Restov is abuzz with the news that the Swordlords of Brevoy are issuing charters to select groups of individuals in order to settle the area to the south known as the Stolen Lands. While attempts have been made in the past, none of them have managed to survive.
Nobles and commoners alike are scrabbling for positions on the chartered teams in order to bring their families wealth and fortune, but for some there would never be that opportunity. You are one of those number; people who have neither the influence nor connections to be able to afford yourself a place.
"Lander of House Lebeda requests your presence at the Lebeda Estate this evening," the boy musters with disdain before walking off without waiting for a response. Cracking open the seal, you see that it is an invitation to attend the Lebeda Estate at seven this evening. The invitation is plainly written and bears no decoration that you'd expect to see from a noble's invitation. It doesn't indicate why you've been summoned to the Lebeda Estate either.
"Lander of House Lebeda requests your presence at the Lebeda Estate this evening," the boy says flatly before walking off without waiting for a response. You crack open the seal to reveal that it indeed an invitation to the Ledeba Estate at seven this evening, only a couple of hours away. The invitation is plainly written and does not bear the decoration that you would expect to see on an invitation to a noble's estate. It doesn't indicate why you've been summoned to the Lebeda Estate either.
"His Lordship has asked me to inform you that you are to report to the Estate this evening at seven. The guards will show you where to go," the squire relays his orders and then disappears back through the door again, leaving you to wonder what is happening. You arrive at the estate at half past six, eager to avoid annoying His Lordship, Lander of House Lebeda. The guards let you through without ceremony and a human servant shows you through to a small pantry where a table and four chairs have been set aside, with a simple meal of bread and water.
"There are three others who are set to arrive, and then the Master will address you all," the servant says with an air of disdain, "You are to wait here until then."
"Lander of House Ledeba requests your presence at the Lededa Estate this evening," the boy says, handing you a parchment before disappearing into the crowd before you can answer. After cracking open the seal, you find an invitation to the Ledeba Estate at seven this evening. The invitation is plainly written and features none of the decoration that you would expect from a noble's invitation. It doesn't indicate why you have been summoned. Oddly enough, as soon as the page boy disappears, the feeling that you are being watched also dissipates.
"Servant's entrance, someone will collect you from there," the guard says brisquely, ushering you through the gate and out of the way of the other guests. You follow a thin path down the side of the palatial mansion to a small, discreet door. Knocking on it elicits it's opening and a servant greets you.
"Follow me, the Master will be with you shortly," the servant ushers you inside and indicates you should follow him. You are led to a small pantry where a small table and four chairs have been laid out. A simple meal of bread and water has been laid out and one of the chairs is occupied by a halfling.
"Wait here," the servant says before disappearing back through the door.
You've got a few minutes before Lander arrives to brief you all. Feel free to give a quick introduction of your characters to one another; there will be time for further introductions on the journey to Oleg's Trading Post.
A man in glorious gold and white raiment enters, a golden key on a necklace around his neck. A blink of the eyes and all resolves itself. Not gold and white raiment, but the yellow and white archaic merchant's robes of a priest of Abadar. And judging from the fact the key is gold-painted wood, likely a very junior one.
The priest looks around the pantry and pauses for a second.
Damn. Lander Lebeda knows the church well enough to know that suggesting an underbanker belongs somewhere like here is a terrible insult. So presumably he wants to insult me to get me angry, or to feel helpless. He's had a meal made available, so he is still covering hospitality, and probably had to get this pantry set up. That means he's thought about this a bit. And that means he wants something. That means he's going to ask me for something, and is hoping I'll say no.
can I do a knowledge nobility check to find out what Sirian knows of Lander Lebeda? If so 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11 (halved though, right?)
With a beaming smile on his face the man walks confidently over to the halfling, stops just short and thrusts out a hand to shake in merchant fashion.
"Hello! I am Sirian Rogarvia, underbanker of Abadar."
|Kari the Feytouched|
Kari returns to her temporary abode and studies the invitation thoroughly.
Kari Linguistics (forgery) 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Kari, her temper and expression bright to be free following days in isolation and misery, whistles a bawdy tune she oft repeated for Duma's band while she traveled with them. Unlikely heroes, that lot, she mused considering their behavior, and wondered how they fared. Considerably greater than herself, she gathered, being free. No pawn of the powers that be, those lads. Nor the little lords and ladies of the wood...
As the guardsman's expression flattens, Kari touches the strand of fangs woven into the plaits of her hair, the color of spider's silk and texture of horsehair. Duma had commented upon it several times with it gripped in his fist, how... pliable the gesture made her. Kari smiled nervously, and looked round the corner but found herself seized up by the brusque young man and physically directed to the area.
"In any other setting, this might be considered an advance!" Kari calls after cretin after he so rudely deposited her. "Churlish pig," she seethes in Sylvan. The very least he could have done was ask her to move. It was only polite.
Kari pauses outside the door to the servant's entrance and tugs her bodice upwards, emphasizing the swell of her modest bust, and the narrow curve of her hips. Not tall or fat enough by half for most back country brutes, Kari nonetheless retains complete confidence in her desirability... to a more discerning eye.
"Good," Kari starts when the servant opens the door, but her large, false smile falters when she is dismissed yet again, and left essentially alone in the pantry.
Kari untrained Kn. Religion (Abadar) 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Kari takes in the tableau, and the striking Sirian. Recognizing both his symbol, and his position, she shrinks back slightly. A representative of order! Lords of the First World! The Surtovans might well have left me to rot. Finding the creature engaged with the extant partner, Kari steps closer to the contents of the pantry, wondering if she might ferret out some wine and cheese among its contents.
Kari Perception 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
The woman sees to have me ridiculed and broken first. I've already met her, but now she would have me go through 'formalities?' Bah! She already expressed her disgust with me, so she would prefer to see me humiliated first. She doesn't even offer a single coin to get me started and now she would have me wait in the pantry! I look forward to the wilderness. At least there, the animals will pay me more respect than her! I wonder what my father saw in her?
Although the man is lost in thought, his expression is stern, yet proud. He has the look of a man who cannot let go of the military life. His face bears a multitude of scars and his physique offer that this man has seen many a battle in his years, which are obviously many, considering his greyed hair. He is clad in tough hide that has seen better days, with a battered wooden shield and sword strapped to his back. His step follows a cadence that seems to have been an underlying rythm for the majority of his life.
With a nod to the servant, he takes a step inside. He sees three already inside, two still at an age that they could be his children and the third as tall as he once was as a child. He takes note of the taller man as one of the cloth and moves to the table. Pulling out a chair, he motions for the woman to sit, before introducing himself.
"If you three are to be my companions in this expedition, I believe introductions are in order. My name is Osmond Raknian and it's a great pleasure to meet you."
|Kari the Feytouched|
Kari turns and looks in Osmond's direction, watches him pull a chair and gesture for her to sit, but her amber eyes do not appear to focus at all. Only after he has spoken does a spark of recognition light the area behind her eyes. She takes the chair, turns it about and kneels on the seat, then leans forward over the back, peering at Osmond's scars with no small amount of curiosity.
"Expedition?" Kari repeats incredulously, her light, almost childish voice containing no small amount of musical quality. "What, like to the wilds? Me?" she inquires and needlessly gestures to herself by clutching a hand to her chest. "I tell them time and again, I cannae tell one pine from the next!"
Kari grasps the back of the chair and rocks backward and forward several times nervously, teeth grinding on her lower lip, then is silent for a few moments. "Oh, Kari. Just," she mumbles after a time, seeming to grumble the last. Not Kari Horseface for the quality of her hair, or Kari Catsheat - the most recent alias causes her face to flush near mottled. She mutters something in a language that evokes visions of meadows and dew covered flowers, but her expression does not match the impression.
Lemme know if playing the whole fey thing gets a little bit much for ya'll...
Though not a long wait, the time spent alone in that room has made Ratimir anxious. His feet dangle in the air, unable to reach the ground, and the halfling plays nervously with his hands, letting out ice crystals from his fingertips every now and then. One by one, three humans enter the room. First, the church man, or something like that; Ratimir recognizes the man’s deity as he presents himself, though he knows little about Abadar. Acknowledging Sirian’s presence, Ratimir looks up to face him.
He watches Kari and Osmond enter the room, and her peculiar way and flamboyant personality immediately seize Ratimir's attention. He observes her with some curiosity, trying to make out what it is that she’s saying.
That's some odd creature, for sure!
Then, turning to Osmond and Sirian, Ratimir swiftly stands up in his chair and presents himself, nodding as he speaks their names.
“Osmond. Sirian. I am Ratimir of the Ganic clan, and I, for one, am eager to go back to the wilds and get moving. I have found this house not much to my liking, despite my father's opinions regarding the noble estates of Rostland.” Ratimir then turns to Kari. “And you, fair lady, are…?”
|Kari the Feytouched|
"Goodness me, did I fail to enunciate?" Kari wonders, the gait and tone of her voice changing considerably as she ceases rocking in her chair. Her legs spread to either side of the chairs as she sits finally and wraps her arms around the back and rests her cheek upon her shoulder, smiling broadly at Ratimir.
"My name is Kari, darling cousin," she purrs, "no family name as none lay claim to me," she pauses and colors significantly, and when she speaks again her previous childlike voice is evident once more. "And, I do hope that you refrain from using that title in this place, as I believe the lady would be cross to hear it applied to one as low as myself," she demurs.
Kari hums and begins playing with several locks of her hair hanging to the left side of her face, each bound in a plait with some manner of natural trophy. At this moment, her fingertips tease the feathers that obscure the line of her neck in this position. "Do you believe there are couples dancing, elsewhere?" she inquires, her amber eyes seeming fixed on some point that is not in the pantry as she twirls the plait in her slender fingers.
Kari's free hand makes several gestures, and she speaks in the flowery language again, this time with a rapid tempo, and a crust of bread lifts from the table and begins floating towards her.
Kari has cast Mage Hand
Ratimir is a little uncomfortable with Kari’s innocent reprimand, and scans the room as if looking for a new conversation topic. He holds on to Kari’s last statement, and smiles slightly imagining the scene.“Couples dancing? At this hour, surely there are many of them, yes.”
He notices the floating bread gliding towards Kari, but seems indifferent to the obvious magical display, dismissing it as something trivial. Instead, he focuses on the modest meal before him, stretches his arm and picks up his own chunk of bread. He sniffs it and presses on it, testing its firmness, and then puts it in his backpack.
“Though my appetite fails me right now, it is not right to let food go to waste”.
As you speak amongst one another, the staccato beat of footsteps drifts from beyond the door. Moments before they arrive, the door swings open and the servant steps inside.
"His Lordship, Lander of House Lebeda," the servant quickly relays as a man of average height steps into the room. His hair is light brown and hangs to his shoulders although it is currently plaited in the current fashion. His attire is well-appointed and his doublet bears the crest of House Lebeda.
"Thank you, Almsworth, you may return to your duties," Lander dismisses the servant, "Don't rise, this won't take long. I have a party to attend to. As you are all aware, several parties are being sent south with the intention of settling the Stolen Lands. While there are three... competent parties already assembled, it has been noted that their composition appears to be heavily skewed towards the nobility with minor cousins of the major Houses taking most of those spots. Although this is entirely coincedental, a fourth party has been created and it's membership shall consist of you four. In your own ways, you have made yourself stand out from the crowd and have been given the honour of bearing a charter that will permit you to clear out the bandits in the south and make the area ready for settlement. A wagon shall be waiting for you at the Southern Gate tomorrow morning, so I suggest that you get some rest tonight as the journey to the Trading Post shall take roughly a week. Any questions?"
Sirian considers He cannot order me, but if I object to such missionary work my moral authority within the church will be questioned forever.
He looks at the food, and the cramped room
He wants me to refuse. That gets rid of me immediately. Conversely if I accept I am likely to die, but have a hope of returning with even greater power within the church...
"What is there to ask? I'll return to the temple and pick up my gear, and meet your wagon at the southern gate tomorrow morning... Unless you were planning to invite us to dance?"
Damn. Have to hold my temper. Don't provoke him.
|Kari the Feytouched|
The bread continues floating to Kari when the door swings open. While the Lord speaks, she tears the heel from the loaf, then a smaller morsel from the soft insides and guides it into her sweet mouth with magic and chews. She has the presence of mind to swallow before speaking.
"Aye, M'lord," she says, her sweet voice twisting the title to indicate something less. What use in adhering to protocol if she has been sentenced to death in the wilds? "Several.
"First," she holds up a finger to demonstrate "This wagon, do it have food? I tol' thine ilk, I cannae track beast or man in wood.
"Second," another finger. "S'pose we dinnae perish, as ye will. There be naught ta keep ye, nor thy lordings fra what we claim, nay?" Kari's amber eyes are near feral at this point, and they pass briefly to the scarred Osmond before fixing on the Lord's with no impression of deference for his station. "What incentive have we else treat with the bandits to keep us fra ye?"
Lander narrows his eyes at Sirian. "No, underbanker, you are not invited to dance." His words are curt, intended to put the underbanker in his place. "However, if you'd like me to inform the Archbanker of your impudence, I'll be more than happy to."
A thin smile creeps across Lander's face as Kari alludes to siding with the bandits in the Stolen Lands. "Simply put, churl, anyone who sides with the bandits will be treated in the same manner. Execution by sword or by rope. I'm sure your law-abiding compatriot will be more than happy to exact sentence. However, if you manage to avoid lowering yourself to baser desires then you will be offered a place in the vassal state that shall arise from the lands that you clean out."
Well, here we are reduced to nothing but movements in politics. I know this all too well. These supposed lords wish to just improve their public appearance by offering the lesser folk a just chance to claim this wilderness, as well. However, soon enough we will be 'tragically taken' by the wilds. I have nothing else really left for me, though. I will see that we exceed their expectations of us. These three are probably no less green than most of the new recruits I used to handle. It shouldn't be a problem.
Osmond was obviously giving some though to his words before speaking up. Eventually, a sour look grew on his face, as he listened to Lander's responses, especially at the treatement of the priest as a judge.
"I just want to know, Lord Lander," he spit, "where will we be staying tonight?"
We'll take it that the part of Lander's speech that relates to the lands you claim was spoken following Osmond's echoing of the question.
I thought you were a Cavalier, Osmond, not a ninja! ;)
"Your living arrangements for this evening are your own, Raknian. If you are unable to find accommodation, then you may sleep with the wagon."
|Kari the Feytouched|
Kari hums happily and leans forward in the chair, wetting her lips and looking upon the Lord hungrily. "My baser desires, Milord?" she repeats. Her voice has changed again, achieving an almost alto quality thick with something animal as she shifts her narrow hips over the chair. She continues in this tone in her strange tongue, the visions they invoke now speaking to much lower quarters of the body.
"Quite, pig," she spits. "We know full well they will not be my only resource," she warns having been jilted.
"I shall with my sweetest breath wait upon ye as a loyal vassal," Kari sighs lasciviously. Her eyes flick to Sirian, and when she speaks again, her voice has reverted to its childlike quality once again. "If naught else, then to please thine champion."
Kari rises from her chair, spins it in place with a dexterous flourish like a dancer and then offers her hand to the priest. "Let ye not the lording's vanity keep ye from satisfaction, young Sirian. I a willing partner make in this dance."
That's what happens when I submit without previewing! Also, considering I'm double the age of anyone else here, what's wrong with having a level in ninja already? =P
Osmond's eyes narrowed slightly at Lander.
"Well, if you have nothing more for me then, I shall meet the wagon in the morning.
Osmond begins to head for the door before turning back to the others.
"I shall be making a camp nearby, if any of you wish to join me."
Ratimir watches silently the humans arguing with Lord Lander, adding nothing to the discussion. These fellows seem reluctant enough to worry me about their companionship. It would be wise to know more about their goals before we can consider trusting our lives to each other.
As Osmond suggests setting up a camp, Ratimir accepts the invitation. "I wouldn’t mind joining your camp tonight.”
Still standing up in the chair, Ratimir bows awkwadly and adresses Lord Lander. “I have no further questions, milord; I believe I´ve already got incentive enough.” Just hope to accomplish all this before the Lady of the Graves calls upon father.
|Kari the Feytouched|
At Osmond's suggestion of camp, Kari drops the hand she offered Sirian and shakes her head vigorously, then pauses and shrugs. "May like. I ought strum upon mine instrument fer coin 'fore, an'..." she trails, stroking the feathers entwined in her hair again, clearly pensive. "Cannae say thar be patrons will be pining for mine art near."
Kari grins and nods finally. "Very like, Osmond, ye of honest face and countenance. I will join ye!"
Lander nods as though the departure of the group was what he'd planned all along. He spins on his heel and leaves the pantry.
"Almsworth, ensure our... guests are escorted from the grounds. I don't want them to bother the party-goers." The servant who had escorted you to this room stands in the corridor and indicates back in the direction of the servant's entrance. An armed guard, who hadn't been there before, now stands and regards you coolly.
Osmond went to fetch his horse before leaving the grounds. He reunited with the others while atop his steed, Dimitri. It was a magnificent, jet black steed that seemed to have seen some rough years. Osmond then took some time to find a clearing and scrape up enough firewood for a small fire. With a stone and his sword, he created enough sparks to ignite a flame. Once the camp was ready, he took a seat by the fire.
"So, considering we are tied by obligation, it can't hurt to learn about each other. What has brought you to this fate?"
|Kari the Feytouched|
At the entrance of the guardsman, Kari drops the crust of bread she had been picking at on the floor of the pantry and glares defiantly at the creature. She maintains the gaze as she steps closer, clearly illustrating their height and mass differences, and snarls at him in another alien tongue.
"You will never leave this place, Pig."
Kari Intimidate 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
Without looking to the others in her party, Kari observes, "I dinnae like how this one looks at me," then brushes passed the guard.
Kari fidgets while Osmond makes camp, feeling grossly out of place. She grinds at the dust on the ground with the toe of her boot, and darts nervous glances at his horse, having never seen one before. When Osmond settles beside the fire, she puts the scarred man between herself and the beast.
"I cannae say that I am free to answer," she replies to Osmond's question, coloring and looking to the ground. "If ever there were a stray that be caught in a fisherman's netting, well, aye... s'pose that is fair enough an approximation."
Assuming Sirian follows to find where the camp is
"As for me - I am a lawyer. I tried to reform the system and fight the corruption endemic to this fair country." He smiles deprecatingly "I suppose I should take it as a compliment they are going to this much trouble to get rid of me."
"I am here to redeem my family's name. A ban on the Ganic clan hangs over Rostland, and I seek to have it lifted so my father can die a comfortable death in his dreamland." Ratimir's voice trembles a little when he speaks of his father. "To do so, we must succesfully settle these new lands."
|Kari the Feytouched|
Kari's amber eyes shift uncomfortably between the lawyer-priest and the halfling, and she draws her lower lip between her teeth and sucks hard upon it, causing the blood to drain away. Such noble ideals had lead these men to effective banishment, and she, Kari Catsheat, mounted the stag prince and rutted with him for nigh a week besides. To say she was banished for being a silly girl was to discount her supposed crime and were too close to a lie for her comfort considering that she must now depend upon these men for her life.
Kari gathers her few belongings to her side, fully expecting even this lot of men rejected by the state to dismiss her for her next words, but takes a large breath.
"Duma," she says a touch more loudly than she ought, considering the silence that had befallen the men after their admission. She flushes again, appearing quite awkward as she plays with the feathers in her hair. "I... traveled with a young hero named Duma the Sly. The Dragonscale throne names him bandit for preying upon merchants, but the people love him for his generosity," Kari sighs. "It was all terribly romantic, till his band left me to the Surtovans," she mutters the last.
"And here I have two people I might otherwise have represented."
"I need to return to the temple. I need to check the Books of Law, sell everything I own that I can't carry, get my horse, try to borrow money from my Brothers and then have a last, good meal and bath before we set off."
He looks at the ragtag group in front of me
"Anyone who wants a good meal or a bath is welcome to come with me. I'll be rebuked for bringing visitors, of course, but what are they going to do to me now?"
"Your offer is generous, priest, and I thank you for it, but I´ll stay in this camp with our fellow Osmond. I will not deny that a good bath and a nice meal are rather pleasurable, but truth is I´m not one to care much for either. Food is food, after all, and I´ve got my own piece of bread here. It shall get me through the night."
As he speaks, Ratimir opens his backpack and retrieves the bread taken at the Lebeda house. He takes a large bite, and it is hard to tell whether he likes it or not, for the halfling seems totally indiferent to its taste. With his mouth still full and chewing, he complements his previous statement.
"But do not worry, I guarantee you I will bathe in any river or lake we come across when the need arises. A strong scent is bad for life in the wild." He winks at the other three.
|Kari the Feytouched|
"Aye," Kari agrees with Ratimir's sentiment, nodding to Sirian. "If thy fellows cannae stand the sight of ye, less like they to take kindly my affect," she says.
Kari smiles at Ratimir's mention of bathing. "Oh, but why suffer exposure when magics can aide?" she wonders, and speaks and signs in a flurry of fluid gestures, weaving brightly colored magics like ether about herself to add splashes of color in violet and crimson hues to her white hair and a faint scent of apples. "The simplest of magics has the greatest possibilities, its use limited only by imagination," she continues as she weaves the magics to change minor details of her outfit, like the strands of color in embroidery on her bodice.
Osmond completes the handshake.
"Safe trip to you. May you rise with the Dawnflower."
Soon after, he removes his armor and pulls out his bedroll and blanket.
"Either of you may use these, if you like. I've sleep on the ground for years. It is no bother to me."
|Kari the Feytouched|
In an effort to prove solidarity, and mostly curious, Kari swallows her reservations and takes Sirian's offered hand, but shudders as though one damned when the blessings of a lawful god flow over her. The... order is diametrically opposed to her very being, and feels like a heavy oil attempting to suffocate her. She gasps, a dank sweat standing out from a sickly pallor and nearly fails her hold upon her own magics.
"Th-thank ye, brother man," she mumbles as she withdraws her hand, and holds it to her chest as though wounded before wiping it on her pant leg. "Til the mornin', aye?" she offers amicably as they separate, shoring up her personal morale.
When Osmond rolls out his bed and blanket, Kari takes to her own, suffusing the cloth with the scent of lavender. "That cannae be truth," she teases the older man and smiles as she plays with the feathers in her hair once again. "Were ye nae afforded creature comforts? Ye a horse!"
Upon the mention of magic for personal hygiene, Ratimir looks intrigued and watches with interest as Kari changes small features in her appearance. "Miss Kari, I fear I know not the magic trick you refer to, but maybe you could try and teach it to me some time? I, too, have a few magical talents of my own, though I admitedly lack any formal training..."
When Sirian approaches, Ratimir stretches his hand looking up to the tall human and shakes his hand. "You have a good night, priest. We'll be waiting for you at dawn..."
Ratimir looks around the camp.
"... and with such reduced numbers for the huge task at hand, you can even afford to be a little late, and we'll still be here. Just don't count on us being in a shiny mood should it happen." Ratimir winks at Sirian as he speaks in an amicable tone. The friendly manners of the humans make him feel less suspicious and more comfortable in their company.
"Mister Osmond, there's no need for you to sleep on the floor. It seems we've all brought our bedrolls." Ratimir rolls out hiw own and lies down. He then looks at Osmond. "And how about you? What brought you into this situation?"
You can continue the campfire conversation in spoilers if you wish.
The night passes without incident and you all rouse after a fitful night's sleep and make your way to the Southern Gate. You find two wagons there; one full with trade goods and the other with supplies. Four armed guards are also present.
"You'll be the ones headed to Oleg's then," the lead guard says with a rueful smile, "Rather you than me. Hard place to exist, the Stolen Lands. Lead wagon driver has your charter. You'll get it when we arrive at Oleg's place."
As you set forth from Restov, you hear jubilant celebration; the other parties getting a good send off while only beggars and the lame are present to see you exit the city.
The journey takes the best part of a week. You warm to the wagon drivers and guards; they are simple folk hired to do a job and care little for the nobility beyond what they owe them in pay. After the sixth day, you crest a ridge to see a squat wooden fort nestled in a low valley.
"Oleg's," the lead guard says.
Hope this is not a problem
As they exit Sirian attempts to preach hope and optimism. He channels healing energy at anyone seeing them off who appears to be injured.
Perform:Oratory 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
During the trip he attempts to befriend the guards
Diplomacy1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
|Kari the Feytouched|
Kari seems a far different creature in the wilds than she was in Restov. In the evenings, she plucks upon her lute, slender and quick fingers moving impossibly fast. The only noise that emits from her in these sessions is the occasional whisper in her flower language, as if in response to... something, as she muffles the strings of her lute with a piece of cloth to reduce incidences of attracting hostiles upon the camp.
At Sirian's words, Kari blinks several times, for a brief moment, or perhaps it were a trick of the light, the pupils of her eyes appear slitted like a cat's. She hums in her flower language and makes several subdued gestures in Sirian's direction which remove stains, scents and wrinkles from his kit, and invoke a bit of sheen into his hair.
"I nae hav't ta see ta beards," she apologizes concerning his. "'Tis a man's province."
If Ratimir and Osmond ask for the like, she will comply, although she will be far more expressive and generous with Ratimir's kit.
Finally, Kari sees to herself, raising her arms above her head like a dancer and humming a untrained Perform Sing 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19 which, while enjoyable seems a failing representation of something far more beautiful. She slashes her white hair with fits of greens, reds and purples, colors occurring in nature, and suffuses herself with the scent of apple blossoms. When she releases her hold on her magics, her face is in high color, and her complexion is almost dewy. Touching the neck of her lute, she runs her fingers over the strings, and casts another spell, then points to Osmond as he departs and her lips move.
"Should anything be amiss, Sir, long as we stay within one hundred feet of another you've only need to whisper to reach me."
Kari quickly follows after Osmond, but allows him to take the lead.
As Osmond rides into the small fort, he is greeted by a man hammering furiously at the roof of one of the buildings inside the rickety wooden palisade.
"Greetings," he shouts from the roof, "Welcome to Oleg's Trading Post! I'm afraid we've little to trade today except food and a warm bed. I'm waiting on guards and supplies from Restov although they'd be due in today. What's your name, stranger?" As Kari follows Osmond, he does a double take.
"Not often we get two visitors at once, are you two together? I'm afraid all of our beds are singles. Not many couples out travelling the Stolen Lands."
|Kari the Feytouched|
Kari's eyes widen at the suggestion that she has taken Osmond to her bed. The man were elder enough to be her sire at least twice over!
"The knight i' nae mate of mine," she calls up to the carpenter. "If ye'll nae believe it fra mine mouth, hav't from our celibate brother yon!" she says and hooks a thumb over her shoulder in the general direction of the wagon.
Osmond smirks a bit at Kari's response.
"Easy there, Miss," he whispers to her. "I can speak for us."
He gives a wave to the man.
"Hello, Sir. I am Osmond and this is my companion Kari. We are actually part of a caravan from Restov, about to arrive at your fort. I thought you would appreciate a few minutes notice to make any last minute preparations." Osmond hops off of Dimitri. "Did you need any help?"
As he jumps off the wagon, Ratimir notices Kari using her magic to clean up Sirian, and sniffs his own clothing. He approaches Kari and asks her if she can do the same for him. He thanks her but seems a little overwhelmend by his new perfumed scent, unused to this kind of faeric fragrances.
As Osmond and Kari advance towards Oleg's fort, Ratimir goes after them, but can't keep up the pace due to his reduced size. Noticing Sirian standing behind, he asks "Priest, will you not come?"
He turns towards the path and walks fast to get to his other two companions, who are already at the fort's entrance talking to some guard.
When he reaches the group, he halts and greets them "Hello all." Catching his breath, he looks at the inquisitive guard and then points to Kari and Osmond. "Hmm, I'm with them." He immediately looks behind to see if Sirian's following.
If I leave the wagons they may intend that as breaking with them. If I don't go now, though, I threaten the unity of our new group.
Taking a deep breath and intoning quietly a hymn to Abadar, Sirian finally feels ready, and prepares to make a good first impression.
Yep, Guidance again. Also Silver Tongued Haggler ability
"Hello! We're the latest party from the sword lords, sent out to found order in the chaos. Looks like we're going to be neighbours.
"I'm Sirian Rogarvia, Cleric of Abadar, God of Trade. This is Ratimir, and I gather you've met Kari and Osmond already."
Diplomacy+guidance+silver tongue1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
|Kari the Feytouched|
Kari shrinks at Sirian's words, gripping the hem of her tunic as though she were caught with her buds evident at a festival honoring Erastil. The dew upon Kari's face feels heavy now, as though some cruel laundress had tossed the contents of her wash water at Kari Catsheat she loped down the street.
Perhaps, though, brother man does not recognize the effect his words had upon his fellows? Kari muses. It would be... unreasonable for someone to break camp with her for six nights and not have garnered at least as much as if Kari had little discipline, that she tried to restrain herself from affecting the party negatively.
Kari puts Dimitri between herself and the priest, and rubs the horse's flank with burgeoning affection. She learned better than to stand directly behind the beast several days ago, and though her nature dictates that she embrace her magics to comfort herself after Sirian's thorough dousing, having neither asked or received permission in kind to attend the animal, Kari manipulates the feathers dangling from her hair.
Oleg regards the party for a moment, then climbs down from the roof and drops his hammer into an adjacent tool box.
"Oleg Leveton," he says by way of full introduction. He's a swarthy man, with muscles through hard work but his eyes possess a keen intelligence and he looks at you as though he is weighing you up.
"I guess you're what the Sword Lords deem enough to defend this fort," he continues, although his voice doesn't seem full of confidence, "I'd expected something... more."
However, Sirian's words seem to mollify the large man and he even smiles. "Perhaps you'll manage what you say you'll manage, although I dare say you've your work cut out for you." At this point, a slender woman emerges from the building Oleg had been hammering on.
"Svetlana, these are our guards," he motions towards you, "This is Svetlana, my darling wife." Oleg looks up as the wagon rolls into the yard.
"Obediah, you old dog," Oleg booms, "You've managed to make another journey without getting skewered by bandits, eh?" Oleg moves off to inspect the wagons, leaving Svetlana to speak with the party.
"Excuse my husband, these past few months have been difficult on him. We've been harrassed by a group of bandits, led by a horrible woman who calls herself Kressle. Her men are due to return tomorrow morning in order to collect our 'tithe'. Oleg's a bit on edge as we'd hoped that we'd have proper guards by now. Oh, not that I doubt your competency but you don't... well, you don't look like guards from the house of Lebeda. I heard that you are here to create order from chaos? Well, that would be greatly appreciated. Kressle... she said her men could..." Svetlana tails off as a bright red flush makes her way up her neck to cover her face, "Could have their way with me."
Noticing Oleg's and Svetlana's disappointment and fear, Ratimir tries to ease the woman. Although Ratimir himself is not sure of his or his fellows abilities to protect the fort, he puts on a brave face and reassures Svetlana.
Bluff 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
"Do not worry, my lady, no harm shall come to this place while the four of us are here"
Sirian can feel it coming in the split second before Ratimir speaks
No! Don't promise we can help her against an unknown number of assailants!
But the words are spoken
Well, it might not be the smart thing to do, but it is the right thing to do.
"Absolutely." confirms Sirian, doing his best to appear confident "You're going to be okay, now."
Bluff 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
|Kari the Feytouched|
Kari has been small most of her life, small and different. She knows Oleg's eyes and his derision well. Heat climbs to her face when he suggests that he expected something more. More than a beautiful priest and a scarred knight to defend his dump in the midst of bandit infested lands? What manner of business model was he defending here? Kari's fingers move to the fangs and teeth worked into her hair, fearsome foes her inspiration had assisted her mate to fell in spectacular fashion. She can almost feel their meat in her belly, warming her, and as her fingertips brush the charm Duma had made of his hair in hers she calms. Oleg has removed himself while she has done so, and just as well. Kari can find no kind words for him, none at all.
"Women can be cruel," Kari says to Svetlana. There is none of her usual childlike play in her voice. It is apparent the meeting has affected her. "Almost as cruel than men in their ignorance," she continues, her eyes darting to Oleg at the wagon. "Like as not, she say such faire to upset yon Goodman, keep his rage and despair peaked," Kari evaluates, "and his arms at his sides in fear for ye. Compliant..."
Kari looks to her party and frowns. "I know this fear well," she says. "We can spend just as long assuring the Goodman and his wife of their security when we have dealt with the current threat. Osmond," she looks to the scarred knight. "What make ye of our advantages?"