Hollow's Last Hope

Dhohar's Down Time

Dhohar had bid his new friends a good evening as they headed back to Falcon’s Rest and pulled Rumble and Mischief into a copse of trees about two miles outside of town. He didn’t want Rumble to have any issues with the locals and most people didn’t to attack bears without thinking. He knew his animal companion would be fine for a day or two in the copse and could forage at night if he really got hungry.

He awoke to a pretty sunrise and crisp, cold air. He slid out of his bedroll and dressed quickly, stamping his feet into his cold boots. Then, as the sun’s rays basked his face he did his normal morning ritual of meditation and tuning himself to nature. It was his favorite part of the day – a time of relaxation, peace and a sense of oneness. As he slowly returned his senses to his surrounding, Dhohar donned his armor, took the money pouches off Rumble’s harness and set off at a brisk walk to reach town and make a few purchases. He hoped to use some of the gold from his reward to get a few weapon changes and, if lucky, better armor.

He was in luck with his first stop, a visit to the local “general store” of Falcon’s Rest, Goose’n’Gander. The small man behind the counter had an unusual fascination with taxidermy and was all too eager to make some trades for the withered skull that held a spark of magic. In the end, Dhohar left with a new spearhead, forged from cold iron, a wondrous suit of armor and two “thunderstones” – alchemical items that supposedly could stun attackers. Dhohar preferred to avoid force if possible, so they seemed like a good choice. Besides, he didn’t wish to get much more gold than he had now – it was heavy and always seemed to be a burden.

After this, Dhohar set off to the Jack’a’Napes to find some lunch with his new adventuring companions. They’d agreed the night before to meet up, as Zandu hoped to have some insights from the local temple by then regarding a few of the items he and Kieyanna had found in the ruins. The flapjacks were amazing; Dhohar opted for a stack with wild berries in them and washed the works down with chilled cider. He didn’t often have fully prepared meals – most of his meals were hearty, filling but plain and consisted of whatever he found as he moved from location to location. Some druids liked to carry various spices and other seasonings to liven things, but Dhohar preferred fresh herbs. He carried only some salt and a small bag of good tea. After polishing off the lunch, Dhohar looked into accommodations where Kieyanna was staying and agreed to help train her fire foot some if she was up for it that evening.

After dining he headed to his rented room to begin processing his new purchases. The cold-iron spearhead, like most cold-iron produced weapons, had a rough and somewhat unfinished appearance. Given the method of forging it wasn’t surprising; each forging strike seemed to show distinctly and it had an unpolished, hammered appearance that appealed to Dhohar. He thought Yeulal would be pleased with is unfinished appearance as well. He spent most of the afternoon carefully removing the previous head, an elegant and sturdy elven, drop-leaf point. The cold-iron version was much longer in the head and in the connecting ferrule. He was pleased that the same thin shaft design was used in this cold-iron piece as his elven point, as it allowed him to repurpose the original haft of his spear. He was fond of the haft. He’d paid extra to get a darkwood shaft on his weapon and it was polished smooth and straight from the fine elven woodworking. The butt of the spear was a polished silver cap of a raven, with the wings folding back around the wooden end to secure it. The entire butt cap made the appearance of a raven in-flight, amid a down stroke. The bright combination with the deep ebony of the darkwood pleased him. With it’s new cold-iron head it looked slightly mismatched, but was a striking piece nonetheless.

He was also pleased with the newfound hammer as well. After meeting with Zandu and Kieyanna for lunch he had discovered the man had no further need of it and gladly accepted the gift. Truth be told he couldn’t believe the man would give the hammer up; Dhohar expected it to be one of the weapons in the area capable of hurting a werewolf…which was another fear altogether. He’d heard that the dwarven ruins were home to a warg named Greypelt, a beast supposedly killed by his new companions, but the rumors struck him as too close to true for an infestation of lycanthropes. While Dhohar knew little of the were-men, he knew silvered weapons were effective against them and had no wish to be unarmed in an area that faced such predations. Perhaps it was his hyperactive naivety working into his mind, but heard tales of whole towns being overrun by the creatures. The hammer offered little real damage, but it was lightweight and he figured it would be better than have no weapons to fight them with.

His final purchase (or barter really) pleased him most of all. It was a beautiful suit of armor with alternating pieces of supple and hardened leather. The jerkin, leggings and helm form a full-suit that was easy to wear, lightweight and yet very solid on protection. The crafter of the armor was clearly skilled as the seams were on the outside to prevent chafing and the curves were carefully shaped to also avoid rubbing with the body. It fit him like a glove and he was glad for it. The thick, multiple-layers of hide he’d worn before was of solid elven construction but it was unglamorous and encumbered his movements enough to slow him. The new armor did none of those things.

After a pleasant night’s sleep at the Inn, Dhohar awoke to a day in-town. It was a rare enough event that he savored the difference of the feeling. He donned his armor, which he intended to leave in the clearing with Rumble, and gathered his belongings before heading downstairs.

This morning he opted for a simple porridge with fruit and a bit of bacon. The domesticated meat was soft and low in flavor, but it was deliciously salty and Dhohar appreciated it. He’d likely find some snacks on the way to the copse as well. He chatted briefly with Jak about his further shopping needs, some meat (for Rumble) and any local wizards or magic-users that might have items for sale. Jak pointed him to the temple or to the old tower that Shavaros Vade occupied. Jak was kind enough to warn against going to Vade however – the man was…odd. Dhohar thanked him and headed off to begin his morning.

The butcher’s shop smelled just faintly of guts and blood to Dhohar’s tuned senses. The man behind the counter, Cobrin by name, eyed him warily as he asked for pricing on scraps and organ meats from the mornings kill. Rumble would appreciate the delicacy, even if many humans did not. While they would be cool till he got there, Dhohar hoped it would be okay. Cobrin seemed to be quite terse and distracted – as if something was on his mind, but nothing he’d share with his first customer of the morning. Dhohar paid the man and headed out into the morning air, legs swinging wide and steadily pulling him to the copse of trees that hid Rumble.

At the copse all was well. Rumble seemed to appreciate the breakfast and even Mischief flew in to pick at the soft organs. Dhohar intended to leave his new armor here but after the warning from Jak he thought better of it. Never knew what the crazy mage might do or say, and if it concerned his fellow humans, it more than concerned Dhohar. With his friends well taken care of Dhohar headed off to see the mage that lived over the town cemetery.

Shavaros Vade appeared old to Dhohar – but the sort of old that was hard to pinpoint the exact age. Jak had mentioned the man had a younger son that tended to run with a group of other kids from Falcon’s Rest, but it was hard to imagine the droopy eyed, elder mage of chasing after a child. The wizard had his hair pulled back into a loose, long ponytail but a good bit of it drifted in a small cloud around his face. His beard was mostly grey and he had a look of intensity that was mismatched and yet wholly fitting for his lean face. The man spoke with an odd tick, but his words flowed easily enough. He was clearly a well-educated human as well.

After the initial greetings Dhohar inquired as to the availability of any magic items for purchase. He wasn’t looking for anything major in particular, but was interested in magical light sources. At lunch the day before it seemed clear that Zandu and Kieyanna had some interest in exploring the ruins of the dwarven monastery, and Dhohar’s keen eyesight in the wild would do little good underground. Vade stated he knew he had created no such items in some time but would be gone for a few minutes to investigate his stocks. This alarmed Dhohar to no end, and he quietly moved back to the door, opened it and pretended to stare into the cemetery, all the while keeping a loose hand on his scimitar; if it was an ambush the spear would be hard to wield in the close-quarters of the tower.

Vade returned a few minutes later with a small, round stone circling his head. From the stone a bright light glowed, with at least a torch’s intensity. The mage smiled as he saw Dhohar and commented, “I think I’ve found something you are interested in.”

Turning, Dhohar closed the door and smiled back, “Indeed! That looks like just the sort of thing I was hoping for. What are the item’s properties?”

“What you see is what it does. It’s a simple ioun stone that is burnt out. I kept it as possible spell component but never had a need for it. At some point it appears I tried to fashion it into a reading light of sorts, hence the light spell. Nonetheless, the spell won’t expire and it should provide you with good visibility for a reasonable distance.”

Dhohar nodded, intrigued at the item. He’d seen and heard of many sorts of ioun stones – powerful elven scions and rich merchants occasionally had them while in town at Greengold. He did want to verify that it was what the mage said however, “Would you mine my examining it? I have some training in the magical arts. Not that I distrust your word – merely wish to understand better how such an item functions. I’ve never got to handle an ioun stone before.” Vade nodded his assent and pulled the stone from the air, handing it to Dhohar.

Dhohar examined in detail and cast his spell to determine the items properties. After a minute or two he was satisfied it was what the mage had said, nothing more, nothing less. He smiled and said, “So…how much would you like for it?”

In the end Dhohar was thrilled with the negotiations. He’d convinced Vade to part with the “ioun torch” for 75 gold pieces and a promise to investigate his son’s whereabouts. Apparently the younger Vade hadn’t been seen in a day or so and his father was beginning to worry. Dhohar figured it would be easy enough to ask around town, see who had seen the boy last, and if need be track him down. Dhohar doubted the youth could evade his (and Rumble’s) ability to find him.

Pleased with the morning’s excursions, Dhohar headed back into town to begin his investigations.

Dhohar spent the rest of his day asking around after Savram Vade. He spoke with many of the local children he’s sees out playing and even a few of the parents. Most parents stated they didn’t know to much of the boy, they tended to avoid letting their kids play with him and the others that were in his “gang” or Kimi’s gang to be more precise. In talking to one housewife she relayed that Kimi Eavewalker was the leader of a small band of kids, of which Savram was one, that also included Hollin Hebbraden, Mikra Jabbs, and Jurrin Kreed. Together the five formed a group under Kimi tyrannical rule that caused fights and beat up other kids. They had apparently beaten up her son “most brutally.” Only after she wound down from her several minute tirade as to their “antics” and “brutality that should be stopped by the watch” did she pause to ask why he was interested. Dhohar mentioned that he’d been asked to look into the matter as the elder Vade was concerned his son was missing. She blushed and looked embarrassed and then more calmly stated that she “hadn’t seen the group in a day or two” and then asked to take her leave and go look after her son.

That’s how most of the conversations went. Mixed in with the recounts of savage fighting and bullying were confessions from both parents, and kids, that Kimi and the group had helped save them (or their child) from a drubbing by other children in town. It made Dhohar smile a sad smile and shake his head, This is just like your larger problems isn’t it Falcon’s Rest? You have issues with the forest and the fey and both sides tear and pick at each other. Neither can forget some “original slight” that has caused the rift. No one can even remember it now and none go looking for the solution to your dilemma. It saddened him and made it hard to know what to do. He’d come to Falcon’s Rest to try and help with the troubles in the woods – ease the tensions some and try to sort out the cause of the conflict. This mini-drama that mirrored that larger problem pulled him and made him curious as to what had become of Savram, and now, all of the kids. Perhaps in fixing this small issue, trouble between youngsters even, he might gain a small toehold in fixing the larger one. If nothing else, perhaps he’d gain the goodwill needed to make these people work with the fey.

By the time Dhohar headed back to Jak’s for dinner and a meet up with Kieyanna and Zandu he was unable to tell where they had gone but it was clear that the children had been missing for at least a day. By the accounts of children saved the group would often go out exploring and tended to take dares and bets seriously. Their “fearlessness” was legend amongst their own age group and some regarded them with real awe. To those kids that had fought with the group they were “out plotting their next assault” and spent their time scouring the woods for old weaponry or abandoned armor to wear to more convincingly oppress those that came against them.

Come the morning, Dhohar would head out with Rumble and Mischief, and if Kieyanna and Zandu were up for a bit of hiking, perhaps them too, and see if he could find them. He had the foresight to ask Sharvarosh for an unwashed shirt of the boy’s so that he could have Rumble track by scent. He’d need to ready his small supply store as well. Everything he needed was on either Rumble or in his small waterproof bag but he’d considered getting a few rations to take along. While he could easily forage for food it would slow his pace and he preferred to get to the bottom of this quickly. Besides, he found “civilized food” (as he like to think of it) something of a treat.


Zandu abacus

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