"What I'm seein is broken trees, tons of blood, and signs of quite the fight. I've seen these types of scraps and I know they ain't the ones you walk away from"
While deliberating, i flow over to the stream, dipping a gooey hoof into the water to refresh myself.
[1d10] AbsorptionRoll #1 8 = 8
Voleurz raises an eyebrow, "You'd fancy that? Cor, you're certainly on the pull, aren't'cha?"
Dalliance's face falls as she realizes you're joking, and she just rolls her eyes at you.>>709467
"Well, we might as well follow the trail, right? Might be we'll find her! Or some trace of her…" Her expression darkens a little as she considers the possibility.>>709468
"He… He grabbed me… The eyes… Something in the eyes… I saw it… Dead things in the water…" He grabs his head again and groans.>>709469
"I'd be happy to help Mr Flair back to town," Dalliance offers. "Unless someone else would rather do so?"
"I'm fine," Flair grunts. "Put a sword in my hoof and I'll be right.">>709473
The water is turbid and green, but it's better than nothing. You reconstitute as best you can, feeling quite refreshed.>>709465>>709466>>709467>>709468>>709473
"The hunt is afoot!" Dalliance declares dramatically, following Jesse across the stream to further adventure.
I gasp and bring a hoof to my chest in feigned indignation. "Heavens. Me? 'On the pull'? I wouldn't be so crass, m'am. I am a gentlecolt, and I'd thank you to keep that in mind." My mouth curls into a small smirk. "Though were a nice night with a pretty mare to lead in such a direction I wouldn't be averse. I am, of course, only mortal."
I clear my throat, realizing I may have gotten a little carried away. "Right. Back to the issue at hand. Are you sure you'll be fine, Mr.Flair? You were just cured of a magical, mind-controlling, corrupting disease, after all."
"I think we got more pressing matters than flirtin' with the nearest mare"
The cat seems to sense your thoughts, and rubs its face against your leg before trotting haughtily back to its spot on the table.
"Don't have it," the drowsy bartender mumbles without checking. The cat's ears flick in annoyance. "Really, Gord. You could at least check. This is a CUSTOMER. Treat him as such! Chop chop!" Mumbling incoherently, the griffon shuffles over to the racks and gives them a once over before looking to you and shaking his head. "We got wine, ale, mead, rum, beer, gin, vodka, whiskey, and, uh… That's about it. Nothing big either, all local brews. Moonhollow's finest." You get the feeling that doesn't mean much.>>709386
"Mhm." He brings out the already opened rum bottle and two glasses of wine. "How much is it, boss?" he asks Henke's familiar. "30 bits for you, my good lady!" the cat chirps from its spot on the table, blinking its eyes slowly. "Special discount for new drifters!">>709387
Alas, your hat is nowhere to be found. Someone almost definitely stole it while you slept. Perhaps you could find the culprit by searching the town; they couldn't have gone far, after all.
Jesse stomps into the middle of town. For an odd reason his hat is the biggest worry of his.
[1d10+2]Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12
My smile falters. "Well, I'll have the wine, then. I don't suppose you know what kind?" I count out the bits, set them on the table, and levitate the glass to my nose, gently spinning it as I take in its scent.
"Should I… you know.."
Voleurz looks up at Dalliance from her position next to Platinum, an uncomfortable look on her face,
"I don't know if it'll be as genuine if I've had a drink before it."
I nod. "That makes sense." I gesture toward her. "Now's as good a time as any. Should I come with you, or would you prefer if you didn't feel you were put on the spot, as it were?"
You go back to the main market square, where you see a dingy looking clothes stall being run by a squat little pug-faced Diamond Dog with a tiny fez. He's loudly advertising his selection of fine clothing to anyone that'll hear. On a rack, you see your very own hat being sold for a mere 15 bits. "Everything you see here's for sale!" the Dog announces to no one in particular. "Absolutely everything! Premium, exclusively imported goods at the very finest prices!" He spots you, seemingly not recognizing you. "What can I interest you in today, my good man?">>709484
"Local brew," he repeats. "Quality Brand Wine," he reads off the label. "15 bits a glass."
The wine smells about as cheap and crappy as you'd expect it to. "It's VERY exclusive," the cat says encouragingly.>>709487
You catch Dalliance staring back at you glumly, suddenly becoming very interested in the wooden table.
"Im lookin' for a cowboy hat. Mountain patch on the front. And if I find you have it then you'll end up on the ground. So ya care to tell me if you've seen it?" Jesse says exasperated and gives the dog an angered stare
"I-" Voleurz bites her lip, most of her cockiness drained. "Hold my wine, I think this is just a conversation for the fairer sex.">>709491
Voleurz gets up, sitting at Dalliance's table and shuffling awkwardly into her seat. She tries to think of something to say, but ends up being silently way too long for it to be anywhere near smooth. She coughs, looking at the table with the same interest.
I nod and levitate her wine opposite mine. "I understand. I'll stand back here for now. Just wave me over." >>709491
"Right. Well, thank you nonetheless." I silently curse the cat, but maintain my smile. I really hope that fur isn't as difficult to clean off as I expect. While I wait for Voleurz, I take a seat at the bar proper. "So, Mr.Gord, was it?" I ask, trying to drum up a little pleasant conversation. "Have you worked here long?"
He blinks nervously. "Nope, sorry chum! Haven't seen it! Don't got i! Hehehe!" He's lying right to your face; you can see the hat right there on the rack, AND it's on sale.>>709494
There is a very long and awkward silence as neither of you know what to say. Dalliance breaks it eventually. "I… You're right. I'm sorry for everything. I'm not the Dove Knight. I'm not a knight at all, am I. I don't belong here, I've never even swung a sword properly before." She sighs heavily, running her hooves through her silver mane. Her eyes are a bit teary, but she brushes it away. "They sent me here to die, didn't they?" she asks bitterly, though she doesn't seem to expect an answer.>>709496
Gord opens his mouth to speak, but the cat interrupts, trotting in front of both of you and sitting there comfortably. "Yes he has! He's been working here for going on eight years! Haven't you, Gord? It's a good little business arrangement we have!" Gord just leaves and descends into the cellar, where you hear a vague but unmistakable scream of frustration. The cat pretends nothing happened, and loafs comfortably on the bar.
Oh. So that's the kind of dynamic they have. No wonder Gord seems so annoyed. I smile. "Right. What about you? How did you come to frequent this fine establishment?"
He gives a slight chuckle "You're lyin through your teeth and I got evidence you are. So either give me that hat or I'm gonna take it. I cannot guarantee you will leave unscathed if you choose option two." He says with a devious smile and draws his gun. This is now a robbery with one simple goal. A single, faded, leather hat
[1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
Voleurz winces, hearing the mare let out her woes,
"Darling… Dalliance, even." She looks up, taking off her capotain and resting it on the table, brushing her mane back so she can look her in the eyes, "That's bollocks you know. I was being a knobhead and let my emotions get the better of me." She rubs the back of her neck. She chuckles, looking at Dalliance thoroughly for the first time, "Bloody hell, you're young… When I was your age I was sitting at tea parties and talking gossip, it's gotta be tough for you."
She frowns, putting a hoof across the table, "Still, they can't of sent you out here to die. You've got a good heart, way better than my withered thing. Place like this needs someone who wants to make a difference."
The Diamond Pug gives a high pitched, nervous laugh. "Alright, alright, alright. You can have it. Sheesh." He waddles over to the hat rack, rips the price tag off and tosses it to you. "'S just a damn hat anyway. What's the big deal?">>709501
"I thought you'd never ask!" He flops over. "My name's Stolas. I've been here… oh, FAR too long. Longer than you've been around, at least! My mistress adopted me as her familiar, you see" - he nudges with his head towards the griffon skull over the fireplace - "and I've been running this place ever since! It's what she would have wanted, I think. Although, the inn isn't as well off as it used to be, but hey! At least it's still standing!"
"So what about you, my good man? What brings you to the middle of nowhere? You could be anywhere else in the Dominion but you came here, to Moonhollow. Why? Is the call to adventure really that strong in this town?" >>709505
She nods and sniffs a little. "Well… thanks. I still think it was pretty monstrous of me to up and abandon you like that. I just… I just panicked, you know? I didn't think about it, I just… I just did it." She stares at the ground again. "B-but we're both in one piece, right? That's what matters! We'll pull through if we stick together!" She gives her best encouraging smile, wiping her face again.
"Thank you" Jesse says jokingly and puts on his hat. He then takes a minute really look around and heads to the tavern. It seems like a good enough place to start. He opens the door to the old bar.
"Oh, a familiar! That makes a good deal more sense. I somehow hadn't even considered the possibility." I sip my wine and lean a little. "Well, it's a long story. To sum it up, adventuring seems to be all I'm really cut out for, I need to make a living, and I want to help out wherever I can. I found out about the job here, and, well-" I gesture around the bar with my hoof. "Here I am, braving danger to thwart some manner of magical blight, like the daring heroes of old!" And quite a dashing subject for the storybooks if I do say so myself. Practically made for illustration and bardic tales.
"You said it yourself, you don't have any experience. It was probably the safest thing you could do at the time." Voleurz smirks, "Listen, I had to learn everything I know by myself, on my own. Stick with me, and you could learn a thing or two. Hell has no fury like a woman scorned, so ponies better watch themselves if they want to cross ol' Voleurz and Dalliance."
She leans back into the chair and puts up two hooves, mock-boxing into the air and narating little 'pows' as she does so.
He walks up to the bar and orders a black coffee. Looking around he notices some familiar faces but decides to remain quiet.
Jesse takes a deep breath and turns to the unicorn. "Uh hey, you doin' alright?"
You head over to the bar (see >>708101
), finding Voleurz, Dalliance and Vanity already inside. The black cat looks over to you with a flick of his long tail. "Hello hello!" he chirps. "What brings you to our humble establishment? What can we do for you today?">>709508
"That's the spirit!" says Stolas cheerily. "Things have been pretty ugly around here lately. Not even outside, in the town as well. Old Harroway's going to need all the help he can get, I reckon!">>709510
"Well… if you'll let me, I'd be happy to stick by your side!" she says cheerily, brightening up a bit. "I won't let you down again, Miss Voleurz! That's a knight's promise!">>709511
The coffee is served for about 5 bits. It's not particularly good.
At first I'm tempted to be snarky, but think better of it. You're a better man than that, Vanity. I sigh. "I'm well. And yourself? You seem as if you've seen better days."
"Well, for as long as I remain I'm happy to be of service." I shoot a quick glance to Voleurz and Dalliance to hopefully see how it's going, smiling if it seems to be going well.
"You'd be correct in that regard. But aside from myself I came here to apologize I guess. Look we may not get along but as a team we need to at least cooperate. So if sayin' sorry is what it means to work together then I'm fine with that" He says and offers a hoof out to Vanity
I tense up a bit as he holds his hoof out, and look down at it for a moment. I give him a single nod and shake his hoof. Finally he says something that makes sense. "Right. I don't like you. That much is plain for anyone to see, but we still have to have each other's behinds out there, no? Grudges left at the door and what. I've been at this longer than you seem to believe, Mr.Blackbriar. I'll do whatever it takes to support you, but I don't need you trying to order me around." I smile and chuckle. "If I wanted that I'd be married, no?"
"On one condition!" Voleurz says, eyes glinting as she puts her hat back on. "You don't take heart any of the shite that might spill out of my mouth along the way unless the hat is off. Can't trust me to not be an arse otherwise."
Jesse chuckles at the comment. Despite his demeanor he seems to laugh at himself.
They seem to be making amends. Both look a great deal happier than they did before. When you look back Stolas is gone, having curled up in a corner and snoozing idly.>>709519
She laughs, though she seems a little confused at what you mean by that. "I… sure, why not. I'll go with it. I guess we're, uh, making this official, then?" She stands up. "Er, if you don't mind. It's a thing among my order. Swearing an oath to protect and all. Would… would you let me do that?" She looks unsure of what she's getting herself into.
I give him a half shrug. "Anyway," I say. "Just try not to make too big of an ass of yourself in the future, please? You don't know how frustrating it is to be ordered to do someting you were already planning to do anyway. If you did you'd cut it out."
"Suppose my grandmother was a duchess after all, there must be enough royalty for me to ordain this properly…" She mutters, before her eyes glimmer with an even more fiendish plan. "Wait, before you do, Dalliance, let me use your sword for the briefest of moments. Be a dear and trust me with this."
"Got it now if you excuse me" >>709524
"What are you doin with that sword?" He asks turning to the zebra
She blinks and passes you her estoc hesitantly. The blade is as elegant as the rest of her kit, the crossguard shaped like doves' wings, and the blade itself having swirling patterns forged into the steel. It's probably worth quite a lot. "Where… where are you going with this? I, er, I need that for the oath…"
I turn toward them with Jesse and quietly watch. Seems they've made up at least.
She takes the sword, carefully holding it out and motioning for Dalliance to look down,
"I, Madainna Ghrain, heiress to the great Ghrain Estate of East Andraxis, ordain this Hedge Knight Dalliance as my own knight, who might take oath and protect me and all that posh stuff." She adlibs, tapping the swords on each of her shoulders, She turns the blade around, holding it for Dalliance to take the hilt. "You can do your oath thing now, chivvy along."
I let out a rather unbecoming snort, but otherwise continue to quetly watch. She just knighted her? Interesting.
Her breath catches in her throat as she realizes what you're doing, and she starts to tear up again, but she wipes it away. When you finish, she takes the sword, kneels down and bows her head, holding the estoc by the hilt like a cross.
"I, Dalliance, daughter of Lady Dauntless, Knight of the Dove, do hereby solemnly pledge myself to thee as thine faithful knight. Wherever and whenever I am needed, and even if all should turn against thee, my loyalty shall never waver, even in the face of annihilation. I am thine knight, forever and true. In the name of the Dove, the Owl, and the Crow, I am thine sword, forever and true."
She stands up, sniffling a little. She clears her throat. "Th… thank youIt will be an honor to fight by your side, Lady Ghrain. Er, do you want me to call you Voleurz still? I won't tell if you don't want me to. I'm at your command, after all!"
"Cor, don't call me Lady Ghrain. Besides myself the only Ghrain left is my aunt and she's a cunt. Only wanted it do be proper-like is all. This name is much more fun. Voleuuuurz."
She holds the name out in a comical, haughty voice, laughing and reclining again, tipping back in her chair, "One thing I wasn't expecting from this adventuer, but stranger things have happened. Your first duty as my knight is to finish those biscuits, otherwise I'm liable to take one myself."
*That's one thing I wasn't expecting from this adventure
She blinks and blushes as you drop a C-bomb, but doesn't dare correct you.
"Yes, ma'am! Er… are you sure you don't want any? They're quite good. Besides, it can't be good for my figure having so many." The biscuits seem to be made with oats and coconut, from the looks of them.
Voleurz looks Dalliance up and down again, grinning, "Please, stallions love a mare who's a little plump. One plate of cookies won't do you any harm love. Now my Auntie Mun? Eat an entire bakery if could manage to waddle to one without tipping over. Bloody minger." She steals one, munching on it.
"Gee, really? Well, if you say so!" She keeps daintily munching on the biscuits with a happy smile, chuckling a little at your anecdote. The biscuits are tough, chewy, but quite delicious. They're very rich, and difficult to chew apart. It takes you a while to just finish one.