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DM Alexander Kilcoyne's Sargavan Saga

Game Master Alexander Kilcoyne

"What is this place? Puzzles in Azlant, more magic than you see in a year in Absalom. Wheels literally within wheels. Bound demons and wax golems? The expense must have been enormous. But why? To what end?"

Jakob

Kingdom Rules | SRD Reference | Pyramid, Level 1 | Pyramid, Level 2 |


2,251 to 2,300 of 4,130 << first < prev | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | next > last >>

Female Human (Bonuwat) Cleric 4
DM Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:

Mindra took the opportunity to speak quietly with Tebati, almost in a whisper.

Tebati, I would know the skills and talents of your group. In truth, I have retained adventurers in this town many times as troubleshooters. I'd like to know the capabilities of those who I am working with.

"We, most of us, are just what we appear to be," Tebati answers mildly, glancing down the table at each of her companions in turn. "Qhude is a mighty Bas'o warrior; he slew the leader of the Bandu raiders who attacked our caravan and faced down their whole camp to demand the return of the woman they stole. N'bellocq, my cousin, stood at his side; he is a former slave, freed for saving the life of his master, and a gifted archer. Kieran is a clever swordsman, and Ansha is, like your elf, a wizard. I am a shamaness in service to the goddess of my people. Jakob ... I am not certain what Jakob is. His hands can heal, but he serves no god; he communes with nature, but he is no druid. He is ... favored by a power beyond him, but for what purpose or to what end I cannot say."


Female Elf Wizard (Manipulator) 4

All eyes upon her, Ansha put on her most showman-like smile and murmured the words to a cantrip, sweeping her gaze around the people at the table before settling on Tabansi. After having determined the magical auras about Tabansi, she shakes her head in the negative.

Almost as an aside, she glances at Mitabu and says, "You know, the more help we have in preparing for this beast, the more likely--and the more quickly--we succeed."

Diplomacy assist: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (3) + 11 = 14


Male Human Haunted Nature Oracle 4 (Ac 20 Cmd 20 Will+4 Ref+2 Fort+4)

Assuming I did not overhear Mindra/Tebati

To Mitabu "If it is a matter of resources we can understand. We would not want to cause a larger issue while removing this one. However if it is simply expense that is the concern then perhaps deducting the costs of any resources we use from our fee would be agreeable? I doubt we are discussing a signifigent ammount in any event. Use of horses, feed and supplies if the search goes long. Spears and arrows, basics."

Aid to diplomacy 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26


Your Humble Narrator

Mindra smiled at Tebati warmly.

Most informative. You have my thanks, shamaness.

She bowed her head graciously at Ansha's compliment.

He used to have his own kitchen in Eleder. A lucky find of my husband's.

Mitabu reluctantly agreed and the Mauxi man slowly nodded as he made his terms clear.

It sounds reasonable. Anything taken from the armoury or stables though, I want back in working order. What you take will be logged by me and anything not returned or damaged will be deducted from your fee. We'll waive ammunition but well-made spears are expensive compared to arrows.

Ansha, if you don't want to visibly react to the following I suggest you make a bluff check as its clearly a surprise to you.

As Ansha finishes her cantrip she is surprised to see a magical aura around Tabansi!

Knowledge (Arcana) to identify.


Female Elf Wizard (Manipulator) 4

Bluff: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25

Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17

Hm, I wonder what that is. She studies the head rancher's aura, putting on a mask of disinterest to hide her curiosity as the conversation continues and Mitabu comes to terms with Qhude's requests for provisions.


Your Humble Narrator

DM Only:

1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19

None of the others at the table seemed to notice Ansha's carefully hidden surprise but Tabansi was still expectant.

Well?! he asked, a little frantically as Ansha concentrated and tried to appear nonchalant. Ansha concentrated but to her frustration, she wasn't quite able to identify the aura.


Female Elf Wizard (Manipulator) 4

"Nope," she says to Tabansi. "What makes you think that you have been, anyway? No strange-looking bush-shaman have come through waving fetishes over your head, have they?" What is that? she thinks. What sort of spell would draw a beast's attention to them? Perhaps a compulsion? Could be a divination, if the mind behind this beast were using it to direct the beast toward the head rancher directly....


Male Human (Mwangi - Bas'o tribe) Barbarian (Brutal Pugilist archetype) 4

Qhude nods at Mitabu's promise of assistance... trying to ignore the fact that he seems more worried about book-keeping than slaying the beast that has killed their stock. Shaking off the thoughts he focuses instead on the discussion at the other end of the table... and his plate before him.


Your Humble Narrator

Tabansi looked a little indignant at Ansha's questions.

What makes me think I have been? Other than a massive animal trying to cripple me with its tail?


Male Human (Mwangi - Bas'o tribe) Barbarian (Brutal Pugilist archetype) 4

Qhude sits back from the table, the raw gnawing edge of his hunger sated for now and sighs contentedly.


Female Human (Bonuwat) Cleric 4

Tebati smiles sympathetically across the table at Tabansi. "To be fair," she points out, "those who place themselves at the outskirts of civilization are more likely to find themselves in danger than those who remain in town conducting business. If the creature were to rampage into the market square and ignore the dozens of other people to single you out, you might have more cause for suspicion."


Your Humble Narrator

Tabansi nodded in agreement with Tebati.

True, true... I'm just relieved there's no magic on me after all.

With little effort spent by the group to try and win the members of the council over, the dinner continued with polite conversation and small talk in a reasonably formal manner. Fish was served once some of the meat was cleared and Tebati and N'bellocq noted it had been intentionally prepared in a traditional Bonuwat manner. Mitabu spoke to Qhude, Jakob and N'bellocq mostly, trading hunting stories and telling them about his time serving the army in Kalabuto- by all accounts, a miserable place to be stationed. All too often, Mitabu's stories ended in a desperate last stand. Salgarth, sat nearby, mostly just listened but occasionally talked about his time in Eleder. He had been a businessmen in the capital for some time, trading in many different commodities- but eventually, he decided to buy further shares in the ranch and come home.

Tabansi and Mindra seemed quite taken with Tebati and inquired about her life. They traded ranching stories for her own and spoke fondly about the town, inviting her to ask any questions or put forward any opinions. They were obviously quite proud of Freehold and the way it was run; Tabansi making a point of how in most of Sargava, few Mwangi could even rise to a managerial position let alone hold significant shares in a lucrative enterprise. Mindra expressed deep regret that their way of life here had not spread to the rest of "this troubled land".

Zesaste discussed magical theory with Ansha in Taldane. He was keen to know if Ansha specialised in "The Art" as he did or if she kept her studies broad.

Bellis Mara looked on haughtily, having little to contribute to the discussion. She instead decided to assault Kieran with blunt questions about his past, apparently probing him for information.

As the third course of desserts, chocolate and cake was served Mindra called attention to herself by tapping her spoon against her wine pitcher.

Now that it seems we are all agreed, its time to discuss your fee- and then we can toast a successful negotiation, I should hope. The council is prepared to offer you a sum of three hundred gold pieces each, to resolve this matter in its entirety.


Female Elf Wizard (Manipulator) 4

As the conversation moves away from Tabansi's "curse," Ansha happily converses with Zesaste about magical theory. Initially hesitant to answer, she chooses to reply in Elven rather than Taldane when she discloses her expertise in charms and compulsions. Ansha's eyes light up as the desserts course is served, and she happily samples each of the dishes before settling on a slice of spiced carrot cake.

When the discussion turns to the party's fee, Ansha glances at the others and shrugs, then looks at Mindra. "I cannot speak for the others, but the fee seems reasonable to me."


Male Human Haunted Nature Oracle 4 (Ac 20 Cmd 20 Will+4 Ref+2 Fort+4)
DM AK wrote:
With little effort spent by the group to try and win the members of the council over,

Apparently we are pants at small talk.

"I agree, the fee is quite reasonable. It is a pity we need to speak of a fee at all were it not for the needs of your current endeavor I would be more than happy to look into this matter as a simple favor."


Female Human (Bonuwat) Cleric 4
DM Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
Fish was served once some of the meat was cleared and Tebati and N'bellocq noted it had been intentionally prepared in a traditional Bonuwat manner.

For the first time since entering the Macini home, Tebati's expression loses its guarded quality, as she is delighted by the traditional Bonuwat dish. "I haven't had fish since we left Eleder," she smiles happily at Mindra, "and there the Grand Custodian's cooks prepared it in the colonial fashion. However did you get the recipe? And where does one fish locally? Not a river; a pond perhaps? I have heard that some people far from the water will 'stock' a pond with fish which they cultivate much as they do a flock of sheep or a herd of cattle. Cousin!" she calls down the table to N'bellocq. "How long has it been since you have tasted fish prepared like this?" Before she looks back to their hostess at the head of the table, she lets her gaze linger a moment on Kieran, obviously eager to see if he also is enjoying the Bonuwat delicacy.

DM Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
Tabansi and Mindra seemed quite taken with Tebati and inquired about her life. They traded ranching stories for her own and spoke fondly about the town, inviting her to ask any questions or put forward any opinions. They were obviously quite proud of Freehold and the way it was run; Tabansi making a point of how in most of Sargava, few Mwangi could even rise to a managerial position let alone hold significant shares in a lucrative enterprise. Mindra expressed deep regret that their way of life here had not spread to the rest of "this troubled land".

As usual, Tebati needs little encouragement to talk about Nantambu, although her descriptions of the physical beauty of the city and the pleasantness of life among the fishing community there are undoubtedly of minimal use to anyone looking for political insights. In response to their leading questions and comments about Freehold, Tebati is polite but noncommital, trying to turn the conversation before she is pressed into giving a blunt opinion. "The people here certainly seem content. It was refreshing to walk into town and see children playing happily, to be welcomed by people who live in peace and safety. Too many places I have been since I left Nantambu, the children have been beggars or pickpockets and the inhabitants untrusting of strangers -- or untrustworthy toward them." While what she says is true, Bluff to conceal her points of dissatisfaction with the town 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16


Your Humble Narrator

Mindra smiled back at Tebai, apparently glad she was able to serve something that the Shamaness enjoyed.

My chef is a well-travelled man, Tebati. And my estate does include such a pond, regularly restocked by import sadly. Not many good fishing spots in these parts- something my husband is most saddened about.

To her credit, Mindra seemed more interested in learning about Bonuwat life and culture rather than from a political angle.

Freehold's in something of a golden age right now. No one goes hungry if they are willing and able to work.

1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10

Salgarth pressed the issue of payment, wanting confirmation.

The sum is agreeable to everyone? Excellent. I'm sure you'll have the matter resolved in no time.

Sense Motive DC17:

Salgarth seems rather unhappy about something but is trying hard to mask it.


Male Human (Mwangi - Bas'o tribe) Barbarian (Brutal Pugilist archetype) 4

Qhude shrugs an acceptance of price, he is not truly aware of the value of such actions... but 300 gold is a king's ransom to such as he. At any rate the beast should prove a challenge beyond anything he has faced thus far.

His general table conversation is kept mostly in the present, talk of the Trials and their travel to Freehold. He is attentive during Mitabu's talk of Kalabuto - and if queried does let on that he spent time living there. He also queries Mitabu on his thoughts on the Bas'o, and whether he had occasion to cross spears with them.

Bellis Mara's lack of table manners and ill-humored discussion is noted by Qhude, but he does not seek to engage the old halfling in any manner unless pressed.

Sense Motive: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (3) - 1 = 2 Natch

To Salgarth's query he neutrally replies "We will take the matter to hand..."


Female Human (Bonuwat) Cleric 4
DM Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:

Mindra smiled back at Tebai, apparently glad she was able to serve something that the Shamaness enjoyed.

My chef is a well-travelled man, Tebati. And my estate does include such a pond, regularly restocked by import sadly. Not many good fishing spots in these parts- something my husband is most saddened about.

"Your husband is not a native of Freehold then?" Tebati asks between bites.

Sense Motive 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12

"I have no expertise in hunting beasts of any size," Tebati admits, "but if the others wish to accept the commission, I will go with them to ensure they return in good health ... and retain their good looks," she smiles down the table at Kieran.


Female Elf Wizard (Manipulator) 4

Sense Motive:1d20 ⇒ 16

Ansha gives Salgarth a curious look, a thought nagging at the back of her mind. Shaking her head slightly, as if to dismiss the nagging thought, she returns to her small talk with Zesaste--mostly in Taldane, but occasionally slipping into Elven. It is in one such slip that she asks, "Quenlye nin, manka unuvalye tire i rohirchebar quetalye i val?"

Elven:
"Tell me, why haven't you looked the rancher over with a spell?"


Male Half-Elf Fighter 2nd/Rogue 2nd

Kieran faces Bellis' questions with the same faint smile that he afforded Zesaste's direct query about his heritage. The half-elf does answer, though in a general and rather vague way, having few to no qualms to admitting to a less than lawful 'career' but neglecting to mention the exact nature of his lawlessness, so to speak. If or when asked about his family, he has no problem talking about that part of his past truthfully and almost in as much detail as the halfling wants to know. At the same time though, the rogue returns the favor, seeking to find out as much as he can about Bellis Mara as well. All in all, Kieran is his usual self; charming, fun and more than a little flippant, to be sure.

Although locked in discussion, he does spare a moment now and then in an attempt to follow the conversation about the beast and what is to be done with it. When monetary compensation is talked about, he finds the amount agreeable enough to warrant his not negotiating it further. "It is simply a matter of priorities," he says in answer to Tebati's comment with a smile, his tone one of mock haughtiness.

Sense Motive 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14


Your Humble Narrator

No, he is Varisian actually. I actually had him on retainer in my youth- he was quite a swordsman when he was younger Mindra said with a happy sigh as she thought back to her younger years. There was a spark between us and one thing led to another so we were married after knowing each other for a year. He is a good man but has little taste for the council or local politics, leaves this kind of thing to me. Mindra replied to Tebati. She pointedly glanced at Kieran as she mentioned the word marriage, apparently having not missed the glances the two kept stealing at one another- but she didn't say anything, merely smiled a private smile for Tebati, her eyes dancing in amusement.

Bellis seemed satisfied enough with Kieran's answers. As she told it, her life was extremely mundane, her parents being former slaves in Eleder. Council meetings were the only thing of import she really did in the town, otherwise she simply kept her establishment clean and ready for travellers. Kieran had been suspecting for a while that she had a hand in more than she would care to admit in front of her peers, particularly after the private conversations she had had with him.

Zesaste replied quietly to Ansha with a soft shrug that accompanied his quiet words.

Ci por's eir. Ai shyr cali bylelaesaer, sher o shaesi thareas. Shyr o jhoji ti sai?

Elven:

I didn't ask. I would have volunteered, but you were faster. Would you like me to?


Female Human (Bonuwat) Cleric 4
DM Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
No, he is Varisian actually. I actually had him on retainer in my youth- he was quite a swordsman when he was younger Mindra said with a happy sigh as she thought back to her younger years. There was a spark between us and one thing led to another so we were married after knowing each other for a year. He is a good man but has little taste for the council or local politics, leaves this kind of thing to me. Mindra replied to Tebati. She pointedly glanced at Kieran as she mentioned the word marriage, apparently having not missed the glances the two kept stealing at one another- but she didn't say anything, merely smiled a private smile for Tebati, her eyes dancing in amusement.

Tebati feels her cheeks flush warmer at Mindra's insinuation, and she finds herself quite occupied with picking a bone out of the fish on her plate for a few seconds. When she can look the other woman in the eye again, she asks politely, "Have you many children?"


Female Elf Wizard (Manipulator) 4

Ansha lowers her voice to a near-whisper, punctuating her second sentence with a shrug. "Uaniren tira ilya, tanya ennas na i val in. Uelan. Nai palantirval ar er tirae am met. Tire dolthatir?"

Elven:
"I didn't want to alarm anyone, but there is an aura on him. I just can't identify it. Could be a divination, for all I know, and someone is spying on this conversation. Perhaps you should take a look surreptitiously?"


Male Human (Mwangi - Bas'o tribe) Barbarian (Brutal Pugilist archetype) 4

Having eaten and drank quite solidly since his arrival and the talk turning a more esoteric nature, Qhude excuses himself to make use of the facilities... but also hopefully to spend a few minutes walking to ease the burden of the meal upon his burgeoning gut.


Your Humble Narrator

Mindra replied to Tebati-

Just my son Perrin. He'll be twelve years old this summer.

Zesaste quietly muttered to himself, words in Elven that could have been interpreted as simply replying to Ansha, but the Enchantress knew better, watching him quietly make somatic motions with his hand under the table.

Would totally let those of you trained in Spellcraft make checks to recognise that he is spellcasting, but none of you have any ranks in it save Ansha.

DM Only:

1d20 + 10 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 10 + 2 = 31

1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18

As the conversation continued, Zesaste cleared his throat and got to his feet, pausing the conversations with his grim facial expression- deadly serious.

I don't mean to alarm any of you, but I just performed my own magical scrutiny upon Tabansi here. The magic aura surrounding him was masked, which must be why Ansha missed it. Happily, however, I have spent my life as a specialist in the school of Transmutation and overcame the illusion of well-being around him.

Ansha:

Zesaste is clearly covering for you.

Sense Motive DC18:

A glance that passed between Zesaste and Ansha did not go unnoticed by you as he spoke about Ansha missing the aura. You get the impression he is not being entirely honest.

Sense Motive DC23:

As above, but in addition-

You get a strong impression that Ansha already noticed the aura and that Zesaste is covering for her, in a benevolent manner.

Tabansi is exuding an aura of transmutation- a faint one, but there nevertheless. The transmutation school of magic involves changing the properties of something, often an object or a person. As an example, a spell that would make a warrior stronger is a classic example of such a spell.

The Zenj man looked close to weeping but Zesaste did not give him the opportunity as he quickly asked him-

Tabansi, have you been finding it harder to get along in the wild of late? Have animals within the village also seemed unfriendly towards you recently?

When the anxious man nodded vigorously, Zesaste nodded slowly as he considered. It did not take long for him to speak once more.

I believe Tabansi to be under the effect of a curse after all, one that falls under the Transmutation school of magic's umbrella. Its something of an obscure spell, granted by the forces of nature as well as to those who make pacts for power- witches and warlocks. It is sometimes used by Druidic circles as punishment, especially to those of their own order who have lost their way. Animals will be hostile to someone under this curse and the very environment will conspire to cause such a person problems. I would not have made the link, but the strength of the aura and the strangeness of this... Anklyosaurus' behaviour strongly suggest such magic. Tabansi is cursed, as Nature's Exile.

The head rancher looked horrified but Zesaste described the spell in meticulous detail and how it had to be administered with a touch- though he noted an individual could cast the magic out of sight and merely hold it within themselves until an opportunity to lay a hand on the man could have come about. When he finally finished his detailed explanation, the only sound around the table was, for a moment, Tabansi's anxious moans of fear.

As a result of Zesaste's vast knowledge on the subject of Transmutation and his detailed explanation, feel free to look at the spell entry in APG or D20PFSRD/PRD.


Female Human (Bonuwat) Cleric 4

Sense Motive 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24

Tebati instantly forgets about the pleasantries she is exchanging with Mindra at Zesaste's portentous announcement. She follows his glance down at Ansha and frowns but quickly turns her attention to the terrified Zenj. "Tabansi," she urges him, reaching across the table to take his hands, "calm yourself. There is no more reason to be afraid now than there was an hour ago, when you had only suspicions. Now at least you know the truth, which is the first step to doing something about it. Master Zesaste," she addresses the elf with deference, "can you not remove this curse?"


Your Humble Narrator

Zesaste shook his head.

We could look around the town and see if anyone happens to have a scroll of one of the spells that are effective against such a curse, but it is far beyond my own ability. Perhaps Shamaness Ntisi has such a scroll in her possession, but i'm reasonably confident she is also unable to prepare such powerful magic.

Tabansi took comfort in Tebati's words as she calmed him down, and he mouthed his thanks quietly to her so as not to interrupt the Elf.

The other guests at the dinner table were not reacting well to his words. Bellis Mara muttered darkly that the Bandu must somehow be to blame. Mitabu's face was ashen and seemed to be considering something. Salgarth looked troubled and occasionally glanced at Mindra as though waiting for her to speak. Mindra seemed momentarily at a loss and it was Mitabu who spoke.

Tabansi- until this matter is fully resolved it would be safest if you were isolated and sealed indoors, for your own safety. Not only are you at risk from animals, but it is clear someone orchestrated this, which leads me to believe there is a sentient threat that also wishes you harm.


Male Human (Mwangi - Bas'o tribe) Barbarian (Brutal Pugilist archetype) 4

Creative time accounting ;)

Qhude returns from his short walk to find the talk turned to curses and Mitabu's words that Tabansi should be locked away. His brow furrows at the thoughts expressed by Mitabu and he looks to Tabansi - noting the fear upon his face. Shaking his head at the proposed isenzo esinobugwala of hiding within stone and wood, he returns to his seat beside Mitabu. To no-one in particular he flatly states "So we hunt not only the intulo enkulu, but an umthakathi also..."

isenzo esinobugwala - cowardly action
intulo enkulu - great lizard
umthakathi - witch


Male Human (Ijo) Monk 4 (Zen Archer)

It was true N'bellocq had not had such good fish in quite some time. "The Rivermen burn their fish upon spits above a fire, not baked in the earth to keep them so moist."

The later arrival of chocolate mixed with some form of a griddle cake was even better.

When the talk turns to money, he is surprised again. So much money to do what he does well. He shot many creatures from the prow of a boat and was paid with the delay of the whip for a day. Well fed and well paid, there was little not to like about the day's offer, till mention of the witch.

"Seems we are to hunt the wrong creature. Are we to break our spears upon the hippo while the spider crawls into our beds? If we find the umthakathi, we perhaps save ourselves the bigger of our troubles."


Male Human Haunted Nature Oracle 4 (Ac 20 Cmd 20 Will+4 Ref+2 Fort+4)

At the conformation of the curse: "I have heard of such things. My teacher spoke of such perversions of natural magic. You have a powerful enemy Mr. Tabansi. One who wants you to suffer rather than simply die."

Jakob sets down his fork and drops his eyes as he thinks.

"So why do this....What do they want....They do not strike at you directly. Someone who could manage this could hire enough bravos to be sure you vanish....So they do not want you dead....A rancher who cannot work with animals....They want you to fail as a businessman...They want you poor and desperate."

Jakob looks at Tabansi. "Has anyone made a serious offer for your land? This kind of magic does not come cheap, it was most likely not their first move."


Female Human (Bonuwat) Cleric 4
N'bellocq wrote:
"Seems we are to hunt the wrong creature. Are we to break our spears upon the hippo while the spider crawls into our beds? If we find the umthakathi, we perhaps save ourselves the bigger of our troubles."

Tebati manages a smile down the table at N'bellocq, despite her concern for Tabansi. "Qhude has already set his heart on facing the beast and will not be so easily dissuaded. Besides, even without the particular danger to Tabansi, the giant lizard has learned that the cattle of the ranch provide it with an easy meal; it must be killed or driven away in any case to prevent it from coming back. But you are right, cousin, that killing the beast will do nothing about the ongoing problem."

She nods encouragingly at the Zenj rancher to consider Jakob's questions. "Can you think of anything unusual in the days just before the last attack? It was only on its third appearance that the creature marked you as its enemy."


Female Elf Wizard (Manipulator) 4

Ansha doesn't seem to notice the look Tebati gives her. "Given the nature of the enterprise here, I would imagine if anyone was after buying the land directly, they would be after Lady Macini. But perhaps they seek to force a personnel change...." She leaves unspoken the allegation that it was someone on the council.


Your Humble Narrator

Yes. Mitabu confirmed to Qhude with a simple one word reply. Mindra answered Tebati, Jakob and N'bellocq's comments, having gathered her senses.

While the implications of this are chilling, your task remains unchanged. You leave Tabansi's protection to us while you focus on the beast and whoever is targeting good Tabansi. Tebati speaks truly- the animal is going to be problematic even if the curse were to be removed.

Mindra spoke to Tabansi quickly before the questions were answered, reassuring him quietly as she laid a comforting hand on his-

We'll see this curse removed and the culprit brought to justice, fear not.

Zesaste spoke up as Jakob mused about the motivation of Tabansi's antagonist.

Whoever is responsible could not have counted on the spell being detected- so we can safely assume, I believe, that Tabansi was being set up to be killed as though it was a mere accident. Driving him to economic ruin may have been the intention, or a mere side effect.

Tabansi seemed a little more hopeful now his fears were being dealt with and discussed. Tebati encouraged him to answer questions and he began with hers.

Unusual? Let me think... Nothing in particular, no. What kind of thing are you hoping I will remember?

To Jakob, he was about to reply when Salgarth spoke up.

I don't want to put Tabansi in an awkward position. Its well known that I asked to purchase some of his shares in the Ranch some time ago to supplement my own, although Tabansi wasn't interested. Perhaps someone is trying to discredit me, indirectly? My friend Rutilus also approached most of us here seeking to increase his own share as well.

Or me, perhaps... Bellis mused. I also sought to increase my shares and approached Tabansi, a few weeks ago. The discussion was amiable and friendly though! she added hastily.


Male Human Haunted Nature Oracle 4 (Ac 20 Cmd 20 Will+4 Ref+2 Fort+4)
Mindra wrote:


While the implications of this are chilling, your task remains unchanged. You leave Tabansi's protection to us while you focus on the beast and whoever is targeting good Tabansi. Tebati speaks truly- the animal is going to be problematic even if the curse were to be removed.

Jakob replies quickly. It does not do to annoy ones employer.

"Of course. An animal of that size so close to freehold is not good for either party."

Zesaste wrote:


"Whoever is responsible could not have counted on the spell being detected- so we can safely assume, I believe, that Tabansi was being set up to be killed as though it was a mere accident. Driving him to economic ruin may have been the intention, or a mere side effect."

"Unfortunately they now likely know, or will know soon, that their gambit has been uncovered. I fear they will act directly now. Forgive the blunt question, but who will gain your shares upon your death?"

Salgarth wrote:


"I don't want to put Tabansi in an awkward position. Its well known that I asked to purchase some of his shares in the Ranch some time ago to supplement my own, although Tabansi wasn't interested. Perhaps someone is trying to discredit me, indirectly? My friend Rutilus also approached most of us here seeking to increase his own share as well.
Bellis wrote:
"Or me, perhaps... Bellis mused. I also sought to increase my shares and approached Tabansi, a few weeks ago. The discussion was amiable and friendly though!" she added hastily.

"Well that helps clear the air. It may make protecting Mr. Tabansi easier."

To the table generally: "Am I correct in thinking that the majority of the council is at this table? Would it not be possible for the council to interdict Mr. Tabansi's share?. To make it impossible to transfer their ownership for say three months? And if Mr. Tabansi should die in that time period then the shares will be distributed equally amongst his heirs and all council members? I admit it is a bit like burning a painting so that it cannot be stolen but it removes the profit motive for the attacks. Now if the matter is personal that is different."


Male Human (Mwangi - Bas'o tribe) Barbarian (Brutal Pugilist archetype) 4

Picking up on Mindra's words Qhude asks plainly "Do you need the umthakathi alive? - or is there justice enough in their death?"

To Tabansi he asks "There is no shame in hiding, but if there is an ibutho within you... your presence with us could force the umthakathi to overplay her hand." allowing the thought to linger a moment before adding "There would be no more risk of death than what we would be facing in your stead."

Brow furrowing as first Salgarth and then Bellis speak of their interest in increasing their stake something does not sit well with Qhude. To his jaundiced view it seemed as though the two at the table with least respect for the Mwangi... why have they such an interest? Speaking bluntly and without masking his words Qhude asks both Salgarth and Bellis directly "Why would you buy more of the ranch?"


Female Human (Bonuwat) Cleric 4
DM Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:

Tabansi seemed a little more hopeful now his fears were being dealt with and discussed. Tebati encouraged him to answer questions and he began with hers.

Unusual? Let me think... Nothing in particular, no. What kind of thing are you hoping I will remember?

"Meeting any strangers?" she asks. "Any who sought specifically to clasp your hand in greeting or to touch you in some other way? Although if the curse could have been delivered as someone jostled against you in the marketplace, there might not be any reason for you to remember. What day did the beast go after you? Mistress Mara," she addresses the innkeeper, "did you have any unusual guests at the Maw around that time?"

As the conversation continues, Tebati's mind is troubled by the same question that Qhude has voiced. "And why did both of you approach Tabansi about it?" she adds to his inquiry, frowning. "Why would he be more likely than any other to part with his shares?"


Female Elf Wizard (Manipulator) 4
Jakob Mule wrote:
"Unfortunately they now likely know, or will know soon, that their gambit has been uncovered. I fear they will act directly now. Forgive the blunt question, but who will gain your shares upon your death?"

Ansha glances at Zesaste. I hadn't wanted to let anyone on the council know about that little curse. Perhaps you have a hand in this mess? She studies the other council members, her gaze settling on each for a period of time, but longer with Bellis and Salgarth. Still savoring her wine, she remains silent as her mind plays out several different scenarios in which Tabansi's death could have profited someone.


Your Humble Narrator
Jakob Mulle wrote:

"Unfortunately they now likely know, or will know soon, that their gambit has been uncovered. I fear they will act directly now. Forgive the blunt question, but who will gain your shares upon your death?"

I... I have an younger brother who lives just outside Eleder. He's never had any interest in life away from the capital though and I trust him.

Jakob Mulle wrote:


To the table generally: "Am I correct in thinking that the majority of the council is at this table? Would it not be possible for the council to interdict Mr. Tabansi's share?. To make it impossible to transfer their ownership for say three months? And if Mr. Tabansi should die in that time period then the shares will be distributed equally amongst his heirs and all council members? I admit it is a bit like burning a painting so that it cannot be stolen but it removes the profit motive for the attacks. Now if the matter is personal that is different.

Mindra answered this query with an explanation, followed by a confused question.

Jakob, the entire council is sat at this table, rather than just the majority- the largest shareholders in Freehold Ranch have traditionally represented the town's council. Its not a perfect system but at least with this system that dates back to Freehold's founding, wealth comes with responsibility. There have been some bad eggs over the years, but the council is usually able to buy a person's shares between them if they prove an ill-fit for governorship. I am not sure I understand the implications of what you are saying- are you suggesting Tabansi's brother might wish him harm?

Qhude wrote:

Picking up on Mindra's words Qhude asks plainly "Do you need the umthakathi alive? - or is there justice enough in their death?"

Mitabu answered this question-

Killing without a trial or a defence is not usually permitted. However, if you find unquestionable proof of the perpetrator's wrongdoing and he or she tries to escape justice, do what you will he told him grimly, dark face full of anger but not directed at Qhude.

Qhude wrote:


To Tabansi he asks "There is no shame in hiding, but if there is an ibutho within you... your presence with us could force the umthakathi to overplay her hand." allowing the thought to linger a moment before adding "There would be no more risk of death than what we would be facing in your stead."

I... I can use a spear, but i'm not trained as a warrior, no. What are you suggesting? Wouldn't I be safer under guard, so no animals can try and slay me?

Qhude wrote:


Brow furrowing as first Salgarth and then Bellis speak of their interest in increasing their stake something does not sit well with Qhude. To his jaundiced view it seemed as though the two at the table with least respect for the Mwangi... why have they such an interest? Speaking bluntly and without masking his words Qhude asks both Salgarth and Bellis directly "Why would you buy more of the ranch?"

Bellis looked genuinely surprised at the line of inquiry.

The ranch is, for the most part, a solid investment. Returns on money invested are reliable and have been strong for years. The Maw nets me a steady income that I like to reinvest a portion of- Mindra's never sold any of her shares for the past fifteen years, Zesaste has some kind of magic writing on that wall of his outside his home declaring that he has no interest in selling his and Mitabu's stake is low enough that if he sold much more, he'd no longer be a council member; which would be decidedly awkward. And I knew Salgarth was looking to increase his own share too, as he tried to buy some of mine. Tabansi was the logical person to make inquiry of!

Salgarth shrugged to indicate that Bellis had adequately explained the situation, in answer to Tebati's question that mirrored the warriors.

Tebati wrote:

"Meeting any strangers?" she asks. "Any who sought specifically to clasp your hand in greeting or to touch you in some other way? Although if the curse could have been delivered as someone jostled against you in the marketplace, there might not be any reason for you to remember. What day did the beast go after you?

Sense Motive DC7:

As Tebati questioned Tabansi about anyone who might have had contact with him, a look distinctly passed between him and Bellis. He had not hidden it well at all.

Sense Motive DC12:

Bellis' face gave nothing away, but you noticed Tabansi's cheeks blushed very slightly as he glanced at Bellis- he looked embarrassed.

I... I don't think any strangers put a hand on me, but truthfully it could have easily happened in the crowded tavern or market at any time! he answered, sounding frustrated. I never make a point of avoiding people and locally, we're fond of shaking hands when one man greets another here. Which day? The third time? It was a couple of days before your arrival- at least now I understand why the animal tore the shed to pieces trying to get at me.

Tebati wrote:


Mistress Mara," she addresses the innkeeper, "did you have any unusual guests at the Maw around that time?"

Mostly travellers I know well who make regular trips to Kalabuto she answered, her ancient face scrunched up into a frown. There was one man though. Quiet and kept to himself, and I took him for some kind of pilgrim. Arrived on the morning of Tabansi's third attack and left the next morning. Didn't Shamaness Ntisi spend some time with him, before he headed north into the jungle?

Mindra nodded her confirmation of this.

I actually wanted to know his business in Freehold, but he was very private. Well-armed too, I took him for a mercenary myself. Close-lipped; wouldn't tell anything about why he was going into the jungle. Bandu probably got him.

Mindra addressed the table-

Let me be clear. I want no accusations made against the good people of Freehold, especially those here on this council- not unless you have overwhelming evidence.


Male Human (Mwangi - Bas'o tribe) Barbarian (Brutal Pugilist archetype) 4

Sense Motive: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (20) - 1 = 19 Oh boy... a nice one to ace :)

Qhude saw the look passed between Tabansi and Bellis and the embarrassment that creased the Mwangi's face. Had he been a wiser or more worldly man, one that knew the meaning of words such as tact and decorum... perhaps the words that followed would have been more carefully chosen... perhaps framed with the elegance that one like Ansha or Tebati would have been able to muster... flowery prose that obfuscated the thrust of inquiry, or allowed the words to dance around the issue at hand without making it overt. But sadly, he was not that man... he was a man of the Bas'o, soldier of the Mneri plains... and it was with this background that his question was created and flung across the room to impact upon the ears of the listeners with such a force as to cause blunt force trauma to their decency.

"You say no strangers laid hand on you... but I saw you look towards the halfling... has she jostled you?" accusatory words and pointed finger in play to emphasize the inquiry.

Not ignoring the other tidbits laid out AK and will refer to them in time... just had to jump on the opportunity :)


Female Elf Wizard (Manipulator) 4

Sense Motive: 1d20 ⇒ 13

Ansha winces at Qhude's bluntly worded question. The look between Tabansi and Bellis wasn't lost on her either, though, and she gave Mindra a curious look. Wasn't the rumor that it was Mindra having an affair with Tabansi?

"Or perhaps...other persons with whom you have had close dealings?" she adds, not quite willing to bring the rumor into the discussion.


Your Humble Narrator

Bellis openly sneered at Qhude while Tabansi simply looked even more embarrassed.

Don't be ridiculous, I don't jostle with anyone at my age! This is quite enough of these questions! she snapped.

I agree. Mindra said, a voice of calm to counter Bellis' anger and indignation. You may ask whatever questions regarding our individual activities as you please, but you will do so in private- not only out of respect, but out of necessity. Jakob believes one of this council may be the culprit- which means answers to these questions might put Tabansi at further risk. Now, I suggest we finish our dessert for now- I will make myself available to any questions you might have for me personally once the rest of the council have retired.


Female Human (Bonuwat) Cleric 4
DM Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
Jakob, the entire council is sat at this table, rather than just the majority- the largest shareholders in Freehold Ranch have traditionally represented the town's council. Its not a perfect system but at least with this system that dates back to Freehold's founding, wealth comes with responsibility. There have been some bad eggs over the years, but the council is usually able to buy a person's shares between them if they prove an ill-fit for governorship.

Tebati stares at Mindra flatly. "You mean that the richest people in Freehold govern by virtue of their wealth -- and obstinacy? Even the Grand Custodian has not managed to institute a system by which coin directly translates to political power. No wonder Freehold is held up as such an example to Sargava."

Sense Motive 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12

Tebati doesn't miss the glance between Tabansi and the halfling. Unfortunately, Qhude doesn't miss it either. She winces a little at the indelicate question and hot denial. "I will speak to the shamaness and ask her about the stranger who passed through that day," she declares. "And, Tabansi," she goes on in a quieter voice, "you must confide in us after the dinner. We are not natives, and any secrets you disclose will go with us when we leave Freehold. Your life and livelihood are worth far more than any fleeting indiscretions."


Your Humble Narrator

Mindra defended the council, her calm composure cracking a little under Tebati's words.

Not necessarily the richest, but those with the biggest stake in the ranch- and therefore the town. Freehold Ranch supports over half of the townspeople here and even more indirectly- what is good for the ranch is good for the town. Do you see poverty on the streets here or rampant crime? No, you do not. No one goes hungry who is willing to work. We have a strong community, happy and wealthy. The average towns-person here in Freehold is far better off both in monetary and personal terms. Indeed, most if not all of the ranch workers not only own their own home, but they have shares in the ranch too she pointed out.

When the council have a personal financial stake in the success of the ranch, the town itself inevitably prospers as the council works that much harder. Other towns have corrupt leaders who seek to gain money and power in secret and often to the detriment of their people; but here, a leader's stake is tied up in the success of the town, don't you see?

We have an idyllic life here and no one ever questions the way the council operates- although i'm certain they would should we drive it to ruin. If, or when, that happens, i'm sure a change in leadership will be welcome.

Mindra shrugged, her composure restored.

Truthfully though, its an inherited system. None of us here set up Freehold to be governed in such a manner. The original Macini did.


Female Human (Bonuwat) Cleric 4

Tebati's eyes say that she is not convinced, but Freehold is neither her home nor a system she has to live with, only one with which she must coexist for a few weeks. "Then perhaps it is no personal grudge against Tabansi at all. Of all of you, he is the most necessary to the daily workings of the ranch, is he not? Perhaps this is the work of someone who wishes to strike at the successes of Freehold as a whole. If the inn shuts down or the mage closes shop, only a few are hurt; if the ranch is crippled, then as you say -- the whole town suffers."

Forgot to ask: this stranger who headed north into the jungle -- is that the same direction we're meant to be heading?


Your Humble Narrator

If you mean where your headed after Freehold, no. The jungle your going to enter is very, very, very big. This is a small enough jungle that it barely registers on a map of Sargava, and is likely the last one before its all hills and Bandu terrain further north. Here is a map of Sargava complete with your planned route to enter the jungle- essentially from Eleder in the west to Freehold in the middle and then south...

Link

Salgarth nodded sagely down at the other end of the table.

I had just been thinking the same thing, Shamaness. Tabansi is as vital to our operations as I am and not easily replaced. His expertise would have been sorely missed for a time.


Female Human (Bonuwat) Cleric 4

Thanks for the map. My real-life Survival "bonus" is a penalty; I'm terrible about remembering directions. Is this small jungle to the north the same one the ankylosaurus came out of?


Your Humble Narrator

Yup, that's the one.


Male Human (Ijo) Monk 4 (Zen Archer)

Looking up from scraping the last of the chocolate off his plate, N'bellocq takes in the tension about the room and decides NOT to ask for another piece.

He nods in agreement to Mindra's words. He has not seen any mistreated or misfed people here. Rule by money seems at least better than rule by the knife or the whip like the pirates.


Male Human Haunted Nature Oracle 4 (Ac 20 Cmd 20 Will+4 Ref+2 Fort+4)
Mindra wrote:
"I am not sure I understand the implications of what you are saying- are you suggesting Tabansi's brother might wish him harm?'

"Well, he would gain from Mr. Tabansi's death but I do not think the harm comes from that quarter."

Sense Motive 1d20 ⇒ 7. Hmmm looks embarassed. Well it was that kind of question.

Mara wrote:
"...north into the jungle..."

"The same area the beast lives in. We should see Shamaness Ntisi as soon as we can. She might remember something of this well armed pilgrim. She might even be able to break your curse Mr. Tabansi."

[quote+Mindra]"Jakob believes one of this council may be the culprit..."

Jakob takes a drink "Well believe is too strong a word. It is just that it took power to lay that curse, or wealth to pay for it. In Freehold wealth and power tend to congregate in or near the council."

Salgarth wrote:
"... as vital to our operations as I am ..."

"You give voice to a dark thought. Mr. Tabansi may not be the only victim. Perhaps Master Zesaste and Ansha would care to examine all of us for such esoteric traces. My own limited gifts in this area are of course at your disposal but Ansha's skills far exceed mine."

Mindra wrote:
"The original Macini did."

Kn. History to remember anything about the original Macini? 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5, and kn.Nobles to do the same 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11.

"Hmmm That must have been a controversal act. Did this create enemies for your family? Enemies with the reach, power and anger to hurt Freehold now?"


Male Human (Mwangi - Bas'o tribe) Barbarian (Brutal Pugilist archetype) 4
DM Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
I agree. Mindra said, a voice of calm to counter Bellis' anger and indignation. You may ask whatever questions regarding our individual activities as you please, but you will do so in private

Mindra's words do not assuage Qhude and he sneers "Alone... so that you might better hide your words from the others and tell what lies you wish to us." growling subvocally as he stands and retrieves a small item from the pocket of his shorts "I will kill your intulo inkosikazi, but I will not umdanso to your music." and with that he places a single gold piece upon the table "For the food." and with that he gives a short bow before taking his leave - and departing the table.

intulo - lizard
inkosikazi - woman in authority
umdanso - dance

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