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The paladin had never made any attempt to hide her allegiance; the tabard that covered her armor was proudly emblazoned with the gauntlet-insignia of Torm. Her greatsword hung strapped across her back, gloved hands nowhere near it. She inclined her head politely, with no special deference -- a warrior greeting a warrior, equal until tested.
"Of course. The well is back here, sir. Though there is only one bucket."
She indicated the way she had come with one gloved hand and half-turned, prepared to lead him.
Fistar intently tried to listen to the man, not wanting to show his position just yet. He looked ok from where he was and didn't look like he was a danger to the party. The wood elf hoped that he didn't want to join up with them, it would mean splitting up any treasure into another share.
Listen - (1d20+2)(15)
Talk is cheap.
Cheap is good
Jessamyn/Ruins (that means everyone else inside the ruins near the horses)
The man nodded and then pointed to Jessamyn's chest.
"Ahh, Tormite? Good to see more of your clergy around." The scar-faced warrior smiled slightly, then became somber and sucked his teeth.
"A real tragedy, what has become of the original Temple in town. My heart goes out to you and yours." The man said with a sincere voice.
"I thank you for the offer to share the shade and water. One bucket shouldn't be a problem." The man walked a few steps within reach of Jessamyn. The man reached a hand out and waited for her to take or refuse it.
"May I ask your name, or should I just call you Tormite?"
The sound of a voice mixing with the stranger's, tells you he is speaking to Jessamyn. You an barely make out the words that is being said until another sound comes from behind you.
You turn slowly to see a set of dogs, or what were once dogs...that have been bred with bears! The dogs were the size of middle aged grizzlys and were thick joweled and baring teeth the size of three of your fingers together..in length AND width. (Rotweilers)
Both dogs were hackled and the were in a purely offensive pose. They stood and growled from 15 feet away, just outside the section of Ruins Fistar was using to hide in. The sound coming from them was like the thunder of an entire regiment of cavalry in full armor approaching from a distance. They watched his every movement, their upturned growling lips quivering with every sound they made.
The paladin reached out to clasp the man's hand with a reserved smile. "Jessamyn, sir, and thank you for your kind words. You would be...?"
She had intended to await his answer, but the growls reached her ears at that point, and her face became a sober mask again, gaze flicking away from the warrior to scan the surroundings. Her other hand moved reflexively toward the hilt of her sword but paused halfway, mindful of the man right before her. "Ah," she interjected in a low tone, "you would not happen to be traveling with a growling beast or two...would you?"
Etsia had finished braiding Elmshadow's front mane and attached an impromptu feather-and-beads decoration to it while Ghost was drinking. She was humming slightly under her breath.
When the sound of growls reached her, the humming stopped abruptly as she whirled around. Not seeing anything in her near vicinity she took the reins of both horses and began leading them around the ruins toward the others. She would not fight predators with two horses to defend, not if she could help it.
"Jessame-en!" The little druid called the tall woman's name as she led the horses toward her.
The rogue smiled nervously at the dogs and muttered softly, "Nice doggies, if your hungry, there are some nice horses over there.. I'm just a scrawny wood elf, stringy to, not very appetizing really, " As he talked to the creatures he thought of his options, could he reached the camp in time or not, judging distance and speed he felt it would be close, staying didn't look like a very good option at the moment. He shrugged at the dogs, and with a quick decision decided to tumble over the low wall and run towards the man and Jessamyn.
Wasn't sure which one is appropiate Tumble or jump.. I'm thinking tumble as in doing a backflip over the wall. but didn't explain how low the wall was.
Tumble - (1d20+6)(12)
Jump - (1d20+5)(17)
Talk is cheap.
Cheap is good
The man opened his mouth and was about to reply to Jessamyn, when he too heard the dogs growling that sounded like thunder. He sighed audibly, then turned toward the dog's direction. The soldier rolled his tongue and pushed it to his lip. With a fast exhale, he whistled a sharp and staccatoed set of notes.
The armored man looked back to Jessamyn and let go of her hand, looking to her.
"Aye, those are my dogs. It seems we have someone dropping the eaves on us." The bald scarred man looked toward Fistar who was jumping over his small section of ruined wall and running full bore towards Jessamyn and the man. The two dogs, almost the size of a large bear each, leap over the small wall and come bounding in. The two Rotweilers circle the group before coming to sit on their back haunches, each on one side of the man. The dogs, sitting down, are almost the same 5'9'' height as their master!
"This one with the cropped ears is Krill, and this one is called Vero. They are more playful, but with our recent events, they seem to be on edge." The man gives them both a few pats from his gauntleted hand as his eyes look over his shoulder towards the jungle. After a few moments, he looks back to your group as a small wild elf trailing two horses behind her approaches. The man does a quick head count, and then counts the horses, making a mental note.
The man then looks to Vero and says a few strange words that sound somewhat like orders.
If you speak Gnollish:
Gnoll: "Circle around, protect."
The two dogs give off a bark and leap off running together and dissapearing behind a large ruined building.
"Well now, lets see about that shade and water." The man looks to the three of them and smiled, making his three deep scars on his face distort a bit.
The paladin frowned at Fistar as he rushed over, though inwardly she was relieved to note that nothing had taken a bite out of the wood elf in his sneaky trek. "Did you lose your horse?" she asked as he came near, a bit sharply.
The dogs were impressive, but after noting that they were under control, Jessamyn turned her attention back to the man. "I apologize. My comrades and I have some reason to be wary. And I have not caught your name..."
Turning to accompany the man, she smiled when she saw Etsia and the horses. She reached out to take Ghost's reins from the wild elf, looking over the braidwork in mild amusement before giving Etsia a grateful nod.
He continued to tend his Mistress' animal and slight ails. Ensuring that she was watered safely and the food was at least edible before presenting it to her. The advent of another traveler caused his eyes to narrow, but beyond that he maintained nothing but deference toward the dark elven woman.
The growling of the large animals somehow didn't surprise him. Like the Underdark, only the very brave, very strong or very stupid traveled alone. Dogs were an enigma, loyal to the core, but sometimes prone to distraction.
The fact that the stranger had not given a name was not lost on him, it was most likely for a good reason. Somehow it was ironic, that for annoying as he was, the only one with a healthy dose of caution was the chatter box. He observed from a distance, cautiously and without making it evident.
The twitch of an eyebrow was the only indication of surprise at the behemoth size of the mongrels. That they came and responded to whistles meant they were well trained. And they also seemed to understand the huffing-grunting tone as well. As the two beasts bounded off, several things came into his head.
The man was either being followed, or looking for others of their party that he'd missed.
He was capable of looking after himself, and had been doing so for a while.
The past events they'd had the night before made his appearance suspicious.
His comment concerning recent events could be troubling.
Finally satisfied that his Mistress at least, was well cared for. He moved out more into the open, squinting his eyes with a bowed head so the sunlight didn't dazzle him quite so bad. Waterskins in hand, he moved to the spring quietly in order to refill them. His lowered eyes were by no means still, they scanned the edge of the trees and rocks all around. Any indication that there may be more trouble, a shadow out of place, the slight sound of leaves being moved, a random click of a crossbow.
'There are still far too many unanswered questions lingering about,' he thought.
Little thought was given to the fact that she was being tended, but more to the annoyance that Kelzir was not tending to himself. The sounds of the stranger set her wariness on edge, though she did attempt to keep it hidden under a polite neutrality.
Resigned to the fact that the stranger would come around to join the shade, she simply sat. His accent was not Drowish, so he would doubtless either be surprised or ..not, at seeing them with the motley party. Instead, she pulled the scabbard of her bastard sword close to her place and arranged a small portion of rations for Kelzir, since he didn't seem to have taken care of himself. All the while, she kept a keen ear on the conversation that she could hear; ready in case something went wrong.
The man walked beside Jessamyn and looked over his pauldron and hears her ask for his name again. With a disarming smile, the man walks with jessamyn into the ruins where Zarraema is in, placing the food around for Kelzir.
"My name is Boone. Masaud Boone. I am a soldier of sorts for Gothm-." Boone stops talking and looked to Zarraema. He stopped entering the ruins and bowed slightly to the female dark elf.
"Vendui', olath wenress."
"Greetings, Dark maiden."
The man looked around, and then excused himself to the well. Spotting Kelzir as he approached, Boone moved up and began helping the male drow haul up a buket of water. The scarred man pulls out a leather waterskin and dumps out the remaining wine from the winskin. His eyes moved from the dropping wine to kelzir and Boone smirks to him.
"Naut ulu Eszak. Nindol orn tlu l'vaen bukkit dos inbal ulu haul." Boone said with a wink to Kelzir.
"Not to Worry. This will be the last bucket you have to haul."
He dunks the waterskin into the bucket, letting the water fill it up. Boone turned to Kelzir and thumbs a motion for the Drow to let the half full bucket go. Boone walks off back into the shade of the ruins.
Boone walks back into the ruins and pulls out the waterskin. Boone tilts the waterskin back, emptying it and drinking most of it down. Then, he turns it upside down on the top of his head, cooling himself off. With the steam rising off his tanned head, Boone looks up and licks water off his lips.
"Oh I apologize. I am being rude. Allow me to share." Boone hands the waterskin out in front of him to one of you....any of you.
Whoever picks the waterskin up, and takes it from Boone, it IS FULL. water is up to the very top of the opening. Is magically refills whenever it seems to be emptied. Tipping it upside down and then rightside up, with the cork out, refills the waterskin within a few seconds. The water is as cool as if you drank it straight from the well.
"So, tell me what two elves, a human and two recent dark elves to the surface, are doing outside the walls of Gothmoor? Adventure? Excitement? Glory?" Boone's disarming smile is pointed at each of you as he speaks.
He watched the man cautiously, nothing was certain here. Though grateful for the assistance, he did not take the advice the man gave. There were still the animals to be looked after, and some fresh cool water would be welcome. Eilistraee only knew when they'd have the benefit of water like this again. Very quietly, his deep musical voice came forth while he was near the human.
"Ussta klath'ra zhah naut whol dos xor Usstan ulu yikss, Senger. Jhal l'providence d'L'Quar'valsharess iltan."
My service is not for you or I to decide, Lord. But the providence of The Goddess herself.
With a bow to the man, he exited quietly to ensure that at least his Mistress' horse was tended properly. A quick brushing to remove any burrs. Plenty to drink, along with a snack. And a check of the hooves while it munched away to make sure they weren't cracked or had a rock stuck in them.
Finally satisfied, he re-entered the building as he listened to the words the man spoke. With the offering of the skin, he reached out automatically to gently take it. Bringing it to his lips, he sipped a small amount, and held the skin for a few long moments. Since it didn't cause immediate death, he then followed suit, offering the skin out with both hands, his head lowered.
Boone sat down on a makeshift seat fom a fallen peice of the ruined wall and sighed contently. His brown eyes looked over the group and turned back to the small wild elf and smiled.
"I apologize again, so many questions from so many people. "they" as you called them, are my dogs. Krill and Vero. They are not from around these parts, but I had found them on my years as an adventurer." The man smiles to her as his looks off a bit, his mind going back to a time past of his adventurers.
Snapping out of his personal trip down memory lane, Boone looks around and awaits any more questions before asking some of his own.
Etsia had watched the big mysterious dog-creatures vanishing with obvious amount of regret and disappointment. She kept thinking about them as she sought shade where Zarrae was resting. She did not tie Elmshadow's reins anywhere, instead half-led him with her, then just dropped them and let him wander about, but not until she had set some more horsefeed next to her. She dug up more dried fruit and nuts and munched another mouthful, then offered dried fruit to the big stallion as well.
"Why are your dogs so big? I don't think they should be, they're bigger than wolves."
She glanced up as the hawk landed on a wall of the ruins, returning from a hunting trip of its own. The hawk tilted its head, then let out a short predator-alarm, obviously confused by the huge dogs as well.
Boone looked over to the smaller elf and nodded to her words. He waited for her to finish and leaned back against the crumbling wall behind him.
"Ah. Their size does often make people take pause. They were magically altered to that size. Great story actually, if you all were interested in such things." Boone looked around, awaiting someone to either nod or shake their head. He wasn't one to run at the mouth, but when someone showed interest in his two best friends, he was always pleasant enough to off the whys and wherefores that made them as big as they are.
Boone looked around and shrugged, moving around a bit on his worn stone seat, before speaking again.
"The two pups were best of the litter and given to me as a gift from a farmer. I raised them myself. They travelled with me wherever I went. their size changed one fateful evening while i was out adventuring with a few old friends of mine." Boone spoke and leaned forward as he retold the story, resting his elbows on his knee cops.
"We were ridding a small farming village up north of a troublesome young adult red dragon. The beast had a penchant for eating woodland livestock. Elk, deer, wolves, foxes. Anything that it could get it's breath onto. It would cook them and eat them. The dragon was a menace. Me and six others started off on this mission, but only the wizard, the cleric, me and my two dogs were left when we reached the dragon. Traps and pits got the rogue and his brother the bard. Two wyrmlings tore the monk to shreds, and a well placed rockslide broke the one leg of the cleric. We were in dire straits." Boone looks around the room, to each one, then looks back to Etsia.
"That is when Thistlerue, the wizard, gets an idea. He was running out of good spells, but he had a few low ones and a handful of powerful ones left. As we were discussing tactics, the dragon suprised us and bore down on the cleric. As I went to charge in, the dragon clawed my face, almost taking it off completely." Boone points to the three scars running down the side of his face. "Thistlerue casts a spell on ol' Kril and Vero, making them enlarge and grow huge. They both leapt out at the dragon attacking it long enough for us to get the cleric clear and administer some healing to her. Thistle and the dogs took the dragon down and I came in to help once the cleric was clear. When it was time to reduce their size, both dogs refused to let the spell be cancelled, they went so far as to knock the wizard out of his casting everytime he started. So, with his final spell, Thistlerue made the change permanent." Boone shrugged and looked around for the waterskin, hoping for another drink.
"Crazy buggers. They seem to like being that big. I'm not one to force anything on the pups, so I never went about changing them back. Thistlerue still groans when he hears the two pups practically tearing down the door to his tower, when I go to visit." Boone laughs at the image he's seen too many times. "They do love their uncle."
Boone looks around and sighs again, finished with the bit of story for the entertainment of the group and leans back again resting from the heat.
The paladin occupied herself with filling Ghost's feedbag and placing it while she listened to Boone's story, occasionally glancing back politely to indicate that she was listening. As Ghost munched contentedly on the oats, Jessamyn fished through the saddlebags to find her food and dole out an appropriate amount for the break...a bit of dried fruit, dried meat and cheese.
Leaning against the broken wall, she turned her attention back to the gathering of stranger and companions, content at this point to simply listen and take note. Though she did brush her loose forelocks back from where they might have shaded her ears, to make sure the half-elven tips were visible. Not one to hide such things, but not about to correct the man... That would be impolite at this point.
Once Ghost was through with the feedbag, she unstrapped it and tucked it back into the saddlebag and let the mare loose to graze, making sure to glance back periodically to keep an eye on all the horses.
Boone watched the female wild elf and her wide-eyed enthusiasm building.
"Yes, most wizards, when trained in the type of magic, Alteration magic, can change anyone or anything large like that. And yes all it takes is another spell from a pretty powerful mage to cast that makes whatever is enlarged stay that big."
Boone followed her eyes to the hawk (if it is in the ruins near Etsia) then looked back when she mentions batriders.
"Batriders eh? So then, you have been to Gothmoor. Yeah those bats are naturally grown that size, but, you can make a hawk large enough for you to ride it... I am guessing. I mean, I speak from speculation. I am no wizard at all." Boone rubbed his chin, looking over the small wild elf. "So you saw batriders. I take it something you all got into, or something around you got pretty dangerous. They don't come down to the city for nothing. Tell me, little one, how was it you came to see a Chirok and his steed?"
Boone's face turns from amusement to concern as he listens.
She inclined her head and shoulders in return to the Drowish greeting. Despite being uttered from human lips, it was comforting to hear familiar words. Suspicions and doubt about his intentions melted away as she was reminded of her duties to the Goddess; all travelers are your friend.
And so, she greeted him with a smile and gentle words, "Ol zhah natha ssrigg'tul ulu thalra uss ji screus, abbil."
"It is a pleasure to meet one so learned, friend."
((I know that's the wrong word for "Educated"...but House Maerdyn's translator is down right now, so I am going to pretend I'm a good linguist!))
His story brought vague memories of a similar feat by the Matron Mother's Sister, the house wizard. To push the thoughts of "home" away, she busied herself with opening up the rations she shared with Kelzir. She offered a small portion to the warrior - it was only right and proper by the Dark Maiden's creed.
Idly, she wondered if Kelzir would play for them while he ate, or if he was too busy being cautious. She berated herself for the thought; his caution had kept them alive more often than not.
Boone takes the food from the dark elven female with a nod of his head in thanks. Chewing, he listens to Etsia and then swallows before talking.
"Ah yes, must have been late at night, for them to come down for a simple breaking and entering. A moon-woman you say....ah, you must mean a priestess of Eilistraee. There are many of them within Gothmoor's walls."
Looking over to Zarraema, he smileb slightly.
"It seems you really don't have far to go for one of those anyhow." Boone smiled again and bowed his head respectfully to the priestess before turning to face the paladin, Jessamyn.
"So, Jessamyn, of Torm. Are you a Gothmoorite, or a travelling holy warrior? I can tell you that if you're looking for a place, that could use your god's guidance..it is Gothmoor."
The paladin turned her attention to Boone, inclining her head slightly. "I was sent to Gothmoor from Lapalgard with the intention of serving and strengthening the temple there. From what I have seen, I can not argue your judgment. It is an...interesting city. My time in it has been quite brief so I can not say much more than that, yet."
Boone nodded to Zarraema seeing no reason to argue her personal feelings on her status with the Dark Maiden. Boone slowly stood up and stretched, kicking his feet out one by one stretching out the muscles. He looked to each of you and then spoke to Jessamyn driectly.
"I wish all of you fair weather and luckon your travels, no matter where it takes you. If any of you make it back to Gothmoor and are in need of shelter, or a place to live, Seek me out. I will see if I can find accomodations for you."
Boone walked around the wall of the ruins, and whistled high ad sharp. The sounds of two thundering dogs echoed through the ruins. The scarred soldier got upon his horse and turned the steed to face Gothmoor as he took one final look into the ruins, and smiled sincerely with a nod. Boone rides off back towards Gothmoor, his two giant dogs following behind him.
((ooc: Anyone in the ruins who didn't get up to see Boone, off, make a spot check.))
Etsia was still busy feeding Elmshadow the last crumbs of his meal and daydreaming about riding a gigantic hawk. She had nodded her farewell at the man with the big dogs, but did not get up to see him off. The stranger seemed more than capable of taking care of himself.
Etsia: Spot - (1d20+8)
Hawk, Roll 1: Spot - (1d20+8)
Hawk, Roll 2: Spot - (1d20+14)
...I keep forgetting if the hawk's '+6 to Spot, gain a +8 racial bonus to Spot checks in daylight' is added to the +6 or replacing it. Rolling both ways, use the correct roll, discard the other.
Fistar was casually eating his rations while listening to the man's story. He was particulary silent for change. Taking everything in and watching everyone, when the man Boone got up to go, he casually nodded to the man, as he still rested against one of the broken walls.
spot - (1d20+1)(16)
Talk is cheap.
Cheap is good