Chapter 22: Task Force.   Posted by Giles 'J'naeth' Hind.Group: 0
 GM, 1736 posts
Fri 4 Dec 2020
at 19:09
Chapter 22:  Task Force
As the Glade offered more than enough room for Giles to maintain his mount, he simply let the beast walk about, meandering through the moss and lichen, investigating the large swath of canvas, which indeed seems to be some sort of eroded tent or marquee.  As he looks, the hoof of Firebrand steps down with a sharp crackle in response.  Giles at first thinks the noise is just a fallen branch the hoof has cloven through, though the horse nickers and steps quickly away from the noise, turning the greenery up under his feet.

Protruding from the moss, Giles can now see a large, thick, broken rod... too pale to be wood.  It takes Giles a moment, though he knows after a moment that the thing is surely bone, and a large one at that.

Giles dismounts, and dregs up the two or three pieces that remain after the hoof cleft through it.  Put together, the thing is some foot, or foot and a half long and thicker than Giles's thumb.

Giles 'J'naeth' Hind
 PC, 350 posts
Thu 17 Dec 2020
at 09:18
Chapter 22:  Task Force
He cocked his head at the sight of the object. It looked like bone, but wasn't sure if it was human or part of some animal. " Looks like rusted metal isn't the only thing here.
It could be that the people taking the wood also died here. Either way, I think it's pretty safe to assume that no more wood is being taken from this place.

We should give it another ten minutes and then see about the surrounding areas. Make sure that there are no other logging camps nearby. Also, on the way out we can estimate roughly how much wood had been taken, and try to figure out how many of the siege devices it may have built"

 GM, 1746 posts
Tue 22 Dec 2020
at 17:54
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Taking another several minutes to scour the area, Giles only finds more evidence of habitation: a few more tools, a rusted knife buried under a thicket of moss.  All in all, he finds it unlikely that there is anyone here, or that has been here very recently, and nor does Edenburg find any trace of more recent activity.

Finding nothing in particular, Giles decides to press ahead slightly into the wood, just to be sure there is no evidence of other logging camps in the close proximity.

Searching only for a few moments, Giles manages to find a game trail of sorts that weaves back towards the center of the forest.  It isn't large, but it is wide enough to give a decent view of the ground below and gives a narrow track where the horses can be sure of their step.

Slowly and carefully, Giles makes his way into the wood.  On both left and right, the trees grow thick together, making a near impermeable canopy, and obscuring vision in any particular direction to no more than a few yards.  The moss and lichen grow thick as well, spreading out over the forest floor nearly everywhere but the narrow trail.

Giles has not gone far, perhaps for thirty yards, when he notes another small trail, crossing perpendicular to the path he is on.

Ahead too, Giles notes a break in the canopy and a glade of bare earth.  Among the barren dirt, a single tree grows at the center, its ashen grey trunk and deep red leaves illuminated in a dazzling display by afternoon sun.

"Odd place."  Edenburg murmurs, his horse just a length behind Giles.

OOC:  The forest on either side is thick enough that you would want to get down and lead your horse (rather than ride) if you strayed from the path.  The trees are simply too dense and the ground too overgrown to see or avoid obstacles.  The game trail is large enough though that you can ride at a walk fairly comfortably.  Ahead, you have the large, barren clearing, and on the smaller trails to either side you can't see far enough to make out anything of value.
Giles 'J'naeth' Hind
 PC, 353 posts
Sun 3 Jan 2021
at 10:59
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Giles looked at the odd tree, centered in a glade and thought it felt out of place. It was almost a totem of some kind, or so it appeared, but he didn't know. The whole place was quite strange and Edenburg captured it perfectly with his observation "Odd place indeed" he said.

Being from the North East of Megalos, Giles was no stranger to incredibly thick wild areas, and forest that were white covered and shaded with the palette of winter, but here and in the heat to see such a stark change of colour in a single, isolated tree felt jarring on his insides.

"There's no grass either, this glade looks like it should be deep into winter..." he said, his curiosity piqued. He wrapped the horse reigns around a nearby sturdy branch and called out to Edenburg "Wait here, let me go get a closer look... Don't disturb anything"


Giles will make his way to the red-leaved tree to inspect it closely. He'll avoid doing anything to 'damage' the natural area, as his inkling is towards some kind of magical retribution

10:59, Today: Giles 'J'naeth' Hind rolled 11 using 3d6 with rolls of 5,1,5.  for what is needed.

 GM, 1760 posts
Wed 6 Jan 2021
at 15:07
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Edenburg nods, following Giles only so far as the edge of the clearing, reigning his horse in to a pause as the Giles continues on into the glade ahead.

The place has a sort of other-worldly feel...  The soil below seems soft and presses down underneath the Firebrand's hooves.  Still, though the hot summer sun splashes down through the open canopy above, there is not so much as a trace of life.  Not a single blade of grass, nor an exposed root breaks the earth...  Only the solitary tree ahead, which shoots from the ground like a pale monolith.

As he walks towards the center of the glade, Giles notes a single leaf... different than the vibrant red ones.  This one has fallen to the ground and is not the normal, bright brown which holds the history of a once vibrant green, but instead is pale grey, as if the very life has been sucked from its pours...  Giles cannot help but feel like the very earth of the glade is draining the life of everything around, that only the tree in the center seems immune.

As Giles approaches the massive tree, he can't help stand in awe of the thing.  He is not an expert on nature, though he finds it hard to believe he has ever seen anything like it before.  The bark is an ashen grey like the northern maples in the dead of winter, but the leaves are bright red in the middle of summer...  though the leaves are crimson, not a single one has fallen to the ground.  To Giles, the thing seems vibrant with life, though if it has any secrets, Giles cannot divine them.

OOC:  More description, but not a whole lot more explicit information.  The glade expands about 30 yards in each direction with the tree at the very center.  Giles has hung back at the edge of the clearing, though you have him in sight.  You haven't found anything particular about the tree or the clearing beyond the obvious, though if you wish to investigate by doing anything more specific than just looking, feel free.
Giles 'J'naeth' Hind
 PC, 356 posts
Mon 15 Feb 2021
at 13:05
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Awestruck, the juxtaposition of the greenery and then the ash and bright red leaves was stark and Giles could feel the specialness of the area; though why it was special he could not say. He assumed magic, but his grasp of it was tenuous at best. As he looked down at the leave, though, he did become progressively more uncomfortable standing on it.

"Alright, we've looked as much as we can here. Lets make a note of this place, and see if it makes sense in hindsight. Otherwise, lets get out of here.

It looked like the logging had happened here, he was sure of that but it also seemed like those people had come to an untimely end. Giles couldn't help think that something greater was afoot, but it was more than he knew, and beyond his own ken. He inwardly shrugged, and chalked one more mystery up to life's great unknowns but rather that that a crowd of bastard men wishing to skewer him again.

Giles, walked back to the edge of the clearing, having studied the leaf skeleton as much as he dared and then shrugged at Edenburg. "What's going on here is anyone's guess. I suppose we can at least report that no more trees are being cut for siege weaponry... We should make some rounds of the area though before heading back. I'm not entirely satisfied with the answers, and it does feel like we have more questions now than before - but the intelligence is needed back at the keep"

Giles jumped up onto the back of Firebrand and affectionately patted it reflecting on the simple joy one could get from a relationship with a horse. He thought back to the horses he'd had before while at the keep Cutlass, notably, and soothingly spoke to the horse "If all life was so easy my friend, maybe horses, like soldiers, wish for the simple things" and then squeezed his heels to have it move out of the clearing.

"Alright, lets take a different, wide path back see if we can find any other areas. You can buy the first ale. he said with a grim smile.
 GM, 1795 posts
Sat 20 Feb 2021
at 22:37
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Though Giles still had many questions left unanswered, he had at the very least assured himself that there were no longer any of the Wazifi soldiers or workers here.  Perhaps this glade was where the bulk of their logging had occurred, which would explain at least why there was only one tree left standing... though that the tree remained at all seemed a jagged-edged puzzle piece that didn't seem to quite fit the picture he had painted.

In any regard, there was little reason left for Giles to remain.  He and Edenburg had accomplished their mission, and loitering seemed to promise few benefits for the wasted time.  Giles was happy to get out of here and get back to the fort, and told Edenburg so.

"Ha!"  Edenburg says, smiling as Giles offers him the first brew.  "They'll be owing us a liberty after this!  How long has it been?  Though I suppose there has been some concern over another attack..."

Giles picks his way back towards the edge of the clearing, picking another gap in the trees that seems to be some sort of wide trail large enough for the horeses that goes in general back towards the south, though is different from the path that the two entered from.  It runs on for a few dozen yards before opening up on another small clearing, this one which is smattered with grasses, odd green flowers, and low-lying plants that have overgrown the path.  The glen is forty feet or more across, and the trees at the other side seem to grow thick together like weeds.

OOC:  Roll vs. Naturalist+2 or Forest Survival.  No default.

The plants growing across the glade
Giles 'J'naeth' Hind
 PC, 359 posts
Thu 25 Feb 2021
at 14:06
Chapter 22:  Task Force
"Liberty, could you imagine? (OOC: Im assuming that means freedom from the army) what would you even do? he said walking along feeling somewhat more comforted with the surrounding greenery. "We have it pretty easy as far as I can tell, campaigning is pretty terrible from what I've heard. We get a warm place to sleep and stone walls to make sure we don't get our throats cut in the night. Can even slip and get some beer fairly frequently without too much issue. he said casually as they strolled into the new clearing.

Giles felt something funny, but couldn't quite place it and instead just ignored the sensation, thinking the White Tree's memory was prickling him. "Truth be told though, I'm not sure how much I want to feel another spear go through my gut again. Kinda has a way of putting some things into perspective, makes me think that I'm missing a trick, or something.

I've always been a good soldier, just maybe I could be even better if i'd not have such a one trick mind, you know?
at this point he was more talking to himself than to others and considering his options. As much as he owed a lot to Brashear, and had made good friends of the fort, Giles had really started feeling a strong desire for more. He was too vulnerable.

OOC: I have no skill related to that, so can't make the roll
 GM, 1802 posts
Mon 1 Mar 2021
at 18:45
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Giles chats with Edenburg jovially as the two saunter into the glade, pushing their way between the largest of the bushes as they skirt their way around.

"Aye."  Edenburg agrees.  "Though I wouldn't complain to being removed a little farther back from the border, if for no other reason than it's easier to take a few days to yourself.  Though you're right, we don't have things too bad.  Couldn't ask for a better than Brashear, I've heard horror stories from some of the soldiers about other outfits."

Giles finds as he glances around the edge of the glade that there is little of help here.  At the rim of the glade, the trees grow thick and are interspersed with thicket and briar.  It's likely he could hack his way through, though the footing would not be solid and he worried about the horses making it through without injury.  Even alone, cutting through all the brush would be significant work, likely slowing their progress down to a crawl until they were free from the wood.
Giles 'J'naeth' Hind
 PC, 360 posts
Thu 18 Mar 2021
at 19:21
Chapter 22:  Task Force
"Aye, I think it wasn't an accident that Brashear ended up in command of the fort. It needs a man with a good head on his shoulders to keep from starting a war, or losing Raphael. he said, acknowledging their commander's real ability.

Giles himself held no short amount of gratitude to Brashear, even just for noticing his ability and assigning him to his current position. The man had found himself in a laudable position and given responsibility enough to have some say in what went on. Giles was confident that the outfit of the fort was enviable by many soldiers - even if they did have to deal with hostile Wazifi on a regular basis. Despite it all though, Giles thought that perhaps he should look to elevate himself further, as good as the place was and as great of a commander as Brashear was, he didn't want to spend the next decade of his life patrolling walls and being speared through the gut.

After pausing a moment, Giles removed his hand from the bristles on his chin and glanced at the edge of the glade with a puzzled look "Do you see a way out here?"
 GM, 1825 posts
Mon 22 Mar 2021
at 00:52
Chapter 22:  Task Force
"Does seem to be a bit thick doesn't it?"  Edenburg replies, glancing around at the brush surrounding them.

"I don't see anything here, unless you're looking to cut our way through.  Maybe heading back out the way we came in, or try and find another way out?"
Giles 'J'naeth' Hind
 PC, 361 posts
Wed 31 Mar 2021
at 10:24
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Giles nodded Aye, lets head back out now. There's no use dallying, Brashear will want an update" he said, before turning Firebrand back towards the path they'd taken and leading the group out of the forest.

In the back of his head Giles had a prickling that caused shocks to cut through his stomach. Some kind of intuition that this place had a magical effect, even though he'd not managed to feel anything or divine it, he was inwardly annoyed that he'd not dedicated more time to such studies. He grimaced but tried to justify it with a combination of things, his work, the recovery of his injuries and even more important the absolute lack of anything in the way of study material.  Could he fix that? He wondered.

OOC: I presume that eidetic memory would help him re-traverse the path they'd taken
 GM, 1836 posts
Thu 1 Apr 2021
at 18:01
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Edenburg nods as Giles makes mention of returning home.  "Aye, I'm not sure there's anything much left to do here.  There sure aren't any Wazifis left to be afraid of."

Giles turns his mount and begins back out the way he came.

Only things have slightly changed in the large glade in the few minutes they have been away.  Giles rears his horse back as he nears the clearing, though Firebrand is already pawing at the earth and shaking his head with a snort.

Up ahead, a fantastical beast seems to float midair.  A lizard of some sort with a body as thick as a man's that stretches some seven feet to the tip of his tail.  The thing is speckled with brilliant colors, purples, greens, and blues that stand out even against the vivid red of the tree at the center of the clearing.  The thing has wings too, sprouted from its midbody that seem as thin as rice paper and ineffectual... and yet the thing flies, like it is swimming through water, unaffected by its own weight.  Rather than a lizards claws, the thing has paws like a massive cat.

Giles holds out a hand for Edenburg to stop, unsure for the moment of his next move.

The beast takes sight of them, wriggling its body like a dolphin through a wave to a low branch of the single tree, where it grips the branch with all fours, stooping its head down to watch the two men on horseback.

OOC:  Eidetic memory doesn't help with direction finding, as you are seeing everything from a new perspective on the way back and have to interpret the direction.  That is what absolute direction is for.  That being said, it is a fairly easy path to make your way back, and no dice roll is required.

The beast in the tree

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:24, Sat 17 Apr.

Giles 'J'naeth' Hind
 PC, 363 posts
Fri 9 Apr 2021
at 13:18
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Giles chuckled and nodded "It looks like anyone that was here has gone back to the Yrth, so I dont think we'll be seeing any more siege machines in the near future. he said as they walked.

The scene looked different, and then Giles blinked and turned his head to try and re-orientate myself, while asking Edenburg "Do things look different?" he said with an edge of caution. This was only exacerbated when Firebrand started pawing and acting in an agitated way. Instinctively, Giles reached down and uttered some words of comfort to thehorse "Shhh, it's okay girl, relax... everything will be okay", he said while not taking his eyes off the environment around him.

Then he saw it. Some kind of lizard, a large one that was flying in an unseemly way. Not like a bird, but perhaps by magic? "Look...." was all he could say to Edenburg as he appraised the creature.

He took more than a few moments, holding Firebrand and Edenburg still as he looked upon the creature. Then speaking to his companion "Lets not do anything hasty here, I don't know what it is... We can probably walk past it but lets keep everything slow and not startle it to action" he said.

Slowly, the man raised his hand in a placating manner and gestured while softly cooing "Hey there... it's okay, we're friends and we're just going to walk over here" as he slowly edged Firebrand to walk around the edge of the area, and keep distance from the creature.

This message was lightly edited by the GM at 02:15, Wed 14 Apr.

 GM, 1868 posts
Sat 17 Apr 2021
at 18:45
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Though Giles knows not what the thing in the clearing is (though the word dragon seems to ring true despite it's relatively small size), he knows well enough that he doesn't want to have to fight it if he can help it.

"Good Lord!"  Edenburg swears behind Giles, clearly unnerved by the beast.

Undeterred, Giles nudges Firebrand forward, keeping as much distance as he can between himself and the beast at the center of the clearing, while still keeping his eye on it in case the thing attacks.  Edenburg follows behind, his own horse nickering and shaking its head.

"Easy there."  Edenburg murmurs, slipping forward in his saddle to get a firmer grip on his animal with his legs.

The thing does not stay motionless, but instead, it slowly glides down to the dead forest floor around the brilliant red tree, it's eyes always on Giles as it slinks ahead, its body lowered in a prowl, forward shoulders down, back legs coiled... ready to spring.  It halts for a moment, some eight yards away, where it's eyes narrow and it lets out a low, guttural hiss.

Firebrand's shoulders tense uncomfortably and Giles has the distinct feeling that he is being hunted.

OOC:  The animal hasn't done anything overt yet, though he's closed about half the distance between you and the edge of the wood and doesn't really seem friendly.  Feel free to keep posting general intentions unless you want to preempt with combat.
Giles 'J'naeth' Hind
 PC, 365 posts
Sat 17 Apr 2021
at 21:03
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Giles didn't like the posturing of the creature, perhaps a dragon, but he couldn't be sure - at least nothing like he'd ever read in a book or been told in a story. But what did he know?

"Alright there now, don't come any closer. We're not here to harm..." he said, reaching up behind his back to unhook his shield, and with his other hand grabbing the wolf statue.

"You walk behind me... go first, I'll rear guard. Keep an eye out for any more of them" he said in short staccato commands to Edenburg.

While he uttered to his companion, Hind continued to usher Firebrand to the path he thought would lead them out, hoping upon hope that the creature was just proving to be territorial rather than aggressive and wanting to kill them. The fresh scars in his abdomen tingled with sharp stabbing sensations and the man knew in his heart that these were folly and that his life could well end in this place.

"Ah fuck..." he said to himself in resignation while catching his shield on his arm between brace and hold. How did he keep getting himself into these messes, Giles joined the army to be a soldier and yet here he was on another mission fighting some beast that would likely maul him into a thick reddish paste. He'd already acquired a scour of scars across his face, and a rather large mangling of flesh in his gut and here he was again in the thick of it. It caused Hind to feel an elevated sense of fatalism that countered his initial conclusion: being good at his job meant he got all the more interesting missions. The new sense displaced it and made him think perhaps that his path was supposed to be cut short or pushed onto something greater.

"It's a dragon, I think. he said to Edenburg, without letting his appraising eyes slip from the creature.

OOC: I was considering using some spells here - just part of his arsenal that have, as of yet, gone under utilised - but I have a supsicion that i'm in a low-mana area. Is this true?

I believe the mana level can be roughly determined by those with magic, right?

If it's normal then it's probably best to 'ignite fire' on all the dry leaves and twigs and stuff that appear to be kindling - I think it'd take light pretty quickly. If this is a normal mana area, please do that - between the Dragon and Giles/edenburg. I want it to go up fast - so if giles could determine that it wouldn't light and flare up quickly then he wont do it.

// Actions:

- Reactionary Block vs any attack
- If the dragon attacks he will release all of the magic wolves with the command to attack the dragon
- Possibly cast a spell

 GM, 1873 posts
Tue 20 Apr 2021
at 13:46
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Giles is unsure of the situation, as he is of the thing with a lizard's body and feline paws.  He pulls his shield off his back, and takes the wolf statue out of his bag... all while nudging Firebrand on towards the fastest way out.

Though the dragon edges forward, its shoulders low and eyes foreboding, the thing does not attack.  Giles, Edenburg and the horses make their way through to the path, and as soon as they can no longer keep their side to the beast, Giles nudges Firebrand forward into a canter.

"Ha!"  Edenburg drives his heels into his own horse, taking the thing into a full gallop and he quickly passes Giles as the two approach the remnants of the Wazifis old camp.

Giles spares a glance behind him, and it seems that the dragon does not continue to approach them.

"Come on!"  Edenburg shouts from up ahead, already clearing his way towards the edge of the forrest.  "What are you waiting for?"

OOC:  If you wish to leave the forrest, you can feel free to make a last post.  You have your shield strapped to your left arm, the the wolf statue in your right.  If you wish to stay, you'll have to find a way around the dragon/cat thing, as he is sort of perched in the center of the glade where all the other paths converge.  Alternatively, you can wait for the thing to move or do anything else you can think of.
Giles 'J'naeth' Hind
 PC, 366 posts
Tue 20 Apr 2021
at 17:23
Chapter 22:  Task Force
"Go ahead and wait for me..." Giles called before rotating firebrand around and facing the dragon-like creature again. His heart pounded, but he stepped a little closer, close enough that he felt he could turn and run with a reasonable chance of success. He doubted it was close enough, in reality, and his heart certainly didn't agree.

Despite the spikey feeling in his insides, Giles wanted to appraise the thing more. He'd never seen anything like it, nor had he even heard description of such things and before he left he wanted to make sure he committed everything about it to memory.

Giles readied his shield and kept himself ready for a pounce but spoke in a soothing voice "Hello... what are you now? . Replacing the figure he held out his free arm, and opened his hand, palm up.

I know 'evaluate' is a combat maneuver, but could I have an equivolent roll for out of combat? Observation perhaps?

Reactionary Block.
18:23, Today: Giles 'J'naeth' Hind rolled 10 using 3d6 with rolls of 4,4,2.  perception?

 GM, 1881 posts
Thu 29 Apr 2021
at 17:59
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Giles ushers Edenburg on as he quickly stows the wolf statue in a close at hand saddle bag.  Edenburg takes a tentative step away, though he keeps his head turned towards the beast and does not leave the glade.

Giles nudges Firebrand on softly and encouragingly just a little ways towards the thing.  He attempts to size the thing up, memorize every detail while he opens his hand, palm up in a peaceful gesture.

It does not seem that the thing takes it to be such.

The thing growls and launches itself forward at full speed!  The cat paws land silently on the barren dirt, claws extending as it hurls itself forward to strike!

Firebrand snorts with nervous energy, though he holds his ground...

OOC:  You have 2 turns of evaluating the creature for a +2 on your next action.  Your shield is still readied on your left arm and your right arm is empty.  You have one more second before the thing is upon you (think of it as one free action before you need to make a defense).  Let's just do one second of combat to start off with.  If you wish to make an attack, roll vs. riding (at -1 for only having one hand on the reins.  If you use block as a defense, you'll have to drop the reins and all riding rolls will be at -3).
Giles 'J'naeth' Hind
 PC, 368 posts
Fri 30 Apr 2021
at 11:02
Chapter 22:  Task Force
The gambit failed and the creature attacked. Giles felt his insides swell and the familiar rush of sensation to his body that indicated his life was in danger. If he wasn't seasoned, he knew that his awareness of surroundings would diminish to nothing as all focus lensed into the oncoming assailant.

"More claws..." he thought sardonically in the split second before he knew the inexorable clash of bodies.

Without telegraphing his readiness, Giles tensed and braced for the impact deceptively reaching for his weapon while feigning surprise. Secrently, he hope this gambit would pay off and reflected how often he seemed to be fighting at a disadvantage; most often caused by his own poor decision making.

But he was ready, and as the creature came to leap at him he was ready to smash it right in the face as it lept. When it took off from the floor, he kicked Firebrand hard to make him go at full acceleration then aimed the boss of his shield centre-mass to slam it as hard as he could.

Spells out the window, he'd never achieved enough level of mastery to make them viable in a moment-to-moment life and death situation. He'd rely this time on wood and steel.

OOC: presumably evaluating would also work for casting a lightning strike?

I was going to cast my spell actually but figured it'd just waste the evaluate.
Also, does drawing a weapon cancel the evaluate? If so then just imagine I'll

// if cancelled:
Evaluate +1
Wait action for it to leap then shield bash into the creature - I will also kick firebrand into action to get the additional speed and ST
This should give me 18 skill, and I'll take a -2 deceptive attack to enhance the likelihood of striking successfully.

11:57, Today: Giles 'J'naeth' Hind rolled 8 using 3d6 with rolls of 3,4,1.  Shield bash (18) (deceptive -2/-1.

I rolle dfor shield bash, but i think it's actually a Slam i mean.
I Think the calculation is:

ST x (velocity/100) +2 for the shield? =  ???
if your attack delivers thrusting damage, you may substitute slam damage (HP velocity/100), if
that would be better. For instance, a centaur with ST 18, HP
18, and Move 12 thrusts for 1d+2 but slams for 2d, so her Move
and Attack with a spear (thr+3 imp) would inflict 2d+3 imp.

If it delivers more damage, then I can use that - but I don't know the ST or speed of firebrand.

 GM, 1890 posts
Sat 8 May 2021
at 15:02
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Giles spurs Firebrand forward, putting his shield up in a ready position to fend off any blows if the dragon attacked.

And attack it does.  The thing churns the ground with its cat like paws, then launches itself into the air to meet Giles's strike.  The soldier leans forward, readying himself for the impact as the thing bears its claws mid-leap.


With the full force of his charging steed, the two collide, though Giles's braced position makes all the difference.  The dragon hits the shield square with its torso and neck, smashing the aegis back into Giles's shoulder as it creaks with the strain.  The shield does its job however, redirecting the force of the blow away before it rolls slightly to the left.  The beast seems to roll with it, sliding and wriggling haphazardly as it staggers and falls away to the side.

"Giles!"  Edenburg shouts, and Giles can hear the other horse charging forward even as he struggles to slow and turn his own steed to rejoin the battle.

The battle, however short as it was, now seems over though.  It takes the beast a moment to regain its feet, but it does not delay, giving neither Giles nor Edenburg a chance to close the distance before it launches itself into the sky in the shortest direction towards the trees...

OOC:  Wow.  That was decisive.  It took me a moment to parse through all the rules on mounted combat, and work my way mentally through the reasonability of doing a shield bash, though I think everything makes enough sense to carry on with.  You managed to max out damage while the dragon rolled the minimum, leaving you completely uninjured.

As for your questions on evaluate, I think you are right looking at the rules.  You only get it on your next action, so even drawing a sword (so long as it isn't fast-drawn) would eliminate the accumulated bonus.  Magic does not gain bonus from evaluate as it isn't a combat action in the same sense.

Also note that any attack while mounted has a maximum level of your riding skill, so your shield bash was rolling against a 12 (with the +2 from evaluate) rather than your normal skill of 16.  Not that it makes a difference in the outcome, but it might in affect future combat decisions.

You can attempt to chase/follow the dragon if you wish or anything else you can think of.

Giles 'J'naeth' Hind
 PC, 369 posts
Thu 27 May 2021
at 13:39
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Giles smashed the creature as it dived at him and inwardly sighed relief when he saw it collapse to the floor before running off. He felt a weight lifted off him, viscerally feeling the sensation of being predated lift from his shoulders in a physical way. The dull ache in his stomach seemed to lift too. Though he could still feel the pounding of his heart in his chest while it slowly ebbed down to something normal again.

At Edenburg's exclamation Giles raised an eyebrow, and smiled a wry grin.  "It's not going to try that again for a while, at least..." he said with sardonic humour.

Giles looked around and admired the small wooded area again. "Interesting that a magical creature like this makes a home here... we'll have to make note of this on a map and perhaps conduct further investigation when there's more time.

He took a moment, a deep breath and turned to Edenburg before kicking his feet. "Let's go, I dont think anything is here that can provide us more information. We've found what we were looking for and maybe it was this dragon-ette that killed the logging party.

"Before we go, though let me try something"
, while Firebrand walked Giles closed his eyes and concentrated letting his fingers dance along the strings of magic he could feel in the air. Hoping that the effects of magic within the treeline were not diminshed like the rest of Caithness...

He searched for smithed steel. Hoping he might be able to identify any people in the nearby area who carried rings, swords, knifes or any other form of worked iron.

14:38, Today: Giles 'J'naeth' Hind rolled 14 using 3d6 with rolls of 6,2,6.  magtic.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:40, Thu 27 May.

 GM, 1914 posts
Sat 5 Jun 2021
at 13:45
Chapter 22:  Task Force
As the dragon thing flees back to the woods, Giles does not even entertain a thought of pursuit.  It strikes him as odd, however, that in this low mana world that a magical creature such as that could be living...

"Holy shit!"  Edenburg finally catches up to Giles as the thing disappears between the trees.

Giles felt that he had only scratched the surface of his magical training at the Templar College - he had only been there one year before being forced out and into the army.  Even the stories that Judoc had brought back from the college after just another year of teaching, of Brother Loke and demons, had made it clear there were depths to magic that seemed unfathomable to him now.

Perhaps he should attend to those deficiencies in his training...

Before leaving, Giles attempts a spell to find steel... perhaps to find any other groups.  But the spell fails on his fingers, yet another reminder of the holes in his magical training.

"Come on Sir."  Edenburg turns his horse around yet again, heading for the place where the entered the wood.  "We're not going to find anything else here.  Those Wazifis are gone, which is good news at least.  Good enough for Brashear anyway."

OOC:  Feel free to write an exit post for the thread.
Giles 'J'naeth' Hind
 PC, 370 posts
Sun 13 Jun 2021
at 09:24
Chapter 22:  Task Force
The way back was quieter and felt longer because the destination, while familiar, proved to be an unknown in Giles's life. What was he to do upon return? Spending more time in the fort didn't seem unpleasant but it certainly was at odds with the itch he felt in his gut.  It became stronger as they both appraoched Raphael's lands and time seemed to go more slowly while they stepped ever closer to his home of the past few years.

Giles had considered asking Edenburg to tell Brashear that he'd died on the trip, and just wander off to seek his own fortune but the man had never been able to just walk away from things, or the people in his life. The consideration was fully quenched when he envisaged his mother's face receiving news of her son's untimely demise. He chuckled at the thought, and then the idea that he'd never do better than his siblings or indeed his own father. In that moment he realised that the core of many of his decisions and ambition came from the drive to show them what he could truly become.

The fort was in its usual state, and he nodded to passing soldiers on the way to  Brashear's office. Providing the full report about the trees, bodies, events and the dragon he made sure to emphasise Edenburg's role in the mission and make note of the fact that it was at leat the third of fourth critical mission he'd successfully been involved with.

"One last thing before I go, Captain if you will spare a moment.

I would like to continue studies and education of magic, and so I will be writing to the Magic academy to see if they would accept me as an apprentice wizard and perhaps assign me a Master wizard to train under.

I would expect that given my current experience within the military, and should my application be accepted, they may assign me to an operating wizard who would train me while deployed to various missions rather than another sting at the academy proper. I know that I was previously expelled, but perhaps with a recommendation from a noteworthy and vastly accomplished captain it may be possible to waiver my previous transgressions.

He spoken his ideas to Breashear hoping he could convince the man to provide a recommendation or at least, some kind of sponsorship to re-instatement as a wizard.  Giles wasn't particularly interested in being bound to the rules of the organisations controlling magic, but it would allow him to see more of the world and help him develop one of the truly underused abilities that he possessed.

The future held something for him, of that he was sure. Giles stood atop of the ramparts of the fort looking South to the plains of Wazif and letting his mind fathom the world with the wanderlust he felt within.


Naturally, if there is a better way of doing this, that Brashear might know about, Giles would certainly consider it - he'd rather have someone to help him that wasn't compelled by the politicking of Megalos.

Free to roam, but bound by duty is slightly a better deal for him than
Locked to the fort and bound by duty.

 GM, 1929 posts
Fri 2 Jul 2021
at 14:53
Chapter 22:  Task Force
Giles looked down on Brashear at his desk.  He had given him his report on the Wazifi camp, the fallen trees, the tools, and the bodies, all withering to nothing.  He had told him of their cursory search of the surrounding area, of the eerie tree and the odd dragon and he had told him of their decision to leave the grove rather than investigating too far.  Brashear had taken it all in stride, pleasantly surprised even when Giles had told him about the abandoned camp.  Giles had thought he has set the stage rather well for his request.

Of course he had hoped that Brashear might have taken it rather better.

Brashear has slumped his head into his hands for the moment, hiding his expression from Giles.  It was for this reason in particular that Giles had considered just wandering into the wilderness and leaving Edenburg to return with a story of his death.  It would be simpler... a cleaner cut.  Of course, that would require Edenburg to be more honor bound to Giles than he was to his service... a tricky and unpredictable variable for sure.  Yet Giles had decided that he was better off approaching the problem straight on, rather than slinking off and potentially earning the title of deserter.

"I can't lose you."  Brashear finally says, lifting his shaking head.  "I'll be honest Giles, I thought when you showed up that you would be a spoiled kid who'd fall on his face as a Sergeant.  But you've been more valuable than I could have possibly predicted.  I simply can't lose another officer.  Especially not now.  Not with the Duke standing up a damn town on our doorstep with the threat of war looming at all moments...  There's too much going on.  But... maybe there's another way where we both get where we want."  Brashear pauses, his eyes unfocused for the moment.

"I'm not sure if you'll like this, but it may get you what you want...  Just give me some time and we'll get you trained up.  And maybe you'll be able to serve in a very important capacity..."

To be continued...