*twitch* The more I read into the campaign the more I realize i've forgotten. Iamandi is in fact Jamandi but that makes no difference, we'll stick with Iamandi. She is not human but in fact half-elf which we cannot ignore. Thankfully I caught the fact that there is more elven presence in this region then originally thought though we can write that off by the simple fact that no has deeply explored the Stolen lands yet.
Also I plan to post more then once a day if possible.
Sorry i did a poor job of describing it but you are actually sitting outside in the common seating area on picnic style tables around a large central fire. I'll try to get a map on google docs tonight of the compound. Let's try this again.
Those of you who joined with the others at the tables are sitting at long tables placed around a large central fire. To the west 10 feet of this location is the 6x8 squares house that appears to be Svetlana and Oleg's house/office. Directly east 10 feet is another building 3x7 squares similair to a barracks. Across an open area to the south 50 feet are the stables 5x10 squares. Between the house and the stables is a smaller building that looks to be a storage shed. Right now there is a large wagon sitting near the gate piled high with furs, weapons, armor and various other trade goods. The entire post from corner to corner covers 22x22 squares. And while many buildings show disuse and age all have been recently repaired by a skilled hand.
Sorry for the messy post but accurate time keeping is important in this particular campaign and I messed up a little. Retconning just to keep things in the greater world in synch. Today is the 31st of Erastus of the year 4708. House Rogarvia vanished in 4699 and Lord Noleski Surtova has been the defacto king of Brevoy ever since.
Svetlana and Oleg share a look and she looks like she's about to burst with happiness. Oleg himself seems less surly before but a strong look of scepticism creeps onto his face. He'll wait to pass judgment until these adventurers show their moxy.
"Tommorrow is actually the first of Arodus. They will be here an hour after sunrise to collect all of that." Svetlana points to a wagon in the courtyard laden with furs and trade goods. "The first time they arrived there was a large group of bandits led by a foul mouthed woman who seemed to enjoy the thought of chopping off Oleg's hand for fun."
Svetlana trails off at this point, the memories obviously painful to remember. Oleg steps over and places an arm around her shoulders, drawing her close. "There were ten bandits led by the woman and another man. I couldn't seem much of his face but he carried a bow and handled it with ease. She was fond of a pair of handaxes she also wielded with some skill. The second time only the hooded man and six bandits came. Last month he came with only four bandits. They come, collect the merchandise and then leave as quickly as they can. I don't think their camp is very far from here as they simply pile everything on horses. Horses would not be able to handle that much weight for very long so the destination must be close." he says.
"I think they think us cowed." Svetlana interjects suddenly with a note of excitement. "Never before have such a large group of adventurers come to this region. You might be able to ambush the group tommorrow and wipe them out! That would show them that good and valor will not just lay down and die!"
"Easy love." Oleg says as he tries to calm his wife. He looks back at the group. "I think their camp is somewhere to the south. They always come from that direction. And I have no problems with you killing every one of those bastards tommorrow. I am going to hang their bodies from the southern wall to warn any other would be thieves."
Aleidi: Next to the front door of what appears to be the main building of the post is a large flat board nailed to the wall. One the board are several sheets of yellowed paper. Even from this distance you have no problems reading the posters.
Task: Kill at least six bandits in the Greenbelt to send them a message.
Reward: 400 gp
Wanted: Kobolds in the Hills
Wanted: Tatzlwyrm Head
Ink settles down at Mikhails touch but casts suspicious glares at both Shalira and Oleg before being lead into the stables with the other horses. He neighs loudly once as he enters the stables and the other horses respond by lowering their heads to him. Oleg shakes his head at all of the shenanigans and moves over to tend to the large fire in the center. Svetlana comes out of the house staggering with a large pot of stew. Oleg hurries over and takes the large pot from her hands jsut before she could drop it. The two share a smile and she goes back in the house and comes out a moment later with hands full of bowls and spoons.
She begins to talk as she sets a bowl of what appears to be a good hearty rabbit stew with plenty of wild grown vegtables. "Everyone, please sit! Oh where do I start?"
For the first time Oleg opens his mouth and speaks in a rough baritone. "We arrived at the post a year ago. Been working on it ever since, do a good trade with the hunters that range through this area. Three months ago the first bandits show up and threatend us with..." he trails off, a look of pain shadowing his face. Svetlana lays a gentle restraining on his shoulder begins to speak once again.
"They threatened to take me if he didn't hand over all of the furs and trade goods we had optained. They've arrived two more times since then, always within an hour of sunrise on the first day of the month. If this keeps up we will have to shut down the post and leave."
"To hell with that!" Olegs bursts out. He slams the half full stew pot on the table and squares off towards Svetlana. She seems unpreturbed by his sudden anger. "We didn't put this much blood and sweat into this place to let some bullies push us out!"
"And do we let them kill us instead? Since when is pride more important then life my love?" Svetlana responds calmly. From her stance and tone of voice this is not the first or last time they would have this argument. She turns back to the group and forestalls whatever comment her husband was about to make. He stomps off and stares into the fire, his stance tense.
"Please, any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Brevoy has abandoned us and if we go the last vestige of good people will be gone. If you are planning to stay and succeed in dealing with the bandits please consider this post your home, free of charge."
For the first time since you've arrived the halfling who stayed behind speaks in an almost comically deep baritone. He has long blonde hair that shimmers in the sunlight and metallic grey eyes. He is dressed similairly to the other halfling in form fitting leather armor and a multicolored cloak. On a chain hanging from his neck is a silver disc with some kind of figure on it. "Why have you never mentioned this before Svetlana?"
"Because we didn't want to ask more of you Typhus. You've already done so much healing Oleg's broken leg and my burned hand. We are blessed to have you nearby but we could not in good conscious ask for more." She says in response with a smile towards the small figure.
Because I'm not a fan of nitpicking at that level we'll just say you carried enough feed that you ran out the morning you spotted the trading post on the horrizon.
New house rule: Equipment
Rations, horse feed and such are things that no one would forget in the real world. Unless you embark on a lengthy journey without the support of wagon or caravan I will never ask if you have enough food.
Things such as hammer, tent and kits I will never ask you about but I do check character sheets on a regular basis. If you claim that you are using a kit or piece of equipment that is not on your sheet, we will have issues. CYA. That is an acronym, not slang.
UPDATE: Our cleric has withdrawn due to real life issues (after I gave him an opening to arrive *DM grumble*) and I don't feel like waiting so Zangriff has given me permission to use the character he had drawn up. Typhus Larenon is now a DM character.
You find nothing specific about bandits or elves. Merchants know to steer clear of the Stolen lands and those who do travel there are never neard from again. No one can ever remember seeing elves beyond a solitary traveler or part of an adventuring group this far north. Elves tend to stay hidden inside their forest kingdom of Kyonin far to the south.
Knowledge (Engineering) DC 10 (Or all of you who don't have Engineering ranks. Which right now is all of you):
To your untrained eye it looks like MAYBE those are some of seige weapon contraption thing?
Knowledge (Engineering) DC 15:
Those are the dissembled and broken pieces of ballistae. They could be repaired to working order with several weeks of work.
To clarify no one at this point has made the DC 15.
"Not guards...but then..Oh. Well come in anyways, make yourselves comfortable!" Svetlana says, her smile faltering. She takes Reknar's hand in a gentle grip and shakes it. Oleg throws up his hands and stomps away to vanish into the building he had been working on. Svetlana throws a worried look after her husband as she leads the paryt deeper into the trading post. "I'm sorry for the assumption but we only ever get solitary hunters and trappers through here. And we've been requesting for a detachment of guards to be posted out here for months! So when I saw a large group of what appeared to be warriors of a military stature," she motions to Reknar and Mikhail. "I assumed that the government had fulfilled our request. Please everyone, have a seat! Oleg will see to your horses."
She hurries into the house while the group gets situated. A moment later her burly husband Oleg steps out and without a word to the group begins to lead the horses over to the stables one by one. When he comes back and reaches for Ink's reigns the big warhorse winnies and jerks his head out of reach. The horse takes two steps back and paws at the ground while his winnie lowers in pitch to a rough growl/winnie.
Ink does not like this humans' aggresive posture and takes it as a challenge. He is preparing to attack.
Handle Animal Check DC 12:
Ink does not like this humans' aggresive posture and takes it as a challenge. He is preparing to attack.
1d100 ⇒ 24
As the sky darkens your mind is filled with memories of screams and blood and pain. A couple of times as the hours pass you hear the plantive howls of wolves far away but Ink pays the cries no mind and continues to graze without fear. The night passes without incident. As you drift off to sleep a faint growl rolls through your mind before you slip into blissful darkness.
As the group accompanies Iamandi through the market place they see a bustling energy that visits this area only during the rare warmth of the short summer. Merchants from as far away as Andoran hawk rare spices at outrageous prices while local farmers bring in massive trains of carts bursting with the locally grown produce harvested only twice a year, at the start and end of summer.
You find the more you talk with Iamandi the more open she becomes with frequent smiles and a spring to her step. The gravity drops away from her and she seems once again an energetic 25 year old human. Despite the vibrancy of the market you don't see much in the way of extravagance. Tools, produce, spices, tough cloth, metal ore, weapons and armor are the norm with nary a single gem or jewelry in sight. This was a tough land that yielded produce with a fight and the farmers who worked the land showed a similair toughness. Beneath the smile and festival atmosphere there is a hard edge and iron resolve to prepare before the cold sets in.
You explore the city for the rest of the day getting to know it and Iamandi more then before. She explains that that the seeming happy mask over a hard edge is due to the violent history of the country and growing tensions with the northen lands as they suck more and more vitality from the fruitful southern lands. Add to this the extremely hard winters that are the norm this far north and it's no surprise that broken tempers ended in duels and brawls. These were a passionate people with the scythe blade slowing creeping towards their neck.
OOC: Alright folks that concludes our adventure in Brevoy! Give yourselves 200 exp for good RP and interaction with each with establishing your characters personalities and quirks. Don't forget the free non combat trained horse you will recieve as a gift from Iamandi. Should there be excess horses due to some characters already having them then congrats! You have packhorses!
After a full afternoon of exploring the city and shopping to retire to the Golden harp and have a restful night before setting out the next morning. You meet Mikhail an hour outside of the city astride his magnificent black warhorse waiting next to the road. You follow the South Rostland Road to the west for a week before arriving at a walled trading outpost set a hundred feet back from the road. The road had been heavily patrolled close to the city but as you traveled further away the patrols become more and more sparse. The last one you had seen had been two days ago riding towards Brevoy. This far away you were alone.
As you ride into the trading post you many signs of recent reconstruction. The wall was a good twenty feet high topped with a walkway. At each corner of the outpost was a thirty foot tower with a jumble of wood and metal with no discernable purpose on the roof. To your left you find a long building housing several stalls and a floor covered with hay. Only one of the stalls is occupied with a skittish brown and white paint that eyes you warily and winnies in warning.
Knowledge Engineering checks
To your right is a plain wooden building recently built. Further ahead you see more buildings as well as a sitting area with picnic tables and benches around a large firepit. You hear a hammering noise coming from somewhere deeper into the trading post. Two halflings sitting at one of the tables look up from what appears to be lunch and eye the group in surprise.
A middle aged human woman looks up from where she was sweeping the top step of a building just beyond the seating area and a wide smile blooms on her face. "Thank goodness you are finally here! Oleg they are here!" she yells before setting the broom aside and running to meet you. A poweful looking human male the same age as the woman appears from behind the peak of the same building she had been standing in. He had a workmans belt on and a hammer in one hand and looks down at you without emotion.
The woman runs up to the group. "Thank the gods! I am Svetelana Leveton and thats my husband Oleg up on the roof. We've waited so long for Brevoy to send guards! Please, come in and make yourselves comfortable!" She says. Oleg climbs over to a ladder leaning against the roof and climbs down. He stops to chat with the halflings in a quiet voice.
Svetlana seems to be the same age as the other humans in the group with bright blonde hair tied back into a no nonsense pontytail. She has warm brown eyes that curve up at the edge and give her a constant half smile. She is dressed in a plain white dressed sinched at the waist with blue cloth. Over this she has added a blue apron.
You've heard of a Lady Iamandi Aldori of Restov, youngest daughter of the minor noble family that are direct descendents of the first aldori swordlord. In her late teens and early twenties she went gallvanting around with an adventuring group and became a fearsome fighter. The death of her two older brothers in a house fire three years ago prompted her father Lord Aldori to recall her back to take up the mantle of heir. Despite her slim size she is both feared and respected as a master of the aldori sword style.
"What bandits are there? Well you know they've always been a problem but recently there are rumors of the rise of a bandit warlord of sorts. We don't know much beyond his or her existence but they are starting to organize the bandits in a frightning fashion. Then you have all the bandits who called themselves 'River Kings'." Iamandi says, the last with a grin. She leads the group out of the town hall and walks with a sure stride, one hand always resting on the pommel of her sword. People recognized her and instinctively moved out of her path.
Iamandi led the group into an area busy with stalls and permanent shops selling all manner of goods. "If you ever venture further south during your exploration be wary of the six river freedoms. Say what you will, I live free. Oathbreakers die. Walk any road, float any river. Courts are for kings. Slavory is an abomination. You have what you hold. This can lead to a chaotic political scene as you have new kings with every dawn."
With a feel of relief you enter back under the shading boughs of trees and away from civlization. After an hour of searching you find a shaded thicket in a field far from the road. Once inside you are completely shielded from outside view. As a byproduct this also makes you blind to what may approach.
Ok i've read the Mythic book and now I'm twitchy. I can convert this AP into mythic relatively easy sine y'all are just starting but that I will leave completely up to you. I would like to do it but that might add a level of complexity you as players don't want to deal with. Also some of you might not have the book and I sill not force anyone to spend money you may not have/be willing to part with.
Vote to turn this into mythic: Yay or Nay
"When you have brothers." Iamandi said with a wist of sorrow. "I am my father's only child and he has forbade me from any sort of adventuring anymore. When I was younger I was full of fire and not much was expected from me since I was the baby. I learnd the sword and became freinds with a great big ulfen named Lreg and a gnome preistess of Shelyn, Daria. For a a few years we roamed up and down the countryside getting into any trouble we could find. Those days are over now."
Wow it was only a 10 but...stellar rolls.
Iamandi cocks and eyebrow before leaning to whisper something to Phillips. The gnomes expressive eyebrows wagled as he nodded at whatever she was saying and scribbled something one a small piece of parchment that he then slid into his robes. "It will be done lady."
Iamanadi nodded and slipped around the desk and quickly caught up to Aleidi as the sorcereress slipped outside. "Lady Medvyed? I had not heard of any noble scions joining the crusade to tame the Stolen lands. How is it you optained permission from your house?"
Knowledge (Local) or (Nobility) from everyone. Brevoy nobles get +2 on Knowledge (Nobility) checks made for this country only and people from the region get +2 on (Local). You can make one or the other.
I love this particular AP because there is no limit on what you make. Hundreds of years ago Brevoy and Numeria and the river Kingdoms all belonged to the Iobarian Empire. They were technically and magically advanced and then like so many other cultures they devolved into babarism and all thats left are ruins. Just think of everything there is to explore! Keep in mind this very true saying and think how it relates to what we are doing:
Wealth breeds more wealth.
So we've got 1 on the fence and 2 "Yes".
Those events or locations that will be Game Changers have been well hidden and will take quite alot of effort to access. This is to both pique the character's interest and weave more stuff into the overall kingmaker story without breaking it.
Edit: I was alread intending to move the scene to the group arriving at Oleg's as soon as we are done here. For expediancy you are all given either a light or heavy horse (your choice) that is not combat trained. You will have to do that yourself.
If you want to retcon any conversations the group might have had shoppiong for gear feel free to PM each other or exchange the information on this thread. Or if you really really want to I will wait until you RP that bit out but clocks a' tickin!
When I say 'epic' at this time I mean enormous in scale. I don't want to say too much without spoiling the story but I think I can give you this much:
All that while still doing Kingmaker. And i will have to take a good long look at mythic to see how much work it would be to alter the kingmaker books to work with mythic. But first I want to hear from everyone what they think about Grand Scale for a story before I do mythic.
Alright I want a vote from all of you before I keep designing things for you to find/fight. I will admit that I am a power gamer. I love the kind of epic fights like the knight laying low the dragon or a wizard shielding an entire city from attack with a single ward spell. I love to play extremely powerful characters but this time around I will leave it to you. Should you vote to take this AP to epic levels I will scale the monsters and adventures to suit. Greater threat of dying but the rewards, both material and story wise, will be truly awesome. This will not be mythic but will push the Pathfinder rules as far as they will go and then some.
Or we could stick closer to the core Kingmaker AP. Either way you will be making a kingdom but which type will be very different depending on your choice.
Iamandi leaned her fists on the desk and all expression drained from her face. "The entire region has been teeming with monsters and lawless murderers for decades. Three times in the past Brevoy has sent colonists and all three times each settlement has been burned out and most settlers murderered or worst. This time my-" she cut herself. Taking a deep breath she started again. "This time the government has decided that if a large scale settlement always fails then the smart thing to do is to charter groups of adventurers who are often more resourceful and mobile then the army. You have not only our request but blessing to deal with any bandit as you see fit. Just remember that most have murdered someone for nothing but profit or pleasure."
Standing back from the desk Iamanadi's serious expression faded and was replaced by a small smile. Magistrate Phillips, who had been arching his eyebrow at the noble's vehement words, pulled a scroll from within his desk and handed it to Shalira. "A map of the northern parts of the Stolen Lands. You will see Oleg's Trading Post roughly a weeks journey to the south and west from here. That would be a good place to start and he and his wife Svetlana have been alerted to your arrival. For now I would suggest that you keep your exploring limited to the Greenbelt and bring that firmly under your control before expanding your borders, if you survive. Remember that you are traveling into the deep wild. There will nothing to protect but your own skill."
The gnome took a deep breath after the long explanation and a thoughtful expression stole over his face. "As an addendum to your current orders I would ask that your group strive to not only explore and pacify the Greenbelt but could you also strive for an accurate map? Beyond land features we know almost nothing about the region beyond ten miles south of the South Rostland Road. I will offer a personal reward of 1000 gold pieces for an accurate map."
The noble lady suddenly laughed and moved past the group. She took the pen from Shalira and went around the gnome's desk. She read the proclamation for a minute before signing her name in a beautiful flowing script. Next she pulled a necklace from within her shirt that had a heavy mithril ring hanging from it. She handed the necklace to Phillips who produced a strange device from under his desk. It had a long arm attached to a locking device of some sort and a broad base. He placed the signed proclomation into a slot on the base and loaded the ring into a socket on the underside of the long arm. With a grunt he pulled the arm down which pressed the surface of the ring to the paper with extreme pressure.
When he lifted the arm back up the paper had been deformed and now a symbol stood out in bas-relief next to Iamandi's signature. He handed the ring back to the noble who slipped the necklace back under shirt. Phillips lifted the paper and eyed it critically before holding it up to the group. "Whatever you do, try not to lose this. Once you leave the city it's the only proof abroad that you are agents of Brevoy. The original will be kept here so should you lose this one one of the founding members of your group will have to travel back here for another copy. Should you wish to add or remove names to the charter once again that will have to be done in person. Do you have any other questions?"
Sorry for the absence, real life reared it's ugly head. Back now, posting resumes it's daily schedule!
I've played the mass effect series a few times to alter the story and yeah, wasn't happy with the ending. I love the gameplay, story, graphics, epic scale, music, everything. And I still play the multiplayer because it's cooperative teams of 4 and there you do get to play all the different races and classes. I've also played the hell out of Skyrim with all of the expansions and modded the crap out of it (jedi anyone?) but I'm ready for the Next Big Thing in gaming and right now I've got my eye on Pathfinder Online. I know thats years down the road but hey, everyone needs a hobby.
At Shalira's and Aleidi's names the magistrates bright green eyebrows blimb up to his hairline but he says nothing as he writes all of the names into the ledger. From a locked drawer he pulls out a sheet of paper identical to the travel stained version that Mikhail had displayed at the inn. He writes the name of the group on the proclamation before stamping a seal on the top. Raising his head he looks past the group to the woman who had entered. "Lady Iamandi, if you would sign on behalf of your father please?"
The woman looks past Aleidi and nods at the gnome. "A moment Delroy." she says before looking back at Aleidi. "My dear fun is such a subjective word. So the Wild Wardens are brave enough to tame the Stolen Lands? Those lands have remained untameable for hundreds of years. Do you truly believe that you will succeed where hundreds before you have failed?"
Aleidi: When you turn around you see a slim human woman of middle years standing behind you in the middle of the room and scanning each of you. She was built like a dancer and had an oddly curved blade sheathed at her waist. The muscles in her exposed forearms and the shine of worn leather on the hilt of the blade revealed her to be an experienced warrior. She stood just under six feet and had long brown hair tied into a long, thick braid. She was dressed in form fitting leather pants and boots and a blue silk shirt tucked into the pants and tied at the elbows. She had warm brown eyes that lock onto you as you speak. "Not really, no." she deadpans with an accent you've only heard from so called 'nobles'. Despite her tone of voice you can detect the smile she was trying to hide while watching the group go back and forth and the stuffy clerk reacting.
The cat purrs and rubs it's face against Shalira's hand once before settling back down to stare at the group. The gnome arched an eyebrow at Shalira. "Interesting. She likes you. Now back to business please. While any other day I would find this witty banter fascinating I really am quite-" the magistrate broke off for a second, his eyes shifting to something else before regaining a hint of irritation and moving back to the group. "I am quite busy tallying the summer harvests for the city stores. The Wild Wardens of the Stolen Lands you shall be." he said while writing in the ledger. "Now if you will, I need all of your names."
If you got above DC 15 on Perception
The gnome focused on something behind you.
Just before the gnome looked behind the group you hear the creak of leather armor and the graceful step of a woman entering the Town Hall and pausing about ten feet behind you.
Magistate Phillips drummed his fingers on the desk while waiting patiently with pen hanging over the ledger. The daily activities of the Town Hall continued without interuption as people moved around the group, some leaving to other parts of the city and others stepping through the waist high gate of the rail and climbing the steps to visit other offices up on a second level, this one guarded with more soldiers in chainmail and swords. A black cat mrowed as it appeared from under the desk and jumped up. It sat down and stared at the group with same purple colored eyes the gnome had. The gnome frowned at the cat but it ignored him and continued to study the group with the unnatural stillness that all cats had.
Please keep OOC chatter on the Discussion board
It's so fair and democractic that all of the time when decisions should be made people are too busy talking about what to decide about.
And whoever thinks America is still a democracy is living in a fairy tale.
On a positive note I love the fact that something that was just a creativity and rule following test is going to become part of the story like this. Way to run with it.
"Good good." The magistrate says in accented common while sweeping the gold into a bag that he tied back up and slipped into a drawer that he closed and locked. "No no it's only ten gold per charter per group as explained in the notices that were handed around the realm. Now who shall I write in the record and what does your merry band call itself?" he re-inked the quill before going back to the large ledger and looking between Shalira and Reknar. "You do have a name for your group, yes?"
The gnome blinked a few more times as if he had never heard such words. "Ah...yes. Aha!" he said suddenly. His entire demeanor changed as life seemed to flow into him and he straightened to his full three feet high. "At last we have adventurers brave enough to travel south for the...glory of Brevoy!" he exclaimed in gnomish, only half choking at the end. He pointed a finger at a stack of papers and books to one side of the desk and crooked it in a come-hither motion. "Yes I am Magistrate Phillips." The very top tome, easily almost as big as the gnome, flew off the pile and landed on the desk in front of him. Without warning the rest of the papers and books slipped backwards and spilled all over the ground. The gnome blinked at the sudden mess before shrugging and opening the book with a grunt. He plucked an eagle feathered quill from an inkpot and looked over his glasses at Shalira. "You have the fee I assume? Ten gold for the charter."
The walk to town hall was uneventful. A couple of hours had progressed since everyone had gathered at the Golden Harp for their own various reasons but the city looked even busier then it had before. Being a folk used to extremely long winter nights the people of Restov made full use of the sunshine while it lasted during the short summer. Reknar led the group through the winding streets without difficulty and most people seemed to recognize the group as adventurers and moved out of the way. After a short 30 minutes they walked up to an unassuming building whose front door was guarded by a pair of very bored soldier's who chatted amiably and payed only half attention to the daily grind around them. They spared the group only a single glance and moved out of the way as everyone filled in through the single door and they were blinded for a few seconds as their eyes adjusted to sudden shade inside.
They stood in a central atrium with several doors in the left and right sides of the room. At this time of day apprentices and messengers ran from office to office carrying everything from boxes to envelopes. Directly ahead of them a waist high wooden guardrail separated the back half of the room which lead up a broad staircase to closed double doors. A desk had been set up directly in front of the rail behind which sat an officious gnome with a shock of emerald green hair and glasses so thick they gave him bug eyes. At the sound of so many boots entering he looked up and blinked twice.
"Ah. Can I help you?"he asked in a surprisingly deep and gravely voice.