Overhearing Juwwem's intention for Happs' corpse, Gordom turns angrily.
"We shall do no such thing. A man's body is not some tool or banner to be paraded around by you. Even if you have no respect for the man, show some respect for the dead."
I mean, seriously, haven't you seen Unforgiven? You do something like that with a man's corpse and Clint Eastwood will shoot you.
Andar is furious.
"Do you get it now? Would you STOP being so damn naive? These people are scum and murderers, and god only knows what else! And you will have this one guide us to the others? What is to tell us that he will not try to slit our throats in our sleep? Stop living in a fairy world. Bandits are bandits, and I don't care about their reason for choosing a life of sin and depredation. Mark my words, as explained in the charter, the next ones we will meet will their end at the tip of my scimitar and that will be the end of it. After being properly interrogated. Listen to Najara!"
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness. If you make this a campaign to root out and kill every man who has ever committed banditry, you will only make for a long and fruitless struggle. Not every man who does evil is evil. I will not attempt to dissuade you from using whatever means you need to defend yourself or others, but be more considerate when the fate of men is in your hands. It is as much our fault that Rollo was killed as Happs' for we had the power to prevent such a thing and failed to do so. If Franco here is willing to help us, I say we take the opportunity. If he tries to betray us, I won't stop you from doing what you see necessary."
I agree with Gordom. It's not being weak to show mercy to someone who probably wouldn't care with a proper burial if the fight has came to another end, who would have raped us, tortured us and killed us- perhaps even not in that order!
Aren't we supposed to be better than the bandits we fight? We try to bring civilisation in this wild land. A civilisation you probably don't know. I'm not a vigilant, I'm not too fond of rules,restriction or laws, but neither will I act like a beast or worse, like a brutal, bloodthirsty, HUMAN thug. Beast at least kill for eating, or to defend themselves. Even a city girl like me she winks at Gordom know that. So, it doesn't matter if you want to help us burying the bandits, but if you help us, we'll be able to get to their camp and fight them sooner.
I won't force you to trust Franco, I won't blame you if you don't.The fact is that he can help us, if we are cautious and don't take his words for gospel.
She makes a face at Najara
Yuuuuuck... that REALLY sounded like my mother's preaching, doesn't it?
Oleg brings some shovels and picks out of the stable. "I'll show you where we should plant the corpses. I'd rather their graves weren't the first thing visitors saw when they come to the outpost and I want them well away from Svetlana's vegetable patch."
Before he leaves the stockade, Oleg turns to the party and adds, "And we need to have someone keep an eye on Franco. I think that was our mistake with Happs: we assumed he wouldn't get free of his bonds."
Dealing with the five bandit corpses (remember we killed three in the fight) will take the rest of the day. Everyone should take another post to let us know what you do regarding the bodies, etc. Then I'll push time ahead to dinner that night.
|Najara the Ironsighted|
Najara dropped Happ’s limp and lifeless arms upon the dirt. She was tired of constantly rehashing these same tired arguments with the ignorance of idyllic youth. Having often toured the depths of New Stetven’s dungeons, she knew that the term civilization was a matter of perspective. Even among paved roads and stone buildings, man is still capable of the most brutal savagery unless restrained by agreed upon limits. Only the rule of law kept him in check. “It is not darkness. It’s justice. And one day, when tragedy befalls, even you will demand it.”, she stated as a matter of fact. Her gray eyes sought Andar’s own imparting upon him a look of understanding, but she had her fill of such arguments for the day.
The inquisitor approached the remaining prisoner with a stone set face and produced a pair of manacles from her pack. She could not deny that there was a small sliver of pleasure derived from locking them firmly into place around Franco’s hands. ”You will lead us back to their camp. Cooperate and you may yet live. The slightest resistance or sign of betrayal, and I will not hesitate to end your life. Do you understand?”
"It's going to take us a full day to reach their camp even with Franco's help. There's no way we can cover that much distance in half a day. You kill him and our guide's gone. That means I'm going to have to lead us there. I can, I have no doubt about that, but it will be slower. You kill him and we're looking at two days, minimum. So you just watch him and keep your hands off of him until we're ready to head out tomorrow."
"Yes, ma'am I understand," Franco replies. "You'll get no trouble from me."
Meanwhile, Svetlana approaches Shix. "Mr. Shix," she says. "This is really going to sound silly, but do you know how to make moonradish soup?"[b]
[b]"Moonradish soup is Oleg's favorite," she continues before Shix can reply. "I haven't been able to get to the moonradish patch because of the bandits. If you happen to find any on your travels, I'll be glad to teach you the moonradish soup recipe."
Unexpectedly (and with a goofy grin) Vivian slaps Najara's butt
Manacles? KINKY GIRL! I knew you had some redeeming aspects behind that "Im real serious" facade...
She then laughs heartily, seeing the (probable) shock on the inquisitor's own face, and just plain happy at this sudden change of mood
"Oleg, if you're sure you'll be fine here on your own, it's probably time for us to head out and take advantage of what light we have. Everyone get a horse. Franco, I'm going to tie your horse to mine and you and I are going in front. You really want to help us, don't give us any trouble and let us know when to proceed on foot and how to avoid any traps. If you can get us to your base without the rest of that group knowing we're coming I'd consider that to really speak for you."
Gordom heads to the stable where he saddles Boer and ties a line to the saddle of one of the bandit horses. "You ready boy?" Gordom says, stroking Boer's neck, "we're going to escort a criminal who's going to lead us to even more criminals. Doesn't that sound like fun?"
Wow wow wow.. not so fast! Let me snatch this first! It can be useful, well, at least more useful to me than to him!
Vivian takes Happ's bow and the remaining of his arrows, then turns to Oleg
Do you think you have anything we could use in our quest against the bandits? Like a small ladder to help me climbing on that big horse? Never had the occasion to ride one before, I'm a "city girl" you know?
Besides, horses weren't allowed in the temple.
She adds with a pleasant smile and a wink to Gordom, teasing him playfully
Gordom has already made his way to the stable. Ever since Vivian's threat to shut him up with a kiss he has made a point not to call her city girl and almost seems trying to avoid having conversations with just her.
I don't know what that woman is doing, but I've never met anyone who acted that way before. It's unheard of. I'm amazed Najara didn't kill her, though I imagine it was only the shock that stopped her.
"Yeah, we're fine here," Oleg tells Gordom. "You just make sure these city folk don't get in too much trouble out there." He then turns to Vivian and says, "Don't have any ladders for mounting horses, but this may come in handy." The trader passes a Vivian a pouch. The pouch holds two potions of Cure Light Wounds, a potion of Shield of Faith +2, and 50 gold pieces.
Franco gets on his horse. "I'll show you where to go and how to avoid the traps I know about. Just don't go shooting me in the back if my old 'friends' pull a fast one on us."
While he knows going by foot isn't a real option since they probably don't have much time, Juwwem still isn't looking forward to riding a horse. He'd rather have his feet on the ground at a pace he can control and footing of his choice. He'd have to trust a horse doing the latter and he'd have to make sure he is the one doing the former. Not going to be easy.
"Oleg, will you take care of Poi while we're gone? He's a really easy to handle mule if you don't insist on going anywhere."
Juwwem quickly sets off trying to find the tamest looking horse and tries to mount it.
"Gordom, your sense of fun worries me. But I'm glad you're looking forward to setting things straight that are obviously wrong now. Do lead the way my friend"
|Najara the Ironsighted|
Najara regarded Vivian with all cold glowering disapproval she could muster. She opened her mouth as if to speak but suddenly stopped herself after considering the futility of such an endeavor. Such an undisciplined child was not worth the effort. Wordlessly, she turned and simply walked away, eager for some distance lest her anger elicit a physical response.
Approaching her reclaimed horse, she gently took the beast by the reigns and led her towards the gate. ”Today has been quite stressful for you, and I apologize that it is not over.”, she regrettably informed the horse, ”But know that we bring retribution to your former masters who mistreated you.”
For a while Shix says nothing. He just sits by the door looking at the bodies. He isn't really listening to the others discussion Until finally he sees Svetlana's face next to his asking about moon radishes."....moon radish....soup?" He says slowly.
"I've never heard of such a plant before, I would love to get some for you. What does it look like?, smell like?, taste like?, sound like?, in what areas does it typically grow? Do they only grow in this region?" As Shix asks these questions he pulls out his notebook and quill and writes down everything Svetlana tells him about the Moon Radish.
After he gets all that information he goes to the stable and starts packing all his stuff onto one of the horses.....well he tries to but he can't reach. He looks over to Gordom and asks [b]"Can I get a little help over here please? I can't quite reach the top of this beast......maybe I could ride with one of you tall folk?" Shix then looks over to Vivian, giving her his best "puppy dog eyes."
"Sorry there chef. If I'm going to be keeping an eye on our guide as well that's going to take all of my attention. You'll have to ride along with one of the ladies. It's probably not a bad idea for you to do the same thing, Juwwem, if you aren't familiar with a horse."
Vivian does her best to help Shix to climb on the horse
Well, too bad we don't have to do an horseradish soup, we already have the horses! I wonder how many gnomes you could put on a horse...Do you prefer to be right behind me or between the horse's head and me, Shix?
You all get mounted up. Oleg even gives Juwwem a hand getting on a pony the bandits had been using as a pack animal.
From what you gathered during the interrogations, you could arrive near the bandits' camp around dawn if you ride hard, don't get lost, and avoid having to fight anything on the road.
" I would prefer to sit in front of you Miss Vivian, I don't want to be slipping off the rear of this thing. Hmm, Horseradish soup you say..... great idea Miss Vivian. If we roast the horse first with some Paracress leaves over a low fire first, then put it in the radish soup that very well may work. Oh who am I kidding, I will make it work, but which cut to use..." Shix then starts feeling around the horse in front of him to see which would be the tastiest part.
"You said you needed some help Shix?"
Gordom lifts Shix by the collar and places him on the horse he was feeling up. Then, with a glare on his face he speaks again.
"Make another joke about horse radish soup and I'll make sure the horses get a chance to taste a real gnome cooked meal if you get my drift"
After a few seconds, a wide grin slowly spreads across Gordom's face before he walks back to Boer.
As Oleg helps him on the horse-like creature, Juwwem makes sure he knows where to hold on to the thing Oleg called a pony.
"What do you mean with pony? This is a big horse! I'll call him Mountain from now on. Thanks for helping me Oleg, although I'll be glad to have my own feet on the ground again"
Juwwem takes the reins and tries to have Mountain move around slowly to get a feel of how it works.
"Do I actually need to use these reins?"
he asks to no one in particular. Juwwem loosens the reins and tries to steer Mountain with his knees and feet.
Ride check (DC5): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Andar cracks his knuckles.
"Hmm... My intention would be to perhaps rest before we move in to attack them, so that I might regain the mystical power I spent healing Firemane. I hope that is alright with you..."
/ooc Sorry, been having night shifts and that really messes my activity cycle.
"I don't know. The reason we left today was because we only have so much time until the rest notice that Franco here" Gordom tugs the rope tied to Franco a little for emphasis "didn't make it back. I'm not sure how much time we can afford to lose if we want to keep our advantage. Especially since we will need to spend part of the journey on foot, watching for traps."
|Najara the Ironsighted|
Eyes pinned to Franco like daggers, Najara inwardly urged caution in an effort to assuage the cynical nature of her mind. If her instincts refused to the trust the bandit, perhaps she should place that trust in another. Surely Gordom will be able to double check the man’s claims and guard against certain treachery? We shall see.
A sharp pain in her left hand pulled the inquisitor from her prudent paranoia. Her new “faithful” mount had decided to nip her fingers to gain her attention. ”Ouch…there’s no need to be rude.”, she chided the beast, gently. Najara lacked that nurturing temperament, to put it mildly, but somehow in the short time she had known it, the horse managed to hit the one soft spot in her heart.
It should have a name, one that invoked fear in its wake and demanded respect from all. Vengeance! No, no, that one did not sit right with Najara. It was too business-like, her business. A name should reflect the nature of the animal. So far that nature included a propensity to bite her and she was quite hesitant to christen it Toothy. No, it’s most striking feature was it smooth creamy color which reminded the lawwoman of bread and wholesome grains. Buttercup. Najara could not stifle a giggle at such a silly notion. She couldn’t possibly name the horse in such a whimsical manner, could she?
Reluctant to give in so easily to a name that was fast growing on her, Najara interjected, ”We need to press the advantage that we have. From what we know, we won’t reach the encampment today. So that will give you tonight to rest and tomorrow morning to beseech the gods. Will that work for you, Andarr?”
The vengeful explorers leave the trading post. Svetlana and Oleg close the stockade gates behind the adventurers and waive farewell from the parapets. Gordom at least is determined to ride through the night hoping to catch the bandits off guard. Under Grodom's careful observation, Franco leads the party towards the bandit camp.
Around three in the morning, Franco signals for Gordom. "Hey, boss. We should stop and dismount here. Kessla likes to put her little surprises on the path from this point on. She likes to send patrols out to check on the traps, so if we want to get some rest this would be the spot to set up camp, too."
Very much regretting not walking, Juwwem has a hard time not letting himself fall from the saddle to ease the pain that saddle caused him. The only thing stopping him from doing so was a nagging feeling that warned him that Franco might be misleading them. Wouldn't he know the location of the traps? Do they avoid the traps by going on foot?
"Franco, how much further is the camp?"
To the party he says: "Some uh.. parts of me want to rest, make no mistake, but I'd rather act fast and move on."
Sense Motive vs Franco: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
"Thank you, Franco. How do the patrols avoid the traps? Are they designed to catch people or horses? Anything you could tell us about the traps along the path and the size and pattern of the patrols would be appreciated."
"I agree with Juwwem. I think we should act quickly. If we wait to long we only increase the risk of discovery or retaliation towards Oleg. I'm sorry Andarr, but I don't think we can risk the time."
"I know this is an answer you won't like," Franco says. "But it's the truth as well as I know it. I just joined Kessla's crew a couple months ago, so she wouldn't let me leave the camp unless Happs or one of the old hands was along. My knowing how to avoid the traps depended on listening to Happs and the others when they told me where not to step. There was another guy joined the gang about the same time I did. He didn't listen to Happs and rode into a deep pit with a bunch of spikes at the bottom." Franco doesn't say anything more for several minutes.
"Most of Kessla's traps are intended to keep riders out. She was afraid she might draw unwanted attention from town and they'd send soldiers out here to get the gang. But she's got plenty to grab foot soldiers, too.
Not sure if he should be happy with Franco's response, Juwwem decides that at least it's a good time to get down from his pony Mountain. He grabs the thing Gordom called a pommel and tries to swing his leg behind his back. Unfortunately both his leg, back and bottom disagree with this move. His leg doesn't make it over the pony and sticks against the backside of Mountain. As a result Juwwem slides from Mountain sidewards. With a soft "thud" he lands on the ground where he lies down rubbing his legs and bottom.
"By the powers of the Shaitan! I never knew riding a horse would cause such agony!"
After a few seconds he slowly gets up and takes a deep breath as he feels most of the pain disappear.
"Ahhh that's better. Solid ground beneath my feet never felt this good before."
"huh, wuh..... are we here already?" Shix is a little groggy after the long trip. He was nodding off for a while near the end. He turns around to Vivian and says," Thank you for sharing your horse with me, and thank you for being a very comfortable mattress to sleep on"
After a few stretches he seems to liven up a bit. "So were on foot from here eh, are we to leave the horses here or walk them behind us? An any case I need to get off of this thing....(Shix looks off one side then the other)... miss Vivian would you be so kind as to help me off please?"
I assume you're going to be leading your horses. If anyone is leading more than one, leaving another character with both their hands free, let me know.
"OK, boss, we should head this way," Franco says. He starts heading for a side path. The path looks traveled, but is only wide enough for passing single file.
I need a marching order and (weird as it sounds) Perception and Stealth rolls for everyone. I would also like a second Perception roll for whoever is in front and whoever is taking up the rear. *grins evilly*
"Gordom, Andarr, you guys probably know more about our surroundings than I do. Do you think our horses would risk getting eaten if we leave them behind?"
Juwwem will go third (fourth if Franco's at the front too).
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Stealth: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Vivian would likely lead the way, trying to spot any trap without being spotted herself.
May Pharasma guide me. At least, if we fall in a trap, I can always pretend it was our Fate.
She smiles and winks at her partners
[spoiler] Dice rolls Stealth 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25 Perception 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Shix would prefer to be somewhere in the middle, other than that he doesn't care.
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 1 = 11
Stealth: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
"Well if they are going to be eaten anyway..... Shix is stopped short by Gordom's poisonous glare.
Fort save vs poison: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
Apparently I just acquired a new spell like ability.
"Vivian, I don't know if you should lead on this one. Franco is going to be trying to spot for us so whoever is in the front should be someone who can best deal with trouble"
As you like it! So i'd be quiet as a shadow and ready to shoot.
Vivian goes behind Gordom and pull her newly acquired bow, using the tip of an arrow to playfully and lightly sting Gordom's.. backside
Sorry, wrong target!But a real tempting one...I think i'll enjoy the view, won't you Gordom?
She giggles a little, then keep quiet, but with a big smile on her lips
seeing Gordom reprobating frown, Vivian smile fad a little
Sorry about that. My mother always told me I was too full of life-especially for a girl who grew in a temple of the Lady of the Graves- and that my ..taste for pranks and jokes could get me into trouble with people.
I didn't mean to be rude with you,Gordom, and I truly apologise. Maybe it's because I'm nervous walking right to a bandit camp, and I've seen too much death too young, so I want to make the most of my life before... it's too late.
Anyone of us could get maimed, or killed. I know that, I try to accept that, but it's not really easy. We don't know each other well yet, but i want to get the chance to know each of you more.
She turns to Najara
I sincerely apologise to you too,Najara, as I slapped your butt too. Not too hard, I hope. That said, Gordom, you have a nice, firm.... Nevermind. I'm joking! I'm silent now. Promise.
She winks to the wildness warrior
I'd like the call on leaving the horses and the rolls from Gordom. If I don't have Najara and Andarr's rolls by the time I'm home from work tonight, we'll press on.
"It might be less of a liability if we were to tie off the horses here."
So saying, Gordom begins to do just that.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Stealth: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
2nd Perception for being in front: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
Robertness, have you heard anything from Najara or Andarr? Neither of them have posted in over a week.
|Najara the Ironsighted|
Najara dismounted from her horse and gritted her teeth as she stretched her sore muscles. It had been so long since she rode a horse. She had forgotten how taxing long journeys could be even if you are mainly sitting. ”Let us forget it.”, she responded in kind and accepted Vivian’s apology.
Thanking Buttercup for her service, Najara pats the horse gently on the neck. She then begins to the tie the beast to an off road tree as directed by Gordom.
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22 Stealth check.
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18 Perception check.
Apologies. It’s been a most busy week at work.
No worries, Najara. I can understand how work eats into game time. Until we hear from Andarr, he's "back with the horses." I think the bunch of you should be able to handle what's ahead without him.
Your journey towards the bandits camp passes uneventfully for the first half hour. Gordom's able to notice a handful of traps and guides the party around them.
Najara can act on the information in the spoiler. If she doesn't reply by this time tomorrow, I'll press the action along.
|Najara the Ironsighted|
There are two hunting platforms in the trees overhead and to the left of the path the party is following. They are positioned with one on each side of the road you left before taking the side path. The nearest platform is about fifty feet away and 15 feet above the ground. There are two bandits on the platform on your side of the road and one on the other platform. The bandits are too busy swapping jokes to have noticed the party.
As Najara indicates the bandits' position to Gordom, one of the bandits signals to the others and the bandits ready their bows.
Bandits 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Najara 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
Gordom 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Vivian 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Shix 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Juwwem 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
The bandit who was pointing out the party's position shoots his bow at Gordom. Attack 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20 Damage 1d8 ⇒ 2 His arrow cuts a gash in Gordom's arm. 2 points of damage.
You all get to act before the bandits act again. Exact order would be Vivian, Juwwem, Gordom, Najara, Shix, but you don't have to wait until the others are on.
Vivian takes a quick aim at the bandit who wounded Gordom, and let her arrow fly, whispering for herself
Let's see if you can get a taste of your own medecine
Unfortunatly, her arrow pass a few feet away from her target and get struck into the wooden platform