Friday, March 28, 2014

Chapter 2: Handle With Care: Part 3

In which the party separates...again...and a lot of talking happens...

GM

Teldicia still sits in the back of the wagon, holding the sleeping injured girl's head in her lap. "Oh, the little one ran off, saying something about needing to get a present for her grandmother. Rant when after her." She takes one of the folded blankets and carefully slides it under the girl's head, extracting herself. She climbs down next to Lyra, "So, what's with all the munitions?"

Lyra

Lyra sighs "I had just intended to get a bow and some arrows, food and traveling supplies for everyone, and a few things for the girl.  It seems Frantiska and Donovan had other ideas."

Lyra looks around, scanning the crowd.  "Do you know where they were headed, or at least which direction?  Rant shouldn't be heading off alone after publicly executing one of Mace's gang members."

GM

"The girl was heading into the Market." Teldicia points, "Shall we go after them?"

Donovan

Donovan looks slightly concerned, "For all that he was bleeding on the cobbles when we found him, Rant seems capable of taking care of himself...though I'd hate to lose our most important cargo before we have even set out." He looks around to double-check that everything is packed. "At present though, we have four animals, a wounded girl, and a giant wagon full of weapons to be concerned about. Frantiska, can you and Hrud take your horses and go after them? You'll have a much better chance to spot them in the crowds if you are mounted, and a better chance of clearing a way as well. Lyra, Teldicia, and I can stay here and watch the wagon, the goods, and the girl."

He turns to Teldicia, "The bows are to help us get through the swamps. Even if we are not the best shots, the six people armed with ranged weapons can be an effective deterrent to would-be bandits or raiders. Also, if we are attacked, being able to get off a volley before any attackers close to melee, even if only half our shots hit, can substantially improve our odds of survival."

Teldicia

"Her name is Ellen," Teldicia says. "She woke up briefly while you folks were filling up the armory here." She moves up to the driver's bench, "Rant said he wanted to leave the girl with the priests at Half-a-Loaf on the other side of the market square. This thing doesn't look to hard to drive. If we're staying with the wagon, maybe we should go ahead and take it over there so we're not just sitting here twiddling our thumbs waiting for them to get back..."

Frantiska

Frantiska sighs, untethers Thistledown, and mounts up. "Alright, we'll meet you at this Half-a-Loaf place."

"Hrud, ayolah. Kita harus pergi mencari di mana Saudara Rant dan gadis kecil itu pergi.."

Lyra

Lyra climbs up into the back of the wagon awkwardly trying to arrange her sword, bow, and quiver for easy reach.  She kneels next to the girl and gently brushes a stray lock of hair off of the girl's face.  "I'll keep an eye on Ellen."

Hrud

Hrud understood "have to go looking" and that was about it - still, it was enough. Grabbing his bow, he makes his way back around to his horse and swings up into the saddle, ready to follow.

Frantiska

Frantiska nudges Thistledown and heads down the connecting alley into the market that Teldicia had indicated. "Hrud, jauhkan mata Anda keluar untuk Brother Rant atau gadis itu," she says as they enter the market, standing up in the saddle to see if she can spot their missing companions.

GM

The market square is crowded, dozens of tents, carts, and stalls buying, selling, and fencing everything imaginable, some of them even legitimate, fill the square. The din of merchants hawking their wares, beggars asking for handouts, street-corner evangelists preaching about all manner of gods, and shoppers running around is near-deafening. The crowd is heavily mixed, representing nearly every race and nationality, though human settlers from the south and the local orcs and goblins dominate. All are from the lower end of the economic spectrum. Frantiska picks out a score of languages being used, just within earshot.

Standing in the saddle, you easily see Amara, Rant standing very close behind her, less than ten yards to your left as you enter the square, standing in front of one of the few permanent structures in the square--a wooden stall laid out with all manner of candles, incenses, oils, and even a handful of of vials labeled, in Common, as "Poshuns of Heeling".

About thirty yards to your right, in the center of the market, the crowd has parted slightly, revealing a dark-haired man in slightly nicer clothes than everyone else standing on a large crate, ranting in the local dialect:

...my sturbovani tym, yak kulʹt Eberhard postupovo zrostaye kulʹt, yakyy stav dzherelom tsiloho ryadu nadzvychayno seryoznykh zbochenʹ pryntsypiv, demokratiyi, revolyutsiynoyi zakonnosti. My vvazhaye za neobkhidne, shchob Rada materialy, shcho stosuyutʹsya tsʹoho pytannya ye.

YA vyyavyv u Ulrich Eberhard tsi nehatyvni kharakterystyky, yaki pryvely piznishe do tyazhkykh naslidkiv. Poboyuyuchysʹ maybutnyu dolyu New Phlan, ya vkazav, shcho neobkhidno bulo roz·hlyanuty pytannya pro peredachu Eberhard z pozytsiyi heneralʹnoho sekretarya, bo Eberhard ne bulo pravylʹne stavlennya do nashykh hromadyan.

U 1363 Volodymyr Abd-alʹ-Beyn, miy batʹko, pysav: 'Pislya pryynyattya na posadu heneralʹnoho sekretarya , tovarysh Ulʹrikh Eberkhard nakopychenyy nezmirnu vladu v svoyikh rukakh, i ya ne vpevnenyy, chy zumiye vin zavzhdy buty v zmozi vykorystaty tsyu vladu z potribna dopomoha'.

Volodymyr takozh skazav: 'YA proponuyu, shchob tovaryshi vvazhayutʹ metod, yakym Ulʹrikh Eberkhard bude vydalenyy z tsiyeyi pozytsiyi i za dopomohoyu yakoho insha lyudyna bude obranyy dlya nʹoho, lyudyny, yaka , persh za vse, bude vidriznyatysya vid Ulrich Eberhard tilʹky v odnomu yakosti , a same, bilʹshoyi terpymosti, bilʹshoyi loyalʹnosti, bilʹshe dobroty '...

Hrud

Hrud marks the position of Rant and - which one of the girls was it? There were so many to keep track of - Amara in the square, then turns his attention back to the speaker. Usually, when someone speaks in a crowded area like this, it's connected to something troubling.

Frantiska

Frantiska strains to understand the man's speech, but finds that it only worsens her budding headache. She turns Thistledown to the left and nudges her way through the crowd towards Amara and Rant.

GM

As you ride closer, you see Amara hand a small bag, presumably coin, to the chandler in exchange for a single twist-molded black taper. Rant, scanning the crowd, spots you and gives a small wave of recognition.

While the speaker seems very excited, the crowd seems to waver between derision and disinterest, though there are the occasional, isolated cheers of assent and support for whatever the man is saying. It doesn't look like there is much chance of it devolving into violence...for now at least. The man himself seems oblivious to the jeering of the crowd and presses on with his speech:

Tovaryshi! Rada povynen oznayomytysya z novymy dokumentamy, yaki pidtverdzhuyutʹ kharakter Eberhard avtora. U 1653, Abd-alʹ-Beyn vidpravleno Eberhard nastupnyy lyst: "Shanovnyy tovarysh Eberhard Vy maly hrubistʹ poklykaty moyu druzhynu i vylayaty yiyi Nezvazhayuchy na te, shcho vona skazala, shcho vona pohodylasya zabuty te, shcho bulo skazano, ya ne zbyrayusya zabuvaty tak lehko". Tovaryshi! YA ne budu komentuvaty tsi dokumenty. Vony krasnomovno hovoryatʹ sami za sebe.

Yak pokazaly podalʹshi podiyi dovely, tryvozhnistʹ Abd-alʹ-Beyn bulo vypravdano. Eberkhard, yakyy absolyutno ne terpiv kolektyvnosti v kerivnytstvi i v roboti, vystupav ne shlyakhom perekonannya, ale nav'yazuvannya svoyikh ustanovok, vymohy bezzasterezhnoho pidporyadkuvannya do yoho dumky. Eberkhard vynyk ponyattya "voroh narodu". Tsey termin avtomatychno staye nepotribnym, shcho ideolohichni pomylky lyudyny ne dovedeno. Tse stalo mozhlyvym vykorystannya samym zhorstokym represiyam, proty budʹ-yakoho, khto v budʹ-yakomu vypadku ne pohodyvsya z Eberhard, proty tykh, khto buly tilʹky pidozryuvaly u vorozhykh namirakh, proty tykh, khto mav pohanu reputatsiyu.

V tsilomu, yedynym dokazom provyny faktychno vykorystovuvaly "vyznannya" z samoho obvynuvachenoho. "Vyznannya" buly prydbani cherez fizychni tysku ...

Hrud

Hrud walks his horse over to Rant and, indicating the speaker, asks, "«What is that man talking about?»"

GM

Rant looks in the direction indicated, «Oh, that's Hasan. Nevermind him, he's out there every day. He blames the Council, and Head Councilman Ulrich Eberhard especially, for the failure of his business. He's been trying to raise popular support to get himself /elected/ to the Council.» They way Rant says the word 'elected' it is clear that he thinks the entire concept is ridiculous.

Amara, clutching the candle tightly, suddenly perks up at one word Rant says, "Hasan?! Daddy?!" Her head snaps around and she begins jumping to see what Hrud is pointing at. The tiny blue unicorn at her feet begins galloping in excited circles around her.

Frantiska

Frantiska, reaches down and hoists the girl onto the front of her saddle so that she can see across the crowd. "Is that man your father, Amara?" she asks, pointing to the orator. Not liking the look of that candle, or the chandler, she attempts to focus past the headache to sense the presence of evil magics or intent.

What?! Frantiska thinks, through the sudden blinding pain in her head. While Amara is distracted looking over the crowd for her father, Frantiska quickly knocks the candle out of her hand and gives a sharp whistle, indicating for Thistledown to stomp on it. She briefly considers shoving Amara off the saddle as well, knowing well that most normal people's petty vices and jealousies are not meant to trigger the special senses given to her by Selune, but recalls something the Queen's Psychologue once said about all small children being sociopaths. Striking a child unprovoked would make me no better than the beasts in this shanty. It may just be a child's passing rage at her estranged parents. I will just have to bide my time, watch her, and try to set a good example.

"I'm sorry Amara, I was just startled by something. Allow me to buy a replacement for you..." Frantiska scans the ground to make sure the candle is destroyed, then looks at the chandler's selection for one a little less cursed...

Hrud

Hrud, the vague look of confusion that he normally wears growing a little less vague,  is completely puzzled by Frantiska and her sudden, unexpected reaction. His first thought is, 'She must hate candles,' which is then followed by, 'We are never getting out of this city.'

GM

Amara, from up on the horse, spots the man and yells "It is daddy!" Her countenance suddenly falls as the candle is knocked from her hands, "Oh! That...that was my present for Grandmother!" She begins bawling.

Frantiska

"Brother Rant," Frantiska says, urging Thistledown closer to the chandler's stall, "Donovan is bringing the wagon around to the other side of the market and asks that we meet him at a place called Half-a-Loaf." She tries to ignore the girl screaming in her ear and calls down to the chandler. "Sir, how much for the red candle?"

"Amara, calm down," she says, "there was something amiss about that candle. We'll get you a replacement for your grandmother, then we can go speak to your father..."

GM

The chandler looks bemusedly at the elf woman and the screaming child, "Seven gold for the red one," he says simply.

"I don't want a red one! Grandma likes the black ones! The red ones are no good!" Amara shouts, turning red in the face. "And I do not need to speak with father, I'm on a mission for Uncle!"

"...I also have another black one for twenty gold if the girl would prefer," the chandler pipes in.

Frantiska

Insistent isn't she. Frantiska hands the chandler two platinum coins, "A red one please, Sir. Not to impugn your wares, but the black one seemed to have some malignant magics about it and is probably not an appropriate thing to be entrusted to a child." A vein begins to stand-out on her forehead, marring her beauty only slightly. "Amara, please cease your tantrum. It would be disrespectful for you to come all this way and not at least say hello to your father before leaving again."

The transaction complete, she stows the candle in a saddle-bag, rubs her temples, and turns Thistledown into the crowd. "Hrud, Bruder Rant, datang, kami akan berbicara dengan ayah gadis-gadis dan kemudian kita harus berada di jalan kami."

Hrud

Hrud tried to parse the elf's words. The best he could figure, she and the girl were going to speak with someone's father. "Aku bakal ngenteni kene."

Glancing around the market, the hilt of the barbarian's new broadsword catches the corner of his eye - the evil eyes starting up at him. Turning back to Rant, he asks, "Panjenengan sapa kene ngedol paint?"

Frantiska

Frantiska calls over her shoulder, "Hrud, kita harus pergi dengan cara yang anyways. Yang terbaik adalah jika kita tidak bisa dipisahkan. Jika kita terus berpisah, kita tidak akan pernah keluar dari kota ini."

Hrud

Irritated at being bossed around, even if he can't totally understand her words, Hrud replies, "Sing mekso iki prawan kanggo ngomongake sing wong. Iki bakal njaluk kita metu saka kutha?"

GM

Brother Rant follows Hrud's eyes to the sword. «Matteo the Smith does enamel-work. His shop is right behind the soup kitchen.» He points in roughly the direction that Frantiska is riding. "Miss seneng mrintah punika tengen, rama ing prawan kang wis rightful ditahan, kita ngirim paling ngandhani wong ing ngendi kita njupuk Amara. Lan yen kita tindakake mau, Mungkin kita bisa njaga perdamaian." He starts walking after the girls. "Ayo, iku cara tengen paling."

Hrud

Hrud sighs, then nudges his horse into following Rant.

GM

Like elsewhere in the slums, the crowd around Hasan parts easily, with only the slightest hint of panic, at the sound of hoofbeats behind them. Seeing Amara seated on the front of the saddle, the orator stops mid-rant and hops down from his soap-box to approach the horse.

Frantiska

Frantiska nudges Amara hard and whispers in her ear, "If you have something against your father, that's fine, I understand that that is common with human children, but it is no excuse for impoliteness."

GM

The speech abruptly ended, the crowd begins to disperse back to their work and shopping. The speaker, however moves close to Thistledown, looking up a you. "Amara? What are you doing here? And who are these people?" his tone is not as excited to see his daughter as one might expect. The man himself is clean-cut, dark haired, slightly dark of complexion, well dressed--with a nicely folded handkerchief peaking out of his pocket and other little touches to indicate wealth without ostentation--and possessed of a thick accent that mixes both the local and a hint of something more exotic.

"Nothing father," Amara replies petulantly. "Uncle Aumry asked me to visit grandmother, so I am on my way there. He hired these people to escort me."

"Grandmother?" he looks confused.

"Yes father, you know, my grandmother in Melvaunt. She is very sick. Uncle Aumry asked me to visit her and help her feel better..."

His face turns slightly ashen, "Oh! For your Uncle? Well you better get about your business then..."

"Mama sends her love too..."

"Are you taking good care of Susalia?"

"Yes father..."

Frantiska

Frantiska's eyebrows raise slightly as she listens to the strange exchange between the little girl and her father. She is obviously too young to be the orchestrater of anything too sinister, but, between the girl's insistence on the cursed candle, her father's obvious confusion about the grandmother situation, and the sense of malevolence she detected from the child, Frantiska determines not to let the girl out of her site until they return from Melvaunt.

She narrows her gaze at Amara and leans down to offer a hand to the man. "I'm sorry, Sir," she says in a cold, haughty voice, "we have not been properly introduced." The last words are said with the tone of a scolding school-marm. "I am Frantiska Sykora, my companions behind me are Hrud, of the Eraka, and Brother Rant Harmell of Tyr. Professor Aumry contracted our companions, and us by proxy, to escort your daughter on her little errand. I promise we will keep her safe, and out of trouble..."

GM

The man looks surprised to be addressed, as if he were perfectly willing to take Amara's word about you, then gives Frantiska a firm handshake. "Very pleased to meet you, Madam Sykora. My name is Hasan Abd-al-Bane. I must say, you seem a good deal more respectable than the usual sort that Aumry and my wife arrange to look after our little Amara..." He looks quizzically at the other horse and there is something resigned in his voice as he speaks. "Your shaggy friend seems much more their usual variety of babysitter. Still, I am glad to hear that she is in good hands."

An unreadable glance passes between the father and daughter, causing Hasan to take a step back. "Well, I'd best let you all be on your way then...
And please, do keep an eye on her at her grandmother's, she does tend to get into trouble when the old lady is involved...downright spoiled sometimes"

Frantiska

Frantiska can't help but be angered at the man's obvious lack of concern for his child, leaving her in the company of total strangers, traveling under what are most likely false pretenses. Humans! she thinks, this must be what comes of having such a short life and being such prolific breeders. Like rabbits! If you can make two, or four, or a dozen in only a few short decades, I suppose that would let you consider some expendable. Or maybe it's the fact that he's a self-professed Banite--or was, given that Bane had been dead for a decade. She nods politely to the man. "Your trust is appreciated..." she says coldly. "As you suggest, we should be on our way then. Good day, Sir."

"Mari kita pergi dari sini." She says over her shoulder as she nudges Thistledown further across the square.

----

Meanwhile, back at the wagon...


Donovan

Donovan climbs up in the wagon and takes the reins. Alright, he thinks, cows aren't that scary. "Geeyup," he says, giving the reins what he thinks is a gentle snap. So, strait for two or three blocks, then a hard left onto Traitor's Gate Road to come up behind the market. "You're right, Teldicia. Just one turn can't be too hard..."

GM

The cart is, in fact, pretty easy to handle. The going is fairly slow with trying not to trample people in the crowded streets, but you manage to make it, without incident, to the back door of the soup kitchen in about 25 minutes.

Lyra

The slow lumbering of the wagon was somehow both relaxing and infuriating.  Lyra decided "I could have been there by now" was probably a poor measure of travel time, especially given how many theres (and at least two nows) it could be applied to.

She jumped in surprise when the girl next to her began to stir.

Lyra slides up closer to the front of the wagon, so she can take the opportunity to speak with Donovan and Teldicia.  She settles in facing the back of the wagon so she can still keep an eye on the girl.  "I had the opportunity to read through the books last night.  The spellbook has Stars, Smoke, Windwielder, Shapeshifter, and the research notes detailing a rather troubling custom path -- Brimstone.  I believe one of the new spells therein was used to call forth the Lemures, and the journal also indicated how the portal was created - and ends abruptly after noting it nears completion.  One of the priestesses at the Temple of Tyr was interested in acquiring the books."

GM

Teldicia looks intrigued, "Might I peruse the books, those are not paths I am familiar with? The research notes don't sound like the sort of thing we should be handing out to just anyone. It's probably safer to keep things like that with us." She turns to Donovan, "Don, speaking of finding interesting things, did I hear you say that the blade you took off the kobold had Noga writing on it?"

Lyra

"Noga writing?  Frantiska will be interested.  She is seeking information on the Empire of Nog."

"My first inclination is to make sure no one else can make use of this research.  It's unconscionable.  Imbuing a summoned devil with the power to pierce magical protections, summoning Lemures, the gate....  If not for that, Gendry would still be...."

Donovan

Donovan pulls the bronze machete out of his pack and hands it to Teldicia. "More eyes on it would be welcome. I'm curious about the inscription. From what I can gather, I think it means 'Thirdly, I know that there is someone pursuing me—Death—whom I cannot escape from, so I have prepared myself to meet him,' but the Noga characters are strange to me."

He carefully guides the oxen around the turn, then turns back to Lyra, "As for the book, Lyra, I would like to peruse it while we journey as well. I'd rather stay away from diabolism, but I have dreams of crafting my own path some day. Seeing how the author went about it would be a good start. Given how many students of the arcane arts we have in our party, counting the three of us, plus Frantiska, We would do well to start compiling a shared library by which we could compare notes and have a basis for future research."

Lyra

"If you're interested in spell research, you should speak with Mother when we get back.  It is her area of expertise."  Lyra glances at the machete as Teldicia turns it over in her hands to examine the inscription.  "Where did you pick that up?"

Donovan

"While you were in Jerome's, the mate of one of the kobolds we killed yesterday came and challenged Hrud to a duel. She lost, obviously, but she was sporting that thing." Donovan shrugs, "There is actually an old story in town about a weapon like that being handed down for generations among the champions of the Red Hand kobold tribe. I guess she was their champion this time around..."

Lyra

"I can't even finish shopping without something trying to kill us?  No wonder you wanted everyone to stay with the wagon."  Lyra vaguely wonders if the monster filled swamp will actually be an improvement.

"Is the Red Hand tribe from the ruins, or somewhere outside the city that moved in?"

GM

Teldicia takes the machete and tears the last of the string off of the grip. "The inscription is part of a Nogian poem..."

"I have chosen four things to know and discarded all other things of knowledge.
The first is this: I know that my daily bread is apportioned to me and will neither be increased or decreased, 
so I have stopped trying to add to it.
Secondly, I know I owe to the gods a debt which no one else can pay for me, 
so I am busy about paying it.
Thirdly, I know that there is someone pursuing me--Death--whom I cannot escape from, 
so I have prepared myself to meet him.
Fourth, I know that the gods are observing me, 
so I am ashamed to do what I should not.”

"All of the mystics who follow the teachings of the Nogian battle-mages know it by heart. It sums up the core of their philosophy." She holds the weapon gingerly by the unbound tang, and swings it easily. "It is also said that the Grand Master Hatim, who they say wrote the poem, also crafted four relics, each representing one of the precepts. Odd that such a weapon should end up in the hands of a kobold..."

Lyra

"Then it sounds like most of the students in Waterdeep missed lessons one and four.  They had a rather poor reputation."  But where would kobolds get a Nogian relic from?

"If it's been passed down in the Red Hand for generations, that means they likely had it before they swore fealty to the Scything Claw tribe.  Found in the ruins of Old Phlan, then, or brought with them when they settled in over a century ago?"

GM

"Well, the last one is open to a lot of interpretation, since Hatim never said which god or gods were watching. Depending on which god they think is in charge, what you should not do can vary a lot." Teldicia grins, "And if they missed the first...well, you at least wouldn't have to worry about them actually using Nogian magic." She hands the blade back to Donovan.

Lyra

Lyra briefly considers asking which gods Teldicia thinks are watching, but is pretty sure she wouldn't like the answer given that she was traveling with Rietta, a necromancer, and a priestess of the Maid of Misfortune.  "There were rumors they could trap spells within their own flesh, but they were mostly just beggars and street brawlers.  Is that the Nogian magic you mean?"

GM

"Well, beggars, yes. Most take the 'my daily bread shall neither be increased or decreased' part as a prohibition on the accumulation of wealth, or at least on the accumulation of goods and possessions, I can't speak to them being street brawlers." Teldicia rubs her temples and smiles, "Huh, my headache seems to be gone," and breathes a sign of relief. "You are also right that, at it's simplest, Nogian battle-magic involves the use of rituals to entrap the energies that other casters would use to manipulate their spells within the mage's own flesh. Thus making them stronger, faster, resistant to blows, or able to heal at remarkable rates, but at the cost of having a harder time casting spells in the more traditional manner."

Donovan

Donovan looks back at Teldicia briefly, before realizing that he shouldn't take his eyes off the road, "How do you know so much about ancient Nogian magic? And, let me just go ahead and ask the obvious follow-up, if your answer is what I assume it will be, can you teach us?"

GM

Teldicia laughs, "Yes, your assumption is probably right, and, yes, I can probably teach you. or at least let you muddle along with me since I am just a novice at it. As long as we have fun, right?"

Lyra

Lyra looks between Donvan and Teldicia.  "Using stored energy as a catalyst for physical changes seems like a rather interesting area of study, at least.  Another perhaps obvious follow-up -- is that why you're in Phlan?"

GM

Teldicia laughs again, "Kindof. I'm here because I didn't have anywhere else to go. It's convenient that Nog is supposed to have been around here, if we find any ruins or the like, I would love to study them, but mostly I'm just here following the tenants."

Donovan

Donovan hands the machete back to Teldicia as he pulls the wagon to a stop. "Here, you keep this then."

GM

Teldicia takes the weapon gingerly, "Thank you." She straps the sheath to her thin belt, then reaches into her pouch, pulling out a handful of darts and hands them back to Donovan. "These are for you then. Keep them, use them, sell them, or whatever." She looks back at where the girl is stirring, "So we're just going to patch her up and drop her off?"

Lyra

Lyra watches the darts exchange hands.  "Maintaining equilibrium in accordance with the tenants?"

"I'd rather not just leave her, but our other options are to delay our trip to find her family, or maybe take her with us so she can resettle in Melvaunt.  Mr. Donovan, is Melvaunt large enough that it would have a psychologue?"

Donovan

Donovan looks at the darts, wondering if they would fit his new crossbow. "Thanks."

"While it's nothing compared to Waterdeep, Melvaunt is a good-sized city, maybe thirty-thousand souls. There very well may be a psychologue in Melvaunt. If we're thinking of taking her out of the city, we should probably wake her up and ask her. After her recent encounter, I doubt she would take well to waking up in the back of a wagon full of strangers, in the middle of a monster-infested swamp, on its way to a city with something of a reputation for smuggling and human trafficking..."

Lyra

"Once she wakes up, we ought to just ask her where she wants to go and help her get there."  Smuggling and human trafficking?  Not to Melvaunt, psychologue or no.

GM

You hear a faint voice from the back of the wagon, "Ask me what?"

Lyra

Lyra moves over near the girl, with a deliberate slowness to her actions so as not to startle her.  "Teldicia said your name is Ellen.  Brother Rant of Tyr and Donovan, a former herald of Phlan, are the ones who treated your wounds.  I'm Lyrathwen Alethiel Beragaion, but you can call me Lyra.  Are you feeling better?  Are you hungry?  Right now we're in a wagon near Half-a-Loaf in the market.  You've been unconscious for..."  She thinks for a moment.  "Probably more than two hours now."

GM

The girl stares at Lyra for a bit, then practically leaps up from the floor of the cart and throws her arms around Lyra's neck. "YOU! You saved me! You're the one who...who..." she stops suddenly and shoves Lyra away. "You...saw..." she scuttles backwards as much as she can and seems to shrink, curling into a ball in a corner made by the crate of food and the canvas wall of the wagon, pulling awkwardly at the unfamiliar dress, apparently trying to cover or hide every last inch of exposed skin.

Lyra

Luckily, the dress Lyra was wearing previously was already quite modest.  Lyra half turns, giving the girl her desired privacy.  "The ones who hurt you will never be able to hurt anyone ever again.  My other companions, Frantiska, a knight of Selune, and Hrud of the Eraka saw to that."  She reaches into one of the nearby bundles.  "We got you some shoes, too."  She extends them towards Ellen, still not looking towards the girl.

GM

The girl snatches the shoes and quickly puts them on, judging by your previous looks at her feet, she may have never worn such before, though you hadn't really thought about it. A minute or two of silence pass before Lyra feels a hand tentatively grab her arm, "You can't leave me here..."

Donovan

Donovan keeps his eyes fixed on the street, "Miss, we're on our way to Melvaunt and have a three-day journey through the swamp ahead of us. You'd be much safer if you stayed with the priests here in town." He switches to Elvish to address Lyra, «There is no way of knowing how badly traumatized she is at this point. It would be great if we could help, but we're not trained for this and a sudden outburst at the wrong time could get us all killed. It's probably safer for everyone involved if we just leave her here.»

Donovan stops the wagon. "We're here," he says. «I'll leave you and Teldicia to sort it out, but the priests are probably much better equipped for this sort of thing than we are.» He sets the brake and climbs down from wagon. "I'm going to go in, see if Rant and the others have made it here yet, and let the priests know what is going on."

Lyra

«Why do you always assume people can't speak Espurar?»  As Donovan climbs down out of view, Lyra wonders if she could extricate her arm without provoking another outburst.  Ultimately, she decides against it.  "Where do you want to go, if not here?"

Donovan

«Elementary my dear Lyra,» says Donovan in a tone clearly meant to mock a number of professors he's had in the past, and possibly Frantiska and Lyra's mother as well. «Despite anecdotal micro-population evidence to the contrary, sic our party, people of elvish descent are a distinct demographic minority not only in Phlan, but in the Moonsea, and the Realms at large. Despite the popularity of the fair language among mages and the nobility, most common folk, baring those in areas close to the few extant enclaves of the people, have no reason to learn the language. More-so, most humans, it turns out, only know their native language and probably the common tongue. Those that are multi-lingual are much more likely to have learned one of the many, many regional languages than that of another race.» He grins over his shoulder. «Until Frantiska can teach us all something even more exotic, the fair tongue is probably our best bet for talking amongst ourselves without being eavesdropped on. The added benefit being that most of us already know it.»