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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:45 pm 
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You are a lonely figure walking up to the doors of the Drunken Lemming tavern in the dying light of the evening of the Southport port facilities. Your animal companion bedded down for the evening, you have business to attend to. Just as you walk up to the doors with a flyer folded in your belt, the swinging bar doors suddenly part with a violent slam as an adventurer is hurled through the opening by hairy, large hands bigger than your head. He lands in a messy heap on the cobbles.

Raucous laughter bursts out from the doorway onto the veranda as the doors begin to settle back into their customary position. The humbled human stands up, his fists and teeth clenched in embarrassment and indignation. A slurred, heavy voice booms out. "Walk away, little man".

Slowly, the man gains control of his emotions, dusts himself off, and looks at the flyer in his hands. It looks like the same type of parchment you have, dark around the edges, and aged yellow where the script meticulously is written in common. The man rips it up and stomps off into the evening, muttering.

You pull your flyer out to re-read it. It says, "Mercenaries wanted for return trip to Waterdeep on the Sea Dragon. Inquire at the bar of the Drunken Lemming tavern". As the laughter dies out, a raucous sea tune starts up on a set of pipes, but is quickly drowned out by a drunken sing along.

As you slip between the doors, you see a smoky, packed tavern. The tables in the middle hold the musician, a rather disheveled and drunk looking Moon Elf with silver hair, standing on a table next to a human male with closed-cropped black hair and numerous tattoos wearing nothing on his upper body but a leather vest with two whips on his leather belt. The companion to the elf is stomping and singing out of time with half the bar crowd.

You quickly scan the room, and while most of the room looks like any other port bar, your eyes settle on an Ogre walking to his place behind the bar, where he picks up a towel and starts pouring drinks. The Ogre seems to be the one that threw the man out into the street.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:19 am 
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Hobwink Winterfall, bundled in drab furs and the thick cloth of winter apparel, as though he expects a blizzard to rip through the tavern at any moment, shuffles over near the barkeep and climbs up, with a bit of difficulty, into an empty bar seat. He looks to the ogre and tries to catch his eye.

"Uh. Ale please! Anythin's fine."

He squirms around in his pockets for a moment before producing a gold piece and placing it on the counter. Twiddling the note in his fingers, he gazes idly around at the bar patrons, procrastinating his inquiry.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:18 am 
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As you are gazing about, you see the human on the table clapping the Moon elf on the shoulders, egging him on to play more, and the Moon elf with a sorrowed expression. He's also not that steady on his feet. Most everyone else is watching the spectacle or patently ignoring it.

The Ogre serves you your drink and picks up the proffered gold, and asks quietly, "A tab, then, or change?" He then cracks his knuckles very loudly for no apparent reason.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:49 am 
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Hobwink shifts his small weight in the seat nervously. "The change is yours, if you'll tell me who to talk to about this." Hobwink draws the flyer from under the counter and places it before the barkeep, casting his glance sideways to the musician. His eyes then draw back to the ogre for a moment to gauge a reaction.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:09 pm 
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The Ogre picks up the flyer and nods to himself, scratching his head and looks you over once or twice.. He then makes the coin disappear into his waist pocket. Suddenly a loud crash breaks the moment as the Moon Elf careens off the table, apparently done for the night. A cheer and laughter go up from the crowd. The human male climbs down to help pick his friend up.

The Ogre puts his finger up to signal you to wait. He roars out as he goes over to a bell and rings it before roaring out, "Lug likes this little one! Give big tip!", and disappears into the back. As he comes back out with towels to clean up the elf and mess, a rather nicely tailored Gnome walks out behind him.

The Gnome has silverish hair, and is neatly tied in a well-groomed ponytail. Gold spectacles adorn his eyes, and he has a slight paunch from eating well. He climbs up on a stool to stand at your level. "Greetings, brother. I am Strom Glittervein, the owner of this establishment. I take it you are the companion to the rather large white bear back there? Lovely creature."

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:42 pm 
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Hobwink sits up a little straighter, but sips his ale before responding. "I am Hobwink Winterfell, and yes, Mountain and I are companions." He looks down to the ragged flier on the counter in front of him, pausing a moment. "I... Uh. I hear the Sea Dragon is looking for new crew?"

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:32 pm 
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Hobwink, Strom nods with certainty in response to your inquiry. "She is, and you are at the right place. My client has asked Lug and I to make the initial assessment of your fitness for the job as he is presently indisposed." Strom pauses to regard Lug for a second. "You see, the Sea Dragon recently lost key members of her crew, and you would be serving as hired muscle to fill the gaps. Your job will be the toughest on the ship if the stories about the Sea Dragon are even half true. The last applicant...well, we'll say he didn't measure up and leave it at that." Strom pauses, giving you a chance to interject and to probably gauge your reaction.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:10 am 
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His brow furrowing a moment, Hobwink takes another sip of his ale. "I hope these stories are then untrue, but if the ship needs defending, I wish to defend it."

A contemplative look crosses the gnome's countenance, and lingers momentarily. "Is there a test of some sort to determine who's fit for the position?" Hobwink swirls the contents of his mug before taking another drink, awaiting a reply.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:24 am 
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Hobwin, Strom cocks his head a little sideways as he thinks for a second. "Well, I wouldn't advise attacking Lug to prove your toughness, as he is the reigning Southport Arena Champion for the last three years straight." He absently waves an arm in the direction of golden short swords hanging on the wall. He then points across the room to a human woman walking around the edge of the room with long, flaming red hair in chain mail and an owl on her shoulders. "I also have a Spellsword on staff". He then indicates a Human male preparing a lute for a music performance. "And one of the best bards in the region. A dwarven warrior out in the stables rounds out the security."

Strom shrugs. "It's kind of up to you how you want to show me your credentials. Some show a trick that demonstrates their level of skill relating to the job, others just tell me about themselves. All I know about you presently is that you wandered around the city state all day with a bear that reportedly didn't maul you or the residents. And while that is impressive of the bear, it hardly qualifies you for this job, no?", Strom says with a twinkle in his eye, and an impish grin.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:06 am 
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Hobwink gives a weak smile at the remark. "I s'pose you're right." He gives a short sigh, deciding where to begin. A half-frown plays across his face "I don't exactly know what I could show you without looking like a braggart. I guess if it's to prove my qualifications, I could show you my abilities outside..." He takes another small drink. *Ah*

His voice lowers with uncertainty. "I'm attuned enough to nature to, er...." Hobwink vocalizes a small uncomfortable noise. "To take on other shapes, I guess you could say." He sheepishly looks to Strom for any sign of understanding or approval.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:36 am 
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To Hobwink:
Strom nods in understanding, with a kind smile. He lowers his voice, too. "Yes, that means you can change skins. So you are either a druid, a psion, or something a little more exotic. That is definitely something. Please tell me, let's say you had to fight Lug there. He's big and tough. How would you approach dealing with him, using only the talents you have at your disposal, if he were to charge and you had no choice but to fight him by yourself? And please, be specific in how you would approach this challenge." The Gnome looks very intently at you.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:50 pm 
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Hobwink gives pause to the question. "I have a spell specifically for strong physical types. If they don't shake it off to begin with, their muscles grow very weak, and within seconds, they have barely the strength to stand." Hobwink sips drink, his skin flushed a bit from the tiny bit he's already imbibed. "I suppose I'd take the form of a leopard and cast that. If I miss the spell, or he resists it, I'd shift to an eagle and take flight, and pepper him with spells from above." He leans back in his seat a little bit, and pushes his half-finished ale away from himself. "If he becomes capable of attacking from distance, I'd summon a large, brutish creature to engage him, then resume my flight and spell casting. If he manages to run me out of spells, and defeats my summoned allies, I'll shift into a polar bear or other large brute and attempt to finish the job myself. If he bests me still..." Hobwink thinks a moment, then nods to his own conclusion. "Then I was certainly doomed to begin with."

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:05 pm 
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@hobwink:
Strom thinks on that for a bit, scratching his chin with a finger absently. "Excellent, Druid. It means you have a healthy respect for size and strength and a knowledge of how to stay out of it's reach so it has less opportunity to strike you down. That is as important to me as an employer as actually having the size and strength."

The Gnome takes a wooden coin out of his waistcoat, branded with a tribal mark of a dragon on it. He places it on the bar in front of your drink. "Take this to pier 23 tomorrow morning, and ask for Jameson Fisher, the First Mate. Don't arrive any later than noon, as the Captain is a stickler for schedule. Are there any questions I can answer for you tonight, brother?"

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:43 pm 
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Hobwink looks down at the coin, studying its design as he speaks. "I guess I had one more." He flips the coin over to see the back. "What... Uh. What happened to the crew members we're replacin'?"

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:03 pm 
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Strom leans in closer and keeps his voice down. "Sahaugin raiders. Both City officials and my clients don't like this going around, but pretty much everyone in Southport already knows, so you should know what you're getting into." He looks around to ensure no one was listening in.

"The war has depleted both the Southport Army and Navy, and the Southport Academy wizard ranks. When you walked around today, you must have seen the widespread damage in the outer rings, and repairs underway. The port facilities are no less fatigued from the war. Sahaugin have always been a challenge to shipping near Southport, but after the war they have become a serious threat. Just as we are at our weakest, they are at their strongest. No one knows how, but the Sahaugin can easily distinguish between Navy vessels and everyone else from below. No one sees them until they attack."

"Ships that are ready for them can often get through blockades, but ships that aren't here often have been vulnerable to ambushes, and there aren't enough Navy vessels to escort all of the ships. When the Sea Dragon was nearing port, they came under attack and were taken by surprise. As their crew responded to alarms, Sahaugin raiders swept many defenders over the rails to who knows what fate." He lowers his voice to but a whisper. "No one has surfaced. They might be prisoners or slaves underwave, dead, or eaten, and the Captain has finally made the decision to move on. In addition to a host of marines, they also lost their main Ship's Engineer, both Task Mages and Artillerist's Mate. With four of their senior officers and warriors lost, the Sea Dragon needs you to backfill the loss to their combat capability. You may very well earn your wages for the voyage before you're even out to deep water."

Strom pulls his head back and straightens up. "I hope now you understand better why I had to be sure you can handle yourself. This isn't a pleasure cruise you've signed up for, and after they get away from the coast, the Sea Dragon has a bloody mission that it was commissioned for. It is certain that you will see combat."

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:15 pm 
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Hobwink's face goes grim as he hears Strom's explanations. A pang of sadness visibly shows in his blue eyes and rounded face. "I've done work before protecting folks on journeys through hostile territories. I'll do my best to ensure the Sahuagin take no more lives from the Sea Dragon." He sits up a little straighter, his sullen body language shifting into more duteous volubility. "I'll be at the dock 23 tomorrow morning. Thank you, Strom." He extends his nearly humansized hands to Strom for a handshake.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:31 pm 
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Strom takes your hand and gives a firm, short shake. "You are welcome, Hobwink. Here, let me give you as much to eat and drink as you want, tonight, on the house. You will sleep here for free, if you wish. It's the least I can do." He points over at a wall going into a back hallway. "There are drawers there that you can put your things into for the night, if you wish. They are normally 5 gp per night, but for you they are free. Just one will hold your whole array of gear from the looks of it. It comes with a magic key and works like a Bag of Holding, if you are familiar with those."

Strom glances through his glasses at your pack for a second and then carries on in the manner of Gnomes. "Strange, you don't seem to be carrying much. If that is a magic bag, then I wouldn't place it in there. Bad things happen when you put a pocket dimension inside a pocket dimension. There was a girl, a young mage that came through here about a year ago. Had a Bag of Holding and placed it in one of these drawers. Sucked her and her bag into the pocket dimension...we still haven't located her. What was her name?.. let's see, Hermione ...Ranger? I don't remember." He smiles with a shrug. "She thought she could beat the problem with an incantation. It didn't work. We've had a group of five Gnome mages working on this problem for two years, to no avail. Anyway, you've been warned."

"Or, you can just lock your door at night...they are enchanted from the inside so someone can't get through. We offer nothing but the finest services for special guests."

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:50 am 
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Hobwink begins to climb down from his seat. "Thank you. Once I've finished this drink, I'll probably just go rest up in the room. Mountain's not a fan of waking up early; I'll need the energy to get him up in time." He places his hands around his mug and draws the drink back toward himself. "Which room should I use?"

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:38 pm 
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Hobwink, Strom hands you a room key and points to a nearby hall where the drawers are. The room seems to be that way. Strom excuses himself and heads into the back as Lug returns to the bar.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:26 am 
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Terek Malagaar

Near the wall off to one side of The Drunken Lemming sits a man, a human in his early twenties from the look of it, who seems more interested in the tankard in front of him than the going-ons of the tavern. He has shoulder length black hair and a neatly trimmed beard and mustache as well as fairly tanned skin from a life under the sun. Wearing a set of dark clothes which show a bit of wear-and-tear occasionally a glimpse can be caught of the scabbards beneath his grey cloak. A backpack sits in the chair across from him as he casually sips at his tankard apparently lost in thought.

Terek had to be sure this job checked out, it was not uncommon after all for flyers to be spread about offering potential employ only to have some thugs jump you on the way out of the interview. A life of working in ports and at sea had taught him what an unforgiving place the world could be at times, and the man wanted to make sure that he was the one doing the sizing up not the other way 'round. He watches as a man is slung out the door and considers calling it a night, but with about half a mug of ale yet to drink he decides to tough it out. He notices a new arrival, a gnome, enter as take a seat at the bar. He does his best to see if he can catch any snippets of their conversation, and continues to enjoy his drink.

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