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  #481  
Old Dec 20th, 2020, 11:07 AM
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"NeublížimeWe will not hurt you.ti." Raackma moved over to the stone giants, his bow shouldered. He was willing to spare these men, even take a blow if necessary. He held up a hand to Begon in lizard form. The Colonel scratched his head purposefully, showing confusion. " Prečo sa spojíte s obrími vrchmi? Why do you ally with the hill giants? Are you not greater in the Ordning?Nie ste väčší v Ordningu?"

Raackma now realized there must be more going on than hill giant raids. Fire giants, stone giants, cloud giants. They would not work with the hill giants normally. The hill giants were the lowest of the low. Only ogres and trolls were lower. The Storm King still had these troubles with the Ordning unsettled, was that what was going on here? They would have to find out, otherwise these troubles would not end.

" I want you to know, we offered quarter and the other giants attacked. Why would they do that? Why work with the hills?Chcem, aby ste vedeli, že sme ponúkli štvrtinu a ostatní obri zaútočili. Prečo by to robili? Prečo pracovať s kopcami?" Raackma shook his head. He was telling the truth, he had no desire to kill the cloud or stone giant.

" Napokon, Last, if you are here to dig, will you work with the orcs? They will be masters here soon. They would love for you to dig .ak ste tu kopať, budete pracovať s orkami? Čoskoro tu budú pánmi. Boli by radi, keby ste kopali." Raackma was not the best for this. He looked behind for Ozgur. The bard could forge a lasting peace. Once the stone giants saw their dead kin, he was not sure they would settle for peace without help from Ozgur.


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  #482  
Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 01:15 AM
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Gasping and panting, Ozgur rounded the corner and charged north up the hallway. As the grey-blue figures hove into view, the bard's heart sank. More, was all his exhausted mind could bear to think. But then it dawned on him - there was no fighting. Begon was bellowing and screaming in rage and frustration, but these massive newcomers seemed both taken aback and, blessedly, undesiring of combat.

Raackma was speaking to them - thank the gods someone could speak that guttural, grating tongue. Whatever the colonel was saying, it had the sounds of parley; Ozgur knew those tones well enough. There was confusion and tension, but no overt hostility. So the black-haired bard made his choice.

Mentally, he released his grip on the polymorph spell that bound Begon into the terrible lizard form. Immediately, the exhausted orc reality reasserted itself. That was a risk, but a calculated one. These giants did not have the look of warriors, though that didn't make them much less formidable appearing. Ozgur forced nonchalance into his voice as he eyed his old friend. "So, my Colonel...what have we here?"

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  #483  
Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 10:00 AM
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Thank the gods Ozgur had arrived. Raackma sighed in relief. Usually Grum or Coin did this part. He was no master of words. The Colonel braced himself on his friend as the day's combat began to take hold. With a free hand, he reached into his pack and pulled out a leather helm. The thing was ornate and had innumerable symbols on it. He tossed the leather helm to Ozgur.

"A helm that will allow you to understand. I can still speak for us." The Colonel was near panting at this point. He needed rest. Raackma felt some light pressure ion his chest. "Excuse me, Ozgur. My chest hurts a bit. It will go away in a moment. I am trying to parlay with these fine giants." Raackma smiled at the giants and gestured to the bard.

"This is my friend and advisor, Ozgur. We mean you no harm, still. Actually I hope we can work together.Toto je môj priateľ a poradca, Ozgur. Stále ti nemyslíme nijako zle. Vlastne dúfam, že dokážeme spolupracovať."


"Oz, let's see what your silver tongue and negotiating skills can do. My killing is over for the day."


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  #484  
Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 10:40 AM
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Begon was content to war against the stairs and wall, his tail chipping away at the earthen structure of the steading with a steady thump, thump, thump. The lizard was intent on his escaped prey and so he never even noticed the appearance of two stone giants coming up from behind. It was only when he heard the scrawny human speaking… in a tongue he surely did not understand, that he turned his massive head.

The sight of the two stone giants sent Begon into a blood-lust fueled frenzy and he spun so quickly that he almost tumbled to the ground. His rage was uncontrollable and even though he saw Raackma… his presence held no sway and the titanic dinosaur was perfectly fine with trampling the weakling.

Begon pounded forward, hissing in glorious anticipation… and then the giants began to grow… taller… and taller…

Begon, the orc, tumbled to the ground next to Raackma. He looked up at his friend, grunted, and then laid his head down on the cool stone.


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  #485  
Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 10:45 AM
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"NeublížimeWe will not hurt you.ti." Raackma said, seeking to keep things calm despite the tyrannosaurus crunching through the dead giant besides him. " Prečo sa spojíte s obrími vrchmi? Why do you ally with the hill giants? Are you not greater in the Ordning?Nie ste väčší v Ordningu?"

The giant’s were twitchy – they hefted their pick axes in their hands as they eyed the lizard.


" I want you to know, we offered quarter and the other giants attacked. Why would they do that? Why work with the hills?Chcem, aby ste vedeli, že sme ponúkli štvrtinu a ostatní obri zaútočili. Prečo by to robili? Prečo pracovať s kopcami?" Raackma tried to get their attention back to him.

He got their attention, but some hostility too …

" Ha! The Hills are slaves ... we don't work for them - we dig because we like to dig - there are good rocks down here ... split statisfactorily. They are dumb brutes good only to bring our food and look after the slaves. Ha ha ha... Ha! Kopce sú otroci ... nepracujeme pre nich - kopeme, pretože radi kopeme - tu dole sú dobré skaly ... rozdelené podľa štatistík. Sú to tupí brutáli, dobrí iba na to, aby priniesli naše jedlo a starali sa o otrokov. Ha ha ha ... " The giant spat at the body that the lizard was tearing apart.



Raackma tried again, struggling to find the right words of diplomacy. " Napokon, Last, if you are here to dig, will you work with the orcs? They will be masters here soon. They would love for you to dig .ak ste tu kopať, budete pracovať s orkami? Čoskoro tu budú pánmi. Boli by radi, keby ste kopali."

As he spoke Ozgur arrived in the cave – seeing the colonel in some kind of parley and Begonosaurus creating some horror show besides them. He judged it time to take the head out of the theatre and let the lizard-image drop from his mind. ”So, my Colonel … what have we here?” he said



Raackma saw the anger well in the giant’s eyes at his last words …

" Orkovia ?! Orcs?! work with orcs ... I'll!!! ... ak pracuj s orkami ... budem !!! ..." It roared lifting its axe.

With Begon’s reversion to just another orc, the pairs attention were now fully on the slight man who seemed insistent on deepening the insult with every word.


Raackma knew his strengths threw the hospital pass to his silver-tongued comrade. "This is my friend and advisor, Ozgur. We mean you no harm, still. Actually I hope we can work together.Toto je môj priateľ a poradca, Ozgur. Stále ti nemyslíme nijako zle. Vlastne dúfam, že dokážeme spolupracovať."

He handed his helm to Ozgur as the pair of them looked up at the mountains of stone-flesh barely containing their anger.


dm-ooc
Love it – rile the giants then pass them on to the bard!

Berith – Ozgur’s powers of persuasion are called for.


Everyone else – feel free to move on your characters and say how they react to the ongoing scene.

TP, Chutakki is in the room to the north re the last post.


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  #486  
Old Dec 30th, 2020, 05:59 PM
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Ozgur's eyes darted back and forth from Raackma to the giants, and back again. He couldn't understand a word of what was being said, but the tones were clear enough - and the bard didn't like the tones one bit. The Colonel was speaking quickly, obviously rattled. Ozgur figured he had, or feared he had, committed some offense. Probably the former, given the obvious anger in the giants' stony rumbles. He wished he could understand the words.

As if reading his mind, the old Colonel removed his helmet and passed it to Ozgur. He knew about the helm's magic; it allowed the casting of a minor spell of comprehension. Settling it on his own head, the words and movements of the spell immediately appeared in his memory as if he had learned the spell many years ago. The spell itself was just the work of a few seconds, and then the bard was able to understand the giants' speech - but not speak it himself.

"I hope you can understand me," Ozgur began in the common tongue. "You can speak your own language, but I must speak my own." Then he had a better idea. He turned to address Raackma. "Colonel, please translate my words into the giants' language." That was preferable, the black-haired man thought.

"The hill giants and their allies have been raiding and subjugating the humans and others in the surrounding area," the bard began. "We are here to put a stop to that. We have no ill-will for giants, or for any who would live peacefully with the others in the area." Ozgur paused significantly. "Including the orcs. They have been dwelling in the caverns, doing their best to keep the hill giants at bay. Their leader is one Dratrech - it would be well for you to meet, and then we can speak further. While we wait for him, know again that we mean no harm to those who do us no harm. And if I may ask," Ozgur said, "For what do you dig here?"

As he waited for Raackma to translate and for Dratrech to arrive, Ozgur considered his next words. He waited eagerly for the giants' reply.

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  #487  
Old Jan 1st, 2021, 10:48 AM
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Edging out
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The pair of giants towered over Ozgur and Raackma, but their anger had a nervous edge as more of the group entered the room. Nokomis, the strange elf; Ulster with his direwolf hound; and then Dratrech with a small groups of orc. Everyone had the mark of battle on them – and their feet tracked gore with all the bodies they had waded through to get there.


The lead giant patted his pick with greater determination as the pair began to step sideways towards the stairway – all the time eyes fixed on the old man and his silver-tongued companion.

They listen to Raackma’s translation of Ozgur’s words, seemingly unmoved. Then the leader spoke up again.

" Nestaráme sa o We care nothing for the fat gluttonous ones - we're digging because Gauntan told us too. When they have their room, we can go back home. The sooner the better. tých nenasýtených - hrabeme sa, pretože nám to povedal aj Gauntan. Keď budú mať svoju izbu, môžeme ísť späť domov. Čím skôr, tým lepšie.."

The pair stepped deliberately towards the stairs, picks ready in their burly hands, their knees practically in Begon’s face. " Nepáči sa mi tvoj pohľad. Šlo. Nechceme žiadne problémy, ale môžeme dať veľa. Vycúvajte a I don't like the look of you. We're going. We don't want any trouble, but we can give plenty. Back off and we'll be gone. budeme preč."

dm-ooc
It’s clear the giants are going to be up the stairs unless something is donw to stop them.

TP, Chutakki is still in the room to the north re the earlier post. Let me know if he is going to do anything in the room or return to the main group.


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  #488  
Old Jan 1st, 2021, 03:00 PM
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Beginning of the End
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Raackma listened to Ozgur and translated as carefully as he could. His giant had started as insults to ogres and trolls, but over time he'd needed to learn more. He led the Irregulars, not some band of thugs, by Bahamut. Raackma slowly took steps to get behind Ozgur, to give the bard the lead so his words would be more effective. Eventually the giants asked to leave.

"The cloud giant will try to swing you. Don't listen. If you come back down the stairs this truce will be over. We offered the cloud giant quarter, and he did not take it. Go in peace. We will not stop you.Oblak obrie sa bude snažiť hojdačka vás. Nepočúvaj ma. Ak sa vrátiš dole schodmi, toto prímerie sa skončilo. Ponúkli sme mrak obrie štvrti, a on to nevojedla. Choď v pokoji. Nezastavíme ťa. " Raackma was tired, and had no desire to kill the stone giants.

"I say we just let them go, what do you say, Ozgur?" The Colonel hoped he hadn't ruined the negotiations, but they needed to get to Chutakki before he got himself killed by a boulder or worse. "Also, keep the helmet, your gifts are words. You can use that helm Grum made much better than I ever could."





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  #489  
Old Jan 3rd, 2021, 11:51 PM
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Ozgur let out a long breath. "I say we just let them go, what do you say," the Colonel had asked. There was little time for reflection - the giants were already moving up the stairs, and while they were peaceful, it was clear that they were not happy. The black-haired negotiator moved close to Raackma, to murmur in his ear. "A fight could go badly. We're exhausted. But if we let these go, best we make a hasty withdrawal ourselves, I think."

Then called out a few final words to the giants. "We mean no harm to those who mean no harm. I hope your digging was productive."

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Old Jan 4th, 2021, 11:20 AM
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Chutakki
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The lizardfolk surveyed his surroundings, wondering what the giants might have stashed away in a room with a concealed door. He also pondered how the door had come to be open when before he was certain it had been closed. There were no sounds of combat from back out at the base of the stairs and the begonosaurus had even ceased its tail slamming and if that beast was silent it either meant that everyone was dead or they were at peace. Given the talents and strength of those involved, Chutakki was certain it was the latter.

As for the room, the rogue searched about for whatever may lie within.

 


 


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Old Jan 5th, 2021, 09:10 AM
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Begon sat with his back against the wall. He was exhausted and he knew without a doubt that if these stone giants attacked, he would be finished. This knowledge did not stop him from staring murderously at the towering miners, his eyes radiating an undying hatred.

He could not follow the conversation, he could barely speak passable common. The giant tongue, with all of its clipped rumbling was gibberish but Begon knew that he would follow Raackma and Ozgur’s lead. They would make a wise decision.

Still… the depleted orc was surprised to see the Stone Giants depart peacefully. They would be back… Begon was sure of it.

As they passed by his seated form, next to the stairs, Begon slowly stood and slammed the weighted pommel of his halberd on the stone floor… again… and again…. and again.

A wordless invitation to the giants for battle in the future.



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  #492  
Old Jan 5th, 2021, 10:48 AM
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The Eagle has Landed, I repeat, THE EAGLE HAS LANDED!
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Nokomis was tired and fatigued, but the luster was returning to her hair and her skin was resuming it's more or less healthy visage; it was generally paler than even the most cloistered human, the sun just did not effect elves the way it did men; still it had tinged blue as the earth-magics were expended drawing upon her body to help fuel and direct them; now it returned to it's status quo.

There were more giants. There would be more fighting. Giants were giants, no amount of bargaining would change their nature. The only question was when the fighting would resume. In that regard, she was hoping for not today. She had a staff good for shooing crows or piglets, it was not enough to shoo giants, and that was in her plus column.

Still, she stood by, ready to do something if/when something broke loose.
She could still hammer them with concussive waves of noise and wind if needed - at least for as long as she could stay on her feet.


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Old Jan 6th, 2021, 04:46 PM
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The lions’ den

While his comrades were talking the giants down, Chutakki turned his attention to this room full of treasure …


Now giants are big creatures, who can be a bit clumsy – especially hill giants – those guys are forever dropping half eaten lumps of meat and stuff. So it does not take the shrewdest woodsman to track a horde of half a dozen giants when they stomp around the place.

Clearly the crowd had passed through the room from the northeast door straight out of the hidden door that the lizardfolk had entered the chamber from. He was sure that was half an orc-arm lying on the floor over there.


Towards the northwest though was piled the treasure – gleaming temptingly … Chutakki cautiously stepped towards the hoard, but then was caught short by the guttural sound behind them – the scratch of claw on stone floor.

He spun round and leapt back quickly to the shelter of the wall as a spike flew viciously past him.

There were four of them – manticores – prowling behind rows of iron bars that penned them back from the room where he was standing.




__________________________________________________ ___________

As Chutakki was standing, heart racing and alert, Ozgur and Raackma were concluding the negotiation with the giants.

The pair of giants nodded at the veterans and hung their picks over their shoulders, heading up the stairs – their heavy stomps striking a rhythm with clank-clank-clank of Begon’s halberd on the stone flags.


dm-ooc
That brings us all to about the same time. The giants have left the building.

What now?


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Old Jan 10th, 2021, 11:57 AM
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dm-ooc - Montage
Here we go – there will be a few posts. This first one covers the basement.

First the map of the whole area …

Note I have left space for Jennifer’s taming of the manticore. Feel free to jump in post RP if you like. My next set will take us up the stairs.


The Manticore

It was a trap – of course it was a trap. Inviting treasure strewn across the room, with a pride of manticore separated by a simple set of iron bars - what else could it be?


However, with the giants fled up the stairs, the giant-slayers had time to prepare, not to blunder into whatever chaos unfurled. And they were right. When the treasure was touched, it flickered and disappeared.

SLAM new bars crashed down at the northern door.

CREAK the bars keeping the manticore in place lifted and they prowled forward.

But what was a surprise was Nokomis’s response …



Behind the manticore’s den was the real treasure – chests and boxes that were stacked and arrayed across the room. The chests were protected with scything blades and jabbing needles doused in some evil poison – but again, with the pressure of giantish attack removed, Dratrech’s careful-handed orcs were able to disable the traps.

To the most part the treasures within were monetary, and pretty poor pickings at that. There were bags of copper, silver and electrum coin; some copper ingots; and a pile of loose gems. It was a paltry haul for such a foe – surely their months of raiding had brought them more than this. Only a sole bottle stood out, but even that turned out to be a flask containing contact poison for the traps.


dm-OOC
Treasure:
Copper pieces 13,000
Silver pieces 9,100
Electrum pieces 2,400
27 copper ingots worth 400 cp each
Six ivory tusks with 250 gp each
325 assorted gems worth 1gp each
Contact poison – drow poison per DMG



The Prisoners

The holding cell was nearly empty. The space had been widened by expert stonemasons – it was clear from the fixtures that an old set of cells had been built upon to create this large room. The floor was strewn with abandoned belongings – small signs of the lives that had spent some short time. The stench in there was overwhelming - there were no facilities for people facing bowel-loosening fear, and what food they had been given was the sort leftover from a hill giant feast.

There were only four living, cowering towards the rear of this nightmarish space. Those four and another three who had not survived the tribulations of captivity. Each of the group were lame, injured. They explained that in sorting, only the healthy were given the furs and disappeared – they themselves had been pushed back into this hole, only to be grabbed two at a time by the hideous keeper and his apes to feast on.

They told the giant slayers how those selected were brought together in some strange dance. They were clothed in furs and would sit on the benches in the room outside the cell - then they would come together at the centre of the room, some dozen at a time, where they would vanish into thin air before he next set were called.



The last secret this foul place held was the carvings on the wall. Many messages of despair, but Ozgur spotted a sign from the Irregulars, caved six times in the wall. Next to each was the letter ‘O’ and a crossed hammer.

”Olma …” said Raackma quietly as the bard showed him what he had found.


The north Basement

There were two areas to the north of the central room.

To the north east, they found storage space for the community – a large cistern of cool, fresh water and a large room full of utilitarian equipment – picks and tools for digging, baskets, saws, hammers and large bowls and boxes. Some were fit for giants, but many more were suitable for human-sized hands. From the craftsmanship and maker’s marks it was clear that many of them were part of the haul from the towns and villages the giants had raided.

The smell from behind a locked door to the north of the storeroom announced this new room as a wine cellar. Barrels, kegs and casks were piled, the sick black of tannin around the stoppers. The stopper of each barrel was sealed with wax, which held a stamp of a simple cartoon face surrounded by eight crooked lines. The wine inside was a rich, dark, earthy, heady brew. It was delicious, and dangerously moreish.


Directly to the north was the area where most likely the stone giants had been working. Large rooms were being excavated from the rocks around them.

Finally, another large room held five fur covered cots fit for giants. Those stone giants had left in a hurry – books in giantish, which acted as instruction for mining techniques, including assuring structural integrity in limestone territories. Too there was a chest, abandoned by the pair that had hurried up the stairs. This chest was heavy with gold coin.


dm-ooc
Treasure
Gold coins 4,800


Contemplating the stairs
Dratrech had assigned watchers at the stairs – watchers armed with horns to blare out any counter-attack. They remained silent.

What had started with thunderous noise trampling around up there had fallen to a few desperate shouts and then again to silence. Whether there was anything to be faced up there remained to be seen – but better safe than sorry, the giant slayers took the opportunity to rest, feed and ready themselves for anything.

While they rested, the orcs were hard at work clearing the bugbears from their barracks, dragging the bloodied and broken bodies to their cavern encampment. They searched each corpse, making a pile of the coins they found. There was some chattering excitement as the tribesmen found a fine, inlaid hand crossbow.

On examination seemed to be of elvish origin, made from rare hardwood with beautifully light and well-shaped metal for its mechanism. Unusually there were a pair of bows on the crossbow that operated independently, both standing vertically as opposed to the usual horizontal piece. This allowed a pair of bolts to be placed on the barrel, doubling the fire power.

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Gold pieces 302
+1 hand crossbow, that can fire two bolts at the same time. +1 to hit, damage=2D6.
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  #495  
Old Jan 14th, 2021, 05:04 PM
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Jennifer Jennifer is offline
Queen of Mischief
 
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Chutakki hurried back and hailed Nokomis. It appeared he had discovered a secret hole, and within that hole was quite a large portion of coins and precious items protected by a few lion headed, scorpion tailed, winged beasts. He wasn't quite sure what they were, but given they were animal in nature, and given Nokomis seemed to be a mistress of nature, he figured maybe she knew how to get around them.

The manticore. It was a rare species, sentient in the most rudimentary aspects. That is, you could converse with a manticore - but said conversation almost always revolved around pleading for a quick death, or giving an offering then pleading for a quick death. As with all such creatures, they were much maligned by those who misunderstood. Like a bear defending her cub, or a lion on the hunt - manticore were quick to kill. Yet was it fair to call them ruthless, evil, murderers? Of course not! Man hunted and killed, but since man also saw man in a non-murderous light, man did not have the same aura. However, introduce said men into a grove filled with bunny rabbits and squirrels and watch as the beasts of the field flee the murderous and evil humans.

Nature was a balance of life and death. It didn't matter if that death came from plants or animals, all beasts needed something to eat to live. Even plants themselves took nutrients from dead beasts as they drew them out of the soil. This, in conjunction with the above, was why Nokomis feared not as she slowly approached the manticores.

As she did so, she noticed two of them were significantly bigger than the third. A female, evidenced by the subdued feathering, tawny skin, and missing mane prowled back and forth in front of the littlest one. Her tail twitching to unleash her spines of deadly poison, and a larger one with gold, red, and orange feathers loudly proclaiming his majesty and warning others to begone before they are noticed hunched and growled at her. The trio were keenly aware of their cage, and that Nokomis was the only one to approach them in a long time - yet they suspected she could easily leave them in their cage, unfed, and exposed.

Nokomis laid down her staff and extended her hands. She made herself small as she approached the manticore family. The female backed up closer to her cub, while the male snarled and twitched like a cat ready to pounce. "Easy precious ones. My you look hungry, when was the last time anyone fed you? Easy... I am not armed, but I am still dangerous, ease yourselves. Easy... I just want to see why you are in there."

Despite their instinctual desire to hunt and kill, they were sentient enough to realize even if they did kill this harmless looking elf, there would be no way to get to the meat, and thus, it was a waste of effort. Still, the parents remained on guard, protecting the cub.

"Is he hurt? Why have you not yet escaped?" She was getting closer now. Certainly she could be stung by up to 30 spines from each of them with no chance to get out of the way, not crouched over and this close, but she was there. It looked like the young cub had a collar on it's neck, with a long chain to the wall. Evidence of fresh wounds and scars were on its neck from where it had tried to pull free.

Nokomis knew the viciousness of giant, orc, goblin, man, you name it. However she was incredibly upset. Her core, usually a passive lake of sereneness even in battle, was rumbling like a volcano and her eyes began to smolder. Someone had chained this poor creature to a wall! She could see it in her mind's eye - inflicting pain and suffering on the child by one person, and feeding the parents meat by another - the two actions twisting and turning the creatures into even more mentally stressed beings than normal.

She found the release for the cage. It was to be tripped when someone moved this satchel of coins unleashing the manticores whom, it was supposed and assumed, would immediately murder and eat whomever the thief was.

"I am going to open the cage. If you let me, I will see to your food and health, but I need to look at that monstrous collar on your child first. I cannot set him, and you, free if it is trapped unless I look at it, will that be okay?" She waited. Manticores were intelligent, they could understand her smell, her body language, her tone of voice, even her words. She could do the same. The female stiffened before nodding to the male, who in turn backed up - he could still pounce upon Nokomis which would most likely prove fatal, but it was a clear sign that he was willing to take a risk on the druidess.

She moved the satchel, and the cage sprung open. The manticores had seen this trap sprung before and were not surprised by it in the least. Nokomis, for her part, flinched instinctually, but the only result of that was a smile on the male's face.

From there it was a matter of moving slowly, letting the father flank her and track her while the mother shifted uneasily in front of her child. Nokomis had known this would happen, it was a normal hunting strategy for manticore, so she let it happen. She slowly approached the child and ran her fingers along the color. Glittering purple wafts glided off her fingers as she healed the wounds on its neck.

She stepped back for the moment, letting mommy inspect what had been done so far. She could see her beginning to relax a little - not a lot, as betrayal was not soon forgotten nor forgiven. Someone had abused these creatures and now, these who already viewed bipeds as food, were even more untrustworthy. "It's okay. See, I healed your cub. Now I am going to unlatch the collar. If you wish to be on your way when this is over, I will not move to stop you. However, I ask, once I demonstrate my nature, that you will listen to an offer I wish to present."

She looked at the male. He was still ready to pounce, but he did nod his head. That was as good as she was going to get.

She walked up to the cub. The collar was quite simple really - manticore teeth and claws were not very dexterous. As such, a simple pin with a clasp was all that was needed to keep their child chained to the wall. She slid the clasp off the pin, then gently lifted the pin out of the collar - then immediately backed off about fifteen feet.

The three manticore roved and circled amongst each other, like snakes almost. To the average person this would be horrifyingly scary - to Nokomis this was a beautiful union of family.

She waited patiently as they ensured each other were safe and healthy. They were hungry, but Nokomis had a plan for that. "I know of a forest to the south and east of here. The men in the neighboring town are often pushing incursions in and cutting down some of my ancient trees - trees whom have seen the births and deaths of generations of care takers. Likewise, goblin and orc ransack the lands. The forest is very temperate, it does not grow overly cold, nor overly warm. You would be most pleased there with plenty to eat - both manmeat, elfmeat, goblinmeat, or orcmeat. Whatever your hearts desired and was available. I care not, so long as you protect the forest from all but me and yourselves.

In exchange, I will lay my blessings upon you as champions of my grove. You will not go hungry, nor will you be want for food or shelter. No other creatures would dare assault ones as powerful as yourselves, and should you again be confronted by those who would use your child to enslave you, I will defend you just as I would a dryad or nymph of my own.

Will this be acceptable to you?"
If not, well they could fly off. She was confident the trio would leave her alone now. She had done them immense good and they were sentient creatures. A starving pack of wolves might attack anyway, but manticore - manticore could reason.

The trio conversed in their manner, with grunts and growls. Nokomis was tired. The battle had been long and she had expended much of her power for the day. Otherwise, she would have taken form so as to speak with them in their same language. She did, of course, still have defensive magics - of which she suspected the manticores could smell, but not fully understand.

The female approached her, head lowered - but now bowed. As one female to another. Nokomis took the queue and took to a knee herself so the foreheads of the two could meet. The scent glands of a manticore, like those of a cat, were located on the head. By rubbing against each other, the female manticore had marked Nokomis as kin, family.

They were not friends, they were not enemies. They were in accord. One day, Nokomis reckoned, one day they would be friends. Nokomis was friends with all of the creatures of nature, the benevolent, the malevolent, all served a purpose to maintain order. She smiled as the three manticores left. One day, only the father and mother would remain, or maybe they would have more cubs. That was fine with her. The forest was large, and with a family of manticore protecting it, she was free to explore other injustices on the land.

She left and beckoned the rest of the team in to loot the spoils of the castle, so to speak. She wondered if Parnassica (named after the plant which was her life source) would understand the introduction of these winged lions with tails as deadly as scorpions? Or if Clandestina (also named for her life-source plant; this was the way of dryad naming convention) would continue trying to sneak in her human friends? Dryads could be quite mischievous. Either way, she knew her grove was safe for now - and if it should become unsafe, she knew the noses on the manticores would be able to find her anywhere on the surface world and beckon her home if needed.

The others were digging through the loot, but she noticed Raackma standing back - almost like the father of that manticore cub, watching over his charges. "You call yourselves the irregulars. What does this mean? Where are you going next, and would you have need of my services further? After all, I was summoned to help get rid of this threat by a druid friend, this threat is no more. It seems my own grove is safe for the time being." Speaking with bipeds was not her forte, she was far more comfortable with the panthers, bears, squirrels, and dryads. Though it wasn't that she disliked bipeds, these bipeds seemed okay enough - though a bit of the cavalier 'do good' style.

One day the manticore father and mother will grace her with their names. First they needed to get their cub home safe, feed, and become comfortable with their surroundings. In a few years, Nokomis would return and learn their names and their stories.


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Okay, I took some liberties, but I am assuming Jon's okay with that? Also hoping I didn't step on anyone toes when I mentioned y'all.


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My first born, born male @ 1:43am 11 Jan, 2020 - 7lbs 3oz Luc (Luke) Ignatius (surname)
Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist.
Children already know that dragons exist!
Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed!
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