Prologue: The Seekers Exam

She started to answer the dwarf when her eyes fell on the large specimen of barbarian man. For a moment she felt her cheeks heat. He was well chiseled, and human, and everything she'd never seen in an elf. "The nine hells, that's a large man," she said almost in awe. She then took note of the tavern like room. She was slowly becoming aware that she was the only woman in the room.

She ran her hands through her fiery hair, and brushed some of the wild main aside revealing a much more rounded ear then might have been expected. She might act like an elf, might even dress like one, but this girl was no elf. She then let her lips curl into a brief smile and patted the bow draped over her shoulder as she said, "The Fartouched, are the order of bowmen back home. Only those with the greatest of skill can attain the name. I'm the first human to ever earn the title."

Smirking to himself at the exclamation of the fiery haired woman's comment, Nassar walked further into the room. Hearing the comment about the Fartouched bowmen, he thought for a moment. Surely it would not do well to start something here, but No Name was not someone to shy away from something just because it was a bad idea. Turning to the pair, No Name says,
Arrow-slingers are cowardly warriors. Large men get large by battle, like beasts. You ever see a wolf throw stones to fell a deer?

Nineteen years old, yet this was the first time Gina Orlanda had ever been to a city. Her village had been microscopic compared to this, her temple a grain of sand against a boulder. This actually gave her a negative outlook on the whole ordeal. She much preferred the smaller locations, where she knew everyone and was positive of where she was going.

How do people remember where anything or anyone is here? This is insane.

The crowded streets might have, earlier in her life, made her nervous. Now, she feels as if there is nothing this city can throw at her to make her afraid. She has no worries for herself. It is the thought of her sister lonely, afraid, even possibly hurt, that makes her feel frigid inside her body.

That's why I'm doing this. Think of Suzy. It's all for her. I can do whatever is needed if it's for her.

After receiving some directions, Gina heads to the location where the test supposedly is. The Seekers are her best chance of finding the artifact that is being demanded for her sister's life. If that failed, she would be left without any leads. It was vital that whatever test they put in front of her, she succeed in it.

Her conviction lost its impact when she tried entering the area that looked like a tavern. Upon doing so, she happened to hit a board that was slightly raised with her feet. Since they were bare as usual, the sensation of her toe meeting the edge painfully caused her to yelp and grab her foot. More likely than not most of the people in the tavern will find her reaction to her injury amusing, but those who pay more careful attention will notice that she remains well balanced on her single leg and is not in any danger of toppling over.

"Ow, damn it! Just my luck..." she grumbles as she tests her weight on the foot again. It hurts, but nothing seems broken, and that is what is important to her.

The young man wasn't so sure about sitting next to the loud young woman who was already seated at the table he'd chosen. But there wasn't much other choice. She looked as if she'd just got here when he had, but from the look of the barroom she had made quite a scene of it. After sitting down he looks closely at her and smirks slightly. "Fiery red hair, youthful looks, wise expression...This girl will be trouble." He thinks to himself as he waits for something to happen.

Jim smiles kindly enough as others gather in and begin to sit at the table. He was rather surprised that they would do so. At the inn his mother ran strangers would never sit with each other, unless a business deal was going down. Of course that's probably because most of the customers at the inn were scallywags or worse. Here most of the customers seemed to be just normal people.

When the young girl with pale skin walks in carrying a staff and drab clothes Jim watches her closely. She doesn't look old enough to even walk into a place like this, let alone join up with a bunch like the Seekers. But maybe she has some special talent or something. "I bet she's her to deliever a message or something. Maybe she is the daughter of the barkeep or something. Oh bloody hell, she's coming right this way. Ah, sea take me this day, she's sitting down with me!" Jim mutters to himself as she enters and then heads toward him. The last sentence is said just as she's sitting down, but he's always had a hard time keeping his thoughts to himself.

When the polished Dwarf walks in Jim can only chuckle to himself. He'd never seen a Dwarf before, but the man was exactly how he pictured him. Short, encased in expensive gear, full of bravado, and willing to talk to total strangers. Of course the young man was expecting more hair, but assumed that all legends had a bit of exaggeration in them. As the Dwarf sat down amongst them Jim examined him for a few minutes, without really listening to what it was the man was saying. "Hmm...A little taller than I expected. And though he's just as ugly as the legends said he is more mannered than I would have expected. Thought now that he's spoken I can see why the legends tell of small warriors who thought big of themselves!" He rambles on in his mind, well almost in his mind as he thinks takes in his new table companion.

Jim notices as the woman and the Dwarf begin talking, but doesn't really pay attention to what it is they are saying. He is more interested in what is going to happen now that he is at the Seeker's Guildhall. He is also interested in the people that keep coming in. The Seekers must reach far and wide to find applicants for their guild. "These people, my self included, are about as diverse as the inn my mother runs." He thinks quietly.

When the large young man equipped with dirty armor and a large sword walks in Jim immediately has no doubts that the man will be accepted into the Seekers. He is huge and the fiery haired young woman even exclaims as such. Jim continued to watch as the large man just stood there with a silly look on his face, not really moving to take a seat or even out of the way of the doorway. "Well, he's big but doesn't look too bright. I'm sure the Seekers will need someone to catch arrows for the other team members..." Jim chuckles to himself quietly as he watches the warrior continue to stand in the way of everything. When the warrior finally walks over and begins talking Jim almost falls over from laughing so hard. When he finally has breath to think he mutters to himself, "Wow, he looks like a packaged deal. Then he speaks and you realize the only thing present is muscle!"

Hearing a yelp Jim continues to catch his breath and looks around to see what is going on. Finally, he spots yet another young person walk in from the door he'd entered upon first arriving. This must be another applicant. She seemed normal enough, though had a look of some sadness on her face. Of course that might be because she'd just stubbed her toe. Right away he notices that she is not wearing any shoes and wonders what she is thinking. "Broken crystal, nails, sharp rocks, anything could ruin a foot if stepped on wrong. Why would anyone not wear shoes or boots? This woman must be a bit out of her mind. Though she didn't fall over when stubbing her toe, so maybe she's just eccentric like Mr. Freesh from the inn. Oh boy, was he funny. Always had to have prune juice and a spoon to drink it with for breakfast and a whole wheel of cheese and a meat knife to eat it with for dinner!" Jim thinks as he watches the woman, and then gets distracted by thoughts of home. It would be nice to return, but he knew he needed this job and the chance to make his fortunes.

Harper turned her eyes to Jim, and couldn't help but giggle. The man had some issues, and it was plain that his thoughts would be clear to everyone. So he thought she'd be trouble, huh? The elves had thought the same thing, often, they'd been right. She'd be sure to endeavor to leave him with the same kind of accuracy. When she calmed, she said to him in a quiet voice, "By the nine hells boy, can't you think without saying? The whole bar knows what ya think of them now."

She shook her head slightly, then turned her eyes towards the door as she head a clamor. A moment later and another woman, about her age, entered. The girl wore a strange outfit, and no shoes, and had a mostly unnoticed limp. Harper's sharp eyes saw the twinge that would develop into a bruise on the girl's big toe and giggled again. She thought only one thing, the girl must be a klutz. So long as her bumbling did more damage to any enemies, she wouldn't care. Of course, she was thinking that would only be the case if the girl could enter into the Seekers.

Then her eyes went back to the barbarian. It was obvious what he thought of her caste. Among the elves however, the Fartouched were highly respected as the fiercest of warriors. The touch of an arrow was but a small bit of what they did, perhaps she'd have to show him some swordplay later. Or was it 'swordplay' that she had in mind. She giggled a girlish giggle at that thought and brushed it away. She then leaned forward upon the table and rested her chin in her hand as she stared at the massive wall of beef that made up the barbarian. Should we ever have to work together, we shall see just how much of a coward 'arrow slingers' are when I'm keeping a hoarde off your back while you slay whatever foul beast it is you deign to slay. Or perhaps, you'd prefer to cross blades and see if that big 'sword' of yours is simply for show."

Gina strides over to the table, trying to hide that she is still affected by the injury, and sits with as much dignity as she can muster at the last unclaimed chair. She speaks to the talkative man, having easily heard his assertions of her. "Shoes are cumbersome. They slow down the time it takes to kick someone, thus causing less damage. I can demonstrate it on you if you want." Her eyes narrow at him as she says this.

Harper chuckled at hearing Gina's words, then turned a beautiful smile on her. "I can see already that we're going to be good friends. By the nine hells, we will be the best of friends."

Jim smiles at the girl as she sits down next to him. But when she speaks of demonstrations he shakes his head. "No need for a demonstration. I'll take your word for it!" He says quickly trying to placate her. He then turns toward the other young woman as she speaks as well. Her words bring vivid images to his young mind. "A man could be well satisfied with these two young women!" He mutters to himself with a broad smile and a devilish glint in his eyes.

Konnen watches the conversation between the people seated with him, and those who are arriving, saying nothing. Smalltalk gave away too much about who a person was - much better to speak only when necessary. He already knew much about his... companions? Well, maybe one or two of them. The crass woman. The conceited barbarian. The young one so full of himself that it seemed to radiate of him in waves. Konnen began to wonder if these people were up to what he heard Seekers were. They seemed so undisciplined.

Eventually, though, he decided he had to say something, if only to try to integrate into the group. He looks over at Jim, who tended to speak even when he really shouldn't, and decided to add a comment. With a foppish smile, he said, "Oh, you probably could. But what would you do after those 2 minutes?"


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