A Stab in the Dark

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"Balls." The figure stated, rounding one of the corners in one of Calanhelm's many back alleys; his head was turned and looking behind him for his pursuers and he was in a full sprint in his armor, the chain jangling and his weapons bouncing off his calves.

"MALLETKNOCKER, YOU'RE NOT GETTIN' AWAY WITH OUR GOLD!" Came a deep and resounding voice of one of his pursuers, who rounded the same corner a few seconds later to find the armored redhead already a good twenty feet down the narrow corridor at a full sprint. He and his companion went single file after him trying to gain on him, their lack of armor providing them advantage and by the next turn in the alleyway they were merely 10 feet behind the man.

"Balls." he stated once again as the last turn seemed to become a fatal mistake, a dead end facing him with a brick wall in the cobblestone alleyway. He turned to face his pursuers, a wry smile across his face, "Listen... gents, if yer ladies were married they didn't tell me! Y'can't blame a boy for likin a girlie or two.." His toss his shoulders in a shrug, moving his cloak back just far enough to let his hilts poke out of his belt as it began to rain.

There was the beginning of a pitter patter on his pauldrons as the larger man looked to the shorter man with a confused look, "Wha.. we-we're not chasing you because of whatever that is. You took our money Malletknocker, you cheated at liar's dice and we want our earnings back." Accompanying the last sentence was the all too familiar sound of a dagger being slipped from it's sheath.

"Oooooh" The ginger started, taking a few steps towards the wall behind him as the two men unsheathed their daggers, "I thought yeh were mad at somethin I -actually- did, not mad that yer no good at liar's dice. You two little goblins sure yeh wanna tussle back here?" he finished as he drew a matching pair of steel shortswords that were hanging from his belt.

The ginger didn't get a verbal response, but the smaller man lunged and thrust his dagger straight towards the mans chest; who easily stepped to the side, the dagger making an incision in his cloak rather then it's target. The small assailant let out a painful gasp as the ginger raised his right arm and buried one of the shortswords to the hilt into the mans stomach, it's tip poking out of his targets back.

The short cloaked man slumped to the cobblestone grasping his stomach wound as the larger assailant dropped his dagger and yelled, "Ronnie?! Ronnie are you okay?" and dove to cradle his wounded friendly, earthly power already glowing from the mans fists.

Baibh Malletknocker took the opportunity and sidestepped past both men, muttering under his breath, "balls.." as he replaced his blades in their sheaths and made his way back down the alley. As he was nearly back to the street he heard a familiar voice scream, "This isn't over Malletknocker! I'll find you!" before he made his way quickly back to his inn and to his bed to sleep off the kerfuffle and make a new plan in the morning.

The room he'd purchased at his inn was small and damp and he had a pile of hay for a bed, but at least it was indoors for once. He hung up his armor and his clothing to dry from the late night showers and used his damp cloak as a blanket as he nodded off safely to sleep, the creaking of footsteps of the other people in the inn unable to keep him from his slumber.

The morning came and his throat was dry and hoarse, a damp night in a damp room with a damp blanket hadn't done him any favors, but he had to get out of this city. He didn't know if those two last night were part of a gang or worse, but the matching daggers told him that it wasn't something he wanted to get tangled in.

He awkwardly got into his still damp clothing and strapped on his armor, pulling up his hood and placing his helmet in his bag. He looked back at the small room and was thankful for its comfort before he started making his way to the door and downstairs.

Baibh stopped halfway down, his foot hovering over one stair as he overhead, "Ya, Malletknocker, Baibh Malletknocker, if you wouldn't mind us waitin for him we have an urgent family matter to talk to him about." before he leaned down and saw the innkeeper nod at the two men from the night before. They then went to a table and sat down, the shorter one picking at something in his teeth with his small blade.


"Balls. Balls."

Baibh made his way back up the stairs as quietly as he could, cursing under his breath as a floorboard creaked warningly. "Balls!" he said and made his way to a window, opened it and climbed down a lattice into the alleyway below.

"Welp, never liked this city anyway." Baibh said to himself, making his way through the alleyway behind the building and rounding a corner to head to the main street when he once again stopped abruptly. Two homeguard stood in his way chatting.

"So what are we here for again?"

"One o' them blokes was stabbed last night, said the assailant usually stays here when 'es in town."

"Ah, sound like like an easy morning for us then, waitin around and when he shows up take em in?"

"Aye. That's the plan."

Gritting his teeth Baibh turned around again, "Balls" he muttered and made his way through the other side of the alley, jumped a fence and meandered his way through a blacksmith's workshop until he found the road once more leading towards the Arcane Sanctum. "Welp, time for a portal.. I've gotta think of somewhere nobody's gonna be lookin for me fer awhile...."
Sitting out front of the Arcane Sanctum, smoke gently rising out of his pipe, Jinn sits on the steps deep in thought. There had been much to do to prepare for their return to The Lux, rituals and reagents to sort, fixing up and cleaning his weapons and armor, ensuring a place to stay while they were there, and all of his Sanctum duties as well. But the calmness of the morning relaxed him, a slight chill still hung in the air and the streets were quiet. At least they were up until now Jinn thought as he spotted a man making his way towards the Sanctum. Jinn slowly covered his badge with his vest as he watched the red headed human get closer, his eyebrow raising as the man walked up the steps and he was able to get a good look at him.

"Rough morning friend? You seem a little... damp" Jinn says as he gestures with his pipe.

Looking the man up and down, Jinn didn't recognize him. He wasn't wearing any guild badges or a noble sash to identify himself as well. Jinn kept his face disinterested as he waited for the man to answer.
His heavy boots landing on each stone step with a thud, Baibh responded to the Tari Nor, "Mm? Oh aye, caught a bit of a chill with that weather last night." before taking the last few steps and approaching the horned man. "Can ye point me towards th'portal room? Or are ye waitin fer someone from th'Sanctum yerself?" he continued with a thick accent.

"Ah'm lookin te get away from th'city fer a bit an' not quite sure where ahm goin yet."
"Gonna be a lot of us waiting today and tomorrow it seems... you came just at the wrong time" Jinn chuckles "But perhaps just at the right time as well. There is a large group of us using the portals to make it back to The Lux. So the bad news is your at the back of the line, but the good news is that you just might have a destination. I myself am waiting for someone, but I was planning on spending some time on these steps just taking in the quiet. I'm sure if I am needed someone will find me easy enough"

Jinn stretches his legs and climbs to his feet, out stretching his hand.

"Names Jinn Wildgrove, hopefully it's a pleasure to meet you"
"Mm." Baibh replies eloquently as he extends his hand, "Baibh Malletknocker. Nice t'meetcha." he says as he shakes Jinn's welcome hand twice before letting go and turns back around to inspect the busying streetway. "If y'see two mooks who look like they be skulk'n about tell meh ye? I'd rather 'ave me back turned so'n they can't sniff meh."

His hands rest on the hilts of two short swords at his hips as he regards the Tari Nor, "Long line o'ye waitin' fer a portal t'the Lux? Wassat all about? Never 'eard o'the place meself."
Jinns eyebrow cocks curiously "Hmm... I'm starting to guess why you are taking a hasty leave from this city, however I am never knew to judge. The long and short of it is that The Lux is some sort of magical library slash city surrounded by a forest and ran by timeless guardians. That's about my knowledge of the city, only spent a few months there before I took my leave. Word has it they kicked everyone out to clean up some messes and put put some fires and what not. Literal fires apparently."

Jinn puffs on his pipe and smirks.

"Some of the people living there at the time weren't the smartest, may have left a sour taste in the mouth of the guardians. As for the line, I'm not really sure how long the wait is. I'll make it there in due time. I'm sure if someone needed me they could find me, I don't exactly blend into the surroundings around here."

Jinn looks the human up and down and claps him on the back and smiles.

"But a man in your situation, whatever it is, who may or may not be running from two people... A trip to The Lux could be just what you need." Jinn pauses "As long as you have the coin for the fare of course"
Baibh's eyes go wide in realization and panic covers his face as he starts patting down his pockets in vain before checking his bag, "Balls."

He turns and takes a step down the stairs before he spies the two lumbering stalkers walking towards the Sanctum through the crowded street. "Balls."

The larger of the two lifts an all too familiar small leather bag, the coin pouch that Baibh had left on his bedside table the night before, "Triple balls." he says as the larger gent waves a goodbye and disappears into the crowd on the busy Calanhelm street.

With a heavy sigh Baibh turns around to face Jinn again, a step down from where he was originally and asks, "Ah don'suppose ye'd have any reason to loan a bloke a gold? Looks like me earnin's didn' wanna make th'trip with meh."
Spying the two gents disappearing into the crowd Jinn smiled and nodded.

"Well I must admit, i do enjoy how often you say balls! I think I can help you out in a few ways. I'll get you through the portal and I'll even source out a place for you to stay while you're there. I'm not sure who they are letting back into The Lux right now, but that shouldn't be a problem. All I will ask is that you keep any shenanigans to a minimum for the first few days, and that you aid me in one mission on our arrival. What that mission is yet I have no idea, but there's always a mission...... and a meeting. You do this and consider us square"

Jinn holds his hand out, a more formal look on his face.

"What say you?"
Clasping Jinn's hand, Baibh smiles and mounts the last step to be even with him and states, "Aye, ah've ne'er bin one t'turn down a Tari Nor's generosity. Consider it a deal Jinn, ah hope t'call each'other friends before the week's out."
Jinn laughs whole heatedly "I'm sure we will, now let me show you around"

Jinn leads Baibh into the Sanctum, opening up his vest as he passes the attendant. With a flash of his badge he speaks to the attendant with a more direct tone.

"This man will be accompanying me through the portal to The Lux. Please inform Magus Evo that I am on my way there, and will be requiring his assistance with a handful of rituals in the next few days."

The attendant says up straight "Right away Warmage Wildgrove." They start filing out some parchment as Jinn leads his new companion into the portal room

"After you" he says.
Baibh's eyebrow quirks curiously and he looks to Jinn quizzically, "Warmage?" he asks and takes his hands off of his pommels as he follows the Tari Nor further into the Sanctum. "Aye, ah'm startin' t'see that trickster heart ah've 'eard about with your kind."

The ginger man lets out an audible whistle as he's lead into the portal room, eyeing the rather ornate walls and apparatus used to maintain the portal and the attendants surrounding it, "Fakk me i'is busy though ain'it, y'weren't kiddin abou'tha!" he states as he says a gathering of quite a motley crew of people getting their things ready in the portal room.
Jinn chuckles and smiles.

"Warmage is the title I've earned in The Arcane Sanctum. I've never been one to flaunt my position, and keeping it quiet allows me to meet who people actually are rather than who they want someone of perceived importance to think they are. But it does have its perks"

Jinn leads Baibh through the crowd, as people generally move out of the way of the Sylvanborn. He leads him down the hallway and stops about halfway down, entering a room.

"Just have to grab my knick knacks and what not before we go."

A few moments pass and Jinn exits the room, fully changed into his armor. Where once a colorful clothed Sylvanborn once stood, he was now clad in black studded leather armor from shoulder down, with an assortment of weapons hanging from his belt.

"There we go, now I'm ready to start risking my life again" Jinn says with a smile. "I'd say its about that time to move on."
"Oi, riskin our lives? You ain't sum'kina corrupt official are ye? Ah ain't lookin' t'get knee deep in some syndicate plot or any kind o'gang ri-now." Baibh warned, giving the Tari Nor a quick up and down, "ah'm happeh te travel, an' ah'd be happeh te use meh skills for ye, but ah'm not the type te throw away m'life so some rich fat-cat gets 'imself tha-much richer, y'hear?"

Though Baibh protests, he does dutifully fall in step beside Jinn, a step behind as they make their ways from the twisting dormitory halls back to the portal room.
"Ha! You'll notice I said my life, not ours. The only life that is at risk when I run a mission is my own, everyone else makes it back alive! I don't know if your familiar with the Dark Reaches, but they are a ******* shitty place that usually holds some magical item or what not that I am tasked with retrieving. That or I might get eaten by some shambling undead bastard or a may look at a fairy wring and get cursed.... whose to say really, but it can be damn exciting!"

Jinns smile widens as he makes his way through the crowd

"I assume given the weapons you carry and the expedited need to leave this city you don't exactly lead a peaceful life. I'll let you risk yours however you see fit."

Jinns expression darkens a bit as his brows furrow.

"But as it stands right now it's my job to try and make this damned realm a better place to be, and that comes with a cost... always with a cost"
"Those're sure a lot o'thins y'never see in'th city Jinn." Baibh says with a curious brow quirking, before he glances at the crowd in the crowded room, the color draining from his face as he finally realizes what he's bumped himself into, "Dragon's balls! Yer'all adventurers ain'tcha?! Doin' all tha crap for the Archmage 'n th'reaches?!"

Baibh takes a tentative step back, looking back towards the door before he remembers he'd made a promise to this Warmage already, and that he couldn't stay in the city. A grim look settled on the gingers face, his jawline going tight as he exclaimed, "Balls." once more to Jinn before saying in a dismissive tone, "Al'righ Tari Nor, explain ehg-zactleh whuh ah've got meself inteh."
"I mean, adventurers is a broad term. Some of them folks see themselves as adventurers and do gooders and what not, some see themselves as mercenaries just trying to earn a living. Life is dangerous living most places, and I'd rather it have a good story to tell after at least."

Jinn's sly smile widens as he notices his new companions trepidation.

"I took a wrong turn about two tears back now and ended up in this situation. Who knows, maybe this is your wrong turn! But you won't be expected to risk anything you don't want to, forcing someone to do something would be completely against everything my people stand for after all. I'm going to assume that The Lux isn't like most cities you've been to, it's a but more magical, and but more dangerous. I mean Al'Zoon did just wander in at one point, same with some necromancers, and some necromantic cult or something, there was also some elemental gnolls... oh ya there's a forest surrounding the place, but it's a Fae forest so Fae and fairies and other strange mystical beings wander into town as well. So ya it's a bit different then this here town, but you get used to it..... or you will... or you won't.... only time will tell my new friend!"

Jinn laughs with exuberance as Baibh's face loses its color slightly and he reaches into his pouch, pulling out a small vial.

"You seem a little tense, this might help ease your transition to the 'adventuring' life."

Jinn chuckles as he performs the air quotes, vial in hand. He then tosses the intoxicate elixir to Baibh.
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