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    New Member
    The moment the group of adventurers took notice of him, things started to go poorly. A small breton woman with a wild look in her eye, followed by a dark furred khajiit, who began speaking rapidly to her, to low for Allesan to make out. All the same, he held his hands out towards the pair, open palms on display. "Please," he said earnestly, "I want no trouble. In truth, I had no idea of this village's troubles until I came across it. Pray tell, is whatever happened here linked to the sickness that ravages the land?"

    That much was true, though he had no way of telling whether any of the group believed him. Still, he could do no more, unless they decided he posed no threat. A short while later, a nord, apparently not with the others, approached, striking up an easy conversation, with both the two women and Allesan. He risked taking an eye off the caster, long enough to regard the newcomer, who'd extended a hand and offered some advice.

    Cautiously, half-expecting the others to attack when he lowered his arm, he shook the nord's hand with a firm grip. "Well met. I am Allesan, of High Rock. I was looking to make my way to Falkreath, but as you say, it will be dark soon, and I'd rather not risk the wolves on my own." A third member of the adventurers, or perhaps mercenaries, approached, a friendly breton man, in battered armour and robes. He offered them hospitality at the nearby inn, and Allesan nodded cautiously. "I would appreciate that. So long as I'm not considered a burden to your companions."


    Sorceress Supreme!
    Katrina made a sound that was half frustrated snarl, half exasperated sigh, and let the magic fizzle out. She dropped her hands, but her eyes remained on the two strangers. "Trust them if you like," she said shortly to the khajiit. She backed to what she assumed was a safe distance, then made her way to the inn. The crowd of quiet, shocked villagers did little to soothe her nerves, but no one bothered her. In fact, few even noticed her. 'What am I doing here?' She wondered, 'out of everyone I fit in the least. They'll see me as nothing more than a liability, if they don't already.' She almost got up and left right then, if not for the emptiness in her stomach, the disturbingly light weight of her coinpurse. She sighed, drumming her fingers softly against the stained wood of the table.


    An Excellent Site Member
    The others filtered back into the town square as Alice gave her report to
    Solun. She wished she hadn't saluted him. That was a good way to give
    herself away and just in case she'd forgotten this guy might as well have a
    big sign above him that says "I used to be a legionary and probably don't
    like Stormcloaks." But, of course, it was too late and she'd have to live
    with it. Fortunately she didn't get more than a suspicious look. Everyone's
    reports could be summarized in "Everyone's gone and we don't know why." When Solun seemed to have some burst of inspiration. "Mines!" He yelled out.
    "Follow me!" Happy for any sort of lead, Alice followed at a run along with
    most of the others. Whatever questions they had were answered when they got
    to the main mine shaft and found it shut and barred. "Break it down!" Solun
    ordered. The large orc Unk began to rush forward with his axe when someone
    on the other side of the doors shouted at him to stop. This greatly
    surprised Alice. She wasn't expecting anyone in there to even be alive let
    alone alert and ready. The doors were slowly pulled open and several dozen
    people stared filing out. Men, women, children and a single Stormcloak

    He asked if they were gone and Solun gave an affirmative. The man didn't
    explain whom he was talking about but it was obvious someone or something
    had driven these people in here. The man promised to tell them all about it
    at the inn. Apparently it had been untouched and considering the shape
    Karthwasten was in that was both likely and welcome. Alice was ready to
    welcome both some rest and refreshment and some answers as to what happened here.

    On their way there however she noticed a pair of strangers had
    arrived. One of them was a relatively tall man in heavy Dawnguard armour and
    a full face helmet to hid his features. That made him impossible to identify
    in the moment but by his build Alice's best guess would be Breton or
    Redguard. The other man was more identifiable. A blonde haired Nord of
    surprisingly short stature, several slashed fingers on his right hand, a
    massive poleaxe across his back and some of the heaviest armour Alice had
    ever seen. A standard cuirass of Stormcloak Officer's scale mail over a
    heavy gown of chainmail over what was clearly a gambison of boiled leather.
    Three layers of protection would be a challenge for most men to even move in
    and therefore be more hinderance than help but this man looked as
    comfortable as if wearing regular clothing.

    Most of the party's reaction was minor or nonexistent but the Breton girl
    freaked out. She activated some spark magic and shouted at both of them to
    stay where they were and state their business. Both of them tried to
    reassure her that they were only here to help and the black-furred Khajiit
    tried a more forceful approach. It took some doing but she seemed to relent
    without really being happy about it. That was a problem. This girl had been
    giving off an aura of anxious alertness since last night when Alice had met
    her but threatening anyone who startled her could easily get someone killed.
    She needed to relax and the best way for her to do that in Alice's mind was
    to get to trust someone. When everyone filed into the inn and sat down at
    the bar the townsfolk began putting everything back together and making
    ready to cater to their reinforcements. Alice sat down next to the Breton
    girl and folded her long gloved arms on the countertop, giving the girl a
    friendly smile as she did so. "Would you like something to drink?" She
    asked. "You're still wearing your anxiety from outside and you look like you
    could use one. My name's Alice by the way. I remember seeing you from last
    night but I don't think we ever had an introduction."


    Active Member
    Tavir paced away as the situation seemed to be concluded, except for the dunmer who was normally stuck to the big argonian's side, sneaking up behind the nord in multiple layers of armour. But the helmeted man didn't seem to want trouble. If anything, he seemed like he'd simply stumbled into the wrong place at the wrong time. The khajiit left the others to their business, and entered the inn. The people around were in various levels of shock. The beaten up stormcloak was talking with Solun, and she caught snippets of their conversation. Something about people leaving their homes of their own accord, joining some sort of procession.

    Tavir took a seat at the bar after helping herself to a bottle of wine from underneath it. "Above my paygrade." She muttered to herself, noticing the imperial woman, Alice, sitting with the crazy breton. She sipped from the bottle, turning so that her back was against the bar. It would be an interesting night, if the two newcomers decided to join them inside. Not that there was anything wrong with interesting. The stench she'd come across when they'd first entered the village, now that was interesting. And they hadn't come across the source. Not yet, at least.


    Fight for the lost
    Thoras watched, surprised and a little relieved by the flood of people coming from the mines. He'd been expecting a somewhat more grim sight when the doors had opened. He leaned his glaive against his shoulder, and fell in with the villagers, making for the inn, that had been untouched by whatever had forced the locals from their homes. Apparently, the cause was known to the stormcloak soldier, who looked by far the worse of those who'd hidden inside the mine.

    Once at the inn, he spotted the argonian, Sothas, speaking with a distraught couple. Soon Solun, Alice, Unkmarog, and the petite breton came in, followed by the dark furred khajiit. She took a seat on one of the barstools,after fetching a bottle for herself. Thoras helped himself to the seat next to her, flashing her a smile. "I suppose there are worse ways to spend a cool evening," he said, "than among friends, I mean." He gave the bottle in her hand a meaningful look.


    Sorceress Supreme!
    Katrina eyed the short imperial woman that had chosen to sit across from her. She'd been with them since they set out from Rorikstead, but they hadn't exchanged words before. It was true, she was on edge, but for good reason. Nothing about what had happened made much sense. Even with the snatches of conversation she could make out from their leader and the battered soldier. Still, it couldn't hurt to accept a drink, in the interests of 'bonding' with her fellow mercenaries. "I suppose it can't hurt," she said softly, "I'm Katrina, by the way."


    The Devil In The Details
    "Even if she does miss," a voice behind him said, "I won't. What's your business here?"

    Liudolf had to admit, the girl definitely caught him off-guard and he was shameful because of it. He'd been so wrapped up in defusing and dispersing a feud between strangers, hired-killers at that, he hadn't paid mind to the many blind-spots she could hide in. If she'd been in her right mind and pocket, she'd have killed him. Regardless, she certainly had the drop on him now, and at this distance, she was right. He didn't see her weapons, but any move she made would be lethal and there was no way he could avoid it. Nor could she, or anyone within twenty-feet, avoid his retaliation.

    Swinging his poleaxe up from his shoulder, he let it fall forward and cleave into the dirt at his feet. Splaying his now-free, disfigured hands, while keeping an eye on the magic-crazed breton, Liudolf couldn't help but brood. "Listen to your friend," he glimpsed her with some side-eye. "Elf. It'd be good for everyone involved." The words slipped from his lips like venom, and he'd hoped the dunmer wouldn't notice his spite; he had a sneaking suspicion she'd enjoy it. He reached a slow hand into his cloak, skipping over his knife, and fetched a slip of stamped parchment-- the High-King's summons. Flashing it over his shoulder, "Just sight-seeing, like the lot of you," he tapped the fading bear-sigil on his cloak, the pinned-up skirt-tassels clicking as he did so. "You might think twice anyway. We'll have plenty of time to get familiar. No need to rush into it."

    Liudolf lowered his hands as the helmeted breton spoke up, accepting their standing offer to join the group at the inn. The third female breton retreated to the inn with a snarl about blind trust, her feline companion in tow. With all that, he plucked up his axe and headed towards the inn himself, not expecting his newest fan to make a risky play of her own volition, especially now that his guard was up. But not before he smiled as he dropped his axe to rest on his shoulder, sending a delightful shower of dirt over the dunmer.

    Some time after stabling his horse and clearing out his saddle-bags, he entered the inn and took on the smallest room he could find. Essentially a large broom closet, but he wouldn't ask for much, these villagers had been through enough it seemed. He sighed contentedly, as layer after layer of armor came off, feeling light as a feather and more naked than a Riften harlot in his tunic. While his years in the field had made it easier to maneuver in the makeshift suit, saving his life more than a dozen times, it wasn't all that comfortable to sleep in. Even still, it's not like he'd get another chance to relax around these people again.

    Coming out, Liudolf took a moment to soak in the room's inhabitants and pick out his traveling companions. A massive Argonian looming over some villagers, yep. The female breton he nearly tangled with, in conversation with a pale, decorously garbed woman, check. He did a double take on her, looking hard for momentary recognition, and ultimately deciding there'd be time for that later. Next to them was a strange dunmer male in stranger robes, conversing with the Khajiit he'd seen outside. Including the bretons still to show, it was undoubtedly a party that would turn heads and draw prying eyes where-ever they went. Let's just hope they're the right ones, he mused as he crossed the room, getting closer look at the remaining pair in what seemed like a serious discussion. They'd separated from the main group, and the group in turn gave them their space. It was clear one of them was in charge, he just needed to decipher which was which.

    One was a battered Stormcloak officer, the other an Imperial listening intently. He only caught the last bit as he approached, something about an Olfir being responsible for the officer's face, and the Imperial suggesting they leave in the morning. "Our group" he'd said-- it sounded like an escort, and their trip sounded more like a leader laying plans. Liudolf had to appreciate the irony of being under Imperial leadership, and the odds of his own plopse luck to put him in such a position.

    "Missed the rescue, did I?" He greeted, gesturing an informal salute. "Captain Liudolf Aggersen, of the seventh Stormcloak Legion. I'll be joining your efforts to squash the source of the sickness. Not a moment too soon." While yes, his title of captain was still suspended and thus had no official weight, he didn't need to let that on. Couldn't hurt to have some starting respect when dealing with a crowd like this, facing an Imperial no less.

    Then to the scarred and tanned man himself, barely guising his contempt with concern. "You mentioned a trip in the morning? You'll find my horse in the stables. Pair her with a cart and she'll haul whatever these survivors need for the journey. Whatever remains. Lads." He nodded a goodbye and seated himself a few tables down, facing the door. He'd taken to spending some rations, nibbling on dried meat and fruit while he cleared his mind and absorbed the chattering noise around him.


    Active Member
    Tavir had barely started in on her drink when the nord latecomer from before entered, went to a room, seemingly at random, and came back out, wearing considerably less gear. Her eyes tracked him as he approached Solun and introduced himself, offering his horse and his services. Another addition to their group, and a Stormcloak to boot. A moment later, the eccentric elf took a seat on the stool next to hers, mentioning there were worse ways to spend a night than among friends. She glanced at him, "Oh, is that what we are?" She drawled, "friends?"


    Well-Known Member
    Aylira smirked at the human as he walked to the inn, he was a bold one, though he seemed as typical as most of his kind, even if he was a little more friendly. The dunmer moved her hands away from the hilts of her weapons. The official seal on the parchment he showed seemed real enough, even if she wasn't sure why he hadn't joined them in Rorikstead. With the rest of the group and all the villagers headed inside, she followed.

    Once inside, she caught sight of Sothas, speaking to a couple of distressed looking locals. Their self-appointed leader, Solun, was deep in conversation with the bruised nord who'd been with the people in the mine. The other nord, the one she'd threatened, was approaching them, but she turned away, towards the bar, where the khajiit and her fellow dunmer were sitting. She moved to join them, sitting to the left of the khajiit. "What are we drinking?" She asked, nodding at the bottle in her hand.

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