Shambling Jungle IV - Welcome to the Jungle

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Log Info

  • Title: Shambling Jungle IV - Welcome to the Jungle
  • Place: Jungles of Am'shere
  • Summary: The group who has thus-far been dealing with the smuggling issues, meet in Am'shere to discuss all of the intel that has been gathered and determine their next steps.

An invitation to join within the jungles of Am'shere comes with some work to arrive. There is a heavy bit of guard at the Alexandros portal to Am'shere. Between the threat of Charnites, as well as the recent upheaval caused by the smuggled Am'shere creatures, people are being checked extra-carefully. Every item of magic carefully examined before folk are let through. There's a modesty screen for people to fully de-clothe and re-clothe, as Druids ensure there is no cross-contamination.

Stepping through the portal - at the center of a fort on Alexandrian side - they step through to find themselves move from the morning straight into afternoon, leaning towards darker day. The quiet lands replaced by the sudden loud bird-calls of the active Jungles of Am'shere.

Local Sith-makari guides would lead the team to one of the 'nearby' Tribes of Akochilistli Kuauhtla. Even this, even travel across the Great Paths of Am'shere to a nearby settlement takes a few hours of travel. And it isn't a safe one. There is at least one or two incidents where one of the Warrior Castes present have to interfere because something that seemed like just 'a plant' ended up tangling or trying to poison those coming here.

Once there, further into the evening, the Ziggurat of Akochilistli Kuauhtla finally opens up the jungle before them, and many Sith-makar welcome them. Traders have become more commonplace, so the group will travel through roads filled with fine pottery and colorful spices and sands. Their gold not worth as much as immediate trade here in this place. And many of the Sith-makar present still do not know enough common beyond trying to sell their wares. But it's a colorful ado.

The meeting place is near one side of the Ziggurat itself. A small 'pit' filled with large stones. A fire at its center. There's various Sith-makar that are just... here. Huddled up together as the Jungle gets Cold at night. The chill in the air being warded off by the stones themselves; exposed to the sun every day, allowing them to absorb enough to heat bodies through the evening.

Harkashan is actively talking with Rune and Tetli, a Green-Scaled Sith-makar whilst seated atop one of those very stones. There's small bowls of spiced meats sitting around that... are dangerously spicy for anyone not used to Sith-makar cuisine. Notably, Harkashan is dressed a bit differently. There's more things stuck in his hair, like red stones danging from black metalic rings, golden bands around his legs and arms, and various small multi-colorful strings tied on his armor.

Given the only magic that Huian carries is her ancestral sword. An item she is loathe to let out of her sight. She has zero objection to it being examined, so long as it is done in her view.

But once past all of that, she is personable and engaged. She goes so far as to trill a bit on her bamboo flute during the travel across the Great Paths. If only to help pass the time.

But she lets the flute trail off as the group approaches the ziggurat, and her eyes flit about like a tourist. Much the way they did when she first reached Alexandria from the Jade Isles.

GAME: Fidget casts Comprehend Languages. Caster Level: 3 DC: 15

The process of going through inspection is a little comedic for Rune. A normal person might place down a single weapon for inspection, but for her, there is a string of no fewer than seven separate weapons, some of which were hidden on her person. It is likely more than the poor Druid had expected. Re-packing it at the end was equally as amusing.

Everything seems fine until the point that Rune had stepped through the portal and the sights and smells of Am'shere had come back to her. It likely meant she froze up completely, likely causing others to bump into her before someone dragged her out of the way so she could stop causing a back-up at the portal.

However, that same tendency to flinch, jump, or look alarmed seems to remain with her much of the journey. Rune is certainly not at ease here. Not in the least.

So, at the moment, she is sitting on one of the warm rocks, cradling a bowl of stew. Her ears still twitch, at each and every unexpected sound. Rune does not seem to like this place.

Geir is definitely irked at having to part with the small things he has that are magical, even if they are returned. Disrobing is met with less consternation, for like other Sith, there's really not that much to /see/.

He manages to step the Half-Sil who freezes in the path. "Be at ease, and peace on your nesst.", he intones as he septs past her.

The journey to Akochilistli Kuauhtla is done in silence, on the copper-scale's part. His gaze is cast around the place a few times, before he walks to the warming rocks, laying a hand on one, and hmmming appreciatively.

GAME: Schara rolls diplomacy: (16)+0: 16
GAME: Huian rolls diplomacy: (2)+12: 14
GAME: Fidget rolls appraise: (12)+12: 24
GAME: Fidget rolls fortitude: (8)+3: 11

They almost lost Fidget at the portal, as she stopped to examine it thoroughly, using her magic senses to try to figure out how it worked, and definitely sizing it up for how one would fit in her living room. She gets dragged along eventually, the last one through.

She had no real trouble at the checkpoint, though. She just emptied her bag of magic tricks onto the table, added a few items surprisingly well hidden in her petticoat layers, and one small knife hidden inside her tophat. A flask of alchemists fire does nearly roll off the table, but she arrests its escape with a little chuckle. It also takes a fair bit of time for her to undress and redress her very carefully layered garments, which she doesn't mind except for all the work to put it back on again. She does ask them three times if they're sure they need to do this "No magic, see?" she insists. "But fiiiine".

Once done with all that, she's eager to see the strange jungle, to wander just a little while they travel, but never far enough to get lost, and the bazaar definitely intrigues her, she spends as much time as the others will let her peering at every store and examining all the strange things. She's probably a little late to the meeting point - hopefully they're early.

It was a strange feeling. A bit of a freeing feeling. The new scents, sights, the tingling of danger in the air that predated all the excitement and fun - that all lingered in the air.

Then Aelwyn put his loincloth back and strapped back the worn leather pauldron. When barely has any clothes or magical items to begin with, travel becomes easy!

Though there was still that sense of excitement and that tingling sense of intimidation as the ruddy scaled, short sith-makar finally stepped through the portal into the wild. Is this how a jungle felt like? Hunger, death and poison at every step for the unwary? "Tch. Feels nearly like any city." The draconian remarks in amusement as he looks at the stretch of merchants. There's a bit of a flowing step, before the city-makari moves forward to bow his head. "Lava, Twin, Stranger." He greets the three already there. "May the nest be at peace. " His eyes dart towards Harkashan, eyeing the tall lava-scaled sith-makari for a long time. "And healthy." The Dragoon then moves to occupy a warm seat besides Geir. A wide toothy grin is offered to the copper-scale.

Schara wasn't expecting such a thorough screening for entrance to Am'shere, but on further thought, it made sense with everything that happened.

Still, it didn't change the fact that the bronze covered artificer was a major hangup for passing through the portal.

"Are you sure I have to go through there? I really don't mean to cause any trouble I promise and it's just artifice powered armor, along with all the pockets that are on it for my tools and supplies, but I can empty those out for search without problem, it's just that I can't put this back on without a lot of trouble." They ramble on to one of the druids nearby who thankfully allows them to pass by after emptying out every pocket of tools, bits of metal, wire, stones and crystals that are all explained in detail to the druids as to their purpose, and finally twisting off their left arm after several minutes of disconnecting various parts.

Followed by several more minutes after being given the go ahead of putting everything back into the pouches it came from, and reattaching the hooked left arm before finally heading through the portal with the others. Schara attempts to not slow down the group further, but they can't help but take out a notepad and pen out to jot down notes as they travel to the main area. The artificer stops to chat with a few of the locals, fluent in draconic but with an accent that seemed less in line with the makari and more with what one might expect speaking to a dragon.

Eventually they manage to tear their way away from all the sights and sounds, and make way to the specified meeting place. "I'm sorry for all the delays, but I'm finally here and apologizing again since I've never been to Am'shere and all the plants and architecture and people and wares and animals and culture are all so different and I'm not used to them but it's always interesting to learn about and I was worried about one of my travelling companions since they seemed really uncomfortable here." They ramble in a low tone before stopping to catch their breath. "Peace on your nests, I think that's right, Harkashan?"

Spicy foods aren't exactly the sort that Huian likes. She is still feeling a bit shamed by her inspection at the portal. But the flute playing helped to center her emotions and then among the locals, she was seeking foodstuffs that were the mildest that she could find.

What? She prefers to taste the food, and not JUST taste the heat and spices. But either way, she is speaking a bit less, trying to learn as much as she can about the locals before doing anything more.

The copper-scale eyes the ruddy-scale for a few moments, before chuckling. "Peace on your nesst, Aelwyn. Itrr has been some time, and this one sees that you are hale and healthy. And decidedly not on fire."

"Of coursse, they desire trade as any other. But it is not nearly like any other city. The air is cleaner. The noisse, less. The crowds are much less. HOwever, plants generally don't try to poisson you in Alexandria.

Geir's tail lashing back and forth behind him, like a hunting cat's. And then, the tail thumps Aelwyn in the back.

"Easier said than done." This had been Rune's reply to Geir at the time.

It seems to hold true. Rune looks at the gathering of allies and friends. She isn't exactly eating as heartily as one might expect, given how much she raves about Makari food. Blue eyes looking towards Huian, she asks, "You alright?"

As Aelwyn approaches, she raises a hand to offer a greeting and a small smile. There is warmth there, but it doesn't quite seem to settle fully for her. "Peace on your nest." It is the custom here, so she will lean into it.

Then, glancing over to Fidget, she adds, "Make sure your curiosity doesn't have you wandering off. This place is... very dangerous."

During the trip here, Huian will find that she's joined in with music. Some of the Sith-makar guides make use of small Ocarinas from time to time to play music. But they do urge her to keep her notes low, as to not cause aggression with the native wildlife.

As Fidget decides to sample some of the spices at the Bazaar, she's allowed to try. The Sith-makar offer, in very broken common, that it's very spicy and to be careful. But she tries regardless...

And ends up coughing, eyes tearing, throat burning. The Sith-makar merchants having a good-hearted laugh, sounding like <amused> hisses and clicks even with Comprehend Languages active, before being given water and being sent on her way with a small little cup of spices for her troubles.

Schara, for speaking Draconic - even if it's with an accent - is actually welcomed quite warmly. She doesn't manage to step away without being given a gift of small Thunderlizard teeth on thin rope being hung around her ear. A warm kind of welcome. Explainations about the purpose of some of the architecture, and some of the dedications to the Dragons and the Old Gods -- some colorful drawings on the sides of standing stones copied from Mazatuoan glyphs.

Finding some milder spices is actually possible though. None of the Sith-makar explain to her that this is the stuff they feed the Softskins who come around. After all, even the Hatchlings don't notice spice when it is 'low on spice'. Physiologically.

At the Warming Rocks, Harkashan reaches out to Rune for a moment. The sounds are a little more distant around the Ziggurat. The jungle just a little further away from the established Sith-makar infrastructure.

Still, it's just a momentary touch. Making sure that she knows that safety is just within reach. And there's Warrior Caste on patrol at all times.

As Aelwyn joins them, Harkashan motions to settle with them. "Welcome, Aelwyn. How is the Jungle, Kin?" He asks of Aelwyn. A few Sith-makar lazily raising their heads nearby as they spot Aelwyn. To them, he's just part of this Jungle. City-Makari or Jungle-Makari, he's still Sith-makar. Though they do not immediately recognize his caste so quickly. One of them kind of 'slithering' along the ground towards Aelwyn and touching their hand to his shoulder to turn him. Trying to find markings of his Caste.

Noticing Geir, Harkashan bids to him; "I do not believe we've met before. But you are the one who traveled with Rune during the recent matters at the Noble's mansion, did you not? I heard you held off the Thunderlizard quite admirably."

Once everyone has gathered, Harkashan looks towards those here and bows his head. "Thank you all for coming." Noticing Fidget, he decides to summarize the situation.

"I believe most of you have been here for the start of this. But some of you haven't. So I'll give a quick brief. A few weeks ago, a group of smugglers were caught taking creatures from Am'shere beyond its borders through the portal. The creatures were laid down, and an invasive species problem was averted. But it exposed the existence of an illegal smuggling ring being used by Vabon Redfallow and a man named Jon. Thanks to the help of quite a few of you, we have so far eliminated a lot of his work, and managed to find papers on him that tied him to all of this..."

He takes a pause, looking around, offering a bowl of spiced meats to Geir and Aelwyn and anyone else who might want some. Hospitality is important.

"But Vabon Redfallow got away before you all got to him. He was spotted getting through the portal." He then motions to the green-scaled Sith-makar next to him.

"Some of you have already met Tetli here. She used to be the Beastmaster to the smuggling operation. She's here to help guide us to where we believe Vabon to have gone to. She also has information about the operation itself and the lands around it."

Notes kept low as requested, Huian was really just using the music as a meditation to get her own emotions under control. Once in the town, Rune inquires about her well being, and she shrugs her shoulders, "It was just... among my people, one only disrobes for their spouse, or for medical treatment. Strangers are never allowed to see one disrobed. It is taboo. It is... difficult to get past is all." she admits to Rune.

She is not remotely embarrassed about eating more mild food. It is food, not a challenge based on masochism after all.

And then Hark goes on about Vabon, and her dark eyes move to him. She is very interested in finding -that- fellow.

Aelwyn carried seemingly very little care in his step despite all the warnings; then again, he was used to walking on a knife's edge. Sometimes literally. The other thing he was _extremely_ accustomed to was walking in crowds - so when somebody touches his shoulder he easily leans on his step and turns around, flashing his teeth at the other Makari, curios for his caste. It was casual motion for him; it was easy for him to flow through a crowd.

Naturally, there would be nothing to indicate his Caste upon his scales that flow from low hung orange, to dominant red, to final purple tipped hues, across his body. Not any the Makari would recognize.

"Stifling, and alive, Lava." The Dragoon replies to Harkashan, with a flicker of his tongue. "Wrapped in suffuse of heat." The draconian's gaze diverts towards Rune; her tension was palpable. "... in many ways like the jungles this one has known."

The other copper scaled sith-makar though, elicits a rumbling growl and amused hiss from Aelwyn. "This one sees Copper is doing well," He leans over and slaps back with his own tail. "One should visit the city more often." He rumbles quietly, and very meaningfully.

Accepting the bowl of food - and swallowing it heartily - he listens to the briefing. "Is the smuggler Kin? Or why would they return to Am'shere, and not flee south by the boat?"

GAME: Schara rolls fortitude: (13)+6: 19

Still sipping at the water as she joins the others with a hot blush of inner warmth on her face from her most recent misadventure, Fidget has heard the Makari greeting phrase often enough, she decides to try it! She gets it close-ish, so she's reasonably happy with "Peace, your nest!" in Draconic. She can tell immediately that she didn't get it quite right, but the pronunciation nuance escapes her for now.

Returning to common, she asks "How hot are the snacks compared to this?" and she waves her newly acquired spice bottle at Harkashan, looking to try something a little less harsh than the spices at the bazaar.

To Rune, she says, innocently "But there's so many new things! It would be a tragedy not to see them. I'm far more likely to get poisoned or eaten if I have to come back by myself to see the things I missed." She takes another glug of the water, as her tingling lips and tongue remind her that some learning is pain.

Geir snorts, and chuckles, his expression full of amusement and mirth. "Peace on your nesst... Shaman? I am Geir, shaman of the Deathsinging Dragon." He lets out another snort. "Held it at bay, indeed. These two terrorss ran across the battlefield, dispatching foes with a prodigious speed."

The copper-scale tilts his head at Rune, and Huian, in turn. "They left me to disstract it while they dealt with archerss, and then came back to savage it... then gracioussly allowed me to finish it off."

He guffaws, "Then it was a foot race... the poor men at arms had no change against us." From the bowl offered by Harkashan, he pulls two of the pieces of meat. One is quickly eaten, the copper-scale nodding amiably.

He eyes Rune curiously for a few moments. "Is travelling through a portal unsettling? Upsetss your stomach? I do not intend to pry, but I am curious."

Awlwyn gets his eye momentarily. "This one should. Perhapss this one shall. How is Alexandria treating you?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. I wasn't meaning to be an exception to going through the portal, but I thought it was worth asking, but it really wouldn't have been that bad and I just didn't want to slow everyone down even further but I didn't need that as much as other people apparently." The artificer sighs.

With everyone settling into their seats, Schara lowers down to take a seat, and reaches for a bowl of some of the food after inquiring if it was alright to have some. a small opening is flipped on the helmet and they try some of it, which is met by only a small bout of coughing, in a noticeably higher tone than before, before it is closed off again. "It's good to see you again miss Tetli, I'm glad you're doing well from last time." She greets of the other makari nearby. "I guess I've been involved with this for a while, and well, yes. I don't want anyone resorting to more crime or getting hurt because of this, I want to see it through and make sure this doesn't happen again. If this Vabon person is left, they'll just find a way to do more things like this."

"I don't like it much, myself." Rune admits, "Though... for other reasons." Ones that she is not about to get into.

The bit that she fills into the story is adding, "Vabon seems to have a liking for large and deadly creatures from these jungles. The Thunderlizard that Huian, Geir and I fought was one of his pets. So I fully expect he may have more creatures in his menagerie on this side."

As for the question about her reaction to the jungle, there is a soft shake of her head. By now, most of her allies know Rune's story, but she offers it to Geir in an undertone. "I was killed by Charnites here in Am'shere. This is my first time back since it happened." Which would certainly explain why she keeps jumping at shadows.

The touch to her arm from Harkashan gets a look from the half-sil. He's most likely the one who put her up to traveling back here.

Then, looking to Fidget, "Just... be careful. There terrors you can't even imagine in these jungles. You'll likely see that if you travel with us for long."

"To be honest, every place has its own terrors and difficulties. At my home in the Jade Isles, there are so many different and unique creatures. Oni. Dozens of different types of dragon-like creatures. Not just the Sith-Makar, who yes, we have them too."

But she has at least gotten her hands on a bowl of 'mild' stewed meat. Mild to them is still spicy for her, and she finds herself drinking water more than she would normally do so while eating.

"Vabon had more than a liking for large creatures. I believe that he had an unnatural liking for some of those creatures, of a more.... intimate and taboo sort."

GAME: Harkashan rolls Diplomacy+2+5: (16)+12+2+5: 35

Harkashan doesn't touch on the matter of taboo and spouse. He can very much understand how difficult the culture-shock and the care needed to travel between the two can be for someone. At least Huian's first experience here did not involved a mugging or a deadly Charnite ambush. Or worse. Still, it can't feel good.

Noticing the things happening close to him, Aelwyn being inspected, he looks to Geir for a moment. That kind of shared 'we know what is going on' kind of look.

"I hope the jungle may become more familiar to you beyond stifling and alive." He bids to the ruddy and runty one. Then, to the one inspecting him; "He has the skills of a Warrior, and the nurture of a Hunter. But he's still finding his place." Harkashan explains, which actually speaks more about the community around Aelwyn - none having taken him into a caste yet - than it speaks of Aelwyn.

There's a look for a bit, before the Sith-makar departs. Notably, there's a mark on their shoulder, a few dots, as well as colorful bangles hanging on their horns. Geir and Rune might recognize as one of the ways to indicate a Keeper.

"Peace on your Nest, and Ancestors blessing on the eggs, your mate, and offspring." Harkashan answers Fidget then, bowing his head. The various metals and cloths jingling and shifting across eachother from his horns, before he raises it again.

Noticing the color of the spicy bottle, he sniffs at it for a moment. "The meats are less spicy that this." He answers her. "I knew we'd have Softskin visitors." He adds with a smile.

To Geir, he answers; "Shaman, indeed." Though notably, he also bears some silver threads that indicate he also is welcomed by the Speaker Caste. "Similar to your self, I am a Deathsinger." He explains. "Did they permit you to take a trophy?" He then asks Geir, before remembering; "Ah, right..." He looks to Tetli.

"It wassss still alive. It took sssssome time, but I managed to get it to return to the Junglesssss. A group of Sssshamanssss are trying to reintroduce it to the Junglessss of Am'shere." She explains.

Harkashan quiets, that constant rumble in his voice sending little vibrations through the stone. There's something... different about him, to those who've seen him before. As if the jungles of Am'shere are making everything about him seem more vibrant. More Alive. Geir and Aelwyn most of all. Each time he speaks, there's something... Old about him. Not 'old man' old, but 'Old'. His rumbles echoing in their chests. A tremor sent through their essence. Like they are seated with something of awe. Yet, only when he speaks to them. When they truly focus on him. The other Sith-makari around also keep looking at him. Curious, more than anything.

To others, such elements go unnoticed.

"Thanksssss." She then answers Schara and Huian. "If it was not for you, I would likely not be alive. Had it been anyone elsssse..." She pauses for a moment, then shakes her head. "I owe you for giving me a chancsssse to return to the Jungles." She's being intensely earnest.

Tetli tisks her tongue in this deeply feral-like 'click' at Huian's mention of Vabon's bond with the Thunderlizard in question.

"The camp I think Vabon hassss returned to, is run by a Sith-makar named Xioyah." She explains. "He isssss powerful hunter, with yearssss of experiencssse, and an obsssssesssssion with strength and the old Mazatuoa ruins to the North, beyond the The Great Field." She lets out a few clicks and titters before she finishes; "Getting there is a dangeroussss journey."

Geir nods to Harkashan, "Ah, Speaker also, my apologiess. Friend Deathsinger. And indeed, I did keep a trophy. One of itss bigger teeth. Since he was biting me..." The copper-scale chuckles at length. "Any concerns this one had dissappeared fairly quickly."

The copper-scale nods to Rune, "Tiss fair. If this one can be of assistance, you need only ask, this one will do what he can."

With the danger level of the meat confirmed, Fidget flips out a small knife and skewers a couple of pieces to enjoy while explanations are given. It's spicy, but mild in comparison to her previous attempt at Makari cuisine. She'll have to experiment with the spices later... "-perhaps they can be weaponized?" she mumbles to herself while rotating the spice jar in her hands and watching the grains tumble.

"So, we can just sneak in while he's off exploring the ruins and kidnap or explode the Vabon guy, and then" she makes a running gesture with her fingers, "we retreat. Simple!"

It's quite likely that the strangeness in Harkashan's demeanor has the opposite effect on Rune than it would have among the Sith-Makar. He had been changing in dramatic ways as of late, something that seems more than a bit discomforting. It shows in the slight distance and the fact that the half-sil seems more interested in her meal than in much else at the moment.

"So, I think my biggest concern is what we might be facing at the ruins." Rune turns to the Beastmaster, one brow raised. "How many creatures, how many smugglers, entrances, exits." She ticks these items off, tapping her spoon on the bowl with each one. "Any intel we can get going in will help us better plan our method of infiltration and attack."

Schara takes their notebook and pen back out, resting the book against an arm as they take various notes about everything going on. The helmet gives some neutrality, but after people finished talking, the artificer sighs. "I didn't know exactly what was going on with the person behind all of this, but they sound like a terrible person who needs to face charges in Alexandria or Am'shere for their actions." They note after a moment. "I would hope that others would give you a chance too miss Tetli, so it is not worth worrying about, I hope most people don't work because they want to harm or kill people. But if someone may have reacted differently, then I am glad to have taken the job."

"Well, it might be dangerous, but that's why we're all working together, right? Less chances of things going wrong when skilled and trustworthy allies are working together to account for any possibilities." They offer hopefully. "Is this Xioyah going to allow us to capture Vabon without issue, or will we need to confront him? Vabon needs to face justice for what he did, but I don't want to hurt them just because they're holding a criminal, especially if he isn't involved."

"Please, no exploding them." The artificer adds with another sigh. "Unless he is going to cause harm to someone, I'd rather not kill them. Knocking them out would be ideal, but I understand if that isn't an option."

Aelwyn looks over towards the Makari inspecting again, as Harkashan calls out to the him. "This one knows-" He clicks his tongue. Ah, he spreads his lips along his teeth, and tilts his head. "... the wind will carry this one, Lava." Either way, it didn't seem to bother him so much - no matter the caste, his own path was clear. "Yet the heat of the jungle feels oddly familiar. Almost as if this one had leant against it before." Flash of teeth and sway of tail.

Rune receives a longer look from him, with a moment of -actual serious look- on his face, but then he lets out a low and amusement rumble. "One does not look into shadows to find confidence, one looks towards their companions."

"The city provides, Copper. A little warmth, excitement, comfortable bodies." The draconian rumbles, giving the other sith-makar another tap from his tail. Yet he felt that odd presence, as his eyes were drawn by the lava-scaled one. Tilting his head, he looks towards Rune and the others, but his gaze then settles on Geir. "... and him?" The orange eyes flick towards Harkashan. "And him."

The ruddy sith-makar leans forward, laying his chin onto his fist, with his glaive held across his lap. "A long and dangerous trip in the jungles out to kill one." He twists his lips slightly. "At least the food is tasty."

"There is no need to apologize, Shaman Geir." Harkashan answers the copper Sith-makar, raising a hand, then lowering it again.

Tetli in the meantime, notes; "You may be able to get in there while Xioyah is in the jungles. But there will be others of his camp who may be left to guard Vabon." She warns the Gobbo.

She then answers Rune; "It depends on if thingssss have changed ssssince I last wassss there." There's a pause, before she adds; "But there will be trained crrrreaturesssss holding guard. A few Sith-makar Hunterssss and Warriorssss. It'ssss not a walled area, so entrancssses are from any angle in the jungle." She points out. "But the sssssleeping areas are raised off of the ground to avoid predatorssssss from ssslipping in."

There is a pause - after Schara speaks - before she adds; "Sss-you could also try challenging Xioyah. Unlessss you know the junglesss as well as Xioyah, you may have trouble getting away without-t-t-t a fight. It issss important in our cultures to heed challengessss. But you may nneeed to wear proper Sith-makar garb to lend to your legitimacsssy." She points out.

"That may lead to lesssss death."

Harkashan then bows his head to Aelwyn. "She will be safe." A pause before he notes; "After this meeting, let's meet up in the morning. I've got some people who may wish to speak to you." He bids to the ruddy one.

It does catch Rune a bit by surprise that Schara might propose a more non-violent method of dealing with the issue, but there is no judgement there as the rogue lifts her head, offering a nod. "If we can find a way to handle this without as much violence, I'm all for it." Her lip quirks, "Unfortunately, in my experience, these underworld sorts rarely want to settle things peacefully, but... we can hope."

The prospect of challenging the Sith-Makar smuggler has Rune shaking her head. "Not me. I'm better catching people unawares, not in toe-to-toe fights."

And then Aelwyn is giving her that look. Her brows furrow with puzzlement, not quite able to parse out what he means and how it applies.

Thankfully, Fidget offers some distraction there, "Let's... just be cautious about explosives, yes? We don't want to take the whole forest down, or draw the attention of something far more difficult a quarry than the one we're hunting."

The copper-scale nods to Harkashan, lifting a hand in answer. "This one thankss you." To Aelwyn, Geir's expression grows mirthful once more. "This one believed you would enjoy the heat on your scales."

His tail curls and thwaps Aelwyn. "The city does provide, but so does nature. Perhaps a time for both, hmm?"

Geir looks to Tetli, "Thisss one would accept the challenge, if we are lacking a warrior-cast.

Further prospects make the artificer sit up a bit straighter, and they begin jotting down a few more things as they flip to a blank page. They process it for a moment, before nodding. "I would be willing to challenge Xioyah, as long as it wouldn't be lethal. But I don't know if I could wear any traditional garb. It wouldn't look right over my armor, and if I wasn't wearing my armor, I'd be worse than useless."

"If only Skielstregar was here, I bet he'd be strong enough to take him on." The artificer sighs. "But it's pointless to think about things like that. We're here to stop them, and if we wait too long they may disappear somewhere else."

Aelwyn bows his head towards Harkashan. "Let us, Lava." The draconian replies, before turning his head towards Geir. He rumbles in amusement, "Tch, of course. This one can nearly forget the winter now." He gives the copper-scaled sith a brief tap with his tail once again, before focusing on the conversation.

"Does it have to be the same, the one to challenge and the one to take the challenge? Why can't anyone be the other, and then someone else pretend?" The ruddy sith-makar asks. "This one is sure Copper can make a very adequate Brass impression." Flash of teeth.

"I can help speak to people to ensure legitimacy in the challenge." Harkashan answers, "If that is the path you wish to take. But there may be some trials attached to such attempts." The word 'trials' is spoken with a bit of a timbre to it, looking at Rune.

She knows the last time a 'trial' came up for Harkashan.


"Vabon, from my understanding, does not have the kind of strength Xioyah seeks. But I assume they have a former agreement." He's not sure what Xioyah gets out of all of this. Artifacts, perhaps? Magical items?

"We could request Skielstregar to travel with us." He then adds to this. "He has shown interest in traveling with us. I do not know where his strength lies. But if he's used to taking on Thunderlizards with his team... he's a force to be recognized."

Tetli nods her head. "Yess. Xioyah is a fearssssome warrior. I do not know this 'Sssskielstregar'. But if you say he isssss a warrior of great strength, it could be good to travel with him. The junglessss in the north are dangeroussss."

"As for your armor. There are armored Sith-makar, much like myself. There are ways of clothing that still retains such things." He bids to Schara. "Is this the path you wish to take then? To undergo trial with the Warrior Caste and gain legitimacy to your Challenge?"

Before looking to Aelwyn. "It~" But Tetli also speaks, so Harkashan quiets.

Tetli answers; "It issss not a challenge, one on one. Itssss a challenge between Warriorssss. He will pit himself and hissss best warriors against you and your bessst Warriors. But the one who challengesss, must participate."

Fidget nods to Rune, "Yep, others can distract the guards, perhaps by setting them on fire, and then you..." she makes a stabbing gesture in the air with her little knife, the skewered meat on the blade wiggling in the air.

"I guess if it's not a 1 on 1 fight, it would be okay, but still - seems risky to pit ourselves against their most skilled fighter when he's not the one we want." It's not exactly the goblin way to do formal challenges, so Fidget seems a bit confused why they'd try this approach when a more efficient plan seemed to be available.

"Another trial. Sounds fun." Rune's voice carries obvious sarcasm. She is definitely in a bit of a mood at the moment.

Tossing the last of the stew into her mouth, Rune sets down the bowl and pushes herself to her feet. "If it's a group fight, then I'm in."

"If we can get them to hand over Vabon without costing too many more lives, and get them to end this smuggling nonsense at the same time, then let's do it." That said, Rune stretches her arms out over her head.

"I'm... going to go for a walk." She glances to Harkashan, "I won't leave camp." As if that were somehow a concern. Apparently, she just needs to walk off whatever it is that has her in such a strange state.

Geir looks to Schara, "Ah yes, the Silver-sscale would be mossst suited for this task, this one believes. But as you say, and how I would put it.. you go to battle with the warriors you have, not the warriors you wissh you had."

A glance to Aelwyn, and the coppery tail taps the ruddy-scale in return. "This one doess do a great brass impresssion. What of you, Red? Would you challenge our foe and fight? The softskins do things differently, organize differently, we would have an advantage."

Geir looks to Fidget then, and nods. "This one wishes we could simply catch this Vabon, but... this one is not exactly the mosst stealthy persson in the world. We would mosst definitely be caught in a crossfire. But... by using formality against Xioyah and his warwriors, we lower the amount of people we would fight at once."

The copper-scale sits up straight then, his expression cheerful when Rune speaks. "There we go! Let us fight!"

Aelwyn bows his head. "This one understands. An act of honor, the display of prowess, played to a script." He says, when he is corrected. The draconian turns towards Geir and rumbles, giving the other sith-makar another bop. "Tch, softskins do many things differently. Yet so many things similarly." He takes in a deep breath, sliding his hand over his face, as if swiping something.

As the discussion starts to move into more details, the Dragoon also raises from his seat. There is a brief bow of his head, before he too departs.

Having fallen silent earlier to listen and observe, Huian lifts a hand now and asks, "So. Am I correct in believing that the only way that we can issue a challenge is to join some local party or... caste?" she asks. "With no consideration given to the fact that they are criminals in our own lands also, where we have our own cultural approaches? I am not denigrating the locals' culture, but there is more at stake than that."

GAME: Harkashan rolls Bluff: (18)+3: 21

"With Skielstregar, there are few people who I would trust in a fight, and it would only be my concern that I would be holding him back as a liability given what he is capable of." The artificer offers in explanation, with a light laugh for a brief moment. "You do impressions of me? But I don't know you, I guess it wouldn't be strange for Aelwyn to have mentioned me before since I know I act oddly."

"If we got them to respect a challenge, it would mean that we could make sure Vadon wouldn't have a chance to run off, as well.

"Thank you, Rune, I think we can manage this if we all work together. I hope you feel better soon." The artificer nods once to them before they depart. "If I can manage something, I would be willing to undergo any necessary trials. It would be an excellent chance to learn more about sith-makari culture too, and getting to see more of this place in the meantime sounds interesting!"

"Lives are precious to the Sith-makar people. We lose too many Hatchlings to the Jungles and the Charn." Harkashan points out for Fidget's sake. "If you lose, you will have to make a trade with the victor. So be prepared for counter-demands. But, if he is truly a Child of Flame..."

Tetli nods her head. "He will abide to the ritualssssss of the challenge sssset before him." She answers, before adding for Schara's sake: "He will not allow Vabon to essssscape, if you win. But, I would b-t-t-t-ing rope."

Harkashan then looks up, as Rune stretches her arms. "Do not wander too far." He answers her. But, he's not going to follow her. She needs to be able to walk alone, not just at his side.

He turns to Huian, tilting his head. "I fear you will find us not to have any 'extradition laws', and we will be conversing with someone who likely does not take too kindly to Softskins and their law. So this will be your best bet to ensure he accepts the challenge." He then glances towards Aelwyn for a moment, before looking at the others.

"Anyhow. Lets meet again later. Feel free to sleep out in the open, or follow me to some guest lodging." Harkashan begins to rise, looking at a few. "Where we have more water." What with a bunch of them eating the spiced meats. After all, it's a building spice. Flavorful for sure, but spicy.