* OPEN * A Curious Celebration?

30th of Cylus 720

Almund is a thriving township with a dark side. With houses made from the wooden bodies of decommissioned ships, there are many opportunities here, coupled with many dangers.

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Darius Baer Bottom
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Re: A Curious Celebration?

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Darius' frustration with Oram didn't last long. The man had clearly not intended to be late, and had perhaps grown more comfortable with the timelessness of the wilderness. Even so, it wasn't a good look, as far as the bearded blond was concerned.

That being said, at least Oram hadn't been as late as the new arrival, who drew a gaze from Darius as he entered the building. Dark grey eyes scanned over the human, who looked as though he might blend in well with nature - which only made him stand out all the more in a place like The Kennel. He sent a glance back to Oram with a quizzical facial expression as if to highlight Shl'Drei's tardiness, and, in so doing, he assured his friend that all was well between them.

Before the newcomer's appearance, however, he had made notes of the upcoming investigation, knowing that he wouldn't be able to rely on Oram to do likewise. If either of them should forget any details later, Darius would have them on hand.

What Wesley had to say had certainly piqued the seafarer's curiosity. He had never heard of a wolf made of plants - he could barely imagine the appearance of such a creature - but he was not about to question the intelligence or the eyesight of one who hunted on land a lot more than he ever had.

He had sent furtive glances to Balthazar and Oram, wondering if they were finding the idea as intriguing as he himself was, but when it came to question time, he simply nodded.

"How long ago was that sighting?" he asked. "Did they approach the Plant Wolf when they saw it?"

Darius did have other questions, but they were mostly reserved for Verth and Maika, even though they were in another town entirely. And he wasn't sure what supplies they might need. That was Oram's area of expertise.
Last edited by Darius Baer Bottom on Sat Jun 13, 2020 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 327
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Balthazar Black
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Re: A Curious Celebration?


28 Cylus 720
Well at least Oram would be able to argue he hadn't been the latest arrival to the party. Balthazar was mulling over the things that had been said thus far when another adventurer joined their little band. A wolf with vines in place of fur? Interesting. Then again if it hadn't been interesting, Balthazar wouldn't have responded to the letter. The part he was listening for didn't immediately present itself. What were they meant to do about the beasts? The idea that someone was artificially manufacturing the wolves was an interesting one. Could a magic achieve that? What if the wolves were just becomers with an odd form or some mutations? What if the fall of Emea, temporary as it might have been, had corrupted the land in a way that produced these beasts? There were many possibilities- some more frightening than others and some absolutely exciting.

And then Wesley spoke of struggles in Rharne that Balthazar had only heard rumor of. Flameborn? Part of Balthazar wondered if the more immediate cause in need of his aid was Rharne. How long would it take him to venture there and back? Would the Elements allow for such a gap in his training time? Surely a master defier could lend some useful aid against beasts known as Flameborn... could he flay their flames? Balthazar banished the thought as quickly as it came to his mind. No. Flaying was wrong. The important answer came shortly after the news of the Flameborn. Find the creature creating the wolves and put and end to it. Balthazar's contemplation on that was interrupted by Wesley's failure to get the wolf to shoo. An amusing sight to say the least.

Unfortunately for the defiant wolf, that amusing sight was enough to convince Balthazar to try and attune to Bishop. This wolf had attitude and Balthazar loved it. He wanted to hear the notes that produced that very attitude, but he'd certainly hear more than that with time.

Oram voiced his question first and Balthazar thought it was a good one. He expected they'd probably have to question the father and son but part of him wanted to just go out into the woods where they'd been to look for the the wolf again. Then again the best way to find out exactly where was to have the duo lead them to the spot. But Oram had asked another interesting question that Balthazar awaited the answer to. Was Havardr the only place these wolves were spotted? When those questions were answered, the latest to the party arrived. Taking immediate pity on himself, Balthazar decided to save them all a long re-introduction

"Have a seat, thanks for coming. I'm Balthazar, this is Darius," Balthazar gestured to Darius, "that is Oram," Balthazar moved his gesture towards Oram and then his arm lowered back down to the table. "The wolf is Bishop and if something goes wrong he'll be our lifeline to the Councillor who organized this. Wolves with vines on them were seen in Havardr and we're meant to find out how they came to be." Balthazar tried to summarize the case as best he could. He'd started thinking about a fast recap for late individuals after Oram arrived. Best to expedite questions with a little exposition.

"Oh and that is Wesley, he's taking questions about the case." Balthazar added like a post-it to a conspiracy wall. Then Balthazar turned his attention to Wesley who by now faced the most daunting task of all- answering Balthazar's question. Just kidding, he didn't have one. The questions he did have, he'd ask as they became relevant to him. For the moment he was still trying to go over supplies that they might need but he was no hunter. Hell if left to his own devices, Balthazar would just wander the forest- maybe fly around a bit too, until he saw one of them. So Balthazar said, "I'll need a little more time to think of questions but I think I know what I need to for now."
word count: 697

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Nir'wei
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Re: A Curious Celebration?

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Wesley opened his mouth to begin answering the sudden deluge of eager questions, when a new face suddenly appeared in the doorway. Strange indeed, considering he didn't remember sending a letter to this one; had word got out about the meeting held today? "Ah, hello there. Please, take a seat." There were plenty of available tables and chairs to take, since Nir'wei had pulled a little bit of influence to convince the owner to keep the place mostly private. "I'm afraid you'll need to find one of the others willing to catch you up to speed on our objective. I simply don't have time to go over it again." Not that they were particularly pressed for time, of course not... but he was eager to get back to numerous other pressing issues, and let them all get down to their own objectives as they pleased.

Oram was first... and forced Wesley to pause, thinking back through the assortment of notes the Office had pulled together over the number of arcs prior. "There are others... but we don't have their names. It's a rumour, but one with enough consistency that it warrants an investigation." It was somewhat flimsy, that much he could not deny - but it was also something that couldn't be left until it became a larger issue, if the information Nir'wei had offered on Rharne was to be applied. "As for the father and son themselves, I have their return address here." He drew a loose sheet from his notepad and placed it face-up on the table before him. "Feel free to send a letter, meet them in person; whatever you so desire." It was a logical first step to take.

Next, the larger man, Darius. "The sighting was on the fifth of this season." Twenty five trials ago was quite a stretch, admittedly, but it had taken time to work through the back-log of other pressing matters, and then of course the collection of all relevant information, and the set date of the meeting, organising and sending all the letters to every necessary party beforehand... Wesley felt moderately proud that it'd all been accomplished in such a short timespan, if he did say so himself. "They didn't get the opportunity to. They said that it disappeared. It didn't move, it simply vanished where it stood, and when they approached the spot that it had once been, they found traces of wolf-like prints that trailed forwards for a short distance and then vanished as well."

Finally, he turned to Balthazar... who kindly filled in their newcomer, but then said nothing. Perhaps the other two had already asked the questions he'd had in mind... only time would tell. "Very well. If there are any more questions to be asked by anyone here," he carried on, with a noticeable look towards their newcomer Shl'drei, "I'll be happy to answer." He'd wait until they were all completely satisfied before making his leave, just in case.
word count: 512
We return to where we started, and pass onwards into history.
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Oram Mednix
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Re: A Curious Celebration?

I’m sure there’s a quest marker around here somewhere

Another man entered. Oram sat back and enjoyed a few trills of relief at not being the latest person to arrive as the others brought this new arrival up to speed. As to the answers: it was unfortunate that Wesley didn’t have more names for them of people who had seen the strange wolf, but not hopeless, especially not if anybody else in Havardr had seen the thing. The settlement was not large, and canvassing it shouldn’t be too hard. Whether the Havardrians would talk to outsiders was a different matter, of course, but at least the party had something to work with.

The detail that the hunters had said the thing just vanished into thin air in front of them, rather than retreating into hiding, made Oram skeptical. He’d seen some pretty strange things, of course, some quite recently, here in Almund, in fact. The magic needed to make such a creature might well exist. On the other hand, it could just have been a trick of shadows. The perpetual gloom of Cylus worked all sorts of mischief on even the keenest of eyes, he knew.

Well, they weren’t going to figure it out by sitting here navel gazing. Oram looked around at the group. ”We should get to Havardr as soon as we can,” he suggeted, ”to talk to these people, then ask around the settlement if anyone else knows anything. Havardr’s not that big. And it’s only a trial south of here, or would be in good weather.” The last bit was a pretty crucial detail, he knew. Snowfall and cold had been pretty intense this season. ”That’d only be a few trials’ work,” the traveler continued. ”Maybe some of us can head on down there right away to talk to these guys while everybody else starts preparing for the trip to the Jungle?”

word count: 325
Villains are powerless against story beats.
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Darius Baer Bottom
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Re: A Curious Celebration?

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Darius nodded as Wesley provided answers to the group's questions, and he continued to take notes, a quiet scratching noise entering the room as his pencil scraped across the parchment.

It was only when he read over his notes that he was able to consider the nature of the information they'd been given. Thankfully, they had been given something to work with, although it wasn't much.

Names and an address for the father and son made for an obvious starting point, but what the pair had claimed to have witnessed was certainly mysterious. The sailor looked across at Oram, for he trusted the hunter's knowledge of such things beyond that of his own, but he was only met by a similarly furrowed brow.

"It has already been twenty-five trials since it was spotted," Darius offered as a potential counterpoint to Oram's sense of urgency.

He sent a polite nod in Wesley's direction, for he was certain the Council of Natural Affairs had not dillydallied in gathering the group together, but no amount of bureaucratic hastiness could outrun a wolf, no matter how unnatural it might have been.

"It could be anywhere on the island by now."

Darius shrugged, unsure of the best step to take next.

"I need to be in Scalv for the Gifting Trial," he added, attempting to speak tactfully to avoid upsetting Wesley, but traditions were traditions, "but I can ask if such a wolf has been sighted there. That might help us to narrow down its movements somewhat, particularly if nobody has seen such a creature. I could journey to Havardr after that."

Then he glanced across to Oram.

"Perhaps you will have had time to get a feel for what the locals think of these rumours?"

The human didn't wait for a response. He was already rising to his feet, and, having thanked Wesley for his guidance, he made his way out of The Kennel and began to plan his return to Scalvoris Town.
word count: 337
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Balthazar Black
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Re: A Curious Celebration?


28 Cylus 720
Oram had an interesting suggestion and so Balthazar ran through a list of what he thought he would need to prepare for a journey. Rations sure but he could manifest water to drink and he could create fire to keep warm. He could mold earth into shelter though the shelter might not be perfect and he could always use a few portals to shorten the journey. "I won't need long to prepare. I can go to Havadr once we are done here to try and find us some more leads." Balthazar turned towards Darius who had expressed doubt about Oram's urgency. "The longer we wait, the colder the trail grows. But there is no need for all of us to go immediately." Then Balthazar turned to Wesley with his proposal, "I can keep an eye on the Havadr until everyone else has settled their affairs and can join me there." Balthazar was far to curious not to go now and had little keeping him in Scalvoris town now that the worst of his work was behind him.

He wanted to explore; to see and to learn more about the magic of Attunement and he'd never been to Havadr so that was something to look forward too at the least. Plus he was not comfortable leaving the matter and asking locals around Scalvoris. He was certain is anyone around them had seen the wolves, they'd have reported another sighting by now and they'd have another lead. The fact that they did not gave him doubts that the beasts had wandered far from the jungle. Then Darius made his abrupt exit and Balthazar took that to mean the meeting was coming to a close... or at least devolving towards one. Balthazar looked to Wesley to see what he said before acting. If he was told not to go to Havadr he might stay... but he still would probably go.

word count: 325

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Nir'wei
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Re: A Curious Celebration?

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It seemed that all was finally in order; already discussions were fueled towards reaching the Jungle as swiftly as possible and all the arrangements around it that could be adjusted. Wesley cast one last, pointed look at Nir'wei, and made a subtle hand gesture that brought him sullenly to heel once more. "I'll leave the arrangements of the dates in your capable hands. We are on no schedule but yours." He left that hanging in the air for a moment, trying to remind them all that this was just as much a test as it was an assignment, but soon he hastily amneded, "within reason of course. If the nature of these beings turns out to be malevolent, or vicious, then they will need to be handled immediately and with extreme caution." Surely that wouldn't be the case, though. They'd had no warnings of such from the reports.

Still, there was also such a thing as being overly speedy - he hadn't even noticed Darius heading to leave until the man was already on his feet and heading for the door. "One last thing!" the assistant called after him, and to the others as well. "When you decide on the date that you shall travel, be sure to make it known however you can to the Office of Natural Affairs! We'll make sure to keep Bishop specially prepared for you... along with spare provisions should you find yourselves lacking." After all, while foresight and preparedness were of great value, an even greater one was to remain alive - whether they were seen at fault or not, it'd be better if this expedition didn't lay any unnecessary deaths at their feet.

Either way, it now seemed like plans were already being constructed in one form or another - and that meant it was Wesley's cue to leave. "Remember - any further issues or queries, feel free to ask. We have a receptionist that will be ready to answer them all, in letters or in person, whichever you prefer." With that, Wesley finally tucked the book back into his pocket and left by the same door as Darius, with Nir'wei padding at his heels, sniffing the strange crowded scents of men as they made headway for the Element Hall.

"Think any of them looked promising?" The assistant asked once they were back out in the open and suitably far away from the bar.

Nir'wei paused for thought. "A few, perhaps. Time will tell. But I feel uneasy about this. Any animals with elemental powers are likely to be manipulated by Immortals in some way... but the Flameborn were monsters. Towering, disgusting, bloodthirsty monsters. Why Moseke? Why Scalvoris?" None of it made sense. "I want more work done on them. Find connections in or around the Scaltoth Jungles and arrange some time off next season for further study. Perhaps flag a meeting with members of the University to consider adding their insight to the investigations, if they can say anything else about the biology or the influences behind any changes... and triple-check the validity of the eyewitness claims to make sure we're not being strung around by our noses, would you?"

Wesley smiled faintly and nodded. It was a lot of work to be done, but knowing Wesley, it'd be on his desk come tomorrow.
word count: 562
We return to where we started, and pass onwards into history.
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Oram Mednix
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Re: A Curious Celebration?

”Wagons, staaart!”
If Oram was annoyed about Darius seeming to disagree with him about the need for urgency, he gave no sign. And he wasn’t annoyed, so he definitely gave no sign. That said, the mariner hadn’t caught why he wanted to hurry, and that was because he hadn’t said why. So now he said why: ”You’re right that the critter’s spoor will most like have vanished by now; that’s not what I meant. I was mainly concerned about people’s memories.”

His father had liked to say that tracks merely faded, but memories actually changed. They could change where an animal had been seen, which way it was headed, how big it was, or even what it was. Oram wondered idly if this Verth fellow told his son Maika similar things.

Balthazar seemed to agree with his idea of going on ahead to Havardr as a sort of advance or scouting party. The traveler nodded at the man and said: ”We can go together if you like. I’m planning on setting out by first light.” Which, come to think of it, would truly be the first light of the cycle, as the sun emerged at last from behind the moon that had obscured it these past thirty trials.

Oram was already packed and provisioned for a chilly outing around Scalvoris, which would suffice for the coming trials in Havardr. He would have to think of what sorts of different things he might need for the jungle, though, as he had never been there. Perhaps, by the time Darius had finished his Gifting Trial business, they would have a better idea about their requirements.

He was about to say: “See you in Havardr” to Darius, but he had, apparently, already left. Instead he looked at Balthazar. ”See you at the gates?” he said, tentatively. He would be at the gates regardless, and, Cassion willing, in Havardr by the end of that trial.

word count: 329
Villains are powerless against story beats.
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Balthazar Black
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Re: A Curious Celebration?


28 Cylus 720
"I'd enjoy the company if you don't mind it taking a little longer." Balthazar said. "I'm a Rupturing mage so I can try to create a portal for us directly between Scalvoris Town and Havadr to make journeys make and forth easiest but I have to familiarize myself with both locations first." Balthazar paused, thinking over what he said a little before adding, "The locations being the entrance to both towns because the portal is going to be a little loud for most indoor locations." Balthazar had worked with Oram a some time ago to handle a very different case so he knew he wouldn't mind Oram's company... well he assumed he wouldn't. Oram might mind him though. If you were around Balthazar long enough, you were bound to see him do something strange for some reason he couldn't explain.

Wesley left with the wolf and Balthazar began moving towards the exit as well but he remained behind enough to speak with Oram. "I won't be able to make the portal till we get their once but it'll make travel back and forth a little easier. Once we get to Havadr we can start asking around. It'll be good if we know a little more by the time Darius is ready to dive into the investigation." If they were lucky they might just be able to find another lead while they waited for Darius. Hopefully Darius would remember to tell Wesley when he finally took the trip. Balthazar expected he'd become fairly familiar with the path to and from Havadr in the following trials. "See you at first light." And with that, the mage was off.
word count: 290

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Pig Boy
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Re: A Curious Celebration?

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Nirwei

Experience: 15 no magic xp

Knowledge:

Logistics x3
Investigation x3
Leadership x3

Renown: 15 for organizing a major expedition.

Skill Usage: Mostly appropriate to level. Politics skill is one that I would've included here, as Nir'wei was using his position to gather people together for a cause. However, since he left things mostly to Westley, and just stood by in wolf form, observing, I can let his non-existent politics skill slide since he wasn't directly involved in the actual organization of things. That said, his leadership skill ensured that things wouldn't be a total loss, as he has the loyalty (leadership) of his staff.

Loot/Losses: none

Injuries/Conditions: none

Consequences: none
Oram

Experience: 15 no magic xp

Knowledge:

[Etiquette] Opening somebody else’s mail without their permission is some sort of no-no.
[Etiquette] Punctuality is a thing, apparently.
[Logistics] Bartering for passage on a boat.
[Logistics] Coordinating schedules with even as few as three people can be a hassle.
[Investigation] Getting names and contact info for potential informants.
[Investigation] Witness recollections get less reliable with time.
[Trap Making] Adapting rat traps for a boat.
[Animal Husbandry] Shearing a goat.
[Hunting] Hunters like to tell tales about encountering fantastic creatures. They may or may not be true.

Renown: 10 for signing on for an expedition with an important official.

Skill Usage: Appropriate to level.

Loot/Losses: none

Injuries/Conditions: none

Consequences: none
Darius

Experience: 15 no magic xp

Knowledge:

Animal Husbandry: Wolves like to roam.
Etiquette: Make a good first impression.
Etiquette: Don't be late.
Investigation: Pay attention to the briefing.
Investigation: Make notes to refer to at a later time.
Leadership: Study how others lead.
Navigation: Ask directions from someone who knows the way.
Negotiation: Be willing to compromise.
Tactics: Weigh up alternative options.

Non-Skill:
Balthazar: Is confident in his own abilities.
Oram: Is a shrewd planner.
Shl'drei: Has very poor time management.

Renown: 10 for signing on for an expedition with an important official.

Skill Usage: Appropriate to level.

Loot/Losses: none

Injuries/Conditions: none

Consequences: none
Shl'Drei

Experience: 15 no magic xp

Knowledge: none

Renown: 5 for showing up

Skill Usage: Appropriate to level.

Loot/Losses: none

Injuries/Conditions: none

Consequences: none
Balthazar

Experience: 15 may be used for attunement xp.

Knowledge:

Attunement: Note - Defiance Mage
Attunement: Note - Rupture Mage
Attunement: Note - Attunement Mage
Attunement - The Frequency of Nir’wei (As Bishop)
Storytelling - Recapping for late arrivals
Leadership - Make sure no one is left in the dark
Investigation - Some trails are more urgent than others
Intelligence - Wesley works for the Office of Natural Affairs
Socialization x 2

Renown: 10 for signing on for an expedition with an important official.

Skill Usage: Appropriate to level.

Loot/Losses: none

Injuries/Conditions: none

Consequences: none
Comments: "Bleeding Tio" ... -50 renown.

That aside, this was a great way to start an expedition.

Nir'wei, your npcs made it only slightly difficult to follow the narrative you set in the first post, but after that things spaced out well enough that I was able to keep track of them all. I didn't have trouble telling who was speaking at any time, but it seemed the pov was a little wobbly at times with so many voices and perspectives.

Nir'wei seems to have settled into his position pretty well. I thought it was clever of Nir'wei to leave the actual interraction with the adventurers to his assistant, Westley, given his low social and politics skills. Delegation is an important skill that Nir'wei obviously is an expert at. Good writing!

I enjoyed the interplay between the ones summoned to the office. All in all, it seems like a capable group for hunting some elemental wolves. I wonder if this has a continuation, or if you never got to hunting the actual wolves? I'd like to see the thread where they get down to action.

Good job all. Enjoy the rewards.

If you have any concerns about this review, please PM me about them.
word count: 675
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