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    Default Maverick of the Outlands - The South Expedition

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    This thread is for himora21, hoverfrog, warbringer and Strainseir. Other players should refer to the North Expedition thread for posting and actions.


    Riding away from the Arcopolis capitol, a cloaked man looks over his shoulder at the city. He knew this would be his last time to return and live in peace, and that he would not be alone on his next visit. The ambient noise soothes his thoughts, the clopping of the hooves of his horse, the metallic clinking of his sword hilt against his armor, and the sound of the air rushing by his face. He had achieved what no one else had even dreamed of doing before. It wasn't exactly how he planned it to go, but in retrospect it may be even better this way.


    Maverick of the Outlands: Chapter 1


    The heavy metallic noise of elite soldiers in heavy armor marching through the palace was even louder than usual, most of the off-duty watch was more than happy to work overtime to ensure less damage in this time of crisis. Each of you walk up the stairs to the king's chamber, some faces in the group are familiar to some, and the stairs are well known by a couple of you. Entering the King's chamber, the new head of the Elite Guard guides you over to a door on the left side of the room, a chamber used for private discussions for important manners. Before entering, each of you are shaken by the sight of the princess and queen on the floor, killed so shortly before that their blood is still pooled on the ornate marble floor. An elvish woman in white robes is kneeling over one of them, whispering an incantation for a divine spell. When she finishes, her faces becomes even more sullen and she looks over to a man in dark blue robes next to her, not saying a word as the statement is clear to both of them.

    Entering the side chamber you see the king and the general of the border guard in quieted discussion. The king's face is still soaked from tears. The two people from the main chamber follow in behind you and close the door. The king whispers something into the ear of the general and exits the chamber. The head of the guard motions for you to sit down at the table as he and the other court personell head to the front of the room.

    The general begins the briefing, "I'm General Timeous, commander of the Western defense company of the military. The others are Ellina, the court Cleric, Zimian, the court Arcanist, and the new general of the Royal Guard, Marcus. I'm glad that each of you has volunteered on such short notice with only what little information we feel is proper for the public at this point." He nods to General Marcus.

    Marcus takes over for him, "Roughly 3 hours ago, the former General of the guard, Maverick Steelheart, entered the king's chamber, killing the queen and princess and severely wounding the king before the rest of us could intervene. Upon talking with the king, who fortunately survived because Zimian insisted on using magical contingincies, we now know that Steelheart aligns himself with some organization, occupying the Outlands to the west. We believe a bandit group has become organized enough to keep itself hidden and plant agents within Arcopolis, waiting for years to strike and indicating full loyalty to Arcopolis through their actions beforehand."

    Timeous continues "Unfortunately, Maverick has escaped to the Outlands, and we need to bring him to justice. The problem is that the ecosystem of the Outlands is extremely unstable, and any large military mobilization attracts the strongest of the creatures living out there, otherwise we would already be moving a platoon out there."

    "What we need you to do is travel to the Outlands, posing as a group of explorers intent on mapping more and more of the area. Unfortunately, both our North and South entrances claim to have seen Maverick enter into the Outlands. We're not sure how he's done this but to make sure that we don't lose his trail your efforts will consist of two separate groups starting from different entrances to the Outlands. We want you to bring him back alive if possible, but if you have to kill him then bring the body back here. For your equipme-what is it, Zimian?"

    Zimian had signaled that he wished to speak and took over, "Bringing Maverick to justice is important, but we also have a more pressing objective, that must be completed above all else. Given the failure of attempted resurrection spells and the account of the king, we believe that Steelheart bound the souls of the queen and princess to two gems embedded into his sword. King Donovan recounts that Maverick wanted to make sure that the country was in distress, even if he failed to properly kill the king and destroy his body. We need you to recover his sword and bring the gems back intact so we can properly revive the royal family."

    Timeous resumes his statement, "That just makes it all the more important that we find him quickly, for equipment we are giving you all cartography equipment, basic survival gear and special sending stones with which you can contact us with weekly. Your survival kits also have secret sleeves containing sketches of Steelheart and his sword. I recommend that you maintain your cover and don't reveal your true mission out there, as you will surely be killed by the bandits if you point out that you're under our employ to hunt down one of their own."

    "Any questions before you depart?"

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    Default Re: Maverick of the Outlands - The South Expedition

    Melira looks around the room, steps forward with a solemn face, and gets down on one knee. Looking up, she says in a soft, husky voice:

    General, though I may not be entirely confident of my own abilities in combat, we will have divine guidance from the mighty Ellinta. She will guide us to this beast and help us capture him, of this I am sure.

    Melira fumbles around clumsily in her bag, grabs something and walks up to the Zimian, holding out the silver flask to him.

    Please, accept this flask of holy water, blessed by Ellinta's holy priests. I offer it as a symbol of support and sympathy from our sacred church, may it serve as a sign that Ellinta will guide us to justice.
    Last edited by warbringer; 2012-12-10 at 04:01 AM.

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    Gormadoc is too stunned to speak for a moment, the queen and princess dead, how could such a thing happen? Melira's voice snaps him out of it and he feels the familiar rage building up inside him. He would find Maverick Steelheart and snap his neck with his own hands, he would drive his sword into his gut and watch as his life blood was spilled, he would find these bandits and destroy them utterly.

    Knowing that anything he said to the king would be insufficient he says nothing. Instead he stares grim faced at the bodies as his blood pounds in his temples and his hands clench into fists. After a moment he takes the pack. "Steelheart will pay," he states in a neutral tone, barely suppressing his fury.

    "Wait, you said that he was seen leaving north and south at the same time. Was he riding his horse? Steelheart had a fine, black stallion if I recall rightly. Perhaps someone else wore his armour as a diversion but they could not have disguised another steed like that and a trained warhorse would allow none but his master to ride him."
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    Farador stands towards the back of the room, leaning against a wall near the doorway. As the general's explain what little information they have, he tries to absorb everything that's important.

    'Maverick Steelheart is the name, try to bring him back alive, and bring his sword back in one piece no matter what.'

    A young lady, from the looks of her a cleric, steps forward, kneeling before the king. Her words confirm his beliefs. 'A Priestess of Ellinta. Never run into one of those before. Doesn't seem that different from the clerics of St. Cuthbert back home.'

    Then, another of the group spoke up. A man with dark hair and rich skin. Obviously someone who had done more than an honest days work in his life. From his stance and demeanor, it was obvious he was holding back a fury that Farador had not yet seen. The question on his mind, is it a righteous anger, or just bloodlust?

    After these comments had been made, Farador decided it was time to make his own presence known. He straightened up, and spoke his concern calmly, "I know these are difficult times in the kingdom, and I don't mean to press for more than you've given, but what shall we do for transportation? Are we to walk the Outlands, or will we have mounts of some sort?"

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    Conleth stepped into the hall with those around him with a bit of a bounce to his step. This was such a big castle. It does suck that a woman and her child were killed, but it is still really cool that he is actually standing in the royal palace to be hired by the king and his general to go hunt bandits in the outlands. Totally awesome day, for Conleth anyway. Not such a great day for the royal family...

    Conleth was somewhat physically imposing. Standing just a bit less than six and a half foot tall his wild curly dark brown hair was roughly three inches long. His deep emerald green eyes were rather piercing when set against his somewhat pale skin. Despite the dark situation the Young Archer was unable to stop smiling.

    "Aye, so we go in the south entrance after the ****er. Catch or kill the bugger, then bring 'em and his soul sucking blade back so that the wee princess and her mum can be restored. All the while we must keep our true intentions a secret or hordes of crazy ****ing bandits will come to kill us... By the gods I do love me job. The king will get his family back on the honor o' me families' ancestors I do swear."
    Last edited by Strainseir; 2012-12-10 at 01:07 AM.

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    Melira looks around at Conleth, startled.

    while I envy your enthusiasm, perhaps it is better to remind ourselves of the situation. We will be following a single rider, one that has a considerable lead on us. We should be well prepared for an all out siege, should Maverick be smart enough to hole up. Moreover, it is doubly important that or cover doesn't get blown. If Maverick feels safe, he will be much more likely to make mistakes.

    Melira takes a deep breath, turns to general Timeously and asks:
    How much is known of the strength of the outland bandits? Have any invasion plans been drafted up? If need be, you can send for an emissary from my church, our clergy specialises in conquest and swift, decisive warfare. We could prove to be invaluable if the need to invade arises.

    She blushes, wondering if she spoke out of place. Melira looks around the room anxiously, hoping not to see any disapproving looks.
    Last edited by warbringer; 2012-12-10 at 03:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Maverick of the Outlands - The South Expedition

    "No, that will not be what those bandits be doin. If they are holed up somewhere it would be in a hole. If he plans to hide it is gone be in some shyte cave some where. There be terrible beasts out there. Iff'n yea bring a big force or try a siege then the pissed off bitch that is nature will come down on yea like a bloody 'ammer. Me in me Da' been hunting them for years. You can get good money fer some of their hides."

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    Default Re: Maverick of the Outlands - The South Expedition

    Zimian looks at Melira with incredulity, saying "Do I look like a priest to you?" before Ellina steps in and accepts the flask. "Thank you, I'll be sure to give this to the king." She exits the room after shooting Zimian a disapproving look.

    "The information is a lot to take in, but I hope it helps." Continues Timeous." He looks at Gormadoc, "The problem with identifying him by his horse is that both outposts report seeing him on it. Zimian says that the magic to create a replica of himself and his horse is too advanced for even skilled illusionists, especially for him since we've never seen him do anything except use a blade and his genius. We're assuming he has an accomplice who was under a disguise spell in order to leave through both gates to the Outlands, but that's just a theory."

    Zimian speaks up again, "The possibility of an accomplice is the main factor in why we called for volunteers and chose all of you. We can't be sure of whether or not Steelheart has more allies within Arcopolis, so it'd be folly to stretch our resources at home. Each of you is established as trustyworthy and capable, and sending you on this mission won't leave Arcoplis undermanned and vulnerable to any more agents."

    Timeous resumes his briefing, in response to inquiries on equipment, "Mounts will be more of a hindrance, as roads only progress for about 40 miles past the border before rough terrain overtakes them. Both outposts will have horses trained to return to the border once they take you to the end of the roads, but from there it's on foot unless you're lucky enough make friends with something that flies."

    Zimian begins walking to the far wall, "Like Conleth knows, reckless travel in the Outlands is a nightmare. Anyone that survives the inconsistent wildlife and terrain is a force to be reckoned with. Just don't push your luck and go pissing off anything new you discover." He suddenly vanishes, and a moment later the wall comes down to reveal a secret room, outfitted with an odd contraption with wand, scroll and rod slots, several stones projecting odd illusion spells, one of those being a map of Arcopolis, and various other magical oddities. Zimian stands inside by one of the consoles displaying a map of the Outlands. As everyone enters, he continues, "We know very little about what is beyond the first 100 miles, since between the creatures and the mountain range, travel is near impossible, and anyone who has made it over has never come back. As you'll notice by the map, most of the charted Outlands is an arid or forested environment on hilled terrain, given how some weather systems come from some parts of the west, there could be dense jungles and dry desert depending on how the mountains restrict cloud movement. Those sending stones that each of you will have in your equipment pack also have minor Silent Image properties and a tracking feature, so I'll be able to monitor your progress and update the map as you progress into the uncharted regions."

    "And I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your cover mission for as long as possible. If Maverick realizes that someone is close to getting to him, he may attempt to break one of the soul crystals as a warning. At least that's the most logical situation for someone running a hostage situation, but as it is we can't be sure of how he thinks, so approaching and engaging him should be done with caution should you catch up to him. Preferably you report it in first so we can relay the location to the other group so you can take him on together."

    General Marcus approaches and begins handing you the special backpacks mentioned earlier as Zimian walks up to the main contraption and says, "Unless you have any more questions, you will be departing for the border outposts immediately. I'll need Brother Derry, Cutter, Mottierre, Moonshadow and Minus to stand on the green circle over there; and Merth, Twin Blade, O'Neil and Melira to stand on the blue circle."

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    Wary of magic at the best of times Gormadoc nevertheless does as instructed. Perhaps this blue circle will help them to track the group or something, he really wasn't sure why it was important. The delay annoyed him though, why couldn't they get going after Maverick, every minute put them a minute further away. Preparing himself for a magic glow or an odd sensation he grips the blade of his greatsword and grinds his teeth in frustration.
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    Conleth looks at the magic circle with a bit of distrust. Then a though crossed his mind. If they were gonna fry him with magic it would a happened already. So with a shrug he stepped into the circle."So when this is all over, am I still gonna be able to remember me name?"

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    Melira looks around the room, watching everyone get into motion. I guess they're not interested in tactical advice, or at least not from the goddess that knows best... Don't worry, I'll show them what the clergy of Ellinta can do!

    Instinctively, she touches her scroll case. She'd try to take all notes she could about strategically important locations. Convinced Ellinta will guide her team to a swift victory with no casualties, Melira walks up to the blue circle with the rest of her new companions. She's mighty curious as to what it might be for, but she has asked her goddess for guidance on her way today, nothing else. Eyeing the wizard in the corner, she wonders if he knows.
    Last edited by warbringer; 2012-12-13 at 05:00 PM.

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    Farador places his hands together, and bows respectfully to those before him. He steps towards his appointed circle, slightly hesitant, but stands inside it all the same. (Sorry it's short. Working out of town, and only have my phone to post.)
    Last edited by himora21; 2012-12-13 at 09:54 PM.

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    Zimian looks at both groups, and says "Ok, this will be but a moment." He then taps the displayed Outlands map at the locations of the two border outposts, and moves back to the machine. He stuffs a scroll into the tube, mounts two rods in the rod slots and pulls one of them like a lever.

    In a flash you find yourself only 100 feet or so east of the Outlands border. It's a grand stone wall, reaching up for at least 5 stories, with intermittent defense towers that reach even higher. The tower closest to you possesses an expanded base outfitted with increased room and a large set of metal doors, clearly meant to allow regulated passage between the two sides of the wall.

    As you get closer you see two guards leading several horses over to the gate, and they wave to you as you approach. "We have our orders to not delay in your departure." One of the soldiers says, "Eric here was on duty when we saw General Maverick pass through, so he can answer some questions before you depart."

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    Melira watches Zimian with interest, trying to gauge how the machine works. After the flash she looks around, taking a moment to gape at the defence towers... The soldier's voice tears her out of her amazement.

    "Eric, was it? Did you really get a good look at him, or did you just assume it was him from his outfit? Did he seem hurried?"

    She frowns. Why in Ellinta's name wasn't he halted, isn't this whole setup supposed to prevent this type of situation?

    Not wanting to rub salt in anybody's wounds, she sighs and says: "If there is anything specific you can remember, please tell us. Even the details that might not seem important at this moment might hold important clues."

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    Knowledge(Arcana) to determine how the machine works: (1d20+4)[22]

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    Gormadoc leaps off his feet and rolls, drawing his sword as he comes to a stop. "What in the name of the king!" he exclaims, "I hate magic." He drew several short breaths and held the last. Calm again he stood and slung the blade back over his shoulder.

    As they approached the guard he glared at the man. Standing before them was someone who had failed the king and allowed an assassin to escape. Whether this was incompetence or corruption would be discovered but for now information was required. "Describe exactly what happened. Leave no details out. Try to hide anything and we will know you for a traitor." Gormadoc tensed, ready to grab the man if he tried to run. He made it clear what he was preparing for,

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    Intimidate check (1d20+8)[9]
    Sense motive (1d20+2)[9] on his reaction
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    Farador tilts his head slightly, in both curiosity and confusion, and watches Zimian pull a rod down, then nothing but walls and towers along an empty road. It only takes a moment to snap out of his confusion, being brought back to reality by the large man amongst his party leaping forward and drawing his sword. The man and the priestess of Ellinta were questioning a young guard, whom he assumed had been on duty when the new-found criminal was running out.

    He approached the man first, making sure to keep his eyes on the guard to watch for his response. He lays a firm hand on the warrior's arm, smiling as he says, "It is entirely possible, my friend, that the guard here had not heard news from the castle before his former general came riding through. Let's not go calling him a traitor just yet."

    With this, he turned to the guard, bowing slightly. "Greetings, Erik, was it? Do answer the questions as you can. We are in a bit of a rush, but don't let that speed you past anything in your memories. Make sure you account every detail you can remember."

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    Sense Motive: (1d20+8)[10]


    Edit: Ouch, rolled a 2...
    Last edited by himora21; 2012-12-22 at 03:54 PM.

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    When they appear Conleth cannot help but let out a few chuckles. He had never been transported by magic before,"Well that was a thing... Pretty cool." he said before he took notice of the overly nervous sword wielder,"You bet learn to relax o' something. That Kinda attitude will get us all killed out 'ere." He said as he calmly strung his massive bow.

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    Default Re: Maverick of the Outlands - The South Expedition

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    Warbringer:
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    It's really unclear how exactly the machine works, and the best you can do in the short period you see it in action is figure out that it's some sort of enchanted device that can replicate effects from other magical objects (ooc, it's a pretty damn complex spell computer of sorts, if I ever publish a PC-usable working of it it'll have some steep requirements to even understand.)


    Hoverfrog:
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    Your attempts to intimidate Eric make him nervous, but you can't get a read on him.


    himora:
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    You don't sense anything deceptive about Eric.


    Eric takes a step back to keep a safe distance from Gormadoc. "T-t-traitor? What are you talking about?"

    The other soldier intervenes, "What are you going on about? I thought you were coming through here because you have urgent business with General Maverick." He pauses for a moment, thinking. "Give them your account of his arrival, Eric. Something is definitely wrong about this."

    Recovering his courage, Eric gives his perspective, "It was early this morning, and I was on watch for the Arcopolis side of the gate. General Maverick rode up on his horse in quite a hurry, shouting for me to open the gates immediately. He said that he was on an emergency mission for the King, which I thought was odd since General Timeous is usually the one that handles important Outlands operations. But since orders were orders, I signaled for the gate to be opened and he dashed right through without speaking another word. I'm absolutely sure it was him, he was on his horse, wearing his armor under a black cloak and it was definitely his voice."

    "If you're trying to find him out there then good luck, since once a person breaks off the road they become hard to track unless you're accustomed to the woods." Eric nods to the horses. "These guys are trained to stay near what little road we have out there and to come back to the outpost if they're abandoned. They should help you keep from losing too much ground."

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    Melira takes in Eric's reaction, trying to gauge the truth to his words. As soon as she is satisfied that he is speaking the truth, she decides there is no use in delaying the chase any longer. She looks around the group.

    "Well, gentlemen. I say we stop wasting time and get on with the chase!"

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    Last edited by warbringer; 2012-12-29 at 06:55 AM.

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    "You knew Maverick on sight? How many times had you met the man?" There was something that this man knew that would be useful, Gormadoc was certain of it.
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    Farador listens as the guard recounts his experience. It was plain to him that they didn't know exactly what was going on.

    "In case you are unaware, the previous General Maverick has turned out to be a traitor. He killed the queen and princess, and made an attempt on the king, as well. We need to be absolutely sure he went riding through this gate. I assume that, because of the cloak, you didn't get a good look at his face?"

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    "Oi, can we maybe head out then? We know that some bloody ****er came this way that looked like the Queenslayer. Either he or a shade of his Headed south. The same can be said about the north. I say we go after 'im now and not waist the time. To The hunt!" Conleth said rather obviously in quite high spirits.

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    Eric begins to lose composure again as Gormadoc makes him uncomfortable. "I met him just like everyone else in the guard did, whenever he would come by to converse with the other generals, and at official ceremonies. He's a distinctive man, you should know. And he took his cloak off briefly so that we could see his face, since we wouldn't have let him through so quickly if we weren't sure it was him." He looks over to the other two who are clearly not interested in taking more time to interrogate. "You shouldn't delay, and if Maverick really did what you say he did, then you need to be careful. Many people see him as someone who earned his way to the rank of General when we were fighting to secure the border, and nobody questions that it would be folly to fight him on his terms."

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    Gormadoc gives the man one last stare, "See, you remembered that he removed his cloak. Is there anything else? What hand was he carrying the cloak in? Were his eyes the right colour? Was he wearing a hat or did he have anything in his hair? Was his horse adorned in any way? Anything might be important."
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    " 'onestly mate we get that you are trying to be the big tough guy 'ere, but yea don't 'ave to be such a pick to the lad. We are wasting enough time already. Either 'e went north or south. That be the only real exits this way. If we dunnot catch the blighter soon 'e will be lost to us out there. Lets go goin already. Please like an all that." Conleth said as he gazed down the string of his bow inspecting every inch to make sure it was how he liked it.

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    Melira checks her gear and barding, then turns to Gormadoc, her expression impatient.

    "Though I commend your attention to detail, the ranger is right. We are wasting time here. Let us get going as soon as possible, we can introduce ourselves and discuss everyone's strengths on the way."
    Last edited by warbringer; 2013-01-05 at 05:57 AM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    hoverfrog's Avatar

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    Default Re: Maverick of the Outlands - The South Expedition

    "Hurm," Gormadoc made a non-committal noise, he wanted to hit something and though it was true that this talk wasn't going anywhere he resented having it pointed out. "Fine, you're the ranger, shouldn't you be looking for tracks or something." Nobody would be able to track a horseman on a busy street and Gormadoc knew it.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Maverick of the Outlands - The South Expedition

    "Ah... I'm no actually a Ranger. I don't do any that wimbly bimbly magical stuff. I just got me bow and me blades. I am an achers supreme." He said with a wide and proud grin," Just as me Da' taught me to be. I cannot track, but me bow can take down a wasteland beast or two."

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Maverick of the Outlands - The South Expedition

    "Oh my, I must have made the wrong conclusion about your abilities, I am quite sorry!" Melira says to Conleth.

    As soon as the group is out of hearing range of the two guards, Melira turns to Farador. "You DO remember that our assignment was to be discrete, right? You might have just warned Maverick that we are after him! Please don't run off your mouth like that again, it will make the mission neigh impossible..."

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Maverick of the Outlands - The South Expedition

    "If we can find out where Maverick left the main road I can track a man on a horse. I'm not a ranger or anything but I spent years hunting and looking after myself." Gormadoc runs back to the guard, "Oi, Eric, did you see where Maverick left the road?" he points an accusing finger at the man, "Come on, come on, hurry up with an answer."
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