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Old February 17th, 2013 (04:40 PM).
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Varian Sigmund- Gates of Dalenham, Eveamoor



Varian crossed his arms as he awaited the arrival of the rest of his group. He wasn’t certain which of them would join him and which would decide to depart, although he had some suspicions based on what he knew. In truth, he expected less than half of them to show up, and he accounted for that. The job didn’t seem like they would need the entire group anyway. Surprisingly, the first person to arrive was Xeye, screaming her lungs out as she scrambled towards the two of them waving her arms around with her seemingly endless abundance of energy. Varian had actually thought she would be one of the ones who would decide not to join them. First surprise of the day. There was bound to be more. He greeted her with his customary cold stare and a nod of the head, though nothing much beyond that. Xeye took her energy to the merchant, who gazed at her through his hood, examining her as if she was an oddity (which he probably thought she was), gawking at the whole of her body.

“Umm, yes.” He finally articulated. “I am here to dispense the funding and relay any other information to yourself and your group, once the rest of them appear. Speaking of which, how many more are we expecting, sir…?”

“Sigmund. Varian Sigmund.” Varian replied without looking at the merchant, but rather to the interior of the city as he scouted for the rest of the troop. “And should be a few more.”

“I assume that all of the individuals you’ve selected are in fact capable fighters. Am I correct?” The merchant said, eyeing Xeye once more. “I wouldn’t want to sending any of them into danger.”

Varian snorted. He knew what the man was really asking. He wasn’t concerned about the well-being of his mercenaries, but rather the welfare of his pockets. He wanted to accomplish the job with as little muscle needed as possible, as the merchant agreed to pay 70 silver to each of them. Even in the situation of his daughter’s life hanging in the balance, the merchant still sought to be as frugal as possible. Yep, it was safe to say Varian was beginning to like the man. “Don’t worry about them. They all know what they’re doing.”

The merchant nodded, and the three awaited the arrival of the others, which soon occurred as Bofvar the dwarf made his way to them. “So, where be the rest of our sorry lot?” He asked.

Varian didn’t much answer, but rather greeted him with the same cold stare and solemn nod of the head he had given Xeye. Soon after, Ava arrived with her dire wolf. Varian gave the same cold stare and nod, as if he were a machine programmed to do the same thing each time a new member had appeared. He did give a few extra glances to the wolf, which reminded him of an event from his past. The memory lasted mere moments in Varian’s mind, as Alys soon came, apparently with some additional equipment on hand. He listened for a moment as the ladies interacted with each other. It seemed that they all relatively got along with each other, which was good in his opinion. Not that he cared personally if they liked each other, but usually getting along in this way might be a good indication of whether or not they would work well together on the battlefield. Xeye also seemed intent on causing as much noise as possible, and giving everyone strange nicknames related to something about them. Varian was now Wolf Pops. Bofvar was Furface, Ava was Puppy Lady, and Alys was Bow Lady. Varian hoped she wouldn’t be this noisy on the battlefield. He imagined she wouldn’t, as he got no complaints from anyone in their first job in Sabamin, although they mostly worked separately on that one.

Still, Varian knew that the persona one had in battle occasionally was in contrast to the one they wore outside of it. It was in his belief that one’s true persona was the one they carried in war, or when death was upon them. That was one reason he disliked speaking to people much. To him, it seemed inconsequential. It was also a reason he didn’t dismiss any of these individuals when they first signed up for the group. Whether he adored them or disdained them as individuals was unimportant. He would get to know all of them in his own way soon enough.

As he waited for the arrival of the rest of the group, Varian decided in his mind that the appearance of Cass would be the signaling to move out. Cass typically arrived late to begin with, so once she was here, it likely meant anyone else was either not coming, or incapable of coming. Either way, they would move out then.

It didn’t take long for Cassandra to stumble toward the group and Varian, being her usual self. He rolled his eyes at her antics, yelling back at her. “Woman, if you wanted to eat, you should have done so before you got here!” He reached for something in his back, pulling out a loaf of bread, and shoving it into her mouth. The merchant looked at the interaction between the two of them as if they were an oddity. Varian looked at the merchant now. “Well, I guess that’s the lot of them. So, to business?”

The merchant nodded, reaching into his own bag for a rather large sack, from the sound of the shingling Varian was certain was payment, and a marked map of Eveamoor. “Very well. First, the matter of payment.” He said, reaching into the large sack and pulled out a smaller sack from it. Varian was able to peer into the large sack and see a bundle of identical sacks in the larger one. The merchant handed the small sack to Varian. “If you would, inspect the contents of the sack, sir.” He articulated to the Highman, who grabbed the sack from the merchant peered inside. Within it, he saw a bundle of shining silver pieces, the promised individual pay for the completion of the job.

“I’d say there is about 35 pieces in here.” Varian declared.

“Half the individual pay.” The merchant confirmed, distributing the smaller sacks to each of the other mercenaries. “To each of you, 35 pieces of silver handed out now, and the remaining 35, as well as the 200 surplus, to be given out once my daughter has been returned to me.” Varian counted the coins once more to confirm the amount, before looking up to the merchant and nodding his head. The merchant returned the nod, and opened up the map he had with him. “If you would, good Sers, gather around.” Varian obliged him, walking up next to the merchant and squatting down to look at the open map. It was a rather detailed map of Eveamoor, marked up with certain important cities and locations, as well as landmarks and trade routes. “Here we have our current location at Dalenham.” He pointed with one of his large, sausage-like fingers. “Over here is Curilan.” He said, his finger moving north to point to the city on the map. The fort is about four kilometers west of the city. It was once a heralded fortress under the control of the Eveamoorian government, but as the economy declined, many forts like this one were abandoned because of the impracticality of maintaining them.”

“How many men are we expecting inside?” Varian asked the merchant. Even through the hood, he could see the man’s anxiety rising as he answered the Highman.

“About twenty, maybe as many as thirty.” He said, watching the expressions on the faces of the mercenaries to see how they would react. Varian didn’t give much of a facial reaction, but followed with an additional question. “Anything special about these bandits? Do they have an affiliation or benefactor?”

“To my knowledge, they are simply a group of brigands from around the area. Nothing remotely special about them, as far as I hear. The only problem is their number, and fortification.”

Varian examined the map once more, before standing up. “Alright. We’ll get it done.”

The merchant also rose to meet his gaze, beaming at him. “Excellent! I cannot thank you enough, Sers. Here.” He said, handing the marked map to Varian. “I’ve taken the liberty to mark another area on the map, on the outskirts of Curilan. When the job is complete, proceed to the inn there, known as the ‘Strutting Stag’. I will be awaiting your arrival with the remainder of the payment, in full.” The merchant gave the group a bow of his head. “Good luck, and may the Nine watch over you.” Varian nodded his head, and watched as the merchant strode over to his horse, struggling a bit from his weight to mount it, before finally succeeding. He gave the mercenaries a slight bow of his head, and rode off to the north. Varian put the map away into his bag, and gazed upon his group, checking to see if they were all ready to go. He didn’t want to say anything in front of the merchant, mostly because he didn’t want the man to go back on his word after realizing the ludicrousness of his sum he offered. But at the very least, he knew (and any of these other mercenaries that have been long enough in the business) that if what the merchant said was true, they were about to receive comically high payment for minimal work.

“Right.” Varian began, scratching an itch that resided on his shoulder, before realizing it was the site of a cut he had received the previous day, jumping out of the window. He faced the group, crossing his arms. “Seems fairly straightforward. We go in, clear out the fort, and rescue the daughter of the fat one. Before we move out though, I’ve got a few words to say, since this will be our first job as a group. The Sabamin orcs don’t count. We operated separately, and I was mostly intent on see if you could handle yourself.” Varian eyed each of them with his habitual cold gaze of his eyes, the kind that made men think he was always in a bad mood, though that was his habitual look. “Now, we are a team. I care not what opinions you reserve for each other, nor do I care of your opinions of me. I care not what you fight for, be it gold, gods, guidance, or glory. Nor do I care where you hail from. When we carry out a job, we will watch each other’s backs, and we will work together. We won’t charge ahead shouting of foolish pursuits of glory and honor, especially if it were to endanger one of the others in the team. Likewise we won’t do stupid, reckless stunts unless it is necessary. The job is the most important thing, followed by the team. Everything else is trivial. Should you work together and follow my lead, everything will go smoothly. If not, you can tell your gods I said hello.”

“If you’ve got any inquiries, now is the time. If not, we’ll be off. There’s work to be done.”
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