The Stonetree Guild

Tane

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a part of The Stonetree Guild, by Everscale.

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Everscale holds sovereignty over Tane, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
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Tane

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Tane is a part of The Stonetree Guild.

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Strykar Wolfswift [2] "For Honor, Glory and some well-brewed ale!"
Thauvin Longstrider [1] 'Wage a war unrivaled', eh? I'd like to see you top the War of the Gods.
William [1] Honor is the driving force of all things good, and the bane of all things evil.
Ruin [1] I do not need to be understood to know that I am doing right in the world.
Aldar Ekhart [0] "I'll leave morality to those with the luxury to afford it."
Daedra [0] There was a time that I believed in nothing.
Krista [0] I am not a creature of peace. Come, join me in my play. We will wage a war to be rivaled by no other.

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Daylight came slowly to the city of Stonetree, breathing life through the morning wind. The first citizens crept out onto the streets, to sweep their doorsteps and open their shops for the morning rush. Bathed in the rosy glow Stonetree seemed like any other Icefield city – calm and content, unaware of the disaster which approached them. Looks could be deceiving.

Perched lightly upon the peak of a church, Ruin watched the streets as they came to life. He watched them through narrowed eyes, analysing. There were gestures of nervousness among the people today. Furtive glances, anxious whispers, the tendency to travel in packs from one place to the next. Those who were alone practically ran to their destinations. All eyes were out for the familiar dark hair and glistening blade of the treacherous temptress. That was how it should be. Fear was a marvellous tool. It was the only way for the civilians to survive what was coming to them.

Straightening up, he turned on one heel and ran back over the roof, to the back of the church. The druid’s step never once faltered. Running on rooftops was ten times as simple as leaping freely from one tree branch to another. He flung himself off of the church without hesitation, seeming to glide across the space between church and Guildhome. He touched down upon the stone shingles and took off again, deep green cloak fluttering as he ran. There was a meeting of the Guild today. He was already late.
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William stood in the great front hall of Guildhome, hands on his armoured hips. He waited in stern silence for the few remaining members of the Guild to gather. Their ranks had decreased drastically in recent months, but the few who remained were unfalteringly loyal. Usually. This morning, apparently, they had decided not to appear on time.

He huffed angrily and crossed his arms, casting his eyes towards the dorm-space. Absently he wondered if any of them had stayed here tonight, or if they had taken to the streets and the taverns. He found it disgraceful, how much time they all spent drinking, whoring, gambling. The bard, at least, made a respectable living through those venues. He still partied far too much for the liking of the Silver Knight.

Soft footsteps at his back announced the arrival of the druid. William spun, glaring at the only other remaining member of the Founding Four.
“You’re late!” he growled. “How can we expect our members to arrive on time if their leaders do not?”

Ruin scoffed quietly and shook his cowl off his head, baring his soft brown curls.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he murmured in disdain. “We both know that I have never been a leader here.”

“You started the Guild,” William retorted. “The whole damned thing was your idea.”

“And that was all it was. An idea. Daedra and Krista gave it life.” Ruin sighed and followed William’s furtive glance towards the door. “Has Thauvin been in today?”

“I haven’t seen him, no,” William muttered. “Probably sleeping off the night.”

“Be nice, sir Knight,” Ruin chastised quietly.

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#, as written by Cypher
Meanwhile, in the City...

Taverns were, to Thauvin, a small slice of heaven on Tane. For just a penny, you had a warm bed; for a few more, you had a warm meal. And, if you played your cards right, for no pennies there was a woman who would share that meal and that bed with you for the night. If you were a bard, sometimes everything came free; in especially exceptional cases, the tavern paid you to stay with them.

Take the deal that Thauvin had at the moment, for example. At a tavern in the upper-class part of the city, a place called the Red Steer Inn; he had just offered to take the stage for a night. Well, 'offered' wasn't the correct term. The man that they had hired to play the night was a slouching brute of a singer with no talent for music; he couldn't carry a tune in a bucket and didn't plan to improve any, by the looks of him. Thauvin, well into his drink, was hurling insults at the player with the rest of the tavern crowd when the man, also deep in the bottle, had called himself Eillken. Thauvin was deeply offended by this claim, and took to the stage to defend the honor of his people... By bodily hurling the man off the stage, plucking his lute from his stool and launching into one of his own tunes, an old Eillken drinking song called "The Battered Mare's Ballad"; peppered with the kind of obvious innuendo and crude, sexual humor that got bar crowds laughing to the point of tears.

After that song was over he led the crowd in a few more traditional lays, then tossed the man's lute into the crowd and clambered--well, lurched would be a more proper description--off the stage and back to his seat. Within minutes, the tavern keeper was after him, offering him... Something or other; Thauvin was really too drunk to care. He could be offering the life of his third cousin and the bard would have gladly signed the contract without a second thought. Luckiliy; it was not a binding marriage agreement (Thauvin had already had that experience a few times too many), but an agreement to play twice a week at the Steer in exchange for free drinks and a bed. Thauvin was impressed with the deal; he had to say that the room was cozier and better outfitted than his own one at the guild hall--not that he would admit that to anyone there. But the guild was his home, so he turned down the offer of room and board and merely requested drinks and a ten-sovereign-per-performance fee, and the bed for one night (he was very drunk).

That following morning Thauvin found himself assailed by three large men in an alley as he was leaving the Red Steer; 'associates' of the previous night's entertainer who picked entirely the wrong fight. Three broken faces later and an incredibly hung-over Thauvin was stumbling up the steps to the Guildhall. Once inside, he found himself late to a meeting he didn't remember he was supposed to attend; dressed in last night's clothes and with a bruise over his left eye, his knuckles scuffed from the fight.

"Ah... Gentlemen." Thauvin smiled charmingly and gave a tiny, curt, half-hearted bow, ignoring the pain in his ribs ("That big one had a mean left hook," his inner voice cooed) before straightening up and fixing William in his gaze. "Sorry about that, I was... Presented with an offer I could not refuse, dear Ser William."

He looked over and noted his friend Ruin standing nearby. He smiled and gave a small salute. "And here I expected you would be up on the roof, my friend. Or is Guild business more important than your daily chats with the wind?" Thauvin flashed a toothy grin at the druid and pulled himself back up to his full height, straightening his clothes slightly.

"Well then, something important is afoot. What's this business you're on about, William? A new contract come in? Something about... Her?" Thauvin's Adam's apple bobbed. He didn't like mentioning Krista; the rogue Founder was something of a soft spot amongst the remaining two living leaders of the Stonetree Guild, and Thauvin wasn't going to rip open that wound just yet.

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William glanced around with some displeasure at Thauvin's entry. His eyes narrowed slightly, detecting in the space of an instant the almost uncertain gait of a hungover man. The Knight's disdain for alcohol was no great secret, not even a minor one, and it came through clearly on his face as he watched the bard stumbling about like a common town drunkard. Thauvin was a member of the Stonetree Guild. He should act with much more dignity, greater honor. All the members should - especially that druid. Ruin was always sneaking about, skulking in the shadows, never facing conflicts head-on. Even when the time came to take a life he did so from the shadows, generally with a poisoned knife and a spell of concealment.

Of course, Thauvin stood in sharp contrast with the dishonorable druid assassin he called a friend. Thauvin was almost too noticeable. A gypsy, as William called him, he made a point of being seen. Showing off. No modesty, no reservation, no honor there. Why was he so completely surrounded by the polar opposites of his ideals?!

"Ah... Gentlemen." Thauvin smiled charmingly and gave a tiny, curt, half-hearted bow, ignoring the pain in his ribs ("That big one had a mean left hook," his inner voice cooed) before straightening up and fixing William in his gaze. "Sorry about that, I was... Presented with an offer I could not refuse, dear Ser William."

William twitched slightly, but did not deign to respond to the bard. Ruin's reception of Thauvin was entirely different. He responded to his friend's words with a quiet smile, quite unlike the usual expressionless mask he displayed to the rest of the Guild. Even to William, with whom he had grown up on the streets of Stonetree, Ruin barely offered a twitch of the lip, and he never laughed. Thauvin could pull a chuckle out of the impersonable druid at the drop of a hat.

He looked over and noted his friend Ruin standing nearby. He smiled and gave a small salute. "And here I expected you would be up on the roof, my friend. Or is Guild business more important than your daily chats with the wind?" Thauvin flashed a toothy grin at the druid and pulled himself back up to his full height, straightening his clothes slightly.

Ruin blew a breath of air through his nose, amused by Thauvin's words. He let his eyes flicker to the ground at the barely perceptible laughter. These were the most extreme signs of enjoyment he gave, ever if he could help it. Ruin preferred his feelings to remain a mystery to the people around him. It gave him the upper hand. Only with Thauvin did he relax so much that he could forget himself and reach amusement.

"I was there only moments ago," he answered, raising one hand to one of the dozen or so leather pouches hanging from his belt. Dexterous fingers vanished into the hide pocket. "You were not the only man to arrive late at this meeting." Carefully, he produced a small pinch of dried leaves. These, he offered to Thauvin, pinched between his long hands. "For the headache."

William snorted at that, shaking his head. He had stated on multiple occasions that offering aid to those suffering from hangovers only encouraged their nightly capers. Ruin had very pointedly ignored his advice.

"Well then, something important is afoot. What's this business you're on about, William? A new contract come in? Something about... Her?" Thauvin's Adam's apple bobbed. He didn't like mentioning Krista; the rogue Founder was something of a soft spot amongst the remaining two living leaders of the Stonetree Guild, and Thauvin wasn't going to rip open that wound just yet.

Indeed, both Ruin and William flinched slightly at the mention of their dear 'sister'. It was Ruin, not so easily affected by his emotions, who answered first.
"There is news to the West, near Eagleview," he answered in a steady voice which offered no hint of his internal turmoil. "Strange deaths. Bloody deaths. They have asked the Guild to investigate."

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#, as written by Cypher
At the mention of 'strange and bloody deaths', Thauvin's face grew grim. Strange and bloody was Krista's modus operandi; or, at least, that's what her reputation led him to believe. The veteran guildsmen, her mission reports--anatomically correct and painfully detailed, down to the very last drop of blood and severed digit--even what little he'd managed to pull from Ruin told the bard that where-ever Krista went, there was a swath of bodies a score wide in her wake.

Poor Eagleview.

Poor Thauvin.

Neither of them had any idea what was up ahead for them.

For the moment, the bard put on a brave face, hiding the rolling inner thoughts of blood, fire, death, and the general unpleasantness associated with a bloodbath (not the least of which being getting the stains out of his clothes) as he gnawed the herbs Ruin had provided for him. The leaves and roots didn't assist with the groggy surliness provided by the hangover and subsequent beating, but he could feel the ache in his head and the ache in his ribs start to subside as the medicine infiltrated into his system, slowly at first, then more quickly. He pulled himself languidly to his full height, his back and shoulders popping as they settled into their good and proper locations on his body. He rested one hand, absently, at the pommel of his broadsword.

"Any witnesses? Any living witnesses?" Thauvin's quick amendment was directed more towards William than Ruin. Although necromancy and communing with spirits was just as useful and legitimate a tool as any other discipline of magic--healing, for example, or hucking fireballs at unfortunate goblins--they were generally associated with the 'darker' edges of society. Darker being the places that meddled with the fabric of the universe; bending time, space, even the immutable laws of life and death to the will of the wielder.

"I shall handle this personally, as that Strykar fellow is nowhere to be found," The bard said steadily, "Although I would like for at least two guildsmen to join me in this venture. If this is indeed... Her doing, then I would like to take no chances. Also, as this is official Guild business, it would do well for our sullied reputation to make a show of force to the outlying communities; perhaps prove to them that, regardless of the threat, the Guild will be at their back?" Thauvin cocked a single eyebrow, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "Either way," he added, "I will be prepared to leave within the hour. I trust I will be allowed to requisition a horse from the stables; but failing that I can travel by cart."

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"There were three witnesses," William answered Thauvin. His voice was flat, his face grim. He stood with his arms crossed, seeming to lean into the great sword strapped across his back, as though the thing could hold him up. He relied far too heavily upon Starbright, Ruin thought with some anxiety. No versatility, no flexibility. If something broke, or worse, stole that sword, William would be without a weapon he trusted. All but helpless.

"Were," Ruin repeated, choosing not to comment on the knight's lack of a secondary reinforcement. That was what Ruin was there for.

William nodded in agreement. "Over the last few days, all three of them have gone missing. The first turned up dead less than twenty four hours ago."

"Which is when they called us," Ruin murmured. He turned his deep, velvet-brown eyes on his friend, leaving no room for escape. Thauvin would listen to him, and listen to him well. "The signs of her presence are unmistakable. Which is why the pair of us will be going with you."

"Ruin-" William started to object, but the druid turned his piercing gaze on the knight. William stumbled over his own tongue and clamped his jaws shut.

"I am not offering a choice here," he told William flatly. It was times like these when the rest of the Guild could clearly see who was really in charge here. Though more often than not he seemed not to be paying attention, when Ruin wanted something done, it was done precisely the way he wanted it. No questions asked. No mistakes. William shuddered, recalling the last person who had made a mistake, bringing Ruin the wrong herb from his stores. It had nearly cost a wounded hunter his life. When lives were at stake, Ruin became truly unforgiving. William could still hear the offender's screams in the face of Ruin's temper. What that herb had made the man see, William had no idea. He had no intention of finding out, either.

"Ruin, we can not all go-" William objected without any real force.

"Of course we can," Ruin cut him off. "And we will." He drew himself up so that he, tiny as he was, stood at the height of William's broad, plated chest. It did not matter. William backed down a step. "Daedra is already dead, William. We are all that is left to face her, and Thauvin would not stand a chance on his own." Ruin took no time to be delicate about the matter. It was a simple statement of fact. Sent alone to face the crazed mercenary, Thauvin would be dead by morning. Ruin would not have that. "Gather your things and have the stable-boy saddle the horses. We leave in one hour."

William started to object again, but a muscle jumped as Ruin tightened his jaw. Long fingers strayed almost absentmindedly to the druid's herb sacks. William folded himself crisply in half, bowing to Ruin's better judgment, and hurried from Guildhome. Only then did Ruin release his stance, sighing and running a hand through his soft brown hair. He turned to face Thauvin.

"When will these people learn?" he muttered despairingly. "Come, friend. I would speak with you a moment."

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#, as written by Cypher
Thauvin stood by silently as Ruin and William went back and forth. The bard was always uneasy at moments like this; the Guild had always been happy and jovial around each-other before now, but with Daedra's demise and Krista's... Departure, Ruin and William spent an unreasonable amount of time fighting back and forth nowadays. The guild's formerly stable hierarchy was now prone to acting out against itself. The whole affair was quite tiresome to Thauvin, but he would never bring it up to anyone. It wasn't his place to meddle in the affairs of the grieving, and he supposed that Ruin and William's emotions were high at the moment for perfectly acceptable reasons.

So for the moment he stood by and waited as Ruin and William battled over the party heading to Eagleview. When William bowed and retreated, Thauvin let out a held breath, removing his hand from the pommel of his sword. It was as though a great tension had left the room, and at that moment Thauvin felt a great deal of stress land upon his shoulders. Nevertheless, when Ruin requested his presence, the bard threw up a brave face. It was one of the many advantages to having spent the majority of his life acting prior to having come to the Guild. When Ruin started walking, Thauvin followed.

His friend being a bit shorter than him, Thauvin easily managed to keep pace with the druid, reading his sense of despair and worry like an open book. Being able to understand anyone's emotions through the minutiae of their body language and tone of voice was something few people could brag of; even fewer so with Ruin. But Thauvin could do it, somehow. He sensed his friend's emotions like a cool breeze through the quiet halls of the Guildhome; quiet like a priory, quiet like a crypt.

"William is set in his ways; you cannot expect him to change now, old friend," Thauvin said, putting a firm, calloused hand on Ruin's shoulder. "What is it you wanted to talk about?" A moment passed. "Also, I know William will disapprove, but I would suggest finding a shaman or necromancer for this mission. Returning the dead is... Tasteless, but perhaps with luck, we could manage to glean some information from them before sending them back to un-life." His face was calm despite the turmoil bubbling beneath.

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Character Portrait: Strykar Wolfswift

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#, as written by Yashie
T'was a bright day and the thoroughfare was quite busy with common-folk as men and women went on their own business. The crowd, however, seemed thicker than normal outside the Red Steer Inn. A group of men and women, warriors of a number of different races wended its way along in the general direction of the inn. They were quite boisterous; their voices rose above the general milling of the people -people who stopped to stare at this strange collection of warriors, mages and such like. And warriors, they seemed, fresh back from some job or the other as their travel-stained cloaks and their stained armor bore testimony. They seemed happy, carefree - maybe because of the considerable weight of their money-pouches (newly filled, of course)

The group was, as mentioned earlier, composed of a rather generously mixed collection of races and genders. There was a Kinderling too, laughing in grunts but otherwise quiet. There was a pair of elves, twins by their appearance. One was male and the other was a female, both with golden hair and wearing clothing of green but little other armor. There was a a stocky little dwarf with fiery red hair both on his head and his chin, the latter being braided and falling down to his knees. Deep in conversation with him was a man, wearing bulky armor and carrying what appeared to be a bastard-sword which was larger than normal. Bringing up the rear was a figure wearing a dark black cloak with a hood, nothing of his skin actually showed, he was completely shrouded. The figure didn't seem to be saying anything, just accompanying the fellowship.

The human pushed open the door to the Inn .. or slammed, to be exact. "And for the last time, my score was thirty-SIX orcs. Thirty-six, Master Longbeard! Not thirty and if the Shorty back there says otherwise, I shall tap him between the eyes with a cudgel", he said in with a comically wronged tone. 'Shorty" offered no argument, simply grunting once and shaking his head. "Oh really, young Strykar? I only counted 27, you know!" put in the elven maiden, batting her eyelashes in a travesty of coyness. Strykar shot her a withering glance and thumped his gauntleted fist on the wooden counter hard, saying in a loud voice, "Barkeep! Two flagons of your finest ale! And two Clearwaters for the elves, Segrac for Shorty here ... let's see... that's the lot! And be snappy about it!". The inn-keeper complied, bringing out the drinks before shooting the hooded figure a questioning glance. "Nay, Darky thar drinks nae eats wi' us. Darky be migh'y lonely", the dwarf answered to the unspoken question and received a sharp rap on the top of the head from 'Darky' 's walking-staff.

Strykar stuck his hand into his money-pouch and withdrew from it several shining gold pieces, slamming them down on the counter. "The next round's on me, good men !" he declared to the inn at large before heading over to an empty table with his drink and his companions, sitting down heavily. At this point the hooded figure left the Inn. The rest of the company, however, proceeded to discuss things quite boisterously, laughing and generally causing a ruckus.

After a while, of course, the cups had run dry and one by one the company took their leave and went their separate ways. Strykar shared a parting word with each of them, which in the case of the dwarf was "By Furogu's beard, Laddie, dae'na' fo'get ol' Longbeard if ye find yerself a job wha' takes ye intae them dark caves!" After promising that he would not, Strykar went up to the bar again and asked for some bread and meat, paying once more in shiny gold coins. Clearly he had just been paid, presumably after completing some task or job. As the food was being brought, he made some not-so-discreet enquiries about the Stonetree Guild. After a few minutes of such gossip, he sat down at the table with his plate and began eating.

Soon the plate was clean and his hunger was sated. He pulled a small scrap of parchment from his money-pouch and perused it carefully. Upon it he had written the details of his next job. The Stonetree Guild were offering to hire him in the tracking down and the bringing to justice of one Krista ... He knew her from before and she knew him. Of course, He didn't believe she remembered him ... he was just another notch on her bedpost, so to speak. Strykar tried not to make jobs personal, and this job would pay handsomely and was honest work, as far as he could see. Rising and thanking the Innkeeper, he exited and made his way towards the Guild's Hall.

And from there he was redirected towards the stables and told to meet one William. Of course, everyone knew that name atleast in passing. Unsheathing his sword, Strykar walked into the Stables, quite apprehensive of meeting with the other man. "Hello?"

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Ruin huffed softly and rolled his eyes. As fond as he was of his childhood friend, William's proud and stubborn ways bothered him to no end. Ruin prided himself on his flexibility - in most situations - and he could not imagine surviving without the ability to adapt. Someone like William... was vulnerable. Strong as he was with his honor in place, as soon as something threatened that honor, as soon as he betrayed it, the Knight would crumble. Go mad, more than likely. The Guild could not afford that, not right now. And neither could Ruin. He needed his oldest friend there, much as he hated to admit it. With Daedra and Krista gone, the two in the little Founder Family with which Ruin had been closest... William and Thauvin were really all that the misunderstood druid had left. As much as he loved Thauvin, William had still known him longer.

He continued, nevertheless, without broaching the subject aloud. If there was anything he did not wish to discuss, it was his Guildhome brethren.

"I agree," Ruin murmured as he lead the way down a stone corridor towards his own personal rooms, more a set of laboratories than actual quarters. "A necromancer will likely be useful. Especially if... Krista is responsible." Her name burned his tongue coming out. It was all he could not to stammer over it. "I will see what we can find. There are not many left in the world, now, who would trust the word of a Stonetree Founder."

Shaking back his soft brown hair, Ruin paused before his door and slipped a key from one of his dozens of pouches. He unlocked the door, led Thauvin inside, and disappeared almost immediately into the depths of the herb shelves and potted plants he kept there. Ruin had some of the largest quarters in the entirety of Guildhome, the only exception being the communal dormitories supplied to guild members staying the night. Perhaps ten square feet had been portioned off for actual lrest. The rest was filled to bursting with his druidic life.

"We will need potions," Ruin observed, his voice floating out from among the shelves. Occasionally he could be seen as no more than a flicker of dark green cloak. "Is there anything in particular you think you may require?"

He appeared suddenly, seeming to come out of nowhere with a series of vials in his hands. He passed three of them to Thauvin.
"We'll definitely need this," he murmured, his eyes rather dark. "Krista... always favored a certain poison I discovered when we were young. I'm afraid I taught her how to make it, before she..." he swallowed his words and ploughed on. "Anyways, this is the antidote."
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William heard the ring of an unsheathed sword before he heard the voice. His hand leapt to the weapon at his shoulder, and he turned, chain jingling faintly. Even dressed down for the calmer time spent at Guildhome, he was never found out of armor. It was rumored that the Silver Knight slept in armor. Ridiculous, of course, but a good rumor to keep around. It deterred people from attempting to assassinate him.

This, apparently, was no assassination attempt. He relaxed when he saw the stranger, let his hand fall from his blade. Had he not looked before he leapt, one swing from that lethal weapon would have cleaved this newcomer in two. William really could not afford to be losing potential soldiers that way...

"Hail, stranger," William called in the traditional greeting of the knights, raising one gloved hand in salute. "What brings you to Guildhome?"

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Character Portrait: William Character Portrait: Strykar Wolfswift

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#, as written by Yashie
Strykar raised his sword in some manner of a life-preservation instinct when the other man reaches for his own sword, but passed it off as a salute executed with the hilt of the sword directly before his face. "Greetings!" Re-sheathing his sword he bowed deeply. "I am Strykar Wolfswift, of the Wolfswift mercenary clan. I'm here about a job? Apparently this ... Lady Krista ran rogue, I am given to understand and needs .. ah, eliminating?"

He felt it best to keep to himself the fact that he had already known .. for just a day .. Krista. It didn't need telling. He stuck his gauntleted fist into the large leather pack hanging at his waist and drew out a battered and bloodstained scroll which he presented to William. "My References. This one's from the Wolfswift Clan, note the crest at the bottom, authentic. And this ..." He reached into the pouch again, pulling out a small folded square of vellum. " .. is from my most recent job. Orc extermination ... messy business." After handing this last to William as well, he took two steps back and waited.


"My rates are low, my worth is good and I'm hireable, Sir. What say you?"

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Character Portrait: Ruin Character Portrait: Thauvin Longstrider

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#, as written by Cypher
Thauvin was immediately assaulted full-force with the smell of Ruin's chambers. Even on slow days, it smelled like a forest glen had crashed into an herbalist's shop and a professional kitchen. When Ruin was in the midst of one of his druidic rituals, the entire Guildhall could stink with his poultices and mixtures, especially if they were burnt or generally just went wrong. Thauvin recalled one occasion when he had used a few doses of snakeroot that had gone just a bit over the hill and were no longer usable. Thauvin usually considered the druid infallible when making his wondrous concoctions, but that didn't mean that he would ever live down the day that the thatch roof of the Guildhall had caught fire when Ruin's alembic had spat fire into the rafters and nearly burned the place to the ground.

The thought brought a chuckle to the bard's lips, but he choked it back. He was an actor first and foremost, and he was an expert at keeping his poker face when necessary.

"I cannot think of anything more than the usual load of health poultices, painkillers, injury kits, et cetera..." Thauvin scratched his chin briefly, then--"Actually. So long as you're thinking about making potions... Failing the necromancer, we may need a truth serum. If she is truly at work here; she may have placed a charm on her victims, or at the very least scared them into not talking." The bard thought a moment longer, scratching his chin, and then finally shook his head.

"Nope, that's all." Then the antidotes came out. Thauvin eyed them warily, but then the moment passed and he placed the potions into his belt pouch. "Thank you, my friend." He added quickly, careful not to tread on the fact that Ruin had just mentioned the antidote he'd handed the bard was for a poison that Ruin had made himself, and then taught Krista to make. There was no place for such a thing.

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Ruin looked up at Thauvin, unblinking, unflinching. He met his friend’s eyes squarely, gave the bard no choice of whether or not he was going to return the gaze. This was not a matter which could be avoided.

“Pray to whatever god you believe in that she is not involved,” Ruin whispered, tucking his own bottle of the antidote into a small pouch at his waist. “If she is…” He chose not to finish that sentence. Thauvin had met Krista before – even prior to her madness, she could have taken most of the Guild down easily. At once.

This was not going to be an easy fight.

Taking a deep breath, Ruin turned his eyes away from Thauvin. He pivoted on one heel and moved back in amongst his shelves and his pots. “I will work on the truth serum,” he told Thauvin evenly. “You go to see Harken Winterborne. He runs the mageware store . If you think we need a necromancer, it is Harken with whom you must speak.”

He disappeared then in a flurry of forest-green cloak, making it clear that this was not a request from a good friend, but an order from a superior guild member.
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William was silent for one tense moment, examining Strykar. He seemed strong enough, built up by battle and clearly experienced. William could tell that simply from the way his hand flew to his blade. But was he Guild-worthy. Never in the history of the Stonetree Guild had William had to make the choice to fight with outsiders – until now there had always been enough members in Guildhome to must the equivalent of a small army. Krista had seen to that…

William did not see that he had much choice anymore.

“I say that we will be glad to have you among us,” William answered in his rumbling voice. He lowered his hand from the hilt of his sword, offered it to William in greeting. “We are preparing to leave on a mission now. We’ll ride in a matter of hours. Is there anything you will need?”