As Rema moves toward the other table to see what Shayne has to show everyone, Mal'c returns to the hall. He smiles at the sight of the group, "I see Sadhvis Rema has told you about her quest. I don't wish to interrupt, but I have returned from seeing Master Toe'n. He to has a quest that you might undertake. With these last words his smile nearly vanishes. If you like, the wagon driver has requested we help him return to the valley. Several of those here, including myself will be serving as escort. Master Toe'n has asked me to invite all of you. Mal'c pauses, trying to find the right words. He made it quite clear that you are under no obligation to help in this matter." Mal'c glances at the group and curiously at Shayne's table once he notices the cards. He approaches.
There is are fragments of several letters from a brother that made his way east. Though he returned to the monastery, his mind was lost when he did. He did not speak for the week before he died. Though he uttered the word "water" before he died, the monks were unsure what to think of his last word. They had done their best to feed and provide water for their lost brother during his final days. The monks could never confirm the veracity of the letters. (I'll work up the actual fragments later, but this is the gist of them.) Fragment 1: "I find myself here in the town of Watershed, the last bastion of hope before the desert covers all. I am still working to gain the trust of the locals." Fragment 2: "The merchants I have been helping finally realized I was more than a simple hired hand. It would have been easier if they had remained ignorant. They want me to help them travel into the desert. There are rumors of buried treasure." Fragment 3: "The sand cannot be alive. The scars that will not heal speak a truth I cannot believe." Notes are included, which describe Watershed as a vibrant town to the northeast. The monk that wrote the notes indicates that he is looking for a map that includes the town, but no map has been included.
#2 When Shayne encounters Granita helping in the stables with moving manure...
"Dear, we both know this is not helping. And we both know you do not care. Some day, when you do care... well, if you decide you want to learn how to be more pure I am sure these monks can help. But if you decide you want to be more human then you'll need a Bard."
Granita does her best to smile, but quickly losses control and her temper, "You think you know what is going on!." She throws the shovel toward Shayne, missing widely.
In tears, she sits against the stable wall, "The five of your are the closest I've gotten to making friends in years. If I stay with you.. You may die. If I stay here, the loneliness may kill me." She struggles to smile while she gets up. "I'm sorry. At least Mal'c and Sam will still be here. Mal'c tells me he is going back into the valley. I don't think anyone knows that he helped me." A look of panic crosses Granita's face, "Don't you go!" She is yelling now. "Don't you go with him. Don't you let them go!" Disregarding her dirtied hands, she hurries to embrace Shayne. She mumbles, as she cries freely. "Don't go.. back.. don't.. back there."
Caylen moves over to where Shayne is seated and discussing an augury done with his cards. Rema asks all of the questions her own precocious mind wants to, so she allows the samsaran to field the inquiries.
On discussion of the reading, however, Caylen wrinkles her nose and looks to Rema, then to Shayne. "Doesn't that seem a bit familiar?" She asks rhetorically. "Two paths with a strange," she subtly nods her head to Rema with a crooked smile, "woman. One path that does not lead with her, but to a danger beyond us. It sounds like our options at present."
Presuming Shayne's made the same connections, Caylen's brows furrow in concern. "This means that Mal'c and the others leaving with the wagon are likely in danger. The valley isn't safe, is it? I mean-- you all fled from it... right?"
Shayne replies Rema's questions.
"Beautiful indeed. These decks are an old Varisian traidion and used to ask questions of our ancestors. They once belonged to Hanjah, the Varisian fortune-teller who was a friend of many at this monastery, and was my teacher and the one who adopted me almost as a child after my family's tragedy. Years ago she asked someone here to save this deck for me."
He then explains how he set out the cards, and how their positions in the layout and individual card-meanings created the prophecy.
"...But please do not take offense at being called 'strange woman'. For some reason the cards only have 'strange woman', 'old woman', and 'girl next door'."
Then, in answer to Caylen, "Yes. Mal'c, you are heading into danger. Whether this is more danger than the ogres and cultists that you already know about is unclear. Must the wagon leave now?"
Earlier, after his research...
Before heading from the library to find Granita, Shayne does his best to politely obtain a short audience with Master Toe'n and any other academically inclined monks he has heard about. The gnome has many questions.
What animals might these nomads use to smell out humans, as was done when Shayne's caravan was attacked?
What are "the scars that will not heal"? Do these relate to the burnt hands of Caylen and the halfling Burand? (What is up with those hands, anyway?)
What is "the purging fire"?
What is the name of the village where both Tolin and Master To'en were born? Does someone have a map that shows its location?
Where is Watershed? Who has a map with this town? Is Watershed related to the village where both Tolin and Master To'en were born?
What does Master Toe'n know about Granita? Where was she born? What was her relationship to Tolin and his cult? Who is her father?
After his questions for Master Toe'n, with Granita...
Shayne accepts her embrace, then disengages and repositions to himself so he can stand and hold one of her hands while she continues to kneel.
"Silly dear. I have no idea what is going on."
He looks at her for a moment, then adds:
"I do not know what is going on. I do not know where I am going. I do not even know where I am."
After a quick sigh he continues:
"I am a Varisian, dear. A wanderer, a nomad, a caravan member, a fortune-telling conniving trickster. We never know what is going on, or where we are going. We do not care. Those are not important. Those are not what matter."
He squeezes her hand.
"Who I am? Who I am with? What is my destiny? Those are the three questions. Those are the road to travel, the darkness to explore, the adventure to sing songs about."
"Danger? Death? If I listen to the cards it will neither happen to soon nor too late. I only pray that one day I will be buried with my kapenia and that before that day my deeds become worthy of bardic lore."
He releases her hand.
"Please do not ask a Varisian to stay in one place. We are a part of all we meet. Travel is how we strive, seek, find, and do not yield. Time's winged chariot hurries near. I cannot make the sun stand still, so I will make him run."
He stands, and walks to the rack of tools.
"Also, don't use a shovel in a horse stall. You'll unintentionally help dig a valley made permanent by a river of equine pee. Use these pitchforks that look like thick rakes. You won't be able to pick up every last bit, but no unintentional excavation happens either."
Mal'c nods knowingly, "The man refuses to stay despite his injuries. Perhaps you might be able to convince him to stay? I have consulted with Master Toe'n and plan to see Brother Dow'mis. Both have gifts that I have not yet learned. It is my hope that even if the wagon must depart sooner than is prudent, I can at least learn what dangers might be ahead. Master Toe'n assures me that he will have further insights tomorrow morning."
"I can try and speak with him," Caylen offers, though she seems somewhat hesitant. "We... know each other, at least in passing, thanks to my traveling with his caravan for a time. Though I may be more convincing if there was someone a bit older with me as well."
I can take Caylen to talk to the driver and convince him to stay. She has a +8 Diplomacy modifier, but one other person to come along with her would improve the odds. Either Caylen could use aid another on their Diplomacy check (if their base modifier is higher) or they could aid hers.
No sense in the wagon driver going off and getting himself killed.
Master Toe'n gladly makes time to speak with Shayne.
Granita laughs and wipes her face with the sleeve of her free hand, "I don't spend much time with animals. At least not animals that can't clean up after themselves." She nods her head jokingly toward Shayne as she stands. "Staying on the road will keep you safe. At least if it's the right road." She smiles, but it seems forced.
lol I love having Shayne in the party, he puts so much time into his character/stories/background and i love the referances
Silx begins spending a lot of time in the training rooms, especially with the traps. However, he isn't being a shut in; in fact if anything he seems more talkative, even if it's only about his lessons. He dilligently focuses on his work, and looks tired but confident as he exits each day
Shayne chuckles again, nearly a full laugh this time.
Shayne looks at Caylen and grins. "So okay means I am reassuring but you are not quite sure why."
He walks over to Aak and leans back, lounging against the Half-Orc's leg. "Now, I happen to think I am quite reassuring because I have Aak watching my back. I doubt our best approach is to simply have a young woman whom he once protected ask him very nicely to change his priorities."
Shayne rubs his chin. "What if Aak and I speak with him. Something like...I sweetly say, 'Pardon me, sir, but my mystical divination has clearly revealed that traveling into the valley this week or next will lead to a horrible and painful death.' And then Aak bows and adds in his nice, deep voice, 'Sweet little man, do you have any messages or items we should bring to your next of kin?'"
Shayne walks back to Caylen. "Once he looks from us to you, then you can step up and ask him nicely."
Shayne holds out one elbow to Caylen, as if offering to walk her from the room on the errand. He looks straight ahead, ready to depart, apparently oblivious to the fact that his elbow is not much higher than her knee.
Early that day, when with Master Toe'n...
Shayne asks Master Toe'n is there is any way to contact Burand.
When visiting Granita...
"I should be going. Part of my job as the Bard is to know the things that might save everyone's life. More family names from the village where Toe'n was born. Watershed and water. Desert treasure and living sand. Scars that will not heal and truths that will not be spoken."
Once more able to baffle her with his loquacious ways, Caylen finds herself grinning and shaking her head slowly to Shayne's proposal. "Alright," the young oracle concedes, "I think that sounds like a fair, if not somewhat manipulative, plan."
Though the wry smile on Caylen's lips indicates that she doesn't find this particular use of manipulation to be in any ill-intent.
Caylen will know that the driver's name is Franklin, though the guard almost always called him Frank.
Mal'c leads Caylen and Shayne back to where the wagon was sitting. Several men in women are working on it. From the large open area where the wagon sits Mal'c heads through a door at ground level. The door leads down a hallway to a quick turn that opens to a simple wooden door. Beyond the door is the infirmary. Other than a couple of elderly monks who are having blisters attended to, the driver is the only patient. He is laying flat, but struggles to sit up. He grimaces, though tries to hide it as best he can.
"I believe you remember Caylen," Mal'c smiles and gestures towards her and Shayne. "She has come with her friend Shayne to speak with you about dangers they have learned of. With that Mal'c heads over to check on one of the elderly monks.
This should be good, lol
I hate to railroad someone into doing something they don't wish to do. It goes against everything I stand for, not having the freedom to choose one own actions and choices in life. With that said, I don't want the foolish driver to go get himself killed and leave his family alone and struggling. I will go along with you Shayne in hopes to persuade the man to not do anything foolish or life threatening and in hopes to change his mind Aaks face seems somber in the fact that he has to convince a man to not do something he wishes to do but understands it is for the man's own welfare.
We'll just go on as if Aak came in with the other two.
The man smiles at Caylen, "Don't you think for a moment you'll be able to talk me out of.." He stops short as Aak comes into view. He looks with concern at Mal'c as he walks away, then with clear confusion at Shayne and Caylen. "What is it YOU want? He asks Aak.
A bluff from a man laying in bed is a humorous sight to see for all. It is clear he is in no position to back up his bark with a bite of any kind. Do you laugh off his apparent attempt at playing the tough guy? How do those present respond?
Roll Sense Motive & Perception.
It is my understanding that you wish to risk your very livelihood and actual life to travel back via the pass. My question is why sir? The mountain pass will be horrible, on both counts of weather and clear enemies wishing to seek you harm. You will do no good to your loved ones or your business dead. I ask you to reconsider your position you're taking, travel with us via the underground paths. We are all confident that everyone will get to their destination, in good health. If nothing else the bone-jarring cold will not cut through you to your core.
Diplomacy: 1d20 ⇒ 4
EDIT: so much for that route lol, I let him think he is tough, just simply going to point out the obvious is a polite and non-hostile manner.
The man looks even more confused, "Why should I listen to you? As far as livelihood is concerned, that's exactly why I must return. If what's left of the goods doesn't get delivered I'll have no hope of keeping my job. And.. who..." With a dismissing flap of his hand, the man stops talking.
I cannot make you do something you wish not to do, but I cannot sit idly by and let you do something foolish and possibly life damning, when there is another way. I am sorry if I have upset you in any way, or if my Orc brethren have cast a bad shadow upon me, even though I go against their ilk. I do hope you reconsider the position you are taking, in using the roads to deliver your wares. And let me know if there is anything I can do to ease your pain.
re-attempt Diplomacy: 1d20 ⇒ 4
With those last words, Aak turns around and leaves the room, hoping the rest of the group will have a better time convincing him not to risk his life foolishly.
Sorry friends if I have made the situation worse, words are not my best forte, as Aak leaves the room.
Back in the room with Rema...
Shayne lowers his elbow, and as he gathers his cards he says, "Silx and Rema, are you coming with us? If not, we should return quickly. We have much to discuss."
"Will Vox accompany us? Would Rema introduce us to The Order of the Valiant so we may ask them for advice about traveling to Minmish? Does Rema have the town of Watershed on her maps, and has anyone else heard these monks speak of the significance of that town? Can Burand help Caylen, since they both share the same hands?"
Responding to Caylen, Shayne laughs. "Of course it is manipulative! It is a plan! If we did not want to be manipulative we would say, 'Let's just go talk to him and see what happens.' All plans are manipulative. But think about your life a week ago. Would you have predicted what you have seen and have become? Life is manipulative. Plans are simply the way we counter-manipulate to walk the road of destiny, instead of merely falling off the cliffs of circumstances."
A few moments later, Shayne stops walking towards the infirmary when Aak speaks his mind. Shayne points at Aak and says, "Yes, we want to allow people to do what they wish. However, almost no one really knows what they want. Most people do not even really know what they need!"
"Consider this wagon driver. He wishes to have health and income for himself (and perhaps for a family). He may wish other things due to other obligations or desires. Of course we respect those wishes. But need those goals include departing now? Need they include traveling to the valley? Need they include his proposed route? Perhaps he is unmarried and his deepest desire is to find a good wife, and helping him relocate to Minmish (with our safe escort and a share of any monster loot we find) is actually what he wishes most but would barely think of and never brave to ask from us?"
"Again, think about yourself a week ago. What were you wanting? What did you think you need? Looking back in hindsight, were either of those accurate or relevant?"
"It is good to honor people's deep desires. But it is often pointless to honor their wants and needs. Instead, know yourself. If you can become one of the rare few who do truly understand your wants and needs then you can proclaim 'This is me! This is where I am going! Do you want to come with me?' And that will best allow you to help the people you meet."
Perception 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (3) - 1 = 2
Sense Motive 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (14) - 1 = 13
I will wait to compose Shayne's works to Franklin the wagon driver until learning if the Sense Motive roll provides any clues.
Before Shayne, Aak, and Caylen leave.
Glancing at the other table and the scattered papers, maps, and notes. "I'm afraid I need to organize my things. I will wait here for you all to return." Is Shayne asking the other questions or stating that they need to be addressed?
Speaking to Franklin.
Shayne looks at Franklin for a moment.
"Hello again. Sorry to intrude. This morning my divinations told me that the only safe way to Minmish and its valley was through a special route known to Rema. We wanted to visit you, and invite you to join us."
Shayne walks to the wall nearest Franklin.
"I know that nomads who normally live near the town of Watershed have been hired by the Purging Fire Cult to attack all merchants and caravans in these mountains. I have seen their destruction. Here is one scene burned into my eyes."
Very quietly, to no one in the room, Shayne whispers, "Forgive me, please."
Then Shayne taps the wall several times (he is actually casting Silent Image, but drawing attention to the wall instead). Upon the wall a moving mural appears. It is a still image like a painting, but panoramic: the image slowly slides to the right to reveal the entire 360-degree scene of what Shayne saw when he returned to his caravan after it was destroyed.
Speaking is difficult for Shayne. In a quiet croak he says, "Do what you want, Franklin. If you will not join me and let our group protect you, then I can only warn you that on other roads being careful will not be sufficient."
Franklin is clearly shaken by the scene. "I will take your advice to heart. The monks tell me that the way south in the mountains is safer than heading back into the valley. Weather is really the only problem. Perhaps I can make arrangements to head south, rather than back into the valley were we first encountered one another." A look of thoughtful consideration settles over him.
Shayne nods to Franklin, and tap again on the wall as he ends the moving mural. "Caylen or I will return once we have finished making our plans. We still need to talk to a few knowledgeable people here and at the nearby stronghold The Order of the Valiant. We will keep you informed about what we learn, and how far our plans may overlap."
Shayne then turns to the others in the room, including the old monks. "My apologies."
He leaves quickly, muttering. "Come, Rema and Silx are waiting." Not only is Shayne forgetting his pleases, but his legs are a little shaky.
Is Shayne asking the other questions or stating that they need to be addressed?
(And still waiting from Lareg to continue the dialogues with Master Toe'n and with Granita.)
To Master Toe'n
"Yes, please. Just so Burand knows about Caylen, and that she might benefit from his guidance in understanding her calling."
Is she lying? Sense Motive 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (6) - 1 = 5
Shayne does not smile back. He looks at Granita until the silence becomes awkward, hoping that trick will prompt her to say something.
After leaving the infirmary
Shayne looks at Aak several times during the walk back to Rema.
Eventually he stops, faces Aak, and sighs. "You did apologize. I do forgive you."
Back with Rema and the others
"Well, that was dreadful. We were successful. But what I hoped to accomplish through honoring our teamwork and a friendly ally being intimidating we instead accomplished by dishonoring the dead and a harsh reality being intimidating. Well, on with our plans. Should we start with my questions, or with something else?"
Rema looks up from the pile of things she is trying to organize. "I'm sorry to hear things didn't go as you had hoped. Looking at Shayne, "I'd be happy to answer your questions as best I can. Looking around as if expecting to see someone. Has anyone seen Voz?"
With Master Toe'n
Shayne thanks Master Toe'n. If the conversation seems complete, Shayne bows and leaves.
Shayne sighs. "Sorry. I guess I'm postponing my last questions. Your father is one of the bad guys, right? And they are hunting us. If I see him, will I recognize him? Do you want me to say anything to him? If I have to kill him, do you want to know about it?"
Asking this genuinely troubles Shayne.
I am not sure when Shayne has last seen Voz. I also realize I accidentally put Silx's name in Shayne's words at the infirmary. When Silx catches up with posting, he should feel free to retcon that and have come to the infirmary if he wishes.