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Thread: Serpent's Skull Part 1: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv

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    Default Serpent's Skull Part 1: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv

    Magnimar

    It had been a long journey north, one hundred days at sea and stopping at most of the ports along the way. A tall, rugged man wearing a black tri-corn hat and an eye patch stood on the deck with his hands clasped behind his back as he watched his men file off his ship. The crew was happy to have a few days off and Captain Kovack was more than happy to give it to them. Their last stop before heading back down south to Eleder had been profitable so far and Kovack's men deserved a few days to enjoy their spoils. The Captain though never left the Jenivere, he stayed aboard plotting their course back (though it was one he'd done twenty times or more), checking the cargo and accepting passage from those wanting to journey south.

    On the last day the Jenevere was in port a knock came on the captain's quarters. "COME!" Kovack bellowed as he leaned over his sea charts. Alton opened the door and stood inside waiting for his Captain to look up from his work. Alton had been Kovack's first mate for ten years now and he knew better than to speak until Kovack was ready to be spoken to, he was a good fist mate and Kovack counted himself lucky to have such a loyal man. After a few moments Kovack waved Alton to his desk.

    "See Alton, we've made great time and even better gold on this journey. Hopefully we'll get a few passengers along the way to help out costs so we can earn more than the last trip." The captain chuckled a bit to Alton who grinned back at the captain.

    "That was what I came to talk to you about sir, there's a woman outside seeking passage but wanted to speak to you directly." Alton stood at attention while addressing his captain.

    "You're too uptight Alton, stand down." Alton's shoulder's slumped and he exhaled a big sigh.

    "Sorry, captain you know how I like to keep up the show for the men."

    "Well there aint no men around friend, it's just the two of us, after all these years you would think you'd be used to talking to me like a friend when we're in quarters."

    Alton smiled, but his sense of duty was strong and even after ten years he couldn't help but addressing the captain with the proper respect he deserved. "You're right captain, sometimes I do forget. Anyway this woman there's something about her..."

    Kovack waved his hand, "Show her in Alton, let her and I talk business."

    "But sir, you really should hear what..."

    "I said show her in Alton. We need the extra gold remember? Don't make me pull rank here when we were getting along so royally."

    Alton stiffened at the last comment, clicked his heels together and gave somewhat of a mocking salute. "Yes sir." He went back to the door and opened it and motioned for someone to come. A lithe, plain looking Varisian woman dressed in a scholars outfit entered the captain's quarters. "Captain Kovack may I present Lady Ieana." Kovack motioned for her to sit at his desk and when she was seated he sat himself.

    The woman sat and looked back at the first mate and smiled, then back to the captain. "Does he need to be here during our negotiations Captain Kovack?" She stared deeply into his one good eye and for a moment the silence in the air was long and almost deafening. The Captain looked longingly into her eyes, she was beautiful and no... Alton didn't need to be here, at least not for this one. She was going to be all his. "You are dismissed Alton, I can handle this from here."

    "But sir, I always stay for negotiations, and what if she tries something... underhanded or this is some kind of assassination attempt?"

    Ieana blushed and hung her head then looked up at Kovack, tears seemed to have welled in her eyes at the stinging comment the Alton had suggested. Kovack stood and banged his fist on the table making Ieana and Alton jump. "Alton, you have offended the lady! OUT! I will handle this!" Alton stared at Kovack for a second, wanting to say more but knew better of it. He gave the two a nod, "As you wish Captain but I will be just outside your door in case you need me." He gave a watchful glance to Ieana and exited the quarters.

    Kovack sat back down and reached out for the lady Ieana's hands. He took them both in his and stared for what seemed like hours into her sea green eyes, yes she was beautiful. "Now, lady Ieana what can I do for you?"
    Spasseltock Nimblefingers kender CN (with good tendencies) Rogue/13, Handler/ 8
    Vexo gnome N Master 8 Key of Destiny
    Shayle Wist'lya Bothan Noble 3/Scoundrel 1 Star Wars: Dawn of Defiance

    "Well my dear friend, in the chronicles of history good isn't the only thing you read about. Evil has it's own tale as well. History is history, whether good or bad, I don't discriminate." Vexo said in a lecturers' tone.

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    Tamarin

    He knew the boy was nervous, how could he not be. This was an important task to be given, but ever since he told Tamarin the circumstances of his "adoption" he had been... angry? No that wasn't quite it but he sure there was something different about the lad now. Of course, it could be that he was coming of age and all dwarves knew how human blood boiled more quickly than dwarven blood. Whatever it was he knew Tamarin had been the right choice.

    Azias had been high priest of Torag for more generations than he could remember and the young human had been his ward since the day his clan had found the awful scene of the two slaughtered humans and their child tied to a stake left to die. It was hard for Azias as well, he had become fond of Tamarin and the boy's faith was strong. Still, this was the right choice. What if he left on his own and got himself killed by the Hell Knights, and still there was the other thing. Did he need to be told now in the morn of such an important journey. Azias decided no, it could wait til his return.

    He found Tamarin in his quarters packing for his journey. In the old dwarf's hand was a tome. It wasn't just any tome, it was THE tome. "Tamarin, you have a great honor to have been chosen to make this delivery to our newest sect being started in Eleder. You do know this don't you?' Azias set the steel bound tome on Tamarin's bed. "I'm not sending you away lad. You know that don't you?" Tamarin's silence spoke volumes. "I understand you may be mad, but duty calls here son. Know that this is a high honor among our people and the duty has been given to you and not a dwarf. I think that says something about who you are and not what you are." Azias had always tried to help Tamarin fit in among the dwarves although there were always a few who never accepted the human no matter what.

    "I have booked passage for you aboard the ship called the Jenivere. It awaits you in Magnimar. It sails down the coast and it's last stop is Eleder. You have made me proud Tamarin, you have always made me proud." The elder dwarf placed his hand on the young man's shoulder, then he pulled him in and gave him a full embrace. "May Torag be with you always my son, always." With those last words Azias turned to leave Tamarin to his packing. Tamarin stared at the large tome that was the works of Torag, it's title seemed to stare back the young paladin... Hammer and Tongs: The Forging of Metal and Other Good Works.
    Last edited by Spasseltock Nimblefingers; 04-04-2012 at 11:05 AM.
    Spasseltock Nimblefingers kender CN (with good tendencies) Rogue/13, Handler/ 8
    Vexo gnome N Master 8 Key of Destiny
    Shayle Wist'lya Bothan Noble 3/Scoundrel 1 Star Wars: Dawn of Defiance

    "Well my dear friend, in the chronicles of history good isn't the only thing you read about. Evil has it's own tale as well. History is history, whether good or bad, I don't discriminate." Vexo said in a lecturers' tone.

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    Tam Stake stood upon the deck of The Jenivere. Sailors were staring at him, as he had just climbed aboard, his knees quivering a little, unused to the unsteadiness under his feet. He'd never stood upon a ship before. It was a foreboding feeling, like the world was vanishing beneath his feet. He hoped he would soon grow used to it, as his eyes had to the light. Even still, the bright sun caused him to squint and caused spots to cloud his vision. But I am human, not a dwarf, the surface world is my true home. In his travel from the dwarven clan to Magnimar, his eyes had steadily adjusted each day to the light, growing increasingly more accustomed. He was built for such a world. So why are my knees shaking? He knew the answer. For his entire life, he'd heard woeful dwarven tales of the sea - of how even the sturdiest ship was like treading on thin ice. In the depths of the waves beneath lurked terrible monsters - sharks with teeth like daggers, squids the size of dragons that drug entire ships to a watery grave, and worse.

    The sailors were a surly lot, many missing teeth or eyes or fingers. Their skin was weathered and tough, not like the pale smooth skin of Tam's face. Their wary leers caused Tam to stare back warily as he scanned the deck, and to place a protective hand over the strap of his backpack, heavy on his back from the cumbersome tome within. Tam knew little of the surface world, and these sailors looked like thieves to him, the untrustworthy sort, compared to the majority of the folk he'd seen in Magnimar. He had his sword, however, if need be. Anything to protect the tome. Before Azias had left Tam's chambers, Tam had drawn his sword, stuck it point down upon the cold stone floor and knelt before the old priest, and gave his solemn oath that the tome would reach Eleder, unless death take him first. He owed his life to the dwarves. Yet even still, his stomach had twisted inside. Despite the reassurance of Azias, who he trusted as a father, the bitterness - or perhaps just the passion of youth - still welled in the young man. He was being sent far from the Hell Knights.

    "I am Tam Stake," he announced to the sailors, some with hands drifting toward hilts of knives and belaying pins at the appearance of the obvious landlubber, heavily armed with sword, bow, and hammer, with chain armor overlaid by a dusty charcoal apron. Tam's voice was husky and awkward, for he was not well practiced in speaking the common tongue, though he conjured a forcefulness to his tone. He was the determined type, and would not show weakness in front of this lot. If only my knees would stop trembling.

    The salty breeze wrangled Tam's dark curly locks over his eyes, and he brushed them aside like a cobweb, dark eyes falling upon the crew, from one to the next, beckoning for someone to speak. Tam was squinting slightly from the daylight as he called out.

    "I seek the captain or first mate of this vessel, for passage to Eleder."
    Last edited by Bong Bellowsmoke; 04-04-2012 at 12:03 PM.
    Freelance Author - Dragons of Krynn

    Alchemical drafts bittering the air; and fur melted disjunctive and out of place
    all across the moose's face; eyes of glass, never to pass, by acid or flask,
    sourly invaded Ludwig's social space, in stare.

    -Poem for Ludwig von Mordenheim

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    As Tam announced his arrival the sailors gathered around the young man in a circle, like sharks who smelled blood in the water. "He aint no dwarf." "Look at em, he be shakin already!' "Kid gots land legs I tell ya!" "I give him one day afore he's a pukin his guts up!" "I say two!" "I don give today!" and at that bets started flying as to see how long it would take the newest passenger to perch himself on the rail and loose his latest meal.

    "Alright, alright! That's enough, let the lad breath for Gozreh's sake!" a man stepped through the ring, he was wearing a black bandana tied around his head, and days of scruff were on his cheeks. The sailors all gave a good laugh and even a few gave Tam a pat on the back as they left to attend to their duties. "They're a good lot. Just like to give the newbies a hard time. So yer the one the old dwarf paid for? Names Alton," Alton took Tam's hand and gave it a firm shake. "I'm the Jenivere's first mate. Captain Kovack is in his quarters... making some arrangements." Tam could tell that something bothered Alton about this. "Anyhow, yer bunk is below deck. Feel free to roam about as you please it's gonna be a long trip south. Takes about a hundred days or so to get to Eleder and we make stops at nine ports in between. Welcome a board lad, we should be shoving off soon, just waitin on one more to arrive. Of course if he don't make it soon the cap'n won't make qualms about leavin without em."

    Alton seemed genuine to Tam and that was something he was use to. The dwarves were straight up with you and this is what Alton seemed like, perhaps dwarves and humans were more alike than Tam thought.
    Last edited by Spasseltock Nimblefingers; 04-04-2012 at 12:29 PM.
    Spasseltock Nimblefingers kender CN (with good tendencies) Rogue/13, Handler/ 8
    Vexo gnome N Master 8 Key of Destiny
    Shayle Wist'lya Bothan Noble 3/Scoundrel 1 Star Wars: Dawn of Defiance

    "Well my dear friend, in the chronicles of history good isn't the only thing you read about. Evil has it's own tale as well. History is history, whether good or bad, I don't discriminate." Vexo said in a lecturers' tone.

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    Tam found his bunk, unloaded his bed roll. There was little light underneath the deck, but that did not bother Tam, he was accustomed to the darkness. On his mind was the odd feeling he'd had when Alton announced the captain was busy making arrangements. There was something in Alton's voice. After stowing away some of his things, Tam decided to climb back on deck. He needed to stay in the sunlight, and get used to the waves. This was not going to be easy. Best to start now. Absently, he nearly unloaded his backpack, then thought better of it. Better to keep the tome with him at all times.

    Tam stood on deck watching the sailors work. He paid no attention to their occasional ribbing - after Alton's words he felt a smidgeon more comfortable. He stood near the edge of the deck, looking down at the softly lapping waves. It gave him an uneasy feeling, but he had to grow used to it. 100 days. He would not be sick as the sailors said, he was determined. There he waited. Alton mentioned another passenger would be boarding, and Tam thought it wise to see just who that passenger was.
    Freelance Author - Dragons of Krynn

    Alchemical drafts bittering the air; and fur melted disjunctive and out of place
    all across the moose's face; eyes of glass, never to pass, by acid or flask,
    sourly invaded Ludwig's social space, in stare.

    -Poem for Ludwig von Mordenheim

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    Tam waited looking off the deck and the bustling city of Magnimar. It wasn't so different from the busy streets of the dwarves, merchants sold, people bought and somewhere over the clamor was the soothing sounds of a forge at work. The clanging of steel making steel also brought more ease to Tam. Not so much different at all.

    Suddenly the door to the cabin on deck burst open and a burly man with an eye patch emerged. "ALTON! ALTON!" yelled the imposing figure. Tam had no doubt this was Captain Kovack by the way the men on deck scrambled about. Alton appeared next to Kovack. "Here sir." was all he said. The captains hair seemed a bit ruffled and was that lipstick on his cheek? "So you are." The captain said while tucking in his shirt and placing his tri-corn hat on his head to cover the mop of disheveled hair.

    The captain shut the door, but not before Tam caught a glimpse of a thin olive skin woman standing over a desk. "We shove off now." The captain yelled. The crew was in a frenzy as they rigged sails and knotted ropes. "Sir we still have one more passenger to account for." Alton said to the captain. "Doesn't matter, we already got his coin. If he aint here, he aint here. His loss. Pull the plank. Alton make sure we're out of port with in fifteen minutes." Alton saluted his captain. "Aye, aye sir! YOU HEARD THE CAPTAIN LETS SAIL!" Alton yelled across the deck.

    A few men pulled up the plank that connected the Jenivere to the dock, while others were untying ropes that held it in place. Everyone was a whirling dervish around Tam. Suddenly Tam heard a voice over the crew. "WAIT! WAIT! I'M COMING! WAAAIIIT!" It was a small man who looked somewhat like a dwarf but was much smaller. He was wearing an outfit of purple adorned with gold and gems. He was waving to Tam! "PLEASE WAIT!" Tam seemed to be the only one who heard him.
    Spasseltock Nimblefingers kender CN (with good tendencies) Rogue/13, Handler/ 8
    Vexo gnome N Master 8 Key of Destiny
    Shayle Wist'lya Bothan Noble 3/Scoundrel 1 Star Wars: Dawn of Defiance

    "Well my dear friend, in the chronicles of history good isn't the only thing you read about. Evil has it's own tale as well. History is history, whether good or bad, I don't discriminate." Vexo said in a lecturers' tone.

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    "Alton!" Tam called, but there was too much noise. Tam rushed across deck, reaching out to tug on Alton's sleeve to gain his attention. When Alton turned his eyes on the landlubber, Tam suddenly wondered if he was making a mistake, as Alton appeared extremely busy with tasks.

    "Sir, the last passenger is coming, there," he pointed. The small figure was waving and hopping frantically from shore. "If he has paid for passage, it would not be right to leave him behind," he implored. Just as importantly, Tam thought, it would be nice to have a companion on this journey that wasn't one of the crew. Even if it was a boy, or was that...a halfling?
    Last edited by Bong Bellowsmoke; 04-04-2012 at 01:12 PM.
    Freelance Author - Dragons of Krynn

    Alchemical drafts bittering the air; and fur melted disjunctive and out of place
    all across the moose's face; eyes of glass, never to pass, by acid or flask,
    sourly invaded Ludwig's social space, in stare.

    -Poem for Ludwig von Mordenheim

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    Alton peered over the rail and sure enough, it was him. "Lower the plank!" Alton called. Seconds passed and the Jenivere had finally gotten it's last passenger. "You just made it Gelik." Alton said as he alsped the gnome on his shoulder. "Good to have you aboard." Gelik wiped his brow with his sleeve. His clothes were pompous and gaudy, he had blond hair and a goatee. With a flash the gnome said some words and it appeared as if his clothes were instantly clean.

    The gnome came to where Tam was. "Thanks friend. You really save me there." The gnome extended his hand to Tam. My name's Gelik Aberwhinge, pleasure to make your acquaintance." He looked past Tam though into the city as if he were looking for someone, satisfied he turned back to Tam. "Looks like we'll be shipmates for a while I guess... I call top hammock!" He said as he moved to the hull to make himself comfortable.

    Minutes later the Jenivere shoved off. Gelik rejoined Tam topside and continued to look into the city a smirk on his face as the ship seperated from the dock. Suddenly a clammor erupted from the merchant section on the docks. Men in armor and swords with a sigil that might represent some kind of authority in town came pushing through. "STOP! STOP THAT SHIP!" they yelled. Gelik's grin grew wider, he knew once the started there was no turning back. "STOP! BY THE AUTHORITY OF MAGNIMAR!" but the ship continued to lurch toward sea. Gelik nimbly hopped onto the rail next to Tam and with a sweep of his hand gave a bow to the city guard. "Farewell Magnimar! You have been good to me!" He cried and jumped back down into the ship. Gelik patted Tam on the thigh. "Nothing like city life!" he said and went back below.

    Tam's journey had just begun.
    Spasseltock Nimblefingers kender CN (with good tendencies) Rogue/13, Handler/ 8
    Vexo gnome N Master 8 Key of Destiny
    Shayle Wist'lya Bothan Noble 3/Scoundrel 1 Star Wars: Dawn of Defiance

    "Well my dear friend, in the chronicles of history good isn't the only thing you read about. Evil has it's own tale as well. History is history, whether good or bad, I don't discriminate." Vexo said in a lecturers' tone.

  9. #9
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    Tam followed Gelik below, but didn't rush to keep up with the hyper little fellow. The gnome, as the passenger had turned out to be, had jabbered and vanished before Tam could even introduce himself. Tam half expected the gnome to be rummaging through Tam's things, as it appeared Gelik had caused some sort of havoc in the city, so that was another reason Tam had followed him down.

    "I'm Tamarin, Tamarin Stake," he said to announce his presence, wondering what the gnome was doing, or would do next. "What did you do in the city? Are you going to have a whole fleet of ships chasing us?"
    Freelance Author - Dragons of Krynn

    Alchemical drafts bittering the air; and fur melted disjunctive and out of place
    all across the moose's face; eyes of glass, never to pass, by acid or flask,
    sourly invaded Ludwig's social space, in stare.

    -Poem for Ludwig von Mordenheim

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    Gelik hoisted himself into a hammock that, just so happened, to be right under Tam's. "Tamarin is it? Well lad I wouldn't say I really did anything in town. I sold a merchant a relic he was looking for he said it was fake I told him to prove it and next thing I know he's calling the city guard on me. No I don't think they'll be sending a fleet of ships after poor ol' Gelik." The shifted in the hammock getting more comfortable. "Now if you'll excuse me, saving your own hide is tiresome work." Before Tam could get a word in edge wise the gnome was asleep, or at least was pretending to be.
    Spasseltock Nimblefingers kender CN (with good tendencies) Rogue/13, Handler/ 8
    Vexo gnome N Master 8 Key of Destiny
    Shayle Wist'lya Bothan Noble 3/Scoundrel 1 Star Wars: Dawn of Defiance

    "Well my dear friend, in the chronicles of history good isn't the only thing you read about. Evil has it's own tale as well. History is history, whether good or bad, I don't discriminate." Vexo said in a lecturers' tone.

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