Name: Skeeve Plowse's Sheet
Party Role: Adventurer-for-Hire and Specialist in the Arcane
Starting Thread: Main Shopping Square
Skeeve looks like the epitome of the dashing swordsman; over six feet tall, with roguish good looks, and a really snappy swashbuckler's hat that matches his purple cloak, all of stylish make. Otherwise, he usually dresses in dark colours, a tunic and breeches, with the sleeves rolled up, and sturdy, but expensive-looking, leather boots on his feet.
Personality-wise, Skeeve is charming, or at least he likes to think so. He's polite and witty, but is surprisingly cerebral, and on any given night is equally as likely to spend it alone studying as he is in the common room of an inn, having a good time. If you can earn his loyalty, he's as brave and considerate a companion as one could ask for, willing to lay down his life for the people he cares about, and once he gives his word, he keeps to it; however, getting a promise out of him is not easy to do.
Strengths: Skeeve is charming and witty, and can usually avoid putting his foot into his mouth.
Skeeve is a pretty smart guy; he loves to learn, and he has an almost infinite capacity for useless information.
He's one hell of a snappy dresser, and can actually manage to pull off that otherwise ridiculous hat.
He will go to great lengths to help those he cares about.
Weaknesses: Skeeve is a sucker for a pretty face. It's not hard for him to be persuaded or manipulated by the old 'damsel-in-distress' routine.
Skeeve tends to be pretty oblivious; it's not hard to fool him or sneak something by him if he's not focusing.
His snappy dress sense tends to stand out in a crowd, and makes it hard for him to do things inconspicuously.
Born a blacksmith's son in a small village about two weeks' ride away from Parthacia, Skeeve lived in relative happiness with his parents and half-sister. That is, until a horde of goblins raided the village and ended up razing it to the ground. Heavily wounded, and not knowing if his family lived, a twelve year-old Skeeve escaped with nothing but the clothes on his back and his father's sword. He would have died there had he not been found by a small clan of pixies who decided to nurse him back to health. The pixie's shaman, on a whim, decided to start teaching Skeeve the basics of magic, and to both of their great surprises, he seemed to pick up on it pretty quickly.
But even still, it was two years later when Skeeve, barely adequate at the basics, finally felt the need to return to civilization. He was found by a minor noble out on a hunting trip with his retinue, and the noble's wizard recognized Skeeve's potential well enough to take him in as another apprentice, learning alongside her younger student. He returned to Parthacia with them, and the noble, a magnanimous man, insisted on giving Skeeve the opportunities his own children had. Within the past year, however, Skeeve's fellow apprentice has gone missing, and although the Parthacian guard has pledged to help, they haven't actually come up with much other than rumours about a man named Gaedren Lamm and his gang of children, and so Skeeve has taken up the search on his own.
Ability Scores: 4d6v1r1 4d6v1r1 4d6v1r1 4d6v1r1 4d6v1r1 4d6v1r1
d6 Results: 5, 4, 4 (Total = 13) d6 Results: 5, 4, 5 (Total = 14) d6 Results: 3, 3, 6 (Total = 12) d6 Results: 6, 3, 5 (Total = 14) d6 Results: 5, 6, 6 (Total = 17) d6 Results: 6, 2, 6 (Total = 14)
These are pretty good, but I think I'm going to take the 25 point buy anyway. Mostly because I want a lower wisdom than a 12.
Actually, I think I will take the dice rolls; I'm going to assume there are no issues with me just dropping the 12 to an 8.
" The bruised and battered youth, sprawled on the ground, scrambled backwards before running away, and Skeeve sighed, rubbing his bruised knuckles. He was startled, though, by the soft voice behind him. And if you ever say anything like that about my mother again, you'll get it twice as worse!
" " Brother, why do people keep saying things like that about Mama?
Turning to look at his little sister, Skeeve knelt down next to Sarah, and put a hand on her shoulder. She wasn't fully human, although it was easy to forget that at a glance, at least until she spoke. Although she was six and a half, thanks to her elven blood most humans would guess she was a girl of four or five. At least until she opened her mouth, anyway; to say she was precocious for her age didn't begin to cover it, and there were times that Skeeve thought he was the only person that realized that.
" " At her nod of assent, Skeeve continued, " Well, Sarah, sometimes people can't really deal with things they don't understand. You know that Dad isn't your real father, right? " Truth be told, Skeeve didn't quite understand it himself. As near as he could tell, Sarah's father was an elven adventurer, one whose group had passed through when Skeeve was five, and had managed to seduce Ilena, his mother. When he got older, he started to understand the ramifications of that, but his father had forgiven Mom, for whatever reason, and that was good enough for Skeeve. Well, so does the village, and they can't understand why Dad and Mom are still together.
Continuing his explanation, Skeeve said, not without some amount of bitterness, " " Since they don't understand, they seem to have decided that making us miserable is easier than the effort involved in thinking about the situation.
Sarah frowned. " " But, that's not fair!
Ruffling his sister's hair, he stood up. " " He walked over to the fallen sack of coal, and hefted it up. " I know it's not. But we persevere. Besides, what they do says more about them than it does about us, right? " I have to go, Dad's waiting on this coal. I'll see you at home, okay?
Waving, his sister dashed off, and Skeeve sighed, turning back on the path towards the smithy. He was going to get an earful about this latest fight when he got home, and he wasn't looking forwards to it.
Skeeve had just become old enough to listen in on Village Council meetings when the goblin tribes started taking an interest in Charin's Rest, just after his twelfth birthday. Three attempts to raid the small village had fortunately been stopped by the militia, but they were close, each time, and the summer had only just barely begun. The raids would only get worse as the season went on, and Parthacia was over two weeks away, much too far away for reinforcements to be a possibility.
Skeeve's father, Edwin, was the village blacksmith, and was fairly well respected by the townsfolk, even if they didn't approve of his wife, and so sat on the Village Council; with his help, the council passed a motion to organize wilderness patrols, to give the village an early warning if they should come back. At the end of the meeting, when Skeeve came forward with the others to add his name to the list of volunteers for the patrols, Edwin smiled with grim approval. " Meet me at the shop before you go home, son. I have something for you."
Skeeve only had a few minutes to wait in the dim light inside the blacksmith's shop when his father arrived. Wasting little time, Edwin went to a tarp in the back, under from which he pulled the long, heavy length of a sword. " This is for you, son. I'd wondered about when the best time to give it to you, and I can't think of a better one than now."
Skeeve took the sword, holding the blade up and watching it gleam in the filtered light. " " I... wow. I don't know what to say. Thank you, father. I'll treasure it.
Edwin clapped Skeeve on the shoulder. " Don't thank me, son. I have a feeling you'll have need of it before too long."
Ilena looked worried as she set the table for breakfast. " So you're both going on this patrol? What happens if you find something?"
Skeeve, who already had his pack full and stowed by the front door, stayed silent despite his youthful exuberance as his father answered. " Then we'll stop them, and warn the village, just like the last time. Don't worry, dear, there will be twelve of us. We'll be fine, honestly. It's just a circuit around the village and then back. We'll be home in time for dinner tomorrow. I'll make sure that Skeeve will be okay."
Ilena was uncharacteristically quiet throughout the entirety of the meal, which left Sarah to fill the void with questions about what happened the last time. Finally, though, the meal was finished, and Edwin and Skeeve made their last preparations to leave. As his parents embraced, Skeeve ruffled his little sister's hair. " " Well, see you tomorrow, I guess, kid.
Sarah scowled, and moved to fix her hair. " " You know I hate it when you do that.
Skeeve grinned unashamedly. " " I do. Tell you what; I'll tell you a story about what happened when we get back.
Solemnly, Sarah replied, " " Alright, then, I forgive you.
Grinning wider, Skeeve moved to give his mother a hug, and then, along with his father, went to meet the rest of the patrol in the village square.
They had just finished packing up the camp for the morning, when Patrin spotted movement over one of the hills. They crawled up the side to get a better look, and although he only noticed when it was pointed out to him, there was no mistaking what they were looking at. Goblins. Hundreds of them.
They'd made the decision to get back to the village and start the evacuation when the scout patrol found them.
Twenty goblins strong, it was a furious battle, and not one that the militia, used to outnumbering its foes, had much chance of winning. Drawing his sword, and with a loud and, truth be told, terrified yell, Skeeve swung it clumsily at a goblin rushing at him. It was sheer luck as much as anything that his blade bit into the neck of a goblin, taking it down.
He turned just in time to watch a spear sink into his father's ribs.
Filled with a sudden rage, Skeeve raised his sword and yelled, fully intent on defeating his father's killer, but a slung rock crashed into the side of his head, and ended that plan. Staggering, Skeeve tumbled down the side of the ridge into a gully, sliding to a halt beneath some underbrush. Struggling, he tried to get back to his feet, but collapsed into unconsciousness.
Waking up was not so much an event for Skeeve, as it was a process. For about twenty minutes he was aware of lying in the muck underneath the scrub, but he didn't understand why he couldn't see or move. Finally, he summoned up the energy to crawl out from underneath the brush, and he realized why that was so. It was night, the moon was high in the sky, and his head was throbbing painfully.
Gathering up his sword, and his packs out from underneath the bushes, he started the trek back towards the village. He paused, looking down at the corpses of his father and his companions, considering giving them a proper burial before setting out, but he ultimately discarded the idea; he was too weak, in too much pain, and the village's need was too great.
He set out on the trek back to Charin's Rest. The head wound made it difficult to walk quickly, or straight, or to catch his breath, so it was a long trip. He saw the flames long before the village, however; about an hour's walk away he could see the tongues of flames reaching up into the sky; the entire village had been set ablaze. Filled with despair, wanting to go and help his home, knowing he couldn't, Skeeve let out a strangled sob and turned north, fleeing into the nearby Cairnwood.
All that Skeeve could think about was the pain.
He didn't know how long ago he'd last had anything to drink. He didn't even know where he was going. Scenery passed; he barely noted it but to keep from walking into it. Eventually, he stopped doing even that. Finally, he collapsed. The soft, damp earth was surprisingly comfortable. So this is where I'm going to die... There was no sorrow or anger to the thought.
Time drifted on, but Skeeve didn't really notice. He was just waiting for the end. With a slight little smile, he thought he heard little wings, like hummingbirds, and high voices tinkling like the chiming of tiny bells. The sounds of little angels, he thought, and would have laughed if he could remember how. Then he felt a dozen tiny hands pressing and prodding his side, trying to get him to roll over, and with the last burst of his strength, he pushed himself and rolled onto his back. Onto a nice soft fur. Skeeve furrowed his brow a little, even as a lithe, winged female form hovered over him, speaking in that chiming language yet again. Why are these tiny little angels carrying me to the heavens on a fur?
It was the last thing he remembered for some time.
Skeeve awoke in dim light.
From the sounds and the smells, he seemed to be lying on his bedroll, in a small cavern lit only by a candle. He tried to sit up, but his head swam, and he sank back to a lying position. A small humanoid figure, perhaps only two feet tall, came into his section of the cavern, and said something in that musical, chiming language.
Weakly, Skeeve shook his head. " " I.. I'm sorry, I don't understand...
His visitor touched him on the arm briefly, and there was a flash of magic. In a high voice, she replied, " " When Skeeve nodded his assent, the figure continued. " There, is that better? Can you understand me, now? " She grinned impishly at that. " My name is Mirina. Some of my friends and I found you in the forest. You looked cute, but hurt, so we decided we'd nurse you back to health and make friends. " You'd be okay with that, wouldn't you?
Skeeve nodded weakly, and then added quietly, " " I'm very thirsty.. is there anything to drink?
The pixie - no, Mirina - picked up a waterskin that Skeeve vaguely recognized as his own, and put it to his lips. Brushing a tiny hand over his forehead, she murmured, " " Drink, now, and get some rest. You'll need it.
Sitting with his back to the cave wall, Skeeve flipped to the next page in his spellbook, and tugged his cloak further around him, to keep the winter chill out; a rather nice purple garment given to him by Mirina. There was a matching hat, but it was waiting for Summerwing, the pixie's seamstress, to put the finishing touches on it. He was going over some memorization exercises that Mirina had given him when another one of the faeries, Elleyn, fluttered up to him.
" " When he set down his book and nodded, she continued before he could speak, fluttering her eyelashes coyly. " Hi, Skeeve... I know it's early, but I was wondering if you could help me out? " There's a big snowdrift in front of the cave entrance. I was wondering if you'd help me dig it out?
Skeeve smiled slightly to himself, picking up his lantern. " " Although all the female pixies, once Mirina had decided to start giving Skeeve magic lessons, had decided they had something to teach him, whenever they actually wanted him to do something, they asked in this playful, teasing manner of theirs. Of course, Elleyn, anything for you. I guess there is some truth to the phrase 'faerie flirt' after all, he thought, crouching his head under a low cavern archway. He had to pause and lean against the wall due to a dizzy spell, though; he was mostly recovered from his wounds, but not completely.
Presently, though, he came to the entrance of the complex the pixies called home, just behind Elleyn. There was a small, half-foot gap at the top of the cavern, but other than that, there was a big snowdrift blocking off the eight-foot cave exit. Elleyn pouted. " " See? It'd take me hours to clear this out, and nobody wants to help me because nobody wants to go with me to find juniper berries.
Skeeve chuckled. " " She trilled happily at that, even as Skeeve set to work. There were some advantages to his relative size, he reflected, and in only about twenty minutes he'd brushed out a gap, about three and a half feet across, during the whole time which she quizzed him about various herbs and woods-lore. Not to worry, Elleyn, I'll take care of you.
Elleyn fluttered up and kissed him on the cheek when he was finished. " " And with that, she zipped out into the forest. Skeeve rubbed his cheek lightly. Compliments like that would really go to a guy's head. A somewhat goofy smile on his face, he headed back to his book. Thanks! It sure is useful having a big, strong guy like you around.
Skeeve pulled his purple cloak onto his shoulders, and checked to make sure his bag was completely packed. Considering his burden, he tucked in a small package of faerie cakes on top. Looks like I've got everything I need, he mused, and buckling up his bags, slung them over his shoulder. Settling his plumed hat on his head, he turned around to go find Mirina, to tell her that he was leaving, and was surprised to find her fluttering in the doorway.
She smiled, a little sadly. " " You're finally leaving, huh? I don't suppose there's any way we could persuade you to stay?
Skeeve chuckled lightly, but it was quickly replaced with a solemn expression. " " I don't want to leave, Mirina. Really, you've all been great to me these past few years, and I owe you more than just my life. But I need to find out what happened to my family. And they deserve to know I'm still alive.
Mirina sighed wistfully, and shrugged. " " She grinned impishly, all of a sudden. " Well, I can't really argue with that. We'll miss you. ." A little surprised, Skeeve set his bag down as Mirina turned around, cupped her hands, and shouted out into the cavern, " Okay, put those bags down. You're leaving tomorrow " Okay girls! It's time for Skeeve's going-away party!
Somewhat surprised, Skeeve let the little faerie leader take him by the finger, and lead him out into the main cavern, where pixies were stringing up lines of paper lanterns, pulling out jars of alcohol, and there was already a few of the girls setting up their instruments in the corner. He grinned a little. " " All of this for me? You've been planning this for a while, haven't you?
Mirina fluttered up to sit on his shoulder, ducking under the brim of his hat, and kissed him on the cheek. " " Oh, you know us, Skeevie. Any excuse for a party, but some excuses are better than others.
Skeeve did start the multi-week journey for Charin's Rest the next morning, happy, very satisfied, and extremely hung over.
The spring morning was rather cheerful and warm, and Skeeve decided he'd take a little extra time in the morning to relax, and study the book of spells that Mirina had given him, leaning back against a tree at the edge of the Cairnwood. So it was perhaps not a big surprise, completely absorbed as he was, that he failed to notice the armed hunting party approach him.
It was not a large party, all things considered; one finely dressed nobleman, a woman in a slightly less-fine riding dress, and about a half-score of armsmen, all with bows and large quivers, but clearly they were more surprised to find him, a youth out in the middle of nowhere, than he was to see them. Hastily, Skeeve got to his feet and bowed clumsily, tipping his hat. " " Aaah, M'Lord, M'Lady.. I'm not tresspassing, am I? I meant no offense...
The nobleman held up a hand, to placate him. Although he didn't smile, he had a kindly air about him that Skeeve couldn't help but trust, at least a little. " At ease, young man, you're not in trouble. But I will admit to being curious... how did a boy such as yourself come to be out here, a week from the nearest town?"
A small seed of worry wormed its way into the pit of Skeeve's stomach as he replied, " " Is... is the village of Charin's Rest not a day and a half to the southwest?
The nobleman shook his head lightly. " I'm afraid, young man, that Charin's Rest was razed to the ground two years ago. No one lives there now."
The news hit Skeeve like a sack of bricks, and although he opened his mouth to reply, no words came out. He stood, staring in shock, not sure what to say, or even do next, until the finely dressed woman spoke up. " " Young man, is that a book of spells in your hands?
Startled out of his shock by the incongruity of the question, Skeeve didn't think to hesitate before answering, " " Y-yes, it is.
The woman - she was a half-elf, Skeeve could see - smiled faintly. " " My name is Serena Lighthaven, wizard to Lord Adelmund of Parthacia's House Zinfandel. I think we might have a lot in common...
Serena Lighthaven was not really sure what to make of the young man they had found by the Cairnwood.
Although he was tall, the gangly cast to his features suggested he was barely into his teenage years. Despite that, he seemed to comport himself with a surprising amount of maturity, as though he'd had to grow up very quickly in a short amount of time.
The ruins of the village that they were currently standing in may have had something to do with that.
It took a surprisingly brief amount of conversation for Serena to convince Skeeve to come back to Parthacia with her and Lord Adelmund; she wasn't entirely certain why she'd extended the invitation to become her apprentice to the young man, but the more she spoke with him, the more she became convinced it was the right thing to do.
When Lord Adelmund announced that he was satisfied with how the hunting trip had gone, and wished to return to the city, the most direct route there took the hunting party through the ruins of a small farming village, and on the way through Skeeve had requested to stop for a few hours, apparently intent on searching through the ruins, a request Lord Adelmund granted.
She watched him dig through the burnt out shell of a home, pulling free a small stuffed toy, surprisingly undamaged despite the condition of the ruins. Although Skeeve had been reluctant to speak of details about what happened to him, Serena could make a few educated guesses. A young student of magic, tutored in the village until it was razed by goblins, who escaped into the Cairnwood without his family... in surprisingly healthy condition for having lived in the forest for years on his own, though. Maybe cared for by elves? It would certainly explain the hat. Either way, it was no surprise he didn't want to talk about it.
Finally, after a short while of staring at the doll, Skeeve finally slipped it away into his pack, and made his way over to Serena, expression downcast and remote. " " I... I think I'm ready to leave. There's nothing here for me now.
Serena simply nodded quietly, reaching out to touch him on the shoulder in sympathy.
There were times that Skeeve could hardly believe the turn his life had taken. The city of Parthacia was a wonder, unmatched like anything that Skeeve had ever seen, or could even dream of; even the idle daydreams he'd had as a young child of seeing the city one day were nothing compared to the reality.
Not that he had too much time for sightseeing. Mistress Serena, as she preferred to be called, was a rather strict taskmistress; firm, but fair. And a much better instructor than Mirina could ever have hoped to be. In the weeks since he'd come to the city, Skeeve had learned much, not the least of which was how to summon a familiar.
Stopping by the door of his room (He had his own room! In the servants' quarters of Lord Adelmund's manor, but still!) to pat the owl perched on its stand on his head, Skeeve made his way into the hall, lost in thoughts of spell formulae, intent on heading for Mistress Serena's private library. On his way there, however, the sounds of other footsteps in the hall broke him from his reverie.
He looked up just in time to watch Gareth, Lord Adelmund's son, come around the corner. As he had been taught, Skeeve stepped to one side, bowed politely, and greeted him, " " Good morning, my lord.
All it earned him was an acid glare from Gareth, who muttered, " " under his breath, barely audible, before sweeping around another corner. Straightening up, Skeeve sighed. ...grungy little peasant... What a jerk. Lord Adelmund had introduced Skeeve to Gareth, the two boys being around the same age, in the hopes that they'd become friends, but Gareth was far too disdainful of Skeeve for that to ever happen.
Putting the incident out of his mind, Skeeve continued on for the library, pushing open the doors to the book-filled room. Mistress Serena wasn't there, which wasn't unusual, but the room wasn't empty. A young girl, maybe seven or eight, was sitting at a table, small glasses perched on her nose, which was firmly ensconced in a large tome.
Plunking himself down in the seat across the table from her, Skeeve smiled, trying hard to keep his expression steady. " " Morning, Erelle. Whatcha working on?
Erelle looked up from her book, and replied solemnly, " " Skeeve hid his grin at the girl's serious tone. When she started talking in that overly serious fashion, she reminded Skeeve more and more of Sarah; sometimes good memories, sometimes painful ones, but on the whole, Skeeve found he rather liked his fellow apprentice. Good morning, Skeeve. I'm still trying to work out that abjuration problem that Mistress Serena gave us yesterday.
Skeeve picked up another one of the books stacked on the table, and cracked it open. " " Well, now, let's see if I can't help a little with that.
Focus on your opponent. Do not focus on the sword; the sword is merely an extension of your arm. Be one with the sword. The litany ran through Skeeve's mind as he shifted his grip on the wooden training sword in his hands, circling slowly in the practice yard, not taking his eyes off of Gareth.
The nobleman lunged with his own wooden blade, and Skeeve's rose to meet it with a loud clack that filled the courtyard. For a while, that and the clomp of their booted feet as they inexpertly lunged and slashed across the courtyard were the only sounds that could be heard.
Amidst the whirl of slash, parry, and flat miss, Skeeve saw his opportunity; a botched parry that left Gareth a little off-balance. Winding up, he slashed with all of his speed, laying the bundle of lathes across Gareth's stomach - at almost exactly the same time that the tip of Gareth's sword crashed into Skeeve's shoulder. Both boys tumbled to the ground, Skeeve's weapon landing with a clatter.
Even as the training master made his way over to the boys, Gareth, clutching his stomach with one hand, stood up shakily and hurled his wooden blade to the ground with a crash. Eyes filled with rage, he stared down at Skeeve and practically spat, " " Whirling, he stalked off back into the manor house. We are done for the day!
The swordmaster offered a hand down to help Skeeve to his feet, which the boy gratefully took. " You did rather well there, Skeeve. I daresay you'll be ready to handle a real sword in a few years."
Ruefully rubbing his shoulder, Skeeve remarked wryly, " " When Gareth had complained about not having an opponent of his own skill level to practice against, Lord Adelmund offered Skeeve the opportunity to learn the sword if he would act as Gareth's sparring partner. It was not precisely what Gareth wanted, but he knew better than to try and spurn an offer of his father's like that. In reflection, Skeeve realized that Gareth's dislike for him meant that their training sessions were likely to be as close to real combat as could be allowed. Not good enough, apparently.
The swordmaster chuckled, in his deep, booming way, and slapped Skeeve on the shoulder. " You'll get there, lad. I'm sure you have something to be about, so I'll let you to it." It was clearly a dismissal.
Skeeve crouched to scoop up his own practice blade, and was halfway to the doors to the manor house when he realized there was someone in the doorway watching him. Hastily, and with a bit of a flush across his cheeks, Skeeve bowed deeply. " " L-Lady Karyn, good afternoon.
A shy smile on her face, Lord Adelmund's daughter left the doorway and slowly walked towards Skeeve, with gliding steps. At sixteen, she was only a year younger than her brother, and in Skeeve's opinion, already blossoming into the beautiful woman she was. " " Reaching out, she gently rested a hand against Skeeve's shoulder, the injured one, for just a moment. " Good afternoon, Master Skeeve. I was watching your duel with my brother... I thought you did very well. " Would you walk with me?
Even flustered as he was, Skeeve knew there was only one way he could answer. Straightening up, and with a hesitant smile on his face, he replied, " " It... it would be my pleasure, my Lady.
It was dark and stormy the night that Erelle disappeared.
Skeeve had spent most of it in the library, surrounded by books and a few lit lanterns, ostensibly finishing a spell into his spellbook but in reality just listening to the rain against the glass, and the crack of thunderclaps. It took him a little by surprise when the door opened to admit Serena, and not Erelle.
A slightly concerned look on her face, Serena didn't waste much time with preamble, simply asking, " " Skeeve, have you seen Erelle today?
Skeeve sat up abruptly, shaking his head. " " No, Mistress. Last I saw her was before noon, and she said you had an errand for her to run. I haven't seen her since; I guess I just assumed she was with you.
Looking much more agitated, Serena ran a hand through her hair. " " I asked her to place an order for me in the marketplace, but let her have the rest of the day free. I assumed she'd be here, reading.
Eyes widening in alarm, Skeeve pushed himself up from the chair and swung his cloak around him in one smooth motion. Erelle had yet to reliably master any spells, even a cantrip, and was small for a girl of twelve; if something had happened to her, there wasn't much she could have done about it. " " I'll go out and look for her - I'll be back when I find her.
As Skeeve strode out of the library, Serena's voice floated after him. " " Be careful, Skeeve!
Skeeve sat in the courtyard, staring at his hat in his hands. It had been two months since Erelle had vanished into thin air, and in that time the closest that anyone had come to finding her had been reports of a girl matching her rough description snatching someone's purse in the marketplace, and that found three weeks ago, the lead already cold.
Although he registered the soft footfalls, Skeeve didn't look up as Karyn sat down on the stone bench next to him. " " Skeeve, how are you...?
Woodenly, Skeeve shrugged a little, side-stepping the question. " " He trailed off, not knowing what to say. The Guards haven't found out much yet. They recognized some of the description of the kids with her as belonging to some gang, the 'Little Lamms', I guess they're called. I did a little asking around, and it's supposedly run by a man named Gaedren Lamm, but no one knows where to find him. I'm not going to stop looking, but...
" " Sadly, Karyn slipped an arm around Skeeve's shoulders. " Oh, Skeeve... " Erelle's a smart girl... she knows what to do to survive... I'm sure she's alright. If anyone can find her, you can...
His voice starting to tremble, Skeeve managed to say, " " Silently, hanging his head, he shook in Karyn's embrace. They sat there, together, silent, for some time. I just... If she... I can't... not again...
The most infurating thing, a tiny, calm portion of Skeeve's mind thought, is the way he just seems bored. Droning on, the guardsman continued, " ...we understand that you're still looking for this..." And here he paused - actually paused - to check his notes! " ...Erelle Emberdream, but it's been almost a year without any leads. We simply can't continue to assign guards to this case any more. I'm sorry."
Fists clenched, Skeeve marched out of the office before he said or did something that he would regret, and, eyes shut, focused on his breathing, trying to calm down. He didn't know how long he stood there, but by the time Serena came out of the office, he had composed himself enough to speak calmly. " " You know I'm not going to give up.
Serena nodded dully, not willing to meet her pupil's eyes. " " There was a hint of pleading in her voice at the end, and she started to walk past Skeeve and out of the guardpost, but paused for just a moment. Not looking back, she finished, " I know. It's just... there's no more hope to keep clinging to. I have to let go. " If you find Erelle, please let me know.
Skeeve didn't watch her leave. Someone out there knew how to find Gaedren Lamm. And one way or another, no matter the cost... they would lead him to Erelle. He would need to get his hands a little dirty, get acquainted with the world of criminals and adventurers, but he wouldn't stop until he found her. There was no one else left.