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RPG To Celebrate Life [PG-VSL]


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[i]Only two hours in, and we've already had a stage almost get burned to the ground,[/i] Eso thought. [i]It's going to be a long day.[/i]

The Festival of Life had begun at precisely 12:00 noon, two hours earlier, and what looked like half the population of the world had flooded into Alsoto. The half-our opening ceremony had been spectacular, as usual. Afterwards, everyone had dispersed throughout the city. Several small performances would be occuring throughout the day, but nothing special. The really impressive ones would be saved for the evening hours. As a result, there usually wasn't much to see in the early afternoon. Which is why a certain event durring one play got a lot of attention.

Eso hadn't been paying attention to the play itself. He'd been doing his job, and only chance had placed him by that particular stage at that particular time. One of the actors had dropped a lantern. The lantern was a prop. The actor was supposedly using it to light up a dark cellar, and for that reason is was lit, even though the sun was still high in the sky. He'd dropped the lit lantern onto a wooden stage.

The actors had bolted off the stage immediatly, but most of their props and equipment were in danger. Fortunatly, a water elementalist had been in the audience. Otherwise, the stage would have burned down before anybody could have put out the fire. In the end, there hadn't been much damage to anything but the stage, and the stage could be repaired quickly. Eso had moved on.

Eso was currently reviewing emergency plans with a few other soldiers. They were sitting at a table with a map of Alsoto spread out on it, modified to show everything that was there specifically for the Festival of Life.

"Basically," Eso said, "things are set up so we can direct the people into three different areas. If people start panicing, we have men positioned so as to herd the people into the three areas." He pointed them out on the map. "Easier to deal with than if everyone's just running in random directions."

"Yeah, and easier for somebody to kill everyone, too," one of the other soldiers, Jaht, remarked.

"If that happens, then we'll all be dead already," Azufe, another soldier, replied. "The only ones who could pose that king of a threat are mages, and we've got mages of our own to couner them. Seriously, wasn't all this explained to you?"

"I didn't pay attention. Anyways, so we've got a way to deal with mages. What the hell do we do if a dragon decides it wants a meal?"

"It's unlikely that we'll see any dragons," Eso said. "Yes, they've been attacking merchants lately, but never any cities or towns. However, that didn't stop the commanders from planning for a dragon attack. Basically, most of us wouldn't stand a chance against a dragon. Magic-users of any kind are supposed to battle the dragon while everyone else herds people [i]away[/i] from the three gathering areas. If a dragon attacks, the last thing we want is for everyone to be crowded together. We'll let them scatter. There'll probably be fewer deaths that way. Of course,, I wouldn't worry about it if I were you."

"I know, I know. I'm a bit paranoid, okay?"

Eso nodded. "Understandable. Anyways, we need to get back on patrol." Azufe took the map, which was his.

"Any idea who this mystery performer is?" Jaht asked as they all stood up.

Eso sighed. "How many times do you have to here it, Jaht? Nobody knows who this person is. The only thing anybody knows is that this person will be performing tomorrow. We'll all have to wait until then to find out. Now, we need to get back to work."

"Yes," Azufe agreed. "See you later." And with that, they all went their seperate ways, patroling the area and alert for any signs of trouble.

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OOC: All right, here we go. The festival is underway. For now, just have your characters be enjoying the festival, or whatever. And of course, have fun.
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[color=Navy]Tesera walked around the festival. Her clothes and face were covered by her black cloak. All that could be seen from beneath were a few banges of dark purple, almost black hair and piercing crimson eyes.

She watched a few performances on the stage, it was well done, Alsoto was beautifully decorated and the performers had practised hard, it was evident through the way they performed, though nerves got to some of them, like the actor who dropped the lighted lantern on stage, setting it alight.

Tesera moved away and looked at the different stalls that were set up, selling items.

As she wandered past the stage again, she heard some members from the audience whispering about some mystery performer. Tesera hadn't heard about that and sat nearby discretely to try to find out more.

[b]"So no one knows who this person is?" [/b]one of them asked the other.

[b]"No, but I hear it's going to be good." [/b]the other replied with excitement evident in their voice.

[b]"When's the performance? Today?"

"Tomorrow, that's all people know."

"Wow...We [i]have[/i] to see it." [/b]

Tesera walked away again, so, a mysterious performer was going to be arriving and performing for the city. She was interested.

She saw an inn and entered, she walked over to the bar section and asked for something refreshing, she was in need of it from being outdoors for most of the day.

The drink was placed in front of her, she picked it up and sipped, it was nice and cold, exactly what she was looking for.

[b]"You don't look familiar. Here for the festival?" [/b]the barkeep asked.

[b]"Yes, I'm just a travelling musician and I heard about the festival and decided to come take a look. There are a lot of people here, is it that anticipated?" [/b]Tesera questioned.

[b]"Yeah, it's really special. There's always a lot of people around this time of year."

"Would you know anything about this mystery performer, per chance?" [/b]she questioned.

He told her about the same as what she had heard the other two say.[b]

"I see." [/b]Tesera finished the drink and left the glass on the table. She fished into her coin purse and flipped him a couple of coins. [b]"Thankyou. I'm sure we'll see each other again before I leave."

[/b]The barkeep nodded and watched as she left.

Tesera was refreshed and walked around, she saw and heard two soldiers discussing dragons and safety precautions they had just in case.

As she walked past, she heard them bring up the mystery performer again. She stopped at a stall close to them and pretended to inspect the wares while listening in. It seemed they knew about the same as the other two and the barkeep she had listened in on. Truely nothing much was known about the performer. They split up, saying it was time to get back to work, and Tesera moved on.
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Nait came down the stairs and looked around the tavern. She had a white shirt on with a vest over that. She looked tired already even though the day had barely begun. She walked over to the bar where her father stood.

"Ok I am here. You can do whatever now."

"I know that. Of course i can do whatever. Funny thing though... Not many people have come in yet..."

"Surely you know that so early in ones day they do not want to pollute it with such concoctions as your ale and gin. The real traffic is before and after the events this evening. Which gives you ample time to rest up or shop for mother."

"What about her...?"

"She has been hinting about what you always forget each year."

The man stood there for a moment. He was clearly puzzled untill his face liit up, "Bye!" And without another word he was out of the inn.

"Silly old man. To think he could forget that their anniversary. Oh well he knows now." She shook her head and moved back behind the bar. There were only a few people in and most sat in the corner tables sipping on an ale. She cleaned out a few glasses and looked out the misty window.

People went walking back and forth searching for items to buy. The many voices seemed to fade into one city wide voice. Nait had learned to ignore the voices outside and this was just another day. To her all she heard was the few noises of stools moving and people shifting in their seats. She heard a loud thud above her and her father walked back into the Inn.

"It be crazy out there today Nait." He muttered while holding on very carefully to a bright blue vase. "Remind me next year to do this shopping before the city floods with people. Espcially the money hungry ones."

"Check on mom then... I heard a thud."

"Aye? Alright find somewhere for this vase then." He said carefully sliding it to her.

After placing it next to a keg, where her mother never looks, she went back to cleaning glasses and mainly lazying about due to lack of work to be done. She had been upstairs all morning setting up all the rooms which was far more exhausting than serving thin air.

Her mother came downstairs a few moments later. Her bright auburn hair seemed to glow in the inn light. "Can you beleive it? Soon you will be 21, the celebrations are about to get underway full swing and oh my I feel so young."

"Perhaps the fact you are only fourty has somethingto do with that."

"Oh hush you... Ruining my fun. Anyways hear anything else about the Mystery --"

"Oh I saw this character today who asked about that. Pretty mysterious herself she was... Asked quite casually too. No one knows more than they did when they first heard of it." Her father said coming up next to his wife.

Nait was getting rather annoyed at all this mystery character talk, "You two can go out and about now... you know. Show, eat, and -"

"Get out of your hair? Yes we kno you to well. Off we go then."

Nait watched them leave and sighed peacefully once they were out of sight. She knew that the both of them out together at this time of year might mean they wont get home till very late. This gave her some freedom.
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[color=crimson]Ashwin puffed lightly on his pipe as he sat in his private office. It was located well beyond the area where his merchandise was on display- yet he could still hear the faint voices of costumers and the responses his daughter gave them. A smile crept over his face- she was learning well. He picked up the stack of papers on his desk and flipped through them idly- it was a letter he had received from an old friend of his. He was a trader and had detailed a recent battle that had taken place between a caravan he was in and a rather bloodthirsty dragon. Many of their hired men were lost and much of the merchandise was ruined through the ordeal- but, thankfully, he had made it out alive. He rubbed his chin a bit and let out a long, deep "Hmmm" as his mind dwelt on the dragons recent activities.

The voices had died down and there was a light rapping at his door. "May I come in, Father?" Lynn asked shyly. He shook his head a bit at her timidness and set the papers down.

"Yeah, come on in." The door opened slowly and Lynn stuck her head in. He beckoned her inside and she quickly stepped in, shutting the door behind her. He puffed on his pipe a bit and eyed her. She was dressed in rather formal attire as she always did when attending the store. An elegant black dress, black shoes and her radiantly blue necklace- rather dark looking but it was her choice, not his. She shifted uncomfortably a bit; twiddled with her brown hair and opened her mouth to speak but shut it quickly. He grinned in amusement at this and tapped his finger on the desk. "So you want something from me, eh?" She nodded slowly at him. "Alright, what is it? Speak up." She fidgeted even more; he sighed at this and muttered something to himself.

"I would like to go back to the festival early." She said softly. "I know that, uhm, the afternoon shows are not.. uhmn.. as great as the evening ones and.." She gestured as her voice trailed off. She appeared to be nervous about his response as she shifted uncomfortably again.

"Ahh. Is that all?" He stood; walked to her and patted her on the head. "That's a fine idea. I'm sure you've done enough business since we came back from the opening ceremony. Go get yourself ready." She smiled brightly, nodded and scampered out of the room. "Hah. The eagerness of youth." He got up; cracked his neck from side to side and walked out of his office, leaving behind his pipe. The door opened up into a long, lonely hallway that was not for anyone but his two employees- himself and his daughter. He walked down the hallway past various works of art that he had painstakingly collected from the far corners of the world. Most were of landscapes or portraits but there were a few rather violent, bloody paintings of warfare that had occurred in history. His favorite piece of artwork in the whole building was actually the tapestry that hung behind the counter in the main section of his store. It was the Heraldry of his own personal ancestry although no one but himself or Lynn knew the true meaning of the various pictures, icons and symbols upon it. He eyed it as he stepped into the now-quiet gallery- it took up a large portion of the wall behind the counter so it was hard to miss. He nodded at it out of respect and walked behind the counter, reading over the sales book for the day.

Lynn reappeared dressed.. the same. But, she had added a purple ribbon into her hair. Ashwin looked up at her with a lazy expression, "You're going to wear that dress?" She nodded emphatically. "Fine, fine. Are all the items in the store well protected?" She glanced around at the various items. Her eyebrow raised as she walked around the stores various areas, making sure everything was fine. She came back and nodded to him. "Good. I hope you didn't put too strong of a curse on them. We don't really want to kill any would be thieves- just grievously harm them." She nodded once more. He closed the sales book and nodded. "Alright. Let's go have some fun!"

The two of them left the shop, Ashwin locking up the store before they joined the crowds that swarmed in the streets. It was teeming with festival goers. He held his daughters hand tightly, keeping her by his side so she wasn't lost in the seas of people that were around. The inevitable happened though- Lynn ran straight into a darkly-cloaked woman with considerable force. She let out a gasp and bowed several times to the woman, "Sorry! Sorry! Uhmm.. I didn't mean to.. sorry."[/color]
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[i]The sky is a oddly calming shade of blue today.[/i] This was Alno'dra's thought as he sat back on the bench and stared into the air. Around him the town was buzzing with the excitement of the festival, but all that mattered now was the time he had to rest. Unlike most of the festival goers, he had arived early, really early. The latest job that had fallen into his lap had him on his feet since six o'clock. Most of the time was spent delivering bags of salt or charcoal, blocks of ice, and various foodstuffs to the local food stands. This time, however, was just for resting.

'Here's your pay," a voice interupted his peace. It was followed by an envelope landing next to his hand. "If you're still interested come back at the same time tomorrow. We can use the extra hands again." With that his employer disappeared into the crowd, and Alno'dra was left to his own thoughts, for a time.

Once more his peace was broken by another member of his job. This time it was Karst, an upbeat, but rather annoying fellow. Despite being twice Alno'dra's age, Karst acted like a child most of the time. "So, how did you like your first day working with the rest of us grunts?" Alno'dra did not respond, and merely wiped his forehead on the sleeve of the white shirt he had worn to work. "Yeah, the work's hard, hours suck, and the boss is a slave driver," Karst kept on rambling, "but you know the ladies love a guy with muscles." [i]Idiot.[/i] Alno'dra thought as Karst laughed at his own joke.

"Speaking of the ladies, how about we run down to the inn just down the street. They have a great tavern that's run by this cute little thing that has an eye for me, if you know what I mean." Karst knudged him in the ribs a few times. [i]Great. Once more with this crap. And this was supposed to be a calm point.[/i] Alno'dra kept the tought to himself and simply replied with, "Sure. Why not?" He took his time changing back into his red shirt and cloak, then follwed Karst to the inn.

Upon entering the tavern Karst immediately strolled up to the bar and began chatting with the young lady running it. She kept he voice calm, but for a second her face gave away a "not him again" look, before she caught control again. It was no wonder, she looked to be around Alno'dra's age, and was being hit on by a guy in his forties. Calmly she asked "What would you like to drink?" Without missing a beat Karst replied, "Give me the strongest lager you have." "Just water," was Alno'dra's response. "Huh?" Karst looked puzzled. "Why not buy something that is worth the cash you made today?" Alno'dra sighed "We are both dehydrated from work. A drink like that would knock us flat in no time." Karst shrugged, not believing him, and grabbed his drink. Just as Alno'dra had warned, Karst was out in no time, thanks to the beer. Alno'dra calmly walked up to the bar, apologized for his coworker's behavior, and left after paying.
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Nait rolled her eyes after a little while. She every once in a while got some oddballs in there and what was worse is sometimes she was stuck either dragging them outside or in the more crowded times just douse the people with her oun conjured water which always seemed to work.

She liked, however, the sense the one customer with the water bit. If one is dehydrated and drinks beer it only makes you more thirsty. Far to many times had she seen this and wished some of the more unintelegent brutes would get a brain.

As she washed the glasses quietly she saw several more people walk on by. She had not been watching what she was doing and did not see a chip in the class. Her hand scrapped across it and she looked down as she barely felt a thing. Part of her hand now began to bleed. She slipped the glass down below the bar with a few others unfit to drink out of due to cracks or breaks. She looked at her hand and put her other hand on it. A few moments later she removed her hand and the injured one was normal again. She casualy cleaned the counter and returned to work.

Once she had nothing more to do she sat on a stool behind the bar just for such occasions where no work was left to do. She glanced around the inn for a real moment. It had dark corners and well lit lamps everywhere else. The decor was mild. The stopped decorating walls with even fake weaponry due to an incident where a few drunks managaed to seriously injur themselves resulting in Nait to heal them. So now her mother's pots and vases decorated the fireplace mantle and around it.

Once she had full ownership of the inn that would be the first thing to change. She would hire a decent spellcaster who can easily keep nicer or more dangerous decorations in place. She would decorate some rooms like hers. Darker colors and dragon fanged shields on the wall. She liked the look... just not the fact that some dragons were innocent when slayed for their hide, meat, and horns. But mos were guilty of eating a person or several.

She yawned. It was boring work. Her parents gone and most people outside she had not much to do but sit and watch other people go do things and enjoy themselves. She knew she couldnt go anywhere yet before at any time people who were renting out the upstairs rooms would begin to show up for rest and relaxation. It was going to be a long day.
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[color=Navy]Tesera stumbled backward as someone bumped into her with a lot of force. Suddenly there was a girl that was bowing and apologising rapidly. Tesera smiled beneath the hood and did a sweeping bow with the cloak moving about.

[b]"I'm sorry. It appears I wasn't watching where I was going. Enjoy the festival." [/b]she said, before moving off again.

Tesera wandered past the stage again and a performance had just finished, and they were asking the audience if anyone wanted to get up and perform. She smirked and raised her hand. The person saw her and beckoned her onto the stage.

Tesera stood, not removing her cloak.

[b]"What's your name." [/b]he asked.

[b]"My name is not important, though you may call me Shian." [/b]she replied, not revealing anything about her.

[b]"Alright Shian, what will you be doing for us?"

"I, am a flautist." [/b]with that, she pulled a beautiful crystal flute from under the folds.

It was a lovely instrument, perfectly made. The tone was sharp and resounding, and the pattern that was painted on it were simple cherry blossom petals.

[b]"Ok then. Here's Shian playing the flute." [/b]he announced, and made his way off stage.

Tesera put the flute to her lips, beneath the hood, and she played, the song started off slow and sad, but after a while it whipped up and she watched the crowd's reaction, they were all moving to the music, some were up and moving, others were just moving a small part of their body. It slowed down and became sad again for a while, until it sped up, and finished with a trill.

She pulled the flute away and tucked it back into her cloak, taking a majestic bow to the audience as they applauded. She hopped off the stage and disappeared amongst the crowd. It was exilirating, it had been some time since she last performed.

Tesera yawned quietly and saw a tree that provided a lot of shade. She made her way through the crowds and sat down, leaning her back against the firm trunk. She closed her eyes and relaxed, just breathing normally and listening to the sounds of the city. A cool breeze blew past and she absorbed it, just sitting and waiting for something to happen.
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From his high perch above the trees Vincent had a great view of the stage and was quite moved by the very inventive and altering tune that the young woman had produced with such a finely crafted instrument. With great agility and only the slightest shift in the air Vincent dropped down and landed next to the young woman who had sought refuge underneath his tree.

[B]“Well Shian, that’s a magnificent instrument you have there and you wield it with such ease and creativity”[/B] Was Vincent’s opening fact.

At this the girl, apparently named Shian, looked startled from behind her hood but quickly regained her composure with a smile and nodded a thanks.

[B]“By chance you aren’t the ‘Mysterious Performer’ I’ve heard so little about?”[/B] He questioned further.

[B]“You flatter me by saying so but no, I’m also eager to learn of this performers identity.”[/B] Was her reply.

[B]“Very well then. It was a pleasure meeting you and hearing your performance. Perhaps fate will cross our paths again. I at least hope to hear you perform that timeless tune once more.”[/B] And with a wave of his hand he was gone in amongst the crowd.

Still whistling what he could remember of the flute tune Vincent headed towards a store he knew well and regularly visited when he actually was in town. When he actually arrived at Ashwin’s, Vincent just walked clean into the door not realising that it was closed. [B]Closed? He never closes this early?[/B]

Still rubbing his nose Vincent headed towards his second destination. Although it was still early during the day it did no harm to have one or two drinks and book his room early. As the Algorin Inn’s swinging sign came into view Vincent smiled inwardly and quickened his pace. Just as he crossed the threshold two men were leaving, one looking quite annoyed whilst carrying the other. [B]I guess there’s a guy who can’t hold his drink...[/B]

[B]“Vincent!”[/B] Broke Vincent from his day dreaming.

As he turned his attention to the young girl whom he’d known since she was much shorter Vincent stepped in and took a seat at the bar in front of the Nait.

[B]“Nice to see you again Kiddo. How are things? Folks about?”[/B] He asked as she brought him his usual drink.

[B]“Everything’s fine. They left not too long ago for the day, I can handle things here.”[/B] She returned.

[B]“I have no doubts that you can handle the place, matter of fact now that I’m here I’d like to book a room for later and perhaps you could help me some healing I was having trouble with?”[/B] He asked and then took a sip.
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He tried the note again. It still didn't sound right. Epok couldn't say exactly if the note was too high or too low. He tightened the string and plucked it again, it still sounded wrong.
Epok never had a great hearing when it came to music notes, but now he felt as if he was going deaf. He had to ask people to reapeat things more often. Sometimes he couldn't be sure if a clock he was fixing, is ticking or not. Then he would have to give it to his apprentice and ask him to check. It was in fact embarrassing.
As if on que Eric walked in.
"We sold everything!"- he announced, bringing in a table that they used for displaying small knick-knacks that were popular as souvenirs this time of year.
Epoch turned the fiddle over in his hand, it still seemed imposible to tune it to him.
"Tune this up" He gave the violin to his apprentice. Eric was not a bad musician, sometimes he even got up on stage with a guitar he made himself. He had the fiddle playing perfectly in a couple of minutes. Epok suddenly felt very old. "Give it to mr. Barron, he'll be with his troupe in the Little Mews, I'll close up the shop."
Eric understood that the days work was over and as soon as he brought the violin to the custommer he could enjoy the festival. After saying something to show that he knew what he was supposed to do Eric left.
Epok checked that everything was in place. Refiled the cats milk saucer. Took his walking stick and left locking the door behind him.
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James walked along the crowded streets with a smile on his face and a song in heart. There was something about the Festival of Life that gave him an overwelming feeling of joy. He couldn't put his finger on it, maybe it was the general good will of the people at the Festival, maybe it was the upbeat music and plays, or maybe it was the large sack of silver he had just lifted from some unsuspecting nobleman.

"Ha, man I love this town." He said to himself. As he strolled down the street he played a game with himself, slipping his hand into random peoples pockets, grabbing a piece of silver or two, then placing them in other peoples pockets. He didn't need the silver, and just the challenge of it made it fun. As he was about to snag a few silvers from an overweight merchant, He heard a delightful song coming from one of the stages. He cocked his head, completely ignoring his mark, and watch as a young women played her beutiful tune.

"Wow, now isn't that something. Such fabulous music." However, the musics grip didn't keep his attention for long, as he noticed how the entire audience was enthralled by the song. He made his way through the audience, moving smoothly through the crowded audience. By the time he got to the other end, he had "collected" 17 money pouches, 4 rings, 7 bracelets, and 1 gold hilted dagger. It was his biggest score since coming to the festival. He quickly put his new fourtune in his deep pockets, slid the dagger into his belt, and looked back towards the stage just in time to see the women leave the stage.

Intreged, he follwed her as she walked out from the crowd to rest by a tree. Though he was tempted to go speak with her, after seeing a man decend from the tree above her, he decided against it. Instead, he turned to leave, flicking a single gold coin over his sholder, which flew through the hair, landing soundly in the young girl's lap. The coin landed to softly that wasn't untill she openned her eyes hours later that she noticed the coin.
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[color=crimson]Ashwin shook his head at the extremely embarrassed Lynn. "Don't worry about it, you apologized, she was fine. Don't be so shy." She nodded to him. He grinned a bit and glanced around them. Even for being in the lazy afternoon things were very low key and tranquil, even with the sea of people. "Well, what catches your eye?" He looked down to Lynn. She tilted her head a bit and thought for a second. He waited patiently, listening to a nearby conversation someone was having with a guard about a theft of some kind. Finally, she nodded to herself and tugged on his arm. He followed along, being led by his daughter through the crowded streets. They came to the entrance of Gwydion's Plaza, the banner hanging overhead read 'The Plaza O' Games'. He laughed a bit and followed her into the lavishly decorated area. A rather gargantuan fountain was in the center of the plaza- it was nicknamed 'Behemoth' for it's size but it actually had an awe-inspiring beauty to it. The brilliant water glistened as the two stared at it- he had been here before but for some reason it was even more majestic to behold. It was a testament to the wealth and power of Alsoto. "Perhaps too lavish a testament.." he said to himself.

Lynn heard this and stared at him puzzledly but he continued to gaze at the fountain. He was broken out of his line of thought by an insecure "Ummm.." coming from his daughter. He looked down at her and she merely gestured around them- he glanced through the morass of people to the various booths and games that lined the perimeter of the plaza. "Can I..?" She hesitated. He nodded to her with a smile. She smiled back and tugged on his arm again, practically dragging him to the games. They went all around the perimeter, to every game possible- they were not meeting with much success in regards to prizes but it was great fun anyway. They stepped up to the final game after a brief wait in line. The game wasn't too popular, it seemed- no one had any luck at all winning. A sign over it read "Konrad's Knife-Throwing Extravaganza".

"Greetings and salutations to you fine folks!" The man at the booth said enthusiastically. "I welcome you to the most challenging test of skill that has ever graced the great capital city of Alsoto!" He gestured to his right. A couple of dozen feet off was a rather crudely built set that consisted of a fake forest with a few dummies- each had a bulls-eye on it's face. The set was literally full of holes from missed attempts at hitting the dummies. "What we have here is a one-of-the-kind (seen nowhere else, folks!) representation of the Rogue's Forest! The challenge? Get as many well-placed hits on the accurate-looking dummies as possible. The better you do, the better your prize- and [i]what great prizes they are![/i]" Ashwin arched his eyebrow at how the task could be considered worthy of a prize. The guards and mercenaries that were stationed in the city could do this with their eyes closed. "Here, as you can see, is a range of beautiful [i]hand made[/i] toys, gifts and otherwise that you could win!" Ashwin glanced to the prize area and saw it was full of surprisingly well-made things- the majority of them were stuffed animals that looked to be top of the line.

"Father." Lynn looked up to him with an confident gaze.

"Yes?"

"... uhmm." Her shyness reared up again dashing her briefly-gained confidence. "I think I can.. I mean- I'm sure that I can.." She gestured to the 'one-of-the-kind' set. "I'm sure that I can win a prize." Confidence seeped back into her voice ever so slightly. Ashwin looked to the man who casually pointed a finger to a sign next to him- '25 silver a round'. He placed the necessary amount down on the counter with a wry smile.

The man took the silver pieces; set down a small basket of ten throwing knives and gestured to a small circle a few steps away. "Just stand right there, little lady. Hit the bulls-eye in the head for 10 points, any area elsewhere will net you only 5. The more points ya get, the better the prize you take home with you. I wish you good luck! Start anytime." He smiled a rather mischievous grin that caught Ashwin's attention. He eyed the knives carefully and after a few seconds arched his eyebrow. He shook his head with a frown but said nothing. Lynn took her position, the people around her taking notice. They gave a few supportive cries to her and she blushed with some embarrassment. Her face changed to a look of concentration and she threw the knives with rather surprising skill for her appearance. However, each one of the knives ever so slightly missed the dummies, piercing new holes into the set. A confused expression came over Lynn and her head lowered a bit as she let out a sigh of disappointment. The small crowd that had been watching were disappointed as well letting out a collective groan. Ashwin eyed the grinning man and sat down another twenty five silver pieces. "Sir?"

"She will try once more."

He shook his head, "I appreciate your confidence in your daughter but-"

"She will have another go." He stated firmly. The man shrugged in resignation and walked over to the set to collect the errant knives. Lynn approached her father and tilted her head quizzically at him. "What? Don't you want to try it again?" She nodded slowly. "This time," he began with a confidant nod, "This time you will show this crowd the natural skill Lynn Crow has. I couldn't throw a knife if my bloody life depended on it, but you.." He gestured the interested crowd and the people in line. "Prove to them your unique capability." He sounded like he was giving an order so he smiled a bit and added "But have some fun too." She nodded to him and the man approached, placing the daggers into the basket. "Hand me that." Lynn picked up the basket and handed it to her father. He rubbed his chin and examined the knives, noting a symbol inscribed in them. "I figured as much." The symbols faded from the knives and he haded the basket back to Lynn. He eyed the set, "Show those dummies what you're made of." She nodded and stepped into the circle. She took a deep breath and once again threw the knives. Each of them landed in the faces of each of the dummies- one hit with such force it ripped the dummy's head open rather easily. The man at the booth was visibly shocked, the crowd was visibly pleased and Lynn was.. visibly shocked, perhaps even more than the man at the booth. Ashwin stepped up to the booth and crossed his arms, looking over the prizes. His eyes went over them all a couple of times and he looked at the man.

"Hmm. You don't have some sort of a grand prize or anything, do you?" The man gestured to the top row of prizes dumbfounded. "Oh, yeah, I see. That would be them, hm. Com'ere Lynn." She snapped to attention and approached the booth, the crowd giving her some cheers as she went. Ashwin gestured the top row and looked at his daughter. "Which one of those do you want? They all look pretty good to me but this is your prize. I was kind of leaning towards the-.."

"I've made up my mind." She stated.

"Oh?" He asked, eyebrow arched.

She looked at the still-dazed man, "I will take the.."

---

Ashwin and Lynn walked out of Gwydion's Plaza. He glanced to his daughter and shook his head. "Why'd you get [i]that[/i]?" She looked up to him and tilted her head. She held a rather large, black stuffed dragon. "There was plenty of other choices but you took the stuffed version of the the greatest threat to this nation." He sighed.

She shrugged. "Well.. uhm, I think they are kind of.. cute."

"Dragons? Cute?" He asked as they went through the crowds. He grinned broadly. "If you say so."

"Father.. what happened the first time?"

"Hm?"

"Uhmm.. when I threw the first time." She twirled a lock of hair around her finger. "I didn't.." Her voice trailed off.

"Oh, yeah. That." He frowned. "That guy has probably ripped off hundreds of people today with those knives." She looked at him oddly. "The knives had a well-hidden curse on them. They were made to take an aversion to going where the user threw them. Only slightly though- can't cause too much suspicion. Pretty good investment for a sly gamemaster."

"Uhmm, if so.. shouldn't we" she gestured with her free hand, "turn.. him in?"

"Maybe, maybe not. I'm sure that even if a few people with decent skill come along he'll lose money from those lavish prizes he has." His brows furrowed. "Well, I could talk to [b]Eso[/b] about it."

"Eso.. is doing security this year?"

"Yeah. I promised him that I'd keep an eye out for any shady dealings as I went about the festival. They have their hands full enough with the.." He eyed her plushie. He gestured and didn't finish the sentence. "Anyway, I'm a man of my word. You should keep your word too- It's part of being a Crow." He rubbed his chin in thought. "But, I wonder where Eso would be in this chaotic mess." His eyes scanned around him for a few seconds before he shrugged. "Ah, well. We'll bump into him sometime, I'm sure. Let's get ourselves something to drink over at Algorin's Inn. I'm pretty parched after our misadventures."

Lynn nodded in agreement and stayed close to her father. She held onto her stuffed dragon tightly as they wound through the crowds..[/color]
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As afternoon turned to evening, people began to gather at the various stages set up throughout the city. Durring the afternoon, they'd been wandering around the city, looking in various shops, ducking into taverns for quick drinks, or just generally wandering. Some had watched the afternoon performances, but most people elected to pass. The evening performances, however, drew a lot more attention, being of a generally higher quality.

Eso's shift was coming to an end, and he was glad. He'd had a busy day. As the day had worn on, reports of theft had started to come in. Eso had anticipated this. It was normally a couple hours after the festival started that the first theft reports came in. There would be more and more throughout the day. And while it was impossible to completly stop the problem, there were established routines for dealing with thieves.

As people entered the city, they were inspected by the soldiers, who identified items that would attract thieves. Mages would place tracking spells on these items, enabling them to determine the exact locations of said items. The owners of these items were marked in the spell, as well. When an item was reported as stolen, a mage would examine the person for any such spell-marks. If there were any, the mage would draw upon them to determine the location of the item in question. Then, someone was sent to retrive it and bring the hief in. It wasn't a perfect system, but it was the best one anybody'd come up with so far, and it worked very well. But it ment that soldiers like Eso had their work cut out for them, as they were almost always involved in the retreval process.

Eso'd been runing around the city all afternoon, chaseing after thieves. There was still work to do, but Eso was off the hook, at least until tomorrow morning. For now, Eso and some friends of his, Jaht and Azufe among them, intended to relax and enjoy the evening's performances before heading home for the night.

"Man, I'm exhausted," Azufe remarked as he walked with Eso and Jaht towards one of the stages. "I've been running after thieves all afternoon."

"Me, too," Eso said. "I'm glad I'm off duty. Another hour and I'd have collapsed."

"You wouldn't have collapsed," Jaht replied. "As for me, well, I'd have passed out on the spot."

"Well, we can sit back and relax now," Eso said.

"Until morning, at least," Jaht said. "Anyways, I don't suppose you've learned anything new about this mystery performer?" He smiled.

Azufe looked at Eso for about half a second, then punched Jaht in the stomach. It wasn't a hard punch, but it still had Jaht doubled over. Azufe and Eso waited for him to recover, then the three of them resumed walking, Jaht staring angrily at Azufe. Eso couldn't help laughing. [i]I love those two.[/i]
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James lay on his small straw bed in his tiny hotel room, taking a quick nap before heading back out into the Festival. Even in his sleep, he continued to hum the tune that young girl had played on her flute. On the small bedside table a sack containing all the silver, gold, and jewels he had "found". As he turned over in his bed, still half asleep, he heard heavy footsteps coming up the hotel stairs. Quickly he jolted up from his bed. No way did those footsteps belong to that thin old inn-keeper. One thought flashed into his mind. Guards. But how the hell did they find him? He didn't have time to figure it out. Grabbing his sack of silver, and sliding his travel bag under his bed, James lept towards the window and climbed out onto the roof. Just as got his back foot up ontop of the roof, two large guards burst through his door, followed by the inn-keeper..

"Were is that little Theif!" Shouted one of the guards.

"I don't know. He came in just an hour ago, and he never left," responded the inn-keeper.

"Well he ain't here is he, so he musta left!" Yelled the other guard.

"Alright, lets atleast check for that dagger. We can come back for the stinkin' theif later."

As James listened to the guards, he tried to remember were he left the dagger. The table, no....his bag, no....OH NO! James reached around his back and felt the dagger tucked into his belt.

"If those guards don't find this dagger, they'll never leave," he thought to himself. Hanging his head into down into his window, James saw that the guards were shifting through his bed and bag. James tolk the dagger from his belt and, waiting for the guard looking through his sac to turn away, threw it into his bag.

"Hey, here it is in the bag," said the guard. The guard grabbed the dagger and stold up to head for the door.

"What, your just going to leave that stinking theif his bag? Who knows what else in it is stolen." questioned the other guard.

"Fine, I'll bring the bag," he said with a grunt as he hoisted James' bag over his sholder. The two guards and the inn-keeper quickly left, slamming the door behind them. James climed back into his window with a look of shock on his face.

"Crap."
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[color=black]Just before Nait could really inform Vincent of anything a person she knew as Ashwin walked in.[/color]

"Ah Vincent... Could you hold that thought for a moment."

"Not a problem at all."

Nait was taller than him and she thought this quite funny due to their age difference but she figured older age brought shorter people. She moved over to the table where Ashwin and his daughter sat.

"So what will it be today?"

The man smiled, "The usual if you dont mind. Tea or water for Lynn I suppose."

Nait nodded and went back behind the bar. "So Vincent. If you want some healing help meet me upstairs in a bit... I will have your room ready by then. I figured you would show up so i reserved it before they all filled up."

"That was quite nice of you."

Nait smiled sweetly, "Aren't I always?"

He laughed and said no more. She grabbed the two drinks she had prepared and took then to Ashwin and Lynn who seemed quite happy now. Nait noticed the girl holding onto a stuffed dragon. This amused Nait. Not many people saw dragons the way she did. She smiled again and gave Vincent another drink.

"Now in a bit come up to the usual room."

"The one with the view of the square? You never seem to forget. You are to nice though... At some point you are going to need to be quite rough with customers you know... If they get out of line you might need force to get them out." He advised.

Nait smiled, "Yes I am working on it. Anyways enjoy your drink first and then come on up. It will be the room labled B3. The door itself will be black."

"Changed some stuff eh?"

"Yes mother had an insperation... Decided to color code the doors. Still the same room though."

With that she headed on up the stairs next to the fireplace. She thought she heard Vincent get up and move to Ashwins table and mention being closed early but it really wasnt her buisness and she quietly made it upstairs. Once in the room with the black door she glanced around.

It had rather bland decorations. She frowned on the duller colors and arrangment of the room. She opened the door next to it and smiled. Her room far better decorated. A painting of a dragon was on the wall. It did not look harmful or mean but quite peacefull laying in the meadow grass. In her imagination she could see the grass move with the wind but she soon snapped out of it.

She took the painting down and a few shields, all but the dragon fang one, and took them into his room. After arranging them on the wall she switched blankets. From a rather flowery dull one to the one in her room which had no designs or patternsbut a very warm dark purple meterial that felt extra soft and was quite warm. She was willing to do this for Vincent. He was after all a friend of the family and a regular.

She went back into her room and placed the dull blanket on her bed. She pulled out a small box and left the room closing the door shut tight behind her. She went into Room B3 and set the box on the bed's side table. She pulled out a small jar of what looked like a rather odd green goo and a roll of bandage. Most of the wounds she took care of were to those who knew she did it. During the festival though she tried to keep it hush hush due to how many people would be around.

She wished not to have floods of ill or minorly injured people in her inn althought it might bring in some profit at the bar. She pulled a small very sharp blade out from a small hidden spot in her leather belt where the leather was slit leaving a very thing space perfect for the blade. She put it with the bandage and decided if she was going to heal anything sheh ad better make it look as though it was there. She normally did this during the festival and usualy ignored these kinds of things on normal days. Not many cared whether they saw someone enter the inn with a cut on their arm and leave with nothing. The celebration was a different story.

She yawned and looked out the window. It was already getting late and the real festivities were about to begin. She hoped they had the magical fireworks which she enjoyed even from her bedroom window. She smiled and waited. He appeared a little later and knocked on the door frame first.

"I see a little re-decorating has been done."

"Ah yes. Well it was rather dull. Anyways what kind of healing do you need old timer" She said with a rather amused grin.
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After having his second drink placed in front of him, Vincent nodded once again to Nait and promptly knocked back most of it. Just before he finished he plucked the drink up and ventured over to where Ashwin and Lynn sat and pulled up a small stool.

[B]“Been doing some sight seeing have we?”[/B] He asked as he looked between them giving Lynn a smile as he noticed her dragon plush.

[B]“I suppose you could call it that. How’s things?”[/B]

[B]“All’s well I guess, starting to feel my age finally, but still doesn’t stop me aye? And what have we got here Little Lynn?”[/B] He asked with a warm smile.

Lynn at first couldn’t look Vincent in the eye and seemed a little sheepish. The two had only met a few times previous and Vincent was still totally unaware of the girl’s origins, but he treated her as if she was actually Ashwin’s daughter. The use of ‘Little’ before her name aided in making her feel a little calmer. She eventually held up the dragon for Vincent’s inspection and spoke.

[B]“It’s a dragon, I won it at the dagger throw...with a little assistance from father”[/B] She added and the two exchanged a brief smile before she turned back to Vincent.

At this Vincent moved his hands over the plush and then handed it back to her. She smiled a little at having her plush back and hugged it slightly.

[B]“Do you want me to tell you a little something abuot that dragon you’ve there?”[/B] She nodded and smiled a little more and Vincent continued. [B]“Well, this dragon you hold there, I’ve classed as Dragood. You see, dragons come in all sorts of sizes and forms, just like us people, this particular type is very big and has amazing strength. However it’s brain capacity is very limited and therefore it acts using only the most basic of instincts. It is for this reason that many humans see fit to hunt and kill these brilliant creatures for their brutality they say but they always make a few good pieces of gold off the hide. I have proven however that these creatures can be tamed and indeed can increase their thought patterns when giving the proper stimulus and...”[/B] Vincent stopped when he remembered that even Ashwin looked bored.

He gave an embarrassed smile and apologised for his ramblings and gave a wave as he got up.

[B]“Thank you for telling me about dragons Mr. Vincent. It was nice seeing you.”[/B] See spoke with a smile.

Vincent ruffled her hair affectionately and smiled and then turned back to Ashwin.

[B]“Good manners, I foresee you becoming just as great as your old man over there. You two have a nice day now and I’ll drop by the store tomorrow maybe.”[/B] He said affectionately, addressing them both.

[B]“I’m not that much older than you so watch it,”[/B] Ashwin said with a grin, [B]“But yes, maybe we’ll see you tomorrow.”[/B]

Vincent then left the bar area and headed for the stairs and to the designated black door that Nait had talked about earlier. He knocked the frame and entered, at first commenting on the decoration.

[B]“I see a little re-decorating has been done.”[/B] He noted.

[B]“Ah yes. Well it was rather dull. Anyways, what kind of healing do you need old timer?”[/B] She said with a rather amused grin.

At this Vincent frowned almost comically and remembered the comments he’d just made towards Ashwin who was only three years his senior. Coming from this girl he’d known since she was at least four years old he really did feel his age. He laughed it off however and gave her a mock jab in her right arm and then sat on the edge of the bed which would be his for the next few days.

[B]“I’ve been practicing the few healing spells you showed me last time but I can’t seem to get the hang of it. You’d think a practiced mage such as myself would have no troubles but meh. My old brain must be going.”[/B] He added with a smile.

[B]“Don’t worry about it, I have trouble with them sometimes too, and it’s my speciality.”[/B] She lied, to protect his feelings and pride. [B]“Anyways, what was it you wanted healed?”[/B] She asked with some concern in her voice.

He stood up and rolled up his right leg and pointed to a particularly infected cut on his shin.

[B]“Well, I took a fall from one of the cliff faces when studying a very unpredictable dragon. My fault really, I got clumsy...”[/B]

[B]“Well that’s no problem, I guess I can help you with that.”[/B] She said, this time with a reassuring smile.

[B]“I knew I could count on you kiddo!”[/B]
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Nait opened the jar of goo and smiled. It reeked of a wild grass that smelled horrid when cut. He could tell the goo had some of that plant in it. She sighed, [b]"This will sting but for you I am sure you can handle it"[/b]

She first opened her hand and a small ball of water began to form. She carefully controlled where it went and cleaned the wound and the area around it. Then the water spiraled into the air and she directed it into the plant vase in the corner. The large green bush wouldnt have a problem with the water so it was the perfect place to put it.

Nait then brushed some of the goo on the cut. She had a smile on her face the entire time and seemed to enjoy what she was doing. She wrapped the bandage around the cut covering it completely.

[b]"Uh... I figured you were going to heal it not just bandage it up."[/b] He stared at his bandaged leg curiously.

Nait grinned again and untied the bandage. She pulled it away from his leg and revealed that the cut was completely gone with no trace or sign that he was ever injured in the first place. [b]"I put some of my healing spell in the goo the bandage is just for show."[/b]

He smiled, [b]"Ah... Yes well thank you. Wait what is that smell?"[/b]

Nait sniffed the air and smiled. It was like a peppermint smell and rather nice. [b]"Oh... That goo does that once it is absorbed into the wound and evaporates...taking the wound with it."[/b]

[b]"I see this is something new."[/b]

She closed the jar and put everything back in her little box, [b]"Well yes. I just started working with this and it is rather good. Anyways be nice to my painting."[/b]

He looked at the one of the dragon, [b]"Ah yes. I uh how did you do that anyways?"[/b]

She smiled and staredat it one last time, [b]"I have seen one. I watched it and painted what I saw. Now i have a bar to run. I hope you enjoy the room and the celebration. Have a good night."[/b]

She moved to her room and put her medicine box under her feather pillow. She then made her way downstairs again. Already one friendh ad shown up, one idiot had come in and annoyed her and with him was another person who looked just as annoyed with the drunk as she was. She was rather amused so far. The celebration had hardly really started and she already had quite a few wired people come in.

[i][b]This will be interesthing[/b][/i] she thought.
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As the sun set, the evening performances began. They were typically of a higher quality than the afternoon ones, and so drew larger crowds. The famous acting troups preferred evening performances, so they would take to the stages as the sun set. The plays varied in style, from uproarous comedies to emotional romances to tear-jerking tragedies. All were very good, assuming you enjoyed the genre.

Eso and Jaht preferred the comedies, but Azufe was one for romance, so he went off to join some other friends of his. He'd watch the emotional plays he enjoyed, while Eso and Jaht would find the funniest show they could. After comeing across a particularly good-looking performance, Eso and Jaht sat down.

"I saw an odd woman earlier today," Jaht remarked as he and Eso awaited the beginning of the play. "She was playing the flute. I was walking by that particular stage when she was playing. She was damn good, especially for an afternoon performer. But she never took her cloak off. Nobody saw what she looks like. Before she played, I'd have picked her as a prime candidate for the mystery performer, but we won't be seeing that person until tomorrow. Besides, she was just a fluteist, though a good one. Nothing special."

"Well, it's like Azufe and I keep telling you," Eso replied. "We'll find out who this mystery performer is tomorrrow."


"Okay, that was good," Jaht remarked as he and Eso walked away from the stage after the play had finished. "Especially that scene with the gravedigger and the hangman."

"I lked the part with the horse better," Eso said. "Oh, and the bit with the hunter in the tavern."

"That was classic," Jaht agreed, laughing. "It'd hurt like hell if anyone actually did that to you, but it was funny to watch."

After discussing the play for a couple minutes, Jaht said, "I think I'll grab a beer or two, then find another play to watch. Care to join me?"

Eso shook his head. "I'm going to head home and try to get some sleep. Remember, I've got to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow."

"That's right, you have the morning shift tomorrow. Well, I'll see you tomorrow, then."

"Probably. Good night." And with that, Eso walked away. He soon came to his house. Upon entering, he made a quick inspection. Satesfied that nothing was missing, he put his things up and lay down on the matress. He didn't want to be tired tomorrow morning, as it was sure to be a busy day.
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[color=Navy]Tesera had walked around for the whole day, just getting used to the city, buying some items, playing some games, and watching somemore performances on stage.

As the sun began to set on the first day of the festival, the people that had been rushing around the city started to retreat to the various places they stayed.

Tesera looked around and returned to the inn. She asked the reception if there were any rooms available, which luckily there was one. She payed the amount of coins and recieved the key to the room. She looked at the tag and went up the stairs, walking through the halls until she spotted the correct door. She inserted the key in the lock and twisted, there was a click and she walked in, locking the door behind her.

Tesera finally pulled the hood back and pushed her hair up over the cloak. She brought out a bag that was hidden under her cloak and she placed it down on the bed and put a hand to her stomach. She hadn't eaten all day and she was starving. She sighed and lifted the hood back over her face and left the room, locking it behind her.

Tesera went downstairs and left the inn, tucking the key into a pocket of her cloak. She stood still and adjusted to the darkness, even though lamps had been lit. She searched around until she spotted a tavern and was sure they supplied food.

She entered and ordered a meal, which she feasted on happily. She stifled a yawn and payed the bill. Her eyes were heavy and she was tired, so she made her way back to the inn and went up to her room.

Tesera shed her cloak and draped it over a chair that was in the room. She lay down on the bed and closed her eyes, she was soon fast asleep.
[/color]
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[color=crimson]Ashwin had payed and left the inn, leaving behind a hefty tip as thanks. He and Lynn filed out into the early evening crowd that was thickening by the second. "I remember the first time I went to that inn." He rubbed his chin a bit. "There was a ruckus."

"Er.. a ruckus?" Lynn had a confused look on her face.

"There was a bit of trouble, yes." The confused look persisted on her face and Ashwin grinned. "It was a big fight. You've never seen a fight with drunks, have you?" She shook her head. "Well it's a different kind of fight. Hard to describe, I suppose. You'll see it soon enough. There will be some trouble at this festival with all the inebriated people meandering about the night." He glanced around them. "Let's catch a show." She nodded to him. They went around to various acts as the evening wore on. Ashwin caught passing glimpses of some familiar people- specifically Eso and the woman Lynn had run into earlier. They faded into the sea of people soon after he spotted them and he smiled at this. "Alsoto always feels much more complete with these throngs of people. The heart and mind of the city is it's populace. Feels more alive with all this celebration, doesn't it?"

"I.. feel so too. My, um.. home.. what was my home, I mean. Had this vibe sometimes.." She gestured. "You know, the heartbeat the.. flow."

"That ship felt this alive?"

"Y-yeah."

"I can imagine that I suppose." The evening had set in full, the moon piercing through the clear sky down onto the teeming city. Ashwin gazed at it as he spoke. "Well, we've seen some pretty good shows tonight."

"I liked that one with the gravedigger and the hangman." She said with a grin.

"Oh yeah?" He looked at her. She held her dragon very close to her. "Say, is that dragon your new bodyguard?"

"Yes! Uhm, he's a.. Dra.. Dragood! Remember? Vincent said he was powerful and brutish.. but you can teach it to be smart, too. That's my plan. He'll, uhmn.. protect us both." She nodded to herself. "He will keep the alive feeling of this town safe.."

"Well. I'm counting on him, then." Ashwin said with a smile. "It's time for us to get back. Tomorrow is going to be a full day as well."

"The.. mystery performer, right? I-... I mean, uhm. Do you think it was that cloaked lady?"

"The one you slammed into?" She looked embarrassed. "Ahh, I don't really know. We'll see it tomorrow so I think we should just be patient about it. There has never been such a sensation at a festival though- whomever they are, they better not disappoint after all the hype." They made their way through the streets, passed Algorin's Inn and into the lavish district Ashwin's shop was in. He approached the door and unlocked it, opening it for Lynn. "Check to make sure nothing is missing." She nodded and went to work, checking the various items in the store.

There was a tap on Ashwin's shoulder and he turned around slowly. He was face to face with a horrendous, monstrous.. group of drunks. Very, very drunk at that. The leader of this band of drunks nodded to himself and slurred his way into a conversation. "Shay, urr Ashhwin Crow, right?" He blinked and nodded. "Cann lift curses, right?" He nodded again. "Cann you.. shtop a hangovah frum.. ever happenin'?" He shook his head. "Cann you... sober meh and my bros up?" He shook his head. "Are you shure? We have.. shume monah and.."

"Sorry, my fine friends. I'm afraid that those aren't curses. But!" He raised his finger. "What I can do is direct you to a fine establishment full of good drinks and fine looking rooms. You have money, right?" They drunkenly nodded. "Would you like to spend that money?" Some hesitation, but nods nonetheless. "Would you like to spend it on some good drinks?" Nods once more. "Good choices, lads. Would you like directions to this establishment?" Enthused nods from all. "Very well then! Just go down this road, take a left and look for 'Algorin's Inn'. Do you got that?"

"Algorin's Inn.. yesh, jus.. down there, right? We take a uh.. take a uh.."

"Left. Take a left. Just down there and it's the first left you can take."

"Firsh left. Yes, 'kay... I think I've got it. Down there.. take a left.. get shume drinksh?

"Yes, drink yourselves silly. Well, drink yourselves sillier. Now, get going!" He dramatically pointed down the street. "The finest place in all of Alsoto is awaiting you."

"Okay! Shounds good." All of them were nodding. "Shank you, Mr. Crow! You are.. a good mahn, a good friend. Good, good friend. We musht be going now to the.. finest place in all of Alshoto!" The group stumbled off down the road, disappearing as they took that first left. Ashwin grinned to himself mischievously. Lynn peeked outside and looked at him strangely.

"Father.. did you just, uhm.. send that group of drunks to Algorin's?"

"Possibly." She looked at him even stranger. "Well, I mean, I'm sure Nait could use some entertainment. It's late, things are kind of quiet. Something needs to break that tranquility in the name of good fun." She shook her head at him. "Plus, they will probably blow all their money and pass out. Nice, quiet profit."

"Uhm.. or they could start a 'ruckus'."

"Perhaps, perhaps not. We'll know tomorrow, won't we? Was anything taken?" He gestured to the shop.

"Nothing at all. None of the curses have gone off either, so.."

"Ahh, wise thieves. Never steal from a man well versed in curses. You might end up sick, dead or worse."

".. Worse?" She stepped outside, peering at him.

"Well, obviously. Some curses affect the victim's shape and form. You know, like the frog that was a prince?"

"Uhm.. is that worse than.. death?"

"Being a frog? I wouldn't know. Nevertheless, all transformations are rather uncomfortable to go through. I'll teach you them someday- they are a bit advanced, obviously. But, for now, it's off to bed with you." He hugged her. "Good night, young one. Sleep well and may your dragon protect you. Tomorrow even more fun awaits us." She smiled and nodded. He watched her run across the to their rather large home. She turned, bowed once to him and unlocked the door, stepping inside. He took in a deep breath of the evening air- things seemed rather tranquil now. "The calm before tomorrow's storm." He mused. He stepped inside and went back to his office. He began to smoke idly, eying a world map that was across from his desk. He had literally been everywhere across that map, several times over perhaps. "Where should I go this winter? Back to the sea, perhaps." He leaned forward and eyed the map further. "Much is left unexplored out there. Hmm, but how to get out there.. the last time." His memory returned to five years prior and he shook his head. "I'm not sure that I can do that again without being killed." His gaze drifted to the cutlass above the map. "Hm.."

He stood and walked out of his office to the gallery. He did a brief check of things to satisfy his slight paranoia and left the shop, locking it behind him. He walked casually to his home and inside, puffing a bit on his pipe. He went past the entryway, past his private library and up the stairs to his bedroom to get some sleep..[/color]
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It had gotten darker and Nait still was the only Algorin in the Inn. She wasnt to worried. Once her parents stayed out for the whole celebration. Rented a room at another Inn to get the feeling that the visitors did. So she didnt expect to see them for a while.

She did hear a bit of muttering outside her door and looked through the misty windows to see several shadows lingering outside her Inn door. She heard a rather painfull sounding thud and decided to investigate. Upon opening the door she watched as a man who had been sitting against the door fall to her feet with an odd grin on his face.

"Muh gord! Ol' billish fell dun!" One man standing said and Nait knew all of them were drunk.

The moment they all noticed the bar inside they seemed to forget about their friend on the ground and almost all of them stepped on him once to get in. She frowned on this but decided to deal with it like her father would. Grin untill they are out of money then get real nasty like and kick them out if they decided to stay or if they got out of hand.

"Well come on in..." She said in the most welcoming voice she could.

They all stummbled in and surrounded a larger table. The man twitching on the floor slowly managed to get up off the floor and to the bar. Apparently he was not at all happy with his buddies for stepping on him.

"Let me guess... Beer for the whole group?"

"Why yessh prety lada"

She nodded and went back behind the bar. She got as many glassesas she needed and filled them up. She took them over and set them all down. She did have to make two trips but she was paid well after the last guy got his beer.

She returned to the bar and gave the man who had been walken on a glass and he drank it down almost instantly. She frowned for only a second and returned to her 'welcome make yourself at home' look.

Eventually the men had piled up their money in the center of the table and the most able to speek beckoned her over for another round. She had thought about just kicking their already drunk rears out but... it was money and who was she to refuse good money. The men had a little money left over but eventually most were so out of it they didnt know what to do with it.

An hour went by and nothing seemed to be happening untill one man stood up and wobbled around. He seemed quite upset and pointed at a larger man.

"Shee whus muh sisshter!" He bellowed. Nait almost leapt clear off her stool.

"Dun get shhnappy wuth meee shun!" The other man said who looked a little older.

The man made a very rude gesture that made the other man quite mad for he leaped up and fell down. The other man laughed but a few of the men were not amused. In almost an instant one man had been floored with a punch and several others were grabbing and bashing into others.

Nait growled and watched for a short moment. Two men were so drunk they couldnt even stant yet there they were laying on the floor beating eah other with their glasses.

"I beleive its time for a little rain..." Nait muttered. There were a few other people there that were not even a part of the group but had joined in on the fun. A few backed into the corner and continued on with their drinks.

Nait walked over to the large barrel with a big blue 'W' painted on it. She turned the lever and water began to spill out onto the floor. She instantly began to gather it up in her way. The water came off the floor and hovered in mid air. She turned the lever when she had enough water and picked it all off the floor. Her hands were in tight fists.

A sphear of water floated over the drunks and they all looked at her in amazement. She grinned at them and opened her hands. The water splashed down on the drunks and most of them groaned and slipped onto the floor. Nait worked with the water again. With it being already there it was much easier due to the fact that she didnt have to create it first. She created a bubble around the men and almost lost concentration when she noticed the twho guys beating each other with her glasses were still going at it and had completely ignored the water.

She moved the bubble towards the door and then released it. The men washed out onto the street and most werent to happy but to drunk to do much but squirm again in mud. She walked out and took her glasses back from the oblivious fighters and went back inside closing the doors.

A woman growled at Nait, "Your little stunt there may have gotten rid of them but it has gotten me and my very exspensive dress wet!"

"Look lady the show aint over yet." Nait held out her hand near the woman who stepped backwards in shock. Strangely all the water in her hair and clothes began to float through the air and form a spear in the air. In no time she was completely dry and staring at the sphear of water in front of her. Nait sighed and guided the water to one of the corner plants. It was handy to have the plants around.

"Hmph.." The lady grunted as she left.

Nait grinned, "Whatever."

She slumped down behind the bar and sat onto the floor. It may have looked to everyone like easy stuff but it was in fact very tiring for her. She had done this several times so it was routine to wash out the drunks in such a way if they fought... However it was very draining because she was still gaining more skill with it and wasnt completely the master of water yet. It took practice and she was over the ten year mark... thought all she did when she was young was water her single plant so she couldnt call that really practice. She really started work with the skill at 15.

"Well... one down two to go." She said to herself.

The man who had been walked on was still at the bar and he muttered, "The night is not over yet."

She stood back up and dusted herself off. She looked at him and realized he did not look drunk at all. She gave him a questioning look.

"Ah you think I was drunk when i fell into that door did you?" He asked and when she quietly nodded and laughed ludly, "Nah. I was plainly not with them. Though I did direct them here because they were at Ashwins and he told them to come here. They of course with the attenion span of a goldfish forgot where it was."

"Ashwin huh... I will have to send him a thank you gift." She said with a slightly annoyed tone. "So why did you get in front ofthe door? And you looked pretty drunk laying at my feet with that grin and all."

"Aye I may have but wouldnt you look a little out of it had you been punched into a door for advising that they go home... They were already drunk after all."

"I suppose I wouldnt. Anyways I took what money they had left. They caused a bit of a mess. They broke some stools the table and a glass. So i figured what they had left would cover repairs. They wont miss their money in the morning... They wont remember it." She said smiling.

"Ah." He took a slight sip or his beer.

"Anyways no need to pay for yours its on the house. I beleive being walked on and all grants you a free one."

"That is quite nice of you ma'am." He said with a smile.

After about a half hour she blew out the bar lights and most people left or went up to their rooms. The bar had to close so Nait could get some sleep. She did hope her mother or father returned... she didnt like the idea of closing the bar, a great income, to go watch the festivities but it was her birthday tomorrow and she wanted to enjoy it.
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James walked through the thinning crowds towards the guard station closest to him. It was a small two story block building with far less trimming than most of the other decadently designed houses. He had scouted it out earlier that evening while the crowds were thicker, but it would be much easier to make an escape when the crowds thinned late into the night.

James strolled into the alley next to the station, being careful not to attract attention to hemself. Once around back, he quickly scaled up a ten foot stack of crates put up next to the station wall. Another quick leap, and he was able to pull his way up to the buiilding's roof. Once attop, he made his was over to the side of the building. He hung himself over the side and peered into what seemed to be the station's storage room. Being a guard station, the windows were obviosly barred, but James had learned many secrets on getting through barred windows. Quickly, and with near inhuman flexability, he slid himself between the bars and into the building.

James spent only a few minutes looking through the room before finding his bag. He quickly shifted through it and was releived to find the suit was still inside. He let out a small sigh of releif before looking around the room again, this time for anything worth stealing. Shifting through all the guard's supplies and confiscated items, James found a few jewels which had been stolen previously and retreaved by the guards. However, the big catch was a large ring of keyes hung on the wall, which included a skeleton key, most likely for a good number of locks all around town. A firm beleiver in being prepared, James grabbed the key ring and headed back towards the window. Slidding back between the bars, James fell to the ground, landing softly on both feet.

"Well, that was easy," James said smuggly as he walked away from the station to find another room to stay in.
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The horizion was aflame with the light from the setting sun. Alno'dra walked the streets looking at various shops that had been built on the city's sidewalks for the festival. He finally had the free time he desired after dropping Karst off at home, or what he thought was home from the drunken rambling. Now was the best time to look around, and finally see the festival.

One booth managed to catch his eye. The vendor was selling pieces from slaughtered dragons. Everything from bones to scales, and teeth to dried dragon meat. The man running the booth perked up at the site of Alno'dra's approach. [i]Looks like business was slow.[/i] The vendor began to speak, something about the 'finest dragon products' or other nonsense, but Alno'dra just continued to look around. In particual he eyed a piece of dragon scale hanging from the top of the booth.

"Ah, I see you have an eye for that dragon scale," The man chirped in. "Quite a hard one to kill, that one. It protected it's nest like it was posessed by the devil." Alno'dra did not bother to tell him that it was obviously an infant's scale. Most likely one that strayed too far from the nest. He also resisted to the urge to tell the man what he thought of killing dragon's too young to fight back properly, just before he would likely have torched the booth. He did manage to spot a few things that looked like they were from adult dragons, but most appeared to have been left behind after being broken off or abandoned by a previous hunter.

[i]Who does this guy think he is fooling? Even a novice hunter could tell these were easy kills. However...[/i] Out of possible sympathy Alno'dra grabbed a dragon's tooth that had been broken in half, probably from a fight or just normal growth. He dropped a few silver pieces on the table and walked away. [i]At least this came from an adult dragon, who no longer needs it, I would say.[/i]

The night was begining to creep in, and being awake too long would be a bad idea. It had been a long journey, and he had not slept much the last few nights in order to save time. Heading out of the city, Alno'dra made his way to a small forest he had scouted earlier. It was wilderness to everyone else, but a three-star hotel to a hunter. Even the stream running through it was crystal clear.

Once he had a suitable location amongst the trees Alno'dra use his knowlegde of fire magic to set a small fire, just enough to stay warm. For a time he also used it to heat up the dragon tooth he had bought, and used his whetstone to flatten it against a rock. Most people just thought of dragons as pieces of art waiting to be mounted, but as a trained hunter Alno'dra respected them, and knew the true value of any pieces of themselves they had left behind. With a little work, this once broken tooth would make a fine blade, but for now it time to rest up. After years or surviving Alno'dra fell just far enough asleep to be refreshed in the morning, but awake enough to avoid any wild animals that would mistake him for a midnight snack.
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Eso was up early the next morning. He had to, because he was on the morning shift. So was Azufe, though Jaht had the luxury of sleeping in. Of course, he wouldn't sleep too late, as he didn't want to miss the mystery performer.

Eso quickly located Azufe, who was conversing with Sako, another soldier. They both looked up as Eso approached

"Hey, Eso," Sako said. "Haven't seen you in a while."

"I know," Eso replied. "And good morning to you, Azufe."

"Morning. Anyways, Sako, you were saying?"

Sako looked at Eso. "I was just telling Azufe what happened last night. Apparently, someone broke into one of the guard towers."

"What?!"

"I know. I was shocked, to. Anyways, they think it's a theif they were after earlier. Everything they'd taken from his room was stolen, along with a few other things. I don't know how the guy tinks he'll get away with it. Probably hasn't figured out that they put tracking spells on the valuables. This guy's good, though. Apparently, he's been evading pursuit all night."

"He must be something," Eso agreed.

"Yeah, but he won't last much longer. Kajo and Daego are going after him."

"Damn," Azufe said. "This guy must be something special if they've sent both Kajo and Daego after him. But you're right, Sako. No matter how good he is, he doesn't stand a chance with those two after him. He [i]might[/i] be able to get away if he leaves the goods behind, because then the mages wouldn't be able to locate him, but Kajo and Daego could probably track him down even without the mages' help."

Sako nodded. "Quite likely. Anyways, we have a job to do, and we should start doing it. I'll see you later."


So far, the morning had been uneventful, but Eso knew that that was about to change. At 10:00, just a few minutes from now, the mystery performer would take center stage and do... well, whatever he/she was going to do. Once the stage this person intended to use was known, everybody was crowding around it. Eso, Sako, and Azufe were right by the stage. [i]One of the benifits of being on duty,[/i] Eso thought. [i]You can tell people to get out of your way, and they have to do so.[/i]

Before long, the three of them were joined by Jaht, who'd managed to make his way through the crowd. "Hey, guys," he said. "Any sign of the mystery performer yet?"

"Not yet," Sako replied, "but whoever it is should be onstage any second now."

Just then, somebody walked onstage. Whoever it was was wearing a cloak. The person was holdng a flute.

"What the hell?" Jaht said. "Is that Shian?"

Eso remembered Jaht telling him about Shian. "The woman you saw yesterday?"

Jaht nodded. "Yeah, that's her. her flute looks different this time, though. That jewel or whatever it is she's got attached to it wasn't there yesterday."

Just then, the woman onstage removed her cloak. "Holy shit!" Eso exclaimed.

"Who is that?" Sako asked.

"Who is that? That's Tesera Shilu!"

"[i]What[/i]?!"

Eso shared Sako's shock, as did pretty much everybody in the audience. Almost all of them had heard of her, and many knew what she looked like. She'd made quite a name for herself by doing what some considered impossible. Many thought she had special powers.

"Whatever's about to happen will undoubtably be like nothing we've ever seen," Eso said.

"Yeah," Jaht agreed. "And you said we wouldn't see any dragons."

----------------------------------------------

OOC: Sakura, take it away.
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[b]OOC: [/b]Oh yeah, the fun begins!!

[color=Navy]Tesera looked at the large crowd. Everyone had come out to see who the mystery performer was since it was so anticipated. As soon as she threw off her cloak, many people recognised her and talking immediately spread through the audience. She searched the audience for faces and spotted some that were familiar, like the barkeep, the girl who had bumped into her with her father, the man she had met while resting beneath the tree, and several others she had seen while wandering around the city. A lot of people were surprised it was her, though many had had their suspicions about her.

Everyone continued talking, she sighed and brought the flute up to her lips, now it was adorned with a magnificent jewel. She trilled a few notes and the crowd fell silent immediately. Her song started out slow, and sounded a little haunting. Everyone was entranced and kept their eyes on her. Suddenly there was a peak in the song and a chorus of cries could be heard. There were exclamations from the watchers and their eyes flew to the sky.

Tesera swayed with her song as it whirled and twirled with a fast pace, there was another chorus of cries and dragons of many colours flew over the city, all flying in sync. Tesera didn't see them because her eyes were closed, but she knew they were there. Members of the audience started to panic and the guards were aware and had their weapons out in case they were needed.

The dragons flew in patterns through the sky, the colours blending with each other and they cried loudly as they did so. This was the special performance, and everyone was surprised to say the least, if not scared for their safety.

[b][color=Black]OOC: [/color][/b][color=Black]Hope that was alright, ^__~ It's a little rushed because my brother's kicking me off the computer.[/color]
[/color]
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James ran around a corner into an empty allie. Sweat dripped down his brow has he lugged his large bag over his sholder. Soon after, the two large guards Kajo and Daego came running after. Dispite their large size, the were just as fast as James. Atleast, just as fast as James with the bag over his sholder.

"How the hell did these pigs find me?" James said to himself between breathes. leaving the short allie James saw what could be his way out. He lept up ontop of a crate, then, using a nearby awening, launched himself up ontop of a small two story building.

"What in the hell is this guy, a monkey?" snorted Kajo.

"Come on, lets get up to the roof!" responded Daego as the two ran into the building. The two ran up the building stairs and up to the roof. Barging through the roof door, they scanned the roof, hoping to catch the theif off guard. However, all they found was his bag sitting neatly in the middle of the roof. They approached the bag slowly, expecting a trap. Upon openning it, they found the green tunic and bashe pants James was wearing before. Confused, they began to look up at each other.

However, before they could make eye contact, they were both hit from behind. Recovering from the blow, they looked behind them to find James in his black theives gear. He pulled out his dagger and prepared for the two guards to attack. However, all the guards did was look in horror at the sky. Confused, James looked up aswell, only to see the sky filled with dragons.

"This is not good," stated James as ran past the two guards, still frozen in fear, grabbed his bag and lept over the side of the building.
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