PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone.   Posted by Dungeon Master.Group: 0
Tone
 player, 54 posts
Sat 15 May 2021
at 18:31
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
"I think so?" Tone replied cautiously, then relaxed part of the way when the woman - Neria - explained why she was asking. It might have felt like the Paladin was trying to keep tabs on an untrusted wanderer travelling through their lands, but that just wasn't the vibe she got from this woman. Although the human didn't seem to know what to do with her extended hand, so after a moment longer she retrieved it with a self-deprecating smile and without a comment.

"I don't mind. I'd like that," she said. The road would be easier with company - and would be less likely to run into trouble wandering through strange towns as well. It would definitely make the road through the Stormhorns safer - but truthfully? Tone was mostly interested in the other opportunities she would have travelling with her.

"I'm tired, but I can probably keep up with you today - at least if you don't mind keeping your horse to my pace." She took another hungry bite from her half-loaf, then glanced around. "Is there anything else you need in town, or should we set out now?" Before more trouble came looking for her?

She did have questions, many questions - but they could wait until they were outside of town.
Neria
 player, 19 posts
 Human Paladin
Sat 15 May 2021
at 22:41
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
"Good, that's settled," Neria said, relieved.  She blushed to realize she had somehow forgotten Tone's offered hand -- clearly, her distraction was greater than she'd realized.  "I'm sorry, I... have a great deal on my mind right now.  But I'm glad to meet you."  And she held out her own hand hopefully.

"There's nothing else I need, no.  I have everything with me.  Everything I own, in fact," she added, wryly, realizing that might very well be the case for her new friend as well.  "We can leave after we're done eating, and travel at whatever pace you like.  Or Dawn might be able to carry us both, at least for some of the day," she mused, realizing that Tone would not add a great deal of weight to the animal.  "We'll manage, in any case."

After a small bite of bread, she finally ventured the question that had been on her mind almost since she'd first laid eyes on Tone. "Might I ask... That is, there's a great deal I don't know about Tieflings, so I hope you don't mind me asking.  Do quite a lot of you have gold and silver eyes?"
Tone
 player, 55 posts
Sat 15 May 2021
at 23:32
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
"I understand," she assured her, taking her hand and shaking it twice courteously. "I have much on my mind as well, so forgive me if I'm not the most talkative travelling partner. Family issues," she confided vaguely. "It's good to meet you Neria, and put a name to my gallant knight. But we could talk about your mind weights if you like? I'm a good listener, everyone says."

'Everyone' in this case might be the small group of folk who seemed willing to take her for who she was instead of assuming gross crimes before she'd had the chance to commit them. That didn't make it any less true though.

She looked a little startled at the offer to ride behind the woman, even if it would make travelling at a faster pace easier. Still she wasn't a confident rider and they'd only just met and, and, and... any number of reasons she should refuse. In the end the casting vote came from her aching thighs and throbbing feet, who promptly threatened her that if she didn't accept what was being offered they would both revolt in protest.


Accepting any help Neria offered her, she scrambled awkwardly up onto the powerful horse and tried to find a good place to hold onto the more confident rider ahead of her. She didn't add that much to the weight, even with her travelling bag and effects. She experimented with holding her walking staff across her lap, but after hitting Neria awkwardly twice she managed to sling it across her back where it wouldn't get in the way.

They were riding towards the edge of town when she finally returned to the question the woman had asked her. "Some of have golden eyes and a few of us have silver eyes, yes. I don't know anyone else who has one of each - but then I don't know that many Tieflings either. We tend to spread out among other races, where they live, rather than all in one big Tiefling city. They prefer it that way, and it has its appeals," she smiled whimsically.

"My turn for a question if you don't mind. Is it true that Paladins are 'good', by definition? And what does it mean if they are?" She watched Neria's expression as well as she could from behind her.

What did it mean if they weren't, for that matter?
Dungeon Master
 GM, 81 posts
Sun 16 May 2021
at 01:50
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
Dawn had no trouble keeping a steady pace with Tone straddled across her croup, sitting behind Neria in the saddle. The tiefling was small enough, and light enough that the well trained riding horse made no fuss about the extra weight. There was the odd occasion, in lulls between conversation, where Neria felt Tone's head resting on her back briefly before the movement of the horse once again shook the exhausted tiefling awake.

So the day continued and while good distance was made on horseback it was only a small fraction of the time it would take to reach Athkatla. Tone was certainly aware of the fact that catching a ride with Neria had turned a one month journey to only a couple of weeks.

Pushing the last few hours into the evening had Neria and Tone arrive at a small mining village. Barely more than 20 homes were scattered through the clearing and surrounding area however when Neria enquired one resident happily offered a room for the night for a silver piece. The woman was amicable and, having explained that she recently lost her husband, was glad for the company and the extra coin. She had no food to give so it was dependant on the travelling pair to open their own packs but the room was dry and warm, the beds simple hay mattresses on the ground.

Sleep eventually came and both and Neria and Tone wake at dawn the next day, hot coffee brewing on a campfire outside the home. The woman offered a cup to each traveller before they departed.
Neria
 player, 20 posts
 Human Paladin
Sun 16 May 2021
at 15:32
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
Traveling was certainly more pleasant with someone to talk to, Neria decided, to help pass the time -- or perhaps more accurately, to distract her from the fact that she was not only growing more and more homesick, but also still had no set plan as to where to go next.  But the rhythm of the dapple-grey mare was soothing and familiar, more than since sending Tone to sleep, apparently, and the slow but steady passage of the miles did at least help Neria feel that she was accomplishing something, however tenuous.

It was also reassuring to have something comfortable to talk about, as she did her best to answer Tone's question.  "Paladins are fundamentally knights who have sworn loyalty to a particular deity," she explained.  "The beliefs of the god or goddess shape what the paladin is taught and how they're expected to behave, which means it's terribly important to choose a deity that you truly feel comfortable with.  I follow Lathander, also called the Morninglord.  He's the god of light, renewal, creativity... and the dawn," she added, patting the mare's neck affectionately.  Dawn shook her head briefly in reply, the horse's plain but well-made reins and bridle jingling faintly.


"But there are other paladins who follow deities that would be called evil," she continued, realizing that perhaps she should tread a little more lightly in this area.  Though she remembered that Asmodeus ruled over devils in general and might appeal to Tieflings, she was uncertain if there were other gods that Tone might not appreciate being referred to as evil.  "Shar, for example, is an enemy of Lathander, so her paladins believe in destruction more than creation.  But again, that's what they're taught, so they wouldn't necessarily think of their behavior as evil, not as we think of it.  Not as paladins of Lathander would think of it, that is," she added, hastily.

The next morning, Neria gratefully accepted a cup of coffee, pleased that they had found another human who was not judgmental of her new friend.  Probably quite a few of Tone's previous experiences with other races had not been entirely pleasant, and Neria was glad to be able to help demonstrate that not all humans were automatically against her.  Though she had at first been nervous about the very idea of getting to know a Tiefling on a personal level, thus far they had gotten along quite well, she believed, and hoped Tone felt the same.
Tone
 player, 67 posts
Sun 16 May 2021
at 21:33
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
Waking with the dawn and a sharply inhaled breath, the young Tiefling felt her mind and body refreshed by a long and glorious night's sleep. The hay mattress might be rough, but she'd slept on far worse. She'd been sleeping on far worse for close to five weeks now and things were starting to look up. She had found a travelling companion, possibly a teacher, maybe even a friend?

There was time for that later, and she glanced across at the Paladin of the Morninglord before she got up from her straw mattress and- "Tymora's Tits!" she swore, pain flashing across her face. Her legs had been tired yesterday even before spending hours bouncing on Dawn's haunches, but now her thighs were locked in agony, her muscles rebelling against the unfamiliar movements.

And people did this every day? Willingly? The Archfiend's torturers had nothing on this...

Muttering to herself and digging firm fingers into the places where her legs shrieked, Tone managed to push herself up and onto her feet and hobbled out to join Neria at the fire. She gratefully accepted the coffee and inhaled its fumes as the steam wafted past her face. A sufficiently paranoid human might wonder if she looked just like this when she was brewing infernal draughts.

For now the coffee was a sufficiently dark brew of power and she got past any nerves she had regained about travelling with a paladin since the day before. Still moving gingerly, she smiled at Neria over the draught. "Well, that's a lot further than I'd expected to travel in a day. At this rate we might get to Athkatla in weeks rather than months, although - would it be alright if we walked today?"

"And what brings you to the City of Coin? I don't think you said yesterday?"

Although it was possible she'd dozed off then. She'd been exhausted, and sitting down had fooled her body into thinking it was safe.
Neria
 player, 21 posts
 Human Paladin
Mon 17 May 2021
at 01:11
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
Neria watched in faint alarm as Tone moved gingerly over to the fire, huddling over the coffee as though it was reviving her from near-death.  "Are you all right?" she asked, only now realizing that riding must indeed be very strange to the Tiefling.  Even Neria was feeling some effects this morning, not being used to spending the entire day on horseback by any means, though Tone was obviously in much worse shape.  "We can walk if you prefer, at least part of the day," she agreed.  Now that they were underway, however early it still was in the journey, she felt less of the impatience that had plagued her ever since she'd learned of the prophecy.

Tone's further questioning, however, left the human at something of a loss for a reply.  "Ah, well, I'm looking for... information," she said, trying to find an explanation that was both truthful and not overly detailed.  There didn't seem to be one, however, and she sighed faintly.  She wasn't averse to telling her new traveling companion the story, but she wasn't sure if she should.  It was entirely possible that Tone might think her mad, chasing off what seemed to be halfway across the world after a vague prediction that no one fully understood.

"It's to do with a prophecy," she finally said.  "So naturally, it's very obscure and more than a little puzzling.  But it's my duty to find out what I can," she added, with great seriousness.  That did not seem enough of an answer yet, however,  and she ventured on.  "It... mentions gold, you see, so I thought perhaps that might have something to do with the City of Coin.  That's all."  She felt a blush rise in her cheeks, and it was her turn to hunch over the mug of coffee in her hands, trying to hide her self-consciousness.
Tone
 player, 69 posts
Mon 17 May 2021
at 02:11
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
"It's fine, I'm fine," the Tiefling insisted as she straightened painfully. "I will be at least, I've just... neverbeenonahorsebefore," she said in a rush. Everyone knew that knights and nobility spent half their lives in the saddle and she didn't want her human maybe-friend to think worse of her after she'd managed to overlook her horns. Not that Tone was ashamed of them, not really, just - it was hard to spend half your entire life being told a part of your own body was a bad thing and keep a healthy body image, you know? A few times growing up she'd nursed dark thoughts about sawing them off, but in the end had opted to silver them instead as a sort of metaphorical thumb in the eye of everyone who'd ever looked down on her.

But Neria seemed to be sympathetic to her pains and that made it easier for her to lift her chin. "I'm sure I'll be fine," she amended. "Once I walk for a bit, and do things my legs are more used to. Maybe we could ride in the afternoon?" Her gaze dropped for a moment to the dull yellow crystal she still held cupped in her palm, then she tucked it into a vest pocket and looked back up at Neria.

"Prophecies are interesting," she encouraged. "I've never known anyone with a destined prophecy. Can you tell me anything more about it? Maybe I can help!" The offer seemed sincere, and she finished her coffee while it was still hot then returned it to their hostess with a smile and her thanks.

"Or help in thinking about it at least. I don't know as much as I'd like, but I know different things to what they teach you in the Temple. At least I assume so." She paused, then began walking if Neria was ready to travel with her.

"Actually, what do they teach you in the Temple? Other than how to pray to Lathander I mean. Is Creativity something you can teach?" Did Tone ever run out of questions?

No, apparently not.
Dungeon Master
 GM, 104 posts
Mon 17 May 2021
at 02:59
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
One week’s travel went by and Neria, Tone and Dawn travelled from The Stormhorns and then west across the Giant's Plain of Cormyr. Travelling by Trader's Road through Cormyr was an exciting experience for the sheltered pair, caravans and merchants transported wares from silks and perfumes to wild animals and trained pets. The merchants on the road were more than willing to discuss their trades and happy to conduct business while on the move or at camp in the evenings.

Neria was surprised at the wealth of the merchants, the tallies of gold they spoke of ran into the thousands. She spent her time at evenings practicing her skills sparring with willing guards and mercenaries who accompanied the caravans. There was never a shortage of opponents, initially due to the guard’s curiosity of the young paladin however as Neria gained a reputation for her skill many were happy to test their abilities against her. There was no shortage of training or learning with the mercenaries. Neria had even managed to fall in with an experienced mercenary leader and shared the road for a good two days before they parted ways, it was an enlightening and educational experience as the woman was more than willing to share her knowledge and advice on combat and strategies. The travel across Trader's Road was an eye-opening experience to the wider world and the colorful variety or traders, mercenaries and travellers made for an entertaining and educational week.

Tone was also pleasantly surprised to meet four (four!) other tieflings on the Trader’s Road. Two were merchants, transporting goods from distant and exotic locations. Tone was unsurprised but perhaps a little disappointed that the tiefling traders both transported weapons, drugs and, predominantly, slaves. Still, they were friendly and both happy to discuss the world and their wares, perhaps in the chance of making a sale. One even made a rather forward proposition to the young tiefling, rare as it was to run into another of their kind he would not miss a potential opportunity. The others tielings were guards, these two were generally more reserved and replied in curt voices, uninterested in extended conversation. There was a good mix of races across the merchants, dwarves and halflings were just as prominent as humans but every intelligent race was represented at some time during the travel. At one time Tone even felt the need to stay very close to Neria as an Aasimar woman galloped past and let her eyes linger on Tone, a scowl on her face before she sped into the distance.

Travelling west through the Giant's Plain of Cormyr the landscape turned into the rolling green hills and lush grassland of the Greenfields. Travelling along the Uldoon Trail through the open fields was the quickest direction to the Coast Way, another merchant’s road which would take the pair into Amn and within one day’s travel to Athkatla. These open grasslands of Greenfields were regularly fixated upon by warlords and other would-be rulers trying to carve out a piece of the world, roving bands were common and more than once Dawn had to be spurred to a gallop to outpace any pursuing groups. But for the most part Neria and Tone were left alone, the two companions oddly and unknowingly supporting each other. Small groups of bandits hesitated to attack the pair because of the tiefling, and the rural fanatics and zealots didn't cause trouble because of the paladin.

In the evening of the eighth day of travel Neria and Tone arrived in Greenest, a modest village of a couple of hundred homes. Most welcome was a fully staffed inn, The Blue Lady, which had furnished rooms available for rent. For one gold piece each the two travellers had a double room with separate beds and a meal in the tavern the following morning. The exhausted travellers retired quickly.

The following morning Neria and Tone sat together, relaxing in the tavern room of The Blue Lady. Requested drinks were poured and a breakfast of hot goat and vegetable stew and fresh bread crusts were set on the table in front of them.
Tone
 player, 71 posts
Mon 17 May 2021
at 14:59
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
The cost of living seemed to keep increasing the closer they got to Athkatla, and Tone was starting to get concerned by her dwindling store of coin. It was all very well to try to find work in such a mercenary - and worldly - place, but at this rate she would need to find work almost immediately or she'd end up sleeping on the streets! She definitely wasn't living in Arabel, not any more.

That thought drew a fond smile and she slipped out the palm-sized bright red scale from her pocket as she had a dozen dozen times in the past four days of travel with Neria. She stroked it with her thumb, then again a second time and put it away. She had fond memories of Mercy, the second tiefling trader they had met. He might be a scoundrel, a dealer in drugs and weapons and slaves but he was a charming devil at that - and much less serious than most of her experiences of her race. She liked that; she was intrigued and she would look for Mercy again when their roads led together.

Other than that night, she'd made a habit of sleeping with her yellow crystal under her pillow for safekeeping. It spoke to her in a way, and while it wasn't obviously valuable she wanted to ensure it stayed hers for the time being. Maybe even until she understood it.

It had been good to see tieflings being allowed if not exactly respected just the same as everyone else. Seeing them in different roles of trading and commerce reassured her that she was on the right path, on the road to where she needed to be. As did her dreams of course - she had a sense of what they meant, but some of it she would probably not understand until she was in Athkatla herself.

Travelling with Neria seemed to be working out so far, and Tone had gotten over her saddle sores. She sat easily at the table, dipping her crusty bread (she had been almost childishly delighted when the Blue Lady's innkeeper had laid out the fresh baked loaf) in the stew and taking big hungry bites out of the well-soaked mass.

"If I was walking all this way, I'd probably still be arriving at Proskur," she mused aloud. "Thank you, I appreciate your help. That Aasimar..." she shuddered, then buried her memories in more rich delicious food. "And Dawn's help. What does he like to eat as a treat? I could get him some sugar maybe, or an apple? If you spent the day sitting on my back I think I'd want at least that much," she grinned.

She glanced around to make sure no one could obviously overhear them right now.

"Does everything still fit the prophecy?"
Neria
 player, 22 posts
 Human Paladin
Mon 17 May 2021
at 23:29
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
Generally, Neria was quite pleased with how the journey had gone thus far.  There had been plenty of opportunity to train and keep her skills honed, she had been able to expand her knowledge of many things that she had previously only read about, and she had even found a friend in a most unexpected way.  But the closer they drew to Athkatla, the more anxious she became about not having seen any further signs that she was on the right path.  Perhaps she had placed too much importance on something as simple as Tone's eye color -- if gold was not so unusual among Tieflings, then perhaps it was only coincidence.  On the other hand, traveling together had worked out very well so far, so perhaps it had been meant to be after all.  But then again, she still had no specific destination beyond the city, which she knew was immense.  If she was moving in the right direction, shouldn't there be more signs of that by now?

Prophecies, she had decided, were exhausting.

She told herself yet again not to worry overmuch until they actually reached Athkatla, at least, and sat down to breakfast with her usual optimism intact.  She laughed at Tone's first question, a surprisingly young-sounding giggle.  "You're welcome, I'm glad to be of help.  But Dawn is a she," she corrected, gently.  "Master Tramil often cautioned us to be careful not to spoil the horses... and then he would sneak them apples now and then himself.  So I'm sure such a treat would be appreciated," she added.

The next question in Tone's seemingly endless supply of queries gave her some pause, however, since it touched upon her own secret worries, and she sighed, unhappily swirling her spoon through the bowl of stew, before glancing around cautiously herself.  "I'm not sure," she admitted.  "Prophecies are always vague, and this one is more so because the language is so strange.  The translation... might not be entirely correct.  There's a path of gold, that much is sure, and some great deed that will change the world.  Or save the world, perhaps.  But specific details... Well.  There aren't many of those, I'm afraid."  Again she sighed, suddenly overwhelmed once more.  "Who am I to think I can do anything to save the world?  Or even change it, for that matter.  But there must be something to it, if only I can find it."
Dungeon Master
 GM, 112 posts
Tue 18 May 2021
at 04:11
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
Neria and Tone continued their journey later that morning, thankful for the comfort of The Blue Lady although not unaware of the cost. Near a week’s wages for farmhands for a single night at an Inn, those rumours of Athkatla being paved in gold seeming more realistic by the day. Their travels continued to the south-west along the Uldoon Trail, fortunately the two days journey was uneventful and only the rare traveller passed in the opposite way with brief greetings before moving on.

As the mountain ranges of the Cloud Peaks rose in the distance at the end of the second days travel the town of Nashkel was able to be seen, set along the northern slopes. Like many small mountain towns Nashkel was predominantly occupied by miners and their families. Although formally a part of Amn, Nashkel was separated from the rest of the kingdom by the mountain passes and as such, was relatively autonomous. The night was spent at The Belching Dragon, a fairly ordinary tavern whose quality and prices were both lower than The Blue Lady of Greenest, the last establishment the travellers stopped at.

A day’s travel south through the mountains brought Neria and Tone to Crimmor, the busiest city either of them had seen. Crimmor was the Caravan Capital of Amn and if Athkatla was the City of Gold, Crimmor was the City of Caravans. Many caravans were sponsored and arranged in Athkatla, goods were either loaded onto barges there and towed up the Alandor River or transported by carriage and horses or mules on River Road until they reached their mustering point at Crimmor. Some folk even said that nearly every caravan in Faerun passed through Crimmor in time. The city was the crossroads of traders with Athkatla to the west, the Trade Road to Calimshan to the south and the Sword Coast to the north and the road west leading deeper inland through many other nations. Neria and Tone found one of the cheaper Inn's in the city for the night; together two gold for cramped quarters in a boxy room and no meal.

The last leg of the journey was a one day ride to Athkatla. Wagons constantly flowed back and forth along the road between the two cities. The River Road ran close to the Alandor River, allowing the view of more cargo, laden barges full of good, being transported up and down river.

By the late afternoon two weary travellers had reached their destination. Almost two weeks of travel had them arrive half a continent away from their origins and into the largest, busiest, noisiest and dirtiest city they had ever seen. Far beyond any expectations either had for their arrival. The road split into two before the city walls, mostly wagons going over the river and into a northern gate and most travellers on foot entered through the southern gate.

The guards at the gate eyed each traveller warily; a few were pulled up and searched or questioned. Surprisingly Neria and Tone got barely more than a passing eye as they rode Dawn through the gate. One guard who was inside the gates did wave down the pair as they rode in. "Ah, Dawnbringer. Welcome to Athkatla." He used a name for the clergy of Lathander, clearly addressing Neria and as he bowed deep a pendant on his neck dropped low, revealing the same sign that was present on Neria's shield. "I noted the symbol on your shield. Forgive me for any bother but the Morninglord's militants are a rare sight in this city. Can I help you with anything? Directions?"
Tone
 player, 73 posts
Tue 18 May 2021
at 11:08
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
The City of Coin. The City of Gold and Greed. If her travels with the Paladin had suggested anything, it was that the reputation of the city was well founded - just as the prices seemed to climb higher and higher for tinier spaces as they rode close to the city, so her horns drew less and less attention. There were inhuman faces of all kinds to be seen, and if the majority (nine of every ten if rumour was true) of locals were human, the other races were constantly in sight to remind them that they shared the world in which they lived.

The city was vast and filthy, a throng of travellers and tradesmen queuing to get past the inspection at the gates. It seemed that Neria's company eased all fears though, and they simply rode down the length of the queue until they were greeted by a devotee of Lathander Morninglord who showed his insignia as he greeted her friend. Tone's contribution to the exercise was to do her best to look less devilish, and half a lifetime spent in little more than hamlets served to make her look of wonder come all too naturally.

Athkatla might be dirty, but inside her gates she was a wonder of colours and textures. Tone... was uncertain for the first time in weeks of travel. Was this it? Technically they were at Athkatla, which was what they'd discussed and agreed to. And Neria had been greeted by someone who seemed to have business for her.

"I suppose I should go," she said after a moment, sliding off Dawn's haunches with a grace she wouldn't have dreamed of when she left her parents' home. "We only said we were travelling here together, and I'm sure your Temple has need of you with so few militants around...?"

She echoed the man's words, her tone lifting at the end. Did her new friend still want her company? She understood people who were friendly enough in the wilds but needed to keep up appearances in front of their existing friends and family.
Neria
 player, 23 posts
 Human Paladin
Tue 18 May 2021
at 23:33
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
During their travels, Neria had been glad to discover that there was a certain gradual increase in the size of the cities they found, something which she felt would help prepare her for her first sight of the City of Gold.  Not that she was yet used to all the bustle and chaos of a large city, far from it, but she imagined that she would look somewhat less like a befuddled rustic by the time they reached Athkatla.

As it turned out, she was quite wrong, and found herself gaping at the city and the never-ending flow of traffic in and out.  She'd never thought there were so many people in the world as there were gathered here, travelers and locals of every description swarming together searching for opportunity and pleasure.  The air was full of exotic spices and equally exotic languages.  For several moments she even neglected to guide Dawn, though the horse had sensibly fallen in behind another horse and continued on her way, oblivious to her rider's distraction.

"Greetings," Neria said automatically to the guard, surprised at finding another follower of the Morninglord so quickly.  Perhaps it was a good sign.  His simple mention of directions, however, struck her momentarily speechless.  She imagined herself holding out her pendant and saying, Yes, I'd like directions to the fulfillment of this prophecy, please, and had to stifle a fit of nervous laughter.  "Perhaps you could tell me where the temple of Lathander is.  Or rather, the largest one," she added, with a sudden feeling of awe.  There might be half a dozen such temples in a place of this size, along with dozens to other gods and goddesses.

Then Tone spoke up, and Neria was jolted by the Tiefling's casual mention of being on her way.  It was true, the only arrangement had been to reach the city, and they had done that, but Neria felt a sudden pang at the idea of not having a friend nearby any longer.  She had heard the old adage about never being more alone than in a city, but had never truly understood it until this moment.  Would Tone be more comfortable without a human around?  It was entirely possible, especially if there was any sort of community of Tieflings in the city.  A human companion might be something of a drawback.

"Oh, yes, if -- if you need to go, then of course..."  But she balked at entirely cutting ties, especially so abruptly, and quickly added, "Perhaps we might -- you could ask for me at the temple of Lathander, if -- if you have the time.  Or I can look for you at the adventurer's guild, if you go there?  If you wouldn't mind, I mean."  She felt terribly awkward, to say the least, but this did at least allow Tone a gracious way out of meeting again, if she preferred not to do so.  If the girl promised to look for the paladin later and simply never quite found the time, well, that would be that.  Despite trying hard to adopt this fatalistic attitude, however, Neria found herself awaiting Tone's answer anxiously.
Tone
 player, 74 posts
Tue 18 May 2021
at 23:56
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
Despite her words, Tone was as reluctant to leave Neria as the Paladin apparently was to leave Tone. Encouraged by her words and almost as awkward, Tone offered a hopeful smile? "I mean, I don't have to be anywhere in a hurry? I don't know anyone else here and," she didn't want to lose her friend, "maybe I could walk you to the temple before I try to find the adventurer's guild? I've never seen a Great Temple to the Dawnlord, and I'd be curious to have a look at it. The public areas at least," she assured her quickly, catching the expression on the guard's features.

She was hoping there was a thriving tiefling community here, but she didn't know anything about them, how accepted they were or even where they might be. Were they a single community, or spread all through the city? And how welcoming would they really be if they caught wind of her... unconventional allegiances?

Glancing from Neria to the guard and back again, she slipped a hand inside her leather vest and stroked the scale nervously. What would Mercy do?

She looked to the guard, taking advantage of their current hospitality.

"Excuse me sir, could you let me know where I could find the Adventurer's Guild? And whether there is any inexpensive but clean accommodation that a local man could recommend?"

A single silver coin gleamed in her hand, dancing between her fingers as she charmed the Athkatlan Dawnguard. Added persuasion, perhaps?


09:54, Today: Tone rolled 17 using 1d20+3.  Persuasion (Charm).
Dungeon Master
 GM, 118 posts
Wed 19 May 2021
at 00:28
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
The guard looked to Neria with wide eyes, he spoke in surprise. "You must have come from some distance away not to have heard of the Dome of the Rose!" He grinned, eager to expain, "The  Dome of the Rose is a splendid temple, beautiful, elegant and three-storeys tall. It is possibly the grantest temple of the Morninglord in all of Faerun!" He stands proudly, "You'll find many of the younger nobles and guards follow Lathander's teachings, unfortunately many of the older types are still stuck to their greed of gold and the veneration of Waukeen."

He continued, "I would be happy to take you there myself, it is across the other side of the city. You can't miss it, in fact you can even see it from here." He looks out over the city towards the north and points a finger. A building, taller than the others around it, sits far in the distance on the northern edge of the city. A pale rose colored dome can clearly be identified among the other buildings.

He steps back and politely busies himself while Neria and Tone talk. He turns back to Tone as she addresses the guard, "Certainly Miss. If it's the House of Iron and Gold you are after then its a mere two blocks down this street." He points to the west. "Look for the single floor building with stone pillars out the front. A sign hangs above with a sword over a gold coin." Noticing the silver coin rolling over Tone's fingers he continues, "I'd be happy to escort you Miss but it really isn't that far." He scratched the back of his head, "Ah, nothing's not expensive in Athkatla Miss. I wouldn't recommend you visit those establishments, keep well away from the River District. You'll be safe with any tavern in this district, the Guard District or the Center District. They won't be cheap, but more affordable that north of the river."

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:33, Wed 19 May.

Neria
 player, 24 posts
 Human Paladin
Wed 19 May 2021
at 00:45
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
"Oh," Neria breathed, suddenly caught up in the spectacle of the temple -- the Dome of the Rose, she thought, lingering over the name.  It was lovely, and even larger than she would have expected, but then, this city apparently loved its displays of wealth and grandeur.  The sight of it was so beautiful she even forgot her embarrassment at never having heard of it before.  She felt that she should have known all about it, even coming from as far away as she had.  But they must have a wonderful library, and surely someone there would be able to help her read the prophecy more accurately.

"Oh, yes, let's see the temple," she continued, remembering that they still had plans to make.    "It's a shame it's so far from the guild, but at least that should be easy to find," she added, peering down the street the guard had indicated.  "And perhaps you can help us by suggesting some places for lodging and food along the way?" she asked the guard.  "Pardon me, I'm Neria, and this is Tone," she added, remembering her manners.  It was easy to get caught up in the moment here, she realized, and she would have to learn to focus despite the many distractions of the city.
Tone
 player, 75 posts
Wed 19 May 2021
at 01:09
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
The silver piece danced and shone between her fingertips as though reluctant to leave the tiefling's grasp, but he had answered her, sort of. It wasn't the sort of specific endorsement she was looking for, but she dug her thumb beneath it and sent it arcing through the air towards his hands before following up with, "And if you were me, and were looking in this district, the Guard or Center Districts, which establishment would you stay at? If you were used to country prices and your purse was not the fattest?" Her accent seemed to be stronger when she didn't pay attention to it. Or maybe it was the city affecting her, and feeling so badly out of place?

She looked in the direction he was pointing... but there was time for that later. "I'll come with you to the Dome of the Rose," she suggested. "It sounds like quite the spectacle, and I would enjoy seeing it." She might even pray there, although she was mostly a stranger to Lathander.

Still, there was no harm in saying hello.

"Then I can come back this way with our new friend when he returns to his post, and bravely venture the last two blocks on my own?" She smiled winningly.

That would give her a chance to pick his brains on the way back, and also get a better impression of the city while ostensibly having an official escort.

Plus she could avoid saying goodbye to her friend just yet, something she wasn't ready to do.
Dungeon Master
 GM, 120 posts
Wed 19 May 2021
at 01:41
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
The guard nodded at the introductions, "I'm Tomas. Pleased to meet you both. I would be happy to escort you both to the temple. I'm not actually on shift, just finished actually." He brought a finger to his chin in thought, "Well, cheapest beds would be the Steel-laid Bunkhouse. As it's name suggets it is just a large room of bunks. No washing facilities, no privacy, no food. But its two silver a night, so cheap. Mostly used as a layover for adventurers and caravan guards. It's opposite the House of Iron and Gold. As for a cheap tavern, while remaining safe... hmm if you want a room then Delosar's Inn in the Bridge District is a gold a night for a private room, no meal."

He nods as both Neria and Tone confirm their destination as the Dome of the Rose. "Very well, follow me." Tomas explains the various Districts in the city as he guides the recent arrivals, warding away from the River District for the thugs, stay away from the Gem District for the nobles, and after some time of riding the three arrive at the Dome of the Rose.

The Dome of the Rose is a three-story temple to Lathander, it is capped with a dome of rose-tinted glass which glows at dawn during the morning song and prayer services. Outside the temple proper is a garden and orchard which were encircled by an outer wall. Visitors were allowed into the temple through the west and north entrances, there were a few visitors in the halls at ths time. A few clerics were inside, attending to the requests of the visitors and speaking quietly with parishioners.

Tomas indicated to the entrance and looks towards to roof. "Well, here we are. Magnificent isn't it? I will leave you to your business." He looks to Tone, "If you would like me to wait I could see you back to the Guard District."
Tone
 player, 76 posts
Wed 19 May 2021
at 04:02
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
Two silver a night was steep enough to make any self respecting country girl flinch, but he wasn't wrong; that was cheap for Athkatla. If she took advantage of her ostensibly devilish features to eat in the poorer and less secure areas of the city - down near Waukeens Promenade for example - then she should be able to make her money stretch for a couple of weeks. Surely she would find some work with the House of Iron and Gold by then?

At least a living wage; she didn't expect to be making her fortune in a city with the grasping reputation of Athkatla, but then that wasn't really why she was here either. And there were the words from her dream.

Gold. Greed.

It wasn't purely her own goals that brought Tone to the City of Coin.

But for now, the young Tiefling was agog at the Dome's magnificence. "I. Ah. Pleased to meet you too Tomas, you were right, the Temple is remarkable. I might visit here for a short time before I go back, you needn't wait for me." It might give her a chance to see Neria safely to whoever she was visiting as well. "It's one of the safe districts, as you said. Thank you so much for your help, I will try to get a bed at the Steel-laid Bunkhouse if you want to come by and visit later."

She didn't need privacy, and it might actually be safer not to have it. She could eat elsewhere, and bathe...

Hm. There had to be somewhere in this city. Maybe a public baths? She would see.

She turned to Neria and offered her a smile with only a few traces of her nerves. "So. Where can I take you to before you need to do secret Paladin things? I hope I'll see you too, at the House or at the Bunkhouse. You're my only friend in this city so if there's any way I can help you, please just let me know."

That would be good.
Neria
 player, 25 posts
 Human Paladin
Wed 19 May 2021
at 23:22
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
"Yes, thank you very much, Tomas," Neria chimed in, glad to have made at least one other acquaintance in the city.  At the phrase 'secret Paladin things', though, she couldn't help but laugh.  "I'm sorry to disappoint, but very few things I do are considered secret.  That's more the realm of the priests.  I imagine there are rooms inside that not everyone can see, but they might not even let me see them, since I'm a stranger here.  But I would like to try and find someone in the library to speak to.  Another opinion on the prophecy might be very helpful.  I'm still not entirely sure that I'm in the right place," she admitted.

Glancing around, she began to move towards the nearest visitor entrance, also looking for a place to tie up Dawn while they were inside.  "And you let me know if you need help," she replied.  "You're my only friend here, too.  Are you really going to go out adventuring?" she asked, torn between worry and envy.  "Though I suppose you don't even need to leave Athkatla to find adventure."
Tone
 player, 80 posts
Wed 19 May 2021
at 23:48
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
"I don't know," Tone said with a bubbling laugh. "I've never gone adventuring before, I don't really know what's involved. But I hope so! I'd love to see more of Amn and its surrounds - and I've barely even seen Athkatla today. So anywhere it sends me is bound to be exciting." Right? Right? Right.

"I didn't realise the prophecy was something you had with you," she mused. "I bet the priests can help you, but maybe later you could let me look at it sometime? I've never seen a real prophecy. And maybe I could spot something that could help!" she suggested with enthusiasm. "I promise I'll let you know if I need any help," she vowed.

"I'll let you see to the priests... I'll be in the main temple for a little bit, I want to speak to the Dawnlord before I go and see how to sign up with the Guild. If you need me right now, I mean." She began walking towards the west entrance to the Dome, glancing back over her shoulder before she disappeared out of sight.

Making sure her friend was getting along alright.
Neria
 player, 27 posts
 Human Paladin
Thu 20 May 2021
at 00:13
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
"Oh, yes, if you wouldn't mind looking at it, then yes, please," Neria said.  "It's a very obscure language, but fresh eyes might find something, certainly."  Of course, quite a few people had seen it, most of them scholars and theologians, but perhaps a Tiefling knew languages that priests of Lathander did not.

"We'll talk about it later," she promised, glad to have a more definite reason to meet again.  "And I'll let you know what the priests say!  Good luck!" she called, with a beaming smile.  She had a friend and hopefully would also soon have a direction to follow.  Thus far, it seemed that the decision to cone to Athkatla had been the correct one.
Tone
 player, 81 posts
Thu 20 May 2021
at 00:29
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
Tone smiled back at Neria, then turned into the great western entrance to the Dome of the Rose, re-settling her pack on her back. Inside the sun shone brightly through the dome of rose-hued glass, and sparkled off the silver tipping her four arching horns. She found her way to the main temple chamber - or at least as far in as the public (or the devilish public at least) were permitted, and knelt at the base of the great golden fresco of the Dawn.

And there she stayed, holding herself still as she peered around the interior with mismatched curious eyes. Picking out all the details she can find, and all those she can understand for what they are.
Dungeon Master
 GM, 130 posts
Thu 20 May 2021
at 02:02
PROLOGUE - Neria & Tone
Neria, please continue in the PROLOGUE - Neria, Athkatla thread.
Tone, please continue in the PROLOGUE - Tone, Athkatla thread.