Chapter 1-A war of attrition (Part 2)

Malcom’s question starts to bring Jules back to his senses, redirecting his attention from the fight.

“Ah don’t know how many enemies we can afford to make in one day Malcom. Leave ze cards, we may need Runolf later, and from what Ah gather he isn’t inclined to help those who have wronged him.”

As Jules turns back to focus on the fight and its aftermath he tries to push Runolf’s words and vision from his mind, but finds it difficult.
Caithas saw, out of the corner of his eye, Elana waving her arms at him from their corner of the room. Such lovely arms too, the half-elf mused, though he made no move to break for her and the rest of the group. Jules was back; that was good, he thought. That means Greycloak isn’t out to kill everyone…just me. Lovely.

But then his eyes drifted down to the half-orc he’d lain low, still struggling to his feet, and a smile crept across Caithas’ face. Half the city may be ready to slit his throat…but at least he could hold his own in a fight, he thought with grim satisfaction.

He waved his hand back at Elana, indicating he saw her and was fine, and would be over to their corner shortly. Then he turned back to the announcer, waiting for his winnings.

The half-orc falls to his knees, knocked down but not unconscious. He tries to muster some strength to get up, but he is beaten and spent. Caithas observes the man, waiting to see a sign of desperation or defeat, but the big man just smiles, with droplets of blood falling from his mouth. The announcer jumps in, raising Caithas’ hand and denoting him as the winner. The crowd cheers wildly, as a fat man in an expensive outfit throws Caithas a heavy pouch. The half-elf grabs his prize, which makes a jingly sound as it lands in the ranger’s palm. Caithas can sense that the bag is heavy and full of coins. The pouch is but one of the prizes the half-elf has won, the other being a deep cut across his eyebrow, that does not seem to stop bleeding anytime soon.

[OOC: The pouch contains fifty sovereigns.]

Following Elana’s cue, Caithas prepares to leave, slowly recovering his equipment and putting on his armor and rags. For a moment, he seems unable to find his scimitar, and begins suspecting that the fight was just a distraction to steal his belongings. However, his suspicions appear to be unsound, as he soon realizes that he forgot where he left his equipment. It appears that the half-orc’s punches have had some effect, after all.

As Caithas prepares to leave, the next challenger steps out from the crowd, a small but muscular man sporting an eccentric moustache. With a strange accent, he tries to taunt Caithas, clearly eager to fight him: “What’s ze matter? Is ze bastard beggar afraid? Ah spit on your pointy-eared face, you son of a whore! Face me like a man and Ah promise zat Ah will not beat you up too badly, you pig!” Caithas must decide if he will take up the challenge or not.

Jules, Elana and Malcom

[OOC, @ Ross: Caithas is still disguised-sort of. He still has some fake facial hair on, although he has revealed that he was a weapon-bearing half-elf to the crowd. And yes, it was pretty easy to see him before, since he was the center of attention during the fight.]

As you prepare to leave, a funny-looking man with a strange accent challenges Caithas, who must now decide if he would like to try his luck with the man or follow you. The waiters are, once again, frantically collecting money from the patrons for the bets, and you have an opportunity to place a bet, if you would like to. With everyone’s attention focused on the fight, it would also be easy to leave the tavern without being noticed.

[OOC: If Malcom tries to cast detect magic on the wand, he finds that it is, indeed, magical. Matthias, role-play and roll arcana if you want to try to find out more.]
Caithas takes up his equipment, dons his ratty clothes again, and walks out of the ring.

“Sorry,” he says to the challenger, “I got what I came for.”

Caithas rejoins his companions, trying to avoid their accusing looks. He turns to Jules.

“Where’s Greycloak? I have his money. Let me pay the old prick and then let’s get out of here.”
Caithas manages to find Greycloak, who is playing cards alone with his favorite obscene deck. He takes the pouch and counts the coins, before remarking coldly: “Ninety-two sovereigns to go, half-man. Don’t think I’ll forget.”

As the party exits the tavern, you observe the same pair of bouncers standing by the door. The two men seem bored and are therefore happy to see you. The bouncer who discussed with you when you entered addresses Elana: “Did you find what you were looking for, my lady? You say that you would owe me a debt of gratitude if I helped, but I’d much rather have a kiss, fair maiden.” The rugged bouncer tries to sound as courteous as he can, while pointing his index finger to his unshaved cheek. He smiles to lady Elana; his grin reveals several missing teeth. It comes with the job, probably…
The sound of a familiar accent causes Jules’ ears to perk up as he turns back to the fighting ring. The presence of a Linees man in Andelia wouldn’t be unexpected, but he hadn’t heard of anyone from his homeland in quite a while now. As Caithas returns to the group Jules does his best to hide any irritation with his friend, but a touch of frustration slips through his voice.

“Probably still in his room. Ah’d pay him and get out, we can’t stay here for much longer.”

As they leave the tavern, Jules sees as the guard harasses Elana. The thought of how the bouncer has just exposed himself to a strike flashes briefly through Jules’ mind before remembering his last foray into combat, his blade unable to do anything to Aurelius.

And now ze pigs have started harassing my wife. All ze drink in zis city couldn’t make zis night bearable.
Caithas turned back to Greycloak after hearing the man’s words. Blood dribbles from his wound into his eye and he wipes it away with the back of his left hand.

“I just fought and bled for these coins. For you, old man. You said me debt was fifty, correct? There’s fifty for you, plus the eight before, for your trouble. Leave it at that, wizard. You tortured me with my wife and my past…leave this be, I ask you. You have agreed to help sir Amour and the others; I’m nothing to you now, less than I was before. My debt is paid; I’ve now cost you nothing. We are done, Greycloak.”

With that, Caithas turned and followed his companions out into the Andelian night.

He wanted to keep his mouth shut. Truly. But then he saw Elana’s eyes. He saw her husband stand idly by and say nothing. He watched the bouncer point at his scruffy, scraggly cheek with an expectation only strength can muster.

He wanted to keep his mouth shut.

Instead, he said as politely as his voice would allow, “The Lady kisses who she pleases, sir. If you don’t fall into that category, please step aside so that she may leave.”

Goddamn it, the half-elf thought.
Elana quickly resumed her haughty noble demeanor when the guards caught sight of them. When one of them suggested she give him a kiss on the cheek, she tried her best not to let the disgust show on her face. This is why I hate leading people on.

She put a steadying hand on Caithas’ shoulder, as though she were reigning in an over protective guard dog. “My favors are not won so cheaply,” she told the guard, cushioning the rejection with a smile. “However, you are correct: I do owe you and your friend a debt. If you decide you’re bored of standing outside waiting on stuffy lordlings, I could use a pair of strong men to guard my private chambers. The pay will be substantially better, you’ll be in my own estate, and I have many handmaidens who grow tired of each other’s company.” Money, privilege, and women; what more could men want? She just had to hope that they believed her a lady. “Make your way to the docks and seek out the Red Herring.” There was no ship by the name of Red Herring that she knew of, but there were many ships. “It’ll be here for another fortnight before departing for Sailor’s Stone, and my estate. Ask the captain for Sierra, and I assure you a simple kiss will pale in comparison to what I have to offer.”

Hopefully the men would buy it and leave them be. No doubt they would be out raged when they learn no such ship ever docked in Andelia, but that was hardly her problem.

[OOC: Bluff +8]
Malcom nodded to Jules request, “Things went well then? Good. We’ll play nice because we could indeed use more allies than enemies.”


Malcom follows the group outside. He sees Caithas, and then Elana try and weasel out of the kiss. He let out a small quiet laugh as she spun her story of money and women. It would be nice if it were true, but when they find out she’s a liar there maybe more than just two men and all of the Andelian guard after her.
Caithas and Runolf-backtracking

Caithas tries hard to have the final word-he really does not want to have anything else to do with the wizard, but if there’s one thing that he has learnt about Runolf, is that the scheming old man does not like to lose. “Ninety-two sovereigns, no more and no less. Do you have any idea of the trouble I went through to bring you here, only to have you turn me down like an old whore? With two nobles in your company, such a sum is a meager amount of no consequence. Ninety-two, and I want the money within two days. Otherwise, you should not blame me if the authorities suddenly discover that the half-elf rebel who has slaughtered several imperial soldiers is still in town. I haven’t reported you to the authorities yet because I have business with your master, dog, but there are not many half-elves in town. You wouldn’t want to attract any unwanted attention now, would you?”

Runolf concludes his warning with a threat: “You have underestimated my investment in you when we arrived in Andelia. Now you are underestimating my generosity. Do NOT underestimate what I am capable of.”

Caithas is free to curse and swear all he wants, but that would hardly change the stubborn old man’s mind. Not only does he still have to pay the sum, but now he has a deadline for obtaining the money.


The bouncer is disappointed at first, but upon hearing Elana’s lie, he addresses his companion: “Fuck this shitty job”, he says, “and fuck this shitty city. Tomorrow morning I am going to the port to seek out this Red Herring. If you have any brains left in you, you’ll do the same.” With the two bouncers discussing passionately between them, you have the chance to simply walk away, unnoticed and without further harassment.

After walking a few paces, Elana catches a few words from the other bouncer: “… don’t change the subject, beauty. You owe me two sovereigns. Any woman who is not a whore would rather kiss a horse’s arse than your ugly face!” There is laughter coming from the tavern’s entrance that fades away as you slowly make your way through the city.

Without any alternatives as to where to spend the night, you decide to return to the Vinici estate. On your way, you meet up with Markus, who explains that he was unable to get in at the Watering Hole, so he decided to wait near the Drunken Townsman instead. You almost fail to recognize the man, who has shaved his beard and head, to avoid identification by the authorities. You ask him to join you to the Vinici estate, where you can discuss your progress and decide on a plan of action.

Back at the estate, you are relieved to find that Ovidius is looking better, although Markus is less than happy with the turn of events. Markus explains Malcom that he has gathered as many men as he could from the former Legion XIII, and urges you to meet with them tomorrow morning, at the forum district. He also asks if anything can be done about Ovidius, who is clearly better, but might still require assistance.

Veor is also concerned, seeing that Erik is not with you. He asks Markus and Malcom whether anyone has seen Erik. Markus shrugs, indicating that he doesn’t know anything about the half-native’s whereabouts. When the discussion about these matters is concluded, Markus inquires you of your own progress, eager to learn what the plan of action for the next few days will be.

[OOC: Although Markus is asking Malcom, anyone with vital information (e.g. Jules) or ideas might speak his/her mind. In addition, setting up a watch might not be a bad idea, since the estate might not be a safe place to rest. You can assign guard duties to Veor, Decius and Markus, but remember that Veor is a caster, and one of these three will want to look after Ovidius. You should try diplomacy to convince them to do what you want.]
Caithas speaks up, not to Markus, but to the group in general and to Veor in particular. The half-elf had grown to like the caster in their short time speaking together earlier; somehow, he felt that Veor was a kindred spirit.

“I owe 92 sovereigns to a madman, and I have two days to deliver it. I had hoped that the debt was settled,” Caithas mutters, feeling his wound from the fight with the half-orc absentmindly, “but apparently, it hasn’t been. So I must ask you all for something. I need to make some money fast, and the best way to do so is selling some of the items we’ve found together. If I can sneak into Ulf’s basement, I can grab some things out of those chests we found to make some quick coin. If I’m to be of any use to you all and this rebellion, I cannot have that goddamn wizard breathing down my neck. Of course, the items are not mine alone, but if you all are willing, I would greatly appreciate you not minding this. Of course, if it is a problem, I will solve it myself, and no hard feelings…”

At that moment, he turns to Veor.

“You are worried for your friend Erik, and while I cannot promise anything, I’d be happy to help you look for him since I have to be out tonight anyway. First Ulf’s, if they all don’t mind, and then to a store that keeps late hours; I pray one does. If you want to join me, Veor, we can see if we can learn anything about your missing friend while I pay my debts.”

The ranger nods towards the spellcaster and gives the man a smile.

“If not, I shall still see if I can unearth anything about your friend; I owe you from the scene at the hanging, and as I said, I always pay my debts.”

(OOC: Diplomacy check +3. And Vlad, I realized as I was writing this that Caithas still has the small silver box containing opium from the man in the alley, and three potions, two of which have been identified as Antiplague and Antitoxin, as well as the unidentified liquid from the crazy cat lady. I don’t have any ranks in Appraise, but can the half-elf ascertain how much the silver box might be worth?)
As the group finally returns to speak with Markus, Jules finds himself eager to talk about what he has discovered from Runolf. He pulls out the coded message and shows it to the group.

“Despite some minor setbacks today, thanks to Malcom’s contact and some helpful ‘investors’ Ah believe we have a path to pursue. Ze Crimson Irregulars are willing to help ze cause, and with zem comes ze skill of all ze guilds associated with zem, but zey won’t help until we prove ourselves to zem. Zey want us to uncover ze meaning of zis note, copied from an imperial emissary.
“Tonight an…acquaintance of ours was able to tell me what ze code is and how we can decipher it. It is a variation on a direct replacement code. Each letter represents a different letter based on what ze keyword is. Ze difficult part of decrypting ze message is finding zat keyword. Apparently it is something zat only an agent of ze Black Chamber would have.”

As Jules finishes explaining the code to Markus and his allies he turns to Caithas.

“If you intend to go selling something tonight Ah had best go with you. Otherwise you’re liable to return with less coin zan you started with.”
Caithas, though he shouldn’t be, is surprised and quite touched by Jules’ offer. A relationship that had gone from spy and victim, to nobleman and commoner, seemed to be evolving once more…this time, to friendship.

“Thank you, S – er – Thank you, Jules. But you’ve been through enough today; if you need to rest here, I understand completely. But if you’re up to an evening stroll, I won’t turn away the company.”

He lowers his voice as he leans towards Jules.

“You know, despite your best efforts, you truly are a good man, my friend.”
As Caithas thanks Jules for his offer of aid, the form noble cringes ever so slightly.

Yes, a good man but not an innocent one apparently. Hells Caithas, maybe tonight you can help me sort out what Runolf said. Ah don’t want to believe him, zat you would turn on me, zat you would cause any harm to befall us, but everything zat bastard said had ze ring of truth. And zat vision, Caithas, Ah’ve seen you finish men off after a battle, but hells, zat was a cold blooded act through and through. No, dwelling on zis is foolish, Ah’ll just ask him and everything will be cleared up.

Despite his desire to forget Runolf’s words, they still linger as a whisper at the back of Jules’ mind.
As Malcom readies to debrief Markus, Caithas pulls Jules aside with a nod towards the front door. He ranger wasn’t an especially smart man, but no one could say he wasn’t perceptive; his father had trained him well.

“There was a look back there, sir. You looked at me as if…I don’t know…as if I wasn’t me, somehow. Am I jumping at shadows or is there something on your mind?”
Damn, well at ze very least he’s perceptive, Ah suppose Ah can’t fault him for zat.

Jules whispers to Caithas so he can avoid any unwanted observers to the conversation.

“Ah need to talk to you about something zat Runolf said, it doesn’t concern ze rest of zem, so Ah would rather we wait until we head out tonight to discuss it. Ah don’t want to drag anyone else in if it isn’t anything to worry about.”

Jules turns back to face the group ready to head back, hoping that Caithas accepts his explanation for the time being.
He lets Jules and Caithas wander off as he explains to Markus the night’s events in detail. “But… I believe if we can trust our Crimson friends then if the message is truly from Holgrath then… we may have word of our troop movements. It could be a call for reinforcements or a report of the attack. We have two copies of the message.” He nods to Jules as he is whispering, “Jules has one, and I the other. But since the Crimson Irregulars didn’t completely subdue the messenger, the fact that the information might of be compromised will also be apparent to the guard. I believe we should give this task our fullest attention, as it may well sway our current situation.”

“Now, about the men. I will meet with them, but we must set a course to sail, or we will be lost in this storm as they were in the last. What would you have me tell them?”

He looked around the Estate, counting the people in his head, “We should obviously set up a watch, in-case this place is compromised before tomorrow. Two man pairs is my suggestion, shifts of 2 hours each…” he paused and looked at Veor and Ovidius, “I can… Look after ovidius and ensure he recovers swiftly and healthily.” he nods to Decius, “He can vouch for that, as for Erik… We must keep our hopes high…”
Caithas turned, his ears naturally perking up, (despite how silly it made him feel) and he heard himself mutter to Jules, “Fair enough, sir,” as he overheard snippets of Malcom’s conversation with the old warrior, Markus.

“Aye, Malcom, I’m going out anyway. I’ll see if there’s any word of Erik around here; I won’t be going too far, though. It isn’t much…but as you said, we must keep our hopes high, eh?”
Elana keeps quiet whilst the other discuss plans for the rebellion. She checks in on Sarah, making sure the girl is sleeping alright. She volunteers for a shift on the watch, and keeps Ællastyr near at hand. Whilst not on watch or sleeping, Elana will be spending her time perusing some of the books she found, and, when Caithas is gone, she’ll study the arcane tome.
Caithas, under the cover of night, was back in his element for the first time since entering the city of Andelia. He did was his father taught him to do so well, long ago, across the sea.

With whisper quiet, with Veor and Jules in tow, the half-elf snuck into Ulf’s basement and removed most of the valuables remaining in the chests, though he left the 15 blunted swords, as they were too much to carry. Grabbing the warhammer, greatsword, wooden shield and the two suits of scale mail, the ranger lugged the items up to street level. He’d also pocketed the two unidentified potions.

The ranger passed a potion to both men, saying, “Damned if I know what they do, but let’s hope it’s something good. Take ’em. And thank you for joining me tonight,” he finishes as he continues on the journey.

The half-elf and his companions make their way to the Watering Hole again, and after some minor haggling, the ranger is able to find takers for his weapons and armor, totaling 85 gold. He grimaces, knowing that he’d be able to pay off the wizard thanks to the extra silver in his pocket, but barely.

With coins in hand, he walks over to Runolf, still sitting at his table playing with his pornographic cards, and hands the man 85 gold coins, plus the ornate silver box he’d pilfered earlier.

“There. We’re done. This should be more than enough to settle our debt. Goodnight.”

After that, the ranger and the others make their way back to the estate to help with the late night watches and to see the sunrise…
At the Vinici estate

Markus and the rest of the rebels listen to Caithas and Malcom with interest, as some semblance of a plan begins to crystallize. Malcom shows the secret message to Markus; the old soldier gazes the message inquisitively: “Back in my days as a commander, I used to receive messages like these from time to time. There were always experts in each unit for reading the code, but this acquaintance of yours may be right… Without the key, it might be very difficult to break the code. Even with the bloody key, coded commands like this would take hours to decrypt.”

When Jules mentions the Black Chamber, his words are met with perplexed stares from most of the rebels, except Markus. “So we plan to storm the most secret and well-guarded compound in Lower Andelia? Great!” He smiles, contemplating this daunting task with no little excitement. “I have twenty men, all of them seasoned veterans, although age and hardship have worn them a bit. They are at our disposal, but I’d rather not send them to a suicide mission from day one. Let’s do this one step at a time: first, we need to infiltrate Lower Andelia and inspect this Black Chamber. After all, perhaps subterfuge and not force of arms will win the day.”

After listening to what the man has to say, Malcom has a chance to check on Ovidius, who is already doing much better. The soldier thanks you for your help, as Decius comments: “He has made a surprising recovery after you and your friends left. He won’t be seeing more fighting any time soon, but by tomorrow he should be able to get up on his feet.”

As Markus sets up the watch, Malcom offers his suggestions and volunteers to look after Ovidius during the night. Elana also volunteers herself for the watch, crossbow in hand, but she is kindly turned down by Markus, who explains: “My lady, your intentions may be good, but we have many men that can handle the task. Go rest, and let us worry about the watch.” Unfortunately, there are not enough of you to form a two-man watch. With Caithas, Veor and Jules determined to seek out Runolf, only Decius and Markus are able to man the first posts. The early posts are left to the nobleman and his servant.

[OOC: Some cannot take part the watch: Veor, because he is a caster, Malcom, because he is taking care of Ovidius, Ovidius, because he is wounded and Elana, because she is a woman (and a caster). This leaves only four men, which are randomly allocated thus:

24:00-02:00 Markus,
02:00-04:00 Caithas,
04:00-06:00 Jules,
06:00-08:00 Decius.

This should give the casters 8 h to memorize spells, so the last shift 08:00-10:00 can be done by Veor and Malcom.
Also, @ Malcom: The secret message info is not compromised, because the Crimson Irregulars said it was copied and replaced, so the Imperials shouldn’t know that it was intercepted.]

Streets of Upper Andelia (Caithas, Jules and Veor)

As the group discusses the plan of action and sets up the watch, the three men leave the estate, heading for Ulf’s tavern. Veor promises that they will return soon and look to their watch duties.

Once outside, Caithas leads the party, expertly taking to the shadows, to avoid the Imperial patrols. From time to time, the party encounters small, six-man patrols, which can be easily heard from a distance, because of their heavy armor. All the guards wear helmets; with their visors lowered, it is easy to avoid being observed by the Imperials, especially since they are alerting you to their presence with all the noise they make. Thus, the journey through the city by night is uneventful.

You reach the Broken Tooth, which is abandoned, but locked. Jules manages to pick the lock. The group heads to the basement, finding the heavy chest with the military equipment. Caithas and Veor take most of the military gear and soon you are all back outside, this time heading to the Watering Hole.

[OOC: @ Caithas: I believe that Jules took the gems and jewelry before, so I will ignore your post.]

On your way to the thieves’ guild, Veor has a chance to talk about Erik: “I can vouch for Erik’s loyalty-he would never betray us. However, he does tend to run his mouth a bit too much… He has always been outspoken, and he never took great pains to disguise his hatred for the authorities here. I hope his big mouth hasn’t gotten him into trouble…"

On your way to the tavern, you pass by Erik’s workplace. Veor explains that Erik is a shoe-maker and decides to go check the place, although he knows that chances are slim to find him there. After a few minutes, he returns without any news about the half-native.

[OOC: This should give Jules and Caithas 10-15 min to discuss alone.]

Eventually, you reach the Watering Hole-you are greeted by the same two bouncers that tried to harass you earlier. Caithas is met with respect, as word of his exploits has rapidly spread. Loosing no time, you head to Runolf, who leads you to a merchant. You exchange the equipment for some gold, hoping to get enough to finally pay the old wizard. As Caithas goes through his belongings, he also finds the silver box he took from the drug-dealing thug. He asks for Jules to appraise it-Jules is not sure of its exact value, but it does not seem overly elaborate or valuable. It would most probably fetch a few sovereigns, but no more.

[OOC: If you want to sell/buy items, please list them up, so that I can easily check:
2 sets of scale mail: Sold for 50 gp
1 warhammer: Sold for 6 gp
1 greatsword: Sold for 25 gp
1 Wooden shield: Sold for 4 gp
@ Caithas: I get 85 gp, so you can offer the silver box to Runolf and be done with it, but correct me if I am wrong. If you manage to pay Runolf, then the following happens, otherwise just ignore it.]

Greycloak has little to say to you, but he is content that Caithas has managed to pay his dept so fast. “Until we meet again”, he whispers, before letting you out his room. You quickly return to the estate, where Markus, currently on post, updates you on your guard duties.

At the estate (Elana, while Caithas is not there)

With the ranger gone, you pour over the book’s pages, hoping to find anything that might be related to your powers. Unfortunately, although the book is written in common, you cannot understand the arcane symbols and the esoteric theories, with which the old tome is filled. With time and persistence, you might be able to understand some of the introductory chapters, although the process would be much easier with the help of an expert. However, this would mean that you might expose your secret, something that you are reluctant to do.

At the estate (when everyone is back)

It is around midnight when Jules, Caithas and Veor return. You agree on the guard duties, before going to sleep, exhausted, on the estate’s uncomfortable, cold floor.

[OOC: Role-play, declare your actions and I will proceed with the next day. I also need a Spot check from the morning shift (08:00-10:00), aka Malcom, and I will make one for Veor as well. Also, I will award some XP for the day in the OOC thread.]
(OOC: Sorry for the error, Vlad; that’s why I’m not a math teacher, apparently. Yes, Caithas will give Greycloak the silver box to make up the difference; I’ll update my previous post accordingly. Also, Ross, add an unidentified potion to Jules’ character sheet, based on my change to my previous post.)

Caithas feels exhaustion from the day overwhelm him when he arrives back at the estate, only to find out about his shift two hours hence. Knowing it would be harder to wake up than stay up at this point, the half-elf checks on Elana and Malcom, asks if there’s been any trouble, and also sees how the much-improved Ovidius is doing. Two hours pass largely quietly for the ranger, when he taps the old commander Markus on the shoulder.

“My turn, sir. Enjoy your rest. I’ll keep the watch.”

Caithas then sets about looking for any sign of trouble or danger until roughly four a.m., when finally, blessedly, his day can end and Jules’ watch can begin.

As the half-elf finally closes his eyes after the impossibly-long day, his last thought before drifting into sleep was, ‘so many dead…so much blood…by my hands…’
[OOC: Since we’ve been given some time to discuss alone I’ll just split my post into current events and our discussion while out getting money.]

As Veor enters Erik’s workplace, Jules finds himself alone with Catihas, finally able to speak with him about Runolf’s words and the vision.

“Caithas, when Ah was meeting with Greycloak he told me things about you, showed them to me, with magic. Ah know he is a man zat is not to be trusted, but Ah am afraid zat much of what he said was true. Mostly he just called you names, overeager half-wit, reckless, dangerous, but he also showed me a vision, a memory of something. He showed me ze aftermath of you murdering a sailor and dumping his body in ze sea. And ze only reason you gave for it was ze he wasn’t innocent. What happens when Ah become like zat man, someone who isn’t ‘innocent.’ Today Ah met with a drug lord in hopes of financing zis rebellion with drug money. Tomorrow Ah may very well do something worse. At what point do Ah need to start covering my throat from your blades?”

Returning from the payment of Caithas’ debt and the search for Erik has exhausted the noble, and through his watch all he can think of is the task before them, and the impossible goal at the end. The end of his watch brings a few valued hours of sleep before the new day begins.
Caithas, standing outside the missing half-breed’s storefront, looks at Jules silently for a moment before he speaks. When he does, his voice is soft and cracked.

“He mocked my wife…my dead wife. I snapped. He was just a bully and a fool, though he did not deserve to lose his life. I am not proud, but the wizard didn’t lie: The act was mine and I have no one else to blame.”

The half-elf hesitates and then says, “Jules, it was not long ago that we were on that boat, but I swear to you, I was a different man then. Meeting you, your wife, Malcom, the rebels, this city…I am not the man I was. For a decade, I was consumed with hate and a thirst for vengence, but now? Now I have something to live for besides revenge. Innocent or not, I promise you, my blade will never turn on you. I swear it on the soul of my murdered bride…you have my word.”
Caithas’ words hold the ring of truth and regret within them, and the deceptive tongue of Runolf Greycloak slowly sounds less and less like that of a friend and more like that of a courtier, saying every word perfectly, crafting them to produce just the right effect.

“Hells, Caithas, Ah am getting rusty out here, without ze manipulations of ze noble courts Ah had forgotten what real manipulation felt like. He isn’t wrong, you are still an overeager, reckless, and dangerous man. And Ah’m not quite certain zat you won’t still be ze death of us both, but you saw me try and make a deal with a criminal today, and instead of chasing him down you saved my life. You deserve my trust at ze very least after zat.”
The ranger casts his eyes down, but smiles.

“I’m glad. Thank you, sir. Jules.”

He looks up. His smile fades, but his eyes look glassy, as if seeing off beyond a veil.

“Here comes Veor. Doesn’t look like he found ‘im. Let me get this damn payment to the wizard before he flays my fucking skin from my bones…or whatever the hells he has planned. Then let’s try to get some sleep and not have to kill anyone else today, ok?”
[[Spot – (1d20+2)17 ]]

Malcom wakes up and takes his watch for the night. His glaive rested against his shoulder as he leaned against the interior wall of the estate. The cloth around the blade whiped in the slow night air. It was a crimson flag much like the one he had waved before. When the light shined through it you could see the pattern and colors underneath. It was a cold and quiet night there wasn’t much action going on save for the semi-distant patter of guard patrols around the town, enforcing curfew.
8th of Frer-mánuðr, Upper Andelia, 2482

Despite the uncomfortable setting, everyone except for Caithas manage to get a few hours of well-deserved rest. As a new day dawns, everyone is in a deep sleep; only Decius, who is on guard duty, has a chance to witness the sunrise. The sun emerges from beyond the mountains at the east, before hiding behind a thick blanket of clouds less than an hour later.

Everyone is very reluctant to get up, with most of the party sleeping till ten, except for Malcom and Veor. As Malcom gazes to the horizon, he sees that the military presence in Upper Andelia is slowly increasing. Although no soldiers are headed towards the manor, Malcom knows that it’s better to err on the side of caution. He sends Veor to wake everyone up and make the preparations necessary, before leaving the Vinici estate.

[OOC: Caithas had only 6 h of rest, instead of 8, so please roll a Con check vs. a DC of 10. If he fails, he is fatigued for the day, until he sleeps 2 more hours. All the casters have replenished their spells. You are allowed to do some preparations, e.g. disguising. Please let me know what you want to disguise as, for role-playing reasons.]

With everyone quickly preparing for another long day, you are set to go. You cannot predict if the estate will be safe to return to later, thus you know it would be wise to gather all your belongings and leave no-one behind. Ovidius is already better, and he can walk without any help. He will do fine if he stays out of trouble. The rebels are not very talkative, but everyone explains what they are up to before parting ways.

(Veor) “I will visit Erik’s place again. Maybe his coworkers have some clues about his whereabouts.”
(Markus) “I have an appointment with my men. I must gather them; we will meet at the forum square in two hours. After that, perhaps we can attempt to learn more about how to access Lower Andelia and the Black Chamber.”
(Decius) “Ovidius and I will seek out a healer-he may be better, but he is not fit to fight yet, and we cannot afford losing such a marksman.”

[OOC: You are free to follow any of the rebels, or pursue your own goals. Sarah is sticking with Elana for now.]
As the new day finally begins, Jules stretches out briefly, his neck a little stiff from the uncomfortable ground.

A new day, full of bright and shiny possibilities. Perhaps now would be ze time to look into making ze guards a little less trustworthy.

“Caithas, Ah will likely need your help with something today, it wouldn’t hurt to have another guard with us. Malcom, would you be interested in making a bad name for ze guards of Andelia?”

Jules pulls out his makeup and heads to look through the wardrobe he had found the day before. This time picking out the clothes of a cleric, it would stand out, draw attention to the scene, and most of all the ‘guards’ would be attacking a man of god.
Caithas’ Constitution Check – (1d20+1)19

Caithas stretched. Despite sleeping on the ground like a goddamn dog, he felt pretty good. Just to see the sun, to put the day prior behind him, felt right.

Hearing the conversations around him, he tried to sort his thoughts. The debt was paid; that was good. He was still a wanted man…not so good.

When Jules spoke up, Caithas was quick to answer, “Of course, sir. I’ll be with you. And perhaps you have a disguise for me, as well? These rags are starting to tatter…and my armor isn’t exactly inconspicuous for a vagrant.”

Turning to Veor, the half-elf looks apologetic and says, “I’d like to help you find your friend, though, Veor. Where Jules and I travel today, I shall ask around and see if I can discover anything about his whereabouts. One half-breed looking for another…it may not generate quite as much attention, and all that. Good luck to you. If you still haven’t found him when I’m done with sir Amour, I’ll join you in your search.”
Malcom watched quietly as Jules prepared his disguise, it was amazing, and a little frightening… He had seen Jules wear so many faces through-out such a short period of time. It was madness. “Sorry Jules, perhaps Veor would help after searching Erik’s house?” he thought about the tasks at hand, and wondered for his own safety, Hells, if they put my face on a poster they better draw it better than Caithas and Jules… he laughed to himself, but sobered up shortly after. Being hunted was no laughing matter.

He looked to Decius and Ovidius, “Well, if you believe I haven’t done enough, I could always try again… but there’s… a half-elf… acquaintance of mine. She’s a woman of the cloth and I think she can be discrete. Best of all shes more than likely sympathetic to our cause if questions do arrive. If there happens to be another half-elf there, she’s got… Brown hair and eyes. Ariel is her name.” He sighed, at least she would provide them with the best chance for sympathy. He knew the church wasn’t all that giving these days. He had helped her in a bit of her own time of need. It was an odd sort of funny. The person who seems to be trying to help the most gets attacked. Truly insanity. He looked to see if there was any reaction from the half-elf currently in the room. It’d be nice for him to find one of his kind out here. It’s a lonely world, lonelier for the bastard of two races. He shuddered at the thought. He wouldn’t know what to do if he couldn’t of had his little girl. He then looked over at Sarah for a moment, Adoption. By the gods after this there’s gonna be a lot of orphans…

He nodded to Markus, “I will see you in two hours then. Until then…” Malcom looked over at Elana and Sarah, hopefully he had cleaned off enough blood not to scare the poor girl. “I think we should do what we can until then to find her keeper. It would be a lot easier on us all if we could. We should look for information on him and the Black Chamber. Sound like a plan?” Malcom borrowed Jules’ cloak while he dressed as a cleric, Jules, a holy man? Truly Blasphemy. He laughed audibly before removing the bloodstained cloth from his glaive, wrapping it around his arm and tucking it away under the cloak. Malcom looked back to Elana, “Hey, about that stick, maybe I can give it a once over while we’re out, yeah?” he shrugged after saying the words, Oh well, they’d have to be told eventually.
“True, you will need to dress ze part. Malcom, can you let Caithas borrow your guard uniform? Ah can disguise his face, but if ze people don’t buy him as a guard zen ze entire plan will be pointless.”

As Jules applies his own makeup and the garb of a cleric he thinks over his plan.

Ah will approach Caithas offering information on ze wanted fugitives, he will drag me into an ally, act as if he were assaulting me, and zen drag me out ‘unconscious’ in full view of ze citizens.

Finishing his own work, Jules moves on to prepare Caithas’ face, taking specific care to make his ears less prominent.

[OOC: Disguise check (+9) to look like a cleric. Also, I looked back through the story, but couldn’t find anything to indicate whether or not we had any of the guard uniforms we retrieved from the chest, anyone remember taking them?]
(OOC: I think we must have taken them; they’re on my character sheet, while most if the items from the chests are not.)

Caithas’ ears perked up when he heard Malcom speak while Jules finished their disguises. Another half-elf? Gods, it had been years since he’d been around another of his kind.

But why wouldn’t Malcom have mentioned her before?

“Malcom…if you indeed have a half-breed contact within the church, then perhaps this Ariel might have heard something about the missing Erik. How many half-bloods can there be in this city, after all?”
Malcom laughed at Caithas’ remark, “Apparently at least three. Four if you count that half-orc you bludgeoned.” he shrugged, “I wouldn’t say contact. She got in a bit of a spot while trying to help the poor and I came to her aid. She cares for the people and that’s good enough to remember. Besides, like you said, there aren’t many half-people around, so its easy to remember.” he smiled at Caithas, Half-breed sounds so cruel… he handed Jules his longsword, shield and cloak, “That’s about all that makes up the official wear. Some of the armor have crests on it, but most of us provide our own armor… Some people wear tabards, but not many.” Malcom patted his chest, “Caithas can take my armor if he needs it to complete the part.”

Well, neither of them seemed to wonder why I said I could help a injured man, or why i’d take a look at a potentially magical stick… I’ll tell them later, when the times right.
“Very gracious, Malcom, but in that armor of yours I’ll be half-useless. You’re a bit bigger than I am. The cloaks and sword I can do, but in the armor I’ll be nearly helpless in a fight as anything but a punching bag.”

There’s something different about him, the ranger mused, listening to the formerly-angst ridden soldier. He seemed so…sure, now. Like a man with a direction. Like a man who held leadership in his voice.

Gods, what would that feel like, Caithas wonders?
Elana went about packing her things, getting ready to move out for the day. Sleeping on the bare floor was a change compared to her usually lofty standards, but she wasn’t one to complain. Though she was grateful for a full night’s rest, a part of her was irked with Markus for not allowing her to take part in the watch; he was treating her different because of her nobility or her being a woman, she suspected. Of course, it could also be that she was more civilian than soldier, but she wanted to help.

She listened to the others plan over a simple breakfast. Mostly dried food and military rations. One of the soldiers set a small fire in the deeper parts of the mansion so that it couldn’t be seen from the outside.

It was getting more dangerous for them with each passing day. Too dangerous for Sarah. Today she would try to find the girl’s keeper so that she would be out of harm’s way. “If you don’t need my help,” she told Jules and Caithas. “I’d like to find Vedrick and get Sarah home.” She would have to see Jules about getting a disguise so that she could make it to Vedrick’s safely.

She fished out the wand and handed it to Malcom when he asked. The others didn’t seem to notice the exchange, busy with the planning. She wondered when he’d tell them about his new found power, or if he was planning on concealing it like herself.
“You make a pretty good punching bag though, don’t cha?” He said jokingly as he gave the stick a look over. It certainly looked like something that would be a wand… but other than that…

[[ Appraise +1, spell craft +1, and detect magic? ]]

“Yes, hopefully he will have been returned already and all we need to do is drop her off. I’d like to figure out if I’m a wanted man or not…” he sighed, “I don’t have much faith in Hakon that he could spin a good tale to get me out of that one. At least there was no real witness other than him.”
Just outside of the estate

Before everyone parts ways, Veor explains to Caithas: “I will be at Erik’s workplace. I trust you remember where it is-we were there last night, after all. You can join me later; hopefully, by then Erik will be amongst us once again.”
Markus takes his separate way, on his search for the old soldiers he has apparently recruited. He whispers at Malcom carefully: “Remember: In two hours, at the forum square. We shall be waiting for you.”
Finally, Decius and Ovidius head over to the guildhouses’ district, in hopes of finding a healer. You are left alone to pursue your duties.

Caithas and Jules-in the slums district

After half an hour of searching, you find a good spot to try out the charade you have in mind. It is one of the poorer neighborhoods, where commoners gather to exchange food and other basic items necessary for their everyday lives, such as wood, oil and basic clothing. It is hardly a marketplace, but it should do. There are no guards or soldiers around, so you should be able to avoid any unwanted attention. Nevertheless, there are many peasants to witness your scheme, as it unfolds.

Malcom and Elana-near the forum district

[OOC: Firstly, Malcom’s Detect magic result. Remember, you cannot use spellcraft untrained (i.e. without putting any ranks into it), so you are unable to identify the item. However, you do gain some information.]

Malcom concentrates at the plain-looking wand, that looks like nothing but a worthless stick. To his surprise, it faintly shines with a greenish glow that quickly disappears as soon as he stops focusing. Without having any idea how he knows this information, he recalls that this glow is associated with magic involved in manifesting, creating or conjuring creatures or items from outwardly realms. However, the exact nature and purpose of this item remains obscure…

With that out of the way, the soldier escorts Elana and Sarah to Vedrick’s house. After several loud knocks on the door, the young scholar emerges from behind the door. He seems worse for wear, as one of his eyes is black and there is a bruise across his forehead. “What do you want?” he says suspiciously. “I’ve told the authorities everything I know.” He says to Malcom, apparently mistaking him for a guard. Before you have a chance to reply, Sarah rushes to her surrogate father and teacher. The man kneels to embrace the child, clearly relieved that he has not lost her. Sarah explains to the man how the “red-haired lady” looked after her during the previous day. The man’s attitude changes immediately, as he offers his thanks and introduces himself: “I am Vedrick, one of the keepers here in Andelia. Thank you for taking care of Sarah while I was away. Please, do come in…” As you enter, he instructs Sarah to put the kettle on the fire for the guests. He then turns to Elana, asking: “May I have the honor of your name, my lady? I would like to know who both me and Sarah should thank.”
The open market noise might detract from the performance, but as Jules looks around and notices the variety of people about to see what the ‘guards’ do to those who try to help them, a slight smile breaks across his face. With a whisper he speaks to Caithas, once more explaining the plan.

“Alright, Ah am going to mingle with ze commoners for a bit, bless zem, say some prayers, and ze like. Meanwhile you need to ask a few groups of people if zey have any information on ze fugitives. Eventually Ah will come to you and say zat Ah have some information zat may be of use, you will escort me into some back ally, and proceed to beat ze hell out of me while everyone here listens in. Eventually you will walk away, while Ah limp out and tell ze people what ze ‘guard’ just did to me.”
Caithas nods at Jules. “Yes sir,” he says with a grin.

Caithas, guard regalia proudly displayed, and with his ears well-hidden thanks to Jules’ handiwork, begins to drift into the crowd. For a man who’d tried to avoid attention for as long as he could remember, the half-elf was amazed to discover just how difficult it was to seek. Still, he did the best he could, with a gruffish voice and an air of superiority that he’d always hated in all authority and law enforcement figures.

He weaved into the crowd and began pointing his finger at passersby, largely focusing on women and the elderly or otherwise infirm. His words changed little, but his tone was ice.

“Do you have any information on the rebel uprising? How about you? Do you? Not hiding anything are you? We’ll find out if you are, you know…Hey you! Damn it, yes you. Stand up straight when your betters address you! Any information on the rebel scum causing all the trouble around here? How about you…,” and so on he went, berating those around him, cruel and sure of himself, treating each citizen with less respect than the last.

Caithas’ eyes dart around. Hurry up Jules, he silently prayed…I can’t do this much longer.
[[ Ah, my bad, I thought I had a point in there. I’ll keep that in mind once I hit level 2. ;D]]

“It’s certainly not an ordinary stick…” he remarked to Elana as they walked. He pulled Jules cloak over his face and around his body. He then placed the small stick away before following the lady to the keepers house.

He’s pleased to see the man is alive and well, and is hardly surprised to see they beat him. Just another reason why I quit… he laughed inwardly, Quit, yeah right. He followed Elana into the home and shut the door behind them. He remained back, not wanting to interfere. After all, he doubt the little girl had gotten used to him now, and the man thought he was a guard. After setting in against the door he took some time to look around the place they called home.
After speaking with some of the larger groups of commoners, and actually bringing himself to say a prayer for one of the women holding a newborn child, Jules overhears Caithas’ and speaks to the group briefly before moving in to confront the guard. “Ah think Ah may have some information on zos men he is ranting about, Ah will go over and see if Ah can’t help his search along a bit more…peacefully.”

“Sir, yes, you sir, Ah saw zes men you are looking for ze other day, but zer is no need to continue zis aggression, just give me a moment and Ah can tell you everything Ah know.”

As Jules approaches Caithas he keeps his hands together in the pious stance of so many clergymen, before gently placing a hand on Caithas’ shoulder.

Alright Caithas, ze hooks are in, now put on a show for ze nice people.
“Get your hands off me! Who knows what filth-covered rat-hole you call home!”

Caithas whirls around and faces the pious-looking Jules. In any other situation, that outfit and plaintive look on his friend’s face would cause him to break out in an ear-to-ear grin. But not today.

“You saw them, did you? Help them out, too, I’d wager. Come here, then…you’ll tell me all you know, or may whatever foolish gods you pray to have mercy on your beggar’s soul.”

Caithas half-drags Jules into an alleyway, with his back to the crowd, and Jules’ face in their line of sight. The narrow space meant that, should things get utterly out of hand, at least no one would be able to encircle him. Thank the gods for small favors, the half-elf thinks briefly, still calling out cruel obscenities at Jules. When he believes his curses have attracted the wandering crowd’s fickle attention, Caithas raises his fists. His eyes apologize as he mouths silently, ’I’m sorry sir.’

That’s when his fist flies. Doing his best to avoid Jules’ face, Caithas concentrates his blows on his friend’s body, pulling his punches certainly, but not enough for this to be at all fake. The redness of his knuckles told him that this was very real indeed.

“Withhold information, will you?” Punch “Side with rebels? See where it gets you, dog!” Punch, punch “Soon you and the rest of this city will learn what it is to ignore your betters!” Slap, kick, kick, punch “Goddamn you! You’ll wish your gods had heard you when I’m through with you!”

As his blows rained down, Caithas felt loathing within himself grow. To act this way…to abuse power and lash out for pleasure…it was disgusting, disturbing, horrid…and somehow, terrifyingly…exhilerating.

Gods, let this end soon, the ranger prayed…his prayers mixed with his continued bloody beating of his only true friend on this miserable continent.
Every impact of Caithas’ fists reminds Jules how strong the ranger is, even when he isn’t trying to be.

And here Ah was worrying he wouldn’t go far enough with ze act, shows what Ah know…

“No! My lord, goddess help me! Ah, Ah’ve told you everything Ah know, please, Ah don’t know any more!”

Every few words Jules throws in a solid grunt to emphasize the assault. Hanging on to Caithas’ clothes he whispers very briefly to his friend, “Get moving before zey try to fight back.”

As his hands slip Jules falls to the ground of the ally his body doubled over on its side as he groans from the fake assault.
Elana smiled, happy to see Sarah and Vedrick reunited. She was also happy Vedrick made it back in one piece. Though he looked a bit roughed up, she was afraid he might’ve been executed for treason. “Please, just call me Elana. This is my friend, Malcom,” she said, gesturing towards the soldier. Vedrick regarded him with suspicion. “Don’t let his uniform fool you, he can be trusted.”

After explaining how she’d found Sarah and took care of her, Elana handed Vedrick the books they’d borrowed. “Here, we took these before leaving your place. I hope you don’t mind.” From there, Elana asks the keeper about his ordeal with the guard, and after she inquires about his craft. “If it wouldn’t be too much of a burden, my friend and I were looking for someone to teach us about magic items.” Malcom didn’t know the full extent of how much she wanted to learn from Vedrick, but considering how much time she spent looking over his books, most of the others probably came to the conclusion that she held passing interest in magic items. “If you could teach us in your spare time, or maybe identify an item or two, we would be forever in your debt.”

[OOC: If he agrees, Elana will ask Malcom to show Vedrick the wand, as well as their potions to be identified. Diplomacy +8]
Caithas, seeing Jules slump to the ground, knew it was time to go. With one final call, he hollered, “That will teach you to oppose the guards, you fucking filth!”

Down the alley, through bends and turns, he moved, all the while removing the guard’s cloak as he went, making sure no one was watching…or at least, so he hoped. Underneath the uniform were his ratty old rags. Disguises upon disguises, the half-elf mused; this is indeed a different life than one in the forests or the mountains.

The ranger stuffed the uniform into his satchel and made his way towards Erik’s store, hoping to meet up with Veor there, and to keep himself off of the streets and out of sight for now. If the orchestrated dance that he and Jules had just implemented worked, it would take some time, and the last thing Caithas or anyone in the rebellion needed was their plan to be compromised. The half-elf moves on as silently as possible, moving towards the missing man’s place of work.

(OOC: Stealth +1; Disguise +1; Perception +2)
Caithas, Slum alleys

Caithas and Jules improvised performance is convincing-a bit too convincing either. Caithas is forced to stop brutalizing his friend and make a quick escape, as three angry men from the crowd approach the scene with clubs in hand and insults on their tongues: “Come here, ye cunt! Let’s see how you’ll fare against those who’ll fight against you!” Caithas knows that the men probably pose no threat, untrained and poorly equipped as they are, but the show has gone on for a bit longer than was planned. He rushes to the alleys, hiding under his cloak and disappearing into the crowd. Eventually, he removes the uniform, changing skin like a chameleon would adapt to his surroundings.
Caithas inspects his environment: he is alone, standing in an alley that is well-concealed from the mob that was after him. At a distance, angry voices can be heard, but they seem to be moving away from where he is currently standing. Caithas breathes a sigh of relief; Jules’ scheme has seemingly worked, and the half-elf is safe at last. Or so he thinks-before he has any time to react, an arrow whistles through the air, heading towards the ranger.

Attack – (1d20+1)9 , Damage – (1d6)4
Perception – (1d20+2)18

The arrow misses Caithas for a few inches. The ranger quickly turns towards the direction from which it came; for a split-second, he observes a slim silhouette several yards away on one of the rooftops, before it starts running away, quickly disappearing out of sight.

[OOC: No need for initiative, but if Caithas wants to, this can develop into a chase.]

Jules, busy area in slums

The plot seems to have worked. Caithas rushes away to escape from the three angry men. They do not pause to help Jules to his feet, continuing their pursuit. Instead, some peasant women help the pretend priest regain his footing. Jules’ attention is quickly attracted by one of the girls that stands out, while the rest of the peasant offer any help they can, asking Jules if he would like some water or food and if he has been wounded.

The girl monopolizing Jules’ attention should be in her late teens; she has raven-black hair, dark eyes and a tanned skin. Clearly she is neither a native of Demeria nor a Svodun. Although poor clothes and years of manual labor understate her attractiveness, Jules has sampled several specimens and can tell that the girl might be an unpolished diamond. She offers Jules a cup of watered-down wine, proceeding to inquire if he is alright.

Elana and Malcom, Vedrick’s house

Vedrick’s house is still messy and full of books, but you find a place on the floor to sit and have a cup of tea. He explains that he is Sarah’s tutor and care-taker, and seems extremely thankful, up until the point when Elana mentions her name. Without hiding his terror, he takes several steps back, urging Sarah to follow him. “Elana, as in Lady Savain?!” As you try to reassure him, he takes several steps back, exclaiming: “The entire guard is looking for you! If they’d find you here, they’d hang us all!”
It is obvious that the man is terrified of that possibility, but he is unarmed and would pose no threat, if you were to just walk away. On the other hand, convincing him that you mean no harm might prove to be more challenging…
Caithas draws both his blades as the arrow whizzes by his head, drawing from beneath the mud-caked rags draped over his armor. His eyes dart about, looking for the projectile’s source.

When he sees how far the shooter already is, he sheaths the blades and carefully makes his way on to Erik’s.
The eyes of the young woman helping him up meet his, and in an instant he is reminded that it has been some time since he last had a woman.

Ze trip from Yorvik to Andelia, ze nights spent separate from Elana before ze wedding, ze absence of any wedding night…hells it has been a while.

As she offers him a small cup of wine he gently pulls the hand with the cup towards him, “Thank you, yes, Ah am all right, simply knowing zat kindness such as yours is still in zis city is enough to lift my spirits. Might Ah ask ze name of ze lady who has come to my aid?”
“Please, we mean you no harm,” Elana says, patting the air with her hands. He’s recoiling from me as though I were a viper. She didn’t expect Vedrick to be so volatile, but after his ordeal, maybe it was to be expected. “The guards have already questioned you and believe you to be innocent; they won’t be back here. And we will make sure to avoid detection. The moment I think that my presence may endanger you or Sarah, I will disappear, I swear it.” She had a bad track record for getting people swept into trouble. She would take pains to be more careful this time.

“Please, we could use your help. Not necessarily the rebellion, but myself, and my friends. Anything you teach us could save our lives.”

[OOC: Diplomacy +8]
Caithas-the guildhouses’ area, Upper Andelia

Leaving the alleys and the shooter behind you, you head north, towards the meeting place that you have mutually agreed upon with Veor. From time to time, you look over your shoulder to make sure that no-one is following you, taking a few seconds to scan the rooftops; just to make sure that the sniper is not still following you. Perhaps the arrow was just a warning, you think to yourself, as you enter the guildhouses’ district.

This neighborhood in lower Andelia is crowded with many small shops and businesses that would normally house several craftsmen and workers. However, with the recently enforced state of emergency, most workshops are closed or abandoned. You quickly reach a small shoe-shop, the place where Erik used to work and your meeting place with Veor. The young, bearded man greets you, before informing you of what he has learned.

“You’ve arrived just in time. I was asking Erik’s colleagues and, although they have not heard from him, they told me that they last saw him yesterday morning. He was approached by some clients who wanted a special set of shoes made for their master. There were two of them, and they claimed that their master is one of the senators here in Andelia, and that Erik should follow them to the government district to speak with their master. They claimed that the senator would reward Erik with gold and gratitude, but they didn’t seem like the kind of people who would take no for an answer. After that, Erik’s associates told me that he reluctantly followed the men towards the gate. They haven’t seen him since then… I was just about to re-trace Erik’s steps when you showed up. Perhaps some peasants have seen something. Care to join?”

Jules-Crowded neighborhood in slums district

“My name is Mara of the line of Osari. I hail from the kingdoms south of Demeria”. The girl says her name timidly, but there is a hint of pride when she mentions her line and birthplace. “The times are dark when not even priests are safe from soldiers”, she comments. “What do your gods council in times such as these?” she inquires, with a touch of irony.

Elana and Malcom-Vedrick’s house

Slightly reassured by Elana’s words, Vedrick adopts a friendlier tone once again, but not before instructing Sarah to go to the kitchen. “…and you will stay there until I say so”, he instructs the child, with the authority of a parent.

Upon hearing Elana’s requests, Vedrick half-heartedly agrees to help with whatever you might need of him: “You did help Sarah, and I am grateful for that. If you have any items that are infused with the arcane, I may just be the man to talk to. But teaching someone about the arts, even a noblewoman such as yourself, is not something that can be done overnight. It takes years of hard work and devoted study to master even the most basic of cantrips.

What I can offer, though, is advice: now is not the time to concern yourself with baubles, magical or otherwise. You seem like a good person and I do not doubt that you have reasons for your actions. But do not risk capture or death by lingering in this prison of a city any longer. Yesterday, the soldiers treated me, a member of the keepers, as any common peasant. Do not have any delusions: if you are captured, the Imperials will not show any respect, despite your nobility.”
With a smile Jules brushes some of the dirt from his robes.

“Well Mara, Ah serve ze goddess Lineen, and her advice is unchanging, loyalty towards zose who stand by you, faithfulness towards zose you love, and divine retribution against zose who betray your trust. But here Ah am babbling on when it is my duty to spread ze will of Lineen through deed. So tell me Mara, what can Ah do to prove my loyalty and faithfulness to you.”
Mara chuckles: “And what about retribution, kind sir? That guard escaped pretty easily, without much of a fight from your part. Does this not go against Lineen’s teachings?” She gives Jules a sardonic smile as she awaits his reply.
The smile on Jules’ face widens as he hears the young woman’s remarks.

“Ah think you misunderstand me, my lady, ze retribution of a servant of Lineen is not beating some simple thug in a back ally, it is accepting ze wounds, waiting and enduring. And zen it is a storm beyond rain and thunder, it is ze passion of a scorned woman zat can burn down a nation, ze flame of pride zat turns a cowardly boy into a man capable of burning his father’s empire to ze ground, and it is ze heart of a beaten city rising up against zer suffering, and putting an end to it.

“But once more Ah speak more zan Ah should, my name is Percy, and Ah am afraid Ah have come to zis city at ze wrong time if what zes last few months have shown me is true.”
Caithas still snuck glances over his shoulder as Veor spoke. Every black bird, every flutter in the wind, drew the half-elf’s eyes. Every rooftop contained another shooter…

Goddamn this city, he silently cursed.

“Aye, I’ll join you. After all, I just got an arrow shot at me on my way to a shoe store. How dangerous can the bloody epicenter of Andelia’s government be?”

The ranger barked a sharp laugh, though his face showed little mirth.

“It sounds to me that Erik is likely to be near where we need to go anyway. If Sir Amour and the others are going to break the code, they will need to sneak into the same area anyway. Perhaps, if we see them there, we can kill two orraxes with one stone, eh?”

Caithas drew his cloak around him and pulled his hood up. Now that he no longer needed to look official, he tried to sink into his garments as much as his hidden armor and blades would allow.

“Besides,” he says with a crooked smile to the caster, “if outcasts like us can’t stick together, what’s the world coming to?”
Elana takes a seat again, thankful that she was able to calm Vedrick. “Leaving this city isn’t an option for us.” She sets two potions, her own and Malcom’s, as well as the wand on the table. “We need every resource we can get. The knowledge to use them too, if we can.” And maybe one day they could convince Vedrick and the other keepers to join them, but one step at a time. “I have a primitive grasp on the arcana. My uncle has delved in wizardry, and I perused his books in my last years with him. We don’t need to be masters at using these items. Just proficient enough to be effective.”

“You are strange indeed, you religious folk. First you talk about enduring and suffering; then you contradict yourselves by talking about burning down empires, nations and cities… The northern gods are curious creatures.”

“Very well, if you are eager to prove your loyalty, perhaps there is something you can do for me. You preachy lot are all healers, are you not? My husband has been… em… ill as of late, but we cannot afford to pay a priest. If you could follow me to my house and have a look, I would consider your dept to me paid and dealt with.”

[OOC: If you decide to follow her.]

Mara walks you towards her house, which is not far away from the market. Along the way, she asks you about Lineen, eager to learn more about the strange goddess of which she has just heard of. After fifteen minutes you are at her home, a small wooden building that is shared by several peasants. “Timon, this is Percy, a priest from faraway lands. He has agreed to look at your condition.” Timon looks at you suspiciously, before introducing himself: “Happy to make your acquaintance, your holiness. I do not believe I’ve seen you around… what are the gods you serve, again?” Timon is relatively young-perhaps in his mid-twenties. He is a short, plumb man with a large nose and small, brown eyes.


You follow Veor towards the direction that Erik’s coworkers indicated. About a hundred yards from the gate, something lying on the ground attracts your attention. You kneel down to examine it, excavating the snow to reveal the object. Initially, all you can see is a leather string, but as you pull it from the snow, you find that this was a simple necklace that has been broken. It is primitive and unadorned, bearing only a simple figure carved from bone that is shaped like a wolf’s head.

Veor sees that you’ve found something, so he steps closer to examine what it is you’ve just picked up. “Erik’s talisman!” he exclaims. “He always wore this around his neck. It was a gift…”, Veor remarks, pulling a similar talisman from his neck and showing it to you. “It is as I feared then-the talisman seems to have been violently pulled from his neck. Erik cannot be far from here; let us pray that he is unharmed.”

You look at your surroundings. You can see the main gate in front of you; open, but heavily guarded by at least fifteen soldiers. Approximately fifty yards from the gate, a large house has been taken over by the military forces and has been converted to a guardhouse. Several soldiers can be seen outside. They are apparently off duty, as they are not wearing their armor and helmets, but their swords are by their side. They seem to be relaxing, passing the time by smoking, discussing and playing table games.
On your left, there is a small, curiously ornamented tavern called “the Golden Eagle”. The sign that bears the name is hanging from the side of the building, by a horizontally positioned spear that protrudes from a corner. Military-looking banners have been painted on the tavern’s walls.

On your right, there is a small neighborhood consisting of about twenty huts. A larger, two-storied structure dominates this small assembly of buildings. The picture of a chisel and a hammer are carved on several places along the building’s walls.

[OOC: You can decide where to go, ask Veor or turn back.]

Elana and Malcom

Vedrick sighs: “Very well, let me see what I can do.” He retrieves a spellbook from one of the inner pockets of his cloak and spends several minutes studying it. As soon as he is ready, he rummages through the shelves that are lining the walls, trying to find something he needs. He picks up some feathers and a pours some liquid into a small cup, before beginning his incantations. He dips the feather into the liquid and sprinkles a few droplets onto the items. Then, he dips the pointy side of the feather into a vial of ink and writes down a few words on a parchment.

As soon as the small ritual is completed, the scholar leaves you to look through his books, explaining “this shouldn’t take long”. After half an hour of frantic searching, he returns with the necessary information:
“Although it may not seem like it, this plain stick is actually a magic wand. A fairly basic magical item, this particular wand can be used to call forth an oily substance, that will make a small area or an object extremely slippery. Most of its energy has been spent, but there is a little bit left in it, still.”

[OOC: Wand of grease, 12 charges remaining, save DC 11, usable by Elana without a Use magic device check. Let us assume that Vedrick also mentions the keyword.]

“As for the potions, I have not seen such magic before, but they must have been created by a master of the arts. I am not entirely sure about their exact effects, but they seem to permanently increase the drinker’s natural abilities, while decreasing others that he is not particularly talented in. For example, a strong, but clumsy warrior, would become even stronger, but also clumsier.”

[OOC: More info in the OOC thread. If you decide to leave…]

Before leaving the scholar’s house, he takes the book on Arcana and gives it to Elana: “Take this as a token of my gratitude. If you have any questions, seek me out, but let us not meet here again. I do not wish to endanger Sarah. Goodbye, and good luck.”
Caithas looks at his options, and isn’t pleased. He lowers his voice to a furtive whisper.

“Veor…Erik has been taken, aye, and that is a tragedy. We’ll try to get him back, but we’re in the fucking lion’s den here. We can’t pass through that gate, unless you have a spell that’ll kill the bastards. Never mind that every guard here has likely memorized my damned face by now.”

The half-elf casts a wary eye at the tavern.

“That little watering hole looks like a military bar, so that won’t help. But what there?”

Caithas points at the building with the hammer carved in the side by cocking his thumb.

“Any idea what that place is, Veor? If it’s another military complex, I simply may not be able to go much further with you…”
Hells and ze butcher! Of course she’s married why wouldn’t she be! Everyone is getting married now, she’s married, Ah’m married, Malcom’s married, Caithas…was married, everyone is fucking married now! Ah will just have to handle ze situation reasonably. If her husband is ill Ah simply need to wait for him to drop off and Ah can comfort ze grieving widow, no, no, zat is horrible, Ah must do ze honorable thing and win her affections ze way a decent man would.

Jules quickly accepts the woman’s offer, keeping a quick pace as he follows her back to her house. Jules soon learns that it isn’t so much her house as it is the house of several other peasants, many who look equally poor and world weary. He sees the man he is supposed to inspect and behaves as pious as he can manage.

“Please, your holiness is far too formal, and frankly above ze station for one such as Ah. If you wish you may simply call me Percy, or Brother Percy if you wish. And Ah am sure you wouldn’t have seen me around, Ah arrived in ze city only a few months ago and have spent much of it trying to help out in ze upper city, but it seems zat all Ah do is a small drop in a draining bucket in zis city. But zer Ah go rambling again, not even answering you, Ah serve ze goddess Lineen.

“Now, Ah must be honest, Timon, Ah have not received much training in ze medicinal arts, but Ah will do my best to find out what ze issue is, and everything in my power to remedy ze problem.”

[OOC: Bluff (+9) for the background story, and if he is willing to let Jules examine him, the below roll, if not just ignore the heal check.]
Identify Issue – (1d20-1)4
After Vedrick explained the properties of the wand and potions, and after they discussed arcana some, Elana leaves the hut with Malcom, agreeing not to meet there again to avoid putting Sarah in any more danger. “Well then. Where to?” she asked the soldier.

As they walked to their next destination, Elana thought on the effects of the potions the cat-lady had given them. What were her strongest abilities? Her weakest? It was a vague thing when she thought about it. She wondered if it was limited to physical attributes, or if applied to mental or even emotional traits. The thought was both intriguing and frightening.

[OOC: I don’t recall what we had planned for the rest of the day, but if Malcom wants to head off somewhere Elana is game to join, unless he specifies otherwise.]
“Well, I have to go visit with the men. Not sure what I’m going to say to them, but hopefully I can give them enough hope and courage to keep going.” he tucked his vial away as they walked together, “What’s our world coming to? Dark days… dark days indeed. Hopefully we can find a weakness and exploit it. Sometimes I wonder if it’ll be enough to gather a few friends.” he thinks for a bit, “I believe… there’s some elves up in the mountains not to far from the dwarfs… maybe we should pay them both a visit after this business with the document blows over. eh? They might be able to help us magic wise. I’m not sure how particularly fond of the Empire they are.” Malcom walks into an alley, heading for the forum. “I’m just worried that after we take what is ours that they will try and retake it from the sea. And I don’t think we could weather the entire storm. Not without particularly strong friends.” he sighed heavily and move his whole body with the act, “I guess we will just have to see, a touch of destiny, a pinch of fate? eh?” He couldn’t even believe himself, it seemed mad that it would even be conceived that they could hold it against the entire army AND navy of the empire. He shook his head, his hood flapping back and forth, I musn’t think that way…

But the thought was already made, sown like a seed of doubt within a field of hope and idealism. He couldn’t stop thinking about it, and tried to block out the thought by focusing on something else. “The arcane book he gave you, do you think you or I could manage any of the spells? Caithas is to… rough for the arts, and Jules… too… cunning, perhaps. You seem like a nice quiet and studious type and I think we both know why I might be able to manage it.”
“I certainly intend to learn something valuable from this book.” The tome was heavy, filled with over a thousand pages. Intimidating and discouraging were the first adjective that came to mind. “If I could just learn to use simple magic devices, I’d be happy. I’m sure actual magic is far out of my reach,” she lied. “But I could be much more useful with a handful of wands this way.”

A thought occurred to her then. If she could even pretend to know how to use magic items, she could cast her magic and pretend to be using a wand and no one would be the wiser! Surely other spellflares have had the same thought. A large spell tome and a wand or two and I could pass for a wizard. Of course, the others know I’m already not a wizard, but still . . .

The talk turned to the rebellion, as it frequently did, and the hardships they had ahead. Overthrowing the Empire’s hold on Svorinn would be the easy part. Stopping them from taking back what they believe is theirs would be much harder, and Elana didn’t know if it was possible to stand the full might of the Empire. “We have the advantage now. The legions aren’t made for this guerrilla warfare. When it comes to a clash of armies though, I don’t know how we’ll win.” Even if they solicited the help of the elves and dwarves, it would be an uphill battle. “If we could force the Empire to terms or dissuade them from coming back, this rebellion could actually have a future.” Forcing the Empire to do anything of that nature would be an epic feat, certainly, but it would be the best possible outcome.

“There, there Timon,” says Mara to her husband, “no need to be embarrassed… Good Brother Percy here is a professional. If you do not show him what ails you, how do you expect him to help you?”

Timon blushes slightly, before unfastening his belt and pulling down his trousers. He lies on the bed, face down, allowing you to examine his posterior, whilst explaining: “I’ve had them for a year. I’ve tried everything: cat blood, pig fat, frog slime, you name it! But they just won’t go away. What can I do, Brother Percy?” Trying to make the ruse as plausible as possible, you inspect the man’s posterior. You see several disgusting, oozing boils excreting pus and blood. The infected area seems to be extremely irritated, as if it has been repeatedly and obsessively scratched.

Behind you, Mara is trying very hard not to burst out laughing. She seems to be genuinely enjoying herself.

Caithas and Veor

“We cannot abandon Erik!” says Veor. “I too agree that we cannot simply storm the gate, but I sense that he might be in grave danger. But perhaps the woodcarver’s guild is our best choice right now.” explains Veor, while pointing to the two-storied building across the road.

[OOC: Assuming that you follow Veor to the guild.]

A small cluster of buildings surrounds the woodcarver’s guild. The houses around it are plain, probably belonging to low or middle-class citizens. The guildhouse itself is also constructed out of usual building materials, but it is lavishly decorated with intricate carvings. Its two massive wooden doors bear carvings of a craftsman that is working with a hammer and a chisel on a wooden panel. The same image can be seen on the depiction of the panel, and so on, ad infinitum. As you examine the carvings, you observe that this image is repeated again and again, each time getting smaller and smaller, but never quite disappearing.

As most guildhouses in the district, this one is closed, but there are many civilians walking on the streets of this neighborhood. Veor starts looking for anyone that might have seen anything and you have a chance to do the same.

[OOC: You can ask around about Erik, the guards or that tavern you saw. If you don’t want to, you can just follow Veor around and let him do all the talking.]

Elana and Malcom

As you approach the forum district, it is easy to spot Markus and his men, who have gathered around one of the stone slabs that are used by the city’s orators. As promised, Markus has around twenty men around him. All are inconspicuously dressed. Most of them are middle-aged menge, but there is a young man and woman with them, as well. Markus remains next to the orator, with the men around him paying attention to the speaker.

With upper Andelia isolated from the outside world, food supplies and firewood will soon be hard to find. You have already seen men and women in the streets tearing down huts and makeshift sheds to take the wood. Most citizens can plainly see their precarious position and are discussing the best way to address these problems. This particular speaker is of the opinion that an emissary should be sent to the gates, to negotiate a hearing with one of the rectors. Apart from Markus and his men, several peasants have gathered around him. You blend into the crowd, as Markus greets you and introduces his men. As any good officer, he knows all of them by name:

“Cassius and Herenius were scouts in my company, when I became Tribune in Legion XIII. They specialize in infiltration and reconnaissance.”
“I have known Carrinas since the beginning. Even when I was a mere squadmaster, he was my right-hand man. I can trust him, and so can you.”
“Decimus, Petronius and Rufius have been working as a group ever since I’ve known them. They are siege weapon experts; we may not have siege weapons now, but their skills might prove invaluable. They specialize in the use of all kinds of ballistae.”
“Antonius, Clodinus and Tullious have been shock troopers ever since I can remember. You can trust them to lead the attack. They have slipped through death’s icy fingers innumerable times; the gods must be watching over them.”
“Verginius is the best crossbowman I’ve seen with an arbalest. An arbalest may seem like an impractical, slow weapon in the battlefield, but you should not underestimate it. I’ve seen him put his bolts into the eyes of enemies standing hundreds of yards away with it.”
“Septimus and Brutus were gladiators before joining the legion. I wouldn’t want to face either of them in single combat.”
“Claudius was my translator throughout my career in the military. He can speak more languages than any of my men. He has had an excellent education and he is particularly knowledgeable.”
“Calpurnius and Tiberius can swing a sword as good as any other, but their true talents lie in the medicinal arts. When arrows start flying and swords clash, it is always a good idea to keep them close by.”
“Vespasianus used to be a hunter before he joined the legion. He knows the wilds better than any of the soldiers.”
“Gallus and Aetius are experts in the use of spears and reach weapons.”
“And last but not least, these are Verenike and Valerius. Their father used to be an officer in my company, but sadly he has passed away recently. However, his son and daughter have taken up his mantle and are willing to fight for our cause.”

Marcus now encourages you to introduce yourselves to the men, before you discuss other issues. Considering the recent developments, it may not be unwise to start using a pseudonym on a regular basis from now on.

[OOC: So now you have twenty for your cause, and Malcom has another ten-Matthias, feel free to introduce them whenever you want.]
Malcom did his best to keep up with Markus as he introduced people. They were all very colorful as were many of the people from the Legion. He repeated their names as he shook their hands. It would take some time to remember everyone and their particular skills.

“Cassius, Herenius. We might have need of your skills right away.” He followed with a light-hearted chuckled, but he was obviously not joking.
“Carrinas. Welcome aboard.”
“Decimus, Petronius, Rufius. We’ll see if we cant get you men a weapon more your size.”
“Antonius, Clodinus, Tollious. I’ve got a half-elf friend I think would fit right in with you.” Caithas did seem like the front line fighter, he wasn’t much of a berserker, but he seemed to fear little.
“Verginius. Perhaps you can lend me some of your marksmanship? I fear I’m not quite well with such arms.” he motioned to Elana, “The lady’s weapon of choice happens to be the same, perhaps a we should have a shoot out one day?”
“Septimus, Brutus.”
[[Shepard. Wrex.]]
“Claudius.” In dwarven “Glad to have you.”
“Calpurnius and Tiberius, I’m so very pleased to see we have some true medics with us now. I can perform some minor mending, I’ll explain later… but I cannot save lives.” He only half-lied. He just didn’t know he could save lives.
“Gallus and Aetius.” He paused and motioned to his glaive strapped on his back, “My kind of men” he chuckled before moving on
“Verenike and Valerius. I’m glad you have you with us, it’s good to know you are willing to fight but I can’t knowingly send untrained soldiers to combat. I will find you a place within our ranks, and if you will it, we will see that you are trained.”

he stood admist the men and addressed them all, “I…” he thought for a short moment, “I am the Captain of this ship, I… can offer little on who I am. I’m a blacksmith and a former corporal of the legion, I’ve got a bit of a Goddess’ blessing with some minor divine spells… I’ve weathered one storm and I’ll weather another. Together we are survivors of the storm and we will see this ship, our ship, to the sunny land beyond. I might be an idealist, but I’m also a realist. Times will be hard, but I have faith in Markus, and by his faith, I have faith in all of you. For the sake of our Voyage, you may call me Captain Tetra. But Captain or Tetra will do just fine.” he couldn’t help but smile as he made the fake name, it was almost too perfect. He wondered if he was taking the ship in a storm metaphor to far, but hey, he got promoted form corporal to captain in just a few days. There was more irony in it, Tetra was a female name, or least a feminine male name. Perhaps our enemies will believe the leader is a woman and a pirate.

He past a gaze over his ‘crew’ before stopping at Markus and Elana, “Well then?”
Caithas nods at the guild Veor pointed out.

“You do the talking, my friend…I don’t need to draw any more attention to my face than necessary. Surely someone here has seen the damn posters. I’m with you, Veor, and I wish to find Erik as well; I will help you where I can. But I fear my skills are not best used here; when the time is right, and a blade or two is needed, that’s where I’ll be.”

Caithas follows the spellflare, keeping his hood up and trying to remain as inconspicuous as possible.
As Jules looks over the man’s infected posterior he tries his best to hold his disgust inside.

Zis woman has a twisted idea of what’s funny, hells, maybe it would have been better if Caithas had just beaten me down in zat ally.

“Ah can’t seem to find ze cause of ze boils, but Ah may have a way to get rid of zem, at least temporarily. When you have time, you will need to prepare a hot bath, lying down in it without sitting on ze infected area, zen take a sharp, clean needle and poke each of ze boils, allowing ze fluid to drain out.”

As Jules stands and faces Mara he pulls out ten sovereigns from his purse, handing them to her.

“Ah am sorry zat Ah could not be of more help, diagnosing and treating specific diseases are beyond my skills right now. Please, take zis, if my assistance fails to produce ze desired result, Ah am sure you can find a doctor or better trained priest for zis much.”
Malcom and Elana-Forum, then East Gate

The veterans respond to your speech with nods of approval. Still, there is some military presence in upper Andelia, so they know that it’d be unwise to openly demonstrate their excitement.

“Well said, Captain”, comments Markus with a hint of irony. “Though we may have but a few men still, they will serve us well on our journey, though I hope this maiden voyage that you have decided to undertake will not be our last.” Markus orders him men to disperse, asking only for Cassius and Herebius to remain, before you start walking towards the East gate. Verenike also remains with you, eager to discuss with Malcom.
[OOC: You can cherry-pick the right man for the job for specific missions that may come later, based on their expertise. You can also use all of them in battles to come. Although they are under Markus’ command, Malcom and other PCs can discuss tactics with him before such a battle, if you have time to organize things in advance.
The veterans are pretty battle-hardened, but also quite old. Most of them are level 2 NPCs. Allies from different organizations will have unique skills and powers that you can use for different tactical purposes. Outcomes of most large-scale battles will be determined by role-playing, tactics, morale, the PCs’ actions etc. I will try to keep dice-rolling to a minimum. It is up to the PCs to find out what kind of special powers different organizations have
I also urge Matthias to do something similar with his men-list them up, like I did, and mention their expertise. They are all men of the guard, so I’d expect them to be warriors of level 1 or 2, or some other martial-oriented class of level 1 (fighter, ranger, barbarian etc). Despite this restriction, they can have ranks in skills that might be useful. You can also think of a cool power or tactic that they might have. Since this is a Roman empire-influenced setting, I am thinking Turtle formation. In any case, if you come up with something you like, we can discuss it in the OOC thread. If you do not list your men up, then I’ll just treat them as unnamed NPCs which can be used in the battles, but nothing else.]
Upper Andelia can be entered via two gates. The East gate leads to the Knights’ bridge and, eventually, Lower Andelia. On the other hand, the low gate leads out of Andelia, where there are several farmhouses, as well as a high-class whorehouse. The second bridge in Andelia, Shepherds’ bridge, is not directly accessible through Upper Andelia, a fact that you may well use to your advantage.

As you travel towards the East gate, Cassius explains the current situation to Malcom: “Both the East gate and the Low gate are heavily guarded day and night. The low gate is kept closed at all times, to prevent the escape of civilians in upper Andelia. The East Gate, however, is kept half-open, to allow military patrols to enter upper Andelia through the Knights’ bridge. Both gates are guarded by at least ten men at any given time, with two times as many soldiers remaining at guardhouses close to the gates. The soldiers typically man their posts in three-hour shifts.”

“Four large Scorpios have recently been installed on specially built nests along the East gate. Two of them are placed on top of the gates, while a second pair is positioned on ground level. Although they are not manned, it is safe to assume that, if needed, the Imperials would resort to using them against civilians.”
“There are several towers along the walls of upper Andelia, but only a few of them are manned, presumably because the Imperials have assigned most of their forces to protect lower Andelia. In addition, small vessels are patrolling the river at night, to make sure that no-one escape from the city under the cover of darkness.”

You consider your alternatives, trying to figure out a way to infiltrate lower Andelia. If you could somehow convince the guards at the gate that you are members of a military patrol, perhaps by disposing a real patrol, then you could simply walk into lower Andelia. You would have to convince the guards at the gates that you are Imperial soldiers, though.

Also, your meeting with the Crimson Irregulars last night revealed secret passages that may be used to go under the walls of upper Andelia and reach the river Fromir. The carpenters’ guild should be able to provide a boat that you could use to reach the opposite bank of the river. Swimming in the icy waters would be unwise, and probably lethal. Once you make it across the river, you could try using climbing gear to scale the walls of lower Andelia. However, you would need to be careful, as the watchtowers there are presumably manned. It would be ill-advised to pursue such an endeavor in broad daylight.

There are not many civilians that are allowed to leave upper Andelia, but on occasion you have seen loaded carts that are allowed to go through the Low gate. You have assumed that they are carrying important merchandise to lower Andelia, but you cannot know for sure. Perhaps you could use this do your advantage, either by sneaking on a cart or by pretending to be a merchant.

Finally, Verenike offers a fourth, albeit risky, alternative: “My father knew some of the senators here in Andelia, and many of those were his friends. We could try sending a diplomatic envoy to discuss the situation with the Imperials. Whether the envoy would be a pretense or not is up to you, but perhaps you could sneak into the city with the rest of us.”

[OOC: Feel free to suggest other alternatives, if you can think of any. Otherwise, you can use any of the approaches above, or a combination thereof, but some cannot be done in daylight, and others can only be done in daylight. Also, think of your escape plan.]

Jules-Mara’s home

Timon is taken aback by your generosity, but he takes the gold anyway, before thanking you several times: “Thank you, brother, thank you. You truly are a holy man! I will use the money wisely! I know that rubbing some wolf urine on the inflicted area treats all wounds and infections, but I could not afford such expensive potions so far. But with your help, I will finally be rid of this ailment!”

Timon leaves in a rush, presumably to procure some wolf urine, leaving you alone with Mara. The young girl has been trying hard not to laugh for the last few minutes, and with Timon gone, she finally stops restraining herself and starts laughing out loud.

[OOC: Feel free to talk to her or leave. Caithas’ story pending…]
With a sigh Jules once again crosses his arms within his robes, resuming his pious stance.

Damn zis woman and her fool of a husband. Ah swear Ah am losing something, first Dunia, zen Elana, now her. Zis savage land must be doing something to rob me of my charm, it seems ze only people Ah can win over zes days are old men, half elves, and barkeepers. Ah could just tell her who Ah really am, women do love a rebel, but zat would probably end badly.

“Ah take it zat you are amused with yourself, my lady. Ah don’t know much of medicine, but Ah have never heard of wolf urine as a cure for anything, please try and keep your husband from spending it all on a cure zat might not work. But Ah have overstayed my time here, and am likely to begin rambling again if Ah don’t leave soon. Zer are others out zer who need my help as well.”

Jules leaves the small house, finding himself in the middle of Upper Andelia without a bodyguard and with only his rapier and the robes of a cleric for protection. Not sure of where to go, Jules decides to look around the upper city, listening in on what the common people think about what has happened recently.
Caithas and Veor

You wander in the small neighborhood around the woodcarvers’ guild, with Caithas remaining on the backround and Veor trying to find some peasants willing to answer to his questions. Most seem to actively avoid him, not pausing to hear him out or, at best, giving him a strange glare, before leaving. Eventually, the pair chances upon a man who is willing to talk to Veor, but first, he asks you to follow him, away from any unwanted company.

Once you are at the outskirts of the neighborhood, with no-one close enough to hear you, the man addresses Veor: “Aye, I saw the man. Big guy, blonde hair, thick beard, right? I saw him yesterday with two equally large men, walking towards the Golden Eagle. It looked like one of the two had a knife pressed against your friend’s back. At some point, your friend tried to attack them, but he didn’t get far… It all happened too fast, but I think he got knifed before being dragged to that tavern. Bloody loyalist scum! I sure hope you teach those bastards a lesson!”

Veor thanks the man, who bids you farewell, before explaining: “The Golden Eagle has been a den of loyalists and extremists for as long as I can remember. If you think that the Imperials are bad, then you haven’t met any of that tavern’s patrons. Their favorite pass-time activities include forming posies to go after the natives, lynch mobs to attack those they deem as traitors and harassing non-humans in Andelia. If Erik is still in there, then he may not have much time left. We should seek out Markus and act swiftly, before it is too late.”

[OOC: If Caithas has no objection, then the pair can join up with Malcom and the others near the east gate.]


As you exit towards the doorstep, Mara continues chuckling, whilst following closely behind you. When you exit, she stands at the door, and instead of greeting you farewell, she gives you a kiss on the cheek, before saying: “Timon is not my husband, silly. Why would I marry an oaf like that? Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he doesn’t spend all the coin.” She gives you a smile and, before you have a chance to react, closes the door to your face.

Humiliated and deceived by a commoner, you start walking towards the forum to reunite with the rest of the group. On your way, you try to keep your ears open to what the peasants have to say. You do manage to catch some snippets of conversation:

(A peasant woman discussing with a baker near the market)
“…what do you mean half a sovereign for a loaf of bread?! That’s bloody theft!”
“I am sorry, ma’am, but supplies are limited. Take it or leave it.”

(Three men smoking near a hut, with not much to do but talking)
“I say we organize patrols ourselves to find those traitors. If we manage to catch them and hand them over, all this mess will be over with.”

(Superstitious old woman / beggar at the market)
“The spirit of the dead general will not rest until the injustice that has been done upon him is repaid with blood.”

(Group of the three men who went after Caithas, near the site of the assult, who have returned empty-handed)
“Fucking soldiers think they can mess with anyone. If I had their sword and their armor, we’d see who’d be doing the beating around here. Cowards! (he spits)”

[OOC: You can join with Malcom and the rest of the party (potentially including Caithas) near the east gate. There, you can start discussing on the plan of action. Alternatively, you can try to mingle with the commoners some more. You can return to Mara at any point. I know Jules is supposed to be a ladies’ man, but high social skill modifiers alone will not do the trick. You will need to role-play courtship and seduction appropriately Unfortunately, I am a guy, so I might not always manage to role-play women convincingly. Mara anyway seems to like you, in a weird sort of way, but she also enjoys humiliating young priests ]
“I’m sorry, Veor. I know it doesn’t sound good for Erik, but there’s still hope. As long as your friend lives, and gods be good, let’s hope he does…as long as he lives, we’ll try to get him out of that damned tavern.”

Caithas grits his teeth, feeling helpless, knowing that any act of bravado would only get them both killed, leaving Erik to the fate of the loyalists.

“Come, we’re near where Malcom and Markus and the rest said they’d be, right? The East Gate, correct? Damned if I’m not learning my way around this little quarantine of ours…”

Caithas rests his hand on his sword’s hilt and says though clenched teeth, “Let us tell them what you’ve learned. We know where Erik is; now we need the manpower to get him back.”
Not her husband!? was Ah zat obvious zat she would want to deceive me like zat? A kiss on ze check and a door to ze face, not exactly foreign, but it usually happens ze other way around.

Jules approaches the group as he notices them discussing how to get into lower Andelia. Pushing past the humiliation of being deceived, he joins the group. A tone of insincere woe fills his words before he introduces himself to the soldiers.

“It is a sad, sad day when men of god are no longer able to walk zes streets safely. Ah cannot believe ze guards would go so far as to publicly beat a priest. But it seems we have some new friends, Ah am Brother Percy, and it is a pleasure to meet you all. So, what did Ah miss?”
Elana stood behind Malcom whilst the soldiers were introducing themselves, content to be looked over by the others. A few threw curious looks at her, but since no one was paying her much heed they must’ve thought her unimportant. That suited her just fine. She felt like an apathetic believer amongst a crowd of zealots. Perhaps not so extreme, but she did feel out of place.

Most everyone here looks like they’ve lost someone to the Empire, or are ready to die for the cause. I may be putting my life on the line, but my heart has yet to follow.

Only one of the soldiers bothered to ask her name, and, following Malcom’s lead, she adopted the moniker Ælla. Not long after Cassius began briefing them on the situation, Jules showed up in his holy clothes and introduced himself as Brother Percy.

“It is a sad, sad day when men of god are no longer able to walk zes streets safely. Ah cannot believe ze guards would go so far as to publicly beat a priest.”

“I’m confused, did the guards beat you, or a man of god?” she quipped. She introduced herself quickly, so the others wouldn’t dwell on her statement. “I’m Ælla. We’ve met once before, but I wasn’t sure you’d remember me.” If Jules was going to play a character, she might as well. “Captain Tetra,” she gestured towards Malcom. “And I were just being briefed on the guard’s positions in Andelia, as well as our options for getting into the lower section.”

Since Elana had gotten to know Jules some, she couldn’t imagine anyone buying that he was a priest. He was much too young and pretty faced to be a man of the cloth. “Perhaps later,” she said loud enough for those nearby to hear. “You could bless the men and lead them in a prayer. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the divine protection. Brother.” Fun at Jules’ expense was endlessly entertaining for her. She hoped to witness Jules playing at prayer. It was getting harder not to laugh.
The humor in Elana’s voice was shocking. Jules couldn’t remember her playing the part of anything but a noblewoman, bold or submissive, outspoken or quiet, Elana always seemed to be acting as a lady of her station was expected. Now though, she actually seemed to be enjoying herself. Keeping wary of the new allies, Jules abstains from sharing his opinion, instead deciding to play into his disguise.

“Of course, Ælla, Tetra, honored to see you both again. And if any person here seeks ze blessings and protection of Lineen, Ah would be more zan happy to provide. Ah have a rather deserving prayer picked out. Hellfire and Damnation befalling ze treacherous, part of it even involves Lepers infecting zos who are unfaithful. Quite inspiring if Ah might say so.”
“Brother Percy?” he stifled a giggle, but then Elana poked at him, and he saw his opportunity “The only thing Holy about him, is that he’s full of holes…” Malcom laughed before explaining his suggestion, “I think we should try to cross at night with boats, just a handful of men. Our recent allies should be more than willing to help us with the underground maze beneath the city. We will have to be wary of the patrol boats, but perhaps we could find a distraction for them. As for an escape plan… The front door makes a nicer exit than it does an entrance. But if we manage to go undetected then we will just take the boats back across. Although, I won’t deny that taking care of the light artillery might be a good idea. Sabotage or thievery. If we… scored the ropes in just the right places, they’ll snap when they try to fire the first shot. Though, the things are made of wood, so burning them is also an option, but then they will know to replace them before fighting starts again.”

He shrugged and looked at the surrounding houses and their rooftops, looking for possible sniper positions, “I’ve got some men recruited from here, ten or so, add that with Markus’ men and we get thirty. Two groups of five go in, the rest we can split fifty-fifty. Ten watching the bridge, and ten down by the boats. In case anything happens. I’m still hoping on stealth here but we will need to be cautious just in case.”
Caithas arrived on the scene with Veor, and heard his companions using their bizarre nicknames.

I’ll never be any good at this, he thought.

“Ummm…Tetra, is it? Sir? It’s me…ummm…Jorjen. I’ve returned here with…ahhh…your companion,” he stumbles, indicating Veor.

“He’s got some interesting things to report. I think you should hear what he has to say. But know that I’ll stand by your side; place me where you need me when the time is right.”
Malcom looked over to Veor, “What is it brother? You look worried, news of our missing friend?” The way he called Veor brother varied vastly from the way it could be used to describe Jules. Both men were not holy, but certainly were brothers of war. But Veor’s expression said it all, it wasn’t good news about to be reported. Having the rank of corporal, he had been used to a few people reporting to him from time to time. There’s always a twinkle in the eyes, an adjustment of posture, a twitch of the lips that just spoke if the news be good, or if the news was bad.
With a name like Captain Tetra, Elana thought it was obvious that they were using false names, but that didn’t matter. Caithas’ struggle with slipping into a false identity was entertaining when compared to herself and Jules, who were making light of it all. She smirked at the way Jules rolled with her punches. A part of her wanted to push him to see how far he’d go, but now was not the right time.

When Malcom wrapped up his proposed strategy, Elana nodded her head in approval. It sounded sensible enough, and she trusted the soldier’s grasp on tactics over her own. “Good. When do we leave?” She knew the others might have a qualm with her going along on such a dangerous task, so she wanted to leave them little room to interject. I’m already caught up in this mess, so I might as well get some fun out of it. It would be dangerous, but in the company of these men, she somehow felt that she’d come out okay. Plus, a little bit of risk and adventure were long overdue.
(Before Caithas and Veor arrive)

Markus heeds Malcom’s suggestions, as some semblance of a plan begins to formulate. “We will need to move at night, then. A small group of men would stand a better chance to pass undetected, since only one boat would be required to cross the river. As for a distraction, we could use some of the veterans to make a diversion. Or we could set another boat adrift and set it ablaze with an arrow once it’s within a safe distance. But crossing the river is the easy part. Once on the opposite shore, you and your men will have to climb the walls. I can provide you with ample rope and equipment, but I cannot guarantee that you will not meet resistance. The watchtowers are manned and there might be patrols guarding the walls. Stay away from the towers, and strike swiftly from the shadows, if you must.”

“If you manage to infiltrate the city, your men from the guard will be an invaluable asset. They can provide a place to hide and with them, exiting the city through the main gate might be a viable choice. Just make sure to disguise ourselves appropriately. Remember, you might need to spend several days in Lower Andelia to get the information you need. The Black Chamber is not a tavern or a whorehouse; it is carefully guarded and you will most likely be unable to access it at night. If the presence of any intruders is discovered, security measures will definitely increase substantially, thus making your mission harder-not to mention your survival. Do not fuck up! We are depending on you!”

[OOC: @ Matthias: I think the story would be better by assuming that Malcom’s ten men are at Lower Andelia, still working undercover with the guard. This could also help in making this plan more plausible, as they can give the party a place to stay and help you leave via the main gate.]

“As for the Scorpios, we could destroy them, but not without raising suspicions. Perhaps there is a better alternative: three of my veterans are much familiar with such artillery. They should, in principle, be able to disable the ballistae without damaging them. Merely taking out an important gear would make the machine inoperative, but they should be able to restore the machines at any time. Besides, the ballistae would allow us to control the bridge, if we need to.”
Markus concludes: “So, who will it be? A small boat can carry four men, and all my soldiers are at your disposal. It’s up to you to choose who will join you, though.”

[OOC: I am really hoping here that the party will get to go on the mission, either because Malcom chooses them or by individual PCs jumping up and volunteering. I’d hate to split the party for this mission. Also, @ Mike: someone else, perhaps another PC, can brief you on the plan after you try to help Veor (perhaps on your way to the Golden Eagle tavern), but feel free have Caithas also offer his suggestions and modify the plan. Same goes for all PCs.]

(As soon as Caithas and Veor arrive)

The discussion is interrupted by the duo’s arrival, who seem particularly distressed. Without wasting any time, Veor explains the situation to Markus, who remarks: “Perhaps we will need the veterans sooner than I had anticipated. Cassius, Herenius, go gather the men. Make sure that they are all armed and ready. We will meet near the Woodcarvers’ guild district. We need to keep a low profile though, so conceal your weapons as best as you can.” The two soldiers nod in agreement before jogging away.

“The Golden Eagle is too close to the East gate, but we cannot afford to lose Erik. Without him, we might not have the Svodun by our side. I’ll order my men to keep an eye on the guards, but I would rather not risk attacking them yet. We are few and they are many; against them, we will not prevail. We shall only attack if there is no other way. Veor, it’s up to you and your companions to rescue Erik. How will you proceed?”

Veor, having given little thought on the matter until now, remains silent for a few minutes, considering the plan of action. Finally, he replies: “We must get in, find Erik and get out as soon as possible, avoiding bloodshed if we can. If the guards realize that something is wrong, we will fail. I will enter the tavern and use my knowledge of magic to cover the place in mist. Then, all who join me must help in checking all the doors and the rooms behind them for Erik.” Markus pauses, unable to come up with something better. “Very well, let’s go”, he says. Veor stays behind, wishing to address Elana in private.

[OOC: You can follow or stay back. If you follow, you can remain with Markus, keeping a watchful eye over the guards, or join Veor in the tavern. Of course, feel free to suggest other alternatives. If Elana wishes to listen to Veor, he says the following to her (in private).]

“Elana, I know that this is too much to ask from you, but I think that you have also, like most of us here, seen how unjust and cruel the Imperials are. You know that the people are suffering and I think that you care about them, even though you are of noble lineage and upbringing. Why would you help Sarah otherwise? I do not ask of you to join us, as that is a choice you alone can make, but if you decide to leave, I understand. Danger and death lie ahead; it is only a matter of days before the city becomes a battlefield. I know we can trust you; your heart is in the right place.”
Caithas grunts as he takes in the plan, trying to keep hood up and his ears hidden, even in the company of allies. Never in his life, not even when he’d lived with the xenophobic dwarves of The Crags, had the ranger ever felt more aware of his elven blood than he did in this bloody city.

His eyes drifted to Jules and Elana, and for the first time, the half-elf saw something. A spark. Something more than arrangement and nobility. They almost looked like…like they cared. Well, good for them, the ranger thought. They’ll need each other, considering what I’m about to commit to. Some fucking bodyguard…

And then he spoke:

“Veor, you know I will help however I can. Despite sticking out like a goddamn sore thumb in this city, I’ll do what needs to be done. I could never enter The Golden Eagle under normal conditions, but if you can provide some magical cover, I will attempt, along with anyone else brave or stupid enough to join me, to find your missing friend in there. If trouble arises, I’ve got my blades. And if I fail…well, you’re all no worse off than you are right now, I suppose, so what the hell, right?”

Caithas laughs a little, but with a bitter edge. It was a sound the half-elf was growing accustomed to. The ranger look a breath and tasted the thick air. Even in the depth of winter, the air was different here. All the inhalations and exhalations of the inhabitants of Andelia filled the city in a way that a forest was never filled. Maybe it was the lack of trees. Maybe it was the stink of death and hunger. Whatever it was, this air wasn’t easily drawn into the half-elf’s lungs. Instead, it had to be pulled. Coaxed. Even begged.

If I ever get a chance to be free of this fucking place, I’ll never take an easy breath for granted again, Caithas thought. Though the odds of living to see the outside of Andelia’s walls seemed more and more remote with each passing day. It didn’t help any that he did not seem capable of not sticking his neck out every other second for another headsman’s axe, but life was danger. He wasn’t a smart man, but he knew that much.

He also knew that these crazy rebels were as close to friends and a cause to be believed in as he’d known in well over a decade. If that wasn’t worth risking one’s life, what was?

Caithas turns to Malcom and Markus as he continues.

“And if we are able to get Erik free, then my swords and life are yours. If there is a plan in place to enter the lower city and extract what information is necessary, I am in. But know that my…my race…may prove a problem in these undercover situations. It cannot be helped, of course, and though I’ll disguise as much as possible, if either of you feel that my presence will be more of a hindrance than a boon, I will stay back and do what I can on this side of the city. You are the leaders of this merry little uprising, and I’m just a bastard who came to this city at the wrong damn time; I defer to your decisions and will do what I can do help.”
The thought of another fight, another smokescreen blinding everything they do, another run in with the actual guards, all sent a shiver down Jules spine. No longer enough to stop him from acting, but more than enough to make remember the scar at his side.

“Markus, Ah am not much in a fight, but Ah may be able to keep watch on ze guards and distract zem if need be to give Veor some more time.”

After listening to Caithas’ words, Jules felt as if the bitterness and self-loathing was pouring off of his friend.

“Caithas, Ah’m not going to say Ah understand your position in all zis or how you feel, but if you die in zat building because you were too busy looking at your navel from ze inside out, zen Ah am going to be stuck in zis rebellion with no bodyguard, and no friends, and getting a new one of either of zos would take far more time zan Ah have. What Ah mean to say is, Ah would be worse off without you, so try and stave off whatever creeping self-doubt you have until after zis battle.”
The half-elf looks up in surprise at Jules’ words.

I still haven’t gotten used to having a friend again, the ranger realized silently. Grunur would wonder what the hell happened to me…

With a smile that was only half-forced, Caithas looked at his friend and employer and said, “Your words flatter me, sir. Thank you. I will do my best to stay alive, if only so that you have a bodyguard to keep your noble ass out of trouble in back-alleys. And do not worry…I’ll try my best not to get killed. I can’t promise that the soldiers in that bar will finish today in quite the same state of good health, though.”

By the time he finished talking, his eyes on the Lineen-born man, his grin was no longer forced.
Elana followed Veor aside, and heard him out. He seemed genuinely impressed with her, which came as a surprise; she hadn’t expected the other soldiers to consider much of her. She may have been of noble birth and raised in nobility, but really she had little power of worth, though she didn’t explain that to the man.

“Thank you, Veor. I’ll do what I can to help.” That seemed to satisfy the old mage, who rejoined the others. Elana felt he may have read more into her actions than was really there. True she helped Sarah, but there was a difference between sheltering an abandoned girl and stabbing a soldier in the heart.

She was excited to get out and do something daring, but fear was the undercurrent in her actions. This wasn’t going to be an adventure, this was going to be a battle. Men dying and killing, and she’d be caught up in it. This is the real world. My books and seclusion will only get me so far. I need to understand what it’s like. Even telling herself that, she knew her risks were foolish and much too dangerous, but she was good at ignoring that part of her mind when she needed to.
“Alright. We will move to help Veor find Erik first. Then we wait for a good night with little moonlight and plan our strategy a bit more.” He looked to Elana, “I’m pleased to hear that you’re coming along to help, but I don’t find any pleasure in the thought of sullying your hands, and I’m sure you don’t either.” He looked over to Veor, “We will continue as planned, Me and Ælla will cover the door and keep them from sealing us in as reinforcements arrive. Percy and Jorgen can search rooms together along with Veor and the other men.” he looks over to the noble woman beside him, “I’ll cover you between bolt shots if we ever get into combat, but hopefully its just a matter of getting in, kicking in a few doors and getting Erik out of there.”
“That’s it exactly,” Caithas pipes in, hearing Malcom’s words.

“Get in, kick some doors in under the cover of some nice magical fog, grab Erik and get the hell out of there. That’s the plan…but really, when have things ever gone according to plan? That’s where these might come in handy,” the half-elf says, continuing to smile, his hands patting his twin blades.
“Of course, searching ze building…”

Zat jsut happen to be filled with angry, frightened men many with large, frightening weapons. At ze very least Ah will have ze fog to hide in, not zat it will help much if Ah get trampled by some confused brute in ze chaos.

Jules doesn’t know much about Erik, but if what he has heard is true, Erik could be key to getting the native Svodun on their side, and that would also give them a chance of winning over the Sisters. The native reinforcements coupled with the magic the Sisters could provide would be a huge aid to the rebellion.

At the woodcarvers’ district, you meet with Markus’ men, all of them equipped and ready for the mission. Markus calls out two of his men: “Carrinas, Tullious, you will go with Veor. We should try to draw as little attention as possible, but if you need support at any point, call out the words and our brothers will join in. With Veor and Jorjen, there will be four of you. You should coordinate to quickly search the tavern. Speed is paramount if we want to get Erik back alive.”

[Jules can join Caithas, according to Malcom’s suggestion, or stay behind and watch the gate with the others, as he previously stated. If Jules decides to join Caithas, then please roll for initiative, Ross.
Also, Malcom does not currently have a crossbow (but he can acquire one later).]

Veor nods in agreement before he departs to the edge of the district, assuming positions as close to the tavern as possible with the rest of those who are willing to join him. With the group gone, Markus addresses the remaining rebels: “We must not provoke the guards at this point unless it is absolutely necessary. Keep a close eye on them, but no-one should fire unless I give the order. Captain,” he says, addressing Malcom, “you should keep a watchful eye on the tavern’s door. If anyone else, other than the party, steps out, we will have to stop him.” He looks at Verginius, the sniper with the oversized crossbow, who simply nods in agreement. With the men at ready, Markus signals Veor and the rest of the rescue party to move in. Veor, followed by Caithas, Carrinas and Tullious, simply step into the tavern. Moments of silence follow, that seem to stretch on for an eternity.

(Caithas and potentially Jules)

You enter the Golden Eagle, a small tavern frequented by military men and loyalists of the worst kind. Despite its small size, the interior of the tavern is lavishly decorated, with weapons and shields covering the walls. Four men are sitting in the main hall: The tavern keeper is behind his bench, while two patrons with shaved heads and tattoos bearing the insignia of the legions and a guard are sitting around a table. Erik is nowhere to be seen. You only have a split-second to observe how the main hall is structured. On your left, a wooden staircase leads downwards. Behind the fireplace, what seems to be a small corridor extends to the right, but you cannot see anything more.

“Are you lost?” asks one of the patrons in a threatening tone. Before he has a chance to react, Veor steps to the middle of the room and cries out “Now!” before proceeding to cast a spell. Magical fog fills the room. You only have a split second to draw your weapons, before deciding what to do next.

Initiative_Veor – (1d20+2)22
Initiative_Carrinas – (1d20)5
Initiative_Tullious – (1d20+1)16
Initiative_tavernkeeper – (1d20)3
Initiative_Patron1 – (1d20+4)22
Initiative_patron2 – (1d20+1)21
Initiative_Soldier – (1d20+1)9

[OOC: Those participating in the fight, i.e. Caithas and potentially Jules, please roll for initiative and declare your actions, if you want. I will upload a map tomorrow.]
Jules looks around the interior of the building, sweat already starting to bead down his face. When he see’s the stairway down he immediately decides where he’s going. Down and hopefully away from the fight.

[OOC: Initiative – (1d20+3)15
Caithas immediately draws his blades when Veor’s magical fog enshrouds the cramped tavern. Moving towards the small hallway behind the fireplace, the half-elf does his best to avoid the attention of the loyalist patrons. If Erik was down the corridor, this might be easier than the ranger thought. If not, and he was being kept downstairs, there was little chance this little mission would end without blood being let on both sides…

Initiative – (1d20+2)14

Stealth – (1d20+7)27

With the room filled with fog, you cannot see what is happening. You can barely navigate through it, but Jules manages to make his way to the staircase. He hurries downstairs, letting the fighting to the rest of his companions. Unexpectedly, Carrinas also follows him downstairs. The staircase leads to a small room with stone walls. A wooden door bars the entry into the basement. Jules tries to open the door, but it is locked. Carrinas prepares to slam the door open, but before he does, Jules has a chance to swiftly act.

[OOC: Jules has higher initiative than Carrinas, so he can act first.]

Caithas rushes towards the corridor. He manages to use the fog to his advantage. As he passes through it, he hears a sword being unsheathed next to him. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees the silhouette of a soldier, but he manages to remain undetected. Standing at the hallway’s end, he notices that it extends for about forty feet. A door stands at the corridor’s end. In addition, two more doors are located closer to Caithas, on his left.

[OOC: I have labeled the map with the three doors.]

You can hear the sounds of battle coming from the main hall, where Veor stood a few seconds ago. You can also hear some shouts and another spell being cast, but you cannot see anything.

Round 2


You can hear faint sounds coming from the tavern, but the guards at the gate have not yet realized that something is going on. Hoping for the best, you grasp your weapons, praying that this will be over soon.
Caithas rushes towards the hallway, leaving the sounds of confused shouts and swords being unsheathed behind him. His blades are drawn, and his instinct is to slash as the soldier in the fog, but first thing’s first. Get the prisoner, get Jules and the others, and get out. The half-elf had seen the nobleman heading for the staircase as the magical fog descended. Caithas hoped his friend would find no unwelcome surprises down there. Hopefully, the danger lurked only upstairs. Besides, the ranger mused, as he looked at the three doors before him, lining the hallway, there were only a few of them out there, plus a barkeep. As long as those numbers stayed where they were, the rebels had the advantage, and if things went badly, Caithas knew he could rejoin the fight fairly quickly.

Erik’s the key to all this, the ranger knew. Not only was a he a good man who needed help, but he might just be the lynchpin that could link the natives to the rebel cause. That meant that he was more important than one more body hitting the floor as a result of the half-elf’s blades.

Rushing down the hallway, unhindered by enemies or fog, Caithas runs down to the farthest door and attempts to open it with a push of his foot, swords readied for whatever happened to be behind it. The half-elf muttered a near-silent prayer, hoping the door wasn’t locked.

(Caithas’ turn done:…?round_id=8693)
Of course ze door is locked, why wouldn’t it be!

Frustrated at the obstacle before him, Jules shuffles through the gear in his pack, finally finding his lock pick kit. As he begins to work, Jules notices that one of their allies, his names slipping Jules’ mind at the moment, is prepared to bash the door down. The thought of being crushed into a door urges Jules to work faster.

Pick Lock – (1d20+8)17

Stealth – (1d20+7)16
The shouts and sounds of combat were muffled out on the streets, but Elana feared that a wandering patrol would happen by any minute. Waiting with the others, she had Ællastyr ready to fire, as well as a dagger and wand tucked into her belt. Her heart was racing. She couldn’t imagine having to go into battle on a regular basis; just waiting before one was nerve wracking enough. The others were grim faced and silent, no doubt most were experienced fighting men. Elana could see their nervousness too, in subtle ways that the body betrayed. It comforted her to know that even veterans felt unease before a fight.

She shook her mind to clear her thoughts, and focus on the task at hand. If anyone of the enemies stepped out of that inn, she was determined to be one of the first to put a bolt in him.
Malcom readied his glaive and listened for any sort of sign of the commotion dying down, or getting out of control. Either thing could be a bad indicator, or perhaps a good one. Either way there would be no stopping now. Hopefully they found Erik quickly… He didn’t want to linger long.

[[Perception? Sorry I’m slow at posting. Just got my training schedule, 9 hour training sessions. D: I have to get up at 6am to get to work at 8, to get home at 5 or 6.]]
Caithas, tavern ground floor

The sounds of battle rage on from the main hall, but you focus on the task at hand. You attempt to kick the door and, although it gives in, moving a couple of inches, it is immediately pushed shut. Although the door is unlocked, it appears that there is someone in the room attempting to keep the door closed.

[OOC: You can try pushing it harder. If so, then give me a Str check please.]

Round 3

Jules, tavern cellar

You attempt to pick the lock, but you are not fast enough. Upstairs, all hell seems to be breaking loose. You can hear some curses, a spell being cast and thudding noises against the wooden ceiling, indicating that someone has fallen or has been thrown against the tavern’s floor.

You quickly have to give up your efforts, taking care to get out of Carrinas’ way, as he smashes against the door, attempting to knock it down with his shoulder. Carrinas is a big man, and the door budges under his weight, but it still remains closed. As he prepares for a second attempt, you can hear some shouts coming from behind the door: “Who is it? Whoever you are, get me the hell out of here!” You recognize the deep voice of a dwarf, but not much else beyond that.

Malcom and Elana, outside

The sounds from within the tavern are getting louder. Suddenly, a soldier clad in chainmail emerges from the tavern’s door. He starts running towards the gate, no doubt to alert his comrades. Verginius is quick to aim his arbalest against the guard; he calmly follows him with his weapon, ready to release a bolt.

[OOC: Elana can try shooting him, and Malcom may or may not be able to cast a spell. Currently, the man is 150 ft away from you. He is running from the tavern’s entrance towards the gate, a distance of 600 ft.]
[OOC: Can I try and pick the lock again, if so I’ll do that otherwise I’ll edit this post later.]

As Jules moves out of the way of the charging man he gestures wildly at him, trying to avoid making any more noise than the rebel already had.

Ze brute would bring zis building down if he thought it would help, no finesse at all.

In as quiet a voice as is still audible Jules addresses, “Watch ze staircase and keep anyone from getting down here, Ah am going to try and pick ze lock, hopefully without interruption zis time,” he says, emphasizing the part about interruptions.

With that Jules crouches down so he is at eye level with the lock, and once again sets out at his work.

Pick Lock – (1d20+8)20
Caithas feels the door give, but is surprised when it is quickly slammed shut again.

That doesn’t seem like something Erik would do, the ranger thinks. But it just might be what the sonofabitch guarding him would do.

Blades in hand, Caithas steps back and then lunges forward, attempting to kick the door down along with whoever was fool enough to stand behind it.

Strength Check – (1d20+3)19

(Caithas’ turn finished:…?round_id=8766)
Caithas, tavern ground floor

Gathering momentum, you run towards the door, throwing a powerful kick at it. You feel some resistance, but it is not sufficient to keep the door from opening. The door slams against the man who was holding it, a large human covered in tattoos who is brandishing a bastard sword in his right hand and is protected by a round shield, but no armor. The man takes a swing at you, but you manage to avoid the blow, which smashes against the door frame instead.

You cannot make out anyone in the room behind him, but visibility is still restricted by the walls and the man standing in front of you.

Round 4

Jules, tavern cellar

This time, Carrinas lets you to your work, as you try to pick the lock once again. Somehow, you are successful, despite the desperate banging against the door from the inside. As the door opens, you see the short, hairy creature that was locked in the room. The dwarf was smashing his fist against the door, and he almost strikes you with his hand as soon as you open the door. He shouts: “Let’s get the fuck out of here!” before running upstairs. On his way, Carrinas hands him a heavy mace that he kept on his belt as a backup weapon. Carrinas follows the dwarf upstairs after urging you to join him. You are left alone in the basement, which is jam-packed with crates and barrels.
Caithas wheels on the unarmored man, as the blade whizzes by the half-elf’s head.

Bastard’s playing for keeps, Caithas thinks, as he swings both of his blades in alternating directions at his assailant:

Attack 1 – (1d20+4)15

Attack 2 – (1d20+4)16

Damage 1 – (1d6+5)7

Damage 2 – (1d6+5)10

With no armor on, the man was just the kind of target Caithas liked…

(Caithas’ turn done:…?round_id=8786)
As the dwarf rushes past Jules he finds himself worried about entering the cellar, but pushes forward drawing out his rapier as he does, calling out, “Erik, if you are down here just grunt or shout or, Ah don’t know, rustle around or something.” Jules takes a nearby crate and tries to open the lid looking to see what sort of supplies the loyalists had here.
Elana raises her crossbow, taking aim at the man who’d just fled the tavern. Her heart was racing and if she had the clarity to think it through, she probably would’ve held off until the man was closer. She pulled the trigger. An audible click was followed by a “shick” sound as the bolt sped out of the metal groove.

Light Crossbow (-1 to attack roll, range increment; total 2) (1d202)10
Caithas, tavern ground floor

The man attempts to parry your blows with his sword, but he has no experience in dealing with a two-weapon fighter. You quickly see that you have the upper hand, swinging both swords against the tavern patron. Without armor to protect him, both blows land, cutting him viciously across his shoulder and torso. The man falls to his wounds, but your moment of triumph is short-lived: as the man falls, you see that an archer was standing behind him, his weapon on the ready. Before you have a chance to react, the archer lets his arrow loose. It flies across the room, hitting you straight in the chest and knocking the air out of your lungs, which quickly begin to fill up with blood.

Round 5

[OOC: The arrow hits you for 9 points of damage, remember to subtract them from your character sheet.]

Jules, tavern basement

There is nothing but the sounds of battle coming from upstairs; there is no-one in the basement, save for the corpse of a young male elf. You check one of the crates, which simply contains a number of bottles filled with strong liquor.

Elana and Malcom, outside

Elana is the first to react upon seeing the soldier exit the tavern. Her bolt flies towards the guard, but at such a long range, she is way off target. The bolt ends up getting nailed on the tavern’s wall. At the same time, Verginius operates his arbalest with remarkable composure, adjusting his weapon through several small levers and gears and carefully observing through the scopes. Eventually, he presses the trigger, releasing a bolt with a powerful noise. The bolt strikes the running guard, who does not yet fall to the ground, but is clearly staggered by the powerful impact.
As Jules looks around and takes note of the dead elf and considers examining the basement further, but with Erik nowhere in sight and limited time Jules decides against it, rushing up the stairs before slowing himself, taking note of the fog and trying slip around the fighting to the back corridor.

Damn loyalists, not even bothering to keep all of zer prisoners in one place.

Stealth – (1d20+8)19

[OOC: Since Jules doesn’t have an icon on the map I don’t know where he’s going to end up or how many feet of movement the stairs will take, but he’s taking a double move action while stealthed for 30ft of movement total. But he’s going to try and loop around the fighting in order to get to the corridor.]
Caithas felt the breath leave his chest. It wasn’t pain…it was weight. The pressure was excruciating.

Eyes blurred, the half-elf charged the archer, knowing that if he didn’t kill the shooter, another arrow would do him in. It was kill or be killed…and the ranger didn’t plan on dying today.

(OOC: I’ll take the charge of +2 to attack and -2 to AC. It’s do or die at this point, eh? )

Attack – (1d20+8)10

Damage – (1d6+5)10

Elana traced the bolt as it landed wide of it’s target. The man was running, and at some distance; this was no easy shot. But she had to keep trying. The man next to her, who seemed to possess great skill, landed a hit. Even though she shouldn’t be comparing with a veteran, she felt the need to try again.

The reloading mechanism was surprisingly simple, and she quickly had another bolt ready. Raising the crossbow up, she tried to keep the now limping target in her sight.

Light Crossbow – (1d20+2)13
Tavern, ground floor


Jules emerges from the staircase, moving swiftly towards the corridor, where he last saw Caithas heading just a few seconds ago. As he runs to the corridor’s end, he sees a dead body lying close to an open door that leads into a large room. He cannot yet see what is happening in that room, but as he rushes to the door, an arrow flies from its interior, ending up close to the door. Jules can hear some fighting noises coming from that room, although most sounds still seem to be coming from the main hall.


The bowman is, like the soldier Caithas faced at the doorway, not wearing any armor, but he manages to dodge the ranger’s attack. He takes a step back and releases another arrow, but he is clearly under a lot of stress. The attack misses Caithas completely and the arrow flies towards the corridor from which he entered.

(Jules and Caithas)

From the main hall, other than the sounds of battle, you can hear a man shouting: “We’re running out of time!”

Round 6

[OOC: Jules gets to act first, then Caithas.]

Elana and Malcom, outside

Once again, Elana misses the soldier. Next to her, Verginius is trying to re-load his arbalest as fast as possible. However, the process is slow, as his crossbow is extremely intricate and difficult to operate. Before he has a chance to shoot, the soldier shouts out towards the direction of the gate: “Guards! Intruders!” With those words, he collapses to the ground.
As the arrow strikes the door it pushes away any remaining bravado that Jules had brought with him, and he decides against entering the room. Instead he hangs a left, moving towards another door and trying to open it.

As he moves to the door, the sound of a man shouting, “We’re running out of time!” drives a spike of fear into him as he continues the frantic search.

Jules Done
Caithas hears the whistle of the arrow go by as he feels his own blood begin to soak through his rags. His vision shaken, his feet feeling like lead, the half-elf shakes off the pain.

The bastard missed once, the ranger thought to himself, gritting his teeth against screaming out in agony. Scared or not, he likely won’t again. That means I’d better not miss this time…

It terrified Caithas to realize that even if his blow landed, he still likely wouldn’t get out of this fucking bar alive. He half-heard the warning shout from beyond the walls, but it was information the half-elf knew all too well: He was running out of time.

Scimitar raised, the terribly wounded half-elf once again charged the shooter, who no longer had anywhere to run to.

If I’m going to die down here, Caithas thought, as his blade came down, I’m taking this sonofabitch with me.

Charge Attack – (1d20+8)21

Damage – (1d6+5)8

(OOC: Well, that helps Anyway, Caithas’ turn is obviously done, but I can’t post the link yet, as Olaf and one of the enemies needs to go before I do. Vlad, feel free to just apply this action and pass Caithas’ turn on the battle map when you next update.)
Jules and Caithas, inside the tavern

Jules pushes the door; the door gives way, revealing a simple room. There is nothing particularly interesting in the room: two mattresses are placed on the floor, in front of Jules. There is also a closet in the right corner. There is no-one in this room, as far as Jules can tell.

Caithas’ sword slices the archer’s hand, sending him into panic. Cornered and without any armor or shield, the man attempts to shoot another arrow. Caithas sees the opportunity, knowing very well that it might be his last, and swings his scimitar desperately against the man. The attack is clumsy, but the half-elf puts all of his remaining strength behind the blow. To his surprise, he lands a solid hit, cutting the archer’s bow in half and separating his head from his shoulders. Breathing a sigh of relief, the ranger quickly checks his surroundings. There are no other enemies around, but there is also no sign of Erik. There are two closed doors, one on Caithas’ right and another one on his left. Both are closed.

[OOC: The one “right” is the one up, the room that Jules is currently inspecting. The one left is the black room on the lower part of the map. The obsidian portal die roller seems to like Caithas even more than the die roller here, if that was possible. That attack of opportunity was a crit with almost max damage from both scimitar rolls.]

From the main hall, you hear a shout from Tullius: “All clear! Where the fuck is Erik?!”

Round 7

Elana and Malcom, outside the tavern

As the battle in the tavern rages on, outside, a couple of guards standing at the gates seem to have noticed their fallen comrade’s call. Two of them start to leisurely walk towards him. Elana and Malcom, hidden behind some crates near a hut with the rest of the rebels, begin to notice that the veterans are getting increasingly nervous. “Shit!” says Markus, as he turns to Verginius, “by Horun’s thorny cock, man, reload that blasted contraption already! The entire garrison will be upon us in seconds!” Most of the other rebels draw their weapons, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

[OOC: If Elana or Malcom wanted to do anything during the previous round, you can also say it now (i.e. declare a double action).]
Jules breathes a sigh of relief as he hears that the fighting is over. But his relief is short lived when he remembers that the guards could be arriving any second now. As Jules looks around the empty room he thinks about the dwarf from the basement.

Depending on how long he has been here he may have seen Erik.

Before entering the room Jules shouts to the main force, “Ask ze dwarf where he is!” After shouting to the rest of the group Jules enters the room, opening the closet door to make sure Erik isn’t there.
Caithas slumps against the wall for a second, grimacing at the wound in his chest. Hearing the all-clear call, he moves to the open doorway of the room and calls out in a cracked voice,

“He…Erik…he may be here. Come…come quickly! There’s…a door…”

As if on an afterthought, the half-elf adds in a wavering voice, “Help…!”

With that, he goes about searching the two dead bodies, looking for anything useful, like a potion of healing, perhaps. One can hope, the ranger thought bitterly, bending low over the dead men.

Perception – (1d20+2)7
Inside the tavern

[OOC: Let’s return to RP mode again, although this does not necessarily mean that the encounter has ended.]

Jules investigates the closet, which contains weapons, helmets and other military equipment. There is no sign of Erik, though.

As Caithas inspects the bodies, he finds that both men were carrying their weapons, but little else. In that respect, the surprise attack worked nicely, as they seem to have been caught unaware. Caithas can find a pair of longbows in the room’s corner, along with two quivers of arrows. In addition to those, the dead man near the door had a bastard sword and a shield on him. Alas, the wounded half-elf finds no healing potions to help with his wounds.

With the fight seemingly over, your allies shout from the main hall. Carrinas says: “Veor is down! I could use some help here to carry him!” Tullius then moves towards the room Caithas is in, meeting Jules along the way: “That dwarf is unconcious, no use in asking him.” He finds Caithas and, seeing him leaning over the dead bodies, with an arrow sticking out from his chest, he asks: “Can you walk? Do you think you can make it to the exit? I will try to find Erik, if you want to leave.”

[Basically, you still can try to find Erik (or leave it up to Tullius), but there are also the unconcious bodies of the dwarf and Veor, if you want to carry them. If one man carries either of them, his speed will be lowered to 20 ft, but with two men helping, you can carry either of your fallen allies faster (30 ft).]

Outside the tavern

[OOC: Sorry that nothing cool is happening, but as soon as the tavern business is finished, I hope that you will have more interesting choices.]
“Aye…aye, I can walk. But my searching time is over, I fear. If you can check these doors for Erik, I…I will head to the…the exit,” the half-elf wheezes.

Before exiting the room, Caithas slings the two good longbows over his shoulder and heads to the front of the bloodied tavern.

Seeing Veor and the dwarf down, though, Caithas lets out a groan.

“Come on, lads, unless you’re bleeding like a stuck pig…or in my case, even if you are…lend a hand, eh?”

With that, the half-elf bent down and propped Veor against his shoulder, and dragging the caster all while still dripping blood, Caithas made his way towards the exit of the tavern and the light of day.

I can’t go much farther, the ranger thinks as his hand touches the doorknob, the gravely-wounded caster weighing him down as his wound continues to ooze. If I can get him to safety, it’ll be a fucking miracle. Healing is what I need…healing, and a vacation from this goddamn city.
The rebels exchanged worried glances, knowing that if the guards reached their fallen comrade, the jig would be up. So far they didn’t suspect anything, considering their leisurely pace; maybe they thought he was drunk and passed out. They would be out of range for the crossbows, and even if they were, the rebels would have to take them both out or else the other would warn the garrison. Elana could only think of one thing, but it was risky.

After reloading her crossbow, she handed it to another rebel. “Here, use this if you need it.” Elana pulled out the wand she had tucked away. “I’ll handle this.” Before the others could stop her, she stepped out of the hiding place, walking casually towards the incoming guards and the fallen man. Unarmed and unarmored, she wouldn’t draw any attention or arouse suspicion.

The wand was a pretense, of course, used to conceal the true origin of her magic. But its magic would be useful if her plan failed. She gripped the wand tightly in one hand, keeping most of it concealed up her sleeve as she drew near the guards.

[OOC: Casting Sleep on the guards when they’re in range.]
Jules heads out of the room, after stuffing two nets and two morning stars into his pack. He is shocked to see Caithas standing with an arrow in his chest, but is still glad to see his friend is alive, breathing a sigh of relief. Before heading to help move the two unconscious men Jules stops by Tullius saying, “You might want to check ze basement, zer was a dead elf down zer with ze dwarf, Ah didn’t have time to look through it, but Erik could be down zer. With all of ze crates and barrel zey could have hidden him.” After talking to Tullius, Jules grabs the dwarf and draggs him unceremoniously out after Caithas.
Inside the tavern

The party of rebels regroups near the tavern’s entrance. Carrinas counts the men as Tullius searches the room behind the corridor on his own. With the help of Caithas, Carrinas lifts Veor’s body from the pile of corpses in the center of the main hall, which is still covered in thick mist. Jules, on the other hand, drags the dwarf’s body on his own towards the exit. Everything is silent, eerily contrasting the frenzied sounds of battle merely seconds ago. Then, from the room beyond the corridor, a pleading voice can be heard: “I yield, I yield!” The man’s voice is abruptly silenced with a loud thud and the sound of breaking bones. Just moments after that, Tullius emerges from the mist, with Erik by his side. Erik looks worse for wear, but he can still walk. Bruises and blood cover his face, and several of his fingernails have been removed, causing him to drip blood from his fingertips. Tullius rushes to Jules’ side to help with the unconscious dwarf. With the whole party gathered, Carrinas commands everyone to step outside.

Upon exiting the tavern, Jules and Caithas observe two guards walking towards the tavern. Unfortunately, the two guards also do not fail to notice the rebels. They start running towards the tavern. Carrinas commands: “Let’s get out of here!” as he starts to run as fast as he can, with Veor’s hand over his shoulder and Caithas by his side.

Outside the tavern

As the sounds of battle from within the tavern go quiet, the two guards approach the unconscious soldier. Virginius finally finishes loading his arbalest but, at the same time, Elana steps out of her hiding place and starts calmly walking towards the fallen soldier. Some of the soldiers try to warn her, but Markus instructs them to let the noblewoman do whatever she’s intent on doing. He also orders Virginius to hold his fire for the time being.

As soon as the soldiers see the rebels exiting the tavern, they start running towards them, inadvertently coming closer to Elana. With the wand in her hand, Elana speaks a few incomprehensible words, as she points the short stick towards the soldiers.

Guard 1 Will – (1d20)16
Guard 2 Will – (1d20)7

One of the guards falls to the ground, yet the other continues pursuing the rebels, apparently unaware that his comrade is no longer following.
Caithas doesn’t think. He doesn’t stop. He holds onto Veor, and by extension Carrinas, and he does what the other rebel does: He runs.

And not for the first time in the last few days, he prays. With the wound burning in his chest, the half-elf knew he might meet whatever god he prayed to soon if he didn’t find someone to remove the fucking arrow protruding from him. Healing and rest…those promises of the future kept the ranger putting one foot in front of the other.
The two soldiers suddenly put their hands to the hilts of their swords and pick up their pace. For a moment, Elana feared they had somehow identified her, but she saw they were looking past her at the rebels exiting the tavern. It was now or never. She closed her eyes and tapped into the power within her, releasing it in a whispered breath of words she didn’t know. One of the guards stumbled, then fell to the ground, unconscious. The other had resisted the spell, though he seemed oblivious to his fallen comrade and herself.

In the past, she’d learned from experimentation that the spell had a three out of four chance of success on most animals. This was one of the first times she’d tried it on a person. The guard was drawing closer, and Elana stopped in her tracks, whispering her words of power again, hoping the soldier would succumb this time.

[OOC: Sleep spell once more.]
One life threatening fight per day was a limit Jules wasn’t yet ready to breach, s when he hears Carrinas’ command to run he does so, bringing Tullius and the dwarf with him. Taking off with the search party, Jules gives a moment to think about the watch group, hoping they know enough to run when they hear the order.

He runs with the men looking for a decent alley to lose any pursuers in. In a long run he wouldn’t last, but escaping their notice would be much easier in the twisting intersections of back alleys.
Caithas and Jules

You fix your gaze towards the rebels, who were waiting outside the tavern for the full duration of the fight. With Caithas and Carrinas carrying Veor, while Jules and Tullius drag the dwarf to safety, the group harries towards the direction of Markus and his men. Not so far away from the group, a guard rushes towards you, shouting loudly in an attempt to alert the guards at the gate. Then, inexplicably, the guard collapses to the ground, as if struck by a deadly arrow, and yet you fail to notice any archer amongst the rebels, or an arrow being shot. As you rush towards the rebels, the peasants rush away from the scene, but a woman is standing amidst of all the madness, calm despite of the chaotic scene that is unfolding. Upon approaching further, you notice that she is none other than Elana, wielding the wand that Caithas found yesterday in her hand.

You reach the rebels, who are relieved to see you all return from the tavern. Far at a distance, the soldiers at the gate seem to have been alerted to your presence. Several guards are heading your way, and there is no time to lose. Caithas, with an arrow still protruding from his chest, is quickly replaced by Brutus, while Markus takes over. “Quickly, to the Vinici estate! Everyone, split up in groups of five! We will regroup there in half an hour. Move out, men, the guards are upon us!”

[OOC: I will let you RP and then you can regroup at the estate (no soldiers are guarding it, currently, so it should be safe for a while. You can try to heal, rest etc. The two medics form the veterans can also tend to your wounds (feel free to roll a heal check, modifier is +7 for those guys). For Caithas, they will also expend two uses of a healer’s kit to treat deadly wounds. You can also try to ask the rest of the men and Erik what they plan to do now, or make your suggestions.]


Upon uttering the words, the remaining guard falls to the ground, thus allowing the group that stormed the tavern to reach Markus and his veterans. Nevertheless, the guards at the gate have been alerted to your presence. Standing halfway between the tavern and Markus, you have to decide which way to head to.

[OOC: You can join the others, or do something else.]
As Jules runs from the situation with the dwarf in tow, he glances around still looking for any pursuers only to see an unexpected surprise. Elana, waving a stick around as if she were a wizard. Jules shakes his head and passes it off as a stroke of madness from the chaos of the attack, but when he opens his eyes she is still there, still with the stick.

What ze…has she gone mad.

With another glance around he finds Caithas, an arrow still protruding from his chest.

Zis must be what madness feels like.

“Caithas, get Elana and get back to ze estate!”
Clever girl, the half-elf thinks, a smirk hitting his lips through his grimace of pain. He calls to her in a cracked voice.

“My Lady! Come, we…we run!”

The half-elf, with that, takes off for the estate, and the soldiers do their modest best to try to heal him. He could be stabalized, perhaps…but he needed a potion or a bloody miracle to recover quickly from a shot like this. If he recovered at all.

Losing blood, he thinks, ‘And here’s another time to pray…"

He feels the pull of the arrow.

He grits his teeth and tears well up in his eyes.

Goddamn it, that hurt…

Treat Deadly Wounds – (1d20+7)11

First Aid – (1d20+7)21
Elana smiles widely as the last guard stumbled then fell into a deep sleep. It worked! I actually used my magic! She was so excited that she jumped in elation.

Her moment of victory came to a close when several townsmen brushed past her, nearly knocking her off her feet. She heard Caithas over the clamor that was beginning and remembered how dangerous of a situation they were in. Tucking the wand in her belt, Elana ran back, catching up to the rebels, one of whom tossed her crossbow to her. She managed to spot her friends amongst the crowd and fell in with them.

“Gods!” she exclaimed when she caught sight of Caithas. “You’ve been shot!” It may have been an obvious statement, but the half-elf was running as though there weren’t a two-and-a-half foot long shaft impaling him.
The half-elf twisted his mouth into a smile and panted as he moved, “Aye…aye lady. I have.”

He felt weak on his feet, but he followed the others, the rebels, one foot and then another, on and on.

He looks at the noble woman beside him, running for safety from a scene of madness.

“And you…you Lady,” he says between chuffing breaths, “…you’ve learned some magic.”
Elana holds up the wand, dangling it for Caithas to see. “Something like that,” was all she said as they made their way to the estate.
[[ Lets just say Malcom was silently covering Elana the whole time, and that he just now caught up with the group. My schedule should be much better now that I’m done training. ((Deja Vu?)) ]]

Malcom finally caught up with the group after doing some damage control, “Please to see you all made it.” His glaive was drawn and held level to the ground behind him, the cloth flipped in the wind behind him as his left arm moved to keep his momentum, “Report? What happened in there?” Malcom’s head swiveled looking for any prying eyes looking at the running gang of rebels. It’s during this inspection of the surroundings he notices Caithas’ wound, “You and Jules make a habit of getting injured don’t you. Let me look at it when I get back.” The estate came into view before them, the shattered building seemed like a fortress, though this was just a counterfeit feeling, the crumbing walls and roof was more than enough proof of that. Still, it felt like the place would protect them.
“L-looking…at it…won’t help,” Caithas huffs as he looks at Malcom, though he still gives the soldier a wry smile.

A cough slows his speech. Flecks of blood coat his lips after the fit.

“Healing…healing is what…what I need, f-f-friend.”
“I know. I’ll fix you up as soon as we get back…” he looked over at Elana, That wand was supposed to make an area of oil… By the gods… he shook the thought from his head, it wasn’t important right now. “Come on now. Almost there.”
Back at the estate

Your party reunites with the rest of the rebels just outside of the estate. Thankfully, the place is neither guarded, nor overrun by commoners. In addition, the guards seem to have lost you. You have no doubt that they are still frantically searching for you in the crowds, but given that two of the men are at the brink of death, while Caithas is also not faring well, you have no choice but to regroup at the estate. You thank the gods or whatever other supernatural or natural entity you believe in, as you make your way towards the crumbling, but spacious, rooms of the Vinici estate.

The scene plays out like some kind of deja vu, but this is only because it was only yesterday when you had to go through the same procedure. Only this time, there are two men dying, as well as a half-elf with an arrow stuck in his shoulder. Thankfully, you have healers amongst the rebels. They first tend to the fallen, putting bandages over their wounds and making sure that they are not left bleeding. It is a long, agonizing wait for Caithas before they have a chance to look at his injury, but eventually the ranger’s turn comes. First, the half-elf is offered a piece of stick to bite on during the operation, while being warned of the excruciating pain that will accompany the procedure. Then, one of the medics cautiously pulls out the arrow from his wound, after breaking off its fletching, while the other pours a vial of crystals over the bleeding hole. Caithas feels a powerful sting and he almost passes out, but after a few minutes he looks at his wound, which has miraculously stopped bleeding. One of the medics also offers Caithas a vial of healing elixir, urging him to drink the liquid.

Healing potion – (1d8+1)6

After three hours or so, the rebels seem to have managed to put everything under control. Six men are standing outside, discretely keeping watch, ready to signal the rest of the group so that they can leave the estate at moment’s notice. The rest of Markus’ soldiers remain in the main hall, tending to their wounded companions and listening to their leader’s further instructions. Veor and the dwarf are still unconscious, but fortunately out of harm’s way. Markus gathers his men, explaining: “With the guards actively searching for us, out time is running out. It is imperative that we move now. The mission at Lower Andelia must be carried out successfully at all costs. We must send a group there, not only to find the key to that secret message, but also to spy on the Imperials and see why they have not yet moved against us. The situation is very suspicious… Malcom, you have men in Lower Andelia, soldiers that I hope, for all our sakes, you can trust. Will you lead this mission, while I and my men gather the natives to our aid and try to build up our numbers here?”

He then turns to each of you individually, addressing you personally: “When I first met you, two days ago, I had my doubts as to your loyalties and abilities. Yet you have all proven yourselves to be invaluable allies.”
(to Caithas) “You have been eager to risk your life for the cause, despite the fact that you have only met Malcom and us rebels only a few days ago. Will you not lend your blades to our aid once again? You may be wounded, but your allies in the carpenter’s guild may be able to heal you before the mission.”
(to Jules) “You really have some balls after all, don’t you, boy?” (he puts his hand behind Jules’ shoulder) “You seemed quite the scoundrel to me the other day, despite your noble blood, but perhaps you possess some redeeming qualities, after all. The half-elf is well-meaning, but…” (silently, whispered into Jules’ ear) “… let’s just say, he lacks cunning? I would feel better with you by his side.”
(to Elana) “I do not know what powers you have been blessed with, my lady, but do not think that your little trick back at the tavern went unnoticed. Had I known of your abilities, I would have treated you with more respect. Perhaps your powers will come in useful during this mission, but tread carefully, lady Aella: this world is much crueler for women, particularly women that want to partake in the games of men.”

[OOC: Caithas will get a bit healed (please update the sheet). Malcom can use his healing powers, and if you want to talk to Veor or the dwarf before leaving, you can do that (you will have to heal them first). You can also try to talk to Erik. Finally, whoever wants to use those potions from the old lady can do so (let’s just assume that Malcom or Elana informed you of their function). I am also assuming that Malcom informed Markus about the alliance with the Crimson Irregulars, but if you so not want that, let me know and I can edit my post. As soon as you are done, you should pay a visit to the Crimson Irregulars for some free equipment and then you can go for the mission. Experience gained is in the general discussion thread.]
Finally reaching the estate, Jules unloads the dwarf as gently as he can manage before taking a moment to catch his breath. He listens to Markus’ kind words not sure what to make of them, they sound like the flattery of a noble court but have the disturbing ring of honesty to them. When he gets to the part about Caithas lacking cunning Jules looks over at the half-elf, noting the now healed arrow wound in his shoulder. When the man is done talking to him, Jules walks over to his friend remarks already forming in his mind.

“Tell me, did you actually try and dodge ze arrow or did you just stand zer thinking your thick skull would bar its path?” His voice suddenly loses any of its usual mocking or sarcasm, and for a moment it becomes serious, honest, a voice he could never have used in a noble court, putting a hand on Caithas’ good shoulder, “I’m glad you’re alright, Caithas, you’re a good man and a good friend, and you deserve better than dying in some scum filled tavern.” He blinks his eyes quickly, turning his thoughts over to another topic.

“So, how about zes potions zat witch gave us,” he says shaking his vial of potion back and forth, “Makes a person’s best feature better and their worst feature worse, Ah’d drink it, but Ah don’t think even my skills could hide such a beautiful face if zat were to happen, not to mention ze empire might try to hunt me down and kill me out of pure jealousy at zat point.”
Malcom’s brow curled in frustration as he ran his hand across it. “Of course I’ll lead. We can go tonight if need be. I’m still waiting for someone to tell me what the hell went on in there.” He looked around and saw Caithas being patched up, the wound seems to of healed. He takes a knee on the floor beside him on the cold stone floor and inspected it, “Does it still hurt? I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve.”
“No power really,” Elana tells Markus, revealing the wand. “Just a few tricks I’ve picked up.” She felt like she was throwing the wand in everyone’s face, but she had to be sure they thought her powers stemmed from the item and not something else. “And I’m well aware of the danger, general, but I refuse to stand by while everyone else is put on the line.”

Afterwards, the finds herself a seat on the dusty floor, watching the healers work. She hadn’t realized how tired she was. The adrenaline she’d been running on had worn off and now her body was paying the tax. She watched Jules and Caithas talking; they seemed like they were such good friends, even though they had only met recently. Elana didn’t realize until now, but she was a little bit jealous. Not of either one in particular, but she missed the relationships she had back home. Here she got along well enough with them all, but she couldn’t find it in her to trust herself to them.

Caithas was always kind to her, and very protective. Malcom was also a gentleman, and came across as an older brother figure. Jules, though, he was different. By rights they should be closer to each other than the others, but Jules almost seemed to ignore her. She never got the feeling that he was doing so intentionally, but it felt like everything and everyone else seemed to occupy his mind over her. Not that Elana minded; it was actually a blessing of sorts. She feared that he might try to push the rights of their relationships on her, but Jules hadn’t even tried to hold her hand, or even kiss her, let alone consummate the marriage.

In the beginning, Elana thought that’s what would have happened, and she tried to keep herself distant from him, interacting with him as little as possible. But now it seemed like their marriage didn’t matter to Jules, and why not? He was rebelling against the Empire, and both the families that cared about their match. If the rebellion was successful, and Jules achieved everything he aimed for, why would he have to adhere to the matching that his father made him? Elana had been thinking about this for some time, and believed that Jules actually didn’t want this relationship to be legitimized. The thought allowed her to start looking at the man like a potential friend, rather than a obligation of duty. A part of her wanted to confront him to confirm her suspicions, but the timing never felt right.

A few minutes later, Elana, still sitting in a corner, fell asleep, her head resting against the bare walls of the estate.

((OOC: Long post, but I figure it’d be good for the other players to get some insight to Elana’s way of thinking.))
Caithas feels the wounded area with his fingers, poking tenderly, and is amazed to find that he is nearly cured. The first aid and potion had done the trick, it seemed.

Nodding at Markus’ words, Caithas smiled grimly and said with a steady voice, “My blades are yours, sir. I have sworn to protect the Amour household, and if they go, so do I. I appreciate your trust, commander, and will what I can to uphold it.”

Looking at Malcom, the half-elf says quietly, “Well, I am much improved, it’s true, but if you have a trick, as you say my friend, I could still use it. What kind of trick are we talking about?”

Finally, addressing Jules, but with his eyes constantly flicking to Elana, the ranger mimics his friend and shakes the mysterious potion. Grinning, the half-elf nods mock-gravely at his friend.

“Aye, I’m glad I didn’t die there either, sir. As to the potion…hells, you only life once, eh? And I’ve already almost died once today. What can this hurt? Bottoms up!”

And with that, Caithas drains the liquid, down to the very last drop.

“Mmmmm…not bad. Not good either…but I will tell you, Jules, by gods, I feel stronger already! So now…ummm…,” he trailed off, seemingly forgetting what he was talking about, “shall we see the Irregulars and get ready for our late-night boat ride?”

(OOC: Caithas gains +1 to Strength, bringing him to 18, and loses one Intelligence point, reducing him to a 9. Also, may I assume the half-elf can sell the longbow and the composite longbow he found in the tavern on the way to the Crimson Irregulars’ place? If so, I’ll add the money to my sheet, but I wanted to check with you first, Vlad.)
Malcom grasps for the bottle from Caithas but is only able to take it from him after it was empty, “Ah! You shouldn’t of done that! We don’t know what they exactly do yet!” he sighed heavily as he pocketed the now empty vial. “We know they increase our strongest attribute, but they also make our weakest attribute even weaker. I’m not sure if its emotions or strength and dexterity… I guess its too late for you to worry about it…” he waved it off, “At least it doesn’t appear to be poisoned… Now about that trick…” Malcom placed his right hand over his left and pressed it against Caithas’ wound, or where it had been, and muttered under his breath, “May light fill you”

Cure Light Wounds

Within moments his hands faintly glowed white and the healing magic began to work, fixing whatever else was wrong with the rangers wound. Hopefully bringing the man back to one-hundred percent. “Not a bad trick eh?”
Caithas feels light, energy, strength…

“Good gods, man! How did you do that?”
“Don’t you know I’m a holy man?” Malcom couldn’t help but laugh, “Unlike brother Percy, I’ve actually been blessed by a god.” the thought made him shake his head in disbelief. “A new trick I picked up a few days ago.” He looked around to see if anyone else had noticed. “I’ll explain a bit more when I can, but remember that story about Matthias I told you? Well… let’s just say its true and I’ve got her favor. For now it seems.”
Caithas marveled at the man standing over him. By the gods, the half-elf thought…he really did it. The man actually healed me! Unlike the knotting pain of stitches, Malcom’s healing was warm, traveling through the ranger like good whiskey on a cold night. Where only moments before he cringed at death’s door…

“Malcom…thank you. Your god has blessed you with a gift that not only saved my life, but will save many more before this is all through. I was always honored to fight along side you, but this…this is something else entirely. Matthias…,” the half-elf says, rolling the god’s name on his tongue.

He grins.

“We could all use a god’s blessing for this rebellion to succeed, my friend. At least one of us actually has it!”

Silently, Caithas cast out a prayer to this strange god his friend worshiped, along with Griygon Half-Blood and even Z’chiani, that old elven bitch. The ranger was not a pious man…but he figured that after having an arrow shot into his chest, coming within an inch of his heart, he needed all the help he could get.
At the estate

You regroup and pack your belongings hastily, knowing that every additional hour spent at the estate increases the risk of you being discovered. Despite your worries, the mansion seems to be safe for now. While the rebels discuss amongst themselves and tend to their wounded, your group tends to Caithas’ injury. With the help of the medics and Malcom’s newly awaken powers, the party manages to heal the ranger, making the night’s mission at least feasible for the half-elf.

[[OOC: Caithas is fully healed.]]

Looking around the room, you can see that Veor and the dwarf are still unconscious. The majority of the rebels are either discussing amongst themselves or outside keeping guard. A group of them, however, have gathered around Erik, who has received first aid, bombarding him with questions. When this interrogation is finally over, the tall warrior approaches the party, addressing Malcom as discretely as he can: “A private word with you, if you don’t mind.”

[[OOC: If you agree, Erik will address the entire party at some quiet corner of the main hall, away from everyone else.]]

“I have not given you proper thanks for rescuing me, but I am grateful to all of you. Tullius told me of your role in clearing out the tavern and ensuring our escape. I have underestimated the situation. Things here are beginning to take a turn for the worst. Markus informed me that you will be undertaking a mission at Lower Andelia. May the old gods be with you. I will make sure that the Svodun here are ready for the final conflict. If you manage to come back alive, then your success might tip the odds towards our side. We can only hope at this point…

…There is one more thing, though. You might have already figured out how and why I was captured, and what actually went on in that tavern before your arrival is not critical at the moment. However,” he says, looking at Malcom, “you might want to know that your old friend Aurelius is alive and well, and still in the city. I was unable to completely understand everything while I was held captive, as I was being beaten or tortured most of the time. I think that Aurelius is now in charge of the Agents of the Republic, a group of loyalists and self-styled defenders of the colonial rulers. I saw the man briefly during one of the torturing sessions. By attacking their headquarters, you have dealt a blow to these loyalists, but you might still see Aurelius in the future.”

With those words, Erik addresses your questions (if any), before wishing you good luck for the task you are about to take up.

[[OOC: I have changed the organization “King’s Agents” to “Agents of the Republic”. Basically, it is an illegal group of loyalists (also kind of racist) that are covertly receiving support from the government.]]

At the Crimson Irregulars’ guild

Leaving the estate behind you, you head towards the forum district, where you find a member of the Crimson Brotherhood who leads you to the guildhouse. Once there, you meet with the head of the guild again, who carefully listens to the plan. His expression betrays his dissatisfaction with the inherent risks of such a plan, but you manage to convince him that this is your best chance to decipher the message, as well as gather intelligence about the forces you will be up against. He offers his unconditional support: one boat to carry you across the river at nightfall, another one to create a distraction and access to the guild’s warehouse and savings. He leads you to a small storage room, containing all kinds of weapons and mundane equipment that may be of use for the mission.

Once you are done, you discuss the details of the situation with the guildmaster. The man promises that he will use his influence within the guilds to make sure that the Svodun you have recruited through Erik will be properly equipped. He answers your questions to the best of his ability, before sending one of his subordinates to escort you back to Upper Andelia.

Before heading back to the estate, (some of you) decide to make a last stop at the Watering Hole, to make the final purchases before heading off to Lower Andelia. The thieves’ guild there offers a wider selection of goods, including magical items that may be of use for the mission that lies ahead.

[OOC: You can sell your potions there for 300 gp, if you do not wish to drink them. Plus, Caithas can sell the longbow for 37 gp and the composite longbow with a +1 str rating for 100 gp. You can buy all sorts of items here, including wands, masterwork weapons and armor if you have the gold. Malcom can even find some oriental armor with a reduced speed penalty. Treat this as a steel lamellar armor with a speed rating of 25 ft and a price of 300 gp. Please update your character sheets when you are done shopping!]

Once you are done with everything, you head back to the estate. It is already late in the evening; the sun is setting, signifying that soon you will embark to Lower Andelia to seek vital intelligence, but perhaps also find an untimely death…

[OOC: Sorry for the long post, just trying to keep things moving. If you have any questions to any of the NPCs, I will answer them retroactively, otherwise have fun shopping for your PCs!]
(OOC: Welcome back, my friend! I’ll do a proper post later tonight, but for business-keeping purposes, Caithas will carry the 100 feet of rope, as he can bear the weight. He will also sell those two bows and take the extra 100 gold offered. With that money, along with selling his old scimitar, he has just enough to purchase a nice, new masterwork scimitar. My character sheet is updated. Nice to get to do some shopping for my surly half-elf )
While at their meeting with the irregulars, Jules finds himself in the odd position of purchasing a hand crossbow. Ze rapier is fine for ceremony, but if Ah am put in a position where Ah must kill a man, zer is no way in all of ze hells zat Ah am going to give him a chance to kill me first. Eventually they work their way to a much shadier market, where Jules is able to sell off the potion the old woman gave him, and stock up on disguise supplies. When they finally return to the estate, Jules begins raiding the wardrobe he found and putting everything he can into his bag. He knew better than to expect to walk the streets of Lower Andelia unmolested with their faces and names being hunted.

[OOC: Picking up a new disguise kit from the thieves guild since my own is starting to run a bit low, and I anticipate using it a bit down here.]
Caithas remains quiet through the day’s proceedings. He still tenderly touches his chest where the arrow had lodged not long ago. That was as close to death as I’ve ever been in my half century of life, he marvels with something between amazement and trepidation.

What a miraculous thing curing is, the half-elf thinks. If I could trade my skill with a blade for the ability to heal…

His mind trails off as he follows behind his companions to the guild. Taking the heavy length of rope and the climbing gear, Caithas mentally tries to prepare himself for the task ahead. Though the last time I tried to climb anything, he thinks with some worry, I fell out of that old witch’s goddamn tree. Let’s hope I scale walls better than I rescue cats.

At the Watering Hole, Caithas sells his newly-procured bows that he’d picked up in that bloody loyalist tavern where he’d almost met his end, and combined with the extra coins he’d been given by the guild, he realizes that he has more money in his pocket than at any other time that he can remember. That’s when a table laid with weapons catches his eye. There, near the left side, is a gleaming, perfectly-shaped scimitar, finer in form and make than his own. Drawn to it, Caithas picks it up, feels the balance of craft in his hand; masterwork quality indeed.

Easy come, easy go, the ranger thinks as he hands over nearly every coin in his pouch, along with his old blade, in exchange for the new weapon.

Caithas smiles, recollecting his earlier thoughts.

No, he thinks. I wouldn’t trade my skill with a blade, with this blade especially, for anything.

New sword in hand, Caithas rejoins his companions silently, with a half-cocked grin on his lips and a bounce in his step, and he returns with them to the estate to prepare for nightfall and, with it, the onset of their most dangerous task together yet. Still, despite the obvious threat of death, the smile remains on the half-elf’s lips.

I’ve almost died once today, he thinks. What are the odds I’ll die again before a new dawn rises?
[[OOC: Let’s pretend that spear that’s been on Elana’s character sheet from the start, but that I’ve never mentioned she had, is one of the things she picks up from the weaponry. Also, if I had my choice, I wouldn’t want her to drink the potion, but I feel like she definitely would, so I’ll have her hold on to it til later.]]

Her nap was interrupted by a rough hand as one of the soldiers stirred Elana from her rest. “Time to go,” was all he said before blending in with the rest of the troops. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and gathered her things. Her heart fluttered as she thought about the events to come. No doubt, the night would make the tavern battle seem like child’s play.

Once they were at the Crimson Irregular’s guild, Elana sifted through their impressive assortment of weaponry and gadgets. Most of the weapons she recognized from Grey Hold’s armory, but there were quite a few that she’d never seen before. Elana looked over the selection of crossbows, but couldn’t find anything that suited her as well as Ællastyr. Her dagger, however, wouldn’t be much use to her if she had to fight in melee. Lucky for her, Lucius had trained her to be proficient with some of the simpler to use weapons. The spear was the simplest to use, she found, and Lucius told her that even an untrained peasant can make use of the reach it offered. There were quite a few spears on the weapon rack, and Elana quickly weeded out the ones with warped shafts or rusted points.

Leaving the armory, Elana felt like quite the warrior, toting a good spear and her crossbow. She wore no armor though, but that didn’t rob her of the moment any less.
[OOC: @ Jeff: Sounds good. Please add the gold to your character sheets if you haven’t purchased anything. For example, the spear for Elana is a freeby, so she can add 100 gp to her character sheet.]

Vinici estate

You spend the better part of the day making preparations, discussing plans with your allies and trying to muster all the courage you have for the task that lies ahead. After equipping yourselves properly, you return to the estate, which is starting to look less like a crumbling mansion, and more like a stronghold. With Markus’ veterans manning the rooftops of the ruined buildings that remain standing, you feel that, although inappropriate for a pair of newlywed nobles, the Vinici household may yet serve as a convenient base of operations for the rebels in the days to come.

You enter the main hall and are relieved to see that both Veor and the dwarf are well on their way to recovery. Veor sports a nasty scar across his right eyebrow, which he will probably carry for the rest of his days, but at least he seems to have escaped the grim reaper. It is past sundown, and Markus wastes no time: with four of his men, he escorts you to the Crimson Brotherhood’s guild, where the guildmaster is waiting for you.

[OOC: You can talk to Veor and the dwarf. Decius and Ovidius are still nowhere to be seen, after leaving to find a healer in the morning. Please specify if you are wearing any disguises, otherwise I will assume thatJules is still dressed as a priest, Caithas as a beggar and Elana and Malcom are not disguised.]

Banks of river Fromir (near the Crimson Irregulars’ guildhouse)

True to his word, the guildmaster has made all the necessary preparations for your mission, including a small boat to carry you across the river, and another one to set ablaze as a decoy. The decoy is situated a good three hundred yards away from the point of departure. Markus assigns two of his men to push it in the river, while a third one is instructed to shoot a flaming arrow to it. “You should leave ten minutes after you see the burning boat. We will make that the diversion is convincing, if the flaming vessel fails to attract the river patrol’s attention.”, he explains to you, before leaving to accompany his men.

You wait silently at the banks of the river for several minutes, before you see a small bright spot at a distance. In the pitch black darkness, you are hardly able to discern the size and composition of the river patrol.

[OOC: Give me a perception check (roll in your post). If successful, I will PM you what you see.]

Following Markus’ commands, Caithas and Malcom push the boat into the water, as Jules and Elana wait inside it. The two men get in and start rowing as silently as possible, hoping that the small vessel will go unnoticed in the vast river, under the black and starless sky.
(OOC: Ok, here are all four checks requested. Like last night, I’ll get the technicalities out of the way now and write a proper post later on.)

Perception – (1d20+2)6

Strength – (1d20+4)18

Stealth – (1d20+7)9

Knowledge Geography – (1d20+3)18
As the time for their infiltration grows near, Jules finds himself becoming nervous and anxious as they wait for the signal. He smooths out his robes, double and then triple checks his bag, making sure everything he needs is in there. For a moment his fear gets the best of him and he finds himself listing all the ways he could die doing this; drowning, getting shot, falling, getting impaled, being lit on fire, execution by hanging, quartering, any number of gruesome techniques the city guards might use if he were to be caught.

Ah could still do my part from here, recruiting ze poor, ze criminals, and such. But zen again, zat still won’t get me what Ah want. Ze lower city has everything Ah need to make zis rebellion fit my goals.

Eventually he overcomes his brief moment of fear, and no sooner is it gone that he notices the small light in the distance, signalling their departure. The boat they travel on does little to shield him from the cold of the river and its chilling winter air. He remembers his clothes from Yorvik, the ones that kept him warm even in cold worse than this, and then he remembers how far buried in his pack they are. At least the cold would keep him alert.

Perception 1 – (1d20+3)13

Perception 2 – (1d20+3)8

Stealth – (1d20+7)17

[OOC:I don’t know if you wanted two perception rolls or one, since it was mentioned twice, if only one just disregard the second.]
Perception – (1d20)14
Looking at them while they were awake, for the first time for one, Caithas greeted both Veor and Olaf. He nodded at the caster.

“Not pretty, but we did it, eh? That fog of yours really does the trick every time…Keep that handy, will you?” The half-elf smiled at the maimed man.

What else could he say?

At Olaf, he grins broadly. He begins speaking, in Dwarven, “Good to see you awake, sir dwarf. We both escaped death today it seems. I had an arrow in my chest…as it were. But it good to see you live. Are you from the Irondomes, to the north? Or across the sea? I imagine not from across the sea…but then, you never know, do you? A half-elf helping a rebellion? For no reason except that he hasn’t had this much fun in ten years? You never do know.”

He nods and continues.

“I apprenticed with the Rooinnir clan, across the sea myself. A fine family, honorable and decent and hard-working as hell. Sorry to talk your ear off…it’s just been so long since I got to speak the language. It makes me realize how much I miss it.”

Seeing the light flash on the river reminded him of where he was. On the riverbank, seeing that flash…

With a whisper as he pushes the boat into the water, “Well, here we go.”
At the estate

Veor smiles back at Caithas bitterly, while feeling his wound with his fingers. “I’ll be alright,” he says mournfully, “just make sure you get that code and return in one piece.”

Olaf greets the ranger in dwarven, before shifting to Common so that everyone can understand:

“Iron domes, born and raised. Never seen the wonders of Demeria, and neither do I know of this Rooinnir clan you speak of. It is good to hear the dwarven language once again, even if it is not from a dwarf. I am Olaf, of the clan of Uthred. I have been stuck behind the carjjik ever since I set food in this god-damned city a few months ago. But things seem to have taken a turn for the best with your young friend’s arrival here,” says the dwarf, looking at Jules.

“The stout folk are people of honor, and you have saved my life today, young master. I owe you and your friends my life. I will serve your cause until my debt is repaid; this I swear upon my clan’s honor.” He takes a deep breath, before trying to shift to a more pleasant tone: “But let us leave the day’s events behind us. I believe that the loyalists have spared my trusty flask of dwarven ale.” He produces a flask from a pocket, offering it to all who may take it. “Here, take a sip, relax, hear my tale, and share yours, if you will.”

[OOC: I will wait till tomorrow to push the story forward, in hopes that Matthias will show up. Plus it’s late. I hope that Olaf story sates your RP desires for now ]
(OOC: He’s got the well-worded and honest reply of The Imp. I like him already.)

Caithas was captivated by the dwarf’s tale. His earlier reference caught him quickly.

“Ahh, so you are a Craagoon player yourself, eh? If we survive this night, we must have a drink and a game sometime. For now, just a drink,” and he takes the prooffered swig from Olaf’s flask.

“Well, you’ve been more than straight with me. Before I head off to gods know what, let me tell you my tale. It has no foolish lords…but it has other oddities…,” and so Caithas, in a full disclosure of honesty, tells the dwarf his story, from his wedding day to him time in the mountain clans across the ocean to his time in Andelia.

The half-elf switches back and forth between Common and Dwarven intermittently throughout the tale. His dwarven mostly came out in bursts when he swore.
[OOC: Backtracking a bit, but if its story time I’ll share.]

At the Estate

After taking a drink of Olaf’s ale, and taking note of its taste, he listens intently on the story, deciding that it is as good as anything for keeping his mind off of their upcoming mission. The story itself is good, but as it finishes, Jules’ can’t help but identify with Lord Allenby, a young lord trying to rise in status from a lower state. It echoed a bit too much with himself for comfort. Ah am not going to take my father’s seat through parties and drink. Ah will tear him from his throne with an army if zat is what it takes.

Hearing all of Caithas story, filling in the blanks, of what he already knows, only serves to make him respect the man more. Jules has never known what it is to fight for something with that much passion, much less to sacrifice it for others.
After Caithas is done, Jules speaks up. “Ah am afraid zer are not many stories of myself zat would be very” he pauses as he looks at Elana, at his wife. If he could even consider their marriage real. He hadn’t realized until that moment that this was likely what a real noble marriage must feel like, hiding words to avoid hurting someone you don’t even love, “interesting.”

Jules tells his story, from his life in Lineen to his arrival in Andelia, editing out anything that could offend or embarrass Elana. He talks about his father’s training, and his sister’s bitterness. He goes into detail on a few of her more creative attempts on his life. Through his entire story, no mention is made of his mother, nor any mention of Grace or Dunia, or any other woman from his past for that matter, and his real reasons for fighting in the rebellion are left unsaid.
[[ I’m here, but its been a lot of long nights. And I’m terribly sorry that I haven’t posted…. here’s my checks. Today and Tomorrow I have off… so here’s to posting while ive got it. lol. I’m getting used to my work schedule though.]]

strength – (1d20+3)21
nature – (1d20+5)15
(OOC: Sweet dude, glad to know you’re still around!)

After listening to Jules’ tale, the half-elf imagines there are some details left out. He glances at Elana.

Good gods, look at her, the ranger thinks. I’d leave out details for her sake too! After a moment too long, he turns from the red-headed beauty and returns his eyes to the dwarf. He reminds me of Grunur, the ranger thinks. And not for the first time, nor the last, Caithas thinks of how much he misses his friend.

He pipes up again to Olaf, “You say you only left The Domes six months past. Perhaps you’ll be able to help us with more than just your stories and strength, friend. I recently sent a letter to the Domes, requesting dwarven aid in the rebel cause. It would not be charity, of course; your clansmen would be well rewarded upon victory, and would remove the taxing Empire from their shores at the same time. Tell me, do you believe the clans would support such an uprising if it led to riches and total independence? If so, perhaps your word and influence would go a long way towards swaying them.”

Caithas continues to drink from the dwarf’s flask when offered, but his gulps are not large. The dwarf’s spirits were a hell of a lot stronger than wine!
Vinici estate

Olaf replies to Caithas: “That would be the day! I have no influence on those who make the decisions at the Domes, and my word is not considered worthy by those of high stature, as lord Allenby can confirm. Why else do you think that I was sent to Andelia?” He stops there, unwilling to disclose any details at this point.

“Nonetheless, if your journeys take you to the Domes, perhaps a dwarf by your side would make your case stronger. For now, I fear that we are all in the same ship… unless the guard is dealt with, escaping the city will prove challenging. Tell you what: once this mess is resolved and if you are still alive and still interested in heading for the Domes, then I shall accompany you there.”

Fromir river

With Caithas and Malcom rowing as fast as they can, while the nobles guide the boat away from the longships patrolling the river, the party manages to avoid detection. Steering away from the enemy ships, you fail to acquire detailed information about the naval forces that have been ordered to patrol the river. Jules and Elana catch sight of three longships at a distance, each bearing a row of seven to ten oars on each side.

Your small boat maneuvers quickly to the opposite bank. The river current forces you away from the docks of Lower Andelia. You land at a seemingly abandoned area between two watchtowers. Lights seem to be shining from both buildings. The stone walls of the city rise above you, approximately forty feed high. In addition, a large pipe extends from the inside of the city towards the river. Its mouth is barred with an iron grate. Sludge is slowly flowing from it, ending up into the river. The pipe could accommodate an individual crawling through it, if the grate was somehow removed.

[OOC: Okay, you need to decide what to do with the boat and if you want to (a) climb the wall (b) try the pipe © just stay there or (d) do something else.]
Caithas grins at Olaf.

“Indeed, friend. That we shall. I’d be honored. Plus, I imagine we’d have a hell of a time, eh?” The half-elf’s enthusiasm is palpable, but he tries. He tries anyway.

“Tonight’s war is on a boat; I can’t imagine you’d enjoy that much, Olaf, but if we do survive this and this mad rebellion plunges forward, I’d be glad to stand beside you in battle. Until then, my friend…”

Caithas cranes his neck up at the wall. The pipe seemed the best bet, but what of those damned ships…

“Listen, we all want to avoid detection, but if those boats head this way, burn the bastards,” Caithas whispers to the gathered companions. Intrigue and rules of state were fine and good…but sometimes in life, packing well pays off. “Here,” Caithas says, tearing off his robes to reveal his armor underneith and handing them to Jules. “Tear these and wrap the them tightly around these arrows,” he says, handing his quiver over to his noble friend along with his bow. “If the bastards get too close, fire one at their sails. You might get lucky and set ‘em ablaze, but more importantly, you’ll scare them and send me a signal to get back as quickly as possible. Here’s a lantern. Light ’em up if it comes to that.”

The half-elf dons the Empire’s cloak that he’s had stuffed in his bag, and is covers his armor. It might work, in the dark.

“I will take the rope, climb this pipe and tie it off at the top, allowing you all to climb up. If I fail…well, you’ll hear me clanking the whole way, so that will be that. If that happens, we fight with our backs to a wall and die like warriors, I suppose…”

The ranger trails off, his voice wavering.

“Perhaps that isn’t the wisest course, but I can think of no other. Can any of you?”
[OOC: Just checking, but how high above us is the pipe, or is it at roughly ground level.

On the River

Jules takes the quiver and begins to tie off the strips of cloth around the arrows, his hands not nearly as quick in the cold air. When Jules hears Caithas mention the pipe he looks over at it and the sludge pouring our of it. Does Caithas intend for us to crawl through zat muck filled hole? Hells, Ah should have learned to climb, nothing is worth crawling through zat river of shit. Although the idea of climbing through the pipe didn’t appeal to him, neither did the idea of fighting backs to the wall and dying like warriors. Over the wall presented the danger of falling to his death or getting caught, while staying still presented the assurance of getting caught. As much as Jules hates to admit it, the pipe might be their best chance of not being caught.

“Ah can’t believe Ah am about to ask zis, but can you remove ze grate from zat pipe. Crawling through sludge might not be glamorous, but at ze very least zer won’t be any guards in zer. Plus it is likely a straight route to ze city, we shouldn’t need to sneak by anyone if we take zat path.
“I don’t much like the idea of climbing through sewage, the thought of disease is enough to make that a plan B.” Malcom could smell the pipe from their location. It smelled… horrible to say the least, “Even if we did manage to get through there the only thing we could pretend to be once we reached the other side would be beggars, and that would be pretty out of place where we want to go.” he played with his cloak flipping it back before pulling out a climbing kit from a pouch, “We could use this to scale the wall. The stones should be fairly easy to pierce with the pitons… but we should leave climbing to the experienced or daring. But at least this way if there happens to be a mishap while climbing there won’t be any casualties from it. Hopefully we can get a good distraction if we are to loud during the process. The only other plan I can think of besides the pipe would be to try entering the area from the docks. Unfortunately there will also be a gate we will have to get through, and I’m certain that’s decently guarded.”
“Perhaps you’re right, Malcom. Here then,” Caithas said, pulling out the climber’s kit and keeping the rope on him, “Let me try to climb the wall and I will lower the rope when and if I make it to the top. Perhaps I learned a trick or two from trying to save that fucking cat,” the half-elf whispers with a grin.

“You three try to drag that boat more on shore; we don’t want anyone to see it, especially not those on the boats. I’ll try to be quick…and I’ll do my best to not die.”

With that, the ranger began to climb…

Climb – (1d20+7)10
And when he inevitably stumbles, cursing, he tries again…

Climb – (1d20+7)23
[OOC: Remember your climber’s kits (which Mike did not include in his character sheet ). We can assume that the kit also contains pitons and a hammer for nailing them on the wall. With pitons, the climb DC will be 15, but the noise you’ll be making and the time required may alert some of the guards.

In addition, I forgot to say, but let’s assume that that rope has a grappling hook attached to it. You can make an attack roll to try and throw it over the wall. This is faster, but you also run the risk of alerting guards at the top of the wall (make a perception check before the attack roll to determine the right moment to throw the thing).

The sewage pipe may look less risky, but you will be covered in filth once you emerge from it. Too bad Elana is not here to cast prestidigation on everyone.

You can decide how to procceed, but freestyle climbing a 40 foot-tall wall (Climb DC 30) can be difficult at best and suicidal at worse.]
(OOC: Sorry man, my climber’s kit was added to my tangled web character sheet, but I forgot it on the Obidian one. I made a good climb check there on the second try, so of I can keep those rolls, I’d like to. I did include the +2 climber’s kit bonus in those rolls as well.

Finally, I’ll make a Perception check to see if the grappling hook is a good idea.)

Perception – (1d20+2)9

(Edit: Damn…can I take 20? )
[OOC: Sure, you can take a 20, aka waiting for when the time is right.]
(Assuming I take 20 and nothing stops me then, when the time is right, here’s Caithas’s attack roll for throwing the grappling hook and rope. I imagine it is just a Strength Check, or is it ranged? Anyway, I’ll do the plus 4 strength roll, and if anything should be added, feel free to do so Vlad.)

Attack/Rope Throw – (1d20+4)19
After trying a couple of times to climb the wall with his bare hands and failing, Caithas decides to use the grappling hook to try to scale the tall walls. Forgoing a less heroic approach that would have him crawling through sewage, Caithas steps close to the wall, as he waits silently for the perfect opportunity to throw the hook. The ranger tries to concentrate, in an attempt to guess what might be waiting for him at the top. The faint sounds of armored boots can be heard from atop, but nothing can be seen from this angle. As soon as the sounds fade away, Caithas takes the rope and, after spinning it a couple of times to gain momentum, he hurls the hook towards the battlements. He gives the rope a couple of pulls; the hook seems to have done its job.

[OOC: I am assuming that Caithas climbs to the top. All party members can climb now. No check is required, but perhaps you could hoist Elana up for RP reasons.]

Climbing the knotted rope is child’s play for the half-elf, who quickly manages to reach the top, while his companions remain at the base of the fortifications, waiting for the ranger to signal them. Once on top, Caithas takes a moment to observe his surroundings.

[OOC: Atmosphere (link)-since you told me you liked John Adams ]

The walls offer a vantage point which gives an overview of all of Lower Andelia. In contrast to Upper Andelia, several places in this part of the city are brightly illuminated, despite the fact that it’s already midnight. Places of high activity include the barracks, where soldiers can be seen standing outside, in the large training yard. Troops are also patrolling around several buildings of the government district. From time to time, lone mounted knights bearing torches can be seen navigating the city’s streets.

Closer to where Caithas is standing, he can see two imposing watchtowers, one on his left and the other on his right. Yellow light is coming out from the windows of both towers. There seem to be no soldiers around, although it is difficult to be certain in the darkness. Any noises are partially masked from the commotion coming from the barracks.
Caithas will silently signal to the others to climb, and he points into the city, away from both towers.

He points nearer to another area, off between alleys and streets, as the half-elf looked over the city and realized where they were near the barracks and that wouldn’t help anyone. So as soon as he was over the wall, he pointed his friends the only way he could see: Towards the Temple District, away from the watchtowers and the teeming barracks. And he began to move, his Empire’s cloak around his shoulders, a hood up to cover his bastard ears, he waits a beat for his friends to begin their accent…and then he begins to move into the city around him.

Stealth – (1d20+7)10

Perception – (1d20+2)3

(Edit: Oh shit…)
[OOC: Let’s wait for the others to reply, and state what they want to do.

By the way, you are not that close to the barracks, but you can see the place clearly from atop the wall, at a distance. However, you are still on the wall, and you will need to find a way to climb down.

The church thingy is a bit meta-gamey, I guess, since you are not supposed to know much about Ariel, but this is as good a chance as any to introduce her, so okay. I am not sure if Grant will be able to post, though, since he might still be busy.]
(OOC: Sorry man, didn’t mean it as meta-gamey. I imagined, after we saw the map, that that meant each PC would have a rough idea of the layout when looking out at the city. I only said “Temple District” to provide a direction. All Caithas knows is he sees soldiers and two watch towers, and he wants to avoid them all as much as possible, leaving only one straight shot: Try to blend in in the city or kill silently in back alleys.)
[OOC: Don’t worry about it. It’s anyway a good opportunity to have Ariel join, if Grant can make it happen ]
As he watches Caithas scale the wall his fear begins to wan about this approach. He follows suit, making it three-quarters of the way up before his foolish curiosity gets the better of him and he looks down. After a moment frozen in fear he continues the ascent, finally pulling himself up to where Caithas is standing, with solid footing once more. He tries to move as silently as possible, avoiding notice while on the wall. As soon as he is secure he turns to Caithas, whispering, “When ze others get up here we need to find Malcom’s allies, or even an inn, as soon as possible. We cannot afford to stay in ze open, especially not you and Ah.”

Stealth – (1d20+7)25
“As soon as they are up, we need to flip this rope around and climb down the other side,” Caithas whispers back.

“The longer we’re on this wall, the worse it’ll be for us.”
Elana struggles with the rope, but manages with the others to pull her up. She puts a hand to her wand, making sure it didn’t fall away, then draws her crossbow, quietly loading it just in case. The wall gave a nice view of the city. From up here it was almost peaceful to look down upon the area under the stars.

She crouched down, trying to avoid her silhouette giving her away. Elana stole a glance at her more experienced companions. “So, where to?”

Perception – (1d20)15

Stealth – (1d20+2)8
Malcom finishes disguising the boat the best he can with rocks, dirt and a small bit of plant life.

[[ Disguise Check? ]]

After he finished he looked up at the wall and saw Elana cross the height of it. He was relieved to see his companions over the wall, but the sudden feeling of being alone overwhelmed him and he wanted to do nothing else but to rejoin his companions. And with his great strength, climbing the rope is an easy feat. His feet land with a soft thud on the top of the wall, his figure basked in the moonlight for but just a moment before it disappears atop the wall. Although difficult, Malcom manages to crouch down with the rest of the group. Though it looked silly, he was crouched with his left leg out with the butt of his glaive resting on it, so that it didnt scrape the ground. The sharp metal edge of the head of the weapon still poked out inches taller than him, the cloth draping over his shoulder… and for the first time in a few days, it wasn’t wet with blood. Not that you could tell, though the beautiful repeating pattern was left on the cloth, the colors that must have been there were now mostly crimson or darker. Testament to the men and beasts he had slain with it. His dark eyes darted between the faces of the group, “Now to get back down. We need to get into a hiding place. Some where we can all meet up at in-case something goes awry, or so we only have a few operatives out in the city. Too many unfamiliar faces might spark suspicion.” Malcom lifts the grappling hook off the edge and sets it on the ground, stepping on it to prevent the weight of the rope from tugging it back down. With that he begins to pull the length of 40’ rope back up the wall.

[[ Perception +2 and Stealth]]
Once Malcom has the rope up, Caithas tosses it over the other side of the wall, peering about to be sure that no one was about.

“First, we get down and into the city. From there, we will find our hiding place. But away from the watchtowers, quickly!”

With that, Caithas takes one more look around him, looking for the least lit and defended areas of the city, and scuttles down the rope on the other side of the wall, finally entering Lower Andelia.
Perception – (1d20+2)11
Following Caithas’ lead Jules shuffles over the edge and down the wall, forcing himself to look down and around for any signs of danger. The fact that he is essentially a waiting target while on the rope helps to quicken his descent, while trying to remain unnoticed. When his feet are firmly on the ground once more, he looks to Caithas and says, “We need to find Malcom’s contacts in ze city as soon as possible, and zen preferably change clothes. Linees priests walking around at night are good for jokes, not so good when it comes to staying hidden.”

Stealth – (1d20+7)25

Perception – (1d20+3)6
“Aye, soon friend. Get your wife down here, then our fearless leader. From there, we shall see…and try to survive,” the ranger says, tapping meaningfully on his blades’ hilts.
Aware of your precarious position, you do not stay on the wall, despite the captivating view. Heeding Malcom’s suggestion, you quickly start climbing down the rope, one by one. Caithas goes first; he manages to swiftly climb down. Upon landing, he pulls his hood over his head and quickly observes his surroundings: A few houses are crowded against the wall, forming a narrow passage within which one can easily hide. Piles of firewood can be seen around the houses, methodically stacked close to each house. Caithas signals his companions, waiting at the top of the wall, before crouching behind a pile of firewood. From his position, he has a descent view of the top of the wall and his companions, but the darkness obscures many of the details.

Jules follows suit. Although less skillful than his friend, he slides down the rope as fast as he can, using his legs to push against the wall. He lands on the ground a minute thereafter, with minor burns on his hands, but no serious injury. He quickly joins Caithas and focuses his attention on the top of the wall, eagerly awaiting his companions.

With Jules down, it is Elana’s turn to climb down. Despite not being used to climbing, she manages quite well, although being overly cautious does cost her some time. A couple of times, she spins around the rope, before being reminded by Malcom to use the wall to stabilize her descent. She is halfway down the rope, before hearing something happening at the top of the wall…

Malcom, being the last one on the wall, focuses on helping Elana climb down, while maintaining a low profile. He ducks behind the battlements and, focusing on Elana, he whispers advice and words of encouragement to the noblewoman, who is unaccustomed at this sort of task. However, he is momentarily distracted by the sound of footsteps at a distance. Leaving Elana for the time being (who anyway seems to be doing just fine now), he turns his attention towards the direction of the sound. As far as he can tell, there are no more than two men approaching his direction, both wearing armored boots. They seem to be discussing intensely, although they are still too far for Malcom to be able to discern what is being said. Their footsteps indicate that they are weary or bored, but they are steadily moving towards his direction. Judging by the intensity of the sound, Malcom can guess that he has no more than a minute before they reach his current location.

Elana, halfway down the wall, manages to hear the footsteps and, judging by Malcom’s reaction, assumes that something is wrong. However, neither Caithas nor Jules can sense anything, as they are unable to hear or clearly observe their companions in the darkness.

[@ Matthias: Your perception check tells you that you don’t have much time. If Elana continues climbing down, and you also start descending, you will probably make it halfway down the wall, but the guards will reach your place before you have made it down. You can also try to hide, jump the guards, cast a spell etc.
@ Jeff: Elana has to decide if she wants to continue moving down, if she stays where she is, goes up or does something else.
@ Ross, Mike: Your PCs haven’t noticed anything yet, but you can declare other actions.]
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my friend,” Caithas whispers from behind the logs, watching Elana descend, “that’s a hell of a wife you have there.”

(OOC: Despite my intense desire to meta game here…Caithas won’t do much of anything for now. Good to see you Vlad! Hope the trip’s going well.)
Jules looks up at his wife, descending the wall, as she finally gets her footing. “You’re right, she is one amazing woman.” And one day Ah might be able to have a conversation with her zat doesn’t involve zis rebellion. Returning his eyes to the streets before them, Jules scans the area beyond their hiding spot in hopes of seeing any onlookers before they can summon guards.

Perception – (1d20+3)16
Half way down, Elana pauses, hearing the faint scuff of hobnail boots. She looks up and sees Malcom’s head turned in the direction of the sound, confirming that it wasn’t just her imagination. She waves at Caithas and Jules, hoping to get their attention, and points up at the wall urgently, trying to make them aware of the situation. The guards were getting closer, she could tell. At this rate they’d trip over the rope in a minute if they didn’t spot it first, and Malcom was still up there.

What should I do? Elana thought, her mind racing. If she stayed put, the guards would discover the rope. She had to move. Or . . . she could put them to sleep. No, she thought. Too risky. One of them could resist and one shout would bring the barracks down on us. Even if it worked, what if they were expected somewhere? It could draw suspicion.

Elana had to get down, and fast, so that Malcom could make a move. Doing her best to navigate the rope silently, Elana made her way down as fast as she could, hoping that something wouldn’t go wrong at this juncture.

[OOC: Need a check in particular?]
He could hear their footsteps clearly through the frosty night. They clicked with every step and seemed to echo in his ears. Malcom thought of his choices. All of his squad was down at the bottom of the wall, he could turn himself in and let the rest of the operation go unhindered. But the risk of his immediate execution stirred that idea from his mind. He could always stand up and pretend he was a guardsman along the wall… But the not even the night could veil that disguise well enough. The last two options were simple. Fight, or Flight. He could try to make it down the rope… but If he didn’t make it all the way down before they got there… The idea of falling a few stories was not a pleasant one. So in the end, it was simple. Fight. Though it would have to be quick and stealthy. An ambush. Malcom slid his glaive from its resting placed and readied it. A quick look around the wall produced a bit of shadows between the wall rampart and some crates on it, just before the hook which gripped for the rope. Push them off or strike them down, either way would have to do it and quickly. There seemed like little other choice in the matter. One way or another there would be a confrontation here.
Caithas looked up to see Elana wave. Something…

Something was wrong.

Perception – (1d20+2)19
On top of the wall

Malcom removes the cloth covering his glaive’s blade while holding his breath and trying to remain as silent as possible. As the soldiers approach, their conversation becomes discernible:

(Guard 1) “I tell you, this situation cannot go on indefinitely. The senate has abandoned Upper Andelia to its fate, sealing the people inside. How long do you think it will be before chaos erupts?”
(Guard 2) “They only need to control the plebeians long enough for the forces from the nearby outposts arrive. Our numbers are swelling with every passing day. With a couple of hundred more men, we will be able to control the situation easily. The special forces have already arrived and are ready to quell any uprisings.”
(Guard 1) “And who will fight against the winter, brother? With more men being pulled from the villages and hamlets around Andelia, who will look to the farms? The peasants have no fewer reasons to rebel than these city-dwellers. Without food to make it through the winter, we are all as good as dead. But wait, I think I see something!”
Guard – (1d2)1

[OOC: This is the guard who will address Malcom, and the one that Malcom will attack first.]
(Guard 1): “Who goes there?! Show yourself, stranger!”

With little choice, Malcom emerges from the shadows, running wildly towards the guard who spoke. With his glaive in his hands, he collides with the soldier, who struggles to maintain his footing. The guard manages to resist Malcom, but the corporal knows that he is stronger than the soldier. In an instant, a plan formulates in Malcom’s head: he allows the guard to push him back towards the wall’s edge, but at the last moment, he shifts his weight to the side, without releasing his grasp from his weapon and the soldier’s hands. The soldier is thrown off balance as Malcom sidesteps behind him, pushing him from the wall at the last moment. The soldier’s scream is short-lived: a split-second later, a metallic thud ends it and, presumably, also his life.
With one of the guards neutralized, Malcom extends his glaive’s tip towards the remaining soldier who, having been surprised, has only managed to draw his weapon. The guard bears a heavy metal shield, heavy armor [OOC: banded mail] and he is moving at you threateningly, wielding a flail in his right hand.

[OOC: Please declare your actions, if any, and roll for initiative.]

Below the wall

Caithas and Jules carefully observe their surroundings, shifting their attention away from Malcom and Elana. There is an eerie quietness covering the scene, but they can see no-one around, for the time being.

Elana manages to climb down the rope literally seconds before the silence is broken by words loudly spoken from atop the wall, form someone other than Malcom [OOC: audible by all, but only the last sentence, not the dialogue]. You all focus on what’s happening on the wall, where you can see three shadowy figures. One clashes with another, fighting and pushing for a few moments before one of the silhouettes is forced down the wall with a scream followed by a thudding sound milliseconds thereafter. The third figure draws a weapon, before moving towards the survivor.

The man falls a dozen yards from where Elana was standing. Although the fall should kill a lesser person, the man seems to have somehow escaped death. A soft, mumbling sound can be heard from where he has fallen. Atop the wall, it is now easier to spot Malcom, because of his distinctive glaive.

[OOC: Declare actions and roll for initiative, if you want to take part in the fight. If not, you can RP without rolling for initiative. The guard that has been pushed over the wall sounds like he’s alive, but incapacitated.]
[OOC: Messed up guard’s initiative, here we go again:]
Guard 2 Initiative – (1d20+2)7
[OOC: Edit-Dex modifier actually 1, so Initiative is 6.]
It takes every ounce of willpower for Jules not to scream in surprise when the guard crashes into the ground. The guard’s scream and the metallic crash, though brief, are certain to attract others. There is no way Jules can climb the rope in time to help Malcom, not that he wants to given the situation, Malcom is a born fighter and all Jules would do up there is get in the way, and possibly meet a fate similar to that of this guard. This guard who still isn’t entirely dead. With a sudden flash of inspiration, Jules looks to Caithas, whispering, “We need to leave. Zis place isn’t going to be safe much longer. Malcom can handle himself, but if we stick around here we all risk getting caught. Also, Ah need you to trust me on zis, but Ah need your help carrying zis guard, and when we get somewhere safe, Ah need you to treat his wounds.” As Jules finishes speaking he grabs the guard by his legs and waits for Caithas to grab his arms.
Initiative – (1d20

Caithas, itching for a fight, pauses…and sighs at Jules’ words. This felt wrong, leaving Malcom…but people would soon come rushing, and they needed to look like they were on the right side of the law.

His hand leaving his blade, he grits his teeth and says, “You’re the boss, my lord. I’ll get his arms. Lady, knock on the door of the nearest home you can find. Tell them a guard has fallen; we will treat him there. And pray to whatever gods you believe in that your husband knows what he’s doing…”

He leans down to the wounded soldier and whispers, “Don’t try to speak, good sir. We’ll take care of you…”
The guards weight and momentum make it easy to spill him over the wall. The landing is a deafening thud… he felt bad for the man, but it wasn’t the worst way to go.

[[ initiative – (1d20)20 ]]

[[ Trip Attack: CMB +6 ]]

Malcom wheeled around and faced the remaining guard. The tip of the glaive pointed at his face. With a quick flick of his wrist and a short step forward he brought the glaive to bare on the man. Just at the last moment he drops to a knee and flips the glaive at the man’s knee.
Below the wall

Caithas and Jules move towards the man, whose voice is bearely audible by now. The guard is whispering incoherently, as if suffering from aphasia. He is delusional, and it is easy to see why: both his legs are broken and his skull is cracked. He looks at both of you perplexed, evidently unable to understand what is happening. His condition is critical: without a healer, he is unlikely to survive for long. You remove the man’s armor [OOC: This takes some time; presumably, Malcom’s fight is done by then. The armor is banded mail, you can take it, as well as his fauchard, which is lying nearby] and try to carry him to safety.

[OOC: There are a few houses around, or you can head for a specific part of Lower Andelia. Let me know!]

Up on the wall

The guard does not expect your attack, which knocks him over. However, your attack has little effect other than enraging the soldier. He stands up immediately, easily sidestepping your attack [OOC: AoO]. He then moves toward you, intent on finishing this fight.

[OOC: I am too lazy to post a map. Also, a correction: The man is wearing banded armor, wielding a flail and carrying a light, not heavy, shield. A crossbow is strapped behind his back. If you want to fast-forward this fight, tell me Malcom’s strategy and I will make the rolls and play out the fight. Just consider, for tactical reasons, that this guard has the Step Up feat.]
“This man will die soon if he isn’t treated. He may die regardless. Elana, Jules, grab his gear will you? We need to get off the street. Now.”

Caithas tries to carry/drag the man to the nearest house to try to heal what he can and ask where the church district is for a proper healer. As long as they looked like they were helping…by the gods, it might be the best disguise they had.

[OOC: Heal check +7, if needed]
As Caithas moves the guard away, Jules grabs the man’s armor and weapons, putting them into his pack before following Caithas. Dressed as a priest, Jules prepares to leave to find a healer, all the while running through the opportunities this guard could present them with if he survives. Passwords, guard routes, rotations, names and families, possibly even passage for our forces through ze other bridge. And zat is without even convincing him to join us, if Ah could manage zat…
Elana scoops up the guard’s weapon, casting a glance back at the wall. Malcom was still fighting the other guard, but it looked like he was faring well, and the garrison was yet to be alerted. Even so, she didn’t like leaving him.

Caithas was right; the man needed medical attention immediately, but where? “Isn’t there a temple nearby?” she asked. “The healers there will take anyone, even at this hour.” If it was near enough, and the others agreed to it, Elana guides the others to the temple.
“Temple? If you can find one, hurry and lead on my lady. We’ll follow.”
[[ Touch Attack [roll0] ]]
[[ Inflict Light Wounds [roll1] ]]
[[ Rolls messed up, touch 1d20+0 Inflict wounds damage 1d8+1 ]]

The mans quick step would make this fight difficult, he couldn’t easily put the distance between them. The mans quickness was intriguing despite his heavy armor and his unwieldy arms. But the man had made a foolish mistake in stepping closer. A new plan formulated in Malcom’s mind. He followed the mans step and reached for him with a hand.
[OOC: Posting form Riga airport, where the music is terrible and the connection shitty.]

As Malcom starts casting the spell, he is forced to drop his guard momentarily. The guard sees the opportunity and lashes out with his flail, which hits the corporal on the left side of his head. The last thing Malcom hears is the sound of his own skull being smashed, before he collapses to the ground, bleeding heavily.

Down below, Jules, Caithas and Elana hear the sound of the blow and the noise that Malcom’s body makes, as it falls.

[OOC: Malcom is at -3 hp. Matthias, you can roll a con check/round to attempt to stablize (check the SRD). Casting provokes AoO, although the actual touch attack would not, had the casting succeeded. The guard also got a lucky crit.]
“No…,” the half-elf breaths, seeing Malcom fall.

“Take the guard to the nearest house; the plan’s the same. You are a married couple helping a wounded man; keep it simple.”

Caithas, with that, runs over to the wall. Could he make it up? Would it matter?


Shaking his head, with a tear in his eye…the half-elf turns to follow the others.

For the first time in days, he felt that old familiar, crushing emotion: Failure…
The sound of the fight ceased and everyone turned to see only the guard stood remaining. “Mal!” Elana cried, tossing the unconscious guard’s sword away. She drew her wand and was about to run back to the wall when Caithas stopped her. “Take the guard to the nearest house; the plan’s the same. You are a married couple helping a wounded man; keep it simple.” Elana watched the half-elf sprint towards the wall, and considered following him anyway. After a moment, she returned to help Jules carry the unconscious man to a nearby house, cursing under her breath.
As Caithas leaves the weight of the guard on Jules he nearly buckles, not expecting it. Not watching the scene on the wall and instead focused on the guard, Jules only catches the aftermath of the blow, seeing Malcom’s body lying on the wall, motionless. he and Malcom weren’t close friends, but still he is their leader, their ally, and as much as he hates thinking it, Malcom is the one with the contacts in the lower city. Hearing Elana shout brings Jules back to the situation at hand, Malcom would have to wait, they couldn’t scale the wall fast enough to save him if the guard meant to kill him, and if the guard was even close to qualified he wouldn’t kill a potential prisoner. Jules looks down at the man in his arms and is relieved he decided to try and help him. He wasn’t expecting to use him in any sort of trade so soon, but the guard Malcom just threw from the wall might very well save his life. He looks at Elana, worring that someone heard her shouting. In a quiet voice he tries to calm her.

“Elana, please, keep your voice down, Malcom will be back with us soon, but only if we avoid capture and make sure our hostage survives long enough to get Malcom back.”

As soon as Jules finishes speaking he moves to take the guard into a nearby house. When he reaches one he starts banging on the door, shouting, “Please, help! A man has been injured, he’s dying, we need help, please!”

[OOC: Bluff (9) or Diplomacy (10) to try and get the people in the house to let us in and provide assistance.]
Caithas watches Jules and Elana at the house. There was little he could do. They were a married couple, and both human in a human city. He, a lone half-elf, armed? Not nearly as easy to blend in.

He vacilated…he hesitated…he thought of heroically climbing up the rope, slaying Malcom’s attacker…and then…and then…what?

Dammit, fucking gods-dammit, he thought bitterly.

He then slinks in the shadows near the house Jules had approached and did the hardest thing he could do: He waited.

[Stealth 7]
[[ Stabilize – (1d20
2)18 Minus 3 for -3HP = 15 Success ]]

The man was unusually quick, and the blow came quickly. He gripped tightly on the glaive trying to steady himself before darkness swallowed him, and then… whisked away to a cold frigid world of his mind.

It was a familiar place he had visited within his dreams… but… was he dreaming now? Or was he dead? He knew the blow was bad, but… he must survive. There is no way he could fail at this point.I AM alive. he told himself. A soft murmur, a sigh and a laugh together pulled his eyes open. He opened his eyes to find himself kneeling and leaning on his spear as he just was, but the stone wall was replaced by a most familiar structure. He stands and turns to face the noise,

Willpower and determination alone will not keep you alive very long. Despite the cold, the woman’s red lips seem warm and full of life, though they do not move the sound of her voice fills the scene.

“I know…” He quietly replies, …I’ve failed already.

You will make it… and great leaders can only be born through trails and tribulation. No great man…

“Or woman.” he chimes in, thinking of Elana and how she had done so much, yet… taken no credit for it. Hiding all this time. The comment is met with a warm smile,

“Neither has come from being pampered and waited on. In the end I chose you because even while at the seat of death you had the determination and courage to look at him and say-”

“Not today.”

[[ Then to…. whatever Vlad has planned… ]]
Streets of lower Andelia (Elana, Jules and Caithas)

Leaving Malcom behind, the trio does their best to move the fallen soldier as quietly as possible from the base of the wall. No-one fails to notice the guard on top of the wall who, after having bested Malcom, checks his body and then moves closer to the edge of the wall, observing what is going on down below. After giving some desperate calls to his comrade and getting no reply (“Lanatus! Are you okay? Say something if you can hear me!”), he discovers the grappling hook you used to scale the wall. He gazes towards your direction, but you stay still and immobile, avoiding detection. The guard shouts menacingly: “Surrender yourselves and you might be spared!” Failing to observe anything or anyone, the guard removes the grappling hook from the wall and collects the rope. Unwilling to risk detection, you move towards the nearest house, dragging the body of the fallen guard with you. The last think you manage to make out on the wall is the guard, lifting Malcom’s body and carrying it towards one of the towers.

Jules starts knocking frantically at the door of the first house he sees, as Elana cringes under the weight of the dying guard. Caithas chooses to remain a good few yards behind, hiding in the shadows, watching and waiting, with his hands on the hilts of his blades. A few minutes later, a sleepy-eyed peasant opens the door. “What do you want?” he inquires annoyed. Jules explains the situation: the peasant seems unwilling to help, but when Jules mentions that failing to help a member of the Imperial guard will result in severe repercussions, the man has no choice but to provide his assistance. He offers a bed for laying the guard down, before sending out one of his children to summon the local healer.

[OOC: Enter Ariel Rolden ]

Unknown locations in lower Andelia (Malcom)

You hardly understand what is happening, as the guard pulls you towards one of the towers. All you can feel is horrible pain, as if your head is about to explde. You pass out and regain consciousness several times. Every time you wake up, you are at a new place that you cannot recognize. You cannot hear anything, but you can see that you are always escorted by guards.

[OOC: Let’s assume that you pass out and wake up four times: The first time you are inside a tower room, the second and third times you are being carried on a cart through the streets of Lower Andelia, and the fourth time you are being dragged through the corridors of a dungeon.]

You wake up in a large hall without windows that is lit by torches. The room is surrounded by passages leading towards all directions, but some of the passages are blocked by barred doors. All your equipment has been stripped from you. This includes the imperial letter, a copy of the original you made yesterday at the Watering Hole. You contemplate with dread what it would mean for the document to be discovered, but this might be the least of your troubles right now. You are still experiencing the most painful headache that you ever had in your life.

[OOC: You are at 1 hit point.]

Three men stand around you as you wake up. You recognize from their uniforms that they are Imperials from Legion XI, which is stationed in the city. One of them offers you a big bowl of water. You are extremely thirsty and attempt to lean over the bowl, but the two other soldiers hold you steadily by the shoulders, preventing you from taking a drink. All you can see is your reflection in the water. You hardly recognize yourself as you look into the water: most of your face has swollen and is covered with bruises. The left side of your face, which took most of the impact, seems broken beyond repair: a smashed nose, a broken eye socket and three teeth knocked out are the result of the brief fight. Your left eye is red with blood; coagulated blood also covers parts of your face and hair.

You realize that this might actually be a blessing in disguise: if you can hardly recognize yourself, then the guards and Imperial officials should also be unable to do so. This might be your only advantage right now, since you are well aware that the entire guard is likely to be searching for you, after the events of the last few days.
Your thoughts are interrupted by a grim-looking man standing in the corner, who addresses you in a commanding tone: “I will only give you one chance to answer this question: Who are you and what where you doing up on the wall?” The guard holding the water bowl sets it aside, as he unsheathes a dagger and pushes its blade against your neck.

[OOC: I will not be punitive about low social skill modifiers if what you say while imprisones is believable.]
The temple door resounds as the child knocks. Ariel answers and listens to his plea. Hastily she retrieves her bag from her quarters and dashes out following the young boy.
[OOC: Sorry for not posting over the weekend, guys. I was actually expecting for your PCs to do something.

Since this is the scene where Ariel is introduced, I was expecting that your characters might want to interact a bit, just like they did when they met during the prologues for the individual PCs. If you have no interest in this sort of thing, please let me know, so that I can move on.

I am not sure if you were expecting me to describe the scene at that peasant’s house, but I was actually more interested in character interactions. So, feel free to describe the scene yourselves, if you want (first one to post sets the scene). Also, you can attempt to heal the guard via skill checks or magic-just let me know and give me checks if you opt for the former.

@ Matthias: I have yet to receive any comments on your PC’s current situation. If you think that this is a game-killer for you, let’s please discuss this over the general discussion thread or via PMs, so that we can see what to do. I somehow have the impression that you are extremely annoyed at what has just happened-as far as I can tell by sparsely communicating with you over the threads.]
[OOC: I thought from Doc’s post that Ariel wasn’t here yet, sorry about not posting. If Ariel is here then great, if not then ignore this post.]

Jules pulls the man into the small house, pulling him onto the bed and removing his shirt and pants so that Caithas could better treat him, Caithas who as nowhere to be seen. He looks despairingly at the guard and Malcom’s best hope of escape, when he hears another person enter the home. The man is stunned for a moment at the woman entering the house, but quickly remembers why she is there, to save the guard. He rushes up to her, grabbing her by the arm and pulling her back to the injured man, explaining as he goes.

“Thank ze goddess you arrived, Ah was walking zis young lady home when we heard ze most horrendous crash and found zis man nearly dead. Ah have no skill in ze healing arts, and he has suffered horrible wounds, please, can you help him?”

He wishes silently that they hadn’t needed a healer from one of the churches. He doesn’t know if the descriptions of Caithas and himself were spread throughout the lower city as well, but even if they aren’t this woman is another person who knows they are in the city.
Ariel looks frustrated by the man’s attempts to drag her into the little home, but when she sees the wounded man she rushes to his side.

Drawing some supplies from her bag she quickly attempts to stop the bleeding and patch his wounds.
Heal – (1d20+10)29

“Echo’s heart! Can you hear me sir?”
Caithas watched the healer enters the home where Jules and his wife had entered moments ago. She looked both determined and frightened.


Was she a half-elf?

The ranger watched the door from the shadows and cursed softly.

He followed her into the house and added, “I am not entirely unskilled in the helping arts and I saw an injured man brought here. May I help?”

The ranger stands there, praying his friends keep to their tale.

Heal – (1d20+5)12
“Yes please, hold him steady, don’t let him squirm too much.” She deftly bandages the mans wounds. “We need to get him back to the temple where we can do more for him.”

She looks at the man helping her. Oh my another half elf. How rare, I wonder if he knows of Delrodin. Damnit focus! You must help this man She blinks and then returns to the injured man, checking him over for anything she might have missed.
The Healer’s voice betrays none of the fear her eyes show. She is methodical and business-like.

And gods…was she ever beautiful! Those almond eyes, alabaster skin and a voice like honeycomb…

Caithas silently crossed his fingers and hoped the beauty before him would go along with it all as well.

“Yes, yes, of course Sister. Once you’ve done what you can here, I will help you remove this poor bastard – er, rather – fellow to your sacred temple. Perhaps this other gentleman will help me shoulder the load…that is, if he and his lovely companion can spare the time to help a poor soul avoid the chill grip of Death’s embrace.”
“We need something to carry him on so as to not provoke further injury.” She looks around the hut hastily, hoping to see something they could use to carry the injured man.
Perception – (1d20+5)8
“If nothing suitable is found, Lady, I shall carry him on my back if needs be. But with your skills, I’m sure this faithful servant of our fair city will be saved.”
Elana watched the two half-elves at work, musing at the coincidence. She felt a bit useless standing there, but she wasn’t knowledgeable in the healing arts. By the look of it, Ariel had it more than under control. Looking at the guard made her mind wander to Malcom. He could be dead for all they knew, or at the very least gravely injured and in captivity. Her worry reflected in her pacing around the room.
Jules leaves the medical treatment to those with skill in it,hoping that Ariel doesn’t question his lack of training and his priestly attire. he looks around for a table or some sheets that could be used to carry the man when he notices Elana pacing, appearing very tense. He approaches and gently puts a hand on her shoulder, trying to comfort her.

“Zes guards may be many things, but stupid doesn’t seem to be one of zem. Zey will see zat their man is missing, and zey will know zat we have him. And because of zat zey will keep Malcom alive. But as soon as we get zis man to ze priestess’ temple we have things zat need doing. Ah need to find out how we can set up a trade with ze guards, but to ensure ze security of out situation Ah need you to make sure zat guard doesn’t say anything zat might ruin our chances of saving Malcom.”

Perception – (1d20+3)21
“My name is… M… Ma… Matthias” Malcom looked around the room at the other people, it was a fairly familiar place, but most of the rooms looked the same so it was difficult to determine which… facility he was in. The man in the corner looked to be in-charge, the rest were probably just foot soldiers. He mentally bet that his life was worth more alive than dead, especially if they found the coded message.

“I’m a traveling blacksmith and I came into town a few days ago, before the condemned man escaped.” he paused and looked around, trying to ignore the throbbing pain of his head, “I wanted out of this damn city.” Malcom focused his gaze on the man in the corner. “A second storm is coming.” his eyes move between his captors, “I tried to leave the city but they wouldn’t let me, so I took the only course of action I could, and I tried to escape the city by climbing the wall. No one was supposed to get hurt, but when the guard spotted me I had no choice.”
Ariel, Caithas, Elana and Jules

The two half-elves tend to the unfortunate soldier’s wounds. The fall has broken many of the man’s bones, so it takes a good couple of hours to try to mend the rest of what’s left of his legs. Ariel, with unparalleled skill, manages to align the broken shards of bone as best she can, while Caithas ties the legs together and against pieces of wood, to make sure that the bone will not be misaligned. When all is done, the man is lying in a deep torpor, having passed out hours ago. Despite their skills and efforts, the half-elves are no miracle-workers: they know that, even if the guard survives the infections, he will never walk again.

At the same time, Jules tries to find materials to make an improvised stretcher for the man, in case he needs to be moved. He manages to find a thick blanket and two thick brooms, that he puts together to make something that is serviceable. As the night proceeds to well past midnight, Jules tries to evaluate his plans. With the patrols going around the city, it may not be wise to venture outside, especially when burdened by a helpless man.

The peasant who owns the house spends most of his time watching anxiously the half-elves operating the man. When the operation is finished, he approaches Jules, who in his eyes is the leader of the group, before saying: “Phew… At least he’ll live. The last thing I need right now is a guardsman’s corpse in my house. Curfew or no curfew, we should alert the militia as soon as possible and explain everything. A missing guard will not go unnoticed.” He looks at you expectantly, and you can see that he is reluctant to step outside, but he is even more unwilling to stay here with a dying soldier on his bed.

It is late, and despite the fact that your situation is dire, you yearn some food and some rest, after such a tiring and eventful day.

[OOC: (1) You can try to go outside, let the peasant go, lie to him, manipulate him etc
(2) Also, if anyone wants to go to Malcom’s guards, feel free. I will assume that Malcom has given you the information you need to find them
(3) @ Grant: I haven’t finished the Ariel story, but I wanted to end up with her leaving Echo’s temple after the events described in the intro. I will PM the details. This is to give a good reason for her taking up “adventuring”. For this reason, maybe it’s not a good idea to take the guard to Echo’s temple (but you can try one of the smaller temples-one associated to your new deity that you wanted to introduce.]

Chapter 1-A war of attrition (Part 2)

The road not taken Svorinn