"You DARE," Kyrie growled, "You DARE to appeal to the will of the people, after stepping on it!"
Kyrie took a breath, an aura of light emanating from her. She never was really in control of her abilities, and in this moment, the desire to protect the people nearby in the event the man did something drastic was stronger than her restraint.
"What do you know of the will of the people?" She shouted, "You, who have arrived not long ago, claim to know them? What have you DONE for them?! Have you lived among them?! Do you know their stories?!"
"No. You preach YOUR words on to them. You preach that what YOU want is what they want. You. USE. Them."
Kyrie clenched her hands into fists. It was all she could do to resist drawing her shovel on the man in this instant. Thankfully, a gunshot gave her reprieve, and she looked back at Zeran thankfully, as he literally snapped her out of her rage.
Viridian City; G5
Capital of Volga
Zeran fired a blank shot into the air. In an instant all eyes were on him, including Kyrie and Grigori's. In the moment-long silence that followed, the grey sky let loose a gentle dusting of fat snowflakes.
“Can anybody confirm for me that this pompous oaf here has been using any kind of hocus pocus on the people here?” The royal enforcer pointed to Grigori with his free hand, leaving the smoking barrel pointed skyward.
Catching onto Zeran's line of thought, Giles stepped forward. “I can identify that there was clearly some form of enchantment. Somebody bring me the city watch. I am placing this man under arrest on the suspicion of using enchantment magic to tamper with the public.”
“No need, my lord.” A young red-headed city guard stepped forward, his own mind recently freed from Grigori's spell. The crowd parted for the guard and the leaders of Volga to attend to official business.
“I- Wh- You can't do this!” Grigori cried. He put up no resistance as the guard stepped up to him, dangling a pair of manacles. “Brevic support or not, this land is still part of the River Kingdoms. The first River Freedom is 'Say What You Will, I Live Free'! The people will remember that you have violated this most basic right!”
Words lept to the mouths of all three Kyrie, Zeran, and Giles, but were beat to the punch by the guardsman. “You are under arrest on reasonable suspicion of unlawful enchantment and tampering with public affairs,” the boy quoted mildly. “You have the right to remain silent.”
Grigori was not interested in excersizing his new right to its fullest extent. “I was merely using a simple Enthrall spell! The harshest punishment for that is barely a slap on the wrist!”
“I suggest you tell the judge all about that when you get there.” The guard finished doing up the manacles and quickly frisked the man for weapons.
“Fear not,” Giles told Grigori loudly, ensuring the surrounding crowd could hear him. “I will personally see to it that you are treated fairly, and that no harm comes to you while under our custody. If you should have any question or concerns, we will answer them directly. If everything goes well, I'm sure this little misunderstanding will be behind us all very shortly.”
The guard found Grigori unarmed, and the leaders of Volga took an unexpected prize back to the fort with them. Behind them people shook their heads, processing the spectacle the had just witnessed as they returned to business before the snow set in.
Frodrick 58/58 –
Jargon 42/42 –
Giles 42/42 – 18 arrows, 20 bolts
Kyrie 55/55 – -1LoH, Power of Faith
Miguel 41/41 – Cursed -6Cha, 18 arrows
Zeran 42/42 – 29 bullets
Stefan 17/17 – 20 arrows
Grigori: Uninjured, Fettered
(Taking Grigori into custody has temporarily removed the threat he represents to the barony, however he is in on basically trumped-up charges unless further evidence is found of wrong-doing. He can remain locked up without trial for a time, but eventually he will have to be either released or given a fair trial to avoid any further unrest.)
Zeran knew the freedoms of the river kingdom well enough and before Grigori was led off he put a hand on the guard's shoulder to stop him for a moment. With a look of contempt and pity he leveled his eyes with the man in manacles. "You are correct. Say what you will, I live free. There is a difference between having words that people will listen to, you claim time and time again to be their voice."
Zeran's tone changed from the relaxed one he had prior. His face darkened a bit, something like a father looking down at a misbehaving boy. "But you use magic to MAKE people listen to what you have to say, you force them to pay attention, you're words are hollow your speeches are fake and after today you'll be lucky if they even give you the time of damn. People don't like it when their heads are messed with."
He looked to the guard for a moment. "One more moment, my apologies." With his attention back to Grigori he sighed a bit and frowned. "For someone who claims to be their voice, your tactics are dirty and underhanded. Shame on you, maybe get some better words and try again without the aid of your magic." With that he nodded to the guard and headed back to Kyrie clapping a hand on her shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze.
"Good on you for calling him out. We have him in custody now, we'll do what we can to ensure he doesn't hurt our friends and their family anymore." He gives her a smile and turns to the fading crowd giving a small nod. "We gotta do right by these people."
(16 Lama – Grigori)
Miguel braced to follow Kyrie and Giles, but something stopped him. He looked to the crowd of people who gathered around the speaker. The grumbles and the shouts, struck him. He felt their displeasure like a knife in his gut.
By the gods, he thought. Had they failed their people? Was this Grigori character right? What if he made a mistake? Their blood would be on his hands. He was the one who carried the title, officially. He was the one responsible if everything crumbled apart.
He wished he could feel Kyrie and Giles’ confidence.
The small room that now served at the party’s loot storage sat untouched for too long in a state of disarray. Miguel found himself enjoying the mundane task of taking inventory. Every item had a story attached to it, some which had grown more entertaining with time.
The baron scooped up the fanged elk-skull helmet. He popped it onto his head. “Hey, look, I’m the Stag Lord,” he said. He drew his short bow and plucked on the string, firing on imaginary targets. Something inside the helmet shifted and jabbed him in the head.
“Hmm?” Miguel took off the helmet and peered inside. There he made an interesting discovery. Somewhere along the way, a thunderstone got stashed in the skull for transportation. “Whoops, that wouldn’t have been good.”
He hung the helmet on a hat stand, inspecting the stone. It took him a moment to remember where it had come from and what it was doing in their pile of loot. “Hey guys, remember this? This is the thunderstone that Adela gave to Frodrick when we raided their camp. Seems so long ago now.”
He popped the small stone in his pocket. It wouldn’t do to lose that again and have it detonate unexpectedly. He could store it properly later once they had finished cleaning.
Miguel blinked as Grigori’s enchantment faded. The speakers words replayed in his mind, what a load of aurochs dung, he realised. This was nothing more than a false front, a façade. All this was just a tool to undermine the people’s faith, and weaken the leadership of the nation.
They needed to get him out of Volga, one way or another. Left unchecked this man could do more damage than a dozen werewolves. The sooner he could be exiled or even—he hesitated at the thought—executed.
Giles and the guards led Grigori into an area of the keep that had been made up into somewhat of a drawing room and sat him down at a table off to the side where a setting of tea and some biscuits had been set out as per the request of Giles as they entered the keep.
"You know I'll have to admit Grigori these weren't exactly the circumstances I had wish to sit and have a drink with you, but giving the recent events I suppose we will have to make due."
Giles took a sip of his tea and watched Grigori who say silently nursing his tea nervously and doing his best to look like the righteous martyr of the people he claimed to be, Giles set his cup down and sighed
"Look Grigori I'm trying to be nice here you can either cooperate or we will have to treat you more as a criminal as small a crime as it may be bending the will of the people is no laughing matter nor one you should look so lightly at"
Behind Grigori's demeanor, Giles could sense the man's uncertainty.
Grigori: "Your laws here are truly more draconian than I could ever have imagined, then, if a simple performer's trick is considered 'bending the will of the people'. You've put up a good show, but you have nothing on me. I know you have to release me soon, and so do you. You obviously have an agenda bringing me in here, so what is it that you want?"
Giles glares slightly at Grigori before rising to his feet and ushering over the guards and sending them out of the shutting the door behind them and returning to face Grigori
"Draconian laws, where I come from a man like you would be murdered in the streets and no one would blink an eye. Ill be frank since you insist on playing this game, you are here because we want to know what your end goal is, lets be honest your not here as a martyr to these people, and I'm willing to bet you've made more then your fair share of income from schemes like this, so what is it you want".
Grigori leaned forward with an intense expression. Looking Giles in the eye he says with emphasis,
Grigori: “Oathbreakers Die, do you understand what that means? If it comes out that I helped you in any way, no amount of threats from you are going to make my day any worse.”
Grigori leaned back, now inspecting his cuffs as if looking for dust.
“Suffice to say, there are parties out there interested in seeing all this come crashing down down.”
"And if were going to throw around these "laws" then dare I say to you sir Courts are for kings.... but that said, if you leave town no harm will come to you from my company should you stay I cannot promise your safty other then in a cell and we have ways of making the people believe you left of your own accord "
Grigori gulps audibly at the last words
Giles sighed, "if nothing else I can sympathize with being a caged rat."
Grigori: "I cannot just leave. My employer would know I was bought, and I haven't nearly enough money to maintain that charade." The portly man's eyes flit around the corners of the room, as if suspecting spies or eavesdropping magic at every joint. His next line is suddenly filled with all the usual gusto of his street rhetoric. "I will not abandon the people of this land! You may drive me into exile, but there will always be those who shall carry on the spirit of freedom!"
Giles smiled lightly
"Well more tea then till my friends arrive perhaps you can enlighten me as to the spell you used on the crowd eairler".
Posted on 2015-09-04 at 16:15:46.
Edited on 2015-09-04 at 16:16:43 by Nyrodine Ezayo
Viridian City; G5
Capital of Volga
It snowed every day for the next week, inducting the unofficial start of the freeze almost a month late. By the time the date of Grigori's trial finally rolled around, the entire town of Viridian City was buried under a solid blanket of white. Despite the cold and the snow, however, a modest-sized crowd of people showed up at the fort to attend the trial.
It took a few moments to get the audience settled before the hearing could begin. The people were restless to view the proceedings of the trial—whether that meant a popular figure drawn through the mud, or to see for themselves what the truth was behind so many public accusations for themselves.
The judge cleared his throat several times. “You, Grigori, are hereby charged with one count of unlawful enchantment of the public, one count of espionage for a foreign power, and one count of conspiracy to threaten the peace of the land. How do you plead?”
The crowd immediately set about a quiet buzz at the words 'espionage' and 'conspiracy'. After a brief pause Grigori answered, “Not guilty, your honour.”
With those words, the trial was set to begin. On the table for all to see were placed the material evidence gathered from Grigori's items, including a handful of potions, two scrolls, and his weapons and spell components.
Giles opened by presenting the case against the rabble-rouser. “The crown is seeking a sentence of exile from the lands of Volga, on the charges that you, Grigori, did willfully and knowingly use illegal enchantments on a public street on the seventeenth day of this month, with the purpose of inciting the people to rebellion, disturbing the peace. Furthermore we shall prove that your presence here in the capital is, in fact, not as a voice for the people but as an agent sent by an enemy power unknown to spy upon and destabilize the barony of Volga.”
Grigori was brought up to the stand. Jhod rose to perform the cast the spell, announcing that all present would only be able to speak the truth as known to them for the duration of the spell. With that he called upon Erastil to ensure that justice be done properly and cast his spell. A shimmering golden ring of light appeared over the table in the centre of the room and swiftly grew outwards until it pressed up against the walls.
Kyrie knew the limited duration of the spell and did not hesitate to announce her first question. “How long ago did you arrive in Viridian City?”
“As I recall it was late in the day on the second of this month,” Grigori answered. Unless he had defeated the compulsion, the fact that he was able to speak the words at all proved that he was telling the truth.
“And how long after that did you begin to make your public speeches around town?”
“I took a few days to familiarize myself with your fair city, which is when I learned of the alarming frequency of the monster attacks upon the kingdom. It was after that—about four days, I think—that I took it upon myself to address the people.”
Kyrie nodded and returned to her seat as Zeran stood up. “That would be when you started using illegal enchantment magic on the people to sway them to your opinion, yes?”
“Any magic I used was purely for the purposes of enhancing my performance—”
Zeran interrupted him before he could side-step the question any further. “Did you or did you not use magic during your speeches, however minor?”
Grigori stopped. “I did use a little magic—albeit nothing more than any common bard or priest might use to keep the attention of their—.”
This time the judge cut off Grigori. “Please try to contain your responses to answering as directly and accurately as possible. You will have your chance to speak as much as you want in your defense after the prosecution's examination has ended.”
Zeran added next, “Would you use stronger magic in the future, to achieve your end goals?”
Grigori scoffed. “Preposterous. The effects may be mild, but the Enthrall spell is among the most complex spells I know.”
“Very well, seeing as how you are so very new to our town, tell us, where did you come from and what was your business with our people—before you learned about the monsters and things.”
“I have come most lately from Fort Drelev* to the west. I am a storyteller by trade and I have been travelling the River Kingdoms in search of a patron to take me on. I am quite gifted in rhetoric, so when I arrived in this here fair land, however, I knew I had to turn my talents to speak out against what I beheld!”
Zeran snorted, with a skeptical glance at Grigori's clothing. “A travelling storyteller? I doubt it.” He returned to his seat without further question.
Giles took his place. “You say you have been travelling in search of employment... yet here I observe you seem well-dressed and well-fed. No doubt you will have some tragic story of being cast out on the street by your former patron. Forgive me for making assumptions but this strikes me as off.”
“Perhaps you should ask your priest whether his truth enchantment is still functioning, then?” Grigori offered.
“I do not doubt your claim that you have indeed been travelling in search of employment—yet you have conveniently omitted any details regarding your business in our land. You have described what you were doing before you arrived, and what you have done since, yet you seem to have forgotten about the juicy middle.
“Think hard on your answer—I am sure it is to your greatest benefit to be thorough and honest in your response: Before coming to Viridian City you were in Fort Drelev, searching for an employer who could make use of your oratory skills. Were you successful before arriving in Viridian?”
Grigori swallowed audibly. His gaze locked on Giles, the message received, taking a few moments to consider his response as suggested. Finally he cast his gaze down. His acting was a bit melodramatic, but it was convincing enough to have the audience and jury on the edge of their seats. “Yes.”
“Elaborate.” Giles commanded.
“Yes, I did find an employer before arriving here, who sought my skill in rhetoric for a job.” Grigori fell silent.
“Can you tell us the details of this job?”
Grigori sighed. “I was hired by a proxy to come to Volga. Once here I was to use my oratory skills to cause trouble for the leaders of the Greenbelt, that being you five.”
The audience exploded. Shouts of every nature drowned the fort in sound—every utterance being the strictest truth by mandate of the spell still in effect. It took several moments for the judge to quiet the room, by which time Jhod's spell was nearly finished.
“Does the defendant wish to cross-examine himself?” The judge questioned.
“No,” Grigori said, defeated. “I wish only to say that, in my defence that it was never my intention that anyone should be harmed by my actions. I was merely a player performing my role, and for this I am sorry.”
Grigori's false contrition turned more than one pitying, sympathetic eye in the audience, but to most his words were worth nothing.
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, how do you find the defendant?”
The jury conversed for several moments, before finally selecting a verdict. A representative stood before the court and announced a final verdict of Guilty. Grigori was sentenced to exile from the nation of Volga, and given 24 hours to collect his things and leave the capital. Giles hinted to Grigori that he had best travel north to Brevoy, lest his employers in the River Kingdoms take exception with his failure.
While Grigori had the sense to look contrite as he was led out of the room, he thought perhaps he sensed a measure of relief in the man's face. He was free to run as far as he could from these political machinations.
(*Fort Drelev—you know very little about this place, except that it was founded by Brevoy on a charter the same as you, in the Hooktongue Slough to the west of the Greenbelt. The slough is an important trade route between Brevoy and Pitax, so the Swordlords sent a group of high-ranking soldiers and diplomats to secure the region. The fort is named for Baron Hannis Drelev.)
(I could have gone on for much longer, windbagging a defence for Grigori, but it ultimately would have led to the same outcome. I've got places to be and things to do, so imagine if you like a sentimental and impassioned defence attemtping to pick apart technicalities and de-emphasize the severity of his actions and his role while simultaneously admitting all points. It would have toed the line between 'I'm guilty' and 'I'm still right, and I was forced to do this anyway'. Regardless, I get the sense that it's time to be done with Grigori so done with him we be.)
(Next post should revolve around Jhod's attempts to seek a cure for Miguel's condition and the kingdom update for this month. Oh yeah, and I think there's supposed to be experience associated with defeating Grigori... I'll find that out sometime later.)
-Claim Hexes: F2 (-1BP, +1Size/Cons)  – Peaceful Annex
#+1 Road, +2 Houses, +1 Water Mill (Econ/Stab), +1 Brewery (Loy/Stab), +1 Graveyard (Loy) [Econ+1, Loy+2, Stab+2] +1 Control DC, +5 Blocks (1250 POP)
-Cities: Horologium (Monument) +2 Loy, -1 Unrest, -6 BP [1U/22BP]
-Roads: NA and F2 (3/4 3/8')
-Generate Income: Nothing
-Troll Sightings (continuous): Trolls sighted, no real reaction. Falchos delivers report.
-Economic Boom: A booming trade network makes up for economic slump, +5BP 
The month of Lamashan brought the first real snow to the Greenbelt. After the trial Grigori was only too eager to be out of Viridian. The same day he departed, escorted by the barons' agents, travelling to Olegton to the north, where he would be pointed in the direction of Restov.
The night after Grigori's departure, Sootscale, bundled in a tiny cloak, appeared on the barons' doorstep. He came complaining about the cold and the snow, but more importantly to deliver news about the public reaction to Grigori's exile. Most people were simply glad the nuissance was gone, no longer bellowing his rhetoric every time they went out to the market. The scandal of the enemy spy will be the talk of the town for a while, then likely will be forgotten except as history.
A very few voices still grumble that it all seemed rather suspect, and question the findings. None make open accusation of mistrial, though some, especially those getting too deep into their drink, do speculate whether or not Grigori was right, despite working for the enemy. Of these, Sootscale figured most would simply quiet down after they realized no one was paying attention to them, and those who took exception could be simply 'reminded' that they didn't need to stay if they agreed with the exile.
At long last Tatzlford was officially inducted into the barony proper, after several months of expansion to encompass the small town within Volga's borders. The annexation came with very little resistance by the people and moved along more or less seamlessly, with the Rezbins now reporting to the higher authority of the barons.
Shortly after the joining of Tatzlford, a report came in of a satyr appearing suddenly out of the forest. The guards of Tatzlford didn't know what to make of him, but they took down his message and passed it along. Tiressia says that with the coming of the snow, so too has her seasonal torpor. Nevertheless, she is able to maintain her oath to watch the forest over the winter months, with the help of Falchos to cover what she cannot do.
The dryad's report noted that her area of the forest was settling down for the winter. Movements of trolls in the south have mainly stayed south of the Murque, leaving very little cause for alarm at this time. Additionally she notes with some consternation that the keep of the Dancing Lady appears to have been abandoned by the former powerful dark fey that lived there, and muses whether or not we remembered to heed her advice to avoid the area.
Meanwhile, closer to home, Councilor Kyrie heard the people's concern over wolves to the east, across the river. The hills south of the Shrike were yet wild and unexplored despite their proximity to the capital. The folk who travel that way speak of sightings of a wolf pack led by a worg* called Howl-of-the-North-Wind. They are concerned the proximity of the pack might encourage them to acquire a taste for citizens over the hungry months.
In other news a bizarre looking dwarf woman with short turquoise hair arrived in the capital, bearing the summons for an artificer mage to augment the party's gear. While blunt, laconic, and responding to any glance in her direction by snapping about whether the offending party had 'ever lost a bet with a gnome?', her work was impeccable, working her magic over the party's armour and weapons.
Finally, the last event in an already busy month, Jhod came to the fort looking dreadfully tired, but very excited. He announced proudly that he had mastered a new level of magic and was willing to wrestle with Miguel's curse for as long as needed.
Jhod's efforts were unable to shake the curse the first day, through returning fresh from his prayers the following afternoon, he finally untangled the magic suppressing Miguel's mind. In a rush the bard baron was back to his normal self, with twice as much energy to spare after the previous two weeks' indolence.
(New Quest Get: Northern Howls (see Q&A once I get there), slay the worg and display his body publically as proof of his defeat. A reward of 1,200G is approved for this bounty, though try not to think about that too hard since you're probably the ones who approved of this)
(Meanwhile as you can probably see I've decided to advance Jhod to a 5th level cleric. He can now cast any 3rd level cleric spell for us if given proper prep time and material components.)
(*As for the worgs, think more along the lines of Tolkein, if you've seen more than a few of these depicted. If you haven't, general knowledge on worgs is that they are intelligent, evil wolves with red eyes who delight in hunting intelligent prey. In terms of specific knowledge, Miguel and/or Giles have enough arcane learning to confirm all this, and add that these magical beasts are actually capable of humanoid speech, and are known to work with goblins at times, though this one appears to be the head of a pack of mundane wolves.)
Posted on 2015-09-22 at 16:32:36.
Edited on 2015-09-22 at 17:06:23 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Exploration & Mapping
Hexes: G6 +25XP Each
The party set out for the hills across the broad river Shrike on the chilly first day of Neth. It was quickly decided that there was no good to be had letting rumours of monsters so close to the city go unchecked, even if there was a border of a river between them. Frodrick remained behind to keep an eye on the kingdom to make sure nothing happened while they were gone this time. The old dwarf had been more contemplative than usual the last few weeks, and the others thought he was looking a tad tired.
While they had made many trips now out in the direction of Tatzlford, this was their first expedition to the southeast. In sharp contrast to the fields, farms, and town in the west, the trappings of civilization fell away surprisingly quickly from the moment they crossed the bridge. The familiar shrikes that gave the river its name had long ago flown south, and soon enough there was no road to follow through the snow.
Though the snow was hardly a foot deep in most places, it took most of the first day just to reach the official border of their barony, just past the last small collection of frontier houses. By the second day, they were in wolf territory, proven that night when the still night air broke with the distant, sombre sound of howling.
Giles covered for Frodrick's usual role in wilderness survival, but the four couldn't help but feel just slightly exposed without the dwarf's years of experience and familiar grumble. The third day they finally set out to map the terrain, figuring that if the reports of warg sightings in the area had any merit, they'd probably run into one if they merely stuck around long enough.
Finally on the fourth, they spotted their first wolf. It was a big one, watching them impassively from a distant hill. From the creature's size, it had obviously been feeding well, though at this distance it was impossible to be sure whether or not the tell-tale red eyes that would have marked it as a warg were merely in their imaginations.
Warg Territory; G6
By the fifth day they were proven right. While passing through a narrow valley between two hills, a grey wolf suddenly burst out of hiding before the cart. It bared its impressive rows of teeth and growled at the wagon. The horses jerked up in surprise, but Bogdan and Mathilda were better trained than to bolt at the sight of a single wolf.
Two more wolves appeared behind the wagon, with the large, dark-furred, and now obviously red-eyed warg they had seen before standing atop the hill on the right. If this was an ordinary wolf pack, operating under an ordinary pack leader, not panicking would have ruined their only advantage. With a cunning and malicious predator in charge, there were no guarantees.
(Note that thanks to the difficult terrain, just like last winter, we can only move at half speed. Fortunately, there are no areas of deep snow around today. Unfortunately, the wolves are playing it cautious enough not to be standing in melee range, so it's going to take a bit of shooting or walking through the terrain to engage them in combat—or just wait for them to come to you, of course. Either way, the two wolves behind are about 30' behind the wagon's backboard, the one in front is 30' in front of the horses (so like 40' from the wagon's front) and the warg is uphill 35' to the wagon's right).
Posted on 2015-11-08 at 17:41:58.
Edited on 2015-11-08 at 17:47:28 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Warg Territory; G6
Giles drew his sword, leaping out of the wagon to the right. He looked up to the warg standing up the hill from him. Of course the clever beast would choose the high ground for himself, forcing any attackers to trudge up through the snow if they wanted to cut out the leader first.
No matter. He raised his free hand to the warg, incanting the spell to call forth a weapon of force. The spectral calligraphy blade would keep the warg busy.
Howl-of-the-North-Wind, the warg, snorted in surprise as the phantom sword appeared in the air next to him, and yelped as it nipped his side (-6dmg Howl). He turned to his pack. “Hunt!” His voice was as much a bark as it was a word in common.
The wolves moved in, the one from the front of the wagon coming around the right while the back two splitting one right and one left. This meant two were coming for Giles. They bounded through the snow, but then drew up short, waiting just out of range, as if waiting for something.
“All right, shaman!” The warg barked again in thick, but intelligible Taldane. “This is your revenge. Prove your worth!”
On the opposite hill from the warg, to the left of the party, appeared a haggard old wolf, his muzzle completely white with age. This was no warg, but his eyes clearly betrayed a malicious intelligence to match. He glowered at the party, then uttered a combination of snarling and howling. An spell aura appeared around its muzzle for a brief moment, then suddenly everything went white.
A fog descended on the wagon, so thick that the party could hardly see one another, much less anything beyond. Giles' spirit sword blinked back to him the moment he lost line of sight on the warg. Around them the sounds of predators bounding through the snow resumed, unseen.
Rather than let the party get separated so quickly, Kyrie leapt out of the wagon next to Giles. Immediately she lost sight of both Miguel and Zeran—hopefully they wouldn't wander off. As she landed in the snow she drew her shield, channeling the power of faith into a shield for all her allies, seen an unseen.
The glow coming off Kyrie's body became a blip in the fog for the other two. They couldn't see her, but they had a vague idea where to go if they wanted to find her.
Working on a similar thought, Miguel raised his voice to song as he drew his duelling blade. Zeran drew his rapier, raising his voice, too, but not in song. “Bad dog! I thought I told you to fetch daddy's slippers, not the weather forecast!”
This battle is barely less of a curb stomp that I expected. More interesting tho' hopefully
Warg Territory; G6
(Giles & Kyrie)
Giles snorted. “A smokescreen. Cheap tricks for an inferior foe.” He gripped his sword with both hands and waited for the first strike to come to him, rather than go wandering blind in search of trouble. Motion in the fog to his right was his only warning.
Using the fog as cover, the wolf was almost on top of him before he noticed it. The cunning beast lunged at his leg, but got nothing more than a scrape of boot leather for its trouble (-3dmg Giles). Giles caught his balance before the wolf could drag him off his feet. It was going to regret that failure. He slashed a bloody red gash through the beast's fur while the wolf was still overextended.
With nary more than a whimper, the wolf dropped into the snow (-14dmg Wolf-C Dying).
Behind him Kyrie found another wolf. It, too, leapt out of the fog before she saw it coming. Unfortunately for the wolf, the weren't many weak points in her shining new full plate, even if it could get through her shield.
The farm girl moved away from the wagon, strafing around the wolf while drawing her sickle. She didn't know when and where the warg was going to attack, but she would be damn sure it wasn't going to get far. “Stay down wolfie,” she told the animal, swinging at at the fog. “I know you're just hungry and friends with that guy who is not a good person so don't want to kill you.”
(Miguel & Zeran)
Aboard the cart, Miguel and Zeran kept watch for the third wolf, last seen closing in on their side of the wagon.
Over his singing, Miguel heard the other two already engaging in the fight. The distorted glow of Kyrie's power retreated deeper into the fog, almost vanishing. In a step he crossed to the right side of the wagon and glanced at Giles standing over the body of a fallen wolf. All good here.
He climbed up to the front next to Zeran. From here he saw the blip of light that was Kyrie. In the snow next to Bogdan was one of the mundane wolves. His horse stamped restlessly, unable to turn and kick in the skull of this predator.
Miguel brought his sword down on the wolf (-11dmg Wolf-A Badly Wounded). The wolf yelped in surprise, tail dropping between its legs. It suddenly liked the idea of fighting a lot less than it did a second ago. Where were its pack?
From the sound of things, Zeran figured his allies were more than handling whatever was going on over there. He drew his pistol to go with his rapier and kept watch for any sign of wolf, whether the 'shaman' or not.
The second time a shape loomed out of the fog, thirsting for his blood, Giles was ready. He learned in and stepped back the moment he saw the silhouette of the warg lunge. The red eyes and vicious jaws appeared out of the mist, only to snap shut on empty air.
Giles permitted himself a small grin as he vanished before the wolf's eyes, reappearing a full step to the right, back to back with Kyrie.
The warg flashed a toothy grin. “Who's using cheap tricks, now?”
The warg doesn`t realize that stalling is not going to help his case.
Warg Territory; G6
(Giles & Kyrie)
“Found the leader!” Giles called over his shoulder to Kyrie. He willed the spirit blade to strike at the same time as he. The thick fog soured Giles' aim, but warg could not evade them both. The spell sword tore another bite out of Howl's hide (-5dmg Howl Injured).
Kyrie glanced over her shoulder. She couldn't see the warg, but she could guess where he was. She leveled her gaze at the wolf. “Scoot,” she told it firmly. It didn't need encouragement. It turned and vanished back into the fog. If it was smart, it wouldn't be around to try again.
She came around by Giles' side. It was the warg all right. Kyrie dropped her sickle without a second thought and grabbed the warg by the scruff of the neck. Not one to appreciate obedience training, Howl twisted around, snapping at Kyrie's arm. He wrenched himself free of her grip, but she pulled her arm back before he could sink his jaws into anything tender.
(Zeran & Miguel)
It was the shriek of his horse that revealed the location of the third wolf to Zeran (-6dmg Mathilda Injured). The grey furred wolf snuck through the fog right under his nose. “Not happening,” he said. He stabbed straight down into the wolf's backside. The limp it acquired then would be remembered for a while, assuming it survived the encounter (-10dmg Wolf-B Badly Wounded).
A sort of crackle from over the side of the wagon, just beyond his range of vision, drew his attention. Before he could worry about what it might have been, two healthy new wolves bounded through the snow and lunged at him. The first didn't clear the wagon's sideboard, but the other nearly mounted the wagon, narrowly missing his pistol arm (-5dmg Zeran). Funny, he was planning to feed them with that hand, anyway.
Miguel heard the sudden commotion. Unless the wolf he stabbed was a lot faster and a lot braver than he thought, trouble had arrived. He drew his buckler as he stepped back to the other side of the wagon and found trouble for himself. He swung his sword one-handed at the first wolf he saw, but it ducked back down.
(Giles & Kyrie)
Howl-of-the-North-Wind glanced from the heavily armoured Kyrie to the well-armed Giles and reconsidered his angle. The warg turned tail and vanished into the fog without a trace.
Wolf-A: Badly Wounded, Retreat, Unseen
Wolf-B: Badly Wounded,
Wolf-?: Uninjured', where'd these two losers come from?
Howl-of-the-North-Wind: Injured, Unseen
Old Wolf: Uninjured, Fog, Unseen
(I rather like how neatly the battle has been split into two different groups of character so far. It really helps to emphasize the effect of the fog to making it seem like you're isolated from your allies. That said, Kyrie's Bastion, assuming she activated it when she saw the warg, actually covers almost the enitre party from where she is beside the wagon, anyway XD)
Warg Territory; G6
(Giles & Kyrie)
Giles didn't go chasing after the shadows in the fog. The warg was already injured—if the beast wanted to play this game, Giles could play all day. Kyrie picked up her sickle and stowed it. All she had to do was catch the warg and Giles would do the rest.
(Zeran & Miguel)
Suddenly Zeran found himself holding off another two wolves. First thing was first, though. He flipped his gun in his left hand, gripping the barrel. “Nobody. Touches. My. Horse.” He slammed the butt of the gun down on the rear end of the first wolf (-9dmg Wolf-B Dying).
The wolf beside it jumped for his arm. Zeran twisted his body and annoyed the wolf with a love tap on the snout from the butt of his rapier (-6dmg Zeran). Beside him Miguel was holding off the last wolf with little trouble.
“Don't move,” Miguel told Zeran between melodies. He stepped back suddenly to the far side of the cart, the magical echo in his voice swelling to the spell incantation. The magic broke the air with a ringing of crystal, and razor sharp shards burst from the air in front of Miguel. The cone passed Zeran harmlessly, but the wolves lay directly in the path. One was quick enough to drop down, but the other took the discharge in the face (-6dmg Wolf-E Injured).
Miguel wished he could simply get a shot at the warg. Provided with enough discouragement, he was sure the common wolves would be forced to flee the area, but with the warg leading, they were still a threat to the barony. He tried to think back to how many had been defeated. The average pack size was only about six members. Not enough to seriously challenge them without the warg or the mysterious 'shaman'.
Without warning, a large dark shape bounded out of the fog to his left, leaping into the wagon in front of him. The red eyes fixed on him. “Missed me.” Howl snapped at Miguel, but already the aegis of Kyrie's protection was holding back the warg's attacks. The warg's jaws closed on Miguel's leg, robbed of their crushing strength (-4dmg Miguel).
Though Miguel hadn't seen the warg up close yet, he saw Giles' spell blade give it a new scar earlier, but the creature before him was barely injured.
(I was thinking of playing up the angle that technically you have little to no way of knowing that the warg attacking Miguel is Howl and not some other, thanks to it being healed, but I figure that'd be more work than it was worth. Also, I could swear I have not rolled higher than a 4 on a free trip attempt.)
(Oh yeah, I never found a place to work it into the post, but when Miguel backed up, he's standing right beside Kyrie on the ground. Technically her aura extends far enough that he'd be safe where he was, but it's even more thematically appropriate that he backs up to Kyrie right before the warg strikes.)
Posted on 2015-11-12 at 15:41:45.
Edited on 2015-11-12 at 15:43:15 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Warg Territory; G6
When the warg didn't reappear to attack him, Giles rolled his eyes. Typical. Calamity back around the wagon guided him back to the action. He climbed back in next to Miguel—that's where the warg had gotten off to. The blighter had healed somehow, he realized. There was an easy way to fix that.
Giles charged his sword with deadly power and struck. The beast bane in the sword guided the superficial strike into a long wound across the warg's side, from shoulder to flank (-14dmg Bloodied). Howl snarled with pain and hatred, turning to Giles.
Zeran took advantage of the warg's fury. He whipped around with the butt of his pistol, catching the warg right across the snout mid-turn (-6dmg Howl Badly Wounded). Stunned, the warg lost its footing, dropping to its side in confusion (Prone).
The two common wolves still outside the wagon leapt and snapped at the only target they could see—Zeran. The fog impeded their aim no less than anyone else. Only one came near close to chewing on the gunslinger's tender flesh (-3dmg Zeran 28/42)
There was no room left in the wagon, so Kyrie ran around the back. The warg had no place to escape to, even if it could stand. Miguel mentally charged his sword with magic and thrust downward at the warg that had attacked him. His sword sank into the beast's flank with a gasp (-16dmg Howl). The warg's red eyes unfocused and closed (Unconscious, Dying).
Warg Territory; G6
Giles took no chances with this beast. When he decided to cut the head off the snake, it wasn't just a metaphor. He raised his sword over his head, then struck down on the beast's neck (-32dmg *coup de grace* Howl). The beast bane in his sword helped him to cut through the thick neck like it was a sculpture made of butter (So Dead).
With the warg dead, Zeran looked to the last two wolves. “All right, which one o' you tried to bite me?” One snarled in response, so he picked that one. “Surprise between the eyes!” He brought the butt of his pistol down square on the wolf's forehead (-7dmg Wolf-E), dropping it to the ground. Less than a second later the animal simply dissolved into a cloud of light (Desummoned). “Wait, what?” The remaining wolf snapped at him, but he was not far enough out of his wits to leave himself exposed that easily.
Kyrie blew out a breath. That was one already down. She could hear fighting ahead, to the left of the wagon, but so far no mention of somebody spotting the shaman. “Somebody shout if you see the other one!” She called.
Miguel meanwhile stepped back over the warg's corpse. The very last traces of the wolf Zeran clubbed were just floating away. “It was a summon?” He looked down to the last remaining wolf. These two had not run when their leader had been slain. Perhaps the other was also merely a spirit inhabiting a constructed body. He thrust downward, striking a severe blow (-12dmg Wolf-D Near Death).
I swear, this fog cloud is probably more annoying to me than it is to you.
Warg Territory; G6
Giles and Zeran followed Kyrie's example. There was only one more opponent they needed to worry about. The fog was blinding, but they kept their eyes peeled for any sign of the shaman making a last-ditch effort to strike.
“If he's smart,” Giles said, “he'll be running by now.”
As if to prove the marshal wrong, a now familiar flickering circle of light appeared on the bed of the wagon. More summoned minions. The party in the wagon looked to their feet, but it was above them that the spell started. Tiny bursts of light filled the air around the wagon, each leaving in its wake a small, black bat. Within a second's notice the air was completely filled with the beatings of over a thousand wings.
And each of those pairs of wings came with a tiny set of teeth. The swarm struck without mercy from every angle (-4dmg Zeran, -6dmg Miguel, -2dmg Giles). It was by no means a mortal threat, but the bats were too numerous to avoid anything less than a dozen painful snaps each.
Zeran raised his pistol into the air, but quickly realized there was no point wasting his shot on a single bat out of a few thousand. Besides, it was all he could do to swat the bats away from his face (Zeran Distracted).
Rather than flee like a mortal wolf, the last remaining pack member struck at Zeran as he was distracted. Taken off-guard as he was, Zeran lost his footing, falling to the wagon floor, dragging down at least two bats caught in his hair (-3dmg Zeran 21/42 Prone).
It was virtually impossible to see anything through the fog, much less through the swarm of black leathery wings. Miguel thrust his sword at the summoned wolf that brought Zeran down, but he could barely see it, much less strike it.
At the same time Miguel was the first to realize that the wounds left by the bats bled rather freely (-1bleed Miguel).
Wolf-D: Near Death, Bloodied, Summon? (?/?)'''''
Old Wolf: Uninjured, Fog, Unseen
Bat Swarm: Uninjured, Summon (1/?)
Wolf-A: Badly Wounded, Retreat, Unseen
Wolf-B: Dying, Unconscious
Howl-of-the-North-Wind: So Dead
(A diminutive airborne swarm is composed of up to 3000 members. Divide by eight 5' cubes and that leaves 375 bats for each of you. The average density of bats to air volume is 3 bats per cubic foot of air. Now nobody has to share!)