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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

The Storyboard of Ataniel Archives: June

Name: Lora Redish
Plotline: At The Mithril Dagger
Character(s): Heart
Title of Post: Welcome To The Mithril Dagger, Y'all (Remix)
Sent: 9.54 pm - 6/2

The sign outside the tavern read "The Mithril Dagger."

Suitably mythic, Heart thought. She was a believer in the importance of names, and didn't much care for spending time in establishments called ridiculous things like "Drinks-R-Us" or "The Lusty Nymph." The oaken door creaked in an interesting way as she pushed it open, revealing the simple design of a Lianthi barroom.

It was pretty much empty, which Heart was expecting at two in the afternoon. She wanted to be sure she got here before any groups of potential adventurers started congregating. The only people in the tavern at the moment were the waitress, who was standing on the bar looking up into the rafters with a frown on her face, and a blond man in chain mail balanced on one of the rafters, poking at the eave with the hilt end of his sword. Heart stood there for a little while, using the bar mirror to tuck a few pieces of her thick brown hair back into the intricate braids they had strayed from, but still neither noticed her presence. "Hello," she finally announced herself.

"Oh!" The waitress wiped her hands on her apron apologetically. "I'm sorry, I didn't hear you come in... we're having a little trouble with a, uh, aurumvorax, actually."

There was a high-pitched snarl from the eave. "Have you tried luring it down with some gold coins?" Heart suggested.

"It ate them and broke the trap." A plain-looking man emerged from the cellar door with a long-handled broom. "If Flicker can't get it down, I think we're going to have to call an exterminator. I'm Kevin the bartender, and this is my sister Kayla. What can I get for you?"

"Just a birch beer, please," she said. He passed the broom to his sister, who passed it up to the man on the rafter. "I hear acid works pretty well on them."

"We're trying not to kill it," Flicker explained, as Kevin went behind the bar for her drink.

"It's kind of cute," Kayla admitted. "I think it's a baby one."

"I found something you might be able to tangle it up in, too." Kevin tossed his sister an old cloth banner with the faded words Welcome Storyboarders printed on it. Heart shrugged; she wasn't much for either animals or metafiction. "So what brings you to the Dagger?" the bartender asked, putting her mug on the counter for her. "No offense, but you don't look Lianthi."

"None taken," Heart said. The high foreheads and narrow features of the flatlanders looked as strange to her as her heavy brow and cheekbones must to them. "I'm looking for a magic-user."

"A specific magic-user, or is there something you need cast for you?"

"Neither, really. I was hoping to tag along with a magic-using adventuring group for a while."

"Well, you've come to the right place," Kayla said. "Though things don't usually pick up around here for a few hours."

"That's okay," said Heart, and cracked a smile for the first time that day. "I've got time."



Name: Lora Redish and Kristin L'Kar Andersen
Plotline: Coming Of Age
Character(s): Rissa Minarye, the Silver Bullets, and special guest star Khyrisse Starshadow (RPC)
Title of Post: Passing the Torch
Sent: 9.56 pm - 6/2

"Rissa?" Khyrisse greeted her niece with an incredulous hug. "Grendel, you're taller than I am! When did that happen...?"

"This year, I guess." The teenager grinned sheepishly. "I look kind of different, huh?"

"Just... older. You look terrific, really. I should have looked so good at your age." Khyrisse looked distant for a moment, even sad, but shook it off quickly. "What brings you to New Trade? Is your father in town?"

"No... I came to see you, actually." Rissa drew a bronze medallion out of her blouse. "I found this on a dig with Dr. Hayak, at an old Celtic site near Najika."

"And you came to me?" The sorceress touched its heavy face. "I hate to admit this, but you probably know more about archaeology than I do..."

"From one summer internship?" Rissa waved her aunt's flattery off with a smile. "No, I was looking for some help tracking down its origins, actually. It's not Celtic in design. Dr. Hayak says he's never seen anything like it, and he thinks the pattern on it may be some kind of coded map. There could be treasure, or a hidden civilization or something!" She was having a hard time containing her excitement. "So instead of doing another internship, we thought maybe I could go find out. And I remembered you and Uncle Ebreth had an adventuring group, so--"

"Rissa," Khyrisse interrupted, tapping her fingers on her hip. "Does your father know you're here?"

"Uh, well, yes, actually," the girl said meekly. "It was kind of his idea,in fact... the other alternative is looking more and more like getting married. I mean, I am fifteen now, and Grandpa's been putting pressure on him--"

"Say no more," sighed Khyrisse. "Look, I'm always glad to help stave off the patriarchy for you, kiddo, but it's really not feasible for us to go scarpering off on an archaeological expedition right now."

"I'm sure Father and Mother would look after Lissa for you while we were gone."

"Assuming I wanted her growing up in flarking Cynystra," Khyrisse muttered.

Rissa looked a little hurt. "I grew up in Cynystra."

"Sorry." The archmage raked her fingers through her hair. "That's not the point anyway. Rissa, I don't want to leave my two-year-old daughter with a sitter for what could turn into months. Not unless someone's in danger or something. I don't want to leave my citystate with a regent, either. And the Rat Pack hasn't been an active membership in years... we're as scattered as the Dagger Heroes by now. It would take something really important to get us reunited at this point, not just an idea for a neat summer vacation."

"Oh," Rissa said, twisting one hand disappointedly in the other.

"But I'll tell you what I will do. I have a few adventuring accessories I can do without, that I'd be happy to lend you... and I also happen to know a group of young explorers in town who've been looking for work. And a mysterious amulet might turn out to be right up their alley."

***

"Can I take a look?" asked Chloe, intrigued.

"You can, but it doesn't come off my neck anymore once I put it on... that's the other reason Dr. Hayak let me take it with me."

The priestess moved closer to the younger girl to examine the bronze medallion in the flickering firelight of the Silverhammer Bar and Grill. The pattern was too neatly aligned to be random scratches, too asymmetrical for simple decoration. "Maybe it's writing," she suggested.

"Or a map," Berryn offered over her shoulder.

"I always did want to see more of the world," mused Princess Thalia. "Though if I did go, it wouldn't mean anyone else had to, of course... I mean, I'm not trying to speak for anyone but me."

"I think it sounds fun," said Jason.

"And I might earn my name and fortune, if the fates are kind," Sashami agreed.

There was a brief pause, and everyone looked at Alderon. Berryn finally gave his friend a surreptitious kick under the table. "Huh?" said the swashbuckler. "I mean, uh, hi, I'm Alderon."

"Do you have to do this every time a new female arrives on the scene?" sighed Sashami, rolling her eyes.

Rissa turned pink, gave her collar a little self-conscious adjustment and tried changing the subject. "So what does your group, uh, call itself?"

"We started out as the Silver Bullets," said Thalia.

"Which is a pretty stupid name, if you ask me," Chloe added. "But no one could think of anything better that didn't have the word 'inflatable' in it. And it does start with 'S', so I guess it's not a bad default name. What do you do, anyway?"

"Well, I haven't really made up my mind," Rissa admitted, slipping the amulet back into her blouse. "I was planning to be a priest, but after the gods all died, well... lately I've been thinking about going in for a bard."

"My mother was a bard," said Sashami. "It is an honorable profession."

"Though we still need a thief," said Thalia, practically.

Sashami sniffed her disagreement. "Well, I'm sure the party isn't finished forming yet," Chloe said with a smile, and motioned for the waitress. "Let's have one more round together, and see if anyone else shows up. The night is still young."

"I'll drink to that!" said Alderon, and helped himself to a tankard.


Name: Alyssa Gulledge
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Melissandra
Title of Post: Trials of a Young Lady
Sent: 12.54 pm - 6/3

As Melissandra Clarabella Annisetta strode through the streets of New Trade, she tried to ignore the queer stares she received from all of the inhabitants. She knew she looked a little travel worn (her hair had some mud in it). She knew that it was not often that a proper young lady walked the streets of a city without her escort (her escort died during that little brush up with the thieves). And she knew that even though Saliphon was slightly out of the limelight, her dress couldn?t have been more than 5 years out of date. But her mother said that in a city like New Trade, they would accept her for the beautiful young lady she was.

Melissandra's mother, Estellina Anabella Donetta, had told her that it was time for Coming Out Into Society, as she had just turned 16, but that a tiny farm in the mountains of a backwater country like Saliphon was NOT the place to do it. Estellina went to the old seer in the mountains, and came back with instructions.

"Melissandra, you are to go to New Trade and join a young group of debutantes calling themselves the Argent Sling Stones, or something like that. Your future destiny is with them. Use your best manners as I taught you, but remember that as city people, they will always know the most correct social response for a situation. Follow their lead, and you will become as worldly as I wish I could have been.

"You have grown into a beautiful young woman, and the green tones in your skin are lovely, no matter what anyone else says. Your father would have been so proud, if he hadn't stayed up so late and turned to stone when the sun rose. Go kiss his statue on the way to Oranda, and put some flowers in his hand."

She packed her nicest dress, her embroidery, her finest hat with the beautiful feather, her book of poetry, her claymore, her plate armor and her hair ribbons. Her mother summoned her cousin Bob from two farms down to be her escort and body guard, since a lady needed her honor protected. That night, after tearful, but ladylike words of parting, she set forth through the mountains to Oranda, and eventually to New Trade.

While in Oranda she and Bob were beset by a band of brigands and thugs. There were only 28 of them but since they all seemed intent on besmirching the honor of her cousin with rude comments, she did not regret dispatching them all. They kept saying things like "What kind of person would be seen with THAT?" or "Oh. My. God. It's. Hideous." Now Bob may not have been ideal to look upon with his potato shaped nose, and his red rimmed eyes, but he was still not a bad fellow to be seen with! Bob however went down after the first two hits, so she daintily cleaned up the thieves, worrying about breaking her 10 inch nails or tearing her dress. She wailed and wept for her dead cousin as was seemly for a young lady and proceeded to the city alone.

And now, Melissandra Clarabella Annisetta, ingenue debutante (and occasionally warrior) was looking for these Hoar-frosted Pellets, or somesuch.


Name: Eric Gasior
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Alexke
Title of Post: A Grand Day Out
Sent: 6.46 pm - 6/3

"MOTHER!" the fourteen year old screamed before realizing she was alone.

Alexke needed to get out for some fresh air. Maybe if I retrieve a pit fiend she'll take me seriously.

She left a note. That bothered her but it was practical. The last time she ran out her mom sent a search party. Having them bust in while she was kissing a boy killed that mood.

Alexke found herself in a forest clearing. She didn't normally go in this far but she wanted to be lost. The light filtered through the blue leaves calmed her a bit. While she ate the lunch she packed, an overgrown path caught her attention. It might lead somewhere interesting off plane.

***

Alexke found herself on the edge of a park. The road and buildings looked new, surprising her more than the carriage passing overhead. The people here seemed to be mostly human or elven, but appearances could be deceiving.

She wandered for a while. The locals called the place New Trade. Most of them spoke in a language she recognized. Her Dalen was rusty but people understood her.

An elderly woman gave her some local money for taking groceries into a house. Alexka had just wanted to see the inside of one. Now she could shop.

Or try a restaurant.

***

The sign said Silverhammer Bar and Grill. The teenager remembered how places like this worked from when she was little. Sit down, look at the menu, order something on it, eat and pay. She also remembered to be nice to the waitress. Her first mother said if you're not they might spit in your food.

Just after ordering a cheeseburger, her first in years, a woman at the next table asked for a thief.

She leaned over and said in a heavy accent, "excuse me but I couldn't help overhearing." Politeness was appropriate. "If you are interviewing I would like to be your thief."


Name: Jonah
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Jimmy DiLaurentis, the quickly growing Silver Bullets
Title of Post: You Can't Go Wrong with the Classics!
Sent: 7.59 pm - 6/3

New Trade was a nice town. He'd initially chosen it because it was the easiest place to get to that was very far from his previous locale. And then, he was astounded to run into him of all people. It made things feel like Fate had brought him here.

So tonight, he was chilling in the Silverhammer Bar & Grill, a quiet, cozy little place. It was mostly empty. The owner had offered to go a round at the dartboard with Jimmy, and Jimmy had won the cricket game handily.

The only other people in the place were a posse, people who looked about his age, who screamed adventurers. While refilling his pint at the bar, he heard the pretty blonde say that the group needed a thief. This got his attention.

Almost immediately, someone at the next table spoke up. "If you are interviewing, I would like to be your thief." That was quick. Still, Jimmy wasn't worried. Surely, every group of adventurers needed two thieves, at least. Heck, his last crew had four, counting himself. He couldn't see the person (a woman?) who had spoken, but the accent was like none he'd ever heard. Not that I'm a world traveler or anything, he thought.

Two of the young adventurers came up to the bar. "I wasn't staring, Chloe," the Montassi man insisted.

"Howdy," Jimmy said, throwing caution to the wind. "I don't mean to be a buttinski or anything, but I couldn't help but hearing that your crew seems to be gearing up for some kind of adventure. If you've got any room on the roster, I'm up for it."

"Possibly so," the Montassi said. "But we ought to know what to call you."

"Oh, right. Jimmy DiLaurentis. Jimmy D's what everyone calls me."

"Captain Alderon," the Montassi said. Jimmy shook hands with him, then with the womnan, Chloe. "I'm trying to place the accent, I think I might have sailed somewhere near your homeland?"

"Uh, probably not. Saginou is in the ass-end of Cynystra, and it's a long way from anywhere you can get to by boat."

They chatted for a little while, the others talking with the other thief-volunteer. Jimmy took note of an older man who had entered the bar, trembling and sweating.

"Amulet," he whispered. Then, louder, "Amulet!" His eyes darted about, nervously. He had gotten the attention of the rest of the adventurers, back at their table. "It... must..." Something behind him, in the street.

"Down!" Jimmy shouted, hitting the floor and knocking Alderon down with him. A split second later, a bolt of lightning exploded into the room, passing by the spot where Jimmy and Alderon had been moments before. Chloe ducked as glass from the bar's shattered mirror flew everywhere.

There was a sudden cacophany of exclaimations, chairs overturning, weapons being drawn. Jimmy came up into a crouch, stiletto in one hand, pointing with the other. "There," he said, "there was a guy out there! I think it was a guy, at least. He had a hooded cloak, was pointing a wand." A few people rushed to the door. Berryn, however, knelt by the old man, who had taken the full brunt of the lightning bolt. "He's dead."

"Hey," Jimmy said, "what's that in his hand?" The dead man was clutching a small scroll.



Name: Jonah "ok... don't hit return after every line" Cohen
Plotline: The Ask Dr. Swank Show
Character(s): Dr. Thaedeus Bodog Swank
Title of Post: A Tail of Two Cities
Sent: 9.39 pm - 6/3

"...and that's how A Beautiful Mind managed to steal the Oscar from its rightful winner."

"Damn you, Opie! Thanks for clearing that up, Dr. Swank."

"Next question!"

"Uh, yeah. Me and my friend were having this argument. You know how some animals can hold onto stuff with their tails, like monkeys or opossums? How it's called a prehensile tail?"

"Duh! Was there a question or are you holding a remedial zoology seminar in my bar?"

"Well, we wanted to know what a tail that's not prehensile is called. My friend says non-prehensile, but I think it's un-prehensile."

"Wrong and wrong!" the doctor proclaimed. "The correct term is post-hensile. Next question!"



Name: Lora Redish
City: Coming of Age
Character(s): Sashami
Title of Post: Don't you hate mysterious old men who drop dead in the middle of bars?
Sent: 11.06 pm - 6/3

"Shit!" shouted Sashami, jumping over the old man's corpse with her greataxe out. A hooded figure disappeared around the corner of Rosewood and Vine. "Stop that assassin!"

Unfortunately, her pursuit was curtailed as she slammed full force into a much larger woman just turning down the walkway to the bar. "Oof!" said the woman, as Sashami caromed off her and back on her ass onto the cobbles. "I mean, oh my!"

Sashami wasn't a tank, exactly, but she was wearing Tharrian scale, and it was definitely the first time she'd been flattened by a collision with a woman in a ballgown. Of course, she'd never exactly seen a ballgown in those dimensions, either. This girl had more than her share of ogre or something in her blood. "Who are you?" she demanded. "Are you in league with that assassin?"

"Assassin? Where?!?"

Alderon came rushing out the door, followed swiftly by the rest of the young adventurers. "He went that way," Sashami proclaimed, pointing. "But... I doubt my tracking skills will be of much use in this city environment."

"Oh, hell," sighed Alderon. "It sure didn't take long for things to start blowing up, did it?"

"That's the way of these things," said Chloe, who was a Paris and should know. "Is everyone all right?"

"Looks like chicken scratches," said Jimmy, turning the scroll he'd filched off the dead guy upside down and right-side up again.

"It looks like the marks on Rissa's pendant!" said Chloe.

"Which explains the melodramatic yet useless gasping about an amulet, I take it?"

Chloe shrugged.

"Hey!" shouted the proprietor of the Silverhammer, shaking his fist from the door. "Who's gonna pay for this mess, huh?"



Back to the June Archives, Part 2

'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

Southwest Indian Homes * Buckskin Pants * Wampum belts * The Passamaquoddy * Chippewa

Check out Lora's language revitalization and links pages
Check out RPG computer game and other adventure game walkthroughs
Language of the day: Blackfoot Native American names