|Kari of the Wylds|
Kari cannot help but laugh at Gizsmith's display. Calling upon her magics, she traces several sooty stripes down Pan's neck and shoulders, then leans over his side to write tiger on each of his flanks, then smiles broadly at Salvator before putting her knees into them and ambling out of the fort.
"Oh tremulous woe," she sings, the pitch of her voice sweet, despite her poor effort. "A night in the cold with nae a darling to warm me..."
Kari untrained Sing 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
Aedon rides forward and leans over toward Salvator. Pointing at Kari, he says, "My friend, I think she fancies you!"
With a laugh, Aedon nudges his horse forward and unbuckles his crossbow from the horse's pack. He looks it over, checking for any damage or wear. Finding no problems, he slings it across his back.
"Kari, what does the weather hold for us tonight?"
The late afternoon sun shines down on the outpost as the party quickly gathers a few supplies. Svetlana quickly wraps a few items that had been warming in her oven for the party and gives the basket with it's cloth wrapped gift to Rufus, "at least take this for your dinners later."
There are now enough mounts for all to ride, please note who is riding, and if any additional mounts are brought along, who is leading them.
Riding forth from the outpost the party is presented with a view of devastation. The sudden, and brief, hailstorm has flattened vast swath's of the tall grasses. Here and there they lie bunched up with hail piled up on the windward side like a snowdrift. The hooves of the horses squelch through the inches of hail that are melting under the afternoon sun, turning the rich soil to mud. From all appearances the weather looks to be clearing up, though a cold night can be expected.
Aedon is unusually quiet during the ride south from Oleg's, concentrating on keeping his eyes open for any sign of trouble.
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
Am I correct in concluding none of the other companions object to Rufus claiming Happs' bow?
After a few moment's consideration, Rufus saddles & leads a second bandit horse. He also packs both blankets.
While Kari is correct as to the likelyhood, I choose to hope young Celeste yet lives.
|Kari of the Wylds|
Survival for Weather 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
Survival to Track Hour 01 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Survival to Track Hour 02 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Survival to Track Hour 03 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
Perception Hour 01 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
Perception Hour 02 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
Perception Hour 03 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Lyster gives a hard glance at Gizsmith's horse.
If the gnome gets targeted as a mad-raving lunatic diabolist, I shall not be the one to say otherwise.
Lyster rides atop his own mount and follows the group, letting the obviously more survivalist members lead the way.
The afternoon is rather uneventful as the party works to follow the tracks through piled up hail, mud, and wind-blown grasses. It is fortunate that the bandits didn't appear to have made any attempt to hide their tracks as it was only by sheer luck that the trail was followed.
Over the last couple of hours the tall grass plains have melded into a short grass. With the short grasses only reaching 3-5 feet in height, visibility should be expected to be greater from horseback than in the tall grasses to the north. Unfortunately, the deceptive nature of rolling plains makes it evident that entire armies could be hidden 50' away and not seen due to the terrain. The trail seems to follow a generally north-south route, allowing for a bit of excitement when the Kari looses the trail, though she does an admirable job of keeping the others from noticing her anxiety. A cooperative effort fails to find the trail as dusk falls upon the group.
The setting sun reminds the group of the need for a sheltered camp. As the search for the elusive trail of the bandits turns to more immediate concerns, a shallow hollow in the side of a hill, eroded from water runoff looks like it will provide some shelter from the night wind. The horses will not enjoy much cover though. As the party prepares a small fire, they realize the space has been used by others with the traces of soot and ashes evident on the back wall.
Rufus tethers the horses close enough together that their body heat can be shared, placing his extra winter blanket over the outermost horse away from the companions.
"We would be best served to keep a watch. I will take first, who will take second & third?"
|Kari of the Wylds|
Kari smiles at the spirit of cooperation between the lads as she is pitching her one woman tent near the fire she built.
"The morn is ever friendly ta them who hunt," she purrs. "Wake me, friend Aedon and is like we'll have some manner of beast on the spit 'fore all else have stirred."
As the other companions settle in to sleep, Rufus makes a place for himself near the peak of the hillock, his 'new' bow strung & ready with the winter blanket over it to prevent dew or frost.
Well, this brings back memories... Best not to get too comfortable.
1st hour Perception 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
2nd hour Perception 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
3rd hour Perception 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
Midway through the third hour (assuming nothing happens before hand) Rufus nudges Lyster awake.
Other than distant howling from directions unknown, the night passes uneventfully.
Come morning, Kari decides to do a little breakfast scouting and comes up empty. She does find large footprints from more than one creature that she does not recognize. It looks like they traversed the area in the middle of the night, and fortunately for the group of travelers, upwind. It looks like three large bipedal creatures, other than that, Kari is unable to make out what the tracks were made by.
The morning air has a fresh briskness to it that is welcoming, and the morning sky portends a clear sky for the day.
"If we parted ways with the bandit's back-trail far enough behind us, it seems our better present course would be to follow Aedon's other idea & search for a notable river that comes out of the forest, then follow it upstream. This has the advantage of not requiring that we slow our pace so as not to miss spoor. Leastways not until we find the river." As the others digest that suggestion, "Or we attempt to back track our previous trail to see if we might determine where we parted company with their trail."
"We also know the bandit camp is near a ford over the river, so we can also search for a road or trail large enough for a wagon. I think returning back along our trail to look for the bandit's track should be our first option though."
"That makes two in favor of retracing our steps to find the bandits' trail. Anyone object to same? Whatever course we choose would best be pursued quickly to make best time."
That said, Rufus has his gear packed & the two horses prepared for travel in very little time.
Waiting on me?
Having reached a consensus to backtrack, the group quickly breaks camp. Within an hour the trail is relocated, it was as simple as which side of a small copse of trees one went around, the bandits had gone left, the party went right the night before.
It doesn't look like yesterday's hail storm reached this far south as the ground dries up and the grasses stand tall.
With some fits and back tracking, the party manages to generally stay with the trail. It is somewhat easier to follow today, having learned something about how the bandits choose to deal with the terrain. It's surprisingly lazy, often walking on hill crests or the bottoms of washes or alongside creeks, either easily seen or easily ambushed.
Around noon the party sees a darker green haze in the distance that slowly resolves into a tree line stretching generally north west to south east in front of the party.
The creek the party is following has joined another and the larger creek continues to the south though it appears the tracks of the bandits are heading more southwesterly towards the tree line.
Actually, I just didn't have anything to say. Does the larger creek flow parallel to the tree line or does it enter or leave the tree line?
I knew they were lazy. It's beginning to look as if they were stupid as well. How could they possibly have terrorized this region? There must be more to it than we've seen.
Does the smaller creek flow into or from the treeline, or did it flow from the plains into the larger creek? Rufus' statement is based on the presumption it flowed from the plains.
"Well, we make no time just sitting here. Kari, if you would be so kind as to lead us in?" With that, Rufus dismounts & walks over to Kari's mount in presumption of leading it once she dismounts to follow the tracks into the forest, turning to speak in a lower tone to Aedon as he does so. "This is why I was recommending bringing the 'slow one' along. From here to the camp, we will likely get little use from these beasts save to carry & they will be a decided hindrance once violence ensues. Keep that thought in mind for our next foray."
'should have checked to see if Oleg had shackles. Restov may want a show trial for the leadership...
Aedon nods and responds in a similar manner, "That makes sense, but I would much rather be in our current situation than in one that depends on Rejin to do anything more complex than sitting on a stump and breathing. I'm open to the issue, but Rejin isn't the answer."
The plains end rather suddenly, with the prairie grasses ending in a neat line several feet from the trunks of the trees at the edge. In fact, the grasses do not grow under any branches of the trees. Low ground cover, mostly brambles interspersed with blooming wildflowers and other shrubs.
The bandit trail follows an animal track into the shadows under the trees. This forest looks to be quite ancient, with large and old deciduous trees. Predominantly oaks, along with maples, and other species mixed in here and there.
The sun light is sparse even though the trees at the edge of the forest are spaced well enough apart that horses can easily traverse between them.
It's not until after you have been traveling through the forest for an hour that you realize that tingling sensation traveling up and down your spine is the feeling that you are being watched, and have been since you entered the forest.
It's hard to tell with the dappled sunlight reaching the ground, but you think it's about noon.
Oh hey, GM? Did those of us who were wounded yesterday get back a night's rest worth of hp? I realize it is only about a point or two, but Rufus is down to just over half & would really like to feel at least a bit better before we go into a fight for our lives, this time on the enemy's home turf.
If Rejin isn't competent for much more than breathing & turning food into s@*~, than why are you saddling him on a couple who already have plenty to do just surviving? May have been kinder for all concerned if I had simply executed him with the others. Holding our horses while we went to deal with the bandits looked to be within his capabilities... Another time...
Yes, if you all hadn't already figured it out, Rufus tends to brood.
Yay for chain shirt pajamas! Just as comfortable as normal pajamas, and much more protective!
"So.. I'm just gonna go ahead and draw my weapon." Salvator utterly failed at nonchalant-nonworried tone, as he drew forth his dueling sword
Was in a rush earlier, meant to include this but got tied up and lost the ability to edit the post
With his crossbow raised slightly, Aedon pauses to look around the forest, attempting to find whatever may be watching the group.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
I can't see anything through the trees around here, there could be an entire army hidden above us! Well, if I can't see them...
With his vision blocked by the dense foliage, Aedon lowers his crossbow and speaks, "Is somebody out there? We are simply passing through these woods and do not mean to intrude. Would you reveal yourself so we may talk, or at least give us your name so we may greet you in friendship if we pass by here again?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (17) + 10 = 27
Seeing all the hubbub, Gizsmith looks around to see if anything is amiss.
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
Is is wrong that my first instinct was to yell out that I had been captured by bandits?
|Kari of the Wylds|
Kari keeps ahead of the host, scouting as she might, but drops back when the itching between her shoulder blades becomes oppressive. Aye, she'd felt that pressure before, for nigh a week 'fore Limpin' Pete came on her like an animal, but then, there were little evidence it were men in the trees watchin', she believes. A clever group of lads would easily pick off a one here, then scatter in the chaos, and return when folk were a fright...
"F*ck mine ass," Kari sighs, pushing the plait with talons and fangs away from her eyes. "If this ain't the wee ones, the little lords, we are like in fer some entertainment," she whispers and spares a wicked grin for Lyster and Rufus, then winks and cuts ahead a ways again.
"See yon golden idol, lords? In the spring of his youth, he is, and might be made to dance fer ye," Kari offers. "The short fellow with the chromatic beard is enamored of petty magics. And I... well, I could play ye a song upon mah pipes."
Kari untrained Diplomacy 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21 +1 if they are inclined to be sexually attracted to Kari.
Please, by the gods, dinnae make me come to that again. My heart cannae take the shame, Kari prays.
Perception 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16, to gain an inkling of the source of the 'being watched' feeling.
"And if it is 'the Kindly Ones' we will not find it entertaining?" Rufus replies to Kari's exclamation.
"I fear we are much occupied with petty mortal concerns at the moment, but if you wished, when we make camp this even we would beg your cousin to provide an evening's merriment for us all!" Diplomacy 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20, to convince our audience to let us be 'til we make camp.
"I wasn't meaning that I knew someone there, guys.. I just meant to draw my blade to comfort myself. If anyone was to spot approaching enemies... It wouldn't be me." Salvator was surprised by the others reactions.
Aedon gifts Kari with an amused expression.
He looks back toward the rest of the group, "Pardon friends, we are making offers of entertainment in the language of the woods, with which the wee ones are likely familiar."
Oh Gods, no dancing, please, no dancing!
|Kari of the Wylds|
Kari spares Aedon a grin. "Aye, and if we be mistaken... ye woul' nae like ta learn what physical activities the wee ones take as entertainin'," she says for Rufus's benefit. She colors and her voice becomes hard, her cant completely disappearing. "It might also have been a lie my partner told to have his way in the wood..."
Sense Motive 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24, to recognize the genuine remembered pain behind Kari's banter.
And here we find the deeper source of her venom toward Rapists.
Rufus mutters under his breath in Varisian.
Apropos of nothing in particular, how do you get your spoilers to say Giant or Sylvan like that instead of Spoiler?
Lyster's face lights up with a bemused smile.
Ah for the days of youth again... I miss petty squabbling... and now fairie folk too? This gets more and more interesting by the minute
Just remove the " when you do it. ["spoiler=Giant][/spoiler]