The dawn broke bright and clear, a good sign you thought as you gathered yourselves together to plan for the next days departure. There were a few last minute preparations to be made, a few more wagons that had expressed interest in joining the caravan, and a host of "minor" details yet to be ironed out, chief amongst them who would be taking leadership positions with this merry band and making decisions regarding when and where to start this new colony.
The tiny trading post and fort managed by Oleg and Svetlana Leveton would be the first base camp, that much had been agreed upon by the majority yesterday. As this would be the last colonial caravan to reach the outpost, staying over a few days while the groundwork for exploration of the Greenbelt was laid seemed a fair compromise and made the most sense to all.
Everyone had finished up their morning chores, and was beginning to gather for one last go at planning when a light drizzle began to fall, dampening the encampment and metting the modes of the colonists. As if on cue, the weather was almost immediately followed by a royal messenger, a sword-page of the Aldori Sword Lords, requesting the caravan leaders to the fair grounds outside the walls of Restov. Immediately.
The site was where each of the colony groups had departed from Restov, Brevoy and the safety her lands offered. The call was urgent, and without fanfare or pomp everyone gathered, yourselves included, worries mounting at this unexpected summons. At the grounds, his Lord Mayor Iospeh Sellemius, high priest Ezvanki Keegh, and Swordlord Jamandi Aldori were waiting, without train nor aides, alone in a slightly rising drizzle. The Lord Mayor stepped forward as the majority arrived, calling out to be heard over the sloshing boots and falling rain.
I apologize for this unexpected call. You are perhaps the best of the groups to have answered our muster for colonists, surely you most represent the heart and spirit of Rostland and her peoples. For that I fear, you are now in danger. It seems with those who serve and suckle at the teet of the throne now gone, Castellan Dupreux now seems of a mind to withhold the last writ and deny you your place at wrestling the Greenbelt back under the banner of Brevoy. Tomorrow's Oathday was to be your dismissal. The Lord Mayor pauses a moment as the group mutters and curses under half veiled voices at this turn, angers rising.
The high priest of Erastil raised his hand for calm, the air of power the aged man held bringing the volume down and tempers under control. Yes, it seems tomorrow you are to be told that a delay is needed, surely of only a few months, while the plans are revised and the area properly considered for further discussion. We of the council wisely agree with the Castellan's plan, and have been shocked to discover that your group took this unexpected rain as an ill omen, and left early this morning on your journey, no doubt fully departed from your camp in say an hour or so longer, about the time this unnatural rain should reach an end. The smile on his worn and wrinkled face practically beams, the fat cat supping on the unsuspecting canary. Happily he continues. Even now my brethren seek to find out who summoned this sudden storm, a cruel prank which has no doubt caused this grievous and tragic tumble of errors.
Swordlord Aldori steps forth, handing over a well-oiled satchel, packed with scrolls and other important documents, similar to those carried by the other caravans. My aide Percevil will be duly punished I assure you, the youth's head hanging, trying to hide his smile as should a humble servant, for having acquiesced in handing over to you the legal documents that were to be presented tomorrow, or at least would have been had the Castellan not wisely cancelled your investiture. His head shaking, Jamandi continues, I fear Perce was not privy to the Castellan's plans, and had I not been in a meeting with Father Kreegh and the Lord Mayor regarding this storm, I might have been able to stop him and duly prevent your departure. As it is, I and my men will leave Restov in, say two or three hours, in pursuit of your humble band. That you have already fled the grounds will be unfortunate. I will of course need to report back to the Castellan to see if we should pursue you, or let the fortunes ride. In due service to the Dragonscale Throne, of course.
Yes, it would be tragic to report to King Noleksi that we had signed the documents this morning at our meeting, not knowing that they were not to be used yet unaware that the wills of the gods would work such mischief as this. The Lord Mayor shakes his head smiling. It is altogether unfortunate, I had so hoped to be seeing you all again, but you left Brevoy in such haste that goodbyes and hearty farewells were not possible. I did not even get to wish any of you the best of luck
and gods' speed on your journey. You might never learn that the wishes of Brevoy and all of Rostland go with you.
With that, the three men and Percevil smile, nod, and turn to their horses, mounting without looking back and riding off quickly towards Restov.
Looking at your group expectantly, the wagon masters await your orders. Most all look ready to do as the men suggested, but they look to you first. Do they flee for the encampment and pack up for the road? Do they wait out the storm and return to Restov for discussion? Do they wait on the Castellan to make the decision for you? The colonists will look to you for leadership, both now and in the days to come.
Welcome to the campaign kingmakers.
And what happened to the other groups...
belonged to King Noleski Surtova and Brevoy. Varn claimed privilege and took the 18th for himself, seeking to have begun the building process before Drelev had even laid eyes upon his future demesne. With him went the last legionnaires of his Dark Steed Company, the cavalry corps he had lead prior to his joining the Crimson Guard, and a large following of civilians and merchants from Issia. His would be a stronghold loyal to the Dragonscale Throne, anchoring the eastern flanks of the Stolen Lands.
We need to get moving. If we are to undertake this journey, we are to leave now. Everyone should be geared up. Essential preparations have been made. The last minute details were to be today, and they can still tended to once we are underway. However, any further debate must take place on the journey. There is no reason to delay further. Every precious minute is one in which we are not moving forward. At best it will be wasted and at worst we will have to move backward. Are we in agreement?
Agreed Echo Syne, no matter the conditions I am always eager for change of scenery. I feel that we are plenty prepared, and in the event we are ill prepared, nature holds everything that we would need to survive. I could leave now with my sword and shield and live off the land for several days, let alone traveling with a whole caravan stocked with supply.
Excellent. We have some fifty people caring for each other. We can certainly use your survival skills to supplement our supplies.
Returning the caravan, we (I?) make an announcement to the travelers:
Due to the current and impending weather, we are met with but one option. We must, unfortunately, forgo the last day of preparation. We are to be underway directly. Spend these last few moments gathering the last of your necessities and saying the farewells you can. This matter has, as much to my dismay as it is yours, been settled for us by powers clearly beyond our control. If there are any questions that can be answered for you, we will be more than happy to discuss the hasty departure after we get ahead of this rain. Be prepared for anything, after all, 'The temple is close, but the night is cold...and wet it seems.'
|Kenzi the Fledgling Eagle|
There are some murmurs and mutterings amongst the colonists, but for the most part, they fall into line and begin breaking camp, hurrying about as the drizzle continues to fall. The dusty sparse waystop has become a soft muddy mess, the grounds thoroughly soaked and trampled by hoof and heel.
As the horses are backed up to the tongue and hitched into service, a few men and women scurry about gathering what remains of wood stock and provender around the train yard. One older man reports most of the provisions are loaded and ready, the supply wagons tarped and lashed, just one problem he sees. Water barrels tain't full. Done been tree days un we's gots to fill 'em soon. Maybes nots taday, mebs not tomara, but we's gonna need more water right soon. He eyes the city wall in the distance, surely contemplating returning to town and filling up from the city cistern's. A few others likewise look to town, wanting a few more minutes with family, friends and loved ones. They are leaving much behind to take this journey, and none are sure they will ever see the walls of Restov again.
Anyone from Restov or familiar with the road to the Stolen Lands may make an Intelligence check here please. This would be a d20 roll and add your INT modifier, i.e. a 12 INT would be 1d20+1
Quietly directed at the elf, so only those close may hear,
Unfortunately, we don't have the time to spare with the weather moving in, this rain is going to make the road rougher as it is.
And to the group milling about the discussion,
There are a few spots along the Shrike that will be able to fill up. And, we are only a few days from Niv's Crossing.
Echo mounts his horse with exaggerated movements, so as to indicate to the caravan that departure is imminent. He turns to the Caravan and gives a last once over.
Projecting his voice he says, Kenzi is correct, we can delay no longer. Make ready and ride out.
As the colonists scramble to finish collecting their items and gear, mounting the wagons, two men approach the biggest collection of caravan "guardians," your group. A massive man dressed in leathers and furs, his blonde braids well drenched from the rain, and a shorter man, wrapped in a fine brown cloak and ensemble, with a well maintained moustache and groomed appearance.
You recognize them as the guide Ulfric Gromm and the caravan master, Shamus Vendrake.
The shorter man addresses Echo and those with him, seeing him taking charge. We are nearly ready to proceed. Do you have a preference for the order of the train? I generally have them in a staggered formation, with the supply wagons dispersed amongst the colonists. The horses are ready and we should make decent time today, though not as much as hoped for. The man has an air of confidence to him, one which nearly masks his nervousness at the sudden change in itinerary. He absently minded tugs and smooths his jerkin, fidgeting at his cuffs.
The larger man chimes in at that point, assessing the group before him with a critical eye. Ifin we took meals on tha mow, kin makt up sum o' tha time, I thin. Most o thems kin suffer ta loose a litle, eatin lefo'ers n tack tadays. Jess need ta kno, who be up afer leadin, n who be afer takin tha rear, watchin o'er ar arses? Ifin they wans us mowin now, we need ta kno ifin sums crawlin up afer us, keneg? He spits a large wad of chewed greens from his jaw, and opens up a small pouch from his belt, pinching out another glob. Be nice ta hae a few whos wit us tae, shoenin tha folks theys safe too, gaffa.
Echo draws his attention to the two speakers.
Shamus, good sir, staggered will do quite nicely. Thank you. We can adjust the formation as necessary based on conditions ahead. All I ask is that lead and rear wagons be colonists. The extra eyes looking fore and aft may be of use.
Turning his gaze to the shieldsman and the eager eagle,
Grailmont, Kenzi, would you two take rear guard? We can use a good shield at our back. Irakli, would you ride with me at point? Any obstacles that we can't negotiate may have need of your finely sharpened skills.
Addressing the guide,
Mr. Gromm you have an excellent idea, eating on the move. Let us not make that a habit, but the first day shan't kill us. As much as travel time will allow, I would like to supplement our supplies with the fruits of the land. Once we stop for the evening, would you please check with any among the group that may be skilled hunters or foragers/herbalists to be able to assist in those matters?
Aye, I shall hold the rear to ensure no one falls behind as well. And I agree with Gromm, we can have those who are on horse back carry provisions from the front to the back to make sure everyone is fed on the move.
Grailmont tapped his heel into his horse and reared back and started passing the others, keeping a stern look as he trotted to the rear, strapping his sword to his back and holding his shield over his head, keeping the rain from his eyes to keep his eyes from the blinding rain.
As Grailmont and Kenzi ride to the rear of the caravan, the guide Gromm passes back through the wagons, stopping to chat a moment with those he thinks may be able to assist in meeting Syne's request.
Master Vendrake looks around the camp, noting the wagons are in line, the road already becoming rutted from the move into position. There will not be much chance of hiding their passing, but then this is a trade road, it cannot be helped. He turns to Echo, smiling.
I see we are a few fellows shy of your full company. Do I take it we will ride on, and your fellow will make their best time to join us in transit? He steps closer to echo and Irakli, to prevent being overhead by the other wagoneers. Four alone will make poor protectors in the eyes of some here, though I have every faith in your capabilities. To offset any tensions, I think it best to post men ready at arms in each wagon, as an added precaution. With your permission of course, he adds.
Assuming assent, the swarthy merchant steps back and with a flourish of his cape, spins to face the wagons. At Master Syne's suggestion and my honest agreement, let one man per wagon be ready of arms, should something amiss arise in our travels. A few of the guardians are scouting fore and aft, but we must be ready ourselves should the call go out. A driver and guardsman per seat, alternating arcs of vision as the wagons roll. Let's show our guardians we too are ready to defend this caravan and dedicated to retaking the Stolen Lands.
A small cheer echoes from the wagons, in part for the call and in part simply for the release of tensions the good natured cheer allows. The people are nervous at the changes, worried at the need for haste, and rumors will surely follow as to the causes, but they have cast their lots, and the time is now to prove themselves, to the group, to each other, and to themselves.
|Kenzi the Fledgling Eagle|
True to the priest's "prediction" the rain stops less than two hours after the council's visit to the staging grounds. The sun once more appears overhead and the sky is a bright if chilly blue, with only a few clouds remaining.
The roadway becomes firm and sure, with the wagons making good progress. Before long the city of Restov is miles behind the group, and their destination seems that much closer.
The caravan continues it's planned rush, taking meals on the move, past lunch, on after dinner, until the last rays of the sun begin to creep towards the horizon. Vendrake and Gromm signal for a slow down, waving over the guardians.
We could push on till dark, then make camp by torch light, or we can take a side track Gromm knows just ahead, and make camp close by the Shrike. We could refill the water barrels without paying the additional tax at Nivakta's Crossing. The toll to pass through the town is more than enough as it is.
Thar's a few root n fruit plots ne'r thar, we shoulda be ta add a few stock ta our stores, e'en if'n tis a lit'le soon fer tha season. Tha frost should nay hae a kilt off e'erythin'.
Gromm then looks back towards Restov. If'n yer missin' pals dinnae mak't ya soon, they mae ne'er fin't us. We ha'e some decisions ta be makin' in tha day or two, 'bout just wha way we wanna tra'el. I knows a few ol' trade tracks, hae nae been used a years, aber they mae tak't us off tha beaten path 'n lessin' tha risk o' bandits er others a comin' across our path a'ead.
The time to decide is now, with the turn ahead and the wagons looking to you for guidance. What does your group want to do?
Although I have not travelled them, I am familiar with the trails Gromm mentions. A track cuts off this road half a day before the Crossing, skirting the village and eliminating the need to pay the King's Highway toll, his latest attempt to keep Rostland at heel. The track is rarely used because patrols rode it heavy, in the days before the Queen closed Fort Serenko and pulled the troops north. That more than anything gave the bandits the courage to cross the border and harass our peoples so of late.
Gromm spits a glob of juice as the caravan master shifts uncomfortably on the wagon bench before continuing. Past the fort, the track rejoins the roadway for a short stretch before cutting south, down into the Greenbelt, paralleling the road to about a day out of Oleg's trading post.
Gromm nods in agreement as Shamus remarks further. The tracks have been long abandoned and in poor repair, but should be passable with winter reaching an end. We have had decent weather, but not enough for early spring growth to make briars and thickets an issue just yet on either track. As long as the weather holds we should do fine, and we are more likely to find additional provender along such tracks than we would along the main road, which has already been picked well clean by the other caravans.
|Kenzi the Fledgling Eagle|
The caravan takes Gromm's direction and leaves the roadway ahead as dusk begins to fall. After about ten minutes of rolling through scraggly scrub brush and winter blighted ground cover, the group emerges into a large clearing often used in ages past as a way stop for weary travelers. The area is sheltered on all sides by a thin copse of pines and young birch, enough to shield from mild winds and prying eyes. The river can be faintly heard off to the northwest, and aside from the occasional rustle or birdcall, the place is deserted. Several stone rings used for fire pits, a near depleted stack of aged cordwood, and a worn path along the track and out of site towards the river are all that remain from past visitors.
It takes nearly ten minutes overall for each wagon to be pulled into position, allowing for decent lines of sight and support amongst the weary caravan. The wagon drivers begin barking orders and the camp quickly takes shape in the setting sun.
Eight persons, including Gromm, spread out in pairs to look for any supplies to add to the company's stocks. Shamus asks for volunteers to take the water barrels down to the river and begin filling and ferrying them back to the group. A half dozen men start taking down the barrels, topping off as many as they can before soon having empties to roll down the track. In short order, 12 barrels are ready to roll down to the river for filling.
Do we have any volunteers to help us, whether it be to scout for supplies, aid with the wagons, assist with the water barrels, set watches, etc?
Shalmarea & Jhod 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15 The pair manages to find an unpicked bush of fangberries, nestled deep in a thicket. Taking several nasty scratches, they retrieve all they can.
Gromm & Grimscar 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3 The pair returns empty handed, bickering amongst one another about something, but quieting down as they reach the clearing.
Cygnar & Arnama 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19 The pair returns with a trio of coney, taken by bow as they froze by their nest.
Jacobi & Olmira 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11 The pair returns with an apron full of red potates, dug up from a small patch back near the roadway.
Dismounting and tying off his horse, Echo approaches the group.
For now I will assist with the water barrels. As for watches. Lets do four watches, 2 people each. Irakli, find the Elf bowyer and see if she will take the first watch with you. Her sharp eye and sharp bow should serve well. Grailmont, will you and Seamus take the second watch? Kenzi, you and Gromm on the third watch? I will take the last watch. Where is the Crimson clerk woman...Ilimara? She can keep me company, and I have some questions for her.
I question the decision to take the side roads, there is a certain "better the devil you know" thought that keeps ringing through my mind. Ultimately, I think taking the side trail was the correct decision. And we do value the wise council of our esteemed guide and caravan master. That being said, we've little idea what is out there that could be waiting for us. It likely won't be bandits, but that is still possible. I am not too concerned with wild animals as the fire and numbers will keep most of that at bay. There are other things out here. Every story told around a campfire came from legend and myth before. Of course, most of that is no more than that. But occasionally there is a grain of truth. It is "the devil we don't" that we need to be alert for. Keep your eyes open and be at ready. Lets settle in.
My shield and sword are destined for the second watch. However before I take my post, I must find some answers and complete some duties
Grailmont directed his attention to the scounting and grinned as he saw the scouting pairs return with stock, but it faded as he saw Gromm & Grimscar, walking over to them as he saw them empty handed.
Gromm and Grimscar, I don't like to cause trouble between peers, but the fact that you came back empty handed is unacceptable. Take a look at Shalmarea and Jhod, they scratched themselves right nice and still brought back some morsels, so I hope you both plan on making up for this somehow.. He gave the two and angry look as he spoke to them in an agitated, but low voice.
After speaking to the two, he looked over the caravan and began pulling down the cordwood, placing it next to the stone rings before fetching a bunch of leaf and twig, pilling it all in the middle of the ring, pouring a bit of oil over the pile and built a respectable looking pit ready to be ignited at the close of dawn.
After setting up the pit, Grailmont placed his sword and shield to his back, and set out looking for his watch partner Seamus to plan out whose eye would go where
Is it Shamus or Seamus? Wasn't too sure so I thought I would ask.
** spoiler omitted **
Is it Shamus or Seamus? Wasn't too sure so I thought I would ask.
It was to Shamus Echo was referring.
Gromm and Grimscar stop and turn towards Grailmont, their anger and ire redirected at the young man's words. Gromm stops Grimscar's approach with a slap of his arm, his hand smacking a heavy battle axe into the half-orcs chest as the jack loosed his own broadax. The leering lumberjack spits a gob in Grailmont's direction then storms off, elsewhere in the camp. Gromm himself strides over to the youth, his eyes dark and stormy, his axe held low, slightly swinging to and fro as he looms up upon his challenger.
Mucky, ye nae be wantin' ta git inta our spat. Ye nae wanna be tossin' yer paer 'rount e'ter. I twas swattin' tings much scarier tha ye ages ago. Ye be here ta lead n protect, tha be fine, but ye nae git ta wag yer bawls un thud 'em in mae face. Tuck em in an step tae yerself, yer a wee manky manny, yer nae me man juss yet.
Looks around for the female bowyer.
Walks up to some of the people on the caravan.
Have you seen the female elf around?
One of the colonists, grateful for the distraction from the tensions, indicates Shalmarea came back with ol' Jhod, but done got all scratched up. She's with that trollop Naleska now, seeing to her scratches. You can find her at the last wagon, she's hitched up with them.
Did anyone else go with the water detail? Kenzi?
Why must you be so angry, Grailmont? They are working hard, as we all are. It is the first night, we have plenty of provisions. Every member of this caravan is putting his or her life on the line...her trust in the other travelers. Don't be the dagger that cuts at the fabric of that trust. There was no cause for that. They are good folk. They did not laze about. They also did not have any luck, that is all. If this trip is going to be too stressful for you, and you have to let loose your wrath, give it to me. I will take the blame. I asked for volunteers. I asked them to go forage. If you wouild like to place blame and get angry, then it is with me.
Turning to include Gromm and Grimscar: Please gentlmen, we have a great deal of work to do, and a great deal of lives counting on all of us. We don't need to start the first night with a sword measuring contest. Let us all tend to our duties and see to a restful, safe night?
Grailmont clinched his fists as he was towered over and spat at by the now angry lumberjack. Standing resolute up to the man, keeping and narrow brow , but his face turned to a look of confusion as he spoke, but was more intimidated by the fact he could hardly understand the man. Letting his fists go he reflected for a moment and remembered all of the unnecessary fighting he once endured growing up, clenching on to his holy symbol. His face took a sigh of relief once the garbled speech stopped.
My.. Cayden would be ashamed of me for starting such a tussle. I do apologize Gromm, and Echo.. Gromm, it was wrong of my to overstep myself like that, so please, when we reach the trading post all of your drink shall come from my coin, how does that sound?
Grailmont offered, in an attempt to rebuke the hostility he generated between Gromm and himself.
Gromm smiles slightly, taking in the boy and his continued stand, alone even amongst his companions. Thar mae be 'ope fer ya yet laddae. A tru liege laird knows ta read 'is peoples, an lead tha true way. We aint yer armsmen juss yet. Maebe someday, an on tha day, I'll toss tha first flagon in yer name. Till tha day, we mae drink tagether, but I'll buy me own. Ya need ern tha right ta gift tha mead. With that Gromm heads off into camp, still helping organize the place for the evening meal.
[dice=Intimidate]1d20 + 9
Rolling for the Intimidate, dem NPC's got OP rolls mayne
Not all of the NPC's are first level, or NPC classes only. There are leveled characters amongst the colonists. Ulfric for example is a well travelled ranger, having lead caravans from lands as far away as his birthplace in the lands of the Linnorm Kings to here in Brevoy. Imagine one of the Vikings that travelled from Sweden to Baghdad in the 9th-10th centuries along the Volga route, nearly 2400 miles. That's Ulfric. Picture Herger from the 13th Warrior.
A dark haired woman is applying a salve to several cuts and scratches across the back of a fair haired woman, her top off, facing away from Irakli. The healer woman looks to him, sizing him up and down, then looks him dead in the eye. Well, it is a little early for it yet, and I need to finish here first, but yes if you are interested pretty one, my rates are quite reasonable. You will know passion and release I assure you, though if I am to be naked, you should at least let me see your face. The other woman blushes slightly, her skin faintly adding a pink hue, but she does not turn around, merely clutches her blouse closer to her chest.
As he has not posted, I will assume Kenzi will assist Echo and the group collecting water.
The men at down at the waters edge busy themselves collecting buckets in two lines, passing empty and full buckets between the waters and the line of barrels, slowly filling them back to full.
While they do so, Kenzi and Echo watch the river and bank, the far shore lost to silhouette in the gathering shade of dusk. The men talk about the journey to come, and what they plan on doing once the colony is started and they have made homes for themselves.
Oi, I'm gonna send to me mutter, show her I's ain't a failure like me pappy was.
My brother and pa are gonna open the best smithy South of Restov.
Me, first a farm, then a home, then a bride, a full sized fat one, maybe two, that can give me a whole mess of plump little ones to carry on the family name, the Demos name.
As the work continues, I need a Survival or Perception check from the guardians please.
Naleska mutters Your loss pretty one. Shal is all yours when she's ready as she helps Shalmarea pull her blouse back over her head, gently laying the fabric over her back. Blood stains the garment in several small cuts and tears.
Looking over her shoulder, wincing slightly, Shal comments to Irakli, You may speak freely sir, Nallie and I have no secrets. We have known each other too long to start now. What is it you need of me? The woman continues gathering her gear, strapping on a quiver and long knife as Naleski washes off her hands and begins putting several small vials and instruments into her satchel.
After tying up some ends with Gromm, Grailmont went off to find Shamus to make plans for the second guard. Upon locating the man looking over some of of the workers carrying the barrels to and fro, Grailmont cleared his throat behind him.
Greetings Shamus, I'm not sure if Echo notified you, however it was requested of us by him that you and I be the second watch to guard the caravan tonight, you up for the job?
Looks at Shal with kind eyes.
Yes Echo wants me on first watch tonight and I was wondering if you would like to run watch with me,if you feel up to. If not that is OK you have some bad wounds it seems.
These are but scratches. I will be ready for the watch. Along with the guards, we should be able to keep an eye on things. I will seek you out when the meal is done and camp settles out for the night.
Greetings Shamus, I'm not sure if Echo notified you, however it was requested of us by him that you and I be the second watch to guard the caravan tonight, you up for the job?
I had heard such, and I have no trouble with that. Between me, you and the guards, we should be able to keep order.
Leaning in closer, out of earshot of the others, I also heard you ran afoul of Gromm and Grimscar. Gromm has been working hard to keep Grimscar under check, but the man grows bitter and surly the longer he goes without a pint. Placing an arm on Grailmont's shoulder, he leads him aside. Grimscar is a fine woodsman, great eye, but a weakness for drink and free time. He finished a six month job and was in Restov to celebrate. He ended up jailed for nearly destroying a small tavern. He'd drunk nearly his fill, but it was more than the tavern had left to stock. When they tried to throw him out, things got rough. He's nearly sober now, and should stay so until we complete our journey and get the colony underway. Except for the downtime of winter, he is a great asset to have around, and his foreman recommended him highly. Do not pay him worry. Let him sober and you will see his true worth.
As Grailmont moves away, Shamus calls back. And as for Gromm, that you didn't wet yourself, draw a blade, or back down did impress him. I think he may even like you, a little anyways laughing.
Meanwhile at the waters edge, the men continue to load barrels and prepare the full ones for rolling back up to camp. Echo and Kenzi watch over the group, watching for anything amiss the night's denizens awake from their dens.
For Echo 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
For Kenzi 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
Kenzi gives a shout of warning as he spies a snake coiling up near one of the barrel-men, Trayon, who is going on about how it wasn't his fault he lost the mill job, but because the master miller loved half-breeds, giving his job over to one.
Kenzi may make a single standard action in the surprise round, then we need to roll for initiative. I will assume Kenzi and Echo have their weapons on hand. Kenzi does not have a line to charge the snake, but may use ranged weapons or a move to stand between the snake and the men. Echo has line of sight as well, but no charge lane. Both men and within twenty feet of the snake. The barrel-men are unarmed.
The snake 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10 On the left side of the clearing
Ravasaad Demos Init 12 at the water on the left side of the clearing
Tan Kinbond Init 14 at the water on the right side of the clearing
Trayon Loyalar Init 6 on the left side of the clearing
Thorry Carterson Init 2 on the right side of the clearing
Trelvar Silvers Init 15 at the head on the left side of the clearing
Davster Chorster Init 15 at the head on the right side of the clearing
At realization of the minor threat (on his initiative turn), Echo will draw his crossbow and ready an action to shoot the snake if it a clear shot presents itself (snake is not threatening anyone, and he doesn't have to shoot into melee).