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Legends of Taltos:Crusaders


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"Yvette? .. Yeah I remember her...the girl that rode with you. Why d'ya ask?"

 

Janara now had one more curiosity to add to her growing list of things to wonder about. Why in the world would Malachias be asking me about a girl that he oughtta have got to know good enough already?.

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Feeling a little out of place, Rai bids farewell to George. Before she parts completely from the group, she whispers to Jasmine, "I'll be waiting outside once you're ready. Do not let my timidiness rush you away." She grins to her friend then exits. She waits outside still trying not to feel out of place as she ponders her last encounter with Ben. What was his problem?

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"Yvette? .. Yeah I remember her...the girl that rode with you. Why d'ya ask?"

"Okay, when we got back, I set her up with a place at my brother's inn, and then I was called off and promoted to Yeoman and given some lads to train up. I've been able to get back to see her twice with all the hassle, and now she's panicking that she'll be all alone. Now it looks like I'll be called off to duty with you again, and her panic will be justified."

 

This all comes out in a bit of a rush, and quietly, since he'd never ever live it down if word got out that he went to a half-orc for advice about a woman.

 

"If I asked Erik, he'd laugh and buy me a drink, Corwight would tell me to abstain from the sins of the flesh, which I have been, thank you, Aeolene would get holy at me, and Fin would start yammering on about faeries. You seem reasonably level-headed, do you have any ideas? I've never done this before."

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Janara hesistated to answer right away, as Rai had entered the hallway in which they stood; and Janara's voice had a horrible habit of carrying much further than she intended. She gestured toward a more private alcove so the conversation would be less public.

 

"So what yor sayin' is she's scared you'll go off without her or somethin'?"

 

Janara felt like she was years younger and back at the abbey again, listening to some girl or other ramble on and on about some boy or other as though Janara was anything other than a half-orc who knew absolutely nothing about love. She had done this often though, and though at first she just let her thoughts wander while giving the occasional nod to appear interested, she came to form a few ideas of her own about love and romance and what girls want.

 

"Well maybe you won't be asked to go with them. They ain't asked me neither yet. "

 

Those comments didn't seem to help the sorrowful look on Malachias' face, so she quickly interjected.."but of COURSE he'll ask you. Why else would he give you lads to train up!"

 

Then, Janara got an idea.

 

"They let girls in their armies nowadays. I seen that lady with the limpy walk earlier. She was like a captain or something even better. D'ya think between you and me, we could make a archer outta Yivette?"

 

It was a great idea. After all, archery was the easiest thing in the world to do. Janara had taught herself how to shoot when she was much younger than Yvette, so how hard could it be to learn a new skill with two teachers.

 

"Anyway, if that don't work out so good and you have to go away, she can still be my friend. Us half-orcs don't get to be part of crusades like this."

 

It was about this time that Joe came noisily into the hallway and Janara took notice of the emblem pinned to the right shoulder of his leather armour. It was the cross of the Crusades. Suddenly she felt even more discriminated against. She rolled her eyes at Joe, folded her arms across her chest and uttered an audible "Hmmmph".

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When he finishes his advice to George, Roman goes to Halbarad and thanks the high priest for giving him another opportunity to lead others in the service of Aurellius. Then he quietly takes his leave of the gathering and goes to begin preparing himself for the days ahead.

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Aeolene, seeing Janara's awkward position, invites her and Malachias to go for a walk. Hearing the suggestion that Yvette be taught archery, the Priestess is naturally enthusiastic, but careful to insure that Malachias understands that each soul has its own best path, and that only Yvette can be a sure guide for her own path.

 

Then she takes whoever will go on a magical walk - or go by herself if no other will accompany her. Those willing find their feet travelling faster and lighter with no extra effort, tho' they do not fall as lightly when bounding down steps or stones. E'en so, she does her best to make it a playful journey round the city's environs- a joy to dismiss the all to real cares of her friend and her companion...

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As the crowd disperses, Ben sidles up alongside George. As the two fall into stride together, Ben offers his most sincere congratulations and adds, "I know that there are very few more worthy candidates for this postition than you, my honorable friend. Since you will be busy preparing for the ceremony, are there any supplies that you need for our future quest? I will be stocking up on a few items and would be happy to pick up anything for you that you might need."

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Before Aeolene had joined her in the hallway, Janara continued rattling on and on to Malachias about her marvellous plan of taking Yvette along to kill the Darkspawn, but then she began having second-thoughts. Seeing Aeolene come through the door, she recalled how the both of them used their healing powers together to save Erik, and how neither were able to help poor Robert, who was now buried amoung heros in the catacombs of Denelspire. This was no mission for beginners, no matter how well they had been trained.

 

"Maybe it ain't such a good idear after all. What if she got bad hurt or killed even. What if she seen something bad happen to you? What if .."

 

She supposed Joe had noticed her reaction to his Crusader emblem, because now he was coming over to where she and Malachias were talking, and so was Aeolene. Janara knew enough about half-orc ears to realise he had probably already had a good opportunity to drop-eaves on their conversation.

 

She thought hard, trying to imagine herself in Yvette's place, and after nearly biting a hole in her lip, rushed out the remainder of her advice to Malachias in an even more subdued voice. "What if you tell her you just wanna keep her safe, and she'll be safe as long as she stays put here at the Spire and you're out shootin' darkspawns. Tell her you love her and stuff. Tell her you'll miss her and think of her and all that kinda junk. Give her some flowers too. Girls like that kinda junk...

...

....Oh hey there, Joe!", she piped up, now that he was standing in front of her.

 

Joe realizes what has upset Janara, looks at the small icon, and says "Oh, that...I wanna serve 'Relius, like you guys. I never had nothin' for a purpose afore, like you."

 

Her initial feeling of jeelousy was quickly overpowered by an even more unpalatable feeling of guilt. She was not mad at Joe because of how she had been treated by certain people more than a year ago, and she supposed she should be glad for him instead. Things had changed alot since then, and he had probably done something quite impressive to earn the respect of whoever had given him the icon.

 

"Okay, so maybe they DO let half-orcs in this man's army. Good on you, Joe! I betcha you have a good purpose too. Me and him and her..", Janara gestured at herself, Malachias and Aeolene, "..we're all archers. What's it that you do?"

 

Later, Aeolene asked if anybody gathered wanted to join her on what she called a "magical walk". Janara had complete trust in her friend, but was not so certain that Malachias might not be uneasy at the suggestion, having not been around her as much and knowing little of her Empress' magic.

 

"Aw c'mon Malachias. It'll be fun. It ain't like she can fly or nothin'!" Janara laughed out loud, knowing that it would not really surprise her to find out that her friend could indeed fly, and how Malachias' jaw would hit the ground to see her doing so.

 

Before joining Aeolene on her walk, Janara tried to talk Joe into coming along too. He seemed rather lost without his elf friend now, and Janara knew exactly how he felt.

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"Thanks Ben." Replies George as he tries to suppress a smile. "There is something I'd like you to get." The young soon-to-be Knight says deadpan. He stops and looks Ben straight in the eye, his face stoic and serious. "I need apples and oats, and some carrots."

 

Seeing Ben's face strikes George as the funniest thing he's ever experienced in his life, and lets out a mighty belly laugh, his chainmail chinking in time with the gut-wrenching sobs of laughter.

 

George does his best to curtail his laughter, since he has no wish to hurt Ben's feelings, but he finds it quite difficult. But after a moment or two, he's able to look his friend in the eye one more, although Ben's confused expression threatens to set him off laughing again.

 

"We're going to be fighting, so I'll need lots of treats for Buttercup. She's a good horse, and has served me well for several years." George finally says once he's fully in control of himself again. He's still chuckling under his breath though. "Carrying me into battle is a great service, and some treats are the least I can do for her."

 

As George is standing talking to Ben, he feels a sharp tug on his clothing. To his surprise, there's a small boy standing and looking up at him.

 

"Can I help you youngling?" Asks the young Crusader, his voice as soft and un-frightening as he can make it.

 

"Come sir! Come sir!" Is all the boy says, over and over again and trying to pull George with him.

 

"I'll speak to you later Ben, it looks like I'm being abducted." Says George as he waves to Ben and allows the small child to lead him away.

 

It doesn't take long for George to recognise where he's being taken, and soon finds himself stood in the forecourt of the smithie.

 

"Ah, about bloody time you got here." Bellows a gruff voice from within the dark confines of the smithie. "Come on lad, get that mail off, and hand over your sword."

 

George is surprised to find a huge man come out of the darkness. His barrel chest is covered in a tan leather apron and is dripping with sweat and grime. "Halabrad told me to make sure you had appropriate attire for the ceremony. Ha! Appropriate attire indeed. He expects me to make and fit a suit in a day. Well, if anyone can do it, McDonald can!" The large man then spots the stunned look on George's face. "But only if you get that bloody mail off so I can start fitting you!"

 

George hurredly begins to shuck his mail and hands his sword over to the smith. The heat of the forge is beginning to make him sweat, but he resists the urge to fidget. It's not the done thing for a knight.

 

"I hope you don't have any plans lad." Bellows McDonald as he begins work on the first segments of armour. "Because you'll be here allllll day!"

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"Okay, so maybe they DO let half-orcs in this man's army.  Good on you, Joe! I betcha you have a good purpose too.  Me and him and her..", Janara gestured at herself, Malachias and Aeolene, "..we're all archers.  What's it that you do?"

 

Roman is on his way back to his quarters when he comes up on the small group of Aeolene, Janara, Malchias, and Joe. He has to stifle a laugh as he overhears Janara's question, thinking back on the half-orc's actions on their last mission.

 

"Why, Joe is one of the best trackers in all Denelspire, Janara. And he is second to none in the art of door-bashing," he says with a grin. "Mayhap you two will get the chance to work together on the next mission."

 

He gives a small bow and bids them all goodnight, then heads to his small room. Once there, he removes his armor and weapons, drops to his knees, and begins a long session of prayer and meditation.

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"I have a few supplies I need to look into," Rai informs Jasmine once the two reunite. "I'll meet you back at the tower tonight."

 

The two parts ways and Rai is soon off to gather the supplies she will need for another quest. She makes her way from shop to shop until she finds the herbist shop. Unpon entering, she waits for the owner patiently as she does not appear to be in sight.

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Making his usual pre-adventuring rounds, Ben pays a call to the herbalists shop that he visited at the start of this new chapter in his life. As he enters, the old woman flashes him a bright smile and beckons him to the back, knowing that his interests lie with the more "shady" items that she keeps back there. After several long minutes of browsing, Ben finishes making his selections, settles his bill and bids the good woman ado, leaving the back of the shop with several new vials of poisons and sleeping draughts that may aid in this as yet to be determined quest.

 

As he walks past the counter and back into the more respectable area of the shop, Bootknife Ben falters in his steps. There, standing before him is Rai! Dumbfounded and at a loss for words after their last encounter, the best that Ben can do is force out a mumbled hello and avert his eyes to the ground.

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