You have come to Halrema looking for something. Perhaps you seek knowledge, to broaden your horizons or to delve deeper into the mysteries of the world. Perhaps you are not accustomed to remaining in one place too long. Perhaps you simply seek to make the world a better place. But whatever the reason may be, here you are.
Here, in front of the Amaranth Blossom, a gorgeous, low building of marble and sandstone. Hanging vines and fountains are staples of Halreman architecture, and this building is not breaking the mold. The sound of flowing water creates a harmony with the tune of a minstrel you can hear from within.
Inside, waiter and waitresses in grey and white livery bring pitchers of sweet-smelling drinks and platters of fruit to the guests. Near the door, a half-elven woman in bright reds and yellows sits alone at a table large enough for several more. As you see her fidget with her thick, russet braid and push up a strange accessory on her face that holds two small panes of glass, you get the impression that she is waiting, for something, or someone.
Lakota has remained in Halrema for three years now as their resident blacksmith. She could remain as blacksmith for another thirty or forty years but something within her is drawing her forward, onto a new path. She does not know if it is the gods or her inner nature. She only knows life has become static and that is not a position she can willingly embrace. She needs to grow and to do that, she needs to set aside her position as blacksmith and take on a new position. What that is, she cannot say. She only knows that perhaps this is the first steps onto that path.
The waiters and waitresses nod at Lakota but do not disturb her. She has been inside the Amaranth Blossom before. Lakota does not need to consume food in order to survive. It seems a shame to her that the gods made their creations so inefficient. Still, she knows that meals are a time of great socialization and the shardmind finds interaction with other races and people to be personally satisfactory. She has a great deal invested in the people she meets, for she is a Guardian and even if they never realize her true purpose, it does not take away from the fact that she feels personally invested in seeing the gods’ creations grow up to reach their full potential.
She makes her way over to the table where Maroly sits nervously twisting her braid, and sits down next to the woman. “Hello Maroly.” Halrema is not such a large town that Lakota has not learned everyone’s name in the three years she has lived here. She makes it her duty to learn of each and every person who moves here, for she views their lives as in her protection. She never snoops, for she does not care what they do in their private lives, unless it affects the entire town or puts the world in danger. Lakota is known for being circumspect. She and Maroly have talked many times before, usually about how life is with the dwarves and the world outside of Halrema.
“I saw you had posted an advertisement for a protection detail and I hope you don’t mind if I volunteer. Barren will be in charge of the Forge while I am gone so business will continue as usual.” The forge, set up and run by the dwarves, is invaluable for the citizens of Halrema and Lakota would not leave them without a decent blacksmith.
She sits there, looking for all intents and purposes like a crystalline version of a humanoid, softly glowing, encased in scale armor and wrapped in a deep green robe. At her belt is a large war hammer, stamped at the base with the crest of the Dwarven Clan. Next to her, on the floor, rest a large backpack filled with bulges and bumps.
Snippet from her character sheet... That was three years ago. Lakota has learned a lot since moving to Halrema. It is a town filled with all sorts of different types of people. Since arriving, Lakota has come to realize the magnitude of the charge laid upon her by the gods. It is going to take a lot for her to protect these people. She was surprised to realize there were some of them that even needed to be protected from themselves! Something she never would have expected. It still surprises her to think that there are those who do not want to work together, in harmony, for the greater good of all mankind. Thankfully, those who are in discord are a minute minority and for the most part everyone works together quite well.
She lives has a room in the back at the Forge. She doesn’t need to sleep or eat the same way the others do and while the city sleeps, she is often working at the forge or patrolling the city with the City Watch. What few possessions she does own she keeps neatly in the back room. Lately, she has felt a pulling inside her to do more, to be more than she is. She must continue to grow in power and knowledge! Her apprentice has been trained well enough to handle the Forge in her absence, as long as she isn’t absent too long.
She finishes patrolling and finds a place to watch the sun rise over the mountains. It is a phenomenal sight and one she doesn’t think she will ever grow bored of. Today at noon she will meet with Lady Halreman at the Amaranth Blossom. Lakota is familiar with Maroly, who is a scholar and thus someone Lakota has known for some time now. The woman is as fascinated with Lakota as she is of Maroly. Whenever she tells any of her stories on the past, Maroly finds she always has a rapt audience in Lakota. Lakota read where Maroly was in need of protection as she investigates a mysterious phenomenon. Nothing more needs to be read, for Lakota knows she will do whatever it takes to get a chance to be on her protection detail.
Do NOT meddle in the affairs of dragons; for you are crunchy and go good with ketchup
Maroly smiles brightly and puts her braid down when she sees Lakota. She pats the seat next to her, motioning for Lakota to be seated. "Ah, hello, Lakota. Good to see you!" she says, looking intently into the shardmind's crystalline form. In all the time the two have known each other, Maroly has never seemed to tire of examining Lakota."I'm glad you came. I think your expertise will be of quite some use in this investigation."
Nim stands in front of the Amaranth Blossom, suddenly the grit and grime of the road weigh heavily on his skin. He becomes painfully aware of the dirt he'd gathered on his travels. He debates getting a room and a bath, but quickly decides he doesn't have the time. He brushes his wispy hair back, and pats down his slim frame trying to clean himself up as best he can. Nim opens the door and the inside doesn't do much to put his mind at ease.
Scanning the room he spots the woman and the strange statue sitting beside her. Then the crystaline statute moved and he realizes that it can't be a statute. The texture of the "skin" fascinates Nim. He attempts to create a small patch on the back of his hand. The small patch turns back to its natural gray when he decides to get back to the task at hand.
Hello, you must be Maroly, Nim says as he takes quick glances at the strange creature sitting at the table. I have heard you are in need of able bodies. I am here to offer my abilities as a traveler and woodsman, if you have need of me. He stands there waiting to be offered a seat.
Moraq'om has been to Halrema before, but never for any extended period of time. His duties keep him travelling constantly, so he knows little of the city and its people. One thing he does know, however, is that there always seems to be new information each time he visits, or a new task to take care of. This visit is no exception, as he saw Maroly's posting very shortly after arriving in town.
As he enters the establishment, he notices an odd crystalline creature conversing with an apparently impatient woman. Figuring that this is likely the person who posted for help, he makes his way over to the two. "Are you Maroly?" he asks as he approaches her table. "If so, then I am here to respond to your posting."
He seats himself one spot away from the crystalline being, not waiting for a response. He is intrigued by the creature, as it doesn't seem to match any other mortal beings he has seen before. He keeps his gazed fixed in its direction, thinking of how best to express his intrigue without offending it - a task he has learned is not so easy.
Maroly looks up from Lakota's crystals at the sound of Nim's voice. She looks closely at him, her eyes wide with curioisty. "Well now...what manner of creation are you?" she breathes. Shaking her head slightly, she indicates a chair. "Please, sit down. I'd like to see if some more arrive before I talk about business, but, Oh. I nearly forgot. Yes, I am Maroly. What is your name?"
As another applicant arrives, she waves him over."Ah, yes, that's me! Please be seated."
I was born human, but have been told I am a creation of Yorg. Changling is the word that has been used. Nim, says as he takes a seat. His pack lands with a muted thud, and a small cloud of dust puffs into the air. My name, is Nim, it is a pleasure to meet you and your... his sentence trails off as he looks in the direction of the crystaline creature.
Lakota doesn’t smile but the light emanating from her brightens as she and Maroly greet each other. Her eyes shine forth with a blue-white light and she is about to say something when several strangers approach the table. Lakota falls silent, watching with interest as the newcomers introduce and seat themselves.
Lakota nods to herself when Nim names himself a changling. She has heard stories, rumors really, but she has never met a changling before. Fascinating! If she understands things correctly, they can take on the appearance of other races, mimicking them. “I am Lakota. My kind are known as the shardmind, for obvious reasons.” She motions to her crystalline structure. “I am, was, the local blacksmith here in Halrema. It was time to hand the anvil over to my apprentice. The gods are calling me to other things, which includes aiding Maroly here.” She looks back to the woman seated next to her, handing the conversation back to her to lead.
Lakota is eager to learn what it is Maroly needs help with.
Do NOT meddle in the affairs of dragons; for you are crunchy and go good with ketchup
Standing in front of the Amaranth Blossom, Ruminaw appears to onlookers as a young man, in his mid-twenties. His copper hair is pulled back in a loose knot and a slight beard covers his cheeks and chin. His cloak and sharp-pointed collar reveal nothing of his clothes under them. I'm sure this is the place. Now, to see this Maroly.
Stepping inside, the Veir marks the nice quality of the establishment, slowly stepping toward the table that seems to be the one he is looking for. Around the table are some interesting people. A strange, crystalline humanoid structure is seated there in armor and a robe. Curious. I wonder who this one's Creator is. Next to her is a hooded male, looking strangely familiar. Hm? This one looks very alike to the hooded figure I met. Perhaps this is he, or an ally. I will have to ask later about it. There is another male there, a strange figure that has wispy, fair hair and pallid-looking skin. I've seen nothing like this before. An interesting creature.
Finally, Ruminaw's gaze turns to the spectacled half-elf lady sitting at the middle. Ah, this must be Maroly. Unless the crystalline one is.
He listens to their dialogue from afar for a moment. Walking up slowly, Ruminaw attracts the attention of the seated people with a well-timed cough, something that he had picked up from days of watching over the denizens of Halrema. As they turn their heads to the source of the noise, Ruminaw smiles and nods his head, while doing a half-bow.
"Greetings. I am looking for one Maroly. I was graced to catch wind of your search for help with an oddjob, and I would be honored to tag along." With a friendly smile, he scratches his head, imitating a nervous twitch that the Veir found common among his studying.
Greel moved down the street toward the destination his sandaled feet treading upon the dirt and flagstone of the streets, each step marked by the sound of a spiritwood staff moving him ever forward. His gray eyes glinted from beneath his blackened brow as his slouched dark form passed with ease down the street as Halremii moved out of his path. The silent form of his dead sister drifting a step behind him to the right no doubt adding to the unease that he brought with him everywhere, streams of ghostly water dripping from her dress, water that vanished from the earth as the two passed.
Though the day was warm, the man pulled his heavy black robes together with a large gaunt hand that glittered with rings carved of bone, wood and iron, each glittering with bits of hematite and obsidian. His other hand gripped the carved staff of twisting, writhing and howling forms and figures tightly and was bereft of color save for nails as black as a starless night. He stopped in front of a building and slowly turned his head to gaze at the structure, thin lips twisting in a sneering frown that spoke of weariness and internal rage.
With funds running out Greel had to look for means to finance himself and his goals. Due to his condition and he suspected a distrust of things Eolisii he had turned to mercenary work. Of the many parchments and clay tablets seeking skilled labor one in particular had caught his keen eyes. Halrema was known locally as a seat of knowledge and a haven for arcanists and those who sought to know about that which dwelled in the world and the divine. There was not much as of yet in his area of interest and what there was would cost him to study and experiment with. Thus he chose to respond to an advertisement from a Halreman scholar that was known as Maroly, who was seeking protection while she investigates some mysterious phenomenon. Work and a chance to possibly further his own studies and goals the parchment indicated that those interested were to meet her at noon in the Amaranth Blossom, a fancy watering hole in the good part of town, in the shadow of Dharahim, the newly built Academy of the Arts.
Greel stared at the front of the Amaranth Blossom, a gorgeous, low building of marble and sandstone. Hanging vines and fountains were the staples of Halreman architecture, and this building did not break from design. Greel could hear the sound of flowing water as it created a harmony with the tune of a minstrel he could hear from within. His mind drifted back at the sound of water and of a far different tune and his pallid hand twitched and gripped the staff with a creak, the silent sad phantom cringed behind her brother and the bruises about her neck darkened. Greel looked impassively at the two bodies struggling to crawl from beneath one of the heavy cornerstones of the Amaranth Blossom to no avail as they beseeched him for aid. Ignoring the ghosts he shuffled inside the building, ducking his head to avoid the beam.
Inside, waiters and waitresses in grey and white livery moved about bringing pitchers of sweet-smelling drinks and platters of fruit to the guests. Near the entrance sat a small group of beings, one of them a half-elven woman in bright reds and yellows and a strange accessory on her face that holds two small panes of glass and long braid of hair. A crystalline creature and several other beings, one was standing and seemed to be at the conclusion of an introduction of some sort.
Greel, with his dead drowned sister in tow also approached the table. “Are you the one called Maroly?” he asked with a heavy accented harsh whisper. “I am here in response to your posting seeking…protection.” Behind him the sad phantoms eyes began to weep dark tears as she stared at her brothers back.
"I am named Greel Surak." he ignored the creak of the rope and the twitching small form that dangled from it where it had been tied to the beam directly above the table.