Dark Star Prophecy

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Seethe
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Dark Star Prophecy

Unread postby Seethe » Thu Jan 11, 2007 6:50 pm

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In a city like Doma, it is only natural that rumors from all parts of the surrounding country would contually fly around like birds. How many of these rumors are true and how many are false, who could say? To find out, one would have to travel far and wide, investigating each rumor seperately until the truth or fiction of all was known. But of course, by then more rumors would have flooded in.

One rumor that had been passed around for the last couple of weeks was that a particularly large number of hoboes had begun to congregate on the country's western shore. As it eventually turned out, these hoboes were actually refugees from an island to the south. But what had caused them to flee remained unknown.

A few days ago, however, information arrived on that mystery. A mage from Nekonia had shown up bearing news that trouble was brewing. If one were to encounter a truthful account of what she said, that individual would learn that an island near the Forbidden Plains was being invaded by demonic forces from the Underworld. Upon learning this, the mage had visited a guild in southern Doma to research the matter, and from the library there she had found information which led her to believe that the demons belonged to a clan known as the Kor Nong.

Kor Nong, as her research had told her, held extensive territory throughout the Netherworlds and now seemed to be planning a massive grab for land on Gaera. The island which was now being invaded, as well as a number of other locations which remained unknown, was to serve as a base of operations from which the demons would attack the nearby countries.

With this knowledge, the mage had come immediately to Doma City in hopes of finding a few travelling companions. She would then leave for the island and join in its defense, for the fate of western Igala hung on what happened there.

* * *

Presently, the Nekonian mage sat in the bar room of a largely disused inn known as the Missing Arm. Her name was Brinala Aldring and, as the rumor stated, she was indeed hoping to find a few escorts to the island of Maratoka where the demonic incursion was taking place. It was true that the previously mentioned current events could have a dramatic impact on the future of Gaera, but her motives for intervening were still partially ulterior.

Beyond saving the universe, she had another reason for seeking to involve herself: she had learned long ago from a tome deep with the library of Gunnir Academy that the ruling house of Maratoka possessed a fragment of an object known as a Mana Heart, a rare crystalized lump of pure mana that would somehow gather and dissipate over time within the Mana Stream. For one of these objects to actually appear in the material world was extremely uncommon, and for one to remain for any period of time without dissipating was almost unheard of. Right now was, of course, Brinala's chance to acquire the shard.

Of course, the demons themselves probably had it in their possession now. With any luck, though, they would not have taken it back to the Underworld yet. And with even more luck, they wouldn't yet have managed to solidify their position on the island, as the islanders who resisted them still remained.

Sitting at a table in the barroom from which she could see the door, Brinala passed the time by reading over her spellbook/notebook/journal as she waited for anyone to approach her.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Fri Jan 12, 2007 2:27 am

And then black and blue landed next to her.

Well, black clothing, blue hair. And the person attached to it, a man named Cardinal, was grinning an odd sort of grin. It was a grin that knew how badly things were going to get, but thought it was still kind of amusing.

Upon closer examination, this man had earlength hair, with black tips, and a buttoned longcoat with tight sleeves that flared a bit at the cuffs with a square collar. He had on black gloves, that gave up their quest to reach the wrist halfway down the hand.

Grinning his grin, he looked the catperson in the eye and said, "Hey. You're the one who... who's going to the island, right? With demons?" He extended a hand.

"I'm Highguard Cardinal, the official Hand of the King for this mission. Nice to meet you."

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Unread postby Kelne » Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:28 am

There are certain words which, if spoken in a bar, are guarranteed to attract attention. 'demons' is unquestionably one of them. In this case, the attention was that of a young elf wearing a somewhat ragged-looking pair of trousers and with blue tribal tattoos covering his chest and the left side of his face. His hair was dyed a vivid crimson, and when he spoke, his voice was surprisingly deep and rough.

"Wot's all dis about demons?" Gnashrak had missed the big demonic incursion of his lifetime, along with the corresponding chances of glory. Now that he was hearing about more opportunities to fight the denizens of the underworld, he couldn't help but be enthusiastic.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:06 pm

A relatively small figure would slowly come into view by the table. It was a Moogle, partially dressed in a cloak. The cloak was a tawdry one that appeared to have been purchased from the cheapest tailor available. The cloak covered much of what may be equipped on the body below, though a pair of fluffy, angelic wings poked through the back regardless. Perhaps efforts to hide them had ultimately turned up futile.

The Moogle himself, despite being a member of what was undoubtedly one of the more adorable races on the planet, what with the fuzziness, the doily-bob, and the pink nose, looked a wee bit solemn as he approached, though he attempted to take a friendly tone.

"Huh, thought the last we'd have to do with demons would be back in the battle with Malachias, though I guess I was wrong on that one. Anyway, name's End Reshiki, nice to meet ya."

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Unread postby Seethe » Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:20 pm

A human with blue hair appeared and made himself the first to inquire about the island. He introduced himself as Highguard Cardinal and had apparently come on behalf of Doma's king. Along with this greeting, he extended his hand, which Brinala shook after rising from her seat. She returned an amiable grin and was about to introduce herself when another voice spoke up.

Looking to view the owner of this second voice, Brinala was surprised to see that it belonged to an elf. This elf was tattooed with tribal markings and wore a pair of ragged trousers. He seemed interested in the demons as well.

Then Brinala noticed another person approaching, this one being a moogle. The nekojin wondered a bit about the angelic wings that poked through the moogle's cloak, though he otherwise seemed to possess the features one would expect of a moogle. He also mentioned demons, as well as Malachias, and introduced himself as End Reshiki.

Three people had appeared to inquire about the demons all at once. Interesting twist of fate, that.

"My name is Brinala Aldring, and it's a pleasure to make your acquaintances," the mage introduced herself. "And yes, I'm planning on heading to the island that's being attacked by demons. If you've heard the right rumors, then you'll know that the situation down there is pretty dangerous. If nobody stops them from setting up base now, things are going to get bad for everybody later."

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Unread postby Kelne » Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:25 pm

"Well, sounds loik a no-brainer, den," the elf says. If one wasn't looking at him as he spoke, one would swear it was an orc talking, "Get down dere, give 'em a good stompin', an' 'opefully, dat'll be da end of it."

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sat Jan 13, 2007 2:31 am

Cardinal looked at Gnashrak in wide-eyed wonder.

"Sir... we are of one mind. YES! Let us go forth and kick ass, mm? Plunge headfirst into the abyss and attempt to claw back out again?"

He gave the elforc a sturdy slap on the shoulder. "Yes sir, we shall get along SWIMMINGLY, you and I..."
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Unread postby Seethe » Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:15 pm

"I like that enthusiasm," Brinala said, regarding the human and the elf.

It looked fairly certain that they would be coming along with her. Then she turned to regard the moogle.

"So, you in on this too?" she asked. "Maybe this time the netherworld will learn to mind its own business."

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Sorry 'bout that; had no access to Internets since Friday.

Unread postby Endadelta » Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:37 pm

End regarded the two with some measure of detached interest. In a sense, he ached to be as excited as they were about any chances at combat... there was a time when he shared their excitement over an impending battle. But, for some time now, he seemed to be a bit beyond that, and he wasn't really sure why. It bugged him a bit.

When spoken to, he regarded the Nekojin and firmly nodded, still attempting to maintain that friendly tone. "Well, hell yeah. Really, having the entire damned city destroyed a while back wasn't too great. If we could a stop to any further situations like... well, what we have here, it'd be cool."

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Unread postby Seethe » Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:39 am

"Great," Brinala replied. "It looks like we have our party then. If we're all ready to go, we might as well head on out."

Brinala opened the travelling pack that was sitting in a chair at her table and from it took a simple leather helmet. She strapped this helmet on, covering the top and back of her head but leaving the bottom of her purple-colored hair free to reach her shoulders, then closed the pack and slung it on. She was already wearing a robe of obsidian dycant skin which covered her arms, torso, and waist. She also wore a pair of leather bracers on her forearms below the sleeves of the robe, a pair of leather boots on her feet, and a belt. To this belt was attached a sabre, a buckler, and a small leather pouch.

Being ready to set out, she started towards the door.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:48 am

"Ooh. We'll be fighting soon? Better get ready."

Unbuttoning his bottom button, Cardinal whipped away his coat, revealing dark pants, a white button up shirt, and a beautifully crafted fighting rapier, in its hilt, and on his belt.

"Are we going to be killing the demons now, in five minutes, or... or what? o.o"
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Unread postby Kelne » Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:47 am

"Prob'ly be a few days, wot with da demons bein' on some island somewhere an' all," Gnashrak said, "Less dey know we're comin', a' course."

He did take the time to check his own equipment. Axe, check. Bow and arrows, check. Lunch, check. Not that he expected to have an awful lot of use for the bow. There was just no glory to be had in shooting people full of arrows. But it would come in handy if the cowardly zoggers stood back or ran away.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:36 am

End followed along, moving quickly with tiny Mooglish legs!

As luck would have it, he pestered Brinala with a question! "So, uh. This place we're talkin' about... that island, near those 'Forbidden Plains'. D'you know what's so forbidden about 'em?"

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Unread postby Seethe » Wed Jan 17, 2007 7:30 pm

"I'm not sure why it's called that," Brinala replied. "There are supposedly a lot of ghosts there from a war that happened a long time ago, but I'm not so sure the place is really forbidden like the name says. Mostly just 'foreboding.'"

After giving her answer to the question, Brinala opened the door of the bar. Outside lay the road that led to the southern edge of Doma city.

* * * * *

The journey through the Doman countryside was not particularly eventful. After a few days, the group of travelers reached the coastline. At this point, the journey turned southward and continued in this direction until the tip of the mountain range that stood between the Forbidden Plains and Inustan came into view.

As the group approached these mountains, they passed by a number of ragged-looking camps which Brinala made a point of avoiding. Eventually, though, they came upon a fairly large-sized camp which Brinala led them almost directly toward, but before reaching it she veered off toward the beach.

In the water near this beach, a rickety-looking ship was anchored. As luck would have it, a group of rowboats from this ship was currently ashore and unloading a number of ragged passengers. Few of these passengers were in any mood or condition to regard Brinala's party, but the oarsmen that remained in the boat that Brinala approached looked at them warily.

"Is your ship heading back to Maratoka?" Brinala called to the oarsmen before any of them had a chance to grow distrustful enough to do anything rash.

"What business is that of yours?" one of the oarsmen called back.

"My companions and I wish to help drive back the demons on the island," Brinala answered.

"You want to what?" replied the oarsman. "If that is true, then you are on a fool's errand. But I suppose that is your own problem. I can take you to our ship if you wish, but know that it departs immediately. Once aboard, you will not be able to return to shore."

"That is fine," Brinala said. "I will not wish to return to shore."

The oarsman gave a nod of assent and waited for the travelers to climb into the boat.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sat Jan 20, 2007 6:16 pm

With a bit of a reckless leap, Cardinal hopped into the vessel, balancing himself as it wobbled in the water.

"You have no confidence, old man," he pseudo-drunkenly bragged. "There will soon be enough power in this boat to snuff out the sun and stars!

"... but not just yet. The others have to get in too. ... well? Come on, we're all waiting to go on our quest to get ourselves killed..."
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Unread postby Kelne » Sat Jan 20, 2007 7:02 pm

Gnashrak took the transition somewhat less recklessly, and with what one might see as a bit of trepidation. Boats were decidedly unfamiliar territory to him. As was the ocean. So much empty blue, stretching as far as the eye could see. Still, if this lot could take it, then so could he.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:17 am

End took a running start and dashed into the boat. Those who would worry about him going too fast needn't worry; his head, colliding head-on with the side of the boat, halted his onward travel directly and swiftly.

Standing up, the Moogle rubbed his head. "Uh, yeah, let's go already, huh?"

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Unread postby Seethe » Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:00 am

Brinala was the last one into the boat. Although she was the one who had hailed the oarsmen, she was actually a bit nervous as the feline fear of water was no stranger to her. She kept up a brave front, though, even as the boat was shoved away from the shore and forced to rely on its own questionable seaworthiness to stay afloat. Of course, the observant would notice that her ears were layed back defensively and her tail was twitching anxiously.

When the boat neared the larger ship, a few sailors leaned over the railing of the deck to look on questioningly.

"We've picked up a few passengers off the beach," the head oarsman called.

"First time I've seen anyone volunteerin' for the return trip," replied one of the men above.

Once the rowboat reached the ship, Brinala was the first to scramble out. The larger deck still rocked with the waves, but at least those waves weren't close enough to touch at the moment.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:04 pm

End made his way onto the larger ship in a flash, looking around with what may very well be a budding growth of... excitement? Could it be?

"Wow, first time I've ever been on a ship like this! Or any kind of ship at sea! Ever!" He hopped from one point to the next, observing the surrounding seas from his higher vantage point, shimmying up and down any ropes that were available, and just generally acting a bit over-excited. This didn't quite match with the personality traits he had displayed earlier... but perhaps the sea air did him good.

"C'mon, guys!" He eventually hailed to the other three. "Aren't you excited at all about this? I mean, hey, big ship!"

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Unread postby Kelne » Tue Jan 23, 2007 7:52 pm

The moogle's enthusiasm seemed infectious, at least for Gnashrak. He began looking on the sea voyage as an adventure in itself, rather than something to be endured. And the ship was certainly steadier than the tiny boat they'd come across to it in.

Clambering up the ladder, Gnashrak was soon setting foot on the deck itself, gazing about with interest. He was also beginning to recall tales from old Akrat about his days at sea. The old orc had certainly made it sound like a great way to see the world.

"Hey, ya think we might be jumped by sea monsters?" He asked End hopefully.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:14 pm

The moogle hung from a rope far overhead, using one hand to catch hold of it, the other to scratch his chin thoughtfully.

"To tell the truth, I dunno! But now that I think about it, it'd be pretty great if it did! Something gigantic, with tentacles, and mouths, and roaring and screaming and lots of fighting!" The thought of it seemed to pique his interest, to the extent that he brought himself back down and took a stance.

"But if it does, we'll be ready!"

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Unread postby Kelne » Wed Jan 24, 2007 4:25 pm

"Damn straight! Zogga won't know wot hit 'im." One might now get the impression that Gnashrak would now be terribly disappointed if they weren't attacked by a sea monster. Or maybe pirates. Pirates would do in a pinch.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:01 pm

"Zogga?! What is it?!" At this, End took a drastic pose and glanced all around, attempting to fixate a glance on whereever a potential 'Zogga' could be. "Is it a gigantic Zog, with tentacles, and teeth, and mouths, and lots of power?"

He paused.

"Cause that'd probably be better. Or maybe some pirates. Or WaterSlimes. You gotta watch out for 'em."

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Unread postby Kelne » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:17 pm

"Nah. Zogga's a..." Gnashrak searched his vocabularly for the proper term, "Blanket... fing. Any stoopid fing can be a zogga. 'Course, ya don't want ta call someone's mum a zogga. Gets ya a punch in da face."

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:39 pm

Cardinal was still in the skiff, examining a cuff, no less.

After determining it was EXACTLY to his demanding specifications, he looked up, realizing he was the last off.

"... oh, we'll be riding in the BIG boat... why didn't anyone say anything?"

He clambered up on deck, and dusted himself off. "Come now friends, I was sitting in that boat like an idiot... the LEAST you could have done was poke me.

"Oh well. Best laid plans. Are we leaving yet?"
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Unread postby Endadelta » Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:15 pm

"So... a Zogga's like a #!@!@?"

End's (censored) word was a horrible, horrible bit of profanity that should not be left uncensored.

"'Cause, ya know, I've called plenty 'a people that."

He turned to Cardinal as he approached. "Hey, you ready to go fight a killer slime zog squid?"

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Unread postby Seethe » Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:16 pm

The sailors moving about the deck looked a little uncomfortable as the conversation between the moogle and the elf proceeded, as if excitement and high adventure was exactly the opposite of what the ship's crew wanted.

The captain of the ship was soon on the bridge. He noticed the new passengers, but the oarsman from the rowboat had already filled him in about them. He thought that they must not have been sane, but they looked safe enough to transport. As long as there were only four of them, he wasn't going to delay the voyage back to Maratoka for long enough to have them rowed back to land.

Moving to the helm, the captain ordered the hoisting of the anchor. Moments later, the ship began moving.

Brinala had been standing in the dead center of the deck, as far away from the edges of the ship as possible. She hadn't been paying much attention to anything but her own efforts to convince herself that her body wasn't going to throw itself over the side for no reason.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:02 am

Cardinal crouched down to End's level, and looked him square in the eye.

He then grinned, and scratched his head. "Yup. And you're fuzzy."
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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:35 pm

End stared straight back, and seemed to regain some sort of composure after a moment, settling down from his prior excitement and acting in a more 'reserved' manner.

"Ahem. Yes, well, I certainly am. A bit fluffy, too." His angelic wings flapped once or twice, as if to independently confirm this statement. "Y'know, for some reason, you seem familiar, tho' I'm pretty sure we haven't met..."

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sat Jan 27, 2007 9:39 pm

"Oh. Maybe. I might be cloned from the backfat of Hakaril Silvar, and everyone and their mother seems to know him..."

He stood. "But hey, if you or I remember, kick me."

Card then looked to Brinala. "Hey! How long's this boatride going to take? Years?"

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Unread postby Endadelta » Sat Jan 27, 2007 10:18 pm

"Not a problem!" Since the man wanted End to kick him in such a case, it would be deemed justified violence, thusly no problems would arise. He filed this little factoid away for future reference.

"Well, uh, we did just leave. It's probably gonna be a bit longer." End paused, but then visibly brightened up. "But if we don't have anything else to do, we can always pass the time by telling stories."

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Unread postby Seethe » Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:16 am

Brinala snapped out of her contemplations upon being asked the question.

"Yeah, I'd say it should take about a day or two," she answered. "The island's still a pretty good ways away from here."

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Unread postby Kelne » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:26 am

"Stories it is, den," Gnashrak said cheerfully, "'Less we get jumped by somethin' in da meantime."

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:13 pm

"Oh! Oh! Me first!" cried Cardinal, rubbing his hands together and grinning madly.

"You'll like this. It's more of a parable than a story, but a good one nonetheless. They call it... the Parable of the Prodigal Son."

Leaning against the rail of the ship, the ex-priest gazes at the sea, as if to wonder what lay beneath, and began...

Unless someone stopped him.

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Unread postby Seethe » Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:47 am

Brinala didn't stop him. In fact, she became quite attentive.

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Story time!

Unread postby Endadelta » Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:08 pm

End stood at attention, and waited for Cardinal to begin.

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Unread postby Kelne » Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:16 am

Gnashrak seemed quite happy for Cardinal to begin the telling of stories.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:25 am

... and so it began.

"Long, long, LONG ago, in a land you'll never know, a man lived on a farm with two sons. One son longed for the life in the city, and demanded his inheritance. His father, a wise man, gave it to him, and let him leave. Well, the young man squandered his money on women, and gambling, and drink, and eventually, the money ran out. Penniless, he was forced to take care of pigs, not even allowed to eat the slop they consumed. Distraught, he said to himself, 'I am a fool! Even my father's servants eat better than this! I will go to him, and submit myself as a slave for him.' And so, he made the long journey back home. But, when his father saw him in the distance, he ran towards him, and embraced him, and killed the fattened calf for him to eat at a feast. The other brother, who had never left his father's side, said, 'Father! For years I have never disobeyed one of your orders, and yet you've never even given me a young goat so I may celebrate with my friends. And yet this son, who's frittered away your money on prostitutes, is greeted with the fatted calf?"

Cardinal sighed. "The father replied, 'My son, you've always been faithful, and all that is mine is yours. But we must rejoice, for your brother, who was dead, has come back to life. He was lost... but now he is found.'"

The story left Cardinal drained. His eyes were wide, as if on the verge of welling up. He then quickly shook his head, and shrugged. "I got a million of 'em, if you want to hear them..."
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Unread postby Endadelta » Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:11 pm

End watched with a growing strand of interest, and once the story had ended, spent a minute or two thinking about it.

That is, before he began to nod vigorously to Cardinal's last bit. "Yeah, right on! Let's hear another one!"

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Unread postby Kelne » Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:35 pm

Gnashrak seemed less enthused by the parable. It just seemed... Well, stupid. Any self-respecting person went out into the world to seek a fortune, not to throw one away. And you certainly wouldn't catch an orcish tribe welcoming back a useless waste of food like that.

It seemed to mean something to Cardinal though, and End seemed to be enjoying it, so he let it pass for now.

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