The eighth day of Gozran, in the 761st year of the Sixth Dynasty; 3298 Years since the Entrapment.
Early Spring, it is widely held in the traditions of Eastwall Island, is the harshest of times. There is always a great deal of work to be done as Winter releases her vicious hold; The dead fall of the winter must be picked up, the farms planted, the portions of the fleets that went unused removed from dry-dock and checked carefully. Larders are almost always nearly exhausted, and the treacherous winter currents around the item do not usually subside until the middle or end of the season. A thousand tasks await every pair of hands, and island wisdom holds that it is in the early spring when one can most readily identify friends... and enemies.
The overland journey to Einjeru has been swift, without any great difficulty encountered on the roads, for the previous winter has been uncommonly mild. It is mid-afternoon by the time you approach the city.
Einjeru is a city set close by the shore, bisected by a wide river that descends from the mountainous spine of the island. Life in the city is broken up by the tiered layout of it... at the lowest tier are the fisherman and farmers, while the highest are occupied by the Satrap's palace, looking down from the hillside at the shallow harbor below. With the exception of the palace, which stands six stories tall, no other structure rises higher than three. There is little visible poverty in the city at first glance, for Shi Gongxi understands enough to not tax his peasants beyond their need to pay.
The Ardhanya is a double masted gleaming and pristine as she sits in the lowest lock of the river, waiting for the night's high tide to be able to depart the harbor. Among the aged fishing vessels that make up most of the city's fleet at this point in the year, she is easy to spot; twice as long as most other ships there, she is nearly the only double-masted ship currently in the city.
Araki take a look at the surrounding, try to recall anything he might know about the city and figure out the weather forecast.
perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Knowledge local: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Survival: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
Knowledge: Local - Einjeru's location and harbor typically endure milder weather than either Northwatch or Southport, because it is set back inside the crescent of the island, which means the island itself provides protection from most of the worst weather. Being inside the crescent also causes Einjeru's harbor to be shallower and experience more substantial tide surges, as the sea bed is closer to the surface than at either of the others. As such, the harbor is virtually useless at low tide, with only the shallowest of barges being able to navigate it. From half to high tide the harbor is usable by most coast hugging vessels (such as those that make up the fishing fleet), but deep water vessels meant to ply between the islands of the archipelago have a very narrow window for successfully making it through the harbor and into either the locks or out to the open ocean. From the size of the Ardhanya, it very likely falls into the second category.
Perception - The city and the functionaries of the Satrap's court are a bit busier this early in the season than you might expect. There are two more ships of a similar design to the Ardhanya currently under construction in dry docks, though neither is even half finished as yet. The locks and the piers within them where ships might dock are being refurbished, and the harbor itself is being dredged. The last seems a bit odd, since the current of the river that bisects the city usually keeps the harbor channel clear enough to be passable, and that channel being the only safe way for deep hulled ships to get in or out serves to help keep the city safe.
Kai dismounts a fair way from the port itself and ties his horse up. He gathers his possessions carefully making sure everything is in its proper place. He lifts the pack onto his back and looks up at the great ship floating before him in the harbor. Blast, I hate sailing., he thinks to himself, give me solid land any day. He takes a deep breath and prepares to board the ship.
Toph nods at Karval, pointing at the ship's flagstaff.
He rocks his arms as if holding a baby, feigning as though he was about to sit.
Furthermore, he points slightly lower, at the lowest of the three flags, and makes the sign for hobgoblin- fingers in a V, placed against his scalp, to mimic their ears.
Before approaching the vessel in earnest, he takes a moment to pull his scarf further over his face, and removes his chalk from his gear.
Disguise as human 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Araki take a look at the ship while eating something.
Profession sailor: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Will board when it's time to (if I don't post until then).
Profession (sailor): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Karval chuckles hollowly. "Some of my kind on board. Excellent. You missed a spot there."
Karval gives Toph guidance on the disguise. "Yes, that...no, wait...careful...oh, dear...um...well...I suppose that will work."
Disguise Aid Another: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (19) + 0 = 19
The hobgoblin shrugs. "Perhaps nobody will look at you too closely."
Ha! A seven. That ought to fool them.
Actually, after reading the rules a mite closer, we've got a 3 + 2 + 5 - 2 + 2 = 10; 3roll+2charisma+5minor details only-2different race+2aid
Semiconfident the townfolk won't balk at his presence, Toph strides towards the vessel at a brisk pace, making sure his nameplate on his armor is plainly visible.
Ha! A seven. That ought to fool them.Actually, after reading the rules a mite closer, we've got a 3+2+5-2+2; 3roll+2charisma+5minor details only+2aid
"Hm...I suppose it will have to do. Anyways, I doubt they'll think much of a half-orc--not with hobgoblins in their midst."Karval follows behind Toph.
Rasamoro had readied himself for his imminent journey aboard the Ardhanya as best he could. He was somewhat puzzled by his assignment to it; after all, so far his assignments had been limited to land operations, but as duty called, so did he answer.
Ensuring that Jun is stabled appropriately before setting out, Rasamoro made his away to the docks and after taking in the scene, made his way to board the vessel.
|Gui Lang 鬼狼|
As Lang arrives in Einjeru he immediately makes his way to the docks. Cities...blech. Seeing the Ardhanya he makes his way over. According to the orders we should be leaving soon.
He notices the others standing near the ship and calls out in greeting, "Ho! Our suspicions appear to have been correct. We find ourselves together again so soon." He stops and gives the ship a good looking over.
Prof. Sailor 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24 Bah! One point away again!!
"Looks like a fine ship we've been assigned to. Semaj is a skilled captain by all accounts. This should be fun."
Perception vs. Toph's Disguise 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
"Tophan, is that you? What have you done to your face?" One of Lang's eyebrows raises at the sight of the chalk and scarf. He nods at Tong, Karval, Araki and Rasmoro "Anyone meet our Envoy yet?"
Family had its benefits-- and drawbacks, Kanoko decided, but one of the things that could never be done was ignore one's family. While it pained her to leave the court that she had been patiently working her way up in, she could not deny that a new ship was a chance to make a name-- or be forgotten. Still, orders were orders, and The Most Esteemed Mother was not one to be taken lightly.
So there was an almost undignified hurry about her tasks as she set things in order, and went about acquiring some of the necessities that she would require as an aide to an envoy. Her face was composed, but her mind was racing, as this was a sudden surprise that caught her unprepared. It took half the afternoon to set things in order without seeming amiss, and then she had to go and purchase things that she was certain that she did not know how to use, if even she would need to use!
She felt the agitation echoed in her companion, who was tweeting out a flurry of notes, sitting on the sill of the window, watching her and outside at the same time. Taking a deep breath, she calmed herself and tried to tie things up with decorum.
Still, the late afternoon saw her heading towards the docks at a mincing pace, face composed and steps even and calm. It would not do to be seen as in a hurry, though neither would it be proper to be late, either. At least a pair of her best clothes were in a bag at her side, but the rest of the items related to travel, she had to go and purchase. However, she was there just as evening arrived, with an mostly unfamiliar assortment of items stuffed into a pack that she was out of practice in carrying. The shopkeeper advised that it was better to have all of these things, than need them and be without. Ancestors, but the bag was heavy!
As she looked around, waiting patiently to see what would happen, she saw a few others greet each other like old friends, while her companion gave a twitter (irritation, annoyance) from the small wicker cage she was carrying him in, and she could not help the slight smile that curled her lips, responding with calm, as well as a slight bit of amusement.. Tama always did think he was a hawk rather than the scant handful of bird that he was.
Disguise:1d20 + 3 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 3 + 10 = 23 (for human form)
A chirp from the thrush in its cage was something other than its occasional chirp and she lifted her face, still wearing the semblance of a faint smile to the Hobgoblin, a slight tilt of her head, her amber eyes landing on him, before she gave a polite nod.
"Evening's greetings", she spoke softly and demurely. While the city guard was very diligent with their work, even civilized people could shed their decorum at times. She was still wearing the clothing of the courts, colors of blue, yellow, and cream in several layers, the decorative sheath of a dagger at her waist, its position fairly obvious that she was an inexperienced hand at it. A pack sat at her feet, though the birdcage was still in her right hand, the bird hopping about idly, looking at everything.
Karval nods. "Indeed."
He eyes the dagger at her belt. "It's positioned wrong. In case you didn't notice--I realize being late can cause one to make such trivial mistakes."
Though the hobgoblin's expression betrays nothing but apathetic politeness, his voice trembles with a bit more suppressed annoyance than usual.
The bird must be a familiar. Typical.
Making sure his various weapons are cleaned, polished and arrayed on his person at various levels of holstered, Rasamoro heads down to the docks. Seeing a small group of people stand in front of the boat he believes to be the Ardhanya, Rasamoro heads over to them.
Rasamoro nods in recognition at his companions to be. "So we meet once more. May the waves take us swiftly to our destination.", he said to the small gathering at no one in particular. However he takes a closer look at Tophan with an expression that could be considered a frown. "Is that a custom for your kind before boarding a seafaring vessel?"
Perception vs Disguises 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10
Toph looks at Rasamoro, slightly bemused. He gestures to the city at large in a grand, sweeping arc. Looking back at the towering Nagaji, he mimes first tusks, then terror. Pointing to the deck of the ship, he mimes removing a mask from his own face.
Toph chuckles a little, anticipating the catfolk from the tea shop would soon meet the little bird.
He wrinkles his nose as if something is amiss, but does not comment.
Must be the new air.
Perception 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
He bows politely to both additions to the group, resolving to board ahead of the noblewoman, but not earlier- it would do well to be associated with her socially, as he was sure he would be able to stand out with his own prowess in battle.
Kanoko gave Karval a courteous nod, tacitly acknowledging a point in his favor. "Such is the trend of fashion", she conceded coolly, save for a slight narrowing of her eyes before she settled herself. 'And so the pecking order begins', she thought to herself with slight distaste.
"It is ornamentation", she continued calmly, politely smiling. "If it sees use, would one truly fault the blade?" A brief raise of her eyebrows was enough, she thought, to properly convey the thrust of her statement. While it came off to her as a bit haughty, it did serve her purposes.
Her ears took in the sounds of the dock, even at this late in the day, sights and sounds she did not often see, nor would choose to without good reason. Her attire and demeanor did make her stand out. Hopefully, she would not stand out too much when compared to the envoy. That would be disastrous.
The new arrivals also received a nod and murmured greeting, taking note of them, and sweeping across the rest. This was shaping up to be an interesting gathering so far, though what it implied was uncertain.
|Gui Lang 鬼狼|
To Karval before Konoko is in ear shot; "Doubt it, Envoys don't usually walk alone. However, in those fancy rags she's probably a retainer."
Lang waits quietly through Konoko and Karval's exchange, then bows from the waist towards Konoko. "My name is Lang XiaoBai. Who might you be madam?" He looks at her with poorly disguised desire in his colorless eyes. Mmmm...foxy.
Sorry, couldn't resist. No more kitsune jokes I promise.
|Gui Lang 鬼狼|
Sorry to double post ran out of edit time in last post. Insert this bit before he addresses Kanoko:
After Kai bows Lang looks towards him and Toph, saying "I think you two are not so terrible that you need hide your faces. Surely you appear as spring flowers next to me." He gestures towards his own person with a look of bitterness on his face.
Perception check vs Kanoko's Disguise1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
At dusk, a gang way is lowered from the ships, and a hobgoblin who is well past the middle of his years makes his way down the gangplank. He walks with a slight hitch to his gait, before stopping to stand at the base of it and survey you all, drawing a breath through a battered old smoking pipe and then exhaling a steady stream of the smoke out of the corner of his mouth.
Only a few paces behind him is a young human sailor, fresh faced and moving almost constantly, wearing the insignia of the ship's first mate. He moves among all of you, collecting the papers of each of you in turn, before taking the bundle back to the hobgoblin and speaking in hushed tones. After a short exchange, he heads back on deck, and the hobgoblin speaks.
"Right. Listen here, all of you. My name is Semaj, but you will call me either Captain, Captain Semaj, or Captain. Now, we're gonna have a lot of time stuck together on my ship, so I might as well learn your names, I suppose." Removing a pair of spectacles, he starts looking through the papers. "It helps if you introduce yourselves."
Kanoko's Disguise 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (9) + 11 = 20
Tophan's Disguise 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22
|Gui Lang 鬼狼|
"I am Lang XiaoBai out of Southport, transferred to your command Captain." Lang snaps off a sharp military salute. Then hands the Captain his papers and stands at attention, any smalltalk he may have been engaged in quickly forgotten in the face of his new superior. He studies the Captain carefully hoping to learn more about him.
Perception1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Though his posture doesn't vary, his eyes flick quickly in Kanoko's direction before returning forward.
Still wanna know her name...
Toph, out of the public eye, loosens his scarf and lowers his hood, revealing his reflective eyes and sharp tusks. Snapping a well-executed military salute, he steps forward into line to introduce himself.
"Kavvan Hormgaller, Vappan Zamug."
He raps a knuckle on his wooden name-plate, hoping his papers specify his debilitation.
Definitely going to have to invest a couple of points in Disguise on next level up. Those checks are getting too close.
Straightening as the others did, she turned towards the Captain and offered him her standard polite smile and a deeper bow of greeting. This was to be the "host" of this "house", and he demanded respect. "Hoshino Kanoko, Captain Semaj."
She would admit that she stood out among the others, but they had not seen or met the envoy yet, and to stand out now-- not that she could help some of it-- may reflect poorly upon her. Perhaps to her credit, she did not bat an eye at seeing so many different types gathered.
"I am Araki, Araki of the Cirqué Pride, nice to meet you com... Captain Semaj." the catboy blurted, trying to judge the captain and first mate.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
Araki was about to say "commander"
Semaj looks at everyone and compares your faces with your papers as you all introduce yourself. As you all finish, he nods quietly. "Good enough. I like things to run smoothly on my ship, and I don't like to repeat myself, so everyone take note of what I tell you. She may be too new to have many barnacles, but I'll keel-haul malingerers all the same, and I promise you it still won't be pleasant." A stern gaze is directed at each of you.
"Now, those of you who are used to working on ships will be expected to put that knowledge to use. Lang XiaoBai, I'm appointing you as acting ship's chaplain; The man who was originally scheduled to hold that position got drunk and fell into the harbor last night. Mister Stormcaller, you'll be serving as chief of our lookouts. Karval will be serving as a sergeant at arms; I knew your grandfather, young man, and expect you to measure up to his example. Mister Araki will also be serving in a similar capacity." He pauses, letting that sink in for a moment. "Understand that the Ardhanya is currently tasked with a diplomatic mission, everyone. Nominally we are under the direction of Ambassador Sumi, tasked with supplying her embassy with the needed skills and man power to accomplish their directives. I have no doubt..." Here he pauses to direct his gaze to a well dressed human female that has emerged on the fore-castle of the ship to observe his greeting of you all, raising his voice enough that there can be no claim it wouldn't have carried to her. "That she will inform us of those directives in a timely manner, once we are at sea."
He pauses and looks back to everyone as well. "Mister Tong Kai and Miss Kanoko, I do understand that your first concern is obeying the orders of the Amabassador, but let me be clear: On my ship, I am the final authority in all things. When we make landfall, you're free to do as your duties require of you, but while we are at sea, you will answer to all orders given to the crew as if you were part of it. The Ambassador has required that you each be given a cabin adjoining her own; Please settle in while we get underway." Lastly he looks to Rasamaro. "You're here to serve as the Ambassador's Honor Guard."
He considers a moment again. "Also, I was told to expect at least two horses, but they don't seem to be in evidence. Fodder and space has been allocated, if you wish to recover them, gentlemen. That is all... any crew member may direct you to your cabins. The harbor pilots should be here within half a bell." With that, he turns away and heads up to the stern of the ship, clearly dismissing you all.
Rasamoro saluted the Captain before he wandered off, and appeared to look pleased with the proceedings. 'A man after my own heart.' he thinks to himself. Rasamoro felt highly honoured at being given the task of personal Honour Guard to the Ambassador. To date his assignments had been strictly minor. Of course he completed each task with the professionalism expected of him, but the opportunity to further serve the Satrap excited him.
Understanding that his companion, Jun, would be allowed to travel with him, Rasamoro quickly headed back to where he had stabled him, with a word to his companions to let the know. After sorting out the necessary paperwork for an early withdrawal from the barracks stable, Rasamoro headed back to the Ardhanya, and prepared to stable Jun at the appropriate place on the ship before preparing to introducing himself to the Ambassador. Usually he would examine his surroundings and explore the rest of the ship, but considering the position bestowed upon him he had to act in accordance with his Code. Upon finding the Ambassador, Rasamoro salutes her before kneeling down, head bowed hands extended towards her. "My Lady Ambassador, I am Rasamoro. It is my honour to serve as your personal guard for this mission. I will serve and protect you on this journey; my life and blade are yours to command." The impression given that this was a deeply humbling and respectful introduction. After all, Nagaji are sometimes whispered to be little more than slaves in their demeanour. While Rasamoro prides himself too much to ever consider himself a slave, he willingly offers his service as a show of respect.
Kanoko thought she perhaps was giving less the image of an aide, though she approached with Rasamoro, and waited patiently for him to finish. There was a curious chirp from the bird in its wicker cage, but she shushed it with a look, setting the cage down to greet the Ambassador as befitting her stature. A bow, lingering downwards appropriately enough to display her position was given, before she raised her eyes no further than her belt.
"Esteemed Ambassador, I am Kanoko, your aide. It will be my pleasure to serve." A fairly standard greeting, just the right touch of deference, and just enough of a glance upwards to demonstrate awareness. This was her position, and she would not disgrace herself by failing in it at all. The only thing that remained was to get a feel for the Ambassador herself, so that she could better serve.
Toph turns to Karval, drawing a quick anchor and a crude horse on his chestpiece with his chalk before wiping it away, and climbing deftly aboard to find his place and settle in his gear. He deposits his chest and most of his mundane gear beneath his allotted cot, and immediately leaves to orient himself with the crow's nest, as well as, to a lesser extent, the rest of the ship.
Kai bows deeply to the captain, then without a word heads back up to get his horse. As he trots back to the port he thinks to himself, I hope this mission goes well. Perhaps the gods will watch out for me.
As he gets back to the ship, he is directed where to send his beast of burden, and he makes his way to his quarters.
I thought your rolls were simply related to people's disguises... My bad for misunderstanding, what were you hoping to accomplish with them?
The stalls for the horses are set up in the forward hold, and there's a pair of cart ponies already present, across the alley way from the stalls that Tong Kai and Rasamaro are able to use.
For those who are members of the ship's crew, quarters are a simple affair: Cabins with double bunks, both of which you're informed you'll be sharing (with your opposite watches having use of the bunks while you're on watch). The first mate, a young Naganji named Kusathach, does mention that there are hammocks which can be strung up on deck, when the weather is good, if you'd prefer it. Karval and Tophan are shown to one cabin, while Araki and Gui Lang to a second. The highlights of the ship are also pointed out to you in Kusathach's tour.
Tong Kai and Rasamaro will be sharing a cabin, it is revealed, next to the Amabassador's. Kanoko's quarters will be shared with Chiaki, a handsome if somewhat overweight gnomish woman who has had her tongue removed for, the junior crew member taking her luggage confides eagerly.
Ambassador Kitsuki Sumi is a thin and rather severely plain human, short even for her gender. The only memorable feature about her is her hair, as red as the most dangerous of sunsets; island tradition holds this to be a clear sign that she has a fiery disposition. Dressed in court finery, she wears six inch tall platform sandals to just barely break five foot in height, and glowers at Rasamoro's size when he approaches her. A hard face betrays the occasional wince of pain, and she seems to have difficulty standing still, pacing slightly, fidgeting with an ever present smoking pipe if she must stand still, or rolling a glowing copper piece that has been worn smooth through her fingers.
After a few moments of glowering at Rasamoro's size, she smiles, apparently won over by his display of humility, and gestures for both him and Kanoko to stand. "I am pleased to have you, Rasamoro. I admit that I have never been given an honor guard before... I hope the adjustment does not prove too difficult for either of us to suffer through."
Perception: Kanoko1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
Turning to Kanoko "A pleasure to meet you, Kanoko. I do hope my scribe doesn't cause you any difficulties in your cabin; be sure to let me know if she does, so I can fix the problem. I tried to get the cabin separate rooms for all of the members of the delegation, but the stodgy old bastard claimed there wasn't enough space, unless he gave up his own cabin... then refused to actually do so! Hmph! He'd best not think I'll be forgetting about that when it comes time to write his review on our return."
Sorry, my rolls were to get additional details on the captain.
Rolls for the Ambassador:
Knowledge Nobility: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10