Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kagerou's Journal 12

Read part 11 here.

She was quite right. Many people filled the tavern judging by the noise level, and more were still crowding in. The Shoanti shoved her way in first making room with her spear as needed. I darted forward and took advantage of the path she created.

The crowd parted for us, though, once Aldern called out loudly,

“Welcome, my heroes! Please come over here. The feast only awaits your presence!”

Every head turned to watch us and many clapped or cheered. I even heard a few wolf whistles but I couldn’t pinpoint the source. Aldern was dressed in an extravagant outfit, flaunting his wealth. It matched his pompous, overblown attitude. I barely registered the presence of a woman with asian features standing near him. She stood there watching us until Ick called her away to the bar.

Aldern jumped around making sure we were seated and our plates filled with food. Once our cups were filled as well, he grabbed his own and toasted to us. Most of the people in the tavern followed suit. The Shoanti gladly joined in and downed two cups in a row. With a silly grin on her face, she called for a refill.

Aldern filled his own plate with food and sat down at the table with us. “We haven’t had a proper conversation yet. Even though you are all heroes, I cannot continue calling you that. It would be rude. What are your names?”

We glanced at each other, silently willing another to go first. Eyotah gave in first with a wave of her hand, being the least hesitant due to drink.

“The name is Eyotah. I used to be part of a Shoanti tribe up north.” Her mouth twitched and she raised her mug to hide it. In one gulp she drained half of it.

Aldern leaned forward, riveted, but she didn’t elaborate. “And the rest of you?” He addressed us, but he still appeared intrigued by Eyotah.

My roommate gave in next. “My name is Breuvial.” She bowed her head slightly.

“A Varisian I take it?” She nodded. “Well met. Might I be correct in saying it was your dance I witnessed early yesterday in the square?”

She flushed slightly. “Yes, that was me.” She winked and smiled. “Would you like a repeat performance?”

Aldern clapped his hands. “Yes, please!” I would be honored.”

He rose to his feet and graciously helped Breuvial to her. She batted an eye at him and drew out her scarf with a flick that caught the attention of everyone in the room. The noisy partygoers stamped their feet and whistled at her and she began to twirl.

Aldern resumed his seat and joined in, clapping. His eyes followed her progress around the room. I thought I saw the glint of coins in the air around her.

She’ll make a pretty penny tonight. I sipped at my cup before realizing that Aldern’s eyes were now fixed on my face. I sighed.

“My name is Kagerou. A pleasure to meet you my good sir and thank you for the feast.” I raised my cup and drank once again.

“Well met indeed.” He raised his glass to me. “Where do you hail from? A half-elf like yourself is rare in these parts.”

“I was born in Erages though I did not spend many years longer than childhood there.” I paused but his eyes kept boring into me. “I passed through the lodge in Magnimar before coming here. They sent me on business.”

“A pathfinder.” His eyes brightened.

“Only an initiate.” I returned to my cup. People like him were far too interested in my occupation because of the knowledge I might have come in contact with. I disliked such people, consciously greedy or not.

He continued to attempt to prod me into speaking with his eyes, but I had had enough of speaking. Instead, he broke the silence.

“My main residence is in Magnimar. I assume you’ll be passing through once more when your business here has concluded?”

I nodded.

“Excellent!” He fished out a piece of paper and handed it to me. “Please come visit me. Here is my address. I’ll treat you to another feast when you do.”

I smiled politely and took the card. “Thank you for the offer. I shall try to take you up on it.
I do have to pass through Magnimar on my way back to the main lodge.”

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Things I've Discovered in South Korea...

The way to and from work.

The reason behind little foam blocks on car doors.

How to work a Korean water heater.

2 excellent coffee shops to frequent. (For their wi-fi of course.)

3 convenience stores (visited. There are many more I've seen.)

2 cheap grocery stores

1 "dollar" store

4 restaurants (visited. More on the to-visit list.)

1 wal-mart type store

1 shopping mall (10 stories tall with 3 basement levels, a whole floor devoted to food and a whole floor devoted to a theater and a sky park on top.)

How to access free internet which has a log-on page in Korean.

1 subway line

2 subway stations

1 enormous shopping district

Several potential Japanese restaurants to try.

2 bookstores

Just how fast the internet speed around here is.

And last but not least, dozens of cute students! (Pictures of three of them forthcoming hopefully. The camera goes to work with me tomorrow.)

The new school year begins in three days. Wish me luck!

Until next time.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Kagerou's Journal 11

(Now that my life is starting to settle down a bit expect the Kagerou posts to resume with a more regular frequency. You can read part 10 here to refresh your memory.)

The inside of Quink’s house was cluttered with curious, ancient scrolls, books, artifacts and many things of which I had no knowledge. He led us to a small seating area and cleared off enough room for us to sit. He put the kettle on to boil and arranged five teacups beside the teapot on a table. He spooned tea leaves in the teapot very carefully. By this time, steam poured out of the kettle. He removed it from the fire and filled the teapot. The lid of the teapot clinked softly as he settled it into place.

“I tell you ‘bout Sinspawn now.” He sat down facing us. “They creatures summoned by rune lords to do bidding. Very evil magic. Each is different. Each comes from one of the seven deadly sins – envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath.”

“How can you tell them apart?” the halfling asked.

“Each looks different. Different in size too. Depends on which sin it came from.” He shrugged.

“So you can tell us which kind of sinspawn made this print!” She waved the sheet of paper in her hand.

“Do I look like I see one?” No. I do not know. I only hear about them. Don’t want to see one. Might die! You crazy.” He shook his head as he poured tea into the five teacups.

I accepted mine and sipped at it, thinking. The presence of a sinspawn meant that someone else had been behind the attack. So why target the healer?

Putting the teacup down, I asked, “The priest mentioned an event in Sandpoint five years ago that paralleled yesterday’s events. Might you be able to tell us about it?”

“Oh that. That worse. Whole town burned down. Called the Late Unpleasantness.

“A mild way of putting it,” I muttered. “How is it similar?”

“Probably same cause.”

The halfling cut in. “What do you mean by that?”

“Sinspawn cause craziness. Woodcutter called Chopper went crazy. Tried to kill lots of people with axe. Even now hi house empty. And priest’s daughter went crazy too and burned down last cathedral!”

“How does a sinspawn cause that?” asked the spearwoman.

“Wrath sinspawn cause wrath in people near it.” He spoke as if it should be obvious. “You know more ‘bout sinspawn once you go to ruins. Job, right?”

We nodded.

“Bring interesting this back and use paper to make rubbing of things on walls like writing. Ok? You understand? I pay gold when you come back.” He rose and shooed us out the door. Once we crossed the threshold he slammed the door behind us.

“What an odd fellow,” I remarked.

“Indeed.” The Shoanti shifted her spear.

“Where to?” Breuvial asked.

“I suppose that young man, Aldern ought to have the boar ready by now.” I watched as a half-orc stumbled out of the building across the street. He noticed me looking and sneered at us before he lumbered off to the Hagfish. The name reminded me of the job board.

“Perhaps we could inquire about the jobs at the Hagfish.”

I spoke to no one in particular but the halfling answered. “Not today. It’s a nasty crowd in there. Let’s return to the Rusty Dragon.”

I nodded along with the rest and we retraced our steps back to the tavern. The Shoanti fell back to match my pace.

“Where did you disappear to earlier?”

“The North gate. I saw some fighting over that way last night so I wanted to find out what had happened. And what about you?” I looked her up and down. “You didn’t have those bruises or that rip when I left.”

“I…sparred with Stormy.” She shrugged it off.

“Who’s Stormy?”

"Oh sorry, she’s the halfling.”

Looking ahead I studied the halfling. “What an unusual name. Do you two know each other?”

She hesitated. “We’ve met before.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll stop prying. Though,” I added, as an afterthought, “you stink. Did she throw that goblin’s barrel of pickles at you?”

She laughed. “No, no. I had some business at the tanner. The smell of the baths must have clung to my clothes.”

“Looks like the party has started without us,” Breuvial called from in front of us, interrupting our conversation.

I'm Here! Missed Me Yet?

I have arrived! Where, you might ask. Well if you were paying attention back in April, I mentioned that I was moving to South Korea to teach English! And, as of Monday, I have! Though I'm not settled into my apartment yet.

The flight over consisted of two flights. One was two hours and the other nearly fourteen. But that last flight boasted the best service I've ever seen, and most certainly the best meals I've ever had, for an international flight. Even if I was stuck in the middle seat in a chair which refused point blank to recline.

However, there were two full meals (Korean food!) and a snack sandwich during the flight. Also they handed out not just a pillow and blanket, but also slippers. Yes. Slippers. Only on an Asian airline would they hand out slippers. I sneaked them off the plane and am using them at home to keep my feet clean.

My seatmate on the left turned out to be a fellow English teacher so we exchanged contact information. But we had to part after customs when we split off to meet our respective person with a sign. The ride to Suji-gu was slightly awkward simply due to the fact that neither of us was a chatterbox.

South Korea caught my attention from the moment I landed. Even though I didn't see the sun until the next day. All the roads have fences or barricades around them with long sheets of ivy draped over them. But the creepiest part? I wish I had taken a picture of at least one, but I didn't. Construction zones are marked not by signs alone, but by mannequins dressed in constructions clothes!! What freaked me out was that the first one I saw was moving and I thought at first it was a person. Sheesh. It certainly catches your attention.

More of South Korea later, when I get around to visiting this cafe again. It is monsoon season after all and it's raining outside. I should head home on foot umbrella-less while it's still a light drizzle.

Until next time!
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