Shalina looks at Gerrick apologetically, |Where are my manners. If you don't mind, you can share my water and have some of my rations." She digs in her bag and pulls out what she needs, "This will tide you over until we can get somewhere safe."
"Do you know of somewhere safe that we can go so that we can all rest? It'll be difficult getting back into the camp during the day anyways. I think the cover of darkness will be our friend."
The lizardfolk takes the rations, clearly trying his best to hide his hunger and thirst. he eats with a studied slowness that is obviously very hard to maintain. Again Shalina notes Gerrik's thin physique and visible ribs. her old anger at slavery burns in her belly but she puts it away for now. There would be time to correct these wrongs, but not right now.
He nods when Shalina asks, "Many safe places. Places no Chelish could find in the swamps. Whatever they might think, this is my home not theirs. Places no other, not matter how beaten, would reveal. Shall we go now?" The small man hesitates, clearly wondering how far he can trek in his current condition.
Shalina looks at Tekk before nodding at Gerrik, "Yes, we should go. But can we bring our captives? We can blindfold them if you want to keep your places safe. Otherwise, I will need to speak with them before we leave."
She smiles gently, "And don't worry about whether you are strong enough to travel. I will help you in any way I can, even if that means carrying you on my back."
Btw, I don't think you introduced yourself to Gerrik? Very unlike you
Gerrik nods at the captives, "No need for blindfolds. They will be lost in moments, even with their eyes. The paths we take are not to be learned after one trip. Although I am not sure why you bother. Do they know things of value?"
When Shalina suggest carrying him the lizardfolk freezes in place, eyes fixed on the human's face. After a few moments he says, voice rough, "You do me too much honor, woman from beyond the seas. But the intent is well said." Then he gives a smile, "Let us see if I can still handle the paths of my home."
Not sure what post it was but I did...She approaches the lizardfolk, "I'm glad to see that you managed to avoid the guards and escape. I was hoping that my little ruse wouldn't be in vain. My name is Shalina and I see that you've met Tekk. I'm hoping that we can become allies and hopefully free more of your people."
Shalina tries to explain, "It's not that they know things of value to me, other than things they would know about the guards in the camp, but rather I don't want them returning to the camp. They may make it more difficult for us if they were to return but it's not in my nature to kill them for no other reason than being born where they were. And I think we can use their uniforms."
She returns his smile, "The strength you have to have survived Chelish enslavement for at least two years will be more than enough to handle the paths of your home. But everyone needs help once in awhile so I'm here if you need it."
Turning to Tekk, she says, "It looks like Gerrik is going to take us somewhere safe where we can rest and plan. We'll need to wake the sleeping beauties and get them on their feet."
Gerrik shrugs and says, "Fair enough. I will wait for you to get them ready to travel. Warn them to follow us very carefully." He grins, sharp teeth glinting in the gray dawn light, "We wouldn't want them to get lost."
Tekk nods and says, "Sounds fair enough. So, how did you little search go? I have to admit, waiting her alone was not easy. I hope it was worth it."
I assume you tell him everything as you walk over to the Chelish?
The two captives are already waking, rubbing red eyes in the rising light. Both glance from Tekk to Shalina and back again. They ignore their captors weapons very carefully. The older Chelish guard says, "Well? Have you decided what to do with us?" His voice made very clear what he thought was about to happen.
Shalina wants to tell Tekk all about the camp but is also hesitant to tell him about who she met at the camp. "My search was both a failure and a success if that makes any sense. A failure because I had to kill someone which ultimately lead to them raising the alarm of intruders. A success in that Gerrik escaped and I met someone who could be helpful...but..." At this point she puts her hand on Tekk's arm to make him look at her. "Before I tell you more, you have to promise not to freak out."
Yes, of course she'll fill him in
She looks down at the guards and crosses her arms, "What we do depends totally on you. After visiting the camp I've learned more information about Inck that I would hope would change your mind so that you'd agree to help us after all. And if you still don't want to help then...we strip you and take you with us."
The guards look rough, with wan faces and red-rimmed eyes. Whatever little sleep they had managed to snatch that night had clearly not been enough. Shalina can imagine how poorly she would sleep, tied to a tree in a swamp, at the mercy of her seemingly evil captors.
"Can we have some water?" One of them finally asks, then says, "We didn't get any yesterday..."
Tekk pulls out his waterskin but says, "Don't lie. You know full well I let you both drink after I moved you. Do not try to come between me and my friend here. It is pointless." The paladin gives the Chelish guards water which they eagerly drink.
"Strip us naked? In the swamp?" The younger one says, looking terrified. "You might as well kill us."
Slowly the older one says, catching Shalina's eye, "About the camp. What did you want to know, exactly?"
Shalina tsks at the guard while Tekk gives them water, "Tekk is far too honorable for that to be true. Lying to me is strike one. We get to strike three and I get very angry...and no one wants that."
"I keep trying to get you to help us. If you help, then one of you gets to keep your uniform. As for the camp, did either of you work the diving bells? If not, what was your roll in the camp?"
Forgot to add...
Shalina looks at each of their captives in turn, "If you help us and thereby help Caedia then we will send the heretic and his wife to answer for their failure while you get to go back to Cheliax. I assume you both have family back there who you want to see again?"
'Caedia? How do you know her?" One of the Chelish guards blurts out when Shalina casually name drops the cleric. After a moment he regards Shalina more carefully, "You did go into the camp then. You are working with her? You are allies?" The man seems completely thrown by this change of circumstance and glances at Tekk.
The paladin had not said anything to Shalina about her new 'ally', either in private or in front of the captives. The weather beaten man seemed to want some time to think it over.
"You have the power to get us back to Cheliax?" The Chelish man says, voice full of wonder.
Shalina hopes that she's finally turned a corner with the guards. "I had a long conversation with Caedia. We have agreed to work together because our paths currently align, so I guess that makes us allies of sorts. Does this mean you will also join with me? It would make re-entering the camp somewhat easier when the time comes."
She looks a little surprised at the man's last comment. "I had assumed that when Inck fails then the camp is no longer needed and you would all go back to Cheliax. Is this not the case? Why else would you remain?"
"With regards to my previous question, did either of you work the diving bells?"
She gathers her things, "Now, it's time to go. Make sure you watch Gerrik closely as he leads and there will be no treating him poorly. You treat him how you want me to treat you."
She hopes that the walk to wherever Gerrik was taking them would be enough time for Tekk to mull over his thoughts. She didn't like it when he was so quiet. She'd almost have him yell at her or argue with her than freeze her out. "Are you good with covering our backs and bringing up the rear? I have a feeling that single file will be the way to travel and since I can communicate with Gerrik, it may be best if I follow behind him directly so I can pass on any needed instructions. And then you and I will hem in the guards. It won't give the two of us much time to talk but we can do more of that when we get where we're going. Sound good?"
The two Chelish gaurds look at Shalina silently for aseveral long moments. Around them the swamp is waking up with the sun, birds starting to sing while the night frogs slowly swindle away. Insects are stirring, with clouds of gnats promising the usual assortment of welts and bites. Even the smell of changed, as the dank chill waters were warmed to fetid pools of greenery.
Finally they look at each other and a silent agreement is made, "We will work with you...up to a point."
One takes a deep breath and says, "We have both worked the diving bells but not recently. I have even gone down into the diggings a few times, in the early days. But I got put on the swamp rotation a year or so back. I can tell you what you need to know, although some practices may have changed."
Shalina gathers them up and instructs everyone to march in single file. The bard has a feeling the path Gerrik will take them on will not be suited for easy traveling in clumps. Gods only know how much quicksand they will walk among.
Tekk has his armor slung onto his back, bearing the weight easily. The paladin nods to Shalina's suggestion about him being the rear guard. "Yes, I'll keep an eye open for any monster or Chelish. I do say, Gerrik seems to know the swamps even better then Sivvek did so we probably won't have that sort of trouble."
He doesn't say anything more, but Shalina can see he is thinking about something. Mostly likely Caedia and Shalina's nearly literal deal with the devil.
Shalina nods and holds out her hand, "It seems we have an accord, then. But just so that I'm aware of the limits of your cooperation, what's the point that you will help us to? Where will you draw the line?"
With everyone in position, Shalina nods to Gerrik, "Lead on, my friend."
"As far as I can and not hate myself." The Chelish says enigmatically.
Shortly everyone is up, dressed and heading into the morning swamp, single-file.
Gerrik takes the lead of course, setting both the pace and the path as guide. The lizardfolk says little but he is a little more informative then Sivvek who rarely ever explained anything. A few times Gerrik pauses and indicates why they are deviating, to dodge a quicksand pool or bed of noxious plants.
Shalina follows him, doing her best to match her guide's movements and learn from him. She is no novice in woodcraft but Gerrik puts her to shame, and Sivvek too. She wonders if he was a hunter or tracker for his tribe.
Behind her the two Chelish guards straggle along. While neither is hopeless in the wild, they are both clearly tired, scared and hungry, not at their best. They are quiet though and listen whenever Shalina passes along a whispered order or guidance for the path ahead. At the very least neither of them try to make a break for it.
Tekk's firm footfalls bring up the rear, a sound that calms Shalina. Whatever might lie ahead, no monster or Chelish patrol will sneak up on them. The paladin might not like the swamp or know it well, but his eyes and ears are sharp.
The day is hot and muggy and after a few steps Shalina is already coated in a fine sheen of sweat. Soft dawn quickly gives way to a hot morning, and the clouds of flies begin to descend on them, leaving everyone (but Gerrik) red and sore. In the distance Shalina can see roiling black clouds, thicker and darker then she has seen before. A mighty storm was coming.
The lizardfolk leads them into a very wet area of standing pools and sighing beds of cattails. With unerring skill he bypasses the tricky spots and finds a fairly solid trail winding between half-sunken trees and head high grasses. Shalina is lost in moment, unable to see much beyond Gerrik's scaled back and her friends behind. Luckily Gerrik slows down, and there is no risk of losing him in the green haze.
Then, without warning,t hey are back on firm earth, in fact the driest and firmest soil Shalina has stepped on for days. The grasses fade away replaced by a stand of massive, gnarled trees. Their thick greenery blocks out the hot sun and creates a cool oasis of shadows beneath their stretching boughs. Something seems off about the wild, ancient trees until Shalina realizes they are planted in neat rows despite being long untended and wild. Glancing up she sees oranges hanging from many of the branches, shining with the morning sun.
This was a very old and long forgotten orange grove. Did men once live here? Before this was the Sodden Lands? Did these trees remember farmers and villagers? How long had it been since a branch here had been trimmed or a fruit picked? There is a slightly melancholy air in the deserted, empty grove, a feeling the world has moved on.
"We will be safe and alone here." Gerrik says. "The froghemoth sleeps during the day."
Shalina gratefully steps into the shade of one of the huge orange trees and revels in the respite from the heat. Between the heat, the bugs, and the terrain, that had been one of the most unpleasant walks she's ever been on in nature. She shudders to think what would have happened to them without Gerrik's help.
She moves towards some oranges that she can reach, albeit she has to go onto her tiptoes, and plucks them off the branch. She hands one to Tekk as well as their captives and Gerrik before taking one for herself. "Thank you, Gerrik, for keeping us safe."
"Wait...what? What's a froghemoth?"
Would she know with one of her knowledge rolls? K.nature or something else?
Shalina shakes her head in disbelief, "Surely you mean something other than a real froghemoth. Otherwise, we're as good as dead - even if it is asleep."
The tree gives an odd...shiver when she picks the fruit, as if it is delighted at giving something to a passerby, a plant-based joy. The oranges are smooth and whole, and the juice is sticky on Shalina's fingers. Tekk looks at it with surprise and says, "I have not tasted in orange in... many years. Since the market before the oasis." The paladin ponders the fruit with sober attention.
The Chelish thank her and eat greedily, searching for others.
Gerrik waves her thanks away and licks the orange peel with relish, not yet biting into the pithy center.
"You do not have froghemoth in your lands?" Her guide says, eyes still searching the orchard for dangers. The scent of fruit and growing things is heavy in the humid air as Shalina ponders what she knows of this beast.
Shalina Know. Nature: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
Froghemoths, although not native to Osrion, are often the subject of tales and adventure stories. They are said to be immense, three-eyed frog-like creature rears up on powerful hind legs. In place of arms, four huge tentacles thrash and writhe. Thankfully rare, the froghemoth is one of the deep swampland’s most ferocious and monstrous predators. Capable of catching and eating dinosaurs and even dragons, the froghemoth is a frighteningly effective ambush hunter. When lying in wait for prey, the immense creature secrets itself in deep marsh pools and mud so that only the top of its eyestalk emerges from the surface. The froghemoth’s eyes are incredibly keen, but even more impressive is the monster’s tongue. Like a snake, a froghemoth can “taste” its surroundings with extraordinary accuracy.
Shalina knows this beast is quite capable of devouring all of them, despite her own prowess.
Shalina grins at Tekk as she peels her prize, "I guess we never actually ate any of the oranges at the Black Speck. Not that they can even compare with these. The ones that orange peddler was selling looked positively anemic in comparison to these."
When Gerrik asks her about the froghemoth, Shalina shakes her head slowly, "No, no we do not. Thank the gods for that."
She cocks her head and regards the lizardfolk, "So you're talking about a ginormous, three-eyed frog-like creature? A creature that has powerful hind legs, tentacles instead of arms, and a tongue that is as large as a snake? The stories I've heard has them hunting dinosaurs and dragons. And you speak of it as if it's no big deal? Are you sure we're talking about the same monster? Either you have nerves of steel or you don't fully appreciate how dangerous it is."
She looks around the grove, "Where would it be so that we can avoid that area?"
Shalina's fingers are a sticky, fragrant mess in moments as she peels the orange fruit. It feels firm and wholesome under her touch, and her mouth waters. The Chelish wander off slightly, finding a few more of the tasty items to eat.
Gerrik shrugs when she asks about the froghemoth. "What better place to hide then in the lair of a great beast? Do you think it allows itself to be challenged? There will be no other monsters here, not in the heart of its home. As I said, it sleeps during the day, we are safe. Besides, the stories about eating dragons are just tales...mostly."
Her guide licks the orange again, savoring the pitted rind. "The Sodden Lands are dangerous. I thought you learned that by now."
The grove around them is quiet, a dim green twilight with a fruity scent on the air. The insects seem lesser here, and only a few buzz around Shalina's head.
Shalina still looks uncertain but she yields to her guide, "You're the expert so I trust your judgement. I was aware the Sodden Lands were dangerous but perhaps I didn't realize how dangerous."
She pops an orange slice into her mouth and licks the juice off her fingers. "How long is it safe to stay here? And then where will we go?"
She stifles a yawn, "I don't suppose we can also sleep here, can we?"
Rest is probably most important at the moment but she also wants to ask him about the ruins at the edge of the camp and whether he knows if there's another entrance to the ruins that we can use to sneak in to free the slaves
Gerrik merely grins whens he calls the Sodden Lands dangerous and says, "I am sure your homeland has it's share of trouble. What land does not?"
At her questions he says, "All day and probably late into the evening. The moon is rising late this time of year and the froghemoth will sleep late into the night. We can rest, nothing else disturbs this grove."
Do you want to ask him anything or sleep first?
Sleep first, but Tekk and Shalina will have to do it in shifts to keep an eye on the guards. Tekk can sleep first so I guess if Gerrik stays awake, she can ask him her questions while Tekk sleeps.
Shalina gathers up the Chelish guards, who each clutch a trove of oranges, into the bole of one of the massive trees. A pile of dead leaves provides a good bed and soon both are fast asleep, huddled close to the warm bark. Tekk nods to Shalina and lies down close by, hands folded on his chest, face toward the shaded sky. The air is hot and still, as the noon sun rises into the sky.
Gerrik, finishing the orange looks at Shalina with bright eyes. "So, how was traveling with Sivvek? I am pleased to hear he is alive, if only because my tribe is so few. Have you seen signs of others in the swamps?"
Not trusting herself to stay alert should be sit down and get comfortable, Shalina remains standing while the others drift off to sleep.
"Traveling with Sivvek was...was...challenging. We see the world differently which caused some tension at times." Shalina gives Gerrik a hopeful smile, "Sivvek said he saw signs of other lizardfolk as we were making our way to the camp. I like to think that that is why he abandoned us. Not because we outlived our usefulness but because he really wanted to find his tribe." But her voice betrays what she really thinks.
She paces a bit to keep an eye on the grove and their surroundings. Moving back towards Gerrik she asks, "Can I ask you about the camp? More specifically, about the area where they're keeping the slaves. I saw that there are ruins on that side of the camp. Do you know if there is another way into the ruins from the other side? Maybe a way that we can go through the ruins that the Chelish don't know about? If so, it may be the best way to get in and then get the slaves out. I thought if anyone may know, it would be a local."
Gerrik settles onto a uprasied tree root thicken the Shalina' entire body, twisting into the loamy soil. Perched here he looked somewhat bird-like, with his quick movements and light frame. The lizardfolk takes in everything Shalina says carefully, the fluid sounds of Polyglot oddly fitting here in the swamps.
"Then let us hope we find Sivvek and my tribe." Gerrik says, although his voice is not hopeful.
"As for the ruins, yes, you can approach from the far side, although the swamp is treacherous there. When they built the fortresses, long ago, they disturbed the ground and left many pits and sinkholes. Dangerous, but passable. I would suspect many monsters have moved in, attracted by the easy prey of the human slaves."
'You seek to free them?" Gerrik says and then adds, "Then what? The slaves will die in the swamps even faster then they die now, even if you tried to protect them. A large group would simply attract bigger predators..."
Shalina relaxes as much as she dares by leaning against one of the trees as she speaks with Gerrik. "I know it's a lot of ask of you but could you lead us through those dangers in order to get Tekk and I to the other side?"
She grows somber, "I didn't really know the scope of the number of captives when I started this endeavor. But there is a ship. That may be the best bet of getting the slaves away from here. If we can get to it in time, that is. They'll only be there for another day. Or if some of the slaves can sail, we can commandeer one of the ships that are anchored in the bay." Shalina tries not to let herself be swallowed by the wave of hopelessness hovering over her head. "Maybe I'm a fool to think I can help, but I have to try. No one should be forced to live this kind of life."
"One a side note, do you know what Inck is searching for underneath the water? I hope to free the slaves but then I need to also find what he's looking for and get to it before he does. Since you're from here, I thought maybe you'd have some idea."
Gerrik is silent for a moment, looking out at the overgrown and now wild grove of orange trees, the only semblance of old order being the neat rows the gnarled plants are planted.
"I could help you. It would be dangerous and time consuming but we could avoid the patrols and reach the ruins." A pause and then, "I agree no one should be a slave, and if you take them away.....that would be one less problem for my land and my people."
"As for what Inck searches for, I do not know. He used us as guides for the jungles, against raiders and swamp creatures, not for his work in the water. I am sorry, I would like to help you, if I can. You seem a potent foe of the Chelish."
Shalina smiles softly, "Thank you, Gerrik. I don't think we could do this without you." She then nods at the lizardfolk, "The plan is to get all the slaves back to where they belong. I plan to take them away but the how is still up in the air. But you have my word that I will do whatever I can to make sure your people and your land is left in peace."
"I understand that you may not know what Inck searches for. But are there any stories in your culture or any legends about what the underwater city may hold?"
Gerrik ponders this for a long time and says, "Old story has, in the time of Men, this was a great city, full of astrologers and soothsayers. Great fortune tellers who studied the stars and other omens, greatly skilled in portents. Or what passes for such among humans. I would guess Inck plunders he ruins not for gold and treasure, although he has found much, but for these old records and prophecies. He seems the type of man whom uses information and knowledge as a weapon, more cunning then any spell or knife."
The lizardfolk tosses aside the orange rind and says, "You come all this way and not sure of what he is doing? You are very brave...or perhaps foolish?"
Hopefully you're feeling less gnarly and more rad
Shalina chuckles, a note of sadness tinging the laughter. "More and more I'm feeling foolish." She sighs, "I knew Inck was doing something important for the Chelish and that he was concerned enough about me to want me dead. That all was enough incentive for me to come all this way. And since I had to leave my home in a hurry, I couldn't do as much research as I would have liked."
She gives a small smile, "But I love learning about other cultures. Hearing the stories past down throughout the generations, folklore, history...I find it all fascinating. One can learn so much from the past and yet most people don't understand that."
The archeologist processes what Gerrik shared, "So, firstly we free the slaves by approaching from the side of the ruins. Hopefully that will create enough chaos in the camp to allow me to gain access to the diving bells and go looking for what Inck can't find. It would be better if I had an idea of where to look underwater but I guess I'll have to improvise. Obviously Inck's research is incomplete or misunderstood or else he would have already found what he was looking for. And it's not like I have access to a library or anything to do any research of my own."
Gerrik perks up when she mentions stories and says, eyes shining with real pleasure, "You like stories? My people have many stories to tell, from the moon and stars to good and evil and the making of the world. Handed down from generation to generation from before the Sodden Lands, when we lived in the distant hills and swamps of the interior. Maybe someday, when this is over and you leave my lands, we can spend a night around the campfire and I can tell you the stories of the Herrissi'anni people."
When Shalina lays out her plans about Inck he frowns, "You would free the slaves first? Would not a crowd of unattended slaves in the swamps, if they do get that far, be easy prey? Who will watch over them and guide them to safety while you linger in forgotten vaults and diggings?"
The twinkle in Shalina's eyes matches that of Gerrik's, "I would very much like to hear stories of the Herrissi'anni people. I would also love to write them down so that they aren't lost from memory, if you're okay with that, that is."
Her excitement ebbs as Gerrik notices the flaw in her plan. Her brow furrows, "You make a good point. Most of the slaves won't be able to defend themselves and could be easily recaptured. I guess I was thinking that your people are good at not being found when you don't want to be and so would help the others. But I have a feeling that I don't have an accurate number in my head of how many slaves there really are. Maybe going underwater first is best."
The huge monster from her vision when with the Watcher flashes through her mind. "If something happens to me, will you still be able to free them?"
Gerrik shrugs, 'We are both tired, bloody and worried. perhaps it is best to plan after a rest? The Chelish make poor hosts, and I am weary. You do not need to keep watch, nothing will bother us here. No one will dare risk the froghemoth." With that, with some of the same old curtness Shalina recalls of Sivvek,t he small lizardfolk climbs off the root, finds a small hole in the base of a gnarled tree and curls up like a cat. In a few moments he is softly sleeping, another orange tight in his grip.
Shalina is the only one awake, sitting in the dappled orange grove, the scent of citrus dancing on her tongue.
Shalina stands quietly breathing deeply, relishing the smells surrounding her. She closes her eyes enjoying the quiet. She begins to sway on her feet from exhaustion, not realizing how tired she is until she stopped moving and stopped thinking. Every fiber of her being wants to curl up under one of the trees like everyone else but part of her can't give up that much control...what if the Chelish guards turn on them? What if the froghemoth wakes up?
She makes the mistake of compromising and sitting under one of the trees. She couldn't allow herself to fall over after all, that would be embarrassing. Although once she's sitting, her eyelids begin to droop and soon she drifts off into sleep despite her every intention to stay awake.
Falling asleep despite not wanting to? That's good RP!
Sleep takes Shalina, and her last sensations are the soft crinkle of leaves, the gentle breeze and the warm sun playing across her face, filtered through the green boughs above.
Question, does Shalina sleep eight hours? If you don't , you won't recover your spells and stuff but 8 hours is a long time
So hard to decide. She could probably go without replenishing everything because she's not too far down on resources but I have a feeling that she'll need everything for this next part. So even though I'm loathe to let her sleep for 8hrs, maybe she should.
Shalina sleeps deep, her body worn and weary from a long day and night of travel, fighting and infiltration. She dreams the usual dreams but there is something lurking on the edges, a premonition of danger that even sleep cannot banish. It does not bother her sleep but it is an anexity that refuses to leave, and hovers on the edge of sight. It is like she is awash in a great, colorful sea, fishing from a small boat while dark leviathans shapes circle below the waves....
Suddenly she is awakened by Tekk's strong hand on her shoulder, 'Shalina, it is time to get up." Blinking sleep from her Shalina looks up and sees her friend's face, edged in fading sunlight. The sun is setting in the west and half the sky is lit up like an orange bonfire while the other half is covered in roiling dark clouds that portend a storm like Shalina has never seen before. Even fromt his distance she can see arcing flashes of lightning but no thunder, not yet.
"I wanted to let you sleep but Gerrik said we have to leave before the froghemoth wakes up." The paladin says, looking apologetic.
The named lizardfolk is nearby, peering up at the building clouds, face unreadable. Further away the two Chelish guards sit, looking a bit lost.
Whispering Tekk says, "They are going to run for it next chance they get, mark my words."
Shalina feels unsettled and groggy as her consciousness claws out of sleep back into the present. But her instincts are still sharp and the feel of someone's hand on her jolts her to a sitting position as she grabs the hand and twists it off her.
As soon as she recognizes that it's Tekk and there's no danger, she immediately lets go. "Sorry," she mumbles, "uneasy dreams and the last thing I remember is thinking 'don't close your eyes.' I wasn't expecting to..." Her voice trails off as she slowly gets to her feet and stretches the kinks out.
She glances over at the Chelish and nods at Tekk, "I wouldn't be surprised. But surely they realize that running off is a death sentence if you're not familiar with the swamp? You and I would have fallen into quicksand ten times over without Gerrik leading us."
She moves over to stand beside Gerrik, "Maybe this weather will be good for us. Less likely that people will be out and about unless they absolutely have to. So, where are we off to now? We'll need a place where we can plan a few things."
Can Shalina tell which guard is more likely to run? If so, she'll take his uniform
man,t hat is a jerk move. Smart though
Shalina Sense motive: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
Shalina sizes up the pair of bedraggled, tired and dirty Chelish guards. She doesn't seem much rebellion there and for a moment wonders if Tekk has perhaps misread the captives. but after a long moment she notices a certain anxiety int he younger man, with his eyes roving tot he edges of the grove. It isn't as if he is planning a grand escape but there is a panic there, a nervousness of an animal caught in a trap. The man is not being rational but he is at least thinking about escape.
When Shalina askes where they are going Gerrik replies, "I thought you would decide. Do we infiltrate the camp tonight? Or do we merely hide in the brush again? Of course must leave the grove either way, to avoid the froghemoth."
I'm assuming that Shalina and Gerrik still speak Polygot with each other. She'll make sure that they are speaking Polygot for the next bit
"I think it will make most sense to infiltrate the camp tonight. We're well rested and it will only get harder the longer we wait. But we'll need a place to leave the guards. I'm not sure we can trust them enough to take them with us. Do you have a place we can leave them? The hazards of the swamp should be enough incentive to keep them in place."
Shalina walks over to the guards. "Gerrik says we need to get going before the froghemoth wakes. So, on your feet." She looks the younger man up and down. "Your uniform will work best for Tekk. Please remove it."
As far as you know, Gerrik is monolingual. Also, I love the 'please'.
The Chelish man looks at Shalina blankly, "My clothes? You want me to run around naked in the Sodden lands? Gods woman, it is bad enough out here with them! You are crazy."
Slowly it sinks in however that Shalina is making an order, not asking.
Then the other man says, gruffly, "Froghemoth? Are you serious? Or is this just a tactic to scare us into complying?"
Manners are important in a civilized society :)
Shalina looks at the man innocently, "No one said anything about running around the Sodden Lands." Then her eyes narrow slightly, "Why? Were you planning on running around the Sodden Lands?"
"You have a resource I need and if you cooperate, you will be left safely with a blanket until I can return and give you back the uniform."
She glances over at the lizardfolk and shrugs, "I have no reason to doubt Gerrik. If he says there is danger here come evening then there is danger here. Although if you want me to implement scare tactics then I can do that. There are aspects on me that are much more frightening than me making requests."
Are we in civilization though?
The man stiffens and says, hotly, "Fine but don't pretend you are any better then us. Taking someone's clothes is something to do to slaves, not a fellow man. here, take the uniform."
In a hurry he strips off the dirty and somewhat ragged outfit off and hands it over. Tekk takes it but does not put it on yet saying, "Gerrik said we might get wet leaving, best keep it as best shape as we can."
To move things along
Just as the sun starts to sink in the west, the group heads out. It doesn't take long for them to reach the edge of the orange grove, the massive trees standing like gnarled pillars of a troll's hall. Ahead the Sodden Lands are a murky twilight realm of mire and bog, a flat swamp dotted with distant clumps of trees. Gerrik takes a deep breath and says, "We must hurry, night can be a dangerous time. We head for the ruins?"
I would assume that he isn't completely naked under the uniform but I very well could be wrong
Shalina stoically regards the man, her voice taking on an edge as she responds, "I haven't raised a hand against you or treated you poorly. Shall we ask Gerrik how slaves should be treated? I'm sure he's had lots of experience at the hands of the Chelish. If you are in fact slaves as you imply, then maybe I should treat you as such. And since I have no experience in the matter, I would have to defer to his. Do you really want me to treat you as the Chelish treat others?"
When he finally complies, Shalina hands him her blanket in exchange for his uniform. "Thank you."
At the edge of the grove, Shalina nods at the lizardfolk, "The ruins is as good a place as any. Lead on."
These are the ruins bordering the camp, correct? I think the other place where we left the injured former slave is too far away - but I just wanted to be sure.
Also, did Gerrik have a place we could leave the guards or are they coming with us the whole way?
I was wondering how much you made him strip. But yeah, he has clothes left behind, if you want.
yes, the ruins close to where the human slaves are being kept. The place you left the diver with the bends is about half a day journey behind you
gerrik hasn't said yet, he is probably trying to plot a mental map that drops off the guards and gets you to the ruins
I think she's done with the 'slave' conversation unless the guard adds something. She won't strip him naked. Although she is tempted to take his boots when they stop...
Shalina sets them up as before with Gerrik in the lead, followed by herself, then the guards, and finally Tekk. She asks the lizardfolk as they walk, "Will we be able to get to the ruins before it's completely dark? And is there a place where we can leave the guards where they won't feel safe leaving on their own without you? I'd prefer to not take them with us into the camp but I also don't want them escaping and finding their way back to camp."
Ready to leave the grove and follow Gerrik's lead
Gerrik peers out at the darkening swamp, as the chorus of frogs and night birds begin in full force. The sky overhead is a turmoil of dark clouds and Shalina can feel the air cooling, promising rain and driving wind.
"You wish to leave them alone? With no guard?" Gerrik says, "It is hard to find such a place and will slow us, and even in the best protection they may wander off. I will not be help responsible if they die in our absence."
Shalina shakes her head slightly, "It's not that I want to leave them alone but I don't trust them to behave themselves with us. If they wander off and die, isn't that their own fault? No one could possibly hold you responsible for their poor life choices."
She sighs, "But if it will slow us considerably, then I have no choice but to take them with us."
Last post before we leave, I promise
The lizardfolk glances at the threatening sky and says, unnecessarily, "Storm is coming, a big one. Will it work for us or against us?" Then he turns one turret-like eye on Shalina, "What about leaving your friend behind to watch them? Under guard, they may not stray?"