Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont.   Posted by GameMaster.Group: 0
GameMaster
 GM, 46 posts
Fri 10 Mar 2017
at 01:29
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Let the



begin!





It is Saturday, March 3rd, 4632 CE — a brisk but sunny day that hints of Spring fast approaching. A leaf ends its long journey from the Grimwood, descending past the eaves of The Carriage House. It alights on a cobblestone a moment before Iskruas' shoed hoof stamps upon it as the sleek beast carries Byron Marchant to the corral on the eastern side of the inn. There are some dozen other horses there, sedately chewing oats or hay, an occasional ear flicking or tail swishing. The young noble gives his steed a quick rub-down, then heads for the entrance to the inn. As he enters, he is embraced by delicious aromas and a background drone of many conversations. The place is busy, but after a moment he spies his boyhood friend, Aesop Donnahue, and heads toward his table, hoping that the Midari has found someone to accompany them on the first leg of his knight-errant journey.

At the bar, a hugely muscled man nurses his third ale of the morning and ensures that the buxom barmaid is given plenty of leering attention.

The smell of frying ham is poignant. A server walks by palming a large tray laden with biscuits and a bowl of steaming gravy. He heads straight for Aesop's table, and the Midari turns his head fractionally, one eyebrow slightly arching as he detects Approaching Culinary Delight.

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:49, Fri 10 Mar 2017.

Byron Marchant
 player, 29 posts
Fri 10 Mar 2017
at 02:14
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Byron collapsed into the chair across from his friend.  "Aesop!" He enunciated the Midari's name, grinning.  "Here I've been making our final preparations, and I find you lolling about in the Carriage House!"  The young knight pointed to the red Sleeve of Service attached to his right pauldron.  "What do you think?"

The Sleeve was a long-standing noble tradition in Greteland.  It announced that the wearer was on his Errantry Quest, a period when noble-born children traveled abroad and applied their skills to helping the common folk.  Any commoner with a problem could approach someone wearing a sleeve and ask for help, although the wearer was under no particular compulsion to render the requested assistance.  Still, custom and culture made outright refusals rare, unless the commoner was asking for help with something outside of the wearer's expertise.

The various sleeves indicated in what areas a particular wearer was qualified to help.  Red indicated a proficiency in combat.  Blue showed a willingness to mediate or decide disputes.  Green dealt with agriculture and foodstuffs, Gray with buildings and engineering.  White designated a wearer educated in the law, yellow one who was knowledgeable about investment, money, and finance.

Byron wore a sleeve of red with a wide blue stripe, indicating his proficiency in combat and willingness to resolve disputes.

A few noble children viewed the Errantry Quest as a tedious hassle.  Not Byron.  He'd been looking forward to it for years.

"So," he signaled Merri, the Carriage House's cute (and well-endowed) serving lass, that he wished a beverage.  "Our Quest begins!  Have you found anyone to join us?"

This message was last edited by the player at 02:16, Fri 10 Mar 2017.

Aesop Donnohue
 player, 6 posts
Fri 10 Mar 2017
at 04:01
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Aesop was waiting for his food, lounging with an at ease laziness usually reserved for cats sunning themselves. Since he was in public he was wearing his mask. It was ornate and silver in colour, lacking eye holes and left only his mouth visible. It drew less negative attention than his actual face. When he heard Byron take a seat he smiled, the aloof demeanour thoroughly cracked. "This is my final preparation," he claimed.

Admittedly it wasn't thoughts of readying for the journey that drew him inside. Mostly that was due to smelling the ham from the street. But good food was important for starting adventures, commemorating anniversaries, comfort after a day of fortune telling ended up being a bust... Okay, there weren't many things that Aesop couldn't find a reason to link to eating.

When asked what he thought, Aesop inclined his head quizzically. "You're pointing." It sounded more like a statement than a question despite the curious look. "Oh! The Sleeve! I was going to ask if you did something with your hair. Red and blue?"

He nodded in approval. Maybe he had guessed the colours simply by knowing Byron as long as he had. Aesop's expression dropped sheepishly at the next question. He was excited, and honestly honored, that Byron wanted him to come along, but looking for help had fallen to the wayside in the pursuit of clients and goofing off in restaurants.

"I've been keeping an eye out," he said vaguely. "No one's struck me as particularly skilled yet."

He paused, finger freezing mid-tap on the table. "Though there's a big man at the bar. Not many like him in the city. Know what I mean? I feel he's either here to relax, ogle the barmaid, or he's hoping this is the sort of place where he'll find... employment."

This message was last edited by the player at 04:03, Fri 10 Mar 2017.

Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 7 posts
Fri 10 Mar 2017
at 04:14
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
The mountain-bred Dorn drew from his mug again, contemplating his path.  It had been a moon's-turn since he had separated from his clansmen on the banks of the Khorne, scattering in search of any sign of the raiders which had carried over a score of their people away.  Slavers.  The word left a bitter taste on the tongue which the flat-lander ale, smoother than the fermented goats-milk Hemshal made, could not wash away.

The tribes of the Khorne peaks were no strangers to raiding and did so often among themselves once the icy grip of Winter eased.  But captives were not prisoners, not bound and shackled, beaten and sold.  Each was integrated into their new clan, free and equal.  Ulic's own father was once Twin Skys Lake tribe before capture during a late Fall attack by Iceweire village brought him to the higher elevation and the eye of Ulic's mother Bal.  After a year he was Iceweire and the tribe was stronger for it.  But never a slave, never property.

Yet for the son of Jygor the signs of his quarry had grown cold quickly.  It amazed him that the slavers could travel with such speed that he and his clansmen had never been able to catch sight of them though they had returned only days after the attack and set out almost immediately in pursuit.  The signs of the brigands' passage had been clear until they reached the flat-lands and merged into the roads and waterways used by others.  Days had turned into weeks without result.

And so Ulic of the Iceweire had journeyed into where the land that was always tilted wrong, where one could not see more than a few miles in any directions, where the air was thick and hot, and the women such as the barmaid here were soft as a newborn crag lynx and surely could not bear strong sons or daughters.  And though he longed to follow the Khorne river back to upper elevations of the same named mountains, he would not do so until he knew his people were either free or dead.  He silently admitted that his current approach of searching for them, however, was not going well.
Byron Marchant
 player, 30 posts
Fri 10 Mar 2017
at 04:59
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Byron rolled his eyes at Aesop’s jest.  Honestly, he had been friends with the Midari for so long that he regularly forgot the man couldn’t see like regular people.  Byron didn’t know exactly how Aesop perceived things without eyes, but he knew his masked friend wasn’t blind.

Although Byron wasn’t exactly sure how Aesop perceived color.

“Yes, red and blue.”  Duke Rikard Marchant’s second son confirmed, grinning.  “Suits me, don’t you think?”

“If you’ve been keeping an eye out, I think I’ve discovered our problem.”  Byron laughed before looking back over his shoulder.  “The clansman?  Sweet Gods, it looks as if he could toss one of us over either shoulder and take a five-mile stroll!"  He nodded.  "You're right, I think we could use someone like that, especially if I’m working more on the red side of my Sleeve.”

Byron was considered fairly tall—an couple of inches over six feet.  His broad shoulders and fresh-faced good looks had always stood him in good stead.  But he had to admit that the Dorn, though shorter, would undoubtedly thrash him in an arm-wrestling contest.  The man seemed to be solid muscle.

“I shall make the introductions.”  Byron generally did the talking for the two of them, given how Aesop’s mask unnerved people.  Plus, he was good at it.  “Be right back.”

With that, Byron stood, gave his friend a smart bow, and headed over to the bar.

“Hello, friend.”  He gave the Dorn his best smile.  “I’m Byron Marchant.  Would you care to join me and my friend,” he motioned to Aesop, “at our table?  You’re a long way from home, and you look like some companionship might do you good.”

This message was last edited by the player at 05:00, Fri 10 Mar 2017.

Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 8 posts
Fri 10 Mar 2017
at 14:45
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Ulic swiveled slowly to face the newcomer, taking a moment to regard him head to toe before replying.

"Friend is it, flatlander?" he asks with suspicion.  "Very well, then as you have shared your name know that I am Ulic and as you have espied the huts of my village lie many days from here."

"Now, during my travels I have once before been offered a seat among the table of those who claimed friendship, yet their words and jests which followed spoke differently.  With wine thick in their veins they likely did not feel the full measure of the beating I inflicted until finally opening their eyes the next day."

"You do not smell of wine", he nods, "but have care all the same if you think to repeat their regret.  So I will ask, are you certain you wish my company at your table?"

Presuming Byron isn't put off by Ulic's bravado the Dorn will grunt and follow.
Byron Marchant
 player, 32 posts
Fri 10 Mar 2017
at 17:51
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Clansmen, Byron thought to himself, so admirably direct.  He wondered what things would be like if everyone was so open about what they were thinking.  He remembered his father talking to him and his brothers about the rules of society, and how often what people were really thinking was hidden behind veils of politeness, custom, and self-interest.  Nobles rarely said what they actually thought.  So this Ulic was a breath of fresh air.

Even though he had essentially just threatened to thrash both Byron and Aesop.

The young knight grinned.  I think I like this guy.

“Well met, Ulic.”  Byron clapped the clansman on the shoulder companionably.  “You are more than welcome at my table.  And as I prefer to remain unbeaten, I will do my best to restrain any unkind words.”  He breathed in ostentatiously through his nose, savoring the scent of well-cooked food.  “You should try the ham; it is truly delicious!”  And it was, famous throughout Valrigont and its hinterlands.  Dannin Tinderly, the inn’s owner and chef, jealously guarded the secret of its preparation.

The two men walked back over to the table, Byron giving Aesop his best aren’t-I-so-charming grin as they did so.  “Aesop, may I introduce to you my new friend Ulic.  Ulic, this is my old friend Aesop.  I think we’ll get along swimmingly.”  He hoped so, at any rate.  It wouldn’t do to start a tavern brawl on the first day of his Errantry Quest.  Byron didn’t even want to imagine the look on Father’s face if he had to drag himself back to Castle Marchant covered in bruises, bearing a bill for damages.

He suppressed a wince.  Duke Rikard Marchant’s disapproving glance was more painful than twenty beatings.

After gesturing Ulric to a chair, Byron took his own.  “So, Ulic,” he continued, loading a plate with ham and pushing it towards the clansman.  “What brings you to Valrigont?”
Aesop Donnohue
 player, 8 posts
Fri 10 Mar 2017
at 19:08
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Aesop had nodded to Byron, starting into his biscuits and gravy while the knight went off to make introductions. Aesop wasn't so great at making friends. Usually he was seen more as an oddity to be kept at a distance, unless someone's curiosity gripped them enough to make use of his services. There was just something about him that put people off. So, he was glad he wasn't trying to entice the big guy over to the table.

He listened to Byron and the clansman speak, preparing to step in if something went sour. The guy had a gruff way about him. Luckily it sounded more like a warning than an actual threat. He relaxed once the man joined their table.

"Hi," he greeted after being introduced, through a mouth full of biscuit. He swallowed and quickly added, "nice-to-meet-you."

Obviously he didn't have the same noble upbringing as his companion. Pleasantries sometimes came as an after thought. He seemed more content to sit quietly and listen to Ulic's reason for coming to the city.
Merri O'Nally
 NPC, 1 post
Fri 10 Mar 2017
at 20:20
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Okay, gentlemen, here we go...". The melodic voice is accompanied by a short but voluptuous Exodorean woman in her late twenties. She flashes Ulic a pearl smile as she sets his fourth tankard of ale before him before transferring a plate of ham slices, dark bread, and honey butter from her tray to your table.

"Master Tinderly asked me to please have you convey his respect to your father, the Duke," she says, sketching a curtsy and smiling at Byron. He also wondered if perhaps you'd be journeying to Marchantelle in the near future? If so, he's something that needs delivery to the duke."

This message was last edited by the player at 03:51, Sat 11 Mar 2017.

Byron Marchant
 player, 34 posts
Fri 10 Mar 2017
at 21:17
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Thank you, Merri!"  The smells wafting from the ham were truly wonderful.  Dannin had clearly outdone himself this time!  But Byron's attack on the meal would have to wait, growling stomach or no.

Manners.

"Marchantelle?"  Byron shot a look at Aesop before remembering once again that his friend probably couldn't see it.  Or could he?  It was a continuing mystery.  Byron returned his attention to Merri.  She really was very cute.  "We didn't have any particular plans.  Did you see my Sleeve?"  He gestured to his shoulder, smiling at her.  "I'm on the Quest.  Delivering something for Master Tinderly would probably qualify.  What does he need me to take?"

He groaned inwardly at himself.  Sweet gods, man, what are you, fourteen?  "Did you see my Sleeve?"  Pull yourself together, you're a Marchant!

This message was lightly edited by the player at 21:56, Fri 10 Mar 2017.

Merri O'Nally
 NPC, 2 posts
Sat 11 Mar 2017
at 03:36
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Merri looks around surreptitiously to ensure nobody is paying too close attention to your table, then takes a thin, delicate box of teakwood out of the pocket of her apron and slides it to Byron. "It holds a piction that Dannin and my Uncle Bodny found yesterweek when they went sifting at Charred Ground. Go ahead, open it. But be gentle: it's extremely fragile."



"Uncle Bodny said it's older — way older — than even ancient Emerisia. He knows your father collects ancient artifacts. Dannin and Uncle Bodny want to sell it. I told them Lord Marchant might buy it, or at least know somebody who would..." She fidgets as you study the image. "Dannin says the Ancients called them protoraphs, says a sage told his Da that when Uncle Bodny was still a kid."

This message was last edited by the player at 16:10, Sat 11 Mar 2017.

Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 10 posts
Sat 11 Mar 2017
at 15:34
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Ulic took his place at the table, regarding Aesop and his headpiece when the Midori greeted him.  His curiosity delayed response to the cavalryman's question, the barmaids arrival with platters and her teak-wood treasure box put any discussion of his travels on hold even longer.  So many of the words exchanged, however, meant little to the the tribesman.  Duke and sleeves and Emersia and Charred Grounds and Ancients and protoraphs.  Flatlanders had many strange ways but the pair offered the sharing of food, so perhaps for all their oddities this Byron's words of welcome were truly spoken.

The Dorn grabs two slices of pork between thumb and forefinger and transfers them to his plate before beginning to tear smaller chunks to eat. The boar-meat tasted different than those found in the elevations of the Khorne but satisfying.  Washing the bite down with another draw of ale, Ulic regards Aesop again and asks, "Your headpiece, I have seen none other like it as I strode the flaltlands.  What does it signify?"
Aesop Donnohue
 player, 9 posts
Sat 11 Mar 2017
at 18:33
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Aesop felt Byron's eyes upon him. Marchantelle. The fortune teller merely shrugged his shoulders, apparently more engrossed in eating than offering any insight. He was in agreement they could head that way. It wasn't unrealistically far away, and sticking with people they were familiar with should dissuade certain... complications. Ideally.

His interest was piqued by the box. Or more accurately, the way Merri seemed to be presenting its contents. A protoraph. That was innocuous enough, wasn't it? Merri certainly presented it that way. She did a very good job of that. Yet something felt off to Aesop. A slight lilt to her words, the subtle, jittery jolt of repressed fear driving her movements. What is she hiding? he wondered, feeling slightly suspicious.

His head was still turned toward the protoraph when Ulic spoke. He glanced up toward the clansman's voice, unbothered by the question. He was used to curiosity, and the occasional kid barging up and shouting hey, what's wrong with that guy!

"That I'm a Midari. I was born without eyes," he explained, placing two slender fingers where the mask's eyeholes should be. Then he traced one of the lines outward, connecting to the ornate metal work that framed it; the patterns were symbolic. "And that I'm a seer, a fortune teller. Whatever you'd like to call it. I have a certain way of foreseeing events, past, present, or future. Finding what's hidden or lost. A different way of perceiving things. People."

He turned his head to Merri, as if that last part had been for her. He had probably spoken about four words to her in all his life that wasn't about ordering a meal.

"Merri," he began in that blunt, cool tone of his. "Is there something you should be telling us about this?" He tapped a finger on the table, beside the box. "Something that is frightening you?"

This message was last edited by the player at 18:39, Sat 11 Mar 2017.

Merri O'Nally
 NPC, 3 posts
Sat 11 Mar 2017
at 20:11
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Merri's face reddens at Aesop's question. "P-please don't s-s-say anything about this to Dannin." Her eyes implore Byron, flick to Ulic, then back to the teakwood box and its contents. "It's...it's my sister, Thalia." She leans closer and, under the guise of wiping down your table with a damp rag, continues: "She gone — almost six weeks, now. At first, I thought she'd fallen to a cutpurse or to bandits on the Khorne Road. But then, a little over a month ago, Jhark drops off Dannin's weekly bag of missives. And lo, there is one addressed to me, and..." Her eyes tear up and her lips tremble.

"Please!" she whispers. "Just forget all this. I made a mistake." She reaches for the teakwood box and its contents.


Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
Each of you give me results of a roll of your Sense + Scrutinize pool. Either select "One Roll" under dice roller 'System', or else put checkmark in box 'show each die result". I'll check the dice roller log. If you have Sense 4 and Scrutinize 3, you'd roll 7d10. If you haven't put points into Scrutinize, you'll just roll a number of d10's equal to your Sense stat.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:17, Sun 12 Mar 2017.

Byron Marchant
 player, 36 posts
Sun 12 Mar 2017
at 01:40
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Merri, wait."  Byron reached out a hand, putting it atop the teakwood box so she couldn't remove it.  He had been more than willing to take the box back to Marchantelle, and had marveled at the amazing protoraph it contained.  Of course, it wasn't as if he'd never seen such artifacts before; his father collected them.  Still, each of them seemed so strange and ancient, hinting at worlds beyond imagination.  What were those buildings made of?  Could they be real?  His father thought so.

But apparently Merri was in some sort of trouble.  And of course Aesop had ferreted it out.  Byron couldn't count the times that Aesop had put him on notice of something he'd missed.  For someone who lacked eyes, the Midari saw a lot. More than me, Byron admitted to himself.  Also not for the first time.

"Come on Merri, we're friends."  Byron gave her his best comforting smile.  "And I'm on the Quest!"  He gestured to his shoulder, then motioned to a chair.  "Tell us what happened to Thalia.  What did the message say?  Who sent it?  And what does this," he tapped the teakwood box, "have to do with it?"
Merri O'Nally
 NPC, 4 posts
Sun 12 Mar 2017
at 14:47
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Taking the seat proffered by the young noble, Merri wipes at her eyes. "She's been missing for nigh on six weeks. I had thought her dead, slain by back alley cutpurses, or road bandits. But four weeks ago, a letter among Dannin's other missives was addressed to me. It demanded 500 chits, and that I leave them in a bag under a rock at Soleman's Well — if I want to see Thalia returned safely."

She draws a shaky breath. "I did as they demanded. It took all my savings. But Thalia wasn't returned, and now I have received another missive, in the same handwriting, this past Thursday, demanding another 500 chits. I don't have them. And I dare not ask Master Tenderly. He knows nothing of the situation, and if he did would involve the city guardsmen. And that might get Thalia hurt. Or worse..." she ends, miserably.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:55, Sun 12 Mar 2017.

GameMaster
 GM, 52 posts
Sun 12 Mar 2017
at 17:08
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Merri has to leave you to wait more tables, but she agrees to talk to you when she finishes her morning shift, in about an hour.  PCs are welcome to converse at their table, take other actions, or skip ahead to Talking To Merri or Leaving The Inn.
Aesop Donnohue
 player, 11 posts
Sun 12 Mar 2017
at 21:25
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
The corners of Aesop's mouth tweaked down subtly when Merri started to tear up. He knew something had been wrong, but had no way of guessing the severity. The first instinct he had was to involve the guards, but Merri outlined why that wouldn't be such a good idea, it could just put the hostage at greater risk.

He waited for her to depart, then turned his attention back to Ulic and Byron. Aesop wasn't touching his food anymore. All he could think of was what if it was one of his sisters, how terrified Thalia must be.

"Well," he murmured. "That's not good."

He took a drink of water, set the cup down on the table. His hand was shaking a little. "What should we do? Get the five-hundred and hope they stop squeezing Merri?"

He didn't sound optimistic. They already cheated her once.
Byron Marchant
 player, 38 posts
Mon 13 Mar 2017
at 06:59
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"What do we do?"  Byron's voice contained a note of anger.  That there were men in Greteland kidnapping people and holding them for ransom?  Especially against someone like Merri, who could obviously not afford it?  That would not stand.  "We stop them, that's what we do."

Byron placed his forearms on the table, palms down, leaning forward, a fervent sort of light in his eyes.  This is it.  He thought to himself.  My chance to actually do something.

He had trained a long time for this.

"These are bad people, mici.*  We head out to Soleman's Well, and we leave a sack of something wherever they told Merri to leave it.  Then we wait and watch.  When someone comes to pick up the sack, we jump them."  The young lancer straightened up, pounding his right fist into his left hand.  "And we question them.  Then we go back to their hideout and free their prisoners.  Because this can't just be about Merri, can it?"

Byron turned to Ulic.  "What do you say, my friend?"  Having a clansman out in the wilderness couldn't be anything but a good thing.  And surely they weren't the type of people to countenance kidnapping?  "Will you join us on our hunt for these men?  I'll happily pay your expenses."

*The word mici, pronounced "mee-chee", is a generally-affectionate term used to address someone considered a close friend.

This message was last edited by the player at 07:09, Mon 13 Mar 2017.

Merri O'Nally
 NPC, 4 posts
Mon 13 Mar 2017
at 23:20
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
After your late breakfast, Merri invites you to her room that she rents on the second floor of the inn. Byron happens to know that Dannin charges her almost nothing for the space. It's a quaint affair — a small bed with a simple chest of drawers, a small alcove closet space, and a writing desk with ink, quill, and unlit lantern. Sunlight spills in through the translucent four-panel glass window above the desk. "Can you please look into this matter discreetly, Byron? I know the captain of the southwest ward would look into it, but I'm afraid whoever is behind this would see them coming in plenty of time to get away. The guard aren't known for subtlety."

This message was last updated by the player at 23:20, Mon 13 Mar 2017.

Byron Marchant
 player, 39 posts
Tue 14 Mar 2017
at 02:56
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Byron followed Merri up to her room, a pensive look on his face.  He fell back a bit, speaking to Aesop in a lowered voice.  "Why would anyone target Merri?"  His questioning tone indicated that he himself didn't have the answer.  "She's a serving woman.  How much money could she possibly have?  It doesn't make any sense.  There has to be another reason they're after her, right?  Or else this operation is extremely large, and they just take anyone they find?  Either way . . . I think we're dealing with more than just random kidnappers here."

With that, he bounded up the stairs after their host, arriving just behind her as she opened the door to her room.  He smiled at her as she let them in, then listened to her plea.

"Of course, Merri."  Bryon comforted her.  "We'll handle this as carefully as possible.  And we'll get your sister back for you."  He took her hand.  "I know this is impossible, but try not to worry.  We're going to take care of this."

Of course, they needed more information, so Byron went on.  "Tell us more about your sister.  What did she look like?  Do you have a portrait?  How old is she?  Does she go by any name other than Thalia?  We need to have a method of identifying her."

"Also, do you have this letter that they sent you?  I would very much like to take a look at it."  As he asked the question, the writing desk, quill, and ink caught his eye.  He wasn't a patrician, but how many serving folk knew how to write?  He raised an eyebrow at Aesop, knowing his friend would catch the gesture.

This message was last edited by the player at 04:16, Tue 14 Mar 2017.

Aesop Donnohue
 player, 12 posts
Tue 14 Mar 2017
at 21:01
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Aesop nodded, following Byron up the stairs. Whoever the kidnapper was could know Merri's family personally. Even if not, he could still see an angle. If he was a kidnapper with little manpower, he couldn't go for a wealthy target. They would have more resources than him. He would need someone without much status. Someone who could slip through the cracks, someone without much power at their disposal. Someone easy to control so he could keep pushing for more and more small payments. The local barmaid made sense to him. Especially if she slighted him somehow. Then again, Aesop was pretty empathetic. He found it easy to slip into other ways of thinking, even if they were nefarious ones.

He listened to Merri talk, seeming to be taking the room in his own way. Catching Byron's look, his head tilted owlishly toward the desk, then back to Merri as if trying to gauge something.

"I'd also like to know if there is anyone who would want to hurt you or Thalia," he interjected quietly. "Think. Does your family have any enemies? Before she went missing, did you notice anyone strange hanging around the bar? Did she ever mention being followed?"
Merri O'Nally
 NPC, 5 posts
Tue 14 Mar 2017
at 22:08
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"I have a painting of her, done last year by Hermann Voils. He's the shopkeeper at Hasham's Finer Things, next to the inn."

She goes to the small alcove closet and brings out a portrait. She looks sheepish before presenting it to you. "She would never let me display it. She claimed it would be vain." She shows you the painting:



"Um, she has a boyfriend, Unster Fadden. He's a ... a Blancreanist — and they'd been having problems. He was drugging a lot the past few months. I'd catch her crying when I visited her crint on North Wall."

After a few moments while you study the painting, she adds, "No enemies that I know of. But we'd not seen each other but maybe once a fortnight of late. Ever since she lost the baby, she's just been viciously depressed and very difficult to spend time with."

This message was last edited by the player at 01:05, Wed 15 Mar 2017.

GameMaster
 GM, 54 posts
Wed 15 Mar 2017
at 01:25
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont



It's now about mid-morning. You've taken leave of Merri. She is overwrought and decided to lie down for awhile in her room. The day is sunny. There is a light breeze and it's a bit cool, though Ulic appears impervious to the elements. It appears that Iskruas is chomping at the bit to get going. Aesop's less fiery horse swishes its tail patiently. If Ulic has no mount, there's a carriage that can be rented, or a serviceable dray can be purchased outright.

Merri left you with these assertions:
(1) Her older sister, Thalia (age 23) has been missing now for about six weeks.
(2) Merri has so far paid 500 chits to the supposed kidnapper.
(3) Merri isn't aware of any enemies Thalia may have.
(4) She doesn't have the credit to pay another kidnap ransom.
(5) You still have the protoraph to deliver to the duke at Marchantelle.
(6) Soleman's Well is west, while Marchantelle is further, and north-by-northwest from Valrigont.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:42, Wed 15 Mar 2017.

Byron Marchant
 player, 41 posts
Wed 15 Mar 2017
at 19:33
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
“Voils is a fine painter, don’t you think?”  Byron was still looking at Thalia’s portrait as the three men stepped out into the street from the Carriage Inn.  She really was very good-looking.  But apparently greatly troubled.  Why were so many of the good-looking ones troubled?

Byron shielded his eyes from the unaccustomed daylight as he looked up from the painting.  “Do you think Voils might know something else about her?  Hasham’s is right here.”  He gestured to the left.  “Wouldn’t be too hard to ask him.”

The lancer rolled up the portrait, storing it carefully back in its case.  “Blancreanists.”  The sides of his mouth creased downwards.  He had little good to say about the group.  “Those guys are bad news.  And if she was mixed up with them, I wonder if maybe they had something to do with her disappearance.  Or maybe Fadden’s drug habit had something to do with it?  Black-market druggists aren’t the nicest folks in Greteland.”

He shrugged.  “Well, it’s certainly a mystery.  And it doesn’t look like were getting to the bottom of it without heading out to the Well.”  He grinned at the other two, spreading his arms wide.  “What do you say, gentlemen.  A chance to apprehend ne’er-do-wells and rescue a damsel in distress?  To stop a ring of kidnappers and extortionists?  Are you in?”
Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 12 posts
Thu 16 Mar 2017
at 00:21
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"I am," the Dorn replied stoically, "and the payment you spoke of is not necessary.  Kidnappers who do not treat their captives as tribe, those I hold in great disdain.  My only payment shall be that once the woman is safe their lives are forfeit."

Ulic glanced to Hasham's Finer Things as the group passed but did not linger.
GameMaster
 GM, 57 posts
Thu 16 Mar 2017
at 01:31
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Aesop exits^ Hasham's Finer Things just as the barbarian mentions the shop. He must have been browsing while Byron finished interviewing Merri upstairs. In her room. With the door barred and the window shuttered...

^referencing the PM, Aesop.

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:32, Thu 16 Mar 2017.

Harkist Kaeborn
 NPC, 1 post
Thu 16 Mar 2017
at 01:48
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
A seasoned character rests his booted right foot on the first plank of the horse corral, his arms resting atop the top plank.

"I see three men and two horses, and neither horse is gonna want that big feller on his back," he says, chin indicating Ulic. "I can sell you a decent roan for 375 chits, or take it out in barter. Failing that, I've got a carriage for rent or sale."

He smiles, then spits tobacco. "Name's Harkist. Harkist Kaeborn."

This message was last edited by the player at 02:12, Thu 16 Mar 2017.

Aesop Donnohue
 player, 13 posts
Thu 16 Mar 2017
at 02:43
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Aesop finished up his business and exited the shop. He took a second to acclimate himself to the outside, the sounds, the smells, the energies, but quickly latched onto the presences of his two companions. He made a beeline to them and the horses.

"Well? What've we decided?" he asked, strolling up. He glanced to Byron, a terrible, sly grin spreading across his face. "Did Merri reveal anything else to you?"

The innocent tone was at odds with the impish look, though he sobered up when Harkist called out to them. He waited to see what Ulic would say, honestly a bit stunned that the big man had apparently walked here.
Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 13 posts
Thu 16 Mar 2017
at 03:16
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
The clansman eyed Harkist with mistrust, asking his companions, "Such beasts are rare in the high peaks, used for draft with rare exception.  Though I have beheld their swiftness as I traveled, is such speed necessary?   How far lies this Well and when should we arrive?"

This message was last edited by the player at 03:17, Thu 16 Mar 2017.

Byron Marchant
 player, 44 posts
Thu 16 Mar 2017
at 18:59
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
“That’s very honorable of you, Ulic.”  Byron smiled and sketched a short bow towards the Dorn, acknowledging the man’s willingness to pursue justice.  “But remember, there’s a chance not everyone involved is doing it because they want to.  There are a lot of ways to lean on people, especially weaker people.  So maybe not all of them deserve death.”

“Although I have no problem with rough justice for the masterminds.”  He shrugged.  “After we question them, of course.  But it’s entirely possible the true leaders of this operation aren’t even with the prisoners.”

He turned as Aesop exited Hasham’s.  “I’d wondered where you’d gotten off to, mici,” Byron said, laughing.  “Find anything out inside the shop?”  He raised an eyebrow.  “Reveal?  Not much sadly, she just . . . .”  He caught his friend’s knowing smile, then suddenly flushed.  “Nothing like that!”  He averred.  Perhaps too quickly.

“It takes two days on foot.  A few hours on horseback.”  Byron turned to their Dornish companion, glad to be talking about something else.  “I think it might be worth it to purchase you a steed."  He raised an eyebrow at the available horseflesh.  “If you can even call these steeds.”  They did look rather paltry next to Iskuras.

Byron stared at the stablemaster.  “Come on, Harkist.  We both know each other.”  He chuckled.  “And we also both know that none of these nags are worth 250 chits.”  He sighed theatrically.  “But I’m in a hurry, so I’ll give you 325 for that one.”  He pointed at one of the sturdier roans.  “And I won’t even tell the sheriffs how you’re robbing me.”



OOC:  The local law enforcement in Valrigont are called the sheriffs. 

This message was last edited by the player at 19:00, Thu 16 Mar 2017.

Harkist Kaeborn
 NPC, 2 posts
Thu 16 Mar 2017
at 19:22
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont


"Not sure they're steeds?"

Harkist looks wounded, and puffs his chest with injured pride. He frees his booted foot from the corral fence and walks around closer to the three of you. "My good man, never a lame horse have I provided. Neither a sick stallion, nor a foundered roan. With Harkist, you get quality horse flesh. And for that I will have to have no less than... 340 chits."
Byron Marchant
 player, 46 posts
Thu 16 Mar 2017
at 19:33
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Byron rolled his eyes in an exaggerated fashion.  "Fine.  340 chits."  He agreed, grinning.  "But only on the condition you don't tell anyone how you took me on this one.  I have a reputation to maintain!"  He reached into a pouch and produced the requisite chits, attempting to look pained as he handed them over.  Apparently this was not the first time the two men had done business together.

Horse purchased, the lancer strode towards Iskuras, leaping lightly atop the magnificent warhorse as it stamped in anticipation.  "All right, gentlemen.  I need to stop by the villa to get my armor and weapons."  At the moment, he had only a longsword.  "Aesop, could you help Ulic with his horse?  I'll meet you at the edge of town and we can head out from there."
Harkist Kaeborn
 NPC, 3 posts
Thu 16 Mar 2017
at 21:42
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"I've barely broken even," Harkist laments to Byron's back as the young noble springs astride his warhorse.

Harkist shakes his head sadly, then looks at the big barbarian. "You'll be wanting an oversized saddle. Either that, or you could ride bareback or with just a saddle blanket. Don't have either with me today. I could have the blanket by tomorrow, or you can swing by Thurgood's Tack and Feed. He's got decent prices and a good selection of saddles and blankets."

Harkist sizes up the big man one last time. "Horse answers to Jelk, but you feel free to call him what you want. He'll likely be a bit testy at first. Won't wanna carry the weight of a big man like yerself. He don't bite or buck, though."

As Aesop starts to help Ulic and then thinks better of it as the huge man stares down at him, Harkist spits tobacco and nods toward Byron. "Thanks for your business, young master Marchant. Give my best to the family."

This message was last edited by the player at 21:50, Thu 16 Mar 2017.

Byron Marchant
 player, 47 posts
Thu 16 Mar 2017
at 22:57
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Yes, we all weep for you, Harkist."  Byron grinned, leaning forward on his pommel.  To hear the stableman tell it, he was always one step from begging alms.  But Byron had seen the well-appointed house the man had outside of town.  They didn't use the phrase "horse trader" to mean "shrewd businessman" for nothing.  "You're most welcome.  I'll give your regards to my father."

He wheeled Iskuras towards Ulic.  "Here's a plan.  I'll stop by Thurgood's on my way to the villa and arrange for your saddle.  You and Aesop can lead . . . Jelk is it?"  The big horse whinnied.  "Jelk over there.  You know where it is, right Aesop?"  Byron--being the horseman he was--regularly visited Thurgood's saddle shop.  Occasionally accompanied by a recalcitrant Aesop.

"Thurgood can make sure Jelk is cinched up and ready to go.  Then we can meet at the edge of town.  How about at Four Points?"  Four Points was a tavern/provisioner right at the most-used southwest entrance to Valrigont.
Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 15 posts
Fri 17 Mar 2017
at 01:38
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Ulic frowns at Byron's choices and prerequisites for those involved in the kidnapping.

Though he felt that he could cover the distance much faster than 2 days, the barter between the men was resolved quickly.  The Dorn realized he was now the owner of steed now, thanks to his new-found companion.

"A moment," he requested of the knight as he strode to stand next to he and his horse.

Offering his hand to Byron Ulic grasped knight's forearm, "Though we are newly met you have dealt generously with me when I have little in means to repay you.  For that I offer you my name and lineage, I am Ulic son of Jygor son of Mul and hail from Iceweire village in the high peaks of Mount Khorne."

"But for horse," he added, "that I have some means though not in these chits you Flatlanders value.  For two turns of the moon, until twice it has shown both its bright side and its black, my ax is yours to command.  I shall even withhold justice to those who hold the girl until you give you leave."

The clansman awaited Byron's acceptance to his offer.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:40, Fri 17 Mar 2017.

Byron Marchant
 player, 51 posts
Fri 17 Mar 2017
at 04:04
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
The clansman's response took Byron aback; the young noble hadn't really thought about how Ulic might interpret the gift of the horse.  And while he was tempted to decline the man's offer of service as unnecessary--the horse really had been a gift, and Byron would hardly even notice the absence of 340 chits--he also knew honor was an important concept among Ulic's people, and he did not want to insult his new friend by somehow suggesting he was unworthy.

The horseman leaned down to clasp Ulic's forearm, in the manner of soldiers.  "I accept your offer, Ulic, son of Jygor, son of Mul.  And if all sons of Iceweire Village are like you, I imagine it is a place of deep honor.  I look forward to hunting these criminals together."

Byron straightened up in his saddle.  "I am off.  I'll arrange things with Thurgood and meet you at Four Points."  He gave Aesop a grin.  "Try not to get lost."  He delivered this last with no small amount of irony; they both knew that between the two of them the Midari had a much better sense of direction.  And with that, Byron cantered Iskuras out of Harkist's stable and headed to Thurgood's.

This message was last edited by the player at 04:29, Fri 17 Mar 2017.

Aesop Donnohue
 player, 15 posts
Fri 17 Mar 2017
at 10:09
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Aesop skirted away, thinking better of helping Ulic, and saw to his own horse while the others talked. She was a gray dapple horse named Soot. Not all that impressive looking when paired up with Byron's battle-worthy mount, she wasn't a war horse, she had spent her years so far strictly transporting people and getting her hair pulled by Aesop's little sister. She'd developed saintlike patience though. The horse's ears perked up with interest when Aesop approached.

He patted her neck then set to readying her bags and saddle. He took her by the reigns and led her out of the corral. He laughed at Byron, then said assuredly, "I'll do my best."

Once he was off, Aesop quietly waited for Ulic to collect Jelk. He seemed more reserved now, if not outright shy. He wasn't as good with people as Byron. Small talk didn't come easily to him, and he couldn't help but be a bit intimidated by the big man.

"Did you need to make any stops?" he asked. "Or can we go straight to Four Points?"
GameMaster
 GM, 63 posts
Fri 17 Mar 2017
at 22:22
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Later, Aesop and Ulic arrive at Four Points to find that Byron has already picked out a few things the group may need while traveling the countryside without benefit of an inn. One of Ondan's employees is waiting on a dark-haired, swarthy looking man with scars on his tanned face and a greatsword strapped to his back. Ondan himself is doing tallies on an abacus and making notes in a tablet, but his body language indicates he's keeping the young noble in his peripheral vision.

The shelves hold numerous small items of use to both man and beast: soap, rags, brushes, lantern oil, matchboxes, packets of tinder, bottled liniment, torches, bullseye lanterns, scroll cases, weatherproofed packets of tough paper with charcoal pencils for mapping, charms with various minor arcane effects, coils of hemp rope, hoof nippers, saddle blankets, disinfecting ointment, bags of dehydrated fruits and vegetables, wineskins, canteens, tubs of hog lard, bushel baskets of corn and beans, carved cooking tripods with iron chains and pots.

There are tents, folded and grommetted tarpaulins, weather resistant ponchos, wool blankets, metal stakes, hammers, hand axes, saws, hammocks, sleep rolls, portable tin stoves, mess kits carved of a light strong wood, sharpening stones, knives, fur-lined cloaks, heavy-duty leather belts, scabbards of varying sizes, hand-sized mirrors, nails, small game traps.

And many, many more items. A sign on one wall says, "Can't find it? Ask us!"
Byron Marchant
 player, 53 posts
Sat 18 Mar 2017
at 02:48
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
“Over here, gentlemen!”  Byron waved to Aesop and Ulic as they entered Four Points’ provisioning area.  “I figured we should probably get some gear for our trip.  I brought Eris, oh,” he looked at Ulic, “Eris is one of the pack horses we keep at the villa for occasions like this.  Anyway, I brought Eris so we don’t have to worry too much about space or weight.  And I already grabbed some gear from the villa—I’ve got a waterproof tent, a poncho for each of us, and some blankets and pillows in case we need to stake the place out for a while.”

“I don’t know how much else we need.  I’m taking care of the food,” he gestured to some dried meats, fruits, and vegetables in a burlap sack labeled “Four Points.”  He waved an arm around the store.  “If you see anything else you think might help us out, just grab it.  My father has an account here; we’ll just put it on his tab.”  He raised an eyebrow at Aesop, grinning.  “Just keep things within reason.”

“Hey Ondan,” Byron walked over to the shop’s proprietor, leaving Aesop and Ulic contemplate the current status of their provisions.  “Nice abacus.  What sort of charms do you have available?”  He fell into a chair next to the older man.  “Where we’re going, we might need them.”
Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 16 posts
Sat 18 Mar 2017
at 03:33
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Ulic unsteadily directed Jelk to where he could be tied.  As Aesop joined him he remarked, "I admit I thought you made sport of me when me met.  A seer with no eyes.  A Midari, yes?  Yet you saw deeply into Merri's trouble and travel as apt as any with two eyes.  Eyes you may lack but sight I believe now you have aplenty."

He raised a hand in greeting at Byron's call to the pair and approached the knight, eyeing the proprietor and his man, "To load one's self down makes ascending to the fastness of the Khorne difficult; I am not given to carry much in the way of belonging other than a weapon and waterskin and whatever small amount of food I may find.  Tell me more of our destination and why we should need such things as these now."
Ondan Thurgood
 NPC, 1 post
Sat 18 Mar 2017
at 17:17
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Byron," the owner smiles, "always good seeing one of the Marchants. Right now, we have three charms for sale. One is a brooch functioning as a clasp for a cloak or cape." He reaches underneath the counter and brings forth a velvet-lined box, opening the lid to show you a beautiful jeweled brooch. "Tap the jewel three times to put it in sentry mode. In sentry mode, if any creature larger than a rabbit or cat moves (relative to your position) more than two feet within a thirty foot radius of the brooch, the charm will vibrate strongly to alert you. To quell the vibration and return to sentry mode, tap the jewel four times. To cancel sentry mode entirely, tap five times. This one is 450 chits."

quote:
Mechanics: Typically put into sentry mode upon bedding down in camp at night, the vibration of the alarm is strong enough to permit the wearer of the brooch to roll Sense + Hearing pool or Sense + Scrutinize. Any set is good enough to alert an awake brooch-wearer. If the wearer is asleep, the height of the set must be 3+.





Next, Ondan shows you a pewter brooch shaped like an Ancient bird of the coldest climes. "Now this one helps to protect you against bitterly cold weather. I bought it from an enchanter who was in a group I was with hunting elk in the Hinterlands three years ago. I didn't believe his claims about it until he slept out in the snowy night on nothing but a straw pallet and wearing this brooch pinned to his shorts. This one is nine-hundred chits."

quote:
Mechanics: allows wearer to ignore up to 3 penalty dice associated with bitter cold. Protects against frostbite and hypothermia. When attacked with a cold-based arcania effect, if wearer's Body + Endurance pool produces any matches, reduce damage taken by 1 per matching set rolled.





"And finally, young Master Marchant, I have this exquisite skull brooch of gold. I purchased it at great expense from a merchant who has connections with Arbalin. Once only, it will shield the wearer from death from any physical trauma not directly resulting from combat. The merchant averred that Arbalin himself was once spared by just such a charm when a tunnel in an Ancient subterranean warren collapsed upon him. His mates were able to dig him out alive. Alas, the price is 15,000 chits. But even after it's magic is spent, it remains a beautiful brooch and will no doubt hold great conversational and sentimental value."

quote:
Mechanics: Won't protect against impact of a morningstar, but would prevent death from the falling damage as the attack knocks you off the edge of a balcony. The charm prevents just enough damage to prevent death. For instance, if you would have accumulated 10 killing wounds in your Torso, you collect 9 instead. If an Immolate spell would have killed you, you are instead one Wound short of being dead.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:25, Sat 18 Mar 2017.

Byron Marchant
 player, 55 posts
Sun 19 Mar 2017
at 01:07
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Byron nodded, a little astonished at the final brooch’s steep cost.  Then again, what price would you put on your life?  He thought to himself.  “I imagine it would,” he agreed with Ondan, examining the brooch.  Quite a story indeed.

The younger man contemplated the older one.  Ondan was a fixture in Valrigont and had a long history of business relations with his family, so the chances that this could be a scam was almost nonexistent.  Plus, he would be buying these on his father’s account.

And Arbalin.  Could that be true?  The man’s name was synonymous with sorcerous power.  Any item enchanted by the secretive wizard would have immense value based on that alone.

Still.  15,000 chits.  His father would definitely have questions.  But this was hardly a profligate purchase, was it?  He was heading off on his Errantry Quest.  Injury was a real possibility.  And wouldn’t Duke Rikard Marchant pay 15,000 chits for the life of his second son?

He would, Byron was certain.  But not if he didn’t absolutely have to.  The young lancer looked at the brooch.  How long had it been here?  How many people in Valrigont would even have the resources to purchase it?  Would Ondan come down from 15,000 chits?  Probably.  But it would be nice to have a second opinion.

“Let me think about this.”  Byron smiled at Ondan.  “I need to talk it over with Aesop.  He has .  . . talents in these areas.”  The rumors about the power of the Midari second sight might come in extremely useful here.  “Do you mind?”

Byron carefully lifted the brooch’s jewelry box and brought it back to where Aesop and Ulic were standing.  “I think I’ve found charms for all of us,” he informed them.  “Aesop, Ondan has an alarm charm that I think would alert us to others when we’re out in the wilderness.”  Byron was a famously deep sleeper, so they both knew it wouldn’t do much for him.  “Ulic, there’s another charm that insulates the wearer against cold.  One that a clansman would find very useful, I’m guessing.”

Finally, he opened the jewelry box with the gold brooch.  “What do you think about this?”  He asked, mostly to Aesop but including Ulic out of politeness.  “It’s 15,000 chits.  Do you have any sense regarding its value?  And have you been able to read Ondan at all?  What do you think?”  He raised an eyebrow at his friend.
Aesop Donnohue
 player, 18 posts
Sun 19 Mar 2017
at 03:55
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Aesop smiled shyly at Ulic's comment, shifting his focus to tying Soot to the post. The irony of a "blind" seer wasn't lost on him either. "Let's just say I've disappointed quite a few pickpocketers," he joked.

He followed Ulic inside, nodding appreciatively to Byron when he heard most everything was being taken care of. Still, he didn't want to be a mooch. He decided he would at least see if there was some rope he could buy for himself, and maybe some seasonings to make travel provisions more palatable. Obviously he wasn't expecting five course meals out on the road, but they had to eat every day, so if he could make it marginally better he would, damn it.

He looked at Ulic when the clansman asked about the necessity of the gear. Aesop was born in the Khorne Marshes, his mother had been a member of the Red Sky tribe. Bringing anything but the bare minimum on an expedition would make her do more than question, she'd probably outright scoff. However, she also used to believe pointing at a new moon would bring bad luck and babies with defects should be left out to die, so...

"Soleman's Well is only a half day's ride away, but Marchantelle is a bit further," he answered. "Far enough to warrant lots of gear? I wouldn't say so. But I'm accompanying Byron on his errantry quest, and that may take us further still. And we lack your survival skills, and your acclimation to the elements. So! We burden ourselves all for the sake of being warm and comfy."

He smiled like that was funny somehow.

When Byron brought the box over, Aesop tilted his head. He didn't detect anything off about Ondan's behaviour. "Ondan seems calm," he answered quietly, listening for if the shopkeep was back on the abascus or watching them. "I don't think he would cheat us, purposefully anyway."

He focused on the brooch. He reached out to touch it, but seemed to think better of that, and paused with his hand hovering over it. "Well, I'm no appraiser. But, I can tell you there are energies present that are... Definitely protective," he continued, lowering his hand, and dropping his voice even lower. "This is powerfully enchanted."

This message was last edited by the player at 03:59, Sun 19 Mar 2017.

Byron Marchant
 player, 57 posts
Sun 19 Mar 2017
at 05:27
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Byron nodded--Aesop's confirmation was good enough for him.  "And I agree with Aesop, Ulic," he informed the clansman.  "We don't know where this quest will take us, or exactly when we'll have the opportunity to provision again."  He shrugged, grinning.  "So I find it better to be overprepared than the opposite.  Better to have something you don't need than to need something you don't have."

"And speaking of that," he took the jewel case and swivelled towards Ondan, striding towards the merchant.  "I am interested in all of your available charms, Master Thurgood."  He said thoughtfully.  "What would you say if I offered you 15,500 credits for all three?"  The side of his mouth quirked upward.  "A bulk discount, as it were.  Plus, I'm on the quest."  He touched his Sleeve.  "So if you think about it this sale is really an investment in the community."
Ondan Thurgood
 NPC, 2 posts
Sun 19 Mar 2017
at 17:19
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Your father would be proud to see you drive such a hard bargain." Ondan grins as he clasps hands with Byron. "Sold! These three charms for 15,500 chits. Would you like those boxed or bagged, good sir?"
GameMaster
 GM, 65 posts
Sun 19 Mar 2017
at 18:29
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
It's about mid-day as you conclude your business at Thurgood's Tack, Feed & Sundry. The pleasant sunshine is doubly welcomed due to the brisk and somewhat chill breeze. As you exit the store back into the open Four Points plaza, the swarthy man with the great sword upon his back watches you for a moment before returning his attention to the iron goods he's been perusing.

Three city guardsman come into the broad plaza on horseback, leading a manacled man who trudges along surlily. His brown hair is long and unkept, and he sports an untrimmed beard. The lead guard stands in the stirrups and partially unrolls a scroll, then loudly proclaims in a voice pitched to carry:

"Here ye, all within sound of my voice. I, Fenton Walsh, Sergeant in the Valrigont City Guard, do now carry out our Archon's just sentence upon this miscreant. Phule Druthers, you have been found guilty of consorting with slavers, kidnapping and rapine, and lying to the Archon of Valrigont. You shall spend a day and a night in the stocks after taking ten lashes, and are then banished from Valrigont forever!"

The other two guardsmen dismount and drag the struggling man to the stocks that are mounted in the center of the plaza. Securing his hands and head in their holes, they lower the heavy top brace, locking him into position, and secure a metal chain with an ancient device called a combination lock.

The sergeant, still standing in the stirrups, rolls up the scroll, returning it to an interior uniform pocket. "Is there aught here of noble title who will scourge the miscreant? If so, declare yourself forthwith! Else, I, Fenton Walsh, shall undertake the task!"
Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 18 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 00:14
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Slaver?" the Dorn practically growls as he turns to the approaching guardsmen.

"And why should one who delivers others into a life of bondage remain free, even if it is not in his homeland?" the clansman shouts back to Fenton Walsh.  "I claim no title other than wronged by slavers.  Allow me to deliver said lashes!"

This message was last edited by the player at 00:14, Mon 20 Mar 2017.

GameMaster
 GM, 68 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 00:34
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
The sergeant looks at Ulic and takes in his outlander appearance. One of his men makes a comment that isn't loud enough to carry to where Byron, Aesop and Ulic are standing. Sergeant Walsh's lips tighten, and he regards Ulic appraisingly. The swarthy man with the facial scars and the great sword upon his back comes out of Thurgood's in response to the commotion, crosses his arms, and takes it all in.
Byron Marchant
 player, 59 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 04:20
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Sweet gods, what a time for this.  Byron grimaced.  Truth be told, he did not much like dispensing justice, but it was his duty as a noble, so he needed to step up.  Plus, it looked like Ulic might be about to cause a ruckus, which wouldn’t help their mission to rescue Thalia at all.

“Check out that man with the scars and greatsword,” Byron murmured to Aesop under his breath as Ulic yelled about his hatred of slavers.  “I think he was watching us inside Four Points.  Could be nothing.  Could be something.”  He trusted Aesop to figure it out; the Midari knew how to read people.

“Sergeant Walsh.”  Byron stepped forward, face stern.  He put a hand on Ulic’s shoulder.  “It is my duty to take care of this matter, my friend."  He quietly informed the Dorn.  "I hope you understand.”

“Sergeant Walsh.”  The lancer repeated.  “I am Byron Marchant, second son of Duke Rikard Marchant.  I will carry out this man’s sentence.”  As he talked, Byron wondered about the man’s crimes.  Just ten lashes and banishment for kidnapping and rape?  How exactly had he “consorted” with slavers?  And how was this wildly disheveled man even in a position to talk to the Archon, much less lie to her?

It was a mystery.

Byron approached the sergeant, plate armor gleaming in the sunlight.  “May I see the sentencing documents?”  He asked, extending a hand.  “Just a formality.”
GameMaster
 GM, 70 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 15:25
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
The sergeant makes a gesture, and one of his men produces a parchment, trots over on his mount, and hands it to Byron for his inspection.


This message was last edited by the GM at 15:25, Mon 20 Mar 2017.

Aesop Donnohue
 player, 19 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 17:04
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Aesop flinched in surprise when Ulic started yelling to the sergeant. Reserved by nature, he'd been half hoping they could slip away without being noticed. Now they were being drawn into the scene created by the guardsmen. He seemed to shrink in on himself, as if that would somehow help him slink away from the unwanted attention.

"I know," he muttered back to Byron. "He watched us when we left the store. I've been minding him."

He listened while Byron volunteered, seeming uncomfortable. He didn't like criminals as much as the next person. He really didn't like the idea of standing around while his friend whipped one either, even if that's what tradition dictated. He shot Ulic a helpless look, then back to Walsh and Byron. He felt like the only one that wanted nothing to do with the man's punishment.

"Can't the sergeant take care of this?" he interjected flatly. "We're losing daylight."

Not the greatest excuse given Aesop's condition, but still.
Byron Marchant
 player, 62 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 19:54
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"I have an obligation," Byron answered Aesop.  "Plus, this man has been sentenced for kidnapping."  The young lancer emphasized the last word as meaningfully as he could.

"Thank you, Sergeant."  Byron took the decree and read over it.  Sentenced by the Archon herself.  That was rare.  And under arcanic compulsion.  One side of his mouth quirked downward with distaste.  While Byron did not hate sorcerers out of hand as some did, he greatly disliked the thought of one compelling citizens into crimes.

Sorcery, kidnap, and rape.  What was going on here?  It seemed bigger than one man.

Byron approached the stocks, document in hand.  "Phule Druthers," he proclaimed loudly, "you have been sentenced to lashing by none other than the Archon herself.  I, Byron Marchant, noble of Greteland, will carry out your punishment.  Nobility is a duty."  This last was a common phrase among the nobility, and a belief of the lower classes as well.  To whom much was given, much was expected.

He lowered his voice so that only Druthers could hear.  "If you agree to truthfully answer my questions afterwards, I will ensure that your lashing goes as easy as possible.  Do you agree to this?"

This message was lightly edited by the player at 19:55, Mon 20 Mar 2017.

GameMaster
 GM, 73 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 21:26
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Phule's eyes are round saucers. He's obviously panicked. Already, after only a couple minutes in the stocks, it's abundantly obvious that his muscles are in distress.

Byron can roll his Charm + Graces pool (5D), with a bonus die given Phule's helplessness. You can share results here as OOC info.
Byron Marchant
 player, 63 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 22:44
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
OOC: Success!!

17:43, Today: Byron Marchant rolled 32 using 6d10 with rolls of 8,8,3,3,4,6.  Phule roll.

GameMaster
 GM, 75 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 23:09
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
The man's mouth works. For a moment it appears he won't be able to speak, but it's just dry-mouth. "Easiest lashing you can manage, and your promise you'll get me seen to afterwards — poultice, bandages, something to eat and a fire to warm me tomorrow. Agree to that and I'll answer all your questions, yes. Otherwise, don't bother going easy on me. I'll die anyway once they kick me out of the city. Bandits or muties or worse will get me. I've nowhere to go..."

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:10, Mon 20 Mar 2017.

Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 20 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 23:14
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Ulic stands with arms crossed; glaring as Byron carries out his duty.
Dogren Urst
 NPC, 1 post
Tue 21 Mar 2017
at 00:22
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Stepping up beside the big barbarian outlander, Dogren — who has also been browsing items in Thurgood's — crosses his arms, unconsciously mimicking Ulic. "Scum like that raped anyone related to me, lashing and stocks would be the least of his problems. In the Hinterlands, we take justice into our own hands."

He sighs. "My Phandos would have cut off a hand for kidnapping, and his genitals for rape. This isn't justice. It is weakness."

This message was last edited by the player at 00:26, Tue 21 Mar 2017.

Aesop Donnohue
 player, 20 posts
Tue 21 Mar 2017
at 01:37
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
"Fine then," Aesop relented, but not without a dismissive huff. He didn't feel bad for the prisoner, the fact Byron had to dole out punishment just agitated him. He went over to where his horse was tied to put away his rope. He fussed with the saddle bags to stall, fruitlessly untightening and readjusting straps until they could leave.

He kept his back turned to the stocks. A largely symbolic gesture since it didn't matter where he faced, he was still well aware of what was going on. "People are crazy," he informed Soot quietly. "See, you're lucky. Horses don't have politics."

It didn't look like it, but he continued to monitor the man who followed them out of the store. He didn't feel like engaging with Dogren, who approached Ulic with his views on crime and punishment. It was all well and good to cut off hands and genitals unless you were the one that had to do it. Go and find the brute out in the wilderness tomorrow yourself, if you care so much, he thought sourly.
Ulic, son of Jygor
 player, 21 posts
Tue 21 Mar 2017
at 11:23
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
The Dorn regarded Dogren before giving a curt, approving nod, "Well said.  Such holds true in the fastness of the Khorne peaks as well.  Though like as not the woman herself would take such vengeance if her attackers were so foolish as to allow her to live."

"I am Ulic," he offers his hand to Dogren.
Dogren Urst
 NPC, 2 posts
Tue 21 Mar 2017
at 11:46
Chapter One: March 03, 4632; Valrigont
Dogren accepts the hand shake, that age-old custom with roots far earlier even than the Ancients, a gesture demonstrating that the hand was without a weapon and offered in peace. "Dogren Urst, of the Eastern Hinterlands. I couldn't help but notice that you're with the Midari and the noble. I have come west seeking an artifact of the Ancients called 'A-39G Microfusion power cell'." He pronounces this micro-fuzzion. "We have Ancient lights that serve a protective and safety function, but they are dimming. My Phandos says they require a new A-39G device." He shrugs, as if to say I do as I am bid.

This message was last edited by the player at 16:15, Tue 21 Mar 2017.

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.