You have been traveling together for more than a week on a dreary camel caravan from the town of Solku to an unknown location in the northern scrublands of Katapesh. The man who hired you is Garavel, the no-nonsense major-domo of a merchant princess awaiting them at their destination. In the distant haze to the west, you can just make out the immense outline of Pale Mountain looming over the mid-evening horizon like a tombstone.
Take a moment to describe anything else about your character that you may not have already, what they look like, how they act, what they might be discussing on a week long ride on camel-back, and so forth
Dot dot. I'll have a minute to write this afternoon.
The paladin was walking with the group in slow steps. He was used to be an itinerant agent for good, barely ever settling anywhere, and for the past week had been on the caravan with these companions after accepting to help with this contract to Garavel and his merchant princess.
Chakam was used to the deserts and the dreary horizons. He was an unlearned, uneducated man, that saw very few uses on books and letters; in fact, he could barely write or read at all. Yet, walking in the company of a monk, a druid, an oracle and two practitioners of the arcane arts was somehow giving him a sense of being surrounded by knowledge.
As much as he felt sympathy for each of them separately, having lived long in a monastery, he could feel closer to Nishv, the monk. Despite their shared monastic and martial roots, though, Chakam believed they couldn't be more different, and this was fine.
The Suli, himself, was a man of few words. He was rugged, yet an very clear aura surrounded him; he was friendly, loyal, and carried a sense of lawfulness and compassion that resembled something pure. As a paladin of Perfection, a worshipper of Irori, he wasn't the typical holy agent though - and, as someone would quickly find in a closer examination, nothing about the outsider was actually typical.
It feels good to walk without worrying about scalding shackles, or constricting chains. But it's damnably hot. Even for this place.
Korum wiped the sweat from his furrowed, brown-skinned brow, shielding his eyes from the sun as he peered at the horizon. He had spent the past week walking steadily beside the caravan, refusing the relative respite of riding one of the camels.
The wiry, lean man wore a homespun vest, hanging loosely over an otherwise bare chest. His trousers were stained, frayed, and worn, both garments a color that may have once been brown, but was now a sun-bleached tan-white. He held his axe over one shoulder, backpack slung over the shaft of the enormous weapon, hanging behind him. At his side, Jobu kept pace with him and the camels, scampering ahead periodically to investigate the sparse flora, or traces of even sparser fauna.
The week had gone quickly for Korum, who relished the fresh air, and the chance to talk freely, without fear of the lash.
He took the opportunity often.
He'd spent the nights seated near the campfire, engaged in animated conversation with the armadillo. By day, he walked beside a new member of the coterie each day, prodding the conversation towards esoteric topics.
Today's discussion was with Nishv. "Tell me, friend - I may call you friend, yes? No matter, I suppose. At any rate, tell me, friend Nishv, your thoughts on the nature of Man's purpose. Do we live only to die? Do we suffer at the hands of fate and circumstance, only to proceed to the Boneyard? Or is there more to be found in the brief glimpse of existence we are granted?"
Korum grinned as he spoke - a hideous thing to behold, by any standard - his jagged tusks protruding from a craggy, weathered face. He clearly delighted in the banter and intellectual sparring that such a question would facilitate, as it had for the past week with various members of the caravan troupe.
|Uzma Mahdi Al Kalid|
With deep blue eyes, Uzma stares at the mountains in the distance with a worried look. With his right hand, he touches the symbol of Gozreh around his neck, then his forehead, and then he raises his hand to the heavens. He prays without a word.
The man in sky blue robes seems to be entirely unaffected by the heat.
"Life and death are two sides of a coin. One cannot be without the other," Uzma intercedes. Then he closes his eyes and sleeps, confident that his camel will follow the herd.
It is always so with Uzma: he says little, and always seems off in the distance. Sunstroke, most think, forgiving his oddity on account of his being a first rate guide in the desert.
When he had been younger and heard the tales of men claiming to see villages with sparkling pools and blush gardens in the desert Nishv had laughed and said that anyone who thought villages would just appear before them must be fools. But now, with several days between their caravan and Solku he felt pity for the travelers in the tales. When atop a camel's back for days on end and nothing to do save count the dunes and shield your eyes from the sun no man can be held accountable for the dreams his mind conjures.
Nishv had kept his mind busy during the day by reading his copy of Mizravrtta Brahmodya. Some of the others had questioned his sanity at first, ”Reading on camelback will cause you to be sick, and ”Your camel will carry off to join the bones of the desert,” were the common warnings. So far, however, he had neither retched nor had his camel betrayed him and their journey looked to be coming to a close soon. Well, before having to turn back. He had learned how to watch his peripherals while reading the first time he had trekked through the desert on his way North to Absalom.
At night, Nishv had been dividing his time between practicing some of the movements described within the text and scribbling in his journal. Until the third night when his ink bottle met an unfortunate end and dropped staining the sand black. It was then that Nishv resigned himself to joining the others in the evening. ”After all,” he told himself, ”only a fool would allow himself to be alone in the desert.”
The first person he had sought out was his fellow Pathfinder, Rafyyk Halfmoon, and after a brief conversation soon drifted back to the edge of camp. Nishv had never been anyone's first choice when it came to having a conversation. He preferred to sit quietly and listen while others told their stories, speaking only occasionally to ask for elaboration or if asked for his opinion. Many found it off-putting and would find excuses to leave. Those that persevered would find Nishv eager the next day to offer his thoughts on that of which they spoke. Even if it was a simple, ”I am sorry to say that I know little of what you spoke of and can offer little in return other than a friendly ear if you wish to unburden your soul.”
But, on this day Nishv found it difficult to maintain focus on his text. He had been chosen by Korum just as the Half-Orc had chosen others in the days before. Did Korum not know that during the day, Nishv read? That it was when camp had been made he was open to converse? He closed the book and pulled the shemagh below his chin, ”No man can claim to know Man's purpose anymore, I think.” He paused and examined Korum's features...did he know this one from somewhere? ”Only A Man can find a purpose for A Man. This is the real secret of life, I believe -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now.” Even as he spoke the annoyance in his tone faded, realizing the truth in his words even as he spoke them. And even nodded thoughtfully when the one called Uzma interjected.
Loran strolls through the desert sands, feeling at home here, as he molds a small sand falcon, before turning it into a man, then a cat, constantly shifting into other objects. He does not seem bothered by the heat. Hepicks up on the conversation that is being had.
"One's purpose is to find their purpose, and once it is found, do not let it go. Without purpose, life is meaningless. For what is life without purpose?" He turns to Rafyyk. "It is good to see you once again, my old friend. It has been far to long."
The Keleshite Half-Orc was dark-skinned, either from heritage, sun exposure, or both. He was short for his race as well, barely topping the halfway mark between five and six feet tall. He was muscled, though not graceful, but he had presence to him. He had several tattoos on his body, though many of them were hidden beneath his clothing, there was at least one on his face. His dark brown hair was long and often hidden in the clothing covering his head. His eyes were twin pools of darkness, and a long scarf was wrapped around much of his face when traveling. He wore white robes, loose around him, and very hard to see butterfly patterns were woven in to the cloth. His back he carried a two-handed axe, a light crossbow and a backpack - though he often put some of his burden on his camel when riding.
Rafyyk was happy to be back in a desert. Some people would think he is crazy, but Absalom was too different than his homeland or even Katapesh. At least in the Dark Markets, he could find his way around and he didn't look like an outsides....and wasn't looked down upon merely for being a half-orc. His happiness, or at least contentment, was evident in his posture, his cheerful demeanor and his attempts to keep up the morale of his companions as they traveled. He would ask Nishv to join him for partaking of dinner every night, but didn't badger the man, though he looked disappointed when it was rejected.
"Bah! Do not talk of death while in the desert - it brings bad luck! Better to talk of life, of joy, of good things!" He smiled widely, and the opposite of Korum his smile actually was pleasant-looking for a half-orc. "Traveling is good for the soul! Hardship can be overcome, and it makes one stronger! While we yet draw breath, something exciting may be just around the corner. To learn, to grow, to discover, to love, to succeed, to fail....all these things and more are what make us what we are, and help to make us better."
He wasn't trying to be antagonistic or preachy - far from it. He was just engaging in friendly conversation. He mock-glowered at the Halfling. "As the sun blinds me, so too do you darken my path once more, I see." Then he burst into a deep laugh. "It is good to see you as well, Loran. I trust you have been well?"
Korum nodded, contemplating the answers given by Nishv and Uzma as he walked. It is good that we talk. It is better that we agree. I trust these men.
Rafyyk's answer brought Korum to guffaw, a great, bellowing laugh escaping his lips at the other Half-Orc's unexpected exuberance. "Halfmoon, you are right! No more talk of death. We know it well enough, we needn't invite its company. Nishv, will you tell me of the text you read during these long, hot days? It has been too long since I've read a book. Even longer since I've written on anything other than flesh."
"Define well, Rafyyk. I have been stuck in the city for months. Its nice to finally be sent on a mission. I have made a new friend, however. Meet Redwing." As he rolls up his sleeve a bit, a tattoo glows, then turns into a falcon on his shoulder, a mostly light brown with slightly red wings.
As you top the last rise, a caravan of a half-dozen wagons and a large tent clustered around the distinctive tree comes into view. Camels in a nearby pen prance in agitation, and a clutch of confused goats and livestock wander the grounds around the wagons. Perhaps a dozen men and women rush around the campsite, chasing down an animal or hastening toward the center of the cluster, near the Sultan’s Claw, with pails of water in their hands.
One of the wagons is on fire!
Lush orange and red flames engulf an elaborate wooden wagon emblazoned with painted moons and stars. A gout of smoke pours from an open door, and as you approach an ill wind blows a number of colorful fortune-telling Harrow cards from inside the wagon. One of these singed cards blows directly at Rafyyk, catching against his chest in a burst of orange cinders. It is the Cyclone, signifying a force that tears through whatever it meets at the behest of an intelligent being. The card portends war, arson, and destructive plans. As the your eyes shift their focus from the Cyclone back to the wagon, the whole of the Sultan’s Claw erupts into brilliant flame.
The central flap of an elaborate tent flies open and a regal woman who can only be Almah steps out into the firelit night. “Douse that flame!” she shouts to the men surrounding the wagon before turning in your direction. “Ah, Garavel!” she
says. “And just a moment later than needed, as usual.”
Looking specifically past her major domo and directly at the rest of you, Almah barks out a simple order before running off toward the fire: “Find some way to help!”
Faced with an immediate crisis, you have an opportunity to assist in a number ways, a few of which are:
Putting out the fire, Pulling the burning wagon out of the way, Dealing with the frightened animals, Healing the wounded firefighters, etc.
Go ahead and make any appropriate checks you think necessary as well, when you decide your course of action. Don't bother with initiative for now...
Rafyyk was surprised, to say the least! Fire was not usually the most immediate of dangers in the desert, unless one was careless with flame. Dryness and heat, of course, were another story altogether. He looked down at the painted card that blew in to him. He stared at it for a moment, his mind wondering if this were an omen as he feared.
Then his eyes snapped back up and he saw the wagon was emblazoned with moon and stars on it, and that made his decision for him. "No!
He dismounted and hurried forward. As he moved, he began to utter the divine words to summon forth water as if from thin air! He created it above the wagon on fire, again and again, trying to douse the flames.
Korum snapped to action the moment Almah stepped out of her tent, his wary nature overriding the adrenal surge that came with the sight of fire. He muttered a spell under his breath, drawing on the energy of the sun and wind, wrapping it around his own body in a protective armor.
Since Korum's spells come from his Nature spirit, spell descriptions may take on a natural feel - this is Mage Armor
"Look for people! We need to clear the site!" He shouted after completing the short ritual, racing forward just behind Rafyyk and looking for anybody trapped in the burning wagons.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
|Uzma Mahdi Al Kalid|
Not fearing the flames, Uzma endeavours to put out the fire. At the foot of the tree, he finds a spring. He plants his staff hard into the ground, and the water flows. He rallies a few men and women with buckets.
"Blessed be Gozreh. She is fickle," he incants over and over.
Nishv suddenly felt foolish for his initial reaction to Korum’s question. These people are just trying to be friendly, act like a decent person for a change, he told himself.
He held the book up for Korum to see, ”This is the ‘Mizravrtta Brahmodya.’ It tells of the goddess Suyuddha and her many accomplishments. The padaprajna revere it as a holy text but it also has hidden lessons for Vudrani warriors, I believe.”
The monk was close to launching into the one topic he found easy to speak on as the group crested the hill and spotted the flames. Nishv spurred his camel down the hill, dismounting before getting to close to the fire. He pointed to to several of the people, including Rafyyk, ”We must get it away from the others!” Nishv jammed the wide end of his spade under wagon, hoping the sand would hold enough to give leverage.
Moving to bottom of burning wagon next to southernmost wheel. Hoping for help from others and possibly a bonus for leverage. =}
Strength Check: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
Chakam tries to move quickly, with the others, and focus on helping on other fronts - the paladin goes towards the frightened animals, doing his best to try to calm them down with peaceful gestures - and then guiding them to safety.
Handle Animal: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Rafyyk and Uzma - with divine aid - bring a spring as as present and necessary source to extinguish the flames that have engulfed one of the wagons, where a chain of guards line up to pass buckets of water back and forth between a nearby wagon and the burning one. Part of the fire is put out, as clear progress is made, but the fire rages on.
Korum, rushing to the burning wagon as well, sees a nearby burn victim next to a camp site, with an old halfling man over him, trying to treat his wounds. He tries to peer inside the burning wagon, but the smoke, rushing out of the wagon's opening, forces Korum to look away coughing, eyes burning.
Nishv comes up along side the rest of the firefighters with a spade in hand, jamming it under a wheel, and with great strength, leans back. Two more of the nearby guards catch on to what he is doing, pulling back on the wagon, and the crew is able to successfully detach the wagon from the burning tree.
Chakam rushes to the left side of the tree, where the panic-stricken animals have escaped their pens and are running about frantically. He is able to calm a camel before leading two goats into the roped off area.
A nearby elderly couple work along Chakam, trying to calm the rest of the panicked animals. "Oh my goats, my goats, my precious, beautiful goats," the old man says. "Thank you! Quickly, now lets get the rest. And the camels too!"
That just leaves you Loran
Loran calms the last of the goats and eases them into the fold. Beside him, the old shepherd is crying out in desperation. "Rombard! Rombard, where are you?! Come back, my Rombard!"
After everyone is able to focus on the fire, it's quickly quenched, and everyone goes to tend to their various responsibilities:
The older couple tend to the animals and then the woman starts preparing food, as her husband is still apparently distraught over his lost goat. He can be seen looking around the campsite and the surrounding area.
The old halfling men starts tending to any wounded.
Almah rushes off to her tent, with Garavel in tow, and the two go inside. Four armed guards stand waiting outside of the entrance to Almah's tent.
The rest go about their daily responsibilities.
Perception on the Wagon
Physical examination of the ruined wagon reveals sooty ashes, a few broken bottles or potion vials, a cracked nonmagical crystal ball, and several pools of melted wax where candles must once have stood. A charred skeletal form remains near the center of the wagon.
suggesting that the fortune-teller was killed by the fire itself or from inhaling the smoke the fire caused.
Korum approaches the older man solemnly, looking around at the charred campsite.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
As he notices the skeleton, any thought of Rombard quickly escapes his mind.
"I am very sorry about the recently deceased, sir. Though death may be no stranger to people in these harsh lands, the frequency doesn't make its visits any easier."
Rafyyk went immediately to the wagon that had been on fire, once the fire was out. The moon and stars on it spoke to him, as if Desna's hand was guiding him along to it. That, along with the Harrow card from earlier, had seemed like omens or portents - something Rafyyk was all too familiar with and used to dealing with.
He could FEEL that something was wrong before he ever laid eyes on the corpse. He made his way in to the wagon's interior, heedless of any residual heat or smoke that might be there. He stopped suddenly when he saw that the person couldn't be saved, that they were in fact dead.
He slumped, and then slowly made his way back down the steps of the wagon. He looks around to the other people who were already in the camp before they arrived. "I would like to pray for her and put her body to rest so her soul may move on. Who here can speak for her beliefs? I do not wish to trample on them."
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
|Uzma Mahdi Al Kalid|
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Seeing Rafyyk tend to the dead, Uzma choses to deal with the living. He sits facing the sun, burns desert sage, and prays to Gozreh in an attempt to find the old man's goat.
Nishv pulled his spade out of the sand and walked around to the two guards that helped him move the wagon.
As Nishv heared Korum and Rafyyk speak of the unfortunate one that perished he fought to keep the grief from showing in from of the two guards.
”You did well today,” Nishv clapped one of the guards on the shoulder, ”And you,” he said to the second. ”I doubt that I could have moved the wagon alone and who knows how many more lives could have been lost without your intervention.”
"I would like to pray for her and put her body to rest so her soul may move on. Who here can speak for her beliefs? I do not wish to trample on them."
The old halfling stands next to Rafyyk, observing the wreckage, replies, "Her name was Eloais. Almah hired her a short time ago as fortune teller, to try and gain some guidance in her cards. She was a harrower."
Uzma calls out to Rombard the goat, but after waiting for quite a while, there is no answer or return of the animal.
It would be logical to assume that the goat did not return because he is already too far to answer such a calling, or is restricted from doing so for some reason
"I doubt that I could have moved the wagon alone and who knows how many more lives could have been lost without your intervention."
The two men give a quick embrace in thanks."I'm Trevvis. This is Dullen. Good to have you lot with us. And just in time I'd say. Thanks again. That was smart with with the spade there."
Hearing the conversation happening, Korum approaches the men embracing Nishv. He speaks slowly, the words almost over-articulated, as he contemplates the charred body he'd seen moments ago.
"Trevis, Dullen, and Nishv, you are quick to act in an emergency, and did not hesitate, though the situation could have been a trap. I commend your cleverness, and only wish I had thought to act selflessly, that I might have saved Eloais' life."
After speaking, Korum walks away, back toward the camels, his head hanging low, Jobu plodding slowly next to him.
”A man once told me of how he escaped from a jail cell by doing something similar,” Nishv said. ”He attempted to explain the mathematics involved in accomplishing such a task but, I was unable to follow along, I fear,” he said through a thin smile. ”But the idea is simple enough,” Nishv motioned to the spade, ”Put the long thing under the heavy thing and add weight.”
Nishv bowed slightly to Korum when the Half-Orc approached, ”Please do not be in haste to understate your own actions.,” he said as Korum walked away. You were the first to look for anyone trapped, were you not? None of us, save you, attempted to do so. He wanted to tell the man.
Instead, he turned back to Trevis and Dullen, ”I wonder, sirs, if either of you would have an idea as to what could have started the fire?”
"I wonder, sirs, if either of you would have an idea as to what could have started the fire?"
"That is a right good question. Not really sure what could have started that. Most of us were setting up over there," Trevis says, pointing to the encampment of circling bedrolls. "We were just waiting for our supper and then...Woosh, the thing was up in flames.
Suddenly, Garavel emerges from Almah's tent and motions to the six of you to hurrily follow him into Almah's tent.
"Quickly, our new associates. The mercenary princess has need to speak to you."
If any of you still wish to do something else, feel free to do so. This wasn't an intention of rushing things along, just for the sake of clarity.
Rafyyk listens to the old halfling and then bows deeply. "Thank you for your assistance. I am Rafyyk Halfmoon. May I ask your name?" After the response he continues, "It sounds like Eloais was not here long. That is a shame. Do you know if she had any family?"
Then after the halfling responds, Raffyk's attention is grabbed by Garavel motioning for them to come to the tent he recently ducked in to. Rafyyk thanks the halfling for the information once more and excuses himself. He walks over to the tent and one eyebrow raises up. "Very well."
A Princess? Here? Interesting. He hopes she is not of the same royalty as he is. That might be awkward.
He enters the tent along with the others.
Korum nods his appreciation at Nishv's kind words, and turns to Garavel at the sound of his urgent voice. "Ah, yes! It will be good to have a distraction from this calamity. Come, Jobu! We are being summoned! Perhaps this time, it will be good news that brings us to a run!" The lean, wiry man and his armadillo hurry towards Almah's tent, chuckling at his own joke, obviously in brighter spirits with a clear task at hand.
Rafyyk listens to the old halfling and then bows deeply. "Thank you for your assistance. I am Rafyyk Halfmoon. May I ask your name?"
"I am Father Zastoran, Priest of Nethys," he answers, inclining toward Rafyyk. "It is my humblest privilege to make your acquaintance."
Rafyyk continues, "It sounds like Eloais was not here long. That is a shame. Do you know if she had any family?"
"None that I know of," Zastoran replies.
Finished with helping the way he could, Chakam approaches the others, again. His expression is that of someone tricked by the happenings; yet, he seemed to be glad most people were safe, apparently, despite the harmed ones. He arrives just in time to hear Rafyyk and Zastoran, as he gets in the tent smiling to his companions from the caravan.
|Uzma Mahdi Al Kalid|
Uzma ends his prayer: "Blessed be Gozreh. He watches over us."
He turns to the goat herder, and explains: "Your goat either is dead, or has been taken. I am sorry." He raises his hand to the sky, to invoke Gozreh's mercy.
Uzma then makes his way to Almah's tent...
After you all enter the tent, Garavel ensures no one else is nearby, nods to one of the guards, and closes the flap behind him, signaling to Almah that any proceedings may begin.
"I am going to ask you to lead an investigation into whether or not the fire might have been set by someone in my camp." Almah says. "Since you also were not around when the fire broke out, I ask you to help Garavel in determining if there is a mystery afoot, and if so, to solve it."
Garavel continues, "The destroyed wagon belonged to Almah’s personal fortuneteller Eloais, a woman from Almah’s distant homeland of Varisia. Eloais’s specialty was a divinatory deck of cards known as Harrow."
(a few cards of which litter the ground outside the burned-out wagon)
"Gentleman, I need any answers you can dig up. Anything I can provide you with that will help get me answers is at your disposal," Almah finishes with a tone that suggests the woman is used to speaking with authority and typically gets what she wants.
|Uzma Mahdi Al Kalid|
"Gozreh protect us for the destruction of Rovagug," the devout Uzma prays.
With the Pale Mountains in the distance, Uzma cannot but be concerned about facing the hordes of the Carrion King.
"Had Eloais drawn cards, recently?" Uzma asks. "Perhaps her divination can set us on the path of enlightenment?"
”She had indeed,” Almah replies. “Two days ago, in fact, for me. I don’t remember most of the cards in the reading, though I can recall a few.”
Cards: 1d6 ⇒ 11d10 ⇒ 5
Cards: 1d6 ⇒ 41d10 ⇒ 2
”One was the Bear. It was in my present. She said that there was someone or something wild in my midst whom I was trying to tame and could not. Another was the Wanderer. The Centaur card symbolizes someone who collects things other people discard as junk. Eloais told me that I would be successful in taking the proverbial junkyard of Kelmarane back, but it would certainly not be without price.
Not sure if that helps you or not. But there it is."
|Uzma Mahdi Al Kalid|
Uzma pales: a price to pay for Kelmarane? The young man has been honest about his reason for joining this caravan, about his quest to find Haleen. He hoped that he would find her well and happy. But he knew it could never be so. The words of the princess serve to remind him that the will of Gozreh is unfathomable.
"I don't know much about Harrow cards," Uzma admits, "but was anybody else present when the cards were drawn? And who or what do you think this Bear could be?"
Korum nods in agreement with Uzma's line of questioning - this one has a keen mind, he thinks - and approaches Almah.
"Madam Almah, it is my honor to serve you, and I will provide any aid I can, beginning with a thorough investigation of this campsite, to determine the nature of the accident. It is probably for the best that the site be kept clear of anybody but us, as evidence could be destroyed easily. You know as well as I the temporary nature of such things, especially in the scrub. So it is with this in mind that I humbly make two requests."
Korum kneels, bowing his head before the imperious woman. "First, it is my wish that you remain in your tent, with Garavel at your side, and leave the front flap open so that you might call out if anything should befall you. We do not yet know if this was a reckless attempt on your own life, and your safety is paramount. The second is a more personal request, and I ask that you consider it carefully. If we are able to provide the answers you seek, and further, we assist with the recapture of Kelmarane, as we've already been sent to do, I ask for my freedom, guaranteed by you. I am a wary man, and while arrangements were made in Solku, it is the nature of slavers to find holes in such contracts, and thread their words through them. I simply ask for your word."
If Almah agrees, Korum will leave the tent and proceed directly to the remains of Eloais.
Rafyyk listens to the situation being laid out. Investigators? He frowns slightly. It made sense to choose those who were not present before the incident. At least the burden is not solely on his own shoulders. There are others with him who may be better skilled.
"Investigation is not really my specialty, but I will do whatever I can to help. I am sorry for your loss, and once we are done investigating, I will be honored to help put Eloais's body to rest with your blessing. Hopefully this investigation can help ease her spirit to rest as well if needs be."'
He glances at Korum and his frown deepens. The words are put out there, but it is too soon to assume such intent from a fire on a fortune teller's wagon to be aimed at the Princess. He keeps his thoughts to himself for the moment, however. His lips turn into a thin line and he takes a step towards the tent's flap.
I'm not sure if it's appropriate to give my next action, since we're mid-conversation and I'm rather new to PbP, but if I leave the tent, Perception on the body specifically: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
Nishv was the last to enter the tent and was relegated to standing in the back of the group. A fact he was not entirely unhappy about.
As Almah and Garavel explained the task set before them, Nishv found himself wondering what sort of business the Princess would be doing that she thought someone may have started the fire on purpose. Someone? he thought. The two guards had said they were not sure what could have started the fire. Not who. ....literally, just noticed the italics.
Nishv spoke up from the back, ”Princess, could it be that Eloais caused her own demise? Accidents do happen, no?” He regretted the words even as he gave them life. ”Forgive my bluntness. I meant no offense,” Nishv lowered his gaze, ”I simply meant that it could send the wrong message to your camp if we begin questioning them. And if we are to investigate, we must look at all scenarios, I think.” He dared a glance up at Almah.
"I don't know much about Harrow cards," Uzma admits, "but was anybody else present when the cards were drawn? And who or what do you think this Bear could be?"
"No one else was present. I always have my card readings done alone. As to the Bear? I have no idea. The cards always seemed more," Almah says searching for the word, "symbolic. It could be, well...anything, I suppose."
Korum kneels, bowing his head before the imperious woman..."The second is a more personal request...I ask for my freedom, guaranteed by you."
Almah motions for Korum to stop kneeling before her. "Stars above, what is this, a palace? None of that here. Yes, of course I will ensure your freedom. It would certainly be well earned. I give you my word as a merchant princess of the Pactmasters."
Nishv spoke up from the back, “Princess, could it be that Eloais caused her own demise? Accidents do happen, no? I simply meant that it could send the wrong message to your camp if we begin questioning them. And if we are to investigate, we must look at all scenarios, I think.”
”Perhaps you two are right,” Almah says pointing at Korum and Nishv. “We should consider all possibilities. One does not make a purchase without careful inspection. Now if you will please excuse my very poor manners. Employer or no, I have not made introductions. You have an advantage over me. I am Almah, of course. But what are your names?”
The weathered half-orc stands quickly at Almah's behest, looking her in the eye as he extends a hand. "I am called Korum. This,"he points to the armadillo at his feet, "is my guide, Jobu. We will find the responsible party, Miss Almah, you have my word. Now, if you will excuse me, I will permit my colleagues their own introductions while I begin this investigation."
With that, Korum turns and jogs out of the canvas chamber, head held high in pride as he contemplates his pending freedom. It is true, then. I must help this woman.
Using the same perception roll as above, a 17, on the corpse and surrounding areas. Jobu will also roll to aid.
aiding Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
|Uzma Mahdi Al Kalid|
The desert nomad bows. "I am Uzma Mahdi Al Kalid. Peace be upon you."
Once the introductions have been made, Uzma asks: "Perhaps the cards spoke to her, and revealed... something?" Clearly, this is a man who is better suited to life in the desert, than addressing a princess and carrying out an investigation.
Suddenly ill at ease, he excuses himself, and follows Korum out.
Outside, he searches for tracks coming and going from the camp.
Survival to follow tracks: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28
I'm Chakam Amaranth, your Highness. My pleasure to meet you. - says the paladin, looking around with curiosity - I'm a Paladin of Irori, Master of the Masters. His Perfection allowed us to be here. I, too, shall accompany my colleagues on the investigation.
Rafyyk stops moving towards the tent flap as the conversation takes a quick turn. He hesitates for just a moment before he gives a deep bow to the princess. It was not a lack of respect. It was the momentary urge to give his title, something he had not thought of doing in a very long time.
"I am Rafyyk, called the Halfmoon by some. I am an Oracle of Desna."
Nishv bowed slightly at Almah’s response, ”Of course, Princess.”
As the rest of the party gave their introductions, Nishv took a few steps to the side so as to let Korum and Rafyyk through the tent flap. When Korum opened the flap to leave Nishv was hit in the face with a blast of the dry, desert heat.
The Vudrani man pulled his shemagh completely off, revealing the man beneath. His hair’s natural waves highlighted the violet color it had been dyed. The beard on his chin was braided but remained its natural black color. Black, grease makeup outlined his eyes in an effort to to shield his vision from the sun and several simple gold rings dotted both eyebrows.
”My name, Princess, is Nishv Nilara, he paused to run a hand through his hair. Hours under the fabric had caused his hair to tangle and form knots. ”Since we will be looking at all possibilities, Princess, did Eloais make an enemy of anyone since joining your caravan?”
”Since we will be looking at all possibilities, Princess, did Eloais make an enemy of anyone since joining your caravan?”
"Not that I'm aware of. I don't even think she talked to anyone besides myself. So who would that leave, a spurned conversationalist?"
Almah leaves the rest of you to your investigations.
Korum, in your search of the wagon, the only clue you find as to what may have started the fire is an abundance of candles, most just clumps of melted wax.
Uzma, in your search you discover a pair of tracks that move back in forth, likely in a panic at the time, that ultimately leave Sultans claw to the northeast. While a bit scuffed in all the excitement. They are almost undoubtedly a goats.