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Legends of Taltos:Crusaders

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"Erik!" Aridwyn throws her arms around the Crusader. "I had not dreamt we we be so fortunate to see you again in this journey. We have much to tell you... Oh, and you must meet our new compatriot Rune," she says, gesturing to the dwarf. "I was just telling him how much you two would like each other."

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At the mentoin of his name, Rune steps forward and bows to the large knight. As he straightens up, he follows his bow with the Crusaders' salute.

 

"Greetings, Sir Erik Firebaugh of Denelspire. Aridywn has indeed told me much about you. I am Rune Dannek, son of Rone and Hilga, Bloodhawk of King Thorgram Grimsteel, Steelbound of Lady Rai and Lord Bootknife Ben. If you are indeed friends of theirs, I am at your service as well."

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Freen, who seems pre-occupied, turns half way around to answer Janara and Aridwyn, and crashes into a tall, well-dressed human, nearly knocking himself to the pavement. Before he can curse eveyone arouind him, he realizes that he is looking at Erik Firebaugh, Crusader.

 

Khowloon steps in to intercede, lest trouble occur, only to be near trampled by Joe and Janara running up to welcome their friend. The Reptus interpreter soon finds himself surrounded by half-orcs, humans, an elf ,a dwarf a halfing, and one small orc, singing to a fish in a bucket.

The sights and sounds of Reptus city completely captivate Erik. For what ever reason, the crowds of Reptus part before Erik and his guide as they travel the streets. Now somewhat used to the defference granted him, he lets his full attention be drawn to the beauty of the city.

 

As soon as Erik lets the sights and sounds consume him, another being crashes into him.

"Unh! Wha...? Freen!" Shocked by seeing Freen in the Reptus city, he tries to figure out how Freen got here before him. Before his mind can make the small steps of logic, he is fiercely embraced by two half-orcs!

 

"Janara! Joe!" After a few moments he is able to break free to greet the rest of the group. "Malachias! You're a good man to see!"

 

While exchanging hand clasps with Malachias, he answers Ben and Rai.

"Lady Rai, Ben, Lady Kristianna and Valandil combined their powers to send me here just this morning."

 

Further explanation is forestalled temporarily as Aridwyn jumps in for a hug. Chuckling, Erik briefly returns the hug, "It's good to see you, too."

"I had not dreamt we we be so fortunate to see you again in this journey. We have much to tell you... Oh, and you must meet our new compatriot Rune," she says, gesturing to the dwarf. "I was just telling him how much you two would like each other."
At the mentoin of his name, Rune steps forward and bows to the large knight. As he straightens up, he follows his bow with the Crusaders' salute.

 

"Greetings, Sir Erik Firebaugh of Denelspire. Aridywn has indeed told me much about you. I am Rune Dannek, son of Rone and Hilga, Bloodhawk of King Thorgram Grimsteel, Steelbound of Lady Rai and Lord Bootknife Ben. If you are indeed friends of theirs, I am at your service as well."

Erik returns the bow and salute. "I am Sir Erik Firebaugh, Crusader Knight of Denelspire. It's good to meet you."

 

Stepping back a moment, he addresses the whole group, "Let me introduce my guide. This is Khowloon, my interpreter and guide. He has accompanied me since I arrived." Turning to Khowloon, "Khowloon, these are my companions; Aridwyn, an elf temporarilty in the service of Denelspire; Malachias, master archer of the Ivy Crown; Janara, servant of Aurelius; Joe, favored warrior of Aurelius; Rune Dannek, Bloodhawk of Dwarven King; Ben, in the service of Denelspire, and Lady Rai, she has been given command of this mission. Oh, and, uh Marcus Freen. He says he knows the ways of the Reptus. He also speaks some of your language."

 

Turning back to his friends, "It is good to see you again! I never thought that you would beat me here. Sir George is well. We happened to be in the right place at the right time and helped stop an assasin tryign to kill the Duke. George has been commanded to stay with the Justicars for now. I think they are hoping he will take service with them."

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Janara listens to Erik's introductions, curtsying to the lizardman when her own name is spoken. After the rest of the party is introduced, she whispers to Joe, Ben and Rune who are all standing closeby.

 

"Maybe now that we got Erik an' Cow-Loon here, somebody ourghtta know where we're s'posed to go. I'm not os shure that Marcus Freen is even in his right mind no more."

 

As Erik goes on to tell of the assassination attempt on the Duke, Janara feels unburdened of yet one more worry.

 

"It's good the Duke's safe an' ev'rybody else too. It wasn't the darkspawns again?..like the ones that came back in th' lesser-rains when you an' Sir George got knighted, was it?

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"I am indeed glad to see you..Sir Erik," says Malachias with a warm smile. "What business brings you here?"

"Well, after the excitement over the assasin, oh, and it was a doppleganger, a shapechanger, anyway after the 'Spire calmed down I got called to the Duke's council room. Seems he had some imprtant papers he wanted delivered to the Reptus. They also thought it would be a good idea for me to catch up with you. They think we'll have trouble on the way to the dwarfhold. I was expecting maybe a magic horse or something, but not being sent completely by magic!"

 

"I'm supposed to have another visit with Khong-to, he's the Reptus leader later. Hopefully he'll know what's going on."

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After the introductions are made, Ben makes a polite bow to the Reptus ambassador, but otherwise, remains silent and in a protective stance just slightly behind and to the right of Rai.

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While the others continue discussing the Spire and Khong-to, Janara makes her way over to Khow-loon and less formally reintroduces herself before assaulting him with many more questions.

 

"Erik's one of my best friends. The Spire sent him 'cuz he's one of their best knights an' he's smart an' honest an.."

 

Her stomach growls again.

 

"....an' he's a good leader. Is Khong-to your king?"

 

She pauses again, noticing a somewhat large gathering of people a short distance away. She cannot tell what they are doing exactly, but it appears to be another contest much like the arm-wrestling match on the barge, only with more spectators and more shouting.

 

"This is such a big city! We jus' got here so we ain't had time to see much of it. You prob'ly know alot about it..like where the liv'ry is..an' where we can wash up an' stay th'night..an' maybe even where to get some food?"

 

She waits both nervously and anxiously for a reply, hoping Khow-loon does not offer her yet another rat like the last swamp-dweller she spoke with.

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Rune walks up to Janara and Khow-loon and waits for the half orcess to finish her rambling questions. When she is done, he shoves a wedge of cheese and an apple in her hands. "Here," he says. "Got 'em off a vendor down the street. I just hope the cheese isn't made out of rat milk."

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Freen huddles in intense conversation with Khowloon. upon completion, the Reptus guide turns and claps his hands, summoning a small reptus to run over. Quick instructions are given to the lad. "He will lead your drovers and cattle to a set of pens nearby. Lord Freen has requested lodgings for his entourage, so if you will follow me, we will walk to the Street of Visitors."

 

The drovers follows the small figure, and Zeke navigates the wagon behind them. "Don't worry about me. I'll find you" he shouts as the group moves off.

 

Freen turns back to his party. Khowloon will get us rooms and clean clothing....a word of warning: the Reptus are very concerned with cleanliness and disease. Follow their customs in this regard, even if they seem strange to you. It could mean your lives......Janara, food will be the least of your worries; it seems sir Erik has been invited to a state dinner by Khong To. We get to be his friends and advisors......"

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Rai raises an eyebrow at the title given to Freen but remains silent. She has finally realized just how tired and hunger she really is and the thought of enjoying a well prepared meal makes her stomach growl.

 

"That all sounds wonderful. They are very kind."

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Freen smiles at Rai, "kindness has nothing to do with it...it seems that Sir Erik is here as an ambassador from the Spire, bearing important documents.I simply told Khowloon that you ARE his party, and were separated from him on the passage here. The Reptus are cultured, mannered beings, and will behave with the greatest possible courtesy..."

 

At that point, another pit fight ends on the side street, with the breaking of a rather large skull....the sound resonates throughout the walled area.

 

"As I was saying, they are a courteous group, unless you break custom, betray a trust, or look at one funny. Then they might eat you." With that, he turns to a vendor an buys a handful of peppers and a bowl of noodles.

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Rune walks up to Janara and Khow-loon and waits for the half orcess to finish her rambling questions. When she is done, he shoves a wedge of cheese and an apple in her hands. "Here," he says. "Got 'em off a vendor down the street. I just hope the cheese isn't made out of rat milk."

 

Janara momentarily forgets her manners at the sight of food that does not still have fur and tail. She takes a huge bite of apple without even bothering to check it for signs of worms.

 

"Fankoo Wune", she sputters through a mouthful of apple, though she wishes he had kept the rat-cheese remark to himself. The cheese looked quite tasty.

 

Lord Freen has requested lodgings for his entourage, so if you will follow me, we will walk to the Street of Visitors."

 

"That Marcus Freen's a lord now?", says Janara as Khowloon leads them toward the Street of Visitors. She calls for Nokhai, who was following the cattle, horses and livestock toward the pens. "You don't wonder off no more, Nokhai. You don't wanna get LORD Marcus Freen in no trouble, do ya?"

 

As the group passes by one particular sidestreet, Janara observes yet another rowdy gathering. Unlike the arm-wrestling match, this fight seems to be to the death, though judging from the cheers of onlookers and the passing of coin, it was a wagered match. Janara turns to Joe with concern.

 

"Don't you get in no fights here, Joe. I don't wanna see you killed or see you kill noboby jus' for money like that. It ain't right."

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Malachias shrugs. He doesn't approve, but there are a lot more of them than there are of him, they are allies at the moment, and there's food coming. He follows along.

 

"Janara, a question if you will. Have you ever spit a rat? I'm trying to work out exactly how far I should trust the newly Lorded Freen."

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Rune, who is standing near Janara, almost chokes on his own aplea at Malachias' remark. He smiles and slaps the archer seargent on the back. "Just when I thought I had you figured out," he says, "You go and say one of the cleverest things I've ever heard. You'd make a good dwarf. A little tall, perhaps, but your mind works the right way."

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