Khasos inclines his head respectfully to the guard, setting his hands onto his belt far from any weapons and taking a relaxed posture.
"Greetings, Captain Swift, I'm pleased to make your acquaintance. I am Khasos Sky-talker, a devotee of the Lady Selune. My home is with the Thunderbeast Uthgardt of Icewind Dale; I have been traveling with my companions, here, for some time."
Khasos introduces all of his compaions the party by name.
"Some of them are in that dwelling yonder, the home of Master Jorun Tamewater. We are adventurers...I suppose you could call us a mercenary company, as is quite common in the city. As for what happened...well, we're still trying to puzzle out exactly what has occurred. Here is what we know.
We were sitting in the Salty Dog Tavern, beginning our evening with some ale, when I heard a sound like thunder coming from the north. At first, I thought it may have been natural, but repeated occurrences followed by cries for help left me with no doubt that something was very wrong. I rallied my companions and we went to see what we could do to help.
We caught sight of the fire in the harbor, and made our way there immediately. As we did so, we noticed that the cries for help had fallen silent. We saw some Goblins over the prone figures of guards, rendered unconscious. The Goblins spoke of telling their raid leader, Vghotan, that the town was asleep and fair game. Ah, I should explain, I speak the Goblin tongue, and several others...a handy skill!
We defeated the Goblins that threatened the guards and helped them. Rieg and Bron, they gave their names as. They were injured, though, and Rieg wanted to make sure his fellow, Bron, was all right. We consented to further investigate this attack while he tended Bron."
At this point, Khasos will gesture towards Chiglet.
"One of the Goblins survived, and actually has been quite helpful and forthcoming. In fact, when appropriate, I would like to speak on his behalf and perhaps find a fate for him that doesn't end in execution; I believe he can be more than a monster, if given the chance.
In any case, Chiglet here told me where to find their raid leader; it seems that some of the Goblins were accomplished sappers and miners, and had tunneled their way through a network of old caves into the harbor district. We resolved to undertake this course of action; some of our number would seek out Vghotan and ensure he could cause no further harm, and some of us would continue to patrol the harbor to ensure that the people were safe."
At this point, Khasos pauses, sorrow suffusing his features.
"We...found a pair of guardsmen we were too late to help. They had already been slain. We found the band that had committed this foul deed engaged in combat with Master Jorun. We interceded, aiding him, ending the Goblins and healing his wounds. Afterwards, he gave us the gift of hospitality and allowed us the use of this shed to interrogate Chiglet a bit further.
It appears these Goblins have not been acting alone. There are five goblin-tribes led by a bugbear named Guthma. According to Chiglet, Guthma is not even the primary power; he referred to 'masters', referencing a sort of Elf I have never heard of, with fiery eyes, strange skin and powerful magics."
Khasos took a deep breath...that had been a lot of talking.
"If I left anything out, Tyrek, please let me know, but I'm relatively certain that was all of it!"
Thâdænn aids his comrades in exiting Jorun's home and heads out slowly into the night to appear before the guards. "Thank you for the kindness, Jorun... until we meet again," the sorcerer says as he bows his head in deference.
Leading Nilah and Griff back into the streets, he raises a hand to show it empty to the guards as they approach. Then, smiling and nodding, he points to Khasos as he speaks to the Captain and then points back to himself. Speaking in a low, calm voice to the nearest guard, the dwarf continues, "We're with the well-spoken half-orc... it appears my two friends here have fallen into a bit of shock.. what, with the battle against those little goblin buggers and all. Jorun and I thought that a wee bit of nip would take the edge off their nerves... seems they don't share our dwarven constitution and taste for the finer spirits." Thâdænn pats Griff on the back and helps Nilah push back her hair, exposing her faint smile and glossy eyes. "See! They're feeling much better already."
"I'm definitely not having what they're having." Tyrek says, eyeing the two currently inebriated companions with a raised brow.
Looking over at Khasos with a shrug, the illuskan is typically brief. "Yeah, seems good to me. What're you guys paying for 'problem solvers'? I'm bored."
I hope the guards assume that means our adventuring group is called Problem Solvers. lol
Thomas eyes off the rest of the group briefly as they clamber out of Jorun's home before returning his attention to Khasos' tale. He listens intently as the half orc finishes his summary of the night's events, a troubled expression etched upon his weary face.
"Well, I'm glad to see at least one of the mercenary companies here is interested in earning their keep. Well done, I'm impressed." he replies curtly as he sheathes his blade.
"I respect that you've earned the trust of this goblin here enough to have him share so much information willingly, but we have protocols to abide by. I'm going to have to take him with me, he'll be placed in the stockades until such a time that we can determine exactly what his fate shall be. Lord Ulbrec will be interested in hearing your account firsthand; report to the barracks first thing tomorrow morning and I'll escort you personally. I'll make sure the harbor guards have your names, you'll have permission to enter the town proper under my authority. For now, I suggest you retire to your beds and rest up, I have a suspicion that tomorrow is going to be a busy day for you all." he says. With a gesture from their commander, two of the guards move to collect Chiglet as the rest of the formation disperses to begin a reconnaissance patrol of the harbor.
As the guards begin dragging Chiglet off to the stockade, Griff shrugs unconcernedly. No skin off my ass if they execute the damn thing. Khasos seems to have grown attached though, so hopefully for his sake they'll let the little rat go. He thumps Khasos on the back and begins heading back to the tavern. "Come on, I'm sure he'll be fine till tomorrow. We'll get'im out first thing, I promise. A drink 'er two will perk you up, then before you know it the sun will be up and that sniveling little rat will be free to cause mayhem again." He grins, attempting to be reassuring.
Walking back to the Salty Dog, he remembers the two guardsmen they had rescued earlier and the promise of free ale, and a smile grows slowly across his face.
Nilah returns to her room to at least have a rest before continuing any revelry. The firewater was wicked on her mind and left her feeling out of sorts. "I'll see you folks in a while... or maybe the morning."
As you all return to the Salty Dog tavern, any thought of celebration is quickly overthrown by thoughts of your warm bed. The tavern is closed, and and you wearily enter you see the barkeep, Brogan, mopping the floors and tidying up the mess left by the occupants from the night before. You realise that dawn is probably only a few hours away, and the idea of sleep suddenly become very appealing.
The next morning, you make your way down to the common to for breakfast. Brogan himself brings your meal out, consisting of crispy fried bacon and toasted buttery bread, with eggs on the side and bitter strong coffee.
"Seems ye've made a friend in young Cap'n Thomas. He passed by early this morning and paid up yer debts for the room an' drink for the last tenday, and for breakfast this morning. Eat up, that's the last of me winter stores for bacon. Cost him a fair bit 'o coin, mind." he grumbles, licking his lips jealously as he serves your meal. The other mercenaries look to your delicious meal with a similar expression before starting on their own breakfasts, mostly of boiled oats served with Brogan's infamous 'Mystery Stew'. You are glad to taste something different for once, as rumour has it that the mystery ingredients in Brogan's stew include rats caught from the cellar.
Is there anything you guys want to do before heading up top to report to the barracks?
Khasos nods at the captain.
"We will do as you say. I would ask one boon of you. I understand that there are laws and procedures that must be adhered to. I would simply ask that before the fate of this Goblin is decided, I be allowed to speak to whomever makes that decision."
Khasos bows politely, then leaves, suddenly exhausted by the events of the night.
Can supplies be purchased in the harbor before we enter the city proper?
There's an Uthgardt trader who has been staying at the Salty Dog for the past few weeks. His caravan is outside, and he has a strange assortment of wares. His name is Guthewulfe, you can try your luck with him? Otherwise there is a trading coster up in the city you'll be able to access after speaking with Lord Ulbrec. What were you hoping to purchase?
Nilah sits after the lavish breakfast. Sipping her black coffee until the party is ready to head into town.
Oh man, I got worried at what I missed when I saw 8 new posts. lol
Tyrek grins openly at the other mercenaries while he enjoys his excellent meal. Luck hadn't been on his side much in his life. It's certainly his prerogative if he wants to enjoy it in his own way when it is. That's his thought on it, anyway. Nice to be in the right place at the right time for once. Can't expect my luck to hold up though.
The illuskan man tucks away his meal rather quickly and taps his fingers on the bar top impatiently while he waits, though he's not entirely certain what he's waiting for, exactly.
"I guess we gotta go tell this Lord Ulbric a story then. The same damned Lord Ulbric that caged us in here for a tenday." Tyrek shakes his head in an expression that seems like self-disappointment. He'll go. But he's not happy with this particular lord.
Ready to go.
Griff wolfs down his meal with glee. "That Cap'n Thomas is a pretty good guy, payin' our tab like this. Hopefully Lord Ulbric is half as generous as he is; we could make some pretty good coin around here."
He notices the jealous looks being thrown his way and breaks into a wide, taunting smile. "What's the matter fellas? Breakfast not too appetizing this mornin'? Mine's delicious!" He picks a piece of bacon up to his face and inhales deeply, putting on a show of enjoying the smell. Popping it into his mouth, he licks his fingers while staring across the room at the other mercenaries the whole time. "Absolutely delicious!"
When he's finished his meal he pushes the plate away and leans back, rubbing his stomach. "We ready to head out? Should probably get goin' before Ulbrec gets impatient and decides not to look too kindly on our little adventure yesterday."
The jealous glances intensify as Griff flaunts his meal in the face of the other patrons. Some stare menacingly, others return to their lackluster breakfasts with a grumble of disappointment.
Nilah finishes up and approaches the large, rather loud Uthgardt trader who has taken up residence in the Salty Dog of late. Guthewulfe is a strange character, and after challenging the tiefling to a drinking competition which she politely refuses (it is breakfast time after all), he agrees to allow her to peruse his wares. She manages to barter a fair price for a healing potion, and returns to the table after finalizing her purchase.
You all finish up your meals feeling satisfied and prepared for whatever the day may hold. Departing the Salty Dog is a different experience this morning; the usual allocation of four militia guards for the harbor has been doubled, and the whole district bustles with unfamiliar faces cleaning up the mess left behind after last night's battle. As you pass the partially burnt warehouse where this all began, you can see that it is cordoned off and a number of figures move about inside, investigating the interior of the building.
The two guards posted to the entrance of the town proper halt you, then take your names before allowing passage. You make you way up the myriad of wooden steps before reaching Targos herself. Looking back down over the cliff, the harbor already seems like a bad memory. A crisp, winter breeze blows in from across the Shaengarne river as the sun finds a gap in the clouds to shine down upon the town, and you feel that today is the beginning of a new chapter in your lives.
You make your way through Targos, en route to the barracks to find Captain Swift. The town looks devastated, as a number of buildings seem to have been partially or completely torn down to provide wood for Lord Ulbrec's most recent defensive addition to Targos; the Palisade. Some homes even appear to have been completely abandoned, with notes scratched on doors and walls stating the destination of the previous occupants.
You finally reach the barracks, where Captain Swift awaits patiently outside.
"Ah, you've arrived. I trust you are all well rested, and your stomachs are full?" he asks, with the slightest hint of a smile before his face returns to his default, stern expression.
"Before we speak with Lord Ulbrec, I require a moment of your time. Please, follow me." he states matter-of-factly as he leads you into the barracks.
Khasos nods and responds politely, following the Captain as requested.
After climbing the steps and looking out over the cliff, Nilah pauses for a moment to think of all the ground that she's covered searching for her lost loved one. She can easily see and recognize many spots, and yet still sees many more sites around the ten towns that she didn't get to. With what she's getting herself into it may be a while before she can continue meaningful searching. On the other hand, that search was becoming more and more futile, maybe it was time to see if answers would come to her instead. She detested trying the same thing over and over.
She listens listlessly to the captain and follows Khasos' lead.
The barracks are plain and pragmatic, with little decoration inside save for a small shrine dedicated to Tempus, and another to Gwaeron Windstorm. Captain Swift escorts you all into a small room.
"We recovered the bodies of all of the fallen Goblins last night. The leader, I believe your friend named him as Vghotan, had nothing on his person. Before we proceed to our appointment with the Lord, it is imperative that you divulge any further information you may have found in his possession. We need to paint a clear, concise picture of exactly what we're dealing with here. So, did you find anything on the Goblin which may have slipped your mind last night?" he asks, tapping his fingers on the desk in front of him.
|Tuva Black Raven|
Uuugh I got no notifications of new posts
Tuva does her best to keep up in the whirlwind of activities. She is thankful for the meal, at least, though a bit dazed - clearly feeling like she hasn't really been heroic, or really even noteworthy in this whole altercation.
When Captain Swift asks about the fallen goblins, Tuva shakes her head silently, but doesn't say anything aloud - in case someone else remembers an item that she does not.
"Uh, it was me and Tyrek that went and took care of Vghotan. He had a couple pieces of paper on him. I think Tyrek took 'em, maybe. I didn't see what they was though, coulda been anything." Griff looks over at Tyrek for confirmation.
"'Course, I had a few drinks in me already by that point, so I could be wrong. The damn goblin stuck me and I was kinda pissed off about the whole thing at the time."
"Indeed, when we met last night, our companions had quite literally just returned from defeating Vghotan. I was unaware of anything on his person. My apologies for the oversight. Tyrek?"
The illuskan frowns as he digs through his pack. "Where in the Nine Hells did I put those damned things?"
After a few minutes of shuffling things around in his pack, Tyrek finally gets frustrated and dumps the entire contents of his pack on the floor. Almost mockingly, a pair of vellums float gently out after the rest of his gear. One, a crude map of Targos, the other something different entirely. Warm to the touch, the parchment smells of brimstone and has strange writing etched on it.
"The damned goblin had those damned parchments." The illuskan stomps away to cool off, his gear still scattered on the ground.
Nilah notices the floating vellums and focuses on them a bit more to look for any more interesting details about them.
Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 5
After a very brief scan she looks away and waits to see what the captain does next.
Captain Swift collects the scrap of parchment and the vellum scroll, rolling them out on the desk for all to see.
"I understand that some details were missed in your report last night; you're not soldiers, and I'm not surprised that in the excitement of last night's events that some details were forgotten. I only clued in that something may have been taken when I personally inspected Vghotan and found him disarmed. No harm done." he states calmly as he looks over the papers.
"This map is a little crude, but it's reasonably accurate. This scrawl down here is written in goblin, though it's far better than the chicken scratch most of them produce when given an unknown. Looks like details of the patrol routes and timings..." he says, the familiar troubled expression crossing his face once more.
"This confirms our suspicions of a traitor in our midst. I'm unfamiliar with the writing on this second scroll though, can any of you recognise it? Otherwise it might be worth showing to Lord Ulbrec's wife, Elytharra. She's an elf-maid, a wizard of no small skill and she may be able to decipher it."he says, rubbing his temples.
Thadaenn Spellcraft: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
Tuva Spellcraft: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
Tyrek Spellcraft: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Khasos Spellcraft: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Thâdænn takes a long look at the scroll, then scratches his beard. "Hmm, I don't recognize the main script, but several of these markings are arcane runes... possibly from a teleportation type spell. Perhaps this was used to transport goblins into the city... or it could be in preparation to take something out of the city!"
The Captain escorts you through the streets of Targos toward Lord Ulbrec's estate. The manor is situated on the eastern edge of the cliff face, and is easily the largest building in the city. You enter the building and are directed to Lord Ulbrec's war room. Bookcases line the walls, along with a few scattered chests. In the rear corner of the room you see a mannequin adorned in a dusty suit of plate armour, bearing markings typical of a Neverwintan soldier. A well dressed man stands over a table, inspecting various maps and documents. Though he is obviously in his late fifties, he has the strong posture and build of a warrior. At your approach, he places the piece of parchment he is holding onto the table and addresses you.
"You must be the mercenaries who intervened at the docks last night. I've already heard of your efforts, and Targos thanks you for your quick thinking and initiative. Captain Swift has given me a brief report of your activities last night, but I wanted to hear it straight from the horse's mouth. So, what can you tell me?" he asks.
Tyrek spends a few moments gathering up the contents of his pack with a scowl, tossing them in every-which way. Maybe if he were more organized...
The illuskan mumbles under his breath, not-quite soft enough to go unheard. "Maybe if weren't locked in the docks, we wouldn't have needed to be so quick-thinking." Fairly irrational, as the attack happened in the docks, but he's a moody individual.
With a scowl, he leaves the actual recap to someone else. Tyrek isn't good at pretending, and this Lord Ulbrec guy is still on his s+*~ list.
Nilah is unsure of the general attitude towards Tieflings, especially with regards to local authorities. She keeps quiet for now but watches Lord Ulbrec for any specific reaction to her presence.
Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 6
Khasos raises an eyebrow at Tyrek's comment, but says nothing. Instead, he respectfully relays, nearly verbatim, the same story he told Captain Swift the night before.
"You were 'locked in the docks' with all of the other companies for a reason, young man. Many unsavoury types floated in upon the Shaengarne chasing coin, and we couldn't be sure where their loyalties lie. That tongue of yours could get you in trouble, I'd watch your tone lest some consider your comments to be insubordinate." Ulbrec replies to Tyrek in an equally barbed tone. His eyes briefly flick towards Nilah at the mention of the word 'unsavory', pausing for just a moment. The stresses of late are clearly affecting the Lord, and you all get the impression that his patience has worn quite thin.
"Hmm, these are bad tidings indeed. The actions you describe are not typical of goblins, they seem far more organised, more... tactical." muses Ulbrec. Moments later, a tall Elven woman enters the room. Her blond hair flows like liquid gold, framing her perfectly symmetrical features. She looks to you all with eyes the colour of emeralds before approaching the desk.
"I overheard your discussion from the study, Milord. May I see this scroll you recovered?" she asks, her voice gentle and sweet like honey.
As she looks over the piece of vellum, her features crinkle into a frown. "Master Dwarf, I feared your appraisal is correct. This seems to pertain to some kind of teleportation magic, though even I am unfamiliar with the script within which it is written. Perhaps Phaen would be able to decipher it?" she says, offering her suggestion to the Lord.
"Indeed, he may. So, adventurers, I request your aid once more. Are you willing to enter the employ of the city of Targos? I require you to take this scroll to another mage in town, one who goes by the name of Phaen. I trust I don't need to add that this is a confidential issue; the less people who know about it the better. You'll be compensated for your efforts, I assure you." says Ulbrec, turning to you all once more.
|Tuva Black Raven|
Tuva looks at the floor, then looks at her companions, then says haltlingly, "If the goblins are organized by someone, then they are just a... precursor to something larger. Something more dangerous."
"The other Ten Towns, and the tribes, could already be suffering the same kinds of attacks, and we wouldn't know until we hear from survivors days later."
"I fear you may be right, but that gives us all the more reason to figure out exactly what we're up against." Lady Elytharra replies to Tuva.
"You wear the trappings of an Uthgardt, from which tribe do you hail? I understand your concern, and I want you to know that we'll do everything in our power to ensure the Ten Towns and the tribes of the north don't fall to this horde." she says calmly, though a hint of sadness shines through her eyes.
|Tuva Black Raven|
"My heritage is that of the Black Raven tribe," she replies. Her raven familiar, bobbing on her shoulder, turns first this way, then that, giving a bit of the side-eye.
"What... how do you think we can blunt this horde?" she asks, looking at the small group. "Even the Uthgardt tribes are troubled by goblins, and some of us are hundreds of warriors strong."
"I agree, the goblins and orcs have long been a problem for all northlanders. The fact they they are rallying together is fearsome, and divided we will surely fall to their might. However, we are not divided. As we speak, scouts from Targos are gathering information as to the precise size and hopefully location of the enemy forces, while emissaries have been dispatched to the other towns along with Kuldahar and Neverwinter requesting aid. We will band together, and if the tribes of the north are willing to join as well then surely we will have a stronger chance of besting whatever enemy we face." Lady Elytharra says proudly.
"Elytharra! Enough! These mercenaries need not know our every intention!" Ulbrec interjects, clearly seething that his wife has overstepped her boundaries.
"Lord Ulbrec, "Thâdænn says with much defference. "Fear not that any information will leave our company. We may not be part of your court, but our reputation and discretion is of utmost importance. We will not betray your confidence," he continues looking at the others and nodding as though looking for their acquiescence. His eyes fall upon Tyrek. Raising an eyebrow, he catches the oracle's gaze and then re-directs his eyes to the lord before them.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Judging that he may have been too open about his feelings, Tyrek decides to keep his mouth shut. He does not respond to the lord and he looks rather broody doing it, too.
Anyone who knows Tyrek, knows how much he hates secrets. Both keeping them and finding that others keep them.
With a sigh, Tyrek shakes his head and speaks up. "Look. I may not like secrets, but I know when it's important to keep my mouth shut. While I may not give a damn about offending you, the last thing I want is for the enemy to know your plans. Believe it or not, I have no desire to see your people slaughtered by goblins. So, if you want someone who has his priorities straight and will get the job done, no matter what, then I'm in, but you have to be straight with us. If you want someone who will be nice and who you can lie to and hide things from, well, you'll want to look elsewhere."
Tyrek stares at Lord Ulbrec with a gaze so intense that tiny actual flames form at the corners of his eyes.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
Nice rolls, lads!
Ulbrec's expression softens for a brief moment at the words of Thadaenn and Tyrek. You glimpse the utter exhaustion etched upon his face, and it's clear to see that the very real threat to Targos and the Ten Towns has caused more than a few sleepless nights for the lord mayor.
"I...I understand. Forgive my harsh words; these attacks are wearing thin my patience. Of course you are trustworthy; why else would you prevent a potentially devastating attack on our town? I'll be 'straight' with you from now on." he says.
"So, what say you then? If you're up to the task of taking this scroll to Phaen I must warn you, he has quite the acidic tongue. You two may even get along." he says to Tyrek with the slightest smirk.
Tyrek returns the smirk and rubs his hands together. "Let's see how acid and fire mix." Hopefully he doesn't mean that literally.
Good to move on to Phaen anytime. :)
Griff has been standing quietly by the door this whole time. Meeting with lords and ladies is quite a bit outside his comfort zone. Now, with the chance to leave town and stretch his legs, even if only to travel to another of the small towns, his mood visibly picks up. "Alright, we should probably get goin' then."
He heads outside, not waiting to see if he is followed.
|Tuva Black Raven|
Tuva curtseys to Ulbrec, unsure of how to take this sudden change of heart. She seems to be unused to the idea of local lords being argued with in their own hall and the arguer getting away without any broken limbs. Finally, she backs away, and after three steps she turns to exit, skirts swishing as she hikes them up so that they won't catch in the snow.
Khasos bows respectfully, then leaves, pulling up beside Tuva and whispering.
"Not exactly like back home, eh? I keep half-expecting for someone to pull out a greatsword and challenge the offending party to trial by combat!"
|Tuva Black Raven|
As Nilah gets up to leave she glares at Ulbrec for a brief moment over his "unsavory" comment. She suspects his change of heart may still not include her, as folk tend to have their minds pretty well made up about those with demonic blood.
After she exits the room and rejoins the others...
"Well, I expect a wizard will play less authority games with us before getting down to business. Let's go see what this acidic tongue has to say about the scroll."
"Excellent. I'll organise rooms for you all at the Weeping Widow Inn, I trust you'll find it far more accomodating than your lodgings at the Salty Dog. From now on, you'll report directly to Captain Swift. Return to him after speaking with Phaen for your payment. Standard fee for mercenaries is 1 gold piece per tenday, however your actions at the docks last night warrant a greater reward. Consider this your hazard pay." Lord Ulbrec remarks as he hands you all a pouch containing 20 gold pieces each.
"If there's nothing else, good luck on your endeavours." he says, returning to the stack of papers scattered on his desk.
Khasos makes his way to Phaen.
Captain Swift gives you directions to Phaen's abode, an old warehouse on the outskirts of Targos. You find it odd that his residence is outside of the palisade, until the Captain explains that the mage specialises in necromancy. He also informs you that Phaen also belongs to one of the companies which sailed into Targos a few weeks ago, The Iron Collar Mercenaries. Phaen was allowed entry to the city due to his particular skillset; Lord Ulbrec found it convenient to have an ally who could converse with dead goblins, and his efforts have provided some intelligence to the guardsmen in preparing for the pepper pot of assaults they've faced recently.
You arrive at the warehouse, and knock loudly on the door. There is no answer, but the door is unlocked...