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 the shade in ingsmud
abbey
 Posted: Oct 1 2015, 05:33 AM
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QUOTE (Derthag)
3,2,2,3,1,2,3,5,2,2,3.

"Lady luck ain't on my side," he says glumly. "Or she must really want to hear me sing."

Three of the beetles don't fare much better, with one being no beetle at all, one having only a body, and one having a body with a tail.

Bergrid, though, picks up his dice and rolls them with fortunate purpose. His second roll is the body of the beetle, and he quickly adds the head, tail, two eyes, and an antenna. The last antenna and the legs are wholly absent.

"Parchment, Rolf," he says, and the young man produces a few scraps of hessian and charcoal from his pockets. He passes one set to Derthag.

Bergrid begins to draw his beetle.


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abbey
 Posted: Oct 1 2015, 05:41 AM
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QUOTE (Medrash)
"How long have they been disappearing for?" Medrash's eyes stray to the woman by the fire. He feels sorry for her. "Not one of 'em came back?"

"Few weeks now, and not a one." The innkeeper shakes his head. "Some o' the folk were fearful and chased our skeelie away. Said she was a witch. When she was here, we fared better. Couple men lost at sea, boats flipped, nets torn, but it was usual. Nothin' like the goings-on o' late."
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XANDER
 Posted: Oct 1 2015, 08:46 PM
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A few weeks. Medrash sips his ale. Some of them might still be alive, then, wherever they are now. Starvation takes a while to wear down a man.

He turns a copper over in his leathery fingers, thoughtful. Then he tells the bartender, "Send an ale to the lady," and points with one claw at Maerwen. "With my condolences."

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abbey
 Posted: Oct 3 2015, 06:54 PM
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QUOTE (Medrash)
He turns a copper over in his leathery fingers, thoughtful. Then he tells the bartender, "Send an ale to the lady," and points with one claw at Maerwen. "With my condolences."

The innkeeper raises his eyebrows, perhaps surprised by an act of generosity in this most grudging of places. He nods, pours a particularly frothy ale with great care, and then he heads into the back to fetch a grey-eyed serving girl.

She is slow-moving, roused from sleep. But she delivers the drink to Maerwen, in time. When Maerwen doesn't stir, the girl shakes her gently by the shoulder until she lifts her blonde head. The girl points to Medrash, the six-foot black lizard seated at the bar.

Maerwen stares for a good while. Then she takes the drink and raises it.
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XANDER
 Posted: Oct 3 2015, 10:56 PM
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Generosity is a tactic. Medrash knows a thing or two about tactics.

Though his expressions are hard to read, it does not seem that the Dragonborn takes offense at the staring. He simply waits for Maerwen to raise her glass, and then, in turn, he raises his.

Then he waits again.

More minutes pass before Medrash takes his own mug of ale and heads to Maerwen's table. He stands next to her, not yet inviting himself to sit.

"May I?"
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Lar
 Posted: Oct 3 2015, 11:01 PM
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2,6,3,6,5,6,6,4,4,6,2

At last his beetle gains a body. Derthag scribbles a lopsided oval onto his piece of parchment, and then a twiggish leg, a bulbous head, a snaking tail, and a bulging eye.

It in no way resembles a beetle.

"Here, eh?" Derthag says, showing his sketch around. He is proud like a young boy, shameless. "Soon I'll have you beat!"
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abbey
 Posted: Oct 4 2015, 10:11 PM
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QUOTE (Medrash)
More minutes pass before Medrash takes his own mug of ale and heads to Maerwen's table. He stands next to her, not yet inviting himself to sit.

"May I?"

The innkeeper isn't wrong. After raising her mug, Maerwen tips it to her lips and doesn't put it down for a long few seconds. For a woman of her size, it's impressive.

The drink has given her a constant ruddiness in her cheeks and rheum in her eyes, but it's clear she was and still is a beauty in a town of ordinaries, with a classical maiden's face and wheaten yellow hair. Then again, dragonborn must judge beauty very differently. She is without scales.

"Go on, I'm not the boss of ye."
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abbey
 Posted: Oct 4 2015, 10:20 PM
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QUOTE (Derthag)
"Here, eh?" Derthag says, showing his sketch around. He is proud like a young boy, shameless. "Soon I'll have you beat!"

"I've got nothing," Rolf groans, covering his face with his hands. He peeks through his fingers at Derthag's boast and manages a polite half-smile. It's akin to a child's drawing, in skill and how proud Derthag is of it. He isn't sure quite what to think.

Bergrid's luck continues. He rolls the first leg, a bevy of heads and tails with nowhere to go, and the last three legs within moments of each other. Triumph breaks out across his dulled face. The charcoal moves blindingly in his hand. When he finishes drawing out his victory, he passes it across the centre of the table for his friends and Derthag to see. "Beetle," he says.

The other men aren't smiling. One of them frowns, canting his head. Sore losers.

Then Bergrid looks at his scrap of hessian.

His beetle has a carapace, with the first two of its legs huge and overarching, curled over its head and ribbed like pincers. The remaining legs are small, scuttling, vestigial. The eyes bulge on stalks, the head is swollen into the segmented body, and its tail is an elegant, hard fan, much like a lobster's tail.

Bergrid pales. "That ain't..." His chair scrapes back as he stands up from it. "Ain't what I drew."
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XANDER
 Posted: Oct 4 2015, 10:35 PM
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Maerwen is without scales, and even if she had them, that would not make her a Dragonborn. Medrash comprehends that she is pretty enough (for a human), and that it is unusual that a simple fisherman husband would be quick to leave her.

"S'polite," he says in a breath, before pulling up a chair to the table. "Name's Medrash. I heard there's trouble in Ingsmud."
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abbey
 Posted: Oct 4 2015, 10:40 PM
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QUOTE (Medrash)
"S'polite," he says in a breath, before pulling up a chair to the table. "Name's Medrash. I heard there's trouble in Ingsmud."

If politeness is another tactic, it is lost on Maerwen.

"Maerwen." She props her cheek on one set of knuckles, kneading the flesh around them and giving her a sleepy eye. "Did you now?" Her eyes sweep over Medrash, taking in the utter strangeness of him again, then his chainmail and strapped, padded weapons in stow. "Adventurer, are ye? Y'hear there's money to be had here too, then?"
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XANDER
 Posted: Oct 4 2015, 10:48 PM
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"Yes," he answers, without hesitation or aggression. There is no need to pretend that he wanders the earth and risks his hide for the sheer satisfaction of a challenge conquered. "And perhaps some lives to be saved in the bargain."

"The bartender tells me your husband went missing." Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Bergrid stand and pale at the group of gamblers. Medrash assumes that someone cheated. "How did that happen?"
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abbey
 Posted: Oct 4 2015, 10:59 PM
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QUOTE (Medrash)
"The bartender tells me your husband went missing." Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Bergrid stand and pale at the group of gamblers. Medrash assumes that someone cheated. "How did that happen?"

"Perhaps," Maerwen echoes. Bitterness is etched throughout her voice, like ore in the mountainside. "Wilhelm's got a big mouth." She turns her ire towards the bar, and the big man behind it is caught in its beam. He smiles, or cringes—it's hard to say.

At the mention of her husband, Maerwen's eyes turn back to Medrash. They're a foggy green. "Who are you to ask about my husband?"


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XANDER
 Posted: Oct 4 2015, 11:18 PM
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18 + 1 {Charisma} | Skill: Persuasion


"Nothing changes if nothing is said." Humans can be very clannish about their problems, more than Medrash believes is suitable for their race. They are not the strongest, nor the fastest, nor the most clever. Humans ought to be humbler about asking for help.

"M'someone who would go and find him, if you'd tell me where to look." He takes a sip of his ale, though it is nearly gone now. "Can't find anything if I don't know where to look." There is a gravelly, raspy edge to the Dragonborn's voice, but his tone is steady. The look of him says, If you were ever going to pay someone to find something, I'm your best bet.
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abbey
 Posted: Oct 4 2015, 11:30 PM
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QUOTE (Medrash)
"M'someone who would go and find him, if you'd tell me where to look." He takes a sip of his ale, though it is nearly gone now. "Can't find anything if I don't know where to look." There is a gravelly, raspy edge to the Dragonborn's voice, but his tone is steady. The look of him says, If you were ever going to pay someone to find something, I'm your best bet.

Maerwen looks at him. This time it's a different look. Some of the feeling melts from her, and the bright moon of rationality shines through the clouds of muddied thought and swirling drink, before it's replaced by a different feeling. She looks a bit... hopeful. "You'd do that?" She looks down at her hands, where the plain ring is still on her finger. "Never thought much of your kind. Adventurers, that is. Y'seem like crows, going wherever there's carrion and misery." Her bottom lip trembles.

"He said he was going to find the others. That was two weeks ago. I begged him not to go. Begged him. All these bastards will tell you he up and left, but I know it isn't true. He was— is— a good man."

Sniffing, Maerwen drags her sleeve across her face. "He said he'd look along the coastline first, then the swamp if he couldn't find them. But he never came back."
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XANDER
 Posted: Oct 4 2015, 11:40 PM
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"Happy people don't have problems that need fixing." Of course adventurers go where there's sadness: the darkest places are the ones most in need of light. There are very few who walk the earth doing good for nothing gained; Medrash finds it perfectly reasonable to offer good at a reasonable price. After all, isn't everyone the better for it?

Coastline. Swamp. Medrash does not like the idea of going back out into the rain, but he does not know when it will stop. Waiting is time wasted. "Who was the first man to disappear?" The coastline is the beginning of 'where'. Medrash wants the beginning of 'who'.
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