Apollonia (Serpent's Skull Remix)

Game Master Brian Minhinnick

Roll20 Campaign
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The city of Apollonia gouges itself into the craggy coast of the Grave of Serpent’s western shore. Imperial troops founded the port under the imperialistic expansion efforts of mad Prince Haliad I at the place of their first landing in Desperation Bay. In the beginning, Apollonia was no more than a small coastal settlement of fewer than 200 colonists eager to build a new life in the eastern continent. The colonists had the idealistic dream of protecting the Empire from the Serpent’s innumerable spawn, and eventually expanding to reclaim the Grave from their enemies.

The small harbor rested between the Laughing Jungle and the Bandu Hills, impractically located leagues north of Apollonia’s only major inland water routes. Nonetheless, the excitement of a new settlement brought settlers by the thousands. From across the Empire they came, eager to strike it rich. Miners sought to harvest salt, diamonds, and gold in the Bandu Hills, while foresters arrived to log the exotic hardwoods to the south.

Cica:
Before you left Terra, your family entrusted you with an important task. You family lore says that it was in fact your ancestors who brought Gaviv trees from the Grave of Serpents to the jungles of Terra. Your many times great grandmother was known as Patrona Gaviva because of how she dedicated her life to planting small groves of the valuable tree as an investment for future generations of her family. The trees were allowed to spread and become endemic in the Terran jungles before your family began their tradition of bowyery. Your parents have asked you to search out any other potentially valuable trees that you might bring home in order to ensure the eternal success of gens Sabuleum.

By 4138 AW (After War, 100 years ago), Apollonia was granted official status as an Imperial colony. Apollonia prospered swiftly, fed from the coffers of trading companies and the colonial aristocracy, both operating on sizable stipends from the Imperial government, with additional funds arriving from ever-increasing, likely crooked tax policies. Expansionists paid great sums to acquire official charters to explore inland, where they hoped to claim the riches of the pristine land.

After the discovery of the city of Kalabuto in 4190 AW (a city inhabited by native Suli tribespeople, to the east of Apollonia), these same individuals pushed to establish overland routes traveling east. Kalabuto’s distance from the coast served as a powerful lure to those seeking autonomy and financial stability. Yet the intrusions of foreign colonists caused extreme tensions with numerous Suli tribes. These tribes deemed the colonists exploitative, both in their ruthless trade and abusive labor practices. Conflicts arose, with several tribes openly declaring war against the foreigners. This unrest made travel unsafe and further expansion difficult. The overland route between the two cities broke down completely when most of Kalabuto’s trading companies began shipping goods down the Korir River. Kalabuto no longer needed to rely on Apollonia for trade with the rest of the West, and thus continued to prosper while Apollonia’s growth stagnated.

At present, Apollonia has only three-fourths as many inhabitants as Kalabuto. Despite its smaller population, however, it remains a stronghold for the colony’s political structure. The bulk of Apollonia’s economy is divided between its shipping industry and the trafficking and processing of gemstones, gold, silver, and salt brought in from mines in the Bandu Hills. Apollonia’s harbor is huge, perhaps one of the biggest along the southern coast of the Grave. Enhanced by dredging, it can handle the deep drafts of massive merchant vessels and similar ships too large to travel up the Korir to Kalabuto. At the harbor mouth, jetties slow currents and tempestuous waters. They also provide the harbormaster a modicum of power over ships entering and leaving port. Within the harbor, a sprawling array of granite block piers provides docking for ships of almost every size from a dozen different cities in the West. Vessels docked there run the gamut from huge merchant galleys to tiny fishing boats belonging to tribesmen.

Apollonia’s architecture readily displays its Imperial roots, though it has evolved to accommodate Apollonia’s far warmer clime. Rooftops are designed to collect rainwater, rather than brush away wind and snow, while open courtyards pull in cooling drafts. Trading company warehouses and shipyards offset the homes of early settlers with their plain, but practical, construction. A large wall of weathered stone encircles properties around the harbor, isolating them from the remainder of the city. Beyond the wall, a noticeable shift in construction style occurs, as Imperial colonial-style buildings give way to thousands of crudely constructed mud-daub huts. These house Apollonia’s impoverished native Sulis, who live off meager wages earned working as day laborers or menial labor for various trading companies, picking pineapples, fishing, or mining. This ruthless class division is the source of much tension between Apollonia’s wealthier colonials and its indigenous peoples.

Built in 4219 AW, the Baron’s Palace belongs to the city of Apollonia and is ceded to whoever currently possesses the title of Grand Custodian. The mansion rests on a huge, two acre stretch of property located in the heart of New Haliad, near the very center of the city. The palace faces the harbor, overlooking both the great stone piers and Lower Harbor. High hedges and lattices isolate the mansion from the rest of the city and from the ever-increasing slums just beyond the Diomar Wall. Of those marvels located upon the property, the most impressive are the Baronial Gardens, which contain a tremendous, multi-tiered fountain with inset pools teeming with colorfully scaled river fish and blossoming with flowering water-lilies, lotuses, orchids, and other exotic flora.

An amateur equestrian, the Baron maintains a sizable horse stable that boasts an impressive collection of exotic, purebred Ignan stallions. Also within his properties lie the Custodial Granaries, which serve as the emergency food stores for the city. The Custodial Armory houses Utilinus’s personal guards, crack colonial members of the Apollonian Guard, hand-picked for their loyalty and trained in what were once the highest forms of Imperial combat (somewhat outdated now). Secured somewhere beneath the Custodial Armory, Apollonia’s dwindling treasury lies secreted away in a great stone vault.

12/31/4238 AW; Dawn; Apollonian Guard Barracks - New Haliad, Apollonia

The main barracks and headquarters of the Apollonian Guard lies scattered against the western side of the Diomar Wall in the center of New Haliad, just north of the Colonial Archives. The collection of spartan buildings is surrounded by a low adobe wall, and as busy as any military camp would be expected to be.

As new recruits into the guard, Cica, Garland, Darius, and Placidus have been assigned bunks together in one of the barracks. Their room is a small space, with a narrow aisle between the two bunk beds, each with a trunk for the legionnaires' belongings at its foot. The walls are untreated planks, assembled with an apparent lack of care. Large gaps between the planks which would let in drafts back home seem to go unnoticed here. A simple leather curtain serves as a door to the bunkhouse. For those from Vita, Aqua and Aura the heat feels oppressive. The four greenhorns all arrived on ships over the last day, and have just slept their first night in the barracks. They all completed their six month basic legionnaire training in their home provinces within the past month, before shipping out to Apollonia. After the long voyage and rigamarole of check in, dawn brings with it the first chance for the new unit to interact. The loud crowing of roosters across the city wakes up the group, just as the sun’s first rays begin to stream in through a gap in the wall.

Cica, Garland, Darius, and Placidus are in the room described above. Go for it.

======================
12/31/4238 AW; Dawn; Apollonian Guard Mess Hall Kitchens - New Haliad, Apollonia

Ilistra:
The crowing of cockerels wakes Ilistra as it does every morning. The first things she feels are the same things she always feels, sore back, sore hands, sore crotch, empty belly. It is another day in paradise, another day in her own personal hell. She’d better get up off her woven mat and have the porridge going before Cook gets down to the barracks kitchens, or she knows she’ll regret it.


Male Narinar Aristocrat 1/Nature Oracle (Spirit Guide) 3 | HP: 37/37 | AC: 20, Touch: 13, FF: 17 | CMD 20 | Fort: +4, Reflex: +1, Will: +5 | Init: +3 | Perception: +4 | Buffs: Oath of Anonymity

However, the noble Garland and his trusty companion Luna were already up and about before the crack of dawn. Why? Because The Forces of Evil™ never slept!

...Also, our hero wanted to get Luna's walk in before the sun made being outside insufferable. True, the dynamic duo could at least function in the current climate; at least part of their basic training had taken place in the warmer parts of Terra. However, that didn't making walking around the tropics in a fur coat any easier!

Anyway, with his heroic task completed, the dashing Garland quietly entered the barracks to grab his breakfast supplies, Luna following silently at his heels. After all, The Forces of Evil™ could not be fought on an empty stomach!


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)

Ilistra rouses herself from fleeting dreams of smoke and fire. She shakes herself awake and moves to a rainwater basin where she ladles water over her head and shoulders. Within moments, the water is steaming off of her, and she is dry by the time she gathers her clothing.

Rather than adopt the colonial garb, she continues to wear the tribal clothing of strips of leather and woven reeds. She would be regarded as a Suli bastard regardless of what she wore, so why bother pretending? As if it would change anything.

Besides, this would allow her to pretend she didn't speak the colonists' language. The new recruits always figured it out eventually that she understood them, but until that happened they would speak openly in front of her and she'd be able to identify the worst of them by their unfiltered speech.

Ilistra makes her way to the kitchen after dressing. She starts with the ovens, grabbing handfuls of kindling and igniting them in her hands before crawling inside to set the fires. Once they're started, she starts mixing the flour and water, kneading the mixture into large wads of dough.

The other cooks start showing up and going about their own tasks, never missing an opportunity to complain about something that Ilistra has done wrong -- regardless of whether they're correct or not.


Male Narinar Adept 1/UC Knifemaster 2/Fighter 1
Stats:
Hp 36/36| AC 17, touch 14, ff 13 | CMD 16| Saves: Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +3 (+3 vs poison)| Init: +6| Perception: +7

Darius sits cross legged on his top bunk, the one above Placidus’. He quietly sits in a zen-like meditation, the only noise he makes is the sound of his whetstone sliding across the edge of one of his curved blades.

Schliiickt

His eyes calmly studied the masked Garland and his canine as they returned to the barracks. The man carried himself with a pomp that was common in those from the bigger cities of the Empire. Yet hid his features behind that metal facade.

Schliiickt

Without turning his head eyes wandered to the sleeping form of Cica. A solid sleeper, and a bit unkempt for a legionnaire. Though she had a strong frame and build. Looked like she would be able to handle herself in a fight...much like Placidus beneath him...

Schliiickt


HP: 35/35; AC 22, touch 13, flat-footed 19; Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +8 Elemental Assault 2/4; Blessings 4/4; Fervor 5/5;

Placidus sits up, and stretches briefly. He looks around, noticing Darius awake and Garland returning. Placidus is a tall, dark skinned suli. His full frame fills out the legionaire's tunic well. "Good morning. I am Placidus Utilinus. What are your names?"


Ilistra Ignatius wrote:

Ilistra rouses herself from fleeting dreams of smoke and fire. She shakes herself awake and moves to a rainwater basin where she ladles water over her head and shoulders. Within moments, the water is steaming off of her, and she is dry by the time she gathers her clothing.

Rather than adopt the colonial garb, she continues to wear the tribal clothing of strips of leather and woven reeds. She would be regarded as a Suli bastard regardless of what she wore, so why bother pretending? As if it would change anything.

Besides, this would allow her to pretend she didn't speak the colonists' language. The new recruits always figured it out eventually that she understood them, but until that happened they would speak openly in front of her and she'd be able to identify the worst of them by their unfiltered speech.

Ilistra makes her way to the kitchen after dressing. She starts with the ovens, grabbing handfuls of kindling and igniting them in her hands before crawling inside to set the fires. Once they're started, she starts mixing the flour and water, kneading the mixture into large wads of dough.

The other cooks start showing up and going about their own tasks, never missing an opportunity to complain about something that Ilistra has done wrong -- regardless of whether they're correct or not.

The thumping steps of a heavy form coming down the stairs precedes the arrival of the Tribune Coctura - Cook. The centurion is a fat narinar, a somewhat rare sighting. Despite this he exudes a certain brutish charisma, like that of a boar on the edge of frenzy. The other slaves and kitchen staff all straighten at their jobs. His beady eyes sweep the room before settling on Ilistra. He strides towards her, taking up his large wooden ladel from its hook by the door. Wielding it like a scepter, Cook unconsciously corrects flaws in his steamy realm with a whack of the elbow there, a smacked hand here. He stops behind Ilistra, wiping a ham-sized hand over his shaved face and sweaty pate. He silently looms over her with his arms crossed as he observes her kneading the dough.


HP 35, AC 16 (T 12, F 15) CMD 19 | F+6 R+5 W+4 | resist acid 5 | favored terrain (jungle) | Per+8 (+2 in jungle; darkvision | Init+2 (+2 in jungle)

Normally an early riser, it had taken hours to fall asleep last night. She couldn't screen out the sounds of the bustling military camp...and even after basic training, felt a bit out of sorts sleeping beside strangers.

Nothing to be done about it now though. Before long, we'll be out in the bush and hopefuly then I'll get a decent night's sleep.

Swinging her legs off the bunk, Cica yawns and rubs her eyes with the back of her fist. Her skin looks like rough sandstone, and her eyes like onyx. Her hair is cut short, and a bit uneven.

Thrusting a hand toward Placidus, she announces, "Cica Sebuleum, from the Hephian." Then, raising an eyebrow, she asks, "Placidus Utilinus? Any relation to our Grand Custodian? Watcha doin' sleepin' here? Got on someone's bad side?"

Those who know Terran geography would know there's no significant city there by that name, but there is a Terran jungle sometimes referred to as the Hephian.


HP: 35/35; AC 22, touch 13, flat-footed 19; Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +8 Elemental Assault 2/4; Blessings 4/4; Fervor 5/5;

"Nice to meet you, Cica. I am from Terra." He shakes her hand with a shockingly firm grip.

"Yes, I am a distant relation to our Grand Custodian. I get the feeling he'd rather I didn't exist, much less here in Apollonia. I expect no special treatment, nor would I want any. I am here to prove myself, not to wallow in my great grand uncle's shadow."


By the way, your basic uniform is this. Individual soldiers are allowed to use whatever arms and armor they can afford, but everyone has to wear the red tunica underneath. It's typically belted at the waist somehow.


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)

Ilistra doesn't stop her work, but looks up at Cook with a defiant glint in her eye. "Yes?"


Ilistra Ignatius wrote:
Ilistra doesn't stop her work, but looks up at Cook with a defiant glint in her eye. "Yes?"

*WHACK*

Nonlethal damage: 1d4 ⇒ 2

The wooden ladle slams into the back of Ilistra's head without warning.

"How!? How the f#$~ did a worthless whore like you pull this off?" Cook's sudden rage wafts across Ilistra's neck along with his onion scented breath.

He grabs her in one huge hand, bruising her biceps. "You're to report to Tribune Logistica Amala Ioannidis for reassignment immediately." Cook shoves Ilistra bodily towards the stairs. "Go on, git! But don't worry, you'll be back under my lovely ladle soon enough."


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)

The crack of the ladle was expected. Everything else was a surprise. She stumbles as she's shoved toward the stairs, her foot catching on an uneven flagstone, but she recovers enough to spin and face him. "Maybe, but while I'm gone you'll just have to stroke your ladle by yourself," she says with a sneer.

She moves up the stairs at a pace the fat cook couldn't match and makes her way to the Tribune Logistica's office, trying to decide if she made a mistake insulting Cook like that. She had no idea what she'd be reassigned to, and no way of knowing that she won't be back to the kitchens. Still, it was nice to see that shade of red on Cook's face.

Rubbing her bicep, she presents herself before Amala Ioannidis. She didn't bother to clean herself up. She was already covered in soot from her work in the ovens, except for where she had flour up to her elbows and on her face.

Hanging her head slightly and hunching her shoulders, she says nothing while waiting to be acknowledged.


Ilistra Ignatius wrote:

The crack of the ladle was expected. Everything else was a surprise. She stumbles as she's shoved toward the stairs, her foot catching on an uneven flagstone, but she recovers enough to spin and face him. "Maybe, but while I'm gone you'll just have to stroke your ladle by yourself," she says with a sneer.

She moves up the stairs at a pace the fat cook couldn't match and makes her way to the Tribune Logistica's office, trying to decide if she made a mistake insulting Cook like that. She had no idea what she'd be reassigned to, and no way of knowing that she won't be back to the kitchens. Still, it was nice to see that shade of red on Cook's face.

Rubbing her bicep, she presents herself before Amala Ioannidis. She didn't bother to clean herself up. She was already covered in soot from her work in the ovens, except for where she had flour up to her elbows and on her face.

Hanging her head slightly and hunching her shoulders, she says nothing while waiting to be acknowledged.

The tribune's office is small and utilitarian, like everything else in the Guard. She is an undine with a shaved head and a light blue tinge to her skin. She looks up at Ilistra, raising one green eyebrow. "Yes, how may I help you?" she asks in polygot.


Male Narinar Adept 1/UC Knifemaster 2/Fighter 1
Stats:
Hp 36/36| AC 17, touch 14, ff 13 | CMD 16| Saves: Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +3 (+3 vs poison)| Init: +6| Perception: +7

Darius ceases sharpening his blades and gives them a deft twirl before slipping them away beneath his tunica.

Sleight of Hand: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22

He then lands gently on the floor beside Placidus. ”Darius. Darius Rotarion,” he says before looking Placidus over appraisingly. ”Honorable intentions.”

Sense Motive on the others gathered...: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20


HP: 35/35; AC 22, touch 13, flat-footed 19; Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +8 Elemental Assault 2/4; Blessings 4/4; Fervor 5/5;
Darius Rotarion wrote:

Darius ceases sharpening his blades and gives them a deft twirl before slipping them away beneath his tunica.

[dice=Sleight of Hand]1d20+11

He then lands gently on the floor beside Placidus. ”Darius. Darius Rotarion,” he says before looking Placidus over appraisingly. ”Honorable intentions.”

[dice=Sense Motive on the others gathered...]1d20+4

Placidus nods to Darius. "If you say so..."

Placidus seems to be quite sincere.


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)
DM Jelani wrote:
The tribune's office is small and utilitarian, like everything else in the Guard. She is an undine with a shaved head and a light blue tinge to her skin. She looks up at Ilistra, raising one green eyebrow. "Yes, how may I help you?" she asks in polygot.

Not meeting the officer's eyes, she responds simply, "Ilistra Ignatius. I work in the kitchens. I was told to see you about reassignment."


HP 35, AC 16 (T 12, F 15) CMD 19 | F+6 R+5 W+4 | resist acid 5 | favored terrain (jungle) | Per+8 (+2 in jungle; darkvision | Init+2 (+2 in jungle)

Cica is a bit groggy, and seems not interested in hiding anything.

"Hey Darius," she says, slapping him on the shoulder. "I appreciate a fella who takes knows how to take care of his blades.

"Where ya from?"


Ilistra Ignatius wrote:
DM Jelani wrote:
The tribune's office is small and utilitarian, like everything else in the Guard. She is an undine with a shaved head and a light blue tinge to her skin. She looks up at Ilistra, raising one green eyebrow. "Yes, how may I help you?" she asks in polygot.
Not meeting the officer's eyes, she responds simply, "Ilistra Ignatius. I work in the kitchens. I was told to see you about reassignment."

"Ah. Yes."

Amala looks down, before shuffling some papers about her desk. "It's all highly unusual." She hesitates a moment more before looking up and continuing. "General Havelar has personally requested your reassignment from kitchen duty. You are to be the native auxiliary attached to a new unit of Guards, beginning immediately."

"I, uh, can't tell you why this is happening, because I haven't been told. I merely hope that you are more than you appear, dearie. It can be a bit rough out there." She offers a brief sympathetic smile.

"Collect whatever belongings you have and report to barracks number 13 as soon as possible. You'll be given further orders along with the rest of your unit. Good luck...Auxilliara Ignatius" The tribune hands Ilistra a small bundle of papers, which detail her new assignment, as well as a folded red legion tunica in her size.


Male Narinar Adept 1/UC Knifemaster 2/Fighter 1
Stats:
Hp 36/36| AC 17, touch 14, ff 13 | CMD 16| Saves: Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +3 (+3 vs poison)| Init: +6| Perception: +7

Darius rocks from the impact of Cica’s hand, then rotates his shoulder as he straightens back up as if making sure it still worked properly. ”A necessary part of the business. I am from Vita.”


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)

Ilistra stands silent for a moment in disbelief, then takes the papers and tunica in her flour-covered hands. "Thank you ma'am," she says after a moment, deciding not to question this turn of fate.

Not owning anything of value except the tribal jewelry adorning her hair and body, and the simple dagger she keeps hidden beneath her garments, she decides to head directly to barracks 13.

Barracks 13

A dark-brown skinned woman with tribal adornments slips into the barracks. Her hair is matted together into thick strands, but it appears to have been done on purpose, as there are beads and jewelry interlaced throughout each lock. Piercings and jewelry cover the rest of her body, but she is no native princess. She is covered in black soot except her forearms have streaks of white up to her elbows.

Perhaps surprisingly, the native woman is carrying a bundle of papers and a folded red legion tunica which she is soiling simply by holding it on her person.

She eyes everyone in the barracks warily, her movements being close to that of a wild animal and helped by her savage appearance. The native woman tentatively steps further within the bunkhouse, finds an empty wall, and puts her back against it. She slides down so that she's on her haunches, not taking her eyes off the others within the barracks.


HP: 35/35; AC 22, touch 13, flat-footed 19; Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +8 Elemental Assault 2/4; Blessings 4/4; Fervor 5/5;

Placidus slowly raises one eyebrow. "Good morning, miss. Are you alright?"


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)

The woman doesn't indicate that she understands Placidus's question. She holds out the bundle of papers in her hand.


HP: 35/35; AC 22, touch 13, flat-footed 19; Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +8 Elemental Assault 2/4; Blessings 4/4; Fervor 5/5;

Placidus slowly stands, revealing his true height at being somewhere well over six feet. He gently takes the papers from Ilistra's hands and reads them over. "Well, it seems we have an Auxiliaria. Ilistra, no?" he asks the newcomer.


Male Narinar Adept 1/UC Knifemaster 2/Fighter 1
Stats:
Hp 36/36| AC 17, touch 14, ff 13 | CMD 16| Saves: Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +3 (+3 vs poison)| Init: +6| Perception: +7

Darius folds his arms and leans against the bunk bed, studying the newcomer intently.


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)

Probably should have done this earlier. Sense Motive DC 9:

. Bluff: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
She can understand what's being said.

She nods. "Ilistra." She points to herself.

Ilistra could be a very attractive woman if not for the general layer of grime and tribal fetishes and tattoos. Although, the latter lend an exotic air about her.


HP: 35/35; AC 22, touch 13, flat-footed 19; Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +8 Elemental Assault 2/4; Blessings 4/4; Fervor 5/5;

Placidus nods stoically. "Would you like some privacy to change into your uniform?"


Male Narinar Adept 1/UC Knifemaster 2/Fighter 1
Stats:
Hp 36/36| AC 17, touch 14, ff 13 | CMD 16| Saves: Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +3 (+3 vs poison)| Init: +6| Perception: +7

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12

Interesting.

Darius turns and gives the metal masked man a glance before turning and stepping to the sheet covering the exit. He folds it back and looks outside for signs of anyone else milling around or approaching before letting it fall back in place. ”I suppose we should prepare for formation and drills. They will be expecting us to work as a cohesive unit despite having just met.”


You know from training that this would be the time to go to mess for breakfast. It's served for half an hour after dawn, miss it and too bad for you. Then you'll need to report to your centurion for assignment. More likely he or she will find you since this is your first day.


Male Narinar Adept 1/UC Knifemaster 2/Fighter 1
Stats:
Hp 36/36| AC 17, touch 14, ff 13 | CMD 16| Saves: Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +3 (+3 vs poison)| Init: +6| Perception: +7

He turns back to the others and adds, ”I will be going to find the mess hall. Assignments are easier on a full stomach.”


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)

Ilistra frowns. Her stomach growled and this new position would allow her to eat her fill for once. However, it would involve her interacting with Cook and the others of the kitchen crew far too soon.

Sighing, and without modesty, she stands while pulling off her leather cuirass studded with bits of bone. The action reveals her torso, which bears the signs of abuse. Broad, mostly-healed bruises spot her ribs, back, upper arms, and legs. She quickly covers herself with the tunica and replaces her armor. She cinches and adjusts the new fabric, clearly unused to its feel.

Then she follows the unit to the mess. Once there, she begins gathering plates of food and serving them to the Guards of her unit. She doesn't make eye contact or react to the cook staff.

Only after everyone else is served and eating, does Ilistra attempt to get a plate for herself.


Male Narinar Adept 1/UC Knifemaster 2/Fighter 1
Stats:
Hp 36/36| AC 17, touch 14, ff 13 | CMD 16| Saves: Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +3 (+3 vs poison)| Init: +6| Perception: +7

Darius eyes the woman as she changes, not in a leering way, but studying her injuries from afar. As the group walks towards the mess hall, Darius manages to slip up beside Ilistra.

”So...where did you get those injuries, if I might ask?”


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)

Ilistra eyes the Narinar warily, but doesn't retreat from him. Her mouth twists as she says something in the native tongue. "Amaghị m ihe ị na-ekwu."

Polyglot:

"I do not know what you are saying."


Male Narinar Adept 1/UC Knifemaster 2/Fighter 1
Stats:
Hp 36/36| AC 17, touch 14, ff 13 | CMD 16| Saves: Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +3 (+3 vs poison)| Init: +6| Perception: +7

Darius shakes his head. ”I do not speak your language. You, however, do speak mine. Clever of you to try and conceal that. But you’ll need to watch your eye movements. The eyes can give a lot away in a conversation. So...?”


HP 35, AC 16 (T 12, F 15) CMD 19 | F+6 R+5 W+4 | resist acid 5 | favored terrain (jungle) | Per+8 (+2 in jungle; darkvision | Init+2 (+2 in jungle)

Cica Shakes her head in disgust at the bruises.

As they walk toward the mess, she tries to maneuver to get beside the native girl for a moment. "Ilistra, I'm Cica." She offers a hand, far more gingerly than she'd done with the men in the barrack.

When she doesn't think anyone else from the crew can hear, she asks, "I can't stand bullies, Sister. If there's someone causing you trouble, feel free to let me know."

EDIT: I see I'm not the only one asking...which makes sense.


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)

When the Oread ranger introduces herself, Ilistra tests the pronunciation of her name as if she's still not a speaker of Common. She gives Cica a blank look when she whispers to her.

=========

A flash of annoyance crosses Ilistra's features when Darius calls her out. Staring straight ahead, she again tugs at the uncomfortable tunica. Whispering under her breath she responds bitterly, "I am casteless half-breed. I get to enjoy life of one."


Male Narinar Aristocrat 1/Nature Oracle (Spirit Guide) 3 | HP: 37/37 | AC: 20, Touch: 13, FF: 17 | CMD 20 | Fort: +4, Reflex: +1, Will: +5 | Init: +3 | Perception: +4 | Buffs: Oath of Anonymity

Seeing one of his companions was already up and sharpening his blades, our hero took a moment to hail him with a wave of his gloved hand. However, the considerate Garland decided to otherwise keep silent, not wanting to disturb his other sleeping comrades. Thankfully, everyone's timing was impeccable; within seconds of Garland's return, they both awoke from their slumber!

After Cica Sebuleum, Darius Rotarion, and Placidus Utilinus introduced themselves, Garland returned the favor.

"A pleasure to meet you three. I am known as Garland."

With a happy yip, Luna promptly made her presence known!

"Ah! Where are my manners? This is my trusty companion Luna," the masked man added with a light chuckle. "Anyway, I was just about to go to breakfast. How-"

Before our hero could finish with his proposal, someone else slipped into the barracks. Garland soon learned that her name was Ilistra. Going by her papers, she was to be the group's Auxiliaria. When she changed into her new uniform, Garland reflexively looked away in an effort to be polite. However, his eye did catch some of Ilistra's bruises...

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19

The astute Garland was not sure why Ilistra was pretending not to understand the legionaries. As the group traveled to the mess hall at Darius' suggestion, he pondered the potential reasons plus the possible origins of her bruises. Since both of them almost acted at once, the masked man also noticed that both Darius and Cica seemed to have similar ideas...

After Cica's introduction, Garland simply pointed at himself and simply said, "Garland."

The masked hero then pointed at his trusty companion and added, "Luna."


Male Narinar Adept 1/UC Knifemaster 2/Fighter 1
Stats:
Hp 36/36| AC 17, touch 14, ff 13 | CMD 16| Saves: Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +3 (+3 vs poison)| Init: +6| Perception: +7

When Cica approaches, Darius steps back to let the two women talk first, then steps in to conclude his conversation.

”There is only life, Ilistra. Castes are a creation of society. But to Narinari, all are equal. And to mistreat one of life’s creations out of cruelty is a sign of a dark soul, a disease that should be excised. If you do not wish to say who did this to you, that is your choice. Narinari always makes things right in the end,” he whispers. He waits a moment to let Ilistra reply if she’d like before walking away to join the others.


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)

Ilistra reacts with wide eyes to the odd beast at the side of the masked Guard. She'd never seen its like. Sort of like a dog, but bigger and more fierce. She studies it for a moment, tensing, then looks at its master. "Gar-land. Lu-nah," she repeats.

==============

Ilistra stops abruptly, scowling at Darius. "Pretty Narinar. Pretty words," she announces with a scoff. Then she stabs a finger at him. "You make castes. In the end, nothing made right. We go to dirt. Or ash."

She turns around and stomps off to the mess hall, leaving a curious hot spot in the air where she left.


Male Narinar Aristocrat 1/Nature Oracle (Spirit Guide) 3 | HP: 37/37 | AC: 20, Touch: 13, FF: 17 | CMD 20 | Fort: +4, Reflex: +1, Will: +5 | Init: +3 | Perception: +4 | Buffs: Oath of Anonymity

As if recognizing Ilistra's reaction to her, the noble Luna swiftly sat down and offered her new comrade a big, goofy smile! It was almost like she was attempting to reassure Ilistra that she was friendly!

Meanwhile, the tall Garland knelt down and started scratching his trusty ally behind the ears.

"Would you like to pet Luna?" Garland offered. In an attempt to be considerate, our hero also used polite wordless gestures to communicate his offer.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)

Ilistra hesitates, tilting her head at the animal. She takes a step forward slowly and moves her hand toward Luna, being somewhat reassured by its doglike behavior. She lets her sniff and get a flour-flavored lick of her hand.

She pats the wolf's head, then retreats to a safer distance. She looks at the masked Guard. "Not dog," she says, wavering between a statement and a question.


Male Narinar Aristocrat 1/Nature Oracle (Spirit Guide) 3 | HP: 37/37 | AC: 20, Touch: 13, FF: 17 | CMD 20 | Fort: +4, Reflex: +1, Will: +5 | Init: +3 | Perception: +4 | Buffs: Oath of Anonymity

Garland nodded affirmatively, confirming that Ilistra was indeed correct about Luna. Meanwhile, the canine herself behaved just as expected. She gently sniffed Ilistra's hand and gave it a little puppy kiss!

"Wolf," Garland explained, gesturing toward his trusted companion.

Luna gave a little, happy yip at the acknowledgement.

"Smart wolf," our hero chuckled, tapping the temple of his hooded head to indicate that Luna was quite intelligent.

Indeed! There was a little a glint of intelligence in Luna's blue eyes that very few animals had. She appeared to be following the conversation unusually well.

At that moment, Garland's stomach decided to utter a heroic rumble! With a another chuckle, the masked man took his seat at the table and nodded in gratitude toward Ilistra, who had taken it upon herself to procure the unit's food for the morning.

"Thank you for the meal, Ilistra," he said courteously. The gracious Garland made a mental note to return the kindness some day.

Garland never seemed to take a bite when anyone was looking, but by the Five Elemental Lords, bit by bit, almost like magic, the food mysteriously vanished into thin air from Garland's plate! Additionally, our hero briefly went off to secure some delicious grub for Luna. After all, she was a growing wolf!


12/31/4238 AW; Just past dawn; Apollonian Guard Mess Hall - New Haliad, Apollonia

The dining hall is well, a dining hall. Like most of the structures in this part of the city it is a tile roofed construction of Imperial style stonework and newer planks hewn from the local jungles. The hall is already full and bustling with soldiers from other units going about their morning business. There are over 1300 units in the Apollonian Guard, but most of them are out on assignment at any given time. Despite this, the hall is massive, made to feed nearly a thousand people at once. The tables are split up by century, and within each century by unit/barracks. Century 7, Unit 13 is able to find their table with little trouble, though they have to endure stares and whispers in their direction as they do so. It seems the spirit of hazing the newcomer is alive and well in the Apollonian Guard, based on the expressions on the veterans' faces.

Breakfast is served by serf caste Suli locals (all of which Ilistra either knows, or at least recognizes, from her time in the kitchens). It consists of rice flour pancakes, dates, fresh pineapple and wildflower honey. There is also an amphora of watered wine.

Perception DC 14:
Many of the servants give Ilistra looks of shock when they recognize her. After that, most of them look resentful or jealous towards her.


Pyrokineticist (HP 36/36; Nonl: 4, AC: 16, T: 13, FF: 10; CMB +2, CMD 15; F +8, R +7, W +1; Perc: +7; Burn: 1/7)

Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12

Ilistra seems surprised when she is given a plate of fresh food like the others in the unit. She had gathered plates for the others and returned to her seat to find a plate with the same fare.

Stealing food from the Guards was brutally punished. She casts about furtively, expecting to see Cook thundering toward her, ladle raised. When no reprisal seemed imminent, she stuffs a still-hot pancake into her mouth. After a brief pause to check for anyone intent to stop her, she begins stuffing her face like she'd been starving.

When Garland thanks her for the meal, Ilistra eyes him strangely, as though she'd never been thanked for her work before. She fidgits with her tunica again, and shrugs. "My work," she says.


Male Narinar Adept 1/UC Knifemaster 2/Fighter 1
Stats:
Hp 36/36| AC 17, touch 14, ff 13 | CMD 16| Saves: Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +3 (+3 vs poison)| Init: +6| Perception: +7

Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27

Darius keeps an subtle eye on everyone that passes their table as he eats. He takes note of the looks Ilistra gets, and mentally filed away the dislike and jealousy shown her way.


HP: 35/35; AC 22, touch 13, flat-footed 19; Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +8 Elemental Assault 2/4; Blessings 4/4; Fervor 5/5;

Placidus ignores the looks from the veteran soldiers as the group makes their way to their table.

Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (16) + 10 = 26

He notices how the servants are looking at Ilistra, but decides to say nothing about it, as Ilistra herself is clearly more interested in the food. He eats his own meal with his hands, sampling everything on offer without overeating. "Mmm, this pineapple is delicious no? I've never had it fresh before."


HP 35, AC 16 (T 12, F 15) CMD 19 | F+6 R+5 W+4 | resist acid 5 | favored terrain (jungle) | Per+8 (+2 in jungle; darkvision | Init+2 (+2 in jungle)
Garland the Gallant wrote:

At that moment, Garland's stomach decided to utter a heroic rumble! With a another chuckle, the masked man took his seat at the table and nodded in gratitude toward Ilistra, who had taken it upon herself to procure the unit's food for the morning.

"Thank you for the meal, Ilistra," he said courteously. The gracious Garland made a mental note to return the kindness some day.

"Here! Here! Taking turns getting food for each other: a lovely tradition to start our troop with. Kudos, Ilistra." Of course, I hope one of the fellas takes the next turn. Don't want them getting the wrong idea.

Cica tears into her food happily, and seemingly unaware that she's chewing with her mouth open.

"Pineapple? I was wondering what this was. I agree, delicious."

She raises an eyebrow at the way the servants are treating Ilistra, thinking, What's going on with that one? I'll have to keep an eye...but she clearly doesn't want to be pestered about it at the moment.

Cica isn't as restrained with Garland. Wiping some honey syrup off her lip with her sleeve, she says, "You're an odd one, eh? OK, I'll bite. What's up with the mask?"

She decides to keep a trained eye on Garland, to see if she can figure out what he's up to, and what exactly he's doing with that food.

Perception+jungle?: 1d20 + 11 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 11 + 2 = 29

Trying to catch what's going on with Garland: Sleight of hand? Some kind of magic?
.
Jelani, what's your guidance on when (not) to apply my Favored Terrain bonuses? (Obviously not important yet, just curious)


Well, this is urban. So if you have urban, now.

Garland appears to be using some kind of magic; or rather, you don't catch any sleight of hand.


Male Narinar Aristocrat 1/Nature Oracle (Spirit Guide) 3 | HP: 37/37 | AC: 20, Touch: 13, FF: 17 | CMD 20 | Fort: +4, Reflex: +1, Will: +5 | Init: +3 | Perception: +4 | Buffs: Oath of Anonymity

Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14

The astute Garland also noticed how the other servants were giving Ilistra resentful or jealous looks! He silently vowed to investigate the matter later.

Disguise: 1d20 + 17 - 2 ⇒ (16) + 17 - 2 = 31

Meanwhile, Cica noticed nothing off about Garland himself. However, through her intense observation, she did discover the "magic" he was using to eat! ...Whenever he left the table to fetch something for Luna, the clever Garland simply took some of his food with him.

Bluff: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30

Garland chuckled sadly at Cica's question before sighing.

"I have been waiting for someone to ask that question. I wear the mask to cover old injuries. Back in my homeland, my family's farm was attacked by bandits. Their leader was a sorcerer of some sort, able to magically control fire. I barely survived, but the encounter left my loved ones ashes and my face terribly burned and scarred," explained the honest Garland, his voice heavy and solemn.

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