The sun is setting, bringing a cold nip to the air. As the orange glow of the sunset cast across the hills, the Andril army surges like a never ending anthill. People rush about their business, delivering messages, finding comrades in arms, milling about aimlessly. All the movement is accompanied by the many noises of such a large body of people. The baying of horses, the sharp pang as the blacksmiths made or repaired armor, the laughter and singing of men wanting to ease the tension, and when you got close enough to the red tents, the groans and cries of the dead or dying. Cast over everything is the ominous wall you are to siege tomorrow. Despite the war being such a one sided onslaught, tensions are high. The spellcasters, the tacticians, even the famous Colonel Geoffrey himself all failed to find an easy way into the city. No weak point in the wall, no underground entrances, no noble willing to sell out his country (or at least none that survived to see it through). On top of that the queen is demanding they finish the war quickly, which got rid of the backup plan of starving them out. In less than 12 hours, they were to storm a well fortified seemingly impenetrable wall that was defended by fresh troops. Nobody doubts their ability to win the battle...but nobody wants to think of the losses in such a direct approach. Some men are brooding, some men sleep early, some men laugh and jeer a little too loudly, and despite the officers best efforts some men drink, all of them wanting to escape the stress of the situation.
While other men were relieving their stress in other ways, some of the men in charge of the prisoners took theirs out on you. Rocks and sticks are being thrown at you, as well as an endless stream of obscenities and racial slurs from some men, most notably one Fredeward Huets, a low ranking officer. "Oh come now you beast, do you really think we kept you for anything but manual labor? It's all you will ever be good for in this world!" Some soldiers pass and won't make eye contact with the abusive soldiers, and one or two even stepped up to say something, but a glance from Warrant Officer Huets and they walk off silently. You're chained together with a few other prisoners, all men, but one of them sticks out to you. He has that obnoxious air of nobility about him, even in his current state. The man on your other side takes another rock to the head, then glares at you "Oi, you could crush their heads with one hand, why not git up and do it?"
You've been mostly isolated from other prisoners, but they needed more room in anticipation of the wounded and you were brought here. You could almost feel your spine tingle as a soldier dragged you next to the huge half minotaur and manacled you next to him. Many of the other prisoners have poked fun at you, sensing your birthright, but generally they're tolerable. However this is a new experience, as you feel a rock whistle right by your ear, thrown by Huets once more.
Make nice kiddies. You got a few hours till you're on the job. Muahahaha
You've had a long day. You were asked to be brought as a consultant for a tunnel, a small one that stretches across underneath the battleground and will allow a small force to get close to the wall. From what you could tell it was magically tunneled and seems completely stable. However the officer wouldn't stop asking questions about this and that until you had walked up and down the tunnel a dozen times, an arduous process at best. As you make your way back to camp you run across an scout patrol, and your eye can't help but be drawn to the tiefling paladin with them. Then you hear a call, and you see a messenger running up...
You've been running among the hills all day with a scouting party, trying to find enemy scouts, traps, tunnels, or anything else the army wasn't aware of. It's been a long, fruitless day, the only discovery a local farm hidden behind a hill with an elderly couple who nearly fell over at your approach. As you make your way back to camp you see another group of Andril soldiers, and accompanying them is a fluffy, well dressed half elf who's cheeks are red and looks rather short tempered. Then you hear a call, and you see a messenger running up...
Dalton & Gabriel
The young human, looking no more than 16, pants and tries to catch his breath while giving a salute. One of the officers quickly salutes so the boy can catch his breath properly, telling him to sit down. After a moment he manages to speak "Or...orders from Captain Baccus. He wants to speak with Dalton Barrowwheel and Gabriel Leoni at once" Captain Baccus is half-orc normally in charge of the vanguard. He's known for being reckless and never backing down from a fight, but he often leads the charge himself and inspires great moral in the men.
Lindale had returned to his tent after several hours of work to think upon the news of his twin brother. He wears the common soldier's outfit he had purchased. Of course he would be encroaching upon my mission. Where are you, you bastard. It had put him in a foul mood and he sat in his tent for an hour before deciding he was hungry. As he exited his tent and prepared to follow his nose he was interrupted by another soldier accompanied by a dwarf. Great...
He nodded as the soldier left and glanced at the dwarf. Looked like a paladin. He was sure he had seen him around the Colonel several times. Perhaps tonight might not go so badly after all. He crossed his arms, "Lindale. I haven't eaten all day so before our patrol I intend to eat my fill. Join me if you wish, but perhaps the common soldiers food is too low for you?" You detect an invitation to keep our distance for now, hidden behind a small insult. Who could blame a Drow for being wary around a Dwarf?
What time of year is it? Is this the cold nip of late autumn, winter, or early spring? Toramin might not know jack all of the surface world, but it would help my understanding of the scene.
Toramin then looks up at his watch partner. Ah, a drow. Humans had some damn fool notions sometimes. As if morality were color coded for their convenience. White is good. Black is bad. What did that make brown, neutral? Bah! There are some dark skinned humans in the army were they suspected of evil? Foolishness! Actions, not skin, made one good or evil. Is it any wonder why the elder thinks that humans aren't ready for the blasting gel? Many good men would die on the morrow, but how many more would die if they had their hands on explosives and thought that black skin makes somebody evil!? They would be killing brown people left and right!
The Stonelord's inner rant was brought short by the elf opening his mouth. Typical.
With a sigh, Toramin responds, "Save your posturing for someone who has already damned you, elf. I would take it as a kindness if you refrained from worshiping demons and summoning devils. It would do naught but prove that fool right. Now, where is the food. We can eat while we patrol. That would be more efficient."
"Is he certain he doesn't want to take a tour of the tunnel now I know the damned thing like the back of my hand?" Dalton left his rhetorical question hang as he discerned which way the commander was likely to be. AT ONCE! Always with the rushing. Anything else about that stupid tunnel and I'll fill the thing in...
Though it might not have sounded that way, things were going well. The siege was to be over on the morrow, but people were getting skittish now. And this other one... Dalton cast a glance at "Gabriel." They're really taking all types these days. Without seeing the irony in his statement, he motioned with a flabby arm at the soldier. "Well, come along. The only thing shorter than peoples' foresight around here is their temper."
Feel free to say anything while you walk
As you make your way to the mess hall, more or less talkative, you are greeted by the enthusiastic wave of 'Chef Georgy'. He's the head cook for the army, big enough to wrestle a bear, wit as sharp as a rock, and has the biggest heart you know of. He's the kind of guy that knows every bodies name and always has a kind word. As you he approach he gives some directions to an insubordinate, then puts down his ladle and walks over "Oi, good to see you, both of you! You know Lindale, I just got a shipment of those mushrooms you like, the ones that grow underground. Names in elven er sometin and I can't remember it to save my life, but I know how to cook em don't I!" he laughs and claps Lindale on the back. The mushrooms he speak of are called Thrunihar and grown in your homeland, and are rather a pain to cook but are excellent if done well. "And Toramin, I think ye'd eat about anything I threw at you...but I tell ya what. Ye know the Teyrk lake? I sent some of the kiddies over there and managed to get a dozen strings of trout! Can't remember the last time I had fresh fish for ya. How bout I whip em up together, the fish and the mushrooms, I'm sure I can make it work!"
Gabriel thus spent most of his time day dreaming. He wondered what the siege would be like. So far, the army had done well, and the four years he had been with it had seen the army walk through many towns and cities. But this was the -capital-. Surely it would be a tougher nut to crack?
He didn't notice the messenger arriving, his attention to distracted by the flamboyant, red cheeked elf. 'How did he pass the physical to get into the army?' Gabriel wondered to himself. 'And where is his armor?' His experience with spell casters was nill. Save for clerics, he had never met a spellcaster and never seen one at work. Idly he plays with his holy symbol until the officer barks out a command to him. He snaps to attention. 'Oh, right. Me.' Gabriel hastens to catch up to the round elf, thanking whatever goddess saw fit to give him a slower companion. His armor slowed him down, and while soldiers understood and his own scouting party had several others wearing armor, someone so casually dressed might not.
When he finally catches Dalton inside the camp, Gabriel has to ignore the sounds all around him. The singing, he ringing of steel and hammers, the rasp of swords being drawn or the creaking of wood as bows are pulled back in practice. The jovial, the sad. It was a lot to ignore and the young tiefling was not normally one to do so. But they had orders and he couldn't let himself get distracted right now, especially with a Captain calling for him. His tail twitched as his curious mind wondered what could be the reason for them two to be drawn away, and his pointed ear followed suit every once in a while. He hadn't realized he had been walking with the round elf for several minutes in silence by the time they reached the captain, nor had he realized that the man had tried to speak to him at least once.
Upon arrival at the Captain's tent, you here a smashing noise and somebody swear loudly. Before you have time to gather your wits, you see a soldier thrown a good ten feet outside the tent flap. He lands with a clank of armor and begins to sit up, groaning. The tent flap is swept aside by a scarred gray arm, and following it the imposing Captain Baccus. The half orc is tall, even for his kind, and has scars that would impress a dragon. "Ya bloody idiot, think! Just walk up, even I'm not that reckless" He shakes his head, then turns his angry face to you two. After a brief flash of recognition, his demeanor entirely changes, and he walks over to shake your hands with a smile "Mr.Baronwheel and Mr.Leona, I'm glad you could come so quickly" He glances up and down Dalton's figure, then laughs "I heard you got quite a workout today, hope you won't pass out during the siege tomorrow!" He claps Dalton on the back, and the impact feels like it's going to leave a bruise. "Well come on in, both of ye. I didn't ask ya here to stand out in the dark" Despite the Captains blatant rudeness, it seems like he's actually trying to make friends.
He sits in a stump and offers you both chairs, then takes out a tray of dried meat and offers either water or ale, siting them on the table "Heard ye both had a long day, so I won't keep ya long. Long story short, I'm leading the vanguard tomorrow and wanted to hear your reports firsthand. I know you were both doing some sort of scouting today" He glances at the entrance to the tent, keeping his expression still "As half the army knows I use to be a pirate. Well one of my old contacts sent me a message earlier today. He said there was more to their defense then meets the eye." He leans forward, leering at you two with piercing eyes "I don't know if he's still credible, I haven't talked to him in years. But I'd be a damn fool to not check it out. So tell me, was there anything even slightly off you noticed today?"
It takes a moment for Gabriel to realize he was being asked his opinion, and another couple moments before he was willing to reply. He had to think it over. "I'm not usually brought along for my keen eye Sir, more to be the wall in between the scouts and whatever we might find. But it might be... it's a little odd that all we encountered today were a couple farmers with their place hidden behind a hill."
Gabriels voice was surprisingly not as deep as one might expect of a tielfing. There was not a rasp, a bite or a cough to anything he spoke. If anything, his voice was rather fair, and his tone just a touch musical. He wasn't actually singing of course but his words did ring pleasantly in the tent. "Not sure what to make of it myself, but you figure that for a place this important they'd have some scouts out there looking. Maybe they're just being found by other scouting parties of our own though, or maybe they're just that good at hiding."
"Let me outta these chains and I'll show you what a beast can do... Or are you all talk? I betcha don't even know how do you use that thing", he taunts with a vague gesture making it unclear if he's talking about Huet's sword or something else...
Baccus glances back between you too with his piercing eyes, then nods "I'll keep my good eye open still, but I think he may be trying to get back at me fer doing something to him a while back. Thanks for coming. Get some rest tonight. It's gonna be a long an' bloody day."
You two are pretty much free to go about your business. Feel free to walk around and RP if you want
As the warrant officer leers at you, understanding flashes across his face. He smiles, then takes out a dagger "Well let's just see how good I can use em, eh?" In a flash he whips his arm back and the dagger comes flying at you...but halfway through its' trajectory it stops, and a moment later it reverses and the handle of the knife hits Huets head with a dull thunk. He swears, holding his forehead with both hands. Then an elf with clothing clearly labeling him as a high ranking spellcaster steps out from behind a wagon, looking with utter disdain down at the man. The elf has shining silver hair and a fair complexion, and on his shoulder is perched a midnight black raven who's still as a statue.
Huets looks up with one eye, blood streaming into the other, and says "Oi, I'm an officer, what the bloody fu..." He trails off as his gaze meets the elfs. He stammers, then starts an apology, but the spellcaster raises one hand "You will wait here until I have time to deal with you. There are more pressing matters to attend to than your insubordination." He sniffs then curdles his nose "As well as your drinking" Suddenly the raven looks at you and opens his beak, but instead of a bird sound you hear a clear male voice emanate from the beak "I believe we got two birds with one stone master" The elf turns to examine the prisoners, eye instantly attracted to you two. "There you are. Nobody scheduled the relocation of prisoners, I almost resorted to scrying to find you. You, soldier! Undo these two" You are both released from your bonds by a wide eyed young soldier, who scampers away as soon as he's done. The elf walks up and offers a hand "My name is Tiasar. I am the Rauko of the spellcasters, their extraplanar expert. Also I'm a consult of Colonel Geoffrey's, who I am sure you know of" He looks them up and down "We're going to get you something to wear and then Colonel Geoffrey has asked an audience of you. You are not required to comply, if you would rather stay here that is..." He finishes with an expectant tone.
Colonel Geoffrey. Bjorkus had heard the name spoken by more than one of the soldiers since he'd been transferred from the Xilres forces to the ones from Andril. After a moment's thought, the bull surmises he must be the man in charge.
"I don't need anything", Bjorkus says with an angry snort, obviously unconcerned about his own bloodied and haggard appearance. "Take me to meet your Colonel."
"As you say good Paladin. Food is this way..."
As they walked Lindale was mostly silent. Thinking of some good food and drink. "I prefer to relax while eating if that's alright with you. We do still have some time before we must be on patrol."
"Give me your finest, Chef," he said with slightly more cheer than before, "and a mug of the strong dwarven stuff. I'm in no rush tonight, even if others are. If there's one thing the dwarves have right it's their drink, almost as good as my homelands."
"Dwarven ale is a fine thing. Honoring one's duties is better. We are on patrol and patrol is what we shall be doing. We were chosen for this job for our darkvision, and I will not have your senses dulled by drink on the eve of battle, soldier. No ale, and the food to go, good Georgy."
"Hey, Vanir, get that crate of shrooms cracked open! Start soakin' em!" He turns back "Luckily I can get most of the easy work done by the new whelps" He looms over Lindale and casts one big brown eye down at him in a mock form of intimidation "Now you know I'm a follower of Cayden, but as yer dwarf friend here just said yer about to be on guard duty. I don't wanna get strung up fer getting our guardsmen drunk again. Apparently it makes em less effective" He shakes his head as if the notion is ridiculous "Tell ya what, I'm staying up late tonight and sleeping in tomorrow. Come by when yer shifts over and I'll have somethin for ya" He turns with a smile back to the kitchen, then swears loudly "Oi! Ye don't mix those, it'll knock ye out for hours!" He runs off, obviously having to deal with some problem. In a few minutes a old grizzled warrior who has outlived his prime comes out with your food, two plates with steamed trout and boiled mushrooms.
The paladin thanks the veteran for his service, and begins to herd Lindale out into patrol duty with all the joy of a dwarf herding cats.
The human lad saw even more work then Gabriel did, but still always managed to find time to train after coming off a day of work. Gabriel, when his training had started, had been just as driven, but he also had a great deal fewer tasks to do with the army, green and wet behind the ears as he was. He could hear the familiar thunk thunk thunk of men striking dummies, the clang of wood on wood and metal as people sparred, and bellowing of a sergeant working on the last set of recruits the army had received, reassuring them through training that they could and would survive tomorrow with discipline, but only if they impressed him enough not to kill them tonight.
Geoffrey had never been so heavy handed in his training, but all the same the sounds of people preparing reassured Gabriel some. As he turned the corner around one last tent he saw it all laid before him. And sure enough, near the end, Joshua was practicing with a wooden longsword, weighted to match the weight of the iron ones they used. It wasn't a perfect replacement, but it was better then having to call a cleric every time someone want to spar.
Gabriel raises his hand and calls out to Joshua, "Ho Josh!" He says, his lips stretching into a happy grin. The tiefling, ignoring the dirty looks he got from some of the regulars, strolled up to the man and offered him a hand to shake. "The world can end, fire can rain from the sky, the nobles can start handing out gold and the army can get ready for the toughest fight yet. But in all of that craziness one thing is certain, Joshua is training, working, or sleeping."
It doesn't take long for the smell of wine and the jangling of thrown coins to reach you. Soon enough you pass close to a group of soldiers playing dice and cards, some of whom you recognize and invite you to play
Feel free to RP or wait, you guys are a little ahead of the others
Joshua grins, wiping the sweat off his brow with a rag "Ho Gabriel! Well keeping fit is what keeps me alive when the heavens start raining fire. Plenty of time to be fat and happy when I'm dead. Besides, while the heavens are raining and Gorum himself wanders to our lands seeking battle I'd bet you'd still be daydreaming" He arcs an eyebrow at Gabriels constantly shifting weight "I don't think you came here to chat. I don't have guard duty tonight so I'd be willing to bruise you up a bit before bed tonight. Leave you running with your tail tucked I will!" He laughs and swishes his sword playfully in your direction. One or two men chuckle at the tail joke, but the rest either leer or turn their backs.
The tiefling strolls over to one of the sparring circles, ignoring the leers and chuckles both. Some might seem more good-natured then others, but few people laughed with Gabriel rather then at him. Instead, he focuses on his friend. "Course I'll be day dreaming. I have to do enough thinking for the both of us after all." His face splits into a larger grin and he beckons his friend to join him in the sparring ring, raising his practice sword and getting a good hold on it. "After all, if I don't, I'd never be able to remind you of all those sword lessons your mentor has been teaching you. And wouldn't that be a shame?"
The playful jesting definitely help set the tiefling at ease, but there was still an energetic, almost anxious air to the young man. He wasn't sure where all this energy was coming from, but a good sparring match was just what he needed, win or lose.
The dwarven paladin isn't one for idle chatter while he works, and certainly not on such an important night.
Perception: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (17) - 1 = 16
As you both shift into your fighting stance, you take a long time to circle and watch each others movements. Sparring with the same person for so long creates a new element to the fight, where you know their move even before they make it. You close repeatedly, nobody gaining the upper hand. Finally you disengage for a few moments, watching each other. As you see his weight shift to his left leg, a spark of inspiration jumps to you. Ah, he must be about to lunge and then follow up with a crosscut! However, focused as you are on preparing to parry him, you failed to notice him circling you around to face the setting sun. He lunges forwards and slightly to the left, and as you are about to parry you're momentarily blinded and with a sharp crack he lands a blow on your right thigh. However, you recover quickly and duck so a tent blocks the sun, also evading his cross cut and managing to land a spinning uppercut to the head that probably would have knocked him unconscious if he didn't have a helmet on. As you allow the brief flash of pride as he falls to one knee, he plants his sword in the dirt behind your leg and shoulder checks you, knocking you on your back. Before you can recover he gently puts the tip of his wooden sword on your breast piece, claiming his victory. He smiles as he offers a hand "Gotta pay attention to your surroundings. You're an excellent swordsman but you have to abuse what's around you"
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Grumbling slightly he follows Toramin out. Taking a short detour back to his tent to don his new armour and grab his black cloak he caught up quickly.
Taking his job as seriously as Toramin did, he wolfed down his meal and started his watch.
Laughing, the tiefling takes the offered hand and hoists himself back up to his feet. His tail wraps around the hilt of the blade he had dropped and brings it back to his hand, already shifting back into position for another bought. He stops for a moment though to readjust his helmet too. Still not quite right. He'd have to ask the black smith to look at it again. Gabriel suspected the man made it for someone with horns that were symmetrical.
Those who weren't used to the camaraderie the two showed, as in anyone who wasn't a regular, seemed a bit surprised by the companionship Joshua and Gabriel shared. Gabriel, despite his helmet and fair skin and hair, was clearly a tiefling. Even now his eyes shifted color beneath the slits that let him see out of the steel encasing his head. "Should have realized you got the same lesson." He grins again, "Guess we'll have to see if that blow refreshed my memory."
Gabriels probably good for a couple matches, but if you want to pull a 'Josh has to get going' or 'a couple hours later, after some intense sparring' kinda thing feel free. Just in case you want another round of dice though going to drop some.
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
Luck roll: 1d100 ⇒ 88
"Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but nobody's sad when you're sharing the booze!" He drops a spot of coin for a spot of ale, shooting the breeze as he played. Dalton happened to do rather well that night, so he wasn't as niggardly as he usually was with his coin. "If only I could play dice instead of battle, I'd bet them out of keep and castle before sunset!" He chuckled to himself as he tried to loosen their tension. "But it's a long walk, so I guess they'll be safe from me!"
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 91d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 221d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
The next fight doesn't last nearly as long. You manage to stay much more focused, abusing the way his wrist turns when he thrusts. You get a clear advantage early, bruising his upper arm, and while he does manage to leave a dent in your gauntlet you strip his sword away with a flip and bring your wooden blade under his chin. He laughs, pushing the blade away "Well a tie for now. Whoever kills the most tomorrow shall be the victor!" He looks up at the sun "I have something to attend to before it gets too late. I will see you in the morn before we march!" And with that he runs off.
The soldiers groan a little at the small loss of money, but drink and jeer with you, gently joining in on your self directed jokes. Eventually they turn to each other, making fun of how one soldiers arm got caught in a ballista bolt right before it fired, sending him a good 50 ft across the field before his weight brought the bolt down. The men still seem a little anxious, but for the time being their worries are relieved.
'Who ever kills the most...' Gabriel was honestly not someone who enjoyed killing. Getting lost in the thrill and danger of battle, enjoying the challenge of a dual. These things he could understand. But unlike many of the soldiers he had come across, killing was... well he didn't hesitate when it needed to be done at least. Without realizing it, Gabriels feet had carried him to the Colonel's tent. For a moment he almost turned around and headed to his own, but it had been a couple days since he had seen Geoffrey. The city was a tough nut to crack, and Gabriel wasn't one to interrupt the man when he had important duties. All the same, it would be nice to speak to his mentor for at least a little while. His mind made up, Gabriel enters the colonel's tent.
"Sir?" The tiefling pauses for a moment, half in the tent half out, and wonders if he might have come at a bad time.
This post involves everybody, directly or indirectly
Psotheos & Bjorkus
You are brought to the Colonel's tent, where you wait outside for a brief minute until three officers holding maps exit. At the same time a blond haired tiefling approaches, knocking on the post between the flap and saying softly "Sir?" Tiasar leads you all inside, and as the flap is pulled back you see...
As you knock on the pole, an elven wizard who's you've seen with Geoffrey before beckons you in, leading with him a human with an air of nobility and a half minotaur. Before you have time to ponder them, you see...
Psotheos & Bjorkus & Gabriel
Colonel Geoffrey, a man with a powerful build coated in a layer of steel with Abadar's seal. A well crafted longsword and shield lay next to him, magnificently crafted in such a simple matter it appears as if the simplicity itself was a masterpiece. His long brown hair veils his face as you walk in, and he has his chin rested in the crook of this thumb and forefinger, staring in deep contemplation at a map of the surrounding ground. Tiasar clears his throat, and Geoffrey's face rises for the candlelight to shine upon it.
He is a handsome Andrilian man with a strong chin and kind eyes. He gets a slight smile as you enter, and he stands to address you, waving away any formalities. "Please, I get enough of that when I'm walking about. I can hardly make it to lunch without my arm tiring out from allowing all the soldiers to rest their own" His voice is just a little deep, but what really stands out about it is how clear and clairvoyant it is. Oh yes, he even sounds like a leader of men. He gestures to a collection of chairs "Please sit. I know you've all had long days, for one reason or another" As you all take a place (there is even a particularly stout stump for Bjorkus) he sits and folds his hands over, resting his chin on the back of his knuckles as he looks at each of you in turn. He first glances at Gabriel "I'm glad you're here, this will involve you as well" He turns to the prisoners "I am sorry I couldn't grant you an audience earlier Psotheos. Normally I'm rather good about getting to noble prisoners quickly, the demands of the army dictated my attention though. And Bjorkus, oh yes I am very well aware of who you are. I've had an experience or two with your father. Last one left me quite a mark." His eyes turn to steel and he keeps them fixed "I have brought you both here to offer you a proposition and to require your aid. A mutual pact, one that we should both benefit from" He takes a sip of water, returning to his resting position before continuing "I cannot explain to you all the particular's, but what I am asking of you is to accompany me tomorrow into the tide of battle. We shall not be in the vanguard, or even the main body, but rather once the siege is under way we have a special mission to accomplish. We are traveling underground with a few other soldiers and a Transmuter by the name of Dalton. I won't tell you the details until later. The reason I am bringing this to you is because you, Bjorkus, owe no allegiance to any nation. You are free to choose as you will, and I am certain the offer of freedom in return for your service will persuade you into helping me. And Psotheos, we may have talked only briefly, but I have observed you much during the delegations. I may presume to know too much, but normally I am right, and I believe you have no love for Nuro who sits himself on a corrupt throne." His eyes flash "And I'm certain your freedom would be a welcome perk as well" He leans back in his chair, crossing his arms "I have chosen you, and a few others, because I believe in no way shape or form can you possibly be spies. I won't bore you with the details, but subterfuge is a key player right now, and I do not intend to become his victim" He pauses once again, sipping his drink before finishing "You have a moment to think about it"
He turns to Gabriel, his eyes softening but a mischievous look in them "And Gabriel, I have quite a plan for you. I don't want our troops to be a paladin short tomorrow. It simply won't do for morale" He smiles and leans forward "You're going to lead a small battalion of men with another paladin tomorrow by the name of Toramin, in the vanguard." He lets that sink in for a moment "Do not worry, in addition to him, I'm sending another man of influence with you. A drow who saved my life. He has a sharp wit and a sharper tongue, but he's a blood born follower of Abadar and a fierce warrior" He clasps you on the shoulder "I think you're ready for this".
Having said his peace, the Colonel sits back and nurses his water, letting you process the information and patiently waiting for your response.
Dalton & Toramin & Lindale, you are all delivered separate messages filling you in on what has happened above. Dalton they still want you there because of the residual magical auras and your skill with earth moving. Toramin and Lindale, you are accompanying Gabriel leading a section of the vanguard. Oh yes my 1st level characters. Tomorrow, you go to war
He runs his fingers through his hair. Free hands! He wants to get as much time unbound as he can. ”A full bath I’m sure is out of the question, but is there time to wash my face and hands?”
He stares briefly at Huets and then turns his attention to the minotaur. ”I mean no offense, but you may feel better if you change your clothes.”
After Colonel Geoffrey finishes speaking, Psotheos swallows hard. He looks to see that his hands are gripping the ends of the chair’s arms. Taking a calming breath, he slowly nods.
”You are right. I have no love for Nuro,” he says using the speaking lessons his father taught him long ago, to broadcast from his chest. ”I also have no love for invaders to my country. Yet most importantly I have no wish to see more dead, especially my countrymen.”
He slides forward in the chair to sit at the edge of the seat, back straight. ”If what you are asking me to do will help end this futile war, then I must consider. Is it betrayal of country if I think the king is illegitimate? Is it betrayal if it saves lives?” He pauses for a long moment, looking into the paladin’s eyes, seeking reassurance.
”If your plan succeeds, will the city be sacked? Who do you envision to rule Xilres? Somebody must sign an armistice and treaty.“
"I feel fine, I'm strong as ever. Whatever this Geoffrey has to say, he can say it to me like this", the bull rumbles.
It's probably pretty obvious that he's weak from hunger.
Despite his haggard condition, Bjorkus enters the colonel's tent with a lumbering swagger and greets the armored commander with a derisive snort. He wouldn't be fooled by his niceties or feigned kindness. The half-minotaur listens, in silence, as the paladin speaks, finding himself settling onto the broad stump brought in for his use.
When the explanation is done, the bull finds himself understanding the situation a bit better. The colonel was genuine enough. He wanted the minotaur's help. The situation wasn't too different from the way some pirate crews press-ganged prisoners into service.
"So you want me to fight, for you, alongside these furless pups?" the half-minotaur rumbles aloud with a glance at the young noble and the tiefling. "And this isn't some kinda suicide mission?"
Gabriel was going to remain standing, and through most of it he managed to. It was, after all, nothing too startling. He knew Geoffrey was the type to try and give people chances, he gave Gabriel one after all though the circumstances were certainly different. The large minotaur, Gabriel had thought they were only stories but light was he big, seemed to have the more sensible of the complaints. The 'noble' spoke with an accent all too familiar though and Gabriel found himself frowning at the man before he could stop himself. He forced himself to calm down, however. Not all nobles were like the one that had been cheating he and his mother. Geoffrey spoke highly of his queen, after all, and she was the noble of nobles in Andril right?
All the same, with all that to think on, when it came time to tell Gabriel what his role in the battle was tomorrow the tiefling found himself surprised. It was one of those times where he had found the conversation more interesting then his idle thoughts. Not to mention there was no mistaking that mischievous grin. When Geoffrey spoke his role in the upcoming battle though, Gabriel had to take a seat of his own. 'Lead? He can't be serious.' Further mention of Toramin and another Geoffrey trusted let Gabriel relax a little. Of the people in this tent, he was probably the only one who had never lead anything, even if he didn't know that. What he did know was that he himself was no real leader of men. He didn't think himself quick enough of thought or experienced enough to do it.
But Toramin? If there was a smarter man in this camp that got along with Gabriel then the tiefling would eat one of his boots. He relaxes even more as he thinks things through and nods, realizing that Geoffrey had probably not meant lead in the literal sense. He was unaware that a couple minutes had passed since his mentor had spoken and looks up, his pointed ear and tail both twitching. "Toramin's a good man. I think he's pretty solid in a fight too, though I don't think I've ever seen it. If you trust the other then so do I." Drow, unlike Minotaur, were not myths. But unlike most who might distrust, Gabriel had a great deal of experience getting undeserved hate for his race. He was careful to come into any interaction by putting aside preconceptions and letting a persons words and actions speak for themselves.
All the same... Drow, Minotaur, Dwarves, paladins, a war. It was like a story. Only Gabriel, who had fought in battles previously under Geoffrey's command, knew all too well that not every one survived in the real world. "We'll be fighting under Captain Baccus' direction then, right?"
The young demon-spawn answers Bjorkus's question, even if it's indirectly. If this was a suicide mission, he wasn't aware of it. That was good enough for now.
Going to war. Bjorkus was no stranger to bloodshed or conflict. On the high seas he'd taken more than his share of lives, lost plenty of comrades, and spilled a good amount of his own blood. This was his first time involved in a war. It was bigger than snatching up a poorly guarded merchant vessel or knocking off a ship of marines a little too far out into unpoliced waters. This was bigger than him and, though he'd never admit it, something that the minotaur found a bit unnerving.
He snorts again.
"If I'm doin' this I'm gunna need my weapons back. I fight a lot better with 'em. Unless, that is, ya expect me beat these guys to death with my cock", the bull adds with a bass chuckle.
Geoffrey contemplates their questions for a moment before carefully answering. "We still see ourselves as allies of Xilres. We are here to remove Nuro from power, then leave. Through treachery he has risen to power and he abuses his position in the worst way. Since he cannot be reasoned with and we don't believe your citizens will plan a rebellion for many years, we are taking the initiative. We are not here to conquer anything. We are here to help an ally save itself."
"Couldn't possibly be farther from the truth Bjorkus. You both will be going on a mission with me. Unless I'm trying to get myself killed it won't be a suicide mission. And no, Gabriel here will be elsewhere doing the siege. Right on the front lines in fact." He smiles slightly "And no, that won't be necessary. I doubt the Xilres have enough women in their army to keep your weapon sharp as is. Unless that's not a problem for you" Before you can put that together, he calls for a runner. Immediately a young soldier pulls the tent flap aside and walks in "Tell Hrolf it's a go. He has half an hour" The soldier salutes and takes off. "You both will be outfitted however you see fit. I can't promise full plate or something like that, but Hrolf can easily clad you in some decent armor and give you about any weapons you need."
When Gabriel finally speaks up Geoffrey nods "Yes, Captain Baccus will direct you. He will give you general objectives to complete, but it will be up to you to decide how to do it."
”Your answers,” Psotheos says, appearing to relax in the chair though his emotions roiled, ”mirror my own heart. It is almost troubling. My father warned me about accepting offers too good to be true.” An incredulous and helpless chuckle escapes from Psotheos. He feels the weight and twisted feeling in his gut break. ”In a bleak situation accepting your offer is the best choice. I may be tarred as a coward and traitor, but I feel as if aiding you is the best action. Perhaps all traitors feel so justified.” He offers his hand to Colonel Geoffrey to seal their pact.
”I assume my possessions when I yielded were kept safe. The composite long bow is finely crafted and a gift from my father. As for my sword and dagger, replacements will be fine if mine cannot be found. The chain shirt I wore was made especially for me two months ago. It’d be doubtful another armor would fit as well. Finally there was a vial. An elixir to aid hiding and stealth.”
When Lindale receives the message he reads it quietly, ignoring the soldier who delivered it entirely. From the Colonel... Gabriel? And Toramin here. Wonderful, surrounded by paladins. Vanguard. Hmm.
Lindale looks up to see the soldier leaving and Toramin also holding a message.
Toramin thanks the soldier who brought him this news and nods thoughtful. The vanguard! Praise Torag! It seems right to the young dwarf that he be on the frontline and in the most danger. This assuages his unconscious guilt about knowing a secret that could save lives, but keeping it -- he believes -- will save even more. I will be happy when the elders' prediction comes to pass and the surface is unified under Andril. Once humans know the joy of unified government they can put the foolishness of war behind them and experience the joy of peace that dwarves have been blessed with for millennia. Truly this is the beginning of the war that will end all wars for humans on this continent.
Feel free to say anything else you want to say, but I'm guessing the general consensus is that you have accepted the mission. I'm going to move things along
Geoffrey nods, evidently pleased at the turnout of events "You can go talk to Hrolf now, the head of the dwarven smiths. He knows you're coming and will outfit you with anything needed. He also has anything that was taken from you during your capture" He smiles "Tomorrow, gentlemen, we restore Xilres to its former glory" He dismissed you all, going back to studying the map of the hills.
As night blankets the sky with darkness and starlight, the noises of the army begins fading as soldiers make their way to bed, anxious of the all too close morning to come. Campfires are snuffed out as torches are lit, changing the cheery orange light to an unwavering dull glow. Soldiers can be seen and heard faintly in the distance, making their rounds.
As Toramin and Lindale silently continue beating the same path they had been for an hour or two, they await their relieving point. The silence between them creates a stale air, one that seems fragile and dangerous to break. However, so intent on their job as they are, they both notice a group of soldiers marching towards the camp.
At this time it is a little after 1 in the morning, and I assume that the remaining party members are asleep
Bjorkus nods his agreement, however reluctant and leaves the commander’s tent without being told twice. He heads for the quartermaster.
After being shown to his things, the minotaur breathes a sigh of relief. Everything was there. His favorite boarding axe, a spare loincloth, and his prized rum. The soldiers that had captured him were either inhumanly honest or downright foolish. The minotaur didn’t care which it was and picked up his belongings.
Pondering on the battles to come tomorrow, Bjorkus realizes he may be a bit underdressed for the occasion. On the high seas, armor was often a liability. A pirate had to be quick or just damned tough to survive a scrap. Here on land, armor might save his life.
The dwarf was a master of his craft but even he had limits. The bull was going to require a custom-fitted suit of mail and there wasn’t near enough time for that. Looking through what scraps remained he picks out a suit originally fitted for an especially obese solider who’d been pulled from the front lines because he wasn’t fit enough to serve. It would be awkward to wear but it was better than nothing.
The minotaur takes the suit of armor and offers what thanks he can before departing to find a corner to sleep in.
It looks like you’re just waiting to resolve the folks on watch. Is that right?
Perception: 1d20 + 4 - 10 ⇒ (9) + 4 - 10 = 3
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5