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jack cloudy
Well, here we go. This is the thread where the actual rp will take place. I suppose that I'll go first.
Note: Right now mentioning locations isn't important because odds are everyone will be in Balmora, but later on it might be usefull. Like when people split up and stuff.

Eno Arval, Balmora. (Gah, got his name wrong in the first post already. Not a good start)

"Next stop, Balmora! Please remember to collect your luggage before departing. Also watch your step and do not jump, levitate, ropewalk or do anything else that would be either obstruct your fellow travelers or be hazardous for your health." The caravan-master shouted. The trio of Siltstriders slowed down as their steps became shorter. Waving gently from side to side, they broke formation and each headed towards its own ramp where workers already stood prepared to receive them.

One passenger, a middle-aged Dunmer dressed in brown, looked up from the small flute he'd been carving.
"Ah, finally there. Balmora, it sure hasn't changed much since the last time I visited." He muttered and put away the scalpel he had been using.

The Siltstrider he was on came to a halt and a ramp was placed against its side, secured by hooks that were lodged between the creature's plates.
"You may now disembark. Thank you for accepting our service and we hope to see you again soon." The master said and gestured towards the ramp. The Dunmer nodded politely and got off.

"Now then. I should rent myself a Guar first before I join up with a caravan. What did the brochure say again?" He thought, taking out the leaflet he'd picked up in Ald-ruhn.
"Ah, here it is. A stall has been erected in front of the council house where one may register for transportation to Ghostfence, as well as rent Guars and buy supplies. Be advised that by order of the Temple, all must accept the task of ferrying two sacks of supplies intended for the construction-site. Those who have been assigned as escorts for their respective caravans are exempt from this duty." He read. In his mind, he made a quick calculation on how much more he could take with him without overloading the Guar he was going to rent.

OOC: Umm yeah. I suppose we can go and dismiss the whole 'two sacks' thing if you really want to. It was really just an attempt to make sure that at least some construction-critical supplies would be coming with the caravan.
Dranas Heleran, Balmora

"You best come to a decision quick, Helas. I've got more clients, y'know?" Dranas Heleran, smuggler extraordinaire, said impatiently. His "client" was a well-to-do dunmer man--they sat at a table in the Eight Plates tavern, in Balmora.

The response: "Don't press me, outlander. And this stuff can't possibly be worth 600."

Dranas smiled. Time to lay on the sales pitch. "This 'stuff', as you call it, is the finest skooma on Nirn. My people snuck it out of Torval in the dead of night, from the lab of the Mane's own alchemist. This 'stuff' is royalty's drug of choice. In the Imperial City I could sell it for 600, easy, and with double the profit margin."

Helas smirked. "Then why don't you?"

"Emerging markets, my friend. My associates and I are always looking for new buyers. And surely your clientele, the aristocracy of Vvardenfell, would appreciate my superior product. I have what your buyers want."

"Alright, Heleran, you make your point. But let me take one more hit."

Dranas passed over a pipe, which Helas accepted and brought to his lips.

"Ahh... that is good. 600 apiece then--and I'll take 10 vials, as a trial run. My clients will tell me if the Tong should do any more business with you and your associates."


Later Dranas sat in his rental room at South Wall Cornerclub, perusing a leaflet.

"Two sacks of construction supplies, eh? They might as well post a notice saying 'Please steal and market our essential stocks off-island.' This Ghostfence sounds good for business. I'll need to go rent a guar. Maybe two. That's four sacks, right? This is a better deal than aftermarket slavery in Thras!"
Naaro, Balmora

The Dunmer took the last sip of his drink. He casted another glance at the leaflet, wondering if he should go or not. He looked around the room again; everything seemed safe. I should relax a bit... the South Wall Cornerclub isn't a dangerous place. Naaro shifted in his seat and looked at the bartender from underneath his hood. He was glad it obscured most of his face, although nobody was looking for his skin in here. He could be glad for that.

With a satisfied grunt, he got up from his chair and walked over to the bar. The bartender gave him a curious look. "Yes, sir? What can I do for you?"
Naaro coughed, and answered: "I'd like to hire a room, if you've got any left."
The bartender smiled. "Yes, we do. It's 10 gold pieces for one night."
"I'll take it."
Naaro gave the man his gold and accepted the key, setting off to find his room.

OOC: When does the caravan leave? Today (in the RP) or later?
jack cloudy
Haz Andrethi, Balmora

Haz glimpsed at the commotion around him. To his right, a peddler was shouting his lungs out in an attempt to sell his 'top-quality traveling rations, third bag now with a 25% discount'. To his left, a couple of stableboys were tying the Guars back to their poles after the little stampede earlier. And all around him, various citizens, travellers, workers and clerks were walking around.

"I don't like crowds. Too dangerous." Haz silently observed. He read the leaflet again that had been posted to a wall. He didn't like crowds, but this was an excellent oportunity. He needed to go to the Ghostfence. Doing so as part of a caravan was a risk, but it was less of a risk than trying to brave the unfamiliar Ashlands on his own.

"Next, please!" Haz looked up and saw that he was the next in line for the que that had formed in front of the central stall.
"The moment of truth, let's see if they let me in." He thought and walked up.
"Ah, your name please, sir?" The clerk asked, as his eyebrows rose at the appearance of his latest customer. Said customer was covered from head to toe in a robe, while a scarf hid every part of his face but his eyes.

Haz tapped the ground with his pilgrim's staff once and reached within the folds of his robe. From there, he retrieved a copy of the Pilgrim's path, that had been marked as the property of 'Haz Andrethi' in large and crude writing. He pointed at the name with a finger, all in absolute silence.
"Oh, you are a pilgrim. On a silent pilgrimage? I see, my apologies for expecting you to talk. Now then, Haz Andrethi. Here is a form which you can fill in. It holds everything you might need. From Guars and supplies to various other items. Please note that the temple expects you to deliver at least two sacks for the construction-effort. These sacks are given to you upon joining the caravan free of charge, but you won't be making a profit from them either since they've already been paid for by the temple. Any loss to these supplies during the trip must be recompensated by you. Do you understand?"

Haz simply nodded and accepted the form. The clerk smiled.
"Thank you. Please return here when you've filled out the form and we'll handle the paperwork for you then as well as gather the items you require. Have a nice day."
Naaro found his room and unlocked the door, waiting a few seconds in routine, listening to the door. If there had been a psychopathic murderer with a gigantic axe inside, he would've heard some movement in the room, but apparently there was nobody inside, so he opened the door.

He was right; the room was devoid of life. Glad, Naaro inspected it. A small bed, a window with a view over Balmora- Nice view,- and a closet for any clothes and such. When he walked around the bed he nearly tripped over a chest, probably to keep valuable items in during the visit. He took out most of the Septims he kept in a purse attached to the belt at his waist and stored them in the chest, locked it and hid the key in one of the many folds of his scarf.

The bed was comfortable as Naaro sat down on it. He took out the leaflet again and scanned it for the location of the stall. In front of the council house... alright. He left the room and locked the door, hiding this key in his scarf as well. He plucked one silver hair off his head and stuck it in the lock, so he could check it for any lock picking when he came back.

The walk to the stall wasn't far. He looked at the Hlaalu guards that patrolled around the city with interest; their bonemold armor was unlike anything there was in Cyrodiil, or at least, unlike anything he had seen there. He remembered having been to Balmora once as a child, but the guards weren't in his memories. He found the stall with ease; he passed what appeared to be one of the beast races, completely covered in clothing- except for his, or her, eyes- on his way there. A pelgrim? Interesting.

He stepped in the end of the queue and waited for his turn, slowly shifting closer to the clerk that was handling all the applications.
"Name please, sir." Naaro realised it was his turn; he had been inspecting the other members of the queue for possible pick-pocketers. "Hm? Ah, yes. Naaro."
"Naaro who?"
The Dunmer sighed inaudibly. "Naaro Aleras."
"Alright. You'll need to fill in this form to confirm what you will need; Guars, supplies, et cetera. Please note that you will have to take at least two sacks with you for the construction of the Ghost Fence. You won't have to pay for them, but profit shall not be made from them either. The Temple has already payed for them."
Naaro nodded; he had read all of this on the leaflet earlier.
"If you lose them, you will have to pay for it, I'm afraid," the clerk said. Naaro nodded again. "Naturally.
The clerk smiled. "Well then, here's your form," Naaro accepted it and cast a short glance over it, "please come back when you've filled it in. We'll do the rest of the work. Have a nice day."
"Same to you."
Naaro left the stall and slowly made his way back to the South Wall Cornerclub, reading the form on the way.
Rothan, Balmora

Thick smoke curled from the censer, it had been made from the skull of the last high priest of Balmora temple. His successor looked over it at Rothan.

“It is a great feat we endeavour, none but the holy Tribunal could attempt such,” his red eyes narrowed, “However certain… elements, have seen fit to allow non-islanders and even infidel outlanders to be a part of this. Thus I must have eyes at the frontline, that is where you come in.”

Rothan nodded, “Of course your honour.”

“Good, you are to travel as a chaplain, and you will indeed supply that service but also you will report anything worthy of my interest back. I trust your judgement.” He pasued for effect, “To help you in this may I give you this sword.” He lifted an enchanted longsword from behind him.

“My thanks, but no. I would only return it as an offering.”

The high priest smiled, “Yes, of course. The necessaries are in your room. May Vivec guide you.”

Rothan bowed out from the smoky chapel and walked past the shrine to his room. On the bed were a couple of books, some papers and a substantial bag of gold. He took the papers and headed toward the Hlaalu council house.

“Next please,” said the Clerk. Rothan stepped up to the stall. “Your name?”

“Rothan Sarayn.”

“Ok, fill in-“

A rustle of paper cut him off, “By order of the Temple I am to be a chaplain to the builders. I travel for free and need not take supplies, indeed can there be a more vital supply than spiritual help?”

“Of course sir,” said the Clerk after reading the proffered documents.

“My thanks,” Rothan turned away back towards the Temple before any more bureaucracy caught him. He had come by a particularly interesting book. It was clearly verging on the heretical but some of its points were challenging to refute.
Apelles Velvus, Balmora

Apelles leaned against a wall as he watched the multitudes of caravaners and would-be adventurers make their way toward the Council House. They'd likely be leaving by the end of the day. But he was in no hurry. He had plenty of time. Besides, he needed a drink.

He lifted himself off the wall and made his way to the Eight Plates Tavern.

He walked in and had a seat at the bar.

"Nice to see you again, Apelles," the publican said.

"Same here, Dulnea."

"So, what'll it be? The usual?"

"No...make it a greef this time."

"Here you go. That'll be thirty drakes."

Apelles set the money on the counter and set about downing his drink.

Then, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed someone. Somebody familiar...someone he hadn't seen in over a year and a half.

He turned his head slightly to make sure his eyes hadn't deceived him. Sure enough, there he was - a mer he knew all too well. A mer he had seen twice a week, like clockwork, during much darker times.

It was Dranas Heleran. He was sitting at a table with another Dunmer. He knew perfectly well what they were discussing. Heleran didn't seem to notice him.

And Apelles intended to keep it that way. A visitor from his past was the LAST thing he needed right now. He quickly finished his drink, rose from his chair, and left the building without a word.
Dranas Heleran, Balmora

"Any loss to these supplies during the trip must be recompensated by you. Do you understand?"

"Yes, of course." Dranas Heleran answered.

Dranas strode away from the Council House, form in hand, cursing quietly to himself.

"Dammit, how am I supposed to properly pilfer supplies if they need to be compensated for? I'll have to deliver all the stuff there and do my pilfering during construction, so they won't know who to suspect."

He reached the Eight Plates and entered, still talking to himself.

"Oh well, small loss. I need to stay on site to market my goods anyway. And two pack guars could carry a lot of booze and skooma..."

Having no more clients to meet, Dranas went straight to the bar and ordered a bottle of greef of himself, another for the attractive dunmer lady seated at the other end. 29, healthy, with rakish good looks (so he thought) and (probably--he'd been dead drunk in a lot of ports) single, Dranas was always on the prowl.

So far so good, he thought. She was coming over.

"Thanks for the drink, stranger. What should I call you?"

"You can call me Dranas. And it was no trouble--I've come into a bit of money today." He smiled, a proud, wide grin."

"You did, huh? And what do you do to come into that money, Dranas?"

"I'm a merchant, my lady. And you haven't told me your name yet."

"I try to careful around outlanders. But I guess you don't bite. Call me Tarese."

"Tarese... lovely name. Here often?"

"Used to work here, actually. Until I got a clerical job at the Council Hall--all this Ghostfence business." She frowned a bit... not at Dranas but at the thought.

"Not crazy about it?"

"Brings too many outlanders into town... no offense." She rewarded Dranas with a small smile.

"None taken. But there's got to be more to it than that, right?"

"How much do you know about the local customs?"

Dranas' brow furrowed in thought. "I've been doing business on the main for about seven years, but only in Vvardenfell for a couple months. So I guess I know a little. Why?"

"The Ghostfence... it's going to be powered by the bones of our ancestors. I mean, we have our little altars and home and such, so I guess it's not really a desecration... but it is... disconcerting. I guess I'm not sure what to think."

The conversation went on, back and forth for a while. Getting to know each other. Finally Dranas decided to press his luck.

"Say, what do you think we head back to your place? We can toss back a couple more, I can maybe play some music..."

"Oh, Dranas, I don't know...."

"Come on, Tarese... I'll make it fun. You know I'll make it fun."

"Where are you from? I mean, where did you grow up? I can't quite place your accent."

"Stros M'kai, darling. A little island off Hammerfell. An island of lovers..."

* * *

Evening: clear, starry night and lute music from Tarese Nothan's house. A woman's laugh, a man's husky singing.

OOC: (Looks up) Lucky dog!

And I reckon the dynamic between Dranas and Apelles will bear some watching in the future.

Dralas, Balmora

Dralas stood in line in front of the council house, waiting to add his name to the caravan list. His time came and he approached the table.

The clerk didn't even look up. "Name,"

"Dralas Lasamsi," he answered.

The clerk scribbled hastily. "I assume you're looking for construction work..."

Dralas stopped the clerk's hand from writing. "I was told that I could get work as an escort?"

The clerk shook his head, "All those spots are filled. All that's left is manual labor. In or out?"

"In. What's the pay?"

"Ten gold and two meals a day plus a roof. You are also required to carry these two sacks of supplies. You do not have to pay for them, as they are the property of the Temple, but you are responsible for them if they disappear. Understand?"

He wanted to say that he wasn't the Temple's delivery boy, but he held his tongue and nodded before signing a few more papers that sealed the deal.
Rianne De Zoete, Balmora

"Ouch" Rianne grunted as she was merely trhown off the late night Silt Strider arriving from Ald´ruhn. The trip hadn't been pleasant, the Strider was overloadd and waved and waggered so much during the trip so she was nauseous all the time. She thought she would make it without throwing up, but she didn't. The remnants of her lunch was spread all over her robe and the other passengers did nothing but complain and yell at her.

She said nothing, she fully understood the incoinvenience she causd but there was very little she could actually do about it, except from hanging over the side of the strider almost half the journey.

So they threw her off the vehicle on arrival, and she stumbled down the stairs of the strider port and sat down for a while.

Half an hour later she had got rid of her soaked robe and wandered into the Town of Balmora. Her throat was dry and seeing the long line of people in front of the Council House, she decided she needed a drink first.

The sign outside The Eigh Plates Tavern caught her attention and she headed towards it. Inside she almost immediately spotten an Imperial man sitting at the bar chatting with the proprietor. The sigt of Imperial men still made her feel uneasy, after all these years, but she decided to don't give in for it...

She approached the bar, hoping she didn't smell too much...

"Could I please have a Cyrodiilic Brandy?" She asked in a low voice. She did not want to draw attention to her...not now.

While drinking her Brandy she observed the Imperial man suddenly rise from his chair and if he had seen someone he didn't want to meet...

Rianne shrugged, finished her Brandy and asked if she could use the bathroom....she did smell!
Apelles Velvus's Apartment, Balmora

Apelles sat at the foot of his bed, gathering his thoughts, trying desperately to calm himself. His severe, weathered face furrowed even more deeply as he pondered over the situation.

It seemed his old pusher was in town. He had hoped he would never see him again. In hindsight, perhaps, this was a vain hope - he obviously worked in this area often, otherwise they would never have met. Given the frequency with which he patronized the local taverns, it was a wonder he hadn't run into him sooner.

Still, the mere sight of that mer spooked him. He still harbored dark memories of those days. Looking back on it, it was absolutely horrifying how much power Heleran had held over him.

Well, if he's in town, the best course of action is to leave town immediately, thought Apelles.

He got up and quietly left his humble abode, locking the door behind him. He calmly walked through the streets of Balmora, wading through the sea of humanity that still filled much of the town even at this hour, until he reached the front of the queue at the council house.

The clerk was an elderly Dunmer dressed in robes. He didn't even look up at him.

"Name, please."

"Lawman - er, I mean...Kinsman Apelles Velvus of House Hlaalu," he replied. "I'm to escort one of the caravans to Ghostgate. I believe my employers have sent a letter preceding me."

"I'm sure they have. Do you have the paperwork to prove this?"

"Certainly." Apelles handed over a document bearing the Hlaalu seal.

The clerk looked it over. "Looks like it checks out. The supplies you've requisitioned should be waiting for you at the supply hut on the other side of the square." He paused, a quizzical expression spread across his face. "Funny thing...I've been seeing a lot of Hlaalu coming through here. Mostly in supervisory construction positions. Several mercs, too. If you don't mind me asking, is there any particular reason you people are so interested in this project?"

Apelles kept his face flat and expressionless as he recited his response. "The Hlaalu council feels that it is imperative for the good of Morrowind that the Ghostfence be constructed as quickly as possible, and is willing to take any and all necessary measures to ensure that this occurs. Besides, whatever keeps us in the good graces of the Temple should be and is a top priority of our House, even being as modern as we are. And the Temple feels that way, too."

"Yes...unity and piety at any cost," the clerk muttered, eyes narrowed, seeing through the lie.

Apelles ignored him and turned toward the supply stores. From the corner of his eye, he could see a young tattooed Dunmer with long, wild hair glaring at him with resentment and contempt. An Ashlander, judging from his dress and physical appearance. Probably xenophobia as usual. Had he been younger or more drunk, it probably would have been enough to provoke a confrontation.

Apelles stared back briefly, gave an annoyed grunt, and walked past him to pick up his sack of travel provisions.


OOC: One thing I forgot to mention at first in the character thread is that Apelles is only a brevet Kinsman - that is, he is an acting Kinsman, but is in truth a Lawman temporarily serving that position (a temporary rank). This was done so that he would not be outranked by members of other houses sent on the same expedition. House Hlaalu had considered doing this in light of his previous expeditions and accomplishments (and the authority with which he was trusted on most such expeditions), but had decided against it until now.

I have put this in the character thread, but decided I'd put this here to clarify as well.
jack cloudy
Eno Arval, Balmora

Upon arrival at the plaza in front of the council house, Eno took a moment to survey his surroundings.
"My, my. Quite an active place we have here." He mumbled to himself.
"Nevertheless, I'd better step in line."

He waited patiently till it was his turn.
"Your name?" The clerk asked, obviously tired from the seemingly endless line he'd been processing for the last few hours.
"Eno Arval, pleased to meet you." Eno replied politely and dug up a rolled up form from one of his pockets before either could say anything else.
"When I was in Ald-ruhn, I arranged for a copy of your forms to be made. I've already filled out the objects I'd like to procure. I hope all is in order." He added as he handed over the form.

The clerk glanced at the various tables quickly.
"Two bag of personal items, one with travelsupplies. Ah, I see that you wish to take six bags of construction materials with you?"
"Yes. My own merchandise doesn't take up much weight and in fact won't exist till I've constructed it while enroute. I figured I might as well fill up the surplus by doing my part for the temple." The instrument-maker explained while gesturing at his toolbelt.

The clerk put a stamp on the form before passing it on to a colleague.
"Everything seems to be in order. You should hear from us as soon as we've processed it, which will be tomorrow or the day after tomorrow at its latest. I assume you will be staying at the eight plates tavern?" He asked then.
"I haven't made any arrangements yet, but I was indeed planning to rent a room." Eno replied.
"Well in that case, I suggest you make your arrangements as soon as possible. There won't be any rooms left by the end of the day if this keeps up."

Eno thanked the clerk for his advice and went straight for the eight plates where he rented himself a room for the night.

Haz Andrethi, Balmora

Haz watched everyone he passed closely, searching for those who paid him more attention than a simple pilgrim deserved. So far, he hadn't noticed anything suspicious. Oh, there were plenty of shady looking people. But then again, this was Vvardenfell, home of the Dunmer.
"Slavers, drugsdealers, rapists and murderers, all of them. This surely is the land of demons." He hatefully thought.

The Argonian descended the stairs leading towards the river and wondered where he should stay for the night. He dismissed the taverns as too crowded, noisy and dangerous, especially with all the extra travelers looking for a room.
"Outside then, along the river just beyond the bend. Agh, I'd better get out of here fast, but not so fast anyone notices. Walking like one of those filthy Dunmer is murder for my hips. And soon I'll be doing it from dawn till dusk. Just thinking about it makes my skin crawl."
Dralas, Balmora

Dralas arranged for his two sacks of supplies to be picked up upon his departure, and with that he was finished with the caravan business for now.

He left the crowd of people that seemed to hang about the Council House and stood looking around at the unfamiliar city. He made eye contact with an Imperial who seemed to be shooting him daggers. He shot them right back, resisting the urge to spit.

Moments later, he was walking about the city, looking for the Eight Plates Tavern. The sheer number of people around him made him uneasy, but he just kept his eyes open and stayed suspicious of everyone. It kept him alert in this strange place.

He finally found the place after walking around a few minutes, and stepped inside. Once he sat down at the bar near a dunmer girl that seemed slightly older than him. He was greeted by the familiar smell of burning hackle-lo. The smoke hung in the air around him, meshing with the combined smells of drink, urine, sweat, and vomit. He couldn't help but notice that the smell of vomit got stronger once he sat down.

"What do you have to eat?" he asked when the bartender looked his way.

"Roasted rat is the cheapest right now. Three gold pieces."

Dralas nodded, "How much for some hackle-lo?"


He handed the clerk five gold. "I'll take both."

He sat at the bar, chewing hackle-lo while he waited for his meal. Dralas had hoped to stay in the city tonight, for the sole reason of being close to the caravan, but he was down to a single gold coin. Not nearly enough for a room.
Rianne, Eight Plate Tavern, Balmora

Just before she intended to go to the bathroom she noticed a young man entering the premises. She hesitated, the young man was for sure one of her own, he had some things in his long black hair that revealed he was an Ashlander...

This fact made her smile faintly, it made her feel better, much better. The possibility of finding one of her own kind pleased her. Hopefully he would join the caravan. Now she was unpleasantly aware of her smelly clothes and decided to remedy that as quick as possible.

But first there was something she wanted to do. She gently touched the man's shoulder to catch his attention, then she made a sign with her hands, a sign that only an Ashlander would understand...hopefully this man did, she thought.

Rianne didn't wait for the dunmer to respond to her sign, it wasn't necessary. Se went to the bathroom.

It took her about ten minutes to undress and dispose of the clothes she was wearing, wash herself with sload-soap and put on some worn but clean trousers and a shirt. She also put some Stone-flower-perfume on her neck and wrists. It would probably be too cold to walk around in just trousers and a shirt but she had no choice, not now anyway. Maybe she could buy a simple robe somewhere but that was priority two.

She noticed the young Ashlander chewing on something looking like roasted rat. She slowly approached him and sat down.

Without a word she rolled a hackle-lo and lit it, she preferred to smoke them instead of chewing.

As a thoroughly brought -up ashlander-girl she did not speak to the man beside her, she merely waited for him to say something, but she hoped he had noticed her sign...
Rothan, Balmora

Rothan yawned. The sun was sinking and the candlelight hurt his eyes. He put aside the book, he could read it on the journey – assuming no one was watching. It was his last day in town anyway. He got up and hid the book before leaving the temple. The Eight Plates was closest, not the nicest place in Balmora but he didn't want to walk far. He might meet some of the other caravan-goers too.

He pushed open the door and was greeted by the usual smell of rancid drink, sweat and cheap hackle-lo. It was quite crowded inside, clearly this was the first place people came to after signing on the caravan, or, more likely, the proprietor had bribed the clerk to send business his way.

Rothan took a seat at the bar and ordered a cup of shein. Next to him at the bar he was surprised to see two ashlanders, the woman was looking at the man and had just lit up some hackle-lo.
Dralas, Balmora

Dralas did indeed recognize the hand signal, but it caught him off guard. At first glance, the woman beside him seemed to be any other Balmora visitor, but there was little doubting her heritage if she knew such a sign. He watched her walk away, wondering what to do once she returned. The proper way to respond to her sign would be with a gift, but Dralas had nothing to give and not enough money to buy anything.

His food was placed in front of him, and seconds later, the ashlander woman came back and sat beside him. He sat silently, still chewing hackle-lo as he looked at her and then his meal. He slid the plate in front of her. The gift was taken care of, now he just needed to say something. Another dunmer sat down next to him, but he barely gave it another thought.

"We're both pretty far from home," he said to the woman, "What brings you here?"
Rianne, Balmora

She bit her lip when the young ashlander gave her his meal, she knew her sign could be interpreted as that, as the appropriate thing was to give her something..yes that was customary that was the ancient tradition. But in this case it was a bit unfortunate, since she had understood the man probably had no money left, and he was hungry. Now it would be very rude of her not to accept his gift, but she had to think of something to give him in return. Money was really not a problem for her, she had if not plenty, so enough ..

"Right, we are" Rianne smiled at him. " I'm here to join the caravan to Ghostfence, is that your business here as well" she continued, smiling friendly at him.

Then she put her hand on his forearm and whispered;

"I thank you for your consideration, it will be rewarded...I am Rianne....from the Ahemmusa tribe"

She didn't tell her last name, it wasn't important...for now. She was deeply considering what could be appropriate to give him in return..

In the meantime she took a bite of the roasted was ok, but she wasn't very hungry, so she made a gesture and said:

"We could share this! It's too much for me anyway..."

Then she put her pouch with hackle-lo leaves on the counter, between them, hoping he would understand that he could help himself to it if he wanted.

jack cloudy
Eno Arval, eight plates

After receiving the key to his room, Eno went upstairs to check it out. The room he found was a tad cramped and spartan, but kept clean so in his opinion, it had been worth the money.
"The bed won't fall apart when a mosquito lands on it. That's certainly an improvement over the last tavern I visited." He chuckled.

A rumble in his stomach alerted him to the time. He hadn't eaten since the last time the Siltstrider stopped for a rest, several hours ago. Now, he decided, was the time to remedy this.
"But should I leave my posessions here? Hmm....I'd better not. Leaving valuables in a room that is likely to have its lock picked and be burgled at least once a week is a risk I'm not willing to take."

He went back downstairs into the main room, which had filled even more during the time he had been upstairs. It had gotten to the point that the bartender had hired a temporary aid and waiters rushed about with one plate balanced on each hand, loaded with enough cups to break safety regulations. Miraculously, no cups had broken on the floor...yet.

Eno approached the bar, near a couple of Dunmer who appeared to be making attempts at sharing a romantic diner and a priest.
"Good afternoon. Please don't mind me." He said by way of greeting.
"Not the best place and time for romance, nor am I used to seeing a priest sitting at a bar and drinking. Oh well, that's youth I suppose." He shrugged. There was no place left at the bar to sit, so instead he stood behind them and waved his hand till the temporary aide came to him.
"I'd like some fried crab meat, as well as a cup of Mazte." Eno ordered and gazed around the room.
"I'll be sitting over there." He said, having noticed one last free table tucked away in a corner.

After paying, he made his way through the crowd to the free corner he'd spotted.
"Ah, finally. A place to rest the old weary legs. I think I'll get back to work while waiting for the cook to do his magic." He murmured to himself and took out both the flute and his scalpel again. He stripped off some bits of bone and then put his lips to the mouthpiece and blew. A shrill, earpiercing shriek hurled through the room, only to be quickly drowned out by the noise of the patrons.
"Still needs a lot of work. Right now, it would turn an ancestor into a puddle of ectoplasm within seconds." Eno judged with a dissapointed frown and got back to working with the scalpel.
Dralas, Balmora

"Well if you're an Ahemmusa you may not like me so much," he said lightheartedly, "Dralas, of the Erabenimsun."

The two tribes were almost polar opposites. The Ahemmusa were very relaxed, peaceful folk, while the Erabenimsun were warlike and often overly proud. He saw the difference between the two highlighted when Rianne offered to share her gift. The Ahemmusa viewed such a gesture as helping the clan as a whole, whereas it was an insult to return a gift to an Erabenimsun. Dralas was aware of the difference though, and chose not to be offended. Besides, he was hungry.

"To answer your question, though, I'm going to Ghostgate as well. The caravan I'm on leaves tomorrow. Yours?"
Rianne, Balmora

Her eyes narrowed a bit when she heard Dralas was an Erabenimsun.

"Crap, I have offended him, but he seems not to care about it so much, hmmm let's make another approach then"

"Ahh, yes, we should be on the same caravan then...but about liking you or not...well I prefer to judge a person for what he is instead of what tribe he belongs to, and mind you I'm really not a typical Ahemmusa, you'll see!"

She lit another hackle-lo and looked sternly at Dralas.

"So Dralas of Erabenimsun, I have a business-proposition for you; you see I lost the main part of my clothes due to a very nasty silt-strider journey here, so what you see on me is what I total!" She didn't think it would be necessary to explain more, Dralas must have felt the odour from her clothes when he entered.

"Now do you have an extra robe or shirt I can buy? I think it's gonna be too cold traveling to Ghostfence in this lousy shirt...besides I do not fancy visiting some fine clothier here in town, it makes me feel awkward..oh and I can pay you, no problem!"

"This just can't be insulting right? By Nirn you never know with these Erabenimsun"

Rianne leaned back and took a deep sip of her brandy, wondering if she'd fancy another one..
Apelles Velvus, Balmora

Apelles looked at the well-dressed Dunmer sitting rigidly at a table beside the massive stacks of crates and sacks full of supplies. His eyes were cast straight down at the supply manifest, which he was presently leafing through, a candle flickering beside him in the darkness. There were at least a half dozen Hlaalu guards standing around the supplies - insuring that they stayed exactly where they were.

Apelles cleared his throat. "Pardon me, sera, but...are you the quartermaster?"

The mer's eyes darted upward. "This isn't the legion, outlander. I'm a record-keeper, nothing more."

"Fair enough. I'll get right to the point then. My name is Apelles Velvus, and I'm going to be escorting the caravan tomorrow. I believe House Hlaalu has already ordered some provisions for my journey."

"Hmm...let's see...Velvus......." He flipped through the manifest. "Ah, yes. Here you are. Top row, third crate from the right. Happens to be right on top, with your name right on it. Lucky you. Uramulg - get him his supplies."

A large orc walked over to the crate in question, lifted the lid, hoisted the sack over his shoulder, and set it on the ground. Frankly, Apelles was surprised he didn't throw the thing at him.

As he walked away from the crates and opened the bag to view its contents, he became very glad that he didn't toss him the bag. For while most of it was pretty much what you'd expect - bread, meat, a canteen, some scrib jerky, and a sack of a hundred or so coins. But what caught his eye was something else entirely - an elegantly labeled glass bottle. He pulled it out of the sack and took a good look at the label.

It was a bottle of high-quality imported Cyrodilic Brandy - at least a thousand drakes a bottle.

Apelles wasn't a connoisseur by any means - he was more than happy to down the local swill. Greef, though not as good as the Imperial stuff, was at least a noble attempt at something resembling brandy. It got the job done and tasted alright, though he still preferred the Cyrodilic grape-derived variety.

But he knew the good stuff when he saw it - and this was the very best. Colovian, of course - all the best stuff is Colovian. Surilie and Sons, vintage 378. They had stopped making it about ten years ago and focused entirely on wine - a damned shame. It also made it more expensive.

For about a minute he just sat there, admiring the bottle. His trance was broken, however, when a stranger tapped him on the shoulder.

"What's that you got there?"

Apelles practically jumped out of his skin. He looked up to see a leather-faced Dunmer with red, penetrating eyes, clad in a full suit of chitin armor.

"That," Apelles replied, "is my bonus."

"Well," the Dunmer said dryly, "I hope you don't spend it all in one place."

"I don't intend to - this is the sort of thing you save for a very special occasion."

"That's certainly good news," he said. "I take it you're the Hlaalu who will be helping us escort the caravan?"

"That I am. The name's Apelles Velvus." He got up and extended his hand.

The muscular dark elf returned the gesture and gave a firm handshake. "Pleased to meet you, outlander. My name's Salms Ralas. I'm a Buoyant Armiger, and proud servant of Lord Vivec."

Apelles bowed his head slightly as a gesture of respect. "I appreciate your courtesy. I can assure you that I won't let you down."

"Hmm...I hope not. I assume you know the route?"

"Well, nobody's told me yet, but if I were to guess, I'd say we're going through the south gates of town, east to the Foyada Mamaea, and north up to Ghostgate. Though I wouldn't entirely discount taking the north road through Ald'ruhn. I know a few shortcuts through the rocks, cliffs, and foothills along that trail."

Salms paused for a moment. "Well, you certainly know your way around. But I don't think that's going to help you. No offense."

Just as Apelles was about to object to his statement, Salms raised his hand, signaling for him to let him finish. "Because the blunt and honest truth is that the situation is far worse than any of you could possibly imagine. The whole landscape is swarming with Dagoth Ur's abominations. They're attacking in groups. Setting ambushes. They've never done that before - not outside of Red Mountain. We lost twenty-four civilians and five Armigers out there during the last caravan. And there was one more - Thadas Rotheran - who came out of it...wrong. He was a gibbering wreck when we found him. He kept talking about - no...I won't repeat the things he said. They were all lies and delusions sent by the Sharmat...they had corrupted his mind.

"And it's been happening all the time. All the time. To everyone. No one is safe. I'm telling you this to warn you of what to expect. And also to warn you that the rest of the Buoyant Armigers won't be as kind to you as I have been. They would be resentful of any replacement of their beloved friends and comrades, but the fact that you're an outlander makes it worse for them. The truth is, I don't think much more of you than they do. The only real difference between me and them is that I am more polite."

Apelles just stood there for a few seconds, taking it all in. Then, finally, he spoke, his voice carrying a grave sense of seriousness. "I've...encountered ash monsters before. Not many of them - just a couple. Stalkers and ash slaves, mostly. And I've only had to fight them twice in my entire life - and when I did, it was from a safe distance. But I've seen and heard enough to know how...terrifying they are.

"We had four rules when it came to these things. One: if it doesn't see you, don't provoke it. Two: if you must fight it, never fight it alone. Three: never take on more than one at a time. And four: for gods' sake, don't let it touch you.

"If what you say is true, and they really have come out in numbers in the last few weeks, then I fear for the lives of you, me, and everybody in that caravan. I don't blame you for not believing I could be up to the task. This is more of a job for some kind of legendary godlike hero than it is for a mere man.

"You know, I might just open up that bottle of Colovian Brandy tonight. It could be the last chance I have to drink it. Care to join me?"

The Dunmer crossed his arms. "I'm not much of a drinker."

"A few sips couldn't kill you. Besides, I enjoy your company. It's no fun drinking alone. And I'd like to discuss this ambush business a bit more..."
Dralas, Balmora

Dralas grabbed his bag from the floor and pulled a shirt from it.

"That's all I've got," he said, tossing it to Rianne, "I figure it's worth a coin or two if you want it."

Being close to the ashlanders was making Rothan feel uncomfortable. They were going through whatever rituals they did when they met which appeared to involve a shirt. He ordered some deep fried crispy hound and stood muttering about filthy heathens.

He looked around but it was almost as full as he had ever seen it. There were no free tables and no one he knew, the locals had probably all gone home. He spotted a lone dunmer sitting in the corner and.. carving. The mer turned the work and revealed it as a flute, the source of the sour noise earlier.

Rothan took his cup and pushed though the crowd to the corner table.

“Mind if I take a seat?”
jack cloudy
Eno Arval, eight plates

"Mind if I take a seat?" Eno barely heard the man over the noise and first believed he had imagined it. When he looked up though, he saw that the priest from the bar earlier was standing by his table.
"Please, by all means. Be my guest." He replied, while waving at the other free chair with his scalpel.

"Quite the busy place, don't you think? It kind of makes me wonder how many here are the usual customers, and how many have been sent over here by that clerk at the Council house." He then said by way of small talk.
"Me, I belong to the latter group."

Rothan took the seat. “Help yourself if you want meat, Dulena is quite a cook,” he put the plate between them, “So you're heading to the construction then? Good to see the faithful do the bidding of their gods. I'm Rothan, I'm based up at the temple.”

He took a drink of his wine and nodded at the flute which the other dunmer was carving, “Nice bit of work that. What brings you to the ghostfence?”
Rianne, Balmora

Rianne smiled and grabbed the shirt, it was a bit big to her but of pretty good quality, it would be excellent! She took out a leather pouch and picked out some coins, she did not count them, just handed them over to Dralas, not showing what she was doing.

"I'm very grateful, and I thank you for this, here, it will hopefully cover your loss"

"I'll go over to the sign-up building now, before it's too late" she smiled" When reaching the door she stopped, she came to think of something..

Rianne went back to Dralas, handing him the pouch...

"Could you please rent a couple of rooms for the night for both of us? I think there's enough gold in that one to cover it. It would be awfully sweet of you, I gather you haven't got a room already?"

She turned around and went out of the bar.

The line in front of the sign-up building had diminished, so she decided to go for it now.

When it was her turn the man behind the counter didn't look up just asked:


Rianne De Zoete"

"Rianne De WHAT?"

"Ah nevermind, just Rianne then"

Then he looked up, seeing a woman in front of him caught him off gard, he just stared at her

"Ok is something wrong" she asked.

He shook his head and started filling in the necessary papers

"It's just that I never thought a woman would....But ok you know you'll have to bring two extra sacks with material, you don't have to pay for them but you're responsible for them during the trip..Btw what on Nirn can you contribute with?" He looked suspiciously at her

"I'm an alchemist, I have also healing skills, I'm sure they will need someone like me at Ghostgate" she answered dryly

The man sighed " I suppose you're right little lady" He handed the two sacks over and a receipt for her sign-up.

Rianne shook her head, smiled, shoved the sacks over her shoulder and headed back to Eight plates. She was glad she had that extra shirt it was becoming colder and colder.

"I wonder if he got us some rooms..."
jack cloudy
Eno Arval

Eno waved the plate offered to him away.
"No thank you. I've already ordered so my meal should arrive soon. Still, I appreciate the gesture." he said as he carefully chipped a hole in the flute's shaft.
"And seeing how you have introduced yourself, it would be rude of me not to do likewise. I am Eno Arval, an instrument-maker from Ald-ruhn. A pleasure to meet you, sir. As for my business at Ghostgate, I'm afraid I would be lying if I said I'm only going to serve the Tribunal." He gave a wry grin.

"Well, I AM going because it is my duty to do my part in an undertaking like this project, but that's not the only reason. I am also going because it seems like a business-opportunity. Providing all the materials necessary for construction is meaningless if the builders refuse to work because they feel mistreated. Or in other words, bored. No offense, but the temple is not seen as a regular source of entertainment for most folk."

It was at this moment that the fried crab-meat he'd ordered arrived. After thanking the waiter, he set his plate next to Rothan's.
"Well, seeing how I've ordered a different meal, perhaps we could share after all? Add some variation of sorts. Anyway, back to my story. I am not claiming that music is or should be sole source of entertainment, but it is cheaper than such things as alcohol or...let's call them hired professional entertainers for now. It doesn't cause any hangovers either. The third reason why I'm going is a simple one. I am just incredibly fascinated by the thought of a fence, higher than a watchtower, encircling all of Red Mountain and powered by the willing spirits of our ancestors."
Apelles Velvus's Apartment, Balmora

"Personally," Apelles declared, pouring himself a glass of brandy, "I'd say that there's nothing in the world that I enjoy more than a glass of brandy in the evening."

"What about a woman to share it with?" Salms asked wryly.

Apelles laughed. "Believe me, I've been down that road before. Several times. A lot of fun, but it never ends well." He quickly poured a glass for Salms. "Haven't done it in a while - haven't really felt like it. I suspect I'll come around soon enough. I could probably tell you all kinds of stories. Then again, I don't think you're going to be here that long. Thanks for joining me, by the way."

"Well, I didn't come here to exchange pleasantries and drink myself silly," he said. "I'm here to discuss our duties as escorts."

"Yes. Yes, I know. I suppose, as our leader, it is your prerogative to make sure that I'm informed."

Salms's eyes widened slightly in surprise. "I never said I was in charge."

"I may be an outlander," Apelles replied, "but I am not a fool. No Armiger footsoldier would be interested in meeting or conversing with a foreigner such as myself. As you stated earlier, they are no doubt resentful of my presence. The only reason I can figure for you even talking to me is that, as the leader of this escort, you want to know more about my character and capabilities. I can't blame you - after all, lives are at stake here. Believe me, I've led plenty of expeditions myself. I'd be doing the exact same thing."

Salms grinned, conveying his satisfaction with the man's intelligence. "Can't get anything past you, can I?"

Apelles took a drink. "Not if I can help it. Now, let's talk about that caravan. We'll start with the boring details first. About how long is it going to take for us to get to Ghostgate?"

"Five days. Four, if we're lucky. This of course, assuming we aren't all killed on the way there."

"Hmm...that's about what I figured. I'm assuming you've cleared out Assarnatamat?"

"Yes, we're using it as a camp, in fact. We hope to get there by the end of the third day."

Apelles took another drink. "Alright. Sounds like a sensible travel plan. Now, tell me about those attacks. Just how bad are they going to be?"

Salms's expression turned dark and serious. "Well...they've only just recently begun in earnest. The first couple of caravans we had no trouble. The third one, though, was bad. We lost ten civilians on that one. They kept on sporadically after that. It's been troubling - you never know how many are going to end up coming to attack you. It's sporadic - there seems to be no pattern to them. We could encounter several or none at all.

"The last caravan was the worst. Dawn had just broken on the fifth day - it was just a couple hours before we would start to pack up our camp and head out. I was awake, looking to the horizon. Many of the caravaners were still asleep. Then, suddenly and without warning, an ash storm kicked in. That's when they started coming. There must have been at least fifteen of them - walking hulks of oozing flesh, tentacle-headed monsters in brightly-colored robes, ashen horrors without faces. It was the most ash monsters I had ever seen in one place. I saw them first - before even the men on watch duty were able to. But it was already too late. They may as well have materialized out of thin air with how little warning we had of their approach. It was like the ash had given birth to them.

"When it all was over, there were almost thirty dead - five of them comrades of mine. Several others were wounded, and Thadas Rotheran had gone mad with soul sickness. I had personally contracted the Ash Woe blight from battling one of the creatures. My mind was addled and no longer my own. I remember crying aloud, in my fleeting moments of lucidity, wondering why Vivec would allow this to happen to a loyal servant.

"We couldn't go anywhere with the storm still raging. We abandoned over a third of our supplies to carry the sick and the wounded. We were just over ten miles from Ghostgate when we were attacked. We didn't get there until three days later. The Temple was able to cure me, and I returned to sanity once more. I am thankful that I remember very little of those three days."

Apelles sat there quietly for a moment, finishing his drink. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve, and finally spoke. " this what I can expect guarding this caravan?"

"Possibly. Though frankly, I wouldn't be too surprised if we didn't encounter a single monster this time. But regardless of what happens, outlander, I want you to be prepared for the worst. Assume that we will be beset on all sides. Remain on guard at all times. I won't lose another man or mer under my command. I won't allow it. Do you understand?"


"Good," Salms said. He rose from his chair, walked to the door, and left without another word.

Apelles stared at the vacant space where the Dunmer had been sitting. He noticed that he hadn't so much as touched his glass of brandy.

"Well..." Apelles muttered to no one in particular. "It'd be a shame to let this go to waste."

He downed it and put the cap back on the bottle. He knew better than to get drunk the night before setting off on a mission. Especially not on a job like this one.

Rothan nodded, “Plenty are heading to the sites for worse reasons. Still its no bad thing, once it's built I dare say we'll have some new towns.” He took a bite of crab meat, “Cheers, I didn't realise she had any left.”

He looked across the bar, some patrons were becoming quite merry, “They're not going to enjoy tomorrows walk if they're coming. I've been on a couple of pilgrimages out that way, went up Foyada Mamaea on one even. Its a long way, especially with a caravan. And I hear its got bad up that way recently.”
jack cloudy
Eno Arval

"Well, let's just hope they moderate their alcohol." Eno replied as he tried some hound meat and washed it away with some Mazte, thinking that Rothan was merely worried about hangovers. His next words however, suggested something else.
"wait, bad? Did you happen to hear some specific information? I do hope the path is still usable. We've had a lot of ashstorms lately, up north in Ald-ruhn. The wind usually blows from the east, so those same storms had passed over the foyada before hitting the city." He noted, slightly worried."

"I rarely travel, but I do know that wading through a layer of ash reaching up to your waist is not pleasant."
Dralas, Balmora

Once Rianne left, Dralas dumped the coins she'd given him back into the pouch. The shirt wasn't worth the gold she gave her, much less that and a room. He finished the rest of his meal and waved the clerk over.

"You have two rooms open?" he asked.

She nodded, "Twenty."

He counted out the correct amount and handed it over, getting two keys in return. Waiting for Rianne to come back, he put another wad of leaf in his mouth.

"There are rumours," said Rothan conspiratorially, “I hear the caravans have been meeting... resistance. The last one was a bit of a disaster, they say. I don't really know the details though, probably all hype from the rumour mill.”

He drained his cup, “I'm sure the path will still be fine... but...” he paused then went on anyway, “We're building a defence against the evil of Red Mountain. We've never needed that before, makes you wander just how bad things have gotten.”

He looked back into his cup, disappointed by its emptiness, “Still Lord Vivec will protect and provide. In his wisdom we trust.”
jack cloudy
Eno Arval

"I suppose...if you put it like that, then yes, it wouldn't hurt to at least exercise some caution. Since we are building a fence to contain evil, it wouldn't be too much to imagine that some of that evil had already been set lose before that. But then again, the trail is one that has seen plenty of caravans by now. I'm quite sure we will see nothing beyond the occasional bad weather." He said. Still, he got the feeling as if one cup wasn't enough.
"I'm not aiming to become drunk, but half-drunk? I've never liked ashstorms and the thought of travelling in one makes shivers run down my spine." He thought and looked up towards the bar.
"Mind if I order a refill of our cups?"
Rianne, back at Eight Plates

"You managed to fix us night quarters?" She smiled at Dralas when he gave her the key. "Great!!" she patted his shoulder in a playful way. "I'll have a last smoke then, no more drinks, it's better to get some nice sound sleep, it's going to be a long day tomorrow!"

"Good Night then" she then said before heading to her room

"Thanks but no. I drink but I do not feel it's appropriate that I become drunk, I think I'll turn in. Thanks for the converation and good night," he said.

He got up and left into nighttime Balmora, it was dark and there was a chill in the wind. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and hurried back to the temple and his room to sleep.
jack cloudy
Eno Arval, eight plates.

Though Rothan turned down his offer, Eno still ordered a refill for himself.
"Good night to you as well. I think I'll finish my meal and retire myself then."
He ate the leftover hound and crabmeat in silence, while observing the fact that apparently, the party was likely to continue till dawn.
"I don't think I'm going to catch a lot of sleep with all this ruckus. Oh well, I'll just have to try hard and plug my ears."
Colonel Mustard
Erna Rahnis, Balmora

"Your name sir?" the clerk asked, looking bored. It was evening by now, and the clerk had already done this a hundred times.

"Erna Rahnis," the dark elf replied, shifting his large coat to a more comfortable position.


"I'm going to the ghostfence to sell some of my wares-I work as a merchant, you see," Erna replied.

"Good," the clerk said, scribbling something else down. "And there's one final requirement, Mr Rahnis."

"Of course, fire away," Erna said. "I'd be delighted to oblige."

The clerk gave him an odd look, before continuing.

"Everyone who travels to the ghostfence must also take a pack guar and two sacks of construction materials," the clerk said. "They will be handed in at the site. If the materials in the sacks are missing or damaged, you will be expected to provide compensation out of your own pocket."

"Of course," Erna said. "Anything else?"

"That's all," the clerk said, handing over the papers. He gave Erna a look that said 'Why are you still here? Can't you see I'm busy?'

Smiling vacantly as he tucked his papers into his coat, Erna resolved to get something to eat. He saw a sign for a tavern, proudly proclaiming it to be The Eight Plate-the finest food and drink in all of Tamriel.

It was a dissapointment inside, and Erna was tempted to do something to the innkeeper for being so cruel as to lie to him, but he decided against it.

He hurried towards a corner table, where two men, one of them wearing the brown robes of a priest and the other being, well, just old were sitting and discussing something.

He grabbed a vacant chair for the table next to them, where a pair of soldiers off duty appeared to be having an argument, plonked it down by the table, adopted a wide grin and asked; "Mind if I take a seat? I'm Erna, Erna Rahnis, and it's lovely to meet you both."
jack cloudy
Eno Arval, eight plates. (OOC: You know you did something right when other characters describe yours as old smile.gif )

Just when Rothan was leaving, someone else came in to take his place.
"Eno Arval, nice to meet you." Eno returned the greeting, while casting a wary look at the soldiers at the table next to them. He knew from experience that professional fighters, whether an unruly militia or highly disciplined professionals, turned into an unruly mob when either drunk or off-duty. And it looked like these two were both. A dangerous conversation.
"I hate to take my leave so soon, but it is getting rather late and I'd prefer to be out of sight before the bar brawl starts. So I'm going to make myself scarce now. I suggest you do likewise. Unless brawls are a hobby of yours." He then said with a wink and got up.

"Oh, and one more thing. If you happen to be one of those looking to join the caravan, make sure you've got everything you need to survive an ash storm. The weather has been downright awful lately. Well then, goodnight."

OOC: I hate to brush you off like that, but we'd just about wrapped up every conversation and had everyone go to sleep so we could get started with the day of departure.

Haz Andrethi, the river flowing through Balmora whose name I keep forgetting. Odai? Anyway, on the bank just out of town.

Haz wrapped himself up tightly in his robes and shivered. Despite its appearance of a scorched wasteland, Vvardenfell could become very cold at night.
"Kind of like the deserts in Hammerfell, if the stories are true." He thought as he absentmindedly scratched the itching skin of his wrists.
"I wonder how I'm going to do this. Pretend to be a Dunmer 24 hours a day, for who knows how many weeks? Bah, worrying gets me nowhere. I'll just have to make it work and fool those hideous creatures."

Apelles Velvus, Balmora

It was just under forty minutes after dawn. Apelles and the rest of the escorts were sitting near the gathering point just inside the south gate near the commercial district.

Apelles was fully dressed in his Dragonscale armor (though his helmet and shield currently lay at his side). His sword was sheathed and his trusty old bow was slung over his back. Everything had been repaired and restored to tip-top condition about a week ago - even his hunting knife. However things turned out for him in the end, no one could say he was not prepared.

He would not be alone, either. He was surrounded by escorts - the overwhelming majority of which were Buoyant Armigers, but with one or two independent mercenaries in the mix.

Salms Ralas stood up in front of the group and cleared his throat. The few who were talking fell silent.

"Good morning, servants of Vivec...and of other masters. In a few hours, we will be escorting a caravan of workers and supplies across the unforgiving wastes of our homeland. As you may know, there have been some...attacks on these caravans of late, and as a result the number of escorts has been increased to ensure safety. Thus, we will have a few new faces along for the ride. I am confident that each of these individuals will do their duty. And I expect each and every veteran escort to extend the same level of respect and courtesy to them as they would to a lifelong comrade. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, sir," the crowd answered in unison.

"Good. That is all."

The Armiger captain walked into the small crowd and found a sizable stone to sit on - a stone that happened to be right next to where Apelles was sitting.

Salms looked at Apelles's armor with a faintly amused look on his face, but with sunken eyes that indicated that he had slept little. "That armor looks a bit heavy for your line of work, doesn't it?"

"It's a lot lighter than it looks," Apelles said.

"Well...I suppose you wouldn't have brought it along otherwise."

Apelles looked back at Salms. He seemed to be rather eager to be making conversation with an underling this early in the morning. Perhaps he figured it was a good way to pass the time. Or maybe he wanted to do something to get the trauma of the last caravan off his mind. Whatever the reason, Apelles was happy to oblige him for the next few hours - at least until the caravaners had all arrived.
Dranas Heleran, Balmora

Dranas was up at the crack of dawn. It took just a few brief moments to collect his clothing (which was scattered about) and dress, taking care not to wake Tarese. He hated to leave her to wake alone, but her face was so lovely in the low light of morning that he could not bring himself to wake her. Instead he scribbled a brief note:

"My dear, I am sorry to leave so early but I have urgent matters to attend to before the caravan leaves for the Ashlands. I shall return to you at my first opportunity. I promise."

That formality out of the way, Dranas walked over to the South Wall. Outside he found one of his associates, Durius Carbo.

"Morning," he murmured. "You said something about two guar loads?"

Dranas extracted a sheet of parchment from his pocket and handed it over. "Rent on the two guars sets us back 70 drakes, but we'll more than make it up on the extra volume. You have the goods?"

Carbo tossed over a key. "The usual crate. Think you can move all of it?"

Dranas looked thoughtful. "Temple project, so there might be more teetotalers than the usual construction job, but from my experience, I don't see it being a real problem. The booze should move just fine. The harder stuff is always hit or miss, so we'll just have to see, won't we?"

* * *

Dranas secured his pack guars and his cargo, both illicit and otherwise. He checked his personal gear--his cuirass in good order, his sword pristine--and was satisfied. It was only about forty minutes after dawn. He would lead his pack stock to the South Gate and then perhaps (he thought) go to the Eight Plates or maybe the Lucky Lockup for breakfast.

Rothan awoke early from a disturbed sleep. It wasn't dawn yet but in spite of his weariness he arose from his bed, and dressed quickly. He looked forward to travelling again but he felt uneasy, there had been rumours and there was nowhere like the temple for them to propagate. The banned book was still under his cloak, he quickly pushed it into the bottom of his bag and added a copy of The Lives of the Saints on top, hopefully anyone who looked would only see that. He had considered leaving the book but it was too likely someone would use his room in his absence and find it. That wouldn't do.

His cudgel lay in the corner, he sighed and picked it up. It's handle was made of a chitinous material but the head was steel with a couple of sharp corners which had borne spike before they broke off. This unusual construction resulted in it being singularly unbalanced but he was loathe to enter a weapon-smithy. He looped its uncomfortable mass onto his belt, he didn't like wearing weapons but neither did he like the idea of being eaten by some of Vvardenfell's nastier fauna.

He shouldered his bag an cast a last glance around his room. It was almost bare. He left the temple quickly before he would get caught up in any prayers, there wasn't really time and praying with a weapon made him uncomfortable, however much the Ordinators liked to. The sun was just below the horizon as he headed for the open space on the west side of the river, some of the guards were already there doing whatever it is guards do. The first guar were gathering too. He took a seat on the steps of the clothier and waited for more people to arrive.
Rianne, Balmora

She woke up before dawn, that was normal for her when she was about to commence some kind of journey. Dressing was quickly accomplished, trousers, shirt and her leather boots. And on top the shirt she got from Dralas. yes it was pretty big...and long but with her leather belt wrapped around her waist it looked good...yes really good indeed.

Rianne was satisfied with her appearance after washing her face and arranging her short hair with her fingers...She decided to bring all her things with her, now regretting she hadn't made some arrangements for transporting those confounded renting a guar. Nevermind she had to fix that later.

Breakfast time! Rianne was literally starving. She decided to knock on Dralas' door to see if he would join her for breakfast, she hated to eat alone.

"Hey! Dralas! Fancy breakfast? I'll go up and tell Dulnea to fire up the stove, you're coming??" She shouted while knocking on his door...
jack cloudy
Haz Andrethi, Balmora

Haz awoke when the first ray of sunlight pierced his eyelids. Still half-asleep, he yawned and stretched. The Scrib that had chosen his back as the spot for its morning-sunbath, protested loudly as it was unceremoniously dumped on its back. Haz looked at it with teeth bared.
"Don't complain. I'm not some dumb rock. In fact..." His hand snatched out and gripped the squirming insect.
"I'm a predator and you're breakfast." The Argonian finished, biting its head.

Now fully awake, he checked his own appearance while chomping down on his meal. At first glance, it appeared that his outfit had weathered the night well. He merely had to redo the scarf covering his face, remember to stand straight and presto, everyone would assume he was a Dunmer.

Scarcely half an hour after waking up, Haz marched through the southern gates and headed for the caravan where hopefully his Guar would be waiting.

OOC: I'll do Eno's wake-up tomorrow. He's an old guy, so he'll probably wake up after everyone else anyway.
Colonel Mustard
Erna Rahnis, Balmora

Erna whistled cheerily as he stepped out of Balmora's prison building, sheathing his knives back into their pockets. The brawl that had happened there, as he had predicted, had been a lot of fun. Naturally, the watch had intervened, but Erna, with his cheerful smile and willingness to 'give the good watchmen something for helping a citizen in distress,' had gotten off scot free after a quiet night in the cells.

On the way to the square, he glanced in at the Eight Plates and grinned at the mess he had helped cause-tables and chairs had been smashed to pieces by the angry brawlers. Of course, he had helped spark it with a well timed cry of "Coward" after one of the soldiers had gotten up from his argument. After that, he'd sat back and watched the fun.

Once again, there was a queue outside the council house, this time for Guars, but Erna didn't mind too much. He could wait. He was good at waiting.
jack cloudy
Eno Arval, eight plates.

When the sun's first rays shone through the window of his room, Eno awoke from his unsatisfying rest.
"Those dumb Kagouti-vomits! Just how is an upstanding member of the community supposed to sleep during the night, when one floor below him a whole damn mob is having a bar brawl!" He complained against the walls.

"I swear, they're lucky there wasn't a Telvanni staying here tonight. He would have torched the whole building...or turned it into an icicle, depending on personal preference." He continued with a softer voice. He decided right there and then he would eat his breakfast on the road. There wasn't much of a bar left anyhow.

"Serjo Arval?" A Dunmer wearing the outfit of a clerk asked the moment he stepped outside the Eight Plates.
"Yes, that would be me. Can I help you, my friend?" The old man replied amiably. Inside, he was still seething over the brawl but he knew that he couldn't take it out on an innocent man.
"We have brought you the goods and animals you requested." The clerk jabbed a thumb towards the two Guar that were searching the dusty cobblestones for small bugs to eat.

"They've already been packed. Of course, you may rearrange the sacks if you so desire." The clerk now said, and handed over the reins. Eno smiled.
"I must say, I find the service you provide to be most satisfying. Now it seems that I'm already somewhat late, so I'll do any potential rearranging when we set up camp at night. Please have some coin, consider it a showing of my appreciation."

With the two Guar in tow, Eno walked to the meeting point where he saw that a large portion of the caravan had already assembled.
QUOTE(minque @ Jan 9 2009, 04:22 PM) *

Rianne, Balmora

She woke up before dawn, that was normal for her when she was about to commence some kind of journey. Dressing was quickly accomplished, trousers, shirt and her leather boots. And on top the shirt she got from Dralas. yes it was pretty big...and long but with her leather belt wrapped around her waist it looked good...yes really good indeed.

Rianne was satisfied with her appearance after washing her face and arranging her short hair with her fingers...She decided to bring all her things with her, now regretting she hadn't made some arrangements for transporting those confounded renting a guar. Nevermind she had to fix that later.

Breakfast time! Rianne was literally starving. She decided to knock on Dralas' door to see if he would join her for breakfast, she hated to eat alone.

"Hey! Dralas! Fancy breakfast? I'll go up and tell Dulnea to fire up the stove, you're coming??" She shouted while knocking on his door...

Dralas, Balmora

Dralas woke sharply to the sound of harsh knocking on his door. He looked around through blurry eyes while his mind slowly emerged from the darkness of sleep. The realization set in that he'd overslept. There was the initial panic where he thought he may have missed the caravan, but then he came to the conclusion that Rianne wouldn't be outside of his door wanting breakfast if it had already left.

"Gimme a second," he answered, dragging himself out of bed to put on his clothes. He finally reached the door and opened it. "I don't think I'll make it to breakfast; I slept too long and still have some things to take care of. Want to meet back at the council house before the caravan leaves?"
Rianne, Balmora

She smiled, Dralas sounded so funny, barely awake and all groggy...

"Yes, sure!" she answered. "I'm gonna need a guar so I'll try to rent one, see you at the caravan!"

She headed upstairs, realising she was a bit late for any fancy breakfast so she asked Dulnea if she could get some food to take with her instead. That was no problem, she was presented some bread, and a chunk of scrib-jerky.

"Could you please get me more of this?" she asked thinking that Dralas probably would be raging hungry by the time he would appear at the council hall.

"Oh....give me a good piece of that dried hound-meat" she finally asked Dulnea.

After paying for the food she tucked it in her backpack, grabbed her sacks and went outside. Not far from the council hall there apparently was some kind of "guar-rental" since the smell of guar-dung was rather strong from that direction.

She noticed an elder dunmer slowly walking towards her. He looked like someone who would join a caravan. Rianne decided to be friendly

"Good Morning Serjo" she said bowing her head in a polite ashlander style. "Do you know if it's possible to hire a Guar over there? Are there any left you think?"

OOC: She's approaching Eno
Colonel Mustard
Erna Rahnis, Balmora

Erna saw that the first Guars were being handed out to the early comers, and decided on a way to queue jump.

Stepping from the queue, Erna picked one of the people out from the group that had been given the pack animals, and followed his prey, slipping stealthily behind them, always keeping out of sight. The streets were busy, and the target wisely, or unwisely, depending on your point of view, took a route through a back alley to avoid the crowd.

As soon as they were out of sight, Enra drew his knife, stepped behind them and in one swift motion, clamped a hand over their mouth, his weapon poking into their side.

"Hello matey," he said. "Mind helping out a friend?"

OOC: I didn't describe the victim in case anyone wants to fill the slot. If they don't, there's gonna be murder...
jack cloudy
OOC: I would, but Eno's already been approached by Rianne (not to mention that he never takes back alleys in cities he isn't perfectly familiar with.) and Haz hasn't gotten a Guar yet.

Eno Arval, somewhere in Balmora.

Eno stopped when he was adressed by a woman.
"Good morning to you too, lass. That place being a Guar rental?" He replied, mimicked the unfamiliar bow and then looked over his shoulder at the stalls.
"Hmm, don't remember that gesture. Maybe she's from the mainland."
"Well to be honest, I got my Guar delivered right to my doorstep since I reserved one earlier. Splendid service. So I actually haven't got a clue. Still, if its Guar you want, I'd say that's your best bet. They should have a few left over that haven't been appointed yet to a handler. If you hurry you might still get one, or however many you need."
Rianne, Balmora

"Thank you very much for your kind help" Rianne smiled, "I'll try over there the way I'm Rianne...from the Ahemmusa Tribe" She continued, still unwilling to mention her last name.

I wonder if I should get Dralas a Guar? Or maybe he's got one already, i'll just go over there and wait and see,

She looked up at the elder dunmer, he looked nice, it could be a good idea to stick around him....later

She took out a piece of scrib-jerky and offered the dunmer, there must be a gift for his help..that was tradition
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