1st day of the 9th moon in the year 4512 of the Noruz reckoning, sunset.
The sun is rapidly setting on this refreshingly cool autumn day. Relana has just finished playing her lute for the day in this square that has been her stage for the past two months. She is packing up to return to her boarding house. Corvis is sitting on the ground leaning against a building at the south entrance to the square looking feeble and nondescript. Four men enter the square beside him. One carries a flute tucked into his pack. He mutters, “That’s the one, you two head around and cut her off at the next intersection. We’ll tail her from behind.” While his two henchmen jog off to the west exit of the square, the flutist absentmindedly tosses a few coppers in front of Corvis and declares quietly, “Today’s your last show.”
Relana arrived in Aval City about two months ago trying to gain admissions to the Aval Library. Thus far, her efforts have failed. Disheartened, she began playing the lute in one of the many public squares dotting the city. Though melancholy, her tunes have earned her enough to pay her keep. Relana finishes packing and heads through the north exit of the square. After a few moments, the flutist and his remaining companion start after her.
Corvis straggled into Aval City about three weeks ago to recover from his wounds and his sorrows. The band of elves he had been living with were slaughtered by a Claacos hunting pack. The pack was unusually large. He heard Relana’s music and was drawn to it because of its haunting elven cadences. Corvis briefly considers the coins tossed at his feet before ignoring them, pulling his cowl over his head. Last show? His eyes narrow as he’s reminded of why he avoids the cities and why he’s eager to leave. Pulling his cloak tighter around himself, he watches the group of men split up. He considers his options, face tightens in a scowl, and he begins to tail the flutist and his companion.
Having sensed she is being followed, Relana quickly scans for a place to hide or flee. Unfortunately, there’s not enough time as two figures approach from in front of her and stop. One casually holds a club and the other has his hands buried in his garments. She spins around and sees three more figures approaching. One, a rotund man with ruddy cheeks and a flute jutting out from behind him. His hands are out and without any weapons. The second to his left is a slim fellow with a sinister aspect. His hands are hidden. The third is farther back and hard to make out. Relana might have missed him if not for her infravision.
The flutist says, “I’m a reasonable man, my dear. If a fellow musician passing through wants to play a few days in my square, that’s all well and good. I can use the vacation. However, you’ve been here nearly two months. I figure you owe me about 20 gp back-rent for playing in MY SQUARE. We can settle up and you can move along, or we can do it the hard way…”
Relana replies, “I didn’t catch your name, dear sir, but I didn’t see your name on the square when I entered. As far as I know, it’s a public place… Incidentally, I do have a proposal for you, if you really need the 20g that badly, although you hardly seem like you would miss it… I’m trying to get into the Aval library, but they don’t seem to like letting the likes of us in… You seem like you’ve been around here for a while, and might have useful knowledge in that matter… I’d pay you your 20g… payment once I get into the Aval library of course… Someone as handsome, strong, and as clearly powerful as you must have some connections and knowledge that could be useful for such an endeavor…”
Corvis observes Relana in conversation with the flutist, and then sees Relana suddenly feint forwards and execute a back flip attempting to get behind some of the thugs. The maneuver is difficult in her bulky hides, but she manages to keep her feet … barely. The club wielder takes a swing at her (misses) and the other three brandish daggers. She makes to run toward Corvis and the others start to give chase. Maybe Relana would have a chance if she weren’t carrying all of her worldly possessions. Corvis knows how this race will end.
Too late, Relana realizes her miscalculation. Just as she dodges the club swing and is picking up speed, she realizes she is running towards Corvis whom she as mistaken as in league with her enemies. Desperate, she speeds up into a full charge, screaming and flailing her fists. A surprised Corvis ducks out of the way.
Though there are some objects he might have thrown in the path of the pursuers, he was thrown off guard by Relana’s maniacal charge and decides to draw his swords and attack the club wielding thug who is in the fore. Corvis swings with both his long sword and short sword, but misses. The flutist’s party halts, Relana continues running. Corvis shuffles trying to keep as many of the thugs in front of him. The flutist bellows, “What are you, her boyfriend? No matter, we’ll deal with her after we deal with you.” Corvis has an ominous feeling as he realizes he can only see 3 of his opponents. Though he manages to dodge/parry the attacks from the three facing him, he falls to one knee with a scream of pain as the 4th rogue stabs him in the back.
Relana rounds the corner and pauses to catch her breath. Glancing back, she sees what she thought was her fifth pursuer go down to one knee as he is struck in the back.
Pain. Pain screams that you’re still alive, to push on, to fight on. Corvis’s instincts take over, making room with his long blade to spin and disembowel the attacker behind him. Warm blood on his hand and sound of sudden exhaled breath tell him he’s hit home. Corvis shoves the man off his blade and braces against the wall, longsword pointed at the flutist. The sounds around him are faint, his pounding heart attempting its best to drown them out. He thinks he says, “Stay away from her!” but did he say it in Elvish? Speaking in Common or Aval is so much more awkward. He can’t quite make out what the cutthroats are saying, but they’re backing off and making room and he takes that as a good sign.
The flutist screams, “My god! You’ve killed Kyeanni!” He starts backing away. His two companions glance at each other and start backing away as well. The flutist continues, “Murderer! Freak elvish murderer!” Some upper level windows open and some passersby show up to gawk at the commotion. The flutist points at Corvis and screams, “Murderer! Somebody stop him and his wench girlfriend with the lute!”
Having caught her breath around the corner, Relana joins the new fight for public perception. “Rapist!!!” Relana responds “This stout “man” was attempting to besmirch my honor against my will when this man” (pointing at Corvis) “rightfully defended my honor”. “Look at us and Look at them! They outnumber us 2 to 1, and neither of us are in any shape to fight”. “Quick! is anyone a cleric who can aid this poor hero!” Relana shuffles over to take a closer look at the grievously wounded Corvis. “Thank you sir.” she says – just loud enough for the others to overhear. Relana struggles to bring “Corvis” to his feet. She asks Corvis, “Do you want to stay, or do you want to go somewhere where I can tend to your wounds?”
And then the girl is there, struggling to keep him upright. Corvis nods at the appreciative statement, “Go… Time to go.” Another strategic retreat. This time he makes sure to announce in Common, “Stay away from the girl!” as he backs away, blade pointed towards the flutist’s party. One step at a time, got to keep moving.
The flutist continues to retreat shouting about treacherous elven murderers. Corvis and Relana also retreat, but in the opposite direction. Having withdrawn far enough that they no longer attract attention, they pause to decide what to do next. Relana is relieved she has not yet paid in advance for the next week’s lodging and has all her belongings with her.