the shop was easy to spot, it's name not too original: "Shelia's Wares and Tares" on a sign outside the door. Like all the shops, the building was wood, re-enforced with metal and stone. Inside was what any traveler needed. Shelves of supplies ranging from scuba gear to camping gear, from harnesses and ropes, to waterskins and even desert ware. This town after all was the only one in a hundred miles of forest. The other half of the store carried the basics of armor and weapons, tho well crafted and sturdy weapons.
Lynet and Cassio spent time gathering some cold weather gear, knowing that each day was cooler than the day before. They also restocked their foods and basic supplies while Sheila help Masque purchase a few daggers that suited him. Inriia likewise restocked her stuff, noting the winter wear the couple had acquired and also grabbing a winter cloak. Cassio, upon paying for his gear, walked next door to the alchemist, returning just as the 3 were departing, handing Lynet a bag containing a dozen vials. If they were to fight dragon ghosts, and he hopped not, then being prepared for that was important for this mission.
The four left the store and headed to the outskirts where the temple stood. It was two stories high, crafted of large stones like that of the Inn. however, more work and art went into this construction. Stairs led up to a porch, two columns on each side, a vine with open flowers wrapping around them was carved into each column. Beside the carved wooden doors were two round stain glass windows. The inside of the temple looked much larger than it did outside. A green carpet divided the building in two and ran up twords the front. Elaborate benches lined both sides with a 5 foot aisle on each side. three doors were on each side of the main hall, small rooms for special temple purposes. Up front was a podium on a raised platform. A large 6 ft diamater window, identical in design to those at the entrance in the center up high. two gold chandelier hung from the high ceiling lighting what the windows didnt.
As the group entered, they saw a man sitting in the floor behind the podium cross-legged and in deep meditation. When the doors had opened, he released his breath and stood up to face the four. Pyoro was a short for a sun elf, just above 5 foot. Copper hair and golden tan skin marked his culture; and he was dressed in a high-collared sleeveless tan silk tunic embroidered with the symbol of the town deity and green trousers. A hooded night-black woolen cloak sat on his shoulders. On his belt was a finely crafted mithil mace, religious runes decorating the metal. The magical aura of divine magic mixed with the sunlight filtering in around him thru the stain glass window.
Inriia's step slowed, the sorceress somewhat uncomfortable in a temple, as she studied every nook and cranny. The others strode rather confidently twords the front, Masque taking lead again. the priest stepped down floor level to greet the strange bunch .
"May the light illumine you" greeted Masque with no hesitation, "You must be Pyoro; we are those the druidess has hired to take care of this 'situation'. Please tell us what must be done."
"Yes, I am Pyoro, town priest and school teacher. And I had been expecting a few from Nymilja would make a stop by here soon."
He glanced to Cassio and Lynet who were known by the priest and nodded a greeting in acknowledgment of them. His glance, or more a glower, turned to his dark skinned cousin who eventually turned her crimson eyes to the priest. He had already met her, not that she knew, when Nymilja brought her in. He had been surprised how correct that druidess' assessment been of the sorceress, not that he would admit it. The druidess also mention a few other things no one would understand how she would know. Mostly how trying on one's patience the drowess would be, tho how great the outcome would be if this quest succeeded. He had a mental laugh of pity to the group and gave thanks for him not being the one to put up with this dark elf.
Getting right to business, clearing his throat, "yes. I have a magical bag for this object, tho how you plan to get it in without touching is another matter. I suspect someone will be clever enough to figure it out," handing Lynet a unremarkable bag with a feint magic aura. Rubbing his chin, "I suspect Nymilja has told you the task and have made enough preparations?"
"Remove the man and take his new found toy," Inriia replied offhandedly looking around the temple nonchalantly, her foot tapping softly.
She thought to say more of this, but held back this time. Get the facts and get out of this place was on her mind, shifting her weight again onto the other foot. Which reminded her, she did need a new horse. Her last one ended up taking her down as it fell, her on it's back still.
Lynet nodded to her former teacher, placing the bag in her own pack while trying to hold her temper at the mouth of the dark elf. "she wants us to bring back the man with hopes of curing him."
"She did mention dragon ghost..." Cassio spoke likewise holding his frustration.
Pyoro nodded to the couple, tho he had nagging doubts bringing the man back alive would be possible, much less heal the madness that had overtaken him. But he wasnt going to crush the optimism of his former student. Life usually stole hope from people and holding onto it as long as possible was a gift the veteran priest had lost. He finished discussing strategies and what they would expect; reviewing the map and route as well as advice for handling ghost.
Taking charge once again, Masque produced a small satchel from somewhere inside his cloak and tossed itto Lynet, "fill these bottles with as much holy items as possible." Turning to Cassio, "Go acquire the swiftest horses you can." He seemed to spit up the young drowess's name, "Inriiaynrae... I will leave you to do what you do best. Pyoro and I are going to have a little chat," Masque spoke the last in a semi-threatening tone.
the couple looked to each other as Masque seam to take upon himself to lead the group. And for a second, Cassio considered debating with him about it; he had been recruited well before this Masque man showed up, and knew the druidess for as long as he'd been living in Bitterleaf. Feeling the same, yet trying to keep things from becoming volatile, Lynet's hand had reached up to the crook of her man's arm in a calming effect before she took the satchel and headed out. Cassio paused to stare hard at the man before him, this Masque, chewing his lip then with an audible sigh exited the temple and headed for the stables. Inriia by this time was already heading out. She didnt necessarily ignore him, but she didnt acknowledge his response to her.
Masque grabbed the priest and led him to a small private side room. When pulled into the room, his instincts carried a hand to the mace on his belt and prepared to defend himself, stopping when the man began to speak.
"You will remain quiet about this conversation. the Order doesn't take kindly to those who reveal what happens behind closed doors. I will not coat words. This farmer may not survive this encounter, but I will do my best to purify and purge this spirit from him. But I may need your aid in something else," his expression and countenance softening slightly. Masque produced a scroll from his cloak and handed it to Pyoro. "Research the origins of this..."
The priest just listened; he knew and would keep such matters private, understanding what Masque was asking him to do. He took the scroll from Masque carefully, nodding. "I will begin immediately," pulling forth a small vial and handing it to Masque before motioning twords the door.
When Masque was finished speaking to Pyoro he exited the room and located Lynet. The cleric was speaking with Pyoro's apprentice and one of her former peers, gathering a good number of holy waters as well as other needs she would have use of.
"We may leave now. And I thank you for your patience and cooperation," Masque replied with a quick bow of appreciation before he walked through the main temple door, hoping to find Cassio and Inriia waiting with horses. He knew time was running out for the poor farmer.
Cassio grumbled as he walked, kicking a few pebbles along the way. the stable manager walked out of his little office, towel drying off his hand as the warrior approached. He snapped fingers to get his daughter's attention who headed twords the pen that contained a number of horses of many colors and various sized.
"'Ight, what can I do you for?" the grungy looking man asked, heavy accented.
"Four horses for travel," handing a paper to the man that the druidess had given him earlier.
the man read it, with difficulty, then called back in some strange dialect the warrior didnt recognize, to saddle four mounts. Another girl carried the tack and set it where her sister was tying the first horse. It didnt take the daughters long and the mounts tied to the hitching post were ready for their journey. In Cassio's right hand was the reigns to a palomino and a dabbled grey horse, his left a bay and black horse.
Cassio found Inriia off by herself standing on the bridge. She had been leaning over the edge staring down into the dark water. Hood over her head and the piwafwi tight around her, none crossing over knew it was the dark elf in their town. Her thoughts couldnt help but drift to those years of torment.
"I killed you for what you did to me," a hoarse whisper came from the sorceress, "Why are you not dead? How can you still be alive in my head when I killed you? Why do you still haunt me?"
She would allow no tears, no weakness even while alone. Instead a wall of numbness and apathy went up in her mind, her mask of survival back into place. A shake of her head to clear away the fuzzy cobwebs. Boots and hoofs drew near and she turned to be greeted by Cassio who handed her the reigns to the black horse then he continued on to the temple.
Lynet and Masque did find the other two waiting, saddled horses ready to go. The bay was handed to Masque, the dappled gray handed to Lynet and he took the palomino.
"Any of you who want to turn back do so now. And to clear the air, so to speak, I will not hide my dislike for some of you," he looked to Inriia as he said the last, "but each of us has been collected her for a higher purpose," Masque spoke then jumped up into the saddle and nudged his horse into movement, riding off in the direction of the Dragon Graveyard. The other three followed suit, leading their horses into a canter and heading out of Bitterleaf.