inauspicious beginning

The Narrow Gate Hall
Eastern Archenland

The Hall of the Narrow Gate is brightly lit by a large chandelier, and by
torches on the walls. A bar runs along the length of the south wall. Behind
the bar stands Dranken, the Barman, polishing a glass. The wall behind him
holds several bottles, and racks of glasses. There is also a menu offering
drinks and food. The north wall is dominated by a cheerful stone fireplace.

The rest of the room is filled with tables and stools, in little clusters all
over the scuffed wooden floor. An arch leads to the Anteroom to the south.

Jana sits at the bar, her ankles, just barely visible, crossed. She fingers a lock of hair as she chats a little too amiably with another customer.

Myrd is at a table in the back of the tavern, his face concealed in shadow. He appears to be in the middle of a game with the young man seated across from him, though his gaze takes in the other patrons as he plays.

Lanisen is sitting at a table farther into the tavern, resting his chin on his arms. His companion chatters away a mile a minute, and he gives every appearance of paying close attention, though an observer might note the frequent glances he gives to the metallic glint of a bracelet on her right wrist.

Loc saunters into the tavern, casting a look about. Spying his intended target he moves to her side, leaning against the bar casually. He gives Jana’s companion a dark look.

Myrd nods in Lanisen’s direction. To a casual observer, this would appear to be merely a greeting. He can’t quite hide a scowl as he sets down a piece in the exact spot which would ensure that he will lose the game.

Jana acknowledges Loc by turning to look at him a moment. Her brow rises at his dark countenance before she turns back to the man she’s been speaking with. She offers a flirtatious apology and then turns to give Loc her full attention. A careful observer might note that she pushes her left sleeve up a bit and adjusts her skirts, though they need no adjusting.

Lanisen catches the nod from Myrd, and a second’s apprehension flits across his face. The girl across the table from him doesn’t notice, and he waits a moment before reaching across and grabbing her hand. She stutters and blushes, her color deepening as Lanisen leans forward to hold her gaze, all the while lightly stroking the back of her hand (and loosening the bracelet’s clasp) and murmuring romantic fluff.

Myrd’s expression does not shift, although he seems to be paying rather more attention than strictly necessary to Lanisen’s efforts. He gets up from the game, which has ended now, and purposefully walks past the bar.

Loc observes Jana, “I go out and slave all day to provide for us and only expect a good meal. I come back to find you dallying in the tavern. I told you those days were over. Come on.” He offers an arm and nods to a booth in a more secluded area.

Jana mms and rises more slowly than the urgent voice calls for, looking clearly a bit defiant of his ordering around. She takes the proffered arm, however.

Lanisen keeps up the stream of sweet nothings as the bracelet clasp comes completely undone and slips it into his sleeve, nearly fumbling it in his haste to get it out of sight. Just a moment too late, the girl glances down, and Lanisen tenses visibly.

Myrd moves behind Lanisen, skillfully taking the bracelet without being observed by either the thief or his victim.

Loc gives a slight nod to Jana as he escorts her across the tavern to said table. He stops before it, letting her arm drop as he pulls out a chair for her. He gestures to the chair, “After you.”

Jana seats herself prissily.

Loc grins slightly, taking her hand as he sits and brushing it against his lips before letting it fall. “Now. What can I get for you?” He scans the tavern, taking in the other patrons.

Myrd meets the look in his direction with a sneer of pure contempt.

Lanisen relaxes as his companion looks back up at him, fluttering her eyelashes. He glances toward the door, tilting his head slightly – apparently suggesting a walk. She beams and stands, smoothing out her skirts and her hair… and stares at her wrist. “My bracelet!”

Jana, though her general countenance is agreeable, has her brow raised slightly again when their interactions are interrupted by the loud young woman. Her head snaps up.

Loc glances in the woman’s direction. He eyes her companion and smirks slightly.

Myrd molds his expression until he seems the perfect gentleman. “If it is missing, it must not be far, Miss. I’ll search for it myself.” With this, he saunters towards the door to begin the “hunt”.

Lanisen tilts his hand down to catch the bracelet he thinks is stashed in his sleeve… shakes his elbow… inconspicuously uses his other hand to make sure it hasn’t gotten snagged inside his sleeve, and meets the girl’s panicked eyes with an expression of not-entirely-feigned worry. “Your bracelet’s gone??”

Jana watches the entire proceeding from her position at the table with Loc.

Loc’s eye brow quirks faintly at Myrd’s change before his expression events out. He watches Myrd curiously before shifting his gaze to Lanisen.

Myrd pauses in the doorway, where he rubs his left earlobe before walking through it.

Lanisen drops down to see if the bracelet got stuck between the boards of the table. He sits back on his heels, glancing anxiously towards Myrd. “Uh,” he says. “Maybe it fell off on the way here? I’ll go look…”

Lanisen decides to follow Myrd.

Eastern Archenland

You stand in the heart of Andale where most of the folk who support Anvard live. Young children play here on nice days, skipping rope, or shooting marbles, and older ones can be seen reading scrolls. Adults hurry through on their way from home to where their business takes them. A well with a stone wall sits on the western edge of the road.

The road here widens and splits to run toward the shops to the east, North Andale to the north and the Crossroad to the south. Short paths lead to the two settlements here; Het Noorden to the northwest, and Zuiden to the southeast.

Aileen looks up and notices Armel, “Oh hello Armel.” she says tiredly

Armel sees Aileen across the way. “Hello Aileen.”

Myrd saunters toward the well, his permanent scowl fading slightly when he sees the young man and woman in conversation. He pauses, sizing them up without seeming to do so.

Armel looks up at the sky towards the southwest.

Aileen glances over to the person by the well, then she walks a little closer to Armel, “How are you this evening?”

Lanisen trudges after Myrd, half his left sleeve rolled inside out. He stops behind the older man, inspecting the fabric of the inside-out sleeve.

Myrd crosses his arms, the dark look he gives the young woman indicating that he is little inclined to pleasantries, or conversation, at present. There is the slight glint of something metallic peeking out from the top of his satchel.

Armel says, “I’m fine, actually I’m about to go painting.””

Aileen asks, “Oh? Maybe I could watch?”

Myrd lets out a faint snort. It is almost too soft to be heard.

Lanisen sighs heavily and rolls his sleeve back down, apparently disappointed. He glances to Myrd with apprehension.

Armel says, “Certainly. I’ll be going just outside the town though.”

Myrd grunts out a comment to his companion.

Aileen smiles, “I trust you’ll look after me.”

Myrd mumbles “They’re of no account. Just see you have an explanation ready for Zan.”, to Lanisen.
Myrd mumbles “They’re of … … Just … … have … … … for Zan.”, to Lanisen.

Lanisen’s adam’s apple bobs nervously, and he checks his sleeve one more time.

Armel grins. He glances at the two men and narrows his eyes slightly.

Aileen mumbles “… … …”, to Armel.

Myrd narrows his eyes in return as he glowers at Armel. “Best keep to your own business.” With this, he moves off.

Armel gives a halfhearted smile to the man. He turns his face towards Aileen. “No matter. I should like to get a move on.”

Aileen glance over at the other men, then moves a litte close to Armel.
Armel offers to lead Aileen.
Aileen decides to follow Armel.

Lanisen glances at the two briefly and follows Myrd, hanging back a bit.

In the Archenland Forest
You stand on a well-trod path in the forest. To the north, mountains
separate Narnia from Archenland To the south you see the continuing expanse
of the Archenland forest. The path continues westward through the forest in
one direction, and in the other, curves away to the northeast, toward Anvard.

Myrd is leaning against a tree. With a flick of his wrist, the dagger he holds goes flying, sinking deep in the bark of the tree opposite him.

Lanisen is sitting against a tree a short distance away. He watches the dagger but doesn’t seem to really see it; his forehead is furrowed and he’s obviously thinking furiously.

Zan strides onto the path, an angry scowl stamped on his features. He stomps up to Myrd, pointing an aggressive finger at him. “What took so long? You know how long I’ve been sitting in this stupid forest waiting for you? You call that a short trip to the city?” Or, at least that’s what he /meant/. What he actually said was considerably ruder and featured more curse words than fit for polite company.

Myrd scowls at Zan. “Ask /him/.” He jerks his hand back to indicate Lanisen. “Couldn’t even manage a simple mark on his own.”

Zan rounds on Lanison and stalks past him with an angry glare and a grunt. He then whirls back around to face Myrd. “Tell me we’re gettin ourselfs outta this place. Shouldna come here in t’first place. Thought o’ so many steelshirts’s nearby is makin my skin crawl.”

Lanisen hops to his feet, unfolding his lanky limbs. “No, I got it,” he assures them. “Bracelet – I think it was probably gold. Looked like it had a couple of jewels in it too, but I didn’t get a good look in that light. /Really/ valuable.” Clearly certain that the bracelet is lost, he doesn’t seem to have any qualms in exaggerating its value. “She didn’t suspect a thing.”

Myrd crosses his arms. He leans menacingly over the younger man. “Oh? Where’s it at, then?” He then rounds on Zan, giving him a withering look. “And you keep quiet. We leave when I say we do. And go where I say. You don’t like it, you’d better be ready to take me on.” He pulls the dagger out of the tree, his point clear.

Zan sneers at Myrd. “Wanna go, prettyboy? I’ll take you.”

Lanisen withers slightly. “It fell, I think… and you didn’t give me time to find it,” he accuses. “But it was valuable, and I got it. I could do it again, too!”

Myrd completely ignores Lanisen. He has the dagger at Zan’s throat in an instant, moving with surprising swiftness for one so solid. “Think you’d better re-think that. Who got you out of that cell, Zan? Who took care of that little problem in Chesterton for you? You decide to test me again, you’d best be sure your blade’s as quick as your tongue.”

Lanisen steps out of the way, smirking gleefully.

Zan sneers and leans forward, the blade creating an indent in his skin as he does so. He’s practically nose to nose with Myrd now. “You may be the brains of the operation, /pretty boy/, but however quick y’are with that pretty little knife o’ yours, you wouldn’t actually have the guts to slit my throat. I’m too useful an’ you know it.”

Myrd doesn’t back down an inch. He snarls, “For now. You want a go at me, or you want to see what we brought back from our little trip to town. Up to you.”

Zan’s eyes glint at the mention of money. “It better be good. I been waitin’ for a payday.”

Myrd snorts. “Just like the rest of us. Well, I promised this’d be worth it, and I don’t lie when there’s money involved.”

Lanisen frowns slightly, clearly trying to figure out what Myrd’s talking about.

Zan says, “Let’s hear it, then.”

Myrd nods towards his satchel and directs his words towards Lanisen. His tone drips with contempt. “You. See if you can get something right, for once, and pull out what I’ve got in there.” He keeps the dagger at the ready.

Lanisen, nonplussed, opens the satchel and digs for a moment. He freezes, and glances up guiltily as his neck and ears turn bright red. The bracelet gleams in his hand.

Zan eyes the bracelet in all its gleaming glory. “Oho. How much it worth?”

Out of the corner of your eye, you spy Jana sneaking in from the northeast.

Myrd suddenly turns around, the dagger still in his hand. His eyes glint with malice as he sees the woman from the tavern. “Best move along,” he says menacingly.

Jana comes out from behind the tree she was lurking behind. Her voice is a bit lower-pitched than most women’s and she speaks with confidence. “You’re good.”

Zan feels this is the perfect time for him to jump in. “No he ain’t. Heck, a blind goat woulda noticed you creepin up on us.”

Lanisen closes his fist around the bracelet, watching quietly.

Jana leans against the tree. “Look, let’s cut the chatter. My companion and I just arrived in town. We need to know the lay of the land. You obviously know it. What do we need to do to get the information you can give us?”

Myrd closes in on Jana. “I’d better hear a reason to listen to you, woman, or you’ll find out just how good I am.”

Zan jerks his thumb in Myrd’s direction. “Pretty boy over there likes playing with knives. But you better watch yerself, ’cause I’m better’n him. An’ I don’ like strangers appearin’ all a sudden.”

Jana doesn’t seem particularly intimidated. “I can pick pockets better than your friend there,” She indicates the man with the bracelet, “And I can probably teach him to do the same, judging by my success with my own companion.” She fingers what could very well be a knife in her skirts, just in case.

Myrd snorts with thinly veiled scorn. “My mother could pick a pocket better than him.” He notes the dagger, his grip on his own never slacking.

Lanisen opens his mouth to protest, but apparently thinks better of it.

Jana says, “All the more reason to take on a REAL thief. If you have to take him on, you are obviously in need.”

Myrd takes the bracelet from Lanisen, tossing it to Zan. “You get it from him, then maybe you’ve got something to say worth my time. And trust me, I don’t look kindly on those who waste my time.”

Zan catches the bracelet easily and sneers at the woman. “Jus try it, girlie.” He waves the bracelet in her direction.

Jana walks toward Zan, her slightly short skirts swishing more than necessary. She looks him over with interest. “The brawns of the operation, I see.”

Myrd smirks, neither confirming nor denying this observation.

Zan leers at her, holding the bracelet out of her reach. “You betcha, girlie. Ever been with a /real/ man before?”

Jana places her long fingers on his bicep as if considering the question, looks into his face, and rams her knee upward, quickly moving out of the way when the deed is done.

Zan lets out an agony-filled groan as he topples, the bracelet falling from his grip.

Jana picks it up with her toes, flips it into the air to catch neatly in her hand, and tosses it to Myrd. “See you tomorrow.”

Myrd doesn’t bat an eye as he catches the bracelet with an iron grip. He orders Lanisen, “Help him up.”

Lanisen stares, gaping. He glances at Myrd, swallows, and edges over to offer Zan a hand up.

Zan swats Lanisen away rather like a fly when the boy tries to help him up. “I’m fine…” he grinds out, clearly still in pain, as he climbs back to his feet. He mutters something very unkind and crude about the woman.

Jana passes Myrd, and pauses, backing up a step and turning. “Oh, and I’ll be bringing my companion. He comes where I do.” She glances at the big man and raises her brow.

Myrd scowls darkly. After a moment, he gives a single nod in answer.

Jana passes through the trees and back into town.

Lanisen stares after her with something approaching awe.

Myrd doesn’t even look at Lanisen. He is also watching the spot where the woman disappeared. His expression, however, is cunning. “Shut your mouth, boy, and get us food. Now.”

Lanisen closes his mouth with an audible snap and slinks off. He glances back briefly at the bracelet, then is gone.


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