somewhat of an enigma," she said. "I'm neither a full wanderer nor am I of low-born blood." She shrugged. "But, the one thing I do not share, that the dear and the peacock do, is freedom."
She tapered off wondering if it would be worth cutting loose and running from this job. After all, she could just claim duress, and say it was more trouble than it was worth. After all, she didn't want to disrupt a small town by killing someone. Maybe, she could steal back the object and leave the man alive. It was all very complicated.8/3/2011 . Edited 8/5/2011 #12
Malachi frowned, in-spite of himself, at her mention of blood. He put no stock in such things. At least not in people being born of high or low blood. Though he didn't advertise the fact, he routinely drank the blood of the Son, and was convinced that blood, shed into the waters as it had been, made all who drank it equal in His sight. That was all that mattered. As for authority and station in life, those had to be earned. When others tried to put him down in the past, he either left, or established dominance over them, depending on the need.
But this lady didn't know all of that, nor would serve any purpose to get into a social/political debate with her. He decided to let it slide. Her next comment brought his head around to look at her more directly, his gaze having an uncanny way of penetrating. Probably not supernatural, but not normal either.
"Wait a moment, please," he said. "I realize you have your reasons for keeping details of your life to yourself. For one, I only just met you, and your business is none of mine."
He lowered his voice to the point where it was lost in the general din to anyone not next to him.
"But you chose to divulge that you are not free. If this is something you wish to speak with me more about, excuse yourself in two minutes. I will find you. Otherwise, remain. We may speak of the weather in our respective parts of the world."
He smiled, and returned to his drink.8/3/2011 #13
Shichi called the inkeeper over when he finished his tea.
"Tell me, sir," he said, "Is there one here by the name 'San?'"
"There may be," the innkeeper replied, "I would have to check."
"That would be most appreciated," Shichi said.
The inkeeper left to check his guest registry, then returned a few minutes later.
"I have found one person with that name," he said, "He arrived a month ago."
"If you could, would you please send him word that I have arrived? My name is Shichi, he will know of what you speak."
"Of course," the innkeeper said, calling over a barmaid. She in turn went to a bellboy, who then left into the Inn to find San's room.8/4/2011 #14
Ashala wondered if the woodsman was familiar with the undertows of political and social conflicts going on in the kingdom. If he were, then perhaps he could truly help her figure out a non-violent way to complete her latest mission. It was strange, that out of all the people populating the bar, Ashala was most intrigued by a mysterious woodsman. She turned away, laying another coin on the counter. A small map was handed to her and Ashala made her way to the establishment's back door. Pushing through the wooden door, she slowly made her way toward the room she had been given access to.
Once inside, she waited for the man to follow, wondering where this adventure would take her.8/5/2011 . Edited 9/13/2011 #15
Holt paid a silver and bronze piece for the meal, giving the wench a bronze for herself. He ate measurably, mixing the butter and potato absently as he thought. He couldn't spend long here. Maybe a few days, unless something came up. The man he was looking for wouldn't hide here long either, and the people looking to kill him would send more goons soon.
And he needed to get back before a war was started. Holt turned his attention to the man and woman at the bar. The high born and a countryman of some sort, seemingly getting along well. Where Holt was from, that wasn'ttooout of place, is uncommon, but from the intel and tales from this country, and nearby ones, that is pretty surprising. When the woman left, she walked slower than she might have; an indication she was waiting for something, or just tired? Holt turned his attention to the man, his gaze obscured by the hood. He of course continued eating.8/5/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 9/13/2011 #16
Malachi smiled a little. Apparently he'd done something right, especially considering the legendary difficulty of the creatures commonly called "women".------------------------------------------------------ He was about to get up and follow her, pondering what to do about the other two men who entered while he was there. He didn't know them, their loyalties or proclivities, which was only a concern because they were the sort one preferred to have as known quantities. Just then the barkeeper caught his eye, shook his head, winked, and waved Malachi off.------------------------------------------------------------ What was that all about? Obviously the barkeeper didn't want Malichi to do anything about the others, but how had he know that's what he'd been thinking of? Still pondering this question, Malachi shuffled off toward the rooms, slight limp and shoulders stooped.-------------------------------------------------------- Why the rooms? It was natural enough, he supposed, but not the choice he would have made if freedom were a concern. None the less...---------------------------------------------------------- A wench walked up to Holt. As she exchanged his used dishes for clean ones, she spoke quietly near his ear, "room 115" and continued on.--------------------------------------------------------------- At the bottom of Shichi 's mug was a note, undamaged by the liquid, that read, "room 115".8/5/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 8/5/2011 #17
She would have preferred to rent out an empty cottage on the back corner of someone's land. This option allowed for more privacy and free movement. But, Ashala had chosen, for monetary reasons, to grab a room at the Inn. When she entered she quickly realized this was unlike any Inn she had been to before. The room was outfitted to suite her needs, and apparently that included a large wood table complete with maps of the kingdom.
Pushing aside her curiosity, Ashala sat in the corner that offered her a view of the whole room and the door. To her pleasure this door was located at the back west corner of the INN, allowing for her to have easy access but not for others to reach the room easily. She knew that being in this room defeated the purpose of freedom, but she also was intelligent enough to see how impropable it would be for a spy to make his way to this room, the only other path she had seen was a stone pathway leading around the building past the dragon-keep and bar to the front of the Inn.
She leaned back, waiting for the woodsman to enter. Perhaps it was time to stop thieving and killing in the shadows and serve the realm in a more dignified manner. Whatever the case would be, Ashala was certain she would be meeting people she may never have come into contact with under normal circumstances.8/5/2011 #18
Holt was puzzled by the note, but wasn't willing to let a chance pass him by. He blended in with the crowds, moving swiftly to where the rooms were. Almost invisibly. When he found the room, he slipped inside, and waited in the most shadowed portion of the room, hopefully having been unseen on his arival.8/7/2011 #19
"Who are you, sir?" Ashala asked from her vantage point near the fire. She kept her tone neutral, although her hand remained poised over the hilt of a throwing knife.
She didn't recognize him. Actually, he had been the man to openly cleanse and sew up his wound, but other than a brief glance in her peripherals she had no idea who this man was. He certainly wasn't the woodsman she had spoken with. How did he know which room she had paid for? Why was he in her room?
These were valid questions. However, Ashala knew she would need to play her cards carefully if she were to leave this town alive. She pushed her misgivings to the back of her mind waiting for the man to answer.8/8/2011 #20
Apparently all attempts at stealth had failed. Mostly because someone was already there. It was the high-born he had seen earlier. She was standing near a recently made fire, seemingly confused by his appearance. Obviously, she hadn't summoned him. Her hand was hovering over what seemed to be a knife.
Keeping his face obscured, he answered. "Holt, madame. Steady your hand, I am no threat to you," he said soothingly, his hands loose at his side.8/8/2011 #21
Ashala leaned against the stone wall watching the man's movements closely. She stood to the side of the fire, in the shadows of the upper-left corner.
"How did you come to know this was the room I had paid for?"
She found herself paying attention to other parts of this man's presence other than his weapons and his stature. He was well-toned and seemed to have something about him to suggest not all transactions in his life were clean.
"How does your wound fare?" She asked letting her hand fall to her side in a somewhat trusting, but not entirely relaxed, manner.8/8/2011 #22
Holt laughed, a short, almost harsh bark. "Why, you just told me, that's how I came to know it. Truthfully, I came here because of a note I received. I had no idea there would be multiple people involved, or that it would be your room. You should lock your door more often, though," he chastised.
Noticing the attention she was giving him, he decided to size her up as well. It didn't take long, since he'd seen her earlier, and judged her fairly then. Elegant, smooth, graceful, regal, beautiful. With an edge to her that told Holt that she could handle herself, and wasn't exactly the most reputable character; though what that entailed was obviously lost on him.
He decided to answer her next question, hiding all of the small amount of surprise from her. "Hm, you noticed me, eh? Good eye. And I'm fine, thank you. It'll heal fine within a day or two. But, may I borrow a chair to sit on? It'd be best to keep off my leg, and if it is all right with you, I'd like to continue my tresspassing long enough to see why I was led here," he said as diplomatically as his straight forward manner allowed.8/8/2011 #23
Slowly, so as, hopefully to avoid startling anyone, the barkeeper/innkeeper eased THROUGH the wall. After about 15 seconds of easing through, he was completely in the room.
"Ah! Oim glad te see ye've no killed each other already. 'Tis Oi who sent im. Think 'e may have ought to do wi ye in the near future, if'n ye'll have 'im, and if'n ye'll go wi' 'er."
He said, turning back and forth between the two occupants of the room.
"Now, if only the other two would hurry up. Do ye moind if'n Oi open yon door a crack?" he asked Ashala.
Malechi was just a little frustrated at having to track her through the inn. Yes, he could find her, but he very much preferred doing it outside. But why, if he had such dominant preferences, did he leave so much open to the whims of the woman? Not only did it seem that he often could not understand them, he also lacked woefully when it came to influencing them. Much like the wild things, he reflected. You could predict, even herd, to some extent, but you never really knew what they would do.
Fortunately for him, everything that moved left a trail of some sort. Displaced grains of sand here. Some fresh grains of dirt from outside there. Oh! there were people talking in a room. Sometimes it was the most obvious thing. Malachi, after a moment's indecision, knocked on the door.8/8/2011 . Edited 8/8/2011 #24
Holt had trouble keeping up with the man's accent, but he managed. "All right..." he said, suspicious. He'd wait things out, but he had never even met the woman before, let alone had any influence in what she's done.8/8/2011 #25
Ashala lifted an eyebrow indicating the sealed wound in his leg. "You came in with a bloody leg and sewed up your own wound," she stated. "I would have been surprised to see anyone, including a King's fool, not notice your entrance."
She was going to continue when a man appeared through the wall. It took her only a few moments to loose the dagger into her hand. "Who are you?" she asked a suspicious tone in her voice. She did not claim to have a clean slate in her past, nor even her present, but one thing she could claim was that she hardly missed a thing. This man was the bar-keep. "You are a shape-shifter, or something of the like," she said, keeping her voice lower than her average volume, "and the barkeep of this Inn."
She didn't throw her dagger but she didn't put it in it's sheath either. "I'm sure this man can tell you we have not met before," she said. She turned toward him. "Although, he has met one of the kingdom's most infamous band of rouges," she said.
There was a knock on the door, and Ashala said, "Come in woodsman." She indicated one of the chair around the table. "Have a seat,..." she said trailing off, seeing as she did not know the other man's name. "I am Ashala," she said by way of late introduction.
She waited for the woodsman, had he said his name?, to enter. Then she turned her attention to the barkeep, waiting for an explanation.8/9/2011 #26
"Capital! Splendid! Most Extraordinary!" the man who had appeared through the wall said. He seemed truly pleased and as though he didn't even register the knife in Ashala's hand.
"Come in, please do come in," he added to her invitation to Malachi.
"Oh, and astute assessment you've made, madam, of my position and nature. But my purpose for entering the room must wait till everyone is here."
Malachi listened to the exchange, a little surprised to see three people in the room where he'd hoped to converse privately with one. Obviously something was afoot, but none of them appeared to be a threat. Again he bowed to Ashala.
"Malachi at your service, Madam. As you've guessed, I'm a bit of a woodsman, but I'd like to think a bit more. Why are we all here?" He remained just to the side of the door and had made no aggressive or defensive move since coming in.8/9/2011 #27
Holt snorted. "Well, you may think that, but only you paid any attention, to my knowledge," he said, honestly. His pants were dark and thick enough that the blood would hardly be noticed, his limp was underpronounced, and he fixed the wound with minimal motion under the table.
He followed the action that came next, watching and waiting to see what happened. Then she said something new. To which he said, "Yes, I did meet a band of rogues. Most are dead, if you didn't guess, though." He said that without pride, for he wasn't a bragging man.
Then her name. Ashala. Pretty. Fitting.8/9/2011 #28
Shichi had noticed three others leaving around the time he finished his drink. He suspected that they were all headed for the room on the note in his cup, and decided to wait for a few minutes before leaving for the room. Once he arrived, he listened for voices inside before entering. Four people, one female.
He knocked.8/9/2011 #29
Malachi supposed the conversation was following the normal course of conversation between people trying to get to know each other. He had no particular desire to get to know anyone here except, perhaps, for Ashala, and she had approached him initially. Someone else, most likely the bartender, however, had other plans and had brought them all together. He'd all but said so himself.
He was still closest to the door, never having moved more than a step since entering, so when someone knocked he looked around, waited for a nod from the other three, and opened the door. It was the warrior from the East. No surprise there, but not something he'd really expected either. It just made a sort of sense that four people who could handle themselves had been brought to this place at this time. Especially if you trusted in the Son to orchestrate such meetings.
Malachi had heard that people in the east bow at the waist, with their palms together when meeting each other, and so, stepping out of the way of the warrior he bowed in this fashion.
"Excellent!" The barkeep said. "We are now all here. I think. Assuming . . . Never mind. We can begin. I realize you might all wish to get to know each other but there will be plenty of time for that later. Sit, sit, all of you. Let me explain why I have brought you here and what I need from you."
This was almost sounding like the introduction to some kind of story, but Malachi found a piece of wall non-the-less and sat against it, legs straight out in front of him.8/9/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 9/13/2011 #30
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