Veshenga (by her player)

My little Quida, the world is as large as it is beautiful. Most of our roads have yet to be found, have yet to know the heels of our boots, or in your case the toes of your two tiny feet! Those are the roads we walk.

The road to Magnimar was a centering and calming thing after wading through the haunted house, slaying her amorous psychotic, and receiving the odd reading from Mvashti. Of course, Veshenga would not question her elder’s reading, despite the fact it left her with more questions than clues. What really bothered her was the questionable past she had found, up until now, relatively peaceful. Was there something else? She wondered about her companions’ fortunes. They had traveled on the winding road, and told stories over fires, and filled their days with so much laughter. Things were changing.

On the road, my little Quida, you will encounter your finest friends and your most fiendish foes. You will sample foods you never knew existed, and drink wines older than your very own father! The mountains will tower, and you will be in awe as you stand in their purple shadows.

Upon entering the grandiose city of Magnimar, Veshenga slipped away from the group after confirming to meet them later for dinner and drinks. Her steps guided her through the twisting streets until she had arrived at the crowded Bazaar of Sails. The smell of so many Osirian spices mingled with merchants and buyers, all barking deals and sales at one another. In the midst of it all, she managed to purchase a bottle of fine Chelish wine from a vendor seated in a tent, its canvas walls lined with horizontal bottles capped with corks pointing to the little man in the middle. He chewed on a pipe as she paid him.

You may even fall in love one day, sweet Quida. His heart will beat with such hopes and promises, and you will hear it when he holds you. As you travel the woods and follow the streams, you will meet many strangers. Some of them will try to hurt you while others, well, they will welcome you.

The bottle of wine was presented to Rameria Callinova. Together, they laughed happily over the letters of introduction. They were kind and full of praise, the sort of words that made Veshenga blush, but eventually claim with a proud grin. She raised a glass with Callinova, before they walked arm-in-arm to the garrison to meet the Black Rangers. Their introductions were brief, and Veshenga was beaming with excitement. Could these be new peers?

Not everything will seem fair, in fact, sometimes you will want to give up. The answer to the question cannot be worth so much heart ache. Some men become obsessed, others distressed. Others… you never see again. It is important though, Veshenga, my sweet girl, you must listen.

The sun was close to setting. She had bid farewell – for now! – to the rangers before walking the winding streets to the docks. The final ship were being tied off to the piers, and the last parcels and crates of goods were being taken from the others. It would not be until the morning that the ships would hoist anchor, break from the docks, and fill their sails in an effort to touch the horizon again. Veshenga was sitting in the last trails of the day, watching the sunset. She looked down to the piece of parchment in her hand. Her own handwriting was scrawled top to bottom, detailing Mvashti’s reading.

It is not so much that you are lucky to be part of the world, but that the world is a part of you too. You can never stop, you must keep moving, you must keep going, even if the very roots try to stop you.

She was late meeting her friends, she remembered the promises of rich food and well-earned drinks and folded the parchment quickly. There was a new bounce in her step, her doubts were pushed aside as she stepped into the tavern, and opened her arms wide to her friends. She laughed loudly and the first round of drinks was on her own coin.

Because there is so much worth fighting for.

Balekh (by his player)

Their friends having separated to contact the various individual trainers they were seeking out, Balehk and Shayliss found themselves alone on the streets of Magnimar, an uncomfortable position for Balekh, but strangely not for Shayliss. He’d assumed that she was a small town girl, and the magnitude of hustle and bustle would be far beyond that of her native Sandpoint, but she seemed to take to it very like a cat suddenly given a bigger territory. Balekh spent about four hours enduring the circuit from shop to monument to tourist trap before convincing her that they had plenty of time. He figured he had probably seen more new people so far during his first day in Magnimar than he had in the previous year all put together.

Shayliss had been less subdued than he would have expected during the trip, considering the events of the past week. Between the murder of her sister and the revelation of the dangers that her sorcerous aptitude might pose, the young woman had been holding up surprisingly well—her native recklessness and joie de vivre allowing her to quickly shake off both clouds. He did get the sense that she was covering her sense of loss over her sister’s death, but she seemed to have little concern about the tense discussion regarding her future training. Her father wasn’t comfortable with her traveling to Magnimar, even in Balehk’s care, but her resolve to remain with her tutor and lover was adamant.

By midafternoon, the pair blundered aimlessly through the streets, getting lost repeatedly, sometimes within blocks of the last time they had pestered a new stranger for directions to the school. Crossing the majority of the city took hours longer than it should have, but they finally entered the grove of trees that stands guard around the Stone of the Seers. The School itself was little more than a few pavilions scattered around an immaculately kept wellspring in the middle of the glade. A lecturer and a few students, all finely dressed to the eyes of a barbarian and a country girl, occupied one of those pavilions, and the pair politely wandered the gardens, waiting for the teacher to finish. Introductions were made, eyebrows were raised over the resume, race, and apparent relationship between Balehk and his pupil, but they were accepted into the school with little difficulty. The teacher, a Master Nivlandis by name, was kind; Balekh got the impression that he was a bit taken with having both a barbarian interested in magic as an experiment and a pretty young sorceress to have hanging around. He helped them locate a few shops where the scroll they needed to finish their business with the Lich might possibly be obtained.

One of the lesser aspirants of the school was dispatched to show the pair to the inn they had chosen, where they awaited their friends. The wilds of the city were daunting, but the pair were not without allies, and as they discussed their plans for the next few days over tart wine and a spicy stew, the excitement of their adventure began to bring the first real smiles of their trip to the surface. Tomorrow they would return to Misgivings and clean away that tainted place. After that, their true adventures in the big city could begin.

Haggor

The burly young man looked like a complete idiot in his pasteboard claws and fuzzy hat, but he tried his best to move like a cat anyway.

“Alright, now let’s say Jimmy here is a tiger…”

“Gunthor, sir,” said the tiger.

“Can’t you hear me trying to talk?” snarled the old dwarf. “Jimmy, here, is a tiger. Now the tiger will come at you low, and from the side if he can. And if he gets a hold there are any number of vicious things he can do to you with all four legs and his fangs. So you’re going to need to…”

“Ow, sir,” said the tiger, from the ground.

“Alright, I see you’ve gone past what we can do with people. Okay. Let’s get the actual tiger…”

“Can I leave first?” asked Jimmy, or Gunthor, scuttling away.

“Yes, yes. Now, you see, this is Steve, an actual tiger. He’s been fed today, so he’ll probably take it easy on you. Just tap out if you have a problem and the trainers will…”

“Mroow!” said the tiger, from the ground. The “sir” was implied.

“Alright. I see you’ve figured that out, too. Now let the poor beast up. Cats are graceful creatures. He probably didn’t know he could bend that way until today. Who trips a tiger? Adventurers, that’s who. The best fighter I’ve seen in years, and I can’t put him in a show because nobody will believe it isn’t fake. Can you believe it?”

“No, sir,” said the hippodrome functionary, obviously bringing bad news into an existing one of “Axetongue” Droaeb’s rants and not wanting to.

“Spit it out.”

“Sorry, sir. We won’t be receiving Master Tiberius’ levy of horse this week. Sorry, sir.”

“What? What’s the old skinflint’s excuse this time?”

“He’s dead, sir. Murdered.”

“Another one? Any more nobs get knocked off and we’re going to have a hard time finding anyone to buy the boxes next season. Go tell our other sponsors to stop being idiots and hire more security.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. Haggor, m’boy… how do you feel about bears?”

Taeva (by her player)

It has only been an hour since I rented this tent in the Bazaar, but I am hopeful that my business will see more luck here than it did in Sandpoint. Already I have been approached by one man inquiring as to my capabilities. While he was far too disreputable a sort for me to even consider working with him, it was still more luck than I had in the entire time I was at Sandpoint. Note to self: Follow the disreputable man, catalog misdeeds, and turn in to the local law enforcement. I’ll not have some layabout thug besmirching my name to his friends simply because I wouldn’t help him rob some old lady of her baubles.

My “interview” earlier this morning with the Mistress of Sails went well, I think. She showed some concern about a person opening a public lock-picking practice, but after we discussed my firm view on what clientele I am willing to accept, I think she was set more at ease. She has said that she may be willing to commission my services soon. I’m sure she understands that she’s not going to get any special treatment in regards as to what jobs I will and will not accept, regardless as to whether or not she has her bodyguards help me practice.

The next order of business, after we sort out this entire thing with Aldern’s apartment in the city and whoever put him up to making a nuisance of himself back in Sandpoint, is to acquire permanent lodgings. The first inn we tried here was intolerable. The second was better, but intolerably expensive. I have heard from my neighbor in the next stall that some nice apartments may be available over near the base of that ruined bridge. Hopefully they’ll have the appropriate roof access. If we are going to be here for a while, I’ll want a place to stay where I can come and go as I please…

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