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Business in Baerlon (ATTN Chalinda)


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The cool wind swept down from the Mountains of Mist and pushed back Tom Camorra’s traveling cloak to reveal his Ebou Dari vest and large, bejeweled dueling dagger. Men gave him wary looks as he walked along the dirt roads of Baerlon—an excuse of a town in the backcountry of Andor—and Tom stared menacingly back. Although his temper was considered mild in comparison to most of his countrymen, Tom nonetheless was on edge.


Tom arrived in Baerlon yesterday after an arduous journey from Whitebridge by horseback; while completely at home on a boat, Tom, at best, reluctantly rode horses—the road to Baerlon had sorely tested his composure. To compound upon his rear-ache and frayed nerves, Tom had spent most of today negotiating an arms deal with a wiry, sneaky merchant who dealt directly with the mines near Baerlon. Due to its proximity to the Mountains of Mist with their rich deposits of ore, buying weapons in bulk in Baerlon was relatively inexpensive and inconspicuous given Baerlon’s tucked-away location. The Sons of the Eldar criminal syndicate was in need of more weapons, and doing it in Ebou Dar or Altara was clearly out of the question—thus, Tom found himself in Baerlon, following orders from his gang’s boss to acquire a large quantity of quality weapons.


After purchasing the weapons, Tom and the crew of thugs accompanying him had stashed the weapons—swords, knives, maces, spear and arrow heads, axes—in barrels and covered them in Andorian cotton—a necessary measure taken to hide the fact that a huge shipment of weapons was traveling across the continent and into Ebou Dar in the hands of illegitimate businessmen. Filling twenty one good-sized barrels and then loading them onto a cart they had purchased took Tom and his men the whole afternoon, leaving Tom thoroughly exhausted.


To alleviate his stress and tiredness, Tom wished for nothing more than to be in the clutches of his wife’s loving arms. However, that option denied him here in Baerlon, Tom had ordered his underlings to guard the weapon-laden cart at their inn, and then proceeded to head to a tavern to get sloshed.


The twilight breeze brought some pleasure to Tom as he walked towards the red light district, for he was used to the humid, blistering summer days of Ebou Dar. But the bad outweighs the good, Light blast this wretched town, Tom mentally growled. When he finally reached Pipeleaf Street (as a lantern lit sign revealed), Tom walked into the very first bar he saw: The Lioness’s Den.


Upon entering Tom immediately noticed the dancer on the stage at the front of the room: A striking young woman with red hair and light eyes. Tom nodded appreciatively to himself as he took a seat and nabbed a stein of ale from a passing waitress; the woman looked at him with suspicion until he flipped her a copper for the drink. Quickly quaffing the beverage, Tom called the bartender for some more as he settled down to watch the pretty girl dance.

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Chalinda wrapped her cloak tighter around her waist from the mean wind blowing her hair about the place. She made her way down the curvy street from her home, to where she went everyday. The Lioness' Den was like her other home. The Innkeeper at the Lioness' Den treated Chalinda as if she were one of his own daughters, always caring about her welfare and safety, and always clobbering drunken baffoons on the head himself, if the need arose. She turned this way and that up the curvy road, aware of her surroundings at all times. People on this street in particular sometimes liked your pockets a little too much. One time several months ago, she beat a man's head in when he only "bumped" into her. That bump could have cost her a week's pay.


She made one last turn to the right and found the door that she knew as well as the back of her hand and walked into the warm, welcoming tavern. She removed her cloak and walked to the back desk where Master Gerry was taking care of a few customers. "Good afternoon Master Gerry," she said with a smile. He returned the greeting and received several, 'Good afternoon Chalinda's from the serving girls. She looked over her book of songs and dances that she kept at the inn and decided what ones she would start the day with. When she was done looking through, she stepped up onto the dancing bar, simply a table-high raised part of the floor at the front of the room. She stepped up as if she had been doing so all of her life, and stomped her feet to get everyone's attention, including the musicians. She whispered what songs they were doing for now and as soon as the flutist started the lick, she grabbed her skirts and started the dance she had made to go with "My Love is a Wild Rose."


An hour went by and Chalinda was secretly out of breath and sweating. She stepped down from the stage and walked over to the kitchen where there was a glass of berry cider and a plate of cheese waiting for her. She chomped it down, cleaned her teeth, and returned to the stage where the musicians were just picking up their instruments from their break. She told them the new set of songs they were to play and started dancing as soon as "The Dancing Lass" started playing. She was just in the middle of her solo set when a man walked in, making eye contact with her. She continued dancing, not looking as though she was distracted; Men walked in and looked at her every minute. But there was something about this man that made her feel comfortable. She went back to looking around the room, smiling at everyone about the place.


A man at the foot of the stage, stood up and tried grabbing her leg before she slapped his hand away with ease. The man attempted to grab Chalinda again and this time she pushed him back and backed up herself. The man climbed up on the stage while Chalinda rolled her eyes and sighed. The musicians knew enough to keep playing and Master Gerry cautiously watched from the desk, ready to thump the man if he needed to. Chalinda grabbed the mans shoulders and tried to stop him but when he grabbed her forearms, she knew it was too far to stop him now. She kneed the man below the belt and watched him as he collapsed onto the stage. She looked to the two bodyguards who got up and took the man outside. As soon as the door closed behind them, Chalinda continued dancing.


Another several hours went by before she was climbing down from the stage to get ready to go home. She was tired and hungry, so she went by the kitchen and grabbed more cider and bread. As she made her way to the door, she grabbed her cloak and was stopped by Master Gerry, who dropped her pay into her hands, and praised her for taking care of the man earlier. She walked to the door and as she opened it, she saw the man from earlier, who she had made eye contact with while dancing. She smiled and left the Inn behind her.


As she made her way back down the curving street, she stayed aware of her surroundings still. Walking home was more dangerous than walking to the Inn. There were sometimes men who saw her dancing and got too drunk to remember their wives at home, or her age. As she turned the second last turn before her street, she heard a barrell being upturned behind her. She whipped around to face what it was and found herself facing the man who tried to grab her earlier. He jumped at her and she easily jumped out of the way. He was clearly more drunk than she could know, but he was a rather large man. He jumped at her again and she turned around to hit his head but he grabbed her waist and her shoes slipped in the mud, causing her to fall to the ground. She clawed at the ground under her and tried to get out from under the man. She grabbed his head and tried to push him off but he was too big! "Leave me alone!," she yelled, but it was cut off by his hand covering her mouth. With her hair stuck to her face and her hands full of mud, she elbowed the man repeatedly in the gut and kicked his shin with the heel of her slippers.

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Six drinks deep and Tom was still downing more. Through his somewhat hazy vision, Tom continued watching the dancer twist her skirts back and forth, and chuckled appreciatively when she flashed an ankle here and there. Although Tom had seen far better singers—-and far, far more risqué dancers-—back in Ebou Dar, for a young woman in Baerlon, she truly was not bad. Tom was very glad for the distraction the tavern was providing, taking his mind off the day’s labor and the fact that tomorrow he’d have to get back on a horse. Bloody horses. There should be canals criss-crossing this whole continent. Somebody needs to get on that. I hate the way horses jerk you this way, then that way, and there’s just no proper way to sit them. If only….


Tom was yanked out his thoughts when a drunken man near the stage lurched towards the dancer. She slapped his hands away, but he came back for more. Finally, the drunk scrambled onto the stage and grabbed hold of the girl’s arms. To get rid of her attacker, the dancer kneed the man in the crotch, who then crumpled to the ground before being manhandled off the stage and thrown out by the bouncers. Tom grinned in admiration at the ferocity of the dancer, noting mentally that she handled herself like any formidable Ebou Dari woman would. But, then again, in Ebou Dar the sort of disrespect towards women that the drunken man had shown was unheard of; he’d have been liable to get a knife in his guts and the woman who did so would have been perfectly justified. Shrugging off the whole incident, Tom went back to drinking.


For another hour/hour-and-a-half, Tom continued watching the dancer, tapping his hand in time to the music. By the time he was ready to leave, he had probably drunk close to ten sizable mugs of ale—-needless to say, Tom was thoroughly drunk. He rose from his seat with a stagger and then stumbled out of the door, waving drunkenly at the bartender on the way.


Once outside, Tom plopped himself onto a barrel close to the Lioness’s Den. He drunkenly watched people as they passed by, each with their own purpose and goal: Drunken men (and women) like himself, barely making it along Pipeleaf Street; scantily-clad prostitutes and their clients walking from bars into bordellos or back to private apartments; gamblers either strutting after a win or fuming, stalking away from taverns after a loss; City Watchmen patrolling with torch in one hand and spear in the other. Tom amused himself by taking in the sights and sounds of the Red Light District, occasionally leaning against the wall behind him and falling into drunken soliloquies about this and that. I drank a bit too much…Oh well, definitely is not the first time!. He had no idea of how long he’d been sitting outside, but when the dancer from the Lioness’s Den came out, smiling at Tom as she left, Tom figured—-for some un-sober reason or another—- that it was about time to head back to his inn.


Tom shadowed the dancer for awhile as they made their way off the now mostly deserted (for the taverns were all closed or closing) Pipeleaf Street. When she made a left at the T-junction where Pipeleaf hit Mountain Row, though, Tom made a right. He had made only a little progress along the road when he was stopped in his tracks by a feminine voice yelling-—a yell which was sharply cut off. Despite his state of drunkenness, Tom turned quickly around and half-ran, half-walked towards the source of the yell; even at this only mildly fast gait, Tom’s right leg burned from pain, legacy of a deep knife wound in his calf. Yet when he saw in the faint light from the moon a burly man on top of the dancer from the Lioness’s Den—-clearly recognizable from the red sheen of her hair—-his pain was forgotten, and he full on ran towards the scene of the assault


Tom unsheathed his dueling dagger as he rapidly approached. When he was within striking distance, Tom lunged at the man—-who in his mental state of rage and drunkenness failed to notice Tom-—and planted his blade deep in the assaulter’s back. Tom then used his brute strength to rip the man off of the dancer, and bodily flung him on his back. Enraged to see that the man was the same who had tried groping the dancer back at the bar, Tom brought his boot down brutally on the man’s stomach. He kicked the drunkard a few more times in his ribs, and then brought his knife down in a sweeping arch that stopped abruptly in the man’s heart. Panting roughly from exertion, Tom got to his knees and rifled through the man’s pocket and turned up a handful of coppers and a silver piece. After placing the coins in his own pocket, Tom retrieved his dagger and stood up to face the dancer.


Before he could even speak, a commanding voice from behind them yelled, “Put down the weapon and turn around!†Tom did not drop his dagger, but he did turn around. He saw through his now pronounced haze that it was a City Guardsman, spear forward and ready to assault. “You two,†he yelled, “are under arrest for the murder of this man.†He pointed with his torch at the corpse in the mud.


“Sir,†the dancer piped up, “I was just attacked, and this man…â€


Her words were cut off as one of Tom’s throwing knives whipped through the air to take the City Guard in the throat. “Me going to jail in this bloody backcountry town? Not bloody likely.†Tom went over to the down City Guard and collected his knife with practiced indifference. When he turned to speak to the dancer, her face was a terrified rictus.


“Listen,†Tom began in a somewhat sober manner (the past few minutes had woken him out of his stupor-—to a degree), “I’m getting out of here tonight, and I suggest you do the same. I don’t care how bumpkin this town is: They won’t stand for a murdered Guard. And they’ll probably link one corpse with the other, start asking questions…â€


The dancer just continued looking at him. “I know, it’s horrible for young girl like you to witness and experience such a thing, but it is what it is,†Tom told her. “I’m heading back to my inn. Although I didn’t plan on having a woman along, I suppose you can come along with me, at least until Whitebridge.†Tom didn’t know if this girl who had just witnessed him killing a City Guard would want to come along with him, but Tom figured it was the least he could.


You bloody softie, Tom grumbled to himself as he waited for the girl to respond.


OOC: I'm going to be gone for the next six days, so you can respond to this post anytime with that timeframe. If you want to RP more, though, feel free. Perhaps make another character in another org in the meantime--that is, if you can't wait for me to get back.


Anyway, you take it from here. Join up with me. We'll take the road to Whitebride, then boat down to Illian. From there to Ebou Dar. Feel free to take any liberties you want with my gang of thugs (in terms of description, personality, names). If any of them step out of line with you, feel free to beat them up or have me or another thug do it (for Ebou Dari don't condone that kind of behavior towards women...).

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ooc:this might be kinda long but i thought since u wouldnt be here for a little while i would push it forward more than i would if you were going to be here...excuse me if i had you saying something that you might not have said the same way yourself...



Chalinda stopped moving when she felt the man on top of her being ripped from on top of her. She stared at the mud below her face for a moment and then pushed herself up on her hands and looked behind to see what had happened. She covered her mouth with her hands in a loud gasp when she saw someone bring a knife down into the man's heart. She got up as quick as she could, which seemed to take hours, to get away from the murderer. She could be next. She started to run away and turned back just in time to see the somebody step into the light, and realized it was the man from the tavern. Her feet stopped so abruptly, that if someone couldn't see her face full of fear, they would have thought she stepped in a rut of thick mud. She was about to say something when she noticed a City Guardsman run up behind him.


“Put down the weapon and turn around!," he yelled. "You two are under arrest for the murder of this man.†Chalinda was frightened. She did nothing and she did NOT want to be arrested for something that wasn't her fault. "Sir, I was attacked, and this man-" Her breath caught when the man from the tavern threw his dagger at the Guardsman. She heard the man mutter something and went to pick up his knife. She couldn't hold back her fear any longer. She started breathing unevenly when the man turned around to face her once more.


He started talking of leaving and being arrested and, Calling my home a bumpkin town!? Well I oughtta- Her thought was cut off hastily when she heard him say she could come along with him. The muscles in her body relaxed and her breathing returned to normal. Seconds after he stopped talking, she didn't think interrupting would be a good idea, she nearly yelled out, "I'll come with you!" He had, in fact, spent most of his breath rambling about her witnessing a murder and what a shame it was, but this would make sure he didn't do that again. She was surprised when her legs moved from where they had been glued to the ground. She walked towards the man. He was an older man, perhaps in his thirties, maybe early forties. She supposed he would have been attractive, with his dark colorings and his surprisingly kind eyes, if it wasn't for the immense amount of scars around his face and the crook in his nose. As she walked closer she studied all of the features of the strange man. She stopped in front of him, still a little afraid of what might happen next and asked, "What Inn are you staying at? I will gather what I need and meet you there." She nearly gaped at herself for what she was saying. You fool girl! You're being as silly as a girl of five, chasing after the chickens. She held her breath, hoping the man wouldn't laugh in her face. Instead he answered her clearly.


"I'm staying at The Wandering Goose. Do you know where it is," he asked back. She nodded her head. It was nearly around the corner from her house! "I will expect you in fifteen minutes then," he said, "That should give you enough time to pack your things and write a note for your parents, or, whomever you room with." He cleared his throat and she nodded her head quickly. Before she realized she was still standing and staring at the man, he shooed her off like a pesky child begging for something. She turned around and ran home, quietly opening the door and running up the stairs to her room. She grabbed an old saddlebag that she had from going hunting with her brother and packed it full of a dress, two shifts, a brush and all the other things she would need. She went to her drawer and grabbed the sack full of all of her money and threw it into her belt pouch, which made her notice how muddy her favorite dress was.


She ran back down the stairs, heading for her father's desk and grabbing a piece of parchment and a quill. She wrote out a letter telling her parents exactly what she was doing and where she was headed. They were well aware that she would leave one day, they just didn't want to see her go. She took out some of the coin from her belt pouch and laid it atop the letter. She ran out of the door and headed for The Wandering Goose. Upon entering the Inn, she automatically compared it to The Lioness' Den, and then shook her head in disapproval for her action. She walked up to the Innkeeper and was about to ask after the man when she realized she didn't know his name. "I-uh...Well I don't know his-" Just then, the man came down the stairs saying, "-Name. I realized the same after you went running off. She was looking for me Master Adams," she said to the Innkeeper. He then turned back and headed up the stairs. Chalinda wasn't sure she should follow, but did when she noticed the Innkeeper giving her a weird look. Oh! Really! Do I not look too young!? She huffed and started up the stairs, after the man, realizing she had still not learned his name.


She made it up the stairs just in time to see him entering a room at the end of the hall. She followed quickly and slipped into the room, closing the door behind her and not moving any closer than the doorknob. The room was small enough! "I still did not catch your name sir," she said quietly, unsure it was the right thing to say. The man looked toward her, eyeing her up and down, which made her feel uncomfortable but at the same time she knew it didn't mean anything. "Right," he said, "I apologize. My name is Tom, and that is all you need to know at the moment. My business is my own and I would appreciate it if you didn't ask after it." Chalinda was a little put off, even if Tom said it in the most pleasant way. "My name is Chalinda," she chimed. "And that is all you need to know at the moment," she added with a mocking tone and a grin. They both gave a light laugh and she watched as he continued packing his own things.

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After Chalinda introduced herself, Tom went right back to hastily stuffing his saddlebag. Given that he had only been in Baerlon for a night, he had little to pack. Soon enough, he was lifting his saddlebag over his shoulder and hobbling out of his room behind Chalinda.


He headed down the stairs and approached Master Adams. Tom’s eyes locked the innkeeper’s with an intense look. “You,†Tom said authoritatively, “have never seen her.†Tom gestured at Chalinda and dropped a purse full of silver into Master Adams’s hand. “There will be more where that came from the next time I’m around these parts.â€


The innkeeper looked at the bright-haired, bright-eyed girl, and then smiled wryly at Tom. “I don’t think I’ve run into a red head woman ever. Never in my whole life.†Tom kept his gaze on Master Adams for a few moments more, then turned and walked out of the side door of the Wandering Goose.


He and Chalinda stepped into the stable yard of the inn where Tom’s crew had the cart waiting and horses saddled for their departure. Tom greeted his men curtly and led Chalinda toward the barrel-laden cart. Taking her hand in his, Tom aided her up the vehicle onto the driver’s bench. Opting to ride the cart instead of suffering through another horse ride, Tom followed suit. With Rob and Hastert on their horses ahead of the cart and Mahta flanking (the last of the Sons accompanying Tom, Jaffe, was at the East Gate bribing the guards to let them through—and to keep silent about the passing) the cart, the group left the Wandering Goose and turned onto the paved street abutting the inn.


As surreptitiously as possible, the cart trundled down the road in an easterly direction. Tom, Chalinda, and Tom’s men were the only ones out at this time of night, and the noises their departure made echoed noisily on the streets they treaded. All the while expecting City Guard to halt their progress, Tom anxiously scanned the road ahead of them and fingered the cocked and loaded crossbow in his lap. When the East Gate appeared within the confines of Baerlon’s wooden palisade, Chalinda openly sighed; Tom mimicked her sign of relief inwardly.


Passing without any hassle—and, in fact, without any sight of guards all together—through the gate, the faux caravan of a dancer and a pack of criminals, including Jaffe, who joined them from a stand of trees a few hundred yards from the gate, started their journey along the dirt road towards Whitebridge. Trepidation concerning the possibility of a pursuit plagued all their minds, and it found a voice when Chalinda whispered to him, “Do you think we will be chased by the Guard?â€


Tom had already given some thought to this likelihood, so he was ready with an answer, “First of all, it’s unlikely that they have found the knifed guard—that will take a few hours, is my guess. After they do, and when they start making inquiries to their fellow guardsmen about suspicious occurrences in the night, it will probably be late tomorrow morning when they find out about people leaving through the East Gate. And that’s only if the guardsmen at the East Gate admit they let people leave—that admission would lose them their jobs. As to whether or not they’ll link us leaving to the murder, that’s a whole different story. I feel that the mess we left back on that muddy street will leave the Guard confused. If they do send some City Guard after us, we’ll know within the next few days; with us having to ride this cart, they’ll catch up with us easily. We just have to sit and wait.â€


With that said, Tom ordered his men to pick up the pace and put as much distance between Baerlon and themselves as possible. Blinking tiredly, Tom stifled a yawn and noted to himself with regret that it would probably be a full day before he’d be able to get some rest. Blood and bloody ashes, but won’t this be fun…




Two and a half weeks later, Tom, Chalinda, Jaffe, Mahta, Hastert, and Rob found themselves in Whitebridge rolling their barrels of “cotton†onto a large trading ship headed for Illian. They had arrived late that morning, and Tom thanked the Light that they had finally reached some sort of civilization again. While Tom had been to Whitebridge multiple times during his career with the Sons, the legendary bridge spanning the Arinelle never ceased to amaze him; Tom was able to sympathize with Chalinda as she gawked, mouth agape, after her first glimpse of the monument. Once they had crossed from the west bank to the town proper on the east, Tom led them to an inn he had patronized in the past, The Laughing Donkey, dropped some coins into the innkeepers hands, and minutes later was sitting in a secluded back room with his band of travelers eating a delectable meal of a summer fruit salad, capon with cranberry glaze, and a flaky pasty of fresh fish. After roughing it for the last couple weeks, Tom had a hard time remembering when a meal tasted better.


In fact, Tom and his fellow travelers ate very little meat that wasn’t preserved in salt since leaving Baerlon. After the first few, hectic days of anxious plodding around—no guards ended up chasing after them, a result of the lack of evidence linking the murders and the cart-in-the-night Tom believed—the group had taken it at a regular pace, and one that allowed them to hunt and forage in the surrounding area. However, Hastert was the only non-city boy (or girl) —having come from central Altara to Ebou Dar in his late teens—so he was the only one who knew how to trap rabbits or sling stones at birds. But his lack of practice had made him rusty at finding the group a warm, fresh meal; so, excluding two rabbits and a lucky catch with a deer one day, they had all subsisted on salty meat, stale bread, and wild grown fruits for most of the trip.


They arrived in Whitebridge with nearly all their food depleted; the remainder they sold for a measly silver and two coppers. After their trip to The Laughing Donkey, Tom led his cargo and gang to the busy docks, where, three quarters of a bell of negotiating and thirteen gold pieces later, Tom and his four men were loading their contraband weapons onto the deck of the Swift Sail, a long, wide trader with an Illianer crew and captain. By the time all of their barrels had been rolled onto the ship and stashed in the cargo hold, it was nearly dusk and the Swift Sail was ready to depart. After the captain, Bernell Weinlit, declined Tom’s offer of helping him cast off, Tom joined Chalinda underneath their lean-to tent (really a spare sail) at the stern of the ship, and lay down on his sleeping roll, bedding down for the night.

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After weeks of traveling, Chalinda was tired and sore. She had never been much outside Baerlon before, except for the hunting trips with her brother. Being in Whitebridge opened her eyes to something more than just her home city. Not even a city. It was a mere speck compared to Whitebridge. Her thoughts of the past weeks were interrupted by the setting off of the Swift Sail. She never imagined being on a boat, and didn't find it suitable for a wish of hers, either. As soon as she stepped foot on the deck of the Swift Sail, she felt unsteady and more tired than she had felt since leaving Baerlon in the middle of the night. She was afraid of being heaved all about the deck, so immediately asked Tom where she should go and sit down. She found herself under a piece of cloth these pirates had the nerve to call a sail. A spare sail at least. How far this ruddy thing would take them was beyond her. She hoped the sail in use would suffice.


When Tom joined her underneath, laying down on his sleeping roll, she felt that feeling of unnecessary uneasiness that she had felt since first speaking with Tom in his room at The Wandering Goose. She felt, strange, that she was travelling with a group of men; She being the only woman and a dancer at that. Since leaving Baerlon she hoped that her traveling party wouldn't get any ideas about her. The true uneasiness she felt was from the lack of such. Not one of them looked at her the wrong way, which made her question her appearance. One day, while resting the horses for a dinner on the road, she tried to get them to look at her, but not one of them took it any farther than that, and she had invited them! She assumed it was some custom from a different country, but she wasn't educated on the world and its different cultures.


Chalinda sat under the tent, watching Tom fall asleep inches from her own blanket roll. She thought of him as a father, or a much older brother. He was the one who was there to save her from the drunken wretch. He was the one who got them out of trouble with the City Guard, and he was the one who offered to take her away from Baerlon, not knowing it was of Chalinda's dreams to travel away from her, humble, town. Jaffe entered the tent, along with Rob, and both settled down their blanket rolls. Chalinda watched them set their things, they not lifting an eye towards her.


She found herself breathing in and out deeply and almost slapped herself when she discovered why; The breathing lifted her bosom quite a bit. Silly girl! You'll just have to face the fact that they don't want a foolish dancer. I don't want them! Bloody, flaming Light! What am I thinking?! Chalinda hoped her inner struggle wasn't present on her face, and nearly sighed when the two still didn't lift an eye towards her. Rob fell asleep, facing out of the tent, along with Tom, while Jaffe faced Chalinda. She glanced down at him, for only a second, and was shocked to find his eyes on her. She looked back to find them still looking straight at her. She tried to look away but his eyes were locked on hers. She couldn't tell his age by his face. But the way he acted for the past couple weeks, she guessed he was the youngest of the lot. He had scars, like Tom, lining his face, which gave him a rugged look along with his permanently ruffled hair.


Chalinda broke eye contact and stood up, walking out of the, sail, and walking to the rail of the ship. After what seemed like hours of watching water hit the side of the ship, Chalinda concluded that it was the most boring thing she had ever experienced in her life, and returned to where she was to sleep. She layed down against the stern of the ship, behind the five men, and fell fast asleep.


The next morning she woke up to empty blanket rolls surrounding her. She shook her head at the untidiness of men and how they should learn their place and that she wouldn't be their maid, being the only woman. She dressed herself under her blankets, as she undressed herself the night before, and headed out to find where everyone was. She took two steps outside the tent and stopped when she saw them all sitting in a circle to the right of the tent, eating a breakfast of bread and fruit. She sat down between Rob and Mahta and took up a plate of food. "How much longer do we have to be on this bloody...thing?" Chalinda stopped in mid-bite when they all looked at her like she was born stupid. She looked around the circle, every man wearing the same cold expression. Maybe it wasn't the wisest thing to say to them. "Well?" she added. She gave them all her own hard look, and they all wiped theirs straight off their faces.


"That depends, miss. Will you be joining us until Ebou Dar? Or did you have something else in mind?" Rob asked with a sneer. Tom threw a glare at him and Rob immediately looked as if he wished to take it back. "It will be days until we reach the next town. And weeks to reach anywhere after that," Tom said. Chalinda sighed, biting a piece of her bread. She didn't know if she could survive weeks of this boat. Is it always so bumpy? It's so teetery and uneven. A good strong mare would have been better, with a cushioned saddle.


Days went by, with the same schedule as the day before. In the morning, she would be the last to wake, no matter how early she went to sleep. They would eat breakfast and then entertain themselves with music or cardgames. Several of the sailors somehow discovered Chalinda was a dancer, and regretted asking her to dance when she thumped them over the head with her own hand. That was not how you asked someone a favor. They took it as far as goosing her to convince her to do it. When Jaffe rose to help Chalinda, Tom grabbed his arm and she took care of them herself. At night, they would eat dinner in a circle like the one for breakfast, and Tom and Rob would go down and check their cargo. Later on, they would all go under the tent and fix their blankets for the upcoming sleep. At dusk every night, Chalinda would stand leaning on the railing of the ship, watching the sunset. "It's just pretty," she said when Tom would come and ask her what she was up to. Then she would go in and get under her blankets, undress herself, and turn over to meet Jaffe's gaze.

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There wasn't a sight Tom liked more than that of Ebou Dar from the sea: The glistening, ivory city resting picturesquely on the west side of the Eldar; gulls soaring through the clear, blue sky; hundreds of ships bobbing or plowing the harbor. And the Rahad, a dingy, cacophanous warren of buildings on the east bank of the Eldar; a place where you were ridiculed if you hadn't dueled by 11 or 12; a town that turns a collective blind eye if a City Guardsman gets dropped by a thug's crossbow bolt; the place Tom calls home. As the Chameleon entered Ebou Dar's harbor, Tom smiled and breathed in deeply the air of his city.




One and half months ago, they'd left Whitebridge for home. The river ride down was uneventful--a daily routine of playing cards, drinking, and helping around the ship repeated for the entirety of the trip to Illian. When the Swift Sail arrived in the Home of the Council one afternoon, Tom, Chalinda, and Tom's gang found an inn to stay in for a few days; Chalinda wanted to see the city--her first true metropolis--before they left for Ebou Dar. With Jaffe--who had grown awfully close to Chalinda on the boatride down--in tow, Chalinda went to see the sights of Illian while Tom, Mahta, Hastert and Rob boozed it up and gambled. After three days, Tom secured passage on a sleek ship, the Chameleon, for Ebou Dar.


A week later, and they were sailing into Ebou Dar's harbor.




Once their ship was docked, roped up, and had the gangplank lowered, Tom jumped down onto the pier and looked around to get his bearings. After a moment, Tom strode down the pier and towards the second closest entrance into the city. With a nod to the customs officer (who nodded and tipped his hat slightly in response), Tom walked through the gate and onto Pelican Avenue. From here he walked a block, made the first right, climbed the steps of the third building on the left, and entered Bottoms Up Oysters. Once inside the oyster bar cum pub--a typical seaside eatery with wood paneling, wood furniture, and wooden chandaliers holding tens of lit candles--walked to a back table where he found three men laughing over a joke one of them had just cracked. As Tom approached, one of the men, a gray-haired, bearded man, managed a greeting through his laugh, "Tom! Good to see you back from the blasted Northlands!"


Tom clapped the man, Branly, on the shoulder, grinned, and said. "It's good to be back. Stab my liver, but do I have a story to tell about that trip. Anyway, business." He looked at Branly and then at his two cohorts. "Grab your cart from Jarrel's Textiles and take it over to Gate 15. Find the Chameleon." After a look of confusion, Tom added, "That's spelled C-H-A-M-I-L-E-N. Or something like that. It's singled masted and has a green and red lizard painted on its hull. So go over to that ship and pick up the load from Rob and the rest of the men I brought."


"Sure thing, boss." Branly gestured at the other two guys and headed out the rear door of Bottoms Up; Bottoms Up was sandwiched in between Jarrel's Textiles and Candle of the City, and all three were businesses run by the Sons of the Eldar as fronts for the gang's criminal enterprise.


After the three gangsters left, Tom headed back to Gate 16--the one which he had passed through on the way to Bottoms Up, taken so Tom, a recognized gangster, would not be seen or associated in any way with the "legitimate" businessmen from Jarrel's Textiles--and walked to the Chameleon. He approached Chalinda, who was watching as Jaffe and the rest Tom's men unloaded the barrels of concealed weapons, and asked, "So, now that you are here, what are you going to do? Where are you going to do?"


OOC: Ok, I'm guessing that, after you say what you are going to do, this will be the end of this particular RP. Feel free to come stay with me (You can write my words for me...), or Jaffe, or whatever. As to what you are going to do...I am a gangster and will be writing gangster RPs, so if you want to somehow get involved in that criminal enterprise, that'd be cool.

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Chalinda stood with her arms crossed, watching the men unload the barrels from the Chameleon. She turned around when she heard Tom ask from behind her, "So, now that you are here, what are you going to do? Where are you going to go?" Chalinda had had plenty of time to think of that on the way from Baerlon. But she had been too busy thinking of other things like what her parents were doing or what her innkeeper thought. "Tom, I don't know..." she said unfolding her arms. "I never thought of that," she said as she looked around worriedly at the harbour. She calmed herself down and remembered that she was strong. She was about to open her mouth and apologize but Tom beat her. "It's alright Chalinda. You can stay here with me, or with one of the guys. We wouldn't just abandon you." Chalinda agreed that she would stay there a while. She went back to watching the men unload the ship, noticing Jaffe overall. She had grown close with them. Except for Rob. He didn't seem to like her very much.


When she followed Tom to his home, she was surprised to find he had a wife. She eyed Chalinda up and down, and when Tom's explanation failed, Chalinda tried herself. "Mistress, you should be very proud of your husband. He saved my life and my freedom all in one night, and took me under his wing. I now understand that Ebou Dari women are fierce and I wouldn't want to stand in one's way. I will understand if you will not allow me under your roof." As Chalinda said that last remark, she watched as her face changed into a pleased grin. "Child you are welcome under my roof as if you were my own child," she said as she embraced Chalinda in a warm hug. Chalinda was taken aback but managed to hold the woman with her remaining strength. She was shown to her room where she set her things from her saddle bags down.




Weeks went by before Chalinda heard anything about Tom's gang. The second day of living in Ebou Dar, she heard people use "gang" when talking about him and his friends. One morning at breakfast, Tom let slip something about a duel and weapons. Chalinda looked up at Tom but dropped her eyes just as quickly, and pretended not to hear.


One day, after Mahta was done training Chalinda to fight(because Chalinda still refused to pick up a weapon made of metal), Tom came up to them. "How is it going Mahta?" he asked the man in a mild tone. "She is doing well. Not well enough to handle a group of men with knives but good enough to handle a group of men with fists," Mahta said. Tom nodded and added, "Chalinda, how would you like to join the guys and I on a routine riot?"


Chalinda choked and actually spluttered the first words of her response. "I-I'm sorry Tom, I...I don't know..." Chalind bit her lip while Tom waited for a straight answer. Finally, after Tom and Mahta stared her to pieces, Chalinda sighed and said, "I'd love to."


ooc:I hope all of that is alright with you. i didnt know what toms wifes name would be and uhh i think we should make a new threadd since were not in baerlon. you prob were gonna do that anyways and i thought i could tag along for a while and then move onto caemlyn and tar valon etc. maybe for now chalinda could distract guys while your gang does their thang...lol

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Actually, I think my regular RPing for the time being is coming to a halt.


I am going to be going back to school on Sunday, and I need to start getting my stuff together. When I'm up there, I'll be very busy, particularly for the first few weeks.


So, I don't want to get involved in another RP because I don't want to be holding you up.


It's been fun RPing with you, though! Hopefully we can do it again in the future.

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