Chapter Two

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Chapter Two

Post  Ao on Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:46 pm

Marpenoth the 18th, 1372 DR.
Hoat’s Pasture, Amn.

The fellowship hurries through the rocky border of the Brown Lands. The sun has nearly set below the treeline, the first stars of night peeking out from heaven’s canopy.

Argus and his men follow closely behind, and you swiftly approach the tall, aged log wall surrounding Hoat’s Pasture.

Hunters that catch sight of you stare curiously, forming a group behind you and following you into the camp.

As you walk through the front gate, you can see a large, smoky bonfire has been set in the midst of the hunters cabins. Atop, a whole deer carcass is roasting, tended to by a thin bearded man.

Cherous is sitting on a log bench by the fire, a blanket around his shoulders, staring into a cup of wine.

He raises his eyes, and springs to his feet upon seeing you.

“Heroes!” he shouts in astonishment, spilling the cup of wine over his doublet.

“I thought…” he starts running towards you.

“I thought I had sent you to your deaths! On the whim of a bards’ tale, and my bleeding sentimental heart! By the pantheon! By Waukeen’s grace! You’ve returned!”

He reaches out in an embrace, but stops dead in his tracks. The hunters murmur behind you. Cherous’ eyes lock on the spear.

“Is that…”

He steps backward, a gasp in his throat.

“The horn!” calls a voice from the shadows. The elven bard Selai walks out from the stables, hurriedly.

“The legends are…true?” Cherous asks, incredulously.

Selai slides in beside him, staring in equal surprise at the spear.

“So it seems, love, that not all bards’ tales are embellishments.”

Cherous is silent. Selai stares back at the stable, and then up at the night sky.

“We haven’t much time. Come. Hurry!”

[…]

In the stables, the horse lays upon her side. Her breathing is laboured, ribs poking through the thin flesh on her flank. Her eyes are milky, and she shakes uncontrollably.

Selai approaches Kellar as the hunters look on, retrieving the spear. In one swift movement, she takes a knee, and snaps the horn from the shaft of the spear.

The elf walks over to the horse, settling down beside her and stroking her mane. She whispers quietly in her ear, and brings the horn up to the star-shaped spot upon her forehead.

And then…

A flash of white light startles the men in the stable, and they cry out in surprise. The horse arches her back impossibly, rising up upon her back legs.

Selai stumbles backward, watching in awe as the horse seems to float above the air.

“Maleil” You see Selai mouth the name of the unicorn.

The horse is transformed. Her mottled, patchy mane of wispy grey hair has turned into a thick mat of white fur. Where there were once bony, sickly ribs, muscles ripple triumphantly. Thin, weak legs become the sinewy, thick thighs of a healthy creature.

The huntsmen murmur words of amazement. Argus takes off his hat. Cherous clutches his chest.

Before you stands Maleil. A creature of legend. A unicorn.

[…]

The unicorn’s words echo in your minds as she stares towards you, bathed in an effervescent glow.

“Heroes.” she speaks, in a soothing, calming voice.

“Thank you, heroes. It has been three hundred years since Baroei, the elf lord, betrayed the Seluneruan elves of the Soulwoods and brought a curse to her people. The same curse that stripped me of my life, heroes. The same life that you returned to me this day.”

She bows, her long mane sweeping upon the stable floor.

“You have restored the last seed of my people. And with that, the Seluneruan will regrow and protect these woods. You have planted these roots. You are heroes of legend.”

Maleil looks to Selai, and bows once again.

“And you, descendent of Elorai. You have kept the faith. Our people will be restored, and you shall lead them to peace and balance.

Cherous grabs Selai’s hand in astonishment, looking at the unicorn in disbelief.

Maleil looks into the eyes of the halfling, and he whispers meekly…

“Tr….Tree….TREETROT?

The unicorn laughs as the halfling approaches, throwing his arms around the neck of the creature.

[…]

The evening passes in a blur, as the huntsmen scramble to prepare a feast in celebration of the unicorn and the heroes.

You catch the huntsmen staring at you, whispering to one another. One of them bows at you awkwardly, straightening himself in embarrassment afterward.

“Err…” he speaks, digging his feet into the ground. “Can I grab yer an ale?”

[…]

The deer was prepared and feasted upon, and after dinner Cherous approaches you by the fire.

“Heroes, you have brought legend to a troubled corner of Amn. I am proud to call you my friends!”

He extends his hand, shaking each of yours in turn.

“Of course, you are always welcome in Gaoler’s Bend. By my personal invitation. I’ve sent for fresh horses to bring you back, and you may rest at my manse for as long as you please. However, you deserve reward for your efforts…”

He passes you a satchel that jingles, heavy with gold.

“500 gold pieces, friends. A modest sum with respect to your heroism, but I hope you will accept it.”

And then, he reaches into the breast pocket of his coat.

“And, sers. This is yours as well, if you will have it.”

He pulls out a set of old, heavy brass keys.

"When my ancestors reclaimed these lands, they profited a small cottage on a pond, only a mile east of here. It is a prize of my kin, but I confess to having neglected it over these years. It is built for men and not halflings, and the comforts of my manor keep me within the safety of my town.”

He smiles wryly.

“But I daresay that you lot won’t have a problem with sleeping without a sturdy stone wall and two dozen guardsmen, ah?”

Cherous hands you the keys.

“The cottage is yours.”

[…]

It moments later, amidst the revelry of the huntsmen, that a cry echoes out from the front gate.

“Alarm! Orcs! To the ready!”

The words cut through the celebration with grave omen, and within seconds every man has either bow or axe in hand.

Argus scowls, running headlong toward the gate.

Four hooded figures emerge from the shadows. Bows are drawn upon them, but they raise their hands, throwing back their cowls to reveal the flesh of elves.

Maleil steps into the clearing of the hamlet, as the huntsmen lower their bows.

“Welcome, children.”

The elves bow deeply, and then the tallest rises to speak.

“Huntsmen! We are the Arak’eun. Rangers of the brown lands. Descendents of the Seluneruan. Keepers of the old Soulwood.”

Maleil walks forward, the hunters sheathing their weapons.

“No, child. The new Soulwood. It is yours to protect.”

The elves bow their heads once more.

“But,” Maleil continues. “Are there so few of you left?”

The ranger smiles.

“Oh no, my lady. More are coming.”

[…]

Argus steps forward, formally greeting the elves and inviting them to feast. Maleil and Selai are close behind, exchanging words with their kin.

And then, the bard withdraws her lute as the elves begin to eat. And the hearty feast continues once more…

==================

Ok guys, long post! At this point, you are in Hoat’s Pasture, and this feast is taking place. The elves have joined the huntsmen, who don’t seem to know what to do with themselves under these strange and reverent circumstances, except to drink more ale.

Roleplay as you wish. Welcome to Chapter 2!

EXP: +150 each


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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:55 pm

Custer was awed by the display presented by the restoration of Treetrot to Maleil, but Cherous and Selai's show of emotion was tough for him.  He wiped a tear from the corner of an eye and excused himself to the fire outside.  

He tried to make sure he stayed out of the way of those tending the roasting deer as he stared into the flames and privately reminesiced of old times.  He was tired and he felt very soiled.  When he smelled himself, he decided it was time to stow his things and find someplace to clean up before the feast was served.  He was very glad he had thought to bring along a bar of soap.

...

Once refreshed, Custer returned to the feast in progress.  The smell of the food in the air had made his stomach twist and groan in pain more than once.  He nodded and smiled as he made way to help himself.  He stopped when a huntsmen bowed at him.  He said, “Err... Can I grab yer an ale?”

Custers face briefly showed a sign of panicked confusion, as he thought the man might have recognized him for his family name, but then he realized that he was probably just paying a measure of respect to the quest, and so he smiled and returned a shallow bow.  "Aye, and me thinks I'll take some of that venison as well.  Thanks, uhh.."  Custer trailed off and leaned in, trying to suggest to the man that he introduce himself.

...

Custer lowers his bow and returns the nocked arrow to his quiver.  As the Elves embrace, he approaches the others.  "When we gets a chance, me thinks we should talk to thems about the Orcs and their shovels."  Custer un-strings his bow and stows it on his back.  He hoped he would not need to pull it out again tonight.

When the bard starts to play the lute, Custer will take a long swig of his ale, then get up and make a show of dancing with the tankard as if it were a long lost love. As tired as he was, the alcohol was quick to scar him.

[Rolling performance +2]
12


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Re: Chapter Two

Post  DiceMaster on Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:55 pm

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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Kellar on Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:47 pm

So it wasn't just myth and fluff by the bard, muttered Kellar as he watched the transformation of the nearly dead horse into a unicorn.

Orbaugh pranced back and forth Kellar's shoulders in excitement.

Master, Master! It's a Horsey-corn! Kellar chuckled to himself.

With a smile he conferred, it's a uni-corn, Orbaugh.

Yes! Horsey-corn! Yes! Orbaugh said as he continued to prance gleefully.

With that, Kellar and Orbaugh followed the others to the celebration.

Orbaugh, let's play a bit of a game, Kellar said, as he grabbed a few apples.

What game Master? What game?

I'm going to pop this apple into the air, about yay high. Orbaugh looks on eagerly...

Okay! Okay!

Now when I pop it into the air, take a bite out of the apple, okay?

Okay! Pop! Pop!

Kellar tossed the apple into the air, and Orbaugh swiftly darted toward the apple, mid-air and took a quick bite!

Tasty! Now what?

When we face our enemies, the enemies of the bog, we must fight them. Use your bite to fend them off! Now, let's try the same thing with your tail, I see it has a pointed end.

Yes, I sting, I sting! I sorry Master, Orbaugh not say sooner.

It's okay Orbaugh, same thing this time, I'll pop it into the air, and then use your stinger, instead of your teeth!

Okay! Okay! Orbaugh like this game!

Kellar again popped the apple into the air, this time Orbaugh used his stinger to pierce the apple!

I did it! I did i-! Eep! Orbaugh squealed, as the weight of the apple stuck to his tail nearly pulled him from Kellar's arm.

Actions learned: Orbaugh learned BITE, and Poison Sting!

Kellar and Orbaugh then sat at a table, and ate some of the venison and had a bit of stew, washed down my a draught of ale.

Cus approached the table, "When we gets a chance, me thinks we should talk to thems about the Orcs and their shovels."

Agreed, little one. Orbaugh and I are about finished here anyway. We just got done working on a few things, he'll be able to help us, more than hiding under my shield or looking out for incoming threats, Kellar concluded.

Kellar raised his ale to Cus's dancing and merriment. Orbaugh happily danced and shook his wings and tail while standing on a stool next to Kellar.

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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Osvald Hale on Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:28 pm

Osvald looked on in awe at the transformation, truly it was a sight to behold.

When the call of warning came from the gate, the huntsman rushed to the wall--and found himself disheartened that the approaching orcs weren't Anna and Uru.

'Elves...'

He stared in silence from atop the wall as the elves were met by Maleil and ushered into the camp, then turned back and faced the wilds. He felt deep remorse at leaving this part of the world for so long. The Small Teeth were never kind, but they were home.
What they had accomplished for these lands in the past few days... Yes, he'd almost died, and more than once... But they had done good, and for his foolish noble heart, that was reason enough.

Osvald lingered there for some time, wrapped in his worn cloak. Breathing the night air and listening to his mountains, resting distant before him in the dark.

...

When the ranger emerges into the firelight from the darkness, the feast is in full swing. He finds a seat among the other huntsmen and they became fast friends, trading hunting stories they boast of victories past, and laugh together at their failures. Osvald drinks deeply and tells tales from his years in the north; of girls he'd bedded, sights he'd seen, and men who'd tried to kill him. He loses a few silver betting on himself in a knife throwing contest, much to his shame.

...

When the music starts, Osvald takes up a lyre and plays. His fingers are initially sluggish from lack of practice, but it comes back to him quickly. They play the joyful songs loved by travellers and sailors everywhere on the sword coast, lurid and crass. Osvald let's out a great snorting fit of laughter at Cuss' show, hollering over the music at him between sips from his flagon.
Soon, even the elves relax some and take their turn at the instruments, the music is enchanting and ethereal. Osvald catches himself staring at Selai, and turns to face the flame. He spies Shorjahl seated nearby and rises, only a little drunkenly, and staggers to him.

"I never did get a chance to thank you, for saving us on the cliff. I was certain that was the end for ol' Osvald Hale. ...And for the other times as well... Actually," He says with a laugh, " I'm certain I'd be dead out there without you along. You've certainly got quite a gift, friend. Where do you come from? "

...

Sometime later... It's hard to say, exactly... Osvald was by now very drunk. He found himself seated on the ground by the dying cook fire, back against a log. One huntsman was unconscious, slumped face down on the table snoring loudly. A few others were slurring a conversation to eachother a few feet away. The ranger had the lyre again and he played it slowly, occasionally stopping to drink from his flagon. He sang, though he had no voice for it:

Osvald played an old song from the mountains about a warrior who left for a faraway battle, years passed and his woman went looking for him, more years passed and neither ever returned.

With that he lets out a yawn, stretches and staggers (falling only twice) to an antechamber of the stable and falls asleep.

=====

Osvald will drink and be merry, content to enjoy their success and continued survival, And will ignore all serious talk until morning.

-2 sp for RP purposes.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Shorjahl on Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:52 pm

Shorjahl tried to be happy. Tried to feel relief that so much pain and blood had restored a great magical creature, a region, and a people, to some semblance of peace and justice. It had been only a few short days, and yet he'd seen more in this time than in the entirety of his life up to their eve - things he never thought that he would see. Did things that he thought he never would have done.

Such was the way of adventure. And now a new adventure called to him.

Whispering words coiled insidiously around his mind, as if Keisan's dark book itself was speaking to him from the makeshift envelope deep within his pack. During the feast, he thought of little else, woodenly smiling or nodding to those that made eye contact with him. He couldn't share their excitement, and meeting the elves did little other than stir up other painful memories.

The sight of the charred corpse of the deer, spit over the fire, the stench of its burning flesh, all accumulated into making him feel sick. He called upon his arcane powers to stifle the taste and smell, blocking his senses and allowing him to eat it tastelessly, staring absently into the fire. When Osvald approached, and spoke to him, Shorjahl didn't know what to say.

He smiled at the ranger, "I'm glad some peace has been restored to your homeland. And I am happy to have helped you." He tears a piece of meat from a haunch of the deer, looking at it with veiled disgust. "I have no home other than the Sword Coast." Realizing how cryptic that sounded, he laughed sardonically, then looked back out at the dark horizon. "I apprenticed under a man named Bargerohn." He looked back down at his meal. "I think he might be able to help us." It was clear Shorjahl didn't want to talk any more.

After a time, Shorjahl would quietly wrap himself in his cloak and leave the fire, lighting a small stone and floating it a foot in front of his face. When he was certain he was in isolation, he would carefully use a quill and his dagger to gingerly open the tome, peeling at each individual page, careful to not make contact with the page or to activate any of his magic when examining the pages. He would try to decipher at least its purpose, if not its actual function.

------------------------

Arcana: 20


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Re: Chapter Two

Post  DiceMaster on Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:52 pm

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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Forgeless Kilik on Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:32 pm

After the last few days, a warm fire and a cold beer were welcome...but strange.

Kilik sat in a quiet corner, letting his weariness an his thoughts wrestle for a bit. He surprised himself by focusing on the wounded orc by the river...lost and hunted...

Yes, he aided us when Keisan sprung his little trap, but who knows the lifetime of evil before that moment?

Marthammor Duin knows... he sighed heavily. Their recent journey had left him plagued with doubts. I turned away from the stone door in the crypt... I left a wounded traveller -- albeit an orc -- in distress... I suffered an insult from the Madgod's priest, an' let him live...

I've failed ye at every turn. he muttered in dwarven. What do ye want o' me? Hann't I given ye enough?

He glowered down into his nearly empty mug.

One road leads to another he said aloud, to no one in particular. Where will this one take me?

---------------------------------
In the morning, after some high-level dwarven snoring, he'll be in favor of checking out the cottage. (If that needs to be resolved now.)

Actions:
Kilik broods
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Ao on Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:30 pm

The evening wanes, and at once it seems the huntsmen are all asleep in their cups, drunk from the revelry.

The fire still burns brightly, and the elves sit quietly around, wrapped tightly in their cloaks, speaking in hushed and excited tones.

It is well after midnight when another two elves wander into the campsite. And then a scant hour later when another four walk through the wooden gate.

Maleil greets them in turn, settled near the fireside, with Selai and Cherous.

[…]

Those of you that are awake at dawn see a camp that is veritably transformed. In all corners of Hoat’s Pasture, elves seem to have congregated.

They are a wild sort. Clad in leathers and armed with wicked looking bows. Their hair is long and tied with brambles, and they are soft of foot.

The fire has long died. And now, beneath your feet, there is soft green grass and lichen, where once there was hard stone and earth.

As the huntsmen awake, a rustling of excitement and surprise bristles through their ranks. Argus himself stands aside the gate, looking out into the brown lands.

Where for ages it was drab, grey and muddied, verdant trees have begun to grow. The air is fresher, somehow. And the murky earth is bedded with soft moss and reeds.

[…]

Maleil addresses the group, as the sun rises.

“Children, we have much work to do. We are blessed my Mielekki. The Soulwood grows, even now, from the cursed brown lands. Soon, our land will be as it once was. And yet,”

Her voice rings brightly in your mind.

“To our north, orcs swarm the small teeth. They will look to lay claim to our glorious wood. And we must stand together.”

She looks toward Argus and his men. And then, to you.

“Huntsmen, we are indebted to you and your heroes for guarding these lands and restoring our people. We will forever defend your frontier. We will be your bulwark against the hordes of the mountains. And you will always be welcome amidst the Soulwood.”

Maleil continues her conversation, addressing the huntsmen and the elves in turn. Selai stands beside her, a look of pride on her face.

Cherous pulls you aside for a moment, however.

[…]

“Fellows. You have done a great deal of good here. You should know, I received a letter this morning by bird, from Gaoler’s Bend.”

Here, he pulls out a rolled piece of parchment.

“It is a muster call from The Harpers. They have requested an urgent meeting with myself, and my closest men-at-arms. You have already done so much for us, I hesitate to ask you for any more. But the Harpers are protectors of the Realms, and I would not turn them away. My steward has directed them to the cottage that I have entrusted to you. Would you escort me there, heroes?”

=============

EXP: +20 to each of you . Feel free to interact with any of the members of the camp, before either declining or accepting Cherous’ request.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Kellar on Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:34 pm

Maleil, I used your horn to smite those that took your horn. Are you able to bless my lance to strike my foes down in your honor? Kellar asked of the unicorn.

I have seen many things in this world, but none as powerful as the spear made from your horn. If you are unable to fulfill my request, I understand.

While waiting for Maleil's response, Kellar practiced with Orbaugh some more, playfully tossing an apple into the air.

Actions:

After the discussion with Maleil, Kellar will volunteer to escort Cherous to the cottage.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:48 pm

When Maleil finishes thanking the huntsmen and heroes, Custer will speak up.    "Ya welcome, Maleil.  It was the Lord Mayor Cherous and Selai that set us to this quest."  Custer nods at both in turn.   "If I may quickly say something about the Orcs.  We faced em several times, and it's not a simple a thing as a band of raiders from local tribes.  They wear fitted chain mail armor.  Some traveled from far away lands.  There are Kobold tribes and humans working with em as well.  They carry banners of some laughing Halfing I've never heard of, and they are looking for something.  Shorjahl don't right know what it is yet, but we do know that whatever it is, probably best for us all if they don't find it."  Custer looks about the crowd staring at him in a brief moment of silence, then says, "Uhhh, that's all I had to say."  Custer shrugs.

...

When Cherous ask the group to escort him, he is quick to respond.  "I am honored to be of service to you and yours."  He then ask him in Halfing.  "This cottage, are you transferring it and the land to us, or just asking us to take care of it for you?"

[If Cherous says he is fully giving it to us, Custer will follow up in Halfling with "The Lord Hale here is the last of a proud family name that has a long history in this land. Would ya support our placing property in his family's name, if that is what we choose to do?"]

[If he says he is just letting us stay there, "Ya forget that we didn't travel to ya gates together. We barely knows each other more than ya know any of us. Be careful with that haste, is what I mean to say, Lord Mayor."]
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Shorjahl on Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:57 pm

Shorjahl nods as he listens to the creature, but doesn't speak. His brow is furrowed, and he seems troubled and solemn.

As Cherous asks for the escort, Shorjahl looks for any opportunity so mundane. He wished to relax for a time, and consider his options. "Of course Cherous, happy to escort you."

------------------

Did I get anything out of my Arcana 20 on that book?
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Forgeless Kilik on Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:52 pm

Kilik looked out upon the change that had overcome the brown lands, and his breath came short.

A miracle, as sure as I'm standin' here...

He approached Maleil cautiously, deferentially. Madam, er, if that's what I'm 'sposed to call ye he began haltingly. We're pleased to be o' service. It's a rare honor to see such good done in a dark corner o' the world, an' I'm proud to know we were some small part o' it.

He bent down and swept a handful of small stones into his hand. I'd consider it a privelege if ye'd think kindly o' these simple rocks...an' if ye ever hear a dwarf callin' for help in a tight spot, remember the good work Forgeless Kilk did ye this day.

-------------------------------------

He nodded as the others agreed to Cherous' plan. Aye. We met some dark folk in the wild; the 'clergy' he spat on the ground o' the Madgod be stirrin' up trouble among the orcs, seemin' to be lookin' for something foul. It might be the Harpers can shed some light on matters.

--------------------------------------
Actions:

Kilik is trying to obtain reusable components for casting an augury ritual (i.e., "specially marked sticks, bones, or similar tokens worth at least 25 gp)
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Osvald Hale on Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:29 pm

After a groggy morning, the ranger comes to stand with the others are Cherous delivers his news. Osvald nods approvingly as the others agree to escort the halfling.

"We've come this far. It would be a shame not to follow this through."

At Cuss' mention of the cottage, Osvald shifts uneasily as a few turn their gaze on him.

"Ah... I've no knowledge of property law, or rights to land... If a name must be affixed to the cottage, I'm not opposed to it falling to me, but we have all earned a stake in it and I'd not deny any of you your fair claim, you'd all be welcome as if it were your own home. We all bled together to return that horn." He says, looking to his companions "Does that seem a fair arrangement? I've spent almost my whole life sleeping in woods and ditches, excuse my ignorance."

Afterward, Osvald will secure his belongings, and select the horse most suitable for him. As he awaits for the others to break camp, he counts 100 gold pieces from Cherous' purse and passes it back to the others.

"I could get used to the hero business." He says, a broad grin crossing his face before mounting his horse.

=====

Osvald agrees to continue on with the others, and will take his fair portion of the reward.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:53 pm

Cuss listens to Osvald and scratches the back of his head, nervously.  "Sorry, I, uh, I guess I just assumed you didn't speak Halfling.  That was rude of me.  Be that as it may, if it is to be ours, I believe the paper showing the name of Hale would be best.  You said it a few days ago.  A son of Hale must walk the Teeth again.  Might be this is a start to rebuilding your family's estate.  Just an idea is all."

Custer counts his 100 and passes.  He also reminds Osvald that we should make sure the 125 claimed from the Orcs is evenly split.

[Sorry I should have put that Gaelic part to make it more apparent I was speaking in Halfling to Cherous. ]
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Kellar on Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:49 pm

Lord Hale, as far as I see it, the cottage is yours. I've no need of such a place, although I would take you up on the offer to stay there from time to time.

Kellar receives the gold coin from Cus and removes 100 pieces. Thanks, Cherous.

Kellar pats Osvald on the shoulder and goes back to practicing more with Orbaugh.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Ao on Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:54 pm

[Shorjahl, Arcana results;] The mage sits by firelight, looking through the dark grimoire that was bestowed him by Uru. Looking at the ancient tome, you find the penmanship outstanding. The dark characters are painfully ornate, and construction of the tome itself would have taken years…maybe decades. Indeed, it seems to have been written by many different authors, as the size and spacing of the characters changes chapter by chapter.

And, Shorjahl is unable to discern at all the contents of the tome. You can see that it is written in paragraphs, with no diagrams or instructions. Thus, it is likely literary in structure. Even gazing at the wording, there is a sense of dread and darkness.

[…]

Cherries bows to you as you accept his request.

“Thank you, fellows. You are truly men of service.”

He nods at Osvald and Custer’s conversation.

“Yes, lord Hale. We will put the writ of land in your name.”

[…]

It is just before noon when you leave Hoat’s Pasture. Maleil and Selai are at the gate to see you off, the elves preparing for their journey into the growing Soulwood.

“Thank you once more, heroes.” begins Maleil. “You are honoured of the Sourwood. Please, do not hesitate to call upon us should you need our help. You are always welcome in our midst.”

[…]

Fresh horses are supplied to you, and the journey to the cottage is pleasant. To the north, the Brown Lands seem veritably to be growing. You can almost watch the leaves bristle from the low-hanging branches of seemingly long-dead trees.

The sky is clear and bright. The air is crisp and fresh.

Small, rolling hills bring you into a quiet valley, flanked by high, beautiful trees.

A creek - perhaps a child of the river that you followed to safety from the mountains - flows peacefully alongside your path. Cherous guides you onward from atop his pony.

“I am pleased that the cottage will have a steward once again, fellows. It is a beautiful piece of land.”

[…]

And indeed, it was.

You cross over a small footbridge into a thicket, where an ornate wooden cottage looms over the bank of the creek.

It is two-floored, with a carefully crafted porch that wraps around its entirety. A low cobblestone wall surrounds the property, and several fruit trees dot its modest acreage.

A fishing dock floats quietly upon the creek.

Cherous dismounts his pony, lashing its lead to a hitching post.

“Welcome, friends. The harpers will be along shortly. Feel free to make yourselves at home.”

=======================

OK guys. So you have about an hour before the harpers arrive.

This will be a collaborative imagining of the cottage. It is your property, and so I’m happy for you to imagine its’ interior and what features it might have.

Obviously, keep them in line with what you would expect of a modest 2-storey cottage. And, make it interesting.

There will be a (up to) +50 XP bonus for todays post, depending on how interestingly you’re able to convey the cottage.

So, work for it!

EXP: +20 EXP
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Shorjahl on Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:33 pm

Shorjahl thanks Cherous as he arrives at the cottage, finding a certain elegant peace of the place. He dismounted and hitched his horse, patting its muscular neck on his way inside. He allows Cherous to give the basic tour, then breaks off from the rest of the party to find some semblance of solace in the small estate. Despite being abandoned and somewhat overgrown, it has the undeniable quality of a home to the mage. Immediately he feels at peace here.

As he ascends the stairs onto the second level, he makes his way to a well-lit room connected to a balcony that overlooks the creek and the surrounding forest. He moves into it, and sees an inordinate amount of papers, bindings, and pages strewn incoherently around the floor. His brow knits in curiosity as he squats onto the balls of his feet - gingerly picking up a page with arcane energy and examining it.

It seems to be pulled from a text at random, discussing the merits of a silver-based economy over other currency formats. He sets it down where it was, and steps around the rest of the room, carefully trodding on as few pages as possible, to a small table that is covered with a dusty tarp. Pulling it back and clearing a swarm of dust away with a wave of his hand and a gentle chime of his bracer, he finds what appears to be some kind of mechanical device, including several cogs and simple levers.

He isn't sure as to its full purpose, but due to the templates it has wrought in iron, the rectangular presses and some of the other mechanisms involved, he surmises it has something to do with the assembly of books. As he turns back to face the what must be thousands of pages of carefully inscribed text pages, most of which are loose, his curiosity gets the better of him, and he begins organizing the pages and books as best as he can.

The menial, slow, focused work will help him take his mind off of the words that he can't read, those that whisper darkly in the recesses of his mind.

--------------------------------------

So I basically want a library that's been ripped apart with a very rudimentary early printing press / book bindery. Ideally I'd like to have some kind of tangential relevance to what we're doing, but that is not necessary whatsoever. I like the idea of him leafing through thousands if not tens of thousands of destroyed books and trying to reassemble them into something coherent.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:30 pm

"Exactly, all our's but in ya family's name.  Call it homage to the path luck has placed us on.  If it weren't for ya bloodline, none of this would have been possible, Osvald.  Besides, Lord Hale sounded a bit of a cruel jape for a human without at least some land by Amn's standards."  Cuss winked at Osvald.  "If ya become a king someday, I hopes ya'll have a fancy title for me?"

...

Custer takes a long, deep breath and lets out a pleasant sigh as he stands in the middle of the bridge.  The property was more beautiful than he had hoped.  If only you were here to share it with me.  Agata said, 'I am, love.  It is beautiful.  Custer replied, No, I mean really here.  We could have made our own lives out here.  Good ones.  

The chimney caught Custer's eye.  He had seen plenty of them in his time, but this one was huge, even for humans.  It seemed to form the center support for the house built around it, and towered several feet above the 2nd floor.  Custer trotted forward and asked Chereous, "Why is the chimney so large?"

"Ah, because it isn't one."

"Isn't one, what?  A chimney?"

"Aye, a chimney.  Well, it is a chimney of a sorts.  Several, actually.  But first, it was a tower.  Small, even for the likes of you and me, but it has 4 rooms stacked inside.  Too small to put much more than a peg for your coat in, but five or six can stand shoulder to shoulder in each.  The walls are thick.  The only way in is from a door in a hallway on the second floor of the house.  Well, and the top, I suppose.  It is a hold-fast.  I'll show you more when we go inside."
Cherous promised.  

Custer thanked him, then spotted some flowers in the bushes that lined the porch around the house.   His eyes went wide.  "Is that.."  He pointed, "Pipe-weed?"

Cherous smiled,  "Aye, some of the best Halflings' leaf you'll find in these parts."

Custer laughed to the sky, and kissed the symbol of Waukeen on his necklace of charms.

.......

I imagine the hold-fast to be an old tower that was built up over time before the house was built up around it.  It would have a level mostly below ground in the foundation.  The stone of this room and the one above it would be different than the stone in the two rooms above as they were a later expansion.  The bottom two rooms were built by Halfling's prior to the fall of Meiritin, and as such men and elves would need to squat inside them.  The top two rooms are tall enough for average sized humans to stand up in.  

The original entrance at the base of the tower was walled up during an expansion, and as such the only two ways in are via a gated door on the second floor of the house that leads into the third story of the tower.  The gate is stuck open, as the metal has long ago rusted it in position.  There is a scared hole in the gate where the lock use to be, probably knocked through 100 or more years ago.  There is a hole in the roof of the top floor room that leads to the roof.  It is covered by a wooden trap that is only slightly rotted, having been replaced only a few years ago by Cherous.  There is a rough wooden ladder used to access the trap.  

The top does not have embrasures or merlons, and is disappointingly flat, offering little cover.  There are several holes at the top of the outside walls.  Some are shallow, and were used to hold wooden poles that must have served as support for some type of wooden roof long ago.  Others are much deeper, and partially covered by thin metal cones.  Cherous explains that they are for the fireplaces built into the walls of the tower for the rooms in the house below.  What must have been the final expansion of the tower came when the house was built around it, and stone fireplaces set into the outside walls below.  As such, the stone on the entire outside of the tower is uniform, but distinctly different from the two types of stone used within.  

The bottom room that is partially underground has some old rotten empty chests that fall apart if moved or kicked.

The second room is barren.

The third has old metal racks set in the stone for what was once an arsenal.  

The fourth has two merlons the shape of upside-down keyholes in each wall, but the outer most layers of stone cover them.  The clash of the two different types of stone in the walls are beautiful to some.  There is a three foot tall slender column of stone in the center of the room, polished smooth and shiny.  It looks as if to display an item, mayhaps a shrine, but whatever treasure sat upon it once is now long gone.

Oh, and pipe-weed (Halflings' Leaf) is from Tolkien.  Custer wants to grow, smoke, and maybe even sell some of it some day.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Osvald Hale on Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:37 pm

Osvald looked happily at the cottage. While obviously unoccupied and overgrown, its walls stood straight without buckling, and the foundation was still strong.

Cherous lead them first to a modest open faced stable about 100 feet from the cottage, little more than than 3 walls and a thatched roof, but it had space to comfortably accommodate a dozen horses. Though the interior was partially filled with dead leaves that have blown in, it only takes Cherous' company a few moments to clean it out while the halfling leads the party to the main building, explaining on the way that the stable was a recent addition to the property to replace an older, smaller one that lies elsewhere.

Osvald is immediately impressed with the old tower portion; from the roof the view is good and unobstructed, save for the tops of a few towering trees. From the tower it is evident that the cottage is built on a slight rise. The low wall completely encircles the land on three sides and even along a portion of the creek, though it has crumbled in places and the old stones are nearly overgrown with ivy and moss. Osvald estimates the wall to fluctuate between 3 and 8 feet in height. Rotted wooden posts still jutted upwards from the most intact areas at regular intervals, it appears an additional wooden barricade was once affixed atop the stone wall, perhaps reaching a full 15 feet high.

Looking back towards the creek, Cherous indicates how the fruit trees were once arrayed in a small grid for easy harvesting, and the lines of the old planting are vaguely apparent, but years of neglect have allowed the trees to spill into the aisles and they grow freely amongst much of the property.

When the group is lead back inside, Osvald splits off from the others and wanders the house. It is modestly furnished, and sparsely decorated. The walls are discoloured in places where it seems tapasteries or paintings once hung for many years. The second floor contains a series of separate private rooms, the largest of which opens into a private study or library with a balcony, where Osvald finds Shorjahl shifting through stacks of old papers.

"Any indication on who may have owned this land over the ages? Seems to have undergone quite a few changes."

Osvald finds a modest room with two tall, narrow windows that face inward, overlooking the creek. One wall of the sleeping quarters is the ancient stone exterior of the old tower. After a moments inspection, he leaves his pack on the bunk and moves on.

Moving through the main hall of the ground floor, Osvald notes a large fireplace above which rests a grand carving, ornately worked into the stone of the hearth itself, but it's too dim to make out much detail without a fire going.
Wandering outside, Osvald walks along the creek to a dense copse of trees near the back of the property close to where the outer wall meets the gently flowing water. Ducking low through a gap in the branches, the ranger finds inside a small glen of ferns and moss covered rocks. A small trickle of water flows from a crack in the rocks.

'A natural spring?' He follows the trickling water with his gaze as it flows downward into the creek. Hesitantly, he cups a sip into his mouth and finds it cool and fresh. Satisfied, he turns back toward the cottage, eager to see what else the others have discovered.

=====

Quick survey of the property before heading back to meet the others, Osvald will relay everything he's seen.

OOC: My bad, Cuss. Missread your post as speaking to the halfling, not speaking in halfling on my phone.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Forgeless Kilik on Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:51 pm

Homes - nae just 'houses', but homes are sacred to the Wayfinder; they be the beginnin's an' the ends o' journies. Places that set our feet on the dusty road for all sorts o' reasons; the places that keep our hearts pointed true as we fight to find our way back to 'em. This has been a house for some time, an' ye can hear these old stones achin' to be a home again. Kilik patted the solid foundation of the fireplace. But, first, there are certain rites that must be observed.

The dwarf busied himself with bustling from room to room, opening doors and windows wide and repeating in dwarven Be welcome, Watcher-Over-Wanderers. This home shall be a haven to the lost an' the weary; guide their steps to our threshold, an' they shall find no doors barred to 'em. He repeated the phrase, again and again, in the heavy rolling language of his people, occasionally favoring one of his companions with a wink or a smile and the explanation It takes a bit o' time to welcome a god, but it can make a fair spot of difference, if it comes to it.

As he bustled from room to room, consecrating with his prayer, it occurred to Kilik that he hadn't spoken this many words in his father's tongue in many years. It felt good, but strange - like a chance encounter with an old lover.

Ach, but there are a lot o' doors an' windows in this place...do nae worry; I know yer particular 'bout these things, an' I'll make sure to get 'em all.

...guide their steps to our threshold, an' they shall find no doors barred to 'em. he finished before the open stable doors, the last portal to be offered to Marthammor Duin. That was some right thirsty work...I wonder if this place has a keg or two tucked away in the basement? He closed doors and latched them, turning back to the cottage to see how the others were faring.

In a small stand of trees a few dozen yards away, he spotted a small, ramshackle outbuilding that looked as if a good storm might bring its stones clattering down. That must be the old stable the 'alfling mentioned. I doubt anyone'll be seeking refuge there but, still, all doors must be opened to the Watchful Eye... An' one more'll make little difference he grumbled to himself.

He clomped over to the small stable, and found its rotted wooden doors barely clinging to their hinges. Still, the traditions must be obeyed. He swung them wide and began his chant, a touch more hurried than when he began now that he drew near the ending of his task. Be welcome, Watcher-Over-Wanderers. This home shall be a haven -- his eyes roamed over the accumulated debris of years of neglect inside the stable, until a distinctive shape in a darkened corner brought him up short and the words of his prayer died upon his lips.

He moved toward it cautiously, and as he drew near both his fears and his hopes were confirmed. There, in the forgotten corner of the stable, sat a small iron anvil, no doubt intended for shoeing and the other routine maintenance required to keep a home in working order. Beyond it, a simple coal hearth lay buried in soot, the distinctive handles of hammers and tongs protruding from the ashes.

Kilik laid his hand upon the cold iron of the anvil, and its strength and its silence flowed into him, stealing his breath. Faith; the anvil is faith, to be hammered upon and forgotten in darkness. To lie cold and abandoned for decades. But solid, unmoving, and always ready for the smith to resume his work. A great wrenching sob shook the dwarf's body, the single word Laina! mingled with tears that flowed freely for the first time in years.

He steadied himself with deep, shuddering breaths as he smeared the back of his hand across his watering eyes.

Thank ye, Holy Marthammor he whispered as he regained his composure. Thank ye.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Kellar on Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:45 am

The cottage was old, very old, but very well built. Two levels tall, without so much as a slight lean to it. Nice, sturdy, well built. Kellar approached the side of the cottage and rapped the side of it with his lance, listening to the ting! against the stone every few feet. It'd been a long time since he'd stayed in a place like this, usually it's a stable or an inn. Orbaugh, what do you think? Master, this place is safe! I agree, it has a nice stone fence, protecting it here.

Kellar could tell that this place had been picked in particular. It was close to the water source, it was positioned to be higher than the water flowing by, but low enough that the winds coming off of the ridge wouldn't affect the cottage. He looked at the fruit trees that were interspersed throughout the area inside the stone fence. There's a decent amount of fruit growing here, the soil seems to be nutrient rich to sustain these trees. They're overgrown and unkempt, but I can fix that, he thought. He set his lance against the side of the building and dropped his backpack nearby. He took his battleaxe along with him and he went to the first tree...

Orbaugh, can you collect a few of the apples that have fallen, they need to look clean. Set them by the backpack. Yes Master, I like this game! Orbaugh set about his task while Kellar started cleaning the trunk of the first tree, removing the smaller branches, and making a small pile about a yard from its base. Kellar moved to the next tree, cleaning that tree as well, and piling more small branches for collection. He came upon a half rotted tree, it looked like lightning struck it on one side. With a few dozen chops from his battleaxe, the tree was felled, and he set up removing the branches and piling them. The trunk and thicker branches were chopped down into serviceable size for use in the fireplace.

As Kellar made his way around the property, he noted Kilik over at an old stable, a perfect place to keep extra tinder for the fire. He rounded up some of the extra branches he had cleaned from the trees and headed over toward Kilik. Pardon, Master Dwarf, do you think I'd be able to take a section of this old stable for tinder storage, asked Kellar. He noted Kilik's demeanor after he asked, I'm sorry if I interrupted anything, I just saw you here, I figured this place would be good as any. Can't have the tinder next to the house, termites you know, he concluded. Kilik nodded slowly. With that Kellar put the extra branches onto one side of the stable, and then returned with the extra wood that he chopped into smaller pieces to be used in the fireplace. These will dry out in time, no need to worry about that just yet.

Kellar finished collecting all the extra branches and wood and walked along the edge of the property. He could see Orbaugh still busily clawing at apples and nudging them along playfully. It looked like he might have only placed about a dozen or so apples, but he looked like he was having fun all the same. He continued looking along the edge, along the stone wall, he noted the direction of the wind. Lord Hale has a fine residence here, it's a shame I won't be staying for very long. He passed Osvald and nodded to him politely and then made his way back through the trees and grass and gathered up Orbaugh and the apple he was pushing. Good job Orbaugh. Good job. Orbaugh chittered softly on Kellar's shoulder as they headed toward the cottage.

Once inside, Kellar noted that there wasn't much for furniture, but it did feel like it was "lived" in.

OOC- I explained what the outside of the property looked like aside from Osvald's finding of the natural spring. The description of the interior was pretty spot on and didn't want to impede on that description.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:38 am

After touring the tower, Custer sets about looking through the house for a room he might claim as his own.  He walks around the second floor using the hallway that circles the tower.  The hallway had four intersecting it at each cardinal direction.  A fireplace was set in the tower where the hallways met the center, and the far end of each opened into large rooms.  Looking down one, Cuss spotted Shorjahl through the archway leading into a library.  He could see the blue sky beyond the human through the open window in that room.  

To the left and right of the archway leading into the library were more halls, following the rooms that made up the outer walls of the manor.  Where these hallways met at the corners, stone stairways led down to the first floor.  It appeared as if the construction of the place used them to anchor the strong thick beams that were set in the tower at the center on their other end.  Atop them was the gray slate singled roof he studied from atop the tower.  

The spaces between the hallways was open, looking down into the spacious great rooms that defined the lower level.  Custer had to stand on his toes to see over the solid half walls that lined the hallways' side facing the open room below.  The humans could easily use the walls to rest their hands as they leaned out over those down there, but Custer just could rest his chin on them.  As he walked the halls, he thought, If this were in town, it'd make a hell of an inn.  If only I could find the kitchen.  Did you see one?  What about privies.  Did you see any of those?

It was on the direct opposite side of the house from Shorjahl's library that Custer found his room.  The bed could fit a family, and had spiraled post at each corner.  Nearly everything between them would need to be replaced, which would not be an easy feat given the location.  There was a large table across the room from the bed.  It seemed to be of the same type of wood.  Mayhaps they were both made right here, from dark wood found in the forest.  All the same, they were beautiful.  Yes, a room like this could surely make his father jealous, and that thought brought a smile to Cuss's face.  He hoped Osvald would let him have it.  

When he stepped out onto the balcony that covered the porch below, he finally spotted the kitchen.  That's a crying shame.  He was use to kitchens in town being inside the building they served, if a building was fortunate enough to be served by one.  He had almost forgot that most rural estates built them separate from their main hall, so that an unfortunate grease fire would not burn it all down.  It was no different here, and in this case, Lord Hale was fortunate, for there the kitchen was, a pile of ashes and charred stone.

Just beyond the ruin, he spotted some small, slender, shed like buildings with moon windows carved into the doors.  And no privies, either.  Such is the nature of good luck, so it would seem.  Custer hung and shook his head, quietly laughing to himself.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Ao on Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:18 pm

An hour passes quickly as you explore the halls of the cottage.

You find yourselves back in the great common room, where Cherous has busied himself in front of the massive hearth. He is tending to a nice, crackling fire.

“Ah, heroes. I hope you found your quarters adequate.”

He stands up and smiles, blowing out a match and rubbing his hands together.

“Still difficult to get the chill out, this time of year. At least until the fire’s been roaring for a time.”

Cherous walks over to a big iron pot, and lifts it up, walking it over to the hearth.

“I don’t know if you saw the scullery outside. It burned down a decade ago. This pot is the last cooking tool we have. We ate…a lot of soup when we stayed here. And I confess…I hate soup.”

[…]

There is a rapping at the door, and Cherous rushes to answer it.

The cool air from outside blows in behind two figures that appear in the door.

Cherous bows low.

“Harpers, welcome.”

The first to walk through the threshold is a tall, muscular woman. Her hair is tied back dramatically, and heavy chainmail gives her an androgynous look. Though, her face is comely, and she would be pretty and approachable if not for her menacing frown, and the longsword tied to her hip.

Behind her strides a small gnome, no taller than 3 feet in height. He smiles at Cherous, giving him a bow in return. He wears flowing cloth robes, of a luxurious verdant green.

“Thank you, Lord Mayor.” says the gnome politely.

The woman steps away from them, looking around the cottage in silence. She glances at you, then crosses her arms and leans against a wooden beam.

“I am Geld, and this is Andrianna.” The gnome gestures to the woman.

“And we’re in need of your help.”

[…]

Geld takes a seat opposite you, around the fire. Cherous apologizes at the lack of food and beverage, but the gnome seems unconcerned. Andrianna elects to stand, staring out the window cautiously.

“Thank you for entertaining our visit, Lord Mayor. And these are the men you told me about?”

Geld raises an eyebrow in your direction. Cherous nods curtly.

“Yes, Geld. They recovered an artifact of legend from the depths of an orc-infested mountain, saving a dynasty of elves that even now protect our borders.”

Geld smiles, looking backward at Andrianna. The woman shoots a glance at you, mumbling something under her breath. Geld looks exasperated.

“Very good, heroes.” the gnome starts.

“We are members of the Harpers, an organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of The Realms. You may have heard of us, though we are committed to secrecy. Our enemies are endless, and the people of Amn have a specific distaste for us. This nation of profiteers does not take kindly to… meddling.”

Geld shrugs, and Andrianna scoffs.

“Gaoler’s Bend has always been a safe place for our kind. And a good thing at that, for we’ve a situation of dark portent in Athkatla.”

Geld reaches in to his robe, pulling out a piece of parchment. He passes it to you, and you can see that it is a very official looking document that is sealed with 'The Trade Exchequer Guild of Great Athkatla.'

“Six days ago, five men presented this writ of vault access to the Exchequer Guild in Athkatla. They were escorted into a vault owned by a merchant guild in Baldur’s Gate, and they walked out the door with 20,000 gold pieces.”

Geld clears his throat.

“This writ, is a forgery. Those men were not representatives of the merchant guild, or the exchequer’s office. This was a theft, heroes.”

Andrianna walks over from the window, standing above Geld with her cloak drawn across her.

“A simple theft, Geld?” she says harshly. “Hardly. With a forged document of this quality, they could have walked into the taxation coffers and made out with ten times that amount. There was something in that vault, something they were looking for-“

Geld rolls his eyes and stands upon his feet on the chaise.

“I know! I know Andrianna. It is suspicious, at best. But we will not hear back from the merchant guild in Baldur’s Gate for a week or more. And even so, it is possible that whatever was taken belonged to a presiding guild officer long dead, and their administrator will have no record to bless us with. We will not find our answers in idle speculation. We will wait for the facts.”

Andrianna crosses her arms, striding back over to the window.

Geld looks apologetically to you.

“Regardless. The Exchequer guild has a High Harper in its midst, and they have scoured the city for the individual that forged this document, with no luck. We’ve been tasked with finding the forger in Esmeltaran. The Shadow Thieves, one of Amn’s most entrenched guilds of thieves and assassins, have a strong presence there. House Thickett, the most affluent merchant house in the region, is rumoured to have ties with them.”

Geld strides the floor, smoothing out his robe.

“And so, we are off to Esmeltaran to find the source of this forgery, so that we might trace the men who commissioned it. And, we will need help. Cherous and his kind have faith in you, and that is good enough to us. You will be deputized by the Exchequer’s guild, and paid 1,000 gold pieces each if we recover the stolen funds. Do you accept our offer?"

=============================

EXP: +100 each for an amazing series of posts on the cottage. Truly enjoyable. Very, very nice work guys.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Forgeless Kilik on Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:17 pm

Kilik stared thoughtfully at his hands as the gnome spoke. His calloused palms were more lined than he had noticed before. Time passes. An' what have ye to show for it?

The offer hung in the air as the dwarf looked up at Geld from underneath his thick brows. Walls be only as strong as the arms that bar the gate. 'Tis a sayin' o' my people. How many backs bent to build their great vault? An' they throw wide their doors to a scrap o' paper? He shook his head with a disbelieving laugh. 'Haps me grandfather was right: Too much sun will cook yer brains, he used to say of the folk above the mountain.

Still, he slapped his knee and rose slowly to his feet, yer need help, an' I get meself in trouble when I've too much time on me hands. Esmeltaran could be a good stretch o' me legs. He turned to the others What say yer, lads?
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Shorjahl on Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:11 pm

"When would we leave?" Shorjahl stands from his seat, looking determined and ready to go. He seemed torn between reluctance and restlessness, he was a man in a psychological transition, to be sure.

---------------

He would agree to go, sorta.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:01 pm

When Andrianna crosses her arms and walks back to the window, Custer lets out a loud laugh, then covers his mouth in feigned embarrassment.  They are pretty good at this He thinks to himself.

[Rolling insight +1 to see if I can pick up on Andrianna's frustrations being either part of an elaborate performed lie, because she thinks Geld is hiding something from her, or genuine frustration at not being able to solve the mystery on their own.]
8

When Custer hears the offer, he whistles.  They are really good.  That's too generous.  They are trying to buy our silence, not just our help.  Either that or they mean to discard us when this is over.  Custer's eyes dart around the room as Kilik speaks.  When Shorjahl ask when we leave, he decides it is time to cut in.

"Hold ya horses, it's not so simple as all that."  Custer takes two slow steps toward Geld as he speaks.  "Ya offer is generous, and for that, we are all thankful.  We aint just some run of the mill group of mercenaries, though.  I'm not knowing what impression you had coming here, but we didn't save the Soulwood for a bit of coin.  Luck brought us to it when the Gods needed help from mortal hands."

Custer looks at Andrianna,  "And don't you think that I'm tooting our horns for more gold."  He then looks back to Geld, "I'm just saying that if you want the help of a team the Gods saw fit to muster, then ya best be giving us the whole story.  Coin may buy our smile, but it alone won't be seducing our loyalty."  He lets the words hand a moment before continuing, "What did the Shadow's take from your High Harper or Amn's Exchequers, what do you have that points at Esmeltaran, and most importantly,"  Custer crosses his arms, and his voice changes, "Why in all the Hells of Toril would you think that Lincoln Thickett would help Amn's tax collectors get their treasure back?"


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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:02 pm

Blast, forgot to roll.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  DiceMaster on Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:02 pm

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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Osvald Hale on Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:34 pm

Osvald moves slowly around the periphery of the conversation and stands quietly by the fire.

'Lincoln Thickett? Harpers? Exch-something's? What kind of a gambit is Cuss running?'

The lowly woodsman was in over his head, and will let Cuss and the others do the talking...

=====

Osvald will quietly listen in, but can offer no opinion at this point.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Kellar on Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:36 pm

Interesting proposal, 1000 gold each is a considerable sum to be sure, Kellar said. I think the little one is asking the right questions here. Why such a sum be offered to us, he concluded.

All the same, Shorjahl asked when we would take leave from here. I would suggest 500 each, up front, with the remainder paid upon completion. If what you seek is worth it, which it sounds like it is, then I'm not out of line protecting our interests while fulfilling the contract, he finished.

Actions:
*Kellar attempts diplomacy with them. 1d20+1= 7!


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Re: Chapter Two

Post  DiceMaster on Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:36 pm

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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Ao on Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:45 pm

Geld looks at Custer, his eyebrows raised as the halfling inquires pointedly.

He clears his throat.

“I appreciate your sense of fate and duty…ah…sir. But I can assure you, I’ve held no information back in this ques-“

Adrianna turned around, her eyes burning into Custer. She scoffs, interrupting the gnome.

“We’re not buying you with coin, halfling. And if you’re half the hero you claim to be, you wouldn’t be skirting around the issue of coin.”

Cherous’ pace goes pale, and he turns to tend to the iron pot absently.

Geld looks to quell his companions’ tirade, but she continues.

“If we knew what the Shadow Thieves had taken from the exchequer, we wouldn’t be flitting around looking for a document forger. We’d be hunting down what they took.”

Geld stands up, interjecting.

“Andrianna, that’s enough. We’ve no idea if anything was taken, ah…Custer, was it? But we suspected something was taken. And discovering that will be the first step in tracking down whoever it was that took it.”

He levels another glare at Andrianna, silencing her.

“The exchequer maintains no record of deposits into private vaults by mercantile guilds. Especially the exchequer of Athkatla. Despite the patronage of our own High Harper, Athkatla is as loose as they come with their laws and customs in pursuit of profit. Moral fibre doesn’t factor in to their society.”

Geld takes a seat again.

“And so, in the absence of a full account of that vault on the part of this merchants’ guild in Baldur’s Gate - leagues away - we are left with the only connection to the theft we have. The individual who forged those documents.”

Andrianna steps forward.

“He mentioned Lincoln Thickett, Geld.” she says matter-of-factly.

“You take us for fools? We’d not expect that parasite to take any measures toward aiding our investigation. But if a forger in Esmeltaran is working with the Shadow Thieves, odds are good that Thickett has his mitts in the pot.”

She looks levelly at Custer.

“What tie have you to that monster? A former employ? Speak up, little hero. Our price is fair and you speak volumes of your greater calling. Pray, you wouldn’t complicate our investigation, I assume?”

================

EXP: +20 to All

Kellar, I didn't see your post until after I had posted. So, geld's response would be:

Geld shakes his head slowly.

"I understand your position, but your mistrust of our motives is troubling. Cherous assured us aid from a group of selfless heroes in pursuit of the greater good. Not a group of privateers. The Harpers honour our debts, and you'll have the gold after the task is completed. That aside, I've not 2500 gold pieces burning a hole in my pouch. I'd hardly consider that wise."
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Kellar on Thu Nov 27, 2014 2:43 pm

Very well Mister Geld. Privateer I am not, yes we are selfless, but there is expense. I apologize if I offended, Kellar stated. I've honored the request of a man who had a dying horse, my honor is intact. I'm proud to work with my companions toward a greater good. I'm cautious in this matter because YOUR greater good may not be for the good of the many, he concluded.

Let me know when you're all ready, I take my leave to prepare for travel, come Orbaugh, Kellar said as Orbaugh trailed after him.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:52 pm

As Adrianna scoffs to scolds him, Custer smiles.  That's right, me lady, lend me the truth in your tirade.  Custer looks between them as they carry on.  The stoked fire revealed much more than he had hoped.  Geld has to make considerable effort to appear in charge, which simply showed Custer how little control he had over his companion.  Once she set her mind to do something, the gnome probably couldn't stop her.  If the Harper's had ranks, it mattered little here.

Custer keeps his arms crossed as he listens.  I knew she'd cling to the gold... So they do suspect the Shadows...  Patronage?  Well that's not so secret, is it?  The document is all they have...  When Adrianna mentions the words parasite and monster, Custer's smile turns to a frown, then a scowl.  Knowing his emotions had shown through, he sought a distraction, "Little?  A tongue like that will not get you far in Esmeltaran, girl."  

Custer turns his focus to Geld.  "What ya should find troubling is that this High Harper knew what it was, and didn't tell you.  What I find troubling is that you didn't even ask em, did ya?  Custer uncrosses his arms, "If ya had any wits about ya, we'd be doing one of two things.  Either we go to Esmeltaran looking to purchase a wit of similar quality, under the guise of pulling off a big job in Tethyr or elsewhere, or, we go to a tavern full a Shadows, order the house a round, and start bragging about just having pulled 20k in gold out of Amn's vaults in Athkatla.  If we walk in that city as Exchequers, chances are half of us will come out as corpses, and the other half empty handed."  Cuss strides to his companion holding the document, and takes it, holding it up for all to see.  "Where does it say, 'made in Esmeltaran?'".  Custer lets the document fall to the floor, and says in Halfling, "Amatéarach í go fóil." (amatures).

...

If she continues with the insults, Custer will interrupt her with "Obviously the long journey has ya small clothes tangled. Diplomacy, girl. If what you need is in Esmeltaran, we can either find it for you, or make damned sure ya never do."

...

After things settle down, Custer approaches Chereous and says, Cad a dhéanann tú chomaoin na Harpers, Ard-Mhéara? Níl a fhios acu an baol a thugann siad do do theaghlach bhreacadh i gcoinne an cairtéil mar do aoi? Rinne tú go maith chun iad a choinneáil amach as an Bend.
(What do you owe these Harpers, Lord Mayor?  Do they not know the danger they bring to your family plotting against the cartel as your guest?  You did well to keep them out of the bend.)
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Ao on Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:43 pm

Geld levels a heavy gaze at Custer.

"I don't know where your distrust of our organization stems from, halfling. But we know what our High Harper knows, and that is to say not very much. That's specifically why we've enlisted your help in the first place. To discover these missing elements. You seem also, to doubt our ability to investigate this... House thickett. And frankly, I've not come all this way for my order to be questioned and my competence besmirched."

Geld rises from the chaise, striding toward the door. Andrianna follows.

"Thank you for your safe harbour, Cherous. Adventurers, this arrangement was a mistake."

Geld reaches for the doorknob...
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Thu Nov 27, 2014 9:01 pm

Custer mutters under his breath, "Just like a gnome to go poutin when they can't push ya around." He then speaks up loud enough for Geld to hear him, "Wait, wait. Mayhaps I was too harsh, but when ya ask someone 'round here to face off against the cart-eh, Shadow Thieves, well..." Custer trails off as he looks to Kilik and Cherous. "It'd offend Master Kilik here if ya didn't have some soup before you go. Ya've had a long journey. Cherous, I'm sorry to insult your, uh, friends. I'll wait outside a while, I fancy myself a pipe of smoke, anyhow."

Custer will borrow Cherous' pipe and go outside for a smoke to cool down.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Thu Nov 27, 2014 9:29 pm

[Suppose I should add a persuasion roll, to keep them longer.  He doesn't want to offend Cherous anymore than he has already.  +6]
15


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Re: Chapter Two

Post  DiceMaster on Thu Nov 27, 2014 9:29 pm

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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Osvald Hale on Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:22 pm

Osvald stands half concealed in dim firelight as the others have their parlay, studying the carving in the mantle piece. It is a well crafted but worn depiction of two great armies fighting at the foot of the Small Teeth. When words became heated he turned back to face the group, almost stepping in a half dozen times, but the conversation was above his head... And if Shorjahl and Kilik remained quiet he certainly should as well...
As Kellar climbs the stairs and the door swings shut behind Cuss, Osvald let's out a long, low whistle.

'...and thus were christened the Halls of Hale,' he thought. 'Gods, remind me never to get into a debate with the halfling.'

Stepping forward after a painful moment of silence in the room, Osvald makes a slight, achingly awkward bow and clears his throat and speaks in his fanciest voice:

"I ah... Well, welcome. Perhaps we have gotten to a bad start. Here in the Small Teeth, we have a saying: 'An ill meeting is worse than an ill farewell.' Danger begets caution, and our vocal companion and we have seen quite a bit of danger in the last few days. Only a few hours prior did we arrive here, and the trail has left us all a little... Wound-tight. Please, take ease and dine. You may all lodge here for the night. Allow us some time to discuss the ah... particulars... Of what you've proposed, and I'm sure we can come to arrangement that will suit us all, and the betterment of the realm."

He cleared his throat, realizing he had not yet risen from his bow... And did so now, lowering his somehow outstretched arms abashedly.

'Gods, Osvald. A nobleman you'll never be...'

"Well ah... Excuse me."

With that the ranger shuffled quickly out the door after Cuss, rapidly freeing his flask and taking a long pull as he exits the cottage.
He spies Cuss seated on the edge of the porch a few feet away.

Chuckling a little Osvald kneels down beside him and asks:

"Hells, Cuss. Quite a wicked tongue you've got there. I didn't know if they were shaking in their boots or ready to run us all through. A bit of both I imagine, haha!" After another drink from his flask and offering it to Cuss, "What's got you so riled up with these two? Are they not to be trusted? Shame, I figured the lass'd be almost pretty if she'd let her hair down..."
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:45 pm

Custer looks at Osvald as he removes the pipe from his mouth. He takes the flask, takes a pull, and makes a sour face as he gasp, but he keeps it down. "Beehh, sorry. Not what I expected. Lords, that's good." After a moment, Custer takes another pull and repeats the face and gasp as he hands it back to Osvald. He then offers Osvald Chereous' pipe.

"Eh, there's a lot to it really. For one, I had a bad feeling of it from the start. Meeting out here like this. I mean, it seems to me that Chereous had those folks on their way out here before he ever knew what was to become of his dying horse. Yet, the word I keep hearing them all say over an over is heros, heros. Then, 1000 gold each? When have you ever known a gnome to be completely truthful to a stranger or offer them a small fortune for a little help. Just don't feel right is all."

Custer puffs the pipe as he contemplates his next words, then continues, "Sides, I know a thing or two about what goes on in town. Even if it is all they say, they don't right know what kind of danger they are getting into, or putting Chereous' people in. That, or they don't much care."

Custer looks towards the stables as he puffs the pipe. His voice is low. "I'm Lincoln Thickett's only son, and we don't exactly get along these days. Mayhaps they already knew that."
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Forgeless Kilik on Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:45 pm

As the door banged shut behind Osvald and Custer, an awkward silence settled over the room.

After a time, Kilik cleared his throat Well, it seems as someone's gone an' pissed in the keg...

He looked at each in turn. Yer welcome here, an' we've proved poor enough hosts for one night. I dunno what's got the little one - beggin' yer pardon - he nodded at the gnome all in a stir, but from what small bit I know of yer order, it seems like yer a reasonable sort. Swords pointed in the right direction, an' all that.

Spend the night beneath our roof, an' let's talk of other things. If yer still wish to show us yer backs come mornin', I'll pray for yer safe travels. But it could be that a good night's sleep an' the clear light o' day shows us yet to be friends.

Now I ain't yet even been to the cellars, but if there's a just god in Dwarfhome there'll be a dusty cask or two needin' to be drained in fellowship. An' every adventurer worth his salt can tell you that all the best journies begin with bleary eyes and a poundin' head. What say ye?

------------------------------
Actions:

Kilik tries to smooth things over; if Geld and Andrianna stay, he goes off in seach of something strongish to serve them.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Shorjahl on Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:31 pm

Shorjahl was too mentally drained to interject over Cuss' suspicions, and the apparently sensitivities of the Harpers. He found the whole conversation rather disconcerting, and was glad he wasn't directly involved in it, only sitting there on the stairs to the upper floor, looking ponderously at the Harpers. He scratched absentmindedly at his beard, not caring much of which way to go.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Ao on Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:44 pm

Geld stops in his tracks, and sighs.

"Let's go, Geld-" Andrianna starts, but Geld waves her off.

The gnome takes a deep breath.

"I've an idea that this hardly seems like your business, but the truth is, we really don't have a choice...heroes."

Geld turns around, watching as Custer, and the Osvald walks out the door.

He speaks to Kilik, and eyes Shorjahl at the top of the stairs.

"And you'll excuse our terse words. But Amn is not a kind country, to the harpers. And yet, we seek to mend her all the same. We face persecution and suspicion wherever we go. So you'll understand if your words hit us tenderly, and if our patience seems thinned."

Andrianna rolls her eyes, but says nothing.

Geld walks over to Kilik and Cherous, but speaks to Shorjahl.

Even now, there are rumours of dark stirrings to the south. The goblin races are many in number, and they caravans from Tethyr have been waylaid and razed in frequency. They stir to an unseen master. There are rumours of Cyricists, cultists of the laughing God of murder and strife, who have come to Amn to fulfill a prophecy beyond our knowing. And, the cities of Amn, proud and concerned with their own walls and profits, do nothing to bolster one another in defense. Amn bleeds, and it seems that only we care to save her.."

Geld looks to you.

"So begrudge us not our sense of urgency, or our mistrust. We are persecuted in these lands. And, should you join us, you will be too. This is the price we pay. We unwanted lightbringers."

He walks over to Kilik.

"We will dine with you tonight. And we will graciously rest our weary heels. And in the morning, you may come with us, if you hear the call."

===============
Exp:+20 to all

Custer and Osvald and Kellar. You can participate and can 'have come in' at whichever point during that conversation that you please

Sorry he late post. Been a long day. I'll be taking Saturday morning off - next post will be Sunday morn!
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Sun Nov 30, 2014 1:51 pm

Custer reaches into his belt pouch and pulls out a spinal of silk line and a handful of velvet lures. "The light's bought right, may be that we can catch some fish off that floating dock. Soup would taste better with some meat." Custer hands a length of string and a lure to Osvald. "Me thinks we can just tie it to our unstrung bows. Line would break fore they do, yeah?"

[Osvald if you get to post I'd like to assist you fishing, as I'm sure you know a bit more about it than Cuss does. Roll with advantage? Ao, if he doesn't make it you are welcome to privately roll for me. +1 is all I can do I think.]
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Shorjahl on Sun Nov 30, 2014 4:33 pm

"We are more than familiar with the Cyricists, their orc allies, and the contempt that they've been spreading in the brown lands. We've bled at their hands, and felled more than a few of their number. We lost..." Shorjahl clenches his jaw, quelling his anger and frustration before continuing to speak to the Harpers. "We've lost one of our own to their ilk. I would like nothing more than to see their darkness brought to justice."

He stands and steps down the stairs, coming closer to the two. "But if assisting with this matter of thieves and money and forgeries is more beneficial to Amn, then I'm happy to help. Understand that we've all had a very trying last few days."

With that, Shorjahl would speak little more, solemnly helping to prepare the food, adding additional flavors with the use of his arcane energies and powders.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Forgeless Kilik on Sun Nov 30, 2014 5:50 pm

I'd not let the Madgod's followers roam free to work their mischief. It was no accident that brought our paths together so soon after we encountered one - Keisan, he called 'imself, spreadin' his lies among the orcs o' the Small Teeth. I've missed signs set before me in the past, but this seems a clear a callin' as I'm like to find.

I can't speak for the others, but I'll give yer what aid I may.
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Kellar on Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:27 pm

... So you'll understand if your words hit us tenderly, and if our patience seems thinned."

Kellar returned from upstairs with a look that he was ready to travel, but it seemed as if Kilik offered a place to rest for the evening. Well, at least we don't have to leave right away. I'd like to get some rest at least, we've been going almost full-out since we've met.

He approached Adrianna as he responded to Geld, Our patience was thin as well, we'd barely made this place hospitable before you arrived. Questioning MY honor didn't help your cause any. When I requested partial payment up front, it did bind us to our agreement, as well as pay for our preparation to travel. Honor doesn't buy you supplies to keep you ready for battle, he concluded.

Nevertheless, I'm ready to do my part in whatever game is afoot. Little One was right to question your intentions, as coarse as they were, he said. Kellar turned to look at Adrianna.

As for you, I'm unsure of what your displeasure is in this situation, but for what it's worth to you, we'll complete the task set before us, Kellar said. With that, Kellar took Orbaugh out the front door, to work on one more thing.

A few moments later...

Orbaugh, what do you see?

Water. Dark. Moon? Yes, Moon!

What colors do you see right now?

Orbaugh, not understand.

Kellar took the torch resting in the sconce near the door and took it with him, toward the apple trees.

Orbaugh what do you see? he asked while shining the light toward the green apples dangling from the tree.

I see, apple, yes apple! Lots!

Kellar than extinguished the torch in the grass.

Now what do you see?

I see apple, lots of apples, only different!

Different how?

Apples, plain now, not shiny.

You can see them though? How about those apples over there, he questioned Orbaugh, as he pointed at another tree about 60 feet away.

Yes, I see them too, dull, not shiny.

Remember how those apples look, and remember how things appear to you in the darkness. Let's go back inside and get some rest. Good job.

Orbaugh bobbed happily on Kellar's shoulder as they went back inside for the night.

Actions:
*Orbaugh trained his night vision!!!
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Custer Thickett on Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:04 pm

Custer notices Kellar wondering the grove of fruit trees.  When his torch goes out, Custer tilts his head then nudges Osvald.  "What ya reckon the blue one's doing up there?" Not a moment after he feels a bite on his line, and jerks it taught. "Got one!"
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Re: Chapter Two

Post  Osvald Hale on Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:41 am

"Hard to say... I saw him throwing some apples to Orbaugh earlier... Perhaps the lizard is a vegetarian?" Says Osvald with a wry smile.

When Cuss pulls in his line, Osvald will remove the fish and gut it quickly on a small log, tying pieces of the entrails into his own line to use as bait. Osvald will fish with Cuss, passing his flask occasionally until the Halfling is satisfied with their catch.

When they return inside Osvald will offer their contribution to the meal already partially in swing, and find a seat amongst his companions.

"So. What do you all make of our guests? As happy as I am to have this place to hang our cloaks, I'd feel remiss to enjoy the luxuries of country life without you all here. ...Besides, these old walls were standing before we arrived, I'm sure they'll be standing when we get back."

After dinner, Osvald stands by the fireplace, picking his teeth with his knife.

"Hey, Cuss. You're the persuasive type... Maybe Cherous would lend us a few huntsman for the journey ahead? I got on well with a few of them, I could perhaps convince them to beg temporary leave if Cherous could be persuaded? What do you think?"

=====

Rolling for fishing with advantage + nature : 18+4=22 (catch will be doubled from Natural Explorer, a good nights fishin'!)


Last edited by Osvald Hale on Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:45 am; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Chapter Two

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