Linnix looks on at the proceedings, viewing Aelistae in a new light. Before, she wasn't altogether sure what to make of the drow priestess, but now... now she understood, just a little more. And what of the new person they just rescued? Linnix wasn't quite sure what to make of her, and decided now was not the time to try. However, Barthelomew's words bothered her.
She had heard a few rumours herself about 'the Cardinal', but never realized just how... inhumane... the person referred to might be.
"How disgusting," She murmurs under her breath.
In the depths of her mind, she also wonders about the possibility of 'the Cardinal's' and her path crossing. Heh, a person who decides they have the authority to say what was acceptable, or not, and deal out judgment accordingly? How preposterous. It really ticked her off...
Linnix shakes her head, it may happen, and it may not; there's no reason to think about it right now. Right now, all that mattered was to get back on track, and maybe make up for lost time.
"Well, shall we get going then?" She asks aloud of no one in particular, gently urging Tock forward, turning back toward the road everyone was following previously.
Kasenarrion was about to dismount to deal with the bandit, but the Drow had gotten there first. She waited her longsword ready, to help if needed.
As the older peasant in the cart tells the story of "The Cardinal" she listens, especially after he mentions Tyr. A Knight of the Silver Chalice, forsaken by the God of Justice? There was more to this that the old man seem know, or at least tell.
Justice and Retribution had its dark sides. It was always balance, as Tyr's chief device shown on his shield, a set of balances. Who was this strange man that acted the part of a vigilante.
She looked down at the man in the ground and felt no pity, he had probaably done worse to others in his lifetime and when the drow priestess drove the sword into his heart, she only watched dipassionately. Justice was done.
"Tyr, be the Judge." she comments to the wind.
Posted on 2008-03-11 at 00:42:22.
Brianna Not Dragon Mistress Karma: 105/32 2282 Posts
Loriel watches the proceeding from horseback. She had no sympathy for the man. He was not a wild animal caught in a trap, but a diseased one and as such he needed to be eliminated. She had to agree with th Drow's thoughts that it should have been a clean death and this one was right.
The man Bart called the Cardinal a man who has been cast out of Knighthood and forsaken by his god as a paladin. This man has put himelf above the law and human decency. Even though he rid the lands of evil doers as Bart has said his methods are inhumane and reprehensible.
Loriel dismounts when the Drow priestess adminisister a coup de grace and searches the man's body for anything that might provide then useful information.
No she didn't like this at all. Tyr she knows is a god of justice and retribution, but he is not a merciless god.
Posted on 2008-03-11 at 03:35:40.
Edited on 2008-03-11 at 05:58:48 by Brianna
The sun of the light couldn’t break through the gloom that had settled over the traveling companions. The sight of the crucified brigand turned cultist was burned into their minds, and the thoughts of the rogue vigilante ‘Cardinal’ did not sit well with some of them either. The ‘local legend’ was a dividing point of sorts, with some admiring his resolve, some questioning his methods, and others outright objecting with the thought of one man taking upon so much power and authority unchecked.
With a grim resolve the companions moved along, mounting their steeds, and continuing once more along their original trail. Bartholomew found it strange that Kasenerrion had so easily been incorporated into their little shindig, and so spurred Alice alongside the strange woman of golden eyes and sun kissed platinum hair. “Excuse me miss.. Are you feeling better? That mark on your noggin sure looks tender. You’re more than welcome to travel with us to Castle Tethyr, but from there we make north across the wilderness for a quest most urgent.”
(allowing for back posting and conversation)
The group moved on with great haste. Traveling into the evening with the sun hanging low on the horizon before them as they chased the last of the clinging rays which grasped at the landscape with the last of their strength. As the night began to win the ever repeating battle against the day, the group came across the remnants of a wagon, plumes of smoke rising from the burning canvas, splintered axles and shredded cloth. The horse was nowhere in sight, but the battered form of a broken old man lay on the ground before it, clawing at the dirt as the party neared.
Elesia, without thinking fell into spell song, sending her lyrical healing over the man, who straightened somewhat, forcing himself into a sitting position with his back to the rest against the remnants of his cart.
“Thank you strangers, but you’ve come too late I’m afraid. You might as well have left me for dead for I’ve lost all that’s worth living for.” As the companions gathered round, the man grunted through gritted teeth as he fought back sobbing tears. “An Ogre most foul has claimed my wife and only son Marcus, even my horse. Dun dragged them off to his cave to the south. I can’t bare to think what he might be doing to them..”
Loriel could easily make out the signs of struggle in the tracks, and a heavy large set of deep footprints along with the scuffled dragging prints of at least two others, a human and child leading to the south. In the distance, those with low light vision could see foothills off in the distance.
The man was a disheveled wreck, battered and broken, his heart broken beyond the healing magic of any spell or potion. Night would soon overtake them, and yet another obstacle had presented itself.
Posted on 2008-03-11 at 22:04:04.
Edited on 2008-04-30 at 22:48:43 by Kaelyn
Loriel as the forward scout was first on the scene, but it was Elesia's healing that save the old man's life. His story was as tragic as he revealed it was, to her mind all was not lost yet.
"How long ago did this happen." She asks the man
(answer from old man)
"I for one whil not let this Orge get away with this foul act. Whether or not we can save them all I so not know, but I can trail them easily enough." Loriel continued. "I could set off right now and catch them if we move quick enough."
Posted on 2008-03-11 at 23:11:52.
Edited on 2008-03-12 at 01:22:13 by Dragon Mistress
Xaris stood as he watched the man writhe around on the stake. He did not have any high held opinion on this man, nor on the one who calls himself the Cardinal. Either of them can do whatever they want, as long as they leave Xaris and his friends alone. He would not let anyone who he cared for fall victim to such needless things. If any more Banites come, he will make them fall. If this man the Cardinal comes and thinks them evil, he will fall too. As long as there will be obstacles, there will be Xaris there trying to get through them.
Later on that day Xaris still thought of the man on the stake and the one called Cardinal. He hoped that he did not wander about onto there path, and misjudge them. Being on such a great quest as this is sure to stir up some demented psychopath. But Xaris just smoothed out his hair and patted the horse he rode on, knowing that even if he does, he wont do anything until Xaris falls.
Moments later, as the night has begun to take claim to the sky they came across a cart. Xaris listened to the decrepid man as he made his claim, and felt the utmost pity for him. He knows of the pain of family tragedies, shares that guilty feeling of not being able to do anything. He can relate to the man in so many ways. If there was anything he could do to redeem himself anywhere, this was it.
Xaris slowly dismounted from the horse, and walked a little ways towards the man. He looked back over his shoulder, looking at the group whow as looking back. He got closer to the old man and whispered into his ear.
" Old man, I may be of different blood, skin, and race, but I know what it feels like to feel a tragedy like this. If there is anything that I can do to help you get your family back while they still live, I will do it. Even if my companions go on without me."
Xaris backs away from the man, and gives him a small smile, patting him on the shoulder. Human or not, this old man has felt pain worse than death. He needs comforting.
In a small voice, barely audible even to the old man, Xaris speaks..
" This Ogre will die, and a family will be reunited."
He walks over to his group, and speaks up for a brief moment.
" I will help no matter what. I will also track this beast. I know you might not understand my reasoning, but I have to. I owe it to him. To everyone..."
With that Xaris walks the burning cart, shielding his eyes from the fire, and studies the ground where the Ogre walked off the path, and studies the ground. He makes notes in his head, and looks as carefully as he can to see where the ogre has headed, and if it had happened recently.
(( Will take 20, or 10. Which ever I can do. WIll use my survival skill to track the beast back to where it is. ))
She closed her eyes, appearing to others to daze out, if they were watching. In actuality, she was weighing the situation carefully.
On the one hand, going after the ogre would be dangerous, and being lower on healing capability, the group would face the potential danger of having a person felled. Also, this would take some time, time that could be spent setting up camp, and getting an earlier start the next day. Finally, there wasn't even a guaranteed reward for their services. The ogre might have some valuables in its cave, but Linnix shrugged; there wasn't anything to support or deny that possibility.
Another thought struck her. They were already waylaid by bandits, with an illusion no less, what if this too were another illusion they were going headlong into?
Linnix frowns, it didn't look like there was much reason to go, but she considered the other side nonetheless.
On the other hand, she thought, it was likely that the man and his family were traveling towards where the group had come from. If that was the case, then they would know about the conditions up ahead, and it was quite apparent that the man would be too heartbroken about his loss to say anything unless they were successful.
Linnix raises her hand to her chin thoughtfully. Such knowledge would be quite beneficial.
The scales had turned up equal, a fair risk balanced by the possibility of useful knowledge.
Linnix sighs, leaning back in the seat of her cart comfortably; she hated it when things balanced like this, as they had when she first decided to take up this quest.
"Well, I'll see what the others do; if everyone's going, I might as well too." She murmurs.
Posted on 2008-03-12 at 00:00:46.
Edited on 2008-03-12 at 00:04:20 by Reralae
With a grim resolve the companions moved along, mounting their steeds, and continuing once more along their original trail. Bartholomew found it strange that Kasenerrion had so easily been incorporated into their little shindig, and so spurred Alice alongside the strange woman of golden eyes and sun kissed platinum hair.
“Excuse me miss. Are you feeling better? That mark on your noggin sure looks tender. You’re more than welcome to travel with us to Castle Tethyr, but from there we make north across the wilderness for a quest most urgent.”
"I have healing yet to do, but I am capable to staying you with you. As for my head I suppose it will be tender for a bit." Kas answered turning her attention to the man.
"Your name is Bart, I heard another call you. I am Kas....Kasenarrion.....," she pauses as if trying to recall something her brow furrowiong with effort, but not being able to do so."
"Castle Tethyr? I believe I have heard of it. Please I am a stranger and am not entirely sure where I am or where I am going. For now it seems I travel with you."
Kas went silent and turned her attention to the road. Her brow remained furrowed for a bit longer before smoothing out. For the rest of the trip she remained quiet and withdrawn, lost in her own thoughts, for indeed, some of her thoughts were lost.
They travelled quietly for a space until they come upon the old man and the wrecked wagon, and heard his story.
She rides up to the man, after he is tended to by the healers of the group. Kas draws her longsword in a clean swift movement and raises the hilt of the blade to her face.
"By Tyr, I will see that the Ogre learns Justice, and I swear to do all in my power to see you and your family reunited, and there will be retribution for your loses."
Kas turned to the others, though few of them seemed warriors they had willing come to her rescue, "Who will ride with me?"
Posted on 2008-03-12 at 01:44:14.
Edited on 2008-03-12 at 01:45:33 by Dragon Mistress
Xaris looks at the woman who had recently joined them and looks slightly confused. A few words come forth from his mouth.
" Ride? What about tracking? I cant track from horse back."
Posted on 2008-03-12 at 01:54:25.
Brianna Not Dragon Mistress Karma: 105/32 2282 Posts
"I will join you, Kas, and as for tracking Moonshadow can track any Orge ever born, and if she loses the track I will owe you a drink at the next tavern we come too." Loriwl fatith in Moonshadow's abilities and never let her down before. The Orge would leave a scent trail a huan could follow and tracks that sink deep in the ground.
"I know our own mission is important but we cannot leave this man's wife and daughter in the clutches of an Orge. What if they were your wife and your daughter? Orges are a menace and we must deal with this one. I cannot turn aside from this regardless of the promised."
It would seem that the decision had been made to head south in pursuit of the Ogre. It couldn’t be ignored that this side venture would take the companions further off trail, and further delay them from their task. With every choice of aiding another in need, they put themselves further and further from the keep, the task, and the rewards at hand. Bartholomew simply shook his head as his clients all decided they would be off and running, their morality superseding any prior obligations. What could he really say though, when he thought about what he’d be feeling if his wife and child were endangered, he’d likely be in the same boat as the old man. “We ride.” was all he said, turning Alice around to join the others.
“Please… bring them back… in either case bring them back kind people.”
As the man hoisted himself up into a kneeling position, he cursed the Ogre’s existence out to no one in particular, and standing set about putting out the already dying flames of his wagon.
The companions moved with all the haste their steeds could muster. Moonshadow could easily follow the Ogre’s scent, it hung heavy in the air like a noxious gas to the wolf’s keen nose. The coterie moved to the thundering of hooves. They traveled south for almost an hour passing into the foothills which bordered the river. As they neared, the first signs that they had found the source of the recent trouble was apparent with the slaughtered remains of presumably the travelers horse. Large chunks had been torn from its flanks, the horses entrails pulled forth and coupled around its other innards in a pool of crimson staining the green grass red. Bartholomew turned from the sight, Elesia audibly gasped. Behind the horse’s remains nestled between two small foothills lay a cavern of foreboding darkness. The ceiling hung low at only 8 feet at the entrance, with thick vines hanging over the entrance of the rocky opening into the earth. The slope of the ground seemed to descend gradually, but even in the rising moonlight the companions could only see a score or so feet into the depths of the cave.
Aelistae’s hand rose absently to her cheek. The blood of the Banite that had stained it had long since been wiped away, but the memory of it upon her skin lingered still. And as she touched it, further memories of a time long past, began to well inside her mind...
Her fingers trembled as they closed around the hilt of the ceremonial dagger. It was strangely warm to the touch, and the calcified webs that formed the substance of the blade radiated with a seductive power. But it was not that which scared the girl. The hilt of the dagger writhed with live spiders all of whom were glad to sink their fangs into her own soft flesh.
The dagger slipped from her grasp, and fell to the floor with a dull clang.
“Foolish girl!” A stinging slap sent tears to her eyes and sent her sprawling to join the dagger upon the cool, stone floor. “I shall make you suffer for the indignity you have shown the Spider Queen!”
An elegant blue-black hand, tattooed in a lattice-work of stylized webs, picked up the dagger from its undignified perch. The spiders swarmed over the hand, but, if they bit into her flesh, she did not see it.
“Now watch and learn, foolish daughter, or next it shall be you on this altar!”
The hand holding the dagger folded with its counterpart in a gesture of supplication, as the woman to which it belonged began to mouth words of prayer. “Great Goddess, Mother of the Dark, grant me the blood of my enemies for drink and their living hearts for meat. Grant me the screams of their young for song; grant me the helplessness of their males for my satiation; grant me the wealth of their houses for my bed. By this unworthy sacrifice I honour you, Queen of Spiders, and beseech of you the strength to destroy my foes.”
The words seemed charged with a potency that spread through the large room like a subtle poison. Suddenly the woman made a drawing motion of her hand - that was answered by the bloody, gurgled screaming of her sacrifice.
The girl stared on in horror, too frightened to move even as the blood fell as rain upon her.
“To kill in mercy is no crime,” she reminded herself, taking refuge behind the Eilistraeyn mantra. And yet, in her heart, she could not help feeling that killing the Banite in cold blood was only one step removed from what her Mother had done all those years ago.
A shout from ahead woke Aelistae from her dark thoughts. Her companions pointed towards the burnt-out wreckage of a wagon and the thin form of an elderly man lying prostrate at its side.
All of them it seemed rushed to his aid, to offer healing, words of comfort, promises of retribution, as if they were mindful of the teachings of Eilistraee. But the sole Eilistraeyn among them stayed away, immersed in shadow.
“We ride,” Bart exclaimed, making plain his decision to help the man recover his family.
Aelistae could not disagree. She had no spells left or healing to offer, and her body ached with the exertions of the previous day. But her duty made it clear that she must help, even if it cost her her life.
‘That is the difference,’ she thought to herself, answering the doubts that gnawed at her. ‘That is the difference between me and her.’
Aelistae slipped off from her saddle as they stopped at the cave entrance, and peered into the gloom.
OOC: Aelistae has 60’ darkvision. Can she see anything more or is it an unnatural darkness?
Posted on 2008-03-12 at 14:28:37.
Edited on 2008-03-13 at 14:06:52 by Ginafae
"Dismount here," whispers Kas, "and we can go forward on foot. From the condition of the horse I would say the Ogre has eaten his fill, so the wife and daughter may still be safe, and with luck the Ogre may be sleeping off his gorging of horse meat."
Kas surveys the area of the cave and peers into its darkness as if she has no trouble seeing in the dark.
"I would hazard a guess that they will be caged or tied up toward the back of the cave, that way they could not get out, if they did escape their bondage, without passing by the Ogre."
"Is it just me, or does it seem too dark to be occupied?" She asks aloud.
When everyone turns to her (if they do) Linnix bristles slightly, "What? It doesn't make sense to me."
(Listen check for Linnix, this is for if she hears nothing)
"I don't even hear anything in there." Linnix adds after a moment, "Are you sure this is the right place?"
(however, if she does hear something, then this instead)
"Huh?" Linnix scratches her head thoughtfully, "That's wierd, it's dark, but there's something in there... odd... I'll think about it later, but what do you suggest Aelistae? It seems like you're the only one who can see in there unless we use a torch or something, and that won't help if we're trying to surprise it."
Posted on 2008-03-12 at 23:31:05.
Edited on 2008-03-12 at 23:32:29 by Reralae