Game Thread Part III- The Jackal's Price - Page 2 - RPG Crossing
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  #16  
Old 09-07-2020, 05:33 PM
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Grak’Ark
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuul View Post
"Surely you ought to realize the enormity of what you are asking? The amount of coin involved is no small matter. Between travel costs, paying for an escort for the priest, and my brother's own revival and subsequent restoration from what I am told is the typical weakness brought on by the experience, my own expenses in this matter already close in on fourteen thousand pieces of gold. Adding your own companion to the mix, no matter how devoted, would very nearly put me at the point that I might as well send for one of the high priests' themselves for a true miracle... I am already providing for a priest, to ask me for more would be quite unreasonable.You are likely to be awarded a great, great amount of wealth by our Lady, more than enough to pay for such a matter. However, I do suppose I should owe you something of a finder's fee for recovering these. In light of that, I am willing to cover an amount equal to two-fifths the diamond required to bring your goddess' faithful follower back. Additionally, I will sign off on their presence in my Battlemarket, much as I did for you. Do we have a deal? Either way, I will let you think on it for the rest of the night if you wish."
left-aligned image


A feral growl fills Grak'Ark's throat as Tahir refuses to raise his packmate, refuses terms that would save his own brother. "You try to extort me, refusing what I have offered to you in good faith? You salt-licking Directly translates to 'pimp' in Kellish, although Grak' believes that he is far worse, for he is putting money over his family.gawad. You deserve to live a thousand years, all of them as a lone an outcast from a tribehygera

You will not even get my spit from me. translates as 'screw you'Tozz Feek."
he growls, snatching the twin rags back and walks away, furious at the insult Tahir had thrown his way.

The gnoll stomps away, towards the tent his knuckles white with anger as he makes his way towards the tent, refusing to lay his eye on the traitorous Tahir.

 



 

Last edited by Squeak; 09-07-2020 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 09-08-2020, 06:39 PM
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Grak’Ark
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After the reward was offered, the gnoll merely grunts, offering no thanks for appreciation for the generous offer. His mind, however, begins thinking through the money will buy him, but he needs time for everything to go through his head.

Turning to Drusilla, the gnoll growls his intentions to her. "The stench of this place... The stench of these people is too much for me to handle. I will take my rest away from this place and will return tomorrow.

Let us meet here just after sundown, for there will be much to discuss"
he says, his gaze turning towards Tahir as he speaks.

Knowing the warrior woman would share this information with the others of his pack, Grak makes his way to the only other person that was worth his salt.

"Garavel, I am leaving this hellhole for the night for the quiet of the wild. I need to get away from the vileness of those who care so little for their own littermates." he growls, once again directing his one eyed glare at Tahir.

"I will leave the money here for the night, but will return tomorrow with merchants once I have decided what to buy. There are few I trust in this hellhole, so I would ask you or one of your servants to vouch for the trustworthiness of the merchants I chose to deal with." he explains.

"Until tomorrow." Grak'Ark grows as he makes his way towards a nearby window. The pain of transmutation drives the gnoll to his knees -- or what had been his knees. His fur darkens to black and fades to nothing, while his arms elongate and attach to his body. His fangs length as the same time the bones in his head narrow, until finally the massive bat leaps out of the window and flies out into the night.

The dire bat beats his wings as it gains altitude, winging it's way to an aerie he had seen when they had come to this place. He glides in, setting down on a small covered ledge high up on a cliffside. Casting another spell to ensure his safety, the gnoll finally is able to relax. Wrapping his wings around his leathery body, the beast grasps onto a crack in the roof of the cave and gets to sleep. He sleeps soundly, but is more than a little disappointed that Grandmother Nightmare was not haunting his dreams.


The gnoll returns an hour after daylight, approaching the gap mouth guard.

"You know me, yes?" he asks the guard, who merely nods his head in fear.

"Then I will make my way in. Tell me where I might find magic items. Not weapons or armor, for I fight with tooth and claw. And very welI I might add." he says, leering as the guard shivers uncontrollably at the bloodthirsty gnoll.

"The... The merchant quarter... South...Southwest corner... There are several magic shops, each with their own specialties." he stammers.

The gnoll makes his way to the merchant quarter and after a few inquiries, he finds the three items he needs. One to increase his understanding of the world, to help him learn more of why the goddess had gone quiet. Another to bolster his will against whatever the world would next throw at him. And a third for healing, since the falling of Dullen had left his pack without a healer.

After negotiating a fair price with three different merchants, he gathers them together to discuss payment turns. "You know me for what I have done. But I am also no fool, to come to this bazaar with that kind of money. But you will get it.

Gather your guards, all of them and join them if you chose. We go to the Majordomo, who will help me verify the items are what you say they are. Then you will get your money."
he explains, making it clear that he would not tolerate any attempts to cheat him.



 



 
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  #18  
Old 09-09-2020, 11:48 AM
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Fandrik in his element

Fandrik
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Fandrik was clean and strutting by the time they arrived at Lady Almah's tent. The elves were decently dressed and the halfling had used some of his magic to clean them each up respectably. The rest of the group was incredibly unkept, which prompted a worrying mustache wiggle. That wasn't going to put a crimp in his strut however. At least they no longer reeked of the Carrion King's throne room - Fandrik had long since cleaned that off of everyone as they walked out of the Brazen Peaks. Even Grak, when he had been sleeping and thought it was the work of some demon goddess. Still, it would have been nice to see everyone have a bath and some sleep before visiting the local nobility.

Passing through the entrance was like walking into a sliver of society, an oasis in the desert, to use more colloquial language. Growing up with very successful parents in Absalom, this was a welcome divergence from the last few months. A much needed respite. "Ha-HA! Fandrik Ergyle Nar'Danglestump, at your service." Fandrik perched himself, fists on hips, at the entrance and took in a deep breath of the perfumed air, soaking in the sight of soft carpets with his eyes. He had always taken the comforts of home for granted, desiring the rough stone of the city and adventure under his feet over the warmth and comfort his parents provided. This sight, this tent, gave him a pang of homesickness.

Fandrik dropped his pack just inside the door, hat on top, and pulled off his boots, hopping easily on one leg and then the other. He twisted his mustache with a sudden grin and winked at Garavel as he moved to take his place on the carpets. A majordomo was essentially part of the family, as were any tutors and other permanent fixtures. He had learned of the work that goes into cleaning carpets and arranging everything. These men were instrumental in making things just right for their Lady (in this case) and it would not only be kind, but beneficial to be on their good sides. Make such people's job easier, even pleasant, and they will give you all the sweet treats you can hide as you sneak out the window. Some may have been closer to his own family than even he had suspected in his early years. It started to make sense to Fandrik where Tahir fit into the town. He was the Lady's representative to oversee the Battlemarket. Things began to fall into place for Fandrik, though it had still been a little quick from running under the rocky desert sun to being escorted onto a plush carpet.

"You are too kind, my Lady! Perhaps someone can show me the available locations in town on the morrow. We will need enough space for this old man's coffin and the beautiful elves until they determine where they want to stay. Ahem. Until then, they are under my protection!" Clearly she wasn't so kind that he couldn't accept her offers. He glanced at Garavel, knowing the task would likely fall to this man. "Although my companion and I," - a toe poked Hector in the leg to implicate him in this - "were able to escape the chains of that gnoll bastard, it was only with the help of those you sent that we succeeded in cutting him low." Leaping to his feet, he slashed the air before slipping back to his seat. Somehow he made it sound like they had helped him and Hector. "In any case, I feel indebted to express my gratitude properly. Don't let these sour old companions fool you! This mustache can spin quite the ride. For example, if you have never jumped off these town cliffs then you are missing out. It feels like flying." He was flirting with her as much as praising his own deeds and offering her a story... or an experience. He pressed on before anyone could interupt. "But first! Ha-HA! A proper gentleman should have a bath. Is there a bathhouse in town? Would you permit me a pass? So that the next time I find myself in such mysterious company I don't smell like a gnoll." The smells in the room definitely came more from Grak's side of the room.

A whistle issued from Fan as he hopped up from the floor to look in the trunk. One hand scooped out some coins and dropped them into his pouch for later use, like someone might take grapes to give a friend. He looked at Tahir. "Your massive market probably has the best deals in town, am I right? Ha-HA! I'll bring you a list of a few things tomorrow. Will my cut of that suffice for payment, my good man?"

When the initial discussion was complete, he watched Grak rush out with open amusement. After his departure he stood and gathered his things. "That's one odd gnoll! Off to the Inn now. Come on, ladies" he motioned for the elves to accompany him and Hector, whom it was assumed also needed a drink. "Drusilla, we need to raise a glass to the fallen, my dear. Tehir, you are welcome as well. As are the mysterious Lady Almah and Garavel, if they do not have more pressing matters." He made sure to invite everyone for drinks, though they could do the same in the tent it was not his place to propose it.

And thus would pass the night for Fandrik. Several drinks, loud stories, laughter, songs, and even some heated arguments. And in the morning, they would wake with the sun in a dry room at the Poppy Seed.

 


 

Last edited by Jarl11; 09-09-2020 at 05:10 PM. Reason: grammar fixing
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  #19  
Old 09-10-2020, 03:34 AM
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Drusilla Vanadici
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Drusilla returns Nadia's fiery gaze with an icy look of indifference. The two remaining members of the Lions Rampant had drifted apart for some time now, ever since the tiefling became senselessly infatuated with Tahir. The strength and confidence that the warrior had admired in the witch has long since evaporated, replaced by an intolerable clinging dependency upon the Baron and his supply of pesh. Now all they share is the past. The fighter watches the pale shadow of her former friend leave without comment or caring. Why couldn't Lucilla have survived instead?

Grak's reaction to Tahir's compromise is hardly surprising. Compared to the gnoll, Drusilla is a skilful diplomat with a silver tongue. She simply rolls her eyes and shrugs, accustomed to his behavior. There is no need to intervene, for the rogue is also familiar with the druid's ways.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When Almah presents them with a most generous reward, Drusilla politely, albeit gruffly, nods her thanks. She does not worship gold in the way some adherents of Abadar do, but she appreciates what it can do. As she reflects upon how to spend her reward, Garavel shifts discussion to the scroll.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garavel
“I only trust the people in Kelmarane such as Lady Almah and Tahir.”
Having interacted with the majordomo for some time now, the Chelish warrior understands the meaning behind his words. She stands, walking over to Hector, and holds out her hand for the scroll. “I'll keep it safe.” Of course Garavel wouldn't trust some old man he's never met before with a magical item of such power—he would want someone he knows and respects to guard it, like Lady Death. She takes the scroll from Hector and tucks it away inside a pocket.

At the meeting's close, she turns to Tahir. “Armor in yet?” Though she is quite comfortable in her darkleaf lamellar, and enjoys the freedom of movement it provides, it is not as durable as she would like, having been pierced once too often during her patrols of the wilds surrounding Kelmarane. Before she left for the House of the Beast, she had requested that the Baron procure something more substantial, but still light enough to avoid hindering her movement. Upon reflection, she wonders if this is why Nadia appeared angry before. After all, her darkleaf armor was a special gift from the tiefling's tribe. For whatever reason, some people seemed to care about such stupid things.

“Magic buckler; mage to enchant weapon; ...” Getting straight down to business, Drusilla bluntly lists the magical items she would like to buy, nodding whenever Tahir knowledgeably responds with where to locate it, or an acceptable substitute, sometimes of even better quality.

She simply nods at Grak, understanding his need for space and agreeing with his suggestion to meet tomorrow, for she wishes to discuss a raid to secure the portal in the lair of the Hedge Witch. As for Fandrik, she responds to his suggestion with a look of indifference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fandrik
“Drusilla, we need to raise a glass to the fallen, my dear.”
“Why? The dead don't care.” And frankly, neither does she. What matters are the living.

Shameem. Mundhir. Jubair. Daawood.

The warrior blinks away the unbidden memories, to see Zun, Pasil, Kon, Tamun, and Ion standing before her. She couldn't save the slaves sacrificed by Grak, but these five elves are another matter. What matters are the living.

“Didn't you want a bath? Come.” She beckons the elves and the halfling to follow as she brusquely leads them to the bathhouse. Though the elves are now properly clothed and cleaned by the bard's magic, she knows they must crave a proper bath as much as she does. In a dim part of her mind, she realizes that their psyche must still be fragile, after so many years enslaved in the House of the Beast. It would do no good to save their bodies from Ghartok, only for their minds to falter.

Drusilla marches confidently up to the caretaker, a fat, greasy man named Ahmar, and waves away his vigorous protestations that there are men currently using the facility and, besides, women must make an appointment.

“I'm making an appointment. Now. For Lady Death.”

Instantly Ahmar's disposition changes. His eyes widen into fear-filled saucers and his gnarled fingers tremble uncontrollably as he backs away, bowing obsequiously as his rear enters the bathhouse. A moment later the door closes and frantic Kelish fills the air. After a minute, a trio of men race out, still dripping wet, with their thawbs hastily thrown on and their sirwals still in their hands. Ahmar follows, apologetically ushering Drusilla in, who beckons the elves to follow her but holds a hand up in Fandrik's face.

“Ladies first.”

And with that, the door closes and the curtains are drawn. Six naked women enjoy the pleasure of the bath, leaving Fandrik to wait outside.

 
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  #20  
Old 09-10-2020, 08:06 PM
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Tahir Al-Majid
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*With Grak*

Why?! Why had he thought that Grak would be reasonable? In the space of seconds, the gnoll managed to thoroughly obliterate any amount of goodwill Tahir held for him. There was not one shred of the cheerful spark from earlier left in the Baron's visage. Eyes hard as flint, jaw set like stone, this was almost an entirely different man than the jovial entity from earlier. Perhaps one from an earlier phase in his life. That he doesn't try and murder the gnoll on the spot, or simply summon the guards on his payroll to do so, speaks tremendously for the months Tahir has had to refine his self-control since ascending to his current position.

There were better times and places for such things, preferably when the mutt wasn't still so high in the favor of Lady Almah. As it is, the struggle is hard enough to not let this foul misshapen thing pollute his opinion of the rest of the group. They can hardly be held responsible for the actions of a wild dog. "Extort you?! You accuse me of the crime you yourself commit! Holding that which I care about hostage whilst demanding a noble's ransom!"

Tahir reduces his voice to a lower, more level tone. "I will keep to the word of our previous bargain, as it has already been struck and I do not go back on my word once given. You are even still invited to the feast I intend to host soon, as I will not rescind the invitation for similar reasons." Tahir leans slightly in, hands at the ready for something should anything happen even as Grak turns to leave. "But then we are done, mongrel. And the moment you lose any favor with the Lady is also the moment you will be banished like the spoiled whelp you are." Banishment? No, the Baron, no, the Knife had far more suitable plans in that sadly and infuriatingly unlikely event.

*With Fandrik and Drusilla*

Schooling his features into some measure of civility is an impressive feat, even if Tahir does not manage to fully succeed in the short time before he must focus on the others. He does not even try to hide the deep and calming breath he takes once he has turned his focus to them. Though Fandrik is the first to ask, Tahir answer Drusilla first. Though whether that's out of some sense of seniority or something entirely more arbitrary is left unknown for now. "I have no idea, but presume PIG will tell me to edit it if I am wrong Yes it's in, I am sure you will be quite satisfied that it meets your expectations."

What follows, her list of requests, is something he is very easily able to confirm or deny whether or not the battlemarket currently has such an item presently in stock. The Baron, as he is once more, keeps very up to date on these matters. Next, however, is the matter of the halfling.

"Apologies for the delay, rank has its privileges, you understand." Tahir is more recovered now from recent disagreement with Grak, and at the very least seems somewhat more personable. "You will find that in this land, in towns with a battlemarket it is the only place for a good deal." The Pactmasters always get their gold. "Provided the item is for sale anywhere within the battlemarket, I can indeed ensure it ends up in your possession with the coin supplied by your cut." Alas that Dru interrupted Fandrik's offer of sharing drinks. Perhaps later? "While the dead may or may not care, I could certainly use a drink later. Feel free to join me if you desire. For now take care to not smell like that gnoll."
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  #21  
Old 09-10-2020, 10:22 PM
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Grak’Ark
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Had anyone else threatened to have him banished from this disgusting excuse for a city, Grak’Ark would have laughed at them. He hated the nearly everything about the city and was only in this hellhole because his companions had come here. He also knew that with his pack by his side, there were none in the city that could stop them from entering.

But Grak held his laughter, for it was Tahir who had uttered the words. The rogue was once a warrior and had fought at Grak’s side. He still remembered the scent of ogre blood on the rogue. How low has he fallen? he thought to himself, disappointed that he had fallen so low.

"I will hold no salt with any who put their greed before their family. You have no honor." the gnoll growls in response, loud enough for all to hear. "Our deal is off, I will not deal with inglorious pafe such as you. " he says, knowing he will have to do things on his own.

"And know this. If you try to banish me from your home" he says, pointing to the floor. "I will banish you from mine." he says holding his arms out wide, making it clear that everything outside the walls was HIS domain.

Saying nothing more, the gnoll storms to a nearby window, transforms himself and wings off.


22 hours later

Two hours after the moon had risen, Grak returned, but not alone. The gnoll’s chest puffed out with pride as he walks into the room where he had told his pack to meet him. A small gnome woman stands by his side, nodding at several of the group until the gnoll steals their intention by speaking in his booming voice.

"As I told you yesterday, we have much to discuss. Because Tahir put his purse before his pack, I was forced to take things into my own hands. Or perhaps I could say more aptly, the goddesses hands." he says cryptically to the others.

right-aligned image
Stepping aside, the gnoll motions to the gnome with his right hand. "I introduce you Dullen the Twice Lived. Lamashtu recognized Dullen’s efforts in life and saw fit to grant her another turn on the wheel of life." he says as he steps back, allowing the gnome to move forward.

"Drusilla, Fandrick, Hector, Lady Nadia... It is good to see you again."
he says with a smile before turning to Tahir.

"Hello, brother. I'm back, no thanks to you." she says to Tahir with a hurt look on her face.


 




 

Last edited by Squeak; 09-10-2020 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 09-11-2020, 09:51 AM
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Fandrik
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Fandrik Ergyle Nar'danglestump was many things: a rogue, a scoundrel, a rapscallion, to name a few. One thing he was not, however, he was not able to deny the polite request of a lady. And for Lady Death, that invite to the bath was downright generous. They could meet up with Tahir and the others afterwards.

"Ha-HA! Clearly you have no idea who you are dealing with to turn away one of Lady Death's dearest companions." Poor Ahmar was just trying to do his job. While his eyes popped and his hands worried in indecision, Fandrik laughted again. "Don't worry, my good man! Nothing can contain this fantastic mustache." Winking as he turned and let the strut carry him away, the halfling went directly into the Battlemarket.

Loading up on some spiced meats on a stick, sweet-smelling wine, and flakey pastries, it all was wrapped in a clean blanket to disappear into that extradimensional backpack he carried. On the Baron's tab, of course.

About fifteen minutes from being turned away by a sweating fat man and Fandrik found himself walking up to the windows on the opposite side of the bathhouse. There was no worry about anyone mistaking his next actions for indescretion because they would never see an invisible, quiet halfling slip inside. There was very little that could deny a determined halfling.

By now the elves and Drusilla were well into relaxing in the bath waters. Only the most alert of them would possibly notice that there was another pile of clothes in the corner. If any of them did notice, they would blink in confusion at the shield, boots and hat which were clearly Fandrik's.

He was already in the water, back turned as he unfolded the edges of a blanket, as he reappeared (again without sound) to normal eyes and joined the conversation as if he had always been there. "Who wants to try some of this?! These balls are delicious, I may have already tried a couple. Ha-HA!"

Far enough into his drinks to be overly affectionate and slurring, Fandrik led one elf after another through a halfling jig. He also thoroughly entertained some of the barmaids and guards with a song from his heart, likely to the annoyance of others.

The light sets upon the hills
And the sun begins to fade
Still enough time to figure out
How to chase my blues awaaaaay

I've done alright up to now
It's the light of day that shows me how
And when the night faaaaalls, loneliness calls...

Yaaaa, I wanna dance with somebody
I wanna feel the heat with somebody
Yeah, I wanna dance with somebody
With somebody who looooooves me

Yaaaa, I wanna dance with somebody
I wanna feel the heat with somebody
Yeah, I wanna dance with somebody
With somebody who loooooves me!

I've been in the desert and lost my mind
Spinning through the town
Sooner or later, the fever ends
And I wind up feeling down

I need a girl who'll take a chance
On a love that burns hot enough to last
So when the night faaaaalls
My lonely heart calls! Ha-HA!


Fandrik Ergyle Nar'danglestump had been called many things. On time, was not usually one of them.

Grak'ark may have set a time and location for a meeting but Fandrik did not have an alarm. In fact, the swashbuckler was often late, if not entirely absent, for events he was supposed to have attended. His parents and tutor had often scolded him on being prudent and punctual. This was yet another ocassion that he forgot to watch the time or remember what had been asked of him.

The first hour of sunlight was spent in denial under a blanket.

Fandrik spent the second hour of light breaking fast with red eyes, dressed in only his breeches.

The third hour found life returning to the halfling. He wrote out a list to deliver to Tahir, then cleaned and readied himself and any elves wanting a magic morning cleanse. It would be a busy day and there was much to accomplish. Starting to grasp some of the words, he took the opportunity to practice the elvish they had been teaching him. "Elvish: Alrightiawn, ladies, shall we go find outselves a Elvish: house?"

 


 

Last edited by Jarl11; 09-11-2020 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 09-12-2020, 03:22 AM
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Drusilla Vanadici
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There is something magically refreshing about a hammam in the middle of a desert, especially after being liberated from years of unwashed slavery under the Carrion King. The elves delight in the warm, soothing water, smiling contentedly as they finally scrub themselves clean and immerse their tired aching bodies. Oca Tamun even dares to laugh as she playfully splashes Pasil.

Satisfied, Drusilla quietly observes their happiness but sits apart. Even here, in the tranquil privacy of this beautifully restored bath house, the warrior is at work. Although certainly pleasurable, bathing is just another part of grooming, a necessity to maintain the healthy body which is so essential to her work. She is happy for the elves, after all the untold misery they have endured, but she herself does not share in their joy. Besides, she must remain alert. She is the guardian of the scroll now, the scroll sought by the mysterious Rokova—or rather, the genie pretending to be Rokova, who can turn invisible and teleport and is Abadar knows where now.

So it is that she notices Fandrik's presence almost immediately. Of course, she can't actually see or hear the silent, invisible halfling, but apparently the swashbuckler forgot that she can certainly see the curtains being brushed aside by some unseen force. For a moment she tenses, ready to confront the intruder, but fortunately for the little peeping tom, his absurdly large hat is knocked off by the swaying drapes, just enough for her to know that there is no real threat.

Relaxing, she is content to watch a slowly growing pile of clothes. Though she had kept Fandrik out earlier, it was only to acknowledge the Kelish rules preventing men and women from bathing together; she herself could not care less. Of course, the elves might—though perhaps not, given how long they had been openly naked in the House of the Beast. However, when he unexpectedly reappears in the water, she calmly stands up, unabashedly displaying her toned, athletic body. She reprimands the swashbuckler in a firm voice, though it is not the halfling's presence to which she objects.

“No food in the bath. Get your balls out of the water.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next day is mostly spent shopping. Drusilla picks up her order and a new buckler from the armorer, trading in her darkleaf lamellar and the chainmail they had found for a discount, then buys a slew of arrows from the fletcher, including a few special ones to deal with the genie who would be Rokova, and a magical quiver to hold them all. The mage is harder to locate, but eventually she succeeds in placing an order to enhance her magical cloak, and to enchant her lucerne hammer into an even more potent weapon. Replacements are found for the any-tool she had left wedged in the door to the dwarven workshop, and for the magical hat she had borrowed and lost. She is pleased to find and purchase many useful items at the alchemist's stall that Tahir recommended, though originally she was only interested in some anti-nausea remedies—with gut-wrenching memories of the stench in the House of the Beast, she vows to be better prepared for the Hedge Witch's lair.

Later, the fighter meets Grak at the appointed time and place, as punctual as ever. Only when the druid introduces the gnome does she give it a second glance. For an instant she wonders if the gnoll is playing some vile trick, but she quickly dismisses the thought. The druid is too proud of himself. Besides, the gnome is clearly special to him, for otherwise he would treat it with his usual snarling contempt ... and probably urinate on it for good measure.

“Where is the Hedge Witch lair? We must secure it, and its magic portal, while the Carrion Tribe is off balance.” Having given Dullen another scrutinizing glance, she returns to ignoring the gnome, evidently considering the cleric's return to be of secondary importance compared to the security of the area surrounding the Brazen Peaks. She details a few more strategic elements before turning to Grak's reason for this meeting.

“What do you have to discuss?”

 


 
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:09 PM
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Grak’Ark
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Grak'Ark shakes his head at Drusilla's question. It was very much like her to not understand the reason he had brought them together, even though it was clear to everyone else.

"We had lost a member of our pack. Now he... now she is back. Unfortunately, Bloblog did not make it. He died stupidly and the goddess does not tolerate failure." he explains, a pained look on his face at the thought of losing such a valuable ally.

"But Dullen has returned to us. And I for one am looking forward to seeing how her brother justifies his unwillingness to spend his coin on his own packmate." he says, smiling as he not sure if Tahir is at this meeting or if Yuul plans on posting any more.searches for Tahir.

"A ha ha. My brother has nothing to fear, for there is nothing to forgive. Like sands through the hourglass, the days of our lives are but a pittance towards eternity with Irori." the gnome replies as she fiddles with her necklace, which bears the blue hand symbol of her god.

"But there is one thing you should know, Tahir. Trevis is dead."





 

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Old 09-15-2020, 10:55 PM
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Drusilla Vanadici
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Drusilla stares at Grak'Ark in cold disbelief, as if he had sprouted a second head or been hit with a feeblemind spell. “That's it?” What is there to discuss? 'Dullen's back'—end of story. The gnoll could have simply left a message at her house, perhaps with the additional explanation 'gnome now', instead of wasting her time. Besides, she already knows from yesterday's discussion with Tahir that Grak was planning to bring Dullen back from the dead. What more is there to say? Was this supposed to be a friendly meet-and-greet? A welcome back party? Had the gnoll inexplicably transformed himself into an Chelish event planner beholden to social niceties and meaningless etiquette?

Clearly annoyed and disappointed in Grak, the warrior snorts. Fortunately the meeting was not a total waste of time, for she did organize the upcoming strike on the Hedge Witch lair. “Dullen will join us then,” she says, completely ignoring the family reunion. Bloblog doesn't even warrant a second thought. “We,” with quick glances she indicates Hector, Grak, and Dullen as part of the strike force, “leave at sunrise. Any questions?”

 
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:59 PM
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Fandrik
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First things first.

Fandrik headed to the Battlemarket and sought out Tahir, giving him the list of items he had put together for purchase with the reward money from Lady Almah. The baron was busy, quickly delegating the task to one of his many men, so the halfling gave him a gracious bow and left with the promise to pick things up the following morning. He and the elves took their leisure wandering the stalls, passing from merchant to merchant, making small talk, and sampling what they could while steering clear of areas they found uncomfortable.

They had lunch before departing the massive market, then determined it would be best to take a walk around the upper levels of the town to figure out the best place to find a home. The area outside the gates had been quickly dismissed; it was less protected from gnolls and too close to the slave market, as the elves were quick to mention, and it was in the unfortunate radius of the tannery. Fandrik could not abide an abode within nasal or floating range of a tannery. He exclaimed, quite emphatically, how unfortunate it was that the Poppy Seed had made that exact error.

The area between the gate and the battlemarket was mostly all claimed by the wealthiest residents, palace, and guardhouses. The eastern side passed the battlemarket was spartan. The houses were few and small, though the view would have been spectacular. This left the small group with the north and western portion of the upper town.

Eventually, they found themselves confronted by Garavel. The astute man had tracked them down to help them make a choice and to mark off the task of getting the group settled in the town. It didn't take long for the manservant to convince them of a large building near the shrine and temple of Irori. It was perfect! Garavel left to confirm the administrative details and transfer ownership, as well as provide a cleaning and set up crew for the following day.

The remaining daylight was spent organizing and dividing up the building. The elves had their heirarchy but each she-elf had their own preference. On top of that, Fandrik had his demands for style - which were slowly relegated to 'nice' suggestions.

Everything became much more interesting when a gnome stopped by claiming to be Dullen.

 


 
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Old 09-17-2020, 07:37 PM
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Tahir Al-Majid
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Arriving at the meeting the next day, not too long after having one of his people take care of Fandrik's list, Tahir found himself to still be in an altogether murderous mood. The difference between the night prior and now was that his temper had cooled from being entirely too brash, becoming refined as something altogether more cold. Thoughtful planning would see him better served here. He could afford to be patient. And so Tahir arrived to meeting accompanied by a pair of guards, Nadia noticeably absent. Perhaps a result of her current disregard for Drusilla.

Grak introducing the new gnome woman as his brother however, almost entirely undid all of Tahir's chilled anger. Particularly oddly un-Dullen like comment that left the Baron rather suspicious. Still, he would assume this really was his brother, if only because the twisted glee on the mongrel's excuse for a face was entirely too genuine.

"You can blame the gnoll for that, brother. He refused to let me have you revived the proper way for anything less than the return of the foolish creature he just decried as a stupid failure. He refused my compromise which he regarded as blackmail and extortion, which in truth was what he sought to do to me. I would have had you returned regardless, but it would have taken some time."

A pity the mutt had acted so quickly, one more night and Tahir could have seen to 'acquiring' the bloodstained rag anyway. And saw the other one burned for good measure. Not in person of course, such a thing would have too much risk. He couldn't exactly trust his guards with such delicate matters either, as a glance to either side at the guards flanking the Baron served to remind him. Any further words he intended to say were halted by Dullen's next words regarding Trevis, their brother. Although Tahir had never grown to care for or appreciated the other brother all that much, they were still of shared blood.

"Trevis? Dead? How?" It was easy enough to imagine the man dying in a ditch due to far too much pesh, or perhaps mugged in an alley if in a city, but it was still unexpected news. Tahir reminds himself there are others here, though he still pointedly ignores the gnoll, turns his head, and only his head, in Drusilla's direction. "The last I was aware of, the gnolls maintain controll of the portal. Although they pulled back from Solku, they still seem deadset on on defending both the Hedge Witch's lair, and the wizard keep connected to it."
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Old 09-21-2020, 12:12 AM
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Drusilla Vanadici
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tahir
"Trevis? Dead? How?"
Drusilla flicks a glance towards the gnome. “Dullen knows.” Indeed, if the stranger truly were Dullen, she would be able to tell of how they had found Trevis in Ghartok’s throne room, serving as a bodyguard to the Carrion King himself. She could tell of how they fought, brother against brother, with the battle raging around them and the floor collapsing; of how he killed Trevis himself, plunging his father’s sword deep through his brother’s heart; of their last, painful words to one another, words that would be seared forever upon Dullen’s soul. The Chelish warrior says nothing more—let Dullen prove she is what Grak says she is.

Instead she nods at Tahir, acknowledging his information about the Hedge Witch’s lair. They would need to move quickly before the gnolls could regroup and send possible reinforcements.

“The axe is yours.” She had asked Lady Almah last night to have someone identify the strange chainmail and greataxe that they had found in the tomb with the scroll. Both turned out to be quite valuable, especially the greataxe, which was worth a veritable fortune by itself. She was able to sell the chainmail without issue this morning, but finding a buyer for an axe worth more than Almah’s reward? That proved nearly impossible. After inquiring at every armory and magic shop in town, the warrior was forced to negotiate with the one person in Kelmarane both willing and able to afford it—the Baron of the Battlemarket.

Of course, Lady Almah could have purchased the axe without blinking, but she had no desire to buy a weapon tainted with such evil. Tahir, on the other hand, was quite accommodating, but he quickly demonstrated how he came to earn his great wealth. Drusilla wanted the money now, to purchase better gear for their impending mission to the Hedge Witch lair; Tahir was in no such hurry and, perhaps still irked by Grak’s disingenuous negotiations, offered no more than forty percent of its value. The warrior tried to find a better offer, but in vain—she needed the gold, and now Tahir owns an extremely valuable and dangerously evil greataxe.

 
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Old 09-23-2020, 03:16 PM
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DM Summary
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The Jackal's Price
Gozran 15-18 4710 – Wealday-Fireday

Sunrise 06:30 | 20:00 Sunset
(~:~)

Light Bearers
OFF- Drusilla, ioun torch (20' normal / 40' shadows)
OFF- Hector, ioun torch (20' normal / 40' shadows)
OFF- Fandrik's, Light Spell- Feather (20' normal / 40' shadows)

Darkvision
Grak'ark (60')
Hector (60')




~~
 


Kelmarane

Fandrik’s Home

A shrill and long scream snaps Fandrik out of his sleep. It’s full of terror and anxiety.

Eyes wide open but blurry, he expertly (with a long time of being on the move over the years) reaches for his sword by his cot at his sword arm's side. He’s up in a flash, running as fast as his furry feet can carry him. Another scream draws him into the shadows.


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Bright eyed Fandrik chooses a good location right behind the Battlemarket (#11) down next to Dullen’s temple (#12) where the palm of Irori still stands. Around the building you find that you are at the edge of a major drop to the north, the colorful flowers of pesh fields stretching to the hills in the distance.

It was mentioned to him, in passing by an accompanying guard, that it was once a rug shop back before the cult of Rovagug tore the town apart thirty years ago. Now, the land reclaimed by Lady Almah as a blessing from the Pactmasters, it’s just an empty building occupied by squatters since the inn is at full capacity. The guard clears out the visiting merchants, thieves, and travelers inside and quickly leaves for Fandrik to take over the place for himself. It’s a disaster. Cracked vases were used to empty extrements or piss and moldy rugs from a previous inhabitants were used for the squatters to sleep on.

Tahir gets back to Drusilla and Fandik that he used his connections to Katapesh city to track the families of the elves. Most of them are still in Kyonin (home of most elves) but a couple are from other nations and have nothing to do with other elves. The Baron says it will take a while to get anyone to come retrieve their long lost and kidnapped loved one, but they’re in no shape to travel on their own. Hopefully the people in their past lives will come to Kelmarane to bring them back but some of the people they once knew were human and are likely long dead over decades.

Fandrik offers the elves to stay with him. They arrive as he’s carrying out the old piles of rugs. They help him clean up quickly, piling them outside for a street hire to clean them up at a later date. Quick work is made out of it with all the extra hands. A few of the locals come and stare as these exotic creatures come to do laborious work and Fandirk is more than thrilled to be apart of it.

Cleared out, there is one beautiful orange rug that fills the living quarters of this space. It’s enormous and in good shape, rolled and forgotten in a corner. Fan and the elves unroll it and sweep off the dust. It’s his first furniture. Crimson diamonds crown it’s sides and yellow patterns work their way from the center. It makes the dull place both warm and inviting... well.. as much as it can anyhow.

Apart from the living quarters (where a family, long dead and murdered by the evil cult, once displayed their proud work) there are two rooms. The elves take the largest. Fan takes the smallest, a storage room with a window facing north for ventilation and overlooking the pesh fields.

Fandrik never knows that it’s that very pesh field that Drusilla escaped through from gnolls that took over this town some years ago. A lot of pain has bled into the beautiful land. A lot of fear.

But none of that! Fandrik and the elves clean this place and make it livable very quickly. Curious minds pass by but soon even they are eventually distracted by the many strange visitors passing through the Battlemarket for the most part.

It’s great at first. The elves prove to be not only pretty but they carry with them a great amount of experiences before Brazen Peaks. They favor Fandrik and his brightness. He cares for them and protects them with his ease of confidence, letting them know that everything is now okay. For the most part, they even believe him. It will take some time to build back up to the people they once were.

But then the tension begins to show. The elves are on the most part, on edge. They weigh on Dru and Fan to protect them. The escaped slaves are always asking questions. How safe is it outside in the street? How safe are the borders of town? They heard from Drusilla that the gnolls were attacking a local city. Will they come here? It never really ends. Fandirk’s brightness really helps them but there is always the outside darkness fighting in.

After a day Fandrik goes out shopping at the Battlemarket for his new equipment and he quickly finds that the freedom from their darkness (a haunt that was not their fault) is a freedom in of itself. He breathes easier without them. But they care for him in their own way so it’s not all that easy.

Peace, with those with terror, can see peace as a manipulation. They will alway seek terror, because according to them, at least fear seems familiar and honest. Peace can hide hidden fear, which can be all the more worse. Peace, for some, can be all too true.


Fandrik battles through the shadows and into the source of the screaming. After another day he has a few more spare furniture, a few chairs and tables, but they prove distractions to action. “HaHA!” He’s ready to kill anything proven a threat.

He finds the elves huddled over Phandralhnih Zun as she stares into the dark with wide eyes at nothing. Her red hair is plastered to her thin face with sweat as she jerks, pupils dilated and body shivering. “I was there, in the Maggot Throne. Still there. At the foot the decaying death. The worm. The worm and the King. The Carrion King. The King.” She sobbs these words in elven, still thinking she is collared to the platform of the Carrion King, who dominated their minds as master for so very long.

The Elder looks over to Fandrik that has entered. “Get us some water for her.” It’s mostly a request but there is also, nay, a command in her tone. Fandrik notices that they have legs of their own... but he goes to fetch it anyhow from the bowl they filled from Pale River. The white bits of soil from Pale Mountain swirl in the cup.

After some talking and soothing, Phandralhnih calms down finally now that she knows that she’s not in the House of the Beast. She sips from the cup Fandrik offers to her and seeing him, someone different from her horrible past, she begins to feel the present world begin to return.


Fandrik calms down the guards after they raced down from the watchtower (#09) from across the street. Quickly, without a loss of charm, Fan explains to them that the screams were from a nightmare. Everything is okay. The guards barely check in before returning to their station. The patrons, seeing there’s no action to witness (and therefore spread rumors about) go back to their trading, gambling, and pesh smoking.

Walking back into his new home, the bard whistles a tune. A song to calm everyone down. There is a touch of magic (Fan knows from his past that elves are immune to any sleep charms anyhow) to his bardic music but Fandric adds his natural charm to it and it only helps calms things down just a bit. He wiggles his mustache and gets a bit more sleep before dawn. The monastery is waiting for him in the morning and he wants to sleep before the short trip.

Fandrik: 450XP
Plot Addition
Fandirk taking care of the elves



DM Notes
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  • Nil:
    Nil

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Old 09-24-2020, 04:31 PM
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Mission: securing the teleportation portals
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At sunrise, Drusilla sets off towards the White Canyons. With Grak acting as a guide, she is also accompanied by Dullen, Hector, and even Fandrik, who was dragged out of bed by the Ustalavian harbinger. The way to the Hedge Witch's lair is not far, but the maze of chalky white canyons makes navigation difficult; fortunately, they make good time, relying upon the gnoll's prior experience with the area.

The halfling scouts ahead, nimbly darting across the web of dangling rope bridges that sway precariously from the canyon tops. With a clever illusion the bard distracts any sentries in their way, who are then promptly savagely mauled and killed by a vicious wild beast—Grak in his cooshee form. Perhaps it is because of these improved shapeshifting abilities that the gnoll refuses Drusilla's 'gift'—she had bought a magical hat of disguise for him, to replace the one she had inadvertently lost in the House of the Beast. Or perhaps he simply tires of pretending to be someone he is not—most of the time he was forced to use the magical hat to assume the repulsive form of a disgusting human, a degrading experience for the proud gnoll.

The Chelish warrior readily accepts the druid's refusal, taking advantage of her new magic item to disguise herself as Rokova instead. Indeed, with their newly purchased equipment, the experience they had gained from infiltrating the House of the Beast, and the lack of any truly powerful adversaries—for there is no Carrion King nor gigantic stegocentipede here—they cruise through their mission with relative ease.

Grak leads them to a secret door in the bat caves, through which they enter a labyrinth network of tunnels. Here they move more slowly and deliberately, for they are now beyond the extent of the druid's previous exploration. They proceed with a mixture of stealth and brutal power—once they run into a room full of a score of gnolls, and rather than trying to find another way around, Drusilla simply unleashes the terror that is Hector Grimm. For the next minute the cave echoes with the wild screams of gnolls being massacred by an invisible, implacable fury. Through a strategic combination of silently assassinating gnolls with the misfortune to be caught in ones or twos, and murdering whole fataras, they eventually find and secure the teleportation portal in the heart of the Hedge Witch's lair.

With the magical expertise of Dullen and Hector, they quickly uncover its workings. Then it is a simple matter of sending Hector Grimm through the portal. Out at the other end, in the Wizard's Keep, amidst a score of unsuspecting gnolls, emerges a harbinger cloaked by a greater invisibility spell. After nearly a minute a bloody Rokova follows, his throat still bleeding from a vicious cut. Orders are given to disperse and confuse the remaining gnolls, and all that is left is clean up for the rest. Under Drusilla's stern command they do not stop until every single gnoll is either dead or five hundred feet away, fleeing with its tail between its legs. Only then does the party split up, Hector and Fandrik at one portal, and Dullen and Drusilla and Grak at the other. With a mixture of magical know-how and physical might they destroy both ends of the teleportation network. Finally, at long last, Drusilla can return to Kelmarane to rest.

 
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