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Dark Designs

Game Master Wise Owl

A Dark Fantasy Campaign themed with touches of the Baltic, Gothic and whatever else crosses my mind.


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The long winter is finally at an end, with the few last lingering snowfalls now hopefully a memory and the roads clear enough to travel. It would be a short time till the full thaw was in effect, and the present semi-frozen ground became mud, slowly the plentiful traffic of spring, so there are many who now look to the road.
The City of Melnupes is far behind, and days of travel would have passed since any settlement larger than a Thorp or other small clutch of houses was to be seen All on the roads were either farmers, herders or those whose business ignored the season. Now you had come to rest at a clearing that was less than a full day's march to Trenĉi, the town at the end of your journey.
News has spread that the logging town near the border of the Kef was a place beset with problems, where wealth and a name could be won. Rumours placed dark things in the forests, darker things in the depths of the swamps that here marked the edge of the border of 'civilized' Telva.
The forest around you was a mixture of bare trunks pointed skyward like so many spears, and ever-greens whose tiny needles lay a fragrant carpet across the forest floor. This clearing had been made some time ago, and maintained, one imagines, by trappers and hunters on their way to the town's market. Remnants of small temporary shelters are evident, and there are several small frame-like structures over which one could place canvas or furs to make a better windbreak.
People had been coming to rest here for the last hour or two, this the first decent break in the forest for at least a couple of hours. A paddler, his heavy pack laden with objects of tin and iron, pots and knives, rope and lamps, had been set up by the time the rest of you had arrived, others deciding to enlarge the fire he had started. Two brothers whose large auburn moustaches didn't hide their youth had set up a tent near the woods wall, the one sharpening a pair of wicked looking hunting knives while the other relayed a tale of a giant king out-smarted by a clever tailor.
A local farmer and a pair of trappers sat in rapt attention to the Tale-teller, the first having come to sell some of the end season's salted pork and home-made bread to the weary traveller, the hunters bearing the catches of their lines.
“My brother talks too much eh? But sometimes it's worth it...” the man sharpening knives says to the man bearing a noble crest, eyeing as Oscar, the manservant, is busily securing horse and shelter. “I am Kārlis and he is Kristaps. You look like a rich man Sir, but do not travel like one. Down on your luck? To Trenĉi for fortune or glory like the rest of us?”

Feel free to describe how you entered the clearing, and how you've yet interacted with those there. Also a good idea to get initial character descriptions out of the way


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

Amongst the people gathered in the clearing is a large, muscular woman in scale armour with a shield strapped to her back and a sword at her side. She doesn't say much at first, but just finds a place near the fire where she can warm herself. She listens intently to the story-teller and seems very amused by the idea of a tailor defeating a giant. When the tale comes to an end, she claps heartily, then waits eagerly for the next tale to begin.

"You cannot tell a story without talking," she says suddenly when the knife-sharpener speaks, but then she falls silent again when she realizes he wasn't addressing her.


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1

A well dressed yet well worn man stands at the edge of the clearing, directing the man servant Oscar. He wears a simple armoured coat adorned in yellow and green, with a longsword sheathed at his side. Standing proudly he steps forward and responds to Kārlis.

"Is it too much to ask for both? he says with a slight smirk on his face. " Well met Kārlis, I am Markus Vangazi son of Andris." gesturing in a traditional greeting of the courts.

"I have chosen not to burden myself with the trappings of riches in order forge my own path in these edges of civilization. You spoke of fortune and glory I would be most interested to hear your knowledge on the subject" switching his face to a stern look. Markus turns to Oscar and shouts "be careful with that Oscar!"

He then turn to the large woman looking her up and down and being not quite sure what to make of her.

just had a question about rolls, I'm used to describing what you character does than the GM interprets that though the rules... in PBP do we just kinda judge what rolls to use when ie. bluff, diplomacy ect.?


Kārlis raises an eyebrow as the well armed woman voices an obvious observation, even as Kristaps accepts the applause from the gathered listeners. “The Lady shows both a wisdom and appreciation I am afraid you lack good brother...” the storyteller says with a bit of a laugh and a flourish.

The manservant Oscar seems oblivious even to his own masters pronouncements, carrying about his work with the occasional unintelligible grumble. Kārlis responds to the nobleman with another few strokes of stone along dagger while his brother takes a sip of something from a wineskin before another tale.

“Aye, I'd prefer a bit of both Wealth and Glory myself. We've heard not much. That the local Baron has had some problems emanating from the swamps for years and that gold is to be made by dealing with them. Also tell that the local Mers is a rich man who parts with his gold to those who can get things done. Goblins and Bandits and smugglers are what we reckon.”

His brother nods enthusiastically as he takes another swig of his wineskin and pipes in “Perhaps Kef raiders? All these border Marches have that problem right?” he swallows and winches from embarrassment, waving an apologetic hand in Slandra's direction “No offence meant Lady. What are you? Do you travel to Trenči for opportunity?”

Neither the hunters nor the farmer seem interested in voicing opinions about the town beyond nods in regards there being some troubles there.

“Depending on how things go, Sir Vargazi, we may end up either comrades or competitors, lets hope for the former eh?” Kārlis says before raising his own Wineskin and taking a drink to punctuate the point.

The pedlar sets out a pot to warm water, and Oscar struggles to feed the horse, who neighs and shifts uneasily as the conversation continues.

Things are done a couple of ways. One, I might call for rolls, or hide some information on a page with a note about what roll would reveal that information. A player may always volunteer a roll or ask for something on one. i.e. if you wanted to know 'hey, have I heard of this guys name' you might in your post put something ooc about that with the dice-roll and I'd answer on my next post.


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1
Wise Owl wrote:
His brother nods enthusiastically as he takes another swig of his wineskin and pipes in “Perhaps Kef raiders? All these border Marches have that problem right?” he swallows and winches from embarrassment, waving an apologetic hand in Slandra's direction “No offence meant Lady. What are you? Do you travel to Trenči for opportunity?”

"What am I?" She looks confused. "I am a person. I travel to Trenči to help fight goblins and bandits, not for opper...whatever you call it." She pats her sword. "I have a sword. I am blessed by Menuo."


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1
Wise Owl wrote wrote:
“Aye, I'd prefer a bit of both Wealth and Glory myself. We've heard not much. That the local Baron has had some problems emanating from the swamps for years and that gold is to be made by dealing with them. Also tell that the local Mers is a rich man who parts with his gold to those who can get things done. Goblins and Bandits and smugglers are what we reckon.”

"Rounding up Goblins and Vagrants in a filthy swamp hardly seems an adequate test of my mettle." Markus states furrowing his brow in disappointment. "None the less perhaps is shall present my self before the Baron and see how i might serve the realm."

Knowledge: Nobility to see what i would know about the local nobility
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22

Wise Owl wrote wrote:
“Depending on how things go, Sir Vargazi, we may end up either comrades or competitors, lets hope for the former eh?” Kārlis says before raising his own Wineskin and taking a drink to punctuate the point.

Markus turns to respond to Kārlis. "If these lands are a dangerous as you profess than perhaps it would be better to travel together. "If the baron and Mers are so eager to part with their gold I'm sure there is plenty to go around. For those worthy enough to challenge the task that is" Markus casually places his hand on the pommel of his sword as if to remind himself that it is still there.

"Kārlis you seem quite confident in the matter do you have much experience dealing with the vagrants the plague these lands?'


Kristaps makes a defeated gesture with his hands, humbly accepting his failure to be diplomatic with Slandra, while Kārlis makes an unmistakable 'lucky gesture' with his hands when Menuo is mentioned.

"Than we are all blessed to have you here..." Kārlis offers, seeming genuine in his reflection. He re-sheaths his weapons, settling in to take another swig of his wineskin, letting his brother take over the conversation.

"Well if goblins and bandits are what you seek Lady, we're bound to find plenty. Though, Sir Vangazi, there are tales of darker things in the swamps. Hideous Hags who spin cloth out of virgins hair and leather from the skin of foolish heroes. Blood sucking leaches changed by dark magics to be as high as an ox-cart! Long dead Kef Kings raised from there Burrows by unholy magics and seeking to sake eternal lust on the living!" Back in story teller mode Kristaps gesticulates with his hands to punctuate the unbidden horrors of this swamp, while his brother rolls his eyes.

Quieting a bit, Kristaps says in a more sobre tone "We've had some skill in dealing with Vagrants on the road. These days there seem to be more and more of them, or so our grand-dad use to say. Nothing we can't handle. Though I imagine you've some knowledge of that yourselves eh?" he directs that last at both Sandra and Markus.

For Markus:
The local area is owned by the Paradus family, a noble house with numerous lands that was once a premier family of the realm, but that suffered a series of losses two centuries ago that dimmed their prospects. Losses to Kef Barbarians, a loss of lands to the East two-centuries ago in one of the wars with Jessit, and various other rumours have eroded family wealth over time. The present Baron Paradus is known as a Jovial Rural Baron, with a reputation for 'earthiness' and throwing a good party, and not much else. The Family is 'poor' in terms of the Landed Nobility, but still rather wealthy, owning considerable amounts of land. You know he has three sons and a secure succession, and that his sons are each ambitious in their own way.


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1

Markus puffs out his chest in response "None have had the daring to assault me and my companion upon our travels to Trenĉi. How ever I have tilted against some of the most reputable knights in all of Telvan." He begins to stare off into the distance "Why I remember my match verses Sir Edgar of Tarenhill, by the end the lists were scattered with bits of broken lances. Left to a draw both of us being bloody and bruised were forced to engage in hand to hand combat, twas a harrowing duel to be sure..." shaking his head out of his dream he turns to the large Kef woman with a puzzling look.

"My Lady I fear we have not been properly introduced, I am Markus Vangazi son of Andris" bowing his head ever so slightly and gesturing his hands in the traditional fashion.


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

The woman smiles at Markus's greeting and stands up to a towering 6 feet. "Slandra," she says, attempting to return the same gesture with her hands, but not fully succeeding.


Kristaps nods to the young Cavalier's Bravado. "Well I am certain few of the strangely groups of bandits that roam the roads at this time of year would dare to challenge such a heavily armed man. More cowards and thieves of opportunity those sorts tend to be."

All seem to linger in the glow of the fire as it casts light across the assembled face, and introductions are made all around, the farmer and trappers only offering up their own names.

As Slandra stands to her full height the two brothers smile in admiration, Kristaps being the tiniest bit flirtatious while his brothers is anything but. The trappers and farmer seem more intimidated by the solitary woman than anything else, or perhaps it is the noble crest on Markus that keeps them from saying much of anything.

"Do you have many tales of the lists goo...." Kristaps inquiry is stopped by his brother's raised hand. Kārlis' eyes moves through the darkness of the forest line as the trapper too stop and listen. Save for the noticeable neighing of the horse that Oskar has yet to quiet, the forest seems eerily still.

The explosion from the woods is sudden and ferocious; a huge wall of muscle and black fur, eyes glowing white in the face of the fire. The beast stands at the shoulder as tall as your tents and it's muzzle drips with drool as it's ferocious roar banishes all silence.

All go to their weapons as the beast lumbers into the camp.

Initiative for the Combat

Kristaps 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
Kārlis 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Slandra 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21
Markus 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Argentus 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Hunter 11d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Hunter 21d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Peasant 1d20 ⇒ 6

Bear 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13

Everyone is considered in armour but without weapons drawn at this point, and not prone.

Kristaps leaps to his feat and a dagger is in his hands and before he takes a step back, flipping through the air towards the beast. ranged attack roll 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22 damage 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2

The dagger lands point first into the beasts side, seeming to enrage it further, Kristaps eyes go wide and he utters a profane curse under his breath.

The Map as it exists presently is Here. Everything beyond the orange line is dimly lit. Doug, feel free to show up to the battle at Space A14 or O14 at the top of the initiative order in any round after the first. Otherwise Slandra is up


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

A hint of a smile passes over Slandra's face as the beast bursts out of the forest. Her hands go immediately for her shield and weapon as she edges forward.

Move action to ready shield. Move action to draw sword. 5-ft step to J7.


The first of the hunters, closer to the creature, leaps to his feet and runs forward, bringing his spear to hand and thrusting it at the creature, his eyes wide with fear. He moves F3, Readying his spear and attacking 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18 miss chance1d100 ⇒ 63% damage 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8

The Spear of the First Hunter Bites deep, blood spurting from the steaming wound. In a furious rage the Lumbering Beast reaches out with tooth and claw, seeking the savage the hunter. Full Attack, 2 Claws, 1 Bite 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 141d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 81d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23 Damage 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 61d4 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 71d4 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5

While the hunter manages to roll aside from the fearsome claws, he is still bitten, and screams in pain as the Bear clamps down on his arm.

Kārlis follows his brothers example, one of the long blades he was previously sharpening leaping to his hand. He steps in besides the Hunter to give the bear more targets. Moves to E3, drawing a weapon as he does so and attacks. 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21 miss chance1d100 ⇒ 67% damage1d6 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5

The Slice across the muzzle draws more blood, and yet there is no sign of retreat or fatigue from the creature.

The peasant, perhaps wisely, flees to the roadin a panicked mess, as does the peddler, a few pots falling from the latter's pack as he goes. Oskar remains frozen in place, his eyes wide, almost cowering in fear, his hand loosely on the horses reigns.

"Try and Flank the Beast!" the Second hunter yells, hoisting his own spear as he runs around the creature, trying to execute his own advice. Draws his Spear during his double-move which, in a bit of a circuitous route, ends him at C2

Argentus and Markus are up. From now on actually I think to make things easier I'll just assume Argentus goes on Markus' initiative. Also yes I realize I forgot to put the Peddler in the initiative order, but he was just running anyways.


With a sharp whistle Markus signals towards Argentus, whom with a burst of speed bounds towards Markus knocking Oskar over in the processArgentus moves to E6 beside markus

ride check for quick mount DC 201d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7 fail mounting takes move action rather than free action

Markus grabs a hold of his mounts saddle but stumbles slighly in the heat of the moment eventually ending up in the saddle. Reaching down he retrieves his lance grasping it firmly. "Stand clear, I'll dispatch this beast!" he bellows as nobly as he can muster. With a steely gaze Markus focuses upon the beast as if nothing else exists. mount move action, draw weapon move action, activate challenge ability swift action. Ending up mounted on Argentus


Round 2 Map Here For future reference the map link for this battle will just constantly update. That is the link to the map will always show the most recent beginning of the round.

Kristaps takes the advice of the Hunter and pulls another dagger to hand as he moves to be adjacent to the beast.Moves to F1 and draws a dagger each as a move action

It's now Slandra's Turn


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

Slandra yells and moves towards the beast. It is quickly clear, however, that while she may be big and brawny, she's not very fast.

Double move to F2. Ah, the joy of speed 20.


Gritting his teeth as he faces the beast, the First hunter moves to plunge his spear again into the creature.
Attack1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14 Miss Chance1d100 ⇒ 97% Damage1d8 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8

The Spear point fails to break through the walls of fur and muscle of the bears physique. Blood still spurting in steaming arcs from it's wounds, the bear concentrates on mauling the hunting. Hunter 'missed' with his attack. Bear does a full-attack, 2 Claws on Hunter1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 91d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8 plus grabs 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 261d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12 damage1d4 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 61d4 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6 plus bite1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17 Damage1d4 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6

While dodging the mighty claws, the Hunter cannot avoid the gaping maw that takes a huge chunk out of his thigh. He falls to the ground, hot red pumping out of the gash. Kārlis steps over the fallen hunter, hoping to give the mounted Warrior space to maneuver while he attacks with his blade. 5-ft step to F3 and attack1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23 Miss chance1d100 ⇒ 91% Critical1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16 damage1d6 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8

Kārlis' blade sinks once more into the Bears flesh. The Second Hunters moves into the tree's foliage as he seeks better angel to attack the thing. Kārlis did not confirm the crit. Hunter moves to C1 and attack1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 4 + 2 = 16 Miss chance1d100 ⇒ 70% damage1d8 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7

Like his fellow though, he finds his spear cannot find the creatures flesh.

And it's Markus' turn.


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1

With full vigor Markus spurs his mount forward, bearing his lance to attack the raging beast. As he approaches the creature he thrusts forward his lance with full might. Immediately after rearing back his eager mount whose hooves clatter towards the beast. full round charge attack the bear using power attack, lance attack= 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19 lance damage=1d8 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12 miss chance=1d100 ⇒ 42

mount hoof attack=1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11 hoof damage=1d6 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6

note AC -4 this round due to no shield and charging


Markus' lance bites deep into the rearing bears chest, and it lets out a mighty bellow of pair, it's glowing white eyes turning towards the mounted warrior.

Kristaps attacks again, his slender knife flashing in the light of the fire. Attack=1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 + 2 = 22 Miss Chance=1d100 ⇒ 19%Damage=1d4 + 2 + 1d6 ⇒ (1) + 2 + (3) = 6

Kristaps dagger flies forward, but strikes only darkness.

Slendra is up


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

With a yell, Slandra swings with her sword.

The map link isn't updated from before she moved, so I'm not sure if Slandra is still flanking. If she is, add +2 to her attack roll. If she isn't and it's possible to take a 5-ft step and flank, she'll do that first before attacking.
Longsword: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Damage: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3


Yes, I realized strangely that Obsidian portal defines unique locations for all photo's... I haven't figured out how to just 'update' something. In any case the new location is Here So yes Slandra was still flanking.

Slandra's Sword bites into the Bear, and with all it's wounds it seems a miracle the creature is still moving, yet it's rage is all the more apparent. It issues forth another challenging roar as it lunges at the mounted warrior, it's jaws seeking to close around the Warrior while it's claws seek the horse.
Slandra did hit, just to be clear. The Bear attacks Markus with 2 Claw attacks=1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 241d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13 Damage=1d4 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 41d4 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5 Grab=1d20 + 11 ⇒ (6) + 11 = 171d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22 Bite=1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7 Damage=1d4 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4

One of the Bears Claws lands, gripping Markus as it draws blood. Though the horse escapes unharmed. Markus takes 4 points of damage and is grappled, though the Bear is using the option to only 'grab' him with his claws and thus doesn't have the grappled condition and takes a -20 penalty to his attempts to retain the grapple.

Kārlis lunges forward again with his blade, hacking away at the thing with all his fury. Attack=1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23 Miss Chance=1d100 ⇒ 19% Damage=1d6 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7

Kārlis' lunges forward but fails to find the beast in the darkness. It appears the brothers do not have good night-vision.

Markus is up, and grappled, but his horse is not


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

It occurs to me that I forgot to roll a miss chance with my attack. Slandra doesn't have low-light vision. So here goes: 1d100 ⇒ 75.

Okay, no negation of her attack. All's good. :)


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1

stay in saddle check DC 5 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10

Markus drops his lance and grasps in panic for his dagger desperatly stabbing the beast.
Dagger:1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Damage:1d4 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Miss chance:1d100 ⇒ 48%

Defending his master Argentus unleashes a barrage of attacks.
Hoof 1:1d20 - 1 ⇒ (10) - 1 = 9
Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6

Hoof 2:1d20 - 1 ⇒ (15) - 1 = 14
Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3

Bite:1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Damage: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4


As the beast tries to drag down both Horse and Rider, Markus is able to get his dagger up beneath the creatures head and plunge the dagger into it's jaw. It's eyes flash and it's maw mashes in the air before in a colossal crash of branches the beast slumps to the ground.

It's blood pumps for a few moments, and Kristaps takes the time to drive his own knife in behind the thing's head.[ooc] Coup de grace.
Critical Hit Damage: 2d4 + 4 + 1d6 ⇒ (3, 1) + 4 + (5) = 13

The beast still entirely, it's breath no longer sending out small plumes in the cold evening air. The Two brothers pant in excretion though Kārlis looks down at the body of the fallen hunter and cries out "Quick... bandages! Does anyone know any healing arts? He may still live..."


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

Slandra sheaths her sword and kneels down beside the fallen hunter. "He was brave," she says. She checks to see if he is breathing (Heal: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20) and if he is, she lays her hands upon his chest. There's a brief glow and some of his wounds close over.

Swapping out command spell.
Cure light wounds: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1

Wheeling his mount around Markus shouts. "Oskar to me!" Grasping his wound as he dismounts to assess the fallen bear. He watches in amazement as the hunter is brought back from the brink of death.


The other hunter rushes to his fallen comrade even as Slandra determines he yet lives and the healing energy of the divine flows into the man, re-knitting flesh and causing him to flutter his eyes into consciousness.

While the fallen man gasps out air, and Peddlar and Peasant cease their fleeing, the Peddlar venturing to ask "Is..is it dead?" the still standing hunter looks askance at the creature. "Yes... but tisn't natural. Males are not usually this agressive in the early spring, and rarely will one venture so agressively into a camp."

Oskar is still standing, half-stunned, at the edge of the camp when Markus calls out, jarring the porter from his statis. He charges across the field to grab the horse's reins and only manages to say "Knew the horse was acting up for some reason... are you alright Sir?"

"Hungry, or Mad?" Kārlis ventures, as both he and his brother work to clean their blades and examine the corpse of the beast.

The hunters fall into hushed silence as a pair, as does the peasant, both hunters offering a quick prayer to Menuo and Meza. "Truly you are blessed of the Moon Lord. one of the hunters says to Slandra.


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

"I am, yes," Slandra replies. "But he is still hurt. And so is he." She points to Markus. Then she lowers her head slightly and concentrates a moment. The light of the fire seems to dim slightly while, simultaneously, the moon above seems to brighten. There's a distant sound like steel clanging against steel. The injured in the camp suddenly feel invigorated and more wounds close over. It all happens in the briefest of instants, and then everything returns to normal.

Channel Energy: 1d6 ⇒ 4
1 out of 3 used


Oskar said wrote:
"Knew the horse was acting up for some reason... are you alright Sir?"

I shall live, Oskar prepare some bandages we need to..." trailing off Markus suddenly paws at his wounds as they close before his eyes. In shocked amazement he proclaims "Never before would I imagine to see the blessings of the Gods in a Kef, truly I am in your debt my Lady. " Attempting to hide his clearly shaken state Markus dusts himself off.


Oskar looks askew at the request to make bandages, and scratches his head as if considering where the hell he's going to get bandages. Than the moon-light brightens and for a moment, the enclosure of the campsite is bathed in moonlight and wounds close.

Both Hunters make signs invoking the Gods, and the brothers stand back in silent Awe, though Kristaps does occasionally spare a glance towards the Bear.

As the wounded hunter's wounds continue to close he finds himself able to stand, even put weight on his once savaged leg. "You have my thanks..."

The other hunter seems relieved, and than frowns, before the return of his stoicism. "We should dress the kill. I'm not sure if I'd want to eat the things meat... but it's hide is worth something, even damaged, and it needs to be delt with or it will attract other animals."

The two hunters are quick to attend their task, and Kārlis joins them in their task.

"Truly..." Kristaps says"...you are both skilled wariors, we can be greatful you were here. I think it makes sense, as we were sort of skirting around before, to act together in town. Surely four can accomplish what just one or two would find impossible?"

Before I forget, everyone gets 200 Experience Points


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1
Humble Sparrow wrote:
"Never before would I imagine to see the blessings of the Gods in a Kef, truly I am in your debt my Lady. " Attempting to hide his clearly shaken state Markus dusts himself off.

"I suppose you don't see many Kefs," Slandra replies. "That's okay."

Kristaps wrote:
"Truly..." Kristaps says"...you are both skilled wariors, we can be greatful you were here. I think it makes sense, as we were sort of skirting around before, to act together in town. Surely four can accomplish what just one or two would find impossible?"

Slandra stares thoughtfully at Kristaps for a moment. Then she opens her mouth as if to reply, but stops and thinks some more. Then she shakes her head and says, "I...I don't understand. Skirting? Four what can accomplish what?"


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1
Kristaps wrote:


"Truly..." Kristaps says"...you are both skilled wariors, we can be greatful you were here. I think it makes sense, as we were sort of skirting around before, to act together in town. Surely four can accomplish what just one or two would find impossible?"

"Aye, at first dawn we shall depart together to Trenĉi to relieve the town of the fiends that burden their lands" Markus replies.

Turning to his mount "You have done well today my friend. come lets get you to bed" he whispers softly.


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

Slandra looks relieved at Markus's answer to Kristaps's question. Her eyes brighten at the mention of fiends. "And we will kill the fiends!" she adds.


The two hunters and Kārlis are quick about their task, removing the hide of the beast and butchering it. Though as they talk, none seem too keen to eat the meat.

"We agree that the creature might have been sick... or possessed. Regardless we'll move the carcass as far away as we can from the camp, still best to have at least one person awake in case of Wolves or other scavengers." Kārlis volunteers.

Kristaps, meanwhile, smiles at Markus' agreement, while raising an eyebrow and getting a slightly confused look on his face in response to Slandra's confusion. He pauses before venturing again "I'm saying that if you.." here he points to Slandra"... and Sir Vangazi over there are traveling to town with a similar purpose to ours, that we should work together. That we.."Here he makes a broad hand gesture indicating the four people "... would be stronger as a group." He raises his eyebrows and smiles in a hopeful way.

The peasant has bid the company goodbye, eager to get back to his home and away from potentially demonic bears, while the peddlar has thanked one and all for their assistance and somehow managed to end up snoring by the fire even with the sounds of butchery in the background.

Oskar has worked to get the horse unsaddled and brushed down, and it's clear Oskar and Argentus have a tenuous relationship.


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1

Markus returns to the comfort of the fire, setting himself to clean the blood off his weapons and armour, finding is difficult to sleep after the battle.


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1
Wise Owl wrote:
Kristaps, meanwhile, smiles at Markus' agreement, while raising an eyebrow and getting a slightly confused look on his face in response to Slandra's confusion. He pauses before venturing again "I'm saying that if you.." here he points to Slandra"... and Sir Vangazi over there are traveling to town with a similar purpose to ours, that we should work together. That we.."Here he makes a broad hand gesture indicating the four people "... would be stronger as a group." He raises his eyebrows and smiles in a hopeful way.

Slandra smiles in recognition and nods. "Ah yes! We will work together."

As everyone settles down for the night, Slandra finds a spot near the edge of camp where she sits down to pray.


The Hunters drag the remains of the bear away and sweep the area where it fell before they settle to sleep, and soon enough the lightly tended fire is embers and the clearing is filled with the sound of sleeping figures and the silence of the woods.

The rest of the night passes by, the small fire barely able to keep the cold from biting into the sleeping rolls of the assembled. Soon enough the sun is breaking above the tree-line in a brilliant red morning; the frost on the ground half-melting already. Hot puffs of breath emit from people mouths as they work themselves awake, and to a meager breakfast of old salted pork, the last of the previous seasons apples and the last fragments of the peasants bred.

All are soon up and moving, eager for activity to chase away the chill in their limbs and to reach town.

Most are quite on the road, though one does hear Oksar mumble something that sounds like "... should have listened to my father... could have been a journeyman by now..." as he leads Argentus along.

Kristaps, as last night, is the most animated of the party, regaling his new-found comrades with information about themselves and inquiring for similar information.

"... So we left home in Ogre. Ran into a few good people, more than a few vagrants on the road, and heard what rumours there were to hear. Somewhere out here on the edge seemed like a better idea to us than trying to hire out to a noble or merchant for guard-work, and I've always wanted to explore. So here we are. Each of us was always pretty good in a fight, and we work well together. Dad taught us that much, he was pretty handy with a blade, though he died when we were youngish, almost ten years ago. Mom's got our older Sister and her Husband to look after her, so seemed not much sense in sticking around really..." There is more to the story, but the idea that the two are seekers of money and glory, younger sons of a man who left them little more than the skills they now possess and a name, is pretty clear.

Kristaps will be more than interested in what Markus and Slandra may have to say about their own pasts, though he has enough tact to drop it if it appears they are reluctant to talk about it.

They part ways with the Hunters after only a couple of hours, those two men heading for a Tanners that is on the lake but further past the town. By midday the forest has broken, and smaller patches of wood are joined by cleared fields laying follow for the winter, or those of winter wheat recently harvested. At least two small orchards are also past on the walk, and the present of people becomes more apparent. Farmers clearing fields for the planting that must surely come, or using oxen or just their own muscles to break up near-frozen ground.

The rush of water is heard, and the smells of civilization smelt, long before the town itself is scene, but soon enough a crest over a hill has the party looking downward into Trenĉi.

The adjacent river runs quick and furious, fed by the spring thaws. It rushes inward to the lake whose tranquil surface shows a few remaining spots of ice, but also a smattering of logs and fishing boats, two of the towns key industries.

The town itself is encased with a stone wall perhaps a little under two stories tall, several taller square towers build at the gateways and nearest the lake. The same grey stone which forms this wall seems to have been used for much of the buildings of the town, though drab plaster and plenty of local wood; oak and pine, are in evidence. Dozens of small plumes of smoke come from the houses and work-places of the town, and even from the hilltop, sounds of wood-mills, blacksmiths, and life can be heard.

Two guards, wearing studded leather armour with no livery, and carrying spears, great the party at the gate.

"Greetings Travelers. Know that the town of Trenĉi holds it's weekly market in two days time, and that use of the town's gates on this day are tolled at a single copper. Trenĉi welcomes all Gods-fearing people and asks that you keep the peace and respect the law of the town. May the Gods Bless you..." the whole thing is said with the mechanical inflection of some-one reciting something he has committed to memory or said many, many times over.


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1

As Markus shares his trail rations with Oskar he notices he only has a days worth left as well as a lighter purse than he thought. The truth of his situation begins to sink in as he tries to shake the words of his disproving family form his head.

Along the road Markus regales Kristaps of his families past glories. While attempting to be fairly vague about his houses more recent state changing the subject to anecdotes about his childhood.

Once the town is in view Markus mounts Argentus, grasping his lance firmly as if he were on parade. Upon approaching the guards he presents himself in response "Well met guardsmen, allow me to introduce myself I am Markus Vangazi son of Andris, these are my traveling companions and I can assure you we are but weary travelers looking for an Inn and honest work" waving he hand in the general direction of the group.

"Oskar provide them with their coppers if you please." he states in a dulcet tone. "I was hoping you would be able to direct us to suitable lodgings as well as the location of the local Barons office?" he inquires.

Diplomacy check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

Forgot to mention when Slanda sat down to pray that she is keeping the same prepared spells as before.

Slandra awakens cheerfully in the morning, seemingly unperturbed by the cold weather. She does wrap herself up warmly though as she gets ready.

On the road, she listens eagerly to stories of people's pasts, particularly those of past "glories". "Have you won many battles?" she asks eagerly. "What was the hardest opponent you have ever beaten?"

When asked about her own past, she is happy to answer. "My father, Abra, he taught me all about the gods," she says. "About Usin, Menuo, and Meza. About Saule and unfaithful Ragana. I helped him in the services he ran for the people of our village. I learned slowly, but my father is very patient. He is a good man. I chose to serve the gods to make him happy. Other priests taught me how to fight. They said I would serve best if I went out and helped the in...inna...people who need help. They don't think I'm smart, and they are scared of me sometimes because I am blessed by Menuo. I am not smart. But I am happy to help people who need help. So that is why I am here. To help people who need help."


On the Road:

Kristaps also seems quite interested in a history of Markus' battle prowess. "I've seen a few tournaments and such, always liked the archery myself, though I did see... oh what was his name... Sir Gavis I think? anyways I saw him get his arm taken clean off in one of the Big Fairs in Ogre when I was a kid..."

"Our father use to say Smart people can be really stupid, so I wouldn't worry about that..." Kārlis volunteers,though he does seem slightly bemused by Slandra's description of her upbringing.

Oskar is already routing around in Markus' purse for a collection of coppers, deciding to get change for a silver wolf. The two guards, as they are adressed by the mounted man, take a look at his horse, and his pendantry and look a tad off-put, as if they aren't really sure what to do.

After a moment both shrug and the one on the left clears his throat. "Well..um... Sir... the Old Ferryman is just down the way, you can actually see it from here..." Here he points to a tallish building out front of which hangs a sign of an aged, bent man dutifully paddling a Ferry. "... it's as good a place as any your libel to find. The um.. the Baron only comes around rarely, and is usually found... well in his keep. I don't think he's there right now though, though one of his sons might be. That's about a half-day walk up the north road."

The other guard shakes his head a bit and mutters "He's looking for a place of law or authority you dullard. Excuse us Sir, but I think you would want to attend the city halls, were the Mers can usually be found. It's near the centre of town, in the Market square. Keep walking and it's hard to miss."


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1
Slandra wrote:
On the road, she listens eagerly to stories of people's pasts, particularly those of past "glories". "Have you won many battles?" she asks eagerly. "What was the hardest opponent you have ever beaten?"

While traveling Markus listens to Slandra's story finding her innocence shock when compared to her appearance. He straightens himself to appear taller as is he is prone to do... realizing that the mighty Kef woman matches his size if not more. "I have yet to have the honour of participating in a actual battle, however I have trained the better part of my life for battle in tournaments." Markus states defensively."There was a country Knight.. a mighty man and skilled with a sword but lacked the skill of horsemanship to best me in the lance."

Kristaps wrote:
Kristaps also seems quite interested in a history of Markus' battle prowess."I've seen a few tournaments and such, always liked the archery myself, though I did see... oh what was his name... Sir Gavis I think? anyways I saw him get his arm taken clean off in one of the Big Fairs in Ogre when I was a kid..."

to see if I have knowledge of this Sir Gavis

Knowledge (nobility) check: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15

As he listens to the peasants simple story he reflects upon his childhood. "I have loved the spectacle of the tournament since the first time I was old enough be invited. The roar of the crowd the clatter of hooves and the great clash when two fully armoured mounted warriors erupt into each other is the greatest music in the world. I intend to enter in the tournaments as soon as I can avail the required funds to do so" He states with a look of resolve.

"As for archery I can respect the art of it but there is little honour in it, too many a mighty knight have fallen to the luck of a coward with a bow." Markus says firmly.

other guard wrote:
The other guard shakes his head a bit and mutters "He's looking for a place of law or authority you dullard. Excuse us Sir, but I think you would want to attend the city halls, were the Mers can usually be found. It's near the center of town, in the Market square. Keep walking and it's hard to miss."

"Thank you kindly" Markus bows he head in a acknowledging fashion. Gracing the other guard with a disapproving glance. Once past the gate he proclaims to his comrades. "I think it pertinent that we get our selves settled at the Inn before presenting ourselves before the Mers, we all stink of the long road... especially you Oskar" he states with a smirk.

starting to regret spending 30 GP on a courtiers outfit... and damn if I'm not gonna get use out of it.

Knowledge (history) check to see what i know about the towns history... just cause I can.
Knowledge (history) check: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

Slandra remains quiet at the gate and lets Markus do all the talking to the guards. She doesn't have any copper pieces on her, however, so will hand over a silver instead.

Markus Vangazi wrote:
Once past the gate he proclaims to his comrades. "I think it pertinent that we get our selves settled at the Inn before presenting ourselves before the Mers, we all stink of the long road... especially you Oskar" he states with a smirk.

Slandra nods at the first part of Markus's statement. With the mention of stink, though, she smiles and leans over to sniff Oskar. "He smells of horse," she says. "I think we should go to an inn to get cleaned up."


Markus knows there was a Sir Gavis who died in a tournament in Ogre over a decade ago, but only his heraldry, a White Dove on a quartered field of Red and White, which places him as a member of House Dūjiņa.

For Markus:
With that roll you can get pretty much anything historical from the Trenči page on the Wiki. In short; Trenči was given charter nearly 300 years ago by the Baron Paradus. It is governed by a Mers, who is supposed to be elected by the towns property owning freeman and women every 6 years, but in practice the title has been hereditary for the past six generations. There is a small Dwarven population which has been part of the town for over a century. The Towns principal industries are logging and fishing, though trapping and trade in peet is also prominent. Major historical events relating to the town include that it was a stop-over for King Vilkelms VI during the War of the Three Rivers, and that it marked the site where one of the previous Barons of Paradus ended up sinking a goodly portion of his families fortune into building a keep that ended up sinking into the swamp.

Just to be clear, even though it's a copper so it doesn't matter that much, Oskar paid for everybody, which would come to 6 coppers total.

Oskar sighs in deep resignation at his present indignity, especially after being 'sniffed' by the large Kef Cleric. Still, all of you make your way into the town, the main road of cobblestone intersected by side-streets of half-thawed gravel. The Peddlar who has walked with you this distance is quick to say his thanks and to mention he will be in town for a few days should any of you be in need of knife sharpening, a pot or some rope. He moves onward down the road, apparently aiming towards the central market square.

The Inn, The Old Ferryman already pointed out to you is an imposing structure. Three stories tall, the Inn boasts a heavy stone foundation all the way up it's first story, and small windows set with an orange tinged glass which speaks of some measure of success and wealth to the establishment. Oskar gestures to the side where an enclosed stable sits, seemingly empty at the moment and waits for Markus to dismount. "I'll stable him Sir, and join you in a moment.."

Through the front door one is struck by a blast of homey warmth that seems to wash away the weariness of days sleeping on hard cold earth and eating old biscuits. The main tap room is large, encircled by a single bench that covers three sides, accepting the large, presently roaring fire, and the long Oak bar, behind which are three large oak barrels, each tapped. The room is scattered through with round tables, chairs and stools, and about a half-dozen occupants. One table seats three old men, who eye you as a group when you enter, taking a moment from their mugs of ale. The others are all townsman, two at the bar and one sitting by himself in a corner, none of which take keen interest in you. There is a small metal plaque that has been attached to the wall just besides the door, bearing some writing.

Behind the bar is a solid, matronly woman with a presence that seems to take up the Inn, despite her being barely Five-Foot two. She is wearing a dress of earthy colours and a once white apron deeply stained by ales, grease and sauces, and a blue handkerchief that covers slightly greying hair.

Her eyes look up as the four of you enter the establishment, and a wide smile touches her friendly face as she visibly makes not of Markus livery. "Oh Good Day Sirs... Good Day. Welcome to the Old Ferryman, please come in, come in, don't let the cold in."

She bustles out from behind the bar, passing by a door one suspects must lead to the kitchen, and a set of stairs which obviously lead upward. "Come in, Come in. Take a seat, any seat in the House, we have fine fresh bread and a fresh fish stew. Fine Ale and Wine! Will you be needing rooms? Anything I can do for you Sirs... oh, and Madame... just don't hesitate to ask" The Innkeeper seems genuinely enthusiastic, one suspects the winter months are absent of many travellers.


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1

"Thank you kind lady, your Inn is a welcome respite from a long cold journey." Markus proclaims in a calm voice. "My servant is securing my mount in your stables I'll require a room for him and myself... If you are able to draw a hot bath that would be most comforting. While we get settled I'll take a mug of ale and warm myself by your fire."

Once he has his ale and his manservant returns from the he will instruct Oskar to settle their things into his room. While waiting for his bath to be warmed and drawn he will enjoy his ale and attempt to make casual conversation with the inn's patrons while trying to gather information on the nature of the towns Mers.

Diplomacy skill check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7

After finishing off his ale Markus will retire to his bath getting a fresh shave from Oskar and change into his clean dress clothes. Then instructing his servant to use the rest of the water to clean himself and wash the clothing as well as attend to his other duties.

Returning to the central room of the Inn he awaits his companions by the fire rubbing his signet ring nervously.


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

"I would like a room, too, please," Slandra says to the innkeeper. "And food, yes. Stew please. And ale. I like ale. But not too much ale. Just one mug. If you drink too much, it makes you act weird. It's kind of fun, but you can't do things as good. My father and the priests always say to be sober--that means not drinking too much ale--to be sober so that you can stay vigi-something. Vigi...vigilant. That's it. It's good advice. If you drink too much and a bandit or goblin attacks you, then you'll probably die." She reaches for some coins. "How many?"


Female Elf Ranger 1

The door creaks open, a figure resembling a mummy/scarcrow mix shuffles in with a small groan as its large ragged pack rubs on the doorframe. Before moving too far the person looks around the room, reads the small plaque by the door (if possible) then with shoulders hunched shuffles quickly over to take a seat on the long wall benches. Placing the pack under its legs and coughing before wheezing out in a scratchy voice "please, water please? and some food"

Even seated in the warmth of the room, the wretch tightens the ragged wraps covering its body, never pulling back the deep hood or scarf wrapping its face. Glittering Amber eyes settle briefly on the folk about the room before the head bows to avoid further contact.


The Innkeeper is all aflutter with the activity in the Inn and shoo's at the three old men. "Come on now you three, these are customers paying for more than watered down cider and garlic..." and with a slight grumble the three old men move to provide space at the table closest to the fire.

"Yes, right away Sir. So a room for you and your man-servant, separate rooms than? And one for your Miss..."

Kristaps speaks up "Just one room for me and my brother, we're use to sharing. Though we won't be sharing food or ale, a bowl of stew and an ale for each of us."

The Innkeep listens to the various request, and pauses during Slandra's rather involved story. "Well your father sounds like a rather wise man, a sort of wisdom more than a few could use around here..." she says, raising her voice to obviously project at a few of the assembled 'regulars'.

"Well please all have a seat and I'll send the girl up to make sure there are rooms refreshed and ready for you all. Plenty of room this time of year. Just one moment Sir, oh, you look like the road has hit you hard Son..." she says the last addressing Wynn. "Alright so lets see, that's... well 4 glasses of ale for the table, a glass of water for that Sir, and food all around. To let you know that's Four leaves for an Ale and Six copper for the meal. Beds are 5 Silver wolves, paid in advance of sleeping in them, and I'll only charge you an extra two for doubling up. Bath can come with the Room, but mind you tip the girl, she has to carry all that water up stairs. Oh, no charge for the water sir and let me get you that straight away!"

After her little speech, she smiles at the collective group, doubly so at Markus and than disappears through a back door. A mere moment later a girl in her mid-teen, dressed in the common clothes of a scullery maid, sweeps out the door and up the stairs in a blur. The Inn-keeper is soon to return, bearing broad serving trays on each arm. With a deft hand she sits wooden mugs of ale, and wooden bowls of stew with a full loaf of round bread. The stew smells of fish and root vegetables, and is probably the best smelling thing any of you have seen in a week at least. She turns to the table Wynn sits at to deposit a Mug filled with Water and a Similar bowl, though with only a cut quarter of a loaf.

Oskar has entered the room by this point, dusting himself off and looking to sit down with the assembled group, relieved when he discovers he has a few minutes at least to enjoy before he gets to move bags up to the room.

Kristaps and Kārlis eagerly await their fare, the later commenting on seeing Wynn "And I thought I was a tad ragged. Come in off the North Road or the East stranger? Or else-ways?

For book keeping purposes, a stay here is 6 a day per room, +2 per occupant beyond the first. Ale is separate cost, but a full day of meals will come to around 2 sp. I didn't bring it up, but Stabling will also be 5 sp a day.

Markus:
Save for the Innkeep, any conversation you attempt to make is met with closed lips, and suspicious eyes. Perhaps you might get a monosyllabic answer.

Wynn:
The Plaque reads in Telvan "Let it be known that in the Year 1322, this Inn received Royal Patronage from King Wilhelms VI in his glorious victories during the War of the Three Rivers."


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1

Just as Oskar begins to carry his pack up to their room Markus belts out. "Oskar help the poor girl with the water and see that she is adequately compensated." Markus then reaches into his pouch and slams his share of the coins on the bar in front of the kindly matron. With a smile ans a nod he grasps his mug muttering a prayer to Usin.

Turning to Slandra while sipping his brew he proclaims. "Vigilance is a key virtue of Knighthood, one my family holds at its very core...for a Knight must be always be ready to uphold his vows." Scaning the structure of the Inn Markus wonders if his ancestors who rode with King Wilhelms VI stayed here as well.

As the Smooth beer and homey warmth of the Inn begin to shake off the chill of the long walk Markus turns and lays a questioning gaze upon the ragged wrapped stranger. He awaits their response to Kārlis' inquiry.


Female Elf Ranger 1

Looking up briefly when the food is set before her, the wretch drops a few coins onto the table from a beltpouch set beside twin daggers. head bowing up and down indecisively, finally rasping out "I have come..."Coughs and wheezes a little "from the east, yes. Sometimes travelling road, sometimes wood. It is a dangerous road here. Pausing before lowering her head, Wynn digs into the food, only dropping her scarf when her head is bowed; so as to eat without giving any hint of her visage away. She looks up now and again, seeming both reluctant to engage in conversation, but at the same time almost eager for it. "Ser knight?" Takes a steady look once more at Markus as if to affirm the statement "If I may be so bold..." Rasps out another rattling cough "Vigilance is a virtue key...for anyone wishing to survive in this realm" Bowing her head quicklyu after the statement, thinking perhaps to have gained too much attention from those others in the room


Male Human (Telvan) Cavailer (Gendarme) 1

Attempting to peer deep into the folds of the cloth concealing the disheveled stranger, Markus retorts "The virtues of a knight are qualities all people of this realm can strive towards." Scanning the weapons of the figure Markus questions " You like you've seen some hard times traveler, what brings you to Trenči?"

He immediately adjusts his posture "Forgive me dear Ser... I forget myself... allow me to introduce myself I am Markus Vangazi son of Andis and these are my fellow travelers Lady Slandra, and brothers Kristaps and Kārlis of Ogre." Motioning towards his companions.


Female Human (Kef) Cleric 1

Slandra waves at the mention of her name, then returns to carefully counting out the coins she owes the innkeeper. Once that's done, she takes her mug of ale over to sit by the newly arrived stranger. "Hello," she says.

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