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  #256  
Old 11-14-2018, 01:25 PM
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Spike Scoria
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Spike had arrived at the inn later than Lothar and Naskan. He was only through half his second bowl of stew when the others decided to get up and leave. "... rude ..." he mumbled as he tried to quickly finish his meal and a second tankard of ale. A lot of it got into his beard and down the front of him. He didn't seem to notice.

"Maybe we should find Kaspar and the others first. Where'd they run off to anyhow?" He suggested between bites. But the paladin and the warrior were already heading out the door. The dwarf pulled out his purse to pay for his own meal. He noticed that some of the coin his friends had left behind were shinier than what he had. He took the bright ones and replaced them with dull ones out of his stash. Then he jangles his coin bag and smiled as he watched the pieces sparkle. Spike noticed a black and bent little piece amid his coinage. He wondered how it got in there. He didn't even know its value. So he left it on the table as a tip for the waitress.

By the time he walked out the door, his companions were nowhere in sight. Fortunately, Spike had spotted the guard house when they went to the town hall. He headed straight there at a brisk pace.

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  #257  
Old 11-14-2018, 01:53 PM
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As Nora conversed with the guard at the gate, Ash silently skulked up from behind. He was caked in dirt and soot, with smatterings of blood on both skin and attire.
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Old 11-14-2018, 03:28 PM
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Lelianora Nethiren
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Nora thanked the gate guards, giving the lead around Grak's neck a tug to get the kobold moving. "Come along, you. When you've had a bit to eat, I've a few more questions about this Summer Shield place, and Hurek and the rest of the lizards, as well." Grak had claimed that he'd told them all he knew, but Nora had her doubts - at the very least, the little beggar could provide a great deal more detail and context. Where had all these creatures come from? Where had they found Cathrax - or Cathrax found them? What did Grak know of this fort where they'd holed up, and its environs? There was a great deal more potentially valuable information they might pry from the kobold, and at the moment, it looked like it would cost them no more than a meal.

She glanced over her shoulder at Ash's approach, grimacing. "You've tidied things up, I presume? Good. Then I see no need to trouble the others with the fate of Grak's less forthcoming companion." She turned to Grak. "And don't you forget what might become of you if you decide to be less forthcoming." She'd no intention of letting the warlock murder a second kobold... unless the kobold did something to deserve it... but the threat could only help to loosen its tongue and ensure its cooperation.

Leading Grak and her companions toward Foxdale's guard house, Nora spotted Naskan, Spike, and Lothar headed the same way. She'd rather expected to join them at the tavern - or to scrape them off the tavern floor, in Spike's case - when they were done with the kobold, but this was just as well. Now they could all hear what the kobold had to say without a great deal of tedious repetition.



 
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  #259  
Old 11-14-2018, 03:42 PM
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Ash solemnly nodded at Nora's query - his face maintaining a static, emotionless expression as he trailed behind the pair into the town.
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Old 11-16-2018, 10:24 AM
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Kaspar Thorngage Normally quite a bit more conversational, Kaspar remained quiet as Nora conversed with the guards, his wounds, the shock of Ash's actions in the field, and the enormity of what they'd signed on for beginning to take their toll after the long journey. He longed for a song, a bed and meal, though not necessarily in that order. And as they passed into the town once again, he found he longed for the closeness of the city.

As the warlock caught up with them, he eyed the man for a moment, before turning back to the lane leading to the guard house, glad to see the rest of the party making their way in the same direction. A smile turned his mouth as he saw Spike come late out of the tavern. Even at this distance, he could make out the stew in the dwarf's beard.


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  #261  
Old 11-18-2018, 11:12 PM
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FoxdaleAt the village gate, the guards nod at the trio of Nora, Ash and Kaspar and let them through. The sight of the pale wizard caked with muck along with a smattering of blood does raise an eyebrow from the older one. "Bit of a tumble you took, I see", is all he says. Nora tugs at the rope around Grak's neck and the kobold dutifully walks along behind. It does not respond to Nora's veiled threat. Perhaps the Intimidation was too subtle to get through.

At the inn, Lothar and Naskan finish their meal and start on their way to the guard house after dropping the requisite amount of coins on the table. As they get to the door, the young waitress runs up to them and says, "Uh, uncle... I mean Lacenor asked me to let you'll know that your stay has been paid for by the mayor here at the inn. We have rooms upstairs. Three rooms for, uh, I was told six people." She looks at the duo, then back at Spike. Then she shrugs and gets out of their way.

The dwarven warrior takes a little longer than the others, some shiny coins getting the better of him, in addition to his appetite. He too finally makes it out of the door.

As the kobold hunters near the tavern, they spot Naskan and Lothar exit and make their way to the East side of town. Then, after a while, Spike trundles out. The kobold gets a whiff of the smell coming out of the tavern and contorts its face in disgust. "Yuck! Human food be horrible. Grak like rats. Rats favourite!"

They take Spike alongside and hasten their pace to catch up with the paladin and the fighter. There is hardly anyone outdoors now. The one or two villagers they meet give them a wide berth, especially considering their captive.

The whole group is reunited at the doorway to the guard house. It is a squat, single storied, functional looking building, right next to the town hall. Off to their left, they see a small open area. In one corner, they see a group of six or seven young men and women sitting on the ground and talking softly. They are quite spent, by the looks of it.

The door is ajar. The inside is extremely neat, if a little sparse. There is a small, mousy looking woman sat at a desk close to the door. The party can make out another man, seated at a much larger desk, inside the hall. He has his head buried in some documents. The mousy woman sees the group approach and asks, "Yes, how may I help you? Are you the adventurers the mayor recruited?"


 

 
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  #262  
Old 11-19-2018, 06:53 AM
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Lelianora Nethiren
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"Indeed we are," says Nora, with forced good cheer, striding into the guardhouse with Grak trailing along behind her. "We've taken a prisoner - one of the kobolds in service to the dragon. This one was skulking about outside the town walls, keeping an eye on the comings and goings from Foxdale and reporting back to the dragon's higher-ranking minions."

"However," she cautions, "he's already been very cooperative in sharing what he knows of the dragons and his servants, and promises to continue cooperating, for the price of a comfortable place to stay and a bit to eat. Isn't that right, Grak?" she asks rhetorically, not waiting for the kobold to respond.

"In fact," she adds, an idea dawning on her after hearing Grak's complaint, "He's volunteered to make himself useful in another way, as well. He doesn't care for human food, he says, but would prefer a diet of rats. A town of this size must have a substantial granary, and situated so close to a forest, I would imagine it has a substantial problem with rats getting at the grain. I'm sure that Grak - carefully supervised, of course - would be delighted to serve the town as ratcatcher, in thanks for his good treatment."


 
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  #263  
Old 11-19-2018, 01:40 PM
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Foxdale"Uh, madam, please leave the pet outside...", the mousy little woman begins to say, but Nora is already inside the guardhouse, alongside Grak the kobold and the rest of their retinue. They all listen as the druid explains the presence of the creature, along with an ingenious idea regarding how it could be useful.

A soft guffaw is heard behind them. The tall, muscular looking older gentleman strides out from behind his desk. The human male looks to be on the wrong side of fifty, but still has the gait and stature of a lifelong soldier. He wears a white handlebar moustache on his face, with short, grey hair. He is dressed in crisp grey clothes made of a canvas like material. You can't call it an uniform if you are the only one wearing it, but it sure does look the part.

The man stands with his hands on his hips and his feet slightly apart and says in a gravelly voice, "That's funny! A kobold ratcatcher! You know, I have had a pretty bad day. It's good to get a laugh, finally. Alright, come to my desk. We can talk there. Paige", he calls out to the woman. "Get these gentlemen, and lady, some chairs."

The man then strides back to his chair and sits down. "So, you are the adventurers Miss Elsinore found. My name is Tallis Ebbing. I look after the law round these parts. You know, I advised against hiring outsiders. That is why I was absent at the town hall to brief you. I wanted to raise my own forces. But that isn't going very well." He shakes his head ruefully. Then the man looks up and continues, "So, the kobold. What has it divulged thus far? And what can I help you with regarding that? What do you mean comfortable place to stay? You aren't renting it a room at the Boar, are you?"
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  #264  
Old 11-19-2018, 02:08 PM
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The warlock smirked when Grak mentioned his love of rats. Wordlessly, he unfurled his cloak to allow his familiar to take flight into town in search of the kobold's meal. He assumed it would be a simple enough task for it to find vermin in this backwoods town.

Back in the present, Ash - whom had purposefully kept quiet since the group returned to town - couldn't help but snicker at the man's joke.

Just a space to call its own and enjoy a meal for now - which my familiar should be back soon with. As for your inquiry, I fear we aren't finished with our own questioning yet and it would be more expedient to finish that before we begin to relay potential half-truths requiring future addendums.

He looked beyond the man - surveying the room.

Presumably you have a holding cell of some sort? If you would direct us that way, it would be most appreciated.
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Old 11-19-2018, 02:37 PM
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Lelianora Nethiren
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"Actually, Grak here has been remarkably forthcoming already," Nora points out. "He's part of a band based out of a fort nearby - Fort Summershield? Does that sound familiar?"

She continues, her voice raised to get the party, as well as Ebbing, up to speed. "He says that there are perhaps fifty kobolds in all, and that there are others there as well - 'lizards' and 'crockos,' whatever those are, and, apparently, an ogre as well... all under the command of someone or something called 'Hurek.' The dragon itself, apparently, does not dwell there, and he claims not to know where it lives."

She gives Grak a stern glance. "Obviously, we shall want to clarify a few things... and none of this has been proven true yet. But Grak well understands his situation - he's better off being useful and well-behaved here than he would be trying to flee back to Hurek. Isn't that so, Grak?"


 
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:30 AM
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Foxdale
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Nora's words bombarded Naskan's mind as he tried to process the sheer volume of enemies that dwelt within this fortress. Fifty kobolds, an ogre and whatever these lizards and crockos may be. They would have to unearth more of the artifacts to stand a chance against the forces arrayed against them.

The dragonborn had to agree with Tallis. Trusting the kobold to merely be the town's ratcatcher was a large ask for such a wretched creature but it wasn't like they could just expect the townsfolk of Foxdale to keep the thing in a cage for all eternity. Its fate would have to wait.

"Well done acquiring this information," Naskan said to Ash, Nora and Kaspar. "This is a large force if the creature is to be believed. At least we should scout this fortress out to ascertain what we are up against. Perhaps even one of these ruins we are searching for will be nearby or on the way as well."

"Master Tallis, I had hoped to meet with a ranger of this town, Jonah. We were hoping he could provide some information about the lands and landmarks surrounding Foxdale. He did not come to the inn as I had been lead to believe he might. Would you happen to know where else he may be?"





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  #267  
Old 11-21-2018, 01:22 PM
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Foxdale
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The guard captain listens to each of the adventurers patiently. To Ash's query, he replies, "We do have holding cells in the back. They don't see a lot of use. Not a lot of actual crime happens here. Just, you know, the occasional dispute and bar brawl." Behind the man, there is a closed door with iron bars and what looks like a passage behind it. Tallis takes a look at the diminutive kobold and says, "We might have to keep the leash on him. The cells aren't made for someone his size. You can continue your questioning there. In my presence. And I will not allow physical torture. I have seen enough of it in my career."

He then listens to Nora and replies, "Fort Summershield? It is not nearby. It is at least full days travel inside the Emerald Forest. Our priest says it was the seat of power of the so-called ancient elven kingdom. Now, what the kobold said is indeed most interesting. It is a formidable force, I'd have to say. But knowing the enemy is half the battle. And these fellows already know a lot about us. So this might put us at an even keel." Grak looks up an Nora and nods sadly. He points to his stomach, signalling that it is still empty.

The guard captain turns to Naskan as the dragonborn speaks. He says, "Yes, Jonah is the only one who could give you an accurate picture of what is in the forest. It is easy to get lost inside. Extremely easy." He pauses as a slight hint of concern crosses his face. "Strange. The man is usually at the inn a little after sundown. He brings in game that Haedrig cooks up for dinner. Perhaps he has reached now. He lives in a shack right outside the west gate. At the edge of the forest. Got a watchtower and everything!"

Ash feel the telepathic bond with his tireless bat minion re-establishing. "I've got it boss! Found a rat. Wasn't easy!", the warlock hears in his head. Then there is a commotion at the door. As everyone turns around to look, they see he mousey woman shriek and scamper to close the door. "Eek! Don't want bats here! And what's in its mouth? Eek! It's carrying a rat!"
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Old 11-21-2018, 01:45 PM
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Ash ignores the commotion his familiar caused and simply nonchalantly holds out an arm with cloak open for it to come back to its cloistered state. Removing the mouse from the bat's mouth with his bare hands, Ash drops to a knee in front of Grak and feigns his best approximation of a warm smile for the kobold.

You earned this, Grak - enjoy it - and know that loyalty will be as much rewarded as obstinance punished. There will be more where that comes from should your cooperation persist.

He stood back up - his faux cheerfulness now replaced with his normal stoicism - and nodded to the captain after he points out the way to the cells. Wordlessly, the warlock begins to make his way there - assuming without checking that the rest were following behind.
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Old 11-28-2018, 11:02 PM
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FoxdaleGrak snatches the mouse from Ash's hands and starts chomping down on it, leading to disapproving looks from the guard captain and a gasp and a scream from the woman out front. Neither Ash nor Grak pay much heed, as blood drips on the stone floor from the bound hands, and lips of the kobold.

Tallis Ebbing gets up from his seat and walks to the back of the room. He unlocks the barred gate and motions the group to enter. Inside is a small 10'◊10' windowless room. To one side of it, are two iron banded wooden doors with a tiny window in each. They likely lead to holding cells. Both are closed. There are a couple of stools in the room. The guard captain gestures to one of the stools and says to the kobold, "Grak, was it? Why don't you take a seat? Make yourself comfortable. You will be here for a while. Your friends here want to ask some questions." Then he looks to the group with anticipation.
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Old 11-28-2018, 11:40 PM
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Ash remains in the doorway to the tiny room as others move into it with Grak. The warlock crossed his arms and leaned against the inside of the door frame - feeling satisfied with his contributions thus far. He knew, though, that it would be best to allow some of the more personable members of the group - like Naskan, Nora or Kaspar - to begin the questioning. If he deemed the situation to require his intervention, though - like if Grak ceased his cooperation - then he was there and ready to do so.
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