You are all gathered in the Great Hall of Lehrehn. Lord Rodrik Rudianos sits before you on an elaborate ebony bench piled so high with pillows that the Lord is barely visible behind all the silk and satin.
"I have grave news." He slurps a third oyster. "Jathus, your brother Bearach is missing from the King's council. He arrived 3 days ago with an escort of 30 men. Many and more saw him. Today, he and his men are nowhere to be found."
The fat Lord shovels a fourth oyster down his gullet.
"You know that Drostan is in the field, dealing with the Fowls of Fairn Forrest, and" his voice takes on a sarcastic edge, "The Grand Confessor cannot be stirred from his sacrifices and droll prattlings. So! It falls to you to represent our house in the King's council. You will arrive late and so lose face. Nothing can be done about this."
Rodrik drains a pint of sweet, dark beer.
"Also, you must discover what has happened to my heir. For this I am sending Facion. He has proven to be reliable in the past. In this you cannot fail."
"I also send with you: Thaegrin of the Ferenwen, may his council serve you as well as he has served me and my fathers before me; Tholan, it is high time he learned to be useful. Keep him close, and by the fires do not let him board a ship!; Your manservant and long-time protector, Wraith; and a contingent of 15 guardsmen, 3 servants, and 1 cook."
"You leave tomorrow."
If you need to clarify, do so now. It is clear you are to leave. Also, you would all know that only Jathus and Thaegrin should speak in this audience, the others have not earned that right.
The old wizard contains his disappointment to a single blink, maintaining the wizened and thoughtful expression he wore to courtly appearances. He had hoped to finish his study on the alchemical properties of the mandragora sap-blood. To this point, the reagents indicated shared magical sympathies with some divination spells, though the Ferenwen had yet to discover which. Another time, I suppose.
He offers a bow to Lord Rodrik Rudianos, the edges of his lips upturned politely. His arm moves to his back in a courtly fashion, his storm-grey cloak shifting in shade under the light. “My lord is too kind.” His tone changes to imploring, “It may be of little importance, but would my lord care to enlighten us on who sent this word to Lehrehn?”
Facion the Half-Blood watches from his position in the back of the room, near the door of the audience chamber. His face betrays little and less of his thoughts on the matter at hand. The slate gray, deep-set eyes peer out and seem to take in all that happens in the room. And indeed so to do the scarred ears hear all that is being said.
Biding his time the keeper of secrets waits until all are done speaking to make his courteous, though perfunctory, exit.
Is the 'Kings Council' in the Capitol, Veir? Knowledge (Local) 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16
To be clear, he isn't leaving. But he will when it's decided that the audience is over.
Tholan listens as Lord Rodrick speaks, stifling a chuckle in his beer at the Lord's remark. He immediately begins to plan out the supplies he will need for a journey, finishing his plate and heaping on another. If this was to be his last meal in this hall for a while, he would eat as much as he could. He began to reach for more beer, hesitated, and decided against it. Instead, he worked toward finishing his plate. Even with a cook, food was never as good while travelling.
"I thought you might care to know that. Unfortunately, my contact is loathe to be revealed at this time. There are matters in play that I will not discuss here and now. Content yourself with this wizard: If you need to know, my contact will appear to you in Veir."
“As you wish, Lord Rodrik. My chief concern was the reliability of your information on a matter so severe. I take your leave to prepare my things.” He bows slightly again.
“Lord Rodrik, Sir Jathus.”
He gives a small, respectful nod to the others as he turns and leaves the Great Hall, his grey cloak swinging over his narrow frame.
Once he enters his quarters, he closes the door, listening and looking carefully for any change in his office and living space. He finds no cause for concern as every book is in its place and every scroll is undisturbed. His alchemical table was somewhat disorganized, as he had left his experimentation immediately to answer the summons. After returning the reagents in question from beakers to sealed bottles and cleaning the work table, the wizard removes a finely crafted backpack and several scroll cases from a closet. He begins packing for the trip ahead, remembering his last visit to Veir and considering what he might need for the journey and for Veir itself.
How long will the journey take?
After spending perhaps too much time fretting over contingencies, or lack thereof, the wizard places his packed things against the wall. Noting the time, he finds that he might have a few hours before meditation. He returns to the alchemist laboratory, unstopping the bottles and resuming his study. In three hours, he finds multiple null concoctions, and the clarification he was searching for: the mandragora sap-blood, when mixed with the same specimen’s poison and a dash of powdered sulfur, and brought to a simmer, then congealed, yields an aid to a spell of Scrying. Satisfied, though curious if the mixture could be coerced to aid into aiding other spells, Theagrin promptly labels the potion and returns all ingredients to their place.
The Ferenwen mutters a curse. He forgot to eat today. This happens more often more than he would admit; his intense focus on study or political matters regularly took precedence over such a primal necessity, and his health showed for it. Resolving to eat something tomorrow, Thaegrin checks the locks on his door before going to bed to meditate.
Having finished his third plate, Tholan rises from the table, bowing to Lord Rodrik before leaving to prepare for his journey.
His brisk stride carries him quickly to his chambers, and he immediately begins to prepare his pack. Once he is satisfied with how it is arranged, he begins polishing and cleaning his armour, honing the edges on his blades, and ensuring that his shield is intact. Having done all this, he buckles on his armor, sheaths his blades, picks up his pack, and leaves his chamber to walk the halls. Tholan preferred to spend time in his gear before leaving on a journey to ensure that nothing chafed, and to find any hidden flaws in the pack straps.
If nothing of interest happens on his stoll
Being satisfied with the state of his equipment, Tholan returned to his chambers, spread out his bedroll on the floor, and slept.
Following the Wizard out Facion says nothing. Quickly parting ways with the Feraweni, he ducks down an ill-lit side passage. Reaching the end of the hall the Half-Blood places a hand on the worn worm-eaten wood of a decrepit pantry door. Opening it allows the dim light from a window to illuminate the old closet and it's contents of crates, brooms, and cabbages. Tucked into a corner of the small room is a dusty pack, one that looks to have been there for quite some time. Anga retrieves this and opens it; Mithril Rapier, bedroll, silk rope, this should do. Sorting through the other odds and ends Anga contents himself that the pack will indeed suffice for this journey.
Looping the sheathed rapier onto a belt around his waist Facion makes his way down a stone staircase to the main courtyard of the Lehrehn Keep. Crossing the cobble-stone plaza the keeper of secrets heads towards the stables and finds the head horse master. As he approaches the grimy servant, his face changes instantly from stone-disinterest to a beaming cheerful smile. Raising his hands in the air he greets the man. "Horse master well met! It is good to see you again!" Bluff 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (7) + 16 = 23 "How is the business of beasts? Good? Glad to hear it! Listen I've been waiting to hear from a friend of mine, they were supposed to arrive today, but I've seen neither hide nor hair of them! I was wondering if you could tell me if you've might have seen them, they could have been dressed as a courier if that helps jog your memory." Facions exuberant face takes on a downcast sorrowful look. "They should have been here long ago, and I'm beginning to worry. Tell me, who has arrived today?" Diplomacy 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
Wraith listens to the orders and mentally prepares a list of things he would need to pack for the task ahead. He shook his head to himself. I do hope Jathus will stay out of trouble this time. I must continue to keep him safe. Just another day of work. He waits for Jathus to finish his conversation and then moves to follow him out of the hall.
Facion examines the pin and pockets it in one smooth motion. "Ah, many thanks Horse Lord. Yes this did indeed belong to my friend, it saddens me that they had to leave so quickly. I suppose I'll just catch them on their next visit." The teller of lies presses a gold coin into the grooms hand. "For your diligence friend, please be sure to let me know if you see them pass through here again." With a reassuring smile Facion begins to turn away before a thought causes him to pause. "One last thing. Did you notice what type of horse my friend was riding? Breed? Color? I gifted them a thoroughbred some time ago, I do so hope they are putting it to good use."
After waiting for a reply Facion nods and turns away, as soon as out of sight of the groom his face returns to it's expressionless blank mask. A silver cat pin? Where have I seen that before? The Half-Blood tries to remember why it seemed so familiar to him as he made his way back to the Lehrehn keep.
Put this down because ProSpy makes sense for Anga, but not really sure what I should roll it for?
Upon reaching the keep, Facion finds a secluded guest chamber far from his own living quarters. Stuffing the bed with rags and pillows he sits in an uncomfortable chair across the room and waits well into the evening thinking over his shared task ahead.
Without saying another Jathus stands and routes toward the door. He felt dirty at watching his possible future self, yet he had potentially two more brothers to go through before he could even begin his attempts at being such a glutinous bastard. After first exiting the door he kept ahand steady holding the door open for Wraith, "My friend, I want to leave at dawn. These men have been restless and void of true duty for far to long. I wonder what happen to my brother, but we need to keep our priorities straight, wouldn't you agree? Jathus turns to Wraith finishing his thought.
Ok. I'm going to use that roll as nobility then...The King's Council is a seasonal position. One representative from each noble house in Erenon resides in Veir during the trade and war season to help and council the King during this important time. You know that Jathus' position as representative will last 8 months, but for some reason, you cannot thinkn how many days it will take you to reach the capital.
Looking to grab some information about the King's Council as well.
Responding to Wraith Jathus continues while walking briskly towards the barracks, "I think you misspoke as I only count two. I will be moving to the council, and we will be investigating my brothers death with one of our lords rogues."
As they enter the courtyard Helena awaits leaning on the archway that leads towards Jathus' approach. "My lady Helena, you have a task which is twofold. First, inform the cook assigned to us that we will be leaving tomorrow for an extended stay in Veir. He will need to feed twenty people for two to three days of travel. Second, ready yourself. I will be taking of the seat of my brother at The King's Council, and I mean to take both my bodyguards. We will be leaving at dawn, and make sure you bring at least one nice dress. Lastly, if no cook has been assigned to me pick one."
After Helena leaves Jathus continues, "While we are out I want you to do me a favor, focus your attentions on my guards. Watch them closely, for my brother had thirty men, and he wound up missing. I will have twenty and I wish to stay alive. I would suggest to you that their might have been a mole in my brothers retinue, I shall not have the same betrayal in mine." Jathus with Wriath makes strides toward the barracks.
That is up to you. If you would like to meet the Captain of the guards before leaving then go ahead. His name is Murphy Muldoon, if you'd rather just get to know him on the road.
Is everyone else ready? Unless you tell me before you leave, your character only have what is on their character sheets. I may be inclined to let a few things go for free if asked. This is a wealthy castle after all.
Jathus moves to the barracks.
"Captain may I have a word with you." After giving a silent nod to the other men, he follows the captain into his quarters.
"Wraith watch the door if you wouldn't mind."Turning back to the captain the knight continues, "This is how its going to work. Tomorrow you will awake with your men in the morning ready to make for Veir. You will have your men promptly assembled at dawn. Your mission is my protection, and for that you will be paid quadruple your wages. But let me restate this captain, my protection is your charge. Not my fathers pet rogue, not the old wizard, not even Wraiths, but my protection. Now this isn't to say that you must abandon them, just that my survival is paramount." After the one sided discussion Jathus smiles, "After all if I keep loosing brother, I could very well be your Lord. I keep my friends well rewarded. Do we have an understanding?"
After the talk is finished Jathus will be personally informing both the wizard and the rogue of the early departure time politely, I am opt’ing to not role play this but I am more than happy to as well.
"As you say milord." The guard bows and begins to prepare for the morrow's journey.
The dawn sees a party of mounted men in the yard. Just before the command is given to depart, an apprentice comes flying around a corner shouting "WAIT! Milord Jathus a moment!"
He shoves a parchment into Jathus' hand.
I hear you are traveling to Veir to represent House Rudianos on the King's Council. Well, you can have it. I cannot think of an honor I would like less.
I am writing to warn you that the Fowls of Fairn Forrest have broken and have scattered to the winds. You may well come across remnants of their forces. Kill them if you can and display their bodies to send a message. Their leader, a man called Black Moon, escaped as well. I will find him, but have a care if you meet him on the road. He is a nasty piece of work.
"The day is our, my brothers broken the back of our enemy. They are scattered and fleeing we will ride into their lane of retreat causing even more damage to their morale." With spurs into his horse Jathus leads the wagon and its guards.
While in route he calls over the over paid captain, "If we break for an enemy you and four other will stay behind and guard the cook and his freight."
Sitting astride his destrier Facion waits off to the side of the main body of the company. His own gear stowed and secured an hour before dawn he has all the time he needs to watch the final preparations of the convoy.
Perception 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22
Noticing the page rush towards the young Nobleman his hand immediately darts to his rapier, but seeing as it's no more than a small parchment he relaxes somewhat. Bringing his mount alongside Jathus's as they depart the grounds the keeper of secrets inclines his head towards the note and inquires; "My Lord Stormend, if I may?"
Tholan yawned, already saddled and seated on his mount, watching the apprentice with an interest borne predominantly by boredom. At Jathus's proclamation, his eyebrows quirked upwards and he stretched his arms out to his side. The thought occured to him that this could perhaps turn out to be an interesting journey after all. He certainly hoped so, he'd been expecting a boring trip filled with idle chatter.
He spurred his mount to catch up, taking his position behind Jathus and yawning broadly. He idly wondered why trips always started in the morning - it was such a horrid way to start a day. Despite his apparent boredom, he made sure to listen closely to what he could hear of the exchange ahead of him.
Waiting for his response Jathus called Wraith to his side. "My friend, I want you far ahead of the pack, leading us. You are far to valuable to be at my side. Do not engage without me or our men." It might have been off for people not used to the pair, especially because Wraith was the manservant and Jathus was the master. But, He treated him as an equal as off as it was.
Wraith thought about this and frowned. "Are you certain of this? Although my eyes are perfect for the job, I am not as much a master of stealth as our local rogue. Your father would be displeased with me if something happened to you and I was leagues away."
Thaegrin shifts his weight in his saddle, and harrumphs. “I doubt that Lord Rodrik would commission a scholar to ride to field to engage an armed enemy, even if the force is routed. Let me remind you, Sir Jathus, that I am not a soldier, should violence prevail upon the circumstance. I am here to provide apt council and advice. Does your urgent message mention anything else of import?”
The wizard pauses, considering what he might already know of the Fowls of the Fairn Forest.
"Wraith me and the Anga have things to discuss, and I doubt that his ears are better then yours. Don't presume to be my fathers tool, never forget friend that I am your master as he is mine."
He looks at the wizard with a slight amount of discuss. Jathus valued martial prowess and Thaegrin had little. Sure he was a master of things to far for the lordling to understand, but he had little Jathus put stock in. He imagined the feeling was mutual. "You are prized at court as well as you should be protected in the field, Do not charge with. Instead help defend the wagon. I doubt my father our lord would be so forgiving if his favorite sage wound up dead."
"Now Anga, Thaegrin what have you to say when we put our heads together."
Knowlege Checks for the Same
Knowledge (History) +6
Knowledge (Local) +7
Knowledge (Nobility) +10
Black Moon is the leader of the Fowls of the Fairn Forest. They are a bandit outfit who have always been a nuisance, but are now an outright threat: made so by their leader, Black Moon.
It is said that Black Moon is a faceless shadow. Most who encounter him do not live to tell of what they see, but the few who have speak of a pallid sword as thin as a fingernail that is fueled by Dark Moon’s own blood and it leaves his victims sickly and diminished. No one has ever crossed his path on a new moon and survived. They say the darkness gives him power and that he does not exist in the daytime. Rumors abound that he relishes an unfair fight and frequently pits himself against 10 or more foes to test his abilities.
Knowledge Planes, Arcana, and/or Religion to know more.
Facion hands the rolled paper back to Stormend. "One cannot be certain, but as far as I can determine this letter seems legit." The Half-Blood turns his gaze to the horizon. "In any case we would do well to not underestimate this Black Moon fellow. Everyone, including the men, should constantly be on their guard." His impassive face turns back to his companions. "You never know when a blade may appear in the black."
“Agreed, Halfblood. I am loathe to make superstitious conclusions, but it is entirely possible this ‘Black Moon’ was born and molded in darkness itself. Deception may be woven into his very blood, he will not agree to an honorable fight, Sir Jathus. You may need of my applied knowledge should we find this phantom menace on the road, so I shall remain vigilant.”
Thaegrin turns to the captain of the guard. “Now, forgive an old soul for forgetting such details, but do you know how long it will be until we reach Veir?”
Based on the snippets you've heard. You know that "Black Moon" is the name of the leader of the Fowls of Fairn Forest. Based on Thaegrin's comment you can gather that the wizard believes this person to come from the plane of shadow or have a strong connection to it. As a combatant, you know this could mean he is very hard to hit, or that he is very hard to find in the dark...or both...
"It would would be four days for unburdened riders, milord. Our present convoy will likely take between seven and ten days: more if it rains th'way my bones say it will."
"Also, it may not be my place, but I've heard that this Black Moon fella is a dancing demon. He just appears out of shadows and is gone again just as quick; his powers get stronger when there is a new moon, they say. The new moon is 4 days hence. I pray Desna lights our way with extra stars that night."
Make final plans, or changes. When done, Wraith will trot to his forward position and the column will be underway.
The fact that it's a 4 day ride from Lehrehn to Veir and yet the rider that informed Lord Rodrick of his sons disappearance did so the same day of said disappearance. Is that magical or merely an oversight? I ask cause I don't know if Anga should be interested or not.
Thaegrin addresses the lordling. “He may well have some magical ability, but the rumors about him would be different if he was indeed a mage. The sensible answers to these fear-addled legends are that he probably makes use of poison and stealth tactics, and is likely very quick.”
The old wizard keeps a bored expression, but his eyes flicker with amusement. “Do you find my conjecture sufficient, Sir Jathus?”