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The end of Alleris' introductory story.

<=Scene=> Begin Chapter Sixteen.

Alleris - Allen. Everyone else - Me.

<=Scene=> When last we left Alleris, it was intermittently hailing, and constantly pouring on him and the group of archers he was riding with. They had stopped for the evening in a forest and were hurriedly pitching the tents.

* Alleris pitched his tent as quickly as possible, and decided it would be best to scurry inside, so he does that.

<=Scene=> Alleris ended up sharing the tend with Niethan and a few other elves, none of which spoke Mithronian, not being native to this area. As such, the conversation opportunities were somewhat limited. The elves mostly conversed with each other in the common elf language.

<Niethan> Well, looks like we won't be cooking anything tonight. Hope you brought some dry rations.

* Niethan begins eating some dried meat and says "You better go ahead and eat now and go to sleep. We'll be getting up early in the morning.

* Alleris nods and smiles a bit, and goes about that immediately, grabbing something to eat and doing that "Right. Rest sounds nice."

<=Scene=> Everyone goes to sleep early except the elves who are on first watch for the evening. Nothing exciting happens during the night. About an hour before sun-up, or, what would be sun-up if it wasn't still raining, the watch wakes everyone to prepare for the days ride.

<Niethan> Lovely, it's still raining I see.

<Niethan> You'd think it was spring and not the middle of summer the way this storm keeps on.

<Alleris> "The weather is often unpredictable, I suppose" he readies his things after they wake up, and stretches his legs a bit.

<Alleris> "Besides, there are much worse perils than rain, I figure."

* Niethan yawns and reaches into his pack for something to eat.

<Niethan> Best get something to eat real quick. I'm betting the captain will want to leave right quick. It's probably more than 75 miles to Gainesville, and with all the mud this rain will have wrought, we'll be pressed to make that ride today likely.

<=Scene=> The other elves also eat some rations quickly, then begin packing everything up.

* Alleris nods, getting a bite to eat and finishing up the whole 'Grabbing my stuff' thing, preparing to move out.

<=Scene=> Just about the time Alleris finishes eating, an elf comes by and shouts something into the tent and moves on.

<Niethan> He says we're leaving in 10 minutes. Better help us pack up the tent.

<=Scene=> The elves scramble outside.

* Alleris stands up, and does that if nothing else gets in his way, making haste to pack up the tent.

<=Scene=> The elves are already taking up the stakes.

<Niethan> Actually, we've got it, go ahead and mounted up.

<=Scene=> It's still raining, but at least it's just a bit more than a drizzle now.

* Alleris nods and smiles "Alright then." he goes about getting mounted up on his horse, looking to the road ahead.

<=Scene=> In just a few moments, the elves have the tents all rolled up and packed on some horses.

<Niethan> Ready to ride, friend Alleris?

<Alleris> "I am indeed, Thank you."

<=Scene=> No sooner had Niethan asked, then the captain started the party moving again.

* Alleris smiles, and heads after, keeping pace with the others as to not fall behind.

<=Scene=> Despite the near constant rain throughout the day, the party makes good time, especially considering the mud they ride through down the road. Niethan mostly rides in silence, though he speaks to the some of the other elves now and again. Sometime after a normal lunchtime, the party finally stops for lunch beside a creek.

<Niethan> Ah, time to water and rest the horses for a few minutes.

<Alleris> "That's good. And who knows." he hops off his horse and stretches, even if he only has a moment, why not use it to stretch.

<Niethan> What awful condition this road is in. I guess it's too much to ask for them to make a really good stone road out here on the edge of the realm.

<Niethan> I wondered if we'd make it before dark, but we've made pretty good time despite the mud.

<Alleris> "It seems so, making good time is always an acceptable thing."

<Niethan> You know, usually I prefer spending nights out in the wild to spending nights in town, but when it rains like this... I'll be glad of a night in town tonight after all.

<Alleris> "I can agree with that as well, it'll be nice to be indoors."

<Niethan> Hmm, more dry rations for lunch. Better eat while you can. I expect the captain will want to move soon.

* Alleris nods, and goes about eating once more.

<=Scene=> After what seems a very short period of time, the horses are watered and the captain orders the party to move again.

<=Scene=> The group rides on, mostly in silence, for a few more hours. Finally, just about the time the city of Gainesville comes into view, it quits raining, and the setting sun pokes out through the clouds.

<Niethan> Figures, doesn't it? Just about the time we can get a roof over our head, the sun comes out.

<Alleris> "That seems to be how it works, I suppose."

<Niethan> Well, lets hope we used up our bad luck for this trip all on the weather.

<Alleris> "Indeed."

<=Scene=> Despite the weather, the group has made such good time that it is at least 90 minutes before sunset when the town of Gainesville comes into view.

<=Scene=> The city is a large, walled city, sitting next to a large inland lake, perhaps twenty miles north of the swamp.

<Alleris> "It's quite large."

<Niethan> Yes, it's the capital of its province, and the largest city anywhere down here. Probably seven thousand or so.

<Alleris> "Wow."

<Niethan> Only a couple cities in all Mithrim bigger, which is probably why the king seems to care about this one. Well, that and their unique trade goods.

<Alleris> "Makes sense, if it's... agreeable or not."

<Niethan> You're not familiar with it I take it?

<Alleris> "Familiar? No, not really."

<Niethan> A little bit of local history then. For most of it’s existence this place was little more than a hole in the wall. This The town grew because of trade with the lizard men, believe it or not.

<Niethan> Of course, that's fairly recent. There was a time not so long ago in elf reckoning when the lizard men would as soon eat you as look at you, and that’s still so with the species in many other parts of Arland.

<Niethan> Only been in the last few hundred years than the lizard men of this swamp sort of became more sociable and friendly. The term friendly being used relatively speaking.

<Niethan> Actually, friendly might be pushing it a bit, but you know what I mean.

<Alleris> "Well, that's a good thing."

<Niethan> Lizard man jewelry and crafts have sort of become a local industry here. The rich back in the northern provinces love it.

<Alleris> "Huh, I've never really had an eye for such luxuries myself."

<Niethan> Nor I, but rarely do I understand the things humans find beautiful.

<Alleris> "Hm. Humans are diverse, everyone wants something different, even if only minorly."

<Niethan> I suppose that is so with all species.

<=Scene=> The group rides past several shops and inns, before finally stopping at one called Jagged Sugar.

<Niethan> Ah, this inn is run by an elf. I think its the only one not run by a human in this town. Not many elves here, so we're lucky to have even one.

<=Scene=> The captain disappears inside for a few moments, then comes back out and says something Alleris doesn't understand in the elven tongue.

* Alleris remains pretty quiet during this entire affair, deciding it may be best not to speak.

<Niethan> Well, he says they don't have room for all of us, but that there's room across the street for those that can't get rooms here. Perhaps you would prefer to stay over there? The bar stays open later anyhow, if that matters to you.

<Alleris> "That works, I expect." he smiles a bit, and dismounts, "Good night then, I expect?"

<Niethan> Probably so. See you in the morning if that’s the case.

<=Scene=> When Alleris walks his horse over to the stable, the stable boy says "That'll be one silver noble for the night, sir.”

* Alleris reaches into his sack, and more specifically, grabs out a silver noble-ting, and hands it over "Thanks."

<=Scene=> So many things here. There are many shops in the city, most of which are still open. There is also, of course, dinner waiting inside. What will Alleris choose to do?

* Alleris chooses the logical choice here, and figures he can observe later, first, he's intent upon a good meal for once since he left the last city, so he heads inside.

<=Scene=> When Alleris steps inside, he is greeted by the owner.

<InnKeeper> Oh, are you with the elves?

<Alleris> "Indeed I am, I suppose."

<InnKeeper> Ah, well, your room will be one lightning for the night.

<Briana> Dinner is currently being served, and is server up until eleven. We're open for drinks until midnight.

<Alleris> "Alright, thank you. That sounds wonderful." he reaches into his sack, fishing out a lightning and handing it over.

* InnKeeper hands you a key.

<InnKeeper> Up on the second floor, number 24. If you want food now, Kae will take care of you.

* InnKeeper indicates who Kae is.

<Alleris> "Alright, thanks." he nods at the inn keeper, and smiles politely, and then moves over to where Kae is, presumably ordering some food.

<=Scene=> Kae is a human female who is of average build and looks. She has brown curly hair and brown eyes.

<Alleris> "Aha, good evening miss, any chance I could grab a bite to eat?" he asks, politely.

<Kae> Well hello there, is this your first time here?

<Alleris> "It is"

<Kae> Ah, well, have a seat over there and I'll bring you a menu.

<Alleris> "Alright." he smiles, taking a seat immediately.

<=Scene=> Kae goes over and grabs a menu and returns to Alleris.

<Kae> This is our lunch and dinner menu for the week. Can you read Mithronian, or do you need me to read it to you sir?

<Alleris> "Ah, No, I can read, thankfully. Thank you, though." he smiles brightly, and looks over the menu.

<=Scene=> The menu reads as follows:

Lunch:
Dark Rye Bread - 8 Copper
Sausage - 4 Silver Pieces
Broth with Bacon - 3 Silver Pieces
Dinner:
Corned Beef - 5 Silver Pieces
Goose Stuffed with Onions, Eggs, Grapes - 1 Gold Piece
Sausage - 4 Silver Pieces
Salmon - 5 Silver Pieces
Squab stuffed Pheasant - 8 Silver Pieces
Roast goose - 7 Silver Pieces
Drinks:
Beer - 2 copper pieces
Beer, heavy - 3 copper pieces
Ale, - 4 copper pieces
Ale, Spiced - 7 copper pieces
Mead, - 1 silver piece
Mead, Spiced brew - 14 copper pieces
Wine, Table - 8 copper pieces

<Kae> If you want the lunch food, it is also available for dinner. We also have a more complete drinks menu if you want something more expensive.

<Kae> I recommend the Salmon, its quite good this time of year.

<Alleris> "Ah, Uhm. I figure I’d like the salmon and some wine, if that's acceptable."

<Kae> Of course. I'll be back with the wine shortly, and I'll put in your order for the salmon.

<Alleris> "Thanks." he smiles, making sure to note to tip nicely.

<=Scene=> After about two minutes, Kae returns with the wine and a slice of bread and butter.

<Kae> Bread is complements of the house. Your salmon is cooking. Is there anything else I can do for you?

<Alleris> "Uhm, no. I think that's it, but..." he reaches into his pouch of coins, presumably, and pulls out a gold piece "You accept tips, right?"

<Kae> Yes of course... wow, are you sure that's the right coin, sir?

<Alleris> "I am." he smiles, and offers it to her.

<Kae> Oh, wow, thank you sir.

<Kae> You're with that group of elves that came in tonight aren't you?

<Alleris> "I am."

<Kae> I've never really talked to elves before... and this is the first time we've ever had them stay here since I started. What are they like, if you don't mind me asking. I wouldn’t want to offend them on accident or anything.

<Alleris> "They're to the point, I think. They move out early and get things done, but they're friendly otherwise."

<Kae> I see… Hopefully I don't offend them by doing something wrong... I better get moving, lots of tables tonight. Thank you so much sir.

<Alleris> "It's Alleris, I'm not much for sir." he remarks "And have a nice eve."

<=Scene=> After a bit, Kae returns.

<Kae> Here is your salmon, mister Alleris.

* Alleris smiles, nodding and muttering another thank you.

<Kae> Is there anything else I can do for you? More wine perhaps?

<Alleris> "More wine would be nice, thank you."

<Kae> I'll bring it right away.

<=Scene=> Kae leaves and brings more table wine within a minute or so.

<Kae> If there is anything else I can do for you tonight, just let me know.

* Kae departs to wait on other customers.

* Alleris nods, and goes about eating and drinking.

<=Scene=> A couple of humans in chain mail set down next to him. They have obviously been drinking, but do not appear to be completely drunk.

<Human#1> So, you know what I'm going to ask, don't ye?

<Human#2> I can guess.

<Human#1> So, it's true then? The angle is declaring itself independent from Mithrim?

* Alleris eats his food, though a part of him listens in.

<Human#2> Aye. Tilverton and the other two towns down there say the King is refusing to help them with the lizard men and goblins raiding their towns.

<Human#2> So they're refusing to pay their taxes to the crown, and instead, using the taxes to hire mercenaries to protect themselves.

<Human#2> They are offering outrageous pay rates too.

<Human#1> Yeah, I've seen their fliers.

<Human#1> I wondered how in the world they could offer money like that, now it makes sense I suppose.

<Human#2> Well, now ye know. I tell ya, pay like that is mighty tempting.

<Human#1> Yeah. It seems odd they'd be having trouble with lizard men, though. I thought all the lizard men along the boarder gave up raiding us years ago. The ones here are certainly friendly enough. What gives?

* Human#2 scratches his chin and says “I duno. That worries me a bit too. I mean, if the lizard men down there turned hostile, what’s to keep the ones up here from doing it?”

<Alleris> "Hm..."

<Human#1> I thought the same thing. If the lizard men turn hostile, this town's in a lot of trouble.

<Human#2> It's not the lizard men that bothered me about accepting a position there though.

<Human#2> It's what the king will do when he finds out they've declared themselves a free province.

<Human#1> Do you think he will bother? This rogue of a king's never shown he gives a rats ass about them before.

<Human#1> He's always seemed to treat them like the least important part of the kingdom, he might not even bother.

<Human#2> That's true, and I suppose there's a possibility he just lets them leave the kingdom. They're more trouble than they are worth, and they don't bring in THAT much money in taxes, especially since the silver mines dried up, but...

* Alleris continues to listen, naturally.

<Human#2> Would you like to wager your life on that?

<Human#1> No.

<Human#2> Yeah, me neither.

<Human#2> Kae, another couple of Ale for your best customers, eh?

<Kae> (calling from across the room) Right away!

<=Scene=> The talk turns to other things, mostly family stuff and local politics, though there is some talk about how well the local sports team will fare in this years national sports competition. It seems the city of Gainesville is home of the national champions of whatever sporting event they are talking about.

<=Scene=> Alleris finishes his second glass of wine and his salmon.

<Alleris> "Well that was good."

* Alleris smiles, taking note of that conversation and standing to stretch "Hm...perhaps I should retire."

* Kae sees you leaving and comes over to thank you one more time.

<Kae> Thanks once again for that tip. That's as much money as I normally make in a week. You don't know how much this helps.

<Alleris> "...Really?" he considers, for a moment, and digs into his pocket, sighing and shaking his head, though it's not a sad sigh, more one of contemplation, and he flips what at first appears to be a silver piece at her, but it's not, it's pretty obvious what it really is "Keep that, You seem a good person." he starts off, towards the stairs or whatever.

* Kae 's jaw drops. She's literally unable to speak.

* Alleris heads upstairs, in that case. and into a room.

<=Scene=> The room is fairly nice for the price. Indoor plumbing, a bed, chair, desk, dresser, pitcher and glass. Quite nice.

* Alleris takes a seat happily, and yawns "There, good deed done for the day." he sets his stuff to the side and locks the door, lying back.

<=Scene=> Nothing exciting happens during the night. Alleris is awakened by the inn staff in the morning with the message that they will all be departing in an hour.

<=Scene=> Breakfast is available now downstairs if you wish, you are told.

* Alleris gets up immediately with a yawn, and grabs all of his possessions, and dons his armor, heading downstairs to eat.

<=Scene=> You are greeted by another barmaid.

<Alleris> "Morning." he mutters, kind of tiredly.

<Tessa> Good morning, Sir, my name is Tessa. I'll be waiting on you this morning.

<Tessa> Here is our breakfast menu.

<=Scene=> The menu reads as so:

Pepper Bread - 8 Copper Pieces
Eggs - 2 Silver Pieces
Herring - 4 Silver Pieces
Sausage - 4 Silver Pieces
Bacon - 3 Silver Pieces

<Tessa> We only serve juice, wine, or water in the morning. Hopefully one of those will be acceptable.

* Alleris smiles, and looks over the menu "Uhm, bacon and eggs and sausage would be nice, thank you. Oh, and water."

<Tessa> I'll put in the order right away sir.

* Alleris nods, and digs in his bag again, figuring it'd be unpleasant to him not to tip the barmaid, and he offers her a gold coin "Here, the staff here is really nice."

<Tessa> Oh my, thank you sir.

<=Scene=> While you wait, a familiar face walks in.

* Alleris smiles, and then yawns lightly, looking to the familiar face.

<Niethan> Do you always tip the waitresses that much, or only the cute ones?

<Alleris> "Uhm, I was just tipping for good service."

* Niethan looks at you for a moment, then says "For most humans, I'd be inclined to laugh that off, but I get the feeling you're sincere about that."

<Alleris> "Thanks. Anyways, I assume we'll be going soon?"

<Niethan> About half an hour. I was just coming over to make sure that everyone here was awakened. They all were, it seems.

<Niethan> We have about three quarters day ride to the next town, so we should get there in plenty of time to do any shopping that you want to do before we get to our destination tomorrow night.

<Alleris> "Alright then."

* Tessa returns with a plate. “Here you go sir, enjoy!”

<Alleris> "Thanks."

* Tessa departs.

<Niethan> that actually looks better than what I had. Maybe I should have stayed over here.

<Alleris> "Perhaps, if you're ever in town again."

* Alleris begins to eat.

<Niethan> Well, I better get packed now that I see everyone is awake and
accounted for. See you in half an hour.

* Niethan departs.

* Alleris nods, and eats without any real haste, but enough to where he wouldn’t be late.

<=Scene=> The food is quite good, the eggs are perhaps a little runny, but still tasty. Alleris realizes it's time to go get Tamuril and meet up with the elves.

* Alleris does just that, then!

<Niethan> The stable boy is the same one from last night. He remembers
which horse is yours.

<StableBoy> She’s a very nice horse mister, what's her name?

<=Scene=> Pause Chapter Sixteen.

<=Scene=> Resume Chapter Sixteen.

<Alleris> "Tamuril."

<StableBoy> Sure is a beauty. Don’t see horses like this every day. You're lucky to have a horse like this. Take good care of her.

<Alleris> "Alright, I will. And thank you."

<=Scene=> As Alleris walks out into the street with Tamuril, he sees the elves assembled and nearly ready to go.

<Niethan> Well, I see you made it after all.

<Alleris> "Indeed I did. I take it we're setting out then?"

<Niethan> In just a few moments. There's a couple of stragglers just getting set to go.

<Niethan> Should be a nice, easy ride today. The next town isn't that far.

<Alleris> "Alright, that's good" he smiles lightly, and mounts his horse.

<Niethan> Oreaon isn't much to see compared to this town.

<Alleris> "Not a problem, Traveling is half the experience, not just the towns."

<Niethan> Traveling is more the experience than the towns for me. Not much to see out here either, unfortunately. The road curves pretty close along the edge of the swamp. Not my favorite place to visit. But, hey, the sun is shining today.

<=Scene=> The leader of the archer cadre calls out something, which you've heard the last few days, and so recognize as meaning "we're off" or something like that. The group begins moving.

* Alleris heads after, smiling and nodding back to Niethan "I see...well, at least it is a pleasant morn."

<Niethan> That it is. If we get to town early enough, I might go hunting if it stays like this. Do you hunt much?

<Alleris> "Not a lot, but I have, I suppose."

<Niethan> I find it clears my mind, sometimes. It's not bad practice for my job, either.

<Alleris> "I can imagine...Hm."

<=Scene=> As they ride, a young elf who does not speak Mithronian comes up and starts asking questions to Alleris through Niethan. However, since none of these questions were anything that Niethan hadn't already asked on the ride, there is no need to recount them here.

<=Scene=> Eventually the group stops for lunch.

<Niethan> Hmm, more venison jerky... I think I need to look for something different when we get to Oreaon.

* Alleris chuckles as he eats his own rations, yawning.

<Niethan> I think I'll get some fruit, if they have it. Maybe some apples. My horse loves those too.

<Niethan> I've been wondering more and more about the price this town is offering for help. Makes me really wonder... I guess we'll know in a couple of days.

* Niethan finishes his lunch in silence.

<Alleris> "I'm sure we will."

* Alleris finishes his lunch, and smiles brightly.

<=Scene=> Eventually, the archer captain gives his "time to move out" or whatever it is call. The elves pack everything up and get ready to continue.

* Alleris packs up and mounts his horse again.

<=Scene=> Every so often, the road strays near enough to the swamp that you can see it near the horizon. You even see a couple of Alligators once. They don't do anything but lay there and watch as you ride on by, however.

<=Scene=> Nothing very exciting happens on the second part of the ride to Oreaon.

<=Scene=> Eventually, the town comes into view. It's definitely a small town, especially compared to the last one.

<Niethan> Well, you can see as I said, not much of a town.

<Alleris> "Ah well, I’m sure it'll do."

<Niethan> Far as I can tell, the only point of this town is that it's halfway between Gainesville and the next town down the road, called Smithson.

<Niethan> Seems to act as a sort of trade post, and stopping over point. Not good for much else though.

<Alleris> "Hm, Makes sense." he yawns out, with a smile.

<=Scene=> The group rides into Oreaon. It appears to be a village of less than a thousand.

<Alleris> "Well, here’s Oreaon, apparently."

<Niethan> Yeah, there isn't much to it. Still, it has everything that you'd need I suppose.

<Alleris> "That's all one can really ask for, I think"

<Niethan> If there's anything you think you might need soon, I'd consider buying it here. Anywhere offering this kind of pay... who knows what we're riding into.

<=Scene=> The group rides up to a rather large building called "The Frosty Inn"

<Alleris> "Right, I think I’ll get some more rations and all that then."

<Niethan> Well, looks like there's plenty of room for all of us here this time. I'm going to get my room and go out hunting. Would you care to come with me?

<Alleris> "Alright. And, I suppose I’ll join you."

* Niethan walks inside "The Frosty Inn" to pay for his room and get his room key.

* Alleris does the same, and if there are no more distractions for him, heads off to the market to buy food.

<=Scene=> There is much waiting about as rooms are issued. Some of the elves share rooms to save money, most don't. Eventually, Niethan gets his key.

<Niethan> "I'm going to go drop my stuff off in the room first. It's still plenty early. We can meet back here in, say, an hour or so. By the way... you don't seem to have brought a hunting weapon with you? I'm sure I could find someone who would let you borrow one... contingent on you replacing anything that might break. Would you prefer a spear or a bow?

<Alleris> "Aha, Thank you. A spear would be preferable."

<Niethan> We'll hopefully find a deer then. See you in an hour.

* Niethan departs up the stairs to his room.

* Alleris nods, and heads off.

<=Scene=> Shortly thereafter, Alleris finds himself at the counter.

<Alleris> "I'd like to get a room for the night." he smiles, digging in his sack.

<InnKeeper> That'll be 1 gold for the night.

* Alleris produces a gold coin, and hands it over.

* InnKeeper Hands over a key and says "Number Twenty Seven. Don't forget. Bar and kitchen closes at ten."


<=Scene=> You ask where the market is, you are told there are three. Deglau's market is the closest, and he recommends it.

<Alleris> "Alright, have a nice eve." he heads off, for the market.

* Alleris heads there, then.

<=Scene=> When you arrive, you see someone who appears to be the owner sitting out front laughing with some of the common folk. When he notices you approaching, he greets you.

<BelnoyDeglau> Greetings, sir. Is there anything I can help you with?

<BelnoyDeglau> We have some really nice apples this time of year. They're on special.

<Alleris> "I'm looking to buy some rations for my journeys." he smiles, and reaches into his sack.

<BelnoyDeglau> Ah, well, we've no shortage of those if that is all you need.

<Alleris> "I believe that's all, indeed."

<BelnoyDeglau> Will those be standard rations, or iron rations?

<Alleris> "Just normal, thank you."

<<BelnoyDeglau> > Very well. How many days then?

<Alleris> "Three, if you don't mind. Just replacing what I lost recently."

<BelnoyDeglau> You sure I can't interest you in some apples? They're really good.

<Alleris> "Humm...I suppose I’ll take a few."

<BelnoyDeglau> OK, three days worth of rations, and a dozen apples. That'll be one Knight and one Lightning or 30 Nobles, depending on what you have.

* Alleris reaches into his pack, fishing out a gold coin and an electrum, an handing them over.

<BelnoyDeglau> Thanks mister. You have a good day now, and if you find you need anything else, just let me know.

<Alleris> "Alright, thanks. You have a nice night." he grabs the items, and places them in correct places, smiling and heading off.

<=Scene=> Alleris heads back to his room to drop stuff off, and get dressed for hunting. At the appointed time he comes downstairs.

<Niethan> Ah, there you are.

<Alleris> "Ready, Niethan?"

<Niethan> Ready.

* Alleris smiles, and stretches "Onward to hunting, then?"

<Niethan> Yep. There's an area near here that I've hunted before.

* Alleris nods.

<Niethan> I was tempted to hunt buffalo... there's some around here this time of year, but I think that would be rather dangerous with just the two of us.

<Niethan> I tried to get some of the others interested, but there wasn't enough.

<Alleris> "Hm.. Yeah, I can agree with that."

<Niethan> What I thought we'd do is this. I'll try to see if I can locate some deer tracks and find a deer.

<Niethan> I'll then try to attack it and drive it back to you to finish it off.

<Niethan> It's something I've never really done before, so I thought it might be fun to try.

<Niethan> That sound good to you?

<Alleris> "Alright. That sounds like a plan."

<Niethan> Follow me then.

<=Scene=> the two have barely entered the woods when Niethan locates some tracks.

* Alleris follows.

<Niethan> (Whispered) Our luck is indeed good. These tracks are extremely fresh. Wait here, let me look over the hill.

* Alleris nods in silence.

* Niethan moves silently, almost blending into the forest as well.

<Niethan> (Whispered) Our luck is incredible. It's almost too easy, in fact. Our quarry is just over the hill at a watering hole. Judging by the layout of the terrain, if I slip round to the other side of the creek,
he should run directly this way one I spook him. Move quietly to the top of the hill and wait and be ready.

* Niethan slips away into the woods.

* Alleris movies as silently as possible to the top of the hill.

<=Scene=> A few minutes pass, then, suddenly you see arrows fly at the deer. One of them hits, and the deer starts running your direction!

* Alleris stabs at the deer as soon as he sees a good chance to do so.

<=Scene=> Alleris spears the unsuspecting deer neatly. It drops to the ground, never knowing what hit it.

* Alleris smirks slightly as the deer drops, and then leans down to make sure it's dead, upon finding it is, he stands up again.

<Niethan> Very nicely done. No offense, but, being a human, I wondered if you'd really be able to pull this off. Maybe you were an elf in another lifetime.

<Alleris> "Aha, thank you."

<Niethan> I think I'll carry it into town and offer it to anyone who wants it, unless you'd rather have some roast venison for dinner.

* Niethan begins eviscerating the deer.

<Alleris> "No, the first one works."

<Niethan> Works for me too. I'm sick of venison.

<Alleris> "Shall we, then?"

<Niethan> Yeah, just give me a few moments to finish gutting this guy.

* Alleris nods.

<Niethan> You know, most of my friends don't understand why I'm hanging out with you. I guess I've always found other races interesting.

<Niethan> And since it's generally been my job with this group to be the one to negotiate with other races, I guess you can never know too much about how they think.

<Alleris> "I'm sorry to hear that. I suppose I do as well."

<Niethan> Humans seem to be the most diverse of all the races, and I often have trouble understanding how they think.

<Alleris> "Makes two of us."

<Niethan> But you... I understand you better than most I've come across. I think I'll actually miss you a bit when we part ways.

<Alleris> "...Thank you."

* Niethan has finished getting the deer up on poles ready to carry.

<Niethan> Care to help me carry him back?

<Alleris> "Alright."

<=Scene=> The two easily get the deer back to town in a short amount of time.

<Niethan> They manage to sell the deer for 7 silver each to one of the other two inns in town, then head back over to the inn they are staying at.

<Alleris> "I believe I’ll hit the hay now."

<Niethan> I'm going to have dinner and a drink, I think.

<Alleris> "Goodnight, then."

<Niethan> See you in the morning then.

* Alleris heads up to his room, and inside it.

<=Scene=> Alleris' room is not nearly as nice as the one back in Gainesville, but its better than the cold, wet tent of the night before that, and so he has no problem falling asleep quickly.

<=Scene=> In the morning, he's awakened by Niethan.

<Niethan> Got about an hour before we leave. Better come down to breakfast if you want some.

* Alleris gets up immediately upon being awoke, and grabs his stuff, nodding and thanking Niethan.

* Alleris then heads down for breakfast.

<=Scene=> The barmaid is a chubby, bad tempered girl, completely unlike those at the previous stop.

<Baarmaid> We've got Cheese, Trout, and bacon omelets this morning, what do you want?

<Alleris> "Oh, uhm. Trout would be nice, if that's not too much. Thank you."

<Barmaid> (loudly to someone across the room) One trout Louie!

<Barmaid> That'll be 4 nobles, or do you want something to drink with that besides water?

<Alleris> "No, water'll be fine." he smiles, despite it all, politely.

<=Scene=> Barmaid looks at you, and says "Suit yourself" and departs with your 4 silver nobles.

<=Scene=> It does not appear that there are many people eating breakfast here this morning.

<=Scene=> After a while, your trout arrives.

<Barmaid> Her ya go. Anything else I can get for you.

<Alleris> "No, thank you though."

* Alleris either doesn't mind, or isn't going to say anything, merely sitting and awaiting his food. When it arrives, he says "Thank you" and then starts eating.

<=Scene=> It's not the best trout you've had. It's overcooked, and not particularly flavorful, but it's edible.

<=Scene=> As you're finishing breakfast Niethan shows up.

<Niethan> I hope that's better than dinner last night.

<Niethan> I had the poached salmon. I won't ever have that here again. It was terrible.

<Alleris> "It's fine." he swallows his food, and smiles up at Niethan.

<Niethan> At least the outrageous prices they charge here includes the stable fee. Anyhow, we're about ready to go, so come on out when you're done.

* Niethan heads outside.

<Alleris> "Alright then." he remarks; It was pretty bad, and perhaps he should be more open about that, but why make a fuss? It'd only serve to complicate things. He was such an...agreeable sort.

* Alleris finishes his food and places his plates neatly down, and then stands up and pushes his chair in, departing to his horse.

<=Scene=> Once again, like yesterday, the elves are all gathered in the street.

<Niethan> Ah, there you are. We're waiting on you this time. Ready?

<Alleris> "Oh, I apologize, I'm ready."

<Niethan> No problem, we haven‘t been waiting long.

<=Scene=> The group starts riding out upon seeing Alleris and Tamuril.

<Niethan> We'll just catch them up quickly and bring up the rear.

<=Scene=> The pair do just that in no time.

<Niethan> Well, today's the day we see what our next job will be like.

<Niethan> This ride is a bit farther than yesterday, but not too much.

<=Scene=> Several hours pass, as the group rides on.

<Niethan> We should be stopping for lunch in a bit. Probably on top of this next hill.

<Alleris> "Alright then."

<=Scene=> Moments later, when the group tops the hill, they see an interesting scene in the valley below. It appears there is a battle of some sort going on. Two wagons, probably full of humans, appear to be under attack.

<Alleris> "..." is the only thing he gets out at first, and then he visibly frowns, hand resting on his sword.

<=Scene=> The attackers appear to be lizard men. There are a LOT of them. You realize that, without aid, the people in the wagons will probably not survive this attack. What will you and your elven cohorts do?

<=Scene=> End Chapter Sixteen.

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