A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #631
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    Did you see in the OOC what was put onto Toland, or did he just not react to the holy symbol/message?


    Assuming one of the awake members of the party nudges him, Demos is on his feet within seconds, hands on his guns, trying to understand what he's looking at while he blinks the sleep from his eyes. "So is that a monster, or just a spell of some kind? I'm not the best at recognizing magic when I see it."

    He decides against drawing one of his weapons before the others can answer him, but he's still not fond of the massive spider-creature getting ever closer.
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  2. - Top - End - #632
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    Audrey still looks on at the mystifying structure with her bow at half draw. Between her tone and demeanor, it's hard to tell if she's stating an idea or asking a question. "So we shouldn't avoid it."

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    Demos looks to Audrey, grinning conspiratorially. "We could always shoot first and ask questions later." He unholsters his six-shooter, and it shines with the light of a torch, filling the clearing with a gentle glow. He continues with his playful banter, though his eyes never leave the cottage-spider. "Why have a magic weapon you're not even going to use? Which reminds me, is is arrogant to name your weapon? I think I want to name it."
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  4. - Top - End - #634
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    "I hope not." She raises her bow slightly. "Psalm doesn't think so, anyway, but I don't think this is really the time. What are we gonna do?"

  5. - Top - End - #635
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    Byron gestures harshly to Demos and Saskia, moving his palms towards the ground. "Whoah, whoah, we don't know what's in there or what it wants from us," he stage whispers. "And you should all know by this point I don't have any problems sucker punching evil when I see it. I just don't know what I'm seeing and I'd prefer not be kept in a cage to be fattened up and eaten." He thinks for a moment, "Actually, you know, I think I have an idea of what I'm going to do when I retire from adventuring." He snaps to, of course, and gets his head back in the moment.
    I roll 20s

  6. - Top - End - #636
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    The strange spider hut lumbers out of the water on its great spider legs. When it walks onto land it rears up to its full height, the hut now nearly twenty feet in the air as it walks. It takes half a dozen steps to get itself fully clear of the reeds and wetness of the pond before it plops down onto the ground. Its spindly legs tuck up underneath it and disappear altogether in one smooth motion, not unlike a woman curtsying. The whole hut shakes itself like a dog before it seems to finally settle in completely. Now that the strange house has settled down, you can't help but notice that all the trees, bushes, and even grass around the hut seem to be leaning away from it slowly, arching further and further until they look like they are frozen in the middle of a hurricane. The door of the hut bangs open and a gnome appears, a scraggly-looking fellow with bits of hay sticking out of his beard and no shoes on. He is struggling under the weight of a large cauldron which he dumps out on the ground before heading for the water's edge. The purplish gloop he dumped onto the ground hisses and gurgles as purple glowing mushroom spring up from it at an alarming speed. He dips the cauldron in the water and begins dragging it back towards the door of the hut which, despite being wide open, seems to be completely dark inside. The little man does not seem to notice you or your fire. Looking around, you realize that Bengie is nowhere to be found.
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  7. - Top - End - #637
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    Demos looks to the others, then shrugs. Someone has to be the one. "Hello, there. You seem to be in the middle of something overtly magical. Is this a bad time to talk?"
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  8. - Top - End - #638
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    "Here, let me help you with that," Audrey instinctively rushes to help the gnome with the heavy load, knowing her athletic body is stronger even than most other humans, let alone smaller folk, but recoils at the dumped fluid with a surprised shriek. She looks back to the group, and Demos specifically when he speaks up, and back to the gnome, not quite sure what to do.

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    Byron looks around for the satyr. "Bengie!! What's this all about??" he shouts and then mutters to himself, "Damn unreliable fey..."

    He looks back to the hut and sees the gnome dragging the cauldron. As Audrey moves up to help, Byron steps along side to supervise. "A little short to be a witch... are you just renting this place? We're actually looking for some help."
    I roll 20s

  10. - Top - End - #640
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    The gnome startles with a small hop and looks around the clearing, taking in the unanticipated company with lips shaped in the characteristic O of surprise. A small hedgehog raises its head sleepily from his homespun shirt pocket before settling back to rest, apparently unperturbed. Facing the newcomers head on and leaning against the cauldron, he presents an odd sight.

    Pukkilio Bukkaweet (for so he is named, though the folks in the clearing wouldn't know it) is dressed in muted browns and greens, with suspenders in an autumn-leaf-red, and looks like he's spent more than a few nights sleeping under hedges and haystacks. His eyes are bright and quick, and smile lines crease his sundarkened face in the areas that aren't covered by his straw colored beard. To civilized folks, he likely looks like the country personified, a dirty hayseed hardly worth a second glance. To those who grew up where pioneers scratch out farms on the edge of the wilderness, he might seem like much more - a little man straight out of the fireside stories of the fey, rarely seen but believed to roam the forests and fields, bringing luck to those who offer respect, and misfortune to those who do not.

    He breathes out a little puff of relief and wipes his hand across his brow in an exaggerated motion, before raising a finger and opening his mouth as if to speak. He halts mid-motion and a sheepish grin crosses his face. Pukkilio shrugs, taps his throat while buzzing his lips in a rude little "pbbb" sound, and shrugs again. When help is offered, he shakes his head politely, placing himself between the human and the cauldron with a few small bows. He holds both of his index fingers up, opens his palms in a 'wait here' motion, and struggles back into the hut with the cauldron.

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    Byron watches the entire exchange, his face betraying an equal mix of skepticism and curiosity. "Everyone else is seeing the same thing I'm seeing, right? A gnome, who may be a witch, or possibly a mime, came out of there."

    When the gnome goes back into the hut, Byron tries to angle himself to see inside. He then calls out, "Uh, we'd very much like to talk to you. Or write with you, if you'd prefer that! We have a problem and we heard you may have answers!'
    I roll 20s

  12. - Top - End - #642
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    OOC to Demos:
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    I saw it but I have been away. Interesting move! I'm just not sure when it would be appropriate for Toland to notice it or what his reaction would be when he did. For right now, consider it's discovery dramatically withheld :)


    Toland sits up from his rest among all the commotion and sees the gnome, the cauldron and the hut that was not there before. Instead of doing anything, he sits there and watches what is going on. He rubs his eyes for a moment and shakes his head wearily, not feeling particularly threatened by the situation. He glances around for Bengie but is not surprised he is nowhere to be seen. Probably stone drunk somewhere or some other depravity.

    "Stuff like this used to be strange" Toland mutters to himself.

    He lifts himself up and feels the edge of a familiar morning headache and walks over to the group. Assessing the situation, Toland reaches into his satchel and holds up a bottle of vodka he spent some of his last crowns on for the gnome to see.

    "Hey buddy, you got a minute? I have some vodka if you have some time. Smokes too. We got questions about some people done been turned into trees. Interested?" Toland offers, showing him the bottle. Nothing else seems to be getting his attention, and he doubted the gnome had a good drink in awhile. These woodland types really seemed to covet a good drink, if Benjie was any guide.
    "Clerics: Just because they heal you, it doesn't mean they like you."

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  13. - Top - End - #643
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    The gnome looks at the spirits in Toland's hand with interest, nods, and waves his arm invitingly as he disappears into the hut.

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    Vodka and smokes? That feels wrong.


    Demos shakes his head slowly. "I should just become a heartless mercenary. They don't deal with this kind of thing. Just get paid to shoot people, now that's the life for me." Despite his words he sounds amused, and he walks into the hut at the gnome's beckoning. Not without caution, of course, but he goes all the same.
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    "Mercenary work doesn't pay like treasure hunting, Demos..." Audrey replies airily, nudging him with her elbow. She follows the gnome without pomp and smiles at him, but takes care to take a look around and assess any potential threats or pieces of potential interest before committing herself to the threshold.

  16. - Top - End - #646
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    Toland

    "It's more straight forward, but what would you do for angst? I doubt that line of work would be good for either of us. No disapproving looks either, drinks make friends" Toland says as he brushes past Demos on the way into the mystical hut, a bottle of vodka in hand. He pauses at the door and looks back at the group with an edge of a smile on his face.

    "I just love how we just... embrace casual danger, now. An elven lass at my side, vodka in one hand and danger in front of me? I couldn't be happier" he says and grabs Jalaera, dragging her into the hut. For a moment, he actually does look a bit happy. As they disappear into the hut, the rest of the group can hear Toland ask something else.

    "You are an elven lass, right?"
    "Clerics: Just because they heal you, it doesn't mean they like you."

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  17. - Top - End - #647
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    Whether under your own power or dragged by a drunk former paladin, the group enters the hut. Immediately upon entering you are hit with a waft of wet, almost stifling humidity. It's as if you have been transported from the frosty foothills of the Arrows to some deep and wild jungle someplace far away. As your eyes adjust to the sputtering torchlight of the hut, you realize you aren't in a hut at all. Rather, you seem to be in some kind of clearing in the jungle itself! Great trees covered in strange vines form an impenetrable ring around a clearing of packed earth roughly 60 feet in diameter. Above you a canopy of tree branches seems to stretch up into unknowable darkness, the great paddle leaves obscuring any light from the sun (if there even is one). The jungle around you seems to hum with life. There is a constant din of insect buzzing coupled with the squat and flutter of exotic birds and the cackling of unseen monkeys. Well, almost unseen. One sits on a low branch as you walk in, staring at you with quite some interest. The coloring of its fur makes it look like a human skull as it stares unblinking from its perch (like this). Your gaze is pulled from the monkey by the baaing of half a dozen goats who stand around the clearing on short leashes. At the far end of the clearing is an open-air pavilion with a thatched roof and no real doors or windows to speak of. Inside are all manners of shelves stacked with curiosities, but you barely notice them as you see a young woman sit up from a hammock slung off the side of the pavilion and connected to a nearby tree. She wears a simple white wrap around her thin frame and has her hair done up in a long braided ponytail woven with gold bands that accent her dark skin. She hops lithely out of her hammock and saunters over to you, a warm smile on her face.

    Her accent is heavy, but I'm not going to try and dress up the text to reflect it. Use your imagination!

    "The cards have told me that there would be those who seek help from Baba Morai. Everything in this world has a price...are you willing to pay her fee?" She looks at the gnome, snaps her fingers, and shouts at him without actually saying anything. He hops nearly two feet in the air before he scampers to the pavilion and fetches a hollowed-out gourd full of berries that he offers to you all.


    The barefoot gnome is busy dragging his cauldron over to a waiting fire on the other side of the clearing.
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  18. - Top - End - #648
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    "We can talk costs later, Ma'am. Right now we need to reverse a curse on some villagers. I'm taken to understand you keep your ear to the ground, so you probably know more about it than we do."
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  19. - Top - End - #649
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    Demos accepts a berry from the gnome with muttered thanks, and he eats it. The offering and accepting of food was sacred to some people, so it could be a form of protection; or it could be poison. He decides to think optimistically. "To clarify," he adds after Audrey speaks, "Are you Baba Morai, or are you speaking for her? Wordplay can be tricky, and I'd like to avoid a misunderstanding."

    He smiles, almost as an afterthought. "And it's good to meet you. My name is Demos. And as my friend said, we're here due to an overdeveloped sense of altruism. Hopefully it will be contagious."
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  20. - Top - End - #650
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    Toland

    "Yes, good to meet you. I am Toland of Echo Bend. We did not come to the forest seeking assistance and expecting charity. As my friend said, some villagers were turned into trees by a frightened dryad trying to protect itself who now regrets its act. We seek the assistance of Baba Morai, or anyone else who can help. However before we accept that help, of course that price must be known and we must know in what form that assistance will come. Also, I brought vodka. Share a drink with us?" Toland says, bowing to the woman and trying to be his most diplomatic.

    He stands and leans towards Demos with a mischievous smile on his face, a glimmer of his old self, although perhaps not the best version of it.

    "If her price is companionship, I got this one" Toland advises Demos quietly, much to his friend's presumed shock.
    "Clerics: Just because they heal you, it doesn't mean they like you."

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  21. - Top - End - #651
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    Audrey can't restrain an irritated groan. She suspected at first that he was just hung over, but apparently he's actually still drunk. It crosses her mind to make a crass whiskey **** joke, but decides it's just best for everyone if only one person is making crude comments. The first opportunity she gets, that bottle is getting thrown into the swamp.

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    After carefully positioning the cauldron in place, the gnome bobs around, offering up berries and making meaningful eye contact with each of the adventurers as he does so. Of course, it's far from clear what is actually meant by these long glances, but the gnome seems to smile and nod ever so slightly before turning to the next guest.

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    When he reaches Demos, he looks significantly at the gun, looks at Demos, looks at the gun, looks at Demos, and waits expectantly. If his hint doesn't seem to be clear, he points at the man, curls his brow in a ridiculous imitation of hostility, and then wags his finger in an admonishing gesture.

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    Though all of those gathered are treated with courtesy, the bearded little fellow seems to offer special smiles of familiarity to the elf, wolf, and cleric. Greeting Byron, he pats his own belly and smiles up at the bearded cleric, clearly admiring the man's girth. He sidles up to South Paw cautiously to greet him wolf style, sniffing lightly at the animal's tail end and presenting his own little rump for inspection.

  23. - Top - End - #653
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    The young woman chuckles at Audrey and gives her a knowing smile, thoroughly pleased that at least someone in the group caught on. She turns to respond to Demos but let's Toland slide his greeting in. Her coy smile takes on an even more mischievous grin at the paladin's offer and she saunters towards him another two steps and caresses the side of his cheek with the back of her hand. "Before you offer yourself so freely to Baba Morai, you should ask the last man if it was worth the price. He's over there." She tosses her head ever so slightly towards the small herd of goats. "After I turned him into a goat, I gelded him with his own fancy sword and starved him until he'd eat the...fruits...of my labor." She turns around and walks back towards her pavilion, beckoning you all to follow. Once inside she takes a seat on an incredibly simple wooden stool. In a place so full of magic and weirdness, the stool seems to stand out in its simplicity and plainness. "Turning into a tree is no great curse. The people of Honeydale will live longer as trees, unless someone tries to cut them down." She turns to regard Jalaera as she continues, her stare losing all of its mirth as she takes the ranger in. "So few of us are granted such an opportunity to live as long as the mighty elves, and at such little cost."

    Turning her gaze to sweep over the rest of you, she folds her arms and crosses her legs as she leans back slightly on her perch. "I am but a fly compared to the power of the Green Mother, but even a fly may draw a lion's attention if it knows where to bite. I cannot undo this curse, but I can help you contact one who can. The Eldest are godlike in their power, but they are not gods themselves. They are more akin to ancient children, ruling in their sandbox of the First World and playing to their whims. If you wish to strike a blow against the Green Mother, best to seek the aid of another of the Eldest." She dusts her hands off and stands up, heading over to one of her shelves that are covered in reagent bottles and curios. "When dealing with fey, be they pixies or godlings, it is best to offer a gift before asking a favor. You will need something valuable to trade in order to free the bee people, preferably something rare, beautiful, and magical. To draw the attention of one so great, we will need to perform the ritual in a thin space between our world and theirs. I know of such a place, but I too have a price. Ah, here it is." She pulls a long and narrow box off her shelf and opens it, frowning as she does so. "Surprisingly, the ingredients needed to contact one of the Eldest are not particularly rare or expensive, but my services are. I have recently run out of a particularly useful ingredient and you will fetch it for me." She turns the box around and shows you the engraving on the front; a unicorn. She smiles wickedly as she tosses the box at Demos. "Bring me a unicorn horn and I will help you free the people of Honeydale. You can take my assistant with you. He has finished his Harrow lessons and needs to practice his spells." She reaches up to another shelf and pulls a glass jar off of it. On top of the jar is a small green scorpion that dances on the lid and tries to sting her, though she grips it in such a way that it can't reach. In one smooth motion she gives the jar a jerk and sends the scorpion flying into the air. As it reaches its apex and begins to fall, she opens her mouth and puts her head back, catching it as it falls and swallowing it whole. She tosses the jar to the gnome and gives him a mischievous smile. "You have earned your voice back, for now."

    You are all getting the overwhelming impression that Baba Morai probably isn't just a 17 year old girl.
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  24. - Top - End - #654
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    Byron stares mouth agape at the entire exchange. He watches nervously as the witch touches Toland but he keeps his hands where she can see them at all times. When she mentions contacting another of the Eldest to take care of this problem, "Do you mean that there isn't a way to simply 'undo' what's been done to Honeydale? There's no anti-curse or magic fix or anything like that? No special wand or spell or ritual we can do that doesn't involve brushing elbows with an ancient power. It's not your bargain I'm questioning, to be sure. You've named your price. I'm only wondering about the goods themselves... so to speak."

    He tries to maintain his composure and address the witch directly, fighting an overwhelming urge to shrug and look confusedly at his c
    I roll 20s

  25. - Top - End - #655
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    It takes a moment for Demos to truly realize that, with Toland's fall, he has become the 'head' of the group. He frowns at the thought; he isn't as worldly as Byron, nor as smart as Audrey, nor as personable as Toland. In this situation, however, presenting a united front could very well be a matter of life or death, and he stands unwavering in the face of the half-mad shaman. "I do not fear gods. I've stared down two dragons, and the difference between myself and them was vast enough that it makes no difference. If the Elder Fae can be conversed to and reasoned with, then I am willing to do just that."

    He catches the box deftly when it is tossed to him. He inspects it, uncertain about how he feels. "Aren't unicorns inherently good creatures? Healing and light and all that? Wouldn't killing one be a dark mark against the one who did it in the eyes of the creatures of the forest? This feels like a step backwards, not a step forwards. I would hate to arrive in the world between our and the fae's only to be branded a murderer and killed by something much more powerful than myself." He shrugs. "Forgive me if I'm cautious. I've seen very skilled men killed in an instant because they insulted the wrong magical being. I'd like to avoid joining them for as long as possible."
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    Baba Morai shrugs at both Byron and Demos. "As I said, the power to contend with the magic of the Eldest is beyond me, but there may be others who could overturn her spell. If they are stronger than I, their price will be higher too, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it before you leave my hut." She points at Byron's wine goblet. "Perhaps your god can do it for you?" She laughs mockingly at the priest as she turns to Demos. "I did not say you had to kill the unicorn, only that I require a horn. Cut it off and keep it alive, buy one, steal one, these things do not concern me. I require the reagent, not the moral dilemma."
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    Default Re: Dwaer Depths II [IC]

    Toland

    When Baba Morai, Toland does not tense or flinch from her touch. In fact, he leans into a bit even. While he listens to her story about what happened to her last suitor, he actually chuckles at the story. Truly, it was an awful thing to do but what she did was almost comical in its villainy. Who does that? A twisted evil swamp witch, apparently.

    As the problem is described though and she names her price, Toland simply raises his hand and shakes his head in response to that price.

    "A unicorn horn? I don't know much, but what Demos said is right about them being inherently good. I don't see using it to summon a spirit as inherently evil, we're certainly not going to go kill one. I used to be a Paladin of Iomedae in another life, I know that's wrong and I'd rather not help the people of Honeydale or fight my companions here before that happens. I just went down that road" Toland informs the half mad dryad boldly.

    "So why don't you point us to someone who has been killing unicorns for their horns and we'll go kill them instead? Present company exempted, of course" he says and flashes her a wide, half mad smile.

    He does pause a moment and look over at Demos, completely ignoring the rest of the conversation. He speaks now in a completely conversational tone now.

    "Only a fool does not fear the Gods. You may not fear them, but you'd be wise to respect them. Just in case you need them when we're staring down dragons."
    "Clerics: Just because they heal you, it doesn't mean they like you."

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  28. - Top - End - #658
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Dwaer Depths II [IC]

    Demos flashes Toland a grin, though he doesn't seem especially cheerful. "I respect them, Toland. That doesn't mean I have to fear them. I know that anything that can call itself a god can kill me without effort; but that's true for a lot of things that are walking around. It doesn't mean that I have to live my life afraid of them. Kill me or not, I'm going to live honestly and without concern over what these things think. If I'm angry at a god for a poor decision she made, I'll call her out on it." He shrugs. "You've seen me do just that. I'm not dead yet. Maybe she even thought I had a point."

    He drops that aside and looks back to the witch. "It may take a little time for us to find the horn. While I want to restore those villagers as soon as possible, we've also got another situation in the mix that is almost certainly going to become violent. Can your assistant handle himself in a fight?" He looks to the gnome. "Sorry, she just gave you your voice back, didn't she? Can you fight, or at least run and hide well?"
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  29. - Top - End - #659
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    Default Re: Dwaer Depths II [IC]

    Byron chuckles aloud and says, under his breath but loudly enough that others can hear, "Toland... your past life was last week." He shakes his head and looks at Baba Morai. "Alright, I suppose we'll have to get this horn for you then. Do you have any, uh, preferred sellers of magical contraband? What do you even use this stuff for?"

    Byron does his best to stay out of the raging theological debate, though a careful observer can see his jaw clenching as the witch makes her jab. "Gnome... do you have a name?"
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  30. - Top - End - #660
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Dwaer Depths II [IC]

    The gnome clears his throat experimentally. "Mee mee me maw mo moo. Mmmm. Aaaaah." He smiles as the sounds flow smoothly from his lips. "There it is. No harm done I see, Baba. If anything, the beeswax in the jar seems to have rubbed off on the old voicebox - I can just taste honey. You were right of course. Buttoning up did make me a better listener. A lesson I'll remember." He nods deferentially to the witch.

    He turns to the newcomers now, his eyes twinkling. "An adventure eh? Well then, we'd better get started. When the lady says jump, you'd best be midair before you start asking how high. How and where we find a horn - or don't find a horn, if that's your preference - is our task now, and best discussed on our way out, if you take my meaning. If Baba drew us a map and told you the magic words that will make a unicorn give you its horn, she'd be carrying more than her end of the bargain, don'tyathink?"

    "My name is Pukkilio Bukkaweet, but you tallfolk can call me Haybeard. This is Chugamug." He pats the head of the pocketed hedgehog. "I've been known to hide, but I've given a hiding or two to the unwary too. In a battle of wits I'm rarely matched - and if you think a fight isn't a battle of wits, you're just showing how little of it you possess. And if that's not enough, you might say you'd be lucky to have me around, and your enemies would be unfortunate to find me at your side." He grins as if he's said something exceedingly clever and places his finger to the side of his nose conspiratorially and continues in a stage whisper. "I'm not the only frog in the cauldron, you see. Not the only witch in the clearing."

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