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Old 05-13-2008
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Kaeldorn Kaeldorn is offline
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Mystery of the Missing Blades

"You!" A big bouldering voice spoke, filled with anger. The sound emerged from the path leading to the Exigo Trading Post from the east. All four of the people sitting around the campfire; a human man, a woman, a dwarf and a gnome, were alarmed and looked up to see who it was that had come to disturb the peace. After less than an hour of absense, Jack had returned. And he was not in one of his usual light-hearted and careless 'good moods'.

The hulking, muscular giant of a man with only one seeing eye no longer carried his weapon of choice, the huge dark claymore that had almost become his trademark. He now wielded a two handed warmace and he seemed intent on crushing some skulls. Jack directed his fury towards the fair haired undead huntress, whom he thought held a grudge against him. "Why'd you send yer pansies after Jack to stab 'im in the back?!"

Yashia, the woman he was speaking to, rose to her feet and remained perfectly calm, though she was somewhat surprised. "What happened to you?"

"Bah!" he replied, "First you take me blade away from me, an' then ya hire some cloaked bastards t' kill me off!"

The small group gathered there started to get an impression of the fate that had overcome the man. The accused spoke again in defense of herself and the truth. "I assure you Jack, I did no such thing. I admit I did have plans to separate you from your sword... I wanted to turn you in to the local authorities for acts of disturbance of the peace, have you locked up for a night or two, and in the meantime have that weapon of yours researched to find out whatever magic it is that drives your tendency to violence."

"A curse?" said Haeralis, the other man standing by the fire and a newcomer to Sundren. But he was mostly ignored, his speech overpowered by the volume of Jack's shouting. "You lie! You even admit to wanting to steal my blade!"

"And do you think I would have told you that if I had anything to hide from you?"

After hearing Yashia's words, Haeralis nodded in agreement, and made several statements supporting her claims in an attempt to ease the thug's temper. Mad Jack remained silent for a while. He was in doubt, but not yet totally convinced of the woman's innocence. "If you din' do it, then who did?"

She sighed. "I honestly do not know. The only one I spoke to regarding my intentions of investigating the sword was Hano. And he would never resolve to breaking the law to such a great degree."

Lida, the hin rogue who had been there not long before Jack's first outburst against Yashia, came back to the Post in what appeared to be a pleasant state of mind. She plopped down next to Gromlin the dwarf, and secretively engaged in a whispered conversation with him. Occasionally grinning and smiling.

Some more words were exchanged, but after a while swordless Jack took off, muttering on about how those responsible for all this would pay with their lives. The rest of the crowd did not disperse, they evaluated what had just happened. Yashia, the only one of them who was up to her neck in this, was mostly pondering who could have done this. She came to the conclusion that there was only one other person she knew of who was aware of Jack's attachment to the blade and how it influenced him: Karthus.


...

Last edited by Kaeldorn; 05-13-2008 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 05-13-2008
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The gnome in the company, who was known by the name Pom, decided it was his time to leave. He was a druid like Karthus, and thus Yashia asked him to inform the man of her desire to speak with him should they meet. Mere moments after, Mad Jack came to the encampment a third time. He was still expressing his frustrations, but mostly speaking sentences no more sophisticated than "Bah!"

Yashia attempted to convince Jack that he should calm down and let the matter rest until he could clear his thoughts. She expressed her beliefs that Jack was only Mad because of his current condition, still having to get used to living with a mind that was free from the sword's thirst for blood. She told him he needed guidance. Each and all of her words were dismissed, though the discussion did have a side effect that may have been unpleasant but which was not totally unwanted. Jack's rage turned into laughter... at the fallen paladin's gullibility.

Yet another joined the crowd with obviously mischievous or perhaps just stupid purposes. Karthus, known for his extreme mental swings from wise and thoughtful to rampant idiocy, had probably not come on Pom's request, but he was aware of what happened to Jack and had divised a plan to cheer him up. He seemed convinced that Jack's insecurity of his preference for gender was the cause of his unhappiness now that he no longer had his weapon. In a totally awkward fashion, he closed in on Jack to hug him. The barbaric Jack was amused at first, telling the druid to 'go hug a tree instead', but he didn't exactly seem comfortable with the manly love that he was being subjected to. Karthus, intent on bringing his advance to completion, redirected Jack's attention to a furry little weasel passing by, which created an opportunity to grab a hold of him from the back. Annoyed, Jack pushed him away and went back to sulking. Karthus left the scene.

In the meantime Yashia was studying the wounds on Mad Jack's Back to get an idea how he was attacked. It appeared there were some puncture wounds made from below, and some from mid height. More she could not discern, because Mella, who had most discretely appeared by the wagon, alerted Jack that Yashia was looking at his rear end. Yashia, not seeing the hilarity of the situation, tried to explain herself to no avail.

She was saved from further embarrassment when Karthus revisited the trading post. He was confused and had forgotten who the gnome had sent him to meet with. But Yashia knew, and approached him. "We need to have a word. Privately." she whispered.

Last edited by Kaeldorn; 05-13-2008 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 05-13-2008
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* Somewhere in Sundren, it found itself alone and unused. It longed for bedlam, it longed for a mind to reach out to and mold to its will.

Many had served its designs over the last thousand years, including the insane monk and wizard Hojim, and the recent, faithless cur. The last was not completely inept, for his turbulent nature had sated its thirst for chaos; pity he was laying face down in a ditch. Jack, he called himself -- but that wasn't his true name, was it?

It questioned how long it would be until it was used again, until its designs were set in motion once more. It questioned how long it would be until its barer discovered its true power, and unleashed it on the world.

It would wait. It had been in worse places than this dark corner. *
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Old 05-13-2008
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(( OOC disclaimer: Yashia's findings and thoughts from here on are not to be treated as public information.))

Getting the picture

Yashia and Karthus travelled far to the west of Sundren, and deep into the Viridale, until they finally reached the hidden glade of the druids. Karthus led them to a quiet place by a small waterfall, hidden behind the trees. Here, they would surely not suffer from anyone listening in on their conversation, so they thought. Still, Yashia remained cautious.

"I wanted to ask you if you knew anything about the disapperearance of Jack's blade" she said in a low voice, hoping not even the animals would be able to overhear.

Karthus remained expressionless, staring into the water. "I intended to ask you exactly the same. I have an idea though, of a case that might in some way be connected."

Yashia nodded. "Alright. I have gathered some thoughts about this as well, but let's hear yours first."

Without further ado, Karthus shared what was on his mind. "Not long ago, Hano was escorting the necromancer Samantha from the druid glade to the city for her to be tried there. On the way, Hano was ambushed. He was knocked unconscious, and his sword stolen. I was thinking that these events, two powerful magical swords taken from their owners in such a short span of time, may have something to do with eachother."

Impulsively, as if it all suddenly made sense to her, Yashia started spitting out all her thoughts at once. The involvement of Marrs Masters with Samantha, Marrs' apparent lust for gold, the wounds found in Jack's back, the involvement of someone known to Marrs, among a few other things. Karthus was unable to make any connections in her web of words however, and coaxed into explaining one thing at a time.

"Who is this person you think to be responsible along with Marrs?"

Yashia shook her head. "I do not wish to reveal an identity, for I don't want said person to fall victim to slander. I will go speak to him or her first, myself."

"Haven't I proven not to make rash decisions when the well being of others is concerned? Isn't it true that I showed empathy for one such as Landaren, and even for the man who tried to take my own life?"

She paused to think. Yashia didn't want to put a friend of hers in bad daylight. And she could even be wrong in her assumptions. But she knew that Karthus spoke truthful, and he was wise enough not to let delicate information slip.

She sighed. "Very well, I believe it is Lida who was involved in the assault on Jack."

"And what do you base these suspicions on?" Karthus replied, still motionless.

The female ranger looked around her once more, a little nervous. When she felt secure enough, she continued. "Allow me to explain from the beginning how I think the pieces of the puzzle fit together..."

Karthus did not say a word, waiting for her to begin, and so she did.

"As you know, I am convinced that Marrs Masters is in league with Samantha. You even helped me confirm the identity of the assassin who struck me in her protection. You showed his face to me another time."

She paused for a second to let the memory sink in, then went on with her theories.

"From those who claimed to know more of the man, I have heard that he most likely holds no other motives for such an alliance than money. Samantha may have had much of it until recently, but when Hano slew her and her possessions were taken away by Gromlin, she might no longer be able to pay him very well for his services. Unless of course she has gold stashed away somewhere."

Yashia looked over to Karthus, trying to grasp if he was still following her story. He didn't budge, but she believed it safe to assume that he was carefully taking into consideration every word she said.

"Samantha seemed to have no real reason to take Hano's blade and a meager two thousand stags from him other than to mock him at first, but now that I thought of it more thoroughly, she might have needed it to pay those in her service. Magical weaponry such as a blessed sword is worth far more than it's weight in gold."

"I think the disappearance of Jack's blade hasn't much to do with Samantha's possible debt, but it is worth a great amount of money as well. Stealing it would not be beneath Marrs, though he could need some help to do it. This is where Lida might come in. I have seen her express sympathy for Marrs before and I am sure she knows him personally. She also told me in secret that the trading post was not the place to fight Jack, probably because she thought I would want him dead for all the things he has done and the jerk that he can be. I got the feeling she was implying that she wouldn't mind sticking a dagger in his back herself. And she has a liking for gold, too."

She took some time to regain her composure. Yashia found it difficult to speak of Lida this way, but it was required to get her point across to Karthus. Taking a deep breath, she prepared to add the final arguments behind her reasoning.

"Then there were the wounds I studied for a while. The angles I found indicate that Jack was attacked by one who was significantly shorter than he was, and another about his length or slightly less tall. Lida and Marrs are both stealthy and capable of assassination, they know eachother and they have motives for assaulting Jack and taking his weapon from him."

Yashia was finished, and finally Karthus spoke again. "And what do you intend to do with these theories?"

"I want to ask Lida about it. With this, if necessary." she replied, holding out a scroll of Discern Lies.

The druid finally turned his gaze away from the sparkling waters, and looked at Yashia's face. "Very well... but be careful in your investigations, friend." he said with a slight smile, which was returned by the young woman standing in front of him.

"Will you keep me informed of your findings?" he continued.

The ranger nodded, still smiling faintly. "I will, Karthus. I will."

"Farewell, Yashia"

"Farewell. I am sure we'll meet again soon."

With these words, Yashia turned around, still raising a hand to wave her friend goodbye before departing the grove to head back in Sundren's direction. On the road, the wandering woman wondered if she was doing the right thing... if she wasn't just doing this to settle some kind of personal vendetta. But that, she was not. She may not have had much of a liking for Marrs, but this was not a scheme. Her theories were well founded and formed a good basis to start her search for the truth. If she managed to uncover it, maybe even Jack would care.

Last edited by Kaeldorn; 05-14-2008 at 04:46 PM. Reason: style/grammar fixes
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Old 05-14-2008
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Another blade stolen

It was one of those rare Sunny days in Sundren when Yashia walked the streets of the Entertainment District. She was headed for the city's library to speak with Gromlin, a historian of some renown. The dwarf had a particular interest in relics and artifacts, and since several of them had gone missing over the past few days, it was not unlikely that Lida had spoken to him about them when the two were conversing out of her ears' reach. Perhaps he knew some additional details that could shed new light on the situation.

Yashia entered the great halls of knowledge, which were a familiar sight to her. The ranger had a busy life and not much time to read, so books were not the reason why she sometimes came to visit here. Gromlin had, as he usually did when something possibly sensitive was to be discussed, asked Yashia to come to his private quarters inside the building.

"To my office." the gruff dwarven voice spoke after it's owner had turned himself to face the woman who had come to ask him questions to further pursuit her investigation. One who didn't know better would think that Gromlin was about to discipline a student from the university who had misbehaved in his domain. Especially when Yashia did as asked without question and the librarian locked the door behind them.

Gromlin pulled up a chair from his desk and gestured for his visitor to make herself comfortable. "Have a seat."

It was obvious that he was trying to create a comfortable situation, and Yashia decided it was best not to object. She sat down on the wooden chair and glanced across the room.

The dwarf cleared his throat. "So," he said, "what was it that you needed ta know from me?"

With her elbow, Yashia leaned on the arm of her chair, holding up her head with her fingertips pressed against her cheek. She got straight to the point. "What were you talking about with Lida by the campfire?"

"Err.. nothing important, really." Gromlin replied, smiling nervously. He was not much of a bluff.

Yashia frowned. "Important enough to ensure none of the other people present could hear what you were talking about. Did she say anything about a blade?"

He shifted uncomfortably before opening his mouth again. "There's nothing you should really be concerned about I think." He nodded self assuringly. "Eh... was that all?"

Seeing that a little bit of pushing would certainly make him spill his beans, Yashia spoke sternly. "Damn it Gromlin, stop trying to dodge my questions! You were talking about something valuable, what was it?"

Gromlin sighed in defeat, and walked over to the corner of the room behind his desk. From a hidden compartment, he retrieved a dagger. Showing it to Yashia, he started to explain himself. "This is the blade she came to see me about. It's Samantha's dagger, a small but powerfully enchanted weapon taken from her when Hano and I killed the witch." He proceeded muttering something under his breath about the necromancer being resurrected.

"And why would this object concern Lida?" she asked, scratching the back of her neck.

The dwarf groaned, softly tugging his beard. "I dinnae know, lass. But she was acting most strange. She normally don't really care 'bout matters like this, was even asking specific things like where I was keeping it and how it's being protected, she was. 'Course I didn't tell her a thing."

The ranger nodded slowly. "That is most unusual indeed."

"Aye... aye. I fear the lass may be workin' with that durn elf, Marrs. That bastard's likely out for stuff like this, and she knows him."

She bit her lip and inclined her head. "I must admit that I, too, am under that impression."

Gromlin stood there, thinking to himself for a moment, before speaking in a serious tone. "Hrrmm... There's something else I should show you. But you must swear ye don't share it with anyone 'fore I can."

When Yashia did so, the dwarven librarian reached out into the compartment a second time. This time taking out a much larger item, which looked like a shield of sorts, made from a most unusual materlial. It looked like humanoid skin with various stains of dried blood over it's surface.

"What in the hells is that?" asked the undead huntress, disgusted by what she saw.

Gromlin chuckled. "This is elf skin. And before ye ask, yes, it belonged to Samantha as well. This shield 'll be her downfall when she is tried in the court of Sundren. It's important that this remains hidden until then."

Yashia showed a nod in understanding as Gromlin hid away his evidence against Samantha once more. "Now's there anything else ya wanted to ask about?"

"I only still wish to know if Lida has given you any impressions of possible involvement in the incidents with Jack." she said.

The dwarf shook his head. "No, I think not. Although I'm quite sure she'd be capable an' perhaps willing t' take part in such deals."

He took a moment to dust off his robes. "That all then, Yashia?"

"Yes, that would be all. I thank you for your time, Grom."

The two of them said their goodbyes, and while Gromlin got back to work, Yashia set out on the road again. She hadn't quite gotten as much of her ideas confirmed as she would have liked, but she had definitely learned a thing or two that could prove to be of importance in the future.
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Old 06-01-2008
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A threat to the throat

On a day like any other, Yashia was having casual conversation by the campfire at the trading post. Things were soon to change when she saw a mohawked man with an eyepatch pass her by on the dusty road behind her. Curious how he was holding up, she quickly put an end to the topic being spoken of and waved Vesper of Hoar farewell, to follow Jack in his footsteps.

She had seen him walk his way towards the crossroads only some minutes ago. That was enough time for him to reach far out of her sight, but as a strider with fresh tracks aplenty to follow, Yashia was sure to catch up with him wherever he had gone.

And that she did, in a vastly different way and much sooner than expected. Jack stood still on the middle of the crossroads. It was as if he were listening to someone, the voice of someone invisible... perhaps in his head? He wielded a greatsword, too. Not his own, but another.

"Eh?" said Jack with the whole of his usually charming manners when the approaching ranger drew his attention. "Whatcha want?"

Yashia looked nervously at the weapon he carried, recognizing it as no other than Hano's. "Well... I was going to ask you how you were feeling."

"Awww." he snickered. "'ow touchin'!"

"... Where did you get that sword?" she motioned towards what she knew to be a gift bestowed upon Hano by his father.

"Found it."

Jack's response revealed absolutely nothing worth noting, but before she could ask any more questions, two men who had seemed invisible even in broad daylight only moments before appeared by her sides. One of them pressed a dagger with the blade to her neck. Yashia felt it making a slight cut through the skin and into her flesh, but his intention was not to kill. At least not yet.

"Mind your own business, woman." a muffled voice spoke from underneath a black hood with purple edges that covered most of his face and seemed to go well with the rest of his shady attire.

"Walk away and don't look back."

Hearing these words, Yashia took a few steps backwards on the way whence she came. Still facing the scene in front of her, she looked at Jack's face questioningly. He just smirked, saying nothing at all.

"Last chance! Turn around and get out of here!" the same voice proceeded.

Yashia frowned, aware that she was in no position to resist. But not to completely give in to their threats, she spoke defiantly. "Fine. But this isn't over yet."

"Bold words, lady." the man sneered "But it is. And if not, then you will regret it."

She reluctantly acted as she was commanded to by one who should hold no authority at all but did. Walking back to the post, she thought about what this could mean. She had never seen men in such armor and cloaks before, and she had no idea who they were. It was possible that they were also hired by Samantha to do her dirty work in the underground of Sundren... but if money was what she needed, the blessed blade that belonged to Hano would not have ended up in Jack's hands, for he hadn't that much to spend. The disappearances of the two swords were now definitely connected, but why or how remained a mystery.
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Old 06-01-2008
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Lost and found

Upon closing in on the merchant stalls of Exigo, a well known face crossed her path. Sehron immediately saw that Yashia was troubled, and succesfully got her to tell him what was wrong. Or to be more exact, what had just happened. When she had finished explaining, he didn't know what he could say or do to help her with what she was on to. Did that moron even deserve her help at all? he thought to himself.

Their attention shifted to another coming down the road behind her. The Mad berzerker was carrying not a weapon now, but the body of a pale skinned elven girl. The same who had wanted to perform some experiments on the artifact at the Triumvirate temple before the accident, Yashia recalled.

"You better take a look at this one 'ere." said Jack before brutally tossing the unconscious body on the ground like one would do with trash.

Yashia rushed forward and immediately started to treat the destabilized girl covered in her bloody robes. Having applied bandaids to stop the bleeding, the elf amazingly got up to her feet as if she had just been magically healed and nothing had happened.

"Are you... okay?" said Yashia with a hint of surprise in her voice.

The elven girl tilted her head upwards a little pointing her sharp nose to a place somewhere above the human woman's head. "Sure, I'm fine." she said without giving any indication of being thankful for just having her life expectancy prolonged back to elven standards.

"Those ruffians on the road blocked my way to the trading post! How... how dare they?!" she continued in an arrogant tone.

The fallen paladin raised an eyebrow. "You are not telling me that you simply waltzed through them without any regard for their seriousness, are you?"

"But they threatened me!" she barked. "Noone threatens me and gets away with it!"

The two held a long discussion about what should and shouldn't be, with Sehron standing in the back not particularly amused by any of it. Eventually the robed girl left to do more important things. Sehron expressed his concerns about her to Yashia, that she was not to be trusted, but both agreed that leaving her to die would not have been right.

And then he came again. As if he was making a habit out of having short and usually not entirely friendly meetings with Yashia, Jack was back. This time wounded. Yashia's eyes widened. "What happened to you?" she asked.

He dropped a large object on the dirt in front of her feet again: the divinely blessed sword. He let go of it more carefully than he had let elven wizardress slip from his hands before. Jack replied without answering her question. "Here, take it. Don't need it no more."

Before he could be on his way again, Yashia quickly applied a bandage to a bruise on his upper arm, but he shrugged off any attempts at further help. She turned around to look for the blade on the ground, but it was gone. She almost paniced... someone must have snatched it away while she wasn't looking! The blonde looked up to Sehron, and was about to ask him if he had seen what happened to it when it became clear who was responsible. He shook his head with a smirk and handed her over what she was looking for. The elf had simply grabbed it so nobody else would, and she was too quick to worry, as usual.

Unable to locate the rightful owner of the blade within the Triumvirate temples' walls, they decided it would be best to hold onto the weapon until they found the paladin of Torm. Sehron needed some supplies from the grove of the druids, so that was their next stop. Mere moments after they arrived, a strong and tall half-orc warrior, who had befriended Yashia's 'foster child', came in with a brightly shining plate armoured man hanging over his shoulder. The giant Brak laid Hano down much more gently than one would expect from a man of his size.

"Blond Lady make live shiny man. She know how heal."

He didn't have to state his request a second time. With holy powers and physical treatment combined, Yashia ensured that not a single visible wound endured, each and all of the slashing marks on his body gone. He certainly looked to be in better shape, but something was still wrong. He was not responding to his environment, not even her voice asking if he was alright.

Qybox the halfling wizard had been observing those present in the glade for a short time, and stepped forward. "Ahem, please do make way madam. Let me see what I can do."

She stood aside to watch the mage at work. He cast what seemed to be a fairly simple spell which didn't take all too much effort, after which Hano's face seemed to clear up. He clumsily rose up to his feet and seemed to stare into nothingness, still not responding to sound either. He muttered a prayer and cast an incantation of faith. It cured his lack of sight and hearing, his health completely restored.

The paladin rubbed his forehead with the back of his hand and squinted his eyes, slowly getting used to the light he could suddenly perceive again. He was logically asked to explain what had happened.

"Jack... Jack came for me in the woods of Viridale. He claimed that if he managed to slay me, he would get his cursed sword back. Then he attacked me, while I was unarmed and unable to fight back. He struck me down with my own blade."

He turned towards the half-orc Brak and inclined his head in his direction. "I was blessed to have you stick close while travelling through the forest. I owe you my life."

Brak did not reply, unwilling to show pride even though it was probably there. Hano sighed and continued sternly. "My father's sword... it needs to be recovered. Where did that thug go?"

"Your blade is right here." Yashia and Sehron said in choir. The elf smiled as his companion drew the sword from her back and pointed it forward and upwards, making it reflect the light of moon and stars on it's well polished surface. The fallen paladin then twisted the weapon in the opposite direction, and carefully held it by the blade, one of her hands just underneath the hilt so her friend who was still graced by the gods could take back what was rightfully his.

One half was no longer lost. But what of the other?
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