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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
     
    ~Corvus~'s Avatar

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    Default At the Edge of Humanity {IC}

    At the Edge of Humanity

    It is a warm spring day in the town of Riel. The outskirts of the town and its northern wall are practically emptied, and the town square thrums with the hubbub of human voices. For those that have dared venture into the town, they saw the bustle of exchange and bartering, and also some confusion among the guards and soldiers in the town. As you all have arrived at various times in the day, it is natural that you may have wondered what the humans have been up to. Some of you, expecting to skirt the town entirely, have only been drawn to the area because of a rumor about Honest Abdul.

    The time it has been that you've traveled, or been pursued, or been on the run from a calamity has left you eager and somewhat weary of...well the danger. You could see your pursuers, at times, just far away enough to keep you going. And as the day waxed on, the fear of being caught grew and grew. There have been rumors of Hunters in this area, and it may even be one of them pursuing you. But then, you spotted a plain-looking and long house just outside of Riel's northern wall.

    Somehow, its plain decorum and expansive space suggests safety and comfort. And the moment you walked in, you were greeted warmly by a wizened man with tanned skin, a well-maintained white beard, and a comfortable and classy blue robe with golden trim. He is about six feet tall and has an air about him that radiates sincerity and great attention to detail. Marvelous! Some of you have arrived. My name is Honest Abdul, and I welcome you here for as long as I stay. I shall explain the context of my appearance later on, and why you were all urged to come here.

    The building you are in thrums with power, as many large sets and stands of weapons, armor, magical baubles, and even building materials have been labeled and grouped together. It would look like a store if everything had a price tag and not a description. A multi-colored stone says Granite is a humble piece of stone that comes from deep within the earth. There is a Dwarven saying about it: "The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong."
    Spoiler
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    On a rack of weapons, there is a strangely-curved and long knife with a picture of a tiger embedded into its blade. This Fine steel kukri features the reaching tiger figure reminiscent of Tiger Fang, a mystical blade of Khasparat, a fine warrior of humble means. He fought against a tyrranical sorceror threatening his people. It is said that although he defeated the mage's minions, he lost the battle.

    In another area of the large and expansive building, there are various areas of cushions, patches of grass, sandy pits, warm pits of water and circles that look cold. It seems all manners of accommodation and relaxation are available, and there are even some circles that seem to have become solid cylinders of darkness. When you press on them, they resist firmly but do not break. Abdul explains that others take to resting in these areas, and that you all are free to find your favored area of repose.

    Although there are other monsters and animals roaming about, they seem to mostly keep to themselves or are not interested in interacting. Those few that are talking with each other seem to be remarking how they wished Abdul stayed in one place for longer, and that some of the hardest workers are hired by the merchant to work for him. There are even rumors that Abdul travels the planes, bringing them to other worlds. But Abdul chuckles at the suggestion, and masterfully redirects you with questions about your own pasts and about meals.

    You eat what you want while you're here, but I will ask you to perform some jobs for me in exchange for my hospitality. You may also purchase enchanting, request potions or wands, and may purchase any of the myriad materials I have on sale. Please, make yourselves at home as well as you can.


    As the evening wore on, the monsters seemed to retire until it was mostly the six-or-so of you and Abdul, whom has been drawing in a large, thick tome. The current page is half-full of a random, inscrutable and continuous network of lines. It has also become apparent that Vutha Suaco and Alala have some familiarity with the place, and they may have been here for some time.

    Spoiler: Honest Abdul
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    Last edited by ~Corvus~; 2015-09-14 at 01:57 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    When she'd arrived (several days before), Alala hadn't really had any skills to offer Abdul in return for her keep. That said, even Abdul had a need for unskilled labour, and there were few who could match the winged centaur in that arena - all the strength of an adult elephant, in a body a fraction of the size (and equipped with opposable thumbs).

    By the time the current day had dawned, her days had settled down into a fairly simple routine - she was roving muscle, waiting by her spot (marked by a large bedroll, weighted down by a saddle at one end and a bag of holding and a handy haversack at the other) in the 'living area' until someone called her to help with something heavy. She'd help out, then go back and wait for the next person to want something moved.

    This routine would have given the new arrivals plenty of chances to see her in action - depending on what they themselves had been doing for Abdul, they may even have borrowed her at some point themselves. If they had, they would find her to be in the 'chatty' camp, as far as Abdul's helpers went - although having arrived too recently to have gone through one of Abdul's relocations, she had to confess to ignorance on that topic if anyone thought to question her. What she would have been forthcoming about instead is her own past, first as a circus animal, and then as a gladiator. (The backstory in the OOC thread is essentially her history as Alala would tell it.)

    Admittedly, she was no longer dressed the part - her humanoid torso bore a loose, full-length shirt, a pair of heavy gloves, and a rather unnecessary little hat perched on her head at a rather drunken angle. She still had the chainmail and furs, true, but they were safely stowed in the bag of holding. She didn't need them here, after all.

    The one time she would have passed up the chance to have a little gossip was when Vutha was around. It was noticeable (for anyone not paying more attention to the floating thing of green fire) that she seemed to be trying to fade into the background whenever he came too close. Considering that she was larger than most warhorses (and had no cover to duck behind), this was an essentially futile gesture, but she just couldn't stop herself making it.

    Now, as the day draws to a close, Alala is one of the last people still about. Sadly for her, Vutha is one of the others. It's painfully obvious to notice she's carefully placing herself on the far side of Abdul from him. (True, she probably has no need to be afraid of the Reth Dekala... but the shaky information she's had access to, combined with her utter ignorance of her own ancestry, means she's unwilling to take any chances on that score.) Several times, she seems on the verge of striking up a conversation with one of the others, only to bite the words back before they could really escape her - the conflicting desires to be friendly and to be as quiet as possible around Vutha leaving her locked in place, struggling with her own instincts.

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    NecromancerGirl

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    "Would you stop staring?" Jerid whispers harshly. Watt frowns, which makes the young dragon fidget. "Look. I just don't want someone to get offended and try to fight you." Especially the centaur. She looked tough and could fly to boot. "If I go with you to say hi to one of them, will you stop making that face?" Nod. "All right then." Jerid walks up to... Alala, her name was. "Having a nice night?" he asks casually. Small talk was not his strong suit.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: At the Edge of Humanity {IC}

    A distraction, it seemed, was exactly what the Centaur had needed. Almost the instant her attention had been pulled away from Vutha, she began to speak.

    "Still feels a little odd, if I'm honest. I don't think I've slept in the same spot for a week since I was a foal! I'm sure you humans," Alala possessed no means of seeing through Jerid's alternate shape, "have your reasons, but I never did get the attraction of 'settling down'."

    While Alala never did get to spend time with a Centaur herd, the Circus that raised her (and both sets of gladiators that later owned her) were nomadic. While she understood some of the basic theory of static settlements, they still seemed an instinctively odd concept to her.

    "Or sleeping indoors! True, it can keep the weather off you when it's raining, but you people all seem obsessed with it! Why, do you think the night's going to eat you? That you'll freeze to death on a summer's eve? Can the dew corrode human skin?"

    Her poor grasp of comparative biology (beyond 'hit this bit, it's squishy and important') keeps her from realising that humans don't have the racial resistance to cold that Half-Celestials such as herself enjoy. She also doesn't know that humans can't spend most of their sleep in a light standing doze, like horses and centaurs do. So humans really are in a lot more danger outdoors than she is...

    "Well, I probably shouldn't complain. The food's decent and it's nice to have some company that aren't gladiators for a change. How about you, how's your evening?"
    Last edited by whoiam; 2015-09-14 at 06:31 PM. Reason: missed a colour tag

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    NecromancerGirl

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    Jerid smirks. "He's human, but I'm not." His guts twisted a little at that revelation, but everyone else here is a monster. What does he have to hide? "I can tell you that they get sick at the drop of a hat, especially in the cold. Truly pitiful constitution." Jerid's gaze flicks over to Watt. "No offense."

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    Alala did not (or could not) even attempt to hide the surprise from her face as she heard that confession. Truly she should have expected it (considering the nature of most of the other people around), but Jerid just looked so human....

    She takes a few moments to examine him more closely. And no, she still can't spot anything. Eventually, she replies "Really? Well, I couldn't tell it from looking at you. What are you? If you don't consider it impolite of me to ask..."

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    Omar listens to the conversation in silence, staying close to Xylona, the one person he hopes he can trust. He keeps his cap seated snugly on his head, although he suspects that there are people or beings here who can see through its disguise. Some of the overheard talk worries him... all about jobs and work and hoping he'll let us stay. He can't help but think of the workhouses in Sodis City where orphans and children of the most desperate poor toiled away for scraps of food and shelter. Most of them worked making textiles and furniture. Others, rumor had it, were sent out at night to beg, steal and even sell their bodies. None of them had any choice in the matter... Omar hopes that Abdul's house isn't simply a fancier version of such an establishment. But his choices at the moment are limited. Sodis is a war zone. Things had clearly gotten much worse in the weeks since he fell ill. He's not sure if there is anything left of Sodis City... just the hordes of refugees flooding the countryside and the gangs of thugs who preyed on them. It wasn't always clear if the raiders were Resistance, government troops or simple bandits. He'd lost count of the ambushes, escapes and detours around distant sounds of violence and terror... At least in here nobody is trying to kill him. Yet.

    He doesn't openly voice his suspicions to Xylona. Who knows what kind of listening devices might be hidden here... He simply asks her "So what do you make of this place? It looks like there could be plenty of work." He slightly emphasizes the last word, and as he speaks he raises an eyebrow and briefly brings his wrists together to mime struggling against restraints... making sure as he does so to keep his body between her and the others in the room...
    Last edited by Swami Monsoon; 2015-09-14 at 07:21 PM.
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Jerid looks to Watt, who 'mysteriously' has taken a step or two back. A simple yet effective ploy. Curse him. "If I hadn't wanted you to ask, then I wouldn't have told you." He steels his nerve. Piercing green eyes bore into Alala. "I'm a dragon," Jerid mutters.
    Last edited by Nyarai; 2015-09-14 at 07:47 PM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Again, a pause as the centaur stares at her. Then, she simply shrugs. "Well, I remember being told dragons had, well..." When she twitched her wings a little for emphasis, it was probably the first time anyone in the room had seen her use them at all. In truth, Alala had been... discouraged... from flying as a foal, and was still a touch awkward about using her wings. "...but I suppose you'd probably know your species better than I would, so if you say you're a dragon, who am I to argue?"

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    The woman that Omar speaks to is incongruous to the crowd; she is the only member of Abdul’s guests that appears to be fully human. Her most notable features are her bright green eyes and her close cropped raven colored hair, but her face bears no distinguishing marks. She wears red robes with a bandoleer of many colored vials strung across it and a light backpack with many pockets. The most perceptive of the monsters would be hard pressed to see anything off about the woman, and if any possess the capability to pierce illusions only minor details would change.

    Her hand rests upon a large canine whose powerful build is obvious under his shaggy white coat. Strangely, the dog appears to be wearing a chain shirt that glimmers with the unique shine of mithril. Other accoutrements include a collar that rests like an amulet and a sturdy belt that has a large pouch hanging off to one side. Some of the present monsters may suspect the dog to be their ally due to this oddity and the human his agent, for was there not an intelligent dire rat amongst their group?

    This guess is wrong, but the Dryad underneath the disguise has no inclination of letting anyone discern her true nature as of yet. She turns towards her travelling companion and answers his query with a sharp shake of the head. ”I understand your concern, but I do not think there is much reason to worry. I had not mentioned this earlier, but I am…” Her brow furrows slightly as she considers how much she should say.

    The moment passes and her voice retains a normal speaking volume. ”Very familiar with one of his students, who was a great and kind person. Given the way Adelorn spoke of Abdul, I can believe our luck. I do not think he will ask for work beyond our capabilities.” Her voice reduces, not quite to a whisper, but enough that it isn’t attention grabbing. ”Keep up your guard, I know I certainly will, but for now I will gratefully accept his hospitality.”

    A moderate woof breaks up the conversation, causing Xylona to smile down upon her canine companion and resume her petting. ”I apologize for not letting you know earlier, but that was the reason I so easily believed the rumor. Everything else I said was just… building upon that” She bows her head slightly in acknowledgement of her omission about her actions on their journey.

    It was chance that gave her, Omar, and what few townfolk fleeing the raid that accompanied them their eventual goal. A refugee from another conflict had shared their fire one evening and said women mentioned that she had heard of a place that would be safe from the troubles of the time, of a man with great reputation that made it so. The name Honest Abdul may or may not have meant much to the other refugees, but it was as if a guiding star to Xylona, for Abdul was her teacher’s mentor and Adelorn had spoken of him often with great respect and fondness.

    She managed to convince her companions, one way or another, to attempt the journey. In any case, her particular talents served them well and kept them on track. Periodically she would foray into nearby towns, assuming whatever guise most comforting to the locals. Having a friendly face allowed her to gather what meagre dregs of information the villagers had to offer. Combined with the tales of other refugees, she managed to pierce together a location for their potential safe haven, and together they accomplished the lengthy journey.

    Xylona turns back to examine the various magical wares on display within Abdul’s shop, her discerning gaze flowing over the items. Even a fleeting inspection told her that his collection was every bit as wondrous as her teacher had said. She would give much to study at his feet, a smile gracing her lips at the possibility. ”In any case… thank you.” She says quietly, acknowledging Omar’s protective stance. It helped deflect what dark looks the monsters sent at the apparent human, but more than that the fact that she welcomed it readily was indicative of the way that Omar had begun to truly enter her trust.

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    Omar nods. "Then we may really be in luck." He just hopes she's right... He joins her in examining the display cases, but he's more interested in eavesdropping on the surrounding conversations. So there's somebody here who claims to be a dragon. As ridiculous as that sounds, the events of the last weeks have made him more willing to consider things that should be impossible...
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    Jerid laughs. When was the last time he had? "And I do have them, normally, but there are advantages to walking around as a weak, feeble human. Less scrutiny from the hunts. Plus, thumbs!" He wiggles a digit for emphasis. No need to mention his age and how often no one took him seriously because of it. Not yet. Jerid reaches for one of Alala's wings, stopping just short. No one liked being touched by strangers less than him, after all. "Hmm. Very nice. You and I should go flying sometime."

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    "'Luck' is that each creature here has survived the journey. There was no luck involved in finding Abdul's pavillion. If you have found Abdul, it is because he wanted you to find him." The speaker appears to be a bewhiskered gnome, dressed in brown furs, though his recent travelling companions know this is nothing more than a glamor. "I think we have business, here."

    "Name is Tai," he adds, to no one in particular. One thing he has learned since his enlightenment is how much the intelligent creatures depend upon their names, rather than scents. He took care, however, to get the scent of those around him: one never knows when that knowledge might be important.
    Spoiler: Corvus
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    It's a non-standard use of Autohypnosis, but there's no real limit on what sort of information one can memorize, so Tai is essentially going to take 10 to memorize the scent of everyone around him – not just the future party members. That just seems like something a very smart, scent-based creature would do.


    "Oh, and don't get too settled. From what I've read, Abdul never stays in one place too long, and he doesn't take anyone with him when he goes."
    Last edited by Stegyre; 2015-09-15 at 12:34 AM.
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    Vutha stood, hovering in his little spot away from anyone as much as possible. The only times he would move was to help with something Abdul asked. Unfortunately, this meet him with the hidden stare of the centaur constantly looking at him while trying to hide. He only gave this little thought as he currently felt no need to truly talk to anyone.

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    *Sniff*

    Tai looks circumspectly at the floating figure of Vutha, half armored man and half fire, staying clear of the acrid fumes, and consults the tome in his hand.
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    Knowledge (Planes) check: (1d20+27)[38] (using Cunning Knowledge and Tome of Worldly Memory)
    #everythingyoueverwantedtoknowaboutrethdekalabutwe reafraidtoask.

    "You're not from around here, are you."
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    As the evening waxes on, the conversation waxes and wanes.

    For those of you that look around at the items, you see Mundane equipment of all kind. Even food with adventuring uses (like garlic), or rare Abolth Mucuous. In fact, everything from Shax's Haversack I is on display, with descriptions besides. In a less civilized age, perhaps you all would be adventurers and that garlic may be needed. Now? Who knows.

    There is Armor, Barding and a few very expensive sets of magical armor. In fact, it seems as if the target Abdul is implicitly saying I want you to buy armor so then I can enchant it for you.

    Among the weapons of all nonmagical types, many have beautiful designs. An elderly Azer is muttering into his beard about how dwarves here don't appreciate adamantine makings enough, but Abdul takes him aside and they have a lengthy conversation that goes on for several hours. It appears they are talking about another continent? Strange.

    Abdul and the Azer wander over to the jewelry section, which is mostly made of functional magical equipment. Amulets of Natural Armor, Resistance cloaks, Nymph Cloaks (though not the blinding kind, sadly), and many more. The colors may be your first true encounters with a Bazaar, but all run by Abdul?

    There are even Plants that grow well in many places of the world and Plant sculptures that make you wish you could have an Elven home.

    Finally, soil samples and rocks that make great building materials. By the Azer's reconing, it's so incomplete that he furrows his brow and comments, only ninetypes of granite, is he insane?? There's fifty words for granite in dwarven. And then there's the soil, oh what a tragedy... But this time it seems Abdul is absent.

    As the evening wears on, it appears the Reth's appearance is un-livening the conversation. The rat (dire rat, mind you) reads the following in neat Elven script:
    Spoiler: If you speak Elven
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    The Reth dekala are mystical outsiders native to the Infernal Battlefield of Acheron. They are skilled martial adepts and have innate abilities resembling those found in the Devoted Spirit, Iron Heart, and Tiger Claw disciplines of the Ninefold Path. The yellow-green mist that forms their lower bodies is due to a curse upon their race by a demon lord they rebelled against long ago.

    The Reth are also resistant to acid, fire, are less prone to critical hits, or attacks that target anatomy. They are generally cruel and pitiless, but they abide by a strict code of honor and they never deviate from it. They seek out and kill mortals that have inherited their bloodline, apparently believing that their ancient curse will be lifted if they succeed in exterminating every last person who shares the old bloodline.

    Long ago, the Reth destroyed the only being whom they might have considered a patron deity, and therefore are beyond the worship of gods. This uprising also led them to slay those few fellow clerics who were of their infernal master. Reth dekala clerics are rare, but would only be likely to venerate principles of law, tyrrany, and war.

    The Reth have little use for wealth other than a status symbol. In their convoluted codes of honor and obedience (which we will not get far into, as it would likely make a Dwarf turn away in disgust), the right to levy tribute on one's inferiors is a key duty and privelege of those who hold power. Reth dekala abide by tribute arrangement scrupulously, and they do not harm those who have met their demands, although it should be noted that these demands are...ruinously high at times. The reth dekala highly value armor and weapons, and will wield the best they can find. Many rethi become sorcerors so they can make use of scrolls, wands and staves as well.


    At some point one of Abdul's servants (this time a medium-sized treant) comes to you with a platter of what seems to be water and says Driiink, youuung saplings. Thisss fiiine waterrr saaatisfyy for a whiillee, soo driiink.

    The many other patrons of Abdul's sanctum manage to purchase various items, and soon several of his rare items have been sold. It appears, however, that Jerid's companion even took the opportunity to take the wizened man aside and asked for a large package, handing over most of Jerid's gold in the process for what seems to be a beautifully-crafted haversack of magical origin.

    While Tai is reading the Tome, Abdul sidles up and jokes Vutha, you must be so uncomfortable that the others are picking up on it! Chuckling, he continues, I hope any of you have talked to him. He doesn't seem to be an ordinary one of his kind. Then again, he says, looking to the group assembled before him, Neither do you. Shall we have a round of introductions?

    I am honest Abdul, traveler, merchant and a man versed in many magics.
    He looks expectantly at the rest, and it almost seems as if his elegant blue silk robes show off the gold-colored trim--as if the robes themselves seem to be alive and proud to be robes.
    Last edited by ~Corvus~; 2015-09-16 at 12:16 AM.
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    "I am Tai. I am a rat, or used to be. Now, I am not so sure. I am still deciding what I am."

    "I have come about the Green Plague. It concerns me. I hear tell you may have a cure, maybe some way to stop it from spreading or preventing infection. Perhaps you might even know where it came from, and why."

    "I have nothing to trade with you. My only stock is knowledge, and I suspect you already have everything I could offer.
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    Abdul laughs at Tai's admission. I suspect that many creatures, newly awakening to the consciousness of the world, would suspect that a man whose reputation precedes him would think that.

    If you believe you will be useless, that will be true. If you believe you will be useful, that, also, will become true.
    He nods at each of you in turn, but stops to look at the Reth for a little longer, None of you are like your kind: you all have made your way in a world that no longer welcomes you.

    And I will ask of you all a task, in exchange for my occasional help and presence here.
    He turns his head and says to the Treant, A moment of your time, please, and I'll be right there to help the others.

    There will be great rewards to you, and I cannot stay much longer here. For now, I ask that starting tomorrow, you travel to find your way to stop the slavers in Northern Versuvia from reaching the Nothern Spine. I have drawn you this map, and I apologize for its crudeness. Talk, be merry, and I'll see you all in the morning. After a brief pause, Abdul seems to slip away from your awareness: He has withdrawn and has somehow managed to disappear without a trace of magical effort.
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    Alala shied away from Jerid's touch, muttering something non-committal on the subject of flying before slipping away. He seemed to have hit a sore spot, there. So much so that Alala spends much of the subsequent period avoiding Jerid as much as she does Vutha.

    Later that evening, once Abdul had suggested the remainder introduce each other, Alala had at first remained silent. Letting Tai get in the first introduction... but then Abdul had mentioned why he wanted them introduced to each other. Now, this was different. This was work. She could do work, even if it involved being nice to the Reth Dekala.

    "I'm Alala, " she started, fighting the niggling feeling that something was wrong.... oh! There was something missing. "and I'll be back in one moment."

    The centaur bolted for her spot in the living area, grabbed her bag of holding, and raced back. It was clear she had quite the turn of speed about her - moving around the same speed as a proper racehorse, fitted with horseshoes of speed, at a dead run. Which was, let's face it, very close to what she was (especially in the case of the horseshoes).

    Once she was back with the group, she began rummaging around in the bag of holding. She withdrew (and promptly discarded) a couple of lances. Then a bow - nearly 8' tall and far thicker than the average composite longbow. A chainmail shirt was next to be dropped on the floor beside her, before she finally withdrew what she'd been looking for - a length of thick chain, with spiked metal studs attached to every other link. Her left hand held one side of it in a loose loop, as her right began spinning the other side in a slow circle.

    "I used to be a gladiator, and this chain was my weapon of choice. Not something I generally make an issue of these days - what escaped slave would? But if we're going after slavers tomorrow, probably best you know I'm good for something beyond wearing that saddle." Idly, she tosses the swinging end of the chain upwards, and cleanly catches the tip as it comes down once more.

    "So, what did the rest of you do?"

  20. - Top - End - #20
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    NecromancerGirl

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    "Well, that went swimmingly. I do hope you're proud of yourself," Jerid grouses to his companion. He takes Watt's large spontaneous purchase in relatively good stride but only after being shown an incredibly large number of useful curios. Later, Jerid allows himself to be dragged into the group of monsters that's formed around Abdul. He would have remained silent and unobserved, but then Watt had to go and introduce himself. Now everyone was staring at the two ostensibly human lads. Jerid scowls at Watt. "You can call me Jerid." He looks at whoever's next, making it clear that there's not going to be any more elaboration.

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    ”My name is Xylona.” She snaps a vial out of her bandoleer, shaking it and causing tiny scintillating bolts of lightning to play along the surface of the liquid. ”As you may see, I am an alchemist and craftswoman of some skill. As evidence of my broad education I have, in what I now suspect is some ritual of passage, created one of my own.” She nods towards the display with Shax’s Haversack, giving more meaning to the similar backpack she wears. [color=dark green]”In addition, while I am certainly overshadowed by our host, my skill extends to the creation of many types of magical items. This includes a collection of items that should resolve many ills we may collect.”[/color]

    ”I am in truth not much of a combatant. I have some ability in that regard, but my skills lie in a more subtle direction.” She points to the bow stave on her back and waves a hand to indicate her vials again. ”I am an expert in the mind, both in the magical and in the mundane sense. I can provide us with illusions or enchantments and if need be I can handle interactions with those outside our friendly group.” She hums for a moment and then shrugs. ”I have no objection to the task Abdul gave us, so please let me know if I can assist you when we undertake this endeavor.”

    While she has shared some information about herself, there is much Xylona has left unsaid about herself and her history. It would be interesting to see which ones had the intelligence to guess she was already applying her specialty of illusions and her skill for presenting a false face. Omar is the only individual here she has begun to trust, and even he is still not close enough for her to show her true face to. He knows she is a Dryad, but Xylona is a secretive person by nature and has not shared much more than that.
    Last edited by Incendius; 2015-09-15 at 07:40 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ogre in the Playground
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    So they were to be mercenaries instead of sweatshop peons? That sounds much more glamorous... and much more dangerous. If Abdul is telling the truth about slavers though... there isn't a much lower form of life than that. And undoubtedly many of the refugees from Sodis were falling into their clutches...

    Omar looks around at the group. So they are supposed to be bunch of badasses... That seems pretty obvious in the case of the centaur and the hunk of glowing green muscle but not so much with the others, who were acting pretty cagey and not saying much. For a moment he's tempted to start with... I melt people's faces off, mostly... but he pushes that thought aside along with dark memories it brought... "I'm Omar. I'm good at scouting and not being seen. I can fight a little bit if I have to..."
    "Do Driderettes buy their legwarmers in bulk?"

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Vutha being the last to reply, now sees the group now looking toward him. Vutha sighes and unsheathes a tiny toy-like sword. Fiddling with it a little, he says, "i'm more of a fighter than a talker. My name is Vutha, may my sword and I help the party."

  24. - Top - End - #24
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    After Vutha makes his curt reply to the party, the treant who had served you all drinks re-appears to collect the waters. Ahhhhh oonly a feeww off youu draaank. It rustles its leaves with a FWWSHHH as if a wind were blowing though and continues Theeen I sshhhaaalll enjooyy the reest. With that, it picks up the mugs and drinks the remaining water--unless you drink it, of course--and it then returns the mugs to the plate. Once all of this transpires, it waddles away, walks out the door of the building, and roots itself to the ground with only soft crunching of dirt.

    Not a few moments afterwards, you hear the sound of rain drops falling upon the high-ceilinged building and the swish of grass and trees outside. A distant clap of thunder rolls somewhere across the night, and you all begin to realize that it's become noticeably cooler where you all are. A quick look around will reveal a number of circles already blacked-out. Gulrath the Dwarf gruffly walks over to Niminida, a Gnome and Teft, a halfling, and says [COLOR="#FF8C00"]I'm a gettin' to bed[/R]. The other two resume their quiet chatting and laughing as they drink what appears to be a purple alcohol-drink.

    It only just dawns upon your minds that sleep would, indeed, be welcome.

    ∴∵∴ ∵∴∵ ∴∵∴

    As your restful prospects suggest, you manage the first wonderful sleep that you've had in...well it's been too long. As the morning comes the next day, you all become aware of various delicious smells wafting into your sleeping circles.

    Served on what appears to be tables grown from the outstretched limbs of small trees (that weren't there when you went to sleep, were they?) in the space between the sleeping-circles and what can only be called a Gallery, are a myriad collection of foods.

    Gulrath the Dwarf is standing on the other side, one hand behind his back, waiting for...well, you apparently. Errone else et arredy. Soup n roots 'r gud for the tummy on the travel. He looks at Jerid, and says Oh yers, and fer you, Abdul sed to makyer some meets cuz...cuz he sed yuu need just the meets. He takes his hand behind his back, which has a plate of what appears to be meat strips from...not sheep or cows, but something even more delicious-smelling, and waddles across the table from where Jerid is standing to place it down.

    Available for the rest are myriad and many-colored roots, each prepared in small groups, and several bowls of mixed spices and sauces clearly meant to be mixed with them. In the center of the table are five steaming bowls of soup that each seem to be different in smell, each with a reasonable ladle to serve yourselves. Before you each lies a bowl and a hollowed-out husk of bread in the shape of a bowl.
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  25. - Top - End - #25
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    NinjaGuy

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    Tai enjoys nibbling on a tuber for breakfast. While he does not usually need to eat or drink, there is still some pleasure in it, so why not?

    "Stopping slavers in Northern Versuvia from reaching the Northern Spine. That should be simple enough: just persuade them to go somewhere else." Tai has read somewhat about slavery in his studies and gathered that many intelligent beings find it morally repugnant. But to him, it lacks the opprobrium. He thinks to himself, Generally, it seems a better life than a lab rat's, yet most seem to have no concern for lab rats. Farm animals, beasts of burden: they may be used and abused much the same as slaves. To a great extent, civilizations seem to depend on that use, if not the abuse. Somehow, "intelligence" seems to make it wrong in people's eyes. Hmph!, he shrugs. Intelligence just helps you appreciate what you are missing -- and do something about it. A satisfied smile crosses his face, as he remembers how he left the lab.

    His eyes light upon the centaur, Alala? She mentioned she was an escaped slave. "Alala, what do you think of this mission?," he asks. An opportunity to learn.
    Spoiler: Disclaimer
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    Let's just be clear: these are Tai's thoughts on these issues; not mine.
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  26. - Top - End - #26
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    The Alala that greeted them in the morning looked rather different to the Alala they'd met the night before. In her gladiator costume (all chain and furs), she looked a far more... intimidating... presence than she did in casual clothing. True, the fact she was actually wearing her weaponry today (those looking for such things would see the spiked chain hanging from a loop on the side of her saddle, and the great bow had been strung and slung over one shoulder) also contributed to the difference.

    It did, however, spoil the effect a little when she answered Tai in the same cheery voice she'd been using the day before. "Dunno why it's important to stop some slavers getting to a particular place. It's not like turning them back would stop them being slavers - they'd just go pick up slaves somewhere else, surely? Well... maybe there's something or someone special in that place that Abdul wants protected." An unconcerned shrug follows, as Alala begins carefully ladelling soup into her hollowed-out bread.

    "I don't really know much about slave traders, " she admitted. "I was only a foal the last time I was owned by some - or were they hunters? When you're a centaur there's surprisingly little difference - so I can't remember much of it. Can't even remember being captured, though I assume I was. Still, I did get a brief look at a few bands when I was a gladiator. That's where most of the recruits came from. They weren't... nice people. Never did see one that took good care of their slaves - it was usually a month or so before the new 'hires' were really ready to begin training. I guess if you're trying to turn people into money, you don't get very far by feeling empathy for the people."

    Add a little spice to the soup, and breakfast can begin!

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Jerid sleeps well for the first time in several days. Amazing what a difference a good night's rest can make. He even wishes Watt a good morning. Breakfast further lifts his spirits, though he's curious how Abdul found him out. Alala didn't seem the type to talk. No matter. The others would find out soon enough. Jerid digs into the mystery meat. "We could stop them. Very easily." He smiles softly. "They wouldn't be able to take slaves, or do anything else for that matter."
    Last edited by Nyarai; 2015-09-16 at 05:16 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    "If you're suggesting that we just kill them....


    ...Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good plan. It's not a permanent solution - there are plenty of other slavers, and lots of people who aren't slavers yet, but would happily make money from someone else's labour. But hey, at least we'll be thinning out their ranks a little, and that can't be a bad thing, right?
    "

    As would probably surprise no-one, the former gladiator isn't the least bit squeamish.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Xylona lowers herself into a chair with a nearly imperceptible clink of armor coming from underneath her rustling clothes. "One should note that Abdul said nothing about how we stop the slavers, merely that we do." Ladling out one of the soups into her bread bowl, she pauses in a moment of contemplation. A deft hand snakes out to several spices in quick succession, adding measured dashes into her meal. "I admit I am uncomfortable with the thought of simply going in and killing them, but there does seem to be few options given the timeline of our task."

    A slight turn leaves Xylona facing Alala. "While many slavers do indeed lack empathy for those other than themselves, I would caution against assuming that be wholly true. People are infinitely capable of rationalization and the simple division between 'us' and 'them' is often enough for people to abandon what kindness they have. This may or may not be relevant to these particular slavers, but everyone has a reason for what they do, and that can often be taken advantage of."

    Xylona turns back to taste her meal before continuing. "Such is no justification for there actions, but few people like to think of themselves as 'bad'." Xylona seems to startle a little before finishing with a less assertive tone. "I apologize though; this is all just philosophical musing until we know more of the situation. I will assist if we decide upon a direct assault. I merely mean to say that I will try for an alternative option, if I see one that would stop the slavers and free their victims. Unlikely, but a few twists to the minds of leaders or outright eliminations might make such possible."
    Last edited by Incendius; 2015-09-16 at 06:25 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Omar frowns as he looks at the map. "Some more details would be helpful. Does 'stopping' mean killing them? Scaring them off? Buying them off? How many are there and how well armed are they? Do they already have a bunch of slaves in tow? If so, how do we provide for them once the slavers have been dealt with? And how are we going to travel as a group through the middle of a war zone? If there's one thing all the thugs and crazies out there can agree upon, it's that they hate, uh, people like us. I know some of us can hide ourselves or disguise ourselves, but I don't think that's true for all of us..." At that point he can't help but glance over at the glowing green warrior...
    "Do Driderettes buy their legwarmers in bulk?"

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