BACKPOST BEFORE AL'S
The trip from the walls of Freegate had so far been an easy one Talas had found himself actually enjoying his conversation with small mage Jal, the two of them did seem to have a lot in common as far as their background and shared experiences went. It was not unlikely that a friendship between the two of them could be possible. As the day went on Talas found himself having to wait for Jal as the mage did stop and seemingly once again speak to open air. Then as if nothing had happened Jal moved forward into line once more. It was here as the two of them did catch up to the rest that they heard Arien talking
"Best be on our guard, Can any of you, by sharp eye, or, mayhap, spell, see any cause for his fear?"
Then as if all knowing Jal did speak up causing Talas to look his way.
"I believe, Sir Thedell, Four men, armed with swords, other than that, I’m afraid, I can tell you very little…”
Even more strange to the Ex-Gladiator was when Jal did once again turn and talk to seemingly no one but the air around him.
"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"
With the Ranger Char’s return and his report confirming Jal’s statement Talas began to really wonder at the small Mages sanity. How was it that he knew of what the Ranger had found before the Ranger had told them, had he unknowingly to all, cast a spell of precognation.? This was running through Talas’s mind as he listened as Jal, Char and the others debated of how to deal with the so called “4 Bandits”. After a few moments Talas himself spoke up.
"No harm should come to them by us if what Char and Jal report is true as I belive it is, for that would be wrong. Instead let us gather them before us and I will gladly give them enough money to enter the gates of Freegate as hopefully they will find a better life there. If afterwards they still decide to rob then it is upon their heads, not ours and the gods shall judge them true."
(OOC:Sorry AL ya beat me by a few minutes I hope my late post does not mess up anything you had planned)
Posted on 2006-10-28 at 15:06:03.
Edited on 2006-10-28 at 17:36:55 by TannTalas
Vanadia Den Mother RDI Staff Karma: 111/12 1188 Posts
A fish out of water, or Dapple in the woods
OOC: When skulking in the woods, Dapple will follow Char's lead, but I am afk all day Tuesday, and wanted to get this posted. If Char's actions would contradict this, I'll happily revise
Well, they had a plan. Whether or not it was a good plan, or a wise one – it was a plan, and it would have to go seriously wrong for there to be much danger in it. Such were Dapple’s thoughts as her horse followed Char’s off the road and down some deer path only the ranger could have found.
As she clung close to the horse’s neck (no-one here to see her skill on horseback with Char’s attention ahead), she wondered at herself. Here was the loner, the observer, taking part in a plan she didn’t even agree with, when she still refused to participate in Fast Toes’ grander schemes.
You lack focus, that’s your problem. Learned all these skills, at no small cost, and yet you hang back. You could be Fast Toes’ second in a year or less, if you’d just get on with it!
Dapple was spared any further tirades by Char’s signal. She dismounted as quietly as she could, then followed Char into the brush. This was different than moving unseen through crowds, or worming her way through fences and shuttered windows, but she watched the woodsman’s progress closely, and tried to step in his footsteps. Too close, once: a supple branch whipped back, and only her reflexes saved her eyes from the lash.
Once they got close to the hidden highwaymen, however, Dapple realized she could have brought her horse, or even great clattering Arien, for all the difference it would have made. As she drew close enough for her cursed eyes to pick up their features, the crime family argued amongst themselves.
This is the great threat? The four men with swords? Bunch of lackwits who shouldn’t be handling sharp objects, she thought to herself, and felt something cold uncoil from within her. These fools will starve before they manage to rob anyone. Bringing them down would be a mercy killing. Go on, you could get two of them with daggers before they even know you are there…
Dapple had started to wriggle forward, one dagger half drawn, when the village idiots realized the youngest was missing. They rushed out to the road, where Arien and Kilgim watched, wide eyed, and Dapple cursed under her breath, blinking and shaking her head. Sliding the dagger back home, she crouched once more, glancing to Char. The tilt of her head asked the silent question: stay hidden, or the follow the dolts out into the open?
Char and Dapple had set off on their flanking path minutes earlier and now, with Valentine and Talas flanking him closely to remain within the bounds of his spell, Jal watched as Arien and Kilgrim urged their mounts forward into the anticipated ambush. After the knight and the cleric had paced off a respectable distance, though, the mages and former gladiator began to follow; far enough behind that the road dust stirred by their horses might go unnoticed by otherwise engaged bandits but not so far that Talas and Adrian’s melee skills should be delayed longer than necessary.
It wasn’t long, however, before Jal realized that he had likely wasted mana on the casting of the invisibility spell. From a copse of trees just ahead came the sounds of voices raised in debate – these supposed bandits obviously weren’t at all skilled in their craft. The urchin mage exchanged glances with Adrian and Talas and, when the young man burst from the tree line and ran towards Arien and the dwarf, Jal rolled his eyes.
“Men with swords is it?” the mage almost chuckled the question, his gaze ticking to some nether point to his left.
He’s just a boy, Wynter giggled. The girl’s tone held a hint of embarrassment and a somewhat apologetic note.
“Sir Paladin,” the boy shouted, “Our family needs help! My father was killed by…”
Look, she tittered as the other ‘bandits’ broke from their cover and chased down the first, there are the others…
“Mhm,” Spellbinder smirked as he watched the youths tussle for a moment and then turned to regard the father spirit, “Your sons, perhaps, old Father?”
Save my sons, the half-hewn specter replied.
Jal sighed softly and nodded. “I suppose this was pointless,” he murmured waving a hand to dismiss the invisibility sphere. The quartet of boys was still scrapping and arguing in the dirt as Jal approached, reined the mare to a stop not far from Arien and Kilgrim, and watched the display for a moment.
“I’m in charge!”
“You’re a stupidhead!”
“Sir Paladin! My dad!”
“Shut up Thom!”
“Dad liked me better.”
“You see,” Jal said, offering a strange grin to the knight and gesturing to the tumultuous knot of youths, “there is no desire to live the bandit life here.” His pale eyes swept over the rest of the party, then, before once again seeking out the father spirit to see if the ghost perhaps would somehow identify any of these boys as his own…
((OOC: Tried to avoid “placing” or assuming actions for Adrian or Talas, here, if I need to edit, just lemme know. If “ghost-dad” offers up any sign that any of these boys are his before they stop walloping each other, Jal will likely try to intervene… if not, he’ll continue to watch the boys scrap until it ends on it’s own or unless he’s asked/ordered to do anything else.))
Posted on 2006-10-30 at 08:23:20.
t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 347/54 6186 Posts
kill the bandits! no mercy!
Arien had not been expecting the most coordinated of bandit attacks. From the intel provided by Char, these were peasants on the verge of starvation, turned to robbery in order to survive. Still, desperate men could be fierce, so caution was in order.
However, it quickly became obvious that these were desperate children, not men, and that the knight's scheme to minimize the threat had apparently been wasted. Bemused, he released the pommel of his sword. There would be no need for magical fire here.
As he listened to the boys bicker, Arien couldn't help feeling sorry for them - and more than a little irritated at them. The youngest boy's plea tugged at the knight's heartstrings - Arien had a well-documented weakness for any who asked for help. Even so, a firm hand was obviously needed here.
The heir to House Thedell conjured up memories of his grandsire - a bold and brave warrior, and a gruff and fierce man old man right up until they laid him in his tomb. Grandsire had a voice that was able to cause a dragon to quake in fear (or so it had seemed to Arien, as a boy) - now, he tried to channel some of that fierceness for himself.
"What's all this, then?" he bellowed from atop his warhorse. Drawing on every bit of his upbringing as a noble, Arien sat tall and assumed a commanding demeanor. "Are you trying to call down every real brigand from the here empire's borders?" He glanced up the hill. "Char, Dapple, I believe you can come down," he spoke with a bemused expression. He glanced over his shoulder to see that the mage had broken his invisibility spell, revealing the other three members of the group.
"Boys," the knight spoke sternly," do you have any idea how much trouble you are in? You thought to rob my friend and I," he indicated Kilgim. "The two of us would have been more than your match, and you never saw our other five friends. If we were other travelers, the crows would be picking your bones now... and if Freegate's patrols caught you, they would hang you for banditry."
He let his voice soften... "Now, what's this about your father? I can see you boys are not real criminals. What has brought you to this point?"
OOC: Arien will listen to the tale, obviously. He is fully prepared to pay the entry tax, plus give them some money to get stated, provided they can promise to do right.
Posted on 2006-10-30 at 09:10:57.
Edited on 2006-10-30 at 09:11:47 by t_catt11
Bromern Sal A Shadow RDI Staff Karma: 144/11 3861 Posts
Ducks in a Row... Ha ha ha hahahahahaha!
It’s amazing what a series of life threatening situations do for the camaraderie and trust between adventurers. It wasn’t so long ago that Char remembered having first laid eyes on Dapple Moon. He could recall the mistrust he’d placed in the “lad” from the beginning; the lurking feeling that if he turned his back on Da’ Moon, da sun’d stop shinin’ fer ‘im… and now, he crept quietly through the foliage with the street urchin at his back, not the least bit concerned as to whether he’d wind up with a dagger between the third and fourth ribs.
As they drew nearer the raucous interaction between brothers, the ranger still thought it would have been simpler to move up to the copse of trees with one of the spellcasters and put them all to sleep, then deal with them where there was no chance of anyone doing something stupid and winding up hurt. But the plan dealt in subterfuge and so he’d play his part.
Crouching low so that a budding bush covered most of his form, but the sparseness of the upper branches allowed him clear vision of the four would-be bandit’s position Char gave Dapple the signal to hold. Then they waited, watching, until the scuffle began. The ranger remained stock still as the youngest squiggled out from underneath the brother’s watchful eye and vanished into the woods. He also remained still when the brothers finally realized their kin was missing, but a smile played across his face none-the-less. It was only when the four had completely rushed out into the open and were throwing their swords away with haste that he scratched at his scruff, stood, and motioned Dapple to do the same. He saw the wizards and Talas rematerialize and was reluctant to give up their position before he was absolutely positive that he hadn’t read the situation incorrectly. It was only when Arien called out to them that he finally stepped free of the trees, the knight having made the decision that all was clear.
Bow held in hand, the ranger didn’t bother to nock an arrow, instead, he strolled from the trees as nonchalantly as if he were on an evening walk, though his crystal blue eyes continued to scan the area about them despite his casual calm. He was no fool and elaborate ambushes were more than possible; after all, didn’t they just come up with one to deal with four individuals Char had originally deemed unthreatening? Standing some distance from the rough n’ tumble, the ranger stood quietly by, listening and watching the young men’s responses while not letting his guard down.
(OOC: Char’s guard will not drop and he’ll keep an eye out for any possible signs of trouble while the questioning takes place, though he’ll remain close enough to hear what’s being said and offer his opinion if need be.)
Talas sat quietly on his massive warhorse as 1st a young boy then a few moments later 3 other boys varying in ages burst from out of the tree’s. Upon seeing them Talas was happy to see that just as he had thought and spoken of these “bandits” were really no threat to anyone other then themselves. With the canceling of the invisibility spell he spurred his mount forward and arrived to hear part of Arien’s words to the 4 boys.
"Boys, do you have any idea how much trouble you are in? You thought to rob my friend and me, the two of us would have been more than your match, and you never saw our other five friends. If we were other travelers, the crows would be picking your bones now... and if Freegate's patrols caught you, they would hang you for banditry."
"Now, what's this about your father? I can see you boys are not real criminals. What has brought you to this point?"
As the Ex-Gladaitor watched the proceedings he had already decided to help the 4 boys by giving them enough money to enter Freegate’s walls and perhaps purchase at least a meal for each of them. If it took all the money he had he woulkd freely part with it.
What better way to start a new adventure then to help ones in need as he himself had once been, perhaps the gods would notice this act of kindness and grant upon the party a blessing of good luck. He quietly hoped the others would perhaps also pitch in but that was their choice eithier way he would help as much he could.....
Posted on 2006-11-01 at 01:32:42.
Edited on 2006-11-01 at 01:34:48 by TannTalas
Raven Resident Finn RDI Staff Karma: 69/3 998 Posts
Ooh, I'm terrified
"HOH-Hoh-hoo!!" "Mwah-hah-haa!!" The dwarf couldn't help it. He just couldn't.
The hidden anger and frustration in the conversation between the two mages (Why did always seem to be that way with mages? Why did they always seem to consider each other competition?) had put the dwarf on edge too. He knew everyone came from different backgrounds and all had probably experienced their share of hardships in their previous lives, but they could not have the bickering within the group again... The last time Ach, that feels so long ago, was enough. Kilgim had kept quiet, as he usually did. But it had taken most of his willpower to do so. Fortunately, Arien had come to the rescue, as the dwarf had known he would. The knight, though perhaps not the wisest of men, was a born leader and knew how to handle such situations.
First came one kid, then the rest of them. Swords they had, but hardly knew how to carry them, let alone use. The weapon smith in Kilgim winced as he saw their would-be-ambushers throw the blades carelessly on the ground as they charged at their brother. Still his short and stocky frame shook with mirth enough to make old Crumpy snort and shake its head in disgust. "Hehhhehh" "Ye lads call yerselves bandits? Hehheh... Even Terrin would be more menacin' than ye."
Then something in the way the first lad - Toadhead, was it? Or Barfbrain? - cried for help, made the cleric serious again. Clearly the lads themselves were not in danger, not immediately anyway. But they did not look like the nasty kind - nothing about them spoke of maliciousness or evil. Desperation was clearly written on all their faces, even the eldest one's. These lads would not need a lesson, they needed guidance. Kilgim let out a sigh and shook his head sadly.
Arien's words rang true once more as he chided the kids softly. The little bandits were in deed most lucky that it was their group, which stumbled upon them first. Someone else... Probably anyone else, would have run them through without giving the boys a chance to run away. Though the encounter made the bald dwarf a little sad, he was still delighted by the fact that the ambushers were not for real. He didn't shy from fighting when needed, but killing was nearly always unneeded... Nearly.
When he spoke again, the laughter was gone from his voice, but it was still warm and friendly, not cold or unkind. " Aye ye lads. Tell us what this is all 'bout. What's this 'bout yer daddy bein' killed by somethin' an' why would ye want t' die becuse o' it?" Through a not so graceful series of movements, the red-bearded cleric got down from Crumpy's back and dropped on the ground accompanied by nice chings and clings.
Adrian nodded as Jal began to vanish from his sight. This was not the first time he had been made invisible, and would surely not be the last. Within seconds, light began to pierce through the one called Talas, and he was gone. Adrian knew he was next. He watched his hand begin to fade, and he blinked his eyes as the fuzzy images of Jal and Talas came into focus. They were all invisible now.
Adrian kept his sword holstered, guessing that with the exception of Dapple, his party would lynch him for drawing steel on these boys, no matter how much they needed it. Fear is compassion's best friend.
A grease spell was brought to the forefront of the mage's mind, with his line of sight aimed at the ground they would have to cross. Unfortunately (fortunately?) he didn't have a chance to cast.
The boys were clueless, as was expected, and Arien was at least firm in his warning to them. Hopefully they will get the message and turn from theivery. It's not just wrong, but the last theif that tried to swipe the Valentine component pouch met a rather unpleasent consequence. The authorities found him minus a few fingers.
The knight had this one under control. Spellbinder let them become visible, much to the displeasure of Adrian's eyes. He hated being unseen. Part of the reason he kept skipping all his illusion classes at the Academy.
The former Red made his way up to the kids, and continued past to where they had thrown their weapons.
Basic swords, but enough to kill game if need be. Adrian scooped them up and returned to the group.
"You should never drop your weapon." he spoke as he handed them back to the kids, one at a time, hilt first. "In this world you cannot trust strangers enough to relenquish your only defense. You could be playing into the hands of a spy, a fake, or worse... authorities."
He continued to stand near them, waiting for their response to Arien's question.
DM Note - You were a Red, not a Green. I fixed.
Addy: oops :embarrassed:
Posted on 2006-11-02 at 19:14:45.
Edited on 2006-11-03 at 11:31:59 by Admiral
Alacrity The Tired RDI Staff Karma: 291/33 6251 Posts
Get the tylenol! I feel a quest coming on!
The sudden appearance of the mages and Talas threw the boys into a panic. They stopped fighting one another and tried to make a fast retreat. Then Char and Dapple appeared out of the forest behind them and they realized they were trapped. The authoritative voice of Arien brought them back to reality.
"What's all this, then?" he bellowed from atop his warhorse. Drawing on every bit of his upbringing as a noble, Arien sat tall and assumed a commanding demeanor. "Are you trying to call down every real brigand from the here empire's borders?"
“You see,” Jal said, offering a strange grin to the knight and gesturing to the tumultuous knot of youths, “there is no desire to live the bandit life here.”
Boys," the knight spoke sternly," do you have any idea how much trouble you are in? You thought to rob my friend and I," he indicated Kilgim. "The two of us would have been more than your match, and you never saw our other five friends. If we were other travelers, the crows would be picking your bones now... and if Freegate's patrols caught you, they would hang you for banditry."
He let his voice soften... "Now, what's this about your father? I can see you boys are not real criminals. What has brought you to this point?"
Whether the father of the boys used a similar tone or not, the boys quickly stopped panicking and quickly formed a line from tallest to shortest – with the youngest one even going as far as standing at attention with a salute. The Oldest stepped forward and bowed properly, “Sir, I am Philip. This is Steward, Darryl and Thomas.”
“Better tell him the truth Phil. Paladins can read your mind.” Thom advised his brother
“Shut up Thom. Let me talk.”
“They can see into your soul.”
“Sorry,” The youngest looked around at the party, still in salute. He spotted Talas and looked up at him, “Are you a giant? Or a half giant? Dad said ogres are really ugly and you aren’t so I bet you are a giant.”
Darryl reached over and smucked Thom gently on the head, “Thom. Let Phil talk.”
Aye ye lads. Tell us what this is all 'bout. What's this 'bout yer daddy bein' killed by somethin' an' why would ye want t' die becuse o' it?" Through a not so graceful series of movements, Kilgim got down from Grumpy's back and dropped on the ground accompanied by nice chings and clings.
Adrian came up to the boys with their weapons in hand, “You should never drop your weapon." he spoke as he handed them back to the kids, one at a time, hilt first. "In this world you cannot trust strangers enough to relinquish your only defense. You could be playing into the hands of a spy, a fake, or worse... authorities."
“Thank you sirs.” Phil answered again with the bow. “We, that is us, well, and our dad used to be farmers, on a stretch of land not far from here. Our mom as well, but she died two years ago of a fever. Last week, we were doing our chores like always when the ground started to shake. Then these huge … giant really … bugs came out of the ground.”
“They were green and big. They looked like worms with green shells. We saw at least 3 of them.” Steward added.
“We ran to the house and Dad told us to hide in the forest. As he was gathering up stuff, the bugs spit something on the walls that made them melt away. Then …” Phil stops as his eyes tear up.
Steward continues, “One of the bugs bit Dad in half.” Thom breaks down into tears, and Darryl reaches over to hold him in comfort.
“We panicked and ran. We have been on our own ever since. We haven’t had much to eat and we haven’t been able to hunt much, seems like much of the game has fled these parts. I won’t lie to you sir, we were thinking of stealing or robbing but I didn’t know what else to do. There is food and provisions at home, but we’re scared to go home because of the bugs.”
“We haven’t even buried Dad.” Steward says.
“Tell them about the other bugs.” Thom piped in.
The three brothers sighed heavily, “Thom, there were no other bugs.”
“Yes there were! I saw one riding the big ones. Looked like a giant grasshopper, or preying mantis … or locust.” Thom said, holding his arms up to describe the size. He points at Talas, “Like him only not as big.” Thom looks up at Arien with eyes filled with hope and faith, “But you are here now! That’s why you’ve come isn’t it? To slay the evil bugs? That’s what Paladins and their squires do! Save people in holy quest type thingies.”
Posted on 2006-11-03 at 09:49:57.
Edited on 2006-11-03 at 09:53:13 by Alacrity
Vanadia Den Mother RDI Staff Karma: 111/12 1188 Posts
Just one distraction from another!
When Arien called for Char and Dapple to reveal themselves, Dapple shook her head in disgust, but complied. Arien lacked subtlety, whereas Dapple avoided being noticeable on principle. She made sure to be plainly visible (and as menacing as a smallish boy could look) beside Char when the “desperate criminals” tried to break and run, then waited for their attention to turn elsewhere. As soon as the boys were fixated on Arien’s shiny self, Dapple slipped sideways to stand in the shade offered by an enormous tree branch. Part of the art of “disappearing”, Fast Toes had taught her, is to not be where people remember you to be. Then, do nothing to draw attention to your new location. People are lazy: once you are out of sight, you are out of mind.
Still, Dapple mused from her new vantage point, that invisibility spell is sure handy. The rogue watched the Red, the Mad One and the Big One re-materialize with envy. The one experience she’d had with such magic had been the best time of her life, her ugly self invisible to even her own eyes!
Pay attention! Must you always need protection from your own vapidness?
Dapple repressed the start and focused on the centre of the clearing. Adrian had handed the boys their weapons, and Kilgim was doing his level best to laugh and be kindly at the same time. The little thief sharpened her attention on the boys. The smallest appeared to be the age that Dapple professed to be, and she wouldn’t waste the opportunity to observe mannerisms and behaviour.
As the lads described the fate of their father, Dapple felt her stomach try to twist and fall at the same time. Giant bugs? What the hell was that? And, more importantly, how were they going to get out of doing anything about it and get on with the paying job?
That’s better… purred the dead voice, and the band around her stomach eased, just a little.
It had become apparent over the past couple of minutes that these boys were, in fact, the sons of the ghost that still hovered close to Jal’s horse. Even if it hadn’t been for the obvious familial resemblance of these boys to the ‘father-spirit,’ the ghost had become more insistent as the lads’ story had unfolded and had begun anxiously looking around at the ground while pleading for the salvation of his boys.
Save my sons, sir, please! They’re good lads! I know that you see me! I know you can hear me, sir! Save them!
As the second oldest of the boys picked up on the telling of the tale that had been interrupted by the first, there was no doubt left in the Jal’s mind. “One of the bugs bit Dad in half,” Steward related, sending the youngest into a fit of sobbing.
“That explains what happened to you, then, doesn’t it, Old Father,” Jal muttered to the bitten-in-half spirit as he slid from his saddle and joined a handful of the other party members on the ground. The urchin-mage shivered visibly as his feet met the earth and his shoulder passed through the insistent ghost – the spirit literally shrieked in his ear then, repeating its plea. Jal took a moment to gather his cloak about him and shake off the chill, then muttered something else to the spirit before moving closer to the line of youths and studying them intently for a long moment and listening with great interest as the brothers finished relating their tale.
The youngest one, Thom, seems to have seen it differently, Wynter noted as Jal peered curiously at the boy from behind the tangled veil of his hair.
“The young typically do, Wynter,” Jal answered absently.
He was standing within arms reach of the youngest boy, now, though his pale eyes ticked from face to face of these siblings. “Your father’s name,” he asked none of them in particular, though his hand had dipped into his pouch and returned with a neatly wrapped parcel of trail rations which he offered the youngest, “what was it?”
((OOC: Assuming that at least one of the lads will answer…))
His eyes turned to the father-spirit when the name was spoken and the odd little mage nodded and quietly repeated the moniker. With any sort of luck, knowing what the man’s name was in life would help to make the spirit a little more forthcoming hereafter. “And, he is not the only one to have suffered such a fate of late, is he? There have been others,” he queried, watching the spirit float passed to hover closer to his sons…
((OOC: Like I said... I don't think Jal's got much of a choice in this one and he'll definitely be "looking into" these bugs... otherwise ghost dad won't be leaving him alone. ))
Ankhegs. Big, mean, spit acid. Shells make for great armor.
Adrian knew it the minute the youngling started describing the bugs. He had come across them once during his life as a Red. The Empire enacted a program a while back to hunt them for their shells, although Adrian never took much part. He didn't have a need for armor, and the Empire rarely let him leave the monestary on quests. What he did see was as a result of his sneaking out.
"I know of these bugs. Ankhegs, at least by the Imperial texts. I had to scribe a dissertation on the effectiveness of their acidic saliva as punishment for refusing to learn that cursed arrow of Melf. There was a poaching campaign active for a short while. Their shells make for a formible armor."
The second bug was a bit strange.
"Are you sure in your description, boy? Of the one riding the others?"
Assuming a confirmation, Adrian stands puzzled, and looks to the others.
"I do know of a species that matches his description. It is called Thri-Kreen, as akward as it is in the common tongue. They live far south of here, so I have a hard time believing they would be near Freegate. But, *sigh* they are known for having domesticated Ankhegs, and frequently use them as mounts. They are a fierce warrior species, if that is indeed what they are.
We should proceed with caution, and make sure none of our equipment will be burned by acid, should we decide to make a detour."
As Talas watched and listened while the others did the talking, he found the boys tales of bugs amusing, until the Red Corpie did actually ID them. For a moment Talas found himself impressed by that, but then the hairs on the back of his neck arose once again and instincts horned over his many years in the pits told him danger did yet lurk close by. Ignoring the continuing conversation he began twisting around in his saddle to scan the area around them to both sides and behind them. The feeling was still there as he interrupted the others speech.
"Arien, Kilgrim all is not right I feel that danger yet lurks close to us, be on your guard all."
With that Talas did place his hand on the hilt of his sword ready to draw if needed....
Posted on 2006-11-03 at 22:43:56.
Bromern Sal A Shadow RDI Staff Karma: 144/11 3861 Posts
Ah, but how'd you know?
Char listened to the responses of his companions to the tale woven by the children with a full ear, but only partial attention. He still scanned their surroundings, eyeing the shadows hedged into the countryside as though they might be harboring the worst anyone could imagine. He heard the tale of their father being torn asunder by large insects and by their description he knew the Red was telling truths. Ankheg were indeed the hunters, but whether Valentine was correct about these Thri-kreen was left to conjecture. Of course, the wizard had been correct about the Ankheg as near as the scruffy ranger could tell, so there was no reason to doubt that he knew what he was talking about as far as the Thri-kreen were concerned. Shifting ever so slightly, Char gave a small nod to Arien to affirm Adrian’s assessment, and then the large gladiator spoke up.
“Arien, Kilgrim, all is not right. I feel that danger yet lurks close to us. Be on your guard all.”
Char’s brow furrowed and he resumed his watchful scan. The pit of his stomach tightened and he wondered for a moment whether Talas was just being jumpy, or if…
“Da ankheg,” Char said just loud enough to be heard by those gathered nearby. “Day come up from da groun’ like uh volcano. Usin’ der surpise t’ eviscera’ der prey.”
He’d decided that whether Talas was just jumpy or not, he wasn’t going to risk it. Drawing an arrow from his quiver, Char set it to string. “I say we ge’ goin’ den—moun’ up an’ ride t’ rockier groun’. We can take da lads wit’ us, bu’ we’d be safer where it be ‘arder t’ dig.”
If the others are with him, he whistles for Northwind, mounts up, and takes the lead once more to find suitable ground for the purpose of safety from an underground assault.
Posted on 2006-11-04 at 22:21:49.
Alacrity The Tired RDI Staff Karma: 291/33 6251 Posts
Silver Screen II - Dalmer, Wind and Kidd and the Dead
Captain Jeremy Dalmer was covered with blood spatter. At one point in his life, he would have realized that he had gone too far in punishing one of his own soldiers, but not anymore. Those days were gone – gone like his left arm. Removed between shoulder and elbow by the axe of a Sueli warrior, Dalmer was sure that he would have died that day, but he didn’t. Instead, he was nursed back to health and given a gift by the emperor – an oversized green scaled arm with six fingers. At first it had its merits; a greater strength, power to effect things at distances and near invulnerability to most weapons. But whatever belonged to the arm was still around, fighting for dominance in him. A compromise was reached between him and it – but a compromise with a demon was no compromise at all. He allowed himself to become more like the demon, and the demon became more like itself. Now Siener was dead and Dalmer had no regrets or sorrow. In fact, he was feeling more aroused than anything.
He accepted a towel handed to him by his bodyguard Boris to wipe his hands and face. Boris was a good man, loyal, true and unquestioning. He could command Boris to kill every soldier in his command and Boris would only nod and do the job. Blue guards were not bred for their insight, just brute strength and mindless loyalty.
“The commanders await you Captain.” Boris told him.
“Excellent.” Dalmer said happily, “Their timing is excellent. You may let them in.”
Boris nodded with comment and left the room. Soon he entered again with the two women commanders. One was tall, with long white hair, wearing the imperial uniform with the Red Corp insignia. Commander Kidd’s holy symbol of Wee Jas prominent as an amulet over her jacket announced her as a cleric. Her eyes briefly looked upon the crushed and beaten body behind the commander then moved away quickly to the proper “eyes front“stance.
Beside her was another woman wearing a similar uniform. She had black hair and emerald eyes, shorter by a head. Around her throat was a black collar and her left cheek was marred by a brand of a broken chalice. Commander Wind bore the marks of treason within the Red Corp. – a sign that her powers as a mage were more valued than the traditional punishment for betrayal. She did not look at the corpse at all, but stared vacantly forward.
“Well?” Dalmer asked.
“We collared the woman as you requested. It was harder than we expected – she put up quite a fight. After that, she was put into the room and ordered to grasp the sword. At which point she seem to fall into the slumber we expected.” Kidd reported.
“Excellent!” The Captain said, drumming his fingers together happily. “Most excellent.”
“Sir, I am concerned. The power of the entity within is dangerous. We are playing with something that I am not sure the collar will contain.”
“Yes, yes, yes. You have spoken your doubts before. Duly noted but I am told that the precautions we have taken will be adequate.” Dalmer waved at her dismissively, “I would think that faith would be a skill you’d have in abundance."
“Very well Captain.” Kidd said simply, knowing there was no hope of making him see reason.
“Commander Wind.” Dalmer snapped and the dark haired lady turned her stare to him. “Before your indiscretion, you were working on a project of some sort. Making dead soldiers useful again? Re-animation or some such magic?”
“Yes, my master.” She answered dully. “By mixing tree sap with the essences of …”
“Yes, yes, yes … I don’t need the dissertation. Do you have the formula? Could you recreate it?”
“Yes, my master. I have several vials of it prepared.”
“Excellent! Boris! Take Seiner and Deke to the Red’s quarters then. See if they can make them useful to us again.”
“Yes, my master.” Wind intoned.
Boris looked at the body on the ground and back to the Captain with a questioning look.
“Roll him up in the rug Boris.” Dalmer said patiently. “Gather up the pieces and roll him up.”
Posted on 2006-11-05 at 16:15:26.
Edited on 2006-11-05 at 16:17:49 by Alacrity