You and Smith manage to follow the trail 45 feet out into the field, headed south, but then lose it.
Kendra speaks up. "I, for one, am happy to follow your lead. My father trusted you and so shall I. I am worried, however, that someone in town may be in direct danger. If this blood belongs to one of the townsfolk...." Her voice trails off, obviously concerned.
Madeline follows her man servant as the trail leads away though the trail they follow goes but a short way before disappearing int the grasses bordering the fields to the South of the town and its monument. Madeline looks around at the surrounding houses and properties, trying to discern if their culprit has had their way with anything close by.
Perception:1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11 (To see if any further vandalism might be in evidence. Or just a general sort of over view of what buildings that are near here.)
She calls to gain Kendra's attention,
"Who owns lives stock near here?" She asks her friend, seeking to share in Kendra's knowledge of the locals.
Alexa takes a careful look at the blood when the source is discussed:
Knowledge(nature): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22 <-- do I know if the blood is human or animal? And, can I determine what type of animal?
Hearing Kendra's suggestion of danger to someone, and seeing Madeline and Smith move forward, Valen decides to follow in their wake.
He tries to continue tracking the blood where they have stopped.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Madeline sighs as again the trail disappears off into nothingness. At seeing Valen approach she smiles.
"It looks like Miss Grunwald was right. We will have to sneak back here and watch for the vandal tonight." She waits to see if Valen's eyes can detect anything more. If not, she offers him a nod and smile to show she appreciates his skills and effort before walking back to every one else.
"Which way to the general store from here?" She asks Kendra, though Madeline herself is looking around to see if it happens to be near by.
"And I must see to a visit to the local black-smith some time, as well..." She mutters to herself.
Nodding at Madeline, Valen half-stoops to follow the blood trail, his eyes spotting the dwindling blood trail in the grass.
He continues further another dozen feet or so; stops; and then crouches down to look around the area.
"The trail dries out here,"he utters, but then also points off a few fields away. "I can see a shack from here...maybe its nothing but its the only structure that might give us a clue. It could be the source of the blood, or whoever lives there might have seen something."
Looking at the others, he says:"Apologies for the delay...but I would like to press on and see if can at least solve this mystery...one less thing to worry the townsfolk and maybe it will give us a clue to how it relates to the Warden and the Prison."
Madeline straightens at Valen's call, then swiftly back to him -a hand upon the hilt of her sword. She looks off in the direction Valen has pointed.
"Bravo!" She indicates to every one else, "Come! It looks like the game is still afoot!" Madeline calls Smith to her side and eyes the groups new target.
Perception:1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
"What sort of industry goes on about such a place, I wonder...." Madeline muses openly, though softly, seemingly more intent upon her thoughts than the fact she has spoken them out loud.
Seeing Valen following the trail, Alexa reaches up and scratches Spark's chin.
To Spark: Keep an eye out from above. Spark then flies up about 100 feet and begins to silently circle the party watching for anything afoot.
At the same time, Alexa stoops down to see whether she can track the trail of blood any farther than Valen.
Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (1) + 9 = 10
Unfortunately the sight of her beloved owl flying overhead has caught her attention and she is completely useless at tracking today.
Creel, never much good at tracking follows the group. "There seems to be a focus on the Warden's wife. The letters, what the constable said. I begin to suspect that if we can find out why she was in the prison when it burned we will understand a good deal more about this mess."
The large man takes care to stay a bit back so as not to disturb any signs.
|Vaghn der Grafft|
"Nine Hells indeed."
Does this scholar of the arcane have any ideas about what sort of thing might be at work here? Especially in conjunction with what we know the ritual in the prison did?
Knowledge (arcana) Lore Master -> 20 + 10 = 30
Kendra falls in beside Tharnik and Creel, chatting with them. "You know, I do believe that's ol' Gibs place."
If case folks forgot (we have been at this a while), the Restlands are north of the town and the prison, as well as the statue, are south of the town. The statue is just outside of town, along the river. The prison is an hour or so south (by foot).
|Tharnik of Clan Black Sun|
No, I was attempting to get an over view of the 'Lay of the land'. (^_^) We're leaving the 'Edges of the town' and moving out into the 'Farming lands', correct?
As Madeline walks along behind Valen, she tilts her head, looking over her shoulder back towards Tharnik and Kendra upon over hearing what the pair talk about.
She moves a little closer to Valen,
"Be 'ware. The person who owns yon property might not be sociable to our approach..." She relays her thoughts, her gloved hand still resting upon the hilt of her blade.
"I understand. Yes, he was a very suspicious man at the Town Hall, if I recall," he responds as he continues walking towards the shack. Valen seems to tense even more as he approaches the residence.
"Before we make our presence known, I would like to scout around the building - maybe we'll find a clue if he has anything to do with the vandalism."
He tries to be quiet as he walks around, hoping to not announce their presence (even as his chainmail clinks like bells) and keeping a sharp eye to see if he spots blood or anything unusual about the shack.
Stealth: 1d20 ⇒ 8
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
Creel Sets down his pack and kneels to rummage through it. He is unsuited to clandestine operations (Stealth mod -4, go team clanky!) and this gives him a reason to be pausing near the Gibs manse.
While the rest of the crew is noisily stomping around the shack, Alexa begins to carefully examine the ground for any tracks that look like the footprints leaving the monument.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
I'm just glad we're not playing Perception Blackjack. Jeeze....
As your group noisily searches the areas around the shack, you aren't surprised when the front door opens and a man, his eyes swollen from what can only be a lack of good sleep, peers out the front door and exclaims loudly, "What in the nine hells are you strangers doing on my land?"
I look up at the man: What were you doing last night that would cause you to arise so exhausted this morning?
Diplomacy: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (2) - 1 = 1
With an 8 Charisma, sometimes she is a little blunt.
Madeline saunters up to the developing situation between the land holder and Alexa.
"Good morn, Sir! Might I say it does look to be fine and fair weather. How might far you upon this fine day?" she asks with a smile.
Diplomacy:1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
What sort of farming does said Master Gibs do?
Seeing the situation that is developing up front, Valen carefully wraps up his find in a rag to give to the sheriff. Not speaking, and hoping Gibbs is distracted by the others, he tries to finish his sweep of the area around the shack to see if anything else turns up.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Alexa continues to stare at the man, not giving ground: Sir, someone again defaced the monument in town last night. And the tracks from the monument lead toward your home. While I may not be the sheriff of this town, I am a protector of this land and as such must assure that those practicing necromantic arts are not allowed to despoil the land.
Madeline luaghs, (Bluff:1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10 ,though her actions might come across as forced and false. She steps between Alexa and Master Gibs, not minding if she perhaps pushes the other woman back slightly so as to give Mister Gibs more personal space.
"Come now, we are all folk of good nature." She replies, though her gaze does not leave Master Gibs.
"Some one has been up to some malarky over by yon monument...." Madeline indicates the statue some ways off in the distance. "Perchance you might have seen, possibly heard something over the past evening?" She asks, hand dipping slowly and non threateningly into her inner coat pocket and fishing out one of the coins from there, in such a manner that Gibs will see said coin -but said coin is not immediately waved in his face. T'is simply held as if the act of stroking the fabric of her coat with such an item helps Madeline think.
Diplomacy:1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12 (Plus what ever bonus offering a gold piece might bring?)
Creel stretches and re-shoulders his pack. Just in case.
Walking calmly towards the group.
"The lady has it right. The constable asked us to look into a few minor matters as his hands are rather full at the moment so anything you can do to help would be appreciated." Creel's smile does not quite reach his eyes.
Aid other for Madeline's diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21.
Assuming Valen can hear the conversation:
Valen winces with a slight smile at Alexa's forthright statements; knowing that Gibs has struck him as very blunt man. That woman could out-growl a bear if she tried.
Having some suspicion of what he will find, he follows the blood-trail to the chicken coop and carefully looks around - assuming he might find a dead animal or two.
Gibs listens to each of you, his face reddening at Alexa statement. He sputters out, "Necromancy!! Well, you 'good folk' are the outsiders who insisted we bury a necromancer in the Restlands! Wolves, shadows, and now this! ALL of this is YOUR fault! If you had just tossed that ol' bastard out where he belongs, none of this would be happening!" Gibs practically growls at you as he retreats inside and slams the door.
"Now get off of MY LAND!!" He yells from inside.
Madeline sighs and hangs her head resignedly. She waves every one away.
"Come, we have the general store to attend and some where else to be." She puts the coin away and waits but a little while for Valen to join them before doing as she has indicated. Heading back to gather Kendra and the others and then seek out some more supplies.
Once well out of ear shot Madeline whispers,
"Now we have two things to watch come this evening's vigil..."
Having seen all he can, Valen turns towards the group in time to hear Gibs' rant and slamming door. As if nothing has happened at all, Valen continues past the shack with a hurried walk and serious look and mutters quietly at Madeline's statement, "Yes - let's be on our way now."
His pace doesn't slow as he moves past the others until he's far enough away to not be heard from Gibs' shack but where he can still keep an eye on it, in case the man leaves it for any reason.
Once the others have caught up, he's states: "We need to get the sheriff out here now," while unfolding a rag containing a blood-covered razor. "There's also a mutilated, dead hen inside his chicken coop - trussed up to be bled dry and a bucket filled with blood."
"I can't believe this is coincidental. Maybe have the sheriff question him for being involved in defacing a town monument?" Valen shrugs and then adds: "In any case, I think we should keep an eye on him until we can get the sheriff out here - I don't want him ditching anything else..."
Madeline arches an eyebrow at Valen's words. "Or...have the Sheriff investigate why some one might want to deprive a farmer of their livestock and place evidence to implicate an innocent...all the while creating suspicion and tension about the place, the better to hide what and who they truly are as they go about their nefarious deeds?" She asks coolly and casually.
"Just because some one show a discourteous nature does not mean they are necessarily into such sordid things as destroying their own livestock..." Madeline points out. She absently taps a finger upon her cheek.
"Though, that being said. Chickens would tend to make rather a large noise at being..um..so 'plucked' and to have Master Gibs not notice the state of his live stock does seem indicative of something..." Madeline sighs, Which might be no more than a liking for strong drink..." She finishes.
"So? To the Sheriff? To the General store? To the ruin?" She looks at all those gathered.
"I suggest we go General Store, thence the ruins and later, upon the way home, drop by the Sheriff's offices and inform them of certain deeds...Before we set up our watches for this evening. Madeline states her mind.
"Seems a lot of trouble to hide; even if you are the town drunk. I suppose we could just ask him if he's missing a razor," Valen finishes without a hint of sarcasm.
"I differ to the you all, you've had more experience with town matters, but my vote is talk to the sheriff first - get this matter resolved or at least warn him."
Valen then wraps up the blade again to give to the sheriff. Assuming no one wants to see the razor.
Although Alexa really does not wish to leave and feels that Gibbs needs to be taught a lesson, she acquiesces and leaves with the group.
Lets get this to the sheriff so he can make a decision. Then to the store to get supplies and then back to the prison.
|Tharnik of Clan Black Sun|
Tharnik looks at the razor and then says, "This is proof of very little. If the man did slaughter a chicken and bleed it out, it may only be his dinner. I don't know why, however, he would hide his razor. Perhaps if we caught him in the act?"
Your walk to the center of town is peaceful (if wet).
By the time you reach the center of town, your legs are thoroughly drenched - victims of the high, rain-drenched grass surrounding town - and the rest of you isn't much dryer. To add insult, the rain begins to lighten as you reach the general store. It all but stops as you cross the threshold and ring the store's little bell.
An older man pops his head up from behind the counter and says, "Can I help ya? Oh, and mind your boots. We're still dry in here." He smiles and adjusts his spectacles.
Madeline smiles even as she takes note of the state of her foot ware and does her best to clean said boots up. She instructs Smith on doing like wise.
She looks for a place to hang their hats and coats to dry and not drip upon the shop's floor.
Madeline takes her coin bag from its inner coat pocket and adds it to the belt from which her sword hangs. She takes the time to look about ayt the store, its lay out and what's on display.
Perception:1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
It seems to have stayed up for me, but indeed better safe than sorry. *Bows* Much cheers to all.
Valen remains quiet for the rest of the walk to the store, glancing occasionally over his shoulder at Gibs' shack.
Upon arriving, he gives his boots a strong tap to shake off the water and muck as best as possible before entering.
"Good day to you sir," he glances at the others as he speaks - seeking confirmation of their requests."I believe we are in need of some basic supplies: oil, torches, tindertwigs...," he leaves the statement open to see if anyone adds to the list.
As your group begins to look around the general store, you can't help but notice the number of pots and pans, all marked for sale, that hang along the walls of the shop. Everyday goods, from sacks of flour to bolts of cloth, line the walls. The large, long counter that runs the length of the shop has even more items, with an assortment of vials and kits. A fine suit of full plate, obviously fashioned as a display, haunts the back of the shop.
Upon hearing Valen's voice, a bevy of girls poke their heads out of a door behind the counter.
One says, "Papa! Are those the adventurers???"
Another pushes past her, flinging her yellow hair aside as she says, "I want ta see..."
Still, another manages to poke her head out between the two. "Really!?!?!
The man looks back over his shoulder at the girls and smiles at you apologetically, as if to say, 'kids' and shoos them off. He then turns to your group and says, "Ah, I have them aplenty. Last shelf on the right, back corner, by ol' Sir Shiny the Brave." He chuckles to himself as he looks at the armor, enjoying the private joke.
Once her boots and such are cleaned and hung to dry and she's checked to see how well her manservant has done at cleaning etc, Madeline moves to the leather goods first as she looks for back-packs and carrying harnesses.
"How much..?" She asks her question to both the group and in a way to the shop owner, whom she favors with a smile.
"So, we have the funds. How much can people carry? We can leave a small stack/amount out side the ruins as a 'reserve', yes?
" She says quietly trying to gauge how much of everything they needs they have to buy.
Alexa watches the others. Since finding her way in the wild, she has been uncomfortable in towns, and this lack of comfort is only magnified when she has to negotiate and bargin for things.