Tourmaline - 03 - Encountering a Knight

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Very much so!
And whom am I speaking to, my knightly fellow?
    •  ::: produces a strand of ribbon from nowhere and tosses it about with a swirl of her body :::
  •  ::: bows upon one knee :::
  •  ::: head down :::

Alexander Eminas, Milady.

La! Alexander! And I am Tourmaline!
    •  ::: looks up, knight in shining darksteel armor :::
Such a gallant name!
And from which shining castle do you hail, kind sir?

Forgive me, I did not expect to encounter many along this traderoad. I hail from Mirage.

  •  ::: stands smartly :::

Where head you, may I ask?

Mirage? My word! Then you must be very brave, good sir knight! I have heard dire tidings from that land!

Yes, milady, my father had to take over the rulership at the start of the War, and I have been sent on Errand.

But that is not the tragedy I heard! Is it true, good sir night, that the blueberries are out of season in your land?
    •  ::: taps armor and makes an echo that's exaggerated by her illusionist magic :::
Then it is so! I must rescue you, my noble knight! Come with me to the nearby village, and I shall make you pancakes and tarts until that hollow armor of yours is filled!

Madame, I must attend to a matter of Urgency, as per my father's orders. I must appreciate the offer, but I must refuse.

You must travel these roads safely. Let not the War catch ye off-guard.

But I cannot travel safely without a handsome knight at my side!
Come! Tell me of your quest as we travel together.
I shall see your delerium recovered by fresh blueberries and cream, if there is no time for tarts.
    •  ::: less playfully :::
I know something of these lands. I may be of assistance.

"I know something of these lands, too!" says the old woman from the cart. More like shouted.

Ah, yes! The competent tree slayer!
You see, good sir knight. I travel with mighty kin.

"And don't marry him! He only wants you for your money!"

  •  ::: chuckles :::
M'lady here, she is a ferocious slayer of trees, hacking them from limb to limb!
And Jerin is a fair gentleman, and a powerful slayer of slices of raspberry pie!

"Yes, most competent of kin. If you must travel, travel with me, or travel safely to your destination."

I shall indeed!
  •  ::: tilts his head :::

Milady? What shall thee?

Did thou bringest a steed, oh, Brave Alexander the Blueberryless?
I shall travel with you!

"Travel your Friends to Autumncrest, or dare face they Challenges?"

Jerin? Is Autumncrest our destination?
And alas! What Challenges do you speakest of?

"Yes, my lady, up ahead some distance."

"Where are y'all going?" pokes the old lady's head from the covered wagon.

Then tarry we must not! We stand between a shining knight and his fresh blueberries!
Why, we're going with you, my fair lady! Hop aboard Starfire with me!

"I travel onward to the Southmine Keep," says the Knight.

"If I had company, my journey would be relieved of quiet; if you have pressing duty, though, travel safely."

(P.S. The old lady and Jerin are already traveling with you.)

Well, the old lady never made it offical that I can remember.

(She hopped into the wagon with Jerin.)

We go to meet a different knight. His errand is likely connected towards your own.
You might do well to visit with this knight, kind sir.

"Another knight? What mission does he carry?"

I know not. We travel to investigate.
Strange things have been about.
    •  ::: waves hand and shows an illusion of the upturned cart :::

"Aye that, I go to search out a missed shipment."

This is not normal in this peaceful land.
    •  ::: is shocked by your illusion :::

"No, milady, this bodes ill, truly."

That is possible.

"You... this cart... is that?"

Minus one thing we left behind.
    •  ::: waves hand and shows egg :::
  •  ::: you sense shock, directly, from the knight :::

"This... that you... left behind... is... what we hoped to receive."

It is not far in the opposite direction.
We sensed an uncleanliness from it, and left it for the wild.

"That... extraordinary marvel... was a valuable ore mined from the Southmine."

"I had not expected it to be so large!"

Knight, we have little use for extraordinary marvels.

"I must find this and return it for our Safekeeping."

It is yours! Please take it away from this land.

"Know ye precisely where we may find it, since ye seem familiar?"

I know where I left it.
    •  ::: shows illusion of general area and explains about where it would be relative to here :::

"Disguised... as a log... if your Slayer of Trees has not been so thorough, I must not have any difficulty finding it."

Alexander... is this the only ore of its type pasing through?
It is not welcome here.

"It is. It was the first and only of its type."

Then please! We need nothing in this land. Any new treasure can bring only mischief.

"We were led to it in the ancient scrolls and research."

Take this with you for your travels.
    •  ::: hands him a package :::

"It seems mischief has already befallen!"

Is there more than that which I am aware?
    •  ::: takes the package and pauses :::

"What be this?"

"No, no mischief, beyond the interruption of Trade."

Blueberry bread. I said you should have it!
    •  ::: winks :::

"No culprit who can be found means no more on this matter may be Condemned."

You will find it most replenishing. There's a bit of magic in it.

"I will certainly enjoy this, and return some to my father, I think he should appreciate it."

Save it for when you need it, Sir Knight. It is special.

"Milady, I shall try to reserve it. How long does it keep?"

Indefinitely.
Why, until you find you need it.

Fascinating enchantment.

Think of our peaceful land as you share it with your father, and please keep your charms and treasures from this land.
It saddens me to see this slain animal, and the wagon which surely had its driver at one time.

"We shall do our best, and I shall think of you as I defend to ward this War from consuming our Lands."

  •  ::: half-bows upon a half-bent knee, and with intent, begins back towards his steed :::
    • Eating the bread cures poisons and diseases, and gives the consumer the equivalent of ten hours' sleep. There's enough for four servings.

La! What a kind soul, was he not, Jerin?

"I must say, that was odd, encountering a knight upon the road, traveling the opposite direction..."

"But not the knight sent for my sister and her hometown."

It is indeed. I sense hard times in his future, although I do not know why.

"And we... having commandeered the very wagon which carried the stone to him."

Ah, two knights visit in one day! I nearly forgot our quest!

"Stranger things have happened! It's rained frogs before!" the old lady's voice cackles.

We must away to this knight, before he gallops off on another brave quest!

"If we should meet the knight sent, he should catch up with us, since he had to come from the east, behind us."

"Milady? We must make to Autumncrest before nightfall, or we should risk our own lives on these roads."

Wonderful! Then we need not tarry. It's a beautiful day!
And what could befall us on these roads? I've slept upon this very path when I was but seven years old.

"Scallywags!" cries the old lady.

"Wildkin!" she continues.

"So many things!" her voice cackles with a punctuating laugh.

There is a stream nearby here, with beautiful white stones.
When I awoke, I brought many of them and built a cairn by an old oak tree.
When last I passed through, the cairn stood still.

"We will make to Autumncrest. We must keep our speed."

Jerin gently guides Magnus to start moving the cart again.

Oh, Jerin. You worry so.
Then so be out. Out of love for you, my beautiful Starfire shall gallop at your side!

[gently fast forward]

You come to a crossroads.

There! The cairn I'd built! Even after all these years!
    •  ::: dismounts form Starfire and reaches into her pouch, revealing a small white stone :::
I add to this cairn every time I pass. It's for good luck.
    •  ::: carefully places the rock on top of the others :::

"What a... special cairn! Look at the stones! I had never known you upkept it! I have seen it since I was mid-teen."

I brought this one from mountains far away.
I keep it clean with a small enchantment
    •  ::: hums a soft song, renewing the magic of the enchantment :::

"Well, luck be with us. I am uncertain which way we must go. At last visit, this was but a fork in the road, I recall -- now it seems there are three directions... it has been so long."

Then I shall simply divine the truth!
    •  ::: casts a simple divination spell :::
Oh, wise goddess of the cairn! Which way shall my road lead me?
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