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Author Topic: Clarion Quietus (IC) Part 2  (Read 151433 times)
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Exile
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« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2012, 04:23:56 PM »

Clearly rather concerned, Amethyst also looked to Wendle, before sparing a pensive glance for the surrounding scenery, assessing its suitability for skulking around in.
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« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2012, 05:46:23 PM »

"My general rule is, the bigger they are, the dumber and less friendly." Wendle said tapping out his pipe.

"Alright folks, it's time to lean on the rudder." the gnome said, twitching his mouth into a thoughtful frown. "We have no supplies, and we're headed into occupied territory. That means we need to be picking up goods, or delivering people. I'd prefer both. I have writs of passage, but our numbers are going to draw eyes."

Looking around at the group he takes a long breath. "Most of you are going to have to pose as slaves. We can cut the rest of the canvas up to make slave-clothes and stow your gear in the hold. You all look haggard enough that no one should think twice about it. Dorin, you're with me on this. No one would buy you as a slave, so you get to be the guy in charge. I don't have a writ of arming, but clubs don't count as weapons. We need to whip you up a truncheon." Looking down at Nefario and Ivy Wendle scowled. "You two are the big issue. No reason to bring halflings into these parts. With all the contraband, I've only got room enough in the hold for one of you, and even then it's not going to be comfortable. I'm kinda at a loss..."
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« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2012, 08:34:33 PM »

Eirik looked at Ivy, really looked at her. "Could you pose as a child?"
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« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2012, 04:10:51 PM »

Dorin grimaced ever so slightly at Wendle's 'general rule', but got moving, looking around for something he could... improvise into a club. He paused in his search to raise an eyebrow at Eirik's suggestion, intrigued, but shook his head and got back to his own business, remembering the advice of his childhood.

One thing at a time, Dorin. Focus. Do one thing at a time, and do it well, and nothing is impossible.
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« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2012, 04:16:03 PM »

Sighing worriedly, Amethyst shot Wendle a pensive look as if checking quite how serious he was, then reluctantly nodded.

"If you're sure, then we'd best get working on disguises", she murmured resignedly.  "Does anyone else have much experience with this?  Or will I be working on everyone who needs it?"
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« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2012, 11:39:32 PM »

Mandag sat up and let out a sigh. He had opted to stay back while Eirik scouted ahead this time, the lad had proven himself more useful in the wild than he expected, so he relished the chance to get even the slightest amount of rest. Most of the soreness in his body had already faded away but he was still decompressing mentally from the groups near brush with death. These are the kinds of situations we should really avoid. he had thought at the time. The same thought still crept in the back of his mind today, his new travelling companions had proven very useful, but the size of their group wasn't making his job any easier.

Only half listening, Mandag had enjoyed Amethyst's stories. He admired her hopefulness and found it refreshing in comparison to the grim outlooks that most people in his line of work seemed to carry. As Eirik made his way back into the camp he attention became more focused, and with the ensuing discussion of plans the thought was in his head again. These are the kinds of situations we should really avoid. He stole a glance towards the three cloaked figures that he had been entrusted with.

"I don't think it's gonna be that simple." he said, taking a moment to phrase his next words. "If this place is sufficiently occupied then there's no way my companions are going to make it through an inspection"

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« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2012, 12:09:43 AM »

"Indeed." the cloaked woman replied to Mandag, speaking for the first time in days. "It is time for us to part ways, at least for a time. You will all be safer without us."

Turning to Wendle, she continued. "You have gotten us this far, but this place crawls with Bugbear and Ogre. They are bringing lumber into the pass. There will be more shadowspawn there. We would not have made it this far without you, and we still need you to help us make contact with the Dwarves of Durgis. We will make our own way until we can meet up with you again on the other side of the occupied area."

Wendle's brows furrowed. "You sure about that? This territory ain't exactly friendly. If you don't plan on using the pass, you're going to be climbing the mountain."

The cloaked woman nodded once. "If we must."

"Suit yerself." Wendle shrugged. "That'll definitely make my wagon less crowded."

"We will take Ivy with us." the cloaked woman added. "She need not be confined in your hold."

Again Wendle's eyebrows rose. He looked at Ivy with a question on his face.

« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 12:13:21 AM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2012, 01:17:02 AM »

Remembering Eirik's previous comment Mandag looked to Ivy and after a moment smiled. I hope she can handle herself up in the mountain he thought. Because of their size it was hard not to look at halflings at face value and think of them as children. Maybe not as much with the other one in their party, but something about Ivy resonated with someone he thought maybe he'd known when he himself was a child.

"Aye, she's right, that'll probably be for the best" He said giving a quick nod to Wendle. Walking over to the wagon he grabbed his pack and slung it over his shoulder, in his head he had already made up his mind. "Guess that means I'm headed off too." he then turned his attention towards the cloaked woman. "I have specific orders to follow, so you damned sure aren't going anywhere without me. I gave my word that I'd see you through your journey and I plan on keeping it."

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« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2012, 03:44:14 AM »

Even though the amount of disguise work she was confronted with was rapidly reducing, Amethyst's expression was still markedly worried as she lifted her gaze from the first stages of setting out her alchemical preparations as a disguise kit. Studying those of her companions apparently set for departure, she pensively bit her lower lip.

"If you're sure", she murmured.  "Should we pass over things like weapons?  Or will you need to travel as lightly as possible?"
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« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2012, 06:33:29 AM »

Eirik frowned at the cloaked woman for a moment, eyes narrowed. Could she be another seer? Shaking it off to focus on the situation at hand, he told himself he'd have to ask her later, assuming a later occurred. They didn't have time now.

He turned to Amethyst. "Survival made it necessary for me to know the basics of how to disguise myself. I have some training."
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« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2012, 11:52:10 AM »

"Thank you Mandag," the cloaked woman says with a slight smile on her graceful lips, "but if we take Ivy we cannot take you. If you come, she stays, and they will be captured. I am afraid, for the safety and success if everyone, you must stay with the wagon."
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« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2012, 07:27:16 PM »

Mandag stopped and gave the woman a long look, not fully understanding why they couldn't both go. He didn't like diverging from the plan and he really didn't like the idea of splitting up, but he knew that she was probably right, and with good reason. After another moment he let out a sigh. "Alright... I don't like it but if you're sure this is the only way." He glanced toward the sky for a moment. "She trusted you to do this.. suppose I should too. Just make sure you get back to us as soon as we make it through that pass."

Mandag tossed his pack back into the wagon and made his way over to Ivy, taking a knee in front of her. He hadn't much experience dealing with halflings so he hoped that trying to speak with her at eye level would seem respectful and not insulting. Knelt down, he leaned in and spoke softly as if he was now completely at ease with their new plan. "You'll be fine out there. Truth is you're probably much safer with them than you are with us. Still, make sure you listen to what they say, they know what they're doing. Ok?." He smiled and patted her on the shoulder.
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« Reply #37 on: May 02, 2012, 02:45:49 AM »

Dorin hrmphed, clearly not comfortable with the idea of the smallest member of their party heading off into the wild, but said nothing. He supposed they knew what was best.
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« Reply #38 on: May 02, 2012, 04:41:54 AM »

While Ivy's course of action was discussed, Amethyst quietly directed Eirik in helping her to lay out her alchemical supplies.

"Dirt's going to be a major component of being disguised as slaves", she murmured, "but simply smearing it on won't look convincing.  We need to give the impression of it being ingrained into skin and clothes alike.  And for that, I can quickly mix up a preparation.  It won't give us a lasting stain - it's easy enough to wash out - but it should pass inspection, even under touch."

Sighing softly, she ruefully shook her head.

"I hate this kind of thing.  Some of the traits that I foster to help me pass as a legitimate traveler are less than helpful when attempting to convey this kind of impression.  Still... we can mix and match clothing.  Layer it up, as well.  Put other items in packs as supplies that Wendle's conveying along with us.  Make sure that we look as if we're dressed to survive the cold of the mountains from some communal reserve of stolen attire, rather than by our own choice, and that each of us is carrying everything we've been given."

"Mmmm.  Bandages.  Can use those to help to change people's expressions and movements a bit, and can also use them to help give the impression the clothes are in worse shape than they are.  They'll need to be dirtied up to various degrees too, of course, but if it looks like a coat or a boot's held together with strips of cloth tied round it no one's likely to want to steal it from the slave wearing it."

"One question's what we do about Siobhan.  We could try disguising her as a young man"
, she mused.  "It's not guaranteed to provide any protection - and from some types, it might draw more of it.  But most of the slaves grabbed for 'comfort' are female, so far as I know.   Or I can just try to make sure that the women don't look too healthy..."
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« Reply #39 on: May 03, 2012, 12:11:50 PM »

Ivy stiffened at Mandag's touch. Did he think her a child? A weak woman? Both? Whether it was his intention or not, of course he did; it was how things worked. Human men...

Normally, Ivy would tell herself to keep her eye on the ball. If someone’s was being a condescending jerk, it only mattered if the obnoxiousness somehow objectively interfered with her efforts to do her job or undermined her in the eyes of someone who mattered. If that wasn't the case, she could safely ignore it and go about her business. Other people's behavior only mattered if it undermined her in some way; if it was merely annoying she would forget about it and focus on the task at hand.

It mattered this time. She was not about to allow Mandag to undermine her in the eyes of the rest of her companions, no matter how unintentional. "My experience leads me to the same conclusion," she said. "If you're uneasy about losing the benefit of our aid, I'm sure we won't be split up long." Ivy smiled and patted him on the shoulder.

Ivy was a bit unsure, at first, about leaving her wards, but now she was damn well motivated to climb a mountain. "Let's get going then," she said to the cloaked woman. "I could use a good hike."
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« Reply #40 on: May 03, 2012, 06:48:43 PM »

Siobahn looked up at the preparation, somewhat lost in her melancholy.

"I trust your judgement Amethyst but I doubt passing me off as a boy would work...although my coat braeks up my figure, but it's something someone's likely to want to steal."
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« Reply #41 on: May 03, 2012, 09:21:15 PM »

While the folks in the wagon continued with their preparations, Ivy walked with the three cloaked figures. They moved low, keeping off of the swells in the ground. They were slow and patient, and light on their feet, communicating with flicks of their fingers.

They were also very skilled.

She was simply following them, and she nearly lost them twice as they neared the foot of the mountain. In the distance she could see the ogres and bugbears felling trees and the wagon slowly moving forward again. She could see the entrance to the pass, a wide valley that cut into the mountain at an angle. Even from this distance she could tell it was heavily traveled.

She watched as the wagon neared the trees and hoped they would be alright, and then she was to far away, around the back side of the cleft, looking at steep stone in all directions.

Somehow the Bowman was already forty feet up the wall. Then fifty. He hung there like an insect, his cloak flapping gently. Then a rope fell. The Swordsman gestured to her politely.
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« Reply #42 on: May 03, 2012, 09:28:39 PM »

The wagon was ignored as it passed. Shadowspawn were hard at work felling trees. Ogres swung axes broader than Dorin's shoulders. Whips cracked. Goblins swarmed fallen trees like locusts, their claws and hatchets laying them bare with frightening efficiency. The bugbears glanced at them, and an ogre tried to throw a tree at them, but it's handler managed to divert it's attention. Another bugbear actually shrugged at them apologetically. Wendle waved.

They were rounding the bend into the cleft that marked the entry to the pass.

« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 09:31:27 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2012, 12:42:19 AM »

When the guard towers came into view they realized why they had been ignored.

The first two were paired at the mouth of the pass. Newly worked stone, smooth and grey. Fifteen feet tall. Two hobgoblins armed with crossbows partially visible atop each one. They could see more in the distance staggered back and forth every few hundred feet. They could see the pass winding upward, twisting up the mountain.

The forced of the Shadow had the pass firmly in their grip. Wendle cursed under his breath, but kept moving.

As a hobgoblin inspector made his way out of one of the towers Wendle whispered to Dorin. "Just act like you belong here."

In the hidden hold Nefario gritted his teeth. He couldn't see a thing, but he could hear, and he could even feel how very, very tense things had just become.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 12:44:31 AM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #44 on: May 08, 2012, 08:09:26 AM »

Though she might be considered rather skilled in her own way, Amethyst was more than a little concerned as the solidity of the Shadow's hold on the area began to become clear.  In the back of the wagon, she sought to arrange people to best convey the impression of cowed and fearful slaves, posting herself to be the most likely to get grabbed for any conversation - as both the puniest of the 'slaves' and the one most likely to lie her way through trouble, it seemed a sensible if not exactly comfortable precaution.
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« Reply #45 on: May 09, 2012, 10:26:30 PM »

The hobgoblin seemed unconcerned with the wagon's arrival, as if it was both expected and routine. It did not even ask to see a writ of passage. "What are you hauling?" it asked Wendle simply.

"Slaves." The gnome said just as casually.

The hobgoblin nodded. "Good. We've been losing them left and right out here. Head to the main camp. They'll need to be inspected."

Wendle nodded and snapped the reins. The hobgoblin glanced into the back of the wagon as it passed, but otherwise ignored them.

"Damn lax security" Wendle muttered once they were out of earshot. "Guess only fools would waltz into this place out in the middle of nowhere. It would probably never occur to them that we might be lying."

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« Reply #46 on: May 10, 2012, 03:38:27 AM »

Amethyst sighed, risking a peek out of the wagon - though she took care to keep her head down and her whole body in shadow.

"Let's hope that it's as easy to get out again", she muttered.  "Do you have much experience of these camps?"
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« Reply #47 on: May 10, 2012, 09:22:23 PM »

"Nobody with any sense has experience doing this kind of shit." Wendle grumbled. "Passing through a road checkpoint to deliver goods is one thing. This is another. This is a military zone. They might just decide to throw me an' Dorin into the slave force with all of you because they're short on labor, an' there won't be a damned thing stopping them. No one down the road gets mad about missing shipments. No one asks where we disappeared to."

Wendle took a deep breath. "Ok, here's what's going to happen. We're going to let them inspect you. If it's a hobgoblin they'll assign a bugbear and send you straight to the work site. If it's a human, they'll probably want some kind of skin trade. It's not just you ladies that might be fancied either, if you catch my drift. If you get picked you either let it happen, or you kill them real quiet. Anything else gets you dead."
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« Reply #48 on: May 13, 2012, 04:30:59 PM »

Amethyst sighed once more, nodding ruefully.

"I've had a few 'contraband searches' in my time, but... yes.  I admit that I'm hoping to avoid anything like that", she murmured.  "But we'll have to try to make sure that nothing violent kicks off...."
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« Reply #49 on: May 14, 2012, 02:19:32 AM »

Siobahn's eyes flicker over to Amethyst at the mention of a non-violent response a fraction of a second after she nods at Wendle's comment about a swift and decisive response.

The temparature in the back of the wagon rises ever so slightly
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