Cozen

posted May 24, 2020, 3:25 PM by Stephen Pliska-Matyshak

Nonotina 12th, Year One of the Reign of High King Ran

A she-elf with greenish-blonde hair and bronze skin appears in the street outside The Fiery Stag Inn. She has been tasked with visiting the human king that has been allowed to learn the secrets to elven bladesinging to receive a lesson from him as part of his agreement with the elves.
Several citizens of "The City" are startled by the sudden appearance.
Perri Elastime: By Maeve's hairy toes, that was fast!
Fennimore approaches the elf.
Fennimore: Hello and welcome to "The City!" You look like you are new around here.
Perri Elastime: Just arrived. I'm Perri.
Fennimore: Nice to meet you, I'm Fennimore.
Perri Elastime looks a little rough around the edges. Her hair is in dreds bound with leather with sticks twigs bits of fur and feathers.
Perri Elastime: So this is a human city? The City?
Fennimore: Mostly human, though I'm not.
Fennimore pats the ample girth of his large belly.
Perri Elastime [Halfling]: Sir Fennimore, it is wonderful to meet you!
Fennimore listens for sounds emanating from the Fiery Stag, trying to determine whether his previous companions have returned.
Perri Elastime [Halfling]: You must know a good place to eat.
Fennimore [Halfling]: You are a learned elf. So few know our language.
Fennimore thinks he sees Magic and company heading north a couple of blocks over.
Perri Elastime [Halfling]: I met a few halflings. Their expertise in growing is renowned in the Between.
Fennimore [Halfling]: I know several good places to eat. We are standing beside a decent enough place now, or at least it can be depending upon the evening's entertainment.
Fennimore [Halfling]: The Between? I don't think I've heard of that.
Perri Elastime [Halfling]: If they have wine too? Sounds perfect.
Fennimore [Halfling]: Let's go in and you can tell me more.
Perri Elastime [Halfling]: I moved Between as a small child and had the experience of seeing the mushroom forest and the Seelie Court.
Fennimore [Halfling]: Mushroom forest? Sounds delicious.
Perri Elastime [Halfling]: Best not to eat there mostly.
Perri Elastime heads into the inn
Fennimore moves to the door of the Fiery Stag and holds it open for Perri.
Fennimore [Halfling]: Pity, all those mushrooms and none for the eating?
As he turns to the inn, Fennimore notices his note to Forget-Me-Not is gone and there is a scorch mark where it was.
Fennimore stifles a smile.
Perri Elastime bows slightly and enters.
Perri Elastime pauses in the doorway trying to take in everything.
Fennimore finds an empty table and calls to Mindartis.
Fennimore: Mindartis, we have a new friend in town and she is famished. Could you be so kind as to bring us a proper meal with your best wine?
You enter a large bar area with many tables and fireplaces. Behind the bar is the ugliest blue-haired, bronze-skinned elf you have ever seen.
Perri Elastime follows Fennimore making note of any exits or lines of attack.
Mindartis: Hello, Fennimore. Who is this fey beauty?
Perri Elastime: Perri Elastime, good sir.
Fennimore: We've only just met. She calls herself Perri.
Mindartis [Elvish]: Pleased to me you, my lady.
Mindartis moved out from behind the bar.
Perri Elastime [Elvish]: Pleased to meet you, as well.
Mindartis reaches for Perri's hand.
Perri Elastime: As Fennimore noted, I have a terrible empty ache in my belly.
Perri Elastime looks nervous and turns slightly while letting him take her hand.
Mindartis gently takes her hand and kisses it, then releases it and nods.
Fennimore stiffens as he notices Perri's unease.
Mindartis [Elvish]: I will bring you food and wine.
Perri Elastime looks relieved when it is simple politeness and relaxes a bit.
Mindartis: Apologies, food and wine, as you wish.
Mindartis makes his way back behind the bar and disappears into the back room, which is presumably the kitchen.
Perri Elastime [Elvish]: Thank you!
Mindartis [Elvish]: You are most welcome.
Perri Elastime [Halfling]: You never know if it is a kiss or a bite to expect.
Fennimore relaxes as the tension eases.
Fennimore: A bite? That would be most unpleasant.
Perri Elastime: Very true that.
Fennimore: Mindartis has been true to me so far. Though, I've only recently made his acquaintance.
Fennimore: So, what brings you to The City?
Perri Elastime: The Elves tasked me with an errand that involves meeting the King, but I hope to learn the customs and people a bit before that happens.
Perri Elastime: And are you from The City?
Fennimore: I am, all my short life. If you would allow me the pleasure of being your guide, I would love to show you around. It just so happens, I've recently made the King's acquaintance as well. Perhaps, I can find a way for you to receive an audience, as well.
Perri Elastime: It would be wonderful to have a guide? As for the audience, after I have my bearings a bit. I don't want to cause offense by accident.
Perri Elastime: Only intentional rudeness will do.
Fennimore laughs.
Fennimore: Quite understandable. I'm afraid my meeting with the King was quite short and under duress. The City was under attack by a nasty devil.
Perri Elastime: Woah, is that common around here?
Mindartis returns to the table with food, wine, and ale.
Mindartis: Sir, lady, your food and drink.
Mindartis sets a tray on the table with plates of food, a glass of wine, and a mug of ale on it.
Fennimore: We have our fair share of weirdness, but that is the first time in my twenty years in which I have seen a devil. All knives and chains it was too.
Perri Elastime: Smells delicious! Thank you for rescuing me before I wasted away.
Mindartis smiles, nods, and returns to his place behind the bar.
Perri Elastime smiles.
Fennimore: Thank you, Mindartis, and yes, better it goes to our waists than to let any of us waste away.
Perri Elastime: I fear I have insulted the good barkeep. I didn't mean to.
Fennimore: Oh dear.
Perri Elastime pulls off thin leather gloves and her hands are scarred with bites.
Fennimore tries not to stare at her hands.
Perri Elastime: Those with good intentions often don't understand my mistrust.
Fennimore notices more guests arriving.
Fennimore: Seems to be getting busier.
Several folk hastily enter the inn.
Perri Elastime: It does.
Commoner: The sun has left again. Another darkday is upon us.
Perri Elastime moves so she can see both doors.
Fennimore shivers.
Fennimore: A darkday. Some say it is an ill omen.
Perri Elastime: Best fuel up.
Perri Elastime she smiles.
Perri Elastime tucks into the food with relish.
Fennimore nods in agreement and digs into his dinner.
Mindartis (announcing to the bar): Head out to the woodpile in the back and fill the scuttles and room is free as is our custom.
All the windows darken.
Perri Elastime: Room free? Why? How do you make a living?
Fennimore: That's an invitation that is hard to pass up.
Fennimore: I'm sure he will sell plenty of food and drink to lighten peoples hearts.
Mindartis: We receive a stipend from The High King when the sun leaves the sky.
Perri Elastime: Oh.
Mindartis: But, Fennimore has it right. Our food and drink is still to be paid for.
Fennimore (raises a toast): To High King Ran, may his coffers never run dry.
Perri Elastime raises her glass.
Perri Elastime: How much do I owe you.
Fennimore: Please, allow me to buy your first meal in "The City."
The folk who recently entered make their way out the back door and return shortly with armfuls of cut wood for the many fireplaces.
Perri Elastime: Thank you.
Perri Elastime: Perri watches to try and figure out what things cost.
Fennimore: So, tell me more about your travels. That was quite the entrance you made. I've never been outside "The City" and I'm curious about the Between, The Mushroom Forest, The Seelie Court. These are all new to me.
Mindartis: The wine is two gold. It is quite good. The lady's dinner is two silver.
Perri Elastime is surprised by the cost of things.
Fennimore: And mine?
Mindartis: You covered through tomorrow.
Perri Elastime: Between is a wonderful, scary, wild, and dangerous place.
Fennimore counts out the coins from his purse.
Fennimore: Dangerous? I couldn't help but notice your hands.
Perri Elastime: Beauty hides danger and poison often, but there are wonders even there. The chiming trees, for example, glisten and ring with the most enchanting melodies.
Perri Elastime: Fey court is somewhat brutal even for a child.
Fennimore: Sounds amazing. I hope I can visit Between someday.
Perri Elastime: And one must take care not to owe favors there.
Fennimore: Sounds like wise advice for many places.
Perri Elastime: It can be fun. Perhaps when my patron, Sir Panglia, summons me you could travel with me. It is dangerous, but you seem well versed in this world.
Fennimore: If you've finished your meal, let's bring in some wood to stoke the fires and earn your room for the night. Then, perhaps we can begin your tour of "The City."
Fennimore: I would like to check up on my mum; make sure she is safe from the dark.
Perri Elastime looks around at the other patrons evaluating them for danger. She notices a half-elf passed out under a table?
Perri Elastime: May I come with you?
Perri Elastime: Or, would that mean something more here?
Fennimore follows her gaze to the half-elf.
Fennimore: He's a nice enough fellow. Rather loud and boisterous and has an unnatural attraction to dishes and flatware.
Perri Elastime: It's best he's out of commission for a while then.
Perri Elastime finishes with her meal and replaces her gloves.
Fennimore: I'm sorry, I did not mean anything untoward. Among little people, meeting the family is a common occurrence. We are a quiet but welcoming folk.
Perri Elastime: Among elves, the meeting of family is a natural, ready occurrence. In my home, everyone knows everyone else, so newcomers are often overwhelmed by attention.
Fennimore: Sounds familiar.
Fennimore smiles softly.
Fennimore pushes back from the table, stretches and goes outside to gather some wood for the fires.
Perri Elastime pulls a fur cloak out of her bag and wraps it around her shoulders and a fur cap of blue opossum, which she places on her head.
Perri Elastime follows Fennimore.
The pair exit out the back door into the alley between the inn and the tenements.
Perri Elastime gathers an armload of wood.
Fennimore gathers a small armful and struggles to lift it.
As Fennimore is collecting wood, there is a tug on his pack.
Fennimore: Hello, who's that?
Perri Elastime looks around.
Fennimore's pack keeps feeling like it's being tugged on, but there is no one around with hands available to be doing so.
Fennimore drops his load of wood.
Perri Elastime drops her wood.
Fennimore's pack seems to be twitching back and forth of its own accord.
Fennimore: Something has gotten into my pack.
Perri Elastime draws her short sword.
Neither of the pair see anyone in the alley attempting to hide or otherwise.
Perri Elastime: Anything missing?
Fennimore: Let's check. Keep your sword ready.
The pack jerks more violently.
Fennimore doffs his pack and carefully opens the flap.
Perri Elastime gets ready to stab.
An amulet leaps from the pack and lands on the ground at Fennimore's feet.
Fennimore: Curious, I wonder where that came from?
Perri Elastime: That yours?
It begins to skitter along the ground away from you.
Fennimore: Hey, come back here.
Perri Elastime stabs through the chain.
Fennimore tries to step on the chain to restrain it.
Perri's shortsword stabs into the ground inside the chain near the amulet as Fennimore steps on the extended chain. The amulet wiggles frantically, but goes no farther.
Fennimore looks closely at it trying to identify it.
If Fennimore didn't know better, he would guess this is the king's missing artifact.
Perri Elastime (whispering): An amulet of the planes.
Fennimore: Really? I hear there is one of those floating around the city right now.
Perri Elastime (whispering): Where did you get such a treasure?
Perri Elastime: Shall I pick it up?
Fennimore: I know of a person who is rumored to have such a thing. But, why would she leave it in my pack and where might it be going all on its own?
Fennimore: Wait, do you have a bit of rope. Let's make sure it doesn't get away again.
Perri Elastime: How about one of these?
Perri Elastime takes a strong leather thong from a dreadlock.
Fennimore: That should do. Loop it through the center hole.
Snow begins to fall.
Perri Elastime uses the sword to lift an edge and threads it through the hole without touching the amulet itself.
Perri threads the thong through the hole without touching amulet herself.
Perri Elastime knots the thong.
Fennimore: That should do.
Fennimore picks up the amulet by the chain, holding it away from himself.
You stand in the alley, Fennimore holding the amulet by the chain and Perri by the leather thong. It continues to wiggle frantically.
Perri Elastime moves closer so it can swing free.
As you struggle to keep control of the amulet without it touching either of you, it tries more and more violently to escape. It pulls free from Fennimore's grasp and thuds solidly into Perri's abdomen.
Light flares, dazzling Fennimore. Perri feels like she loses her footing and begins to fall. She sees a myriad of images of worlds and landscapes, beautiful and horrifying, flash before her eyes. The vision quickly passes and she finds herself standing in the alley again facing Fennimore. The amulet falls to the ground and remains motionless.
Perri Elastime grabs the amulet from the ground.
Perri Elastime: That hurt, you rabid ogre's ass biter!
Perri Elastime shakes the amulet.
Whatever magic was animating the amulet seems to have been dispelled.
Fennimore: It seems to have stopped whatever it was doing.
Perri Elastime offers the amulet to Fennimore.
Fennimore: Thanks.
Perri Elastime feels oddly disconnected from the Feywild at the moment.
Fennimore: I wonder where it was going?
Perri Elastime: I think we should get moving. I don't feel so good at the moment.
Fennimore: You've had a busy day. Do you need to rest?
Fennimore: Or do you need a healer?
Perri Elastime: No, I just feel like I'm wrapped in spider silk. My magic is muffled.
Fennimore: You have magic?
Perri Elastime: Yes, I am a wizard.
Fennimore: How wonderful. King Ran will love to meet you. He is a powerful wizard.
Perri Elastime: Yes, powerful wizards can be fearsome.
Fennimore: I never developed a talent for magic. My skills run in a different direction. I like to watch the city, listen for noises, and run down rumors.
Perri Elastime: I tend to watch out of paranoia, but I love learning new things.
Fennimore: Excellent.
Perri Elastime: It's getting cold. We should check on your Mum then maybe we can investigate where this amulet was going.
Fennimore tentatively puts the chain of the amulet around his neck
Fennimore: Good idea.
Fennimore: Let's bring the wood in so no one trips over it in the dark and then we can get going.
Perri Elastime: Maybe in a belt pouch would be better. I would not want you to lose your head if it gets going again.
Fennimore: You're right. It was quite strong.
Perri Elastime sheaths her sword.
Fennimore removes the amulet from his neck and tucks it into a pouch and ties the pouch firmly closed.
Perri Elastime: Maybe tie the thong around your belt.
Fennimore: Yes, twice safe.
Perri Elastime starts picking up wood.
Fennimore finishes securing the amulet and then joins Perri in picking up wood.
You enter the inn with the wood and carry it over to one of the scuttles. Mindartis smiles and nods once you have deposited the wood.
Perri Elastime gives him a little curtsey in reply.
Mindartis winks.
Fennimore: That was a fine meal, Mindartis. We are off for a bit, but will return later. Please hold a room for Ms. Perri.
Perri Elastime: Shall we go?
Mindartis: Will do. Be safe out there. Cold isn't the only danger when the sun is away.
Fennimore: Thanks for the warning.
Perri Elastime pats her sword.
Fennimore: We may be safer on the main roads. Even though fewer people will be out after dark.
The pair leave the inn and head towards Fennimore's mum's.
Perri Elastime: I'll follow you.
Fennimore: It's a bit longer, but if we want to avoid darker alleys, our best path may be northwest towards the Temple of the Father and Mother, then turning southwest towards the Bards' College until we get close to the river, then we can take a side street to mum's marketplace.
Perri Elastime: Sounds reasonable to me. Point out the landmarks as we go please.
Fennimore draws on the depths of his knowledge as a street waif to point out as many interesting places and tales as he can fit into the walk.
Fennimore: First, we are at the Fiery Stag Inn, accompanied by the board where the King's Herald posts messages.
The two of you travel the main roads until you begin to get near your destination and the buildings become more sparse. You are passing one of the many wells in this area when a small winged critter comes flying out of it.
Oh, tasties.
The mephit approaches taking a big gulp of air and exhales an icy blast at the pair.
Fennimore, too busy regaling Perri with stories, drops his guard and is caught unaware by the mephit.
The mephit then flies away.
Perri's firebolt slams into the creature and it goes whirling through the air and falls to the ground.
Fennimore: Well, you're handy to have around.
Perri Elastime: If there is one, there may be more.
Fennimore: Agreed.
Perri Elastime looks around.
There seems to be no other threats. However, the mephit appears to still be breathing, only knocked out for the moment.
Fennimore runs up to the downed creature and stabs it with his rapier.
Stephen: The ice mephit crumbles into small chunks of ice.
Perri Elastime: Nice jab!
Fennimore: It's easier when they are immobile.
Perri Elastime (laughing): I've noticed that.
Perri Elastime moves up to Fennimore.
Having no other threats, the pair continues the rest of the way to Fennimore's mums.
You arrive at a small hobbit-hole, a light in the window welcomes you.
Fennimore opens the door and calls out.
Fennimore: Ma, I'm home. I brought a friend.
A small hobbit woman sits in a chair near the lit fireplace stitching.
Flora: Fennimore! Come here, my boy.
Flora stands up and approaches.
Flora: A friend, you say?
Perri Elastime: Good afternoon, ma'am.
Flora: I dare say evening, but you are an elf, so you aren't burdened by the darkness.
Fennimore: Yes, Mum. Perri, please meet my mum, Flora. Ma, this is Perri. She's only just arrived in "The City."
Flora: You have found your way to a good city, child. The king has been good to us all.
Perri Elastime: That's good. Those with power can make or break a place.
Flora: So, Fenn, where have you been?
Fennimore: Oh, here and there. You know how it is. I'm staying at the Fiery Stag now. Looking for work, staying out of trouble.
Fennimore smiles, hoping his mother doesn't worry about his employment opportunities.
Flora: Oh, really? No trouble?
Perri Elastime smiles.
Fennimore: Well, trying to anyway.
Flora: Thought so. Well, you're safe right now, so it's all good.
Fennimore: There was this bard, you know. He was like a walking thistle patch making trouble wherever he went. I got out of his way as quickly as I could.
Flora: Bards! What a bother. They can cause such a racket.
Fennimore: You can say that again.
Fennimore smiles more broadly.
Fennimore: I'm glad to see you're safe too.
Flora: You must be hungry after being out in the cold coming all the way from the Stag.
Perri Elastime: Fennimore has been telling me about the city. He is quite a good storyteller.
Perri Elastime: I could always eat a bit. Can I fetch some wood for you?
Flora: Oh, that would be sweet. Thank you.
Perri Elastime fetches an armload of wood, making a few trips as she is not very strong.
Flora: Oh, that is plenty of wood, sweetie. Thank you.
Fennimore helps his mum set out a supper for the three of them.
Fennimore: While she isn't looking, he slips a few coins into a cupboard where he knows his ma will find them later.
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