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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Shu
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Deadsnows | Uktar 5th | 1495 DR


As the sun began it’s descent towards the far horizon the already bracing cold would only crispen in the coming evening. The first snow of winter had come and coated the land in sheets of white, the sharp chill of fall replaced with the freeze of winter. A bard or a poet might call it romantic, perhaps composing a piece to recite by the warmth of a tavern fire. But to the people of Deadsnows this heralding of winter was not something to revel at, especially not this year.

There was a grim air about the town, the faces of the people at best concerned and weary and at worst angry and disillusioned. The town was plagued by a food shortage and with winter now here it just made things all the more desperate for most. The people had hoarded away and rationed most of what they had but even then it wouldn’t last the season. They turned to their leader - Seneschal Bordev - for answers but there was nothing to be received from him, his manor remaining closed and the guards turning away all who came to see him.

Tensions were high and the Watch found themselves pressed to keep order, putting forth a curfew even to dissuade anyone who might prowl the night looking to steal from their neighbors. As the eve drew near the traffic through the gates had picked up as the folk of Deadsnows cloistered away within the walls, the Watch catching more than a few glares and sideways snorts from the townsfolk. Most who did not live within the walls would spend the night at the Rose and Hammer inn, others with close friends and family. The inn stayed crowded after dark these days many folk having to sleep in the barn out back or slouched over their table at night.

With Bordev remaining locked in his manor and the Watch acting as a force of repression many feared what was to come. As food dwindled away in time people would only become more desperate, and desperation could drive one to do anything needed to survive. Everyone knew this, from the grim-faced townsfolk trudging through the front gate to the Watchmen eyeing them from the street corners and ramparts.









Shanala Goldush sat alone tucked into a corner in the Rose and Hammer inn. Before her sat a half empty tankard of mead that she had been nursing for the past hour. When the wood elf first entered the inn and took a seat the place was already rather full but now it was bustling to say the least. Nearly every table and stool was occupied, many patrons leaning against the wall or propping against tables where their companions sat. Four barmaids scuttled about pouring drinks, delivering trays of food, and cleaning up messes off the floor and tables, pushed to meet the demands of the bursting establishment.

A curly haired halfling musician pounded away at a drum near the bar accompanied by a flutist, their music nearly drowned out by the entropic chorus of conversation and the occasional laugh. Shanala had noticed that even with the music and the flowing mead and ale there were few smiles or laughter to be witnessed in the crammed place. She imagined this had something to do with the apparent food shortage the town was suffering from.

When Shanala had first arrived earlier the barmaid who tended to her made it clear that she would only be served a single meal and one tankard. Shanala settled for some bread and a few cuts of pork with some mead to wash it all down. Intent on stretching her one drink as best she could Shanala had been steadily sipping for some time now. She had asked the barmaid about the shortage and all she received as an answer was that there had been attacks on the farmholds and the roads which had cut off supply to the town. Shanala pressed further but the barmaid had nothing else to say, merely a shrug and continuing about her job.

Orcs or goblins most likely, Shanala thought to herself, that or brigands. She had arrived in Deadsnows earlier that day having traveled up from the south past the Arn Forest. She had intended to take about two weeks of rest - if not longer - in Deadsnows after have spent some time traveling along the breadth of the mountains. Instead she arrived to a town with sparse food and who’s people seemed as cold as the winter. She couldn’t even have the luxury of a bed, the innkeeper having informed her she would just have to take to the barn as all the rooms were full. While Shanala had in the past slept in harsher environments the idea of traveling to a town only to have to pass a warm bed for a pile of hay in a barn didn’t sit well with her. But it was either that or camp outside in the cold.

I wonder if the town guard are offering bounties? Shanala thought. The idea of lining her pockets with coin in exchange for killing a few bandits or a mob of goblins sounded appealing enough, and if anything she could offer her services in helping clear the area of any danger to the town. Deciding she would do a bit of investigating tomorrow the wood elf drained the last of her drink and decided to “retire to the barn early”.
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Deadsnows | Uktar 5th | 1495 DR


The sound of the inn could be heard all the way outside as Okubo casually walked up to the building through the dwindling snow. As he peered from under his straw travelers hat he couldn't help but notice the awkward glares and the gazes of the disillusioned as a foreigner traveled into their town, to be fair he couldn't blame them too much. He was a strange sight in this part of the world. His attire was normal in Wa but here in the Silver Marches it was definitely strange to see; a worn and tattered hakama just barely leaving his feet covered with thick wrappings and straw sandals. His torso was garbed in an earth toned tunic underneath a dark blue travelers gi with his right arm in a thick braided leather sleeve. His arms both have worn and beaten gauntlets from his home and over all of this was straw rain cloak. At his waist were two swords, one long and one short. This would be an interesting look into how these people deal with new comers in this part of the world.

Pushing his way in the door Okubo glanced around the room to get a survey of the place around him, hand resting on his sword hilt. The locals had mixed reactions upon seeing him, some gawked and stared and others went about their business carrying on with their conversations. There was not a lot of room with most of the tables filled and many occupants opting to standing and milling about the room with their drinks. Thankfully a pair had decided to leave leaving an open table for Okubo to take advantage of. As he sat roughly in the middle of the room, closer to the back wall of the establishment, he removed his longer sword and ate some of the leftovers from the previous occupants and observed the room. Many were locals looking for warm food and something to drink, some were local guards and few more looked like they were passing through. The mention of an attack caught his ears and he turned a side eye towards what he heard and saw the two that were engaged in conversation.

One of the knife-eared residents of this side of the world seemed to be asking questions about said attack. This person caught his eye more than the others in the area, soldiers recognize soldiers. Everything from her attire to her mannerisms gave an air of war and she had seen the worst of it, he knew what that was like. Flashes of his time as a retainer-soldier flashed through his mind as the world around him faded into memories. Okubo still had vivid visions of the blood on his fathers hands, his body going limp and cold, the anguish of knowing that one act of disobedience caused the loss of all that he loved and held dear. The sound of harsh tones in front of him snapped him back to the present and with instinct his hand flashed to his side and drew his wakazashi, the light from the room gleaned in his blade as the half-woman began visibly shaking from terror. His eyes grew wide in the anguish and relief as he quickly placed his sword back in its sheath and bowed in forgiveness placing two gold coins in her hands as he bundled the remaining leftovers and began to leave the building, not wishing to cause any other commotion in the business.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by POOHEAD189
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Deadsnows | Uktar 5th | 1495 DR


Outside, the wind moaned. Markus had heard its cry many times, had even missed it. The Marches were so much like Damara in landscape, it was like home away from home. He contemplated the thought as he tasted the mead the eldritch knight idly sipped. One arm resting on the counter, he merely leaned upon the bar and watched the crowd. Markus had a good eye for business, even business such as his own. Killing monsters and scouting wilderness could rake in the coin if one was persistent enough. There was always opportunity in a frontier town, he just needed to find it. From what he'd heard from half whispered mutters and some diminutive tracks, there was a Gnome just outside of town in need of help. Markus wasn't one to dally, but he needed a drink first and wanted to find a bit more out about the fellow before he made any commitment.

"Refill?"

The voice behind him was gruff and rustic, emitting from the mouth of a man likely a decade older than him. He looked close to twice his age, his grey beard helping in that regard. He had asked, but he didn't wait, pouring the mead back into Markus's mug without hesitation.

"Yeah, and I'll give you an extra silver if you can tell me about the Gnome problem I've heard about." The sellsword offered, producing the silver piece as if he'd plucked it out of the air.

"Ha! I'll take the silver, but the problem's not the Gnomes. It's what's bothering them." The barkeep remarked, clearly not taking Markus's full meaning and assuming the worst. "Something about a small village of theirs in need of aid. The guards here are a bit too cold and tired to do much on it. Goodwill won't feed their families."

"That it?" He asked, holding the silver in the air.

"All I know of, got my word on that. Wouldn't stray no adventurer wrong, you all help out. These lazy bastards won't lift a finger to help nobody but themselves."

Markus didn't know if he meant the guardsmen or the populace, but either way he was satisfied and handed the coin to the fellow. Unceremoniously, he drained his mug and set it down for the fellow to take. He wiped a small drop of the draught from his lips with a quick gesture of his thumb, and stepped through the crowd to leave the Rose and Hammer. As he did so, he walked beside a pretty elven lass who watched the crowd like a hawk, as he had been.

"Fair travels," he said to her in the true tongue of the elves, giving her a knowing smile and stepping out of the door into the biting wind. He made his way to the Gnome.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Rising Dusk
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Vendras

Deadsnows | Uktar 5th | 1495 DR

They flitted in and out, like embers circling the dying cinders.

Vendras had been watching the 'Rose and Hammer' as it was called for a few hours now. People came to enjoy music, ale, company and try to forget the troubles of the world, desperately clinging to any sense of normalcy while hoping that perhaps the darkness would merely pass them by. Unfortunately he knew full well it would not, darkness must be fought with light, and the embers must be restoked in order to bring that light.

In order to do that one required people who were willing to brave the darkness however, to find the embers of hope lost within it. Vendras laughed softly to himself at the inane philosophical ramblings running through his mind, he supposed this was just normal for someone who regularly read other writers do the same thing, it tended to rub off on you and not always in a good way.

The elf had taken a seat underneath someone's porch on a building, taking a keen interest as he watched those who entered and left the building, he had seen a few individuals who had caught his eye already of being potentially talented. There was a way certain people carried themselves, the practiced grace of an experienced warrior that was a giveaway for those who knew the signs. Though he'd seen at least one individual that dressed in a way that was...likely unsuited for the weather, but that was only part of what caught his eye, the dress was also something very different to any region Vendras had been to.

He remembered vaguely reading something about a country with the attire he'd spotted, it was a place that was very far from here, and very unusual to gain any sighting of, yes indeed...he was beginning to see it come together, individuals he could work with to change the ill fate the wind blew towards this place.

Getting to his feet, he brushed any snow that had gathered on his still form off and made his way to the Rose and Hammer, with any luck some of these people would be amenable to working with him, and they could do something to help these people out. They were all pretty martial from what he'd seen and perhaps with luck they'd also be able to keep him from bodily injury.

As he approached the tavern, one of the individuals who had caught his attention had stepped out, and Vendras stepped backwards before the door caught him, smiling faintly in amusement at the coincidence before bowing slightly before he moved to the side "Forgive me, let me get out of your way."
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Kassarock
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Night had fallen by the time Ash made it to the imposing walls of Deadsnows. He might have gotten there sooner had he not taken the time to admire how the the sun had set across the snow capped peaks of the mountains to the west. Despite the harshness of the land, there was something romantic about it. He had not been in the North for several years, and autumn weather had held off the snows on his journey thus far.

Until now...

The road had been difficult since he had left the comfortable tranquillity of Silverymoon the month before. The twisting route through the Nether Mountains would have been hard enough on its own, without Ash almost being turned away when he had arrived at the gates of Sundabar. The experience had been... disheartening... but it had not dampened his spirits entirely. He had made it to his destination, and he almost felt the hardships had been vindicated by the breath taking views laid out before him.

Of course, there was perhaps, another tiny reason that Ash delayed his first entry into the ancestral home of his mother's family. One that would not go away no matter how studiously he tried to ignore it.

There's a good chance they're not even going to let you in.

He took his eyes off of the dying light and hung his head in his hands, letting out a low drawn out moan.

Ash had talked to enough people on the road to understand that things weren't the best in Deadsnows right now. Food shortages, curfews, trouble with monsters and Gods only know what else, the works. The fact that even more of the travellers he had met on the road had wanted absolutely nothing to do with him and had threatened violence the moment he had gotten to close to them led him guess that unfamiliar armed half-orcs weren't exactly the most popular people in this region of the world.

And now he, an unfamiliar armed half-orc, was trying to enter a not particularly friendly town, full of not particularly friendly people.

At night.

He buried his face deeper into his hands and moaned again slightly louder.

This is a bad idea.

Dejectedly, he raised his gaze up from the trampled snow beneath him, and fixed it towards the thinning stream of people issuing through the gate. He would have to try is luck sooner rather than later, either that or spend the night in Snowtown, dwindling shanty town that existed at the foot of the walls. Perhaps that might even be preferable?

As if in answer to his question, a furry of snowflakes drifted down from the rapidly darkening sky, and the cold wind picked up once more. Ash shivered even beneath the heavy furs of his travelling cloak. It was going to be very, very, cold tonight.

Okay maybe its a better idea than freezing to death.

He sighed one last time and hefted his pack back onto his shoulder, and made his way towards the gates.

As he walked, Ash debated the various different strategies to could employ in order to try and gain entry to Deadsnows. He could try to slip in unnoticed with locals heading in. It was already pretty dark. If he put his hood up and wrapped his scarf around the bottom half of his face, almost no one would be able to tell he was a half-orc unless they looked closely. But if he got discovered it might lead to more questions, than if he just walked up and explained everything and told the guards his story. Perhaps he could come up with an even better story as to why they should let him into the town? But then he'd have to come up with something really quick, and he wasn't much of liar to begin with, and if he got discovered it could be even worse than if he had just tried to go in disguised. Having a hood up and wearing scarf in winter wasn't exactly suspicious, but being caught in the middle of lying to a town guard was definitely suspicious. Perhaps if there was some way that he coul-

Ash had arrived at the gate.

He hadn't come up with a plan yet.

Shit.

There was practically no one at gate anymore, the guards looked like they were ready to close up for the night, and they were staring at Ash.

Ash blinked and stared back. A panicked half smile taking up the bottom half of his face as he nervously tried to find something, anything, to say.

"Umm... Hi, could I... errrr- come in? Maybe?"
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Shu
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Deadsnows | Uktar 5th | 1495 DR


The crunching snow announced his arrival. Even someone as stealthy as he couldn't move quietly in the iced snow, though he could have been more quiet if he wished to be. Luckily for Gapip, it wouldn't do to freak out a prospective employer, and once he noticed the swordsman, Markus gave a bow. The mercenary was fine in appearance, but there was a darkness to him that went beyond his brown eyes and waves of black hair. It was evident he was dangerous.

"Who are you?" Gipap asked, groaning as he got up from the thin log he sat upon and smacking the snow off his trousers. He wasn't nervous around big folk, but he was understandably wary. "If you're here to tell me to vacate the town, I'll tell them what I said last time. I'm not leaving until my people get the help they deserve."

Markus smiled for a brief moment, but it disappeared like a falling snowflake. "I'm here to help you." He explained simply, pulling his jacket about him more tightly. "Not for free, mind. But we can talk about price later. My name is Markus Flintbrook, and I'm what some might call an Eldritch Knight."

"Good heavens!" Gapip exclaimed, leaping back in surprise. "Kifflefruzz and Sprinklespinks I say! Sorry, old habit. Yes, I am very much looking for someone with your skills! I go by Gapip, but please call me 'Pip' friend!"

"Glad to help, my friend. Now, what's the problem then, Pip?" Markus asked, straight to the point. He was good at heart, but he was still out of coin and standing in the middle of a snow drift. For some reason, Gapip glanced around nervously, hesitant to reveal what the problem might be. After a few moments of pause, he revealed the problem. "Kobolds, sir. Those blasted things are ransacking my people. Can you help us?"

Kobolds were certainly gnomish enemies, but out in the freezing cold? It was unusual, he suspected. But he had only seen Kobolds in summer weather when he fought the Cult of the Dragon. He nodded pragmatically, knowing he would accept this job before he had even thought it out. He needed something, and he had slayed many Kobolds before. He knelt down and held his hand out to shake Gapip's hand.

"You have your swordsman. I'll help your village out, Pip."

"Excellent, Markus! Fiddlesticks to those nasty lizards!"

"...Yeah."
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Kassarock
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Ash seemed to shrink into himself under the barrage of casual insults levelled at him by the guardsmen. It wasn't anything particularly new, or particularly hurtful, but in the back of his mind he had held onto the small hope that it would somehow be... different, here in Deadsnows. He had almost resigned himself to spending the night out in the cold comforts of Snowtown before he realised that despite their hostility, the soldiers would allow him through the gates.

Immediately, he perked up a little, and stuttered his way through a brief thank you before making his way through the gate and into the town beyond.

Inside the walls the snow on the ground had been trampled into a brown slush. Tightly packed buildings of rough hewn stone and raw timber leaned in to each other, as if huddled close for warmth. Warmth. That was Ash's most pressing concern now he had made it into Deadsnows. He needed to get out of the cold and find somewhere he could spend the night.

Thankfully, a building larger and stouter built than its neighbours quickly appeared through the evening gloom once he was a short way into the small town. Judging the noise and the light spilling from its windows, it was some kind of tavern. A wooden sign swung above the doorway, depicting a large smith's hammer and some kind of flower. It would more than make do for tonight.

As he approached the entrance, there seemed to be some kind of a knot of people that had formed there. One of them was a elf, with long pale hair, dressed in flowing robes. Whilst the other was a strangely stressed man the likes of which Ash had never seen before. Had they travelled from somewhere even more distant than he to come to Deasnows?

He wanted to get out of the cold and into the dry, comfortable, warmth of the tavern, but at the same time he was loathe to interrupt these strangers in whatever it was they were doing. Still, it was getting dark, and the wind was positively freezing. Ash shivered deeply once more beneath his fur travelling cloak before he decided to make his presence known with a small clearing of his throat.

"Um, sorry to bother you, but if I could just get squeeze pass please, that would be -err- great, thanks?"
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Vendras paused, he'd been about to talk to the foreign looking man, trying to remember where he'd read of dress that looked like that when someone approached them. A young half-orc it appeared with more human in him than orc spoke to them, seeming apprehensive and fearful to Vendras, but perhaps it was his imagination. "Um, sorry to bother you, but if I could just get squeeze pass please, that would be -err- great, thanks?"

Regarding the young man for a moment with inquisitive eyes, Vendras abruptly smiled warmly "I'd caught with my ears a hint of something at the gates, I was about to come see, would you both be willing to come with me? I have a proposition for you two, I'll pay for your food and drink, though lodging might be somewhat difficult."

Gesturing to them with that smile still on his face the elf eagerly gestured to the door "Come! come! I know perhaps others might look at you with uncertainty, but I can see in you that the Deadsnows has need of people with your abilities, come! I insist, at least for the meal, hear me out that's all I ask, what do you say?"

Vendras hoped they'd agree, it would be harder to do these things on his own. Inwardly he grimaced at the idea of trying to tackle some of the issues alone, that would be dangerous, while he could summon the dead to protect him, he knew that he wasn't particularly suited to combat. Though perhaps it was safer to say it wasn't what he was focused on with his spells, and having people with actual minds to watch your back was better than undead.

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Ash looked away as the fine featured, silver haired elf before him swept him over with his keen and inquisitive eyes. He had not wanted to attract attention coming into Deadsnows, but it seemed he had could the eyes of both the guards at the gate and this stranger before him. Thankfully though the stranger didn't seem to bear him any ill will, quite the contrary. He wanted to pay for Ash's food and drink, proposition him, and then... try to find some... lodgings...

Oh God. Is this something sexual? Is this something weird and sexual?

For a moment Ash tried to imagine what sort unspeakable acts this seemingly refined looking elf would want to perform with a half-orc and a strange looking foreigner, before instantly trying to think about literally anything other than that. Despite his best efforts, he could feel his face redden as it flushed with warm blood.

"That's err- very nice of you, but I'm not actually err- what I mean is..." Ash tried to stammer out some firm yet non-offensive reason to part company with the elf as he pointedly stared at his feet, blushing even harder. Nothing was coming out. He couldn't think of anything, his mind had gone completely blank.

Why can't you think of anything? Say something damn it! Say anything!

"...Okay?"

WHY DID YOU SAY THAT?! That was literally the only thing you should not have said!

With an absolutely blank expression upon his still reddened face, the Ash defeatedly followed the direction in which the elf had gestured, into the bar of the tavern. Maybe it wouldn't be that bad? Maybe whatever he was into would turn out to be quite... vanilla?

At least he's not bad looking...
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Hidden 12 days ago Post by Rising Dusk
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The foreigner with strange clothing politely declined Vendras's offer, who watched with faint disappointment. One less tough looking fellow to help stop enemies from getting sharp stabby things into his innards. Then he turned his attention back to the young half-orc and furrowed his brows in faint confusion, why was this young man blushing? Why was he trying not to look at Vendras?

Frowning faintly in befuddlement he asked "Why are you looking at me like that? Was it something I said?" The elf stared for a moment then shook his head "I suppose it's not important, though I'm a bit puzzled as to why you're blushing, come with me, and I'll get down to explaining why I asked you to come with me."

Entering the tavern, he asked for food and drink for two and when they were eventually(finally) seated, he got down to business. "I'm looking to help people around these parts solve some of their problems, they're faced with starvation, threats from monsters and more...only thing is, I'm as you can see a wizard whose soft tender insides tend to be vulnerable to sharp pointy swords." Vendras explained with an amused smile "So I was hoping to find like-minded people to adventure with me and maybe help keep some of the unpleasant company we might run into from making my insides be outsides, you look capable to me and I thought perhaps you might be interested, even if you're not willing to do it out of the goodness of your heart, I'm willing to hire you if that sounds alright?"

Vendras smiled and held out his hand to shake "I am Vendras by the way, it's quite nice to meet you, I hope the guards didn't give you much trouble, people can be rather close minded."

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