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  1. - Top - End - #91
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Thorus sniffles and furrows his brow. He doesn't like the sound of this. "I agree, we oughta wait for the scouts. Need to know how many they are, else they could outnumber us. Camps can be big; sometimes it doesn't matter how surprised they are."

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    How many armed people are there in Tallhelm's caravan, roughly?
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    "Could there be more than the twenty we know about at the camp, though?" Cecily suggests, but then immediately shakes her head. "This speculation won't get us anywhere. Who's going to go to scout?"



  3. - Top - End - #93
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    The gray elf inclines his stately head towards Alec, causing his tightly-bound topknot to bob. "I concur with the bearded gentleman," he says. "If - if - the boy has recounted the events of his abduction truthfully, allowing these nefarious highwaymen to determine for themselves the time and place of our inevitable confrontation would be a foolhardy lapse of tactical judgement." He shakes his head and his thin, pale lips press together and curve downwards in a frown. "No, indeed. I agree that we should send a small group of persons to investigate the child's claims of an enemy encampment. Once they have reported back to the caravan with their findings, I believe that we should very strongly consider a preemptive counterattack." He slams a closed fist into an open palm with a dramatic clapping of flesh. "We should crush them," he advises. "We should wipe them out, take their spoils for ourselves, and arrive at the city as heroes deserving of the peoples' adulation that will certainly be ours if we do so." He raises his hands, palms up. "They expect us to behave as prey-animals, passively awaiting the slaughter. We should strike them while they think us weak, take advantage of their weakness to win the day."
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Glaffin frowns expressively, shaking his head at Indrys' speech with wonderment. Could the man really be that naive?

    "You're making this out to be some wonderful and glorious thing, but from experience I've never seen combat to be glorious. It's messy, brutal, and people die. If they don't die then you stitch them back up as best as you can and they go off to try dying again. I've never seen someone come back a second time. My home clan has fought in feuds, recent and historical, that've soured me on the glory of combat." His piece said, Glaffin raises a hand to his nose and rubs at either side of it, something Cecily might recognize as a comforting gesture.

    "If we're going through with this, every fighting man here should be doing it of their own free will. Your plan will probably save more lives here than just running through the bandit's trap if it goes off well, but if it doesn't there'll be a lot more bodies than I can patch up on my own."
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  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Leaving the boy secured in a wagon filled with sacks of flour, Alec rejoined the others. Willam had gone over to speak with the guards, most of whom were still under the trees. A few were moving towards the flour wagon, intent on either spectating or trying to make sure their new young friend didn't affect an escape. Snatches of conversation drifted over to where the group was talking; apparently, none of the other men felt any sort of need to be quiet.

    "...still say we ought to wait," one of them was saying. Cecily recognised him as Erne, an older, bearded man who had been with the caravan almost as long as Tallhelm himsef. "No sense running off on a wild goose chase through the hills. The wagons won't take it, and the horses aren't used to it."

    "You know Tallhelm, though." Another put in. "Once he's got an idea in his head? If Loktar 'imself rose up from the fields, I'm not sure it'd give ol' Willam much pause."

    Erne just grunted in response. "Least he's doing the sensible thing and sending Dayne to have a look first."
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  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Indrys remains silent for a moment before speaking, which is somewhat wondrous in and of itself. When he does speak, his words are cool and measured. "I think," he begins, "that you have underestimated our advantages." He motions towards the spot on the ground that had recently held the boy, only to notice, too late, that he has been taken away. He continues the gesture regardless. "The boy has alerted us, albeit inadvertently, to their presence and intentions, which would have gone otherwise unknown before they launched their attack. The element of surprise has been therefore denied them, and we now possess it. Additionally, without the information that the child would have taken back with him, they are in the dark regarding our capabilities to combat them. They will be caught unawares, and incapable of generating a proper counter-defense." His gesturing hand points upwards, then, indicating the sky. "The sun is high, giving us excellent visibility on the field of battle, and we are recently fed and rested, albeit briefly." He folds his arms over his chest and inclines his head. "That said, sir dwarf, I will of course defer to your council."
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  7. - Top - End - #97
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    "Combat's messy alright, but it ain't always all bad. Gets the blood flowin'. Literally. Heh." Thorus shakes his head, realizing he's going off on a tangent. He hates it when people do that. "I gotta say, though, I don't like the odds. Sounds like there's twenty of them, an' about twenty of us. If we take every sword to fight 'em, we'll only be even, and then who's gonna protect the caravan while we're gone?"
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  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Over by the trees, Dayne and one of the other guards had mounted horses, making ready to scout ahead. Tallhelm looked like he was offering words of encouragement, and the group was glad to be out of earshot. Of him, at least. Erne had overheard them, coming over himself instead of joining the others guarding the boy's wagon.

    "Heard you talking," he offered as explanation, leaning carefully on another wagon. "What was your name again?" He asked Indrys.
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  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Glaffin frowns deeply, "I'd prefer you not take that tone with me sir Aneiron. All I said was that each man should fight as he wishes, because this goes beyond the duty of guarding a caravan. If you can convince them to go along with this plan of yours, I'll follow it."
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  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Indrys looks at Glaffin and his amber eyes soften with the slightest hint of shame. "You... you have my apologies," he says, softly. "The heat, and the excitement... it has made me irritable. You're absolutely right: that tone was unacceptable." He shakes his head. "And, no, of course, I'd never suggest shanghaiing any of our fellows into a battle that they're unwilling to fight." He sighs, and unfolds his arms from in front of his chest, letting them hang loosely. "I do believe, though, that once we're properly informed on the subject of the enemy, we may very well have the means to triumph in an attack against them." It's at that point that Erne approaches, and asks the gray-elf his name. "Ah, Indrys," he replies. "Indrys Aneirion, of the House of Neirion. Could I help you with something?"
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  11. - Top - End - #101
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    "In a manner of speaking. I'm curious about your plan, to fight the bandits. If there are bandits, and that we'll know soon enough." Coughing slightly, Erne nodded in the direction of Dayne, the younger guard having just rode away. "Master Tallhelm pays us to mind the wagons, not go chasing outlaws over rough terrain. Now, I've no problem with fighting back. We get attacked, that's our job, right? It's just..."

    Erne paused, as though searching for the right words to make his point. "Well, as I was trying to tell Mr. Jens over there, we can't take carts across the hills, and our horses ain't bred for fighting. If you got a good plan, I'd like to hear it."
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  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Alec shifts a little at this piece of unwelcome news. "The horses that the caravan guards hope to use to ward off attackers aren't trained to stay calm and keep to their commands in battle?" Clearly, this is something he finds strange.

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    "Attacking 'em unprovoked seems like it's gettin' to be a worse and worse idea." Looking over at Alec, Thorus replies, "Just because they ain't bred to be warhorses doesn't mean they ain't trained to stay calm. Ain't optimal, but could be worse. Good horses can be expensive."
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  14. - Top - End - #104
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    "Aye, your friend has the right of it. These are cart horses, and good ones. I'd trust 'em not to panic and run off, but I ain't about to ride into battle on one." Erne looked somewhat perplexed at the question. "What gave you that idea?"
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  15. - Top - End - #105
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    After listening to Erne's question, his follow-up, and then to the others' responses, Indrys is forced to regard his former idea with a high degree of despondency. He cups his chin in a palm and ponders for a moment before speaking. "Perhaps," he says, at last, "a full-scale assault against the enemy is... unwise." He sighs, and when he speaks again his voice is calm and measured. "Mister Erne, I would have to hear our scout's report before being able to formulate a more concrete plan of action. To produce a strategy based entirely upon the hypothetical would be a waste of time and mental effort." He shrugs and looks down at the dusty ground beneath his feet. "But, from what I've learned about our own capabilities, I rescind my earlier suggestion that we assault the enemy bandits with the intention of destroying their operation. I suggest, instead, that we should make rescuing their captive hostages our main goal. Routing the enemy would be justice, but unless we hear from our scout that they are woefully undermanned and under-equipped, I don't see that as being possible at the current time. So, perhaps a smaller group, sent under the cover of darkness, to disrupt their activities and rescue the kidnapped victims."
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  16. - Top - End - #106
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    "I hate to be a negative voice once again, but the lad said we were about five or ten minutes from where the bandits would ambush us. If they go looking for him, they'll find us, and we'll be stuck waiting for them to attack. We can't afford to wait for nightfall unless we're sure they'll wait as well." Getting the hostages sounded like a grand idea, if it weren't for the threat of being found out beforehand.

    "But let's wait on the scout before deciding on anything. We can all agree on that at least."
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  17. - Top - End - #107
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    It wasn't long to wait, sitting in the shade under the trees, before Dayne returned, the other guard with him. The horses looked tired, but happy to be back with their fellows, trotting over to stand in the shade as soon as their riders had dismounted.

    "Just like we expected, sir." Dayne strode up, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand. "There's a broken cart pulled just off the road, and a lot of footprints. Didn't see any horses, or any people, but..." Reaching to his belt, the young man withdrew an arrow from his satchel, the iron head fitted with cruel-looking barbs. "Plenty of these. Pulled this one from next to the driver's seat of the wagon."
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  18. - Top - End - #108
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    This news is considerably less useful than a report of the bandit camp, to Alec, which he'd assumed was the scout's destination. But maybe Dayne is just relaying it a piece at a time. If not, he might have to go personally take a look to move this decision along.

    "No corpses?" he asks.

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    "What was the condition of the road like? Any lines running across it in the dust where they could've had ropes stretched across there, or holes dug to foul up a horse's footing?" Glaffin wonders if they just used numbers and force to stop the kid's cart, because if so then there's a good chance the caravan could barrel through with minimal damage if they picked up to a good running pace. It's unlikely that bandits would chase them that far if they really pushed the horses.
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  20. - Top - End - #110
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    "Didn't see any bodies, no." Shaking his head, Dayne looked over at Willam.

    "Come on," said the Miller-turned-merchant. "I'd like to have the rest of it. We certainly don't have all day to wait around, not if we want to catch the bandits at it. And we've still got to make Seabreak!" He motioned for Dayne to continue, keeping any other comments he might have had to himself, for now.

    "Alright," the guard said, moving on with his report. "There weren't any holes in the road, or anything like that. Lots of footprints, and a couple sets of hoofprints, going slow into the hills. They weren't in a hurry. I couldn't see any campfires or anything like that from the road, but I know which direction they went. I left Tarn here watching the horses, and tried to get a little closer. I didn't get very far, though. Spotted a group of them coming back, so we left pretty quick. They're going to be back to watching the roads, I figure."

    Nodding to himself, Tallhelm let his opinion out at last. It seemed to be a strain for him to keep quiet for so long, the words coming out in a veritable torrent. "Alright, so, the boy was telling the truth, mostly. Or at least, we can assume so. Which means around twenty bandits, and a little more than twenty combatants for us, though I'm sure I could find a few crossbows spare for anyone else who wanted to contribute. They've got bows, which puts them at the advantage unless we can get right up close to them, see how they like swordwork. They'd see us coming if we rushed them, though, and I'm not waiting until night for some fool assault in the dark. Good way to twist an ankle, moving around the hills at night, and I would know!"

    From the sounds of things, Tallhelm was about to launch into another anecdote.
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  21. - Top - End - #111
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    Thorus shakes his head, trying to respond before Tallhelm can begin his next test of patience. "If they'll know we're comin', then we don't even have the element of surprise. I ain't seein' how we're supposed to come outta this with fewer bruises than them." Though he does silently admit to himself that getting out of this situation without fighting seems like less and less of a possibility. He doesn't mind fighting - far from it - he just doesn't like the idea of dying. "You sure there ain't some kind of way to get the drop on 'em, or use the terrain to our advantage, or sabotage 'em somehow?"
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  22. - Top - End - #112
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    Tallhelm stopped in the middle of forming a sentence, looking somewhat nonplussed at the interuption. Thorus seemed to have succeeded at heading off his story, though; rather than start again, he lapsed into thought for a moment, muttering to himself and looking around at the wagons.

    "I've got it," he said. "They're likely to try and ambush us, expect us to be surprised, but we can ambush them right back. Sabotage isn't likely to work, too hard to get close to them unseen with nothing but hills for cover. It might be enough for a small group to get around behind them, though, and we can conceal guards with crossbows in the wagons. Then, when they strike, up we come already in cover."
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  23. - Top - End - #113
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    Glaffin nods in agreement, "That sounds more like it to me. Make ourselves seem like an easy target and rout them from behind. If we're lucky, they might take us for the Seabreak guard and break rank to flee, but only if we hit them hard enough and confuse them."
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  24. - Top - End - #114
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    Actually, one big glaring flaw stands out to Alec: when the unwilling spy they captured doesn't return, the bandits will presumably know that something went wrong, and may rightly guess what the group is planning, when they come riding down the road as normal. Tallhelm's ambush might backfire by the bandits expecting a trap and springing one in return.

    And yet he keeps his theory to himself. Everyone finally seems to be up for a fight, so he isn't about to spook them again.

    "Where would we find this small group to enact your plan?" he asks, amused. He and Tallhelm are probably on the same page for once.

  25. - Top - End - #115
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    "I was hoping you and the others might volunteer for that. No strangers to that sort of thing, from what I've gathered. Especially... Thorus? That was your name, right?" He said, looking over at the ex-soldier.
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  26. - Top - End - #116
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    Thorus scratches his chin thoughtfully. "That's more like it. Kinda risky, but doesn't look like we can do anything that ain't." He glances at Tallhelm and replies, "Yup. S'long as we ain't all headin' to our deaths, I'm up fer any fightin' you send my way."
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  27. - Top - End - #117
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    Indrys thinks it over while the others talk, his eyes narrowed against the waning noon-day sun. It could work, he muses. It was simply a partial revision of what he had already suggested: strike the enemy in their moment of weakness. Granted, it wouldn't be a the glorious, all-out charge that he had initially proposed, but that was fine. He's far too self-absorbed to kick himself for not deciding on subterfuge in the first place, but he does conclude that it's a good idea, playing opossum. Not quite as glamorous or good for his reputation as waging a righteous battle against the bandits, but in this case, perhaps, it would be far more prudent a course of action. And who knows? There may yet be opportunities for heroic actions that would lead to his name being recorded in tale and song. At last, the gray elf nods his head. "I insist on being one of those sent behind enemy lines, master Tallhelm." He eyes the others. "I couldn't very well suggest that we engage in dangerous conflict with the enemy and then stay behind and cower in a wagon when the fighting starts. Those who are of the blood of Neirion do not shy away from bloody combat."
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  28. - Top - End - #118
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    "Excellent. I'll begin the preparations." Tallhelm scurried off to talk to the guards, taking the two scouts with him. The small group, meant for behind-the-lines duty, was left to make whatever preparations they felt necessary before facing the bandits.

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    Here, you can do whatever you like. Search out more weapons, supplies, anything you think you might need from the caravan. If my input is needed, I'll chime in OOC. Once you've all done that, move on to the next bit, below...


    Later, with the horses once again hooked to the wagons, and half the guards hiding behind makeshift fortifications piled inside the closed ones, the caravan readied itself to move. The sun was still high above, shedding warm light on the men and horses below. Visibility would be good, which might turn into a blessing or a curse. Certainly, it would make the job of the infiltrators more difficult. They were riding at the tail end of the caravan for now, ready to break off just before they reached the spot where the bandits had ambushed the other wagon.

    With the crack of reins and the grinding of wheels, Tallhelm's caravan began to move. The caravan master himself had taken command of the second wagon, wanting things to appear as normal as possible. The minutes wore on, each one that passed seeming like an hour, every ear alert for the slight snapping of twigs or rustling of grass that would betray their enemies. Once, a group of rocks cascaded down the steep side of a nearby hill, but that turned out to have been nothing more than a startled rabbit.

    At last, after what seemed an age, they were getting close. The infiltration group left the caravan, slowing their pace and hiding in the dust cloud raised by the wagons. Their clothing, by this point, was gritty with dust from the road, tossed up by the hooves and wheels ahead of them in line. Just up ahead, through the haze of dust, the ruined shell of a wagon was visible by the side of the road.

    OOC:
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    And here we are. Spot checks if you want to try and make out anything more than the broken wagon. Other checks will be handled on a case-by-case basis. What are you guys going to do?
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  29. - Top - End - #119
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Slii Arhem's Avatar

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    Aug 2011
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    Where indeed
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    Default Re: Greed is Good (IC)

    Glaffin volunteers for the infiltration group as well, before they begin their task. He's sure that the majority of the casualties will be with the smaller group, and being able to tend to them quickly will be his prime concern.

    After that, he searches out and replaces his coil of silk rope with another, assuming he has Tallhelm's blessing to do so. Shouldn't go anywhere without a good sturdy coil of rope.

    -----

    After they begin their approach, Glaffin's eyes rove over the hills, searching for anything that might tip him off as to where their ambushers might be hiding. Tracks, disturbed brush, or dust clouds especially.

    Spot Check:
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    (1d20+3)[19]
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  30. - Top - End - #120
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    The Orange Zergling's Avatar

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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Greed is Good (IC)

    Thorus peers at the wagon briefly, but suspects that it is merely bait. Ambushers would surely come from the nearest cover on either side, trying to surround them in some kind of pincer. At least, that's what he would do. So he looks elsewhere for anything unusual. His legs itched with inaction, and his eyes were irritated from the dust. He ached to feel the thrill of battle again, as he fully opened his senses to the world.

    Out of Character
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    Thorus changes his active draconic aura to Senses: Allies within 30 feet gain a +1 bonus to Spot, Listen and Initiative rolls.

    Spot check: (1d20+1)[20]
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