”I will punch you square in the face if you don’t take your arm off of me, you twit,” Wren growls at the man. Wren looks to the other woman with the group. ”How do you stand being with this lot? Seems like there’s only one thing on their mind, and it isn’t getting control back of their land. I mean, seriously” she huffs, and pours her remaining stew on the man’s lap.
”Oops, I guess it slipped.”
"DAMN RIGHT WE DO!" Caspan hollers back at the tree, glad they seem to understand each other so well.
She's prob'ly playing hide the twig right now with that Molthuni, and I'm stuck with a big dumb tree here. Not sure why we're fighting if the guy's dead.
"We killed the cave dwellers!" Thael responds as he backpedals away from the treant, not sure it's going to do any good. The horses stand their ground, not attacking, but Thael doesn't call them off, either.
I'm thinking this is possible to talk with, but I'm not a great face for it.
Hahaha you're a lot better than Selde's -3
With Mekhi's loaded, Selde spurred Nur away from danger as quickly as the elk could manage. "I SAID RUN!" Selde did not say softly.
Emil eats his own rations and drinks his own water rather than benefiting from any hospitality of the Molthuni band. He ignores their attempts to get a rise out of him with their haughty claims on the land his parents carved out of the wilderness.
But when they start getting fresh with Wren, Emil sets his food aside, stands, picking up his scythe and stands behind Wren glaring down at them. "Leave 'er be, kid, if ya fancy yer head on yer neck." To Wren he says, "No point tryin' ta talk sense inta these lot. Jus' eat and get some rest. I'll keep watch."
Jillian laughs nervously when Derrick comments on her talking to birds and them talking back. She usually wasn't so open about it, but she was letting her guard down tonight maybe because of the wine or maybe just because she was finally relaxing a bit after everything. "Uh, yeah. One sec." She calls out to the bird in the strange language, the bird sits there a moment before hoping off its perch and flying back outside.
With a forced smile she turns back to Derrick "Sorry he is a little overprotective sometimes..." She is thankful that Derrick doesn't linger on the interruption and promptly turns the discussion to something else. She listens intently to his tail, nodding at parts as there are some similarities to her own and happily taking the refill of wine. She doesn't often drink this much and it has started to show as her cheeks and nose are now a permanent slight pink and her emerald green eyes are just a bit glossed over.
When he comes in to kiss her again she happily returns the kiss. As he asks her about seducing men she gives him a mischievous grin and rolls over on top of him, as she replies "No, you're the first..." With his waist between her legs, she lays her head down on his chest taking in the warmth of his body and listening to the rhythm of his heart beat. She closes her eyes as she listens and whispers up to him "This is nice... I wish we could just stay like this..."
With Mekhi loaded, the group begins it's retreat from the tree. The tree notices the group trying to get away and snatches up another rock, lobbying it like a quarterback to intercept the group. The large boulder hurtles through the air and slams into Nur and its riders.
The rock is more like a hundred pound boulder and catches Nur broadside with tremendous force. The animal crumbles to the ground, obliterated by the attack. Mehkhi's body is thrown clear and disappears into nearby brush.
Selde - DC20 Ride check to dismount successfully from the attack and land on your feet. Failure 2d6 ⇒ (3, 4) = 7 points of damage and knocked prone.
Flying Rock: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Damage: 2d6 + 13 ⇒ (1, 6) + 13 = 20
Obviously still well within the treant's boulder hurtling range, Aubrin screams "NO!" before stopping her retreat and turning back to look at the mess about thirty feet behind them. Turning to Thael and Caspan she shouts "What do we do?!"
* * * * *
The man hastling Wren is all laughs until the hot meals up in his lap. Blurting out a string of curses such as "You f&&+ing Nirmathian wench!", he leaps to his feet to brush the hot meal of him. Clearly disgruntled, he points to Wren and says "It'd be a real shame if something big and mean shows up tonight and off you tonight. Don't expect anyone here to come and help you out."
The female Molthuni soldier looks over at the man rolls her eyes. "Oh shut up and sit down already Claff, no one wants to hear your nonsense. You deserved more than that for your foolishness."
With a sidelong glance at Father Emil as he moves behind Wren, Claff reluctantly takes his seat while continuing to huff about.
* * * * * *
Inside the tent Derrick is quiet for the first time, not offering a quip or joke to her mention of staying like. Instead, he just closes his eyes and keeps his comments to himself for now. After some time he whispers back "Yeah. It is. You could come away with me and we could do this every night you know. I'm sure your group would understand you wanting a break. It doesn't have to be forever either, you could stay for as long as you want or leave when you're ready."
When she inevitably declines again he, sighs softly. "Okay. You're turn to talk. What do you have to tell me?"
Still on top of him she places her elbows on his chest and then raises her head, resting it in the palms of her hands as she looks at him. She crinkles her nose a bit as she thinks "Well, from what you said it sounds like our beginnings aren't all to different. I was raised by Father Nolean in Pheander mostly because my parents didn't know what to do with me. They loved me and we were still really close but they just thought I would get much more from life under the tutelage of Father Nolean with my... oddities... then they could do themselves."
She smiles and nods her head toward where the bird flew out "It really all started when I met Hunter, they were pretty concerned about the whole talking bird thing too, but he has been a really great friend to me. Always watching over me and listening to me." She pauses as her eyes look up toward the ceiling of the tent in though and then lets out a brief laugh "Now that I think of it, your really the first person I've talked to with this amount of depth. I mean I tell Hunter everything but I don't usually talk to others this much, I mean... about myself. I talk to people plenty but it is usually all business, not personal stuff."
She frowns slightly as she continues "Anyway, one day I went to visit my parents and all I found was my families home burnt to the ground and no signs of my parents, but there were definite signs of a struggle and lots of blood. I went back to town and we tried looking for them but never found them, everyone just assumed they were killed, likely by Molthune soldiers who ventured too far north. I grieved for a long time and Nolean and hunter tried to make it better, but nothing really helped. One night after I had cried myself to sleep I received a vision from Erastil. Father Nolean said it was a sign and I should work to protect the communities I hold dear and that I should strive to put a stop to the conflicts that destroy so many families."
She sighs and smiles once again "So that is what I've been doing ever since. It's why I can't just leave the people that need me to run away with you as much as I might want to. I have to see them to safety. I have to see if I can't help to end this conflict, not just with the Legion but maybe one day between our two nations as well..."
Sorry, I've just been updating the character sheet linked in my profile. I'll get that updated when I get home.
No worries. We'll just roll with it as is for now so we don't need to retcon it. I'll make a note in the future and we'll say that though Nur got knocked over he's not dying.
Nur rises up and shakes his head, apparently injured nearly as bad as it looked like. Selde's attempted dismount is unsuccessful and she goes flying in an awkward dismount, snagging her foot on something in the process.
Apparently not satisfied with the retreat of the party, the Treant pulls itself upward out of the ground rises on to two huge leg-like trunks of the tree. It begins to move in your direction and it doesn't look friendly.
Aubrin reiterates, "What now! Selde! Are you okay? Where's Mekhi?!"
* * * * *
Derrick ponders on her words for a bit "Peace between our nations. I'm not so sure that's obtainable in our lifetimes. Molthune wants to crush all Nirmathians for the Traitor's War."
The "Freedom War" is the name given to the war of independence fought between the newly liberated nation of Molthune and the rebel forces under the command of the half-elven trapper Irgal Nirmath by the Nirmathi. Molthuni's refer to it differently than the Nirmathian's of course :).
Shaking his head he changes the subject "Both of our families were killed because of this conflict. I don't want to talk about Molthune or Nirmathis right now. We've both given years of our lives for it and we're no closer to resolving it than when it happened. "
Reaching up and running his hand through her hair, smoothing out knots and tracing his hand down her neck he asks "How about you, me and your bird all take off for Druma tomorrow? We've both done enough for our nations and people, yeah? We could get away from all this conflict and make new lives. I'll go to work on the docks and you can be whatever is it you want to be."
With a twinkle in his eye he raises a devious smile to hips "Maybe talk some more about those babies you told Hunter about?"
Jillian shakes her head as she sighs at Derricks continued insistence on running away. She rolls off of him and flops down beside him. "You don't understand, I can't give up on my people. It's not about our nations anymore, its about protecting the community I hold dear and not letting it perish under the hands of the Legion. It's about honoring my parents memory and not letting what happened to them happen to these good people."
She pauses a moment and then looks over to Derrick "You seem intent on leaving the work you are doing, finding something better. I want to be with you but I can't leave, not yet. Why don't you leave and come with me instead? I promise I won't involve you with any fights against your people, my only fight now is with the Legion. We could be together and I could still tend to my duties. It wouldn't be as great as running off together, but at least we would be together..."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (6) + 14 = 20
"Damn tree got 'em. You better get out of here," Caspan tells the cleric, "and I'll hold it off."
He pulls out his ax, getting ready to use it for a moment before closing toward the stupid plant.
Standard action to get Weapon Focus: ax, then move action toward the treant.
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 16, CMD 21 (+2 vs. dirty trick; +3 vs. trip); 25% chance to negate criticals
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +1 (+2 resistance bonus to recover from a continuing effect)
Unbreakable Survivor (8 hp) 0/1
Martial Flexibility 1/5; knockout (DC 16) 0/1
Effects: Weapon Focus: axe
Wren smiles briefly at the Molthuni woman, appreciating the support form she and the Father. She ignored the man’s last comment, and tried to not stir up any more emotions, good or bad.
Every time she tried to come up with a topic to discuss, she found herself worried that she might give out some piece of information that would be used against them in the future. As such, she basically just sat there with an uncomfortable grin on her face.
Realizing they were greatly outmatched and in danger of taking great losses, Thael agrees with Selde that they should run.
Ordering his summoned creatures to attack, he follows his sister back toward home.
"Retreat is the logical course of action!" he exclaims as runs.
I'm not sure if we want to get into combat rounds, or if the summons will be enough of a distraction to get out of here?
Derrick looks up at Jillian as she tries to explain to him why she won’t leave her life behind for him. She seems persistent and convincing in her request for him to join her. It seems to almost convince him too. He nods along as she talks and when she finishes he taps the left side of her head twice and smiles. ”You’re good. You are very good. These smooth words you string together, how do you do it so eloquently? It’s just like that time on the path days ago. You helped disarm the situation with those words. “
Waggling his finger at her, he continues ”So few people have the way with the word and the blade. That’s the foundation for a great leader right there. Tough as nails but smooth as silk.”
He grimaces ”I don’t think I’d be a good fit in your group. Going off to start a life together where our countries can’t find us is one thing, but joining forces with Nirmathians isn’t something I can do. I’d be marked as a traitor and people would come looking for me. We’d never be safe and it’d be more dangerous for you. I appreciate the offer, but I don’t think the consequences of those actions are what you are anticipating.”
* * * *
Aubrin gasps in horror at the situation, unable to fully participate in the manner she’d like. As Caspan pulls away, she says ”Wait!” and reaches out for him as she casts a spell on him. Caspan feels his muscles tense and bulge, a sense of power growing inside of him. ”I made you strong like a bull for a few minutes!” Bulls Strength!
After casting the spell, she stammers backwards and slowly retreats.
Jillian frowns but nods knowing he was probably right. She then turns over on her side and leans in to whisper in Derrick's ear "Well, at least we have tonight to spend together and when this is over maybe we can find one another again and run off like you suggested. For now, let's just enjoy one another's company." She moves in to give him a kiss. The rest of the evening will likely see more kissing and small talk, but she won't go any further than that.
The next morning she will rise early and ask his help in getting ready to depart. Before she leaves though she makes sure to ask "So, before I go, we got a little off track from one of the reasons I came to meet you. With the scouting you have done, have you ever run across and camps of the Chernasardo rangers? That may be our best bet in getting some distance between our group and the hobgoblins. It may be the only way I can help my people survive, how you can help me to survive..." She gives him a knowing smile, hoping he cares about her enough to possibly help her in her endeavors.
Emil keeps a poker face as Jillian asks the Molthuni band to share intel they ought not to have and wouldn't tell Nirmathi 'rebels' if they did.
The following morning at the camp Jillian awakens next to Derrick all smiles, the pair having spent a wonderful evening together. The same cannot be said for Father Emil and Wren who made sure to stay on their toes and stay vigilant just in case one of thise Molthune scouts decided to get a little too friendly.
When everyone convenes in the morning and the Nirmathians are ready to depart, Jillian asks her question about the rangers. The bulk of the group doesn't even acknowledge she asks the question, staring at her with blank expressions as if she hadn't spoke. It isn't until she looks at Derrick for an answer, that he shrugs. With an apologetic frown he says "No, we've never been able to pinpoint any of the ranger locations."
He walks up and pecks her on the cheek and whispers "Good luck." before patting her on the behind twice. "Dream of me."
Before Emil leaves, he addresses the Molthunis. "Ya prolly won't take advice from me, but as long as yer in this ancient forest, take the advice it gives everyone who comes through it. There're any number o' creatures who'll be glad ta make a meal o' ya and as many more as all kill ya out o' self defense. Surest way ta stay safe is ta stay out o' the forest altogether. Forest creatures won't follow ya home and attack ya in yer beds. We Nirmathis are jus' like the rest o' the forest crew. Stay out of the forest an' we won't bother ya. But give us trouble an we'll give ya worse."
He doesn't wait for any replies but turns and walks back toward Mistholme, taking care to watch for the Molthunis trying to follow.
Jillian nods a bit disappointed that he doesn't have any helpful information but then smiles as he comes to kiss her on the cheek. As he does, she grabs him by the waist and pulls him in close to whisper in his ear "How am I going to find you in the future? When I have sorted this out, where do I go you look for you?"
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Derrick shakes his head, unsure. "The best way is to not lose sight of each other and stay. Barring that, honestly, I don't know. Maybe fate will find a way to reunite us one day?"
The Molthuni's roll their eyes at Father Emil's veiled threat of do not follow us and there is no love lost when the trio departs from their camp.
The trip back home seems longer than normal, occasionally checking to see if their being followed in addition to looking for new threats along the way. Before long they find themselves reentering the cover of the Fangwood and turn towards the caves.
Night has just fallen when the trio returns home to find a solemn mood in the caverns, not the excited happy exuberance that was around when they had left. It doesn't take long to find out that Mekhi was killed by a treant while scouting with Lirosa and Taidel. Selde, Caspan, Thael and Aubrin eventually were able to retrieve his body, but under great duress from the forest guardian who hurled boulders at them the process.
Later that evening, Novvi the traveling merchant announces herself down below, having return to do trading as promised.
"What news of Phaendar?" Selde asked of the returning group. The Half-Elf had a large bruise on her right temple. A lingering wound from being launched from Nur's saddle by the treant's bolder. Her hands were busy tending to the red elk, who laid upon fresh matting.
Thael is also hurting from the encounter with the treant.
"I wish we could have reasoned with it," he had said to Selde. "But at this point, it is probably better to leave it alone. It will do more damage to the hobgoblin horde than it will to us, so long as we steer clear of that area," he muses.
With the group reunited, he asks "How was the scouting expedition? Any news of the rangers?"
Jillian is sadened by the news of the loss of Mekhi, especially considering what she had been up to instead. It was her intent to get information to help their group and while she enjoyed the evening she spent with Derrick it wasn't worth the loss of one of their own.
As Selde and Thael ask about their luck Jillian hesitates for the first time the group has ever seen. She looks down at the ground and let's out a deep sigh "I'm sorry we weren't here to help, maybe I could have talked to it and avoided this but I wasn't here and I let you down."
She wipes a single tear from her eye and then shakes her head to flip her hair back out of the way as she looks up at the others "Phaendar is a lost cause for now. From the information I received it is overrun by the Legion and more are coming but from no obvious route. There must be some magic involved or something. Either way, our only hope of keeping everyone safe is to get away and regroup, maybe find some help. Sadly, I wasn't able to get anything useful in that regard so we will just have to search for ourselves."
She pauses as she thinks a moment "With that Treant nearby and obviously knowing where we are it may already not be safe for us to stay here. I hate to suggest it but it may be better if we do actually all move as a group. At least then we can ensure each others safety better than if we split up..."
Knowledge (Nature): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (19) + 10 = 29
To see if Emil knows enough about Treants to judge if one lone treant poses a threat if not confronted where it resides.
Heck, long post got eaten!
”I’m not sure we need to stay near a rogue treant either. If it stopped you, three, we need to give it a wide berth!”
"It wasn't irrationate, so wasn't anyhing you could've done," Caspan says, patting Jillian awkwardly on the back. "It talked a bunch of nonsense and was almost as incomprehensive as Kining.
"I'm sure with all of us, we could get rid of it, but Thael might have the point with it. Probably do more to kill hobs as long as we know to avoid it."
Does Novvi have a set list of items or are we rolling to see what she has? Since she is from the underdark would she happen to have a Spider-Silk Bodysuit?
Sure, that's not a problem. You can assume she would have all non-magical items. She doesn't have specific magical items, rolling for it is fine. Treat her bags of holding as a large town.
Emil clearly knows enough about treants to know that they are formidable foes. They are not known to be wanderers, but defenders of the forest. He would know that if it was attacking creatures then it is likely due to the fact that it considered them a form of a threat to the area.
When Emil relates what he knows of the Treant Jillian takes a deep breath and notes to the others "Perhaps Emil and I should go and try to talk with it? Even if we can't make it peaceful to us we can let it know we plan to depart and not bother it further. Maybe it will at least keep it from bothering us. I would say we should all go in case things turn bad, but I worry the rest of your presence after open hostilities might do more harm than good."
She looks to the others to see what they think.
Emil takes in the ideas and offers, "Treants, or ents as my family always called 'em, aren't predators. They don't go lookin' fer a fight, but obviously, they will attack any they 'spect are enemies. I'd say we mark a circle 'bout a mile around the grove where this ent was an' let it be a warnin' ta stay away. Somethin' simple like small strips o' red fabric. Any friends we meet, we let 'em know ta steer around such markings. Any hobbos who come won't know ta stay away an' mebbe that's a good thing."
"That's my suggestion. But I'll try to talk ta 'im or her, assuming I can from outside rock an' tree trunk slingin' range, if'n ya insist. Maybe we should jus' send a magic message or three ta explain things."
Emil will conduct a proper funeral and burial for the fallen.
Jillian shrugs "If we aren't going to try and talk with it to smooth things over, I say we pack up camp and take everyone with us as we search for someplace safe. I don't feel comfortable leaving the others here with a huge violent tree creature so close."
Caspan shrugs, perfectly willing to not go chop down a tree(ent) as he is to chop it down.
Emil's plan seems sound to me. If Jillian wants to talk to it, we could stay out of sight a short distance away in case she ends up needing help.
She crinkles her nose as she thinks about it more and more and eventually lets out a deep sigh "Actually, in all honesty I think it is better if we all stick together anyway. We have plenty of supplies and gear to camp in the wilderness now and with the Legion barring down on this place I would hate to leave the others to their mercy if something happened where we couldn't get back to them before the Legion found this place. Let's forget the treant and leave it to smash some hobgoblins and just go find a new home away from Pheander."
She forces a smile as she finishes "I hate the idea of subjecting everyone to the wilderness again but I think it is the safest option and we don't need to loose any more of our friends."
Thael agrees with Jillian.
"It is a formidable guardian--one that will cause the hobgoblins all kinds of problems. We should steer clear of it. It did not seem very willing to believe we were not the troglodytes, and will likely be disinclined to believe the hobgoblins are not, either."
He scratches his beard, then says "It is probably time to leave this place. Let us go and travel together."
Would be everyone, even our hobgoblin capture. Jillian would also warn Novvi on what is going on, but I've been saving the camping gear and such and we have the wagon now, so I assume it won't be quite as bad travelling as a large group as it had been in the past. But will see what the others say.
"We've lost enough to the treant. Leave it be and let us move on." Selde said softly. "If troops are being magically transported, it is only a matter of time before we are found and overrun. We must flee further in to the forest."
Yeah now is as good a time as any to move the entire camp. Pack up what we can and move everyone out. Head deeper in to the woods, our group will scout ahead of the main group of NPCs. Selde and Emil can use Riversight and Lay of the Land for some long range scouting to give us some direction.
Wren nodded. ”The caves were great, but I agree that it’s probably best to move on out of here. It seems the forest itself is telling us to press on. Never good to ignore the Green Lady’s signs, I don’t think.”
Wait, I definitely don't think we should take all the refugees along. This is the most defensible place we've found, and everyone could retreat into the Darklands if they absolutely had to. Let's go see if we can find the Rangers and find us a new place that way.
"Wait, what? Maybe you don't all remember how much work it was finding shelter every night! They can't get rained on in the caves. Or attract attention. They're trained enough now that if they can understand what the dwarf is telling them to do (which yeah, they probably can't), they could probably hold that entrance for days."
”I have ta agree with Caspan,” Emil adds. ”The only reason that ent attacked us was ‘cause we wandered into his territory. We leave an’ every day we risk walkin’ inta more danger. They didn’t get attacked while we took out that hobgoblin camp, an’ now it should set back their efforts to locate us. If we take the whole flam damnly out in the open, it’d jus’ take a passin’ scout ta expose everyone ta attack but without the benefit of a well defensible cave with a back door ta boot.”
Would the plants near the mouth of the cave support the use of the spell plant growth? Both Emil and (I believe) Selde can cast this spell, which would greatly hinder locating and entering Mistholme. Once cast the group could clear out a path so residents could navigate entry but said path could be blocked or at least would force enemies to enter single file. If the vegetation near the cave entrance is lush enough to support plant growth, I’d recommend this in favor of uprooting and moving everyone out into the open of territory we have not yet scouted.
Jillian shakes her head to Caspan and then Emil as she responds "I'm not nearly as concerned about the treant as I am the Legion. I think you're probably right Emil, as long as we stay away from the angry tree it will likely leave us be, however we won't have that luck with the hogoblins and I'm not willing to leave our people behind to be captured, murdered or worse while we are running around out in the woods."
She turns to look at Caspan as she continues "Yes they have been training but if a force like what was at that camp or worse came at them here they would not stand a chance while we were away. We've survived the wilds once and we are stronger and better prepared now, it should make such a trek that much easier."
Turning to Emil once again she adds "We left them to deal with the camp, when we knew that no one was looking here because we tricked them into thinking the lizards were still here. Now that we've destroyed the camp it is only a matter of time before they realize what has happened and make a concerted effort to try and track us down. I think the first place they would go is to their believed allies and what will happen we aren't around to try and trick them again?"
She shakes her head and looks to the others "Our own scouts reported that the Legion is on the move and it is only a matter of time before they move this way. We are too close to Pheander now with all these dangers looming over us to leave our people here alone. If you still think it isn't a good idea to move everyone out I propose we talk it over with them and see what they want to do..."
Selde nodded along with Jillian. "It could be weeks before we find the Rangers. Best to have the group nearby then risk the legion finding them or chasing our heels right to the Rangers. One of the worst things you can do in a survival situation is stay in it too long."
Jillian nods to Emil then goes to gather the rest of the group. She explains the current debate and asks for their input on what they would like to do, either wait here in relative comfort while their small group scouted ahead and risk the Legion finding them or brave the wilds with the small group in search of a new home to get away from the looming threat of the Legion.
Wren still felt the group should all leave, but she too wanted to hear from the others. If they felt more comfortable staying in the cave, she’d support their wishes.
Sorry for short post. Busy work week.