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Spike

The Eldest Son

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Thain climbs up the ladder after Felix and looks around the barn as he goes up. "No offense Felix, but this may have been a good place to hide when you were a boy, but I don't think a hay loft will give us nearly the privacy as a ride into the country might. You're clearly concerned with the ears within the household. Is Gordon to be trusted? He knows we came in here, and you dismissed him. There will be no horses gone. If he hangs near by, he will know we have never left the barn and this place will be compromised. You're also presuming our eavesdropper is using natural methods. I've heard tales of wizards using small beasts as minions to spy on others."

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The hair on the back of his neck sprang to life at the words by Thain. He had chosen the loft because it would allow for easy viewing of any trying to come via foot to eavesdrop on them. It was at least 100 feet between the entrance to the barn and the ladderwhere they had climbed up. And even if they were able to sneak past their eyes and get to the ladder, it was a creaky ladder that would easily give away any climber once they got past the third rung. But, he had totally disregarded the idea that someone might have alternative methods for listening all together.

 

Allowing his eyes to look around slightly for out of place things and remembered they were in a hay loft, there is no 'proper' place for anything in here. "Hmmm.... I hadn't thought of that last part..." rubbing his chin contemplating his next move.

 

In a decently loud and clear voice, using probably overly broad gestures "And there you have it. The loft. I used to hang up here as a choild a lot. One of my favorite places to camp out.... Now.. what say we go for a ride?"

 

Climbing back down the ladder, he yells out for Gordon, "GORDON.... GORdon... Oh, there you are... We have CHANGED our minds. Thain here has taken an instant liking to "Durthen" and couldnt help but want to try his luck. Think you could help us get them tacked up and ready to ride. I am thinking "Isarah" the grey filly over there for Christina, "Eawod" the two year old for Amaril, and I will take "Valandil" for myself."

 

Not one to stand around while the hired hand does all the work, Felix joins in in grabbing tack and bridles and starts to outfit "Isarah" first.

 

 

While working the bit into her mouth, " So, would you guys prefer to go up in the hills or stay down in the meadows?"

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before climbing the ladder to the loft--

 

"Evening, Gordon." I say to the man.

 

in the loft

 

looking at Thain--

 

"Yes, the minions you speak of are familiars, a bit of the wizard is in each of them, but they are their own beings. They can range from fantastical beasts to common animals like a house cat or raven. I myself, don't have one yet, as I'm not sure right now what I'd like."

 

looking at the group & finally Felix

 

"I agree with Thain about a bit more privacy & a good ride on a fine steed would ease my mind a bit, as well."

 

seeing the horse that Felix has picked out for me to ride. I walk up to the animal & put out my hand to the front of it's face "Saesa omentien lle" I say in elvish, as I rub it's mane & nose.

 

turning to Felix, I say "Fine steed, my friend. Your stable hand does a fine job with the animals." Meadow would be ok with me, at least we can if anyone or anything follows us."

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"As you all probably know, my ancestors have been ranging the foothills of Adon on horseback for generations, there's nothing I'd love more than a spirited gallop through the local countryside."

 

Thain's stony visage cracks a crooked grin.

 

"The flattest meadow you can find on the most surefooted nag in these stables if you please. We can talk as we ride."

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Christina helps outfit Isarah while calmly stating that whatever the rest of the group wants is fine with her. She is quiet and instrospective, being more worried about the missing son than anything else that is going on around here, whether it be wizard's familiars or a horse ride. She is decidedly distracted as she is silently praying for divine intervention, or at least inspiration.

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When Felix finishes "showing his friends around" in the hayloft and calls out for Gordon, he finds the old stable-hand sitting upon the few grain sacks that still remain in his wheelbarrow. He appears to have almost dozed off.

 

"Huh?", he says with a start, but upon clearing his mind of apparent sleepiness he begs the pardon of Felix and his guests and immediately sets to work gathering the horses' tack so that Felix and the others may go for an afternoon ride. All the while he and Felix work, Gordon keeps up a lively round of chatter.

 

"Will you be staying the night?", he asks Thain at one point. Later he stops and remarks on how Christina has grown so much taller. "Felix and little Christina used to play in yonder meadow to the south years ago...", Gordon reminisces to Aramil as though the elf had never heard him tell that same story before. "The day is wearing on so you all should be careful." he reminds the group as the horses are led out of the stables. "Do not let yourselves be surprised by pirates or gypsies.", he says with a slight laugh, and then excuses himself back to the stables in order to "catch a nap."

 

The suns have descended low in the western horizon and the shadows of the forests surrounding the estate stretch long across the open meadow which Felix ultimately leads his guests to. All four horses quickly aclimatixe themselves to their riders, making the venture uneventful, even for the dwarf who one might think the sport of riding would disagree with.

 

It only takes the group five minutes of leisurely riding to reach the meadow. Though the estate seems to be mostly wooded, a series of hunting trails have been cut through the woods to facilitate the large hunts which Lord Einen was once so fond of hosting. Now that the hunt is no longer a regular event on the Einen estate, the woods have become unusually thick with deer, foxes, and other such game.

 

The meadow is a long rectangle nearly ten acres square of flat grassy pasture surrounded on three sides by Einen's forest and on the fourth side by a low stone wall which marks the end of the Einen property and the beginning of the Jurgen's land. Being that winter is just barely over, the grass has only just emerged green and new. In another two months, the entire meadow will be a sea of tall alfalfa and wildflowers.

 

 

___

 

<OOC>

 

Just like in ERL's game, I'll be putting character observations in spoiler tags from time to time. Even if you are not actively trying to spot things, I sitll roll Spot checks from time to time.

 

For Felix ONLY:

 

You notice that old Gordon has the scent of gin on his breath

 

 

For Aramil ONLY

 

You spot some animal tracks on the path to the meadow. Some belong to a deer. Others belong to either a wild dog or a wolf pup

 

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Feeling the power of the horse, the ride is enjoyable. Aramil had a horse back home, but it was killed during a night raid by goblins, it had been a long time since I rode one.

 

As the party passes the wall, I call out to Felix "So is this a good spot to talk?"

 

Noticing, nothing unnatural about the tracks, I still keep my eyes & ears alert just in case something is hiding in the area.

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Thain slouches in his saddle and mutters under his breath about a long walk and an afternoon on a saddle going to wreck havok on his backside. Realizing he made his thoughts public he straightens up and clears his throat.

 

"There's no need to halt, we can keep the horses at a slow walk and meander while we talk so we look like we're still taking a casual ride." Under his breath "Not to mention, if we stop, I don't think I'll be getting back on this beast."

 

Ever blunt and to the point, Thain deftly wields tact like a 50 lb sledgehammer...

 

"So who in your house has a vested interest in making sure Jonas never returns home and may be behind this disappearance. Someone in the house has to be involved or you wouldn't be bringing us out here to get away from prying eyes and ears. Do you think they may be responsible for your father's illness as well?"

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A wrinkle comes to his brow as he tries to find the words to use.

 

"I have no proof other than simply the fact of their mannerisms and a few odd things here and there."

 

A slight pause again since he is not really sure what to say.

 

"My birth mother died giving birth to me. I think because of that my father and I were never really all that close. Not that he blamed me for it, but just never had the same attention for me that he did with my brothers. It's ok, I have still had all my needs attended to and plenty of friends to make up for it..."

 

Adjusting in the saddle a little....

 

"My brothers were never my best friends either, but for the most part, they respected me. Sure, they bullied me when I was younger, but when I caught up to them in size, they stopped quickly. And besides they both left for school. But, Ralphus, was always the lazy one and didnt last too long."

 

"That is when she came in to our lives. Personally, I think he rushed into it way too quickly. I mean they had hardly met, courted, and married within a few months time. It was easy to see her main attraction to him was his wealth and position....."

 

Taking another moment to look about just to relieve his eery feeling of having someone flying around just out of sight listening in to the conversation. Then continuing:

 

"Its not that strange that she looked at me with the same less than full family feel that my father did. But, it has always struck me just how much she has shown those tendencies toward Ralphus. As a lazy oaf, he should make any mother angry. But, instead she tends to defend it and push away blame to others. She is always coddling him"

 

"And as you pointed out, Thain, my father's health has been deteriorating over the past few months, and no medicine nor magic has been able to do any good. Yet, my step mother has not shown much in the way of melincholy over the condition of her husband. I wouldnt rule out dark magic, poison, or anything in between there. But, I have not been able to prove it at all"

 

"Between that and the fact that Ralphus is the next in line to heir the entire estate rather than her, I have had my thoughts on each of them, but again, unable to find anything definitive to prove it. Have tried several times to spy on them, but other than their typical untrustworthy behaviors, I have not been able to catch them doing anything actually incriminating."

 

Holding up his horse momentarily to address them all directly....

 

"So, now I am torn between staying here and trying to catch or at least slow them down in their act of killing him, if it is indeed them, and leaving and going to who knows where to find Jonas. I wouldnt expect to just ride into town and find him at the bar. I would have to guess that best case scenario is getting information from schoolmates or shop keepers that he frequents that might lead to something of us being able to find him within a couple weeks, if he is alive, and probably longer if he is not."

 

"So, I have asked you to come and help me decide what it is I should do"

 

"I don't think I could ask some of you to stay behind and watch over my father as that would look suspicious to them, but I cant just leave them all alone with him either..."

 

Felix starts to walk the horse again, as he starts to mull over his thoughts and wait for his companions responses.

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Christina takes on a look of steely resolve. "Jonas will be found, I pray in a healthy state, and we will return him to his rightful position as heir. I fully believe that he has met with some form of foul play as I do not believe he would abandon the family, especially while your father is deteriorating in this manner. Perhaps we can find someone trustworthy to stay with your father while the rest of us search for Jonas. Regardless, Jonas must be found, the truth must be discovered, and the guilty party or parties, for I have no doubt there is someone behind all this misfortune, will face just retribution!"

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After some thought, Christina seems to remember that there is indeed a trustworthy individual in the vicinity. "Gentlemen, perhaps I could speak with Friedrich, a local member of my order, and ask if he would be so kind as to stay here while we look for Jonas. I can simply state that he is doing me a favor by praying for your father's recovery. If things have not changed, he is in the Darkwald, a mere 45 minutes away by horseback. I can certainly go speak to him and ask him for this favor while you gentlemen prepare for our departure if that would suit."

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"I like that idea, at least have someone to be here for him, while the rest of us head off to the University."

 

"Now about us staying here tonight? If there is someone here on the grounds, wouldn't want them suspicious, but I say we stay the night, then head off early tomorrow morning. That'll give us a good fresh start."

 

"Anybody else have any ideas?"

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"Amaril, could you escort Christina to her friend. No need for foul play this evening."

 

"We can go back and give word to my father that you will be bringing him to look over him. I am sure my mother will protest, but I think we can get it to pass."

 

"Come to think of it, I don't know this Frederich, but if he is not stout physically, you might see if he has an imposing friend that might could join him while he is here, under the guise of being there to help with the lifting or prepping whatever items he may need to bring with him. But, in reality would be there to help protect should the situation degrade while we are away. Wouldnt want to have anyone take advantage of our absence to have an 'accident' happen."

 

"What say you to this, Thain? Are you in agreement? I could use your sense of persons to take a close look at my middle brother and see if you can find anything in him that suggests my worries are valid or not."

 

With the anxiety of the situation under what seems like some sort of control for the moment, Felix allows himself to relax just a little as he awaits the dwarf's response.

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responding to Felix's request

 

"Yes, I can do that, a good ride will do wonders for the soul"

 

turning to Christina

 

"Whenever your ready."

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