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slapdash
2007-10-06, 11:00 AM
Tears of pain well up in Worm's eyes, and she cradles her sliced cheek gingerly in one hand, pressing hard against it with her fingers in an attempt to dull the sensation. She perks up a bit from her position by the wall as the cries echo from the dining area, and she turns her head a little to the side.

"Highness, I think that, um, they heard us." Her eyes flick down to Theron, and then up again, toward Zesh and the tunnel behind him. She narrows her eyes slightly, studying the kobold, before snapping her attention back to the opposite tunnel.

DoNotFearToTread
2007-10-06, 03:15 PM
Darien makes a quick path towards the tunnel, arriving to see Shalana turning to do the same. Dacin ducks into the hole, droping to his hands and knees and crawling into the darkness, making room for Darien and Shalana to follow. The space is cramped but passable for the trio.

Worm sees them first as shapes moving in the darkness. The goblins charge towards the light, waving weapons in the air. Their screams are like a nightmare. Theron curses, a crass and base obsenity, as he rises to his feet. Octavius lays unmoving, even his chest failing to give the rise that would accompany breath. "He's gone." One of the prince's bloodied hands latches onto Worm's arm and he pulls her towards the tunnel. "We can't stay here."

Zesh darts out to where the tunnel connects with the intersection, hissing in that indecipherable tongue and bringing his clawed hands out to his sides. As he extends his hands a soft bubbling like water in a pot echoes through the cavern and mist rises up around him. The approaching beasts vanish from sight, seperated from the group by the fog.

The halfling charges across the stone floor of the cavern, leaping the dead kobolds and burying the tip of his spear into the chest of the one behind them. The creature screeches and crumples under the force of the attack, the sword slipping from its hand.

Cross shouts for Ahua to fall back, and grabs Raite's arm as they near the tunnel. "Wait. There's something we have to do." He grimaces visibly at the pain of his injuries. He gasps in a breath and presses on the cadet's shoulder. "We don't have much time. Kneel and present your weapon."

~

The kobolds shift their attention to the approaching horde of enemies and charge towards them. The beasts clash in the intersection, forming a chaotic sprawl of battle. The sound is overwhelming as metal blades connect and the beast scream their rage. Ahua, seperated from the others by the sudden bank of mist, pulls his spear free of the dead creature. He can see the other beasts in battle, a stream of the smaller lizards spilling from around the bend behind him. Only one of the creatures stops to focus on the Evisan, driving his blade foward to catch the halfling in the side. It cuts shallow below the ribs, loosing a flow of blood as pain seizes him.


Round 4/5 Mechanics

Dice

Ahua - 2 Damage

Initiatives

Darien 14, Kolbolds 14, Worm 12, Goblins 5, Cross 4, Dacin 4, Ahua 4, Raite 4, Zesh 4, Shalana 3, Theron 3

Updated Map

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc303/DoNotFearToTread/cavebattler5.jpg

Points of Clarity

I put Dacin first in the tunnel because it was his intent to go there. Darien never stated that he was entering so I placed him second. If Darien, having the higher initiative, wants to be the first in (or not in at all) I will adjust the map accordingly.

Valairn
2007-10-06, 09:52 PM
Shalana

Shalana spoke to Dacin while she moved forward, "As soon as we get out of here, someone is gonna have to pull this arrow out of my shoulder, its hard to even see straight through the pain."

Silently she gritted her teeth harder and kept herself moving.

ajw79
2007-10-06, 11:15 PM
Raite

Raite grimaces, putting a hand his wounded side, as Cross presses him to the rough floor. The young cadet looks up with confused eyes but knows better than to waste time by asking what this is about. No doubt his captain believes it to be important if he is willing to pause in midst of their escape. After a quick glance towards the safety of the narrow passage, Raite presents his weapon to Cross.

slapdash
2007-10-07, 12:40 AM
A flood of thoughts and emotions overwhelm Worm. First is awe, as she stares slack-jawed at the fog that billows out from Zesh's form, exclaiming in a hushed tone: "Magic!" And unless he had it hiding in the same place as that lockpick, he was doing it without a book!

This thought was interrupted by a wave of something vaguely like sorrow - she hadn't really known Octavius, but he seemed like the type of person who had a family and a life somewhere, and that meant he would be missed. Ambushed by strange creatures in a place like this? That was no way to go, and she whispered a few words to the Valkyries; a nudge toward what she saw as technically death in battle.

Then, her stomach wrenches with disgust as her forearm is streaked with the Velaxian's blood, only to turn an instant later with a fluttering sensation as she realizes those stained fingers belong to Theron. Mind reeling at the events of the last few moments, she rests her free hand on the quivering rodent beneath her robes in an attempt at comfort even as she stumbles into the tunnel after the prince.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-08, 12:04 AM
Prince Darien

Darien, waiting anxiously just outside the tunnel entrance for everyone to make their way to it, bites his lip as fog fills the air around the kobold, and bites off a curse when he sees that the Velaxian is dead.
"Cross, you're alive--who's that halfling? He needs to get back here... look, promote him in there" he indicates Raite, and then the tunnel, "we need to get out of here."

Even as he moves, Darien approaches the Octavius' body, and quickly frisks it--the papers the Velaxian had seemed important. And while he's at it, taking an extra weapon with them might help. No time for mourning now; that'll come later.

jng2058
2007-10-08, 12:42 AM
Dacin

Pressing on into the deepening darkness of the tunnel, Dacin keeps moving quickly, trusting in his night vision and his own short frame to make navigation easier.

Still, it was tough to move at full speed, and since it wouldn't do to get too far ahead of the rest of the group, he tried to rein himself in and move at a reasonable rate rather than headlong, at least for now. He also remembered Octavius tumbling down the stairs, and tried to keep himself from duplicating the Velaxian's mistake...

[roll0]

TheGreatJabu
2007-10-08, 06:40 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

"Gyai!" A hot surge flashes through Ahua's veins as the blade bites into him. He stumbles one jerky step back, and fights to regain mastery of his mind from the adrenaline rushing through him. Now I am the only one left - I must fly! Ahua grips his spear further away from the tip than usual in an attempt to keep attackers further at bay. Looking back over his shoulder, his eyes widen to find the strange fog clouding his path of retreat. No choice! I must go!

After a small feint to keep the Small-Lizard on its toes, Ahua begins to run into the fog, trying to head in the direction that the Large-Worlders had been gathering at moments ago.


Standard action: Full Defense action
Move action: Book it 25', heading into the fog and trying to go into the hallway on the "left" of our map

DoNotFearToTread
2007-10-08, 11:15 AM
Darien darts to Octavius' side, kneeling down and rifling through the Velaxian's clothing. He comes up with a small sheaf of papers bound in a leather wrap and 12 Velaxian gold coins. The halberd must still be lying in the middle of the intersection, beyond the bank of fog. The sounds of battle grow more pitched and chaotic.

Dacin skulks forward, squeezing through the narrowing tunnel as best he can. The torches being held behind him do little to cut through this claustrophobic murk. As he moves on, something thin and sticky brushes against his face, adhering to the skin and breaking away in strands. It wraps about his hand as well, like a silken membrane, and while it does nothing to impede him it does warn of the tunnel's native resident.

Something drops down onto the half-elf's back and skitters up to his shoulder. A sharp pain, like the prick of a needle, burns into his skin there before fading to a faint throb.

Ahua wards off the next slash with his spear and runs into the mist, coming out in time to see Zesh scramble into the tunnel.

Raite & Darien

Cross, already laboring against pain and exhaustion, grits his teeth as Darien speaks. "A diplomat from K'a Evis who came to speak with your father...and so long as you are out here instead of moving to safety in that tunnel, I will not be going anywhere." He takes up the large blade and rest it against the wall beside him, reaching out to Raite's left hand. "A Vigiliant's pledge is eternal. To bear his weapon in defense of Auldaria. To give his life for its leaders. To aid his brothers in all things." Cross swallows and drags in a deep breath. "I wish I had time for the ceremony but I don't. Only a Vigilant can induct a cadet fully into the order, just as only the monarch can accept a Vigiliant into service. You've labored hard in your training and proven your loyalty. Now you're the only one who can serve as protector of the princes so I must ask you to take the oath. Do you vow to serve the cause of the Vigilants from this day forward, even in death?"

~

Dacin & Shalana

The spider darts along your arm and leaps off your hand, moving towards Shalana. It's quick, and it manages to sink it's fangs into her torch-wielding hand before she can ward it away.

Round 5/6 Mechanics

Dice

Dacin - Fortitude Save DC 10. You can also make an AoO as the spider runs away.

Shalana - Fortitude Save DC 10. You also get an AoO as it moves into your square.

Should either of those AoO's succeed at slaying the mighty beast, the attack on Shalana will not have succeeded and her Fort save will not be required.

Initiatives

Darien 14, Kolbolds 14, Worm 12, Spider 8, Goblins 5, Cross 4, Dacin 4, Ahua 4, Raite 4, Zesh 4, Shalana 3, Theron 3

Updated Map

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc303/DoNotFearToTread/cavebattler6.jpg

Points of Clarity

Tunnel crawling folk, you are considered to be squeezing through a small space and accordingly take a -4 to attacks and AC while in the tunnel.

The koblolds and goblins are now fully engrossed in their own battles and cannot see you because of the mist. Effectively initiative is now inconsequential for everyone except Shalana, Dacin and their arachnid opponent. However, I'm keeping it up in case Darien decides to do something...less than sensible.

jng2058
2007-10-08, 11:42 AM
Dacin

"Gods DAMN it!!" Dacin yelled back down the tunnel at the others, "Beware the poisionous spider!!

Swinging his dagger wildly at the thing, he stumbled onward once it passed out of his arm's reach, knowing that he couldn't afford to block up the tunnel for too long...the others would need to get past, and it would be hard to move him if he fell unconcious...or died. He moved as long as he was able, and could only pray to the Taker to take someone else just this once.

Damn it all, what a stupid way to die...

[roll0]
[roll1]

Valairn
2007-10-08, 12:33 PM
Shalana

Shalana attempts to crush the spider into the wall while cursing fate. "When is this day going to end!"

Fortitude: [roll0]
Attack: [roll1]
To Confirm Critical with Damage: http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1306374
(I missed on my confirmation fyi)
Damage: [roll2]
Poor spider, his life was short, but exciting!

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-08, 07:55 PM
Prince Darien

Tucking the pouch into the inner pocket in his shirt with the one the King had given him, Darien holds the bundle of papers in one hand.
"All right, then, I'm going--just... hurry."
Of course he bloody accepts. Loyal to a fault, I'd bet money on it. --Looks like everyone but the poor damn Velaxian is safe. Suppose it'd be asking too much for Theron to be at all impressed--don't know if he saw the action...

Darien skitters into the tunnel after Zesh, glancing over his shoulder until Raite and Cross follow.

ajw79
2007-10-08, 11:42 PM
Raite

The eyes of the young Nasjtoran widen perceptibly as he realizes what Cross is doing. Momentarliy at a loss for words, Raite finally manages to stammer, "I... I am honored sir. I do so swear. My life and my loyalty belong to Auldaria and the Vigilants."

Having spoken his vow, Raite looks over his shoulder as Darien ducks into the tunnel. "We should go sir. The battle won't last forever and we don't want to be here when someone wins. You and the diplomat should go before me. I'm in the best shape to guard the rear."

Raite glances at the body of Octavius and quickly discards the thought of trying to take it along. It's not the fate he would like to leave the Velaxian to, but the group will need to move quickly if the rest of them are to survive.

DoNotFearToTread
2007-10-09, 12:22 PM
Raite & Ahua

Cross latches onto the wrist of Raite's left hand, his grip like a vice, and he quickly slides the dagger over the back of it. Pain lances along the cadet's knuckles and down his arm as his fingers clench into a fist in reflex. Cross lets the knife fall from his grip and presses that hand to the armor at his shoulder. It comes back bloody and leaves a steady flow between the metal strips there, a serious injury if your experience with the signs was accurate. As he presses his palm to Raite's bloodied wound, his jaw tightens and he speaks between his teeth.

"You're blooded to the Vigilants now, as are all who rise to serve among us. Our order is ancient and each of us bears the blood of great heroes." He unstraps the leather bracer from his left arm, revealing a scar along his left hand. The bracer is unique, bearing the charging stag of the Duverger family crest on the hand and the diving hawk of the Vigiliants below the bend for the wrist. Every vigilant bears one, evidence of the sacrifices he makes to serve Auldaria. Cross presses that bracer to Raite's arm, tightening the straps to fit it in place so that the curving end covers the cut along the back of his hand.

"I wish I had the time to tell you the stories that you're now allowed to hear. I'll have to trust that you will learn them when you return the princes to Palsaille." Taking up the greatsword and holding it out to Raite, Cross scans the ground for his own weapon. He motions for him to rise as he steps over and picks it up from where Theron had left it. "Look at me and that hole there and tell me that I'm going to make it. Even if I could fit all the way I'd just be slowing you down. The lives of the princes and those that the king chose to send with them are all that matters to you now, Vigilant." He hefted the weapon in his right arm, the strain of the motion evident on his face. "I will cover your retreat. Perhaps I will find my own way out when that is done. No matter what, you are not to come back for me. That's an order."

At that he turned to the halfling in the tunnel's entrance. "You have my gratitude for your help. Raite will speak in your favor when you return to the castle. He will see that you are rewarded appropriately for assisting us here." His attention settled on the mist then, waiting for something. "Both of you, go now."

All

Shalana's stab skewers the arachnid, smearing it along the wall. No others appear as you each pass through the webbing. The tunnel narrows enough to make Dacin fear that they may not be able to continue. His muscles begin to ache and he finds the effort of crawling to become more difficult with time. Just before true despair sets in, however, the tunnel begins to widen vertically and a beam of light cuts through the gloom about fifty feet ahead. Bright, natural light. And cool, fresh air that brushes past you all from a crack opening up the outside.

You are able to stand and walk the last fifteen feet. When you step out from the cave you find yourself staring down the slope of what you can only assume to be a mountain. The air is thick with fog but the sun burns bright behind it. A thick layer of snow, like a blanket of white, covers the area as gray stone juts up through it in places. The air is bitter cold and you each immediately realize how poorly dressed you are for such an environment. While the mountain seems jagged and difficulty to navigate, a smooth line descends from your current position that might serve you well as a path. It curves around and vanishes into the fog.

Zesh motions to it as he narrows his eyes against the light. "Down there, follow the path. You will find talls. This one will now return to his own." The creature then begins to work his way upwards, carefully navigating the terrain. Theron, who would be the first to distrust any action the little beast might take, doesn't seem to have it in him to object. He simply slumps down onto the ground and flexes his wounded leg. As he grabs the bolt in both hands, his gaze snaps to Raite.

"Cross?" He seems to come up with his own answer as his attention shifts to the bracer on the Vigilant's left arm. He gives a nod in Raite's direction, as though confirming some unspoken point, and proceeds to snap the end off the bolt with a bit of a struggle. Biting down on the broken piece, he cuts around the wound and works the remaining portion of the bolt free. A few moments later he's bound it with a scrap of his own clothing.

"Is everyone alright here? I think we deserve a minute's rest." His eyes then fall on the halfling. "I remember you. I was in the great hall when your retinue arrived. I don't recall a name, though, and for that I apologize." He paused to motion to Shalana. "We should get that bolt out of you." As he readied the knife his attention snapped to Dacin. "How is that bite? Are you feeling alright?"

Mechanics

Dacin - Ability Damage (Strength) - 1 pt. Also, let's get your second Fort save to resist. DC 10 again.

ajw79
2007-10-09, 01:15 PM
Raite

The young Vigilant briefly turns towards Theron as the prince asks about Cross. His only response is a short shake of his head and eyes that glisten more than they normally would. Raite turns back to watch the cave mouth, idly fingering the symbols adorning the leather bracer he now wears.

Valairn
2007-10-09, 01:34 PM
Shalana

"Let's get this over with..." Her eyes well up quickly with tears as she breaks the haft off of the bolt. She takes out her meditation beads and grips them tightly in both hands while Theron works the bolt out. Her eyes reveal the pain clearly, but she doesn't cry out. After its done she takes the remaining strips from her torn dress, and hands them to Theron, waiting for him to secure her wound tightly.

After its done her eyes noticeably relax. "I think I might need some new clothes." She looks down at herself and laughs, her "skirt" doing little to keep the cold off her. "We should get moving quickly, we aren't out of danger yet."

jng2058
2007-10-09, 03:34 PM
Dacin

Dacin stumbled out into the light, the pain and tightness made him worry, but the fact that he hadn't already dropped dead made him press on. Also, there wasn't much, if anything, he could do about it, so moving on wasn't just the best plan...it was the only plan.

Who knew that sunlight could feel so good? He sighed to himself as he moved out of the way for the others, Ye gods, am I tired...

As Zesh slipped away up the hill, Dacin called up after him, "Zesh! If we meet again, are we friends or enemies? Do 'talls' ever have friends among 'your own'?"

Once he'd resolved his question with the kobold, Dacin bowed to Theron, his page's persona once again firmly in place, "I've felt better, milord, but haven't we all? I 'xpect I'll be right as rain after a good meal and a night's rest, I will."

And if I don't, thought the half-elf, then I can always try that medicine that I got off of Zesh.

While everyone was taking stock of themselves, and especially once Theron's attention was on Raite and asking about Cross, Dacin removed the bundle from his shirt and covertly examined the sharpened bone. He tried to figure our how it would make someone "fight better". Could he use it as a dagger? Would he have to find a way to wear it like a necklace? What was it good for, anyway? That, the medicine, and some oil were all he'd managed to accumulate down there, and he was going to be hard pressed to find some use out of it all...

Whoops, forgot the Fort Save. Guess I'll actually USE the Dice Roll Forum Thread for once....

Whoo, a 16! Made one for once!! Yaaaay!! :smallbiggrin:

slapdash
2007-10-09, 04:30 PM
The young apprentice shields her eyes from the sun as she stares up at the retreating kobold, lip tucked firmly under her gapped front teeth - this seperation the only thing keeping them from chattering wildly with her bottom set. Had Nasjtor been this cold when she was younger? It was hard to remember.

"Everyone saw that, yeah?" she asked in Auldarian to no one in particular. "He did magic without no books or nothing, didn't he?"

Looking thoughtful, she picks her way over to Raite, patting him on the arm in what would be a comforting gesture if she had any concept of how to touch another person, but the motion alternates between something like a person hitting a drum with their palm and a splayed-finger slap. After a couple of these, she stops and folds her arms tightly across her chest as she surveys the group, the slice on her cheek numbed by the cold air and the caked blood forgotten as she considers all that she saw inside the tunnels.

TheGreatJabu
2007-10-09, 08:11 PM
Ahua of Chamahez

Time had flown by as Ahua fled through the mist and down through the tunnel. He had stopped to look back and see if the Large-World warrior needed his aid and espied him and K'a Deht in the midst of a blood-tie ritual. Now is an odd time - Large-Worlder must be facing his death now. Rather than despoil the ritual with his interruption he carries out swiftly down the tunnel after the others.

Until he feels the first fresh breeze. A cold breeze. The thousands of pin-pricks of cold across his body cut him far worse than any blade. "Gyai!" He folds his arms up around his chest and realizes now how bare he is. He's already shivering before he's out of the cave fully. It finally occurs to him for the first time - Where has my cloak gone?! When he begins to look back over his shoulders at the ground behind him, for a moment he freezes in place. Suddenly, the halfling begins to hyperventilate and stumble forward in a panic, wiping at his shoulders and arms with his hands. He begins ranting in a strange language, not hearing the words of Prince Theron.

{OOC: for those who speak Halfling}
"Gyai! My skin! I have the plague! I am diseased!"

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-09, 11:36 PM
Prince Darien

Daylight!
The younger prince staggers into the light and the cold wind, thanking all the gods to be aboveground.
And with 'only' one of us dead, too--and Cross. Again. Damned noble sacrifices...

His leg burns; he produces his silver hip-flask, unstoppers it, and inhales with a hiss as he splashes whiskey onto his wound to clean it; he does the same for Theron, once the arrow is removed. When his brother moves to remove Shalana's arrow, he meets Theron's eyes for a moment and does it himself, holding her down as the shaft comes out and dashing whiskey onto that wound, too, before binding it.
"Very nicely done, in there. I'm impressed," he whispers, before straightening.

"He certainly did," Darien agrees with Worm, looking after the kobold and folding his arms around himself. "I guess no one ever told him he needed one. Anyway," he turns, sweeping a glance across the ragtag assembly, "we need to get going, and we need to do it now. If we don't get to a settlement fast, we will freeze quite to death out here. Not something I'd enjoy, yourself; your preferences may vary. --What's wrong with him?" he adds, tilting his head and examining the raving halfling.

DoNotFearToTread
2007-10-10, 12:22 AM
Zesh does turn back to face Dacin, peering down from a small ledge above the group. That grin is his response and he holds the skull out before him as if it were some prize he had won. "Talls have enemies enough without this one." And with that he scrambles up and disappears into the snow.

Theron remains standing behind Darien until he's sure that the aid isn't going to do more harm than good. With a nod he sets a hand on his brother's shoulder. "Didn't think you had it in you. Pick that up in a tavern somewhere?" Strangely, the words do not carry the chastising tone that they often do. The halfling's tirade draws his attention away and he shakes his head to Darien's question. "I have no idea." Turning back to Darien, he lowers his voice. "Everyone is pretty shook up here. Do me a favor and see to the other's injuries. It will give them a minute to collect themselves before we have to get moving. I'll try and calm down the Evisan."

Stepping towards Ahua, he clears his throat and speaks in Evisan. "If you keep on like that you are going to exhaust yourself. I don't much fancy the idea of carrying anyone down this mountain, even one as light as you. Take a breath and tell me what's going on."

Dacin

The bone was near a foot and a half long, slightly curved, and far too brittle to serve as a weapon. It would be most uncomfortable to wear in any capacity but it seems to rest well in the hand if held at the larger end. In the light here you can even make out some odd scratching along its surface, lines connected to shapes. It doesn't seem to be a language, really, but the etching was definately purposeful.

TheGreatJabu
2007-10-10, 08:45 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

Momentarily brought out of his panic by the familiar sounds of the words of his island, Ahua pauses to look around for the source. It was the eldest son of Chieftain-Auldaria. Trying to maintain some semblance of calm, he forcibly slows down his speech and replies to Heir-Auldaria. His Evisan is obviously much clearer (and more graceful) than his Auldarian.

Evisan:
"Your kingdom holds many things of terror and wonder, Heir-Auldaira. The Hair-Faces and chilling air are disturbing, but of less concern than surreal door of light and shadow that brought us to this place. Since leaving your castle in that strange void, Ahua's skin is discolored and strange. Ahua feels no illness, but fears he is plagued. Ahua can tend to the wounded but should distance himself to keep his ailment from spreading to the others."

Valairn
2007-10-10, 09:38 AM
Shalana

Shalana was not displeased in the slightest when Darien pulled the arrow from her wound rather than Theron. The feel of blood running down her side and the pain from the pulling of the arrow, does nothing to dull her pride from what Darien said to her. She whispered back, "It is my honor to fight alongside Auldaria."

With that she stood up. her left armd hanging noticeably limp, it had become more difficult to move now that the muscles beneath had been suitably torn from the pulling of the arrow. It burned deeply, she had never received a wound like this before, the worst previously had been a nasty gash during a sword exercise, she had that scar on the right side of her hip. She would have to use her sword in her offhand for a while, which didn't bother her, she was just as skilled with it, if a touch weaker.

She made sure her torch had been properly doused of flame before saying, "I am ready to move on, but I will probably need help to maintain my balance."

jng2058
2007-10-11, 03:45 PM
Dacin

Dacin smiled to himself. Zesh seemed happy, and if he was perhaps not really a friend, he wasn't an enemy either. That was good enough, because it meant there was a possible bolt hole up here in the mountains if things down in the valley went as bad as they had in the tunnels.

Always make sure you've got a way out. King Phillipe didn't make sure his way out was clear, and it nearly cost him the lives of his sons...and mine, for that matter!!

With everyone else taking a moment to collect themselves...or try and calm down the halfling....

Halfling? Wait a minute, where'd we get a halfling?

He burned to know where the little man had come from, and if he knew what was going on back in Auldaria, but Theron seemed to have taken the lead on those questions and answers, so there wasn't much call for him to do anything just yet.

Instead, he moved over to his favorite (albeit only surviving, as far as could be determined) wizard's apprentice and showed her the bone he'd gotten from Zesh.

"Saaaaaay, Wormy..." the page smiled, "I found this in the tunnel Zesh and I scouted. I can't read the writing on this, so I was wondering if it made any sense to you. Any ideas?"

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-11, 07:17 PM
Prince Darien

Tying off Shalana's wound, Darien snorts.
"Gods. People don't get shot during bar brawls, Theron. What the hells do you think taverns are like? You should actually visit one sometime."
He pauses to fasten the bandage with some kind of fancy knot, tying it one-handed, the other running through his blond hair.
"Learned it fighting bandits, that half-year I spent on the border. Same place I first killed a man. Keep underestimating me brother," he cautions, voice deliberately mild, "and you'll stay surprised."

When Theron moves on, he straightens, pronounces Shalana's wound taken care of, and takes her hand in order to brush his lips against it before letting it go.
"Anyone else wounded?" he asks, and strolls over to Dacin and Worm. He examines Worm's cheek briefly. "You'll live. It could very well scar, I'm afraid; I've still got whiskey if you want to make sure it doesn't get infected. --How's the bite?"
His attention shifts to Dacin, then he glances at the bone.
"And what's that?"

slapdash
2007-10-11, 10:34 PM
Worm returned Dacin's smile, reaching out for the piece of bone. She turns it to and fro, narrowing her eyes to study it; however, her gaze drifts from the artifact in her hands to Darien, and she watches him speak, chapped lips twisting down into a lopsided frown.

"'Salright," she says with a shrug. "Hate to put his majesty out of a nip. Probably awful hard to slum when you're sober."

She runs her fingers over the script in the bone, thinking for a moment before blurting out, her face slightly red, "And you shouldn't. Taverns aren't fun places, they're where people go to spend their bread money while their children go hungry."

Seeming little unsure and at the same time, unable to stop, she adds, "And I s'ppose you think it's alright to talk about offing someone, but when people die they're gone for good, and they leave behind people who might not have no one else, and that's nothing to be proud of, even if you did it for a good reason. I don't claim to know lots about nobility and the like, but I know that drinking makes you a fool and killing makes you a murderer; and I know no matter how you run your mouth you're not an adult an' you're not impressing anyone, cause everytime you brag about how much you know you're showing just how much you don't. Magister Renault was right, he said -"

The color of Worm's face has turned a deep red by this point, and she seems to decide she's said enough, because she closes her eyes and murmurs an incantation, splitting her index and middle fingers into a V and tapping her eyes gently with the tips. Opening them, she once again regards the wand before handing it back to Dacin.

"Just says 'sanctify'," she mutters, hugging herself tightly.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-11, 11:04 PM
Prince Darien

Godssake, if we were home that'd be treason. I wasn't bloody bragging! --It'd hurt less if she weren't half right....

Darien's eyebrows crawl up towards his hairline, and he draws himself up, cheeks hollow and eyes flashing.
"Fine words! Seen the world, have you? Know everything about drink and death? Good to know life's so very simple!" He takes a breath, and his expression settles.
"I know well I'm no adult, not yet, but we can't afford to be children here, and mark my words: not a man I've drank with has thrown away his children's bread money. And killing? It's no thing of glory, but it's a skill and if things don't get better and fast, I'll bet crowns to crud it'll be necessary, and I trust your grace will forgive me if I put our lives first. I just hope it burdens my shoulders or R--Vigilant Raite's--", he corrects himself as he speaks, "and not one of you." A short, sharp gesture of his hand indicates Worm and Dacin, the younger ones in the group.
"I just--we just--lost damn near everyone. Don't you lecture me about death."
His voice breaks under the weight of memory and emotion; with that, he turns, attempting to salvage some dignity, and moves back to Shalana, extending an arm to support her, voice calm.
"My lady."

Whatever a king does--whatever a prince does--it costs lives. No one who hasn't taken one with his own hands should sit on a throne. Idealists! I hope she doesn't break when things get worse, because I get the feeling they will.
Taker's balls, I wish I could just go slumming and let Theron and Father take care of business. I wish Father could still take care of anything at all...

"Let's move, before we die of cold," he suggests, loudly.

Valairn
2007-10-11, 11:06 PM
Shalana

Shalana was taken aback by Worm's tirade, the quick thoughtless speech was something she was very familiar with, she also had a quick tongue. But it bothered her immensely that the speech was pointed and disapproving of Darien not to mention pure treason under any other circumstances.

Shalana was going to open her mouth but Darien's words certainly sufficed.

Turning to Darien, while also moving to rest some of her weight on his arm, she whispered in his ear, "I'm not entirely sure what kind of reception we will get from the people Zesh mentioned, it would be best I think if we remained wary no matter where we go. It makes little sense to me to expect a warm welcome anywhere in this region."

She sighed noiselessly for a second, her thoughts were beginning to jumble, she could tell how tired she was. When is this day going to end?

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-11, 11:29 PM
Prince Darien

"Really! And there I was," Darien murmurs with exaggerated sincerity, "preparing to throw myself into the arms and upon the mercy of the first human being I saw. --Sorry," his voice softens, the sarcasm disappearing. "You're quite right."

jng2058
2007-10-12, 12:05 AM
Dacin

Once Darien's attention turned to Worm's outburst, Dacin made the wand disappear back into his tunic as if it had never been. Probably it wouldn't do any harm to let the Prince see his new treasure, but why take the chance if he didn't have to? And thanks to Worm, he didn't.

She is SUCH a good distraction! All I need to do from now on is let her start talking and no one will notice if I make off with the silverware, a cupboard full of food, and probably their pants! He shook his head in wonder and thought, And they said that I lacked in common sense!

Of course, he reflected, Darien's quite right. Hell, I said so to her back in the tunnels before Theron stomped all over me. But if watching all those Vigilants and Yunisians die for us didn't teach Worm that, I don't know what will.

Kill or die. Strike first or strike never. That's how you do it if you want to win. And the losers don't get another chance. Still, I don't see how it benefits me to say so right now...and if Darien thinks I'm still some kind of innocent to be protected, that's all to the good.

Dacin stood gingerly, his body still aching from the poison. He stretched, and was dismayed at how much he hurt all over. It was a bad sign.

He offered a hand to help Worm up, "Its too cold, and we've been through too much terror and death. We should get off this mountain and into that village Zesh mentioned. Maybe we'll not be so angry with one another with full bellies and a warm fire to cheer us, eh?"

DoNotFearToTread
2007-10-12, 07:27 AM
Ahua

You can see Theron's eyes grow cold as his brother addresses him, any relief at their safety draining from it. He continues in Evisan despite that. "We all experience some kind of change when we came through that thing. Granted, yours seems a bit more drastic, but I don't think you're diseased. And if you are it is likely that we all are so we shouldn't get too concerned about it for now." As he turns back to look at the others he allows the faintest of smiles in response to the apprentice's chastising tone.

All

At Darien's suggetion, he motions for everyone to group up and turns back to Ahua. His Evisan, while passable, falters slightly on the more difficult phrasing. "Come with us and we will get everything straightened out. You do speak Auldarian, don't you?" Once an answer to that question is provided, he urges everyone to start down the path. "Careful, everyone. It looks to be a long fall."

The path is icy but once your feet penetrate the four inches of snow over it, you find the security of (relatively) smooth stone. The slope is challenging, but taking your time and testing your steps makes the descent manageable. The occasional barren tree rises up out of the fog, looking unsettlingly skeletal considering your current situation.

Worm

Theron falls back to walk next to you shortly after the group starts moving. His voice remains low and the wind helps to keep it muffled. "Pretty funny when you think about it. A prince of Auldaria, born and bred in a castle, asking a Spine-Born if she's seen the world? I'd imagine, studying under Renault, that there's a lot you've seen that we couldn't even imagine." He looked towards the sky for a moment, his smile faded when he turns back to her. "I know Darien comes across as self-absorbed and ingracious but he's really not as bad as all that. I spoke with the Magister many times and I know how Renault felt about him. Sometimes I have to agree. But he's got our father's blood in him so I have to believe that, deep down, he's a good person." He tucked his hands into his sleeves as he spoke. "I know he doesn't think before he acts and he can say things without concern for who it might hurt. I won't try to excuse his behavior. Just give him a chance, alright?"

Valairn
2007-10-12, 10:22 AM
Shalana

She had bristled a bit at the prince's sarcasm, but managed to reply softly as they journeyed down the path, "I meant no offense to your intelligence, I just sensed that your older brother might a bit too trusting, even if its only a bit. I respect his courage, but even courage can't protect against daggers in the back. I mentioned it because I trusted you to be his," she trailed off seeming to search for words, "in Yunisian the word means close to, friend guard, or someone who watches his friends to protect them from themselves, if there is a word in Auldarian that means the same thing, I don't know it."

With that she let her mind drift off, focusing on the path, and the hope of some rest soon.

TheGreatJabu
2007-10-12, 11:11 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

Hearing Heir-Auldaria's words brings a little comfort to the unease inside Ahua - but none to the unease OUTSIDE. It was still freezing, and he couldn't find his beautiful feathered cloa...FEATHERS! With a quick glance at his shoulders he realizes that the swirling colors form shapes. Dozens and dozens of colorful feathers. Just like...the cloak. Oh no.

A small hand quickly darts to Ahua's forehead, and he breathes a sigh of relief to find no beak portruding from it, like the one sewed into the hood of his cloak, which appears to have melted onto his body. Still hugging his own (poorly clothed) body, he makes an effort to step forth and address the others in their tongue. You can just about make out what he's saying despite the chittering teeth.

"Iiiif Ahuhuhhua carrrrries no plaaague, Aaaahua joins theee Large-Worlders wiiiith glad, buuut also wiiiith cold! Aahua of Chaaamahez of K'aaa Eeevis lends hiiis speeear!"

During his little speech, Ahua begins unwrapping the sash that is tightly wound over one shoulder and across his chest. He begins to re-loop it, alternating it over each shoulder so as to cover more of his increasingly pallid torso with it.

Ahua marches along down the mountain with the group, gingerly putting his foot down each time it has to touch the strange white, burning powder that covers the ground.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-12, 02:39 PM
Prince Darien

Letting Shalana lean on him as they make their way down the path, Darien casts a glare at where Theron whispers to Worm (apologizing for him, no doubt, or discussing his seemingly endless list of flaws!), and considers an appropriate word in Auldarian.
"I think brother is about right," he finally suggests.

I'll have to talk to Theron before we get to whatever village is down there. I'm pretty sure he's smarter than to wander in and start blurting out what happened to us right away, but you never know.

ajw79
2007-10-12, 03:07 PM
Raite

The young Vigilant watches the exchange between Worm and Prince Darien and shakes his head. If only more people viewed the world in the same light as the apprentice. But as long as people were people, the strong would take from the weak, and there would be a need for people like Cross to protect those who couldn't protect themselves. With a last look into the blackness of the tunnel, Raite silently falls into step with the rest of the group as they begin their trek down the path.

slapdash
2007-10-12, 04:34 PM
Still looking a bit embarassed by her outburst, Worm's discomfort seems to be tripled as the elder prince falls into step beside her, and she tries desperately to look anywhere but toward Theron as he addresses her, eyes darting to the barren trees and the snow enveloping her freezing, slippered feet.

"No, um - that is, yeah. I mean, I didn't intend to say all that, your majesty. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to insult the prince, an' if the Magister were here I'd have a new lump to show for it, that's for sure."

"'Sjust that, well, when I came to Auldaria I had three squares and clean clothes and a warm place to sleep, and I thought that was pretty good, cause I never had that before, but before then things weren't really bad, they were just how they were. To be truthful, the only time I've ever been scared for my life was inside the palace earlier." Worm snuggles the shivering mass of Darien the rat to her chest, momentarily distracted by concern for the effect of the cold on the rodent.

"Guess it seems to me that if you think people're bad, and you can't trust 'em, maybe you ought to spend time round different sorts of people. Most folk are basically good, even if the world's kind of roughed 'em up or they think acting kind is the same as bein' weak. I'm sure Prince Darien's got good in him too; he's you're brother, after all."

Ducking her head at this last part, she gives a nonchalant shrug and then seems content to study the ground, the pink tinting her face not entirely caused by the biting wind.

jng2058
2007-10-13, 12:03 AM
Dacin

Dacin makes himself scarce when Theron comes to talk to Worm, instead moving over next to the halfling. "So, Ahua, is it? Hi, I'm Dacin, a page at the palace. Do you mind clearing something up for me? I was wondering...how'd you get through the dwarves to the portal? Did anyone else survive? Is the portal guarded?"

He nodded at the obviously very cold warrior type, "You understand that we need to know as much as we can about what's going on in Auldaria if we're ever to return there to free the realm from Dwarvish rule...if they are ruling, even. What exactly happened?"

TheGreatJabu
2007-10-14, 04:14 PM
Ahua of Chaaaaaamahez

Still wrapping himself tightly in his arms, Ahua tries to look up at the Large-Worlder but finds it makes his teeth chatter together more violently. He keeps his eyes down on the ground but tries to speak to Da'cin.

"Aaahua waaaas neeear of thee room oof 'throne'. Ahuua saw you ffflee from Hair-Faaces. Hair-Faaces caaatch King-Auuuldaria and hiiiis others. Hair-Faceeees go tooo secreet cave you flee'd to. Ahua cuuunning! Aaahua hide uuntil Hair-Faces reeeturn from seecret cave. Ahua feeeear your deaths, went to loook for Heirs. Found door of liight and shaadow, but nooo Heirs - gave Ahuuua much fear! Ahua heard Hair-Faces comiiing, so Ahua follooowed into door. Now Aaahua buuuurning from wiiind and whiiite poowowder with Daaa'cin, K'aa Deht, aaand Heirs!"

Valairn
2007-10-14, 06:09 PM
Shalana

Looking at Darien as she walked Shalana stated simply, "If only my brother was as admirable as you and yours. He's a fine replacement for my father....," she let the comment drift off.

Pulling her hand gently away from Darien she perked up and said, "I think I can manage from here, I don't feel quite so wretched anymore."

jng2058
2007-10-15, 12:51 PM
Dacin

Dacin nodded, "Thank you. That is hard news, but no worse than I'd been expecting." He stooped and picked up a handful of snow, "This is snow. It’s what happens when water gets too cold and falls from the sky like frozen rain. It will make your feet cold, and that can make you ill. I'd suggest you fashion some shoes for yourself to keep healthy. We need your spear strong, not weakened by sickness." He clasped the halfling on the shoulder, then moved back a little in the march.

As he walked, Dacin sighed to himself. He'd been clinging to a feeble hope that Ahua represented some form of rescue....a way back to a predictable life that didn't involve homicidal dwarves, deadly caverns, or freezing mountains.

But the halfling's news confirmed what he'd already known in his heart...there was no easy way back, Auldaria really had fallen, the king was a prisoner at best, dead at worst, and this cold, miserable existence really was the most he could hope for.

Fine. If that's the way it must be, that's the way it must be. I'll adapt and make the best of it. There's no other choice.

He glanced at Theron and considered again the bag of gold the prince was carrying. What were the chances he'd counted it all?

Unlikely, Dacin decided. He'd been too busy to even hand over those now useless messages I was supposed to get. He certainly didn't have time to count every gold piece...and even if he did, he had to have counted in the dark. Mistakes happen. A few coins up or down could just be a counting error.

He nodded to himself. There'd be an opportunity...there always was...and he'd just have to be on the look out for it.

Just like at home.

ajw79
2007-10-15, 02:20 PM
Raite

Raite moves alongside Ahua as the party continues their descent.

"You're a diplomat? I always expected diplomats would be useless in a fight... " Raite's face flushes slightly as he realizes his comment isn't the most polite way to phrase things. He hurries on, "What I mean to say is thank you for your help back in the cavern. Your spear is a welcome addition to our group."

DoNotFearToTread
2007-10-16, 04:16 PM
All

The path continues, winding slightly as it cuts through the rocky mountainside. Barren trees rise up on either side, spotting the otherwise featureless rock, and you each slip occasionally on the ill-suited path. The mountains are uncomfortably silent, the soft whine of the wind all that breaks it.

Worm

"The faith states that people are formed from the good will of the Divinities. That we are all innately good, which is why it is so easy for us to do bad things. Like a pendulum, if we are far to one side we swing much further to the other when we slip." His eyes hovered on his brother's back for a moment. "Of course, Darien was never much for faith. I guess I understand his jaded attitude because of the kinds of people he's spent time around, but to be honest that was his choice so it's not like he's had a difficult life." As he walks, his sleeve-wrapped hands at his sides, he seems to be staring off to the left of the group. "Seems to me that unpleasentness comes a lot more often when you invite it with a poor attitude. You're pretty insightful but I guess that's why Renault took you on. What is that..." His voice trails a bit as his eyes narrow.

All

You've only been walking a short time, minutes really, when Theron points out the smoke. A thin line of grey stands out against the white fog to the left of the group. Probably fifty or so yards down a slope, nestled into a small clearing. If you stare you can make out a small house there, and a fenced in section to the side of it. The area around it is packed snow and icy dirt, giving way to thicker forest in every direction. A man stands there, his attention focused on an opening into the side of the slope, a dark cave entrance. Three small bodies litter the snow around him, half-buried and staining the ground red.

( You can make Spot checks to glean further information if you're so inclined. Getting from where you are to the clearing will require a DC 10 climb check but you can all take 10 on it. )

Valairn
2007-10-16, 04:43 PM
Shalana

Shalana looks back at the group, "Should we head down Theron?" She waits to hear his answer but makes to climb down as if she already knew he was going to say yes.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-16, 05:03 PM
(Spot: [roll0], I'll post when I know what I see.)

jng2058
2007-10-16, 05:20 PM
Dacin

Dacin ducked out of sight, then moved forward carefully so he could get a better idea of what's going on from under cover. The small bodies were probably either more of Zesh's folk, or perhaps his tormentors, but for all he knew, they could be human children. And the man down there might have killed them with a bow or crossbow...

It rarely hurts to be cautious, Dacin thought to himself. So let's take it slow, and hope that everyone else is smart enough not to draw too much attention to us....

[roll0]
[roll1]

TheGreatJabu
2007-10-17, 05:37 PM
Ahua of Chamahez

Minutes ago...

Ahua's jaw is now chattering so much that speech is becoming difficult. He nods to Da'Cin as the man walks away and continues his slow trudge through this miserable land. A desolate place this land must be if it feels so little of the Sun's kiss...

When another Large-Worlders moves alongside him, Ahua glances up to identify the person. Ah, it is the warrior K'a Deht! Ahua listens to the human and again labors to reply. "Thaaaanks are givvvven, K'a Deeeeht. Aaaahua iiiis bbborn hunterrrrr, buuut raiseddd speeaker fffoor triiibe. Kkkk'a Deht is gggreat warrrrior aaas wwell! Ahhhuuua haas nevver seeeen suuuuch a bbbladeee as thiiis Tooooth of Ggggiant!"

When the group stops, Ahua is too chilled (and vertically disadvantaged) to have a clear view of what the others have seen. Any other day the proud warrior would gladly sneak forward to investigate - but it's getting so hard to move!

ajw79
2007-10-18, 09:43 AM
Raite

Raite intently studies the scene near the opening of the cave, trying to pick out any details he can from this distance.

Spot: [roll0]

slapdash
2007-10-18, 05:29 PM
Worm can't decide whether she's nauseous or elated by the opportunity to have an actual conversation with the prince, and the distraction of the smoke comes as a relief. Narrowing her eyes, she peers down at the scene below, he face scrunching up a bit.

"Zesh's people...Kinda strange that they been shot, since they were the ones with the bows far as I saw, and he doesn't have anything, just a book. One of them doesn't even look wounded on the outside - maybe somethin' in the cave got 'em..."

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-19, 06:55 AM
Prince Darien

Darien squints, then bites his lip for a moment, assessing the situation. He glances in Worm's direction, then turns towards his brother as he talks.
"You've got a book, too, Worm, maybe he's a mage. Someone's with him, she's got a bow--behind that tree, there. More importantly, Ther--there're a couple of those things hiding over there, looks like they're planning to jump him. Your call, but I say warn him."

Without waiting for an answer, Darien moves forward in a smooth crouch, not drawing undue attention.


Moving closer, ideally to get behind the kobolds behind the rocks. Roll Hide/MS for me if it becomes necessary, DNF.

jng2058
2007-10-19, 02:59 PM
Dacin

Dacin blinked as he listened to the others report. He'd seen the book and identified the corpses, and had the same thought about the man being a mage.

After all, he thought, who else brings a book to a battle? Either he's a mage, or he's the most aggressive librarian I've ever seen....

The half-elf hadn't seen the woman with the bow or the other Zesh-like creatures, and that was bothersome. He needed to work on that. The dwarven attack had caught him...and all of Auldaria...by surprise, and he'd be damned if he let that happen again if he could help it.

Well, they needed allies, and the humans were more likely to accept them than the creatures, especially if they were more of those "Blood Snakes" that Zesh had warned about.

Why wait to discuss it? There may only be moments before the guy gets it...

Dacin yelled out from his hiding place, "You there, with the book!! 'Ware the little things!! There's a couple more sneaking up on you!!

He peeked out from his hiding place to keep an eye on the results, curious to see what happened next. It occurred to him now that it was possible that the woman and mage knew what they were doing and he was blowing a trap they'd set, but hey, even if he'd been wrong, he'd at least tried to help...that had to count for something.

Valairn
2007-10-19, 04:08 PM
Shalana

Shalana eyes popped when Dacin yelled a warning, she hissed at him, "You idiot, when you choose sides, you can't just go back to skulking."

She began to move without thinking. "The battle line is drawn, I for one will not leave them to their fate."

With that she made her way to climb down at greatest possible speed.

Climb: [roll0]

jng2058
2007-10-19, 04:27 PM
Dacin

Dacin laughed out loud, the sound echoing down the hill, then he called after Shalana in a quieter voice...but still loud enough for her to hear, "What do you expect from me? I've no armor, and I'm armed with a paring knife that I barely know how to use! I'm one of those people that you warrior types are sworn to protect, not a warrior myself!! I fought when there was no choice and to help people I know...not for a total stranger who's as likely to slit my throat as thank me!! And anyway, if yon fellow can't help himself with my warning, my little blade won't save him!"

A thought occured to him suddenly, and he smiled and drew the rune covered bone and brandished it. "But let no one say I didn't at least try to help."

He waved it dramitically as he's seen a musician swing a baton, then pointed it at the princess and yelled, "SANCTIFY!!"

Valairn
2007-10-19, 05:10 PM
Shalana

"A blade is forged with courage, skill is its tempering. If all you have is courage, you still have a blade, and its burning hot, which in the hands of the right person is all the more deadly," she half-yelled this at Dacin as she scrambled down.

If Shalana gets in range of combat she will engage anyone attacking the man or moving to attack the man, preferably whoever is closest, I imagine Dacin removed a chance for suprise, so I will roll initiative.

Initiative:[roll0]

slapdash
2007-10-19, 05:39 PM
Worms eyes widen and she shakes her head. Zesh's people had attacked them back in the caves, but that didn't mean they were the enemy here. Especially not if that man was a mage - few, if any, existed in Nasjtor, and magic that could kill was dangerous magic indeed. Visibly flinching as the half-elf and princess prattle loudly, she tugs on Theron's sleeve and falls back on the path, pressing back to a point where she

"Boulon mystérieux! If I had to guess, that's what killed it," she whispers to whoever is nearby as she does her best to sink into the background, trying to hide from the figures below.

DoNotFearToTread
2007-10-19, 06:29 PM
And the calm was ended by a shout, all attention turning to Dacin in that moment. Shalana leapt to the edge of the cliff and began to scramble down the rockface as she and the half-elf traded words. Dacin held the bone out before him, fingers wrapped tight around the wider end, and his shout echoed across the mountain. No flash of light or puff of smoke followed the attempt. Then the two creatures hiding behind the rockface interrupted their coversation with crossbow bolts.

The princess, unable to make any attempt to avoid it from her perch, caught a bolt in the hip. Her leg slipped at the eruption of pain but her fingers held fast and she dropped the last few feet to the snow-covered ground. The rocks that the creature's were using for cover prevented them from following up on that attack.

Dacin felt the bolt score up his arm, drawing blood before it sailed off into the fog. The shock almost sent the bone spiraling from his grasp. Then Theron was beside him, a hand on his shoulder as the prince attempted to shove him back towards Worm. "Get away from the edge!"

Darien, perched on the edge overlooking the two creatures, can see them fumbling to reload their weapons. He can also make out a motion by one of them in the direction of the cave entrance, now also beneath him. A motion that indicated something was in there as well. The beast make no indication of knowing that he is there, just 10 feet above their heads.

The man, seemingly startled by all the ruckus, slams the book closed and focuses his attention back on the cave. The woman behind him leaned out from her tree and nocked an arrow, sweeping the tip across the cliff cautiously.

Mechanics

Ok, here is where it gets ugly. If you intend to do bad things to the kobolds or the peoples you need to roll some initiative.

Dice

Shalana - 3 Damage
Dacin - 2 Damage

Initiatives

Ahua 20, Darien 17 (Delaying to 14ish), Bow Woman 16, Book Man 14, Shalana 12, Kobolds 11, Theron 9, Dacin 8

jng2058
2007-10-19, 09:04 PM
Dacin

Dacin slipped behind the cliff back towards Worm, swearing under his breath the whole time. Whether he was angriest at the kobolds, Theron, Shalana, or himself wasn't immediately apparent...even to himself.

Ignoring his wound for the moment, he showed the bone to Worm, "Okay, that didn't work. Maybe it needs to be said in the language its written in? How do you say 'sanctify' in that tongue? Of course, maybe Zesh just lied to me, but since I ain't heading any closer than this...and neither are you if you're smart...maybe we can try and figure this thing out in time to do some good. What do you think?"

[roll0]

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-20, 09:45 PM
Prince Darien

Sod! Damn page took matters into his own hands, and Shalana's got another wound for her recklessness. Dammit, Theron, you want to make the decisions, make them faster!
The younger prince draws his side-sword and casts a glance first at the man with the book and then at Theron, waiting a few moments. Before he commits to an action he can't take back.


Initiative, Tumble check to not take damage: 1d20+5=17; 1d20+4=18 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1326265)
Tumble check is going to wait for if/when Darien jumps down; I'm delaying until after Bow Woman and Book Man.

Valairn
2007-10-21, 01:00 PM
Shalana

Shalana spit into the snow, anger and frustration coursed through her. How could she have been so stupid. Fire burned in her eyes, drawing her sword she stood a bit wobbly. Another scar in the making, another lesson for her to remember.

Looking at her hip she knew she had to get out of the line of fire, there was no helping it. She made for the trees keeping a wary eye on the rocks where the kobolds lurked behind.

Shalana takes a total defense standard action, while moving towards the trees with her move action, if she makes it to the trees, she attempts to get cover behind them.

slapdash
2007-10-22, 01:39 PM
Doing her best to appear invisible against the snowy backdrop, Worm watches in horror as several of her compatriots charge yet again into a dangerous and uncertain situation. When Dacin approaches her, she gives the wound on his arm a worried look, then frowns at the page.

"I don't know the language it's written in, if you can even call it a language - I mean, it's magic and words, combined, sort of. And I think it's a wand, but um, they're kind of tricky, and I don't have a whole bunch of experience with them, but the ones I did went kinda like -" She takes the bone from his hand and raises it into the air, pulling it back a bit and then snapping it forward with a flourish of her wrist.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-22, 05:58 PM
Prince Darien

There's a moment of hestiation in which only the kobolds fumble with their bows. With a silent oath and a hope that the other critter won't get its bow loaded and finish Shalana off or nail him before he can deal with it, Darien breaks cover, pushing himself over the ledge he's crouching on; his legs bend as he lands beside one of the kobolds, and he straightens into a hop that he follows with a straight-armed lunge for the kobold's chest.

1d20+6=24 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1330419) - should be +4, for 22
Confirmation: 1d20+4=10 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1330421) - not so much.
Damage: 1d6=4 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1330423)

TheGreatJabu
2007-10-22, 07:44 PM
Ahua of Chamahez

Ahua watches as suddenly his Large-World companions seem to burst into activity around him. He trudges forward slowly, still holding himself, to see what the source of all the calamity is. When he spies the battle taking place down below, a sudden jolt of adrenaline shakes some of the cold from his mind (and his limbs).


OOC: I'll play now!
Initiative: [roll0]

DoNotFearToTread
2007-10-23, 07:44 AM
Ahua finds himself on the edge of the cliff, staring down towards the clearing. The man extends his forefinger and traces a circle in the air in front of him. A few muttered words accompany the gesture and there is an odd popping sound that quickly fades under the whining of the wind. A moment later Darien drops from his perch, disappearing over the side.

Catching his footing on a crack in the wall, the young prince flips end over end before hitting the ground on his feet and hopping forward with a swipe of his blade. The beasts, caught completely unawares, turn their attention to this new arrival. One of them catches steel in the chest, the thin leathers it is wearing part easily beneath the blade and Darien feels the resistance as he cuts deep through the beast's hide. It crumples to the side, dropping it's weapon and exhaling a gurgled screech.

Shalana rallies herself and begans a hasty retreat to a small clump of trees near the cliffside. Huddling behind one, she can see the events transpire from relative safety.

Kobolds, six of them, charge out of the cave mouth. The two in the back stop and fire on the man with their crossbows before discarding them as their companions continue forward, blades in hand. The bolts follow an unerring course towards the man only to shatter against some invisible barrier in front of him. He flips open the book again, eyes focused on the pages. The woman lets loose an arrow that catches one of the charging creatures and sends it sprawling backwards onto the snow.

The kobold facing off against Darien discards his weapon in favor of a blade and slashes it wildly at the prince, the weapons sliding against each other in an elaborate series of lunges and parries.

Theron's curse cuts through the noise below, his eyes narrowed as he backs up several steps. "Fools, both of them." With a flexing of his legs to lead him off he charges to the edge and jumps, hanging in the air for a moment. Then he disappears over the side, coming down on the back of one of the rearguard kobolds and driving the creature down into the snow. The other, having replaced his crossbow with a small hand-axe, rounds on Theron as he comes up from the crouch.

Dacin and Worm, safe from the battle below, find their further experiementation with the rib to have no noteworthy results. It simply hangs in the apprentice's hand, content to be waved about in a senseless manner.

Round 1/2 Mechanics

Initiatives

Ahua 20, Book Man 14, Darien 13, Shalana 12, Bow Woman 11, Kobolds 11, Theron 9, Dacin 8

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-23, 08:23 AM
Prince Darien

Thank the gods for my time on the border. This'd be a damn sight harder if I hadn't fought on uneven ground before... not much like fencing in a salle.
Darien's expression is grim as he meets Theron's, and then glances away to Shalana, both to check on her and to make a point to his brother. His blade swipes intentionally high, leaving a gaping opening; the kobold he's fighting takes the invitation and comes in under it, cutting low for his legs, only to have Darien leap over the crouching thing and, with a long croisé that turns into a crouching skitter, come up behind the kobold fighting Theron. His side-sword comes up and around, the point piercing the thing's side as it thrusts at his brother.


Tumble: 1d20+4=16 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1331438) to get into a flanking position without AoOs.
Attack: 1d20+6=22 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1331445) - wow, I'm using up my good luck for the rest of the game - for 1d6=5 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1331447) points.

Valairn
2007-10-23, 09:20 AM
Shalana

Shalana peers from behind the tree seeing Darien and Theron battle the kobolds. They had made it seem easy to engage them, and all she had done was through her body into some arrows. She was a fool, rushing headlong into things without regard for her own safety or the safety of her friends. They were fighting for her, and she felt the waves of shame fall down around her, tiredness and stress beat at her defenses and the walls came crashing down. She leaned against the tree next to her and slumped.

The fire in her blood turned to ice. She would not forget today. Standing she readied herself, but waited for her nerves to solidify. If a blade was forged with courage, then she would find courage, and not foolhardiness.



EDIT: I changed my characters response, this is more appopriate, ignore the roll warning. I had rolled to attack, I'm quite certain she wouldn't have attacked.

ajw79
2007-10-23, 09:39 AM
Raite

"Preneur take all fools and kings," Raite swears as the two princes drop into the melee below. Rushing to the edge, he leaps after them, wondering as he lands why it is that nobility exhibits such precious little common sense. Focusing once again on his duty, the kingdom's newest Vigilant draws his sword and takes stock of the fight.

Initiative is 5 from dice thread. (joints in my armor must be freezing)
Jump: [roll0]

jng2058
2007-10-23, 10:41 AM
Dacin

Ignoring the chaos below, Dacin shook his head at Worm, "No, no, no!! There wouldn't be a word on there if just flicking it was all you had to do. Besides, Zesh said it 'helps you fight better' so you need to designate a target, and you didn't do that just waving it around!!"

He frowned at her, "Look, our firends are fighting for their lives down there, so quit messing about! I know those magic words can be said outloud, I've seen and heard you read them aloud from that book of yours!! Treat this wand thing like a book, and SAY the word on there while pointing it at someone!! Or, if you don't wanna, the tell ME the word, and I'LL try it!! It IS mine you know!!"

slapdash
2007-10-23, 07:59 PM
"Yeah? Well for knowing so much, you sure don't seem to understand that loud noises attract attention!" she practically shouts back in Dacin's face.

"And you don't know as much as you think, because this isn't written in the same language as my spells, it isn't a language I know! And yes, you point wands at the target, but I don't know what it does and neither do you and I'm not going to risk zapping our friends, who are fighting because of you, with lightning on Zesh's word, you stupid, selfish brat!" And then she turns and hurls the rib over the precipice, finishing the action with a glare in Dacin's direction.

jng2058
2007-10-23, 10:38 PM
Dacin

Dacin stared at Worm for a moment, then his voice went quiet, and cold. "So I should have let that man get shot by the creatures, then? And trying to figure this out quickly to help the others? That's selfish? I see you're as stupid as ever. Selfish would be slitting your throat while no one's looking, taking your precious book, and disappearing forever. Selfish would be running off with Zesh when I had the chance and letting you lot rot without letting you know where the escape tunnel is. Selfish would be throwing away a chance to help people you're supposed to care about because you can't be bothered to try and figure out how something works."

He sneered at her, "But I guess you'd know...you're the expert, after all."

Dacin shrugged, "But you just stay up here where its safe and pretend you're the giving, helpful, generous one. I'll take my selfish self down there and go help out."

He stalked away without another word, looking for a way down that would keep him out of sight of the battle as long as possible. He also kept an eye out for his wand. If the stupid brat hadn't broken it, maybe it could still be salvaged...

[roll0]
[roll1]
(Unless I can take 10 on the Climb while still Hiding, in which case I'll do that.)
[roll2]

TheGreatJabu
2007-10-24, 12:03 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

Thump-thump. Thump-thump.

Ahua's ears are filled with the sounds of the wardrums beating in his temples. His numb fingers squeeze tighter around his spear, and he lets out his shrill battle cry once again. For the moment, at least, the biting cold is forgotten as a thrust from his legs sends the tiny warrior sailing over the edge of the small bluff.

"GYAI!"

With a harder thump than he expected (his legs don't seem to be bending as well as they should), Ahua squats low to minimize his profile as he gets his footing.


Move action - Hop off the edge! Jump: [roll0]
Standard action - Full Defense action

DoNotFearToTread
2007-10-24, 12:51 PM
The halfling disappears over the edge of the cliff and lands with a *thump* in the cushion of snow below him. Crouched there, he has a fine vantage point to make out the entirety of the scene.

The man runs his finger over a page in his book and begins to speak, his words caught by the battle and scattered by the wind. He extends a hand outwards towards the approaching creatures and the air between them shimmers. Small globes of light, like water rippling in the air, cut across the distance and collide with one of the beasts. It spins, a screech of pain cutting through the air, and sprawls out lifeless onto the snow.

Darien darts past his opponent, twisting past the creature's blade and rolling out from behind the rock. He comes up behind the axe-wielder and thrusts his blade deep into the creature's side. It rounds, the blade ripping free, and narrowed red eyes set on Darien with rage. The shrill cry that it gives as it hefts its weapon is unsettling.

The lead koblold continues its charge but stops abruptly as an arrow sprouts from its chest. It staggers a few feet forward, struggling, but falls still at the feet of the book man.

The two kobolds from the middle of the group turn back to meet with this new threat. They charge Theron and drive their blades forward, the desperation at being surrounded clear in their manner. The prince pivots away from the first strike, only to connect with the second, a fresh slash drawing blood from across his stomach. The axe-wielder swings his weapon in an upward arc and it cuts deep into the younger prince's side. The pain is numbed only slightly by the cold, fresh blood staining the fine fabric's of Darien's outfit. The creature then drops back and readies for a second swing, clearly more skilled in battle than the other's they have faced. A shriek rises up from behind Darien as the creature he abandoned runs up and drives his blade into the prince's back, a fresh flood of agony coursing through the boy's body.

Theron steadies himself and turns, trying to face both his opponents. The shriek from behind his brother draws his attention away from them and he drops into a crouch, pulling the knife out of the hand of the creature he'd crushed in his descent and sending it end over end towards the kobold. It skims past Darien's arm and drive's deep into the creature's chest, sending it staggering backwards. It looks at the weapon, a look of confusion settling on its beastial face before it sinks to it's knees and falls forward into the snow. The axe-wielder steals a look at Theron but opts to keep his attention on Darien, the sword presenting a greater danger.

The wand leaves Worm's hand and flips through the air, vanishing from sight. Ahua, still safe from attack and vigilant in his watch over the area, sees the stick fall through the air and disappear into the snow near a stump. Dacin reaches the bottom of the cliff and turns to look for his property, pressing his back to the cliff to remain inconspicuous. The area offers little cover for sneaking but nobody seems to be paying attention to Dacin. The princes, bloodied and outnumbered, have other things on their mind. However, the vastness of snow will make for a daunting and lengthy search.

Raite hits the ground and staggers a bit, his armor working against his balance, but he rights himself in time to assess the battle. The princes are still engaged by three of the creatures, the only three still standing in fact.

Round 2/3 Mechanics

Dice

Darien - 4 Damage

Initiatives

Ahua 20, Book Man 14, Darien 13, Shalana 12, Bow Woman 11, Kobolds 11, Theron 9, Dacin 8, Worm 8, Raite 5

ajw79
2007-10-24, 01:14 PM
Raite

Raite steadies himself after the abrupt stop at the end of his jump and joins the fight at Theron's side.

Raite will move as necessary and make a standard attack against any enemy still standing when initiative 5 rolls around.
To hit: [roll0]
Damage: [roll1]

ajw79
2007-10-24, 01:21 PM
Raite

Confirm Critical: [roll0]
Extra Damage: [roll1] I've just realized I should be getting +4 to my damage for Raite's strength bonus as he's wielding a two-handed weapon... not that it should make much difference to this poor kobold.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-24, 01:23 PM
Prince Darien

Darien gives a choked-off cry of pain that turns into a strangled hiss as the axe bites into his side and something else into his back; he staggers--keeping, commendably, his blade up.
Taker's balls! That *hurts*--stupid mistake, turning my back--missed the spine--it should heal--when'd Theron get good? Guess I wasn't the only one practicing...
Right hand going around his torso to clutch his side, Darien turns and performs an odd shuffling step combined with a seemingly too-wide parry, Velaxian style; when the axe starts to come in again, he catches it with his wepon, moves it cross-body, then disengages from the axe faster than the kobold wielding it can recover; as it staggers forward, Darien's foot stomps down and his blade extends in a stop-thrust that goes right through the kobold's throat. Hastily, we whirls and skitters to the side, shifting until he's beside Theron, his blade warning one of the kobolds menacing his brother back.
"Nice throw. Start thinking about what you're going to tell those two, brother," he manages to get out through pain and battle-focus, meaning the mage and the archer. "Better not be the truth."

By the time Raite gets there, the axe-wielder is already dead. There is not, however, a dearth of other targets.

Fighting defensively, +2 AC -4 AB, still flanking.
1d20+2=20 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1333535) to hit, 1d6=4 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1333545) damage.
Crit confirm and extra damage:: 1d20+2=15, 1d6=2 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1333543)

Valairn
2007-10-24, 02:07 PM
Shalana

The cold wind blew Shalana's hair about, and it suited her mood. Watching the battle unfold she knew it was time for her to move. Gathering herself, she could feel the fire begin to course through her veins, and like a fire it suddenly exploded.

She charged into the fray, the fire in her eyes was almost visible. Lifting her sword she brought it down onto the kobold. The fire burned even hotter as the blade struck the kobold true. Shalana then shifted her weight to gain some balance from her headlong charge.


To Hit: [roll0] +2 from Charge, her AC is -2 for duration of round
Damage: [roll1]

TheGreatJabu
2007-10-24, 05:18 PM
Ahua of Chamahez

HP: 4/6
AC: 11 (counting Charge penalty)
Init: 20

The little Evisan-that-could bounds forward through this rotten "snow" covering the ground, seeking to let out all his cold-inspired wrath out upon the nearby Small-Lizards. Locking both hands into their places on his weapon, he lets his speed and momentum carry the tip through the creature's hide.


OOC: You know, I think most of the critters are dead already but hey - Ahua's initiative is higher, so I may as well try to steal someone's kill.

CHARGE:
Attack [roll0] Damage [roll1]

slapdash
2007-10-24, 05:27 PM
Worm rolls her eyes at the page's back and blows a bang from her eye. That was the problem with some people, they only heard what they wanted to hear. Scrambling toward the cliff edge, she peers at the battle below, her eyes popping wide open when the man flings his spell at the creature, the argument forgotten in an instant as considers the possible meaning behind the man's presence in her head.

Contemplation is cut short as she sees the kobolds set upon the princes, and she snatches up a nearby rock, packing snow tightly around it. What was it the kids at the orphanage used to call it? Oh, right - a surprise. Poking her tongue between her teeth, she pulls back and lets the snowball fly at one of the kobolds threatening the prince.

jng2058
2007-10-26, 02:22 AM
Dacin

Dacin took in the scene. The battle had become a rout, at least as far as he could tell. The few remaining "kobolds" vanished beneath Darien, Shalana, and Raite's blades, so the fight seemed as good as won.

The half-elf headed towards the man with the book cautiously and with his hands open so that the sniper in the woods knew he was no threat, and said with a bow, "Are you alright sir? It looked like those things may have had the drop on you...I'm glad we seem to have arrived in time!"

He smiled, "And if it's not too much trouble, perhaps you could tell us where we are? My friends and I had the misfortune to be lost in those dreadful caverns for what seems like forever, and we'd be ever so grateful if you could help us get our bearings!"

[roll0]
Dunno if I need it, but its my best skill, so I don't mind rolling it!! :smallredface:

DoNotFearToTread
2007-10-26, 04:36 PM
The halfling bounds forward, catching one of the kobolds unawares and skewering him on the tribal weapon. The creature has but a moment to twitch before the spear it withdrawn and it falls to the ground.

The man with the book flips it open again, his eyes no longer on the creatures. He seems to study the princes and their companions as he traces his fingers along the pages.

Darien's thrust finds a home in the axe-wielder's throat, sending it sprawling away as Darien steps into position beside his brother. Theron shifts his attention away for a moment. "Nice? That was one in a million! You think only you can throw a knife? I can throw a knife all over the place." An odd moment of levity in a gradually fading battle.

Shalana reappears, crossing the snow at a rabbit's pace, and her sword cuts across the last kobold's arm with a precise slash. It spins to focus on her but an arrow catches it in the chest, dropping it to the snow. The moment is oddly silent, the sounds of battle fading into echoes.

Then a clawed hand thrusts up from the snow at Theron's feet. The creature he'd taken down with his landing scrambles up, its movements fast and unpredicatable. Darien's blade sweeps out instinctively and cuts deep into the creature's back but the kobold isn't fazed. One hand lashes out toward's Theron's injury, tearing at the stomach wound with ferocity. Theron staggers back, bumping into Shalana and kicking the creature away.

The kobold staggers at the kick but only stops as a ball of snow cracks it upside the back of the head. Dazed, it spins around in search of the source of the attack. Before it can recover and renew it's assault Raite steps in and brings his sword down on it, cleaving the beast from head to heel. The pulpy mess that remains is barely recognizable as the creature it once was.

Theron reaches out and takes Darien's shoulder in his grasp, tighter than is comfortable. "Maybe...this time...you should do the talking." His eyes sweep across the area as if he were searching for something. "Looks safe enough now..." His words trail off as he sinks to his knees and falls backwards into the snow.

The man slaps the book closed as Dacin draws near, his eyes focused on the page. He considers the words for a moment, then makes a motion towards the cave with his free hand. His voice is light and relaxed considering all that's occurred. "Lost, are you? This is Nasjtor, boy. High up in the Spine."

slapdash
2007-10-26, 05:50 PM
Momentarily delighted that she actually managed to hit the thing, Worm quickly deflates as Prince Theron collapses into the snow. "Oh no," she murmurs, scrambling over the edge of the cliff and scrambling down it as quickly as her icy fingers and underdeveloped muscles will allow, dropping the last couple feet and scurrying across the snow to the prince.

"Your majesty," she whispers, looking helplessly at the wound and then at Darien. "I don't have any magic for this, and everyone's hurt at least some - we gotta ask these people for help. Do you know Spine-Speak? I can translate," she offers, pressing the ragged of her robe against Theron's wound with both hands, biting her lip and waiting for Darien to take the lead.

Valairn
2007-10-27, 12:50 AM
Shalana

Shalana went before Darien and bowed her head. "I am sorry I acted rashly and put all of us in danger. I will not repeat the mistake." She lifted her head after she said it and looking a bit uncomfortable she said, "If it doesn't trouble you too much Darien, I could use some help removing this bolt. " The tears in her clothes were evident now, what had once been a beautiful dress, was nothing more than rags now, hanging strangely from places and stretched and torn for moving in ways it had never been intended to.

She was disgusted with herself. She looked and was a great big fool. The burning in her hip was a painful reminder of it all. A tear managed to break from her, but she wiped it away in disgust, while she waited for a response from the prince.

TheGreatJabu
2007-10-27, 08:20 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

With the heat of the battle still barely keeping his body moving, Ahua's gaze flashes to and fro to make sure that all their enemies have been subdued. He is about to relax when suddenly Heir-Auldaria falls over from his wound. With more speed than his size would belie, the Evisan bounds across the 'snow'-covered ground to the man and he drops his spear. Ahua's small, cold hands begin fumbling to open one of the pouches at his side. When he finally succeeds in opening it, he pulls out a small leather bag and begins speaking rapidly to Heir-Auldaria.

"Heir-Auldaria does not taste Death in this place! Heir lives to lead his tribe for another tomorrow! Ahua mends the wound!"

The halfling begins pulling a few leafy herbs from the leather pouch and begins rubbing them together in his hands. Hmm. Water is needed to thin the paste out. Ahua glances down at the ground to see the mounds of snow. D'acin says that snow is cold water from the sky. Time to see if he spoke the truth. He picks up a handful of the snow and begins rubbing it in with the herbs. As the snow begins to warm and melt, the ingredients begin to combine into a potent-smelling ointment. Ahua reaches down and begins smearing the substance into the gash. "This is strong medicine, Heir-Auldaria. Wards against fever; dams stream of blood."


Ah, what the heck. Let's use my Action point on it!
Heal check: [roll0] + [roll1]

ajw79
2007-10-27, 10:49 AM
Raite

Raite drops his sword and scrambles to the side of Prince Theron. Looking desperatly to Ahua he asks, "can you help him?"

jng2058
2007-10-29, 04:43 PM
Dacin

Dacin whistled softly. They were in the Spine! It made him wonder if there was another similar gate that the Dwarves might have used to get to Auldaria themselves. After all, there should have been border forts and patrols to notice the invading army long before it got to the capital city...

Of course, one of the few languages he hadn't picked up over the years was tongue spoken in Nasjtor. He'd have to correct that little gap in his knowledge one of these days.

Stepping aside to let Darien (and Worm, the little brat) speak to the wizard in a language besides Trade, Dacin stepped back to see how Theron was doing. Not well, apparently, though perhaps the halfling's treatment would help.

He felt the weight of the small potion bottle in his belt pouch. He could, perhaps, offer Zesh's medicine to help out but given how well the "wand" had worked out for him, maybe that wasn't the best idea. He'd hate to take the rap for poisoning a prince.

What to do, what to do?

Valairn
2007-10-29, 04:56 PM
Shalana

Turning to Ahua she asked simply, "Is there anything I can do to help you?"

TheGreatJabu
2007-10-30, 06:43 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

After smearing the ointment into the heir's wound, Ahua wipes what little is left on his hands onto his legs. Now that his heartrate is slowing again, the chill is beginning to take hold of him once again. Knowing that he doesn't have long before his teeth begin dancing inside his jaw once again, Ahua answers the questions of both K'a Deht and the female at once.

"Ahua has given Heir-Auldaria medicine, K'a Deht. Will help fight Death, but Heir's own strength must ffight. Rest and hot fire are best weapons to fight Death now. This sssnow fights against Heir."

slapdash
2007-10-30, 09:36 PM
The apprentice shifts anxiously as the halfling applies his poultice, and deciding to trust the prince to the hands of her companions, she struggles through the snow past them, approaching the man with the book, not wishing to lose the opportunity.

"Hello, um, sir," she begins in Spine-Speak, twisting the tattered fringe of her sleeve in her finger. "Me an' my friends have had a rough time of it, an' as you can probably tell we aren't from around here, and the prin - that young man is pretty hurt, and some of the others aren't doing so well either, and we didn't really expect to end up out here and it's awful cold, and if you could please help us out we would really be awful grateful," she rapidfires in a breath, looking worriedly over her shoulder at her companions.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-31, 04:07 AM
Prince Darien

Darien lets out a truly vile and blasphemous stream of curses as Theron falls, then dropps to one knee beside him. "Ther! Don't you pass out on me, bugger it!"
Biting his lip, the younger prince cuts a long swath of Theron's tunic off, using it for bandaging--Worm's robe was an option, but the bottom has been too close to the ground to be clean. Stepping back, he murmurs thanks to Ahua when the halfling moves in to care for his brother.
"Dacin," he says in Auldarian before the page can tell the man with the book anything of substance, "come help him. Raite, get him out of the snow, that's the last thing he needs right now. Worm, I--sod."
He looks up at Shalana; after a moment's narrow-eyed stillness, he nods, removing the bolt and treating the wound like he did the previous one. As he works, he speaks in low Auldarian, barely audible to those around him.
"Watch your tongues. We are the children of merchants, a caravan that was attacked; we survived by running away and made our way through the caves. Thomas there and I, Daniel, are the sons of the caravan's leader, as you of course know. Raite, cover your bracer."

He rises, brushing snow from his green tunic, and--cursing mentally--hurries after Worm, laying a hand on her shoulder to indicate that he's handling it; he addresses the man with the book in fluent Najstor. His voice is deeper than normal--the rich, urbane baritone that manifested itself in the caves.
"I'm Daniel, sir; we were with some merchants from Auldaria--long story short, there was an attack, and only we escaped. Now, maybe we saved you from those things and maybe we didn't, but our intentions were good. I'm hoping yours are likewise--my brother could well die without seeing a healer, and that's if we don't keel over of cold or get attacked before we reach a town. If you could escort us, we'd be deeply grateful."

DoNotFearToTread
2007-11-01, 07:52 AM
The wind picks up again, kicking the branches of the trees about in an unsettling dance. The woods that surround this place look unnaturally dark, as though the sunlight died before it could reach them. Ahua's efforts result in slowing the bleeding significantly. The halfling finds Theron's life signs to be steady despite the obvious severity of the wound.

The man responds with a smirk, a simple twist of lip that made his ice blue eyes seem as cold as the snow. He turns back and called out to the girl behind the tree, who only then lowers the bow. While the words are Spine-Speak, his accent is anything but. Those of you familiar with both lanaguages connect the manner of his speech with Velaxia.

"Sasha, go inside and get your mother. Tell her to bring her mending kit and get your brother to heat up some blankets." He turns back to Darien as the girl darts off towards the house. "Get him up and come with me." His steps lead to the doorway of the cabin, the interior no larger than the exterior would indicate. He motions to a small bench near a warm fireplace as he crosses the room towards another door. "Set your brother there. Elia will take a look at his injuries. Sorry there isn't a lot of room but me and mine don't require much. Just find a place to sit and warm up." An elven woman appears in that doorway as he passes through it, a small box held between her hands. She moves towards the bench and begins to lay out some items from inside the box, the contents of which seem standard for a healing kit. The man's voice rises up from the back before he appears in the doorway again.

"My name's Tesori. You kids managed to show up in the least pleasant place at the least pleasant time. Should consider yourself lucky that you didn't miss this place. There are few settlements around these parts. Only one village of note and it isn't exactly sizable."

ajw79
2007-11-01, 10:04 AM
Raite

Grateful for the actions of Ahua and the aid offered by the stranger, Raite carefully lifts Prince Theron and follows Tesori into the small home. Setting the wounded man down in the location indicated, the Vigilant retrieves his sword from the snowy field and sets about wrapping his hand and bracer with a strip of cloth from his tunic, using the blood issuing from the reopened wound under the bracer as an excuse should anyone ask.

Valairn
2007-11-01, 06:51 PM
Shalana

Shalana knelt into the snow and used it to clean her sword off, after which she cleaned her hands off as well. Tesori had deeply impressed her with his use of magic, it was more powerful than any she had witnessed before. She followed after them into the house, and found a spot close to the fire and propped herself up.

It was then that the weight of all the running and fighting hit her. She felt her eyes become heavy and time seemed to slow. Looking around the room she motioned for Darien to come near and when he was close she asked quietly, "Is it alright if I sleep? Also, thank you I have not met anyone as brave as you and your brother, you do Auldaria a great honor."

slapdash
2007-11-02, 12:24 AM
Worm slams her back against the wall near the fire, grateful to be warm. She gingerly removes the rat from within her robes and runs a hand over his rough fur. Hopefully the cold hadn't been too much for him, she reflects as a worry line bisects her brow, and she clears her throat, causing a dry, scratching sensation.

"Is he going to be alright?" she asks quietly, the question directed at the nearby Elven woman.

Turning to the man as he enters the room, Worm suddenly straightens, a sudden energy jolting her back into focus as she remembers what she saw - what he did! - and she asks, "That was amazing! I've never seen nothing like that, well, not in a real fight or anything at least! You're from Velaxia, right? Do you know Stivel?"

Rachel Lorelei
2007-11-02, 05:10 AM
Prince Darien

"My deepest thanks, Tesori," "Daniel" responds, still in Najstor, with an informal half-bow. "We might well have missed it, if we hadn't seen the fight. D'you have to do that sort of thing often? In any case, we're all grateful for healing, warmth, and shelter."
He helps Raite carry Theron in, with one arm; as he does, he slips Theron's signet ring off his finger and makes it disappear into his tunic somewhere, unobtrusively.

One hand still clutching his wounded side, Darien then ushers everyone into the cabin before he enters, giving Tesori another deep nod as he shuts the door behind him. He examines Theron, pursing his lips, then the others. Everyone will, it seems, live. He moves to the elven woman's side.
"Elia, right? I'm Daniel. Thanks for--you know. My brother." He indicates "Thomas", clearing his throat, and extends his hand--his own signet ring isn't there, either; he must have palmed and pocketed it at some point before approaching Tesori--with the same feigned awkwardness, then pulls it back.
"Uh, busy, never mind. If I could--some water and bandages--? Several of us are wounded, I'll clean and dress or, uh, re-dress the wounds... right."

Should he receive the supplies, Darien will help get everyone who's wounded bandaged and, at least hopefully, infection-free, tending to his own wounds last. He switches to Yunisian when Shalana addresses him, although he does not revert to either an aristocratic accent or manner of speaking.
"Given that we're just merchants, more of a credit to our trainers than anything. Thanks for the kind words, but I wouldn't call it any such great deed. Too many tales of rescuing damsels in distress, more like. Thomas'll call it recklessness soon's he wakes up, no doubt." He grins, giving her a wink. "Yeah, go on and sleep. We'll all get there soon enough, and you've had enough holes put in you today you could use a little extra."
His hand brushes her hair as he rises, checking on the others and on his brother once again.

When Worm addresses Tesori, he puts a grin on his face. I should've talked to the girl, told her not to say too much. If she starts going on about her magic and her teacher, that'll bring up way too many questions.
"Sure was impressive. Never seen magic like that myself, not that I've seen much beyond parlor tricks. That why you live out here in the wild, pardon the question? Mystical studies and all?"

TheGreatJabu
2007-11-02, 07:59 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

Ahua rigidly staggers into the cabin, still hugging himself tightly. Strangely, as soon as he is about to cross the threshold he stops in place. Reaching down to scoop up a tiny bit of snow, he quickly begins rubbing it upon an uplifted left foot. He sets the foot down and repeats the procedure for the right foot, then abruptly takes 3 steps into the residence. He attempts what looks like the hypothermic version of a waist-bow and introduces himself.

"Aaaaahua."

Without further word or action, he stumbles over to the fire and collapses on his side in front of it, pulling his arms and legs in tight. It's only in the illumination of the fire that you can see how pallid his skin has become - even the colorful tattoos across his shoulders and back seem to have somewhat dimmed.

Valairn
2007-11-02, 09:42 AM
Shalana

Darien's response was pretty close to what she had come to expect from her short time of knowing him. She grabbed his hand gently as he rose, and said quietly in Yunisian, "Whether you think highly of your actions or not is not my business, but at least know that I think highly of them."

And with that she let him go. She mused a bit at the purple that now tinged her hair, it was an odd color standing amidst the red and brown strands, but it certainly didn't look bad. She shifted slightly to take the weight off her damaged hip, and closed her eyes, letting her mind pass over the events of the day.

jng2058
2007-11-03, 06:20 PM
Dacin

Dacin moved over by the elvish woman and observed her using the healing kit for a while. It occurred to him that healing would probably be a useful skill, come to think of it. Of course it did seem to require a degree of patience that he didn't normally have, but if his life was on the line, perhaps he'd be able to make it work anyway.

As he watched, he quietly spoke in the lyrical tongue that his mother had always spoken to him in...

In Elvish:
"Greetings fellow wanderer, may the trees shade your steps. I am far from my forest and hope you can help me. My mother is Elena-of those-who-shade-amongst-the-elms, have her wanderings taken her across your path?"

DoNotFearToTread
2007-11-07, 09:27 PM
The living area of the house is full with your arrival, leaving little room for you to spread out. A few patches of bare floor and a couple empty chairs are the best you can hope for. Still, the warmth of the fire and protection from the elements provides you with comfort enough to rest. The children arrive with blankets, leaving several in a pile near you. The girl, older than the eldest among you by a year or two, has her father's dark hair while the boy, several years junior to Worm, resembles the mother in his complexion. They busy themselves heating water and picking up, all the while trying to seem like they aren't listening in.

Dacin

"I do not know of such a person. She was named with the conventions of the Eastern Forest, an outdated custom. It would seem that your family clings to the old ways." The woman's attention remains on the wound, a deep and bloody thing, but she speaks as her hands move easily through the motions of mending. The lilting sound of the elven tongue carries her words in little more than a whisper. "You have human blood like my own children. Tell me of your father."

Darien & Worm

Elia only motions to indicate the roll of bandages amid the items nearby, allowing Darien to do with them as he will. Tesori settles into a chair near the door to the back rooms, wiping his boots with a cloth. Here, unencumbered by battle and cold, you can see the man more clearly. His hair is dark with streaks of gray, and his face bears the lines of age. Probably deep into his fourth fifth decade of life he seems unhindered by the years. His features are distinctly Velaxian, the sharp nose and close set eyes common among those people. He watches Darien administer what aid he can to the injured, responding to Worm's question directly.

"I know the name and the reputation but I've not met the man before. I believe I have some notes I copied from one of his theories regarding elemental control and binding. Still, I haven't been to Velaxia in many years so I've fallen a bit out of touch with the community." He sets the cloth aside and takes up a pipe from the small table beside him. As he sets a taper to the flame of a nearby candle, he sets his eyes on Darien.

"I live here despite the isolation, not because of it. It makes my research more difficult to have to travel so far to find descent materials. The price of squid ink multiplies considerably this far from the sea." A few puffs on the pipe sent the fragrance of tobacco through the small cabin. "It is, however, less difficult than moving the subject of my study. A stone gate carved into a cave wall makes for impossibly heavy cargo."

TheGreatJabu
2007-11-08, 03:00 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

The young Evisan ceases to stir soon after collapsing in front of the fire. The deep, rhythmic breathing is one of the few indicators that he hasn't simply died on the spot.

Zzzz...

slapdash
2007-11-08, 04:13 PM
Worm, picking up a blanket and wrapping herself up while Tesori replies, nearly drops the smaller, furrier Darien at the mention of the stone gate, and before she can stop to think, the questions begin to pour out:

"You mean the portal?! What do you know about it? Who built it? How long's it been there? Why is it there, just to take things from one place to the other, I mean, that's kind of a lot of magic for something useful every now and again. And what about the side-effects, do you know if they're serious? Or, you know, permanent?" She tugs absently on a strand of newly gold hair as she rattles off her questions, bizarre purple eyes wide and alert and focused completely on the mage.

jng2058
2007-11-09, 01:19 AM
Dacin

Dacin rolled his eyes. Worm was talking. That was rarely a good sign. Especially since "Daniel" clearly could speak Nasjtorian himself and didn't need a translator. He'd have bet good money she was saying something stupid. Of course, anyone who claimed to study magic and was so willing to throw away potentially useful items of power clearly couldn't be counted on to keep a secret. Dumb brat.

Not that he was bitter or anything.

Turning back to Elia he nodded and spoke softly in Elvish, "He's a minor noble in Auldaria. I guess he met my mother in a tavern or something. She's something of a wandering musician and dancer. I think the term is Treesinger? Or something like that. I suppose that means she does cling to the old ways at that, but she never really taught me many of them, if truth be told."

He sighed quietly, then went on, "Father didn't have much time for me, what with his wife and legitimate children, so he pulled some strings and got me a job working for Thomas and Daniel's father. After Mother wandered away, that is. I suppose it was a long shot that she'd have made it as far out as The Spine, but hey, I did, so who can say?"

He smiled faintly, "Of course every situation is different. You appear to have married, which gives your husband more of a stake in the lives of your children than my father had in mine. Perhaps your story will be different."

Valairn
2007-11-09, 07:36 PM
Shalana

The noise of voices she couldn't understand had a surprisingly relaxing effect upon her mind. It wasn't long before her thoughts started to become cloudy and she drifted to sleep.

DoNotFearToTread
2007-11-11, 11:57 AM
Darien & Worm

Tesori only draws in rich-smelling smoke as the girl rambles through her questions. His eyes settle on Darien as Worm asks them and a slight twist of lip is visible through the exhaled haze. Setting the pipe back on the table and extinguishing the taper with his fingers, he leans back in the chair.

"I know that it is ancient, highly unstable even in its inert form, and that recently it was activated through unknown means leaving me and mine with quite a mess to clean up." His hand was on the table and he rolled something between his fingers there. It was made of darker wood than the table, thin with a tapering point. "I also know some unrelated things. I know that the passes through the Spine have been snowed in for over a month. Happens every year, you see, and everyone on either side has to stock up extra to account for the lack of supply." He pauses and watches you, his eyes straying to the others who accompany you briefly. It is clear that he is waiting for one of you to speak.

Dacin

She responds as she threaded a heavy needle and begins to run it through the wound. "Strange that she would move on without you. Abandonment of kin runs counter to what we know of the old traditions." The needle moves quickly and the thread draws skin together. "Still, you don't seem worse for the experience. My story is rather common, truthfully. Meet, fall in love, create amazing children. These things know nothing of race." With a final tug she ties the string into a knot and cuts away the excess. Placing her hand on Theron's forehead, she whispers a soft prayer of comfort in the Velaxian tongue. After applying a thin oil to the surface of the wound she begins replacing her supplies into the bag.

All

Those of you who still gave indication of being awake are approached by the younger child. He offers you a small wooden cup filled with hot tea before hurrying back to the cooking area. The girl stands there, a cup in her hands, and watches the group silently. She puts off a general attitude of distrust in both her stance and expression.

slapdash
2007-11-11, 03:12 PM
Worm, whether unaccustomed to lying or at least, very accustomed to a swift and usually painful reprimand when placed under scrutiny for a mistake, crumbles almost instantly beneath the man's gaze.

"We didn't mean nothing by it!" she gasps, attempting to juggle rat and teacup as her eyes flick between Tesori and what could possibly be a wand in his fingertips. "But we had to escape, an' that was the only way! We didn't know about creatures or mountains or what would happen - what did happen?" she asks suddenly, her slightly panicked train of thought derailed by her previously unanswered questions.

Swallowing hard, she adds in a low voice, "Please, you ain't gonna hurt hi - us, are you?" A quick glance towared Theron's prone form, and then another shot to those curled up near the fire before looking back to Tesori.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-11-11, 04:42 PM
Prince Darien

"Damn it, Worm," "Daniel" says, voice low and hand moving halfway towards where he keeps a dagger, "you've got to start thinking before you speak."
His posture shifts: his slouch straightens into a slight lean forward, and he balances his weight on the balls of his feet. He pauses a moment, mind racing.
"I think that if Master Tesori wanted to hurt... us... he wouldn't have bothered having Thomas sewn up. --You're right, of course: we didn't come through a pass."
His country accent drops away; the baritone he spontaneously developed after coming through the portal is smooth, and he keeps his tone light. Too-green eyes fix on Tesori.
"Our father had heard about these portals and figured that if he could get one open, the profits--winter trade, no need to go through the mountains, shorter way to travel--would be more than worthwhile. He talked a mage, Stiven, into it. Long story short, we were attacked when we got near it, people died allowing us to get away, and we had nowhere to run. Worm there read a spell of a paper Stiven had given her, it opened the portal, and we went through rather than face death. We came out somwhere in the local mountains; I'm sure you can fill the rest in. I'm sorry to try and fool you, but you can see why we might not have wanted to mention it quite the first instant we met you."

Darien keeps his eyes on Tesori, except to fix Worm with a stern glare if she starts to babble again.

slapdash
2007-11-11, 09:32 PM
The apprentice's jaw drops slightly and she gapes at Darien as he launches into the latest lie. Dropping her own voice, though she thinks it's a little silly - the man was just a few feet from them.

"They're helpin' us, we should tell them the truth, and besides, he doesn't bel - " The sharp look from the prince cuts her short, and she snaps her mouth shut, lips pursed tightly.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-11-11, 10:32 PM
Prince Darien

"That's what I'm trying to do," he tells Worm quickly, cursing mentally and straightening out of his tense posture.

DoNotFearToTread
2007-11-12, 03:36 PM
Tesori watches the exchange, his eyes mostly locked to Darien through it. He taps the item against the table several times before turning to watch Elia cross the room with her supplies in hand. He questions her as she passes, Velaxian phrases clearly more comfortable to him.

"Will the boy live?" Elia pauses in the doorway long enough to call back over her shoulder. Weariness hangs on her words and she makes no effort to disguise it.

"Likely, yes. Rest would do him good." As the elf disappears into the back room, Tesori returns his attention to the group. He drops back into Spine-Speak fluidly.

"You will find a town south of here. It's less than an hour's walk and the trail is fairly clear. The wagon tracks from my morning visit should still remain." He shifts in the chair and sets his eyes on Darien. "Your brother is not well for travel. Elia can tend to him here or, if you wish to risk carrying him, you can seek out Feddon in town. He's as capable a doctor as he is a drinker." The wand disappears into his robe as he rises from the chair. "The tea will keep you warm on the way. I wouldn't take my time, however, as it doesn't last much more than an hour. Take a few moments to gather your things and wake your friends."

jng2058
2007-11-13, 03:43 PM
Dacin

Dacin finished his tea and contemplated. His mother abandoning him was rather against the old ways, wasn't it. Just another question he'd have for her when he finally tracked her down.

One of many.

He set the cup down and moved to the door, saying in Auldarian, "I'm going to get some air." Without waiting for any word from Darien or the others, he slipped outside and closed the door behind him.

He glanced at the cave mouth and made sure there weren't any more of the annoying little bastards (Zesh excluded) around. Once he was sure it was reasonably safe, he slipped over to the battle site and started a systematic looting the corpses. There probably wasn't much in the way of cash on the things, but a crossbow or two would be worth selling and might even be good to shoot someone with, even if he'd never used one before in his short life.

He also kept an eye out for his wand. It might take a while to find the thing, but it'd probably be worth it. Especially if he could get Elia or her husband to show him how to use the damn thing properly...

[roll0]

ajw79
2007-11-13, 04:25 PM
Raite

Raite gladly accepts the hot tea from the child and settles back against the wall to watch, with growing trepidation, the exchange between Darien, Worm and Tesori. Setting the tea aside, his hand moves ever so slightly towards the hilt of his sword as the stranger toys with the unknown item. As Tesori mentions the town, apparently deciding to aid the group, Raite relaxes with a sigh.

slapdash
2007-11-13, 10:13 PM
No no no! Worm shook her head furiously, looking from Darien to Raite then toward their sleeping companions. He was going to kick them out, which she supposed was what you got for taking advantage of someone's hospitality, but there was no way Raite, Darien or even she would be willing to leave Theron behind - and carrying him could only wound him further, and make their journey more difficult.

"He's lying," she says plainly, the rat scrabbling up her shoulder and burying his head behind her ear as she speaks. "But you already knew that, yeah?"

Mentally she was berating herself, she could almost hear Magister Renault dressing her down for disrespect, treason, and any number of other errors, but she had to take care of the princes, even if she upset them in the process.

"Please, sir, if we take our friend with us we'd prob'ly hurt him more, and ain't none of us going to leave one of ours behind. I know my apology don't mean much, and we got no right to ask anything of you, but I promise that we didn't mean any harm or offense - it's just that the truth could get us in a lot of trouble, but seein' as you've been studying this portal for what sounds like a fair minute, you might be pretty interested in the truth, and we'd be more than happy to share - " she glances at the prince as she says this, " - assuming we can all agree to try things fresh."

TheGreatJabu
2007-11-13, 10:47 PM
Ahua of Chamahez

Although his body continued to lie on the floor of the small cabin, Ahua's mind had soon been swept away to a strange place.

His arms struggle to keep the many ferns and limbs from slapping him in the face - they are only so successful. His feet pound the earth beneath him mercilessly as he flees from the unseen predator. He has seen the gleaming eyes, and a hint of grey fur, but the moonlight fails to pierce through the canopy to illuminate the jungle floor.

He isn't alone. There are others; larger figures also fleeing through the underbrush before him. He's not chasing them - no, they are also fleeing the predator. Who are they? They cannot be the Large-Worlders he met in that place of cold. Regardless, they are all the prey of the beast. Several paces ahead he spots a tree. 'Climb for safety!' is what he and all of his people were taught. He leaps and grabs onto a low branch, tugging himself up it and scrambling up to the top. He looks down and see a blur as the creature zooms past his place of refuge, continuing on after the other figures.

"I am safe. The monster intends to feast upon those others."

A voice speaks to him - a familiar voice. He can't recall where he heard it before, but it has been some time. "When it gorges itself upon the others, who shall it seek to feed its offspring?" He is overwhelmed by feelings of urgency - he has to do something! But what? He gazes at the ground far below, and a spear enters his field of vision. Someone is handing it to him, but he cannot look up to see who. "Hunt, or be hunted. That has been Our Way. It is your Way, Ahua-Chamahez." He reaches out and grasps the spear being held before him. Whomever was holding it has vanished. To his left and right, his new companions are each perched in the tops of trees, readying their weapons; seemingly to dive down upon the creature below. Adjusting his grip on the weapon, he turns around and braces his feet against the tree for his leap. The wind carries a final whisper. "The moon has just risen, but it shines bright - this night shall be the greatest hunt." He leaps into the void, diving straight towards the unsuspecting creature lurking below. He hears drums in the distance...

Ahua wakes to find himself back on the floor. Wearily, he rolls over to see Da'cin walking out the door. The sound of his boots hitting the floor sounded vaguely like drumming. Then the memory of the dream came back to him. He sat up with a start, and reached out to take hold of his spear. After a moment to calm, the halfling begins to wear a sly grin. This was a vision. A good omen...a very good omen, indeed.

A bit of dust from sleeping on the floor tickles his nose, causing Ahua to sneeze. His hand instinctively reaches up to cover it, and the Evisan nearly wallops himself in the face. ...What? My nose? He begins to feel around on the beak that's been adorning his face this whole time. Judging from the way he's acting, he appears to be equally alarmed and curious. He can hear one of the human girls he's been traveling with speaking, but is too mystified to pay attention.

ajw79
2007-11-13, 11:34 PM
Raite

The young Vigilant looks between Worm and Darien with a troubled expression on his face. Glancing towards Theron, he makes his mind up concerning his duty. "Daniel, Worm is right. We are in a strange land and we need aid. Our host has given us shelter and has knowledge that may aid us. As for leaving to find this town, my "contract" is with Thomas, as the senior member present from your father's company, and I will not leave him until he orders it or until he no longer requires my service."

Valairn
2007-11-14, 12:18 AM
Shalana

Shalana's heart picks up, in her dream she awoke and knew there was tension in the room, she woke herself up. She didn't understand what Worm was saying, but whatever it was, it was important. Darien seemed agitated and the mixture of the two brought her to about a hundred different conclusions none of them good.

She worked her body to move and all of her muscles clenched at once, pain coursed through her every nerve, her body must have found its senses again, the battle fire no longer raged in her. The grip of the sword still in her hand with just a smear of blood she had missed when she cleaned the blade spoke volumes of how real this day really was.

She stood slowly, realizing how horrible she must have looked, her hair was matted, her dress was falling apart at the seams. She looked at Theron and cursed inside her mind, it was her fault, if she hadn't been so foolish he might be alright.

She wrestled her thoughts in and asked out of reflex in Yunisian, "What is happening?"

TheGreatJabu
2007-11-14, 06:07 PM
Ahua of Chamahez

Ahua turns to look at the other human girl who just spoke. One hand still rests on his nose, gently squeezing up and down its length. That tongue is different. His voice somewhat nasal-sounding from his constricted nostrils, he speaks in Auldarian. "What?" The sight and sound of him is unintentionally (but undeniably) clownish.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-11-15, 05:53 AM
Prince Darien

The younger prince stands ramrod-straight and stock-still, his jaw set and his green eyes directing a glare at Worm; he speaks to her in Auldarian.
"This is on your head. And after, we are going to have a conversation about things like sabotage, insubordination, and maybe even treason. You can not keep taking matters into your own hands like this."

He turns, facing Tesori again, and takes a moment to collect his thoughts, switching back to Najstoran.
"Very well, my hand has been forced. The plain truth: 'Thomas' there is no merchant's son. You've saved a royal life."
His hand dips into his pocket, and produces Theron's signet ring; he turns it towards the mage, and tries to keep his voice flat.
"This very night, our capital was attacked by dwarves. We don't know why, nor how they got a strike force there without notice. The palace was taken, and we were sent to safety through a secret passage. We found a portal beneath the castle, and when we had no other exit, Worm there opened it. The King remained behind; from the account of A'hua there, who followed after us, he was captured. He's," a finger jabs in Theron's direction, "Crown Prince Theron of Auldaria, and effective ruler as long as--as his father is in captivity. You're not an Auldarian subject; I can't command you--but I think you understand what a royal debt means, even that of a prince removed from his land. So, I ask: allow us to stay, until he is fit to travel. Feed us, shelter us, and keep our identities secret. Share with us what you know about these portals. You'll be far more than merely repaid."

DoNotFearToTread
2007-11-17, 10:53 AM
All -Dacin

Tesori's eyes narrowed as he stared down at the signet ring, muttering to himself. He swept his gaze over the faces of the gathered and scratched the back of his head. Something seemed to bothering him and the gears in his mind were rapidly spinning to set it right. When he did speak, the strain on his voice spoke volumes about his disbelief.

"The crest looks real enough and you seem convinced of what you're saying. Still, that has to be the least likely story you've concocted today. An army of Dwarves would have to move through Velaxia and do so unnoticed for over a month. But the creatures..." His eyes lift toward the door, then snap back to Darien. "If you did open the gate then you would have passed through it? It simply cannot be. The design doesn't allow for...and you're still alive..." He was jumping from thought to thought now, his attention divided.

Dacin

You meet the cold again, trudging through the snow to the bodies only to find them field-stripped. Several footprints, similar to the feet of the creatures, vanish into the woods nearby. A few broken arrow shafts remain and the ragged clothing that the creatures wear is still on them but anything of notable value has been carried away.

Your efforts still do not turn up the wand, starting near the cave entrance and working out towards the clearing. It will take you atleast an hour to fully examine the area where the wand may have fallen. You still have plenty of daylight left and (presuming you drank the tea) you don't feel overtly chilled by the weather.

All -Dacin

His attention snapping back to the group, Tesori falls silent and looks between Worm and Darien. "I will take what you are saying as truth for the time being. However, I was not simply sending you on your way because I don't trust you, though that was why I wasn't offering to help you. I was sending you on your way because I do not have the space or the stores to support a group your size. I can feed my family until the the thaw, any more and we would go hungry." He calls to his daughter, dropping to Velaxian again to instruct her to prepare the wagon. She sets her cup aside and stalks out the door, clearly displeased with the situation. His attention returns to Darien and this time he speaks in Auldarian.

"I presume the facts would make you the younger boy. I will offer you what aid I can. We can secure your brother in the wagon and I will lead you to town. They stock for many mouths during the winter to account for merchants who don't make it through the Spine before the freeze. You can find a room and board to wait out the weather there." Turning to face Worm, he wrings his hands together. "As for you, I am afraid I do not have answers for your questions. Not yet, at any rate. The things you claim to have done conflict with all I know about the gate." This fact seems to weigh heavy on his shoulders. "Gather your things. While we travel I will explain what I've come to know about the gate. I will devote my time to discerning what I can and I will send for you and your friends when I know enough to provide you with accurate information involving these...changes."

jng2058
2007-11-17, 11:13 AM
Dacin

Dacin swore bitterly under his breath. How could he have been so stupid? Of course you loot the bodies as soon as you can! He swore again and spat onto the ground, cursing his own lack of foresight.

Well, nothing for it. Might as well try and find that damned wand...

So thinking, he did his best, carefully moving back and forth over the ground. He paid attention for anything valuable the scavengers might have left behind, as well as an ear out for the others...as much as Elia seemed a friendly face, he didn't fancy staying here permanently.

Valairn
2007-11-19, 12:45 AM
Shalana

Shalana looked at Darien, slightly confused. She knew something important was taking place, but the lack of ability to understand the conversation frustrated her. Attempting to look slightly in control of herself she said in Yunisian to Darien, "I'm going to go outside and finish cleaning this blade. Please tell me what's going on when you are not engaged."

She bowed slightly and went outside letting the cold waken her nerves as she knelt down and cleaned the blade slowly and also scrubbed her face a bit with the snow.

slapdash
2007-11-19, 04:42 PM
The relief on Worm's face is obvious when the wizard offers the use of his wagon to take them to town. Darien's admonishment rang in her ears, but for the moment it didn't seem to concern her as she chewed on her lip and listened to what Tesori had to say.

"Thank you, sir, it's very kind of you. I'd be real interested to know what you know, an' maybe some of what we saw can help get the pieces together, you know?" For the benefit of her companions, she spoke to him in Auldarian, and with that she snaked the other Darien back into her robe to better protect him from the cold, alongside the book Magister Renault had given her.

"'Sokay if I hold onto this blanket for the ride?" she asks sheepishly, holding it tight around her. The halfling and Shalana were up, and Raite was paying attention - she offered the Vigilant a smile, grateful that he had stood up for her, sort of; she wasn't used to that. Frowning at the front door, Worm realized that just left Dacin. Well, she was done talking to him. Apparently dwarven sieges brought out the worst in some people.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-11-20, 07:52 PM
Prince Darien

Darien takes his brother's signet ring back, and produces his own. The formality leaves his tone, though he still
"A forger wouldn't have risked two. I'm Darien, yes."
So he does speak Auldarian. I'm not exactly surprised.

He nods to Shalana as she passes him, returning words in Yunisian.
"Of course. Don't worry, everything's worked out."

Then he turns back to Tesori, pocketing his ring
"Believe me, we'd all dearly love to know how an army got into Auldaria without anyone noticing, but we wouldn't be here if it hadn't. Worm opened the gate, with a written spell she got from Magister Renault; we all passed through. You can ask her for the details, but I'm afraid that's about all we can tell you: we went through, and there seem to have been some slight... changes. My voice, Shalana's hair, the like. I do wonder at the purpose of a person-sized portal that isn't meant for people to pass through."

Darien turns to the others, flexing recently-broadened shoulders and tilting his head to the side with an audible crick, and switches to Auldarian.
"Sleep will have to wait, I'm afraid. Gather your things; we're heading for town--Tesori has a wagon he'll take us in. It shouldn't be long until warm rooms, warm beds, and rest."
He heads outside, toying with the small emerald-set button on one cuff of his tunic, and sweeps his gaze across the area.
"Dacin! There's a wagon, we're heading to town. Get ready to travel; help anyone who needs it with their things."

Then he steps nearer to Shalana. "I'm sorry about that, my lady," he says in her tongue, more quietly. "Things got tense for a moment, but everything has been resolved. I had to reveal who we are, but Tesori is helping us get to town safely, and telling us what he knows about the gate to boot; I think he'll keep our secret, if only because he has no reason not to. I'll pay him when we get to town, that should help."

The younger prince turns to head back inside, arching his back and spreading his arms out in a stretch--and promptly winces, clasping his left hand over the bandage on his side, under his right arm.

DoNotFearToTread
2007-11-22, 11:25 AM
Dacin

Kicking around the area and fishing through snow, you are able to uncover the bone just as the wagon is readied for travel. Good fortune, it seems, has not completely abandoned you.

All

"That's because portal is a poor choice of wording. Gate would be more accurate." Tesori says as he turns back to Worm. "Certainly, girl. Don't want to catch a chill." The wizard then busies himself with gathering a few items for travel as his daughter readies the wagon. It doesn't take long to move Theron outside and secure him in the back. Despite the movement, the prince does not stir from his slumber. Each of you can find a place on the wagon but the arrangement allows for little movement. Tesori and his daughter take the buckboard, he to drive and her to watch for trouble. As the wagon begins to rattle its way across the snow, carving trenches to mark your path, Tesori begins to relate a small tale.

"It would be seven years ago that I first learned of the gate. I was in traveling through Velaxia with my family when I came upon a man who had wandered down out of the Spine. Quite mad and barely alive, he related to me this location and his failure as it's...guardian, I believe." The trees arch high over the trail, sunlight cutting through the bare branches. "It took me near a year to actually locate the cave. The house was abandoned but easily repaired. I've spent these last six years studying the gate, researching and communicating with others in the field. The process is slow but the potential knowledge makes it worthwhile." As the trail takes a downward incline the wizard slows the mules with a tug on the reins.

"On to what I know. The ring is ancient beyond compare. I can find no written record of its creation or comparative style of design. My best estimate indicates it to be older than the earliest recorded human civilization. From the time before record keeping was possible, you see. I've referenced the Fas Alenia Electora's records several times and while there are remains from that period there is once again nothing regarding the ring." The trail evens out and begins to bend to the east. "Its properties are difficult to ascertain, either due to warding or simply because it is magical in a way we do not fully understand. I've determined that it is highly volatile even in its inert state, which indicates some form of stored potential energy. The energy is powerful enough to harm living creatures. In my study I often experienced headaches and illness. Small creatures like birds and mice can only survive proximity to the ring for a day before they expire." Smoke rises up from somewhere ahead, several lines of white and grey to mark your destination.

"The traces of magic on it were of a restrictive nature, binding and sealing. The idea that you passed through it...from another portal of apparently similar make...is astounding. If there are multiple versions in the world, it could be that they had a far greater purpose than I had surmised. Oh...right...I told you portal was not a correct description. I say gate because it functions...functioned...to lock something away. The writing along the exterior made mention of some pact to bind a source of great danger. The variation in the words from our modern Infernal tongue is a problem, though. Words like pact and danger seem to bear a different meaning in the context." The first few buildings appear as you continue forward, men chopping firewood or women carrying baskets around. The town proper is nearby, a straight shot to a stone fountain that likely marks the center of town.

"Here we are. Cliffside. It isn't much most of the year but the population picks up quite a bit. You should be able to move about without drawing much attention. Merchants flash a fair amount of money here so nobody is likely to blink an eye. There are three inns open here in winter. I recommend the Bowl and Pitcher. Shelly Picwith runs it since her folks succumbed to illness a few years back. She's always been fair and the food is better'n most." He reins up the mules and drops down off the buckboard. "If I learn anything about the gate I will send for you. The thaw should come in a few weeks and you'll be able to move on then."

TheGreatJabu
2007-11-22, 09:17 PM
Ahua of Chamahez

Ahua is glad to hear a familiar language as the younger son of Chieftain-Auldaria informs the group that they are to ride to a town nearby. Ahua stops being preoccupied with his nose and readies himself to once again face the cold.

The crowded ride over to the town doesn't bother the halfling much. In fact, he frequently finds himself squirming closer to whomever is sitting close at the time in an effort to keep warm.

slapdash
2007-11-23, 12:33 AM
Worm crams into the wagon alongside the others, getting as close to Tesori as the layout allows. Nestled in the voluminous folds of the blanket, she listens to the wizard's tale with a fixed and fascinated gaze. On several occasions she looks ready to interrupt, only to think the better of it and instead waits, fidgeting all the while, for Tesori to conclude his speech as they approach the town.

"Well, you see, the portal - that is to say, the gate - that we found was 'neath the castle, in the escape tunnels. No one'd used those in a bit, and the gate itself was walled up, so who knows how long it'd been there and no one was the wiser? An' there was this inscription on it, see, and I couldn't read it all at first, I only knew it said something about a lock - oh, this were all in Infernal, too - and Magister Renault had given me a few spellslips, and lucky enough he'd put one in there for opening doors, and even though it was an unconventional door it was worth a shot, since we were trapped, so I cast the spell, and the portal lit up and you could feel all this, I dunno, energy filling up just about everywhere." She pauses to gulp in a breath before diving back into her own story.

"And it was all bright, an' then I could read the inscription that wasn't worn off: By the closing of this barrier - then somethin' I couldn't read - shall remain securely locked away, something energy that endangers our world, something by decree of the Six Who Remain, this is so." Worm intones the words from the carving with the gravitas she thought they merited, although it sounds rather ridiculous coming from the cracked-voice slip of a girl.

"And then Dacin went through, and it looked to us like he was being taken apart piece by piece, from the outside in, and it was really horrible, but we went through anyway cause there was no other way out and the magic didn't feel destructive, and we came out in that cave, only we were a little different than we were, kinda like it didn't know how to put us back together." She runs a hand self-conciously through her streaky hair, scrunching her freckled nose at the thought.

"That's all I know about the gate, Tesori sir. I hope it helps."

Valairn
2007-11-24, 02:41 AM
Shalana

Even though the wagon was quite rickety, and the quarters were tight, Shalana fell asleep for most of the journey. When they arrived she had the look of a devil when she was awoken, she obviously needed some rest.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-11-24, 09:55 PM
Prince Darien

"I'd dearly love to know more about these... gates. If they were supposed to lock something away, why were they more like doors than like walls? And let me tell you, the thought of having released something nasty... something that could kill animals from behind that gate.. is not a cheerful one. If you can learn anything else before we make our way onward, I'd be eager to hear about it."

Darien had found a corner of the wagon by Tesori, although his eyes had been fixed on his brother for most of the journey. When the wagon arrives in town, he hops over the side.
"Raite, take Thomas, you're the strongest. Dacin, help him."
He takes a moment to extract the emeralds from his shirt-sleeve buttons, passing the pair of gems to Tesori.
"For your help and your silence, and more to come eventually. Who built those gates, anyway, if they're so old? Is there anything like them left? If it was some old civilization, I'd expect more ruins in that style..."

DoNotFearToTread
2007-11-24, 11:51 PM
"Unfortunetly, binding magic is flawed by its very nature. In order to lock something away you have to put it in, and to do that you need a hole. When you seal that hole it is never completely secured. The type of magic needed to open that gate, presuming it was bound in any way like mine...well, it is difficult for me to imagine one so young being able to harness it. A simple opening spell, you say?" Tesori seems both intrigued and distraught by the implications of the story. He pocketed the gems without a word and gave a nod to Darien. "Nothing like them that anyone's been able to point me to, and if the gnomes haven't found it I doubt it exists. Those reasons also lead me to believe that it was not an ancient race, but rather an ancient sect or group among the common races who built the gates. The Six Who Remain, it seems. My gate has that reference as well, a signature of sorts but not as descriptive as I'd like." Theron's voice piped up from the back of the wagon then, groggy but assertive.

"My legs work just fine. I've trained them to walk and everything." He pushes himself out of the wagon and grimaces, stretching his limbs and doing a poor job of hiding the discomfort. He then gives an approving nod as he checks over the bandages. "Nice. Who do I thank?" His eyes drifted up to Tesori and he gave the best bow he could manage given his state. The wizard only nodded and offered a smile before looking back to Darien.

"I will send word for you when I learn more. Understand that further study may demand that I visit the gate. With the cave being suddenly occupied...another curious effect of the gate's opening I presume...I may need help in clearing the way. I could try to hire some mercenaries in town but since you have a vested interest in the thing I can perhaps find that help from you. Once you've all rested and recovered, of course." He looks over the others as they debark the wagon. "Bowl and Pitcher is down that road. Can't miss the sign. Cliffside is a merchant town so you should find any currency acceptable here."

jng2058
2007-11-25, 02:25 AM
Dacin

Dacin only half paid attention to the wizard's tale. He could grasp the basic concepts, but in truth they weren't particularly interesting to him. What good was the gate now? Jumping back to the bowels of Auldaria Castle just meant a quick trip to the dungeons or a visit to the hangman...or hangdwarf?

He was much more interested in figuring out where their next meal was coming from. Let the others worry about magic and portals. He'd focus on staying alive, and making sure he had enough money to do just that.

With the trip over, Dacin moved over to Tesori and produced his carved bone. "Pardon me, sir, but I found this in the caves on our way out.' He indicated the word carved into it, "I'm told it means 'Sanctuary' and that it can be used to help people fight better. I also noticed that you had a magic stick that can do something magical of its own, I presume. I was wondering if you could show me how I might use this thing to better help defend myself and my friends."

Dacin smiled at the man hopefully.

TheGreatJabu
2007-11-25, 08:28 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

Ahua's tenuous grasp on the Auldarian language prevents him from fully understanding the discussion of the gates. He is pleased, however, to see the eldest son of Chieftain-Auldaria regain consciousness. What was his name again? At first I thought he was either Daryan or The'ron. Yet now they call him something else. Perhaps Large-Worlders have several names each. Not wanting to be guilty of a social faux pax (regardless of the fact that he had never even heard of that particular expression), Ahua does his best to 'casually stroll' over to K'a Deht and whispers to him. "K'a Deht...what do your people call the eldest son of Chieftain-Auldaria? And the names of the two females who journey with us?" Thinking back to the word the youngest heir frequently yelled at the one, he tentatively asks. "The one without blade is...Wurm, yes?"

Valairn
2007-11-25, 11:46 AM
Shalana

Looking at herself, and then looking at Tesori she asked softly, "Is there a place I could go to buy new clothes?" She looked sheepish when she asked it, appearing to be a little embarrassed at the question and her current state. Looking at Worm she said, "Would you mind joining me?"

ajw79
2007-11-26, 03:54 PM
Raite

Raite jumps down from the wagon with the others and moves to one side to stretch his cramped muscles. The wagon ride may have been a blessing, but the young man's large frame was never meant to be shoe-horned into such tight quarters. The sight of Theron, concious and moving about under his own power, eases much of the worry from the Vigilant's mind.

The approach of Ahua brings a perplexed look to Raite's face until comprehension of the name "K'a Deht" changes his expression to a smile.

Pitching his voice as to only be audible to Ahua, Raite replies in Auldarian, "The girl without the blade is Worm. The more aggressive one's name is Shalana and she is betrothed to Darien, the younger son of our king. The eldest son is Theron. For the time being, the two brothers will be going by the names Thomas, the older, and Daniel. It is best that we don't let their identities slip unless we are sure that someone is an ally. As for myself, my name is Raite. Cadet is... was my rank."

slapdash
2007-11-26, 07:15 PM
Worm seems a bit offended as she scrambles over the side of the wagon, though whether it's because Tesori might doubt her story or her abilities is unclear. Still, that is forgotten once Prince Theron rouses from the back of the wagon, which causes her posture to perk a bit and a smile turns about her lips. Then Shalana speaks, and Worm looks behind her, to make certain that the princess is speaking to her.

"Yeah, I mean, sure I would, but um, I don't got any money. And you're kinda bad off, yeah? You did get shot." A pause, and then she adds, "Twice. Maybe we should get some rest and a meal first?"

Her attention is half-taken by Tesori's comments to Darien, the thought of returning to those caves and 'clearing the way' completely repugnant to her, and wondering why he would want them to help instead of trained soldiers. It hardly made sense. Still, that discussion could wait for another time. She begins to shuffle toward the Bowl & Pitcher, eager for something to fill her stomach.

Valairn
2007-11-26, 10:38 PM
Shalana

Responding to Worm she said, "Its not so much that I wouldn't prefer going to sleep at this very moment, what I'm concerned with is will these clothes be able to hold out long enough to keep my modesty intact." She said it with a touch of embarrassment, but was reconciled to the fact that she couldn't make herself look any worse than she probably already did.

"You don't have to come, and I won't hold it against you if you don't, but I can afford an outfit for you as well, maybe something a bit more functional for traveling. And I'd appreciate the company."

TheGreatJabu
2007-11-27, 08:06 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

Ahua doesn't seem to miss a beat from the correction. In fact, he seems to liven up in response. "Ah, Ahua now knows! K'a Deht is child name! Now you are called Raite! Ahua saw the blood-pact Raite made with Large-World warrior back in caves. Raite is now a man, and goes by his man-name! Ahua blesses you, Raite!" Ahua again leans in close. "Ahua also blesses Raite for gifting Ahua with the names of others. Hunters and diplomats both need to have names for companions, yes?"

When the halflings sharp ears detect the word "clothes", he snaps to attention. He scurries over quickly to Shalana and Worm and energetically invites himself to accompany them. "Ahua has great need for clothes! The cloak of Ahua is now...the skin of Ahua, he says with a brief shudder, "so Ahua need more garments for hiding from frost! Ahua has money, and no time to hunt and tan skins for wearing!"

Valairn
2007-11-27, 10:15 AM
Shalana

Shalana laughs at Ahua's response. Its a light laugh one that obviously enjoys the excitement of the halfling. "You are more than welcome to come along Ahua."

slapdash
2007-11-27, 05:22 PM
Worm blinks a couple times at Shalana, comparing the girl's torn dress to her own robes: the already worn-out hand-me-downs now torn nearly to the knees and the sleeves half-gone; and she wonders briefly what the princess is so concerned about. Royalty, as she had seen repeatedly firsthand, were very demanding.

Still, Dacin and Raite could keep an eye on the princes, and she couldn't let a couple foreign dignitaries wander around on their respective lonesomes, even if they did speak the language of the lan, which she doubted they did.

"Sure, your highness, whatever you'd like," she replies, offering a very faint smile to the princess and the halfling.

Valairn
2007-11-27, 05:55 PM
Shalana

Shalana's face turned to an extremely perplexed expression, "I don't mean to step on your toes, but please don't call me your highness, I may be the daughter of royalty, but title's are not granted by birth in Yunis, they are granted by accomplishments and coming of age. Also, this isn't about what I would like, I asked you what you would like, please weigh the question carefully, I do not want you to do as I please unless you truly desire to."

Shalana tumbled things over in her mind. She knew part of her kind treatment in Auldaria was because of the carefully crafted lies her country had created to blend into the general attitudes of the other nations. At home, she had certainly been well off, but no one had called her anything but her birth name, or her given name for her whole life, she remembered that the first week spent in the castle she had been constantly telling the servants to use her name, eventually she had given up, but this was different, no one who had seen you shed blood should ever have to call you by a title.

TheGreatJabu
2007-11-27, 07:50 PM
Ahua of Chamahez

Ahua stands before the two girls hugging himself for warmth, bouncing his weight back and forth between both feet. "Then deal is made, yes? Shalana and Worm lead Ahua to clothing-trader, please! Ahua will owe debt to both women for help!"

slapdash
2007-11-27, 08:34 PM
"Well, highness isn't really your title, um, miss, it's a form of address. Title would be somethin' like 'emperor', an' that's why pages say, 'His Royal Highness, Emperor Whassisface'. See, the title follows the honorific and - nevermind, it isn't important." She paused to blow into her hands, creating a cloud of breath as she did.

"You dun know the language, an' Ahua and myself are pretty cold, so let's just head to the shop, alright?" She motions for them to follow and begins walking in the direction Tesori indicates.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-11-28, 07:49 AM
Prince Darien

The younger prince fills Theron in on what he missed due to unconsciousness, and as he speaks, he begins stripping his outfit of signs of royalty. Each shirt-button loses its little emeralds; the gold thread is hidden under his doublet, he pulls three rings off of his fingers, and twists his arm out of a finely worked gold bracelet that had been hiding under his shirt. The things go into the purse of coin he took from his father--a wince at the thought--back in the throne room, what seems like far longer ago than it has been.

"Actually? Don't. We'll be here awhile; plenty of time to go shopping, and everyone could use some rest... even those who may not be feeling it at the moment."
Darien takes the blanket from Tesori's wagon, and turns to Shalana and Worm, unbunching it.
"I trust your payment covers this; you'll have it back the next time you see us, and thank you for its use. --My lady: you took a bolt to the hip. Walk too much more right now, and you may wind up feeling it for the rest of your life. Hot food and bed, not necessarily in that order, are in order."
He considers the rest of the group. "You and my brother are the most conspicuous at the moment--you can enter together under the blanket; I'll have warm clothing for everyone when you awaken, and you can do all the shopping you like then. So, then!"
Darien brings his hands together with a clap.
"To the Bowl and Pitcher. Food and beds are waiting."

Valairn
2007-11-28, 07:38 PM
Shalana

Shalana sighs and responds to Darien, "You're right, I should just go get some rest." She shook her head a bit as if trying to clear her thoughts, and looked sheepishly at Ahua and Worm, before complying with Darien's request.

DoNotFearToTread
2007-11-29, 12:53 PM
Tesori examines the bone briefly before speaking. "Seems to have every indication of being a wand though, I must admit, the construction is a bit dated. If you let me take this back with me I can spend some time trying to discern its purpose." He waits for a reponse and then gives a nod to Darien about the blanket. With a brief farewell he gives the mule a nudge and the wagon starts off down the road.

The Bowl and Pitcher is average in every manner. The rooms, which Theron foots the bill for, are suitable for sleeping and little else. With only three rooms available, you all divide them up appropriately and get some much needed rest. The food they provide is probably not exceptional, but to your famished stomachs it tastes like a King's banquet. Mutton stew with leeks, dark beer and water. Some kind of flat bread.

A week passes without incident. You have your rooms paid up and two meals a day from the Pitcher. Theron spends the bulk of the time in his room for the purposes of recuperation. The town is not large but it boasts a half dozen shops of various purposes. Clothiers, metalsmiths, even a jeweler. Nobody seems to take much note of you as the crowd here is somewhat ecclectic. Several merchants who were trapped here by the snows have set up stalls near the central fountain to sell their remaining wares.

Tesori and his daughter visit every other day to check up on you and update you on any progress. They both seem lighter in spirit as the days pass and their willingness to open up to you increases. Tesori will spend hours lecturing on the ways of magic if he's asked, even instructing in the rudimentary use of it should someone show potential. His daughter, known to you now as Arisa, is competant with bow and blade and isn't one to turn down some practice.

( You may now select a class level, children. Refer to the post in the OOC thread, which I am afraid I cannot put up now but will have in place later this afternoon, for rules and to ask questions. Also, post here about what you intend to do with your weeks. Bedrest heals up 4 hit points a day because Theron hired on the local doctor to treat anyone who needs it. )

slapdash
2007-12-02, 03:16 AM
The young apprentice has no complaints about the food or the lodging, taking in the former with a gusto that belies her borderline malnourished appearance, and though she shared her room at the orphanage with six or seven more than was comfortable, sharing one with the injured princess clearly made her a bit nervous as she does her best to avoid eye contact and makes a habit of moving about on her tiptoes. Unfortunately, this only seems to throw off her already questionable sense of balance, and Shalana no doubt becomes accustomed to the sight of Worm narrowly missing the corner of the dresser on her way to the floor, or crashing down as she attempts to find purchase on the edge of the bed while refusing to remove her nose from the book Magister Renault had given her.

Cracking open the book had been the first order of business in the morning, before finding a new-but-used robe to replace her old-and-used one, and she flipped eagerly through the pages as winter sunlight poked through the window. Darien, apparently glad to be able to return to his sedentary lifestyle, takes to spending his time curled up in the crook of her arm as she reads, poking his whiskered nose into her cheek when she dozes off.

The book was, Worm realized, in Magister Renault's own hand; a journal of sorts from his early days as a wizard. Magic theorem, scroll formatting, component lists and manual articulation were all covered in technical, perfectly-spaced detail. And then, toward the back, the girl's eyes fell upon a diagram and the description of a ritual for animal attunement, and she gave the shabby rat curled on her pillow a gap-toothed grin.

And so, after Tesori's first day back, during which Worm spent a good deal of time chewing the poor Velaxian's ear off with a barrage of questions and observing the man as he walked her through a couple of the more complicated gestures, Shalana arrived to find a intricate chalk outline on the floor, along with a burnt-down candle and the rather bizarre tableau of Worm and Darien the rat engaged in what looked to be some kind of staring contest. They both broke and looked at the princess guiltily before returning to their side of the room, nothing apparently changed save for the fact that Worm now occasionally gave the rat an incredulous look and asked, "What, again?" before digging a piece of leftover food from her pocket and offering it to the creature.

When she wasn't buried in her book or hanging onto Tesori's every word, Worm did her best to be useful, 'leisure time' being a concept wholly unfamiliar to her. The townsfolk quickly learned not to trust her to wash plates, but away from breakables she was an admirable worker, throwing herself completely into the task and willing, even eager, to perform any menial job available. She accepted the coins thrust into her hands with a smile and an exuberant word of thanks, but a careful observer might come to realize that she would do it even without the incentive.

As the week draws to a close, she makes her way in the still of evening to a small altar on the edge of town - if it can even be called that, a pile of stones with a facade and runes carved into it by someone lacking an artisan's touch - and takes three silver from her pocket, placing them in a row. One for Octavius, one for the creature, and one for Cross; a symbol of her hard work for Odin.

Prayer in Nasjtor being what it is, she offers a mumbled, "Please care for their spirits, Lord Odin. If they're with you. I'd kind of like to think they are."

jng2058
2007-12-03, 12:44 PM
Dacin

For Dacin, it was a fine thing indeed to return to civilization...or as close to civilization as a crappy little one horse village in Nasjtor could possibly get, anyway. Still, for all his Elvish blood, Dacin was a city boy at heart, and he was glad to have the caves and mountains behind him. At least for now.

Within hours, old habits came back to the fore, and Dacin found work as a messenger, courier, gofer, and general errand boy. It wasn't the kind of money he'd have liked, but it was local currency, and that made it worth the effort.

When Tesori and Arisa were available, he mostly spent time with the latter, practicing with the girl's short sword and learning to use a shoddy crossbow he'd borrowed from one of his clients. It seemed a novelty to him to be around another half-elf, and he spent some time getting to know her, and the lilting sounds of conversations in Elvish could occasionally be heard drifting over the snow.

On the fourth day, after Tesori returns with the bone wand, Dacin spends a few hours asking the wizard about magic items, learning a few common gestures and command words that might prove helpful down the road. The crash course was hardly exhaustive, but the half-elf felt it was a good first step down a much longer road.

Finally, as the week wrapped up and with a pouch full of silver from his various jobs in hand, Dacin stood up at breakfast and said, "My friends, I've been working for almost all of the various merchants and it may be possible that I can get us a discount on some of our purchases, and I'm certain we all need supplies. Is anyone interested in a little shopping trip?"

ajw79
2007-12-03, 02:13 PM
Raite

The young Vigilant quickly readjusts to the nasjtoran way of life. While Cliffside is much smaller than his birthplace of Varsel, the people bring to mind those hardworking folk of his childhood.

The day of their arrival, Raite fills his stomach and lets the doctor hired by Theron tend to the wound in his side. Though the wound inflicted by Cross would also benefit from the healer's attention, the young man is reluctant to let anyone touch it, preferring to let the cut heal in its own time.

Not wanting to while away the hours in idleness, Raite divides his days between weapon practice with any of the group who are interested in instruction or simply looking for a sparring partner, and working as a temporary apprentice alongside the town's metalsmith. His muscular frame is a welcome addition to the forge of his employer from whom he picks up a few tricks that will be useful in caring for his wargear.

On the days that Tesori and Arisa visit, Raite can be found practicing the bow with the young woman and often finds an excuse to quietly sit nearby as Tesori and Worm discuss the arcane arts. Later, if Worm is amenable, he queries his fellow Nasjtoran about parts of the lessons that were of particular interest to him.

His nights are usually spent in a corner of the Bowl and Pitcher's common room, quietly reading books borrowed from Tesori. When in a more social mood, he engages Ahua with questions about his homeland and his people's customs, the smaller man's outlandish way of speaking and behavior having sparked Raite's curiosity.

TheGreatJabu
2007-12-03, 10:27 PM
Ahua of Chamahez

The first few days of their downtime, Ahua tries to keep himself as busy as he can. He travels with the others to buy some new clothing, spends some time with Raite to learn better to wield the large blade that appears to act merely as a dagger for the others, and speaking almost incessantly with anyone who seems interested. However, time doesn't pass quickly enough and Ahua begins to feel restless. This environment, the people; they were so very different from anything he was accustomed to. He began to feel exceedingly out of place. The dream he had at the cabin days ago seemed to indicate that he was on the proper path, at least. The idea then came to him to try to invoke another dream - a vision, under the influence of the sacred paiasi powder.

On the fourth night Ahua trudges a few minutes away from the encampment (or town, as it should be called). He starts a large fire and puts plenty of large timber in to keep it burning - it certainly wouldn't do to die of cold in the midst of his vision quest! Reaching down into his pouch, he scoops out a small bit of the paiasi and tosses it into the flames. The powder sets the fire to crackling even louder, and the familiar sweet and tangy smell begins wafting up through the smoke. Ahua closes his eyes and sits down near the fire and starts breathing in slowly. Breathing. Breathing.


The world around him groans. The sound is bitter, irritated: He has heard the sounds of the world before, but they had always been so energetic and full of life before. His voices cries out. "What pains you?" He hears a slight fluttering, and something lands beside him - a bird, from the sounds of it. A familiar voice is heard from nearby - the same voice from the first dream. It seems as though its coming from the creature that landed near him. "That is the sound of the spirits of this land, Ahua-Chamahez. Our home is teeming with life, and also death. All creatures of the jungle recognize the cycle. In this place, all creatures struggle for life. They fight tooth and nail to stave off death. Thus their spirits become bitter and learn to hate death." Ahua feels no sense of alarm or wonderment from the nearby voice. He responds to it as he would a close acquaintaince. "Can nothing be done to calm them? Can they find peace?" The voice replies. "You can show them the way, Ahua-Chamahez. Once you have learned to hear their voices, they will soon learn to hear yours. Ahua pauses, confused. "How can I learn to hear the spirits? I am...no shaman." There is a brief pause. "I will teach you." Ahua opens his eyes to see the source of the voice - a vividly colored toucan. It bears a striking resemblance to his former cloak, actually. There is an otherworldly sense about the creature, however. It flutters up and lands on Ahua's shoulder. "I will show you the path. Awaken."

Ahua awakens some time later. The dimness of the campfire leads him to believe it has been hours. He stands up, dreamily, and looks around the area. He can still hear them whispering - the spirits. He turns dialated eyes to his shoulder to see if the toucan still lingers. He cannot see it there, but he can feel its presence comfortingly close. Kicking up snow and dirt over the fire, the halfling walks back to the town.

Since that night, Ahua seems to be a bit stranger than even before. His eyes have become piercing - as though he is always trying to see through whatever he is looking at. On occasion he can be seen muttering to himself. However, his personality and other mannerisms don't seem to have changed. Now being in his presence can feel a little...peculiar, sometimes.

That final morning, Ahua replies to Da'cin. "Ahua has gathered all that he needs before. Thanks are given for the offer." He then looks down as his meal and seems to be contemplating it for several seconds, then resumes eating hungrily.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-12-04, 12:18 AM
Prince Darien

Darien spends the evening of their arrival getting Theron in bed and under a doctor's watchful eye, and then he leaves his room, making sure everyone has cold-weather clothing and exchanging Auldarian currency for the local stuff and minor gems.
By the time he gets back to his room, he's visibly trying to keep himself from staggering; he throws himself into bed and proceeds to sleep for the next day, wake up long enough to eat, hit the privy, and see the doctor, and then sleep or rest for another half day. With that done, the younger prince dons plain clothes, tucking his away somewhere, calls Dacin to him and sends him off for an errand, then heads for the common room to eat enough to sate two men.
Wiping his mouth, he wraps one of the new, thick cloaks around himself and dons a fur-lined hat, and exists the inn.

"Less flowery than a priest, but sincerely said," his voice comes from behind Worm at the altar. He takes in the three coins for a moment, shrugs, and shifts to face her.
"Worm," he tells her simply, voice crisp. "I want you to listen to me for a moment: whatever you might think of me, my brother and I are doing our best to keep all of us alive. When Theron's down, that makes it my responsibility, and sometimes, that's going to include choices you don't agree with. Go against that as you did, and you're making the choice not just for yourself but for everyone. In a dangerous situation, that's trouble. You're welcome to argue with me all you like, as long as we're not under fire, but it's not your place or responsibility to make decisions for everyone. Talk to me or Theron instead of doing something rash."
He brings his hands together, gloves impacting with a leather-on-leather thump.
"So! With that out of the way, I'd like you to talk for a while. I hate the thought of fiddling with gates and magics I don't know anything about: your book, the writing on the gate--teach me the language. An hour or two a day; I think you'll find I learn quickly enough."

***

Darien meets with Tesori along with Raite and Worm that day, listening quietly as the man talks about magic, then practicing archery with his daughter: he's bought his own bow, and is about on par with Raite, practicing quietly and taking Arisa's corrections readily. After, he talks to the half-elf girl, persuading her into starting to teach him the basics of elven. It doesn't take him long to begin putting together phrases, mimicking her intonations with uncanny accuracy. That night, he goes to bed early, and wakes at dawn.

***

Those who lived near the castle know Darien's reputation as an idler; those from the castle itself, like Worm and Dacin, have often seen him missing breakfast and then taking his own, somewhat sleepy-eyed, at noon, then spending his day either about town, unproductively, or out of sight.
His behavior is remarkably different from what others are accustomed to seeing from him, a whirlwind of efficiency: for the next two weeks, he sleeps precisely eight hours, rises briskly and eats quickly, and divides his day into chunks of several hours each--when he isn't sparring with any takers, whether Raite, Shalana, or Arisa, he's practicing archery, listening to Tesori's lectures and asking pointed questions, or working on Elven (or Infernal, if Worm has no qualms about teaching him).

He mentors Dacin in the use of the shortsword and the dagger, showing him a Velaxian style of fencing full of odd shuffling steps and wide, careless-looking parries that turn into disengages with ripostes at the wrist or leg. He takes the opportunity--just as he does when learning the finer points of archery from Arisa--to practice his Elven, speaking to them in nothing but. The rest of the time, he's either reading something in Elven, using the leatherworker's tools he's purchased to turn sheets of thick leather and basket of metal studs into two simple but functional suits of studded leather, completing each in just over a week. He spends a little time mingling with the townsfolk in various inns, and once he turns in for the night, he's unconscious as soon as his head hits the pillow and nigh-impossible to rouse before daybreak.

***

The day before last, he presents Shalana and Dacin with the completed armors (just shrugging and winking if asked where he learned leatherworking) and goes out carousing, relaxing instead of working with mind and body for most of the day.

The final morning, he gets up later than usual, having breakfast with the rest of the group.
"We'll definitely want some things, now that the snows are near gone," he concurs with Dacin. "Horse and wagon for when we head out, I'd say. Speaking of which--ideas?" His gaze sweeps across his companions, resting on Theron for a moment.
"We'll need some things if we're headed back to the... portal... with Tesori too."
He converses in Auldarian, thinking likely that few enough in the town will speak it.

Valairn
2007-12-04, 02:41 AM
Shalana

The first day Shalana hardly stirred from her bed. Nightmares of dark tunnels twisting around and around with unknown threats following her every step haunted her. When she did finally awake, the stiffness in her muscles was extraordinary, but her wounds appeared to have healed over for the most part. Seeing Worm made all of the events that had occurred seem all the more real to her.

The emotion that she could not shake though was shame. Stress had driven her to ends she normally would not have gone, while she was trained to kill from her youth, the actual job of it was was not to her liking, especially to people who had done her no wrong. She had been too foolhardy, she rushed about too much, jumping to conclusions and putting her friends in harm's way. The first things out of her mouth to Worm were extremely straightforward and tears welled up in her eyes when she said it but she kept them back for the most part, "I'm sorry, I thrust that weapon into your hands in the tunnel and expected you to just play along, you were right, there were other ways we could have approached the situation."

She didn't say much after that and simply got up from her bed, dressed herself quietly, and went and purchased some new clothing, a good set for traveling. Upon returning to the room, she seemed a totally different person. Her demeanor had taken on a new life, as if she had resolved herself to a path. She looked at Worm and said, "Thank you, thank you for speaking the truth, its a hard thing to do, and I greatly admire you for it. Darien is not an easy person to stand up to."

**

When Theron had finished recovering, Shalana pulled him aside and spoke in soft tones to him, "I need you to know that I deeply appreciate the risks you took on my behalf, I know you may think of it as a small thing, but I will pay you back for the wounds you received on my account. Thank you."

**

After she had made her apologies to each person in turn, she took on a new life. When Tesori was alone one afternoon, she approached him slowly and spoke quickly as if she was embarrassed, "I saw what you did out there in the snow, I've never seen anything like it, the wonder workers of my land are very different, they don't use books and knowledge they wield some sort of innate power I don't completely understand, they say it comes from their minds."

"You though, you defended your loved ones with words of power and hand movements, and the strength that flowed from you was incredible, I know Worm understands the concepts behind the work that you do, but while you are here, I would love to learn from you, I want to pay my friends back, Theron almost died because I rashly jumped into a fight, I don't want it to happen again, I'm talented with a sword, gifted some used to say, but what you have, that's something that works even when unarmed, its a power to defend and protect, its incredible and I would be a fool to not try and understand it, and hopefully one day learn it. So may I learn from you?"

After spilling herself onto Tesori, the remainder of the two weeks were a blur of activity. She hardly slept, training with the unfamiliar weapons of the region as well as spending hours listening to Tesori explain the ways of magic, and often bothering Worm when they were both in the room together asking her questions and even at times borrowing her books if Worm would let her, and she watched intently as she completed the ritual with her rat. She spent time with Darien learning the languages of the region as well as of the elves, pushing herself to be prepared and ready for whatever could come their way.

**
Whenever she could find Darien up and about she would question him, it was a gentle questioning, asking him about all manner of things, from deep questions to simple things like his favorite foods. She would often simply be next to him during whatever he had set his mind to do, often asking questions and offering her insight into matters, sometimes bringing him food when he was intent upon his work or study, sometimes studying with him.

**

When she trained with weapons she could often be seen mimicking the hands movements Tesori demonstrated, while she sparred, as if the weapon fighting wasn't entirely enough to fill her mind. Her movements with the blade were relatively refined, she had been born carrying a sword, or at least close to it. She seemed almost happy during sparring, often pushing the other person into corners to get them to really fight her, a delight could be seen in her eyes, her footwork was different than most, almost as if she had planned it out beforehand, but it was wild in certain respects, often lunging when a more cautious person would have taken a step back.

Everything she did, she did it passionately and recklessly, the freedom to spend her day as she chose often made her seem a bit unruly, some days she would follow the others around and participate in whatever they would do, and other days she would do everything almost on her own.

**
When she received the items from Theron and Darien, she asked for a longsword from Theron. She donned the armor on that Darien had given her and it was close to a perfect fit. She smiled at him, this was one of the first times in her life where all of her choices had been her own, and she wanted desperately to protect the people who had saved her and made it possible.

As they were about to head out, she responded to Darien, "I for one would like to see it. I would also like to pay Tesori back in whatever way we can, he's done a lot for us."

slapdash
2007-12-04, 08:05 AM
Worm's only response to Shalana's teary-eyed words were a quirked eyebrow, a glance around the room to make sure she was the target of the speech, and a mumbled, "Er...you're welcome?"

Darien's speech was met with a bit more, as she crossed her arms and squared her whole four and some-odd feet of mass against him. "With all due respect, your majesty, I think I helped rather than hurt in this instance. The duty of a prince, of a leader, is ta know those who work for him, their strengths, their weaknesses, an' know how to utilize them. P'rhaps if you'd asked someone from Nasjtor before goin' off, you might've not come up with something that gave us all away."

"As far as speaking up, that's the magister's job - to advise the royalty what's the best course, and I realized that lying when you're caught ain't the best course. What I was learning to do was more'n magic, but if you want me to stop, you only gotta say so." She rubs her hands together, looking a little past Darien.

"Anyway, you oughta get Tesori ta teach you, I wouldn't be no good at it."

jng2058
2007-12-04, 01:56 PM
Dacin

After Darien asks his question, Dacin says "If I may, a local merchant says he witnessed some bandits being driven off from thier hideout by local guards. He further says that while the bandits are gone, no one had a chance to recover the supplies they'd stolen. He wasn't willing to go after it himself, but he was willing to sell a map to the location. It is a little expensive. He's asking 50 gold, which is well beyond my resources. But if he's right, we can acquire much more than that with comparatively little risk."

He shrugged, "He's a local, so if the map is bogus, we know where he lives. So I expect the map is genuine. There's a risk that some of the bandits may have returned, or something else may have moved in...maybe more of those goblins or kobolds that seem to infest the mountains around here. Nevertheless, I'd recommend we give it a try. Our resources are limited, and the more we increase them, the better our chances down the road."

Valairn
2007-12-04, 02:18 PM
Shalana

"I believe it may at least be worth the attempt, but 50g for a map seems a bit much, could we maybe bargain with him and get him to agree to a small cut of whatever we find, rather than the upfront expense, it doesn't sound like he has anything to lose from that."

ajw79
2007-12-04, 03:41 PM
Raite

Raite sets his fork down as Dacin speaks, his food no longer the focus of his attention.

From the point of view of a Vigilant, this was a bad idea. They'd barely survived the flight from the castle and now they were going to seek out more danger? It wasn't even necessary danger. They should be focusing on the portal and a means to aid Auldaria, not running through the hills chasing bandit treasure.

"But...", a small voice said. Didn't all the heroes of legend start out small? They weren't born with flaming sword in hand, smiting evil straight from the womb. Were they? Maybe he had been reading too many of Master Tesori's books when he should have been focusing on his duty to the princes. The thought of becoming a mighty champion of justice was a heady one, but he was honor bound to follow the two brothers in whatever decision they made.

Raite retrieves his fork and begins clearing his plate with soldier like efficiency as he awaits the decision of the princes.

DoNotFearToTread
2007-12-04, 10:47 PM
As the days slip by you all find ways to occupy your time. Rest to aid in healing, then work to aid in your finances. The people in the town don't seem to pay you undue mind and several even learn your names (whatever names you might choose to give) and converse freely with you. So it is that you all find yourselves gathered in discussion after thirteen days have come and gone.

Theron, having exchanged his clothing for the thick leather and fur of the local attire, sets his cup aside and gives a look around the table. A new longsword, the fancy (and easily identified) blade no longer practical, and some armor rank among his obvious purchases. He shakes his head in Dacin's direction when discussion of the map begins."The funds I was provided have done well to keep us outfitted but I cannot see them gambled away on a proposition like that. I can't speak for the rest of you but, given our situation, I'd recommend against unnecessary purchases. Tesori will be meeting us tomorrow so that we can find out what he can determine about the gate. Even if we can use it to get back we have to consider the risk involved. We have no idea what's happened back home since we left. For now, let's concentrate on learning what we can about how we got here."

But the next morning brings no Tesori. Morning slides easily into noon and still the wizard fails to show. Theron lets another hour pass before readying his gear and gathering you outside the inn. "I don't like this. Tesori lives less than an hour away and he's never failed to show before. I think we should walk the trail and find out what is amiss. Hopefully it's nothing serious..." He lets it trail off a moment before snapping back to the speech. "It may be that we come across something dangerous on the way. These woods look wild enough when you get away from town. If anyone wants to stay and wait for us at the inn, I'll support that decision."

jng2058
2007-12-04, 11:09 PM
Dacin

"I'm in." He fingered the hilt of the rapier he'd acquired the day before, "Tesori and Arisa have both been friends to me, and I would help them if I can. How can we not?"

He sighed to himself and thought, We need that wizard alive! he's too damn useful to die! What a pain!

Straightening up he added, "I think we'll probably want to travel light for this one, but let me show you what I've picked up for our general supplies. Feel free to take whatever you think you'll need."

He laid out on the table the following items:

3 lanterns w/ 2 vials of oil each
6 torches
100' of hemp rope
A grappling hook
A 10' pole
A crowbar
A shovel
A pick
4 empty sacks

"Anything no one wants right now I'll lock up in our rooms. It'd probably also be wise to make sure our rooms are paid for through another week, just in case."

Valairn
2007-12-05, 12:27 AM
Shalana

Shalana gave Dacin a quirky look as he lays down the items, she thought the arrangement was a bit strange, but regardless she picked up one of the torches and puts it in her pack. Regardless, she looked prepared, the new clothing and a chance to recover from her wounds had done her well.

Looking to the group she said, "Tesori deserves nothing less than our help, if there is trouble we should go."

jng2058
2007-12-05, 02:22 AM
Dacin

The half-elf caught the princess' look and shrugged, "What? Prince Theron asked me to acquire supplies for the group and generously donated the funds to do so, we're about to go into danger, this seems to be the time to distribute them."

He shrugged again, "If there's something odd about it, I don't know what it is."

TheGreatJabu
2007-12-05, 07:35 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

Ahua pulls the furry cap down on his head, forcing his curly red locks into subjugation. They are flattened to the point where they barely stick out of the bottom of his headgear. Ahua hops up onto a chair to stand up in the seat and get a good look at the items on the table. He raises an eyebrow incredulously. "Ahua wants to look for magician Tesori on top of ground. Ahua needs not tools for digging." He hops back down from his spot on the chair and starts tightening up the straps on his new protective skins as he pads over to the door. When all of his gear is secured, he pulls a small object out of one of his pouches - a small black stone. It looks like a piece of crudely polished obsidian. The halfling closes his eyes for a moment and holds the gem to his lips and begins to mutter quietly to himself in his native tongue.

Valairn
2007-12-05, 08:34 AM
Shalana

She looks at Dacin before replying, "You offering your supplies isn't what struck me as odd, though the items on the table aren't things I typically associate with dangerous situations. But then again you never know."

She shrugged and thought to herself, a bit defensive isn't he?

jng2058
2007-12-05, 11:25 AM
Dacin

"I'd rather have the rope and not need it than find ourselves at the bottom of a cliff and then have to say, 'oh, I should have mentioned all that rope I got before we left, huh?' I agree that much of it doesn't seem too useful right this moment, but hey, I'll let everyone decide for themselves."

He smiled, "I just favor being prepared, is all."

slapdash
2007-12-05, 11:51 PM
Worm, standing several feet from Prince Theron as the others head back inside to examine the gear, produces her spellbook and flips through it, running her finger along the lines of text and muttering a few things to herself, stomping idly in the snow. Darien - the rat, of course - peeks out from the oversized pocket of her new winter coat, which the girl had been immediately fond of, as Theron has picked it out.

After a couple moments, she places the journal back in her coat and smiles nervously at those remaining outside. "I'm with your highnesses, no matter what's in them woods, yeah?"

ajw79
2007-12-07, 04:29 PM
Riate

Raite waits as the others commit to finding Tesori before replying, "I follow you, your highness."

Raite then follows the others to look over the equipment Dacin had procured. Selecting the length of rope, Raite loads it into his pack and moves back out side to join the princes and Worm.

takes the 100' length of rope

Rachel Lorelei
2007-12-08, 06:41 AM
Prince Darien

"Speak up, by all means," the prince tells Worm, with a tight-lipped smile. "Just try to speak up to me before you do it loud and clear."
A wave of his hand dismisses the subject.
"--Tesori is... busy enough. Everyone wants a share of his time, it'd seem. I think you could give it your best shot for an hour or so a day. Just the basics." The smile turns broad and sincere. "I think you'll be surprised."

With that, he heads back to the Bowl and Pitcher.

***

Sitting with the others around the common room's largest table, Darien cups a mug of warm cider and bites into some kind of toasted bread with a crunch. After he's swallowed and washed it down, he steeples his fingers together and leans forward, blond eyebrows rising, keeping his voice a little low, his tone mild and conversational.
"Could we maybe start getting into the habit of avoid the highnesses? You know, just in case. I've never been much for formality, and I'm sure Tommy--beg pardon, Master Thomas--" he tilts his head and a half-grin in Theron's direction, "can let things slide for now."
He blows briefly out of the corner of his mouth to shift one of his feathered bangs and leans back in his chair. His fur-lined cloak is laid over the back; the smoke-grey, metal-studded leather armor he's recently purchased creak as he spreads out his shoulders--he's still breaking it in. The shoulders, too, come to that; he's still wiry, but his build's become a little more solid over two weeks of exercise.
"I could say we owe it to Tesori to make sure nothing's wrong or I could say we need t'know about the gate and can't afford to have'im go missing, but whichever way y'cut it, I'd say we're goin'."
He's traded in his normal noble accent for the clipped words of a city craftsman for some reason, but his face has assumed the determined expression he's often worn while sparring or practicing.

He finishes his drink, setting the mug down on the table, then rises to don his cloak. Unlike Raite, he has no pack, and has shown no signs of reaching for anything on the table.
"Be right back. Nature calls."
He heads for the door.

jng2058
2007-12-11, 01:02 PM
Dacin

Once everyone had taken their pick of the gear, Dacin took a simple sack which he rolled up and stuffed into his backpack. Everything that no one else wanted just yet was placed in one of the other sacks, taken up to the room they'd rented, hidden under the bed, and locked into the room.

It's not great, but there's nothing that can't be easily replaced in there, so its worth the risk.

With the gear taken care of, Dacin went back outside and had a look around, particularly to see what Darien was up to. The prince was often too clever for his own good, and someone had to keep the money train alive. Not at the cost of his own life, of course...he'd seen what happened to the Vigilants who were dead to a man save for Raite...but in the long term, if he could keep the princes alive, the better chance he'd have of making out well when this was all over.

Especially Darien. Theron had a few too many morals to be a really good leader. But Darien...Darien was someone who could be reasoned with to see things the smart way.

Dacin smiled. He'd seen a lot of politics in his time as a page, and it would be interesting to come back to Auldaria as a player instead of a pawn. He'd have to give that some thought.

In the meantime, though, there was a mage and a his daughter to find, princes to keep safe, and money to be made.

He checked his crossbow and loaded it, getting himself ready for anything.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-12-11, 02:52 PM
Prince Darien

The younger prince does nothing suspicious: he relieves himself in an alley, cursing about the cold, and then laces up his trousers and heads back inside.

jng2058
2007-12-11, 05:30 PM
Dacin

Dacin nodded to the prince as he went back inside, but remained outside himself. He propped the door open a couple of inches so he could hear any discussions going on, but mostly he focused on watching the route to Tesori's place, keeping an eye out for any sign of the errant wagon, Tesori or Arisa, or anything else out of the ordinary in that direction.

Not the first time I've been the lookout, and probably not the last.

Valairn
2007-12-11, 05:36 PM
Shalana

Looking about she says, "I think we've made up our minds, we should head out soon, time could make all the difference, depending on what we find."

DoNotFearToTread
2007-12-12, 06:59 PM
Theron remains outside as the others go back to pick over the equipment. When everyone finally returned he checked his own gear and, with approval all around, set off to lead you on the path. The town fades away behind you and eventually the smaller homesteads also disappear, giving way to thick forest. The walk is not difficult and the weather is tolerable given your change in attire. Occasionally an animal darts across the path or leaps about the trees but nothing makes an overt threat against you. It is nearly fourty minutes later that you first catch sight of smoke through the canopy above. Thick and gray, it lingers in a column that rises from somewhere up ahead.

As you near the clearing it becomes obvious that something is wrong. Smoke hangs in the air and the taste of burnt wood lingers in the back of your throats. From the trail you can make out the cabin, now consumed by a dying fire, and a single body sprawled out in the snow nearby. Footprints track randomly about the clearing and several areas are stained red by blood. A battle had been fought here, and it hadn't been long ago. Everything remains still, however, and the participants are nowhere to be seen.

( Spot/Listen type checks for more information if you desire. )

Rachel Lorelei
2007-12-12, 07:31 PM
(Spot, Listen: 1d20+7=25, 1d20+2=8 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1422499).)

Prince Darien

Darien curses as soon as it becomes apparent that the smoke is not just a chimney hard at work, and quickens his pace; when the clearing comes into view, he hurriedly slides his arm into his buckler's straps and tightens them, and then breaks into a jog, stringing his bow as he goes. He scans the clearing as he runs, both to keep an eye out for kobolds or whatever else may be responsible, and to try and identify the body.

Valairn
2007-12-13, 09:46 AM
Shalana

Shalana reaches back and pulls her bow from its tie. She knocks an arrow quickly, and follows after Darien slowly, looking for anything out of the ordinary. Looking back she says, "If you have one, bring your weapon to the ready."

Spot: [roll0]
Listen: [roll1]
Apparently I'm a blind archer. Sweet!

ajw79
2007-12-13, 10:35 AM
Raite

Raite follows Darien's lead, quickly stringing his bow and scanning the surrounding woods.

spot: [roll0]
listen: [roll1] If Raite spots trouble, he'll try and position himself between it and the rest of the group.

jng2058
2007-12-13, 03:19 PM
Dacin

With his crossbow already out and loaded for most of the trip, Dacin was ready to go. He skulked off to the side, seeking cover amongst the trees. He moved forward as well so he could keep himself concealed as well as cover the rest of the group as they advanced.

[roll0]
[roll1]
[roll2]
[roll3]

slapdash
2007-12-14, 12:34 AM
As the others move forward, Worm takes a step back, eyes narrowing a bit as she scans the clearing ahead. She draws in a sharp, hissing breath between her split teeth, face contorting into a worried frown at the sight of the body, and the sight of her companions rushing recklessly toward it. Her hand drifts to the pouch at her waist, and she cranes her head to and fro, looking for any sign of who might have done this.

TheGreatJabu
2007-12-14, 06:27 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

As Ahua plods alongside the others, he seems to constantly be puzzling over something in his mind. There's hardly a moment that he seems to look up at the path before them. As they begin to near the cabin and see smoke in the distance, the Evisan finally seems to take notice of his environment. Strange. The bonfires of my whole tribe never seemed to smolder so much. I suppose even fires are larger in this world.

His assumption was proven quite wrong when they arrived on the scene. The torched cabin, the blood, the body; death. The halfling's jaw drops, and he spits out a harsh whisper that...seems to be directed at himself, despite its wording. "The cry of spirits was not heard by Ahua! Where is this 'guidance'?!" Overcoming the spurt of anger and disbelief from the shock of the situation, Ahua draws in a deep breath and seems to pull his thoughts back into himself.

OOC: Time to let that little Spirit Guide do some work with that Alertness of his! (Yeah - I'm a spirit shaman. Denying it was only fun for about 30 seconds) :smallredface:
Spot: [roll0]
Listen: [roll1]

DoNotFearToTread
2007-12-14, 02:26 PM
Theron's shoulders drop as he watches the group dart about in seperate directions. He shoots a glance to Worm as he pulls the sword from the sheath on his hip. "How quickly the lessons of the past are forgotten. Stay behind me." His voice is low as he beings to trudge off after Raite.

The clearing is a shadow of what it was the last time you saw it. The cottage and stables are husks, having caved in on themselves as the flames consumed them. The flickering of the fire indicates that it is near finished, having burned for a lengthy time before you arrived. The body in the snow is not alone. Another is held to a tree nearby, the method of keeping it standing unclear from this distance.

Spots 15+

The body in the clearing is Elia's. She doesn't move, and the blood soaking her robes indicates significant trauma. The body on the tree is Tesori and he is in much the same state. The tracks that move about the snow would indicate near a dozen individuals involved in their creation.

Spots 20+

Several depressions in the snow indicate that other bodies fell here and were carried or dragged away. The prints seem to move from the cave entrance and linger around the cabin. Some seem to also move off into the trees opposite the direction you arrived from. Close examination of the area reveals a few crossbow bolts, their shafts broken from striking stone, littering the area. If someone cleaned up after this, they clearly felt it wasn't worth taking broken equipment.

Spots 25+ (Yes, Darien, I'm talking to you)

As you break through the trees, you are able to get a full view of the area. Elia's injuries appear to be the result of some slashing weapon of great force. Likely an axe or greatsword. She also seems oddly positioned, as though she were laying on top of something. Tesori's injuries are more precise, probably applied with a dagger or knife. A dagger hilt rests against his throat, answering the question of how he remains upright against the tree. Considering the strength required to drive a knife through a person and a tree is a somewhat discomforting thought.

From what you've seen of the creatures in the caves, this kind of carnage is beyond their capability.

Listens 20+

Noises from deep inside the cave touch your senses. Movement and talking, too faint to be understood. It doesn't sound human, though. The echo effect of the cave makes judging the depth of the source difficult.

Knowledge: Nature

The bodies seem undisturbed by local fauna. This area seems well suited for wolves or predatory cats. The fire may have held them back for a time, but it is unlikely that this occured more than a couple of hours ago. Three, at most.

Knowledge: Military Tactics + Spot 20+ (Yeah you, Raite)

A moment taken to survey the tracks allows you to form a picture in your mind. Men, armed with crossbows and swords, sweep out from the cave entrance and split to flank the cabin. Several move forward in plain sight to draw attention and lure out the inhabitants, then the crossbows open to taken down any overt threats. It is a pretty standard method of overrunning an enemy encampment, but something went wrong here. The chaos in the center of the clearing indicates a prolonged battle for which the attackers were unprepared.

Valairn
2007-12-14, 02:50 PM
Shalana

Shalana is not but a few yards in front of Theron when he says his statement. Her bow is at the ready and she continues to move forward slowly, watching Darien's flank. She turns her head and says, "I have learned my lesson, and I have my sites on protecting Darien, don't fear for him, he is in good hands."

She opens her mouth to shout ahead, but decides against it. Shalana halts her movement completely and crouches down, drawing her bow completely, ready to fire a shot if needed.

jng2058
2007-12-14, 03:20 PM
Dacin

Dacin spoke softly and in Elvish, just loud enough so that Shalana can hear him from the edge of the woods.

"I'll cover the cave entrance from the woods, please pass the word to the others."

So saying, he faded into the copse of trees, and maneuvered towards the cave hoping to get around 30 feet or so from the mouth while still in cover if possible, as close as he could to allow him to stay in cover if not. He kept his ears and eyes open for signs of any other lurkers, either for a watchman left behind by the attackers or for Arisa who had used these same woods to shoot from during the fight with the kobolds.

Rolls, if needed:
[roll0]
[roll1]
[roll2]
[roll3]

Valairn
2007-12-14, 03:37 PM
Shalana

Turning her head she said to Theron, "Dacin is going to watch the cave, do you want me to join him, or stay here?"

ajw79
2007-12-14, 06:26 PM
Raite

As Raite takes in the scene, his initial horror is replaced by a careful appraisal of the situation. Tactics... someone knew what they were doing. Raite thinks back to the chaotic melee in the cave. The unorganized forces rushing to get to grips with each other, no thought given to the actions of their allies. The destruction of the cabin couldn't have been at the hands of the beasts from the cave. Not unless someone was directing them with more military skill than they had previously exhibited. No matter the source, Raite doubted this was a foe the small group wanted to meet in the open clearing.

The young vigilant calls back to Theron, "Theron, get the others under cover." Turning towards the cabin, he next calls to Darien, "We should join your brother and the others in the woods until we're sure whoever did this is gone."

If Darien heeds Raite's advice, he will follow the prince to the apparent safety of the woods at the clearings edge, if not, he'll say something unfit for the ears of polite company and follow the prince towards whatever doom awaits them.

"The unorganized forces rushing to get to grips with each other, no thought given to the actions of their allies." I'm not sure if I meant this to refer to the goblins, the kobolds, our party or all three groups equally.:smallamused:

TheGreatJabu
2007-12-14, 10:05 PM
Ahua of Chamahez

Ahua spends a few moments observing the surroundings. The bodies and the shattered bolts are plainly seen, but Ahua is somewhat unnerved by the silence of nature - it seems as though nothing in the area is stirring but the fire within the cabin. As Ahua wonders upon this, the faint whisper is heard at his shoulder once again.

"Reach out further. The spirits of those lost direct us to the caves." Ahua turns to stare towards the cavern. After a few moments of focusing, he can barely detect them - the murmur of voices. Ahua nearly gasps, but is able to replace his surprise with inner gratitude towards his guide. He whispers conspiratorially to the others.

"Da'cin goes to hear the voices of the caves. Somethings lurk within. Very possible it is the enemy."

slapdash
2007-12-16, 09:30 PM
The girl stuck close behind the prince, a task she had no quarrel with, and her wide eyes flickering around the scene in front of them, searching her mind for any scrap of information in all her books and studies that might give a hint toward what they've gotten themselves into.

One thing nagged at her, and she hesitated for a moment before giving the notion voice: "D'you think that maybe - I mean, if someone had followed us through, and came here...?" She leaves it unfinished, dangling in the frigid air, either unsure or unwilling to finish the thought.

DoNotFearToTread
2007-12-17, 10:35 PM
Darien doesn't seem to register Raite's request as he surveys the clearing, the blade bobbing slightly in his hand. His lack of response is uncommon for one so reactionary.

Theron watches Dacin stalk off towards the cave and his voice comes out as little more than a hissed whisper. "Darien's a damnable fool and has been since he drew his first breath. That's why we have Raite to watch over Darien. You are royalty and I'd like to see you show more sense than my brother. We are already going to have to explain your scars to your family when we get you back to Yunis. I'd prefer not to have to explain your corpse instead." Raite's suggestion cuts across the distance then, and Theron motions to a close-set grouping to trees near the edge of the clearing. "What I'd prefer is that you set up there and put that bow to use if Dacin stirs up anything by the cave. I expect we'll be forced into fighting but I want that to be as far from now as possible." He glances back to Worm then. "You too. More of the hiding and less of the bow, though."

Worm

Books are plenty useful, it seems. Staring across the field at Tesori, your mind slips back to one of the many nights you spent pouring over the texts in the Magister's tower. The placement of the wounds, the positioning of the body, the cruelty...it all seems so familiar. Was it a ritual? An image flickers through your thoughts, a rough woodcut of a city gate on which a man was similarly held. What did it say? Pinning?

It all suddenly returns to you. The method of execution for traitors during the reign of Erasti. That would be what...a hundred and seventy years ago? That was it. During the initial stages of the first war with Velaxia, when Auldaria was riddled with people sympathetic to the Velaxian cause of freedom, King Erasti was rumored to have created a secret arm of the royal guard for the sole purpose of hunting traitors. The existance of this group is hotly contested among scholars, as no physical evidence has ever arisen and the acts attributed to them would be difficult for all but the strongest men, but the deaths were distinct and definate. The Juger Des Lames, Knives of Judgement, would utilize a method of execution called the goupiller, or pinning.

Presumably a terror tactic, the victim would be be cut precisely to sever the muscles required for movement of the limbs, then pinned to a surface through the throat using a dirk. Less than a dozen cases were reported and when the war came in earnest, the killings became insignificant against the carnage. Soon the Juger Des Lames were a faded memory, a ghost story to frighten children for a time and then nothing. Still, the descriptions of the goupiller are strikingly similar to what you see.

Dacin

You're able to get nearly thirty feet from the entrance. The cave is dark and the sounds from within are no clearer to you. They are too infrequent to be any organized group.

Valairn
2007-12-17, 11:19 PM
Shalana

Shalana wastes no time in response to Theron, "My scars are my own, when and if I return home with scars, and they have need to question it, the only answer I will have to give is, I fought in a battle. My fighting for you is just the beginning of an alliance that could last longer than my life, and if I die to serve that cause, so be it. The resolve of my people has already been tested countless times, and if I am allowed to join that great test, then I am honored and not afraid."

With that she let the tension on the bow go slowly, and moved over next to where Theron had said to set up. She didn't pull the bow taut, but she kept a wary eye upon the cave, ready to fight if needed.

Spot:[roll0]
Listen:[roll1]

slapdash
2007-12-18, 12:59 AM
Worm stares, brow furrowed, at the grisly scene, wishing she hadn't dredged up that bit about the goupiller - some things were best left in the back of the mind, and moldy murder methods were probably one of them. Still, she looks to Prince Theron before moving toward the indicated spot.

"Is his highness familiar with the Juger de Lames?" she whispers, gesturing at the body. Anyone familiar with the stories might be able to help her give credence to the hypothesis, but if the prince was not so informed, now was not the time to make him so, and she turned and crept through the snow, crouching behind the bushes and mouthing something before pointing a finger at Dacin.

"Psst!" comes Worm's voice, sounding like a whisper at the half-elf's shoulder. "Listen, if you see something or need to warn us, just move your lips like you're talking, ok, and I'll hear you."

Meeeesssssage!

jng2058
2007-12-18, 10:13 AM
Dacin

Dacin nodded and mouthed back, "Understood."

Well, Dacin thought, maybe Worm's good for something after all. It was handy that Tesori had taught her a few tricks and fitting that she use them to avenge him.

The half-elf kept a silent and hidden watch over the cave. He aimed his crossbow at the entrance and waited. It seemed inevitable that Darien and Raite would attract attention standing out in the open like that, and Dacin wanted to be ready when they did.

Edited to fix some grammar.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-12-19, 03:07 AM
Prince Darien

Darien abruptly drops back into a crouch from his stiff posture, and skitters back to the group. His expression is grim, and he keeps his voice low.
"Tesori and Elia. Dead, both." His knuckles are white around the wood of his bow. "Someone pinned him to the tree by the neck. Must've been frightfully strong, to do it..."
He shakes his head. "No one moving out there, like I thought." A glance in Dacin's direction. "The cave, though..."

DoNotFearToTread
2007-12-22, 02:15 PM
Gathered in the treeline to discuss the situation, none of you notice any change in the clearing. Dacin does not catch sight of anything within the cave either. Theron speaks up after studying the area for several minutes.

"Whoever did this didn't stay to see the fires burn out. We shouldn't linger, just the same." It is then that the bushes near the bulk of the group shudder and a spear rises up from the undergrowth. Half a dozen kobolds appear like ghosts, silent but for the crackle of leaves as they stand. One bears familiar markings as he motions to the others to group up and rests his spear, now clearly broken at the back to make it suitably sized, on his shoulder. The others bear similarly altered spears, a few bearing leathers or small wooden shields as protection.

"This one knew the Talls would return to this place. The night gaunt spoke strange words but this one has ways of understanding." Zesh extends a crooked finger towards the clearing. "The Broken Spears clan saw the dying here as they were following the old trails. 'Princes' were sought by the makers of death. This one believes you to be the cause."

Valairn
2007-12-23, 12:56 AM
Shalana

Shalana looks at Theron, waiting for a response from him to Zesh, it didn't seem right for her to speak first. She instead focused her attention on the area surrounding them, making sure they were not caught unprepared.

Spot: [roll0]
Listen: [roll1]

jng2058
2007-12-24, 01:07 PM
Dacin

Dacin glanced over at the others, then at Zesh and his minions. It was rather disturbing that they'd managed to just appear like that. He wondered if there was some magic involved.

Hmm. Magic to make one go unseen. Think what I could accomplish with that! I'll have to look into that....

Returning his attention to the situation at hand, he found it to be most unsatisfactory. If Zesh and company attacked, he wasn't in a great position to do much about it, though at least he'd also be relatively safe. On the other hand, it was possible that one or more of Zesh's folk hadn't broken cover and were watching him right now. That's how he'd have done it, in Zesh's shoes.

But....but if he moved into a better place to cover Zesh then he'd not only risk giving away his position if they hadn't spotted him yet, but would also give up covering the cave entrance and whatever creatures were lurking in there.

Decisions, decisions.

Well, he concluded, safety first.

Focusing on the woods around him, Dacin tried to discover if there were any other kobolds hiding nearby, and particularly if there were any near him.

[roll0]
[roll1]

TheGreatJabu
2007-12-24, 06:25 PM
Ahua of Chamahez

The sudden and mysterious appearance of several of the Small-Lizards from earlier gave Ahua a great sense of alarm. Hoisting his spear, he quickly hustled up to the "front rank" of the group. His instincts told him to attack, but he couldn't ignore the fact that the creature seemed to be attempting to speak with them. He vaguely remembered one of the creatures helping them escape from the caves - could this be him? Each dog-lizard looks the same to Ahua.

slapdash
2007-12-26, 10:02 PM
"'Makers of death?" Worm asks in Spine Speak, her nose crinkling a bit in thought once she recovers from the surprise of the kobold's emergence from the bushes.


"What did they look like? Was they dwarves? Er, that is to say, longbeards? An' did you see what happened to the other talls? The smaller ones?"

Rachel Lorelei
2007-12-28, 07:25 AM
Prince Darien

Darien whirls, glaring for a moment--perhaps at the affront of someone escaping his keen vision. He runs a hand through his blond hair, then shifts one of his bangs. It's a nervous habit; he's clearly a little rattled by the deaths of Tesori and Elia.

"Zesh!" he exclaims, when the kobold steps forth. "Us? Why? What d'you mean by 'night gaunt', and who did this?

DoNotFearToTread
2007-12-30, 03:33 PM
The largest of the kobolds, more than half a foot taller and and wider than Zesh, smacks the butt of his spear against the ground and growls. As he moves, the skull that hangs from a leather cord around his neck sways from one side to the other. The painted markings on this one are dark green and black, seperating him from the yellow and white of the others. His voice is suprising deep for his kind, as well. "These talls ask too many questions. The Broken Spears have no time for this." Zesh is quick to respond with a lowering of his head, his hands extended before him.

"This one must be brief. We travel to the conclave in the north. This world has changed and we must adapt. A night gaunt is a beast of darkness with no face. Long have the stories lived in our clan of how they steal souls and makes slaves of their victims." Zesh seems ready to elaborate, but a growl from the larger kobold sets him back on track. "This one saw the night gaunt arrive with mindslaves. Longbeards and talls, both. The night gaunt totured those talls, demanded 'princes', but the talls would not speak. The night gaunt killed that one..." A finger extended towards Tesori. "...while its slaves killed the other. The slaves burned the wood-home while the night gaunt returned to the cave. Some followed while others went into the trees."

"The Broken Spears have done a service for friends-of-Zesh. They will remember this thing and honor it." The larger kobold made it clear that this was no request. "We leave now!" His command was answered by a bark of acknowledgement from the others before they turned to make their way back into the undergrowth.

Valairn
2007-12-30, 05:35 PM
Shalana

"Not to take the death of our friends lightly, but we should see if Tesori's spell book and his journal were not burned with the house, I will search his person, if no one else feels up to the task, his knowledge was useful to us in life, and it would dishonor him to not use it after his passing. Also, we should check for signs of his children, and when we have time later, we should bury their bodies, or burn them, whichever tradition you think he would have followed."

Shalana looks uncomfortable while she says all this, in her head she was still desperately trying to recover from the sudden loss of a mentor. She was determined to make whoever had committed such a cruel act, pay for it.

OOC: Depending on the response, Shalana will perform a Search (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1448158/) looking for signs of the children and also the spellbook and journal of Tesori. If she is granted enough time, she will take 10 or 20 on the check.

Rachel Lorelei
2008-01-03, 06:30 AM
Prince Darien

"Merde et mort! We can't, not with the murderers still here. Zesh said the... night gaunt... went into the cave, with only some of its slaves. We may never get a better chance, and if we don't kill it, it will keep on slaughtering on its way to finding us."
Darien's clenched fists impacts his thigh.
"What is this thing, and where did it come from? How did it track us? If it keeps dwarves as... "mind-slaves", could it and other things like it be responsible for the dwarves attacking?"

He shakes his head, bangs fluttering back and forth, clearing his head of important but unanswerable questions; he half-turns, facing the group, voice sliding down into that newly-acquired rich baritone, not pitched to carry.
"The fact is, I don't think we have a choice. We take the fight to our enemy and avenge our friends, or it will hunt us and catch us when we're not ready. I'd like to lure it out, if possible--facing something called a night gaunt in a dark cave doesn't exactly sound like fun and ponies."
He pauses.
"I... won't begrudge anyone the right to run for their lives, but I don't think their odds of survival would be very good if we--fail."

jng2058
2008-01-03, 09:52 PM
Dacin

Dacin whispered softly, trusting in Worm's magic to bring his words to her ears, "Five'll get you ten Theron stomps all over Darien's little speech and calls him an idiot for even thinking about it. Care to wager some of your cleaning up money?"

He shifted in place slightly and kept his crossbow aimed at the cave, which now seemed that much more ominous than it had before.

Now a little more comfortable, he added in another whisper "If you'd care to pass this message on to the others for me, tell them that I think charging after...or trying to draw out...an unknown number of enemies with unknown capabilities who were able to kill a man more powerful than all of us put together isn't a recipe for revenge. Its a suicide pact. But tell them that if they still want to try it, I'll provide a little sneaking and sniping. I rather liked Elia, and she deserved better than this. Just don't expect me to be the one going in there to draw them out. I'll be staying out here in the woods."

Where I can make a break for it if it goes sour, which it probably will, he thought to himself.

slapdash
2008-01-03, 10:09 PM
"Well, highness, a nightgaunt is a boogeyman of sorts up in these parts. Back in the workhouse they used t'say that if we tried to run off the nightgaunt'd eat our souls an' enslave us. I never thought they was real, well, mostly - I knew a dwarf who said his mama's brother's cousin had seen one once - but seeing what we've seen as of late..."

"And not to sound too hopeful, highness, but if he exists, and he came out of the cave an' they'd never seen him in these parts -" she gestures toward the undergrowth into which the kobolds had retreated, "then it seems to me that maybe he came to be here the same way as us, and might've gone back that same, through the portal, and not that I wouldn't like to think they've sorted the whole dwarven invasion thing out, but chances are they ain't done so, and we'd have a hard time following 'em."

"And not to say that everyone hasn't gotten awful impressive at waving swords and all in the last, um, two weeks, but if he - could be a she, I s'ppose - can control a bunch of folk and still be able to hang up Tesori, Odin rest his soul, easy as that, we probably ain't prepared to fight that. We all wanna make what's wrong right, but there's a right and a wrong way to do that - right?"

She tilts her head to the side a little, and seems to be listening to something before moving her lips beneath her scarf. "You're on, but he's gotta actually use the word 'idiot'." Then she smiles at the others, and says, "Dacin agrees with me mostly, but says he can shuffle around a bit and shoot 'em from the dark, so long as you whistle and wave the meat in their faces."

Looking at Shalana, she turns and adds in a soft voice, "Time or not, this ground's too frozen to bury anything. You wanna do right by them, or at least Tesori, closest I think we can get is throwing a couple copper on their eyelids and wrapping 'em up. Cold oughta keep 'em preserved, though, if you'd rather cart them back to town."

Valairn
2008-01-04, 08:40 AM
Shalana

"They were good people, they should be honored, all of them. It may be true that we aren't fit to deal with this threat yet, a retreat for now could be justified, but where are the children? If they are still alive we should find them."

Her eyes dart around, talk of dark creatures bothered her immensely. She couldn't articulate how she felt at the moment, but it was a mixture of rage and pain, no one deserved this kind of death, especially people who were so kind.

ajw79
2008-01-04, 10:53 AM
Raite

Without taking his eyes from the cave opening, Raite speaks to the group near the princes. "I don't like the idea of going into those caves after the thing that did this. If we go after the slaves who went into the woods, we may learn something about the nightgaunt without having to fight it."

jng2058
2008-01-04, 11:28 AM
Dacin

Dacin chuckled silently into Worm's ear from across the way, "Alright, but any other insult to his intelligence, be it moron, stupid, dumb, or whatever is a push...no winner, no loser."

He shifted the crossbow a bit, then frowned. It occurred to him then that there was a problem here. If some of the "mind-slaves" had gone into the woods, they should have seen the group traveling up the road to the cabin, and presumably should have attacked. That seemed to suggest there were three possibilities...

First, that the slaves had seen them and chosen not to attack for some reason. Given the violence they'd shown here that didn't seem too likely.

Second, that they'd seen the group and decided to follow them to see where they went. He'd been pretty careful as he moved into the woods, and again when Zesh and company had appeared, and hadn't seen signs of anyone, be it more kobolds, Arisa, or mind-slaves, so that seemed out as well.

The third option was that they'd passed each other en route, and that meant...

Dacin straightened up a bit and swore into Worm's ear, "Damn! Tell the princes that I think the slaves in the woods may have gone to attack the town, which is how we missed them on the way up!"

DoNotFearToTread
2008-01-04, 06:20 PM
"This whole night gaunt thing makes no sense. Even if there was such a creature, and I'm not ruling it out given the sudden abundance of pint-sized fairytales I've seen recently, it doesn't explain why one would come looking for us. Out of a cave that just happens to have a portal that leads back to Auldaria." Theron keeps his eyes on the retreating kobolds until they disappear from sight.

"Still, something did come through here and whoever it was knew that we escaped. I doubt it stuck around or we'd likely be looking at it right now. I hate to suggest walking into danger but Darien has a point. That portal is a problem for us. I doubt any of us can do anything with it and our best option is probably to put as much distance between it and us as possible, but I want to see it again once more before we go." The flames die down a bit and the stillness of the area becomes less severe. A few birds can even be heard in the trees above you.

"I'll go in and check things out. I want bows on that cave entrance, though, in case we come out with friends. Dacin's volunteered and you seem capable, Shalana, so perhaps you can stay too. Do some poking around if you want, I doubt the dead will complain, but be careful." Theron turns to face the halfling at this point.

"You know your way around a wound and I'd feel better if you were here, ready for trouble. If we come out bloody I'll be looking to you to fix it." He steps into the clearing as he continues.

"Darien should stay here. If that cave is dangerous we would be foolish to both walk into it. I'd like Raite's sword and Worm's knowledge with me but I'm asking, not ordering." He sets down his pack and removes a lantern, working to light it.

ajw79
2008-01-05, 12:05 AM
Raite

Theron was the prince who, to this point, had avoided taking unecessary risks. Now he wanted to walk right into Preneur knew what? Raite eyed the cave with a mixture of dread and uncertainty. He knew his duty was to go where ever Theron led, but duty didn't make the chill he felt any less unsettling.

Steeling himself for whatever lurked within, Raite glanced quickly at Worm before replying. "Of course I'll go, your highness."

slapdash
2008-01-05, 11:18 AM
Worm's lips move in reply: "But the prints lead away from where we come, see?" She lifts a hand and points toward the tracks. "Theron wants me an' Raite in the caves with him, and for you and the rest to stay out here in case we come out leading old man trouble, see? Oh, and I'm thinking I won that wager."

Then, she turns her attention to Prince Theron, catching the look on Raite's face before he responds. "Course I'll go with, majesty, but you gotta promise that if Raite thinks it's too dangerous or I see something we ought to not bother, you'll trust us an' go back if we says."

jng2058
2008-01-05, 11:44 AM
Dacin

Dacin's silent chuckle echoed in Worm's ears, "Only if you come back from the cave alive. I'm not delving in there just to deliver a handful of coins to your corpse. Think of it as incentive to come back with the same number of limbs as you left with. Also, do remind the good prince...that's Theron, by the way...that I can still hear faint voices and shuffling in the cave so there's probably something within a hundred feet or less of the entrance that will likely notice him as soon as he enters. Just a word to the wise."

TheGreatJabu
2008-01-05, 08:19 PM
Ahua of Chamahez


Theron turns to face the halfling at this point.

"You know your way around a wound and I'd feel better if you were here, ready for trouble. If we come out bloody I'll be looking to you to fix it."

Ahua nods emphatically to the suggestion. Without another word or gesture, he strolls away from Theron and over to the body of the woman and begins tugging at it. He arranges the body to be lying on its back, pointing westward, with her arms reaching out wide as if to embrace the sky above her. He then kneels down behind where her head is laying and begins to softly chant some low, rhythmic affair in the tongue of his people with an occasional shake of his spear, pointed in the direction of the western horizon.

Valairn
2008-01-05, 10:50 PM
Shalana

Shalana responds to Theron, "I will do a quick search for anything important, but otherwise I'm going to join Dacin as you have asked."

Shalana begins her search at Tesori, gently pulling the weapon from his throat before resting him on the ground, she searches his body, and then crosses his arms together before closing his eyes. She the examines the surrounding area for anything he may have left behind.

After she has completed her search, Shalana begins to move towards the cave, looking for Dacin.

Search: [roll0]

DoNotFearToTread
2008-01-07, 05:21 PM
Worm & Raite

As the others move off to tend to their chosen business, Theron takes up the freshly lit lantern and turns to look down the apprentice. He gives a nod and then holds the lamp out towards her. "Agreed, but you have to carry the light." As he turns back to his pack to prepare a few other odds and ends...

Shalana & Ahua

Each of you begin to labor over your chosen corpse, intent on searching or adjusting as you will. Disturbing the bodies, however, causes a barely audible popping sound. A strong smell easily associated with pitch or lamp oil is the only warning you recieve, but it appears to be enough. Moving mostly by instinct, you each drop what you're holding and bring you arms up to shield your face, diving away from the source of the sound.

All

...a sudden *whoosh* of air accompanies the flames that erupt around the bodies. Small slivers of glass pepper the area nearby as globs of flaming oil steam around the corpses. Shalana and Ahua manage to avoid the main blasts, landing in the snow as steam billows up around them. The fires burn fiercely for nearly 10 seconds, kicking up billowing steam as it does, but the blazes fade of their own accord until they are gone. The bodies have suffered notable damage, burned well beyond recognition but largely intact. The halfling and the princess fare better, the redness on their hands and arms all they have to remember the event.

Theron, having dropped his pack at the disturbance, picks a shard of glass off his sleeve and snatches up the healer's kit from among the pack's spilled contents at his feet. His steps are cautious as they carry him towards the center of the clearing.

( 2 damage to Ahua, 3 to Shalana. )

jng2058
2008-01-07, 05:38 PM
Dacin

Dacin took in the bursts of flame for a fraction of a second, then snapped his crossbow up into a firing position aimed at the cave mouth.

If the things in the cave are connected with the "nightgaunt", now's when they'll charge. Better make sure they get a proper welcome...

Dacin is holding an action for the next few "rounds". First thing out of the cave that isn't one of Tesori's kids eats a crossbow bolt.

Valairn
2008-01-07, 09:33 PM
Shalana

The sudden burst of flame shocked Shalan right to her core. It was trapped! What sort of thing, would trap the bodies of the dead? After checking herself to make sure she was alright, Shalana spit on the ground, and cursed. Picking herself up she stalked off to find Dacin.

slapdash
2008-01-07, 11:34 PM
"I think it's might be them other creatures, I mean they lived in the caves and all - " she begins to respond to Dacin before first Theron and then the explosions interrupt her, and she drops into a crouch, staring wide-eyed in the direction of the blast.

Keeping the lantern clasped tightly in her hands, she looks at Shalana and the halfling, and seeing that they both seemed fine, she lets out an inappropriate snort of laughter which she instantly stifles with a hand.

"Whoever this nightgaunt and all is, they're pretty clever," she muses, standing up slowly and dusting off her thick winter clothing. "Ahua! Princess! Are you alright?" Worm raises an eyebrow and watches Shalana curiously as she heads in the direction of the cave, apparently not interested in Theron's assistance.

TheGreatJabu
2008-01-09, 03:12 AM
Ahua of Chamahez

Right as he was beginning to kneel, the faint smell of burning flesh was all that warned Ahua of the impending danger. He quickly fell backwards as the flames burst forth, singing his arms as he tumbled over onto the cold ground. When his senses stop their screaming, he sits back up and brushes himself off. His arms throb, and he rubs a bit of snow onto them to ease the pain.

When Ahua hears Worm call out, he glances over at her and at the warrior-woman Shalana. He sees that she seemed to have suffered a similar fate as he, and also escaped major injury. "Unkind gift," he comments. "For a moment, Ahua believed this to be strange Large-World death ritual of which Ahua was ignorant. The surprise of Warrior Shalana makes Ahua think otherwise."

Ahua did nothing to smother any remaining flames on the corpse. He took a step back and continued the interrupted funeral rites.

Rachel Lorelei
2008-01-09, 07:26 AM
Prince Darien

Dammit, Ther', you're the bloody heir--at best. Don't risk yourself.

The younger prince keeps his bow trained on the cave, glancing over to the side briefly when the flames erupt.
"Have them come to you, Ther--could be more traps," he calls, trying to pitch his voice so that it reaches his brother but not the cave.

"Get ready. If I was whatever's in there, I'd come out right around now," he says, drawing his bowstring taut, arrow aimed at the cave. "And get ready to run. It chases one of us, the rest can pincushion it."

ajw79
2008-01-10, 10:39 AM
Raite

Raite follows Theron out into the clearing, his sword held at the ready in case anything issues from the cave.

DoNotFearToTread
2008-01-14, 02:02 PM
Theron, seeing that neither of the two were injured enough to stop their chosen activities, turns back and retrieves his pack. After waiting for near a minute he motions for Worm and Raite to accompany him towards the cave. The others can see them enter and disappear around a bend, their light fading from view shortly after.

Worm & Raite

The cave is as dark and cold as you remember it. It twists slowly right, then left again and the sounds get louder as you advance. You can make them out more clearly now, the voices of those creatures that Zesh had called the White Eyes. They go silent and the skittering of footsteps fades in what seems like every direction. Theron motions for Raite to walk beside him, with Worm carrying the light at their backs. His voice is barely a whisper as you step into your positions.

"Eyes open and mouths closed. If they don't bother us we don't need to bother them." As you continue you come to a familiar intersection. Bones litter this area, as do scraps of cloth and broken weapons. Atleast a half dozen bodies here are fresh, clearly not casualties of the battle you were witness to. Theron studies the scene for a moment, seemingly looking for something, then moves on. Stones skip down along the walls to your right and a few quick steps sound off from the corridor to your left.

Each of you can spot the creatures with little difficulty as they seem to make no effort to conceal themselves. Eyes peer out at you as you follow the path, maybe eight in total, as the beasts stay crouched among rocks or around corners. They make no move as you pass, content to simply watch you go. There is a faint smell of rot in the air here, not overwhelming but distinctly present. Theron motions you forward and you soon arrive at the room where you met Zesh. Several bodies lie in the cages here, small holes indicating the scenario of their deaths. Someone stood outside the bars and filled the captive kobolds with arrows, opening the cages to retrieve their ammunition before moving on.

The small hole in the end of the tunnel that leads to the gate seems particularly ominous now. Ducking through it brings you to something utterly macabre. A creature, near five feet tall, lays sprawled out in the tunnel. It's skin is mottled black and its limbs stretch three times the length that they should. Vicious claws tip its three fingers and its face is something akin to a skull that's been pushed in and made narrow. It's dead, numerous slash wounds dotting it's body, but that doesn't make it any less horrific. Theron eases around it and urges you to do the same.

The slight incline down to the portal is easy to navigate, and as you all stand before it that same sense of wonder settles over you. The colors ripple about the center as before, each blending into another before resurfacing again somewhere else. It casts off a soft hum now, where before it was silent, and your skin seems to crawl a bit as you draw near it. There is a smell in the chamber, an odd uncomfortable smell that settles on your tongue as bitterness. Worm begins to notice something different as she devotes her attention to it. A feeling, a sensation of sorts, that she'd become familiar with in her time at the castle. Magic...not the uncontrolled chaotic magic that the portal itself gave off, but deliberately crafted magic. Someone has cast a spell on the portal.

Worm Spellcraft: 14 + 10 = 24

Dacin. Shalana. Darien & Ahua

Minutes pass after the trio disappear into the cave. Only the wind through the trees and Ahua's ritual accompanies your vigil over the area. It is that silence, that feeling of solitude which makes the voice that rises up from back along the trail towards town nothing less than suprising.

"No, no, no...right! Go right, you buffoon!" The creaking of wheels accompanies the sound as it draws slowly nearer. "Two hours late and you're stopping to rest? I'd have been better off using a mule for this! If your mother wasn't such a close, personal friend..." The rant continues, and meets no response from whoever it might be directed at.

Valairn
2008-01-15, 10:46 AM
Shalana

Shalana looks over to Darien when she hears the voices, "Should one of us go check it out?"

jng2058
2008-01-15, 12:02 PM
Dacin

Dacin swore under his breath, then reluctantly broke cover to move over next to Shalana. He leaned in close and whispered into her ear, hoping along the way that Worm's magic had held up, "There's some kind of wagon coming. I'll sneak over and look it over. Keep the cave mouth covered in case something comes out, if you please."

So saying, he sneaked off in the direction of the noises, taking care to stay under cover as much as possible, and moving slowly to minimize the noise.

The initial shock of seeing Elia's murdered corpse had faded over the minutes of watching the cave mouth, and now the cold hard mathematics of survival had returned to the front of Dacin's mind. Damn, this is stupid. We should have hit the road as soon as we saw the smoke. The chances of our being able to fight whatever killed Tesori are vanishingly small. Distance and evasion are our best friends, not combat. And then taking our two best blades into the cave and leaving the rest of us out here? Crap, no wonder Auldaria fell, if this is the kind of military leadership we can expect.

He thought back to the interminable lectures that he and the other pages had been forced to attend with the goal of molding them into young gentlemen. Given the need for stealth, he managed to reign in his usual instinct to spit in disgust.

Still, he recalled the basic introduction to strategy and tactics given by old Lord Weatherby, a few months before the retired general had died of the hacking cough. What was that called? Concentration of forces, I think he said. A small force can beat a larger one if the small one brings everything to bear on only a part of the large force. Yeah, that was it. I wonder what Weatherby would have said about a small force faced with a larger one that splits up into even smaller ones? Nothing good, I'd wager. Damn it all!

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Valairn
2008-01-15, 12:49 PM
Shalana

After Dacing leaves, Shalana fiddles with her positioning a little. Looking at Darien she says again, "He's just as impulsive as I am. Do you want me to go back him up?"

slapdash
2008-01-15, 06:36 PM
Worm's face scrunches up into a familiar expression of deep contemplation, and she approaches the portal slowly, maintaining a distance of several feet.

"Whoever they was, they cast a spell here," she says softly, adding: "Here as'n on the portal, that is. Dunno if I can figure out what it is, but could be it's there to keep us from goin' back through."

Rachel Lorelei
2008-01-21, 03:32 AM
Prince Darien

Darien bites his lip, fiddling with an arrow--he keeps his bow pointed in the right direction, but the arrow isn't nocked anymore. He's been fidgeting more and more as minutes pass without the re-emergence of his brother and the others.
"...no. He's not going to endanger himself, and it's not far. I'll need you here if something comes out."
A twitch of his head indicates the cave, simultaneously shifting his bangs out of the upper corner of his vision.
Damn, it's getting too long. I'll need a haircut soon.