A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Default [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    The Blackwood
    Campaign Setting

    Denvorn Province
    A Sandbox Adventure.

    In-Character Thread

    Setting Thread
    Current Game:
    OOC Thread | Dice Thread



    No province in the Blackwood has felt the absence of the Elder King as keenly as Denvorn. Dark powers stalk through the evergreen forest of this region, and its people cling to life against all hope. Many paths have been reclaimed by the trees, and too many villages find themselves without aid as they face bandit raids, dangerous beasts, and foul magic from out of the deepest wilds. Courage, guile, and wisdom shall be needed to face the challenges of this beleaguered province.

    Map of Denvorn Province
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    (NOTE: North is on the left side of each of these maps.)

    Characters


    The Story So Far
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    Traveling together, Mauve Blackbriar and Sir Ulrich Draconis arrived in Denvorn one autumn evening and made their way to the Sly Huntsman tavern. Unbeknownst to them, two others were making their way there as well. The first, Jan, was a hunter and woodsman. The second, Will OíFreeport, was a wandering storyteller.

    The four met in the tavern when Jan asked Mauve to dance, which she declined. Soon after, a young man approached them with a request. His name was Fritz, and he told them that his merchant father was willing to pay for retrieval of a very late package. They negotiated payment before setting off.

    Spoiler: Night in the Blackwood
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    They made for Red Tower to the southwest of Denvorn town just as the sun was beginning to set. Jan discovered a thicket along the way, and was pleased to find it small enough yet that it didnít need to be reported and destroyed. Using his woodcraft, Jan fashioned a goodly dead drop from the thicket, well-hidden and protected from interlopers. Mauve attempted one of the rituals from the arcanistís manuscript, but only time will tell if it had any effect.

    Jan lead them to Red Tower without incident, where Mauve harvested some of the red moss that had grown there since the eponymous maiden of Maiden Valley was imprisoned and killed there centuries ago. Will confronted Mauveócurious to learn more about the source of her magic. She was hesitant to provide detail.

    Full night had fallen by the time they reached the grotto mentioned by Fritz, their employer. They approached the rocky hollow but heard a horse just beyond the reach of Mauveís magic light. She extinguished the light and the group hid behind boulders and fallen logs, just in time for an old woman to emerge from grotto. She had noticed them, whether or not she knew where they had hidden themselves.

    Will stepped out to confront her with as much charm as any storyteller could hope to muster. Unforunately, he disappeared into the Blackwood shortly after. Mauve, Ulrich, and Jan attempted to treat with the old woman without success. There was a brief, violent battle, after which old Wily Beata lay dead on the ground. In the dead of night, the party searched the grotto and found a package containing a fine Pagan shield and a chest full of silver pieces.


    After a fitful night in the crooks of a few trees, Mauve, Ulrich, and Jan made their way back to Denvorn with their quarry in hand. Just before reaching the town they smelled the unmistakable offal of imps. A whole pack of them swarmed around a pair of trees, where a pair of men were perched in defiance of a most gruesome fate. Relentless battle was joined, and might have tipped in favor of the imps if not for clever thinking and an abundance of fall leaves. The leaves were kindled into flame and their smoke cowed the surviving imps. Emil, a mercenary, and Gavin, a young witch hunter, climbed down from their refuges and gave the party their most sincere thanks.

    A visit to Fritz was in order the moment the party returned to Denvorn. Fritz was as petulant as always, though a little stern negotiation convinced him to add to the reward for their troubles. Silver in hand, the party did what all parties do: revel at the tavern! Wine and ale were poured, toasts were made, and the party learned that the Firecat Inn & Tavern is not the best place for revelry.

    Spoiler: Murder and Justice: First 1/2 of Day
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    The next morning, Hans the barman told them all about news of a murder in the nearby village of Maiden. The party made their way to the Upper Market to hear rumors of the events, but stumbled upon a loud and public confrontation between the guard captain, a local guildowner, and the Keeper of Classics himself. They heard much but learned little, and eventually decided to ask after the murderer directly. Captain Arndt gave one of his badges of authority to Ulrich, that their investigation might not be impeded by the bureaucracy of the town watch.

    The party began their investigation by speaking to the accused, Brother Morel. They found him to be a sorry excuse for a prisoner. Whatís more, they learned he was a pauper before he was a Classicist, that he loved the murder girl, Agnise, in spite of his Orderís preference for celibacy, and in fact had seen her the night of the murder. He told them a porter had been discovered murdered at the Lumber Camp two days ago, and Gellen, a pauper Morel once knew in the Lower Market, had been murdered the night after. Morel pleaded that they seek out another pauper by the name of Stew Pot for more information about Morelís days before he joined the Classicists.

    Next, the party went to the Lumber Camp to investigate the oldest murder. Utilizing a brash investigative technique, Gavin and Emil met three surly porters and were able to investigate the hovel where the murder took place, though they earned no friendship for their efforts. Gavin managed to sneak a splinter of bloodstained wood from the frame of the victimís bed, and the two of them learned the porter, Fourth, was the younger brother of one of the trio they had met earlier, an especially dour porter named Second. They learned that Fourth was smaller than the average porter but still bigger than Morel, and that the porterís brother took him out to be burned in the forest not long after he was discovered dead.

    Ulrich and Jan investigated the campís workshop. Ulrich spoke to the Guildmistress, Verena, and learned she was confident of Morelís guilt because her son, Rutger, caught Morel stealing from the campís herbal cabinet the night before. Rutger trailed the Classicist to a spot in the woods, and there found a crude manuscript filled with vile drawings of the three victims, with many more possible targets on subsequent pages. Jan caroused with a young woman at the camp (and learned from her that Morel had been insulted by Fourth a week ago and had responded with insults in kind), and eventually competed with another lumberjack in a springboard competition.

    Over lunch, the party shared their information with each other and learned that the splinter Gavin had pried from Fourthís bed was stained with ink, not blood.


    Spoiler: Murder and Justice: Second 1/2 of Day
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    After the meal they traveled to Maiden village, where they could investigate the young womanís murder from the night before. They arrived at the brewery and nearly ran into the Keeper, who paced the floor near a bench where Agniseís corpse had been laid. Bruises on her pale neck mingled with ink stains that seemed identical to those found on Fourthís bed back at the lumber camp, specifically ink made from blackberries. Jan discovered that the boots prints around the site of the attack would belong to someone with large feet, which probably didnít describe Morelís own feet. The Keeper informed the party that the Verena and Rutger Elm had been critical of the Classicists for years.

    They found Stew Pot the pauper in the alley behind the Old Master Inn. He was an aspiring herbalist and wildly eccentric, but nevertheless he proved to be helpful. He informed the party that Gellen, the murdered pauper, was a loud devotee of the Unified faith and he wasnít well-liked among the other paupers due to working as a tax collector before he lost everything to a gambling habit. Notably, Stew Pot told the party that Gellen spoke in hushed tones with strange visitors to the alley; one time, the visitor wore a bright yellow cloak and tried to give Gellen a scroll.

    The party aimed to make use of this new information but were waylaid by belligerent patrons of the Old Master Inn. One made the mistake of calling Jan ďmad,Ē and a fight broke out. The party was in the midst of handily trouncing the Inn patrons when Iron Bear, one of the Innís more prestigious patrons, burst out of the Old Master with a pack of friends in tow. Ulrich recognized one of the patrons as an old Sentinel friend of his, and managed to quell most of the heightened emotions on display with a few well-chosen words of wisdom. He spoke with Iron Bear and learned that--while unconnected to their investigation--there was nevertheless a wealth of bad blood between the Firecat Inn and Tavern and the Old Master Inn.

    Next, the party journeyed back to the Upper Market to speak to a clothier about the yellow cloak Stew Pot noticed. They learned the cloak belonged to the Celebration of Unity so they traveled there to investigate. Inside, they spoke briefly with one of the monks, who explained the Celebrant was unavailable but (fortunately) the monk happened to be the very person who spoke to Gellen during those mysterious conversations in the alley. The monk explained that Gellen insisted he not wear such an expensive cloak in such a sordid alley, and that the scroll he provided for Gellen contained the words of the Song of Unity, their holy book.


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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    It was a brisk autumn evening in Maiden Valley. The year's last crop of Elder Wheat waved golden in the flat sunlight, the Sickle moon waned a little more each night, and the Blackwood loomed in a riot of orange and yellow.

    Perhaps unknown to each other, four figures found themselves shuffling with a few dozen others through the main gates of Denvorn town. It had been the seat of the province for as long as anyone could remember, and it looked it. It sat atop a natural, sloping promontory, overlooking the Blackwood from the center of Maiden Valley. Quarried stone from the Lesser Heights to the south had been used in many of the buildings, and no other town this small boasted such an impressive curtain wall.

    Once inside, the four figures were greeted by a bustling crowd. Most were winding their way up through the streets, jettied shops and cottages to either side. The pinnacle of a tall tower could be seen over the rooftops, perhaps a few hundred feet (and an unknown distance of winding street) from the town gates.

    The exception to the moving crowd were three tough-looking figures leaning against a building near an alley. The woman of the group seemed to be the ringleader, and all three scanned the passers by, looking for who knows what.
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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    Ah, Mutt ol' boy. What do you say about us looking for some grub and delightful brew, eh? I know we can't go back to The Grizzled Bear. You got us in to too much trouble with your begging for scraps. I don't want to spend another night in gaol because you need me to keep you from getting stuck like a stray...I know! Let's go look for that music feller that sings them pretty tales. The Mead always seems to flow a little more freely when he's around. Hahaha!

    Jan walks into Denvorn after a day logging in the hire of the local noble. He looks around as he passes through the gate for anyone he would know to invite for a stein of mead and a bite to eat.
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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    Mauve slips in through the front gate, following her knight escort past the guards before leading him to one of the slightly less expensive taverns she knew of, The Sly Huntsman, and paying for food. He did help her out with a small bandit problem, and it's the least she could do.

    After the meal she sits back, relaxing to the sound of a flutist and enjoying not traveling for a change, before sitting up and taking interest in Ulrich again. Mind if I ask what you were going to, before we crossed paths?
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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    While others of his order might endeavor to keep a low profile in such a place, but Ulrich sat upright in full view of everyone. Even in such a place there could be individuals of promise just waiting for a symbol to show them the way.

    After looking around and taking assessment of the individuals inside, Ulrich took a moment to get comfortable in his seat. He allowed Mauve's words to die on the air for a moment before responding.

    "Everywhere and nowhere, milady. The life of a Sentinel is frequently one of itinerancy. Many of us wander the roads of the Blackwood keeping a vigilant eye out for wrongdoers and folks in need. I try not to be prideful, but I also seek to fame and reputation, though to a noble cause"

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    Will nurses his watered ale as he listens to the flutist from his seat at the bar. The man's tone is decent, though his timing wavers a few times. Will chuckles to himself as the lively tune picks up its theme once more--this song was always one of old Gerald's favorites. Of course, the man had nearly driven him mad with practicing it, but at least he could enjoy it again since they'd gone their separate ways. He debates offering to play something himself, but on second thought, it doesn't seem that sort of night.
    As the song finishes, a man just entering the Huntsman catches Will's eye. The memory is a fairly distant one, but a moment's observation confirms his suspicions--he doesn't make much effort to hide his conversation with what appears to be thin air. Grinning ear to ear, Will rises from his stool and winds his way through the other customers. "Well if it ain't our favorite Jan! Fancy meetin' you here!"
    Last edited by Amaril; 2014-02-19 at 10:37 PM.

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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    Known to Jan for it's rather rude barmaid but excellent meat stew, the Sly Huntsman was an excellent choice for an evening meal at a fair price. After an unsuccessful attempt of finding Will O'Freeport in other taverns near the Denvorn gates, Jan heads into the Sly Huntsman. As soon as he bustles through the tavern's door, he hears his name called out above the crowd. With a big smile on his heavily bearded face and a booming laugh, Jan pushes through the crowd toward the talented minstrel for which he'd just been looking.

    Mutt, me lucky pup! Look 'oo it is. Just the music maker I was lookin' for. Hahahaha! Barkeep! Get me a big chunk of the meat ya got in the pot, some o' that good dark ale I know ya brew, and a big bone for me Mutt 'ere.

    Ah, don't worry lady, 'ee don't bite...but I might if ya ask me nicely. Hahaha!


    To Will: Well if ya knew meh Pap and Granpap, I really would be yer favorite Jan. Hahahaha! So, what's new up here in our little piece o' civilization? Need a refill?

    As he sits down next to Will, Jan gestures to the barmaid to bring Will a new mug of Ale before Will has a chance to answer.

    Gi'erroff there Mutt!

    To Will: Sorry 'bout that. De brute thinks 'ees a lapdog sometimes.
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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    The barmaid returned with fresh ales for Jan and Will just as the flutist's song ended. A few patrons cheered, but most just continued with their conversation. "A silver for the meal an' this troll swill," the barmaid said, "but the cask ale's better, ya cheapskate."

    Across the room, Mauve and Ulrich sat in a crowd of normal folk. The Sentinel saw men and women gathered around barrels and seated on benches, crafters and farmers and hunters all. A large, bearded man joyously greeted a riverman at the bar. A young couple were squirreled away in a corner. Some folks regarded him with distant respect. Some were intimidated. One or two regarded him curiously. Members of Ulrich's order were never common, but lately they had been rare indeed in the settlements of the Blackwood.
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    Mauve smiles lightly, half covering it with her hand, at the man looking for glory. Reputation and fame? Whyever would you wish those curses upon your head? She looks around at the men pointedly ignoring the knight, nodding to a bard who had stayed in her family's inn for a fortnight. You do, after all, have quite a bit of both compared to us lowly commoners on account of your status. Her smile turns crooked and into a smirk, still hidden partially behind a half-closed fist.
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    "Don't misunderstand my words, for in do believe I the Sentinels' cause, but my membership is more a stepping stone. Any who ask the questions will hear the stories of corruption within our ranks. And even the honest ones fall short of my ideals"

    Ulrich sat up and his eyes grew wide as he continued to speak.

    "Let me tell you about my romantic dream. I want to revive the knights of old. The paragons of good and virtue of the Elder Kingdom. They stood up for good and defended the innocent, but they also held themselves to a much higher than the common folk. They were honest and virtuous. Through deed I aim to found my own knightly order. I need reputation for good deed both to draw men to my banner, but also to have my order legally recognized so that its members may become legitimate knights"
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    Mauve's grin widens, then disappears as she realizes that Ulrich is serious. You want to found your own knightly order. To be an inspiration. She takes a deep breath, sitting back in her chair from the sudden intensity. And you expect this to work?
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    Will raises an eyebrow at Jan's mention of his dog, but says nothing of it--the woodsman's odd manner is nothing new. "Ah, you know how it is with me" he says with a chuckle. "Where the fire crackles, the drink flows, and the silver clinks, there I go, an' so I hope it'll always be. Ta, love" he winks at the barmaid as she drops off the food. "How're you gettin' on, then, Jan? Still sleepin' on twigs?"

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    "It worked once before. That's enough for me to try"

    Ulrich relaxed and leaned back in his chair, satisfied with his answer.

    "And you? What's possessed you to wander the Blackwood instead of leaving a quiet life?"

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    Ha! Always a way with words you are. But I got to say, sounds pretty comf'table. We genally got the drinks flowin' even if the fire's not burnin' all that hot out in the forest though. Speaking of which...

    Jan takes a big pull of his Ale. He then proceeds to pour some on the floor.

    There ya go Mutt. That'll curl ya whiskers.

    To Will:Things is goin' pretty good out in da woods. Lot's o' folks be startin' ta stock pile der winter firewood. So, da pays been good fer us choppers.

    Jan leans in a little closer and lowers his tone: There have been some rumors goin' round 'bout bandits attackin' Talbrand and t'aint nuthin' can be done ta stop the attacks. Tis gettin' dangerous to wander out in the Blackwood ifn ya doaknow whatcha doin'.

    Jan leans back, takes another long pull of his ale, and returns to his normal tone.

    O'course Mutt n me know our way aroun' them woods like Mutt knows the nose on 'is face. Hahaha!

    Jan ends with a booming laugh and signals for a refill.
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    Mauve's face darkens, and she looks to the side. Keep your focus on your Order of Squirrels, and I'll manage my own affairs.
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    A young woman made her way over to where Jan and Will were speaking. "Will O'Freeport!" she cried amorously. "I haven't seen you in ages. Play us a tune, will ya?"

    Perhaps it had been an illusion, but Ulrich felt the brush of a chill wind at Mauve's words.
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    "Is that so, now?" Will gave a regretful sigh at Jan's mention of the bandits. "Well, here's hopin' the cretins get what's comin' to 'em." He raised his flagon and drank deep.
    At the sound of the girl's voice, he sat up and spared her a glance. "Ah, an admirer? A pleasure, milady" he flashed her his toothiest grin. Looks like I'll be givin' a performance after all. "Well" he says to the girl, "when a maid so fair asks me to play my songs, who am I to refuse?" Standing up from his seat, he withdrew his fiddle from under the table. "I'll just be a moment, Jan."
    He wound his way through the crowd to the center of the common room. Taking a deep breath, in, out, rolling his shoulders, he raised the instrument and brought his bow to the strings. For a second, he held still, and then broke into a lively jig that his audiences always seemed to love. For a few bars, he let the fiddle carry the tune by itself, and then began the lyrics.

    "There is an inn, a merry old inn
    beneath an old grey hill,
    and there they brew a beer so brown
    that the Man in the Moon himself came down
    one night to drink his fill.

    The ostler has a tipsy cat
    that plays a five-stringed fiddle..."

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    Hahaha!

    Jan's booming laugh rings out as he recognizes the tune Will starts to play: a well-loved ditty in this part of the province.

    Spying a lovely lass tapping her toe to the beat, Jan flashes a handsome grin and asks her to dance.

    How 'bout a spin 'round the floor to show this lot 'ow to 'ave a good time?

    Turning back to his previous position by the bar, Jan says, Stay.
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    Thumbs up Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    "Milady I meant no offense. I apologize if my inquiries have crossed a line. I was but trying to make conversation"

    In the silence following his words another moment to survey his surroundings, waiting for Mauve to speak again or for something else to happen to break the tension.

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    After a moment of hesitation and a shrug of her well shaped shoulders, the girl answers Jan's proposal to dance.

    Oh, why the hell not?

    With a booming laugh, Jan leads the girl out to the dance floor.

    Armed with a carefree attitude and the exuberance of one well into his intoxicating fluids, Jan didn't seem to notice that his dancing had much to be desired.

    Unfortunately for Jan, his dance partner was not so carefree. After the second time Jan stepped on her toes, the girl retreated from the floor to escape Jan's stomping boots.

    At the end of the song, Jan finally noticed his partner was no longer around.

    Calling to Will for another song, Jan was determined to have a good time this evening.

    To Will: Play us another song, Will ol' boy! Mayhaps a quickstep this time, so I kin really show the ladies what I kin do! Hahahaha!

    Scanning the tavern for a new dance partner, Jan notices a woman of about his own age sending a dark stare at the Knight sharing her table.

    Sauntering over to woman's table, Jan rather impetuously says:
    It looks like a quick dance is just whatcha need ta cheer yerself up. My pal Will there kin put a smile on anyone's face with 'is fiddle palyin'. Eh, whataya say? Will ya give this dusty lum'erjack a dance?
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    Cutting off a harsh response, Mauve looks up at the (to her) towering man, and shakes her head quietly. Never learned to dance.
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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    While Jan and Mauve held their discussion and Will's music wafted around the tavern, Ulrich noticed a pair of eyes looking back at him as he scanned the room. They were brown, and belonged to a lad of no more than fifteen summers. He was dressed in an immaculate brocade tunic, but his less than regal posture betrayed a common birth. He was the son of a wealthy merchant if he was anyone.

    The boy held Ulrich's gaze for a moment before shuffling his way over to the knight. When he had passed through most of the crowd, it became clear that his left sleeve was half empty, tied at the elbow as it was. He smelled of perfume when he arrived. "Are you truly a Sentinel, good sir?"
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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    Jan answered Mauve.
    Hahahaha! Well, come to think o' it. I never learned either, but I never let that stop me before.

    But Jan don't push the issue. At that moment, a young man approached the knight. Intrigued and not in the least feeling intrusive, Jan hooked a foot on a nearby chair and proceeded to sit down at the table with the woman and the knight.

    Jan looks back at the bar and gives a short whistle. He then signals for three drinks to be served to the table.
    Tsa'Bakr...the "T" is silent

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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    "That I am, Young Master. Ulrich Draconis, of Westwood Hall, and a Sentinel, at your service. What can I do for you, sir?"

    As Ulrich speaks he stands and steps toward the boy, extending his hand in greeting.

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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    Mauve opens her mouth at the brashness of the large woodsman, then closes it as she realizes this was a good break from the conversation before. She turns around and faces the newcomer, even younger than her, and smiles disarmingly at him.
    LGBTA+itP

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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    "...With a ping and a pong the fiddle-strings broke!
    The cow jumped over the Moon,
    and the little dog laughed to see such fun,
    and the Saturday dish went off at a run
    with the silver Sunday spoon.

    The round Moon rolled behind the hill
    as the Sun raised up her head.
    She hardly believed her fiery eyes;
    for though it was day, to her surprise
    they all went back to bed!"


    With a last great swelling of the tune, Will finished the song and gave the audience a sweeping bow, flashing an extra wink over at the girl who'd approached him earlier. Looking around for Jan, he was surprised to find he'd moved tables, and that he now had company. Moving easily through the crowded patrons, he hitched up his most confident smile as he approached the strangers. "Hoy, Jan, I see you've made some new friends! Well met sirs, milady--Will o'Freeport, at your humble service."

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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    Ah, Will! There ya are. 'E's a Sentinel it seems, an' goes by Ulrich.

    Jan points to Ulrich. Then nodding toward Mauve he adds: But ah don't know which moniker the fair maid be usin'.

    Now, 'ush. De boy was a'talkin'.
    Last edited by Tsa'Bakr; 2014-02-27 at 10:01 PM.
    Tsa'Bakr...the "T" is silent

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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    Young man regards Mauve, Jan, and Will with a kind of disappointed curiosity. He unconsciously picks at the hem of his left sleeve.

    "Sir Ulrich, are these... friends of yours?"
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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    Ulrich first turns to gesture toward Mauve.

    "This is Mauve. She is my traveling companion currently. But as for these two - "

    Ulrich turns back and nods toward the two men.

    " - I've not had the pleasure to make their acquaintance. Gentlemen, I am Ulrich. How do you do?"

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    Default Re: [Blackwood] Denvorn Province IC

    Hahaha! Ya 'ear that Mutt, 'ee called me a "gentleman." Not sure I've been called that before, usually they just call me Jan son of Jan, 'oo also 'appens ta be the son of Jan. Hahaha!

    With what Jan presumed to be a formal seated bow, which would have been a disgraceful display of etiquette in any noble household in The Blackwood or along The Way, he proceeded.

    Lum'erjack and 'unter by trade...an' for 'ire, by the way. Hahaha!

    Looking down to his side, Jan continued. Hush. 'Ee dinna ask 'bout you.
    Tsa'Bakr...the "T" is silent

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