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Legends of Taltos:Crusaders


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Malachias meets up with Ben and Rai at the doors of the Leaky Stoat.

 

"Oh, hello," is his response, looking very worried. "My brother owns this place," he says, as if in a completely different conversation with someone else. "Um."

 

With a small bow that is nevertheless courteous, he enters and looks around for Yvette.

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(later that afternoon, on the day prior to George's knighting)

 

Janara rolled her eyes at Joe for the second time that day.

 

"Where'd ya say you found that hafflin'?" .

 

Janara had grown rather accustomed to his hesitant replies, but this reply was more hesitant than usual. He glanced around furtively, and then asked her, "Can ya keep a secret?"

 

Meanwhile, Zeke had climbed to one of the highest windows of the tower and was now letting himself into the tower through that window. Janara expected that any moment Roman or even Halbarad might see what was going on and there would be alot of explaining to do, but so far, everybody else seemed more interested in the preparations being made at the chapel. Luckily the large fortified structure had multiple towers or Zeke would have called much more attention to himself. The halfling waved to Joe from the window, and then vanished within.

 

"Awwright. You can tell me. I'm a good secret-keeper.".

 

Joe then leaned in close, his hands cupped around his mouth so that he could whisper into her ear and she and only she could hear, and he told her the secret.

 

Zeke then emerged from the window and begun repelling down the wall, retrieving Janara's new pitons as he went.

 

Janara looked on, then turned to Joe and whispererd into his ear, though not so carefully as he.

 

"I shure hope yer right."

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Fin seems lost in his own thoughts for a moment, or maybe it’s just the sun bothering his eyes. “Yaks sleep in the afternoon.” He says mater of factly as if everyone should know it. He shrugs as he continues “My old man made me learn to shoot the bow. Said it was something all elves needed to know. I don’t see the point in it but he nagged a lot and it was either learn to shoot or clean my room. That dude knew how to drive a hard bargain man. If you want to go and shoot a bit we could do that.” He says as he pulls two apples from a pouch and offers one to Licia. Between bites he adds “Least till the yak wakes up.”

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Evening settles in and becomes night.....Zeke continues to amuse Janara and Joe with feats of climbing and near-burglary.....Ben and Rai soak up the culture of the Stoat....Malachias frets.....Licia and Fin enjoy filling their targets with arrows, while a sharp elven eye watches for yaks......George, accompanied by Jasmine, spends the entire night in the chapel, in devout prayer, secretly watched by his justifiably proud senior Brothers and Sisters of the Order. Whispers are heard "Erik will be next...he's another good one".... Aeolene takes her "air walk" around the city, clearing her mind and spirit for the work ahead.....

 

And dawn comes.......

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Janara almost overslept, and had it not been for Aeolene shaking her out of a deep sleep, she would have.

 

She had been out way past midnight with Joe and Zeke. The halfling seemed to be determined to teach her everything he knew about climbing through repeatedly demonstrating his skills on various structures around Denelspire. But that was not why she was out so late.

 

The three of them found themselves in the alley behind the local mercantile after a tiring night of wandering around the empty streets. It was at Joe's begging that Zeke read aloud from a book that the halfling carried in his pack. The book was a collection of stories about brave deeds of knights and paladins, and it seemed to have Joe utterly entranced..that is, until Joe fell asleep sitting with his back propped up against some crates. Zeke marked his place in the book and put it away, and he and Janara spent another hour talking quietly about how Zeke and Joe met, about catching rats to pay the rent, and loosing the rats again when the landlord had him evicted in spite of the agreement. They talked about Zeke's time amoung the dwarves, and about how dwarves are short, though still taller than Zeke, though wider too, which makes them seem even shorter. Janara asked him if he was a good cook like all halflings are supposed to be. They talked about haflings and half-orcs and how people jump to conclusions. They talked a bit about Joe too. Next thing Janara knew, the waning gibbous moon was descending in the west and by her own guessing, it was only a few more hours until dawn.

 

In spite of Zeke's offer to help her sneak back into the abbey, Janara assured him she had a key and could sneak in all by herself without his help, and that he should get Joe home before the snoring half-orc woke the entire town.

 

Now it was morning, and the abbey was already abuzz with activity regarding the knighting of George that was to take place shortly.

 

As Janara expected, there were no gifts outside the door to her room this morning.

 

She invited Aeolene to join her and the other Sisters in their part of the ceremony, and offered to help the other nuns out in any way she could. She felt horribly guilty about staying out so late and sneaking in. It was the same sort of misbehaviour that would be expected of a troublesome initiate, but she had already been told numerous times that she should know better than that by now. She tried not to yawn too much, and asked that her breakfast tea be brewed a tad stronger today.

 

Just before leaving with the other nuns to go to the chapel, Janara went to her room to get two things, one of which was a slightly wilted gardenia blossom, which she she tucked behind one ear, and the other, which she secretly tucked up one sleeve. Then she was ready for the day ahead.

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Ben is awake long before the light of dawn makes its way into his small room. He lies in his bunk for the better part of an hour musing on the events of the last day, from the lows of his misunderstanding with Rai to the highs of their peaceful supper together. He is certain that he will never truly be able to understand women. He must be sure to thank the blonde warrior woman for her advice yesterday. Without her help, he would have been sure to avoid Rai and their issues might never have been resolved.

 

As first light begins to creep over the sill, Ben gets up and swiftly dresses in his finest outfit and cloak for the ceremony. The only thing remaining of his normal attire are the fingerless black gloves that he is never without and his trusty sword, albeit in a more ceremonial scabbard.

 

Whistling a happy tune, his head filled with thoughts and images of Rai, Ben heads out for the knighting ceremony.

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The young Elf had spent most of the afternoon and early evening shooting arrows with Licia, and though they had seemed to teach each other a few things about handling the bow, the little Elf had come to the conclusion that you could not shoot a bow with your feet. Well at least you couldn’t shoot it well with your feet. Around early evening Licia had excused herself to go eat and to get some sleep. Fin had sat in the clearing for a long while cleaning his bow and munching on some vegetables he had “found” on his travels. He sat there a while thinking of yaks and farms and for some reason feathers.

 

He shot a few more arrows before finally wandering off away from the field. Night had fallen over the city and most were either in bed or in the taverns, so Fin had some fun exploring around a few places. He popped into the smithy and tried out a few of the tools, even though most where too heavy for the little elf, before deciding he would make an awesome smithy (mostly because he looked good in the leather apron). From there he went into one of the churches but found that very boring since there really was little for him to do in there. It looked like they were preparing for some big shindig but the elf couldn’t figure out what for the life of him. From there he went to the tavern and got into a heated discussion with a farmer about rutabagas (which Fin knew nothing about).

 

As the night wore on and people wandered off to their beds, Fin wandered the streets some more in boredom. He knew he should be planning a counter strategy towards the foul beasts but he was so bored he just wanted to find something to do. Eventually he found himself in an alley and he sat down to start going through his pack. Maybe there was a clue in there as to a strategy. It was in the alley he eventually fell asleep.

 

Morning came to find the little elf sound asleep. He was curled up in his cloak and his ragged hair was splayed out all over the place (still with some feathers in it). He was awoken with a cool object hitting his face. He tried to curl over to the other side to get away from what ever was disturbing him and get five more minutes of sleep, but he heard low voices talking.

 

“Ragged vagabonds. Someone should speak with the knights to see if we can get these beggars off the streets.” Came a feminine voice from his left. Opening one eye Fin saw a large lady peering down on him as one does on a urine stain left in the house by a pet. His unfocused eyes caught the glint of the copper piece that she had tossed at him just in front of his face. He was about to say something to her when a long yawn hijacked his voice. Before he could recover she had walked away. He got up, smacked his lips together a few times, stretched a bit and then opened the other eye.

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Roman is awake before the dawn. He takes a little nourishment from some leftover bread that was his supper the night before, and washes his face and hands before walking to the chapel. The first rays of the sun are just making their appearance when he enters by the large doors. The paladin loves the chapel in the morning. It is quiet and peaceful, and, in that silence, one can really feel the presence of the Lord of the Morning. In all his years of service to Aurellius, he has never failed to be the first to take his morning vigil. Until today, that is.

 

He is surprised to find George kneeling before the altar with a foreign looking woman. He smiles as he realises that the soon-to-be knight has indeed been keeping vigil since yestereve. Not wanting to disturb their prayers, Roman silently moves to the altar and kneels beside George. He bows his head and begins his own prayers.

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Rai is quite surprised not to find Jasmine back at the tower however she doesn't fret too much. If she is not at the ceremony, then there will be cause for worry. She is able to retire for the evening and leave in the morning without notice of Valandril. She dresses in a dark blue gothlic type dress with draping sleeves (the only dress she owned she deemed appropriate for such an occation). Not to mention, she'd probably catch the attention of Ben even more. Smiling as she thinks this, she exits her room and makes her way to the chapel for George's knighting.

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Despite his beliefs, George had never been one for vigils and long periods of prayer. His duties as a squire-at-arms kept him busy, and so he'd grown into adulthood with the impression that prayer was something one did briefly over meals, in the morning and evening and before battle. Yet, as the sun fell over the roofs of the buildings the peace of prayer seemed to infuse his whole being and George began to appreciate the fervent prayers of others he'd seen around Denelspire.

 

Several hours after beginning his vigil, George had noticed a few aches and pains settle into his muscles. But as the early morning sun chased away the night's darkness and brought the Father's life-giving light to a new day, George realised his aches and pains, while they were still present, had been transformed from a distraction into a strangely pleasant feeling. He felt as if those sensations were meant to be there, and that the ache had been from their absense.

 

Without opening his eyes, the young soon to be former squire at arms could sense his friend knelt beside him in prayer. He didn't quite remember how she'd gotten there, but he had a vague recollection of strange smiling faces and looks which made his throat go dry, followed by a warm and genuine smile. But either way, George was reassured by Jasmine's presence as they both knelt before the altar.

 

Having acknowledged the morning sun, George was about to resume his prayers when he heard the door to the chapel creak open and a set of moderately heavy boots walk through the pews and up beside him. While George didn't know who it was, he did recognise the boots themselves - toughened leather as worn by knights and men-at-arms. Must be one of the soldiers coming in for morning prayers Thought George, before returning to his prayers.

 

At first, George didn't hear the snore from the back of the chapel, but as the noise wormed through his senses and finally managed to disturb his prayers, he heard another snore. Intent on ignoring the distraction, George continued to pray until a third finally put an end to his prayers.

 

With cat-like speed and grace surpring even himself, George stood from the altar, bowed in reverence and turned on his heels and began walking to the back of the chapel.

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Rising early, Erik heads to the smithy. Once there, he reminds those there that he won't be there for the morning, and maybe not the rest of the day either. Returning to his room, he asks one of the apprentices to come and help him don his armor.

 

Feeling somewhat ill at ease walking around fully armed and armored, Erik leaves his room headed for the chapel. Silently enduring several cat-calls from his smith-mates, he makes his way to the chapel. He doesn't realize it, but his discomfort is being displayed on his face; features flushed, eyebrows deeply furrowed, lips pressed firmly together in a slight frown. He gives a brief nod to any that greet him, hoping that no one does.

 

Reaching the chapel brings him visible relief. A deep cleansing breath helps the tension leave. Finding 'Just Plain Joe' snoring on the back pew also helps lighten his mood, bringing a smile to his face. Seeing George, Roman, and an unknown woman kneeling before the altar, Erik takes a pew about halfway to the front, trying in vain to walk quietly.

 

He places his shield and helm beside him, and bows his head for his own prayers.

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