Andar observes the proceedings with curiosity, wondering exactly what the point of taunting these people, or hearing their sob stories, is.
Sense Motive Check: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Speaking to all of the bandits at once (and not just with Rollo)
"Tell us about this amulet. What does it represent?"
Speaking to Happs:
"You are dead. Leaving children and a wife to suffer for your crimes, and then turning to a life of crime where you threaten random women with torture and rape... Let's just say I'll leave you a choice. You'll get a quick death if you cough up anything useful to us in the pursuit of the woman Oleg saw you with, or any information about that amulet you were wearing. Whether you truly threatened your men with planting false evidence on them to scare them into working for you is besides the point."
"Don't worry, I'm not going to torture you or anything like that... The difference will just be between being killed by ME or by Firemane here..." He pats the cat.
"I think we need to discuss what is actually to be done with the prisoners out of ear shot. If everyone will humor me for just a moment, this won't take long. I'd appreciate it if you'd come as well Oleg."
Gordom signals to the adventurers to meet him in a huddle where the bound bandits are still visible but won't be able to overhear.
"Before we proceed any further, we need everyone to be on the same page. The last time we had a plan, it fell apart barely a few seconds in. This is men's lives we are dealing with this time; it can't be allowed to be that shoddy again."
Gordom glances over his shoulder back at Rolo. "Can we trust him? I was never to good at judging people, but if what he says is true we might just be able to get all the information we need easily and spare a good man's life. I say we offer him a deal. If he answers all of the questions we have, honestly, then we will spare his life but turn him into the authorities as a thief, not a bandit. However, if he agrees to stay here and work for you, Oleg, not only will we spare his life, but we will set him up to be able to take care of both himself and his brother."
"I understand that you might not want to trust someone who has been the source of such pain to you and Svetlana, but hear me out. He would remain a prisoner of yours until we return from stamping out the last of these bandits. Then, with us there to supervise, he would begin helping you out around here. I'm sure you have no end of odd jobs you could use an extra hand with. We'll pay him 3 silver pieces a day. After a week, if he shows an honest desire to repent, we offer to help him find his brother back in Restov."
"He says he took to banditry out of desperation. Let's make it so he isn't desperate any more. The rest of this group we can execute after a final meal, last rites, and an opportunity to speak. I know this may be a radical plan so what does everyone think?"
|Najara the Ironsighted|
The knotted coils of rope willingly constrict themselves with a sudden jerk. Tinkering away, Najara absently tested the strength of the bindings to her satisfaction before suddenly meeting Gordom’s gaze. ”I think you’re getting ahead of yourself. There is a lot of time and a lot of ifs in what you propose. The deal set forth should be simple. One will live, two will die. If Rollo desires to be that one then he’ll have ample opportunity to cooperate. If he so fears Happs then all he need do is provide us with the information we require and he achieves both stated goals.”, she replied without emotion, “But we must all be careful. A desperate tale concocted by a cornered man designed to play on your sympathies may prove exactly that. In my experience, it usually is. It is best to curtail expectations until a proper investigation can be conducted. I have been trained to tell if a man is lying if given the proper setting and motivation, and I intend to test the veracity of his claims.”
|Najara the Ironsighted|
”If more than one provide information then we can make a judgment call later as to which is most redeemable and more worthy in having his life spared. For now, all they need to know is what I just proposed. If Rollo is capable of redemption then the choice before him is an obvious one. Make no mistake, our ultimate goal here is to gain useable information so that we can accomplish greater good, not rehabilitate a known criminal who made his own poor choices in life. Rollo must give us something to work with to make things right in the eyes of the law.”
"So." Andarr, Shix and Firemane enter the room where the unnamed bandit is. "Let us begin." Andarr cracks his knuckles.
"Friend - and I use the term ironically - I'm going to tell you something about me before we begin." Andarr holds out his hands, as if to stop the bandit from speaking. "My name is Andarr, and I am a so-called barbarian. In my society, for the crimes you have committed, there are only two kind of punishments: death or exile. Exile obviously does not apply in your case. I am however told by my more civilized friends." He gestures towards the door "That there are other more lenient penalties in so-called civilized nations. Since they will be the ones deciding your fate, you seem to be in luck."
Andarr starts pacing around the room, circling the prisoner.
"However, contrarily to what my friends, I don't care about your name, or why you joined arms with Happs, someone who seems to relish raping and torturing women while exorting money from honest, hard-woking traders like Oleg and his wife."
"I have a few questions for you. I won't lie to you, I'm not going to torture you because that's just not my thing... But cooperating or not might make a difference when my friends decide what awaits you after this little chat." He nods to Firemane, and the great cat yawns casually, showing rows of razor sharp fangs. He then licks his chops.
'What I want to know is the following:
- Where is your leader (the woman Oleg spoke about)?
- How do we reach her ?
- How many other bandits are there?
- When are you expected back?
- What defenses/guards does your outpost have?
- How do we best evade them?
- What is the signification of that stag amulet Happs wears?
"Shix, I'll leave the floor to you now."
1d20 - 2 ⇒ (8) - 2 = 6 Intimidate for me
1d20 + 0 ⇒ (12) + 0 = 12 Intimidate for Firemane
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17 Sense Motive for me
After having led Oleg and Svetlana away from the captives, he'll return to Rolo and Vivian.
"Rolo, you've heard the lady. You're in big trouble my man. The lady is speaking true words though, you have a chance to redeem yourself but if you don't things look very bleak. You've overheard us speak, things don't look well for you guys, least of all for Happs."
Juwwem takes a step closer to Rolo, opens his bright yellow eyes a bit more than strictly neccesary and looks Rolo straight in the eyes.
"You seem like a reasonable man Rolo. Talk to us, talk to lady Vivian if you don't want to talk to me, but save your life and that of Gromi. We can really use your help and you need our help. You help us, we help you, I promise."
"We need to know everything you can tell us about Happs, about the woman in charge, about the place where we can find her and the rest of her group, about the way there, are there any warnings you can give us? Please, do tell us and then let us help you and your little brother live a better life in return."
Diplomacy to have Rolo cooperate (better): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Sense Motive to see if Rolo's sincere: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
"Thank you Andarr" Shix says appreciatively as he brings out a clay tankard and jug of ale and pours a cup.
"Let me introduce myself properly, I'm Shix Firley. I'm a cook by trade but came out here to this beautiful land to start anew." Shix then takes a short sip from the ale to taste it, "Hmmm, excellent flavor, and refreshing, would you like some?" Shix lifts the cup to the bandits lips and helps him drink it. (assuming he is still bound)
"Now listen, I'm not going to lie to you, things are not looking good for you. As things stand, you'll be dead by sundown. I personally don't want to see that happen, but its not up to just me. My companions have a say as well, and you already know how Andarr here feels about you...." Gesturing towards Andar. ...but if you cooperate it will be a lot easier to get them to show leniency, maybe even grant freedom...." Shix lets that last word sit there for a moment as he grabs his book and quill.
"Alright, why don't you start by telling me your name..."
Shix will then start asking Andarr's questions above.
Diplomacy 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23
Sense Motive 1d20 ⇒ 20
I hope this is enough RP for this, If you want to do the entire line of questioning that's fine but I think this way is faster.
Vivian looks at Rollo intensely and takes one of his hand in hers
Think not only about you,Rollo, but about your brother.The best way you can help him, the best way you can be sure his life won't be endangered is by telling us everything you know about your former comrades: it will help us to get rid of this bandit ring... and remove any further threats on Gromi's life.
We're going to make you an offer you can't refuse, Rollo.
Vivian gives the bandit a warm smile, locking her grey eyes in his
You tell us the truth, and you're a free man. We'll have to execute Happs and his partner, and you will witness this, because I want you to be sure that if you try to cross us, we'll have no fear to execute you too.
Of course, being a reasonable man, you'll understand that we'll keep you there, under good guard, until the nest of banditry is cleared. THEN you'll get your freedom, freedom from your past with no fear that anyone would come and claims vengeance against you or your family, freedom for your future to try and be a decent man.So, have we got a deal, Rollo?
As Happs starts to come to:"Still alive? Funny thing about that. The only reason you still draw breath is because Oleg, the man you've terrorized and threatened, put that bandage on you and kept the last of your life blood from leaving you. I'd ask how that makes you feel, but I already know the answer to that. You don't feel anything. You're scum. You're evil and weak. You've only gotten to where you are in life by manipulating and abusing those who are weaker than you. Yet the second you run into a group of people who you can't just boss around, you fall apart. Even tried to light yourself on fire, for all the good it did you. You seem like the type of man who likes control. Well we just took that all away from you. You aren't in control of anything any more. Except maybe your own fate. You see, the only reason you're still alive is because we think you may still be useful to us; because we think you have information we want. Now, you have a choice. A chance for control again. I'm going to ask you some questions. Now you can either answer them, or you can wait until my lady friend in the corner their gets impatient. Now, I'm a simple hunter by trade. Her? She's a lot more brutal than that. I'm not exactly clear on what it is she does, but you won't like it. So I suggest you just talk to me."[b]
Intimidate:1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Sense Motive:1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7 (SM check includes +2 for favored enemy)
[b]"Now here's what we want to know..."
How many people are left in your camp?
How long until they notice you haven't come back?
Where is your camp?
What defences does your camp have (camouflage, traps, magic)?
Tell us everything about your boss (Where she's from, what she can do, why she's in charge).
Tell us everything you know about this pendant.
|Najara the Ironsighted|
Arms crossed in a most off putting manner, Najara remained grimly silent to allow Gordom first words. Considering all the unearned sympathy being cast freely upon Rollo, she half expected the ranger to offer the man before them a ride back to town and few coin for his troubles. She was pleasantly surprised Gordom displayed an edge when needed. But alas, it did not seem to be sharp enough…
Finally interjecting when it appeared that Happs did not take the bait, she suddenly spoke, ”He is right. My methods are far more brutal…and simpler...than this. I am a devotee of the Church of Abadar. I assume you are familiar with the order? Then you know that what I am about to tell you is no bluff. You have broken the laws of these lands, and I will see to it personally that you are executed for your crimes. That is unless you give me a reason to spare you. If you wish to remain silent then I suggest you prepare yourself for the hell you spoke of earlier. And please, do not overestimate your value in these circumstances. We have others, each being offered the same deal. Once one of them cooperates, your use to me will end, and so will your life.”
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22 Intimidate check.
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8 Sense motive check.
Pretty much asking the same questions as Gordom (except for the pendant which Najara doesn’t care about really). And then add to that “What do you know of other dangerous and/or outlaw groups in the area?”
So, you want to know about the pendant. It’s a badge the Stag Lord gives to his trusted lieutenants. So now you know who I am and why you’re going to let me go. The Stag Lord has an army out in the deep woods and all those fools in Restov can send to stop him is a handful of stooges. You kill me and you’ll be the hunted, Mister Trapper.
My boss is named Kessle. She’s in charge because she’s the meanest, nastiest b** you’ll ever meet. That’s why the Stag Lord’s so fond of her. She’s got two dozen cutthroats back in camp and she’ll know about what happened here by sunset. You don’t think we all rode into your little trap, do you?
Our camp is located on the Thorn River, about 20 miles through the woods west of here, but you’ll never find our camp: Kessle will find you. She’ll wait until you’re all spread out on the trail and pick you off one-by-one. Kessle’s also one of the best trappers you’ll ever see. She’ll probably wait to attack until one of you city fools has ridden your nice new horse right into a bear trap.
Well, think I’ve wasted enough of your time. You’d best be running back into the house and see what good old Rolo has done to your pretty little friends. Can’t believe you’re falling for his “Mean Sergeant Bydon made me evil” line. Better check on them if you want to recognize the remains.
Bluff 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
Everyone feels that Happs is telling this story to cooperate.
I'll have Rolo and the other bandit's reply up later.
Thanks for offering to save my life, but I’ll admit I’ve done bad things. Things a man should pay for. If I don’t die at your hands, the Stag Lord and his followers will get me before I can lead you to them. And the Stag Lord will make my death painful. I’ll tell you what you need to know if you promise get Gromi someplace safe.
Happs and Kessle run our camp. There are maybe a dozen more of us. Our camp is through the woods about twenty miles from here. Be careful, she may have traps on the trail and her people will see you before you see them. She expects us to come back from here in a couple days and will know something’s up if we don’t come back in time.
1d20 - 5 ⇒ (4) - 5 = -1
Rolo's telling the truth about the bandits. However, you sense that he thinks the "bad things" he says he's done but hasn't described are really reprehensible.
The Last Bandit:
My name's Franco, I've only been running with this gang for a month or two. Our leader Kessle is back in camp. It's a couple days ride west of here through the woods. How many bandits are there will depend on whether or not Kessle's expecting "company", but there will never be less than eight. We're expected back in two or three days. We'll have a couple guards watching the road from platforms in the trees. Best way to avoid them is to leave the road. I'd also walk in instead of riding.
I don't know what the stag amulet means. Happs and Kessle have them. So did a guy who visited a few weeks ago that gave Kessle a bunch of orders. He's gotta be helluv scary to order her around.
Bluff 1d20 ⇒ 15
After everyone has had a chance to share what they've heard, Gordom starts off the discussion"Well, Rolo and Franco have helped us cut out some of the fluff from Happs' story. We can probably expect a dozen thugs instead of two, and the advice to stay clear of the road is probably a good one. I also think we have a bit more time than Happs' would like us to think we do."
I'd like to make a knowledge(nature) check to see if I know anything about the Stag Lord:1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Juwwem's head feels like it's about to implode. There's so much doubt, so many factors, so little time and worst of all such huge consequences.
"Gordom I think you have drawn some very good conclusions but do you intend to leave Oleg and Svetlana alone? If what our captives have said contains any truth, there might be more bandits coming this way. Should we perhaps wait and take them out here?"
Juwwem sits down as he realizes that more fighting is imminent.
"I suggest we make haste and find this Kessle as soon as possible... We don't want her to have time to set too many traps. Staying off the road and walking in is also a good idea... I would suggest we deal with these bandits, and then ride out to Kessle's camp in time to walk in at night, when detection will be more difficult and some of the bandits will be asleep."
|Najara the Ironsighted|
This Kessle sounded like a formidable opponent, one that Najara will relish putting down. And through her lies a greater quarry, the Stag Lord, who appeared to be at the center of the bandit activity. Slowly the layers of the onion are peeled back to reveal a rotten core.
”Measuring Rollo and Franco’s testimony against Happs, Gordom is most likely right. We still have some time to plan a surprise strike of our own. I agree with Andarr’s proposed course of haste. Kessle should be given no time to prepare if what Happs says of her skill is true.”, she said, adding, “Gordom, Andar, you both are most familiar with the woods. I defer to your judgment on how best to proceed.”
”There is one matter of concern to which Juwwem has correctly pointed out. If we all head off into the woods, that will leave this post virtually unguarded. Happs is far too dangerous to leave unattended for long, and the other two, just as well. I would not leave such a dagger poised at our backs. We need to deal with them as we agreed.”
"Well, now that we know a general distance and direction back to their camp, I should be able to follow their tracks with ease. However, every day that goes by makes it a little more likely that the trail will get lost somewhere or that the rest of their group will discover that something is the matter so time is of the essence. However, it's obvious that we didn't break Happs with our first attempt. Is it worth trying again? I don't know how much we might still have to gain from him but it is possible that he is hiding something that will be of use to us."
Gordom pauses a little and looks sorrowfully in the direction of the bandit prisoners...
"As far as the safety of Oleg and Svetlana, I think the sooner we leave the more likely we would be to intercept any party that Kessle may send out in retaliation. But it would be foolish to leave Happs here alive. Whether we can break him or not needs to be determined soon and then we need to take care of him. I'm just not as set on what to do about Rollo and Franco..."
Gordom takes the pendant he took off of Happs out of his pocket and fiddles with it absent-mindedly.
"I don't know who the Stag Lord Happs mentioned was, but it isn't the Stag Lord that I know of. My father raised me teaching me the legends of the Stag Lord. He is a mystical creature, not quite of this world, but he despises cruelty. There's no way he would associate with someone like Happs."
We need to think about all this clearly, and if we are to attack a bandit's camp all by ourselves, we'd better be prepared and use a hit and run tactic more than a frontal assault that would only spell our doom.
We need good weapons, some bows or crossbow maybe. If we use the road, I'll try to look for the bear traps, or any other trap. Maybe we could use them later against the bandits.
Here, we could protect Oleg and Svetlana, and use the fortifications at our advantage, even against a full force of bandits. But I'm no soldier, and I don't know much about war. I just try to use some common sense and ... Nevermind. I'm just a city girl, born and raised in a temple.
Now, what do we do about our prisoners? Are we showing any mercy .... or not?
Vivian looks nervous and unsure of what to do.
"Soup's on!" Svetlana's cheerful voice rings across the stockade as she brings a large pot of soup to the tables in the courtyard. A few loafs of bread, several wooden bowls, and a keg of beer are sitting on the table already.
Oleg approaches the heroes as they discuss what to do about the bandits. "I've been thinking," he says. "We have a clue about how many they have out there, but how do they know how many of you are in here? If you leave, I'll close the gates and keep them closed until you come back. The bandits may not want to charge the walls to find out who's inside."
It's now noon.
Quickly grabbing for his loaf and bowl of soup, Gordom turns back towards Oleg.
"That is a noble suggestion, but I would not want to risk you and Svetlana again if the bandits were to try and call your bluff in our absence. That is also the risk I fear we face if we attempt to make another stand here. While the defences of your walls would be much appreciated, I don't think the potential risk to your home if the bandits attempt to burn the place down would be worth it."
"So we don't stay when you leave and you don't stay here to fight them," Oleg sounds confused. "You don't mean Svetlana and I should leave this place? Bandits or no bandits, it's not happening."
"That's not what I intended. I was simply saying that the best way to defend your home would be for the rest of us to get moving as quickly as possible. That way if Kessle does send a second group here we will be more likely to catch them on the road. It is my assumption that they probably take the same route here every time and only vary it near the end."
Making some soft slurping sounds Juwwem has a hard time not burning his tongue with Svetlana's soup.
"Oleg, you're a free man. You will have to decide on what you will and what you will not do. I think it will be for the best if we head out quickly. Closing the gates sounds like a good idea, if any bandits show up you tell them they're shut on our orders. Orders from Brevoy that is as you can see from this charter."
Juwwem shows Oleg and Svetlana the charter and points with his finger to the words rope and sword.
"You can tell them the truth about what happened. Tell them we've taking things from inside the trading post, ordered the trading post to be closed for a week and headed off."
He shifts his attention to the rest of the group.
"What do you think? Shall we proceed with haste and deal swiftly with this bandit threat? To make sure we mean business we should probably make sure there's a display of the punishment we'll be dealing for any bandit showing up here. Any ideas?"
"I think we should move out as quickly as possible... If none of you will, I'll deal with our prisoners, and then we can get on our horses and start heading the way they came... So that their tracks do not grow too cold. Between Gordom and me, we have two accomplished outdoorsmen, we will have no trouble following the trail back to their base and finding sustenance in the wilds, and we will find a campsite just as easily. If we get to their base before they start suspecting something, they will not be on their guard, and we can use it to our advantage."
With that, Andar starts munching down on the offered food, happy to have a warm meal once again.
Shix sits at the table slowly eating Svetlana's soup, taking his time, savoring it, trying to determine what the ingredients in it. All the while listening to the discussion. After a while he says:
"While I agree that we it would probably be best to leave for their camp in the morning, the question still remains what to do with the prisoners. While from what I can tell, Happs seems to fall under the category of "unrepentant banditry" and its pretty clear how you all feel about him and what should happen to him. But Franco and Rolo don't seem to be as bad. They are cooperative and seem to be repentant. So what are we going to do with them? Oleg? Svetlana(great soup by the way)? You seem to be the only ones here who can speak on behalf of the victims, what do you think should happen to these men?"
"Not too shoot you down Shix, it's just we've talked about this before. Ideally I would like to try and save Franco as well, we simply haven't been able to come up with a solution that doesn't put our hosts in unacceptable danger. Unless some new idea has come up, simply saying we should save him isn't going to change anything. I agree with you, I really do, but we don't have the time or the resources right now. Not unless we want to leave him bound here with Svetlana and Oleg. But when they agreed to be our hosts, they didn't agree to be our prison guards."
From Gordom's tone, his regret at what he is saying is plain. I don't like it either, but we can't keep having the same conversation over and over without any new solutions.
|Najara the Ironsighted|
Najara’s soup sat steaming before her untouched. Her mind was far too distracted on the task ahead to consider the meal before her. ”I agree with the sentiment that we should depart at once. We have but two days to strike their camp before they begin to sense something is awry when their men do not return as expected. We should capitalize on their unpreparedness rather than allow them to amass forces to meet us here. This fort is our foothold into his region. We cannot jeopardize its safety. And as for the prisoners, we must minimize our risks in these matters. Time and a clear window into the hearts of men is not a luxury that we have at the moment.”
I hope no one's upset that I'm moving along without Vivian's reply.
"Happs is a mean one," Oleg replies to Shix's question. "No doubt about it. Hanging's too good for the likes of him. I'd be much happier if there were plenty of distance between Rolo and Svetlana. I never liked the way he looked at her, but that may just be a jealous husband talking."
"I'm not sure I like this talk about killing people," Svetlana interrupts. "But I remember when Happs ran from Restov. I didn't say anything about it before because I didn't think he could be the same man until he used his last name and former title. Sergeant Bydon has had a date with the executioner ever since he ran away from Restov."
|Najara the Ironsighted|
Searching her memory, the inquisitor noted how quick Rollo sought out Svetlana during the fight. Why they continued to debate this, she would never know. ”Then that should settle it. Let’s make it a quick d..”, she started before her ears prickled at the sound of movement, ”What was that?” Najara turned her full attention back to the prisoners and nearly leapt from her seat in the process.
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22 Perception check.
Perception Check: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
The moment he hears the noise, Andar leaps to his feet, unsheathes his scimitar, orders Firemane to follow him and rushes to investigate the note, (running/double moving as necessary), while mumbling things about naive, bumbling fools.
"I bloody well knew it... Time to end this."
Juwwem is having a bad feeling about what's about to happen to Rolo and Franco but before speaking up he moves his head towards the prisoners at the same time as Najara jumps up.
"Dra bnecuhanc! Xielg!"
"The prisoners! Quick!"
Perception check 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
I see where this is heading.. :o Might be the quickest way though, silly roleplaying ;)
Shix looks at his soup, looks towards the noise, then back at his soup. He cant bear to see such a masterpiece go to waste, he'll have to hurry back.... Shix huffs it as fast as his little legs will take him towards the disturbance.
perception: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (16) - 1 = 15
Talking to Svetlana and Oleg with a faint smile
Sounds like trouble from a sore feeted left handed sneezing guy who eated too much potatoes a day ago or so. Stay here... we won't be long.I don't like my soup cold, anyway.
You all rush to where the bandits were tied up. Happs has freed himself from his bounds. The noise you heard if you weren't Gordom was Rolo struggling to take his last breath as Happs strangled him. The bandit leader looks like he's going to turn his attentions to Franco when he hears your approach. He dashes for the platform on the wall.
You can each make one ranged attack to keep Happs from jumping over the wall.
Juwwem shouts as he sees Rolo's killer trying to flee the scene.
With nothing but a blowgun, with no poison, Juwwem can't do much to stop Happs from escaping. Lowering his arms, he closes his eyes for a moment and feels the power of the earth slide through his feet up into his body. Quickly he sends small parts of that power to his companions as to help them be succesful on their efforts to stop Happs.
"Syo dra Cryedyh kieta oui so vneahtc"
"May the Shaitan guide you my friends"
Casts Bless, you guys get +1 on attack rolls for the next minute. Good luck folks.
With a swift wrist movement, Vivian unrolls a sling and place a sharp stone in it. Trying to give her best shot, she waits a few seconds until Happs is half way up the wall, keeping her breath slow to aim better
GOTCHA! Sorry...Nothing to rejoice here.
Whatever happens to her intended target, Vivian then speeds to Rollo, trying to revive him if possible
Vivian's sling stone hits Happs in the back of the head. He falls from the platform into the courtyard with a sickening thud. Happs and Rolo are both beyond saving.
Gordom is only seconds behind the others. He makes it just in time to see Happs fall to his death. He stands there stunned for a second or two and then notices Vivian crouched over a lifeless Rollo. The bruises are obvious around the dead man's neck and it doesn't take long for Gordom to realize what happened. He stubbles towards the nearest wall for help supporting the weight his legs no longer want to carry.
Stupid, stupid, stupid! This is your fault. You weren't vigilant, you didn't think. A man died in your care and that puts his death on your hands. You were so caught up in debating the future of men's lives that you weren't even there to protect those who needed it.
"...well...that's it then, isn't it? The questions have been answered for us. I'll start digging the graves..."
Gordom wanders off to find a shovel.
|Najara the Ironsighted|
As soon as Happs made his fateful break for it, a grimly determined Najara leaped forward to give chase. Then after Vivian’s sling felled her quarry, her steps refused slow until she reached the now lifeless body. Standing over the corpse, the inquisitor noted how Happs just made their moralizing decision for them. She was half tempted to thank him but thought better of it. She took the corpse’s hand and began dragging it back to the group. ”I hope this proves just how dangerous they can be. We must properly deal with the remaining one and then be on our way.”
Still frantically, desperatly trying to revive Rollo, a teary eyed Vivian shouts
Live! Come back! Please...
Kneeling on the ground, she fights back the tears and brushes her red mane back
I don't want IT to begin again.... Sorry Rollo. It was your fate to die tomorrow. Pharasma claims you, and who am I to struggle with Her will? I just hope you suffered less than your previous victims. We'll need three graves, if only to fool any other bandits. Franco, if he accepts to guide us or at least to give us advice on the camp, will have took enough risks without having his former buddies on his trail. I'll help you, of course, Gordom. I even remember most of the holy words, chants and prayers my mother used in that occasion. Yuuuuck.... and believe me, in the temple of Pharasma I grewed up in, there were WAY TOO MANY occasions to hear the sacred mourning songs.
With a sad face, Vivian stands up
"D-d-damn," Franco stammers. "I never expected him to kill one of his own. I'd heard the Stag Lord's gang were the biggest, baddest, nastiest thugs in the woods. A good crew to run with if you wanted some quick coin. Killing your own instead of helping them break out is too much. I'll help you find their camp after I help you bury these two."
Juwwem is very much saddened by Rolo's murder yet a calmness seems to have come over him. He addresses his companions and their hosts:
"A burial is too good for Happs. We shall bring his body to the camp to show them what happens to men like him. We could possibly persuade men like Rolo and Franco to join our cause instead be lost in a life of banditry which they probably didn't choose freely."
Juwwem moves over to Vivian and crouches next to Rolo and makes sure Franco can hear him speak:
"We should entrust the earth with Rolo's body soon indeed. May his soul rest peacefully like the mountains rest on the earth. I will make it my cause in these lands to prevent crimes like Happs committed to be committed again by others."
While his words showed confidence in Franco's intentions, Juwwem keeps his eyes on their last captive alive.