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The rider ponders Jonas' words for a moment then starts to laugh, which quickly turns into a coughing spell followed by him clutching his side.
"You don't even know what's happening do you? Whose orders are you here on? You don't even understand. Let me see your orders. I am certain that mine supercede yours. I have special orders from General Nestor himself. By my authority I am ordering you to leave this area. There is an ongoing Pathfinder operation of the highest importance which your presence is interfering with. All will be made clear to you soon enough but for now you should return to the capital. You are clearly more skilled than whatever petty mission you are on warrants. At the capital I am sure there will be tasks worthy of your skills."
General Nestor is the emperor's younger brother. He is currently commanding military operations against Halstein. Though rumors that you heard recently were that he suffered a defeat by the dwarves and is regrouping.
Jonas' brow wrinkles in consternation. Nestor's man? Out here? Curiouser and curiouser.
I am pleased you find this amusing, I'm sure we will all have a good laugh about this later. I'm an errand boy; that's all you need to know of my orders. Yours, however, are of unique interest to me. I've received new assignments in a variety of manners; these are the first that came with dead horses and burned flesh. I am certain you'll understand my incredulity. Why would Nestor be interested in my activities? And you said something earlier about 'being on the wrong side'? Perhaps if you give us details on the ongoing operation, it could help us stay out of the way or provide appropriate assistance as it is required. And for that matter,
Jonas looked up at the man still holding his scimitar to the rider's neck.
who are you, friend, and what brings you to this stretch of road? We appreciate your assistance, of course, but I find it odd that the four of us would meet here by chance.
Jonas' eyes darted up to meet Saul's, looking to see if his more recent employ under Tobias might be able shed light on these happenings. Surrounded by Pathfinders, and only one I can trust. I guess I am back in active service...
Sense motive on the rider, obviously. 13 + 5 = 18
Also, I don't know if knowledge (history) or Bardic knowledge is more appropriate for information on Nestor and the related campaign in Halstein, so I'll give you both.
The marks on his arms...a pathfinder?! Too much for mere coincidence... and it means that he could be related to my vision. From what the ambusher says, the other two are involved somehow as well...
I am Kren, a Moonspeaker. I was traveling cross-country, looking for the road. I saw signs of an invisible rider approaching you from the rear. Imagine my surprise when I Saw that one of you - or more - has information I need.
Addressing the ambusher: So, tell me what you know of the Giant. And his arrows...
Kren will watch the reactions of the ambusher and the humans he helped. He assumes that the ambusher triggered his vision, but wants to know if and how the ambush-ees are involved. Sense Motive: 14+4 = 18
My understanding is that Kren does not know that Saul and Jonas are pathfinders, though based on Jonas's comment he could conclude that the ambusher is.
"I mistook you for those that are opposing our mission here. I'm afraid I am not at liberty to say more. You have apparently inadvertently crossed our path. Though, in these times it is not unlikely that perhaps your superior put you here deliberately to interfere with us. There are those who would do such a thing. In fact I think it is likely that your superior is of questionable loyalty and that is why you are as yet unaware of what is going on. I'm going to reach into my pouch now, I'm not getting a weapon."
He slowly reaches in and pulls out a scrap of cloth showing a red lion rampant on a blue and gold checkered field. He offers it to Kren. "Take this to the capital and show it to someone in the army. Tell him that Vayshan sent you. More will be explained there. I cannot explain more to you here. I still have work to do here. Any healing you could provide me would be appreciated."
Everyone recognizes the cloth as General Nestor's arms. The rider appears to be genuine to everyone making sense motive checks.
Moonspeaker, eh? I've told stories about your people, but I must confess I know little enough. Again, thank you for your help.
As Jonas listens to the rider, Vayshan?, he realizes that he had told this kind of tale before too, and usually some poor fool ended up in the middle. Well, at least I know what part to play. He coils the hide whip and hangs it on his belt as he shakes his head.
Saul, this is your errand. But for what little its worth, I believe the man. Plus, the capital is lovely this time of year. I'll leave the decision to you. But whatever you decide, I think this man owes you a horse.
Any rolls I can do for moonspeaker info, that'd be great. I rolled a 19.
Saul ponders all this new information a moment, then speaks.
Our orders are clear. I understand there may be reasons for delaying our errand, but those reasons are insufficient to nullify my loyalty to my superior. Until I have orders from someone who outranks him, my mission is clear.
Fairly spoken, Saul. We complete our task first, then if nothing else holds us here, make haste back to the capital. And you, Kren? Will you bear Nestor's seal back to the capital, or do you have another purpose that requires your attention? You said something about giants? I hate to be the bearer of ill news, but the giants are decades gone, Moonspeaker. The orcs saw to that.
Vayshan seems a little agitated at Saul's suggestion of continuing the mission. "Perhaps I didn't explain myself clearly enough. General Nestor certainly outranks whoever your superior might be. Your presence in Vrath compromises our operation here. By the authority of General Nestor I am ordering you to return to the capital for further instructions."
I'm not altogether convinced you are what you claim to be, or that you're here on the general's orders. You fight without honor.
Now, if you like, we can settle this by the blade, like barbarians. Or we can reason, like men. If your orders supercede my own, I'll need to see them in writing, signed and sealed -- not merely some scrap of cloth.
But if you are indeed here on the general's orders, and I can have that proved to my satisfaction, then I will gladly and speedily leave this land to you.
"You think I'm carrying written orders on a mission of this importance? You may know how to wield a blade but I think perhaps your skull's too thick for the kind of work we do at the higher echelons of this organization. What exactly are you all doing here anyway? Some petty baron's personal errand? It seems to me that must be it. Elsewise we would have been aware of your presence in the area. Do you find that kind of work fulfilling? It is despicable that there are some in our society that dishonor our training with such menial tasks. Now stand aside, I have work to do. Go make yourself useful in the capital, dark days are upon us." He starts to stand up, daring someone to stop him.
Vayshan's words struck home. Petty Baron, indeed. By Nestor's reputation, he is more a man than Tobias - such thoughts must wait. Saul is right, quelling these riots is a worthy cause, regardless of the source of our orders. Saul's honor has a grip on him. A good lad, that one. But betrayal does odd things to the mind, as do sword wounds. I must defuse this before it turns ugly - again. Jonas steps forward and pulls Vayshan to his feet.
Gentlemen, if we wanted to see each other in the grave, there was ample opportunity earlier. I've got a wounded horse that's been through more with me than I care to remember, and we are all bleeding, tired and in no position to trek on foot for very long. I say we rest, eat a quick meal, and perhaps Kren here will be able to mend our wounds in a few hours. If these coming days are as dark as you claim, Vayshan, we will do well to recover what strength we can.
With that, Jonas turns and limps towards Paco, his pack and a full waterskin.
Last edited by vanderbane : 02-11-2008 at 12:00 PM.
Reason: can't type
"Fine," Vayshan says, clearly agitated. He quaffs a potion which seems to stop his bleeding and close his wounds some, though he still clutches his ribs tightly. He adopts a meditative position and closes his eyes.
Say, Vayshan, you wouldn't happen to have any more of those?
Jonas smiles at Saul as he asks, not expecting a response from the rider. He takes off his hat, and notes with a frown and some choice phrases that his favorite feather is well and truly scorched. He tosses the limp remains into the dust. He loosens his saddle from Paco, who is breathing slowly but evenly, and removes the bridle and reins. He settles with his back against the saddle leather as a rest and eats a slightly stale roll and bit of cured meat. After he has finished, he leans back, hat over his face, to rest briefly. Maybe just a short nap...
Saul joins Jonas, but when he sees that his companion has started to nod off, he determines he'll stay awake a while. He catches Kren's eyes, and offers him a polite nod, curious to see if the newcomer will strike up a conversation with him.
Jonas wakes with a start. Dusk is settling in, and a light fog hangs in the distant hills. As he peers into the shadows, and sees Saul tending a small fire, and goes to join him, keeping an eye out for the horses, Kren and Vayshan.
Kren has tended to everyone's wounds (including the horses) as best he can. He sits quietly and stares into the flames. Vayshan lies down for the night and appears to be asleep as far as anyone can tell.
Jonas throws another log onto the flames. A short time later, he sees that Kren has nodded off, leaving Jonas alone with his thoughts in the dark. Must have taken a lot out of him, looking after us so. Jonas takes a single copper out of his pouch, and begins flipping it along the backs of his fingers, watching it glint in the glow of the fire. We will see what daylight brings.
Jonas is suddenly startled by hearing the words of a magic spell. He sees Vayshan lying on his pad, gesturing with a wand and trying to murmur the words softly. Your eyes meet as he completes the spell and everything becomes silent again. Knowing he couldn't reach Jonas in time, Vayshan instead draws and throws his sword at Jonas's head. Due to Vayshan's awkward throwing position, the sword cuts Jonas's cape instead and embeds itself into the earth.
Saul awakes to strange words being muttered. He is still groggy but knows something is amiss when the sound of the fire crackling suddenly goes quiet.
Jonas missed hearing or spotting Vayshan get out a wand and his sword but heard him begin casting a spell. Saul also woke up to the spellcasting. Kren is still asleep. Vayshan cast a silence spell during the surprise round.
The intiative order is:
Vayshan - 20
Jonas - 13
Saul - 12
Vayshan used his action during the first round to draw and throw his sword at the flat-footed Jonas, but due to throwing a non-throwing weapon and his position laying down, it missed with a total of 11. Saul and Jonas are both fully aware during this upcoming round and can act normally. Distances are very short so you can stand up (drawing your weapon at the same time) and step 5 feet to get into range if you need to and still have a standard action left. Unless someone wants to debate this point I'm going to say that the leather wearers have their armor on but the metal-armor wearers (Vayshan and Saul) don't since they would have impeded their rest. Everyone has also gained 1 HP from resting.
Jonas feels the sword tug at his cape as it spirals past his ribs. He sees Kren mouth open as he exhales a snore. Saul, on the other hand, has thrown back his blanket, and his hand appears to be darting towards his pack. Good lad! If we survive, I'll have to apologize for not listening to him about this brute. Jonas draws his blade as he rises, and steps close to Vayshan, stabbing down in a quick thrust, hoping to feel flesh part before lancing into the dirt below.
Stand, Draw rapier.
5 foot step to close.
Standard attack on prone opponent Vayshan (without armor! yay! I might hit him!)
Kren awakens in a cold sweat from dreams of fire, war and arrows. A lion roars in the dream, jolting him from sleep. Kren echoes the lion's roar with his own startled scream. But when he awakes, his cry is muffled by a strange silence. Something odd is happening.
Kren is awake now and is at the bottom of the initiative order. He is aware of everyone's position.