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Once Home

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Once Home

Duthash Gyth Basque VY. 237 (May 29)

Laren woke before Kossuth breached the horizon. He was in a well furnished room with a private bath and enough artwork honoring wolves to fill a large chamber in a museum. The four post bed was big enough to fit a dozen halflings his size. The pillow cases were enough so that he could us one as his own sleeping sack.

His sleep was restless however. Random visions of madness and destruction plagued his usually carefree dreams. Memories of his father and mother came back upon him. Behind every thought were the subtle, alien whispers from the Eye; that cursed thing.

On the road to Kurr it seemed as though eyes were all about him, watching, waiting. Indeed there was something…a dragon-like man that swooped in on him…him. It was as though it knew him or was seeking him.

It was the not knowing what any of recent events meant that perhaps bothered him the most. Then again, things were moving so fast and randomly that he barely had time to make sense of it all. And here he was back in the city that his changing times began. He was in Kurr, the place that was once his home not so long ago.

The Protectorate was here on a mission to escort those of faith back to Threshold and route the mystery of Sayers lost transcripts. Laren well knew that being here was, perhaps, dangerous. Crimson, his father’s probable assassin, might well be here. If that was the case, The Protectorate could be in more danger than they even knew. Shrugging off the thoughts, Laren lit his bedside lantern.

Opposite his bed was a set of double doors that led out to a balcony. In the distance he could see the vast lake that Kurr settled along. It was calm and still enough to look as smooth as glass. The waking sky echoed off the soothed waters with its deep, cool colors and in the great distance Laren could see the Dragonteeth Mountains that cradled Threshold.

The sky then began to darken and a tongue of lightning struck in the distance. Slowly the morning light began fade and silhouettes of dragons emerged from the clouds. The ground became black with dots of fires mixed within it. It was a damning vista.

Laren closed his eyes and rubbed them not believing that he was witnessing a living scene from his night’s visions. He dared to look again and found that it was once again the serene morning he was trying to enjoy.

Casually glancing around the room to ensure his own safety, Laren could see the azure glow from the Eye of Portence; that cursed thing.

OOC: You know, I always pictured the eye as green. Not sure why...

What the hell... Laren though sourly. it wasn't the first time he wondered if he could dig these visions out with his blood hook.

More aggravated than anything else, Laren pulled closed the doors to the outside world and locked them. As he turned back into the room he clenched his eyes shut and rubbed his temples. His head hurt, and he was tired. It had been a very long time since he'd had a good night's sleep.

He suited up and stuffed the belt pouch that held the damned eye into a cargo pocket on his leg. He looked down at his leg and saw the feint blue glow of the eye coming through, or more accurately surrounding his pocket. He knew his friends couldn't see it, and he hoped that only he could. He wished he could ask Ashe.

Perhaps a good breakfast would do him some good. It'd been some time since he'd been to the Half Pint. They had good fare.

Despite the aching head and being ...inconvenienced by that little hallucination, he was in a fairly good mood.

Walking toward the washbowl his reflection caught his eye. He started at himself in the mirror. His once jovial face now were a frown. "You don't look like you're in a good mood," the Halfling told himself.

He forced a bright grin, reminding himself he was still one handsome bastard, but it looked just as it felt: Forced. He dropped the smile and let his face hang in the scowl he'd become used to.

Staring at his face staring back at him, he decided that at least he'd be less recognizable. This was a good thing, what with Crimson wanting him dead and all.

It'd been a few days since he'd had a good shave, and the stubble was almost a full beard. Running his knuckles across the bottom of his chin, he thought that perhaps some facial hair would be a good idea.  

A second thought struck as he noticed his hair was approaching shaggy status.

In his left hand, he took a firm grip of his little mane. His right hand slowly dragged the razor edge of his bloodhook across his scalp. Ten minutes later, the little fellow was bald as a rock, and had the beginnings of a goatee.

"Perhaps an earring or two," he said to himself. "... or three..."

Admitting to himself, that he really didn't look anything like what people remembered of Laren anymore. Now he just needed a new name.

Perhaps one of his comrades could help. He left to look for someone from the team. Maybe Sayer. Laren had developed a liking for him.

Laren remembered that when they arrived in Kurr, Sayer had practically disappeared into his world of his advisory role to the Arch-Duke. In fact, Laren had not seen Sayer since their arrival to the Keep.

Still, to his Halfling mind it never hurt to poke around and maybe find him. Laren stepped into the hall. He could hear echoes of footsteps from various directions but most sounded like they were moving away from the guest chambers. Who knew what other guests might be dwelling behind the doors…diplomats? Nobles? Anyone could be here…almost anyone. As he stepped into the hall he noticed a stairway leading down and and out to the rest of the keep (he knew this since this was the way he came to the room) to his left further down the hall was another hallway cutting to the right. Unless he jumped the balcony, these were his only options.

The hall, Laren noticed, had various tapestries and statues- some rather crude and others exquisite. The rug under his feet ran the length of the hall and had a curious sheen to it. It was a tartan rug with green, black, and gold color scheme laced with gold tassels. At the end of the hall was a massive symbol of a wolf head wreathed with a sunburst. It was carved of a variety of stonetypes and the eyes of the wolf were shimmering emeralds. It was one of the finest pieces of art Laren had ever laid his eyes on. Clearly it’s diameter was twice- if not more- Laren’s height. As if winking, one of the emerald eyes glinted as Laren admired the sculpture.

"Boy, someone sure likes wolves," he said outloud to himself.

Laren decided his belly couldn't wait. He hadn't been to the Half Pint in a long time, and he was craving the "Happy Traveler's meal" they had. Bacon, Eggs, fried potatoes, and a pancake. He wondered if Rosalee still worked there. The thought of her sent a chill down his back. He hadn't thought of her beautiful face in months. He could feel his ears turning red and managed a weak grin in spite of himself.

"Sure," he said quietly. "No problem slipping a blade between someone's vertebrae, but the thought of a pretty girl still makes you blush."

Laren shook his head and headed for the exit.

Laren descended the carpeted stairs. Echoes of distant footsteps came to him but were no where close. Chandeliers laced with candles hung from the ceiling and torches were held  in lupine sconces from the walls.

At the bottom of the stairs was a resting room and library. Books lined the walls and there were several sitting areas defined by plush chairs and couches. The upper part of the walls and the ceiling were carved in relief and arched as though to look like a stony forest. At first Laren could have sworn he saw a bird move among the branches but on closer investigation it was the play of light and shadow dancing with a statuary bird. Shrugging, Laren continued.

He soon found himself at the main door to Vallensun Keep and before him was the expanse of Kurr. Eagerly, he stepped out into the open air and was immediately greeted with deep bass voice. “Hello good man.” Looking over, Laren saw a giant red bearded man four times Laren’s height. With a wide gleaming grin the giant continued, “Not many wake this early…the merchants haven’t even woken yet. This could be the best time to see the city no doubt.”

Three other giants of similar look nodded their agreement and regarded Laren with a soft smile. Laren had seen these guards before on only rare occasions. Once he had seen their prowess in breaking up a rowdy mob that had gathered and broken into violence. With little time at all, the four of them had beaten down the crowd of four dozen and then stopped at the nearby tavern for a few drinks. Had they gotten really angry it would be no stretch of imagination as to what they could have done.

Yet here in the serene hours on the verge of day break they were as calm and gentle looking as young deers. Were it not for their massive weapons and armor, one might almost believe they were no other way.


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