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SRD - v3.5
Order of the Sword & Rose
From the shadows of his corner, Aristoblis looked over the newest addition to the Fellowship. His eyes traced the young elf from boot to hood taking in his woodland attire. Even if he hadn’t already known, it would be obvious to him that this one is a ranger of the wilds.
Aristoblis looked to one of his companions and tilted his head towards the ranger. Nodding knowingly, Bronen stood from the table and moved to the bar. He was an imposing figure and hard to miss as he moved. His 7 foot tall mountainous frame was clad in bits of plate and chain. A huge great axe slung across his back, its handle extended just over his right shoulder. As he walked sweat formed on his bald, tattooed head in response to the warmth of the morning sun; his long braided goatee swayed and danced gently across his chest.
Reaching the bar in just a few steps, Bronen leaned on an elbow and lifted one of his feet onto a rung of a bar stool. He leaned in and whispered to the barkeep, nodding towards Aristoblis’ table. The barkeep nodded and quietly went about his orders, gathering this and that. Bronen then stood back up from the bar and proceeded to the table where the elf sat.
Anduil saw the huge man approaching his table with a purpose in his steel eyes. A look of stone on the man’s face belied nothing about his intentions. It was obvious that this man was coming to him and him alone, but for what purpose? If the elf was nervous or anxious, he never let it be seen as Bronen came to stand mere feet from him.
“’ello, elf”, he began. As Bronen spoke, Anduil could tell that this fighter was obviously more brawn than brain. “Mah name's Bronen, bu’ ye kin call me Axblade. Som’ folk jus’ call meh Ax, tha’s ok too. Mah frien’ ‘ristoblis o’er ther’ reques’ yer comp’ny a’ his table.” Bronen motions to a table half shrouded in shadow.
Anduil hadn’t even paid much attention to the table until it was brought to his attention. He now could see a robed figure sitting in the corner shrouded in shadow and a dwarf at the table as well. The barkeep seemed to be placing goblets and a wine bottle on the table along with a plate of cheeses and bread.
“O’corse”, Bronen finished, “th’ choice is yers.” With that Bronen turned on his heel and walked back to his place at Aristoblis’ table. Taking a seat to the right of the mage, he leaned in and whispered something then he picked up his tankard and took a long pull.
Anduil was left alone to his thoughts, to decide whether or not to accept this ‘invitation’. As he thought it over he looked again to the table in the corner and saw, just for a moment, the metallic glint of two silvery eyes staring at him from beneath the mages hood.
“Please, make yourself comfortable.” Aristoblis welcomed Anduil to the table. “I am Aristoblis Spelbinder, wizard and Lore Master for the Fellowship.”
“You’ve already met Ax”, he continued, motioning to the man at his right, “now let me introduce Raltar and Shadow.” Aristoblis motioned towards the dwarf to his left and then to nowhere in particular. As he moved his purple velvet robes brushed lightly across the tabletop, his long slender fingers were clean and well manicured. “Care for some wine or a light lunch of bread and cheese?”
The dwarf sitting to Aristoblis’ left, Raltar he had been called, was clad in bits of chain and plate, the same as Bronen had been. There was a large steel shield resting on the wall behind him, the symbol of an anvil and hammer engraved in its face. Leaning against the wall beside the shield was a heavy mace and a large crossbow, along with an adventuring pack. Charcoal hair was pulled behind his head in a short ponytail and a long beard braided in two thick braids hung from his chin. One eye, black as pitch, peered at Anduil, the other was covered by an eye patch and a vertical scar; remnants of some battle long gone no doubt.
Axblade simply nodded to Anduil has Aristoblis spoke. Raltar spoke in typical gruff dwarven fashion, “Well met, frien’. What brings ya to Stormreach?”
Anduil could not see this ‘Shadow’ person that Aristoblis had indicated, but he was sure he was around somewhere.
Aristoblis watched Anduil’s eyes almost unconsciously look this way and that, apparently trying to catch sight of the stealthy rogue.
“Unless I miss my mark yer more than just a simple ranger.” Raltar’s one good eye narrowed slightly as he spoke. He seemed to be sizing him up, but why? “The simple ones never last long ‘ere in Stormreach; ya’ve got the look about ya of someone who c’n handle blade ‘n bow.” Raltar looked to Ax seated across the table, “Waddaya think, Ax?”
“Humph”, Ax huffed with a smirk, “W’ll hafta see. Ye be tested, eh? Ye kin hol’ yer own in bat’le?” The smirk on Ax’s face spread into a grin and then into a full on smile.
“Don’t let them get to you too much,” Aristoblis said with a smile. “They like to haze the new recruits. And don’t worry about Shadow, he’s rarely seen but he’s always there. He has…talents…that accentuate his abilities.”