Toward one edge of the crowd, a half-orc towers above nearby elves and humans. She is clad in a suit of fitted adamantine chainmail, the links green with something like verdigris despite their obvious polish.
Denba Brokentusk looks around with stoic impassivity. Her stiff black hair is braided into one long tail today. She wears two greataxes strapped to her back, but the weapon she presently holds is nothing more than a dull length of wood half as long as she is tall. She stands with the broader head braced against the ground and rests her blunt-fingered hands on the handle end.
"Hey!" A tiny head appears at Denba's eye level a few feet away, atop a halfling in dark leather armor. She blinks at the creature in surprise as it lands easily on booted feet.
The halfling grins up at her from behind the grille of a helmet. It has been cast with horns or spikes all around the top and would no doubt look fearsome on someone considerably taller. Every visible inch of skin seems to have some sort of scar on it, but the chirping voice and the hard-muscled body are both identifiably female. Like Denba, she wears a harness that holds multiple weapons. Hers seem to be mostly different varieties of greatsword.
"Hey, half-orc," says the halfling again. She assays another high bounce, seemingly weightless despite her gear. "I don't know you, I don't think. What's your name?"
"Name is Denba," says the half-orc cautiously.
"I'm Gracenys," says the halfling. "I probably won't remember your name, but don't take it personal. I always forget. That's a really big club. You must be a strong lady."
"Denba is not a lady," she says dryly. "Denba is a half-orc."
"Oh, I know," the halfling nods wisely. "'Cause you're way too tall to be an orc or a human. I was just trying to be, you know, polite."
"Thank you," Denba says. It was one of the first phrases she learned in the Common tongue, immune to her persistent trouble with pronouns. "But can just say Denba."
"Thanks! You can call me Gracenys, too. Or barb, or Hey You!
I'm not very picky. Did you find a cleric to stick to yet?" The halfling looks around at those nearby. They are talking among themselves, or looking at the Champion of the Flame.
"Denba does not know anyone," Denba says.
"Oh, me neither. I mean, I don't think
there's anybody I know." She frowns slightly. Behind the helmet's grille, her eyes are large and brown. "Sometimes I forget."
Denba glances around again. No one seems interested in talking with the mad halfling or the solitary half-orc.
"Can come with Denba," Denba offers. "Have potions."
"Oh, I got some too," Gracenys says. "But it's nice to get somebody with the sparklies if you can. Leaves less marks. Not that you have that many! You're very pretty," she adds.
Denba blinks. These are not words she often hears. She is tall and buxom, reasonably proportioned for her vocation. It is the underslung jaw and the small, narrow eyes that other races tend to find unappealing. And the tusks, of course.
"Thank you?" she says again, on general principle.
"We're going to have fun," Gracenys says. "I hear there's a lot
of the dead ones. Sometimes they keep on moving even if you chop their heads off."
"Denba has noticed," says the half-orc.
"Oh, so you've fought undeads before! That's great. Is that why you brought a club? They work real good on the skellies." The halfling looks with curious interest at the weapon. The end of the handle is about level with her forehead, or so it appears from Denba's vantage.
"Club works good on most things," Denba says.
"That's true, but you can't CUT things with it," Gracenys says, in the regretful tone of one pointing out a fatal flaw. Denba shrugs.
"Belong my father. Been in family long time."
"Was he an orc, or a human?" Gracenys asks.
"Orc." Denba lowers herself to one knee, bringing herself almost to the halfling's eye level. "What about yours? Was he hedgehog or ball made of rubber?"
Gracenys stares blankly from behind her grille for a moment. Then she breaks into delighted laughter.
"You're a funny lady," she says. "I like you."