|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
Perception (Spot anyone trying to hide): 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (4) + 21 = 25
"Stay where you are!" Azri bellowed as she shot forward on her floating cloud, bypassing most of the obstacles limited to the ground. She had no intention of allowing potentially-innocent people to get dragged off of ships when she was anywhere close, and fire ignited near her fingertips as she prepared a hex.
Despite fearing that she has made things worse, Ayreth concentrates on holding the attention of the merfolk that have been pacified.
The attackers do not seem interested in fighting a city, and continue to withdraw. Their retreat is slowed a bit by Ayreth's spell, so it might be possible to capture one.
Azri does note a merfolk much further out, who apparently was not on the ship at all. Perhaps a tactician or healer who was holding back to observe?
The guards seemed mostly concerned that the ship was going down. Several were organizing rowboats and fishing vessels to try and get the people off if she failed to limp to the pier.
Aibek listened intently the guards, as one does to professional opinions. Aibek liked the rowboat idea and told the guards so and thanked them. Intending to join them if the rowboats were sent out, Aibek moved down the end of the pier. Crouching down, Aibek peers out over the dark water, considering stories merfolk near Khalharum. What could have caused this conflict...
Perception+Scent: 1d20 + 10 + 1 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 10 + 1 + 3 = 18
Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Knowledge (Local): 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (15) + 14 = 29
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 25 ⇒ (7) + 25 = 32
Saiga and his companion make their way unseen to the lone merfolk. Jumping off the dragon's back he lets his own ability to fly take over and positions himself to flank with his partner. While he fully expected to startle the creature he doubted they could pinpoint him quickly.
"Would you care to explain why your people are attacking? I would think you have a reason for it."
Going to guess with Saiga being a lot closer and having better darkvision that he sees the lone merfolk. If not then disregard. >.<
Mihara alights on the sinking ship, assisting with the rescue where she can, but also keeping an eye on any suspicious movements or cargo.
She recalled an incident back in her homeland with an alleged sinking ship being an old worthless vessel deliberately scuttled as an invasion ruse. Hopefully, these people were more honest.
"Necessity." The merfolk flicked their tail and vanished beneath the water. Saiga could follow, but it might not be wise without the ability to breath water.
Mihara is pretty confident that this isn't a ruse. The panic on these people's faces is too real. There isn't any coordination among the crew, either - it seemed likely that among the dead or wounded were the bulk of the officers.
"Well that's just rude. Mursis if you would catch one before they all escape into the water."
He really needed to invest in some magical item or potions for dealing with below the waves. Then again he was a creature of the sky, there was only so much he could do.
Mursis moves invisibly towards the nearest merfolk to wrap around them and grapple them.
Grapple: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (9) + 11 = 20
The slippery fish kin escapes Mursis grip. Yet the dragon is not that quick to give up. Attempting to catch one before they are all gone beyond their grasp.
Grapple: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30
Hopefully there is a straggler or two so my weak roll does not ruin everything. xP
|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
"Ahem." Azri cleared her throat, then inhaled.
Intimidate + Surge: 1d20 + 15 + 1d6 ⇒ (20) + 15 + (6) = 41
"STOP FLEEING, LEST YOU FORFEIT YOUR LIVES AND ALL YOU HOLD DEAR. THE EYES OF KHALHARUM ARE NOT LIMITED TO HER BORDERS, AND SHE DOES NOT FORGET THOSE WHO STRIKE AGAINST HER... AND THE WATERS WILL NOT PROTECT YOU FROM US AS THEY DO OTHER THREATS. LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS AND RETURN TO THE SHORE AND YOU MAY BE FORGIVEN, FOR WE ARE REASONABLE TO THOSE WHO ACT WITH CIVILITY... OR FLEE, AND ALL YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL CURSE YOU AND THE DAY YOU BROUGHT OUR WRATH AGAINST YOUR PEOPLE."
Aibek waited at the pier's end, watching and considering the possibilities though there was too much unknown for anything more solid than the water.
As Azri starts shouting, the witchwolf looks up towards her, then around to the other people around - clearly utterly baffled. "I don't recall agreeing to that, and I don't recall Nexus or any of the people asking us to do that and I don't understand which group is meant to be guilty here. Also, I don't think the merfolk came from any shore to return to it, merfolks tend to return to...water breathing is going to be needed again, isn't it?" Aibek said, tone starting angry and slowly defusing to frustration. Yeah, islands, but did it have to so often involve swimming. Aibek turned to the people closest and asked if they knew someone who could help them dive for victims of either side and the merfolks to figure out what was going on...
Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Unfortunately, Mursis is better at flying than swimming, unlike the merfolk. If the forces attacking the ship heard Azri the threat didn't seem inclined to make them return.
On the plus side the attack seemed to be over. On the downside the ship was still sinking.
Perhaps a touch too aggressive, dear Azri...
Mihara mutters to herself while helping direct the evacuation to keep things processing in order.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (6) + 16 = 22
Ayreth lets her spell go. "Sorry, I was trying to help. Nexus, do you have any information on local merfolk?"
Aibek considered for a moment and decided to ask at the Alchemists' later. This didn't feel enough of an emergency to bother them at this hour, though investigating would likely be the priority in the morning...or afternoon depending on how long this took.
Aibek went to help people ready to the rowboats and plan the best way to help as many of the wounded as possible.
Perception: 1d20 + 10 + 1 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 10 + 1 + 3 = 24
Nexus popped into exitance next to Ayreth. "There are none within the area I traditionally sense and control, but there are vague reports of deep-sea colonies. There has not been a reason, until now, to look closer. There are no confirmed reports of attacks like this before. I will look into the situation in more depth."
Aibek and Mihara begin to organize an evacuation of the floundering ship. Getting the less able to help off the vessel certainly helps the situation. Still, she's not a small ship.
"In more depth? Nexus, are you being funny?"
Not particularly a natural in boats or water, Aibek did their best to help pull those from the sinking ship out of the water, keeping keen worried eyes out for injured on either side of this currently confusing conflict. Dozens of questions were coming to mind, this was very strange. Hopefully answers would come at some point and no one would freak out too much from being pulled from the water by a witchwolf or any of the other strange things going on.
Perception: 1d20 + 10 + 1 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 10 + 1 + 3 = 26
Saiga sends Mursis to retrieve any cargo left on the ship or the surrounding waters. While still invisible he makes his way back to the docks. Landing nearby before dismissing his magic to show himself. He rejoins the others but observes for now the state of those being saved and perhaps get a hint about them.
Knowledge (Local): 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (10) + 14 = 24
While helping, Mihara tries to spot the captain, or some other form of authority on deck. She introduces herself as one of Khalharum's councilors, and inquires as to the events that led to the attack, and as to whether they were headed for the city.
Mihara is able to find the captain, although he is mildly...dead at the moment due to a trident wound. Most of the senior crew is either dead or incapacitated. Eventually, she finds what seems to be the bosun, trying to get things under control. By this point it is clear that it will be an evacuation, as the cargo bay is halfway full of water.
Saiga notes that the crew is fairly multiracial - humans make up about two thirds of the crew, but the rest is made up of various races. The ship's flag would indicate she's from Taldor.
|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
"All right, all of you, you'll be safe as long as you keep moving." Azri called as she moved to help those still on the ship. "Call out if you need help."
Diplomacy (Soothe the crew): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Saiga rubs his chin. What was a Taldor ship doing this far from her home waters? They were one of the few ships that could make the north tack run with little trouble. Considering how profitable it was, going so far south to make the south tack was harder while making the obari trade circle was far more dangerous. In short, an honest merchant ship had no place in the area coming out of Taldor. Unless she had certain reasons or was flying a false flag. He would keep watching for now, but he was going to find out which it was. He didn't put much stock in pure bad luck or random chance.
Aibek tried to ignore the scent of spices while peering into the night and the dark water, trying to save people.
Perception: 1d20 + 10 + 1 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 10 + 1 + 3 = 33
With Aibek pointing out those floundering in the water, the rescue efforts from the dock were able to locate them.
By the time the ship slid under the waves there was no one left alive aboard the vessel. The rest of the crew are on the docks, being bundled into warm blankets to help against the desert nights chill.
The bosun approached Mihara as the last of the bubbles began to fade. "Thank you all for the help. I hope your harbour is deep enough that she won't cause you any problems." He glanced over at the complete lack of trace of the ship bar some minor flotsam.
"Certainly doesn't look like it will," he added after a moment.
"It was the least we could do," Mihara says with a comforting smile. "The sea is a generous but cold-hearted mistress."
"Where have you sailed from?"
Aibek spoke to the guards about helping to find somewhere to house the drying crew tonight. Thinking on whatever might remain of their boat and helping them find them passage home would wait, as would Aibek's curiosity about the merfolk.
Aibek approached, listening in on the bosun talking to Mihara, "Have you or some of the other crew traveled where 'whatever' happened before?" Aibek was also wondered other things - like whether particular members of the crew had been targetted or previous encounters with this or other clans of merfolk - but in the shade of what just happened, it seemed best to Aibek to wait on details until the people had more to time to process and rest from it.
Thinking it was time to chime in, he speaks.
"The apparent leader or at least someone in charge enough to hang back. Said it was a necessity to attack their ship. Before rudely leaving. Which makes me think that there is more to the story of the merfolks motive than just raiding for the sake of it or greed."
He looks at the Bosun carefully.
"What seems odd to me is why your so far south. Flying a Taldor flag seems strange you would head our way when it's a pretty direct route back."
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (10) + 16 = 26
"You're half right," the man nodded to Saiga. "We're too far West. Plenty of south to go when you want to trade for spice in Vudra and Kelesh. Normally we hug the coastline for the most part, but we hit a storm a few weeks ago. We had to go ashore on a little island to the East of Stonespine, and got attacked by this lot as we worked."
Looking at Aibek, the man added, "We'd never been there before, no. Until recently no one comes near Stonespine but slavers, after all."
|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
"Well, suffice to say that we plan to make this area better for trading." Azri said as work in the harbor continued. "Do any of your crew have special needs aside from medical care? Dietary requirements, religious needs...?"
Aibek listened with a nod of thanks, choosing to leave further questions for another time and when hopefully more information could be gathered to have a productive discussion. Getting people situated and dealing with the problems at hand came first...
Stepping away from the bosun, the witchwolf raised an eyebrow at Azri, speaking in a low tense tone though no real attempt to hide the words, "My knowledge of trade isn't anywhere close to that of Councillor Mihara or that of Saiga here, but very publically threatening those who possibly have claim to some of the territory trading ships pass through to get here might have made those plans harder to achieve. I suspect some damage may need to be mended in the likely situation of speaking to those merfolks again...and to some of the people of Khalharum who might not appreciate having someone speak for them in that way..." the Advocate Councillor finished before leaving to help the soaking crew, deciding that even if it might relieve some of the anger and confusion felt, telling a lich she had sounded like a tyrant was probably not going to be actually beneficial in any way.
Saiga leaves it at that for now. The others could get more details about the situation, he would later if not. He goes over to the cargo Mursis recovered to check it. He wanted to verify they were transporting what they claimed, it's quality, and origin if he could. It still seemed odd to him that merfolk would raid a ship out of "necessity" without knowing who or what was on it. What made this ship a target over all the others traveling these waters.
The crates are indeed full of packets of spice, and don't register as having anything magical hidden within them. Although the only way to be absolutely certain there isn't anything small hidden from sight and scent in the small packets of spice it doesn't seem likely.
"Although the only way to be absolutely certain there isn't anything small hidden from sight and scent in the small packets of spice it doesn't seem likely." I looks like you missed some words in that sentence.
Aibek worked to help get the crew tended for and some lodgings for the night, avoiding Duval's establishment as much as it could be helped. While the witchwolf councillor tried to be on good relations with as many of the people as possible, Aibek still had not forgiven that gnome man.
While returning to the inn, Aibek stopped to talk to Nexus at the fountain near The Thirsty Dryad, filling them in likely far more than needed along with general conversation about the night and things, including about Aibek's curiosity and concern for the merfolk and asking to be kept informed if the Nexus sensed more merfolk groups near Khalharum.
|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
Azri lingered near the ship for quite some time, determined to see to it that it was as cared-for as possible - sinking wasn't much of a concern for her, so she had no qualms about doing what she could to make the merchants feel safe and welcome in this port. After all, that was a tale they'd spread when they left - and the more sailors thought of Khalharum as a good port, the better.
As morning approached the weather turned vile, a vicious sandstorm sweeping across the city. Such violent winds are not unknown, but this one was odd - it only covered the city in about a 2 mile radius, and radiated magic to those who could see such.
About an hour after the sandstorm swept in the first lightning bolt struck, ripping a chunk of stone from one of the damaged bridges of the Towers themselves. A second lanced into central tower, where it melted a section of stonework in a flash of light, leaving it pooling oddly as it cooled. Moments later a third struck a magical barrier as Khalharum moved to protect itself, the massive crystal pillar in the central tower jumping to a higher speed as the city's need for magic jumped exponentially.
For the second time in less than 12 hours, Nexus' neutral voice rang out from the air near all the council members. "what appears to be a sustained magical attack has begun. It is suggested that all Council members may wish to attend in the meeting hall on the second floor of the central tower for additional information."
As everyone ignored him and more importantly the spice. Saiga quietly took possession of the cargo. Using Mursis to transport it somewhere secure, the city had needs after all.
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (10) + 14 = 24
Saiga was not happy, clearly, this was in connection with the merfolk in his mind. He cursed his luck that Mursis was not able to grab one before it escaped. He would have to do something about that later. He also regretted not being more forceful with the merfolk, he had been too gentle with his words, that would not happen a second time.
Summoning his companion from their nest, he made his way to the tower. He had seen worst storms by far than this.
Once again, Ayreth hurries from her room to presumably join the others.
Aibek had spent much of the morning trying to help Azerna keep sand out of the inn and deal with any damage caused by this storm.
Upon hearing Nexus, Aibek looked to Azerna before responding, "Thank you Nexus, we will be there shortly".
Aibek quickly went to get changed, still not ready to leave the inn without full bindings and covering attire. Once ready, Aibek went to find Azerna so they could head to the Tower.
Aibek talked while walking, "Actually kinda hoping this is the merfolk and it can be dealt with rather than some other magical trouble. I'll likely be heading to the alchemists' for water breathing potions after this, maybe something could be a suitable peace offering...would you like anything from there or from town on my way back?" considering again ways that might make Azerna's comfortable walking distance larger.
Mihara turns up to the meeting room, elegantly clad, and obviously frustrated with these repeated cases of trouble. The adage was true, those who stood atop tall hills had a duty to watch the territory.
Azerna gives Aibek a list of fabrics and materials she's hoping to use to make new bedding with.
Inside the meeting room, Nexus wastes no time in making a report. "A magically created storm is being sustained above the city, generation on average on lightning bolt every six seconds. I have created a barrier to prevent the lightning strikes from destroying the city, but will be unable to do so for an extended period. An exact time until the barrier falls is currently unavailable."
|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
Freaking Scholars, yo.
"Do we have a source figured out?" Azri asked, frowning. She took attacks on the city very personally, and certainly didn't intend to let this continue.
Aibek listened with noticeable interest as Azerna discussed her plans for new bedding. Once seated, Aibek pulled out a piece of parchment and wrote down the list -- and a reminder to check to see what bedding might need added to the 'to repair' pile. The witchwolf tended to be a rough sleeper...
Aibek looked up as Nexus spoke, and considered what they said. It was very concerning how much damage and risk of harm that might bring the people of Khalharum and their properties. Even more, Aibek hoped this was someone known and could be reasoned with. "Nexus, thank you for your help. Hopefully, this can be dealt with quickly so the limit doesn't need to be found out. I agree that if you have any information on a source or a place to start on this, it would be a great help."