The air has begun to chill through out the Grand Lodge in Absalom. It has been only a few months since your Confirmation, the final test that allows you to become a Pathfinder field operative. On this fine day, whether you were eating, studying or practicing weapon-craft, a page has found you and addressed you by name. He requests that you meet with Venture-Captain Drandle Dreng within Skyreach at sunset this evening. The page does not know the manner of the meeting, but he doesn't recommend missing it.
Those of you that follow the page's invitation, you are shown to a meeting room within Skyreach. The room holds six comfortable looking chairs and a plush bench along with some refreshments of cake and tea.
Please give a general description of yourself as you enter the room and feel free to make conversation while others arrive.
|Omrax the Bold|
You see a tall, fair haired knight of with obvious elven heritage.
Under his red cloak, he wears a simple but serviceable suit of banded mail along with a shield bearing the crest of Iomedae.
His longsword is well kept and shows signs of recent battles.
"Hello good Sir. Are you perhaps Sir Boddyknock Badger? Mutual friends of ours said I might encounter you her. I am Omrax. Pleasure to meet you."
|Omrax the Bold|
"Ah very good. So sorry on the mix up on the name, Sir...um Badger. I was trying to read my scribbled notes and must have put them in the wrong order. My apologies."
Omrax is very sociable and more than makes up for Badger's reclusive nature.
"I am interested to hear what assignment they have us on...the last one almost ended poorly for our entire team."
|Omrax the Bold|
I am sorry, no. we would not usually know each other but I noticed you were of same faction. -( Andoran) My last gm said same faction folks may know of each other and can work together on mission etc. I was just trying to work it into the story...but you'd have no reason to act differently since you do not know me from a guy off the street.
A slim, fair elf woman of an indeterminate age bursts through the doorway. She is dressed for the outdoors, with a green cloak draped over new-looking hide armor. A wooden holy symbol of the goddess Calistria is worn openly on a leather thong at her throat.
This practical look is complemented by a longbow over her shoulder, a plain longsword at her hip and a wooden table-leg thrust into a leather belt around her waist.
She spies a cake on the trestle and takes a nibble, before coming over to the others.
"Well met, My Lords" A smile appears naturally on her face. "My name is Luisila, late of the Temple of the Savored Sting. I must confess to having listened to part of your conversation from the doorway, but would very much like to get better acquainted with you both"
I actually read Ormax’s and Badger’s conversation to date at work but was unable to post at the time.
Late, late again...what a doofus I am. Single most important night of my future "grand" opportunity, the only real chance to... - Haraldir was hurrying through the night down the street covered in mud. Lost in this thoughts, he did not notice a puddle right in his way. Splosh! Oh, man...even this now. Well, on these boots it probably won't even be noticed.
Haraldir was clad in very typical outdoors clothes - drab and thick linen shirt, pants which were once blue, obviously of very sturdy make, an undetermined light green piece of clothing which resembled overcoat, and a heavy brown cloak, patched in several places. Each and every piece of clothing had at least one, if not several pockets, and it was obvious that some of these were stuffed with minor items. He carried a large rucksack on his back, filled to the brim, a quiver with dozens of arrows was firmly tied upon his left thigh and he carried what might be considered a very large bow.
Although he was not used to the big city, instructions were simple enough, and he found the Grand Lodge with no issues. Entering inside, he found himself in a completely new world for him. It was not his first time in the Lodge (actually, it was his second), but he was almost bedazzled with the sounds, smells and especially sights within.
Surely he stuck out like a sore thumb among these fine dressed and behaved people, looking more like a porter, than a would be explorer, chartered by the Pathfinder Society. He was approached by one of the errand boys, and after presenting himself, he was shown into a meeting room. With some hesitation he has accepted their offer to leave his "additional baggage" in a separate storage-room, along with his bow and arrows. However he flat out refused to part with his viciously looking dagger, hung at his belt. Remembering the advice of his uncle Konstantin (The fancier his dress, the less your trust!), he made sure to remember the shortest way to this storage room, as well as the face of the servant-boy holding the keys to the room.
Entering the room and approaching the table slowly and uncertainly, he looks at three people already present.
"Good evening to ya all, my name is Haraldir. Haraldir k'Asar ke'Atem" - he makes a slight pause, more out of nervousness, to check if they are listening to him at all, rather than to emphasize what is to follow - "It will be my honor to escort you to...wherever Society tells us to go"
He bows his head slightly, unaware that his left hand is nervously tapping the hilt of his large dagger, and after nodding courtly to all of the people presenting their names, he moves a bit closer, hoping to be able to seat next to a friendly face.
I actually read Ormax’s and Badger’s conversation to date at work but was unable to post at the time.
Similar here Luisila, I was able to read posts, but usually from my work I can post only a sentence or two, and did not want to do that for my "opening post" :-) On a related note, Ben can you please open Discussion thread so we can move similar OOC conversations there?
Astyannax enters the room, nodding to those already present. As he takes a seat, he notices that the others are young, like himself.
Guess that makes sense for new Pathfinders.
His scale mail is a dull grey, not the highly polished silver one would expect from his Taldoran features. A longsword, the pommel laregely unscarred, hangs from his belt on one side.
His forearms are knotted with muscle and indicate great strength. When he entered the room he had moved with the easy grace of a calvalryman.
It's fair to say he is handsome, with wavy black hair a bit long in the back but cut short in the front. He sits straight, no slouching.
It's hard to miss the silver clasp, shaped like a longsword, that holds his dark blue cloak together at his throat and gleams in the torch light. The same symbol, which also has a sunburst radiating from the hilt, can be seen on the left shoulder plate of his mail.
He nods at his new companions as he rubs his clean-shaven chin.
"Thank Iomedae we aren't working for VC Valsin on this one. I'd probably have to carry all your armor for you." He gives a sheepish grin.
“Hello, Haraldir.” Luisila smiles again trying to put the man at ease. “My name is Luisila and I am very pleased to meet you.”
Wow, that’s a KNIFE! Hopefully he’s not trying to overcompensate for something...
”I personally can’t wait to get out on with the mission. Where are you from?”
“Master Boddyknock – may I call you Badger? I do so hope we shall be friends. It would be such a shame if we were to be t’other ...”
Luisila absently fingers the emblem of the goddess of Revenge at her throat.
“... and Good Sir Omrax – I do not believe I know you, but you have acquired the reputation in these halls for being helpful to new recruits”
Thanks for the formatting guide, Aarvid
Luisila eyes Astyannax’s equipment.
“Have you have all ready seen action in the service of the Society, Ser? I would welcome any tips or tactics you may have picked up during past endeavors, while we wait on the others and VC Strangle String – I mean Drandle Dreng.”
“Did you have a priestess in your last party? If so, how was she deployed?”
Luisila gives the impression of wanting to please and be pleased.
"I'm not familiar with VC Valsin - why didn't you need armor on your last mission?"
I believe I understand your point about encumbrance from medium to light with dropped backpack costing a move action. But if I make a mistake, please let me know - I know you will! :)
Astyannax eyes the rather hyper elf who doesn't seem to stop talking.
"My name is Astyannax, Miss Luisilla."
He takes a moment to see if she will interject, then continues on.
"As for not needing armor: that's not quite what I said. I will give you one piece of advice. Don't tell a Venture Captain that he's too old to do field work. At least, don't say it to Valsin. I narrowly avoided a trip to the Spine of the World after that. As it is, he's given me plenty of 'assignments' around here since. Playing pack mule has been one of them."
A brief burst of annoyance flashes across his face, but vanishes almost instantly.
"The last group that he let me work with ran several errands here in Absalom. We had an odd half-orc oracle, but no clerics."
Then, under his breath. "Nor did it have people who actually wanted to make a plan before acting..."
A tall man enters the room, dressed in robes and carrying a staff. He would be considered handsome by most, though the is a strange quality about him. His presence was almost felt before he entered the room. His hair the color of copper, almost appears to be copper strands. His eyes glint with a gem-like quality. He nods to the others.Greetings, I am Ezrek Filosten of Quadira. It seems I have taken to much time finding my way, as I appear to be the last to arrive. I hope this does not reflect poorly on me. He gives a short bow and goes to stand near a corner, studying his fellow Pathfinders.
“Well met, Astyannax. I’ll watch out for Valsin.”
Hmm... someone else with an issue with authority figures?
Good thing Luisila doesn’t have a problem with authority – oh most definitely not!
|Omrax the Bold|
Omrax turns and greets each of the new arrivals in a warm fashion.
"It is my honor to meet each of you, fellow Pathfinders...I am Omrax, Follower of Iomedae, at your service."
To each in the room...
"Lady Luisila, welcome. It is always good to have the perspective of a lady in a group of brash men."
"Sir Haraldir, you appear to be a skilled archer. We could have used your great bow on my last outing. I am sure it will be put to good use...unless we are just un-dusting old scrolls. " and chuckles.
"Sir Astyannax, good to see you since the last time at the chapel of our Lady the Inheritor, I did not realize we would be meeting on an assignment, but we will count on your sword, no doubt."
Nods to Ezrek at entry and introduction "Sir, Ezrek, welcome. Omrax at your service."
Although he felt slight discomfort being under Ezrek's gaze, Haraldir's mind quickly focused at "matters close at hand".
Mmmmm, she smells so good, so fresh and clean. Different than Grace, and yet... - lost in his thoughts, he blushed slightly when Luisila spoke to him, so he answered automatically. It sounded more like he is answering to a drill sergeant, trying to avoid additional exercises, than he was leading a casual conversation.
"I was born in Prodan, a small fisherman's village, southwest of Restov....ma'm" - he added last word almost as an afterthought.
He feels a bit less discomfort when Omrax speaks to him. "Thank you for that..." - he pauses a bit, searching for the right word - "...compliment, good Sir Omrax, but I am not a knight or a gentleman, nor do I strive to become one. Skilled archer, I would surely like to be, but I am afraid that I have lots more to learn. But Desna blessed me with a good eye and a strong arm, so I may still succeed there."
Taking a piece of cake from the table, he tries to focus on it, instead of looking at a strange wooden leg which lady-elf seems to be carrying around.
Speaking to no one in particular - "So, anyone knows why they called us here, where we might be heading?"
I see that Omrax is still so stiff that I'm surprised he can bend his knees. Don't imagine that will change for awhile.
Sipping a tea (pinkie in), Astyannax decides he's had enough of studying the group and responds to Haraldir.
"I haven't a clue. I spent yesterday cleaning out the stables: and I don't mean for my horse. If I'm on the assignment, it can't be a plum job."
A thought occurs and he looks around. "Any of you in the outhouse around here as well?"
Ezrek clears his throat and appears to come out of a deep meditation.I do not know why we have been summoned, but I would say based on the variety of skills present in this room, I would offer that some form of a mission is about to ensue. As to it's nature, there is not enough information to hazard a theory at this time. Ezrek clears his throat again, seemingly uncomfortable speaking to a group of people.
The conversation is interupted by a door opening from the opposite end of the room. A man and a woman enter. He appears to be a wiry old man with a wild gray beard and glinting eyes. She is a finely dressed, full-figured woman who already looks as though this entire meeting isn’t worth her time.
"Oh, nibbles, excellent," the man proclaims as he scuries away from the lady's side and toward the cake tray. He piles a palm full of cakes into one hand, while licking the tips of his off-hand. He then goes to great each of you individualy as if you were old friends, even though this maybe the first time you have formally met. Instead of handshakes, he gives out high-5's.
"Good evening, good evening. It is soooo good you could make it." He shoves a honey cake into his mouth and continues. "I am Venture Captian Dreng and this is Lady Gloriana Morilla of Taldor." The Taldan woman tilts her head slightly in acknowledgement of the introduction, but otherwise makes no move to greet anyone as she takes her seat on the plush bench.
Dreng moves over towards the bench but continues to stand.
"So here is the skinny. Recently, a contact from the Low Azlanti embassy in Escadar approached us with an offer. It seems they have discovered a unique relic of Azlanti origin on the Inner Sea’s floor that we have a unique opportunity to add to our collection for study. In return, however, we must deliver one of our catalogued items to Escadar in exchange. The Low Azlanti drive a hard bargain, so we need you to escort a relics broker to Escadar so he can authenticate the Azlanti item and mediate a fair deal on the Ten’s behalf.
"Now keep in mind that the Pathfinders are not the only group that looks to acquire this relic. It seems the Aspis Consortium has also tendered an offer, and the gillmen have decided to accept the Consortium’s deal if the Society cannot finalize its agreement within 30 days.
"An Aspis-funded warship patrols the waters just beyond Absalom’s harbor, preventing any of our agents from sailing to Escadar unmolested. Luckily, the G-Lady and I have come up with a solution."
Dreng then flops onto the bench and starts to lick the center of one of cream filled pastries.
Lady Morilla stirs from her silence and gives Dreng a cold stare at his lax formality. After realizing he is focused on his tasty-cake, Lady Morilla beings to speak in a strong, demanding voice.
“I have used some of the Empire of Taldor’s most skilled operatives to plant a false crew manifest and course plans with the harbormaster, ensuring that the Aspis Consortium spies who certainly keep an eye on such matters believe we are moving our relic to Escadar on a ship tomorrow morning. This decoy should occupy the Consortium sufficiently for you to travel overland to Escadar with plenty of time to make the final agreement with the gillmen before the Society’s window of opportunity runs out.”
Dreng starts to laugh at himself absently and finishes with a snort. He continues on with the debreifing.
"So you need to go to the Siphons in the Puddles and meet with information broker Grandmaster Torch. Don't worry, he's cool. Haradlir will show you the way. Torch will give you a map for a smugglers’ trail through the isle’s center that should allow for relatively easy and secret travel overland to Escadar. The Society has hired an appraiser and relics broker named Nester Rees to verify the authenticity of the gillmen’s relic. Rees will meet up with you tomorrow morning when you are ready to depart.
"When you get to Escadar, go to a tavern called the Grindylow’s Goblet. That's where the gillmen have agreed to meet. Once there, you only need to send word to the Low Azlanti embassy then. Master Rees can conduct the negotiations at the tavern on the Society’s behalf if needed. Easy-breezy. Keep in mind that you are responsible for Rees’ safety and for the success of his negotiations."
"Recap. Walk across the island, sail to a smaller island, trade and come home. Smells like pie. Any questions?"
When somebody starts to ask a question, sticks his finger out toward that person as if to stop him. Dreng then holds up a cake before his nose and takes in a big sniff. He then allows the question to be asked.
Astyannax silently follows the briefing.
Apparently there is no test for VCs. This one is several arrows short of a full quiver.
He carefully ensures that his face remains expressionless as he looks at the lady. Ah, that Taldoran arrogance. No wonder we lost control of half the world.
Of course, I did stand up when she entered, so maybe there's still something to it.
Very good sir. As to sailing across to Escadar, is there a ship ready or are we to use any means at are disposal. Will the person named Rees be able to identify the relic, should we be told what it looks like?
"I'm sure you are able to find passage to get to Escadar. Resourcefulness is an excellent quality in a Pathfinder. As for what the Low Azlantis’ relic looks like, I am not entirely sure, but our diviners believe obtaining it is in our best interest. Reesey has a very sharp mind and the ability to identify genuine Azlanti relics. Or maybe one of you, if you've studied enough."
"Only the people here, Torch, & Rees know about this plan. We would like to keep it that way. Oh and well the Decemvirate knows too." Dreng twirls a finger in the air and rolls his eyes.
Dreng goes to take another bite out of a cake when realizes that he doesn't have any more. A mask of anger flashes over the old man's face as if somebody took his first born son.
"If you come across those Aspis Consortium dogs, use as much force as needed to keep the mission safe. If they want to talk, then talk, but if they interfere with our deal in any way, I authorize—and encourage—the use of deadly force.”
Haraldir listened intently to what Venture Captain had to say. Trying very hard not to miss any of the critical details, he mulls over what he has heard so far, at the same time trying to beat his shyness.
A trek through the center of the island? Surely they do not mean through the mountains....ah, well, we shall see once when we get the map
He shudders a bit when Drang mentions leading them all to Puddles (he hated that area), but steels his resolve, and fires away a series of questions himself.
"Pardon my ignorance, but who or what are gillmen? Can we trust them? How does this Master Rees looks like and where shall we meet him? Can we trust Reese? What is the relic we are carrying, how valuable is it? Since it is obvious Aspis Consortium is involved, are there any known Consortium agents/contacts in the area (Escadar)?"
Suddenly, Haraldir stops, his pulse pounding like drums inside his ears, blood flooding his cheeks.
Well, Konstantin would be proud of me, I think I got all the angles...now I only need to survive all this
EDIT: My last question was redundant/answered while writing this message so I simply deleted it
VC Dreng is the man, Lady Morilla is . . . a lady
A rolled doobie pops into Dreng's hands out of nowhere after spring-snap can be heard. He snaps his fingers at this tip of it and the paper lites. He inhales deep, blows it out, then answers the questions presented to him.
"It looks like I'm going to have to talk to Valsin about your lessons. I have time for a quick one. Quills ready?
The enigmatic and reclusive gillmen (known to some as “Low Azlanti”) are the aquatic descendants of the vanished Azlanti race. When Earthfall struck Golarion and the continent of Azlant was shattered, most of the Azlanti dwelling died in the fires or drowned in the waves. Yet a number found succor with their undersea aboleth enemies. For reasons that remain unknown to this day (but which surely have nothing to do with compassion), the aboleths rescued a small fraction of these drowning humans, warping their flesh to help them survive in the aboleths’ uncontested undersea realm. Yet with that action, the aboleths seemed to lose interest, and in the thousands of years that followed, the gillmen formed a society of their own. One such society is off the shores of our fair island. Like all people within societies, some can be trusted, some shouldn't. What do your paranoid voices tell you?
Dreng takes another hit off the joint, gives a long ways smile with a wink.
"Master Rees is a middle-aged man of Garundi descent who has worked with us for some time now. While he tried going on field missions as a Pathfinder in his youth, his weak constitution limits his ability to travel. As to trust, we have used Rees’s expertise on many occasions, and he has always come through. He will meet you in the morning here at the Lodge.”
The venture captian stands up and walks over to a desk while holding the doob tight between his lips. He snatches a shrouded item and tosses in Haraldir's direction.
"The relic we are giving up seems to be part of a collective, or perhaps a fragment of a larger object. Without its companion pieces its kinda worthless. Maybe they have the other pieces. *shrug*
"The Consortium could be anywhere, just like Pathfinders. One maybe even in this room." Dreng gives Bobbyknock a long hard stare, the snorts a couple times with a snicker.
|Omrax the Bold|
"We will not fail you. A question...Do you know if the relic is large, requiring a cart or other transport? Also, this smuggler's trail...is it safe for horses and carts or could we encounter hostile forces beyond just the cursed Aspis?"
The Venture Captain walks over to Omrax and pats him on the shoulder. "My bold Omrax. You are over thinking it, man. To your first question, I haven't a clue. All I know is whatever it is has been talking to the fishes for the past couple of centuries. Maybe the specialist would have some insight. As for your second question, probably best to ask that of Grandmaster Torch. He is the smuggler with the trail."
Dreng takes in another long drag, holds it, then blows it out smoothly. "Now if there is anything *cough*, I need to go work on my chi. Or is that ki . . .or qi. Whatever, I'm getting hungry."
As Lady Gloriana starts to stand up, she reaches her arm out in the direction of Astyannax for assistance.
A thought occurs and he looks around. "Any of you in the outhouse around here as well?"
“Not yet, Astyannax ... but give me time”
“Whenever I was in trouble with the High Priestess, I found that I could eventually get out of it by knowing which of her buttons to press”
Astyannax looks around the room.
My last group ran out the door without a thought to a plan. This one asks questions until the sun goes down. Ah, well..
I think we've got enough info to go see GrandMaster Torch.
Thinks it over a bit.
On the way, we should probably appoint a spokesman. Anybody particulary skilled with words? We had a bard named Quintus who treated every encounter like a Taldoran play. Pretty effective, though.
He moves towards the door slowly, hoping to generate some momentum.
This is a casual saunter: he's not trying to bolt out of the room and get others to follow in his wake.
Luisila sits quietly through the Venture Captain’s briefing, trying hard to keep all the details straight.
What has Dreng been smoking?
And more importantly ... where can I get some?
She is quite impressed with Omrax’s questions.
Paranoids have enemies too, Dear Strangle.
And Ezrek’s knowledge and general demeanor.
She decides to attract the Qadiran man’s attention.
Hello, Ezrek. My name is Luisila. Welcome to the party!
When six people convene, I am fairly certain that one must arrive first, one last *counts on her fingers* with four coming in between.
The last person to arrive could just as easily have been
(The first name to pop into Luisila’s head out of A, OtB, BB, EF, Hkk, or L) 1d6 ⇒ 3
our friend, the gnome, and I am certain there are realities that the Goddess oversees where Master Boddyknock was indeed the last member of our band to arrive.
I once heard a famous bard from Dark Moon sing the line, “A little less conversation – a little more action,” in a tavern not far from here.
Uh huh, I really just said that. Self-awareness is such an overrated virtue.
I agree with Badger and Astyannax.
“A” for Astyannax, “A” for action maybe?
Seeing that Taldoran fellow, Astyannax have either overlooked or decided to ignore raised arm by Lady Gloriana, Haraldir feels discomfort for a second.
Not really knowing if he was about to break any Taldoran tradition, he does what he was taught by his uncle Konstantin - tries to help a lady in the best way he can. He thinks for a second of recalling young Taldoran back, but quickly decides against it since Astyannax was already pushing for the door.
With a slight bow of his head, not looking the Lady directly in the eyes, Haraldir reaches for her extended arm and helps her on her feet.
I sure do hope I did not break any of their "social" laws 'ere...wow, she has such soft skin...
Still with his head bowed and his thoughts wandering, Haraldir waits for the Venture Captain and Lady Gloriana to leave the room, before following his comrades out of the room.
Snap yourself out of it lad, she's too high for the likes of you...you need to go to the Puddles, now that's a place for you... - with barely loud "haroomph", ranger hurries and tries to take the front rank, so he can lead the party to Master Torch.
Ezrek bows to the elf.Greeting Luisila, your words are wise and comforting. O sometimes get a little distracted by my studies, causing me to arrive late to many a function. It is a habit of mine that some find egregious.