Again the half-orc opened his right eye. He could see bright light entering into the dark dungeon cell. Human slaves flocked to the front, gossiping in hushed voices about what was happening. In his meditative stance, the half-orc stayed where he sat. Why would these creatures get so excited over the ruckus on the other end? It was highly unlikely that whoever there was here to free us, and even if they were, there was the whole problem of the branding mark that each had on his/her left shoulder. Surely these weak and pitiful creatures did not have the resolution that he did on removing such a symbol from their bodies? He mere shook his head. The valence distance between him and the closest humans had doubled now; their bodies pushed against each other as they tried in a chaotic panic to reach out beyond the bars; begging to be let go. The children and the newly born infant started to cry. Things were starting to get out of control.
The half-orc stood up. He towered not over the crowd; he was small for his kind, standing at 5’10”. He stretched his arms behind himself and found crevices in the walls for his fingers to dig into. Lifting himself up in this manor he looked to see what all the commotion was about. He saw that before them there was no guard, but rather a mischievous looking Halfling at the room’s entrance. The half-orc grunted and lowered himself down and resumed his cross-legged stance and closed his eye. Things just might get interesting now...
Posted on 2010-10-11 at 05:49:04.
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
With the opening of the door the room below was revealed. Only a soft light (like a small, flickering fire) could be seen. But even that light was quickly blocked out by the throng of men, women and children that crowded around the bottom of the stairs, staring black-faced up at Argent and Skit.
The cries of an infant and two young and frightened children begin to rise above the clamor. The adults try to hush them and succeed, for the most part. They stand in silence at the bottom of the stairs, wondering if the people who broke through the door are rescuers, newly hired guards or independent slavers in their own right.
A rough count shows 8 men, 3 women and 2 children (Not counting the infant, and the half-orc is not really visible beyond the throng at the moment.) They are all marked with the triskell so far as you can tell.
(OOC: The update is a bit short, but the next move is yours. I look forward to seeing what you all plan to do.)
Argent would like to bash their employer's skull, but he really shouldn't
Once the trapdoor was opened, Argent was all for proceeding as fast as possible. His fears were confirmed as he popped his head down the opening in the floor; their so called cargo was a group of slaves.
Now he didn't like slavery himself. It was an abomination to the things he wanted to stand for, but the law allowed it, and so there was little he could do.
Still, these slaves were in between owners, so to speak. He wondered what would happen to himself and his group of guild newlings if they accidentally wound up unable to reach their goal. What if they package was already gone when they came there? On the other hand, what if this was all a test? He had his doubts about the time it took the people in the other room to come find out what the sound of splintering wood was all about. So far, he hadn't heard any locks turn or heavy footfall.
"Let's get these people out of here. Thiferl, lend them a hand as I help them up, yes?"
He figured, finally, that it would be better to get these folk out of the building before deciding what course of action to take. So, first things first, he dove into the hole and approached the slaves.
"We're here to help you out of this basement. Move quickly."
It wasn't a lie, but more of a maneuver around the truth. He just hoped they wouldn't start asking too many questions.
Opening the cellar door and finding dozens of eyes blinking back at him was not what Thiferl expected. He and his brother were raised in the temple of Amon Atus, and never had much gold between the two of them. Because of this they not only never had slaves themselves, but were never in a position to consider it. Other people did, but it was never personal to the two brothers.
So here Thiferl was standing over an open pit of people, some of which had been slaves their whole lives, some of which were new at this. Was it his choice to decide who to free? So he stood blankly doing what he did in situations where he didn't know what to do: inspecting for wounds, admiring metalworking (manacles and the like), and hoping Argent would decide for the both of them.
"Thiferl, lend them a hand as I help them up, yes?"
Thank Amon Atus.
Thiferl reached his hand down into the pit pulling the slaves that Argent handed him onto the main floor of the warehouse.
A disturbing thought struck him after the third body was handed up to him. How were they going to get the slaves to where they were supposed to go? Would they just march them down the street? What if they slaves didn't want to be lead? Were there enough members of the Blue Hand here to keep them from running off?
The look on Thiferl's face was that of concern, probably not what the slaves though he was concerned about though if they were expecting a rescue.
One of the figures at the entrance had called the other Thiferl. It seemed that in one case or another, these people were here to bust the slaves out of their current cell. But to what ends? There was a proverb that the half-orc had heard once: “One who has broken free from the slavery has bound himself to the shackles of freedom.” It would be foolish to let these people go on their own with nothing, as they would be as good as dead in the desert (for the desert is the only place that they could go to with such brandings). The half-orc sighed; there was no point in worrying about the others, he needed to look out for himself. It seemed that a flow was starting as the slaves were pulled up. He would come up last, as he did not wish to be near the humans.
Confident that the Dwarven brothers had the rescue efforts handled Echo resumes his post watching the doors leading out of the main warehouse, keeping his sharp Half-Elven senses open to any sounds or sights that may alert him to trouble. He wasn't sure what to make of the cellar full of what they could only assume were slaves, but they had a job to do and who was he to question the contract? Besides, slavery was perfectly legal in the city, breaking and entering however was not, so they had to be careful about getting caught red handed.
Daleel wasn't so sure about what to do. He was actually glad when Argent decided to start pulling the slaves out. He wanted to help but figured he would just end up getting in the way of the two dwarven brothers. He looked toward Echo who seemed to be standing guard. Daleel decided to step back from the cellar opening and help get the people into an organized group. "Please come this way. I'll need men here, women and children here. Weregoing to get you out of here but we need your cooperation. We are going to need to move quickly and quietly when we are ready to go."
Where are we going to go though. We can't run straight to our destination. Thoughts started saturating Daleel's brain. They needed to get to a safe area after they left this warehouse. Somewhere that the cleric could heal some of the wounded. Where they could figure out what their next move was. As for marching a baker's dozen of slaves around town. He had a thought on that as well. First that had to get them out of here though.
Speaking to the group as they worked. "If anyone has a safe house we can move there and regroup, and I have an idea for moving around. We can use the premise that we are conducting a slave transfer, at least once we get a bit away from this warehouse."
Posted on 2010-10-19 at 17:13:16.
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
As some of the group had come to suspect, the "cargo" they were supposed to be retrieving had not been crates or boxes at all. It was slaves.
The dwarven brothers began to pull the branded humans out of the cellar, even as their minds ran a hundred different directions about their assignment. Was this right? They were fast becoming a part of the slave trade of Calatain. It seemed that they all had a very difficult choice ahead of them.
As that thought passed a half-orc stepped forward from the cellar, being the last of the slaves to exit. He did not extend his hand for assistance, but instead chose to walk out under his own power.
As the slaves gathered in the open space within the warehouse Skit tried to keep them organized, while Echo had his senses directed to outside. As the half-orc was stepping from the cellar door, Echo began to hear the march of soldiers down the street. Through the door you all came in through (which was now cracked open a hair) he could see people clearing the street. It seems someone had called the city watch. Either that, or the private force of whomever owned this warehouse had just arrived...
Posted on 2010-10-20 at 01:32:18.
Edited on 2010-10-20 at 02:59:44 by Steelight
Echo had initially hoped he was just hearing the sounds of normal traffic outside, but when the streets began to clear he knew something was up, something serious. He turns to the group with a sense of urgency in his voice he calls out as quietly as possible while still being sure they could all hear him, "Hey guys, I don't mean to rush things, but it would appear we've got company coming our way, and quickly. I'm also pretty sure we're not going to be going out the way we came in, so if anyone has any better ideas now would be the time to speak up!"
Posted on 2010-10-21 at 17:44:04.
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
As the soldiers come into view, Echo prudently lets the door slowly close. From what he could tell (due to a very successful Perception check) they don't seem to be city watchmen. Which means they must be private guards belonging to some merchant or other. Come to think of it, the sigil on their chests did match the one on the front of the warehouse.
More importantly, they number at least six. They were just coming into view as the door shut, so Echo could not be sure if there were more.
"I know we're moving as quickly as we can over there, but it would seem that the men coming our way bear the same mark as the warehouse we are in. I noticed at least six, there may be more. We really should get moving if we hope to get out of here without further conflict." Echo was getting nervous, it showed in his antsy movements and the minor fidgets and twitches the he seemed unable to control as he spoke.
"You're right." Argent said. He looked around the room for an exit, and noted the windows.
"You got in through that window there, right?" He asked the halfling. "We should try to get everybody on the roof and get them off on the other side before those guards notice anything. We should also block the doors with some of these crates."
He pointed to the half-orc, who looked rather capable of helping them out. "We might need some help here."
Posted on 2010-10-25 at 07:59:45.
Edited on 2010-10-25 at 14:32:13 by Almerin
The unknown dwarf had made a statement to him. The half-orc opened his one good eye and gazed towards the one who was calling to him. He wanted his help? That was all fine and well, but he would demand something in return.
“If I help you, you must help me. Agree to this and I will do as you say. Aid me in regaining my freedom and I will aid you in protecting your lives.”
As Argent set about moving crates, Thiferl looked around the room. Tapping Argent on the shoulder, Thiferl pointed at the ladders once he had his brother's attention.
With an unspoken agreement, Thiferl went over to the mass of assembled slaves and proceeded to tell them that they would get out of this warehouse if they would just follow him up the ladder out the window, onto the roof and into the city beyond.
His insides were churning the whole time...