"And we'll compare your one tribe to my clan, eh? Look, not many of us are worried about their prowess, but their cowardice. They'll just as quick put an arrow through your neck from out of sight as they will look at you. My brutish comrade, you really must learn to pick your fights wisely." Kannizan walked over to the half-orc. "I put my vote on going with the mountain. What does everyone else say?"
"Of course a bunch of hobgoblins would be a push over for a tribe or clan, but neither are traveling with us. Sure you can take on 10 hobgoblins yourself my friend but what if there are 50 of them attacking you?" Velina waited a moment before continuing. "Remeber they said these were hobgoblin like things not real hobgoblins. Whatever they are the managed to kill a talented wizard in his own home. That alone tells me I should at least respect their ability to organize and fight. I doubt our little group would have had the same luck attacking that place. I for one would like to live thru this jaunt."
Turning to the map, "Your idea of taking red lark seems to make sense. I also care little which way we go as long as we stay together." Velina climbed into her saddle, "I will follow which ever way ther heir deems appropriate."
Grr... People. "Fine. After all, I'm not leader here. Unlike one of us. This will be better than the walk back to my tribe, and more action. Let's go. Lead the way, I will follow." Walking near the front of the group, he takes up a spot next to Velina, snorting impatiently every so often.
Matching Velina's hushed tone, Almyrikon replies. "I am just restless. I haven't seen any action since I left my tribe. It's been a rather boring journey." He shakes his head. "I just hope I see something soon." He says wistfully.
"Personally, I hope we don't see much excitement at all on the way there. Save our strength for the journey and for the battles ahead. You've got good muscles. Save them so they'll be of more use to us later." The Dwarf pulled a piece of grain out of his beard, and looked at his pony. Messy eater.
"Muscles become weak if not used often. I use muscle everyday, so that when time comes for a real fight, I will not be so quick to falter." Almyrikon looks at the dwarf. "If no action comes, I am hunting bare handed. I need the thrill. of any action."
Kannizan mounted his pony after checking all his gear was properly packed in and his shield was near his reach. He adjusted his battleaxe so that the blade wouldn't hit the pony and hurt it. After being spurred, the pony set into a trot that brought Kannizan behind the half orc. He was grumbling about how they weren't taking the mountain, but oh well. He was the only dwarf, after all.
Jethro had woken slightly groggy, he swam through the blurry memories of the night before. He had not intended to drink himself into the drunken depth which he had but the beer had been good and he smiled remembering Kannizan's antics, well if nothing else, they certainly could party well together. Jethro grinned. He was not unused to being hungover and swung himself out of bed shaking it off and going down to meet the group determined not to show the throbbing in his head to the party which he would fight alongside. He had learned rapidly to hide weaknesses and this was no different. He listened as the banter blew back and forth, sighing. This seemed rather silly, could they not make a simple decision and go together. Every member seemed to bear a bullheadedness and Jethro grinned imagining organizing a siege with this stubborn group. At least, they appeared to have a direction to travel there by.
Jethro swung on his pony falling into the middle of the party jostling on his party, he was slow but knew that he would have to be in the middle if they wanted to use his abilities. He was sure none had guessed his spell-casting talents, with a morningstar and a crossbow hanging off of him he just looked like a gnomish warrior or thief, and until combat came he would keep it that way. He came alongside the dwarf whom he had bonded with, to some degree, the night before.
"So, what is the extent of your experience as an adventurer, my friend?" THe gnome asked Kannizan, smilingly.
The sun sets... Lolth and her minions are beginning to stir. Shevarash, I know you are guiding those I left behind. Today is the anniversary of the Grain skirmish. May the Drow's water be poisoned as our Grain was five years ago.
Still, I ask for the help I'll need to protect the ones I'm with. They are depending on me for guidance, protection and arrows.
Ether spent one hour at the Temple of Sylvanus as the sun fell. Shevarash was less-than-noble and questionably good, but as a wood elf Ether was a child of the forest, and thus welcomed by the followers of the neutral Oakfather.
The next morning Ether awoke after spending some time making notes on the skills and places of those in his group. While they laughed and drank, he would be focused - ever focused. The Black Archer required it of his faithful. Ether put five arrows into his door to warm up his bowstrings before heading downstairs.
He saddled up Avenger with his packs and gear, and met the others just as the sun began to peak above the horizon. So, it seems they all listened. Perhaps we can accomplish this after all.
He kept quiet as the typically loud ones made themselves known. It wasn't until Gunk-karg pulled out a map and devised a plan. He even gave his reasoning and other options. The orcs and their half-breed spawns were always brilliant tacticians, even if they were obscene, crude, and almost always unrevokably evil. It seems he has a good lineage.
"The Orcish one is right. We should go to Red Lark..."
As one of the three without four legs beneath him, Ether spurred Avenger to quickly catch up with Gunk-karg in front before letting him slow to a more natural pace. The elvish cleric didn't weigh but a few dozen pounds - it wouldn't be but an afterthought to ride the mule, but without proper saddles it would only put unneeded burden on him. Ether would walk for the time being. Maybe an elf and half-orc walking together would throw the enemies off guard.
"Mostly just guarding the clanhome from various insurgents. I showed more prowess with an ax than with a smiths hammer, so when we received the letter from Master Gann, I was the one sent to make sure Clan Stonesunder's influence was in the work." Kannizan looked at Jethro. He looked stoic, but almost like he was trying to hide something. "So how's your head this morning, little buddy?"
Jethro listened, the dwarf seemed stalwart indeed, and a good companion to have in a battle, whether or not he was a trained fighter, he had at least experience and probably even more endurance. Jethro knew enough of how to fight that he too would be able to hold his own beside the stocky dwarf. Loyalty was a trait of his. The loyalty of others was one of the finest things to have Jethro knew and also had a feeling that the loyalty of the dwarf would be a definite aid in the coming days.
Jethro grinned as the dwarf asked the question on a hangover. Jethro had been through hangovers that would make hell look like a holiday and this had yielded to Jethro's will by now fading away under the plans of the coming day. But Jethro was wise enough to know that one should never appear as a liar, even if one had to tell a lie to avoid it. He had not intention of telling the dwarf he was fine, a gnome of his stature should never be able to with take a night like that without someone pounding at their skull to greet them the next morning. It wasn't a harm to appear weaker than he was either, as long as he never showed where the weakness truly lay. "I think I lost my head last night." Jethro laughed, "to be replaced with a skull full of throbbing pain. My stomach will soon abandon me as well if I try and stay on top of this donkey for the entire day. And you my friend?"
1st Uktar, Day 2:
Once everyone had gathered at the gate, there began a discussion as to the best route to take. Bezmir and Bearspaw made known their preference for the more direct route, Bezmir because his skills would better serve the group in that familiar terraing of the mountains on that route, and Bearspaw simply because it was the most direct route to what he considered to be a worthwhile fight.
Gunk-karg snatched the map and traced the routes with his finger, describing the putfalls of each, then opting to place his vote for taking the road to Red Larch and then northwest to the forest. He also reiterated hsi intention to follow, while at the same time expressing the same sort of impatience as Bearspaw. Having made hiw own preferences known, he handed the map back to Maranda and waited for a decision, slowly moving toward the front of the gathered group.
After an inital indecisiveness and also dexcribing possible "pifalls" of the various possible routes, Velina agreed with Gunk-karg's vote for taking the road to Red Larch, then striking overland to the forest.
Ether spends the morning's preparation-time simply guaging the caliber of wills and intents in the group, to add that to his "plans of action" at a later date. He was typically silent until the group began their discussion at the North Gate as to which path to take to the keep. His agreement with Gunk-karg to take the road to Red Larch was emphasized by his hurrying to catch the half-orc as he took the lead, waling north on the hiway.
Jethro had already expressed his willingness to follow rather than be a decision-maker. He took up a position in the middle of the group, falling in next to Kannizan. The dwarf began a good-natured banter with the gnome, wondering if the Stonesunder clansman had a headache of the same caliber as that of the bearded one.
Maranda listened in silence. She still warred intarnally with herself about how to go about pulling the group together to act as one. It suddenly dawned on her that if she was uncertain how to do it, then she would have to learn how. But she couldn't endanger the group while she struggleed with the learning process. With that small epiphany came a sudden calm, as if she had made a decisive, game-winning move in dragonchess.
Even discounting her own vote, it seemed that the majority of the group favored taking the road to Red Larch. Good. She agreed with that.
She though about the possibility of being seen as they approached the keep. She seemed to remember that the Magister said that the keep's whereabouts was unknown. She remembered hearing somewhere that most magics were not permanent. If -- and she saw this as most likely -- if the magics protecting it were gone, then it would be in plain sight. It hasn't been found, that she knew of, so her guess was that the keep was within the forest and surrounded by it, not outside of it or on the edge. So it was most probable that the group would be seen from any distance. She hoped.
She heaves a deep sigh and her lips arch in a relieved grin, as if a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She fell into position in the back of the now-moving group, to observe, to listen, to think ... The sky is clear, the air crisp and clean, and you all start the journey in high spirits, now that the quest is "officially" started and there is movement toward a goal. Passing, wondering thoughts of whoor what may be occupying the keep is on the minds of some. Would there be hobgoblins, as suggested? Or would there be others, other creatures, "in residence" there. They would certainly find out soon enough. IT was enough, for now, that the group had a common goal
Those with the necessary skills spend some of their time separating from the group to hunt for likely game to add to their meals. Nothing happens before your midday stop and you make good time, a good omen for you all. After a brief rest, with some taking refreshment and a snack, you set off again on your journey. Just before the sun sets, you come across an old campsite, the fire-circle cold, but ready for use again. The ground surrounding the fire-circle has been cleared of the grasses to prevent an immediate fire danger. There is even wood left there by the previous occupants, enough to last quite a few hours, but not all night. A short search garners enough additional firewood for the rest of the night.
[[ assuming you're setting watches ]]
Neither watchers nor sleepers are disturbed during the night's rest, and all awaken well-rested and refreshed in the morning.
2nd Uktar, Day 3:
Still cool, it is, with clouds beginning to roll in from the east. Still, it's mostly sunny and pleasant. Looks like another ground-covering day. The fire is banked and covered with the sand from the sides of the fire-circle to prevent sparks from being blown out to ignite the grassy flatland.
Youi ttravel as before, making good time and again covering a goodly distance before a midday rest. While you rest, chat, muse, think, or twiddle-thumb, it can be noticed that the clouds have moved in more toward the west, and a dark line of what seems to be storm clouds hugs the horizon.
Happening to glance the right direction at the right time, the human heir notices a sudden darting movement to one side of her. Hesitating only momentarily to determine what had moved, she quickly nocks and looses and arrow, piercing and pinning a rather large rabbit to the ground with the arrow, so close was it. She stops long enough to put the suffering animal out of it's misery, then bags it, ties it to her saddle, and remounts.
As of the evening stop, you have again had an uneventful day, and the night is equally restful and quiet.
3rd Uktar, Day 4:
The morning dawns crisp, much cooler, and overcast, with fairly heavy cloud-cover reaching almost to the western horizon. A moderate wind is blowing east-to-west, and the storm clouds noticed yesterday are looming closter. It seems likely that you may get caught in a storm soon.
You break camp, and start your ride across the flatland, as usual keeping an eye out for likely game to supplement your rations. The morning's travel passes uneventfully, atgain, and you break for a midday rest and snack. A lone hawk flies swiftly overhead, slowed only slightly by the fact the bird is flying almost directily into the wind, heading just slightly north of east.
After resting briefly and resuming the trek, it seems that it is going to be another beautiful, if uneventful, day.
You hear the hoofbeats ahead of you just before riders burst out of their covering in front of you and to your right. Five riders on horseback ride out, directly across the road approximately 100 yards aheaad of you, where they slow, stop, and form a wide "V", with the center rider closest to you. There they wait for you to approach them. As you close to half the disatance to them, the symbol on the large shield of the lead person becomes evident -- the Black Hand of Bane. No others seem to be wearing or bearing symbols, so it is unclear as to whether the rider in front is the leader, their power-hitter, or both.
As you approach to within 30 yards, the lead figure, who looks human from this distance, holds up both hands, palm out and yells,"Hold it, that's far enough!"
The speaker is is wearing black splint mail, but no helm, and a sharp eye can see a morning star hanging from the pommel fo his saddle and a crossbow strapped to his back. To either side of him are:.
A half-elf, also wearing splint mail, with a longsword at his hip and a recurrved bow in hand. Hanging from the saddle and covering one leg is a large shield. Under the basinet helm he wears, his light-colored hair appears to be tied back.
A large, muscular, dark-skinned human wearing scale mail and a cloak or cape that appears to be the skin of a large, black-furred animal. Across his back is slung a longbow with a wicked recurve, and in one hand is a large ball mace with the end of the haft resting on the pommel of his saddle. His short, dark hair stands straight out from his scalp, giving the appearance of a dark halo.
A halfling, his small size and small saddle looking incongruous on the full-sized horse he is riding. He is wearing studded leather armor and on his rein-hand he wears a buckler shield. At his hip is a thin-bladed rapier, and across his back is a recurved shortbow.
A slight-framed human wearing traveling leathers of medium gray, with a cloak of the same color which appears to have a bright blue edge to the front and cowl. On his shoulder sits a hawk, which the figure periodically brushes with his cheek.
Image Begin first round
[[ 00c: hurrah! your first encounter.. What will you do? What WILL you do? heh-heh ... I'll allow a little leeway here to set your riding order, even knowing the encounter now ... ]]
Posted on 2009-01-12 at 23:59:33.
Edited on 2009-01-18 at 21:41:57 by Wyrmsting