You wanted to read it over once more before tucking it away for the journey. Almost fumbling the paper with excitement you unroll the charter that was handed to you...
Be it so known that the bearer of this charter has been charged
by the Swordlords of Restov, acting upon the greater good and
authority vested within them by the office of the Regent of the
Dragonscale Throne, has granted the right of exploration and travel
within the wilderness region known as the Greenbelt. Exploration
should be limited to an area no further than thirty-six miles east and
west and sixty miles south of Oleg’s Trading Post. The carrier of
this charter should also strive against banditry and other unlawful
behavior to be encountered. The punishment for unrepentant banditry
remains, as always, execution by sword or rope. So witnessed on this
24th day of Calistril, under watchful eye of the Lordship of Restov
and authority granted by Lord Noleski Surtova, current Regent of
the Dragonscale Throne.
With reading complete, you put away the scroll and prep yourself for the journey ahead to Oleg's. You look up and take note of the members of your team standing around you who are prepping as well.
While you are familiar with some of them, there are still a few new faces here that you might want to introduce yourself to. Now might be a better time than any to get to know the people who you will fighting side by side with...
The clouds that steamed off the Lake of Mists and Veils dump most of their snow on the crags and ravines of Issia, north of the Gronzi Forest. The sturdy men of Port Ice, Anwel surmises, would still be punting ice floes away from the piers and ships of the city’s harbor, and the streets of New Stetven would just be thawing from their slippery frozenness to a chill but clinging muck. But this far south, the land bears little reminder of the season lived in the rest of Brevoy. Only a thin rime of frost clings to the ground, slowly giving way to the morning advances of the white, but straining toward spring yellow, late winter sun. Anwel shields his eyes against the low-hanging orb of light, used by now to the heavy stone walls and tall, thin, tinted-glass windows of Shadowcount Dima’s home in Nisroch, or more lately to the all-encompassing, defining darkness of the Shadow Plane. It has been many years since he has stood in the guise of a free elf under the light of the sun. She was not happy to see him.
Anwel rolls the charter up in a loose, unbound scroll and slips it into his collar. It falls down slowly inside his robes, coming to rest just above where his belt cinches his tabards to his waist. Anwel knows it will get creased there, but he doesn’t want to set down his backpack and press it flat between the pages of his spellbook. The wretched thing had just settled into some semblance of comfort on his shoulders, molding its contents around the shapes of Anwel’s bow and quiver, and even if he didn’t want to slow the other chartered explorers down, he wouldn’t have wanted to disrupt that. Speaking of which, thinks Anwel, when did this cavalcade get so large?
He looks around, counting his presumptive companions carefully. Anwel doesn’t want to lose any of them on the way. Nor does he want the party to be infiltrated by someone with some outside interest. These people do not need more than one snake in their midst, he thinks ruefully, the corners of his mouth dipping towards the ground, Especially if someone actually bore them ill will personally. It seems there are six of them, not counting Anwel himself. The first that draws Anwel’s gaze is a human man with fair skin and a nimbus of brown hair poofed up around his thin face. He stands still, looking west down the road, his copy of Restov’s charter held loosely in one hand. He wears a suit of small, overlapping steel plates over his clothes, and a thick slab of oak is slung across his back. Anwel can’t make out any charge or symbol, but whether that’s because the man’s shield is truly unadorned or because it’s difficult to see from this angle or in this light Anwel cannot tell.
By the side of the road, a gnome sits folding his copy of the charter into exact thirds, forming precise creases with his nails. A few seconds after he seems satisfied, he snaps his fingers and the sheet goes pristine and flat again. He then starts over. Anwel shakes his head a little, partly in disappointment at the waste of energy, partly in amusement that the little man hadn’t caught his attention sooner. Together, his skin, irises, hair, and garb form a veritable rainbow, his colors sometimes clashing and sometimes complimenting one another depending on their placement. Behind him, skirting the edge of the ditch that marks the edge of the road, a palomino mare and a goat with shaggy, green-tinged fur jostle as they pluck at a few scrubby plants with their teeth. Anwel watches as the gnome half-turns to the goat, seems to whisper something soothing, and pulls away just as the green of its coat shifts to a warm pink.
Another horse stands some distance away from the gnome’s palomino, this one a thick-boned, dark brown stallion with a short-cropped mane. A tall, broad hulk of a man pats the animal’s nose and feeds it something unidentifiable. His green skin and jutting fangs proclaim his heritage and the golden bauble dangling around his neck his creed. Anwel reflexively starts to shy away from both, but stops himself and forces himself to stand still. However he came by his faith, it satisfies something within his soul, just as mine does. As I have come to know the cleansing power of agony on the body and mind, so perhaps might the rigidity of the Lawgiver quell some savage impulse in his heart. As the man turns away, Anwel can see he’s bound his straight, shoulder-length jet black hair in a tight ponytail, even as Anwel lets his fall freely around his face.
Two of the others seem oddly similar as Anwel looks at them more closely, though their differences might have been striking to a cursory observer. Both the human and the dwarf are long-limbed and strong-looking. The musculature of each man shows a heavy bias towards one side of the body, and the stock of a crossbow and the strung end of a longbow testify as to why. The blood rises a little in Anwel’s face as he thinks of his own poor bow, a castoff he’d picked up cheap in Restov because the Shadowcountess hadn’t let him carry a weapon in her presence. He hoped he would not be called upon to defend his people’s prowess at archery.
The other elf probably would not be of any help if he was. Looking him over Anwel cannot see that he carries a bow, though a number of other weapons are in evidence. He wears a drab, olive coat and his brown hair behind his ears, apparently trying to be as nondescript as possible. He would succeed, too, were it not for his backpack being abnormally large and the glass phials and beakers slung from his belt and bandolier clinking every time he moves. Anwel lets himself smile a little as he finishes his head count. They were a memorable group, at least, and it would be difficult to misplace anyone and easy to spot an intruder.
”So,” says Anwel slowly, not really wanting to be the first one to speak but knowing that if he’s to make friends in the Stolen Lands this is the best place to start, ”Since we’re going to be travelling together, we should know what to call one another, right? ‘Anwel’ will do for me.” Anwel waits a moment to see if anyone volunteers their names, and hearing no response, decides to offer something else to talk about in case the others aren’t comfortable with sharing right away. ”What do you think of this charter? I think it’s a bit of a swindle. Of course bandits are a problem and there are real people getting hurt, and I suppose it's nice of Brevoy to assume we'd be willing to do what they want on that basis. Or maybe they think the pleasure of getting to play vigilante and executioner will fuel our passion for doing their dirty work. But if we're doing a job for them, you'd think they'd at least pay us a pittance.”
You can call me Udoeak. If you really want to, I've been called Udo before as well.
Think of it this way. Any bandits that get cleared out will likely have gold on them, and, in the event that the gold is untraceable to its previous owner, something that appears, to me at least, to be quite possible, then there is no owner, and the default rule is applied. After all, possession is 90% of the law. I hardly call this a swindle. And with all this nature around, you should feel right at home, eh, Anwel?
Udo's speech patterns seem dissimilar to any other elf you've met. If you're familiar, his speech sounds closer to the slang-filled speech of Numeria.
Thoughts on what characters catch Udo's eye coming in. Just wanted to get this post in.
Richard pockets his copy of the official Charter, switching it out for a small folded paper with a purple wax seal, marked with the crest of House Manning. Written was a 'farewell and thank you' from his lord, Kevan Manning. If you'd like, I'll write something for it, but for now I'll keep it vague.
After a quick read, he smiled and tucked it away once more, finally taking note of the others gathered. Richard takes a cursory look around at his traveling companions before turning to face the speaking elves.
"You know nothing of the law, then, 'Udo'. Though you are correct this time, we keep what we kill. We will need to clear the plains of banditry, or our travels will be short lived indeed." he snorts at the taller elf's remark before crossing his arms and puffing his chest proudly.
"As for introductions, I am Ser Richard Hawke, Born of House Hawke and in service to House Manning."
Couple of questions before we set out: Are we getting DM-gifts for travel such as horses and carts, or only what we purchased? Any NPC's tagging along with us, or are we the only seven? Any special contacts one/any of us have with the houses of Brevoy?
Also: Richards thoughts on the rest of the party to follow.
Other than that, Let the journey begin!
And now, his thoughts on characters.
He had seen this one before in town, but never talked to him. His green skin affected his idea of the half-orc as little as being an elf affected his idea of Anwel. He had worked with many in his time, and they worked just as well, if not better, with him. His falchion looks like it has some wear, that's good. No doubt he'll be helpful, in one way or another. I've just gotta keep my eyes on him, and, by his faith, his eyes off me.
He had seen Richard before as well, often patrolling the town walls, crossbow in hand. I've seen his work before. He's a good shot, and a good fit for the group.
This Anwel fellow is a tad strange. I don't have much experience with elves, but he does carry the bow of our people. I'll figure him out in time, I suppose. As he carries it, I doubt I could be much better with it than he; let's hope he keeps it to himself, and doesn't challenge me to a duel of sorts.
The dwarf seemed stranger still. Dwarves weren't known for their use of the longbow, and yet here he was, with a finely crafted one, at that. Not only does he use an unusual weapon, but he's also unarmored, yet another strange thing for a dwarf. I'll have to keep an eye on him.
Udo hadn't had many dealings with gnomes, so he wasn't sure what to make of him. He certainly seemed an interesting fellow, but from what he'd heard, gnomes can be somewhat troublesome. Yet another to keep his eye on.
And now, the one called Jeremiah. He had been seen before, healing others, and offering prayers from Sarenrae. He seemed like a good kid, but a bit naive to be out here with banditry as frequent as it is. At least he had sense enough to get a good suit of armor to cover himself with. If he couldn't run, as Udo figured, then at least he would be harder to get to.
And now, a response to a post that happened in the interim between my posts.
I'll admit, Dick, I'm not intimately familiar with the law, but I'm fairly good at the elimination of threats, such as bandits, if I do say so myself.
“I hope so, Udoeak,” says Anwel, taking care to use the longer form. It didn’t sound like a Sovyrian, or even a Lossendor name, but a personal name was something an elf chose for himself, and Anwel wanted to respect that. “Though I have not walked the Greenbelt in many years. If the Narlmarches are anything like the Verduran Forest, I suppose they will feel familiar. It might be too much to hope that they will be anything like the Fierani Forest.” Anwel leaves out the fact that the Uskwood would seem most familiar of all. Since he’s speaking to Udoeak now, rather than to the air or to the group as a whole, Anwel walks deliberately over to where Udoeak is standing, the better to look him in the face. The other elf’s eyes open wider than Anwel’s; clearly he isn’t as averse to the light of the sun. Anwel has trouble telling iris from pupil, however. Either Udoeak’s eyes are black, or a very dark brown. “I do wonder, though, why you do not expect yourself to feel at home, Udoeak. Are you not from around here?” Anwel briefly considers the possibility that Udoeak is Forlorn, but doesn’t bring it up. He doesn’t want to pry, partially because it would be rude, but especially since doing so might invite the others to pry into his past.
“Even if you’re not, it shouldn’t matter when it comes to working out just what our relationship is with Brevoy.” says Anwel, working backwards from Udoeak’s last point to his first. “We’re giving them our service and in return we get a right to kill in their name. Any good we do for real people, and any gains we make for ourselves are incidental to our relationship with the men who signed our charters. As far as Brevoy is concerned, we are working for nothing, and if we believe otherwise, so much the better for them.” Anwel sighs. It’s not as though working for nothing is something with which he is unfamiliar. Nor are speeches of this kind, though he is badly out of practice and was better at listening than at speaking even during the heyday of the first Council. “I am sorry if I seem grumpy,” says Anwel. “I just want to make sure we are all clear about what is really going on here. Let our enemies, let the bandits, cling to their illusions, but let them fall from our eyes.”
The names of the Brevic noble houses mean little to Anwel, though the puffed-up pride with which the crossbowman proclaims them tells him a little about the houses and a lot about the human. Aristocrats based their claims on either ancientry or force. The age of Ser Hawke’s house, or his foster house, also mean little to Anwel. They are as nothing to the age of the elders he had studied under in Kyonin, still less of their houses, or to the undying heads of the Umbral Court that Anwel knew only as whispered and feared rumors. But maybe the human was proud of the force he could bring to bear against his enemies, and maybe he was right to be. Anwel would wait and see. In the meantime there is no harm in being polite. “A pleasure, Ser,” he says, turning his head but not his body from Udoeak. It’s fairly clear that Anwel doesn’t believe Richard has anything of merit to say just now, and that he considers it Richard’s responsibility to come up with something rather than his responsibility to elicit a response.
Not that I’m making any decisions, but I’d rather stray as far away from GM-gifts as possible. We were already given a very generous point buy, and there are at least two Pioneers if we need to do some heavy hauling. Which we don’t. As for special contacts with NPCs, that’d be up to you to decide in your background, no?
No, Anwel, as a matter of fact, I'm not from around here. And I don't particularly care either if there is no money involved. It's not that I have so much love for Brevoy that I can't help but do anything for them; it's more that I have nothing better to do. While this employer may not be the best, it's certainly not the worst, and I've accepted the terms that have been put forward. As long as the deal does not change, I am perfectly content to simply off bandits as we find them. In the mean time, the exploration allowed should be interesting.
Udoeak seems sad, almost, as if remembering something. Soon, however, he is back to his mostly impassive self.
Khargol looks at the others in the group, his eyes falling on each in turn. His features, reminiscent of the bestial nature he inherited from who he assumes was his blood father, are a mask of determination. There is little that crosses his face that might indicate what he thinks of the group that has assembled before him. After he has spent a few moments studying each of them in turn, he turns his eyes down the path that leads to Oleg's Trading Post. He's known of the outpost for some time, of course, as have any others who hail from Rostland. One might even think he wasn't paying any mind to what the others were saying until he turns his attention to the talkative, pale-skinned elf who first introduced himself.This one is concerning...more interested in restitution than in simply ridding the world of bandit filth and thinking of the Swordlords charter as some kind of vigilante-ism...though I suppose Abadar can use whom he pleases to continue civilization's march across the Inner Sea.
"Well met, Anwel. And the rest of you. I was given the name Khargol by the clerics of Abadar, who I suppose thought it fitting to honor my heritage rather than give me a human name." he begins, his voice a low, gruff baritone.
"Regarding the charter, I can only say that I have waited long for another expedition to be authorized by the Swordlords. The bandits and monsters who dwell in the Stolen Lands have long been a plague to the peoples of Brevoy. Any riches to be earned from them are of no consequence. It is enough to purge the wilderness of Abadar's enemies. With his blessing, we will finally bring some trace of civilization to the Greenbelt." he adds, his eyes once more moving to the road leading to Oleg's as his right hand moves to briefly clutch the golden key that hangs around his neck before it returns to rubbing the muzzle of his pack horse, speaking to the animal in a hushed voice unheard to the others. Abadar, may your blessing be on this journey and these companions. May any bandits we find meet a swift end on the tips of our swords and the points of our arrows. he says to himself in silent prayer.
"What you say is very troubling, Khargol," says Anwel. His warbly tenor probably mispronounces the gruff name despite his spell-practiced enunciation, but that can't be helped. "I had not known about other expeditions of this type, and you have perhaps shed more light on the Swordlords' motives for having us work for nothing than Udoeak has." Anwel nods to Udoeak, a silent apology for shifting his focus and for talking about him in the third person, both things that were ultimately unavoidable in such a large group. "They expect us simply to die or defect like all the others they have sent, and don't consider us worth investing in. This also means that, depsite their pretense, they've really given up on the people we're supposed to protect from bandits.
"To such cynicism, I can only say that we will do the task faithfully and well, in spite of, rather than because of, our charter. And that if Brevoy will not acknowledge our labor, we do it for each other, and for the people who live on the land. I am not prepared to debate the meaning of civilization in the abstract, but with the attitude they have displayed I am hesitant to call the men who chartered us 'civilized'. Surely theirs is not an attitude that should be more widespread." Anwel sees Khargol turning away from him as he talks, and walks to the head of the group so as to be more difficult to ignore. Anwel bites his lip and looks left and right, for evesdropping travellers but especially for a scrying sensor. These were not always safe opinions to hold.
Weekends are usually my slowest time for posting; apologies on not getting in quicker.
Jeremiah replaces the charter into his pack and looks to the group as Anwel leads the conversation. From his stance it's obvious he favors the right leg, and when he shuffles in place it becomes obvious he has a severe limp. He remains silent for much of the conversation, gazing absentmindedly down the road. By the gods, I should have gotten a horse as well. Jeremiah scratches at his neck, where the scale armor is chafing his rather delicate skin.
Jeremiah decides to pipe in after Anwel, saying, "I simply don't see that, sir. Just because the Swordlords 'ave sent people in before us don't mean that they're sendin' us on a suicide mission. Maybe they think us a more capable lot?" Jeremiah looks at the elf dubiously and thinks to himself, That one's rather cynical himself.
Khargol looks to Jeremiah, giving a curt nod. "I do not believe the fault is with the Swordlords, as you say. The dangers of the Stolen Lands are well known to Restov, and Brevans in general. Any who sought the charter were well aware of what they were getting themselves into. We are not Brevan military...not even militia. We are, as far as the Swordlords are concerned, adventurers seeking fame and fortune."
He then gives another look to Anwel, huffing out a breath. "Then we are not so different, you and I. It is not for Brevoy that I applied for this charter, nor for its' masters. It is for Abadar and for the people who in the Greenbelt and beyond who know only chaos and lawlessness. I will let nothing stop me from bringing settlement and peace to the Stolen Lands."
His further view expressed, he again looks to Jeremiah. "My horse is not for riding, but can be leaned on if need be. Should you require it, feel free to avail yourself." he offers.
"Perhaps we are not, Khargol," says Anwel with a visible shrug. "Though I don't know if I have it within me anymore to cleave to abstract ideals. Like you say, we all volunteered for this, and I knew going in that our mission would pass without material reward for ourselves. I am here primarily for the rest of you, to be at your disposal and maybe to keep you safe." Anwel thought this was an unhappily ironic way of putting things, since he had been at another's disposal most of his long life and was now with less freedom of action than ever. He frowns. A future where these six could help protect him against his masters seems distant indeed, even if, as was looking less and less likely the more he spoke, Anwel could gain their trust and friendship in the meantime.
"All I ask," he continues, "as I have said, is that we proceed in full consciousness of what we are doing, with an attitude oriented towards critique, and especially self-critique." Anwel turns to the slow-moving man in armor, and pauses for a moment, trying to think of his name. He does not recall it, but speaks his piece anyway. "The first illusion of which we should disabuse ourselves is that we are especially capable, or destined for greatness, or marked as unique in some way. It is more difficult to sway the fates of countries and peoples than it might seem at first blush." Anwel has spent the last few minutes sizing these people up, and in his mind they could not compare, even in numbers, to the band of self-confident internationalists who had paddled east out of Kyonin so many years ago. That party had failed to change the world, with greater might and greater ideals. Decades later, the mighty political thinkers of an age had failed to bring about utopia. What chance had these poor fools? As they were poor fools, what chance had Anwel to make them see it? "All we can do is be true to one another, and to the people we find on the land.
"Speaking of which," says Anwel, as though an idea just struck him. He looks intently at Khargol. "You seem to know much of the Swordlords' counsel. Are some of those other groups you spoke of entering the Greenbelt, or other parts of the Stolen Lands, in unison with ours, or are we alone?"
Jeremiah scoffs at Anwel, thinking to himself, Not all of us may be unique but I... His thoughts go back on themselves, as Jeremiah thinks, No, he's got a point. I may have a gift from Sarenrae, but I can't let that get to my head. I'm as green an adept as there ever has been. Still, I wish he'd keep a more positive outlook. He keeps a frown, staring at the talkative elf for a few more seconds, before looking carefully at the rest of the group, each in turn. Hopefully the rest of them can keep some better cheer, or else I may have chosen the wrong group to go off on an adventure with.
Jeremiah replies to the elf's sentiment concerning honesty with, "That, at least, I can agree with." Sway the fates of countries? I thought we were to just scout the land and rid it of this bandit problem. I wonder if his charter is the same as mine? Perhaps instead he knows more than I. Jeremiah mulls over the elf's words carefully.
As he continues to look over the rest of the group, Jeremiah pays special attention to Khargol, nodding slightly to himself at the half-orc's devotion to his god. With a small smile, Jeremiah says to him, "A good helping of order would do much to ease the suffering of the smallfolk of these parts, so I think you an' I are on the same track, friend. An' thanks for the offer, I think I may take you up on it." I think I should get to like this one. Maybe I should talk with him at length later.
Udoeak chuckles slightly as Anwel comes to the end of his first group of comments. (...and maybe to keep you safe.)
In response to second group of comments, I've already had this instilled into me. I am not special. I am not a beautiful or unique snowflake. I'm the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We are all part of the same compost heap. I already know this. That's never affected my outlook, and it certainly won't now. Again, the sadness rears its ugly head, although he continues speaking through it, and by the time he is finished, he shows no sign of it any longer.
In response to Jeremiah's comment concerning order, Perhaps a bit of order would be helpful. I guess we'll just have to find out, eh?
Also, Physical Description is up on my profile.
|Garth the Gnome|
The gnome runs his hands back through his multi-colored hair, laying it flat for a moment. Snapping his fingers as his hands drop back to his sides the hair naturally springs back. He cranes his neck to look at the tall folks around around. You all can call me Garth. Can't say I'm too keen on the thought of bandits but if there is adventure to be had in the ... his voice trails off as he looks over at the half-orc ... Oh yeah, in the Greenbelt. Then I'm all for it.
He drops his voice to a whisper and adds And a way back to the First World.
Jeremiah replies to the gnome pleasantly, "I've no doubt the untamed land will have plenty opportunity for adventurin'. By the way, what is that goat doin' with you? Is it your pet?" Jeremiah looks to the strangely colored animal with fascination. He's sure the gnome must be a mage if he can change the goat's color at will as such, but he doesn't know much else about the gnome. Apparently he missed the mutterings.
Khargol looks to Anwel once more, nodding. "I know the Swordlords have handed charters out to a number of groups. It is not unusual for them to send several groups into the Stolen Lands to clear it of the rabble. To my knowledge, this time they will be sending four different groups, including ours, into the Greenbelt. As far as the fate of our travels, that is not for us to decide. Abadar will guide our journey."
He firsts glances toward Udoeak, a brief sense of bemusement at his apparent outlook on life flickering across his features before he casts a quizzical look at the gnome standing nearby with the color-changing goat, briefly running his hand through his beard as he tries to place him. He seems familiar, but he's unsure of where he's come across him before...come to think of it, the depressing elf looks familiar. Dismissing the thought from his mind and simply deciding that he's seen them somewhere in Restov or near the border of the Stolen Lands, he turns his attention back to the road. "Are we ready to be off to Oleg's, then?"
The slender dwarf looks out of place. He has no armor and no axe or hammer. He is dressed rather plainly, and has a plain face. The only thing dwarflike is his beard, which is scrupulously maintained.
Upon further glance, the elegant composite bow, the three quivers of arrows, the arrowguard on his arm, the calloused fingers, all paint a picture of one who knows how to use a bow.
He speaks in a plain voice, "Name is Bimbur and I hail from Rostland. I think the charter is error, it should read 'sword, rope or arrow'."
After looking around the group, "We got every race represented but hobbits."
He looks at Richard and Jermiah, "Unless one of you are a wee one that ate all your vegetables when growing up?"
|Garth the Gnome|
Garth smiles up at the human and turns to look back at the pinkish goat. "Goat the goat?" He jerks his thumb over his shoulder and smiles. "She's just kind of along for the ride right now. Goats enjoy a bit of adventure now and again too you know. Kind of nimble on her feet too."
He turns to the thin dwarf and swings back his cloak showing off the diminutive crossbow he has slung at his side. "Know what you mean brother, nothing says adventure quite like the twang of a bow string." The gnome closes his eyes for a moment and a huge grin widens across his face and then he adds, "Well perhaps a storm of flaming icy hail says adventure in a different way but that's the stuff of legend."
He hops to his feet and he's not much taller than when he was sitting by the side of the road on a somewhat largish rock. "And I'm with Green over there. Let's get to getting to the trading post."
At Garth's comment, the barest hint of a smile crosses his face for a flicker of a moment. "Well met, Bimbur. You are...not the typical Dwarf, it would seem. But I will be happy to have your bow at my back when I am bearing down on our foes." he answers.
He then looks around the group, taking note of each individual, before giving a snort. "I get the feeling I'm going to have many of you at my back while bearing down on our foes. Not that I am complaining, of course."
At your back? I doubt it. I'm better at ambush than I am at sitting back. At most, I'll be across from you, or on another target, if need be. It will be good, however, to have ranged combatants at our backs. Tactical advantage is something I've always enjoyed having.
"Khargol, I'm pretty sneaky and a good lookout. I can slip and take hits as well as the next guy. I usually go up front so I can shoot from up close before they see me. The concept is like this human tactic I heard of called skirmishing."
He looks at Khargol and Richard.
"And then I expect the reinforcements to quickly arrive."
Bimbur expects to be in the front row. He is quite perceptive and moderately stealthy.
Jeremiah gives a light laugh, not sure what Bimbur means by "slip" but saying to him, "Well, I can slip as well as you, I guess. In fact, I'm pretty good at slipping off a horse and falling on my face, as I've done in the past." He then motions down the road, saying, "I'm with Khargol here; surely we can talk as we walk? We've a while to go still." Jeremiah decides to himself, Well, I suppose it's a good a group as any. They seem like the types who would be good in a fight, which is just what we're gonna need, I reckon.
|Garth the Gnome|
Garth laughs nervously and edges over to Khargol. He gives him an elbow nudge in the lower thigh. He looks nearly straight up, grins, and whispers. "Psst! Hey Green." The gnome waits for a moment to realize he's down there and then says a little louder, "What's tactics?"
Aye. Let's get a move on, then. As he starts walking, Udoeak continues talking. I'm sure I'll be able to take advantage of positioning in combat. You give me openings, and I'll make damn good use of them. Bandits up north, northwest, have had trouble with me before, and I'm sure the ones down here won't fare any better, now that it's not just me.
Tactics, little one, are what win battles. They are plans to defeat one's enemy in the most efficient way possible.
Udoeak has been measuring his new companions for a while now. Well, it looks like Khargol is a good, strong one. He'll be able to provide a worthy distraction. Bimbur and Dick look like they'll be good at pinning down opponents. This team should do pretty well together.
"Tactics relate more to technique than to plan, Garth," says Anwel lightly, not really all that interested in the others' comparing their prowess. "A tactic is something like Bimbur's skirmishing, a practiced set of actions that utilizes one's strengths and takes advantage of the enemy's weaknesses." Anwel nods curtly to Bimbur, hoping the dwarf would take it as a greeting - something which would be awkward to insert into the things Anwel was saying to Garth. "A plan sets out which tactics will be used, by whom, and most importantly to what end."
"As for storms of flaming icy hail, all I can say is that I am glad we are not engaged in legend-making. The stuff of legend they may be, but they are also the stuff of flattened crops, livestock crushed and cooked in the fields, and ancient trees pulverized into pieces no bigger than your hand." Anwel shakes his head. That got a bit out of hand. He starts walking slowly up the road, keeping pace with Udoeak.
"And Khargol," he says, looking over his shoulder, "thank you for sharing what you know. For the sake of your ambitions I hope one of these other groups can succeed if we do not."
|Garth the Gnome|
Watching the elves begin to walk away Garth cocks his head to the side and shrugs his shoulders giving a little Hmmm almost under his breath. "Makes sense" he says to no one in particular, "but flaming hail would be epic.
The gnome turns away from the rest of the party and gives a little whistle. Goat looks up from the bits of grass she was eating, grabs one more clump between her teeth and then begins to walk towards Garth. At a sharper second whistle Garth's other companion leaps over the ditch by the side of the road and comes to a stop next to the gnome.
Garth gives the large golden dog's behind a firm playful thump and then uses both hands to rub its back sides for a few moments. As loose fur glistens in the sunlight, Garth swings himself up onto the back of the large dog.
After a few moments the dog (with Goat at its side) has caught up to the slow moving elves. Garth turns to Anwel and speaking in what is almost a song, "ขอขอบคุณและตอบสนองความชุ่มชื่น".
Google Translate - English to Tamil. Thought it looked good for Elvish but oddly enough it doesn't translate back into English.
Jeremiah has nothing to add on the semantics of the battlefield, and starts to walk as well. He plods along much slower than the rest of the group, obviously due to his bad leg. He leans on Khargol's horse when he can, though he doesn't look strained or in pain when he steps onto his bad leg. Perhaps that merely means it's been with him for a long while, and the pain is a familiar thing for him.
Finding that the others have sufficiently described what tactics are for Garth, Khargol opts for silence, giving only an acknowledging grunt to Anwel, walking near the back of the group so that his horse can stay near enough to Jeremiah that he is able to lean on the animal for support. He is vigilant, eyes slowly scanning the plains in front of them for any signs of hostility, knowing that the open terrain would give them much more opportunity to react to coming danger.
Though he is cautious to put faith in the combat prowess of his allies, since he has never before seen them fight, he is hopeful that they will prove capable in battle.
I'm ready to move on to Oleg's if everyone else is.
Anwel's reply to Garth is a somewhat longer variation on the gnome's theme. "நட்சத்திரங்கள் வெளியே வரும்போது, நாம் இன்னும் கூட்டம் இருக்கும்."
Anwel smiles a little, and rubs the back of his neck. Even with Garth straddling his beautiful dog, Anwel needs to nod his head to look him in the face. He hopes Garth knows the subtle tongue and proverb lexicon of his people well enough to know that beneath the apparent proclamation of distance is a real desire to know him better.
Yeah, moving on, either to Oleg's or, if Kudos has something planned, to an intermediate point seems to be in order.
The crossbowman chuckles at Udoeak's words of his success over the bandits. "We'll certainly prove your statement true, elf, perhaps you know more of justice than you think."
While traveling, Richard stands off to the side of Jeremiah, one hand lazily draped across the hilt of his sword and the other swinging at his side.
Sorry for late response, been distracted by 15 hour-a-day sleeping and WoW. Ready to move on to Oleg's!
|Garth the Gnome|
The gnome rides along in silence. Occasionally glancing around as the party moves slowly down the trail. He gives a little whistle, squeezing his knees against the sides of Dog and the hound bounds ahead down the trail.
Garth's rainbow hair flops about as he whistles some kind of tune. He occasionally flicks a hand from side to side. A small glob of liquid flings to the side of the trail sometimes landing on a large leaf - burning a perfect circular hole with a hissing noise.
After a few minutes Dog slows and begins to pace in circles. Garth smiles as Goat slowly plods along the trail with the rest of the party.
Anwel smiles a little wider as Garth's dog bounds ahead of him and Udoeak. The gnome's energy is infectious, and more than balances out Anwel's disappointment at the other elf's seeming desire to only connect with Ser Richard and the human with the bad leg.
As the minutes wear on, however, some of Garth's tics begin to trouble Anwel. Those whistles, are they really bursts of spontaneous joy, or were they signals to pursuers? Those globs of acid Garth throws around - Anwel thinks he recognizes the minor spell - make a fine trail of divots in the dirt and holes in the plants. Anwel's smile has dropped off his face by this point, and he shakes his head. He is too suspicious. The odds of another person in this cavalcade having a sword hanging over his head were miniscule. And even if Garth did serve some master, who was Anwel to judge, or, given the fate he'd accepted, to fear them?
Despite his self-assurances, Anwel's worries do not diminish, and he decides to ask Garth about it. He speeds up a little, narrowing the distance between him and Garth, and leaving Udoeak behind. The gnome, however, seems wrapped up in his own pursuits, and doesn't seem to notice. To get his attention, Anwel waits until Garth's hand flicks out again, and imitates the motion, subtly waggling his fingers to weave the strands of raw arcana into a pattern. Rather than creating his own corrosive liquid, Anwel inverts the pattern and mentally beats on it like one would a drum, causing it to resonate and disrupt Garth's. The first time this happens, Garth's magic punches through Anwel's barrier so effectively that the gnome doesn't seem to notice. So Anwel waits, and tries again.This is a counterspell. The requisite Spellcraft checks can be found below.
The gnome's attention now in hand, Anwel asks "Why do you do that?" He tries to look innocuously curious, but there is worry on his face and in his voice for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26
Khargol pauses momentarily, eying the confrontation developing between Garth and Anwel. He doesn't stop walking, hoping that no one else chooses to stop their trek to let this play out. He doesn't make any moves to aid or assist either the gnome or the elf, though he does wonder at how much experience Anwel has with gnomes, since pretty much all of them have some eccentricities that he has simply learned to dismiss as a curiosity of the race. He doesn't LIKE their more chaotic nature, of course, but he's learned to accept it as more-or-less inevitable where gnomes are concerned.
Still, though he doesn't care for Anwel's paranoia, he chooses to wait. The animosity is directed to Garth, first and foremost, and it would be rude to attempt to answer the question before he has had a chance to respond.
Bimbur nods approvingly at Garth.
"Amateurs practice until they get it right once. Professionals practice till they CAN'T get it wrong. I know which one the gnome is."
Bimbur continues quietly.
|Garth the Gnome|
Garth squints his eyes at the elf. "Why do you do that what?" He pauses, trying to look stern. The he laughs. "எனக்கு போரடிக்குது"
He gives a little whistle and Dog trots forward. Glancing back at Khargol steadily leading his pack horse forward along with the limping human.
"אפילו גרין קוקט באָרד"
Garth laughs giddily to himself and snaps his fingers.
Be aware that you only have one Prestidigitation, as you don't have it prepared. Also, the colorations will only last an hour, rather than stay.
Udoeak lets Garth and Anwel go on ahead, intent on not tiring himself out to keep up with others.
Anwel chuckles at Garth's exclamation, and allows himself a full-on laugh at the color trick. "Still," he says, his grey eyes twinkling in his pale face, "If we leave the road it might be better to not mark our trail, hmm? There's bandits about."
His worries asuaged, Anwel takes off his cloak. He'll carry it until the pink reverts back to jet. As he stands still, removing the garment, and then folding it so it will be easier to carry, a few of the others pass him.
The group continues forward; carrying onward towards Oleg's trading post. The land seems timid enough for the road you are traveling on but things stir in the far distance.
The road eventually gives way to a sight of a small wooden palisade. The walls appear to stand about 2 men tall (That is 10' since I like to think that 1 man = 5') but standing taller at the four corners are towers. On top of these structures are what appears to be catapults, but as you come closer, you notice that they are not "in the best shape." The fortress appears to be be in repair since some of the wall timbers look to be replaced when compared to others.
With nothing to tell you not to proceed, you approach the threshold into the fortress. Peering around you do not see anyone at first glance, but you hear the sounds of a hammer pounding away off to the right of the enterance.
|Garth the Gnome|
The gnome gives a click of his tongue against his cheek and when Goat doesn't respond he follows up with a bump of his small boot against the goat's hindquarters. The animal gets the hint and peels off before the gate and begins munching grass lazily.
"I know I'm a long way from my father's homestead on the Sellen River but this is Oleg's?" He turns towards the rest of the party with a grimace on his face. "This place is a dump."
He wrinkles his nose. Kind of smells like one too. Sorry Dog.
Anwel's got his cloak back on by this time, and seems much more at ease now that the sun is beginning to dip low in the sky. He takes in the silhouette of the trading post in the west: the stockade's pointed tips, the steep, sloping roofs of the buildings jutting above them, the lights of candles and torches shining out through the windows, specks in a mostly dark facade. Silently, he agrees with Garth. This place could not compare, for defensibility, location, or beauty, with even the small outpost of Elistia. Even compared to ruined Isarn or provincial Bellis, human towns long since gone to seed, Oleg's was hardly impressive.
Still, some humans had sharp ears, all things considered, and it would not be wise to let Oleg himself know Anwel's opinion. That is, assuming there was an Oleg to offend. Anwel knew that the regime of private property held sway here on the edge of Brevoy just as surely as it did in Andoran, Taldor, or Nidal. Away south, indeed, the regime reveled in its most primal state, the way it did on the waters of the Inner Sea. "You have what you hold," went the saying, a frank acknowledgement that the buttress of property was violence, and that its acquisition was theft. That the name "Oleg" was attached to the trading post implied that the man lived, and was considered to own the place.
It might be worthwhile to confirm Oleg's existence, in fact. Anwel walks up to the lintel of the trading post's heavy wooden gate and knocks as hard as he can. He can barely hear the noise he makes himself over the banging of the hammer, even though the wood resonates as it should. "Oleg?" he calls out, straining his voice to be heard. "You have visitors! Seven, out of Restov!"
I don't like to criticize, but this place is not well kept up. Garth is right.
Bimbur cups his hands and yells as only a dwarf can, "Hail, the keep. Charter holders here--open up, we have come a long way."
Jeremiah takes the long-awaited break in the walking to sit down, which is made a difficult task by his armor. He pensively looks over the walls of the fort, and finds himself impressed, in spite of Garth's criticism. Maybe it's just because he's never really seen much in the way of forts, but Jeremiah thinks to himself, This place looks like it's held up against hard times before, an' it could do it again. Not a bad place this 'Oleg' has got here. He lets the others hail anyone living here while he rests his legs, his left leg feeling especially cramped after doing most of the work for a long days' march. He thinks, not for the first time today, I really should've gotten a horse.
Their presence announced already by Anwel, Khargol lets his horse move off to the side of the gate to join Goat in grazing, following the animal to the grass to gently stroke his mane. He looked up at Oleg's, taking it in, before looking back down to Garth. "It is my understanding that Oleg's is a relatively recently established outpost converted from an abandoned border fort. I would wager the evidence we see of repair is the work he has done since coming out here."
Upon entering the fortress your shouts quickly grab the attention of a female human who pops her head out from around a building. Approaching you she says, "Praise the gods! You have arrived just as the note has said. Please come in and make yourself at home. I prepared a nice meal for you that I think you will enjoy."
She starts to look around and without finding whomever she might be looking for she shouts out, "Oleg! Come over here! Our guests have arrived!"
The hammering stops and from behind the building just to your right, a tall, gruff, and rather fierce looking male human comes out. He looks rather fatigued and awfully sweaty. He must have been up there a while.
Oleg says, "I see you have arrived. Good. Drop your things down and have some food. We have a few things to get caught up on."