The Evening Before the Dawn

 
The Evening Before the Dawn

The missions are set, the rosters are filled and the armor is polished. There is a feast (something that has been rare during this time) and a commemoration to wish the warriors well, fill their bellies and charge their spirits. Speeches were given and prayers were said over many cups of mushroom wine during the feast. Now most of the elders have retired. Families have left and workers have returned to the duties of the keep. All that are left are the brave warriors tasked with forging a foothold on the old homeland. There will be little sleep tonight for any of us, and the dawn will come early
.

Trailed closely by his hound, Roscoe wandered from group to group on his gimped leg. Normally, the animal was not allowed at the feasts. After some explanation that Grey was just as much a potential hero as the halfling himself. In fact, they were more like two parts of the same whole. To make the animal wait outside was an insult the boy would not suffer, and the guards did not seem to mind so much.

After a few moments of bouncing between conversation after conversation, the boy stumbled upon the boy Jacopo. He was a nice sort to be sure. If anything, he did not give Roscoe and his family cross looks for being naught but half a man. Surely he and his kin were not that different, but still, people treated Roscoe like you would a foreigner. This was especially true when riding about on Grey's back, or when the boy attempted to walk. To Roscoe, there was little worse that being stared at, but it was part of his life.

Hey.. you nervous?

The Wizard was known perhaps best of all the potential Candidates due in no small part to his relation to Vangerdahast as well as expectations of him that were more than a little high. Few could tell that the young Wizard was uncomfortable with all the praise and expectations, he made a good show of putting on a brave face for the people who looked to him as a potential 'Next Best Hope'. It was only when he believed he wasn't being watched that the Zephilonious took the time to show the worry and pressure he felt beneath all those stares and hopes.

For much of the 'Feast', the young Wizard had been glad-handing everyone and smiling away with his far-too-charming self, managing to get more than a few young ladies asking him if he'd join them. No matter who asked, Zephilonious would always be kind and polite, yet firm in his rebuffing of their attempts. Never did the Ladies seem to feel slighted as he always seemed to be a step ahead of any negative feelings.

Now that the place was empty of all but the group about to head out, Zeph simply sat in a chair staring off into space seemingly quite pre-occupied.

The Tabard had been made by his mother and bore embroideries by his mother and sister. The house crest was emblazoned on the front and back, though in starker colors than were traditional as dyes were hard to come by. It was also unusual for him to be wearing so little. He was used to wearing either the training armor or the weight vest that kept fit for wearing the steel. What he wasn't used to was wearing the sword in the scabbard.

Caldaq stood at appropriate times, sat at appropriate times and bowed when the others did. The formality of it was frustrating but he only wished for it to last forever. It would be the last time he would see all these people for... well for a little while at least. He knew everyone present. But it was strange that he realized that he didn't really know most of them. For years there was training and duty and repetition. Maybe that was intended by the warmasters, but he somehow felt a loss for it. He gravitated toward those he would soon shed blood with, "Hi."

At one of the tables is perhaps the most strange creature in the room, although all of those already knew it was not out of place. A thick coat of fur covers the creature's body, and as opposed to all of the others accepted into the Purple Dragon Knights no armour adorns its flesh. Nimble fingers grasp around a mug and bring it to its lips, and a loud and obviously drunk voice proclaims, presumably in the middle of an exciting story, "So then my great uncle Rakken jumped up from tree branch to tree branch while the lion roared from underneath! He was all like YOU'RE NOT GONNA GET ME LION, and then he ripped off a branch and threw it straight down the lion's throat!" The voice is masculine, but light-hearted and almost seems as if every word is half-talking and half-laughing. Jumping from table to table, he climbs up the rough cobblestone wall and begins to swing from the chandelier. It is only at this point that the creature is truly recognizable for what he is: A sentient monkey.

The monkey is known as Vaki, one of the best healers in the Purple Dragon Knights. Of course, you wouldn't understand this from seeing him swing drunkenly from a chandelier, but truth be told he has in fact only had one mug of ale, and is merely being his usual playful self. He jumps down from the swinging ceiling ornament, landing on his feet and rolling to disperse the blow... Straight into a stone bench. He reaches up and holds his head, the small amount of alcohol he'd had doing little to prevent the pain. "Owwww!" He stands up and, with a sudden look of seriousness on his face, moves his hands in an intricate pattern through the air, pure white light bouncing from finger to finger and tracing divine sigils into the space in front of him. "Van relukke elunaa!" A fine white mist spreads over his entire body, embracing him with a soft touch before congregating to his head. The healing spell does wonders, and the furry creature's cranium soon sports little more than a small bump. He looks around at all of the people around him, mouths agape at his merriment. "Awww, come on guys! Don't be so serious! We're the Purple Dragon Knights! There's no way we're going down! And especially if we do, I wanna get in as much fun as I can! best to keep the mind off of it! A depressed fighter is an ineffective fighter! Ooh, what's that?" He then dives underneath a nearby table at the glint of a shiny coin, grasped in his furry little hands.

Sitting at the table, alone, was a tall, pale man. He wore a tabard, upon it was the heraldry of the House Scoril, a once proud family that was greatly diminished after the fall of Suzail. He held a goblet of wine, occaisonally drinking from it but mostly staring within its depths, deep in thought.

Sipping his wine, Taurus Scoril leaned back in his chair, contemplating the future. He was about to finally go into battle, finally able to prove himself to the Crownsilvers, the Queen, his comrades, and most importantly, to himself. He glanced at his comrades, wondering what the future had in store for them.

With Amaunator's blessing, we will make it through the morrow, and in time, we will finally reclaim what is ours: Arabel, Suzail, Wheloon, blessed Marsember...

He got up, feeling the need to stretch his legs. He walked with purpose, even while wandering, as if his legs knew where to take him even before he knew where. His gaze fell upon the Wizard, Zephilonious, who looked lost in his thoughts, much like Taurus had a few moments ago. He took a seat next to the preoccupied mage

"Evening Wizard, what is on your mind?"

Shaking his head very slowly Zephilonious seemed for several moments as though he were going to deny there was anything on his mind, or perhaps simply deny what is on his mind. Offering a small smile to Taurus as Zeph turns to the man he carefully looks him over and contemplates before finally answering.

"I harbor much dread about the coming battles, and yet every moment they do not come I wish for them to be here now."

Zephilonious was not what one typically thinks of when thinking of a Wizard, wearing a longsword on his hip and often resting a hand on it as though prepared to use it.

"And please, call me Zephilonious...or Zeph if that's easier."

A slight smirk as the long name was a little difficult to pronounce, but considering his Ancestor had long-since turned himself into a Dragon to protect Cormyr it was really not surprising.

"Heh, I know what you mean, Zeph. I Remember a saying one of the drillmasters taught me: 'Hurry up and wait'. I guess we're in that situation now. What I'm trying to puzzle out is if it will be better or worse tomorrow, when the waiting ends and the fighting begins..."

Taurus smiled at nothing in particular and reached for a bottle of wine and a pair of glasses.

"Care for something to drink, It'll make the waiting that much more bearable, and let's face it, its better than worrying over what tomorrow has in store for us."

Taurus pulled off the cork with a loud *pop* and filled his own glass.

After having gone out to relieve himself, a man came back in. The only one who could perhaps challenge the oddity of his looks was the ape-man. But unlike the ape-man, who just looked odd, perhaps a little cute, this man looked handsome, mindboggingly handsome. Even for those with a hatred for dragons it would be hard not too see his looks. He stepped inside, taking the first bottle of wine he could see, took a big gulp from it, and walked through the room, taking a chair to set himself next to the young wizard (Sturmm, that's you ;P)

"Still sitting here, Zeph? Come on, have some fun. Looking at all the people here, most of the coming months will be a complete sausagefest. Go flirt with some girls, have a good time. If you don't want to turn gay during your time with the troup, it's best to have a good memory of all the good things women can offer. I know I have." he grinned, swallowing another mouthful of his wine. He completely ignored the other guy who had been talking to the wizard. He was slightly, if not completely drunk, and most people knew that dragonblood, alcohol, and magic mixed together was a very dangerous cocktail.

“Nervous...” Echoed Jacopo, as if entertaining a notion he had previously given no thought to. The attempt at feigned sobriety was, however, undermined by the smile that threatened to escape his lips. “Nervous, excited, worried, eager, dreading the constant chafe of the armour once we are out there... take your pick Roscoe.” Said the red-haired youth, gesturing for the Halfling to claim a spot on the empty bench.

“I guess I am all of those and more.” Grabbing an empty goblet, he filled it with mushroom wine and proffered it to his companion, before topping up his own cup by a measly two fingers. The feast had been a great excuse to overindulge, but Jacopo preferred moderation where liquor was involved, as he disliked having his mind clouded.

“I am probably not the only one in such a state,” he added, tilting his head slightly to indicate the end of the long table, where Zephilonious had sat absorbed by his own thoughts before being joined by Taurus “... in fact, I wonder if anyone will be able to sleep soundly knowing what's coming in the morrow.” Having gently stirred the contents of his cup, Jacopo took a small sip. “But I forget my manners. How are you two holding up?”

The question asked, the lean youngster recognised the wiry, straw-blond haired youth who was approaching their end of the table and gave Caldaq an acknowledging nod. Behind him, Vaki was up to his usual antics.





 

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