Chapter 5g - A Town in Transition


Once inside the door, the dark woman moves to one side, instinctively seeking an out of the way spot from which to survey the room and its occupants. It is clear from the lack of commotion inside that she has arrived either very early, or very late, local time. The room is quite barren, with only the waitstaff and a few diehards still holding forth. The woman stands motionless for some time, watching, drinking in the ambience of the room, and all that entails. Fellowship, welcome, friendship... It has been some time since such concepts played more than a passing fancy in her life.

The two men who seem to be the center of the sparse attention catch her eye. The armored man means little to her; she has next to no experience with such men of war, so tends to lump them all together as some foreign other. The dark-clad man next to him, though, is infinitely more interesting to her. The woman breaks off her study for just a moment, as she snares a passing maid and requests a secluded table. Once she is seated, her gaze returns once more to the seemingly mismatched pair. She watches in silence, broken only by a few words spoken to the maid who brings her a only a cup of water. The flash of a silver coin buys her the cup, and her solitude.

As she watches the pair, she cannot refrain from considering the implications of the darkly-dressed man. Judging from her own experiences, the man could present any number of threats. As if the thought triggered a reflex, the woman quickly looks at the door, as if expecting to be followed. When no one materializes at the threshold, she returns to her considerations. Dark mage, assassin, hunter of men...The man could be any of those, or something even worse. The chance that the man could not be such, or, in fact, could be something better, simply does not occur to her. Fate has not given her the luxury of such optimism. Lost in her musings, the woman does nothing to hide her observation. There can be a strange deception in openness, sometimes.

Well, the crowd did not react as Garak had anticipated. The roar of excitement from his cheer didn't come. It mattered little. Garak had never been one for speeches, and all this pretense of happiness was seriously starting to bother him. He felt like he needed to go stab a baby in the spleen or something similar to regain some of his now lost honor.

With that thought in mind, the assassin scanned the room for somebody...anybody that could use some such attention.

His eyes eventually met with those of Nava. There was something intriguing about her, but Garak wondered why her focus was on him. She could see that his skin was dark and lifeless like ash, and his eyes were dull black orbs like a snake. The horns on his head made her realize he was a tiefling, but all the other features indicated he was something more. The robe covering Garak's body was covered in many intricate and interwoven runes of ancient arcane languages, and covered what looked to be dull black leather armor.

Garak focused on the woman for several moments. He took in every detail of her, not knowing her intentions. If she were here to kill him, which is something he had faced several times before, then he needed to be able to recognize any detail that would indicate her presence in the future. After he was finished with his study, he gave the woman a wink and then was
shadow jump to back entrance of the room---he's going to go meet with Tamrik now
gone. Several wisps of shadow swirled about in the spot where he had just been at Joachim's side. They curled upwards as they dissipated, one of them floating near Joachim's face.

For any that noticed the back of the room, they saw a brief glimpse of the assassin making his departure. He was visible for only a moment, gave a short whistle, and then he was gone. A smoke colored dog with heavy leather barding that had been sitting near the paladin's feet got up and trotted slowly out the back a moment later. Anybody that looked down the back hall likely
Hide in Shadows:
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 17 (Total = 56)
Move Silently:
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 9 (Total = 44)
saw only the dog walking away...

Joachim had just noticed the yet unnamed Nava checking out Garak himself. He was about to give him a friendly nudge as the other just outright disappeared. The tall man looked around confused and without a clue of where his companion had ventured to looked back to where the woman sat. This time his face is not a friendly one rather his blond eyebrows have lowered over his eyes and he looks at her in incredulous doubt.

The close to seven feet tall man now turned to her. What had to appeared to be armor, was in fact none. He had taken all armor off not long ago, when he had gone to his room with his wife. Now he stood in the middle of the room without even a weapon. Other then his clothes, clean but simple white tunic and brown trousers, all he had on him were a small bag of coins with a few gold coins for his likely expenses in the tavern, and a dagger. His cheekbone well defined and the slow growing of his recently shaven beard now showed itself. His hair cut very short. Whereas before a thick blonde moustache and long hair had made him almost indistinguishable he now looked rather common, even though well build and good looking.

He crosses the distance to Nava quickly and places both is hands on the table while bowing over to her. "What in the realm did you do?" He asks out bluntly but suppressed keeping the noise down as not to attract superfluous attention. "I know he is evil incarnate, but to make him just disappear like that? Or what did you do?" Joachim looked suspiciously but not threatening at the new arrival.

Hadal steps to the side, away from the gaze of the huge man - near twice his height - and looked closely at the space that now held only fading wisps of shadow-stuff. His reply, when it came after a few seconds of tense attention was disjointed and distracted, more to himself than the pair by the table.

"Bah! Do? I never do anything. People disappear all the time, why would my entirely coincidental presence have anything to do with this particular spiriting away. The man was obviously shadow-tainted, while the horns suggest lower planar influences. A perfect specimen for- I mean, a perfect example of a... man struggling against his nature... yes. That. It's not unknown for such persons to exhibit a certain - one might say - relaxed attitude to the strictures of typical material plane co-ordinate transformation. As such, he is probably alive. Or dead. Hopefully both. That would be very interesting - though finding the body..."

As abruptly as he started he fell silent, casting a
"As foolish in your speech as ever, dear Master." - "Silence, else I silence you." - "Yes, Master. Shall I just leave you to the tender mercies of that blond-haired, blue-eyed giant then? You know what that implies." - "Hmph. If he shows concern over tieflings, he's no fire-and-brimstone paladin, ironically enough. So I could care less." - "The woman then?" - "What of her?" - "Nothing, Master." - "Damned parasite."
long and appraising look at the tall man and dark woman. A quick, dispelling shake of the head and he continued, in a much more normal tone.

"Though of course I cannot be certain - I am but a doctor, after all. Hadal is my only name, take it if you will." He finished lamely, almost realising the absurdity of his claim. His left hand - the leather bulging at the palm - was extended quickly and jerked back even faster, replaced by his right, while his face assembled the approximation of a smile.

Joachims gaze previously fixed on Neras, the woman he was accusing of eradicating Garak, now turned to the man who had just walked through the door into the establishment. He kept his posture both hands one the table his back bend over to the woman in front of him for a moment. His look was one of deep confusion. "I ... " Joachim straightened his back. And stood there unsure how to react, so here he was accusing the woman of something getting a reply from a just arrived fellow, which was more suspicious then a gloomy woman who sat all by herself.

"Nether specimen nor example. That was Garak, and he is gone." Joachim states. To the man who had introduced himself as Hadal "And I'm Joachim Laross." He does however not reach for the hand in any customs. "Hadal." Joachim eyes the man now in suspicion.

He steps a bit away from the table so he could have both new arrivals in his peripheral view wouldn't any of them try to make him disappear as well. He couldn't just let that happen, not now that he had found Gerwin again. "Now who of you two made my friend disappear?" Joachim asks given he had lost his first accusation to a second possible candidate.

Tamrik smiled, it seemed terrifying how much he and Garak thought alike. In his room, he readied himself for another long night of excitement. . .

Weapons cleaned, and armor on under his cloak, Tamrik found his way to the main part of the Tavern. I think I need some air. . He said as he continued out the door. . .

Garak nodded and simply followed along, with Kohl right at his heels. It was a good feeling to have the dog still with him. The assassin could feel some remaining anger coming from the dog. He did not know if it was from Kohl being mad about being murdered by Garak or if it was from being bound to the tiefling as his familiar. Either way, Garak hoped that Kohl would eventually see how he had killed Kohl not out of hate but as an effort to make the animal even more powerful. As a remote thought, he considered Kohl was angry at how he had disposed of the body.

Before Garak left the room, he removed his black robe and tucked it into one of his various magical packs. It was time to work, and there was no sense in ruining his new robe. The dull lifeless black armor he had custom crafted now was fully visible. It was nothing fancy but was clearly of superior quality. The only sign of weaponry on his body was a quiver with a few arrows contained within and the black hilt of an ordinary looking dagger at his belt.

At the doorway leading back into the main room of the tavern, Garak hoped that they could avoid the new comers and simply get outside to handle the business at hand...


sorry for the delay; y'day was a hectic one for me w work and family ties; today won't be much better, w Super Bowl debauchery, but I will be up and running momentarily...

The dark woman sat in silence, not quite lost in her musings. When the shadowed man returned her gaze, and, seemingly, her interest, Nava found herself drawn up short. While she had made no effort to hide her observation, she had not truly expected to be seen herself. Now, however, she found herself unwittingly the focus of a man of uncertain intentions. She endured his return gaze in stoic silence, but her heart raced. As contingencies and reactions begin to flash through her mind, she is further caught off guard by... a wink? And a swirling rush of shadowstuff...? Nava's thin lips part slightly in amazement. While she is no stranger to the game of men and women, nor to the dark world of the shadow, never has she seen anyone bend the shadow to their will with such nonchalance. The momentary interaction, even across the room, is very much a novel experience.

With the object of her attention gone so suddenly, Nava finds herself falling back on her own instincts. She occasionally turns to check on the door, as always suspecting the unexpected, and keeps her eyes open for any new threats. Her diligence is rewarded, unexpectedly, when she finds the shadowed man's tablemate suddenly before her, full of fury and much too close for comfort. While she is caught at a loss at the man's accusations - ... he thinks I made his friend vanish? - instincts born of sheer necessity nevertheless kick into action. A sheath of shadowy gloom comes into form around her hand, as her body tenses for conflict, and, at their very feet, unseen by all, another pool of shadow masses beneath the table. A fight that may have ended in great tragedy is forestalled when another new arrival at the tavern seemingly misinterprets the hulking man's threats.

Given time to breathe, and think, by the unlikely intervention, Nava lets cooler heads prevail. With just a sidelong glance for her unwitting savior, Nava addresses the angry man.

"Master Joachim, please be assured that I had naught to do with your friend's... with Garak's, departure. As a newcomer to this beleaguered town, I may have let my curiosity drive me to impolite observation of you two from afar, but I did not act against you, by Art or by will. In fact, Garak seemed to almost... Well, he seemed to indicate farewell. He... he winked at me..."

Nava pauses, all too aware at how ridiculous her claim might sound, before hastiliy completing her defense.

"Be that as it may, I am quite certain you will find Master Garak quite hale, when next you meet. And, by way of returning your over-zealous, if misguided, 'introduction', my name is... Nava, please, call me Nava."

The pause is not insignificant, for all its brevity, but the look of determination on her face is unmistakeable. The name 'Nava' is of importance, even if that importance is not quite certain at the moment. Nava nods her head towards Hadal as well, to include him in her greeting.

Not that the paladin had been a real thread ever. Without his armor and even weapons he was just yet another customer in the bar and likely no match for what ever magics Nava might wield. He just stood there dumbstruck not sure what to make of the whole situation. Somehow it happened to him a lot specially when Garak was around, or perhaps he was at fault himself. He looks at Nava and then Hadal. "Oh ..." he utters not sure how he should react. For if they were guilty of something then their word meant not much, but then again his experience of Garak in the past told him the man was a person of many resources and great evil perhaps even deceit. His eyes shone blue as he looked at the two with
Detect Evil. Are you?
scanning eyes. His claims likely to fall if neither of them was remotely as dubious and evil as Garak, who he had but seen once in his true light, but due alcohol not remember all to well.

"I did not know he fancied women ..." Joachim finally brings forth. "I always thought he and ... Tamrik had a thing or so. They seem to hint and nudge in each others direction awfully lot." Joachim shakes his head. He didn't know where that had come from. He actually had never thought of it, but somehow his subconscious must have caught something that showed in this time of confusion.

Jooachim got a grip of himself again. Even if these people were faulty of making Garak disappear, it certainly was a minor crime given the nature of his character, besides Garak wasn't just anyone and likely on his guard at all times from what Joachim had seen. He would know how to handle himself where ever he had been brought by the grey smokey stuff. And what was he going to do without proper proof? Besides even if they were some kind of enemy of sorts, he could at least have kept his manners, the lady on the table sure did and so did Hadal.

"Erm, yes ... excuse me. I've been a bit on edge, my wife was in peril until this very afternoon and now I find myself running for mayor of this city. It must be the stress... my manners. I'm Joachim Laross, former soldier of the Neverwinter guard and Paladin of good and law. I take it as my goal to help those in need and fight those who desire evil. If you erm ... ever get to vote, please don't hold this against me, yes?" Joachim looked backwards for some sort of support but then remembered that Gerwin was upstairs and that both Garak and Tamrik were missing, Lorem and Delphine in their room together and Raz lost in the hell of pleasures at the Brothel. "If you let me repay my misdoing... I'll pay you a drink."


With the situation apparently defused, for the moment at least, Nava relaxes slightly. She allows the shadowy halo to dissipate harmlessly from around her hand, and as she lets down her guard, the roiling shadows beneath the table subside. Still, it will be some time before the pale woman is entirely at ease. Her heart still races from the sudden confrontation, and her hand is not quite steady as the shadow vanishes.

She takes the moment to compose herself, as well as politely ignore the man - a paladin, this man... - as he touches upon topics not fit for mixed company. Nava is not squeamish about such things, far from it, but believes that it is not the place of another to discuss them. Once the uncomfortable moment passes, she returns her attention to Joachim, as he relates the recent events that have caused such commotion in the town.

Nava listens intently to Joachim's explanation; having endured her own misfortunes in the past, she has learned to keep a keen eye and ear out for her own safety. As the man's speech draws to an awkward end, Nava replies.

"Well, Master Joachim, I cannot speak to your gubernatorial aspirations, and I am uncertain as to the requirements of suffrage in this town, but I am certainly open to a more... civil conversation. If recent events have caused you, of all people, to be so suspicious, it would behoove a newcomer such as myself to learn of them. I, too, have known hardship in the past, and I would not wish to fall prey to any other misunderstandings."

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