Difference between revisions of "Toll Terror, part 2"

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'Please see that he does. He is already quite rattled, and every minute we spend trying to unravel his nerves is time we aren't on the trail. We'll collect him on the way out, once your affairs are in order.' Looking aside to Elyanna, his voice resumes trying to do justice to the rough sound of the gobbos. "Vardama's gifts include stronger magic to share language, but I would not begrudge another companion on this. We will have time, so let us seek a proper speaker." Locien thinks for a few moments, then addresses Trygve again. 'Expect four people. Perhaps fewer, but I would not want you to come up embarrasingly short.' <goblin-talk>
 
'Please see that he does. He is already quite rattled, and every minute we spend trying to unravel his nerves is time we aren't on the trail. We'll collect him on the way out, once your affairs are in order.' Looking aside to Elyanna, his voice resumes trying to do justice to the rough sound of the gobbos. "Vardama's gifts include stronger magic to share language, but I would not begrudge another companion on this. We will have time, so let us seek a proper speaker." Locien thinks for a few moments, then addresses Trygve again. 'Expect four people. Perhaps fewer, but I would not want you to come up embarrasingly short.' <goblin-talk>
  
Elyanna turns as the Lieutenant makes more mouth noises and she nods to Locien's words, "Agreed." she says simply. THere is a look to the Sergeant and 'He has been compliant, thus far.' she says quietly before stepping further back and stretching a bit to affect a certain indifference for the Lieutenant's benefit. <goblin-talk>
+
Elyanna turns as the Lieutenant makes more mouth noises and she nods to Locien's words, "Agreed." she says simply. There is a look to the Sergeant and 'He has been compliant, thus far.' she says quietly before stepping further back and stretching a bit to affect a certain indifference for the Lieutenant's benefit. <goblin-talk>
  
 
"Uh... Yes! Allright!" Trygve is all smiles and faux friendliness now, making a sweeping bow. "Four. Got it. No problem!"
 
"Uh... Yes! Allright!" Trygve is all smiles and faux friendliness now, making a sweeping bow. "Four. Got it. No problem!"

Latest revision as of 00:25, 30 July 2020

Log Info

  • Title: Toll Terror, part 2
  • Emitter: Cryosanthia
  • Characters: Locien, Aimarra, Elyanna
  • Place: H03: Eldwyn Road, Alexandrian Gates
  • Time: Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 5:16 PM
  • Summary: The ranged standoff continues at the bridge. A kobold comes to collect the gold, and Locien ignores it to slowly advance to the foot. The kobold is called back, and Elyanna whips it unconscious when it turns to flee. Aimarra puts an arrow into the blue-scaled kobold holding the thunderbelcher, expecting all with of them will break when it falls. She's partially correct, the bluescale hands the weapon to the redscale and dives into the water, as the greenscale brings up a Door shield. An actual door, turned into a kobold sized Tower shield. The redscale returns fire with startling accuracy, burying a bullet in Aimarra's shoulder. Locien readies his weapons and the kobold beside him flees as Elyanna charges past him onto the bridge. Aimarra likewise rushes up, and when the kobolds raise their shield, they see snarling, angry faces unexpectedly close. This breaks them, and they also dive over the side. The party searches around to see if they're hiding in the water, to finally observe they are quickly swimming away. Clearing their barricade by throwing it over the side, they heal up and attempt to question their prisoner. Even with a Comprehend Languages, the barrier is too great, and they end up taking their prisoner all the way to Alexandria. At the city they are intercepted by two guards, Trygve and Udgar. Trygve, a freshly minted second lieutennant, asks the party if they retrieved his thunderbelcher. After some discussion, he agrees to hire the adventurers to do that, and assures them no accidents will happen to this vital accessory to their mission. Udgar, an older career seargent, seems reserved, reluctant to interact with the adventurers while he's being observed and feigns an indifference to the kobold while trying to comfort it. The party leaves with the kobold in the older guard's care.

-=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--<* H03: Eldwyn Road *>--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=-

The Eldwyn Road meanders continuously around hills, wilderness, and farmland, though it is occasionally broken by fingerlets from the great Tornmawr. At one point, the road crosses the Tornmawr itself, which takes place by use of a ferry.

Further east and past the ferry are the great Redridge Mountains. These mountains, which run mostly north and south, charge through the landscape, and even through the eastern end of the Lord's City of Alexandria.

Towards the south is the city, with its flags rising far above the walls. The fiery Rising Phoenix almost glows in the sunlight and airships may be seen both in flight and in dock, as they make use of a carefully sculpted section of the Redridge.

Towards the north, the landscape of rolling hills and farmland breaks into denser forest.

-=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=-

Previously...

A small produce caravan travelling to Alexandria is waylaid by some Kobolds who have set up a barricade across the bridge over a small river. They claim to be legal toll takers, and produce a piece of paper which instructs the caravan guards to kill them. Separated by a distance, the Kobolds send a runner to collect the tool, while they also fight over a very fancy looking Thunderbelcher. Communication is hampered, by the party speaking in Sildanyari and the Kobolds in Draconic, with only a few able to translate. A kobold cowers in front of Locien, while the distant green-scaled one demands the payment again.

Now...

"Good! Pay Five gold! All good. Yess, yesss?"

Locien returns the 'document' to the waiting kobold. "Thank you." He then looks to his fellow guards, shrugging. "So...we could continue the negotiations, though they seem firm on their offer. I think we'd have to become more assertive at this point. We could pay, of course...ensuring they'll be here again for the return passage, I'm sure. Or we could...address the problem directly. Thoughts?"

Behind the green-scaled Kobold, the bluescale has successfully retained the thunderbelcher but seems fully distracted by the redscale, who has thrown another chair over the bridge into the river and knocked the parasol down.

"Brigandage usually has a proscribed penalty to it." Elyanna mutters blandly, looking at the distant kobolds, "There is also the chance that, even if we pay, they'll try to attack, anyway. They seem rather spirited over there." A little shrug, "I have some options that don't involve death, but in either case, my reach is limited."

Aimarra shakes her head quickly, braids bobbing. "I see no point to sparing them," she tells the others coldly, her gaze lingering longest on Elyanna. "They'll most likely hit us from behind if we do. Burning the bridge gets us nowhere. Unless they can be frightened off, in which case they will most likely harass some other hapless caravan. No, don't bother."

So the Kobolds sit, one hundred and twenty feet away where they have a barricade, which can provide them some cover under certain circumstances. It's ninety feet to the bridge, thirty up on the bridge to where they are. The road seems clear, and there is clear/open ground beside the road on either side, allowing norma movement at. About 10-20' off either side of the road is underbrush, which slows movement and provides cover."

"Trak, don't fessss thiss up. Get Gold!" The green one shouts. <draconic>

The garter Kobold in front of Locien cowers a little closer to the ground, holding up both hands, cupped for begging. It snarls silently, or perhaps is clenching its teeth and bracing for a blow as its eyes squeeze shut, cheek muscles clearly clenched. It makes a quiet whine.

The messenger kobold has a sling and a small bag of rocks. Mostly it has a very noticeable loin cloth because at first glance it looks like that's all it has. All these things are hanging off the band.

Locien sighs after a moment of pondering. "I suppose you're right. Very well, let's set things in motion." The Mourner reaches to his belt, freeing a small pouch. His other hand lifts to the holy symbol hanging from his neck, which glows dimly as he quietly intones a prayer to the Dread Lady. The glow spreads over his body before fading, and Locien gently spurs his steed to a casual walk forward. "Your friend looks nervous...I'm afraid he's going to take the coin and run..." Locien calls forward to the toll booth, raising the pouch high in the air. "I'm going to bring it myself to the boss. Which of you is the boss?"

Elyanna spares the elf a glance, "So, now that we have that settled..." she replies and steps some closer to the kobold. She tucks the sling, stone and all back into a pouch under her cloak and reaches for the handle of her whip.

Locien moving forward stirs up the Kobolds even more.

The green one calls out, "What's going on? Trak you get gold?"

The one that holding its hands up for money opens its eyes, seems startled to see that the horse has moved away. "No Gila. I'm sorry." It squeaks, and turns to Elyanna, who happened to be nearest, and holds up its hands. It doesn't react to being disarmed, if anything, it moves to make it easier for her.

"Fessss!" The red one growls, turning on the bluescale, "Give Matilda. They sssneaking up. They going russh uss. I can hit driverss from here."

"No, stop overreacting."

"Both ssshutss up." The green one orders, looking back at the pair quickly before returning attention to Locien. <draconic>

"Hey! You stop there, that close enough. Not paid Toll yet. You pay, you move. No pay, no move."

Aimarra simply crosses her arms, letting the others move first. "And how likely is it that you will turn and fire at our backs when we pass?" She seems entirely unconvinced by the back and forth.

GAME: Locien rolls diplomacy: (17)+8: 25

Locien continues moving forward at the same unconcerned pace, one hand on the reins and the other holding the coin pouch high. He gives it a hard shake, hopefully letting the jingle carry to the kobold collectors. "It's just me, and I am trying to pay you properly, like they do in Alexandria. You don't see the guards at Alexandria keeping people away from the gate when you visit, do you?" All the while he subtly guides his horse sideways a bit, placing him squarely between the kobold sharpshooter and the wagons.

"Why do that? Bandits shoot backs, bandits get killed." The green Kobold shouts back at Aimarra, inadvertentely expressing a subtle understanding of the difference between bandits on the hill and government. "This Legal Toll, Toll Collectors city support. Totally Ok. Pay Toll, we let by!"

Locien's logic seems to stun the greenscale, or perhaps it is translating into draconic and not getting all the words. Finally it answers. "You big scary. You not following instructions! Guards attack that! You can come pay. Others stay."

"Trak, get back here." The green one adds. <draconic>

The garter kobold over by Elyanna covers its head, then bolts towards the bridge.

GAME: Elyanna rolls weapon5: (11)+8: 19
GAME: Elyanna rolls 1d3+3 nonlethal: (3)+3 nonlethal: 6

No one likes being under the gun. Especially with a real gun. Elyanna, already keyed for mischief, and being 'reasonable' not gaining her any ground may be a little susceptible to her training. As the little kobold suddenly bolts from her, she snarls a quick, "Dammit!" and her cloak parts and her whip flashes out to lay a strip accross the back of the runner's neck that sends him to the deck with a yelp, but, he hits the deck still breathing. <goblin-talk>

The elf's imposing horse comes to a halt where the road gives way to the bridge's foundation and Locien slides down, giving the beast a slap on the buttocks that sends it trotting off the side of the path to find something interesting to chew on. Locien shifts the pouch to his right hand, leaving his sword hand free. Whatever misadventure goes on behind him goes unnoticed, but even so he seems intent to make the promise of coin the center of attention. "Right then...while we do this, I have to ask, who provided you with the paperwork? The form was written strangely. Some people might not take it as real. He should get a good talking to." He does not step foot on the bridge, remaining in place while brandishing coin.

When the whip comes out and lashes across the thing's neck, Aimarra reflexively raises her bow, but is too slow, and lowers it again. She leaves the arrow nocked, though does not pull it at all, and points it at the ground, watching Locien intently.

The other garter-snake coloured kobold is standing at the foot of the bridge, beside a barrel with a big yellow X on it, holding an unlit torch. It watches Locien dismount, still following it's last order of 'be ready with the torch'. It has a curious, uncomprehending expression, until it hears the whip-crack up the road.

It flinches, and looks at Locien in terror.

GAME: Aimarra rolls weapon1-2: (20)+6+-2: 24 (THREAT)
GAME: Aimarra rolls weapon1-2: (14)+6+-2: 18 (confirmed)
<OOC> Aimarra says, "The bow is mighty/+2"
GAME: Aimarra rolls 3d6+6: (10)+6: 16

Aimarra's had enough, watching this. "Never mind, Mourner. This lot is a pack of liars and we all know it. Take down the one with the thunderbelcher and two gets you one the rest turn and run," she mutters, audible only to the others. She raises the bow in her hands and sights down it, and barricade or not, distance or not, the half-sil's keen eyes and aim are unerring. The arrow sinks with a *thunk* into the big one's shoulder, the head burying itself well into the shaft, and blood flies everywhere. "I've got more where that came from!" she shouts, loud enough to be heard. "Run, if you value your lives!"

Several things happen at once. One Kobold is running for his life and sent to slumberland, another, standing beside an explosive keg is wondering about his life choices. The green one is scratching his head, attempting to answer Locien's questions, "Alex, Guard, from city. Alex."

While the gold is distrating, movement draws attention, and Elyanna's whips and Aimarra's advance drag it right away.

Then, the blue Kobold is shot.

"Ssneaky Ssneakss! Told you!" The red one grabs the thunderbelcher, crouches and aims. <draconic>

"Blubs, go over!" The green one says, and the blue one jumps over the side and into the river. It splashes in, heads for the bottom. Meanwhile, the blue one is crouching, grabbing something from behind the boat, which it lifts up into place. <draconic>

It's a door. An actual door, complete with door handle and a lock with a key still in it. Doors are legendary, whispered to strike fear into adventurers. It is also the kobold's best approximation of a Tower shield. The base is set on the edge of the boat, then canted overhead.

The red one nudges in beside him and fires. Immediately after, the gap is closed.

GAME: Cryosanthia rolls 1d20+11: (11)+11: 22
GAME: Cryosanthia rolls 1d10+2: (5)+2: 7
GAME: Red Kobold damaged Aimarra for 7 points. 15 HP remaining.

The red kobold seems to be as accurate as it is volatile. The Thunderbelcher goes off with a loud cloud of smoke and magical energy, and the half-elf feels the searing punch of a ball into her shoulder.

As the situation stands, on the crest of the bridge there's a boat turned on its side as a barricade, with a door shield on top of it. The Red and Green kobolds are left and are crouched down with total cover. The blue one has jumped over with a large splash and swam down. Armour helps you sink. There's an unarmoured garter-snake kobold holding an unlit torch beside a barrel, that both it and Locien are very much in range of if it explodes, and it's staring at the mourner like it's waiting for someone to tell it what to do. Behind, Aimarra is at 90' and Elyanna at 120'

GAME: Locien casts Bull's Strength. Caster Level: 3 DC: 15

"Blast it all..." Locien mutters as the situation becomes dynamic, caught unready and unable to stop the kobold sniper from taking their shot. He yanks free his khopesh and bends forward, letting the momentum slide his shield forward and off his shoulder. Once it is well gripped he traces a few rough slashes in the air, which burn like grey fire before disappearing. "Dread Lady, grant me strength to carry Your judgement..."

Locien points his blade at the kobold poised at the barrel, the fading glow from his spell settling over his form. "I know it is empty. Flee now, and be spared." Over his shoulder he calls to his companions, voice loud and cold. "There is something in the water they are after. I need help up here."

"It's fair to say leadership's failed you, little one." Elyanna remarks blandly with a little Elvisian curl of her lip from her interlocking teeth. She almost reaches for her spare lash when Locien's call for aid reaches her ears and she turns to break into a run across the bridge, whip coiling along the way with a practiced flick of her wrist. <goblin-talk>

Aimarra gasps as a bloodied ball of _something_ embeds itself in her shoulder, but she takes off at a run, shouting at Locien as she passes him, "Knock the barricade over!" Without stopping, she rushes towards Elyanna and murmurs, 'Tip the boat onto them, boat sides aren't flat,' before raising her bow as if she intends to fire again. <sildanyari>

One garter-kobold lies stunned and unconscious on the road, sprawled and drooling into the dust.

The other looks up at Locien. It can't understand him, and isn't sure the barrel won't explode if he puts the torch in, even unlit. Some traps be tricky. Still, it understands certain things, what preparing for battle looks like, and warning tones. The orders one wants to obey are the easiest, and Locien looks like he's been around a lot of dead bodies. The skinny little kobold definitely doesn't want to be another one. It turns and dives into the water.

The door shield lifts up, creating a gap for a muzzle and two pairs of beady eyes. Immediately, they both bark in terror, "Go over! Go over!" <draconic>

The green backs up with the door shield, the red keeping pace and grabbing the parasol, and then the two of them are over the side and deep into the water. Except for the shield and parasol, which drift along the surface, following the other items that were thrown over earlier.

GAME: Cryosanthia rolls 1d8: (8): 8
GAME: Locien rolls perception: (4)+7: 11

Locien nods at Aimarra's direction and raises his shield, ready to throw himself at the barricade. He looks almost disappointed when the kobolds abandon their post and dive into the water. He strides quickly to the side of the bridge, kneeling at the edge of the water and peering into the shadows and water beneath the bridge.

The water is turbulent, it's not a fast moving river but it isn't a meandering one either. However, in the shadow of the bridge, it's clear enough with some concentration to be able to see the bottom. While there are some unusual looking rocks, they're not large and certainly wouldn't hide the shiny kobolds that were visible from dozens of feet away.

Elyanna gives a feral grin to the elf as she comes up alongside and makes her suggestions, "Cunning, dear." she approves. Though, as the kobolds emerge from their cover and do the freakout dive of safety, she frowns and follows them to the side of the bridge where a cursory search reveals nothing. She mutters, "I will spook them, be ready." as she passes the whip to her buckler hand and begins gesturing with the other, whistling a short, twittering chord before the sound of two beefy souls, a voice of gravel arguing incoherently with a voice of creaking timbers begins to sound out under the bridge.

GAME: Aimarra rolls perception: (20)+9: 29

Downstream from the bridge, roughly fifty feet away and trying to get further, are three flashing silvery forms.

Surprised by the abrupt departure of their quarry, Aimarra's first instinct is to rush after them, as if the red one at least was her quarry. Her eyes narrow at the water, but she drops her bow at her feet and, with a hiss of pain, draws the sword at her hip and _plunges_ it through the bottom of the boat. "Let's put their toy at the bottom of the creek," she tells the others with a returned feral grin at Elyanna. "So they don't come back and try it with someone else."

No kobolds were frightened into the open by Elyanna's spell, and Aimarra is able to spot some distant, flashing silver forms deep underwater and moving away as fast as they can. Some of the things they threw over, follow more liesurely.

Up close and with some time to examine the boat and the other side of it, turns up some kobold 'treasure'. There are two short spears, there's a second Door shield. It also has a handle, on the right side, and still has half hinges.

The boat looks terrible. It appears to be a punt with high sides, and waterlogged that was dragged to the surface and dried out. A procedure which warped and cracked just about every board and opened up large gaps. These gaps are stuffed with just about everything from sticks of wood and leaves to hunks of moss, then smeared with something sealant-like. It already dubious as a watercraft, and a hole makes it worse.

Distantly, the three silvery forms pick up speed and vanish in the murkiness of the water. It doesn't look like they're coming back. Aimarra's amazing eyes spot a shadow at the bank, a small loping form that can only be the garter-snake coloured kobold. It scurries into the woods.

Locien returns his weapon to its scabbard and hoists his shield back over his head, then walks over to the bridge to help toss the boat over, lest his prayer of potency be completely for nought. "Well, that was a bit of a farce..." he offers. "I hope the one we left hasn't run off with that 'warrant'. I'd like to see if we can find that 'Alex' guard once we get to the city. His jest only emboldened these creatures...and there is the chance that they truly thought they were acting within the law..."

On the bridge behind the boat, there's a single remaining kobold lounger. It was originally a human sized chair, that was waterlogged, dried out, and then the legs cut so it was much lower and tilted back like an Adirondack, as if someone tried to turn a dining room chair into an adirondack. The best redneck crafting.

Interlaced points of a predator's smile return the Elf's mirth, "We can." Elyanna turns to Locien, "I expect the one I tanned is still out for a while. I can pry information out of him once he regains conciousness." While her accent is stilted, the phrasing otherwise rolls casually enough from her lips, "Alex could have been the city, itself. They grasp this tongue with less certainty than I." she observes.

With gritted teeth, Aimarra returns her sword to its sheath, leans down to pick up her bow, and stares at the makeshift lounger in disdain before shoving it over the side with a booted foot. She takes the mention of prying information from him in stride, nodding to the half-oruch woman. "I wouldn't mind knowing who this Alex is. I bet it's got nothing to do with the city." With a tug, she loosens the pull on her bow and stows it back over her back. Those sharp of eye might notice the trail of blood along her right shoulder where the breastplate meets flesh, on metal, leather, and skin alike. "Let's get the caravan out of here before they decide to come back and try again."

It doesn't take long to clear the bridge. Damaging the kobold's gear is easy, what they left behind seems to be poor salvage. It's easily thrown over. There's no further movement on the river, except for the detrius slowly drifting away.

The caravans move up and stop short of the unconscious kobold. It seems harmless, but it might be lying on a cracked alchemist's vial, or somehow self-booby-trapped itself anticipating death. They're crazy, tricky critters, best to leave to the experts.

The Melon driver looks up as the party approaches, "All taken care of? You okay? That one hasn't moved. I just about soiled my drawers when that Thunderbelcher went off."

Locien begins to walk back to the kobold and the gathered wagons, slowing down to match pace with Aimarra. "If you'll give me a moment, I can see to your wound. I believe we have a moment while Elyanna addresses our captive."

Elyanna walks back to the Kobold as well, once the rest is taken care of, trusting Locien to handle Aimarra's injuries. She crouches down beside it, a hand set upon it's head to pin it in place as the other hand holds before its nose to make sure it's still breathing. With the remark from the wagonier, she cants her head a touch and looks that way, "Drawers?" That inquired, she starts to carefully search her new project in preparation for his long, long night.

Aimarra snorts at the wagonier, but stops and nods to Locien, readily leaving Elyanna to her captive and turning her attention to the Mourner. "Please. I can still move it, but it hurts like the hells' own fire." She turns, loosening the strap of the breastplate to give Locien a better look.

"Uh, just a reference, don't mind me miss." The melon driver says, peering down to watch her handle the kobold.

It is a small lizard, scaled and rather on the dirty side. It's still breathing, and seems to be completely out.

GAME: Locien casts Cure Moderate Wounds. Caster Level: 3 DC: 15
GAME: Locien rolls 2d8+3: (8)+3: 11

Locien nods and gestures to the side of the road, asking her to sit once there. He loosens the breastplate strap holding the steel to her shoulder and shifts what cloth may impede, looking at the neat hold intently. "I could certainly do this the hard way, but we're on a schedule. Let us entreat Vardama to turn you from her door instead...she's quite busy enough." With that he places his palm gently over the wound, his other hand clasping his holy symbol as he softly, solemnly offering a prayer for healing to the goddess of those that healing can do no more for.

Aimarra sits as instructed, allowing the Mourner to do as he will. A neat, bloodied hole indeed, and the ranger lets out a hiss as he touches it. Healing from a Mourner is strange, but she isn't about to argue, and as Locien prays, the wound in her shoulder closes, the ball popping out of her skin and into Locien's hand. She half-smiles, flexing the healed shoulder and rolling it a few times as if to test it. "Much better, and thanks to you and the Basalt Queen both. Can we tighten this back up?" She reaches to re-tighten the loosened shoulder strap of the breastplate.

GAME: Elyanna rolls heal: (12)+2: 14

The Arvek blooded woman makes some attempt at waking her captive once he's been properly secured, but her attempts to rouse him on her own come to naught. She frowns with a low growl of irritation before she looks to Locien, "It seems he hit the ground harder than I expected, it may be some time before he wakes." Elyann shrugs a little and takes a moment to sniff a potato before lobbing it back onto the pile.

GAME: Locien rolls heal: (15)+9: 24

Locien smiles at Aimarra and drops the bullet into her hand before standing and moving toward the kobold. Bending down, he reaches into the creature's wyrmlike snout with his thumb and forefinger, then pinches hard enough to get a yip and a shake of the head out of the creature, instantly bringing it back to the waking world. "There now..." he says, wiping his fingers off on his robes, "Let's get him on the wagon and we can have a conversation."

Aimarra takes the bloodied bullet in her hand, examines it, then shrugs and drops it in her belt pouch. She makes the last needed adjustments for her breastplate to sit properly, then jumps to her feet and strides back over to the wagon, jumping up on to it with a grin for the squash driver she'd been traveling with. It's pretty obvious that she was hit, but has been seen to and is all right.

From her vantage point now, she unlimbers her bow and drops the lever to give it its full draw weight, then pulls an arrow and nocks it. "Just in case it tries to run," she explains.

The blessings of Vardama close up Aimarra's wound, but the best attentions of Elyanna do not wake up the kobold. The attention of the mourner is more fruitful, and the kobold comes around. As there's an interest in moving, and a willingness among the drivers to let a wagon be used, it's decided to bring it along.

The interrogation spot is on the last cart, the potato wagon, largely because the potatoes are the dirtiest of the three and the least likely to be ruined by kobold contact. The caravan progresses across the bridge, into the forest on the other side. It's tense at first, it hasn't been that long since the attack and the kobolds might have circled back. However as the time and distance grows it becomes fairly certain they aren't following.

The kobold yips as it is dumped on the potato cart, and clearly is frightened at being surrounded. It barks rather loudly, "Gilagoon! Help! They got me!" It also looks around, likely for an escape route, but considering how the last attempt went it doesn't try to right now. <draconic>

GAME: Elyanna rolls intimidate+4: (4)+11+4: 19

Locien sits impassively on the sideboard of the potato cart, opposite Elyanna so that the kobold is between them. "He's just calling for his friends. There may be a language issue...my spell doesn't allow me to speak his tongue, only hear it. Try asking him something simple, to see if he comprehends."

"Prudent." Elyanna replies, nodding to the elf before she leans close to the kobold with the fanglike punch dagger in hand, "Now, little one, you will tell me of your friends and their plan. If you refuse, or try to lie to me, I will peel your scales to the meat beneath and let ants eat you alive." she explains in matter of fact deadpan, then "Nod if you understand. THen tell me your name." And so it begins.

That gets the kobold's complete attention. It stares at Elyanna, specifically the copper punch dagger. It can't seem to take its eyes off it, and those eyes go wide and black. It doesn't nod, it does try to curl up even smaller, and while it responds it's not a coherent answer to a question, but a burble of noises that Locien translates as 'no', 'sorry', 'please', 'no', and simple expressions of terror. It understood being skinned, perhaps, or Elyanna's expression was enough for her intent to get through.

Aimarra seems content to allow Elyanna to do her thing, simply keeping her bow nocked and ready should the creature attempt to flee.

Although, the kobold does seem to barely recognize Goblin-talk, and repeats 'Plan', several times, pointing at Locien.

Locien frowns, then pulls the warrant from his belt, showing it to the captive. "This? Was this the plan?" <goblin-talk>

The kobold stares at Locien, then nods, repeating "Plan" in goblin-talk. Burn splodey burn bang bam might well have been the plan. Next it looks at Elyanna's knife, and points at the plan again.

Further questionning, abrupt gestures, and suggestions regarding its choicest organs and the best uses for them make it clear that while the kobold understands a few Goblin words, they're strangely specific and not conductive to a conversation. It is very cooperative, being utterly terrified and pretty much rooted to the root vegetables. Aimarra's readiness didn't escape its attention.

Then the mourner's comprehend language drops, and conversation is not even one way. The carts rumble on, approaching Alexandria, taking a few more hours of travel to get the gates in sight. Guards are out, inspecting and letting people through, although the prisoner on third cart gets their attention.

"So, I guess there's a story?" An older and world-weary looking human asks, setting his glaive against the side of the cart and looking at the party.

"Indeed." Locien replies to the guard as he climbs down the back. "A group of kobolds claimed to have been given an official warrant to collect tolls along a bridge a few miles past." He points a thumb down the road they used to approach, then pulls out the paperwork in question. "While the message was certainly not what they thought..." he shows the guard the writing, "...it does look like they had been sent on their way with someone's blessing. Does this look familiar? Is there a guard named 'Alex' that works the gates?"

Sigh. "We are not getting anywhere." Elyanna replies, finally easing off on trying to get answers with a shake of her head, "Perhaps the guard can get something out of.... him." She looks to Locien as they come up to the guard, and let him handle them, content at that time to simply assist Aimarra in making sure the little creature doesn't escape.

"I see you didn't follow orders," the older guard replies, something enigmatic in his voice, neither reproach or resignation but somehow similar. He scratches above his ear, exhales deeply. He starts to reply, "Well..."

And then he's interrupted. A much younger guard strides up. His armour is clean, very clean, no scratches or wear from battle or simple patrol, his pole-arm is very shiny. Even his boots have regulation reflection. The younger guard has had his nose broken at least twice, giving him a natural sneer, "Udgar, I'll handle this." When the older guard doesn't move, he taps at the bars on his helmet, "I said, I'll handle this."

He waits until Udgar has left to deal with the other wagons, then turns to the party. "Did you retrieve my Thunderbelcher?"

GAME: Elyanna rolls sense motive: (16)+7: 23
GAME: Locien rolls sense motive: (12)+10: 22

His uniform might be shiny, but this guard is greasy.

Locien chuckles, though there is no mirth in the tones. "I'm afraid the toll collectors scattered when we made it clear we weren't going to play along, and they took their gear with them. The thunderbelcher, their armor...good quality, for kobolds. You'd have thought they had some manner of patron keeping them well equipped." The Mourner looks straight at the oh so shiny guard, his face a mask of soulless diplomacy that takes some sharpness from his words.

A young, greasy, second lieutennant. An entry level officer, a tier above enlisted, allowing a brand new one to technically outrank a 20-year Seargent. A rank the somewhat well-connected get for their rich kids when it's politically appropriate.

"We made sure the caravan arrived safely, and brought someone to question about the rest." Elyanna replies to the old human's charge, something frigid in her own. She considers the younger human in his fine, fine equipment, "To lose that kind of treasure to such creatures must keep you up at night, Lieutenant."

"That would be a good thing to investigate." The younger guard muses, as if he's making a mental note. Then his sneer switches to a snarl and his voice drops, "You mean me? As if I've got the coin to fund a bunch of worthless thieves. I can't afford a Thunderbelcher to just hand it off to some scaley thieves. They caught me on far patrol with my guard down, snatched my Thunderbelcher and stuck it in my face and demanded a paper to be a Toll Collector. They were Kobolds, but that's a big gun, I figured they'd screw up whatever they were doing and it would come back."

He holds his hands up defensively, attempts to smile, "Listen, we got off on the wrong foot. I'm Trygve. There's no Alex. They think the city, all the guards, are Alex."

He nods towards Elyanna, "It does. Believe me."

Locien nods, though his countenance doesn't change. "Yes, I'm certain that must have been embarrassing. It certainly didn't go the way they planned, though to their credit they worked very hard to make the most of their opportunity." He nods in the direction of Aimarra, whose blood still stains the cloth and steel where she had been shot. "The weapon's new owner seems very proficient in its use, in spite of its size. Good enough to take someone's head off." His eyes narrow. "I imagine you're looking for...discretion in this matter, but you might reconsider. Having the weapon retrieved and traced back after it's been used to murder someone would be a far worse look."

Aimarra watches quietly. She lets the others do the questioning, covering any attempt at escape.

"How could I not?" Elyanna replies casually, then looks to her comrade, then back to the Lieut, and her expression settles into the steely side of grim.

"Well, if you're suggesting you can take care of this?" Trygve siddles closer to Locien, lowers his voice conspiratorially, "What's the going rate? Fifty gold, each?"

He looks around, eyeing the carts, the older guard, the city gates, "I could put up something at the Explorer's Guild, but you guys know what you're dealing with. You seem more than capable. How much for you to... take care of things, make sure bad doesn't turn worse?"

He remembers to add the words, "Sorry you were shot Miss," but not the empathy.

Distantly, Udgar watches when he can, with furtive glances. When he sees Trygve cozy up to Locien his posture slumps a little more. He turns back to checking the squash's cart's bill of goods, stamps it and waves the driver along.

Locien ponders for a minute, then turns his head and directs a sharp set of sounds at the wagon, in the direction of the kobold and its keeper. "A guarded tongue frees the mind." He turns back to the Lieutenant, watching his reaction. 'Sorry, reminding the creature to be amicable. You wouldn't begrudge me a moment to speak with my companions on his, would you?' <goblin-talk>

Elyanna keeps fast by the kobold, though she has her attention on the guard and Locien as much as she can afford, she goes silent before checking the kobold's bonds to make sure they're still secure. She has her own bones to bury in common with this Lieutenant, though she suspects her reasons were significantly loftier.

Trygve doesn't react to the other language at all. He nods agreeably, "Sure, you've got busy schedules. I can go higher, if necessary, like I said, going rates, whatever those are." He smiles, and the broken nose makes it completely crooked.

"Udgar! Get the shackles, the smallest set." He orders over his shoulder, then thrusts his chin towards the kobold, "It's a straight drop, caught banditing, vermin species. Do you want to sign some testimonies to that effect or are you fine with me logging your names as the witnesses?"

The kobold remains securely bound, despite it's best efforts to shrink down to the size of a potato and hide in the cart. It makes a terrified noise when Elyanna touches it.

'To be specific, his crime was abetting. He took no direct action against us. I trust the records will reflect.' Locien walks over to the cart then, speaking to Elyanna in a voice only as loud as necessary to carry. "I don't believe him. Being bested by kobolds is sure to bleed the ego, but a weapon of that value would make most soldiers swallow their pride and seek help. If there is any chance of exploring that, we will have to track the kobolds again. All the better if he foots the bill. I have no skill for that myself. Have you any interest in seeing what is truly beneath all this?" <goblin-talk>

"Nor I. I suspect his underling would support any charge we could prove." Elyanna replies softly, looking balefully at the kobold. The halfbreed looks to the Seargent as the orders are given, then asides, with another glance to the little lizard, "This one is a pawn. A weakling, who survives as weaklings do outside of these walls. Even here, considered vermin." Rather introspective on the affair, considering she was indifferently ready to peel him like an onion a while ago, "I would see this done right." <goblin-talk>

"Of course. Abetting." Trygve seems very accomodating as he stands off and watches the party confer. He smiles widely and stands tall, looking impatient and ready to close the deal.

The kobold raises its head at some of the goblin-talk words, but clearly doesn't understand. It repeats a few noises from earlier, the ones the Mourner recognized as 'No', 'Please' and 'Sorry'.

Udgar arrives with the shackles, and having missed the privacy request, goes right up to the potato cart. His face is a stoney mask and he doesn't meet anyone's eyes. He stares at the ropes binding up the kobold, more than sufficient to hold it, and mutters quietly, "Orders are orders."

He reaches out to apply the shackles, and his voice is surprisingly soft, soothing even if the words are not. "It's ok little guy. It won't hurt and you won't feel a thing. Everything will be fine. Shhhhh. Just relax."

Locien nods once to Elyanna, then takes a step back and faces Trygve. "We'll find your weapon and its current keepers, and we'll do what needs done when we find them. Two things, though..." he helpfully counts them off on his fingers. "First, the rate for a hunt like this is fifty gold up front for the travelling supplies, and another fifty when we return. Each. Second, we'll need him." He points to the freshly bundled kobold. "He knows where they were working from. He will keep us from having to begin from nothing and needlessly extending this expedition, and the opportunity for...unfortunate events."

Elyanna considers the Sergeant as he arrives, making his own framing of the situation, even his tone as he starts to take charge of the little one, and at last, she puts her dagger away. She steps back to allow the human to his work, then Locien speaks. She doesn't smile, though she approves of his words, instead casting a veiled glance at the Lieutenant once more, trying to read him. "We will need a more consistant interpreter. Know you any?" she wonders. Practicality, that's her. <goblin-talk>

"Uhhh.... okay, Deal!" Trygve says enthusiastically, "I need until tomorrow, maybe the next day to arrange funds. I'm not a rich adventurer, I don't have hundreds of gold on me all the time. I... yeah... pretty sure tomorrow. Pretty sure."

He looks at Udgar, and the kobold, "And that is material to your work. Ok, well, it is a vermin criminal so it can't come in the city. You can keep it outside, or remand it to us and we'll give it back when you're ready to go. No flexibility on that, I'm sorry, I don't make the rules." He says with the satisfaction of someone who didn't, but still has a rule that says exactly what he wants.

Udgar finishes clapping the shackles on. The kobold shivers, and the old guard rubs the back of its neck which seems to calm it. He remains expressionless and carefully picks up the small lizard, holding it with proper support.

The Lieutennant is effusively cheerful now, "Extra bonus. We have a sith-makar on morning shift, he'll understand it. They hate admitting they can talk to them, makes them feel we think they're just bigger versions, but he'll do it if I order him to. Anything you want to know, let me know. And trust me, there will be no accidents. If that can get my Thunderbelcher back he's worth all the gold I'll be paying you. It'll live like a king! King of the cells. Ha-ha."

'Please see that he does. He is already quite rattled, and every minute we spend trying to unravel his nerves is time we aren't on the trail. We'll collect him on the way out, once your affairs are in order.' Looking aside to Elyanna, his voice resumes trying to do justice to the rough sound of the gobbos. "Vardama's gifts include stronger magic to share language, but I would not begrudge another companion on this. We will have time, so let us seek a proper speaker." Locien thinks for a few moments, then addresses Trygve again. 'Expect four people. Perhaps fewer, but I would not want you to come up embarrasingly short.' <goblin-talk>

Elyanna turns as the Lieutenant makes more mouth noises and she nods to Locien's words, "Agreed." she says simply. There is a look to the Sergeant and 'He has been compliant, thus far.' she says quietly before stepping further back and stretching a bit to affect a certain indifference for the Lieutenant's benefit. <goblin-talk>

"Uh... Yes! Allright!" Trygve is all smiles and faux friendliness now, making a sweeping bow. "Four. Got it. No problem!"

The Potato cart driver interrupts, "Can I be separated from this, I was just providing transport and my buddies have already passed through. I'm no part in this." He twists around in his seat, looking at the party, "Thanks for the good job, I'll let the Explorer's Guild know it was completed and there was hazard and injury. And... things to think about."

He looks back at Trygve, who makes an impatient waving-onwards gesture, then smiles. He's about to say something further.

Udgar interrupts, with a loud and snappy acceptance of orders that were never specifically uttered, "Yessir! Royal treatment. Safety Watch. Ichtacka to question him in the morning. Right on it Sir."

He doesn't meet Elyanna's eyes. He's under direct observation of his commanding officer, his face remains stone. There is nothing that can be called to question regarding his actions. If he had to adjust his grip to hold the kobold better, he had to adjust his grip. If that was comforting to it, that's an unintentional side effect. Being unable to salute because he has his arms full, might be another unintentional bonus. He stiffly marches off towards the barracks without turning his head at all.

"Well, looks like we're all set." The Lieutennant is still smiles, "I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Good job and Welcome to Alexandria."

Ghoulish cp line.png

Combatty Stuff

 ===================== Current Initiative Order - Round 3 =====================
 ---Init--Name------------AOO-Notes--------------------------------------------
  >> 23   Aimarra          1  Flat-footed (3 rnds active)                   <<
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     21   Kobolds          1  
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     20   Locien           1  
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     13   Elyanna          1  
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 ==============================================================================

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|   Name   |   Race   |   Class   | CHP | HP  | AC/FF/T |CMD |For |Ref |Wil |
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|Aimarra   |HALF-ELF  |Rgr        | 22  | 22  |20/17/14 | 18 | 5  | 6  | 2  |
|Elyanna   |HALF-ORC  |Bard/Swb   | 27  | 27  |18/15/13 | 18 | 1  | 9  | 5  |
|Locien    |DAWN_ELF  |Clr        | 16  | 16  |18/17/11 | 15 | 3  | 2  | 6  |
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