Caer for a Dance?   Posted by Mr. DM.Group: archive A
Mr. DM
 GM, 257 posts
Wed 27 May 2009
at 12:51
Caer for a Dance?
The rain had not abated for the past three days. Falling - it seemed - almost continuously, the wet had made the roads something of a nightmare to travel. In the valleys the coursing streams led to mud that was in places calf-deep. Atop the hills there was little shelter, droplets of rain pounding into travellers' faces.

In these cirumstances even four-legged animals struggled; carts and wagons were frequently stuck. It was quicker, if more dirty, to walk.

Tamika had been on her journey for a little over two weeks, sleeping at inns where possible, and pleading with farmers for shelter where not. Her trusty staff had seen much use as she made her way into the hills of North Ddaran. This was strange new territory for her - much further north than she'd ever travelled. At least the people seemed the same wherever she went. Peasants and villeins walked the roads side-by-side with merchants and mercenaries.

Now she was in sight of the walls of her goal - Caer Anddross. The city looked inviting from this distance. Smoke rose from many of the houses, their inhabitants clearly keeping their abodes warm as a haven against the foul weather outside. The river Ross bisected the city, and at this distance it was possible to make out a couple of tall ships docked at the wharves. Several towers stood out, taller than those even of the city walls: the two towers of the keep within the Caer, and four towers clustered together roughly in the centre of the city. Pennants and flags flew at various places on the fortifications. Along with the whitewashed walls, the sight would be rather impressive in better conditions.

Tamika had been told of two people that could be worth looking up.

One was Garth, a fence. He was supposed to be found in the Scars, wherever that was. She'd been told he was quite the mover and would be able to get her on the right footing - for a suitable price, of course. Naturally she'd have to be a little cautious. Those with power invariably had sharp teeth.

The other contact was rather more legitimate - Maria, a cousin of Tam's mother. She was said to live somewhere in Tanholme, and was a tanner's assistant by trade. Though it didn't seem likely that Maria would know much of the more specialised information Tamika would be after, as a cover and more civilian view of the city she could be invaluable.

Tamika now approached a gate into the city, the eastern-most of the two south-facing portals. The building certainly was huge, of much more substantial construction than the walls of Tam's previous home town.

A few bored-looking guards lounged around the gateway, half-heartedly inspecting the entering traffic.
Tamika Ward
 player, 9 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Wed 27 May 2009
at 13:57
Re: Caer for a Dance?
The journey north had been quite an irritation. Tam didn’t mind the rain so much, the cold kept people inside and footsteps unheard. Nor did she mind having to barter for shelter. She supposed she had been fortunate, having been able to find a roof to sleep under most nights, but she would still complain to herself endlessly. She hated being dirty and as she looked down at her mud covered boots she sighed, it would take days for the grime to wear off. Thankfully the rest of her clothing was only wet, nothing a night inside wouldn’t make right. She was cold, always cold, and it seemed that every night she slept was colder than the last, but for some reason it never seemed to bother her much.

Not for the first time she regretted not preparing better for the journey. No bedroll, tent or even blanket, at the very least she wished she had the foresight to purchase a cloak. As she shook her head to toss the water from her hair she looked up at the city before her. Caer Anddross, she knew little of the city but from what she had heard from those sharing her journey north the potential for wealth in the city was near endless. Naďve nobles, petty criminals, royalty and castles, the thought made her grin. She wasn’t so simple as to believe everything from these peasants, but she held hopes.

Garth. The name came to her again as she thought of who she was to see. While a relation could be helpful she’d rather not impose on family, at least not for now. Perhaps once she has the lay of the land, so to speak, she could indulge in some family time. The Scars was a curious name, by its very implication Tam had some idea of where to look.

As she approached the guards she looked up at them with innocent eyes as she brushed wet strands of hair out of her face. ”Excuse me sirs. I’m here to visit family, could you direct me to Tanholme?” She looked past the guards, deeper into the city, ”Are there any areas I should avoid while I’m in the city? I could also use the name of a good Tavern.”
Mr. DM
 GM, 259 posts
Wed 27 May 2009
at 14:34
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Two guards smirked at each other, then looked the young half-elf up and down. The taller of the two spoke to her:

"Tanholme? Follow this road straight, an' across the bridge, then keep on it till you're at Cathedral Square. Can't miss it. Tanholme is on the west side o't' square, what'll be to your left as you enter the square."

He chuckled a little at Tam's question about areas to avoid.

"Pretty lady like you, I wouln't go out anywhere after dark wi'out an escort! Serious though, stay away from the Scars. As for a tavern, any on the main road 'ere or in the square'll do. The Bear's Claw on the square, that's a good 'un."

The other guard grunted at this.

"He only says that cos his nephew works there. Try the Four Towers if you want somewhere a bit nicer."
Tamika Ward
 player, 11 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Wed 27 May 2009
at 14:58
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tamika thanked the guards and followed the road north as directed. She sighed inwardly at the guards ‘assistance’, they weren’t exactly forthcoming about where the Scars were. She could walk the streets, but the last thing she wanted was to be lost in the city. Instead it would be The Bear’s Claw. That would do for a tavern. She wasn’t looking for anything ‘nice’, indeed the information she was after would likely be more difficult in a ‘nice’ tavern.

She continued walking and stopped as she crossed a bridge, looking either way along the river. She figured she was in the east of the city, at least that’s what it looked like from the outside, her view from the bridge confirmed it. Continuing down the street Tam headed left at the T-junction, assuming the square would be in the centre of the city. Coming to the square Tam took a moment to look around before starting her circuit, looking for The Bear’s Claw.
Mr. DM
 GM, 260 posts
Wed 27 May 2009
at 15:46
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Dominated by the cathedral after which it was named, the square was huge. At this time it was filled with travellers, hawkers, clergy, local tradesfolk, and a town crier who hollered out news at the top of his voice.

The cobbles underfoot were slick with rain, but still a preferable surface to the mud of the roads. To the north stood a large gate. The traffic through it was noticably lighter than the gate through which Tamika had entered.

The buildings bordering on the square were mostly shops, though those to the south were houses. Many streets led away; the western-most were broader than the narrow streets in the east. Regardless, the houses Tamika could see were of much lower quality than the impressive ones she'd seen on her way to the bridge.

The Bear's Claw was the first inn Tamika came to as she began to walk around the sqaure in a westerly direction. The broad street it stood at the end of led down to another bridge, towards the south-west area of Anddross.

Inside, the inn was teeming. Travelers formed most of the press, marked out by their rugged and dirty clothes. There was a broad mix of races - humans, halflings, gnomes, and even the odd dwarf. A number of folk stood out as clergy with their simple robes and tonsured hair.

Two bars served the large hall. Several serving staff hurried back and forth, clearly struggling to cope with the midday rush.
Tamika Ward
 player, 12 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Wed 27 May 2009
at 23:17
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Thankful to be out of the mud Tam stamped her feet on the side of the street, hoping to get rid of some of the grime caked on her boots.  She was frustrated, by the travelling, not knowing the city and on top of everything else she was filthy! She resolved to bathe as soon as possible, or at the very least find herself a bucket of water. But first she had to find somewhere to stay.

The inn was not what Tam was expecting, although from the number of people outside she should have expected the inn to be full. She cast a brief glance around the inn before walking to the nearest bar and waiting. As she waited she looked around the inn, it wasn’t the right kind of place she was after but at least she could get directions here. More accurate ones than the guards gave anyway.

As Tam was served she gave her most charming smile, ”Oh no, nothing for me. I’m afraid I’m a bit lost. Where in the city would I find the Scars?”
Mr. DM
 GM, 264 posts
Thu 28 May 2009
at 00:02
Re: Caer for a Dance?
The bartender - a young woman not yet Tam's age - returned her smile.

"'s just across the square there. Imagine you was coming in the north gate - if you turned straight left, you'd be in the Scars."

She gave Tam a friendly, knowing smile.

"It's not as bad as folk say it is, really. I live there meself. Trouble's not likely to find you unless you go looking for it!"

With that the girl turned politely to other waiting customers - those with coin ready in their hands.
Tamika Ward
 player, 14 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Thu 28 May 2009
at 01:05
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam wasted no time in leaving the inn. She left The Bear’s Claw and crossed the square, sliding down the nearest alley Tam headed into the Scars. She had no destination in particular, figuring it would be wise to explore this part of the city during the day. As she walks she keeps an eye out for any taverns in the Scars as they would likely be her next destination.

As she walked Tam thought back on what the bargirl said. She knew places of ill reputation were generally overstated in their danger, after all she had been living in such places for years now. She wondered how the Scars differed from the slums of other cities. Trouble's not likely to find you unless you go looking for it! She had to agree. The only problem was that she is looking for trouble.
Mr. DM
 GM, 265 posts
Thu 28 May 2009
at 12:19
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Passing a few run-down looking mansions on the edge of the square, Tamika headed deep into the Scars. The houses here were tall - often of 3 or 4 storeys - and many leaned inwards towards their counterparts on the opposite side of the street. Washing lines hung between some houses, though devoid of clothes in the downpour.

The people here were clearly poorer than the others she'd seen so far in the city. Their garments were less colourful, and of lesser quality. Tamika certainly didn't see any nobles or merchants, but the odd mercenary or guard patrol forced their way down the streets, causing folk to jump out of the way of the armed men.

For all this though, the people seemed happy. Women stood in doorways talking to their neighbours or shouting across the street to other residents. Children played, making the most of their surroundings in their games. The air was one of folk content in their circumstances and living life with vigour.

Tamika's practiced eye saw more though: the shadowy figures conducting shady dealings in alleyways who scarpered at the first sight of anyone armed; houses seemingly lacking in residents, all shutters closed; tough-looking men who gave anyone looking at them the evil eye. There was a definite undercurrent of criminality here.

It soon became clear that the district was not a trading one - there were very few shops or businesses. It wasn't until Tamika got deep into the Scars, almost to the eastern city wall, that she found a tavern. The establishment was surrounded by a six-foot high stone wall - though not a patch on the city walls it certainly passed on a message. Outside the archway that led within the barrier stood no less than three large men wearing leather armour and carrying cudgels, one of whom even seemed to have orc blood in him. Peering through the opening Tam spotted another few guards within the grounds - two on the door and another two making their way along the perimeter.

A sign hung near the top of the wall at the left of the archway proclaimed this to be the Swung Fist. Incongrously, the grounds inside the walls were laid to a well maintained garden.
Tamika Ward
 player, 15 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Thu 28 May 2009
at 12:50
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam couldn’t help but smile as she walked through the narrow streets. For the first time since entering the city she felt like she could enjoy it here. This was the kind of city she enjoyed and for every darkened alley she passed and every shady deal she witnessed her smile grew that much wider. This is going to be fun!

By the time she found the Swung Fist she was beaming, a place to sleep and a few friends and she’d fit in here just fine. She studied the walls with a quiet curiosity, it was certainly interesting and perhaps said something of the neighborhood that a tavern needed to be walled in. Still, Tam’s smile never faded, if there was already crime busy in the city it would make her actions more likely to go unnoticed.

Walking up the archway Tam smiled up at the guards, ”Hi boys.” She looks to the half-orc and gives him a wink, ”What’s the story with the walls? You must be hidin’ some mighty fine wine in there.” She looks past the guards briefly before looking back at them, raising her eyebrows.
Mr. DM
 GM, 266 posts
Thu 28 May 2009
at 13:06
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Two of the guards remained stony-faced, but the half-orc grinned in response.

"New are ya? Damn right the wine is fine."

One of the other guards nudged his comrade and made a muttered crack about the orc being a poet and not being aware of the fact, which earned him a clip around the ear.

"Excuse him. As I were saying - best wine in the district. Best ale, best dancers, best beds. You comin' in?"

The half-orc leered a little at Tamika.
Tamika Ward
 player, 16 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Thu 28 May 2009
at 13:17
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam laughed lightly at the half-orcs response and held out her hand, ”I’m Tam.”

She once again cast her gaze past the guards and towards the entrance of the tavern before looking back. ”The place looks great,” She looks between the guards, ”If you get a break you should come in, I’ll be the one giving your dancers a run for their money!”

Leaving the guards with a parting grin she heads towards the taverns entrance, waving back to them before walking inside.
Mr. DM
 GM, 270 posts
Thu 28 May 2009
at 15:37
Re: Caer for a Dance?
The big fellow grinned and took her hand lightly.

"We don't give out our names. But you have a nice time, now."

A low stone building of two stories, the tavern was of much better construction than the surroundings. Its quality was further marked out by the glass in the windows - a rare luxury. The guards at the entrance to the tavern itself waved Tam inside, having seen the exchange at the archway. She was told to take the inner door to the left within the small panelled hallway; the right hand door was watched over by another huge half=orc, this one armed with a longsword at his side.

The main room of the tavern was huge, and the atmosphere was surprisingly refined. Three huge tables were laid along the length of the room, with benches down each long side. The patrons were a mix of locals and tradesfolk. There seemed to be very few travellers here. Two huge hearths provided heat, and a bar ran along the far side of the room, an arch on the right of it leading to some stairs, and another arch beyond the first, to the right. Dark wood panelling lined the walls.

Behind the bar were two staff - a young beardless man with long brown hair, and an older woman in a nice blue dress.
Tamika Ward
 player, 17 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Fri 29 May 2009
at 01:31
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam slowly walked up to the tavern proper as she admired the gardens, curious as to why they were so well kept and who was maintaining them. She smiled again to the guards at the entrance, her eyes lingering on the large half-orc before she turned left as instructed. She wasn’t often surprised, but given the locale of the tavern, the mini-fortress look of the building belied its interiors. I could definitely find a home here.

She looked back the the door she was guided away from, curious as to the need of so many guards. But her attentions were turned to the heat of the open fire. Drawn to the open flames Tam squatted down in front of the hearth and closed her eyes, enjoying the heat for just a moment before standing back up. She stood by the fire, wringing her hands and running her fingers through her hair as she looked about the room, studying those present more carefully.

Once she was satisifed her hair was dry and body warmed Tam walked up to the bar and got the attention of the young man serving, ”I was lead to believe there’d be dancing.” She said, looking around the large room. Grinning she turned back to the man, ”How much for a room?” Judging by the quality of the tavern she thought she’d hazard a further query. ”And a bath.”
Mr. DM
 GM, 281 posts
Fri 29 May 2009
at 12:38
Re: Caer for a Dance?
The patrons in the room looked as if they were what they seemed - though there was the odd rough-and-ready looking labourer, none appeared to be in Tam's line of work.

"If that's what you're 'ere for, you want that hall."

The young chap indicated the arch to the right of the bar. Sure enough, Tam could hear strains of music floating through.

He looked her up and down, smirking slightly.

"It's 2 gold for the night. If you're good for it, it's well worth the coin. Don't get many folk asking for a bath - that's 2 gold as well."

He smiled as if to forestall any protests.

"I take it you're not local, so I'll let you know - the ale and wine is not so expensive."
Tamika Ward
 player, 18 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Fri 29 May 2009
at 13:46
Re: Caer for a Dance?
"Two gold?" After two weeks on the road Tam was looking forward to a bed. But not at that price. After weighing up the options in her head, she guessed that secure lodging for a few nights was worth the price while she settled into the city.

"I'll pay for three nights up now," She reached into her beltpouch, her nimble fingers quickly drawing out six gold coins. Stacking them in a single pile on the bar she continued, "And you can draw a bath for free" It was a statement rather than a question, even though she didn't mean to be rude it was the quickest and easiest barter she was willing to make.

"I'll take a bottle of wine and a glass, any red from the south would be fine." She turns her head to the music and smiles, she didn't know whether a drink, bath or dance was the first thing she'd be doing.

She turns back to the barman, "Is the boss around? Can you let him know I'm lookin' for work."
Mr. DM
 GM, 288 posts
Fri 29 May 2009
at 17:35
Re: Caer for a Dance?
The young man checked Tam's gold then, satisfied, reached below the bar and produced a heavy iron key.

"You got yourself a deal. Room's upstairs, the one at the very end on the left. Let me know when you want your bath and I'll send up a maid. The south wing - that's the door to the right with the big guard as you come in, can't miss it - is off limits. On pain of, well, pain."

He drew a bottle of red from the shelf at the back of the bar. The bottle was unmarked. A glass followed. He enquired of Tam whether she'd take here drink her or in her room.

At her mention of work he raised an eyebrow.

"What kind of work? Those who stay here don't usually need to ask for it..."
Tamika Ward
 player, 19 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Sat 30 May 2009
at 00:06
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam took the key and pretended to ignore the comment on the south wing. Now that she had been told it was off limits it made her that much more curious as to why. Don't soil where you sleep. The thought came to her and she begrudingly had to agree, perhaps her investigations could wait but she could see no harm in asking around if she wanted to sate her curiosity.

"Oh I'm sure I can do anything a tavern would have need of, as for the specifics, I'd rather talk it over with him." Tam had considered dropping a hint of her profession but didnt trust the young man to pick up on her innuendo. "Let him know I'll be dancing if he wants to talk."

"Please have the bath drawn immediately and the bottle taken to my room." Perhaps she would have time for a quick dance while her room was being prepared.

Once her affairs were in order Tam thanks the barman and walked through the indicated archway, into the dancing hall beyond.
Mr. DM
 GM, 300 posts
Sun 31 May 2009
at 19:38
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Looking slightly amused, the young man replied:

"I'll ask him to look out for you. I'll see to your room right away."

Tamika passed through the archway into the next hall. This room was at least as big as the other, and if anything more ornate. Tapestries complimented the panelling; scenes of nature and mythical beasts alongside some of less wholesome nature.

There was only one bar in this hall. At the far end, a stage was occupied by three female dancers. A couple more were performing on two of the smaller tables that were dotted around the room. Doors opened off to the right - six in all, ranged along the wall. As Tam entered, a fat merchant was being led into one of these side rooms by a young woman.

A haze in the air and several sweet smells gave away just what was being smoked in the pipes of those present.

To the side of the stage, three minstrels provided the musical setting for the nights activities.
Tamika Ward
 player, 21 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Mon 1 Jun 2009
at 04:23
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam knew she shouldn’t have been surprised about the exact type of dancing that the tavern offered. She was just expecting something a bit more refined, not exactly the stuff of ballrooms and palaces, but pleasant, wholesome dancing. She raised a palm to her face and chuckled as she thought on the reactions of the guard and the barman. Perhaps she would have approached things a bit differently had she known. Perhaps not, as modesty wasn’t a great concern and she could think of nothing better to be paid for than dancing.

Taking a seat near the entrance Tam briefly watched the performers on stage. Studying the routine briefly Tam stood up, leaving her backpack, weapon and boots by the chair she began walking up to the stage. She wasn’t exactly attired for dancing, leather armor and bare feet, but that had never stopped her before.

Reaching the stage Tam beckons the nearest dancer and gives her a wink, ”Room up there for one more?”
Mr. DM
 GM, 301 posts
Mon 1 Jun 2009
at 09:08
Re: Caer for a Dance?
A young woman dressed in a blue robe stepped over to Tam, incorporating her movements gracefully into the dance.

"Long as you don't take any tips from us and you can keep up!"
Tamika Ward
 player, 22 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Mon 1 Jun 2009
at 09:27
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam smiles, "Oh, all tips are yours. You are welcome to share mine."

Stepping up to the stage Tam takes an appropriate position and begins to move with the music, happy that after a number of weeks she was able to perform in an appropriate venue. Given the surprising refinement of the tavern Tam was encouraged to perform to all of her potential, she was not only enjoying the opportunity but also seeking employment. Her smile beams as the patrons of the bar watch her move and dip. Giving subtle smiles and nods to those who catch her eye she continues her dance.

Her pace livens up quickly and with a grin she picks up on the melody. Beginning in a whirl of exhilaration and a series of glissades and sidesteps Tam laughs lightly while encouraging the other dancers on stage.


Tamika Ward rolled 24 using 1d20+12. Perform(dance) check.
Mr. DM
 GM, 302 posts
Mon 1 Jun 2009
at 09:58
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Catching the attentions of the crowd, Tam put on an impressive show. Recognising her skill at this particular dance, the other three moved back a little to allow her the limelight.

The minstrels subtly adjusted their playing to suit the newcomer's style, dropping hints of traditional Ddaran folk music into their tune.

A few punters gathered near the front of the stage, cheering. Despite the apparent purpose of the building, the group was mixed - male and female, young adult to venerated elder, halfing and human - lending weight to the suggestion that the Swung Fist served as entertainment hub for a goodly portion of the city.




OOC: The tips you get will depend on how long you dance for, naturally. It's just the one check though.
Tamika Ward
 player, 23 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Mon 1 Jun 2009
at 10:18
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam continued to dance for some time, her practice and health allowing her to perform long past breaking a sweat. With such an attentive crowd gathering Tam was inspired to perform much longer than she had originally anticipated. Originally it was only her intent to gain the attentions of those who made the decisions in regards to employment, but her vanity and ego made her continue. The loving attentions of the crowd and the recognition that she was entertaining gave her a feeling of pride and appreciation.

However, as much fun as she was having, thoughts of her bath getting cold caused her to cease. She may dance well and look fine, but she was sure she smelt as bad as a horse. Nodding to the minstrals to finish up Tam gave the crowd a generous curtsey as she stepped off the stage, just short of performing for an full hour.

Breathing deep she smiled generously to the gathered crowd and looked around for anyone who seemed to staff the place, hope in her eyes that the boss of the tavern was present for at least a part of her performance.
Mr. DM
 GM, 310 posts
Mon 1 Jun 2009
at 11:33
Re: Caer for a Dance?
During her dance Tam became aware of a tall, thin fellow with straggly grey hair standing at a table further back into the room. He watched her calmly, a slight frown on his face. There was something odd about his left eye, though at this distance it wasn't possible to tell what.

When she'd finished, Tam collected up the coins that had been thrown her way. The tall fellow approached, carrying her belongings. Up close she could see that his left eye was blind; marred by a short scar that ran diagonally across it from his cheekbone to the tip of his nose. The fellow was fairly old - certainly over 40 - and dressed well in a quilted red doublet and black breeches.

He approached Tam and handed across her belongings, before putting an arm around her shoulders and leading her towards the first hall.

"Young lady, that was an impressive performance. I feel I do not need to congratulate you upon it, for the crowd has that honour. My name is Emryn. How should I address a lady such as yourself who carries such interesting accoutrements?"
Tamika Ward
 player, 24 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Mon 1 Jun 2009
at 13:53
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam smiled as the man approached, she accepted her belongings with a grateful nod and put her boots back on. She leaned into him as he put his arm around her and allowed herself to be guided through to the barroom. ”I’m Tamika Ward, but please, call me Tam. You have a really nice place here, anyone who can draw a bath for me has my approval though I’m yet to taste the promised fine wine.”

She looked up at Emyrn from under her fringe, ”I’m a dancer.” She grins, ”As you can likely tell, and I’m looking for work.”

She always believed in the saying ‘keep it simple’, and if Emryn already had his doubts about her profession she may have to think on the spot. If the man owned the tavern then he was certainly someone she would like to be well acquainted with if she was to stay on as a permanent resident as planned.

She held out her hand, holding the coins tipped from her entertaining, ”Please, see the girls get these. I promised them I wouldn’t take their tips.”

This message was last edited by the player at 13:54, Mon 01 June 2009.

Mr. DM
 GM, 313 posts
Mon 1 Jun 2009
at 14:33
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Emryn smiled broadly, his narrow, lined features creasing. His voice was deep and smooth, his speech unhurried.

"Tam. The wine here is of course fine, for I choose it."

He stopped by the stairway - it led down as well as up. As he took the coins from Tam, his touch lingered, his one good eye looking deep into her two.

"You are most gracious, Tam, though I'm sure the girls wouldn't begrudge you coin well earned. Please, wash from yourself the dust and weariness of travel, and I will send for you anon."

He extended an arm towards the rising stairs in a broad gesture, and propelled her gently in that direction.




OOC: As he takes the coins he briefly lays three fingers on your palm in the Thieves Cant sign for 'Tib' meaning a young lass.
Tamika Ward
 player, 26 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Mon 1 Jun 2009
at 15:39
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam smiled to Emryn and gave him a slight nod. ”I look forward to our talk.”

She followed the stairs upwards and found the room to which her key fit. She wasn’t so taken aback at Emryn’s revelation, though was somewhat surprised he revealed himself without knowing anything about her. It made her somewhat concerned, and somewhat relieved. The man would have power, to afford to be so trusting, and he would clearly not see her as a threat. She was concerned that this Emryn was not a man to cross or cheat, or that he was a man many said no to. She was also relieved that perhaps she had found a safe place to rest, and that his protection may somewhat be extended to her simply by residing in his tavern.

Tam shook her head, clearing it of all thoughts but a warm bath and stepped into her room. Locking to door behind her she stood in the entrance, wondering exactly what two gold pieces bought her in way of a room.
Mr. DM
 GM, 316 posts
Mon 1 Jun 2009
at 15:58
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam's room for the night was impressive. The panelling of downstairs was continued up here. It was revealing that the room was in good condition and well kept - clearly not just anybody stayed here.

A large four-poster bed with heavy blue velvet drapes dominated the room, placed centrally along the wall opposite the door. At its foot was an oblong chest that looked easily big enough to hold all of Tam's possessions twice over.

To the left was a heavy carved desk and matching armchair upholstered in the same velvet as the drapes. A candlestand with four unlit candles upon was placed in the corner left of the door. On the right was a window opening carved into the stone. The glass leaded panes were closed, but the shutters outside stood opening, displaying a view of the gardens. Tam's room overlooked the entrance, where the three guards could be seen just beyond the arch of the wall, rubbing their hands and joking together in the winter weather.

There was no fireplace in the room, but it couldn't be called cold; probably the heat from the bars below went some way towards keeping the building comfortable. A cast iron bath on four feet styled like lion's paws stood off to the right of the door, steam rising from the water within it. Next to the bath was a small metal plate, with a pumice stone and a strigil upon it.
Tamika Ward
 player, 28 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Mon 1 Jun 2009
at 16:32
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam's eyes widened and she raised a hand to her mouth in awe, the room was splendor like she has only ever heard of. Laughing to herself she darted deeper into the room, her eyes unable to stay focused at any single thing long as she studied the luxury of the room. While certainly worth its price in gold she couldn't help but start thinking of ways in which she could afford to maintain such a lifestyle. Her bath was almost forgotten in her excitement but she was reminded as she let her hands slide over the intricately crafted tub. Smiling to herself she unpacked her belongings, she set her clothing in the trunk at the foot of the bed and an outfit on the bed. Tossing her backpack next to the bed Tam began to undress. Her two daggers were placed in the nightstand beside the bed, placing her small, black leather satchel containing her thieves tools and belt-pouch next to them. Stripping off her armor and boots Tam stretched, thankful to be out of her armor for the first time in days. Picking up her quarter-staff and the bottle of wine Tam looked at the wineglass and, figuring she didn't have a third hand and wouldn't need the glass, walked over to the bath.

Resting her staff against the wall beside the bath Tam slipped into the water, pleased that it was still hot. Opening the bottle of wine Tam smiled as its aroma reached her nose, savoring the sweet smell of berries Tam was indeed pleased by the wine selection. Tossing manners and etiquette aside Tam took a generous gulp from the bottle, and exhaled deep in satisfaction. More comfortable now than she had been in weeks Tam slid deep into the bath and took another drink from the bottle. Closing her eyes Tam let the bottle rest on her stomach, half submerged in the water.

Some time and half a bottle of red wine later, as the water in the bath was cooling, Tam finished up cleaning herself. She pulled up a stool next to the bath and began washing the grime of travel out of her armor and boots while she waited on Emryn's call.
Mr. DM
 GM, 318 posts
Mon 1 Jun 2009
at 17:37
Re: Caer for a Dance?
When Tam opened the chest at the foot of the bed she found it contained a couple of blankets, presumably proof against the winter cold. There was still more than enough room for her belongings in the huge box.

Whilst she was engrossed in the maintenance of her well-worn armour, a knock came at the door and a female voice called:
"Mistress Ward? Master Emryn will see you now."
Tamika Ward
 player, 29 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Tue 2 Jun 2009
at 03:26
Re: Caer for a Dance?
”Just a minute.” Tam called out.

Drawing an outfit from the trunk Tam got changed into clothes entirely more comfortable and fitting. She pulled on a pair of simple, tight, black leather pants and the same high-boots, now cleaned, that she had worn when she arrived. Tam selected a deep blue silk half-shirt, cut high around her ribs to leave her midriff bare, with wide flared sleeves

She tossed her armor on top of the clothes chest to dry and walked to the nightstand to retrieve her belt. Strapping her belt on Tam attached her tools satchel and belt-pouch as well as sheathing her two daggers. Pulling a braided leather strip from her backpack she put her hair up into a single ponytail, leaving her fringe hanging low around her eyes.

Within a minute Tam was attired and feeling great, spotting the bottle still on the floor beside the bath she picked it up, took one further quick swig and left it on the nightstand. Opening the door Tam locked it behind her before smiling to the girl. ”Alrighty then, please, lead on.”
Mr. DM
 GM, 323 posts
Tue 2 Jun 2009
at 12:24
Re: Caer for a Dance?
The maid who'd come to fetch Tamika was a short, plump woman a couple of years younger than Tam. Raising her eyebrows a little at Tam's attire, she set off without a word.

The two walked back downstairs and through the main hall - where Tam drew many admiring glances, from male and female alike - and into the small entrance room. There, the maid led the way through the guarded door. Though the half-orc narrowed his eyes at Tam's daggers, he said nothing.

The door led into a stone corridor that took an  almost immediate left. It was clear from the narrow windows running along the right hand wall that this corridor passed along the outer edge of the building. Tam caught further glances of the gardens and the patrolling guards as each opening flashed past.

Ignoring the first door they passed - a wide, double entrance with well-made oaken doors guarded by another fellow - the maid continued on to the next. Still silent, she stood beside the door and opened it, lowering her head to indicate Tam should enter.

Inside was an ornate drawing room. A few fine paintings hung on the panelled walls. A fireplace yet more impressive than those of the other rooms lay on the right hand wall, mantelpiece carved into the shapes of fantastical beasts and coloured with bright paints. The floor was covered in a soft burgundy carpet - a great luxury. Two benches, with high backs, and two chairs, all of oak, were arranged around a matching low table. The seats were padded with cushions. In one corner of the room was a keyed instrument, and around the walls stood various dressers and cabinets.

Emryn rose from one of the chairs and approached Tam. "Delighted to see you again my girl. What an interesting outfit - may I say it suits you very well indeed? Please, sit down. Would you care for a drink?"

He took her hand and directed her to the nearest chair.

This message was last edited by the GM at 12:57, Tue 02 June 2009.

Tamika Ward
 player, 30 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Tue 2 Jun 2009
at 12:44
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam smiled to the maid and motioned for her to continue, paying little attention to her reaction Tam followed her through to the hall. Her smile widened inwardly as she felt eyes on her once again, she controlled her urge to tap her feet or catch the eye of a man and followed the maid through to the guarded door. As the orc eyes her weapons she places a palm on either hilt, preparing to disarm herself, but as no such request was forthcoming she continued through the doorway.

Emryn's room was just as lavish as she had expected and she may not have been able to stop herself gawking had her rented room not have been almost similar, if not as inviting and cozy. Tam turns to the maid as she prepares to leave and places a hand on her shoulder, with her other hand she performs a slight flourish and produces a silver coin. Placing the coin in the maids hand Tam smiles kindly at the girl and steps inside as the door is closed behind her.

Her gaze lingered on the strange keyed instrument, while she could dance to it, playing music was an entirely different matter. She always admired such performers that could produce such wonderful music from such complicated machines. She had some regrets she never had the time to learn.

As Emryn took her hand she smiled up at him, "Thank you, I'm afraid I didn't have the foresight to pack for travelling, but I'm hoping to settle in Caer Anddross. You've certainly made me quite welcome." As she sits Tam's eyes brighten at the offer, still with the taste of warm wine in her mouth she was not going to resist an offer of further indulgence, "Certainly, and while I'm no expert I certainly agree with your taste in wine."
Mr. DM
 GM, 328 posts
Tue 2 Jun 2009
at 13:54
Re: Caer for a Dance?
The maid took the tip silently, with the faintest of grateful smiles. Tam got the feeling she'd been expecting such.

At Tam's acceptance of his offer, Emryn clapped his hands together. A male servant entered through a door opposite that through which Tam had come, and received instructions from his master.

Emryn settled into the chair opposite his guest.

"Now then dimber-mort, let's to strap. I'm the upright-man here, and I want no eriffs or hedge-birds. Benar?"

He wore an amused smile, clearly gauging Tam's reaction to his thieves talk.




OOC: dimber-mort is a pretty wench, strap is work, upright-man is the leader, an eriff is a beginner, a hedge-bird is a scoundrel. Benar means good. If you'd like to use any of this sort of thing here's a link, but please try and avoid any anachronisms.
http://pascalbonenfant.com/18c/cant/

Tamika Ward
 player, 32 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Tue 2 Jun 2009
at 14:46
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam replied in kind without hesitation, her eyes showing a rare seriousness.  "I'm keen to start to strap, and I ain't no green head. While I'm quite the kit seeking coin, I've been known to take a dive on occassion." She sighed to herself, she was about to put herself on the line. "I ran a canting crew out of Aferbryn for some seasons before I was sent here to find a fence named Garth."

She looked at Emryn with eyes turned to concern, "It'd be a knave in grain who'd warn a lass of what she couldn't do, keeping her from getting back'ed."


OOC: [strap] work, [green head] novice, [kit] dancer, [dive] pickpocket, [knave in grain] first rate man, [back'ed] killed
Mr. DM
 GM, 330 posts
Tue 2 Jun 2009
at 15:17
Re: Caer for a Dance?
In contrast to Tam's seriousness, Emryn burst out in a pleasant laugh, silently clapping his hands together.

"Wonderful, wonderful! I know a filching-mort when I see one."

His laughter died down.

"Well you've done the right thing in coming here first. Tell me - were you sent to the Swung Fist or is your presence here a happy coincidence?"

The door at the back opened and the servant reappeared, bearing a tray with two glasses of red wine. He offered first choice to Tam. Taking the remaining glass, Emryn continued once the servant had left them alone.

"Truly, if it's work you're wanting you could do worse than Garth. He's one of the best and most cautious fences in the city. I'm sure you'll know, the two things go hand in hand. If it's other work you're after then I'd be delighted to offer you employment here - but under strict terms. So let's have it - what are your particular talents?"

It was notable that Emryn had made no mention of Tam's armaments, and that Emryn himself appeared unarmed aside from a small belt knife - more a tool than a weapon, though in a pinch it would of course serve.




[filching-mort] female thief

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:31, Tue 02 June 2009.

Tamika Ward
 player, 34 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Tue 2 Jun 2009
at 15:39
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam smiled once more, her relief was obvious. She had thought for a moment the possibility that Emryn was a reformed thief and about to lynch her for walking into his establishment. As always, however, her natural instincts had served her well, "Oh, not so much coincidence as knowing where to look. See, I was told to look in the Scars for Garth and as I intend to seek him tonight I thought I would find a place to stay. I skipped the taverns in the square apart from seeking directions, after wandering about for a bit I found your place.”

Tam took a drink from her glass before she continued, ”Well, as far as more honest profession goes dancing is about it. As I said, I ran a small crew well for a couple years, I’d be most specialized in confidence and double-speak though I have talents in burglary and theft. I can hold myself in a fight, though it’s something I generally avoid.”

She took another draught from her glass, ”I’d take any employment you can offer at this stage, I’m not even sure what Garth can do for me. If you want a dancer, I can do that. If you have more… interesting work in mind I'm quite open to an offer.”
Mr. DM
 GM, 332 posts
Tue 2 Jun 2009
at 16:33
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Emryn nodded.

"It all becomes clear! Well then, since you're new around here and don't seem to know how things work, I'll explain a few things for you."

His tone was warm as he continued, instructional rather than lecturing.

"The Swung Fist is my business. I'm sure you've got the measure of what we do for the common folk, but there's a bit more to it than one spies on the surface. The key point is that our establishment is a neutral venue. We allow anyone in who can pay, and who abides by our rules. The wing you are staying in is for the commoners; this wing is for noble guests. We provide a safe venue for all to relax and socialise. Business discussion is forbidden, though of course we can't really enforce that - that's down to social pressure. Here, I am proud to say that those who are mortal enemies on the streets may partake in shared entertainment without fear."

He took a sip of his wine, and smiled in appreciation.

"This brings me to talk of employment. If you are to work here, you would do so in a purely neutral capacity. I take great pains to ensure that none of my staff have interests outside these walls. With that in mind, you either work for me, or you work for someone else. Never both, understand? Of course it may take you some time to find your place in the city, in which time you are welcome to work as a dancer."

"If that is what you wish, I will speak with the matron. Since you seem to have some class about you - the other services offered by some of the girls are by no means compulsory. In time, if you prove your loyalty, you may well find a good position here performing special tasks for me. Although I am careful not to involve myself in the underworld, I am not without enemies and thus I am often in need of capable scoundrels to look after my interests in a subtle, quiet manner. But as I've said, employment with me is just that - me alone - though you are free to leave at any time."
Tamika Ward
 player, 35 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Wed 3 Jun 2009
at 04:54
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam was quite surprised at Emryn, not to mention a bit dissapointed. The man had power, prestige and property and he chose to use it in such a boring manner. She drunk slowly from her glass while Emryn continued, contemplating his position on the affairs of the city. Certainly, as a sanctuary, the Swung Fist would attract the type of people she would want to get to know. As much as Emryn's fence-sitting disappointed her Tam felt that his offers of employment and a place to stay while settling into the city were reasonable, after all Garth could totally fall through on her and provide nothing of interest. At the least here she was being paid, had a roof over her heard and could have all the clean, moral fun she could ask for.

As Emryn finished up Tam smiled, "I never quite understood neutrality, I'm a bit more ambitious." She took one final drink from her glass, leaving it empty. "Though your offer of employment is appreciated I would like to see what Garth can offer me before I settle down as a common dancer. Don't get me wrong, I would take you up on the offer right now but I very well may have greater interests in the city."

Swirling her empty glass around in her hand Tam set in on the table before she continued. "I have other questions, if you don't mind. You seem to know quite a bit on the underbelly of the city, can you tell me about it? Also do you know where I could find Garth?"

This message was last edited by the player at 05:11, Wed 03 June 2009.

Mr. DM
 GM, 336 posts
Wed 3 Jun 2009
at 09:37
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Emryn nodded in response, a knowing smile on his face.

"I thought as much, young as you are. I once thought the same way; now I provide a much needed service. In return, I get as close to retirement as I'm ever likely to be. Incidentally, I feel you'd be more than just a 'common' dancer - it's why I am offering you employment, after all."

He sprawled back in his chair, and swung his legs over the side of it.

"Well, what would you like to know? The networks run broad and deep. Most everyone of note has some connection with the underworld, though most every crew is secretive in nature."

"I can do one better than that - I can put you in touch with Garth. Mind, it has to be that way. One doesn't simply find him. Naturally, this would be a favour for you."
Tamika Ward
 player, 36 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Wed 3 Jun 2009
at 10:01
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam grinned at retirement, she was well aware she would not likely reach the age of forty, probably not even close. She didn't know if she wanted to. That everyone who was anyone had connections within the underworld didn’t surprise her, it would certainly make things easier if she needed to climb the social ranks within the city. Then again, she doubted that she could remain anonymous if the two sides of society were so intertwined. She realized now the reason of Emryn’s condition of employment.

Tam was relieved that she would not be relegated to a common dancer, but no so that she would be indebted to Emryn for setting up a meeting. ”Alrighty then, if you could set up a meeting for me I’d owe you one. I’ll have my answer for you shortly after.”
Mr. DM
 GM, 337 posts
Wed 3 Jun 2009
at 10:47
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Emryn clapped his hands together once more, and the servant reappeared to receive instructions spoken quietly into his ear.

"Consider it done. I'll send someone for you once the meeting is arranged; it'll most likely be tomorrow. Don't worry, this is only a small favour. Such things are a big part of how deals are done round here, you'll grow used to it."

He stood, and stretched his long arms.

"Now if you'll excuse me, the day is yet young and I have business to attend to. It has been a rare pleasure, Tamika."

The older man extended a hand once more to guide Tam to the door, which opened to reveal the same maid she'd met earlier.

"One last thing - I must ask that you remain in the north wing. This side of the Fist is off limits unless you're told otherwise. Regardless of your future choice of employment, you can always find a bed here."
Tamika Ward
 player, 38 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Wed 3 Jun 2009
at 12:51
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam stood and nodded to Emryn, ”Of course, thanks for the advice and the offer of shelter. You need not concern yourself over my intentions,” She doubted she gave him cause for concern at all, ”I will not impose on those areas not permitted.”

Tam had intended to return to her room but she was drawn again to the music in the hall. Taking a seat at a vacant table she watched the performers and tapped a foot to the melody. She still had alot to think on but Emryn had answered much of what she needed to know. She still needed to wait and see what Garth had to offer, if nothing else she was sure it would be worth more coin to her than just dancing. Though Tam had her doubts it would be as entertaining or fun, and no doubt at all it would be more dangerous.

She rested her elbows on the table and her head in her hands trying to shake the thoughts and doubts out of her mind. What will be, will be. There was no point in ruining a day she so surely deserved as rest. Clearing her mind of all thought of work and prediction of the days to come Tam watched the entertainers. Although she winced at every misstep she started to enjoy a quiet afternoons entertainment.
Mr. DM
 GM, 352 posts
Thu 4 Jun 2009
at 09:39
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Time passed swiftly for Tam as she enjoyed the performances of the dancers. Every now and then one of the girls would smile at her on their way past, recognising her from earlier.

Tam had time to study the workings of the place; the girls on stage were dancers and nothing more. They would change shift every couple of hours, though breaks were taken more often. From a door next to the stage a middle-aged woman watched the proceedings. Now and then she'd dispatch a girl from the room to a particular table for a private dance - this would sometimes act as a negotiation for other services. There were no signals that Tam could see. It seemed that the matron ran the whole show through experience alone.

As the afternoon went on and the light became low, the place began to fill up. After all, folk could only work while there was light to see by. Servants came round and lit the candles on two large wooden chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

The pace and atmosphere changed as the crowds came. The acts became more organised and scripted. Rather than just dances, true performances were put on, sometimes with a vague storyline, sometimes with a gimmick such as a juggler. A few of the dances became more raunchy.

There was surprisingly little trouble compared to what Tam knew of this sort of place. If a customer became too rowdy, a quiet word from one of the girls was all it took to sort things out.

Food was now being served to the punters. The delicious aromas of cooked meats and vegetables mingled with the smells from the substances being smoked.
Tamika Ward
 player, 40 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Fri 5 Jun 2009
at 07:15
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam enjoyed the afternoon, just as much for the fact she was off her feet as well as the entertainment. She returned the smiles and nods and wished well of the girls who recognized her. She was glad to know the tavern was being run in such fine order, and wondered at her fortunes at seeking this place as first stop in the city. Employees of the Swung Fist certainly looked to be treated better than in any other tavern Tam had seen and, not for the first time that afternoon, Tam considered a more honest life of entertainment.

As evening crept up Tam took the arm of a passing waiter to order a meal. The request was simple, whatever is hot and a glass of wine. Tam could count on one hand the number of hot meals she had over the past few weeks. The thought of trail rations, stale bread and cheese almost made her cry. She had seen enough travelling, and all its annoyances, to last her a long while. As the entertainment started to liven up Tam got more enthused in the spirit of the evening and started to think on maybe one more dance after dinner.
Mr. DM
 GM, 366 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2009
at 10:04
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam's meal came quite quickly - coneys in onion sauce. It was delicious, which explained the 5sp price.

As the evening drew on a new group of minstrels came in. There were 5 all told, one of whom was a singer of great skill. He seemed almost worth watching alone, but in conjunction with the dancers and performers it was no wonder the place was so popular.
Tamika Ward
 player, 42 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Fri 5 Jun 2009
at 10:31
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam finished the meal, while rabbit was common enough that the meals she had taken at passing farmhouses over the past week generally consisted of it she coudn't remember when it had been cooked so well. Draining her glass of the last of her wine Tam stayed just long enough to watch the final performance of the singer, again marvelling at a talent she had no skill at. Standing from her table Tam leaves a silver coin by the empty plate and stretches her arms high. Resigning herself that exploration of the city could wait for another night Tam headed back to her room.

Locking the door behind her Tam extinguished the candles in the room, removed her clothes and sliped underneath the covers. It didn't take her long to sleep and while she was still excited over the opportunities of the future her exhaustion from weeks of travel finally got to her.
Tamika Ward
 player, 44 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Fri 5 Jun 2009
at 18:35
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam lay in bed until late the next morning, indulging in the luxury of a long sleep while she had the opportunity. Rolling out of bed Tam threw water over her face from a basin dish on the nightstand, wiping the nightsweat from her body with a damp towel she opened the windows in the room. She stood at the window and looked out over the grounds for a brief period, admiring the gardens and tall walls. She turned from the window and began to get changed into the same attire she wore the past evening. As Tam picked up her daggers she frowned briefly and smiled to herself. If ever I was going to be safe, it would be here. Putting her daggers back on the bedside table alongside her thieves tools Tam sat on the bed and pulled on her boots.

As Tam prepared for a morning meal she ran her fingers through her long hair, untangling it from the night, before tying it back up into a single ponytail with the leather strap. Locking her door behind her Tam dropped the key into her beltpouch and headed downstairs.

Smiling to the staff tending the bar Tam ordered her breakfast, "Eggs please, with some bread and juice." She only assumed they would have what she requested available, though given her experiences thus far would be surprised if they didn't. She took a seat at a vacant table and yawned, covering her mouth with a hand as she looked around at those gathered in the room.
Mr. DM
 GM, 382 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2009
at 21:07
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Of course, it was raining again. The surroundings at least were far more pleasant than recent days, though.

The halls were empty - either Tam was the only guest or the others were out or sleeping. She had to wait a minute or two at the bar before service arrived. The fellow who appeared warned her that the eggs weren't as good as usual because the chickens were a bit ill, but when they came they were satisfactory enough. Even the bread was of good quality, with little of the grist that usually was to be found in city bread. The fare was well-priced at a mere 1 silver piece.

As Tam ate, a short, wiry fellow with a thick beard approached the table and sat down without speaking. He looked at Tam with a barely concealed leer. Without ceremony he announced that Garth would see her in the afternoon, and provided directions. Whilst he spoke his eyes darted around the room restlessly, as if seeking hidden threats. When he finished with his message he looked at Tam with one last lingering gaze, then slapped the table and left, spitting on the floor as he went.
Tamika Ward
 player, 45 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Sat 6 Jun 2009
at 07:25
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam barely aknowledged the man, apart from a small nod as she recieved the place and the time. It was too short a time after sleep for her to turn to her usual charming self, that and she didn't really feel like dealing with lackeys and messenger boys. She scowled as the man left, his type disgusted her, petty criminals and thugs. They deserved to be locked away and taught some manners over as many years as needed. A mere month ago and in another city he would have likely been just one more name on her list of thugs to apprehend and hand to the law. Tam smiled to herself, reminiscing over the work done with her old crew.

Once breakfast was finished Tam returned to her room. With little else to do to pass the time Tam thought this would be a good enough time to finish her exploration of the Scars, even though it was raining... still. Tam frowned as she looked out the window. I'm going to need a cloak. This weather ain't going away. Changing from her casual clothing into her leather armor Tam didn't even reconsider taking her tools, daggers and quaterstaff. While she doubted she would need her weapons she would be cautious while in the city. Strapping her daggers and toolpouch to her belt Tam picked up her quaterstaff and left her room, locking it behind her.

Walking outside Tam sighed as she looked up at the sky, rain again pelting her face. Smiling to the guards as she left the tavern grounds Tam had a single destination in mind, the tanners in Tanholme. She walked through the scars, keeping as much under shelter as she could. Crossing the square Tam explored Tanholme.
Mr. DM
 GM, 387 posts
Sun 7 Jun 2009
at 21:52
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam made her way through the rain-swept Scars, sticking close to the leaning houses. Folk scurried to and fro, dashing between doors. The route to the square from the Swung Fist was direct. Along the way Tam wandered past a well-maintained large building on the corner of a block, outside which lounged several armed men. Their attitude was one of casually watching the passers-by, whilst talking amongst themselves. As Tam passed, a short merchant approached the group, exchanged a few words, and was directed inside with nods from the men.

The square itself was busy as usual, though the street traders seemed a little shy of the rain.

Tanholme was a minor contrast to the Scars. The housing was more respectable, though of a similar style. Here were more businesses and shops, mixed amongst the housing, which gave the area a homely feel. Tam soon found that the northern part of the district was given over mostly to housing, some of which seemed to be home to fairly wealthy merchants. There was a substantial church, and even a single mansion.

More businesses could be found in the south. Here too was another church, this one walled. Around here it was evident where the name Tanholme came from - the buildings down near the river were widely spaced, with channels dug into the streets providing water. Though the tanners had long since been relegated to outside the city walls, here was where they would have worked when Caer Anddross was but a small village. A couple of ancient looking watermills still turned, a little incongruous in the city setting.

Another large building with armed men outside it stood near the river. The men at this one seemed a little more raucous and rough as they sat upon benches outside, not minding the rain. This place seemed larger than the other Tam had seen.
Tamika Ward
 player, 46 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Mon 8 Jun 2009
at 12:26
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Content with her exploration of the area Tam backtracked through the more commercial parts of Tanholme, seeking a place which would sell her a thick cloak to protect from the weather. The cold never bothered her, but rain was another matter. For all it's apparent cleansing power for some reason she always felt dirty after getting soaked. Maybe it was just her memories of the mud and dirt on the roads to Caer Anddross.

Tam tried to keep as much undercover as she could, seeking a shop which could provided the needed cloak, preferably dark and made of leather.
Mr. DM
 GM, 389 posts
Mon 8 Jun 2009
at 12:51
Re: Caer for a Dance?
There was no shortage of tailors and old-clothes in this part of the city. Tam visited several establishments and found a black leather cloak of three-quarters length, complete with hood. The vendor was asking for 6 gold - certainly a good deal more than the single gold piece that a standard woollen version, but the quality of this piece was evident.
Tamika Ward
 player, 47 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Mon 8 Jun 2009
at 13:07
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam handed over the money without question, if there was one thing she didn't mind paying a good price for it was clothing. Anything made of leather and well crafted was good for almost a lifetime. She thanked the merchant and threw the cloak around her shoulders pulling the hood up as she headed back outside. She shrugged her shoulders as she tried to become accustomed to the weight. While happy with the craftsmanship Tam decided the weight was something she would eventually get used to.

She walked around Tanholme for a brief period longer before returning to the Scars. Tam was eager to meet Garth, and figured it was about time she should arrive for their meeting. Following the directions given to her by the skinny thug Tam headed the meeting spot.
Mr. DM
 GM, 392 posts
Mon 8 Jun 2009
at 13:18
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Following the lackey's directions, Tam found herself deep within the Scars. If her sense of direction was right, she wasn't far at all from the Swung Fist. This deep in, the housing was smaller and more cramped than on the main routes through the Scars. The rain had caused rivulets of dirty water mingled with filth to run through the streets, making the journey unpleasant.

The address she'd been given was in a dead-end. The walls of the city loomed at the end of the lane, where one of the mighty towers stood. From the looks of the door at the base of it, the tower wasn't used often for access to the walls, but regardless any guards passing along the walls could easily see along the street.

The house itself was nondescript - another small dwelling place like the others in the area. The shutters on the windows were closed, though that wasn't surprising since none of these houses would have the luxury of glass. Near the top of the door was a small wooden slot that looked like it would slide open from within, no doubt to check the identity of any visitors.
Tamika Ward
 player, 48 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Mon 8 Jun 2009
at 13:43
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam tapped on the door a few times with her staff.

It probably wasn't the most shady place she'd ever been, but for the parts of the city Tam had seen the dead-ended alley was by no means inviting. Still, she was comfortable standing in front of the door, if more aware than usual. While she waited Tam watched the entrance to the alley, she could think of very few ligitimate reasons anyone would come this way.
Mr. DM
 GM, 395 posts
Mon 8 Jun 2009
at 14:03
Re: Caer for a Dance?
A few seconds after she rapped on the door, the peep-hole slid open and a pair of eyes looked out at her.

"What be your name then, lass?" came an enquiry from within. The male voice was light and friendly, the accent unfamiliar - though the speech was clear and easy to understand.
Tamika Ward
 player, 49 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Mon 8 Jun 2009
at 14:28
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam smiled to the man behind the door. "Tamika Ward." She replied simply.
Mr. DM
 GM, 397 posts
Mon 8 Jun 2009
at 22:58
Re: Caer for a Dance?
"Excellent, excellent, come in!" came the voice, becoming muffled as the spy-slot was slid shut. The door opened to reveal a thin man of average height, with a cheerful looking face. He gestured for Tam to enter then made his way to a chair.

"Close the door behind you, do sit down."

The room Tamika entered was astoundingly cluttered. Furniture of all sorts stood around, covered with charts, pots, stuffed animals, figurines, paintings, and other assorted goods. There were even a few books amongst the bric-a-brac. Two mismatched chairs had been conveniently left clear; the one for Tam was a dusty old thing but well cushioned and comfortable.

"Now then, what is it I can be doing for you? Seems you asked for me by name - that's always a good thing, or a very bad thing. I figure it's not the latter since you're not putting the hurt on me, so: welcome!"
Tamika Ward
 player, 50 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Tue 9 Jun 2009
at 00:33
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam entered the room and took the empty seat. She couldn't help but look around the room, wondering at all the rubbish that was lying around. This had to be some sort of storage house, there was no possible way anyone could live here. The vast majority of the items cluttering the room seemed of little to no value, Tam wondered on their purpose.

"Are you Garth?" Tam asked, continuing without waiting for answer, "I was told you'd be someone to talk to in order to secure more specialized employment."
Mr. DM
 GM, 398 posts
Tue 9 Jun 2009
at 11:35
Re: Caer for a Dance?
The man smiled.

"That I am, lass, and pleased to meet you."

As he talked, Garth barely sat still. He fidgeted, leaning forward, then back, gesturing expansively.

"So it's work you're wanting? With you being a stranger and all, you'll have to prove yourself worthy of trust, you know. But what to test you with? I'm a fence by trade, which means I'm always looking for new trinkets. How'd you feel about 'liberating' something for me?"
Tamika Ward
 player, 51 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Wed 10 Jun 2009
at 08:06
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam studied the man, she had played this game many times before. Petty thievery was above her now, but if Garth wanted this simple job done then she was willing. Starting from scratch at every town visited annoyed her, but at the least her employers always caught onto her potential quick enough.

"Sure. What is it?"  She only really needed to know two things, what and where it was. The rest she could work out for herself, indeed, preferred to. Plans made by others generally have their best interests covered, which may not always be her life or freedom.
Mr. DM
 GM, 403 posts
Wed 10 Jun 2009
at 10:15
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Garth grinned.

"I warn you, it's a little unusal! I need a harp. Yes, a floor-standing musical instrument. Any of quality will do."

The man winked at Tam.

"The way I figure it is: if you can get me something so cumbersome without any hassle, then you've got talent. Naturally, I've nothing to do with the heist. I'll tell you somewhere you can deposit the piece when you've acquired it, then we can meet up again."

He gave a wry smile, a hint of weariness entering his eyes.

"And that way, if you turn out to be a risk, I can wash my hands quickly. I reckon there's something about you - and so does Emryn - which is why I'm giving you the opportunity. Impress me, and I can get you set up right proper. Disappoint me too badly, and I can assure you you'll not work here again."

Garth's expression grew steadily harder as he spoke. Despite his sunny demeanour, he was clearly an old hand. Suddenly he was smiling again, with genuine friendliness.

"So what d'you reckon, lass? Up for the fleece?"
Tamika Ward
 player, 52 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Thu 11 Jun 2009
at 17:01
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam laughed at the request, "A harp?"

She grinned at the incredulity of it, "Just tell me where you want it and I'll have it there for you by dawn tomorrow."

Tam honestly didn't know how she would steal a harp, let alone find one. The request was certainly testing, though Tam had no doubt that she could organise a harps delivery by nights end.

She caught onto the warning tone in his voice, not appreciating it but remaining quiet. She understood his position, if he was as good as Emryn vouched for them Tam had no doubt that he had 'cut loose' his fair share of common thieves. Fortunately she was no common thief, she had ambition and the skills to support it.
Mr. DM
 GM, 408 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2009
at 17:47
Re: Caer for a Dance?
It was Garth's turn to laugh.

"By dawn tomorrow? By the gods girl, if you pull that off, I'll kiss you!"

He chuckled away merrily, brushing at some dust on his sleeve.

"Alright. The harp is to go to a house in Tanholme, third house after the butchers in the row opposite the wall west of the Sons' place, if you keep your back to the river and walk north. It's a nice enough neighbourhood so ah...no walking an uncovered harp down the street please!"
Tamika Ward
 player, 53 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Thu 11 Jun 2009
at 18:34
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam nodded and stood, "You can trust my confidence. You'll have your harp without anyone knowing but the two of us."

Giving Garth a brief curtsey Tam excused herself, "If you don't mind I'll take my leave. The day is wasting and I'm yet to make good on a promise."

She smiled, enthused by the challenge laid down, eager to surpass the mans expectations.
Mr. DM
 GM, 409 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2009
at 18:48
Re: Caer for a Dance?
"Very good - I eagerly await your success!"

Garth winked and rose to see Tam out.

"Shame the weather is so miserable, but then again, it might keep folk off the streets, eh? I'll be in touch if all is well."

He closed the door behind Tam. As she left, he could hear him strike up a song - not one she recognised, but it sounded a merry tune.
Tamika Ward
 player, 54 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Thu 11 Jun 2009
at 19:02
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam pulled the hood up on her cloak as she stepped out into the rain. The more she thought on the request the easier she thought it could be. Nobody would be expecting a harp to be stolen, a common musical instrument. Perhaps it was better Garth didn't request valuables or coin, he may have unwittingly made his initial job easier than he thought.

By the time Tam reached the end of the alley she had formulated her plan. But first, to find a harp. Unfortunately she still knew little of the city but she could assume some places where a harp would be. It may take her a while to find what she needed, but with any luck it wouldn't take long.

Tam walked south until she reached a main street. From there Tam took the main roads through the city, looking for a castle, palace or establishment where the more 'refined' of the city would find entertainment and carouse. She finished a complete circuit of the city, regardless of finding a potential mark.
Mr. DM
 GM, 410 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2009
at 22:30
Re: Caer for a Dance?
As Tam wandered about the sodden streets, dodging urchins and the odd horse and cart, she took note of anywhere that seemed to appear wealthy or that looked to be an entertainment venue.

There was no shortage of either. Mansions pretty much littered the city. Most were located in the Gardens district, but there were one or two in most other areas, it appeared.

Of special interest was the Songfare district. Theatres, dance halls, and brothels abounded; passers-by informed her that this district held the college, run by bards, and as such tended to be the cultural centre of the city. Naturally, all were busy, and would only become more so as the day went on.

There was also the possibility that a rich townhouse could hold what Tam was looking for. If so, there were likely candidates in Tanholme as well as the Gardens.
Tamika Ward
 player, 56 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Wed 17 Jun 2009
at 08:18
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam's plans were changing on the fly, as things seemed to be more difficult or more easy she adjusted her intent appropriately. The surprise revelation of a bardic college gave her an even better idea. Tam certainly didn't intend to steal from the college, she liked to support the arts. However, she was not above using the college in her plans.

Tam headed to the college to look around, she was especially interested in finding out its name and if there was a theatre hall on site. After sufficient exploration Tam wandered around until she could identify someone who worked there. While she could probably have worked out what she needed to by simply exploring, she always found things were generally easier if someone else was available to just tell you what was needed.
Mr. DM
 GM, 437 posts
Wed 17 Jun 2009
at 12:04
Re: Caer for a Dance?
The college wasn't too hard to find - it was in the south of the Songfare district. Unusually, it was part of the area rather than apart from it. One simply wandered into the grounds.

Several large buildings of stone and brick formed the majority of the college. A row of small houses of wooden construction seemed to provide accomodation for the permanent staff.

Well-maintained and planted gardens could be found in the south. In nicer weather they would likely be popular for those taking a short stroll or their lunch. In the middle of the campus was a round, open structure - clearly an amphitheatre for performances. Unsurprisingly, it was currently not in use.

The students and passers-by in the area were generally quite happy to stop and chat with Tam. After all, many of those present were interested in the arts or merely enjoying their surroundings.
Tamika Ward
 player, 58 posts
 Enchanting Half-Elf
Fri 19 Jun 2009
at 04:03
Re: Caer for a Dance?
Tam waved down of one of the students she passed, "Excuse me, is there an entertaining hall inside one of these buildings?"

She glanced across to the amphitheatre, it wouldn't be fit for her purpose. Only for the rain. Otherwise it would have been perfect.
Mr. DM
 GM, 452 posts
Fri 19 Jun 2009
at 12:39
Re: Caer for a Dance?
The student replied that yes, there were in fact two. She indicated two of the stone buldings and explained that the halls were used generally for practice and lessons. If Tam wanted to see a real show, she said, she was best off looking around the district.