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Legends of Taltos:Crusaders


Steven Page
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"Has it ever occured to you to knock on the door Ben?" George asks as he looks at his dispondent friend. He already knows the answer, since he knows Ben would go out of his way to be sneaky and unobserved.

 

Noticing the strange look on Ben's face, George wanders up to the door, his chainmail making quite a lot of noise despite his best efforts, and raises his hand to knock on the door......

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Eventually, Yvette subsided, and was able to sit up on her own again. Malachias offered her a handkerchief, with which she wiped her eyes as Percival fidgited uneasily.

 

"Um, Malachias..." he started.

 

Malachias shot Yvette a questioning look. "Are you going to be ok? I will come back..."

 

"Just go do what you have to," she replied sulkily, and didn't return hte hankerchief.

 

Malachias followed Percival out the door, letting a hunted and frustrated look onto his face as soon as it was safe. "I never know what's going to happen. I mean, with an enemy it's simple. They attack, you shoot them, and if they surrender, you give them to the Justicars..."

 

Percival shrugged. "Dunno. Never had much luck with women either."

 

They wound their way through Denelspire on the way to the Tower of the Dawn. As they rounded a corner, they came upon two familiar men, one knocking on a tower door.

 

"Good day to you, George...and Ben, was it?" Malachias called as soon as he was sure they'd seen him. Have you been summoned to Halbarad too?"

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Wanting to make the best possible impression on Halbarad, Janara spent what seemed like the entire day making herself as presentable as possible. She supposed that when they last met, she could've been a bit less grimy and a lot more fragrant, but hoped he understood the circumstances.

 

Sister Alma insisted on sending Janara to the meeting in nothing less than her best blue and gold dress, which had been neatly pressed and starched. She then advised Janara on what to say and what not to say; and finally advised Janara to remember her virtues and vows "..should any impetuous young man with an eye for flowers and pretty young ladies be present".

 

The feeling of being-the-last-to-know came over Janara as she finally put one and one together and realised that whoever sent the gifts knew that she and Aeolene were sharing a room at the convent, and that it was likely somebody she knew from her most recent encounters rather than pranksters within the abbey. Adding to her confusion and dismay was the fact that Sister Alma had already found out about the flowers in spite of how careful Janara had been.

 

Even as Janara was led to the room where the others were assembling to meet with Halbarad, she kept wondering to herself which of those there might have been behind the gifts, and if the gifts were meant for her or for Aeolene.

 

The first person she immediately recognises from her recent journeys was Malachias the young archer.

 

"Hey there, Malachias.", she greeted him, forgetting her recent coaching in ladylike-etiquette and giving him a firm handshake. "Whatcha think this is gonna be about?"

 

She was hoping not only that he might shed some light on why they had all been summoned, but that he might let slip any clues about who was responsible for the pair of pumpkins which were now hidden under Aeolene's cot.

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"Whatcha think this is gonna be about?"

"Hopefully, it is about our upcoming raid on the nearby Darkspawn camps, Janara," Roman says as he enters right behind Malchias. He is dressed in full armor and weapons, and is carrying a pack, as if he were expecting to leave that very minute. He looks around the room at his comrades in the service of Aurellius.

 

"Greetings, everyone. I hope you have all been well."

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Joe and his halfling associate mill about the room, a look of serious consternation on the half-orc's face..."Anybody seen Fin? I've looked everywhere!"

 

The halfling selects an empty spot on a bench and hops up. Turning from side to side to take in the entire company......

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Janara took account of who all was gathered there, and recognised all but one thusfar. Supposing either Roman or Malachias might have an answer, she asked the both of them while they were both together. "Who's the hafflin'? Was he with ya'all last time?"

 

She didn't intend to stare, but the visege of the uncommonly short man with eye-patch following Joe around made it difficult not to look. His kind were even less common than elves around here, and Janara had been curious about them ever since one of her friends from her "rangering" days had told her about what fantastic cooks the small people were.

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Janara shrugged. The way she remembered it, Joe was a half-orc of very few words where she was concerned. She walked over to him to ask, really expecting nothing more than silence and a steel-toothey grin.

 

"Who's that there?" she asked, pointing with her thumb not-so-discreetly over her shoulder to the hafling who was now standing in a chair.

 

... Annoying silence followed.

 

 

"Well?"

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When Aeolene appears with Janara, the group of familiar faces is immediately struck by one significant change: The weapon on her back is not only new, but beautiful beyond all right of a weapon of death to possess beauty.

 

And yet - for those who adventured with her - it seems fitting. For Aeolene possesses beauty to spare in face, body and manner, yet nonetheless is an archer of deadly precision and a warrior of unshakable courage. None yet have seen her flinch from threat to herself, tho' she has occasionally called a retreat or maneuver to aid a comrade for whom she fears.

 

Now with old shieldmates and a halfling who might join those ranks, she travels the room offering compliments and speaking her joy to see again these potent foes of evil. At one point a woman of uncompromising military bearing limps through the room and passes beyond the door at which the friends wait. It is clear to those who see Aeolene's face that she recognizes the officer (perhaps even a general? her markings of rank passed by too quickly but certainly she is counted high here among those who manage Denelspire's armies). But there is no time for the two women to share a greeting. Even with her limp, the officer makes good time across the flat stones of the Spire floor - and her face held an expression that would brook no interruption.

 

Only when all are greeted does she return to her seat, now near Erik, to listen to Janara seek the name of the quiet newcomer.

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