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18+ An Era of Dusk

Discussion in 'Active Stories' started by Madrar, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. TheShadedOne

    TheShadedOne The Angry One

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    Kaliir watched the group begin to file out of the tavern, with the annoying dark elf joining the remaining nord at the bar. She was curious about their conversation, but the other mans' words made some sense. She was in this to get paid, more than she was to help people. She set out after them, adjusting the carrying strap for Moonfang on her shoulder as she did.

    The trip through the town was uneventful, but she took notice of the suspicious glances and muttered words from the locals. They were certainly rattled, but more because of the disappearances, rather than the prescence of strangers in their home. Though that probably didn't do much to put their minds at ease. The nord who had decided to name himself their 'spokesperson' stopped at the farmhouse and instructed everyone to look around.

    Kaliir stopped as well, sniffing the air cautiously. Nothing seemed amiss, though she had little idea what they were looking for. "So what are we expecting to find, exactly? I'm used to hunting people who don't want to be found. Not people snatched out of their homes by...what exactly?" She looked around at the others, "For all we know, it was imperial sympathizers, lurking in some hidden camp."
     
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  2. Madrar

    Madrar The Shadow in the Dark.

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    Merric, in conversation with the elf woman, glanced around as someone hammered on the one of the tables behind him. One of the men who had been in the tavern before he'd walked in, a bearded nord in armour, with an axe at his side, spoke to the room in general about serving as the group spokesman, helping people, and getting paid. Of course, Merric wasn't so much interested in the gold, and having a local serving as the voice of this strange group couldn't hurt. The man left the tavern, followed by most of the others. "I suppose you had better come with us." He said to the elven woman.

    A quick walk through town was uneventful, and they reached the farmhouse that was quiet and still in the morning light. As the others began discussing strategy or looking around outside, Merric stepped up to the door, and gingerly pushed it open. No one sprang out to attack, but the inside of the house was clearly disturbed. A dining room table was set with plates, and a clay pitcher of what he guessed had been filled with water lay shattered on the floor. One of the chairs had been knocked over, and another was missing one of its' legs. "I don't think there's anyone in here, but you'd better come take a look!" He called over his shoulder.
     
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  3. Rell

    Rell Champion of Malacath!

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    Balgur glanced away from the scarved elf woman who might or might not have been a thalmor agent, towards the nord he'd been talking to not long before. The strange dunmer in the violet coat and carrying a large glaive, had stepped up and was talking to the robed man. He noticed the dunmer was careful to make sure the mage left the tavern ahead of him. Strange, but it didn't need investigating right away.

    The town was waking up and more and more people were getting into the streets. He reached the farmhouse without incident, besides the occasional surprised glance or glare at his legion armor. He arrived just in time to hear the khajiit with the large sword mention something about imperials kidnapping people. Annoyed at her ignorant statement, he turned to face her "don't be a fool. The empire doesn't abduct civilians."
     
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  4. TheShadedOne

    TheShadedOne The Angry One

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    Kaliir watched the breton man push the door to the house open and gave the all clear. She was about to head in after him when a voice from behind her said,"don't be a fool. The empire doesn't abduct civilians." She turned back, and was not at all surprised to see the orc in imperial legion armour, staring at her. He didn't look exactly hostile, but he was clearly insulted by her suggestion. Rather than apologize, she curled her lip "sure they don't. And I suppose the leaves don't fall in autumn, either?"
     
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  5. TheArgonianDrell

    TheArgonianDrell Well-Known Member

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    Aylira, having finally gotten her meal from the bar, sighed with exaggerated exasperation as she was interrupted by the man who'd nominated himself spokesperson of the assembled adventurers and blades for hire. Personally, she didn't care who was the spokesperson or leader, or whatever they fancied themselves. Despite what Sothas was constantly telling her, she wasn't too bothered with helping people.

    Being paid, however, she was very much interested in. As those who had begun filing into the tavern soon started leaving again in ones and twos, she shoved the last of her food into her mouth, and sighed. "I suppose we'd better follow them."
    Sothas, having sat quietly after his brief conversation with the oddly dressed, and oddly behaved Thoras, nodded.

    The two of them reached the farmhouse just in time to see the orc man in imperial armour facing off against the khajiit woman with curved greatsword. Moving faster than seemed possible for someone with a tower shield on his back and wearing heavy plate, he stepped between them. "Enough. We're not going to solve anything by turning on each other before we've even begun."
     
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  6. Morbidbread

    Morbidbread Fight for the lost

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    The nord mage obliged him and stepped outside, and Thoras fell in beside him. As they trailed after Argus and several of the others, the mage questioned him about his dislike of mages or magic. The man snapped his fingers, summoning a small flame that danced to and fro for a moment before it was banished with a flourish. The mage then went on to explain that many of his fellow nords would refuse to speak to him simply because of his abilities. Not something that surprised him, considering the greeting he'd received upon arriving in Skyrim.

    "Meaning no offense, but most of your countrymen seem like ignorant oafs" the dunmer said with a thin smile. "As for me, I neither hate magic nor its' users" then he held up a thin finger. "Actually, that's not entirely true. I hate those who use their magics to bring pain and suffering for no better reason than their own amusement."

    "As for my name, I am Thoras Lorian, an extraordinarily humble gentleman, and altogether outstanding individual. And who might you be?" He glanced ahead, where the farm was coming into view, with those who had arrived before spreading out and searching for clue, no doubt.
     
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  7. Harkatti

    Harkatti Sorceress Supreme!

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    Zarr wasn't even listening to the arguments and conversation going on around the front of the house. Her nose had picked up an unusual scent, one that lead away from the farmhouse. The khajiit snapped her fingers at Dren to get his attention, then put one to her lips, motioning for him to be quiet. Whether he chose to follow or not was entirely up to him, but she hoped he would. She might need the sword he carried, if there was something in the barn. Creeping along the side of the house, she stopped and listened hard before stepping into the open ground between it and a simple, one story barn. She heard nothing, saw nothing, but the hairs on the back of her arms and neck were beginning to stand up.

    She crept closer to the barn, then closer still, one of her hands going a dagger sheathed at her hip. There were no side doors to the barn, which left only the large double doors at the front. Silently cursing who ever had designed the building, she made her way to the large doors. There was a lock set into them, and she cursed again, wishing for lockpicks. She leaned against the right hand door, pressing her sensitive ear up against it. To her surprise, the door gave under her slight weight, swinging inwards slightly.

    The stench was stronger here than before, and her curiosity, egged her on. She grabbed one of the hoop door handles, and pulled. It took her mere moments for her sensitive eyes to to pierce the gloom. What she saw confirmed the growing suspicion at the back of her mind. It was deathly silent inside, for good reason. Four stalls, all silent but not unoccupied. The air inside was thick with the stench of death, and she fought to keep her meager breakfast where it was. Four horses had been killed-butchered, really.

    She staggered outside, and sucked in a great lungful of air. Then she started to stagger towards the group, fighting to retain some form of normalcy by the time she reached them. To her credit, she was no longer unsteady on her feet when she arrived at the side of the armoured nord. Argus, she thought his name was. She could hear someone inside the house shouting for them to come inside, but she felt the slaughter of the horses might be just as relevant, if not more so. "The horses...someone got to them in the barn. It looks like whoever took these people were taking no chances."
     
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  8. TheShadedOne

    TheShadedOne The Angry One

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    Kaliir shrugged, smirked at the angry orc, and headed inside, looking around the interior of the farm house. The breton man was standing in the dining room, looking at shards of what might have been a container at one point, and a chair missing a leg. It didn't take a genius to figure out that some sort of scuffle had taken place inside. She stepped past the human, senses alert for anything else that seemed out of place. There were no bodies, her nose told her that much. But things had been knocked over further into the home as well. An end table was collapsed at the end of the fall, and a simple rug lay shoved against the corner in the common room. "Strange" she muttered, toeing the rug cautiously. Nothing popped out at her, and she moved on, towards a room that she guessed was the sleeping quarters for someone one the first floor.

    She made her way to the doorway, which is where something caught her eye. Four thin lines at the corner, gouged into the wood. "Claws?" She wondered out loud, kneeling to examine them closer. She extended her own claws for comparison, lining them up with the grooves in the wood. The lines already in placed were somewhat broader than Kaliirs own claws. "No...fingernails." She got up and rejoined the human in the dining room. "I haven't seen any bodies down here, but there are marks by the bedroom. Someone really didn't want to be taken." She paused, then added "has anyone been upstairs? I don't think we'll find anything else, but it's probably worth a look."
     
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  9. Aethalia

    Aethalia Well-Known Member

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    Ysane took the bretons' words as invitation, and no one protested, at least out loud, when she joined the others on the way to investigate some farm house. The group, a large, diverse group with only two nords out of all of them. She had no doubt that the group by itself would draw plenty of incredulous stares. Already, she noticed that despite her precautions, quite a few nord townsfolk glanced over at her and some of the other more exotic members of the group. She noticed the stares directed at her were only slightly more than the suspicious glares some were giving the orc in legion armour. She wasn't sure why the man had decided to march through the town in full armour, or at least without a cloak to hide some of the distinctive gear.

    Despite the glares, the group reached the farmhouse without incident. The house was two stories tall, with a small barn set behind it. A few arguments broke out, but one of the smaller khajiit and the dour looking breton, went around the house to the barn. The breton Ysane had spoken to and the khajiit with the large sword, stepped inside the house. The high elf glanced at the others, frowning. She wasn't quite sure what to do. She had never tracked anyone before, and in the cold tundra of Skyrim, she was out of her element. After a decade of confinement, she longed for the open air, and more than that, the sea.

    Before she could make up her mind on where to begin her search, the breton man shouted for them to come inside. At the same time, the smaller khajiit returned from her trip to the barn. She reported that the horses inside had been slain, possibly to stop whoever had lived inside the farmhouse from escaping. "That...makes no sense. The town is barely a ten minute walk from here. Escape by horse would make more sense if they were isolated out here." She looked around at the others, wondering at their own thoughts.
     
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  10. Andre Marek

    Andre Marek You can run, but you'll only die tired...

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    Lorkas smirked at Thoras' response to his question. Although he couldn't quite determine if he was being sarcastic or not. He hoped he was because he didn't know how to respond otherwise. As it was, Lorkas just gave Thoras a wry smile, "Well you've got a point there," he muttered, thinking about his countrymen, "You can call me Lorkas. An all around friendly and harmless practitioner of the arcane." He grinned at the dark elf before walking towards the farmhouse.

    "I suppose we had better have a look around." He said, making his way toward the open door of the farmhouse, where the Breton and one of the Khajiit had gone. Stepping through the entrance, Lorkas was just in time to hear the Khajiit ask if anyone had been upstairs yet. The farmhouse was actually fairly large for the area, if a little drab. The walls were bare boards, the same as the floor and ceiling, which gave the rooms a small and claustrophobic atmosphere. The broken furniture and obvious signs of a struggle only served to heighten the creepiness of the old farmhouse. Lorkas glanced around the kitchen area, spotting the stairs on the far side of the room.

    "I'll have a look I suppose," He said. As he crossed the room on his way to the stairs he muttered a detect life spell under his breath. With a slight wave of his hand, the spell confirmed what he already suspected. The outlines of each member of the group glowed faintly through the exterior walls as well as the Breton and Khajiit behind him as he cast his eyes around. Other than their group and what he assumed were rodents, no one else was present in the immediate vicinity. With a few blinks to clear his vision, Lorkas let the spell fade as he reached the top of the steps.

    The top floor of the house was similar to the one below. The same, drab boards made up the walls which divided up the space into a few small rooms. Lorkas stepped lightly despite knowing there wasn't anyone else there. Something drew his attention. A feeling really, made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. As he reached the end of the hallway, peaking inside rooms as he went, the feeling was strongest at the end of the hall.

    "Magic?" Lorkas muttered aloud as he pushed the door open to the last room. Inside, the room was unremarkable. Just a small bed with a table and what used to be a wash basin, which was now lying broken on the floor. Pieces of clay were scattered about the floor and crunched under foot as he entered the room. As he neared the bed Lorkas felt the magical aura grow stronger. Crouching down, he looked underneath the bed, his eye following the pieces of the washbasin that had likely been kicked under it during whatever had happened in the abduction. Near the wall, nearly covered by a piece of broken ceramic a small jewel of some kind was emanating a faint purple glow. Standing up, Lorkas pulled the bed away from the wall and flicked the ceramic off of the gem with the tip of his boot. Now that he could properly examine it, he realized that the gem was a rich, otherworldly amethyst cut in the shape of a large diamond. It was also glowing from within and it's color wasn't uniform but rather danced and swirled within it's edges.

    Whatever it was, Lorkas was certain it didn't belong to the former resident. Even without it's obviously magical properties, Lorkas guessed it would have cost a small fortune for the gemstone alone. Quietly, he muttered a spell designed to detect magical traps. Once he was certain it was safe, he gingerly picked up the gem between two fingers and carefully wrapped it in a small piece of leather from his pocket and left the room. At the bottom of the stairs he glanced around to the others before saying to the Khajiit,
    "Found this upstairs." He lifted the leather wrapped gem up for inspection.
     
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  11. TheArgonianDrell

    TheArgonianDrell Well-Known Member

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    Sothas was keeping a wary eye on the orc in legion gear as the khajiit stepped inside the house. He didn't quite look ready to jump to violence, but he was far from pleased with the khajiit woman. He struck the argonian as a very prideful man, someone who took his loyalty to the legion seriously. Admirable, but also dangerous. The legion was no longer in Skyrim, and those that had driven them out wouldn't appreciate being reminded of the war. "I understand your loyalty to the empire," he said, "but we still need to work together. Our goal in being here is the same, yes?" He wasn't sure if he was actually getting through to the orc. In his experience, they could be steadfast friends and allies, but at the same time, unbelievably stubborn. He resolved to keep close to him, just in case.

    While Sothas wasted his breath talking Aylira started looking around the outside of the farmhouse. Some of the others had already ducked inside, and the small khajiit and her breton friend had already headed towards the barn. Aylira looked for anything that might indicate how many kidnappers they were dealing with. It had rained last night, she knew that much. Freezing droplets that struck like blunted arrows. It had turned the ground around the house into a mire, before freezing. Any prints already around the house therefore had to be from the bandits. She quickly gave up on the area around the entrance. So many people had made their way in and out, it was impossible to pick out individual sets of boots.

    She made an expanding circle around the yard and house, keen eyes scanning the ground. After ten minutes, give or take a couple of moments, she found something exceptional. More than thirty meters from the house, almost to the path leading to town, she came across a pair of boot indents in the mud. Curious, she walked a couple meters to the left, curving further away from town, in towards the house. Her hunch was confirmed when she noticed some flattened grass, as if someone had been kneeling or sitting in the grass. She scowled, trying to make sense of what her eyes and experience was telling her. She looked back towards the house, "they were watching you" she murmured to herself, "but what made you so special?"

    She stood and dusted her knees off, and was just making her way back Sothas and the others when the squirrelly breton and khajiit pair came back from the barn. She just heard the end of their report, mentioning that the horses had been slain, with the masked elven woman pointing out how little sense that made. "I don't have any answers about the horses, but it looks like whoever took these people were watching them."
     
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  12. TheShadedOne

    TheShadedOne The Angry One

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    Kaliir was about to head back outside and see what else she could find. She very much doubted they'd be paid any amount of money if all they could tell the stormcloaks was that someone had come into the farm house and snatched the family inside. She turned for the door and saw the tall nord stepping inside. His eye passed over her and the breton as he took in the interior, before he stated he was going upstairs to take a look around. Kaliir stepped out of his path and made her way back to the room she'd intended to investigate. The room, as she'd gathered earlier, was simple and functional, with a bed, a nightstand and a washbasin. Whoever had been sleeping had woken up in a hurry, she noted, as blankets were strewn across the floor, and the wash basin had been knocked over.

    Still, she found no blood, no dropped weapons. She shook her head, confused. If someone had tried to take her anywhere against her will, they'd lose a few fingers, at least. A little annoyed at the lack of clues, she rejoined the breton in the main area. Just as she was about to suggest looking around outside, the mage returned, something clutched in his hand. He met her gaze and held up something small and purple in colour. "Found this upstairs." He reported. The stone, a diamond shaped amethyst definitely looked expensive. Too expensive for simple for simple farmers to have bought it. "I stand corrected, " she admitted, stepping closer to the mage. "But what is it?" There seemed to be something...moving at the heart of the stone. "Besides a stone, I mean."
     
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  13. Thesius

    Thesius The Imperial Paladin

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    The group split up in their search for clues, with one of the khajiit and her breton friend moving towards the barn, while the dunmer woman that seemed to always be in the large argonians' shadow slunk back the way they'd come, scanning the ground. The argonian, Sothas, he'd heard him call himself, remained near the orcish legionairre, keeping an eye on him after the khajiit womans' goading. Sothas made a valid point; if they started fighting among one another, they would never accomplish their task. Argus was debating whether to step in himself and speak with both of them, but decided against it. No one had made a fuss about him speaking for them in front of the captain, but if he started acting like their leader, he would probably end up dividing them faster.

    His musings were interrupted by the khajiit woman returning from the barn. Argus was no expert, but even to his untrained eye, she looked queasy. She quickly relayed what had happened to the horses inside the building. The elven woman who had quietly joined their group shortly before they set out pointed out that the slaughter of the animals made no sense, and Argus tended to agree. Bandits were known to kidnap the occasional merchant or thane, traveling on the road. But they would have stolen the horses and tried to sell them in a different hold. The dunmer woman returned, with more troubling news. Whoever had abducted the farmers had, apparently been observing them for at least a few hours prior to acting.

    He nodded, not sure what to say. He had come with the intention of helping people, presumably taking on a bandit group that was bolder than most. Finally, he said "I'm going to check in with the others, see if they've found anything." He turned words to actions, stepping into the farm house itself. He was glad to be out of the cold winds, but the wreck of the dining room stole any comfort from the interior. The breton was near the dining table, while the khajiit was standing near the mage, inspecting something he held in his hand. Argus motioned for the breton to join them and walked over to the other two. "The others found signs that whoever abducted these people watched them for some time. And killed the horses, instead of..."

    His words trailed off as his eyes fixed on the amethyst gem his fellow nord held. The voice in the back of his mind cackled glee. He shook his head slightly, clearing his mind for an instant, "stealing them." He finished the sentence belatedly. While he didn't recognize the stone, whatever entity watched him did. Almost without realizing it, his hand extended, palm up. "May I see that gem?"
     
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  14. Morbidbread

    Morbidbread Fight for the lost

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    Thoras laughed out loud at the mages response to his question. He was certainly a witty one, which made him a little more tolerable than the average nord. Perhaps nord mages tended to be more accepting because of the way their own kinsmen treated them. Despite that, Thoras wasn't sure he trusted Lorkas. He certainly didn't act like the necromancers that had captured Thoras years ago. If he was a practicioner of the fouler aspects of magic, he was hiding it well. Thoras knew that blind accusations would make him no friends in a land where he already wasn't wanted. He left Lorkas' side as they arrived at the farm house where the orcish soldier was facing off against the khajiit who he'd spoken to at the Four Shields.

    The orc seemed tense, while the khajiit seemed callous, almost urging the imperial orc to lash out at her. The outrageously dressed and tattooed dunmer made his way forwards, planning on intervening. Sothas beat him to it, putting his armoured bulk between the orc and khajiit, and speaking both to them. The khajiit entered the house, and the orc and argonian spoke for a few moments later. While the mage followed the woman inside, Thoras walked up behind the orc and placed a hand on each armoured shoulder. "You mustn't take her so seriously, my friend. She clearly lacks the social graces most of us take for granted." The last sentence he spoke loudly, perhaps loud enough for his voice to reach inside.

    The others, who had been searching around the grounds while he spoke to the orc, returned, reporting to the second nord in the group, Argus. Thoras was near enough that he picked up most of what was being said, and when they'd finished, he moved away from the orc. "Well, it's clear, isn't it?" He declared, looking from one face to the other, " the people who lived here must be the most interesting farmers in all the world." He held up a slender finger, "or, there's more to these people than meets the eye." Gesturing towards the door, he announced "I'm going to take a look around inside, see what all the fuss is about." He did just that, stepping inside after Argus. He saw Lorkas speaking with the khajiit, and heard her say "I stand corrected" before she asked about the item he was currently holding up for inspection. "You're capable of admitting to a mistake? Madame, I underestimated you" he said, a mocking smile on his lips.
     
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  15. TheShadedOne

    TheShadedOne The Angry One

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    Kaliir turned at the sound of the irritating dunmers' voice. Thoras, she remembered his name was. The corner of her mouth curled as she came up with a rebuttal. "Do you have some problem minding your own business, or do you take some pleasure butting into other peoples' conversations?" She snarked, glancing to the armoured nord who had declared himself their leader. He seemed even more fascinated with the gemstone the mage was holding than she was. So fascinated, in fact, that she began to wonder if he wasn't really some sort of mage. If he was, she couldn't see any sign of it. The axe at his side sure dissuaded the idea.
     
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  16. Rell

    Rell Champion of Malacath!

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    "I understand your loyalty to the empire," the argonian was saying, standing close enough that Balgur had to crane his neck to meet the scaled warriors gaze. He stubbornly fought the urge to take a step back, but he was no longer fuming at the khajiit woman. "but we still need to work together. Our goal in being here is the same, yes?" As reluctant as he was to back down so quickly, the argonian made a good point. He needed the coin from this job, but fighting with his companions, however unsavory, wouldn't get him anywhere. He was about to say as much when a pair of hands clamped down on his armored shoulders. Balgur clenched his jaw and found himself resisting the urge to swing on whoever had been foolish enough to slip up behind him.

    The owner of the hands spoke up "You mustn't take her so seriously, my friend. She clearly lacks the social graces most of us take for granted." Still tense, he nodded, and grunted "right" before taking a half a step forwards, which put him nose to breastplate with the argonian in front of him. Luckily, the return of the argonians' dark elf companion gave him an excuse to sidestep out of the awkward situation. She reported that the farmstead had been watched, before the bandits had made their move. And he was sure it was bandits that had attacked the farm. Stupid bandits, perhaps, seeing as the small khajiit had reported a few moments ago that the horses had been killed instead of taken. Still, something nagged at the back of his mind and he turned to the dark elf woman. "Can you show me where they were watching from?"
     
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  17. TheArgonianDrell

    TheArgonianDrell Well-Known Member

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    Sothas stepped away, as the orc turned towards Aylira and the khajiit woman outside. He wasn't sure what was behind the orcs request, but he shrugged ever so slightly when his companion glanced over at him. He wasn't sure how trustworthy the orc was, but what he did know was that Aylira was more than capable of dealing with any foolishness he might think to achieve. He didn't enter the farmhouse, instead moving over to where the masked elf, the khajiit, and the breton all stood. He nodded towards the barn, "as you said,"he motioned to the elf, "it makes little sense for the bandits to kill the horses, town is not far. But if they had someone watching to stop anyone on foot, they might have wanted to force anyone trying to escape to rely on their own two legs."

    Aylira lead the the orc to where she'd found the depressions in the frozen mud and grass. As they walked, she openly eyed his armour. It was clearly legion gear, and not some cheap knockoff. Well cared for too, by the looks of things. Strangely, the orc didn't seem the slightest bit worried about being hauled off to a prison, or killed on sight. "So tell me; are you really a soldier, or do you just like the look of legion armour?" Then, with a sly smile, she added, "or do you just like having a big target painted on your back?"
     
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  18. Rafen

    Rafen Well-Known Member

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    Dren was seriously starting to question his and Zarr's judgement in following the unusual group. True, they were enough of a mixed group that the people after them would realize they were the ones that were wanted. However, they were now investigating something that seemed a little too odd to be coincidental. From what he'd heard from the annoying dark elf woman, not only had the bandits targeted the farmers inside, they had been watching them for some time before striking. "Does this feel wrong to anyone else? Why watch them? Farmers don't lead particularly interesting lives, as far as I know."
     
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  19. Morbidbread

    Morbidbread Fight for the lost

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    "Do you have some problem minding your own business, or do you take some pleasure butting into other peoples' conversations?" Thoras' performed one of his theatrical bows, sweeping one arm out to the side while bending at the waist. His other arm kept the glaive upright. "My dear woman, butting into other peoples conversations is one of my many skills." He straightened, then said, "much like your ability to compensate for your lack of social skills with sarcasm and antagonizing others." While he waited for her no doubt imminent and scathing reply, he glanced around the inside of the farmhouse. It was well put together, and had clearly seen a few generations come and go. It was a pity that such misfortune had befallen the family that had lived here. He had just finished taking in the walls of the kitchen, the sturdy oaken table, the bits of shattered bowl or jug, when his gaze was drawn to the hearth.

    He had heard stories of families burning alive, after failing to properly extinguish their evening flame. Clearly, that wasn't the case hear, but the ash inside the firepit seemed fresh. In fact, there were still some bits of wood that had not been consumed by the flame. There was something else, as well. Something white and thin stood out among the charred wood and soot stained stone of the fire place. Interest piqued, he strolled over to it and knelt, realizing that it was a torn and slightly burned piece of parchment. He picked it up gently, and noticed that the flames had not done a thorough job of destroying the writings on the parchment.

    Standing up again, he went over to a nearby window, hoping for better light. He was bound to be disappointed. He made out several words, all that lacked context without the rest of the page. Or pages. He cast a regretful look at the fresh ash, and wondered who had tossed the parchment away. He wondered if this 'captain' the writing mentioned was granting safe passage into or out of Morthal. Either way, Thoras very much doubted it was coincidental that he had come across it. Or that it had been nearly destroyed so recently.
     
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  20. TheShadedOne

    TheShadedOne The Angry One

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    Kaliirs' tail twitched in mild surprise at the theatrical nonsense the elf seemed willing to put on. She willed herself not to snap back at the elf, and as usual when someone prodded at her a little too deeply, she failed. "If we're going to talk about compensating, maybe I should wonder what you're compensating for with that sword on a stick." She crossed the room in three strides, "I'll be outside, when you're done poking around in here. This place makes me uneasy" she said to the pair of nords and glanced at the breton who had first called everyone inside. She wasn't lying, exactly. The empty house, did make her feel like she was being watched, and worse, made her a little more irritable than usual. Granted, it didn't take much to annoy her, but she was usually pretty good at stifling her emotions when on a job. Normally, she never would have taken the elfs' bait. Once outside, she shook her head and took in a lungful of cold air.

    She heard the other breton, the one who had been sticking to her fellow khajiit, wondering if things seemed 'wrong' to anyone else. Then he brought up a point that farmers usually didn't bring much attention. "Maybe they were just targets of opportunity. Maybe whoever took them wanted to watch and make sure they didn't have friends who would come looking for them." Or maybe, she thought to herself, this group of do-gooder adventurers and mercenaries were in over their heads. Instinctively, she reached up and touched the amulet on the chain around her neck. It had never failed to comfort her before and even as she felt her fingers close around it, some of the tension drained out of her shoulders.
     
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