As is standard guild practice your group has enjoyed 3 days off from finishing a job successfully. As is typical, the Hobgoblin and Tiefling spent much of the down time intoxicated though not necessarily at the same tavern, the pair of Drow spent their time further perfecting their teamwork and combat tactics among other things, D'artanian spent at least one night gambling away all extra cash then spent the rest of his time either conducting personal research or sparring with other guild members looking to improve his sword skills, and Khetarin did whatever it was he did with his free time, no one was too sure of what that was though as he was always so secretive. ((If you wish to declare that you spent these three days doing something else, then feel free to post as such, be it crafting, research, shopping, or whatever, and I can PM you individually regarding personal results.))
At the end of the third day you each return to your respective rooms, at whatever time you drag yourself in, to find a note has been slid under the door into your room. The note, quite familiar by now, is of course another set of orders from Leo and it reads simply, "Front Courtyard, Noon, Tomorrow. Do Not Be Late." You know better by now not to be late, you've witnessed more than one initiate disregard the warning just to be cut down on the spot by Leo's massive falchion. The next morning you all go through your usual preparations, getting ready for yet another mission out in the wide world.
You all gather out at the designated area, well before noon, and wait patiently for Leo to arrive, knowing he likes coming in to find a group ready for orders, even if a little hung over. When he arrives he looks over each of you, doing his usual pointless inspections before delivering the orders. And once again he stops on the Tiefling and scowls, "Mr. Zisal, how many times must I tell you to take some of your pay and buy some new clothes. You represent this great guild and all it stands for every time you leave these grounds and you are sending the message that we accept any bum off the streets and just send them out to spread their filth and lice among the masses." You've all heard this speech every mission since the Tiefling joined, and yet nothing seems to change, no matter how many times Leo warns, "You better have some presentable clothes before the start of your next mission!"
Leo shook his head, and continued on, "The rest of you look presentable enough I suppose, so let's get down to business. We've gotten word from the mayor of a small town east of here, known as Oakcrest, that thieves are running rampant, striking at rich and poor alike from the neighboring forests. As of yet the local authorities have yet to be able to apprehend a single one of these thieves and believe that they may be using some sort of magic to assist in their raids. This is where we come in, you are to rendezvous with the local sheriff, one Ragnar Green, gather what information you can, and assist in stopping these attacks by any means necessary." You know by now of course that when Leo says "any means necessary" he means "kill them all". After a brief pause to insure that you all seem to understand he continues, "We've arranged transportation for you, both ways, and you leave immediately. The wagon is waiting outside the main gate now, the ride is roughly a day's time. I trust you will all make me proud yet again." With that he turns and heads back into the main keep, leaving you in the courtyard with your newest mission ahead of you.
Posted on 2010-08-24 at 16:21:37.
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
A sly grin slowly spreads across he drow's face. No one can read his eyes, covered as they are by the light-limiting goggles, but those who have worked with him are sure that the smile could be seen there too. This was just the type of mission for a drow. Search and destroy.
He nods to Nefarion, indicating they should head out, and without a word turns to head off towards where the caravan is gathered.
Khetarin slung his backpack over his shoulder and headed straight out to the waiting wagon, falling into step behind the two drow brothers. He saw why Sighvat did what he did, making sure all the guild members very plainly saw the hierarchy and ranks and knew precisely where they fell in relation to the well-known handler. There was merit to the tactic, as it kept the new recruits in line. No one ever mouthed off to a senior member after Leo's berating, and Sighvat made sure no one went too long without his scrutiny. Khetarin took care to stay as uninteresting as possible during mission briefings, having endured too much special attention himself before realizing how to get along with Leo.
He woke early that morning and prepped for departure. After dressing and making the bed, he scanned the room to ensure everything was in its proper place. It always was, but this was his ritual before leaving on assignment. Inventory the room, disconnect from it, clear his mind. He kept his small room spartan and never acquired more furniture than the simple bed and chest that the guild had provided for him. He had pushed the bed all the way over into one corner and kept the chest against the wall at the foot of the bed, maximizing the amount of open space in the room. In the center of the floor was a circular rug, deep red with black and purple interweaving knot-work designs. Lined up against the wall opposite his bed were eight large candles of the same colors as the rug. When not on assignment, Khetarin spends most of his time here in meditation and the rest in one of the training rooms keeping his body at peak performance.
The room was ready. He was ready. With the backpack looped over one shoulder, Khetarin closed the door to his room and made his way to the courtyard. He was the first to arrive, he was always the first to arrive. He picked his spot, just off-center of where Sighvat would begin his breakdown of the group's flaws. He was not going to be the first target, and the others would fill in on either side so he would not be the last target. Khetarin carefully set down his pack and stood just in front of it, shoulders back, head up, hands pressed into the small of his back. There he closed his eyes and listened to the sounds of the guild around him, the low hum of a mercenary group rousing for a day of money making and training.
When the first of his group mates arrived, Khetarin opened his eyes, but stayed in that trance of just listening until Leo made his appearance. Everyone had mostly gotten used to Khetarin's silent vigil before mission assignments and knew to hold any talk until after being dismissed by Sighvat.
"Nefarion, Rath," Khetarin said as the three men left the courtyard, "What do you think about this mission? Are the thieves really that good, or is this Sheriff Green true to his name and too inept to actually catch a common thug?" Khetarin hoped that the latter was the case. An easy job would be a nice break after the last catastrophe the group had been assigned.
Nefarion listened intently to Leo's little speech with his usual feigned nonchalance, the only out ward sign he made at all while hearing Leo's instructions was a raised eyebrow at his "by any means necessary" comment.
'Rath is going to love these orders,' Nefarion thought to himself. 'I hope Leo knows what he is doing.. sending drow out with such open ended orders certainly ensures that the objectives will be met however.. lets just hope the gravediggers in Oakrest are up for all the work they'll have to do once we've arrived there..'
Catching Rath'Sharr's sly smile Nefarion knew from experience that Rath was enjoying similar thoughts as himself about their current mission's parameters. This job almost felt drow in nature, hence Nefarion couldn't help but think that it must be something like a taste of home for Rath'Sharr. At the very least it was straight up his alley so to speak. Unlike his companion, Nefarion had been forced to learn the ways of the drow the hard way and while he had learned his lessons well he had never felt as though the cold blood manner of his people was truly his way. In the end it hadn't mattered however, he had proven himself to be a survivor in every sense of the word and in so doing he had learned what it meant to be drow. He had survived his upbringing, and beyond that he had not only survived the battle between houses that had claimed the lives of his family but also his solitary trek into the depths of the Underdark. It was more then likely that he was the sole survivor of his family as of now, not that he had risked his chance at freedom by staying around long enough to find out. If it hadn't been for his encounter with Rath'Sharr while wandering the tunnels of the Underdark there is no telling where Nefarion might have ended up.
Nefarion's momentary reverie was interrupted by Rath'Sharr's nod before his heading off towards the main gate. Not bothering to wait on the others Nefarion didn't hesitate to take off from the meeting after his companion and follow him towards the waiting caravan. Soon enough they would see what this day would lead to.
The companionable silence held between himself and Rath'Sharr was interrupted as they left the courtyard by Khetarin chiming in, "Nefarion, Rath, what do you think about this mission? Are the thieves really that good, or is this Sheriff Green true to his name and too inept to actually catch a common thug?"
"With our luck, probably a bit of both," Nefarion answered over his shoulder with a barely notice able smile. "While I cannot say what we will learn of the Sheriff just yet, I did have a strange vision during Trance last night.. I am not sure what it all meant but I definitely got a sense that we would come across magic at play on this job. We will simply have to wait and see what that entails."
Posted on 2010-08-24 at 22:22:24.
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
A drow of few words
Rath doesn't even turn to acknowledge the human. When he speaks, the words seem for flow out of his mouth, smoothly dancing around him like the shadows he embraces.
"I hope the thieves are as good as they say, magical aid or not. It will make the hunt all the more fulfilling."
Kordar showed up to the meeting to find that Khetarin was already in his spot with his eyes closed but his ears opens and knew that Khetarin was already aware of his presence. Even when appearing disconnected from the world, Khetarin was always ready in a split second for action. That was the only thing he admired about the ninja. Everything else reminded him too often of the past that he couldn't let go of yet.
Kordar set his stuff down beside the human and settled down beside him, front and center of the usual meeting spot. Kordar leaned up against his backpack to relax before the berating and mission briefing started. He learned early on, since being the tallest amongst the usual group and coming nearly even with Leo, that he would be the first to receive his round of berating from the handler. Knowing this, Kordar figured it might as well be on his terms and not some random crap just for the sake of yelling at him.
Kordar was glad once the "kill order" was issues for the thugs as it meant no holding back and reining in his chaos on this mission. Now heading towards the caravan waiting them, he was anxious to get the missions rolling. From the talk around him, he could tell everyone was as eager as ever to get started.
Posted on 2010-08-25 at 03:59:59.
Edited on 2010-08-25 at 04:04:03 by strike
Zau arrived last, as usual, still smelling of strong liquor from the late night outing to his regular bar The Drunken Priest. Standing in the first spot Leo would see, so kindly left to him by the other party members, Zau sighs loudly and prepares for the tongue lashing that Leo seems to enjoy giving him. I'm too hung over for this crap so early in the day,he thinks to himself.
As soon as the rest of the group breaks up and prepares to depart Zau says to no one in particular,"I'm going to split from the group once we get there and so what information i can get from the poor and downtrodden. I can find out from them much easier than any of you what has been stolen and if it may be important to the mission or not." He then adds as an afterthought, "You know that's why Leo really tolerates how I look, don't you?
Having nothing else to say to the group since no one has directly spoken to him, Zau heads to the wagons casting Orisons randomly for no apparent reason. He then stops walking suddenly with a sly grin on his face and walks up to the Hobgoblin and casts mage armor. He thinks to himself, with this I can make this monk(??) more effective in keeping me alive once the fighting starts. Now if only i could make Everyone faster, hmmm......
He then continues on back to the wagon in deep thought and as if nothing had happened.
Posted on 2010-08-25 at 11:06:06.
Edited on 2010-08-25 at 11:55:38 by DragoDorn
D'atranian is one of the last to arrive, still walking with his head down after losing all his money the night before. He thinks to himself "I was so close last night to winning it all i swear those guys cheat, i'm not that bad a player, its a shame those bards didnt know much either." He lines up while trying to look as presentable as possible, despite being tired from training the night before. When Leo announces the assignment he feels disappointed with the targets. As the group starts walking he says "Why did it have to be a thieves, I'll bet ten gold they try to bargain with us, but neth I hope your right about the magic thing that should make this more rewarding."
Posted on 2010-08-25 at 12:03:41.
Edited on 2010-08-26 at 03:34:20 by thezerowulf
The ride to Oakcrest passed rather uneventfully, 20 hours after leaving you arrive in town only a couple hours after the sun has risen again. Those of you who managed to get some sleep during the trip are stiff but well rested, however the clerics will need to take some time to pray for spells, so questioning the sheriff and town's folk will have to wait just a bit. As soon as you begin to pile out of the wagon you can feel the tension in the air and the wary stares being cast in your direction, people here are clearly made nervous by your very presence. Once the last of you has exited the wagon the driver cracks the reins and the cart heads off in the direction it came from, back toward the Citadel to report that you have arrived and the job should be underway soon.
((This gives you a chance to change some spells now with the tweaks. We're going to assume that the clerics take care of this task before leaving the wagon, those of you who don't have to prepare spells are more than welcome to pile out before then. Wulf, don't forget to do your exercises and preps as well, which you'll obviously have to exit the wagon to do. I'd like at least a sentence or two from the clerics and swordsage regarding how they go about preparing. Don't be afraid to back post, in fact I encourage character interaction and such.))
Posted on 2010-08-25 at 23:28:41.
Edited on 2010-08-26 at 02:00:15 by Shield Wolf
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
Even fewer words
Rath'Sharr wordlessly pulls his hood closer around his head to more effectively hide his race and gestures to Nefarion. After a moment of silent communication he moves into the crowd, disappearing in to the shadows, as he always does.
D'artanian steps off the wagon looking rather stiff but rested. As soon as he gets off the wagon he begins stretching in a way that almost appears to be a ritualistic dance. After making several strange gestures and motions he sits down to gather his thoughts. During this he has drawn some strange looks from already distrustful crowd, although none seem to focused on him. After a couple of minutes of meditation he stands and adjusts all his equipment. Before he heads into town he adopts a almost animalistic posture and begins to sniff around him. Immediately after sniffing the air he is taken back by the familiar smell of his team mate Zau, although they have been teamed for quiet some time now his smell still causes pause. He then heads off in search of Sheriff Green while keeping an eye out for any taverns where he might find local bards to gather information from.
Posted on 2010-08-26 at 03:00:03.
Edited on 2010-08-26 at 06:59:48 by thezerowulf
With the deceptively easy natural grace of a drow, Nefarion held his balanced pose sitting cross legged in the swaying wagon as he rested in Trance. While his subconscious mind monitored his surroundings for any signs of threats or danger, his conscious mind meditated peacefully in the closest state a drow ever came to sleep. As he let his mind drift Nefarion felt the familiar touch he had felt every time he meditated for as long as he could remember. As was always the first sign of the presence Nefarion felt the pull of the moon as it slowly rose to fill his mind's eye. Even as a child in the Underdark, never having seen the sky, he'd had visions of the moon. As a youth he had never known what the vision was of, let alone what it meant, and it wasn't until he reached the surface so many years later that he gained greater understanding. Seeing the night sky for the first time had been a momentus experience for Nefarion, though it was not nearly as satisfying an answer as he had envisioned for so many years. While finally realizing what it was he envisioned daily during Trance went a ways towards satisfying his rampant curiosity in regards to his visions, it in turn only led him to more questions in the long run.
It wasn't until he'd seen the silver pendant of a full moon topped by a crescent-shaped haze hanging in the stall of a half elven woman in a market of one of the first cities that Rath and he had visited that he got any further answers. Feeling drawn to the pendant Nefarion had purchased it, much to the woman's surprise and initial reluctance, but his being willing to buy it without even haggling on the price went a long way towards settling her apprehension. A little coaxing had even gained him a bit of an explanation, for apparently the moon is a symbol of the Daughter of the Night Sky Sehanine Moonbow, an elven goddess dedicated to opposing the drow gods. According to the woman, the goddess worked through visions and dreams, and it was because Nefarion was told this that he finally began to put more faith in what he saw during Trance. Suddenly all the little things that his meditative visions had predicted over the years began to make more sense to him. Perhaps it was more then mere chance that had led him to escape his people's dark ways and brought him to the surface.
It was this realization that had led to Nefarion's new found trust in his visions, and that in turn had led to the gifts granted him by the presence that touched his mind. After the visions had cleared from his mind Nefarion felt the moon return to the forefront once more, and as it did so he felt it impart to him the spells he would need for this day. Trusting in the foresight of the presence that Nefarion could only assume was the goddess Sehanine, Nefarion accepted the blessings as they were given and tried to piece together what he could of the myriad of images that his visions this night had entailed. The first image that became clear to him was that of a human man who seemed to fade into or pass through a wall of some kind. The next was a shadowy blur of movement and spilled blood that Nefarion confidently felt was Rath'Sharr, even though he had no clear image of him, and it seemed to him as well that not all the blood was that of his enemies.
Suddenly Nefarion lost control over the images in his mind as a powerful and crystal clear vision came crashing to the surface. His vision's start seemed normal and harmless to Nefarion at first, with a peaceful image of a full moon on a clear night, wispy clouds floating by harmlessly casting a pale shadow over the moon and stars. The peace is quickly broken though as a large bat like form flies across the moon, his shadow cast against the pale cratered orb. With its passing the moon suddenly goes red and seems to begin pouring blood like rain from its surface. As the blood rain falls slowly to the ground below it, it begins to pool around what must be more then a hundred dead bodies that lay scattered piecemeal across the field. Among the dead are several familiar faces from within the guild, rising out most starkly in Nefarion's mind is that of his travelling companion Rath'Sharr.
Feeling shaken by his last vision, and yet confident that he had learned as much as he thought he could from this meditation, Nefarion roused himself from Trance and glanced at Rath just in time to follow him as they disembark from the wagon with the rest of the party. Before he could mention his vision however Rath was already signing his intent using drow hand sign. Unable to get a sign in edge wise Nefarion could only watch as Rath smoothly turned away and drifted off into the shadows, rapidly vanishing from even Nefarion's well honed sight. Rather then worrying himself needlessly about what the future may hold and those things he cannot change Nefarion instead focused on what he could control by readying his spells in preparation for what ever lay ahead. Just to be safe and rule out an ambush Nefarion decided to mask his movements by straightening his wide brimmed hat as he surreptiously casts Detect Magic in an attempt to see what lay in the party's immediate vicinity.
Moments after D'artanian begins walking to town he looks back to Kordar and quotes, " Master Dalsheed once said a two-headed serpent is three times as deadly, What do you think my friend?" After saying that he resumes walking towards town only at a noticably slower pace.