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[align=center]--City-state Indris, Capital of the same name--[/align]
Marketplaces are always busy in the early afternoon, regardless of the day of the week or what town it is. It hadn't taken Karyn very long to learn when one of his previous masters had him pick up components or supplies: If you wanted to buy anything, and weren't crafty enough to get a good deal out of a crowded shopkeeper trying to keep up with an ever-growing crowd, pick just about any other time to buy it. This city was bigger than any he'd been in before, so the difficulty was multiplied. Fortunately, the young half-elf wasn't here to buy anything.

It was awfully loud. All of the yelling and bartering and conversation managed to blend together into a wall of noise as he walked in the street that made him constantly aware and weary of his 'superior' hearing. Surely in a crowd like this there would be a wizard who would take him! Karyn had not seen a mage's tower or study anywhere in this town, but he was beginning to think that an apprenticeship under a sedentary mage wouldn't be as interesting as a traveler anyway.

The trouble was that he wasn't quite sure what a traveling mage looked like. Those he had tried to be apprenticed to so far had all been sedentary, elderly, and wore large robes that would be impractical on dusty roads or in battle, so he was sure that wasn't what he should look for. When you come right down to it, there just isn't that much in appearance to separate a mage from any other man or woman except when they are in the act of casting spells, and the marketplace was hardly ideal for that.

After awhile of looking, and being yelled at to buy this or that or to get out of the way--for everyone was in a great hurry, it seemed--Karyn found a good wall nearby and leaned back on it, deciding to see whether anyone would be curious and idle enough to ask him what he was looking for, or whether he would just get lucky and notice a mage somewhere. He noticed after a few seconds that he had a tail, hanging limply behind his legs, but decided they hid it well enough for the moment.

((The OOC is here))
Jain tapped-tapped the butt of his spear all along the street ahead of him, continuously saying, "Excuse me," "Pardon me," "Oh my!" and "What is that I just stepped in?" more times than he would have liked. He was Orriath, towering above almost everyone around him, standing at a (respectable) 6'9". The broad-blade of his spear was covered in a heavy leather sheath and tied back; there was no immediate threat of him brandishing it on someone. As a matter of fact, someone might mistake it for a wizard's staff.

Bumping into someone for the umpteenth time, Jain sighed, frustrated. The town was just too busy for him to go bumbling through without a guide! Oh, how I wish to take off this blasted blindfold. But he knew better. If he took it off and tried walking around visually...

He shuddered a bit. He knew the repercussions; all Orriath trained just enough, walking around outside of their cities, to know what the sickness was, as they called it. It was beyond unpleasant.

He scratched at his neck, powder-blue tattoo running all the way up to his jawline. With something akin to a whine, he plopped down as soon as he came to a clearing, the butt of his spear feeling out what must have been a wall.

Then he realized, he had sat down on the ground right next to someone. He could feel them, so to speak, with a heightened sixth sense from the self-imposed blinding. Blushing, he acted like he knew the whole time that they had been there.

"Hello, there! I take it by the warmth on my skin, that the weather's pretty nice, yes? And it doesn't take a blindman to say that it's certainly busy!"
Cinderbelle's light blue eyes stared out into the hectic walkway, bustling with the activity of the marketplace. Her fiery hair contained in a bun that was contained in a blue bonnet. She was covered in very conservative blue dress, a blue collar covering her kneck and the skirt of the dress ceasing just below the beginning of her small, pointed, blue shoes. She continued walking, slightly weirding out those around her. Now if only we could find the Oracle 'round here, Cinder suddenly broke Cinderbelle's train of thought, causing the short doll to halt for a bit before continuing on as to not get crushed by the waves of people assumedly behind her.

Cinderbelle continued strolling along. Y'know, maybe if you weren't wearing this crap, you wouldn't look as freaky, Cinder criticized Cinderbelle's overly conservative choice in clothing. Shut it. Since when were you a stylist? Cinderbelle continued along, holding back an annoyed expression on her normally stoic face as she passed by a rather tall, blindfolded humanoid. There was an intriguing, powder-blue tattoo that her eyes followed all the way up to the man's jawline. Finding this to be a kind of humanoid she had never seen before, she approached the man curiously.

"I'm really sorry if this is rude but--hey, dude, what's up with that blindfold?" Cinderbelle started out politely, only to be cut off by Cinder. "S-s-sorry, sir!" Cinderbelle instinctually face-palmed.
Jain smiled as he cocked his head to the side. He felt the young lady standing in front of him, and could feel her eyes on him. No, it wasn't some kind of special power, or trained ability... Everyone feels it when eyes study them!

He was a bit taken aback by the sudden shift of vocal pattern, but he shrugged and went with it. Maybe she had had an itch?

"Nah, don't worry about it!" He said cheerfully, waving his hand in front of him in a dismissive gesture. No worries. "I have to keep my eyes covered! If I didn't, I'd go mad." He grinned toothily.

Aside from being a little surprised at a tall, apparently-blind man picking up a conversation, Karyn just wasn't quite sure how to respond to an inquiry about the weather. Sure it was something people used to start conversations, but there just wasn't that much to comment on...was there? Well, it wasn't raining or anything. Weather was really only easy to talk about when it was unusual or dangerous, because that made it interesting.

Fortunately, he was saved from the question by another one. He reasoned then, after the man had answered this other stranger's question, more questions would turn the topic away from the original, frankly boring one.
"How's that?" he broke in, getting his back off of the wall and turning slightly more toward them..while trying to get rid of his tail, which he managed after a few seconds.
"I mean, most of us seeing people aren't insane..."
"I think I like it here." The reptilian creature mumbled, mostly to himself. Toothily ripping into a thick piece of dried meat, which he had managed to actually purchase, rather than being chased out of town. Seems this place hadn't felt the sting of kobold expansionism, which suited him fine. In fact, it allowed him to go about as he pleased!

Which was, thankfully, in a quiet enough manner.

Sure, one or two glanced up at the kobold, legs dangling off the side of a building, feeling tall and empowered. Most of them went back to shopping or pointed it out to the guards... who, thankfully, just watched to see if he was going to start something, weapons at the ready in case he did.

He didn't intend to, which was a plus here. He had no need to antagonize an entire town's guard and people when he still had so much more to do! "Humans don't like death all that much," He philosophized to himself. "A single one perishes and they all get in a tiff about it, even if the being in question sorely deserved it." He sighs, finishing the dried meat. "No matter."

He rises up, dusting himself off... though, admittedly, there wasn't a bit of dust or dirt save for his bare feet - and he wore only enough clothes to slake the human's odd rules about modesty. Even without a mammilian body type they get all embarrassed and enraged at 'the barbarian's show of uncivilized culture'... like he doesn't know what 'da big werds meen'. Letting out a sigh at his thoughts, he jumps across the street to a rooftop on the opposite side, roof-jumping for the fun of it... there wasn't a law against it yet, so he just... enjoyed doing so.

Deciding to buy a drink of something, the kobold allowed himself to miss the nest roof, jumping off a wall on his way down and skidding to a halt next to Karyn, Jain, and Cinderbelle. Offering a toothy smile and a nod of apology, the light-footed kobold stepped away from them, sniffing the air for something... sweet. Maybe some sort of foreign fruit...?

He was... tall, for a kobold. Lacking a mammalian body type, his strength was masked... he was not filled with bulging muscle. He was merely... thicker, than kobolds normally should be. Sinew causing his scales to scrape against one another. His tail whipped about, talons gouging the dirt he stepped in, feathers and other adornment jingling softly as he moved.
"Well, it's not very pleasant, going mad, if that's what you mean. I mean, I can see, but... at risk of falling into a ball and weeping, or stabbing everyone, I'd rather not." He grinned wide in what he felt was the right direction. Oh, he knew where the man was, by simple fact that he had spoken. But unless launching a spear-thrust with pinpoint accuracy, firing a smile and, indeed, most other facial expressions got to be a bit tricky.

Mouth open, ready to say something about where he could find these kabobs he had heard about at an outlying village, something thudded down heavily in front of him. It had landed on it's feet, steps both heavy and delicate; warrior's balance. He had nearly grasped at his spear, but then he thought: Maybe that's just how people do things around here? Leap from high places to get to lower ones? It is more efficient...

"Hello!" He then felt the tail swish about, and knew, just knew. "You aren't human? Oh, how interesting! How I wish I could see you... Tell me, what are you?"
"That's not wha..Aack!"
Karyn was so surprised by the sudden arrival of the lizard-like being that he jumped back almost straight into the wall (though it was probably funnier to watch than it was painful). Worse, he was fairly sure his ears were showing for a moment there, and had to work quickly to make them look normal and distract the random collection of strangers so they wouldn't notice them..hopefully.
He saw another opportunity with the blind one's question, mentally sifting through a book of different peoples, mystical and otherwise he had studied once at his first master's bidding. "A cor--a cl--a cobble...a kobold!" he said finally, after stammering and grasping at the memory for a few seconds.
Cinderbelle listened to the two, a casual look appearing on her face. Interesting people, eh? Cinderbelle asked Cinder as the conversation continued on. The weather was nice, but not really exciting in any particular fashion so she continued listening to the two. Suddenly, her casual expression was broken by an instinctual jolt back. In a moment an unusual, reptillian creature appeared before her, landing on the ground. Cinderbelle's blue eyes were wide with shock. I've only seen these in Dad's books, Cinderbelle thought to herself as she quickly regained her composure.

"Ah, I see," Cinderbelle responded to Karyn, her shocked face now fully returned to a casual and relaxed look. "So, what brings you here, sir?" Karyn turned and faced the relative newcomer.
The kobold was honestly surprised that they would go ahead and speak to him, but whatever shock he must have felt was brushed aside for the moment. "As stated, I am of the kobold race... of the Blackshield tribe." One of the tribes with a moderate level of infamy, the kobolds under the black dragon had made a name for themselves as ruthless merchants, competing directly with the Wildhammer dwarves that lived in the same mountains. The tribe was known for making high-quality armors.

He took the time to glance at Jain, "...I'd recognize that style of tattoo. One of the two contests I've ever lost was against a blindfolded individual with bright tattoos. The first, a race across a maze of poles, keeping balance and speed.. the second, against the same, a contest of weaponry... to which I was blind as well, in the sake of fairness. I was defeated twice by the same fellow..." The kobold's face turned to a smile, "I respect that. Are you a warrior of the same tribe?"

"Ah... but I'm being rude. I am Versvesh... I'm looking for physically capable individuals to test my own strength against. I figured there'd be some in the city, but there seems to be rules about that sort of thing here." His tail straightens, and he nods. "I am surprised at the interest shown..." He looked upon Cinderbelle for a moment, then Karyn, considering them for a moment... before looking back to Jain, who seemed the most warrior-ish of the lot. He tilts his head, sniffling at the air for a few moments... then turns to look at Karyn again, eyes narrowing, "Out of everyone here, he smells the most of blood. How curious... I don't think he's even armed." The kobold wonders for a moment, before looking back to Jain.
"A kobold," he said, testing out the word in his mouth with a sincere expression of excitement on his face. He had read about kobolds, and had seen illustrations of them in books back home, but he had never met one. The same could be said of most Orriath, truth be told.

He listened to the kobold, Versvesh, with excitement and wonder. He had met one of his people? How interesting! And he lost to him in contests of physical prowess? Huh... I wonder who it was he met, he mused.

Leaping to his feet, he offered a hand as he held his spear propped to the ground in the other. "My name's Jain. Jain di Wulfe. A pleasure meeting you! Don't mind my inquisitiveness, I... er... Never got out. At all." He grinned brightly.

"Oh, and now I'm being rude!" He spun to face Karyn and Cinderbelle. "Jain! My name's Jain!"
Cinderbelle looked on with a slight smile on her face. To think I've not heard of this for most of my existence, only to discover so quickly, Cinderbelle thought to herself as Vesvesh continued talking. Physical tests, eh? Cinder asked, slightly roused by Vesvesh before going back into a more passive role in Cinderbelle's mind. Cinderbelle then stared on with a blank face as Vesvesh seemed to be checking all three of them out.

Cinderbelle slightly nodded as Jain turned around and introduced himself to Karyn and herself. Cinderbelle felt the inclination to curtsy, but resisted doing so.

"It is nice to meet you, Mr. Wulfe," Cinderbelle stated in a cordial manner as she quickly adjusted her blue bonnet. "I am Cinderbelle, Cinderbelle Kristall," Cinderbelle introduced herself, curtsying as she faced Jain, Karyn, and Vesvesh. "So I see we all have errands to do? But then again, that's why we're at the market place," Cinderbelle thought aloud. "Anyway, I am sorry, but I must be on my way to the town's Oracle. Would any one of you three like to come with me?" Cinderbelle asked the three as she slowly began walking into the main stream of people in the walkway.
"Are you kidding me?!" Jain excitedly exclaimed. "I'm only in the market place by chance, truth be told," he explained to her. "I'm, well... effectively blind, remember?" He pointed at his blindfold to emphasize, grinning a little. "Though, to be completely honest... I was following my nose."

He cleared his throat a little, embarrassed by the lack of chuckling after, what he thought had been, a joke. "No matter my reasons here, I'd love to meet this Oracle. Maybe they can divine some things for me, aye?"
An oracle? Like a prophet? Future-teller? Why didn't I think of that? He'd have to get components or something from mages, wouldn't he?
"That doesn't seem like too bad of an idea. Err, I'm Karyn by the way...Karyn...Mazzleroth." His voice trailed off at the end--he was fairly sure he should've introduced himself either before or right after Cinderbelle, but instead let the conversation go on because it would've felt rude to interrupt...and because he was busy kicking himself mentally just then.
She listened to Karyn introduce himself.

"Oracles are all prophets or future-tellers in some sense of the word. From the things that I've heard about them, they call upon the goddess Fata, a fairy-like being that represents the uncertainty of future and fate, to predict the future as accurately as possible. I was hoping to visit one so that I could get some guess as to what will happen next," Cinderbelle explained to Karyn. "However, I'm not sure if they do other things, so if you wanted to find out, you're welcome to come with me," Cinderbelle smiled while facing Karyn. "But make sure you can keep up!" Cinderbelle said as she finished making her way into the crowd.

Cinderbelle went into the rush of people streaming down through the large walkway. She quickly moved past humanoids that were much shorter as well as much taller than her in a hasty manner. Noting the hectic nature of the scene, it took awhile before she finally managed to even get past a single block. I hope they didn't lose me in this mess, Cinderbelle thought nervously. Hey, hey, don't worry about them, Cinder interrupted, encouraging her to continue onward.
"Fata?" The kobold asks, wondering for a moment or two before getting a look of realization. "Oh! We know that one, too - though we refer to her as the Dreamer in Stone... a beautiful creature with wings of crystal. Our Divine Sorcerers call upon her to reveal hidden ore deposits in the earth." The little beast smiled, touching a hand to his chin and nodding. "...I think I'll come as well. Curiosity. I wonder how different these 'Oracles' are to our Divine Sorcerers..."

As Cinderbelle moved into the crowd, the kobold nodded - leaping up towards a roof with a powerful standing 'oomph' - just enough to grab the side of the building and pull himself up. It was much easier for him to track her movements from a tall position - and, likely, easier for the other two to follow him. He'd move along the rooftops, checking Cinderbelle's position from on high.
"Hey, wait a second! I'm blind!" Jain almost swore as he heard Cinderbelle dart away with the soft-pattering of her quick step, then he heard a small grunt of effort and a deep 'oomph' as the kobold leapt onto what he could only assume was a nearby roof. He didn't wait for Karyn to make his move, fixating on the small, distinct pitter-pattering of Cinderbelle's step at the expense of all of his other senses, and darted forth.

He hit the crowd almost instantly and only through his extensive combat training was he able to avoid slamming into the first individual to step in front of him. He was surprised at how much effort it took him to keep his hearing fixated on Cinderbelle's distinct step, and to keep from colliding into passer-byers, but he was also surprised at how much fun he was having. It reminded him of his training in his youth, to help with keeping from being disoriented in crowds like these combining itself with blind-fighting training. He reminded himself to share this bit with the warrior trainers, whenever he got home.
"Sorry! --Ow! Um, listen, I'll pay for that when, um--oop!"

Karyn knew from the beginning he would be worse off than the blind man, following at such a quick pace in this crowd. All the same, he started trying to follow the kobold's movements, staying close to the edge and still bumping into people or tripping over things the whole way. He kept following as fast as he could, sincerely hoping that certain shopkeepers hadn't caught a glimpse of his face, but the one thing he was following just kept getting farther and farther away, until he was a speck on the roof. By then they had left the more crowded streets of the marketplace, and Karyn was able to risk running--though he tripped just as often as he'd bumped into people earlier, which meant he got nowhere fast.

He did notice something, though. For the whole time he'd been able to see where they were going, he had perceived that they were headed for the castle. Well, it made sense that an oracle would be near the castle, right? If he was good, he could advise the king or something, after all. So Karyn started in that direction, and after a few minutes found the others standing before a mid-sized house, waiting on...well, probably not Karyn. If the oracle was in, he was probably taking his time.

Karyn realized at this point how bad he must look--a good many of the times he tripped, he fell, and when he fell, he caught himself with either his arms or his both were a little bruised. Not to mention, his clothes (though thankfully not the precious book) were dusty and he was sweating and panting. He dusted himself off as best he could, and made an effort to calm his breathing.

"So...what's going on?" he asked finally.
Cinderbelle had continued walking, noting the others behind her as she headed in the direction of the town's castle, near the location of the Oracle's business location. Humming and tapping her foot as she stopped at the Oracle's door, her light blue eyes peered around to see if the others were near her. I hope that they didn't get lost, Cinderbelle worried. But attending to the matter at hand . . . , Cinderbelle thought to herself as she wrapped on the door with her right hand, hoping that the Oracle was ready. Any time, now, Cinderbelle thought to herself as she continued tapping her foot.
Count Jerral made his way through the marketplace easily. Most people moved out of his way as he walked. Not surprising considering the way he looked. Regardless of this he made his way through towards the castle. He stopped outside the oracle's shop, where an unusual group had gathered outside. Count Jerral grunted and walked over to the door to the shop.

Count Jerral gently pushed the girl in blue aside and pounded on the door, before sitting down beside it. His face obviously conveying annoyance at something.