Fires in the dark.   Posted by Segev Stormlord.Group: 0
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 156 posts
Tue 29 Mar 2011
at 18:46
Fires in the dark
Merlin's cape enables fast and nearly inexhaustible, rapid, and not-easily-traced travel. It's easiest to keep together if they travel at the same rate, so if Aya has a small, possibly furry or feathery form, riding along with Merlin would enable this scouting team to remain united.

It takes several hours to get out to the edges of Trademeet Dale's influence, but as the sun sets behind them, the duo's eyes spot pinpoints of light in the distance on the road. Less than two hours later, they can see they're coming across a camp set - for them - a half-hour from where Merlin saw a cold camp earlier in the day. From this distance, not much can be made out about it, and looking too closely can ruin night vision. The other group is miles and miles back, and won't be here for days, but that's why the faster, stealthier group are on their own, after all.
Merlin
 player, 98 posts
Tue 29 Mar 2011
at 19:33
Re: Fires in the dark
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg #1):

Merlin makes a 'high altitude' sweep around the camp fire, blocking out its direct light with the point of his pinky finger. He then gives Aya a hand signal that he is going to go down and get closer, which he then does. He will in fact land on the the branches of a largish tree near the camp to get an even better look.


OOC:Essence Sight Active
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 157 posts
Tue 29 Mar 2011
at 20:26
Re: Fires in the dark
An old, lone maple of this sort tends to grow every few dozen miles in farmland, as it provides shade, a bit of a landmark, and sometimes just a touch of nostalgia for the sparse forests and copses that once lay over modern farmland. It also provides a decent vantage, letting Merlin easily count 3 fires arranged in a largish triangle, each with about five to ten men near them. There are three large tents, and five smaller, two-man affairs near each fire, and what looks to be a rope-ringed stockade with more people huddled in the middle of the encampment. It's hard to judge anything detailed, but the men outside the stockade appear to be armored and armed in a fairly uniform fashion with scale mail and spears and shields. Several are on sharp watch, and every now and again one glances at the tree to make some sort of warding gesture.

Sitting and chatting with his men, an obvious leader is near the closest of the large tents. He bears a tabard which has a very faint shimmer under essence sight, as if the decorative threadwork around the coat of arms subtly guides natural essence flows of Creation, just a little.
Merlin
 player, 99 posts
Thu 31 Mar 2011
at 00:21
Re: Fires in the dark
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg #3):

Merlin points at Aya, then at the tree, then ground, and lasty the central stockade. He seems to be indicating that he wants her to go scout it out closer and see what is going on.

If these guys stole another couple of farms worth of people, they might just all end up dead tonight!
Aya
 player, 160 posts
Sat 2 Apr 2011
at 13:44
Re: Fires in the dark
She takes wing simply, fluttering across. Just a bird, after all.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 161 posts
Sat 2 Apr 2011
at 16:15
Re: Fires in the dark
The little bird is only noticed by a couple of people, and they pay it no mind. It's just a bird, after all. The men outside the stockade are all soldiers or guards of some sort, wearing similar uniforms with three distinct coats of arms adorning them. The people IN the stockade are obvious common folk. Peasants or serfs. Farmers. Three generations' worth, too, including old folk and kids as young as 8 or 9.

The soldiers look to have been on the road for at least a month, and their prisoners look a bit less tired, but more shocked and dispirited. There's some furtive planning and talking amongst the prisoners, but it doesn't seem to be getting anywhere. There are some tied hand and foot and gagged in separate areas. But most are just allowed to huddle together. A third of the soldiers seem almost embarrassed to talk to the prisoners, while the rest simply seem grim. The stockade itself is really little more than a picket of logs piled around. Soldiers keeping a weather eye on the prisoners, and the threat of spear wounds to any who try to climb over, are really all that keeps the peasants from climbing out and escaping.

If Aya's encyclopedic knowledge of modern farming is accurate, she estimates that these prisoners represent the population of the emptied farms she and Merlin scouted out earlier.
Aya
 player, 161 posts
Wed 6 Apr 2011
at 22:23
Re: Fires in the dark
One more sweep, and then she's off, back to link up with the Solar....and get to a position where she can change and explane it to him.
Merlin
 player, 101 posts
Wed 6 Apr 2011
at 22:33
Re: Fires in the dark
In reply to Aya (msg #7):

Once back, Merlin finds a stealthy method of getting a decent distance away so that they can share what they have seen.

"So, are they the captured farmers or a new batch?"
Aya
 player, 162 posts
Sat 9 Apr 2011
at 04:08
Re: Fires in the dark
She lands. Or, starts to, rather. Her body changes mid-air..bones cracking into new shapes, her coat exploding outwards, flaring in the air, as her boots slam into the ground, standing tall(Well..for her height.)

"I'd say the farmers....the right number of them, at least."


Red eyes almost glow, for a few moments after the change, as she sits down, legs crossing, smoothing her skirt.
Merlin
 player, 102 posts
Sat 9 Apr 2011
at 18:25
Re: Fires in the dark
In reply to Aya (msg #9):

"It is as I feared then."

He thinks for a few minutes.

"Perhaps kidnapping one of the guards on their way to the latrine would allow us to interrogate him and find out who is behind this? That or we can just go knock all the guards unconscious or kill them, except their commanding officer. At that point we can take the people back and make sure the commander tells us what we want to know."
Aya
 player, 164 posts
Wed 13 Apr 2011
at 09:01
Re: Fires in the dark
She shrugs.

"Sounds reasonable, I suppose. Just..how do we remove them all, before the guards say, start killing the prisoners?"

Merlin
 player, 104 posts
Wed 13 Apr 2011
at 15:07
Re: Fires in the dark
In reply to Aya (msg #11):

"If we kill all of the look outs first, we can then work inward so that the guards watching the prisoners are the last to fall."
Pulling out one of his chakrums she notes that they are made of rough sanded obsidian with a very fine blade. Noticing one of them flying through the air at night would be next to impossible.

"However, to make sure that the guards do not do anything foolish you can sneak into the pen?"
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 170 posts
Fri 15 Apr 2011
at 19:16
Re: Fires in the dark
As the guards interact with each other - and occasionally the prisoners - it becomes clear that each of the three camps are almost separate entities. There is friendly rivalry between two of them, and an understanding of cooperation between one of those and the third. The third and the other one interact as little as possible. From the tree, they're looking almost head-on at the "base" of the triangle formed by the three, so the two camps with the understanding are nearest.

The guards ARE professionals, but they're obviously not used to herding prisoners in these numbers. Their commanders - one for each camp, each obviously a knight of some ranking - keep inspecting the watch, making sure that only those who're supposed to be sleeping are nodding off.
Aya
 player, 165 posts
Sat 16 Apr 2011
at 18:40
Re: Fires in the dark
"Better idea. Give me a few hours. Then I can be one of them."

She settles in to watch, for a bit, trying to chose who to...consume.
Merlin
 player, 105 posts
Mon 18 Apr 2011
at 15:41
Re: Fires in the dark
In reply to Aya (msg #14):

"Please, be my guest."

Merlin gets into a more comfortable position.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 178 posts
Wed 20 Apr 2011
at 13:52
Re: Fires in the dark
The men are actually of mixed ages, ranging from one youth about the age of Hun and Poe to a few men on the far side of middle-age. Most are somewhere in their twenties, and they're all professional in their soldiering. The three leaders are scattered about the middle range of their men.

((OOC: Perception+Investigation if you want more details; let me know what you're looking for. Stunts for how you go about doing your looking are welcome, but not mandatory.))
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 180 posts
Sat 23 Apr 2011
at 17:22
Re: Fires in the dark
There is a lot of jesting, ranging from friendly to bullyish to nervous and strained, amongst the men. Periodically, some make trips out past the fire-light to relieve themselves. Amongst the guards, there are no women. The two younger commanding officers keep paying attention to the prisoners, though they seem uncertain, at best, how to treat them. The oldest one is terse and businesslike, and shows no patience for the prisoners if the slightest problem crops up.

Conversations range from speculation about how family are doing back home to concern over whether Trademeet will hire mercenaries to scorn that those "spineless traders" might just learn a lesson from this. Any suggestion that there might be a reasonable explanation is met with stony glares from the oldest of the commanders, and admonishments from the ~30 year old one that they will investigate when they get back to Falan. The youngest one, out of his teens by a year or two, sniffs disdainfully at such talk. He's DEFINITELY the best-dressed of them, with all his armor and weapons gleaming and his clothing in perfect condition. He also keeps himself immaculately groomed, periodically adjusting or primping before his inspections of the prisoners.

The first watch is taken by the eldest commander, who sternly orders his own men (except for the three youths joining him on watch) to bed, and strongly suggests the other commanders do the same. The youngest goes to bed almost eagerly, while the third stays up with his men for a bit longer. Before bedding down, himself, he approaches the elder, "Make sure you wake me as soon as your shift is done, Methius. Vaniel will need the morning watch to primp, and I don't mean to have him whining on the way back."

"Nonsense, Clavien," is the response. "A fop he might be, but complaining would make him look weak in front of the women. I think he's planning to try to woo some of them, the fool." The utter contempt in Sir Methius's voice for the idea of fraternizing with the prisoners is palpable, and sends Sir Clavien off in uncomfortable silence.

Three youths - two in their mid-teens, one barely into puberty - eventually slink off towards the tree in which Merlin hides. The youngest carries a hefty bundle, which he carefully sets out around himself, sitting beneath the base. He lights a small lamp with a carefully polished focusing mirror. Why becomes clear when he begins pulling out chain mail and polishes it very, very carefully and thoroughly. "Oh, come on, Nath!" exclaims one of the boys. "It's gleaming six ways 'til Saturnday! Sir Vaniel won't notice if you skip it tonight!" His tone is exasperated.

"Pff," scoffs the other, "Nathier's just scared. He's afraid Sir Vaniel or Sir Clavien will catch him. Sir Methius wouldn't care. ...'course, he'll laugh at us if we have a hangover, but we won't!"

The first speaker sighs, "Farithe, he's a squire, for little gods' sake, and he should be participating. Cuisohn says it's a bonding experience. You know how he--"

"--gets picked on?" sneers Farithe. "Panil, he's picked on 'cause he's dumb about this stuff!"

The boy - Nathier - looks up at the other two. "Thank you for your invitation. I have to do this, though." He looks a bit intimidated, but shoots Panil a grateful glance when the older boy shrugs.

"You don't have to. But...well--"

"Are you three coming or not?" demands a whispered but carrying voice from a nearly twenty-looking youth and three others about his age, maybe a little younger. "Trademeet beer is s'posed to be some awesome stuff, and we don't want to wait all night, or our watches will start!"

With that, Farithe scoffs at the youngest boy for his obsession with scraping off imaginary stains, and joins the others. Panil shoots Nathier one last questioning look. "You sure?" At Nath's rueful smile and grateful shake of his head, the older boy jogs off to join the others in cracking a surreptious cask of beer, doubtless stolen from one of the raided farms. This leaves the very young squire alone with his work, beneath a tree. The light from the boy's work-lamp blinded any of them from noticing the well-hidden figure up in its branches.
Aya
 player, 170 posts
Sat 7 May 2011
at 22:46
Re: Fires in the dark
Well, nothing for it, really. Closest....pity she didn't know too much about him, makes an impersonation so much harder.

Stealth is....not really possible. For her, at least. Oh, she can become something small, but, well, that's it.

A few idol thoughts bounce around, as she slowly moves out of cover. Hopefully....well, he'll be not too bright, and fall for the old "Attractive female, forget what is doing, and then follow" trick, otherwise she'll have to do something that will make some noise...

She peers around the tree, letting enough of her form show to show female, as well as a bit of her face, just enough to hopefully get him closer.
Merlin
 player, 108 posts
Sat 7 May 2011
at 22:57
Re: Fires in the dark
In reply to Aya (msg #18):

Merlin makes ready to sever the guys jugular veins and wind pipe should things not work out for the best. An obsidian chakrum is ready in one hand and two in the other.

Hope she knows what she is doing, but best to be prepared if something goes sideways.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 194 posts
Sun 8 May 2011
at 06:01
Re: Fires in the dark
The boy scrubs patiently, methodically, at each link in the chain shirt, making sure to get between them so no rust spots or even faint smudges show. He angles it carefully under the lamp-light, only satisfied when the link on which he's working shines before he moves on to the next. This isn't as hard a job as it might sound; the chain shirt is in excellent condition. A few sizes too large for the boy, though. He has a sword, some greaves, and a pair of plate gauntlets, all equally too large for him, arrayed neatly to the side. They are apparently waiting their turn. He hums a marching tune as he works.

So intent is he on his task, and night-blinded by the lantern-light against the darkness, that it takes him a fair minute to notice the feminine form off to the side. Looking up, he jumps a bit, startled. "Oh," he nearly yelps, his voice high and clear, but pitched softly. "I didn't know any--wait," he lowers his voice to conspiratorial whispering volumes even as his tone becomes faintly nervous and accusing. "There aren't any women guards with us! Who are you?" Then a warring thought visibly crosses his peach-fuzz free face, and he adds, "You are not lost or in trouble, are you, m'lady?" in tones that are doubtless meant to sound chivalrous. He finally remembers to scramble to his feet; being rude to a lady is inexcusable. The chain shirt he's cleaning he carefully laid aside just before doing so.

He's maybe four and a half feet tall, at most. Probably hoping for a growth spurt any day now. He can't seem to decide whether he's supposed to be smiling warmly or looking stern and manly. Fortunately, he hasn't raised his voice above a stage whisper thus far, as if the night were pressing in to muffle the sound at the edges of his lamp's light.
Aya
 player, 171 posts
Sun 8 May 2011
at 22:58
Re: Fires in the dark
Someone with more of a conscience might be bothered by what she might be about to do. She almost utterly lacks one, just the merest hints, enough that unlike a full sociopath, she is able to discern right and wrong, as other people see it. And this is very much in the wrong...

Thankfully, she doesn't care. Knowledge knows not of right or wrong, it merely is...and so must be any seeker of it. Perhaps to show his help, she can make use of something in an upcoming plant, or something...

Her lips move, as if she's trying to speak. A slim pair of fingers draw across her throat, as she makes a frustrated face, as if something is keeping her from speaking.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 196 posts
Tue 10 May 2011
at 14:24
Re: Fires in the dark
The boy frowns, concerned. "You can't speak? What is it you need, Miss?" he asks, trying to sound manly and confident. "Are you from around here?"
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 203 posts
Wed 1 Jun 2011
at 00:52
Re: Fires in the dark
Just then, an already-tipsy youth of about twenty summers loudly calls out to the youngster, distracting him. By the time he begs off - AGAIN - on drinking with them, Aya has slipped off, lest she be seen with her intended victim.

Seeing nobody around him anymore, the confused and somewhat exasperated boy returns to his duties.

Merlin is left to his own devices regarding how best to handle this situation, now that the Lunar is off studying other potential targets. She'll be several hours at this, at LEAST.
Merlin
 player, 113 posts
Thu 2 Jun 2011
at 19:20
Re: Fires in the dark
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg #23):

Seeing where Aya has gotten herself off to, roughly 200 yards away from the camp, he heads up into the sky to finish what has been started.

Leaderless, I wonder what the common soldiers will do?

Diving Merlin activates his armors Cloaking Device and Air Dragon Form. As he nears the camp he comes down about 3 feet above the heads of the soldiers and flings a single chakrum out at the oldest of the 3 leaders, which he has lined up to be in his flight path.

The officer should be stunned into inactivity by the time I swoop by grabbing him under the arms and lifting him out of the camp.



(OOC: Flurry of 3 actions: Attack from range using BREATH-SEIZING TECHNIQUE, Grapple, and move.
Fly Silently to Surprise = 14 successes
Chakrum = 8 successes (Target is being attacked unaware: DV 0)
Damange = ((10,2,2,6,10,9,3,7,10,10,4,2,2,1)) Take soak off the right till you get to min damage on the left) With a 4 lethal soak that would be 6 stun damage so he would be down 6 dice to defend himself for the grapple.
Grapple = 6 successes (Attack may still be from surprise, Dif 4 to detect))