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SRD - v3.5
Order of the Sword & Rose
The dwarf sat by himself in the shadows at the end of the bar, lost in his mug of ale when the tavern door opened. Casting a glance to the figure who had entered he raised an eyebrow of surprise and then brought his hooded cloak closer round his bearded face. He was in a foul mood and wanted his solitude. His initiation into the guild had not been without incident and the memories that had been forced upon him ate away at his mind like a packrat. A drink and a few hours alone with his thoughts were all he needed, the new customer was an unwanted distraction. She didn't notice him as she entered and he drew further back into the darkness.
How the girl came to know about this place was beyond him, it was a nest of vipers, full of thieves, brigands and cut-throats. Predators who could smell the slightest weakness in anyone and who would pounce on any opportunity. It was a place where few questions were asked and even less answered and he liked it this way. Gnarlcleave rested between his legs covered by the cloak but most of the regulars knew it was there and left the gruff dwarf alone. Nobody wanted a closer look.
The dwarf relaxed as he cast an inspecting eye over the busy tavern, most of the crowd were behaving themselves, and the games of cards and dice seemed quiet enough. Only when his gaze returned to the half-elf did he tense slightly. There was no doubt she was fair of face, with a winsome smile and Ralthoin wondered how long it would be before she attracted some unwanted attention. ' Im no' her protector or faither,' the dwarf snorted to himself 'and she can take care o' hersel'." He settled back to his ale but caught himself watching the girl all the same.
Ranaewen swallowed her drink, listening to her companion’s chatter, and noted the three men taking up spots around them with deliberate casualness. She smiled inwardly at the familiar tactic. Funny, she hadn’t even planned on using her as bait...She looked over at the small figure beside her and felt a vague pang of unease. Maybe she shouldn’t have...but she had insisted on seeing her tonight, and she already had these plans...The bright, innocent face looked back at her, a complete contrast to Ranae’s own dark and moody presence. Well. She would just have to make sure that nothing happened to her. The warrior started to feel irritated by the complication of it all, unwilling to give up her fun, and unused to the protective feelings stirring in her belly.The dark elf leaned against the bar, looking completely at home.Her friend’s pixie face lit up as she turned toward him. She smiled brightly and was about to respond when Ranaewen placed a hand on her arm.The half-elf’s dark eyes narrowed as she regarded him. “Are you the welcoming committee?” Her voice low and heavy with sarcasm, she arched a brow slightly.
Ranaewen stared at the dark elf for a long moment, assessing, then said matter-of-factly, “I’m accustomed to going about my business without being questioned.” One eyebrow arched slowly up as her lips curled into a half-smile. Although she had no intention of bowing to intimidation, she sensed a familiar strength of will in the man, and felt a grudging respect for it.The robed elf sat, eyes wide, head bobbing back and forth between the two as she took in the situation. The tension was almost too much for her. She breathed a sigh, relief written across her face, as Ranae finally nodded slightly and moved to the table. The small elf hopped down off her stool and almost ran to a chair next to Ranae, pulling it closer to her friend with a bright smile.Finally the dark tense atmosphere overcame her best intentions, and she spoke in a soft, high voice, “I’m Keiri! Nice to meet you!” As she smiled at the men, they all could feel a ray of peace and calm radiating out from her, making the rest of the tavern seem very dark indeed.