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  #91  
Old Jul 27th, 2022, 10:50 AM
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"Yeah? Why don't you try me? I've seen a lot of bull lately."

Skarn peered over the top of his cup and gazed into the eyes of Gabriella. He knew the look all to well, and the glint in those hazel jewels told him that she was going to get the story from him, one way or another. He gulped down the ale loudly and sighed heavily, placing the wooden tankard down upon the table with a thud.

"Well," he began. "It was sold to me as a simple escort job, easy coin y'know? By Thurin of all people."

"Longshanks? You make it sound as if he mis-sold you the contract. Did he?"

Skarn held up his hands and gestured, shaking his head.

"No...no. Longshanks was good for the job. It just was less than what i was hoping for. Work has dried up down south and we are all feelin' the pinch. Thurin is as skinny as a rake!" Skarn subconsciously rubbed his shoulder, trying in vain to massage the ache from his muscles. Gabriella raised an inquisitive eyebrow.

"Your are not looking particularly healthy yourself, Skarn. What happened to your beer belly?"

"I try to maintain it, but all i get to drink these days are generally watered down pints of horse piss. This stuff excluded." Skarn motioned to the frothy beverage set on the table before him. "Anyway, we were set to escort this caravan of stuff, d'no what was in it, couldn't care less, just some junk this portly old merchant was shiftin'. Was s'posed to to taking it to Skarbury."

"Skarbury?" Gabriella interjected. "How in the Divines name did you end up here?"

Skarn paused to quaff what was left of his second pint, his beard wet from guzzling the beer. He raised a hand in the direction of the bar.

"'Keep! Two More!" The Veteran warrior shuffled on his seat, adjusting the dagger in his belt which was now digging in his side. Clearing his throat, he continued, his voice low. "Well, the weather took a turn, didn't it? Bloody rained so hard it felt like oceans were being dumped on our 'eads. And the wind! By the fires of the Abyss, it blew right through, chilled me to the bones it did! So we ended up stayin' in this half fallen church. Wasn't the best but we had to get out of the rain. Bumped into a few extras, also shelterin'. Some pompous Priest and his boy lackey. Good with a tune though, to be fair to him. "

Gabriella smiled, the enchanting smile that always caused Skarn to blush a little. "Sounds like you have been making friends at last!"

Skarn shook his head, his sour expression returning. "Hardly. Most of them are mute. The priest never shuts up and Jahan here...well, he is good company in the ale house!" Skarn nodded across to Jahan and raised his tankard. "And her..." He gestured to Kinya. "...not said a word yet followed us here. Dunno why, but..."he leaned forward towards Gabriella, his voice barely a whisper. "Summink odd about her. Like, really odd. Dunno what it is though."

Gabriella leaned back in her pew and took a delicate sip of her wine, swishing the red liquid around the glass as she swallowed.

"So first watch was when it happened."

"When what happened."

Skarn shuffled uncomfortably and went to drink again but the tankard was empty. Where was that bartender.

"'KEEP!?" he bellowed. He looked intently at Gabriella. He found her easy to talk to, always had. And it had gotten him in trouble before.

"These bloody ....things! Like dead dogs, flesh hangin' off 'em like they've been flayed and left to rot. Stunk like an Owlbears shitbox too! Came outta nowhere, but they proved nothing special to handle, so we handled it."

A maid suddenly appeared and unceremoniously dumped two more pints on the table, spilling some of its contents.

"Cheers love." Skarn said and took a gulp and sat back in his booth. Gabriella looked intently at him, her eyes piercing through the barriers Skarn had mentally erected.

"And?" she queried.

"And what?" Skarn retorted. A pathetic look pf innocence trying to mask his feigned ignorance.

"What else? You are not telling me something."

The grey haired mercenary grunted. He could never conceal anything from this woman.

"Gabby, controlling the dogs was this creature, a faceless beast with the form of a person. It...it...it had me worried for a bit, and then... "Skarns hand subconsciously moved to his chest where the tendril had struck him and he traced the length of the scar with this finger. "I can only describe it as a ghostly tentacle...thing. Struck out at us all and some of us got hit."

Gabriella moved her hand to rest on his. "Are you ok?"

"Yeah, I think so," Skarn grunted. "A bit sore but no ill affects. not sure about the others." He glanced at Jahan and Kinya. "It was then the terms of the contract changed. 'cause of the ghostly thing and the helldogs, it was decided the caravan would divert to 'ere, Caer Karholt with the other mob. All this hassle and a scar for Ten 'gees."

"Who were the other, "mob"?" she asked.

Skarn shrugged. "Well, the Priest and his jester were travelling with some girl. Proper high society by the way the priest harked on about 'er. Never spoke to 'er, never really saw 'er. But she is 'ere. In Caer Karholt"

Gabriella smiled at Skarn, the kind of smile which could have a thousand meanings.

"Interesting," she said. "Very interesting."



 


stat blockskarn blackwater


caldarian fighter 1

hit points 10 | ac: 19 | pp: 13 initiative: +2
str:16 (+3) | dex: 14 (+2) | con: 12 (+1) | int: 11 (+0) | wis: 13 (+1 | cha: 9 (-1)
saving throws: str: +5 | dex: +2 dex: +5 | con: +4 [/b] int: +0 | wis: +1 cha -1

weapons: longsword +5 1d8+3 | dagger +5 1d4+3 20'/60'

class abilities & feats: second wind (1d10)

skills: athletics +5 | intimidation +5/+1 | perception +3 | survival +3

proficiencies: mediumarmor | longsword, bow, dagger, polearm, simple weaponsweapons


https://www.dndbeyond.com/sheet-pdfs...e_73328024.pdf
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  #92  
Old Jul 28th, 2022, 03:24 PM
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Adelbard of House Reyngaard
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The Solnian regarded the offered pouch with a mixed look of contempt and amusement. Being rewarded with gold for services rendered was the trademark of mercenaries and whores and Adelbard considered himself neither. Still, it was clear that Giffri meant no offense and a lack of social grace could be forgiven in a man who traded goods for a living.

"I cannot accept your coin simply for doing the Divine’s will, Master Giffri, but I can offer it as a donation to the local place of worship in your name. It is only right that we show gratitude to the Divine for having protected us last night from evil."

Taking the 5 gold piecesamount of gold and silver that was meant for the Maker, the priest offered the pouch and its contents to Rathe and Kinya. They were common folk and would no doubt welcome the money given to them. Kinya especially didn’t appear to possess any craft or skill that would allow her to make a living within a town’s walls and Giffri’s coin might have been the only thing to keep her from peddling her “wares” in the streets of Caer Karholt.

Jahan’s thirst for cheap alcohol must have been contagious, for Skarn immediately offered to take the dwarf to a place selling “the finest ale in all of Eastmark”, a statement the Solnian seriously doubted. Still, the lure of drowning one’s troubles instead of facing them head on must have been particularly strong, because the mysterious woman too chose to follow the mercenaries instead of seeking the Divine’s protection. Adelbard frowned, as he often did ever since forced to leave his ancestral lands, his eyes hard and condemning. Those who chose the Crow’s shadow over the light of the Divine were responsible for their own fate.

Turning towards Giffri once more, he indicated the merchant’s scar, almost identical to the one that marked the priest’s wrist.

"I will escort the noble ladies to the castle and then seek the advice of the local servants of the Divine. Even if they can provide no explanation for the events of last night or cure for the marks born by our bodies, they will surely be able to direct me to someone with the ability to do so. Seek me out at the castle later, Master Giffri, and I will gladly share with you any insight I might have gained. Do not despair. As long as our faith is strong, the Divine will stand by our side."

Making the sign of the sun over the merchant’s head, Adelbard swiftly moved to the head of the procession, signaling the driver to momentarily halt. Knocking politely to warn the ladies of his presence before opening the door of the carriage, the Solnian gave Lady Grossborg a nod of respect.

"Lady, we have arrived at the southern gate of Caer Karholt. Please allow me to accompany you to the castle and see to your accommodations. With your permission I will be visiting the local church of the Divine after talking with Lord Valdine’s seneschal, though I intend to return after the Solnian ritual performed at sunset - it is unclear (=up to the DM to decide) whether the practice is prevalent in Caldaria and especially the Eastmark as wellceremony of the vigilant flame. If my presence is required earlier, please send a runner and I shall be at your side as quickly as possible. I trust that these grounds are well protected, but urge you nonetheless to remain ever vigilant, Lady. This is still the Eastmark."



 
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  #93  
Old Jul 30th, 2022, 01:46 AM
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Callum
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Scanning the standards as they went past, Callum wasn't able to pick out many specifically. But he did notice a common theme among them, small players. He didn't recognize many of them because they were nothing of note, not from a prominent or important family. The one that really caught his eye was a teardrop shaped shield, it was highly likely that one belonged to a family that wasn't Calderian. Though still highly on edge, Callum could feel his shoulders relax just a bit after taking in the flags around him.

When the caravan finally stopped Giffri decided to try and salvage his reputation with the group by throwing in some extra coin. At least for Callum, that was too little, too late. He should have negotiated when given the chance. Instead he decided to burn bridges that hadn't even fully formed yet. Callum took his coin and pocketed it. His decision to blacklist the merchant having not changed at all.

Callum trailed behind the group as they made their way to a tavern. He was really only following because his current goal was to find a place to sleep for the night. He'd find another job and be on his way tomorrow. Today he would resupply. As the older man immediately ordered a drink, being loud, somewhat rude, and drawing all the attention to himself, Callum slipped up to the front of the tavern. He located the person behind the bar who probably knew what they were doing. Moving over to them, the ranger leaned against the bar. "Any rooms left for the night?" If not, he would probably just camp outside the city. But he was already inside, no use bribing the guards so he could get back in if given the chance.


 


 
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  #94  
Old Aug 1st, 2022, 10:48 AM
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Rathe Collin - [ HP 8/8 | AC 14 | BI 3/3 | Slots - 1st 2/2 ]
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Before he set off into town, Giffri had pulled Rathe and the others aside that had not been part of his caravan, and offered them each a small sack of coin for helping them reach Caer Karholt mostly unscathed.

Rathe was not surprised when Adelbard refused the coin. In truth, he could not fault the cleric's refusal of being paid for what he considered his duty, and had to respect his beliefs. That said, the young bard was more than happy to accept the coin from the merchant with a smile and thanks.

When Adelbard offered the amount of his share that was not to be donated to Rathe and Kinya, the bard shook his head. " Let her have it," he said. "With all hope, I won't be paying for my room tonight," he said with a smile before venturing off into town.

Rathe had followed Skarn to what had to be one of the seediest taverns he had ever seen. After taken one step inside, he was quick to exit. The odds of the patrons of an establishment such as that appreciating his music, let alone tipping him for it, seemed unlikely.

He wandered around for a bit, taking his time to breath in the town, before he came to an open space with a well at its center. The town hall and a church boarded the space, along with a tavern and inn called The Fountain. Thinking this was likely a nicer establishment, Rathe adjusted his sword belt and red paludamentum, which hung down his left shoulder and arm, bearing the bardic sigil, and entered.



 

 
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Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 02:12 PM
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Castle Karholt - Adelbard

Secondday, 18th of Bloom
Courtyard of Caer Karholt
Caer Karholt, Southern Eastmark
Afternoon


Now that they where back in some semblance of civilization, Lady Farena looked a good deal happier than she had last evening. Even enough to allow a small chuckle to escape at Adelbard's comment.

"While I do believe I am safe enough inside my own carriage in the heart of Lord Tegan's domain, I will not mind you escorting us. And I am certain I am not alone in thinking so."

Next to her, the young Oda turned a bright red and clearly tried to sink into the carriage seat, earning another chuckle from her mother.

Getting the carriage through the crowded streets was a slow process, especially since Lady Ferena's retinue remained outside. A few mounted soldiers would likely have parted the crowd a bit more easily. Still it made walking alongside the carriage easier, and Adelbard even found time to see the sights as he moved alongside the slow-moving coach.

After a good twenty minutes the carriage finally rumbled free of the crowd and turned towards the caer propper. The square in front of the castle still saw a good amount of folk, but judging from the finery and the cut of the clothes this was either what passed as Karholts upper class, or the servants that worked for them.
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A short stop at the castle gate later and finally the two ladies could exit their transport, stepping out to be met by a small woman with a rigid posture and a sour looking face.

"Milady Ferena? Welcome to Caer Karholt. My name is Enith Delfern, and I serve as Lord Tegans steward. The Baron is, unfortunately, preoccupied or he would be here to greet you himself." She glanced in Adelbard's direction and, if possible, managed to look even more sour.

"I was informed you would need accommodations for yourself and your daughter as well as any maid you would wish close at hand. I have not, I fear, ensured any lodgings for more. With the ball drawing close and attendance higher than earlier years, our guest wing is close to bursting. We even have several members of the Caldarian university present, here to study some ruins in the foothills." Enith made a dismissive gesture. "Couldn't have picked a worse timing, what with every noble this side of the Hollows here for the social gathering and the tourney."




The Fountain - Rathe

Secondday, 18th of Bloom
'The Fountain Inn & Tavern'
Caer Karholt, Southern Eastmark
Afternoon


The central plaza of Karholt with the massive caer looming over it in the back, was well-visited with a veritable throng of people going back and forth between the many booths erected wherever there was room for it. A priest, clearly trained in the use of his voice, stood atop the stairs leading to the large church that dominated one end of the open square and called out to the masses proclaiming the evening vesper and calling for people to head inside before the doors closed. Some went, but the majority, it seemed preferred other ventures and either continued window-shopping or, like Rathe, sought out the large inn - almost the size of Karholt's town hall opposite it.

Rathe managed to sidestep a patron coming out of the Fountain and deftly catch the door before it closed again, the sweet voice of a young lady greeted the bard, alongside the sound of laughter and the welcome scent of some kind of herb-crusted roast, that made the mouth water.
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Inside there were almost as full of people as out, and from the sound of cutlery and cups the dinner rush was beginning to set in.

"Look out!" a young man called out, almost clipping Rathe as he passed with a tray laddened down with steaming plates of food, all but floating in a rich gravy. Somehow this place even made tubers look and smell savory.

Wiggling through the crowd, Rathe finally presented himself before the counter, where a tall man with an impressive set of mutton chops found time from tending to all the other customers to greet him with a curt nod.

"Evening and welcome to the Fountain. Dinner is roast of lamb, comes to a silver and two a plate, and includes a small platter of cheese and bread, and one cup of the house wine. Refills cost extra. Beer kegs wont be spiked until after sundown and tables have been cleaned." The way the man rattled it off made it clear this was his standard greeting to customers at this hour. He glanced Rathe over with an appraising gaze. "Name's Mark. Now, what can I get you?"






The Pike n' Pendulum - Skarn, Callum, Kinya, Jahan

Secondday, 18th of Bloom
'Pike n' Pendulum Tavern'
Caer Karholt, Southern Eastmark
Afternoon


Gabriella listened intently to Skarn's recounting, only occationally throwing a few glanced in the direction of the others as they loitered around, or in Callum's case went to ask for lodgings.

right-aligned image
When Skarn finished, she smiled, showing perhaps a bit too much teeth.
"Interesting. Very interesting."

Sipping from her glass she spent a moment savouring the drink and carefully sloshing the remainder of the red liquid around in her glass.

"I would almost believe you, considering how you look. But you know, you have one major hole in your story." Her smile widened. "It didn't rain last night."

Stretching in her seat Gabriella adjusted herself, before she continued.
"I was out myself yesterday, south of here. And something like you describe? We'd have suffered through that ourselves. And it was bright and sunny. Just like today. Besides, I have probably travelled the road from here to Ansere enough times that I can recount every rock and tree along the path, and the only thing even remotely close to the church you describe is little more than a pile of rubble. Crafty farmers have made away with its stones long before even you were born."

She took another sip.
"But if you don't want to tell me, that's fine. I'll just weedle the real story out of one of your cronies here instead."

She twisted and caught the eyes of Jahan, eyes glinting with mirth as she jutted her chin at him.
"So, you. Didn't catch your name? What's the dirt? Karholt is a bit out of the path for a caravan heading for Skarbury. Seeing how Skarn here is spinning tall tales, I imagine it'll be something dull. Broke a wagon axle or some such?"


Callum approached the bar, seeking a room for the evening but was met with a deadpan look from the tavern keep - a surly broadshouldered guy that went simply by Corm.

"Ain't got no beds. But ye can sleep in the common room after we close up." He nodded towards a set of stairs leading to the tavern's upper floor. "'S gonna cost ya though. 8 copper" the barkeep pronounced it more like 'coppah', mangling the word something fierce. "A straight silver if'n ye want a blanket and a pillow."




 





 
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  #96  
Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 07:24 PM
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Adelbard of House Reyngaard
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"Lady."

The laconic reply and the brusqueness of the bow he gave at his departure was a clear indication that Adelbard did not appreciate Lady Ferena’s jest about the infatuation of her daughter with him. It was not proper for a priest to be the object of affection of a member of the other sex, even if Oda was in truth more child than woman.

It was not that he wasn’t fond of her. On the contrary, the girl was bright enough and would surely make a pious and devoted wife someday. But she would never become his wife. According to the law of the Imperial Following of Soln all those who served the Divine were strictly forbidden from marrying, and even forming any relationship meant to offer carnal pleasure could mean the individual’s expulsion from the holy order. Besides, even if Adelbard hadn’t been a priest of the Divine, Oda, who was the daughter of a minor lord of the Eastmark, could never have been considered a proper match for the son and heir of a Solnian duke.

Adelbard had many flaws, but he certainly didn’t share his father’s blinding passion for the beauty of the female body. He had lain with women when it was expected of him or when a particular maid caught his eye, but he had never sought to form a lasting bond with any of them. They had only been distractions of the moment, much like a good wine or a spirited song, nothing more. He secretly bemoaned the fact that he would never sire children of his own, sons and daughters that would further his noble bloodline and make him proud, but the fact that he missed out on the satisfaction only a lover could offer him, never interested him much. Perhaps this was due to the tragedy of his parents’ marriage and the harm it had caused him over the years, despite his best efforts to be a true and faithful son to them.

Caer Karholt was certainly not the imperial capital and the main street that cut through it from north to south was barely adequate to accommodate vehicles the size of Lady Ferena’s carriage, especially as the street was clogged with people of all kinds and occupations. Realizing that impatience would not make the crowds disperse or make the carriage move faster, Adelbard decided to devote his attention to the buildings that framed the road. Most of them were small, built of wood and lacking any decoration, especially in the district that he learnt was called, appropriately enough, “The Rows”. It was clearly the newer part of the town, populated mostly by the poor - the workers, craftsmen and traders that made the majority of any city. It was only as the lady’s retinue continued north towards the “East End” that the residences of the wealthier citizens could be seen, large, multi-storied houses, standing apart from each other, with sturdy foundations of stone, windows small and large, some with colorful panes, and vibrantly painted carvings on their facades. Griffins, unicorns, dragons and other mythical creatures stared at him from the buildings’ upper storeys as he passed beneath them, seeking to impress him with their life-like forms.

They did not. The priest was used to a much greater degree of opulence and refreshing though Caldarian art might have been in its directness and simplicity, it could not compare to the majesty of the works that came to life through the hands of the world-famous Solnian masters. Still, even Adelbard had to admit that the town’s main square, framed as it was by the House of the Builder, the Divine’s main house of worship in Caer Karholt, the richly decorated town hall, proudly displaying the statues of past lords, celebrated mayors and local heroes, and the Fountain Inn and Tavern, every bit as large as the meeting place of the town fathers, had a certain stately quality. From it, it was only a short way to the castle gate, where they were met by the lord’s steward, a certain Enith Delfern.

The Solnian listened to the woman without interrupting her and though he could not fault her for wanting to get rid of him as soon as possible, he decided that he would never deign to sleep with the soldiers and servants, at least not without a fight.

"You are to be commended for your diligence, steward, though that is only one of the virtues we, who serve, are expected to embrace. Adaptability is equally important, I find. One cannot provide for those who tend to a lord or lady’s bodily needs and disregard those who tend to the needs of the spirit. The Creed of Ember tells us: “Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Divine.” You would surely not part an esteemed guest from her spiritual advisor. I know that a woman of intellect would find an acceptable solution to the problem we are presented with."

Waiting for the steward to respond to his challenge, Adelbard glanced at Lady Ferena. If the woman could not be persuaded by reason alone, he was determined not to persist. He did not wish to embarrass the lady who would be honor-bound to support his claim or be the reason for a deterioration of the relationship between the highborn widow and the lord of the castle. Besides, it was possible that if no other shelter for the night could be found, the local servants of the Maker would be willing to provide one for him.

"Pray tell me, Mistress Delfern, what foothill ruins do you speak of? Is it by chance a small stone place of worship to the Is it to the south-east?south-east of the town, the one dedicated to Saint Brennus? Does it stand under the jurisdiction of Lord Valdine and the local high priest? Though I would not call it a ruin, it is definitely in need of repair. I would like to speak with the scholars you mentioned. This particular house of the Divine has aroused my interest and they might be able to offer me more information concerning its past."



 
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  #97  
Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 10:21 PM
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Rathe Collin - [ HP 8/8 | AC 14 | BI 3/3 | Slots - 1st 2/2 ]
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Rathe smiled as he had to dodge a tray of food being carried off by one of the many workers of the Founatain. Even in the afternoon, the place seemed near to bursting and, judging by how good the food smelled and looked, was likely priced right to perhaps even earn himself some tips. That was, of course, assuming he could even secure work for the evening.

Unsurprising, the inn already had a lovely talented girl singing, but he figured it was worth a shot. As he managed to squeeze his way over to an opening at the bar, a man was quick to approach and began rattling off information before even setting eyes upon Rathe. When he did finally meet the young bard's gaze, the man did stop for a moment and introduce himself, asking what he could get him.

"Nice to meet you, Mark. I'm Rathe, a bard. Trained in Caerdon under Sander Valent. I'm just passing through and thought I might be able to
Dice Persuasion Check:
d20+5 (16)+5 Total = 21
perform tonight in exchange for a room and hot meal?"
Rathe smiled after posing his question, standing in such a way that his lute and bardic insignia were as prominent as possible.

Regardless of the outcome at the Fountain, his thoughts wandered to the reason he had traveled to Caer Karholt in the first place: to see what his friend (arguably his best friend) Faith Kinder had discovered. She had written to him before he had set out, asking for his aid in solving some mystery she had discovered in the ruins outside of Caer Karholt. She had seemed excited, but in truth, he had needed little convincing to go.

"Hey," he asked Mark, "you know where I can find anyone from the Caldarian University here? "


 

 
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Old Aug 3rd, 2022, 07:24 AM
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Kinya
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Kinya had been listening to Skarn recant their harrowing tale from the church as he discussed his previous day's events with the woman, Gabriella. During the telling, Kinya's eyes stayed locked on the woman. She was so different than almost any other woman Kinya had ever seen. She had the look of a fighter, a scrapper, someone out of a fable or story. Most of the tales would warn young girls against being so independent but here was a prime example that it could be done. There was almost a tinge of jealousy in Kinya's mind as she observed the conversation. Here was a woman freed of the farm, freed of familiar obligations, living a life of adventure and renown.

That all came crashing down when Gabriella objectively discounted Skarn's tale as false. Kinya leaped forward to the table and said far louder than she had intended, "Its all true! Every word! I don't care if it didn't rain here yesterday! We were in a down pour and got attacked by some headless spectre! There were seven of us what stayed awake during the whole ordeal...seven! Would you doubt that many witnesses?!"

Her outburst completed, Kinya suddenly felt too exposed. She wrapped her cloak tightly about her body and slunk down into a chair next to Skarn. This Gabriella could probably fillet her like a fish if she wanted to and here Kinya was berating the woman. She kept her eyes down, fixed on the table and just muttered, "It did happen, it did."

 


 


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  #99  
Old Aug 3rd, 2022, 09:31 AM
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That smug face. Sometimes Skarn could kiss it, other times he wanted to slap it.

Skarn felt himself gnawing at the inside of his lip as Gabriella dismissed his recounting of events, his expression stony cold yet inside, behind his wrinkled, middle-aged visage, he was fuming. His blood boiling. His ice-blue eyes stared intently at Gabriella as she queried his story with what Skarn loosely referred to as his companions. Skarn sat back in his seat with a thump and threw his hands up in the air in exasperation.

"But if you don't want to tell me, that's fine. I'll just weedle the real story out of one of your cronies here instead." Gabriella mused.

Skarn took a long draught of his pint before tossing it on the table at Gabriella, the empty flagon rolling around in puddles of spilt drink. The warrior was about to explode at the woman before him, mostly because he was angry that this lady had such a hold over his emotions and could switch them as easily as a lightfinger could a coin. However, the eruption came from a quite unexpected source. The quiet girl, Kinya.

Gabriella has been silenced for a brief moment, and the outburst from Kinya gave Skarn pause to collect his senses and control his inner feelings. Skarn dismissed the thought Gabriella was actually pleased to see him and now he treated the meet like a contract negotiation. He buried his feelings for this woman, as he so often did. As Kinya fell into the seat beside Skarn, the grey haired veteran placed a gentle, gloved hand on her arm and softly squeezed it in a reassuring manner.

"So, do ye deny what both of us 'ave been through, huh? Whilst you were waltzing around in the sunshine, love, we've been fendin' off dead things. I don't give two ***** if you believe me or not, 'cause you ain't paying sweetheart." Skarn began to unbutton his tunic and loosen the drawstring on the chainmail underneath as he spoke.

"Oh please," Gabriella snorted, "I am just telling you that I was out too and experienced no such alteration of the weather. Am I supposed to deny..."

Skarn pulled open his tunic and mail shirt, exposing his chest where he was struck by the phantasmal tendril, the scar still fresh and raw, glowing with an angry, red pigment.

"Do you deny this n'all?" Skarn hissed. "It happened Gabby, whether you choose t'believe it or not. Three of us 'ere all experienced it. And the lad... "Skarn looked around for Callum who had scuttled off to the bar area.

"Oi!" Skarn called across the drinking hall. "Wassis name? "He quickly asked.

"Don't know. "Came a reply. Skarn sighed deeply.

"Boy! Young lad! Come over 'ere son! Need to talk to ya'!" he hollered



 


stat blockskarn blackwater


caldarian fighter 1

hit points 10 | ac: 19 | pp: 13 initiative: +2
str:16 (+3) | dex: 14 (+2) | con: 12 (+1) | int: 11 (+0) | wis: 13 (+1 | cha: 9 (-1)
saving throws: str: +5 | dex: +2 dex: +5 | con: +4 [/b] int: +0 | wis: +1 cha -1

weapons: longsword +5 1d8+3 | dagger +5 1d4+3 20'/60'

class abilities & feats: second wind (1d10)

skills: athletics +5 | intimidation +5/+1 | perception +3 | survival +3

proficiencies: mediumarmor | longsword, bow, dagger, polearm, simple weaponsweapons


https://www.dndbeyond.com/sheet-pdfs...e_73328024.pdf
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  #100  
Old Aug 5th, 2022, 12:15 PM
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Callum
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Callum was slightly disappointed that this establishment didn't offer rooms. He would have preferred the privacy. But more than likely, anything nicer would be filled up with the guard and waitstaff of the nobles. Callum had slept in places like this before and it was surprisingly safe. Most of the people up there would be drunk and totally unbothered by his presence. He was just another lowlife in a sea of them. The worst he usually had to worry about was somebody trying to cuddle him in their sleep. Plus it was cheaper than bribing the guards to let him back in. "That would be great, thank you." He said as he fished the copper out of his coin pouch and passed it to the barkeep. With that out of the way, and now that he had garnered favor with the barkeep, maybe he could convince the guy to let him use the kitchen to cook his own meal. And maybe one for that young woman he had been traveling with, who had the sensitive stomach.

But before that could happen, the old man, Skarn, the other one who wasn't happy about the contract change, started shouting at him. Telling him to come over as if he were a dog. The ever present tension in Callum's shoulders increased as he could feel the eyes boring into his back. He said a quick excuse me to the barkeep and walked over. "What old man?" He said, crossing his arms. He paid the woman Skarn had been talking to no more than a single glance. He knew the type. The kind of woman who used her appearance and her attitude to try and get anything she wanted. Thinking she could get whatever she wanted out of anybody. But she had just met her match.

Callum didn't care about her existence in the slightest. He wasn't impressed by her boldness or her looks. He had used to think he was broken. He had absolutely no 'desires', no want to be intimate with anybody. But now he knew it was a blessing. Nobody, regardless of how good looking of a person they were, had a hold over him just because of a pretty face. He wasn't blind, he could still recognize that she was pretty, but she wasn't attractive in the slightest. She held no power over him.


 


 
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Old Aug 8th, 2022, 07:45 AM
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Castle Karholt - Adelbard

Secondday, 18th of Bloom
Courtyard of Caer Karholt
Caer Karholt, Southern Eastmark
Afternoon


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"Yes. Quite" Edith commented, looking unhappy, her lips puckering up even more. "I guess I could bunk two of the squires in the same room and offer you the spare bed. It'll be little more than a cupboard with a window, but I am afraid circumstances prevent me from providing better lodgings."

She brought out a small wax board and stylus and made a note for herself, then blinked twice and replaced the stylus.

"Yes it wasSouth east? No, these are the hills north. Apparently a bunch of farm hands discovered some walled of room filled with strange markings or letters. I admit I haven't looked too deeply into it."


The Fountain - Rathe

Secondday, 18th of Bloom
'The Fountain Inn & Tavern'
Caer Karholt, Southern Eastmark
Afternoon

right-aligned image

"Mhmm" Mark grunted as he send a sideways glance to his current entertainment. "You would have to clear it with the lady doing the singing right now. I have an agreement with her, but if she doesn't mind perhaps you can fill in during her breaks. Only bunk I can offer is in the room together with Ivan though" he said nodding in the direction of the youngster serving that almost barreled into Rathe when he entered the establishment.

"As for your other question. It's funny you should mention that, because I think..."

"... That someone from the Cal U found you first," another voice interrupted, a lilted soprano filled with mirth. "Hello Rathe. I take it you got my letter?"

Faith Kinder still had the same mischievous demeanour about her as she had back during their days as a students as she slid in next to Rathe at the counter and gave him a quick once-over. She looked to be doing well herself, dressed in clothes of a cut and quality that made it clear it was expensive. "Mark, be so kind as to add a plate and drink on our tab for Rathe here." She sniffed and made a wry face. "And maybe have somebody draw a bath. No offense, Rathe, but you stink."




The Pike n' Pendulum - Skarn, Callum, Kinya, Jahan

Secondday, 18th of Bloom
'Pike n' Pendulum Tavern'
Caer Karholt, Southern Eastmark
Afternoon


"Nice," the tavern keep replied, pocketing the coin and giving Callum a grin. He was missing both of his lower incisors, which made the expression somewhat horrifying to look at. "Light's out one hour before midnight. Door will be barred, so if'n ye aren't inside by then, yer not getting in, yeh?"


right-aligned image

"If you says so" the mercenary woman replied to both Kinya and Skarn with a disarming shrug, clearly not believing it. "That does looks nasty," she nodded towards the angry red track on Skarn's chest. "You should probably get that looked at."

Gabriella took another sip from her glass before putting the topic aside.

"Anyway - now you are here, so what do you plan on doing? I believe the high ups have some tourney planned you could watch. I don't really know if there's any opportunities for work if you haven't sorted something out already." She glanced towards the approaching Callum. "Unless this caravan of yours intends to continue to Skarbury as originally intended and you plan to escort them there?"





 





 
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Old Aug 8th, 2022, 01:26 PM
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Rathe Collin - [ HP 8/8 | AC 14 | BI 3/3 | Slots - 1st 2/2 ]
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Rathe glanced in the direction of the young woman who was singing, and nodded. He was sure that he could come to some sort of arrangement with her, though he was less optimistic about the idea of bunking with Ivan.

Rathe turned back to Mark as the barkeep mentioned the University, when suddenly a voice came from behind him that put an immediate smile upon his face. He turned and came face-to-face with Faith. He went to give her a hung, but she put up a hand and wrinkled her nose.

"Yeah, sorry. I've been on the road for a few days. I, guess it's starting to show," he added with a rueful smile. "Of course I got your letter," Rathe said as he tapped his chest, implying that it was stored within. "I set out almost immediately, though I had a few delays along the way. I ended up talking a noblewoman who as heading to Castle Karholt into letting me join her retinue as her personal entertainer."

Rathe caught Faith's accusing eyebrow raise and a mischievous grin cross her lips. "Really? It was nothing like that. I just played my lute a few times. You haven't changed one bit, you know." It was then that Rathe noticed what she was wearing, and he felt the color rise in his cheeks as the eyes of the young bard lingered a little longer than they should have. "Except for that dress," he added. "You look amazing...and rich," he added as an aside with a slight quizzical turn of his head.

"Anyway, listen to me prattle on, how about I take you up on that bath, and you join me for dinner afterward, and we can catch up; tell me about this big discovery."



 

 
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 02:23 PM
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Adelbard of House Reyngaard
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Adelbard was used to getting his way in everything but what really mattered. That did not mean that Enith Delfren’s capitulation of sorts didn’t give him a sense of gratification. It was good to know that order was still intact in some places of the world, even in the often unruly Eastmark. With a respectful nod the Solnian remained graceful in his victory. More than anything this was the mark of a true leader and a man of worth and nobility.

"I am grateful to you, Steward. A small chamber in proximity to that of my lady is all that I require. I have no wish to detain you any longer from your duties. Please, see to it that Lady Grossborg and young Oda get a chance to refresh themselves. The journey from Caer Rhovan has been arduous and… full of surprises."

Turning to the lady he was serving, the priest bowed his head slightly more deeply than he had done to thank the steward.

"Lady, I must pay my respects to the Divine as is only proper. I shall visit the House of the Builder and try to find some answers to the questions that trouble our minds. Should any unexpected matter require my attention, I will be sure to send word. May the Divine light our paths and keep us safe."

With a final look towards the girl, a necessary admonition to behave as her rank beseemed, the priest returned to the main square of the town, which was dominated by the Maker’s place of worship, the town hall and Caer Karholt’s most prestigious tavern. Despite the priest’s impressive voice and the fervor he exhibited, few seemed interested in anything other than tasting the tavern’s wines and ales. Adelbard frowned. In Soln most citizens would have been at least ashamed to disregard the servants of the Divine so blatantly. The Caldarians displayed no such sensibilities. They passed in front of the poor priest with absolutely no show of respect, cackling like hen or swearing like fishwives.

Striding resolutely up the stairs leading to the church, Adelbard took his place next to the priest calling the faithful to attend vespers and Guidancemade the sign of the sun over the crowd filling the square.

"Citizens of Caer Karholt and travelers from faraway places, beware!" The Solnian’s voice Thaumaturgyboomed like the roar of thunder, reverberating all over the plaza and causing most heads to turn to regard him. "You ignore the Divine’s call, but curse Their name when They in turn fail to heed your prayers. It is not your Maker who is not interested in your everyday toils and sorrows. It is you who turn your backs on Them! Change your ways now. Enter the house of the Divine and beg Their forgiveness. Prove yourselves worthy and it shall be granted!"

Not waiting to see whether his words managed Intimidation check 6 - the Caldarians are clearly not impressed by threats!to put the fear of the Maker in the hearts of the people, Adelbard kneeled before the sign of the Maker carved above the cathedral’s main entrance before entering the grand building itself. Immediately he was welcomed by the glow of candles and the warmth of their little flames eased the stern lines of his face. He had never felt fear in the presence of the Divine, only comfort. Perhaps this was his reward for always acting according to his conscience and the Maker’s commandments.

Getting as close to the holy altar as possible, Adelbard stood as straight and tall as the lance of a Beroulian Dragon Knight, his hands crossed in front of him. He would attempt to talk to the high priest later. Now was the time to pray and thank the Divine for keeping him and those who had sought Their protection safe.



 
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Old Aug 11th, 2022, 06:08 AM
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Kinya
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First, she began biting her lip, then picking at a knot in the table wood, then bouncing her leg up and down before she laid her hands over her face and gave a great sigh. What was she doing? She couldn't be here watching tournaments or getting jobs, she had to keep moving. The thought of being still and just waiting for that horrible bailiff that had been in Millthorp sent shivers up her spine.

"Unless this caravan of yours intends to continue to Skarbury as originally intended and you plan to escort them there?" Gabriella was of course talking to Skarn but Kinya was so wrapped up in her own mind that she didn't even notice and most likely wouldn't have cared anyway.

They wouldn't work with Giffri again, Skarn, Calllum or Jahan. They had made their displeasure known to the trader when he had decided to come here instead of their original destination. Kinya didn't care where she was going, it just had to be farther away. "A caravan. That's a great idea! We sign on with another caravan. You lot obviously won't be working with Giffri again but another caravan...going further...which way were we traveling?" Kinya wasn't some adventurer or traveling mercenary. She had latched onto Giffri's crew just because they were going somewhere. "I just need to keep moving."

 


 


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Old Aug 11th, 2022, 11:42 AM
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Callum
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Callum was surprised, and slightly confused as to Skarn's request from him. Did this woman really mean so much to the old man? That he was so desperate for her to believe his tale. If Callum was being honest, it was probably better that she didn't. Even if he hadn't been marked by that creature, none of them needed that reputation following them around. It was hard enough to get work sometimes as it was. He was small and according to some, didn't look intimidating enough to be a good merc. Their loss.

He looked at the woman, his gaze was bored and unimpressed. "It happened. Believe me or not, I don't care. Your existence means nothing to me." Was all Callum would say on the matter.

The skittish woman they had been traveling with piped up. Suggesting they join another caravan. The last thing she said resonated with Callum. He recognized the desperation in her voice, the desire to keep moving. To never stop running. They were kindred spirits after all. For eight years Callum hadn't stopped in one place for more than a couple of days. Never assuming he was safe. He wasn't sure how long they would chase him for. Surely they'd get bored or realize that he was wasting too much of their time? Right? He had lost hope of that a long time ago.

Callum was taking a huge risk by doing this. But clearly he had more experience in the art of fleeing for your life than she did. "I uh, I'm spending the rest of the day resupplying and then I plan on looking for another job tomorrow. You're more than welcome to join me if you'd like. I know how to live off the land and I'm pretty good with a blade. I can keep you safe." There was also the unspoken that Callum hoped she would understand too. He didn't care that she had magic. He wasn't bothered by it. He wouldn't say anything about it in front of the others. He too had secrets that he didn't want to share.


 


 
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