With the others focused on crossing swords, Sehanine was all but forgotten. The clatter of steel against steel continued to ring out through the night and its song provided ever more cover for the invisible fey. She sought another who had been forgotten. By her count one of the thugs was missing and that just wouldn't do...
Like a cat she stalked unseen through the night, her elven eyes seeking her prey. Even in the dark of night she could see clearly and it did not take her long to find the human tough hiding among the rustling wheat. He thought himself hidden away, but his bulk disturbed the pattern of the field. To her eyes it shone out like a beacon. Unsuspecting and unaware, he would soon be hers.
The song of war had never enticed her, not like the art of trickery and subterfuge. Long ago she learned to beguile those around her and twist their minds to her will. The subtle combination of magic and intrigue could turn even the most hated of enemies into a wholly devoted ally. Swaying this thug into her fold would prove far more valuable than adding another casualty to the pile of bodies. Letting the shimmering curtain of invisibility fall, Sehanine moved in closer. She reappeared before him as if moonlight had been made flesh. With fey magic coursing through her, the elven witch struck out and let the power that was her heritage sink into his mind. A faint haze filled the man's eyes and his face quickly took on the gaze of trust and adoration. Her charm had fully taken hold.
Hesitantly he looked about and whispered, "Is it safe to come out yet? Are they all gone?"
Sehanine smiled reassuringly as she moved further behind the farmer's hut so as to keep them both hidden from her companions. The time would come to alert them to the man, but first she would get answers to the questions that gnawed at her mind. She desperately wanted to know why.
Still smiling, the elf spoke in a calming tone, "All will be well, man of mine. You will be safe by my side, I will not let them do a thing to harm you." Sehanine paused to give the thug an encouraging smile and then looked mournfully back towards the battle remnants.
"Such a high price for a humble field of wheat," Sehanine returned her violet gaze to the bandit and continued. "What could be worth such a cost?"
((OOC: Sehanine will bate her new found friend into a bit of revealing conversation. In addition to Bandit 8's name, she will be trying to find out why they came after this farm, who Jaron is and what he wants, and anything else she can about Isiah and his farm. It will be a conversation held in a friendly tone (maybe with a slight touch of seduction). ))
Posted on 2014-06-19 at 20:06:27.
Edited on 2014-06-19 at 20:07:24 by Nimu
I swear to god if I get out of this... I'm going to dance a jig!!!
Calopee was so elated at the fall of the bearded menace, that she forgot herself and began to frolick openly in the field. Stomping down the grass and hollering into the night, her celebration was joined by the bleating of a nearby herd of goats. It took some time for her to settle, and mostly it was due to the aching in her chest from the nasty chain blow she’d received. Peeling the smile momentarily from her face, and wiping wheat dust from her clothes, she stepped out of the security of the field to rejoin the Favoured once more. She could feel the warmth of the burning embers where once a shed had stood, and reflected upon their promise to Isaiah. “Meh,” she thought, shrugging off any guilt she may have considered feeling, “close enough.”
As she was travelling towards the crowd surrounding the corpses of fallen bandits, her foot fell upon a rogue stick, with the tips of the bark thoroughly gnawed upon. Grabbing the stick from off the ground, she swung it around as though it were a rapier, perhaps mocking slightly the dynamic duelists with whom she had partnered with. After arriving before the leader’s corpse, she spent a moment poking him with the gnarled stick, whilst a grin that was two parts childish, one part sinister pinned itself upon her visage. “Hey Mal!” she said, looking up to the man with a suddenly serene expression. “I WILL SHOW YOU HOW A WARRIOR DIES!” Her eyes widened as she tried to remain stoic, before her whole body shook with laughter, and she fell to the ground tossing and turning like a fool. “It’s funny!” She outright sobbed, “Big man, little rock!” At this point her comrades may have thought she had suffered a blow to the head.
After a time, she managed to quiet herself, and sit up in the dirt. Looking up to Tristan, who was looking far better than the mere shadow she’d seen on the ground not but moments ago. “You know, that minor hiccup aside, we made a pretty good team.” And as if it were enough, she gave Tristan her sweetest smile in appreciation for his help in the field. “That offer of healing, though? This mud eater got me pretty good back there, if you don’t mind lending a hand.” She kicked the bearded corpse as she asked for Tristan’s aid.
Turning her attention back towards the surprisingly adept Mal, a grin that pressed from ear to ear formed whilst saying, “So I count four downs,” and peeking over towards the shed, she sheepishly inquired, “how’d you do?”
Posted on 2014-06-20 at 19:06:12.
Edited on 2014-06-20 at 19:11:02 by Philosopher
Tristan smiled at the halfling's antics as she danced about, furiously waving a stick about, reminding him strangely of Mal, if he took himself less seriously.
It widened as she approached him, laughing aloud at her refernce to the nights "minor hiccup". Still grinning, he knelt and laid a hand on her shoulder, channeling divine energy into Calopee's smaller body, causing her to glow that same silvery-blue, if a might brighter.
"You're welcome little lady. Next time, try and dodge eh?" Knowing his words for the hypocrisy they were, he could only tilt his head back and laugh at the expected reaction, as he listened to what he expected to be the start of an argument between her and Malachai.
(((OOC: Another Cure Light Wounds for Calopee.)))
Posted on 2014-06-21 at 01:11:40.
Edited on 2014-06-21 at 01:39:30 by Chessicfayth
The man with the enormous black beard crumpled to the ground. Malachi traced the arc of the stone back into the fields, where he wasn't at all surprised to see Calopee emerging. It was a bit unsettling to see her so cheerful in the wake of all this killing. She practically leapt out of the fields, and before Malachi knew what was happening the little halfling was wielding a pointed stick like a rapier. The way she jumped about with it was foolish, but Mal found it a little flattering at the same time.
Hey Mal! I WILL SHOW YOU HOW A WARRIOR DIES
She was positively hilarious, and despite Mal's best attempts to stay serious he found himself joining in the fun. It was a welcome release from the night's tension. Mal picked up a rock and threw it at her. She hit the ground in peals of laugher. “It’s funny! Big man, little rock!” She was laughing so hard she could hardly breathe, but eventually she sat up and address Tristan “You know, that minor hiccup aside, we made a pretty good team.” She was looking at someone else, but Malachi spoke up, "I agree. I think we all did."
After a moment, Cal looked back at Malachi and smiled big, saying, “So I count four downs, how’d you do?”
Mal replied, "Three. I'd have had four but for the sudden appearance of a flying rock. That thing came out of nowhere!" Malachi whistled a long descending note. "POW! Man you really nailed him!" He rubbed his injured shoulder absently while he spoke. It hurt, but probably not enough to ask for magical healing. The pain would be gone in a day or two at most, and hey, chicks dig scars.
"Come to think of it Cal, I think we're the only ones who actually did any good in this fight."
Calopee reflected on this last statement for a moment before responding with, "I suppose it's true, more or less. I think I saw the Paladin take one down!" She jeered, a smirk running across her mouth, as her eyes shifted to Tristan once more. "As for our friend here, well, someone ought to be the pin cushion! Far better it not be me. And hey! His god wound up saving my hide on more than one occasion. Glowing spirit swords make for a very good distraction." "That's fair," the self-supposed hero replied. "I suppose Sehanine was useful as well. Did you know she was the one who rescued our pincusion? Sure saved me a bit of trouble."
He looked back at the flaming rubble that was once a toolshed. Absently touching a pocket, he remembered grabbing a handful of seed. It seemed like days ago. Now that hanfdul of seeds were all that was left of next year's crop. Malachi found a soft spot in his heart for the poor farmer. We may have saved Isiah's property, but will it be enough to save Isiah?
Posted on 2014-06-21 at 16:36:00.
Edited on 2014-06-21 at 16:37:37 by Schnozzle
"Such a high price for a humble field of wheat," Sehanine intoned almost mournfully as she set her violet gaze to the bandit. "What could be worth such a cost?"
The man grimaced, his brow furrowed as he took a moment to survey the destruction Sehanine referred to. "Jaron didn't say nothin' 'bout none of you, ma'am." The man's words were respectful, though his upbringing seemed to lend a more ignorant tone. "Thought this one would have been a simple job really."
The faery nodded with understanding as the man spoke. Fingering a silver lock, her response came matter of factly, "It seems then, this Jaron may have lied to you. Just what was this job he sent you to do?"
The man paused, the thought of being lied to clearly bothering him for a moment. He seemed to dismiss the idea and shook his head before answering. "I can't see Jaron having a reason t'lie, ma'am, he seemed to want this done as much as anyone. 'Just get everything from t' hut and land, kill anyone who tries to stop you and we'll all be rich as kings', he said. Sounded like it was pretty important to him, don't ya think?"
Tilting her head, Sehanine pantomimed confusion. In truth, not much of an act was required. The sheer depth of credulity in this bedraggled simpleton rather amazed her. She let those sentiments lend authenticity to her words. "Rich as kings? All that from a field of wheat and a poor farmer's belongings? What could Isiah have that would be worth so much?"
"Ya know...he never did explain that..." the man's confusion seemingly more real than her own play-acting, "...he's always had the gold though, that does a fair bit o' explainin' for him, ya' see." The man began rubbing his chin, before his eyes widened with a sudden onset of remembrance. "Some weird folk were by the keep a few weeks past, cloak wearin' fellas, never saw their faces. Might have been their idea, I'm just along for the killin' as always."
Sehanine kept her expression still at the mention of the clandestine cloaked forms. While it was clear this disheveled tough didn’t know much more on the subject, an intuitive sense told her this was the answer she sought. Whoever these cloaked figures were, there could be little doubt that they pulled at the strings of something greater. As she had suspected all along, there was far more at play than what lay on the surface. With this in mind Sehanine watched the man before her for any other nuggets he might let slip.
The smile spread across his scarred face as he mentioned killing, a stark reminder that no matter how friendly he was under the compulsion of her magic, his heart remained black. "Do you want me to ask Jaron 'bout bringin' you lot into the crew?", he looked over at the pile of his former comrades, "I get the feeling we're going to need some new recruits."
A wicked smile spread across Sehanine's face at the possible chaos of such a thing. "Oh that is a lovely idea. Perhaps you should. Tell me, my man, what is your name? And what can you tell me of Jaron?"
"Must not be from around here," the man looked her up and down, taking just a little too long to not be inappropriate, "...shoulda figured that, the look a' ya' I've not seen in these parts." His wry smile indicated that that smattering of words sufficed for a pick-up line wherever he was raised.
"Jaron's the boss around here." The statement was very matter-of-fact. "Knows who to bribe to keep the watch away, and knows who to rob to keep the coin flowing. Ya' should meet him sometime, he'd like you...", again he looked her over, "...we don't get many of yer' kin 'round here."
"I, myself am Bartellus, brother er-", he hesitated, looking at the body of another bandit still lying on the ground not far away from the conversation, "...former brother of Bartello. Looks like the smarter brother too, eh?"
The man dipped into a mock bow as he introduced himself, made even less serious by his inability to suppress a tiny chortle at the expense of his now dead sibling.
A shocked rage burned within Sehanine at the man’s nonchalance over the death of his own brother. Her people deeply valued the ties of blood and the passage of any life was a somber matter. To see such a cavalier response to death, even to that of a short-lived human, shocked her elven sensibilities. This man was truly a wretched creature. Still, Sehanine needed him yet, and beguiled though he was, his will remained his own. Burying the disgust and rage, Sehanine smiled sweetly, this dance of intrigue was not yet over.
"Ah, Jaron is the boss," she cooed, "I really would love to meet him sometime, we have much to talk about. Can you tell me anything else about him? Where might I be able to find him?"
"And Bartellus, it is well met indeed. Please call me Leilieroolalerialalouo. It is the name I use among my people, there are few in this land who know it." Sehanine lied flatly, collaging together every stereotypical elvish syllable into an alias that would be utterly unpronounceable to a human tongue. She was going to have play nice, but there was no reason she couldn’t entertain herself in the process. With a practiced ease Sehanine feigned sincerity as she accepted his pathetic bow. "While I am sorry to hear that your brother is among the fallen, you would be right. You most certainly are the smarter of the two. What of your other companions, what can you tell me of them?"
"M'lady Leilil...la...rooolal...la.", Bartellus stumbled over the cluster of syllables as he tipped his head. "There's not much left to tell, I guess, be'n they're all dead now. Marcus over there," he gestured at the bearded man who had briefly dropped Tristan, "he was always one of Jaron's favourites, been working for him longer than me anyway. Did a stretch in the pillories with Gregor over there...and Jak..."
Bartellus droned on a bit longer, his stories containing nothing in the way of information save for the fact that all the men that had attacked the Favoured were criminals or otherwise unwelcome in polite society. His descriptions spared no small detail however, and the Favoured could rest easy knowing that each of the men they'd faced had truly deserved their fate.
"...and Bootz...well he was new I think, came by the keep about a month ago, liked his gold a bit more than he liked his wife or something I heard." Bartellus finally took a breath, concluding his largely indecent recounting of his former comrades. "But that's where you'd need to go if you wanted to find Jaron then. That old keep about's a day's ride."
He gestured over to the southwest, his finger tracing a path down towards some sparse tree cover and over some interlacing hills.
"Hold's older than anything I ever seen, solid though. Jaron said it had been dwarf or something? Can't remember. Can give you the tour fer sure, though. Might even be a enough space for me to have m'own bunk now..." Bartellus looked over at Sehanine, raising an eyebrow in a way that left no mystery as to his intent.
Watching the thug's jabbering jaw and lascivious eyebrow brought her to the decision that she was going to geld him when this was all over. His chattering was useful, but there was no denying he was a vile creature, and beyond that, he stunk.
With a coy smile held firmly in place, Sehanine met his lecherous gaze, "Oh your own bunk! You must be highly ranked indeed. You'll have to give me a tour of the whole place. That Hold must be full of traps, and I bet Jaron keeps it well guarded. Right?"
Bartellus beamed momentarily. "I don't know 'bout traps ma'am, would be pretty stupid to live in a keep full of traps, especially when there's a few lads about to keep it safe." He paused as if considering what he just said, "Jaron is cautious though, and there's some rooms he keeps locked up...not sure about those."
"How right you are, Bartellus!" Sehanine's false praise left her lips dripping with saccharin. "Silly me thinking that an old dwarven hold would be have traps. Does Jaron keep a lot of men around to guard the place? More folks like yourself and Marcus?"
The man nodded. "Not sure how many, not everyone stays around long. Place isn't empty too much though. Not that Jaron needs much help in dealing with people. Dragged a body out for him once. Wasn't pretty."
"All that strength and he sent you all after a farmer? This farm really doesn't seem like much. I wonder what Jaron wants with it?" the elf inquired.
Bartellus shrugged, "Had us all disguised and the like? Maybe didn't want people knowing what's up? Like I said, coin was all the 'splaining I needed."
"Yes, I imagine it would be good to keep your plans a secret. We should probably clean things up here, so nobody is the wiser. Wouldn't want any folks in town figuring out what you're up to... Perhaps you could help us take care of things here?"
Sehanine set the beguiled tough to dragging the closest fallen man over to the others. As Bartellus hauled the corpse over towards the front of Isiah’s hut, she approached her companions wearing a sly smile. “At long last it’s over. You’re all a bloody mess.” Sehanine stood before the crew meeting each of their faces with a twinkling gaze. “This is Bartellus. He’s kindly offered to help clean up this mess. Such a darling man…”
((this collab brought to you by Nimu and the great bearded one))
Posted on 2014-06-22 at 18:15:21.
Edited on 2014-06-22 at 18:19:17 by Nimu
The battle was over and they were victorious. Beneath him lay the fallen leader of the bandit troupe, and to the west several others slain by his own blade. It was these three that had him pinned against the fire for such a time. Now, the hottest part of the fire through, he walked back to them.
Such a waste of life. They had fought well. Now they would never fight again. Mal looked at the blade that had killed them. It was still bloody. He knelt and wiped it on the sleeve of the nameless man, the first one he had killed. Something glimmered in the dark. Was it just a bit of blood glistening in the moonlight, or something more? He set about to search the dead man.
[[OOC: Will search all three. Enjoy searching the leader, guys]]
The Halfling was still sitting in the dirt when Sehanine rejoined the band, the last remaining bandit in tow. Her fingers twitched reflexively towards the strings that held her rock purse closed, she wasn’t overly comfortable with the thug still standing. Her eyes darted from ally to ally to see what their take on this was. Mal’s reaction was apparently ambivalence, as he turned his back on his former foe and went to record the damage he had wrought. Calopee knew that Sehanine was quite the charmer, but regardless of the spell, the true nature of a man always seemed to find a way out of its confines. It usually ended bloody.
”At long last it’s over. You’re all a bloody mess.” Sehanine gestured to the bewitched, or perhaps merely bemused bandit, saying “This is Bartellus. He’s kindly offered to help clean up this mess. Such a darling man…”
Calopee shuddered at the genial words. She wasn’t sure she had it in her to lie as blatantly as that. She could lead an enemy to believe she was a goat, sure, but to make a horrid man feel welcome in her presence… Sehanine was truly a master of discipline. The little rogue mindlessly rubbed her fingers across the place where she had been gouged by spiked chain, while considering Sehanine’s first statements. The battle sure hadn’t felt that long to her. Mere moments of violence and the world became stiller than before. In the haze of battle she counted stone throws to trace time. Six stones, seven hits. She would lament on her failures over a frothy brew.
…a bloody mess…
The elf alone had come out of the battle unscathed. It was an impressive feat, one that young Calopee would surely wish to emulate in the future. Invisibility would be a power she would be fond of founding a partnership for. Oh the havoc she could wreak! There would be stone’s flying from every direction, untraceable in all of their ricocheted glory! Then, maybe, she thought, her mind wandering back to the crumpled corpse of the bearded bandit beside her, perhaps we can avoid the losses we nearly endured. “The Skiprock Champion of Lochgate!” She scoffed inwardly, missed a blustering bandit standing in the middle of open ground… May as well have been a barn wall. She looked him over contemplating the why of it all. A smirk tugged at the right side of her face, as she considered the possibility that charms were involved. Devious little magical wards; perhaps he had some valuable trinkets that she could confiscate for being such a bother. It was the least he could do…
(Calopee will search the bandit leader.)
Posted on 2014-06-26 at 16:33:23.
Edited on 2014-06-26 at 17:38:46 by Philosopher
The others quickly disbanded to search the fallen after her introduction. It was surely a wise decision, and so Sehanine too joined in the searching. Or rather, she set Bartellus to searching the bandits under her direction with the false promise of a share of the spoils. Attuning her fey senses to the pulsing vibrations of the magical world, she set out to find any glimmer of an enchantment hidden among the dead.
((OOC: Casts Detect Magic. Will be spending time over each corpse looking for magical auras. If she finds anything, she will instruct Bartellus to fetch it and give it to her, along with any coin/valuables on the bodies. She will attempt to identify strength of aura and school of magic for anything she finds. Also, she will retrieve her longsword.))
Posted on 2014-06-26 at 22:49:32.
Edited on 2014-06-28 at 14:46:44 by Nimu
Shortly before Midnight, Isiah’s Farm, Schell
A collective sigh seemed to escape from Fortune’s Favoured as the stress of combat faded and the sudden realisation of the last few minutes of activity reached their aching muscles. The pain of the wounds they’d suffered seemed to flare up as their adrenaline receded, and a moment of quiet reflection on the danger they’d face was broken only by a loud *crack* as a supporting timber of the shed finally gave way and the flaming structure collapsed into a pile of expended fuel. Tristan made his way about the group, dispensing his divine energies as requested as well as passing a silvery-blue infusion over his own previously fatal wounds. Relos did the same to himself, channeling the healing power of his patron into his numerous wounds. It was then that Sehanine, uninjured in the fracas, rejoined the group, a new friend in tow.
“This is Bartellus. He’s kindly offered to help clean up this mess. Such a darling man…”
The elf had a wicked smile that at the very least seemed to disturb Calopee; her magical hold over Bartellus obvious as he went about dragging the corpses of his former comrades (and brother) along the ground into a more concentrated heap. The Halfling distracted herself with some friendly banter with Malachi as the enthralled Bartellus continued his grisly work. It seemed the pair of them had accounted for more than their share of the slain this night, though the tone of their conversation was distinctly light-hearted; even a playful jab at Tristan’s once precarious state was met with a witting smirk.
The conversation lasted only a minute and Malachi’s eyes turned to the men that had assaulted him outside the shed. Their bodies had yet to have been moved by Bartellus, the light cast by the burning remains of the shed danced on their corpses in what could be construed as some grim parody of life. The light seemed to illuminate something else on the bodies, and the keen eye of the Argent Blade spotted the flicker as he made his way over. Sighing with the troubling realisation that one of the newly anointed “Heroes of Schell” was looting a dead body, Mal nevertheless turned one of his former foes over for a quick reconnoitre. The others save Relos followed his lead, with Sehanine using her magic to scour over the bodies while Bartellus did the dirty work. The half-elven Paladin abstained, taking the moment to gain some quiet reflection as he turned away from his comrades.
The men had been lightly armed, perhaps befitting their role as swift raiders in the night, and there was little of value on them besides their weapons and coinpurses. Sehanine’s magical detection located nothing of note, whatever valuable loot these men had carried surely had been left behind at wherever they made a home for themselves, having not expected much in the way of a confrontation with a simple farmer’s hut it seemed. Calopee’s thorough search of the group’s bearded leader was similarly disappointing, a few loops on his belt that had seemed primed for carrying additional items seemed recently unstrapped, and save his chain and collection of coins little of value was found.
Bartellus finished his somber task shortly after the search of the bodies was completed, and those remaining standing gathered alongside the newly formed body pile. The witching hour was fast approaching and it seemed their duty to Isiah had been more or less fulfilled. The shed had been lost, its contents save the handful of seeds Malachi carried incinerated in the blaze, but the main hut still stood unmolested, the belongings inside only briefly disturbed as the Favoured had sprung their ambush before the ransacking had properly taken place. By the group’s wishes, Isiah had travelled back to Schell proper, and it would be a few hours before he should return, though the pillar of smoke rising from the shed’s remains might send a confusing message to any who looked towards the farm house.
Bartellus walked over to the assembled Favoured, wiping the sweat from his brow casually, his face still displaying the familiar grin brought on by Sehanine’s compulsion.
”F&%kers were heavy, no wonder they were too slow to stay standing.” the man gave a disturbing laugh as he mocked his dead friends. ”Well then…what’s next?”
(OOC: Loot and whatnot to be described in the Q&A.)
Posted on 2014-06-28 at 18:41:12.
Edited on 2014-06-28 at 18:41:36 by Grugg
Isiah's Farm - Schell
Just after Midnight
Malachi stood back and stared at the pile of bodies he and his companions had created, half in shame and half in awe. He suspected he was looking at what was going to become a calling card: A pile of corpses, pockets empty and in some cases stripped to the knickers. Despite the nature of the alliance they had formed so recently, they had all worked incredibly well as a team.
"I don't know about the rest of you but I'm famished. We may have defended Isiah's farm but his cupboard doesn't stand a chance." Mal nudged Calopee a little too hard, forgetting for a moment that she was only a halfling. With that, he strode off toward the front door, the coins jingling in his pocket joined by the jingle of a newly acquired spiked chain. Inside, he busied himself conducting a thorough search of the cabinetry.
Posted on 2014-07-06 at 04:44:30.
Edited on 2014-07-06 at 04:46:49 by Schnozzle
Sehanine let the others sift through the looted gear as she slid her longsword back into its sheath. Without even the faintest hum of magic, there was little that sparked her interest. More than a few of the items were finely wrought and would fetch a decent fee, were they in a city. The likelihood that a farmer in this humble hovel would have the means or the need for such gear was low at best. Better to let her allies add to their own arsenals. Sehanine was bitterly aware that their increased strength would increase her own survival in a fight.
The night hours grew late but there was still much to do, not in the least would be dealing with Bartellus. Letting the thug go off into the night was not an option. Her charm was potent but it would fade, and when it did he would surely start singing to Jaron. The outcome of such an event would not likely end with their fortunes being favored. Bartellus would have to be silenced, and she hoped it could be done without slitting his throat.
It was then that the Might Masked Marauder voiced his stomach grumblings, "I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm famished. We may have defended Isiah's farm but his cupboard doesn't stand a chance."
At this the fey elf rolled her eyes in disgust. She would NOT suffer through another bowl of Isiah's meat glop. The fact that Malachi hungered for more of the swill proved that the incessant wagging of his tongue had cost the man his sense of taste. As she watched the agile and ever-chatty warrior step into the farmer's hut an idea began to take form. It would not take much convincing to get Bartellus inside to blabber and feed. In no more than hour she'd have him passed out in a digestive slumber, and then they could go about cocooning the man in rope and chain. The image of Bartellus awaking in chains brought a sly smile to her lips.
"Oh my darling Bartellus!" Her call brought the fool forward with an almost too eager smile. "Let us go inside and find something to eat. You look ever so hungry. While we're at it you can tell me all about those strange cloaked figures you think may have given Jaron the idea to nab the farm."
Smiling, Sehanine laid a hand on his shoulder and led him into the hut as he began to blabber.
While Mal followed his grumbling gut into the hut, and Sehanine led her 'captive' towards the same rutty house, Calopee's eyes lingered upon the mess of bodies that had been collated by larger beings.
Questioning eyes looked up at Relos, who she momentarily recognized as the proper moral expert with regards to bestowing ceremonies upon fallen foes. A slight twinge of culpability could be felt in the stutter of her inquiry as she spoke. "What do we do with them? Surely this pile cannot stand as their last vigil? They were scum to be sure, but what are we if in our wake is left a pile of bodies?"
Her eyes waited expectantly for an answer. She'd rejoiced at the fall of them. But gazing upon their bemused faces, left her recognizing the weight of lost lives.
Midnight, Isiah’s Farm, Schell
Bartellus’s tireless labour had saved the Favoured some time, though his callousness in stacking the bodies had left a macabre sight. While there was no doubt their adversaries had deserved their fate, the sight of a pile of lifeless bodies still gave chills to the assembled survivors. Only the charmed bandit seemed unperturbed, gleefully recounting the last time he’d seen a body pile of that size to anyone who would listen. Despite his magically induced friendly demeanour, his immoral outlook served a fine reminder to the group that eventually something would have to be done with him.
Malachi was the first to step away from the scene, making his way back towards Isiah’s main hut. He’d had his fill of looting bodies, his prize the serrated steel chain of their foe’s bearded leader. He reflected on the strangely effective team he and the others had formed while he made his way through Isiah’s door, called to the farmer’s stores by the rumbling in his stomach. They’d saved a season’s worth of wheat, perhaps Isiah’s cabinets could spare a small meal to restore his energy.
Though the riders had only managed a few moments in Isiah’s hut the signs of disarray were everywhere. Overturned chairs and flung open cupboards revealed the area of their search, though there seemed to be little to show for it. A wrapped package in the opened drawers caught Mal’s eye, and it was hard to tell if he was disappointed or pleased to find a serving of salted meat inside. Whatever the men had come searching for, it seemed likely they’d not found it, and a brief look around by Mal turned up similarly disappointing. Any questions that remained would have to wait for Isiah, it seemed.
Back outside, Calopee stood before the results of her work. She’d accounted for nearly half of the dead’s number, and a moderately uncharacteristic bout of concern marked her face. The paladin Relos strode over to her, seeming to sense her thoughts as they looked over the heap of bodies.
"What do we do with them? Surely this pile cannot stand as their last vigil? They were scum to be sure, but what are we if in our wake is left a pile of bodies?"
Relos nodded at the halfling’s words. He’d been taught evil men deserved what fates befell them, but there was still respect for the dead, regardless of their intentions in life. Wordlessly, the half-elf began laying the bodies out more respectfully, there was no room for a burial, but at the very least separating the corpses could give them a shred of dignity. The paladin quietly gave a prayer to Gian as he performed the last rites before both he and the Halfling headed into Isiah’s hut, their own rest fully on their mind as their aching bodies truly felt the deeds of the day.
Sehanine and Tristan too began their way inside, the ever cheery Bartellus in tow. Attempts at getting more information from the man seemed fruitless; it seemed he’d truly divulged everything he’d known. Jaron, from what they’d learned of him, was a thoughtful man, and leaving an expendable piece like Bartellus out of the loop seemed to fit his general description.
What to do with Bartellus was now the question of the hour, Sehanine’s enchantment would eventually expire and how the man would react afterwards was rather predictable. What he deserved was almost certainly as clear, though even the most pragmatic of the group thought poorly of killing a defenseless man who believed himself to be among friends. There was no possibility for debate while Bartellus was part of the conversation, but at Sehanine’s urging the man decided rest was the best course of action and made himself comfortable by the fire, his snoring soon providing ample evidence his senses were no longer overly active.
Even then, no real consensus could be made, and eventually a stopgap was agreed to, Tristan locking the man’s arms in manacles and binding his feet until an option was decided on. Any other decisions could wait until the morning, and the group finally allowed themselves to sleep, seeking comfort in the hut however they could find it. Their day had been long, but in a way satisfying. For good or ill, things were happening for Fortune’s Favoured.
Sunrise, Isiah’s Hut, Schell ”FKING C**TS I’LL GUT YER FKING S#!TSACKS!”
The plethora of profanity awoke Malachi with a start, a glance to his side noting the unarmed and bound Bartellus writhing on the floor in a vain effort to close the distance between them. The compulsions toward civility had clearly expired, and waking up bound on a floor had done little for the man’s clearly short temper. Barring the utility of learning some new inventive curses, it seemed not gagging the man might have been a mistake.
Sunlight began streaming through the hut’s windows as the group arose, remembrance of the night’s events flooding back to them in what seemed a less painful repetition of their awakening the day before. Bartellus’s continued spewing of insults and threats was an unwelcome distraction, and the Favoured made their way outside for a respite from the man who hours before had been jovial, if not exactly pleasant.
The first light of the day had illuminated the results of the night prior, and the damage wrought was now painfully visible. The still smoking pile of ash that had once served as Isiah’s stores seemed oddly the least concerning, the well-trod earth surrounding the hut having been given a distinct red hue from the blood that had soaked into it the night before. Most eye grabbing were the eight bodies laid cleanly before the remains of the store shed. Even a casual glance in that direction gave a chill, as though Relos had done his best, there was little to disguise the events that had transpired. The hill behind the hut was a mess of torn up earth, the riders’ horses fleeing in a panic as the battle broke out. The interlopers had been dealt with, true, but at what cost?
The call of a familiar voice drew the attention of the Favoured away from the scene as the tanned form of Isiah rounded the bend in the path through the wheat fields, accompanied by a handful of locals in what appeared shabbily assembled armour and armed with whatever they’d seemed to have on hand.
”Oh thank gods…I’d seen the smoke…I’d thought.” Isiah’s thoughts came out in a jumble, his eyes darting around his home. ”What…what happened?”
(OOC: Alright, let’s get this rolling again. See Q&A)
Red sky at morning is a sailor's... wait... wrong proverb...
This is the first time, reflected Tristan, that I have ever recieved suggestions from the person I'm restraining on how to restrain them better. They happened to be good ones too. He made a mental note of them for in case he ever needed to keep someone immobile again.
Loose ends... tied up, he joined the others for a bit of the good farmer's food. Some ado was made over next steps, but nobody seemed to have a clear direction. Tristan himself was in favor of doing nothing more than awaiting their next job. This one had been a good deal rougher than he liked, but now that it was done it would be good for the fledgling groups burgeoning reputation. Contemplating this, he resoled to spend the next day convincing the others that such a course was the best one.
He was awoken rather earlier than he would've liked by their enchanted friend, who had sometime during the night reverted to unenchanted enemy. Said captive was letting loose a noteworthy, and indeed, educational, stream of profanity. Another mental note was made to remember a gag upon future bindings. Tristan yawned and stretched, accidentally-on-purpose trodding on the man as he made his way outside.
Tristan scanned the farm as he waited for the others. considering what the bandits' apparent goal had been, they'd done a good job of stopping the group. He imagined the farmer wouldn't be overly pleased at the sight of his shed (and whatever was in there) burnt to ash, but there was little to be done about it now.
And it's still a step up from being run off the land, or the whole field going up, I'd say.
He heard the others stirring, making their way out as well, he imagined, when more sound caught his ear, and from the other direction. He turned to see what appeared to be an odd cross between a militia and a lynch mob coming towards them, Isiah at their head.
Shock was apparent in the farmer's voice as he begged to know what had happend to his farm. Pulling his hat down to cover his face, Tristan smirked. Best to let the elf handle this one.
Sinking into elven reverie, Sehanine let her violet gaze drift beyond the mortal world and into the hazy twilight of Faerie. For most elves, the nocturnal reverie was a journey through their long lives. In the restorative stillness they reflected over the passage of ages and remembered who they were. Yet, the ancient fey blood that flowed through Sehanine was called home, and thus each night a part of her returned to Faerie. Those parts of her that were magic, mystery, and joy were restored. Yet to wake from this dream was to know pain, and as her gaze returned to the mortal world, Sehanine felt a loss as deep as the ocean.
Wiping a stray bit of moisture from her eyes, Sehanine found herself quite thankful for the shadows of the pre-dawn hours. It would not due to have her companions learn of her sorrow. For those of her kind appearances and perceptions were all and everything. In waning darkness she slowly moved through the hut, returning some order to the chaos left by the thugs. Their searching had been in vain, but it left one burning question on her mind. What were they searching for? The gossamer strands of intrigue had spun themselves around and far beyond the farm. Unraveling this web would be a challenge indeed. Isiah might well be the innocent he claimed to be, but there were questions he was going to answer.
Soft rays of daylight had found their way into the hut by the time Sehanine reached the spot where Bartellus lay snoring in shackled bliss. The relaxed stupidity written across his face brought waves of irritation to the elf. Shocked at the persistence of her fury, Sehanine turned away from the buffoon lest she make her castration fantasies a reality. The smile they brought to her face sped her steps to the window. Her intentions of watching the road were interrupted by an astounding profane sputtering.
"F***ING CUNTS I'LL GUT YER F***ING S***SACKS!"
Turning to face the newly awakened thug, Sehanine blew him a mocking kiss and was rewarded with another creative litany of cursing. Peals of silver laughter rose from her lips and threw her head with gleeful abandon. While she had every intention of continuing to antagonize the man in his impotence, it seemed the others were not taking quite the joy in it that she was. One by one they each left the room until she was alone with the thug. Shrugging, Sehanine blew the thug and farewell kiss laced with magic and walked out the door. Judging from the startled oath, Bartellus didn't appreciate the intense and persistent flavor that now filled his mouth.
Standing alongside her companions, she sent the magic the scrub away the grime from each of them as they awaited Isiah's return. They did not have long to wait. In a few short moments the farmer rounded the path with a bumpkin escort in ramshackle armor. His expression of relief quickly changed to one of shock as he took in the scene before him.
With a look to the pile of bodies, Sehanine stepped forward to meet the man. "Sadly such things could not have been avoided. We had hoped to parley but that quickly proved impossible. They came bearing torches and had intended to burn this all to the ground. We stopped them. They were a nefarious bunch, and I am thankful that you and your boys escaped to safety." The fey elf paused a moment to regard Isiah and then added absently, "Two of them really went through your hut in search of something. I wonder what it could be... The thug we have chained up inside didn't seem to know anything. You can talk to him if you'd like."