Dark Shards

The Speaker in Dreams 10

Brindinford, Goodmonth Week 2.1 BCY 14500

Shael Shael keeps his composure and triumphant meign until he and Julian meet Kryss and Devis carrying Ember and Lidda into the foyer. Seeing that all his companions are safe, Shael smiles peacefully and leans against the wall – he slowly slouches down to the ground and is soundly asleep before his body fully settles. “…we made it… I didn’t fail this time…”

Julian? Julian sheathes his bloody knife without cleaning it or even looking at it and stores it away. He gives a tight smile to Shael as they return. “Guess we’re resting here.” he remarks to Kryss.

Shael When he awakens, the young mage is filled with renewed purpose: he immediately sets about exploring the arcanaum of occultism, seeking every bolt-hole, nook and cranny. Once his curiousity is sated and he feels comfortable in the security of the Reality Wrinkle, Shael’s first task is to set out to check on Alein and Tolea.

Julian Julian joins him, though the paladin is less interested in the books and more interested in ensuring no more of the minor cultist minions lurk about.

DM They have expunged the vile house of the cult, the Blessed was the last to fall here. When they check on Alein and Tolea, the elder paladin sits up rubbing her head. “It’s…gone?”

Shael “From the city, yes…” he glances at Julian, wondering if he should say any more.

Julian The paladin seems quite content at that.

Alein She winces, holding her hand up to shade her eyes. “At…what cost?” She seems confused though, because she continues on. “The gold is coming.”

Julian Julian pauses from cleaning Lightbringer. “What?”

Shael Shael observs her speculatively.

Alein “It…was a high coin?” She breathes heavily and sinks back in her bed.

Julian Julian shakes his head.

Shael “Just take your time if it’s important.” Shael says comfortingly.

Alein “Serra…forgives when even Tal will not be merciful,” she tells Shael. “I am…so grateful to both of you. My eyes are…tired. But thank you.”

Shael Shael stands upright, stiffening. His smile is quick and uncertain, “We do as we must.” he reassures her. “Only let us know if we can be of service again.”

DM She nods dreamily, already drifting off to sleep. Tolea shakes her head. “No, please, let us be the ones to know if service can be offered. We owe you much.”

Julian “Thanks.” Julian nods gruffly. “I’d better check on the others.”

Shael Recovering, Shael chuckles. “Madam, do you ask service in turn for your duty?” he shakes his head, “I’ll make you this accord, we will call on you if you will us.” Glancing at Julian, Shael nods and the two take their leave.

Tolea Tolea beams, offering them a salute as they go.

Julian Julian returns it smartly, although he grimaces uneasily once they are on their own. “Do you think she saw something?” he asks Shael as they head over to the other rescuees.

Shael “I think we are safe.” he replies easilly. “And if we weren’t, we are capable… unless there is something that ties you to this land more than another?” he asks with a grin.

Julian “No… well, I don’t know. But we can’t be reckless. I… really am not ready for anyone to find things out.”

Shael Nodding along slowly in pace with his step, “Recklessness is born of desperation, and I am not desperate. I will do all the good I can in this world before my time is done… all I can do is enough. All the same, I don’t think I am either.” Shael ponders at length, “There is more we can do than we have.”

Julian Julian half grins. “You sound like more of a paladin than I do some days.” He nods. “That’s for sure. Come on, let’s see if they’ve come around. If they have, maybe we can get out of this place.”

Shael Shael blinks in surprise, “Oof, harsh words from a harsh critic.” He frowns thoughtfully and nods as they head back to the Wrinkle.

DM They find their battered companions have come to and are gingerly tending to each other’s wounds.

Kryss Kryss takes up a protective position while his companions deal with the others.

Shael “Thanks for keeping an eye on things, Kryss.” Shael says, rejoining them. “How are you all? Recovering?”

Lidda Lidda nods. “I feel like my head’s been turned inside out.”

Julian “I bet. This place screwed with my head enough even without anyone else trying to get in. Seeing things that aren’t there, not seeing things that are… can’t imagine how it was for you guys.”

Shael Shael nods at length, “Almost had, sorry for knockin’ you about, though.”

Ember Ember looks at Julian curiously, but does not disagree. “I feel out of touch with myself. Like I am floating in my own soul.”

Shael “Well, the place is mostly under control, now. You’re welcome to loiter until you’re recovered – don’t know what you all have going on in the city, whether it’s aught to be worried about, but you’ll be safe here now.”

<kryss> “What did we learn from The Blessed? Is the threat to this city vanquished? Can I find a place to set up shop yet?” Kryss asks.

Julian “Or if you want to get out, I can show you the way back into town. The paths don’t seem as confusing now that she’s dead.”

<kryss> “Fapas expects me to make a 3 gold profit this month and I havent sold a single nail.”

Julian “Honestly, Kryss, I’m not sure that there’s anyone left to give you any trouble.”

Shael “The threats to the city are normal threats to a city this size now – excepting that the Captain is still missing.”

Julian …in a sudden moment of doubt, the paladin glances upward. Are the gods roaring with laughter?

Kryss Kryss nods and with a glance at Shael he excuses himself. He finds a ramshackle table in the book store and sets it up outside the bookstore.

Shella If they are, the agent of their mirth is Lieutenant Shella, who arrives at that moment. “Did you…find my men?” she asks, concernedly. Naturally, they have not found her men. And they’ve looked over every nook and cranny, as previously mentioned.

Julian “No… I thought they went back out, didn’t they? They definitely aren’t here.”

Ember Ember looks concerned. “They did go back out…” she agrees with Julian.

Shael “Yes, they did…” Shael murmers worriedly. He communes privately with Ojo to see if she noticed which direction they went.

Julian Julian fills the Lieutenant in on what they know.

Ojo The big house Ojo replies, riding the ground between flippant and bored.

Julian “I take it they didn’t report back?”

Shael Shael sweeps past Shella and exits the Wrinkle to scan the horizon for a building resembling Ojo’s report.

Kryss “Nails or bolts for you sir?” Kryss asks as Shael exits the shop, not recognizing him. “Oh, sorry. All well inside?” Kryss asks.

DM The Lord’s Mansion probably fits the description.

Shael “Nope.” his gaze settles on the mansion and he barely takes the time to poll Ojo for confirmation before he’s running in that direction.

Kryss Kryss sighs and knocks the table over follwing. “JULIAN!” bellows Kryss as he rushes off.

DM The Baron’s Keep is the only section of Brindinford that is walled off from the rest. The hundred by one fifty-yard area is built against the outer wall of the city at the top of Silver Hill, overlooking the Brinding River. The walls boast the same height and thickness as the city wall.

Kryss A shadow dances at Julians feet before a hiss flickers in his ear, “The others are saving the king, idiot,” whispers Master Xi before disappearing.

Julian “What king?” Julian follows along anyway. “From the sound of it your men went up to the Lord’s Mansion.” he explains to the lieutenant.

Shael Shael stops at the wall and frantically looks both ways for an entrance. Noticing the guards he growls and waits for the others to catch up, pacing.

Shella “Oh, well that’s fine then,” she nods, satisfied. “If they had to report to the baron, that would explain why they’ve not returned yet.”

Julian “The good news is… if she DID have their minds, she’s dead now…” Julian is musing to himself as he arrives.

Kryss Kryss slows to stop by his friend. “Any point in asking what were doing?”

Shella Shella is beside Julian, and she asks. “Does magic go away once the magician is dead?”

Shael “No.” Shael tells Julian, “The Blessed was not the final threat – remember the Speaker. If they are infected…” he trails off.

Julian “Well, it did for the others. Lidda and Devis and Ember.”

Shella “Infected? I thought the Blessed was the speaker…” Shella also trails off, clearly not having as solid a grasp on the situation as she would like.

Julian “But you’re right…” he glances at Shael uneasily. “It’s possible there’s still something out there.”

Kryss “We need to get to the Lord.” Kryss says. “Ill tell the guards to let us through.”

Julian “Answer is, we don’t know. It could well be over. There’s a possibility it’s not.”

Kryss “I knocked over 30 silver in precious goods. We need to investigate.”

Shael Shael wrings his hands, there’s more to say but nothing that would be helpful this second. “The Speaker is different, it isn’t… local… so…” he shrugs, “…we were just going to deal with it nextish.”

Julian “Well, let’s put it to rest one way or another. If we find them and they are all right, then we’ll have peace of mind about it.” Julian approaches the gate.

Kryss Kryss follows.

Shella Shella strides up with them.

Shael Shael waits for Shella to follow before joining them. He mutters quietly, “The important part is not to get framed for the m…” he chokes off the rest and clears his throat.

DM The guards greet them. “Lieutenant. Sir Kryss. Sir Julian. Sir Shael.”

Julian Julian returns the greeting and asks whether the four men they are seeking passed this way.

Shael “Oh.” Shael says hesitantly. He glances at the others, “When did that happen?” he wonders quietly.

Kryss Kryss shrugs. “What happened?”

Guard “They did, actually. Said they had important news for the Baron.”

Shael He shrugs it off, “Not used to sirring.” He speaks up, “How long ago?”

Guard “A little less than a bell ago.”

Shael “Please, let us through?” he begs. More quietly, “There may still be time…”

Kryss “Were going to need to interrupt.”

Julian “Can we have an escort in, please?”

Guard “Certainly, Bors, you take them in, will you?” The large man with a thick neck nods as much as possible and sets off with them.

Shael Shael’s steps quickly take him ahead of the others. He turns back, “Quickly, please? Quickly…” he exhorts.

Julian Julian makes his way in.

DM They arrive at the baron’s hall to see the three town guards with crossbows drawn on four very confused looking noble bodyguards.

Julian Julian strides foward decisively, putting himself in the midst of the situation. “What’s going on?”

Shael Shael charges past them towards the Throne Room, “Cover me!” he says without further preamble.

Kryss Kryss draws a javelin to throw.

DM One of the townguards turns, sees the charge, and fires his crossbow. The other two, shocked, do so as well. Two of the guards slump down the wall as the bolts slam into them.

Julian “Damn! You were right!” Julian swings into action, striking to subdue.

DM Julian’s attacks slam one of the rogues against the wall, where he slumps down with a less bloody trail than his noble fellows did, and the other staggers, falling to one knee.

Shael Shael ignores the city guardsman and continues carving a path straight through the room to the Throne Room to swing open the doors.

DM The doors do not swing easily at all.

Kryss As Shael tugs at the door, Shatterspike swings past his shoulder, slamming into the door.

DM In fact, they appear stuck. Shatterspike catches on a chandelier, tangling it and preventing Kryss from bringing his full might against it. The chandelier is of course, shattered into a million brilliant pieces. Angrily, the dragon warrior kicks the door with his boot, slamming it open. Within, a pretty young woman looks up from a desk covered in maps and papers, aghast. “What on earth?”

Shella Shella moves in on the wounded guard, smashing his head into the wall and dropping him as well.

Kryss “Shael wants to talk to you lady,” Kryss jerks a thumb at his friend.

Shael Shael holds up a finger, “Ahh…” he looks back at the melee, “…um…” he looks back at the young woman, “…errrr…” he glances at the broken chandelier, “…uuuuuhhh…” Shael reaches to close the door.

Julian Julian takes care of the final rogue guard.

DM His razor sharp mind is able to immediately realize that they have interrupted the assassination attempt in the middle, thanks to their quick action…the noble bodyguards had not yet been bypassed by the townies. Townies that now lie unconscious on the ground.

Kryss “Wait a minute! Youre not a baron!” Kryss points out.

Shael With the door closed, Shael smooths out his hair and straightens his coat. “…first impressions…” he mutters through his ministrations.

Julian He glances at the noble guards as he kneels to tend to their wounded companions. “What happened here? Did anyone get past you?”

DM Opening the door back up, the woman composes her own self quickly. “I am not the baron. I am Lady Eriana, the Lord Baron’s sister.”

Shael He toes the broken chandelier pieces, trying to shove them under a carpet or something. “Huh? Oh, nah.” he says, turning around sharply when Eriana speaks.

DM "They…said they had to talk to the baron…they were acting strange, so we weren’t going to let them through…then they went for their crossbows and you guys showed.

Shael “Where’s the, er, Baron… then?”

Guards “He’s in his rooms, but we weren’t going to let them threaten the Lady Eriana…Her life is worth all of ours.”

Kryss Kryss jerks the door behind him again, “The baron isnt here!” he shouts to Julian, “We havent stopped anything!”

Shael “Bloody and bloody hells, where are his rooms? Lietenant, how many men were in this squad?”

Shella “Five, but only three were unaccounted for,” Shella tries to calm the pair down.

Shael “Lady Eriana, please, where are his rooms? Your brother is in danger!”

Julian “Easy, Shael.” Julian sheathes his weapon. “That’s all of them then I’m sorry, your friend is beyond my help.”

Shael “Er, oh… you said the other two… where are they?” he turns back to Shella.

Julian “We believe that these three men were overcome by a witch’s spell and sent, likely, to assassinate the baron. Almost certainly they were not themselves.” Julian continues explaining the situation to the Baron’s guards in a markedly calmer tone.

Eriana The Lady Eriana moves in, a tear on her cheek as she sees the man who died to protect her. “Valius…”

Kryss Kryss turns a shade of red as he realizes the situation is under control. He slumps hugely into a very fancy chair in the Lady’s sitting room. THe legs creak dangerously.

Eriana She composes herself, and looks up. “You four have risked your lives for…what, exactly?”

Kryss “Shael said so.” Kryss rubs his temples, eyes closed.

Shael Shael shifts uncomfortably. His gaze bounces from Lady Eriana to Julian and the other guards to Kryss.

Kryss “Im going to eat you first you know,” Kryss mumbles at his friend.

Shella “It’s my duty, your Ladyship,” Shella responds.

Julian “I am Julian, my Lady, and my companions Kryss and Shael. I am sure you know the Lieutenant.”

Shael “It’s all fine now…” he snipes back at Kryss, “…probably.” Clearing his throat he looks back at Eriana and lets Julian speak for them.

Julian “We had been following the trail of this for some time when we learned of this attempt.”

Eriana She nods, listening as she orders the bodyguards to take care of Valius’ body and send reinforcements. “Please, come in this way, explain this to me.” She leads them into the room they found her in.

Shael Shael brightens and nods as if Julian has come up with the perfect excuse for their gallantry.

Kryss Kryss drags himself from his chair with a groan. He follows into the interior room and stands with his back to the door while they talk.

Shael His gaze dissects the room, absorbing the details, as he steps inside.

Julian Julian enters with the others. “Well, my Lady, I am sure you have heard of some of the strange events which have troubled the fair…” He gives a details-lite version of the plots and sinister foes the party has battled thus far, ending with their confrontation with The Blessed and their pursuit of the guards here.

Kryss Kryss stares longingly at a particularly fluffy looking half bed against the opposite wall.

Eriana “My gracious. You are honest heroes then!”

Kryss “And weary.”

Shael Shael’s interest in one tome or another is viciously torn away by the unwelcome recognition. He stares at Julian desperately.

Julian “That’s very kind of you. In truth we had help from a number of quarters.”

Eriana “Well, then clearly I owe you more than just my life. We will hold a feast in town to celebrate your heroism and salvation of the city, that the common folk who benefited the most can share in with you.”

Shael Shael’s smile is clearly forced, but he cannot refuse on account of the dragon would eat him if he stopped the feast.

Kryss “Would the feast start with this meat and cheese platter over here on your table?” Kryss asks.

Julian Julian coughs politely.

Shael “…death is lighter than a feather…” he mutters to himself from the corner of the room.

Eriana “Oh that? They brought me dinner bells ago, and I was just too busy with these missives to touch it. Please, put it to use, if you don’t mind cold meat.”

Kryss “Thats no problem at all, I can warm it up.” Kryss opens his mouth as if to yawn.

Shael Shael quickly advances and places his hand on Kryss’s back, “Um, that is to say…we wouldn’t want to trouble your lady…hood.”

Julian “ship” Julian murmurs.

Kryss Kryss coughs and hiccups, “Ah, right. As you say.” He nods at the Lady.

Shael He blushes at Julian. “Already, I mean, we just… so much to do, life of a, er, hero and all.”

Eriana “No, no, I insist. Tomorrow night. I will have Axom take care of the arrangements. A city wide feast. At a suitable common establishment…”

Shael “Damse, er, dragons to, um, the people and…” he slouches, defeated. “Yes, of course. It is an honor.”

Kryss “Could I make a request? That guy that escorted us here? From the gate? Solid fellow. I recommend highest honors for him.”

DM Bors has of course, gone off to take care of his dead compatriot.

Kryss “Id like to thank him somehow. Shael? Is there money in the budget to provide this fine soldier a monetary reward?”

Shael Shael blinks slowly up at Kryss. Swallowing he nods and withdraws a purse. He shifts it open and considers before laying the pouch of one-hundred gold coins on the desk, “Could you see that the guards receive a share as our thanks? And, a triple-share to Valius’ family? I… didn’t mean to be too late…” He turns and leaves before she has a chance to protest.

Kryss Kryss nods politely again and follows.

Eriana To her credit, she does not protest. It seems she understands the burden they bear.

Kryss “I really am going to eat you first,” Kryss says to Shael as they leave the manor gate.

Julian Julian waits for leave and then follows his companions with Shalla.

Kryss “I really wanted that meat and cheese plate.”

Shael “Not if I eat you first.” Shael rejoinds.

Kryss Kryss stumbles for a step, “What?! Thats ridiculous. I will be a massive dragon.”

Shella Shella looks confusedly at the pair’s banter. “You have very strange friends, Julian.”

Shael “I didn’t say I’d eat you quickly.” he says with a grin. “Nibble by nibble, you won’t even notice. One day, you’ll be gone.” he nods approvingly of his plan.

Julian “Yes,” he agrees, “I suppose I do. Good ones though.”

Kryss Kryss looks extremely taken aback. “I… Wa…” he falls silent, pouting. He follows quietly, watching Shael closely out of the side of his eye.

Shael He stops a block away from the manor and looks back at it. “Lew-tenant, join us? I think we’ll have to find a tailor if we’re to be a spectacle tomorrow.” he smiles reassuringly.

Kryss “Do you think they have anything in purple?” Kryss asks, forgetting his pouting.

DM “I am still on duty for another three bells, but I will join you at the Gaze tonight, if you’re going to be there?” She answers Shael, but her eyes are on Julian.

Kryss “We were thinking about staying at the…” Kryss answers obliviously.

Shael He considers, “Kryss and I may be busy, hard to say this early in the day. If we can, of course. I’ll find the tailor, when you see Julian later he’ll get your measurements?”

Julian “I’ll see you there, either way.”

Shella She smiles at him and heads off, presumably back to the barracks.

Kryss “Do you guys think I should get my armor polished to a mirror finish? I think she likes me and Id like to look my best tonight.” Kryss asks.

Julian “Yeah. Definitely. Set it off with some pink silks, too. You know, to hint at your hidden draconic fires within.”

Shael Shael nods, “Yes, everyone knows how important pink silk is.”

Kryss “Silk is good.” Kryss answers, nodding. “Human women like pink?”

Devis “They love it,” Devis confirms, coming up behind them.

Julian “Oh, hey, Devis. Good to see you back on your feet.”

Kryss Kryss looms over Shaels shoulder at the newcomer. “Were looking for a tailor and an armor smith that works fast and cheap.”

Devis “Tailor I can do. I think you need a slave for the armor though.”

Kryss “Where can we purchase those?” Kryss asks.

Shael Shael wonders to Julian, “D’you think there’s any way we could frame them for all the heroics? Maybe sleep in tomorrow? Read a book?” Shael swats Kryss, “No slaves.” he says dissaprovingly.

Kryss Kryss shrugs.

Julian “No, I don’t think so. Kryss is very recognizable.”

Kryss “I am a dragon.” Kryss nods.

Shael Shael sighs. “Well, we should at least bring them with. And Tolea. Spread the attention around, eh?”

Devis “Bring us to what? To whatever we need the tailor for?”

Kryss “I think they should give me their helpings of roast though. In exchange for the invitation.”

Shael “Yes, a feast.” he answers Devis, “I didn’t catch the details, a bit faint maybe.”

Shael “You’re a glutton, Kryss. You can have mine.”

Kryss “Is that a type of dragon?”

Shael Shael laughs aloud, “I suppose it could be said.” he agrees.

Julian “Anyway, you want to come? You’re all invited.”

Kryss “In exchange for your helpings of roast.”

Shael “Well, then you can’t have mine.”

Devis “Sounds smashing. Reward for the wererat scuffle?”

Kryss A deep growl rumbles in Kryss’ massive chest.

Julian “Among other things. It’s been a busy week.”

Shael “Oh, the wererats should be gone – at least, let us know if you see anymore… you shouldn’t.”

Devis “If we see any more of those thugs, we’ll take them down,” Devis says confidently. His group did tangle with the rats on a few occasions, after all.

Shael Shael nods hesitantly. “Oh, good.”

Kryss “Right, well I expect you can find us at the bookstore in the future. Someone also said something about eating something i think…”

Shael “Yes, I said I was going to nibble your toes off.” Shael says, he leads Kryss off to find some food before the dragon really does eat him.

Kryss Kryss follows, arguing that it would take longer than the span of a human lifetime to eat a dragon of his size.

Shael Shael counters that eating dragons extends human longevity.

Julian “I hear that it lets you understand the speech of birds too.”

Kryss Kryss insists that any studies made to that effect were likely conducted by humans and thus null.

Shael Shael suggests that it would be simple to empirically test; if he can speak with birds after eating Kryss’ toes then he’ll live forever. Logic.

Kryss “I think we should talk about something else for awhile.” Kryss replies, stepping away a bit.

Julian And so the evening goes, punctuated by interludes for tailoring or armor-polishing. Julian eventually heads out to keep his appointment at the Gaze.

DM And so the paladin goes to dinner with the Lieutenant, the dragon goes to polish his armor and the wizard-savant heads off to curl up with a book or two. Join us next week for their well deserved reward and to find out what journeys lie ahead for our heroes!

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Kain_Darkwind

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