Nothing acostes the group as they trek the deepened shadows, though Thaegrin knows to value their luck, for it is not that there aren't things here that would love nothing more than to tear the flesh and crunch the bones of outsiders...
The light of the noon day sun is oppressively bright in contrast to the midnight shadows of a moment ago, and it takes some time to get your bearings.
You are presently standing on a wharf perhaps 40 feet off shore as a small, fortified island. Small pockets of smoke rise into the bright blue sky where parts of the city still smolder the slightest bit.
People can be seen milling about on their various tasks, but no one seems to have noticed the lot of you yet.
Iskandarr removes the blindfold and looks about at his surroundings. perception: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (6) + 16 = 22"What is this place?"
Knowledge geo 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (5) + 11 = 16 where are we on the Valcia map?
Perception 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (7) + 9 = 16, what kind of people are milling about? Slaves? Commoners? What do they look like? Are they armed?
The wizard shades his eyes with a palm as he looks out from the shore, his wizened eyes narrowing at the fingers of smoke further inland.
“Let us begin there,” he points to the smoke, “Our presence breaks no law, as we are here for Rudianos interests. But do not look for welcome from these people.”
His begins shuffling toward the site of whatever might be burning beyond the fortifications.
You are on a small island off the coasts of Isteroth and Erenon. It is a slavers hold where at least two major auctions are held each year.
Slaves and commoners dominate the population. Some are properly armed while others have simple tools like hammers, shovels, crowbars, etc.
The group walks half the distance to the shore before the populace notices them. Once that happens, a mass of people form a blockade on the pier, barring access to the beach.
"Who are you!? State your business" The cry comes from somewherein the midst of the throng.
“Our business,” the court wizard begins, rolling up his right sleeve as he walks forward. Fist pointed down, he exposes his inner forearm, revealing the scribe slave tattoo marked with freedom by right-of-purchase. “Is to investigate the disruption of business. Did any of you witness those who sacked the island?”
Diplomancy 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22, in case we need to lower hostility
Diplomancy 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26, for gather information (or just take the first roll)
|Tholan the Drolleye|
Tholan stands over Thaegrin's shoulder, in his usual spot, trying to look imposing but not menacing. He scans the crowd, trying to get a good feel for them and who the most important individuals would be.
Intimidate 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (7) + 17 = 24
Perception 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (17) + 10 = 27
Sense Motive 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
These people nearly all bear the mark of slaves, but theirs bear the mark of forceful extrication, not purchase. Clearly they've freed themselves.
The mob is ready to roast and eat any who support slavery.
"Amerys has liberated us! We will not bend again to the yoke! Do you intend to reestablish the 'business' of this island?" There is an accusitory tone in the voice from the throng, daring you all to speak a word in support of captivity.
A low toned growl begins in Iskandarr's throat, but he continues to watch the blockade.
Ready wild shape.
Stepping forward with hands spread out appeasingly and a bright smile on his face Anga speaks to the crowd. "Whoa-ho! Let's not be hasty now! No one said anything about slavery, we're merchants. We had a shipment of spices that we're supposed to come in some time ago, last we heard the vessel was docked around these parts. We simple men are merely trying to find out what happened to our lost shipment." He turns a beaming gaze on where he thought he heard the voice originate.
"Freed by the Amerissi? Why that's wonderful news! My congratulations! You know I have a cousin from Amerys myself..." He eyes the crowd trying to determine who speaks for them.
Perception 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (19) + 13 = 32
Bluff 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (16) + 17 = 33
Diplomacy 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
|Ezkal the Ordo Hereticus|
Ezkal looks at the crowd and walks up to stand by his brother and stretches his arm across his chest. "Why does trouble follow you like the scent of bacon on a pig?" he muttered. His eyes scan the crowd, looking for trouble.
Sense Motive (on crowd?) 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (3) + 19 = 22 Perception 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (15) + 21 = 36
Wearing a mask of confusion, and then annoyance at the crowd, Thaegrin nods at the Halfblood’s words, and then adds, “I thought that much was obvious, islanders. Do I look like a slaver to you?”
He makes a deliberate gesture to the freed slave markings on his arm. This will not do. Slaves with a taste of freedom require so much time and money to reeducate...
Aid to Diplomacy 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
A little man dressed in a oversized tunic steps to the front of the crowd: clearly this is the one who's been speaking.
"Whatever comes into the free port of New Amerys is by right the property of the Freeman's Collective. If we have any spices, we will gladly sell them or trade for them."
"You lot will have to wait here, however, at least until we figure what to do with you. The manner of your arrival is suspect at best since I see no ship, but mostly we just don't like the look of you."
“Then while we wait, I ask for an unabridged copy of New Amerys’ laws, so that we do not provoke further offense. My superiors owe much to Amerys; perhaps further donations can be arranged to bolster the opportunities of the Freeman’s Collective? However, such an investment will only be deemed advisable by my associates and myself.” The court wizard’s words flatten to an unsatisfactory tone in his last sentence, making it plain that future trade is looking more and more unlikely with New Amerys. The Rudianos has incurred a great debt to these Freedmen. How many spears will shall we send to reconcile the lie these slaves have feasted on?
Bluff 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26, Diplomacy 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (17) + 12 = 29, to sound like he could be persuaded to be friendly. I guess.
Anga smiles ruefully as the man leaves, turning to shrug at on of the guards as if to say "what can you do?" Addressing the others in his party he says, "Well, I certainly hope they've spice to sell, I haven't seen any sign of our goods, or the Ruddy Rutter. If ever I catch that captain Longbottom, there'll be seven hells to pay!" He punctuates the threat with a good natured grin. Surly this is a man of truly easygoing business practices.
A somewhat more serious expression takes his face as he pulls Thaegrin aside, speaking quietly but not whispering he addresses the wizard in their shared tongue.
Bluff 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (2) + 17 = 19
Iskandarr continues to keep an eye on the freed slaves and visibly relaxes, but is still ready for any reason to change form. perception: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (13) + 16 = 29
The court wizard mimics the low tone.
“Agreed. But in doing so, we must be careful not to awake a sleeping giant. Despite their childish ideals, the Amerys military is one to be reckoned with, especially when called to war.”
The thread of conversation turns the Feraweni mind to sabotage and disruption.
Knowledge Local 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30, Knowledge Gepgraphy 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22, what does Thaegrin know of the Vyran Shipyard on the Amerys coast? Or is there another, less-protected target the five of them can lay waste to?
Port Maverick, just accross the bay from the Vyran shipyard, is the naval base of operations for the Amerysi military machine. It is true that the shipyard is less defended than the port, but Thaegrin knows that response times would be swift and the group could be easily overwhelmed...
On the other hand, there is a training facility at Tyrnel off the coast. Mostly raw recruits and a few veteran training masters. A hard hit here would be tragic if Amerys were to maintain it's two-front war...
A thought comes to mind, and the aged wizard turns to the newest of his companions. "I watched your tribesmen and former enemies weave magic to call creatures to their side, even forces of nature like wind and fire. Were you taught to do this? Would it be possible to command a raven to carry a message?"
Thaegrin is asking if Iskandarr can cast Animal Messenger.
Iskandarr thinks for a moment. "I do have that capability, but I would need time to accomplish this. I would be able to do this tomorrow, at the earliest. When it comes to commanding a raven or other bird, it would be possible, but it would need to be sent to a place I know well or to a landmark of some kind. Why do you ask?"
The wizard lowers his voice as to not be overheard by the footmen at the end of the dock, “I hoped to send word to the house. But if you must be the one commanding the raven, then it would be for naught. The lake near the house is too broad to serve as a specific landmark, and I doubt the bird would fly true based on my description of the house to you. Still, it is an option that could be useful to us, if you can manage to be prepared when such a need arises.”
As he explains himself, the scholar's Spreading Root focuses elsewhere. Of course, the Tyrnel training grounds… A debilitating strike could be made there. If we should base our strike from Ached Islands... He blinks. Wraith T’lek. That was his name. Perhaps I shall have occasion to visit his homelands after all…
Kn: Geography 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 26, how long will it take to get to the training facility from this island? By conventional methods: ship, horse, etc. Kn: Local1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23, are the Ached Islands south of Tyrnel part of The Freeland of Amerys? I remember it is the homeland of the human-tieflings, but what else does Thaegrin know about those islands? Government/society type? Are they open to visitors?
Iskandarr nods and lowers his tone. "Hmm... Is there any way, with your magic, that you can show me the house? That way, you can give me a direction and I can place the image of the house in the creature's mind so that it simply has to fly a direction and match the house to the image in its mind."
The court wizard frowns at the memory of leaving his third silver mirror in his study, out of fear that the two he brought with him would be accidentally shattered on the journey to the forest. The gods and their games. I am jealous that I am not a player, merely a pawn.
“I spoke at length with the Lord of Scales before meeting your people. He seemed familiar with the divining magics that allowed for watching living things from a great distance. However his understanding of primal elements is much different than my own, and did not require a reflective, silver surface as I do to complete such a spell. He simply used water, in a mundane basin, if I recall correctly. I can describe the person I intend to send the message to, and if you can search for her through the surface of water as the Lord of Scales could, hopefully she is near enough to her living quarters or a part of the lake that you can impress a sufficient destination description to the bird under your command. I have enough eyes looking over my shoulder, not to mention I lack the material component for scrying, so I cannot cast this spell for you.”
Iskandar nods his head. " This is something I can do, but again, this is something that I could do tomorrow."
The wizard nods, understanding. “Tomorrow, then.”
The aged scholar turns to the ten footmen at the end of the dock with a half-hearted curiosity on his face. While he appears regard these newly freed slaves as a foreigner might stare at native folk, he internally measures the quality of their equipment, and their depth of training.
Perception 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (7) + 9 = 16, Sense Motive? 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (17) + 11 = 28, Kn: Local? 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30
He turns again, and shuffles past the two hairy Thelkonlanders, to the edge of the dock that hangs over the surging brine. He nonchalantly sits and crosses his legs, as though accidentally making himself difficult to see by the guards. Thin, wrinkled fingers adjust the wide brimmed grey hat, keeping the bright sun out of his face.
Thaegrin’s narrow nose breathes in the salty wind, as his pointed ears listen to the ebb and flow. He begins to count between each wave, and casually sorts out the undulating geometries of the approaching surf as his mind falls into Spreading Root, focusing on several mental tasks at once.
Thaegrin will wait for an hour for the little man to return. He will do something else if nothing happens in that hour.
The men on the dock have mediocre equipment at best. Only one has a real sword and that has seen better days. Most carry impromptu spears made from altered kitchen knives and old fencing.
All do have worn leather armor of the type that slavers wear.
As to their training, Thaegrin suspects that most of these have never been taught to fight, but he knows that years of hard labor and rage make a body strong and a heart bold.
The little man does not appear after an hour. It seems they intend to let you bake on the dock in the hot sun.
Without a word, the court wizard pushes himself back to his feet. Making his way past his companions, he continues down the dock, gesturing to them that they do not need to follow. Smiling pleasantly, he approaches the ten guards, and stops fifteen feet away from the nearest one. Nodding a silent greeting, he sighs, doffing his wide brimmed hat and squinting up at the sun. Scratching his head and returning the hat to its place, he shrugs at the men at arms to convey his boredom. He takes leisure against one of the dock posts nearby, folding his arms and raising a conversational tone, “This seems a bit silly, doesn’t it? To have all of us bake out here in the sun, on the little man’s whim?”
Diplomacy 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (3) + 12 = 15 dammit
The guards turn slowly, not having noticed the wizard's approach. Many jump back and ready weapons as though the mage simply appeared in his new location.
One guard though, probably a woman though impossible to tell for sure at this distance, seems unimpressed with the wizard's approach.
"Vury sillae. But Michael makes the rooles 'round 'ere, and I ent abou' ta cross 'im."
Shim nods her head back toward the bay. "Noo await yer meetin'like a good lad."
Thaegrin is unsure which irritates him more: the lack of alertness in the guards, or the fact that he was just addressed as “lad”. Wearing a mask of benevolence, he calmly raises a hand to the startled armed slaves, hoping to indicate that he means no harm. At the shim’s order, he pushes himself off the post he was leaning against and takes a few steps back. He looks over the ten with a curious expression, and then gestures to the rest of his companions at the end of the dock, “I see them everyday, for quite some time now. They bore me to death. No harm in talking, is there?”
Before the speaker can disagree, he continues, hoping to ease the tension with a joke, “Heh, reminds me of a time I was trading with a little man similar to your friend Michael, in Isteroth. I had never done business with an Isterothi before, and not knowing their customs, ended up making a fool of myself, and the man lost his temper. He stormed off and refused to do business. The next day I received a letter from him, apologizing for being so short with me.”
Perform (comedy) 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
Diplomacy ok? 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
Becoming slightly irritable from the heat, Iskandar looks at the blockade and then at the Thelkonlanders. Speaking only loud enough for them to hear "I suppose it's easy for them to have courage in numbers, but surely there must be something out there to break their courage..." a sly smile hints at his lips. "A large beast of the jungle, perhaps?"
The aging Feraweni wipes the sweat off his brow, thankful that his pointy, wide-brimmed hat saves him from the worst of the sun rays.
He shrugs at the shim, “'Learn to laugh at oneself, before one can make others laugh.' You may surprise yourself, how easy it is.” He nods reassuringly, internally hating every second of this low-brow exchange. He reaches for the waterskin in his pack, and uncorks it. “You’ll see, especially now that you are free.” The old liar pauses to take a swig of the water, afterward releasing a satisfied sigh. He lifts the waterskin as a toast. “To many laughters to come, eh?” The only laughter to be found here, will be the one in slaughter…
If the shim does not have her own water, he holds out the waterskin, offering a drink.
Bluff 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (8) + 12 = 20, HE’S NOT ACTUALLY TOASTING TO LAUGHTER
Diplomacy? 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (1) + 12 = 13 ...mother of ass ...any contextual bonus for water and false optimism?
Sense Motive 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20 No way!
"Yu may talk good knife-ear, but I kno wut yer thankin'."
She raises her voice to the larger group of gaurds. "This ere shivled knife-ear is threatnin' us! One a yu go'n tell Michael. Tha resta us gonna haf ta teech sum manners."
She grins wickedly and hefts a weighty table leg.
They clearly intend to beat Thaegrin. If you want to be involved, fine. You all go first. They won't beat your init rolls...
Though he hadn't been watching the exchange, Anga was listening. Turning quickly he interposes himself between the newly freed slaves and the secret wizard. Raising his hands meekly he attempts to placate the ire of the mob. "Whoa now, wait a moment please!" His beseeching gaze finds the instigator. "I assure you my companion meant no harm! He is old and his tongue wags too freely in this heat." He leans forward conspiratorially. "Just between us, I think he might be going soft in the head. Hasn't been himself since his daughter died of consumption..." Facion shakes his head sadly before starting in again.
"Do you really want your first actions as a free people to be the crippling of a feeble old trader? He is not worth your wrath, come let us wait for Michael in silence, keeping our peace in each others company."
Bluff 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (13) + 17 = 30
Diplomacy 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
Sense Motive 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (2) + 11 = 13
Sense Motive 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 29
This is a waste of time…
Slowly exhaling in relief at the spymaster’s intervention, the court wizard clears his throat and turns an acknowledging glance to the Halfblood. “After all these years, I am still new to the common tongue and its inflections…” Waiting a moment for hostilities to die down, he begins to dig through his pack as he takes a conversational tone with Facion. “There was a document I wanted you to look over, about the Sylw Mills in the northwest. It would be a good use of our time, since we seem to be waiting here indefinitely in this damned heat...”
He finally produces a scroll, which he unrolls and begins to mutter and point out different parts of the bizarre script to the spymaster. The Halfblood can see only archaic, encrypted symbols all over the page, quite obviously a magical scroll, but the wizard continues to face the guards at the edge of the dock, so that none of them could see the true contents of the parchment. Thaegrin holds a scroll of Color Spray.
The old trader begins to quietly mutter with his associate, referring to the document that is little more than gibberish to the unschooled. “If you look here, there is a discrepancy we must see to. If I suggest to give the Sylw one more chance before pursuing other avenues, it may give us what we need to get a head start on the seasonal boom of textiles coming up. The bright colors in that time of year I always find agreeable.
Bluff 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (7) + 12 = 19 “I wasn’t threating anyone”
Bluff 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26 to pass secret message
In Feraweni “Attention.”
“Michael is not coming, and we will most likely burn up. I will try to place some of these guards under a spell, so that they escort us off the dock. If they will not be charmed, I will use this scroll to blind them with a spray of colors.”