Nalys was sitting in reception of Great Hall. Getting a charter, was an official ceremony and he was summoned in Great Hall by messenger, who left a note in Erastil chapel, while Nalys was away.
He was 5'10" with deep black hair. His ears were a bit pointy, showing probably small portion of elven blood somewhere in background. He was not a muscular build, pretty much usual for a human. While sitting, he was looking around and it was a look of a hunter. Nalys wore a hide shirt and has a club on his belt. His explorer's outfit was mostly of dark-brown color and done in very rough manner. Most probably, it was repaired and re-tailored by man himself.
He looked at other people in reception. One lady and couple of forceful men.
"This might be a good company, if they also are here by same business as me"
"Good evening, travellers!" he said with his loud voice, ruining all the silence of the moment, "Excuse me asking, but are you here to stand in front of watchful eyes of the Swordship of Restov?"
He decided to give word to other and paused to listen for their response.
Upon entering the Great Hall, Isla had quickly grabbed the first unoccupied chair she saw. The young woman, with short blonde hair, now squirmed impatiently in her seat. While clearly in her late teens, Isla's features seemed to not yet to have outgrown their child-like innocence. Her youthful appearance, combined with her nervous behaviour, made her look a little out of place in this grand setting.
Isla attempts to distract herself for a little while by straightening her clothes and running hands over her head in a hopeless attempt to flatten her unruly hair. Quickly getting bored again, she start curiously examining the other occupents of the room. These three men...? Hmm...are they the ones I'm to travel with? This thought gets cut off when she suddenly makes eye contact with one of the people she had been staring at. She quickly averts her eyes elsewhere in the room.
Isla jumps a little when the man speaks. "Uh...yeah...I am hear to meet the...uh...swordlords..." she says, stammering over her words. Thank goodness mother isn't here to see this right now. Calm down. Annunciate. Clearing her throat a bit, she tries again. "Yes. I was invited here regarding an expedition to explore the Greenbelt."
Calum made his entrance, looking like someone who would fit in quite well. With a few exceptions of course. His tartan kilt and tabard clearly did not match that of any of the guards. His beard was a bit unkempt from travel, some adventuring gear in a pack on his back, and his blade was a different design than the ones the guards had.
Now this is truly impressive, a large hall fit for a king.
Speaking up his voice was clear, but showed signs that he was still in the prime of his youth. Moving closer to Isla he bows his head in respect.
"Ah, you as well then. My lady be at ease, it appears as though we will be travelling together. I am Calum the second of clan Armstrong, son of Calum the first. And what shall I call my new travelling companions?"
"My name is Nalys", answered man in hides, "Nalys Stern. I've been living in Greenbelt some time ago, but then it become not very safe. I travelled north, spend some time in Brevoy, but now I'm ready to return."
He looked at the woman, and sudden idea stroke his mind: "What if next time, I will be reborn as a woman?!" This thought made him feel uncomfortable and he turned away his eyes from Isla. Perspective of involuntary gender change made him sure, that he should keep his life despites of all odds.
Swinging open one door of the great hall, a large man stands in the doorway. Gazing about the room with his blue eyes, he swings his great cloak off of his shoulders, assessing what he sees. I hope these are not just the spoiled children of Brevoy, that there is some of this legendary steel in them...
He folds his cloak in half over his arm, then places it atop his great axe, laying both just inside the doorway. "Greetings, I am Brandt, son of Oluff. It is said that there are some problems with brigands in the Greenbelt, and you needed someone who was wood-wise." The faint trace of his Ulfen heritage in his accent.
Leathers creaking as the large Ulfen man walks into the room. "Do we have mead or ale to greet each other with? I've a thirst; and meeting new companions is best done over a cup, according to my people." They don't seem soft, but who am I fooling, I am as new as a lamb out on my own here. I know enough to know what I DON'T know!
Brandt sits in a chair, scratching at his short blond beard, as he unhooks his rune-carved drinking horn from his belt. Realizing that no one is likely to bring him a drink, he casts about for refreshments...
"Sorry...I don't mean to seem anxious," Isla replies to Calum, "I've just never been good at the whole waiting thing...and then meeting you all in this fine hall, I start to hear my mother's voice telling me all the proper etiquette and what nots that a lady should use...but I've always just prefered good old down to earth conversations, y'know" she says looking for confirmation that she hasn't crossed some line. "...but then when I start to get talking, I talk and talk and...oh yeah, Isla. That's my name. Isla Fletcher".
Turning to Brandt, "I only brought water...sorry. Maybe you could ask someone...but are we even allowed to drink in here?" Seeing the drinking horn Isla's eyes get curious and she begins quick-firing questions. "Hey, what's that? Do you put drink in it? Did you make it?"
Brandt grins sheepishly, "My Da made it for me on my nameday. I guess that everyone in his homeland drinks outta these. Figured it would be what you all expected of me being not from around here." Shruggling and returning to his seat, Brandt continues:
"These symbols are the runes of my people, and each has its own meaning AND can be used to write out words." Catching his tone he coughs, "And among these fine folks isn't to be used other than to enhance the mystique and danger I represent..." He looks at the guards sideways and gives an exaggerated wink to the seated folks.
Shaking his head, Calum also only had some water on his person.
This Isla must be from a proper family, don't screw up Calum. Don't make a fool of yourself.
He extends a hand to Brandt.
"I'm sorry Brandt that I only have water on my person. It is an honor to meet you all. Exploring the Greenbelt with such lively people will make the journey enjoyable."
Taking Calum's hand in his, "It'ss no worry then, I think I will enjoy our travels together. Does anyone know more of what they will expect of us?"
The large Ulfen man looks around the assembled group with a curious look as he readjusts his drinking horn to his belt. After he does so he resettles the numerous daggers strapped to his armor, seeing that all is in place he finds a place to sit and await what comes next. Resettling himself into the image of a fierce northman.
Isla seems fascinated by the explanation of the runes and temporarily achieves a state of stillness and quietness that has eluded her since she entered the hall. As she studies the horn carefully, somewhere in her brain Ulfen runes and drinking horns are added to the random information pile. She snaps out this state as the horn returns to Brandt's belt.
"To be honest, I have no idea what is expected of us beyond exploring the Stolen Lands," Isla states with a shrug, "I just heard adventure, payment and gets to leave Brevoy...and I signed up pretty fast..." she says sheepishly. "No matter, though. Whatever it is, I bet its going to be fun!" she says with a youthful grin.
"I heard, they looked for people, who are not afraid to strive against banditry and bring order back in Stolen Lands. I've wrote a letter of application, to inform that I am ready to take a role. I have some nature knowledge and experience getting in the wild. It was quite a long time, while they invited me here. Probably, someone backed up the expedition/..", Nalys paused. He haven't been speaking much before, so it was hard to find right words, "It might be another noble game,", he paused again, because he understood, that couple of those 'nobles' are standing nearby, but than he tried to fix situation, "some of them are doing something for good of a land and people, but some families are just counting money and collecting taxes. I pretty much sure, one of the reasons is Abadarian clerigy. They are trying to take over what little of Old Deadeye community left and build more into cities and trade. But it's impossible for humanity to exist without connection to Mother Nature."
Since everyone was explaining why they were here, Calum might as well add in his little bit.
"Ah, that must have been a lot of red tape. I've seen how many restrictions go into some tasks. I was lucky enough to have some help from my Order to help me get through some of it. Paperwork, bleh, I've seen enough of it to last a lifetime. But that's not what brings me out here. Like Lady Isla, I heard the call for adventure."
Hearing the sound of his church he points to the golden key on his tabard.
"It's not that the clergy want to expand so rapidly, rapid expansion is terrible for business as it lacks stability. It has to be stable before you can slowly keep moving forward. It's probably just politics and family matters that are best left to the nobles and those who would plot against them."
Did he just call me Lady Isla...oh dear, I hope I haven't mislead them...
"No need for such formalities...I'm not exactly nobility...maybe at one time..." she reflects for a moment, then shakes her head. "Lets just say its complicated...and Lady Isla probably isn't necessary," she says with a laugh and friendly smile.
Turning to Nayls she comments, "I don't think Abadarians will ever truly push aside the old communitites...nor do I think the intelligent among them will try to. Cities and trade are not sustainable without farmers and hunters. Any society they wish to create will require those communities as an economic foundation."
She pauses for a moment. "You are probably right about scheming nobles, though. This is almost certainly some kind of play. However, we are the ones out there doing the honest work. That gives us some control, right? I mean, I would never do something I thought was wrong, just because they told me to..."
The doors to the audience chamber swing open and a diminutive figure with bright orange hair and colorful raiment struts back into the room, apparently just finishing his audience with the Swordlord. He holds a formal looking document in his hand.
"Well then, it looks like I am off to the wilderness!"
Looking at the others still waiting, the gnome grins broadly.
"High hopes that you will be my earstwhile companions into the hinterlands as we bring glory back to Rostov and peace to the land!"
He then gestures grandly with his hands in the air, and fireworks seem to erupt around him, with the sound of crowds cheering in the background. He then begins chuckling amiably and walking around to shake everyone's hands.
Laughing the gnome continues, "Geliglee Geerwander, at your service! Don't be nervous about the interview, it is surely just a formality for such a formidable force as ours will be!"
It is very difficult to tell whether he is being genuine or sarcastic, or somehow a maddening combination of both!
Many nations have tried to tame the Stolen Lands, and all failed, every single colony was ill met with violent ends. By far the best effort was made by Taldan during it's zenith, yet the mighty empire also failed, leaving only more ruins to enrich the landscape.
Today both The River Kingdoms and Brevoy claim ownership of the region, but as they can't hold it, the Stolen Lands have become a swath of unexplored wild forests, filled with many dangers, banditry, trolls...
Even so, forced by both the political climate in their homeland, and the rising activity of bandits, the Swordlords of Restov have petitioned the crown for the right to send explorers and hopeful settlers to the Stolen Lands. For it's own purposes the Regent has agreed.
Thus you have been selected, from among the hopeful, to the role of explorer, if you succeed, riches and fame shall become available to you, even better, you shall etch your names in the history of this land. Of course that is only if you succeed.
Will you tame the Stolen Lands or will you leave only bones and ruins? Will your names be remembered or just become a footnote in the tale of these lands?
Each of you is called by servants in your residencies in the city, they leave a simple message: "Come to the city's hall on this Oathday afternoon." Upon arriving in the structure what jumps out i mediately is the building harsh militaristic feel, made of stone the "hall" is in truth a keep as ready for war as any other building. And upon entering it you notice a contrast, for the inside was fully decorated, some might even think overly decorated, the insides were clearly furnished for comfort and beauty. Carpets covered the floor, red and gold with patterns of dragons and blades, tapestries adorned the walls some depicting great events, mainly battles, some with the symbols of the great schools in the city, both these dedicated to the art of dueling, and these pursuing more academic fields.
After a small period of waiting all of you are led by a servant to the mayor's office beginning with the wizard the first to arrive. The mayor's office is simple, and stark in comparison with the rest of the building, sure the furniture was of high quality, and the single tapestry on the wall, showing the swordlords fighting the Conqueror armies, could make a man rich. The lord mayor Ioseph Sellemius was also a simple looking man, plain would be the word, his hair was a deep black cut short and combed towards the back, he wore no beard, his face shaven. The mayor was wearing a long red tunic fully adorned. He looked like a scholar.
As soon as you enter the room Ioseph rises, as the servant introduces you and him, he smiles and says: "I'm glad to meet you. I'm glad for your willingness to take on such a dangerous task. This is the charter take one of them please. I hope you will meet with success in your exploration of the Greenbelt." His words sounded practiced and rehearsed but not untrue, while speaking Ioseph points to a pile of papers in his desk. The charters. "I suggest you and your companions head to Oleg's trading post first, you can find it by following the road southwest of here. They are having trouble with bandits in the area so we hope you can be of some help."
Your interview turns out to be a short affair, you have the opportunity to share a few extra words with the lord mayor, but soon you are interrupted by his servant and led back to the waiting hall.
After everyone receives their charter and introductions are made, you decide to go rest and get ready during the remaining hours of the day. And to meet in the morrow to set out of Restov.
The party traveled for 8 days trough a dirt road, during their travel you crossed path with merchants and travelers, but the more you headed south, less the road was used, finally on the twilight of the second Fireday of Calistril you arrived at the trading post.
The place was an old wooden fort, the remains of some past attempt at colonization now converted to a trading post, as you approach you hear no noise, the place seems deserted.
14th day of Calistril in the year 4713 A.R. - Second Fireday of the month
Anyone wanting to roleplay something, either with the mayor, or the party during travel, etc. Can do so using spoilers. Everyone take out 8 trail rations.
The interview happens so fast, Isla gets swept away in the moment. As soon as she leaves his chambers, charter in hand, she regrets not asking more questions. What would I even have asked... she thinks, reassuring herself. What I do know is that my meager supply of food is not going to get me to the trading post...
Once her fellow explorers agree on a time and place to meet, she sets out to the market to stock up on rations. She buys 11, on top of the 7 she had, leaving her with 10 by the time we get to Olegs
After shopping Isla returns to her nearby room at the inn. Finding excitement making it difficult to sleep, she spends several hours carefully reading over the charter...trying to make sure she understands every last word.
Isla's travels start out in excellent spirits. She spends the first several hours talking to her companions, asking them numerous questions about their lives, families and cultures. Once she has finally exhausted them with her questions she settle for singing old travelling songs to herself.
However, as the days pass on she begins to feel her spirits wane. She always thought she liked the outdoors...but after days of travel she starts to second guess herself. Finding privacy amongst four men proves quite challenging and the constant walking with nothing but trail rations leaves her practically dead on her feet at the end of each day. Already fearing the others view her as a spoiled noble child, she does her best not to complain, but her weariness is quite evident.
After days of uneventful travel, Isla is relieved to see the trading post. While merely an old fort, in her eyes it may as well have been the finest inn in Brevoy. Showing greater spirits than she has in days, Isla turns to her companions and says "Shall we proceed?"
After being handed the charter, Calum's eyes lit up. He clearly was looking for adventure. He spent some time examining it and reading the fine print. Calum would purchase some additional rations and feed for his horse.
Always have to read the fine print on these things. Good thing mother taught me that. William will be glad to get out of that stuffy stable anyway.
Calum began the travel by fetching his horse, a large dark bay colored horse wearing leather barding, a few saddlebags, and the holster for a lance. After a short time the other party members might come to learn that the horse's name was William.
Thinking it would be rude, he offered the saddle to Isla, if she refused he would offer it to Geliglee. He would answer any questions he knew the answer to, and enjoyed talking to others about things such as the weather, where he grew up, even the kilt he wore.
Arriving at the fort, Calum was a bit anxious to get settled in. Bandits would be an excellent way to start things off. With his charter he could exact punishment on those that would threaten civilization.
"I believe we shall Ms. Isla. Let's see if there's anybody home. Perhaps William here could get some needed rest. Isn't that right William?
He pats the horse on the shoulder before getting ready to enter the fort.
Considering the group, he says, "I feel like one of my forefathers, travelling into wild, uncharted territory. Although with fewer longboats, and apparently more brigands."
Brandt will purchase additional food to cover the journey and possibly some other things now that he's familiarized himself with the charter.
Brandt will point out useful flora and fauna as he knows about it ad as you travel, highlighting the important and sustaining foods for both man and beast; and giving warnings about the one's you shouldn't eat. In the evenings Brandt will fashion 5 nooses from a length of rope he bought, but do so discretely so as not to disturb others
Brandt's mood lightens briefly at seeing Oleg's in the distance, then, as if remembering his assumed role, puts on a sullen face and tries to look menacing, stringing his shortbow and placing it over his shoulder, while walking with his greataxe in hand. Looking at the still trading post, concern crosses his face.
"Should there be more people here? Or at least some sign of habitation?"
As he speaks he continues walking and switches from his axe to his bow.
Brandt will keep walking, swapping weapons, and try to keep the party moving at a slow but steady pace. While scanning for possible threats (even if there aren't any)
Perception +5: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
The cheerful gnomes spirits wanes a bit with long travel, he may not be quite as used to life out of the city as he supposed he was. At breaks, however, he tries to use magic as much as possible to aid at mundane tasks, mending broken straps and buckles, or even just entertain with minor shows of magic.
Despite her weariness, Isla did find herself enjoying the company of her companions. She delighted in Brandt's Ulfen legends, insisting on hearing more stories after each one ended. Geliglee was good for a laugh and she tried to assist with his magic shows where she could, using music and what few spells she knew. Calum seemed quieter than the others, but he was so gentlemanly and kind she couldn't help but like him. She was still trying figuring out Nalys, but he certainly seemed prepared and determined, which was reassuring.
Isla jumps off of the horse, perhaps not as gracefully as she had hoped, and replies to Calum, "Yes, I am sure we could all use some well earned rest. Thanks again for letting me borrow your horse..." she says sheepishly as she turns to lightly pat the horse's head, "...and thanks to you too, William!"
She begins to walk towards the trading post, but pauses when she hears Brandt's concerns. "You suspect trouble?" she inquires, trying to hide the worry in her voice. She continues following Brandt but readies to grab her shortbow at the first sign of trouble.
Before departure from Restov, Nalys spend his last money to get nice supply of hard cheese, dried bread and meat for the long way.
He was interesting companion, talking about nature and animals around. He was riding a black horse, named Jorh. It was much smaller, than Calum's and had no armoured barding.
Before party left city, he was bit nervous. But after some time outside the walls, he rode up small hill and made a loud whistle. Nothing happened for a minute, but minute later a big bird fall from the sky. Nalys jump of the horse, clumsy and slowly to experienced cavalier's eye, and started to run away. Bird was chasing him and tried to catch his shoulders, but wasn't able to lock it's grip and Nalys fall on ground.
Before his friends were able to say a word, he jumped up and hugged his bird. Then, he turned to his companions and said: "This is Seara. I train her to help me, but it's hard. She is very big and I think, she is still considering an idea of bitting my ears off."
"I hope there are not many people and we can get some hot meal,", he jumped off his horse and was guiding Jorh with bridle. Seara was up in the sky. She was flying faster than horses, so usually, Seara was making circles around travellers, scouting for possible dangers, "I don't want to start our arrival with a fight, but I'm ready."
He took out his short bow out of saddlebag and put his club to belt.
The gnome is openly releived at the prospect of journey's end. He hops off his dog, gives it a treat and a nice scratch. "Ah! A good meal and a mug of ale would be quite welcome. As accustom to travel I have become, it will be good to have a bit of time out of te saddle."
"Maybe its nothing, I just expected more signs of life," The normally gregarious Ulfen says, as if doubting his own words.
Father would want me to be suspicious of this, wouldn't he?
Fingering the arrows in his quiver, he shrugs, "Something may be amiss, or it just may be more quiet than I expect. Let's just keep moving, but keep our eyes open."
Calum helped Isla down from William just so she wouldn't hurt herself. Readying his shield he pulled his charter from his belt.
"Brandt has every right to be wary. We are in mostly unknown lands, bandits could be anywhere, even this fort. Although I doubt it, we should be ready for anything."
Tucking the charter away in his belt near his blade, his hand rests on the pommel.
"Are we ready to head in and say hello to the first of many? To take off on a grand adventure? Even if it is just slaying a few bandits, or helping a family in need, it is the start of something. I can feel it."
Brandt you do hear some movement from inside it seems someone is making or fixing something you can hear the sound of a hammer and the grunts of effort. You all decide to be cautious and make way towards the fort carefully but soon it becomes clear you need not have worried as soon as you reach the fort open doors, an animated woman comes out to greet you:
"Are you the people the Swordlords sent to explore the Greenbelt? Oh pardon my lack of manners I'm Svetlana, I'm Oleg's wife, now come inside I prepared a meal for you. There is a good view of the road from here."
As you follow the woman inside you notice a man working in the ceiling of a small building to your right, he looks you over and then returns to work with a grunt.
"Forgive my husband, things haven't been good lately, but come I'm sure you are tired from the road. That to your left is the stables, the building my husband is working on is for guests, the small building in front of us is the storage pen and the big one by it's side is the main house, I'll be serving the food in these benches here in the courtyard why don't you go put your mounts in the stables while I stow your belongings. Then we can eat." Svetlana finishes smiling warmly.
Oleg's Trading Post, 14th day of Calistril in the year 4713 A.R. - Second Fireday of the month
Brandt will maintain the image he thinks that he was brought along for, that of a stern Ulfen warrior. After looking meaningfully at Calum and the others, seeming to indicate they should speak up. He will wait until the others have finished brief statements and then he turns, and places his gear outside the building to the right, which Svetlana had indicated. Then crossing the courtyard to sit at the benches.
Examining the fort, Calum smiles.
A fine place to begin many adventures from.
Before stabling William it would be rude to not introduce themselves.
"Then it is a fine day Ms. Svetlana. Yes we were sent here by the Swordlords, to prevent further banditry and explore the wilderness. I am Calum Armstrong, my companions can introduce themselves. A fine fort to rest in with food, shelter, and good people. Let us stable our mounts and then you can tell us why things have not been so good. It will be good to have a nice rest."
Calum waits for the others to introduce themselves before moving to the stables to set up William for the night. While removing the leather armor he talks a bit to himself and to William. Excited to start an adventure with good travelling companions.
"Hello, missis Svetlana", Nalys introduced himself, nodding his head, "My name is Nalys Stern. I am good in nature: I have some knowledge about getting in the wild, previously been involved into transforming virgin lands into farmlands. Probably, I can help you if you decide to build small garden or plant some fruit trees. But, it's to early for that, Calistril is too cold for that."
He looked around fort and decided, that north-west tower is as good as any other. Nalys pointed his finger and combined that with loud whistle. Seara as answered with a scream and took her place there.
"My companion won't disturb anyone, but will look for possible dangers approaching from that direction. Don't you mind? I think it's better, than if she will be in stables. Untrained horses get nervous, when she is around."
Looking to the direction of his companions, Brandt returns and introduces himself, "Greetings, I am Brandt, son of Oluff the Tall. If you need help with gathering meat for dinner I have worked as a huntsman for the family of Lord Hiermerr. Thank you for your welcome."
Brandt will remove his armor, but keep his daggers and handaxe with him inside the fort.
Isla smiles at the warm welcome. "Isla Fletcher," she says with a quick curtsy. "Thank you for your kindness." She tries to give a friendly wave to Svetlana's husband, awkwardly lowering her hand as he gruffly turns away.
"Oh, no worries..." she replies to Svetlena's apology, but suddenly looks concerned for the couple as what the woman said sinks in. "Wait, things have been bad for you here lately?"
Geliglee bows with a flourish saying, "A meal you say! Grand! After more than a week of hard-tack a meal and any shelter will by gladly accepted. I am Geliglee Gearwander, a mage by trade, Chartered by the Swordlords, and I thank you for your hospitality."
"Oh there is no need to go hunting, dinner is already cooking, and yes dear we have been assailed by bandits in truth..."
"They're going to come tomorrow, demand payment, a tax so we don't get robbed by them! Hah!" Svetlana is interrupted by her husband who has finally come down to greet you. "I'm Oleg, Oleg Leveton." he says grumpily before turning to store away the tools in his hands.
"Oh dear..." Isla says wide-eyed. "How many bandit are there and how strong are they? Our charter does mention helping with banditry. We'll help you if we can!" She looks guilty for a moment. Hold on there. You can't just go volunteering the others for jobs. Especially dangerous ones... "Um...I mean, I'll try to help if I can..."
Turning to her companions she asks, "Do you think we could help them?"
Considering Isla's words, "I suppose we could try and help, the Swordlords did ask us to deal with bandits."
Continuing to ponder the situation, Brandt strokes the top of his dagger nervously, Can we handle this already? They seem decent folks, we know each other pretty well,
But what do the rest think? I will stand against those who seek to do our hosts wrong."
Grinning more to himself than others, 'Plus, once you pay the Ulfen price, you still have the Ulfen."
Calum nods to Brandt. Slaying bandits was part of their job in the Stolen Lands. Tomorrow if the bandits do not stop their harmful ways they would meet their end at Calum's blade.
"Bandits, I think that would be a fitting trial by fire for us. Let us see if it is us who need to prepare for the dangers ahead in the Stolen Lands or if the Stolen Lands have to prepare for us."
Nalys added to Calum's comment: "We are expected to make this land a better place to live. Let's start with this place. Dear Oleg, are there other places in neighborhood threatened by bandits as well? Could you please share more about them: how many bandits have you seen? Do they have horses or are they traveling by foot?"
"Some of them have horses, the first time they came they numbered 10 led by a man and a woman..." The woman pauses clearly fighting a bad memory then continues: "Then they came in six led by the man alone and since then they only come in four. Still we can talk more during dinner, go to the tables and I'll be along with it in a moment."
Soon she comes out of the house carrying a big pot full of stew, she then goes back to the house to bring a tray of warm bread, and a bottle of wine. You find the food filling and delicious after eating only travel rations for days. During dinner the conversation goes back to the bandits:
"We know the bandits attack the farms north, but besides this place, there's nothing around here." Oleg says.
"Yes, we had heard of bandit attacks in the north even before, but three months ago was the first time we met with any of them."
Sense Motive: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (5) - 1 = 4 Nope
Isla nods and picks a seat at the table. This subject clearly upsets her. I shouldn't be so pushy. Exhausted and famished from the long journey, she relishes in the meal. "Thish ish soo good!" she compliments Svetlana earnestly, turning beet red as she remembers it's rude to speak with her mouth full.
Isla attempts to make polite small talk, but as dinner progresses and the wine starts to go to her head, she can't help but ask about what she is really interested in. The bandits.
She asks the couple, "So can you tell us a little more about these bandits? When do they usually come? What is their routine once they get here? What is their leader like? Etcetera..."
Enjoying the repast, Brandt savors the real food after long enough on the road. As Isla brings up the questions on the bandits, he remembered the serious reasons they are truly there, "Are these the type of former soldiers, or more of the down-on-their-luck farmer type?" He asks, popping the end of his bread into his mouth.
"They mounted? or on foot?" Remembering for a moment his host's hospitality, "Apologies Mistress Svetlana and Master Oleg - what do you want done about these bandits? Nothing? A stern talking to? a sound drubbing? or give them all short nooses?" He looks sheepishly from Oleg to Svetlana.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
After stabling and feeding William the armored young man returns to the others. Settling in for dinner he ponders for a moment.
This Oleg seems to enjoy his privacy, I do apologize for intruding upon him but we have a mission
"Ah, a good dinner, it's been a little over a week since I've had any proper cooking. What is the only item on the menu? It smells wonderful. Perhaps we can use this time to come up with a plan for tomorrow, when the bandits come to collect their paymet perhaps we could devise a strategy to defeat them."
He sounded optimistic, almost excited about the chance to go to battle. To defend the downtrodden, and to help those who need it.
Svetlana nods answering questions "They always come in near the end of the second week, generally they simply enter and take what they want from the storage pens. They also..."
The woman is interrupted by her husband talking:"Act like the scum they are! I'll want to hang' em, I'll display the bodies from the palisades to keep any more bastards from returning. As for their type? They' re bandit scum, trash, their leader does look like he has been on a scrap or too, and the woman? Thanks the gods we haven't seen the woman since the first time. Crazy that one."
His wife nods to the conversation and adds hopefully: "Perhaps you guys could hide in the stables and attack once they're taking things."
Sorry for the delay.
Isla nods quietly as she finishes her meal.
"Perhaps after dinner we can scout out the barn?" Isla comments to the others, before turning to the couple, "Also could you give us a walkthrough of what they do when they arrive and where they load up the goods?"
Isla contemplates stopping there, but curiosity and concern get the best of her. "Also, if you you don't mind me asking...what is the deal with the woman? How is she worse than the rest? Should we be worried about encountering her when we head to the Greenbelt?"
The cheerful gnome adds, "I think we should also take a look at the defensive structures you have here... the walls and such. Evaluate their strength and how to use them in likely event that things will go toward blood with these bandits."
The cheerful, matter of fact tone that he speaks with belies the gravity of the subject, but he seems quite serious about approaching the situation academically.
Looking thoughtfully, "I think we should offer them the chance to surrender? Who would offer them that chance?" Brandt says, looking around the group assembled by the tables.
"I don't know if Mistress Svetlana or yourself Master Oleg should put yourselves in harm's way. Also I'd prefer to be behind the shop or house so I can provide bowfire, and Calum likely needs some room to move William." With that last statement Brandt shrugs, looking to the cavalier.
The gnome seems troubled as he thinks through Brandt's question. If we're to be the law around here, the law is brigands hang... seems to me to be a waste of time to let them surrender just to hang them. But I guess that is what guards usually do. Not that I'm a guard... at all. Upon reconsideration, he may have just been troubled by the thought that he might be, in fact, the law.
Isla squirms uncomfortably at this new topic. Can we really just kill people? Declare them guilty and execute them? The charter says yes...but I'm not so sure.
"Honestly...I don't know." Isla replies, with a troubled look in her eyes, "Surrender seems like a fair thing to offer...but if they take it...what then? Do we let them go and risk them coming back here with greater numbers? Do we hand them over to others, who will execute them anyway, just to keep our own hands clean?"
She shakes her head. "I don't think we should give up the element of surprise. I'm okay with showing mercy, if they are repentent, but first they need to be taught a lesson they won't quickly forget..."
Despite not being a paladin, Calum knew a few of the tenets of the paladins of his faith. Especially the ones concerning bandrity. He closes his eyes and recites a small passage.
"Bandits are a plague. Under my will they come to justice. If they will not come willingly before the law, where they can protest for justice in the courts, they will come under the power of my sword."
Opening his eyes he eyes his charter.
"By rope or by sword, or they can work for us and help build something stable. I happen to be very persuasive when it comes to the law. The element of surprise is handy, perhaps we could wait in hiding and before they leave or if we catch them red handed we could try and persuade them to surrender or suffer the ultimate fate."
Brandt nods grimly, perhaps in support of Geligee's realization. "Very well, I just thought we outta talk our own way through what we're doing here. I don't have a problem sending them over the fort wall with a noose meself, but I wanted to know what others thought."
Shaking his head as if to clear a thought from it, Thieves, worst kind. It is one thing among Da's people to take what is yours by arms, but common banditry?? They need to be sent with swift action to their fate.
"So we'll not finish them then, but fall upon them like a house afire. I would prefer myself to be on the ground with a good line of fire to the gate, then I can close as we engage and help clean things up."
The other alternative would be, how high is the wall compared to the roof of the buildings, is that an easy drop or would it require rolls mid combat?