Music to Run With

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Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:09 pm

Stromholm was a large city, certainly one of the largest in the so-called New Kingdom. It was nestled comfortably on the shores of the Strom, a massive lake and the namesake of the city. A mountain range stretched to the north of the city, wrapping around the eastern side of Stromholm before continuing off into the distance, bisecting the kingdom. The path through the mountains led right into Stromholm, making it a key point in trade across the kingdom. It was one of the reasons for the city's huge success. The other, of course, was the lake itself. A river that flowed from the southwestern portion of the lake meandered a handful of miles before meeting its end at the ocean. Stromholm was truly a trade city, available to ship and receive goods from both land and sea.

As such a large city, there were many kinds of people that lived within it. Most were human, though there was a substantial number of dwarves within the city. The close proximity to mountains was the main cause of that. Dwarves were seldom found in places where mountains were few in number. Having such a large number of them here gave Stromholm a booming economy, tools and sturdy homes in no short supply. The walls which surrounded the city had been made by the dwarves. There were no finer stone- and metalworkers in this plane. As for the other races, halflings and half-elves had decent numbers. Full elves were very uncommon, as were dragonborn and tieflings. One of the least common of all the races within the city, though, were eladrin.

As it so happened on this particular day, a young eladrin male was walking through the streets of the city, in search of an inn. There were plenty in the city, but this eladrin's taste in lodgings was picky enough to rule out most of the inns he had seen thus far. He was now heading into the richer part of the city, hoping to find a better inn.

He was a tall eladrin, pale-skinned and delicate. The male was quite slender, looking somewhat underweight. His hair was long--reaching the small of his back-- and pale silver, shimmering exotically in the sunlight. His iridescent green eyes--pupil-less, as with all eladrin--were scanning the buildings that lined the road, looking for any signs for an inn while his pointed ears listened for any signs of danger.

He was beautiful, but he was certainly not without a physical fault. He had a definite limp, favoring his left leg. Though he used no cane to assist in his walking, his leg was obviously a source of pain for him. This coupled with his expensive clothes and delicate and feminine appearance would easily attract the attention of anyone in the area whose intentions were less than friendly. Perhaps the only deterrent of that was the longsword that was sheathed at his right hip. It was a well-known fact that all eladrin were trained with longswords from an early age.

It took more minutes than he would have preferred, but at last the eladrin had reached the inn in the wealthier portion of the city. He went inside and saw that it was more to his liking than the others. The bar was clean. The tables in the tavern portion of the inn were made of expensive wood--imported from the Feywild, it looked like--and that certainly sealed the deal in his opinion.

The owner was a human male, middle-aged with graying hair. After giving the man his name--Kreil Maryne--he handed over the appropriate amount of gold coins before being given the key to his room. It was upstairs--damn it all--but it would do. There were no more rooms available on the first floor. He'd asked.

He made his way up to the room slowly, then unlocked the door to allow his entrance. It was a sizable room with a double-bed, a desk, a window, and a wardrobe. There was a table in the corner with two chairs, in case he had company. How nice. There was even a vase with a flower in it sitting on the windowsill, and he smiled to himself as he plopped his leather pack down on the bed. He'd be here for at least a week, so he had better get settled in. A bath certainly sounded like a wonderful idea.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:01 pm

Ephren saw the tall Eladrin enter the taproom and unobtrusively drew further into the shadows. His gittern was still in its case so that he would not be able to deflect attention from himself fast enough if this stranger was looking for him. But he felt the Eladrin's gaze pass over his corner without even a slight hesitation before the stranger exchanged some coins with the innkeep behind the counter. Neverthess, Ephren only dared to breathe again after the stranger limped out of the room and he heard the uneven tread on the stairs. He could not help himself, every strange face, every curious look, every inquiry into his life made him pack his bag and run again. He hadd changed over the last three years, changed intentionally physically as well as in his demeanor. Before the three weeks in Guildmasster Heren's house he had been an arrogant, vain, overconfident cad whose only concern was which beautiful man or woman he was to seduce tonight or which coat he would waste a bit more of his father's enourmous fortune on. And then he went to the guildmasters home - and when he managed to escape three weeks later he had turned into a frightened shadow of himself, running for his sanity. His sleek physique had turned gaunt, his proud posture gave way to hunched shoulders and his blond hair now almost appeared brown through the constant layer of dirt. Even his largee dark brown eyes would have been unrecognisable even to his mother ass they had lost their constantly amused glint and instead now darted suspiciously around, more often than not veiled by his long lashes.

Overr the last three years he had earned his upkeep by trading his music against dinner and a pallett in inns and coachstations running further and further. Whenever, he thought he lost his pursuers a strnager wwould ask too accurate questions or he would overhear some inn patrons speak about Lord Telen's missing son and searchers in town. His music hid him and protected him but he was not couragous enough to test it against determined searchers - so he would grab his few possessions and run again.

He had been in this city since almost two weeks. This inn was much better than he was used to play in and the inn keeper had taken one look at him and ensured that he was given two meals a day for his music. He had hoped he would be able to remain here for longer - but the arrival of the eladrin made him uncomfortable. He knew he should just grab his bag and run. But the innkeeper had been kind and Ephren's consience raised its tired head. The stranger had looked tired and hurt. He might stay the night in his room. Ephren could leave in the morning, in the daylight. that made a lot more sense. And even if teh stranger decided to take his meal in the taproom - for one night his music could hide him.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:21 pm

Evening approached, and with it Kreil's appetite was beginning to rear its head. He had taken a bath in what was thankfully a private bathroom. The other inns he'd turned down had communal baths, and that just wouldn't do. He preferred to have the luxury of a locked door when bathing. Not that he had anything to be ashamed of so far as his physique was concerned, but he had been raised with a strong sense of modesty. Being in the nude with other equally nude people did not appeal to him in the slightest. That, and he was very self-conscious about his left leg. The jagged pink scar that rested above his knee was an ugly sight, and Kreil didn't want anyone to see it. It would no doubt invite questions, and questions were bad.

After his bath and changing into a fresh outfit--consisting of a white silk shirt, brown pants, leather boots, and a violet sash--he made sure his appearance was as immaculate as he wished it to be before heading downstairs. Eating in the inn sounded convenient enough to him, since he wasn't exactly in the mood to go walking around the city in search of decent food. He'd done enough walking in recent months. His leg was really starting to protest all the traveling he'd been doing.

The tables were just about loaded by the time he went downstairs, but he managed to find one that wasn't occupied yet. The only one. Which meant that it was going to be filling up soon, judging by the crowd that had already gathered. Apparently there was a bard staying at this inn, so that was a draw for quite a few people. Kreil didn't really care, though. Especially if the bard was human. He wasn't racist, exactly, but he didn't care for human bards. They lacked the intrigue that he enjoyed in bards with different heritages. Even a halfling bard was more interesting than a human one, but his personal favorite was eladrin bards. He'd grown up listening to them, of course, and they would forever remain his favorites.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:06 pm

As evening approached the taproom started to fill up and Ephren withdrew into the kitchen to eat a quick meal of bread and cheese. Soon he would have to play and he had learnt the hard way that he needed to eat before playing for hours in a dark and smokey room full of rowdy people. He tried to make the crowds less likely to erupt in sudden violence but he was not sure in how far his daily headache was due to trying to spin a spell or to the alcohol vapours. He was a sorry excuse for a Bard.

He spied through the door into the tap room and was alarmed and relieved at teh same time. Relieved because he could not see the stranger from his vantage point and alarmed because the taproom was filled with too many people for his comfort. It looked like one of the large trading caravans had arrived and a group of traders were celebrating the successful end of a lucrative venture. Additionnally, there seemed to be agroup of univversity students playing cards. Ephren slipped through teh door with his gittern in hand and took his chair in front of the fire place. What to play? What wouldd this crown demand. What would keep their spirits up without letting them lose the tenuous reigns on their tempers which alcohol and testosterone were already undemrining. Ephren had seen too manyy bar fights - he did not want to see another.

Unbidden his mind brought up the memory of an almost forgotten dwarrfen song and before he realised it his fingers were touching the gittern strings. It was a song about the Dwarfenmaid Krghz and the forging of the seven silent swords. He had heard it sung only once, as a child in his father's house, played by the ambassador himself. The music was wistful and melancholic, atypical for the normally bold and clear dwarfen songs. As the last note was strucck by his fingers he looked up and directly into the piercing green eyes of teh stranger. Blast, he had missed the man in his earlier sweep of the room as his table was in one od the corners not visible from the door. It was too late now, he had to hope that this man had no interest in him.

He was about to begin another, more cheerful, tune when a loud crash drew his attention. One of the students stood in teh middle of teh room with teh remnants of a broken chair in his hands. At his feet, bleeding from a gash on his forehead, the youngest of the traders. Clearly, in his absorption first in teh music and later in the green eyes, Ephren had missed the beginning of an altrication, and now it was too late. As drunk and angry as the two groups now faced eacch other his music would not be able to calm the waters anymore. Nevertheless, in desperation he began to play endowing the music with all his will, spinning a spell to make the people want to cooperate. This talent was what had interested the guildmaster. This talent was what had made his parents sell him. This talent had led to three weeks of torture, abuse and rape in teh attempt to break him of his own will. But he would be leaving tomorrow anyway, and even if there was little chance that he wwould be able to reach the combatants through the alcohol fog in their brains with his music - if he did not try then this situations would explode. And death is not an uncommon visitor in barfights. He had stood by too often. He could not afford another murder on his conscience. So he started to play
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:42 pm

Kreil's attention to the bard immediately vanished as soon as he saw that he was human. Instead the eladrin focused on finishing own meal, enjoying it as much as he could as he sought to finish it quickly. His stomach still had some issues with the food on this plane, even though he'd been here for the better part of a year. It had had twenty-four years of Feywild cuisine to grow accustomed to first, and he doubted it would ever shut up and just accept the food of any other plane. At least the salad he'd ordered was fresh.

He had just finished with his meal and had intended to head up to his room when the dirty-looking bard started to play his first song. The sound of it made Kreil blink in surprise. It was a song of dwarven origin, he recognized. Not one that was in the same style as most dwarven songs, though, and he was oddly intrigued by the bard's song choice. He'd pegged human bards as being gaudy crowd-pleasers who didn't have a proper sense of culture to them, but this one was breaking that stereotype rather effectively. How very peculiar.

After the song ended, Kreil actually applauded the bard along with anyone else who cared, though the start of a fight quickly robbed attention away from the bard. The situation was already quite dire, since a trader had been hit with a chair and was now bleeding on the floor. He didn't look conscious, and it seemed like his fellow traders were going to come to blows with the arcane university students who were riled up with hormones and booze. This could go nowhere good, and he inwardly sighed before rising to his feet. He honestly shouldn't get involved in this, but he had a healthy respect for death and didn't think anyone should be sent to the realm of the Raven Queen tonight.

Kreil's sword practically sprang from its sheath with an eagerness that was almost sinister. The symbol of a dagger-like snake was etched into the blade just above the hilt, but it was difficult to see unless one took a close look. It was the holy symbol of Zehir, and was infamous among those who were well-versed in divine lore. Zehir was not the most feared god, but he was among them. It was almost ironic that Kreil, a servant of an evil god, was going to break up a bar fight so no one else got hurt.

His movements were a blur as he inserted himself into the middle of the fight, executing a quick series of strikes which were faster than the eyes of any observers could easily follow. He heard the bard starting to play another song, and some of the people in the fight seemed to lose their spunk and settle down. Those who did not were dealt with by Kreil's blade, struck with the flat of the sword in any particularly painful bony place that Kreil could easy strike. That was mainly the point of the shoulder, the knee, or in the case of the one who started the fight, the head. It certainly stopped the fight for the time being, but now there were quite a few people utterly pissed at Kreil for hitting them with a sword.

The eladrin kept his sword unsheathed for his own safety, his breathing somewhat elevated from adrenaline and the exertion of the maneuver he'd just pulled. His bad leg was hurting him quite badly, but he kept his stance even. Pain could be ignored, and he couldn't afford to show signs of weakness right now. If his leg gave out, though, that would be a huge problem. It seemed like the fight was over, thankfully, since some of the participants in the fight were now apologizing to each other. That surprised Kreil, but he didn't comment on it. Now really wasn't the time. Not when another fight could break out at any moment. Some of them were still drunk and angry.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:31 am

Ephren was impressed with the balance and accuracy the Eladrin employed to break up the fight without causing actual harm. Well, at least to anyone else. The grimace on his face as he turned and the remaining tenseness indicated that he was in some discomfort. Had he been hit? Ephren let his eyes sweep over the man - and then halted... since when was he worried about the state of health of potential enemies? Before he could start another song the four female servers, on a signal of the inn-keep, entered with trays laden with hot, sweet, spiced tea. Smart move -a small flirtation and a comforting drink would do much to dispel the tension, especially a the both initial combatants received special attention. Ephren took a deep breath.

... and lost the breath again in a squawk. The inn keeps heavy hand on his shoulder scared him almost witless and, not for the first time, did he regret the little attention he had spend at his lessons in Bardic Hall. A good Bard was not only a good musician but combined everything from a spy, a messenger, a historian to a diplomat. And all the skills needed for these were taught in Bardic. A true Bard would always know what was happening around him and already have strategised the different possible outcomes of a situation. However, when he had attended the Bardic hall he had been the you get son of a Lord and had expected to spend his skill with amusing visitors in his father's mansion for the rest of his life. As a result he had not applied himself to anything besides music and swordplay, and he had left his sword behind.

"Come on, boy, I am grateful for your help but the hotheads will be occupied for the moment. It is better of you and our guest take your evening meal now in the private parlour till they have finished to settle down" The heavy hand on the back of his neck guided him gently through the door at the north wall into the normally closed good parlour. This was set aside for visiting nobles and ladies - and as there were not many normally remained unused. Now a fire was burning merrily in the grate and Irene, the innkeepers daughter, just finished setting out a cold meal consisting of bread, and meat and cheese. As she slipped past him he realised that her mother had led the Eladrin into the room after him.

"Sir, this is Ephren, our Bard. We are in both of your debt, so please accept food and drink on the house here before you retire for the evening. Both of you." She threw a wane smile to Ephren before she closed the door behind her. He was surprised by her gestured. He was aware that none of the inns employees were allowed in this room, even cleaning and preparations were only undertaken by the family itself. He had not realised that the innkeeper might have classed him higher than the others. It was true that though he kept his hair grimy to hide its colour, his clothes were scrupulously clean though threadbare. But, whilst this show of trust warmed his heart, he would, at this moment, have preferred less regard and a place in the kitchen. Oh well, it was best to consider himself the entertainment and hide behind the music. Literally. He bowed to the Eladrin and started to play a song from his homeland embruing it with his whole desire to disappear, to remain unnoticed.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:07 pm

Kreil allowed himself to be led into the other room, and he chuckled inwardly at the irony of being allowed into the parlor normally reserved for nobles. It really wasn't anyone's business what his own heritage was in terms of social status, so he didn't throw around titles unless he had a very good reason to. Sycophants tended to attach themselves to nobles, and sycophants were incredibly annoying. Kreil could do without a following of them. He got enough attention because of his race.

The bard was introduced to him, and he nodded to acknowledge the human before the two of them were left alone in the parlor. Conversation was usually what followed in such situations, but it looked like the bard would rather play music for him. Shy, perhaps? Hiding behind his music? That seemed to be the case as Kreil heard the music. It was familiar, and he could feel it pulling at his will. The bard was trying to put a spell on him, and Kreil's mind quickly fought to resist it.

"You do not need to play right now, bard," he stated. His voice was smooth and silky, light and melodic. He sounded sure and confident, his words spoken with a light elven accent. Though Kreil himself was not an elf, eladrin and elves were racial cousins and shared the same language. They were both from the Feywild, but many centuries ago the elves left the unending twilight of the Feywild and came to this plane to inhabit its deepest forests. Eladrin remained in the Feywild and continued as they always had, living in their shining cities and mastering the unending trials that the forests of the Feywild had to offer. To say that Kreil was homesick would be an understatement. He'd never been away from his home plane for this long.

He limped over to the bard and held out a delicate, pale-skinned hand. "I am Kreil. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." Handshaking wasn't something eladrin normally did, but Kreil had picked up a few customs from his travels thus far and this happened to be one of them. He was trying to play to the bard's element, not wanting to make the man uncomfortable. He looked nervous enough as it was. There had to be more to this than him just being shy. He was a bard, after all. If he was new to the profession, then maybe that could account for the shyness. Otherwise, this was either an act or he was nervous for another reason. The latter seemed more likely, but Kreil wasn't going to pry. It wasn't his business.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:28 pm

Ephren was almost frightened to touch the hand of the stranger. He was so absorbed in the moment that he, unthinkingly, added the common elvish greeting "Erasen merey". He bit his lip. It was hard to forget his formal court training which had been hammered into his head from an early age onwards. To cover the slip of his tongue he continued hastily in Common: "Mylord, please serve yourself at the table before your dinner spoils. If you do not wish for entertainment, I will refrain from playing" His eyes drifting higher than the Eladrin's mouth. Even though he was by now almost sure that this man was not one of his pursuers he could still not set aside the habits learnt in the last three years. It was safer if this man paid no attention to him.

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Last edited by Kalon Ordona II on Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:30 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Post Length Rule Infraction: 8/10 or 9/10 sentences, depending. Post Format Rule Infraction: 1/2 paragraphs.)
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:01 pm

Kreil gave the bard a genuine smile when the bard greeted him in Elven. That was quite refreshing to hear, and he was still smiling as he returned the sentiment fluidly in his native tongue. Then the bard was speaking in Common again, and Kreil tilted his head in slight curiosity. It was strange that this bard had tried to quickly cover up the fact that he'd spoken that Elven greeting. It was something that was used as a court formality in this plane, yes, but it was common practice in the Feywild and in elven communities. It was their language, after all. It wasn't even the least bit strange for a bard to know the phrase. Bards did play in court at times. The successful ones, at least. The only suspicious thing was that this bard was trying to cover up what he perceived to be a slip of the tongue. Now Kreil was getting curious.

"Do you speak Elven," he asked in Common, "or do you only know that greeting?" He ignored the comment about the food. His salad had been enough for him, and he pointed out, "The food is for you as well, bard. You had a hand in quelling that fight." He'd noticed the feel of magic in the air. The arcane arts left their own traces, and Kreil had been trained to recognize when a spell was at work.

He went to sit down, but not at the table. Instead he opted to rest by the fireplace, letting the heat soothe the muscles of his bad leg. It felt quite nice, and he gave a soft sigh of contentment. There was a chair opposite him, and he motioned to it as he said, "You are perfectly welcome to sit here, you know. I do not bite."
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:18 pm

What to say? Did he admit to speaking Elven, or was it better to hide this fact? He had become very rusty in his dealings with other beings over his years of flight. He noted the slight grimace of relieve as Kreil sat in front of the fire. To buy himself time he filled two goblets with the for spiced tea and brought them to the fireside. He would have preferred to sit further away but to do so now would be impolite at best and insulting at worst.

"I speak Elven, but not very well. I have had little time to practice since my time at the Bardic Hall" With a flash of brilliance he remembered that one could learn Elven there, he never had as he had spoken it long before. But he remembered that those from poorer background without court training had had the opportunity to learn the language there. This would do to explain his slip and dispel any possible curiosity.

Now, remembering his long forgotten manners he grappled for an inconspicuous topic of light conversation to pass the time the Eladrin clearly did not want to spend listening to music.
"The eladrin are rarely seen so far west. I hope your travels are proving fruitful and enjoyable" Here, he remembered at least a bit of his good upbringing.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:36 pm

Kreil accepted the bard's reply regarding the Elven language. It didn't surprise him that part of a bard's training was learning that language. Many people chose to learn Elven as a second language. It was one of the most common languages, though it wouldn't surprise him if only a handful of people in this city spoke it. It was far more likely that the people here would speak Dwarven, considering the close proximity to the mountains. Speaking with dwarves was far more important in this city than speaking with the almost nonexistence elves and eladrin.

He chuckled lightly at the bard's next remark. "I imagine more of my kind reside closer to the capitol," he stated. "We do tend to gravitate toward the more civilized places." He smiled. "My travels have gone well enough. As a bard, I am sure you are aware that young eladrin like myself tend to leave the Feywild for a time to explore the other planes. I have been doing such exploration for the past six months or so."

His green eyes seemed to glow in the firelight as he gazed at the bard. It bothered Kreil slightly that he couldn't tell if the bard's hair was brown or just dirty. The latter option was a bit disturbing to Kreil. He didn't like being dirty. One could easily consider him obsessive over his own cleanliness. He took much pride in his appearance. Another reason for him to keep his scar hidden from the eyes of others.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:59 pm

Ephren squirmed slightly under the intense eyes of the eladrin. Kreil had the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen, but then most poisonous animals were incredibly beautiful, and he would bet that there was little that escaped the attention of these eyes. He cringed slightly when he saw the disgust pass over the beautiful face as Kreil looked at him. He chided himself for the moment of hurt the look caused him. It was good if Kreil found him disgusting, it would mean that he would soon be able to leave the room and would never see the Eladrin again.

"Six months away from civilisation must leave you with a hunger for return. Will you be travelling for much longer?" Ephren had barely finished the sentence when a loud crash from the tap room and the raised voice of the inn keeper in front of the door reach them. Ephren had barely turned towards the door almost subconsciously interposing himself between the wounded Eladrin and the door (what was he thinking - the eladrin was by far better equipped to protect himself and certainly did not need the help of a scrawny bard), when the door crashed open revealing seven men in the uniform of the city guard.

"Eladrin, you are under arrest by the orders of Duke Teren. Come quietly and no harm will come to you."
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:42 pm

"Six months away from my home," Kreil confirmed with a nod. "I will likely be traveling for far longer, though. These little journeys tend to last some decades." He spoke of that length of time as though it was nothing, and to an eladrin it really was. They were a long-lived race, still going strong even after a few hundred years. Eladrin did not age after reaching maturity. They stayed in top physical form until a ripe old age. Then there was a rapid period of decline preceding their death. Kreil was only in his twenties. He was still considered a child in the eyes of his race.

He blinked in surprise when a group of city guardsmen came bursting through the door, declaring that he was under arrest. This was unexpected, as was the fact that the bard was seemingly shielding him from the guards. That was unnecessary, though. Kreil had no intention of fighting them. It didn't mean he'd willingly go with them, but he wasn't going to fight. He'd rather flee, unless he could talk his way out of this. He'd just arrived in the city. What possible reason could they have for arresting him? Kreil was hardly a wanted criminal.

"What, may I ask, am I being charged with?" he inquired, remaining seated and seemingly completely calm and composed. He was watching the guards closely, noticing their threatening body language. They meant business, which made it seem like Kreil was being arrested for some manner of violent crime.

"The murder of Jaqueline Courion," the guard in the lead replied gruffly, his companions moving forward to apprehend the eladrin. The name of the deceased did not ring any bells. Kreil had certainly not killed that person, though he had heard of the Courion family. They were of human nobility, located in several different cities. A large family, certainly. He'd never had dealings with them, though.

"Then you have the wrong man," Kreil replied shortly, not that he expected the guards to believe him. "I only just arrived in this city. The guards at the south gate can attest to that." His calm statements earned him a hard backhand to his cheek, the guard's metal gauntlet leaving a cut on his skin. The hit made his vision blank about for a moment, an audible gasp escaping him as he was nearly knocked off the chair. A bruise was already starting to form on his cheek, and Kreil was understandably quite displeased with how he was being treated.

"Save your lies for the Duke!" the guard that had hit him snapped, his hand going for Kreil's hair next. That seemed to be the last straw, as Kreil quite suddenly vanished in a violet-veined glow and reappeared over by the table. He was glaring at the guards, furious at being mistreated.

"I have studied your laws, and you are not permitted to manhandle me or cause me harm," he reminded them with forced calm.

"That's only for nobles," a guard corrected him in return, drawing his sword. "We're allowed to do whatever we want to anyone else who's being difficult."

Kreil's eyes flashed with anger, no longer able to keep himself composed. "I am a noble, you ignorant sod!" He'd had enough of these guards. If he was going to be framed for a crime, he wasn't going to stay in this city any longer. He glanced at the bard, silently requesting his support in this as he drew his sword and prepared to fight. He was outnumbered, yes, and he was at a disadvantage due to his leg. But he had faith in his abilities, and he hoped that his god would support him in his actions tonight.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:22 pm

Ephren considered the guards suspiciously. Something was wrong here. It was as if they knew exactly that Kreil was not the one they were looking for. The surreptitious looks the guards shared made him suspect that they were here in an unofficial capacity. Had someone bribed them to bring in Kreil?

Before he could follow this thought any further the situation exploded. He had a split second to make the decision to either stand with Kreil or leave him to the guards. He had no idea why he made the decision he made other than that he had decided to leave this place behind anyway. He took his flute from his pocket, touched Kreil's skin where the cuff of his shirt had been drawn back by the en grade position and started to play. A hide spell might not be successful with strong minded opponents but these guards would go under nicely.

Ten minutes later they were standing two streets away and Ephren had to stop playing. His headache had reached enormous proportions and he was aware of the fact that magic burn would keep the headache alive for days. He could barely see straight anymore.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:44 pm

Kreil was not pleased at leaving his bag behind at the inn. The guards were probably searching for him outside the building, though, and so it would be safe enough for Kreil to go back in. There was no way he'd be leaving without his belongings, and there was little use in making all haste to the gate. He could hear the shouts already that a pair of fugitives were on the run. The gates would be closing and they'd be stuck in the city for the rest of the night unless they made their escape through other means. It just so happened that Kreil had a place in mind that they could go for aid. Assuming he remembered how to find such places. It had been a while since he'd been in a large city.

"You may keep running if you would like," he said, "but I need to go back for my belongings. I will return here in five minutes. It is your choice if you want to be here or not when I return. Either way, thank you for your help." He really did appreciate the aid, and he could see that the bard had a headache from using that spell. Kreil would do what he could for that later if he saw him again. For now, he had to get back to the inn.

Without waiting for confirmation from the bard, he took off in the direction of the inn at a limping jog. He kept to the shadows, avoiding notice from anyone he wished to avoid. Like guards. He didn't want to be seen by those. It was immediately obvious that they were hanging around the inn, searching the surrounding streets for him. He got himself as close to the window of his room as he possible before stepping forward, vanishing in a green glow before reappearing just inside the window of his room. He had barely been close enough to pull that off, and he sighed in relief. That could have gone rather badly for him.

His room was empty, and he gathered together his belongings quickly before returning to the window and opening it. Fey stepping back to the ground was not an option. It was tiring to use that ability, and he needed to give himself time to recover from the last step. The alternative was unpleasant, but he had no choice. Going through the building itself was not an option. He'd be seen. So he carefully climbed out the window and onto the roof, grunting from the exertion of pulling himself up.

He lay on his back on the roof for several moments afterward, catching his breath and trying to get his arms to stop shaking. Climbing never was one of his strong suits, and he glanced down at the ground to judge how long of a fall this would be. It certainly wasn't a small one. It would hurt, but he knew how to land without getting himself injured too badly. He'd have bruises, though hopefully not any broken bones.

After taking a moment to get himself focused on the task ahead, he dropped down from the roof when none of the guards were looking in his direction. He let his momentum transfer to a forward motion upon landing, rolling to soften the impact. The stone road felt like fire along his back, leaving his back burning with pain after he was back on his feet. Both of his legs were hurting, his left from the usual cause and his right from having been landed on with most of his weight. Nothing felt broken though, but he definitely bruised a rib or two with that maneuver.

He started to run as quickly as his bad leg would allow after he was sure he hadn't been seen, and a couple minutes later he returned to the spot where he'd left the bard. Hopefully the human would be there.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:44 pm

Ephren rested his head against the cool stone of the archway Kreil had left him at. The noise, the light , the smells - all was hammering in on him, making his head swim and his stomach roil. The cool of the stone slowly seeped into his consciousness and helped to clear his mind at least that far that he realised where he was. He remembered Kreil telling him to remain here and wait for him. Or was he supposed to leave and make sure not to be here? His mind had not been clear enough to register in detail, or even in broad outlines, what had been said. No matter, he would remain here for a while longer, resting. If Kreil returned then that was great - if not then he would be moving on alone again. He hoped Kreil would return.

This made him hesitate for a moment. Why did he want Kreil to return? Rationally, it made sense, of course. Travelling together was safer and Kreil had proven to be ignorant of his past. But if hw was honest then he had to admit that there was more. So, it was wiser not be be honest. At least not till his headacche had cleared. He turned as he heard hurried steps coming closer and he could not help the smile that spread over his face.
"Kreil"
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:17 pm

Kreil stopped running once he reached the bard, his heart doing a little leap in his chest when he saw that the man was still there. So they would be traveling together after all. Kreil had never had a traveling companion, but the bard had helped him and Kreil felt that he owed it to the man to make it up to him somehow. Until that debt was paid, Kreil would stay by the bard's side. Or until the bard told him to go away. Whichever came first.

He heard the bard call his name, and he gave the man a small smile in return before saying, "This way, I believe." He placed a hand momentarily on the man's upper arm to hurry him along before heading toward the poor section of the city. He was letting his connection with his god guide him, his hand resting above the symbol of the snake on his sword. It felt colder as he headed in the correct direction, and with his surprisingly reliable guides he found an entrance to the catacombs beneath the city.

"Down here," he told the bard, sliding the lid off the manhole before climbing down the ladder and into the darkness of the dwarf-made catacombs. They were dark and damp, the air feeling humid and oppressive. It was cold down there, and he found himself shivering slightly as he pulled a sunrod from his pack. He snapped it, and the sunrod started to glow brightly to illuminate their path.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:11 am

The coolness of his surroundings broke through Ephren's concentration. For the last ten minutes all he had been able to do was concentrate on setting one foot in front of the other and not to loose sight of Kreil. He lifted his head and took an involuntary gasp of surprise.

He had known that Stormholm was build on some of the old Dwarven ways but he had not realised how easy access was. They had climbed down a manhole and stepped off the ladder about three metres down. He could hear water running further down and assumed these to be the true sewers but they were standing in a hallway cut from stone. The walls were smooth as glass and in the light of the sunrod golden sparks danced over them. When he leaned closer he saw that it was inclusions of pyrite that gave the walls the impressions to be studded with instances of multi-fractured golden light. And he realised that this was the purpose. It was not decorative at all - the sun rod reflected of the crystal and lit their way down the hall, the light reaching a lot further than the small sun rod would have.

He followed Kreil down the hallway marvelling at the walls and the beautifully carved archways. He forgot his aching bones, his fear, even his magic burn induced headache. Wonder filled him as they walked past empty rooms and deserted hallways branching off from this main thoroughfare. After about twenty minutes and various turns they reached a door which appeared made entirely out of amber. Kreil pushed it open and waved Ephren into a curiosity of a room.

To be exact it was two rooms bisected by an archway. From the door one entered what appeared to have been a living room, now deserted and dusty. Two dark red velvet chaise lounges dominated this space. Empty stone tables decorated with statues and long dead flowers lined the walls. But the wonder lay in what Ephren could see through the archway. Bookshelves over bookshelves filled with rows and rows of books.

"Where are we?" asked Ephren
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:55 am

Kreil had been searching for someplace other than what he ended up finding, but this would certainly do for now. It was long-abandoned, but comfortable enough. He would have preferred the secrecy of his previously planned location, but that required him to find the place. Right now, he could sense that it was close. Perhaps there was another length of tunnel hidden behind the bookshelves?

"I honestly have no idea," he stated, trying to figure out what this place's purpose was. "Unless..." He did some searching around, and he soon found what he was looking for. It was a small etching in the wall, a picture drawn with a dagger. The etching was of the same snake symbol that was on his sword, and he smiled to himself as he realized just what this place was. His god had guided him well, it would seem.

He looked over at the bard as he explained with newly found certainty, "This place was set up for assassins who wished to hide after a contract. The symbol of Zehir is on the wall." Usually a bad thing, but Kreil seemed perfectly at ease. Not overly suspicious in and of itself, though it might make the bard curious as to why Kreil wasn't afraid to hide out in a place where an assassin might show up. Assuming there were any in the city right now.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:33 pm

Ephren leaned against the wall, suddenly suspicious. How come he had followed Kreil all the way? A complete stranger? A beautiful stranger, but still a stranger. He had not stayed alive for three years by being so naive and trusting. What had happened? And now he was down here, in a completely deserted area, barely able to function due to magic burn, with a man who not only knew where assassins hid but also was unafraid to enter their sanctuaries.

"Who are you?" Possibly for the first time in their acquaintance he looked Kreil directly into his inhumanly beautiful eyes. If he was to die here, he would not do so cowering.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:59 pm

Kreil noticed the immediate change in the bard's attitude toward him, and he frowned slightly. That complicated matters a bit. Should he tell the bard the whole truth, or should he keep his profession and chosen deity a secret? He had seen people he thought were friends turn against him in a heartbeat because of the choice he had made for his life. Being in service of the god Zehir was something that was greatly frowned upon, though there were worse gods one could worship. People tended to forget the general tameness of Zehir when compared to some of the other evil gods. Then again, the idea that the rather corrupt society of snake-like humanoids known as Yuan-Ti worshipped Zehir did tend to turn people off of placing any trust in that god whatsoever, even compared to the other evil gods.

"Turnabout is fair play," he stated, his eyes fixing firmly on the bard's in return. "Who are you?" The message was quite obvious. Kreil wasn't going to answer him unless the bard was willing to part with some details in return. They both had their secrets, clearly, and they should leave it at that. But since Kreil hadn't done anything to harm the bard thus far, the human really should just let Kreil keep his silence on some matters.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:13 pm

Ephren let his head fall back against the stonewall without letting Kreil out of his sight. What to do now? Who to trust? Where to run? He was so tired of all of this. Was this what life would amount to? Kreil seemed to be truly ignorant of his identity and have an honest desire to preserve anonymity, how own and Ephren's. By throwing his lot in with Kreil he had burnt his bridges in this city. The guard would remember that he had helped a fugitive, therefore he had to lay low and escape the city. As did Kreil. When they had made it out of the city they would separate, and he could return to his desperately lonely and isolated life. Till then... well, till then he had to trust Kreil.

"Alright. Lead on. What is your plan?"
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:54 pm

Kreil gave a satisfied nod when the bard decided to discard the previous question. Now the topic of their next move came up, and that was something that Kreil had been thinking about for quite a while. One of the most important lessons an assassin had to learn was how to escape after a contract was completed. They were trained how to find sanctuary, and they were also trained how to escape from fortified cities like Stromholm. These cities usually had a temple of Zehir somewhere within them, but hidden. If he could find the temple, then he could get their aid in escaping the city. He had a feeling that the temple was somewhere in these catacombs. Hidden, of course. Probably behind some manner of false wall.

"We will lay low here for a day or two, then find a way out of the city," he answered the bard's question, glancing over at the wall. He had his suspicions about it, but he wouldn't act on them yet. Instead, he limped over to one of the chairs in the lounge area and sat down, wincing as his leg protested the change in position. His knee did not like bending. His leg in general didn't like a lot of things, but it settled down after a few uncomfortable moments.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:26 pm

Ephren watched Kreil wince in pain as he took a seat on the chair. He pushed away from the wall and knelt besides the abandoned fireplace. There were still logs in the grate and he took a flintlock from his pocket and set them on fire. He figured that there were two possible outcomes to this action: either the chimney was blocked and they would die from smoke inhalation - or the fire would dispel the bracing cold and they would NOT freeze to death over night. Temperatures this far up still fell far into the minus over night, even though it was officially spring.

He turned to Kreil, still on his knees on the floor and looked up at the Eladrin. For a moment he was aware of his vulnerable position on the floor. He shook of the thought and indicated the leg.
"Does your injury need care or has it healed enough that a massage will be enough to alleviate the pain. I have some experience with massaging healing limbs." He spared a sad thought for his long dead grandfather and the afternoons he had spend talking with him and helping him to relive the pain of arthritis through massages.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:47 pm

Kreil questioned the wisdom of lighting a fire down here, but he kept his mouth shut. If he noticed any smoke coming into the room, he'd have to put out the fire. Otherwise, it would be fine. The heat would be welcome. It was quite chilly in here, and he didn't have heavier clothes that he could put on. The cold was setting into his leg rather uncomfortably, making it ache more than usual.

He immediately got very tense when the bard asked about his leg. The injury was beyond healing and Kreil knew it. He'd done everything possible to try to heal his leg, but he'd failed. It was just a scar now, an angry red blemish on his otherwise smooth pale skin. Perhaps a massage would soothe the muscles, though. Temporarily.

It was a hard choice, but he'd made his decision after several long moments of silence. "A massage might help," he said quietly, unable to look at the man as he spoke. It was clearly very awkward for him to ask for help with his leg. Or talk about his leg at all, for that matter.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:12 pm

Ephren waited through the long moment of silence seeing an expression of discomfort pass over Kreil's face. After receiving the quiet permission to proceed he moved closer and ran his hands over the outstretched leg. Out of the corner of his eye he saw an expression of a deer in the headlights dawn on Kreil's face. In line with his whole body the muscles under his hands tensed. To give both himself and Kreil time to adjust he simply rested his hand on the thigh in front of him and let the heat of his hands seep into the knotted muscles, keeping his head bowed to allow Kreil as much privacy as he could.

As the muscles under his fingers started to relax he slowly allowed his hands to stroke the leg from mid thigh to ancle, exerting little to no pressure. The leg under his thigh was hard and muscles, the leg of a fencer and someone who was not unused to riding. He felt the hard ridges of a scar not allowing his hand to linger there. Not yet. Kreil's muscles had turned to stone as his hand passed over the outlines of the scar and he knew if he gave any indication of having noticed the man would not allow any further touch. And Ephren truly believed that he could alleviate the pain - if he was just allowed to do so.

As the leg under his hand relaxed again under his even strokes he started to paint little circles with the palms of his hands, pushing the tension away from the knotted muscles around the scar. He got lost in the feeling of the warm leg under his hand, the spreading relaxation in Kreil and himself. He was consumed by the desire to stroke away the pain and suffering. This would be better if he could bathe the leg in hot water, and whilst he knew how to get hot water he doubted that he would be allowed to touch this leg without its covering. More was the pity. It was a nice leg. But this gave him an idea. When Kreil went to sleep he would be able to wash. They were stuck here for a few days and there was no need to keep hiding his features and hair. He could be clean for a few days. The idea was heaven. Now, Kreil just had to relax enough to go to sleep and he could hunt out that water. But no hurry, he enjoyed stroking and massaging the leg.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:17 pm

Kreil tensed up immensely as the bard rested his hands on his thigh. It was a terribly unfamiliar feeling, and not one that he was in any ways enjoying thus far. It made him feel exceptionally nervous, and his eyes were fixed unblinkingly on the hands on his thigh. After a while, though, he managed to relax somewhat. Enough to warrant those hands starting to move, and Kreil's breath audibly caught in his throat. Yes, he was certainly unused to being touched. Very little touching went on back where he came from.

He watched the bard warily as the human started to actually massage his leg rather than just ghost touches over it, and he found his breathing picking up slightly. His leg felt warmer, but it wasn't alone in that. His whole body was feeling a little warmer, particularly his face and groin. That was worrying, and he frowned slightly in confusion. Why was he feeling this way?
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:10 am

Ephren relaxed into the moment, into the movement of his hands, the feeling of another being under his hands. Not just any being - someone so strong and suspicious. This trust was a heady feeling. Hours could have gone by, possibly even days and he might have remained in this position and at this activity. A falling log in the grate behind him jarred him out of this near-mediatation stage.

He rested back on his heels and let his gaze rest on the sleeping Eladrin before him. Kreil's body had relaxed in his chair and his head was resting against the cushions behind him. The startling green eyes were hidden behind closed lids, long and luxurious lashes throwing shadows on the overly pale skin. The long pale hair covered his shoulders in silky strands inviting touch. Ephren almost stretched out his hand, but caught himself. What was he thinking?

Carefully, Ephren got to his feet and moved silently away from the resting man. He looked around and chose one of the bronzed vases littered all over the little tables in the room and left the room. Down the hall he had seen a water fountain which, amazingly, still had a tinkling stream of water. Water he could use to wash - if he made use of the water he could even have warm water. Eventually they would have to find some food as well but for the moment being clean would be enough.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Consulting Detective on Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:29 am

As the massage continued, Kreil found his consciousness slowly drifting away. Eladrin did not sleep, though. Instead, they entered a sort of trance. It was more efficient than sleeping, and they remained aware of their surroundings while in this trance. Right now, Kreil had slipped into that trance without even realizing it, his breathing slow and steady while he rested comfortably on the chair.

He realized that the bard had left the room, but he did not concern himself over the man's whereabouts. The bard probably had a good reason for leaving, and it was nothing to wake up over. Not when his body needed the rest. His leg felt oddly good right now, but the lack of pain was sure to come to an end soon. It would probably be hurting quite badly again as soon as he tried to get off the chair. It always did hurt after he rested.
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Re: Music to Run With

Post by Nicola Christine on Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:25 pm

Ephren filled the vase with water and decided to come back for drinking water later. THIS WATER would be the luxury of cleanliness. And the fire meant he could even warm it. He kept his movements smooth and quiet as he returned to the room so as to not wake Kreil. He placed the vase close enough to the fire to absorb some of the heat but not close enough that the fire would harm the vase. He then went towards the other room to find something he would be able to use as washcloth and towel. In the other room he struck gold. A little alcove off the library contained what was once a flower pot and was draped on long blue curtains. the curtains were light, silky and would do well as a towel/washcloth. He grinned.

Hi gittern back contained all his worldly possessions, which were not many aside from the gittern and flute. What he did own was a small bottle of soap he had lovingly saved for ages. Using a small amount of the citrus scented gel would do much to restore his equilibrium. He retrieved the water and go on with the blissful occupation to get clean. Nothing would be able to get in his way. He would fight the world before he let this opportunity for heaven go past unused. Kreil was asleep, no one knew where they were - he had the time.
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