Game Thread Chapter I.I - The Basilisk Gate - RPG Crossing
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:14 AM
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Chapter I.I - The Basilisk Gate

Welcome to the City of Blood
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Welcome to Baldur’s Gate.
Baldur's Gate. Evening, Seventeenth Day of Alturiak, 1494 DR.

This grand city, a veritable nest of rats and vipers clinging to the rocky slopes overlooking the Chionthar River. From their high perches in the Upper City, the local nobles — known as patriars — gazed down with veiled contempt upon the common rabble in the grimy Lower City, which hugged the foggy harbor. The whole of Baldur’s Gate reeked of blood, crime, and opportunity. One could easily fathom why pirates and traders were drawn to this place like flies to a carcass.

Following the river farther east would have eventually lead you to Elturel, capital of the holy land of Elturgard — or at least that was the case until a few days before. The flood of refugees from Elturel had only gotten worse since news first arrived that the city has fallen. Everyone said Baldur’s Gate was next, but no one truly knew who or what had claimed Elturel.

The patriars paid a mercenary army called the Flaming Fist to protect their interests in Baldur’s Gate, and by extension, the city itself. The Flaming Fist gained even more power since their charismatic leader, Ulder Ravengard, claimed the title of Grand Duke a few years before the disappearance of Elturel. Now, it seemed, Ravengard was missing. In his absence, the Flaming Fist sealed the city’s gates to staunch the flow of refugees. No one was allowed in or out.

In times of emergency, such as the one the city currently found itself in, the Flaming Fist was empowered to draft anyone who looked like they could handle themselves - and draft they did. Each new recruit, enticed with either the carrot or the stick, learned all of this before setting out to meet their new leader.




Whether enticed by coin, the chance of glory, recruited by force, or even blackmailed, each of the six adventurers each shared the same order: speak to Captain Zodge at the Basilisk Gate. The gate pierced the city’s eastern wall and took its name from the various statues that rested in its niches and perched atop its battlements. Unseen beyond the sealed Basilisk Gate, a dirt road stretched through the Outer City slums to the bridge known as Wyrm’s Crossing, then to distant realms beyond.

The sun tucked below the horizon sending waves of amber and fuchsia across the darkening sky. In the bay, ships hurried to pull out from the dock before night settled in. Citizens still out went to and fro with jackets and scarves wrapped tightly around themselves, guarding against the last lingering remnants of Auril's bitterness. With twilight threatening, honest businesses hurried to finish up the last of their tasks while men and women hurried home, not wanting to get caught up in the all-together different sort of activity that was so prevalent in the city of blood. As the members of the group made their way to the gate, the uneven cobblestones of the main city gave way to a grimy dirty road, all with the same goal in mind - find Captain Zodge. It should have been an easy task. Tall, with long black hair, and an eye patch, Captain Zodge was certainly one to stand out from a crowd. Most crowds anyway. The one gathered around the Basilisk Gate was not a typical group, however. There, dozens of frightened citizens fought to leave the city, a dramatic sight given the throngs of refugees who still flooded the gates daily attempting to find safe haven within the walls.

The gates were closed, or so it was said, not letting people in or out. Yet the Flaming Fists were not known for their integrity, nor their gentleness. All around the entrance, members of the mercenary company could be seen in a variety of compromising positions.

Off to the side, an unconscious villager was dragged to the edge of the dirt road where another of the Flaming Fist rifled through the pockets of another in a similar state. A woman sheltering three crying children cowered from an officer who looked like he might just take a swing, before shepherding them away protectively and back towards the town. A small ruckus near the gate drew more attention as a commoner was thrown to the ground after trying to drunkenly push his way through the Fists guarding the gate.

"Make way!" called a potbellied man sitting atop a wagon filled with barrels and chests. Commoners rushed out of the way, clearly convinced that he wouldn't stop his horses or wagon for their benefit. The vibrant reds and blues of his attire painted a stark contrast to the grey and brown canvas of the city itself.

"Ah," a Flaming Fist soldier clad in plate armor said, walking up to the man, "I was wondering how long you would stick it out, Aldaman."

Aldaman's chuckle was loud but cut short as a cry rang out somewhere deeper in the crowd, "Not all of us are profiting from the chaos as you are," he said, "between the murders and the rumors, business isn't what it was. Heading down to Waterdeep 'til things settle down."

The Fist nodded, his smile widening. "Who would have thought that Elturel's misfortune would be so profitable? You staying there? Down in Waterdeep, I mean."

"Depends if there's a city to come back to," the merchant said, a frown appearing on his face, "Going to wait out the worst of it. Anyways, we must be going. Still ten per?"

"Hey-" a voice from the side called, garnering the attention of both the fist and the merchant. A tall man with thick, taut muscles slammed the pummel of his sword into the head of a man trying to sneak into back of the wagon. The man crumpled like a rag doll to the ground. However, instead of intervening, the Fist soldier let out a guttural laugh and called for two others to drag the man away, no doubt to be rifled through while he 'slept.'

Turning back to the merchant, the soldier finally answered. "Ten per," he affirmed. "Though," he continued, "I'd be happy to keep an eye on the storefront if you happen to have on 'o them barrels of whiskey on you."

"Tandar," Aldaman called. The bodyguard emerged at the front of the wagon, carrying a small barrel. The soldier's eyes brightened and he directed for the cask to be placed nearby as he took a leather pouch from the merchant's outstretched hand. "There are three more in the shop. They're yours as long as you keep the place standing. I assume all is in order, then?" the merchant inquired.

"Indeed," the mercenary said. He signaled to a pair in the watchtowers flanking the gate. Slowly, the gate creaked open and the wagon lurched through. The movement stirred the crowd and a small riot broke out as people rushed the opening in an attempt to escape.It lasted only a few moments as the Fists took out the braver of the bunch, quickly turning anger to fear.

As the adventurers arrived, they noticed that some of their acquaintances or friends were also peppered in the crowd: A graceful man with lavender eyes that seemed out of place among the chaos, A sullen looking half-elf who's face laid half obscured by unkempt hair, A wizened dwarf with twin axes hanging from his belt, a youthful blonde elf who looked as though she could have been plucked from one of the great academies, a half-orc who earns quite a few glances - mostly due to her towering height and gentle visage, and a masked man who cut an imposing figure among the throngs of villagers. While seeing familiar faces may have normally been reassuring, the events from a few nights before lent an unsettling feeling to the reunion.

Last edited by DaysUntold; 12-10-2019 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:47 AM
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Sarillar

As the Aldaman's cart lumbered its way through the Basilisk Gate, Sarillar stepped forward to pass through. He and a mass of others clambering to breach the gate were stopped by the members of the Flaming Fist guarding the gate. As the rabble was disbursed, he stepped forward.

A guard stepped in front of him, hand raised. "Piss off! The gate's closed. No one in or out."

Sarillar stood, staring back at the man, assessing the maggot that would bar his path. "Move aside", he replied through his helmet.

The guard chuckled and grabbed onto the chain mail covering Sarillar's chest. "Lookey here, you piece of... ", but the guard never had the chance to finish what he was saying as Sarillar's helmet smashed into the man's face, shattering his nose and knocking a few teeth loose. He fell backward onto the ground, screaming and clutching his face.

After a stunned moment of surprise by the nearby guards, steel was quickly drawn. The first guard swung with his sword raised high overhead. Stepping forward, Sarillar put his shoulder into the guard's chest and threw him over his shoulder where he landed with a solid thud onto the muddy ground before the gate.

The yelling crowd, mud beneath his feet, unlikely odds...for a moment Sarillar was back in the gladiator pits of Eltabbar. His reverie was short lived however, as another guard thrust his sword forward, looking to impale him. Turning his body, the sword thrust passed beside him as Sarillar's gauntlet closed around the man's throat and lifted him in the air for a moment before driving him to the ground.

Rolling forward, his fingers curled around the hilt of his sword as he rose.

"Enough," a voice cut through he cacophony. It clearly carried authority as the noise around the gate settled to a dull roar.

Turning toward the voice, Sarillar found three men with crossbows trained on him and another imposing man, clearly a commander of some kind, standing nearby, plate covered hands on his hips.

"Move or bare that steel and you die." Sarillar assessed his situation and did not doubt the veracity of the man's statement. He begrudgingly released his hilt and nodded once to the man issuing the orders.

The other nearby soldiers also seemed to visibly relax, likely not expecting to be assaulted in such a way by the rabble they were keeping in the city.

"Bring him," the man barked.

Sarillar offered no resistance as the three with the crossbows escorted him a ways away from the gate. There the man stopped.

"Leave us", he said to the three soldiers beside Sarillar.

"But, Sir"

"You think I'm incapable of defending myself!? Do as you're commanded."

"Yes, sir," they replied quickly before returning the gate.

"Well, that was quite the show you just put on. The last thing I needed are these peasants thinking they can overpower the Fist, requiring us to cut down a few to remind them they can't. I will never hear the end of it." He paused then and gave Sarillar a long look. "As you so efficiently demonstrated, the aggressive recruiting methods of the Fist have weakened our ranks some. You however, would certainly make anyone think twice about starting trouble, especially after the incident today. This is what I propose, die here today or accept an enlistment in the Fist. "

Events had certainly not gone as Sarillar had planned. With the traitor dealt with, all that was left was to investigate Elturel, as Tam had commanded. With the odds of leaving the city slim, it seemed fate had provided an opportunity that might allow him to complete his task after all.

Very well, Sarrilar replied
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Last edited by Silent Rain; 12-09-2019 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 12-09-2019, 03:52 PM
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Midday, Twelfth Day of Alturiak, 1494 DR
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Bethrynna stood a ways apart from the thronging masses, watching wide-eyed as people occasionally tried to trick, sneak, or force their way into or out of the city. Each time, they were met with a swift brutality that the elf was quite unused to, before being dragged off to be looted. Mercy of the gods, she thought in disgust, but also with a bit of fascination, are all humans this vicious and violent? Or is it just a function of the desperation everyone's feeling? It made a bit of sense, Beth supposed, as the crowd and guard were a volatile mixture of fear, anger, and greed. She wondered what the guards would do when the crowd inevitably realized that their numbers were far greater than the armed men could handle. All it will take is a few people being more afraid of being left out than they are of being beaten or killed by guards, she mused. It was definitely to her advantage to find a way inside the city sooner, rather than later, to avoid such chaos.

Stepping off to the side a moment, she quietly wove a spell while watching the Fist that seemed to be the most active in shaking down the peasants. As the spell was completed, Beth took a deep breath and walked forward toward the gate. Here goes nothing, she thought as she wiggled her way through the press of people. The stink of their bodies assaulted her nose, and the noise of the crowd hurt her elven ears, particularly since she was so accustomed to the quiet of a mage's study in the midst of an elven forest.

"Oh, hello there!" said Beth with a friendly smile at the Fist she'd been watching. The man glanced at her briefly before a swift mixture of expressions crossed his features: anger, confusion, lust (Ick... thought Beth), before recognition and familiarity settled in. "Well, hullo there!" the guard said enthusiastically to Beth, reaching out to give her a one-armed hug. Ignoring the stench of stale ale and sweat, Beth returned the hug briefly, chatting amicably with the guard. "There certainly are a lot of people waiting to get in!" she observed, and the guard nodded, giving a brief, harsh laugh as he swept his gaze over the others. "Oh aye, there sure are! Orders are, nobody gets in or out...unless they can pay their way, o'course!" The Fist gave Beth a conspiratorial wink, and Beth forced a knowing smile, hiding her revulsion of the man's overt greed.

"Sounds like quite an opportunity for you," she agreed, then gave a disappointed look. "I need to get in as well...you're not charging friends for entry, are you? I'd be eternally grateful if you could let me sneak by!" The Fist puffed up and grinned...one tooth was missing, and the rest weren't in such great shape. "Naw," he chortled, "no charge for you, sweetie! You go on in, and mind yer step there. This rabble've ground the road into a mud pit, so watch ye don't get yer pretty dress dirty!" As Beth smiled her gratitude and slipped by the guard, she felt a swat on her rump as she passed. "I'll catch up with ye later, and we'll get reacquainted, sweetheart!" the guard yelled over his shoulder, shoving several people back who'd tried to rush in after Beth. Beth resisted the urge to both rub her stinging bottom and vomit on the spot, simply giving a wave as began to move down the street. "Who was that?" asked a second guard of the one she'd just spoken with. "Oh, her?" replied the Fist, looking back with a grin. "Why, that was me old friend, uh..." The grin faded slightly, and the guard looked slightly confused. "That was...er, her name's...hmm..."

Beth had made it about ten feet before she heard a different voice behind her, with more intelligence and authority evident in the tone. "That was a nice trick, m'lady," said the voice, and Beth turned to find another Fist standing behind her. He must've been off to the side and watched the entire exchange, and the rank insignia on the man's uniform left Beth with the sinking feeling that she was in quite a bit of trouble.

The man stepped forward a bit, staring down at her as he seemed to consider her a moment. "Ensorcelling one of my men, on top of sneaking into the city, carries some rather harsh penalties, m'lady," the man said casually. Beth opened her mouth to protest, explain, plead for mercy...she wasn't sure which...but the man cut her off with a wave of his hand. "That, however, would be a waste of talent. We could use someone with your wit and skills among the Flaming Fist."

"Me?" asked Beth with almost a squeak.

"Unless you prefer arrest, of course?" said the officer, a slight smirk and arch of his eyebrow letting her know that she would most definitely not prefer that option. Technically, he was giving her a choice, of course. The choice, however, was limited, and Beth recognized those limitations.

"I see," said Beth with a degree of defeat evident in her voice. "Where do I sign up?"

Evening, Seventeenth Day of AlturiakBeth stood waiting to the side of the courtyard just inside the main gates of the city, arms folded in front of her as she watched the streets, still crowded even with evening setting in. She wasn't simply being standoffish...at least, she didn't think she was. Rather, she was keeping out of the way of the crowds, just in case something happened that she didn't want to be in the middle of.

It also afforded her a better view of everyone coming and going, as well as helping to prevent another unfortunate surprise similar to what happened to bring her here. If her back was to, or at least near, the wall, there was less chance of someone sneaking up. At least, that was the theory, anyway. In fact, she had little experience in such matters, and really had no honest idea of what effect, if any, her tactic would have.

She was a bit surprised to see the familiar, if not particularly welcome, faces of the others she knew. At first, she wondered if there were some sort of setup going on, though she couldn't imagine anyone being straightforward enough to simply gather the group and lay out terms. She gave a nod of recognition and greeting to any who looked her direction, but made no move to join until she could be more sure about what was going on.

She'd only been in the city a week or so, and already everything was upside down. And, for the time being, simply returning home was not a wise decision, though the thought was highly tempting to the young wizard. I can't just give up and leave, she thought, though a bit skeptically. I'll stick it out a bit longer, and see where it leads.

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Old 12-10-2019, 12:24 AM
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The recruitmentIt'd been days since Bethani had reentered Baldur's Gate, and she was not happy about it. Once again her mission had been delayed. Once again, she had taken part in killing someone, a human. At the time, it had seemed like the right thing to do. The boss of the Dwarf who'd hired her had made the victim out to be a real villain. But after helping to cut their way through the man's hoodlums, there was a moment when all she saw was a scared human.

That look in his eyes was still haunting her. She could see him there, bleeding in her arms. Who was he? How'd they end up in the same room together? The same bed. Bethani shook her head as two memories began to converge in to one. ~ No. No, he was different. He was years ago. she thought to herself.

Suddenly she felt a heavy hand upon her shoulder. Instinctively she whipped around, intending to strike the invader of her space. But a steel gauntlet caught her by the wrist. "Quick reflexes. Good." The Flaming Fist took a step back and looked the now standing Ranger over. Yeah, you'll do nicely. We're looking to hire new recruits to help keep the rabble at bay. Pays good. Meals are hot and free." he then looks past her to her mugs. "Captain Zodge may even throw in an ale or two, if you show yourself to be exceptional. So what say you? Are you in?"

His body language then took on a different meaning. Bethani understood what it meant. She was in, it was just a question of whether it'd hurt or not. "Free food and ale you say?" she asks, the hint of a smile playing across her lips. "Sure. Why not."

"Good." the mercenary says, though he did look a little disappointed. "Go see Captain Zodge at the gate. He's not hard to find. Tall, with long black hair, and an eye patch." He and his men, who she somehow hadn't noticed, then went about looking for more recruits.

After taking one last downer of her mug, Bethani head to the very gate she'd slipped through not four days before.

Later that same day, at the gateAs Bethani approached the gate, looking over the heads in an attempt to find this one-eyed captain, she was a bit surprised to see familiar faces among the mercenaries. The face of the man they just murdered flashes to her mind, the leaves her stunned.

Bethani faces forward again, trying to ignore those she doesn't wish to associate with any longer. But she can't help but notice a slight nod coming from the blonde Golden Elf, the witness to their crime. For some odd reason that Bethani instantly regretted, she gave a slight nod back. "Damnedable woman!" she grunted to herself, as she quickly looked away.


 

 

 
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Last edited by In the Mix; 12-18-2019 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 12-13-2019, 10:30 AM
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Erna Luckschild
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Destiny is rarely straightforward. It usually works through indirect means, through side channels and back doors. Destiny is rarely straightforward, but it is insistent, propelling its victim forward regardless of how willing they are to be propelled.

Erna embraces her fate more than most, but it still took her a week of riots and refugees to consider volunteering for the Flaming Fist. She got hung up on the rampant corruption and cruelty that were the hallmark of their policing. She wasn't sure she could thrive in an organization like that. She wasn't sure she wanted to thrive in an organization like that.

Still, she knew Henrick was a good man. He couldn't be the only one. They may be a minority, but they were present. At least, that was Erna's working hypothesis. She had to believe that the Fist had some kind of benevolent core, some kind of ethical underpinning from which the corruption and violence deviated. She had to believe that she would find allies looking to serve the public interest.

She needed to believe that, because after a few days of troubles at the city gates, Erna began dreaming of herself in a Fist uniform, patrolling the Lower City. In these dreams, she ministered to the needs of the destitute, providing healing and clean water, bringing food, keeping children out of harm's way. She could feel Tymora smiling on her in these dreams, a sense of earnest well-being that guided her from one problem to another. On the third night of this dream, Erna understood. Destiny had come calling.

Henrick had changed since his time at the Lady's Hall. He had acquired a taste for easy women and hard liquor. He had a beard now. His head was shaved. But under it all, Henrick's shining heart still beat true. Erna could see it in his warm smile, his open expression, and his easy manner.

When she found him at the Elfsong Tavern, he was three whiskeys into his evening and deep in conversation with two of his squadmates. Erna was a little circumspect about her approach — she didn't want to interrupt anything — but Henrick noticed her right away and beckoned her over. She was familiar with the two men standing with him, though not overly so; she'd been to this establishment in the past, at Henrick's invitation. Typically, Henrick would detach himself from the group so that he and Erna could have a private discussion. Today that was unnecessary.

"Henrick!" Erna shot him a brilliant smile. "So glad to see you here! Hello Fritz, Halred.
Good to see you again!"
She knew Halred tended to get a little handsy with women, so she approached on the other side of Henrick.

The men greeted her warmly; Henrick and Fritz stepped aside to admit her to the circle. They exchanged pleasantries and Erna politely declined the offer of a drink. With the social niceties out of the way, Erna cut to her point. "Tell me, Henrick, is your team looking for new recruits?"

Henrick laughed. "Another wayward youth you are trying to reclaim? What did he do? Petty theft? Assault?" It wouldn't be the first time Erna had sought out his help with a particularly challenging youth, though he more often played the role of the "scared straight" heavy. Only once had he taken a troubled boy under his wing and introduced him to the Fist.

"No, I was thinking it's time for me to get involved more directly in helping the city through its troubles! Do you have a space for me?"

Surprise registered on all the faces at the table. Halred was the first to recover. "Ha! Now that'll give those dirt grubbers pause, big green woman tellin' 'em what for!" He laughed at his own joke, completely unselfconsciously. Henrick was less jovial about the affair; this was in many ways his little sister talking about putting herself into harm's way. "Is this a joke, Erna?" he asked. "It's not a very funny one."

"No joke," Erna said. "Well, maybe Halred's made a joke, but I'm not joking. I aim to join the Flaming Fist. I'd prefer to work with you, if I could. But I find myself called to service. In Tymora's name."

Henrick didn't exactly stiffen, but his expression closed. "I don't think it's a good idea," he said. "It's not work that would suit you." Even Halred knew better than to make jokes now, and Fritz was looking between Erna and Henrick with wide eyes. "It requires a firm hand in places you would prefer to show mercy, Erna. I know you, and I know this would not suit you."

"Maybe you don't know me as well as you think you do," she replies with a smile. "I've dispensed my share of justice. Besides, this isn't really up to me. Whatever Tymora intends for me, she intends for me to do this."

Henrick protested a while longer, but he knew it was a losing battle. When Fritz and Halred jumped in on Erna's behalf, he simply conceded. "I can't just add you to my squad," he said. "Though I would like to have you where I can keep an eye on you. Tell you what: get your gear and go talk to Captain Zodge at the Basilisk Gate. Tell him you want to enlist, and tell him you know me. I'll go now and have a word with him."

Erna smiled broadly. "Thanks, Fritz. Thanks, Halred. And thank you big brother." She fairly bounced out the tavern's door and headed back to the Lady's Hall. She had some gear to assemble.

By the time she'd gathered her pack and wriggled into her mail, evening was settling in. Erna wrapped herself in a thick cloak, slung her javelin case and shield over her shoulder, and set out, using her spear as a walking stick. The streets near the temple were relatively bare, but the closer Erna got to the gates, the heavier the traffic became. At last, it became a thick knot of people — scared, desperate people, pushing against one another and giving little heed to who they might be pushing. Erna paused, there, at the edge of the plaza, her lips pressed together. Tymora certainly knew how to set a challenge for a girl.

As she took it in, she realized that she must have arrived at the end of some kind of disturbance. The killer she had healed a few nights ago was being hauled off, apparently by the ranking officer. Undoubtedly Zodge, she thinks. I suppose at least I have found him. A hurried scan of the crowd picks out the half-elf with the bow and the cigar-chewing dwarf. The other one must be there somewhere. Her surprise is eclipsed by a deepening faith in her destiny. Tymora must wish me to aid them again.

She begins picking her way through the crowd toward the dwarf. On that night, he had seemed the most even-keeled, if perhaps grim. Lady willing, he would help her now as she has helped their friend on that night.

Before she managed to reach him, a fresh round of shoving pushed a mother up against a guardsman, and with a mailed fist, he put her to the ground. Her young daughter began to scream, barely audible above the din but plain on the girl's terrified face. The guardsman scowled at her and cocked back his fist in clear threat, but it has no effect on the girl, who was already at the limits of her terror. Her mother, bleeding from her mouth and nose, tried to rise, falteringly, trying to master her own fear as she tried to comfort her child.

Erna interposed herself between the Fist's fist and the struggling family. "Easy, friend," she said, holding up a placating hand. Her voice is firm, and loud enough to be heard over the crowd. "It was an accident. They are sorry. We will be on our way." Whether he is mollified or intimidated is unclear, but he clearly did not anticipate Erna's intercession. He lowers his fist and gives a nod, the scowl still writ across his features.

She had hoped for no more. Erna bent down and helped the fallen woman to her feet. Both woman and child stared at her, half reverent and half frightened. The crowd immediately behind them is likewise hushed by the scene playing out before them. Erna smiled, a not entirely reassuring gesture. " Seek help at the Lady's Hall," she says. The mother nods, backing away, pressed against the crowd. Erna turns and resumes making her way to the dwarf.

Upon arrival, she greets the dour mercenary with a broad smile. "I'm sorry," she says. "I'm terrible with names. Forthwith, was it? I'm Erna! I think Tymora has brought us together yet again. Are you here to join the Fist? I'm here to see Captain Zodge about that very thing, but I think your friend Sarsaparilla has just gone off with him."
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:17 PM
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Unferth sat up on the lumpy bed, groaning softly as his muscles protested to the shortened rest. He rubbed his eyes to wipe away the small build up at the corners before standing and moving over to the small port hole on the side of the Low Lantern. He opened the window and looked across the dark rolling waves, black as ink before the sun rose over the city's walls in the east. The dream had come up again, fire and smoke while dwarves ran screaming from a charging horde of orcs. Citadel Sundbarr fell So it is unclear on the wiki when Sundabarr actually fell. The War of Silver Marches is only from 1484-1485, but Sundabarr's own page says 1488 so I left it vague.nearly a decade ago and yet the horrors of the sacking still haunted the dwarf. "Bastards...." His word elicited a soft sigh from the bed, a lovely redhead rolling over to get comfortable in the sudden breeze. Well, might as well get my day started. The Flaming Fist could surely need the extra help, and I the extra coin....

The warlock had been busy throughout the day. First was a stop by the Fists' HQ to enlist for a temporary contract, chuckling to himself as he saw the weekly pay of twenty-five gold. "I'll crack a few civvies' heads for that kind of gold." Bill had laughed heartily at that one while he took down Unferth's name on a list of experienced mercs.

"Ah, I had hoped you were in town Unferth. I thought I heard rumors about a deadly brawl a few nights ago featuring your brand of magic, though by the sounds of it the thugs had it coming. Consorting with Red Wizards is practically a death sentence here in the city. I'm just sad you got to them before my boys did."


The dwarf looked over his shoulder to the newest crop of greenhorns practicing their sword swings in the yard, a few barely older than fourteen. "With that lot, Bill? You would be paying out more severance than wages against a mage, you know that. Besides, don't send amateurs to do a professional's job." Bill laughed again as he handed over Unferth's enlistment papers.

"Bad luck, old friend. You got the Basilisk Gate under Captain Zodge. Been as hot there as kettle on the fire with the refugees trying to force their way in and the rich successfully buying their way out."

The warlock just grunted softly to himself and waved the recruiter goodbye as he made his way through the open door into the chilling wind of the late winter day. The hotter the war zone, the more hazard pay...

The sun was beginning to set as Unferth walked through Eastway towards the Basilisk Gate, his pack full of supplies from the quartermaster and his personal pockets filled to the brim with cheap cigars. Vanilla Cavendish isn't nearly as good as my Nexal, but at least it trounces that trash Blackberry Latakia. He pulled the first of the new batch and shaved off the end with his dagger before lighting up the stogie. "Ahhh, that's the stuff..." He took a long drag of the tobacco before rounding a corner to see a recent employer strangling a Fist guardsmen before throwing the man to the ground. The dwarf released a stream of smoke before whispering to himself. "By the Nine Hells...."

The dwarf continued on his way through the crowd that had gathered near the interior of the gate, spotting the half-elf woman who had joined the human and he with dispatching the necromancer. Well, at least we should have a good archer. He also spied the elf woman who had seen Sarillar hang the body of their prey leaning against a wall, trying her best to stay out of the way. Smart move, though it looks like she isn't paying attention to the roof. His musings were interrupted by a half-orc calling him something different entirely while butchering the Thayan's name. "Huh, the cleric. Its a surprise you would be here as well, though I venture to guess you signed up out of a sense of morality than coin. To each their own, of course." He took another long drag of the Cavendish before continuing. "My name is Unferth, Erna, Unferth Thanagor. I would prefer you at least call me the right name, though him I couldn't care less about." He motioned to Sarillar who was currently being admonished by the sargent. "Come on, no use in standing around."

Unferth took off at a brisk pace, nodding to the men he knew and hardly sparing a glance at those he didn't. "Micha, you let pups like that strut around in your units? You may need to rethink your drill schedule brother." He laughed with the arbalester before tapping the butt of his fist on the man's shoulder and moving on to the guardhouse near the gate.

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Old 12-17-2019, 09:54 AM
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The air surrounding the gate crackled with energy, accelerant waiting for a spark, and everyone could feel it. Anxiety on both sides of the looming conflict grew as desperation pushed each individual to a breaking point. Villagers grew braver even as the Fists grew more brazen. Even for those who knew Baldur’s Gate well, this was far more incendiary that what they would have experienced before. For those who hailed from elsewhere, it was pure madness. The pain that the city was in reflected on the faces of those trying to flee - and those too afraid to let them.

A panicked commoner who hoped, naively, that a worn and rarely used crossbow would be the ‘motivation,’ needed to let him through the gate. Tears ran dark streams down his dirt covered cheeks as he backed away from the mercenaries closing in upon him. He weakly aimed his crossbow from one soldier to the next, anguish clear upon his features and a single cloth bag slung across one shoulder that likely containing everything he had to his name.

"You-," he stammered, "you don't understand. My wife and child are waiting for me. Our daughter is sick. I came for help. I need to get back to them..." His pleading found only deaf ears.

His hole-ridden shoes kicked up dust as he shuffled back away from danger, right into another Fist soldier who locked arms around the man, but not fast enough to stop the terror-stricken man from loosing his bolt.It flew wide and embedded itself in the flank of a nearby horse who reared its front legs, bringing them down on a man too slow to avoid his own fate. Cart still attached, the horse bolted through the crowd, trampling men and women alike, peasant and Fist.

The spark caught, igniting in an instant.

Screams erupted from every corner and throngs of people pushed forward to the gate, threatening to engulf the poor souls that were guarding it. Fights broke out as people forced their way to the front. Others sought to take advantage of the chaos to secure their funds to leave or weapons from the mercenaries who had been denying them. Those too weak or young to hold their own fled or were caught beneath the flood of those who did.

The man with Sarrilar growled as a caged animal. “See Captain Zodge,” he yelled over the growing clamor and rushed towards the chaos, longsword ready in his hands.

Before Unferth could reach the gate, Erna in tow, the gatehouse door slammed open, knocking dust and dirt from the stone wall behind it even though the noise of it was lost in the cacophony of fighting. A towering man with raven black hair, neatly trimmed beard, and an eye patch emerged, immediately lending aid to his men while bellowing orders at others. Several others flowed out, sparing no mercy to those who fought back and blood stained the brown-grey of the streets below. The fists focused the strongest and bravest in the group, driving fear back into the hearts of those who thought to fight for their freedom. The fight lasted heartbeats, but by the end of it nearly a dozen men and women laid unconscious or dead across the road. Out of the guardhouse, another familiar feminine face appeared, framed by inky black hair and punctuated by dusky eyes.

At some point, Solas had melted into the rivers of those fleeing back to the center of the city. What had been shouts and screams moments earlier had turned to muffled sobs and pleas for help directed at the gods themselves.

Last edited by DaysUntold; 12-17-2019 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 12-17-2019, 12:04 PM
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Grief turns to madness...
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Bethrynna observed that the others from the terrible encounter they all shared had at least recognized each other, noticing the acknowledgement from the archer who liked to drink a bit much. Thinking about it left a knot in her stomach. She'd seen corpses before, even worked with cadavers as part of her studies. She'd never seen a man...hung up like a decoration before, though. Part of her was curious, from an intellectual standpoint. Was it part of some ceremony? If so, to whom and what did it signify or try to bring about? The smaller, non-intellectual part of her thought it was the worst thing she could see.

She was about to find out how wrong she was.

Beth heard the pitiful man with the crossbow pleading with the guards at first, and didn't pay it much mind. Everyone was pleading, crying, begging, yelling, threatening, bargaining. It was all blended into the general din of noise, until the twang of a crossbow touched her ears. Looking sharply toward the noise, she saw the struggle with the guards, the horse rear up and bolt, the doomed people in the cart's path...

Beth shoved her way back against the doorway where she'd been already trying to stay out of the way. It was very likely that her withdrawal saved her life as the entire courtyard area erupted into violence. Beth shrieked and tried to make herself as small as possible, pressed into the corner of the entryway to the building she was sheltering near as guards beat and hacked, and citizens of the city fought back with whatever could be hastily grabbed and used conceivably as a weapon. Beth saw a wiry man swipe clumsily at an armored guard with a broken plank. The guard parried the swipe and cracked the man across the head with the pommel of his sword with a sickening crunch. The man collapsed like a rag doll, twitching once as blood and fluid seeped out of the split in the man's skull. The guard glanced over at Beth for an instant, eyes locking with hers, and her heart froze in terror. Apparently seeing no threat in the shrinking elven woman, the guard stepped over the fallen man to engage more of the crowd.

Beth couldn't tell whether it seemed like the blink of an eye or an eternity before it was all but over. The moans and cries of the injured and dying swept over her like a graveyard coming to life. By the time Beth was able to extract herself from her corner, the fighting had moved down the street. It was basically cleanup now, for the Fist guards, and the injured were left to lie in the street until it was convenient to clean them up. Or they died, which simply meant a different crew cleaned them up.

Beth walked timidly amongst the wounded, trying not to step on anyone, and shrinking back from any hand that stretched out to her, begging for help. Beth's mind felt like it swam through sludge, and she wandered like a ghost through the fallen. Someone managed to grab the hem of her skirt, and she spent a moment trying to extract herself in a panic before she was able to regain control of herself. Help them! she thought furiously to herself, and she knelt beside the one who'd grabbed her; a young woman with blood on her face, weeping in fear and pain. She used a minor spell to clean up some of the dirt and blood, and tore a section of the woman's sleeve to press against the cut on her forehead, whispering words of comfort and bidding her to keep the cloth pressed against the wound.

Beth was no healer, but she wandered the scene of the fight, doing what little she could to comfort and aid those who'd fallen, guard and civilian alike. There were a few angry statements directed toward her when she helped wounded guardsmen. A glance from Beth silenced the complaints, and she went back to helping wounded.

What have I gotten myself into? she thought, taking a moment to stretch her back, sore from stooping. It's like I've fallen into one of the Nine Hells.

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Old 12-17-2019, 07:34 PM
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Erna Luckschild
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"Unferth. Unferth. I'm told the best way to remember a name is to repeat it a lot. Unferth, right?" She's chatty as she follows the dwarf through the crowd. "Have you seen Relena? If Tymora has brought us all back together, I hope she's brought Relena as well."

Erna doesn't hear the tang of the crossbow — she's still asking after Relena and dodging the peasantry — but when the house rears up, her attention snaps to the brewing fracas. Her beatific smile fades into a grimace, and she grips her spear with both hands. It does not take an augury to predict what will come next.

Crowds are like a living body, scores of individuals all pressed together to make a whole. When one part of the crowd suffers an insult, the whole crowd responds, waves of compression rolling through the vast beast as its constituent individuals all struggle to press away — or toward — the site of the damage. Erna was buffeted by the crowd; lifted off her feet by the pressure of bodies, her enormous frame picked up and relocated without her consent.

When her feet touched ground again, she planted them, pushed back against the crowd. She swept three but of the spear gently but firmly forward, creating a small clearing in the sea of bodies. She looked around quickly for Unferth, but did not immediately see him. She did see more than a few hapless victims of the mob, but she was in no position to help them right then. Screams and the clash of steel on steel demanded her full attention.

Then the crowd had broken and fled, and Erna was left standing in the aftermath, feet still firmly planted and spear held in front of her like a quarterstaff. She surveyed the wreckage as the crowd dispersed. Clearly a place where her skills could be useful, if they would be welcome. Sweat prickles at the back of her neck, cold in the early spring air. Already at a place where the actions of the Fist run counter to her sense of mercy.

In the thinning crowd, she looks around again for Unferth. She finds Relena instead. Her mood brightens immediately. "Ah!" she says, to no-one in particular. "There's Relena."
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Old 12-17-2019, 11:49 PM
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One door closes, another opens
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Sarillar

Sarillar turned back toward the gate as the constant riotous roar of the desperate crowd attempting to flee the city rose to a desperate intensity.

The man that had managed to coerce Sarillar into enlisting into the Flaming Fist left him, seemingly to aid the guards at the gate, his parting instructions to seek out a Captain Zodge.

Sarillar began moving back toward the gate as the gatehouse door was flung open and a man with an eyepatch emerged, barking orders at the other guards. Although he had no idea who this Captain Zodge was, this seemed like a good place to start looking.

Wading through the throngs of screaming people, Sarillar felt only contempt and loathing for this desperate rabble that were woefully incapable of taking what they wanted. One such man grabbed onto his arm. Sarillar slowly turned to face him and the man let go upon seeing the masked visage looking back at him.

He had nearly made it to his destination when he noticed some of the others that had aided him in dealing with the wizard Marcus. Sarillar grimaced at this, expecting never again to see those that he had hired, which were nothing more than a means to an end to him.

"Captain Zodge", Sarillar asked of the man with the eyepatch.

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Old 12-18-2019, 12:42 AM
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Bethani watched dispassionately over the rabble straining and pleading for their lives. Knowing something had to give, she slowly pulled her bow from her back and moved to a more advantageous position. She closed her eyes only for a brief moment, there was so many of them that it was enhancing her already throbbing headache. Then she heard the man shouting, something about his wife and children. Bethani refocused, and easily found where the noise was coming from. She lifted her bow, taking aim at the peasant's arm. She was about to let the arrow fly, when a brute stepped up behind and wrapped his arms around the peasant. And then all hades broke.

Bethani began shooting into the crowd, picking off some the more aggressive of the mob, She tried to wound most, but a few moved just wrong and wound up dead instead. Only one did she kill intentionally, an ugly oaf of a Flaming Fist who decided his belonged in the face of a young woman who was doing nothing more than trying to run away from the chaos.

After it was all done, and the crowd was fleeing, Bethani jumped down and began to collect what arrows she could, including the one sticking from the head of the last brute. She then turned her attention to the man she'd been looking for, only to find Sarillar already making his way toward the captain. "Uffern. Beth mae'n dal i wneud yma?" Translation from Elvish: "Hades. What is he still doing here?"

(I use Welsh, via Google Translate for her Elvish.)
she says to herself, even as she too makes her unhappy way toward the captain. "Captain Zedge?" she asks, standing a About 5 feet or so.good distance away from the dark wizard.

 

 

 
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Last edited by In the Mix; 12-18-2019 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 12-18-2019, 01:43 AM
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Unferth gave the half-orc a slight smile as he listened to her prattle on, though he always kept an eye towards the larger group of peons that had gathered around the gate. The cigar was removed from his mouth the moment the fool of serf decided it was a smart idea to pull a crossbow on Fist members. "Bidh na diathan gu cinnteach a ’dèanamh na h-iolairean salach sin..." The The gods sure do make these dirt farmers idiots...words rushed out in a whisper before the dwarf even knew he was saying them. He field stripped just the tip of his lit stoogie and stowed it as the crossbow bolt shot across the square.

Even without orders, Unferth began to work in tandem with the Flaming Fist members. He weaved through the crowd to find Micha who had discarded his own crossbow and was using a wicked looking cudgel to batter any rioter who thought they were made of tough stuff. The warlock made short work of a big oaf trying to attack Micha from behind. The axe pommel
Dice * Battle-ax Nonlethel attack:
1d20+5sch10 (13)+5 Total = 18
1d10+3 (1)+3 Total = 4
slammed into the man's right leg, dropping him to one knee. Unferth was quick on grip switch to then bash the butt of the axe into the back of the man's
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d20+3 (7)+3 Total = 10
skull. Blood splattered across his leather armor, beard, and face as the dwarf stared out into the rest of the crowd, daring them to get their dander up.

He was sure it would have had a greater effect if he hadn't been bowled over from behind as two more rioters had tackled Micha on top of him. Thankfully, Captain Zodge and his reinforcements reached them before any damage could be inflicted on either side. Unferth stood up, wiped the mud from his armor, and pulled the cigar once more from his pouch. The dwarf used a bit of eldritch flame to light the tip again before turning to their new commanding officer. "Evening Darmin. Seems you got a bit of pickle on your hands here." While dwarf waited for the rest of the ragtag group to gather up, he gave the human a knowing wink and whispered to the man. "Don't worry, cap'n. I won't cause no trouble with the ranks, just here to follow orders."

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Old 12-20-2019, 10:09 PM
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Relena Goodknight
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"Oh, this will not do."

Her dusky Damaran eyes were wide with the action, observing every flinching and gracing blow, catching the play-by-play of every interaction between rioter and brutalizer. There was something to be said for the effectiveness of might in this case, but it was not right. She knew enough of the situation to be displeased, if primarily because she had made the mistake of being near the gate. She crossed her dark arms, almost pouting, causing the leather coat she wore to scrunch up, still keeping her grace in tact but making clear her displeasure.

Relena Goodknight was fairly tall, made taller by her boots that hugged her muscular thighs. As black as her pantaloons, they had accents of blue and silver silk threads upon them in addition to the lace that ran up them. The pants were simply black, shining but not leather (who wears leather pants in this heat?), marked by a belt and two additional loops at her sides. At her left was her rapier, a silver thing with flowers on the sheath and the face of a red horse on the heart of her hilt, indicative of a tryst she had with a smith loyal to Red Knight. Beside it was a dusky gray quiver holding several arrows, far enough back that the rapier would not get in the way of her drawing ammunition. At her right hip was a book, today a treaty regarding the theological ramifications of Helm protecting the gateway to the Outer Planes from the gods cast down during the Time of Troubles. It was a gods-awful read, but the story of it all was exciting.

Willowy, her black tunic was marked by a somehow darker vest that kept it in place, a bolo tie depicting one of the gods of Chult about beneath her delicate sternum. Above that was a stylist jacket, again of black, that covered both arms and upon which her cloak was clipped above the bolo, the familiar silver gauntlet of Torm keeping the feather-like blue-black velvet in place, resistant to the wind near the gatehouse. Her chin sharp, her eyes lean, she wore weather-resistant dusky make-up and dark lipstick that brought out the pink and purple hues. Her spectacles were black, with silver feathery hooks near the edges that made them seem all the sharper, bringing the highlight to her eyes that hid above them. Her black Damaran hair was short, just behind the ears, which proved her Human heritage. Her stance tall, her arms still crossed, that was the sight Erna prayed for.

There was Bethrynna, ever the martyr. Relena's heart swelled at the charity she offered, smiling and clicking her tongue against her meticulously cared for teeth in her closed mouth. Her healing was wonderful, but what good was it without the blessing of Ilmater, of Lathander? She was more in the service of Azuth, of the gods of the schools of magic, so why pretend at being a healer? Some good they were at healing, anyway. And beyond Bethrynna, she thought she had seen Solas; she supposed not. Pity, the courier was so pretty.

At the approach of the mind-melding Thayan, Relena bit her cheek, offering Bethani a reassuring smile and Unferth a professional nod, glad that the gang was all here. And of course, if they were all here, that meant that Erna was, too. Her grin opened, and Relena licked her teeth to clear any stray lipstick from them, delicate white things. "Erna, darling, you're late!"

She turned to the Captain, right after Sarillar begs an introduction. "See, Captain Zodge? This lot are the ones I was telling you about. As we discussed, we're willing to do whatever it takes, by your command, sir-yes-sir. Shall I introduce them? I shall!" So she does.

"This fellow here, in the armor that smells slightly of burned flesh, is Sarillar. He's not from here, but then, is anyone during these troubling times? The Dwarf that looks and smells like cigars and cleaning oil is Unferth, and a fine fellow he is. That there is Bethani, and she is good with her bow. And her hands, it turns out, you'd be surprised. The blond Elf bringing up the rear is Bethrynna, and yes, it is as confusing as it sounds. If I need to differentiate between them, I call Bethani Bethani and Bethrynna Rynna, because it rolls off the tongue and because she is a precious cinnamon roll whom I shall protect with my life, or yours, anyway. She is a martyr, so step lightly." She stepped forward, and links arms with Erna. "And this, dear Captain, is Erna, the luckiest woman in the city! Blessed of Tymora, slayer of seven tables of Three Dragon Ante, and also just downright swell in general, Erna is my fastest friend whom I've known for far too long. Ask either of our temples, we are fine folk. Well, she is, at least, I'm not exactly in Torm's good graces."

She smiles to the Captain. "I can personally vouch for everyone here." Judge of character that she wasn't, she almost felt like she shouldn't.

 
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Old 12-22-2019, 05:48 PM
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"You best be calling me Captain around the men, Unferth" he said sternly, though the almost playful smile undercut the tension in the words as he held his hand out for a greeting with the mercenary veteran.

A set of dark, piercing eyes observed the rest of the group as they approached, his eyes lingering for a long time on the petite Bethrynna as she picked her way around the carnage, helping those she could. While he made no move to help, nor he did anything to hinder her efforts either. Turning back to Relena, he cocked an eyebrow and let out a loud, gutteral laugh. "This," he said, "is the group you were waiting for?" He chuckled again, looking to each member closer. Sarillar earned a stern nod of approval and Bethani a curious look. Erna and Bethrynna, however, were rewarded with a subtle shake of his head, much like a father would give a child for attempting to do something that he was far too young for, but appreciating the effort none-the-less.

"Zodge," he corrected the archer, his gaze lingering for a moment on the bow strapped to her back.

"Tell me, Unferth, how did you end up with this motley crew?" he asked with genuine curiosity. "When I heard you'd be volunteering, I expected to find your usual company in tow." In a lower voice, before the wizard had made her way fully to their side, he asked, "are you sure that they're all cut out for this?"

Before the dwarf could answer, Relena took up on introductions, making quite the case for the group - though doing little to assuage his concerns over 'Rhynna.'

"Thank you for the introductions, Ms. Goodknight. Issio, retrieve five badges from the gatehouse," the captain ordered, his tone far more respectful than many of the other captains would have been, and one of the guards flanking him rushed off towards the gate. Returning his attention to the group, he sighed.

"I suppose it's my turn for a speech, then. The refugee crisis," said Captain Zodge, "has stoked fears that Baldur’s Gate might suffer the same fate as Elturel, of which nothing remains but a hole in the ground, apparently. Our grand duke, Ulder Ravengard, was visiting Elturel on a diplomatic mission when the city was destroyed. Coincidence? Doubtful."

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"The knights of Elturgard call themselves Hellriders. A few of them escaped the destruction and think we’re somehow to blame for Elturel’s downfall. We’re arresting the self-righteous rabble-rousers on sight, but that’s left us shorthanded to deal with another problem. For that, I’m stuck with you."

He looked to them for any sign of refusal before continuing. "We’ve long been plagued by followers of the Dead Three — the gods Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul. I thought we had wiped them out, but apparently not. These ‘purveyors of fear and death,’ as they call themselves, are taking advantage of the current crisis to commit murder sprees throughout the city. As my appointed deputies in this matter, you’ll have license to kill these wretches on sight. Find their lair, and wipe it out. Eliminate anyone who gets in your way, and don’t worry about collateral damage," he said, his words bearing a finality that made it clear he wasn’t exaggerating. "If you do what I say, I’ll see that you each receive two hundred gold pieces in addition to my gratitude, which is, obviously, worth considerably more."

As the man returned, the captain accepted the badges and started handing them out to the group. Each copper badge bore the coat of arms of the flaming first with clasps on the back to allow them to be attached to armor or clothing. As each adventurer took one, he continued with their orders. "A few blocks from the Basilisk Gate is Elfsong Tavern. A spy named Tarina hangs out there, gathering rumors for the Guild. She owes me a favor, so tell her you work for me. Ask her what she knows about the Dead Three. And, for the love of Balduran, be nice. Tarina has dangerous friends."

Zodge adjusted the gauntlet on his left hand, his fingers curling and then outstretching as he did so. "You should get going," he suggested before turning to Unfreth, "just mention my name if trouble comes up. You know how to find me."


 

Last edited by DaysUntold; 12-22-2019 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 12-22-2019, 06:30 PM
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Erna Luckschild
Half-orc Cleric of Tymora (Life Domain)

 


Erna balances her spear in the crook of her arm while she fastens the Flaming Fist badge to her cloak, right beside the brooch. It's a little awkward doing that with gauntlets on, but Erna manages it after a couple tries.

Unferth has always seemed like the leader of this merry band, so Erna falls into step behind him, the bronze-capped butt of her spear clicking on the cobbles. She doesn't walk quietly, though: chatter is a staple of her presence. "Rel, do you know this Tarina? She sounds like your kind of person. Up to her ears in trouble and twice as female." It's not exactly an insult, more like a friendly poke in the verbal ribs. "But also, the Dead Three! I wonder if that place on Balsinger Street is still consecrated to Bane? We could check there if this Tarina lady doesn't have much to tell us." She taps her lips with her left forefinger, thinking. "Last time I heard of Myrkul, they were in the Outer City. But didn't the Cyricists mop them up?"

"By the way," she says, turning to Bethrynna. "I don't think we've met? I recognize all these others..." She waves her free hand around at the others. "...I recognize them from a few nights ago, where we all ... where I helped out with an injury. But I don't think you were there, were you? Or did I just not notice you? There was a lot of blood, after all."

"Anyway, my name is Erna! I think Rel said your name is Linda? I'm one of Tymora's faithful. That's why Rel says I'm lucky, but I'm not really that lucky. Just, Relena is very bad at Three Dragon Ante. She can't bluff to save her soul. Or maybe she just can't bluff to me. Do you play cards? Three Dragon Ante is fine, but I prefer low-stakes stripeback. It costs me fewer friendships, you know?"

She glances then to Sarillar. "By the way, Sarsparilla, how is that wound holding up? Were you careful not to tear it open again, like I told you? I don't know why, but when I see a man in armor, I just assume that he won't listen when I say that. Do you need more help with it? I was worried that the muscle might not knit." She reaches out as if to touch the spot the man had been wounded, then she draws her hand back again, thinking better of it. Not everyone likes to be touched, she admonishes herself.
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he/him/his — DM Westport | Waterdeep: Dragon Heist — Play Aryka | Erna | Jamir | Kvarga

Last edited by phinar; 12-22-2019 at 06:30 PM.
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