|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak plows ahead...
Dex: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
...and easily avoids hitting the lamppost!
Arthur and Carric are both slowed somewhat by the beggar, but the rest of the party maintains their distance with the fleeing figure, who deftly ducks and weaves through a cluster of wagons. Reaching the intersection of Suldown and Shando, the figure bears right onto Suldown, heading southwest.
Current positions after 6 rounds:
Arthur, Carric -110
1d10 ⇒ 7
1d10 ⇒ 10
1d10 ⇒ 4
1d10 ⇒ 5
1d10 ⇒ 9
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Revjak reaches the wagons at the intersection, and must pick his path through them in order to turn onto Suldown Street. Make a DC 10 Acrobatics or Intelligence check to navigate through them without slowing.
Piety avoids the wagons,rounding the corner tightly, and finds a raised garden blocking his way. DC 15 Acrobatics check to clear it.
Reynwyn rounds the wagons, but finds himself confronted by a food vendor's stall on the side of the street. DC Acrobatics or Athletics check to avoid slowing down.
As Arthur and Carric round the corner, finding themselves directly in the path of a troop of mounted Guardsmen. DC 10 Dex save to avoid being run into/trampled by the horses!
Up ahead, you see your quarry head towards a curtained off alleyway, but instead of bursting through the curtain unimpeded they seem to have become entangled in it!
The quarry failed a DC 10 Dex save with a +5! This could be your chance to nab them, if they fail to disentangle themselves. We'll switch to one round at a time now. Make your checks, then tell me your actions.
|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak bounds forward with near-catlike grace, his quarry in sight.
Acrobatics (dex): 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Inspiration Reroll: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Piety weaves through the plants as if he had laid out the rows himself. He clears the garden and keeps moving.
Botting Arthur and Reynwyn.
Reynwyn Acrobatics: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
1d20 ⇒ 8
Revjak moves swiftly through the wagons without impediment. Arthur narrowly avoids being struck by a horse as it rears before him in fright, but holds his nerve and continues on at speed. Carric rolls underneath the legs of one of the horses bearing down on him and regains his feet swiftly, perhaps even gaining ground on the fleeing figure. Piety's focus and intent are obvious as he clears the garden. Reynwyn skips past the vendor's stall.
The quarry, however, struggles within the voluminous curtain and is unable to move! Revjak and Piety reach the figure, and Reynwyn shouts out, his voice magically amplified, "Stop fleeing and hold still!"
Instantly, the struggling within the curtain ceases.
Well, you got lucky there, folks! But for getting entangled, I had my money on your quarry to get away and/or hide. The chase is effectively over; Arthur is 50 feet away, Carric 40 (thanks to his nat 20), Reynwyn 35, and Revjak and Piety are adjacent to the figure, who is no longer fleeing. What do you all do?
Sorry I ran a very long real life session of Strange Aeons yesterday. Catching up now.
Arthur moves to close the gap between himself and their now seemingly stalled quarry but does his best to make haste regardless.
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak seizes the curtain and starts to unfurl it roughly onto the ground.
Revjak unceremoniously dumps the figure on the ground, and a thin, pock-faced man with lanky brown hair scowls back at him. "Here now, no need to be so rough, fella. I ain't done nothin' to you. You chase a man down the street, then you throw him on the cobblestones... Should call the Watch, I should!" He juts his lower jaw out at Revjak defiantly.
|Revjak of the Elk|
"Enough squawking.", Revjak says, as he ungently pins down the man.
"You will talk. Who are you?"
Intimidate (str): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
"Aright, aright, enough wiv ya pushin' me round!" he says as the rest of the party converge around him. "Let me breathe, will ya?" He splutters a few times, then as Revjak holds him still he sighs. "Guess there's no point playin' funny buggers. I'm just a nobody, really, that's why he picked me, I guess. Five dragons a day, just fer followin' you lot around. Course ya split up all the bloody time, dun make it easy for me. Anyway, five gold a day, he says, just don't let 'em catch ya, he says. Don' s'pose we could just pretend this didn't happen, could we? That five gold a day's comin' in real handy," he finishes up wistfully.
"You are very well trained for a 'nobody'. What guild are you with?" Piety wouldn't even deign to talk to this self-professed man if he didn't know anything of use. and if he didn't...
"Lets not be so hasty... if someone is looking to get information on us having someone like our friend who might be willing to forget or get a few details wrong when we ask. But for that to be the case we'd need to know who was so interested in us?"
The skinny man gives Piety a wry grin. "No such things as guilds for us types no more, not in Waterdeep, the Lords saw to that. There's still the odd independent professional like meself gettin' about, though, but I don't really do thievin' no more. Too risky. More just jobs like this one, sneak about, watch a bit, no hurt to nobody."
The rogue turns to answer Carric and Arthur's questions. "Mean cuss, 'e was. Not tall, but big, arms as thick as me legs, 'e had. Clean-shaved head, tatts all over 'im, on 'is neck, arms. Gold nose ring too. Black vest, black strides, all leather. Didn't give me 'is name, but."
"Tell ye what. Gimme another five dragons a day, I'll tell 'im anythin' ye want. Danger money, that is. He'll kill me if 'e finds out. I 'aven't done nothin' wrong, it's no crime to look and step quietly, so it's either we make a deal, or you let me walk. The Watch don't arrest nobody just 'cause some sellswords say they should. What d'ya say? Deal? Name's Breck." Breck holds his hand out to shake on his proposed deal.
|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak looks to the others.
"I say we throw him to the Watch or into the sea. I see little point in paying him ourselves."
Not until we find out where we can talk to the big guy that hired this whelp. Where do you meet him to convey what you find? It sounds like he will stick out like a sore thumb.
Reynwyn grins as his magics overtakes the hooded figure and he stumbles to a halt. Reynwyn joins the others, his breath coming a little heavier than some of the other more physically fit members of the group. "I'm with Arthur on this actually; having Breck feed his man false information might be helpful until we can track him down. Otherwise, he'll just hire another skulker to follow us around. And then we've got to chase someone else down, but I'll not agree to 5 gold a day. You can keep getting your money from this man and provide him with false information on our whereabouts and deeds of the day. Perhaps we could gather up enough to pay you 2 gold a day in addition to what you are already bringing in. That is until we deal with this individual."
"Two gold a day from us and five from him will net you seven gold... thats not too bad. Now if he finds out you were caught he'll at the least look for someone else but he probably wont do anything nice to you. Play it our way and you earn some coin before we resolve the matter and you walk away both richer and safe."
Breck shakes his head and gives an annoyingly superior look to Revjak. "Chuckin' people in the sea might work in the mountains, or wherever ye're from, but in the city ye gotta be ready to take a'vantage of opportunities. And this here's a doozy."
In response to Piety and Carric's questions, he shakes his head. "I'm not handin' over the goods without a deal, mates." But when Arthur confirms a two gold a day deal, he smiles and spits in his palm before holding it out to be shaken. "Two ain't five, so I won't be puttin' my head in the noose for you gents, but I can help you out and play it you straight for that. Deal then? Two gold a day for what I know, and the odd bit of misinformation here an' there?"
|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak refrains from replying. For now.
|Revjak of the Elk|
Tersely, Revjak replies.
"I like it not. But if ye think it wise to have this man spill words for us, then I will chip in."
Carric motions Arthur and Renwyn over. He whispers to him.
Reynwyn nods to Carric and whispers back. "We can certainly try; however, my magical reserve is currently depleted and would need a short rest to regain a bit of my strength if we wanted me to follow behind him invisibly."
Arthur spits on his hand and shakes the other mans "First, the two of us are going to have a little sit down away from the big fella, I don't think he likes you. Carric you might get us a small bottle of something. My new friend and I will share it and go over every detail about this curious stranger and what has been reported to him."
"You don't mind a free drink. First coin at the start of our chat, the other after. The rest of you might as well take a chance to rest, I've nothing to fear from a friendly chat with my new friend after all!"
Carric nods, and heads to the bar for a bottle of mid-range local wine.
He returns to the table, places the bottle down with three glasses. He purs them each a drought, then sits back to listen to Arthur's words.
The Company lead Breck around the corner to the Grinning Lion tavern, a raucous place patronised largely by young nobles who want to experience the thrill of drinking in a down home Dock Ward tavern, without actually having to leave the comfortable environs of the North Ward (map location N56, on the middle-right hand side of square 2I). Arthur and Carric sit down with Breck and a bottle of wine for a debrief.
It turns out that Breck, a semi-retired thief, was asked by the proprietor of the Thirsty Throat tavern, one Bulaedo "Fists" Ledigleer, if he wanted to meet a man about a low-risk, legal job (both Arthur and Carric remember the place, the tavern that they originally tracked a tail to on their first day in Waterdeep - turns out that was Breck). The man, who never gave his name, is an intimidating specimen, and meets Breck there every second day to hear what he has to report on the Company of the Blue Axe.
Breck also believes the man is an adherent of Shar, the Dark Lady, as he has muttered invocations to her under his breath several times in Breck's presence. Whoever this man is, he is not someone that Breck is keen to trifle with, and he makes plain that his life is on the line here, and that if he needs your help or succour as a result of double-crossing his dangerous patron he expects to receive it.
Breck notes that the man seems to always be at the tavern before Breck gets there, as he is always ushered up to a second-floor room where the other man is waiting. He also emphasises that the party can't just go blundering in there demanding answers, as the tavern caters to a dangerous kind of individual, who as a group would be more than likely to defend the place against nosy do-gooders.
That seems to be the extent of what Breck knows. He is due to meet the man tomorrow night.
This debriefing takes an hour or more, so consider that your short rest everyone. So, what to do? You're due at the Majarra villa in less than an hour.
Carric, as to the cost of the wine, I'm going to just charge the party 4 gp for expenses this tenday. Your board is free, but I'm assuming that the first week in the big city you're all having a good time, trying lots of different foods, etc. From hereon, you can all set your own living expenses. Things such as this bottle of wine can fall under that.
|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak grunts, playing the part up a little, but only a little.
"Ren, fancy a pint? We can await the others over one and relax. Piety, fancy joining us?"
"I have neither the desire nor ability to taste alcohol, much less feel it's effects. I am going to return to our lodgings and continue my research. I will meet you all at the villa at the specified time."
Okay, going to assume that no one wants to do anything in particular with regards to Breck and move on to the meeting with Kehlann. What with the 4 gp living expenses and the 2 gp for Breck, I've deducted 1.2 gp from each of your purses.
Breck leaves, bowing slightly, perhaps a little mockingly, to Arthur and Carric as he does. He promises to meet one, some, or all of you tomorrow here at the Grinning Lion at 4 pm tomorrow to discuss what he's going to report to his other master, the intimidating bald man, tomorrow night. Once he's left, you all head to the Majarra villa to meet Kehlann.
Kehlann receives you as he did when he made his offer of ongoing employment, in the same small sitting room/dining area as before. He enquires briefly as to how you've settled in, noting with apparently genuine pleasure your generally positive impressions of the city. He then moves on to business.
"As I mentioned in my letter, it seems Garen has decided that honesty is the best policy. Having used magic to ensure his truthfulness, we have discovered that he was offered the job of stealing my lockbox by an unnamed, yet distinctive individual - a well-built bald man of menacing demeanour. This man paid him 200 - 200! - gold to bring the lockbox to him. This man," and Kehlann pauses for dramatic effect, "recruited Garen at the Thirsty Throat tavern." He leans back, apparently rather pleased with himself, but seems quite unimpressed by your lack of surprise.
"Anyhow, I was going to ask you to investigate this immediately, but it seems I am not the only one that desires to make use of your services. This very evening, at dinner no less, I was interrupted by one of the hidden Lords of Waterdeep. He - or she, they like to keep their disguises total - told me that, on his or her behalf, I should offer you a job. Your new found identity as the Company of the Blue Axe has not, it seems, gone unnoticed in the highest halls of the city. Anyway, this job is to investigate a bunch of raiders, apparently gnolls, operating out of Ardeep Forest, and put an end to the threat they pose Waterdeep. Your reward will be one thousand gold dragons. If so, you must make all haste there, leaving tomorrow. Though it interferes with my plans, I highly recommend you take the job. The Lords are generous, and winning their favour may open many doors for you."
So, there it is folks. Do you want to take the job? (I assume you do...) If so, do you want to drop everything to pursue it? Are there any preparations you wish to make beforehand? Of course, you're not obliged to take the job if you feel there are other things that are more pressing. Discuss!
|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak's face breaks into a massive grin, and he raises Azuredge.
"Aye! I will cleave gnolls with Azuredge willingly. And with gold also? Of course!"
He turns to the others:
"What say ye?"
"I know of the gnolls of which you speak, I had been gathering information on them already and spoken to the others about them."
"I know you wish your own task done but this way you can rest assured the funds we get from this will better equip us to tackle your task. That and currying the favour of a Masked Lord might be useful down the line."
"If you wish to accept the Lords' offer, I support you," Kehlann says. "If the Lords are moving on this issue, the gnolls must present a real threat to our trade lines to the south. My loyalty to the Lords and my city notwithstanding, my family's business interests rely on an open route to the southern lands."
So what's the plan? Gear up and leave on the morrow? Or do you want to delay your departure for a bit, say if some of you had people you wanted to see begore leaving, or to meet with Breck...?
|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak turns to the others.
"I would leave straight away. But do ye wish to leave word for Breck? Or meet him?"
Kehlann fetches a map and sets a quill to magically copying it onto a piece of parchment.The map shows the near region surrounding Waterdeep, and once it's copied he spreads it before you. Here it is.
"So you will want to travel a little more than a day's ride south down the High Road; through the Rat Hills and over the Dessarin River will take a good chunk of the first day, then a few hours later you'll find a trail heading east. It will eventually run to the main, western fork of the Ardeep River, and a small island in the river is a natural stopping point for travellers. From there, the trail heads north to Phylund Lodge, while the river will lead you to the heart of the forest. Over here," he indicates the ruins of Harpshield Castle, "is the ruin of my family's ancestral home. I don't know what has come of it in four or so centuries since my family fled it. I believes the elves of Ardeep claimed it for a while, but they have all since left for Evermeet..." His voice trails off, then he comes to himself. "Anyway, that should help you get around the area." He hands the map Arthur, then sees you on your way, wishing you the best of luck.
Okay, let's say you all leave reasonably early at 10 am, which gives you all time to do some shopping for equipment, send messages to those you have been in contact with, or go see people that you'd like to inform of your upcoming absence. It'll take the better part of two days to get to the forest itself. Post up what you're doing before you leave (in summary form will be fine), and you then we'll get you on the road :)
|Revjak of the Elk|
"That should be enough, Kehlann. We will attend to your ancestral home when we can.", he says with sympathy.
I can understand him wanting his ancestor's land restored.
"Since speed is of the essence, I shall buy rations instead of foraging."
Revjak would like to buy a week's worth of rations. 3.5 gold I believe.
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"I will join you all on this venture. I have become quite fond of your all eccentric company!" He grins and glances around the table. "Kahlann, watch yourself carefully here in Waterdeep. This same man has been having us all followed and watched carefully since our arrival apparently."
I have updated Reynwyn's GP total on the Loot Tracker! Also, I just wanted to remind everyone that we have access to Guidance to assist us with any skill challenges we need to overcome.
Carric states at Kehlann, as he hands the map the Arthur.
Do you forget that I am the primary scout and ranger for the Company of the Blue Axe? Arthur, feel free to keep the map, but allow me a few more minutes of study so that I can commit the location to memory. I am, however, fairly comfortable in this area, having served not far away.
"Oh, by all means, no offence meant," Kehlann smiles at Carric.
Alright, so continue to post up if you're buying anything before you go or if you want to communicate with someone in Waterdeep before you go. I'll move ahead with travel.
Carric, did you want to contact Tantuss before you leave? He might get concerned if you disappear without word right after agreeing to investigate the disappearing Harpers.
Piety, did you want to contact the wizard Tessalar before you leave? He's probably expecting you in the next day or so.
Does anyone want to contact Breck before leaving the city? And does anyone wish to contact any of the personal connections they may have made, to let them know they're leaving?
1d100 ⇒ 11
1d100 ⇒ 6
1d100 ⇒ 91
1pm, 30th of Eleint (the Falling), 335 NR (1367 DR)
It is the last day of Eleint, and tomorrow will be the festival day of Higharvestide, signifying that the year is sliding well and truly towards winter. The weather has reflected this the past two days, with grey clouds blotting out the sun almost completely and shedding cold rain frequently.
The first day was spent leaving the City well before noon and travelling south along the High Road. A couple of miles out of Waterdeep you pass the Rat Hills to the west - two miles worth of refuse and rubbish that has accumulated into massive piles between the coast and the road. Members of the guard patrol up and down the road along this stretch, warning travellers of possible attacks from creatures, living and dead, that can emerge swiftly and unexpectedly from the Hills. You don't encounter anything, but the overwhelming reek alone is enough to keep you moving swiftly until you've put the Rat Hills well behind you.
Crossing the Dessarin River some hours after that, you pass into a pleasant, if lonely-looking green land of high rolling hills and scattered stands of trees. The rain makes you uncomfortable and restricts your vision, but you make camp safely that night just off the road, and Carric manages to keep a small fire sputtering for most of the night. Despite the weather, most of you find it enjoyable to be out in the countryside once more.
Today, you have continued on through the drizzles and downpours, and before noon you reach the eastward trail that Kehlann mentioned to you. It is obvious to some of you (those with proficiency in Survival) that the trail has been heavily used lately, although you are unable to determine anything more specific due to the muddying effect of the rains.
An hour after noon, Reynwyn can sense, through Jareth winging above and in front of the party, that a group of six swiftly moving, brown-furred creatures is just over the next ridge, which is perhaps two hundred feet ahead. Reynwyn estimates that the creatures are perhaps another two hundred feet past that, which means you have about twenty seconds until they crest the ridge. To the north, about 50 feet away is a small stand of small trees, too sparse to hide you completely, but they may provide cover.
What do you do? Remember, you all have mounts (although Piety seems to prefer to walk and use his mount as a beast of burden).
|Revjak of the Elk|
Before he leaves, Revjak will do a round of telling select folks that he will be off.
"Mother Mahlee, we'll be off to slay gnolls!"
"Arkiem, the Company goes to test our blades on gnoll necks!"
"Alcedor, I will soon be able to tell you how Azuredge fares against gnolls!"
And somewhat sheepishly enquiring:
"Is Shalara in?"
"Carric, Reynwyn, can we get close without being seen? I would like the first sight of us those furballs get is the shine of our weapons."
The creatures are at about the same distance from the top of the ridge as you are, so if you move quickly you can certainly beat them there.
Mother Mahlee is back in the little village of Melton - you may have to send her a letter :)
Arkiem is interested in your mission, and encourages you to commit your actions to memory as it progresses, so that he may compose a song from it if the story is worthy. He wishes you well, and recommends that if you face gnolls, you try to take advantage of their boundless bloodlust and aggression.
Alcedor wishes you well, but mentions that his research has turned up something that may be of interest to you. In some of the old stories, Azuredge was able to be hurled by the heroes that wielded it, and would return to its owner's grasp magically. How this will function in its new incarnation as a halberd, he's not sure.
Shalara is indeed in, and an apprentice admits you to the tower. She comes down from an upper floor, and is dressed in her workclothes - an apron over her robes, gloves on her hands, and her hair tied back behind a headscarf. She favours you with a smile, her eyes bright, and listens as you explain your plan in Ardeep Forest. She notes that the waters of the Ardeep River, particularly near the centre of the forest, are rumoured to hold the remnants of the magic of the elves that once lived there; those waters could possibly act to boost the powers of potions brewed with it. She does, however, seem very busy, and can't spare you much time, and gives you a hurried goodbye, awkwardly shaking your hand and then retreating back to her workroom.
Oh, and forgot to mention... As you leave the city, you hear a faint, female voice in your mind, whispering that you must stay in Waterdeep to protect the city; your duty is there. It fades after a short time.
|Revjak of the Elk|
Doh! I meant Madam Garah.
"Bloodlust and aggression...aye I'll remember that! My thanks, Arkiem and I shall have a tale for you for sure!"
"My thanks, Elder. Something to try when an enemy flees perhaps."
"I shall look for these waters and bring some back. You have my thanks, Shalara."
Revjak looks about for glass bottles.
Say 3 easy enough to find?
Revjak feels a little torn about the voice, but tries to think to himself:
I will return, and with the gnolls gone, will the city not be safer?