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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Rules-based RPGs --> Dungeons and Dragons --> Continuing Where We Last Left Off
Related thread: Continuing Where We Last Left Off Q&A
GM for this game: Alacrity
Players for this game: t_catt11, Admiral, Raven, Vanadia, Bromern Sal, Eol Fefalas
This game has fizzled.
    Messages in Continuing Where We Last Left Off
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Alacrity
The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6276 Posts


Bandits ahead, we soon be dead.

The lands around the city of Freegate are lush and green, with endless fields that in the summer grow thick with crops. Now, in the spring, the fields are dark, blacken exposed soil – tilled earth of the farmers busily working the land making it ready for another year’s harvest. The field workers watch you as you pass, waving happily and nodding greeting as you go by. But things in this land change drastically. One minute you are traveling flat lands, then you are moving down a steep hill, then up the side of a hill, and before long, the city of Freegate is no more within your sight.

By halfway through the day, the party has reached lordless land. No noble to bring order, and no troops to patrol here. The land is to hilly for most but the most hardy, or foolhardy depending on to whom you are listening. Huge trees blot the land, and high cliffs on either side of the path – making it a treacherous place to pass.

Some come to this land. People that yearn for freedom of living without Lord or tithe. You pass more homesteads with people working the fields, They watch you pass with a cautious eye, but no happy wave - fearful of the day when someone might come and tell them the name of the new lord of the land. Some of the farmers are deserted, the fields left untouched or overgrown, signs that not everyone is cut out to be a man of the earth.

Ahead of you, Char scouts the tall grasses and trees that surround the pathway. Signs of passage, recent are clear to his eyes. Four people, likely men moved through here recently. He leaves his mount behind and travels through the untended brush. It gets thicker and thicker as he moves to follow the trail, until he finds a cluster of trees, very close to the pathway where the party will travel. Char takes the time to be cautious here, moving silently and sticking to the shadows. The ranger lets his senses guide him – the smell of human sweat, the sound of whispered voices.

“Phil?” A voice from the trees, youngish by the crack in the voice.

“What?” A husker voice, weary but with affection, like a brother speaking to another.

“I’m hungry.”

A heavy sigh. “I know you are Thom. Just be patient.”

“What are we doing again? I’ve never even used a sword before.” Another voice.

“Waiting. For a merchant or traveler.” Phil whispered back.

“Are we gonna kill them?” Thom asked, obviously not keen on the idea.

“Phil sighed again, “No, We will just threaten them a bit, get some money, food, whatever and then will go from there.”

“Still think we should be gonna to Freegate,” Another voice his opinion.

“When we have enough to pay for the entry tax. Now hush all of you.” Phil commanded.

The four men stayed quiet for awhile.

“Phil?”

“Yeah Thom.”

“I’m hungry.”

Another sigh, “I know Thom. I know. We all are.”

“I wish Dad was here.”

“So do I Thom. But he isn’t. I’m gonna look after you now, so be quiet.Something will come soon, I can feel it.”

Char had seen and heard enough. Four men, armed with most like knives and swords only, waiting to commit banditry out of hunger and despair. No threat to them in anyway, but desperate enough that they may try something anyway.


Posted on 2006-10-23 at 20:48:25.
Edited on 2006-10-23 at 20:51:45 by Alacrity

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 449/28
7384 Posts


Shared pasts -- more line chatter...

As the ex-gladiator spoke, Jal listened with interest though his gaze often wandered from the big northman to the trail ahead. It was curious, he thought, that he and Talas shared somewhat similar histories – the mercenary a slave to the whims of the Empire’s Pits and himself a slave to the whims of the Master, each for large portions of their lives – and that the goal of freedom (no matter the differing forms) had drawn them both to Freegate. His gaze returned to Talas as the man finalized his volley in the conversation with a question of his own; “And you good Jal why are you here in this city?"

He glanced back over his shoulder, studying the buildings and streets behind them for a moment as if the answer to Talas’ question was somehow written there, then, regarding the man again, he offered an uncertain shrug. “It is my home, I think,” Jal said, “my earliest memories are of these streets, at least.

It was many years ago when I left here,” he sighed, shifting in his saddle and settling his ice-colored eyes on the road again, “a lifetime has passed between that day and this one, it seems. The city has changed little, I suppose, much of it is as I remember…there are more souls on the streets…” a mirthless smile flicked across his lips, “but, then, I am not the same as I was when I left.

We both seek freedom, friend Talas,” Jal said, catching sight of the hem of Wynter’s skirt as she danced through the gate, “and we have both known the other side of that coin… now, where is she going?” He shook his head, almost lost in the phantom girl’s laughter for a moment, then, as Sir Arien officially defined the column and led the party through the gate, the mage smiled at the imposing man at his side; “It would seem that this city has given us both the opportunities we seek, yes? A chance at freedom? And this thing we do for Lord Dwan, perhaps, is a step on the path to that redemption…”

((OOC: Just continuing with the conversation... waiting to see what might become of these bandits...))


Posted on 2006-10-24 at 07:27:46.

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 349/54
6201 Posts


jumpy horse!

As the party rides on through the lordless lands outside of Freegate, Arien's sunny disposition darkens a notch or two. The cliffs on either side of the path prticularly make the knight nervous - were he intending to stage an ambush, this would be the sort of site he would seek.

Suddenly, Winston shies, upsetting Arien's seat somewhat. Not enough for him to fall, but enough to make him reach for the hilt of Luin’naur in reflex. Seeing no immediate danger, the raven-haired man soothes his mount, thinking that perhaps the horse saw (or thought it saw) a snake or somesuch.

Several times over the next while, the warhorse repeats its reaction, and Arien is unable to ignore it. "Winston is spooked," he states to the party, "and he is a trained warhorse, accustomed to sights and sounds that would cause normal mounts to run in terror." The knight shakes his head. "Best be on our guard. Can any of you, by sharp eye or, mayhap, spell, see any cause for his fear?"

Unless someone can spot the cause for it, Arien will simply do his best to be on the ready - lance close at hand, sword free in its scabbard.




Posted on 2006-10-24 at 10:09:01.

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 449/28
7384 Posts


The voices say....

Jal’s conversation with Talas earlier in the morning had served to keep him occupied for a time and, for a while, the spellbinder had simply enjoyed the ride away from the gates of the city and the prospect that he might actually have found someone he might soon call friend. As the day progressed, however, and the conversation with the mercenary had tapered off in deference to keeping a keen eye on the trail and the lands about them, the urchin-mage appeared to steadily become more withdrawn and, in the eyes of the others, perhaps, a little less lucid than he had been at dawn. Though the sun had climbed higher in the sky and served to warm the day by the time the troupe reached the spread of lordless lands, Jal frequently tugged his cloak closer about him as if warding off a chill and occasionally muttered strange things…

“Do not worry about the bugs in the flour, Old Mother,” he whispered at one point as they passed an apparently abandoned farmstead, “your daughters have plenty…”

…At other times, the mage seemed to stare in revulsion at nothing, as if he saw some great spectacle of carnage amongst the pastoral landscape through which they traveled. It wasn’t only the living that Jal saw as their steeds clopped along these rural paths, after all – more than the skeptical and untrusting stares of the “free” farmers greeted him from the rough land and crudely constructed farmsteads. The spirits of the dead wandered here, too, and for each inhospitable glance cast in the parties direction by the living, Jal Spellbinder received just as many from those spirits on the other side of that realm. Many of them simply wandered about from overgrown field to rundown house as if continuing about the routines they had followed in life… as if they had no clue that their lives had been extinguished already and that there were other concerns they should tend to aside from the running of a farm that no longer mattered. Others roamed the hills, forests, and fields with more purpose though – some, missing arms or legs or heads, ambled about dripping phantom blood and bits of flesh as they sought out the rest of their earthly remains in hopes of at last finding some modicum of peace in the knowing that their bodies could be whole again… other lamented the fact that, after years of searching, those missing pieces of their once physical selves had yet to be discovered. He offered words of encouragement where he could but was somewhat saddened in knowing that there was truly little he could do to help any of them. Not until they are ready to accept…

Most of the spirits that had accosted him were dealt with easily enough – “I’m no thatcher, sir,” he mumbled to one who complained to him about the state of the roof on his house, and that seemed enough to dispel the ghostly farmer – but there was one among the countless wandering spirits who wasn’t so easily dissuaded.

Save my sons, the man pleaded as he trotted along beside Jal’s horse, please, sir, I beg of ye…I know ye c’n hear me, m’lord! I know ye c’n see me! Please, sir! They be good lads… save 'em for me?
“What is it that you would have me do,” Jal asked, finally acknowledging the man’s presence if only to quiet him down. The way the man was whining and begging, the spellbinder was sure that the others would hear him. He reined his horse to a stop, allowing Talas to canter past before leaning over in his saddle to speak with the anxious spirit; “Where are your sons? What danger are they in that they need saving?”

Save my sons, the man repeated please, sir, I beg of ye…I know ye c’n hear me, m’lord! I know ye c’n see me! Please, sir! They be good lads… save 'em for me?
DM's Note - that is all the spirit tells you.

Jal prepared to assure the man that he would do what he could when Wynter came whisking back to him from the road ahead. She whirled about him once with such speed that it almost rocked him from his saddle and served to spook his horse.

Danger ahead, my spellbinder, she said urgently as the mage clamped his legs tight around the mare’s ribs and tightened up the reins to calm her prancing, four men with swords… ready yourself!!!
“Thank you, Wynter,” he nodded rather breathlessly as his eyes flicked up the roadway and he tugged his staff from the slings that secured it to his saddle. Arien’s horse, too, seemed skittish and had shied more than once of late, this last time just as Wynter had come racing back to warn Jal of the apparent ambush that lay in wait ahead.

“I will do what I can for your sons, Father,” Jal muttered to the spirit that still stood nearby eyeing him imploringly. Then, with his staff held at the ready and with several of the runic tattoos scribed on his flesh tingling for attention, the mage spurred his mount forward to rejoin the party.

“Best be on our guard,” Arien was saying as Jal trotted up and scrutinized the road ahead once more, “Can any of you, by sharp eye, or, mayhap, spell, see any cause for his fear?”

Wynter whispered in his ear again; Four men with swords…
“I believe, Sir Thedell,” Jal offered as he nudged the hood of his cloak back with one end of his staff, “that your horse senses the ambush that awaits us.” He points up the road with his staff; “Four men, armed with swords,” he had waited for Wynter to offer more information but it didn’t seem as there was any forthcoming, “Other than that, I’m afraid, I can tell you very little…”

“Yes, sir,” the spellbinder murmured… there was a slight tinge of impatience in his voice as he addressed the empty air to his right side, “I said I would do what I could… Now, please, quiet for a moment…”

((OOC: All right then, given the information he’s been supplied with, Jal’s got his staff at the ready should things get “close” and is prepping a spell or two (still determining which… will update soon) for range or diversion as necessary… Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, Jal will wait for Arien’s “orders” before doing anything else.))



Posted on 2006-10-24 at 11:16:22.
Edited on 2006-10-24 at 11:34:36 by Alacrity

Bromern Sal
A Shadow
RDI Staff
Karma: 145/11
3893 Posts


Huh? What? Can you unnerstand da words comin' outta my mouf?

Char crouched thirty paces away from the location where he’d tracked the would-be bandits to. The undergrowth was thick about him, the leaves tickling his exposed flesh. He chewed on his bottom lip while he considered what he’d just witnessed and the best approach to take with it. As near as he could tell, the path that the rest of the party would take would lead them right through this area (though not through the thicket). The ranger absently snapped a small stem of grass from its root and began to chew on the earthbound end as he peered out through the foliage at the road that his companions would soon be taking. He found that he wasn’t the least bit concerned for the well-being of his companions, but a strange occurrence had taken place: he was concerned for the well-being of the bandits!

Char’s neck jerked about sharply, almost like a convulsion had taken him, as he shook his mind free of the thought. Focused on the situation at hand the ranger considered the possibilities: it was fully possible that the bandits would do something desperate like attack a group of heavily armed adventurers and get themselves slaughtered. Yes, in that event there was a chance that one of them could get lucky and wound—maybe even kill—one of the party (though Char quickly skimmed over that possibility). They seemed children of circumstance and as Char had been in more than one tight spot, he couldn’t hold it against them. The possibility that they’d just set him up came to mind too, but then they’d have to of known the party was coming, known Char was on his own, and instead of just nabbing him, concocted this elaborate plot to make him feel for their situation so that they could lure the whole rest of the party into an ambush… Char paused in chewing on the stem and raised his eyebrows. He had heard of more ridiculous notions, especially with magic afoot and creatures who could change shape who were inclined towards the devious hunt. With a slight shake of his shaggy head, the ranger dismissed that possibility as well.

They were still too far away for the Reds and Greens to be much of an affliction, but at the same time, if Char were commanding an outpost on the edge of enemy territory one of the first things he’d do would be to try and establish a spy who was in the advantageous position to warn him of the advent of attack. This returned the ranger to pondering the use of magic—divination magic Alloryn had called it—to determine their progress and establish an ambush. Once again, Char shook his head and returned to chewing on the stem. T’ say yer bein’ paranoi’ is ‘n un’ersta’men’, Char-lad.
This returned Char to his original summary that the bandits were, in fact, what they’d appeared to be and in that case, he had to save them from themselves.

Of course, there were options here as well. Char considered the mental image of him waltzing into their camp tossing some of his newfound coin about as he skipped out the other side humming lively songs the whole way, but after chuckling at the absurdity of the imagery he moved on to the more practical. Stealing away from the undergrowth he padded quietly along until he came to where he’d left Northwind. Quickly mounting, the ranger turned and cast one last look in the direction of the bandits to make sure they hadn’t noticed him before reining his horse about and putting his heels to the animal’s flanks. As Northwind thundered back the way he’d come, Char considered his approach. He wanted to put enough distance between him and the party that they’d have time to maneuver no matter the plan decided upon. So, Northwind took up a lather and the vision of Char riding quickly, low to his noble horse’s back, was what would greet the rest of the companions as he came into view.

Northwind slid and stomped into a solid stop before Arien and the others. Char grinned broadly to make sure they knew he didn’t have a horde of demons after him and bent to pat Northwind on the neck.

“Tha’s a goo’ lad, thar,” he said calmly to his winded steed, looking up at Arien to wag his brows at him while he played up on the anticipation the others were likely feeling at his approach. When he felt that he could no longer put them off, the ranger sat upright and tossed a thumb back the direction he’d come. “Thars some bandi’s a’ead. Well, no’ really bandi’s, bu’ more like kiddies, playin’ a bandi’s. Four, I tink. An’ no’ much o’ uh threa’.”

Glancing back down the road Char shrugged. “Day ain’ onna road, though. Sittin’ in da bush waitin’ on someting t’ pass bys. ‘Eard ‘em talkin’ afta’ trackin’ dem t’ da spo’. Day seem ‘ones’ folk, ov’rall, jus’ fell on ‘ard times, bu’ I ain’t rulin’ out no attack an’ dat be wha’ I wanna avoid.”

Char scratched at his beard a bit as though determining whether he wanted to add the next bit or not. He apparently decided on adding it as he said, “Don’ much wanna jus’ leave ‘em t’ die on anudda bloke’s blade eider. Tinkin’ i' migh’ be bes’ t’ ‘elp ‘em some, if’n we can.”

Returning his gaze to the gathered adventurers, the ranger awaited their response.



Posted on 2006-10-24 at 20:21:37.

Vanadia
Den Mother
RDI Staff
Karma: 111/12
1188 Posts


Galloping to keep up with all of you!

As the group headed out, Arien declared the party order and headed out, Char heading out well in advance to scout. Dapple considered for a moment the implications of being put in between the two spellcasters, as if she was some weakling to be protected, then shrugged, deciding that the argument wasn’t worth winning. Misplaced and unwanted chivalry, or a discreet desire on Arien’s part to have the two most unknown entities under her always suspicious eye, it really mattered little.

Content that Char would spot danger long before it would become apparent to Dapple’s city rat senses, she let herself fall into a light doze; one that registered the horse beneath her but little else. The deliberate steps of the horses and the swaying motion of the saddle were soothing, and Dapple might even have regained some of the sleep lost over the last few nights, were it not for the drone of conversation behind her. Rousing from within her hood, she concentrated on the voices behind her, but they were too far back for her to catch much more than a phrase or two. Curiosity and indifference warred within her, and with the heat accumulating within her tight wrapped cloak and hood, indifference won.

She was awake now, though, and irritated at the disturbance. She looked around, noting with distaste that they had left the city far behind. Dapple liked cities, their rigid, ordered shapes, their mazes of dark alleys, the near constant noise and bustle. She knew their dangers and their opportunities, and could calculate the risks with any action. She knew what waited in the shadows, for it was her. Out here, in the wild, was another matter, and Dapple eyed the hidden areas under trees and the horizon of cliffs with unease. The sounds of the woods were a language she couldn’t understand, and the threats that lurked were nameless. “Someone ought to cobble this whole place over” she muttered to herself, “Make something of it.”

That was when Arien voiced his concern, asking if anyone could determine a reason for his horse being uneasy. Dapple was tempted to make a witty remark about why horses would need a reason to be contrary when Jal spoke up. “I believe, Sir Thedell,” the mage called, “that your horse senses the ambush that awaits us.” He pointed up the road with his staff; “Four men, armed with swords. Other than that, I’m afraid, I can tell you very little…”

Dapple turned back to eye him, narrowing her eyes at the news. Convenient that he should have that information handy when he doesn’t appear to have cast a spell. I heard rambling, no chanting. whispered the dead voice inside her, and she had to agree. But, she thought to herself, if he had set up the ambush, why warn us?

Setting such pointless thoughts aside, she readied her daggers and shifted her weight in the saddle. If a fight was coming, she wanted to be clear of the beast, and on her feet. Before she could do much more than that, however, Char galloped back like a madman.

OOC: Not going to repeat Char’s post…

“Someone has to teach that man Common,” she said drily, shaking her head, but speaking just loud enough to be heard. “ I could have sworn that you said that there are bandits waiting in ambush, and we should help them because they are basically honest folk? That’s some fine tracking, to see into a man’s soul like that.”



Posted on 2006-10-24 at 20:58:11.

Admiral
I'm doing SCIENCE!
RDI Staff
Karma: 163/50
1835 Posts


tough love?

Adrian spent the rest of the day thinking in the same terms as the Gladiator. Grab some food and drink and enjoy your coin.

He contemplated asking Talas to spar in the morning. Adrian had quite a few things to teach him about sophistication and combat. It took quite some time to eventually shoot down the idea. He would first have to watch him fight in person. He had seen many, many gladiators fight in the Imperial pits, but each one had a different style. His intellegence got the better of him, and Adrian decided to take the advice of his combat theory classes back at the Academy. No, instead he decided to get a good sleep before the morning.

--------------------------------

Adrian was not a morning person. The one thing he hated was waking up and doing morning exercises. Well, honestly he hated being told to do them, and having every single push up called out to him. Unfortunately the Reds spent all their time in the libraries, so he had to deal with the rigor of the Grey's regime if he wanted to get any sort of exercise program worth his time.

Thankfully they had a bit of a trip ahead of them. The ride would fully wake him up. Adrian hated himself for it, but mercenary work has been a little slow lately, and he's gotten somewhat lax on his training.

He did his morning routine, an idenical copy of the Grey's workout program... just without all the shouting.

The next few hours went by without incident. He ate, met up with the others, saddled up with a yawn, and began riding. Arien drew up some solid marching orders, and Adrian had no objections. He was eager to get moving and get active.

The horses clopping and the bumps of the road were just what the young mage needed to finely attune his senses to the world around him. It seemed like the atmosphere had an opposit effect on Dapple, and Adrian watched the lad zone in and out of awareness.

Finally, a bit into their trip, they hit their first encounter. The "other" mage was the one to point it out first, followed by Char's detailed report. A couple of kids?

Adrian looked for an opportunity to throw in his opinion. After Dapple's comment (or joke, Adrian wasn't quite sure) seemed to be a good spot.

"Children are ignorant. If these want to live the lives of bandits, they need to be shown the danger they are putting themselves in.

In our world, the weak are at the mercy of the strong. If we simply pat their heads and give them coin, they will turn to this path again once our donation has run dry.

We should let them ambush us, slap them around a bit, and tell them if we had been Imperial, they would be dead or in shackles. It will illustrate their foolishness for attacking strangers unprepared, and will demonstrate the power of mercy. Two lessons most never learn until adulthood.

Then, we give them some coin and treat their wounds."


Posted on 2006-10-25 at 09:46:38.

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 449/28
7384 Posts


I beg to differ, Sir Othermage... ;)

"Children are ignorant. If these want to live the lives of bandits, they need to be shown the danger they are putting themselves in.

In our world, the weak are at the mercy of the strong. If we simply pat their heads and give them coin, they will turn to this path again once our donation has run dry…”

Jal looked up from the insistent spirit that still hovered nearby, pleading again and again for his sons to be saved, and shot a disapproving or perhaps disbelieving glance at Valentine. Apparently, ignorance wasn’t reserved only for children; the former Red still seemed to carry his own reserve. Had the man not been listening to what Char had said about these so-called bandits? Valentine had obviously never experienced the kind of hardship and desperation that oft times led good folk to bad deeds; or, if he had, the man had forgotten. Or was it, perhaps, that the warrior-mage was still thirsty for that unstructured violence that he had mentioned the night before; so much so that he was willing to bare steel and spell against even the smallest of threats?

As difficult as it was to do, Jal held his tongue as Adrian continued and completed his recommendations on how to handle the would-be highwaymen. When the “other mage” had finished his discourse, Jal leaned forward in his saddle and, taking a deep breath in order to subdue the disapproval he was sure would seep into his tone, shook his head slowly.

“Were I to venture a guess, Sir Valentine,” he said, “it would be that these ignorant children have no desire to live the bandit life and that what they plan to do is born of desperation and necessity rather than desire…”

…my sons, sir, please, the dead man reiterated, imposing his bisected form between Jal and Adrian and, for a moment, distracting the urchin-mage.

“Sir, please, a moment of silence,” Jal whispered to the spirit, “I will do what… I can…for… your sons?” An expression that mingled realization and uncertainty passed over Jal’s features then and, though he had been trying to silence the spirit, he couldn’t help but wonder now if the timing of the dead man’s pleading wasn’t somehow more than a coincidence… Could the bandits ahead be this man’s sons? He studied the spirit curiously as he pondered the possibility and then, as if suddenly realizing that he had, once again, abandoned a conversation with the living in deference to the dead, blinked and turned his gaze back to Valentine.

“Have you never known hardship or hopelessness, Adrian,” he asked, “Have you never done something simply because there seemed to be no other options left? You have said that, in our world, the weak are at the mercy of the strong. Which of those words would you emphasize, then? Weak? Strong? Or, perchance, mercy?”

The odd little mage’s lips tightened as his pale eyed gaze swept over the rest of the party and he warred internally with whether or not to reveal to them the musings that had been inspired in his mind by the apparition that still lingered amidst the troupe… likely not the best thing to share, he decided after an instant; there was a certain amount of distrust and uneasiness about him amongst his companions already…

“I have known the kind of adversity that leads to this,” he said softly, his eyes ticked between Talas and Dapple, “as have some of you, I’d wager; and I, for one, choose mercy without… how did you say it? …slapping them around?” He offered a faint shrug and, with a cluck of his tongue, urged his horse to the outer periphery of the group; “Lessons can be learned without blood being spilled.”

His gaze ticked up the road again and, hoping that the girl was still close by, whispered into the air; “Wynter, my love, if there is anything else you can tell me about these men, I ask that you do it soon…”

(OOC: Based on Char’s report, among other things, Jal is starting to wonder, of course, if the ‘bandits’ might be the ‘sons’ he is supposed to ‘save’ and, as such, isn’t certain that violence of any sort will be necessary, here… He has started to formulate a plan of his own based on this but will wait for more from the others before he says anything else about it. He’s also kind of hoping that Wynter might provide some more info, soon, as “dear, dead Daddy” seems to be looping… ))



Posted on 2006-10-25 at 12:31:36.

Admiral
I'm doing SCIENCE!
RDI Staff
Karma: 163/50
1835 Posts


a wuh?

“Have you never known hardship or hopelessness, Adrian,” he asked, “Have you never done something simply because there seemed to be no other options left? You have said that, in our world, the weak are at the mercy of the strong. Which of those words would you emphasize, then? Weak? Strong? Or, perchance, mercy?”

“I have known the kind of adversity that leads to this, as have some of you, I’d wager; and I, for one, choose mercy without… how did you say it? …slapping them around? Lessons can be learned without blood being spilled.”

Adrian simply shook his head. Of course this mage knows the adversity. Look at him. Hard work is not his friend.

"I have worked my entire life. Since my youth I was subject to the torture of Imperial servitude. They are free children, they are responsible for their decisions. We can send them to Freegate with coin and our gratitude, but when that runs out they will turn to theivery.

And, the word I emphasize is mercy. What you are suggesting is charity. Mercy may only be applied when the lives of the weak are in the hands of the strong."

He let out a sigh.

"There need not be bloodshed. Fear can be a lesson in itself, although if they resist they must learn that every action has it's consequences."


Posted on 2006-10-25 at 13:07:29.

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 349/54
6201 Posts


enough!

Arien felt a range of emotions wash over him as one by one, the group added their input. Once Char communicated what he had seen and heard, the knight felt some of the adrenaline drain out of his blood; four untrained peasants were hardly a real threat to the group, and there was little glory to be had in running down rabble such as that. Indeed, between the rough ranger and the creepy wizard, Arien found himself feeling sorry for men who had apparently decided to kill him and his friends for a few coins.

Of course, if Char was right - and the man usually was - these were hardly men, and they were desperate. Arien's heart was inclined to quickly swing to the extreme of being full of pity; had he not sworn to right wrongs, to help the downtrodden wherever he could?

Adrian had an interesting take on the situation. Arien felt that the militant mage was a bit harsh, perhaps, and certainly lacked the sort of tact that Ally had spent her life trying to instill in her little brother, but at the heart of the matter, he had a point. If the group just gave these wretches coin, what was to say that they wouldn't turn to thievery later?

But what was to say that they would? Perhaps this good deed would be the turning point that helped shape their lives. Suddenly, Arien's head hurt with the contemplation of what might happen.

"Enough," he stated. "I believe that Adrian has a point. If we reward banditry with charity, we are likely to breed more banditry." Before anyone could object, he continued. "Even so, there is no honor in killing starving, hopeless pesants. Let us turn the tables on this ambush, shall we?"

"Char, you were able to approach them undetected, were you not? Perhaps you could do so again. Dapple, I would imagine you would also be up to this task?"

Arien grinned. "Kilgim, my friend, would you care to join me as bait? No matter how hungry they might be, four men would be fools to attack all of us. But if our sealthier members can outflank them, and our spellcsting companions can hide themselves and Talas by use of magic, the two of us might make an inviting mark, yes?"

The knight warmed to the idea. "If all they have are swords, we still have the advantage on horseback when they close to attack - truth be told, the two of us would have little problem subduing them as is. Still, let us draw them out, then our companions can burst from their various concealments when the time is right. If all goes well, there will be no need for blows to be struck. If it does come to violence, let us make all effort to do them no permanent harm."

Arien's emerald eyes sparkled in the sun. "Once our point is made, I have no issue in giving some charity, provided they vow to turn their feet from this path of crime. Agreed?"

OOC: feel free to comment, argue, etc. This is a proposed plan, not an "order". BTW, way to make a chance encounter interesting, oh DM!





Posted on 2006-10-25 at 13:53:08.
Edited on 2006-10-25 at 13:56:53 by t_catt11

Bromern Sal
A Shadow
RDI Staff
Karma: 145/11
3893 Posts


Valentine and Jal... two different people. Got it.

With the sun beating down upon his back and his horse stepping impatiently beneath him, Char listened to the various comments made concerning the information he’d brought back. He was momentarily confused when his report didn’t seem to be taken as news, almost as though the party were already on their guard, aware that something lay ahead. True, he’d done the thundering charge back towards the companions as though a gate from the Abyss had sprung open at his feet, and that was likely to set this group on edge, but there was more to it than that. They had known something of what he’d delivered before he’d completed his report and he longed to find out the how and what of it. When Dapple had made her comment Char had graced her with a look that said, “Shaddup.” He was used to the banter. That’s how they operated. She ripped on him, he on her, and in the end they (at least Char felt this way) relied on each other and trusted one another… so far as Da’ Moon could trust anyone, he supposed.

Valentine’s response had been what he’d expected: cold, harsh, full of reason. Tha’s a Red, Char-lad. It reminded him that perhaps Jal wasn’t the one who’d turn out to be the trouble, after all, Spellbinder just spoke to thin air, Adrian had actually worked for the enemy, been trained by the enemy, and had breathed the enemy’s culture. By the time the wizard had finished his commentary the ranger was about to toss a sneer his way and dismiss his suggestion out of hand. Jal’s response, however, was more immediate and was cause for Char to quite suddenly realize he was staring at the man with his mouth open. It was, in fact, in conflict enough with what the ranger’s original opinion of the man was that Char nearly missed Valentine’s reply. Wha’s da bloke abou’ den, Char-lad? ‘E playin’ witcha ‘ead? Of course, the pale-eyed man had to go talking to thin air again sending chills up and down the ranger’s spine, but still…!

The ranger snapped back to his usual self when Arien laid down the plan. He considered what it would take getting in behind the lot of them and doing so in such a fashion that they weren’t putting anyone in any real risk. His brow kept rising and falling as he considered angles, remembered the undergrowth, the lay of the land, and the best vantage points as he could recall. Then, he offered up a slow nod.

“Aye, coul’ be done, I suppose. Dough, I dunna see da reaso’ t’ pu’ anyone t’ risk when i' be likely dat one o’ these slingers coul’ use dare magic t’ pu’ da buggars ou’ fas’ enough. Den we tie dem up, poin’ ou’ da finer poin’s o’ dare poor choice in vocate-ione, an’ leave dem a knife t’ cu’ demselves free an’ coin enough t’ ge’ dem int’ Freegay as dat be wha’ day say day wanna ge’ coin fer anyways.”

Char threw a glance Kilgim’s way, then back to Arien and Da’ Moon, finally skimming over Jal as though looking at him hurt the ranger’s eyes. He purposefully ignored Valentine and since Talas had yet to speak up, figured the man had nothing to offer, so he didn’t bother looking to the pit fighter for suggestions either.

(OOC: No hard feelings folks, Char's a bit judgemental at the moment. Might be that time of the month... might not. He might just be hating Reds... )


Posted on 2006-10-25 at 21:02:45.
Edited on 2006-10-25 at 21:03:53 by Bromern Sal

Admiral
I'm doing SCIENCE!
RDI Staff
Karma: 163/50
1835 Posts


buncha tree huggers

Valentine looked around in a bit of a daze. They all seem to agree, but yet do not act. Thus is the story of my life I suppose.
"I have never liked deception. My magic is of a more... material nature. I will wait here if the group desires, although I would prefer to be in the meat. I do have a few tricks, though, depending on how the situation plays out."


Posted on 2006-10-26 at 07:47:47.

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 449/28
7384 Posts


Torture, you say?

Do not presume to speak to me of torture, Valentine! I can assure you that you know nothing of what torture truly is!
Jal didn’t speak the words, of course. Arien had already called a halt to the disagreement and, despite how angry Valentine’s retort had made him, the urchin-mage knew that to pursue the argument further was pointless. The spellbinder did glare the rebuke at the former Red for a good while, though. Perhaps if the flesh was peeled from your back for no other purpose than to have material upon which to scribe a spell you would understand suffering…Perhaps if the one thing you truly loved was consumed by flame and you stood helpless…
Jal, Wynter’s voice snapped him away from the dark thoughts, none of that!
“Sorry, Wynter,” he mumbled, tearing his gaze away from Adrian and turning his attentions to the others.

Char, for some reason, seemed to be gawking at him – as if something the mage had said or done somehow surprised him – but, when Jal met the ranger’s gaze, the man quickly averted his eyes. Jal watched the pathfinder as he chewed over Arien’s proposed plan and listened intently as he offered up his own thoughts on the matter. Between the tack laid out by the knight and the additional details sketched in by Char, Jal had become fairly comfortable with the strategy – although, he was thinking that simply telling the lads up ahead that their father would not condone what they were about to do and offering them the coin it would take to get into Freegate would be a much simpler solution – and nodded his agreement to the proposed course of action. If necessary, a minor spell to put the lads to sleep could be used, he supposed…

"I have never liked deception,” Valentine said, following the ranger’s offering, “My magic is of a more... material nature. I will wait here if the group desires, although I would prefer to be in the meat. I do have a few tricks, though, depending on how the situation plays out."

Jal sighed, biting back any commentary he might have been inclined to make, and once more tore his gaze from Adrian and allowed it to wander over the others. He wondered what the cleric’s thoughts on the matter might be, just as he wondered if Talas was more inclined to agree with the aggressive approach that Adrian seemed to favor or, instead, the more compassionate but still cautious path. Dapple, he imagined, would likely be indifferent one way or another, but he had no doubts that the boy would let either choice be made without a biting comment tossed in for good measure…

“Very well,” he said, voicing his assent to the plan, “If it comes to it, these bandits will be taught their lesson…” his eyes dipped to the cross-hewn spirit that still pleaded for his sons’ salvation, “…but I think, perhaps, they may already be aware and shamed by their own intent.”

Save my sons…
“Yes, old man,” he answered, once more trying to wave the spirit into silence, “we will…”



Posted on 2006-10-26 at 09:26:36.

Vanadia
Den Mother
RDI Staff
Karma: 111/12
1188 Posts


Heroes for hire, bleah

When Dapple made her comment about Char, the shaggy headed ranger gave her a look that said “Shaddup” just as clearly as if he’d said it aloud, but there was humour in the way he lifted one eyebrow at her. For all of her nasty words and mean ways, Char never seemed to take it to heart. In fact, for all the times she got in his face, he got right back into hers. She didn’t know whether to deck the man, or …

Run the hell away, if you had any sense snarled the dead voice within her soul, making the smile vanish from her face before it was born. That man sees too much, and one day he’ll see you for the half-breed monster that you are. Your own mother feared you; are you prepared for the day when these people turn away from you in disgust?
Dapple hung her head, letting hood and curls hide her while she bit bloodless lips, fighting the repressed anger that shook her frame. She listened to the debate around her, muttering her mantra of nothingness, and finally raised her head to look at the party again.

“Oh, how I wish I had met such good company earlier,” she warbled in a boy’s falsetto, clutching her hood at the neckline and tilting her head, eyes wide in an imitation of a stage waif. “Had only someone cared enough to steer this orphan of Freegate back on the straight and narrow, how different my life would have been now!”

She dropped her hands and dropped the act, continuing in her usual dark voice,” I’ve no taste for needless slaughter, so I’ll go with Char in our own ambush. But make no mistake, “ she raised one hand in warning,” if any of these ‘poor wretches’ so much as twitches in my direction, I’ll put the bugger down and not lose an hour’s sleep over it. Before you all rush to feel sorry for anyone, consider the fate of any farmers or pilgrims that may have come along instead of us.”

Realizing she had spoken more than she normally did, she stopped, and shrugged with her usual “Nothing to me” way. “So,” she said to Char, not looking at him,” are they far enough to ride awhile, or do we proceed on foot?”



Posted on 2006-10-26 at 16:29:45.

Alacrity
The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6276 Posts


Strangers and the Knight?

No doubt, the members of this group were from various backgrounds and it reflected in how they viewed this moral dilemma. But whether they agreed or not, a simple plan was formed to face these would be bandits and perhaps lead them astray from the banditry they had chosen. Char and Dapple rode off ahead, and then took their mounts off the main roads to sneak behind the hiding spot of the young men. It had been awhile since Dapple had tried to move silently through anything but a city street, with every branch and critter hidden seemed to conspire against her. But eventually the rogue found her stride and they moved quietly into position. The bandits were easily found by following the voice of “Phil, I’m hungry”.

Dapple’s eyes were made for dark places such as this, as the legacy of her elven heritage adjusted to the difference in light. Infravison, some called it, the only usefully thing her elven blood gave her as far as Dapple was concerned. The four men in hiding, if men they could be called, were definitely brothers - the resemblance was that clear.

Talas, Adrian and Jal hid themselves from view by the use of a Invisibility 10’radius cast by Spellbinder. Ready to spring the trap awaiting them, Arien and Kilgim rode outside the spell’s effect. Sunset took to the sky, not wanting to get in the way if combat were to happen.

In the sanctuary of their hiding spot, the four men stirred. “Phil? Someone is coming.”

“I see. Okay, remember the plan. Keep your cloaks up and look menacing. I’ll do the talking. That means be quiet Thom.”

“Wait, Phil! Look! It’s a Paladin! It’s a blessed Paladin and his squire.”

“Phil looked out, “We don’t know he’s a Paladin. Could be a guy wearing armour, out for a stroll with his dwarven friend.”

Thom wasn’t buying it, “It’s a Paladin! Look! Shiny! Maybe the League sent him. He’s with a dwarf.!’

Phil lost it, “Thom! You are gonna kill all of us. We couldn’t kill the duck. We couldn’t eat the rabbit. Now we can’t rob the guy because he’s wearing armour!”

“Umm Phil,” one of the other said, “That knight is has a sword, and a lance, and the dwarf looks like he’s carrying an armoury.”

“What else can we do? There are only two of them.”

Char and Dapple watched as the three brothers argue it out and missed that Thom had slipped out of the hiding spot.

“Where’s Thom?”

Phil looked around, “Oh crap!”


Arien and Kilgim were trying hard not to notice the shouting coming from the copse of trees ahead. If this was an ambush, they would have been armed and ready without the addition notice. Suddenly, out of the trees burst a young man, human of maybe 14 summers. He came out running, waving his hands in the air. “Sir! Sir! Mister Paladin! Woohoo! Help! We need help!”

There was a brief moment as the knight and cleric exchanged glances. Then three more men came out, all of ascending age but all quite young. They called to their brother and gave chase. Then they stopped, as if realizing that they had swords in their hands, which they quickly and carelessly throw away to run after their brother.

“Sir Paladin! Our family needs help! My father was killed by …”

The brothers tackled the young one. Pushing and shoving each other in the middle of the roadway, the party comes right up to them as they fall over, punching, kicking and generally attacking each other while shouting at each other.

“Toadhead!”

“Idiot!”

“Barfbrain!”

“I’m in charge!”

“You’re a stupidhead!”

“Sir Paladin! My dad!”

“Shut up Thom!”

“Dad liked me better.”

“Jerk!”


OOC: Your move. The threat is ... minimal.


Posted on 2006-10-28 at 14:56:26.
Edited on 2006-10-28 at 15:00:32 by Alacrity

   


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