Bart, Bianca, and Rikard sit around a table at the Salted Eel. Bart’s cat sits at his side. Cyrus Morgan, the owner, has posted a boy nearby to fan the group with a large frond. As the tables fill with patrons, each of them greets you with kind words, a nod, or a wave.
Mistress Bianca sits in conversation with Bart and Rikard and pays little attention to the room.
Mistress Bianca: I understand Mister Bart, Public places bother me too.
Mistress Bianca: Perhaps you could explain more about these swamp spirits that you wish to aid.
Bart: By now I would think we would be beyond titles. After someone saves my life they may call me by my name; the spirits of the swamp men that are trapped. We spoke to one at the burial sight by the blasted monument.
Mistress Bianca: It is habit. Often in the past if I did not refer to someone in the formal way, well they didn’t like thinking I was feeling friendly.
Rikard Castleberry: There are more of them trapped?
A middle-aged man with salt-and-pepper hair enters the Salted Eel. He has a scar across his obviously broken nose. He wears plant fiber armor and a sword hilt protrudes from his back.
Bart: It is rare that someone uses my name. Yes Rikard.
Mistress Bianca: This is good…Bart, I think that is a good course of action. I wanted you both here to understand what forces tug at your souls. Now I know.
Mistress Bianca: What has tugged on my soul lately has been these books. They have made me rethink some things and made me curious.
Rikard Castleberry: How does a book make you curious?
Bart: I could use your wisdom. I do not know the history of these places. The spirits mentioned a place called …
Mistress Bianca: Stories, rumors, unfinished adventures. It is all here. In the swamp. Rikard.
Bart: Tarass Shar Orn
Mistress Bianca: Excellent, as I see it, since we came together we have uncovered a spear, a staff, a temple, magical towers, walking dead, wizards and swamp men. I think there is an underlying current that is materializing. And I think these spirits may tie in to this current.
Rikard Castleberry: A current, like the water in a river?
Bart: The spirits link all.
Mistress Bianca: Yes, something is pushing at us, this town, this swamp, like a river. Why after all this time here are all these things happening at once? I do not know. But I want to find out.
Bart: We are being guided if we listen.
Mistress Bianca: I think your ears are in tune with some songs that mine are not. I will trust you in that. I listen to other forces; they are what I am tuned to. Ok, so Bart, do you know where we should begin?
Bart: Tarass Shar Orn has been mentioned to me.
Mistress Bianca: Yes, sounds like an old name. Did they tell you anything about this place?
Bart: It is from a time long ago. I know little more.
A lean young man with long hair tied back with a blue ribbon enters the Eel. After glancing about for a moment, his eyes fix on you. He strides over to your table and speaks to Rikard.
Claw: So, do you plan to keep Dorian waiting? He expected you at his office an hour ago.
Rikard Castleberry: Hm, I must have confused the time we were meeting, what with all the bad things going on lately, my apologies.
Mistress Bianca looks up at claw, then to Rikard.
Claw: Do you know the way, or should I hold your hand?
Mistress Bianca: everything ok?
Claw: I’m just the messenger.
Rikard Castleberry: Oh everything should be fine. You don’t need to hold my hand, is there a pretty girl to do it though?
Rikard Castleberry: Well, I shant keep Dorian waiting.
Rikard Castleberry stands up.
Bart: It does seem like an odd offering. I never offered to hold your hand when leading you someplace.
Mistress Bianca: Should we come with?
Rikard Castleberry: I will reconnect with you two when I am finished. No, it’s ok, no problems this time.
Claw turns around and leaves.
Rikard Castleberry nods to Bianca and Bart then leaves and heads off to find Dorian.
The gates of the Jade Leaf keep lay open. No guards are present, and you clearly hear the sounds of martial training from the courtyard. As you cross the courtyard, a young dwarf excuses himself from practice and strides up, bowing in respect. He escorts you up a short flight of stairs to Dorian Orsova’s office. Dorian motions you to a seat opposite his own at a spacious desk. Although a large window overlooks the courtyard, his gaze never leaves the papers arranged before him. Dorian finishes writing a sentence, then wipes the ink from the end of his pen and sets it on a tray. He squeezes his eyes shut and rubs his temples. His eyes are bloodshot and ringed by dark smudges. Without looking, he grabs a mug from the desk and takes a deep swallow. A grimace twists his mouth. “Bah. Old, stale, and bitter. One day that will be my epitaph.”
Dorian Orsova: Sorry to burden you with my troubles. This should be a happy day.
Rikard Castleberry: All days should be a happy day. There hasn’t been much cause for it as of late, however.
Dorian Orsova twists around in his chair and grabs an odd looking spear leaning against the wall. He holds it out to you. “Take it. It’s yours.”
Rikard Castleberry looks at the spear oddly, Mine?
It is a long spear with a blade on each end. It is made of a dark metal that does not appear to be either iron or steel.
Rikard Castleberry: I haven’t seen anything quite like this, where did it come from?
Dorian Orsova: Yes. I had a devil of a time getting it from Yavanna. Keep it safe or you’ll answer to her.
Rikard Castleberry: That’s good advice anyone should follow. Best not to get her angry at you.
Dorian Orsova: Very old. Harlass Orn manufacture. She says it is call a Chal’far Fal D’orn.
Rikard Castleberry: I’m sorry, a what?
Rikard Castleberry takes it from Dorian, testing the balance in his hands.
Dorian Orsova smiles. “Don’t say that to her. You’ll get an earful. I know I did. Just call it a holy spear. Or a purification spear. Something like that.
Rikard Castleberry: Well this is quite the weapon, I’m not sure I deserve it. Is there something I can do for you?
Dorian Orsova: You already did it. You and your friends. Life is short. I wanted to express our gratitude before it is too late.
Rikard Castleberry glances at the 2 ends, frowning slightly. “Do you think there is someone here that could make a holder for one of the ends? This appears dangerous to carry around open bladed, so to speak.”
Dorian Orsova: A sturdy fiber sheathe should be feasible.
Rikard Castleberry: I would prefer not to erm, hurt someone accidentally….again
. Dorian Orsova leans back and rubs his eyes. “Yes. Well, that business is done. Treece left days ago.”
Rikard Castleberry: Good for us all. Say, you look like you haven’t been sleeping well. Is something wrong?
Dorian Orsova looks hard at Rikard for long seconds, then seems to make up his mind. “Yes. More and more problems. Maybe poachers, maybe not.”
Dorian Orsova: They don’t cause all the trouble. Sometimes it just seems that way.
Rikard Castleberry: *Is there anything that I can help with? I may be able to convince my friends to help as well. The safety of the town is good for us all.
*Rikard Castleberry lowers his voice some, “Is it Hoyt again?”
Caleg Sinjon stands up after drinking down a mug of what passes for ale and crosses over to where Bianca and Bart are conversing.
Dorian Orsova: I have no idea. But one of our teams is long overdue.
Mistress Bianca: Well, Bart. we have something else to talk about. I will try to gather information on this place Tarass Sha… Yes?
Rikard Castleberry: When were they due back?
Caleg Sinjon bows and says, “Good afternoon, may I,” he points to the chair across from Bianca and next to Bart.
Mistress Bianca sniffs.
Mistress Bianca: depends.
Caleg Sinjon sits down.
Mistress Bianca looks at Bart.
Mistress Bianca: People are getting brave lately.
Dorian Orsova: A week ago. Xanthus trains them better than that. I have hesitated to send a search party. We are stretched thin right now, with all these towers to consider.
Caleg Sinjon: I found myself alive a week ago in ways I’d never imagined I would again.
Bart: A friend of yours?
Rikard Castleberry frowns at the news.
Mistress Bianca shrugs.
Bart shrugs at Bianca.
Caleg Sinjon: Your boldness, your ability to act, your success. I am moved and inspired.
Mistress Bianca: Mister…you are not the first to say that to me today.
Rikard Castleberry: That doesn’t sound normal at all. If you want, I would be happy to look into the matter for you. If you could provide me with some details and a general direction, I will see what I can do, and hopefully bring our boys back.
Mistress Bianca: Are you going to offer me a proposition as well?
Caleg Sinjon: My sword arm is yours. I want to make it clear I am the man you need. I have over thirty odd years of experience in these swamps.
Dorian Orsova: Really? I thought you would want a vacation.
Bart looks wide eyed at Bianca.
Caleg Sinjon: I have references. Dorian Orsova would vouch for me. I served the Order of the Jade Leaf until a few years ago, when I retired.
Rikard Castleberry: The time I spent in bed was frustrating to me. I like to be doing things, not resting up. Even though it seems I spend a fair amount of time doing that anyways.
Bart: Do you know of Tarass Shar Orn?
Mistress Bianca: Mister…nameless sword arm…Could you give me and my friend just a moment…alone?
Caleg Sinjon turns to face Bart.
Caleg Sinjon Hearing Bianca he stands at the same time and says, “It is from the ancient language, friend. From the Harlass Orn. I don’t pretend to know much but I do know Orn means city or town. Yavanna would know.”
Caleg Sinjon: I am Caleg Sinjon, I’ll be over there having another ale. I hope you’ll consider me for the job.
Caleg Sinjon moves to sit down again, waving for another ale on the way.
Mistress Bianca looks to Bart and worthlessly raises an eyebrow because Bart can’t see it.
Mistress Bianca: This is not the first time this has happened to me today.
Dorian Orsova points at the map behind him. I’ve been marking these towers as we explore them. We lost one tower exploration team.”
Bart: Your popularity must be growing. I have not received any propositions.
Rikard Castleberry looks over the map where Dorian points.
Rikard Castleberry: Which tower were they headed to?
Mistress Bianca: I also wanted to talk to you and Mister Castleberry about this very thing.
Dorian Orsova: Tower 2, I believe.
Mistress Bianca: I was actually thinking about hiring a fourth person. I was going to post this on the transit guilds bulletin board.
Bart: Honestly I think Rikard would be better able to help you there, I spend too much time alone in the swamp.
Dorian Orsova: Don’t know where it is since they didn’t come back.
Mistress Bianca: It is us three. We were four, but now we are three. You are one of those three, as important as I am.
Rikard Castleberry: I’ll see if I can remember where that is, however I think that Bianca might know better than me. I spent a fair part of that time unconscious or near it.
Mistress Bianca: Should we even consider bringing in another?
Rikard Castleberry: Do you have any parts marked off that are not that tower? So we don’t go to the wrong one on accident.
Bart: I have no desire to be important but I know that there are skills that would help us when we are of need.
Mistress Bianca: Well, 2 people so far want the spot, maybe more.
Mistress Bianca: Tomorrow is still a ways off after all.
Dorian Orsova: Perhaps you should take Bianca to Yavanna. She likes Bianca. As to where they went, I’ll double check the exact sequence of jumps.
Rikard Castleberry: Yes, Bianca speaks highly of Yavanna to me as well. I would appreciate any information you have to narrow it down, to save time.
Bart: Who was the other?
Dorian Orsova: Talk to your comrades. See if they are interested.
Mistress Bianca: Some flowery scented guy that looks to have too much money.
Rikard Castleberry: I will. Is there anything else for me at this time? I need to stop below in the armory and have a sheathe made for this beauty before I head back to the Eel.
Bart: What did he have to offer?
Mistress Bianca: Uhhh Darren Sorgarnish I think his name was.
Dorian Orsova: No, just bring me some good news.
Mistress Bianca: I don’t know. he caught me at a real bad time and I told him to go away. Took awhile but he did.
Rikard Castleberry salutes Dorian and heads out of his office.
Mistress Bianca: We should gather a few more people who may be interested and compare them with what they offer.
Bart: Are you sure it wasn’t more…. personal?
Rikard Castleberry looks over the weapon as he walks down to towards the armory.
Mistress Bianca: It may have been. He reminded me of someone. But nevertheless…
Rikard is well-received by the smiths, who are amazed by his new weapon. One of the assistants quickly adapts a fiber bag of the proper size to fit the bill.
Rikard Castleberry: I also wanted to inquire to you fine smiths about replacing my armor. Something a tad sturdier than the last. It appears my last suit has a rather annoying hole right in the upper center of it!
Bart: You have listened to Rikard and me but what do you wish to do?
One of the burly men looks up, sweat streaming off his face. “Then don’t wear armor! That’ll fix ya problem!” The other men laugh.
Mistress Bianca: I want to investigate this Tarass Shar Orn. And I think we should have another.
Rikard Castleberry chuckles along with the men, knowing they must have heard what happened to him.
A second man sets down his hammer and walks over. “Well, what can we do ya for, lad?”
Mistress Bianca: I am not certain if Darren or Caleg is our man. I may even ask Yavanna. We should post the offer.
Bart: Would you not have to pay someone from a posting?
Rikard Castleberry: I was thinking a normal suit of leather, but reinforced with some bits of metal for a little bit better of protection.
Mistress Bianca: Nah, I only want people who wish to come because it is the right thing to do.
Rikard Castleberry: Also, if there was a way to add a little bit more right around the heart area, that would be great.
Rikard Castleberry chuckles at his own joke.
Well now, ain’t nothin’ about you normal? I hear a swamp dragon swallowed you then spit you back out. Everyone roars with laughter.
Bart: I do not think that you will have a long line
. Rikard Castleberry: Yeah, that’s because I forgot to bathe that week. I probably tasted terrible!
Mistress Bianca: All the better. I don’t know if you noticed but I don’t generally like people.
Caleg Sinjon speaks quietly to the server upon arrival of his warm ale.
Mistress Bianca: Well I suppose we should tell Mister Sinjon.
The man nods to one of the assistant, who walks over to Rikard and starts measuring him with a string.
Mistress Bianca waves Caleg over to them.
One of the servers brings a plate of fish over to Bart, and sets a saucer of something like milk before Little Mother.
Bart lets Bianca do the talking.
Mistress Bianca: Miss, could you inform that man we will see him now?
The smith says to Rikard, “We’ll have this done in two days. Extra thick over the heart.” He grins.
Caleg Sinjon rises and steps over and sits down in the same spot.
Mistress Bianca: never mind miss.
Rikard Castleberry: Thank ya much!
Mistress Bianca: Mister Sinjon, I am surprised that you approached us, because not 20 minutes ago another approached us in much the same way.
Rikard Castleberry chuckles with the smiths as he leaves, finding that talking with them brought a smile to his face again.
Caleg Sinjon: Really? Well, I’m not surprised. Your reputation is sure to go down through the children like Sarruk Urzy of old.
Mistress Bianca: I was planning on making a formal posting that we are looking for a fourth to join us.
Caleg Sinjon smiles, “You’d consider again if you’d done something like that here before.”
Caleg Sinjon: I remember when Dorian first gained command. He too posted for men to join.
Caleg Sinjon laughs quite heartily.
Mistress Bianca: You are not a stranger to this place, I am certain you have heard of me before recent events.
Caleg Sinjon: It took us over three days to sift the 85 men who showed up. My god it was beyond the pale.
Caleg Sinjon: I’ve known of ya since you were a child, Bianca.
Mistress Bianca: Then you know how people fear me. This…(gestures to the other patrons who glance at her and smile when she looks at them) will end. Add the threat of a powerful wizard, walking dead, and swamp dragons. I, well…
Caleg Sinjon: Fear? I don’t know anyone that ever feared you. More like shunned. You were so close to that…Meryl fellow.
Mistress Bianca: Hated, feared, shunned. The end is all the same.
Bart: It is?
Caleg Sinjon: Listen my days are numbered. I am growing old. You and your friends have inspired me to stand one more time. To stand for Kith’takharos. You’ve proven true to what I hold dear. Allow me to give you and your friends an experienced hand.
Mistress Bianca: We will consider it. I…we do not like to make decisions hastily.
Rikard Castleberry exits the Jade Leaf building, a smile on his face, slightly more armed than when he went in.
Mistress Bianca: You will meet us here tomorrow at this time.
Caleg Sinjon: Of course not. I’ll stop by tomorrow at about the same time. I do hope you’ll consider my offer.
Caleg Sinjon stands and bows to both Bart and Bianca, then walks out the door after he settles his tab.
Rikard Castleberry nods to the dwarf that led him in, and heads back to the Eel.
Mistress Bianca looks to Bart.
Mistress Bianca: This feels strange.
Bart: What skills do you feel we need?
Mistress Bianca: Besides healing?
Rikard Castleberry walks into the Eel, flashing his smile at the pretty girl at the door.
Mistress Bianca sighs.
Bart: I have skill in herbs. We just need to be healed quicker then most.
Mistress Bianca: Hello again Rikard.
Rikard Castleberry: I hope you had an uneventful supper while I was gone.
Mistress Bianca: We have another interested in joining us.
Rikard Castleberry: .... How did that happen again?
Mistress Bianca: You’d like him, he is a Veteran fighter.
Bart: Bianca is finding suitors left and right. She is taking out a posting to find the best match.
Rikard Castleberry: Oh. Well that sounds, well, like it would work.
Mistress Bianca throws a plant chip at Bart.
Rikard Castleberry: I have a small favor to ask of you, Bianca.
Bart: Better quality the quantity.
Bart points at Rikard.
Mistress Bianca: Will I regret it Rikard?
Rikard Castleberry: Sometime today or tomorrow preferably, can you arrange a meeting to talk with Miss Yavanna? Not between me and her, but you and her. Dorian gave me some interesting news, and she may know something to help us. And you mentioned that you two get along quite well.
Mistress Bianca finally notices Rikards new weapon.
Mistress Bianca: Looks like Dorian gave you something else. Yes, by the way. I was meaning to ask her about Tarass Shar Orn.
Rikard Castleberry: Oh yes! This is a Chal, Chal’Far, well, it’s what he calls a “Purifying Spear.” It’s quite a beauty.
Bart: We need to speak to her about the city also. I was thinking of asking the Swampmen Elder.
Rikard Castleberry: Apparently they have been sending out search parties to the towers we visited. One team has not come back. He calls it tower 2, but she may know better. I would appreciate it if you could ask her where it is. If you remember, I was erm, knocked on the head a few times. I don’t remember it all clearly.
Mistress Bianca: Yes, absolutely.
Mistress Bianca getting more and more interested in Rikard’s spear than what he is saying exactly.
Rikard Castleberry: This may be something simple to test out your ‘suitors’. A simple look in the swamp would judge their character well, I think.
Mistress Bianca sit back clearly no longer interested.
Mistress Bianca: Oh yes, well… We could take them both I suppose.
Rikard Castleberry: And keep whichever lives?
Mistress Bianca: We really should talk to that Darren fellow.
Bart: The fop?
Mistress Bianca: Yes. As much as I hate to admit it. I did not give him a chance.
Rikard Castleberry: Well, you do have a….brash personality to those you don’t know.
Mistress Bianca: It just that the serving girl spilled my drink and he walked up and well… it was bad timing. And he smelled of flowers! Seriously even I don’t smell of flowers.
Bart: Which flowers?
Rikard Castleberry: That was strange. I like flowers, but on girls.
Mistress Bianca: Flowery flowers. Heh you should see the guy too… all decked out in jewelry.
Rikard Castleberry: Maybe we can send for him?
Bart: Are you sure it wasn’t medicinal.
Mistress Bianca: If it wasn’t for the deep voice and the moustache I would have expected Rikard to flirt.
Rikard Castleberry: I do prefer my ladies to not have moustaches. That is a point I will not budge on
Mistress Bianca: Yeah we could send for him. But I would rather see how he lives.
Bart remebers some of Rikards dalliances.
Rikard Castleberry: Ah, see if he owns a home with dozens of cats, for instance?
Mistress Bianca: Well he did brag about how big it was. His house.
Rikard Castleberry: ....
Mistress Bianca: His house Rikard.
Rikard Castleberry: Sounds good to me. Have you finished eating yet?
Mistress Bianca: I think I am done.
Mistress Bianca motions for the serving maid she frightened earlier to come over.
The young lady walks over, giving Rikard a smile.
Rikard Castleberry grins back.
Mistress Bianca takes the coins that she set out for Darren which he did not take.
Mistress Bianca hands them to the serving girl.
Mistress Bianca: that should cover it and then some.
She hesitantly puts out a hand to take them, giving Bianca a questioning look.
Mistress Bianca: I am…(coughs)sorry.
Rikard Castleberry raises an eyebrow.
Mistress Bianca: I will not eat you.
The serving girl smiles again and takes the money. She then gives Rikard a pointed look, and walks away very provocatively.
Mistress Bianca replaces the lower half of her mask.
Rikard Castleberry grins to himself and stares at the girl as she walks away.
Mistress Bianca: But you might.
Mistress Bianca looks to Rikard.
Mistress Bianca: Ok so what! I have changed a little.
Rikard Castleberry: looks back to Bianca, “Huh, what?” Yeah. Um. Shall we?
Mistress Bianca: Yes. lets go meet this guy. just look for the biggest house west of here.
Bart: Lead on.
Rikard Castleberry heads out of the eel, looking for Darren’s house.
Well, if you take Darren literally, there’s no mistaking the place.
Along the river there are many houses ranging in different sizes, however, one stands out. It is two stories and is actually painted a light green with white trim. It is surrounded by Jasmine blooms.
Bart sniffs “I think we are close.”
Mistress Bianca sniffs.
Rikard Castleberry is slightly stuffed up, so he doesn’t smell much from here.
Mistress Bianca: Yup.
Rikard Castleberry: Oh pretty flowers, I know a few girls that like those.
Mistress Bianca: Well lets go in?
Rikard Castleberry: Perhaps we should knock or something.
Bart: They help after the birth of a child.
Rikard Castleberry: What?
Bart: The flowers help drive away the sprits of sorrow.
Rikard Castleberry: Oh. Is that why it makes them all happy to get them?
This is the only place in town where Jasmine grows.
Mistress Bianca: We should knock.
Bart: I do not know.
Darren: Quite right you are Mr. Bart.
Mistress Bianca: I don’t want to though.
Bart knocks on the door.
Darren a voice sounds off above them.
Darren is standing on a small deck just above and back a little from the front easement.
Bart: Hello, Is your Master home?
Mistress Bianca: That…is him.
Darren walks forward onto the easement and flips down onto the ground.
From the direction of the Jade Leaf keep, you hear the sounds of sparring.
Mistress Bianca looks at Bart the Rikard.
Darren: I have been expecting you.
Darren bows to each of them in kind.
Darren: Is it a pleasure to finally meet you Mr. Bart.
Darren steps forward and shakes his hand.
Mistress Bianca: Yes, you said you had a proposition for us.
Darren: Please, let me invite you in…I have refreshments and food if your hungry?
Darren gestures toward the door.
Rikard Castleberry: Oh, well she already ate, but I didn’t have time for much.
Darren leads them up the steps and opens the door.
Rikard Castleberry: Bart’s Companion is always hungry, however.
Mistress Bianca follows.
Bart: But a finicky eater.
Darren: If you please Mr. Bart, your pet shall have to wait outside.
Rikard Castleberry: Yes, they never keep roasted garlic Swamp Dragon in stock, do they?
As you walk into the house, you hear a gravelly voice bellow from the direction of the keep. “Come in, take a blow like Rikard Castleberry, you pussy.”
Rikard Castleberry: What…?
“Stand you to him. You think a poacher will be easy on you? Stand up to him like Casdegere!”
As you are led into the front room you notice that the place is very clean and tidy. Paintings, tapestries and novelties on shelves, some which may hold some real value but most you suspect are very old.
Bart: That is usually up to her. If your balcony door is open then she would probably join us anyway.
Darren: I am afraid not sir, I have many delicate things in here.
Darren gestures for them to come in further.
Mistress Bianca waits for Bart.
Bart pets his companion and starts to enter knowing that it will probable become a challenge for his friend to join us now.
Rikard Castleberry walks in and looks around.
Mistress Bianca follows and too looks around.
Rikard Castleberry: Not a bad place at all, but how does it handle ambushes?
Darren: Ambushes? I have not yet been ambushed here Mr. Castleberry.
Rikard Castleberry: Yeah. Sometimes things attack us. And they don’t usually have the politeness to watch their step.
Darren gestures to several tables with glasses of wine, water and plates of dried meats and cheeses.
Darren: So I have heard…I imagine you all sleep with one eye opened and a hand close to a weapon.
Rikard Castleberry: Nah. I like to sleep with one girl next to me, and the door closed.
Mistress Bianca: Sleep? Heh when we were out there that last time we didn’t sleep. Chased that wizard for 2 days straight at full pace.
Darren: Ah yes, the day you saved Kith’takharos from the Swamp men wrath.
Rikard Castleberry: Actually, it was the day before that. But yeah.
Darren: It may be sometime before Lemar Hoyt regroups.
Mistress Bianca: Or he has already done so. Mister Songardesh. If I may be myself, what is your proposal?
Darren: Thorgaresh, and yes I shall get to the point and not wish to keep you.
Darren picks up a glass of wine and smells it deeply before taking a sip.
Darren: It is obvious that you plan on another trek out into the swamp, something for the jade Leaf I gather?
Mistress Bianca: No, not exactly.
Rikard Castleberry: There are lots of things we have to do, not all of which come from the Jade Leaf.
Mistress Bianca: Yes, exactly.
Bart: I live in the swamp.
Darren clears his throat and turns toward BIanca, his eyes suddenly becoming serious.
Darren: This swamp is very old, there is much here that has yet to be discovered. It is all out there waiting for someone to come along and discover their secrets.
Mistress Bianca: Why do you want to discover these secret?
Darren: There is much to be learned from old things long forgotten. Many cultures different then are own. Entire histories buried somewhere out there.
Rikard Castleberry: If you’ll forgive my bluntness, it gets really, really dangerous out there. Are you capable of handling yourself in a fight? You seem more the merchant type.
Darren: Mr. Castleberry, your question has merit.
Darren smiles over at him.
Darren: I can tell you are good with that spear of yours.
Mistress Bianca: You should answer the question then.
Bart: I am glad he goes right to the point.
Darren: Very well, if you all would follow me into the study.
Rikard Castleberry *wonders to himself what martial prowess could be demonstrated in a study.
*Mistress Bianca sighs.
Darren speaks as he leads them.
Darren: I have heard a lot about your exploits out in the swamps. I am certain you are tired of telling the tales by now. Prowess with a blade may is a worthy skill to be sure but as Mr. Constantine discovered, it will only take one so far.
Rikard Castleberry: You’d be surprised how telling the story of getting beat up isn’t something I prefer to tell lots of times.
Darren arrives at the study and steps back and around a small object in the center of the room.
On a small table is several pieces of battered and burned metal.
Rikard Castleberry: Nice, um, thing?
Bart: I am familiar with this.
Mistress Bianca: What is it?
Darren: Why don’t you tell us a bit about it Bart.
Rikard Castleberry leans over to Bianca, “Um, that looks like a piece of burned crap. Is it?”
Bart: It was the trap that Rikard and I tripped in retrieving the staff.
Darren: Yes…it was a trap. Luckily no one was killed.
Bart: The spirits were with us.
Rikard Castleberry: I take hits well.
Darren: Well, I have a unique set of skills that would have allowed your group to avoid such dangers.
Rikard Castleberry: It looked normal enough at the time!
Darren: To the untrained eye yes.
Bart: You are correct that it is useful to avoid these traps but how does this answer Rikard’s question?
Mistress Bianca: So…just hat exactly did you do to irritate the swamp men into uncharacterisitically taking you prisoner?
Darren nods to Bianca.
Darren: What I have noticed if I may answer Bart’s and Rikard’s query, is that you lack ranged support do you not?
Darren: In addition to my unique skills of skullduggery, I am also quite handy with a crossbow.
Mistress Bianca: I would not agree with that assessment entirely.
Darren: Magic is limited by power, Miss Bianca.
Mistress Bianca: And I have great power.
Bart: It is not a contest. He has not seen your skills Bianca.
Mistress Bianca: Not boasting.