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  #16  
Old 11-05-2018, 04:40 PM
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"Excuse me, Mikael, but I never suggested that we abandon Nurah. I simply suggested that we evaluate our priorities and act in the smartest manner possible. That perhaps just blindly storming the cemetery might be a mistake that would trigger consequences that would be difficult to recover from. For instance, if we were to take care of the bulls and whatever forces controlling them, we would seize the bridge and our army would be able to cross the riverbed. That seems like a victory that is paramount and is actually on the way to taking over the cemetery, whereas if we skip the bridge, the chances of it being blown are dramatically increased if we are discovered."

She wiped her nose with the back of her hand. "If I were the one captured I would want you to be smart and make good decisions so that you could set yourself up to win the siege on your way to helping me escape. You mistake my intention for wishing to abandon Nurah or bring her harm and it is actually rather insulting, good ser. Clearly you were not listening to what I said. Saving her and winning the siege are both paramount but if we abandon one to do the other then our cause is lost. The bridge is on the way to the cemetery, so why not take it before they destroy it while we are heading that way already?"
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Old 11-07-2018, 11:44 AM
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Sir Bokak Penthouse the Reincarnated
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Bokak looked back impatiently. All arguments made sense. In his mind it made sense. But in his heart, he knew what he wanted to do. A sense of frustration came over him. Nurah needs our help. If we go to take out those things at the bridge, we might get flanked from behind. If we approach with the army we'll get made by the citadel watch towers. So we send a small team to recover Nurah. Even if the ghouls know we are here, the army can defend better here than there. But WE... Bokak points at himself, Ambrosia, Mikael, Esprix and the one named Marcus. Can take out this winged thing. If, it didn't outright kill her, there is a good chance she is alive. And if that is the case there might be other prisoners....




 
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Old 11-07-2018, 11:58 AM
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Esprix had remained quiet while the bigger folks argued. Having spent the evening before offering healing to every soldier still needing it, she had crashed, and slept the sleep of the exhausted, before rising at dawn again. She woke again to a camp in dithers, people going about their chores, all the while looking to the circle of leaders who were arguing at the edge of the camp.

Shaking her head, Esprix approached the group, and slipped into the center of it.

"Stop arguing," she finally said, "and rescue Nurah. If the bridge has to be taken to get to the cemetery, then we take the bridge first. If the walls of the city have to be broken, then we break the walls. "The little ratfolk stood quietly in the center of the group, looking at each of them, except the goblin.

"You didn't plot and plan and argue when I was taken." She pointed a finger at Ambrosia. "You just acted. You came to rescue me, immediately." She looked at Mikael, and then around the small circle of people she had learned to trust. Eprix pointed outwards, towards the camp of soldiers, all studiously looking busy and obviously not paying attention to the group.

"You are supposed to be leaders, and this camp needs leaders. Look at what you are doing," she said. "Every second of doubt, of hesitation, is like a boil that builds and festers in this camp, and leads to doubts." The ratling nodded towards the soldiers again.

"Look at what this is doing. All of you, stop bickering, and let's go. Someone needs our help, and you can argue and debate until the world stops spinning, and get no closer to helping someone. All your plans and hopes and prayers don't matter; the only thing that matters is helping, and you aren't doing that right now."

The little witch sniffed loudly, and wiped a paw across her small pink nose. She raised her voice a little louder, which still, for a small ratfolk, was not much. "Tiger and I are going to the bridge. You can come and help, or you can stay here and talk about all the ideas you have that might make the demons give back the world. But Nurah needs me."

She turned, and whistled to her dog. The huge shaggy beast rose up from nearby one of the tents and trotted over, happily, to his mistress. Esprix checked the small ropes and leather straps of her riding saddle, and then climbed onto the massive canine. Her small hands gripped large hunks of fur, and she straightened herself in the seat.

Esprix looked at Borak, and scrunched her face up as she thought. "You too," she said to the goblin. "I am sure there are plenty of legs you can bit along the way. Let's go Tiger. Someone needs help."
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:51 PM
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Feeling properly scolded, Ambrosia silently took off after the mouse and her dog. She quickly surpassed the duo as she moved through the shadows and hiding spots toward the bridge at a naturally faster pace than the k-9 mount.

As she approached the bridge, Ambrosia began to reach out with her senses to see what was there. A brief glimmer of blue flashed over where her eye sockets would be beneath the gold embroidered red sharkskin leather of her mask. She reached out to sense what was around her by listening to the world and looking for signs of life or unlife near the bridge. She was limited by range, but her stealthy approach should have allowed her an opportunity to get close enough to get a glimpse of what was going on at the bridge.


 
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:39 PM
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Where has Marcus been?After another difficult day of fighting and killing, Marcus returned to the camp of Paladins with his allies. His normally boisterous and friendly attitude was subdued by exhaustion and injury. With a simple good night he went to his private tent where he stripped away the heavy plate armor. Below his armor were his padding and under clothes and as he stripped away the last layer of cloth he revealed a hideous patchwork of scars, each one appearing to glow and glisten like silver as it caught the oil lantern's light. This was the cost of his lay on hands and the other cure spells. The rapid healing quickly closed the wounds, but the scars would never fade and took on the magical silver sheen. There were burns from all four elements, cuts from slashing and piercing weapons, and large obvious bite wounds that still looked so perfect one could almost make a mold of the creature's teeth just from observing Marcus' skin. Each one offered a memory of a battle long past.

Of the various scars, his hands touched where he had once been pierced by a giant spider and pumped full of venom. Amazingly it was the closest he had ever come to death and for a moment he had seen the other side.

The desire to sleep gnawed at Marcus, making his eye lids heavy and his movements slow, but the Paladin was not yet ready for bed. He walked over to his rut sack and removed a small wooden figure of Iomedae and placed it down upon the ground. He knelt before it in nothing but his small clothes as he held Radiance in his hands and be began to pray.

It was the same prayer he had repeated countless times before, but with each word, his consciousness began to slip into darkness. Soon the words stopped and Marcus was motionless. He had fallen asleep on his knees.

~~~

Marcus found himself suspended in a void of cold darkness. There was no light, yet he could see his own hands. There was no warmth, yet he did not freeze. There was no where to stand, yet he did not fall. Fear should have enveloped any sane person, but Marcus remained calm and observed. He tried to recall the last thing he remembered. For some reason his memories of the day were hard to grasp, like trying to scoop water with your hands. As quickly as he thought he could remember, the strands of memories slipped through his fingers even quicker.

A light appeared, high above Marcus. It was so bright it was dazzling, Marcus had to reach out a hand to block the light from his eyes. His feet suddenly touched solid ground. He looked down and saw beautiful green grass, neatly trimmed. Looking around he now realized he was in the court yard of the church where he had trained to be a Paladin. To his left was a massive great oak tree which provided the students and teachers a wonderful place to read scripture under.

Dumbfounded, Marcus stumbled toward the tree. There, just where he had carved it and gotten seriously reprimanded for, was a heart surrounding 'MV + VP = 4E'. It was a silly thing to do and Marcus had spent three months peeling potatoes and cleaning the outhouse because of it. Still, it was a good memory, because he hadn't carved it a lone...

"Playing Hooky Marcus? That's not like you." A voice as sweet as an angel reached Marcus' ears. Tears instantly welled up in the corner of his eyes. For the first time in years he felt fear. Fear that if he turned around, the source of the voice would disappeared. With much hesitation, Marcus slowly turned.

Brilliant fire red hair danced in the gentle wind. Green emerald eyes sparkled more brilliantly then any gemstone. Beautiful soft cream skin seemed to almost glow in the sunlight. Dressed in a simple summers dress, stood a woman that stole Marcus' breath. "Valeria" He barely managed to rasp as tears began to stream down his cheeks.

He rushed to her and pulled her into his arms, and kissed her soft pink lips. She giggled, "The mustache is new." Marcus froze. He had been unable to grow proper facial hair at Sixteen. It wasn't until he was in his early twenties did his hair grow thick enough to shape. Instantly disappointment filled his heart. He realized he was in a dream. None of this was real. "Half marks, Marcus my love." She suddenly countered as if reading his mind. "Iomedae, in her infinite mercy has given us this brief respite."

"You're real? You're really her? Not some dream? Or worse yet a nightmarish trick?" Worry filled Marcus' voice. If this were some evil plot to snap his heart in two, then they had succeeded in finding his weakness.

"No trick." She smiled and placed a gentle hand upon Marcus' cheek. Valeria stood on her tip toes to kiss Marcus once more. "I have missed you, but I come with a message you may not wish to hear." Marcus wrapped his arms around her shoulders and pulled her close, feeling her body pressed against his. He said nothing for a long time. Finally she tapped his shoulder. "May I continue?"

"Of course... Please." Marcus let go and looked her in the eye with all seriousness. If this was a message from his goddess, delivered by his late love, then he would be a fool to miss even a word.

"Marcus... I am sure you know this already, but the quest you are on is more important than any quest you could possibly imagine. The balance of the entire world hangs on your every choice. In the coming battles, you will need an unshakable resolve and an unbreakable spirit if you wish to succeed."

The paladin nodded, "Of course. I know all of this. I will give my life for this cause."

Valeria shook her head slowly, "You must live for this cause. If you fall, if you die, this mission will fail. More than that... you need to resolve what is happening in your heart."

Marcus looked confused, "I... I don't understand."

A sad smiled curled on Valeria's lips. "Yes you do."

Marcus paused for a moment. He began to open his mouth but quickly shut it. This repeated making him look like a fish gasping for air. Finally he found his words. "Ambrosia."

"You two share a connection. I don't know what kind yet... but don't fear it. Talk to her. If it grows, so be it. In Iomedae's embrace I am filled with light and happiness. I feel no pain, no sadness. But you? You're still alive... and you need to live your life. A life with out love is no life at all." Valeria offered a bitter sweet smile.

"But... but what about my promise to you?" Marcus stammered.

"I can share. Maybe she can to. Then again, maybe someone else will appear in the future. The future is what we make of it. Just... don't shut yourself off from feeling. Love is important. Besides... Cayden would love a little half brother or half sister to play with some day." Valeria giggled. Marcus suddenly realized there was a child shaped ball of light standing behind the Oak tree, peaking around at Marcus.

Marcus held his breath. "Cayden?"

The ground below Marcus' feet suddenly vanished and Marcus began to fall. A scream escaped his lips as he suddenly awoke. Marcus was still on his knees as he looked around. It was morning. Late morning. Not only had he slept in, he had slept in a very awkward way.

His knees groaned in protest as he stood up but he had no time to give into simple pains of the flesh. He was late, and his allies would need him.

Quickly, the Paladin called for his squire. As if waiting for his call, young fresh faced boy entered the tent carrying clean linen, underclothes, and a bowl of soup. Marcus took the soup from the boy, hunger gnawing at his stomach, he wasted little time rapidly swallowing it by the mouth full. It was mostly potato with a few root vegetables with tiny chunks of horse meat, but still Marcus was grateful for it.

Once he was done eating, his squire helped him dress and soon Marcus was off to find his friends.

~~~

Catching up to Ambrosia, Esprix, and Bokak, he found out they were planning on securing the bridge first. The paladin had no complaint, as it seemed like the most tactically sound objective. As he pulled along side them, he grunted, "I'm sorry for being late. I slept in a little..." He did his best to act casual but he was glad Ambrosia was blind and could not see the flushed pinkness of his ears as he walked beside her.
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  #21  
Old 11-09-2018, 12:58 PM
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The strike force, hastily assembled, makes its way to the bridge in the morning light. Aron stays back at the camp, pale and wan from his sleepless night, while Sosiel supervises the construction of defenses. Arles, the one who had so nearly lost faith in the crusade, is particularly diligent: he might not believe in the chances of success, but he is determined to do what he can to increase them.

The first to arrive is Esprix, riding her enormous hound; Ambrosia and Bokak are only just behind. Ambrosia keeps to the shadows, and she and Bokak only have to cut down two tieflings who are about to attack the oblivious ratling. They see the bridge, a stone construction with high walls on each side, and four watchtowers rising from the piers. A pair of tiefling guards is visible on each of the towers, pacing back and forth, and alternating the sides they look from: it will be hard to approach closer unseen,
Dice Perception checks:
1d20-13 (2)-13 Total = -11
1d20-13 (18)-13 Total = 5
1d20-13 (13)-13 Total = 0
1d20-13 (20)-13 Total = 7
1d20-13 (12)-13 Total = -1
1d20-13 (9)-13 Total = -4
1d20-13 (9)-13 Total = -4
1d20-13 (19)-13 Total = 6
given their diligence.

The really worrying thing is the beasts chained below: four huge bulls, each with heavy horns, a mad glint in its eyes, and long, pointed teeth like a wolf's. Getting close to them, even chained as they are, would be dangerous; but if left alone, they may be able to collapse the whole bridge. Cracks already run through its piers and superstructure: being on the bridge when it falls would likely be fatal to all but the most hardy warriors.

OOCThe bridge is about 120' long; you're currently 200' away from it (hence the -20 applied to the tieflings' perception checks). You can get closer if you want, but the non-stealthy among you (hello Marcus) might struggle not to attract attention. I'll let you plan the attack - any tactical questions, of course, can be asked in the OOC thread or private threads.
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Old 11-09-2018, 06:10 PM
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Esprix paused, and waited for the others. Ambrosia had already warned her twice about getting ahead, and the little witch tried to heed her instructions.

As she patted Tiger on his keg-like head, she spoke quietly with the tiefling. "If I get close enough, I can bother the ones in the tower. Keep them a little busy, at least. Or put them to sleep, maybe. Or blind some." She pointed a paw towards the huge beasts. "Or, I could maybe break on of their chains, and then, they would chase me, and I can bring it this way, and you could ambush it. One at a time, maybe?"

She chewed her lip in thought. "But getting closer will be hard. I could just ride up, though. I'm not afraid."
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Old 11-10-2018, 08:13 PM
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Ambrosia listened to everything. Breathing, heartbeats, voices, the sounds of flesh moving as a brow furrows or an arm moves toward a sword, fingers clenching into a fist. When Marcus approached, she listened, like always. He spoke and she listened.

”Your gait is different and the cadence of your voice is off. Is everything alright?” She asked, bluntly.

”Little mouse, I know you are not afraid. But please don’t rush out there just yet.” Said Ambrosia.

”I was thinking that I could say that I’ve revived the army from the dead at the battlefields and I’ve brought them here on behalf of Arueshalae for training. Then I will demand that they release our scout as she is a valuable asset in the function of this strike force as we will work to invade the human cities.” She smirked. ”It’s risky, but it’s worth a shot. It might get us across the bridge at least.”
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Old 11-10-2018, 08:52 PM
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"If not across, maybe close?" Esprix asked.
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Old 11-11-2018, 05:30 PM
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"Esprix, it sounds like you are talking about cursing people. Is there a way that you could make the guards more susceptible to the things that I say?" Asked Ambrosia, not really sure how the mouse would consider her words or meaning.
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Old 11-11-2018, 06:22 PM
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MarcusMarcus immediately jerked his head toward Ambrosia, his eyes wide with surprise as she question him. He really was a terrible liar and his body was as honest as his soul. "Me? Something wrong? No. No. I'm good. Everything's good." Marcus turned away immediately and stared off in to the direction of their target.

Marcus allowed his mind to drift and think about the situation as Esprix and Ambrosia spoke. Suddenly he had an idea. "I have an idea on how we can get close and draw the enemy commander out. With the commander within striking distance, we'll be able to initiate combat on our own terms and stop them from destroying the bridge."

He paused for a moment, "Not to be cruel, but a tiefling, a ratling, and a goblin... I don't wish to be racist, but I feel like the three of you, so long as you didn't wield a banner of an enemy, could probably get close enough to talk without being attacked. Especially if you had a few human slaves being dragged behind your horses as trophies. We would want to set it up so we could easily escape and retrieve a weapon when the time comes. For that I am open to ideas. That way we could get close and give Ambrosia the chance to talk and draw out their commander. What do you think?"
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Old 11-11-2018, 09:09 PM
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Esprix pondered Ambrosia's question only for a moment, before answering in the affirmative. Of course. It's the same as a curse, actually. It's just bad luck, right? They have it, we don't.

The ratfolk listened to Marcus, her head tilted towards her slim shoulders. "Don't count me in with a leg-biting lout like that," she said, her nose scrunched up in offense. "Ambrosia is pretty, so I like that, but I don't bite people, and I don't drool, and I am not all green and lumpy."
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Old 11-11-2018, 09:52 PM
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Sir Bokak Penthouse the Reincarnated
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Bokak was still cleaning the gunk from his club. Unlike a blade, brain matter didn't wipe off so easily off the wooden makeshift weapon he had found. The old tree branch was the only thing he'd been able to acquire that would fit in his hands neatly and still be able to go through his known drills.

Yuck! He finally said as he gave up and just decided to drag the thing instead of laying it on his shoulder.

Bokak listened to the others but kept looking around. To him, the plan didn't make sense. First they had come to kill the bulls so that the bridge would not fall, on the way to rescuing Norah. Now they would be openly challenging whatever lay inside the Citadel. Is this before or after we kill the bulls? Bokak always considered himself the most handsome cookie around, not really the smartest, but he was pretty confident on his reasoning skills and things just weren't stacking up.

Hearing Esprix send insults his way he finally snapped back. I never fit you! Never have I done such a thing. Such conduct is unvecoming of a knight. Even if I were such a uncouth frigand, I certainly wouldn't fite your hairy arse. You frofafly would not even taste like chicken. Gods was Bokak hungry. The mere mention of the word brought a grumbling growl from his stomach. I would get hair all over my mouth in which I could not get rid of such horrid taste for weeks. Feeling something dribbling from his chin Bokak wiped the backhand side of his hand to his mouth, and was indeed disgusted to find drool. A mix of horror and anger began to mount on his face. He quickly gave a retort. And mayfe am drooling now, fut once I get this curse lifted and my fody fixed, I'll be the one you'll be drooling over and you'll still have hair... Bokak waggled a clawed finger over the ratling. ...all over your fody... all over.

Bokak tried to straighten up as tall as he could trying to look as regal and noble as possible. He gave the haughtiest look his goblin body could muster. And III wouldn't count me in with your flea ridden self. For III don't afandon my comrades in arms when they are in great feril!




 
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Old 11-11-2018, 11:45 PM
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"Really?" Esprix asked. "Then where ARE your comrades?"

She paused for only a moment, before making a very obvious look around the field. "I don't see anyone here that's not one of my comrades. But I don't see any of yours. Where are they?"
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:15 AM
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"Esprix, that's not nice. It's important to be honest and open with your feelings about other beings, but pointing out that they are isolated, unwanted, and unwelcome, well, that wouldn't make you feel good would it? You don't mind being told that you have fur all over your body, and Bokak should be able to handle other folk talking about his unpleasant appearance. But we're all in this together, so there's no need to be mean. Are you a mean little rat or a friendly rat?" Said Ambrosia idly as she pondered what Marcus had said.

Ambrosia shifted gears and said, "Esrpix doesn't want to talk to the demons, and I respect that. I don't necessarily want to hinge a diplomatic plan on the goblin acting diplomatically. With ten minutes or so, I can help to influence one such interaction that Bokak might have, but that's just one. If we get escorted to deal with someone else, then that's more diplomatic scenarios for the goblin to destroy.

I don't mean to be exclusive here, I want to have all of us involved. But I have no idea how this goblin behaves under pressure and from what I've seen so far, he is newly feral and uncomfortable with his newly feral state of being. That is a really bad circumstance to be in while trying to execute a delicate negotiation with a citadel full of demons.

Pardon my ego and self promotion, but I feel that it would be better to have one person executing the rushed diplomacy. It’s much harder to keep a story straight with multiple people involved, especially if one of them is a newly feral goblin who is uncomfortable with what he is. If he wants to be a slave driver, that’s fine, I have a badass whip that he can use. But I speak Abyssal, and Infernal, and I’m demon blooded, and I’ve trained much of my life in diplomatic dealings. I think that to undermine those advantages would be folly. Sir.”
She added with a coy smirk.
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