Even at night, Korvosa is full of color— bright points of Varisian scarves and black market streets glittering like a sky full of jewels. A mournful blanket of fog has rolled in from the westerly sea, palling the street lamps; a diffuse haze. North of North Point square is a little known alley that hosts and impromptu faire and market on nights such as these— “The Apprentice’s Tail” it’s called.
Aiyanna scans the crowds, unsure if Learis is still around, or if she has gone her separate way. She gently sets down the filigreed inkpen she was holding and smiles to herself. She does have a tendency to wander off towards things that catch her fancy.
The fog is so thick that you can only see Old Korvosa as a thin line of twinkling lights. And across the Strait Bridge northwards you can hear the bawdy laughter of Eel’s End— a dock-end flotilla of permanently moored ships of ill-repute.
Aiyanna shudders at the thought of the Eel’s End, and their last visit there. She rests a hand on Learis’ elbow; providing some small comfort. Learis gives her a small smile before scanning their surroundings.
As you’re walking along, a stand selling exotic flowers catches your eye: Orchids, Vudran Flytraps, and Salamander Crests, all bright against a dark backdrop. The proprietor is a man with black-lens goggles, bald with sagging neck skin. You can’t tell if he’s looking at you or not.
Learis moves over the look over the Orchids; Aiyanna follows near behind, trying to subtly make eye contact with the merchant. A Flytrap hisses at her and lolls it’s head. The proprietor turns his vulture-like head to the two women.
A young boy bumps into Aiyanna and without a word he moves off. She rolls her eyes, and checks her belt pouches. She’s knows the streets are louse-y with pickpockets, but all seems to be in place.
Learis glances over at Aiyanna “Everything alright?”
“Surprisingly, yes,” she replies, patting herself down, as the kid disappears into the crowd “Still have my coins, components, and spellbook.” She smiles as Learis double checks her own items.
Aiyanna can’t even see the child anymore, nor does she see anything else out of the ordinary. There is a sense of wonder in the air as this fog-summoned Faire is ostensibly for Apprentices and Initiates. Most of the kiosks are selling material components, and the subdued cry of hawkers proclaiming their superior attributes.
Yes, indeed, this faire and the night, and Old Korvosa brings out the oddball people; noting all sorts of oddball types, and none of them too powerful, are crowding in by the minute, for when the fog clears the faire will vanish. That’s the magic of it.
Aiyanna carefully examines the wares for sale with a practiced eye,The wares are all of course way over-exaggerated, but one does catch your eye. A young man of maybe fifteen, clad in dark green, and with spiked pale blonde hair. His first level components have a waxen treatment, and you have read about it. For twenty crowns, he says, he will treat your components with it on the spot.
Nearby, a Varisian matron is just finishing up a Harrow reading and is re-shuffling her deck. Learis leans closer to Aiyanna. “Should we get a reading?”
Aiyanna considers for a moment, still examining the components, slightly distracted by the fortune teller, “I don’t know. You know how mom got about the Harrow Deck—” she trails off “—It did get to be a bit more than a simple diversion for her, remember.”
The woman catches you looking. And with a flourish, she spreads the deck out on her black cloth. She is clad in the bright colors of traditional Varisians, her liver-spotted arms clanking with bangles.
Learis grimaces. “True. I was just thinking it might be a fun distraction.” After a moment of thought, Learis nods. “I’m going to get one.”
Aiyanna casts a sidelong glance at her sister. Trying her best to keep a straight face until Learis moves over to the fortune-teller.
Grinning at Aiyanna. “I promise not to get obsessed like mom.”
“You couldn’t afford to get obsessed like mom,” she chides playfully.
“I am Vendra, Oracle of the Woodlands” She pushes a well-worn wooden collection box out. It’s handle is well-worn and it is worked with silver and malachite leaves.
Learis chuckles back at her sister as she approaches the woman. You notice a passerby rolling his eyes at the woman.
“A pleasure, madam Vendra,” Aiyanna says, as she places a pair of chelish marks on the table, she gestures to the stool with an exaggerated flourish.
Learis smiles at her sister and sits. “Greetings madam Vendra. If you please?”
She has splayed out the deck and asks you to put your hands face down on the spread, “Do not choose yet. You must find your center.”
After a moment hesitation, Learis does as she is instructed.
They both recognize this as the time-worn individualized methods of the thousands of such card-readers and exchange knowing glances before Learis closes her eyes and takes a few breaths to calm herself.
She puts her confident hands on top of Learis’, then closes her eyes and utters some kind of incantation. Though her words are clear, you don’t recognize a syllable of it. Again, the theatrical invented stuff of such a ceremony, “Now! Choose!” She declares dramatically.
Aiyanna watches earnestly, strangely nervous, as she fiddles with her signet ring. Learis takes a breath and lets her ‘intuition’ guide her.
“Young Lady, this is a powerful omen, and in truth I can see it about you, weighing on you. Your fates will soon change. The way you thought open for you will close, and another will open,…”
“You will soon deal with Evil men, but in them you will find wisdom.”
Aiyanna purses her lips, amused at how vague, and yet appropriate, the fortune is. She knows there can be magic in harrow readings, but it can just as likely be nonsense. She’s trying to decide which this might be.
As she says her final words of the reading, she closes her eyes, and both of you can feel a tangible and real energy coursing out from her to you, and her tone changes from theatrics to prophesy, “If you doubt yourself, you will fall into darkness. But if your faith is quick, you will prevail over all things. With these words, I give you power. As the shadow grows complete, it will be there for you as a star in your Lantern.”
Learis’ eyes widen in slight shock at the change in tone and strange feeling.
“What?” Aiyanna remarks in deadpan incredulity.
“And you!” the seer exclaims, “You are the sister, I can see it. Please child, you should draw as well.” With these words, the sounds of the faire, though present, seem to fade and it seems like only you three are in existence now.
Aiyanna nervously approaches the seer, slightly apprehensive as she places two more marks on the cloth. “Are we sure?” she asks Learis as her sister staggers up from the stool.
“Th..thank you madam Vendra” she manages to stammer out
She reshuffles the deck with decades of experience. The backs of the cards have a knot-like pattern on them. With a deep breath, she spreads them again and bids you place your hands and center yourself, as before.
Learis glances at her sister, an anxious look on her face. After a moment she nods.
Aiyanna returns the nod of encouragement and sits. Resting her hands on the table, she takes several slow breaths. Similar to how she begins preparing her spells. It is almost a ritual of her own. Her eyes closed, she draws from the deck.
THE SNAKEBITE, Aiyanna makes a nervous ‘meep’ at the announcement.
Learis watches with nervous eagerness for what Madam Vendra has to say.
Vendra speaks clearly, as if from a lucid trance, “Nothing is as it seems. Every mask has two sides. Even you! You are already weaving into the masquerade. In disease you will find health. In an enemy you will find a steadfast friend. And in a prison you will find your escape!”
Aiyanna leans back in the stool, puzzlement on her face. She turns to Learis, her expression asking silently if she can make sense of it.
Learis looks at her sister, also confused.
“Remember well that it is a serpent’s nature to bite any hand that strays near.” Vendra continues, as Aiyanna leans back into the reading, slightly embarrassed that she thought it was over, and hoping that Madam Vendra is not offended, “So, too, you will have the power to strike with surety and with the finality of the grave. When the time comes you will see as clear as day, but your enemies will be confounded as if in the deepest night.”
Vendra seems spent. Almost in a daze she quickly packs her little stand into a leather-strapped box, hoists it on to her back and merges with the crowd.
A few onlookers also turn into the stream of bodies. But one of them comments, “Odd to see elder Vendra here, it’s usually her daughter.”
Aiyanna watches her go, a little dazed herself. She turns to the speaker, “Why? Where’s her daughter?”
Learis starts to reach towards madam Vendra but stops herself. Surprised at her reaction. She looks over at Aiyanna. “Wha?” At her sister’s question, she waits for the person’s response.
“Little Vendra?” he drawls, “She works at a perfumery. Can’t say where that would be though.”
The Faire is crowded now, and you hear all sorts of voices, that part where people are starting to have to talk over the din.
You see a jester, an elven woman with modified elongated ears, in yellow and red, juggling skulls. You see a man with an easel set, painting a painting of a handcart full of dead bodies. Nearby is a display with daggers, all sorts of them, but many with animals featured in the hilts. Aiyanna notices one with a serpent’s fangs bared on the pommel. A patron reaches to pick it up and it animates, flaring a cobra’s hood. The young man jumps back startled and the proprietor laughs, the haughty snort of a boar. You hear two young men begging for apprentice-ship from a passing wizard.
As you grow distant down the lane, Learis sees an old flame…
Aiyanna notes the wizard, and the apprentices. A smirk crosses her face, her contemplation interrupted as Learis grabs her arm suddenly and gestures towards the person. “Is that….?”
Aiyanna squints, suddenly regretting not taking her glasses with, “I— I think so?”
Verik Vancaskerkin. He is there in the regalia of the guard, but it is mostly hidden under an oily charcoal grey cloak. She sees him as he pulls the hood back, looking striking with his angular features. There are two other guards with him, the tips of their crossbows skulking under the hems of their cloaks. They are quietly questioning an elderly man, off to the side. No one seems to overtly notice their presence.
A flood of old feelings sweeps over Learis. She remembers all the reasons she loved him. His confident posture. His teasing smirk.
Aiyanna steals a quick glance at her sister, trying see if she wants to be noticed. Learis turns towards her sister and answers the unspoken question, “Lets just go the other way”
Aiyanna nods, and takes another look back at Vancaskerkin, before following. She liked Verik, more or less, but her feelings for him were never as strong as her sister’s. The positive ones at the beginning, or the negative ones at the end.
Verik had a tendency to disappear when things weren’t convenient for him, but he sure knew how to get people to go along with his ideas. His natural charm got people to override their common sense. And with everything that’s happened lately, Learis really doesn’t need to deal with old flames right now.
It’s too late! He sees YOU. And without breaking eye contact he fights his way through the river of humans, flashing that winning smile. Aiyanna recognizes that look, and places a restraining hand on her sister’s arm.
“Learis!” He shouts, so much for the subtlety and magic of the faire! Having dropped his subtlety people glower at him. The Guard does not usually attend this event.
Learis tenses for a moment before sighing in resignation.
Aiyanna panics, steps between the two of them, and extends her hand in greeting, several paces too early.
“Verik?” Learis pretends to just recognize him. “You look well.”
“Verik,” she exclaims, her hand still hanging in the air, “It’s me. Hi.”
Without disengaging his hunter-like b-line for your sister he snaps his fingers “Ah, yes…. ummm…” he’s trying to remember your name. His two companions stay where they are, shoulder shrugging, one has his hand on the old man’s shoulder.
He shakes Aiyanna’s hand half-heartedly and moves with a fighters grace around you. Like a dance.
His dark brown eyes flash for you, Learis. He bows. “You’re looking as….” he inhales sharply as if looking you over for the words, “as radiant as ever. What are you doing here?” he asks Learis. He doesn’t seem to see the thorn-like pain of a bereaved mother in your eyes.
Thouroughly ignored, Aiyanna lets her arm flop to her side. She shrugs noncommittally, and gives the other guard a conspiratorial wink. Gestures to the two of them and makes kissy faces towards Verik and her sister. The other guard smiles nervously. You see now he’s a chubby fellow.
“Thank you Verik,” Learis replies cooly, she glances at his attire, “I’m surprised to see you here at the faire. I didn’t think the guard had any interest in the happenings here?”
“I’m just working overtime, on errands from the Citadel.” he replies, “How is Theole? And you two had a baby right?”
Learis fights to control her expression. "He is fine. Yes, we had a baby girl.” She tries changing the subject, “It seems like you’re busy right now. Aiyanna and I can let you get back to work. We should also be getting home.”
“Well I’m glad to hear that.” he says, with a touch of disappointment. “You know that I’ll be glad to be of any service I can, for you.”
“Learis nods in appreciation. Thats very kind of you. If i need anything, i will let you know.”
Aiyanna notices a stocky, well armed, and armored dwarf stumbling towards the group. He seems lost in his thoughts, a sour look on his face, and mumbling under his breath. He seems oblivious to the group just ahead of him, and is on a path to collide directly with Verik.
“Oh, that’s it huh?” He smiles. “No time to chit-chat with old flames?”
Aiyanna watches the dwarf approach. Curious. And thinks a collision might be just the thing to defuse the rising tensions
Learis give Verik an apologetic smile. “Forgive me, i dont mean to be rude. But we were just about to head home. And i didnt want to hold you up from your duties”
Aiyanna moves out of the way of the shambling dwarf, a crude imitation of the way Verik dodged her earlier. Casually enough to make it seem as though it wasn’t intentional. As she moves closer to her sister.
“If you want to look me up, and can’t find me at the Citadel, find “All the World’s Meat near the southeast wall of North Point, not far from here. Parn’s father owns it and he will know where I am.” He moves out of the Dwarf’s way and melts into the crowd, along with his two companions. He is obviously a much more accomplished warrior than when we was younger. He moves with his holstered spear as if with a dance partner.
Learis gives him what she hopes is a polite smile at his offer and nods, sighs in relief at Verik’s leaving.
Aiyanna is vaguely disappointed that they didn’t collide, but is still happy that Learis isn’t forced to deal with Verik so awkwardly.
A gimp-legged man in peasant’s rags limps by. On his back is a basket,and in the basket is a scarecrow with black-button eyes. “Sir are you okay?” A large fellow says to the limping man as he is able to catch his eye.
The Dwarf gets right in front of Learis, lets out a wretched burp, and collapses at your feet. You hear him mumbling slurs about a man named Gaedrin.
Aiyanna watches the dwarf collapse, and kneels down next to him. She uses a minor prestidigitation to attempt to sober him up. Or at least freshen his breath
Hearing the name the dwarf mutters shakes Learis out of her reverie. She looks in shock at her sister
The limping man looks up, quizzically and continues on his way. “Why wouldn’t I be fine?” he mumbles
“I heard it,” she replies. She gives her sister a questioning glance before her attention is drawn to the big man talking to the crippled man
“You are limping sir! Are you okay?” The large man inquires after the hobbling old man. He tries to get away from you as fast as he can, his club foot making for an awkward gait.
Lexon turns away highly embarrassed of his action. “Ugh screwed it again!” His eyes flare up as he looks for a hard drink.
Looking back at her sister and the dwarf, “Where should we take him?”
He sees a woman holding up a dwarf. “Is he okay?” He accidentally rudely interrupts.
Aiyanna lets the magic wash over the dwarf, patting the dwarf’s bearded face a few times to rouse him back to sobriety. She glances up at Learis from her haunches, “We won’t be able to carry him…” She points at a large man shuffling by, “Hey! You, can you help us take him to…the nearest inn?”
Lexon grabs at him from her reach and lifts him over his shoulder bring much stronger than he appears. “I think I saw one this way although I am new to this place.”
The dwarf expels another retched burp, right into Lexon’s face, as he’s lifted up.
“I’ll have what he’s drinking am I right?!” He laughs. I think I’ll like this guy he thinks to himself.
She’s doesn’t hide her surprise at all as you hoist the dwarf over your shoulder. Casting a sidelong glance at her sister as she follows the large man and drunken dwarf.
She’s somewhat miffed that the prestidigitation did nothing to freshen the dwarf’s breath as she walks through the wafting cloud of spirit vapors. Learis grimaces at the smell but can’t hide her relief that they big man was able to carry the dwarf.
You easily find a tavern. It’s on the second floor. Two stairways lead up to a broad balcony where revelers are looking down on the alley. Warm light spills from inside. A prestidigitation of blue orb lanterns wends by the railing. A sign bearing a stylized maiden in blue with a tambourine declares this “The Drunken Dame”
They pull into the Inn setting him in the lobby. “This place itself should match our dwarf.” He laughs and immediately goes to the bar as the others try to find a bench or table in the corner where they can prop the dwarf up.
The taverns usual rough patrons have been replaced by a menagerie of arcane types. Familiars slink around in the rafters.
Aiyanna watches everyone bustle around. She calls out to the large man, “Hey, umm, you! Could you bring some water for the dwarf?”
Inside it is crowded, and many low-tier academy-goers are showing off purchased wares.
The tavern wenches are having an easy go of it, as the more scholarly sort blush and try to impress with coin and spell.
He was on his way back turns and calls out to the barkeep. He grabs his drinks and the water and returns to the booth. “3 ales for me 1 each for you ladies and plain water for the drinking fella.”
Despite being so busy it’s easy to get served and soon you have both a table and the drinks that you wish. Outside the wails of a mad prophet echo across the waterfront.
Aiyanna sets the tankard of ale down on the table untouched, “Thank you, er, sir?”
What at first seem to be the regular ale-house smoke, is in reality the clammy tendrils of fog that are making their way even to the second floor.
Learis smiles, “Yes, thank you…? Sorry, we didn’t catch your name”
“Name is not much of importance. Only drinking is important.” he seems embarrased as he recalls the incident with the man.
Aiyanna uses prestidigitation again, to sober up the dwarf, before turning back to the larger man, “Well, thank you anyway.”
“Sorry trying to forget an earlier account, my name’s Lexon.” He says downing the fourth drink.
“Ah, Lexon. Well im glad you happned by. I dont think we could have lifted him ourselves.”
“What’s his problem?” He pokes at the Dwarf.
Learis smirks at his question. “Odds are, he’s had a few too many of those” she points at the mug in his hand.
“Aww, all it takes is some damn constitution. However I’ve seen you wave something on him and his breath changes what’s that?”
Aiyanna watches carefully as the dwarf drools into his beard, “not enough, unfortunately.”
He barrels out in laughter at her minor joke definitely drawing attention to himself. “I need some more drinks.”
Aiyanna glances at Learis as Lexon flags down more drinks, “We can’t deal with two drunkards.” She whispers under her breath.
“Hey! I’m fine!” Lexon replies indignantly, “I’ve made a tavern run out before I’ve had my full.”
The barmaid serves your drinks, but behind the two men, looking at the two girls makes a face and mouths, “are you guys OK?” I mean, what are these two high society belles doing with these rough out-of-towners?
Aiyanna gestures for the barmaid to approach, “could you get something that could wake up the dwarf?”
“Well, if you wish to keep drinking like this, you’re more than welcome to go. Otherwise we would appreciate it if you controlled yourself.”
Lexon apologizes to the women. “I insulted a man earlier and I feel bad I’ll stop.” He orders some food and relaxes back.
“It’s understandable, I suppose,” Aiyanna replies.
A buck-toothed young wizard in blue Academy robes swirls up; he raises his eyebrows repeatedly at Learis.. “I believe, I can help with your predicament ladies!”
“And gentleman?” Lexon calls back.
Aiyanna facepalms; she almost feels bad for the poor bloke. If it wasn’t for the eyebrow waggle, she might have considered him sincere.
In a theatrical gesture he produces a scroll. “With your permission?”
Lexon scoffs at the boy then looks at Learis with slight amusement waiting for her response.
Learis feigns surprise. “To what predicament are you referring sir?”
Aiyanna snickers, but quickly covers it with a feigned sneeze.
The young wizard is trying unsuccessfully not to look at Learis’s cleavage. “Um, your friend’s enebriated state? I have just the thing, and perhaps the Lady would favor me with a dance?”
“Can you cure our friend first? If you can’t you may want to dance with me.”
He flashes his massive overbite.It’s like two mis-shaped pillow cases hanging in a warehouse door. He is waiting on Learis.
Lexon smiles back with sharp lethal teeth.
To the man, “Oh, well that would be appreciated, but I don’t have anything to repay you for your help”
“The Lady’s consideration is sufficient.” he unfurls the scroll, reads it confidently. There is a puff of arcane blue smoke which he blows in the dwarf’s face. He looks wistfully at Learis and says that he will be “right over there.” And with that he marches off to his gaggle of expectant friends. An illusory band of devils strikes up a strident tune in the corner.
Learis shakes her head at the strangeness of the night so far.
The dwarf feels almost immediately better, and you can see the red veins in his eyes, leaving the clear white of sobriety. He grunts, lifting his head from the table, and looking around at the others, very confused.
“Dwarf! What did you drink to get yourself so trashed! I lifted you all the way here.”
“Welcome back, sir dwarf,” Aiyanna says warmly, “You were quite inebriated to be sure.”
He looks at the others, first at the young man, and then the woman who spoke to him. “Aye, it was by design… who in the hells are ye, and where in those same hells am I?”
“Well, you are in Korvosa” Aiyanna offers, “specifically the Dancing Dame Inn. I am Aiyanna, and this is my sister Learis. This gentleman here goes by Lexon”
He flashes his sharp teeth in an odd semblance of greeting.
The dwarf then starts to pat himself down, checking to ensure all of his belongings are still present. “Ok, aye, so I got yer names. What are ya wanting with me then?”
“You passed out at our feet. In the street. Not exactly a safe place. So we brought you in here.”
Aiyanna glances at her sister, “You made mention of a man by the name of Gaedren,” she leans forward, we might have business with him." Learis’ eyes narrow at the mention of his name, but peers more interestingly at the Dwarf.
His eyes narrow, then looks over an Lexon, with his sharpened teeth bared. He reaches towards his hammer, akwardly trying to release it from its binding. “Aye, I got business with that whore son. You folks thinkin to stop me?!”
“No.” Learis replies, “From your tone, i imagine we share the same opinion of the man.”
“Stop you?” Aiyanna grabs her tankard for dramatic effect, but doesn’t drink, “No. No I don’t think we’ll be stopping you.”
He calms a bit. “Well, I hope yer not seeking coin from him, cause when I’m through with him, he won’t be in no condition to be givin it out.”
Aiyanna turns to Learis, “This keeps getting better and better.”
Learis face hardens. “Coin? No, there is something else I seek from him. Something he took from me. A life for a life.” Learis’ expression turns inward and she doesn’t seem to have heard her sister’s comment.
He looks at her coldly for a minute, then he extends his hand across the table. “Danvar Coppertop. I’m thinking you and I are gonna be gettin along just fine, lass.”
Aiyana’s face falls, before steeling her expression. She finally takes her first drink from her tankard before setting it down with a sigh.
Learis looks at his hand a moment before taking it. “Aye Danvar, I think we might.”
“Wait Gaedren?!” Lexon being buzzed only just now realized the name they had been talking about. In the midst of them calmly talking something changes in Lexon. “Gaedren! I hate him!” His muscles grow and his eyes shift color he seems to gain height and gains an orcish physique. As his rage spikes he quickly comes down.
Aiyanna recoils slightly from the suddenly bestial change in Lexon.
Learis sits back, a slightly concerned look on her face. Her hand sliding near the hilt of her sword before she stops herself.
“I’m calm. I’m…. Calm…”
“What?” Learis clears her throat. “And why pray tell, do you hate Gaerdren?”
“That man did many unspeakable things to many people and to have it continue is horrific. I’ve been hunting his men but I’m not sluthy. (Good at collecting info.) It pains me to keep hearing more tails of his deeds and I must stop him!” He doesn’t go into rage but you guys can clearly see the change in his eyes.
“No offense, but usually people don’t stick their noses the actions of people like Gaedren unless it directly involves them. To do so otherwise is considered insane. So why are you. I have a hard time believing its purely concern for others.”
Aiyanna rests a hand on Learis’ wrist, “We have suffered too. And we probably aren’t the only ones.” Learis looks at Aiyanna for a second then closes her eyes to and attempts to calm herself.
Lexon gets extremely pissed at her disbelief. "So you are telling me that just because I “might” not have a personal connection to him that I can’t avenge my belief and do what I think is right?!"
Aiyanna looks up from something, her focus returning to the conversation, “let’s all calm down. No one meant to cause offense, I’m sure.”
For the third time Lexon calms down.
Eyes still closed, Learis shakes her head. “No, I’m sorry. My sister is right. I shouldn’t judge so hastily….and harshly.” She opens her eyes and look directly at Lexon.
Aiyanna seems slightly distracted, she is looking around the common room as though searching for something, before tearing her eyes away and returning to the conversation. Waiting for Learis and Lexon to continue.
“I’ll save my rage for his throat.” Lexon growls.
“It’s just that it’s rare for someone to care, who hasn’t been directly wounded by Gaedren. Most people ignore it and hope they never become victims themselves. For someone to stand up anyway, well like I said. It’s rare. And i welcome you to it” Learis turns to her sister. “Is everything ok?”
“We aren’t alone,” she whispers, taking a harrow card out of her spellbook, “I don’t know when I got this, but—” On the back of the card, hand-penned, is a message: “I know what Gaedren has done to you. He has wronged me as well. I know where he dwells, yet cannot strike at him. Come to my home at 3 Lancet Street before sunrise. Others like you will be there. Gaedren must face his fate, and justice must be done.”
Learis glances around in alarm. Then back to her sister.
There are three groups of people that seem out of place here among the revelrous apprentices. A woman with long black hair and green eyes, drinking alone, a very depressed looking warrior with his head bowed over his tankard at the bar, and three jag-weeds getting really loud and looking to spoil for a fight.
Learis studies the card, knowing that decks are very specific and are lifelong heirlooms with a lot of personal energy. However, she does not recognize this particular deck. It would be very unusual to deface a card with handwriting. Why would the owner do that?
“This is… elaborate” she offers somewhat lamely, “I know a bit about divinations, but Harrowing is almost a magic of it’s own. The Dance represents a complicated framework that requires the cooperation of all to avoid collapse.” Her explanation seems almost an afterthought as she’s scanning the bar. She does recognize someone. The depressed guy is none other than Grau Soldado, a famous swordsman and Son of Korvosa, but she’s trying to figure out if that is significant to their current situation.
Learis gives Aiyanna a quizzical look. “I suppose we could check it out tomorrow? But it could also be a trap”
“It could be,” Aiyanna agrees, “But to what end? It’s not like we have been subtle so far. And there have been plenty of times we could have fallen into a trap.” She isn’t looking at Learis though, she’s staring down a warrior who seems to be drowning his sorrows at the bar.
“Aiyanna? What is it?” Learis follows her gaze to the man. “Do you know him?”
“I would have thought you’d know him,” He’s Grau Soldado, “He’s a warrior of some renown around Korvosa”
Yes, you also recognize him as Grau Soldado, a famous Swordsman, but you also know him as an apprentice of the legendary fencer Vencarlo Orisini. To be taken as a personal protege of Vencarlo is an unheard of honor. But he blew it. You don’t know the particulars.
Learis looks closer. “Of course. Now i do. What would he be doing here?”
Aiyanna notices the look of recognition, “Maybe we should ask?”
Aiyanna folds her arms across her chest and sets her jaw, “Is that sarcasm?”
“What? No! I meant do you think we should disturb him?”
The group of three rowdies approach him. You can’t hear the details over the din, and most of the view is obscured, as the tavern is packed. They are clearly picking a fight. He ignores them as they prod, poke and jeer. Before you can even crane your necks to see what is going on clearly, he has shown, even in what is clearly a blackout drunken state, why he is a Master. In a flash one of the rowdies is laid out with the pommel of a short blade, his teeth embedded in the ceiling.
The other two are on him, and he’s in no condition to defend himself from multiple attackers. In another instant he’s on the ground getting his ribs smashed in.
Aiyanna winces as the action interrupts whatever response she might have had for her sister, “Looks like he’s being disturbed already!” She points. “Knock it off!” Aiyanna bellows at the ruffians. The bellow sounding more like a squeak from way back there and with all the ruckus. The apprentices clear a wide circle around the commotion. Since no property is being damaged, the barkeep simply keeps a watchful eye.
Learis only barely hears her sister as she draws her sword and head to his aid.
Learis, completely has the drop on both those scoundrels as they are beating the tar out of Grau. He is in fetal position, not even defending himself.
“Lets not try to kill anyone tonight!” She shouts after Learis, “If we can help it,” she mutters the last bit as she opens her spell component pouch
Learis grins back at her sister before stepping in and attempting to knock out the closest one to her with her sword pommel. Learis’, first blow lands, and with an elegant stabbing motion there is the liquid snap of his shoulder socket separating. He’s not unconscious, but with a snarl he turns to face you. A metal bar with studs drops out of his sleeve.
She will attempt to point her blade at the others throat, a warning that it’s time to stop.
“Oh!” Aiyanna exclaims as she notices the bar, “Learis, look out!”
They still see it as two on one, and aren’t thinking straight…
Aiyanna gathers up energy, a circle of arcane glyphs appearing around her hands, lightning arcing from rune to rune as they orbit her outstretched hands.
The mere sight of a raging Barbarian breaking ranks with trident in hand leaves both ruffians scrambling for the door, and one with severe trident damage to the ass, but it doesn’t look like Grau is breathing.
Aiyanna stifles a giggle as the men scramble out, but notices the look of concern on Learis, and quickly comes to the her aid.
“Is there a healer?” Learis asks.
Aiyanna curses under her breath, hoping someone replies,
With the fight dispersed, and the call for aid, Danvar rose from his seat, and approached the fallen man. He quickly examined him as Learis steps back to give him room
Lexon gently lifts him up trying to make sure no injuries are further harmed. He sets him in the chair and backs away. He is in bad shape. Blood is filling his lungs from shattered ribs. He has a broken foot, and a small throwing dagger is embedded in his spine.
These were no common thugs. He will be dead within moments.
Lexon pulls out one of his potions and offers it to the man seeing how badly he is injured, while Danvar quickly grabs his holy symbol, and begins to cast a spell. “I’m not sure I’ve got enough power for this, but I’ll do what I can.”
As the healing magic begins to knit his body back together he rolls over with a groan, and looks about as if waking up. With a sigh he realizes he is still alive, “You should have let them kill me.”
The shock of the extent of the man’s injuries is clear on Learis’ face, she silently curses herself for not bringing any potions with.
Aiyanna puts a hand on Learis’ shoulder, “He could have choked on it, and then we’d be just as bad off, or worse. We’re lucky Danvar was here.”
Lexon grab some ale from the counter and pour it over some of the wounds that didn’t completely heal. Danvar looks at Lexon with shock. “Damn ye boy, get the hells away from him. Wasting good drink like that.”
“I’ve had better,” he retorts, “and his wounds need a drink to forget the pain.”
“Tell you what you daft fool, you go spend 15 years learning the arts of healing, and communin’ with gods, and then you can come back here and tell me what these wounds need.”
Learis fights back a chuckle.
Lexon pulls down the collar of his shirt and shows the scars on his back. “Where were ye when I needed healing. Booze was there when nobody was for me!” He boasts, but immediately returns his attention to the warrior.
Danvar snorts at his outburst. “You want to be helpful, go find some guards. Tell them someone tried to murder someone here. Leave the complicated stuff to those who aren’t addlebrained.”
Aiyanna watches the exchange with rising trepidation and raises a finger as though to make a point to the dwarf, and thinks better of it, “Maybe we should discuss this later.” She squats next to Grau, “Are you OK? Why did those men want you dead?”
Lexon walks outside with half a mind to punch the Dwarf but realizes the need of the fighter is more important. He goes outside and is so loud that he can be heard through the door clearly. “Guards we have an extremely injured man that was just nearly murdered!”
Learis gently repeats her sister’s question to Grau