Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"   Posted by Director.Group: 0
Martel Gautaz
 player, 87 posts
Thu 4 May 2017
at 10:07
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Lost in his own thoughts from the reading of the dead man's note, Martel looked up in surprise - the words spoken seemingly loud against his own inner dialogue. It took him a few moments to digest their situation and what had been said, but after a slight pause he nodded, "Yes, a place off the road would be wise - though close enough to hear traffic upon it would be my wish..."

Glancing round at the rapidly fading light he added, "I had hoped we might have made the Fort, but it is a stretch too far and the path uncertain. Let us hunker beneath what shelter exists and supplement it with our own wits"

With that he began to cast his eyes about them for somewhere suitable, then added softly, "We must mount a watch tonight, I fear"

Looking for somewhere dry, ideally sheltered and out of sight of the round but at the edges of hearing - his thinking being that he wanted to hear any riders.
Smallfeather
 player, 83 posts
Thu 4 May 2017
at 13:41
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
"Hiding a cart is difficult," Smallfeather pointed out. "We cannot remain that close to the road."

Going off the road far enough to hide a cart presented its own difficulties, of course. If they still got ambushed, there was little chance of making it back to the road for an escape.

"The interior is large enough for two," he said, mainly to Merana.
Martel Gautaz
 player, 88 posts
Thu 4 May 2017
at 13:48
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
"Bugger", noted Martel, glancing back at the cart and the donkey and the women who stood close by the entertainer
Smallfeather
 player, 84 posts
Thu 4 May 2017
at 14:01
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
"You should be so lucky."
Callia
 NPC, 53 posts
Thu 4 May 2017
at 15:03
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Callia pulled an argumentative lock of hair firmly behind her ear, the dark rings around her eyes faintly visible even on the failing light. "I'm used to sleeping on the ground - think I've spent more of my nights under the Dioune's own sky than any man's roof. What about a fire?"
Merana Sabravin
 player, 28 posts
 The wisdom of the poor is
 as a palace in the desert
Thu 4 May 2017
at 17:12
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
- "I can sleep on the ground if need be. Before we met i was traveling alone after all. That said, you are most kind to offer the cart to Callia and myself to spend the night in."

Merana gave Smallfeather a nod, again reading his intentions and attempting to defuse them by steering the conversation down a slightly different path. In response to Callia's question about the fire, she took a deep breath.

- "It depends. A fire attracts bandits but keeps wild animals away, whereas a lack of fire keeps bandits away but attracts wild animals. It depends on one's preferences i suppose."
Martel Gautaz
 player, 89 posts
Thu 4 May 2017
at 19:27
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
"Bears and wolves might be easier then goblyns", muttered Martel, "Rats and foxes definitely so"
Florrie
 NPC, 21 posts
Sun 7 May 2017
at 05:40
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Florrie blanched at the mention of bears "Might they really lair so close to the highroad?" she squeaked, her already-large hazel eyes wide. It was clear that she, at least, was a stranger to nights in the wild.
Merana Sabravin
 player, 30 posts
 The wisdom of the poor is
 as a palace in the desert
Sun 7 May 2017
at 13:05
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
- "Roads mean little to bears, in a sense they're little more than glorified animal trails really."

Merana shrugged before continuing.

- "Shouldn't be much of a problem really as long as we don't spread the scent of food around... Hey, that looks like a good spot over there."

She perked up when she spotted a good campsite a little off the road. There was a small clump of trees there that could be used to hide the wagon from view while still being close enough to the main road that they wouldn't need to push the wagon through loose soil for an hour the next day. It looked like a decent enough spot.
Director
 GM, 177 posts
 For Highdunn
 For the King!
Sun 7 May 2017
at 14:17
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Merana's find proved a lucky one, as it appeared that some recent patrol northbound had found themselves in a similar dilemma. The site was trampled flat by horses hooves, and dense brush hid it almost completely from the road. A low rise did present a clear view across the forest toward the highroad, but that way was too distant for sight and the southerly made that more scenic than troubling.

While it was true that the small black bears native to Ahlonia would be at their most active in the late spring they tended to avoid the predation of the goblyns more avidly than even men did, and wolves would be fat and content from a spring spent running down careless fawns. So it was that a night of dried venison and hard cheese by moonlight (the fleeting red moon already giving gibbous retreat to its golden cousin) and a night on the cold ground. Still, rest was welcome regardless of its comforts.

The night passed without event, and proved cool but comfortable. When the north-bound companions awoke as the first rays of dawn broke the eastern treeline they were stiff, but unmolested. Committing themselves once more to the road they made their way north while the sun rose to the apex of a lightly clouded sky until a stout bastion loomed on the northern horizon.

Fort Rotheron was a place for warriors and dignitaries, and none of the companions had had occasion to pass within sight of the seat of the Earls of Rotheron. The strucutre was unimpressive to look upon - walls having an unfinished appearance where topped with ragged masonry and timber scaffold. The granite of its construction looked perpetually wet, dark, and mismatched in a plethora of tones and textures suggesting generation upon generation of repair with no regard for the aesthetic. Doubtless its commanding elevation atop a bare hillock and its blocky featureless bastion offered generous military advantage, but to the eyes of travellers who had seen the great basilicas of Southaven, or the palaces of the Barons of Highdunn, or even the holdfasts of the Thairon Guilds, it was disappointing.

Banners of assorted colour snapped smartly above the gatehouse and keep, proclaiming allegiances or there about in their dense heraldic language.

A well trafficked road broke from the patrol route to the north, and became a neat highroad leading west to the fort and north to Kithridge, but the travellers had been spied long before they reached the main thoroughfare. A cavalier, resplendent in his shining mail and tan surcoat trimmed in gold, rode forth with a party of men at arms half a dozen strong with halberds and wide-brimmed helms. They all wore the drooping moustaches common to Veldtmen, though the cavalier's was waxed and trimmed into neat points whilst the others seemed unkempt by comparison.

He reigned in perhaps two dozen paces ahead of the five companions arrayed about Smallfeather's mule and trap, and raised a gloved hand, at which the men at arms halted. "Ho there travellers. What business have you on so perilous a road? These are dire times for strangers to range so near Fort Rotheron lest they have proper business."

This message was last edited by the GM at 12:34, Thu 11 May 2017.

Merana Sabravin
 player, 33 posts
 The wisdom of the poor is
 as a palace in the desert
Sat 13 May 2017
at 10:33
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Merana looked intently at the banners as soon as they entered her view, squinting a little to get a good look of the one she knew would belong to the Earl. It was hard to see, but a number of them could be ruled out pretty fast -- wrong background colors, or heraldry that was obviously different from the one she was looking for. But as the riders rode up, a small gust of wind unfurled the one she was looking for, the banner of the Earl. It was good she had spent some time in the books as a child, what had seemed worthless trivia at the time had once again proven useful now that the situation had come up. Silently thanking her mother, she stepped forward, giving the soldiers a curtsy.

- "Greetings, sirs. Dire times it may be, but by the grace of the Divh we were granted safe passage."

She rose again, before bowing in apology.

- "We bear a message for the Earl, whose banner we are relieved to see fly over Fort Rotherton. You have our sincerest apologies, but the message was stressed to be confidential, and as such we would be unable to relay its contents due to the unfortunate death of the original carrier. We understand and acknowledge you are tasked with seeing to the Earl's safety, so we would be willing to relinquish our weapons if you would be so kind as to escort us before him this blessed morning."

She rose a second time, giving the cavalier a smile and awaiting his response. She didn't know how the others were going to take surrendering their weapons for the moment, but she doubted they would consider slicing and dicing their way through the Fort, and with the assassin on their heels they needed any kind of leverage they could get.

18:22, Today: Merana Sabravin rolled 5 6 using 3 4+d6-2d6.  Knowledgable Perceptive + Ahlonia Lore, - extra Disadvantage. Because why not.
Martel Gautaz
 player, 91 posts
Mon 15 May 2017
at 13:17
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Wary and subdued from their uncomfortable encounter the prior day, Martel welcomed the day and the return of the Divh's sight with more than his usual pleasure. He took a few small moments to give thanks, leaving a small coin in the hook of a tree as offering to the local spirits for their protection overnight.

When they broke onto the main trail, he smiled more broadly, nothing the gild of sun on sandstone that marked the keep and the glint of steel upon it's walls well before they were intercepted. His keen eyes sought out the banners of those they called out within, scanning for familiar beast and bands even as he recalled the past splendour of Thairion

He let them close and make their demands, mulling over a few small phrases that his served him well in the past, though they proved unnecessary as the young foreign woman they had met upon the road stepped forward in his stead.  He smiled, secretly pleased at her boldness

Knowledgable + Alhonian Lore + Wealthy Second Son + Well-Travelled Merchant = 4 +3D6 - 1D6
  • 14:05, Today: Martel Gautaz rolled 11 using 4+3d6-1d6 with rolls of 2,3,6,4.  Recall Heraldry.

Director
 GM, 182 posts
 For Highdunn
 For the King!
Tue 16 May 2017
at 14:24
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"



The cavalier seemed taken aback for a moment, perhaps because a woman spoke for the party of travellers. He spared a glance that might have been reproachful for Smallfeather and Martel before returning his attention to Merana, furrowing his brow. "I fear you are mistaken goodwoman, Earl Davin's court is presently at Kithridge. And I fear that you'll not reach the city before the curfews close the gates." Curfews? Even in the comparative backcountry of the Veldt that was unusual.
Merana Sabravin
 player, 34 posts
 The wisdom of the poor is
 as a palace in the desert
Tue 16 May 2017
at 18:21
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Merana looked up at the cavalier in surprise.

- "A curfew? Surely matters in Kithridge cannot be so dire as to force the city to such methods? Given that we must make our way to Kithridge then, might i be so bold as to ask thee for any details that may be of use for travelers such as ourselves, so that we may prepare our journey accordingly?"

She looked at the banners again. Of the six poles, only two were occupied, but the two banners that were shown presented an entirely different question by itself. She smiled at the cavalier.

- "Unfortunately, i am not overly familiar with banners and pennants myself. Assuming the Earl's banner is indeed the higher raised one of green and white, i... fear i cannot quite recall whom the other belongs to. The part green and part red and white check do not seem familiar to my eyes, and yet the soldiers' liveries on the walls and barbican display these colors. A relation of the Earl's, perchance, ruling Fort Rotherton in his absence?"

She kept up the polite look on her face, playing the part of a simple traveler asking after who was in command of the Fort ahead so as to avoid any potential faux pas when it came to giving proper respects to one's betters.
Martel Gautaz
 player, 92 posts
Thu 18 May 2017
at 09:05
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
With a frown of his own, Martel waited for the man's explanation - both of the curfew and banner, about whose bearer he had some guesses of his own
Director
 GM, 184 posts
 For Highdunn
 For the King!
Thu 18 May 2017
at 11:40
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
With a sigh the cavalier dismounted and stepped forward, approaching within a more conversational distance. His men at arms made to follow, but he waved them back with a gloved hand. "Daughter of Ereck-" he began, his thick Veldtman accent butchering Irik's blessed name and his aspect downcast in concern (an expression made positively melancholic by his drooping moustaches) "-I'll choose to ascribe such a question against your inexperience amongst our people, but such enquiries are precisely those I'd expect from a spy in wartime. A more wary man might have you in a noose as mere precaution. The central banner is that of the Earldom itself, and the other is of no import if you seek Earl Davin."

Turning his attention to Martel and Smallfeather he adopted a more companionable tone "The best council I can offer is to make haste to the city. Should you find the sun low and the gate barred I doubt you'll be alone in spending your night outside the gate. If you are charged with a message for the Earl you'll find a steward willing to lend an ear at his manse as long as you conduct yourselves in keeping with your station."

Expression earnest as he looked between the two men, the cavalier's gaze lingered on Smallfeather and he narrowed his eyes "I feel I know your face traveller. By chance have you ventured to Estar?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 11:26, Sat 20 May 2017.

Smallfeather
 player, 86 posts
Mon 22 May 2017
at 15:55
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Director:
"I feel I know your face traveller. By chance have you ventured to Estar?"


Smallfeather was prepared to let the others handle the official business. He'd been cajoled/guilted into joining this bizarre errand, but he felt no need to take a leadership position. And then someone had to go and mention Estar. Why did it have to be Estar?

Of course, as an itinerant entertainer, he'd been nearly everywhere. Often on legitimate business as an entertainer, even.

"Why, yes. So I have." He bowed deeply, with a flourish. "You have the pleasure of addressing the generally incomparable and occasionally incomprehensible Smallfeather, the world's greatest entertainer! You doubtlessly remember me for my near miraculous feats of merriment and mirth."
Merana Sabravin
 player, 35 posts
 The wisdom of the poor is
 as a palace in the desert
Mon 22 May 2017
at 17:32
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Merana smiled, and gave the cavalier a polite nod, stepping aside for the man to address Martel and Smallfeather without her standing in the way. Though her face did not betray her thoughts, her mind furiously worked to fit what she heard into an estimate of what to expect in the city.

'A spy in wartime', the cavalier had said. Generally the comparisons brought forward during conversation were most likely to be matters weighing the most on the speaker's mind, and in this case they hinted of spies and warfare. A war, or even the threat of one, would have caused the King to send word to his nobles to muster their men-at-arms, and it would explain both the curfew in the city as well as Earl Davin -- it was nice to have a name and banner now -- having left his Fort, taking most of his men with him.

Attempting to confirm her suspicions was something she decided would provide no net benefit, especially this close after the cavalier's warning: He rightly believed it to be a mistake from inexperience, and she had no intention of making him suspect otherwise. She had all the possible answers she would need from such questions anyway, and would need to keep her ear to the ground for the rumors that would no doubt circulate among the patrons of inns and taverns, especially once they had a few drinks in them. And so, for now, she would listen to what the cavalier had to say to Martel and Smallfeather, picking through the words with a fine comb to discern hints and meanings as to what was going on in the land.
Martel Gautaz
 player, 93 posts
Sun 28 May 2017
at 11:04
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Letting the entertainer provide a slip of an explanation, Martel stepped forward and bowed to the soldier, "Our thanks, then. We must make our way to the manse. Who is the steward there, that might help us secure entry?"
Director
 GM, 186 posts
 For Highdunn
 For the King!
Sun 28 May 2017
at 16:01
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
The cavalier gave Smallfeather a scrutinizing look, before shaking his head dismissively. "No doubt you're right" he agreed, though consternation never quite left his eyes.  "I fear I cannot say who manages the Earl's house, it has seldom been my concern, but if you've a missive have no doubt that someone will be happy to receive it. Now I must ask that you continue on your way."

Glancing to his men at arms the cavalier gave a curt nod and they turned and made for the fort again. Turning back to the five travellers the earl's warrior laid his hand upon his breast. "Koroth watch your journey." Then he strode away, took his animal's reigns from one of the warriors and followed the soldiers.
Merana Sabravin
 player, 36 posts
 The wisdom of the poor is
 as a palace in the desert
Mon 29 May 2017
at 16:25
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Merana smiled, waiting for the cavalier to have left before turning to her companions.

- "Okay, here's what i found out. There's a threat of war, which means men or goblyns. However, those men-at-arms joining the cavalier weren't there because we looked like goblyns, which told me they were on the lookout for people."

She took a deep breath before continuing.

- "The problem is, the only nation capable of posing a threat to the western marches that isn't an ocean away would be Reddown, and i'd wager my best dress for a pointy stick that that message we're carrying, and the assassin chasing after you are both tied into this apparent war effort. It would be prudent not to mention the message until we reach this steward."
Martel Gautaz
 player, 95 posts
Mon 29 May 2017
at 18:37
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
"Or that the king's missing daughter is the cause of the curfew and threat of war both", muttered Martel grudgingly, "We had best make quick time"
Merana Sabravin
 player, 40 posts
 The wisdom of the poor is
 as a palace in the desert
Mon 5 Jun 2017
at 15:18
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Merana nodded in response.

- "Taking hostages in order to leverage concessions... Bad business, that, though less uncommon than it has any right to be."

She softly shook her head before continuing.

- "Right then. I would suggest we get underway, and if we were to take turns riding on Smallfeather's cart we could keep up a nice pace while skipping lunch. Or at least have it in turns on the cart. That would save us... a good half hour, at least."
Martel Gautaz
 player, 99 posts
Tue 6 Jun 2017
at 23:10
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
"Let us be onward then", confirmed the merchant, tightening the straps on his pack and ensuring he was comfortable for the extended fast march
Director
 GM, 197 posts
 For Highdunn
 For the King!
Mon 12 Jun 2017
at 16:40
Re: Chapter 1 (1.0): "The Road to Kithridge"
Leaving the fort at their heels the five companions pressed on, Callia making rough sketches in her notebook, Florrie pausing occasionally to admire some resilient roadside bloom or another before remembering the need for haste (or just as often being reminded by a sharp "Florrie"), and Martel seeking to drive them ever faster while Smallfeather's mule complained bitterly. Only the Irian Merana seemed unhurried, thoughtful. But then she'd not see the wounds on the dying warrior mere nights past.

Between Forth Rotheron and Kithridge the packed dirt of the patrol route widened and became well trafficked. More than once they passed overladen oxen trains under armed escort making for the Fort, or a patrol of keen-eyed scouts who eyed them suspiciously.

Despite making good time, as afternoon greyed into evening it became clear that it would be past sixth bell before they reached the gates of Kithridge. The wind fell from the sky like a livid corpse, and the air became thick and heavy, peppering their brows with unseasonable sweat and making it hard to keep a good pace. Evening dark became close and sickly where the day had been fresh and brisk, and it seemed almost certain that a night camped alongside the high road awaited them.

continued in Chapter 1: "An Enemy at the Gates"...

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:09, Wed 14 June 2017.