An Ominous Journey
- Title: An Ominous Journey
- Emitter: Nemori
- Characters: Slixvah, Khepri, Robert, Jay
- Place: The Wilderness
- Time: April 19th, 2022
- Summary: Jay, Khepri, Robert and Slixvah set off on the trail with the help of the other adventuring party. Late into the third day they manage to track down the subjects of their chase, and through a combination of diplomacy and swift action they disarm an ugly situation, rescuing a companion and preventing another from falling further into damnation.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The Players =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Jay 5'9" 145 Lb Eaglefolk Male A perky male Blue Jay with a discerning eye. Khepri 6'10" 300 Lb War Golem Male A tall, gangly war-golem draped in religious charms Robert 6'3" 235 Lb Human Male A middle-aged Cerenzan with a friendly, fatherly vibe. Slixvah 5'8" 130 Lb Eaglefolk Female A rust red and white Egalrin covered in veils, ribbons, and shawls. -=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--= -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= As the GM =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Nemori 4'10" 110 Lb Mul'niessa Female A tall and slender, dark skinned elf. -=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=
(Content warning: blood, disfiguration, minor mutilation. Please read with care.)
Expeditions gathering outside of the city gates is no strange sight for Alexandria. Granted, most of them start much earlier in the day, and with the latest concern of lunar timed incidents there are even fewer wishing to be out when the moon is full. But the six gathering tonight are feeling the pinch of time. True to their word (well, Pol's word anyways), the paladin and the mage are just beyond the gate within the half-bell, outfitted for a journey.
Khepri's concessions to a journey involve slinging on its compound bow and quiver, as well as a light shield. Its khopesh hangs off its hip, and the prayer strips on its shoulders are freshly inscribed and glued down. A dozen small metallic scarab charms hang from around its neck. Overall, the look is strange and slightly disconcerting.
At the sight of Pol, the Executor raises its hand in greeting, silently.
Integrity C Truefeather, esquire, the 'C' is for camping, is ready to travel. He's provisioned with a small pack that has a hammock, food and lots of water. It's important to stay hydrated, especially when one talks as much as he does. He also has a hat, a wide flat cone that makes him resemble a stork. Slightly.
He stares at the horses with a dubious expression. "I'm not that good a rider, and they look at me funny. Would it be possible to tie a rope to the saddle and I could kite along behind?"
Slixvah got herself a little rented steed and some blankets to sit and nestle into for the trip ahead. Her robes and shawls look bulkier than normal, and as she trots up on her horse, its evident her supplies are just stashed all over her person.
"Heya luvvies," she coos softly, waving once with a wing as her hands were occupied.
She blinks at Tegri, and her eyes crinkle in a smile. "Or... you could get up here and ride with meeee?"
Jay's crest erects so quickly his hat flips off. He catches it, and with a hop, jump and a sweep he gets on the horse behind Slixvah. "Okay! If the horse gets tired we can switch and you can drive mine!"
Jay's horse continues to look at him funny.
Two midnight black draft horses arrive just-ahead of a wagon bearing an armored Robert in the driver's seat. There are a few good-sized packs and two sets of saddlebags that'd been packed for the road before he'd splurged for the conveyance on a whim. The bench seat is just big enough to support the large man in the larger suit of artifice and his dented helm is riding shotgun. A weird, boxy contraption rests awkwardly in the crossbow sling to his right.
"Bench looks like it could use some patching on the other side here," Bob comments as he draws up, tilting his head to indicate where his helm is resting. "You're probably better off riding with miss Slix and getting a feel for the saddle, IC." He grins briefly and then takes on a more sombre expression, nodding to the two mercenaries in open appreciation.
"I imagine lady Nemori rode hard. We should get moving if everyone is ready."
The war golem regards the horses with its usual blank stare, before climbing into the wagon. "I do not do well with horses," it states. "The one time I tried to mount one it refused to let me." It pauses. "I do not take it personally. Horses cannot help their nature."
Settling in, it inspects the provisions, before simply... not moving. It looks almost as inert as the artifice tools Robert has brought along.
"Alright." There's no sense in pretending that there's anything happy about this gathering, at least from Vesper's obvious expression, but Pol's nod and welcome to the group is sincere, if a little stilted. Vesper clears her throat, drawing a quick glance from the paladin before he nods and looks to Khepri, Jay, Slixvah and Robert. "I imagine some of us have already come to some conclusions about what we're going to find, but I have to ask everyone to keep their minds open. All we know is your friend is missing, our friend is missing... and there's evidence to support the two being linked." A pause, then addendum. "Strong evidence. I just ask that nobody be hasty once we catch up with whoever is there. Can we agree on that?" A polite enough request from the paladin. Vesper just stares hard at the four, as if already planning how to take them out if she needs to.
Slixvah moves her horse over towards Jay's after the fellow Egalrin gets settled in. She throws a blanket over him . "I suppose, but let's just be ready for whatever it is, ya dig?"
She leans into Jay, giving a wave to Robert. "Heya."
"I dig." Jay says, leaning against Slixvah's back. He looks over at Vespers, "Sure! Guilt is for a jury to decide! I mean, well, we could be the jury of their peers, but we'd still have to see more evidence. So, so, yes! Deliberate deliberation at deliberate speed!"
"My happy ending is the eight of us riding back to the city with our weapons dry and put away," Robert assures the two mercenaries. A nod is given to Khepri as the wargolem climbs into the wagon and then he's setting the two-horse team back into motion. The wagon wheels begin to squeak and crunch as they roll slowly over the earthen ground building up momentum. "People make mistakes. Very few are irreparable."
The red-skinned Cerenzan settles back and props up one heavy boot, getting comfortable for the long ride. "I have snacks and drinks for the road. And I refreshed my stock of cream for saddle rash in my aid-kit. Two spare jackets, an extra tent..." he stops himself short of doing a full inventory. "If you forgot something just ask."
The first day of travel is relatively short, though extended further into the night than a typical journey might warrant due to the still fresh feeling of urgency to catch up to Nemori. As noted, the possiblity exists that she was riding hard, though her own ability with riding a horse or other form of transportation isn't clearly known. As such, the first night of camping is likely a somewhat rushed affair, the setup taking place after dark, or close to it. The pair of guides ride mostly ahead, for the most part keeping to themselves. Vesper has made it clear she has no interest in sharing company, and whatever Pol may feel about it, Vesper is his adventuring companion. The four of you are not. They don't avoid being approached, and Pol, at least, seems willing to answer questions.. but when they are left to their own, Vesper does spend much time in heated conversation with the paladin.
For its part, Khepri occasionally attempts to engage Pol in theological discussion when the paladin is nearby, though it seems entirely unwilling to interfere in the dynamic between Pol and Vesper. Indeed, it seems oddly reticent, and for an inquisitor unusually unwilling to press the issue.
Integrity is focused on a lot of things, mosly Slixvah, finding different questions to ask about her upbrining and her abilities. Occasionally he's point out something interesting they're passing, a strange tree, flower, or vanishing animal. His conversation is only interrupted by drinks from his waterskin.
Slixvah is fine with chatting with Tegri. It keeps him focused, and calms his nerves, hopefully. Mostly letting himself chat himself out. But she explains she's from the north with all the Khazad. And that she got her mojo from Fiadh, her familiar. Though she is a bit... evasive on why she left.
Interesting how they miss almost every single pothole on the way up there.
The artificer is content to drive and listen, occasionally humming to himself in a half-heard and out-of-tune sort of way. A good portion of his life has been spent traveling and he's no stranger to long roads.
If Khepri will indulge him, Bob trades off driving-duty to rest or tinker. He won't be transcribing schema or replicating blueprints on the road but he can make sure the armor is ready to go and gadgets are functional. It's awkward but some time is taken to hammer out the worst of the dent in his helmet so he'll have it ready to go in a pinch. Though he really does hope he won't need it.
When approached by Khepri, Pol seems more than inclined to discuss religion. It's almost a relief; a topic that two minds can have discourse over that isn't as sensitive as the incident which has brought the six together. During those times, Vesper moves off to be by herself, sometimes shooting glances that, while not specifically dirty or hostile, are at least appraising. Calculating.
Khepri learns that Pol was initially employed in what most paladins of the Grey Lady find themselves doing: the hunting and slaying of the undead. He's rather versed in the various kinds and sub-kinds, and offers his own take on the importance of putting them down. That for him it had been less about putting spirits to rest, and more about allowing the spirits of the living to rest. To him, there were few things more traumatizing to a family than to see a loved one raised as the living dead. But he eventually left formal service with the church, and while retaining contact and affiliation, is more of an errant knight these days.
The second day is a little bit more typical of a journey outside of the city, though extra hours are still put in, and the horses are perhaps pushed a little harder than most horse breeders would ever be comfortable with. The feeling of haste is still there, though the familiar sense of falling into the travelling groove is there as well, at least for those accustomed to these away missions. The weather remains stable; grey skies and clouds, but only the occasional spit of brief rains. There is a brief delay; the wagon was not in a particular state to carry an armoured artificer and a large wargolem, and after a particularly bad pothole, one of the wheels is suffers a casualty. Thankfully, Vesper has the appropriate cantrips to assist with any of the muscle work required to get it back in shape... though, briefly, to those who have a better sense of reading others, it almost seems like she might have been tempted to take off and leave you to your fate.
Camp is set up earlier, giving the horses a chance for much needed rest, and a chance for any stiffness and soreness suffered by the rest of you to ease.
Bob suffers any discomfort in silence on the road but he's happy to disassemble and doff his artifice armor at the end of a day's ride. The padded coat and chaps shed, his simple and comfortable clothes beneath have semi-permanent patches of sweat. He groans and stretches and indulges in a lazy walk to stretch his legs and back before putting in the work to setup camp.
After a simple supper of trail rations he has a surprise: fruit. This early into spring the pickings are slim but he'd purchased and brought along a small canvas sack of sweet citrus to get them over the humpday of travel. They're offered to one and all and he makes a point to hand-deliver one to Vesper.
"The first thing I ever heard you say was something to talk down your friend after the lady made a point of stoking his ire." His clothes have dried out by this point but he probably doesn't smell the best; that's probably why he holds the fruit out at arm's length and gives her plenty of space. "I know you're worried about him but we're all going to make sure he and the lady-- both-- are OK."
The second day, Integrity is quieter. His coversation is not quite as unending, and his chipper enthusiasm is a little chipped and under the weather. In silent moments, he finds himself looking at Vesper, but more often than not, staring at Pol as the theological conversation continues between the two Vardaman.
The mage is a known, the paladin, still an unknown even after having a suitable amount of time to get a good read on the fellow. It may be that he's not good at subterfuge, the paladin might not entirely know himself. A lack of awareness that is common among adventurers, one simply doesn't know until all the chips are down. Someone who's on the edge could be pushed one way or the other depending on wha actions are taken, what words are said.
Pol, would be that someone, anyone here could be.
What is abundantly clear however, is that the bluejay is terrible with his hunting bolas. On three occasions he throws them at promising prey, misses, and then a brief halt is necessary to go pick up the weapon. After the third time that is not charmed, this diversion is abandoned and he goes back to cawing up a storm.
He nods to Bob's assurances, "We have someone who can heal, right?"
Khepri for its part spends its time inspecting the heavy composite longbow it brought, checking for any damage or issues. Then it patiently checks over and oils its elegant khopesh, polishing the blade. In an almost whimsical gesture, it carefully reaches into a belt pouch, removing a half dozen ribbons ending in small, tinkling bells, which it carefully ties to the ring-pommel of the khopesh.
Work done, it looks at Jay. "I possess healing spells. Not many, but sometimes a soul's journey on Ea is not yet done. Therefore: it must continue, and live."
"I my aid-kit and the wand," Bob nods at the bluejay. The artificer chews on his next words, unsure if they're wise to share. Eventually, he decides to err on the side of honesty. "I've also made sure my gadgets are build to subdue and not kill... on the slim chance things escalate beyond words."
GAME: Khepri rolls perception: (13)+8: 21 GAME: Jay rolls perception: (3)+12: 15 GAME: Robert rolls Perception: (6)+7: 13
Vesper is not an easy one to crack, apparently. When Robert approaches with his gift of goodwill.. and most certainly, fruit at this time of year is a very pleasant luxury.. she doesn't seem very inclined to warm up. She does accept the gift, granted by using a cantrip, once again, to accept the fruit and take it into her posession. Once it's in her hand, though, her expression does break a little bit, as if she's fighting a war with herself. And then she opens up, just a little bit. "Kav has a history with.. those people. I didn't want him getting into trouble in the city, especially before we collected for our job. He's a good person though. You need to understand that. He had a family he loved very much, and he's brought more light into this world than darkness. He's done enough good that he's owed some benefit of the doubt, okay?" Whatever Robert's response to that, however he takes it, she closes back up again, retreating back into her tent.
The third day turns out to be the last day. It's another day of pushing hard, and this time Tarien doesn't seem pressed to test your resolve as nothing happens to slow you down. The idea of setting up camp before dark gets waived as Pol declares that you're close to where the small battle had been. In fact, there are signs for anyone to see.. though scavengers and weather have done their bit to erase the evidence, the remains of a broken wagon that had once housed bars is laying on its side. Khepri spots an arrow still lodged in the trunk of a tree nearby. But there is nobody here. There is nobody here, and the sun's light is almost gone.
Robert is down from the wagon and thumping across the grassland quickly, a determined set to his jaw. He tethers the horses and puts blocks down for a pair of the wagon wheels. He's reattached the helmet and pounded out the worst of the dent-- but the damage to the metal dome is obvious even tilted back.
"Lady Nemori!" he calls, cupping his hands together. "Ser Kaventhal!" Blue eyes scan the field, the treeline, and the horizon. His armor clatters quietly and his gegaws bounce along his belt.
Khepri vaults off the wagon when it comes to a halt, no weapon in hand. Yet. It stalks cautiously around the perimeter of the site, yellow eyes glowing softly in the dimming light as it sweeps back and forth. Pausing to lightly touch the arrow still imbedded in the trunk, before carefully approaching the broken wagon, and then it pauses... "Here," it says, pointing down at some broken ground. "There was a struggle... and drag marks. We need to move." It glances back at the others, before starting to follow the trail.
"... eight day the plaintiff was testifying, and it wasn't testilying, at least, but he was sounding very smug, condescending and he was talking so slow. A simple sentence I could say in fifteen seconds took him three..." Integrity is relaying trial highlights from some courtroom he was present at, or witnessed, or heard about. It isn't clear. From his story, it was a long and deep trial.
The bluejay breaks off as Robert bolts off, "What? We're here? We're starting? Rob! Wait up, Rob!" He hops off Slixvah's horse, holding out a wing to help her down, and then immediately darts off in the direction Khepri indicates.
After first stepping in some horse apples. Tarien takes his toll.
Slixvah had been more listening than talking the past couple of days on this trip. While she was enthusiastic to learn more about others, the situation at hand, and Jay's stories, were best tailoring for a warm smile of the eyes, a dip of the head, and an 'oh, really now?'.
She blinks as they slow to a stop, accepting the offered wing to help herself dismount as the fortune teller idly wanders around the site of interest.
A little sigh leaves her at Khepri's analysis of a struggle having taken place, and she nods slowly. "Right then."
She follows after the metal bird of judgement.
Pol looks pained. Like he'd been holding out hope that you'd been wrong. There still might be a reasonable explanation, but even he realizes things aren't looking good. Vesper on the other hand isn't even trying to conceal her ire. When she evidence of the struggle is found, she pulls the paladin aside to whisper harshly into his ear... to which he response with the barest of shrugs. This doesn't seem to please her. Yet.. there is little more to do than press forward, especially with Khepri starting the motion.. and Jay dshing ahead.
GAME: Khepri rolls perception: (9)+8: 17 GAME: Jay rolls perception: (5)+12: 17 GAME: Robert rolls Perception: (5)+7: 12 GAME: Slixvah rolls alertness: aliased to perception+2: (17)+9+2: 28
You don't have to break too much trail to follow the drag marks.. though the light is failing, Khepri's darkvision allows him to follow the drag marks with little trouble. Pol and Vesper are forced to follow... at least, until the firelight comes into view beyond the branch cover. It could be a coincidence, but it's likely nobody would be willing to place a bet on the possibility of this being none other than the pair you have been seeking these past few days. At this point, Vesper fights to get ahead of the group, clearly wanting to be the first one to see... Pol doesn't seem quite as eager. Jay has managed to hide himself well in the brush, to the point that even those in the group who know what he's about would have trouble picking him out.. particularly the humans who tend to be poorly equipped for the night. Dark is settling in at this point, and the fire's amber glow radiates away from the small clearing.
The scene illuminated by the fire isn't promising, and the flames of the fire obscure at least some of it. There are two figures... one of them is slumped up against a small tree, unmoving. Another is close and crouched over her, cowled, locks of golden hair spilling out of the shadow of his cloak.. and even over the sizzling and crackling of the damp wood fighting against the hunger of the fire, you can hear the figure muttering.
GAME: Khepri rolls stealth: (6)+1: 7
The fire crackles and spits but it doesn't hide the crunch of feet. The dull, gun-metal grey hull of the war golem seems to coalesce out of the darkness, standing in the firelight. Khepri's hand rests on its khopesh, but it does not draw it yet. Instead, it speaks, the metallic timbre rolling around the campsite. "You are a long way from home and hearth, Kaventhal."
GAME: Jay rolls stealth: (17)+9: 26
There's little chance of Bob sneaking up on anyone in the contraption that he wears into battle. When he folds both gauntlets into the aptly-named titan fists the ratcheting of internal cogs is audible and followed by a bursting his of steam.
The man's helmet is still up so his voice carries without issue. "You need to move away from her. Now, son," he's trying to keep his tone level. Weighed down by the armor and a few steps behind Khepri, the pacing of his advance is slow but inexorable.
Slixvah doesn't make the first move as they break into the clearing. It's dark, and Egalrin aren't blessed with literal tunnel vision. But they did have, well, literal eagle eyes. The faint light was just enough to spy the two figures across the way, and her gut clenches slightly.
A little shudder leaves her. "It's fine, boo, it's kosher, it's clean, we're a steam machine," she softly chirps to herself, finding some thread of resolve. <Auran>
She doesn't speak, but she does approach with the others that step out into the open.
When did her wing feathers grow so long? They're almost scraping against the grass.
Jay slips into the trees. It's not his natural habitat but in the dusk light he's hard to see. His white feathers become grey, the blue ones, a darker grey, the black becomes deeper than the darkness, and his profile is broken up by his shadowy dazzle camoflague. He goes unseen.
As Khepri bursts into the firelight, he's creeping around the edges of the camp behind the tree lines. Closer, to the pair, to eavesdrop, to intervene if necessary, depending how things go. His hand slips down to his belt. He touches the hilt of his rapier. No... His fingers brush over the bolas. They also aren't a good choice. He has a third weapon, an underhanded one, but the best choice.
Heart in his throat, Integrity moves as close as he can, amazed that he is able to.
As Khepri reveals himself, many things happen.. some simutaneously, others in sequence. The cowled man.. Kav.. snaps his head up, and even in the shifting shadows created by the dancing firelight you can see the sunken eyes, the taught skin.. the look of a man driven to the edge of ehaustion and beyond. There is a brief flash of a cord around his neck, a cord running through a pair of elven ears. Then, as Robert moves up behind Kheprin, Kav moves, partially behind the small tree, a dagger in hand moving swiftly up to the shadow elf woman's throat. And then more becomes apparent. She is still unmoving, a rope around her neck and torso securing her to the tree. Her hair falls down freely over her face, but Robert has seen enough to recognize Nemori. Something glistens between the strands of hair falling down the right side of her head, and seeps into the collar and shoulder of her dress. A dress which has had its sleeves cut... on one arm, a rough, blocky word, "murderer" has been carved into her flesh. The other, not quite finished, obviously intended to be the word "Defiler." THe slick wetness of what is very likely blood seeps down from those wounds.
After Slixvah joins the two metal heads, Vesper is pushing past. There is a moment where she sucks her breath in, horrified. She shouts out, "Kav!" then immediately moves to brush by the three.. only to be stopped, briefly, by Pol, who grabs her arm. By the way she thrashes against him, though, and by the lack of conviction in his eyes, he's not likely to keep her back for long.
It's at this shout that the elf looks past Khepri, Robert and Slixvah, his eyes looking almost distant. "Vesper? Is that.. I needed to do this, Vesper. I needed to make the voices stop."
Jay remains unseen.
"You did what you did, son," Bob offers after he clears his throat. The effort to keep the anger out of his voice is made but found lacking; he's too distracted pushing through memories of a crumpled form pinned under a wagon and a mop of dark hair matted with blood. "You don't have to do anymore."
The big Cerenzan is locked in place, afraid that his advance will break into a charge if he lifts another foot.
"Your friends came out to help you... don't make this a wasted trip." Blue eyes bounce between the hostage and captor.
Khepri stops when Kav puts the knife to Nemori's throat. It's not sure of the extent of Nemori's injuries, but they are clearly more than mere flesh wounds. "This will bring you no peace," the Executor states in a flat voice. "It will only ensure your end at a gallows. Drop the knife and surrender, or your fate will be grim indeed. The Harpist's eyes are on you, and you cannot evade Her judgement." It hasn't drawn a weapon yet, but there's the implication it doesn't -need- to.
Slixvah's throat bobs "Hey sugar..." she starts soft. Looking to the others for a beat to take in their words,she steels a breath."They're right. I dunno what this gal did, or what the voices are telling ya, but your friends have been worried sick about ya..."
The feather wings flow behind her like the ribbons on her.
Jay remains hidden, weighing his options and priorities. He doesn't want to be stabbed. He doesn't want Nemori to be stabbed. He's feeling a little light headed, seeing her blood and the branding. Light-headed is normally a nice feeling for egalrin. Not right now.
He doesn't have a knife. If he did, cutting the ropes still wouldn't help. The Mul'niessa is in no shape to escape or fight back, and any sort of violence might lead to her being killed. That rules out his other option of leaping in heroically and doing... something.
So he waits for a better opportunity, biding his time as his companions try to talk Kav down.
"The release of death.... " Kav rasps, torn between terror and... relief. His eyes drop to his knife, the edge still partially stained in the elf woman's blood. To the arms. His whole body seems to shudder... except for the knife. It remains rock steady. But he hasn't moved to finish the elf woman off yet. That is probably a good sign. He looks up again, Robert's reminding him of his friends. "Vesper, Pol, you shouldn't have come."
Vesper isn't so collected. Still restrained by Pol, she turns her accusing gaze at him. "This is on you! He told us... told YOU he couldn't sleep. That his daughters.. his family were accusing him of betraying him by helping that shadow elf bitch! But YOU said he'd get over it!" And then she slaps him. This stuns the paladin for a moment, though more from the accusation than the action itself, and he releases her. She takes advantage of that to start rushing towards the elf. The elf who hasn't yet noticed. It's possible that the words of the Egalrin, War Golem and Artificer are sinking in.
"I lost my Razvan almost twenty-years ago, son," Robert's talking through a swell of emotions. "That hurt... it's an unkindness you don't deserve." He takes in a deep breath and-- with some effort-- opens the titan fists clenched at his sides.
"Lady Nemori didn't have anything to do with your family." He shakes his head subtly, "She's just someone else's daughter."
GAME: Khepri casts Command. Caster Level: 2 DC: 14
Khepri draws itself up, its eyes blazing over its beaklike face. Seeing Vesper running towards Kav, it realizes this could end poorly indeed, and so it gambles. Gambles on Kav being worn and weak-willed and unable to resist the force of the Harpist's will. Its voice rolls out, thrumming with power, as it washes over Kav. "Drop it."
GAME: Jay rolls cmb: (14)+2: 16
Movement! Vespers rushing forward. Words! Khepri casting a command. Jay can do movement, and words. Back-alley skullduggery isn't really his thing, but a surprise tackle...
A mass of flapping feathers appears out of nowhere and grabs and batters at Kaventhal like an angry swan. Integrity C Truefeather, the 'C' is for crazy, is trying to take the elf down to the ground and grab his dagger without getting stabbed. He's not that heavy, or strong, but he's very motivated.
Slixvah, seeing as the friend was rushing forth and Khepri was casting something, she skips forward a step and twists to the side. A hand flares out to the side as she twists it a few times. "Miss," she huffs, looking incredibly winded with the motion as a red feather unravels in a wide arc. It just barely brushes against the downed elf. Giving them a mote of luck that the knife will miss something vital.
Sometimes you wait hours, days, a lifetime for something to happen. Sometimes.... so much happens all at once. Khepri's command rings like a word of power, directed at Kaventhal. He is worn, he is tired.. but there's also a madness to him. For a moment, it looks like he might resist, that he might carry through on the heavily implied threat. In that brief moment, though, the knife moves. It cuts. But it's shallow, not even enough to draw a proper amount of blood.. perhaps Kav's warring conscience took his heart out of the attempt. Perhaps Slixvah's brush of luck warded the blade away from anything lethal. Perhaps it is both. The next instant, the dagger slips from Kav's grip and then Jay is bursting out of the shadow to take him to the ground. There is a confusion of feathers and limbs, but at this point it seems like the fight is out of the elf, and he's left on the ground, pinned... his eyes locking on to Robert's. Like the older man's words formed some sort of a connection. "They didn't deserve to die.." he says. It would be a sob, if there were tears left.. but his gaze is agonizing. A connection formed of similar tragedy, of children lost before their time. A silent question asking Robert what the older man would have done had he been in the elf's shoes.
And then Vesper is there, screaming at Jay, trying to push him off of the elf.. Pol following close behind in an attempt to control Vesper, yelling at her. "Vesper! It's okay! They didn't hurt him!"
As soon as Jay has Kav pinned, Khepri moves... brushing past Kav and the legal egalrin, smoothly cutting Nemori free. "Slixvah," the war golem speaks. "We need you here." Khepri's experience with treating injuries is somewhat limited to spellcasting -- but its metal body makes a good barricade between Kav and Nemori.
Slixvah's feathers press down into her skull as it looks like it wasn't enough.
But she draws closer, rushing in with others. And a sigh of relief leaves her. Jay was fine. The elf was fine. The fight was taken out of Kav.
She's being summoned! Quickly she jogs over, ribbon-like feathers trailing behind her as she rushes up. "Hey hey hey, the slix-ulance is here..!" she coos, holding out her hands with a white, glowing light. She draws of up Nemori, winces at the pain etched and cut all into the poor girl, and lays her hand on them. "Nomc gusra, eb alhe," she chants. Sufficing what life energy she can to stitch up what was open.
She starts reaching for a kit in her robes for a more mundane method. "... gods..." she mutters, the adrenaline making her hands shaky.
GAME: Slixvah casts Cure Light Wounds. Caster Level: 2 DC: 14
"He's not hurt! Don't hurt me!" Integrity sneaks some words in as he holds Kaventhal down. The knife was released, he'll let go in a moment, and he keeps flapping his wings to be a bigger, confusing target in case Vesper continues.
"You and Bob should talk!" He caws, his beak in the elf's face, "He's really smart about these things."
"They don't," Robert agrees, holding the troubled man's gaze through the chaos. "Compounding misery and surrendering what makes you human won't bring them back." He crosses the short distance, bending to take hold of the grissly fetish hanging from Kav's neck.
Energy dances through the fist and he jerks the necklace loose with a pop. The artificer considers the mutilated ears and then looks back at the man. "It just shames them as they watch you from the afterlife."
The armor clanks when he falls to his knees next to Slixvah, using his other gauntlet to dig out the healer's kit from his hip pouch.
The Cerenzan hands off his wand to Slixvah after settling the kit in his lap. "Move her hair," he instructs, rushed and breathless. He's carefully threating the first ear off the thong.
Vesper is slowly talked down by Pol. No one is dead. Yet... the extent of Nemori's injuries are only now being explored. The fight is out of Kav.. Jay can feel the elf has stopped any semblance of moving. It's possible it's a ruse, of course, but with everyone so close now, the situation is mostly under control.
Much of the bleeding on the shadow elf slows and stops when Slixvah infuses her with the positive energy of healing magic. The carved words don't exactly fade, but the flesh does enter its first stages of knitting. It's possible the words will fade, possible they will scar. The worst, however, is the right side of her head. As Robert retrieves one of the trophies from Kav's cord and her hair is moved to reveal the spot.. where her ear once was is a mess of congealed blood and seared flesh. Restoring that is going to take some serious mojo.
Jay is too close, when Nemori's hair is moved he an unrestricted view of the damage in all it's ugly detail. He recoils with a startled squawk, looking at Pol. "You've got him, right? I can get up? I want to get up."
Get up and walk away. He's already flapping to his feet as he transfers care of Kaventhal to step back, and back, end up beside Slixvah and keep shifting and hopping in a circle around her.
Slixvah's hands steady as she gets someone telling her clear instructions. "Right," she huffs, a ribbon-feather pushing hair out of the way as a hand takes the wand. The magic familiar in it, she twirls it around her fingers, murmuring some words to make it light up before she pokes the base of wound with the healing implement's tip. ".. ugh... that's going to need some serious mojo..." she murmurs. A glance is taken to watch Jay for a beat, a sigh going through her as things seem to be settling down for the most part. Though..
"Blue. Blue Bl-Blue!" She takes a breath. "Honey. I need you to calm down. Lil' Slix is trying to not panic and quack up this baby doll, ya dig?" she shudders, trying to smile, but is only barely able to keep the tremble out of her hands, the wand's magic flicking as she's having a tough time focusing.
Ear in hand, Bob's breath catches when he sees the damage done to the side of Nemori's face. "You're right," he answers Slixvah after a pause. He wraps a clean bandage around the trophy and places it in with the rest of his kit before putting the kit away. "... it'll have to wait," the sigh follows.
"You need to tie his wrists. For his protection," the Cerenzan tells Pol and Vesper without looking back over his shoulder. "We'll take care of ours," he adds.
"IC. Can you cut the ropes for me, please? I can carry her back to the wagon."
"Sure. Sure! Sorry Slix. Just lots of... lots of..." Jay is staring at the side of Nemori's head. "Energy!
There's a knife right there. Never mind the blood. He takes it and flaps around behind the tree, sawing through the ropes until they fall away. He gathers them up.
He hands both knife and ropes to Vesper. Shoves them towards the mage, "Here! Here. You should tie him up. Here's his knife." Some blood still on it.
Deliberate or insensitive, the bluejay doesn't care.
Pol nods. "We'll take care of him. And he'll answer for what he's done," the paladin promises. Vesper glares at him, moving as if to slap him again, but he stops her. "When he's in his right might, Vesper, you know that's what he'll want." She raises her chin, defiantely at first.. but then nods. And the two of them hold true to Pol's word. Vesper ignores Jay's offer, but Pol... he looks at Jay, the knife, over at the pair tending the elf woman... and lets out the largest sigh before he takes the knife from the egalrin. "I am... very sorry," he offers the solicitor. Both too little.. and as much as he can give right now.
Kav's horse is nearby, tethered to a thick branch on a tree just at the edge of the firelight. He has little in the way of posessions.. one item of note, however, is the black, angular staff Nemori was seen arriving in the city with... and last seen in the posession of another mul'niessa on another night. Even more damning evidence.
If the time is taken, the horse Nemori used can be found following the earlier tracks, having found a place to settle and sleep. How she got the horse... well... at one point she'll be conscious, perhaps, and can be asked.
Slixvah shakes her head as she's working on mending and patching up the worst offending wounds with mundane methods. With Robert there with the clear head, she's able to stay more on task. "I know, Blueberry, lots of energy to get out, little hummingbird. Just... it's all good now. It's all good.. It's.. it's all.." she starts out, falling to a murmur as she's more convincing herself than assuaging any other's worries.
Wand passed off to Robert, she cracks open her own medicine and bandage kit. The latter has little hearts drawn on them.
"Thanks." Jay says, staring at the rope and knife in Pol's hands. His head turns, a slight side-eye towards Vesper before he looks back at the paladin. This is followed by his second sneak attack of the night. A sudden hug, and a bird-light crushing embrace on heavy armour which the man might not feel at all.
"I'm glad you're here." Feathered arms and wings wrap around, "We couldn't have saved her without your help. No one died. Thanks."
There's another attempt at a squeeze and then he lets go. He ruffles and folds his wings in an overtly showy manner that includes another lingering stare at Vesper. "I'll look around for the horses, make sure they haven't wandered off."
He hops to that.
On the ride back he's quieter than usual, making him an average conversationalist.
With the rope's cut, Bob slides his large metal mitts beneath the slight mul'niessa and lifts her off the ground. It may be too late to head back tonight but he sets Nemori up into the wagon with a spare bedroll and blanket. Then he'll partner with the rhyming egalrin to properly clean and dress the many wounds, adding balms and ointments to help lessen the scarring.
With the crisis averted and sun-up hours away, they have all the time they need and Bob is a deliberate craftsman and a practiced caregiver. He's surprised to find himself singing; the lullaby is a quiet thing, many of the words half-formed and sliding under his quiet breathing. The Cerenzan doesn't remember starting the song but doesn't make himself stop, either.
Even off-key it's far more pleasant than accusations and recriminations.
Vesper's eyes go.. well, cold.. when Jay makes his second sneak attack of the night. Pol stiffens. One of those moments where you just don't know what to do. He has no reason to like any of you, particularly the elf woman you came to save... much like Kav's descent, everything just seemed to go badly ever since the group's meeting with Nemori. But then he's nodding, patting Jay's feathered arm once. "I am glad we found your friend," he tells him, but then pulls away without ever looking at Jay or the others. ANd true to his word, he and Vesper take Kav, binding him and leading him away with his horse. A brief announcement to say they'll be striking camp.. and a distinct invitation to not join them.. and a promise that they'll bring their companion to the city to answer for what he's done. How much you trust this is up to you. The one is a paladin, but the other seemed rather contrary to your wishes....
Nemori takes two days to wake up. Even after the poison wears off, her wounds, the trauma, and the toll healing takes on the spirit leaves her unconscious for a fair while. At one point she comes briefly awake, confused, almost hysterical and demanding to see the staff... once assued that it is fine, it is there, she falls back into another slumber. She is awake on the third night, unwilling to talk, at least at this point, about the ordeal.. but more than eager to partake of food. Answers will have to come later.