Chapter VII ( Part I ) - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent.   Posted by Game Moderator.Group: 0
Roxie
 Player, 130 posts
Sun 10 Jan 2016
at 20:37
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Feeling a flush upon her own cheeks, Roxie sat up slowly once Jhaelin leaned back but she could still feel some pain when she did so. "I'm the only one ... figures," she half-laughed but he could tell she was relieved. Closing her eyes as he inspected the wound and began additional healing, she took in deep breaths and let them out slowly to try to clear her mind of the turmoil.

When she opened them, she saw Iliana brushing her hair and making quite a show of her endeavor. Her gaze dropped and she felt jealousy and resentment well inside of her. Why was it the foul tempered beauty remained mostly unscathed? Sure she'd almost died but so had they all. And there she sat taunting Roxie who'd lost her own golden locks and was quickly accumulating scars all over her body. At the rate she was going, no one would ever want her.

"Thank you," she said over her shoulder when the healing was finished to Jhaelin and found she couldn't look in his eyes just then. Such uncharitable and self-loathing thoughts were inside her and she couldn't let this good man see them. "I think a good nap is in order, so we can be ready for the trip for the root."

She stood then and after a moment of indecision stepped outside of the sanctuary. Once out of the site of the others, she let the tears flow as she looked upward. "Thank you for taking him back though you never should have treated him so badly in the first place," she whispered to Jhaelin's deity. "He's too good a person, didn't deserve to feel like ... like I do most of the time."

It had felt strange to pray, if that could have been called a prayer. It was certainly heartfelt and she was happy Jhaelin was happy again. Having said her piece, she scrubbed at her face to dry the tears. That afore-mentioned nap and a good wipe down when she woke would probably do her a lot of good but for now she just felt defeated. Taking a deep breath, she turned to go back inside.
Leah
 Player, 63 posts
 Human
Sun 10 Jan 2016
at 20:37
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
The fight with the mephit over, Leah looks dubiously at Karock and Jhaelin, not certain if she can believe what they are telling her, but seeing no body, decides that it must be true. There was no time to bury one, after all. "Fine," she responds, "But next time we have a guest, wake me first." With that, she pours a bit more water on the blister she developed due to their missing erstwhile companion. Afterwards, she checks the leftover stew, scooping out a few bits of obsidian rock that somehow made their way inside. Satisfied, she curls back up by the fire to return to slumber once more.

When morning comes, Leah is up wuith the dawn, feeling quite rested. There is usually much to do, and the earlier to start, the better. The night watch seems to have finished off the stew, so she begins preparing something new for breakfast. Once complete, she realizes there actually is not as much work to do as she might have thought. No wonder people become adventurererers, she thinks. But with nothing to do, she begins to grow bored. Frowninga moment, her face then lights up. She goes outside for a moment, then returns with a leafy branch. If nothing else, she can sweep all of those crazy obsidian bits that suddenly seemed to appear all over in Karrock's house. Two sweeps later, she drops the branch suddenly realizing something. She rushes over to Illiana, the only one who seems to be awake at the moment, and says, shaking her on the shoulder, and exclaiming quietly but with her voice bursting with joy, "Hey! Hey! I think Karrock gave birth! There are baby dwarves all over! He's a mother!"
Illiana Ebonleaf
 Player, 66 posts
 Human
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:07
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Illiana looks up from her book Arcanum and fundamental enchanting practices in irritation at being disturbed. She might have forgiven the intrusion into her privacy had it been a summons for some breakfast. But no, it is Leah!

"What? What!?" she asks. "Slow down. You are.. again, not making any sense. Male dwarves do not... nevermind."

Illiana stands, straightening her dress and making sure her hair is still in place.

"What are you prattling on about?" she asks.
Jhaelin
 Player, 188 posts
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:08
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Jhaelin wakes with start, opens one eye and doesnt move. He looks across the room and sees Leah and Illiana in the corner of the room. Now what is that all about? Whatever it was, he was staying out of it for now. Still, he could not lay around forever. There was much to be done.

Jhaelin sits up, groaning inward at the soreness his body feels. He was not used to such extreme activity. Walking, climbing, fighting... it all was taking a toll on his body. But not all was bad. He has lost a few pounds and gained muscle in places he didnt realize he even had muscles in. One thing about adventuring, there is no lack of activity nor time for idleness.

Once wide awake, he readies his gear then retreats to the library for his morning prayers while the others begin to stir.
Durwe Ondosume
 Player, 142 posts
 Elf
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:09
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Durwe stretches, readies his gear for travel, then pushes a boot against the sleeping Karok.

"You hear that Karok! You birthed children last night in your sleep. Twins if your girth was any indication."

Durwe chuckles, wondering at what Leah could possibly mean, then stokes the fire back to life for a radiant warmth.
Leah
 Player, 64 posts
 Human
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:09
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
"That's just it!" Leah says, beaming at Illiana, pleased to have figured out the puzzle. "Karrock's not male. We just forgot female dwarves have beards too!"
Roxie
 Player, 131 posts
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:11
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
From the far corner, blue eyes opened and watched Leah puttering about and then she started carrying on about Karok having babies. That one is touched for sure, she thought to herself as she stretched and uncoiled herself like a cat waking from a nap.

Her hand swept over the exposed flesh of her scalp and shuddered, sending her to dig out the ruined shift she'd used before to cover the patchy areas. The sun had been merciless and she knew the skin would be extremely tender and would burn quite easily. She'd had enough pain for a while and that was something she could prevent.

Once she had the cloth as well as a change of clothes and a strip of material to dry herself, she took the bucket and silently left for the well. She felt the sweat and grime too keenly and it was past time to clean herself. It would be easy to get a bucket full and step out of view to give herself a good sluicing. Should have just stood out in the rain last night like I thought about ... ah well.

Drawing up a bucket full, she stepped into the nearest door and making sure it was safe stripped down and started cleaning herself. The cold water was bracing, to put it mildly, but compared to the heat they had suffered and would continue to suffer it was a welcome feeling. The main thing was to not feel like she was coated in sand and maybe not look like she'd just wallowed in the dirt.

That welcome was tested as she lifted the bucket over her head and poured the contents over her, bringing a sharp gasp and a few choice words. "How the hell did I dive into half-frozen ponds before?" she grumbled as she vigrously toweled herself off. Of course back then, there was awlays a nice campfire and a mug of something warm to drink afterwards. Old Melody would wrap her up in a blanket and sing to her until she fell asleep.

"I still miss you," she whispered as she started putting on her clothes. Times were always hard for Roxie but it seemed there was always one or two people that crossed her path that made things just a little easier to bear. Sliding on the boots last, she picked up the bucket and drew up another round of water for the others and went back to see if there was anything salvagable to eat and be ready to go.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:13, Mon 11 Jan 2016.

Durwe Ondosume
 Player, 143 posts
 Elf
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:13
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Durwe turns from the fire, a stick still within the flames and gives Karok a questioning look. Indeed, an inspecting look... then smiles before turning back to stoking the fire's embers.

It is all he can do to contain himself from bursting out in laughter.
Illiana Ebonleaf
 Player, 67 posts
 Human
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:14
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
"Are you mad with illness woman? Do not be absurbd. Karok is not a female dwarf. I have seen female dwarves. While, yes, they may sport quite a bit of facial hair. It goes without saying that Karok does not, in fact, sport any of the other most notable attributes of a female nature."

Illiana looks over at Karok and his leather breastplate, reassuring what her mind tells her.

"Now, the question begs. If Karok was a woman... and I am not saying he is. But if he were, why would you say such a thing? There are no toddlers running around."
Karok Gemsmith
 Player, 291 posts
 Dwarven
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:15
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Karok sat up, rubbing his eyes.

"Oh, fine," he grumbled. "I waken, being kicked by an elf, only to have the daftest inn keeper in the world try to get me pregnant."

"Still, this has got to be an easier day than yesterday was!"

"Is there something to eat?"
Jhaelin
 Player, 189 posts
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:15
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Jhaelin emerges from the library after his morning prayers. He pulls a bit of meat left from the roasted haunch of wolf and eats while gathering his things.

"We need to get a move on. If there is something else you wish to do here, we can come back," he says to Karok. This place holds some secret that we might yet figure out, but first I want to get that root for the curative and get back to Laurel."

Jhaelin shoulders his pack, takes up his shield and war hammer and looks at the others expectantly.
Roxie
 Player, 132 posts
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:16
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Having just walked in to hear Karok grumbling, a smile snuck up on her and she set the bucket down so anyone who wished to refill their skins could. Going over to the haunch, she hacked off a big chunk and handed it to Karok. "You must be starving after giving birth to invisible babies," she whispered to him and clapped a hand on his shoulder.

Returning to get her own portion, she glanced at Jhaelin and her smile softened just a bit. "You might think of covering to keep from getting sunburned," she mentioned and tapped the cloth over her own shaved head. "Save you a bit of pain." Walking back over to the corner, she put on her pack and emptied the musty water out of her skin which she refilled from the bucket and was ready to go.
Karok Gemsmith
 Player, 292 posts
 Dwarven
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:17
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
"Aye, I must," Karok agreed dourly, tearing off a hunk of the meat and masticating. He made his preparations, grumbling something about what passed "for humor among the tall races."

At the end, when Jhaelin mentioned returning, someday, he made sure of the outline of the dwarven stone disc in his pouch and replied, "Aye. Perhaps another time."
Tynia Earthbound
 Player, 127 posts
 Elf
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:17
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
As the rest of the group had been waking and going about their morning business, Tynia sat quietly and studied her spell book. She tried to ignore the jokes about Karok having babies. She new it was all a bit of good hearted humor to lighten up the mood of the group, but it was a very tender subject for her. Tears began to well up in her eyes as painful memories of her own child came to mind. Not only had her child been taken, but also her husband lost. Her sole reason for even meeting this group was a personal quest to find her missing child.

Quietly and with a sense of urgency, Tynia snatched up the water bucket and headed towards the well. Once off to herself she let the tears roll freely. She cursed the gods for taking her child and also begged them that her baby be safe. Her feelings were tempestuous. It was like standing under a waterfall of emotion. Tynia had tried so hard to hide her inner turmoil, but this mornings subject had reopened her wounded heart. At this moment she fought with all of her might to regain her composure, but her emotions were overwhelming her.

A cry of agony, louder than she could control, escaped her lips as she lay curled up next to the well with tears pouring out of her eyes. "I hate you!" Tynia hollered out cursing the gods.
Leah
 Player, 65 posts
 Human
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:19
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
When Karrock asks for something to eat, Leah is right there. "Have some of this. It will restore your strength," she says, offering him a garlic clove. "And it is very healthy for restoring your strength. But you should have told us," she clucks. "You put all of your children in danger." She takes no offense when he seems to prefer the haunch of meat the pushy girl offers him, although she adds, "If you store the clove in your cheek, then it'll make the meat taste better."

When Jhalin suggests they move on, she asks Karrock, "Are you fit to travel? Or do you need to rest a few days? How long does it take to wean the children? When do they grow eyes?"

As Tynia begins to walk outside, Leah shrieks, "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! Watch your feet! You almost crushed one of the babies!" She rushes over, watching her own feet, and protectively gathers up an obsidian shard Tynia had almost trod upon on her way outside. Bringing the little dear over to its mother, she tells Karrock, "I bet they're hungry too. I found a few in the stewpot! Will you bring your babies when we go, or do dwarves just release them into the dirt to grow up on their own?"

Distantly, she hears an anguished cry, and she says knowingly to Karrock, "She's obviously very distraught over almost crushing little, un, he looks like a Dori, or a Bombalara, I guess, but she probably just did not recognize him or her. Elves are types of plants, you know, so if they looked more like seeds or an acorn, she would have known better. Please forgive her so she can forgive herself."
Roxie
 Player, 133 posts
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:21
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Roxie had a tendency to keep an eye on everyone in the group and she noted the glimmer in Tynia's eyes but when she left so quickly her insides squirmed with compassion. Funny how she felt that so much lately, how she was starting to embrace again those good qualities and wishing she were a better person. She'd only felt this way toward a handful of people in the troupe, usually trying to keep her feelings detached.

That detachment went out the window when Leah started shrieking about stepping on babies and it was hard to keep her mouth shut and not retaliate by at least yelling about insensitivity. It had been all she could do when she shrieked about Jhaelin shaving her head not to smack her then, the pain and humiliation she felt only exacerbated by the reaction, but she kept reminding herself that there was something a little off about Leah and she obviously couldn't help herself.

Since Tynia took the bucket, she knew where the woman was headed so took her time in ambling there and when the beautiful elven woman shouted at the gods, she stepped into view. "Something we have in common, ducking away so others won't see our tears of anger and frustration. For me contrition and shame mixed in with all that," she said gently. She stood within a few feet, leaning against a wall and looked up at the sky again and thought of her own actions of late.

"It's easy to hate them sometimes," she nodded in agreement. "They can be just as petty and viscious as we can but it seems all the more worse since they are gods and we think they should be able to do better. When we think about how many of us there are and how few of them though, it's easier to see how some of us can fall through the cracks." Turning her gaze back to the woman, there was compassion and resignation that her words would not help. "Not saying that to make what you're feeling any less, just ... trying to offer a little something to help."
Tynia Earthbound
 Player, 128 posts
 Elf
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:23
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Tynia was a bit startled by Roxie's sudden appearance. She quickly put her hands up in front of her face to shield the view of tears falling from her eyes. As she listened to Roxie's words a feeling of comfort overcame her and she was able to calm herself, with the exception of a few stray tears. After a moment Tynia wiped her face, stood, and righted herself. "Your words ring true love. Although I curse them and beg for the gods blessings all at the same time..." Tynia paused for a moment and then let out a sigh. "My apologies for breaking down... Just all this talk of babies got me to thinking of my own child... She and my husband were taken from me by bandits. I began searching for my girl and thats what led me to all of you. It would seem most of my life has been one tragedy after another. However, I will not bother you with any more of my history... Im sorry to bring my problems upon you... Please say nothing to the others"
Jhaelin
 Player, 190 posts
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:23
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Jhaelin sighs, then shrugs at Karok before turning to Leah. He decides it might be a very difficult task in trying to explain reality to her. He wonders where she got her beliefs. He likes Leah, but wonders if she has the capacity to be a part of their group.

"Leah. That is a wonderful idea. That pile of rubble in the library would make a splendid spot for the shards with plenty of water and stone which every one knows dwarves need. If you would be so kind, gather them and place them among the rubble. Then we will be ready to leave. We have a hard hike ahead of us through thick forest."
Roxie
 Player, 134 posts
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:26
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
"Don't apologize," Roxie said softly. "I've had a few of those breakdowns myself the last couple of days. I've come closer to dying more than I'm comfortable with and it's made me think about a lot of things. Most of all that I want to be better than I am."

A lopsided grin revealed no happiness and then she sighed. "I took a job to find a young couple, not really caring about the people but the money because I thought if I could get enough saved up I could make myself happy with things. Then we found 'em," she said even more quietly as she fingered the ring that was proof.

"Their time was cut short but they had something I probably never will. All my life it was do whatever it took to survive which meant money. Only the rich had lives worth living I thought. Some had too much and it never bothered me to lift a trinket here or a purse there. Kept food in me and the makeshift family I had."

The shame was obvious in the flush of her cheeks. "Now I see that's not what life's about and that there are some things more precious than gold." Her eyes drifted back toward the sanctuary and she sighed. "I can't change my past but my present and future can be different and maybe I can redeem myself a bit."

Rubbing her arms, she sniffed a little as she took a deep breath. Though they had probably suspected, admitting she had been a thief had been difficult and now she was even more vulnerable. The thought of being cast out from the group was terrifying but they had every right after all. She wanted to think she'd shown she was trustworthy so far, that she was changing for the better.

To have friends again was what mattered to her now, and maybe something more down the road that was softer and warmer than gold. Someone to love and love her back ... maybe. "When we get this stuff to help the town, if I live and you'll have me, I'd like to help you find your little one."
Karok Gemsmith
 Player, 293 posts
 Dwarven
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:27
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Karok endured Leah's cosseting joylessly, but stoically. When the shards were being gathered, he was thinking, "It must be that the air thins when you stand up so high, like that. A person's brain can't breathe, then..."

The hard hike and thick forest were sounding pretty good by this time.
Tynia Earthbound
 Player, 129 posts
 Elf
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:28
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Tynia pulled Roxie close and embraced her around the shoulders in a hug. Her own tears falling again. At least the two of them could have a good cry together. After a moment Tynia stepped back, but left her arms resting upon Roxie's shoulders. She looked her in the eye and said, "You dont realize your own worth... You beat yourself up so badly about your past mistakes that you dont see the wonderful person you have become. Maybe you did take the job for money, but the fact you feel bad about it and bad for that families tragedy shows you care. You also came to check on me out of more concern for another than concern for your self. I would love it if you were to accompany me on my search."

Tynia gave a heartfelt and genuine smile and kissed Roxie on the forehead. She then pulled away and patted her coin purse as if to make sure all her coins were there. Afterward she gave a mock sigh, followed with a sly smile. She then grabbed Roxie by the hand.

"Honestly thank you. I feel much better. Have you eaten anything for breakfast yet? We should probably get going the group will be anxious to press on."
Cassius Herrin
 Player, 38 posts
 Human
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:28
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Cassius had finished his morning prayers and headed back towards the group. There seemed to be a lot of commotion and Leah seemed to be at the center of it, which was quite normal. He headed over to the spit and grabbed a chunk of the wolf. He finished his morning meal while he waited for the rest of the group to get ready for departure.
Roxie
 Player, 135 posts
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:28
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
For a moment Roxie tensed and almost squirmed away as Tynia pulled her into a hug, the simple gesture feeling foreign and yet reminded her of Old Melody. It was something she needed so desperately, the simple touch of a friend, and she found herself starting to choke as her arms reached around Tynia's waist to share a few moments of weakness together.

When she pulled back, the beautiful elven woman could see the doubt of her words in those sky blue eyes and yet also hope and willingness to start believing in herself. Tynia made her sound much better than she thought of herself and it bolstered her. Even more, she smiled brightly when Tynia accepted her offer and she reached up to wipe away the wetness from her cheeks.

Then she gave a watery chuckle as the woman checked her purse. "One thing my mentors taught me ... never steal from your friends and family," she said as if giving important information. "So that pretty much means your things are safe with me." Giving Tynia's hand a squeeze she gave a comical face. "I think Jhaelin was standing by the door ready to go and I had a chunk of wolf meat. It'll do until we can get something better."

Before they reached the sanctuary, she looked at her new friend and smiled. "I'm glad you feel better and ... thank you. For making me feel better too." Once they pushed open the doors, she looked at the others. "Well let's get a last chunk of meat and hit the road," she said with renewed brightness.
Illiana Ebonleaf
 Player, 68 posts
 Human
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:30
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Illiana sneers in contempt at the lack of response from Leah. In fact, the disrespectful she-brat warrior had simply walked away from her. What did she do to deserve such treatment?

Illiana sighs, resigned that others simply were intimidated by her growing power. She retreats back to her corner and gathers her gear, readying herself for travel. Once that is accomplished, she takes part in sharing the cooked wolf meat, loath as she is to do so. At least it is not a rat or something completely disgusting, she remarks inwardly.

Jhaelin suggests placing the shards of obsidian in the other room. Tcha! Why is he placating Leah's ignorance? With a heavy sigh at having to wait, she sits on the altar dias and reads her tome until ready to depart.
Durwe Ondosume
 Player, 144 posts
 Elf
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:30
Chapter VII - Seeking the Pickled Root Reagent
Durwe pulls a slab of meat from the haunch of roasted wolf and eats. He knows the coming day will be a hard struggle through some rough terrain and the food would lend strength.

With a satisfied stomach, he readies his gear in preparation to depart the monastery. Thinking on it, they had not completely explored the area. Perhaps, after finding the reagents and helping the village, they could return here and explore more. He would have to remember to seek information on those concealed stairs. Someone must know how they open. His eyes shift to the library door and beyond to the lined books on shelves. Perhaps the answer lies in there...

Pulling his attention to current matters, he stands and shifts his pack.

"Ready when you all are. Jhaelin you have the map."