Sandru grimaces, looking at the nearby prisoner. The captive looks newly frightened, but says nothing. Sandru turns from him, as if to speak to you with hushed words, but he is not as quiet as he could. "Brinewall Castle is cursed. The elf wanted an escort, but she has since made her own way. There is nothing for us there. Better to submit ourselves to these mercenaries than venture near Brinewall. No, we make for northeast. There's a hidden route that the Sczarni use. That will be the best means to avoid our enemy."
Male Human (Varisian) Paladin of Shelyn (Warrior of the Holy Light) 3
Since you weren't feeling well, it didn't seem right for Sorin to sputter righteous indignation in a post that you might not read for who knows how long.
In any case, there wasn't much for him to say. The situation was resolved without him and "Sorin talking to Lisabett" hasn't ended well for a long time; she even ignored his request to learn Spellcraft and help with Ulrick's burial. He's trying to find some other way to communicate with Lisabett that won't end up making things worse.
As for the spell, Sorin would hardly call using a non-damaging spell to get the truth torture (even if the method was crude by his standards); that would eliminate spells off the Paladin list (though he isn't going to get to learn those due to his archetype).
"Risky, but no moreso than anything else," Sorin says to Sandru.
I think the torture issue is more the pressing of the machete against the captive's stomach, and less the spell, though the latter proved more of a motivating factor for our magic-fearing friend. Raziel, let me know when you approach Koya. I'd like to roleplay that out.
Those on watch are on more on edge than usual, considering the two scouts that fled. The third, the one you captured, makes barely a sound throughout the night. Nothing else disturbs your rest.
Sandru awakes before the sun rises, not far into the third watch. He goes about his usual preparations, but makes a place for the prisoner beside him on the lead wagon.
Breakfast is a brief affair, due to Sandru's urgency, and before long, you are off on your journey once again. Sandru's cart pulls ahead at times, but the other drivers spurn their horses on and manage to keep pace. By the time you take a respite, around noon, the beasts are tired.
Sorin, DC 20 Perception:
As you rest, Sandru approaches you. "Do you have a moment? I have a favor to ask of you."
I'm good now. Go ahead and give 'er some righteous paladin fury! Every girl loves a paladin, except Lisabett, who loves barbarians. And yes, I do realize that if she had gone through with it, the machete thing would have been an evil act especially with her justification, but does entertaining evil thoughts make one evil?
Killing the prisoner would have been an evil act, but I do understand Lisabett getting upset, considering the context of the word "witch" in Ulfen culture. It's much more important that she held back, though it says a great deal about Raziel too that he intervened. In my opinion, it was a pretty CN moment. That doesn't mean it won't be the source of some party strife!
I'm not going to immediately pounce on Sorin if Lisabett does something evil. I would expect him to address it, but if such a thing happens, you can expect me to address it as well, in my own, GMey way. Flirting with evil thoughts is one thing, but in my gaming years, I've seen that go too far many a time. So have fun, but please always keep group cohesion in mind.
Observing that Sandru has placed the captive out of her reach, on break, Lisabett waters each of the horses and embraces her power to provide some cool to their joints as she works out their legs. She speaks to them gently in Skald, finding their company of late far more agreeable than her companions, though the fault is entirely her own.
Lisabett rises stiffly and sees that Sandru has pulled Sorin aside, but does not make out the content of their discussion. Sighing, she embraces her magics and casts Create Water over her head to cool herself down, then sprays water from her lips and shakes out her hair like an animal before slinking ahead of the caravan to scout. It is likely just her imagination that she had to tighten the stomach on her bodice this morning. She certainly had no cause to let it out any.
While the others are at rest, Lisabett hunts for live food. Ulrick should not remain above ground for much longer.
Male Human (Varisian) Paladin of Shelyn (Warrior of the Holy Light) 3
Sorry for the delay in posting. I've been getting ready for GenCon which this year, unfortunately, is falling on the weekend right before school starts which, for me, is an annoying time to have to take off from work. The good part is that with my iPhone I shouldn't have too much trouble posting from the con.
Regarding the prisoner, Sorin didn't intervene because Raziel posted first and took care of it. As for why he isn't shouting "fire & brimstone" at Lisabett, it ocurred to me that there's a very good reason for him to specifically not do that but I don't want to tip my hand regarding that yet.
Lisabett Erikkson wrote:
but does entertaining evil thoughts make one evil?
That's a good question. You could ask Sorin and see what he says :)
Sorin lowers his voice, "Of course, Sandru. What is it?"
As the caravan stops for the noon break, Raziel walks over to where Koya rests.
"Excuse me, Koya, but may I speak with you?" he asks in a soft tone. "It concerns... well it concerns Lisabett and what has been happening. She seems to be losing her way, and I am not sure that she will listen to me if I speak to her."
I kind of want to spoiler these, but I've been thinking about that convention a good deal lately, and I've decided that while it is useful for surprises, as well for information I don't want players to know, it also frequently excludes the majority of the players in the game. I'll still use it for conversations I think should remain secret, and I encourage you to do the same, but on the whole, I'm going to scale back my use of spoilers.
I'll still make regular use of language and skill DC spoilers, as there is some reward in having/earning the right to click those.
"I be sharin' yer concern." Walthus Proudstump brushes a finger against the wet flank of a nearby horse. "May be that if we be tellin' the beasts that the Ulfen mercs are like to be turnin' them to their use after puttin' us to the sword, they'd be slowin' up a bit. Not so bad, bein' a horse in war times."
He gestures towards Lisabett as she walks away from another of the animals. "Hard she is toward the rest of us, but damned if the horses don't love her. Thinkin' of me snakes, lookin' at her way with the horses. Better company than man, dwarf, elf, of halfling, the beasts of the world..." As the halfling trails off, you perceives great sadness in his voice, and in his gaze.
The last horse you visit is especially pleased to see you. It nudges you with its snout as if to thank you for the cool water. You can tell that all of the horses are tired, but they nevertheless seem eager to continue. It seems as if they have found some purpose in the journey north.
You are not far from the caravan when you spot a wild pig. The creature looks sickly, and does not seem to notice you.
Koya smiles a sad smile. "I have watched her much of late, and she has been in my prayers. Young she is, and great sorrow she has known. I will find her tonight, and if she will have it, will kneel with her before Desna's starry sphere. But Raziel, I tell you, I am growing ever older. My late dreams do not feature my own doings, but yours. There is some power within you that I have sought to understand, but have not yet been able." Her smile fades.
"In one of these dreams, there are two mists. A grey mist which coats all of the land, and one around you that is black as midnight. They do not mingle, and as you tread upon the ground, the grey mist continues to shrink from you." She looks directly into your eyes. "Then, as the dream ends, the sun, Sarenrae's holy orb, rises from the mists and dispels them. Alas, in the dream, I do not know what becomes of you, for the light blinds me, and I awake."
Ameiko smiles at your proximity to her, but keeps her eyes on Lisabett as the young Ulfen woman wanders from the caravan. "I can sense that you are troubled, and more so than usual. Not the right way of things, if you ask me. I've been the mopey one." She slaps you upon the shoulder suddenly, and lets out a wild laugh. "Will you speak of your concern?"
Sandru still speaks in a hushed tone, so the previous DC 20 to overhear still applies, in character.
"This is not the first time my caravan has taken an Ulfen mercenary captive. Surely you know of how Ulrick, Espen, Andres and Lisabett came to us?" Sandru's brow is furrowed with concern. "I do not regret how I handled this....but..." He pauses, trailing off.
"Lisabett it loyal, if cold and fierce." Sandru begins again. "Yet the others, I do not trust, and never have. I have not watched them closely enough, and they have not been as forthcoming in their feelings as some." He smiles, though sternly. "But this recent prisoner, I would put him under your care. In time, he may take to your ways. And even if not, you would see his. Will you take him, as a ward?"
Setomi looks upon her friend with sorrow. "I fear the darkness in her will split the party. I know I am a late comer to this group, and as such have never truly felt that I fit in. I am more of a servant in their eyes. And this is fine with me. It is how mother wanted it to be. A secret knife to protect you. But Lisabett, she hold anger, and anguish, and horror so close to her breast that I fear they will consume her...and our party with her. I am sworn to protect you Ameiko, and the greatest threat I perceive is not the northern reavers, but from Lisabett. I do not know what to do!!"
"I do not fear her, Setomi. You should not either, though I know that you will ever watch her carefully. It warms my heart that you worry so for me." Ameiko turns her attention to Sandru's conversation with Sorin. "Sandru trusts her. That is enough for me."
Lisabett initiative 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Lisabett longspear attack 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14 if she hits, she will deal 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3 damage.
If needed, Lisabett tries to identify the pig, and sneak up to it. If it notices and combat is required, I have initiative, if not, I have at least hit it, I think. Depends on how you want this to play out.
Almar nods at Proudstump's words:"Well, Lisabett is a strange girl, indeed. She's a good hunter and a good scout. then she's not really good with other people but I think what she brings to the caravan offsets her shortcomings. It ain't easy to get along with her, though. I guess animals don't have the some problems with her, so they get along better with her"
"Koya, I have had such things foretold about me recently, and yet I am still here, walking the path I feel I should. As you dreamt, Sarenrae's light will shine, and dispell all mists and shadows, and that is what is important."
"But currently, I fear the shadows that wrap around Lisabett's heart which seem to be driving her away from us. I do not pretend to know the paths that Desna has laid out for us, only that butterflies may take several different paths to reach the same flower. But I do not think that Lisabett's path joined with ours, just to have her leave after a short time. I fear these shadows have closed Lisabett's heart to us, and she will choose to take a darker path."
The pig is either unaware of your approach, or it is indifferent to you. It seems strangely disconnected from the world around it. When you spear the beast, it squeals loudly, but does not fight to escape you. It lies down and begins to spasm.
"You are brave, and your heart is good." Koya smiles. "I will indeed speak with Lisabett, this very night if she will have it. But do not forget your own part."
Tears spring to Lisabett's eyes as she watches the animal thrash in its death throes. Gripping the haft of her spear with one hand, she leans in and draws her machete across its throat to end its suffering.
Male Human (Varisian) Paladin of Shelyn (Warrior of the Holy Light) 3
"You don't trust them?" Sorin replies in a surprised tone. "If that is so, why allow them to journey with us?"
"I'll take the prisoner as a ward if you wish but are we to leave him tied up this entire time? While it would certainly give me opportunity to talk to him as we travelled a person cannot be bound for so long and be expected to converse honestly. Also, we are essentially on the run right now, even assuming everything goes our way perfectly, how long will it take us to reach our destination? We aren't well equipped for carrying a prisoner considering the circumstances."
The pig is still mere moments after your machete slides across the its throat. The animal seems to be malnourished, but by the look of the exposed meat, you do not think it is diseased. It should be safe to eat.
"Mother Koya insisted upon the Ulfen men remaining in our company. Do not repeat this to anybody, please." Sorin frowns. "I am glad that you are willing to take the captive under your care. As for whether or not he will remain bound, that is your decision. I expect we will reach our destination within two weeks. At that time, I would offer the man the freedom to leave us. Is that acceptable?"
Even if it is, between Lisabett and Raziel, Purify Food and Water should take care of most anything. And FIRE!
Lisabett frowns as she wipes the pig's blood from her machete and spear on the grass, then grips it and carefully makes her way back to camp. With both hands occupied carrying the beast, she is exposed, and completely vulnerable, and now covered in a great deal of pigs blood. She nods to Warden Proudstump, Quoral and Setomi before dragging the pig to a clearing and begins butchering it quickly and efficiently.
Will take 10 on Survival to butcher the animal
When she has finished, Lisabett approaches Sandru and Sorin if he's still hanging around"Tonight we burn Ulrick," she tells him and begins removing the stays on her bodice with blood slick hands, then turns and addresses the remainder of the caravan. "Tonight we will eat our fill, and I will burn my friend!" she announces, expression hard, then moves to her typical wagon and removes her bodice and shirt to wash them and herself with several applications of Create Water.
Setomi takes over preparing the pig for the spit. She uses some of the remaining herbs and spices in their dwindling supply to add flavour to the meal. She keeps her eyes on the huntress, not at all sure what to do about her.
Lisabett looks to Sorin. "Do either of you say words to Gorum? Might you with your golden voice convince our Lord to take a man who was slaughtered like a pig to the fields of glory?"
At Andres's question Lisabett gives a sigh of desperation and pulls her wet shirt over her nudity. "Do you ALL believe that I am a tyrant?" she demands, and hops down from the wagon.
"I bring you meat when you are hungry, I sleep inside the walls you build to protect yourselves when I win my wager, I let that horsec*ck call me witch and he yet lives to smile at all of you," Lisabett's voice breaks as she points at the prisoner, and frost begins creeping up her arms and back.
"Say your words, or do not."
Lisabett growls in Skald before picking up her spear and heading away from the caravan again.
Almar barely rises an eyebrow at Lisabett fit of anger, apparently accostumed to them by now, he shrugs and reassures the prisoner:"Don't worry. She would probably like to cook you, but she can't as long as we protect you... So... behave and all will be fine!"
Ameiko elbows Sorin in the side. "That's hardly the right thought to bring to a memorial." She turns to Lisabett. "I know something of Gorum's way. May I say something in Ulrick's honor? I did not know him well, but I would pay him respect."
Lisabett is right, actually. It is only a rest period. I don't think there is any reason to stall the ceremony, however, so we'll move forward to the evening. I figure most of the conversations about the ceremony can happen in the interim.
"Move out!" Sandru's call starts the caravan in motion again. You resume your grueling pace, and before the sun begins to set, you are sure that you have come far this day. The stars shine brightly before Sandru calls for a halt.
Your captain spends a few minutes lifting the horses' harnesses from their shoulders before he leaps atop a stationary wagon. "Let us celebrate Ulrick, however is deemed fit." He nods at Lisabett, and then takes a seat.
Lisabett returns to the camp after a time, bearing quite a bit of wood to build the pyre. She speaks quietly to Espen and Andres, if he will have her, about collecting more while she tends to the horses, will take 10 on HA to accomplish day/nightly tasks ensuring they have water and feed and are comfortable before building the pyre. Her eyes are covered in frost when she lifts Ulrick's head upon it, then sets it ablaze, and she sits down and allows the others to talk while she watches it burn.
When the ceremony is underway Almar mutters almost to himself:"He was a good devil, better for me not to choose him to come with us... by now he would be enjoying the women of Riddleport instead of waiting for a pyre in this cruel northern night"
Espen and Andres are both happy to talk to Lisabett. Is there anything in particular she intends to tell them?
Ameiko stands after Almar speaks, and sings a hymn of Gorum, Death, Dust, and Glory.
Perform (Sing) - 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (18) + 12 = 30
Though her voice is at times low and soft, every note Ameiko sings seems to fill the night. The crackling of the pyre is lost in her song. It is clear to all that she is deeply moved; her words are strong and clear and trembling. When she is finished, she is silent for a moment, her gaze locked on the flames before her.
Suddenly, she speaks. "This menace, that Almar has stalked for long months, now stalks us. The creature, whatever he may be, is surely a murderer, but many would look upon his treachery and deceit and see no war being waged. Yet I so name it, for this one has drawn us into conflict, and claimed a life dear to us. Though Ulrick's death came some time ago, without our knowledge, I claim that he did indeed fall in battle, and is worthy of the honor of Gorum's bloody halls. Let him sup there forevermore."
I was waiting to see if anyone else would say anything before I posted, since I post when I get up, and most folk are free when I am going to bed. Also I was excited about seeing the Expendables 2, which was the greatest mindless violence action movie to date, so I couldn't be angry. It's good to see my former governor making movies to support his love child.
Nah, no real instructions for those two, just asking them to help. She's not much in a talkative mood.
The lady had asked to speak, not to keen. It was not enough that she had heard the screams while she built the pyre, and saw dozens of bodies laid out when she put Ulrick upon it, but she had to sing. And worse... worse! Lisabett begin trembling with a fine rage as frost began creeping over her back, up her neck and stiffening her hair. It cracked and fell from her, wafting into ether, then built itself up to a hard crust in seconds.
"You are no peacekeeper, no leader of men. With your smiles and your keening, you drive them insane. Yet they love you," Lisabett's voice breaks on the last, and she pulls her machete, then looks to Espen and speaks in Skald
"If that is a woman, all the sooner I wake find a cock between my legs."
before raising the machete to hack at what remains of her platinum hair, and tosses it on the pyre.
"He was the only man who ever touched me," she says softly, then produces the vial of ink and pours it out near the flames. "The only one who knew the truth," she adds and crushes the vial in her fist.
Lisabett spares a frosty glance at the others, and lets the shards of glass remain in her hand as she walks away.
Raziel remains silent.
'I can not understand what Lisabett is is upset at,' he thinks. 'Her whole culture is so different, that I am afraid there is no point of connection to build upon. And when she arranges things like the funeral that should bring us together, she then takes offense and rushes off, making herself as alone as she ever was.'
He stirs a bit as Lisabett walks away, but finally remains in place.
'And I am truely worried that anything I say to her will drive her farther from the group.'
Almar notes Lisabett's outburst with an expressionless face:
"I lost a friend to that creature, and I know how hard that is. She may be mule-headed and intractable to the extreme, but just this time I don't feel like blaming her. Everyone copes with pain in a different way. Aimless rage it's hers"
Male Human (Varisian) Paladin of Shelyn (Warrior of the Holy Light) 3
I'm fine with moving on.
Sorin doesn't say a word once the ceremony for Ulrick begins; he simply stares into the pyre. He doesn't respond to Lisabett's words or outburst at all. He continues doing so long after most of the rest have left.
At first opportunity while travelling, Sorin will speak to the prisoner (he'll keep him lightly bound, enough to draw attention should he try and run even though he no longer has a horse).
"My name is Sorin Nicussor, servant of Shelyn. You said you and your brother were both scouts for your captain. How did the two of you come to be in his service? Did you grow up under him?"
DM, as I'm not sure how long this prisoner is going to be with us, do you want Diplomacy rolls every time I talk to him, once a day, none at all?
Lisabett picks shards of glass from her skin as she makes her round on patrol. It seems nothing she has ever done has been enough. She has spared the caravan from damage by a raging boar, hunted and brought back meat, and rose to meet every attack with a solid defense only to watch the others scatter.
How she wishes for that moment back, to send Ulrick to murder her captain. The peacekeeper would make of it what she would, and the priest would yet live, and the near two dozen that died on account of his loss, too. Come spring she would have been free, when the others went to raiding or other troupes, and she would still have a modicum of pride.
Lisabett rubs the scar beneath her left eye absently, more familiar with it than any other on her body. Any normal woman's vanity would have been crushed by such a blow, but Lisabett had always thought herself repulsive compared to village women, the breeding and housekeeping stock. Her skin is sun and weather beaten, scarred and tattooed beside, and no man worth having was like to touch her. And Sandru had admitted that the few smiles he had given her had been false.
Sighing, Lisabett lifts her eyes to the stars, then tromps back to camp and kicks out her bedroll. She briefly entertains a thought of taking Qoural just to have the thing done and not think on it again so long as she might live, but simply grumbles and rolls onto her side.
The day following the ceremony Almar keeps checking on the caravan's security, making sure it's in full shape and ready for possible attacks. he drills the men a couple of times, but his mind keeps wandering.
Ulrick's fate, the confrontation with the beast and his personal failure to bring their feud to an end weight heavily on his mind and soul.
Even so he tries to do his duty at his best.