"No," Lisabett replies, her expression hard and cold. "I have had enough of your madness. I have watched you break this group to pursue your phantom time and again," she says and looks to Sandru. "You are our captain. He is your man. Discipline him for this behavior, or I will not continue with you."
Sorin's voice is weary though his eyes seem to be filled with shame. He can't bring himself to look into anybody's eyes for very long and not into Lisabett's, Espen's or Andres' at all.
"I don't know what that thing masquerading as Ulrick was. I don't know why it choose him nor when. Its evil was so overwhelming that I was briefly overcome by it. I don't know why it didn't kill us; I certainly couldn't stop it."
"I assume, however, that there's a reason for our sudden departure? That being the case, let's be away from here and deal with...other things when we're out of this town. I have no desire to remain here even a moment longer."
Almar gives Lisabett a long hard look the he speaks in a flat and icy tone:"My phantom, as you call it, killed Ulrick, took his place, travelled with us and killed at least 4 girls in this town. Me and Sorin found out what he was doing and faced him. We weren't able to stop him but if you had followed us instead of dismissing it as some fancy tale we might have stopped it for good. But of course it's MY FAULT I DIVIDED THE GROUP. If it weren't for me and Sorin we wouldn't even know about the creature and it would still be travelling along with us, ready to kill again! But of course, to Lisabett it's always someone else's fault for not listening to her childish fits of anger and self loathing! And those who don't listen to her need to be disciplined! Well... maybe now I can see why Alazandaru decided against following us in the first place!"
Then the gunslinger diverts his attention to Sandru:"Do as you think is right, Sandru. I stated my case plainly and I don't hink I did anything wrong. Know I didn't do anything to damage the caravan. But if you think my actions endanger our mission I'll accept your decision and leave. I'm sorry to be putting you in a situation like this but I can't see another way. If we don't make things clear now this issue will continue to haunt us in the future"
"Listen to what it is you are asking us to do from another perspective," Lisabett answers in a low growl. "Whether or not you intended to, you have created a situation where we will mistrust each other when we are all that we have. And... one less now," she says, her voice breaking.
"As for your charge, it is so ridiculous that I feel no need to answer it."
Lisabett looks to the streets for any angry townspeople looking to forestall their exit. "If you will excuse me, I will ensure that this caravan can exit this town in a timely fashion, and should you think me some doppleganger when I return, I will gladly meet you in the field."
Lisabett looks to Sandru for a moment, then steps away to fulfil her role in the caravan.
"Whether or not you intended to, you have created a situation where we will mistrust each other when we are all that we have. And... one less now," she says, her voice breaking.
Sorin still cannot look at Lisabett. "We can't stop trusting each other," he says softly, "That would be exactly what this "thing" wants."
"As for one less...that's my fault. It was so evil that...I should have seen...I should have noticed..." Words fail and his voice trails away.
Almar intention of not speaking anymore is shattered when he hears Sorin rant about his failings:"Oh... by all the gods! Sorin! You did what was humanly possible, you fought the creature and you survived. It fled! It's more than I can say for myself! So stop this please! You should be proud of yourself, not the opposite!"
The proprietor of the Gnome's Nose is thrilled to learn that you will be leaving, and even more thrilled with the hefty tip that Ameiko leaves him. Andres and Espen are somber, and do not say a word as they follow Ameiko and Setomi away from the inn. Mother Koya walks behind them, in sadness. Caran and Walthus are quick to catch up, though it seems that they too have heard the mournful news about Ulrick - their faces bear expressions of confusion and fear.
The caravan has been reunited, just in time for everybody to hear Almar's dire tidings, and the exchange that follows. Sandru's eyes dart between those speaking. He seems to gain strength as he listens. Finally, he interjects.
"Alazandaru. You mentioned our old friend from Sandpoint. I will speak plainly about Alazandaru, for I heard something of him recently. He is a hunted man. A friend of his is dead, and the word is that he was at fault, and so the Sczarni hunt him."
A passerby gives Sandru a dirty look.
"So will it be with us, if we do not depart this town by evenfall. I will not go into detail as to why, but we have enough enemies, and I'll not have one more." As he speaks, the sickness that has plagued Sandru this morning seems to melt away.
"But there is more still to learn from his tale. For Alazandaru, if he yet lives, is without our help. He went his own path. Perhaps he thought it best. Perhaps it was best. All we can know, is that he is alone." Sandru turns his horse and addresses those standing behind him. "And we, are not."
"Lisabett. Almar. You are filled with grief, and fury. I shall not presume to tell you how you are to handle your feelings, but your actions can no longer be at odds with the good of the caravan. It is my failing that there is so great a rift between you, because I have kept my intentions hidden. From the beginning, I intended for this expedition find its way to Brinewall Castle."
Ameiko gasps audibly. Sandru does not meet her eyes.
"That you both had other aims in the north seemed fortuitous, but I will no longer depend on that. From now on, those who wish to ride with me will be united, at my command. We ride for Brinewall. We do so as one, and we do so with haste."
"As to this madman. We owe him justice, to be sure. He has killed innocents, and he has murdered one of our own. He has violated our family. Yet, we are in no position to chase him. If we abandoned our wagons and bought the fastest horses, we would not ride him down. He plays a game that we do not yet understand, and so as we travel, it must be our goal to prepare, rather than pursue. Raziel, Setomi, and Sorin. I put you in charge of learning what you can about our deadly enemy. Examine Ulrick's remains...consult your gods...do what is necessary, but help us to be ready for when this creature strikes at us again, for I am sure that it will."
"Almar, as long as you are guard my caravan, your vengeance is secondary. Lisabett, as long as you scout the way in front of us, you shall not tell me how to govern those in my employ. I value you both more than you can know, but I am beginning to see that a patient smile is not enough."
Sandru pauses for a moment before continuing. "We must stay together, and work together. This is the way it must be. Are there any questions?"
The roll is mostly for the NPC's, but if it helps you gauge your reaction to Sandru's words, that's fine too.
Diplomacy - 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
"Not a one, Captain," Lisabett replies almost cheerily if one considers her typical sunny disposition.
"Espen, with me"
Lisabett looks to Espen and barks what sounds to be an order in her native Skald, then jerks her head in a gesture to move, the looks to Quoaral.
"Keep your eyes trained for any who watch too closely as you move. And protect the Captain and the Mother."
She spares one last glance for Andres, still blubbering near Koya and starts of in the direction she indicated Espen should go, gripping her quarterstaff hard.
"Good." Sandru puts his heels into the flanks of horse. "Then let us be off."
Any last business in Roderic's Cove?
Soon after, you find yourself apart from the caravan, with Espen at your side. He stares at you with cold eyes.
Almar nods at Sandru:"Agreed. But in all honesty I've to admit the caravan is my best lead to the man in black as it seems it holds something he values. We'll need to be extremely careful though, as I already told you and Sorin confirmed, the creature is really powerful and ruthless"
Nothing to do in Roderic's Cove for Almar... let's move on
"If you are looking for an opponent to quell your rage, you have chosen poorly. Unless of course my death is the only that will satisfy you. In either case, your intent can be read by the folk here, and is unlikely to win us any favors."
Lisabett pauses a moment to allow Espen to attack her if that is his intent. If he does not, she continues to scout a passage out, then returns to the caravan to show them the way.
Espen laughs. "What, do you tell me this as a favor? Do you pull me aside to give me counsel?" He studies you, though not with the intent of a lecher. He peers into your eyes rather than at your body. "I do not know why Ulrick stepped after you that day. I thought for some weeks that he intended to bed you, but that never happened. We will never know now. He is gone, and you and Andres are changed. He is trying to become a woman, and you a man. But know this: I do not fear you."
He turns from you and walks away.
You find the main road easily, but if you want to find your own route, it will take a Survival check. In either case, I'll start you on the main road, as it is more or less the only way out of town, and you can decide from there.
Espen's mood seems to have darkened. He looks straight ahead and rides a fair distance from the wagon upon which Andres and Koya sit.
Ameiko had been acting more like herself, but the news about Ulrick seems to have brought her great sadness. Her eyes fall on Lisabett often, though any time the Ulfen woman returns her gaze, Ameiko finds somewhere else to look.
It is evening before the lights of Roderic's Cove finally disappears from sight. The land is wilder here, though game seems as scarce here as it was in the south. The night is still, and silent - the chirp of crickets is absent. The occasional whispering of the wind is the only noise you hear beside horse hooves and wagon wheels.
"That's a day's travel then." Sandru concludes. "Let us make camp for the night."
"We'll have four on each watch tonight, and from now on." Sandru insists. "I doubt any will argue with the need...but...I have one more thing to say, before we sleep tonight." Sandru waits until he is sure that all eyes are on him. "I want you all to be vigilant, and to come to me if you have cause for concern. We must still trust one another, however. I know that many of you now look to your companions with wary eyes, wondering if they are who they claim to be, but I tell you truly, we cannot succumb to distrust. If our bonds fray, we are ever weaker for it. Do not lie upon your bedroll tonight in fear of your friends, but instead, sleep knowing that those that surround you fight to protect you, and you them." Sandru stands silent, unsure of how to finish. After a moment, he nods, and sits.
Please specify who takes each of the three watches. Sandru has asked for four on each watch. Here is a list again of who is with the caravan:
Also, any last business before resting for the night?
Assuming Almar actually suggests that, Sorin will hem and haw for a bit before stating that he had a different arrangement in mind. He will try to, surreptitiously, arrange it so that he and Lisabett are in the same watch group (whichever one, he doesn't care). He does a terrible job of it though and anyone paying the slightest bit of attention can see that's what he's trying to do.
Lisabett is silent for the majority of the day. The longest dialog she engages in is with her horse when she removes the harnesses for the evening, feeds and waters the creature. After dinner, she volunteers to scrub the pots, mostly to be able to reuse them to create some water for washing. She removes her bodice and rolls up her sleeves and pants so that she can wash her legs, arms, stomach and neck. It would have been pleasant to wash completely, but with Almar creating a atmosphere of fear, she did not think it appropriate to slip away to wash as she had felt free to earlier.
She cannot keep her eyes from wandering to Espen on occasion. The implication that Ulrick might have... with her bothers her. As her tattooist, he had been privy to most of her flesh for several long hours, and she had never felt uncomfortable while he stuck her with the needle and inks, and it was certainly not the way of the average man to ask if he expected favors.
When the subject of watch is broached, Lisabett comments only that she would prefer the morning watch to maintain vigil for small game and attend Brother Holheim's prayers.
In the evening, she lies beneath Desna's spheres, but hears none of the song she heard in Sandpoint. Lacking even in dreams, she is uncertain the Lady hears her prayers.
1st - Entangle, Feather Step, Speak with Animals
0 - create water, guidance, mending, purify food and drink
Having been left out of the watch rotation before, Setomi simply continues to wake during the last watch and begin to prepare the meals for the coming day. While performing these duties, she will continue to keep watch with whoever is on in the morning.
When she realizes that Lisabett wants to wash, she warms some of the water for her. She realizes the north woman will probably disdain this 'weak' southern comfort, but does it anyway.
Before heading to bed, she also prepares a number of small snacks for those on watch to eat, and brews a strong pot of tea.
With her weapons close by, she curls up by the cook wagon and is soon asleep.
The second and third watch came together that way. I figured Raziel did his morning devotion early, so the last watch would be ideal for him (Raziel, let me know if this is not the case). Almar wanted Quoaral and Koya, and Andres would insist on being with the latter. Sandra would not order double watches without volunteering himself, and Shalelu's keen eyes would be too greatly missed. Here's to hoping they will manage.
Koya, by the way, is surprised to have been asked, but is very pleased to accept.
The night is a quiet one, and it passes without incident, but weariness nevertheless hangs upon you as you rise. You can tell early that today will be very warm.
Ameiko is up halfway through the third watch, practicing her sword strokes. Her skill with the rapier is nothing extraordinary, but her form is good.
Lisabett's lessons in Skald have a decidedly morose bent. She teaches him common expressions in battle, and relates how she earned her first weapon defending a child from a raider's dog at a young age, and shows him the appropriate scar on her arm, and bisecting her right eyebrow. She acknowledges Brother Holheim's efforts with a nod, and strokes the puckered scar beneath her left eye with her fingertips.
"Espen tells me he thought Ulrick followed me to make me his woman," she says, unable to banish the thought from her mind. She rubs the scar again, her eyes not focused on anything within reasonable sight. "We were often alone together when he put the ink to me."
Lisabett shakes her head and looks in the direction of Espen. "Is this some thing men do to be cruel?" she inquires. Her eyes flick to Sorin. "I would sooner believe Almar would take me on the long table, but now I cannot stop thinking about Ulrick."
For a moment, Lisabett's expression is pained, then she looks to the side, gathers a breath, and her features are cold and hard again and she rises.
"I mean to speak with my mare later," she informs Brother Holheim and Sorin. "Animals scent. She may have noticed when Ulrick changed, though I am not certain what satisfaction, if any, that knowledge will bring."
You hear the sound of metal sliding against metal, and you notice that Ameiko has replaced her rapier in its scabbard. She is staring north.
At some point, early during the watch shift, Sorin will wander over to Lisabett. He fusses about for a bit and it takes a while before he starts talking; he seems ineasy throughout much of the conversation.
"Ah, about Ulrick." A pause. "I was wondering what rites or services were needed for his...remains." Another pause. "And I wondered if you needed any help with...whatever." A long pause. "And I'm sorry about Ulrick. I should have sensed...at some point...I didn't though, and I'm not trying to make an excuse, there is none, but it needs to be said; so I'm sorry."
Sorin's voice grows a little steadier. "I also wanted to ask a favor. When that "thing" attacked us, it was only by sheer chance that I recognised any of the spells being used against me. Most of those who follow a god or goddess the way I do learn to cast spells. My path is a little different and I will never be able to do that. So, when I first trained, I paid little attention to the magical arts. I realise now that was a mistake. I was hoping that, when you have time, you could help me to learn how to recognise magics used against me far better than I can now."
After the Skald lesson:
As Lisabett talks sorin glances over at Espen. "I'm afraid I still don't understand his anger against you. Why does he care if Ulrick desired you? I thought it would be me he would be angry at."
He looks back at Lisabett, "It only now occurs to me that each of your scars is a story. Not happy ones perhaps but stories nonetheless. I had never thought much on tattoos before either. The few I met who had such were far less intricate than the ones you bear and seemed little more than battle markings designed to brag and boast. I certainly never thought of it as art before. Very interesting. It makes your body a canvas to be admired or a book to be..." Sorin trails off, flushing slightly as he realises the implication of what he's saying and he falls to silence. He's thankful for the distraction of the fog.
Perception 1d20 ⇒ 16
Sorin stares at the fog, "I've lived most of my life by the sea and have seen fog many times. Is there some reason to concerned over this?"
Lisabett is poised to answer Sorin when Almar raises the alarm. She sees the mist, and considers the oppressive heat that surrounds them, and her knowledge of the ways.
"Tck," she hisses. "There will be no storm today," she growls.
"I believe it best we avoid that area, but we should not avert our eyes," she cautions, then begins harnessing the horses.
Perception check:1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
Almar notices the mist moving back:"That's strange, it seems that fog is moving back instead of dissipating. I would have thought that to be the case, considering this heat. Maybe it would be a good idea to investigate it before it disappears?"
"It...felt as if something...called to me.". Ameiko's breath steadies as her hand grips Setomi's arm. "Though I can recall no words, nor was there voice, or shape. You speak of a mist?"
Looking in that same direction, you find the strange mist gone from sight. "Come." Ameiko manages after a moment. "It wanted me to come."
Despite his poor choice of words, Sorin is a little upset that he didn't get to finish his conversation with Lisabett. This is quickly driven out of his mind as Ameiko collapses.
His mood does not improve when Ameiko relates "being called". He remembers all too well what such "calls" and dreams did back in Sandpoint, having the group scurrying about without a clue as to what was going on.
Sorin tries to recall the maps of Varisia he's seen. " Sandru, Brinewall is quite a ways off as I remember; almost at the northern border to the west. Do any roads still go there? Does the road we take send us in the direction that the mist came from?" Sorin sighs before asking the next question, "Are we going to have to stop in Riddleport?"
Is Ameiko just about to aimlessly leave camp? What are Sandru's, Koya's and Shalelu's reactions to the mist?
"It is gone now, whatever it was. And yet, I still intend to go north, to Brinewall, the very direction it bid me." Ameiko insists.
"We are a ways yet, though. Sandru appears behind you, a grim look upon his face. "And this road is scarcely traveled, though there is a road worn in the land, if you look closely. I am staunchly against venturing to Riddleport, but If you can name a reason that it might help our cause, I will hear it."
Sorry, I somehow overlooked the out-of-character questions.
Konya and Shaleleu have apperently not risen yet.
Ameiko is making no motion to leave camp, but she stares north, into the distance.
Sandru's plan is to continue heading north, though he is not entirely adverse to other suggestions, provided that they will serve the caravan's task of reaching Brinewall.
"I don't want to go to Riddleport," Sorin replies. "But the wagons are slow and Brinewall is quite a journey from here. I have no idea what the road, if any, ahead of us is like and since we didn't get to unload anything in Roderic's Cove, I thought you might be heading there to sell, make repairs to the wagons and stock up on whatever it is you think we need for the trip ahead. However, if you decide not to go there, I certainly won't complain; I've heard little that is good about Riddleport."