"I'm all in favour of opening up a dialogue, but first we need to make sure there are no.... accidents that would make it difficult to keep any bargains which might be struck," Asta explains. "If some poor soul goes hunting for rare herbs or fish in the Lizardmen's swamp and gets served up to the tribe as an hors d'oeuvre, the people are going to be screaming for their blood. It's tricky enough getting the Kobolds and Mites accepted, and they haven't eaten any of the settlers."
Seraph nods. "Good point Milady, so we need to expand along the rivers and utilize patrols to keep people out still..." She ponders for a moment before adding. "We may need to make the decree of staying between Skunk and Thorn River a law until further notice. If people know that going past the river is unlawful then we can at least keep the people crossing to a minimum. THen if we meet thee lizardfolk we can try and avoid being made out as usurpers or invaders if they do take a foolish hunter or two... It'll maintain a barrier of around twenty miles between our borders and the Lizardfolk as well." She rises, beginning to strap on her gear for the day's coming trek her mind crunching the numbers. "I will remind our patrols to keep people from crossing those barriers as well. Hopefully it works."
With her gear strapped on she nods to Asta. "So another visit to the Beldame with her mushrooms as we pass by on our way south then?" She looks to Torod, smiling slightly.
Captain Esteban hesitates for moment when you request to go south to explore, "You intend to explore Candlemere? Most people pass by that place as quickly as they can. The word is that it is hunted by marsh spooklights. If you are crazy enough to explore it, We will drop you at the shore, but wait well out to water."
Heading south the next day, the group first stops by Beldame. They find the old lady at home working in her garden.
Her mood is improved when you show her the Ratlecap mushroom, "Ah, so you did find them, Good Good. A deal's a deal so 100 gold coins per Raltcap. Sure you want to trade enchanting a weapon or armor? So where are you heading next?"
You found 18 Ratlecaps. How many do you sell?
"So that's ten mushrooms?" Asta suggests to the others. "For one thousand in gold. We can put the money towards opening a new facility at Greenheart. A public hospital, or maybe an orphanage."
Asta purses her lips at the older spellcaster's question. "Well, we were curious about Candlemere. Can you tell us anything about it that might be useful?"
sense motive: 1d20 ⇒ 12
Old Beldam nods "Ten will do, it's a shame there were not more. I do love Ratlecap tea.". She ambles up to her cottage returning a few minutes later with a bag of gold.
When you ask about Candlemere, Beldam shakes her head, "Dangerious place that is. There is an old ruin in the center of the island. The place is infested with Will-o-wisp while they are solitary in nature, one is more than enough trouble. What do you know about fighting Will-o-wisp?"
Make dungeon engineering checks.
"Just out of curiosity," Justinian says quietly to Seraph, "what will you do with the trappers and merchants who do not obey the border law? Imprison them? Execute them? 'Walk any Road, Float any River'. Third River Freedom. Sound familiar?"
He shakes his head ruefully. "Seems a lot of work for lizardfolk who eat people. If my recent memory serves, we just invaded the home of a creature who ate people, gnomes to be specific. Killed it, in fact. Spent hours cleaning and dressing it, no less. Could've just built a fence, in my opinion."
She looks to Justinian, completely focused on him alone but she talked normally. She had a hard time believing this was not another thinly veiled excuse to insult her. "For those who go beyond the border, the Kingdom absolves itself of having to aid them. Not really a law I guess but an enforced suggestion they avoid that area and for good reason. I think thats clear enough. But I merely suggest it, WE can decide later as a council. As it stands there is already a standing decree for settlers, minus the 'No aid shall come.'"
She sighs as she answered the last part. "I must ask you, is there something you wish to say? To me? Because I'm used to disrespect at this point, since I'm a fornicating whore, drunk worshipper of a debased sex goddess. But is this strangeness warranted? I believe you a man of greater intelligence to not make such weak comparisons. Though at every turn of late I find myself laying on my back from one or another and, unlike some would be believe, I don't enjoy it." She shakes her head. "it was less laborpus to remove a rabid beast. But I took no pleasure in killing that creature, or taking its home and a fence wouldn't stop a beast. However I will protect my people as best I can. If the Lizardfolk prove unreasonable and a threat I will follow Asta's course of action as her loyal vassal."
"Now, is there anything else you wish to know Justinian? Please feel free. Because if not I would enjoy banter without constantly testing one another's defenses for once."
Not, no Dungeon crawling in Sunset's past... :(
Sunset enjoys the tea offered, would maybe chat to Miss Beldame about what it is that Sunset would like a steady amount of things crafted (How to move supplies of materials to the cottage, picking up finished good etc) but otherwise enjoys the peace and quiet offered by the place.
Old Beldame shrugs, "I know that Will-o-Wisp are immune to most magic, they can turn invisible at will and they are hard to hit."
Answering Sunset's question, Beldame explains "For weapons and armor, I would need the master work items to enchant. For other items I have my sources. Most enchantments take a few days a week at most. How you get back and forth is your business, but most people walk."
Sunset is just looking for some one to 'off set' her lighting bottle build/production needs, as well as making the 'Pathfinder' pouches. The master work, repeating x-bow stocks should be easy to aquire.
Sunset nods, "Well.. if'n we're doin' regular buisness, like. There'll needs be some way fer carts ta git from there ta' here easy as." She replies to Beldame.
Now to gather enough money to make a load of these alchemical blasters and start fitting out the town defence force. :D
Torod offers Crackjaws' shell to The Beldame. "I brought this for you. Its the Crackjaws' shell. At first I figured to keep it as a trophy, but then I thought you might find a better use for the shell of the great beast than as a conversation piece."
Don't have either of those knowledges.
Still on the boat.
"My comments and concerns are stated to all of the Council." Justinian replies to Seraph. He looks around at those on the boat.
"If you want it straight, then I'll give it to you...all of you." He draws himself up straight, setting his face into judge, jury, and executioner mode. "What you are doing here is foolish. It risks the lives of those who come to live here. I mean your policies regarding the kobolds, the mites, and now the lizardfolk. The long history of those races does not change with the efforts of two individuals. I've spoken my concerns about them as well as the concerns of the people. Several of you have chosen to lecture me and belittle my opinion. Even my views on justice have been questioned! With both the manticore and the turtle, I've merely taken your arguments about the kobolds and mites and turned them around on you."
He pulls his holy symbol from where it hangs about his neck. "I make no judgments of you, Seraph, or your goddess. The Justice I follow is not blind."
Justinian sits back down. "Only time will tell if I am wrong. If so, then the Council are wise beyond all others who have come before them. I hope I'm wrong. If for no other reason than no one will die if I am."
At the Old Beldame's
Justinian waits outside. He was never one for crowded places, and a mud hut in a swamp, full of council members, certainly qualified. He sits with his back to the great tree, reading The Six Acts. He wondered if Iomedae had ever had a favorite book, something she could read when she felt angry or frustrated. She was human once, after all.
He shook his head. Foolish thought. The hopes and dreams of the Lady of Justice were beyond mortal ken, even if she were human upon a time.
On the boat
Sunset relaxes where ever it is she's been shown to stow hr geat. Slowly savouring her 'Burning leaf roll' she listens to Justinian's comments, her hat drawn down over her eyes, smoked goggles resting on the brim thereof. If asked about things she shrugs,
"I give my peice a'fore. Justinian an' m'self see things different about tha' world, t'is simple as that. I dun't judge no one by tha' colour of their hair nor scales. Nor by tha' size a their.... " Sunset's gaze shifts, perhaps she looks to Seraph? '... Nor tha' size of their apendages..." She drawls lazily, puffing on her burning roll.
"I'm just some one who's settin' up home with kin. I'm aimin' ta' make a right nice beighbor with whom ever t'is livin' on t'other side of yon hills..." She finishes laconically.
At the Swamp with's
Sunet nods, Well, we'll take it back ta town. Make a shield or somat out'a it, maybe..." She shrugs, offers Old Beldame a polite nod in goodbyes and saunters off with the group.
Seraph stoically receives Justinian's response, betraying not an ounce of the anger she felt well up inside. Her voice was still just as even as before. "I assumed, it is often the center of ridicule. Though, if I thought so little of you, I'd not have crafted that shield." She looked sad momentarily, wanting to say more but knowing it didn't matter. She bows, her fists white knuckled, before adding. "Thanks for being straight. Let's get going." From there she had nothing to say, completely focused on the mission as she turned away. Moving to stand by Asta and abide by her wishes. She nods to Sunset as she passes her, sharing the same ideal future despite their differences.
At the Beldame's
The visit to the Beldame's is a quiet thing for Seraph, she waits outside the fence, her weapons stowed as she didn't expect a fight. She helps carry the coinage back to the River Queen.
Back on the River Queen
When they return to the River Queen she was the picture of patience and calm unlike earlier. She ran a thumb over the sashes engraved on her holy symbol. Content with whatever destination the group decided on.
Standing by the railing of the vessel Sunset looks out over the lake.
"How close ye reckon we can sail an not attract attention from tha' beasties of tha' place?" Sunset asks. "We can have a look at the place... from a distance, like..." She suggests.
"Or we can head home now," Asta says. "Candlemere and the will o'the wisps can wait until we're better prepared; I've no use for ruins at the moment, and I'd like to know what's what back at Greenheart, myself."