Winter is completely set on watching the strange man in front of him, and fails to notice matters outside.
"Well you see Erastil is all about farm and family, the unit that sticks together and looks after one another tends to thrive, especially when they work together to bring a sense of orderliness to natures chaos. By clearing out the weeds, one makes way for the fruits and vegetables that sustain us. By having a family unit with a wise head, planning can be done to maximise the return of the effort of the group. By being a faithful steward of the animals, they will continue to produce products that clothe us and feed us, and give us strength. When we think if the community at large, if we maintain good relations and help those in need, they in turn might help us, and we might find better yield of trades we engage in... so I was here to talk to Croat about his recent experiences and the stewardship of HIS farm, however we seem to have ended up in what you claim to be your residence... a rather confusing and embarrasing position for us, as we now appear to be potential trespassers..."
"So my masked friend, perhaps you would do me the courtesy of speaking to me face to face and dispensing with the mask, I have nothing to hide and am not here to judge others for who or what they are, perhaps my actions speak loudly enough - I am here talking freely with Croat, despite his 'situation' and the actions of his men, and am now talking to you... and as I didn't immediately draw steel on you or raise a threat, perhaps you would see that I am a bit different to the other thoughtless moralist crusaders"
Whats the DC to hear Kabal?
Seeing Bree moving quickly, Winter maintains his composure...
"Is there to be some unfortunate excitement?" Winter offers to Mr Black.
The assassins could well be here for this guy too, maybe Croats men don't like their boss being heavied?
Perception1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9Why do I keep getting the most god awful perception checks lately? FU dicebot, FU.
Having heard Sebastian's translation, not hearing a scuffle of any kind outside and not seeing any real sign of threat from the wizard Bree straightens and recrosses her arms beneath her chest, but does not sheath the daggers. "I'll not be leaving Winter, thank you. I'm sure everything is fine. Please continue with your discussion... if it please you to do so, Winter?"
"Well as we can discount the behaviour of the rough men outside, perhaps you would be gracious enough to to continue on with your reply to my simple request? Let us, as men of thought, discuss what transpires here face to face..."
Croat called her by her name in their previous meeting, she assumes the masked wizard overheard or was told directly by Croat. She never told Croat her name, but it was not unfeasible he would recognize her as a "Riddleport urchin" as he named her.
You wonder if there is a sign of frustration of anger behind the mask, but the wizard does not even sigh as Bree declines to leave and so he says
Well, then we should all leave the tent and see for ourselves what is going on, ok?
Outside, Sable has picked up the hand-crossbow. It's made of a very dark and sturdy kind of wood and even though it's without ornamentations, the weapon looks like it could be of masterwork quality. The bolt has a silver tip to which some dark sticky fluid clings.
Meanwhile Croat has returned to his tent and looks at the whole scene with boiling anger
"Well actually I will bid you good day, as you have refused my request twice without so much as a polite answer. Given your lack of even polite answers or conversation that you have been invited to, I can only assume you were being an obstruction. I am not sure why you have chosen to impose yourself so rudely between myself and Croat, and by extension, his salvation... but I can only say you will be stretching my goodwill and fair temperament should you meddle in the will of Erastil once more."
Winter remains cool and collected, but is deeply offended by the man inviting himself into conversation, kicking out the person he had come to see, and then blowing him off.
Winter just stares at the man, weighing up his words against the actions - Sense Motive 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
So...why would Croat invite us over, and then do some person swap shennanigans? He could have just brushed off Winter, but nooooo... reckon this guy is trying to keep any chit-chat to a minimum
"Well then Sir you do me a different offence, as you sat to parley and then told me nothing and denied my requests without so much as a courteous refusal, your interest in conversation was feigned, and indeed I feel Croat could have refused me himself, but for your interventions. I am sorry, but I have taken offence. And now we hear of skulking assassins"
Winter grasps his sword, clearly ready for things to go bad.
"Then I will give you but one moment to kindly remove the mask you wear like a common footpad and begin speaking in earnest, or I must consider the insults, the subterfuge, and now assassins in the dark as something beyond acceptance and tolerance"
"You expect me to chat in earnest with a man hiding in the shadows? You jest!"
Winter is now drawing his sword. The game has gone on long enough.
Those outside of Croat's tent note somewhat of an anomaly within the overt masculine air that suffuses his encampment. Coming from deeper within the camp towards where Sven still sat eating his stew was a dark haired lady dressed in travelling clothes of brown and green. At each hip a tight coiled whip was stowed and a heavy threshing flail was secured across her back. Walking with the steady grace of a trained fighter a slight jingle betrayed the presence of a metal skin beneath her outer cloth.
Hailing Sven with a greeting, she begins to talk with the Ulfen as he continues to choke down what serves for food.
Bree dares to let her gaze glide over those surrounding them seeking out Mercus' location. Perception1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11 OK, Bloody Fing Hell! How many botched Perception checks is that now? 5? *grumble* *grumble* grumble*.
Unable to locate Mercus, Bree focuses in on the man hunched down by Kabal's feet. She squat's down and uses the tip of her blade, moving slowly so as to be no obvious threat, to lift back the man's hood. She studies his face and asks, "Out with it then. Who were you coming to shoot with that thing, and who sent you?" Diplomacy1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25Beautiful... just beautiful.
The poison reminds you of the substance Depora had used - while you lack the alchemical equipment to make your assumption 100% sure, you would bet quite a sum on money on it.
the creature's chitinous armour is no match for your blade and like a marshmallow on a stick you impale the deadly insect. The moment of distraction though was enough for the masked figure to flee into the back of the tent!
The caught assassin looks fearfully at Kabal and stammers
It was Aron, Aron told me to shoot the white man!
Suddenly it's silent around you, everyone knows that this could be the beginning of a larger fight. Only Croat still roars in anger
"Who the Bloody Hell is Aron? Point him out to me now, and I won't cut your throat. I promise." Bree makes sure her words can be heard by the man and her blades are more than visible. That mixed with that sudden cold, crazy look in her eyes at the mention of killing "the white man" is enough to turn the man's blood cold.
Intimidate1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
"Well Mr Croat, your masked friend has shown his hand..."
Winter raises the sword with the creature impaled on it.
"And that friend is now hiding in his tent. Seems your friend wants me dead, which is not uncommon, but clearly that isn't your will. So who is Aron, and what are you going to do about your wizard friend, is he in your safe harbour? Or would you and your men stay clear while he and I talk about the impropriety of assassinating a man under the rules of parley?"
Perception (if needed to catch Croat's slip)1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28 Finally a good Perception roll!
Bree's eyes bore into the man kneeling by Kabal. She whispers once more, "Point him out, I don't cut your throat."
Bree raises to her feet and spins on Croat swiftly, suddenly feeling in the pit of her stomach that Croat meeting that masked wizard here was no happenstance and that this man knows where my brother is... "Catering my arse, Croat! What... or should I say who? -- is Aron watching over?" Sense motive1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
Bree looks like she's a breath away from pouncing on Croat, and makes no attempt to hide it.
"We will accompany you Mr Croat, to enquire about this natural phenomenon of the scorpion, could you be so kind as to point out Aron to us in the meantime?"
Winter asides to his friends...
"That wizard will be preparing his spells for battle almost assuredly right now as he probably suspects we are to pursue immediately, give it a couple of minutes and the enchantments will fade...cicrle up the tent, dont let him out of here"
Croat throws his arms up in frustration and sighs audibly
Ok, well, I hated the idea from the beginning! Aron proposed we should catch some of these blue monster lions and put them into cages...then we could sell them to Zincher afterwards and he could use them in one of his arenas...so Aron is not watching over the catering...but the cages..they are about twenty minutes to the east on a clearing!
Croat mutters on and kicks the assassin against his knee
And you idiot get up and lost! No one commands assassination in my camp 'cept me!
Then he turns to Winter and it seems like he needs some more seconds to understand what the aasimar just said
Huh? You think the wizard will fight? Fight in my camp? Fight me in my camp????
Bree's glare follows Croat as he makes his big show. She cocks an eyebrow at the mention of catching the blue lions, if he's telling the truth that's quite impressive.
As Croat moves to the would be assassin and kicks the man, sending him off, Bree is sure to catch his eye again and mouths the words in silence, "Point him out..."
Kabal grabs a hold of the mans collar as he passes back by and turns him to meet his deadly glare. He holds the assassins gaze, locked in place for a moment, the threat nearly tangible in the air before spitting off to the side and shoving the man off in the direction he was headed.
Turning to Winter,his Falcata at the ready,"Then I say we don't give him the chance to do that."
Both watch Croat dubiously as the meaning of Winter's words sink into his thick skull. Bree makes eye contact with the others in her group, nodding her head slightly towards Winter before moving in closer to him. Kabal nods back and takes a few steps in Winter's general direction as well.
"Well it seems this is a nice squawking nest of gulls. Since our masked vizier introduced himself as The Black, it's not too likely that Aron's kite was intent on killing him, and our shining albatross of good was meant for his flight to be cut short. Yes, Croat, the thrush intends violence though perhaps not outright murder as you serve a purpose to him and his fowl flock. None of this sets right in the craw, though, unless the ebon vulture underestimated the situation. We fly as a flock and we look out for our own. The time for words has come to a close, I believe we should ready ourselves to feed the carrion birds."
As he speaks Sable moves into position near the tent, hands stretched ready to burn it at a moment's notice, and awaits Winter's signal or all the Hells to break loose.
Male Half-Elf (Taldan) Bard (Archivist) 7 Drow Stats 51/51 hp;AC 19/T 14/FF 16; F +2/R +8/W +3; Int/Wis Skills -1
Sebastian looks up from the crossbow at the mention of the blue lions being kept in cages....For Sale! In a low, serious voice, "Mister Croat, there is perhaps not much time. If this Aron takes commands from the masked Wizard, Aron releasing the lions may be his next move. We need to secure Aron, and the cages. And by whatever Gods you find Holy, those lions must be killed, or Riddleport and then the world will run rampant with them. They multiply through a single bite. This island itself will soon have too many and only the sea water holds them back from spreading to our homes."
"The Lions seem like a good idea, but only folly will come from it. A plan worth abandoning, as just because it glitters doesn't mean it is gold. Your masked 'friend' clearly conspires if not against you, then at least around you, the least evil is simply undermining your authority, if not simply using you as a tool."
Male Half-Elf (Taldan) Bard (Archivist) 7 Drow Stats 51/51 hp;AC 19/T 14/FF 16; F +2/R +8/W +3; Int/Wis Skills -1
"Yes...now Aron! If he wants quick revenge, that is where he will go."
Running through the crowd, Caterine and her whip catches his eye, "You! With the Whip. You do any animal taming with that thing. Come on. I was in a production where we brought a mule on stage and a whip and then a girl would...." His voice trails out as he continues running.
Caterine gives a faint smirk to the rugged Taldan "Aye, I've a fair enough hand with it." she looks to Croat for an instant and seeing no opposition moves to keep up with the group as they make for the pens. As she runs, she takes one of the whips from her belt loop. Holding it still coiled in her right hand and ready for use in anger.
Bree follows the group, (assuming everyone is going, if anyone does not she stays with them so no one is left alone)her blades flashing in the moonlight. She relies on her ears to tell her what her eyes cannot, straining to hear past the crashing sounds made by the group.
Perception1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
Mercus is soon with you and beams at Bree. The skinny boy seems to like the idea to belong to a "wild band of mercenaries" insider. Quickly he leads you doown a path of hard-packed earth to the east through fir-trees and pines up a small hill.
As soon as you reach the foot of the hill, the boy comes to a skittering halt and out of breath says
Kabal wastes barely a moment standing around with the others as they decide whether or not they're going to take action. Kabal pushes forward with a growl, trying to be leery of the blue lions but compelled to move forward by the burning hot blood pumping through his veins.
Bree wastes no time following after, assuming the others will too. She is determined to not leave any one person alone in this place. Unlike the man barreling down the path dead center, though, she moves off to the side, hiding herself in the trees, cloaking herself in the night.