The Return of an Unsung Hero (Solo/PM) Jul 15, 2020 13:21:35 GMT -6
Post by Ascher on Jul 15, 2020 13:21:35 GMT -6
Chapter 1 - The Paths We Tread
Night had fallen once more upon the dimly-lit streets of Bern's capitol, and a silence filled the frigid evening air. Between a homely eatery and a townhouse, a stirring could be heard - ever-so-softly signalling that not all was as it seemed. The occasional passerby seemed to give the dark alleyway a wide berth... though some few glanced shiftily toward the old walls of stone. The most obvious reason for this was the blanket of quiet that lay over the place, almost as if it were... waiting.
A middle-aged gentleman, swathed in a dusty traveler's cloak, strode idly down the cobblestone corridor - apparently unconcerned with the alley that engendered such unease. The man had hair of a dusky brown, bringing to mind the scent of earth and pine that mingled in the southern forests, his beard and temples streaked with just enough grizzled grey to lend him a certain sense of authority. As if to put the lie to his somewhat intimidating appearance, his eyes were kind - more those of a father than those of a bandit or brigand. Yet, he moved with the subtle certainty of those who keep meticulous track of both themselves and their surroundings.
After several steps, the man slowed. He cast a glance toward the main thoroughfare before placing a hand against a worn block of stone. His palm was bigger now, his fingers longer and more slender. No more did they resemble the impression of a young man's hand that had been burned into the rock what seemed to be so long ago. After a heartbeat of reflection, the man continued on his way. He strode determinedly down the alley, keeping an eye on the door-frames for the whittled or carven sigils that would indicate a meeting place for the Resistance. It wasn't that he didn't trust the Ilians and Sacaens had withdrawn... it was simply that he had too much experience with their efforts to consolidate power over Bern.
Perhaps a handful of minutes later, a carving caught his eye. A ryndith glyph, a sign of welcome and safety that had been popularized by the common folk of Lucerne long before the Bernese resistance had co-opted it for their own use. And, there next to it, kaphith - a circle bisected with an elongated line-and-tail, a sign of magic and study. Before Bern Keep had been reclaimed, it had signified a place of plans and meetings. Now, it was more likely to simply indicate a place welcoming of mages than it was a place of resistance. After all, what was left to resist? After a moment's contemplation, the man knocked firmly on the doorframe to signal his presence before stepping inside.
Taking each step slowly, deliberately, he took stock of the small crowd that frequented the bar in which he now found himself. He cast his wandering gaze over the rough, splintering barrels that held the latest batch of ales from the hilltop breweries near Larguz. His eyes flickered over over the stone hearth - blackened by the heat of a long-dead fire - and brightened as the scent of lamb and rosemary reached him. He nodded to the man rubbing a cloth of white linen along the grain of the bar, and moved to occupy one of the barstools at the far end of the room.