Seeing the scuffle ahead, Maruc pulled his over-robe over his ceremonial emblazoned Halavist shield and took a closer look. In the conversation about the crowd about he catches the words ‘Radu’ and ‘Torenescu’. Who would be opposed to a celebration of Lucor? Who are the Radu? A priest has two ears and one mouth – he listens twice as much as he talks….time to listen.
Looking at the cleric standing near him, Feldard noted the cleric’s interest in the goings on. Likely he would know something of worth. He reached up a hand to the mans shoulder to shake him from his reverie.
….“I am Feldard Scarredbrow…”
Maruc glances left then right. Odd he thought, I swore someone was addressing me.
“…son of Bulenar of the Buhrodars, and well-met stranger.”
Feldard’s voice was overloud, more appropriate for shouting over the crowds earlier than for the current tension. “From the looks of you, I trust you can tell me what is the matter here? Who are these men, and what idiocy causes them to bray at one another so? After all, this is a celebration is it not? To stand in the middle of the street and shove each other…disgraceful…”
Maruc followed the voice down. A stern, lantern-jaw featured and bearded dwarf with a huge shock of raven black wiry hair stared up at him. He didn’t look very happy, but it didn’t carry in his voice so Maruc guessed he wasn’t about to start a fight. Although by his build and somewhat unpleasant looking mace he had the look of a mercenary. Burnished chainmail glinted beneath his grey tabard and the kite shield he bore had a curious device emblazoned on it. The dwarf had shouted so he might me slightly deaf like Maruc’s old calligraphy teacher. Not entirely sure what the correct way to address him without causing offence and still uncomfortable with the situation unfolding before him he leans down and shouts.
“Maruc. At your service master dwarf.”
“From the looks of you, I trust you can tell me what is the matter here?” continued the dwarf.
Maruc felt that explaining the intricacies of the theological differences between the two religions would probably confuse the dwarf and possibly lead to an awkward situation with the clerics nearby. Anyway, Maruc had tried to conceal his priestly symbols and paraphernalia, now was not the time.
“Sadly I am but a pilgrim and new to Specularum.” Maruc tried to make himself heard over the noise, “I arrived here but a few moments before yourself. It seems that the local priesthood do not consider themselves servants of the people. By their actions they seem to believe they are some sort of nobility. They don’t seem to enjoy the respect my cloister has. Sorry, had.”
“Who are these men, and what idiocy causes them to bray at one another so? After all, this is a celebration is it not?” the dwarf carried on. “To stand in the middle of the street and shove each other…disgraceful…”
Maruc smiled to himself, if this was the state of the clergy here it only served made the Halavist position that much stronger. “Aye, ‘disgraceful’ it is my short friend.” He wondered if the term ’short friend’ might have caused offense but it was said now. The unfolding drama in front of him held his attention.
* * * * *
He cut down a dark alleyway, scattering rats before his quickened pace, and burst out onto the main street. He barely had time to register the crowds, far more than were here this morning. He slid to the left, narrowly avoiding a pilgrim—and tripped over the child standing to next to the pilgrim. They tumbled into the street, right at the feet of the stationary shrinebearers.
Rubbing his head, Miklos looked about. It seemed he’d stumbled—quite literally—onto the afternoon’s procession. And the child he’d run into, was the boy hurt? It took Miklos two glances to find the fallen figure. To his surprise, it was not a child a all, but a dwarf, and not nearly as disheveled by the fall as Miklos felt!
Feldard had tried to square himself against the blow, but was several seconds too late. Bottom-heavy enough not to go bowling over onto the ground, rather he is flattened to one side, losing his helmet and going to a knee. The human who ran him over rolling overhead. He springs up to his feet again, looking around wildly and smoothing down his now wildly matted hair before securing his helmet again. First he fires a burning glare at the cleric, a dare to have noticed any of that–and then stalks after the human who stumbled over him grabbing him by a handful of shirt and pulling him down to his level.
“By my beard! You miserable, lanky, stumbling, dreg-sucking lout! The next words out of your misshapen head had better be an apology!”
* * * * *
Saeth one good eye darted back and forth, observing all the activity taking place. The clumsy city kid was in trouble. This dwarf had the same look in his eyes as that berserk Saeth had fought near Ardelphia. They said that it was maddness brought on by dehydration. But seeing the red-faced dwarf here, the elf wondered if it might just be the dwarven blood. Of course, that was long ago, and this boy was here now. And even further outmatched than she’d been. She rather pitied him his situation.
* * * * *
“Miklos you fool,” the young apprentice mage thought to himself. “If Master Acrision could see you now!” He started to gather his fallen equipment in awkward, hurried movements. He could feel the embarrassment start to show on his face.
“Oh I’m terribly sorry, young man…” the words tumbled automatically from his mouth, then he gazed into the eyes for a very angry looking Dwarf. “Oh um, sorry, Mr Dwarf. I really didn’t mean to cause…” Miklos could feel that a simple apology was just not going to be enough. He was about to continue when he thought that perhaps talking on his knees to a dwarf might be considered discourteous.
The rush of activity before him took Maruc several seconds to read the situation. In his minds eye he could see the attention of the crowd shift from the fight to this scuffle then the guards would come, then there would be a night in the cells and most likely a fine for brawling in the street. Maruc had no desire for the first and no money for the second. And, worst luck, he was already involved. Best to smooth things over and by the look the dwarf gave him this must be done as quickly as possible.
Maruc leaned down hand helped the man to his feet. Light humour normally alleviates such problems. Catching the dwarves words before he has time to start a fight and more for the crowd than the fallen man I say, “Ahh, bless me! A man with two left feet I see.” He dusts him down a bit. “I’m sure there’s plenty of room to see the procession. It’s nice to see the enthusiasm for the rites of the church.”
In much quieter and more urgent tones he whispered to the man and mostly to the dwarf, “I’d take it as a kindness it you would make your peace somewhere less public, but for now I’d like to see why this first fight has taken place. Then perhaps we can discuss at our leisure our little accident in a nice warm hostelry. Perhaps you know of one here abouts?”
* * * * *
Nicolai observed the procession. He noted a priest and a Dwarf discussing the procession. How unusual, he thought. He’d seen Dwarfs from Highforge, and he’d never seen them talking to anyone, unless it was related to business.
Out of the corner of his eye, a youth running through the crowd. The youth is looking up high, and doesn’t see the Dwarf. As if in slow motion, the youth collides with the Dwarf and tumbles over him. Right in front of the procession…Too funny. But Nicolai doesn’t laugh out loud, that would not be wise given there appeared to be a fight breaking out at the front of the procession as well.
* * * * *
The shouting at the front of the procession grows. As the volume of the mens’ voices rise in anger, it is impossible to make out the words as they scream over one another. Just as the fighting threatens to escalate into an all-out battle, men dressed in green livery interject, separating the sides. As they plead for restraint, the appearance of city guardsmen at the edge of the crowd have a calming effect. Suddenly, no one seems eager to violate the Duke’s Law, and the procession continues along its path.
(Note: Unless eldersphinx returns, the character of Miklos is open. Unless Liz returns, Bellassia will not be in the party and that slot will be open if another player would like to join and submit a new character.
The Prelude and Into the City posts have been updated with the character’s actions incorporated into the story.)