Ongoing Games (In-Character)Play-by-post games are going on in this forum as we speak (well, read). All threads on this board are actual games, so please, only post on a thread if you are a player of that game.
Alec seems to be the only one who doesn't pull out his weapons and go hunting. He just tags along at the back of the group, moving casually. At Indrys's question, he raises his index finger. "Only one. I don't expect much trouble. Raiders come howling on horseback with bows in hand, not sneaking in the daylight. Likely a runaway looking to steal food and water."
Alec isn't the only one who doesn't grab a weapon. Cecily picks herself off the ground and follows tho others are a leisurely pace. She does have her rapier with her at least. She keeps silent for the moment, though she's obviously not overly concerned.
Turning the corner of the wagon, Willam folded his arms across his chest. Someone had done a very rushed job of making a mess out of the wagon's contents, as if hurriedly searching for something. A sack had been sliced open, spilling dried apples across the ground. Caught with his hand in the metaphorical biscuit tin was a young boy, probably around 14 or 15 years old. His face went red when he realised he'd been caught and, pulling his hand back, he stammered out an explanation.
"Ah, sir.. I, ah.. I was just... our wagon broke down, and I ain't got any money, y'see, and, ah... well, I need to eat..."
Glaffin will arrive a few moments after William does, but he was close enough to hear the lad's stammered excuses.
Once he's done panting, he says his piece, "Broken down out here, days from civilization and with no food? Forgive me for being cynical lad, but just how did you and your friends get into this situation, hm?" He's already admitted to having others around, which does nothing for Glaffin's nerves. Never trust a caught thief until at face value.
Glaffin isn't alone in suspecting a con here, particularly being as relatively close as they are to at least one town. Starvation can take about three weeks (depending on the variables), and most people can even go a few days without water in this kind of heat before dying. Surely a stranded group would be better off marching for Seabreak rather than waiting in the hills for someone to steal from, unless robbery was their actual profession and this boy was a distraction meant to draw the guards away from their posts. And so, Alec shifts sideways with one shoulder towards the wagon and the other towards the hills, to alternate between looking at each. He doesn't voice his ideas yet; even if this is a trap, it isn't a bad one, and he'll freely give the boy credit for it. Best to wait and see what happens for now.
Thorus furrows his brow. "Son, I ain't here to be compassionate." Something rubbed him wrong about this whole situation. Many somethings, in fact. Thorus glances to either side, briefly, more suspicious than ever. This kid couldn't possibly be alone. "Ya got any friends with ya, kid?" Thorus looks back at him and glares.
((Can I try to Intimidate him?))
"The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together." - Carl Sagan
Indrys follows after, stretching his legs with every step. Thanks to his leisurely pace, he is among the last to spot the boy. He first narrows and then rolls his eyes. "A child?" he asks, rhetorically. "We interrupted our hard-earned reprieve for a child?" He sighs and turns to leave, to go back to the shaded hill, beneath the tree, when the others, much more used to the threat of banditry than himself, voice their own concerns. He about-faces and rubs his chin with a hand. "Just bind the child and tie him to a beam of the wagon. If he's alone, we can just drop him off at the office of the local authorities once we reach the town, and he'll be punished there for his theft of our edibles. If he's not alone, we can exchange his release for our own safe passage onwards." He folds his arms across his chest and leans back against a post. "Either way, let us not unduly worry ourselves. After all, do any of you see any danger lurking about?" He looks, then, to Thorus. "Interrogate the whelp if you must, but do be quick about it. Time is not with us, and our travels must soon resume." He sighs, puffing his cheeks, and watches the others, looking bored.
Cecily could sympathize with the kid. How many apples did she have to steal to get by only a few years ago? That said, this is rather suspicious. If they were in a town or city, sure, but not out here in the middle of nowhere. "Maybe a couple of us should have a look around for his friends?" She suggests.
"Tie him to a wagon beam? Really, Indrys?" Laelaer asks, shaking her head. "And I'm supposed to be the ruthless one." She notes with a laugh. The drowess hangs back a bit from the group, as there seemed to be no real threat anymore. Since she had her blade out anyways, she practices a few strikes and thrusts. "Tie him up if you think it's necessary, certainly keep an eye on him, but I agree, we should search for his friends. Either they need help, or they're planning something."
"Well, I think tying him to one of the wagons might be a little bit extreme, but certainly we'll need to sit down and have a chat with him, hm? I won't have thieves stealing from my caravan, no matter how desperate. A man needs to earn his way, isn't that right? You fine folks have been doing good honest work for me, and I'm only too happy to keep you all fed, of course. If this fellow had offered something in exchange for his bit of food then maybe I'd be a bit more accomodating..."
Tallhelm started up a speech, but the boy clearly wasn't listening. Looking from unfriendly face to unfriendly face, he had deflated even further.
"No, I'm telling you..." He began, only barely audible under the torrent of words coming from Willam. "It's just over that way..." He turned slightly, as if to wave a hand and indicate direction, then took off running.
I've rolled initiative checks OOC, as well as noting a couple possible ways to slow the kid down.
Glaffin curses in dwarvish, and seemlessly transitions into a short prayer to Tharius as he grabs his coil of rope from his pack. The silk rope slips across his fingers, moving as if a thing alive as he casts it at the thieving boy's feet.
"Stay where you are now!" Glaffin cautions the boy as the animated rope attempts to ensnare his legs, slowing him up.
Pulling 50ft of silk rope from my pack as a move action, then casting Animate Rope on it as a standard action, and dropping it into the boy's square as a free action so it can try to entangle him. I cleared it with Destro first, and he says it should work.
Indrys huffs and raises his chin. "Practicality is hardly ruthlessness, Laelaer. The boy is an admitted thief, and it is simply logical to restrict his..." It's at about that time that the boy, fearing for his freedom and/or safety, bolts off in his attempt at escape. "...oh," murmurs the elf. "How tiresome." He raises a pale, thin-fingered hand and takes aim, pointing at the small of the fleeing child's back before, like Glaffin, quickly reciting the lyrical words of a spell. Before a cone of multicolored light erupts from his extended digit and races towards its intended target, Glaffin's spell takes effect and a magically-animated length of rope entangles the boy's legs, incapacitating him with extreme efficiency. Indrys shrugs and lowers his hand, the spell's magic returning to him unspent. With that done, Indrys folds his arms across his chest before he smiles like a crocodile cries - with false emotion - and waits patiently to see how things turn out for all persons involved. "Well done, dwarf."
Indrys is using Color Spray, which is cast as a Standard action and has a Will DC of 15 (save negates).
Cecily was just starting to turn away to look around when the boy makes his break for it. It's safe to say that she's caught unaware. The woman whirls around to already see her companions springing into action and the boy tripping. Well then, now she gets to stand around looking at a loss.
The magic earns more of Alec's attention than the flight. Thieves run all the time; it's nothing new. A rope coming to life and tangling someone is a different matter. Even so, he looks away after a couple of interested seconds to scan the hills. If this was a trick, then a scout (if not a whole company) is probably watching the situation to see if anyone snatched up their piece of bait.
Glaffin's rope sprung to life, twisting up the boy's legs and tripping him up before he could get far. Tangled in the rope's coils, he crashed to the ground, crawling around the corner of the wagon in a last-ditch effort to get away. Thorus was close behind, though, the much bigger man having little trouble grabbing hold of the boy and pinning him down.
"I yield, I yield!" He said, his voice sounding strained. "Please don' tie me to a wagon."
The hills around them, if there was indeed anyone with the boy, were quiet for now. Alec didn't see anybody watching who wasn't supposed to be.
Treating this as a charge and grapple from Thorus for his tackle attempt.
AOO: (1d20-1) (1d3)
Throus' melee touch attack: (1d20+2)
and opposed check:
T: (1d20+2) Kid: (1d20+1)
With the boy now pinned, Laelaer strolls over and holds the sharpened tip of her rapier close to the thief's throat.
"Tie you to a wagon?" The drowess laughs. "You should be begging me not to slip your throat." A rather feral grin spreads across her lips. "Since you tried to run we know you're lying. Which means your friends are probably waiting to ambush us. Isn't that right? Be honest, and I'll make your death quick."
Cecily blinks in surprise at the drow's sudden display of ruthlessness. She quickly decides she must just be trying to scare the boy, but it's still a tad unsettling. "Neat trick with that rope." She comments quietly to Glaffin as she moves over to his side.
Indrys leaves Laelaer to her interrogation, knowing better than to interrupt her interpretation of 'fun'. Instead, he takes a few short steps towards Glaffin. "I concur!" he says, referencing Cecily's assessment. "That was masterfully cast." He smiles, again, and this one has an actual soul behind it. It would appear that, at least when magic is concerned, the gray elf is capable of genuine emotions after all. "The way it jumped out and ensnared his legs in constricting coils - ah, it was perfect, sir dwarf." His yellow eyes glitter with barely-contained excitement. "Wherever did you study such miraculous technique?"
Glaffin nods in response. His selection of spells was somewhat limited when it came to those coming directly from Tharius' domain, but they did always seem to come in handy.
"Thanks. Usually it's just a parlor trick, but it was all I could think of in the moment." Laelaer's threats don't make Glaffin as uneasy as they seem to make Cecily. He's seen worse justice done to thieves, but nontheless he'll speak up in the boy's defense.
"It's not for us to decide. We ought to just tie and gag him and leave him under guard until the next town. If that don't work for you, just knock the poor blaggart senseless and leave him for those friends of his to find. I'm willing to bet the caravan can make better time then they can, if they're inclined to give chase."
And then to Indrys, who Glaffin had nearly written off as stiff necked before this point. The dwarf's chest puffs up, and he stands just a bit straighter, clearly proud of his skills, "I'd worked under my father's teachings my entire life to learn how to wield this much divine magic, as little as it is. Tharius provides what I need though, and in exchange I give my thanks to him." Most of those teachings weren't clerical in nature, so much as they were about how to properly bend metal to his will. For the dwarves of Glaffin's mountainhome, crafting and worship went hand in hand.
The gray elf nods, smiling. "Your modesty does you a disservice, mister... Glaffin?" He nods, certain. "Yes, you're far too talented to self-efface." He points a slender finger at the bound child. "Your conductive posture, the admirable finesse of your movements as you wove the magic, the exceptional cadence of your words as you cast the spell... it was perfect, flawlessly efficient, not a mote of power wasted or misused." He breathes deeply, calming himself. "Your father," he says, his voice lowered, "Must have been a superlative educator, if your abilities are an example of his tutorship." He shakes his head and sighs, almost exacerbated with himself. "If I may be honest, sir, I have to say that if I had known you to be such a skillful practitioner of the Art, we would have had many more conversations during the course of our journey." His pointing finger moves from the boy and aims at Laelaer, or at least her general direction. "Laelaer and I, we studied at Shadeveil University."
Thorus exhales heavily and, ensuring that the boy is sufficiently incapacitated by the rope, gets up and brushes himself off. For safety's sake, he plants a foot on the boy's chest, firmly enough that he knows not to struggle but not firm enough to restrict breathing. At Indrys' ramblings of magic, Thorus can't help but roll his eyes and make a mocking mouth-flapping motion with his shield-hand, hoping the shield obscured it. He had to blink in surprise at Laelaer's sudden threat. He hadn't expected an elf, of all people, to be making threats of physical violence. Still, though, he figured it was the right course of action.
Some time during the confrontation, Thorus' demeanor shifted from a quiet, apathetic presence to an authoritative one. "I'd talk if I were you, kid, we ain't messin' around. I ain't gettin' paid for lettin' people like you get away." He increases the pressure on his foot slightly.
Out of Character
Thorus changes his active draconic aura to Presence: he and all allies within 30 feet gain a +1 bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy and Intimidate.
He then attempts to aid another Laelaer's Intimidate check (or, if Destro wants, this can be its own check; I'm not quite sure as to when you make an aid another check as opposed to a second check of your own ). Intimidate:(1d20+7)
"The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together." - Carl Sagan
Of the two, Alec isn't sure what amuses him more: Laelaer's reaction (even though he suspects there's more to the apple-thief than he let on, they're still, as a whole, jumping to conclusions with little real proof) or Indrys's. Talk about undermining the interrogators, unless the aristocrat plans on playing the friendly voice of reason in a minute, to "rescue" the boy from all these bloodthirsty savages if he cooperates.
Two threatening faces are plenty, anyway, so he declines to participate. The sailor just sits at the back of the wagon and observes for now.
"Friends? What friends? With the wagon, you mean? They went the other way, looking for help. I were supposed to go this way, and if I found it first..." The weight of Thorus' foot on his chest made the boy cough, and he trailed off. The rope's magic had slackened, but it was still tangled around his feet, and with the larger man near standing on him, he wasn't about to be going much of anywhere.
"Alright, alright, look.." he began, "I'm not gonna do a runner. Can I sit up?"
"Hasn't been much of a journey since I got here, since I just joined up in Ferrum. I'm just a decent healer and a better than decent smith, no need to butter me up on either account. If you think there's any spell of mine you'd like to look over, I'd be happy to scribe it for you later, once I can find the supplies needed." Which will probably be in Seabreak, or even farther if they don't have much in the way of special ink there. Still, it will be nice to help such an... enthusiastic young man with his studies.
"I'll tell you something though." Glaffin leans in, lowering his voice to try to keep others besides Indrys from hearing, "I made those goggles the lass Laelaer fancies, when I was passing through on my way to Ferrum. She hasn't recognized me, but I'd know my own work anywhere." Just by the tone of his hushed whispers, Indrys should be able to tell there's a story behind those goggles more complex than just a simple purchase.
Cecily frowns at the continued threats. She's not a fan of heavy handed threats at the best of times. The woman moves over to the group and watches the boy closely. She especially watches for any signs that he's lying to them. She may not like her companions' methods, but she knows they need to find out what's going on here.
((Diplomacy roll is in the OOC thread. I'd hoped for a higher result, but ah well.))
This could be going better, by the looks of it. Alec bumps his heels against the wagon wheel in thought and finally hops down to approach the prisoner. He might as well pitch in; he hasn't done much else so far during the confrontation.
The pirate smiles, and it isn't even fake. Lesson time, boy. Not everyone who speaks softly to you has your best interests at heart. At least, not your interests as you'd think of them.
"Let's not crush him, now," Alec begins. "He's a thief, and maybe a bandit scout, but we can still be civilized. There's no reason we can't tie his hands and feet and prop him up so he can at least breathe."
He crouches down beside the youth. "That said, you have to understand why we don't trust you. If you were sent to look for help, why didn't you ask for it? We could've given you a meal and let you work it off. Then we could've gone to find your friends and had you all follow along to Seabreak. But this? Stealing out the back of our wagons and trying to run away? All very suspicious. Even so, it hasn't gone too far to work in your favor. Your friends are still out there. If they're just lost and hungry like you say, then we can at least point them in the right direction."
Alec's faint smile smooths away and he shrugs a little. "On the other hand, if you're lying and they're hoping to come at us with fire and swords to take what we have, then your situation is more complicated. You'd be a part of that. It's a serious business. But you're young; if you told us the truth, we could help you out of that life before it kills you. If you and your friends planned to take blood rather than just apples, it could kill you today. So please, boy. Be smart and help us so we can help you."
He thinks it's a decent speech. However, as Alec is well aware, he's also still a sizeable, bearded man with weapons at his belt and a friend's foot on the thief's chest. That hardly sets the best mood for peaceful negotiations.
"Run? Like this?" The boy wriggled his legs, indicating the rope that was still tangled around them. "Wouldn't work very well." Then Alec started talking, and he fell silent.
Nodding at the pirate's words, he stayed quiet for the whole speech. If it seemed odd to him that the large and intimidating bearded man was the one with words of comprimise, he didn't show it. Rather, he looked like he was trying very hard not to cry.
"It weren't my fault," he choked out. "They threatened me. Let me up? Please? I'll tell you whatever you want to know."
"Perhaps," he states, "But we could have spoken since Ferrum, if I had known about your skill. Laelaer is a dear friend, and a talented magician in her own right, but she is..." he quirks his head in her direction before whispering: "...volatile, and quick to emotion. To have another scholar along is a blessing." He grins, and his eyes light up. "That would be phenomenal," states the elf, regarding the scrolls. "My education at Shadeveil was cut prematurely short, due to... extenuating circumstances, and I hunger for knowledge like a wolf for fresh meat." He moistens his lips with the tip of a nervous tongue. "I have always suspected that the arcane and divine magics aren't as different as some people say - it's all just the careful manipulation of mystic energies, directed by a conscious will, towards a desired outcome. Of course, your energy comes from the divine, a patron god, whereas mine is drawn from..." he pauses, thinking, and then shrugs. "Who knows? It was going to be my doctoral thesis, but fate, that conniving weasel, intervened. I have theories, but nothing yet substantiated by evidence." He looks, again, to Laelaer. "You made her glasses? Are you sure?" He chuckles. "I've long admired them; the metalwork is so fine, that glass so smooth... and the shading! However did you tint the glass so uniformly? I've never seen such a thing. You must be a master of your craft."