Dunstrand Rising

A Meeting with Hareen

< 9163, Month 7, Night 11 >

Despite your exhaustion, you’re woken up by Lord Thostle’s chamberlain. You realize it is still dark out, and you are motioned for silence. You are taken in the night to the Lords hall. There are hastily awakened guards everywhere. No one tells you exactly what is going on, but Lord Thostle is assuring you all accommodating are being sought. At the other end of the great hall stands a small figure. As a group, you are separated from Lord Thostle, who is himself ushered out, and left alone with the figure – Hareen. His face is sunken, hollow and haggard. He does not smile openly, through his grin seems sad and empty – a man who has seen too much. He motions for you to sit. The grin seems forced, but almost never leaves his face – as if part of his muscles may be etched that way. He walks with a limp.. and a strange smell surrounds him as you get near.

He faces you and motions for you to sit. At the head of the table, he talks. His voice is barely a whisper, but the stillness of the hall gives it emphasis. “I never thought to return to these lands again. I certainly never thought i would live to see the blood of so many friends, without their families.” Speaking obviously weakens him.

“I can’t tell you everything, but it took many years for me to speak, move, walk and carry on like an old man. I am old before my time and who knows how much is left. Much has changed and that is why i am here. I felt useless, but now i have purpose again… i can still serve and i intend to do so until i am dead. There are many who wish i would simply fade, or stay in hiding, but i cannot. Forces are moving against Dunstrand and it needs your help. Necessity makes strange bedfellows – against the tidal force of Umbak and treachery from within. You will be asked soon about an alliance with the old enemy – Gwinn. I urge you to take their side. More i cannot say, but I urge you to consider.”

I have little time and i must be going. I am sure you have questions but i cannot stay long or i will be tired to keep going. Ask what you must and i will answer as best as i can…

Comments

[Geri] I don’t believe you are Hareen. You are dead, and your body gone.

A Meeting with Hareen
 

You ask us to be comrades with a enemy but give us no reason. How is it we are to know that is the right path for us and dunstrand without any further proof other than your say so and it seems your own path has take you down a rough road which i intend to not follow to your end. Your request holds little more weight than that of a request. So i ask you as a past comrade to pry from your teeth and allow us your insight you intend to keep from us.

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[Hareen] Gwinn is no longer the greatest enemy – certainly a few remote lands already captured are worth the overall stability of the Duchy? My knowledge comes from a year of travel and hard work. I can’t say i speak for the duke, but there are many in the region that recognize Umbak as the greatest threat. But such a position would openly bring hostility and escalate things needlessly, and so my contacts must remain a secret – for now. I am caught in between, i understand your lack of trust… but i urge you to consider it when it is placed before you. I don’t ask you follow my path… but i have to say, sitting from my side of the table, it looks as if you have already taken the first few steps… and so i appeal to you now.

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[Geri] Bullshit. You’re an impostor. Its impossible for you to be here…

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I feel much is being kept from us. You speak as though you have some sort of plot which i do not fully understand but as you speak you prove that there is something else going on. Which is not for me to understand because its not up to me to say were the company goes. But i can tell Geri agrees with my lack of trust.

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[Geri] Korvyk speaks true… there must be something else going on here. “Imperial” Gwinn now no longer a threat? In what fantasy? Hareen is dead, his spirit departed and his body consumed by the elements. Whatever or whoever you are is an insult to us… And I strongly suggest Gide use his ducal authority to detain this charlatan.

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[Taer] My father spoke about Hareen and how all of you sacrificed fighting Gwinn. So my choice is simple. No, I will not ally with that dark foe.

[Geri] I think that end this conversation foul creature…

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[Hareen] There is much you do not know of the struggle you are in and yet you trust those who you have chosen to ally yourselves with. It saddens me that you have become so distrustful… so cynical. The path you are on should make your heart bigger, not smaller. An epic tale is being played out here once again, despite the wishes of gods, men, and nature your lineage seems to be the focus of it all – can you not see that? It is falling to you, perhaps not directly, but as always to the same blood, to bolster the rulers of the area and safeguard peace for all. I’ve wished in my heart for years to meet you and the reception i get is this and it hurts me. I’ve come with hard-won advice based on talks with rulers, merchants, private parties, and priests and it is trampled upon without even a moment spent contemplating. There is much help i can provide, much knowledge which could gain you the success you need to allow yourselves to make decisions instead of living at the whim of others, and yet you spit on my outstretched hand. (You can see him getting angry) Much have i lost, but not enough so that i could not fight for this… but now i question if its worth it. Far have you fallen from your parents ideals, far from their loyalty to Dunstrand. Many told me you were not worth the effort, yet i persisted in coming… and now i am seeing that as a mistake. You may try and detain me by whatever authority you think you have, but i will not let – i have that much power left in me.

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[Cage] Settle down. I’ve heard some stories of you as most have and, when the rumors of Hareen being alive surfaced, I urged Gide to seek you out. You’ve beat us to the point be calling us in the middle of the night like this…Now, I’m Cage Northfort, which probably means very little to you as, I’m not related to any of your old friends you used to travel with but, know that we have been hunted, manipulated, tricked by priests of Malek, Gloombringers, hell Geri and the crew here have been screwed by the Lightbringers of Balthizar and forced into a tour of duty in the god aweful reachesof the north, south and east so, you say we have a hard time trusting people…well, you got that shit right! Now, why don’t you sit that ass back in that chair before I turn it into a hat. Look, no disrespect if you’re truly Hareen but, you better give us more to go on then this tale of mystery forces and, allies you know that we don’t…in interested in what you have to say but, I’d like some proof that’s indisputable that you are the man you say you are. Really, I mean you smell wierd, you’re hella old and, limpy…so, far you don’t match anything ever discribed of you. You seem to have the heart for Dunstrand’s wellbeing but, I’ve met many sincre liar’s in my time so, why not tell us what we need to know and, why we should believe you’re Hareen. ‘Cause to be honest, I’m from the Merchant Cities and, made my way south to Dunstrand so, I got no love of the Gwinish either. Far as I recall, you hunted down and killed their religious leader and, started a Holy War with Gwinn…now you ask us to believe that you, Hareen Bladeheart, Hero to the Wyld faithes, is asking us to side with those Fish-lovin’ fuck-faces! Man! You are really asking a lot to disbelieve…as far as anyone has known, you’ve been dead for over 20+years, that’s more then any of us in this room has been alive so, if you want our help in any of this? how about you start explaining just what the help happened to you all those years ago starting with why you went after the Confessor? What you know of the Band of Crows travels? Tell something to Geri here that her father Sandovhal might have know and, journaled about that only you and he would’ve known? How you escaped the Lich Lord himself? Where you’ve been hiding for 20+years? Just who’s been hiding you, who can confirm your existence as the one true Hareen? Who are these rulers, merchants, private parties, priests that you speak of??? You been talkin’ in riddles and, maybes since you sat down in this room so, since you’ve risked everything already by coming out of hiding and, going against the advice of those you’re asking us to trust in, why don’t you trust in us and, tell us what we need to know…’cause if you can’t, you are going to have wasted all this time and, energy getting here to speak to the children of your old companions and, risked everything you have wished to gain by coming here. So enlighten us, trust in us or, go about your way to whatever hole you crawled out of and, know that all the sacrifices you’ve claimed to have made, were all for nothing…die with that on your conscious and, that you failed your friends forever. Is that how you want this meetin’ to end? ‘Cause that’s the road you’re headin’ down…so, what’s it going to be? Trust us and, tell us everything now? or leave here a failiar to your friends memories? Make us believe you’re who you say you are and, tell everything to us now and, fight for the right you’ve worked so hard to go against and, ignore the advice of these others. If you have any faith left of your friends, as the stories say you once did? Then have faith in their children now, as you yourself claim to have and, why you’ve come to this place to meet with them.

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[Hareen] As i said, i have it in me to fight my way from here if i must. The hostility i’m getting is leading me to believe my faith was ill-placed. I dont know what proof i can give. I’m not going to betray any trust that has been placed in me, so names you will not have. I can tell you a lot of my travels with the Band of Crows… but its just stories. If Sandovhal kept a journal, perhaps you should test me then as i’m sure there is a lot unrecorded and i have not the energy to speak for so long – unless you have the journals to look up my references? As to where i have been hiding… in the north, with the druids he drew my spark to them. Its taken most of that time to talk and walk again… (he sighs and looks around) I can see i have made a mistake here. You are not ready, you are not what i had hoped… I am sorry i have taken your time and i bid you fare-well. Please do not try and stop me, tired though i am i wish not to harm you. Perhaps we shall talk in the future… i will follow your careers closely.

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[Cage] Trust me, any hostilities I might cause, this whole town would be aware of so, anything taken as hostile from me, I appoligize. I just tend to have a foul mouth and, temperment…I’m workin’ on it {{{Sruggs}}}. Look Hareen, I’m just askin’for you to sit down, let Geri look through Sanovhal’s journals and, ask you a few questions o, we can dicern the truth here. You say you’ve made a long trip, I say again, don’t waste it. You could’ve watched our careers from the safety of the druids hiddings without the risk to you or, to us. Now you wish to return to them without gaining anything but, disappointment in our answers and questions. I ask you to show patience and, meet with us again so, Geri and Gide can ask you the questions they require to satisfy their distrust. Surely as an old member and, as the only surviving member of the Band of Crows, you know what it’s like to be distrustful of others when you where actively fighting against the Gwinish? I ain’t gonna try and stop ya, I ain’t got the heart to cause that kind of scene with one that I respect the career of…for surely you where a maricle to have done what you did and, sacrificed everything to fight your enemies and, I will not tarnish what you wish to achive here because of my big mouth. So if you are the true Hareen and, you really wish to gain our trust, then I humbly ask that you give my companions another chance when they can be prepared to ask you some questions to quite their concerns and, not just torn away from their slumbers in their bed clothes? Would you grant them this request as a favor to those who wish to know why their blood has been forged in a new generation and, for the honor of your friends who are now gone? Like you said, you are tired so, rest, pray for guidance and, meet with us on the ‘morrow. If at that point this conversation goes the same, then go our your way in peace.

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[Geri] Excuse us a moment. (an aside to the rest of the group) Uh, i don’t know what to ask this thing. I managed to read some of the journals once before i lost any further opportunity, and i am not sure there’s one or a dozen questions i can ask to verify who he is. The journals are not with me and not close. Any question he may get wrong I may also get wrong… i was young and hardly paying much attention when i read those stories… In short, unless anyone has any ideas, I do not possess the knowledge or clarity of memory to accurately assess any answer. I still don’t believe that it is him, i think it is an enemy sent to us to lure us into a trap. Berithor? Maybe… who knows? I just don’t trust it. And if we miss our chance for a while so be it – if he truly fights for the stability and peace of the heartlands he’ll be around when he needs to be… i hope.

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I did not mean to give you a hostile impression. Its just this is our fight and we wish to do what is best for the group and those who put faith in our tasks but we like knowing what we are getting involed in before we jump. Not only for the sake of our little band but also those of who our actions will effect. You have been giving us more questions than answers and that is causing our band confusion and that is why we can not make a dission to help you just by your say so. If you feel we are not up to what you need because of our handycap then im am sorry, but we can not fight something or someone when we know nothing. You have said your old enemy is not the one we should be worried about anymore but you have not said who is…. I as a hunter can not kill a animal i can not track. I can not out wit a animal i can not see or have no knowledge about. Plain and simple we need facts to come to a decision without facts we can not act. Also with holding Information that you have hinted to have having but not coming out with them will instill caution and a lack of trust. I am sorry for this but i can not fight with a old enemy with out cause and knowing to what end.

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[Hareen] You are new – i know you not. The greatest foe is Umbak – she seeks to regain her glory days and has the power to do it. Her navies grow and challenge even Gwinn – at least along her own coast now. He land forces marshal on the southern border of Loamwold and Dunstrand… and even now aggression towards the Grollen on her borders is resulting in heavy losses, trade reductions, fear along the rivers and plains of the south… it is the kingdom of Umbak’s hand that stirs the pot now.

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[Geri] You say nothing that we do not already know. Umbak has ever been the thorn in the side of the High King… with Dunstrand as the buffer. Why should we think ultimately this will change? I say you play us for fools.

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[Cage] Geri does have a point…and, yeah, you bring more questions then answers. If the people that we serve ask us to go there, then we will but, that isn’t for me to decide and, unless you have specific information and, premissions from those that employ us, then we will do what we were sent to do here and, be on our way when our business here has ended. If you wish to intervene on our behalf’s, then make light of what dark tidings you bring but, give us something tangible to work with here. Otherwise, I hope we meet again when such revilations can be devulged to us. May your health one day match the spirit contained within you.

[ooc] what’s this guy dressed like…is he a dandy? Clean and well dressed? What color of skin, hair, eyes does he have? Any markings, symbols liveries on this guy? Is he carrying weapons? If so, what kind? He got any point ears?

Cage Look Geri, I don’t know about this guy, he might be true but, he could be a trap like you said…shit, any number of things can come about with this fella. I say either he gives us something useful or, we just leave him be and let him go in peace.

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Hareen is dressed in fine silk and fine linen simple clothes (though his boots are very nice), no jewelry of any kind that you can see – no necklace or holy symbol adorns him. He looks like Hareen as you pictured him… though as if he had aged many years. Exhaustion is evident… even exaggerated. He carries a short sword and dagger – both of which appear to be finely crafted and adorned with etchings and some stones.

[Geri to Cage] It may be better to grab this impostor while we can…

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[Cage] You want me to beat him down our just get him pinned down so you can tie him up? He might be tough, if he’s the real Hareen but, I think I can take him down without to much harm…though I might take a few blows unless you can hold his weapons in his sheaths with that trick of yours. Might give me enough time in the confusion to supress him without hurting the old kodger? Can you do it on the down low, without him knowing and then give me a signal when your ready? Is Gide o.k. with capturing this guy? I ain’t going out of command Geri, I need his o.k. that we want this guy and, then I’m happy to put him down…

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[ooc] last comment to Geri, Gide if he’s there listening…FYI, don’t want to alert the guy so, do it quite and out of ear shot of him…act casual like.

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[Geri] I wont do anything without Gide’s approval.

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[Cage to Geri] If this guys the real deal Geri, then I’m beating up a legend…you guys better be right with whatever dicision you make. Team and Crew first Geri so, I’ll back whatever you two decide.

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[Cage to Geri] Good, ‘cause I don’t want to get kicked out again…we’re already on thin ice with him as is and, I’m following the code and command on this.

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<gide> Hareen? Can you stay and rest? I apologize for our reactions. I’ms sure that in comparison to your trails and ordeals it is nothing but recently in our service to Lady Dirdre and the High King we have been mightily worn and are tired from our struggles. Our enenemies have attempted assasinations twice on myself alone. Please stay with us as our guest and help me understand what you wish of use. Forgive our distrust. If we all are indeed serving Dungstrand and the High King then I will need to understand more of what you wish us to do. Aiding Gwinn without a better understanding of how this will affect current events seems ill-advised. p. Who else have you contacted since your return? How can we asist you now that won’t conflict with my oath to Lady Dirdre? Please give us time to rest and consider. Stay with us and help us understand as a champion of Dunstrand. Several of our party are still near death, myself included but our minds are sharp and are hearts beat and serve the King and his lands.p. What do you say? Rest will do us all good. Does your request require immediate action or can we considere and heal for a while? Please give us time and information so we can develop some trust that goes beyond what is known from names alone.

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[Hareen] I’m afraid this one meeting is all i have time for… we will meet again, i will continue my efforts here in Dunstrand – you can count on it. Our paths will cross again, i’m sure of it – our interest is the same: a Dunstrand changed for the better.

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[Cage] How do we find you if we need to seek you out? Is there someone we can contact to get you a letter or message without compromising you or, them? I don’t want you to betray any trusts but, not having a link to you somehow feel odd, since you know how to find us…it seems only fair?

Before you leave, may I see your blades, I’m fasinated by weaponary, especially swords/blades and, to see yours would be special indeed…I don’t need to hold them but, I’d truly like to see their craftmanship. Do you know who made them? I see that they have markings, do you know what they say on them? They are heavily jeweled, that must of cost a fortune, did they become that way in your possesion or, did you get them that way…do you know the occasion for such decoration of these blades? Was it a gift from someone?

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[Gide] No jumping him. If he’s an impostor we’ve given him nothing of value other than to confirm our location. If he is the true Hareen then we need to respect his mission but not follow him blindly.

[Cage] Fine, no jumpin’...if he’s Hareen, he’s a crabby ol’crotch but, being what he’s said to have gone threw, I could understand why. If he’s an impostor, then I can’t what to beat him down.

[Gide] Is there a runner that can assist with getting the journals we need that can be trusted? How long long? How much will it cost? Gide also needs to send an update of this discovery to Lady Dierdre and let her know we’re trying to confirm our “Hareen’s” identity. Can she offer us any assistance in this matter directly or indirectly?

[Geri] There’s no way we can assure getting a runner through and/or Taqwill back (i’m not exactly his favorite student). Plus, who says the journals are there? We have to play it safe and let him go… this time.

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[Cage] They are an odd design and make…from where do they come from?

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[Hareen] My blades are not my own, those of my family were lost. He draws the short sword – a flashy affair with an edge that could split hairs. “They say the halflings made this – its light and almost feels like a toy. Perfect for my current state.” He does not let go, but spins it, bares it, and slowly puts it away, making no noise in the process. “These came to me as a gift – from who i cannot say. I will contact you if needs be… fare you well.”

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[Cage] Nice craftmanship and, impressive display for your current state, as you’ve mentioned. Who they came from isn’t important for now. They are quite beautiful indeed. Please do contact us in the near future, I’d hate to not met again, as your history is quite interesting to me…safe travels to you.

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Hareen bids you all fare well and slips away into the night…

[Gide] Do we know what the Rose would signify?

[Geri] The Rose could signify the Rosewood Vase… the quest for which really made them (Band of Crows) famous.

[Cage] Will he ever return to his normal age and health? Could the healing powers of the Rosewood Vase ever rejuvinate him back to normal? Or is he stuck this way? He’s come this far, is it possible for him to get even stronger/healthier?

[Xar] From what i know of my father, I think he would would turn over in his grave if he found out that Hareen was advocating that Bar-Innis align itself with Gwinn let alone the children of his friends doing it. Maybe Hareen wasn’t the hero everyone made him out to be? As far as I know he literally gave his life to defeat Gwinn and now he’s on their side? Something smells fishy. As he walked away, my meager magical skills only allowed me to determine that some mystical effect was in play – he himself fairly radiates mystical power from his very being… which would make sense with all that may have happened to him.

[Geri] I’m going to record as much of this conversation as i can to see if there is anything i can check on later… its late and we should retire to bed.

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[Geri] Oh yea, i’ll do my best to draft a drawing of his weapons (short sword and dagger). Cage got a close look at both, they are obviously the same sort of fine crafting. There were no runes or craft marks you can see… but both are distinctive – highly polishes and razor sharp – they have a unique ivory piece with a rose in the cross guards. I’ll have Cage verify my drawings are accurate.

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[Cage] Anything you need Geri…I was glad he gave a close of a look as he did, those really are remarkable weapons. They may be small but, I wouldn’t want to tangle with someone who was well versed in there use like what he showed of his skill. They made not a sound, like that of death about to claim another soul home. I know not their abilities but, them seemed very light indeed for him to wield them the way he did. So either he’s faking or those have some powerful properties.

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[Geri] The vase could help him… it may already have – who knows? The Rosewood Vase is far to the north and only a distant legend to us poor provincials. I’ll bet it would have its limits in healing him – if that is him, hes paid for his actions and thats a huge reminder of why not to be a “hero”.

[Cage] Good point Geri…a little cold sure but, point well taken. It’s an awful price to pay… mercy should have released his suffering decades ago. Amazing willpower and, fortitude to lose so much and, still return from the brink like that…assuming that’s the real Hareen. If it ain’t, then next time he won’t be walking away. Let’s get some rest!

[Chalan] How in the hell can any of you even WANT to communicate with this guy?I understand hes this big hero of your historic war, but he DIED. I know I didn’t grow up here or know any of this prior to joining you, but is this whole resurrection thing something that seems common to you? To me the whole coming back to life just seems like evil necro voodoo. Im ok with Geri’s fascination with that,but from an unknown source? No thank you. At least When Geri does something mystical we all know who it is and whether or not it’s gonna fuck us. Sorry, but dead people are scary.

[Cage] Listen Chalan, hanging with us, ain’t nothing like huntin’ on the farm…you’re gonna see all kinds of shit you ain’t never seen before. The kind of shit your friends try to scare you with while you hunt at night…except, this shit is real. There’s shit that will eat you before you can even cry out and die. Hell, there’s worse shit out there then death kid. The lucky ones die and the others…, well fuck! That’s the shit that we deal with so, toughen up and, start believin’ in the weird shit in this life, ‘cause, you’re start comin’ face to face with plenty of wicked, messed up shit! So, get used to it…it’s who we are.

[Geri] What worries me is that whatever is happening is so big its drawn the attention of either the real Hareen or someone sick enough to be trying to dupe us. Things are desperate enough for something like this to happen… that seems way out of bounds from the scope i’m familiar with. Things are moving in the background we are obviously unaware of. House Malor’s motto of “security through information” is starting to ring pretty sound right about now.

[Cage] No joke Ger’...whatever it is, it’s got to be big and, we better get some very good intel. from a very reliable source and, soon or, whatever it is might change the face and players of Dunstrand for ages to come. Good, bad, who knows but, we better figure it out and, pick our battles carefully or, we’ll sink along with all the rest of them in this mess. And, we have to get to that mission of Dierdre’s to help Finance this Civil War…she could use the boost before people start jumping ship and, high tailing it to calmer waters, if a place like that exists? Sounds like big shit hitting the fan everywhere if the Heralds Quarterly Report has any weight to it? If that was Hareen, the Real Hareen and, some fake fuck? then it got that one right??? Maybe there’s a lot more going on then any of us expected and, the Duke’s in deep shit! Him and every other person in Dunstrand if what that Hareen said is true. I knew Umbak was going to be a bitch but, I didn’t think they had it in them to move this soon. As far as joining with Gwinn…screw them! I don’t have to kill them but, if they’re fighting Umbak, then I’ll leave them alone to fight amongst themselves as long as it doesn’t interfere with our other obligations. I think we need to talk to the Duke himself if we can to get the scoop on all this shit…he’s about the only one I can figure that might have the correct Information we need to know, well, assuming he’ll even meet with folks like us. Gide, wasn’t Your Father one of the Black Gorgons, the Duke’s personal guards? Perhaps he’d meet with you since you’re one of Dierdre’s officers…and, frankly, out of all of us, the most normal and, likely not to freak them out by being to close to him. Don’t know if we got the time and, ya’all still need to rest up and, heal since Anwin’s pulled that shit on you guys. We still owe his ass a beatin’ and killin’...I’m going to make it hurt’m like he’s never been hurt before, I’m gonna drag him into the streets and, run him up a pike! Let those Twin River Fuck’s know just who’s here to fight’m…I ain’t down with how they been starving them folks and, keepin’ poor, it’s shameful how they’re treatin’ them people.

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Hunting on the farm? I’m a thief, not some inbred hic. I certainly didn’t sign on under the impression that nothing crazy was going to happen. You may not have been there, but I was the LAST to run from the freaky shit when I met Gide and the rest. however, just because I know lifes going to throw hell at us doesn’t seem like reason to throw caution to the wind and INVITE said freaky shit.

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[Geri] hahahahahahaha

A Meeting with Hareen
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