A Difficult Transition

Posts: 43

A Difficult Transition

Post#1 » Tue May 28, 2013 1:48 pm

Slipping quietly into the crowded Port of Call Tavern, she glanced around looking for any empty tables… preferably in a corner. In all the times she’d visited Suzail, she’d never found one completely empty, but she kept hoping anyway. As she continued to watch for a vacancy, she made her way over to Vice, the Inn Keeper, asking if he had any rooms available. She gladly paid him for it and a meal when he said he had one just room left. Just as she was thinking she’d have to settle for sharing a table with a group of strangers – as usual – the unusual happened: one of the smaller tables was vacated by 4 Dwarves who had finished their meal. Before anyone else noticed the vacancy, she quickly made her way over, casually dropping her bedroll and travel pack onto one of the empty chairs. Seating herself next to them, she then carefully laid a long, slim case on the tabletop. After asking Jessy for a tankard of ale and a bowl of the stew being served, she turned her attention back to her pack. Opening it, she carefully extracted a cloth bag that held her prized possession: a battered and worn looking lute. Checking it over carefully, she looked for any signs of possible damage from the journey.

Tightening the strings slightly, she ran her fingers lightly over the front surface, feeling for any splintering or cracking. Sighing with relief on finding none there, she turned the instrument over and examined the back with equal care. Other than the all-to-familiar scratch along the right side, it too was undamaged. Slowly letting out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding, she thought to herself that things could have been so different. It had been a nasty fall, after all, and she had landed directly on top of the pack. Fortunately, neither she nor the lute had sustained any permanent damage; her ribs – and her pride – were somewhat bruised, but not broken. Sending up a silent prayer of gratitude, she lightly traced the protective runes etched into the neck of the lute, her fingertips tingling from the power emanating from them. Funny how the tingling only occurred when she ran her fingers over the runes; it never seemed to happen when she held the instrument normally, or even when she played it…

Looking for what must have been the thousandth time at the scratch that ran along the right side of the lute’s back, she wondered anew how it could have happened. The runes that had protected the instrument from the impact of her fall must surely have been capable of preventing something as trivial as a scratch. The runes had been etched into the lute generations ago, possibly even when the lute was new, while the scratch had the appearance of being somewhat more recent. “Somewhat” being a rather subjective determination, since even her Grandparents couldn’t remember a time when both the runes and the scratch had not been present.

Smiling at Jessy as she brought over her meal, she slid a few copper coins in her direction, and began eating. As she ate, she wondered for about the hundredth time why it was people always seemed to think that all Bards travelled all the time. She’d met plenty of Bards in her own travels who had stopped in a town or village they liked so much, they decided to make it home, and they’d still continued to play their music, sing their songs, and tell their tales. The only reasons she continued to travel were, everyone seemed to “expect” it, and her home back in Trinity had been destroyed during the Planar Collapse. She supposed Suzail was nice enough, but she missed the familiar surroundings of her West Gate neighborhood. To think, her home had been just across the courtyard from the now-famous Cata! As she ate, her mind continued to play back memories of home, and she wondered if Trinity would ever be rebuilt. When her meal was finished, she gently pushed the empty bowl toward the edge of the table, and picked up the lute once more.

Strumming lightly, she played softly so the sound wouldn’t disturb those around her; she was only interested in verifying that the sound was still as mellow and true as it had always been. It might not have looked it to a casual observer, but this lute was more valuable to her than anything the Court Musicians played for King Irvel of Suzail. Even the shiny new flute – her birthday gift from her parents, just before she’d left on this journey – couldn’t hold a candle to the tired-looking lute. When her mother had handed it to her on her 100th birthday several years before, her eyes had nearly popped from her head. She remembered all the stories she’d heard growing up, about how this same lute had been passed from mother to daughter over the span of many generations, but she had never dreamed that it would be she, rather than her older sister, who actually received it.

As she continued to softly strum, she found herself playing favorite songs from home; she became so lost in her music, she never noticed when Jessy hunched down on the floor nearby, totally entranced by the melody. Nor did she notice when some of the other patrons, taking notice of the idle Bar Maid, began to quiet themselves to hear the tunes she played. When she finished the song she’d been playing, she was completely startled to hear the applause from the nearby tables.

“Give us another, lass.”

“Aye, one like that last.”

“Nay, a more spirited tune… a warrior’s tale!”

A few more voices were heard calling out requests, but all abruptly stopped when they saw Vice stalking toward his wayward server. Leaning down to where Jessy was sitting, sparks flying from his remaining eye, he hissed quietly at her,

“I can always hire another Bar Maid if the job is too much for you to handle, Jessy.” He raised one hand threateningly, as if about to strike her, but she scrambled up quickly and rushed back to her duties.

The other patrons returned to their meals and conversations, occasionally glancing over toward her table, watching Vice warily. After watching Jessy for a few moments Vice turned toward her, the recent anger replaced by a mix of concern, surprise and cautious hope etched on his face.

“Mind if I join you a moment?” he asked quietly.

Smiling hesitantly, she gestured toward the empty seat across from her, and gently laid her lute on the table while he got settled.

“Is there a problem with my playing?” she asked him nervously.

Giving a snorting chuckle, he replied “No, only in distracting my employees from their duties. I wanted to ask a favor of you, if I might, though.”

Her smile changed to a look of confusion, as she carefully responded, “Well, if it’s something I’m able to do, I’d be happy to help.”

A look of relief passed over his face.

“Aye, I’m sure of that, after what I just heard. You see, I’ve been waiting for a group of musicians I hired some time back to arrive, but they’re several weeks overdue. I had announced shortly after hiring them that they would be here, and now, folks are getting restless. They’ve already heard everything the local Bards play, and are beginning to question if the promised musicians even exist.”

“I think I’m beginning to see where this is going.” She relaxed and grinned as she continued, “You’d like me to entertain the crowd, yes?”

Smiling now, he nodded. “If you wouldn’t mind? I’ll gladly trade you the price of your room and breakfast in the morning for your help.”

Returning his smile, she nodded and held out her hand, “It’s a deal. I won’t guarantee how long I’ll last, as it’s been a long journey for me, but I’ll do my best.”

“That’s all I ask, lass. You have my thanks.” Reaching across the table, he clasped her hand in a firm grip, then handed her the coins she had paid for her room and meal with. He started to get up then turned back to her, confusion clearly showing in his face, “In all the times you’ve been here, why didn’t you ever mention you could play? And, that you could play so well?”

Chuckling softly, she winked and said “You never asked… and, I was afraid you’d put me to work entertaining your guests.” She slid part of the coins back across the table toward him “You gave me too much back. You said the room and breakfast, so this is for the meal I just ate.”

Waving one hand dismissively and smiling, he said “Consider it a bonus. Feel free to use the stage, so everyone will be able to hear you.”

“Where should I put my gear? It’s rather crowded in here tonight.” She glanced around the room as she slipped the coins into her pack.

“I’ll take it up to your room for you.”

“Thanks! Give me a minute to put everything together for you.” She reached for the flute case and tucked it carefully into the pack, quickly tying her bedroll into place on the top of the pack. “Oh! Which room are you putting me in?”

“Room 2, up the stairs, the door on the left.” he answered.

Smiling her appreciation, she picked up the lute and quietly strummed a few bars of her favorite song, an Elven ballad she’d heard her mother play countless times since she was an infant. It just didn’t seem a proper performance if she didn’t start out playing it as her warm-up before facing an audience. After she finished the opening bars, she nodded with satisfaction and headed for the stage, strumming her lute more firmly as she walked. By the time she reached center stage, she had regained the attention of the still growing crowd. She finished with a flourish, and the crowd applauded with appreciation. Looking around the stage, she walked over to the tall stool sitting in a back corner, bringing it to the center and settling onto it while the applause continued. A few moments later, she strummed a loud chord to get the attention of her audience.

“I thank you all for your kindness. While I hadn’t actually planned any performance for the night, I’ll see if I can’t find a little something for everyone, aye?” Scattered chuckles and a smattering of applause answered her question.

Strumming another quick chord to check that the instrument was indeed in tune, she made a minor adjustment to one string then launched into a rousing ballad. There was no lack of music to choose from, as she’d grown up hearing a variety of Sembian songs; she even knew a few tunes from more distant regions, plus all of the Elven music her mother and grandmother had played all her life. From what Vice had told her earlier, this crowd wanted to hear something they weren’t already familiar to the point of boredom with. Keeping that in mind, she chose an exotic-sounding but lively tune from Waterdeep as her next selection and by the time she finished, the entire Port of Call erupted in cheers. Smiling wide, and bowing her head in acknowledgement, she began playing song after song as the audience called out requests. As weariness from her journey began to catch up to her, she played one final tune… a soft, gentle melody designed to soothe the crowd, and subtly urge them to allow her to stop and get the rest she needed. Smiling and bowing stiffly due to her now aching ribs, she thanked her audience one last time and headed for her room.
Aging may be mandatory, but growing old is optional! :D

Posts: 43

Kayleetta's Point of View

Post#2 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:53 pm

Kayleetta stretched out on the bed in her room at The Port of Call, reflecting on the days’ events. She had been sorry to disappoint Vice, but she was just too exhausted after all that had happened to get up on stage to entertain the patrons tonight. She had barely made it through her dinner without falling asleep on her plate, and had come straight to her room when she finished eating.

The day had certainly started normally enough, for having just completed a long journey. She had rolled out of bed as soon as the sun shone into her room, washed, dressed and headed down for breakfast. She had barely finished her meal when her day took its first bad turn… she had been accosted by what she had first believed was a Human male, trying to offer her money in exchange for what he termed “her company”. Too stunned initially to believe what she had heard, she stood there, a Bard without words… a rare thing indeed. As her numbed brain tried to make sense of what he had said, he had had the audacity to repeat his “request”! When realization of what he was asking sank in, her gut reaction was to slap the self-satisfied smirk right off his face… she had to consciously stop herself from bringing her raised hand forward. As she informed him that she wasn’t that kind of “worker”, nor could he “buy” her “companionship”, Vice stalked over. Although she could see he was angry, she felt nothing but relief as he reminded her of the deal they’d struck the night before. Perhaps a bit too eagerly, she acknowledged Vice’s order to get to the stage and earn her keep.

With some of the pent-up anger toward the not-fully-Human male still simmering within her, her first selection was a War March. As she strummed – rather more vigorously than needed, truth be told – she tried to figure out just what his heritage must have been to produce such a self-assured yet obnoxious being as he was. Self-assured? She gave a mental snort as she continued playing; he was downright arrogant! He’d even had the nerve to sit down in right in front of the stage, and offer her money again… this time, to play a song about how much she loved him! Instead, she transitioned from the War March to a Battle Ballad.

As she was finishing up playing the Ballad, she noticed an attractive, well-dressed young woman standing by the stage. In polite tones, she had requested something happier… something to liven up the place. Smiling graciously at the young woman, Kayleetta nodded agreement, finishing up the Battle song and changing to a more upbeat dancing tune. Just as she was about to finish her performance, a Cormyrean Sentry entered the Tavern. She had watched from the corner of her eye as he marched straight over to Vice and had a hurried, and apparently urgent, conversation. She saw Vice nod, and the Sentry then marched himself straight over to her, asking if she would kindly stop playing for a moment. Breaking off mid-chord, she complied with his request, almost dreading the reason for it; that’s when her day had taken its next bad turn. As he made his announcement, she could feel her eyes widening with alarm… Suzail was under attack by Amnish forces! All able-bodied citizens were requested to arm themselves and report to Shayran at the docks. Without a moment’s hesitation, Kayleetta made her way over to Vice, explaining to him that she felt a need to do something to help. With the comment that war would be bad for business, he agreed that she should go, with a word of warning to be careful, as he wanted her back on his stage again.

Looking around the room, Kayleetta tried to find others to join her in reporting to the docks… surely someone here would be willing to help defend the city, wouldn’t they? Her eyes settled on the young woman who had requested the dance tune, who happened to be speaking with a rather disheveled looking man. Momentarily taken aback by the man’s appearance, and the fact that he was addressing the young woman as “Treant” while handing her a leaf, she hesitated before asking if they would join her. She was pleased when the woman, who introduced herself as Kierra, agreed. The man, whom Kierra thought might be a Druid, seemed to follow her readily enough, though they were clearly strangers to each other. Kierra didn’t even know the man’s name… said he had told her he couldn’t remember it himself. However, as she knew neither of them any better, she wasn’t about to complain if they were willing to help. She was a bit more surprised on hearing the man addressing a “Dryad”, and suddenly realizing it was herself that he meant. Beginning to think the man might be mentally unstable, she decided it might be better to agree with him… something quickly confirmed by a comment to that effect from Kierra.

Just outside the Tavern, the three of them found the obnoxious young mostly-Human and a Dwarf seemingly waiting for them. Without taking time to introduce themselves, a decision was made to travel to the Temple of Waukeen for Healing Supplies, and from there to the docks. As they walked along, the Dwarf finally asked what all but the might-be-Druid seemed to be waiting to: Who were they? Introductions were quickly made, and she now had a name to address the young annoyance by: “Jack”. The Dwarf introduced himself as Gru, while she and Kierra introduced themselves and the - for now - nameless possible Druid. They continued on to the Temple and made their purchases, then made their way to meet with Shayran. He advised them that, due to all the problems with Trinity and the war with Amn, the Purple Dragons were stretched too thin to maintain law and order. This had led to a questionable group known as the “Port Authority” pretty much taking over supposed “security” in Suzail. Shayran seemed to have his doubts about their intent, and Kayleetta was sad to have to confirm to him that they had been more than simply questionable in Trinity. He asked them to not only assist with turning back the Amnish invasion, but to see if they could determine what the Port Authority was really up to. On the group’s behalf, Kayleetta agreed to help with both matters, and they continued on to the Royal Naval Shipyard.

Barely through the Shipyard gates, Jack quickly headed deeper into the compound, hardly seeming to remember that an invasion force was present. Those who had weapons carried them at the ready, trying to catch up with Jack, who had already disappeared around a corner. He reappeared rather quickly, with news that there were, indeed, invaders present – a fact quickly confirmed by one following him around the corner, murder in his eyes. With the odds being 5 to 1, he was quickly dispatched, only to be replaced by several others, coming from seemingly all directions. Kayleetta’s bowstring seemed to sing as she released her arrows to defend her new comrades-in-arms, while Gru wielded his axe with obvious glee against the horde. Even the apparent Druid’s badger got into the spirit of things, growling and snapping at ankles and whatever else he could reach. Kayleetta was more than a bit concerned by Kierra’s lack of weaponry, although she seemed to do well enough with protective spells and simple hand-to-hand combat. She completely lost track of Jack, who had drawn a rather inadequate-looking dagger with which to defend himself.

When the first group of invaders had been repelled – or more accurately, killed – Kayleetta wondered if there might be any chance of negotiating some form of peace with the remainder. She asked the rest of the group if they would hold off on attacking the next contingent they encountered, so she could try talking to them. At the very least, she hoped they would be willing to guide her to whoever was in charge, to see if some agreement could be reached. While Jack openly conveyed his doubt about that possibility, the rest agreed to allow her to try. It didn’t take long before they were set upon again, but it was clear from their actions that none of their attackers were willing to even consider talking. Time and again, they fought their way through the Shipyard, while Kayleetta hoped against hope that some lives might be spared. It seemed almost too good to be true when Kayleetta heard Jack saying that he thought he could see the Captain. Finally! Someone who might be willing to talk, rather than fight! Paying little attention to Jack’s less than encouraging advice to “Pray to your gods before speaking”, she confidently approached the Port Authority Captain. Her day took its worst turn yet when searing pain suddenly burned throughout her chest, and she sank into a dark, silent, untouchable void…

Awareness returned abruptly, as she rapidly tried to fill her empty lungs with air. Gasping with the effort, she tried to propel herself into a standing position, only to find herself too weak to move. As she reached up to rub her aching head, she thought she heard Kierra crying… and… how did she get covered with so many leaves? She tried to recall seeing any trees in the Shipyard, but her brain protested that effort. Giving up on that, she instead tried to make sense of the information her eyes were providing: Gru standing over her, a look of utter astonishment on his face, the nameless Druid a look of satisfaction on his… and a handful of leaves… Jack was nowhere to be seen, which was just as well, as far as she was concerned, while Kierra alternated between tears and prayers of thanks to Sune. Finally able to stand, Kayleetta listened as they all tried to explain to her that the Port Authority Captain had cut her down before she could make her bid for peace. Feeling incredibly embarrassed, she watched in dismay as Jack rejoined the group… it really was too much, though, when he attempted to hug her, and she took several startled steps back from him. Thankfully, Gru had stepped in and advised that they report back to Shayran, which they all quickly agreed to.

Once their report had been made, Kierra decided that a weapon and something a bit more protective than her elegant looking gown might be a good idea. Looking down at her damaged travelling outfit, Kayleetta had to agree about the armor… she could hardly continue wearing the severely damaged, blood-soaked clothing she had on now. Heading to the Smithy, she and Kierra each bought themselves new Studded Leather Armor, and Kierra purchased a flail to arm herself with.

While they were making their purchases, Jack walked in bemoaning the fact that his wife had died leaving him with 5 children, who were now being cared for by his sister. While his story sounded believable enough, she had a hard time picturing a bereaved father of 5 out roaming the world looking for female companionship of the kind he had propositioned her with only that morning. She couldn’t help feeling sorry for his children, but not sorry enough to want to get that close to him!

Once their purchases were made, they headed over to the Tailor to have their Armors altered. At this point, the nameless Druid rejoined them… something of a surprise, considering how uncomfortable he always seemed whenever he was indoors. When he attempted to burn down the shop due to the Shopkeeper not having “asked permission of the forest filling his shelves”, Kierra managed to somehow soothe him into changing his mind, although how she’d managed it was a mystery to Kayleetta! She quickly took care of getting the alterations to her Armor made, not wanting to chance his mental stability against the possibility of him following through and burning the shop anyway. Weary beyond belief, she headed back to The Port of Call, not knowing or caring if the rest followed… she needed food and sleep, and she needed them now.
Aging may be mandatory, but growing old is optional! :D

Posts: 43

Serving a Warrant

Post#3 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:16 pm

As the sun shone through her window at The Port of Call, Kayleetta moaned softly, pulling the covers over her head. This was one morning she did not feel like jumping out of bed to greet the day! Having gone to bed the night before with the events of the last 24 hours tumbling through her brain, she felt battered and bruised both mentally and physically. She finally did manage to drag herself away from slumber when Jessy had come pounding on the door, saying that Vice was asking for her. She gave a soft snort, knowing that it was more likely that Vice had probably demanded her presence on the stage - or else! Using the wash-basin and dressing as quickly as she could, she made her way down the stairs and to the stage.

As she hurried from the stairs to the stage, she could see the others she had fought with the day before scattered around the Tavern's main room. The Druid had seated himself on the floor, and was lavishing attention on his Badger, Jack and Gru were both looking as though they'd spent more of the night drinking than sleeping, and Kierra looked as serene as always. Glancing toward the bar, she quickly found Vice. Holding up her lute so he could see it, she headed straight to the center of the stage, and quickly began playing a well-known Ballad. Focusing primarily on her music, she only casually noticed the Halfling who seemed to be going from one member of the group to the other, apparently asking for some kind of information. As she finished the first song and began playing a local Folk-song, she saw Kierra looking toward the Halfling, then pointing toward the bar in Vice's direction. She smiled slightly, thinking how like Kierra it was for her to help out. When she finished the Folk-song, she played the Dance Tune Kierra had requested the previous day, in an unspoken acknowledgment of Kierra's kindness.

By the time she finished the Dance Tune, the weariness of the previous day's events suddenly caught up with her. With or without Vice's approval, she needed a break, so she carefully tucked her lute into her pack and left the stage. As she slowly walked down the steps from the stage, Kierra crossed the floor to ask how she was feeling. Admitting that she was rather weary, she made her way over to Vice to request a little time to rest. She had some difficulty convincing Vice she wasn't feeling well ("You look ok to me" he'd said), she switched tactics and told him that she had another assignment from Shayran: Serving a Warrant to someone named JD Kimball. For the first time since she'd met him, she thought she'd caught just a hint of fear in Vice's eye. In a low voice, he warned her that getting involved in anything to do with JD Kimball was trouble of a kind she'd rather not have to deal with. As she and Vice were talking, the room suddenly filled with black-robed Port Authority members, one of whom shouted "HERE THEY ARE - GET THEM!", and began attacking her new acquaintances. Drawing her bow, she quickly went to the defense of her comrades-in-arms and The Port of Call. In a matter of minutes, the Tavern was filled with the bodies of the Port Authority, as she and the others all tried to catch their breath and make sense of the unexpected attack. Looking at the chaos and bodies scattered on the floor, Vice advised Kayleetta that she needed to leave his establishment, for her own safety and his.

"I'll not be caught harboring you here!" he stated flatly.

Looking at Vice with sadness and regret, Kayleetta had nodded acceptance of his words, and turned to leave the bar. She was silently grateful when Kierra had accompanied her out the door. Outside, they found the men waiting, the unknown Halfling with them. Kierra quickly introduced him as "Draco", and greetings were exchanged. When Draco mentioned needing to find work, they all agreed that he should join them in serving the Warrant to JD Kimball, and they all set out to find the Port Authority compound. On arriving at the gate, however, there was some confusion as to who was speaking for the group, and the reason for their being there. While she and Kierra were stating quite clearly that they were there to serve a Warrant, Gru began talking about some kind of "business deal" he and the group had made with JD, while "Nutter" the Druid threatened to make a pair of gloves from the Guard's "hide". All the while, the Guard was denying any and all knowledge of anyone by the name of "JD Kimball", and advising them to look elsewhere. Finally, he gave in and granted them access, "at your own risk!"

Barely through the gates, they were immediately attacked by more Port Authority... Kayleetta wondered just how many of them there could be, between the ones they'd killed at the Shipyard, and the ones in the Tavern less than an hour before. She was left to wonder silently, as they were attacked again inside the building, by men and beasts alike. She shook her head with regret as her arrows pierced the ugly hounds that seemed to be everywhere she looked. Finally, they made their way to the top floor of the building to confront... a single man, surrounded by more of the hounds. When he gave no sign of attacking them, she slowly slung her bow over her shoulder and cautiously approached. As she handed him the Warrant, and explained what it was for, she could feel the tension from her companions. Holding her breath, she waited for an explosion of violence from him, but JD Kimball had simply warned her about whom she should trust, stated that he'd done nothing wrong, then calmly left to turn himself in. As she watched him go, she let out her breath slowly, shaking her head in complete astonishment. Feeling that things had gone just a bit too smoothly, the group returned to The Port of Call.
Aging may be mandatory, but growing old is optional! :D

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