The small city of Thadys, settled at the northeast border of the Karrnwood, near the Iceflow river in Karrnath, is bursting in activity after the caravan from Atur, far in the west, had arrived yesterday.
Despite being still summer, the weather is rather cold than warm and some grey clouds that lingers in the sky menance rain. But after the long wait for the caravan with supplies that will help the city to endure the approaching, and short, autumm, it seems that everyone in the city wants to take a look at the goods the bold merchants that had braved the long and dangerous road to their far place in the world.
Last years, with the War still raging on had been hard on the city, that had seen their once prosperous city start to decay season after season. Now with the Mark Wark ended and the Quori threat seemingly put to rest, the twonsfolk, as the rest of the proud Kingdom of Karrnath, looks with some measure of hope to the future. And the arrival of the caravan to the city has only made this feeling grow.
Therefore the innkeeper and staff of the "Muddy Pig", the inn where some of the guards of the caravan, a rather big one consisting in more than twenty wagons, had decided to rest, are more than happy to host them, treating them almost as heroes.
Despite its name, the inn is actually a cozy and clean stablishment regetned by a man that his actual resemblance to a smiling pig surely inspired the name of the inn in wich sign is a happy pig taking a mud bath in a wooden tub.
With most of the people at the market, not far from where the inn is located, the common room is almost empty, save for the three or four staff members that are attending the tables, cleaning and getting ready for the meal hour that is not far away.
(Where do you want to be and what do you want to be doing in this fine morning? )
The raven-haired Kalashtar looks up from the book of Elvish lore that has preoccupied him for the better part of an hour. Half-surprised at how quickly the common room of the Muddy Pig has emptied, he takes hold of his cup and gulps down the last of his tea. He has relished the past few days of serenity that the city of Thadys has provided after his long journey from Sarlona, but he wouldn't mind a mild distraction this morning.
After gently closing the book he's been reading, Moravasti looks across the table at Jorunn and says, "I'm overdue for a stretch of the legs, Tallstrider." He stands, taking his quarterstaff in hand, and draws his cloak about himself. "Shall we see this caravan and learn why it causes such excitement?"
Stepping away from the caravan is a copper-skinned elf wearing remotely foreign clothing. A plain cloth robe adorns over his studded leather as he follows Anatol. He stands a few inches over five feet and upon his back is an exotic weapon, a dual-bladed weapon that is native to the Valenar which sheens with a polished edge, a Double-Bladed Scimitar. Beside it is a longbow and quiver which seem at home with the elf.
"A chance of warm food seems welcoming." Vallineral replies to Anatol, grabbing his pack and making his way to The Muddy Pig.
Jorunn "Tallstrider" Hartwick looks up from the rhythmic sliding of a whetstone across the blade of her axe to meet her companion's gaze with a thoughtful look of her own. After a few moments she nods and begins stowing away her gear.
"Aye that sounds like a good idea," she says slowly, her unfamiliarity with a language that isn't her mother tongue hardly showing at all after all of the time she's spent practicing. "And while we're checking it out, we can also inquire about a job for when they depart again. Coin's starting to get a bit low."
Once all of her gear is packed away again, she stands to her feet, revealing exactly why the moniker of "Tallstrider" had stuck with her ever since leaving her homeland. She stands well over six feet in height with a strong, athletic build, and her long but skillfully braided blond hair combines with the intricate blue tattoos on her face and right arm to reveal her own foreign heritage.
Securing her axe to the u-shaped hook on her back, she hefts her large round shield with the grin of someone excited to get out and about for the day.
Moravasti slowly nods in agreement with Jorunn's assessment of their current financial means. Covering the cost of the voyage from Sarlona to Khorvaire has left the monk with only a few coins to spare. One of Master Zan's many platitudes echoes through Moravasti's mind as he reflects on his uncomfortably light coin pouch. Too little gold is a greater treasure than too much gold. The monk wonders if the day will come in which he can fully embrace that truth.
With his long black hair, olive-colored skin, and shorter stature, Moravasti strikes quite a contrast with his current traveling companion, a contrast further underscored by the fact that he is seemingly unarmed and wholly without armor. Needing nothing more than to be wrapped in his thick, faded brown cloak and to wield his intricately carved oaken staff, Moravasti is equipped to navigate the hostile world around him.
"A job? Yes, I suppose so," he responds to Jorunn as the two begin to make their way toward the market.
The former caravan guards walk among the people that crowd the marketplace as the caravan members sell their goods. They greet the caravan master who assures them that if they want, they could join them in their return journey five or six days later, perhaps a whole week.
The mood os more than a festivity than a market, and they mingle among farmers that are looking for new tools, wealthy traders that are checking the quality of a bundle of silk. The music of some mandolin played by a bard fills the air, a vibrant and happy rithym with a somehow sticky melody as some of the twonsfolk clap to keep the beat.
There's a jugglar making tricks with five knives nearby and in an adjacent alley they can see a prostitute leading a couple to a nearby house while they jiggle.
The smell of the food, some fried pork it seems, reach them as they progress throught the market place and they can see a pair of guards of the city, with their broadswords and chainmails, buying some food to the halfling that is preparing it.
It seems that the fact that they had recieved supplies for the winter had made the usual stoic people of the north to relax a little bit.
Moravasti sees a little urchin too close to a merchant of fruits stock. It's a little girl with little more than rags and dirty hair and face. She hasn't took anything yet, or doesn't seems so, but she has caught the monks eye.
Vallineral notices that it seems that there is a gnome that seems to be following them, or at least he follows the same path and at the same pace as them, keeping more or less the same distance. He has no weapons on sight or seems to look at them at any moment. He has a curious hat, though, a black hat with a vibrant red feather on it, from some exotiacl bird, that was the first thing that caught his eye in the first place. But after seeing him always behind them made something flicker in the warrior senses.
Jorunn sees that, about 50 or 60 feet ahead, there is a little group of bystanders looking and listenting to an old man that is on top pf a crate, talking to them. With all the sounds and conversations is hard to hear him from this distance, but litlle by little, it seems to be atracting more people around.
Moravasti watches the filthy child closely, trying to discern her intent. What do want, little one? Tell me, and I will pay for it.
Moravasti seldom uses his telepathic abilities with strangers, but he desired to intervene before the child succumbed to her temptation and risked being caught and beaten by the merchant. The monk keeps his eyes upon the child, knowing that she'll soon be looking for the one who just communicated with her. When her eyes meet his, he will smile and nod.
Staying close to Moravasti, Jorunn keeps her eyes on the gathering crowd. She's passingly interested in whatever could be attracting so many people, but not to the point that she's going to wander away from her companion.
Anatol smiled at the elf. Life makes for strange bedfellows he mused.
He still found it strange how much he felt confortable with Vallineral presence. They didn't know each others past and he didn't have to pretend around him. Of course he still kept his Mark hidden but it was more a reflex now than anything else.
"Let's go check what's on the menu." he said entering the common room and aiming for a place near the hearth.
"Do you want to sign on for the way back ? Or do you have anything else in mind now that we are here? I can help."
"Perhaps this gnome following us has something to say before we make our final decision." Vallineral comments in a moderately quiet tone. "No need to look; black hat, red feather. Just keep an eye out." He then returns to a more open tone."For now, yes some warm food after a long successful journey sounds perfect."
The little girl gasps when she hears a voice in her head and an apple drops from her hand to the ground and it rolls a few inches away from her. She looks around trying to find who or what is able to speak to her directly into her mind. She is clearly scared. When their eyes finally met, she opens hers wide and mumbles.
“ No.. nothing... I.. wasn’t... no... please..” the last word is both a request and a question. She looks really scared, the apple already forgotten in the mud.
Anatol was looking for a table, banquet or stool to sit near one of the food vendors and he takes this movement of his head to check on the gnome that Vallineral had described, and it’s easy to spot, particularly because he is looking directly at them and when notices Anatol glance he just smile and waves a hand, saying hello.
The elf isn’t sure what amazed him the most, the lack of discretion of Anatol or the nerve of the gnome. He doesn’t look threating though.
The gnome acknowledges Vallineral’s greeting and approaches them smiling. When he reaches them he makes a bow,using his hat and says
”Greetings and well met, Thriskethin Trappleroot is the name. At your service. I was wondering... wouldn’t you be part of the guards that had accompanied the caravan to our remote little part of the world...would you? “
"I think is would be obvious, seeing how much we stand out in this place." Vallineral replies, giving Thriskethin a look up and down. "And what would Thriskethin Trappleroot want with people hired to guard supplies?"