Pentus nodded at lord Dusk's concerns, but simply waved them away, "The prince is quite correct, the dwarves have what we need, not that they'll give it up easily, but I'll get to that in a moment." The bard paused when he heard a timid interjection from the likewise timid blacksmith, Jared.
“Excuse me, but I think that’s where I come in. I’m… well, I think you all pretty much know who I am. No need for introductions. Um, I... can, um, er... work with the Elvish metals, if that hasn’t already been established. Um, I will also be happy to join on the expedition to the Elvish ruins, as it has always been a dream of mine to enter such a place. I have researched these particular metals, as well as Elvish ruins history at the university, so I will be glad to assist those whom I will be traveling with. Anything else I can do that has otherwise not been established?”
Pen was grinning by the time Jared was finished. He pointed his staff squarely at the blacksmith and exclaimed, "This is exactly why I knew you were a good choice lad. You've a passion for metal, and for knowledge too. I can see it in your eyes, in the way you move your hands, in the not unimpressive muscles in those thin arms of yours," Pen paused, examining the blacksmith's arms while standing on the table, looming over him, like he was considering a cut of meat at the butcher's, "Yes… I think you'll be very valuable before this is over."
“I am concerned-” Pentus turned to face a frowning lord Bentley, “-that three people may be insufficient, especially where danger and the Prince's life is to be considered.”
Pentus waved his hand and smiled as if it were a trivial matter, "Oh come now, it's just a two square mile maze of dilapidated structures, unstable magical artifacts, and killer flora, as well as fauna. It's not like we'll be fighting, say, the dark emperor of Zaridia while we're there." Pen laughed at the absurdity of his own suggestion. He glanced at the end of the table… and saw the dark emperor of Zaridia sitting there. For a moment he stood and stared, frozen in mid chuckle. Then he spun to frown at the rest of the gathered questors as the shade of the emperor rose to its feet. He jabbed a finger at the shade and shouted indignantly, "I did not do that! This is nothing like the last time. This time, I did not do that!"
The shade, however, seemed to have little interest in Pentus at the moment. Pentus found this slightly insulting as the emperor and the prince had a small but intense and forboding chat, even though he should have been grateful that the quite clearly evil emperor was ignoring him. After the Prince had given his reply to the shade's warning and threats, Pen could tell the effect the emperor's unexpected appearance was having on the others, not to mention himself. He was frightened spitless, but something the shade had said made it all the more important they get to the ruins as fast as possible. And so, in the name of speed, Pentus swallowed his fear and put on his best swagger.
Pretending this was all a performance, Pentus took a deep breath and hopped down from the table, onto the floor behind the shade. Pausing, he examined the apparition even more critically than he had earlier examined Jared. The shade was translucent, but still a strong image, suggesting a strong spell or artifact was being used, and no matter the strength, Pen knew that one of the laws of projected images was that they were simply that, images that made scary noises. The emperor couldn't touch them here, but neither could they touch him, so they would need to rely on speech to dispel him, or some form of counter-spell. For the moment, Pen's mind was blank concerning a counter-spell, so, despite his survival instinct screaming for him to stop, he walked right through the phantasm, feeling a chill go through him, about faced so he was nose to nose with the emperor, and boldly announced, "You're lying Kariska."
(OOC: I'd explain why Pen says Kariska is lying, but this post is already long enough. I'll let someone else have a turn before continuing.)