Ar'Zarrcal did not look to the captain for orders. Things were moving too quickly and he had not yet found full faith in the Andorran's command. Stalking through the snow toward the prisoner who tossed down his musket, he sought to clasp one of his gauntleted hands about the nape of the man's neck and hold him down on his knees. While Ar'Zarrcal thought it possible the hunter might try something, he had little fear of a hidden knife. The small blade would still have to pierce the many layers of blackened steel that shielded the dwarf.
With this task completed, he spoke, tightening his fingers about the man's neck. "I accept your surrender. Prove useful and you may yet live. Attempt to deceive us or withold intelligence and you will be carved up and dissected for useful components." There was no bluff in the voice of the Ambassador from Shalast. The servant of Karzoug fully intended what he said.
Prisoner H7. The other man is of no concern to Ar'Zarrcal.
The roar of rage consumed him. Ordrud felt some measure of satisfaction when his greatsword severed the huntsman's raised arm, cleaving into his chest and straight out his back. He let the follow-through of blade return to the high guard position as he had been instructed by the swordmasters of Lastwall. He did not notice the spray of blood on the snow, but his baser instincts sensed the fishman behind him.
The second huntsman retreated screaming, bloody "Mercy!", but he still had his weapons in hand. "Did you give Andis mercy!" he shouted that echoed as much more of a growl. Ordrud quickly closed with his prey. "Drop your weapons!" He roared again and thought to himself, 'please give me a reason to kill you now!'
Move action: F29 with snowshoes
Standard: ready to attack if the hunstman moves from his square, attacks, or does not drop his weapons by the end of his action. Round 2 of 7 rage.
attack raging and power attack: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
if hit, damage: 2d6 + 12 ⇒ (5, 6) + 12 = 23
So much for the so called 'hunters' that we've been being harassed by. Hmph. I was hoping for a challenge. Seeing that the battle is over about the same time as it started, Marcellano gets up from his hiding position, reloads his musket, and heads towards the surrendering hunter on his side, musket aimed at the man.
Marcellano barks at the hunter, "Step away from the musket, hands where I can see them, whelp! Someone get the rope out of my pack so we can tie this bastard up. I'll keep an eye on him."
Talavuc clacked her tongue, giving Naasvit the order to halt his attack. The mink turned back to look at her with a curious expression, but sat down in the snow near the man as Ar'Zarrcal grabbed the man by the throat. Mercy is better than what they deserve, but... She sighed and shook her head as she walked over to the dwarf and the hunter. She slipped another lead ball into her sling and rolled it up into her hand. Just in case.
Ah, I didn't realize that Ar'Z had the guy I was aiming and yelling at by the throat. Kind of hard for him to keep his hands in the air when being choked. Little bit of a mis-read on my part.. can't edit it now either. Bah.
The violence delivered onto the hunters was equally swift and brutal. Two men felled dead in the time it takes to draw a few breaths. Two more now cowering before their captors. The former musket-wielding hunter -- a burly red-haired man with a thick beard and a partially obscured tattoo on the right side of his face lowers himself to his knees awkwardly, folding his hands behind his head when Ar'Zarrcal releases him.
They were defeated.
<< Encounter Resolved | XP Award: 87xp + a 200xp bonus for the well-laid trap. >>
"Eldrin-- My-- my name is Eldrin. I didn't-- we didn't-- please Gods above don't kill me." The fear in Ar'Zarrcal's prisoner's eyes is palpable, from the snot collecting in his mustache to the tears welled up in his eyes. "They took all've the children, what-- what was I supposed t'do?"
As he blubbers sobbing words out and looks to the meaty red pole of corpse that was his compatriot, Eldrin turns red-faced back to the dwarven representative of Shalast with pleading eyes.
Across the camp, the other man backed up against the wall throws his short sword down and away from himself. It disappears into the snow leaving a long impression in its wake. The coruscating ray of light that streaks from across the camp hits him the moment Fenyx emerges into view. It burns into his body and sends his muscles convulsing. A pained scream erupts from him as he feels the ache of days of labor sink bone-deep. He collapses back against the wall, then slouches onto his side in the snow.
Eldrin hears the scream, wider-eyed now in realization that another lives but unaware of what horrors may have been inflicted on him. "Please have mercy, we were only doing what we were told to... please." All of the fight and vitriol seems to have been stripped from him.
The prisoner by Ordrud and Rasso, however, seems only somewhat less pathetic. Now enfeebled by Fenyx's ray, he stares up at his captors and remains motionless. "P-please don't kill me," he whimpers to Ordrud, glancing behind him to Rasso's scuttling form like some sort of sea-born nightmare. "I didn't-- I didn't hurt your friend. The Eagle Knight." He apparently recognized Andis' name. "That wasn't me. I didn't-- I was just following orders. My name is Savard, I-- I'm from Falcon's Hollow. Please. Please don't send me to th' boneyard please."
Fort Save vs. Ray of Enfeeblement: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Eldrin and Savard surrender without issue. Feel free to bind them, move them or do as you wish. They are too afraid (and in Savard's case too weak) to resist.
Cold Weather Outfit (On Corpse)
Cold Weather Outfit (On Corpse)
Cold Weather Outfit (On Corpse)
Cold Weather Outfit (Eldrin)
Cold Weather Outfit (Savard)
Padded Armor (On Corpse)
Padded Armor (On Corpse)
Padded Armor (On Corpse)
Padded Armor (Eldrin)
Padded Armor (Savard)
Pouch of 30 bullets
Pouch of 30 bullets
30 charges of black powder in powder horn
30 charges of black powder in powder horn
Snowshoes (On Corpse)
Snowshoes (On Corpse)
Snowshoes (On Corpse)
8gp, 5sp (On Corpse)
7gp, 9sp (On Corpse)
18gp, 2sp (On Corpse)
3gp, 10sp (Savard)
10gp, 2sp (Eldrin)
Sunrod (Unused, Eldrin)
Sunrod (Unused, On Corpse)
Sunrod (Unused, On Corpse)
Sunrod (Lit, On Corpse)
Sunrod (Lit, Savard)
Edit: Shortchanged you one hunter's gear and xp.
Walking away from the steaming corpse who was slowly cooling in the winter snow Teladon glided towards the two remaining men. Faceless visage of steel, Teladons eyes slowly weighted the measure of the men before him. And they are called hunters… Teladon snorted in disgust, watching the cowering, mewling wretches who lay before him.
Three dead humans… Though Teladon, cautiously considering the implications. Though the magus would never explain the ways of his people to outsiders, the number three held a position of wary respect among the kin. Three represented the past, present and future. Three times a deed would be visited upon the wielder of power for either good or evil. It was fitting that three hunters had died for the death of Andis. And three times an act would occur before a cycle would begin anew. There was still death upon the horizon, but whose death remained unclear in his foresight.
Watching stoically as the team began to interrogate this prisoners, Teladon began dragging the human corpses to the blackened pit that was the death grave of Andis. Let them serve as an example to others who would hunt us. The elven man darkly mused, considering for a moment if he should mount their heads on poles to serve as a warning. Deciding against such a crude form of action, the elf picked clean the bodies of anything that might serve of use for the group before piling wood around the bodies in preparation for a bonfire.
Traveling to and from the false campfire, Teladon quietly listened to the others question the prisoners, waiting for one to mention the name Thuldrin. Silently he went about his ghoulish business, like a raven made elf, picking away at the bodies of the men. It was grim, but someone had to do it and it was preferable to interacting with the wretches. Shaking his head, Teladon stepped away from the fire back toward the bodies once more. How could they expect mercy when they showed none to others? If Teladon had his choice, he would let winter decide. Let them be stripped bare and told to run. Perhaps they would survive… or perhaps not. Teladon’s foresight was rather clear on those possibilities.
Whiny ass sods.. should put them out of their miserable pathetic lives just for begging. But then we'd lose out on useful info.. Ah well. We'll probably put them down when we're finished with them.
Seeing that Ar'Zarrcal has the hunter under control, Marcellano slings his musket and pulls out a length of his silk rope and ties part of it to himself and then heads over to the hunter and binds his hands. Won't able to run now, not with me anchoring ya.
"Oye, bring that other bastard over here, I have rope. I'll keep them tied to me, so they won't be getting away. I have enough rope for it." He looks over at the hunter he currently has tied to himself and adds, "You just try and flee. I'm sure our orcish friend would relish gutting you. And quit your whining. I don't want to hear your b*!&!!&$ excuse about children. Make another peep without being spoken to and I'll cut your tongue out and feed it to the mink."
He'll require a DC 26 Escape Artist or Combat Maneuver check to free himself from my bindings - and they're silk, so they're fairly hard to burst. I've tied him at a 20 ft leash to me, and I have 100 ft of rope in all.
Rasso walks over to Savard, and tells him, "Start talking. Everythin' from ter beginnin'. I'd hate ter lose control o' me appetite. Human cheeks and eyes're a delikercy amongst me kin ya know." Rasso says, flashing his widest, sharkiest grin a couple inches from the man's face.
Don't really think a bluff or intimidate roll is necessary at this point, but if so I'll take 10.
Talavuc can't help but grin at the chel's comment. "He'd enjoy it, too. He's not had any decent meat for a few days," she says with a slight smirk. But he's not going to. I don't want him to get a taste for human meat. She glances as Naasvit as the smirk is replaced with a look of concern. The mink sniffs the nearby body, which only reinforces her worries.
She looks to Marcellano, her countenance having shifted to a sterner visage."Actually, I'm concerned about this man's comment about the children." She looks to the former hunter, turned prey. "Whose children have they taken? Who are 'they'?"
Fenyx sets to snuffing out the flame of the oil trap that Captain Rozier had lit just moments ago, silently cursing himself for having toiled on the task at all. The Andoran's first must have been mighty indeed to be scattered by such whelps. He continues shoveling clumps of snow onto the dying line of flame until little remains beyond wisps of smoke and steam.
"At the very least, these fools saw fit to deliver a more fitting means of conveyance to those of us who lacked the proper forethought to do so." Fenyx tugs some snowshoes off of one of the recently dead before rejoining his friends, their interrogation now underway. For the moment, the necromancer seems content to listen and study the scant information the coward is able to stammer out through cries, snot, and tears. He grimaces in disgust at the broken man before him. This hunter was weak and foolish. Let us hope those they serve are as tested as this lot, and our task shall be simple indeed.
The necromancer's cowled eyes wander to the other members of his party, ultimately settling on Teladon. As he approaches with some difficulty, not yet having elected to don his newly acquired snowshoes, Fenyx again reverts his clothing back to the usual state of perfection he typically displays. Noticing Teladon's intent with the bodies of the fallen, he remains motionless by the fire, his cold gaze lingering on the masked elf until his task brings him once more to the mock campsite.
Sense Motive Check (on Teladon; mostly to inform the bit of bit of text below): 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Diplomacy Check (Again, on Teladon, and again, informing the wording below): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
"I would have a word, if you've the patience." It only now occurs to Fenyx that the elf has remained yet unnamed. The necromancer seems to be carefully choosing his words, likely feeling around the edges of Teladon's boundaries as he searches for a way to gain a favorable response—a tactic he learned well from the oratory masters of Shalast. Fenyx has trouble reading the elf's reaction, however, owing to his masked countenance, and his words come across as slightly better than perfunctory "If these men were sent to end us, they will likely be expected to return victorious to their masters in short order. We should turn this to our advantage; don't you agree?" Fenyx's features remain shrouded and emotionless, though his eyes seem to ignore the mask completely and find permanent home meeting the elf's—still searching for a reaction, a tell, anything to get a read on, but he comes away with nothing. "I fear I am at a loss as to how to address you appropriately, and I will not be so rude to address you by your race alone. Is there a name or title I can address you by?"
Gathering up the bodies with the intent of building a pyre, Teladon stopped short at Fenyx's approach. As the elfin man dragged the bodied toward the blackened pit he heard the footsteps and swishing of silk against silk and only one member of the group sounded like that when he walked. Letting the body fall to the ground with a muted *thud* Teladon wordlessly turned around. Cocking his head to the right and watching the flakes of snow drift down from the heavens, the elf's eyes tracked a single flake falling on the wind before landing atop the shoulder of the wizard.
Shrugging at the wizards words Teladon took a single step back and gestured to the corpse with his hand in the universal symbol for "after you". Blinking twice, Teladon began to turn around before stopping in mid stride and turning back to the dark haired thrall of Thassilon. Do with them as you will. I care not.
Looking past the man towards the snow laden branches glittering from the firelight, a small smile formed behind the mask. Beautiful The warrior-wizard thought, reflecting in the cold, stark beauty of the scene. Eyes and head swiveling along the natural lines of the trees they slowly came to rest back onto the robed necromancer. You are not of the kin. Teladon stated with a single small shake of his mask, his word a statement of fact. But you may call me Esh'landrin.. It is not my name, but it shall suffice. Crossing his arms, Teladon stared past the man, silently waiting to see if he had more to say. Not that it should matter, for I do not presume the rune-thrall and I will have much commonality aside from magic to speak on. Besides, Teladon suspected that the Thassilonian thought of magic as something to be harvested and controlled, to be bent to ones power. He was wrong. It was something to be cherished and collected, savored and protected.
Esh'landrin carried with it several nuances. Esh' the typical proword or preface implies guardian or protector. Lan carries the overtone of one of many. Drin ties the two together as a positional duty defined by others. Combined together Esh'landrin roughly translates into "Guarded Protect of Many, Selected by Above.. or in laymen's terms.. "Emissary", or possibly "Protecting Emissary". There are several significant undertones that paint a symbolic picture rather than a clearly defined role. Likely one would need to be an elf or have spent years living with elves to fully appreciate the phraseology but your able to determine enough to realize just how little of elven language and culture an outsider such as yourself is able to grasp.
Ordrud watches his prey toss his short sword into the snow to escape immediate justice. He feels disappointment and releases the cloud of rage swirling in his mind. Slowly he brings his greatsword down from its high guard position and wipes the blood of the hunter’s companion on his prisoner’s furred collar. ”In memory of Andis and your companion,” he growls between deep, mist-producing breaths.
Ordrud waits for the answer to the fishman's question before delivering the prisoner to the Chelish marine then sheathing his greatsword in his waist scabbard. He moves toward the fire staring at it for a few more moments fully recovering from his rage. Ordrud never acknowledges the marine’s threat concerning his diet.
Ordrud joins the masked elf bringing his kill to the site of the explosion. He starts stripping its body for anything valuable. He places the loot on the remains of his kill’s cold weather outfit and furs to keep it from disappearing into the snow. He continues looting and organizing the valuables of the other two corpses that the elf brings, as well as the discarded short sword. Ordrud reflects the elf’s silence. His own thoughts attempt to decipher the story behind these hunters from their possessions and what he can overhear from the interrogation.
’Esh'landrin’ Ordruds interrupts his wondering of the hunters when he hears the title. He turns it over in his mind several times before wondering, ’they knew my name before the masked elf’s? Tight crew.’ He concludes to himself.
2 of 7 rounds of rage used today.
Hey I asked that guy a question, can we drag him away after he answers please?
Picky, picky. Just kidding... Edited.
Note: Presuming that the others agree to bring the two hunters together, and so that the whole party hears the full story. If this conflicts with anyone's wishes let me know and I'll revise.
Edit: Just saw Ordrud/Rasso's posts, I think this still works.
Savard seems in a state of shock as he stammers in response to Rasso's question. "I-- it-- it was a year ago. The faeries and the-- and the stag skull man and-- and I-- " Seeing that his captive is struggling under the pressure, Ordrud hauls him off to the others to ensure his story continues to be told while he prepares to loot the fallen.
With a crunch of snow, Savard is thrown down into the snow beside Eldrin. Ordrud's looming presence is more than enough to keep the unbound man in place until Marcellano can bind him much as he had the other. But Eldrin's attention is not on his still living companion, but rather Talavuc's stoic visage and the saw-toothed mink at her heel. Eldrin's mind still races from Rasso's request to start from the beginning and both men look more than willing to explain.
"I was a farmer," Savard begins, then nods weakly towards Eldrin. "He worked for the lumber consortium. We-- we're just ordinary folk. The snows came, years ago in the Wood. People blamed the old witch, they-- the logging slowed down, everyone was scared." As Savard speaks, Eldrin stares vacantly at the corpse beside him, jaw blown off by Marcellano's musket ball.
"Last year, there was a terrible storm. Lots of snow, we-- we heard things. Children started going missing. Then they came outta' the woods, men from the lumber camp rounding everyone up. They separated the men and the women, killed anyone who resisted." When Savard says that, Eldrin looks back sharply from the body, expression soured.
"They made us!" He bellows with indignation. "When the snow came to the Wood, we didn't know what t'do. It was the middle of summer, an' it was just-- snowing. But then-- the faeries came, little blue bastards zipping through the trees, whispering things." Eldrin's eyes dart from side to side, staring vacantly at the snow beneath him, droplets of blood from the man who died next to him rolling off the end of his nose.
"One day, Thuldrin gets us all together. He tells us we've accepted some sort'f contract. Tells us we need t'go into town and talk to the villagers about somethin' important. Three dozen of us went down to the Hollow. Some'f Thuldrin's men, they start kicking in doors-- we were just there t'intimidate the locals." Eldrin's eyes close, tightly. "Some of the town guard tried t'ask us what was goin' on, but Thuldrin's thugs just-- they killed men on the spot as examples. Divided up the men, women an' children. Most'f everyone was led into the woods by this man that worked for the lumber consortium, Halak, wore a stag skull on his head, furs, could talk t'animals. Scary as all Hells."
"I remember 'im," Savard murmurs before he finds his voice again. "He's a druid, spoke with a foreign accent, had himself a big elk that followed him around, smart-- scary smart." It takes a moment for Savard to recollect his thoughts, his breath exiting in steamy plumes in those few beats it takes. "Those of us who didn't resist an' were in fit shape were left behind. Thuldrin tol' us that we worked for a new Lord now. We were told to ransack the hollow and take what we could carry and leave the rest, then headed up north. He-- Thuldrin took everyone to the lumber camp and... he..."
"He made a pyre," Eldrin fills in Savard's elipses. "He asked everyone t'swear an oath by cuttin' their hand. Made them promise t'serve some woman-- Nazhena Valisovna. Made us swear on our blood that we were hers. Halak watched. There were a few men who refused, who knew dark magics were at work." Or at least were superstitious enough to think so. "The men that refused were lashed to the lodge and burned alive."
With that said, both Eldrin and Savard look towards the burned down lodge. "Their bones are under the snow," Eldrin intones gravely. "There were twenty five of us when the lodge burned. I still hear their screams. They said if we ever wanted to see our children again, we'd work for Nazhena, do her bidding. The next day that twister erupted in the wood, all ice and snow."
Savard nods in agreement to Eldrin's recollection. "They told us we werent' permitted to go into the heart of the Wood. The-- things. The faeries. Thuldrin took us deep in the woods, to the lodge the Eagle Knights gave the lumber consortium back in the day. We stayed there, some in tents outside like me," Savard then looks to Eldrin, "Others got t'stay inside if they did what Thuldrin asked. They got weapons from somewhere, muskets and black powder. I--"
"Thuldrin stole them from the blacksmith in the Hollow," Eldrin clarifies. "Sent some away in a shipment to the heart of the Wood. Gave the rest t'us. Told us our job was to protect the Wood from anyone who threatened it, an' t'not ask questions." There's an empty, world-weary look in Eldrin's eyes now. "It's been a long year."
"Your friends," Savard looks up to Ordrud, who spoke Andis' name. "A different hunting party got them. Don't know who or why, we heard that outsiders had come. Thuldrin sent his best men after them, said he had t'impress Nazhena. Maybe she was here, I-- don't know. I thought they'd killed them all except the blonde woman. I saw them bringing her to the lodge..."
Gwynn, is the immediate association Ordrud makes.
"If yahs were real men you'd have died fighting, or burned too." Rasso says, spitting into the snow at their feet. He turns away from the two cowards. His sneer pauses for a moment on Fenyx and Ar'Zarrcal before passing on to uninhabited territory. Spinless bleeding jellyfish! Letting themselves be bent ter the will of another like sheep. Same goes for those two rune-lickers. No better'n gods damned zombies! The merman shuffles awkwardly several paces away from the group through the snow, and draws out his trusty bottle of rum. Taking a couple long draws he stares up into the sky. Times like these I'm glad ter be a simple soldier on this expedition. Don't envy Styv the decision on whether or not to chum those wretched f*cks.
As the frigid night air washes over his exposed symbiotic skin, Rasso shivers despite his magical protection from the elements. He shivers for all the death he's seen these last few years. He shivers for what they are up against. He slips the bottle back into his bag, and after a couple of minutes of alone time makes his way back to the group around the prisoners.
After organizing the loot from the bodies, Ordrud silently returns to the prisoners for the end of their story. His eyebrows shoot up when they mention the blonde. He turns to Captain Rozier and says, "Captain Gwynn was captured."
He returns his murderous gaze to the prisoners and asks, "how long ago did you see her alive?"
Ar'Zarrcal stood behind Eldrin with an impassive expression on his face. He found elements of the story both troubling and intriguing, but did not ask any questions of the two men just yet. He would let Ordrud and the Captain speak first. With his hand on the back of Eldrin's neck, he put the pad of one thumb against the man's pulse. It would help him to more easily determine whether the hunter spoke with falsehood or not. He had his doubts that this man was as concerned about the children as he claimed. No, these hunters were cruel men who liked the power they had been given. That was why they had served so long and not tried to rescue the children or flee to other lands.
When the strange fish-man Rasso sneered at him, Ar'Zarrcal caught the expression of loathing and distaste, but let no reaction form on his own pinched features.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
Know Religion: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Know Arcana: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
"Two days ago," Eldrin very quickly states on seeing the half-orc return with questions. "They-- Thuldrin has her up at the lodge across the river. He's been interrogating her for-- for I don't know what. He's kept her locked in the basement."
Jaw trembling, Eldrin asks in a hushed voice. "Are-- you going t'let us go?"
It's hard to get a read off of the two men. They both seem very apologetic and sincere in their repenting.
The man, Halak, is definitely a druid based off of what the hunters have said. The elk is probably his animal companion. This also matches with the spell that allowed the undead to move effortless in the snow. However it wouldn't give him the ability to create the undead.
Given that the feather step spell those undead were affected by measures its duration in minutes on the hour and they had to travel from this direction, these men likely have seen Halak recently if he is the one that cast the spell on the undead.
"Thats up to the Captain. I'd personally be all for putting out of your pathetic miseries myself, if it were up to me. Perhaps you should be thankful that its not."
As he's speaking, he ties the second hunter to himself with the silk rope he has. Since he's using the same length of rope for the both of them, he loops the end of the rope from the first hunter over to the second, then finally ties the end of the rope back onto himself, effectively making a loop with twenty-foot segements.
"Last time you were at the lodge, how many men were with you at this lodge? What kind of armaments did they have? How are the defenses set up? I don't give half a rat's ass about your past - for all I care, you're the enemy and should be treated as such. I care about troop distribution and strengths."
Sense Motive check to see if any information they give me is accurate:
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
"I-- I only ever stay outside," Savard notes in a stammering tone. "[b]The conscripted villagers live in tents around the lodge. There's only nine of us left. The-- the things in the woods, weird animals, they've killed more of us than I can remember. I-- I don't think there's any traps or anything?"
Eldrin's perspective of things is much different. "There's two dozen men in the lodge, but more'n half of them are sick. Thuldrin isn't really expecting an attack, so there isn't much set up to defend. I'm willing to bet he's figured that anyone stupid enough t'come into the woods'll be killed by the local wildlife, the faeries, or the cold." Then, considering things, he furrows his brows. "Don't know how your Knight friends would've fared if Nazhena hadn't been there. Between her an' the troll I imagine it was a massacre..." There's no pride in that, however. He also seems wholly unaware that Ordrud was a part of the original team, giving further indication that he wasn't present at the ambush that took them out.
Ar'Zarrcal's eyes scan the area and he looks back in the direction that the hunters originally came from. With his dwarven eyes only the snow proves to be an obstacle to his sight, ignoring the surrounding night with ease.
"Who gave you your most recent orders? Who did you think we were and why did you want to capture us alive? Careful Eldrin, do not lie or our threats will be made reality." He spoke these words even as he continued to scan the area around them. The ambush had worked well, but there was much more going on here then just some new local warlord and he suspected this Nazhena was at the center of it.
"Where is Halak? You have given me your name and with it I have reached into your mind and I know you have seen him recently. Who created the undead sentinels who swept into Falcon's hollow? Answer or I will flay your body and soul." The Herald of Shalast spoke of old arcane naming conventions and powers beyond his own ability and dumbed them down into something that he suspected these simple hunters would believe. By the runes etched across his body and on his brow it would be clear to Eldrin and Savard that he had been touched by the magic of the Rune-Lord.
"Paval was in charge," Savard quickly blurts out, jerking his head in a nod to the body to the north that Teladon had dispatched with his sword, the sole man carrying a longsword at his waist. "He was one of Thuldrin's lieutenants. I-- I don't know anything more." There's something about the way Savard watches Ar'Zarrcal that has the slightest hint of suspicion towards the dwarf, but the ex-farmer says nothing.
Eldrin, on the other hand, is wholly convinced that his mind is now a tapestry belonging to the emissary of Shalast. "Gods above and below," he simpers with a nervous twitch. "Halak's sometimes at the lodge, he-- he was with us before our team broke off. He's probably headed back there now. When he's not at the lodge, he's gone to the heart of the Wood. I-- I'm not sure where the undead are coming from. They come from deeper in the forest, usually with the faeries. I-- I was with a scouting patrol once, and... and we saw a whole herd of them heading into the river. I... I don't know if they were people from Falcon's Hollow." There's a moment of silence as Eldrin stares at the ground. "Gods, I hope they weren't,"
Sense Motive, Eldrin: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Sense Motive, Savard: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21
- HP 25/25
- AC 20( T: 12/ FF:16)
- Fort + 4|Ref + 2|Will + 2
- Init + 2
- Perception +1
Styvanus stood arms crossed in front of the prisoners. He remained silently appreciating the way that his team went to work extracting information, all the while maintaining a stern gaze which switched periodically between Savard and Eldrin. He did his best to discern the truth in their words but other things weighed on his mind, clouding his judgement." And which of you was it who proclaimed this land didn't belong to Andoran? Was that Paval as well?"
Rasso eyes the pile of loot taken off the hunters. The two muskets in particular catch his eye. I were a fool ter come out here with no ranged weapon. But I aint got a clue how ter use one o' them muskets. Looking around he sees the sling at Ordrud's belt. "Hey Ordrud, I can't help but noticin' you have a sling. I were stupid enough to not bring anythin' ranged wit me. I aint used ter havin' me movements restricted like they be in this damn snow. Now that we've a couple extra guns, would ye mind over much trading out your sling for one and letting me have it? I'd be in your debt mate."
Talavuc looks Eldrin in the eyes. "They took your children from you, slaughtered and who opposed you, then bound you to this woman? If you are so bound, why do they keep your children still?! Where are the rest of the villagers from Falcon's Hollow?! You hope that the undead you've seen are not the rest of the villagers?! Did you not look because ignorance was more comfortable?!" Rage seems to simmer under the woman's skin.
"You will be lucky if they live! If not, you have been serving invaders who have slain your family, friends, and children! All for what?! Nothing!" In her head she could see the face of her dead husband as she yelled. The memories of the night that he died, when the undead came, one wearing the skin of her father came back to her. "This is how you choose to survive! It is worthless! You have lost everything that made your lives worthwhile! Be strong or you are NOTHING!" She stands there, staring at the men, Naasvit rubbing the side of his face against his companion's leg, worry evident in his movements.
"They said they were taking them somewhere safe!" It isn't Eldrin who bursts out with that at Talavuc's pressing, but Savard. Perhaps the only one of the two with family. "They said if'n we didn't cooperate our families would be killed for treason! We-- I ain't comittin' no treason! I just-- they-- they have m'little girl." He'd been managing to keep it together for the most part, but now Savard completely breaks down, unable to bring his bound hands up to his face to hide his shame, he breaks out into ragged sobs and hangs his head. "Sh-- She's m'little girl..."
Eldrin swallows dryly when Talavuc speaks so sternly to him, but while Savard is free to break down, Eldrin seems to disassociate more and push himself, emotionally, away from the situation. "What point is there in dyin' just t'prove a point? D'you think I wanted t'become one of those husks staggering through the woods? Dancing on someone's strings? I saved myself. An' I'm doin' it again now by tellin' you lot all of this. I'd save myself again if given the chance. Livin' is more important than bein' right. Because if they win? They're the ones who're on the right side'v history."
Flashing a quick look in Ordrud and Rasso's direction when the two become engaged in a conversation, Eldrin takes a moment from his conversation before looking back to Talavuc. "Halak and the others are likely on their way t'the lodge now. It's easily a day's hike into the Wood. They'll be expecting us to meet back up with them by sundown tomorrow, which means they won't expect nothin' is wrong until at least then." Eldrin's brows furrow, his throat tightens for a moment and he tenses just a little. "I'm helpin' the lot of you..."
"But if I were the lot of you, I'd turn around an' go home."
Ordrud nods to Rasso and hands him his sling. ”Take it. I’ll make a new one tonight. Do you have a pouch?” He questions while counting out bullets, ten regular and 5 silver ones. ”The silver ones are useful when the smart ones say so.” He pours them into Rasso’s claw/hand. He then holds up one finger of his huge hand to pause the conversation with Rasso when he hears the latest prisoner speak.
He turns and steps closer to the prisoners gruffly replying to Eldrin. "That is how we are different. We are not going home,” he pauses to let the conditioning of Lastwall speak. ”After we save Captain Gwynn, we will save your women and children… and your daughter. Now, the real question is… what are you prepared to do?”
- HP 25/25
- AC 20( T: 12/ FF:16)
- Fort + 4|Ref + 2|Will + 2
- Init + 2
- Perception +1
Styvanus nods at Ordrud's statement." My merciful friend is right." He begins matter of factually. "This was once your home, I'm sure both of you had friends, families, parents here. You had lives here." He paused. This wasn't the first time he had seen good people succumb to terrible behavior to survive the sudden winter. Styvanus had seen his own neighbors turn against one-another when food shortages ran rampant in lower-east Almas. Circumstances did not make a man, but reveal him. Lowering his brow, he continued through gritted teeth. "Regardless of what you've done to stay alive, is this existence as vultures worth it? You are two able bodied Andoran men damn it now dry your tears and act like it." He finishes with a bit more anger in his voice than the group has heard from the Captain.
"You're going to lead us to the lodge. If you think you have it in you, you can fight with us. You men have something to fight for. If you betray my team, I'll not hesitate to put you down for treason against the great nation of Andoran."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
- HP 25/25
- AC 20( T: 12/ FF:16)
- Fort + 4|Ref + 2|Will + 2
- Init + 2
- Perception +1
@Styv: Diplomacy check. Up to two others can attempt to aid another by adding persuasive commentary to help back up Styv's ANDORAN, OO-RAH rhetoric.
Edited to include the diplomacy check. However, it's a less than stellar roll. =(
"Hmph. One of them has something to fight for - his daughter. The other? He said himself he's only doing this to save his own hide, and would do it again. That means he'd turn on us if he believed it wise for his own ass. I say we kill him. The other one has something to fight for, and would do anything to protect that. Back on the Dominator, we marines would willingly give our lives for each other or our superior officers - any man trying to save his own ass above someone elses' would generally be severely punished or executed. I don't trust that one. Should just off him now, so he can't betray us later." He motions to Eldrin with those final two sentences.
Rasso thanks Ordrud, and then interjects when the conversation turns to rehabilitating the prisoners. He offers support for the Captain's argument.
"Yep. This be the land o' second chances. Nut up and we'll let yahs help us."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Ar'Zarrcal focused his gaze on Eldrin. He released his grip from the man's neck and walked around him as the rest of his team spoke and decided on the fate of the prisoners. Ar'Zarrcal cared nothing for the sovereignty of Andorran. The Andorran's were a meddlesome nature that all too often tried to undermine or subvert the will of Shalast. His focus was entirely on discovering the cause of these summer snows. The lodge and the heart of the wood seemed the best places to discover the information his master sought. Still, he had been stripped of much, but a twisted perversion of his former honor remained. These two had surrendered and provided information, they should be accorded some form of mercy.
He looked Eldrin in the eye and tapped the side of his helmet covered skull, trying to indicate without words that he still had a mystical hold on the former woodsman's mind.
"Captain Rozier we have need for only one of them to lead us back to the lodge. Savard is the better choice for reasons that Marcellano Kain indicated, though he forgets the power of our binding magics. Eldrin can still serve us however. Send his back to the village and the ship. He can bring word to the Red Wraith and Captain Brevin... Assure them we still live and our intentions, then surrender himself into their custody."
Unless anyone objects or wishes to aid the captain, i'll use my limited diplomacy to do so.
Aid Diplomacy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
"No-- No I-- I can't!" Savard states emphatically. "If they find out I helped you, they'll kill my daughter. I-- I can't risk that. They already defeated one Andoran retinue, they'll kill you too and my family will die for it. I-- I can't. They have spies, they'll know. If they think I'm dead-- at-- at least my family will live. I can show you on a map where it is, but-- but please... please don't make me go with you. Please."
While Savard seems worried for his family, Eldrin is less than moved for wholly other reasons. "If you're gonna kill me," he states with a rough, dry swallow of nervousness. "Go'n and get it done. Murderers in another coat all together. Promise me I can go an' I'll help you, but I won't go back in that Wood. You're going t'die in there."
Neither Savard nor Eldrin seem willing to join you into the forest.
Savard is willing to help however he can here, but he can't return a traitor or risk his family's safety.
Eldrin isn't willing to help at all unless you can promise his safety, and even then he isn't willing to die to help. He figures if he's dead either way, it may as well be now.
"Idiots." Fenyx finally resolves to contribute his own ire to the conversation at hand. "You cling feebly to slavers and all you can stammer out is cries for family and survival? You speak this as if you expect either to persist in the world this deepening cold heralds. Can this daughter of yours survive under the pall of a winter that ends deserts? I think not. And I say that a simpleton of a farming coward will fare no better."
Fenyx steps forward to glower down at the bound hunters. "Worse yet, let us assume that you fools are fortunate enough to weather this storm where entire nations of those a thousandfold your betters have succumbed. Would you like me to explain to you what awaits then? Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant. The teeming hordes of his unliving crusade will not fold under winter's assault. They will thrive, expanding their forces with the frozen dead that litter the whole of the world until nothing living remains and nothing dead lies still, including either of you or your families. Those who could have resisted will have long since expired in the cold—a cold perpetuated by those whom you recently chose to serve. Some will willingly throw themselves at the Tyrant's feet, groveling for mercy with a similar mind to yours. Ultimately, it will change nothing; frozen death will have replaced all. And in the end, you will have forfeit your life and everything you once were—your very soul."
Fenyx crouches before Savard, supporting the bulk of his weight on the haft of his wicked-looking scythe. Beneath the shade of his cowl, his eyes are barely visible, though the look they are giving is no doubt as eerie as a fog shrouded cemetery. "Your daughter is likely dead. If she yet survives, your groveling will only prolong her trip there. You have this one chance to set things right; one chance to earn back a world where not only your daughter, but everyone else can thrive. You have this one chance to earn the right to continue calling this child your daughter. Think well on it, little hunter, for we will not tarry long." With that, the necromancer regains his feet and saunters back over to his seat by the fire.
Hm. Good way of putting it. Never thought much of that lich due to the troubles in the Shackles and with the civil war. But we have Hell and Asmodeous on Cheliax's side.. Fire and Brimstone'll warm us right up.
"He's right, you know. The fact you're helping the ones who brought this winter upon the world is only aiding your and your families' deaths. We seek to end this winter - so we can go back to more pressing matters, such as the lich he mentioned. Your deaths right now, despite how much you may deserve them, won't help us. Your aid might. And if you die? Its better to die serving a good cause than to die meaningless. Right now, you're aiding the people who nearly all of the nations of the Inner Sea are working to fight. How does that make you feel? Is that even worth the lives of your family? The idea that you're helping someone who is ending the lives of other families much like your own? Think on that."
Aid Diplomacy: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (5) - 2 = 3
Uh.. I should just stick to threatening people with my musket. This diplomacy thing ain't for me. XD
"If they win? They already have in your mind! Are you planning anything other than survival, because if you aren't I'm glad that none of the rest of us think like you. These monsters would already be writing our history if we did. You talk about survival, like it will let you succeed in some fashion, but you're accepting of death if it comes? Idiot. Fight until your last breath until it comes. At least nature understands that." She shakes her head and stretches her arms, palms open, obviously trying to calm herself. "I lived a life of pure survival once and someone saved me from it. That life is not living."
Her gaze passes over Marcellano and Styvanus, "Let them live. They might be pitiful wretches, but they are victims, just foolish ones." She glares for a moment at the two captives. "They should go back to Falcon's Hollow and stay there for a bit. At least, they can stay hidden and shelter themselves until we resolve this."
Fenyx's litany of truths batters Savard down some, it seems as though he is taking the words under some advisement. But Eldrin finds nothing but fire in them, and the reason for that sourness finally comes bubbling to the surface. "Fight!? FIGHT!? Where were you when Karzoug came and destroyed Sandpoint!?" Eldrin struggles against his bindings, teeth gnashed together. "Where were you when he burned my village to the ground because we resisted!? Not all of us are as brave or as foolish to think we can make a difference. Sometimes we must recognize that there are things out'f our control! You think you can stop the winter with swords!?"
Savard looks up at Eldrin, shaking his head quickly. "Eldrin don't, they'll-- "
"Shut your useless mouth!" Eldrin screams at Savard, finally brought back around from the breaking point to sheer rage. "You talk about all this high promise and the good fight but you," he directs to Talavuc, "break bread with Shalasti monsters!" Turning his stare to Fenyx, Eldrin's jaw clenches tight and his words are like venom through them. "You'd save us with one hand and enslave us with another. I'd rather watch this world freeze to a ball of ice than bend a knee to you branded slaves!"
It appears that further pressing is only making Eldrin's attitude worsen.
Fenyx nods solemnly at the man's newfound bile. "Your measure of me is amusing. Horribly misguided, but amusing. You think me an unwitting thrall in the service of Karzoug." Fenyx spares a momentary glance to Ar'Zarrcal before he continues. "My will is my own, as it ever has been. I serve because I believe in what the Runelord will usher into this world: Thassilon reborn. The most advanced empire this world has ever known. The tumult that has resulted since his return is as unfortunate as it is unnecessary, but the promise of lasting prosperity lies at the end of this unfortunate period. This winter holds no such promise, for any one. And that is why it must be snuffed out."
The necromancer doesn't relinquish his gaze from Eldrin's face, though judging by the increased volume in his tone, it seems he is explaining himself more to his newfound comrades than the tied up hunters. "I am not an agent for the forces of weal and good. I am a pragmatist at best. I would far prefer mutually beneficial arrangements to violent ones, but nations have been struggling against one another for the entirety of history. Regardless, an ice age is threatening the whole of Golarion, and I am not going to sit idly by and watch as it envelops everything I—and everyone else—have fought for. Indeed, I will not rest until it has been repealed. Whether we fight for Thassilon, Andoran, or Cheliax, we have a common purpose here. Clinging fast to old grudges will not avail us. It is only together that we will cause winter to abate."
Diplomacy Check: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Letting his growing anger get the best of himself, Marcellano clubs Eldrin over the head with the butt of his musket, using enough force to hopefully knock the pitiful bastard out.
"Enough of his babble. I will not have him speak ill of my comrades, no matter their alliegance or origin. Captain, I apologize for acting out of orders, but I could stand his voice no more. Since these two are too cowardly to assist us beyond, I agree with the druid. If we are not going to kill them, then send them back to the ship. They'll probably be less of a liability than if they were with us, at least. We've taken too long here as it is, and the info we've recieved is growing less and less useful the longer we take."
Marcellano, angrier than he has ever shown so far on this trip, looks to be calming down after he clubed Eldrin, although he still looks visibly annoyed.
It was all I could do to not shoot the bastard right then and there. Such a damned coward.. he knows nothing. Those two are faithful servants of their lord, not slaves. Their being picked for this assignment is proof enough of that. Their lord would not have chosen them if he did not have faith in their skill. This bastard knows nothing but himself. If it wasn't for the captain.. he'd have been killed ages ago.
Improvized Power Attack Attack with the Butt-End of my Musket (Auto hit as target is helpless)
Nonlethal Damage: 1d6 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13
Did damage as a club as I figured it would've been about the same.. also used both hands and a power attack. I was mad. :X
Edit: Oops, well I hope I didn't.. ah.. mess with your diplomacy check, as I was busy writing this before you posted XD
Ah well good. Savard might prove useful, but Eldrin is a waste of time, it seems. If only the good captain would let me execute him..
Its funny, that bit about barely restraining to shoot him was including both out of character and in character. My first thought after reading Lucent's post was to shoot him right then and there, and then apologize to Styv afterwards. I held myself in check. :X
Ordrud intently listens to his new companions learning how they view their mission. He is especially interested in the foreign necromancer's politics who has earned his respect so far. After the marine cracks one of the prisoners, an eery silence falls over the ruins.
Ordrud breaks the tense quiet with a practical tone. "It's late. We probably will not receive any more guests tonight. Unless you want to travel tonight, we should sleep now."
After a slight pause, he continues, "If these Humans choose not to aid us, then I volunteer to execute them now. Letting them go with enough equipment for them to survive on their own, puts us and our mission in too much risk. Letting them go without enough equipment to survive is cruel. Better to make the decision and let them join their companions."
The words that were spit like venom from the mouth of Eldrin seemed to have some effect on the Rune scarred dwarf. To those truly observant, they might have noticed him silently mouthing the word 'Sandpoint' in repetition to the words of the captive man. Sandpoint had not been his home, nor had he witnessed its destruction, but in the years before he became Ar'Zarrcal he had visited Sandpoint often enough, plying wares and a faith to the humble people of a village he had only a vague and hazy rememberence of.
Trying to draw forth the memory from Eldrin's acerbic retort, Ar'Zarrcal only found a burning hate and a greedy desire to answer this creature that insulted Shalast with the unforgiving end of his warhammer. His fingers curled about the handle of the warhammer at his belt, but he held the peace of their surrender and let Feyronix Dagganauth provide a verbal answer instead.
He watched his fellow ambassador very closely. That Feyronix thought himself less a thrall of Karzoug then he himself caused a thin smile to spread across the dwarf's lips. There was a black humor in that thought.
While neither of them were slaves bound directly by magic as were the giants that served as the backbone of Karzoug's army, they still served the will of the Rune Lord. In many ways Feyronix was more under the sway of Karzoug then Ar'Zarrcal was, for he was bound by the greatest weapon the Rune Lord employed: Greed. Greed for knowledge, for power, for salvation from the undead, and greed for the glory of an empire reborn from the dust of a bygone era.