Many things sleep, beneath the forests and mountains of Varisia... many are the ruins of a lost age which dot its rugged land, voiceless speakers to a bygone time-- a time of giants and of those more powerful than giants. Eroded stones, monuments crumbled to shapeless lumps, the foundations of once-mighty towers...
Many things sleep.
And some things wake....
chapter one. burnt offerings
It is the first day of autumn. The days are yet warm and clement, with the ocean air further mellowing the climate. In the town of Sandpoint, and in numerous other communities where Desna is worshiped, it is a day for celebration, for today is the Swallowtail Festival.
Aside from that, there's meant to be the consecration of a new temple in the town shortly... though you keep hearing conflicting reports about what god it is. That sounds like an interesting thing to see, as no doubt Cayden Ceilean ought to be represented there. Purely for devout reasons, of course, and not because celebrations often have alcohol.
Finally, the temple dedication is supposed to be held the same day as the regional Swallowtail Festival-- celebrated all throughout Varisia, to be sure, but Sandpoint's is rumored to be extra-spectacular. With no other business to occupy your time, you've made your way on the Varisian roads, with many another traveler, and the previous night found you camped but an hour's walk from the town's walls, bunched together with several other travelers for mutual safety. Today is the day-- it dawns bright and clear, and you hurry forward along the road, eager to reach the town in time to see the full festivities. The town gate stands open, and colorful pennants hang from the walls, and the sounds of revelry come from within...
Now Sandpoint itself is before you: a walled town on a promonotory. The gates are open currently, and colorful pennants hang from the walls. The sounds of music and cheering can be heard. Your mission awaits, however poorly-timed it may be for the sake of the townspeople's celebration.
It seeems like half the town's twelve-hundred souls must be gathered before the magnificent structure of the new cathedral, easily the largest building in town. The new building is made of hewn-stone and beautiful colored glass. The open plaza is filled with booths selling goods and foodstuffs, a tent selling ales and wines, and everywhere prevails a cheerful, almost-carnival atmosphere. There are games of skill and chance being played everywhere people could cram in some room for them-- children and adults alike eagerly throw little sewn sand-bags at targets, or hold footraces, or test their strength against a weighted rope pulley, and half a dozen other games. The air is filled with the smells of fried fish and other meats, grilled onions, roasted vegetables. Everywhere the townsfolk of Sandpoint have dressed in their best clothes, and more than a few people wear the colorful neckchiefs common to ethnic Varisians.
Alrighty! Go ahead and establish yourselves with introductory posts; I'll detail the games-and-so-forth a bit more when we've done that.
Sauntering into the square, this muscular half-orc woman in battered piecemeal armor (it's scale, but flavored as piecemeal) verges on seven feet tall, the bardiche draped horizontally over her shoulders having a height to match. Numerous other weapons cover her, like a walking armory: javelins, a lucerne hammer, a dagger, and a cestus. Most of her features themselves would hardly be out-of-place on a Shoanti human, but her skin, yellow eyes, and prominent teeth make it impossible to see her as anything else but a half-orc. A weathered gray leather eyepatch covers her left eye and scarred tattoos based on orcish runes cover her face, bared left arm, and peek from the folds of her armor. (Here's an example of the style)
She stops as she sees the various games and challenges of physical might and prowess and takes a cockeyed grin.
"Now that's what I'm talking about. Some exercise that ain't just walking around like any damn idiot." Her voice booms over the crowd, as though it had just nonchalantly shoved quieter, less boisterous voices out of the way.
While she initially appears to be speaking to herself, on a closer examination, a shorter Shoanti of a much more traditional bent--in more than one respect--accompanies her. Her bardiche still draped over her shoulders, she jabs Rokan in the shoulder with the polearm's butt, tilting her torso to accomodate the size difference.
"Bet I could beat a little sliver like you at any one of these games, Rocky."
She widens her mouth to bare her teeth in a grin at "Rocky." She flips open her eyepatch, the scarred hollow of her left eye narrowed, giving the appearance of a wicked grin to match her mouth.
"And I'll do it without depth perception."
The jab pushes Rokan into a slight sidestep—Seraka was huge, after all—but he refused to rub the spot on his shoulder. Instead, he looked up, his usual mask of reserve pinching to a frown of defiant annoyance. He locks gazes with her for a few heartbeats, the intensity of his look pushing back on her in a way his smaller physical body never could.
In this mixed crowd, Rokan is about average in height, though he’s short for one of the People (Shoanti), and seems even more so beside the looming Seraka. And where she is a walking armory, he is the picture of practical simplicity. Earth-tone, well-worn leathers cover his thin-but-athletic body in the style of his highland people, from the sleeveless deer-skin vest down to his soft-sole stalking boots. And the only visible weapons are a club, dagger, and shorbow. His dark, deeply suntanned skin and tribal tattoos—flowing and organic in contrast to Sedaka’s jagged-edge, orcish ones—further reinforce his Shoanti appearance. Only a few subtle touches—the unmistakable peak to his ears, the thinness of his build, and the tilt to his dark eyes—hint at his own mixed blood.
”It’s Rokan,” he finally responds in Shoanti, a quiet steel in his voice. He knew the big warrior only called him Rocky to dig at him, but he refused to back down … even on this small thing. He eyes a small area of the plaza that is roped off for men to test one another in wrestling. He gives a competitive grin and continues, still in Shoanti. ”And you’d not be the first warrior to regret that challenge, Seraka. The wolf has twice the weight of the badger, but he knows to find easier game.
”Besides,” he mutters, breaking Seraka’s gaze and letting his sharp eyes range through the busy plaza, ”we’re not here for games.”
Frustration gnaws at his patience. On any other day, Rokan suspected he could have simply walked in and found Belor. Who can find anything in this craziness? he thinks. It was like trying to grab one minnow from its school.
No worries, darling!
Seraka lets her eyepatch fall shut again. She continues speaking in Common.
"You wish I was just a wolf, and you wish you were a badger. Though...'Rocky the Badger' does have a nice sound to it. Stiff guy like you needs a nickname. They used to call me 'Seraka the Cyclops' back in the ring." Her eyes fall and she quiets. Clearly, they called her other things, too.
Seraka shakes off the brief unpleasant memory and takes her bardiche down from her shoulders, presumably to stow it. While, yes, she does stow it, she first slaps Rocky on the butt with the wide flat of the blade.
"You ain't been to many cities, have ya? Events like this are full of people trying to cut-loose and enjoy themselves, so naturally law enforcement is all over."
She leans towards Rocky, her eyes still on the festival, and whispers:
"'Sheriff' is a kind of law enforcement. In case you didn't know."
She pulls back and continues her stretching, rotating her wrists before interlocking her fingers and extending her arms.
"Might as well enjoy ourselves while we keep an eye out for him. Unless you're afraid of getting beat by an orc."
This should prove an interesting day! Look at all the people. All the fun! I wonder where the Old Light is. Perhaps these fellows know.
"Might as well enjoy ourselves while we keep an eye out for him. Unless you're afraid of getting beat by an orc."
A young man with pale blue skin stands aside these new strangers. Hearing these words of the first people he sees in town, he naturally assumes that they too are here for the festival and in search of a good time.
Moving to face the two, his height brings his eyes about a hand below that of the smaller Shoanti's. As he looks up at the pair, the sun's light shows his facial structure is that of sharp lines, and his eyes to be blank white.
"Quite right! Except for the getting beaten up part. I'd be afraid to get hammered by either of you, tall orc or tall-ish man. Might be fun though, I suppose, to try! Good day, friends! This is a joyous day is not? As a new arrival, getting here for the Swallowtail Festival seems to a most blessed omen!" With a flourish, he produces a mug with some sort of beverage within it and takes a giant swig. A little foam drips off the point of his clean-shaven chin, and onto the dirty leather vest that protects what appears to be a well worn dark purple school uniform.
In fact, his gear is all dirty, save for his mug and the pommel of the rapier at his side. His short dark blue hair is a mess, his gear wrinkled from sleeping in it the night before.
"Say, would you happen to know where the Old Light is? After celebrating this proud holiday, I would like to get a better look at it. One of my teachers, her name is Ingaria, perhaps you've heard of her? No? Well, she's quite the educator. Anyway, she said that one of her past students was studying it, and if I wanted to know more about Thassilon, I should talk to him. Have you heard of Brodert Quink?"
The young man takes another swig from his mug. "Oh, Sorry! How terribly rude of me. I'm E. Would you like some?" He holds out his mug to the group.
E scans the crowd again and frowns. "Well, this just won't do. Perhaps I should find a bath and a tailor so I don't look like some rat that crawled out of the wall to raid the dining hall. Where would I find one here?"
Seraka raises an eyebrow at this little blue man. She grins and grabs Rocky, her arm around his shoulders.
"I'm Seraka, and this little guy is Rocky. He likes sticks, whether he's shooting them or nursing the one up his butt. His heart's in the right plce, though."
She takes the proferred mug, pausing to cast purify food and drink first.
She takes a swig and gulps it down effortlessly, then passes it to Rocky.
"'E?' That short for something?"
She sniffs a few times at the air around E, then wrinkles her nose as she rears back a few inches.
"Agree on the bath thing."
A human woman picks her way through the busy crowds of festival goers, her gaze resting on a few of the stalls that dot the street before it moves on once again. She wears a set of well polished scalemail armor and has an axe strapped to her back that seems a bit too big for her size - her family had repeatedly told her she shouldn't bring all her equipment to a festival if she didn't want to stick out. But as her old paladin instructor had repeatedly yelled in his thick dwarven accent "Ya never know when ya might need yer axe! So don' let me ever see ya without it!"
Her blonde hair, pale skin and violet eyes put her as some sort of mix between the local Varisians and her family's Chelaxian blood.
She looks a bit worried, and fiddles with a small key around her neck, but with a sigh she puts her hands on her hips. She probably should take it easy like everyone else. Just townsfolk having fun, merchants selling wares, and a giant half-orc, blue fellow and shoanti sharing a drink.
She does a double take at the odd trio.
"It IS indeed short for something! But, I like it more than what it's short for. So..." he ponders for a moment before resuming as if he didn't know where he was going with the topic of conversation. "I suppose it's short for nothing! Hrm... that doesn't make sense either."
"A pleasure to meet you both." he holds his hand out to shake the pair's hands. "Seraka and Rocky. How many games of..." he takes a step back and scans the two up and down, "brute strength, good grief you're both so tall, and physical prowess do you think you'll win today?"
He grabs his mug, and tilts the lip of the cup with a nod towards the half-orc. "I'm not offended. Quite reasonable actually. I'm not sure where I got the grog I poured in here earlier anyway." He takes another drink, and turns the now empty mug upside down.
"Guess it's time to explore the party. I need a refill. Refill, bath, shopping. Yes, that's the plan!" He starts to move off and then stops himself, "Uh... new friends, I see you're off from travelling as well. Care to join? My treat!"
Rokan is about to respond to Seraka’s barb about the meaning of ‘sheriff’ when the small, strange, blue man materializes in front of him. Not sure what to make of the little guy, Rokan nods.
’”My name’s Rokan,” he corrects in Taldane, cutting his eyes at the taller Shoanti. ”And fine,” he grunts, not sure how long it will take for the sheriff to show up. ”You guys pick the competition. I might as well win a few coin while we wait for Belor.”
As they wander off to whatever competition Seraka chooses, Rokan shrugs to E. ”So, you’re seeking the Old Light is, huh?”
Does Knowledge History or Geography give Rokan any clues to the Old Light?
Knowledge: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Sonya meanders towards the odd group and overhears their conversation about the Old Light. She clears her throat and take a step forward.
"You're looking for the old lighthouse? It's not much to see nowadays - mostly just rubble by now."
E turns towards the newcomer.
"Hello! Indeed, I am looking for the Old Light. Do you know where it is? Have you met Mr. Quink? What do you think of this delightful holiday?"
The samsaran looks at his now empty mug, pausing to take a breath where he would normally take a swig.
"I'm E. This here is Rocky... pardon, Rokan, and Seraka. I suspect they are newly arrived as much as I. Are you a local here? Can you give us the grand tour, or tell us more about what's going on today?"
Sonya is easily able to point at the Old Light-- visitors often mistake the structure for a lighthouse at first glimpse, but it's the hundred-and-something-foot crumbling tower that perches right on the promontory on the western edge of town, just as visible as the Cathedral itself by merit of its sheer size. Good image of it on the 3-D map!
Rokan, the tales of the Shoanti account for the many titan-sized ruins that dot Varisia by saying that the giants built these, long ago. You've never heard a better explanation. You know nothing about this particular ruin, but glancing down the street towards the crumbling hulk that punctuates the end of it, you think those tales are as likely as any other explanation.
Sonya, you haven't personally met this 'Brodert Quink,' but you've heard of him through the Valdemar family network: fancies himself a historian on the old ruins in town, talks a lot about a vanished, lost empire called Thassilon, or something. Of course, Quink is also rumored to believe that ghost ships haunt the coast and that vampiric squirrels are stealing his food, so.... le shrug.
You do know of two primary inns in town: the White Deer (it's a Shoanti running it, isn't it...? Maybe these two barbarians will fit in there...) ... and the Rusty Dragon, which caters to those of an adventurous bent, so the odd trio might be at home there, as well.
As for these games...!
The games are many and varied, with little impromptu competitions springing up all over, but there are all the simple games you might expect at a town fair: footraces, wrestling, the beanbag tossing, games of chance... and a few options that seem religious in nature.
Seraka scans the various events, looking back-and-forth between Rokan and the contests, sizing him up versus them.
She finally settles her gaze on the mud pit and grins. How the hell could I NOT pick the mud pit?
She begins stripping off her armor, not wanting to dirty it in the pit, making sure she is turned away from Rocky first. She calls back at him, her face still turned away.
"You ever wrestled with a woman before, Rocky? A man? I can teach you a few things, either way." She laughs to herself, knowing she just means to tease the man with her bravado. She ventures a peek over her shoulder to see if she's managed to flush his cheeks with her toying.
They say fighting is the purest form of competition. :D
Rokan dutifully averts his gaze when his opponent begins stripping, taking the moment to set aside his pack, weapons, and remove his own leather vest. When she turns to look at him, she finds the smaller Shriikirri running through a series of rugged stretches every aspiring Shoanti warrior learns.
”I am Shoanti,” he responds simply, but his tone has changed. There is an eagerness in his voice and movements as he steps down into the mud, taking a few moments to loosen his shoulder joints and test the mud at his feet for footing.
When she’s ready, this is how she finds Rokan. His smaller, shirtless frame is chiseled with ropey muscle, his feet are set wide in a low ready stance, and he watches her with an eager, competitive half-grin.
”Come, then,” he calls in Shoanti, ”Teach me.”
So what are the rules, Dien? First to hold a pin for a round? 2 rounds? Or something else?
And I'm guessing the first thing we need is initiative?
Initiative: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Footracin', beanbaggin', fate temptin', hot potato-in sounds right up E's alley!
"I suppose you'll want a bath *after* the mud wrestling. This should be a sight!" He leans over to Sonya, making a show of his not so secret-whisper, "I've got 5 silver on the half-orc woman."
"And perhaps I should play all these wonderful games and become a sweaty mess, more than I am now anyway, *before* I go to the bath. When these two are done, how do you all feel about some friendly sport that doesn't involve me swallowing mud?"
"Sure, I-" Sonya starts to speak, but chuckles as she has to hold her tongue for all of the rapid fire questions.
"Uh, sort of - I've visited Sandpoint many times, so I can show you where the Old Light is, but I'm not sure exactly sure where you can find Mr. Quink."
"I'm Sonya, nice to meet you. You didn't come here with them, then?" She nods towards the two Shoanti now wrestling in the mud.
Before stepping into the ring, Seraka pauses for a moment, her back still towards Rocky. She caresses the preserved eye on her necklace and closes her good eye, only to briefly glimpse through the former once more. In the space a few moments, she sees an abandoned half-orc child picked up by a monk of Irori and his whole life until he dies in his sleep. She cannot remember much--she has not trained herself to see much in such short glimpses--but she still feels the countless punches and kicks and headbutts and elbows of countless training sessions. She clenches her fist, feeling the discipline in it. Not her discipline, but that poor dead monk wouldn't mind her borrowing it for a minute.
That's a really long RP description for her using Martial Flexibility to grab Improved Unarmed Strike. Since she's doing it early, feel free to deduct rounds from it at your discretion, GM.
Even more emboldened by the strength of her orcish ancestors, Seraka finally steps into the ring. She punches her open left palm with her right fist and gives a cock-eyed grin.
"Such a good little student!"
She turns towards E and Sonya, looking directly at them and pointing towards them.
"You there! E! Blonde girl! I need witnesses to me pulling the stick out of Rocky's butt."
She turns back towards Rocky. She shows off her teeth in a smile.
Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
...great start to the rolls there, dice roller
Focused on her grandstanding and trash-talking, perhaps a bit too used-to the ceremony of the illegal fight rings of Magnimar, she is slow to react to the beginning of the fight.
I think it's a cool fluff for that ability on an oracle. Plus, isn't the PbP format the perfect place to get a little elaborate on descriptions of character details? :)
Rokan ignores the jibes, maintaining his stance and half-grin.
He gives a brief look to whichever local is overseeing the match. "Ready when you are," he says in Taldane, mindful as ever of the proper ritual for this contest.
o hay that my cue
(Sorry, busy day.)
There are two women here overseeing the proceedings, who look very different from each other: one is a human woman with some Tien ancestry and a shaved scalp, dressed in an ascetically-plain blue cotton robe, belted at her waist. The other woman is also human, but looks to be of Varisian stock and is wearing finely made armor, with half a dozen weapons strapped to her person. She grins and beckons the contestants forward, tipping her head back to stare up at Seraka's height.
"Holy Hanspur!" she exclaims appreciatively. "You're what, half-orc and half-giant? Alright, you two! No weapons other than hands, first to pin their foe and hold 'em for a good count 3 rounds wins a twenty percent discount at my store for one item of their choice. Good luck there, Shoanti-man, seems you'll need it!"
The blue-robed woman doesn't speak at all, but just raises a hand to signal the start.
Rokan literally can't roll lower than Seraka for initiative, lol, so he gets to go first. As mentioned, this is CMB/CMD, however, feel free to get creative. You're standing in a 15 x 15 circle of mud, well trampled due to the various other fights that have taken place here today. I'll toss a small circumstance bonus on fun descriptions... and there may be some surprises after the first round. :3
I'll toss a small circumstance bonus on fun descriptions…
Oh, sure … give the fun character all the advantages! ;P
Rokan is quick off the signal, darting forward in a low, defensive lunge, trying to grab Seraka’s front wrist while snaking his other arm around her waist.
.. but in, like, a totally fun way. :D
Grapple, Combat Expertise: 1d20 + 2 - 1 ⇒ (14) + 2 - 1 = 15
AC 17. CMD 19 for the round.
"I'm Sonya, nice to meet you. You didn't come here with them, then?"
"Nope. Wandered in behind them. And I'm happy to accept your offer of Sandpoint tour guide! No matter Mr. Quink, if he's any academic worth his salt..."
""You there! E! Blonde girl! I need witnesses to me pulling the stick out of Rocky's butt."
"Wouldn't think of missing this fight!" E yells back to the tall half-orc.
Turning back to Sonya, "Good gods, they're both so... muscular. This should be fun to watch, if they don't tear each other to pieces. Where was I? Yes! any academic who hasn't written any works about a site they've visited is probably still there studying it!"
"Tell me, Sonya, what's with the giant axe?" He pokes at it with a thumb, "Are you expecting an unfriendly fight on such a wonderful day?"
"Oh hey, look at him go. He's quick!"
A decent part of why I chose psychic bloodline was because without somatic or verbal components, I can describe using abilities really flexibly!
Sonya watches the first few lunges and moves of the match - a much different kind of fighting than she was accustomed to. The paladins who taught her did their training fairly formally, and though they had stressed that fighting dirty was a fact that they would have to deal with, Sonya hadn't quite envisioned this kind of 'dirty'.
"Ah its more of a uniform than expecting anything. I trained with the paladins in Magnimar, I'm not sure they believe in taking a day off. I guess I follow the tradition," she replies to the excitable blue man. "So you're some sort of researcher studying the Old Light, then?"
Oh, and who's bringing the metal folding chair for the wrestling style finishing move?
Seraka is taken off-guard by the speed of Rocky's movements, and she reflexively tries to push out of the grapple.
CMB to take Control of Grapple: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Yay! More s&&@ rolls D:
She silently fumes at this turnabout. She finally manages to suppress the anger, turning it into something useful. She had time to fix this.
"Not bad...I'll fix you...soon enough."
Oof … yah, those dice. :/
But yah, there's time yet.
”So many words,” grunts Rokan as he steps with her push. It's not that he's so fast; he just seems to anticipate her movements.
Already inside her reach—and now having gotten a sense for her combat timing—the larger warrior leaves an opening for Rokan to exploit. He drives the side of his hip into hers, pivoting around her waist as he releases her wrist, freeing his left arm. Now behind her, he tries to snake his free arm around her neck, using momentum and his full weight to wrench her down and backwards … trying to bring her off-balance completely.
The small Shoanti is clearly not unused to fighting larger opponents.
Make Seraka Rokan's Studied Target, then grapple to pin (including Studied Target, Combat Expertise, and the bonus for maintaining a Grapple)
Grapple: 1d20 + 2 + 1 - 1 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 2 + 1 - 1 + 5 = 18
AC 17; CMD 19 for the round.
Second sorry! I fell asleep mid-post last night.
Something in Round 2! -Rokan-: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
Something in Round 2! -Seraka-: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
The mud is thick and sticky and it conceals numerous pits that you don't realize you're on top of until you just about fall in. But both contestants nimbly keep their footing, braced against each other in a grapple as they are.
No negative effects for either of you at the start of round 2; then Rokan maintains his grapple and proceeds to the pin after those were rolled
Perhaps there's a lesson in humility here for the towering half-orc woman? Something about the bigger they are, the harder they fall?
Or perhaps she's merely about to turn the tables and come back from what looks like a pending defeat!
The two women supervising the match watch closely and a few other spectators as well.
Before E can answer Sonya, there's another voice interrupting. "Our little Sandpoint must seem so dull to you after Magnimar!"
Turning to see the new speaker it's a young, handsome fellow dressed in the height of Chelish-inspired fashion. He is gazing a bit raptly at Sonya, who-- to be fair-- cuts quite a figure.
"You must be Miss Sonya," he says with a quick bow, beaming at her. "We heard you got here weeks ago but you've not made the rounds-- oh, my manners! And I'm sorry, I'm interrupting things with your-- your little blue friend, here," he says, turning the smile inclusively upon E as well, though he looks slightly bemused at E's unique appearance.
"Aldern Foxglove, my lady, at your service."
(Seraka, you're up for round 2, and you're currently pinned. Rokan and Seraka, make a Reflex save at the start of round 3, DC 12. Failure means you slip in one of the holes in the mud pit and start the round prone!)
Seraka's hands clench against Rokan's arm, trying to pull it away from her neck.
This wasn't how it was supposed to go.
She begins having flashbacks to the last time a Shoanti man had this kind of a hold on her. Years and years ago, back when she had two eyes. She was looking for a bit of catharsis, for a chance to finally get back at all those boys that took her hair.
She had hoped to do this without needing to go all-out, but she has little choice now, not that she is in a position to think much on the subject. She is angry.
Her teeth grit against each other as she growls, her brow sharpens, and her body bulges, her muscles and skin filled with a powerful tension.
CMB to Escape Pin/Grapple (rage): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Reflex Save: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
She manages to keep her footing at the least.
Reflex, DC 12: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Rokan's eyes widen when he feels Seraka's muscles thrash with near-inhuman strength. Broken bones! She's a berserker!
Suddenly aware of just how precarious his advantage is, he casts about for any way to offset her vastly superior strength. In the mud with no weapons, however, he knows it's futile. With nothing but his own resolve, Rokan just holds on, clamping down on her neck and back as he continues to try to drag her backwards to maintain a bit of leverage.
Same as before: Studied Target, Combat Expertise, maintain bonus.
Grapple, maintain pin 2: 1d20 + 2 + 1 - 1 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 2 + 1 - 1 + 5 = 17
AC 17; CMD 19 for the round.
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Sonya has on her 'polite business face' before she even realizes, and turns to greet the well dressed man, hiding her unease at his knowledge of her.
"That I am, nice to make your acquaintance. And how could Sandpoint seem boring with this festival going on? I had just offered to show E the Old Light after the festivities."
"You'll have to forgive me though, it has been quite a while since I was back in Sandpoint, I've forgotten a few of the faces around town. Are you a business partner of the family, or..?"
I'm imagining her being all polite and proper, and then in the background just barely out of focus is Rokan and Seraka flailing around in the mud
Aldern beams at Sonya (benevolently ignoring E, it seems, past his initial smile). "That's very kind of you to guide others about-- if you need any help of your own getting reacquainted with the town, please do let me know."
He straightens his lapels a bit, gives a self-deprecating shrug with his finely made cane. "Oh, certainly in my fashion, yes! I'm working on getting the family name re-established in the region-- ah, my family name, I mean-- and I'm always on the lookout for advantageous business connections! I have goods carried by several Valdemar family ships, just ask Belven, I'm sure he'd give a good accounting of me. He's always treated me very fairly in my dealings, and extended credit when I needed it-- which I have repaid in full!
"Though I admit, he's not half as lovely to look at as you..." Aldern says with a hesitant smile.
Meanwhile, yes, in the blurry-focus background... the mud is being kicked up and around, the wrestlers are straining and heaving...! Despite Seraka's advantages in size and brute strength, Rokan is holding his own, and has managed to pin the half-orc woman, holding on by sheer dint of determination, it seems.
The woman in blue is mouthing a count, two fingers held up so far...
Reflex saves again, DC 12 this time, and prone if you fail! Then Seraka's chance to break the grapple, etc.
Reflex, DC 12: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Seraka's thrashing overwhelms his leverage, and Rokan's back foot is forced into a hole. He splashes down on his backside, scrambling not to lose his grip.
Prone. AC 13/CMD 15
Reflex Save: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
Rokan still grips her tight as he falls back into the mud. Seraka digs her feet down into the mud, her dense muscles and massive size steadying her all the more. She resists for just a moment, just long enough for him to pull on her stronger. A vicious idea comes into her mind, perhaps one of the whispers of her orcish ancestors that guided her. Perhaps it was pure raging instinct. Perhaps both. Her teeth gritting together, she smiles. She would show him strength.
The tension goes out of her legs instantly and she begins falling with him. No, pushing him. She throws herself into the fall with her full weight, taking control of the movement and slamming the smaller Shoanti into the ground at full speed, driving him into the mud as deep as she can.
CMB to Escape Pin/Grapple (rage): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
These rolls :/
Rokan could feel his ribs creak with the impact, but he doesn't shake loose. But she's gotten her weight up over him; it's not a position he can maintain ... not with the judge's count moving so slowly. Plastered with mud and sucking wind through gritted teeth, he releases one arm to push up off the ground in an attempt to hold on for a few more seconds.
Move to stand from prone. This provokes (since Sereka has Improved Unarmed Strike); if she takes it, it goes against AC 13. Then same as before, grapple to maintain pin.
Modified by: Studied Target, Combat Expertise, maintain bonus.
Grapple, pin 3: 1d20 + 2 + 1 - 1 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 2 + 1 - 1 + 5 = 15
Yah, these dice have it out for ya. You can't hit and I haven't missed yet, despite what were pretty even chances at success.
"Incredible! I do believe I am about to lose out on some coin." the samsaran muses as he watches the wrestling. "The shorter one, of the two I mean - he's still much taller than I, the gods have favored him for this bout it seems!"
He turns back to the Sonya and Aldern. "Say, are you a merchant here? You must be excited with all the business today is drumming up! I thought you two knew each other by your introduction, but now I think otherwise. Today is a day of great meetings and fond memories yet to happen! I'm E. Does Sonya here own a store for you to make business arrangements with?"
The samsaran goes to take a drink from his tankard before realizing it's empty. Turning to face the nearest large crowd, he bellows. "A silver piece to the first person to bring me a bottle of some decent ale!". He turns back to the group, watching the fight.
"That ought to fix this dilemma of wanting of a drink and not straying from such fantastic people. You all, of course, are invited to share."
Sorry, working on my last final atm!
Feeling Rocky somehow managing to maintain leverage on her, Seraka growls in a crescendo of frustration. She slams her elbow into his side in unthinking rage.
Unarmed Attack AoO (rage): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Damage (rage): 1d3 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
No AOOs when grappled. Or pinned, presumably. :P No damage to Rokan from that.
The woman in blue holds up a third finger and nods sharply, clapping her hands together.
"Efficient. Quick. Nothing wasted," she says approvingly to Rokan. "This match is concluded!"
The other woman, the one with all the armor and weapons, steps closer with an assessing gaze.... just in case the match needs to be physically broken up. "Right, good job, both of you!" she says with brusque, deliberate cheer. "Prize goes to the fellow, but I'll stand you both a drink, that was a fine display there!"
Aldern glances over his shoulder as the match is declared, but it's clear that the bulk of his attention is on Sonya. E's questions make him turn his head only partially. "Hmmm? Oh, yes, it's very exciting. And I know her family, and the rumors said Miss Sonya had returned to Sandpoint, and... here you are! Miss Sonya's family is the Valdemars, my fine blue fellow-- haven't you heard of them?"
He laughs brightly at E's solicitous pitch for alcohol. "I'm sure you'll find some urchin willing to deliver such. Miss Sonya, I should love to talk more with you... I imagine there could be so much mutually agreeable business between the two of us? I hope so, anyway. Perhaps once the festival day is done? I must travel back to Magnimar at the end of the week, but I'll still have several days if you'll be free..."
Huh, I would have sworn that grapplers could make AoO's on each other, but upon rereading, you're correct.
Rokan scrambles backwards defensively. He can practically feel the blow Seraka didn't get a chance to land. The few berserkers he'd heard of weren't exactly known for their restraint in combat. He watches her closely, but steps forward, wiping mud from his face as he offers an equally-muddy forearm to Seraka for a warrior’s grip. A sign of respect.
He turns to the two local women, still trying to clear a particularly stubborn glob of mud from his ear. "Thank you," he says respectfully, then turns to the woman who offered the discount. ’Do you work with bows?”
"Ah not quite. My uncle owns the shipyard in Sandpoint. I helped with some of the work getting the festival and booths set up."
"I'll see if there's any time to spare - but knowing Belven, I am sure there will be no shortage of work to do after the festival."
The armored-and-armed woman gives the same brusque-but-cheery nod.
"Sure, I've got bows. Got a hell of a crossbow that's one of my prize pieces, but got the traditional sort as well. I'm Savah," she says, and points to a building just visible to the south of the plaza, "and that one with the crooked chimney there, that's my shop. Even got a few bolas and klars, for your kinda people," she says blithely.
The shop in question seems to have once had some sort of structural damage? There's a spot just over the door where the wood has been both hacked and burned-- in a very focused manner.
The Tien woman gives a more sedate nod and a little bow of greeting. "I am called Sabyl. I do not sell anything, so I cannot offer a discount." She smiles slightly. "The things obtained in my house have no value in gold pieces."
Aldern looks disappointed at Sonya's somewhat-restrained assent, but he draws himself up and offers a polite bow, one hand over his heart.
"Well, you are as dedicated as you are lovely, miss Sonya. I sincerely hope you can find the time. I won't bother you further, you should enjoy the festival. A very good day to you."
With a vague gesture that sort-of-includes E in the bow as well, Aldern turns and saunters off, cane clicking on the street.
A child with an upturned nose, a profusion of freckles, and seemingly more elbows than a kid should have runs up to E with a stein of the local brew. "You said a silver?" the ragged-looking kid challenges. "Hey, you're blue."
Seraka glares at Rokan. She huffs and puffs, slowly coming off the rush of her rage. She turns her gaze down to his outstretched hand. Back to his eyes. Her puffing has turned to quiet slow breathing, and her jaw relaxes from its vice grip. She throws out her hand to clasp his. She pulls him close into a warrior's embrace.
"Don't think for a moment this ends something."
She bares her fangs as she moves her lips up near his ear for a whisper.
"You'll make a worthy rival, Hundred-Feathers. You should be honored."
Shee breaks the embrace, any visible sign of anger or tension gone from her body as though nothing had changed since the moment the two of them entered the city. Looking for a distraction from her loss as she retrieved her clothes, she finally takes-in the two women who were running the match. Maybe she could salvage this day after all.
She puts on her most disarming smile. "Well now, here we've got two women offering drinks and here I am all half-naked and covered in mud."
She casts Create Water on herself a couple of times, washing off the fresh mud before it can cake on. She keeps her eyes on theirs, watching for a lingering eye that signifies a returned interest. Cleansed of mud but now soaking and dripping wet, she looks about for a towel.
"Happy to meet you, Sabah and Sabyl. My name is Seraka. Some people started calling me Seraka the Cyclops. I let them."
Savah gives an approving nod as she doesn't need to crack any skulls to help end the match. She hooks her thumbs in her belt, returning Seraka's gaze with no flinching despite the height the half-orc woman has on her. She is dark-haired with her hair drawn back in small braids, and her face is animated and expressive more than traditionally beautiful. She offers a wry grin at the assessment.
Sabyl only arches a brow at Seraka's display with the conjured water. "I am afraid I must correct you: I have offered no drinks. I do not indulge in liquor, but I am certain any brews that Savah suggests woudl be excellent." The blue-dressed, shaved-scalp woman adopts a serene waiting posture, gazing out over the crowd to see if others will come to try their hand.
Savah says, "Cyclops is a good name. Puts fear into folk proper. I tried getting a name for myself when I was younger, but I never could settle on one I liked long enough to stick with it. So I'm just Savah!" she says with a raucous laugh.
E, you mentioned some games you wanted to try!
Rokan remains stoic as Seraka leans in, a mix of discomfort and resolve playing across his features at her whispered words. When she steps back, he gives a single nod with a small, reserved grin.
”The saga of the wolf and badger continues, then.”
When she steps away, he watches her for a few moments, his smile slipping to a lingering frown.
Then he turns back to Sarah. ”So you are Sandpoint’s smith? Do you just sell bows? Or do you also make them? Or repair them, really.” As he waits for an answer, his eyes drift once more to search the crowds. ”And do you know where I can find Belor? I have urgent business with him.”
The Tien woman gives a more sedate nod and a little bow of greeting. “I am called Sabyl. I do not sell anything, so I cannot offer a discount.” She smiles slightly. “The things obtained in my house have no value in gold pieces.”
Obviously intrigued, Rokan can’t help but follow her revelation. ”So what is it that you do?”
E tosses the child bearer-of-brew the promised silver piece and upturns the stein into his own. "Good ears lad, and an entrepreneurial spirit! Inquisitive too! Well done. Keep that up and you'll be running this town in no time."
He waits as Aldern leaves and the muddy wrestlers wrap up their business.
"Any other contests you wish to try your hand at? Perhaps one I might actually be able to win against such formidable warriors? How about this footrace I hear of?"
E produces yet another silver and tosses it at Sonya. "A bet is a bet."
Sonya watches Aldern go, resolving to ask her uncle more about the very forward man. She'd had to coordinate with a handful of people since she got to Sandpoint, but hadn't quite been expecting to be sought out by someone.
Sonya laughs at the wonderment of the child and flips the coin back to E with a smile. "Well I never did agree to that bet, so this is still yours - you can use it to bet on who wins that footrace! I could do with some exercise today." Other than lugging around this armor, at least.