Leinathan's Council of Thieves PbP (Inactive)

Game Master leinathan


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Dark Archive

Female Human Cleric of Iomedae 2; AC 16, 10 touch 16 flat-footed; HP 13/18, Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +7; +1 Initiative, +3 Perception

Celia's brow furrows. Janiven likes to talk-- a lot. She chews on the half-elf's words and then, with an expression of clarity, nods. "I considered it, and I'll help. Anything to give it to the hellknights, really. If you can carve out a plan, I'll help. The Light of the Sword brought me here, it seems."

Taking long strides into the church, she raises her longsword. The orange torchlight off of the blade illuminates the people in the dark. She takes a look amongst them, counting the sword-symbols and turns around wearing a new expression-- excitement. "Show me to the baths, then. Sounds like we have little time."


Male Human (Chelaxian) Bard (Chelish Diva) (HP 11/11 | AC 11 | T 11 | FF 10 | CMD 10 | F +0 | R +4 | W +4 | Init +1 | Per +6)

"Thank you. It would be nice to give these clothes a good soaking. I could use one, too."


Male Human (Ulfen) Level 1 Barbarian; AC 14, 12 touch 12 flat-footed; HP 15/15, Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +2; +4 Initiative, +2 Perception

"Just get me a real weapon, if you please. The less time we wait around,the better."

Jessnen has several reservations about this whole ordeal, but seeing as there is no way out of it, no point bashing any heads. Besides, this beat the barstool. He looks for a place to sit off to the side and takes a seat, waiting impatiently.


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

Clarification: Janiven is actually a human.

The thirteen members of Janiven's little cabal are very accomodating towards the four new people amongst them. A hot bath is drawn for both Celia and Shannon, chairs and benches are indicated, a loaf of bread and a few chicken legs are brought out, and overall the reception is warm. Janiven retires to a private room to draw up some plans, but one of her associates, the large Garundi man with the Iomedaen symbol around his neck, brings Jessnen a few weapons.

On a tabletop, the big man lays a longsword, a heavy flail, and a battleaxe. "We've only got a few, but go ahead and take your pick. I'm sure you'll use 'em better than most of us."


Male Human (Chelaxian) Bard (Chelish Diva) (HP 11/11 | AC 11 | T 11 | FF 10 | CMD 10 | F +0 | R +4 | W +4 | Init +1 | Per +6)

"After seeing what you did to those goblins with a chair leg, I worry for anyone you face down with a real weapon," Shannon says to Jessnen in an attempt to make a friendly comment.

He adds an awkward laugh afterwards that, in a man, would sound jocular, but in Shannon, sounds like a titter.

He then excuses himself to the hot bath behind Celia. Unless Celia or someone else imposes with a sense of propriety, he acts as though they will be bathing together in the same room. If directed elsewise by anyone, he apologizes and goes his own way. Apparently he is no stranger to communal bathing.


Shannon Rhys wrote:
"It would be nice to give these clothes a good soaking. I could use one, too."

Addie mutters a mystical phrase and waves her hand toward her companions and herself. Instantly the malodorous evidence of their escapades in the sewers of Westcrown disappears from their clothing and bodies. "I realize it's no replacement for a hot bath, but at least your clothes are now clean," she says, a hint of a smile visible behind her veil.

The young witch takes a piece of bread to nibble on as she seats herself in a quiet corner of the common room. She watches His Lordship pad imperiously through the shrine, inspecting their new lodgings for the evening. The black cat pauses to sniff at the meditating Chelish woman, then saunters over to the female gnome, staring at her unnervingly until she passes him one of the chicken legs.

Dark Archive

Female Human Cleric of Iomedae 2; AC 16, 10 touch 16 flat-footed; HP 13/18, Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +7; +1 Initiative, +3 Perception

Celia cracks a smile to Addie-- things were looking up, and she could see it. "Thanks for the touch up," she says, and makes headway to the bath.

Shannon bathing behind her isn't too inappropriate, and she lets him know as much; "Just don't look, or I'll make your face as red as mine-- hear?"

But really, Celia didn't mind. Space was limited, after all, and she slips into the water heavily. Finally able to cleanse herself of the smell of sweat, sewer and ale, she washes her short hair quickly and doesn't linger long-- climbing out and redressing, leaving her armor hanging in the church proper.

Stalking back out, she takes stock of the others, introducing herself and hopefully being introduced to in turn until she knows the others as best as she can-- there's few moments until they're back into the breach, and to meet other worshippers of the Inheritor is a blessing in itself.


Male Human (Chelaxian) Bard (Chelish Diva) (HP 11/11 | AC 11 | T 11 | FF 10 | CMD 10 | F +0 | R +4 | W +4 | Init +1 | Per +6)

"Not a peep from me."

As the two of them bathe separately, their backs to one another, Shannon gets the muck out of his hair. Not covered in blood and goblin filth from never having engaged one of them, his bath seems a bit more geared towards settling his nerves than cleanliness, especially after Addie's gift of prestidigitation.

"Celia, if you don't mind my asking...why not the dottari? Or the Hellknights, for that matter? Is it just a matter of your faith, or something else?"


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

Of the members of this group, two of them are outspoken worshipers of Iomedae. The first is a little halfling woman named Fiosa. She gladly shakes Celia's hand, but is busy tidying up the place quietly. She does the job quickly and effeciently, it's likely that she does this for a living.

The other is the large Garundi man that brought Jessnen the weapons. His name is Sclavo, and he's a very soft-spoken scribe, and very attractive. "It is good to meet another worshipper of the Inheritor." he says politely.

Dark Archive

Female Human Cleric of Iomedae 2; AC 16, 10 touch 16 flat-footed; HP 13/18, Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +7; +1 Initiative, +3 Perception

"You can't see it, but I'm sure you remember it well. The tattoo on my face covers a burn mark from the blade of a Hellknight inquisitor's sword. It's not the only one-- there's a reason I wear sleeves and long breeches. My experiences in the Citadel make me pale when considering a career choice among my torturers."

She rises from the water, wrapping herself in a towel. "And in given the choice between the dottari and this resistance? I'd rather be finally guilty of the crimes they accused me of than simply fall in line."

The tall woman pauses; the sound of clothing rustling and buttons clicking into place comes from the other side of the room. "My faith is secondary to that, but equally important. And to keep it fair, quid pro quo; Why are you here? Why here, and not, for example... some performance or lavish party in the Rego Corna?"

--------------

Celia shakes Sclavo's hand demurely. "Of course. I'd thought I was the only one," she jokes. Celia looks at the church around them wide-eyed. "I never heard of this place before or I think I might have stumbled upon your little cadre earlier. It's beautiful. Were any of the holy relics or religious texts saved?"


Male Human (Ulfen) Level 1 Barbarian; AC 14, 12 touch 12 flat-footed; HP 15/15, Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +2; +4 Initiative, +2 Perception

Grinning at Shannon's quip about his handiwork, Jess says nothing. He intended to prove those words true...but how best to do it? "Mmmmmm... He mumbles as he peruses the weapons, first picking up the hilt of the longsword. With a reversion to his days of training, a new, less haggard looking man stands in Jessnen's place for the fleetest of moments. This new fellow swings the hilt up to his breast and his spine becomes erect to match the sword now rising above his head. "Hah!" he exclaims, and leaps forward towards the open air lightly, sweeping the blade gracefully in an arc down through the air, contorting his wrist to match. The blade then sweeps past his feet and back up towards his opposing shoulder. It misses this shoudler though, and is pulled across the breadth of his bosom til the hilt is pulled back behind his shoulder, point jutting straight ahead momentarily before it plunges point first straight towards a candle alit on the wall.

Attack Roll: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14

The sword clangs off the wall as the point contacts it some two inches to the left, quite clearly missing his mark. As quickly as he had appeared, the youthful image faded and Jessnen now took his place "I always hated these ruddy things anyway...too much fancy work, not enough of a punch..." He grunts, attempting to hide his frustration at how rusty his skills have become. Then again, it had been quite some time since he had had any chance to use them.

He tosses the sword back on the tabletop and reached for the axe. Here was something a little more to the point: Short chops, more satisfying muscle interaction, less fancy. Quick and to the point. He raises it above his head slowly, and in the moment preceding the axefall, the youth returned. Several chops going each which direction slid neatly through the air, each appearing as intentional as the intricate footfalls of the hunting cat. Glancing it out of the corner of his eye, the youth then plunges the axe straight down towards the table leg he had left lying abandoned on the floor.

Attack Roll: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Damage: 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8

The axe lodges thickly into the leg of the table, clearing maybe a good half of the 5 inches, though rising again with the axehead as it is raised from the floor. Again, the youth quickly shifted back to Jessnen, panting lightly. This time saying nothing, he muscles the wood off of the head and places axe back on the table with an eerie delicacy.

Still without a word, he grabs the flail. And as soon as he grasped the wooden shaft, he knew this would be it. Tossing the remainder of his makeshift weapon into the air, he spins the head of the flail around but once before extending his arm and pulling the spiked metal head upward.

Attack Roll: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20

Splinters fly as the two separate halves of the former weapon erupt from one another, the flail head driving straight through the mess. Through his arm, Jess feels a powerful and satisfying surge when the head of the flail makes contact. Slipping the shaft through his belt so the weapon dangles at his side, Jessnen, somehow a mixture of his youth and original cynicism, casually turns to the Garundi man and asks, "You wouldn't have a shield to match, would you?"


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

The room falls silent and still in admiration of Jessnen's display of martial prowess. Everyone watches as he gracefully swings the longsword around, and sighs in disappointment as he misses the candle. No one steps up to say anything as he gouges a hole in a perfectly good table-leg, they are in such awe of his strength. When he shatters his makeshift weapon with the flail, there is a slow buildup of clapping, and Sclavo nods at the mention of a shield, talking to Celia as he goes to retrieve one, grabbing the other weapons and motioning to her to follow him.

"Of course! We can't have a church without religious texts, and Arael's procured a few. Of course, none of the texts of Aroden have been preserved this long, not in such an out-of-the-way temple. Perhaps if you traveled to a great library you could find one, but what we have here are a few copies of The Acts of Iomedae." picking up the shield and going back to the common room, he continues. "Would you like to read it? We have plenty of time before the sun comes up."

The Garundi man hands Jessnen a heavy wooden shield. "Hope this works for you, man."

As he and Celia walk away, another man approaches Jessnen, the large VArisnan man. He wears what is essentially a dirty tank-top and brown pants, and his hair is tously and brown. He's a very young man, and wears a wry grin. He extends his hand for the shaking. "How do you do, big guy? Name's Rizzardo. I like the way you fight."

At the same one, a slight woman walks up to Shannon as he walks, freshly cleaned and dressed, out of the bathhouses. It's the beautiful Tian woman. Bashfully, she kicks a foot back and forth before asking. "Hey...You're Shannon Rhys, right? I just wanted to say that loved your performance of The Gilded Prince! Also...What are you doing here with us?

People mostly keep away from Addie. It seems she wants to be left alone in her corner, leaving His Lordship to explore the place himself. The meditating woman that the cat is inspecting is whispering something under her breath that, to His Lordship, sounds like requests for imperfections to be removed.


Male Human (Ulfen) Level 1 Barbarian; AC 14, 12 touch 12 flat-footed; HP 15/15, Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +2; +4 Initiative, +2 Perception

Jess nods his thanks as he accepts the shield, taking note of the freshly cleaned Celia looking refreshed. His temple twinges uncomfortably, and he looks instead around at the admirers of his display around him, and smirking slightly. It wasn't in pride, for he felt no sort of fondness for his old training; it was now merely a tool to use against the bastards who stole away his life. No, he was smirking at the simple entertainment of the room. His skills were by no means expert, simply practiced. He had already seen Celia make far more impressive combinations with a sword fighting the goblins in the sewer. No, it was clear these people were not combatants, and this concerned him a little. "How can we make any sort of difference with these people? There's some politics that may be able to be handled, recruitment of those like our little troupe, but how far can that go?" Jess straps on the shield, and is admiring the weight of it, flexing his forearm within the straps, when he is approached by Rizzardo.

Rizzardo wrote:
As he and Celia walk away, another man approaches Jessnen, the large VArisnan man. He wears what is essentially a dirty tank-top and brown pants, and his hair is tously and brown. He's a very young man, and wears a wry grin. He extends his hand for the shaking. "How do you do, big guy? Name's Rizzardo. I like the way you fight."

"huh...a shadow of a former life. My thanks to you, though. It's a shame, I left my usual wares in a bar earlier. This'll do for now." Jess sizes up the fellow in front of him, and takes in from the slight raggedness of his clothes that he may be some sort of kindered soul, down on his luck. Maybe even knew how to get a drink. "What brings you to such affluent company?", he says ironically.


Male Human (Chelaxian) Bard (Chelish Diva) (HP 11/11 | AC 11 | T 11 | FF 10 | CMD 10 | F +0 | R +4 | W +4 | Init +1 | Per +6)

Nekkid with Celia

Quote:

"You can't see it, but I'm sure you remember it well. The tattoo on my face covers a burn mark from the blade of a Hellknight inquisitor's sword. It's not the only one-- there's a reason I wear sleeves and long breeches. My experiences in the Citadel make me pale when considering a career choice among my torturers."

She rises from the water, wrapping herself in a towel. "And in given the choice between the dottari and this resistance? I'd rather be finally guilty of the crimes they accused me of than simply fall in line."

The tall woman pauses; the sound of clothing rustling and buttons clicking into place comes from the other side of the room. "My faith is secondary to that, but equally important. And to keep it fair, quid pro quo; Why are you here? Why here, and not, for example... some performance or lavish party in the Rego Corna?"

He is almost sorry he asked.

Almost.

"What was done to you is an injustice visited upon so many others, and yet even with all your suffering combined it seems as if there can be no balancing of the scales. I hear some say that such suffering makes you a better person. I think it just makes you who you are. Whether better or worse is not something your tormentors get to decide. Only you. If it means anything, Celia - and mind we've only just met - but I think you chose to be better for it."

He remains in the bathtub when he answers her question, and does so while wrapping a linen around his damp hair to make sure it dries evenly. "The caged bird sings, but the free bird enjoys to sing."

A silence hangs afterwards as he thinks. He would not leave her with such a cryptic response. "To be honest, I am here because I had a night free. Performances at the Nightshade - and really, all over Cheliax, but especially here in Westcrown - are more propaganda than art. Have you noticed the price of seats in Westcrown's theaters dropping? The broadening of the pit? The Mayor likes to tout it as a sign of a bettering economy, but in reality it is widening the theater's exposure to Wiscrani of every class to keep them fed on such drivel as...oh, Puglinni's Reflections. In it, a statesman whose district suffers rebellion prays for the power to control his people; the devil Cyronax appears unto him and grants him an enchanted mirror. Each time he looks into this mirror, he not only sees a more powerful version of himself, but becomes that more powerful self. Of course, the price he pays is that Cyronax is given free run of his young wife's body - the role I played - so that he might bear a mortal bastard. In the Third Act, there is an execrable aria sung by the young wife Annalise, wherein she finally accepts the arrangement and praises her husband for making his difficult, but right decision in the interests of serving both the interests of the people and the interests of the crown, each of them wanting peace. And he accomplishes that peace through utter subjugation. The crowd swallows this filth like mead, in particular when Cyronax rapes Annalise. Celia, it is not art, not in any sense, it is perverse entertainment that panders to the lowest common denominator and even worse invites the supremacy of rampant diabolism directly into the Chelaxian cultural zeitgeist!"

A violent splash of water marks the end of Shannon's increasingly loud diatribe, one that might have even been heard beyond the bathing area. The sudden rush of warm water in his eyes from his balled fist stalls him and allows him a moment for breath and reflection. When the water ceases undulating and he sees himself there, he finds the same confidence as the statesman and welcomes back his customary serenity.

"That and many other reasons, I suppose, are why I am here..."

Glassblower

Quote:
At the same one, a slight woman walks up to Shannon as he walks, freshly cleaned and dressed, out of the bathhouses. It's the beautiful Tian woman. Bashfully, she kicks a foot back and forth before asking. "Hey...You're Shannon Rhys, right? I just wanted to say that loved your performance of The Gilded Prince! Also...What are you doing here with us?

Dressed and freshened again in his creamy-white outfit, and with the linen still wrapped about his hair, Shannon rolls the chantilly lace scarf around the fingers of his right hand before slowly wrapping it once and then twice around his neck. As he does so, the Tian woman approaches and gushes. He smiles a demure little smile and answers her in the same breathless voice as any fan outside the theater. "Thank you. I am happy that you were so affected."

At her question, he finishes the lace collar and looks around at the others. "Just who exactly is us? I do not believe we've been fully introduced. I am here because, for the moment, it is better to be here than out there. But I am starting to think," he says, giving her a soft, doe-eyed look that might be easily mistaken, "that my being here with you might change from incidence to habit to necessity."

Dark Archive

Female Human Cleric of Iomedae 2; AC 16, 10 touch 16 flat-footed; HP 13/18, Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +7; +1 Initiative, +3 Perception

Shannon's diatribe gets little recognization from Celia besides a nod and an affirmative, but it lingers in the forefront of her thoughts for a time afterwards. The regime was making people complacent through art... she'd never knew. The Parego Dospera was so far away from the culture of Cheliax, mired so deeply in poverty, that Celia had never even seen a play performed live on stage in her life. The description of it, the themes and twists and turns fascinated her and she considered it for a long time afterward. She'd have to try to tick Shannon's ire again in the future to hear more stories, because just asking would prove that she was a fool.

That somewhere in the world, on stage right now, a person was enacting the rape of a woman by a devil and that somehow, in some way, the people watching and the people performing it believed it to be the most morally upright result sickened Celia to her core.

Yet the story, the fantasy of a magic mirror and a devil's trick... shouldn't that play end differently? With an affirmation of life, or the death of the man?

Sclavo wrote:
"Of course! We can't have a church without religious texts, and Arael's procured a few. Of course, none of the texts of Aroden have been preserved this long, not in such an out-of-the-way temple. Perhaps if you traveled to a great library you could find one, but what we have here are a few copies of The Acts of Iomedae." picking up the shield and going back to the common room, he continues. "Would you like to read it? We have plenty of time before the sun comes up."

Handsome. It was hard for her to look past the novelty his skin, which was rare but not unknown in Westcrown, to see that he was, in fact, handsome. Celia follows him, nodding. "Really? That would be... that would be amazing. It'd be the first time in my life that I'd have the real holy book in my hands."

"To be honest, I'm not a very good priestess of the goddess, having never read the holy book myself. I... memorized a lot of it, from spoken scripture, from the person who taught me. I'm... not exactly a master at reading."

She hadn't had time in her life for reading until after the event, where her mother couldn't bare to take her to the riverside to wash clothing because of the dress they would wear and how it so keenly showed the scars, burns and gouges left behind after her tenure at the Hellknights' hands. It was lucky that she'd taken it up recently. If she hadn't, she wouldn't have been able to read Janiven's letter.


Sorry, couldn't get on the boards last night.

From her seat at a small table in a quiet corner Addie watches Jessnen's display of weaponry skill, impressed by the glimpes of his former - and possibly future? - prowess with sword, axe, and flail. Her veiled eyes carefully study each of the other members of Janiven's group, observing their interplay with each other and with her fellow newcomers once Celia and Shannon return from their baths.

The young witch retrieves the ancient Harrow deck from its pouch in her scarf and shuffles the cards carefully for several minutes, almost as a form of meditation. Once the cards feel right, she places the deck on the table and passes her hand over it, spreading the face-down cards in an arc before her. While watching Jessnen, Celia, and Shannon, she reaches out and pulls three cards from the arc. As she turns the card over she is unsurprised to see the same cards she drew from the deck when her three companions entered Vizio's tavern: The Betrayal for Jessnen, upside down and therefore misaligned; The Liar for Celia, also upside down and therefore misaligned as well; and The Midwife for Shannon. "But what of the rest of this group of Janiven's? What is to be their role in this spread?" she wonders to herself.

As Addie ponders the rest of the deck spread before her, His Lordship jumps up onto the table, sniffs at the cards, and turns away disinterestedly to sit and watch the others in the room. The cat's tail flicks back and forth, knocking one card out of alignment from the rest spread upon the table. Addie glances toward the cat, her eyes narrow with suspicion as she reaches out to turn over the disturbed card.

The Cabal's Card:
Suit: 1d6 ⇒ 1 - Strength; Card: 1d9 ⇒ 6 = The Uprising

Addie's eyes widen in surprise at the revealed card. "The Uprising! This card represents being caught in the clutches of something much more powerful than yourself. It is an overwhelming strength that often crushes what comes in contact with it. The crown held high signifies overthrowing a leader of some sort. In a Harrow spread, it indicates a force much stronger than the person receiving the reading."

Addie studies the group of people in the shrine again with a growing sense of newfound respect. "First my readings earlier today, and now this. The cards indicate that Janiven and her followers stand a solid chance freeing the people of Westcrown from their oppressors. But they'll need guidance." The young witch continues to consider the possibilities as she glances again at her three new companions and the three cards she uncovered earlier.


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

@Jessnen

The Varisian, apparently named Rizzardo, chuckles, his deep and complex voice ululating. "Didn't look so former, but a past is yours to keep. Affluent company, though? You think that's what this is, or are you joking? I mean, most of us are wage laborers, students, or craftsmen."

@Celia

"You memorized the scripture? You must have amazing memory, that's impressive. Of course I can bring you the scripture, just give me a bit to find it and all, I'll have it to you when I have a free moment."

Absentmindedly tidying up an endtable, he continues. "Honestly, I don't think you've any reason to be insecure about your quality of pastorship. We live in a nation of diabolists, any person that worships honor and justice is of higher quality than enough of the population to be very worthwhile."

@Shannon

The glassblower thinks for a moment before responding, "You know, I don't really believe that I know what to call us as a group. Janiven and Arael lead us, and we've just been getting together, trying to get more people to sign on, and we've been having meetings about how to improve life for our friends and family. Janiven uses the term "neighborhood watch" a lot, actually"

-----

The night wears on. Shadow beasts prowl the streets, the only protection against them a few lamps and a few wooden walls. Eventually, ma by man or woman by woman, the little amateur revolutionaries go to sleep. Janiven, in fact, falls asleep at her desk. After quite a bit of talking in hushed and excited tones over the Iomedaen holy text that Sclavo's brought her, even the pair of them end up nodding off. Shannon spends his waking hours chatting with many of the members of the group. Several of them had heard of them before, and the rest wanted to meet him anyway - he was interesting to them. A castrati, brave and in here, with us? No way.
As what;s becoming usual, the young, veiled Varisian witch sits by herself in a corner until the time comes to pack up her cards and find a discreet place to rest.


Male Human (Chelaxian) Bard (Chelish Diva) (HP 11/11 | AC 11 | T 11 | FF 10 | CMD 10 | F +0 | R +4 | W +4 | Init +1 | Per +6)

Shannon is happy to speak with these revolutionaries, mostly so that he can understand why they are even revolutionaries in the first place. He comes across as aloof, but more out of a sense of humility than of genuine pride - much of the silver spoon has already been torn from his mouth with the decay of the House of Rhys and the infamous and brutal execution of the matriarch. Much like Janiven asked each of them what beef they have with the crown and the ruling powers-that-be, Shannon likewise expresses genuine interest in why each of these would-be rebels is sleeping in an abandoned church and plotting resistance against the current governance.

But eventually even he has to bed for the night, knowing that if he does not, his voice will be crummy the following morning.


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

Shannon, most of these people are basically idealistic college students that want to make a difference because they're dissatisfied with their living conditions. That isn't to say that they're in college, but that's their mindset.

The morning comes quickly enough, and as you get up and leave the rooms you've been given for the night, and put on freshly-cleaned clothes (courtesy of Fiosa the halfling), you see that Janiven waits for you in the main prayer room.

"Good morning!", she says. "I believe that I have a plan to free Arael, but we'll need to act quickly...and please, I need to be sure that I have your aid or I'm afraid we'll not succeed."

Dark Archive

Female Human Cleric of Iomedae 2; AC 16, 10 touch 16 flat-footed; HP 13/18, Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +7; +1 Initiative, +3 Perception

Celia wakes, stretched across a pew, the hardcover Acts of Iomedae weighing down her chest. Groggily, she struggles with consciousness until Fiosa brings her clothes-- balking, yet still accepting them, Celia changes without an argument.

Wearing her longsword on her hip and still carrying the Acts, Celia nods at Janiven as she greets her. "Good morning. If you've got a plan, let's hear it," she says, getting comfortable on a wall. Being here was like a dream-- it felt so unreal. One moment she was going to be heading home, the next, chased by Hellknights through an underground road...


Male Human (Chelaxian) Bard (Chelish Diva) (HP 11/11 | AC 11 | T 11 | FF 10 | CMD 10 | F +0 | R +4 | W +4 | Init +1 | Per +6)

Dust motes drift in an early shaft of sunlight that streaks through the boarded windows of the temple. Shannon's eyes open and focus on the soft and early morning scene. In the dream haze of waking, each dust mote is a Wiscrani moving in a slow slave march around the streets. Not so much enslaved by chain and whip as by coin and circumstance.

It hits him then, unexpected. A short gasp and a pained exhale as the full weight of his mother's death - no, annihalation - hits him full force. A tidal wave of memories, frothing with emotion, overwhelms him. A single anguished sob spins the dust motes in a furious eddie, Wiscrani people rioting in the madness of the morning light, surrounded by darkness just beyond the edges of their single beam world.

Just as soon as it was upon him, he had control of it and was sitting up. A lingering memory of his mother and a black dress with a candied apple, kicking off one of her slippers...

Minutes later, he is pleasantly groomed and standing before Janiven. "You have my aid. Who must we speak to in order to have this resolved?" he asks. Maybe he was just this naive in the morning after a troubled sleep.


Addie sleeps as best she can, His Lordship curled upon her chest. Well before dawn she awakens and spends an hour simply staring into the black cat's golden eyes. Once her morning meditation is complete, she dons the fresh clothes provided by the Halfling Fiosa and gathers her few belongings before joining her new companions in the shrine's main room

Prepared Daze, Detect Magic, Message, Ill Omen, and Mage Armor.

leinathan wrote:

... Janiven waits for you in the main prayer room.

"Good morning!", she says. "I believe that I have a plan to free Arael, but we'll need to act quickly...and please, I need to be sure that I have your aid or I'm afraid we'll not succeed."

"You have my aid as well," Addie echoes Shannon and Celia. "Just tell us how we can help."


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

Janiven nods as each of the people she's brought here gathers around her, but says nothing in particular greeting. "Today, the custody battle between the Hellknights and the dottari ended. The Hellknights won custody, and will be transporting Arael back to the Citadel. This is the perfect opportunity to get him back - in transit. Not only will we be doing it outside of the city, and thus won't be subject to the city's laws, but this will be the time that the Hellknights will have the smallest guard on them. Many Wiscrani bristle at the Hellknights' supposed superiority, and I don't think anybody would mind if they lost a prisoner on the way back to the Citadel. Best of all, the city of Westcrown is no longer interested in Arael's crimes after having handed him over to the Hellknights, so if we get him back here, we should be safe. This safety will be harder to guarantee if any Hellknights die, especially the trainees they've been using for this mission, the Hellknights will almost certainly hold some sort of grudge."

Here, she pulls out a map of the Westcrown area, and points out an offshoot road - the road that winds between Westcrown and the Citadel. At the same time, a groggy Jessnen who looks like he's just rolled out of bed approaches the group. He doesn't ask details to be recounted, though. He can catch up easily enough on his own.

"Here, this road is almost entirely used by Hellknights and the traders that treat with them, and not even that commonly. Because of the low traffic and the proximity to the Citadel, banditry is almost unheard of, and the Hellknights will not be on their guard. We can ambush them here, indicating an area where the dense forest comes especially close to the road, and here, indicating an area where a river winds through the road and must be circumvented by a bridge.

"But listen, we can't do it alone. My current plan is to have several of us less trained folks enter the road some ways ahead of the caravan, drop caltrops, and stand menacingly until their knights ride forward to meet us. The knights will be dismounted by the caltrops, and you're free to attack the more vulnerable caravan yourselves. Unless you've got a better plan, we need to ride out now. Gorvio's uncle has generously agreed to lend us horses, but only under the condition that they be returned in absolutely pristine condition."

"Questions, suggestions, comments?"

Dark Archive

Female Human Cleric of Iomedae 2; AC 16, 10 touch 16 flat-footed; HP 13/18, Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +7; +1 Initiative, +3 Perception

"Nonlethal," Celia muses. "I like that. Best option, really."

She looks to the others-- "The forest or the bridge? I'll pray for guidance if necessary, but we should decide quickly. The forest may be best if we want to outrun their riders by cutting through the woods-- or, we could devise a ruse with the integrity of the bridge."


Male Human (Chelaxian) Bard (Chelish Diva) (HP 11/11 | AC 11 | T 11 | FF 10 | CMD 10 | F +0 | R +4 | W +4 | Init +1 | Per +6)

"But I am sure that traders use that bridge, as well. Compromising the integrity of that bridge could have consequences that hurt people who have nothing to do with this...but even so, if the caltrops were placed at the far end of the bridge, and we pincered them from the other side, the Hellknights and their caravan would have precious little space to engage in effective combat."

Shannon seems very much out of his element, however. "I agree that no one should die over this. And we have so little time. I am for the bridge, and we should go there as soon as possible to survey the area. Though...does anyone have a needle and some thread here?"


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

Some needle and thread is brought for Shannon in a wooden box.

Janiven pitches in at Shannon's suggestion. "Closing the Hellknights in might be a poor idea. There are a lot of Hellknights and forcing ourselves to fight all of them might be a perilous idea. Most of us here aren't combat-trained..well, except for me. Whatever plan we come up with should have to do with separating the Hellknights from the cage."


Male Human (Chelaxian) Bard (Chelish Diva) (HP 11/11 | AC 11 | T 11 | FF 10 | CMD 10 | F +0 | R +4 | W +4 | Init +1 | Per +6)

"Thank you."

Shannon removes a pair of scissors from the box and then folds his chantilly scarf end over end, measuring out sections of a specific length. Once he has it folded, where each fold segments the scarf into the length of his measurement, he cuts either end of the lacy scarf with the scissors.

"Will the cage be attached be tethered to horses? If so, then anyone who knows how to guide them can use them to help us get the cage away from the Hellknights faster. I mean, I don't know how to break him out of a cage right there on the spot..."

He arranges each strip of lace scarf side by side in vertical lines and then takes two and begins to thread them together. Then he threads a third to the two he'd already threaded together.

"If the Hellknights are riding on horseback in advance of the cage..."

He stops to take a spare length of the lacy scarf and threads its opposite ends together, forming a band.

"...then maybe if we pour something like oil here," he points to the foot of the bridge, "in the dirt, and then let the Hellknights cross over it onto the bridge with their horses, and then someone lights the oil on fire before the cage gets onto the bridge, then do you think that would spook their horses from wanting to double back and leave the bridge from the way they came? Or are their horses better trained than that? It might buy us some time to get Arael and/or the cage out of there and the fire would be on the ground, not setting the bridge ablaze."


Addie listens carefully to the discussion of how to best ambush the Hellknights and free Arael.

"The bridge does seem to be the ideal spot for an ambush," Addie agrees with Shannon. "And I like the idea of separating some of the riders from the cage wagon."

"Janiven, you said that the others here are not combat trained, but can they fire crossbows? They could draw some of the Hellknights away by harassing them with crossbow fire, and then we could attack the remaining reduced forces with the cage at the bridge. I would assume that the Hellknights move slowly in their armor, so the crossbow wielders could flee when the Hellknights move to attack. Of course, it would be safer for your compatriots to do this if there is some form of cover for them to flee into. Is there forest close enough to the bridge from which your people could attack and then flee into?"

"Of course, we'll all probably want to wear disguises," Addie adds as an afterthought.


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

Janiven strokes her chin...as if she had a beard there. Of course she doesn't. "Hmm...As I understand your plan, we draw out as many of the Hellknights as we can with crossbow fire, and then we...light the bridge on fire to keep the Hellknights from coming back? The tree cover is certainly close enough, and I could procure a few crossbows...but if we can't unlock the cage right there, how do we get away? We aren't just going to ride back into town with a Hellknight prison wagon, are we?"

As the five of you speak, the rest of the members of this little cabal are slowly filtering out into the common area, and here is where one of them offers his aid. The little gnome waddles forward, orange mowawk waving back and forth as he does so. "I think I gotta solution for yeh" he says, a little bit too quickly, before jangling a ring festooned with metal rods, hooks, false keys, a small jar of wax and other lockbreaking materials. "I bin branching out."

In other news, Gorvio is sent out to his uncle's place to get the horses and Ermolos is sent out with a bag of gold to get as many crossbows as he can.

This is your plan? Also, where is everyone? XD


Male Human (Chelaxian) Bard (Chelish Diva) (HP 11/11 | AC 11 | T 11 | FF 10 | CMD 10 | F +0 | R +4 | W +4 | Init +1 | Per +6)

"Well..."

Knowledge (Local): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14

That's a knowledge local check to know about that bridge. Shannon was originally hesitant because he thought the bridge might be used for trade to Westcrown, but if that bridge is only a bridge that leads to the Citadel, then burning it down inconveniences only the Hellknights. Which is no huge loss to him. If it only inconveniences them, he says, yeah, burn the damn bridge. If it would inconvenience others, then he suggests just the ground on our side of the bridge, in between them and the cart.

"As far as starting the fire goes, we could use lamp oil or pitch."

When the gnome offers his talents, Shannon presses his hands together thankfully. "Yes, that's exactly the kind of talent I was referring to."


"That sounds good to me," Addie agrees with Janiven and Shannon's summation of the plan.

Addie smiles and nods in appreciation of the gnome's offer to help with the locked cage. "You will need to be with our group, then," she says to the orange-haired gnome. "Please forgive me, but what was your name again?"


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

The gnome grins a mischievous grin. "Name o' Yakupulio. Bartender n' pimp extraordinaire." the little guy puts his tools away.

"Pitch can't be so hard to get." says Janiven, "It would burn better than lamp oil and all we need to do is make a clandestine visit to the shipyards."


Addie's left eyebrow arches quizzically behind her veil at Yakupulio's description of his... skills... but the young witch keeps her opinions to herself.

Addie nods at Janiven's suggestion to obtain pitch from the shipyards. "Is that something you need us to do? Or do you have a contact at the shipyard?" she asks.


F Half-orc CG Urban Ranger 2 | AC 17 T 14 FF 13 | HP 17/18 | CMB +4 CMD 18 | F +4 R +7 W +2 | Init +6 | Perc +7

Warning - incoming monster sized post!

Early morning saw Zalika stalking through the Rego Pena, nodding politely to some of the street vendors with whom she was familiar, coldly staring at others as she passed - those whom she knew to be cheats, charlatans or worse. Although she did her best to avoid getting her boots spattered with the nightsoil still puddling into the gutters there was too much to fully avoid the reeking filth dumped in the street here and there. Even in this part of Westcrown – the ‘Coin Sector’ – with its counting houses and other lucrative businesses, little effort was expended by the city officials to maintain minimal standards of cleanliness. Why should the bastards? They have servants and slaves to step in the s&@% for them. The rest of us ‘peons’ just have to wade through it and live on scraps…

Turning into the small plaza where her current employer conducted his business – a minor merchant with interests in shipping grain and perishables throughout the inner sea, but whom had little regard for those he paid to protect his premises – a harsh bark of command echoed up the street and alerted her to trouble. Sidestepping into a shadowed doorway, Zali peered around the edge of the portal, watching as the few early morning hawkers and servants along that section of the street also hurriedly sought to find a nook to hide in. The rhythmic tread of heavy, iron-soled boots and the jangle of armor heralded the progress of half-a-dozen dottari along the thoroughfare, led by a snotty-looking young noblewoman on a light warhorse, the engraved highlights of her own armor picked out with gilding.

Must have been some trouble last night, else those arrogant pigs would still be in their barracks nursing hangovers. The half-orc waited until the detachment turned the corner into the main street before leaving the doorway, stepping back onto the filthy cobbles and walking into the open plaza ahead. Once it had been an impressive square lined with the townhouses of prosperous merchants, well-to-do officials and minor nobility, all arrayed around a small central park of carefully tended flowerbeds surrounding a cascading fountain, surmounted by a statue of Aroden. Now the place had a slightly desperate, grubby air about it – the statue to the god of man shattered and tumbled into rubble, leaving the fountain choked and causing the remaining dribble of water to pool into slimy, rubbish filled basins. Likewise the park was now a weed strewn islet of dirt surrounded by cobbles, the stumps of the ornamental trees long since hacked up for firewood.

Looking sadly at the buildings arrayed around the place, Zalika’s eye fell on the mouldering façade of what had once been a small chapel, its doors now barred with chains and a heavy padlock, once magnificent stained glass windows either smashed or boarded up. Only hell and the thrice damned House of Thrune will suffer to be worshipped by the populace now, whatever their edicts proclaim to the contrary. She was so caught up in the rare – for her – moment of introspection that she almost failed to notice the pale youth huddled in the mouth of an alleyway next to the abandoned church, and who was trying to attract her attention without revealing his own presence to anyone else out in the plaza. What the hell is he doing here at this time of day?

Crossing the plaza quickly, the half-orc woman stepped into the dank alleyway, grabbing the youth’s arm as she passed and pulling him deeper into the reeking laneway beyond. Glancing either way along the alley to ensure that no-one else was lurking in the morning dimness behind the townhouses, she pushed the boy ahead of her and let go of his arm. He stepped back and rubbed his arm where Zali had gripped it. ”Sheesh Za… um, I mean ‘Gianna’…" He remembers to use her current pseudonym at the last moment, “Why’d you do that? I was already hiding in the alley, no-one else saw me.”

”Because you may as vell have been standing out in zhe plaza dressed up in jester’s motely singing ribald tunes about Abrogail and Asmodeus rubbing uglies togezher, zat’s vhy. Zat vasn’t being careful, Morosino – not vit zhe dottari all stirred up about somezhing.” As always Zalika’s prominent canines caused her to slur her dental fricative phonemes, making her sound like a bad stage-actor’s idea of an Ustlavian bandit. No-one ever survived unbruised to laugh twice at her accent however. ”Now vhat is it zat Arael and your friends have done zis time? I’m guessing zhere’s trouble or you vouldn’t be in the Rego Pena zis early in zhe morning. Tell me.”

The young human had the grace to look slightly chagrined at her criticism, perhaps recognizing it for what it was – more concern on Zali’s part for his safety and at his apparent foolishness at running around one of Westcrown’s more heavily patrolled districts than real anger, especially since the last thing Morosino and his Iomedean friends would want is official attention. ”There was a raid last night, and the Hellknights have him in custody. Janiven has a plan to free him, but she needs more help to do it, and you know your way around locks and things, as well as a sword.” The teenager looked up at the half-orc woman’s scowling face. In truth Zali wasn’t actually all that much older than Morosino, but in size, temperament and experience there was a world of difference between the pair.

Sighing to herself, Zalika stepped back from the boy, closing her eyes and inwardly praying. What the hell are you about to get me into now Cayden? Iomedeans and their plots! Damn you, you bloody drunk, alright… Although her thoughts might be considered profane if they were directed towards another deity, inwardly the half-orc could recognise the hand of the Lucky Drunk at work, pushing her into making a decision. Fine! So it’s time to get off the fence and help those fools. You won’t be happy until I’m dead or in prison, but I’ll do it, for Jaelle and the others…

”Alright Morosino, take me to your friends…”

-----

Following the boy through the sewers towards the Iomedean refuge, Zali is already having second thoughts about being so hasty to accompany him. Jaelle would be clouting me across the back of my head for being silly if she could see me now. She’s the one who told me to lay low and avoid drawing attention to myself if the Hellknights ever caught her. Nevertheless she tramps through the mess after Morosino, having considerably less trouble than the human in avoiding the hidden pitfalls and uneven footing thanks to her orcish eyesight. Finally he stops at series of rusted rungs set into the brickwork of the sewer wall and begins to climb up. Zali waits at the bottom, until she hears the muffled banging of a damp-swollen wooden trap-door opening overhead, then Morosino’s soft call. ”Okay come on up, it’s safe.” Scowling again, the half-orc grabs the rungs and hauls herself up. Safe. I doubt that, laddie – not in this town.

It takes a moment for her eyes to readjust to the sudden return of daylight, albeit filtered through the grimy panes of the few windows still intact high on the wall of the old chapel. Strange. Another forgotten church to the true gods. As Zali looks around she realizes that the place used to be for the worship of Aroden, although the new residents have redecorated it in homage to his inheritor, Iomedae. A dead god’s house, now used to hide his protégé’s worshippers. I hope it doesn’t become a tomb for all of us. Wiping the sewer filth from her boots on a broken piece of discarded furniture, she turns to look over the people within, but unexpectedly finds herself face-to-face with a large black cat sitting atop the back of an old pew, it’s yellow eyes scrutinizing her intently.

”Vell hello, sveetheart. Vhat’s a nice cat like you doing in a place like dis?” The others are treated to the possibly incongruous sight of a grey-skinned half-orc woman, not overly tall but heavy with layers of whipcord muscle, leaning forward to pet the purring cat. She has prominent canines jutting over her lips, coarse black hair tied back in a warrior’s knot, a series of jagged scars covering the exposed skin of her face and arms. Although her clothing seems fashionable and reasonably new, the studded leather armor and the wicked-looking Aldori duelling sword sheathed at her side both seem to be well-used and cared for. Straightening up once she notices the stares of the people present in the chapel, Zalika focuses her own yellow-eyed stare on Janiven.

”Vell vhether you vanted me or not, Morosino found me – he seems to zink I can help. He says Arael is being held by the Hellknights and you’re planning to break him out. How exactly? Miracles are in short supply in Vestcrown zese days in case you hadn’t noticed.”

I think I've overcompensated for being a latecomer to the party. I promise I won't choke you with this kind of 'wall of text' a second time.


Male Human (Chelaxian) Bard (Chelish Diva) (HP 11/11 | AC 11 | T 11 | FF 10 | CMD 10 | F +0 | R +4 | W +4 | Init +1 | Per +6)

Everyone deserves a big introductory post! We all got one.

"Pimp?" The diva lifts both eyebrows. His expression cannot decide whether it is judgmental or curious. "Are you being facetious?"

He seems relieved that the notion of burning the bridge after the Hellknights had crossed goes over well. The romantic notion of civil rebellion sits well with Shannon: staging public displays of passive resistance, playing the demagogue, hanging banners and holding peaceful demonstrations. There is a familiar theatric in demanding more of the limelight than the ruling stage manager wants to allow.

But destroying property and potentially putting lives at risk was a new horizon. Where action was action and not staged drama. He couldn't help but pray, silently, that in burning this bridge he wasn't burning the last bridge between Westcrown and peace.

"Whatever I can do to help, Janiven."

When Zalika comes in, Shannon is near to finishing his sewing work. He unfurls the thinnest part of his lace scarf and with a light ripping tears one layer from the other, and only then does it become clear to everyone what he's been sewing for himself - a veiled circlet, dove-white in contrast to Addie's dark.

Craft (Costume): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

Janiven tiredly laughs, "Don't worry, I'll get Rizzardo and Larko to bring it, we don't have a lot of time for you guys to be going off on errands, not when you're the key players in this."

At her gesture, two more of her posse get up and leave the chapel. It's been a little while since Ermolos and Gorvio have been gone, and they ought to be back soon.

Nobody noticed Morosino had ducked out of the chapel, and almost no one noticed that he came back, not until the muscular half-orc woman emerged into the chapel after him. In short order, all eyes were on her. As the only non-human in the room, she stood out in multiple ways. Exotic weapons, easily visible armor, strange lisping speech, not to mention the fresh sewer stench on her.

Janiven is surprised to see Zalika enter, but that surprise is quickly overriden by pleasure, as she goes in for a hug, but then seeing the waste...quickly reconsiders. She settles for a handshake, extending an open hand. "It's good to see you, Zalika. Good work, Morosino, you thought well. We may just need you."

Walking back to the "planning table", she sweeps her arms around to emcompass the people she's brought here. "Zalika, meet Shannon, Addie, and Celia. I'd just been meeting with them about...all this...when I got news of Arael and the Hellknights started hammering down our door. We got away, but as you know, Arael had been captured. Well, their plan is to..." she spends a few minutes explaining, to Zalika, Shannon's plan in detail. "What do you think of that? Can you help us? We may need you for the up-close team."


F Half-orc CG Urban Ranger 2 | AC 17 T 14 FF 13 | HP 17/18 | CMB +4 CMD 18 | F +4 R +7 W +2 | Init +6 | Perc +7

"Vill it vork, you're asking me? How ze bloody hells should I know." says the half-orc woman, albeit in a mild tone of voice. "Even if ze escort is comprised of nuzhing but recruits, zey are still Hellknights, and I just don't zink we can do it vithout killing some of zhem." Zali looks over the three individuals standing around Janiven, trying to gauge their potential from their stances, gear and demeanor. A cleric, a castrati and a mystic - sounds like the start of a bad joke. Now all we need is a bar for us all to walk into and a punchline.

She gives up trying to gauge imponderables and shakes her head doubtfully. "I'm fine vith doing vhat I can to help, Jani - really I am. But zere vill be at least half-a-dozen guards if not more for a prisoner like Arael. Unless one of zese good folk can use magics of some kind to knock out most of zem as soon as the ambush is sprung, zere vill be blood spilled and no guarantee zat any incapacitated Hellknight recruit will survive. No unless you propose to delay long enough after ve rescue Arael to heal zem ourselves, and ve von't have zat sort of time so close to ze citadel"

"Your idea of drawing zem across ze bridge and setting it alight is fine, as far as it goes... provided ze ones firing ze crossbows gall zem enough to draw zheir ire." Zali sighs and pauses, realizing that her comments aren't actually helping, and that she's merely venting her frustration at being drawn into this affair. "Sorry. Ve can try it zis way, I can't zhink of a better idea. It's just zat zis vasn't vhat I vas expecting to be doing today..." She gives Janiven and the three strangers a lopsided and very toothy grin.

"But it could also be fun, provided ve escape more or less in one piece, I guess. About time someone stitched zose arrogant pigs up a treat."


Zalika Cailean wrote:

Wiping the sewer filth from her boots on a broken piece of discarded furniture, she turns to look over the people within, but unexpectedly finds herself face-to-face with a large black cat sitting atop the back of an old pew, it’s yellow eyes scrutinizing her intently.

”Vell hello, sveetheart. Vhat’s a nice cat like you doing in a place like dis?” The others are treated to the possibly incongruous sight of a grey-skinned half-orc woman, not overly tall but heavy with layers of whipcord muscle, leaning forward to pet the purring cat. She has prominent canines jutting over her lips, coarse black hair tied back in a warrior’s knot, a series of jagged scars covering the exposed skin of her face and arms.

Addie purses her lips as she watches His Lordship allow himself to be petted by the half-orc woman. "What is he doing? Purring?!? Just what are you up to, you rascal of a cat?" she thinks to herself as she watches the black cat jump down from the pew and rub against the half-orc's legs. Eyes narrowing, Addie draws a card from her Harrow deck and studies it carefully as Janiven speaks with the newcomer.

Zalika's Card:
Suit: 1d6 ⇒ 3; Card: 1d9 ⇒ 8 = The Sickness

"The Sickness. Normally a card of dire portent, but upside down like Celia's. Another misalignment, representing the chance to stop the corruption of a multitude of souls. So this woman is another crucial thread in the pattern of Janiven's Uprising to stop the Dance of the Demon's Lantern," Addie muses as she replaces the card in the ancient deck.

Addie nods in greeting to Zalika as she is introduced by Janiven. "I'm afraid I don't possess any magic that could incapacitate a large group as soon as the ambush is sprung, although I do have a few spells and abilities that will aid us nonetheless. Hopefully our abilities will be enough."


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

In short enough order, those they Janiven has sent out for various supplies return. Five light crossbows, ten horses, and a barrel of pitch come in to supplement the force of people they've already got. Amaya, Ermolos, Larko, Fiosa, and Sclavo are all volunteered for the crossbow-diversion mission, and Yakupulio has decided quite awhile ago to accompany the main group.

Things are packed, the barrel of pitch is loaded up, all to Janiven's hurried but authoritative shouts, and the expedition takes off at high speed, headed towards the Citadel. Gorvio yells after the caravan. "Er, um, don't forget to take care of the horses! Those are on loan!", but doesn't manage to get anything else out before everybody is out of earshot.

The ride out is silent. Everyone is quite nervous about what's about to happen, and focused on doing it right. Even with the delays, Janiven and the group manage to leave the city before the Hellknight caravan (political delays) and get to the bridge some time before the caravan is set to arrive.

Alrighty guys, set it up how you'd like. Do you want Janiven with you or the crossbowers?


Male Human (Chelaxian) Bard (Chelish Diva) (HP 11/11 | AC 11 | T 11 | FF 10 | CMD 10 | F +0 | R +4 | W +4 | Init +1 | Per +6)

Shannon dons the veil over his head, grateful for how it obscures his face. The tension of the morning has him distracted enough that he doesn't seem to be aware that he looks a bit like a harried bride in male drag.

Once at the scene, Shannon asks everyone to hide under the bridge, and then he walks in a zigzag along the path to see whether anyone is visible under the bridge, as in, whether the Hellknights approaching the bridge would be able to see them. If all is clear and he can't make them out, he gives an approval. Otherwise, he says they need to find a better way to hide themselves.

Janiven should probably protect the crossbowers in case they get in trouble somehow.


F Half-orc CG Urban Ranger 2 | AC 17 T 14 FF 13 | HP 17/18 | CMB +4 CMD 18 | F +4 R +7 W +2 | Init +6 | Perc +7

Not quite ignoring the effeminate bard, Zali insists on accompanying him as he checks the line-of-sight of the approaches to the bridge. What does the castrati think he knows about preparing an ambush, eh? She too makes an assessment of the situation - judging the suitably of the ambush location, ease of concealment, possible routes of escape - but will not contradict Shannon if the bard seems to be making an adequate assessment. One other thing she checks is the depth of the stream or river which the bridge spans, to ensure that even Hellknights on horseback will have difficulty fording it once the bridge is blocked by the burning pitch.

Perception, looking for anything which could give the ambushers away to the approaching Hellknights: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13 +2 more if vs. humans.
Survival, judging the suitably of the terrain for making an ambush and escaping: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8 +2 more if vs. humans.

Yuk. Those weren't the rolls I wanted to make just then... :p

Dark Archive

Female Human Cleric of Iomedae 2; AC 16, 10 touch 16 flat-footed; HP 13/18, Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +7; +1 Initiative, +3 Perception

Under the bridge, Celia prays for guidance while holding her longsword. Hopefully, everything will be okay.


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

Janiven and her five cohorts hurriedly help with the pouring of the pitch and the preparation of the easy torch-throwing onto the pitch, but then they gather up their crossbows and bolts, and, wishing you luck, depart to the far side's forest cover to lie in wait for the Hellknights.

Lying underneath the ends of the bridge, Celia, Shannon, Zalika, Addie, and Yakupulio (who can barely be made to be quiet) similarly wait with bated breath. The ground is soft and wet so close to the river, and the only sounds allowed is the soft burbling of the river beneath them.

That is, until the clopping of hooves betrays the coming of the Hellknights. There is little conversation, and the sound of rolling metal wheels grows closer. Tension.

Tension.

Tension.

Suddenly, the twang of several strings and the sound of bolts striking ground, armor, and prison wagon sound above the waiting adventurers. Much shouting among the Hellknights occurs before the clop of horses, but not the carriage, crosses the bridge.

Carrying the torch, Zalika waits a few tense moments before lighting it and throwing it up and onto the pitch. The roar of fire is the cue, and the adventurers emerge from below the bridge.

The scene that they're met with is an interesting one. The four mounted Hellknights don't seem to have noticed the burning pitch behind them, and still ride towards the forest, from which bolts still emerge.

The prison carriage is large and steel, made primarily of bars and a large steel door, and all seven of the remaining Hellknights ride in some form on it (three sitting on one side, three sitting on the other side, and the seventh, a man wearing an imposing steel mask and full plate armor, sits in front of the two horses).

Initiative:
Hellknights: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (15) - 1 = 14
Celia: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15
Zalika: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
Shannon: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18
Addie: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18

Zalika - 21
Addie - 18
Shannon - 18
Celia - 15
Hellknights - 14

Go!


F Half-orc CG Urban Ranger 2 | AC 17 T 14 FF 13 | HP 17/18 | CMB +4 CMD 18 | F +4 R +7 W +2 | Init +6 | Perc +7

Having first covered her lower face with a scarf, Zali rushes up the bank of the stream towards the wagon after lighting the pitch, shaking out her whip in one hand. Once she gets within reach - and hopefully before the Hellknights on the wagon know that she's there - Zali flicks the braided leather lash towards the nearest opponent, intending to pull the man off the side of the vehicle and drag him to the ground.

Move action - approach to within 15' of the wagon
Standard action - attempt Trip combat maneuver

Combat maneuver, Trip opponent, +2 vs. humans: 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 3 + 2 = 7

Well, that could have gone better... so much for the non-lethal approach. :p


Is it okay to assume that Addie would have cast Mage Armor on herself once the pitch was poured and everyone was set for the ambush?

Addie scuttles out from under the bridge, trying to take advantage of any concealment provided by vegetation or boulders near the stream while moving to gain a clear view of the wagon.

Stealth check: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17. Per the PRD: "When you start your turn using Stealth, you can leave cover or concealment and remain unobserved as long as you succeed at a Stealth check and end your turn in cover or concealment." Using move action to move at half-speed (to use Stealth at no penalty), moving up to 15 ft if needed to get a view of the wagon while still remaining in concealment if possible. (Hopefully a big half-orc wielding a whip will also distract the Hellknights from Addie's movement!)

Finally able to see the Hellknights, Addie points at one of the men nearest Zalika and mutters the words to a spell to cloud the man's mind.

Standard action to cast Daze on one of the Hellknights nearest Zalika (not the man sitting in front of the two horses - he looks too powerful for that cantrip); the Hellknight loses his next action unless he succeeds a DC 14 Will save.


Male Human (Chelaxian) Bard (Chelish Diva) (HP 11/11 | AC 11 | T 11 | FF 10 | CMD 10 | F +0 | R +4 | W +4 | Init +1 | Per +6)

Round 1

A light wind blows across his veil, giving the confrontation a surreal feel. Even though he cannot make out their expressions perfectly, he knows they must be flabbergasted with the sudden fire. With so many of the Hellknights seated atop the carriage, Shannon looks for a way to surprise them all...

...and realizes that the best ones to surprise are the horses.

Shannon locks his knees. His elbows bend and his open palms go up into the air like a conductor ready to begin his score.

And then he begins it, with a crashing of his palms together. An explosion of sound like several pistol shots goes off right next to the horse's ears to attempt to spook them into bolting and possibly overturning the cart and the Hellknights with it.

I know Arael is inside, but he'll be fine. Shelyn please, let him be ok if this works...

Casting Ghost Sound to spook the horses into bolting and possibling turning the cart over, maybe pinning half of the hellknights under it if it does and maybe rendering the rest prone. DC 14 Will Save for each horse to resist the illusion.


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

Update time!

Zalika shakes out her whip and moves to within striking range of the engagement, and with a crack, strikes...the side of the wagon with her length of leather.

Addie, unseen by the Hellknights, rushes out from underneath the bridge to take cover behind one of the rocks near the river. Peeking her head out from behind it, and muttering a few arcane words, she points at one of the Hellknights. The man's eyes grow clouded and his mouth drops to hang open, even as his cohorts ready themselves for battle.

Shannon, ever the dramatist, emerges from hiding like some orchestral conductor, raises his arms, and claps them together, releasing an incongruous amount of noises. The horses, next to which the sound was created, react in entirely different ways. One horse just continues snorting and, wide-eyed, backing away from the fire. The other attempts to ride towards it and away from the noise, but then upon getting too close and pulling on its reins, tries to turn and ride down the river. The man that's supposed to be driving them is too distracted by the sudden attack to react, and before he even could the opposing forces on the cart tip it off of two of its wheels, and slowly...slowly...it crashes to the ground. Three of the Hellknights are trapped beneath its bulk and the other four have simply fallen off and lie facedown in the dirt.

Celia's turn and then me.

Initiative:

Celia - 15
Hellknights - 14
--
Zalika - 21
Addie - 18
Shannon - 18

GM Rolls:
Hellknight Will vs. Daze: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (5) - 1 = 4
Horse Will vs. Ghost Sound: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Horse 2 Will: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21
Wow. The saves.

Dark Archive

Female Human Cleric of Iomedae 2; AC 16, 10 touch 16 flat-footed; HP 13/18, Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +7; +1 Initiative, +3 Perception

Celia, her sword still sheathed, quickly sprints to the nearest Hellknight beside the tipped carriage. Raising her weapon, she attempts to bludgeon him to encourage the knight to stay down.

Non-lethal attack: 1d20 + 2 - 4 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 2 - 4 + 4 + 1 = 7

Glad the dice are supporting both PC and NPC equally today.


Male Human Dungeon Master 2/Fop 1

Update again!

Celia charges forward and lays waste to the dirt beside a downed Hellknight, even as he and his three remaining mobile compatriots rise up to combat the fighters. The one in front of Celia has to roll back a bit, but he makes it up anyway. The other two armigers draw their blades and grit their teeth in a snarl.

The remaining Hellknight, the apparent leader with the steel mask on, grabs ahold of an Asmodean holy symbol around his neck and raises a hand, invoking black negative energy to form around it. Then he scuttles forward to Celia and lunges at her with his gauntleted hand. The hand connects with Celia's chest, and as the energy drains into her chest, she feels her legs weaken and her head swoon, and she feels her pulse slow down ever so slightly.

Celia takes 8 damage. Zalika and Addie are up next.

Initiative

Zalika - 21
Addie - 18

Shannon - 18
Celia - 15
Hellknights - 14

GM Rolls:
inflict light touch attack: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15inflict light damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8


F Half-orc CG Urban Ranger 2 | AC 17 T 14 FF 13 | HP 17/18 | CMB +4 CMD 18 | F +4 R +7 W +2 | Init +6 | Perc +7

Snarling as she recognises the man in the steel mask as a cleric of Asmodeus, Zali drops the whip and draws her curved dueling sword as she charges at him. I agreed to try and knock out the Hellknight recruits. No-one said anything about letting a Hell priest live!

Free action - Drop the whip
Full round action - Charge the Asmodean priest, giving Zali +2 attack, -2 AC and drawing her sword as part of the attack (+1 BAB)

Charge attack, +2 for charging, +2 favored enemy: 1d20 + 5 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 5 + 2 + 2 = 15
Damage, +2 favored enemy: 1d8 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 + 2 = 9

If the priest is not in fact a human, Zali loses the +2 attack and damage bonuses for favored enemy.

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