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Most of the Aligorian contingent had departed for the base at the Furthest Point. Led by Frederick York, the Subversor commander in Yh'mi, and Ilene Cantu, his counterpart in the Shadow Guard, they had departed in the wake of Gormaric Warmoon. That knight wasn't officially part of Aligoria, but the Aligorian contingent deferred to him as their overall commander nonetheless. Those Aligorians that remained in Inns'th found themselves with little to do aside from fine-tuning the Uru coating Inns'th's wall. While the majority of the work was now done in that regard, a good handful of little nooks and crannies remained to be dealt with. A handful of Subversors. A handful of Shadow Guards. Five of Warpgolems, half of the ten that had arrived with the contingent. And finally, one war elephant, whose brother had accompanied the force that went to reinforce the Furthest Point. Of this force that had been left to guard Inns'th, three women had been selected to command it... "Stella! Are you still drinking that swill that they serve over at Purgatory?" A red-haired woman wearing light leather armor rolled her eyes at a white-haired woman clad in the black and gold armor of the Subversors. The white-haired woman, Stella smiled. "Ah, Umbra, you really can't afford that trademark Hillbrooke snobbery around here. You take what you can get, and besides... for the lack of resources here, the quality really isn't that bad!" The red-haired woman, Umbra, shook her head at Stella, but still had a small smile creep into her expression. "Whatever you say, I suppose. I'll stick with the stock at our encampment until it runs out, and hopefully Neque will be gracious enough to have another shipment of supplies en-route by then, if not more reinforcements." "Depends how many come back from the Furthest Point, I suppose. Speaking of... is that bit of gossip floating around true? About how enamored you are with Sir Gormaric?" Umbra blushed and mumbled for a moment before having a thought and looking at Stella defiantly. "I'm not saying either way, but what about you and Sir Frederick, hmm? I've heard some juicy rumors about how he's even taken his helm off for you!" Stella looked scandalized and sputtered for a few moments. "Who told you that? If I get my hands on them, I swear I'll..." She made an exaggerated motion as if she was strangling something. Umbra's train of thought shifted as she noticed a flyer clutched in Stella's hand, and her eyes narrowed for a moment. "Stella... what's that in your hand?" Stella shrugged and held the flyer out toward Umbra. "A flyer I picked off of the bulletin board in Purgatory. Says something about the order wanting a team to venture into the Whitewoods, and find some kind of vine." Umbra examined the flyer thoroughly, then looked back up at Stella with a knowing smile. "Considering the contents of that last shipment Neque sent to us, and how bloody boring it's been around here... we can kill two birds with one stone. It looks you're not useless after all, you arrogant tin can! Go find Tenebra, and then meet me at the gates leading into Yh'mi. I'm going to make some preparations." Stella nodded and jogged off to find Tenebra, while Umbra raised her fingers to her lips and let out a whistle. Three Shadow Guards stepped out of the shadows and bowed their heads slightly deference to Umbra. Her gaze swept over them. "Look throughout Inns'th. Find me anybody who wants to venture into the Whitewoods and is interested in testing that rumor about how the Saevions can be calmed by a certain type of vine, then bring them to the gates. While you're at it, get those gloves that the paladins said they would provide. We could probably make due with what we have, but there's no reason to turn down free stuff that will make our lives easier." The Shadow Guards nodded, before dispersing and jogging off in different directions. Umbra smiled to herself for a moment, before whistling a soft tune and striding off toward the gates.
Inns'th. Many tales had been told of this place, of this bulwark that the Order of the White Hand held against the ever-advancing tide. A certain copper-haired swordswoman had come here after some time of wandering. Purpose had evaded her for a while. Perhaps she could find it here, in this place that many came to as punishment or as a last resort. Except for the soldiers sent after promises of aid, there were not many who came to Inns'th by choice. Acele stood before the bulletin board within the tavern named Purgatory. An apt name, all consider. Her gaze scanned over the flyers and noticed pinned to this board, and soon enough settled onto a flyer that showed signs of having been torn down once, then sloppily re-pinned. Perhaps somebody had tried to take the request before, and in some way or another, had failed to follow through in the end. Gently pulling down the flyer, she began to read it. "After the battle... Smithy returned to find items stolen from his shop. Raw leather, a mace, a short sword, and a steel shield of good quality, made as an order for someone and just completed. Reward... a well-made, extremely sharp dagger. One for each individual involved in the capture of the thief." Acele smiled to herself for a moment. Knowing that word had likely already reached the Order, and they would have eyes out for anyone trying to leave Inns'th with one or more of the stolen items. She could thus only assume that the thief was still holed up somewhere in Inns'th itself. And she had a place to start her search: At Smithy's shop, the scene of the crime itself. But to track the thief alone would make it easier for them to escape when it came time to corner and capture them. Another pair or two of eyes and arms would make the capture all that much smoother. She looked around the patrons seated at the dingy tables, and let her voice ring out throughout the tavern. "Who among you is willing to come with me and bring a thief to justice?!" A simple and direct question. If she didn't get any response here, she supposed she would have to go see if she could request the aid of any of the soldiers on loan from the various nations of Terrenus. But she suspected she wouldn't walk out of her without a positive response or two.
"... So, if it's not too much to ask, tell me about your husband. Where was he during the defense, and what he was doing?" "In the first part of the defense, he was atop the wall. When that renegade paladin made the breach, he was the one who called for the defenders to rally together and hold the line there. Finally... when Remissio was dueling Diligence, he used that old mace of his to strike Remissio from behind. The renegade took his life for that action... but Diligence was saved, if only for a few minutes." The elven woman nodded solemnly at the widow's tale, and her eyes lit up a little as a memory sprang to the forefront of her mind. "The man with the mace... yes, I remember him. And you say that his wedding ring wasn't found after the battle?" The widow nodded. "Then I expect it's either atop the Wall or behind where the breach used to be. Madam, your husband was... A valiant warrior who was taken from us far too soon. Consider his ring as good as found, it is the least I can do to honor him." The widow smiled slightly at the elven woman. "Thank you. I gladdens my heart that you can spare the time for a request such as this. It must be small and trifling to you, but it means so much more to me..." The eleven woman smiled with a tinge of sadness. "I've learned never to underestimate the power that the little things can hold." With that, she stood up and turned toward the door leading into the rest of Inns'th. If she got started now, she could probably have both search areas combed through by evening. She began to stride toward the door, then paused mid-step. Maybe another pair of eyes or two would make the search far faster and easier? She looked around the somewhat dingy tables scattered about Purgatory, Inns'th's one and only tavern. If there was anyone around Inns'th who would be wiling to take on such a task, surely they would be found here.
Arthur sat with his legs folded underneath him in a lotus position, resting atop a grey canvas ground cloth and underneath the shade of a similarly colored tarp. It didn't block out the sun for darkness always fell upon Yh'mi (a fact that the mage was only starting to get used to after a few days in Inns'th), but rather that some sort of makeshift shelter afforded the alchemist a modicum of privacy among the camps that made up a majority of the small settlement. As long as the black mage kept his tarp in a C-wedge as opposed to a lean-to, the various strangers around him wouldn't make the assumption that he was a merchant, or presume that he was willing to share his supplies with others. Arthur was lost in thought, his fiery eyes scanning over his outstretched (yet incomplete) bedroll and the plethora of items that were sprawled across its surface. It was all of his equipment for the coming foray into the untamed wilds of Yh'mi. His sword, Bogatyr, was laid lengthwise across the bedroll, its wicked black blade blending in with the shadows. Next to it was the mage's wizard staff, a long pole of ash with a poleaxe head affixed to one end and a sharp point on the other. Similarly, Arthur's bedroll temporarily housed tools like his hatchet and curved saw, his assortment of cordage of various lengths, food wrapped in ensorcelled paper of preservation, his armor, two sheathed knives, his sizable rucksack laid empty, his cookware (a small pot and frying pan), mess kit, extra clothes, the tent pegs that weren't already in use, fifty feet of rope, a lantern, wax candles, two waterskins, his harness and pouches, supply of magical and alchemical reagents, other miscellaneous items (like his alchemy equipment), and over a dozen bundles of small sticks tied together with cordage. The mage collected the sticks personally outside of Inns'th, knowing that there wouldn't be any way to light a campfire otherwise for much of the journey south, and knowing that there was deadly need for illumination in Yh'mi. Even for those like Arthur who could see perfectly in the darkness. "How long do you think we'll have to wait?" the mage asked his leshen friend with an amused grin, carving a new spoon with one of his knives as his eyes glanced down a distinct piece of parchment. Though it seemed like Arthur wanted to ward away guests, they were actually expecting some unknown employer. The mage and Cabbage had spent their first couple of days gathering information and getting a lay of the land. Today, however, they'd been pointed to the bulletin board and Arthur was drawn to a particular posted note. An anonymous poster was seeking companions to travel to the Whitewoods in search of a runaway sorcerer and a stolen lantern on behalf of the Order of the White Hand. And while the job itself was interesting, what had piqued Arthur's difference had nothing to do with the note itself. Underneath the writing, a magic circle was carefully drawn onto the parchment and the paper seemed to hum minutely with arcane energy. The alchemist took the notice and walked straight back to his and Cabbage's camp, as he knew well that their potential employer could track them via a simple sympathetic binding. "Hopefully soon, I'm running out of things to carve and dead wood to carve with," Arthur added with a low chuckle, focused on shaving away unnecessary parts of his new spoon. @Akako Akari @Spooky Mittens @Fierach