Poisoning the Well.   Posted by Segev Stormlord.Group: 0
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 367 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Wed 15 Jan 2014
at 05:18
Re: Poisoning the Well
Beatrix, for her part, holds a defensive posture for some time glowering at the new demons and prepared for combat, whatever it is worth; she hasn't felt so exhausted in years, but she manages to keep it from showing. Slowly, realization creeps upon per countenance and she says, "Harrenhals. You are Harrenhals."

She considers this briefly for a while before saying, "I have heard that your ilk can perform fantastic feats with flame. I have heard that you can work fire itself as though it were metal."

With perhaps just a bit of hope in her voice, she continues. "These lands, as well as the men thereof, are afflicted with a queer and pernicious heat that drives them to feverish deaths. Could you craft the flame into something like a lodestone, that would draw the flame to it, like to like, and thus allow it to be disposed of somewhere? I would see you very well rewarded."
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 609 posts
Wed 15 Jan 2014
at 05:43
Re: Poisoning the Well
One of the two scratches his chin. "I'm not so sure that's the kind of--" he starts, before the other, larger one elbows him.

Looking Beatrix up and down lasciviously - and sparing a leer or two for Azalea behind her - the larger one asks speculatively, "Just how well rewarded are we talking, here?"
Azalea
 player, 146 posts
Wed 15 Jan 2014
at 15:52
Re: Poisoning the Well

She looks at the two - now named - demons warily, then at Beatrix.
Merlin
 player, 369 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Thu 16 Jan 2014
at 01:31
Re: Poisoning the Well
In reply to Azalea (msg # 121):

"That depends on how you want to be paid....," says Merlin. If it wasn't for his mask you could easily image him smiling. Then you would have to wonder why he was....
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 610 posts
Thu 16 Jan 2014
at 13:48
Re: Poisoning the Well
"Booze and boobs are a good start!" is the larger one's reply, punctuated by the rasping sound of stone on stone as he licks his lips. The smaller one is eyeing the green embers that still burn in the air and around the landscape, frowning in what is probably thoughtfulness. The ugly, almost cartoonish faces of these demons are strangely expressive.
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 369 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Sun 2 Feb 2014
at 02:18
Re: Poisoning the Well
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg # 123):

Beatrix considers this for a moment. "I am certain I can obtain suitable recompense for you. The finest wine or cheapest swill, the most exquisite courtesans or trashy harlots, such as this mortal world can offer."
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 612 posts
Mon 3 Feb 2014
at 14:07
Re: Poisoning the Well
With much "subtle" elbowing and "clandestine" shared lecherous grins, the two demons Beatrix labeled as "harrenhal" agree to help out. The larger one seems about to make some further demand when the smaller one "accidentally" steps on its foot and nods to the panopoly of weapons and (at least in Beatrix's case) still-visible glow of peripheral essence expenditure, and they agree to take Beatrix on her word.

They both spit into their hands and hold them out to shake.
Azalea
 player, 148 posts
Tue 4 Feb 2014
at 00:39
Re: Poisoning the Well

Seeing that situation somewhat resolved, and not in the slightest interested in shaking a demon's spat hand, she starts checking her medicine pouches, and heads off towards the ill and injured.

So many of those and limited essence to go around means she'll have to treat most of them the natural way - as natural as her healing touch can be - and keep more proactive means of restoration for any critical or urgent situations.
Merlin
 player, 371 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Fri 7 Feb 2014
at 01:29
Re: Poisoning the Well
In reply to Azalea (msg # 126):

Merlin leaves the hand shaking and deal making to those most suited towards it. He heads over to the Duke.

"Your Grace, it would seem that distracting the Beast-men while your army recuperates is the next order of business...."

His voice trails off letting the Duke give suggestions.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 614 posts
Fri 7 Feb 2014
at 04:32
Re: Poisoning the Well
The duke gestures at the prince, and the youth draws closer. "I'm afraid he's right, your Grace," he says, covering his normal-hued eye while the one with red scalera scans some unseen distant vista. "The beasts are not making camp; they proceed apace. They will come upon us unready if we do not fortify now."

"Then we'll fortify. The plans I drew up - there's one that involved a distraction. I can't quite remember the details. It might be no good, but we'll need our best men to try something, at least. Who's most healthy?" he asks louder, forcing himself to his feet and shedding hair from a flaking scalp as he does so.
Azalea
 player, 149 posts
Sat 8 Feb 2014
at 01:25
Re: Poisoning the Well

Azalea gestures towards those further into recuperation from those she already treated. As healthy as anyone else may seem, it's possible they are incubating. And in either case, they would be susceptible still. Those already treated are more likely to shake off reinfection.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 615 posts
Fri 21 Feb 2014
at 03:15
Re: Poisoning the Well
The Duke stumbles to his feet, and gestures for them to gather 'round. "Merlin, study this, and scout out the enemy. We need a place to set fortifications," he orders, sweating with the exertion in his exhausted state. His men are little better, though they are at least standing. This is more than can be said for those Azalea is still treating.

As they nurse the teas she brewed, they do seem to be perking up. The work goes faster as she can delegate more and more of it to the increasingly-healthy soldiers.
Merlin
 player, 372 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Sat 22 Feb 2014
at 17:46
Re: Poisoning the Well
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg # 130):

Merlin studies what the Duke wishes him to study. He traces a few things with his finger and says, "Of course your grace. I will return as soon as possible."

With that he heads off using his own wings, as it were.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 616 posts
Mon 24 Feb 2014
at 15:20
Re: Poisoning the Well
((OOC: Again, sorry for the slow posting; I've been hunting for a car and it's eaten most of my time when I'm not at work. Anyway, feel free to stunt up improvisations to whatever you like in the Duke's plans; if I'm non-specific, that means I probably don't have a definite detail in mind.))


The beastmen have started setting up a camp about six more hours' march to the north-west, which Merlin's winged vantage can see long before even his flying speed would get him there. They are not being subtle, though their numbers are maybe 3/4 what the Duke has brought with him.

Shifting through his armor's night-vision and essence-enhanced senses, Merlin can see that a scouting party of more night-vision-enabled animal-headed creatures are advancing in two directions. From this height, it's impossible to tell if they're screening for an advance or hunting for dinner.

The raiding force's encampment is scattered across a half-dozen clearings, some of which look fresh-cleared by the felled trees serving as center-posts to drape skins for tents from. The scouts are visible mainly because they're just now making their way, as the sun sets behind them, out of the wooded regions and into the outskirts of tilled land.
Merlin
 player, 373 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Sat 1 Mar 2014
at 17:36
Re: Poisoning the Well
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg # 132):

Merlin continues to watch to see which of the scouting and hunting parties is headed towards the Duke's group. He also spends the time to see what they are actually doing; scouting, hunting, gathing, etc. He will get closer, if he needs to, to find out who is leading the enemy using his skills and magical abilities as necessary.

'Once my essence regenerates I could attack the one heading away from the Duke. They would head that direction thinking that the Duke was in that direction. This might give the Duke a half of a day to rally his troops.'

Once he ascertains what the groups are doing he will report back and offer his idea to the Duke.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 617 posts
Tue 4 Mar 2014
at 13:44
Re: Poisoning the Well
The scouting parties are splitting off in an expanding, advancing screen. Two are likely to pass close enough to the Duke's camp to notice him. Hunting seems to not be an issue for this group, as they're pulling supplies - meager, for so large a group, but supplies - to consume. It looks like the last of them, too; they'll be hungry and need to get replacements tomorrow.

The camp itself lacks real discipline, looking almost more like a party the night before a sporting event than a military activity. It's hard to pick out any one leader. A few cliques are obvious, with 1-3 apparent leaders amongst them in a social, alpha-male sense. These butt heads and shout imprecations, braggadocio, and encouragement at each other in hard-to-understand, goat-bleat and wolf-snarl voices.

It isn't until Merlin is turning back and passing over the scouting parties most dangerous to the human army that he notices the military precision of that screen. The leader is amongst one of those two parties: a goat-headed beastman with a mantle of an enormous wolf draped over his shoulders and with his horns poking through the skin's ears. He almost looks a wolf from above, and would have been the least remarkable of them to a lesser-trained scout.
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 371 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Tue 11 Mar 2014
at 05:25
Re: Poisoning the Well
"Gentlemen," says Beatrix to the assembled... well, gentlemen, "I would like to point out that we have some eager Harrenhals, and that they are able to craft fire into solid objects. Solid objects that are still fire. Where would you place the ideal defensive structures, for the coming fight against the beastmen?"
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 620 posts
Tue 11 Mar 2014
at 05:33
Re: Poisoning the Well
The Duke looks up, the tiredness around his eyes belied by the strength he forces in his voice. "I have plans drawn up in my tent. The..." he thinks a moment, "The defense line designed for entrapment, I think. It's in the pile on top of my cot."

A moment or two later, another thought occurs to him, and he looks to the rock-hewn demons. "Can you REALLY carve fire?"

"If it's worth our while," says the smaller one, wary but snide.

The Duke looks to Vaniel. "Get the men stoking the camp fires and building new ones. Give these...sculptors...their material."

With a leery look, the young Knight carefully drapes the cloth he wears to cover his missing hair and bows to his Duke before turning to begin shouting orders to his men.
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 373 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Wed 12 Mar 2014
at 05:36
Re: Poisoning the Well
Beatrix turns to the Harrenhals and throws her arms out. "Forgemasters, I entreat you! If we are to secure your rewards we must first deal with our enemies! I will not ask you to fight; that would be a disservice to you, if truth be known. However, I beg that you assist us in fortifying this position! And in return, let me tell you what we'll get for you..."
What follows is a storied description of every lascivious activity available from here to Great Forks, and promises of every sort of raunchy splendor known to mortal man, as Beatrix seeks to inspire the demons by, ah, fanning the flames, so to speak. Beatrix commences to instructing where to place the walls and emplacements, via a song-and-dance routine where she traipses energetically around the campsite pointing out what needs to be done and marking things with her sword to show where and how they ought to be built. This, in turn, eventually leads into a bawdy 'inspirational' number that actually does have the soldiers blushing, complete with impromptu chorus line, finishing eventually with--
"I've got the money, babes, I've got the clout!
An' I know some girls who'll make ya holler, scream an' shout!
An' all this an' more can be yours!
If you'll just
heeeeeelp
uuuuuus
oooooooout!
"
As she belts the ending lines out, she jumps forwards and slides to her knees, holding her sheathed blade up like a vaudeville cane in one hand while cradling a hat to her bosom in the other (where did she get that, anyway?). Her anima banner, still shining bright, erupts into fireworks to punctuate the song's end, a big finish indeed!
Beatrix rises, takes her bows before the excited Harrenhals, and then as they commence to channel their energy into work via the wonders of sublimation, she slinks off and collapses onto her cot in her tent; on the way, she drops her badly damaged sword (and the hat), apparently too tired to think of them anymore. She is likely asleep before her head hits the pillow.
Azalea
 player, 152 posts
Wed 12 Mar 2014
at 07:24
Re: Poisoning the Well

Azalea looks up from the wound she is currently binding, blinking at the performance.

She manages to contain herself from asking the man whose wound she is binding just what that was all about, but she does applaud after it's finished.
Merlin
 player, 380 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Wed 12 Mar 2014
at 16:09
Re: Poisoning the Well
In reply to Azalea (msg # 138):

Meanwhile, Merlin returns and informs the Duke of the situation. He also informs him of the options to harass the enemy and see if he can't pull them away from the camp for a time. It could prove a boon.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 621 posts
Wed 12 Mar 2014
at 19:11
Re: Poisoning the Well
As Beatrix's song and dance routine picks up, the two dwarfish demons seem to be getting into it. They follow her routine and trail after, moving their hands as if imagining the offered...activities. The Zenith's performance manages to make them - and the increasingly interested soldiers - look like choreographed parts of her routine.

Azalea notices a distinct rise in the blood pressure and temperature of the young men she's treating as they follow the performance, as well. Dilated pupils, flushed cheeks... but her treatments are working, so it's not a relapse.

Merlin, for his part, can't help but hear the end of the performance as Beatrix's voice belts out over the trees, his augmented sensors in his armor bringing it to him in crystal clarity. As he lands, the larger demon is picking up the discarded sword and heaving his stony belly over to the nearest fire. The smaller one follows quickly after, and they begin pulling handfuls of flame from the pit to start forming bricks. "Come on, then! Hop to it!" says the smaller one, gesturing to the soldiers, "Light some more fires!"

The duke clears his throat, obviously NOT following Beatrix with his eyes as she heads into the tent to rest, and replies to Merlin, "Two? Yes, distract them. The longer we have to fortify before they know we're here, the safer we'll be. If you can get them to go back and report finding nothing, we might even catch them by surprise while they march tomorrow morning.

"What do you think, Salf?"
he asks of his son. The boy's jaw is still dangling open, staring (along with half the camp) at the tent where Beatrix went. "Salf?" prods the Duke, a little louder.

"Huh? Er, I think she--er, I mean, we should..." he trails off sheepishly, looking to Merlin as if hoping to find the answer to his question written on the Night Caste's helmet.
Merlin
 player, 381 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Thu 20 Mar 2014
at 22:12
Re: Poisoning the Well
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg # 140):

Merlin tells the Duke, in a respectful manner, that he needs to rest for a bit to regain his strength. Merlin will rest about half as long as he estimates it will take for the Scouting parties to get near the Dukes camp. Then he will take off and utilize his skills, talents, artifacts, and whatnot to harass the force that is heading towards the encampment, but from the side of that force that is away from the Encampment. He will attempt to lead them off in a different direction. In fact he will see if he can not get them to make a zig-zag pattern away from the camp, such that it does not appear that he is leading them in any direction in specific.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 623 posts
Fri 21 Mar 2014
at 16:33
Re: Poisoning the Well
Leading the scouting groups away proves to be of mixed difficulty. With Merlin's training and skills, one of them is easily tricked into thinking it has found signs of victims to ravage. The goat-man in the wolf skin leading the other group, however, does not permit them to run off half-cocked. In a guttural language that Merlin recognizes as Forresttongue, but so badly distorted by the bleating accent of the beastman that he has trouble making out one word in five, it browbeats and orders them to fan out. He does catch the words "report" and "others," and finds that he almost has to play a game of second-guessing; the scouts are well-trained, and it takes laying legitimate trails and relying on his own stealth to have them pass him by before laying another false trail for them to find but ignore.

Notably, he is certain they are unbothered by the dark, and at least some in each group track and move by scent more than sight.

Before dawn, however, Merlin is certain he's managed to lead them so astray that they won't find the Duke's forces until their forward screens come upon them during the advance of the whole group, late the next morning.



Back at camp, the walls of fire forged by the hands of the harrenhal still provide light and warmth, but are creepy in how static they are. Wood cannot be laid against them without catching fire, but well-designed incorporations of local rocks and earthen mounds provide places for spearmen and archers to defend the walls.

Ned, the goad-herder, runs about (mostly at Azalea's instruction) to give water and help her spread her treatments to those who still need it. He and Salf periodically check on Beatrix, as does Sir Vaniel and several other of the men. Making sure she's comfortable but - at Ned's exasperated insistence - staying out and not waking her.

Azalea, meanwhile, is probably feeling the strain of being up all night (unless her Exalted metabolism allows her to ignore such mortal frailties), but has the soldiers all but restored. Even those who should have needed days of rest are at least able to run chores, hyped up on Solar medicinal concoctions that are carefully balanced for each of them to replenish without further draining.

((OOC: And if anybody wants to add anything, feel free. Let me know if there's anything else you want to accomplish, even fluff or story or interaction-wise; you have until about mid-morning before the enemy arrives.))
Azalea
 player, 154 posts
Sat 22 Mar 2014
at 03:10
Re: Poisoning the Well

Being Exalted certainly helped, but Azalea's body is hardly used to hardships, and it shows.

By the time she has finished her standard treatment of anyone involved, she is obviously weary, remaining seated whenever she can, and attempting to delegate any tasks that do not necessiate her personal involvement.