Almar and Sorin
"Hmph!" The Captain crosses his arms. "Far from home. Very far indeed." He sits and studies the two of you for a moment before continuing.
"You are traveling with one, Sandru Vhiski. Noted." He turns to one of the idle soldiers in the corner. "Waskin! Go find out who "Sandru Vhiski" is. Sounds like a "local," from the name."
"So, "attacked by a wizard," is the story here, eh?" Captain Maretti's smile spreads wide across his face, displaying his yellowed teeth. "Is that what you boys would call it?"
"He was with them, Captain, the wizard." The guardsman from the field pipes in.
"Aye, but he turned on them as readily as he did us! Sir, if you-"
"Silence!" The Captain pounds his fist onto the table. "I will conduct this investigation." He turns back to you and his grin returns. "So you know him? This "wizard"? Well, then the best question is, who is he?"
Bluff - 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
No worries. Sorry to hear about your posting trouble. That's always frustrating.
The well-dressed man raises an eyebrow. His hand slides to the hilt of the dagger in his belt, and his two bodyguards step to his side.
"Please." Sandru comes to them. "My companions and I are out of sorts, from long travel."
Sense Motive check:1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
"Yeah, a wizard, a fiend, whatever else you'd like to call him. As for who, or what, he is I don't really know. What I know is he likes to kill young women in horrible ways and that he's travelling north. I know he held some kind of ritual in Alkenstar where magic should NOT have worked. And I know he masquerated as a companion of ours, an Ulfen called Ulrick. That's why we attacked him, when we realized he wasn't who he was supposed to be. Are you satisfied, now?"
Sorin winces slightly at Almar's tone.
"It had the ability to cast spells but beyond that I don't know what it was other than when I sensed its evil I was momentarily overwhelmed by it."
"Ulfrick was hired for guard duty with the caravan. At what point he was replaced by that...thing, I don't know nor do I know the reason. Having encountered such brutality before, when we heard of the slayings, we went to investigate but had no time to do so before we were set upon. The incident lasted but a few moments before..."it" left. The guards then asked us to come here and we did, willingly, I might add."
If this Captain doesn't calm down we could be stuck here all day. I hope the guards get that message to the others quickly.
"I didn't recognize your song Captain: where does it originate from?"
Sorin hopes this will settle the Captain's mood and tries to sing the song himself in the tune that, he hopes, is the one the Captain was striving for.
Sing: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10 I guess I copied the Captain too well...
Diplomacy 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28
Lisabett, feeling that she is taking advantage of a horrible situation, grabs a bottle of ink that looks black at random, and leaves the rest.
She does not speak again until they are well away from the stall, and she cannot bring herself to meet Brother Holheim's eyes when hers are still coated with frost. "Whatever it was you were speaking of with the Mother, I pray that you will not end that way. Or any of us," she says and wipes at her eyes.
Lisabett glances around them at all the unfriendly faces, her with frost marching across her gut and down her arms, and sighs. "We should be returning to the caravan now."
Almar and Sorin
The Captain buttons his bottom lip as he listens to you both respond. He does not look pleased. When Sorin begins singing 'Dust of Garund,' however, the man promptly stands and joins in. He keeps the song going for three rounds before sitting down. "Never did much trekking around Garund myself. Took a ship full of silk to godless Azir once, years back, but didn't spend more than a day in the city. Lovely song though. You say you haven't heard it, but you seem to have some ear for it. Not often you meet a man from these parts with so civil a tongue either. I must say, I wish I had more like you under my command...Sorin, it was, wasn't it?"
He laughs heartily before turning back to Almar. "You might keep your man here in line, though." He sneers at the gunslinger. "To answer your question, no. I am not satisfied." All mirth has gone from the Captain's face. "There are four dead girls in a field, and the best lead I have is that the killer was a 'thing,' or a 'fiend,' or something. If one of my men gave me that kind of garbage, he'd find himself transferred up to Lubbertown." He briefly glances at the two guardsmen that brought you.
"I understand this all must be quite alarming for you, assuming you are speaking the truth." He turns sharply to face Sorin. "I am assuming that you are. But in all earnestness, can you really tell me nothing more about our adversary?"
Lisabett and Raziel
I'll wait for Raziel to respond before moving forward.
I am seeing Varisian listed as one of your known languages on your character sheet. Can't she understand what the man is saying?
My bad...for some reason I just did not see it! Please ignore the last post
Setomi's eyes widen as she listens to the man speak. She shoots a quick look at Sandru to see his reaction. She keeps quiet and lets him speak to this contact of his; waiting to see where it might lead.
Lisabett and Raziel
As the two of you return to the warehouse, you notice that the door that was ajar when you left has since been closed. Just to the right of the entrance, a lean, dusky man with sunken eyes stands with his back resting against the building.
Intimidate - 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
"And yet, I ask for one more." the man replies icily. "A precaution, nothing more."
"Take my wares. Rob me of them, but do not take my people. That will not do."
The well-dressed man smiles. "You may thank your brother that I have not put a blade in your gut."
"You may yet have to." Sandru's face is stone cold. "You will yet do so, before you take any of mine from this place."
The well-dressed man squirms. He hesitates for a moment and looks at Setomi, but when his eyes again find Sandru's, his voice is calm and even. "I will not pay a copper for your goods, but I will pay a hundred gold coins to the man that brings me your head, should you still be in Roderic's Cove come sundown. The Vhiski Family's long years of service have earned you hours, and no more. Make your arrangements and depart."
Lisabett Perception 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Seeing the sentry and hearing the voices from far enough away, Lisabett reaches out and stops Brother Holheim. "I do not believe that the captain would close the door to us," she says. Likely some shady business... She looks about them for a safe vantage point, then gestures to it with a nod. "Best not to antagonize whoever comes from that door, hmm?"
Setomi takes her lead from Sandru and glares at the 3 men in stoney-faced silence; her hands having slid down to the grips of her swords.
Intimidate: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Is it possible to assist with the intimidate?? If so Setomi's roll will be for that, otherwise I guess it is her own.
Raziel Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
Mayhaps Sandru might need some help?" Raziel counters. "In anycase, if we walk to the door, the man in front will be sure to inform us what our roles should be."
"Ah, and although it isn't my way to conceal knowledge, perhaps we should speak in the common trade tounge, and not indicate that we understand Varisian. It might prove enlightening, eh?"
"A moment," Lisabett says, and spends a round casting Mage Armor on herself, letting the frost flow from her arms to encase her entire body, then fade into an ethereal mist and disappear entirely.
"Where is Quoral?" she asks when she has finished, but shakes her head and allows Brother Holheim to lead. "The spear has reach," she reminds him if he looks incredulous.
Sorin merely shakes his head. Almar can answer this question better than he. He never actually expected to encounter the thing Almar was pursuing let alone have it deliberately infiltrate the group.
I've lost track of Ameiko, Shalelu, Mother Koya and the other Ulfen. Are they all still back at the inn?
Almar and Sorin
Shalelu, Koya and the Ulfen, yes. Presumably, they are still at the inn. Ameiko rose early, before Sorin awoke, and left the inn. Nobody has yet seen her today, except for Lisabett, who was just waking up as she left.
Lisabett and Raziel
"Take better care with your eyes, if you value keeping them." The man near the door shifts his weight and crosses his arms. "And if my own two see more magics, there might just be a problem."
Just then, the door creaks open. A well-dressed man and two swordsmen clad in leather armor appear from behind it. The former shows surprise at your presence for a half-second before the look of smug comfort comes back to him. He snaps his fingers at the man who leans against the building, and the four of them begin to make their way down the street, without another word to you.
Yes, you can assist. I've added +2 to Sandru's total.
As the well-dressed man lays a hand on the door handle, he looks askance at Setomi, then to Quoaral.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Setomi lets out a sigh of relief as the trio departs. As the door opens, she sees others just outside.
Good thing we did not start anything!! Looks like they had reinforcements!
Turning to Sandru she says, "I am sorry about this. You should have let them take me...I would have been ok. Now we must flee this town without the proper supplies! What shall we do??"
A spell caster?
Lisabett's eyes narrow at the sentry. If previous encounters have proven anything, her magics are not strong enough to forestall him in anything. When the door opens, she keeps her eyes fixed on the sentry, who has identified himself as the most dangerous threat to her, specifically. They continue to follow the man until his party has passed well out of sight.
"Go ahead," Lisabett tells Brother Holheim. "I will await Quoral's return. I would not like for us to be surprised if that bravo doubles back without his master's consent."
"Something more? He's some sort of monster, able to use magic and has a penchant for killing young girls in grisly ways. You may follow the trail of dead bodies he left all the way up here from Alkenstar. He needs to be put down. And I don't think there's much more that needs to be said about him, besides that I'll do it if it was the last thing I'll do!"
Sorin starts speaking as soon as Almar finishes. "Sir, we really have no real idea who or what this thing is, what its motivation might be, nor what powers and abilities it can bring to bear. We only know it by what it's done and, presumably, by what it's going to continue to do. We can only hope for a chance to stop it."
Sorin pauses for a second trying to contain his eagerness to be out of here. "It's possible that those traveling with us are in danger; they don't know what has happened here. Please let us go and warn them. Come with me if you like; they'll verify everything I've said."
Almar and Sorin
Captain Maretti's eyes remain fixed on Almar. "Give a hound a scent..."
Suddenly, he rounds on Sorin. "You're a well spoken individual. Were you not, I've have confiscated your arms and armor and have you and your hound in a cell. As it happens though, this is a problem that me and my gendarmes don't need. We can't afford to chase this madman north, but we can't just turn our eyes and pretend he didn't murder four young women. That's why I'm going to deputize you, Sorin...erm...what was the family name again?"
Lisabett, Raziel, and Setomi
As Raziel walks through the door, he finds Sandru and Setomi standing not far away, though the former is barely keeping his legs. Along the back wall sits Quoaral, unmoving, staring ahead intently.
Outside, three guardsmen approach Lisabett. "We are searching for Sandru Vhiski." The one who speaks is not much more than a boy, and his voice all but cracks. "Is he within, miss?"
Those inside the warehouse hear the guardsman's question clearly.
"What now...?" Sandru mutters, weakly.
Hearing the voices at the door asking for Sandru, Setomi quickly steps through and confronts the group. Attempting a winning smile she says,"Good morning officers. You are looking for our caravan master, if I heard right? I am sorry to say that he is very sick this morning and unable to see anyone. Is there some way that I might be of assistance?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Bluff: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
The Gunslinger watches the captain with something akin revulsion but holds his tongue:"Oh gods... pompous fop! You are going to give us permission to do YOUR work to do something we'll have to do anyway??? Just be quick about it, better this way than having to fight youths and pesants conscripted to be what they clearly are not!"
Almar and Sorin
Captain Maretti leans in close to Sorin and whispers.
"Yes, sir." The Lieutenant has a dubious look on his face, but he complies, disappearing into the other room for a moment and emerging again with a bundle of papers in hand. He hands them to Sorin.
"It's all very simple and congenial." The Captain insists. "Only, keep your hound on a leash." He smirks at Almar, then turns back to Sorin. "You agree, of course? Say the word and I'll have the two of you on your way."
Lisabett, Raziel and Setomi
The young guardsman stares at Setomi, utterly entranced. "Ummm...well, yes...I'm sorry to hear that. I hope he feels better..." For a moment, he seems lost in the Tian woman's eyes, but he turns away suddenly. He speaks quickly, but seems to find some composure. "But...I simply need to know where he is, and the nature of his business here. I shall need to know when he arrived, and when he plans to depart, and if he has a 'Sorin Nicusor' and 'Almar Ashfield' in his employ. Can you answer these questions...?"
Setomi looks over to the others for some support. Taking a deep breath, and displaying what she hopes is a winning smile, she attempts to answer the guardsman's questions.
"We are simply travelling through the area. We had hoped to make contact with some merchants here to sell a few goods, but alas it did not work out. We plan to leave as soon as possible, as there is no further reason for us to stay. As for Sorin and Almar; yes they are in Master Sandru's caravan. Is there some problem??"
Bluff: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
Almar and Sorin
"Good man!" Captain Maretti slaps Sorin on the back.
I assume Almar is accompanying Sorin?
Lisabett, Raziel, and Setomi
"All very good...all very good. Thank you for your cooperation." The young man allows a goofy smile for a moment, but then seems to grow self-conscious again. "As to this Sorin and this Almar...well, I cannot say much of it, but there was an attack, and they were involved. The both of them seem unhurt to my eyes, but...well, I cannot say." The young stands up straight, as if remembering his task. "That will be all, then. Good day." He nods at Setomi, then at Lisabett. The three guardsmen turn to leave.
Once out of hearing, Setomi lets out a deep sigh. She turns to the others and beckons them into the warehouse.
"We need to get ready to leave. There will be no trading here, and we need to get on the road as soon as possible. It would seem that we have been played false by one who we counted as a member of this group." She looks over to Lisabett and says in Skald
[b]"I am very sorry to tell you of the death of Ulrick. From the looks of things he was murdered some time ago. I know this makes no sense, and I do not understand either, but in that crate over there...well...it contains his remains. I do not know who or what has been travelling with us the last few weeks, but I swear to you I will help you track it down and kill it!
Lisabett blinks once, twice, and in the space of the slightest of movements to nod her head that she has acknowledged the words that Setomi has spoken, her entire body is bathed in prickly frost. It cracks and falls to the ground as she moves inside, leaving a trail of rapidly melting ether. She approaches Sandru and stands so close that he can likely feel the cold radiating from her, so that she does not have to speak loud to be heard.
"Where. is. he?"
From the quality of her voice and the pauses, Lisabett appears to be struggling with her Common at the moment.
Almar and Sorin
There are but two of your company in the common room of the Gnome's Nose. Shalelu seems not to have moved; she is still sitting at the table, methodically checking the tips of her arrows. Her bow lies unstrung to her right. The Ulfen, Espen, leans against the front of the bar, watching the elf intently. Whether she is unaware of his gaze, or simply indifferent to it, you cannot say.
"I found no trail myself, when I looked. Did my eyes miss something?" Shalelu does not turn from her task, but addresses you all the same. "Or perhaps you return with the same dread and frustration which seems to linger from every one of your madman's acts?"
Lisabett, Raziel, and Setomi
"Lisabett...I..." Sandru speaks softly, but makes no secret of his words. "I am...I am so sorry. What is left of him sits within that box." He points to the far wall, where Quoaral sits upon a small crate. At Sandru's gesture, the Shoanti stands, and steps aside.
"I will warn you, Lisabett." Sandru puts his hand up as if to touch Lisabett's shoulder, but withdraws it. You must know...it is not a fair sight."
Almar gives Shalelu a long, hard look then flatly states:"We found the one who did it. He's been with us all along and none of us noticed. So, yes, your eyes DID miss something. Now, if you'll excuse me I've had enough of your pettiness. Let's call the others... they need to know"
Lisabett's expression when Sandru raised his hand to her would have frozen a lesser man's heart to shattering. Her eyes, however, train immediately on Quoaral, then the crate. She walks to it, and opens the lid, and for a brief moment the crate and everything within a short distance to Lisabett is bathed in frost, which immediately melts to ether, leaving her alone standing above the open crate.
"We cannot take him to the north," she says, her voice carrying across the structure. "But I will not leave him here."
After another moment, Lisabett replaces the lid of the crate, then gathers the first animal harness and slips it over the first draft horse, speaking softly to it in the runes that dance behind her eyes.
Lisabett Handle Animal 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
"It was masquerading as Ulfrick; I don't know for how long. When we got to the scene of the murders I sensed his evil. It tried to subdue rather than kill us, I don't know why, and fled when that failed." A brief pause. "Well, fled is certainly too strong a word; it simply vanished. Had it stayed I doubt we would be alive."
Sorin tries to shrug off the feeling that this is all his fault and he should have noticed something before but fails. He feels an inexplicable weariness and has to rub eyes to refocus. Thinking it unlikely that Ulfrick is still alive, but unwilling to abandon hope completely, Sorin can't make eye contact with Espen.
"Where is everybody?" Sorin asks Shalelu, as if noticing for the first time how empty the place is.
Almar and Sorin
Shalelu looks as surprised as you've seen her.
"The murderer was...Ulrick?" Espen's voice is quiet. Even at his best times, you have known the Ulfen to be stone-faced and uncaring, but at this moment, all of that melts away. His face bears an expression of deep sadness...and one of fear. "He was changed? He was never a man to begin with? I...I cannot understand this. What happened? What did you do to him?!"
Andres runs down the stairs. "What has chanced?"
"Ulrick, brother in arms, is not who he seems. He was not who he seemed."
"What do you mean by this?" Andres looks up at Sorin, then back to Espen.
"The thing which wears Ulrick's face is not Ulrick, if what they say is true." Espen's face is flushed with shades of red. "But they bring no proof. Southerners wield deception better than axe or sword. I tell you, you have no proof!"
"Explain!" Andres cries. And then, Mother Koya appears behind him, he hand on his shoulder. He falls to his knees upon the landing, trembling.
Shalelu is on her feet. You are unsure of when she restrung her bow, but she has an arrow nocked.
"Sorin. Almar." Mother Koya's voice is calm, and seems to fill the room. "I have heard this thing you have said, but I fear my friends here are not ready to hear it. I will tend to them. Go to the others. They prepare the caravan as we speak, and Sandru has told Shalelu of their location. Go now."
"You heard her." Shalelu barks, her arrow pointed at Espen. I'll be out the door right after you."
Lisabett, Raziel, and Setomi
"Lisabett..." Sandru has not moved from his place, but his eyes do not stray from Lisabett as she harness the lead horse. "I am truly sorry...had I known..." He shakes his head and drives his thumbs against his temple. "We will do whatever is needed to honor him. Whatever ceremony...whatever words. Whatever expense. Name it, and we shall do it."
"Gorum has already forsaken him," Lisabett replies. "No words soothe the spirits of our dead, only the opportunity to continue to prove their prowess in the next life."
Lisabett's eyes never leave the horse she is leading. Her voice is strong, but breaks on word, the only indication since seeing Ulrick's remains that she feels anything.
Setomi, unsure what else to do, and near tears, rushes out of the warehouse. She calls back as she leaves that she will gather the others from the inn.
She makes her way back to the Gnome's Nose and enters the common room. As she opens the door, the others are just leaving.
"Oh! I was just coming to get you. Sandra wants us all at the warehouse. We are getting ready to leave."
As the Ulfen seem to grow agressive Almar puts his hand on his holster, then when Koya makes them relent he exits the room without speaking a word until he's out of the room. Then he talks with Sorin:"Sorin... you need to keep some things for yourself a bit longer... I didn't want to tell them who did what for this exact same reason"
Sorin is startled by Setomi's sudden appearance. Leaving? Already? Looking helplessly at the Ulfen, Sorin will exit and head towards the warehouse.
To Almar: "Perhaps, but I think it better to here it from us than from whatever gossip is no doubt already spreading through the town. Or worse, some loose-lipped overzealous guardsman who thinks all Ulfen look alike."
After a pause, "Sandru's call for a departure seems very sudden. He can't have concluded his business already."
It sounds like everybody is coming back together again at the warehouse.
By the time Almar, Setomi, and Sorin find their way to the warehouse, Lisabett, Raziel, Quoaral, and Sandru have opened the large double doors and led the wagons out into the street. The horses are harnessed and saddled, and most everything seems to be in order, minus a few members of your caravan.
Sandru looks miserable. Shalelu is still on edge. Ameiko appears from around the corner, singing softly to herself. Looking up to discover you all assembled, she starts.
"Leaving, already?" The look of peace on her face a moment ago has been replaced by one of confusion. "What's wrong? Did something happen?"
"Ameiko...do not..." Sandru begins. "Gather your things from the inn, and settle our payment. I will explain later."
She nods, though she looks far more worried at that. She begins moving past the group, towards the Gnome's Nose.
Rogar considers Sandru's actions:"It's true it's unlike Sandru's to act this way. Which means there are problems of some kind. Or he somehow knows about Ulrick"
Almar checks the others and decides he might not have another chance to have them all gathered togheter for some time, so he speaks: "Sandru... people... I think you might know this already but if not you need to: the one we called Ulrick wasn't what he seemed to be. He was the abomination I'm hunting disguised like Ulrick. I don't know what happened to him, but I think it's highly unlikely he's still alive, and for that I'm sorry. Anyway, me and Sorin discovered the truth on the scene of the massacre just out of town and confronted the creature... yet it was able to evade us and escape with ease. It knoes us... I think from now on we all need to be extra careful and try to never go out alone, it might try to infiltrate the caravan again and he has the means to disguise itself pretty well"