Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont.   Posted by GameMaster.Group: 0
Byron Marchant
 player, 65 posts
Tue 21 Mar 2017
at 15:50
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Byron looked down at the man.  How had he come to this?  The young noble generally had little sympathy for those convicted of the crimes this Phule had committed, but arcanic compulsion changed the calculus.  How responsible was he really?  Byron was determined to find out.  About that and a great many other things.

"Agreed."  Byron nodded.  "If you are completely truthful with me, I'll make sure you're not cast into the wilderness wounded and without a chance."  He paused, thinking.  "And depending on what is actually going on here, it's entirely possible that I will provide you with an escort out of town.  But be warned, I will have a seer present.  He will know if you lie.  And if you lie, that terminates our agreement."

With that, Byron turned and proffered an outstretched hand to Sergeant Walsh.  "Scourge please, Sergeant."  Once in possession of the implement, he walked around to the other side of the stocks and Druthers' naked back.

"Crimes such as these are not acceptable in Greteland, no matter how one is compelled to perform them," Byron intoned, trying to inform both the audience and his companions that this man was not entirely responsible for the crimes of which he'd been convicted.  The young lancer then set to delivering the pronounced punishment.

Sometimes, Duke Rikard Marchant had informed his sons, there would occasions where a noble needed to mete out a lashing because the law demanded it be done, even if he personally believed there to be extenuating circumstances.  In such a situation, he taught them, it was possible to give a lashing that minimized the pain and damage as much as possible.  It would never be comfortable for the recipient, of course.  But it would be a far sight better than what they'd experience if lashed for real.

Turn you wrist like so.  Keep the elbow bent.  Make it look as if you are reaching back, but in actuality the scourge will travel less distance and slower, even though the blow will look impressive.  Byron concentrated on the technique while delivering the ten lashes.  He had never enjoyed this, even for people who truly deserved it.

Once he had finished, he turned back to the assembled crowd.  "The sentence has been performed."  He handed the scourge back to Sergeant Walsh.  "Thank you, Sergeant.  I would now like to question this man.  It is possible he might have information relating to my Quest."

This message was last edited by the player at 18:27, Tue 21 Mar 2017.

GameMaster
 GM, 76 posts
Tue 21 Mar 2017
at 16:22
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Sergeant Walsh takes the whip back in hand. When Byron states his desire to question the man, the sergeant inclines his head in assent. "Fine by me. I will return at sunrise to open the lock and let him out of the stocks." So saying, the sergeant mounts again, and he and his two fellow guardsmen trot across the plaza, turning onto Four Points Way. The sounds of their hoof beats gradually diminishes, and the crowd that has gathered at the spectacle begins to disperse.
Byron Marchant
 player, 66 posts
Tue 21 Mar 2017
at 16:51
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Byron walked over to where Aesop was seeing to Soot.  He knew his friend was no fan of public punishments of this sort.  "Sorry about that, mici."  He apologized.  "But I think we have an opportunity here.  This Druthers received light punishment because he was under some sort of arcanic compulsion."  Byron emphasized the words.  "And he was involved with kidnapping and slavery.  I think his activities may connect with Thalia's abduction.  At least, I think it's worth talking to him about."

"I made a deal with him.  I went easy on the lashing and I'll have him seen to by a physicker once he's out of the stocks.  In return, he agreed to tell me anything he knows.  But I need your help with it, mici."  Byron smiled encouragingly.  "We both know you can ferret out a lie a mile away."

*Physicker - The Gretelander name for a person trained in the mundane healing arts.
Aesop Donnohue
 player, 21 posts
Wed 22 Mar 2017
at 02:08
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Yes I can," Aesop said without turning around. He tried to sound pithy, but some self satisfaction crept into his tone. When he turned to face Byron his apparent annoyance seemed to have subsided. "It was probably a good idea. There must be a correlation between whoever sent him and what's happened to Thalia. The timing's too good. Well, not good..."

He trailed off, muttering some kind of flustered correction under his breath. "Anyway, I'd like to do some divining, see if there's any clues as to if she's even still alive or not. The letter doesn't really speak to her condition. Didn't think I should say so in front of Merri though."
Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 22 posts
Wed 22 Mar 2017
at 02:47
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Ulic shook his head at Dongren's description of the device, his eyes still following the rise and fall of the Scourge as Phule's punishment was delivered.

"This item you describe, this I do not know.  We have no such lights in the Khorne save fire.  But perhaps Byron or Aesop know where such may be found."  He nodded toward Byron as the knight completed his difficult task.

"Let us find out," he motioned Dongren to accompany him, bringing him to his companions.

"Well done," Ulic complimented Byron before motioning to his new acquaintance, "This is Dongren of the Hinterlands.  He seeks an item of the Ancients, a...mica...fuz."  Frowning, the Dorn motioned to the man, "He can explain."
Dogren Urst
 NPC, 3 posts
Thu 23 Mar 2017
at 01:29
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Dogren pivots at the waist, giving a slight bow. "Hello. I was just telling my fellow outlander of my travels. I'm seeking an Ancient power source. My phandos gave me to believe that some can still be found in western Greteland."
Byron Marchant
 player, 73 posts
Thu 23 Mar 2017
at 02:13
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Well met, Dogren."  Byron gave the swarthy man his own bow.  "Ancient power sources?"  He smiled.  "I could use one of those myself.  But they're rare.  Western Greteland, you say?"  The young noble shrugged doubtfully.  "That's more than I know.  From what I understand they're found in ancient ruins."  He raised an eyebrow.  "Not necessarily places you want to venture alone."

"Please excuse me."  He gave another correct bow.  "It was a pleasure meeting you."  Byron shot Aesop a look, cocked his head toward the stocks, then headed over towards Phule Druthers.

"Hello, Mister Druthers."  Byron said.  "I'd like to talk to you about the activities for which you were sentenced."  He pulled out the charging document.  "It says here that you were consorting with slavers, and involved in kidnapping."  He re-folded the paper and put it back in his pocket.  "I'd like to know everything you can tell me about that.  Who were these slavers?  Where did they operate?  Were your kidnappings related to them?  Who did you kidnap, and did you ask for a ransom?  If so, how was that ransom delivered?"  He gave the restrained man a measured look.  "That sort of thing."
Aesop Donnohue
 player, 25 posts
Thu 23 Mar 2017
at 03:18
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Aesop canted his head toward Dogren while he and Byron talked. He'd heard him explain the microfuzzion cell to Ulic, but didn't know enough to comment on. From what he understood, such energy sources were valuable, if only to be stripped for parts. Dogren might be hard pressed to find one.

When the young knight headed off, Aesop gave Dogren one last lingering look then followed suit without so much as a good-bye, though he did flash Ulic a terse smile. He stopped beside Byron, taking in Phule. He smelled like blood and sweat. Aesop thought he may be anxious. He better be, if he was being ejected into the wilderness tomorrow. He'd be awfully stupid to be anything but in his current predicament.

He listened while Byron rattled off questions, tilting his head here and there as if listening to something more far off. There was something funny and jerky about the movements, almost insect like. To strangers, a lot of the seer's mannerisms seemed unnerving, and his typically quiet demeanor did nothing to dissuade those feelings. Right now, most of the arguably unsettling attention seemed focused on Phule.
GameMaster
 GM, 84 posts
Thu 23 Mar 2017
at 11:40
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Byron can use Charm+Graces, as Phule knows his fate depends upon the noble's good graces. Aesop can use Sense+Empathy to interpret the man's tone, inflection, pauses, omissions, etc. Ulic might be able to use intimidation (if he put a point in Intimidate). Give me your roll results and I'll convert those into what Phule reveals. Note to Byron: because Phule knows he damn well better give you something useful, any three consecutive dice (1,2,3) or (6,7,8), etc., count as a Minimal Success.
GameMaster
 GM, 87 posts
Thu 23 Mar 2017
at 16:28
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Phule's face is screwed up in discomfort from his awkward position in the stocks, and from the pain in his back. "I don't know why I'm accused of cavorting (he obviously means consorting) with slavers. A week ago a man dressed in the white robes of a priest comes to my door and explains his temple is currently stretched to their maximum capacity in caring for the sick and hungry. Wanted to know could I look after this young woman. Said she's not right in the head, thinks she's kidnapped, keeps trying to run away from the temple and not take her medicine. Would I please keep her until they get room for her at their temple?" He coughs. Sweat drips from his forehead, though the temperature is cool, if sunny.

"Well, I didn't know how to say 'no'. I mean, the poor little thing was di—. Was dis—. She was crying. Pretty little outlander woman. I took her in, but I told the priest it could only be for a couple days. I don't have enough food to spare fer longer than that. I made her take her medicine. Had to keep her locked in a room, though, after she got away from me once and I had to chase her down..."

Phule cocks his head sideways, the closest he can come to emulating a shrug. "Turned out to be some romance 'tween us. I didn't want her to leave three days later when a different priest comes knocking. But he punched me in the face. When I came to, she was gone. Then, that afternoon, Bam! There's six guardsmen bustin' open my door. Hog-tied me and hauled me off to the castle. Left me to rot in the dungeon for two days, starvin' and bein' et by rats.

"Archon interrogates me. Left me with a bustin' headache. I can't even remember what I said to her. Back in the dungeon I go, overnight, and then these three guards haul me out, and I'm blinkin' and cryin' cause of the light, and they drag me by a rope tied to their horses down here to the stocks. And you know the rest..."
Aesop Donnohue
 player, 27 posts
Thu 23 Mar 2017
at 22:16
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Aesop looked impartial during Phule's recount. Internally, he was already starting to dislike this slimy man who dotted his story with truths.

"Lie to yourself if you like," Aesop said flatly. "But please don't embarrass yourself by lying to me. Let's not insult her by calling whatever happened romance."

A bit of venom crept into his tone. He took a breath, recomposing the mask of indifference, then spoke to Byron. "There were two priests. That part is true, or at least he believes it to be. And yes, the woman was an outlander. You said his papers mentioned 'arcanic compulsion?'"

He wondered how this ended up with Phule being interrogated by the Archon herself. And what exactly the girl needed "medicine" for.
Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 26 posts
Thu 23 Mar 2017
at 22:36
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Ulic's eyes narrowed as he overheard Aesop's...clarifications...of Phule's description.

"Why do you offer calm words to a scatcur such as this," he demanded of Byron.  "Only say the word and he will never walk from this stockade."

The Dorn slid his stone ax smoothly from its sling, looking to the knight for his consent.
Byron Marchant
 player, 77 posts
Thu 23 Mar 2017
at 22:51
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Yes, arcanic compulsion."  Byron reaffirmed quietly.  "But at this point I'm thinking it was something the Archon discovered while probing him, rather than something he divulged himself."

"Not right now, Ulic," Byron shook his head slightly as the clansman hefted his axe, leaving the threat hanging.  The young noble never took his eyes from the convict.  What is his story?  Phule had given them a small part of the tale, but there was a lot more to know.  And probably quite a bit he had intentionally withheld.

"Look, Druthers," Byron sighed, slapping the back of his mailed right hand into his left.  "You've already been sentenced for your crimes.  We're not here to try you again.  We're here to get the truth, so that we might be able to stop this sort of thing from happening again."  He paused, looking at the man meaningfully.  "We're leaving town tomorrow, and there's a chance you can accompany us for a while, for your own safety.  But that's not happening unless you're more forthcoming than you have been.  You're not protecting yourself by lying to us.  You protect yourself by telling the truth."

Byron shook his head again.  "I have a seer, remember?"  He cocked his head towards Aesop.  "He's good at what he does."  Byron leaned down closer to the criminal.  "And he knows when you lie," the lancer snarled in a low voice.

"So, let's start again," Byron straightened up, his voice returning to its normal pleasant baritone.  "Why don't you tell us more about these priests?  Priests of whom?  From which temple?  And why did they choose you to keep this woman?  Surely they did not pick your door at random.  What is your connection to them?"

This message was last edited by the player at 22:52, Thu 23 Mar 2017.

GameMaster
 GM, 89 posts
Fri 24 Mar 2017
at 01:00
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"I— I've told you what I know. I don't know who the priests were. They wore white robes and a carved symbol. I... I could draw it. I don't know what it's called. The l— la— *GULP* last time it was Aleuists—"

He sees Byron's look, hears Aesop's intake of breath, sees the outlander's hand tighten on his stone axe. "Yeah. Yeah, yeah, it's happened ... I mean, I've helped do charity work a few times. You know how the religious types are, always trying to pick up a new convert by feeding someone, helping to relocate a family, and so forth! So, yeah, maybe six months ago, I kept two young boys, two Krelgs. I'd say they were maybe ten and twelve years old. Wild urchins. They screamed and cried so much I had to put them in the cell— I couldn't calm them. I fed them, kept them for four days. The Aleuists sent two big burly fellas to collect them, said they were relocating them to an orphanage in Bluefalls..."

He sees the body language of his audience, tries to come up with more. "Uh, the latest one, the woman. She was an outlander. Her name, ugh...she said her name was Hestil, or maybe Hunspell — something like that. Said she'd been captured by an enemy tribe, then traded to a traveling caravan in exchange for supplies, medicines, a few weeks ago. Best I understood it, the caravan gave her into the care of priests when they passed through the city maybe two weeks ago."
Aesop Donnohue
 player, 30 posts
Fri 24 Mar 2017
at 16:04
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Good job," Aesop dryly congratulated Phule. He looked between his companions. "He's telling the truth. Though he's trying  to make it sound prettier than it is." He dropped his voice to a stage whisper. "It's not working."

Charity work seemed like a thin code word. This man didn't strike him as the charitable sort, obviously. Any self-respecting foster would care for their wards, and the mention of the two Krelg boys had their mistreatment hanging over it, though Phule tried to leave it unspoken. Aesop was not looking forward to accompanying this man tomorrow.

He looked at Ulic, tying to gauge the man. Both he and the captured woman were outlanders, maybe there was more to the caravan than the girl told Phule. "Do you know of any traffickers with connections to tribes?"
Byron Marchant
 player, 82 posts
Fri 24 Mar 2017
at 17:21
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"The truth, eh?"  Byron crossed his arms in displeasure, still not taking his eyes off Druthers.  The man's answers were disappointing; Byron had hoped that the convict might have some information about the group demanding a ransom drop for Thulia at Soleman's Well.  As it was, it sounded like Phule was caught up with people inside the city.  Why would people operating in Valrigont demand a ransom drop so far away?  Wouldn't make much sense, to Byron's way of thinking.

Byron had no doubt that the Archon was already on top of the investigation into the priests.  He wasn't too surprised that Aleuists were involved.  With their belief that the entire universe was just some sort of machine, they didn't necessarily have much in the way of morals.

"Any idea where this caravan was going?"  It was a thread.  A thin one, but a thread.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:22, Fri 24 Mar 2017.

GameMaster
 GM, 95 posts
Fri 24 Mar 2017
at 17:35
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Phule's expression takes on a mixture of fear, despair, and anger. "I'm doing the best I can, given that I haven't eaten anything in three days and haven't slept much, and every muscle in my body is aching. I think Huspil said the caravan that turned her over to the priests was bound for Bluefalls."

He cuts his eyes to Aesop. "I don't give a murode's ass what you think you know about me, Mutie! My agreement is with the noble, not you, Eyeless," he spits.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:37, Fri 24 Mar 2017.

Byron Marchant
 player, 83 posts
Fri 24 Mar 2017
at 17:52
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Be nice, Druthers."  Byron shook his head.  Bluefalls.  That didn't help much.  Bluefalls was south and east, mostly south.  The Well was south and west, mostly west.

Byron reconsidered his earlier conclusion.  Would a group operating inside the city have a ransom drop a half-day's ride away?  Seemed like a lot of risk, but then again maybe they felt it shielded them from the Archon's prying eyes.

A topic for later discussion.  For now, he needed to get his friends away from Phule Druthers before things deteriorated any further.

"We'll be back tomorrow," he assured Druthers.  "I'm a man of my word.  I'll make sure you're treated before you're released."

He motioned to Ulic and Aesop, moving out of the convict's earshot.  "Anything else you can think of that we need to ask him?  I was hoping he'd know something about Thalia's adbuctors, but it doesn't sound like he does.  Still," he shot a glance back toward the man, "maybe our next step after rescuing Thalia should be visiting Bluefalls.  A slaving caravan sounds like bad news."
GameMaster
 GM, 97 posts
Fri 24 Mar 2017
at 18:43
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
As Byron draws his companions aside and speaks to them just beyond Phule's hearing, a faint whirring sound impinges on your consciousness. With the passage of several seconds, it grows louder, and a tiny speck in the sky draws closer, then slows and begins descending. When it is about twenty feet above you, there is a sound — *SNICKT* — and a small rubber-stoppered metal tube drops to the plaza cobblestones near where you are standing. The whirring device immediately climbs, and is soon no more than a speck against the clouds, then gone.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:44, Fri 24 Mar 2017.

Byron Marchant
 player, 85 posts
Fri 24 Mar 2017
at 19:05
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Byron couldn't help but feel a nostalgic tug of childlike wonder as the flying machine dropped its message tube.  He had spent hours inspecting his father's machine trying to figure out how it worked.  He still felt the pull of curiosity every time he saw one, but at this point had resigned himself to agreeing with his father; the secrets of the Ancients were simply inscrutable.

The young lancer figured that--whoever had sent the message--it was probably for him.  "Excuse me for a second, gentlemen," he asked his companions.  He walked over to the tube, picked it up, and (after watching the machine disappear in the distance) unstoppered it to see what message it might contain.
Aesop Donnohue
 player, 33 posts
Fri 24 Mar 2017
at 20:07
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
It really spoke to how high the Midari was on the social ladder for the criminal in stocks to be comfortably talking down to him. Unfortunately he was used to it. Talking back would usually make things worse, so his ingrained reaction was to hush up and not show any tells. Aesop looked on with a placid sort of acceptance until Byron ushered him away. Phule was right, it didn't matter what conclusions the seer came to. It wasn't Aesop that had to live with it.

He shook his head to Byron. "It's definitely bad news. But no, nothing I can think to ask, mici," he said. "Well, nothing that's worth engaging him again that is."

He stiffened when he heard the whirring overhead. He looked startled, bordering on scared, unable to place what could be causing the strange buzzing sound. He heard the tube drop, which clued him in to its purpose. Still, he upturned his face to the sky while it left, vaguely confused.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:15, Sat 25 Mar 2017.

Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 30 posts
Sat 25 Mar 2017
at 02:39
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
The clansman looked to Dogren as Byron walked away to review the missive, then slowly reached forward and took hold of the prisoner's hair in an iron-like grasp.  Slowly he tilted the Phule's head back, likely to a painful angle as he stands in the stocks, until his sight rose to meet the Dorn's cold, dead gaze.

"This woman," Ulic spoke slowly, almost too calmly, as he slid a sharpened dewbuck horn from its pouch and pressed one point against Phule's vulnerable throat, "was her name Hushpel?  Tell me the color of her hair.  Tell me of any markings along on her cheek and neck or long scars along her left arm."

A small drop of blood welled from its owner's broken skin, "And do not speak false, whether from lack of meal or rest.  No physicker possesses the skill to save your life should my blademate see any hint of falsehood."
GameMaster
 GM, 101 posts
Sat 25 Mar 2017
at 03:14
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Phule's voice shows the physical and emotional strain he is under. He clearly sees his death in the outlander's eyes. "I can't be sure of her name, but it definitely started with 'H'. Hunspell, Hesbril, Huspil, Hapshel — something like that, yes. She had a tattoo of a fox on her neck, and two small horizontal scars on the bridge of her nose." His voice breaks on the last word as he sees the look in the barbarian's eyes.

Ulic, at your convenience, PM or redline me definitions for blademate and dewbuck.
Byron Marchant
 player, 87 posts
Sat 25 Mar 2017
at 06:20
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
As he finished reading the message, Byron folded it up and placed it carefully into a belt pouch.  Letters from home were rare, and he wanted a chance to go back over this one when he had the time.  He was a little concerned about the castle's flickering bubble, but it sounded like his elder brother was on the . . .

"Ulic!"  He said in astonishment, suddenly seeing the clansman with some sort of weapon at Druthers' throat.  He didn't even want to think about what would happen if his new companion got carried away.  The Archon did not look kindly on the killing of restrained prisoners.  Omnipotence, Byron didn't approve of it!

"Please take the weapon away from the prisoner, my friend."  The young lancer approached Ulic with his hands out, fingers spread.  He glanced around to see if any guards were in the vicinity.  "I promised him he would go unharmed if he cooperated.  Don't make me a liar."

*Omnipotence is a very light expletive intended to emphasize the emotion behind a statement.

This message was last edited by the player at 06:21, Sat 25 Mar 2017.

GameMaster
 GM, 105 posts
Sat 25 Mar 2017
at 14:04
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Please continue posting in the Chapter Two thread.

XP has been awarded for Chapter 1 (Mar 09 to Mar 24th, 2017).

Party award for agreeing to help Merri: 1 XP to each PC.
Byron executes the distasteful duty of punishing a miscreant: 1 XP to Byron
Aesop's talent is instrumental in getting some facts from Phule: 1 XP to Aesop.
Ulic doesn't slay Phule, though Phule may have raped his sister: 1 XP to Ulic
Party award for making IC posts: 1 XP to each PC.
Party award for superb characterization on the IC thread: 1 XP to each PC.

So, that's a total of 4 XP each for Ulic, Aesop, and Byron.

Your XP Reserve and Lifetime XP Earned have been updated:

http://kyrathasoft.com/blog/ku.../kurphath-xp-sep-log


This award summary is recorded here.

Congratulations on an excellent beginning, gentlemen (Todd, Mike, Andy) and lady (Brianna)!

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:07, Sat 25 Mar 2017.