I'm a little unsure as to who is sneaking down the path to the graveyard. If you could let me know, I'd appreciate it! Oh, and I'm back!
The path heading to Paupers' Graves is overgrown with brambles and tall grass and even the occasional tree or bush. The area is quite hilly and the path seems to wind its way between two tall bluffs that rise on either side.
About 80 yards from the Lost Coast Road, the path turns a corner and heads out of sight, and the graveyard is nowhere in sight.
Me and Matrim are sneaking ahead. Anybody else? I'm unsure of.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 9 + 2 = 21
Survival(Forest): 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 9 + 2 = 26
Whispering to Matrim, Karmid shakes his head and readies his hammer an klar.
"I don't like this. This path is not as safe as I would like. Too overgrown. We're vulnerable from above if something is in these trees. The footprints resemble a county fair. Too many to determine anything specific other than humanoid: Adults, kids, boots, barefoot...just damn odd."
Ro strolls over to Jili and quietly asks her "can you keep Lia here with you please? I don't want her wandering off".
She joins Karmid and Matrim, mostly to make sure they don't get carried away with whatever and forget they have places to be, and soon.
"So we know the spot now, why don't we mark it from the road with a stick in the ground or something and do this on the way back, or tomorrow, or when it's not raining."
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13
survival: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
"Look to the trees," Uldar says, completely missing anything that may be on the ground. "If there's someone or something here, that's where they'll come from."
Jili nods. "I will try.
Lia can you come help me watch the cart? I'd like to know more about Flutter while we wait for the rest of the gang to get done looking at the grave yard. I find how our gifts show up interesting. I can't speak common when I'm upset or stressed. It's very inconvenient, and frustrating." She leans on the cart and keeps talking.
"I guess I can. But the cart is not that interesting. Do you mind if I watch the crows instead?", Lia muses, before sitting down near the cart in the muddy ground with her white linen dress making a squelching sound, the mud starting to withdraw from it again a moment later. (A yay for always-on prestidigitation)
"I mean, if you want to know about Flutter, you'd best talk with Flutter, right? And I heared you speak when you were stressed. So you can speak something, right? Others seemed to understand it - so it's a real language. Teach me?"
Drasven watches the roads pass on by as he travels......
Back to the Heroes stalking graves :P
Karmid looks to Ro seriously.
"Its your call Ro. This is still your quest here, and you are still in charge as far as I'm concerned. But my instincts are telling me this could be bad. We are not too far from Sandpoint. If this is a threat to our home, we are certainly predisposed to check it out. But if you would rather bring the meat to the goblins first, we can come back on the way back I'm sure."
|Matrim of Shadows|
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13
Survival: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13
Matrim will head down as stated.
Matrim lowers his voice and whispers, Want me to sneak around?
Stealth: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
"We can make the delivery and be back in about three or four hours. As things are right now we can't leave the cart. If nobody's watching it who knows what could get into the meat. On the way back we can all look around here together."
Sounds like a plan.
The group decides to leave the cemetery for now and head back to the meat cart. Once everyone is back on the Lost Coast Road, someone grabs the horse's reins and you continue your journey to Thistletop.
As you are walking, some of you remember something.
Wisdom: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
"So, did you get one of those shrinkable wagons? Or one that flies? Or do we simply bring it to their doorstep and have them pick it up from there?"
"I can make a travois to carry most of the meat, then drag it...or we can just go get the goblins' attention and have them carry it back themselves."
|Matrim of Shadows|
Wis: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7 This city boy doesnt know much about nature. He'll listen to others.
"It's Celestial I think I can teach you." She begins to give Lia some basic words in Celestial until the others get back to the cart. "We can practice whenever you want to." Lia says fully realizing that Lia may want to practice in the middle of the night or the middle of a battle.
"I say we bring the cart close, hide the horse, and let the goblins take the meat back through the paths." Lia keeps walking alongside the cart.
Lia repeats the words Lia gave her.
"I recognize that. I think Kira speaks it, too. She read aloud from a book once, and it sounded like that. She taught me a few words as well! See, I can say 'My name is Lia, and I am pleased to make your aquaintance!'"
With a nod, she continues:"I would very much like to learn more so I can understand you when you are stressed. Then it's much less of a problem, right?"
Karmid begins making a travois that can carry the meat to the goblins. From here it is only a short distance to Thistletop, but the going is very slow as you have to navigate your way through the Nettlewood. To get through the thickets of pricking nettles and spiny bushes that cover the forest floor, you either have to hack your way through or follow game paths that might not take you by the most direct way.
Thankfully you have been this way before, and you remember where you left the Lost Coast Road and entered the forest. You know that it was only a few days ago that you traveled this way before, but in other ways it feels like years ago. So much has changed since then, so much new information, so much death.
About a half hour after he began, Karmid finishes the travois and you are ready to go. Karmid believes that at least one person should stay behind to make sure the horse doesn't run off or is taken by one of the many goblin tribes that still frequent this area. Although you have not seen any on your way here, you feel pretty sure that they have seen you, or at least know that someone is moving through their domain.
Karmid begins dragging the meat, waving away the flies.
"Let's not make ourselves too easy to ambush."
Ro sighs grumpily as she trudges through the dense undergrowth. "When I offered this in the bargaining it didn't seem like it would be such a chore. I don't know what I was thinking."
She keeps her eyes peeled.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
Jili blushes a little at Lia's try at Celestial. "That's not exactly what you said in Celestial." Try this instead. She works to help her get her pronunciation correct. "It was really close, but you have to make sure you continue the cymbal sound and end high not low."
She'll keep an eye out as they drag the meat to the goblins. "I thought for sure they'd come running out to meet us."
Yes, Ro has asked Matrim to stay with the wagon. He's more self-sufficient than most of us in that he can best watch without being seen, and has a bunch of talents that lend themselves to solo situations where stealth and surprise are factors.He also has good escape options if things go south.
Karmid makes a Survival in forest check: 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 9 + 2 = 26
Karmid guides you upon paths that even you didn't see and avoids the worst of the nettles and thornbushes that give the Nettlewood its name. Barely an hour later you can hear the crashing of the waves against the rocking cliffs far below you and you begin to see open sky ahead. You must be very close to Thistletop!
Dropping the meat, Karmid pulls out his hammer and klar again.
"Would the goblins burn down their own lair? That is not...'normal smoke' is the best I can say here."
Ro wrinkles her nose, wincing at the nasty smell.
"No, even they probably wouldn't burn their own place down, on purpose at least. And it's hardly bone-dry out here. Desna's perfect t+#%, nothing is ever simple is it? Let's go take a look."
Ro starts toward the smell, looking for a place where she might be able to get line of sight on what's burning without having to wander right up to it.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
|Matrim of Shadows|
Matrim moves off into the trees next to the wagon. "I'll watch from here." he tells the group than climbs the tree and perches as a lookout.
Stealth: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20
Take 10 on Perception for a 19.
Ro carefully moves through the underbrush, trying to best to avoid the many thorn bushes. As she emerges from the forest next to the cliff overlooking the ocean, she sees that she is perhaps 300 yards south of the bridge that connects the mainland to the rock upon which Thistletop is perched. A large fire seems to be burning somewhere near that bridge, although it is currently hidden from view by vegetation from Ro's current position.
As she is taking in this scene, she sees two goblins emerge from Thistletop and cross the bridge, carrying another goblin that is most likely dead. They seem to be heading in the direction of the fire.
They disappear from view for a few minutes, but then reappear and cross back over to the Thassilonian ruin, this time empty-handed.
@Jiliana/Celestial: Just to clarify that: Kira taught Lia the phrase wrong as a sort of practical joke - purposefully - it's not just supposed to be the bad pronunciation of someone not being able to speak the language properly. It's probably similar words(such as please/pleased - intended) but it's probably obvious that it's not by accident. :)
Lia lingers near Jiliana as she attempts to learn more words.
To her, it would have seemed practical to dump the meat at the entrance, then let the Goblins know to fetch it, but Karmid wanted to deliver it right to their home, and it seemed that was the proper way to do things.
"Do you think the Shaman Advisor is Chieftain now? Or fuel for the fire? Should we do a Barbecue with whoever is currently in charge?"
Grimacing at what might be going on Karmid looks worried.
"I don't like this Ro. What do you think it means?"
Nope, nothing's ever simple for sure.
Ro scrambles back down to her friends with a worried look on her face.
"The fire is outside the fort, maybe on our side of the bridge. Looks like there's been some violence. I don't know if they turned on each other, or it it's something else. I saw a couple of goblins carrying another one in the direction of the fire. I think they're burning bodies."
"Maybe we can leave the meat near the fire. I'd sure like to know what's going on in there..."
"Probably some sort of coup. You never know." Jili shakes her head. "I'll help drag the meat over near the fire."
Karmid will continue to look fierce with his weapons ready, and move ahead of the struggling girls and their travois full of meat.
"To the bridge then."
The group carefully moves toward the fire and finds the Shaman you had talked to earlier petting the head of his firepelt cougar familiar. He jumps up when he hears you approach, grabbing his spear and pointing it at you before he realizes who you are and lowering it a bit.
The fire is clearly burning the bodies of goblins; there are at least 2 or 3 among the flames.
"Err, you come to late with meat as promised. It all over. There was fight once the demon longshanks lady was dead. Suddenly everyone wanted be king of Thistletop. It all over now. Thistletop goblins be dead. I go now and leave quick-like before another of the goblin tribes hears what bad-bad thing happened. Just honoring the dead now. Is all that left."
He turns around and stares back into the fire.
Karmid doesn't sound surprised. Just annoyed...
"You have no king now? You're leaderless? Why don't you take control? How many goblins died? You still have a good defensible position here. Why give up now?"
|Matrim of Shadows|
Matrim smiles at the lack of confidence the little man has in himself. "What does the fire tell them about you?" he asks.
The shaman looks up at Matrim and makes a gesture with his arms that seems to be the goblinoid equivalent of shrugging his shoulders. "This fire, nothing. This fire for burning the dead. Fire for seeing future is different."
In the distance you can see the shaman's goblin helpers about to cross over from Thistletop again when they spot your group. They immediately drop the body they have been carrying and duck behind a large rock, and bark something staccato in their native tongue.
|Matrim of Shadows|
Matrim nods, "Who all knows about which fire is for the future and which is for the past? How can look into it and tell everyone what it says?"
Karmid is startled at the goblin's noise.
"Did he just say something about Malfeshnekor? Isn't that..."
He then looks at Ro with fear building behind his eyes.
"Go get the others from the wagon Matrim. Hurry!"
|Matrim of Shadows|
Caught off guard, Matrim blinks and sighs, "Alright." he leaves to grab the others, putting aside his plans to make the shaman leader for now.
back at the wagon, he says, "Some goblin named Malfeshn... or something along those lines was coming. We need to backup Karmid."
The shaman notices Karmid's nervousness and immediately becomes suspicious. He turns his back to the bridge entrance of Thistletop, and speaks words of magic as flame erupts from his left hand and forms a burning blade.
"You leave now, Longshanks, leave meat and go! There is no more here for you."
As he slowly backs away from Karmid he barks a command at his firepelt cougar who places herself between its master and the Shoanti and shows her fangs.
No combat at the moment.
Despite it all being about goblins, Ro feels terrible for the goblin seer and what has happened. She has to remind herself that Gogmurt's description of events doesn't exactly match the agreement they had as she knew it.
The meat was a side deal, to barter back Nualia and the other people there from being eaten after they were dead. Gogmurt had been all too happy to let them pass simply because they would get rid of Nualia for him.
It's not our fault he miscalculated the aftermath so badly. After all, how could we imagine everyone here would flip out so completely if Nualia was taken out?
Ro doesn't pick up on what the goblin says, but when Karmid mentions it an alternative story occurs to her. Gogmurt had presented his rivalry with Nualia about being over influence with the goblin chief. But what if it was really about favor with the demon under Thistletop? Ro looks for a way to test the idea.
"I'm very sorry things went wrong here." she tells the shaman. "Since you're leaving, we'll take ownership of this place when you're gone. You're right about some other tribe coming when they find out, and we don't want that.
Perception (Pick out "Malfeshnekor" from the goblin?) : 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14 I'm assuming a fail on this.
Sense Motive (Gogmurt): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Ro's eyes narrow as she watches the goblin. Little bastard... Did you do the killing here?
"What's this about a key? What do you know about a key?" she asks, not moving just yet.