[Blaine of Kander]
The front door to the common room opened, as it always did on most days, heralding the entrance of another patron into the Dragon's Inn. For a brief moment, all the figure did was simply stand there in the doorway, briefly overwhelmed. He wasn't exactly used to being in an Inn, having lived a somewhat sheltered life in a small village.
Regathering his thoughts, the young man stepped out of the doorway, thinking back to how he ended up in a town like Montfort in the first place. He remembered pulling out the sword, the one which now hung in the sheath attached to his belt, by the lake, watching the water drain to reveal a suit of metal armor, the armor he was wearing right now and then the attack on his village late that night.
His father said that his discovery of the sword and armor was an omen, telling him that he was destined to become a great adventurer and to do good. And most adventures, as it was pointed out to him, often started in the nearby town of Montfort, or to be more precise, in the Dragon's Inn.
He had no idea that that would be the last time his father ever spoke to him...for that night his village had been attacked, and set ablaze; by whom he did not know. He had fallen asleep, and when he awoke he was lying just outside his former home, weapon and armor next to him, as well as his father's shield and a pack; watching the many huts and buildings turn to ash.
Kander, as was the town's name, was destroyed, leaving him with no real options but to seek out Montfort, as well as his first adventure. Though unsure as to why he came to that conclusion, the young man did as his "gut feeling" told him to.
With no clear knowledge of combat or traveling or most of the ways of the world whatsoever, he now stood in the middle of the Dragon's Inn, pondering what to do. Should he speak to the Innkeeper, asking for someone who might need assistance? Simply ask around in the room? Or wait to be spoken to?
Having caught a glimpse of himself earlier, at first glance you would never know that this young man, barely an adult, and was not the experienced swordsman he seemed to be.
He WAS tired though, and a bit parched, as well...traveling under the afternoon sun did wonders for thirst. Perhaps for now he would kick back with a mug of ale, and see what happens, while thinking about what to do next.
His mind made up, he made his way to a table, arranged himself in a seat, and didn't hesitate to flag down Sera for a mug of brew.
Nervously he glanced about, hoping to catch the eye of a person or two.
Having nearly finished his fourth drink, the young man sitting near the center of the room decided that perhaps it was time to stop sitting there and start doing something. If no one else approached him soon, he figured he might have to query the bartender for information on anyone recruiting for a small group. Sure, he wasn't the swordsman he looked to be, but he could always tell a small fib, couldn't he?
He sighed, gulping down the last of his ale, and once again scanned the room nervously. Didn't... anyone... notice him at all? Even though he didn't stand out from the crowd at present, the light certainly brought out his gleaming armor...
A pale figure strides into the inn, and looks around disdainfully. She is a tall, ethereal beauty, almost angelic in appearance, with whitegold hair so pale, that it almost seems that it is white. Her skin islike alabaster, and her features are carved from it. Her eyes are a softlilac. They have a hypnotic quality to them, an inherited trait from herGoddess mother. She wears finely woven pantaloons that seem white, butshimmer with gold, with a matching top, although the bodice is of whitevelvet, embroidered with gold and very low cut to display her amplebosom. If any man was to stare into those, he would soon find himselfwalking off with an aching jaw.
She looks to be in her 20's. At her jewelled belt rests what appears to be an exquisitely crafted perfume bottle, a silver dagger and a crystal scimitar; a gift from her father. She loved this gift most of all, and has practised swordsmanship from an early age. Amarantha inherited some of her mother's power, although she never really paid much attention to her mother's lessons in magic, so she isn't all that good at controlling it, but she's learning. She knows that she can make herself glow so brightly that no one can look at her.
She's found that it's useful if she wants to get away from something. She was sent out into the world by her mother, who was fed up with her temper tantrums and indolence. So she was given a bottle and told that she was to be a djinniyeh. Amarantha had a great deal of angry words to say to her mother concerning that one. So she found herself wondering within the mortal realms, and came to this Inn. She has decided not to let anyone know what she is, the last thing she wants is to be bossed around by some doltish brute. So she makes her way to a table near the warm, welcoming fire.
The table seems clean enough. She sits down and looks around, glaring at the surroundings, which seem dingy compared to the palace that she grew up in.
The door of the Dragon's Inn opened as though on it's own. For a brief moment the doorway stands empty. Then she is there, appearing seemingly out of the air. Her hair flowed long and freely to the floor, moving gently, constantly, as though the gentle breeze lived there. It glowed white, like the purest of oriental silk. Her skin was the color of a moonbeam, almost translucent, and her lips were a soft, pale pink. But it was her eyes that were so transfixing; they were a deep hue of sapphire blue. Huge, fathomless elvin eyes,fringed by incredibly long white lashes; offset by the flowing medieval gown of matching hues of sapphire.
It was impossible to determine her species as she was too tall and ethereal to be human yet not really resembling any other known non-human creatures. She stood for a time in the doorway, motionless, save for the movement of the wind that seemed a part of her. How could one not become aware of her presence? Finally she turned here head gracefully to look at each person who currently inhabited the Dragon's Inn, searching each face as though she could read the story that hid within. Her eyes at last fell on the friendly form of the Innkeeper and remained there for a long time before she moved slowly into the room.
As she passed by those along her path to Hugh she gave the impression of having achieved perfect tranquillity and great inner strength.Perhaps she was a creature possessing great magic?Stopping only a few steps away from Hugh she finally spoke. Her voice was like crystal music, flowing from within her.It was soft and small yet commanding attention: A gentle breeze that hinted at great hidden strength. She appeared at first sight to be no threat to any one yet one could not help but sense that, if need be, she could become a dangerous enemy.
"Good mortal being, might I have a few moments of your time and share in your knowledge?"
"Good mortal, I have heard of your knowledge of this world around you. I understand that you hear many things and are a mortal of honesty and integrity."
"Good mortal, I seek a child. She is small and like me: The child of my mother. Have you seen or heard tell of such a child? It is of grave importance that I find her before she reaches her time of change. She could become a danger to this world if she is not guided through it properly."
Hugh asks, "How is it that she comes to be lost to you?"
"She has been stolen from her mother's arms while sleeping in her cradle. I have followed her moonbeam to this world but her light is fading and I have lost sight of her."
"I have little knowledge of the intricacies of your world and would be grateful of any honest assistance or courtesies afforded to me."
"Good mortal, I have none of your monetary exchange to compensate you for a room and meals while I await the kind assistance of strangers. Will this suffice in lue of your standard charge?"
She places a graceful hand into the wing-like sleeve of her dress and draws out from it a rather large, brilliant sapphire gemstone and offers it to Hugh.
He looked at it with an astounded expression on his face. Never before had he seen such a stone!It was larger than his hand and of perfect form, flawless, and of the deepest hues of blue.
Then, with a strange grin on his face and wonder in his voice, "Yes! It will more than compensate! Please, sit and be comfortable, all your expenses have been paid."
With that he guided her to a good table and left her to attend to his other duties and to inform a few people of her needs. She sat and waited. She was somewhat disappointed that the Innkeeper had had no information for her but glad that he would make some inquiries and tell some trusted people of her plight.Perhaps he would find for her a guide through this strange world and others to help in her quest.
The door to the inn flew open and a young man tripped and fell into the entrance. With unbelievable luck, his head missed a hardwood railing by mere inches, and he fell flat on his face.Patrons of the inn glanced at him quickly when they heard the commotion, but soon lost interest when they saw him. Dusty and travel-worn, he picked himself up in a manner that suggested he was used to tripping. He walked farther into the inn, limping slightly, and sat down at an empty table that happened to be near two lovely, richly dressed ladies.
He leaned an old quarter-staff against the table and got a barmaid's attention.
"Hi! I'm Beldon.May I please have an ale, ma'am?" he asked with a smile.
His attention was immediately grabbed by the two ladies, whose jeweled beauty commanded attention. Beldon stared boyishly, not really thinking of the consequences. He appeared to be totally tactless, but very innocent,and clumsily charming. He was too embarassed of his pauper-like appearance to introduce himself, but his gaze hung upon every movement they each made.
He dared to hope for some sort of acknowledgement, and patiently waited for his ale.
Amarantha was distinctly aware that someone was watching her, so she turned to see who it was. Just that clumsy oaf that quite literally had a trip into the Inn just before. What's he doing staring at her like that, didn't anyone ever bother to teach him that it was really rude to stare?
Still it didn't surprise her that a mortal would do something like that. Wasn't part of the reason why she was sent down here due to the fact that a group of gods had been fighting over her, (of course, it went without saying by her standards that she should encourage it, men's stupidity can be so amusing sometimes.)
Still, she was currently feeling a bit bored. The mead was watery and she was still waiting on those baked potatoes she ordered a few minutes ago.
"Has anyone ever told you how rude it was to stare, boy?" she glared at him, and touched the pommel of her scimitar in what she hoped was an intimidating manner.
It wasn't her intention to provoke a fight. Not with all those wards that she sensed when she had first come near the inn. Thanks to her mother, breaking such wardings wouldn't be too much trouble. But it didn't interest her that much. If truth be told, if anyone tried breaking the wards, she'd add her bit as well to stop them.
She just wanted to spook the clumsy little peasant boy a little. See what he'd do. It'd be good for a laugh.
The sheepish smile on Beldon's face fell to a look of serious concern, and he stammered nervously.
"I... I... I'm sorry, M'lady! It just isn't every day that you see strangers such as yourself and that other lady over there in a place like this."
His eyes were wide as a doe's. He seemed worried that she was angry with him, but not that she would start a fight with him. The barmaid brought an ale to him, and he paid it no attention. Beldon kept looking at the strange woman apprehensively.
"M..My name is Beldon, ma'am. Sorry I bothered you. Can I help you with anything? Can I buy you a drink?"
He spoke with genuine sincerity, and the look on his face suggested apologetic curiousity. Suddenly, intent that he was still staring at the lady he averted his eyes and, almost comically, flicked them up to look at her quite frequently. He was drawn to her like a moth to a fire, and somehow the comparison seemed uncannily accurate.
She watches Beldon as he moves to sit with the other woman. She notes that he indicated her while speaking to the goddess and was interested in how she had become part of their conversation. She easily catches them both by the eye and gracefully motions for them to join her at her table.
It seemed she may have a small party in a very short time.
It was all Amarantha could do to not crack up. That little farm boy seemed to be caught between staring and trying not to stare.
"And why wouldn't we be in a place like this? Should we be sleeping in the gutter or something? No don't bother ordering a drink for me, I ordered a glass of wine a while ago now."
The barmaid, once again flits past to serve another of the inns patrons, catches her attention and glowers at her "Speaking of which, Sera, where is my wine and potatoes. I've been waiting for ages."
Sera muttered a few words of apology and raced to get the food and drink. The pale haired lady who had entered earlier, caught her eye, and seemed to want something.
"What do you think little miss moonshine over there wants." she paused "aw screw it, who cares what you think, I'm going over there and finding out anyway."
Curiosity having gotten the better of her (which is nothing entirely new to her anyway), she gets up and drags her chair over to where the lady in the blue dress sits.
"So whats up?"
Sitting perfectly straight and still, save for the incessant movement of her hair, she watches the goddess's approach. She looks directly into Amarantha's eyes, seeing far more than what was shown on the surface. Her eyes flit briefly away to acknowledge the approach of the young man who had been with her then moved back to Amarantha.
She was still a moment longer after they had seated themselves before she spoke to either; keeping her eyes on the goddess because she sensed that she could easily be trouble.
"I was simply curious. I noticed that I appeared to be the subject of your conversation and wondered how this came to be. I am curious to know what strangers would have to say about me."
She listened to hear Amarantha's response and then turned to the young man.
"You look to be a young man of good nature and integrity, one who may hear of rumors and stories of this world. Would you allow me to buy you a meal and talk with you?"
As she sits down, the other lady peers deeply into her eyes. Not seeing any point to using those eyes to mesmerize or co-erce the woman, Amarantha allowed the eyes to "see" this woman's impressions of her.
Ah, so this woman has similar talents. Still, its not an altogether rare skill in the heavens. Amarantha had her mothers (the goddess of magic) eyes. The power of her mother's eyes are so notorious that mortals have been known to use her eyes as a symbol of power. It seems that the woman mistrusts her. Well so be it, although she has no interest in causing any amount of trouble that would equal the magnitude that she caused in the heavens. Besides, its easy to cause trouble with the gods -- they are so damn volatile. Compared to the gods, mortals are very even tempered, if a little shortlived.
"Farm boy here was just wondering what the two of us were doing in this inn." she explained.
At last, the barmaid arrives with her wine, and freshly heated up spuds. Well, nothing tastes better when its reheated, but Amarantha didn't care. She was famished and eager to try her first meal on the mortal realm.
The immortal Lady raises a slender, white eyebrow towards the goddess and in a polite but dismissing tone, she says,
"Immortal One, you should speak more kindly of these mortals for they know more about living than any immortal. Indeed they must for they must face Death sooner than immortals; this gives them more life in living than one such as you, who is guaranteed longevity. This young mortal undoubtedly values life far more they you or even I, for his life can more easily be taken from him than yours from you. While you mock his peasantry, bear in mind, Amaranth, that Death can find even a god Because Death can find any who has a name. Gods are just harder to catch, that's all.
"Oh don't get me wrong, I respect peasants more than the supposedly "noble" mortals. Unlike nobility or the gods, peasants aren't given to inbreeding. Death is actually my aunt, so while I was up in the heavens, I saw her frequently, so she always knows where I am, and she knows what I am like. I know I can get a bit temperamental, I get it from my father, who is the god of War. Its funny, mortals are always trying to make the gods seem to be perfect, but we are more flawed than mortals, so strange as it may seem, I actually respect mortals more than I do immortals, who are more inclined to foolish and irresponsible behaviour." Amarantha replies, between mouthfuls of food.
"Then perhaps you might speak to and of them with greater respect".With that the glowing woman turned to young Beldon and invited him stay to a meal and to talk with her.
He moves with the purpose and direction of someone utterly convinced of his abilities. Wearing the black uniform of the Southern Queen's Army, the slender man gingerly steps down from his white mare. Thin saber clattering against his leg, the dark haired cavalry officer pushes the door open to the Inn. Taking a quick survey with his pale eyes, he stalks briskly and erectly toward the bar.
Her sapphire eyes watched him as he entered the Inn, remaining on him a while as he leaned on the bar. After studying him a time she decided that, should he look her way, she would invite him to join her table and talk with him a while. She would offer her friendship by buying him a meal and a drink of his choice. He looked to be a man of strength and integrity: she would meet him.
His pale eyes turned her way for a moment, but only that. His tanned face, speaking of many days of hard service, drew back in a tight smile when their eyes met, but his manner suggests his nervousness around such a beautiful lady.
She grants the Major a soft smile and gracefully motions for him to join her at her table. She then catches the bar maid's attention and waits for them both to arrive.
Beldon's feelings are bruised at what the lady says to him, but he quickly recovers. He has built an immunity to such comments over his twenty-two years; comments which often came flocking due to his unnatural clumsiness.
Beldon had a positive attitude that disarmed most verbal attacks. He had always found that being cheerful was a good answer to most of life's problems. Smiling in the face of ridicule, anger, and even danger often improved situations for him, and was his secret weapon.
Perhaps because or this, or perhaps not, Beldon possessed the most unbelievable luck. In spite of his clumsiness, things tended to work out for him. As an experienced woodsman, this came in quite handy at times, and he owed his very survival to it. And it seems that his luck hasn't changed.
*Well here I am looking for adventure, and, as luck would have it, I think one is forming at that table,* he thinks to himself. The other beautiful lady catches his eye and motions for him to come over. *How fortunate! I think I am invited!*
Beldon smiles in spite of himself and approaches the table.
Beldon stumbles only once on the way over to the table at which sat the eclectic group of strangers. He sits down and gladly accepts the beautiful woman's offer of a meal. He had eaten breakfast this morning, but traveled all day with only a light lunch, and was extremely hungry as a result.
He smiled and asked, "For what do I owe such kindness, m'lady?"
In the corner of his eye he noticed another stranger sitting across the room and hoped he would come and join them. He tried to catch his eye and motion him over. With such a variety of strangers at the table, another one might also be welcome.
While yawning hugely, the stranger snapped open an eye and looked up, anxiously. Was someone motioning him over..? Yes! Blinking several times, he managed to get up, albeit rather shakily; after a few days, he still wasn't used to moving in his armor.
Quickly regaining his bearings, he made his way over to the table cautiously, blinking first at the man who had beckoned him over and then to the other occupants.
"Do you mind if I sit here?" he asked, hesitant.
Beldon looked up at the stranger and smiled at him.
"I certainly don't mind if you sit here, but you might want to ask the lady here." He motioned toward the white-haired lady sitting next to him.
"What do you say, m'lady?"
Ah, well. The 4th should be in town for the next two days, and Major Cooper had already gone over every administrative duty he could think of twice. What harm could come of sitting and drinking in the company of two strangers, both of whom seemed harmless enough. Major Cooper, however, was not used to social settings outside of those demanded by the Queen's Army.
The appearance of some of the patrons of the Inn vexed him. Imperfect things in general vexed him. Mental restraint was required to keep him from telling a barmaid she could use a higher neckline.
But...it might be nice to forget for one night that he was Major Ashbury Cooper, Sous Majeur of Her Majesty the Queen. In what for him was a breach of character, he loosened the black high collar, tight around his neck. Removing his white dress gloves to avoid staining them, he cast a smile to both Beldon and Rose. He was a handsome man, but seemed possessed of a stony resilence, almost an ability to think outside of his career.
The woman looked looked at the two men seated at her table and studied them a moment. She then studied the third who asked to join them.
In her gentle, crystalline voice she said to all three of them, "I was just about to buy these two gentlemen a meal and talk with them of things important to me. My offer can extend to you if it is not trouble you have come to find. I seek honest help and company of good integrity. If you will sit and listen, I will compensate you for your time with a good meal and some drink. After you have heard what I have to say you may decide to join my quest and help me or you may thank me for the meal and go your own way. I will honor you decision. If you join me I ask only that you walk with honor and integrity; for these things are of great importance to me.
With an easy, graceful movement of her nearly translucent hand, she motioned to the armored stranger to take a seat at her table.
"Please, won't you all tell me your names?"
The young stranger paused momentarily. Honest help? Company of good integrity? Whatever quest this woman needed help on, it did indeed sound interesting.
His interest piqued, he nodded at the motion of her hand and seated himself.
Amarantha shoots the Lady an amused glance.
"Gentleman? Well maybe, Farmboy and Tinman, no offence guys, but I don't know what else to call you, but last time I checked I was female."
She looks down her top and pantaloons, "Well those are still there. No doubt half the men in here noticed the D cup as well. I 'm Amarantha anyway. I'm not all that sure it would be wise to get tin man another drink unless it was water, he seems a little unsteady on his feet. It's funny to get someone drunk and make idiots of themselves, low to get them so drunk they can't stand or anything, or even remember what they did.
If you are concerned that I would make trouble, I'm not into trouble. Harmless, good humoured mischief maybe, riots and that sort of stuff -- no way. The Celestial War taught me a thing or two about that."
Amarantha quietens and looks around at the others. The Moon Lady, who was clearly supernatural, with very lawful good intentions. Despite earlier words, its seems the Moon Lady is also somewhat naive about human nature, and Amarantha was somewhat concerned that this could be the ladies undoing.
She knew enough about humans to know that they can be deceiving. They are a crafty little bunch and should never be underestimated. Farm Boy carried a well worn staff. Which means he knows how to use it.Clumsy, he may be, but he could probably pack a walloping if the need arose. She almost felt sorry for teasing him earlier (it was still heaps of fun though, and if history repeated itself., she'd do it again) He seems very sweet natured and honest. A rarity amongst warriors.
Tin Man seems to be having a bit of trouble with his shiny and very good looking armor. Obviously this one is no seasoned warrior. But there's nothing that a bit of life experience won't teach him about such things. By the saddened look in his eyes, she suspects he might have endured a tragedy recently. Death was never a thing that an immortal had to deal with. She felt more than a little curious about the stories that these three might reveal.
He grinned faintly, slightly amused of being referred to as "tin man". Most of his playmates back home had always called him "runt", or names much worse...not that he was ever popular among the other children, anyway, but still...
"Well," he spoke, scratching the back of his head sheepishly, "I'm Blaine, of Kander. Well, what WAS Kander, anyway...it burned down after I found this sword and armor in a lake nearby. My dying father said it was an omen, or some such."
The grin then faded from his face. "Father said it was a sign that I was destined for adventure, to take part in something great, but I never believed that until I ended up here."
Feeling awkward, Blaine folded his arms on the table and said nothing else.
Beldon cleared his throat before speaking. He seemed happy to be among companions such as these. "My name is Beldon Dak. I am from the farm country of Keeth and have travelled great distances recently."
He was about to say more about himself, but decided that discretion was the better part of valor. He was normally very open about himself, but he decided that he would wait to hear the reason they were seated together. He smiled sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders.
Last modified: Sun Jan 20 17:37:27 Mountain Standard Time 2002