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Offline Wulfhere

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[Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« on: June 06, 2013, 01:32:32 PM »
On The Coast of the Trident Gulf...
Women and girls gathered on the shoreline, the olive-skinned wives and daughters of Targnol’s fishermen come to greet returning mariners with flatbread and cool flasks of beer.  Clad in long patchwork chitons and wide-brimmed hats, the women’s attire would be an embarrassment in other parts of the Empire.  Under Targnol’s blazing sun, it was simply practical.  With little wind, the day was hotter than Mitra’s phoenix.  It left all who waited or worked the busy shoreline drenched in sweat.   

Young children chased each other across the rocky beach, undaunted by the withered corpses of lawbreakers that hung impaled on stakes at the strand’s edge.  Their games spooked a swarm of bone crabs that had congregated optimistically beneath one dangling husk, sending the scavengers scuttling down the shore. 

A few boats had returned from the Gulf more quickly than the rest of the fishermen, their crews already hard at work sorting their catch.  Most of the fish would end up in brinepots, drawn from the salty paste to hang on the drying racks on the morrow.  A few fishermen had been fortunate enough to catch a netful of dyefish; their knives quickly stripped the fishes’ valuable scales.  To produce the brightest color, these treasures would quickly be immersed in amphorae of lime water. 

+ + + +

Far above all this, the province’s ruler surveyed the activity from his stronghold’s ramparts.  An aged slave approached with a shade to shelter him from the burning sun, but the Shah of Targnol turned him away with a withering glare.  Such comforts were for women or merchants, not for the unflinching Arm of the Emperor.  No man could stop the encroachment of old age, but a soul possessed of iron will could still command respect.  A display of strength would cow his rivals, but what means would be most suitable?  He pondered his options.

Coming to a conclusion, the Shah summoned his majordomo.  “These sullen airs and pernicious months of peace sap our courtiers’ vitality.  We shall have a grand hunt within the Thistledown, with every hardy entertainment.  Set all in motion:  Let us dazzle our courtiers with lavish feasting and the coursing of noble hounds, the sweet notes of hunting horns and the spiced meat of deadly beasts!”

Shah Abdu Inslar grimly smiled as he considered the upcoming spectacle.  Those who plotted against him might find the upcoming celebrations more… entertaining than they had expected. 

+ + + +

Larissa was singing again, noted Neketh al’Karid.  His wife had doubtlessly seen some dashing hero or muscular outlander, with whom she would surely flirt outrageously.  Travelers found her blue-green skin and webbed fingers fascinating and exotic, since such rich coloration was rare these days. The portly innkeeper daily berated the gods for cursing him with his young and lovely wife, a merciless tease who daily mentioned how she would run the Golden Trident Inn differently once the gods saw fit to stop her husband’s heart.  Of course, the clever girl knew just where the line was drawn, and was the soul of courtesy and respect for her husband when the customers were watching. 

In his heart, Neketh knew that Larissa was faithful, and she oversaw the Golden Trident’s management splendidly.  He just wished she didn’t find so much amusement in playing with his emotions!

+ + + +

As he ground healing herbs within his cluttered workroom, the Shah’s physician Valnetor Dreimond considered the rumors he had heard.  Apparently, a fellow scholar had come to visit Targnol.  The press of his duties seldom allowed him the luxury of discourse with other healers.  Perhaps if he invited them on this hunt the Shah was proposing?  They could stay in the stronghold until all was prepared. 

Valnetor grimaced cynically. With his luck some luckless courtier would get himself hurt and force him to spend the whole hunt waiting upon the idiot.  There was always so much to be done!  The healer redoubled his efforts, hoping that he might finally find a chance to spend time with his intellectual equals.

+ + + +

In an alley between the squalid huts of impoverished fishermen, a beggar child poked at the cloth-wrapped bundle he had found.  Encrusted with blood and filth, the silken rags fell open to reveal the corpse of a woman, her skin the red-bronze of an Altanian house-slave or noble’s handmaiden.  The child shuddered as he saw the dozens of cuts and punctures covering her body, but overcame his fear long enough to grab a jeweled bracelet and flee.  His brothers would have bread tonight!

As you introduce your characters to the game setting, they have learned of the planned hunt and the apparent murder.  Rumors are spreading rapidly...
« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 01:21:05 AM by Wulfhere »
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Offline caesar193

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2013, 06:50:58 PM »
Peregrina Letalis surveyed the crowd in the town square. Some merchants attended stalls while explaining why exactly each and every passerby needed their fish-chunks-onna-stick. Children chased each other while weaving through adult legs, laughing wildly, all under the eye of parents. A thief surreptitiously unclasped a gold bracelet from an unwary woman. And, of course, the decaying bodies on the stakes. Peregrina sighed. Oh, the wondrous benefits of civilization.

She slipped her bow into her backpack, but kept her dagger hidden and at the ready. No need attracting unwanted attention. She whistled for Geri, and started weaving her way through the crowd. Though she did have to slap one aspiring thief's hand as it drifted far too near her backpack. She stood for a moment in the lee of the crowd, and looked up at the sign hanging above the quiet door. The Golden Trident, proclaimed the sign. Sure enough, a gold trident underlined the words. The prongs stuck out from the wood sign, and someone had decided to be funny and stick a beer mug over the middle prong.

Peregrina pushed her way into the inn. A couple of early patrons were lounging around, waiting for Larissa to start singing again. The barkeep was wiping down the counter with a rag. Peregrina, having been this way on a past merchant caravan before, had been here before and was familiar with the barkeep Neketh al'Karid.

Neketh looked up from his counter-wiping (or rather, looked down), and after a moment recognition etched his face. "Hey, Shorty! What brings ya back in town?"

"For the last time, don't call me Shorty," said Peregrina in the easy manner of an old habit. "And the same old, same old. Jithos al'Ishmael, the rug merchant, hired my guarding services back in Yithnol. By the way, you got a mug on your sign."

"Hmm? Oh, yeah, one of the regulars keeps doing that. I'd knock it off, but he'd put it back on, so... Anyways, Shorty, ya want the same room? Number 16?" said Neketh, while fending off Geri's exuberant attack.

"Yep. Thanks, Neketh," Peregrina said, and then whistled for Geri.

"Oh, and by the way, Shorty. Got wind of a rumor you might be interested in."

"And?"

"Word 'round town is that," began Neketh, leaning in closer, "Some handmaiden kicked the bucket earlier. There was this ferocious fight, ya see, and the other guy had a knife, and stab stab stab, the girl was dead an' bleedin' all over the place."

He leaned back, and then told her about the Shah's hunt. Peregrina smiled, nodded, and thanked him for the news. She whistled again for Geri, and then disappeared to her room. She dropped her bag on the floor, threw a treat to Geri, and then slipped out of her armor. She lay down on the bed, planning on taking a quick nap before the dinner hour rolled around.

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Offline Shadoweagle

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2013, 09:50:07 PM »
Ooc: posted via my phone, so if formatting etc is crappy, I apologise.

"To Valnetor Dreimond. I... No, wait." The hollowed voice of Exeta Fynn echoed from beneath his mask as he conversed with a young courier. The masked alchemist pointedly ignored the looks he received from the women awaiting their fisherman partners as he and the courier walked slowly along the shoreline of the Trident gulf. "Thee goode and honorable Physician Dreimond!" Exeta laughed softly and nodded. "Yes, write that down, Velos." The man with Exeta nodded and wrote down Exeta's words on a roll of parchment.

"Thee goode and honorable Physician Dreimond," Exeta repeated, "I, Exeta Fynn, humbly seek audience with thee. The prowess of Valnetor Dreimond's tinctures and salves are near legendary, and I have in fact based some of my own studies upon thine own practices. Your method of cold-pressing Anglerleaf to extract the purest Anaesthetic..." Exeta paused at Velos's blank stare, then with the patience of saints, slowly recited "A...n...a...e...s yes, you have it now! To extract the purest anaesthetic possible has proved most useful." Exeta paused in his stride as a lone bone crab skittered in front of the two men. The masked alchemist  considered the crab momentarily, before smiling beneath his mask and flipping the crustacean over onto its back with his boot. Exeta began walking once more, waving for the courier to follow him. Some several dozen paces before the duo, a large dog weaved through the crowd - and a halfling female. Exeta spared them no second glance, continuing his letter.

"I have caught wind of the great hunt which the great Shah is preparing; I am sure you must be busy with preparations for the event, but if you happened to have some free time, I would seek visitation to discuss your methods further."
"Is that all, Master Fynn?" Velos asked. Exeta removed his wide brimmed hat and ran a hand over his sweat-soaked, black hair before placing it back on - it was hot today, but the alchemist still wore his full attire.
" No... Add this; 'I eagerly await your reply, and am currently staying at The Golden Trident. The courier here will return a letter to me if you wish. He has already been paid for the response so don't let him fool you into paying him!" Velos's face soured as Exeter recited this, and the alchemist laughed loudly beneath the porcelain shell and clapped Velos on the back in a good natured gesture. "That will do, Velos. Send it to the Master Physician promptly, if you please."

Exeta handed Velos a silver piece and waved the young man on his way. Watching Velos jog off, the masked man grunted. It was time to get into the shade of the Golden Trident. He had stayed at the inn the previous two nights, and although it was a pleasant enough place he was loathe to spend another night; The exotic, green-skinned Larissa had been overly friendly to the alchemist and while he was certain there was no hidden motive into it, Exeta would prefer not to get on the wrong side of the well-fed Neketh.
Exeta Fynn entered The Golden Trident just in time to see the same halfling from the streets trekking upstairs with her dog.

Sure enough, Larissa was immediately at Exeta's side, a warm hand on his shoulder as she guided him to a secluded table. "My dear Mr Fynn! I trust you came back just to see my smiling face!"
Ignoring this, Exeta sat on a reasonably comfortable chair and then nodded to the staircase, "I never knew you allowed animals in here, Larissa."
"Well, we don't tend to, but that one's a special case! The pup is well trained, and the lass never likes to be apart from it much."
Dismissing this, Exeta asked for wine which was promptly brought to his table. Sliding his porcelain mask halfway up his face to reveal his stubbled chin, Exeta drank - not the most practical way to consume things, but the man had made a reputation on never revealing his face, and there was no point in changing that habit simply to quench his thirst.

Larissa sat down on the other side of the table, smiling widely at him, "So, are you going to save us from the villainous cutthroat that stabbed that young maiden, milord?"
"I have other... Appointments I am trying to arrange, Larissa; I doubt I will have time for anything else." 
Satisfied and glad to be out of the sun, Exeta awaited a reply to his letter.

« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 06:12:13 AM by Shadoweagle »
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Offline Gossamer

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2013, 08:02:26 AM »
Two weeks had passed since he first arrived at this smelly backwater place, and Verity was starting to feel a little restless. Normally he never stayed long in one place or the other, but recent developments had forced him to pause. He paced back and forth on the creaking hardwood floor. On top of some crates across the small shabby room, sat a figure watching him expectantly. He was the closest thing to a friend, Verity had ever known, a short(though normal sized for his race) ragged fellow, known as Hands. For perhaps the third time today, Verity had to ask. "And you are zure of this? The doctor?"

The halfling sighed and looked at Verity with slight exasperation, composed himself and replied.
"For the last time, yes. I've allready checked it with three independant sources, and while they didn't know much, I could discern enough from what they did know. And that letter you received should prove it."

Verity's frustration was starting to show. "But how-"

Hands cut him off. "I don't know how! ..But that letter would suggest that he won't do anything rash in either case. So why not hear him out. You wouldn't be admitting to anything, and you need to find out just how much he thinks he knows in order to make a solid decision."

He cleared his throat, and reached for his pocket. Causing Verity to pause in his pacing and study the movement of the hand. The gloved hand returned from the folds of the pocket holding a small flower bulb, and Verity visibly relaxed. Hands threw the bulb into his opened maw, and started thoughtfully chewing. He picked up.

"The....hunters, would surely see him dead, if he does know something. But if not, there's still time to sway him off this dangerous course. Course, there's the matter of that slave-girl found dead..." Hands raised an eyebrow.

Verity held his chin thoughtfully, and tried looking out the grimey window with not much success.
He didn't like where this was heading, but he understood his friend's reasoning.
"And what if he iz allready working for them? It would certainly zeem like they are allready here, no?" He turned with a seemingly nonchalant look on Hands, gauging his response.

Hands shrugged. "Kill him. Can't have that. Though, I'd advice you to be careful. He is well connected after all, no matter the Shah's personal feelings towards the man, he would probably still take it personnally if his court physician turned up dead. But for now, let's hope it doesn't come to that."

Verity let his hands rest on his hips, and flashed the halfling one of his characteristic smiles.
"Very well, my diminutive friend. But, if the good doctor thinkz he will have everything the way he intended, he is zurely mistaken! I will pay him a vizit, do not doubt. But not at the hour intended. The question iz, will he be attending the hunt, or ztay behind?" Verity was getting worked up, dramatically stabbing the air with his index finger.

The halfling looked thoughtful. "Could go either way. You were supposed to meet late in the evening, the hunt is during the day. Since there's a big chance a hunter might get injured, the Shah will probably keep the physician waiting at the side-lines. But if he have his own way, he'll no doubt stay behind. Men like that probably don't enjoy such physical sports. My money would be on the former though. And either way, the security ought to be light during the hunt."

Verity took heart at hearing that. "Then it is zettled! While the Shah and his court are out rummaging through the bush, I will enter the ztronghold in all discretion and await the doctor'z return. No doubt it will come as a pleazant surprise." With that, his smug smile grew wide and he winked at Hands. After a wish of luck from the halfling, he adjusted his disguise, pulled up his hood and mentally altered his way of speaking, he started limping his way down the mucky roads towards the Golden Trident, trepidation mixed with excitement at the thought of the coming hunt.

He took a quick look through the window, then entered the not yet so buzzing establishment. That annoying fish-woman was busy chatting to a strange man in a silly mask. Verity frowned his now wrinkly face at that, but collected himself soon enough when the hollows of the man's mask was directed his way. He quickly turned his head, causing his long seemingly grey hair to dance in front of his face. He started limping towards the back, with a quick nod at the innkeeper, who knew him only as "Gann", the vagrant. He looked both ways in the corridor, studied the door for a while. Seemingly satisfied, he unlocked it carefully, swung the door open and after a while made his careful way inside. Resetting the small trap he had set in order to tell if someone had entered, he locked the door. After having looked through the whole room, he threw himself on his bed and cocked his crossbow. Soon, very soon. His time to act would come...

Summary: Verity is disguised as an older human male. The Inn-keeper knows him only as 'Gann' the vagrant. And Verity remains in his rented room at the Trident until the day of the hunt, no common room, no elvish features.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 08:58:40 AM by Gossamer »
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Offline valadaar

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2013, 07:52:00 PM »
Therdamin arranged his few things in the sparse room.  It was dim - two loopholes served as windows and Therdamin had not bothered to light the lamp.  The journey had been pleasant enough, the caravan he travelled with had been well guarded and not inclined to tarry.

He looked forward to meeting with Valnetor, a royal doctor and well placed scholar. Maybe he could even arrange to visit the Shah’s library - he had to have one.  His own clan’s library held little draw for him now, having read virtually the entirety of it.

He got up to take a walk about the ground. Perhaps they had siege weaponry he could examine..
   
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Offline Chaosmark

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2013, 07:51:36 AM »
Food and sleep. After a long day walking along the road, that was all Ren wanted. Sleep she could find as easily as climbing onto a roof somewhere, but food was a different matter. She wasn't sure that fish-onna-stick was quite going to cut it, but nothing else she had passed was even remotely appetizing.

As the feline was deciding to turn back and give the "fish" a go, a scent of something truly delicious wafted right past her nose and grabbed hold of her stomach like the hand of a god. Whatever that was, she wanted it. Letting her keen sense of smell guide the way, Ren made her way through the crowd. The path led to an inn of some kind, with a golden spear of some kind she'd never seen before hanging outside. Going by the name on the sign, it was a "trident".

A quick glance around the interior led her to the bar, where a large, fishy individual was serving patrons. "I'll take a plate of whatever that amazing smell is."
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Offline caesar193

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2013, 10:41:46 AM »
(OOC: I'm just going to assume its dinner time, and Neketh has cooked some food.)

(OOC Talk Two: It seems that some of the stuff I had said was false. I've edited it out, so it may be different from when you last read of Peregrina's exploits)

Peregrina opened her eyes to dog slobber. Geri was anxious, to say the least, to eat. Or maybe just to slobber on Neketh again. Either way, Peregrina was forced to roll Geri off her body, stretch, and don her equipment. Let's see... dagger in case of unruly guests, bow and arrows in case the Trident burned down in a case of arson, and... oh, well. Might as well stuff everything in her backpack and bring it along.

Peregrina trudged down the stairs and gazed across the scene. Mostly humans typical of the area, but there were some odd features. Like that weird masked one.

She strolled up to the counter, gently chastened Neketh for the nickname "Shorty," and got a plate of grub. She sat at a table a little ways away from the masked one, slipped a chunk of meat into Geri's mouth, and whispered a quick command to Geri, to watch the masked guy because, well... he has a mask on. There has to be something wrong with a masked chap. He's probably is some villain with horrific scaring or something.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2013, 03:22:19 PM by caesar193 »

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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2013, 01:46:22 PM »
In the Shah’s Stronghold
A cool fountain stood at the center of the castle’s cloistered garden, its water splashing merrily.  Before it stood a gleaming golden statue depicting an androsphinx, its lifelike frown seeming to focus on all who entered the place.  Wandering along the garden’s shaded walkways, Therdamin took in the rare and unusual flowers that filled the garden’s beds.  Many of the garden’s plants were known for their medicinal properties as much as their beauty.  As he wandered, a tall, clean-shaven man approached, his sober features split in an unreserved smile.  This was the court physician, Valnetor Dreimond. 

“Good Therdamin!  I had hoped you would accept my invitation!  It is such a pleasure to see a fellow scholar.”  Valnetor glanced down at the nearby blossoms, bending down to pluck a few, then taking off his brimless cap to use as an improvised bowl.  “Pardon my distraction, but these blossoms have finally reached perfection!  As you can see, whoever first planted this garden either had a fine eye for medicines or a gift for poisons, since most of its plants could be used for either.  I sometimes wonder whether the gardener intended woe or weal, or perhaps... both.

“I had planned to go into the town today, if you’d care to come.  There have been some cases of illness that I would like to study, and I’ve also received word from a noted healer visiting the town.  He’s staying at the inn, so we had best move quickly, lest the place’s fleas drink him dry or their leaden ale sap his wits.” The normally-quiet scholar grinned at the prospect of carousing among the townsfolk.

While the two chatted, one of the Shah’s household guards approached, pausing at a courteous distance until the physician waved him closer.  The soldier touched his  turbaned helm and chest in salute, then began an obviously rehearsed report.  “Esteemed Scholar, it is this humble one’s unfortunate duty to inform you that the handmaiden of Lady Nefertari, the Altanian girl Zahra, has been found… dead.” 

The scholar blanched and stepped back.  “What happened?  I saw her just the other day.  She seemed in perfect health!” 

“’Twas murder, sahib.  She was stabbed scores of times, her jewels despoiled and her remains dumped in an alley.  I have just come from informing the Lady.”  The guard’s voice was quiet, shamed to deliver news of harm to the household he was sworn to defend. 

“By Mitra, such a death bodes ill.  I pray that the malefactor meets quick justice!”  Turning to Therdamin, his previous good spirits were replaced with a frown.  “Let us still journey into town, but I suggest that we don our arms ere going.  With murder in the air, ‘tis the course of wisdom to be prepared.”


In the Golden Trident
A trio of Common Viridians lurched into the inn, their center member supported by two others.  Their appearance coarse and gazes suspicious, they nodded grimly toward the barkeep and carried their ally into a secluded back room.  The disreputable halfling ‘Hands’ followed close after, his urgent whispers punctuated with violent gesticulation.  Throwing his hands up in frustration, the Halfling left the argument to wind between the tables to Exeta Fynn.  The mysterious healer was forced to abruptly put down his tankard, lest his face be exposed to the indignant Halfling’s abrupt approach. 

Ren overheard part of the whispered conversation:
‘Hands’ was angry that the men brought their friend to the Trident, arguing that ‘the Greens’ would be less likely to bring attention to the 'Brotherhood'.  The stranger responded that the Shah’s Household men have started rounding people up in that area, upset over some wench’s death. 

Arriving at his table, ‘Hands’ bowed briefly toward Exeta.  “I see you wear a doctor's mask.  Would you be able to aid an injured shipbuilder?  Our friends have coin, if you can remain discreet.  If his foreman hears of his wound, he’ll surely lose his position.”
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 11:22:34 PM by Wulfhere »
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Offline valadaar

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2013, 06:10:23 PM »
Therdamin was dismayed, but did not show it.  One now would meet judgment early, and others would find their hearts much heavier when their time came.

Both were regrettable.

"I'll be but a moment, Doctor Dreimond." he said as he went back to his room to fetch his armor.


   
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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2013, 08:32:00 AM »
Exeta had been growing somewhat disgruntled at the lack of reply to his earlier sent message, and had taken to people watching. There was plenty of colourful people in the Golden Trident; an Elfish fellow had arrived, and the earlier spotted halfling had come back to the common room with her faithful beast, and then there was one of the catfolk! A rare sight indeed; Exeta had only seen one before, and this time he found it was him doing the staring for a change.

His boredom growing, Exeta turned his attention back to the halfling and her pet. "Say there, that's a healthy looking pup you have there! What's the beast's name?"
Exeta didn't get a chance to hear her reply however because just at that moment the shady 'Hands' approached the alchemist with his shady request.
Exeta considered the man for a moment, then glanced over to the entrance of the room where the injured fellow was taken. "Well, my healing talents are rusty - I have taken another route with my learning... You know what, I'll take a look, but I cannot promise anything." Exeta Fynn paused and glanced around the room, his eyes pausing on Peregrina momentarily. "But I have a condition - with respect, I'd like an extra pair of eyes not affiliated... Perhaps the lovely lady and her furred companion here if she agrees?" Exeta nodded to Peregrina.

Ooc: perhaps a Diplomacy check to see if Hands will let someone else come in with him? Or whatever rolls are required there.

Also, quick post made on my phone to keep the ball rolling. I'll tidy it up tomorrow arvo, and sorry if the continuity is shot.
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Offline caesar193

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2013, 11:00:29 AM »
Great, thought Peregrina, now if the doctor screws up (which is likely, from what the doctor said), I get killed too. Terrific.

But she kept her internal reservations to herself, slipped Geri the last of the meat on her plate, and rested her arm on her dog's soft, warm fur.

"Sure, I can go. The only medical knowledge I have, though, is the type you get when the doctor's standing over you muttering 'Yes, this sword wound is beginning to be infected. A quarter ounce of maggots?' But from the looks of it, that's probably way more knowledge than the rest of these people got."

She rubbed Geri's flank for a moment, and then continued: "So lead the way, if you're havin' us."

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2013, 01:36:34 PM »
At the Stronghold’s Gates

Four household guards surrounded Therdamin and the doctor, the crimson velvet of the soldiers’ jazeraints resplendent with embroidered golden androsphinxes.  Visibly uncomfortable in the early evening heat, each carried a bared tulwar and bright-painted buckler.  Recurved bows hung in ornate cases at their sides. 

Behind them followed a pair of burly hobgoblin torch bearers, each wearing a large wicker backpack in case the doctor wished to purchase something while in the town.

Doctor Dreimond rode a well-proportioned black saqlawiya, a high-stepping beast inclined to nip anyone who failed to respect its foul temper.  For Therdamin, he had chosen an older Abbayan mare, a sedate creature more suited to the scholar’s limited riding experience.  The horses’ magnificent trappings made Therdamin feel as if he were the hero of a children’s tale, setting forth to right wrongs and crush wicked giants. 

The doctor continued describing the town’s social structure as they rode beneath the stronghold’s massive gates.  “We must ensure that the common folk understand that the Shah’s might protects us.  That is why I insisted that we ride while others walk:  This shows that you are my guest and that together we enjoy the favor of His Serene Eminence.  Otherwise, plotters and subversives would seek us as allies or the enemies of the Shah would see us as potential pawns.  There is no danger in this town that we cannot overcome, save the terrible displeasure of its ruler.”

The beggars and petitioners that had collected before the gates scattered as the party marched past them, each kneeling and groveling as the horses passed.  The party’s path then wound past the opulent stone mansions of powerful merchants and noblemen (notably clear of beggars, as the merchants’ guards were more likely to dispense cudgel blows than largesse), and past the grim shrine of Armadad Bog, Viridistan’s harsh patron god. 

As they rode down the sloped streets into the lower town, cobblestones were replaced by rutted tracks, dust, and sand.  They passed a group of wind-worn statues along the side of the road, figures of men and women with arms raised to ward off invisible foes and looks of terror on their stone faces.  Valnetor’s voice was hushed as he explained that the Shah ordered that these victims remain in place lest the region’s legendary archmage seek out more examples to illustrate the price of arousing his anger. 

The lower town was more lively, as folk who had sheltered the day’s hottest hours came out to complete their business before darkness set in. One of the guards gestured to the riders, pointing out the alley in which the murdered handmaiden had been found. 

After a brief discussion with Valadaar and Perception checks of 12, 23, and 7…

As the guards warily scanned the alley’s exits, Therdamin dismounted and examined the murder scene.  Skilled in the healing arts, the dwarf immediately noted that there was hardly any blood spilled:   Considering the gruesome description offered by the unfortunate guards who had recovered Zahra’s body, there was no way that the handmaiden could have been killed in this place.  This grim alley was merely a convenient place to dump her body. 

Glancing at the dismal shanties that surrounded him, he guessed that the killer had hoped the girl’s body would never be found, that the downtrodden folk dwelling here would hide her remains rather than risk being questioned by the Shah’s torturers.  It was only foolish luck that the palace guards had learned of it. 

Examining a length of bloodstained, ragged cloth lying amid the filth, Therdamin made out part of an androsphinx.  This had been once one of the hanging tapestries that adorned the palace walls!  The cloth was torn and punctured, savagely rent by some sort of bladed weapons.  Beneath the cloth lay a tiny ceramic vial, of the sort that often held scented oils and potions.  It was empty.

A barely-perceptible noise caught Therdamin’s attention, causing him to look up from his examination of the vial.  He was not alone in the alley!  A rangy, feral cat glared balefully at him from a trash heap a few yards away, making faint hacking noises and twitching unnaturally as it drew closer.  Suddenly, the afflicted creature leapt upon the scholar, viciously biting and clawing! 

A Golden Trident post coming very soon!
« Last Edit: June 17, 2013, 09:16:34 PM by Wulfhere »
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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2013, 02:01:13 PM »
Therdamin threw up one armoured sleeve to block the cat's attack and reached for the cat with his gauntleted hand.

Seems Bast is upset, he thought, or the vial!.


He managed to seize the struggling, psychotic feline. A moments thought, and he looked at one of the hobgoblins.
"Basket, quick!"

The Hobgoblin was surprised, but hastened to act and brought forth a wicker basket.  With no ceremony, he stuffed the screeching animal into the basket and made sure the latch was secure.

The Doctor said, "We can check it for rabies later. We must hurry now."

Therdamin scooped up the other items - the vial and cloth.  He sighed at the inefficiency of the palace guards in collecting evidence. These would tell a story, he was sure. Especially if what was in the vial was what he suspected.

 "Do you know any good alchemists, good Doctor? "



« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 08:24:15 PM by valadaar »
   
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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2013, 02:52:31 PM »

In the Trident
Larissa glared at her husband Neketh, furiously wiping the Trident’s turned wooden tankards.  “Beloved husband,” she cooed with false affection, “I hope that your… friends… don’t cause any problems.  You remember the last time they came here instead of seeking wiser counsel.”

The portly innkeeper nodded, sagely ignoring her veiled sarcasm.  “Larissa, my Dearest, I’m sure that Jelke knew what he’s doing when he came here.”

Larissa slammed clean tankards down onto a tray.  “But, Honeykins, they said the palace guards were searching in the town.  Should the gods come to claim your soul this very day, Mitra forbid, you surely would not wish to leave me alone and undefended, at the mercy of cruel guardsmen!” 

Turning to the charming elven merchant that sat at the bar’s end, Larissa poured a fresh tankard for him, her hand lingering on his as they touched.  Neketh turned toward the kitchen:  It was past time to clean up after supper. 

Meanwhile, in the back room, the thugs’ leader Filthy Jelke eyed the strange ‘doctor’ warily.  His friend Wern Forktongue had the stubs of two arrows protruding from his flesh and ‘Hands’ wanted to play games by asking strangers for their help.  The shady halfling popped another bulbous flower into his mouth, seeming to calm down afterward.  He then unwrapped a grimy set of leech’s tools onto the room’s large table, the sight of their filthy, blood-spattered iron making Wern even more nervous. 

‘Hands’ tried to reassure his uneasy associates.  “This man is famed for his good deeds and knowledge of healing lore.  You have nothing to worry about!”  Jelke’s hand rested on the hilt of his broadsword.  He didn’t look worried as his fingers drummed on the browned iron.  No, he wasn’t worried at all.

Examining the wounded man, Exeta could see that he bore the crude tattoos of a brigand, not the nautical themes of a mariner.  One of the arrows had pierced his abdomen:  If it brought fever, the man was done for without a skilled healer’s care.  Exeta’s rudimentary knowledge just wouldn’t do.   The other wound lay in the man’s thigh.

Exeta is a bit uneasy about this case...
The DC needed for the Heal checks is 15, with one check for each wound...
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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2013, 07:33:58 PM »
Exeta entered the room with the halfling and beneath his mask his lip curled distastefully - the wounds on Wern Forktoungue were worse than he thought; the alchemist was unsure if he had the skills to properly mend these! The filthy tools that were supplied didn't help Exeta's confidence, either!
"This could get ugly," the alchemist muttered to Peregrina before stepping forth with more confidence than he felt. First, those tools! Lets see... Some 'clean' cloth, water,  picking tools, rusty scalpel...
 Exeta fished within one of his myriad pockets and pulled out a small paper sachet, he then plucked a test-tube sized, stoppered vial from his belt.
The alchemist tore open the sachet and sprinkled a tiny amount of fine, metallic powder onto the bloody picking tools and rusty scalpel he then unstoppered the the vial, releasing a pungent, chemical aroma, and poured just a small drop on each of the tools.
Exeta looked up at the sword-bearing man and with a hollow, emotionless voice uttered, "Do not be alarmed..." before directing a minute spark of his magical essence to activate the ingredients before him.

The tools flared up brightly like lit magnesium for a second with a loud Fizzle before dying down to nothingness.
One of the more obscure uses for my bomb compounds, mused Exeta, but good for a show!
"The tools are now Sanitized!" The alchemist explained, wiping residue off the tools. Immediately he got to work, digging into the abdomen's wound first with the tools. "Often, we would leave the head in," Exeta explained while he worked - mostly to give the illusion of confidence. " As removing it can cause terrible blood loss! But in this case... Ah!" Exeta nodded as he tenderly raised the head from the wound with little resistance. Beneath the head, the injury had already started clotting and although it looked gruesome, it would heal with proper care. "Hold this on there, firmly now!" he instructed the 'sailor', and then moved to his second injury in the leg, "Alright, this one should be no more difficult!"
Exeta moved the trusty tools into the second arrow wound and attempted to remove it. After several minutes of digging around though it was obvious that he was having much more difficulty than the other one. He even attempted to dig around the head with the scalpel, causing Wern to scream in agony. Finally, Exeta withdrew from the injury, the arrowhead still lodged within and shook his head,
"There is nothing I can do for this one; the head appears to be lodged dangerously close to an artery; all I can suggest is to keep it bandaged and watch for infection." Bluff check
"It may heal over as it is, but he will risk it needing amputation unless you find someone more suitable to this task; and with better equipment at their disposal."
Exeta rinsed his gloved hands with the rest of the water and looked over to hands, absently studying what he had popped in his mouth. "I have done what I can. Now; I believe you mentioned gold?"
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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2013, 08:17:53 PM »
While Exeta worked on his leg, 'Hands' passed a bottle of the inn's cheapest rotgut into Wern Forktongue's shaking hands.  The injured brigand whimpered and shuddered in agony as as he endured the alchemist's probing.

Unfortunately, the Bluff result was weaker than Jelke’s Sense Motive…

Filthy Jelke spat on the floor, his sword whispering from its scabbard.  “You’n not be done, healer!  You’n be seen gold when I’en satisfied, and ne’er afore!”  Turning toward ‘Hands’, the thug waved his sword menacingly.  “What be you’n game, turning us afore these strangeren?  Did you peak to turn we’n in afore the Sphinxes, double you’n reward by naming they be’en ‘accomplices’?  Or be this’n ‘healer’ working with ye, seeking to claimin our sworden or booten as he cut?”  Glaring at Exeta, his voice became an angry snarl. “False healer, you’n did nor even invoke Thoth’s kenning or circle the room with iron against the Gulf-Lord’s anger!  Whatever spirits thirst for his blood, they still circle in hunger!”

Slamming his sword into a side-table, the superstitious brigand rent the inoffensive furnishing into fragments.  “Healer, you’n be to work, and ne’er cease afore ye have ALL the bits taken!”. 
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 08:23:06 PM by Wulfhere »
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Offline Gossamer

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2013, 08:27:21 AM »
Verity disguised as 'Gann', awoke from his day-dreaming. He had heard a scream. This wasn't the kind of inn where you would normally expect screams either. At least not so close behind supper. He unlocked the door, exited, locked it behind him, and with all haste adjusted his now somewhat lopsided disguise and crept downstairs silent like a shadow.

Nothing seemed strange in the common room, except that people looked a little tense, but noone took any notice of him, he peeked inside the kitchen, nothing seemed untoward in there either. That left the back room, he crept up slowly, with his face to the door, trying to look and listen through the crack of the door.

He recognized that voice, Jelke, that old jollier(how he loved to tease the man). He could make out a small familiar shape with his hands up trying to calm the volatile brigand. What in blazes was 'Hands' doing here? For that matter, he seemed to be in a tough spot. Verity's hand squeezed the pommel of his blade hidden in the folds of his grey robe, trying to gauge the situation.

As much as he hated having to consider such direct action, he couldn't likely let his little friend die at the hands of this uncouth nobody. After all, he could still be of use. But he wasn't going to take any unneccesary actions either, if 'Hands' needed him, then, and only then would he act. From the sounds of it, there was likely to be more people in that room anyways. Verity silently cursed his luck.


15+7 (perception check)

9+7 (disguise check)

20!+7 (stealth check)

18+7 (perception check)

Quite a good start!

Seemingly an old human male clothed in a gray hooded robe now stands hidden in the shadows close to the back room door, listening, watching, waiting.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 02:14:38 PM by Gossamer »
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Offline Shadoweagle

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2013, 11:29:58 PM »
Ah... one of THOSE people. Beneath his mask, Exeta glowered furiously; though to Jelke he remained a vision of calm, even through the splintering of the offending furniture. Very well; i'll play.

"You want me to be accursed of Thoth, friend?" Exeta shook his head at Jelke, "To invoke his name in these dreary circumstances and in this befouled room would be an insult!" Exeta waved his hands in a dismissive gesture and turned to walk away, "If I keep probing him, he will more likely die than live, so you keep your gold and you keep your bloodied companion. Let's go," He nodded to Peregrina, "It seems I have wasted -both- our times."

Exeta began walking to the door leading back to the common room; however he picked a vial out of his belt, popped the cork off in his hands and held it at the ready.

Exeta's gonna try and leave the room. If Jelke tries to stop him he'll lift his mask a bit and pop a 'shield' extract. Otherwise, he'll head out to the common room leave them to deal with Wern by themselves.
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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2013, 11:47:56 AM »
Verity recognizes the masked man he saw in the common room earlier, through the crack, heading for the door. His muscles tense and he prepares to hide should the door open.

If he opens the door, I want to ready an action and hide behind the opening door(I hope it opens out), in a shady corner there with my face towards the wall.

stealth check 7+7 (Is that enough, can I take 10?)

If I'm spotted, I want to make a new disguise check (+7), if possible.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 02:15:22 PM by Gossamer »
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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2013, 09:10:20 PM »
In the Golden Trident
Anger written on his features, Jelke considered striking down the masked man for his bold rebuke, but a vague premonition of danger stilled the hotheaded brigand’s hand.  Jelke assessed the potential odds against him, his suspicious gaze taking in ‘Hands’ and the halfling archer near the doorway, the wanderer’s massive hound, and the others in the common room.  Catfolk were said to know inhuman fighting tricks, and who could say how the elven trader or the others in the common room might react?  Even worse, the Brotherhood Ikhwan Bahrin would certainly seek vengeance if the ‘Sphinxes’ of the Shah’s Guard were drawn to one of their members’ businesses by a brawl.  Angrily slamming his sword back into its sheath, the grime-encrusted brigand muttered impotent maledictions as he and his silent associate gathered up their wounded friend and crept from the inn.  Wern walked a bit better than he had when they helped him enter, but the brief ordeal had left the injured man wan and drained. 

Neketh quietly approached Exeta, passing a cool cup of minted sekanjabin to the masked alchemist.  His voice lowered to a conspiratorial whisper.  “I’m sorry that happened.  I can tell you tried your best, lad.  I know Jelke’s humours:  If his friend Forktongue takes further ill from his wound, he’s like to blame you once he’s in his cups.  You’ll want to keep your eyes open and ware who follows you.”

On the Avenue of the Three Southern Gods
Doctor Dreimond looked uneasy as he considered Therdamin’s question.  “As a matter of fact, one of the folk I hoped to meet in town is a noted alchemist.  We haven’t met before, but I’ve heard tales of his benevolence.  I had hoped to share formulae with him, as I’ve always been fascinated by such esoterica.” 

Suddenly, the doctor reined in his horse, his attention drawn by a young woman’s desperate cries.  “Al-Khair Doctor!  Help my child, please!”  She held aloft a weakly-struggling toddler, a child whose weeping sores caused other folk in the crowded street to veer away in fear.  Muttered cries of “leper” and “unclean!” could be made out from the crowd.

The doctor gestured for calm, declaring in a commanding voice “There’s nothing to fear here!  Let me help this unfortunate child!”  Dismounting, Valnetor drew the woman closer, his horse shielding her from the crowd.  “You took a foolish risk entering the town, woman!  No one could help your boy if a mob crushed you both with stones lest you contaminate them!”  Reaching into his pouch, he gave the woman a small jar of unguent.  “This should improve your son’s condition.  Now, by the gods, be more careful in the future!”

Remounting his steed, the doctor urged the others to hurry.  The Golden Trident was not much farther.

« Last Edit: June 17, 2013, 09:12:26 PM by Wulfhere »
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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2013, 09:34:10 PM »
A pair of the Shah’s arrogant household guards strode into the inn, curved tulwars and gleaming bucklers in their hands.  Several customers looked uneasy or shifted toward the rear door as the bellicose warriors examined the room, their contempt for the inn’s seedy clientele patently obvious.  Larissa smiled widely and started to sashay toward the soldiers, carrying a full pitcher of ale and a pair of clean cups, but her husband interrupted her approach, yanking her behind him as she squeaked in surprise.

The aged innkeeper’s smile of greeting never reached his eyes.  He eyed the bared swords with caution. “What business have you in this place, soldiers of the Shah? Would you like a cool drink?”

“Return to your tankards, innkeeper!  We serve his Eminence the Shah, not the importune wheedlings of his subjects!  You others: Remain where you are!”  One of the guards watched carefully from the doorway, while the other ducked back outside.
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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #21 on: June 19, 2013, 09:41:58 AM »
Exeta watched Neketh blankly for a while - his expression hidden by the porcelain mask. Finally, he snatched the Sekanjabin from the barkeep's hand and turned away.
The alchemist made his way to Peregrina and offered the mug to the halfling, "A waste of time and effort. I owe you a drink, at the very least. What's your name?"
Exeta's head turned sharply at the intrusion of the Shah's guards and watched their arrogant exchange with Neketh curiously; if they had come moments earlier, they may have been useful. But now... just another harassment. Exeta was getting very sick of the Golden Trident and was anxious to be done with the place. But he was stuck here, at least for the moment, as the guard stood by the entrance.
Sighing, Exeta dropped to a seat, and scanned the crowd for anything of interest.
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Offline caesar193

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2013, 12:52:47 PM »
"Peregrina," the halfling replied, nodding her thanks for the sekanjabin. "And this here is Geri. You can pet him, if you like. He only bites people that I tell him to. And you're some mysterious doctor. Or otherwise? From what you said earlier, medicine wasn't exactly your forte. So, Doc, what's your name, origin, and occupation?"

She glanced up at the soldiers as they entered the inn, and smiled at how arrogant they were. She tried some of the sekanjabin, and found that it had a little too much vinegar in it. Still, it was good, so she had some more.

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2013, 09:35:40 AM »
Verity, or rather, the vagrant known as 'Gann', allowed himself to exhale. The masked man had briskly exited the back room, with a halfling girl in tow. He had almost swallowed his own heart, when a huge dog came padding out after her. Luckily none of them seemed to have noticed him hiding behind the door. Jelke had seemingly also left with a few other men, 'Hands' among them. It seems whatever crisis there might have been, was averted.

But now, a new problem presented itself. How was he to discreetly return to his room coming from such a conspicuous spot. As he was pondering this problem, further commotion was heard from the common room. He allowed himself a short peek. Guardsmen, from the look of it, with weapons drawn. So they must be searching for someone. Jelke? 'Hands'? Or... No matter, this was trouble he didn't need. But if he was caught lurking, it wouldn't exactly help his case. Time to act.

(Remember the disguise check I requested earlier, I hope it went well)

Stealth check 2+7 ouch...

Bluff check 18+10


In mid-stumble, Verity abandoned all plans on moving silently as many eyes turned his way, instead he rolls with it, half limping, half stumbling, acting overly drunk. He whisks a glass off a nearby table and downs it in one gulp, disregarding the complaints of the patron to whom the glass belonged. He stumbles towards the  remaining guard and intentionally stumbles into his arms. He exhales his now alcoholic breath onto his face and says in a slurred voice;

"Brp..Scusemeh offcer..."

Disgusted, the guard shoves him back hard and curses him out. The seeming vagrant held out his hands in an appeasing gesture and turned to stumble drunkenly out the front door.

Summary: What (hopefully)looks like an elderly human male dressed in a grey hooded cape is about to leave the Trident.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 02:39:38 PM by Gossamer »
Samotny Osovjaltek - Dwarven Guild – Level 1
STR: 3 | END: 3 | CON: 3 | DEX: 5 | CHA: 2 | INT: 4

Offline Wulfhere

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Re: [Wilderlands] Chapter One: Hunters and the Hunted
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2013, 02:32:31 PM »
Gharon al Hanif had been honored when they named him a Muharib, the commander of three lances of cavalry.  If he had known the actual duties the officers planned for him, he might not have felt so honored.  After a day of hunting smugglers, his jazeraint chafed and sweat stained the stiffened collar of his tunic.

Watching warily for a possible trap or ambush, the veteran coordinated his subordinates’ search of the area.  The inn’s inhabitants might well know the cutthroats that he had been ordered to catch, but getting useful information from them would involve magic or torture, threats that the Shah preferred to reserve for more… serious… cases.  A trio of low-level bandits was hardly worth the risk of starting a riot by hauling a popular innkeeper and his guests into the Shah’s dungeons. 

Gharon watched one of the inn’s drunken patrons stagger out, clumsily lurching into Lutmun in the doorway.  The sot was fortunate:  Most guardsmen would retaliate with more than a simple shove and a few mild oaths at such careless insolence, but Lutmun listened overmuch to the Mycretians’ heretical teachings.  Gharon carefully observed the drunken peasant, curious why the man wore such bulky robes on such a warm night.  The drunkard meandered down a filthy alley, doubtlessly seeking someplace suitable for him to pass out in a puddle of his own piss. 

To Gharon’s continued aggravation, another group drew nearer through the darkness, their approach heralded by the continuous yowling of an ill-tempered cat carried in a basket by one of their slaves.  In the light cast by a hobgoblin linkbearer’s torch, he could make out one of the simpering bookworms that attended the Shah, accompanied by a mounted dwarf and four guardsmen.  By the gods’ thousand names, what nonsense was this?

“Greetings, esteemed scholar!” shouted the soldier as he saluted the approaching courtier.  “How may this humble one serve you?”

“We have business in the Golden Trident,” replied the doctor. 

“Take care, sir!  My men and I are hunting a group of smugglers that had fought the Exchequer’s collectors down by the shore.  We think they’re somewhere in the area.” 

Nodding grimly, Doctor Dreimond carefully dismounted. Handing his reins off to one of the hobgoblins, he strode purposefully into the inn.  Immediately spotting the masked alchemist, the doctor raised a hand in respectful greeting.  As he approached, the man’s eyes carefully scanned the others in the chamber.  A brief scowl crossed his features, but he masked his feelings as he approached Exeta’s table.  His face wore an expression of pure pleasure as he greeted the masked alchemist.  “At last we meet!  This will surely prove an auspicious day!”
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 02:45:43 PM by Wulfhere »
"Nothing real can defeat us:  Nothing unreal exists."
- Buckaroo Banzai