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Heroes of Eattwe, Ep.1 ~ A Call for Help

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- ¨What is it?¨
The door cracked open and Robin´s face, with a cautious expression, showed up against the wall´s background.
- ¨Sorry, boss. There´s this guy downstairs, asking about you. Commoner, by the looks. Never saw him before...¨
- ¨Did he say what he wants?¨
- ¨He´s mumbling something about his wife and child. I don´t know... Seems worn out, kind of desperate too...¨
Tia spent a few moments wondering if any of her competitors could have sent for such a skilled assassin.

[History(Underworld), 3d20{9,4,15}b1=15 / OOC: Just enough to succeed at a normal difficulty check. However, it would have no value story-wise (at this point), so we skip it.]

- ¨Did you search him?¨, she asked.
- ¨Yeah. He´s clean.¨
- ¨...Okay, then. Send him up.¨
She pushed herself a couple of feet away from the desk and leaned on the chair´s back, her right arm hanging along her side. With the left hand still on the desk´s table, she reached for and palmed a small dagger she used to open packages with. Eyes on the door, she focused on her breathing, readying herself for the quick melee that might follow.

[Perception, 3d20{13,9,8}b1(=13)+2=15 / OOC: Those last numbers don´t look so good...]

Sensing that she is tensing, Tia let herself relax slightly, thinking that, after all, it´s on her instinct and her experience she can rely the most.

[OOC: She is now ready to react quickly to any unusual signs of behavior.]

After a short while, the door opened again.
A man in his thirties, strong, but down-looking and cowering, as if under a great weight, entered the room. Raising his eyes, he stood there for a moment or two with a surprised expression on his face; he must not have expected to see such a young woman.
- ¨Good... Good-day to you, kind lady. ...People say you help those in trouble. My boy... my wife..." - he faltered - ¨I did not know whom to turn to...¨
Not letting go of the dagger, Tia said in a calm voice, meant to convey generosity:
- ¨Have a seat, my good man. You heard right. I do sometimes help people. But I would have to know what this is all about before promising anything. So, what´s bothering you?¨
Having sat down on a nearby chair, the man spent a few moments gathering his thoughts, then began:

- ¨I am a woodcutter, in His Lordship´s service. I was out doing my job, the other day. Got to this tree, just an ordinary looking tree. A few strokes into the cutting, the place suddenly darkened, the tree started to tremble and my axe was thrown from my hands, some yards away. A force took over my body, I was paralyzed. Then a wind came and the branches of the tree, shaking, let out this dreadful voice: ´You... Try to kill me, in my sleep?! Now I shall kill you!´, it said. Somehow, I managed to let out the words: ´Please... sir?! ...I did not know... I have a wife, a little boy... Please don´t kill me!´ - ´So... You have family. Ha-ha-ha! Even better... Yes, I shall let you go. Run, run little father!´ And feeling free to move, I did just what the voice said. ´Here!´ - it shouted from behind me - ´Don´t forget your axe!´ And I barely escaped getting hit, as it came swirling towards me. I took it and kept running. I was so afraid about what... whoever that was might have done to my family. I reached the village, my house. I entered. They were fine... I was so relieved. But... the moment I put my axe down, leaning it on the wooden wall, something started to happen to them. Their skin, their flesh changed, turning into... wood. They were paralyzed, just looking at me, asking me with their eyes to do something... What could I have done... I dared not touch them... I cried, I prayed. The Heavens did not answer. Only this stiffled laughter sounded from the stove´s fire, and the voice from before, saying: ´Now... Let´s just wait and see who might come and take them down for wood!´ ...I put out the fire. Closed the windows. Locked the door. Waited for nightfall. Slunk out of the house and took the long, ten miles way through the woods to get here. I did not know whom to turn to... People... are fearful, they could to anything to us. And I´m poor...¨.

Silence remained between them. Tia had listened carefully to the story and was now considering both her means of helping and the possible implications of a decoy.

[Insight, 3d20{4,3,6}b1=6 ]

The man seemed honest... Could it have been that an ambush was set for her? or that a lengthy distraction would serve the interests of an enemy? And if the story is true, then what was in that tree? an evil spirit? a demon? And the turning into wood... She never dealt with such things before. What could she do?

Whatever it was, Tia decided to play along. There was no way to check the story out, given the danger that inquiries could have drawn on the man´s family. She did not have underworld contacts who could help with such a case, but she remembered her childhood friends, Aubey and Chatai, who followed paths of magic. She will write them, to ask their opinion. They have not heard from each other in such a long time, but Tia managed to keep track of the others´ whereabouts. If nothing else, she thought, it would be nice to get in touch again.

- ¨All right¨, she said, ¨I´ll try to help you. It may take a few days to find a solution. Meanwhile you should stay here. I´ll instruct my man to provide you with a room and other necessities. Please wait outside.¨
- ¨Oh, thank you... Thank you so much!¨ the man said, standing up. He walked to the door, opened it, turned towards Tia to bow and thank again, then disappeared into the darkness of the hallway.
- ¨Robin!¨, called Tia.
A knock on the still open door, and Robin made his way in.
- ¨Robin, I´m taking this man in for a few days. Give him a room, food and whatever else he needs. Then stick around. I will need some dispatches sent.¨

As Robin closed the door behind him, Tia took out from her desk a few sheets of vellum, a bottle of ink and a quill. She stood for a few moments smiling over the empty pages, thinking that she will soon be filling with words more than the distance between their margins. Then began writing her messages.

From outside the tavern´s window, her silhouette seemed to be mixing with the clouds´ shadows in their slow passage over the glass. Quietly, like the barely perceptible wind up there, her destiny was pushing her toward a destination she could not begin to anticipate...

~ The End of Episode 1 ~

[OOC: Tia´s name is linked to her MW sheet. Alternatively, you can refer to her TTW sheet.]

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Updated 04-01-2018 at 01:16 PM by Erran (made active link to next episode)

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