Chapter 1 - A Gathering of Many, A Choosing of Few

At the guards outburst, Raen chuckles to himself softly. He leans in and whispers to the man named Garak on his left, "Touchy."

Garak's thoughts in regard to the guard's comment were kept to himself until Raen whispered in his ear.

Though the humor of it was lost within the features of his continually stoic face, Garak replied with a whisper of his own. It was kept quiet so none other than Raen could hear. "Waste of a hole, I'd say."

He then resumed his quiet stance with Kohl by his side, waiting for further information from the guards. His eyes casually scanned the gathering crowd. There were many different personalities and backgrounds obviously represented here. Garak knew his purpose, and was not here to make friends. If these individuals could help him to achieve his goals, then he was happy to keep their company.

The man's wife was clearly one that a stray sling stone might have to accidentially smite...

The image of her falling to the sand and convulsing as she choked on her own lifeblood almost made him crack a genuine smile for the first time in a long, long time.

"Hey, hey. Calm down, armored man."

Lorem suddenly felt the urge of getting a position in the talk. From what he could tell, the man loved his wife. And he could have sworn he had heard someone chuckle, but he did not quite understand who. So, better to stop the venomous tongue of the guard.

"You can't blame him for calling the order a cult. I mean, there weren't many details on that piece of paper. We're here because you need us and because we have similar line of thoughts, but it doesn't mean that you can go and call us names. Ah, a notice. Get on my nerves and you'll suddenly become addicted to the desert's sand, considering the amount you'd be forced to swallow."

Raen smiles at Garak's comments, and nods a silent reply.

He then raises an eyebrow at the oustpoken man, and makes a mental note of approval. A man with some honour at least.

Kashue almost laughs at Lorem's comment, but he stops himself and merely smiles, he remembers his first day in front of these two, and his cousin's comment was not too different from Lorem's.
The two guards are good guys, but they are too over-zealous, but that cuality makes them great guards.

((OOC: Right, sorry. Got caught up in other stuff. My bad.))

Laus put a hand to his head and wiped away more sweat than he thought was possible. The heat was almost more than he could bear. The sun was beating down on him, and he feared that his delicate complexion would burn to a crisp. Finally, he realized that the others had said their piece and that the guards were staring at him, waiting for his story. A dramatic bow and a tip of the wide brimmed hat that he wore to keep the sun out of his eyes set the stage. "Ah, I go by the name of Laus, my good gentlemen. I come here because I feel that this is where I should be, aiding you people in your noble quest." Of course, he didn't think that their quest was particularly noble in any way shape or form. He himself worshipped Shar, a suitable diety for his line of work. Well, former line of work. But still, it was fine for what he was. Laus continued talking to the guards, hoping to hurry this along. "I am pleased we have gotten here so quickly. If we don't get out of this horrid heat soon, I will be little more than a pile of ashes. My friends, do you think it would be possible for us to expedite our little stop. After all, we are ever so close to the end of our trail." A smile full of pearly whites reflected the abundant light, the picture of innocence.

"Well, now that we are all acquainted, are we allowed entrance? I am weary from much travel, and would like a bed to rest within. I'm sure the seven of us will have plenty of time to swap stories later, over dinner perhaps?" The normally quiet Tamrik was tired and dirty from his long voyage here. He was interested in these people around him, and felt that they would become great friends, and companions, although the darkness surrounding some of them made him ill, he did not allow this to be seen in his eye behind his silver mane of hair.

As several of the fellows speak their piece about Joachim's words, one in particular speaks to the guards.
"I didn't send anything to anyone, and personally, I don't care what happens to the lot of you. Right now you are all, with the exception of the Sandrider Kashue, nothing more than minced rabble, and I'd happily kill you myself. I don't "need" anything, and neither does Mersuuk here," he says, gesturing to the younger guard. He then looks to the rest of the gathered assembly, adding, "Continue."

Three more applicants then introduce themselves. A large Half-Orc called Korakk Deathclaw is first to speak, followed by Zetroc, a smallish Human mage, and finally by Delphine, a tall, attractive Elf from Amn.

Once introductions are complete, the Guards turn away from the group, speaking amongst themselves quietly. Looking back, they call up to a figure you only now see, standing atop the gate.
"Hey Rupert! Open the Gates, we have visitors!"
Slowly, the gate begins to open, its large steel bars creaking upwards, until approximately a 20-foot clearance is created. Stepping aside, the guards raise their spears, gesturing inwards.

"You may enter. Ara will take over from here."

As you are ushered in, the inside of the complex is not what you imagined it to be. Instead of an intricate web of stone-work houses, five large structures are all that can be seen, and the peak of a large mountain to your left staggers high above any of the buildings. You can barely make out the faint outline of another set of Gates far ahead of you.

As you look around, a dark-robed figure shuffles up towards you, seemingly out of nowhere.

"Good evening! I am Ara, and welcome to our home. Don't mind the guards, the meaner they are the more effective they seem to be! " she says, a smile coming to her face. "We are glad you have answered our summons, for our organization is in an uncomfortable situation. In recent years our strength was far greater than it is now, and our influence stretched across the Realms. Unfortunately, some of our more powerful members have been swayed by the dark Gods, and have left our Order for the pursuit of temptation and divine power. Licocious, our most powerful sorceror, turned to the embrace of Bane, while his companion Insoba put her might behind Mask. Many of our warriors have also been swayed thus, and their new loyalties are as varied as they themselves," Ara adds, looking wistfully to the West.

"But that is not, we are now hunted by the very Gods we oppose. While in past ages we had been able to hold off most of their attempts to quiet us, this recent sapping of strength has reduced us to hiding in the shadows like rats. Our headquarters is constantly shifting, and it took a great deal of persuasion on my part to convince the Council to even call out for more recruits. In fact, this is our very first such endeavor, for we are used to prospectives coming to us, and to turning away most everyone that arrived thusly."

"Your decision to heed our call is much appreciated. I shall arrange to have you meet with the Council shortly, that they may judge your character for purity, and also give you more information about why you are here. For now, please make yourselves at home. As you arrived you saw three large buildings, and some of you may have noticed additional smaller dwellings. Please stay in the Eastern-most of these three buildings, Sunset Keep, marked by setting-sun standards upon its walls. The central building houses the Council, and is strictly off-limits to all but them and their associates. The Western-most building, Eclipse Keep, is marked by moon-on-sun eclipse standards upon its borders, and is off-limits to all but admitted members of The Order," the woman says, her face now stern and firm.

Lightening slightly, she continues. "The rest of the grounds are yours to explore. I shall come for you in the evening, and you may have your audience before the Council at that time. Until then, I bid you good day."

Ara then begins walking towards the large building on your right, Sunset Keep, motioning for you to follow.

Tamrik looks around, seemingly unimpressed. Starts to walk towards the barracks in order to freshen up from his long voyage. His hair was in desperate need of cleaning and he smelled like an orc. He dah a strange feeling of calm insode these walls, safety was nothing he'd known for a long time, but he couldn't help feeling the vileness of some of the people here... "I guess the feeling is in my blood..." He thinks to himself, chuckling.


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