Garavel stands and clears his throat. "I would like to put all of you through an internship, to see if you can back up your claims. But there is no time for that. I'll leave tomorrow at dawn, an hour before the sun rises. I thank you all for your application, but I have use only for five of you."
"I'll take along Manuun, Soraya Hezami, Ohrmizd, Tahlumilali and Lofnaiali Auvreaanea. Enjoy the wine as long as it's coming. It is paid for. See you tomorrow."
Garavel drinks up his mug of wine and leaves. He goes upstairs to his room.
The innkeep sends the maid to put another keg of watered wine on the table.
"Here is the rest of the wine. Everything beyond that will cost you." Isabella tells.
You don't know what Garavel paid, but you get the feeling this is very expensive wine. Not by it's taste though. It's Katapesh, and an innkeep has to make a living too.
Soraya's cheek's take on a pink glow showing her excitement when her name is among those chosen.
"I will see you at dawn Garavel. May the Dawnflower light you path."
She then finally picks up the cup of wine in front of her and takes a sip as looks around at the other still at the table.
"Well then. Hello to you all."
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Sense Motive 15: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Manuun steps up to the keg and offers refill to the others after making sure to fill up his own mug first. He takes his time to consider his new associates.
Nice to see that Soraya made the cut. I am looking forward to see more of that beautiful face in the coming days. But I wonder why she didn't acknowledge the Inquisitor. Two Servants of the Dawnflower travelling to Kelmarane at the same time. I don't think that is pure chance.
He considers The elves who are apparently on a mission to kill gnolls here. Hopefully that doesn't bring us unnecessary trouble . But at least they should be able to handle it too, should it happen.
He then sits next to Ohrmizd and ask the Inquisitor. What do you make of the Captain and that expedition of his. He clearly does not need us to travel savely through this lands. So what does he need us for. I hope its not as some kind of cannon fodder.
Greetings Soraya, its a pleasure to meet you. I hope you will still grace us with a dance after a long day of travel.
Manuun's opening comment to Soraya seems to catch her off guard. She flushes pinker as she looks at him, not knowing how to respond for a moment.
"Uh, right now, here?"
Her eyes flit about the crowded room then back to Manuum's.
"I... there's an awful lot of people here... And no music. I don't think I could do it right now..."
She shrinks down in her chair.
Realizing his mistake Manuun goes beet-red himself.
Looking for something else to do instead of sitting here embarassed he turns to the Innkeep. "This Garavel, has he been in the area in recent times already, or is it the first time he has come here?"
"Interesting. Good to know" Manuun keeps on trying to ignore his feeling that there is something fishy going on here. "Well, It seems we are going westwards. Any Rumours we should know about? Any ideas why Garavel suddenly decided he needed a few more swords around?"
"You're a funny guy. Maybe you should have asked him before applying for the job? On the plus side he didn't look like a slaver."
"Look, you're not from here. But this here is a place where guys with work to do hire guys to do that work. Not everyone comes back from that. That's the risk of the jobs offered. But I seldom hear complaints about the guys who hire. Other than the pay was too low for the kind of job they got."
"And I got the feeling money won't be the issue with that one." the innkeep tells while cleaning some mugs.
When Soraya sees Manuun wasn't trying to put her on the spot and is now feeling at least as awkward as she does, she follows up.
"I mean, it's something I mentioned to Garavel because caravan journeys can be long and dull so ways to keep everyone entertained are valuable. I'm not offended, I just wasn't expecting to be asked to dance right now. It's fine, why don't you sit down?"
Although grateful for the wine, Lofnaiali declines to drink in order to keep her senses sharp. She carefully cradles a clay cup of fragrant black tea between hennaed palms enjoying the heat that radiated through. The sound of the soft clinking of her hammered silver bangles grounded her. Her kohl lined eyes met with Tahlumilali’s taking a pause from subtly observed the others around her and her husband.
Hearing Garaval announce his selection Lofnaiali lifts her cup to him and the others. ”We look forward to working with you all.” Once Garaval left she glanced over at Tahlumilali with a glimmer of excitement. She gently nudged his thigh with her knee, and gave him a grin. She noticed the awkward attempt at flirting between the two members of her new crew and gulped a large amount of tea to silence a possible giggle.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8 Hope that's not important
Tahlumilali nods towards Garavel as their new employer leaves the common room. Upon feeling Lofnaiali's knee he smiles back at his wife and wraps an arm around her shoulder.
"I think our new employer is a bit taciturn even for a desert dweller. Though if I understand correctly we are really working for some princess or something of that nature. As far as I'm concerned there are few worse things than dealing with the rich. I guess its one of the downsides at being a blade for hire."
Sleight of Hand: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
He he says with a dismissive flick of his wrist, causing one of his many blades to appear like magic.
"But that is why they pay us since we can do things they can not." As he finishes he flips the blade to his other hand and deftly slides it back into the sheath strapped to his forearm.
Manuun turns red faced once more and rejoins the group at the table. As he sits down a slight breeze rattles the window sills behind the group.
He enjoys the display of skill by Tahlumilali and nods. "You seem to have more experience with these people than I. I am probably just nervous because its my first time travelling with such people."
Soraya is glad Manuun has found a way to engage with the pair of elves. She had been watching them (hopefully) without being obvious, but since they were very cosy together she hadn't quite figured out what to say to break the ice.
Soraya is quite curious about them. She's never been within talking distance of an elf before. But 'So you're elves...' would be very rude.
She could also see they are a couple but 'So, you're a couple...' didn't seem promising either.
"Oh, I haven't done anything like this before either. Could you tell us what we can expect?"
”Most of the time it’ll be boring. Just don’t let the long stretches of no activity slow you when something actually happened.” Tahlumilali says in response to Soraya’s question.
With employment for the next weeks save and his employer even heading in the right direction, Manuun decides to order one more round of watered wine for the table. When it arrives he toast "To future excitement!".
When the evening draws to an end, he finally leaves to his sleeping place.
Manuun has settled for the cheapest possible sleeping option, whatever this is.
Ohrmizd smiles satisfied he got a paid job that leads him to Kelmarane.
The man raises his cup to accept Lofnaiali toast and smiles at their giggling "Love! Well, we better celebrate while we have the reason to" he does drink half the cup in a single sip "Yes, I heard something about a Princess my elven friend. I really hope there is more than a rich babysitting job though"
He then sits next to Ohrmizd and ask the Inquisitor. "What do you make of the Captain and that expedition of his. He clearly does not need us to travel savely through this lands. So what does he need us for. I hope its not as some kind of cannon fodder"
Ohrmizd does make a space for Manuun to sit by his side "Op. No I think he mentioned something about he having his own guards for babysitting the Princess. By the choices he made, he most probably is in need for someone to scout ahead and think with its wits first rather than its underpants"
He looks at him intensely "Your facial traits are not from here. Are you from Avistan forest perhaps? I have heard there is plenty of greenish and other colors there" although the tone sounds more to 'are you human?' "I have been wandering around Katapesh in one way or another for my whole life"
"As far as I know, from the markets in Katapesh", replies Manuun. "I never knew my parents or where they came from. But I don't think they came from a forest." His hair seems even more tousled than usual and the subject makes him uneasy.
Although Soraya is obviously a Sarenite, she wears goddess's holy symbol on a necklace on clear display, she doesn't seem overly happy to have the man along as a fellow traveler. Aside from a curt greeting, Soraya doesn't converse with him.
When he leaves however, she follows him out.
Finally the last keg of wine runs dry and the conversational topics run out. Everyone goes to bed to not appear tired on the first day of the job.
The night is short and the morning dawns. All are up early to not be late on their first day of work. They meet outside the inn as the first light of the day is seen at the horizon, waiting for their employer.
As Garavel appears, he does so from down the road, riding on his camel. "We are meeting with Princess Almah and the caravan at the Sultan's Claw. They got half a day headstart on us, but they travel slow. I expect to arrive shortly after them. I don't want to keep the Princess waiting." He spurs the camel on, and it moves in a slow trot down the dusty road in Western direction.
Thinking to himself "What are they doing out there? But I don't think I want to embarass myself one more time today.", Manuun retreats from the tap room to turn it in for the night.
I ignore the fact that it would take days to get there ...
Late evening, as you come close to your destination you can make out the immense outline of Pale Mountain looming over the mid-evening horizon like a tombstone. As soon as the craggy tree appears over the next hill, it becomes obvious why it is called the Sultan’s Claw. With five immense, mostly leafless branches, the growth looks more like a giant skeletal talon than a thing of living wood.
As you top the last rise, a caravan of a half-dozen wagons and a large tent clustered around the distinctive tree come into view. Camels in a nearby pen prance in agitation, and a clutch of confused goats and livestock wander the grounds around the wagons. Perhaps a dozen men and women rush around the campsite, chasing down an animal or hastening toward the center of the cluster, near the Sultan’s Claw, with pails of water in their hands. One of the wagons is on fire!
Ohrmizd feels he might have touched a sensitive topic and skips the identity of Manuun topic while his eyes widen as he listens the man grow up in Katapesh markets "Oh, were you grown in the Nightstalls? I used to... work... there. But that was in another life" the man raises the cup of wine "For the boys of the market!"
When Ohrmizd finally notices Soraya she looks at her intently while opening a bit his tunic to let her see his angel in flames holy symbol of Sarenrae. He says to her "The Dawn Brings New Light" if she reacts to the gesture he just adds "I am happy to know Garavel enrolled another true faithful"
Ohrmizd profits the long trek to get to know better his new companions. The man seems to face the journey with optimism. He is clearly used to the mount as well to the heat of the desert, despite you witness some drops of sweat at his front.
As you approach to the main camp, he grows alarmed and tries to grasp what is happening "Is this your group Garavel? It seems they are in trouble"
Lush orange and red flames engulf an elaborate wooden wagon emblazoned with painted moons and stars. A gout of smoke pours from an open door, and as you approach an ill wind blows a number of colorful fortune-telling Harrow cards from inside the wagon. One card hits Soraya on the chest and sticks in a fold of her clothes.
Almah, Garavel, and four soldiers dressed in the distinctive red chitin-plate armor of the Pactmaster Guard run back and forth between the burning fortune teller’s wagon and an uncovered wagon about 20 feet away. The latter contains a huge barrel holding enough drinking water to serve the entire campsite for a week.
Four burly mercenaries struggle with an enclosed wooden wagon within feet of the burning wagon, hoping to move it to safety before an errant spark causes it too to burst into flame.
A red-headed halfling cleric, Father Zastoran, kneels next to two severely burned mercenaries who tried to enter the burning wagon. Father Zastoran is tending to a badly wounded mercenary called Trevvis, but he is unable to focus on his second patient, a female sworder named Kallien, who lies near death from terrible burns and smoke inhalation.
A modest collection of pigs, goats, and sheep accompanies Almah’s party on the journey to Kelmarane. The flaming wagon has unsettled these creatures, which somehow escaped from their pen in the confusion surrounding the fire’s outbreak. The middle-aged human camel driver and his wife do their best to wrangle the panicking animals, but their efforts are quickly being overrun by the chaos of the situation.
Ohrmizd nods energetically to Garavel "Let's hasten, it seems our Princess has a fiery issue!" he presses his mount darting into the middle of the action.
As he reaches the wagon in flames, he jumps down of the mount and runs to the side of the people pouring barrels of water. Looking for the familiar holy symbol hanging from his neck, he grasp it and starts a prayer "Goddess of The Healing Flame, put down your furious fire"
When Ohrmizd completes his create water spell, a downpour of falling water materializes to help appease the flames.
If it seems the two gallons of water -about 7.5 liters- are helping, he keeps asking Sarenrae for more water to fall. Otherwise he will look for a different approach to help.
Manuun immediately rushes towards the water line and joins the people carrying water to douse the fire.
Tahlumilali upon seeing the commotion at the camp leaps to the ground and following Manuun joins in with the water train trying to contain the fire. ”Remember how I said being a guard is normally boring, turns out sometimes I’m wrong.”
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Lofnaiali finds stillness in the chaos by taking a deep breath and assessing the sight before her. Hey eyes scan the ground and finds a woman badly burned. She immediately jumps into action scrambling over to the lady. She opens her hands and places her palms on the woman’s torso and forehead. Lofnaiali can see her spirit still inside her injured body, ”I lend my strength that you may be whole, house of bones please do not evict this spirit!”
Lofnaiali feels her own life force come through her palms and jump to the downed woman like a small bolt of lightning. If she could at least stabilize her, she might have a fighting chance.
Cure Light Wounds: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Heal: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9 To see if there is anything else i can do to help her.
Soraya grabs the card and takes second to look at it before tucking it away.
She hurries to the campsite and looks around at what needs to be done. There are quite a few people slinging water, and she knows nothing about animals.
She opts to assist with the injured, but finds there's little more she can do beyond the aid they've already received.
Heal: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
An auspicious beginning! :p
While carrying water between the wagons Manuun tries to look around if he can see the owner of the cart somewhere.
If he cannot see somebody looking like a fortune teller somewhere
When he cannot see her anywhere, he asked the nearest soldier:"Is the fortune teller still inside?"
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Earlier, on the night everyone first met:
When Ohrmizd greets Soraya mentioning the 'coincidence' of there being two Sarenites among the little group, Soraya answers with a chilly look and a request.
"Yes, quite a coincidence indeed. May I have a word with you in private? One of the faithful to another?"
Once they are out of earshot of others Soraya levels her accusation at Ohrmizd.
"It's no coincidence at all is it? My mother Heba Hezami arranged for you to come didn't she? Are your orders to watch over me? Keep me safe? What exactly are you supposed to do? Why is she sending me to Kelmarane if she doesn't believe I'm up to the task?"
Heba Hezami is a well known name among Sarenrae's faithful in Qadira and western Garund. She is legendary for her exploits as a warrior priestess, crusading against Rovagug's worshippers and other threats to the Church and good people of any religion. In her retirement from a more adventurous life, Heba has shown herself to be a capable navigator of church politics as head of the temple in Gurat. Although not formally titled a Saint (an honor almost always reserved for the deceased) she is not uncommonly referred to as a saint among Sarenrae's followers, especially in Qadira.
Kallien, the wounded mercenary, coughs a few times and stays conscious after receiving the magic healing. But both, Lofnaiali and Soraja are at a loss what else to do to help the woman.
The water applied to the fire, with buckets or through divine means, starts showing effect.
Those who work on watering the fire I will assume the continue until they tell otherwise.
K. religion: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
"Soraya, isn't it? Sure" Ohrmizd nods to the woman and follows her to a private room "Saint Heba Hezami? Sorry girl... I have never had the honor to met with the warrior priestess of Gurat. I am only a wandering faithful, looking to spread the word of The Healing Flame and root out her enemies from the land"
The man is a bit surprised but tries to quickly recollect himself "I do not know much about mothers, but I do guess it is normal for them to worry even if they think we are prepared for the task... I was not sent by her, but nevertheless, we are companions now, I will look to protect your back as much as I hope you protect mine Soraya"
Ohrmizd holds her hand over the holy symbol trying to keep water falling over the burning wagon "Someone here got a bit mislead about the concept warm welcome!"
Manuun looks at Soraia and Lofnaiali and ask "Could one of you take my place here? I would like to try something."
When of them comes to take his place he steps to the guards by the second wagon and asks them to stop shortly: I think I have and idea how to make it easier" He takes a small flacon of oil out of his backpack, puts a few drops on his hands and greases them against each other murmuring "ab die Rutsch" and concentratiing on the forward axle and wheels of the wagon.
Then he joins the crew in trying to push it forward to check how much it helped.
Strength: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (3) - 1 = 2
Ohrmizd conjures more water over the fire while he looks Manuun's progress on the wagon Is he greasing the wheels? That seemed like magic...
Next, Ohrmizd continues casting a downpour of water over the flames while he grimaces at the unfortunate results of the sylph pushing the greased wagon scene "Hey man! Do you need help there?"
"I am just trying out a very advanced technique. But maybe it's better we switch places.".
after turn 4 obviously
Round 1 to 4 -> water
Ohrmizd looks around and finds Tahl throwing water buckets next to him "Hei Tahl! Let's help move that wagon before it catches fire!"
He then darts towards the greased wagon profiting his inertia to push with all the strength he can collect "I start to think the journey payment was perhaps not enough"
Str check: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
Upon hearing Ohrmizd calling him Tahlumilali jumps from dumping the buckets of water towards the wagon they are trying to move. He braces his shoulder against the side and begins to push against it.
Strength: 1d20 ⇒ 18
"If what you say is true, take this in your hand and swear on it."
Soraya continues to work on the burned woman.
Heal: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
With combined effort Thalumilali, Ohrzmid, the grease and the other aidees the wagon finally moves. And just in time. A part of the roof and wall of the burning wagon falls like a cut tree and closely misses those pushing the wagon away.
Meanwhile the distraught animals are running in circles and some manage to escape the efforts of the couple who tries to keep them together.
With the wagon moved to safety all, including the mercenaries, join the water bucket chain and quench the flames in short time. But the wagon is ruined. The interior is burnt and what isn't destroyed by the fire is doused and soaked in the immense amount of water it took to put the fire out.
Inside lies a corpse, burned beyond recognition.
Almah drops the bucket she had still in hand. "Oh my." she calls out at the sight of the corpse.
"Garavel, find out why this fire broke out and if someone from our camp was behind that. Put the new staff to good use for that. At least with them we can tell for sure they weren't involved.
She then retreats to her tent, accompanied by her four personal guards.