|Steward Jeremiah Wyldote|
“They will answer for themselves,” interrupts the Steward, “thank you, that will be all, captain.”
The aging Wyldote studies the six as the Borderguard salutes and stands at attention near the door. His disapproving gaze rests the longest on Simon, before moving to the others. The frown creases further when he sees Rolg, but he says nothing. He rests the empty cup on the table and clasps his hands in front of him, and raises his eyebrows in a skeptical, patient expression.
“So, for two months, my youngest son is unaccounted for, until I receive word that he is not only miles beyond our borders, but also in the company of the enemy, which he warns me of an apparent warlord. Some days later, he comes to me haggard, thin, and in the company of two men, a dwarf, an unwashed camp-follower, and worse, a hobgoblin. Explain to me why I shouldn’t have all of you bound and tried for the endangerment of the royal line.”
Logan bows at the waist respectfully "My lord," he raises. "If I may speak, I am Logan Stonebit, lieutenant of the Borderguard, son of Captain Patrick Stonebit, and Nephew to Dredan Stonebit. Eight days ago, I was given the task of investigating a rumor that one of the citizens of Stonebit had aided a group of travelers on their journey and that, among them, was an heir of the throne. I was given the task to pursue the validity of this rumor and, if confirmed to be true, to aid in the protection of that heir as utmost priority and his companions if at all possible, so long as that did not interfere with protecting the Steward's heir. My sole task, even if it meant loss of life, was to ensure the safety of the royal blood. I tell you this, my lord, not just to assure you of the Borderguard's intent to ensure the safety of your son, but to tell you, as well, that in the last two days, I have witnessed every member of this party band together to ensure each other's safety with such loyal dedication that my mission was made easy. Whether through might of arm, strength of will" he acknowledges Rolg with a simple hand gesture, "or this one's seemingly impenetrable shield, I am confident that any member of this group would do whatever needed to be done to ensure each other's safety, because I have witnessed that they have done just that and more. " he dips his head respectfully. " My lord, I cannot speak as to the original nature of their quest, for I have only been able to perceive the surface of it and I would not want to err in the information I give. What I can assure you of, however, just from the time I have spent with this group is that, based on how they cared for and protected each other, I am confident, as a soldier of the Borderguard, that I could not have a higher level of dedication and commitment to the safety of the group and its people from my own peers." he says the last with a respectful dip of his head.
Rolg bites back a reply as Logan speaks.
As Logan finishes, before the Steward can speak, Rolg does.
"Logan is right: it was a hard march, and we were often sorely pressed. But his respectful, tender words of brotherly dedication won't sway a man like you. No, you need to hear the grit of it I think."
"The reason you won't lock us up is because you'll need every last table knife at your command to hold Gartok's army from washing over your lands, and it still might not be enough. The reason you'll suffer our presence is because without our help, you will all likely die."
"Bolgrith has saved our skins more than once thanks to his iron faith."
"Aladdin here roasted alive more than two dozen goblin scum with fire from his hands, and that despite his questionable sanity."
"Logan Stonebit found us and rescued us all from almost certain death with a single swing of his mighty sword: on more than one occasion."
"Jamie is braver than any three Wydolte knights on a bad day, and I'll have more than words with you if you insult her again."
Rolg hefts his shield.
"This shield has held more than your anger at bay: recently the kinds of things that sought to end your son's life. The truth is, he's earned my respect, a feat you haven't managed I might add, and I follow him now because I choose to."
"You humans are so quick to judge...I am beginning to wonder why I bothered coming to warn you at all..."
The hobgoblin draws himself to full height and looks ever so slightly down at the Steward.
"You won't lock us up, because you need us more than we need you. Oh, and because Gartok has a dragon."
Rolg stands braced, fully prepared to let the Steward's anger flow around him.
Several of the knights stir at their mention, and start sizing up Jamie, who indeed does look a little worse for wear. The grey-cloaked adviser tightens their gloved grip on the wooden staff, and the cloak sways under shifted weight. Jeremiah Wyldote silently glowers at the hobgoblin before him, and the young knight bearing his resemblance steps up to Rolg, pointing a finger at the shield master.
“You will not speak to the Steward that way, wretched green-ear!”
The knight bends his arm in to deliver a gauntleted backhand at Rolg’s face.
Gauntlet attack 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18 for 1d3 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
But in the space of a blink, the rim of the hobgoblin’s casually raised shield clangs the armored hand off course. Incensed, the knight reaches for the longsword at his side, but the Steward barks an order for him to stop.
|Steward Jeremiah Wyldote|
The young lordling reddens but does not look away from his father. Simon nods stiffly at the question. “It is all true -if anything, I coerced them to follow me. An army of goblinkind and giants in the thousands march on our heels, and their warlord rides a black, fire-breathing dragon. It seems, the beasts we thought to be long dead, are not.”
"There you have it." Rolg says with finality to the Steward. He turns his shoulder slightly so Simon can here him better. "Oh and Simon, you may want to warn your elder brother against trying to strike me again." The hobgoblin levels a passive look at young Montague. "I wouldn't want him getting hurt."
Logan sighs as tensions rise. "Our enemy does not stand in this tent. Our enemy, however, is fast approaching and will be where we stand if we cannot focus our attention onto the task of stopping them. I understand that discovering a sizeable threat possesses its challenges, much more so discovering that the threat is approaching your door, but we cannot let ourselves get distracted from doing what needs to be done by turning on each other. We can't let ourselves waste or energy on self-destruction because then this army, this Gartok the Undying, has already won and our people have no hope." he looks back at Rolg. "In the last two days, Rolg has aided and saved all of us, myself included, in more ways than I can understand and I gladly call him ally. The fact of the matter is that right now time and prejudice are two luxuries we cannot afford." he says the last in earnest, hoping reason will alleviate tension.
|Aladdin of the Azlanti|
"Ah! The fire! Was so pretty. Porkrind was so pleased with that. Then I danced with lights!" Aladdin waves his hands and summons magic lanterns to twirl around himself while he started humming a ditty, oblivious to the tension.
Diplomacy 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23 to see if his antics relief some tension
Sir Montague yanks his longsword from the scabbard, fuming at the hobgoblin. A handful of the surrounding knights step closer, some of them glancing uncertainly from Montague to the Steward, while others have their hands ready on their sheathed swords with grim faces at Rolg.
Sir Montague scowls at Logan’s reasoning, and rears back to strike Rolg anyway when Aladdin’s spell catches him off-guard. Squinting and unsure if he should perceive the stormborn as a threat, the mad sorcerer’s antics were enough to jar the hotheaded knight from violence.
Steward Jeremiah Wyldote looks on but does not intervene. He turns an expectant look at his adviser. A soft woman’s voice escapes the cowl, “Your son is under no spell. And he says what he believes is true.” Make Perception checks.
|Steward Jeremiah Wyldote|
Satisfied, the Steward turns again to the Stonebit “It is worse than that, even if this alleged dreamtale creature, a dragon, proves to be false,” his eyes shift to his youngest son, “The Council of Seven was locked in session two days ago, and with them, your sister. I suspected her detainment when Hagglesport announced conscription contracts for every arm in the fighting pits, and now I know the truth of hobgoblin treachery with the news you bring. Your sister may be dead already,” he says coldly.
After a long pause, he returns the hard look to Rolg, Bolgrith, Logan, Jamie, and Aladdin, and begins to think aloud in a ponderous tone. “But what to do with these so-called friends? I cannot hang them without conviction, and at present, no charges can be held against them without evidence. The hobgoblin and Stonebit are right, we will need every sword arm in the realm…”
“Creatures of their quality are not to be squandered, Lord Steward,” Montague chimes in, not taking malicious eyes off the hobgoblin, “I think the front lines are a suitable place for these friends of yours, Simon. Where the fighting is the thickest.”
Sir Montague smiles wickedly at the hobgoblin as the Steward mulls it over.
Assignment to the frontlines, in this context, sounds like an execution sentence in everything but name.
Rolg steps forward, arms at his side, but taught as a bowstring. He smiles at Montague. "That is an excellent idea. Surely there I would witness the full extent of your valor, as I am sure you would seek no other position." Rolgs voice drips with sarcasm: he may as well have called the knight a sackless craven.
"I am the stone in the river. The waters rage around and over me, but I am unmoved." Rolg smiles a haughty, sneering smile. "I will glady allow you to dull your blade on my shield if you need the practice so badly." He nods to the knight's naked sword.
Full Defense. Ready to activate Combat Expertise.
Perception 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
Sense Motive 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (1) + 0 = 1
Logan sighs in frustration. "My lord, if I may suggest a possible solution to your problem in regards to what to do with this group. I propose a duel between Montague and Rolg. The rules would be simple, Montague has three chances to strike Rolg. If he is able to draw blood in three strikes or less, do with us as you will. If, however, he is not, let our fate rest in the hands of Simon." he says the last with a confident look to the lordling. "Either way, our fates rest in the Wyldote name."
Sense Motive 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Perception 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30
Holding his tongue throughout the proceedings, Bolgrith regards the collected might of the Steward with interest and curiosity. Patience and perseverance being key tenants of the Irori faith the dwarf contents himself with listening and observing the discourse until his particular insights might be called upon.
After the cloaked woman spoke, the hobgoblin’s nose caught a horrible smell. Thankfully no more than a whiff, this odor was worse than bad breath that plagues the unfortunate -it reeked of disease or decay.
After the cloaked woman spoke and shifted her weight, Bolgrith caught a glimpse of a bandaged face, mostly the chin and nose, before it was covered again. Once she spoke, the priest’s nose caught a horrible smell. Thankfully no more than a whiff, this odor was worse than bad breath that plagues the unfortunate -it reeked of disease or decay.
The Steward stands closest to this adviser, and seems to not notice the smell. Bolgrith notices that the knights that encircle the group give her a wide berth, and even Sir Montague’s body language betrays a wariness of her.
Sir Montague’s wrath nearly boils over again at the hobgoblin’s audacity, until Logan and Rolg make mention of Simon and decision-making, at which a mocking smile threatens to take his face and some of the anger abates.
“Simon can’t even decide if he likes boys or girls,” Sir Montague sneers, turning a disdainful look to his younger brother, “Or neither? Maybe a castrator found you during your absence from court…”
|Steward Jeremiah Wyldote|
Even the Steward cannot resist a small smile at the trust placed in Simon, and he pulls his thoughtful gaze from the silent dwarf. “My youngest son,” he begins, resuming a serious expression with a tone of fatherly wisdom, “has not yet learned how to lead, and is not fit for making decisions for himself.”
Jeremiah Wyldote turns to Logan. “In a time of peace, your offer would be a suitable resolution to this debacle. Why the lot of you, especially the dwarf, are willing to throw your fate in with this alleged green-skin traitor is beyond me. But war is upon our doorstep, and given the intentions of the hobgoblins, how do I know this goblinkin among us is not an assassin? The heir to my throne is in the lands of the enemy and unaccounted for, so I will keep my remaining sons as safe as possible. This will be terms of the duel: Knight Commander Sir Maurice Moss shall fight in Sir Montague’s stead. And rather than first blood, the victor will be known when the other yields or suffers fatal wounds.”
The Steward of the Commonwealth faces Rolg, “A cunning infiltrator is willing to bleed, but how many are willing to die? Should you prevail, I will send you far from the reach of my sons, but you will have my trust. If not, well, then the gods have decided for me,” he adds smugly.
Sir Montague begins to protest, but is silenced by a look from his father. One of the other five knights steps forward, and bows deeply to the Steward. “I accept your appointment as champion, Lord Steward. It is an honor to serve.”
The plain-looking, middle-aged man rises, sizing up the hobgoblin and his armaments. Encased in a full set of plate, Sir Moss’ right hand holds a halberd like a walking stick, as his left forearm holds a helm to his side. An air of resigned readiness emanates from his exposed face, and one ugly scar crosses the bridge of his nose. A longsword and dagger are strapped to his waist.
The circle of knights around the group broadens, giving room in the center of the Oldkeep for the duel. The servants drags the furniture to the walls, and the adviser shuffles to stand near the double doors leading out, next to the Borderguard captain who waits at attention by the door. Sir Moss steps to one side of the circular room, stretching his arms and stamping his feet in preparation for the duel.
The three Wyldotes look to Rolg, waiting for him to accept the terms.
Logan inclines his head in respectful submission as he moves out of the way. Interesting...Where have I heard of Maurice Moss...
kno nobility: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Sir Maurice Moss is a knight of great skill, and his prowess in combat and battlefield tactics have made him invaluable to the Steward. He is reputed to be the best warrior of the Commonwealth, although a handful among the Borderguard and the boldest of the fighting pits in Hagglesport would jump at the chance to contest that claim.
As the for man himself, he is quiet and reserved, but devoted to the service to the Steward. He also personally trains each of the royal line in the skills of combat. Logan knows that he is fair, and will wait for an adversary to be armed and ready for attack before engaging in melee.
Rolg’s gauge of the Steward’s intentions tell him that the Wyldote is still undecided on what to do with the five of them. If the shield master were to hazard a guess, the Steward intends to have words with the Borderguard captain by the door. Moments before, he seemed to be lost in thought while staring at Bolgrith, but Rolg was unable to discern the meaning of the Steward’s expression.
Sir Maurice Moss is a knight of great skill, and his prowess in combat and battlefield tactics have made him invaluable to the Steward. Some have even called him the best warrior in the Commonwealth, while others, usually in their cups, call him stuffy, pretentious, and say he “wouldn’t last long in real fight”.
Watching Sir Moss warm up and practice forms with his halberd makes it plain that the knight is no slouch. The smell that irritated Rolg’s nose now appears to irritate the Borderguard captain’s, as the adviser stops at the door. Jamie wasn’t really paying attention to the proceedings until the Steward made mention of conscription contracts at the fighting pits in Hagglesport.
"I have no wish to die, but if I must to prove that my kind can have loftier aspirations that the slaughter of innocence, then I suppose that is consolation enough."
"I accept." Rolg looks to the knight. "Sir Maurice Moss, I have no quarrel with you, but I take this charge very seriously. I urge you to submit quickly, for I will kill you if I must. For myself," Rolg looks the steward in eye. "I will not yield." The hobgoblin looks back to the knight. "If it comes to that, I ask that you strike true and know that I bear you no ill will for the deed."
Rolg unhooks his flail from his belt and raises his shield. "Shall we begin?"
Initiative 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15
|Aladdin of the Azlanti|
Aladdin started speaking quietly with himself as he watched the debacle. "What Porkrind? You're asking why we're killing each other when war is on our doorstop? It's because of his skin color obviously! Good thing I wasn't throwing up again, I turn the same color as Rolg! Yes, Porkrind, the Steward probably would have skewered me too! Yes, yes, we should all cool down." Aladdin waves a hand and summons his little cloud to start sprinkling water on his head.
Aladdin, roll Insanity Dice, 1d100 :)
Initiative 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18
Sir Moss’ succession of forms quicken, until his halberd sings as it spins through his arms and around his body, showcasing his range and flexibility of attack and defense. As he does so, he answers Rolg, “Every creature must face death. It is a pleasure to find one who is willing to meet their end honorably.” With an especially elaborate flourish, he adds, “May the gods will the victor.” Dazzling Display; Intimidate 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (3) + 12 = 15 pfft! Rolg is shaken for 1 round. Rolg's turn! I'll get DungeoGrid adjusted here in a minute. You will start 20 feet away.
|Aladdin of the Azlanti|
The gods Porkrind and Jee'Emm are arguing in Aladdin's head. Porkrind wants you to make the sound of a crackling fire issue from the small cloud over the stormborn's head (using Ghost Sound). Jee'Emm thinks you should instead whisper everything you are thinking into Rolg's ear (using Message). Any advice will help him, right?
Not sure if Shaken was taken into account or no, but the -2 or +2 variable doesn’t make it either way.
The Knight Commander smirks and shifts his leg, and the flail head glances off steel greaves. Meanwhile, his polearm goes on the offensive.
Attack 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (12) + 14 = 26 for 1d10 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18, 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (2) + 9 = 11 for 1d10 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
The halberd blade flashes between a gap in Rolg’s heavy plate and comes away bloody. The hobgoblin recognizes the move and interposes his shield on the next incoming strike.
Rolg takes 18 damage and is no longer shaken. Rolg’s turn.
At first blood, the Steward turns away from the duel, confident at the outcome. He faces the captain of the Borderguard, and begins speaking in a low voice. During the exchange, the captain shakes his head and answers quietly, and then takes on a calculating expression as he listens to the Steward.
“Captain, I assume you are Major Gaunt’s council? How will the Borderguard defend against a disadvantage by the thousands?”
Captain Tauric shakes his head grimly, “We are setting up points of resistance along the Grik Pass, where we can loose a few volleys before falling back to the next defensive position. This will minimize our casualties, but even then, the Major estimates us to be outnumbered ten to one.”
The Steward nods, understanding. “It will take some time to organize every man to defend the realm. The Borderguard must bear the brunt of the invasion until the rest of us are ready. Save for these few knights, the rest of my cavalry are tasked with the defense of the river from the advance of Hagglesport mercenaries. By how much time can the Borderguard delay such a force?”
This conversation will continue round by round. If you pass the DC once, you can listen in on the whole conversation.
[ooc]If you don’t pass the Perception DC this time, you will have another chance to catch part of the conversation as the fight continues.[/ooc]
Rolg pulls a leg out from under the heavily armored knight, who grunts as he crashes flat on his back. Spinning the hook of the halberd around, he attempts to even the field.
Prone Trip attempt 1d20 + 15 - 4 ⇒ (8) + 15 - 4 = 19
But the stalwart hobgoblin scoots the leg out of reach of the hook. Sir Moss tries to use Rolg’s shifted weight as a chance to roll away.
Can’t remember if Acrobatics can be used to move while prone, to avoid an AoO. Here it goes just case: Acrobatics 1d20 - 4 ⇒ (16) - 4 = 12 NEVERMIND Rolg gets an AoO either way. After the AoO, Sir Moss will be 5ft away and prone. Rolg's turn.