Part 2: Exploring the Greenbelt (Group 2)

"Uhm yes, it included Oleg's" he responds looking down, then shrugging Byron adds "Dunno how long she's been in the crew, longer than me that's fer sure"

The padre just shakes his head; kobolds of all things! He'd read about them, of course, but never actually seen one. What next, goblins? Repressing a shudder, Denayth follows the others, listening to Jaared quietly interrogate Byron. During a lull in the conversation, he speaks up. "So tell us Byron, what are we to do with you? You say there are around a dozen of your friends waiting for us. Where does that leave you?" Shifting his focus to Jaared, the man frowns. "I suggest we bind and gag our friend here once we get closer. Just to help him avoid the temptation of giving us away and helping his friends."

"Would letting me go be too much to ask?" Byron pipes in.

When Brunhilde spoke up, Mallory looked at her like she had grown three heads. Or three feet.

"Yes, dwarf, that's generally what a lord is. I'm not seeing the problem here?" She tittered. "Honestly, what do they teach you underground? Proper rock placement?"

The smelly bandit made her nose wrinkle again; his breath, nay, his very words were rank with the stench of the underprivileged and unimportant. She wished to give him a bath, but that would require touching the vile creature.

"You'll get your freedom eventually," she unconsciously traced a hand along her rifle's stock, "One way or another."

Enough was enough. Turning in his saddle to look at Mallory, Denayth barked out, "Mallory! You insist you are a lady, insist you are the leader of this little party. Then act like it! You've done nothing but complain or condescend, or both, since you joined us. I swear by Abadar himself, I'll not lift a finger to aid you, no matter how dire the circumstances, until you improve your behavior. If you truly are a noble lady, then why not show some manners, and apologize to Brunhilde?

And as for our 'friend' Byron here, I have no current plans to kill the man. The man who can tell us most about this area we are supposed to explore and tame."
The padre takes a moment to take a deep breath before addressing Byron. "You gave up your right to freedom when you took up banditry. Your best option is indentured servitude until you pay off your debt. I strongly suggest you consider it."

The padre had wounded Mallory's pride; made her a socially cornered animal who glimpsed her own blood. She did the only natural thing to do, lash out.

"That's not very pious of you, padre; doesn't your hoarder god require you to be impartial in conflicts? Not that there's been one outside of your instigation, of course. I'd love to see how you explain violating the social and legal contracts binding us together in taming these lands fits your worship. I can see your fervent prayers now: 'Oh Abadar, oh Abadar, that half-elf girl was mean to somebody; that means it's legally right and moral to let her die.' That wouldn't even fly in a kangaroo court!"

She had not been condescending; that would imply that she felt superior instead of actually being superior. Not only that, he questioned her nobility; that which marked her as unique. Moreso than her magic, than her ears, than her prized rifles; the delusion of nobility was the core of her being.

A delusion she would defend to the death.

Arms crossed, head tilted regally, Mallory stared down the padre like an insect; her normal well-meaning smugness turned to something cold and hard. "I have shown and will show the utmost manners to people with class, padre. That currently includes mister Jaared and only mister Jaared. It included you, until your little outburst. You may think me a fool, but I didn't become a mage by being stupid. I apologize for nothing."

She softened slightly and gestured to Brunhilde, smiling. "Besides, the dwarf's a big girl. Well, big for her people anyway. I would hope she could handle a little ribbing. She certainly doesn't need you to step in for her like some schoolmarm, isn't that right?"

Brunhilde Thundercry

For a moment, the dwarf entertains thoughts of a 'hunting accident,' though she wouldn't do such a thing. At the brat's latest outburst, she stops her horse, positioning herself to cut Mallory's off. "You speak of class, child? You are in the presence of Brunhilde, undisputed master of Clan Thundercry whose honor is unblemished, a position that is mine by right of by right of blood and deed. From this point onwards, I expect you to address me in the proper manner as Master Thundercry. Are we clear?"

She of course leaves out the part that she's the only member of Clan Thundercry, as well as the fact that her clan's unblemished history can be measured in months.

That was the last straw! Jaared had been expecting it since they left Oleg's and had since thought of something to say. "O.K. O.K., that's enough. Mal you've been a total B*&^% about this whole affair. Brunehilde, you've been nothing but bossy to start this whole thing out. Mal, yes, we could accomidate your needs to seem 'in charge', and Brunhilde, we can follow as much as we can but not all of us are blessesd with Dwarven constitution! I've done my best to mitigate but for Abadar's sake I can do no more! Either kill us all Brun by running us into the ground or Kill us all Mal for not meeting your expectaions.! I don't care which!! Just do it and be done with it!! As far as this public conversation goes I vote the 'padre', Sir Denayth, has ruling control over our party. Anyone else who has something different to say about it can speak up now or forever hold their peace!!", he said rather matter of factly.

Denayth looks stunned for a moment, before returning Mallory's icy stare. After she finishes her speech, he speaks slowly and carefully, as if to a child, in a voice as cold as hers. "You speaks to me of how to worship my god, in the same breath that you insult Him? You know nothing of my god, girl. Abadar may encourage neutrality, but even the Gold-Fisted recognizes that sometimes, a side must be taken. Or have you never heard of Rovagug before?

You speak of contracts, legality, and morality. Who are you to speak of such things? You sound like a child trying to use big words to sound more impressive. There are no contracts between us, merely expected and acceptable behaviors. Behaviors you have not shown us. I did not think you a fool before. However, that has changed now. All I asked is for you to show some proper manners, as befitted a noble. Since that expectation seems too high for you to reach, I must assume you are either not a noble, and merely someone putting on airs, or the worst taught noble in all Brevoy."

Once again the padre stops to take a deep breath before continuing in a calmer, slightly warmer voice. "However, you are correct that Mistress Brunhilde can more than take care of herself, and certainly does not need me to defend her. But decent people, respectable people stand up for their fellows when they are mistreated. Maybe you'll learn that some day." After he finishes, Denayth offers a nod of thanks to Jaared, before glancing at Willum and Byron to see how they've reacted to the impromptu argument.

"What good would it do to kill you all, mister Jaared? Good help is hard to find." Mallory said, sulking, passively taking in Denayth and Brunhilde's words. She had to restrain herself from tittering at Brunhilde's claims of nobility; Dwarves being nobles was just absurd. The throne would, well, dwarf their tiny bodies.

She had to restrain herself from doing several less savory things to the padre; his dismissal of her birthright rubbed raw and ragged on her psyche and ate at the pillars holding up her self-image. Her fingers twitched, she went over old mnemonic devices to keep her cool, keep herself from demanding satisfaction. She turned away from the group; her eyes cast down, her soft face marred with a heavy scowl.

"I'd much rather have you as our leader, mister Jaared. Even in your anger you consider all of us." She stared daggers at the padre. "With the padre as our leader, I'd be considered lower than that bit of trash we picked up. Not like you all don't already think that of me."

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