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As the group says their farewells to Conrael and considers their day a few points of clarity swim through the haze of thought:
Taking in the words Horumheb shrugs, gesturing to Iscarel "You then, up. Rest of you, lets get busy..." descending into a series of shouted orders and sequential activities to get them underway. The ship begins laboriously enough at first, before catching some wind and launching a bit of spray as it cuts through the water. The monotony of shipboard life and orders descends relatively quickly as you relax into your roles and broil under the combined effect of the sun and sweat. The first mate is the loudest and often sole voice on the ship, and though he pushes firmly, the orders never cross the line beyond work and into torture.
Those of the crew you're working with see themselves introduced in part over the course of the day and work - but given the flow of vessel life there isn't much call for deep and meaningful discussions...
Your first day passes without sight of sails on the horizon (barring those you've left in your wake behind you at Lilywhite) and little excitement. Night falls and a tub of fish stew and bucket of watery rum is brought topsides to fill your bellies. The lieutenants and Horumheb go to Captain's chambers for their own vittles (likely more impressive than yours of course), leaving you with the crew and your food for company.
Smudge is left as a sentinel over at least the gnome's possessions, as the others see themselves unlimbered of all that isn't kind to duties aboardship. Coming back up through the decks to the topsides you note that the hold is mostly clear, though there is a clump of boxes and sacks at one end of the space. No time for further investigation though as you move through and back atop for the Captain's address.
Milling on the deck with the other crew you find that you're given mostly nods and acknowledgements of presence without any real overt greetings or shunnings as of yet. Lanteri soon speaks at any rate "Right, we've taken some fresh blood on so we needs be away. We're headed North by West and into open water - so eyes to the horizon and keep things on the level. Should take us about a half dozen days of good time if we're to make where we need to be for the Lobsters... so we'll be keeping sails unfurled at night."
She eyes out the first mate and adds "Horumheb... fresh blood on days and above decks - see them put to use." getting a respondent nod before Lanteri finishes with a "Raise anchor and lets get the Bride in flight" and she makes to retreat to quarters.
Like a relatively even greased wheel with a few flat spots and a twisted axle - the ship begins to lumber and lurch into action. The crew disperses either up, across or below... and you're left with the first mate's eyes upon you...
Hinsin responds to Rackham "40 when she's filled to the gunnels... but with you that makes... 30... assuming nothing interesting happened while we were at land." before the jolly draws near enough to the Corvid's Bride for hailing.
Shouted pleasantries are brief before rigging presents an easy climb for you to get up on deck. A smattering of the usual nautical scum await you, with a few standouts... including a big-arse Osiriani with a waxed beard who eyes you as you step foot on the deck. Lanteri calls "Horumheb - get these squared away below and back up... I'll speak to the crew in ten, then we're getting underway." Hinsin and the Alchemist move off to disappear below-decks or to quarters as the female half-orc looks to assist with hoisting and stowing the jolly.
The Osiriani nods, before thumping his chest and grunting "Horumheb, First Mate... this way" gesturing with closed fist towards the fore stairs into the hold. Two decks down you travel - through the mostly empty cargo hold before an open-doorway leads to a haphazard room of swinging hammocks and mostly lashed and secure kit bags. There are a few empty sacks and rope just outside the room for you to snaffle, and at present the bunks are all empty.
Horumheb grunts "Quick now... then on main deck" leaving you a couple of minutes to stow your gear before attending the called crew meeting.
Walking through the kriel you come upon the healer's hut where the bairns were dropped off the night prior, and find Conrael still hard at work. His eyes are heavy lidded and forearms covered with blood as he mutters mostly to himself and the two lads laid out afore him. Both the lads are still out cold, likely from herbaceous aid in this case though. The legs and hips of each are similarly blood laden, having been opened in parts for the older troll to get a decent look at how bad the bones had set. Even to a layman's eye, it doesn't look too hearty nor hale - as you were fairly sure there weren't meant to be that many pieces.
He notices you after you get fine and close, drawing a tired wave. "Like puttin together a fence after Gordo's bloody went an sat on it... shambles in there. Poor bastards might not walk agin if it heals off." he sighs in a slightly defeatist manner. Looking around bleary eyed he finds a half-finished mug of stale ale and takes a hefty swig.
Knowing Conrael can get a bit scatter minded when he's tired... you can't help but wonder if he'd thought of whether knitbone or similar herbal aid might assist in getting the bones healing a mite quicker...
Hamfisted and railroady I know... but I've a motion in motion.
Work intervention over - onwards
She's a Chelish designed brig, though all of the overt signs of the evil empire have been stripped off of her. A raised fo'castle and poop sit above the waist deck... and based on her draft you'd wager there's a full two decks in the hull before you get to the bilges. A couple of ballistae adorn the fore of the ship, while the rigging and lines show a paucity of decoration suggesting that she could dance in amongst a battle relatively easy. Three masts rise from the decks, and on the prow is a carved figure of a man with a crow's head. All in all you'd rate it a compact and steady ship... though you'd need to see her handle in some weather to get a true measure of her.
Finding a least filthy bolthole to store yourselves in for the rest of the night, you find that sleep doesn't come or pass easily. More often than not loud celebrating, screams of pain, the meaty thumps of fists on flesh or the noisily horrific sounds of a man upchucking his stomach lining fill your ears and the accompanying scents fill your nostrils. Suffice to say the morning after leaves you somewhat ornery and with a perceived surface film of filth and unpleasantness. It's with this thought and malaise that you pick your way through the day's obstacle course of broken wood, collapsed bodies and small mounds of sick and make your way to the sea - where the sickly sweet smell of the ocean at least cleanses your olfactory senses.
You're joined a mite later by the Captain and her two lieutenants... who give you a cursory greeting. Lanteri's is officious, the alchemists delivered dismissively and down the length of his nose, while Hinsin just gives you a wee wink and smirk. A jolly boat arrives to take your attention - manned by the same stocky half-orcen lass that first aroused your attention two days prior, and a second man of nondescript appearance.
Lanteri and her men board, and you're beckoned to follow and take over the oars. Putting your backs to the common labor of the sea, you slowly see Lilywhite fade into the distance and thread your way through the small disparate fleet of ships to your waiting destination. As she comes into view, Lanteri calls it to your attention "There she is - the Corvid's Bride."
Ship description to come.
The lobstermen are a powerful guild operating out of Freeport who specialize in the plunder of sunken ships and the seabed.
Neither Quillin nor Bek have heard of the 'lobstermen' prior to this day.
Satisfied to a degree, Lanteri gives a short nod to acknowledge your acceptance "Done... we'll take your mark once we're afloat, to which we've a boat plucking us from the dock at an hour past daybreak on the morrow. I'd suggest a low profile until then."
Shall we sail?
A furrowed brow from one of the gate guard comes first before a flicker of remembrance. He imparts "Still wi' tha bairns... hell of a job tae try and set they're bones right."
The remainder of the kriel is also slowly wakening, with hearths being roused from embers to flame again and the moderate sounds of industry ringing through.
Lanteri smirks "Aye... terms... in a minute." leading you to the entry into the Crusty Fiddler and then through the woolen curtain and into the common room. The fiddler isn't at his post, and before you could wonder if Kreer's about Hinsin calls "Wine and cheese" towards the back to be answered by a "Aye, aye... a moment"
Waiting until you're in and seated, Kreer club-footedly serves you all before venturing with some details "Only fair that you know what you're signing on for before we set away... but broad strokes only before you make your mark eh?"
"Terms are simple, share of work, share of any proceeds... for as long as you put up your end. The Bride's got some punch, but we're not hunting trading ships or privateering... instead we're looking to scrape something back that Besmara's only half claimed. I know the where, but there's a wreck out there with full holds... I mean to change that."
"We go from here to a meet with the lobstermen, then to the wreck."
Although unanswered, I'm guessing nothing more tonight.
The night carries on for a while, and the moon's likely passed it's midpoint before trollkin stagger off to their homes to sleep through till morning. The echoing snores of Gordo rumble and resonate through the kriel, giving you a sonorous backdrop to resting your tired bones and waiting till morning.
Cockerels cry and awaken you, sun working it's way slowly up the horizon and into the sky. The snores of Gordo still echo despite the dawn... which is a-typical as Conrael would usually have roused the troll by now to get to field-work.
Hinsin turns at Quillin's tug and sees that Iscarel himself had abandoned the pit... he furrows his brows slightly, but shrugs and waves the lot of you after him. In the wake of Lanteri, the alchemist and Handsome you're led out of the Revel and back towards the Crusty Fiddler. Once you get outside of the inn, the number of people around you drops precipitously and it's just you and the drunks passed out or rendered immobile on the side of the streets.
Upon the walk Lanteri offers "Well... looks like circumstances have intervened to make my choice not much of one. You're the only salts that aren't waist deep in cups or behind locked doors... I assume you're still interested?"
Grunting and waving with some dismissiveness "We been here a while, it'd be a real surprise if the buggers didn't know of us. Nothing we can do about it at any rate... enjoy the night lads." giving a short nod to show that he at least considered the matter closed for the moment.
Anything tangible tonight? - or should I move on to the morrow?
Yes - impressing the officers is a big goal... however that essentially got short circuited by a certain gnome with a parrot on his shoulder. The actions centered around that affray have essentially removed ginger ++ from the running.
It's not apparent yet - but if the alchemist is talked with, you'll find that the half-orc impressed the Caydenite priest enough that he's been taken on as an initiate (which removes the half-orc and the halfling from the running)... which leaves only the party left over. The job is actually already yours.
My original design intent was to provide three opportunities to let you throw shade on the competition. The drinking contest, the Mad Dash, and finally the Pit was the fallback if things hadn't been established yet. Turns out no-one jumped at the drinking contest, and Quillin was bored enough to murder the hypoteneuse prior to the Mad Dash... so the Pit is there as a final destination, but without any narrative drive from behind the screen (as your opposition is already 'eliminated')
I know that you don't IC quite know this yet, but had there been a mite bit of patience (as in seeing what Hinsin / the Captain came back with rather than pushing to impress further) then it would've become plain. I mean the whole reason that you came with Hinsin to the pit initially was to talk to Lanteri wasn't it?
That said, I'm not concerned at all at the desire to put another marker down... what I am concerned with is your choice of who to call out. Bruno is beyond your individual skill - fullstop. You know this both OOC and IC... and yet it's still him that you've chosen. You could've picked any other mug in the room, even OOC'd that you wanted to pick out a particularly drunk looking guy... but you went for the opponent that you knew was well beyond your abilities.
Why? - why choose an opponent that's highly likely to send you to the floorboards? - how is that going to impress Lanteri? - why not pick someone that you've a much better chance against?
Although I've stated this multiple times, in many different ways - barring some kind of statistical miracle this will not end well for Iscarel. Similarly, given that multiple warnings and indications have been given any outcomes from the affray will not be sugar coated, nor mollycoddled.
If you're really really really chasing that quite small potential chance for this to go your way... I can't stop you. But unless that miracle arrives and tilts fate your way... Lanteri will not have any interest in taking you on as crew.
Similarly, the rest of the party has but a small leverage with Hinsin / Lanteri at this point in time. Sure, you're the last persons standing... but she can always take the third option and not take anyone on.
Being a Calistrian doesn't mean that you need to avenge every single slight within two seconds of it happening... nothing's stopping you from finding out another means to seek your vengeance.
Freeport Native Gimme:
The orcish constables arrived on the same boat as the bloodgrog... one might presume that at least some of them live in Freeport.
Both the fights and the flyting have been a mixture of either one on one, or teamfight... however the teamfight have always been of equal numbers on each side.
Hinsin shakes his head, muttering "Well... we're not here to take on stupid" now turning his side to bodily exclude Iscarel and address the others, initially Quillin but extending to the others "If the rest of you want in... you're in... follow me." finishing with a curt nod and leading those that are willing through the crowd and back towards the Captain. He gestures with his chin towards Lanteri first in greeting and then t'wards the door - indicating that they're finished in the Revel. The alchemist doesn't need encouragement, and Lanteri just gives Iscarel a look... before sighing, shaking her head and moving away.
Appreciative nods of elderly heads appear to be the initial response of note, combined with a rumbling "Aye, finely done... Few mair scars fer the lads... Nice bit o' gland..."
The chief waves away the relatively officious manner in which Havar reported in and reaches out to take the insignia. Furrowed brow and thought follow as he grumbles "Khador buggers been through... wonder why... Ye didnae see hide or hair o' tha northerners?"
The initial reaction that Iscarel's bluster draws is a mixture of confusion and wry smirks depending on which of the listeners actually know who Bruno is. There's one group of attendees that view his proclamation with a bit more directed interest... and stone faces. One of the black-armored orcs hardens his eyes, before moving through the crowd and outside... perhaps to fetch Bruno to answer to your impertinence.
Hinsin on the other hand is similarly surprised... though in a less controlled fashion. He breaks away from the Captain and the alchemist to draw up on the outskirts of the pit. Hissing at a relatively low ebb he implores "Are you a fecking idiot naturally or do you try hard to achieve it? You call one of them into the pit and it's an invitation for him to tear you apart!" before continuing in a similarly urgent whisper "Do you want on her crew or not?" leading with a fairly strong intimation that the job is more certain rather than less...
Iscarel looks to the crowd... and while he can't see the specific orcish constable in question, there are still a goodly number floating about. With the thoughts of whether it's a wise choice being overridden by the yellow and black threads through his mind... he gets an inkling that there's a possibility that he could call out the constable with some further indelicacies of the verbal varietal. Failing that - there's more than enough targets that could be called... or you could prevail upon fate to provide an opponent.
The small knot of alchemist, pretty boy and Captain are in an engaged discussion... but you can't at this range read much off their facial expressions or gestures. They do appear to be talking of you though.
Considering each mawg adrenal gland carries a 5 gc price - they've got a goodly worth to them.
As Katherson fades off the group to stand sentry against the dark, the others follow Conrael off and towards the healer's hut. Trollkin of the kriel come forward to see what news there is, but the old warlock sees them off with a wave and begrudging "Yeah they're livin... now p1ss off and let mae work."
He gets you to set them down within the confines of the hut and transferred onto more comfortable bedding before taking a deep breath and beginning to survey his work. An appreciative hmm... a concerned furrow of his brow and finally some words mostly towards Eoghann "Good work in the field boy, stiched 'em up good. Poor sods are crushed up frae tha tree though... I've got 'em 'ere - off tae the kuar... fill in the other old buggers." waving you off. You can tell though, that there's approval running beneath his rough exterior.
Eoghann - as per your actions, you've only skinned some of the mawgs. None of the other components were harvested.
Taken aback with surprise Conrael confusedly responds "Aye... take care o' the bairns first... but tae leave the rest behind." shaking his head he waves you to follow as he leads you into the kriel and towards the healer's hut.
Unfortunately for any thoughts of revenge, the place where Iscarel was 'stored' was an unattached converted tavern of sorts and doesn't appear to have any open signs of habitation. If he's to find the man's home address... it'd take some risk, tailing and stealth.
For clarity - the whipping didn't do any damage, but you've got a pair of vivid red scars across your back that'll endure normal healing.
With the crew giving only middling interest to what's to occur at the pit and Iscarel having been introduced to Hinsin, the evening begins to flow past you. Flyting, fistfighting and even the occasional rat-baiting takes place in the pit - with pittances won and lost, reputations besmirched and enhanced the same, and the night progressing steadily past you.
Hinsin for his part doesn't dole out much by way of words, spending only idle banter and empty conversation as he nurses his drinks. The night is growing late indeed when you pick out both Lanteri and the Alchemist from earlier across the Revel. Hinsin sees them as well, and gets to his feet. Offering a simple nod and "Gentlemen" he moves off to speak with the other pair.
Conrael takes in the bloodied look of you all and the mawg-skin stretchers that you've cobbled together and nods. "Aye, bring 'em in, bring 'em in. We'll get 'em steady and ye can go bring the chief up to speed."
As Eoghann comes through he smiles "Bit o' luck eh? - nei the bairns... but ye must be swimmin in glands now eh?"
Just a small aside that despite Havar having the careers of Trollkin Chieftain / Kriel Champion it doesn't imply that he is in any explicit position of authority over the others.
Eoghann knows that the ones with the crushed legs are out of immediate danger, but they still need to convalesce in a better location than the middle of the forest. There's the second issue of the now charnel house nature of the clearing drawing
Note - I narrated the arrival back to the outskirts of the Kriel above, so it's on the party to state their approach to the lookout, unless there's something else you want to assume / do on the way back.
Drinks are furnished to your liking and Hinsin makes a modicum of small talk as you settle in for the night. The general population seems to have split into a couple of primary groups. The first (of which you count yourselves as members) growing tired of the day and what warmth the bloodgrog offered now fully sapped from their bones. Bek finds that quite a few patrons recognize him from the Dash - and offer their own congratulations.
The second group of patrons consist of those that have not yet entirely had the fire blown out and are looking for action still. Sneering lips, angry eyes and a sense of searching for any slight transgression so they might answer it with fire... though thankfully the open area of the Pit serves as their genius loci and draws that aggression into a more easily manageable area. Festivities have not yet started... they seem to be waiting for a as yet unseen party to serve as conductor of the competitive orchestra.
Anything from Iscarel? - or should I apply the wibbly wobbly and have you meet up in the Revel?
With Eamon at the head, the group sets off through the night back towards the kriel. Darkness has fully descended and at times the bairn hesitates as to direction... but with some light prompting you manage to forge through and the flickering lights of home start shining through the black. The sounds of the kriel (which would usually be boisterous by now) are muted somewhat and you pick out Conrael standing sentry at the gate awaiting your return.
Just leaving the skinned corpses where they fell?...
With a simple nod the gent releases the rope from your hands with one hand and lets you put all your weight through your own feet. With not a great deal of compassion he leaves you with a "Take care now... we see ye back here after another killin though and we'll be less kind." leaving Iscarel to retrieve his belongings and find his own way out.
As you begin walking slowly towards the Revel Hinsin reacts with some surprise "Bit unsubtle like turning to the blade or bludgeon outright... lacks a certain nuance." shrugging and taking Quillin at his word that the others started it. Rackham's words draw a raised eyebrow though "You think the Captain's got stroke enough for that do you?" chortling "Maybe... but it's unlikely she'd put it out for someone not yet even on her crew. You might get lucky though - as long as it was just a fight gone badly they might let him off with a few licks... depends how badly he's p1ssed off the constables."
Your path through the town is easy enough and you arrive at the Revel early enough to snare a table near to the Pit. A gnarly barmaid comes over to take your drinks orders as Hinsin requests a bottle of mulled wine for himself.
For clarity - there isn't any expectation that you'll take part in the Pit unless you wish to.
As Eoghann sets to skinning mawgs to use as bloody stretchers, Oengus and Havar combine to easily heft the tree off the bairns. The release of weight draws fitful moans from the lads... and their lower bodies look as though most of the bones are splintered and shattered.
The stretchers take a while to makeshift together, but after a span of effort you've a pair of bloodied wooden framed monstrosities that should hold enough weight to ferry the young'uns krielwards.
As Eoghann moves over he finds that Eamon has sat himself up, grimacing and looking slightly embarrassed at being taken down by a few mawgs... yet the resilience of trollkin proving that he while he'll have a few scars to show off to the girls... he's not permanently injured. The other two wee ones trapped under the log have been ignorant of the carnage, and still sleep with shallow drawn breath.
So - Eamon is fine, and you just need to deal with the log and figure out how you're getting the other two bairns back to the kriel.
So that was the first combat... interesting, a couple of things I noticed:
13 is the magic number - and I'll do some wibbly wobbly magic here.
Katherson measures the targets on the field and realizes that if he but a bullet through the last mawg from the first group, he'd be capable of freeing Havar to aid the bairns. He does just that clinically with his first shot, before managing a lucky shot on the second group of hairy beasts. A ricochet that keeps enough of it's power to plough through the target's underbelly.
Havar takes advantage of his freedom to move over and summarily end the last of the chittering beasts with a single heavy crossswing of his blade. The field grows quiet, with just the hacking bloody coughs of the mawg-savaged lad sounding out.
Combat over :)
With a wry smile and flutter of his eyelashes the man responds "Well I'm flattered you think of me as handsome, but I prefer to go by Hinsin. Well met all... except for the tulita gent? Your friend didn't pass your name t'wards me..."
"As to Lanteri, the answers yes that I'm here with a remit... though what's the rush to speak with her the now? There's still light and drink left for the day and what might prove to be a fair bit of blood and words spent at the Revel" referring to an inn where a fighting pit is set up that you recall the fiddler of the night before referring to as the Piss1ng Pit.
The gent ignores Iscarel's banter, figuring that the elf's likely to run his mouth regardless of what is or isn't said. Instead he just offers a simple nod of the head and gestures to Bruno to move in. The orc takes his time silently to roll up and tuck Iscarel's shirt before taking a handful of something from a pouch and applying it to Iscarel's back. Not able to twist his head to see properly, the elf feels it gritty and sand like against his skin - but it sticks and coats rather than falling away.
Bruno then takes two steps back and with a minimum of fuss unleashes his first strike with the whip. A thin line of pressure explodes to pain that starts stinging and sharp before blossoming and blooming into a passionate fire. Just as Iscarel is coming to grips with the sensation a second line crosses the first. Beneath the searing fire of anguish you feel blood starting to flow. Bruno then walks up to scrape the remainder of the gritty paste off your back before retrieving a white linen bandage to bind over the wound. Work done the orc retreats... though Iscarel can see a hint of a smile of enjoyment on his face as he goes.
Regardless of what might or might not be wished to be said to the retreating constable... Iscarel can focus only on the continuing searing pain stabbing into his back. Surprisingly he feels that whatever blood was seeping has been staunched... but the twin lines of liquid fire searing his back remain. The older man looks at you appraisingly before asking simply "Up to standing on your own power?" indicating with his one hand that you're hanging limp off the ropes binding your hands.
Can't cast two spells when you attack though.
Free Strikes wrote:
When an engaged character moves out of an enemy’s melee range and/or line of sight, the enemy can immediately make a free strike against it just before the engaged character leaves his melee range and/or line of sight. The enemy character makes one normal melee attack with any melee weapon that has sufficient melee range to reach the moving character and gains a +2 bonus on his melee attack roll. If the attack hits, the damage roll is boosted. Free strikes cannot benefit from back strike bonuses
Free Strikes apply when you move out of melee range, not on moving in.