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In the Dark

 
In the Dark

As you slip through the mysterious door in the murky twilight, you are accosted by a towering hulk of a man, with scraggly black hair and a vast, ugly scar covering the left side of his face. Judging from the empty eye socket, you probably guess that he had his face bashed in with a mace, or perhaps a spiked club like the one he has belted at his waist. His patched, ill-fitting garments are made of rough wool and do little to disguise his paunch, which protrudes from the gap between the shirt and leggings. He looks you up and down carefully with his single, coal-black eye.

"Another job seeker, eh?" Without really waiting for an answer, he gestures towards the door on the left, which is barely visible in the dim light of the stone-walled passage. "In there."

You are roughly guided by the gruff doorman into a square, nearly featureless stone room. Aside from the door through which you entered, there is another in the far wall. Rows of benches fill most of the floor, and about half of the bench space is occupied by a motley crew of commoners, merchants, and even a few Astan nobles garbed in the customary red silk mantles. Each has two small pieces of parchment; on one there is a number, and on the other the applicants are scribing with quill pens. You are given your own set by a black-robed halfling and told to fill out the form while waiting. Noone speaks a word; the only sound is the scratching of quills on parchment. Periodically, the halfling wanders the floor to collect completed forms; he then slips out the far door and returns moments later.

After you have turned in your form, on which you had carefully detailed your occupation and skills, there is nothing to do but sit on the bench and wait. Even after the room is nearly full, all the forms have been turned in, and you are certain the hour is approaching midnight, nothing happens. You wait with the others in silence, until at last the door on the far wall opens and a black-robed figure, likely a human or an elf judging by size, enters the room.

The dark-robed newcomer intones in a deep yet melodic voice, "Please come forward as your number is called." He proceeds to slowly sound out, in groups as small as two or as many as eight, a series of numbers corresponding to the sheets of parchment the crowd is holding. The process is lengthy and painfully boring.

Eventually, your number is called in a group of six, and you move to the front of the room to be escorted out by the halfling. He leads you into yet another passageway, winding his way past many doors before opening one and gesturing with both arms. "Inside, if you please, all of you."

The room you enter is almost as bare as the holding pen that you just left. There is a simple wooden table in the center of the room, with a bench on either side and a sturdy-looking chair at one end. The halfling closes the door with a jerk, the sound echoing off the unadorned walls, and leaves the six of you alone.

GM NoteHere ends the introduction. Please select a unique color in your first response post, and use prose format. Have fun!

Annette looks about for a place to sit, and decides on end of the bench on the left, close to the chair. Isabel would have sat right in the chair and put her feet up on the table.

The sudden thought of her sister reminds Annette why she is in this room. She scans casually the others in the room, not holding eye contact with anyone.

"Do any of you know if we will have to wait long?"

Sikhandyn wondered what exactly he had gotten himself into. Only a powerful organization could afford to possess such a vast, secret complex in the City. And looking at the number of applicants, it seemed that those 'Odd jobs' were in ample supply... and in ample demand, too.

Who could be behind this? And why was he in a group of six applicants, instead of just two or three? Did it mean that his group's 'odd job' was more difficult or required more skills?

"I guess only our employer knows..." the young man sighed.

"And he might be coming any moment now... Unless of course he is sitting in that chair, and collecting his first impressions on his new applicants as we speak." the wizard added half-jokingly with a strange smile.

Sofia held up her skirt as she crossed the threshold and blinked owlishly, her eyes adjusting to the dark of the room after the outside’s feeble light. She’s never seen the man who greeted her in the temple or anywhere near it, she was sure – she would have remembered him. He didn’t seem the type to pray anyway and she wondered if she would have to be near people like that every day now. She was used to the dark, the disillusioned and the cynical, but those who turned to the Everpresent were not completely lost to the common numbness of the soul a lot of people suffered from nowadays. This man, however, seemed absolutely indifferent to anything around him and that made Sofia even more uneasy than the fact that she was now obviously on the path to doing something illegal.

She listed all her abilities on her form in her precise round handwriting although she kept wondering if her cooking and herbalism skills were of any relevance at all. A lot of people sitting around seemed far more competent than her, or at least stronger. She had, of course, undergone basic physical training since in this times it was vital for her sisters to be able to defend themselves and their temple, but she never was particularly good with weapons…

Waiting for her name to be called Sofia looked around discreetly. She knew some of those people, have seen the others in the streets or at a marketplace in the late evening hours when the prices for food were low because everything even remotely fresh and good had already been sold… Sofia sighed and decided not to dwell on the dark things to come – she was sure at least something good would come out of this.

When her name was finally called Sofia flinched from surprise and stood up hastily only to hear a loud thump her holy symbol made connecting to the floor. Bright pink blots covered her pale face and neck as she leaned to pick it up and stuff it in her pocket, for some reason not wanting to put it on in a place like this.


As Sofia enters the room she was invited in she is determined to face any hard-boiled criminal sitting there without any indication of turmoil, which makes her even more nervous seeing there is no hard-boiled criminals to face. She looks at her companions and bites her lip at the prospect of being kept waiting for another hour.

"I don’t think they will keep us long. There are more people waiting outside."

The young and obviously naive Wyngrad sits down in the middle of the bench, next to Annette. He scans his companions quickly, but does not do so obviously.

"We should consider ourselves lucky," he says optimistically. "There were many more and we were chosen.

He sits in silence for just a minute before breaking it. "I need the money bad."

A somewhat portly young man with the black hair sits and stretches. He wears no armor.

"Well", he says, "Looks like we're working together, eh?"

He moves his head from side to side, cracking his neck as he does. "Ah, that feels good."

"But this will feel better", he says with a laugh as he smoothly takes a flask from his belt and lifts it to his lips. Swallowing loudly, he smacks his lips.

"Yep. Much better."

Offering the flask to the others, "Wine anyone?"

"Most certainly - thank you." Sikhandyn said with a smile, his hand reaching for the flask.

Perhaps a sip of wine would help him forget his strange feeling that someone was watching them, assessing their skills...

The young man wondered if he should do something about his paranoia, but a little voice inside kept telling him that his condition actually increased his odds of survival.

"My name is Sikhandyn." he added.

"Here you go", the young man says, handing over the flask.

"And my name's Karn Lee.", he says standing up and slapping himself on the chest, "Ex-student of my Uncle Chan and, as of yesterday, ex-busboy at the
Just made up the name of the restaurant, hope that's OK
Last Dragon restaurant
."

You hear the sound of many footsteps in the hallway outside. The noise comes and goes, fading into silence, and it is apparent that the source has passed you by.




 

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