Chapter Five And A Half

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Gimble Nabisco Raulnor on Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:21 pm

Gimble looks to Valeria and moves over to the body of the broken eagle. He kneels down with her as she imbues its bones with divine magic, fusing the pieces back together. "Where are these bats coming from?" Gimble leans back and strokes his beard.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Artimus DeLonde on Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:29 pm

Bonjour Lord Vassago, My Name is Artimus Delonde Captain of the Trois Pistole... ( Artimus offered introduction and a gloveless hand)

Anyzing you can do for Mousiour Bodom... we would be in your debt.
....

Powerful aromatic blossom clashed with a dank fetid rank as the bandages were removed the plagued Dawn. Artimus stood motionless as Vassago feel into a focused trance, a hand outstretched toward Dawn, hovering. The mariner looked on intently - waiting, as minutes turning into hours he began to pace.

....
Before in the Halls of the Citadel.

Striding through the grand archways, the impeccable stonework, the magics that wove themselves through creeping vine, and gibbonous orb. The presence of magic seem to insist upon itself and the whole of the surroundings vibrated with power.

Artimus saw the impact of the wonder on Rand- Turning to the hulking man he spoke.

What a wondrouz Zing iz life, non? Zhere waz a time where all I could zee waz the black. Ego, ruled my heart. I didn't pay attentzion to the light, that burned so conspiciously in the dark. Any yet through all zee trailz of our livez zhere iz remarkable beauty.I have learned to give pauze. To apprezciate the goodness- to take care to find the rozez, to feel zheir petalz zo zoft. Zheir bloomz are often too fleeting.
....

Artimus had began to wear a path on immaculate floor as he walked back and forth, stopping every of often to pop a date into his mouth, sucking it down to the pit. Powerless to help, each of them avoided anything more than a glance to the others. Each would have their own reason, The captain did not want to confirm his fear -with the distress of any of the others that gathered.

" His sickness will overtake him in ten days. No more."

Artimus' heart fell. For his friend, and for himself- He'd hoped to ask the Djinn about his own, ever seeping wound. But now was not the time

He turned to the Dwan, who's skin has seemed to return to a normal ruddy complexion, unblemished. A lie that whispered peace to any who would hear it.Still invisible there was death lurking.

He rested a hand on his shoulder.

"Each of our dayz our numbered mon ami, only you have zee gift of knowing, and  zhe power to change it. zometing that iz rare. non?"


"Zhis Sallad- Zee Necromanzer,  Doez he himzelf ztill live? or haz he become zomething elze entirely?"

Turning his back- now facing Custer, Artimus gripped the Kraken's Fist

"should we not ask him about the Compass?"


Last edited by Artimus DeLonde on Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Rand Theriot on Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:36 pm

The scents of lavender and hashish blend into a pungent cloud within the chambers of the fabled djinn.  Though relatively concerned for the well being of his new traveling partners, the enticements of the citadel and its many wonderful accouterments were to tempting to go without tasting.  Finding a nice alcove of pillows admist a troupe of of the djinn's women, Rand made his camp for the night as the others sweated and prayed for Dwan's life.

Absently, like a man half-watching a movie, Rand would glance back at the djinn working his unearthly magics on Dwan's cursed form while munching on dates and nuts brought to him by the platter. Ancient incantations, celestial arts... these were all lost on him, but the fanciful colors could occassional distract his eyes from the bulging, bouncing pink flesh of the many maids and wenches that had enslaved his lust-filled eyes.

"Now here's a lifestyle I could enjoy! Ol' Sargon said the pleasures of Calisham were many, but I'd wager the bandits I aimed to find didn't live half as high as this fat old djinn!" he mused to himself.

Grabbing a handful of grapes in a platter to his right, and a handful of a woman to his left, Rand relaxed through the evening in a purple haze, savoring each morsel like a man starved for the wanton pleasures of flesh and food.




By morning's rise, Rand woke to find the exhausted djinn and many unrested party members.

"If you are to find Lady Mush'ra, you must catch her with Burning Sand. Only he is fast enough to glimpse her chariot. You must rest. Please, make yourselves at home in my citadel, when we are through here. Now, you must have many questions.” the Djinn commanded.

Scratching at his unkempt mutton chops, Rand rose, flopping the limp arm of a sleeping serving wench off his leg and brushing off the snoring head of a maid who rested on his shoulder. He rose, and crept almost tip toed through a herd of used women and empty food platters.

"If my errant ears heard rightly, I'd not wrongly wager your Grace-est is asking mine chums to pursue a gallant quest of horse thievin'?"

The large man grinned a toothy grin, like a hungry wolf studying its next meal,

"Ol' Djinn, you've got many a scoundrel amongst your girls, that I can rightly attest, but truly I'll say the scoundrel you really need is the fellow that hath laid each yon wench comfortable to their rest."

Reaching over to the tired, emotionally exhausted and deeply concerned Osvald, Rand claps the ranger on the shoulder with his wide, meaty, frying pan sized hands, continuing:

"You might not know it by my handsome ways, but a horse or two I've took and a few stray bones I've crushed.  Worry not, just lead me to this rotten place, and I'll show you what I can do!"
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Dwan Bolduum on Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:10 pm

He stares at the faces of his friends as they sit around him. Custer, Osvald, Artimus, Rand, and the others are there. It's a celebration of some sort, of what Dwan can't make out. Everyone is smiling. Is the sickness gone? he thinks to himself.

With that thought a smile creeps across Dwan's face. He raises his tankard of ale in front of him towards Shorjahl, Kellar, Artimus and Drugal. Praise to the gods that this wretched curse is now gone. He gives the tankard a thrust in the air to indicate the time to cheer. But silence.

His friends are all still staring at him, smiles dripping across their faces. They haven't blinked... Are their chests even moving? He thinks in horror to himself as he drops his drink. Blood splatters out from the tankard, coating Dwan's arms.

He looks down at the mess to see that the blood is creeping up his arms. It coagulates as it flows, the blood groups thicker at some points of his arms, and soon it starts to grow into the familiar shape of fungi.

He looks up at his friends. Smiles still pinned to their faces. In unison they raise their hands to their faces, and start clawing and tearing. The skin comes off like a mask. The red of their muscles show beneath. The smiles still remain untouched.

Even as Dwan was screaming and clawing at his own face, the smiles remain...
____________________________________

Dwan awakes in Vassago's chambers, sweat covers his body. His limbs ache as if he had been in battle all day. He looks around and sees Custer, Osvald, and Artimus. What madness is this He thinks to himself. But above him he sees the Djinn talking. The sound is muffled and he cannot hear much. Wait, this is right, this is where I should be.

Vassago pauses for a minute or two, waiting on Dwan to fully free himself from the effects of the magic. Once Dwan collects himself he nods towards Vassago.

Vassago wrote:“This…sickness. This plague. It is more than I know - more than I can do. I have never seen anything so vicious…so pervasive. It is an old thing that has infected you, Dwan Bolduum. An old thing, created and touched by deep gods long forgotten in the realms. There is no cure in my citadel, dwarf. I am deeply sorry.”

Dwan nods quietly in unserstanding. I knew it. There is no stopping this. He had come to terms with his death in Sims palace.

Vassago wrote:Only one…

Hope.

Dwan listens intently as Vassago describes the ways that he would be able to find Lady Mush'ra.

Vassago wrote: If you are to find Lady Mush'ra, you must catch her with Burning Sand. Only he is fast enough to glimpse her chariot.
You must rest. Please, make yourselves at home in my citadel, when we are through here. Now, you must have many questions.

Vassago, you have given much to attempt to offset this curse. I can see that. Your kindness to a stranger does not go unseen. I cannot speak for the rest, but I will go and do my best to stop Sallad.

Osvald wrote:Well, No time to lose then.

Osvald's confirmation followed by that of the rest of his companions brings a smile to his face.

We will do this Vassago. I do not need much. Just some rations for the journey is fine by me.

Rand wrote:"If my errant ears heard rightly, I'd not wrongly wager your Grace-est is asking mine chums to pursue a gallant quest of horse thievin'?"

Dwan looks towards his newest companion. Then past him to the woman still resting, apparently after a long sleepness night, from the state of her clothing.

Rand wrote:"You might not know it by my handsome ways, but a horse or two I've took and a few stray bones I've crushed. Worry not, just lead me to this rotten place, and I'll show you what I can do!"

Dwan smiles wide and claps Rand's arm. I'm glad to have you along side us Rand. Who knows, maybe once I'm healed I'll have enough zest of life to join you next time you decide to take a romp. The silence draws out for an unbearable amount of time before Dwan realizes what he said.

Wait, No no no no no. I mean, I'll also take a woman. But nowhere near you..... Ugh. Ask these guys, a few days ago I won over a woman with my dastardly good looks, my charm, the next part he says under his breath. and a few coins..
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:25 pm

Weariness walks across Custer's face as he considers the Djinn's quest.  Could the god of murder and lies be sending us into a trap?  He wonders.

[Insight]
14


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:25 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Rand Theriot on Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:33 pm

With outstretched arm, Rand clasps Dwan in return, hoisting the man unsteadily to his feet.

With a thick chuckle, the rurally accented man replies,

"Easy, easy, chum. Time we'll find for all that yet.  Dinars and dames, fortune and fame, worry not, we'll enjoy them all soon. But as the gent asked," he points to Artimus, "there's still a man to be smashed, so right quickly Ol' Djinn tell us true."
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Ao on Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:11 pm

Valeria looks down at the quivering bird, the fey lights of the grove glinting in its' milky eyes.

Placing hands upon the bird, the Paladin feels holy energy coursing through her veins...

The sprite nods at Gimble, saying

"Yes, there are many dire bats in the marching mountains. Some say they live with a breed of deep dwarf, that hunt travellers and drain them of blood. I've only ever seen the bats though - they are the mortal enemies of the eagles."

[cure light wounds]

For a moment, the bird begins to stretch its muscles. And then, suddenly, it falls flat - the poor animal shrinking into the position of death.

And then,

Without warning, it springs up from the ground, flapping its wings in juvenile excitement and hopping about!

The sprite gives a cheer, smiling at Valeria and jumping form the gnomes shoulder to dance around the bird with his fellows...

[...]

Vassago looks firmly at Osvald, his smoky tendrils resting tiredly around the jungle cat.

"You are brave indeed, fellows." He looks around to each of you, nodding his agreement.

Custer eyes the djinn, searching his instincts for signs of Cyrics treachery...

But the halfling senses nothing.

The djinn plucks a date from the tray, taking. on a grave tone. He begins to describe the Necropolis - the structure that the lot of you saw on your way to the mountains.

"Sallads necropolis is a rocky mass of corridors and entryways built to house the dead of a kingdom long lost to time. It is miles long, hewn from stone and sometimes appearing to be more mountain than fortress."

He raises an eyebrow

"None that I know have entered it. For miles around it, Sallad's undead shamble and regularly patrol. Not to mention, the proliferation of giant scorpions and desert wurms. It is an inhospitable place, and charging it on foot would require the utmost stealth.... Or, an army of tens of thousands."

Vassago pauses to consider, thinking aloud.

"It is a labyrinth, fellows. I cannot tell you if Sallad and his ill-gotten prize are in the deepest depths, or the highest heights. I believe assaulting the necropolis nearly impossible without inside knowledge of its structure.... Or a map, perhaps."

The djinn nods when Osvald asks about magical support.

"I am a healer, fellows. And I swore an oath never to bear arms against man unless in defence. Still, I have some weapons that might suit, from the old regime of this citadel."

In a few moments, Umberro Da Viola arrives in the room with two of his men. He wears a purple cape around his shoulders, and they carry several finely crafted goods...

An enormous war hammer, studded with shimmering red spikes.

A long spear, tied with a black ribbon on its heft.

A suit of splint mail, well oiled and shiny.

And a parcel, that Vassago gestures to.

"This is a prized possession of mine, fellows. I pray it suits you well. A guardsman from Maskyrs Eye in the lands of Vesperin gifted it to me, many moons ago. It is an enormous tent, with ample space and amenities inside of it. It expands itself at the command word "Horace", and cannot be seen from the outside. It is bewitched to be invisible."

He gestures at the other two weapons, explaining their origins as artifacts of the old kingdom.

[The warhammer is +2 and rolls advantage against undead]

[The spear is A regular weapon, with the ability to cast cure moderate wounds twice per day as a standard action]

=======================
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:08 am

Custer stands up and straightens his Thwarb before addressing the Djinn. "Vassago, I'm Lord Thickett. Many thanks for ya assistance thusfar, yeah?"

"Lord Sim also sought to send us against Sallad, but we had made arrangements to regroup with him in Faeressar prior to planning an attack."


Custer pauses to scratch his chin.

"Marietta, will ya await us here or return to the City alone?"

[If she is staying or going with us, then Cuss will ask Vassago to send word to Lord Justice Sim of their attack so that he knows where we are should we not return.]

"Afore we set out, I must beg of ya wisdom for another matter."

"What do ya know of Cyric, the halfling turned evil god, or of Sothis, the ogre mage?"

"Do ya know who Sallad looks to?"


After conversation about evil lulls and just before the djinn excuses himself, Cuss ask one more hashish inspired question,

"If the dead whisper to ya, not even in dreams, but midday, then are they really dead? Can they regrow their body?"
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Valeria Thaemor on Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:36 pm

The bird reacts to Val’s touch by shuddering and going into a curled position. By the Gods I’ve killed it! Her heart squeezes in terror and sadness. She yanks her hand back away from the bird, suddenly fearful of her own touch. Just moments later, though, the bird leaps up and appears just fine. “I’ve healed it!” She shouts as her fear relaxes into happiness from the bird hopping around. “Feeling better, little guy?” Okay not that little for a baby bird. She coos at the little baby, stretching her hand back out towards it affectionately.. “I think he will be just fine, now.”
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Gimble Nabisco Raulnor on Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:04 pm

Gimble listens intently to the sprites as they tell him of the dire bats. "They must be gotten rid of, then. Perhaps not this day but in due time. Has no one gone to the mountains to drive them out or bargain with the dwarves?"

He turns his head towards the eagle as it begins to stir. When the bird ceases its movement, Gimble scrambles closer to it, watching intensely in silence. He jumps back in astonishment as the eagle hops up to its feet, and breaks into a merry fit of giggling and laughter as the sprites begin to dance around it. He joins the fairies, jumping about and waving his cane, occasionally sending colorful sparks into the air.

Speak with small beasts: "How are you feeling, little fellow?"
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Artimus DeLonde on Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:49 pm

Artimus looked on, considering how to proceed.

If we are to take on zhis Zallad, we muzt be armed with informaztion.

he states as he unravelled the map he'd drafted of the region, using the larger map of faerun as a guide.

Lord Vassago, if you'd be szo kind to tell me what you know about this region, where the undead roam, and the zpecifications of Zallad'z domain... any other detailz you can think of cie vous plait.

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:49 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Ao on Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:14 am

The eagle looks up at Gimble, shocked to be speaking with the gnome.

The bird trembles for a second, and then speaks slowly...

"Where...am I???? Where is the nest? Where is my nest?!?!?!"

The bird squirms and flails about frantically.

[...]

Marietta looks at Custer thoughtfully.

"I may return to Faeressar alone, certainly. But if we must find information about the necromancer, Sim and the Janissar can share whatever they know. We have hunted and been hunted by Sallad's forces for many years."

Vassago considers Artimus' questions.

"The region is vast, seaman. Settlements in the north of Calimshan are few and far between. Most merchants, marauders and slavers travel nomadically, with small camps that litter the dunes. There have been slavers in the Marching Mountains, of late.The Rundeen, they call them - a syndicate from the Chultean peninsula. I have long wondered what they might be doing this far north... Surely, the southern lands are more ripe for slaving. Umberto and his men located a small camp of theirs, in the southwestern foothills. It is possible that some of them have dealings with Sallad... They seem to travel across the dunes with far too much ease, to assume otherwise. Perhaps you may find answers there."

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

Ok folks, a few options here. Marietta has suggested that you return with her to Faeressar for information, OR Vassago has suggested that the rundeen might hold answers. There may be other ways to get info about the necropolis, if that's your objective and you get creative.

Let me know your path, and we shall get this show on the road

Ao
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Artimus DeLonde on Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:35 am

Artimus considered the path ahead-

Undead hordes, a history of betrayal and politics in a strange land. Artimus had heard tales of those who dared to delve into the mysteries of undeath through dark magics. The resultants were monstrosities that were as horrible as they were potent- trading their humanity for power- at any cost.

Beyond swath of vile and pustuous undead there lingered a thought  hat manifested a baleful glower on Artimus' visage. He gathered those of his party that were present in Vassago's audience.

" I hate to.. how do zhey zay?... be on the zide of the devil- and queztionz ztill muzt be voiced."  

"Could zhis all the theatre,  zhe 'healing' of dwan, the good intention, zhe burning zaddled zteed.  Wouldn't we be a convient zolution to their undead tyrant izzue- to send a troupe of highly motivated highly zkilled, merzcineary, zwashbucklerz, arcanists, zealotz, brutez and woodzman. It waz made known our dire need, to cure Dwan what wouldn't we do."

" I azk the queztion because in my heart I want to take on zhiz foolishness for Dwan- he haz earned my zupport- and I concerned how comforted I feel in Vassago's presence- oddly. Like I've been ensorzelled."

"Can we confirm any of zhere claimz.... any of zhem?"

=======================
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Dwan Bolduum on Fri Apr 29, 2016 12:01 pm

Dwan gathers with his companions outside of the chambers to discuss their course of action.

Artimus wrote:Can we confirm any of zhere claimz.... any of zhem?

I know I can't. But I do see where you are coming from Artimus; Vassago's dilema seems almost too convenient. I would wonder how he came by the gift of a celestial horse. But that aside, I cannot argue with his actions. I can still feel the effects of his magic battling the curse. His claim that I only have 10 days, well that I can feel. The curse has become more powerful and has started to affect my sleep, and control of my body. If you had asked me yesterday, I would have thought 10 days to be generous.

We have met with dozens of healers, wizards, and other creatures of magic, none have been able to find a cure. The red wizard helped slow this, but the transformation is still coming. You've seen it with your own eyes now. If I should spend the last breaths of my life fighting an undead horde, well that wouldn't be the worst way to go.


Dwan breathes a deep sigh, his face seemingly at peace with his decision.

I feel that we should try our luck with the Rundeen. If Sim were to have any pertinent information he would have attacked Sallad long ago. With the Rundeen we might at least be able to get information from someone closer to Sallad.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Rand Theriot on Fri Apr 29, 2016 1:01 pm

Gathered outside Vassago's chambers with the rest of the cohort, Rand listened closely as the group tried to determine the djinn's intentions. Sourly, Rand chewed at his lip and tried to muster his thoughts. Dwan and Artimus had their own misgivings, but the dire nature of Dwan's curse was readily apparent and left little option.

With years of fermented contempt, Rand's mind wandered:

"Where one steps in this wretched world, the ways are all the same. High pocketed princes and magistrate toads spare no sleep in prodding their poor sodding serfs to do their dirty labors. Us meekly punters fight princes' battles, our blood paid in promises scarcely honored."

"The difference for I," thought Rand, "is that I know the score."  

"Grind I will these errant slavers, and smash I shall this fabled Sallad."  He chuckles inwardly, stroking at his unkemptly mutton chops, "but I shan't be paid with a paternal pat on mine brow, like a lapdog who begs for scraps. No, no, Ol' Djinn will get his pretty nag, and by my wrath Dwan will get a cure, but if I'm no fool, and never have I been, I'll fill my pockets with each fierce swing, and take what's my due."

Settling in his thoughts, he spats upon the stone floor and raises a meaty clenched fist:

"Fuck that fat ghost and the pony he wants to ride upon. We'll steal the mare as he asks, but first I say, bring me to these Rundini and I'll have their tongues wag."
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Fri Apr 29, 2016 2:17 pm

Custer bows his head and shakes it from side to side as he chuckles.  He is still wrapped up in the circumstances suggesting that they are to steal a magical horse.  He looks at Osvald, seeing the smile in the ranger's eyes, and busts out a laugh, bending over to balance on his bent knee.  

As he sucks in air to recover, he echos Rand, "Oiy, fook the fat ghost and his pony.  Ha!"  The words only lead him into another fit of laughter.  

He stands up straight and arches his back to stretch, letting out an "Oh!" as it does.  A punctuation to his mood, and segue into hi s agreement.

"Aye, the Runedeen is the right path, me thinks.  Might be they'll know the way in.  Iffen we go in like this one wants,"  Cuss shrugs a motion toward Rand, "Might be we can beat it out of em, yeah?"

"Or, might be we can count on luck, snatch one of them unseen by the lot, and then just follow the rest into the maze from afar, no?"


He nods along, some scratching their chin or beards, others nodding with him.  When a silent pause presents another opportunity to speak, Cuss asks.  

"Artimus an Dwan.  Have either of ya sought consul from one of Selune's preist?"

"We've talked little of how she burned a dreadful red that night.  I remember looking up at her from the mud of the mire as my loose crowbars stabbed into the ground near my head and the rest of you slid past along the rope above."

"Oiy, that was a hell of a shot to get us out of that tower, Lord Hale."


He finishes by trying to suck on his pipe, only to stare cross-eyed down the stem to see if was no longer lit, and pulling it away with the look of a disappointed child.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Gimble Nabisco Raulnor on Fri Apr 29, 2016 5:52 pm

Gimble set his cane down on the ground and rushes to calm the eagle. He puts a hand near it to keep his wings from flailing about wildly. "Calm down, little fellow. You've just been healed! We don't want you to injure yourself. You're safe here in the gardens of Vassago the djinn. Which nest are you from?"
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Ao on Tue May 03, 2016 3:45 pm

The bird trembles slightly, looking up at Gimble in curiosity. The sprites seem to have tired of the interaction, and a few of them depart for their home in the tree.

The gnome watches the bird struggle to its’ feet, as it speaks.

“The nest! Where nest father roots…king of the eagles!”

[Foothills of the Marching Mountains
[Near the Rundeen Camp]
[9 days until Dwan’s death]

From within the towering copse of boulders, you look out upon the open range of the Marching Mountain foothills. The red sands of this land kick up amidst the afternoon sun, blinding your eyes in the glimmer.

All morning, you traveled down the mountainside. Marietta had departed shortly thereafter, headed to Faeressar. She would send word to lord Sim of your plans, and they would lend whatever help they could, the woman assured.

It took several hours to follow the expertly illustrated map that Umberto Da Viola had presented to you earlier. A skilled cartographer, he had documented the observations his men had made of the Rundeen camp in the desert.

Now, you can see it on the horizon.



You are perhaps a half mile away from the camp, a ragtag assortment of sandstone buildings, canopies and awnings. It is built upon a small plateau, and surrounded by clay walls that recede in places where the plateau’s cliff-face is too steep to climb.

The fellowship has settled in to a vantage point a short distance away, to the north. Here, a boulder-laden hill provides a reasonable view of the camp and its’ comings and goings.

There was a sentry posted here, as per Umberto Da Viola’s notes. It was all too easy, however, for the stealthier among you to slip behind the man and take him down. Osvald and Custer strode like shadows into the rocky outcropping, reducing him to his feet in moments.

[Osvald and Custer, I need DC 15 stealth checks from each of you. If either of you fail, you will have had to kill the Rundeen marauder to silence him from alerting the camp. If you both succeed, you can elect to capture him as a prisoner, if you’d like.]

Now, Artimus can compare Umberto’s map to the camp, and notes the schedule that Vassago’s captain had made:

….Rundeen Camp

There are two gates, the north and south. Two guards are posted at each entrance. Assault on the camp up the plateau sides would prove ineffective and slow.

The slaver’s wagons depart the camp at sunrise, and return shortly after dark with their quarry. The wagons are parked near the north end of the camp, and the horses are kept in a small stables under the barracks (area B)

There are 22 marauders that are stationed at the camp. As well, 4 militia men tend to the camp’s needs… scullery duty, and minor cleaning and repairs of the grounds.

There appear to be two commanding officers, a burly orc from the north named Rundig, and a slender female half-elf that arrived recently with 2 of the marauders.

8 of the marauders leave with Rundig at sunrise, on a wagon. They return shortly before dark. 8 of the marauders leave at noon with the half-elf. They return shortly after dark.

There are several regular guard postings. When the wagons are gone during the day, the four guards remain… two each, at the north and south gates, and two in the lookout post ( atop area D). They can see well, within a half-mile to the north and south.

(Area D) is where the marauders take their meals, usually only once in the evening when they all assemble, with the exception of posted guards.

(Area A) is the barracks, where the marauders sleep in shifts. At night, in addition to the north gate and south gate guards, there are always an additional two patrols of two marauders after the dinner hour, that patrol the perimeter of the camp during the night hours. At night, there is no one in the lookout post (atop area D).

(Area C) is where the Rundeen keep their slaves. Usually 5-6 at a time. They come in during the week, and then once a week they are loaded up into a wagon from the camp and taken elsewhere (presumably, to be sold).

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

Ok fellows. It’s around noon right now. Both wagons are gone from the camp.

What’s your plan?

Ao



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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Dwan Bolduum on Wed May 04, 2016 5:30 pm

Dwan takes the time to think of the next course of action for the group.

It seems heavily fortified, our best chance to get into the camp would be to attack when they are all gathered for their meal. At least that way we only have to deal with a few at a time. The only problem is the two with the high ground.

I can call a veil of mist and shadow to protect us from their sight, but I feel that we still need a course of action. Osvald, while scouting the camp, did you notice anyone standing out to be their leader? If so, is there a place where we can corner him without alerting the entire camp?


===================
Dwan suggests sneaking into the camp with his Pass without trace spell:
A veil of shadows and silence radiates from you, masking you and your companions from detection.For the duration, each creature you choose within 30 feet of you (including you) has a +10 bonus to Dexterity (Stealth) checks and can’t be tracked except by magical means. A creature that receives this bonus leaves behind no tracks or other traces of its passage.

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Osvald Hale on Thu May 05, 2016 12:55 pm

Osvald and Cuss creep through the stones toward the lone sentry.

The ranger closes to within striking distance, and clutches a rock in his hand.

Vaulting over a boulder with a predatory litheness, Osvald crumps the unawares sentry in his helmed head with the rock...

It dings like a iron bell, and the soldier teeters...


=====

Did I kill him?

DC15 = Nat. 20 (27 with bonus)


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Thu May 05, 2016 12:55 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Thu May 05, 2016 1:45 pm

Smiling up at Osvald for a moment, Cuss's eyes beam excitement.  This was what he was good at, and he liked doing things he was good at.  Gliding over the rough terrain with ease and silence, he withdraws a long slender dark metal dirk from the folds of his thwarb.  If the man saw them and flinched an inch, Cuss would shove it hard up under his chin, driving the point deep behind his eyes.

DC 15 = 22

As it was, he jolted in a flash of surprise as a rock sailed over his head to ring the metal of the man's helmet, bringing the sentry crashing down in a heap.

He looked to Osvald with wide eyes, then vaulted atop a boulder to look out over the camp.

Nothing seemed to stir at the sound. A small blessing, yeah?

He held up a thumb to signal the group that they were clear to gather, and then they spoke of plans.

Dwan wrote:"It seems heavily fortified, our best chance to get into the camp would be to attack when they are all gathered for their meal. At least that way we only have to deal with a few at a time. The only problem is the two with the high ground."

"Oiy, Dwan, you'd have us charge in when their at full strength? By my count that's some twenty or thirty armed Rundeen at supper, yeah?"

"By day, there can't be more than half that number while the rest are out doing their, uh, whatever it is they do, no?"


Cuss scratches under his chin as he thinks a moment, then his eyes widen and he blurts out an idea, nearly tripping over his own words at his excitement.

"We take one of the wagons! We stalk one of those groups away from the camp, take it, and ride it back in!"

Some of the others look at each other, then back to Cuss.

"Iffen we doan get em too bloody, we can use their robes as disguise for some, and the rest as slaves, no?"

"Might be the old gnome could get that big Orc fella to toat an axe like he did in the Tower, yeah?"


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Thu May 05, 2016 1:45 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Rand Theriot on Thu May 05, 2016 4:30 pm

At Custer’s signal, Rand gathered with the rest of the group around the dazed sentry.  The large man squatted in front of the poor guard, and with two thick fingers lifted the lids of his eyes.   Leaning in closely towards the sentry, Rand sniffed the air around him.

“He hasn’t shat himself yet; a fine thing as the dead cannot talk. What say you all I wake him up again?”


A nervous murmur pulses through the group, unsure of Rand’s intentions or method.

Rand inhales sharply, his barreled chest heaving.  With a wolf-like grin, he exhaled, staring intently at the sentry, still squatting over him.  Helplessly, the guard laid, unconscious.

With his thick thumb and forefinger, Rand pinched shut the sentry’s nostrils, letting no air escape his compassionless grip. With the palm of his other frying-pan sized hand, Rand covered the man’s open mouth, applying pressure to hold the skull fast against the rocky plateau.  

Moments pass as the sentry’s lungs tried to inhale, sucking in only the calloused, filthy hands of the humongous man squatting over him.  Again, the man’s body gasped for breathe unsuccessfully, his chest spasming, instinctively awaking the brain.  In horror, the sentry’s eyelids rolled open, his pupils dilated in panic, and his brain desperately tried to process how he had come to stare into the face of a hideous, ogrish man who was quickly suffocating him to death.



“No need to tweet my little bird, but sing you shall! Answer truly with a nod or shake of your beak, else you shan’t see the morrow!”



Intimidation Roll: 1d20+3 =15


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Thu May 05, 2016 4:30 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Ao on Thu May 05, 2016 10:32 pm

The sentry's eyes flash open, the man staring up in horror at Rand as he towers over, with Custer and Osvald looming behind.

"B-buh!" He stammers unintelligibly, as the gravitas of his situation sets in. He is a young man, perhaps twenty or so years of age. His skin is tanned, and he's thin and wiry like a snake.

It's clear that he's scared pissless at the ambush.

Dwan and the others gaze out over the camp. In the distance, you can see dust kicking up at the northern entrance as a wagon trundles out through the front gates. Looking overhead, it appears that the sun has reached its' zenith. It must be noon.

Looking back at Da Viola's notes, that must be the second wagon, leaving for the day.

There would be six sentries left guarding the camp. Two at the North, two at the south, and two in the lookout post... Along with the assorted militia of the rundeen.

The young sentry stammers, looking up at Rand to find death or an opportunity.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Mon May 09, 2016 4:02 pm

Cuss hovers, watching Ran’s grip on the man’s neck.  He kept his voice low, ”Doan kill em right away, but keep em quiet. “
“Lord Hale, help me undress him.  Me thinks these fit real nice, yeah?  Might be I can get in the gate and hold open the door, no?”


[Cuss gets Osvald to assist him with a disguise roll.]
20


Careful not to rattle the metal of the man’s armor, Cuss unbuckles and undresses him.  He in turn undresses and don’s the man’s gear.  He covers his face, leaving only a sliver of fabric open around his eyes, then places the heavy helmet upon his head.  

He bundles his armor, crossbows, and pack, and gives them to Dwan.  ”Keep these safe, yeah?”

Feigning a couch, Cuss palms the Kraken’s Fist and sends a quick though to the dwarf, ’You hold the compass.’

Clothed as the guard, Custer turns back to Rand and his captive for the final touch.  He unrolls a long torn length of cloth and walks toward the man with a smile, then begins to tie it tight on his upper shield arm.  

”Hold still, Rand, keep him from screaming out.  I’m going to bleed him a little.”

Seeing the panic in the man’s eyes as Cuss bares a blade, he says, ”Doan worry, Slaver.  It woan hurt, much, and they might yet keep ya alive.”

With a flick of his wrist, Cuss lay open one of the man’s veins.  The copper smell of fresh blood rose in the desert heat to tickle his nose.  He said, ”Might be some of ya doan right like what I’m about to do.  I beg ya to trust me, yeah?”

The dark fluid threatened to dry quickly, so he made quick work of rubbing it all around his eyes, nose, the cloth covered his face, and drench the backsides of his hands.  It took a fair amount, and the boy looked ill, but Cuss had the wound bound shut with a tight bandage before he passed out.

[I have no healing kit proficiency, so going with Wisdom mod +1]
2

He turned to the group, and covered his eyes with his hands, separating his fingers only slightly to be able to see between him.  All of his pale skin was covered, and the blood made him appear gravely injured.  

Behind him, the sentry kept bleeding.  The bandage quickly turning red as it soaked through.

Wiping the dark blade of Daste’s slender dirk, Cuss retrieved a vial of acrid smelling green liquid, and made quick work of shinning his weapon with it.  The dark steel seemed to visibly drink up the poison to appear dry again.  Cuss carefully stowed the weapon in the laces of the long leather boots he now wore, then moved forward to the overlook of the camp.

The wagons were long gone.  Two sentries were atop the rise, and two stood at the north gate.  

The layout should give him plenty of time to hold the gate and get help before he was swarmed.

He looked to his friends again, ”I’m make a move to the north gate, injured like.  Those that can move silently, like Osvald or myself, should use Dwan’s trick to come around or behind me.”

“I’ll keep the gate open long enough for ya to rush to me side.  Once we hold it, the rest of ya should cross.”


He paused, said ”Yeah?” Without waiting for an answer or nod, he steps out of cover to approach the north gate, covering his face with his hands, as he stumbles along like an injured sentry.

[Deception Roll if needed?  Advantage from Disguise?]
20


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Mon May 09, 2016 4:02 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Dwan Bolduum on Wed May 11, 2016 12:02 pm

Dwan approaches the halfling at his nod. He starts to wrap Custer's things in a canvas bag.

’You hold the compass.’


Dwan's eyes widen as Custer palms the compass in his hand.

Dwan puts the compass under his armor directly over his heart. Using the Kraken's Fist he replies to the group

Should anything happen to me, the compass is the top priority.  Keep it safe.

Dwan moves to speak up as Custer cuts the prisoner, but he lets it slide and instead averts his gaze from the fresh, thirst quenching blood.

Dwan looks to the others as Cuss explains the plan.  Once he gives the signal we move.  I'll get in position and cast the spell.  Though this is magic, we should still tread cautiously so as not to be caught.  If we do this right, we'll only appear to be a shadow of a cloud passing along the ground.   Stay close


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

Dwan takes the compass
Dwan casts Pass without trace.   WE ALL GET +10 TO OUR STEALTH ROLLS  not cuss
Stealth 17 + 10 = 27


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Artimus DeLonde on Thu May 12, 2016 11:37 am

Artimus kept watchful sentry on the craigy outcropping where the gaurd stood before he was waylaid, with a taught bowstring and vigilant eye.

The Mariner watched Custer's approach carefully and would warn him via the fist, if anything looked amiss.


Perception

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Thu May 12, 2016 11:37 am

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Rand Theriot on Thu May 12, 2016 1:55 pm

With forearms caked with blood from Custer's cuts, Rand's thick paw covered the injured guard who was helplessly sobbing in pain.  The poor sentry was naked as the day he was born and quickly turning pale from the absolutely haphazard attempt to bind the wound.  Rand's grip tightened around the man's mouth after a whimper escaped through, and the sentry could feel each finger through his cheeks. With a quick squeeze the lumbering giant could no doubt crush in every last tooth.

Rand leaned close to the sentry and whispered into his ear, "Now then, my pretty bird, tell truly, how many of your fightin' chums remain within? Show me with those little fingers of yours, yes?"

After receiving an answer, Rand continued with his enhanced interrogation.

Rand smiled broadly, his deep facial scars giving him a ghoulish, rather than friendly countenance. With his free hand he grasped the fingers the sentry held alofted, bent one back, and cracked it all the way to the back of the palm.  A sickening pop whispered out, as when a dog snaps a chicken bone in half. The sentry's cries were muffled and his body held firm by the hulking man that held him fast to the ground.

Rand leaned close again to the sentry and whispered into his ear, "Your wayward chums that left this morn, how many hours till they return?"

After awaiting the sentry's reply, Rand bound and gagged the man.



As Custer made his move towards the gate, wearing the sentry's garb, Rand waited patiently with the rest.  The burly man stood ready, his greatclub in hand and prepared to rush ahead once the signal was given.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Ao on Mon May 16, 2016 9:26 pm

Northern Calimshan
[The Necropolis]
[8 days until Dwan’s death]

The wagon trundles silently through the sand, the sun long-set. Cool air blows across the northern desert landscape, whipping up around the folded flora and the rocky outcrops.

A single lantern bounces atop the driver’s seat, casting a warm glow over the crude wagon. Her wheels are studded with iron spikes, causing the two-horse team to struggle as it digs viciously into the shifting earth.

From inside the passenger cab, the rumbling motion is enough to pale the stomach of even captain DeLonde, who had weathered many a storm at sea.

Rand’s fingernails are still bloody....

....

Custer had approached with guile unmatched by the gatesmen. Within minutes, their veins coursed with poison as the other fellows overran the camp.

The sentry had sung. Sung like a little bird. The Rundeen camp was bought and sold at the tongue of their lookout, and after Custer and the rest had put their number to the sword in lacklustre combat, the captives gave up their arrangement with Sallad in a breath.

The Rundeen were slaving for Sallad. Only Sallad, in northern Calimshan. For what, the members of this meagre outpost were not aware - but there was an arrangement between these two groups that had brought northern Calimshan to its’ knees.

Every week, they would drive their slaves up to Sallad. A forest of dead wood, due west of the Necropolis, concealed a cavernous passage that wound into the underbowels of Sallad’s fortress. There, they would meet his taskmasters, who would escort the procession into its’ depths…

But even more puzzling, was the way it was described…

The Rundeen were greeted by the taskmasters, alongside dozens…sometimes tens of dozens… of other merchants. Guildsmen, traders from far and beyond. Some were slavers, yes… but as many still were craftsmen, with hides and weapons and luxury goods to deliver…

There was little additional information. The three men that ran the slaves were killed in the fight. The survivors were locked up, left with a small sum of water.

Valeria had set about liberating the dozen men and women that were chained within the gaol. They were starved and dehydrated, but otherwise unharmed. Many of them spoke only Alzhedo, but a pretty young desert woman who spoke common lay upon the Paladin’s feet, and begged her for salvation.

Gimble and Pimli had previously embarked on a quest to restore the young eagle to its’ nest. And so Valeria departed, running the slaves north in one of the two covered wagons still coated in the blood of the slavers who resisted.

The rest of you took the only reasonable action.

Riding the remaining wagon into the depths of the Necropolis.

[…]

Up ahead, you can see the forest of dead wood beneath the light of the moon. Just as described by the Rundeen, a single lit torch burns brightly, nailed to an overgrown tree that spirals chaotically up into the night sky.

Not far up, you can spot a wagon, followed by two smaller carts. They disappear into the wood, and you follow shortly after.

It is a long journey through the forest - nearly an hour. You follow the dimly lit trail of burning torches, riding slowly on the shattered, uneven path. Worse still, looking out into the periphery you can see the shambling forms of undead teeming through the trees, watching you pass by with hollow stares.

Dozens, or hundreds of them, perhaps.

[…]

Ahead, a row of ten lanterns sways gently, caked with sand and hanging from an archway wrought of branches.

Your horses slow, their breath heaving as the wagon trundles into a dimly lit muddy clearing. Inky blackness spreads out from beyond the treeline of dead wood, but within the dimensions of this hollow there are nearly three dozen wagons and carts.

It is as if you stand in the midst of a market square, lit by softly glowing lights. In the middle of nowhere.

Men and creatures of all types plod about, speaking to one another with an air of business and companionship. It is a queer sight - an unsettling scene, as a lumbering bugbear walks past your carriage to piss at the border of the wood.

The light of the moon does not penetrate this deep, desert forest. But a large bonfire is visible some ways away, at the centre of the cacaphony - and it sends sparks shooting up into the night sky. Goblins, humans, and half-elves walk by. To the east, a long wagon drawn by green-skinned riding lizards is tended to by drow wearing deep purple ceremonial robes.

The air smells like cooking meat.

You can see slaves hanging in cages, luxurious carpets stacked high, and barrels upon barrels of trade goods stowed on carriages.

In between the fuss, slow-moving armoured guards move stealthily. Horned helms are placed atop their heads, with masks wrought of human skulls perched upon the bridge of their noses. Their cloaks are the darkest of blacks, and seem to envelop them ethereally as they glide through the merchant caravan with polearms held high..

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

Ok folks. We’ve fast-forwarded quite a bit here, into a dark clearing where a bizarre procession of exotic merchants are waiting for something.

Roleplay/gather information here, perhaps. We’ll only spend one post rotation before moving the story along, so feel free to take some liberties and engineer some social characters/encounters, and ask questions you’d like answered with supporting rolls.

There’s also some cool shit here, just laying about.

Just sayin’


FYI - Pimli and Gimble departed to care for an eagle. Val departed to liberate slaves.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Rand Theriot on Tue May 17, 2016 12:40 pm

Rising from the back of the wagon, Rand awoke, blinking at the strange landscape that Sallad had made his domain.  With a groan and rub of his head, the large man pushed aside his coarse blanket, bottles of wine rattling down off his chest. Attempting to catch his bearings amidst a pulsing hangover, he clattered towards the others.

“Heavy does the darkness lie upon this land, like a licorice gravy, foul and bitter to the tongue,” whispered Rand to Dwan. “To what outer-worldly world have we thus wandered?”

With a wince, Rand rose to his full height and then jumped out of the wagon with a heavy plop.  The man stretched his back in a full arch, popping his vertebras in place then letting out a refreshed sigh. Rand rested one hand to his hip while the other held an enormous war hammer which he tapped impatiently against the back of his leg. He took in the scene of the market, observing the diverse faces of a thousand other vagabonds.

“Mother Moon and Sister Sun do not wink upon us this eve…or is it morn? I know not…” Rand muttered to himself, “perhaps I shouldn’t have finished all the wine during the journey.”

A few yards distant, a grubby goblin wearing a fine vest rested against the cart wheel of his wagon. The goblin reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a crinkled blunt. As he fumbled for a light amongst his many pockets, Rand strutted towards him.

“Ho there green chum!” called Rand as he squatted before the seated goblin, still towering some feet above its head.

Slightly annoyed, the goblin looked up at Rand, just as he found a strange little contraption which he used to light the end of the rolled paper.  Taking two quick puffs, the goblin replied, “What do you want ogre?”

With a frown Rand replied, “An ogre I am not, of that, I am sure! I have hugged mine mother and bore the lash of my Pa. Both were human, I tell you truly.”

“It’s a joke you oaf,” the goblin jeered, waving a little cloud of smoke away. “What do you want anyways?”

Rand held out his massive palm in greeting. “I knew a goblin once, his name was Ghent. A right fun fellow he was, perhaps I wager you may be so tempered.”

Rand patted the enormous war hammer which was studded with a nasty crimson spike. “Rand Theriot I have been named, and a hired muscle I am.” Cocking his thick thumb towards Artimus, he continues: “Waged I am to a dreadful poof who shan’t exchange words with a man like me. I beg you chum, share a smoke and pass the hour – I’ll pay in full with friendly conversation.”

Deception roll = 12+3 = 15

The goblin shrugged at Rand and offered him a seat by his cart wheel.  Taking a slow drag of the goblin’s rolled blunt, Rand gestured at the wagons, the drow’s cart and the guards. “Is it a wedding or a funeral, I wonder, to gather so fine a procession? High-hat pikers and dark-skinned elves flit among us wicked sort. What manner of occasion should merit such a parade?



TLDR: Rand tries to discover more information by asking a goblin trader what's going on with all the wagons, the drow or the guards.


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Tue May 17, 2016 12:40 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Artimus DeLonde on Tue May 17, 2016 11:28 pm

As the wagon treked deeper the twilight darkening ichor ash wood Artimus' stomach turned. unsettled at the unperdictable jostling of their coach- so different from the syncopatited and regular rocking of a ship as the waters caressed it's hull. Like the pleasing hands of a anxious lover.

"You know, when I first met the sea with my father, the waves turned me green and filled my mouth with spit. Mondante loved this weakness. chuckling as he watched me suffer against the kiltering waves. When he'd had his fill of my stuggle he passed me one of these..." Artimus said holding up date from the citadel, porivded on one of the opulent platters of the Djinn " or something like it, 'Suck on these lad, it'll calm ya today, and keep your gully works moving when youre days go grey' he said-. Prunes- They're grounding, stabling the legs and gifting strength to the gut."

"Something tells me we all could use a hearty constituition for what is next-" Artimus said, words hanging as he passed out the remaining dates

The shambling forms in the wood peaking in and out of the dim light unsettling Artimus as his first day at sea, depths so murky and unknown.

"Take care in this place - let's learn what we can- oui? If you get into trouble, use the fist- save you Rand- I think you'll be fine. you barely stick out here." Artimus said with a grin patting the huge, booze drenched man on the arm.

When the Wagon came to a halt, Artimus emerged from the cabin and moved about the strange gathering that had met in the black wood investigating what he could, posing as a slaver himself he aimed to find eachs purpose there and how they found themselves there keeping his eays keen as he went.

Bogan Tratch is the name, I deal in the trading of flesh, either strong or passionate- I've sold meat all over the five sands. Never have I heard bring everyone... everyone. Who wants everyone.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Tue May 17, 2016 11:28 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Wed May 18, 2016 12:22 pm

Custer cracked the whip hard against the back of the bloodied slaver, now lashed to follow behind the wagon.  Crimson flowed from the man's many wounds and his slack jaw where he'd once had a tongue.  The man had held it out for him to grasp with his plies as he cut it away when Cuss had offered him the choice between losing it or having his throat lain open.  Rand was all too happy to squeeze the man to punctuate the Halfling's threat.

Might be I drove the gnomes and the red-haired lass away, yeah?  He thought, but he heard no whispered response in the thick of these cursed woods so thick the heavens' light could not shine through.  

His darting eyes caught the shambling movement of the undead around them in the shadows.  It served an uncomfortable reminder of Shorjahl's demise.  Cuss hadn't seen it, but his friend's screams breached the old walls of that tower and the sound would not soon be forgotten.

The whip sang a CRACK! as he made it dance one more time, this time only trashing the air over the stumbling slaver's head.  

...

At the bonfire meeting, Cuss took a long pull from his waterskin, then poured some down over the face of the collapsed slaver, who struggled to catch it in his wounded mouth and moaning in pain as it licked his fresh wounds.  

Custer's cheek twitched, and he frowned.  The man's suffering brought him little pleasure, and guilt tried to burn inside him when he realized he had hoped for just that feeling when he carved out the tongue.  He swallowed hard to suppress the feeling, and glanced down at the symbol of Cyric hanging over his Thwarb covered armor where his symbol of Waukeen was tucked away beneath and out of sight.

Is this your fault?  He thought.  This time he were grateful to not hear a whispered response.  

A bugbear snarled at him as it thumped by to piss, startling him out of his own mind.  He looked around at the wagons and the diverse crowd that tended them.  

The Drow drew his stare as Cuss tried to make out the symbols on its purple ceremonial robes.  

Almost as if it felt his gaze, the dark elf looked up at him.  Cuss's eyes widened as he tried to glance away quickly, but the Drow stared and narrowed his eyes.

Oiy,  He thought as he turned to watch Rand sit down beside a goblin smoking some kind of stick.  

"That's some kind of tree branch, yeah?"  He asked, but they were too far away and distracted to hear him.  The man at his feet only gurgled.  

Cuss sighed and turned toward the edge of the clearing where the Bugbear was making water.  He slinked up a few feet to the beast's left and made his own.  The sound of his stream barely a trickle to the torrent of piss coming from his right.

He looked up at the bugbear and nodded.  "Lo."

It only snarled and growled back at him.  Cuss's head snapped back forward and his stream sounded just a little louder.

.........

What's on the Drow's purple robes?
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Osvald Hale on Thu May 19, 2016 12:48 pm

Osvald slept, dreaming of green shores and blue water. The cracklings wheels of the wagon became cannon fire, the rough trail rocked the wagon like the Trois Pistoles within his dream. He dreamt of their battle on the River Esmel, the smell black powder and salt spray, bubbling up through his memory like a hand reaching toward him through black waves. He dreamt he was up in the crows nest, eye the horizon looking out over a great green shore, beyond that lie The ranger of the Small Teeth. They stretched for miles and mi--

The ranger awoke suddenly. The choking sand caked around his sunken eyes.

"Still in this hell..." He muttered, pulling up his cloak against the oven-hot wind.

...

The party ties the horses, and dismounts the wagon.

"Let's not linger near the wagon, in case any here would recognize it without its proper owners."

As the group disperses into the crowd, Osvald follows Cuss, making his toward the Drow.

The lone Dark-Elf stood out amongst the crowd of merchants and ne'er-do-wells.

Passing a meat vender, Osvald flips the greasy man a copper for an undercooked joint of mystery meat.

His nose wrinkles, but the Ranger had supped on worse many a time in the wild.

When he's within a few feet of the Lizards which pull the Drow cart. He flips them the bones of his meal, wiping his oily hands on his cloak.

The beasts immediately snap and snarling each other, kicking up sand before one is the victor, gulping down the discarded bones whole.

Osvald chuckles at the them, glancing up at the Drow for the first time, expecting to meet a sneering gaze.

(What's the Drows reaction?)

Osvald speaks in fluent Undercommon, his accent undetectable,

"Vicious beasts they are. I've always preferred mules for my carts. They need'nt spend half the day sunning, nor must one suffer the stench of carting around all that rotting meat for their feed. Never seen an underfed mule wrench a man's arm from it's socket," The ranger says laughing.

Turning to face the Drow head on, Osvald stands with his hand on his hips, wide grin across his face.

=====

Trying to get a read on the Drow, what sort of customer are we dealing with here?

Perception check on his clothing 1. (1+5=6)

Perception check in his cart 6 + 5 = 11

Wisdom check to recall any information Osvald may recall about the dealings of Drow in the south.4 +5 9


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Thu May 19, 2016 12:48 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Dwan Bolduum on Thu May 19, 2016 10:06 pm

Blood dripped from Dwan's claws as the last of the Rundeen layed down their arms. He changed back to his Dwarf form as the others took turns handling the prisoners and the slaves.

Whatever the Djinn did, it seems like I have a little more control over this. This is only the calm before the storm though.

As the companions gather around the camp fire for the night, Dwan removes the compass from around his neck and places it in Custer's hand.

I can't think of a safer place to keep it. He chuckles at the halfling.

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

When the party arrives at the Necropolis

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

Dwan's skin crawls as the carriage rolls up to the unnaturally dark forest. Strange that a place like this exists in the middle of the desert. These trees are gray and dry, yet the torches don't set them ablaze. This is a wicked place. More bothersome though were the rows of undead eyes staring down the group. It brought back memories of being surrounded by undead creatures in a dark rainy forest.

As the others take off, Dwan replies. I'll put away the horses and talk up some of the locals.

Dwan proceeds to untie the horses and puts most of them on an empty hitching rail nearby.

The last horse he walks into town until he finds a drinking hole that seems to cater to merchants and guards.

Dwan ties up the horse and mutters under his breath in druidic to empower himself with the ability to speak with animals.

He looks towards one of the armored horses tied up near by and gives a friendly introduction,

Hello, I'm Dwan Bolduum.

My owner calls me Stupid Hellbeast, but that is my slave name. My real name is Clip-Clop. You're the first Dwarf to ever talk to me, isn't that strange?

Well of course its strange that I'm talking to you, but that's just what friends do they talk.

Well, I never really had a friend before. Are you sure you want to be my friend?

Of course I'll be your friend.
Dwan pulls out a carrot from his pack and gives it to Clip-Clop to chew on

What do you know of this place? It seems like there are a lot of people bustling about. Is this where Sallad is?
After any answers
Where could I find Sallad?

While you in the stables did Sallad happen to keep a celestial horse nearby? This horse is dear to me and I'd very much like to meet.


Once the conversation comes to an end, Dwan will meet up with the rest at the designated meeting point.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Ao on Fri May 20, 2016 11:41 am

The goblin sits casually next to rand, their silhouettes against the bonfire comical as the lumbering man converses with the skittish orc-kind. A hundred piercings jangle along the length of its’ long ears, as the goblin blows smoke in wide clouds up to the night sky.

“Your first time?” he says in a whiney, scratchy voice.

“This is the hottest gold trail in the southern realms, you muscle headed fool!” he laughs, choking a bit on the lingering smoke.

“Only about a hundred’ merchants from here to Neverwinter know about this place. And, I dunno who yer working’ for, but there ain’t no hired muscle allowed. Bonded guild-guards only. I’ll do ya a favour and keep it between us. Because even if you did go squealin’ to someone, you’d be dead afore anyone believed that old Sallad had rigged up a bustling trade hub in a necropolis crawling with undead hordes.”

The goblin laughs at the absurdity of the situation, puffing on his blunt a little longer.

“If you never been, you won’t believe your eyes. Fountains, buildings of marble and glass. The ceilings are bewitched to mirror the sky. Every day, Sallad’s forces waylay and slaughter hundreds of caravans across Calimshan…and their goods are ours to trade. The rundeen bring slaves in by the wagonload. It’s a paradise, Mr. Rand. A strapping fellow like you will have a hayday.”

[…]

A red-headed girl with enormous eyes peers out at Artimus in the darkness. Her hands are bloodied and bruised, clutching the enormous iron slave cage in which she is confined.

Most of the slavers ignore Artimus. They are haggard men, and his appearance is evidently doing him no favours.

“SHH! You fool.”

Artimus’ ears prick up, as the girl calls him over.

“You’re no slaver. I know enough about these men to see that you don’t fit in. Besides, the Rundeen don’t hire men like you… and if they actually believed you, they’d probably gut you right here for being tha’ competition.”

She pushes the hair out of her face.

“Who are you? Can you get me out of here?”

[FYI Artimus: Your natural 20 saved you from some serious trouble here Smile. The Rundeen are the only slavers contracted by Sallad. And they all know each other.]

[…]

Custer watches as the lizard beasts snap viciously at each other, the meat and bones spraying from their mouths.

Both of the dark elves spring from their posts, pulling daggers and swords from the folds of their swirling purple robes and threatening them towards the woodsman…

Custer had no special knowledge of the many Drow trading houses of the under dark…but these markings were very clear.

Osvald recognized them too…

These drow belonged to House Baenre, one of the most influential families in the under dark.

“I’ll gut you like a fish, you disrespectful maggot!” shrieks the taller of the two, his flashing white eyes narrowing at Osvald’s interruption…

[Osvald, most of your perception checks were garbage, so not much for you to glean here. The snapping lizards and the angry drow have grabbed your attention, and they’re not pleased. Will need to see some social checks here, or perhaps we’ll have some hot water.]

[…]

Clip-Clop looks at Dwan, his eyes big and round. The horse is clearly malnourished, and the treat was a welcome morsel for a hungry beast.

The horse looks eager to help his new friend,

“We come here once or twice a moon. My master sells other humans to these men. When we go into the dark place…it stinks of death and sorcery. I can smell death all the time. It’s nice when we leave.”

The horse snorts, continuing.

“Sometimes I see the slaves we take again. I don’t forget faces. But…I see them out in the desert. In the forest. They are dead, but they walk… Someone kills them. But then, they aren’t dead any more.”

Clip-Clip nuzzles Dwan.

“I have seen no horse like you said. But thank you, friend.”

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

Ok guys - let’s wrap up the roleplaying here (unless Osvald causes a ruckus. Then…will need some fast-talking or perhaps steel drawn. Anyone who wants to help interject here can do so.)




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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Rand Theriot on Fri May 20, 2016 1:23 pm

Rand sucked on the sizzling papers and puffed out a big cloud of dank smelling smoke. Coughing loudly to clear his lungs, he beat a fist against his chest.  The goblin snorted at his overgrown friend and reached over to take back his blunt.

For a time, the pair whiled away the hours, laughing, smoking and joking.

With a chuckle still in his throat, the goblin remarked, “Pity we ain’t got any booze to keep the buzz going Rando!”

With a more serious look on his face, Rand replied, “As to the life best lived, you know the score my friend: Plowing gold haired dames, blowing gold trailed smoke, and taking other’s gold are our aims.”

The goblin nodded wisely, agreeing with Rand. The large man continued, “You say here we taste paradise, but as to I, I’d rather eat my fill.”

Standing to his feet, Rand gritted his teeth and spoke boldly to the goblin. “No, no I want more and say to you my chum: Old Sallad has plenty, and treasure waiting for us to steal!”

The goblin shook his head and held a finger to his lips, begging for quiet. “Common bud, thievin’ from old Sallad…that’s a deathwish, it don’t matter how big the booty!”

Lowering his voice, Rand rasply replied, “You say you have strode inside and seen his tables, well then I say tell me more. If you share enough, I’ll share right back of all that I can score.”

Persuasion Roll= 6 + 0 = 6


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Fri May 20, 2016 1:23 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Fri May 20, 2016 1:36 pm

Cuss was curious what Osvald was up to when he led them closer to the drow, but he found himself surprised when his friend suddenly began conversing with them in a language he did not know, but was quick to recognize.  Undercommon?  Ya speak Orc and Undercommon?

He thought he knew the Lord Hale well, but there was still mystery to the tall man with bright eyes.  It was worth a smile.

A smile soon wiped away when Cuss looked back to she the sneer of the drow in response.  It was then that he saw the red sidgil of House Baenre intricately emblazoned upon their fine robes.  His eyes flared wide as the compass seemed to dig into the flesh of his back in fear.  

He thought of Dwan's encouragement, "no safer place," and snorted to stifle a laugh.  Which only served to draw the drow's narrow stare.

Cuss smiled and spoke in common, "Eh, Sorry.  Don't right know what's being said.  I thought he told a joke."  He shrugged to punctuate his confusion.

He turned to Osvald, "It was a joke, yeah?  K'Tesh's humor was just as dry."

Cuss leaned forward slightly, to let the symbol of Cyric sway away from his chest and dangle.  If these drow knew K'Tesh and had heard of his forsaking Lloth, surely they'd take the bait and ask him if he meant the late 'Duke of the Dark,' K'Tesh Hun'Ett.

[Assisting Osvald's roll.]

He used the hunched posture to rest his right hand on his hip, where his middle finder found the tip of his dirk.  If they came at him, he'd be ready to strike first.

[Rolling Slight of Hand to prep attacking first if they draw down on us. +6]
14


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Fri May 20, 2016 1:36 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Dwan Bolduum on Mon May 23, 2016 11:47 am

Clip-Clop wrote:I have seen no horse like you said. But thank you, friend

Thank you Clip-Clop. You say the dark place is where your master sells the men. Can you tell me how to get to the dark place from here? I know we're close.

Dwan hands the horse another much needed apple. He nods and listens to the horse. Once the horse has finished it's explanation. Dwan rubs it once more feeling the effects of the spell wear off.

Farewell, Clip-Clop. You do have a friend in me, and if it were in my power I would see you free as well.

With a pat, Dwan turns to his horse, unties it, and walks it back to the other horses that carried the wagon to this place.
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