"Yeah, Well fought, you earned your blade and Errol there. It was a close call though, had that gone the wrong way it could have jeopardized our mission here. We need to keep the bigger picture in mind here, and work more like a team."
"The reason I wasn't watching the duel was that I spotted something...
I was up on the "battlements, trying to find a comfortable position to watch the whole thing when I noticed someone on the outskirts of the forest."
"At first I didn't really think more of it until I realized the person was trying to avoid being seen, I was only lucky.
So I tried to spot a bit more, but I guess I must have been too obvious because as soon as I turned the person disappeared."
"I was out there just now; having a look, and whoever it was...wasn't a fool.
It made sure to stay on ground too hard for tracking all the time.
I mean, it could be nothing, but when you put it all together, watching the trading post, not wanting to be seen, making sure to leave no tracks...not to mention the fact that we got several enemies out there.
So now you know"
"When I had the dream with both the bear and the sickle turning black, it was the first time I felt the torment of the bear... a pain that equaled it's rage in intensity. I'm sorry I don't have any more idea of where in the Narlmarches this may be... I am quite certain you will come across it before too long."
Rillo and Bunyon suffer through the distractions of the party asking for Furiel's assistance.
"We're not done."
"The next two are not complete and might require-"
"Some additional funds for equipment and some man hours from the locals."
They lead you to the second wagon. The front is filled with crates, the back with flats of liquor bottles.
"We would make these crates much like the first, but there would only be room for one. We build a hidden door, and compartments-"
"For Big ol bottles of Alchemist Fire!"
"Would cost 20 gold in parts and labor, plus cost of alchemist fire."
The third wagon has a tarp with crates visible where the tarp doesn't cover. Rillo pulls off the tarp, Bunyon jumps in and points out the inside. "Low wall which look like crates on the outside. Under the tarp we use parts from the broken catapult to make retractable shafts
swivel-mounted crossbows. Also room for two to hide inside. Just don't put your hand-"
"-or anything else..."
"..here when they ... unretract?"
Bunyon manually moves the shaft affixed to the mechanism from the catapult to show the height the crossbows would reach, where not to put your hand, and amount of cover the low wall would provide. He pantomimes firing off a few bolts.
"Yeah. (Rillo seems less thrilled with the plan) But that'll cost around 75 gold, a day and a half of work... to build a silly deathtrap. Potential bonfire strapped to horses."
"Then we make it metal!"
Furiel thinks for a second, and although he wants to like the fire cart, the danger and lack of room for hiding makes him reject it.
"You need to work on the crossbow design. With a safety to keep it from firing unless it is armed, it will be perfect. This cart will make a perfect mobile strong point. I'll make sure you get the credit to purchase up to 100gp of materials from Oleg."
Rogar shakes his head at Green's words:"Remove the threats, you mean. We know of the Stag Lord and of Sal'dor who seems much more dangerous, actually... We planted some seeds... let's see if they bear fruit, and while we wait let's explore our sorroundings. Contrary to what you said we didn't do much exploring at all actually"
|Ta'de-win of the Gale|
If I recall, Budgie and Arliss were with the group where we got the sickle, correct?
|Ta'de-win of the Gale|
Having spoken with Jhod, Ta'de-win goes about the task of finding Nihtscada to speak with her.
"Excuse me. Please tell me where you came upon this sickle."
You find Nihtscada back in her cell in the new stables. The other bandit is two stalls down. Mauersberger is leaning against the opposite wall when you arrive. He nods and steps away as you question Nihtscada.
She replies simply "I found it."
"Well, it didn't say "kill" only "deal with", I guess it is up to the wise men of Restov to decide if we did enough.
Maybe next time they will be clearer, unless they like this way and continue to give us freedom to interpret ourselves."
"But we will probably have to wait until our merchant friend returns before we can send a report back to Restov, we don't have anyone to spare right now I think?"
"Agreed. And maybe they will have some more supplies and reinforcements for us, or other bounties to collect. Well... I think we need to celebrate... who cares to join me for a round of drinks? I'm buying the first one! Maybe that will clear our mind on the best course of action to undertake" Rogar seems quite happy still
|Ta'de-win of the Gale|
Diplomacy: 1d20 ⇒ 9
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
When Norton manages to pull everyone together he wants to discuss the Stag Lord matter.
First, while Kressle and Errol are there he wants to know more about his headquarters.
"So, how does the place look like? How many people should we expect to be there?"
Errol responds to Norton "Well a few weeks ago, there were over 30. But in a drunken rage, the Stag Lord killed three with his bare hands for 'belly-aching' and sacked his second in command, Dovan... who had been handling recruitment. Should be down to around a dozen now. Most were sent off as we were."
Furiel speaks, "I know we have a solid garrison here, but I would prefer to explore the surrounding area for a day's ride before going after the Stag Lord. We may want to skip the North, as our charter doesn't extend there, but we may want to look into adding a buffer around Oleg's and include the north too--it is quite reasonable. We have sufficient resources with a ruse to take out the Stag Lord now. I have no problems if we want to do this before securing the surroundings."
|Ta'de-win of the Gale|
Should be there as done with Nihtscada for now.
"Attacking wolves in their den is dangerous. This ruse you speak of, do you believe it to be sufficient? And if this Stag Lord is as volatile a pack leader as he seems, would some of his pack betray him if a stronger leader appears?"
To Furiel's remark. "Exploring the area could well be of great importance. There are, things, in these woods. I would like to discover them."
Errol responds to Green,"Yes... I swore heart mind and blade. Regardless, the Stag Lord lost my respect when I first met him. My house in Mivon did have its dark dealings, but this Stag Lord is truly mad evil."
And then addresses Furiel, Ta'de-win, and Norton in turn "A fair plan will get the gates open. If your ruse does more than that so much the better. It is possible some might turn if the battle goes our way early... and most of those I wouldn't trust. I know nothing about the new fellow, Akiros, who took over as second in command."
"The buildings are watchtowers which also serve as barracks. I was only inside once. I was in a camp outside. There were a half dozen camps around the perimeter when Dovan was recruiting like he was building an army... He's just as mad as the Stag Lord."
Rogar takes an interest in Furiel's ideas:"North you say? That's the way towards Restov, not saying it's wrong to explore there, but the land should be tamed that near to the border... I would explore the east, I think we could find something interesting there... like what this Sal'dor is doing, maybe..."
"Well, we can talk about it more if you like. I am more of a doer. The situation to go after the Stag Lord is favorable now. It could change, especially if information gets to him about us. The more I think about it, we should probably move on the Stag Lord while we have the initiative. My previous 'cautious approach' contradicts a firm belief of mine, and that is 'Fortune favors the bold'."
Rogar assumes a pensive expression:"If things go the planned way the Stag Lord will have no choice but to come out to attack us or Sal'dor. And I'd like to draw Sal'dor out before we deal with the drunkyard: it's clear he's trying to manipulate us into attacking him, probably to weaken us both and take out the winner in one fell swoop. Therefore our best strategy should be to strengthen our position, forcing these two opposing forces to come out of hiding and maybe to face each other directly. I'm all for taking out the Stag Lord but not at the price of falling into an obvious trap"
"I too fear that Sal'dor is a much more nasty opponent, and I hate to be the hands of his plans. But I don't think we have many choices here. We know where the Stag Lord is, and no clue about Sal'dor whereabouts. We don't know how long it would take to find him, and we can't afford the luxury to let the Stag Lord alone meanwhile."
"Besides, as you are saying Rogar, it is likely that Sal'dor's hopes are for us and the Stag Lord to annihilate each other. But looking behind, each fight had made us stronger. Not two weeks ago there were only us, now we have Oleg's trust and help, Kressle's and Errol's blades and many others. My hope is to do as Sal'dor wants, while obtaining what he doesn't: an even stronger opponent."
"If history repeats itself when we will take down the Stag Lord, his men will be ours."
"But the Stag Lord himself didn't do much but staying hidden inside his fortress. That tells me he's either scared or too stoned to act. Meanwhile we have a very dangerous opponent moving in the background trying to use US for HIS benefit. The Stag Lord has proven to be nothing more than an ineffective fool until now. And given what we know of him he's not likely to grow into a credible threat any time soon. He just sends some scouts out and we annihilate them... and I tell you, let him do that again, and again, and again! Let him rot in his fort, meanwhile we search for the true danger and hopefully we do our duty of charting and annexing these lands. What if we attack the Stag Lord and that's what Sal'dor is waiting for to attack Olegs? We don't know enough about him to risk the safety of these people I say... besides the Stag Lord is clearly beneath our need for concern... he's not worthy to be considered a credible threat!" Rogar arguments with emphasis on the last part
The Green Man considers for a moment before speaking, thinking long and hard but finally giving up with a frown of irrigation.
"Under normal circumstances I would side with Ser Valertis," Here he gives Rogar a nod, "But for the fact that as ser Ambrosi pointed out, we do not know where Sal'dor is.
We can't find him since for all we know he does not have a single lair like the stag lord, nor can we learn of his plans ahead of time.
The Stag lord is the better target simply because we know where he is and we can strike first.
Remove him and then we have nothing stopping us from finding Sal'dor.
While the Stag lord has not done anything yet, eventually he will, we can't unfortunately rely on our enemies continued inaction.
As for Sal'dor attacking Olegs...not impossible but not likely either.
Why attack it? Sal'dor has shown no indication that he has that much interest in this place as of yet."
Papa Grundy finally shows himself while Green and Rogar speak... he looks a little green. Kesten approaches him to return the blade Errol used. Grundy waves it off "Don't want the damned thing. Meant to sell it, but keep it for the Mivoni. That'd really make its previous owner's blood boil! Ha!" He winces from his own exclamation, and holds the side of his head.
With his other hand he waves to the group, and turns to Rogar "Bokken is only fella I know that lives in Sal'dor's turf. He might help you out if you don't scare him... he's a bit timid."
When Grundy speaks Rogar instictively casts a furtive and quite dubious look at Green, then smiles and nods:"Aye! We'll give our best manners. Ambrosi knows how to talk with people well enough... I'll give him that although faith isn't his strong suit!" the warrior finishes with a chuckle, amused at his own humor.
Furiel addresses Papa Grundy, "Where will find Bokken?"
Furiel adds, "So we had the gnomes work on a ruse to get us into the Stag Lord's fortress to not sneak into the fortress? We protect our land by mapping it? I am starting to care less and less: once again I grow less concerned with the final decision than the time we are spending making the decision."
|Ta'de-win of the Gale|
"Letting the jackals have their way out of fear of the snakes. I do believe ensuring the area around our den is free of these snakes would be in our interests. Though my reasoning differs. What would prevent the Stag Lord from invading Oleg's while we attend to Sal'dor? The den is not without it's wolves while we travel the trails." Ta'de-win looks over to Kesten as she speaks.
"What more can you tell us of this Bokken? He has chosen a dangerous area to live. I wonder at his means of survival."
"Can't be more than 10.. 12 miles east of here... east southeast I'd guess. He's from one of the old families 'round here who used to live out in the Narlmarches. There was some ridiculous drama around him and his brother Breeg... Bokken took off and found himself a nice little spot in the woods and built a shack. Lives off the land, and dabbles in alchemy... minor magics. "
"What we have here is a case of too many wills and not enough purpose.
It is a bit like several minds vying for control of the same body, causing us to become paralyzed with inaction.
It might help if we reminded ourselves what exactly we are here for.
And as Ta'de win pointed out, we are not alone in this, and we can never be expected to be everywhere at once, sooner or later we have to come face with the facts that we can't do everything at once, or at all."
"If we go after one enemy we risk the other attacking, but Sal'dor strikes me as a more wily sort, he is unlikely to resort to simple brute force, unlike the Stag lord that is likely a drunken brute and may explode with rage if left alone long enough.
But here is one thing that strikes me, Sal'dor might not have dealt with the Stag lord himself because he simply lacks the resources, making him more dangerous but at the same time a lesser problem right now."
"We don't have a singular leader now, so each speaks his mind, and my mind is to take care of one of our foes swiftly so we are no longer in a pincer. And I would deal with the stag lord first, simply put, I think he may be the bigger threat right now, maybe not for long, but for now."
Scratching his head a little, The Green Man grimaces.
"Besides, we've already got half finished plans for the Stag lord and none for Sal'dor.
And I am itching to do something...all this talk fills my belly and feeds my anger."
Rogar shakes his head:"The fact that Sal'dor is an almost completely unknown quantity doesn't allow us to bring all of our force to bear against the Stag Lord. We know he's cunning, we know he's got men and magical resources, we know he's taken an interest in our endeavours and sent his people to spy on us. We know he wants us to get rid of the Stag Lord for him. And despite all this what is that you want to do? You want to march against the Stag Lord all the rest be damned, although everything we learned about the man is that he's an ineffective fool who spends his days in a drunken stupor... I tought I was supposed to be the reckless one, Green! Anyway here's my proposition: let's check what this Bokken fellow knows, if he doesn't give us anything useful on Sal'dor I promise I'll consider the idea of dealing with the drunkyard" finishes Rogar with a grin
The Green Man looks at Rogar and narrows his eyes.
Like a dog with a bone this one...
"Maybe I'm not exactly know for giving sage council...but if everyone gets to speak their mind, why not I? I'm not particularly pleased by being ridiculed or called reckless just by offering another opinion."
Deep down The Green Man is surprised at his own rancour, and knowing he should stop, but he just can't stop himself.
"But fine, if the Stag Lord is such an insignificant threat, then why do I need you at all?"
Grabbing his axe and turning away, he mutters angrily.
"Maybe I'll just go take care of him myself..."
It's clear from the hunching of his shoulder and the way he stomps of that he is really in a state of anger at this point.
Although he doesn't think they are losing time talking, they just had a few minutes discussion, Norton doesn't like to see people getting angry or stubborn on the matter.
"The Stag Lord might be in a liquor stupor, but his men keep harassing farmers around here. Our first charter was to deal with banditry, Sal'dor doesn't seem to fall under that list yet. Besides, our last orders," Norton shows the parchment Oleg presented the evening before "Is to deal with the Stag Lord as soon as possible, a good reward will come out of that too."
He gives the others the time to study the writings.
"It is still morning, and the gnomes have to finish the decoy. I say, let's discuss this on the road while we check this Bokken, we can spend the day exploring, let off some steam, and be back at dusk."