Khargol merely stands to the side, his arms folded across his broad chest. The agreements that need be made are being handled by the others and he doesn't feel the need to add to what is being said.
He does, however, commit to memory the general location and description of the berries that the strange alchemist mentions, knowing that retrieving could make him into an ally for the cause.
Anwel slings his pack to the ground and pulls out a piece of blank parchment, a quill, and a phial of ink. He measures the distance from the tip to the second knuckle of his right index finger, and declares in a legend scrawled in the bottom right hand corner that this distance equalled twelve miles. The then marks the location of the trading post near the center of the map's top edge, and marks Bokken's hut about ten miles southeast of that. Further down the page, he sketches in broad strokes two arcs, one about fifty, one about sixty miles from Bokken's, beginning due east of the hut and continuing to the edge of the map.
"Well, it's rough," he declares, getting up off the ground. His pack lies in place, but Anwel clutches his sketch and writing implements in his hand. He ambles over to Udoeak so the other elf, who seems to have established a rapport with the hermit, can show him the map. "But according to your description, Bokken, this is the area we should search for Fangberries.
"If this is as precise as your directions can get," he continues, "and you have no further need of us at present, we should be moving on. Oleg and Svetlana expect us tomorrow and we keep our appointments." He smiles a little. "In the same vein, expect the fangberries in a week or two."
That looks about right, Anwel. Quite an area to search, unfortunately. Depending on circumstances, it may take us a bit longer than a week or two, unfortunately.In any case, we'll be back with some berries relatively soon. Udoeak comes closer to shake the hand of Bokken, if he will allow it. It's been a pleasure, but as Anwel said, motioning to the other elf, We've got places to be.
Khargol looks over to Anwel as he retrieves the supplies needed to begin a map of the local area as well as plot out the general region they could expect to find the aforementioned fangberries. After he and Udoeak are finished discussing the matter with Bokken and the alchemist returns to his hut, he approaches the two elves.
"So...that is taken care of. Shall we continue exploring this area for the remainder of the day? We have a great deal of land to cover if it is our wish to finish mapping the immediate region and then return to Oleg and Svetlana on time."
Anwel blows on the ink to dry it, and rolls the map up with a swift motion. He steps back to his pack, slots the map into a side pocket, draws the top closed, and swings it once again over his shoulder. "Today and tomorrow," says Anwel. "That was the plan. We might as well stick to it.
"It would be worthwhile," he says, "to prepare a master map and leave it at the trading post. We can then map our individual forays on a much larger scale in the field, and then transfer them to the master map. For now it is not too much of a concern; the land is flat and uninteresting for what looks like miles around." Anwel lifts his eyes to the sky, squinting against the still bright light for a sign of smoke from the trading post. Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21 "But as our knowledge expands and the lands become more complex it could be a good investment.
"Before it darkens," he suggests, seeming happier at the very thought, "Do we want to see if we can find game? I don't think the provisions we have will run out before our planned return to the trading post, still less if we have to make it back in a hurry. But we should try to live off what we find if we can, just in case."
Sure. I've never tried it, but I'll give anything a shot once.
Survival: 1d20 ⇒ 14
Not too bad for no ranks or wisdom mod. If I'm not mistaken, that nets enough for me and two other people, unless you've got other plans in mind, Kudos.
Jeremiah agrees with Anwel's sentiment with a smile, saying, "You never had a fresh coney stew before? My dad would bring some from the hunters, an' no one could make as good a stew as mum." He throws in a mmmmm for emphasis.
He tries to help watch for tracks and other signs of game in the area as the hunting is being done. Take 10 on survival to Aid Another on Udo, adding another person's meal for the night.
Bimbur responds to Jeremiah's question, "Dark elves killed many of my clan mates with bows. I thought I would just study the bows to learn how to defeat them. Instead, I learned I wanted to use bows myself."
|Garth the Gnome|
After hearing the description of the fangberries, Garth gets down close to Goat and begins to whisper softly in the animals ear. Garth uses his once/day Speak with Animals to give Goat a description of the berries. Goat will take a Survival +4 to find food once we're in the area of the berries. After a few moments the gnome gives the goat a playful headbutt and then stands to turn to the rest of the party.
"I'm with Green, let's keep going. If it gets dark, it gets dark."
As the party moves and Bimbur explains his choice in weapons, Jeremiah says, "Wow, dark elves? I've always thought they were just a story parents told their kids to scare them. Well, that certainly is an interesting story, I'm sure. You seem to have picked up the art rather well yourself." Jeremiah grins as he delivers the compliment, wanting to make a good impression and form friends out of these allies.
Khargol nods at Anwel's suggestion, looking out over the plains. "Keeping a master map of the Stolen Lands at Oleg's is a superb idea. It will make mapping the overall region that much simpler if we have a base of operations from which to plan our expeditions. Hunting, also, sounds like a good idea. I will go out and see what I can find. We may be able to recover enough that there will be no need for us to use our trail rations this evening...and it will be good practice for when we are in areas farther away from civilization and must rely on our hunting skills."
Survival: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
Well...not really great, but enough to feed the rest of the group, I think.
Between Khargol, Jeremiah, and Udoeak plenty of food is gathered for all to eat at tonight's camp.
Looking into the distance, you do not see any smoke coming from Oleg's post. There must be no change in their status.
The party will settle in for the evening.
If you are done with the day, feel free to let me know. You can always continue to exchange stories and experiences before doing so.
If the party is breaking for the evening, shall anyone stay up for a watch? This could be a standard list I would go to for overnight vigils
Edit: For charting this part of the land, you all shall receive an easy 200 XP
Jeremiah can stay up for a watch, as he has a decent Wisdom and doesn't need a full night's rest for spells.
When the group sets up the fire, Jeremiah gets to cooking a stew using the game that was caught. He hasn't done much cooking in his time, but he manages the simple fair easily enough. As he hasn't any bowls himself, he fills one of his waterskins with broth after passing it around to drain it. He picks out bits and pieces of the game with his hands, not being squeamish about it, and offering them if anyone else looks hesitant about reaching their hands into the stew.
While Khargol, Jeremiah, and Udoeak hunt, Anwel busies himself gathering rocks to border their campfire and dead wood for kindling. Building the fire he leaves to someone, anyone else, as he had done ever since one of the fires he'd built during the war smoked and brought human-supremecists down on what was supposed to be a hidden listening-post during the war. Anadhon had given him an earfull after that.
When the hunters come back with a motley mix of pheasants, rabbits, and some other small game one would expect in Avistan's northern flatlands, Anwel piles the last of his findings near what looks like a good place for a campfire, and begins hauling out his bedroll. He lays it flat on the ground, far away from the fire. He wonders if there will be a moon tonight. He hasn't looked at the night sky since the Shadowcountess took him into the Shadow Plane.
The meal is ready presently, and Anwel sits down with the others to eat it. He wonders for a moment why Jeremiah had opted to stew all the different game together instead of roasting it on a spit, which would both have obviated the need for vessels to hold the broth and prevented the flavors from mixing as much. He levitates a chunk of coney out of the stewpot and into his mouth with his mind, and the question is driven out of his head. "You might want to hang around Svetlana a little when we get back to the trading post," he says warmly, after swallowing. "I didn't want to say anything against her meal," he clarifies, "but this is properly gamey."
Anwel's availability to watch is dependent on whether Elves of Golarion is in play. According to that book, elves need only four hours of trance, though wizards still need eight hours without demanding mental activity to prepare spells. That time could be put to productive use watching, not to mention giving Anwel a taste of night. Matter of fact, he'd probably like to prepare spells before dawn, since otherwise he'd have to do something silly like put his bedroll over his head while reading his spellbook.
Jeremiah smiles at the compliment to his stew, saying, "Maybe not as good as my mum's, but good enough." He takes a swig from the broth before passing it on. He sits for a moment in the quiet, contemplating the fire and glad for the fellowship of this band of adventurers. Then he begins, "So, since I'm gonna be with you guys for a while, and since I'm sure it's crossed at least some of your minds once, I'll tell you about how I came to be here, and how I became blessed by Sarenrae." He sits up straight, taking a moment to compose himself before telling his story.
"I was apprenticed at a young age to the local potter. I was a younger child in a fairly large family, so I wasn't to be my dad's protege. Instead, my parents carted me off to live in the house of a smelly old man, and be his servant for a while. It wasn't all that bad, but it was a dreadfully dreary time, and I knew that pottery was not my calling. I wanted to get out of there, and I quickly did. However, it wasn't exactly in a manner I had hoped."
"While playing with my friends Henrick and Frida one afternoon, I was accidentally struck by a passing wagon and my leg was trapped beneath one of the wheels. I don't remember much of that; I passed out. I do remember having the most peculiar dreams at that time, of dead men rising and suffering being alleviated from the weak. At the end of the dream, I remember seeing a woman, standing proud with a curved blade, reaching her hand to me. As our palms touched, I awoke with a start, bright lights flashing before my eyes as an energy passed through my body. It felt unreal, like a fire jerking its way through my veins and out of every pore, yet not hurting me. The local priest, who was standing nearby me as I awoke and whose house I was in at the time, declared me a holy vessel, able to channel the energy of the gods through my body to mend those with wounds. Yet strangely, neither I nor the priest could heal this leg."
"From that day forward I studied the teachings of Sarenrae, and learned to use the gift She has given me. Though it still feels like a stranger in my body, I am slowly learning, and some day I will be able to use this gift to make a difference in the world." Jeremiah ends his monologue suddenly, closing his eyes with a happy, naive smile upon his face. He leaves the silence open for whoever else wants to speak.
Bimbur nods at Jeremiah's story.
"Many of us have followed nontraditional paths. It proves we have to find our own destiny, even if it is not what is normally expected of us. I think Irori is right, is better to satisfy your own expectations rather than those of others to be happy."
Khargol takes a bowl of the stew made by Jeremiah graciously, momentarily closing his eyes and holding the bowl slightly elevated as he sends a prayer of thanks to Abadar for the meal. After the first bite, he gives an appreciative grunt. "This is an excellent meal, Jeremiah. The blend of the flavors is quite good. You have my thanks for preparing it for us." he said, slowly eating the soup as he listened to the tale of how Jeremiah came into his faith.
The happy smile Jeremiah has on his face sends a quiet chuckle through him, after which he looks to Bimbur and listens to his answer before giving his own. "The gods speak to everyone in different ways. They lead us to them by a hundred different paths. I know relatively little of the other gods, though. Jeremiah, would you tell us more of Sarenrae? And Bimbur, you of Irori? My story is not nearly so interesting as a personal revelation from my deity. I know not who my father or mother were, though I'm certain we all can guess at the circumstances leading to my birth. I was found on the steps of the largest temple to Abadar in Brevoy, having been left there by my mother, I assume."
"The clerics there raised me in the hope that I would follow in their footsteps as a cleric of Abadar, but my...less peaceful nature did not mesh well with what they were trying to teach me. My devotion to Abadar, though, was solid as a rock. They ultimately decided that I was an excellent mix of tamed mind and untamed body and strength and, as a result, would be a perfect emissary to the Stolen Lands the next time the Swordlords put forth a charter. In the meantime, they sent me to a cabin on the edge of the Stolen Lands that was normally reserved for short pilgrimages to an isolated location and the like. I stayed there for several years, learning to survive in the wilderness and studying the monsters that were resident here."
"Not long ago I received word that the Swordlords were organizing another charter and, by the time I got back to Restov, the clerics had already secured a charter for me. And...well...you all know the rest."
Udoeak takes his bowl with a quick thanks. Damn, this is pretty good. Haven't had anything like this in around 80 years or so, I don't think. Mother Emma used to make similar stew back in the day. Udo sighs, and stares off in the distance. It's been far too long, methinks. You know what I mean, right Andwel? A life so long isn't necessarily a blessing. Ah well, we've just got to make due with the hand we're dealt, eh? Udoeak sits in reminiscence, eating the stew idly.
I've been through a tad too much to make things easy to explain. I may share my story eventually, but it's often hard to believe, myself. Suffice it to say that these eyes, while not experienced in views of the world, have already seen much. Too much, I fear, into the workings of oppression.
Jeremiah listens on as Khargol also "steps up" to explain his circumstances, marveling at how calm and collected the half-orc is even when he's insinuating such things about his birth. He's definitely different than I thought half-orcs are, Jeremiah thinks. Then again, we're all rather off of the norm, aren't we? He graciously takes the compliments on the meal, saying, "It's really nothing much, I don't even have proper vegetables for it or anything."
When Udoeak speaks as well, Jeremiah reflects on how strange it is that an elf can be so old and look so young. Already, this one has lived longer than Jeremiah will ever likely live in his entire life, and he's barely a young adult in their terms! Jeremiah has a small moment of pity when Udoeak suggests oppression in his past, but the elf doesn't seem too caught up in it. Hopefully, whatever hardships he had in his past are long gone, and he has moved on from them.
Jeremiah waits for another to speak, and afterward politely declines Khargol's invitation to speak on Sarenrae now, saying, "I'd love to, but it is already getting late, and we should be starting off to bed, I think. I definitely will another time."
To be clear, I'm saying this after whoever else wants to talk does so. Wouldn't want to deprive you guys of that chance.
Anwel listens carefully to Jeremiah's speech. He leaves the remaining stew in the pot, the better to concentrate on the human's words instead of countermanding gravity with his mind. As he talks, it seems to Anwel that Jeremiah had rehearsed this presentation of his, or at least given it before. Perhaps he had made the spiel to the Restovites and it had won him his charter. But even if Anwel's speculation was correct, artifice on Jeremiah's part did not diminish the value of what he was trying to say. It told Anwel much of Jeremiah's background. Production in Jeremiah's hometown was in the hands of craft associations, but these associations were not powerful enough to dominate local politics. Jeremiah's intent may have been to make his capabilities known, but their mystical nature clouded his speech – and, it seemed, Jeremiah's emotions and expressions – and Anwel was left with only a vague idea of what to expect from him.
Bimbur manages to offer little more than a platitude as well as a motto for the age. The most Anwel can say for his comment is that it sets the tone for the rest of the discussion. Jeremiah had left the possibility open for any number of conversational threads, but Bimbur seized upon the mystical and catapulted it to the forefront of the discussion. Anwel's face falls as he realizes this, and his hand strays unconsciously to his side, where under his layers a scar ropes its way through his skin. If the others pressed him to talk of his god, how would he explain the need to give up and consume again a red and vital part of his body? As his thoughts turn to his time under Dima, Anwel looks around for a scrying sensor. Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Khargol might understand. There was one sanguine to pain and to anguish, if his shrugging off the earliest moments of his life was anything to go by. That said, he seemed still to indulge in self-flattery. That spiel about tamed mind and untamed body sounded like something he said to himself about himself than like anything another person would say in any circumstance. As for his sequestration and subsequent assignment here, it sounded more like being put out to pasture than an effort to prepare him for anything. That said, it sounds like he has made the best of a life spent being shuffled around by others.
Throughout, Anwel has been content to watch, listen, and speculate, thankful that no one has asked him to contribute. Udoeak's address of him changes that. "One can take solace," he says slowly, "That circumstances change in time. Early years spent poorly can become a life spent well where there is much life to live." Having said that, Anwel takes a closer look at Udoeak. His words were applicable enough to himself that Anwel suspects that the similarities between the two run deeper than kind and craft. The other elf cannot be more than a hundred years old, and yet he refers to his mother – by a strange formulation no less, and bearing a strange name – in the past tense. Anwel has not seen his parents in a hundred years, but he is sure they still live in Kyonin, the place where they had moved for his sake. Anwel is also sure that, however low Udoeak believes he has fallen, he still has much depth of oppression and darkness left to plumb, if that is his path.
Anwel tucks his hair behind his ears. "You keep your formulae in a tome, do you not?" he says to Udoeak, trying to segue into a story to make his contribution mean something. "Then you know the care that goes into such a thing. I spent many years under Lord Alavar's hospitality, probing the shadowy energies of the Vale of Shadows to the west of his outpost, and learning of the twilight realm parallel to this one. Now imagine what it is like to have a human lifetime's work stolen away, to be taken in chains and to be unable to record it again for years. Imagine facing the morning and taking frantic inventory to make sure none of the treasures secreted in your mind have been lost during the night." Anwel sighs. "You are not alone in knowing oppression. You and I are not alone, for that matter. It exists here too, if only in germ." Anwel looks askance at Khargol as he says this, and his hair flops down in front of his face again.
Udoeak chuckles to himself. Yes, Circumstances most certainly change. Positions change, circumstances change, it all changes.
As he references a tome, Udoeak slaps a book he keeps on his waist. Yeah, yeah. I know , plenty of people are oppressed. I've seen them with my own eyes, seen them destroyed as people. This world is tough. What you make of it, though, that's the real deal. I made it out, if only of my physical oppression. Anything's possible, given the right motivation. Udoeak says.
Listen. Soon after I was born, my parents died. Up in the Fields of Pharasma. Their last act of parenting was wrapping me in this, Udoeak grabs the edge of a large silvery blanket that he wears under his cloak, Something which has been credited with saving my life. Mother Emma, who I mentioned before, took me in, having found me out in one of those fields. I may not have known my parents, but I knew happiness for a while. Until the slavers came. They killed almost everyone I knew, everyone I held dear. Only the children remained, and even then, only some of them made it out. Poor Tomas, he was cut down before everyone was even lined up. In any case, yeah, oppression sucks. I've been there, done that. Maybe I'll share more later, I don't know. Udoeak looks wistfully out into the distance, not wanting to ruin what's left of a good mood by delving further.
Fields of Pharasma are basically irradiated soil from the fall of starmetals, up in Numeria. They may not be mentioned in any supplements, but they're something my DM came up for when he wrote my original backstory, and they're one of the many things I decided to keep, with approval from DM_Kudos.
Posting a fast-forwarded thing that the group will discover later to remove Khargol from the campaign, per my post in the Discussion thread. Sorry to have to leave guys! Y'all have fun!
When the group rises the next morning, Karghol's bedroll and pack are nowhere to be found; in fact, very little trace of his presence remains. Upon closer inspection, a piece of paper torn from the page of a journal is found fastened to Jeremiah's backpack by a piece of cord. The note reads as follows:
Received Sending from temple in Restov in the night. Have been summoned back by Clergy of Abadar. Must go back immediately. Do not know when or if I can return to you. Good luck to all. Abadar guide your steps and your blades. - Khargol Uzgurn
Clear night time skies gives way to a spectacular view of the stars above. It gives those staring into the heavens a chance to reflect on events passed.
The night comes and goes. Uneventful.
Upon morning's arrival, you look around from your camp sight, focusing northwest. After a moment, it is clear that a white smoke signal is rising from Oleg's outpost. The city patrol must have arrived.
You will make your way when the party is ready.
Well, let's get going, then? Udo says after he gets ready to go, having prepared his daily allotment of extracts. The darkness in his eyes from storytelling the night before is gone, back to the Udo you'd been travelling with before.
Jeremiah helps to clean up the campsite as best he can, and gets ready to leave back to the fort. He points at the smoke cloud and, in case anyone else didn't see it, says,"I think that's the signal that the Brevans have come. Best get over there to check up." He seems to have carried his good mood from the previous day into this morning.
And so the group sets forth across the land back to Oleg's outpost. It is a relatively short ride and very familiar since it was only traveled the other day.
As the travel goes on, you often find yourself peering round the land wondering about the "dangers" of these Stolen Lands. It is hard to understand what the hazards could be since, from you have seen, it only appears to be occupied with some thieves. Which is not all the different from the lively cities from which you originally came from. Maybe time will tell a different tale.
As you come closer to the wooden outpost, you can see the Restov banner flying outside signaling that the patrol has made it to the outpost. Four guards stand at the gate guarding the entrance with their respective horses. From the distance you can see that there is quite the number of people inside, some appearing to be guards, others dressed not as formally. Along with the patrol's horses, you also take note of other mounts as well which are not as "nicely" dressed. These appear to be more plainly suited.
On the fairly glum note to which Anwel and Udoeak had managed to steer the conversation, the party broke up to rest for the night. Anwel sat with his legs crossed, his bedroll wrapped around and tucked under his body, while the sun set. He reflected upon what he'd learned of his companions until thoughts of them blurred with memories of the warband and of the Council. In the bloodiest times, he thought, silently, there are good people. Still, the times had conspired to separate Anwel from all his old friends, and to put him through the fresh horrors to be found in the west. The last thought of Anwel's trance was a resolution to do better with these people. Maybe if he could, he would no longer need to punish himself.
As if in answer, the bright moon bows low in the sky, shining the last of its night light into Anwel's hooded face. He opens his eyes to see it hovering, large and sliced neatly in half as if by a scalpel, just over the treetops. The moon for February 24, 2011 – the date that corresponds to Calistril 24, 4711 – was indeed in its third quarter. He breathes in deeply, taking in the dewey smell of the soil and grass, and the smoky aroma of the burnt-out and doused firepit, and then rises from the ground, shrugging off the blanket roll. It was colder here than in Nisroch, but Anwel welcomed the tingling pinpricks on his hands and face. It felt more like home than any place he had been in a long time.
Anwel casts around at the group. The starlight and moonlight outline their forms well enough to see they're mostly resting peacefully. There is one large patch of grass that has been obviously disturbed, like someone had slept there but has since left. Probably Khargol, thinks Anwel, seeing as how none of the others who remained were large enough to be him. He didn't like the man much, but Anwel couldn't help but feel disturbed by his absence. Like something was missing that should be in place, rather than a like piece of flashing had been expunged. Lacking anything better to do, Anwel begins walking the border of their little camp, looking alternately at the group and at the flat grasslands surrounding them.
The first motion he sees is Udoeak beginning to stir. Anwel stops pacing at that, and waits for him to rise. He would appreciate the company on watch, but what will Udoeak want to talk about? Anwel wonders if Udoeak will feel slighted by Anwel's trying to sympathize with him at supper. Apparently, however, he wants to talk just a little further on the same subject. Anwel, trying to respect Udoeak's boundaries, tries to talk in generalities.
Anwel breaks off watch to prepare his spells before Udoeak begins his daily mixings. The sun has barely crested the horizon by the time he finishes fixing his final spell in his shadow, and he is almost packed by the time the others begin. "Yes, white is for Restovites," says Anwel, snapping his fingers and causing a day's worth of set-in grime to turn to dust and fall out of his clothes. "I hope it is a genuine signal." As they set out, Anwel puts up his hood again. He bobs his head, pleased, when that turns out to be the case.
Spells Prepared: 0th – Mage Hand, Mending, Prestidigitation; 1st – Color Spray (DC 17), Grease (DC 16), Ray of Enfeeblement (DC 16), Mage Armor (shadow), Vanish
Udoeak, as the group approaches the fort, falls back to let the more diplomatic of the bunch associate with the new guards. He'd never been particularly keen on guards, and they had never been very happy to see him, either.
Anwel would much prefer to skulk like Udoeak was doing, but the rest of their companions had grown strangely listless overnight. There'd been almost no talk on the march home. Anwel had a theory that Khargol's desertion had dampened the others' spirits, but since he didn't wholly share that opinion, he decided to keep it to himself. He squares his shoulder, cups his hands around his mouth, and projects.
"I see the stars have brought friends out of Restov!" he says, waiting a few seconds for a head to appear over the gatehouse or for the gate to budge. Then he continues, his voice dropping a little since he's more sure someone's listening. "Svetlana, Oleg, see we have returned, as promised. Have Happs and his gang given you any trouble?" This last sentence, though as full of breath as ever, seems to sharpen to a fine, whispering edge.
Approaching the fortress the group shouts out to the occupants of the outpost and finds that it peaks the interest of a few folks inside. Heads turn and peer at the oncoming adventurers.
"There they are! That's them!" comes bellowing out from inside the outpost as Svetlana rushes out to meet the approaching group waving the whole way. "These are the nice people that helped us and captured these men for us. How are you friends?"
"Nice to meet such a fine group of men as yourselves," says the human male as he stretches out his hand to greet you for the first time, "my name is Kestren Garess. I'm in charge of these men down here. I apologize for not being here sooner but we were held up. From what Oleg was saying, it seems like you guys had this well under control."
Kestren looks at the bandits who are sitll toiling around the place, performing their chores. "Seems like you have truly scared these men straight. I guess there has not been any problems with them since the "incident."
As everyone makes their way inside, you look around and find that amongst the guards, there are also some fresh faces. You can tell that these certainly are not guards by just their appearance. They are standing around preparing their belongings. They must have just finished up some business with Oleg just before you arrived.
Udoeak smiles as Svetlana draws near. "Not too bad, I suppose. Unfortunately, Khargol left in the middle of the night, but other than that, not too bad."
As Udoeak's turn to shake the man's hand comes, he says, "My name's Udoeak. You can call me Udo, if you want. And we did a decent job, I'd like to think."
"With what we did to them, I'm surprised they don't have more enthusiasm. Frankly, they're lucky to be alive. They're doin' a good job, though, by the looks of things."
Udoeak gives a nod in passing to each of the newcomers, nothing more than acknowledgement of presence. for those who arrived with Udo, this small bit of socializing is about what you'd expect.
Unless spoken to otherwise, Udoeak spends a few minutes inspecting the work of the bandits, and moves up to teh wall, watching the surrounding area.
As Svetlana bursts out of the gate, Anwel lifts his hands from his mouth and pulls back his heavy black hood. It flops down his back as he lets his hands fall to his sides. His sleeves cover them up, and nothing holds the electric blue edges from waving gently in the wind. When she gets near enough to hear him without shouting, Anwel opens his mouth to talk, but finds that Udoeak has beaten him to it. Oh well. At least there are some details he left out.
"You told us about Bokken before we left. Well, we found him. Turns out he wants something." Anwel's eyes flick upward and his lip curls a little, as if to add of course. "Fangberries for his potions." At this, the group plus Svetlana begin walking slowly back to the gate. As they do, Anwel continues. "He told us broadly where to look, but finding them will take time unless you happen to know where they are."
Anwel suddenly raises his eyebrows in mock realization. "Which reminds me," he says, "Do you and Oleg mind if we leave a large map of the Greenbelt here with you? It would make our lives easier if we didn't have to worry about it getting wet or ruined in the wild." Svetlana seems about to answer, but before she can they're through the gate, and everyone else - except Oleg, it seems - wants their turn.
The first thing that hits Anwel about the Restovites' commander Kesten Garess is that he doesn't preface his name with any kind of title. No "ser" like Richard's, not even a military or constabulary rank. It was lucky Happs and his gang had been so thoroughly cowed. The Swordlords had sent a nobody out here. Well, reflects Anwel, his eyes flicking to the left and right, glimpsing the rest of the group, it wouldn't be the first time. He nods at Kesten in greeting. "Call me Anwel. It is a pleasure to see you here." Anwel had chosen this specific wording to avoid praising Kesten, his men, or Restov. He wants to see how the man would react.
"For your piece of mind," he says, his little knowing smirk back on his face, "I'd advise against asking Udoeak what he means."
A tall young who had been tending to a mule, turns and smiles at the entrance of the strangers. Striding forward he offers his hand "I'm Andrei, and it is pleasure to meet you all"
His very manner seems to extrude confidence in himself in the way that only naive young men can. Flicking a familiar parchment from his belt "You must be the other bearers of the charter. We were meant to meet you in Rostov but got unfortunately delayed. We were told we might find you here. Kestren Garess and his men were kind enough to accompany us as they had business here as well."
"I am at your disposal since you seem to have everything in hand so far. I am sure you like to check my charter and are there any questions I could answer before you decide if I could be of assistance in your venture." Andrei says offering the parchment, his eyes sparkling from one person to the next.
A thin, tall man with oddly piercing eyes comes over to the group with Oleg. After the short introduction he nods to Bimbur, "I'm Stellan Volkov, and this is my friend Vinur. Very pleased to meet you." Stellan's hand sweeps out to indicate a white, somewhat nervous, wolf cub. Only the very observant or mystically knowledgeable could tell that it's not your typical cub.
"An archer, that's useful, though most I've known wear more protection, do the gods favor you?" Stellan changes his focus, "Oh I guess I should say that the Swordlord Tercio, gave me a charter and your name, Bimbur, along with others. He thought I could help though it appears you've done well. I'm a healer, forester, and know a few magic tricks. It seems this will be my new home for a while." Stellan seems sad for a moment then sets it aside. "Would you be so kind as to introduce the others striving to bring some peace to this troubled land? Thank you." Stellan looks expectantly at the others.
Ninja'd. This happens at the same time Andrei talks, break it up as needed to make sense.
As Gorax prepares his backpack, in one hand he holds a cooked chicken leg which he bites and pulls chunks of meat off, chewing loudly as he does. Grease from the bird dribbles and congeals in his black stubble of an unshaved chin. In a heap by his side of is a pile of chain, which you might surmise is his armor, although it looks old and worn, it appears in good a condition as it could be. A scabbard containing a longsword hangs from his belt, it too has seen better days, the brown leather scabbard is dirty and stained from years of use. One wonders how much older the armor and weapons are than the man currently in ownership of them.
His grey and off white shirt does its best to hide a broad and muscular chest and arms, a definite look of someone who can look after himself in a brawl.
With his mouth still full and chewing he speaks to the newcomers, spitting flecks of cooked meat out onto the ground. He smiles, "I'm Gorax, what he said." and nods at his two companions. As he finishes chewing, he takes a waterskin and drinks, splashing a clear liquid down his shirt and face.
For the purposes of the story I assume that Gorax, Stellan and Andrei have interacted and have reached some sort of understanding/friendship among themselves on the journey down from Restov.
Anwel makes a small beckoning motion with his hand. The charter, which he keeps between layers of his robe, spools out into the air and floats towards Anwel's welcoming hand. By the time he catches it, the charter had already wound itself into a neat scroll. Immediately, of course, Anwel opened it to compare it with Andrei's. It turns out that the two documents were identical down to the handwriting. Anwel wonders if there is a scrivener in Restov whose sole job it is to turn out these charters. The only other explanation he can think of is that a smith had cast an iron plate so that the same identical calligraphy could be stamped onto each document, but that seems unlikely.
"This seems in order," says Anwel, putting his copy back where it came from. Anwel doesn't care much, but Andrei looks like the type who might, and setting him at ease was simple enough. The wild-haired man, named Stellan, had also got a peek at the charter over Anwel's shoulder. That was alright. A simple shifting of his weight had been all Anwel needed to make sure they both saw what they needed to see. One oddity niggles at the back of Anwel's mind. He'd heard that the Swordlords wanted this mission, and the others like it, to be relatively unobtrusive and innocuous. Why, then, were they seemingly handing out charters like candy? And why were the most freshly-minted charter bearers turning up in the Greenbelt?
Stellan might know. He seemed personally acquainted with this Swordlord Tercio. It had been the first time Anwel had heard a Swordlord refered to as an individual person, by name. Anwel doesn't share this perspective. Sure, the Swordlords would all be playing their little political games against one another, but here in the wild they appeared in relationships as a group. It was also mildly surprising. Of all the newcomers, Andrei seemed the most ingratiated with Brevoy's nobility. STill, they seemed eager to please.
"Home is a strange thing," says Anwel, looking at Stellan. For the first time Anwel noticed the white wolf. It reminded him of his first home, the northern reaches of Brevoy itself, where the ice and snow could drive, for a little while every year, as they did in the far north. The animal also let Anwel guess at Stellan's skills. He'd mentioned magic - Dima had not kept a familiar, and Anwel had not chosen to do so before she and Laori tore the capacity from him, but Meldon had kept a cat. Anwel tucks his hair behind his ears, but even clearing his field of vision can't help him remember her name. "Svetlana is welcoming and accomidating, and Oleg can find it within himself to tolerate his sanctuary being overrun. But I don't think we'll be able to spend most of our time here. The wilds beckon, and the charters push."
Anwel raises an eyebrow at Gorax, but the man had said virtually nothing and deserved a commensurate response.
The slender dwarf seems uncomfortable meeting another set of new faces. He is obvious ill at ease and looks at his feet a few times during the exchanges between Anwel and the new arrivals. After looking at Gorax, he decides to attempt to say something again.
Bimbur points to Gorax's sword, "Gorax, it is frontliners that allow archers to shoot, let me by you some ale at Oleg's."
Later to Gorax, "We are mapping, we found a crazy hermit that makes potions."
Seeing the magical lithe elf raise his eyebrow, Gorax frowns, is a way that shows his confusion more than any other emotion. It takes a moment, but he drops the remnants of his chicken leg on the ground, he wipes both sides of his large greasy hand across the backside of his brown dirty pants. Bringing his arm round and forward, he extends his hand in greeting and friendship towards Anwell, "Well Anwell, it looks like we're on the same team. Glad to meet you, nice trick with the charter." He smiles, a wide grin exposing yellow teeth, below a squashed and previously broken nose, surrounded by his scarred and dirt ingrained face. His long black ponytailed hair flicks over his shoulder and a few inches down his back. The man seems to grow in size the nearer he gets.
"Maybe we can enjoy the sanctuary while we are here. Can I buy the rest of you a drink? And while we are having a drink can you update us on what you have done so far."
You don't need to actually update us but do let me know if there is anything you miss out so I can wipe it from my mind.
Crossed posts with Bimbar, will assume that Bimbar and Gorax continue their interaction after Anwell and Gorax finish.
A dark cloud crosses Gorax's face as Bimbar mentions ale, his face reddens under the grime. "I would join you Bimbar, but not for ale. I've seen too much destruction in my life that has been brought on by ale. Ale and those other toxic drinks like firewater are the evil that makes deamons of ordinary men. I've seen it bring the kindest heart turn black and mean. We shall enjoy the gods purity through fine spring water." He offers the dwarf a goblet of water from his waterskin as he slaps a big arm around the dwarf's broad shoulders, in a friendly manner. "So you fight from afar, Bimbar, well can't say its me favorite, I prefer the up close and personal way. Apart from these," Gorax raises his two big fists, "had the good fortune to learn how to us the sword in Greyhaven, I was in the city guard there, but it didn't work out. I was letting a drunkard leaving 'The Golden Pick Tavern' stagger home, but the drink had made him intolerant of help. I was merely pointing out the he was drunk and that he should stop drinking, but he didn't want to hear. I started to arrest him, but then he got violent, I had to defend myself, but I hit him a bit too hard. It was self defense, but that was the forth time something like that had happened, so I had to leave. Even in Greyhaven there were too many drunks, it has to be stopped."
He smiles weakly at Bimbar, "So what brings you on this job? An archer, you like that?"
"Hermits here eh? strange folks from what I heard. Never met one me. Tell me what was he like?" and he and Bimbar talk about the mapping and potions.
Bimbur smiles at Gorax's words. "I don't drink ale myself. I am a monk raised to respect the bow. I agree with you, I do not need courage or strength from a bottle. Some mighty fine men can master the bottle, but some mighty fine have become a slave to it. I am here for the challenge of starting something new here. The chance to pit my skills against the bandits and other hazards here was too much to resist."
Pointing to his bow, "Dark elves killed many of my clan with this. Trying to learn how it works, I found myself wanting to master it. Now I see the attraction; dropping your foe without having to move makes it almost too easy. When you start talking about long shots archery becomes a fine art."
Stellan fiddles a bit with his scarf as Gorax joins in the conversation. As Anwel floats the charter in air, Stellan looks on, not surprised but a little envious. "Ah, a movement cantrip, I had a friend who tried to teach me but it's not one I can fit into my ... art. Are you of the blood or the traditions, if you don't mine my asking?" Stellan gives a friendly smile to Anwel.
Another spellcaster! A poet-warrior, Anwel, and me, and I thought spellcasting without the gods was rare in these parts.
Also assuming we learned a bit about each other on the way down.
As Bimbur invites Gorax for a for drink Stellan stiffens and then looks resigned as Gorax rants. He shoots a looks at Andrei as to say again? "I sure he meant no harm, Gorax, many drink a bit, only some prove weak. Perhaps there is a tea boiling, I'm careful of water in strange areas, not all is as pure as it looks. Shall we go to the meal area?" Stellan looks about for the place to eat. Stellan spies the woods in the distance, through the open gate. "And no need to worry, I'm homelike in the woods and hills, the city was a terror to me." Stellan's slight accent grows thicker, back country with a mix of north Brevoy, a bit of Riverlander, and a faint touch, for those familiar with it, of the far northwest.
As Bimbur tells his tale, Stellan looks sad again, "I am sorry you have lost kinsmen."
Anwel flashes a smile, a wide, genuine smile, at Garth as Gorax and Stellan comment on his magic. It made him recall their first conversation. The gnome, however, seems more concerned with his own animals and doesn't react. With a shrug, Anwel turns back to the newcomers. "I find it difficult to explain what I can do," he says to Gorax. "Calling it 'magic' or 'spellcasting' seems so...small. Hence the demonstration." Gorax nods and turns back to Bimbur, and Anwel, taking the cue, turns himself to Stellan. He is glad the other did not press. A true explanation would have to wait. "The traditions," he says blithely. "It is interesting. They are named the same in Iadara, Cassomir, and the places in between and beyond. But I have not heard of 'the arts'. What did you mean by that?"
When Stellan mentions the meal area, Anwel steps beyond him, toward the trestle tables, as if to point the way with his body. He has nothing to say on the subject of alcohol.
Stellan follows Anwel, "I don't mind being thought small, in the arts, or otherwise, less noticeable that way. Oh, my art is just that of the country hedge-castings and puttering with some minor simples. Not the refined art of an Elder race." Stellan's eyes move to the guards and other strangers and back to Anwel.
Bluff 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8 Stellan seems to be trying to hide something.
Stellan now sees the obvious trestles. "Thank you, Anwel, I must be blind. Good Hostess, are there any teas or other brews that my new abstemious friend may have?" Vinur barks at Stellan, leaping onto his lap as he sits. "Give me a heartbeat, you impatient beast!" Laughing, Stellan says, " And a meaty bone for Vinur here, before he gnaws my arm off." Stellan hugs and plays with Vinur, obvious in affection and a deep bond.
At the table, Stellan comments, "An unusual band the Swordlords have gathered, half the group Elder races. Is it the raw nature of this land that interests you in this venture? I've heard stories that the lands here favor the Elder and the Fae."
A warming smile over comes Svetlana as the conversation continues with the two groups. She crosses her arms and looks upon the people talking, happy that the two groups are coming together. Inside, it gives her relief to see that things are going well. This is a very welcomed peace in these troubled days.
Oleg and Svetlana take the chance to continue their conversation with the group of guards from Restov all the while the bandits from before continue to do their work for the day.