Here still, just intentionally sequestering Mikhail from a little of the conversation while he tends to Ink. I'll pop back in after the conversation progresses just a little more.
Aleidi pulled out her journal, making notes on a blank page without sketches based on her findings. She'd share them with the group later. Though from what she could overhear, they were going bandit hunting later. 'They could be fun to play all sorts of tricks on...'
Heading over towards where the others were starting to congregate, "Perhaps these bandits just need a little...motivation to leave this place, and it's inhabitants, alone."
'And I can think of all sorts of nice motivations.' She did spare some time evaluating the halfling once she had joined the others. She had not expected such a deep voice from him. When he had spoken earlier, it had been good that she had been facing the wall for she had broken out in a small stifled snicker.
'So glad I decided to come.'
Sorry i did a poor job of describing it but you are actually sitting outside in the common seating area on picnic style tables around a large central fire. I'll try to get a map on google docs tonight of the compound. Let's try this again.
Sorry for the messy post but accurate time keeping is important in this particular campaign and I messed up a little. Retconning just to keep things in the greater world in synch. Today is the 31st of Erastus of the year 4708. House Rogarvia vanished in 4699 and Lord Noleski Surtova has been the defacto king of Brevoy ever since.
Svetlana and Oleg share a look and she looks like she's about to burst with happiness. Oleg himself seems less surly before but a strong look of scepticism creeps onto his face. He'll wait to pass judgment until these adventurers show their moxy.
"Tommorrow is actually the first of Arodus. They will be here an hour after sunrise to collect all of that." Svetlana points to a wagon in the courtyard laden with furs and trade goods. "The first time they arrived there was a large group of bandits led by a foul mouthed woman who seemed to enjoy the thought of chopping off Oleg's hand for fun."
Svetlana trails off at this point, the memories obviously painful to remember. Oleg steps over and places an arm around her shoulders, drawing her close. "There were ten bandits led by the woman and another man. I couldn't seem much of his face but he carried a bow and handled it with ease. She was fond of a pair of handaxes she also wielded with some skill. The second time only the hooded man and six bandits came. Last month he came with only four bandits. They come, collect the merchandise and then leave as quickly as they can. I don't think their camp is very far from here as they simply pile everything on horses. Horses would not be able to handle that much weight for very long so the destination must be close." he says.
"I think they think us cowed." Svetlana interjects suddenly with a note of excitement. "Never before have such a large group of adventurers come to this region. You might be able to ambush the group tommorrow and wipe them out! That would show them that good and valor will not just lay down and die!"
"Easy love." Oleg says as he tries to calm his wife. He looks back at the group. "I think their camp is somewhere to the south. They always come from that direction. And I have no problems with you killing every one of those bastards tommorrow. I am going to hang their bodies from the southern wall to warn any other would be thieves."
Shalira put the pen away and ceased her drawing for now. "Tomorrow", she wondered, "that gives us little time for preparation. But we might be able to take them by surprise if they haven't found out about our arrival yet.
I would like to check the area to the south right now. See whether there is a scout of them and where we may surprise them best. I doubt they do because it sounds like they feel all to save anyway, but it is possible. Would anyone like to accompany me? I'll be back for food later." Shalira had stood up and was already ready to leave, the knuckles of her left hand protruded white as she grabbed the sheath of her fine, elven longsword with it.
Ack, did not show new posts.
"You go ahead," Aarya nodded to Shalira. "I am afraid I am not very good at being stealthy, and I don't imagine you want to be spotted by there scout. I'll wait here. If they come early, I'll see if I can help."
The Paladin turned to Oleg. "Forgive me for being so quiet. You might want to reconsider hanging there corpses from your wall, however. We won't be around all the time, I'm afraid. If they have friends and they decide to come and get revenge...well, we'd try to help you, but somehow I suspect that would be a cold comfort if we get there too late. Better to not antagonize them, at least until you have some stronger defences?"
Aarya considered the problem. The best idea would be to fight the bandits here, but the Paladin would need some evidence of there intent. Arshea would not allow one of the Paladins in her service to judge and kill someone simply based on the words of another. "My vows mean I won't be able to simply ambush them tomorrow, I'm afraid. It would be easiest if we could hide and see them attempt to rob the trading post. Then I can act."
Reknar listens to the exchange, and waits until everyone is done to speak, first turning to Svetlana and Oleg - "Ok then, I am going to assume we have a deal, and ask you if there is somewhere we can store our stuff, and eventually bunk for the night?"
Smiling at Aleidi, he proceeds - "I think you are absolutely correct - and that is exactly what we are going to do. Why, I am honestly planning on giving them a motivational speech" - he seems about to burst into laughter.
As Shalira voices her will to scout the southern expanse, Reknar nods - "I think that is a great idea, and I would rather you would not go out alone. I haven't had extensive training at hiding or sneaking around, but I will accompany you"
Looking around the table, and seeing that Mikhail hasn't joined them yet, he adds - "I am expecting Mikhail can make a tour of the outpost, finding defensive positions, possible breaches, and where the combat could be drawn out if it comes to that - I'll have a word with him in a few moments and see if he is up for it"
The huge man did take notice of Aarya's words, and addresses her directly - "I have nothing for or against hanging bandits from the walls... Actually, if anything, I am in favour or getting a message across" - the man looks stern as he continues - "But I fully agree with you, and I will be honest up front, I don't think our... Lets call it a task, will be done after we have taken care of these first couple of bullies that came to collect their dues, and exactly because of the reasons you have pointed out, we may have to take this one full circle to make sure Oleg and Svetlana are safe to conduct their lives, but hey... One step at a time"
He scratches his bearded chin - "As for your vows, I have seen people being cut down where they stand because they tried to show honour against enemies that cared none for the concept. But I am not even going to debate this with you because I know that principles are just that - principles. And therefore your own" - he seems to ponder the issue further - "What about this then? You come up with a plan that allows us a tactical solid advantage as an ambush would, does not give up our element of surprise, and allows us to ascertain their intentions - but not by letting them try and rob the outpost - that puts lives in danger besides our own. Deal?"
He then stands up to leave - "I think we're sorted for now, no?" - he looks around at everyone, then turns to Aleidi with a grin - "Don't think I don't see you scribbling away there on your notebook - if you are taking notes about the outpost, do you think you can share them? Me and Shalira gotta hurry out before the day advances too much - think you have something to share with us as we saddle up and get the horses ready, or it can wait for later today?"
There'd been a noise at the stables as a door opened, followed by Mikhail's broad-shouldered silhouette as he emerged from within, wiping his gauntleted hands off with a rag. On his approach to where the others had gathered, he tucked the rag into his belt, looking around before heading towards the sitting area outside where the others have gathered.
He lingers on the periphery of the conversation, listening to them talk while adjusting the straps on his gauntlets. Seeing his traveling companions outside of the element of city life gives Mikhail an opportunity to see them in his environment, one cut far away from the security and confines of city walls and overpaid watchmen.
"Bandits, eh?" Mikhail grumbles as he approaches the table, offering a quick look to Aarya, then Reknar. A furtive glance is shot to Aleidi, then over to Olegand Svetlana.
Aleidi grinned some, "Just some... future job opportunities while we are here. Though one is likely relevant. We'll need funds to explore, might as well start collecting some. One of these is for bandits. We can discuss it more when you two get back. As for other ideas that may help us out, I'll discuss mine with Aarya while the two of you use the available daylight. Seeing as the attack is set for tomorrow. We need to plan quickly. Though I believe some nice misdirection might appease you both." She motioned to Reknar and Aarya.
Letting Reknar and Shalira leave, she sat down with Aarya to discuss options, "Perhaps a simple illusion will do the trick? We hide the real wears, let them go after the illusion. This way, none of the wears are actually stolen, but we have proof of their goals?" After thinking a moment, "We could easily hid nearby, even have someone hidden under the illusion to catch them unaware? Actually, I might could even hid most of you under it, and it does not have to be one big illusion. It can be in a few different spots, allowing more options to hide."
Shalira stood up, grabbed her bow and arrows and attached the string to the bow and checked her swords. When she stepped to the door and turned to Reknar.
"You wanna take horses? I was about to check the immediate surroundings on foot to attract less attention... Well, let's go, anyway."
"Some illusions in the right places to obscure features of the terrain - or us - may be helpful. Like a stack of hay that isn't even there, so we can hide in the open when they come..."
"I could do that, and fake some goods as well. Or just grant us hiding locations."
She looked to Mikhail and Aarya, "So, shall we find the best locations for me to place these illusions tomorrow?"
To Aleidi, Reknar responds - "Ok, we'll talk about it later. I'll leave you to sort out the correct way to approach these bandits, and to ascertain their actual intentions" - he adds with a measure of irony - "I don't mind being bait though, if we need it"
Turning to Shalira he follows up - "I hadn't thought about taking horses or not, so we're fine - let us just move out on foot. My armor is light enough not to encumber my movements much - it is noisy though" - he adds with a smile - "You lead the way"
As they pass by Mikhail, Reknar addresses him - "Are you up for checking the outpost's defenses while I tour the area with Shalira?"
That's about it, and Reknar is ready to go scouting.
Aleidi gave a small nod to Reknar to acknowledge what he said, though she didn't turn to him. Her attention was focused more on Mikhail and Aarya, since they would be working together to form a plan. "I can place up to five illusions that cover a 10' area. I suggest we place them where we can get the most advantage."