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    A Fork in the Road

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    Sean

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Sean on Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:10 pm

    I cluck my tongue despondently as I shake my head.
    "What a shame. Always best to avoid kickin' up dirt, especially when it brings dishonor to yer clan. Perhaps he needed the coin to survive but there are better ways to get it and still make yer ancestors proud. Hopefully the lad there will be able to understand that after his little chat."
    I quaff my ale and hug my bucket to my chest as I call over to the cleric interrogating the halfling.
    "Pardon me brother, but I always thought confession of one's sins took place in the temple and not in the barroom. Do you be needin' a hand? I'm a servant of Moradin me-self and could offer the lad some guidance in the stability one finds in the earth, if he has lost his way and upset the local peace."
    My words are punctuated with a loud belch and an enormous shit-eating grin.
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    Sean

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Sean on Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:15 pm

    I chuckle at the verbose lady-elf. I whisper to her,
    "No worries lass. I know not to be taking what hasn't been offered. I know a good deal about the Stonebeards and their legendary adventures but I cannot claim such a lofty clan such as that for my own. I am just the simple son of a simple man whose only claim to his name is bein' a good digger."
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    Quarok DM
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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Quarok DM on Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:19 pm

    Inwe-
    The bartender refills your glass, a little more full this time than last, and slides it back to you.
    "No charge for this, young lady. I don't want you to have a negative impression of my establishment."
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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Quarok DM on Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:31 pm

    The cleric pauses, considering your response.
    "Hmm... Can't help yourself? Well, perhaps there is some way you can repay they town that you have stolen from. Usually the punishment for stealing in Holtburg is the romoval of the thief's hands, but perhaps you can be more useful to us than that. As you may have heard or guessed by now, we have a small problem with goblins raiding our town. They have been able to successfully sneak past our guards so far, but I have been thinking that with your help, little one, we may be able to draw them into the open so the archers can pick them off."
    He rises to his feet and starts walking toward the dwarf at the bar.
    "If you have a problem with the way we do things around here, sir dwarf, I suggest you stay out of it. This far away from the Empyrean Capital we have to make hard decisions sometimes to keep the peace. We have been free of a thieves' guild for almost fifteen years and I do not intend to have that end on my watch."
    The cleric turns back to the fighters.
    "Fix him to the lanternpost north of town and have the archers take up positions on the rooftops, mind that they are not seen getting into position, or our little bait here might be in more danger than need be."
    He turns back to Eitri.
    "If you have a soft spot for other short folk, you may accompany him as his personal guard, but do not get in the way of my archers. Their loyalties are to this town, not to a thief like him."
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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Quarok DM on Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:38 pm

    Gejjin-
    The four fighter guards stand you up, then remembering that you are small, just carry you out the front door of the tavern following the cleric. When you get to the north lantern post, they pull your arms around the post and secure them with a pair of manacles so that your back is to the post and you are facing the forest and its dark, shifting shadows. The guards then pull large wooden crossbows from holders on their backs and disappear into the alleyways between the gem shop and the general store.
    (Hide Checks: 19, 10, 19, 5)
    (Move Silently Checks: 6, 9, -2, -1)
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    Sean

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Sean on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:13 pm

    I stick my tongue out at the cleric when he orders the men to bring the halfling outside but quickly pull it back in my mouth to smile sweetly at him when he turns back to me. (Bluff check 16)
    "What a fine idea laddie! Wouldn't want a poor fellow to be killed by one of yer stray arrows with hardly a fair trial for such a small matter as theft. I think you can agree with me that one so small and foolish as him can hardly be assumed to be anything more than a ragamuffin stealing to survive and not some criminal mastermind and the leader of a thieves guild. He just needs a chance to right his wrongs and I am sure doing a task that keeps yer guardsmen safe will be more than enough to repay his debt. After all, no matter what kind of folk we be or the color of our skin, all creatures who wish for redemption should be helped in returning to the rightful path."
    I place my now-empty bucket on the counter and take out a flask from my belt.
    "Kindly barkeep, if you would be so good as to refill me trusty bucket and put a little bit o' whiskey in this here flask. I have a feeling that I may get a wee bit thirsty trying to protect the tiny fool."
    I finish up my food and leave a generous tip on the counter for the wonderful service. I give a wink to the elf lady before I depart.
    "Do be careful now, miss. If there are goblins about, I highly doubt that they will be as easily to deal with as one goofy and embarrassed halfing pickpocket."
    With my filled flask under my belt and my bucket gently sloshing in my arms, I make it out to the lamppost and set down next to the halfling. Listening to the clanging of armor and weapons as the guards attempt to conceal themselves, I chuckle. (Listen check 10)
    "Let's hope those blasted goblins are deaf. Almost as noisy as a flatulent hill giant."
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    Brenton
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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Brenton on Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:07 pm

    This is almost too good to be true! So much excitement on the same night that I happen to come to town? Then it hits me. A wry smile makes its way to my face and I stroll over to Willomine.

    "Look, I know what you did for me and I promise I shall not tell a soul. It shall be know henceforth in the books of times past that a generous man by the name of WIllomine helped set the stage for one of the most famous tales of all time".

    With that I leave him without waiting for a reaction. I turn to the patrons in the tavern.

    "Good ladies and gentlemen! Our plot has moved elsewhere and I must follow wherever the winds of adventure blow. You have been a most lovely cast and I hope in further acts your faces will grace my pages once again. Tally ho!"

    I pull out my longsword and hoist it uneasily in the air. It has not gotten very much action and my hands are not accustomed to the weight. I knock a few candles out of the lamps in the ceiling. I cast ghost sounds and exit the tavern to the sound of trumpets, giving a wink from one eye to the elf and one from the other to WIllomine's wife. The guards are already in place and I sneak up next to one so that I have an excellent vantage point of the action.

    *Move Silently: 18 Hide: 21*

    I stick my head from the shadows and ask "Is this plan going to work? Do you bait the goblins like this often?"

    *Gather Information: 12*


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    Brenton
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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Brenton on Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:11 pm

    Also understanding that this situation may put the guard (I chuckle to myself) on his guard, I hand him a scroll I have written.

    "Any information given will be held in the strictest confidence. It shall not be used for purposes other than for use in this text

    Signed
    Jasper Windsong
    Licensed Bard"

    *Diplomacy Check: 28*


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    michaelb

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  michaelb on Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:38 pm

    I watch the guards leave with the halfling, followed by the dwarf, followed by the singing man. The tavern is calming now, and my presence surely must seem less threatening after that din. With a gentle word to the barkeep I could order a meal and purchase a room for the night. But I must know what magic was cast upon me! I feel my rising anger. How to turn this into something useful?

    I step away from the wall where I stood as a statue during the questioning and approach the female elf. I try to keep as many low tones out of my voice as I can, but my body is working against me.

    "You were involved: do you think the halfling's punishment is fair?" Then I ask more loudly, looking around at the patrons. "You who live in this community: what say you about the events we have witnessed?"
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    cadoc

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  cadoc on Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:33 am

    *listen = 19* I turn to the dwarf "So did you come here to keep me company or are you here to help me? Either way it's nice to have the company of someone who isn't a giant." I attempt to wriggle free of my restraints *escape artist = 25* "My name is Gejjen who might you be?"
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    Sean

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Sean on Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:44 am

    I smile at the halfling and stand up to face him.
    "Hello Gejjen. The name is Eitri Grundlemud, and I am sorry to see you in such a mess. I cannot unbind you right now, not while you serve your duty and appease the guardsmen here. I promise, though, to keep ya company and to free you should your life be in danger though. No man, no matter his size should be left to die while he still has blood in his body and a will to fight. Hopefully this will all go well and I won't have to use old Sheila here."
    I reach back and unclasp the sledge tied to my back and set it down by my bucket.
    "She's used to smashing rocks in quarries but she will do the job of smashing yer chains in a pinch. Oh!, one moment laddie!"
    I reach into my belt and pull out my flask and pull off the stopper before holding it to Gejjen's lips.
    "Don't need ya dying of thirst either. Drink your fill so as to keep the chill off yer bones too."
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    Quarok DM
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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Quarok DM on Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:40 pm

    Jasper-
    The guard you sneak up on is so startled to see you next to him that he accidentally lets a crossbow bolt fly into the woods where it sticks into a tree. Several shadows scamper away from the general area where the tree is hit, then the woods are silent again.
    "Blimey, don't be sneakin' up on people like that. Oh, you're the pretty boy from the tavern. No, we don't do this sort of thing often, but the goblins have been getting more daring lately, and we are trying to both teach them not to come into our town and to thin their numbers a bit in the process. Now, please be quiet or Cleric Augustine will have both our hides."
    He tries to press himself flatter against the roof, but only manages to creak his armor a bit more.
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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Quarok DM on Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:02 pm

    Kogan-
    The patrons are still hesitant to speak up since all the uproar that has happened, but eventually an elderly fellow with a salt and pepper beard stands up slowly as though all the ages of the world were weighing on him and he beckons you over. He slumps back down and begins telling you more than you may have expected to hear.
    "This sort of thing has been happening more and more often these days. It's always under the guise of being for our own protection, but it is getting harder and harder to make a living with all the new guidelines that are being imposed on us. That bully who was talking to the little halfling is Cleric Augustine, and he is the acting magistrate of this town and has put it in a sort of state of martial law since his arrival. Nothing extreme mind you, just little things like imposing a curfew due to supposed increasing goblin attacks. Now I ain't sayin' that I have love of goblins, but this far north they are a way of life and they been here longer than people and they ain't been any more of a nuisance now than they were twenty years ago. Cleric Augustine isn't even the real problem in my opinion, it's the man who appointed him. Governor Odious of Cragstone. He's a rising political player, trying to make a name for himself in the northern capital, while using his land owning status to appoint his pawns to their own seats of power under his control."
    He pauses and takes a deep breath.
    "It feels really good to get this all out in the open. I know I can trust you because both Governor Odious and Cleric Augustine have a powerful hatred of you orcs. I ain't got nothin' against you, in fact, many years ago I was in charge of a feeding and assisting a well known orc gladiator named Brucinda deep in the A'mun desert. We became friends as well as I can figure, though one day he up and left town and no one ever heard from him again. A real shame really. He was quite talented."
    He stares intently at you for a second.
    "I don't know why I told you all this, and I don't expect you to do anything with it. I just needed to tell someone, and since you seemed to want to know a little about the political tide of Holtburg, I guess it all just came spilling out. My advice to you, orc friend, is to keep as low a profile as you can around Cleric Augustine and make some friends who might question if you were to go missing. People seem to go missing quite a bit since Governor Odious put that cleric in charge."
    His eyes dart to the door.
    "You had better get moving, it won't do either of us any good to be seen together here so close to curfew, and you might want to stay clear of the goblin ambush they have planned outside. Those guards tend to shoot at anything they see, goblin or not."
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    Porkchops

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Porkchops on Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:01 pm

    Inwe responds "I don't pretend to know the all the laws of this land but it seems fairly plain to me that stealing is usually not tolerated in most places. As for my involvement... well let just say my sweater cows were involved more then me. Do I think his punishment is fair? Well lets just say he treated people around him in a hostile manner and I think the golden rule thingy applies to most situations."

    She smiles slightly, starts humming and claps her hands softly together. As she separates them light starts to emerge from her fingertips forming four small glowing spheres. They circle around her table for a minute and fade. "Ohhhh, that was exciting. You have a very different aura about you. I'm Inwë Séregon."

    (Dancing Lights cast)
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    Quarok DM
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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Quarok DM on Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:46 pm

    From the darkness of the woods in front of Gejjin, four javelins shoot out but land less than half the distance to their intended target. There is some low volume, high pitched muttering, then you hear the sound of a whip cracking and with tremendous screams four goblins rush out of the darkness with their morning-stars held high ready to bash in the head of what they think is a child tied to a post. The goblins make it fewer than five steps from the cover of the woods before four well placed crossbow bolts send them flipping backwards to land as lifeless piles of greenish flesh.
    There is a roar of anger from a low pitched voice in the woods and with another crack of his whip a large green humanoid leads the charge of an additional eight goblins. The one at the front, carrying the whip is much larger than the goblins he is leading and is wearing patchwork armor and has a crudely hewn axe in his right hand. There is no doubt in your mind that this is a dreaded hobgoblin. As the raiding party closes the distance to the halfling and the dwarf, muted twang sounds come from various rooftops and all the small goblins are pierced and pinned to the ground before their breath gives out. The hobgoblin seems not to notice his group being taken out as he charges with blind anger towards Gejjin, deciding to get his prize no matter the cost. Before he can get within twenty feet of Gejjin and Eitri, Cleric Augustine blinks in and out of existence, each time taking rending large chunks of the hobgoblins flesh away with powerful blows with his war-hammer. The hobgoblin tries in vain to fight off his mostly invisible attacker, but none of his attacks seem to hit their mark, and before he can get within ten feet of the two short-folk at the lantern post, he is reduced to a twitching, ruined corpse.
    As the din of battle is replaced by a crushing silence, Cleric Augustine appears suddenly in front of Gejjin and Eitri holding the key to the manacles in his hand.
    "Know this, halfling. You were never in any real danger, but I swear on my honor that if I ever catch you stealing in this town again, your fate will be worse than those we have just slain."
    He reaches down, and unlocks your manacles using the key. He then beckons to the archers to come down from their rooftop hideouts.
    "You have been warned."
    ----------
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    Sean

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Sean on Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:00 pm

    At hearing the first crack of the whip, I dropped everything and readied my shield and morningstar. Looking about in the night, I saw shapes approaching the halfling and myself, figures moving with the intent to kill. I whispered a quiet prayer to myself for Moradin to watch over us as I tensed for the imminent threat descending upon us. To my surprise, the goblins who approached were soon overwhelmed by the swift action of the guards and their crossbows. At the head of the raiding party stood a large figure, a hobgoblin! I cursed under my breath, knowing that I could not hope to defeat such a foe on my own. The thought of dying with a belly full of ale and good food and having gotten the chance to defend myself was more than I could ask for, so at least I could do my best to put up a good fight. I was stunned to see that the guardsmen and the cleric who led them were more than ready to deal with such a threat and quickly dispatched the scoundrels. The cleric moved with such deadly grace, moving so fast that neither weapon nor eye could follow him, disappearing and reappearing within the night air as he desired. My mouth agape, I could only blink and look about in confusion while the foe was brought to a bloody and deadly defeat. When the cleric reappeared before Gejjen and I, I stepped back and bowed my head in awe and respect. Truly this was a man who fought with incredible strength and fervor. Finding my tongue, I gathered my things and turned to the cleric once more to speak in a hushed tone.
    "Quite a show of talent there, brother. I must thank you for your aid and protection. Is this a regular problem that yer people have been facin'?"
    Something about this cleric seemed strange to me, but I did my best to be congenial after seeing his ruthless efficiency.
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    cadoc

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  cadoc on Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:52 pm

    I stare at the cleric a look of shock and awe on my face. "That was amazing! I've never seen such an incredible display of skill. I promise you will never catch me stealing in this town again i wouldn't want to end up like him." I point to the bloody mess which was formerly a hobgoblin and then turn to face the dwarf and extend my hand. "You have my thanks for staying by my side and add a token of my gratitude I would like to pay for your drinks for of the night."
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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Quarok DM on Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:02 am

    Eitri-
    Cleric Augustine hefts his war-hammer onto his shoulder and smiles down at you,
    "Goblins in this area have never been much of a problem as long as there are guards around, however they are quite a nuisance. Every once in a while, we are forced to lure them out and reduce their numbers so they do not overrun our town. We usually use goats, but the goblins have long been seen stalking the local children, so when I saw the opportunity to lure the goblins out using what looks like a child without there being an actual one in danger, I took it."
    Augustine turns to walk back to the guard house, then pauses and looks over his shoulder.
    "I would check your coin purse of I were you. Don't trust the halfling. Once a thief, always a thief I always say."
    Then he walks back to the guard house.
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    michaelb

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  michaelb on Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:03 am

    Before I can make sense of Inwë Séregon's behavior to respond, the old man pulls me aside and tells me precisely the story that will remind me of my indifference: a political tale. He speaks for so long that even my normally unyielding anger fades. I walk back to the door. The night air is quiet, but if there are goblins about, I should remain for the night.

    I approach the barkeep. "I would like a room." I remember my calm has returned. "Good sir."
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    Quarok DM
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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Quarok DM on Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:50 pm

    Kogan-
    Wilomine finishes wiping off the bar and looks up at you,
    "Sure, that's fine. We don't have many orc sized beds available, but we do have a room with two beds you could push together. Won't charge you extra, since it's not your fault."
    He tosses the rag into a bucket under the bar.
    "Go see my wife at the desk by the stairs. She will make sure you are taken care of."
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    Brenton
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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Brenton on Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:36 am

    After witnessing the events of the evening, I am speechless. Perhaps I embellish a scene here and there, or twist some words, or fabricate something entirely (who wouldn't), but this needs no editing. The deadly skill and use of magic from this cleric was staggering. I grow weary just wondering how all this was accomplished. Things seem to be settling down here now, so I shall retire to my room, but it appears come morning, I will have a lot of digging to do.

    I leave my hiding place, enter the tavern and make my way to my room for the night.


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    Sean

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Sean on Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:10 am

    I grin at Gejjen and lay one hand on his shoulder.
    "My dear Gejjen, I am not sure if you can handle my bar tab if you are swipin' the occasional coin from the patrons of this bar."
    I lift my bucket full of ale to my lips and gulp down a large amount before lowering it and smiling at the halfling.
    "How's about ya do me a favor and just lay low. We can celebrate together later, when the bigger folks don't have their britches bunched up their bums."
    I give him a smile before waddling back into the tavern and over to the bar.
    "Master barkeep! I think I would like to take a seat by yer hearth for the night. I wouldn't want to dirty yer bedsheets in the state I am currently in, but I would love to stay somewhere warm and reasonably dry for the night. I'd like ta pay you fer a good breakfast and a nice early wake-up call at sunrise."
    I slide him three silver and smile before doddering over to a comfortable chair by the fire, with my bucket resting once more in my lap as I sip from it occasionally.
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    michaelb

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  michaelb on Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:15 pm

    I walk over to the barkeep's wife. "Good ma'am, I would like a room for one night."
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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Quarok DM on Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:30 pm

    Wilomine's wife looks up from her paperwork at Kogan and gasps quietly before gaining her composure and smiling evenly at him.
    "I'm terribly sorry. I didn't mean any offence, it's just that we don't get that many well mannered green-folk around these parts. A room, you say? yes, yes, I have just the one. We usually keep it for pairs and couples, but we can push those two beds together to accommodate someone of your stature. It is up the stairs, take the left hall and it is the second door on the left. It will be two silver for the night and breakfast in the morning."

    Wilomine slides Eitri's three silver off the counter and into the till. He ducks out the door for a second, while it is quiet in the tavern and returns with a thick, dark grey, woolen blanket and drapes it over the back of a stout, well-made, winged back chair.
    "Master dwarf, I hope this will suffice for your sleeping arrangements. This blanket may only be a horse blanket, but it is delightfully warm and was made by my own wife. We will be preparing breakfast well in advance of sunrise, so we may wake you by accident before then, but we will make sure you are up by the time the rays break through the forest."
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    Sean

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    Re: A Fork in the Road

    Post  Sean on Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:50 pm

    I smile and bow at the offer of the blanket.
    "That will do wonderfully, thank you for your consideration. It will be no bother if I do wake earlier than sunrise as it will give me extra time for contemplation and to seek guidance in my path from my prayers to Moradin. In fact, I will be sure to ask for him to bless you, your family and your business and to protect you with the strength of the earth as you certainly treat your patrons well here, sir. I will be sure to recommend your place here to others who appreciate an honest and kindly host."

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