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At the Wandering Moon Inn and Tavern
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

92 Posts
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Age:231
Job: Bard
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Mike

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#1
A man can only wander for so long. Arjay had been fairly comfortable in his own little illusory area of the Hub, and in traveling through everyone else's, but in the end, he found himself wanting someplace to rest his head that was solid, somewhere that everything was real, where the people were real. In the end, he'd finally plane-shifted back to Faerun, lifted enough of his property for start-up funds, and had come back to buy an establishment at the stable center of the Hub, between all of the illusions, where the people were real and everything was unchanging.

The building, after he’d spent quite a bit of magic and purchased effort shaping it, appeared to be built inside a great tree. That was, he would admit, just an affectation, he didn’t have the resources here to manage that, but it did make the place remind him of home, which was the whole point. Inside, he’d spent quite a bit of time arranging for the purchase of all the different kinds of alcohol he could find, and the services of a bartender who knew how to use them. From the kitchen behind the bar came the heady smell of the meal that the cook was preparing for tonight. Like in the taverns of his world, while you could get whatever you liked during the slow hours of the day, there was only one meal prepared each night to serve all comers, but the food was (by his insistence) high quality, and some simple dishes were always available for more fixed appetites.

On the other side of the main room of the tavern was a stage where musicians performed as they wished, sometimes hired, sometimes freely playing for tips. The music selection was always changing, and catered to the diverse tastes of the Hub. One day an elven minstrel might be playing, the next a rock band from an alternate Earth where the Beatles had never broken up. The various talents were encouraged to come play as they liked, because the proprietor had long ago learned the value of having a variety of foot traffic through an inn, with all of the stories they had to bring.

He allowed an amount of trade in the side room of the tavern, generally with a small fee given to the establishment for facilitating the business. You could find anything from magic potions to tricorders, all of various authenticity, with the weapons trade discouraged, still happening (he knew), and monitored (secretly).

Upstairs was a small inn, with four rooms available for nightly rent, four rooms available for extended stay, and the tavern keeper’s room at the very top. Public and private baths were available, with decency enforced in all public areas, naturally.

Today, it was only lunch time, and so the inn was quiet. Arjay sat near the bar, sipping his wine, idly plucking the strings of his lute as he lounged lazily in his favorite seat in the inn. Across the room from him, a cyborg was defragging his drives over a glass of firewhiskey, while at the bar a little green man, he couldn’t tell if it was a wood sprite or an alien from this angle, was struggling to see the selection behind the bar. Arjay himself, pleased with the early-day business, continued to lazily play, his eyes always drifting to the door to see who was coming in.
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Darkwing Duck -Disney Cartoon

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Raven

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#2
“Launchpad… don’t you see it?” Darkwing sputtered, jumping onto his friend’s back and flipping a feathered hand out in front of them. They were standing on the balcony of Darkwing Tower, Gosalyn with them, looking out toward the southern edge of St. Canard. The edge being the problem. The city should have no edge, it should diminish into suburbs and farmland and eventually transition to forest. But now there was a definite, blurry, glowy edge. And beyond the edge were buildings, structures, things that had no business being there. And yet...

“Yeah, DW, tall glowing buildings… those have always been there.” Launchpad was completely nonplussed, as was Gosalyn.

Darkwing was very plussed.

“NO THEY HAVEN’T!” he shrieked, jumping down from Launchpad’s shoulders and stepping in front of Gosalyn so their foreheads were touching. “Right darling daughter?”

“Geez Dad, switch to decaf… those have always been there.”

“Really? Really? Then what, might I ask, are they called?”

His best friend and his daughter looked at each other and shrugged. “I don’t know,” Launchpad admitted, kicking at the ground with a wide webbed foot, “guess it never mattered. Hey, why don’t you go ask?”

“Don’t know about the other ones, Dad, but that one is the Hub…” Gosalyn said, waving a wing to the west. “You should start there.”

Darkwing looked back and forth between the two of them, flabbergasted. “The entire city has gotten sucked into another dimension… that’s it… and you two have been hypnotized, or maybe put under a spell… “ He pulled down on his hat, tightening it over his head as he stomped into the tiny garage where his motorcycle, the Ratcatcher, was parked. “Whatever it is… Darkwing Duck will get to the bottom of this!” He jumped on his bike and walked it to the top of the steep bridge support attached to his tower. “I’ll be back,” he said, waving to Launchpad and Gosalyn as he pushed off and careened down the support toward the road below.

“Do you think he’ll be awhile?” Gosalyn asked, peering down at the purple motorcycle disappearing across the bridge.

“Yup,” said Launchpad, “better get out the checkerboard.”

*********

What might have been minutes later, or maybe days, Darkwing pulled to the side of the road in… wherever he was. Ever since he’d crossed the barrier his sense of time and place had warped. At first he’d ridden slowly, ogling all the strange buildings around him. But now his senses were near overloaded. At the edge of the city the way light itself painted the world around him seemed to change, adding textures and colors, mottling everything around him. It was disorienting, and tiring. He’d looked behind him at his home city, tempted to go back, but then he’d have nothing to tell Launchpad or Gosalyn.

Besides, he was curious.

“Curiosity killed the cat, and cats try to kill ducks, which means Curiosity is my friend and I should follow it,” he said as he drove the Ratcatcher in low gear down the streets of a city that he’d never seen before. A city full of sights, smells, and sounds that sapped his energy, made him want to drop his bike on the side of the road, curl up in a bush, and just go to sleep. He was beginning to wonder if Curiosity had its sights set on ducks as well when he noticed the crown of a tree a little ways away and felt compelled to explore.

“I must… keep… going…” he hissed through a dry bill as he pushed off and the Ratcatcher, seemingly catching his fatigue, sputtered down the road, coming to a stop in front of the huge tree, complete with a door, and a sign advertising happy hour specials.

“Gadzooks! Maybe I’m just hungry.”

He stumbled through the door to find a tavern buzzing with conversation and laughter. It quieted some as he stood there and the denizens looked his way. Denizens that resembled huge ducks plucked of their feathers and deprived of their bills. What was this place?

“Holy smokescreen I’ve missed my grand entrance!” he said, smacking his bill and suddenly leaving out the door. A hero was never too tired for a good entrance. This time he burst through the door, flinging it wide, and breaking open a smoke pellet on the floor. A cloud of purple smoke rose up, obscuring him. “I am the terror that flaps in the night!” he intoned from within the cloud, “I am the wayward traveler that awkwardly stumbles into your bar and asks for a glass of milk. I am… -cough- -hack- Darkwing Duck!” His smoke pellet hadn’t worked the same as it did back in St. Canard and the cloud had already dissipated. “Well, I’m sure you get the idea,” he mumbled, approaching the bar which was just above the level of his head. With a grunt and a near fall he managed to hop onto a bar stool.

“Seriously, I could use a glass of milk.”
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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Mike

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#3
Arjay had seen a lot of things in his many years. He’d witnessed war and peace, he’d witnessed magic and technology, victory and tragedy. He’d seen the avatar of a Goddess appear, had seen demons and devas, and had studied entire books’ worth of magical creatures. He had not, though, ever seen a talking duck come try to make a theatrical entrance just to get a glass of milk. For that matter, he hadn’t seen a talking duck at all, let alone making any sort of entrance for any reason, but the combination of them… well, the effect was entertaining.

He gave the bewildered bartender a smile and a nod, letting his fingers strum over the strings of his lute, before he set it aside, walking across the bar for a new instrument someone had offered him to settle their bill. Obviously, it wasn’t a rarity on other worlds, it wasn’t priceless or anything, but it intrigued him, as any new instrument did, and he had been able to tell that the craftsmanship was good. What had he called it? Ah, right, a guitar. Same principle as the lute, but obviously, a much different sound, even when it was an ordinary acoustic (as the man had called it) and not one of those technological guitars that the band the other night had played. “What are you waiting for?” he told Felix as the man kept giving the duck a strange look, “Get the duck a drink.”

Arjay sat back down in his favorite seat, lounging nearly sideways in it with his leg propped lazily over one arm, the better to rest the guitar on as he began strumming it. He was learning this instrument as he’d learned all his others in time, but for now, he just practiced his chords. “I assume that entrance usually goes a bit differently for you?” he asked, glancing up and over at the duck with a wry smile. “Perhaps a shorter entrance line would help. Perhaps some flash stones, too, for the better dramatic effect.”

He gave Felix a little gesture to indicate to give the duck a free lunch. Arjay was a good businessman, he didn't make a habit of just giving away services for free, but he knew full well that when you wanted to learn about someone (and yes, a talking duck did intrigue him, he had to admit), a free drink and a light meal went miles, and hardly put him out any costs at all. Besides... the entrance had been amusing, at least, and a good performance deserved a bit of appreciation.
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Darkwing Duck -Disney Cartoon

16 Posts
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Age:28
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Raven

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#4
The bartender stared at Darkwing. Darkwing stared back, raising one brow. “Milk?” he asked again, and then again drawing the word out. “Meeeelllllk?” He sighed and pulled his hat down over his eyes. He’d run into these sorts of creatures before, funnily enough on other jaunts through the multiverse. Conveniently, then, they’d all spoken English. Had even told him what they were called, not featherless ducks, but hoomans. But from the confused expression on the human’s face, he didn’t understand what Darkwing was saying.

Luckily he had his handy dandy translacoder on his utility belt, he just needed to strap it on his throat and… Where was it? Drat, he’d left it at home because who expects to just be catapulted into another universe?

He should, he knew that. He was Darkwing Duck. Intrepid investigator of the unknown!

“Milk?” he asked again, miming milking a cow into a glass and then drinking.

”What are you waiting for, get the duck a drink.” The voice came from a striking hooman carrying a guitar. This must be an alternate universe if musicians were in charge.

“I, uh, thank you,” he said to the bartender as the hooman quietly slid a glass of milk to him. Darkwing downed it… He must have been roaming the streets of the Hub for hours and he was famished. “Ahhhhh,” he said, wiping a purple sleeve across his bill. He pulled a 5 Mallard bill from his pocket - green money with a duck’s picture in the middle - and put it on the bar. Then, his shoulders relaxing a bit, he turned to the hooman with the guitar. “A musician who is in charge and a critic… the day just keeps getting stranger. Yeah, I’ll admit, it’s a bit wordy, but to my credit I’m usually less bedraggled and bewildered. The name’s Darkwing Duck, I’m a hero from St. Canard, a city that seems to have followed me to this place, though it’s not the same city. I was at the end of a long day when I found myself here, wherever here is, and I’m sure my city is missing me, unless a different version of myself switched with me, though it could be an evil version, which means I have to get back right away…” His eyes had started bugging out and his feathers standing on end as he tried to wrap his head around what type of situation he might be in. Of course, these hoomans might know.

“My dear hooman, I have two questions for you… first, where the heck are we? And second…” He started getting a greedy look in his eyes. “What are these flash stones you speak of?”
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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Mike

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#5
Arjay couldn’t help chuckling at the expense of his poor bartender. Really, they were in the Hub. The man should have expected anything, or at least known how to roll with it, shouldn’t he? He shot his boss a dirty look as he slid the duck a glass of milk, which Arjay responded to with a good-natured shrug.

“Well, how is it that the humans say? ‘Everyone’s a critic’?” He hadn’t been exposed to these other universes for very long, but he did do his best to listen, picking up all kinds of amusing turns of phrase. “Yes, cities do tend to do that when one comes through here. If you want to get back to your city, it should be as easy as going back to the place you came through, if you can remember where that was. If you need help finding it… well, that can be arranged, I suppose. For now, though, you’re here in my fine establishment, so why not eat and rest a bit first?” He nodded to the chair opposite him at the table, then peered through a little window into the kitchen at the cook, whispering something, then nodding. “My lunch should be out in a moment, if you’d care to join me?

Lunch did come soon, and it proved to be a moderately sized cooked ham, a plate of cheeses and fruit, and a hot loaf of bread. In response to his whispered message, the cook had brought an extra plate, if the duck decided that he was hungry enough to join him. If not… well, he could just watch. “So! Now that hospitality is all arranged for, finishing introductions should be arranged. My name is Arjay Lo’Ran, and I hail from a world far different from yours, and this, my good friend, everyone calls the Hub. Think of it as a world between worlds. Walk far enough here and you can find your way into any sort of world you can imagine. I’ve found the ways to worlds that are amazing and worlds that are terrible, and I apparently haven’t scratched the surface of where you can get to from here. For now? I’m content to base myself here at the center of it all, where everything’s stable, and see the people that find themselves here.” He smirked at the second question, then reached into his pouch. “This, my friend, is a flash stone. Not as common as some of the other little gadgets from my world, but still not hard to find. You take a stone, you treat it with the right chemicals and a few magic ingredients, and then when you throw it at the ground? It produces a great flash of light. Generally, it blinds everyone for a few seconds, probably long enough to finish a long-winded entrance speech.” He rolled a small stone marble across the table toward the duck, then picked up the knife to cut off a slice of ham. “Please don’t try it inside the tavern, though?”
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Darkwing Duck -Disney Cartoon

16 Posts
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Age:28
Job: Hero
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Raven

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#6
“Ducks say that too,” Darkwing said, flipping his broad-brimmed purple hat onto the stool next to him. It was true, back home in St. Canard the Daily Billetin would often focus on the collateral damage inflicted by his exploits rather than the solving of the case itself. When he’d caught the condiment thief the Billetin had forgone ‘Darkwing Solves Caper Caper’ or ‘Only Darkwing Could Ketchup to the Thief!’ for the less interesting ‘Darkwing Duck demolishes three grocery stores and finally accidentally dropped a shopping cart on the elusive condiment thief.’

His attention switched from his reputation woes though as Arjay explained how ‘The Hub’ worked, or at least the basics. “Easy as finding the spot I came in eh?” He feigned a confident look and then slumped his bill into his hands. “I think I came in while parachuting from a plane… And only my pilot - my real pilot back home - knows exactly where he dropped me.” He drummed his feathered fingers on the countertop. “I don’t suppose these portals are especially visible…” He was going to need help, but at the moment he was exhausted. And hungry. “Why not… unless…” He leaned his head forward, one eye enlarging to inspect Arjay. “You are one of those tempting creatures who offers some food and once I have supped I may never leave.” He quickly looked Arjay up and down, his hands on his hips. “Perhaps I will join you and not partake… I just need to employ some will power.”

He plopped down at Arjay’s table and attempted to watch stoically as platters of food were brought out. “Will… power… will… power… will oh you have found my secret weakness, the cheese plate!” Darkwing tore off a hunk of bread, spread cheese on it, and tossed it in his open mouth. “If cheese is to be my downfall, so be it… you have bested Darkwing Duck!” But the only thing he felt was less hungry and a little less likely to fall over unconscious. Apparently exploring the multiverse left him famished.

“So,” he said between bites, “you chose to stay here rather than in your home universe? How long has it been?” Thinking of Launchpad and especially Gosalyn back in the real St. Canard he couldn’t imagine staying much longer than, well, longer than it took to have lunch with Arjay Lo’Ran.

And maybe garner a flash stone or two. He snatched the stone as it rolled across the table and held it up to inspect it. Oh temptation to slam it to the ground just as Arjay instructed him not to. Do as the locals do…. do as the locals do… He took a slow meditative breath, let out a couple of ‘aooommms’, and then went to place the stone in his pocket.

He slipped, his hand suddenly spasming and sending the stone arcing into the air above him. “Got it.. I got it…” he said as he dove from his chair, hand extended to catch the stone. He missed, landing flat on his belly on the floor. “Didn’t get it,” he moaned, wondering why there hadn’t been a bright flash yet. Then the stone, which had landed on his back, rolled to the floor next to him. Looking more sheepish than duckish, Darkwing picked up the stone and stuck it in his pocket.

“So what do I owe you… don’t suppose you take Mallards…”
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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Mike

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#7
What sort of world did this duck come from? His behavior was odd, almost comically familiar. After a moment, Arjay realized that he’d met a few gnomes that acted like this creature, and then of course, there was that business with the Halfling who thought that he was the King of Shadowdale and that the Zhents were his personal manservants…

Breaking out of his reminiscences before they pulled him in too deeply, Arjay quietly considered the duck’s problem as the duck decided that being trapped on a world aside from his own was acceptable if he were plied with cheese. Interesting idea, that… he’d have to remember that tactic, once he mastered a way to dimensionally anchor people with cheese. For now, he just had to consider the problem of the duck’s return to his world. He wasn’t sure what a parachute was, exactly, but the description gave him a reasonable idea. “The portals are occasionally visible, occasionally not. It’s very… inconsistent, really. On the other hand, all you need is someone who can see things that are invisible, and you’re in business. And since you’ve found me? We should be able to find your portal in short order, as long as you remember roughly where you were when you came through.” He picked up a piece of cheese himself, savoring it before swallowing it, then continuing. “I could send you back whenever you like, that much isn’t really an issue. If you wanted to come back, though, we’d need to find your portal so that you’d know where to go to return through it.”

“I’ve been here a few months so far,” he said. “I’ve taken the occasional visit back home, but they’re doing well enough in my absence, nothing’s required me to do more than settle a few bills here and there. Here? I get to see all kinds of strange, unexpected things, and for the moment, that seems like a much more interesting use of my time. I- NO!” He watched the duck fumble the flash stone, and he immediately stood and tried to make a snatch for it. Missing, he chanted a quick word of power, miming a grasping motion, and an ethereal hand appeared in the air, snatching at the stone. The hand missed, the stone bounced off of it and plummeted toward the floor. Arjay winced covering his eyes… and no flash came. He peeked through his fingers and saw that the stone had landed on the duck, rolling harmlessly off onto the floor.

With everyone staring at them, Arjay cleared his throat, smoothing his clothes as he sat down, picking up a slice of blood orange. “Ahem. So, anyway, why don’t you just take that one. If it turns out to work in your world, and trust me, not everything work in every world, we can talk price when you come back. Now… I assume you’re talking about that… paper money that you had out earlier? We could take that. Honestly though the better trade is to bring something, even something common, that can be found on your world that is unique to it.”
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Darkwing Duck -Disney Cartoon

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Raven

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#8
Once he’d decided to risk the food Darkwing lost himself in eating, his too long ignored stomach taking over. He didn’t exactly make a pig of himself - a duck had standards - but there might have been a crumb or twenty on his purple lapels when he looked back up at Arjay, unaware that his host had been quietly musing. “See the invisible? Are you a sorcerer then?” He asked the question with a slanted brow but quickly melted into melancholy, slumping at the table. “My beloved back home is an enchantress… we were supposed to go out for dinner tonight, maybe solve a caper together. Oh Morgana… “ He looked at Arjay, his eyes wet with sentiment. “Did you not leave anyone you love behind?”

It appeared this hooman came and went from the Hub to his home when he wished, but more often than not he wished to be here. It was interesting here. And it could be dangerous. And he never veered from danger, nay, he ate it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snack! Perhaps Morgana, Launchpad, and Gosalyn would return here with him to explore. But what about the Launchpad and Gosalyn who were already here… That was something to wrap his sleuthy brain around. “Say… my daughter is already here, but she’s not my daughter, but she is, you know what I’m saying. What happens if I bring my daughter from there to here and there are…” There was a sproing sound and for a second Darkwing’s face convulsed. “Sheesh, maybe I should just stay home if I get back there.” Not if, when. Arjay could and would help him.

Though this place did have wonderful treasures. Like the flash stone he almost accidentally activated. “Well, luckily my razor sharp reflexes cut off catastrophe there… I will certainly save this bauble for the right circumstance. One use you say?” If so he would need more since the right circumstance would be as soon as he got outside. As for payment for future flash stones…

“Something unique to my world… I’m not sure what that would be, aside from that we’re all anthropomorphic animals which is something I didn’t even know I knew until now. I do have quite a collection of nefarious gadgets confiscated from the villains I’ve defeated. I suppose I could fetch you a decommissioned goo ray or a sonic flatulator or… hmmm, no not that.” He drummed his feathered fingers on the table. “When would you be available to help me with your, um, magical portal detecting abilities?”
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

92 Posts
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Mike

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#9
Arjay couldn’t help the sad smile that crossed his face at the duck’s question. “No, I’m afraid I didn’t have anyone I loved left to leave behind. Yes, I am something of a sorcerer, though, so yes, we can rather easily find your portal.”

The duck did bring up an interesting question, though, and one he hadn’t finished researching. “I’ve noticed that as well… This place seems to create the people as well as the places that we know. Essentially, you expect them to be in a place, and they are. I believe that if you brought your daughter here, she would take the place of the copy it created, I’ve seen that done before. The exception, of course, is that since this place accesses a multitude of worlds much like our own, if that copy becomes different enough from the person you know, essentially stops being that version of them… you might find yourself with two different daughters here. Or not. It’s not a situation that’s easy to research.”

He was beginning to think that the duck’s attention span was comparable to that of a Halfling. His eyes went back to the flash stone that the duck was holding as he nodded. “Just one. If you need more, we can get more for you, it shouldn’t be much of a problem.” Of course, based on the devices the duck was offering… well, he wasn’t quite sure he wanted any of those. Perhaps just their currency would be good. “What are the popular beverages from your world? Maybe there’s something unique there. This is a bar, after all, I could always use more drinks. As for your little portal problem… well, we could look into it whenever you like, I suppose. Unless you’re still hungry?” He had to admit, he was curious about the echoes of his family he’d created there. It did provide quite an ethical quandary. It was very much like he’d be abandoning a daughter if he went home. The echoes were sometimes vague impressions of not-people, just the faceless crowd, so to speak, but some were, for all intents and purposes, that person come to life in the Hub. That question, he really had no idea how to answer for the duck.
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Darkwing Duck -Disney Cartoon

16 Posts
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Age:28
Job: Hero
Ship Status:
Sexual Orientation: Heteroducksual.
Raven

All Accounts Posts: 43
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#10
Darkwing’s face softened at Arjay’s quick but pregnant answer. “Doesn’t take a master sleuth to know there’s quite a story behind those words, and I am a sleuth, so I doubly know.” His feathered brow furrowed as he considered the semantics of his words. He couldn’t quite figure it out so he shrugged and leaned in toward the proprietor. “I’ve been tragedy’s doormat before, my dear hooman, and if you’re ever looking for a sympathetic ear, you’ve got one here.” He tapped the side of his head, which was devoid of any obvious ears, unlike Arjay’s. “They’re on the inside… duck anatomy is weird.” And best to not voyage too far on that topic.

As far as the topic of Gosalyn who wasn’t Gosalyn, that was something he needed to figure out. How many daughters might he have next time? Steepling his fingers in front of him, Darkwing raised first one brow, then the other, taking in Arjay’s explanation. “So if I brought over the real Gosalyn, then the Gosalyn I just met a few hours ago would…” His bill turned into a tube shape as he puffed out air in a “poof”, ballooning his hands out. “That’s fucked up.” He suddenly clamped his hands around his bill, holding it shut. “Sorry, keep forgetting I can swear now,” he said in a strangled squeak. “For some reason I couldn’t before coming here.” But seriously, if the Gosalyn here changed enough maybe she wouldn’t just die if the other came over… maybe… “I just need to make sure she never comes over, that’s all…” Maybe there was a way to destroy the portal. But then he’d have to choose a side, and now he had family and friends here. “But I can’t… Gadzooks this is complicated!”

His eyes glossed over for a minute and he took another drink of his milk to clear his thoughts. A hero focused on the here and now, and here and now he needed to figure out how to get back through the portal. And procure more flash stones. He’d be willing to trade in some of his trophies, but it didn’t seem Arjay wanted those, he wanted… drink recipes? “Milk?” he said uncertainly, following with “Milkshakes?” Seemed like they had those things here. “My sweetie-pie makes potions… ones that have alternately turned me into a yak and back. But you are already a sorcerer… Do you need any more magical recipes?”

As far as when they would go find his portal… “I think I’ll peruse this place a bit more… maybe I can come by in a couple of hours?”
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