The bells atop the Temple of Erastil toll their midday song, echoing throughout the quiet town of Kassen. As the peals begin to fade, the first of the townsfolk make their way into the square, dressed in black, as if attending a funeral. They slowly fill the square, moving quietly across the cold, hard ground, their eyes downcast and mournful.
After a few moments, a murmur passes through the crowd as it slowly parts to let Mayor Uptal through. He leads the way with a tarnished silver lantern. Behind him, an old pony drags a cart laden with backpacks and supplies.
Once he reaches the center of the crowd, Mayor Uptal stops and calls out to the assembled townsfolk. “Once again the winter winds blow through the Fangwood, marking the end of another harvest. There are wolves in the woods, howling at our walls, and serpents in our shadows, waiting to strike. Just as it was one hundred and seventy-four years ago, when Kassen himself left these walls to protect us, so it is today. Where are the heroes? Where are the brave folk that will venture out to Kassen’s tomb and retrieve the flame to keep this community safe for another winter?”
A well built, flame-haired half-elf rides into town, a sting of furs lays across the back of his horse. While not always inside the town proper, Garrik is not a stranger to Kassen or its townsfolk. A gray wolf strides along side the half-elf as they approach the town square just as the mayor begins his speech and plea for new heroes for the town.
"I'll go. Just give me a chance to sell off these furs and Thorn and I will be on our way." Garrik says.
As soon as the mayor makes his selections Kakrish whoops loudly. "Yeah! This will be great!" He looks again to catch Duerli's eye to make sure she is watching then he strides to the front of the crowd. "This is going to be as easy as pulling gold from the mountains" he boasts and thumps his chest.
In a flash he pulls out his greatsword and makes a show of swinging the weapon around with a flourish. Some of the closer bystanders jump back to make sure they're not hit.
"Ah! Don't worry you guys. I know what I'm doing with this thing. It's the evil minions in Kassen's tomb that are going to have to worry." With a smirk he sheaths the greatsword.
One of the stranger citizens of Kassen steps forward. A black and red crow-man, some of his black feathers are instead blood red, making an odd pattern on his body. He wears a simple robe that has the shoulders cut out but the sleeves intact, and he carries only a single sai tucked into the sash at his waist. His crow feet are bare. Those who lived in Kassem recognize him as the shepherd's adopted son, Red Raven.
"This one will go." he says, his voice surprisingly pleasant for a beaked creature. "This one must repay the people of Kassen for taking him into their homes."
A sanctified female with black flowing hair and dressed in robes of beige with a red tabard steps forth.
"If the flame is what keep the town safe then you shall have the hand of Sarenae."
A young man rushes through the crowd and into the square along with the others. He seems winded and takes a moment resting with his hands on his knees before raising his hand.
"I'm sorry, am I late?" He pauses once more to take a deep breath and exhales seeming to regain his composure. "I am here to help retrieve the flame!" He then flashes a bright smile and places his hands on his waist.
Kakrish lumbers over to where he sees the others gather. "Well, is this it?" He counts out everyone. "Hmm. Only five of us so far. I thought there were going to be six. Guess we're still waiting for someone."
He chuckles loudly and then leans over to the new comer, a young man who looks winded just from running. He pats him heavily on the back. "So boy, I hope you don't get winded so easily when we're down there in the tombs. I mean there's not so much air when you're underground. Breathing heavy like that can use it all up!" He laughs again and looks around to see if the others are in on his joke.
"Well anyway. See that pretty little dwarf over there?" he points out a stout looking female dwarf in the crowd. "That there is Duerli. She's my true love. And I'm her true love too. She just doesn't know it yet. Even though I try to tell her everyday." He waves cheerfully at her but she only glares at him. "This mission is just what I need to win her over. She'll see how brave I am now."
He stumbles a bit from the friendly blow, but recovers and laughs along with his new dwarven friend. "I shouldn't have any issues keeping up with all of you; I was just in a bit of a rush. I didn't want to cause any problems by being late."
He looks over at the dwarf woman and listens and then says, "I wish you luck my friend." He pauses a moment and then extends his hand. "By the way, my name is Taladrius. I know we've seen each other around, but I never properly introduced myself."
As people start answering the call, the crowd cheers louder and louder. The mayor invite each of you to stand next to him, giving your hand a vigorous shake. His eyes seem to reflect a real sentiment of proudness but also a tiny bit of worry.
"Five have answer the call. Can we get a sixth? His eyes scanning the crowd hoping to see that last volunter. The applause slowly dies has the crowd look around to see who, beside themselves, would answer that last call.
|Hoga the half orc|
The crowd parts to look at who answered the call to fill the last place among the group. As the half-orc moves to the center, there is a moment of hesitation from the crowd. But when the mayor shake the hand of the big fighter with just as zeal as the previous one, the crowd restart the applause.
After a moment, once the applause quiet down, the mayor once again speaks to the townsfolk. “I present to you the brave heroes who will follow in Kassen’s footsteps to retrieve the Everflame! Some of them may not return, but I say to you that their sacrifice shall not be forgotten. Celebrate tonight, brave heroes, for tomorrow you will start a great journey. Bring back to us the eternal fire!”
With that, the mayor points to the Great Hall, where the feast await for the evening's celebration.
You can mingle with the villagers during the feast, introduce yourself to each other or do a token presence at the feast and go do some prepations for the trip the next day.
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"Welcome Tadarisus, uh, Taladoori, uh, what was it? Taladrius? Some of you humans have too many sounds in one name. You need something solid and strong. Like Kakrish. Now how does that sound!" He beams at Taladrius hoping to make an impression.
With the newcomer Kakrish steps forward to meet the large half orc who stands a good two feet taller than him. "Well if you don't look like a pile of muscle," he says with a grim chuckle. Then he flexes his own muscle a bit, "I think we're going to be able to handle whatever we found down there. Glad to have you with us. I'm Kakrish, by the way."
Then he turns to everyone in the group and nods to the lady, grins with a raised eyebrow at the half-elf, and stares at the bird man. "Just in case you didn't know, I'm Kakrish. Stonetoe. I can tell you that I'm excited to be on this adventure. And you know. I can tell already you are all going to be my best friends. But there's a feast! Can't pass that up. But first..." He spreads out his arms seeking a group hug.
Red Raven blinks at the talkative dwarf, and then shrugs, taking part in a group hug if anyone else will. Tengu aren't too terribly tall, so he's somewhere between the dwarf and the half-orc.
"This one's name is Red Raven." he says, introducing himself. "This one herds sheep."
Garrik raises an eyebrow at the dwarf's expectation of a "group hug" as he dismounts to go over to speak with his new companions.
"Good to meet you all. My name's Garrik." Patting his ever present companion on the head he add, "This is Thorn."
Kakrish notices the half-elf's hesitation and laughs. "Come on, elfy. And bring your dog." he waves him over with a broad grin. "This dwarf isn't going to hurt you. We're all one big happy family here now." His friendly personality is almost too much to resist.
"Certainly have no issues with sitting down, having a meal and a few drinks, but let's leave the hugging out of it for now." Garrik says warily. "Oh...and a second point, Thorn is a wolf, not a dog."
|Hoga the half orc|
Red Raven eyes the wolf warily but doesn't say anything while they eat and drink. He cuts his food up into small chunks and eats them without chewing... which makes sense since he doesn't exactly have teeth.
He drinks with the rest of the group but doesn't really talk unless spoken to. Of everyone, he seems the odd bird out.
Garrik takes note of Red-Raven's caution toward Thorn.
"You don't have anything to worry about concerning him, Red. He may look tough but he's a big softy." the hunter says, scratching the wolf behind the ears.
"I like the sound of it, friend! Unfortunately, my mother has quite the fondness for 'interesting' names." He turns to the rest of the group and greets them in kind. "My name is Taladrius, but if you would prefer, you can call me Tal." He smiles wide again as the introductions are complete.
Taladrius gladly joins the hug with all others who do before making his way to the Great Hall to eat and drink his fill.
"This one does not fear your wolf." Red Raven replies, his voice implying a smile. "This one was merely remembering the many wolves this one has had to fight off when tending sheep... Aggression is a first impulse that this one must control."
The group hug attempt falters when most of the group turns away towards the feast but Kakrish is not disheartened. "Ok, so no hugs. But just for now," he flashes a mischevious grin. "We're going to be together for a while now. There's plenty of time."
He jumps off the stage and follows the others towards where the feast is. He glances around the remaining crowd to see if Duerli is still there but he's unable to find her.
Once he is seated at the feast he digs into his meal with ferocity. He suddenly remembers what Garrik said and with his mouth still half stuffed with food he said, "Oh. Garduk smahrih bahd dah." He stops to take a swing of drink and swallow his food. "I was saying, sorry about the dog comment. Hope you weren't offended. You see, for us dwarves wolves are like dogs so I've seen my share of them. Oh, and your Thorne is a fine specimen." He raises his mug as a toast.
Ok, so Kakrish's 7 of charisma isn't because he's rude or ugly, but because he invade people personal space and make them feel awkward. lol
Once you are inside, you can see that almost the entire village is here. The food is great and plenty. Barrels of ale, mead and other drinks are available. Even the resident bard is here, singing song of the previous quests. Has you go around eating your share and celebrating, multiple villagers, some you haven't really spoke too, come to see you. They shake your hands or slap you shoulder while wishing you luck on your journey.
The celebration get even louder once the main meals are done. Jocyn, the local bard, is joined by other members of the community as they start more festive music. Dancing is starting in a area of the great hall. Everyone seem to be enjoying themselves.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
Garrik enjoys the revelry as much anyone, but in between flagons of ale he notices something out of the corner of his eye.
Turning his attention to his new companions he says, "Something seems to be amiss. Captain Wisslo seems to be upset about something and the Mayor Uptal and Father Prasst just retreated to another room."
Tamora laughs at the dwarf's bigger than life personality but does not introduce herself until she shakes hands with the group and denies the dwarf's hugs.
"I am Tamora. Pleased to meet you."
When Garrik assures Red Raven that the wolf is harmless, Tamora moves close and rubs its ears after she consume some food and 1/3 cup of fine wine.
Perception (Take 10) - 19
Tamora looks at the direction that Garrik is looking at.
"It seems so. Shall we speak to the Captain to find out what ails him so?"
Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 2
Taladrius is completely engrossed the company and goings on directly around him to notice anything beyond.
"You saw all of that?" He leans side to side, looking through the crowd. He then sits back in his chair when he doesn't spot anything. "It would be nice to know what's going on. Hopefully it's nothing that will delay our departure tomorrow."
Untrained Knowledge (Local) vs DC 10 for basic knowledge: 1d20 ⇒ 8
|Hoga the half orc|
percep: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
Hoga responds to Tamora. Yeah, I saw that. The guard captain is upset with the mayor. I wonder what the problem is? If you want to talk to him, I'll go with you.
He grabs his mug to take his ale with him.
perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
K:Local: 1d20 ⇒ 6
Red Raven didn't seem to have noticed the initial exchange, but when it is pointed out, he tilts his head curiously. He looks over the people in the room, and slips back, quietly slipping around people's notice until he gets to the door the two went behind. He quietly tucks his head up against the door.
Stealth: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28
perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
I hope that's enough to overhear their conversation.
Tamora looks at Captain Wisslo then back at Hoga.
"Yes, that is what I intended to do. I cannot ignore someone in need. The poor man clearly needs some comfort. I appreciate the company if you are coming with me. The captain could use a little cheering up."
Filling a mug with ale, she moves to where the Captain Guard is and hands it to him.
"Good evening, Captain. It looks like you are upset about something. Perhaps it might help if you talked about it."
Father Prasst "He's somewhat right you know"
Mayor Uptal "I though you were on my side"
Father Prasst "I am, but we could at least inform them"
Mayor Uptal "And risking the chance that everyone learn that we have being cheating the ceremony?"
Father Prasst "You don't think people will talk about the fact that you are sending six of them this year?"
Mayor Uptal "I was hoping they wouldn't notice too much. Beside it's a minor change to the tradition."
Father Prasst "A change none the less. They would understand the rest if we explain it."
Mayor Uptal "Are you so sure about that? This tradition is older then us. There is no way of knowing how people would react. Not after all thoses years."
There is a long pause.
Mayor Uptal "Time for my closing speech. I need to get going if I want to see them of tomorrow morning"
You hear someone walking next to the door and the door handle start to move
Red Raven, in a panic, will vault straight up thrusting his arms and legs out to brace against the walls of the hallway above the door so that they pass under him without noticing his presence. He holds his breath as they pass by, hoping that the background noise of the party and the door opening is enough to mask the sound of his movement.
Stealth: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Oh my god, this is going to be funny if they do catch him, or don't catch him. *sigh*
|Hoga the half orc|
Tamora shakes her head and pushing the ale mug into one Hoga's free hand.
"Go back and inform the others that I am going ahead if you want. This matter is more of a priority than the ceremony especially when it concerns us."
She walks to the Captain's office.
Father Prasst Perception: 1d20 + 4 - 1 - 2 ⇒ (16) + 4 - 1 - 2 = 17
The door open underneath you and you see the Mayor passes quickly toward the the stage. He seem too distracted to notice you. You are about to sigh in relief when Father Prasst step out of the room and turn around to close the door behind him. He's about to leave when you noticed a single red feather slowly glide down in front of his face. It must of got loose when you did you acrobatic to get up there. Father Prasst slowly look up and smile at Red Raven. "Eavesdropping, are we?" He then move aside to let you climb down. "So what exactly did you hear?"
At one point the music die down as the Mayor step onto the stage.
"My friends, this is a most joyful event that I'm sure will always be remembered. So to not spoil the fun, I'll make this quick. I would like to thank all the people that help with this celebration. I'm sure our new heroes appreciate this wonderful send off to bring back the Everflame back to us. Tomorrow morning, they will leave us to accomplish what countless others have done to help our village. So let's toast in their honour and may the gods protect them on their journey!"
The crowd cheers and applause as the music restart. The Mayor step down from the stage, shake a few hands of the people nearby and slowly make his way to the back of the Great Hall.
Red Raven drops down, sheepishly scratching his head. "This one certainly hasn't heard anything about cheating in the ceremony or breaking traditions." He sighs. "What is wrong with the ceremony?"
|Hoga the half orc|
I think that Taladrius is still at the table with Kakrish and Hoga is headed back to the table.
Kakrish is able to down an immense amount of food and drink and he shows no sign of stopping. Crumbs from his food are stuck in his beard and a big smear of greasy sauce is across his check. But he's laughing and talking loud. "So Tal, did you hear this one? A dwarf, a human, and an elf walk into a bar. But since the dwarf was so short, he was the only one who didn't get hurt!" Kakrish bursts into laughter and hammers the table with his fist, knocking over a couple drinks. "See, the dwarf walked under the bar..." Kakrish is nearly falling out of his seat with laughter. "Get it?!"
I should have gone with them to talk to Wisslo. Now I'm just sitting here worrying to myself about what it could be.
Startled out of his thought a bit he turns and listens, grabbing his cup and another within reach before they toppled. "Hah! I have, though the version I heard was with a Halfling." He then downs the rest of his drink and looks out across the room looking to see if any of the three that walked away were heading back.
Seeing the half-orc warrior return with a full flagon, Garrik asks, "So what was Captain Wisslo so upset about?"
I'm just a little confused on locations. At the table do we have Kakrish, Garrik, Taladrius, and now Hoga? I'll assume so.
"Hmm. A halfling huh?". He chuckles tentatively at Tal's changing of the story. He puts his large mug to his mouth while he puzzles over what Tal said. Then suddenly it dawns on him and he can't control himself. He snorts and splutters violently into his drink spraying foamy ale over all of his friends sitting at the table. Slamming his mug down he says much too loudly "Ah! I get it! Cause halflings are short too!" He roughly nudges Tal with his elbow. "Great joke!"
Trying to recover himself he looks to Garrik. "What? Who's Wisslo? What do you mean upset?"
"Some years ago, about 32 or 36, a group was send to ring back the flame to the village like every four years. But instead of having strong capable warriors or magic users, this group was made of simple farmers. They barely knew how to hold a spear. But the tradition demanded that the four firsts volunters would be the one to go no matter who it was. So off they went with the approuval of the Council since nothing bad ever really happended before. Well this group was the first to meet a grim fate. Of the four only one came back, badly injured. At the time, there wasn't a capable priest in the village and after a few days he died too."
"Our current Mayor was a young man at the time, and the event marked him probably more then others, for at that moment he vowed that it would never happend again. Over time he managed to get in position of Mayor and came up with a solution. The town would, one week before the ceremony, hire a group of adventurer and with someone we could trust send then to then crypt to remove most of the danger before we would send anyone from the village. It was a cheat but it worked well, until now.
"You see, the argument right now is about the fact the group of adventurer and Roldare, the one we send with them, never came back. Now the Captain want to scrap the tradition altogether and seend the town militia to the crypt while the Mayor though that would be too drastic decided on a more subtle approach of sending six volunters this time instead of four. This way, no one would now about the fact that he cheated on the principle of the tradition while still giving you a bigger chance of success."
"Now I ask you, what will you do with this information?"
Yes, at the table are currently Kakrish, Garrik and Taladrius. Hoga refilled is tankard while the Mayor was doing his speech and then joined you.
After the speech, the party keep on going but you can see people starting to leave. Mostly the ones living on the outskirt of the village and the elderly. The rest are still celebrating for now. While drinks are still being serve, the food however is not.
Red Raven tilts his head... then tilts it the other way. "This one will remain silent." he says. "The mayor was trying to keep the people safe. However, this one is worried about the missing team too, and will be on the alert in case something has happened to them."
"To me, this celebration is unlike any others. Enjoyable but not necessary after the initial ceremony. If there are certain matters that precedes it, I can compromise."
Tamora takes a seat.
"So what happened back there?"