An idea begins to form in his mind as he continues his crestfallen walk. This is a fishing village, he was a fisher in his youth... he can definitely haul in and carry back a net of fish faster then those restricted to a boat. Not completely giving up his hopes, he begins to look for a community or notice board of some sort to maybe fish for his trade.
As you walk through the gates, you see dozens of large round huts made of familiar burnt wood lashed together with fishing nets. Faded fabric decorated with flowers, mosaics, and intricate flourishes hang in each of the doorways. Some are so faded that you barely see a design at all.
You make your way to the center of the village. The orcs seem to go about their daily routines, barely pausing to take notice of a stranger. You hear a sudden noise from around the hut nearest you when when a herd of ecstatic children nearly collide into you. Suddenly four adults quickly grab up the smallest ones and pull the larger children back, moments before impact. The little ball they were chasing bounces off your foot. The children stare at you with wide eyes, but the adults' expressions are less than congenial.
Avi cocks his head to the side as only a bird can. He pops the ball up with a wrapped toe and bounces it to the other foot. A few bumps back and forth between feet and it suddenly pops up to land gently on his beak in a fancy little spin. Avi bumps his head up a little sending the ball gently bouncing back to the kids.
Ríonach pulls her gray cloak tighter around her frame as she passes underneath the sparse, burnt canopy. It’s not unusually cold out to her, but the silence of the woods around her is distracting and ominous. Something awful has come to pass here she thinks to herself. No one in their right mind would choose to stay any longer in this dead waste. Her feet ache from the walking, and the uncomfortable grumbling she experienced in her stomach this morning has turned into daggers in her abdomen. She quickens her pace until the inviting sight of chimney smoke is seen just up ahead.
Her footsteps slow as she approaches the guard standing before the gated ramparts. What would he assume of a girl traveling alone? She does not expect to be met with such brashness immediately.
“My name is Ríonach Faughn. I come from the northeast from a village called Blackpool.” She pauses. His tone and words were not inviting, but she is desperate. “I am very hungry, sir. I-I could help! I’ll work for the food and a night’s rest if you allow me.”
(The first roll was an 11 before I deleted the comment. I wanted to include my previous text in the post like Caleb is doing. Don't use the 20; I didn't deserve it. lol)
She smiles warmly hoping the guard will show her kindness. She wasn't being facetious when she said she would work hard; her father taught her that even the most mundane tasks were not worth doing if you did not try to do them well. She would shovel a pig sty if it meant that she could sleep in the hay afterward for the night.
The male orc doesn't respond, but the female orc glances at him before saying, "I heard Shagar, the fishwife, was looking for an extra hand, but I can't promise she would hire an outsider." She points, "Follow the main road to the center of town."
The children's faces light up in delight, wriggling out of their caregiver's arms and shouting over each other in orcish. Two of the adults give you a curt nod and return to mending their fishing nets. The other two remain with expressions part intrigue and part careful study.
As you enter the town, you hear a commotion just ahead. You come around a large hut to see a rough-looking Aarakocra with brown feathers, large black eyes, and a wickedly curved beak. He is wearing the robes of a monk and currently juggling a small leather ball for a small audience of pint-sized orcs as a handful of adult orcs look on.
His eyes sparkle in a smile, since his beak isn't capable of that kind of thing. Not a speaker of the Orc language he attempts to communicate with the children on what to do with the ball to juggle it with their feet. He points to the different parts of his lower leg and feet to help them get the angle right. He makes a bouncing motion with his legs.
An orc woman approaches from the center of town. Her hair is braided in rows and then tied together at the nape of her neck, and she wears leather armor with a long pack on her back. She leans on a curved staff and watches the little girl as a soft smile plays on her lips. After a moment, she speaks.
"Welcome to our village, strangers." She meets Rionach's eyes and then holds out a hand to Avi. "We've had no travelers for many tendays, and suddenly, we have two? Where are you headed?"
The little girl gets one little bounce with the ball, and even though it is nowhere near the complexity Avi was trying to teach, she squeals in delight, grabs up the ball and runs off to practice. The other children chase after her, shouting.
Angelus' backstory Angelus grew up in a small settlement outside "the great city of Denerim", a well guarded city famous for it's prosperity, which the government contributes to it's tight control on it's citizen's lives. Not everyone agreed to the many strict policies that the city implements, and thus a number of small settlements exist outside the walls, trading security for freedom, much to the annoyance of the Lord of Denerim. Angelus never thought much of the city or it's inhabitants, content with his life as a forager for his tribe, occasionally taking guide work for the Town's militia when they would come out into the wilderness for training exercises, tho they were loath to ask "the barbarians" for help, and spending time with a Tabaxi scout from a neighboring settlement he was sweet on named howling storm. One day the scouts went to train near where the Militia went to do the same, and they didn't return. After a day of waiting Angelus went out to track them down, only to discover them, slaughtered to a man, clearly the work of men and blades. He knelt beside Howling's storm's body for hours, and cried until his eyes ran dry. all sense leaving him, he grabbed his spear and started to march towards where he knew the Militia was encamped. Reaching the outskirts of the camp he prepared to charge the men, only to be dropped by an arrow from someone on watch. As he lay bleeding at the edge of the forest he heard a whisper "Well that didn't go the way you wanted, did it. what if you could give it another shot, get it right this time, what would that be worth to you?" into the nothingness he answered "everything". In that moment he felt more alive than he ever had. He was on his feet before the men came to check on him, and they were dead before they could warn anyone. He attempted to go straight for the captain's tent, but was cut off by the other men, and the captain fled in the ensuing chaos. After finishing the rest of the recruits he went to give chase when he heard that voice again. "He's long gone by now friend, back behind the safety of the walls, far from your reach, for now. you can't go home now, not after this. Let us go, you have much to learn". Angelus went back and buried Howling Storm, sent a message to his settlement, and has been wandering since.
Angelus is a thin half-wood elf with coppery skin, ocean blue hair that he keeps tied back, a slightly uneven beard and violet eyes
Ríonach is so entranced with the Aarakocra's juggling act, she does not recognize the orc woman had approached at first. She brushes aside her shyness. "I don't have a true destination. Just looking for work right now," she replies. She readjusts her small pack on her shoulders; she can't help but notice how empty and light it feels after several days of surviving on food she foraged or hunted game. "I was told to talk to Shagar. Is this the road to the center of town?"
She glances over to the Aarakocra.How strange that a town who sees no outsiders happens to receive two in one day -- I wonder where he is headed. Someone with such talent should have no problem finding work.
She shakes Avi's hand and then gestures for Ríonach to join them. "I am Shagar. Please, let's talk in my house. You both look road-weary." She turns and walks to a hut with red fabric in the doorway. You get a better look at the pack she carries and see, bundled in quilts and furs, is a tiny, wide-eyed baby orc. It blinks at you and lets out a burbling laugh. Shagar pulls aside the curtains, allows you to enter first, and then follows you inside.
Her hut is modestly sized with several oil lamps illuminating the interior. In the center is a knee-height round wooden table circled by low couches covered in furs. Some wooden blocks and an orc doll lay scattered on a quilt near one of the couches. Shagar swings the pack around in front of her onto a couch and carefully extricates the small child. After some deft adjustments, she settles down on the couch to nurse her baby under a cover and turns her attention back to her guests. "Please, sit. Tell me about yourselves."
Avi shakes her hand awkwardly, this not being a common thing back home but he had heard of it being a polite gesture. He follows her back, his head tilting slightly as the bundle on her back moves. At the sound of the laugh Avi makes a soft warbling sound back for a couple seconds before realizing he might be being watched and judged by those around him... at which time his training kicks in and he snaps back to attention. He enters as Shagar motions for him to when the curtain is pulled aside. Avi looks around the hut as Shagar adjusts herself and the child, trying to look more calm and collected then he actually was. He nods at the question. "I am Avi, a monk of Chun, starting on my Sojourn." He points in a random direction assuming that is northwest. "I have journeyed from the Hawkspan mountains in hopes of gaining and spreading wisdom... and perhaps a little adventure worth writing stories about." He looks over at Rionach, also wondering what the chances were that two travelers would arrive in the same town and end up in this room together... at the same time.
She stumbles behind the two, mesmerized by the sight of the infant. She had not seen a baby this close since she was a small child herself. During her journey, she witnessed them playing from afar but was never bold enough to approach and talk to any. Her mother had raised her to believe that children, especially babies, are demons and cannot be trusted. She didn't want to scare Shagar by telling her this, so she keeps her a few arms-length away as they walk. The woman's hut is cozy and smells earthy inside -- it reminds her fiercely of the elderly families she looked after back home. Now stop, she chastises herself as she sits in the offered seat, you can't get homesick now. Remember, you wanted this.
Avi, the monk that sits next to her, is the picture of composure. She attempts to mimic his state and sits up taller. "My name is Ríonach Faughn. I come from the village of Blackpool. I am in search of the remedy to a curse, and to help out as a much as I can on the way. Right now, I'm just looking for work to put food in my belly and a roof over my head."
"maybe I can get a cloak there" Angelus said to the barren tree he leaned against, daydreaming of all the fancy garments Storm used to make for him come winter time. As much as he usually enjoyed the wilderness, he had to admit that seeing the forest this way did little to relax him, and he was tired of munching on squirrel. well, I'll never know unless I ask Angelus stood up straight, brushed the bark off of his clothes, removed the largest branches from his windblown hair, then made his way towards the front gate, waving to the guards as they called out to him
"My name is Angelus and was merely passing thru the area. I wish no trouble, only to do some trade for warmer clothing, and perhaps a taste of that amazing smelling fish" he finished with a smile before stowing his spear back on his back
The male guard nods and moves to allow you to continue. The female guard leans in as you pass and softly confides, "That's my auntie's fish you smell! Shagar, the fishwife. You'll find her hut in the center of town- just follow your nose." She grins back at you and points the way.
You travel through the middle of town and see a few little orc children trying to bounce a small leather ball behind one of the huts. Most villagers barely acknowledge you or ignore you completely. You pass a hut with red fabric and find several miniature teepees situated in a semicircle around it. Smoke billows out of them, and they smell strongly of smoked fish. You can hear conversational voices from inside the hut.
To Avi and Rionach:
"A sojourn and a curse!" Shagar looks between the both of you with a look of bewilderment. She mutters, "And I thought we had problems! Some missing sacks pale in comparison to your missions."
She notices Rionach staring at her baby's kicking feet poking out under the shawl. Insight13
A curse? That had Avi's attention so much that he almost completely turned to Rionach to ask her for more detail. He caught himself, yet again, at the last moment and kept his attention on their host. However, ending a curse, one that required a journey none the less... that sounds like something worth doing. Avi decided then and there that he would aid in the investigation of this curse. Until then... Avi nods to Shagar. "You require aid in finding some missing sacks?" He assumes they are lost since theft is not common in the monastery.
Angelus takes a minute to admire the smell of the fish, lost in thought of warmer days by the river, before turning his attention to the bigger hut, hoping this Shagar was in there, and also thought that squirrels and fish were appropriately trade-able. how do you you knock when there's no door this question had plagued Angelus most of his life. His father taught him to be respectful of people's privacy, tho the man never had an answer for what to do in this situation. he hesitated for a moment before raising his voice to what he was sure was a hearable, but definitely not rude level "Hello, Ms. Shagar? I'd like to trade for some fish if you're willing"
She feels Shagar's eyes on her and whips her head up from where she had been laser-focused on the small, little toes of Shagar's child. Shoot! I'm making it weird anyway. Quick! What did she say?! Remember!
"M-missing sacks? I would like to help find these for you in exchange for a meal...and maybe some meager coin? If you have it, of course!" she adds quickly, not wanting to seem selfish.
She turns to Avi next. "Perhaps you would like to accompany me? I have to admit I'm new to adventuring, and I'm not very good." She tries and fails to hide the embarrassed blush that creeps across her face. This is the truth--her parents kept her sheltered within the village. In fact, today is the first time she's set foot outside of it. She's been fairly proud of how brave she's been so far.