Am I the Baddie??
Sendor has seen bet ter days.
The once war ravanged kingdom has, of course, also seen worse ones. The cry for help came from a minor noble, who claims his cousin, Baron Sharpton, has become tyrannical over the peasentry and has been exploiting them to a great degree. Revolt is brewing, and an order has come down from the Count that Baron Sharpton is to be extricated from his castle to answer for his crimes.
He has, of course, refused. That's where you come in.
You've travelled by airship to the Barony, farmlands that are rugged and enduring with an exhausted and hardscrabble population engaged in traditional Myrrish practices, and passed through the restless, angry township that is its heart.
The unrest is palpable. You can feel it. They weren't kidding when they said 'revolt is in the air'.
People have vanished into the night, they say, dragged off by the Baron's squad of brutes. The taxes have become *extremely* high, they say, and spent on frivolities and feasts for his Lordship, and worst of all, rumors of dark practices from the castle proper are all too common.
But, of course, you arrive at the drawbridge to the baron's small castellum and it is lowered for you to pass into it, alongside Sir Rodor, a noble courtesan from the capital of Senhor, Solmnus, who you've been accompanying to deliver the missive to Baron Sharpton in the first place.
OF course, if the rumors about 'dark practices' are true, they're not expecting the Baron to surrender easily.
Rocky keeps quiet though most of the journey, listening attentively, but offering little. Softskin politics are beyond him, and the young sith has no desire to give voice to his ignorance. He understands 'lord doing bad things' well enough, and that's sufficant to have him along. The promise of gold for helping out is also a factor.
Burai is only marginally more aware of politics, mostly what he has picked up from other adventurers on journeys much like this one. He peers at the opened drawbridge and considers if now is the time for spells to prepare. But he decides to hild off for the moment and moves to walk across and into the castellum.
Sabina is here because of the massive amount of unhappy people. Generally she'd like to leave the landed royalty alone and in turn be left alone by them. But the walk through the unhappy land has her on edge and wondering what sort of person this Baron is and the rumors of the dark things reminds her of her last journey too much for comfort to be had. "Well.. This aught to be a lovely meeting. Shall we all put smiles on our faces and get through protocol? If things go south we can then drop the smiles."
Davienne was fairly relaxed for most of the journey here. It is when they started entering the Baron's troubled lands that the idle talk had slowed to nil. The ranger's face set into a scowl as they ride past people working too hard and looking too thin. Angry faces make her shift. This place is unhappy and it is obvious. Of course Politics isn't her strong suit. She hangs out with Goblins after all. But her aim? Well now, that is pretty darn good. And if they neeg to bug out through the wilder lands? Well that's what she is there for. "Are you sure I can't put even a small hole in this guy? I'll heal it after," She doesn't mean it as they go, but this lack of respect for land and people rankles Davi mightily.
Shilde kept quite most of the time too. Not due to airsickness like some folks get plagued by. And she'd certainly never admit to a certain trepidation over the heights. She certainly never ventured anywhere close to a railing or a porthole, though, which left unable or unwilling to prevent her large dog companion from enjoying it. He, at least, spent most of the trip with his head stuck out of a porthole, or hanging over a railing, tongue lolling out as he faced the wind. Needless to say, this has left Shilde in a vaguely peeved off sort of way, most of her ire directed at her dog who seems to take it in stride. And when the approach to the castellum is made... she's probably not the poster child for the group's diplomacker. "All I be saying is if'n we get to bust a few heads, I won't be complaining, aye? Bit more satisfying than a small hole or two, I'm thinking."
Absolutely in his element during an airship ride, Bannon Vayne blended in easily with the crew, taking part in their nightly traditions and even helping out during the day as often as he could justify not being paid for it. He comes into real use when it comes time to start chatting with people and discerning the nature of events on the ground. He has an easy way with the people, relaxed and undaunted at the possibility of judgement, possibly due to his Tsuran heritage. He had no less than a few stories about living life in the wagons. He gets only slightly more serious as the approach the drawbridge, pursing his lips as he taps on the pommel of his sword, "Let me do the talking." He looks around, raising an eyebrow towards Sir Rodor, "No? Fair enough." He blinks, looking away wiht a chuckle.
"The rules of hospitality still apply, I see. Had he not allowed us in, that would have changed things considerably," replies Rodor to Bannon, patting the missive and seal of the count he bore with him.
Heavily armed and armored guards with wicked looking clubs and axes guide you inside, their metal armor clanking as they move. They are otherwise silent. Too silent by half, to be sure.
There's definitely a chill in the air, here, as you are lead towards the Grand Hall, such as it is in a small Castellum like this one.
Rocky isn't too concerned about the hulking guards and their clubs. He has yet to meet a club that could get past his thick hide. The axes, however... and there might be some spears... maybe a sword... but the -clubs- don't worry him. The sith follows, eye open for sharp weapons.
Davienne eyes those heavily armed and armored guards carefully. The scowl only becoming more pronounced as they are escorted inside. Inside where it was enclosed and there were hallways instead of open air and trees. The Half-Syl was true to her Syl upbringing, that was true, and looked less than happy inside the fortress. It would be much harder to get out of here if things turned bad. Her eyes scanned every room and hall, trying to memorize their way to and from. The easier to get out if things did go sideways. At least she keeps her hand from falling to rest on her scimitar. Though likely that cold steel would feel good right now.
A glance at one guard has her asking, "So...how's life these days?" Trying hard to hide the sarcasm and dislike out of her voice. She mostly just winds up grumbling it at the metal-encased person than anything else.
Bina smirks at Bannon and stiffles a sigh. Her coyote half-mask is in place and her peacock on her shoulder as he should be. There is some side glances given to their honor guard and then some looks given to the rest of the party at the odd silence. She perks up and waits to hear a guards response when Davienne speaks to one. But given the situation she's more intent on their surroundings and any servants they may pass.
Bannon watches the interaction between Davienne and their escorts as they are brought deeper into the fortress. Finally, he shakes his head, "They won't respond to you because you're not calling them by name." He then looks to the guard closest to him, "Which really means that, if you're going to wear such fancy armor, you should have name tags. I'll be sure to leave a comment card with the Count." As they walk, he takes a deep breath, "Until then, I'll be calling them, in no particular order: Wuggybunch, Honeysnoggles, Pookiekissie, Doodlekins, Gobblefloof, and the most fearsome, Loverfluffle."
Burai eyes the guards as they walk. He watches Sir Rodor for cues. Then his gaze drifts towards Bannon who also seems to know his way around such a situation to see how he responds. After the latter speaks though, Burai's eyes widen a bit. Is that really the key to dealing with such guards?
Shilde keeps her hand locked into the mass of fur beside her, keeping sure her dog stays close as she walks with the group. Davienne's attempt at casualness, Bannon's attempt at levity.. she doesn't join in. She still looks grumpy, but now her eyes seem on the alert.. definitely tesnse like some of the others. "Ye stay close now, Rocky," she mutters not quite under her breath, her fist tightening in the dog's scruff.
Rocky has no intention of wandering, and no idea why he'd be cautioned otehrwise.
Rodor looks a bit unsettled with the brutes that are escorting you. They don't even respond to Bannon's witticism, like they can barely hear him.
Or they just don't care.
The Great Hall is reached and the door is opened, swinging with an ominousc reak.
You go inside to the darkly lit room, and there sitting upoin the throne is a young man with long, black hair, a sword laid across his lap. He's handsome, to be sure, thoiugh perhaps a bit skinny.
"Welcome," he replies, "to my abode. You've come with a missive from the Count, yes?"
Rodor steps up, looking a bit concerned. The Baron is, after all, armed. And armored. His armor is definitely ornate and decorated, spiked fiercely, and he certainy looks like he knows how to use that sword.
"Baron Sharpton! You stand accused of base trecahery, of abuse of the peasentry, of crimes against the kingdom of Sendor, of practicing dark arts, and of foul crimes. We have witnesses and statements signed and sworn in oath to each of these."
Sharpton sits up, looking, perhaps, taken aback. It is not QUITE what he expected, obviously, and he's angry. Definitely angry. His guards, and yes there are guards of course even here, tense, though none make a move. None without his command, anyway.
Rocky falls perfectly still. There is a time for action, and a time to wait. This is the later.
Tense? Davienne's been tense for the last day. And only getting tenser by the silence. She returns to her dark scowling and glowers at the back of one guard so hard it is probably good she doesn't have some sort of heat vision or the like. The half-syl remains quiet the moment they enter the grand hall. However her tension looks more like relaxing as her posture slumps slightly, knees bending, but overall not much change. Of course she is ready to spring and grab Rodor out of the way if the Baron tries to attack him. That's what the bent knees are really for, quick action.
Burai turns his head to look at Rodor. He nods in approval. Short and to the point. He turns back towards the Baron now. It's only a glance at other members of his party that makes him realize how tense the situation is.
Bina blinks slowly and looks right and then left. "Lord Sharpton. You seem surprised. We were told you'd already been informed and asked to step down by the count. Is this incorrect information? You had been spoken to before, correct?"
Bannon looks towards Rodor for a moment and then cringes. He then looks towards Bina, and then around to those guards that are gathered. He clears his throat, "Way to ease into it, am I right?" He then adds, "On the way to answering these charges, Your Lordship, perhaps we can discuss a very interesting opportunity I've come up with." He then smiles, inticingly, "Are you sitting down? Yes, of course you are. Please remain so." He then raises his hands, as if presenting the idea in the most perfect light, "Naming rights." He drops his hands, "You have an entire honor guard here that does not say much, leading to several misunderstandings in terms of nomenclature." He smiles broadly, "I'm thinking for a modest few thousand coins, proprietors could invest in name tags furthering their goals. It's a win-win, really. They achieve their ends while you receive an income that isn't derived from going up one side of your populace and then down the other." He then gestures over his shoulders, "Shall your Lordship, Sir Rodor, and I discuss it on the way to see the Count?"
"Oh, this'll go over well," Shilde once again mutters... though now she's untangling her thick fingers from her dog's shoulders while she loosens the string on one of her belt pouches. "What could possibly go wrong with an announcement like that in the heart o'the man's castle, after all?" The words, of course, are for the escorting party only, and kept low for such. She quiets down when Sabina makes her questions known, though the significance of such seems lost on the dwarf. Maybe she's too busy eyeballing the armed guards. Or too busy taking a few small steps away from Bannon, as if to indicate that she is emphatically not with him.
"You... you /dare/... You dare to come itno my home. You dare to insult me with this absurd request that I stand trial. I, Lord Sharpton! You /dare/ to think that you know better? That his LORDSHIP knows better than I? This land is soaked in the blood of my family, in MY blood, and you /dare/?! These lands are mine by divine right! GUARDS! KILL--" He's raised his sword. He's looking at it. He's noticing something.
It has a big, red, screaming skull on the pommel.
"...what am I even doing?! I'm about to throw down with adventurers in my throne room, surrounded by my guards? Am I... am I the bad guy?" He pauses.
He throws down his sword.
"... it even has a skull on it! WHAT WAS I EVEN THINKING?! Stand down, stand down.. I surrender."
He puts his hands up.
"WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME?!" He demands of his guards.
"..I mean, you pay us gold to not ask questions," one manages to say.
Rocky snorts softly. "This One think blood soaked land should have been a sign."
Whatever it was that Davienne was expecting it wasn't -that- and she just stares at the man for a second or two. But quickly her head whips around to confirm that, yes, she heard and saw right. If anything she is downright glowering now. "Your lordship, pardon my simple language but...what the fuck?" She can't help but demand of Baron, still tense and ready to leap because this is just too ridiculous.
Bannon glances towards Sir Rodor for a moment, then leans forward and stage whispers to Ssharptin, "In all fairness, Lord Sharpton, you WERE monologuing." He offers a quick little shrug and then takes a few steps over towards Sabina. He offers the Luckbringer a quick grin, and then asks, "Too perfect?"
Sabina sighs and a hand covers her eyes for a moment. "My lord. I too would ask a question. When was the last time you actually went outside and took a look at the lands and your people without a heavy guard and with the thought of actually caring how they were? We've been here less then half a day and we can see how bad things have gotten."
Shilde pulls her hand away from her belt pouches to place on her face, covering her eyes, her nose, part of her mouth. "Humans.." she grumbles, as if there were a novel's worth of explanation in that. Her dog, seeming to sense a bit of a shift in mood, starts wagging his tail and he bumps into Shilde, causing her to stumble a step. "Stop that! Oi. Check 'im for enchantments. Maybe an 'evil' advisor? Or a mistress?"
"...WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME?!" wails Sharpton. He's starting to flail, even as Rodor, with a blink, gently places the manacles on him.
The guards are all shrugging and turning away.
"Looks like this gig is over. Ah well, back to *real* work."
They seem to be on their way down the steps.
"I'M SORRY," wails Lord Sharpton. "HOW DID I LET THINGS GET THIS BAD?!"
Burai focuses his gaze on the sword. He walks forward slowly, one step at a time. Then he crouches and examines the blade. "Is it magical?" he asks. "Cursed?" He begins to chant under his breath, then stops. "It is a small spell," he explains. "To detect magic, and the type."
GAME: Burai casts Detect Magic. Caster Level: 5 DC: 13
Rocky shrugs, and stays alert. Things seem to chagne fast around here, maybe they'll change to violence. Softskin politics are beyond him.
Davienne glances from the sword to Burai and then Lord Sharpton. The glower doesn't leave her face and she looks at him long and hard. "You can stop the act. Thinking maybe you can get off on the, 'Cursed' plee with your Count?" Why is this Half-Syl so suspicious? "Check for illusions as well?" She asks of Burai, mis-matched eyes flicking to the half-orc.
GAME: Sabina rolls sense motive: (16)+7: 23
Burai reaches down and picks up the sword. "It's enchanted, but not cursed." He turns his glowing-eyed gaze on the Baron. "The same goes for his armor." He looks around and then sets the sword down across the chair. "Not my type," he mutters. Then he moves over to stand closer to the Baron now, examining him again.
Sabina watches Sharpton as he rants and raves about not knowing. "He believes what he says. Which means he was being manipulated by someone else or , forgive me my lord, he's a morron or really bad at governing. Or both. Don't you have an advisor, Lord Sharpton?"
"I fired them. They were irritating me. OH GOD WHY DIDDN'T I LISTEN?!"
Sharpton is sobbing now.
"Come on. Let's get out of here." And he starts to guide him back towards the doors out of the castellum.
Sharpton is crying the whole way.
Bannon looks towards Sabina, nodding to the Luckbringer before he shakes his head, "Well, this was all very unexpected..." He then looks towards the guard, the one that spoke of finding a real job now, "Excuse me, Wuggybunch?" He then shakes his head, taking a few steps towards the guards, "Now that the Baron isn't paying you so much to not say much... What was actually happening here?"
Burai follows along behind Sharpton, one hand on the Baron's shoulder to guide him along. He's seen it done before, when prisoners are taken somewhere. Surely it is the same with royals. Although now that he thinks about it, in the army it was likely to keep military prisoners from escaping.
Davienne shakes her head in disgust and she stays alert as they leave. Her Ranger senses tingling. A trap or something unexpected needed to be expected. "I don't like it," She mutters and decides to pick up the sword the lord had thrown down. It's evidence and the Count may wish to do something useful with it. "Was there not anyone giving you suggestions on doing these horrible things? What were you thinking?" Surly ranger is surly.
Rocky shrugs, and moves to a place before the two lords, doing his role as a guard. Details are secondary.
"Huh." Shilde grunts, quickly snatching a hand out to restrain her dog from following after to sniff at the prisoner. "Well, I'm not one for complaining about an easy jobs.. even if it meant having to fly here," she admits. She starts to follow Rodor and his prisoner, though cocks her head at the suggestion of remaining behind to investigate.
GAME: Bannon rolls Diplomacy: (17)+11: 28
Finding those he wishes to speak with, Bannon quickly catches up with the party, specifically Sabina. He falls into step, his voice low, "There were no others. All orders came from him directly. He's laying a trap for us." He looks towards the cleric wearing the coyote mask, "What do you consider out next step to be?"
Sharpton boggles at Davienne's questions, looking confused.
"What? No. I mean, all I did was tax people, maybe a little harshly," a lot harshly, "and sure I threw the tax avoiders in the dungeons and maybe a few too many when they tried to weasel their way out of it, but the barony is in severe debt, the infrastructure is falling to pieces, trade at a stand still, grain production at a twenty five year low, public drunkeness at an all time high.. Honestly, I thought everything was going fine!"
A torch sails through a castellum window, lighting a tapestry on fire.
A quick look out the window shows that a whole lotta people are outside the castle with torches, yelling.
It would appear that 'summary justice' may be on the agenda.
Bina is about to answer Bannon with a negative sort of shake to her head when the torch comes flying. There is a moment where she cants her head towards the heavens and speaks to her god. "You're laughing your ass off right now, aren't you." And then she sighs. "We're going to have to protect the idiot from his people so he can face the courts. The question is how fast we can get him out of here unnoticed. I have the ability to disguise him if he keeps his trap shut."
Rocky eyes the burning tapestry calmly. A burning house would be bad, but this place is stone, so it won't burn.... right?
Shilde sighs heavily, watching the torch fly by and start doing what fires do best. "Oh. I hesitate to be asking... might there possibly be a secret exit somewhere?"
Burai is something of a specialist in fire - and so has learned much about dealing with it when it serves no purpose and needs to be extinguished. He looks dubiously at the Barkn and then releases the prisoner's shoulder. Then he moved towards the burning tapestry, hands raised as he murmurs in the secret Druidic tongue.
Davienne whirls as the torch comes through and lights the thing on fire. "Hey, no need to destroy good art you salty lot!" She says as she moves to yank the poor innocent tapestry down and help smother the greedy flames. "Not okay!" There is a lot of pent up anger in her stomping out of the fire.
Bannon glances towards Sabina, grinning, "Isn't he always?" He looks towards the tapestry, shaking his head slowly, "We came in across a drawbridge. Unless there's a tunnel under the moat, there's an issue here." He moves up, placing a hand on the Baron's shoulder, "Your loving populace is outside to see you off, Your Lordship. I recommend you start coming up with some ideas for us to get you out of here and off to the Count. I daresay another nobleman would have a more understanding ear to your crimes than they will."
"...no? I mean, a secret entrance kind of just makes it easy for your enemies to sneak in and murder you when their sappers inevitably find it," explains Sharpton.
Rodor is sighing heavily, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"We're going to have to talk our way out."
Sabina grumbles and looks over the group and then listens to the people outside. "I have an idea. I mean we can't go killing the people out there. It's not their fault they're angry. It's this guys fault. But we're not suposed to let them have him either right? So.. We let them in. Direct them further into the keep. Say he's... hiding in the dungeon? I can make him invisible for a few minutes. Maybe long enough to hustle him out of here."
"Alright," Shilde says, unsurprised at the lack of an alternative exit. She nods at Sabina's suggestion. "He imprisoned a bunch of 'em, aye? Maybe they'll be happier to find their friends and family than to see him burn, too. Maybe be reminding them of those prisoners if they keep tryin' to burn this place down."
Rocky shrugs. "He is in chains. Is that not enough?"
Bannon shakes his head, "I would recommend making him invisible, Luckbringer. He could use that against us to escape. We still want to bring him in. However..." He looks back towards the Baron, grinning detrimentally, "Your Lordship, start stripping." He looks back to Sabina, "Can you make him look like one of us? An adventurer?" As an afterthought, he adds to the Baron with a lurid lilt to his voice, "And make it attractive, damn it."
"Escape? I'm MANACLED! What am I going to do? Run naked through the woods? I have my DIGNITY, sirs!"
"No, you don't. YOu were just wailing like a child while playing with your skullsword." Sir Rodor sighs, glancing towards teh rest of you.
The crowd is assembling even more outside. "If perhaps we freed the prsioners from your dungeon, perhaps we coiuld walk out with them and the crowd would let us pass," he adds, agreeing with that suggestion.
">... oh no, the dungeons aren't in HERE, they're out THERE. I had to construct extra ones for all the prisoners... OH GODS I BUILT EXTRA DUNGEONS."
Burai looks at the drawbridge calculatingly. "Where are these extra dungeons? Are their guards and a warden at each? Do you have keys here, that would open the locks and release the prisoners?"
Davienne is a bit sooty and smelling of smoke, but she doesn't mind that so much. Instead she just looks at the lord in disgust and rolls her eyes. "How about someone go out front and tell them that everyone in the dungeons is free and we need help getting them out and taken care of?" Suggests the ranger as she returns tot he group.
Rocky waits quietly for the fighty bit to start or not happen. He;s fine with the later, but really only useful in the former.
"A-huh." Another, this time more emphatic, grunt from the dwarf. "Then it looks like -someone-.." Her eyes drift to Bannon and Sabina, so far the two who seem most inclined to persuasion, "Ought to go out an' talk to these folks. Tell 'em about the dungeon. The Baron's orders to set 'em free. Me'n me dog'll go with. Rocky can be prett intimidating." Said dog barks once, then lets his tongue loll out of his mouth again. "When he wants to be," she adds with a mutter.
GAME: Shilde rolls diplomacy: (8)+0: 8