Midnight RPG - Chapter 29.782

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WHEN & WHERE[edit]

At some point that night, after the battle with Krell and after the discussion between Durgaz, Zal and Eranon about visions has ended, Durgaz will leave whatever inn they were staying in and go off on his own. Once he is near the docks, he will use his Locate Creature ability to find Khalim(sp?), the big Sarcosan who seemed to be in charge of "flipping" the Spear of Grief.

NOTE: I have broken up some of your conversation with my own.


The docks are flooded with fogs on the night. Even though the moon is coming toward it's fullness in the next few weeks these planks are difficult to be followed. The tinge of fish and sea permeate the place. Along the docks the lamp light is hued in yellow-green from the green-clay candles posted in lanterns at 20' intervals some 20' above the planks of the dock-walks. There are around 7 ships in the various docking ports (about have as many more could dock here) and on a few of them hang their own lanterns. Only two ships have gangplanks lain out to walk aboard. "The Spear of Grief" is one such, with several lanterns lighting her up you can see ship-carpenter tools lying about on her rails.

Durgaz can hear the thump and melodies coming from the "Ls" some 100 yards up the rocky beach just beyond the docks. There are no people on the docks, they've been lain bare for the night...

Concentrating on the tall Sarcosan, dusky skin, tattoos covering... Durgaz slowly turns while your senses reach beyond your body nearly 300 yeards, close to the full extent of your ability - the angle is slight but you can feel it... Soon without having realized it you've walked off the docks, up the rocky shelled beach to your right of the Ls and around the backside.

The light is unlike the main boardwalks, which seem to be prepetually in dusk with the multiple sources of lantern and torch. Yet your orcish vision allows you to see easily through the hinderances....


What he does next depends upon where Khalim is. If he is on the dock somewhere, Durgaz will go there. If he's in a bar or a brothel or something, Durgaz will go there. If he's at home, Durgaz will go there, and knock on his door. If there are people around, Durgaz will ask Khalim to meet with him outside, out of the range of prying eyes. Surely Khalim wouldn't want to look like a coward in front of his friends or compatriots, too scared to be left alone with a single orc. If Khalim is a coward and refuses to go, Durgaz will just talk to him wherever he is.


Walking up the slight hill from the docks around the backside of the Ls, Durgaz sees multiple shops of craft-workers as well as some of the less rowdy brothels and houses of ill repute... Though they may seem less exciting it's sure that they may contain more lethal dangers as a small handfull of the most drunken or staunch pirates and islanders grumble and growl as you pass...

With little effort you find yourself standing in the doorway of an old gambling hall. No name anywhere to be seen or spoke of - only the skulls of orcs, oruks and a few humans adorn the upper doorway as their Inn sign.
This "after hours" place is filthy, the whores here - infested with Shadow only knows what diseases. Only a few down on their luck sailors sit drinking themselves to death at lonely tables...
Stairs climb up to the inn floor of this place and Durgaz finds himself knocking on the third door at the end of the hall, a window looking down toward the "alley" on which the blood of Krell still seeps...

Khalim is at home.
When the door opens from your knock a Dornish woman with a face pretty yet worn for her age pulls in the door... Quickly Khalim cuts in front of her, stepping outside - watching for safety of his family as he shuts the door... (beyond him, before the door shut you could see his Dornish wife who had opened the door, a caucasian, red haired, blue eyed, plump but pretty gal; their five children and what you would assume would be his wife's younger sister.

Khalim stops Durgaz in the door and offers you to walk out from the Ls around and toward the forest with him. Taking up a pipe (offering you some) as you go.


Durgaz isn't particularly interested in opening up a dialog with this guy so much as he just want to deliver a message. If appropriate, feel free to imagine that Intimidate checks would be interspersed throughout, wherever appropriate.


The dark sturdy Sarcosan doesn't seem intimidated by your kind, he's lived in the South with orc, he's lived in the north with orc. Though he did seem overly protective of his family. Almost surprised anyone "found" where he lives in this place... He seems to feel comfortable with himself walking with you. He seems willing to talk...


"The elf is right. You people are parasites. You find yourselves in a unique position to oppose the Shadow from one of the few places left on Aeryth that his taint has not fully corrupted, and you fritter away that opportunity on personal gain, liquor and music and cheap women. You may sink the occasional ship out of Highwall, but it is by happenstance when you do. You would just as soon scuttle or steal a ship filled with supplies bound for Three Oaks, or food that might save the lives of a village of Erenlander children. You are disgusting, even by the low standards set by other Sarcosans.


Khalim stops abruptly, yet some 50' before the first start of the forest on Bildgewater's backside... He turns on you with confidence, yet still in respectful distance and says...

"Slow your bile tongue 'friend'... You have seen that I have reason to care. I have a family. I have children. But even so, my way is my way. I donot owe you nor ANY man an explanation - whether he be orc, elf, Sarcosan. Whether he be Norfall, Shadow or Resistance. I owe NO MAN anything, and that is how I survive - it is what I hold true.
You speak with daggered words of accusation 'friend', yet you took down three men wishing only to do their jobs and the young boy there that day only hoping to impress me - that he might get on as a new laborer...

Do not speak of me and mine in such generalized tones 'friend'. You have not even given your name as a show of attitude with me, yet I have lost a days labor and three... four strong men to do it. You speak of parasites... You speak with such a holyier than thou tone 'friend'. Perhaps you need to look into the eyes of a man and offer him the chance to stand noble in your eyes before you judge him."


"You 'owe' no one an explanation? Fine, have it that way. True, you are correct. You owe neither me nor any other man anything, and I owe you nothing, so perhaps we should both just go our separate ways and look out for ourselves and what is ours. That is why the Shadow has taken your ancestral lands and those of all other Men, and why there is no one left to stand against his hordes. You and the other pirates here have chosen to look the other way, to hide yourselves away in this place while the rest of the world withers and dies, and for that reason, when the Shadow finally does break through and come for you, there will be nobody to come to your aid. If you choose to live your life alone, caring nothing only for yourself and yours ... which, of course, you are free to do, for you 'owe' no man anything ... then you will die alone.


Shifting his position to better listen to the orc, Khalim's smile widens... not to make fun or think less of the orc's words, but rather to explain that the former Shadow minion is too quick to judge - nothing could be farther from the truth for this Sarcosan...

"...slow there my 'friend'. You're hate speaks for you. You still yet converse as a Shadow minion, yet you are obviously not of that ilk and are seeking a way out on your own. You're burnt and cut across your flesh but it would seem that your heart suffers more..."

the large dusky man reaches his hands up, both grabbing a low hanging branch - his pipe sticking out the side of his mouth... tilting his head down, then back up he continues...

"...the Enemy took the lands of my ancestors, that is true. But I am not of that age, I have not fallen - I still yet rise. You know little of me my 'friend', you do not know of the resistence cells that I fought to found in the Bluff, Erenhead, Fallport and even old Highwall itself. I do not spit bile at you because you donot know my heart and I donot blame you or judge you for not knowing.
My time is past, I found my love and now I protect it. Can that be the wrong thing to do? Is there not a time for which we can put down the fight? Or change the way we fight? I now teach my sons and daughters to take the next step for me... That may yet be ten, twenty years from now - but they are my blood and they will live higher than their parents if anything honorable yet boils my blood.
I fear for you my 'friend', I fear you speak to quickly to judge others and point out that if others choose to live our lives alone, caring nothing only for ourselves ... then we will die alone. I fear for you my 'friend' because I must ask - is it for my life and honor you fear? ... or your own?"

Khalim looks up at you in a way you've never seen before. The elves of the Hamlet looked at you mostly in pity, the dwarves aboard the Spear of Grief looked at you with hate, humans... they rarely meet your gaze. This human is unlike any you've ever met. Kyuad is perhaps the closest you'd been to this look. A look of care. With his head tilted down but his eyes focused up to meet yours, Khalim shakes his head a little and smiles. His teeth gleam white wide across his face, but not as orcs... not to show his constitution through baring fangs. This human... this man... seems to be willing to hear you... the honor that drives you. He has known the temptation of Shadow and has come out alive...


"I do not fear for your life or mine, Sarcosan, and your 'honor' means nothing to me. If I fear for anything at all, it is for a future, any future at all. You care for your children, obviously ... do you truly believe that they have ten or twenty years? I do not. I don't know how long it has been since you set foot in the lands around the Pelluria, or how much you people know of what is going on outside, but this world is on its last legs. It has barely another generation of life left in it before it is ground permanently beneath the Shadow's heel. Your motives may be just, but withdrawing from the world to raise your children inside an illusion of peace only serves to guarantee that, if that illusion lasts long enough for them to grow up, there will no longer be any world left for them to go out and fight for when they do."


...speaking in a soft tone, yet ever strong the dusky man replies...

"HONOR... Honor is all there is 'friend'. Honor has become the only tie that binds men of value. Honor is the honesty to oneself, the fairness of mind, the integrity in one's beliefs and actions. Honor is 'our kind's'... (speaking of you and he) ...life blood.
Long ago in my campaigns alongside the Kurgun, I was been told in story that it was so of your people too... long before your ancestory became what it became. When your people first walked the mythic Halls of Moria side by side with Lord Moradin, Silverbeard the Huskarl and Dumathoin the Miner.
No 'friend', I hold no ill will for you just because of where or how you were born, because YOU have found the path... you've found the way... the way home. Many men born with much easier roads have not the will nor heart to find that path my 'friend'. You did... and that is honor. Yet there is something I feel in you that still pains, something that still longs...
It is not my place, nor my business. I will not assume that. But I know there is a way out of the darkness that you find yourself under. You escaped the Enemy, don't let His shadow claim you back - dead or alive. To truly make your revenge, LIVE and live well."

The old (for a war veteran, nearly 50 yrs old) Sarcosan steps back and kneels as if to pray... but there is no prayer left in this world... you know that, he knows that... only Shadow hears the words of prayer in these days. Yet he does it still... continuing to speak...

"...your words cut to the heart of me, if I have sinned my 'friend' it is in this illusion that I take penance. True, my mind will not allow a future for my children much beyond my years on Aryth. True, their beliefs may reflect this den of veiled shadow after I pass into the either. But the heart of me will not believe that which my mind doth heed. I cannot... I WILL NOT. Believe there fate is sealed for the future of hate my mind tells me is only logical..."

Khalim looks up to the stars, he looks up to his ancestors - this is something you've not seen... this man of strength weeps. A tear streaming down from his eye. Human's do so on occassion - but usually for pity, usually it is the women... but sometimes a weak man screams out in plea just before your Vardatch crushed his spine sending the tears into blood on the ground as his head finds it before his body falls...
This... however is not of that sort. Is this what it is to be a hero? Is this passion of heart and soul? Is this honor?... he continues...

"...I do not fear for your life or mine, Orc, but 'honor' means everything to me. As with you I have been lost off the path for sometime. I know that now... but it is with that that we can make our way back, in the knowing of our mistake... in the rekindling of old wounds that will not heal by ignoring them... I know that now. Yet I have not said so in a decade."


"I have never claimed, nor will I ever, to be holier than anyone. I have probably caused more suffering, and with less care, than anyone here on this island, with the possible exception of the demons that seem to have infested it of late. I am disgusted by what you do here not because I am better than you, but because you have no reason NOT to be. You are squandering an opportunity that no one else on this blighted planet has, and whether you wish to face it or not, your time is running out. The path through your reefs very nearly fell into the hands of the Legates of Highwall, tonight, and who among you even knew there was a danger? It will happen again. You will not get many more chances. I am not threatening you. I am telling you the truth."


...standing again to pull down in a sharp snap, the low branch that Khalim hung his arms on breaks down... he swings it at his foot kicking off the splinters. His grip ripped the branch off into a near perfect spike. He spins it once and puts the small log to his knee....

"...WHO!! WHERE...?!??"

You can tell his anger rose quickly, yet controlled. His thoughts obviously on his family. If not to stop this treachery from happening again - then to know when to cut and run from this 'cell'... as he has so many times before. Though this time it's different, he can't run as fast. His children hinder him. Yet at the same time offer him the most pure strength Aryth has yet seen.


"You need not worry; the traitor is dead. His name was Krell, and he was a Sarcosan mercenary who found his way to this place and tried to barter it away in exchange for passage to Highwall. He died earlier this evening, at the hand of a man whose family he had slain. He will not threaten you again, but the demons with whom he sought to barter, and who apparently still hold your prince in thrall, are still as powerful as ever."


"As for your men, I did not mean to kill them. I was not in my right mind, and when your men came at me, overeager in their excitement over the prospect of torturing and killing a lone orc, I lost my will, and I did as I was created to do. But I did not attack you, or your men, until you came aboard a vessel that was not rightfully yours, seeking to ransack it for valuables. I am not making excuses for myself, and the circumstances under which their husbands and children died surely cannot matter to the loved ones they left behind. The blood of these men is on my hands, and their lives are another blot on my soul. But your men died because they acted rashly. Do you shed any tears for the rowers that are killed and maimed, through no such fault of their own, whenever your people attack a ship? Or are their lives less valuable than those of your workers here, because they are not of your kind? When a new ship is brought to the docks, do you think for a moment about how many lives might have been lost so that your fellow pirates could steal it?"


"...ah... yes... the word from the Ls, earlier on this eve. That disturbance... that was the death of this traitor then? Well... good... is it all done then? What of those that he made deal with? What of those dark legates of Highwall? What will they do now?... Now that their infiltrator has passed? Is this not of worry?

I must warn you my 'friend', this place has become a plague of rumor - second only to the Bluff. Word spread quickly of the dragon-beast thing for which Free Sussar Ghulvenne transmogrified himself into. It is sure that his life is now in danger.
Not for Shadow Law being broken, but for all those that can make barter with the knowledge of such a display of channeled power outside the realm of Shadow. Word will spread quickly to the ports and beyond. The name Zal'Kazzir Ghulvenne will be known and hunted, as too will it be known that he travels with the Orc and Elf. That is if the mob doesn't find it's fear and form to force him off Bildgewater...
Lord Ghulvenne struck me as a good man, full of vigor, passion and honor... I saw it in him, but his arrogance will be his undoing - be mindful of that 'friend'. Temper his beast as he can aid you to temper yours.

I offer you an alternative to the hateful prayers on the hour of Shadow my 'friend'... My people take belief in the heavens. There was once a day when Shadow did not fall, there is a light in the stars above and where there is light - no darkenss abounds. My people believe that when you die you will take your 'heaven ride', the god riders of the Sorshef shall challenge you. If you are found wanting you will be thrown from your mount and forced to walk dishonored in the dark places between the stars. If you are worthy my 'friend' you will ride with the gods and your ancestors among the stars for all time. This is the 'Hashu'. It is a way to clear the path, I offer you to look to the stars, toward Badrua the Star Tower and seek the 'riding host'... the Sorshef... the army of gods who ride across the night sky when the sun falls on epic quests. They, my 'friend', are not the benevolent deities of other races, but as with the strength in your born people - they honor strict teaching, sending only harsh lessons thourhg parables and adventures and tales of wisdom, ethics, heheh of common sense... and of HONOR my 'friend'.
...are these not things of value to you? Is this what you seek to be hole again? I offer my hand if it can be a means of strength to you. I have some of these stories written... my daughter Zia learns our written language by recreating the texts of the Sorshef Sahi...... I can introduce you to her if you like. She is beautiful, she is why I have not forsaken life. She is the source of my fire, for which YOU rekindle now."


his eyes tighten... you can tell all he wants to do is run and lash out, yet he does not. In this way his ability to hold his anger reminds you of your Sarcosan. Zal'Kazzir's family fell to the Enemy, his daughter still yet is in their hands and he waited... he held it. And only an hour ago, got part of his vengence. He must still wait to find his daughter if she lives...
Khalim turns his head as if shaking the feeling out, to contentrate to help you to understand...

"...the men you killed, their families - they knew the risks. They were a part of this place and they knew the dangers. But you count me wrongly 'friend', I am not one of them. When I plied the waves for the years that I fought for Prince Norfall's banner, it was a clean sail he flew... These people were not the reavers they have become today. This dark visage of the Pirate Princes came nearly a decade ago now. I know not what came of it. Prince Jaedyn rarely revels with the men any longer, his 'court' has built a hold for him and payments to the Black Tower keeps the Wrath from our coves. Before... before the dealings with the legates and collectors they had not taken ships of non-Shadow make. They were clean in that. It is only in these later days since the Shadow's fall that they let blood pay for their treasures and pride themselves in the drink and squalor. Before... our crews would take Shadow ships and empty them in the hold cells beneath these coves, to later be used for trade when Shadow ships took prisoners of there own. Seasoned warriors seemed of worth to the generals in the Highhorns and many men were freed with our efforts. I barted myself with an orc of power called 'Darshod' for the life of my own wife Thora, I rescued ten years ago from the Artery caves...


The orc's head snaps up, like a dog's when he is awoken by a sharp noise.

"Do you speak the truth, Sarcosan? You rescued a prisoner from the Arteries? I have not heard of such a thing. I did not know it was possible."


smiling largely...

"...have you heard nothing 'friend'... I have no lies in me. I am of Sarcosan blood, this is true - but we are not a people of twisted tongue as have the Traitor Princes made us out to seem. You will find loyalty in the strongest of bonds within the Sarcosan people my 'friend'. There is one thing to be said, while it is a dangerous way to find it sometimes - when a Sarcosan gives his word, nothing less than death of honor can come to see it fall.

... it was from these Arteries that my wife Thora was recovered, yes... She is... she was a healer of men, a caster magics for her village that road among the Dornish horsemaster Redgard and his 'Raiders' to the north. It was the Redgard House that came to Jaedyn some ten years ago to ask for aid in this 'rescue' as you call it... It was my first years under the Pirate Prince white sails, so I know little of the politics between the great Dornish Houses of the time. But I know that this is of the time when young Jaedyn moved from his family's swashbucked vigilante ways toward what, at the time, seemed much more savvy. No 'friend' we did not rescue anyone from those caves... we bartered for prisoners taken. Thora was but one of the many we secured back. I was on the 'Corsair Hangman' (Jaedyn's ship) when the deal was stuck. It was an Orc called Darshod of the Dead Mothers that brokered the deal, it's said that his time creating the Artery Cave is what made him into what he is today in Highwall... his orders directly from Arydian Avielehrius, where the Demon-Bane lurks...
There is no escape from that place of hell, where experiments and creations from the dark heart of Aryth are born. There is only torment there. Thora has not spoke of her time there since. It was on a ship that we made trade with Darshod... a ship I will never forget... with blood-black sails, Fell hanging from the masts as if gallows, and flayed skins draping the irons bolted to it's sides... It bled hate.
But they delt with the Pirate Prince, who ruled... who rules the Sea. We gave 41 Orc and Oruk Captains for 212 men, women and children that had not been yet tortured to death in that place.

... strange though, I remember now - the sought others though. It's likely we could have freed the Arteries dry of it's captives if we had only a single elf. One called an eye or whisperer as they phrased it...
But for all the hate in the world Prince Norfall had with the Enemy he would not, back then, have given up the brave forest-folk of the Fangs and Gamarillian Delta... his friends and tradesmen in the wares of our pirate war treasure bounty...."


"It is sure that safe havens may yet be out there, yet still in this place I have found the most safety, even away from Baden's resistence cells of the Bluff. I donot wish to languish in this, but my family is my quest now. Do you not have a family to know the meaning of my words?"


"I do not have a family any longer. They are dead, all of them. Many drowned in the sea, other fell by blade and arrow and spell; some were taken by hungry ghosts, and one died on his knees, begging for mercy. They are gone now, and I do not dwell on them, because I know the Shadow would use them against me. You and your kind speak out so strongly of the power of love and friendship, but I have seen it revealed time and time again as nothing more than a gap in one's armor, waiting only for the enemy to find it. It is a luxury that I will not afford, so that maybe someday others may, without fear."


"...you couldn't be farther from the path my 'friend'... if you see them as such, then that is all they can be... a burden. But if you do not let the fear of their falling by Shadow cloud your mind... if you donot let that consume you, they can be much more. Family and friends are the only thing worth fighting for... worth living for... worth dying for.
my family, my friends... they are not a weight around my ankle to sink me to the bottom of this world. They are my breath, they are the soul of me. If you only see those with whom you walk, if you only see them as gaps in your armor - then I feel you are lost to Shadow. Because that is how an Orc thinks. They are not luxuries to afford or pity another for having - they are life, they are light to cast away the Shadow ... to find your way home my 'friend'...
If the Enemy has taken your family and friends through your hand or another, REMEMBER IT... The Enemy did so. It is not your family and friends who are at fault... it is not YOU that is at fault... for having the heart to hold hope, it is not you that is weaker for them....... And if those of the past have fallen, remember them for the strength they gave you and seek others to give that strength... that love back, back to Aryth... back to the world.
the Further you push away from friendship and family, the further you push from the path... the further you fall into darkness where the Enemy is strongest. If you fight for others, do not be so prideful to reject their support. You can't fight this thing alone my 'friend'... That is how the world will end, all that is necessary for the triumph of the Enemy is that one good man does nothing.... It can look as though you walk that path alone 'friend' but you need just turn your head port and starboard, right and left and you will find faith... you will find friends... you will find heart."


"I am responsible for the deaths of your men. I swung the vardatch that took their lives. I have left their families without fathers, and their mothers without children. But a thousand times more innocent people die out in the world EVERY DAY because other men look the other way and do nothing, because nobody cares enough to come to their defense. You and your people also have blood on your hands. One does not need to be 'holier' than anyone else to recognize that. Nor to wish to do something about it."


"...what would you have me do my 'friend', what would you have me do?"

Khalim steps back, puffs on his pipe, shows his arms and hands to be free of weapons and begins a bow of which you have seen before... from another Sarcosan 'friend'.


"So, we have come to your island, and now you lay claim to our ship. Fine. As far as I am concerned, you may take it, as well as whatever lies below decks ... the hold contains many crates that we did not open. You should know that we still may need it to leave this place, but once we have done so, it is yours, for all I care. Take the ship and whatever goods you find below, and trade them for enough money to forget about the outside world for a few more cycles. Half of that money, you may keep, or distribute among your workers, however you see fit.

The rest of it, you will divide up and give to the families of those three men who died aboard the boat, and whose blood still stains the floorboards below. I do not know how much this will be, or what it could buy for them, and it will not bring their loved ones back. But it is better spent on them than it could ever be on you or the rest of your thieving, whoring crew. You will tell them that you are deeply sorry for their loss, and that you will do anything you can to help them out in the cycles ahead. You will tell them nothing of me."


"by the stars and tides, I am Khalid Nahon-Duhale son of Ismar Toren of Menah-Seton and faithful son of the southern-most coastal city of Paol and I have riden four days with no sleep, water or food just to see the Sali raise high in the heavens beneath the constellations of the great eye tyrant. I now have found my purpose in life - to love a woman so unlike my kind that she has shown me what it was in my people that laid down with them in the times after the wars when Sarcosan Kings drove north. I live for lives not my own 'friend'. Even if it is in this place, I find light in my star-bright's eyes when I wake each morn.

And now that you know my soul 'friend', may I beg your words... what is it that drives your heart 'friend'?"

The large man turns and continues walking with you... His gate is nearly that of yours. He is a warrior, like you, yet he has found some peace in this world of hate. Perhaps it's stilled the blood rage, if he ever had it. Perhaps he's controlled it. As he replies...

"......that is a responsible act 'friend'. One that I've already made arrangements for, you may be surprised to know... It was my duty as their 'captain' to do such. But I assure you that the sentiment is not lost on me that it was your heart that sought me out for this duty. I have not, I will not speak of you. I suppose 'friend' that miracles can come true and my children will know the word hope in this day when one of your kind can speak of due justice for the families of the slain...

... as to the ship, I was pointed at her by Prince Aesir Norfall. I confirmed the refit with Prince Disa Norfall. She said it was at the request of Jaedyn the scion of the Pirate Princes and House Norfall. I know nothing more than that. I was paid a wage and stopped my carpenters when I knew the confliction with your boat..."


"This is not a request. You will do this. I may not be here when you have gotten whatever you will from the sale of the ship or the goods, but rest assured, I will know if you have not. And if you insist on being so foolish, I _will_ come back for you, and you can personally explain to the dead men why you felt that their widows and orphans were less deserving of the money than you, when I send you to join them."


Khalim glints at you once to show he is not afraid, then slowly raises his foot onto a tree stoop enjoying the deep musk of his after dinner pipe.... he continues...

"...by the stars on high, I give you my word - it will be done by the heart of me. I will make right what is now wrong. Not with need of your command 'friend' but not without consideration of it. I make it right because it is right. It is what my father before me taught as the wind blurred my eyes riding on the dusty plains of the southwest coastal flats...." Khalim looks to you eye to eye... warrior to warrior, man to man and offers his hand. "...so say we all 'friend', so say we all..."


Durgaz looks down at the man's extended hand. Clearly he was not expecting the man to be so amenable to his request; his perception of the nature of these pirates, in particular, had led him to expect more resistance. Perhaps threats were not necessary, although it is the only form of diplomacy he knows. On the other hand, maybe the Sarcosan simply wants to occupy his hand, the better to drive a knife into his ribs while he cannot swing his vardatch. Sarcosans are, after all, an untrustworthy lot.

But maybe not. He takes the Khalim's hand, shaking it awkwardly.

"You speak like an honorable man, Sarcosan. Perhaps I did misjudge you. It is ... good to know that you would have taken action to care for the families of the dead. It is more than I expected of you."

"I did not need to threaten you, I suppose. I have encountered many reluctant to act outside of their own interests unless they had reason to fear for their lives."

He pauses, staring out into the darkness, maybe at something Khalim's human eyes cannot see, and maybe at nothing. Khalim gets the distinct impression that there is something like an apology buried in here somewhere ... although not in so many words, for the Orcish tongue has no words with which to make one, and to do so in another language would still be culturally construed as an act of surrender, of weakness.

"The man who sought to sell you all out to the Shadow had some sort of hiding spot based beneath that island, there, in the center of the water." Durgaz motions at the blinking red eye of the lighthouse. "There may be other items of value there. I do not know. Take them too, if you want, and if you would give some of those rewards to the families of the fallen as well, I would ... appreciate it."


...again smiling, this time with intent and eagerness - Khalim grips the small log that he'd broken from the tree...

"...There is no need to speak of such things of the past my 'friend'." Khalim, not wanting to see Durgaz fumble for a weakened word of thanks. That is NOT the way of the warrior... he speaks again, this is the way... "Remember this when another human extends his hand. Remember this when another threatens you by calling you by the very word of 'orc' in a hateful tongue. Remember that it is only with the chance of trust that Khalim Nahon-Duhale son of Ismar Toren of Menah-Seton and his children may live another day.... Now, what can I do to help... my 'friend'..?"


Durgaz does not smile in return. Smiling, among the orcs, serves one of two purposes: to bare the parted fangs and tusks in a gesture of intimidation, or to reveal that the same fangs are closed and of no threat, in a gesture of subservience. Neither gesture would be recognizable to humans as a smile, at any rate.

"I am Durgaz, son of the Kranklobûrz, maugurk of the Dafrum-Dâgalûr-matûrz. You seem to be a man of honor, and if you offer your help, we will gladly accept it.

"As to what you can do: I do not know if you will trust me with this information. I am an orc, and you are not a fool, and if you would prefer to entrust it to another, I will understand and I will not take offense. You have spoken of three things of importance: you mentioned resistance cells in multiple cities, you spoke of the dark influence that has befallen your prince, and you told me that you had once rescued a prisoner from the Arteries. Anything that you could share with me, or with any of my companions, on any of these topics, would be of utmost value."


standing, reaching out his arms to Durgaz, Khalim puts his hands on the broadshoulders of the orc in a show of support...

"...and you also are no fool, and if you have seen the heart of me you will know of my way... It is only with trust that we can claim victory. It is the only thing a man can give or refuse to give that cannot be taken from him. And at times trust will be broken in this world of treachery to be sure, yet for light to shine from the stars of old we must yet be willing to offer it.

We will gather then, Thora will cook for you and your..........
Khalim pauses to correct your word, companions is not right here he feels - if Durgaz has listened. .......'friends'. I willnot force her to be remembered of those days so long ago - but if she is willing... I will allow it. I know not the details of Prince Jaedyn, nor the deal made in those days past but I will offer what I know... but yes... the cells. It is not something of which I speak lightly. It is not something many of this port know. I speak little of it so that my old friends can continue on. The pirates of this place still wage deals with Baden's men and others, but knowing the internals of such would be dangerous to the cause.
I see it in you though, as I spoke before... you just need a hand to get back along the way. You will give me your honor... your oath and we will be bound - you and I in kinship. And I will tell you this of my ... of OUR friends...

I have only been in his presence, heard him speak once - Tomas Baden, Prince of Baden’s Bluff and a true king of Erenland - he is the key of resistance for the cells within cities far and wide around the Pelluria. It was few years ago Tomas told of a vision he had in dream... he said he awoke from a glorious but terrifying nightmare-dream. In that dream, he saw what would happen if the resistance achieved its goals. He saw people fighting back, not just as scattered moments of glory against the night, but as a coordinated rage capable of throwing back the Shadow. He dreamed of the Fey Killer’s death at the hands of an orc traitor and of the great tower in Theros Obsidia crumbling in demong-fires. He said his dream showed him how to accomplish those goals. He explained parts of this vision to the liege-men, but feared to reveal his plot to the fullest extent; some thought because that plan would find it's way to the Enemy while others fear his people would think him mad at the story of it.

We met on the docks, it was an old war-torn middle-man (Erenlander) called Sergeloth that aided Prince Jaedyn and our crew as we were funnelling considerable supplies both into and out of the Gamariallian Delta near the Rivers Fang for the farie-folk. We met in the Bluff at a place called the Tussle House. Now mind you 'friend', despite the occupant clientel and the reputation of the house of ill repute it was a welcome feast-hall and gathering place in the city - I remember the owner, an Erenlander madam named Dell... quite lovely, she was. ...... That was so long ago now...

I've had need to send away for quills and parchment on occassion, my daughter loves the flowing lines of finely made elven brushes.... so I know of a smuggler that plies the Pelluria should you wish to find your way in. She knows of the cells.... and of Baden. She spends much of her time between the cells maintaining her cover as a loyal shipper of goods, coordinating the activities of dozens of smugglers. She holds a great deal about their logistics and intelligence network, far more than any one operative should know in my humble opinion... the wily gal......heheh... what activities she does not learn of from the Inner Circle, she ends up learning of from the mouths of her kinsmen. Her crew, her people's trust for her is unbreakable. If the legates discover and break her, the resistance could lose dozens of caches and an untold number of agents.
...Delwen Todorovichi. I call her 'Vichi... She goes by Delwen to most, even her crew. But she's a true Pirate Captain of sea and sails! Like no other.

So now Durgaz, son of the Kranklobûrz, maugurk of the Dafrum-Dâgalûr-matûrz you seem to be a man looking for honor, and if you ask for my help, I will gladly give it.
Whether you care for it or not, Khalim Nahon-Duhale son of Ismar Toren of Menah-Seton is now your friend. My family would be your family. And know this Durgaz, son of the Kranklobûrz - my wife, my children,
...I... am NO GAP in one's armor!

...so say we all Durgaz, son of the Kranklobûrz?

So say we all my 'friend'?"