• Graded • The Road Is Long

Once an isolated and dying township, an influx of academics, adventurers and thrill seekers have made Scalvoris Town their home. From scholars' tea shops to a new satellite campus for Viden Academy, this is an exciting place to visit or make your home!

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Darius Baer Bottom
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The Road Is Long

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Arc 721, 95th of Ashan
The Lady Jean glided effortlessly across the gentle harbour water. As it drew close to the Scalvoris Town Docks, with the Libertalia watching over it from its offshore anchorage, Darius pulled in the oars and let the rowboat that had once been his father's drift upon the surface of the Hollow Sea until it gently nudged the wooden dock. The blond mariner then hauled a rope out from under the thwart upon which he had been sitting, and tied it around one of the piles that lined the dock. Then, with the practiced balance of a man who had spent many trials travelling the seas, Darius Baer grabbed hold of the same rope and pulled himself out of the boat and up onto the dock.

There was a familiarity that met his feet as his boots carried him across the wooden dock and towards Scalvoris Town. The Baron of House von Smooglenuff knew every plank of wood; every uneven join; every gap between the slats. He had walked over them countless times over the arcs, and despite having set up residence in the settlement of Hopetoun on the island of Faldrass, what the bearded Baer called ‘Scalv-Town’ would always call for his return.

While it was tempting to treat his visit as a homecoming, Darius had business to attend to. One of the settlers in Hopetoun - a farmer called Mai - had a brother in Almund, and that brother had not arrived in the settlement when he was expected to. And so Darius needed some information in order to extricate the sibling from a situation that – by all accounts – he likely bore at least a portion of the blame for. The man was known as something of a rogue, apparently, and for him to have upset people who lived on the other side of the law was not beyond the realms of possibility.

All of that had brought Darius back to Scalvoris Town, to see if he could use one of his contacts to find out what had become of the brother.

But first, he had his own family connections to deal with, and that meant a quick visit to his father. As soon as his boots met the cobbled streets beyond the dock, he turned sharply and began to make his way towards the home of Josef Baer.
Last edited by Darius Baer Bottom on Tue Aug 17, 2021 10:20 pm, edited 4 times in total. word count: 395
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Darius Baer Bottom
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Re: He Ain't Heavy

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"Hello, Nael."

Darius' gravelly voice was quiet, but it was enough to make the dark-haired man jump. He spun around, his weaselly eyes wide and fearful.

"Audrae's arse, you gave me a fright, Darius!"

The man looked up at the bearded blond, an air of discomfort visible in his gaze.

The pair stood in one of the many alleyways that surrounded the town square. It was a predictable place for Darius to find the petty thief, and after spending half a break with his father, he had made his way to the small network of narrow lanes, confident that the man would be found in one of his usual haunts.

And so it was.

"What are you doing here?" Nael asked, casting a fearful gaze over Darius' shoulder.

"Don't worry," Darius chuckled quietly. "There's no mage with me this time."

It was a fair concern, Darius thought. The last time they'd seen each other, the thief's escape had been thwarted by Balthazar Black, and the bearded blond had done the scrawny thief a favour by not forcing him to face the consequences of one of his thefts. In return, he had tasked the man with finding information on the child kidnappings that had been happening at the time.

And it was information Darius sought once again.

"Have you any contacts in Almund?" Darius asked.

Nael furrowed his brow at the question.

"I know a few people," he nodded quietly, "but it's not like we compare notes."

"I'm looking for someone," Darius persisted. "An alcohol merchant."

Nael's eyebrows rose in further surprise.

"You need my help to find a brewer? Can't you just ask in one of the taverns?"

"I could," Darius sighed, attempting to remain patient with the man, "but rumour has it that he tends to spend more time with people on your side of the law than mine."

Nael opened his mouth to speak, but he caught himself and said nothing. Darius' grey eyes narrowed, and he wondered if the man had been about to talk back to him, and in that moment, he realised it wouldn't have been completely unjustified. He was, after all, finding some level of benefit in the man's ability to ask questions of people that he himself would rarely be gifted the opportunity to speak with.

The weaselly man hesitated for a few moments, apparently contemplating the request. It was only a few trills, however, before he nodded.

"I'll see what I can find out. I know a couple of people in Almund who might know who to speak to. But it won't come free."

Darius chuckled lightly, but there was no mirth in his tone.

"You still owe me a favour, remember? You never found any information connected to the child kidnappings."

Nael frowned, but he didn't argue. He had made inquiries, but found nothing of any use. It had been the investigations undertaken by Darius, Balthazar, and Yeva that had ultimately led to the children's liberation.

"But if you help me with this," Darius acknowledged, "I'd be willing to pay for information in the future."

Nael nodded slowly.

"Alright. Tell me about this brewer you're looking for."
word count: 544
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Darius Baer Bottom
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Re: He Ain't Heavy

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Arc 721, 100th of Ashan
"I think I've found him," Nael offered with an air of optimism.

"You think you've found him?"

Darius cocked an eyebrow as he shifted back into his seat.

The two men were at a corner table in the Knight's Rest Inn And Tavern. Darius had chosen the location because it was not uncommon for people to meet over a drink, and because it wasn't near his father's house. He didn't know if what he was planning might upset someone, and he didn't want Josef Baer to be put at risk for any reason.

"What do you mean, 'I think I've found him'?"

"Well, I haven't laid eyes on him myself," Nael's confidence began to backtrack, "but a contact I have in Almund assures me it's him."

Darius sighed, and took a swig from his drink, which was already half empty. Nael's sat on the table in front of him, completely untouched.

"I can't go there based on a hunch."

"It isn't a hunch," Nael responded, an air of forcefulness finding its way into his tone. "I trust my contact."

Darius paused, then, and nodded quietly. As tempting as it was to hold one over Nael, the man was possibly his only means of finding Kerik. There would be no benefit to turning the screws and making the man fear him. He needed an ally more than he needed a vassal.

"How will I know this contact when I see them?" Darius asked.

"I can give the two of you a description of each other," Nael offered.

Darius shook his head. He needed to find Kerik, and he didn't want to make his task any more difficult.

"How about you can point your contact out to me instead?" the baron asked.

Nael's eyes widened, partly in shock, and partly in protest.

"You said if I found him, I wouldn't owe you anything."

"And if the information is good, you won't," Darius nodded, hoping to reassure the man. "I'll pay you to make the trip, regardless of the quality of your information."

Nael's weaselly eyes narrowed as he considered the offer being put to him. For the first time, he picked up his tankard, taking a long, slow sip. Darius interpreted that as a stalling tactic, and so he decided a sweetener was required.

Reaching into his coat, the bearded blond pulled out a small leather pouch. He set it on the table, and the clink of nels could be heard as the purse shifted with their weight.

That small incentive resulted in a shift in Nael's demeanour, and his resistance appeared to fall away almost immediately. He stared at the small pouch for a few moments, then returned his tankard to the table.

"Come to the docks on the morrow," the mariner continued, "and look for a brig called Libertalia. We'll be leaving shortly after dawn."

Nael nodded, and that was all Darius needed to convince him that the man would be there. He stood, leaving the pouch on the table as he finished his drink with a final swig and made his way out of the tavern. He knew it was a risk to let Nael have the money before the journey, but he was also aware that Nael knew that if he didn't make the journey, Darius Baer would likely come looking for him.
word count: 583
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Doran
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Re: The Road Is Long

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Darius:

Knowledge:
Etiquette: Pay your family a visit when you're in town.
Intelligence: Reaching out to a contact.
Intimidation: Reminding someone of an unpaid debt.
Socialization: Calling in a favour.
Socialization: Promising future benefits to sweeten the deal.
Psychology: Knowing where someone is likely to be based on past behaviour.

Loot: -
Lost: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: -
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: I really enjoyed the opening paragraphs where you described Darius’ arrival in Scalvoris Town by ship. You write an experienced sailor very well. At the same time, there was something quite relaxing and atmospheric about that scene.

I also thought that it was nice of Darius who is both a Baron and the leader of Hopetoun to personally try and find Mai’s brother. He gives me the impression of being a leader who genuinely cares about his people!

When Darius made his way towards his father’s home, I expected a family reunion. Instead, he met Nael. I like when something surprising happens. Also, “Audrae’s Arse” is a great swear. I checked Nael’s writeup, and he sounds exactly like someone who would talk like that!

At first, I was a bit surprised that Nael didn’t have any points in Investigation, but the way you described things – Nael reaches out to contacts of his own – this here makes sense to me.

I appreciate that Darius talkedd to Nael and asked him for his help rather than going about this completely alone. That’s a very realistic way of handling such a case in my opinion – as is the fact that it apparently took Nael several trials to hopefully find Mai’s brother.

What I like about your threads is that you provide links, to NPCs, locations and other important threads. That’s something that I personally find really helpful!

There was only one small issue with your review request. The Negotiation skill was removed during the Skill Scale Down. It’s part of the Socialization skill now, so I reassigned the two Negotiation knowledges that you requested.

That being said, I wonder how this story will continue and if Darius will find Mai’s brother!

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 367

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Ring of Immunity
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