As late afternoon approaches on a nice, sunny day, the group of you see the walls of a small fort before you, presumably this is Oleg's Trading Post, from which the Lord Mayor recommended you start your exploration of the Stolen Lands.
The group has been gathered and granted a charter (you each have a copy), stating the following,
Be it so known that the bearer of this charter has been charged by the Swordlords of Restov, acting upon the greater good and authority vested within them by the office of the Regent of the Dragonscale Throne, has granted the right of exploration and travel within the wilderness region known as the Greenbelt. Exploration should be limited to an area no further than 36 miles east and west and sixty miles south of Oleg's Trading Post. The carrier of this charter should also strive against banditry and other unlawful behavior that is encountered. Punishment for unrepentant banditry remains, as always, execution by sword or rope. So Witnessed on this 24th day of Talistril, under watchful eye of the Lordship of Restov and authority granted by Lord Aoleski Surtova, current regent of the Dragonscale Throne.
As the group draws closer to the gate, you are seen by a woman, who leaves off what she was doing and comes forward to welcome you.
"Welcome to Oleg's Trading Post, please have a seat," she gestures towards a set of tables with a pitcher and some cups, " let me get you something to eat." "Oleg," she says in a much louder voice, we have visitors."
You see a middle-aged man climbing down from the roof of a nearby building, from the tools, you'd guess some repairs were underway.
"I'm coming, I'm coming," he states, "whaddya want?"
OOC: You may or may not know something about Oleg or the stolen lands in general, feel free to make relevant sense motives, knowledges if you desire.
The walls are a welcome sight to Vorik as they offer a chance to rest his feet and quench his thirst with a fine pint of ale after several days on the road. Being sure to wipe off his boots and dust off his cloak before stepping inside, he bows slightly to the lady and says while patting his stomach in an exaggerated gesture, "Well met lass, a pint of ale and bowl of stew for a famished and road weary traveler if you please."
Slinging his pack down next to him, he makes sure his hammer hangs freely at his side while he grabs a chair at a table near the side of the room with his back facing the wall. Softly whistling an old tavern tune his father used to sing, he sits and waits for the others to arrive.
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18
Seeing Oleg's trading post, bring about a strong emotion of pride and excitement. Soon, soon I will be able to help rid this area of all the lawless inhabitants and spread the word of Erastil. But I will need some help, even I cannon accomplish this on my own.
I walk up to the lady who has greeted us so graciously, 'Thank-you for your offer and hospitality, I am Jaestra, a pleasure to meet you. Do you have any venison on offer? I have a desire to eat such a meal this day. I shall be seated over there, talking with that gentleman over there.' I point towards Vorik.
I head over to the table, 'Excuse me sir, do you mind if I sit with you and converse? I have seen you while we were all travelling together, but I did not get a chance to speak with you.' I remain standing in front of the table, until I hear a response.
Vorik gives the young woman a warm, open smile. Unfortunately, as he stands up his hips bump the table slightly, causing the settings to rattle and tumble. A slight blush rushes to his cheeks, and his deep, rich voice holds just a hint of awkward embarassment as he pulls out another chair and says, "Certainly, certainly. The pleasure is mine I'm sure."
Then as if remembering the manners his grandmother taught him he places his hand over his heart, offers a slight bow, and says somewhat formally, "Vorik Torgrimson at your service."
Dropping his hand he offers the chair to the lady and says in a more casual manner "Are you joining those who plan to bring the light of honor and justice to this forsaken land?"
As Vorik bumps into the table, I let out a little girlish giggle, while brushing my long golden hair away from my face. 'No need to be embarrassed, today as been a long march and we are all in need of rest. I am sure your just tired.' Her voice is very soft and could be compared to honey. She smiles at Vorik and graciously accepts the chair.
As she sits down, she places a unique look sword beside her chair and a Composite Longbow, made of a deep mahogany wood with golden engravings, against the table along with her hip quiver. 'Thank-you so much Sir Vorik, I am sure the pleasure is all mine. My name is Jaestra Gelabraes, of the house Gelabraes and it is an honour to speak with you. The light of honour and justice, I could not put my mission in better words even if I had years to think of them.' I pull out my charter and lay it out on the table between Vorik and myself, 'I desire to bring law and order to this chaotic land. To make it a place where people can visit and be safe, where justice and honour prevail, also where crimes shall be punished.'
Noticing that I have spoken too much, I blush, 'So Sir Vorik, from where do you hail and are you also on this expedition?'
Another mild blush covers his face to match his long red beard and hair as Vorik glances at Jaestra adjusting her hair. He then carefully sits back down a small sigh of restfulness crossing his lips, "A pleasure it is to meet you Jaestra, and aye, it's nice to be off of the road and giving my feet a rest."
"I've made the long walk from northern Issia, the small village of Feldhiem Falls along the shore of Winterbreak Bay is where I called home." He pulls a similar looking piece of paper out of his pouch and sets it down next to hers. "It seems we share mutual desires for this land and the success of this venture. A good omen indeed."
His eyes are drawn to the blade she just put down on the table and with a keen look of interest he says, "An unusual blade, I've not seen one of that design before. Did you craft it yourself or are they common in your homeland?"
'Feldhiem Falls? I am afraid I am unfamiliar with the place. I myself am from New Stetven. I am glad of all I learnt there, but am glad to finally be out of the place.'
I pick up the blade and place it in both hands, 'So we are to journey together, that is good to know. As for my blade, I would not say common, my parents wanted me to be well equipped for this adventure. So they hired a tutor to train me in the art of combat, I was too heavy handed for a weapon to wield in one hand and found the handles of bigger swords too long. So they got this made for me, a blade longer than a longsword, with a slighter longer handle too. A bastard sword they called it, but I dislike the name and am trying to come up with a new one for it. The metal is a Dwarven metal, called Cold Iron, we heard they may be fey in this area and wanted to make sure I would be able to defend myself against them if need be. As apparently they dislike the metal. Although I would like to know how to craft one, or how to keep it in good condition...' I offer the sword over to Vorik, so that he may get a better look.
'The blade may be nice, but this is what I am better with.' I hold up the bow, 'I understand that using this may make me seem a coward, but when you are good at something, you practice so that you become an expert at it, am I right? Besides, I have the eyes for this. I watched the crafters make this bow and they designed it perfectly for me, it has the perfect draw strength for me too and lighter than most of its kind too. It requires a bit of strength to pull it back, but I am sure a big, strong man like yourself is able to pull it easily. They also taught me how to make arrows for it, which should be useful out in the wilderness.'
With a smile and the careful skill of someone who has handled a blade many times, Vorik takes the sword and gives it a closer inspection. "A good solid blade, it seems your parents selected well. All the better if it fits your fighting style. 'There's no sense using a round sledge when a square will get the job done' is what my dad used to say when we were working the forge." He hands back the sword while also admiring the her bow.
With a chuckle he says, "Tis no cowardly act to use a bow. It's a fine hunters weapon, and all the more useful when turned against evil I say. Unfortunately, I've never shown much knack with one. My sister used to always say I'd find a way to hit my own backside when we were growing up." He lets out a laugh, giving the table a light tap with his hand at the memory and then adds, "You know, I'd be happy to show you how to care for that sword or craft one with your own design on the blade."[/b]
He pulls out his own warhammer, it's head and handle decorated with an intricate knotwork design, and sets it on the table with a solid thud. "Crafted her as my naming year Solstice project. It's not the traditional axe or sword, but I felt called to do something different. So far it's served me well." Realizing he's starting to ramble a little he switches gears back to Jaestra with an embarrassed grin, "Sorry, sometimes I get carried away when it comes to weaponry, but as I was saying, I have my tools with me and would be happy to show you some of the basics if you're interested."
'There is nothing to apologise for, I too get carried away when talking about something that I have a great interest in. For you it is weapons, for me it is enforcing the law. You do handle the blade with a trained and confident skill though, more so than I.'
I place both the sword and bow back within grabbing distance and pick up the hammer from the table. I look at it admiringly and feel the weight of the blade, trying to appear like I am used to holding such weaponry. 'You made this?! You must be a man of true skill! So, do you use this for just combat, or do you also use it for your crafting?' I place the hammer back and re-pick up my bow. 'I am glad you do not find it cowardly, it is the weapon that Father Elk prefers after all. Also it is; in my opinion, the best weapon for hunting game, luckily it can be used in combat or for hunting. I like equipment that can be used for multiple purposes.'
I place the bow back again and place my hands together on the table. 'So your mission is to get rid of any evil in the area, sounds like an honourable mission, a mission that I would like to offer my assistance in, Sir Vorik, if you would have it? I would be most honoured if you could teach me to maintain my weapons, the last thing I want is for them to break and not be able to repair them. I may take you up on the offer to make me a blade, in return if there is anything I can help you with please don't be afraid to ask.'
Another smile crosses the big man's lips at Jaestra's kind words and acceptance of his offer. ”I'm glad to be of help. It's always better to teach a man, or a woman, to fish” he says with a nod and wink. ”I appreciate your kind offer of help as well. I'm sure we'll have plenty of chances to share learning since we'll be traveling together. But first, I've both a hunger and a thirst that need quenching.”
Vorik scans the room looking for the proprietress or anyone else who might offer a bit of food or drink.
Peregrine had paused at the gate to the trading post, taking a moment to absorb his surroundings before entering. Here at the edge of the wilds, he wondered just how safe and secure this place really was. He supposed, upon reflection, that since it was yet still standing and inhabited, rather than being a smoldering heap, that must recommend it on some level. The place had been used as a landmark in the charter, it must have been here for a while to earn such a status. Mentally sifting though the bits of information and rumors he had been pick up about this area he tried to recall if he knew anything about the place, or the people running it.
Knowledge (Geography): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26.
Knowledge (Local): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19.
He mulled it over a few moments then entered the fort. Stopping a few paces in he allowed his eyes to slide slowly over the courtyard, noting the general state of the place, "hmmm..." His eyes stopped when they came to the pair seated off to the side, he could not help but notice that they seemed fairly well armed, and in fact, seemed to be comparing armaments. The man seemed imposing enough, but he had to wonder if the small woman was up to the task of bringing those weapons to bear. Peregrine frowned and pushed the thought to the side, it wasn't important right now.
Looking down at his travel stained clothing he made a dismissive gesture and mumbled a strange sounding word that seemed to double back on itself. The road dirt began to fall away from his clothing, forming a neat ring around him. When the last of it settle he stepped out of the circle of slightly lighter coloured dust and approached the table. As he came closer he nodded his head to the pair sitting there, "Might I join you?"
Taking time to kick mud from her boots and then brush an errant leaf out of her hair, Kaylee follows the others into the trading post and makes her way to the table that the others are sitting at. "Hope you two don't mind if I join you at the table as well, that food looks good after a long day of travel and my feet could use the rest."
Vorik spots the older woman and the man she referred to earlier as the place's namesake,Oleg, bringing out the food and drink and says with hearty appreciation. "Just what the healer ordered." He grabs the ale tankard and starts to pour a mug of ale for himself and another for Jaestra when he sees two others step into the courtyard, make their way over to the table, and ask to join them.
"Certainly, certainly, friends. Feel free to pull up a seat. Vorik Torgrimson, glad to meet you. I was just starting to pour, would you both care for a mug of our hosts brew?" He slides a couple of more mugs closer to the tankard so they can be easily filled.
"Kaylee Veridian and I would greatly appreciate a drink to get the taste of dust out of my mouth." Kaylee sits down and pours herself a mug of water. She then looks over the platters of food and chooses something to eat.
Addressing Oleg and Svetlana as they are setting out food and drink, "Thank you for your hospitality, the food smells great."
Vorik takes a long drink of ale from his own mug, downing about half in a few seconds. Surprisingly, the big man then takes a large kerchief tucked under his belt and uses it to politely wipe the foam from his bristling mustache. "Ahhh." He says, "That quenches a mighty thirst."
Tucking the piece of cloth back into his belt he adds, "A pleasure to meet you Kaylee."
Turning towards the food, he selects an assortment of dishes which he puts carefully on his plate. As he's doing that he gestures to the two charters sitting on the table between Jaestra and himself and asks, "Are you here as part of the effort to tame the villainy and bring the light of justice and honor back to these lands?"
Kaylee rummages in her backpack for a moment and then pulls out a piece of paper that she unfolds to reveal her own charter. "Yes I am. I very much want to put an end to the banditry that prevails in this area. Too many innocents have fallen victim to those foul people."
Nodding his head in thoughtful understanding, Vorik stops eating and says with just a hint of sadness creeping into his otherwise upbeat voice, "You've got the truth of that. It's always the innocent who pay the highest price when men give in to their darker natures."
He pauses to take another swig from his mug, then brightens back up saying, "But we'll soon put these scoundrels who've run unchecked through these parts back on the right path won't we my friends."
Mentally sifting though the bits of information and rumors he had been pick up about this area he tried to recall if he knew anything about the place, or the people running it.
Knowledge (Geography): 1d20+8.
This was a fort at one time, still looks solid, and is located just inside what is referred to as the Stolen Lands.
Knowledge (Local): 1d20+8.
Oleg and his wife opened the trading post about 6 months ago. Oleg is known to be a difficult, and anti-social person, who gladly gave up a successful business in the city for more peace and quiet.
You have heard rumors of increased bandit activity, and the Swordlords have sent out several groups, of which yours is but one to help settle various frontiers.
As the food and drink come over, 'Ah thank-you for the food and drink, it seems most appealing.' As Vorik starts to pour my drink, 'You are pouring my drink? You certainly know how to treat a woman don't you?' I wink at Vorik. I then start to select a variety of foods and place them on my plate, then begin to take small bites of the food and taking small sips at my Ale. I look to be eating like a proper lady at court, a most peculiar scene in the wilderness.
Upon the arrival of the 2 new travellers, I nod, 'Welcome, please do join us. I am Jaestra Gelabraes, pleased to meet you.' Once I see Vorik down half of his drink in one go, I look shocked but once he wipes his mouth with a cloth, my shock turns into another quiet, girlish giggle.
At the sight of the new charter, 'Ah another person to join us in this quest to rid this land of evil and chaos. I look forward to working with you. We shall free all the innocent people in this area, from the reign of terror, fear and banditry that they are currently living in.' I turn to the new man at the table, 'Are you also here on the same quest, or are you just passing through this troubled land?'
Peregrine sat down at the table with a nod. "I am Peregrine Fetch, of House Fetch." Taking a modest portion of the victuals offered he carefully arranged the food neatly on his plate before taking a bite.
Noting the charters on the table as the talk turned to banditry, Peregrine looked toward the big man who had called himself Vorik. "If by the right path you mean the end of a rope, or the point of a sword, then yes," he said, his voice dry and passionless. Peregrine turned his attention to the petite woman with the bow, "And yes, Miss Gelabraes...," he paused am moment as though trying to recall something.
Knowledge (nobility): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17. To see if he recognizes the House name and if there is anything noteworthy about the Gelabraes family.
"Yes, I am here under the same authority as you," he continued, pulling out a very neatly folded copy of the charter, a duplicate of the ones that already littered the table. "I am very interested in the banditry that has taken root here, it is on the rise of recently and must be dealt with, I imagine it will be no small obstacle to charting out this area, so that its resources can be properly taken advantage of."
Pausing in her eating, Kaylee looks over to the tall half-elf. "Pleased to meet you as well Jaestra. I do hope we will be successful in our quest, the bandits are a plague upon this area."
Looking over at the dour seeming man at his mention of charting, Kaylee rummages in her backpack again and pulls out some parchment that appears to have an unfinished map upon it. "Thank you for mentioning charting, I should make sure the location of this trading post is accurate on the map I am making. Though I am more concerned with charting out the area to make travel safer than I am with exploiting is resources."
Finishing up the last of his meal, Vorik politely stacks his plate and utensil to the side and pours himself a mug of water. Once again pulls out his kerchief to make sure his face and mustache are clean.
Observing the young Fetch noble as he reveals his own copy of the charter and feelings towards banditry, Vorik's boisterousness calms and he becomes a bit more serious. With a slight glint in his eye he says with a philosophical tone to his voice, "I'll not disagree that those who've caused harm and dealt in deviltry should be punished to the fullest extent. Yet I'd say there's a difference between those who would steal out of desperation for their families or starvation and those who do it for greed, pleasure, or their own gain? There's many a tale of the poor peasant whose turned to banditry out of need or lack of true law and order in the land and would sooner follow the path of honor. It's my belief that those who can be redeemed should be given opportunity, while those who've truly turned to evil see the executioners axe. After all the punishment must fit the crime for justice and honor to truly be served. Wouldn't you agree?"
Regarding Vorik for a moment, Peregrine thought of what his uncle Igorius might say about this surprisingly idealistic man. It wouldn't be flattering he imagined, it certainly hadn't been when Peregrine himself had dared to voice such a notion so long ago during his own apprenticeship. He had learned to be more practical since then. Unconsciously the young Fetch rubbed his gloved hands.
Peregrine shrugged slightly. "We are bound to do as we must. Happily, this charter of ours gives us some discretion. We are mandated to carry out a death sentence for unrepentant banditry. Of course, what qualifies as unrepentant is notably vague. So, if the situation is as you say, leniency is not out of the question. However, I fear such cases will not be so common as we might wish them to be. Any man might claim repentance at the point of a sword, and at that very moment he might even believe he means it, but how is one to know. It would not do to have some innocent harmed by someone who was turned loose simply because he had a convincing tale of personal tragedy. In my estimation anyone that does not show remorse, and is not willing to act on that remorse, before it becomes their only recourse for survival, cannot be said to be truly repentant. Though, in the end I think you will find most of these outlaws to be vile men, and it will not seem so hard a choice."
"I feel that I am disinclined to show leniency. My own family is quite poor and I can remember a number of hungry winter nights, but we make our living off the land as best we can without resorting to stealing from others. Therefore I have little sympathy for those who choose banditry as an easy way of getting by in life."
Still eating my food slowly, I stop, swallow and look as if I am in thought, 'I agree with you Sir Vorik, some people are acting up with no law because of necessity, but I agree with Mr Fetch here that it would be hard to identify which people are in need and which enjoy it. Unfortunately I have never had to resort to such things, so I am afraid I will be unable to tell the difference. It would seem that our common goal has many different approaches to completing it, each of which are hard to see eye to eye. All I know is I would like to put a stop to the banditry in this area, so people feel safer and with the banditry gone, the innocent farmers will not have to resort to banditry too in order to survive.'
I reach to my cup and take a small sip of my drink, then place it back onto the table so that I may resume eating. But before I resume eating, I look up again, 'The Elk Father appreciates hard work and people to work together to overcome obstacles, so maybe you are correct too Miss Kaylee. But what if their community is failing and this was the only way to restore it, would you still punish them for trying to protect their families? I am not sure I could do that.' After my short speech, I continue eating slowly.
Gaddak had been informed that the charter he was given, had been granted to a group of individuals. While they had never been formally introduced, he had seen other people on the roads whom he could only guess were headed for Oleg's Trading Post in the same business as he. The trading post would also serve as their staging point, or so he understood it.
The walk to Oleg's had been a short one for the seasoned traveler, but even so it would be nice to warm himself indoors for a change. While not your typical noble, Gaddak's love for the outdoors still hadn't taken away the enjoyment of life's luxuries - like a hot meal cooked for him.
When entering the trading post, he was heartily greeted by a woman. Gaddak nodded politely, "thank you, ma'am," he said and entered.
A group of people had already gathered inside by one table. By the look of all the charters that had been presented it was apparent that they were here in the same business as Gaddak, as he had expected.
"Mind if I join you?" he asked, "it appears we're here in the same business."
He placed his equipment by the wall; a backpack, an ornamented heavy forward-curved sword in a simple yet finely crafted scabbard, and a shield bearing a crest with stag antlers over a forest with a black eagle above it on a yellow sky. The same colors; black, brown, deep golden yellow and green were also heavily present in the man's clothing. Despite the clothes being simple looking, they were finely sewn and also sported the crest from his shield although not very prominently. He also wore a light chain armor, had an amulet with a crudely carved bow around his neck, a dagger remained in his belt and he also had a signet ring on his left little finger.
While not as tall as the bearded Ulfen, this man were still quite massive and intimidating, but his voice had sounded soothingly friendly. Despite his size and various insignias, he did not seem boisterous in any way. In fact, he quite humbly waited until he was invited to the table before he took a seat.
While trying to eat her food, work on her and not get said food on said map, Kaylee pauses to respond to Jaestra. "Resorting to lawlessness to restore their community will only result in a lawless community and that would not be a safe environment for their families. And what of the families of the people they steal from? How many people have gone hungry or died because they were left with no supplies in the middle of the wilderness? I still find myself to be short on sympathy for any bandit."
I look up at the new arrival, 'Of course you can join us, pull up a chair and help yourself to some food and drink. So...you also have a charter like these, pledging you to the cause of purging this land of evil, freeing the innocents and bringing law and order? My name is Jaestra, Jaestra Gelabraes, it is nice to meet you. You arrived at a good time, we were just discussing our views and opinions on how to deal with the bandits in the area, whether they are performing their deeds freely or if they are being forced to.'
I turn back to Kaylee, 'Ah, you make a very good point Miss Kaylee. I had not thought about it that way. Well it is my intention of strengthening The Elk Fathers word and bringing peace and law to the people.'
Looking uo to see the new arrival, Kaylee smiles apologetically at him as she attempts to move her map making equipment to give him plenty of room to join them at the table. "Pleased to meet you, I'm Kaylee Veridian. Just give me second to clear my stuff out of the way for you."
Listening intently to the others as they go back and forth, Vorik sees the stranger walk over and set down his gear. After the man asks if he can sit, Vorik slaps his thigh and let's out a solid laugh, "By the gods, you've arrived just in time friend. Vorik Torgrimson and I'm please to meet you."
He gestures towards a seat as he and Kaylee slide their things aside to make room. "There's nothing like a good bit of philosophical wrangling to keep the brain sharp." He points a finger towards his own forehead, "Keeps things from turning to mush up here, my da used to say." He looks back to the stranger and asks, "So friend, what do you say, can a man redeem himself after turning to banditry, or does the mere act of turning that direction mean evil has taken his soul and he should be put to the sword?"
He turns back to the others and quickly adds, "For certain, you've all made good points which can get a mind to thinking. And you can be sure I'll not hesitate to strike when evil threatens or my friends are in harms way, but I do hope to be fair minded when bringing honest justice and honor back into the land."
"Aye, one could put it that way," Gaddak replied to Jaestra's interpretation of the charter and listened to Kaylee and Vorik - the only one bigger man in the room - introduce themselves.
"I see you come prepared. Cartography might not be such a bad idea," Gaddak commented as Kaylee started to move her things. "Thank you," he said.
"But where are my manners?" he continued while still standing. "I am Gaddak Orlovsky of Wind's Rest. Pleased to meet you," Gaddak presented himself before seating. Although he technically had a title, he had long since taken to omitting it unless it was needed either of formality or to advocate his position or duties. To uphold some formality, however, he also presented his charter.
When Vorik directly asked for his opinion in the group's ongoing debate, Gaddak mused for a moment, softly scratching a scar on his forehead as he did so.
"If a man can be redeemed of his banditry and evil ways? Yes. Yes, I believe he can. It does not appear very just not to accept that one can change for the better. At the very least, one should be given a fair chance. But banditry and lawlessness should not be taken lightly in any case," Gaddak stated.
"Whether you are forced in your criminal acts or not, they are still unlawful and should be punished as such. You cannot make any exceptions when upholding the law. You can, however, keep in mind the severity and any repeating of the crime in question. But you cannot give too much leeway; that way anyone will steal a bread because the law permits it, but too little leeway and you risk having to chop off heads or hands for the smallest of crimes. Ideally, you should enforce laws that are strict, but just, where people know they will be protected if they follow them, but that the punishment for not never is favorable," he continued, trailing a little off from the redemption question.
"But can a bandit or other unlawful be redeemed?" He returned to the question. "He can. You would need to know that his wish for redemption is true, and not an act of desperation, but if such can be proved, I believe he should be able to if the severity of his crimes doesn't dictate otherwise. However, the law is clear: Under charge of banditry, the sentence is death by sword or rope. If the act is repeated and the banditry brutal, and often also if not, that is just. I would rather see myself hanged than not upholding it," he concluded. Although Gaddak spoke rather hypothetically, it might be apparent to some that his views were more than simply hypothetical.
"Is the answer satisfactory?" Gaddak politely asked Vorik and finally helped himself to some food.
A sense of enjoyment and satisfaction are apparent in Vorik's face and body language as he listen's to Gaddak describe his own thoughts regarding justice and the bandit menace. "You've a fine way with words and I would tend to agree with your analysis. It's true the law is clear on unrepentant bandits, yet it also gives us the authority to use our minds and hearts to make true judgements and appropriate punishments for those who might change."
With a sigh and bit of a frown he says,"I still believe there is a difference between a man stealing a sack of grain to feed his children, and one raising the dead to create an army to terroize his neighbors and enrich himself. The first deserves labor or other punishment to work off his debt..." he reaches down and lightly pats the handle of his hammer as he continues,"the other will see the business end of my enmity for certain."
"I'm sure you're all right in that this lawless place holds more of those who deserve thier fate, that not."
He rummages in his pouch for a second and pulls out a few gold coins. Then with another smile and slight bow of the head to everyone at the table says,"In thanks, for all of this fine conversation, allow me to pay for our meal and drink."
Peregrine perked up at the mention of the Orlovsky name. As Gaddak spoke he nodded in apparent approval at his words.
"Well, I for one, am satisfied. My apologies, I have been remiss in my introduction. I am Peregrine Fetch."
He paused a moment, with the faint curiosity of someone waiting to see something, before addressing the table at large. "Of course, instead of dealing hypotheticals, perhaps we should inquire of our host what the actual situation is here." Peregrine raised a black gloved hand to catch the couple's attention. "Pardon me," he hailed, "perhaps you could tell us a little more about the bandits said to be plaguing this area. Might you know of any particular reason for the increased activity?"
Kaylee smiles at the man seated next to her. "Pleased to meet you Gaddak and I find your answers to be more than satisfactory."
Following Peregrine's suggestion, Kaylee also turns around to look at their hosts and try to gauge their reactions to the question.
As the others question our host about the local situation, Vorik chimes in with a quick, "I'll be needing the final tally for our meal as well if you please?"
He then sits back to listen quietly while resting his hands across his lap and keeping an eye on the entrance.
Oleg starts out, "Well, including a bed and breakfast in the morning, the charge is five sil..." he abruptly stops as his wife interrupts with a sharp, "Oleg Leveton! We discussed this, if these people are here to deal with the bandits, the least we can do is give them free room and board." Oleg starts to speak a few times, but a sharp look from Svetlana makes him subside into silence. Svetlana turns back towards the table, and says, " if you are able to take care of the bandits, we will be ever so grateful, and you can count on free room and board here, whenever you wish."
Svetlana explains how three months ago that they were visited by a group of a dozen bandits led by an especially cruel woman (she almost amputated Oleg's hand) wielding hand axes, and a cloaked man with a bow. They demanded all the furs and goods the trappers and hunters have brought. They have come twice more, although it has been just the cloaked man and 5 others, within an hour of sunrise.
We think their camp is about a days travel as they arrive so early and quickly leave. They should arrive tomorrow.
'Tomorrow? Do you mind if we stay here, set up some traps (if anybody is able to) and ambush them here? That way we can start off our mission as soon as possible.'
I turn to the other around the table, 'I think if we are going to defeat these bandits we should know each others strengths and weaknesses. Even if we don't defeat them here, it would be good to know for later on when we come across them. Me, I prefer to fight at range, using my bow in combat, but I can use my sword if need be. I am better at fighting Fey, but do not have any spell like abilities. Oh and I apparently have eyes like a hawk!' When I mention my bow, I pick it up, to show everyone but then spot a little dirt on it, so I begin to polish it.
I look over everybody's faces, 'What about yourselves?'
Gaddak was pleased to hear they could be granted a free stay, but was grievously concerned when he learned why.
"You can rest assured you will have my assistance in this," Gaddak assured Svetlana. "I take it they come at the same day each month? If you believe they will be here tomorrow, I say we prepare a proper welcome for them." He agreed with Jaestra. But then Gaddak held his speech as if pondering something that had been said.
"A day out seems reasonable if they arrive early and leave fast. Do they arrive by foot or horse?" he asked. "And I couldn't help but notice you said camp; do you believe there are more camps like that or possibly even a base or lair of some sort?" Gaddak followed up. He had witnessed a lot of banditry, but rarely someone this organized who only worked out of a small camp alone. Stealing goods and making use of it usually took more manpower than six, and Svetlana had also pointed out that this cruel woman - apparently their leader - had only been present once. Gaddak would very much like a word with her.
"Even so, I agree with Jaestra here: We should prepare. Failing diplomacy, I tend to do a good job up close," Gaddak followed Jaestra's example and leaned back and picked up his sword from the wall. It was a heavy blade well suited for cutting underbrushes as well as limbs. "But I'm a fair shot, too, had I only kept my bow. Instead I gave it to my brother prior to leaving home, and I expect it, too, hunts bandits," Gaddak confessed.
"I prefer to stay in the back as well and am a decent shot with my bow. I'm not much use in close combat, but as a cleric of Erastil I have access to spells of healing should any of us become injured." Kaylee looks slightly apologetic as she speaks, wishing she could be of more use on the field of battle.
Listening to Svetlana's tale, Vorik's smile turns to a solemn frown. As Jaestra and Gaddock express their concern and offers of assistance, Vorik rises from the table and walks over to Svetlana. In front of Svetlana, he offers a deep bow saying, "Good lady, by my heart and hammer, I'll see these men brought to justice and your losses compensated or perish in the attempt." He then hands her one gold coin adding, "I appreciate your offer and accept your hospitality, but honor demands I make payment for the food and drink already taken. Please accept it with my thanks and hopes it will help you recover some of your losses."
Having made his pledge as his personal honor demanded, Vorik returns to his place at the table. Patting the heavy hammer resting at his side and glancing at his sturdy shield he says, "As I told Jaestra earlier, I've never been much good with a bow, but I'll trust my good warhammer and shield to deal with any of those who choose to fight rather than surrender."
Noticing Kaylee's slight embarrassment about her battle skills, Vorik offers her a big grin and adds, "Your skills in healing are of much value. After all, it is rare indeed the warrior that leaves a battle unscathed. To know the power of your God and just heart are at my back will provide added comfort and strength in the fight to come."
"I am not a fighting-man, but I am well studied in the arcane arts. My specialty is divinations, but I may have a spell or two capable of incapacitating at least some of their number. Though, when dealing with the vagaries of magic, one can never be entirely certain of the efficacies of such incantations. It is a fickle thing."
Peregrine looked around at the assembled people, his eyes revealing the hint of a heretofore unseen intensity now that he had a problem with which to engage. "It occurs to me that it is unlikely that the bandits know of our presence. If we are careful tomorrow we may yet keep that advantage for a short while longer, it is best if we can prevent any of them escaping and alerting their larger number. To that end, if we can lure them into the fort and shut the gates behind them, they will not be able to easily get away. Also, it would be best if we can take more than one alive, to be cross-examined. We need information, about their leader, their numbers, the location and defenses of their camp, and so on." He paused, seeming to considering something before going continuing. "If we take any of them alive, once we have the information we require, judgement will needs be passed. Someone should be given final say in the verdict, when men's lives are on the line it can become contentious. We do not want to appear fractious and we do not want to debate their fate in front of them, especially before we have the information we need."
"And...there is one final thing we should perhaps decide now rather than in the heat of the moment." Peregrine paused again and looked around at the others, "who will serve as executioner?"