Chapter I: The Murdered Man.   Posted by The Narrator.Group: 0
The Narrator
 GM, 3 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 12:38
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
The sound of thundering hooves breaks the silence of the Faldar Woods, the sparse forest dividing the provinces of Hyrond and Gwyndon. It is evening, and the last rays of sunlight have retreated beyond the towering Varymor Mountain range, far to the northeast. A damp, heavy mist begins to descended over the forest, making it difficult to see more than a few yards ahead and forcing the trio of riders, a knight and what appears to be his herald, accompanied by an auburn haired ranger, to slow the pace of their mounts to a trot. It is as they are nearing the edge of the forest that the elf calls his companions to a halt.
Nodrel Arandor
 NPC, 1 post
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 12:39
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
"What is it, Aerendir?" hisses the herald, peering about him uneasily, "Come on, let's get out of this forest before it gets too much darker!"
Marabir Carendil
 NPC, 4 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 12:52
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
The elf, who has slipped nimbly from his saddle and fitted an arrow to his recurve yew bow, seems content to ignore the herald, so the knight, himself dismounting, repeats the question.

"What is it?" he asks in a hushed tone, unsheathing the gilded longsword which hangs at his side, "Bandits?"
Aerendir
 NPC, 5 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 12:53
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
"I am not sure," the elf replies idly as he approaches the undergrowth to the left of the road, "But someone has lumbered through here recently," he frowns, "And made a rather poor attempt to cover their tracks. Wait here, Prince Marabir. I shall investigate."

OOC: Aerendir rolled 36 using 1d20+20. Survival.
Marabir Carendil
 NPC, 5 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 12:53
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
Marabir frowns as he follows after Aerendir, ignoring the elf's instruction.

"I told you, it is 'Sir Varonil' while we are on this quest," he murmurs, "I cannot risk people knowing my true identity."
Aerendir
 NPC, 6 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 12:55
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
Aerendir throws the prince a dubious look over his shoulder before turning back to the trail he is following.

"I might be more convinced of your desire to travel discretely if you were not so insistent on carrying that jewelled sword of yours. Who but a prince would use such a blade? Still, if you insist, I shall address you as Varonil from now on."
Marabir Carendil
 NPC, 6 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 12:55
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
Marabir frowns, clutching the hilt of his longsword a fraction tighter.

"I do," he says stubbornly.
Nodrel Arandor
 NPC, 2 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 12:56
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
"Um... I'll just wait here then?" calls their companion from the road.
The Narrator
 GM, 4 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 12:56
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
He does not receive a response.
Aerendir
 NPC, 7 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 12:56
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
"There," murmurs Aerendir as they move deeper into the forest.

OOC: Aerendir rolled 36 using 1d20+22. Spot.
The Narrator
 GM, 5 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 12:57
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
Moving forward, the pair find themselves standing over the body of a man. He appears to have been middle aged, with curly brown hair and a swarthy complexion. He wears a leather tunic and a dagger lies discarded on the ground beside him, along with a rucksack which appears to have been turned inside out. A waterskin and what looks like it might have been part of a lockpicking kit are all that remain of whatever contents the pack once contained.
Aerendir
 NPC, 8 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 12:59
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
"Crossbow bolt in the back," Aerendir asserts as he examines the man.
Marabir Carendil
 NPC, 7 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:00
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
Marabir frowns as he also squats to examine the man.

"A hunting accident, perhaps?"
Aerendir
 NPC, 9 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:01
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
"A very skillful hunting accident," Aerendir replies dryly, "And the 'hunter' went through the human's possessions afterwards. This handiwork appears to be more the doing of a thief... or an assassin."
Marabir Carendil
 NPC, 8 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:01
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
Marabir frowns grimly.

"I wonder what a trained assassin would want with this man. He doesn't appear to be particularly significant in any way. A common thief based on his appearance and possessions."
Aerendir
 NPC, 10 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:05
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
"Indeed," Aerendir agrees, "His garments and general raggedness are hardly an indication that he was anything other than one of the poorer specimens of the great unwashed. If it was an assassin who did this then whatever they killed him for is likely long gone by now," Aerendir surmises with less concern for the dead human than is probably nice.
Marabir Carendil
 NPC, 9 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:05
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
"True," Marabir concedes, "Can you determine how long ago he was killed?"
Aerendir
 NPC, 11 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:06
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
Aerendir examines the corpse and the bolt in more detail.

"Long enough," he says at length, "A few hours perhaps. Certainly enough time for the assassin to be long gone from here. My guess is they headed back to the road and then to Lastorn, as we saw no one coming from this direction on our way through the forest. And speaking of Lastorn, we should resume our journey. We have ascertained that this man is no threat to us."
Marabir Carendil
 NPC, 10 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:08
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
Marabir glances down at the body.

"We should take him back to Lastorn," he says, "We cannot be certain he was a miscreant, and he may have kin there who would wish to know his fate."
Aerendir
 NPC, 12 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:09
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
"Not what I would advise," Aerendir replies firmly, glancing back at the body, "Even if he did not deserve his fate, carrying a dead body into town is bound to result in questions and a lot of unwanted attention. I thought you were keen to travel as inconspicuously as possible on this quest of yours, Sir Varonil?"
Marabir Carendil
 NPC, 11 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:10
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
Marabir shoots the elf a reproving glance.

"It's almost dark," he argues, "No one will see us entering, and the town guard are unlikely to do anything more than ask us for our testimony. Come, he may have been a thief, but I do not feel comfortable just leaving him here to rot."
Aerendir
 NPC, 13 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:10
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
Aerendir shrugs.

"Have it your way. But don't say I didn't warn you if he ends up causing a lot more trouble than he's worth. It's not like his kin-- if he has any-- won't find him eventually, assuming the wolves don't do so first."

This last part is muttered softly.
Marabir Carendil
 NPC, 12 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:20
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
Marabir doesn't seem to hear Aerendir's last words, and he pretends he did not hear the elf's first words either. Stashing the man's belongings back into the rucksack, he stoops to hoist the body up in his arms. He then proceeds to follow Aerendir back through the foliage to the road.
Nodrel Arandor
 NPC, 3 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:21
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
"Finally!" exclaims their third companion as the pair reappear, giving a shiver, "I was beginning to- Raven's Star! Who is that?"
Marabir Carendil
 NPC, 13 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:31
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
"I don't know," Marabir replies grimly as he slumps the body onto grass beside the road and withdraws a spare travelling cloak from his saddlebag which he proceeds to wrap about the deceased man's body, "We suspect he is a murdered thief, but we will return his body to the town of Lastorn on the off chance that he has kin there."

He hoists the bundled corpse over the front of his stallion before mounting himself.

"Let us be off!"
The Narrator
 GM, 6 posts
Sun 7 Nov 2021
at 13:36
Chapter I: The Murdered Man
The trio start off once more, though a thick mist has now fallen and their going is slow in the gloom. By the time they reach the edge of the forest their riding cloaks are drenched, and both their breath and the breath of their horses billows out into the gloom. The road is fairly straight and flat, and no sounds can be heard save for the snorting of their horses and an occasional sniffle or cough from Nod. After a slow half hour of travel the ground beneath them begins to slope gently upwards, and not long afterwards they are able to make out the dull orange light of torchlight in the mist ahead. A moment later the town gate of Lastorn comes into view.