The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    Default [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    The Bloody Crown - Continued


    In that dread desert, beneath the moon’s pale gaze, dead men walk.

    They haunt the shifting dunes of the breathless, windless night, brandishing weapons of bronze in mocking challenge and bitter resentment of the life they no longer possess.

    And sometimes, in ghastly dry voices, like the rustling of sun-baked reeds, they whisper the one word they remember from life. The name of the one who cursed them to their existence of more than death but less than life.

    They whisper the name, Nagash.

    OOC




    Elsa's attention had also been drawn to the iron chest, and like Adelbert, she seemed somewhat worried about whatever it contained. Raqiyah's answer did little to appease her sense of foreboding.

    "Hmm. How much do you know about arcane magic, Mother Raqiyah?" she asked hesitantly. "Because I sense strong Amethyst magic around this thing, and I wouldn't want it to make the Book stronger. Please at least tell me this place has many blessings against necromantic spells."
    Raqiyah paused for a long while before answering, her blind eyes seeming to stare into the middle distance just above Elsa's shoulder. If she had not seemed so calm Ludo would have suspected they were trying the priestess' patience.

    "This is a temple of Morr," she said, at last, making the sign of the Raven over her breast. Hieronymus coughed. "And of all the gods. I understand your concern, Magister. You trust most in the work of your own hands to protect this thing. But what hope does one woman, however skilled, have against the power that wrote those pages?" She paused again, leaving time for her words to sink in - or for Elsa to interject. "None of us can fight the darkness alone. It is an act of faith to put our trust in a higher power. Faith is what the gods require."

    Quote Originally Posted by Astoria
    ”Mother Raqiyah, does this temple have any wardens? Guards who keep the sanctity of the temple, perhaps?
    "My initiates keep watch over the temple," said Raqiyah. "We keep no men under arms."
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    "How many of the Iron Company could we station here?" Ludo asked Elsa, aware that Raqiyah would probably also have strong opinions on how many armed men could be in her temple. "And is it safe to have people so close to it for so long? I don't know if it could... affect them, right?"
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    "That is a concern," admitted Elsa. "Thankfully the chest is made out of lead, which dampens much of the Book's power; we've had no problems with it so far as long as it was in there. Still, we'll see to it that the guards are rotated often."
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    ”Fortunately we have enough soldiers from the Iron Company here in Savonne that it should not be much of an issue.” Sighed Astoria. ”It is better than the limited number we had access to at Manaan’s Keep.”

    When their business had been completed in the temple, Astoria would retrieve Aminah, being sure to give extra thanks to the driver of the cart they had hired for transporting the book.
    "Even in these chains, you can't stop me!" - In This Moment, Big Bad Wolf

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    "The faster we rotate the guards, the more people will know about it." Ludo pointed out.
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    "I am sure our procession through the city drew more than enough attention, Master Stubbs." Astoria said with a somber expression.
    "Even in these chains, you can't stop me!" - In This Moment, Big Bad Wolf

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    "They don't know much, though. The guards will know a lot more."
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    "They don't need to know what they're guarding," said Elsa. "We'll work out the details, but it could be done with two dozen men. Four men per watch, three watches a day, and we rotate every week between the two groups. Maybe introduce some unpredictability in the assignments, to prevent anyone from having advance knowledge of who'll be on watch and trying to bribe them."

    She knelt by the chest to cast her spell.

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    Channeling: (d100)[69]
    Casting 8+: (2d10)[1][7](8)
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    The Bloody Crown (WFRP) as Elsabeth Holt, rogue pyromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    ”A wise decision.” said Astoria with a nod as she waited for Elsa to finish weaving her magick.
    "Even in these chains, you can't stop me!" - In This Moment, Big Bad Wolf

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    Only a faint shimmer of firelight around Elsa's fingertips betrayed the magic she was working. To her eyes, though, the circle of protection she had drawn around the chest was as clear as if it had been painted on the ground. If anyone broke it, she would know.

    They made their exit from the sanctuary, and Raqiyah turned to utter a prayer over the closed doors. Elsa felt the filaments of Shyish that lingered in the dark corridor stir in response to the blind priestess' words - whether she saw it the same way as Elsa or not, she clearly had power of her own.

    "We will feed and house your guards if you wish it," she said, turning back to Elsa and the others. "My own initiates will grant them every assistance. I ask only that they do not disturb the worshippers in the temple above - and that they do not enter the sanctuary itself." She motioned with her staff towards the doors. "You have seen there is only one way in, and one way out."

    Outside the main gates of the temple, Valdes was waiting with his men. He listened attentively to their proposals for the guard rota - more attentively to Astoria, Ludo noticed, than any of the others.

    "Two dozen would be a stretch for my veterans. With the recovered wounded, I have perhaps that many, but it would leave none for other duties. I don't know if the lady would be happy. We have our new recruits, but we should not trust this thing to untested men." Ludo could tell he was still unhappy at having to adulterate his regiment with locals. "Perhaps the Southlanders could make up part of the rota. Myrmidia knows they've done little else since the battle..."

    OOC:
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    The ball's in you guys' court. Move this scene on as fast as you like and let me know what you want to do next. Back to the army? Other business in Savonne?
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    WFRP 2E - Tales of Perilous Adventure
    The Hour After Midnight
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Ill Met By Morrslieb

    Dark Heresy 1E - Wake of the Byzantium
    Episodes: I, II, III, IV, V

    WFRP 2E - The Bloody Crown
    Threads: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    "Two dozen would be a stretch for my veterans. With the recovered wounded, I have perhaps that many, but it would leave none for other duties. I don't know if the lady would be happy. We have our new recruits, but we should not trust this thing to untested men."

    "Only a dozen at any one time," Elsa pointed out, "who we replace with the other dozen every week. But that'll be once the war is won and we have plenty of unused manpower. Until such time, two guards per watch should be plenty."

    "I'd love to stay and do my part with guard duty, but I think I've been absent from the front lines long enough. Sforza will want me with him while he mops up the rest of the Duke's forces."


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    I believe Elsa left her horse in Selsan on the way to the Uplands. She'll want to get him back. (I'm assuming whoever owns the stable knows better than to sell off or eat the wizard's horse.)
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    The Bloody Crown (WFRP) as Elsabeth Holt, rogue pyromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    Astoria spent some time with Valdes and the others working through some simple guard rotations for watching the book, even offering up a suggestion that the pair of guards on duty are not the same pair every shift. Toss in a little bit more randomness to try and throw off any chance of scheming.

    ”Perhaps Ranald will show the Capitano some favour and the war will have already been completed by the time we arrive back at the front lines.” mused Astoria with a wistful smile. The Estalian took a moment to re-braid her hair before they set back out. [color]”Do we leave immediately, or stay a night to get a bit of extra rest for the road? We’ve been on the go fairly consistently.”[/color] she said, before eyeing Valdes. ”If there is time, sir, I would sit with any of your men here who are servants of the Eagle if they'd wish."

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    Aside from Selsann was there any other real stops we need to make before heading back up to the front lines? I’m pretty sure Astoria has everything she needs on her at the moment. Spear, armour, sword, shield and her horse.

    "Even in these chains, you can't stop me!" - In This Moment, Big Bad Wolf

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    Adelbert

    Adelbert had accompanied the group to the gates to bid them farewell. 'I suppose this is it until you get back from the war. Try to come back in one peace my friends.'

    He shook hands with Ludo and Elsa and then Astoria. 'May your goddess watch over you Caballera. I confess I am not a Myrmidian - in my home we honoured Margileo - but it would be a pleasure to talk with you again about the divine.'

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    Though Elsa had had her differences with Adelbert in the past, she regretted leaving him behind so soon. But perhaps she could convince him to come.

    "Oh... are you still interested in local history, Adelbert?"

    When the priest perked up, she told him about Harmugstahl; the ruined city that had once been rival to the Lost Library, and where a deadly battle between wizards had taken place long ago. She described their first passage through the ruined tower, and the sealed-up staircase that went down to unknown depths.

    "I want to know what's down there. In the war to come, we can't leave any possible advantages behind."


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    For the second Harmugstahl expedition, we need three or four pickaxes. They're 1gc 60p per rulebook prices. We could buy them from the Guild of Jewellers and Mineworkers, perhaps? I'm assuming the Guild isn't doing much mining now that the Dwarfs have reclaimed the Dwimmulhold. Maybe we can also get some lighting from them.

    Gossip 39 if needed, to get in touch with whoever is in charge of the guild's stores: (d100)[15]

    Haggle 20 to imply as politely as possible that no one else is gonna buy their excess pickaxes anyway, since the Dwarfs have their own, which are no doubt better: (d100)[99]

    (Elsa needs to work on her politeness.)
    Last edited by -Sentinel-; 2019-01-20 at 08:50 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    Adelbert

    Adelbert looked surprised when Elsa mentioned her proposed expedition. 'In theory I certainly agree it is worth checking out but your timing is very poor. With the war still raging will Sforza even let you off?'

    He stroked his goatee thoughtfully, then gave the wizard a rueful smile. 'Still, you are the cleverest of us and if you think it is worth a look I'll go with you. I admit you've won my curiosity. You better tell Irene Sforza you're conscripting me though - I sense I'm still on sufficient probation I'd need an excuse to leave the city.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astoria
    ”If there is time, sir, I would sit with any of your men here who are servants of the Eagle if they'd wish."
    “We are the Brotherhood of Magritta, caballera,” said Valdes with a smile. “You should rather ask if there are any of us who aren’t.”

    With it seeming impractical to set out for Selsan so late in the day, Astoria had the rest of the evening to fraternise with her fellow Estalians back at the castle. Even if they weren’t as pious as her brothers and sisters in the Order, the Brotherhood men were very happy to talk with her - of Myrmidia, of swordplay, of home. She heard a few of their grumbles about the Lady Sforza too, though Valdes put a stop to such backbiting before it could go too far.

    Elsa, meanwhile, took a couple of her Iron Company guards to see if she could pick up equipment for her planned expedition. The Miners’ and Jewellers’ Guild was clearly not the well-oiled machine it had once appeared - she soon found they had store-rooms heaped with the abandoned tools of Guildmaster Gisela’s tunnel. They seemed keen to be rid of them - despite her typically blunt approach to negotiations, she came away with what she wanted at what she felt pretty sure was a knock-down price.

    Finally, Adelbert made arrangements for Bertelis to be left in the care of Hieronymus and the Temple while he was away. The young initiate didn’t seem too happy to be left behind again, but loyalty to Adelbert and Hieronymus’ stern instructions kept him from complaining too loudly. There was something about the older priest the boy seemed to find intimidating. Perhaps it was the owl.

    “Don’t stay away too long, Brother Schreiber,” said Hieronymus. He had made no effort to stop Adelbert from leaving, but he seemed troubled - he always seemed troubled these days. “And do take care. Lady Sforza may have granted you clemency, but the wife is not her husband.” He patted him on the shoulder with his withered hand. “We will need you here soon enough, and in one piece."




    Selsan was a solid day’s march from the city, punctuated only by Giulio’s sotto voce grumbling from behind, and the memory of Irene's insincere reluctance to see them go. For all they moaned about their aching feet, Astoria suspected the eight Iron Company men Sforza had assigned as Elsa’s guards were eager to get back to their regiment – all these matters of priests and forbidden grimoires were beyond a simple soldier’s pay grade.

    Bastard was still stabled at the Hammer and Chisel, as the bruises and bite-marks on the stable boy attested. For all that he was clearly keen to be rid of the beast, the innkeeper was very firm on the subject of stable fees. According to the smudged sums he chalked on his slate, Elsa owed him a crown, seven schillings and six pfennigs. He was quite particular about the pfennigs.

    From Selsan it was two more days to the foot of the Silver Falls, following the narrow and gravel-strewn tracks that traced the north bank of the river through the Karst. As long as they kept in sight of the water, there was little danger of getting lost, but Elsa kept Morrslieb aloft to scout their path all the same. She remembered Captain Edelman and his talk of wreckers in the Knives – such people probably wouldn’t be too picky about robbing travellers by road as well as by river.

    At the falls, they found the cranes Alvarr’s retreating soldiers had destroyed had yet to be replaced, leaving them to undertake the arduous climb up the cliffs unassisted. After an exhausted night’s sleep in the river town, they pressed on across the open ground of the Uplands towards Bunthafen and the army.




    Aubentag, 29th Sommerzeit

    The smell of smoke was on the wind as they approached the siege lines. Adelbert was worried they would come upon a scene of devastation, but the fortress still stood – the smoke was blowing from somewhere further afield, fogging the air with its acrid scent. Iron Company men on picket duty let them pass, saluting to Elsa and Astoria as they rode by.

    Bunthafen rose above the surrounding country as stark as if it had been dropped from the sky, a square pillar of dark grey stone. The huge blocks that made up its walls fit together so snugly that one could hardly have slid a fingernail between them, their foundations built into a weathered outcrop of solid bedrock. It looked like dwarf work to Ludo - or built on dwarf work, at least. Centuries of battle damage and repairs had left their patchwork marks on the walls, marring them with blotches of less skilful masonry. Still the place looked impressively impregnable.

    The banner that flew from the top of the keep was not Alvarr’s boar’s-head standard - red on black, it bore the device of a swooping bird of prey. Elsa recognised it from her first journey to the Uplands as the banner of Falkenwald’s Falcons. Perhaps the Duke was not entirely out of allies.

    In the sprawling siege camp surrounding the fortress, she could see more familiar banners. The black and gold of the Iron Company took centre position, closest to the road and the Captain’s grand pavilion. On the right wing flew the sword-and-thunderbolt of the Storm Swords, while on the left the crowing cock of Sermena fluttered alongside the tree and crossed quarrels of the Thorns. Through the anthill bustle of the camp, she thought she made out Sieghard talking with Ingwald and Zollner. They had not noticed the approaching party - Elsa wondered how close she could get before they did.
    Last edited by LCP; 2019-01-23 at 06:34 PM.
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    WFRP 2E - Tales of Perilous Adventure
    The Hour After Midnight
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Ill Met By Morrslieb

    Dark Heresy 1E - Wake of the Byzantium
    Episodes: I, II, III, IV, V

    WFRP 2E - The Bloody Crown
    Threads: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    Savonne

    Elsa bought three pickaxes and five torches from the guild, keeping one of each for herself and giving a pickaxe and two torches to both Astoria and Adelbert.

    "They're still mine since I'm paying for them," she thought fit to add. "But I'm not carrying three pickaxes all by myself."

    She also bought twelve matches; eliciting some puzzled looks from the guild people, who no doubt thought that casting a fire spell was an effortless or risk-free thing.





    Selsan

    In Selsan, Elsa was more than willing to pay Bastard's hefty stabling fee, even rounding up the sum owed to two crowns. She paid half of the difference personally to the stable boy; Sigmar knew he richly deserved it.

    "I didn't miss you at all," she told Bastard as she saddled him. In response he just tried to bite her hand. Clearly the feeling was mutual.





    Bunthafen

    Elsa scowled up at Falkenwald's banner still flapping defiantly in the breeze. Was the man truly that loyal to the Duke, or merely out of bridges to burn?

    She did not hail Sieghard just yet. She wanted to be close enough to see his expression when he looked at her.
    Last edited by -Sentinel-; 2019-01-21 at 08:53 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Adelbert

    Adelbert had not been thrilled at leaving Savonne so swiftly himself, so he could only commiserate with Bertelis and nod along to Hieronymous's words.

    'Who knows, perhaps we've been lucky and the war will have gotten rid of the husband for us,' he muttered to the older priest. He didn't sound hopeful.

    Bunthafen

    Adelbert frowned up at the banner, then turned in his saddle to address Elsa. 'What do you expect me to do while you lot are fighting?'

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    Sieghard

    As Elsa approached, it became obvious that something was wearing on Sieghard's nerves. It wasn't until after he had dismissed the men he was speaking to that he noticed the others approaching and his mood brightened a bit. "Looks like everyone made it back in one piece," he said, "Is it done then? Is the book safe? Klammenberg dead?"

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    "Yes and no," said Elsa, dismounting. "We stopped the attack, and the threat from the Raven Hills is all but eliminated. Hakon's dead. His men are slain or scattered. We didn't lose a single man. We moved the Book to Savonne where it can be better protected. But Klammenberg is still at large."
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    "He was planning on meeting them in Rivermouth, but he sent his coachman instead so we couldn't catch him." Ludo explained.

    He looked up at the imposing walls of Bunthafen. "I see why they didn't want Alvarr getting here. Are we just going to be waiting outside?"
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    Adelbert

    'That is an excellent question,' Adelbert said after Ludo spoke. He couldn't help but notice Elsa had ignored his question about just what they expected him to be doing here.

    Wearily the priest dismounted and smiled ruefully at Sieghard. 'How about you? How are you doing?'

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    Sieghard

    "I've been worse," He replied, "Not much has happened since you rode off for Manaan's Keep."

    "Alvarr's not in there" Sieghard told Ludo, "I figure he didn't want to take his chances trapped inside with the mercenaries after how easily they handed the place over to Rorik the last time." He paused and looked towards the fortress. "Probably a good decision if that's what he was thinking - Captain didn't want to leave them at our backs so he's been trying to get them to do just that."
    Last edited by TheSummoner; 2019-01-22 at 04:00 PM.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    "And how's that going?" Ludo asked, looking at the defiant banner.
    Last edited by LeSwordfish; 2019-01-22 at 04:10 PM.
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    Sieghard

    "If nothing else, he's got their attention. Their commander is meeting with Sforza tomorrow."

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    "Alvarr's not in there, you say?" said Elsa, surprised. "Do we have any idea of his whereabouts? He doesn't seem like the sort of man to just cut his losses and leave for greener pastures."

    Were she the Duke, she would have returned to Alvarran. Surely this was possible without crossing the Downlands again.

    "I'll definitely be at the talks tomorrow. In the meantime, Sforza will want to hear my report."


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    Sorry RossN, I didn't mean to ignore Adelbert's question... although I do seriously have no idea what to ask of Adelbert, except keep a low profile when Sforza's around.
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    The Bloody Crown (WFRP) as Elsabeth Holt, rogue pyromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    TheSummoner's Avatar

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    Sieghard

    "He's crossed the Karst back to the Shepherd's Valley..." Sieghard said, confirming Elsa's suspicions. "... Burning everything along the way to prepare for a long siege."

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    -Sentinel-'s Avatar

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    Elsa cursed under her breath. "Swear to Sigmar, there won't be a single carrot left in the Reaches by the time this nonsense is over. The next year looks grim even if we win tomorrow."

    Hopefully, news of the loss of Bunthafen would make the Duke's remaining soldiers lose heart and turn against their leader. Alvarr knew how to surround himself with fanatically loyal men, like Jaeger, but the bulk of his armies was just lowly paid levies.
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    Playing:
    The Bloody Crown (WFRP) as Elsabeth Holt, rogue pyromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RossN's Avatar

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    Adelbert

    Adelbert looked grim, but didn't directly say anything for a moment. Instead he looked at Sieghard. 'I can help with some of your injured but we should probably speak with the Tilean first. Believe me this is not an interview I'm longing for but Elsa has an expedition planned. Let's get it over with.'

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    LeSwordfish's Avatar

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown X

    "Wait, do we want to just tell him or wait until after you've been really useful to the Thorns before he finds out?"
    - Avatar by LCP -

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