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Asho Iduska
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Ash slid past Jinx and Cruch to a doorway in the hall.

Open the door.  Watch out for arrows. 

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Buto
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After Temple leaves the bleeding man hanging from the ceiling, Buto looks around and realizes that all of the others have gone.  Well, thief, your life was probably shorter than you expected.  Buto hopes you lived it well in your own way.  Buto doubts it. Buto hefted his enormous axe and, in one giant swing, crushed the blade through the sternum through his rib cage, smashing all of his ribs and the organs underneath.

Coup De Grace.  Auto Crit.  73 DMG  Lights Out!

This message was last updated by the player at 07:27, Wed 07 June.

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Crow
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Crow raced down the hall, attempting to catch up with Kray.  She caught sight of him just as he disappeared through the door leading to the walkway.  Despite the narrow confines of the inn, Crow kept her thickly-built composite bow at the ready.  She wanted her best weapon in this quickly boiling cauldron, and she could rely on Kray to keep anyone at arm’s reach.

She hoped someone was covering her back and someone was watching the bloody stairs.

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Wink
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Wink repeated what he had seen to Crow. “Crow, there are another 9 men the stairs, all seen in the main lobby area of the hotel and some of it’s off shoots. I counted them all, they are broken up in groups of 3. Time to get everybody together for a good coordinated fight, I think.”

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Narrator GM
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Kray gets through the door no problem and see immediately a stairs going down right behind him and also he sees a long hall that turns to his left and looks to be stairs heading down.  Just then Crow is at his back.

Ash opens the door and finds nothing but a ransacked room but as you do you get shot from behind by another arrow this time it hits you for 15 damage. [Private to Asho Iduska: You can’t deflect that as you didn’t see it coming.]

Next round!

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Temple
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The Skinner is a great many things, but a berserker he is not, and so looking down into a courtyard with twenty-odd people in it is the sort of thing that causes him to plot quiet murder rather than sudden assault. Moving along rooftop, he circles the courtyard as quietly as he can in order to take in more of the area – looking for opportunities to pick off singles or doubles and otherwise hoping for an opportunity.

Just moving under stealth.

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Asho Iduska
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The third arrows, now sticking from his back, is enough to take the wind out of Ash, causing him to stumble in the doorway and almost fall to the floor.  It must have pierced something important inside of him, for it hurt like hell, where the others were just a small throb behind the red curtain of Cruch’s rage song.

But the rage flowing through him kept Ash on his feet.  He turned in the direction the arrow had come, the man must be further down the hall.  Jinx, if you’re able these wounds are hurting pretty bad, Jinx

Ash continues watching the hallway and readies an attack should anything become visible at the end of the hall.

This message was last edited by the player at 22:27, Wed 07 June.

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Buto
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Buto, smiling and covered in spattered blood, looks at Fario. Let’s go elf-man.  We’re doing no good in here.  Sounds like your friend is dead. Time for payback, if you want it.

Buto stepped out of the room.  He could hear the sound of scuffling down one direction, but saw no one.  In the other direction he could see Crow and Kray, so he went that way.  Hanging man is dead.  Buto thinks Elf’s girlfriend is dead.  What do you want to do, Crow?

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Crow
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Crow nods to Buto.  She probably is dead, but Crow would make sure htey got their pay either way.  The question was, do they just leave?  There are too many for them to fight.  The piglet had mentioned the bodies were all dragged into the forest, so they could go there to get proof the elf was dead.

  Nestling, where are you going?  Lets go back to the rest and plan the next move. 

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Kray
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WIth only staris down in front of him, his plan to flank the assassin  was not looking likely.  He nodded to his sister and then head back with them toward the rest of the group.  There was an archer shooting at Ash.  I was hoping to circle him but there are only stairs down here.  Lets go see if Ash caught the snake.

The both head back around the hallways toward the rest of the group.

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Jinx the Black
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Ash was hit again and that one was right in the back.  When he called for aid from Jinx she pulled out her wand and moved to heal him.  “This should ease your pain.  Now stop getting hit and you won’t have that problem.”

Heal Ash for whatever it takes.  How many rounds Ash so I know what to take off?
15:57, Today: Jinx the Black rolled 6,10,7,4 using D8+3,D8+3,D8+3,D8+3.

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Cruch
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Cruch was tired of this, he had already wasted 3 rounds of his song and so took off running after the archer down the hall.  As he turned left and then right he saw him at the end and Cruch moved right up to him.  The only option the archer had was to attack and get attacked or withdraw completely.

Double move to archer.

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Asho Iduska
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Four shots from the wand did the trick.

This message was last edited by the player at 12:12, Thu 08 June.

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Narrator GM
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With Cruch in the archer’s face there was only one thing in the man’s mind he could do.  He said, “I yield!”

But that was only for a second for from the corner an arrow shot out and hit Cruch in the left thigh.  It wasn’t terribly deep but still caused 5 points of damage.  The archer before him withdrew from combat down the hall.  Cruch go ahead and take an AoO.

Everyone else take your turns.

Temple, do you have a ranged weapon? From your location you can see a bedroom through that window.

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Wink
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Wink walked out of the room, that now looked like a scene of some animalistic slaughter house because of Buto’s fun with the captured man. Wink heard the commotion of everybody getting shot by some assassin. He decided to wait for them to be finished with him before heading back downstairs again. Wink went out of the room, not being able to stand the gruesome scene any longer, and went out and sat on the steps.

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Buto
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Kray informed the group that Ash and Cruch had been engaged with some archers.  Buto had been too focused on the interrogation, and eventual end of the interrogation, to focus on who had been shouting.  Now with a bit of information and a direction, Buto took off, eager to join the fray.

Buto will run towards Ash and Jinx

As he arrived, Buto saw Jinx using her want to heal A nasty arrow wound in Ash’s back.  The Nagaji looked up at Buto.  It’s about time you got here.  We gotta couple fellas who think they got elf blood in hem.  Cruch and I can handle it.  But there’s a lotta doors in this hallway.  Why don’t you start checkin’ hem for any unwanted surprises.  And send one of our worthless feathered archers up here.  We could use a little support.

Buto replied Hmm, Buto is not a butler, Ash.  He follows his own heart.  But Buto will do as you ask.  Better not to let someone slip past us and attack the little ones behind us.  And I wouldn’t call your bird friends worthless.  They were looking after your literal backside.

Buto moves to the first closed door in the hallway.  Will open it next round.

This message was last edited by the player at 11:43, Sat 10 June.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash grimaced at Buto’s retort.  Even in the heat of battle the Suli was as stubborn as an old stone wall.  But at least he would do as Ash requested.  Anyway, he hadn’t meant the comment about the Crow and Kray, although he did wonder where his brother had gotten off to.  He was supposed to be with the group.  Certainly he had his reasons, but Ash could use that nasty horn bow of Kray’s about now.

The first shot of Jinx’s wand cured most of that nasty wound in Ash’s back.  She managed to get a second one off as he took off down the hallway, and suddenly the muscles in his back stopped screaming in pain.

Ash pushed past Cruch, who had just taken an arrow to the thigh.  Apparently there were more than one up here.  Ash ran up to the next corner and paused to let Cruch catch up.  Ash readied himself, in case one of the archers dared peek around the corner.

Ready an attack should anything come around the corner.

This message was last edited by the player at 11:45, Sat 10 June.

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Temple
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The Skinner has Temple’s crossbow of course – a compact, steel-framed thing that collapses down quite well in case he should want to carry it around inconspicuously but it’s nowhere near as much fun as putting your fingers into someone and, perhaps more importantly (because while he’s not as intelligent as Temple, he is still fearsomely intelligent) he doesn’t particularly feel like giving away his position to twenty-odd ape-things who can probably climb…

…but only probably, and so he peers down into the courtyard, thoughtfully.

00:43, Today: Temple rolled 15 using 1d20+12.  Knowledge (Nature).
Good time to ask ‘what are they?’ isn’t it? ^_^

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Cruch
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As the man ran from him Cruch reached out and scratched him with a claw for good measure and something to think about should he try and attack him again.  “You will not get away so easily!”

20:35, Today: Cruch rolled 16,7 using d20+9,d6+5.  AoO.

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Narrator GM
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As Ash came to stop at the corner another arrow came at him, but he was ready this time and deflected it.

Temple, you recognize the ape-like creatures as baboons.

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Crow
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Crow snapped at Fario and Wink as she raced passed them.  Not in anger, but in that clipped way she spoke when giving instructions under pressure.

“Watch our backs.  Don’t give up hope Fario. 

Of course, his fellow was likely one of many corpses laying mutilated in a grove to the north.  But whatever shine these bandits had collected from the inn would make the trip out here at least not a waste of the night.  IF she could keep all their hides whole.

  Crow makes a double move, passing Kray, and finding Jinx, predictably chasing Ash with a healing wand. Typical

To Jinx – “Why is he bleeding?  There are 9 below, and 20 apes in the courtyard.  Let us be quick up here.  Yes?

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Kray
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For what felt like the fifth time, Kray ran past the room they entered through.  A quick glance revealed significantly more blood in the room then before.  Curious.  For once, he doesn’t let his curiosity distract him.  Krya raced along the hall, cursing himself for his bird-brained plan to loop behind the attackers when they knew the layout better than him.  He heard Crow’s words Never chase a quarry into ground they know better than you.  Learn the ground first.  Yes? 

At some point, his heavier armor and shorter legs lost out to his sister’s long strides and he followed her through the hall toward Jinx and the rest.

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx had gotten off another heal from the wand just before Ash took off.  Between him and Cruch, they would use up all the magical healing from the wand.  Jinx moved up next to Cruch and would move with him when he did.

Take the first part of the movement and then take the next when Ash or Cruch move.

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Cruch
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Cruch moved up behind Ash and readied to move out again once he was ready.

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Buto
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Buto opened the door and peered inside.  Empty and in the same disarray as all of the other rooms had been.  He turned and trudged down the hall to the next closed door, his shoulders slumped under the weight of the boredom of checking rooms.

He noticed Crow and Kray running up the hall.  Crow, Ash is down the hall.  Chasing some archers.  Buto makes the housekeeping rounds.  Such messy guests in this inn. Buto perked up at his own joke, chuckling to himself.

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Asho Iduska
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The arrow came flying, but Ash was ready for it this time.  Oh, I’m wise to your tricks now, fella.  Looks like you’ve painted yourself into a corner, I wager.  If you both drop your bows and surrender, we’ll let you walk out of this inn.  But another arrow comes my way, you’ll get no pity from me.  I might even let Buto eat ya.

From behind, Ash could hear Buto’s rumbling voice.  He couldn’t quite make out what was said, but he heard Buto call Crow’s name.  Finally

Despite his words of peace, Ash ran around the corner, wary of the second bowman who he expected had taken up residence further down the hall.  He had seen the one who had fired at him disappear down the hallway to his right, which Ash took, intent on reaching the archer, if possible.

Ash is watching out for another bow shot from the second archer.  If a shot comes, Ash will use Sense Motive AC as an immediate action (AC 25)

If he can reach the first archer, Ash will attempt to trip him.  Trip CMB: 23

 

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Narrator GM
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As Ash came around the corner the archer fired just as he had expected it would come.  His senses were good but the archer was better and he buried his shot right in Ash’s chest, taking 9 damage.  Ash shook off the attempt as he rushed the man and then tripped him.  Just as he did though another archer stood in the next corner.  It seemed like there were archers all over this place.  Once again the aim was true but Ash with his defenses on high caught sight of the archer and deflected the arrow just before it got in. and hit Ash in his right shoulder for 8 damage.  Ash lost sight of the archer a second later as he moved out of his vision.

Everyone else, besides Fario, Wink, and Temple were heading towards Ash as he kept advancing in the upper hallways.

Your turn again!

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:30, Mon 12 June.

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Wink
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Wink continued to keep watch on the rear of their assault to ensure no surprises came up.

Perception 10

This message was last edited by the player at 01:58, Tue 13 June.

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Narrator (NPC)
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As Wink is sitting on the stairs and keeping an eye downstairs 4 arrows hit him in the back one right after another.
[Private to Wink: 12:38, Today: Narrator rolled 31,20 using d20+12,2d8+4. crit check.
12:37, Today: Narrator rolled 24,8,15,5,27,5,32,8 using D20+12,d8+2,d20+12,d8+3,d20+12,d8+3,d20+12,d8+2. Attack Wink for 46 total damage.]
Wink slouched over unconscious from the damage leaving Fario standing there.  As he turned and saw the enemy coming from behind he took off running in the direction that the others had just gone.

This message was last edited by the player at 07:31, Tue 13 June.

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Crow
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Crow picked up the pace as she heard Ash yell out on pain.  She sprinted to catch, spotting the group again just as Ash knocked something to the ground.  She had her bow out, long practiced at using it in tight spaces.

“This place is worse than the warrens.  We need to stop chasing and start thinking.  Yes? 

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Kray
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Kray “sprinted” after his sister, but was losing ground.  He passed a grumbling Buto and asked “You seeing if all the beds are made, big guy? Are looking for a place to take a nap?

The little Tengu regretted it immediately.  In the rush of action, he forgot WHO he was quipping at.  He still didn’t like or trust the beserker, and preferred to keep his quips to people he trust not to try and brain him.  Well, he wasn’t a little nestling anymore.  Let the red brute take offense.  He would look better with a few fletchings adoring his thick neck.

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Buto
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Once Buto has started a thing, his stubbornness will generally lead him to see it through to the end.  So, despite the noises around him, Buto continued checking the rooms on their back trail, to ensure there were no dangers lurking behind them.

Buto opens another door. Perception: 10

This message was last edited by the player at 07:11, Tue 13 June.

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx reached through Cruch’s space and touched Ash with the wand once more delivering more healing to him.

This is the 4th heal..

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Asho Iduska
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Ash stood over the leather clad man who he had just violently thrown to the floor.  Ash kicked the man in the side., the strike accompanied by a pound crack as a number of ribs broke, causing the man the cough and sputter as the breath left his lungs.

You took a shot at the snake.  You shouldn’t have done it, but you did it, and it’s over with, and you gotta accept the consequences.

As the man wheezed on all fours, trying to recover, Ash delivered another kick, this time striking the man squarely in the jaw.

 

ATK 1 Hit AC 21 for 8 DMG
ATK 2 Hit AC 26 for 14 DMG
Total DMG: 22 pts

If the man moves to get up, Ash will push him back to the floor.  AoO Trip CMB 21

 

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Temple
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Baboons are interesting creatures in their own right, human-like enough that they have some value as vivis… as dissection models, but the thing about baboons – the thing about them is – they don’t climb as well as many apes. They climb, sure… But not well, which means that what The Skinner has here is an opportunity to thin out the opposition.

Unfolding his bow – doing so with care of the razors tipping his fingers – he draws a bead and begins to service targets with unhurried efficiency, if not really accuracy as his first bolt slaps into the turf about four inches from his targets head.

Sighing, he reloads.

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Cruch
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Cruch can’t really do anything at the moment so bides his time.

Ready an action to attack should something be able to be attacked.

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Narrator GM
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When Temple shot his crossbow, the baboons freaked out.  The sound was near deafening in the small courtyard.  One of the groups moved into the tree and began climbing.  The others moved along a path to the north and the south and disappeared most likely inside the Inn.

Buto opened another ransacked room to find nothing but the same.

Ash hit the prone man hard twice and he coughed up blood and then crawled towards where the other man had gone. (moved 5ft still prone no AoO.)

Your guys turn again.

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Asho Iduska
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The man crawled a bit further, trying to get away, but he was badly injured.  Ash gave him two more kicks as he crawled.


Hit AC 26 and 30 for 10 and 11 DMG.  Total DMG 21.  Whack-a-Mole.

Dude is down to 5 HP.

 

This message was last edited by the player at 09:55, Wed 14 June.

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Buto
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Finding nothing but an overturned room yet again, Buto turned and opened the next door.  At some point, Fario had joined him.  Fario, there you are.  Buto is checking rooms, perhaps you could be useful and help him.  Is Wink coming behind you?  All the others have gone past except Temple, but he is outside, Buto thinks.

What’s behind door number 3

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Narrator GM
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As Buto is checking the next room Fario comes rushing towards him screaming.  “There coming up the other stairs behind us!  Where are the others?”

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Buto
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Buto’s sleepy, bored expression brightened into a rather gruesome expression.  And you just left Wink behind?  Then we have work to do, Fario.  Come with Buto, and ready your bow.  Maybe you will get lucky and hit something.  Buto will definitely hit something. Buto was about to bound off down the hallway when he pauses a moment and yelled toward the others.  Kray, you can make use of that big bow, and Wink might need your healing. Before heading down the hallway, Buto grabbed one of the overturned tables from the room he was in, and carried it in front of him, to ward off arrows.

Double Move back the way we came

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Crow
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” Stop playing with your food, Ash-ling”

Crow casually slides between the big bodies between her and the human, then pins him to the ground.

Bowshot against fav enemy, -4 for prone, provokes an AOO if the human can.
Hit AC 20 for 9 magic damage

Unfortunately, between the deeply breathing masses of Crutch and Ash, and death rattle of the piggie on spit, she can’t hear exactly what Buto says.  She did she Kray rush off down the hall.
“This can’t be good…

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Kray
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“What happened to Wink?  Why does he need healing? Can you even hear me?” 

Kray pauses only a minute, hating the idea of rushing into danger with only the Suli for company, then breaks into a sprint.  Wink?  Alone back there…. not good.  Curse these short legs!

“I am coming Buto!”

Full sprint after Buto

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Temple
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A number of things become apparent to The Skinner in rapid succession… Someone has taught these animals what a crossbow bolt is and means… And while they’re not particularly good climbers, someone has also taught them to work door handles.

Neither situation is really for the best, but well, what can you do in life except deal with things as they come?

A tree serving as really quite good protection from overhead fire, he slings his bow without breaking it down again and moves quietly along the rooftops, peering into the other courtyard as he goes – no sense lingering around the place he just caused such a ruckus after all.

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx was torn between Cruch and Wink.  Blood ran deeper than friendship but Cruch wasn’t hurting right now so, Jinx took off running to see if she could help her friend.  “Cruch I am going to see if I can help.  You stay with Crow and Ash!”

Double move back towards the beginning.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:19, Thu 15 June.

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Cruch
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When Crow flew through his space, Cruch ducked slightly but saw what his friend had done.  His arrow had obviously put the man down finally.  “Guys, J went back to see about W, B, and F.  Do we continue attacking or head back?”

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Narrator GM
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Buto began to run back to see about Wink.  As he approached the door leading to the hallway where they left Wink he saw someone and stopped.  They saw him too and all three of the men were ready with their bows having just shot Wink to death.

They all took shots at Buto, the first one hit him in the shoulder and dropped his bow while pulling a longsword from his hip, the second guy shot twice hitting him both times.  The third guy did as the first.  He hit him in the other shoulder and then dropped his bow and grabbed his blade.  Buto, you take 26 damage.
10:46, Today: Narrator rolled 20,6,20,6,24,11,19,3 using D20+10,d8+2,d20+10,d8+3,d20+10,d8+3,d20+10,d8+2.

Temple moved to a different spot and looked down into the courtyard to find the baboons moving towards and open door.

Crow you killed the man, as you did he slumped down and moved out of sight.

Kray and Fario moved to try and catch up with Buto.

Your turn again guys.

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Kray
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  “Slow down you big boulder!”   Kray said to the sound of Buto’s step’s disappearing into the distance.  He thought about Wink, alone, in need of healing, and said louder “Run faster!”

Kray suited his own words and hurtled through the halls after the Suli, as much as his little legs and the winding hallways allowed him to “hurtle”.  He more resembled a feathere black marble in a ball maze.

This message was last edited by the player at 06:54, Thu 15 June.

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Crow
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Crow watches yet another member of her crew run off into the inn.  “We need to stick together.  Ash, were their more? ”

Seeing Ash’s gesture around the corner, Crow steps up and looks down the passageway (stairs?)

5 Ft adjustment.  Full attack if she sees someone.
Hit AC 19 for 13 Damage
Hit AC 16 for 12 damage…  if there is anyone there.

HP 37, AC 18

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Fario (NPC)
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Fario moved up so that he could see into the doorway and put an arrow to his bow and fired through a small space right at the first man across the way.

The arrow hit the first person in the leg causing 8 points of damage.

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx kept moving trying to catch up and pray that she would get to Wink in time.

Double move up behind Kray.

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Temple
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With things starting to get noisy inside, the Skinner can’t help but think that it’s starting to get rather dangerous around here and the impulse to go back and pick up his experimental subject to carry off rises for a moment, before he registers that if he does he’s never going to hear the end of it from the boring old stick-in-the-mud and he unslings his bow to make a second attempt at puncturing an ape.

Once again, a bolt slaps into the turf just to one side of the primate and, with a sigh he continues flowing quietly over the rooftops, following the sounds of his allies below him, intending to at least try and support them as best he can.

Shoot, achieve ****-all again, press on! ^_^

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:26, Thu 03 Aug.

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Buto
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By this stage, most of Buto’s companions are familiar with the rage beast that lives inside his heart.  Most of them have seen or even experienced first hand as that well of violent fury overflowed its banks.  The three men who drew fletching to ear as they saw the blue-green skinned body turn the corner have not, but they quickly learned.

At the sight of the three men, armed and aiming at him, Buto’s rage, his true, hateful, homicidal madness broke it’s chains.  His appendages took on that smoky look, as if enveloped in a cloud of blackened fumes.  They grew and distended in an unnatural, mind-bending way.  It might have been this that prevented the archers from understanding the danger they were currently in.

The front man fired.  Buto would later learn that the arrow struck him in the shoulder, but for now, it did not register.  His axe, however, did, scoring a deep gash across the man’s stomach, spilling blood and entrails.  AoO Hit AC 25 for 24 DMG.

The second archer, who most likely felt a safe distance back from the monster in front of him, also loosed an arrow; and Buto’s axe, moved with an incredible speed wrought from Buto’s rage.  The slice nearly severed the man’s leg off, as the axe blade swooped upward. AoO 2 Hit AC 23 for 28 DMG As the blade swept up near the man’s shoulder, he managed to loose his second arrow before the axe twisted and sliced his throat open, spilling the rest of his life down his leather jacket. AoO 3 hit AC 29 for 26 DMG.  54 total DMG both AoOs.  Dead Man.

The man further back also managed to loose an arrow, but to his great fortune, he was far enough away to be safe.

Buto let out an enormous roar as the man in the middle collapsed to the floor.  Buto drew his axe back, it’s movement oddly winding and snakelike with his long arms.  The movements were natural, not gangly at all.  When he brought the enormous blade forward the next time, his arms seemed to uncoil, almost like a whip propelling the blade forward at the speed of sound.  Buto’s ATK hit AC 31 CRIT, Hit AC 22 to confirm.  85 DMG   The blade crushed the man’s skull more than split it, leaving a small lump upon the man’s shoulders where a head used to be.  Blood, brains and bone splattered in every direction covering both Buto and the man who used to be standing behind two companions facing a blue-skinned being in a doorway.  Now that man was standing alone, protected only by two blood-stained, mutilated corpses.

Buto took a stride forward, putting him within striking distance of the man.  He said nothing, as was usual, for the conversational, thinking part of his mind was hidden behind thick curtains of rage.  However, his blood stained glower said more than words ever could have.

5′ step forward

This message was last edited by the player at 14:54, Wed 09 Aug.

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Asho Iduska
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Crow relayed a quick message that around the corner were stairs, and no sign of the archer that had shot at Ash.  Ash could have signalled to Crow and Cruch, but he chose to speak, instead. I’m not sure what this is all about.  This place is crawling with archers.  And what in the nine-hells is all that screeching?  It sounds like a thousand cats in heat downstairs. Listen, we’re here for the job, so we gotta see it through and find this elf.   We can’t go back to town with empty hands.  But I think we need to regroup.  There must be three or four sets of stairs leading down, and now at least one of these wastoids has made it downstairs to warn the others.  So, any element of surprise we once had, is definitely gone.  Let’s find the others, form up into some semblance of a team, and see if we can locate this elf.

Assuming Crow and Cruch agree, Ash will lead the three of them down the hall, on the lookout for flying arrows.  Double Move back toward the others.

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Narrator GM
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Kray finally almost caught up to Buto and as he did Jinx was there passing by him, she had caught up with her long legs.

Crow moved slightly to see down the stairs, but the angle of the long stairwell didn’t allow her to see much beyond the end of the stairs and no one was there at the moment.

Fario managed to choke down his fear long enough to move and shoot the lead archer in the leg.

Temple once again failed to shoot one of the moving baboons at they were moving through the courtyard.  Once again the things moved out of sight.  Temple presumed that they too like the others found an opening inside as he heard windows break below him.

Buto had taken some arrows for his recklessness but dished out even more pain as he cut deep into one and killed the second in line.  The third man remained untouched but saw what happened and while moving back he picked up his bow and shot at the raged man hitting him for another 5 damage as the arrow hit him in the thigh.

The other guy didn’t even get to think as Buto sliced his head in two and slumped to the ground.

Ash, Cruch, and finally Crow move back towards their companions knowing that this death trap would be easier together.

There is indeed a loud screeching heard from below.  The baboons had obviously entered the building and were on the move.

Next round!!

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Crow
———————————————————–
“Your forked tongue speaks truth for once.  We join the other, stop chasing rabbits’ tails. You lead.  I will watch our back.”

Crow made her way after the big boys, keeping an eye on their back trail.  She also strained her ears to hear the sound of feet on steps, doors opening… anything aside from the shrieking.

  Perception check for movement upstairs behind them -30  She is very accustomed to picking out sounds in the din of a city crowd

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Kray
———————————————————–
AC19, HP27
Not for the first time, Kray debated his heavy armor.  It was impossible to keep up with the long legs of Ash, Crow, Crutch, and in this case, Buto, while laden down with all this weight.

But, he told himself, he did’t chase fights. He didn’t need to be fast; the enemy had to come to him… and would be full of arrows by the time they did.  He also didn’t need to run away.  If they got close, they would learn his bow had spikes for a reason.

He told himself this while hearing the sound of Buto fighting in the next room.  “Please let Wink be hiding in his magical darkness.  Please! 

He raced past Jinx and finally caught the big Suli, that giant axe dripping with fresh blood. “Where is Wink?”

Kray spotted the archer in down the hall and took a snap shot at them, years of practice in tight quarters giving him the angle to shoot past his giant companion. Even so, his aim was not great.

Bow shot at archer
Hit AC16 for 11 Damage

This message was last edited by the player at 06:00, Sat 17 June.

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Wink
———————————————————–
Wink saw shadows coming for him. He was not sure if it was his imagination, but he felt so comforted by their presence. Maybe Wink was becoming a true shadow? There is where his consciousness ended and he finally achieved becoming a shadow and receded into the peaceful folds of darkness.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:58, Sun 18 June.

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Buto
———————————————————–
The man who had previously been sheltered behind his companions turned to run, ducking to grab the bow he had hastily dropped a few moments ago when he must have thought he had a rather secure tactical advantage.  The whirlwind of Buto’s axe that had cut down his two friends also managed to strike him from behind as he attempted to flee, the blade biting deep into the leather and tissues between his shoulder blades, splitting both and carving deep into the meat that held his shoulders together. AoO Hit AC 24 for 27 DMG

The man managed to turn and fire an arrow that Buto would later find in his thigh.  For now, the arrow was outside the red curtain.  Only the man’s face, now quivering with fear, was in focus.  Buto exploded forward, his charge powered by his rage, his axe leaving yet another bloody, mangled corpse in its wake.  Buto proved to be quite the absolute polar opposite of Temple, with his exacting methods and extreme attention to detail.  But no one could deny that both had a tendency to leave a scene of absolute horror behind them.  Charge Hit AC 32 for 32 DMG.  Another one bites the dust.

From this vantage, Buto could just make out the dark skin of a body lying near the top of the stairs down the hallway.  Probably dead already.  So long, Wink, and thanks for all the fish.  Buto yelled back to the others.  Jinx, Kray, Wink is down!

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Asho Iduska
———————————————————–
Ash moved quickly down the hallway, intent on catching up with the others.  He wasn’t sure what had caused them to take off back the way they had come from, but it certainly wasn’t to chase the ice sweets cart that occasionally drove up and down the streets of Ptolus.

Ash’s long legs ate up the wooden floor quickly and soon he caught up to the others, who were moving through an incredibly gory scene.  The walls and floor were painted crimson and the whole group seemed flustered.

What’s got all your scales scuffed?  I’m hunting a predator back there, turn around, and my whole rear flank is blowin’ in the wind. SO, what’s it about?

Double Move.  Looking out for any incoming threats.  Perception: 19

This message was last edited by the player at 05:56, Sun 18 June.

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Cruch
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Cruch kept moving along with Ash and Crow and he finally caught up to see Jinx and Fario disappear down the hall running through gore.  “Buto must have been having some fun here.  Much more than I have.”  Cruch looked down at his claws then and noticed only blood on one clawed hand.

“We need to get together!”  Cruch called to the others.

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Jinx the Black
———————————————————–
Jinx moved past Buto and that deadly axe of his and as she neared the stairs she saw Wink lying with 3 arrows in his back face down on the stairs.  He didn’t look alive but she moved up to him to check and see if he were alive.

15 heal check to see if he is alive or not.

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Temple
———————————————————–
The difference in approach is also one in effectiveness, with Buto having utterly destroyed target after target and Temple (well, The Skinner at the moment) having so far achieved the next best thing to nothing at all, although in his defence it’s difficult to set up his preferred ‘has anyone seen Ted, oh by the gods, where’s his face?’ approach to working his way through an enemy when there’s all this screaming and shouting going on.

In any event, the sound of crashing and screaming from below causes him to reverse course and head back the way he came, looking to reconnect with the group since the whole ‘scout things out and work out what’s going on’ thing appears to have fallen to pieces in the first couple of minutes.

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Narrator GM
———————————————————–
Crow followed along in silence but she was active in her listening and what she could tell is that those baboons not in the courtyard any longer and were moving all about the first level and would most likely be making their way up to this level any second.

Kray moved forward and shot his bow hitting the last man standing… at least until Buto would get to him…

A second later it happened as Buto’s axe cleaved right through the man and he died on the spot.

Ash and Cruch came upon the bloody scene to find Jinx run off and Kray shooting his bow at an unknown assailant.

Jinx when you finally reach Jinx’s body you can tell that it is too late.  You don’t know how long but he is definitely dead.

Temple rushed back towards the courtyard trying to follow the group and the noise they were making.

At the bottom of the stairs where Jinx is a raucous is heard.. a second later she could see the baboons, 4 of them in fact, hit the bottom of the stairs and were just making their way up.  Behind her, she could tell that there were more coming from that direction as well.

Next round

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Jinx the Black
———————————————————–
Jinx was about to cry out at the loss of her friend.  The poor little Wink just laying there helpless made her angry at these thieves.  She would make sure that they ALL paid with their lives!

Jinx turned to her friends and said with hurt in her eyes and voice, “Wink is dead!”  It was then that she saw the baboons coming up the stairs.  Jinx fell back towards Buto and the others while getting Fario to come along.  Of course, he didn’t need much coaxing as he too heard the baboons coming.  “The baboons are coming!”

Move 30ft and ready to make an action with her standard action.

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Kray
———————————————————–
Kray ran past Buto as he eviscerated the remaining archer and made it to Jinx just in time to hear her scream out…  just as Wink’s little body came into view, sprawled on the stair.  He was so eager to help… he had not been ready for the crew’s work.  Kray should have never left him alone.

Kray’s rage wasn’t loud, or involved screaming and cursing.  No, it was silent focus.  A swelling inner power that screamed silently to be let. out.  As Jinx scrambled back behind him, Kray set his feet to break the oncoming rush of enemies and channeled his power. His black feather lighted to a dark grey as they became as hard as iron.

  Double move to stairs, swift action to cast Iron SKin.

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Buto
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Wink is dead. Buto thought he should feel something if one of his fellow orphans died, but he didn’t.  Maybe if Temple died he would feel something, Buto had spent a lot of time dealing with the small man.  Buto’s earliest and strongest memories were of all of his childhood friends being slain in front of him, and then his mother dying while cradling him in her arms.  Against that, nothing much was worth shedding tears.

But Jinx had yelled that some baboons were coming.  Buto wasn’t sure what baboons would be doing in the inn.  That made for an odd choice of companion.  Certainly they wouldn’t have attacked the inn on their own, so someone was driving them.  And, if the baboons were coming up the stairs, then the one driving them must be right behind.  Better to make sure they have a tough time of it.

Buto trudged through the muck of the men who had thought to fill him with arrows, and had halfway succeeded at that job, stepping over their lifeless bodies, before jogging to the head of the stairs.  The small bird, stood there with his bow drawn.  Buto didn’t acknowledge him, but rather shoved him roughly back a step as Buto moved to the top of the stairs.  He could see the baboons below, jumping and screaming madly.  Someone truly was driving them, he was sure of it.

Near his feat lay the body of Wink, as dark and small in death as he had been in life.  No time for that now.

Buto prepared himself for an attack from the baboons and whoever else might decided to ascend the stairs.  As he waited, Buto made a small gesture with his hand and attempted the words that Teyefe had taught him so long ago, that only recently began to work.

Move to the top of the stairs.  Cast Shield.
AC: 22
HP: 32

This message was last edited by the player at 07:45, Mon 19 June.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash moved through the massacre and found the group forming up near the top of a set of stairs.  Buto had already taken the prime position with Kray providing cover. So, Ash pushed Kray a step forward, sliding past him and moving to the mouth of the next hallway.  He would cover that direction and be ready to turn and support the others, if necessary.  Good thing we made this a quiet operation.  I’d hate to alert everyone in the next town over

Ash takes up position in the hallway, looking for any incoming threats.
AC: 21
HP: 33

This message was last edited by the player at 07:51, Mon 19 June.

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Cruch
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Cruch was singing again and his raging song filled the air around him.  He moved past Jinx but told her and Fario to stay close to him and not get too far back.  If baboons were coming he would meet them with tooth and claw!

Move 30 ft and use a standard to activate raging song.

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Crow
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Crow heard the cries and shouts from up ahead and raced to keep up with the two green hides of the two boys as they raced back to join the others.  Ash-ling, you had to race off!  Discipline! .  She kept one eye on their backtrail as she raced through the halls.

“They are coming up through all the stairs, we need to circle up in a cross hall! Yes?”

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Narrator GM
———————————————————–
Jinx, Kray, and Buto had already seen the baboons begin their ascent up the stairs but the call that they were coming from everywhere couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Ash saw them come up the stairs and approached him.  They tried to bite him with their sharp teeth. The first one bit down on your armored leg but didn’t puncture the armor but the second bit a little lower on the ankle puncturing your flesh for 3 points of damage.  Two more were right behind them ready if one fell.  Behind them, two archers came around the corner, and seeing you they shot their bows one arrow hit Ash.

The four that came up the stairs at Buto none managed to live.  Behind the last one just barely seen were two archers and they fired on Buto.  One archer hit you hard enough that it got past your armor and bit into flesh taking 6 damage.

Crow can definitely hear the baboon noises coming from behind him.

Your turns once more.

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:06, Wed 21 June.

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Kray
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Kray Raised his bow at the apes, and each one ran into Buto’s executing axe before he could fire the arrow.  That was fine, the target he really wanted finally came into view at the bottom of the stairs… archers.  Wink hadn’t been killed by claws and fur, but by arrows with fletchings.

The warpirest let two arrows fly past Buto toward the archers.  The window was very tight, and the angles were wrong, so it was a challenging pair of shots at best.

Rapid attack with Sacred Weapon and point blank shot
Hit AC 17 for 11 damage
Hit AC 14 for 11 Damage

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Asho Iduska
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The attack exploded wildly upon the members of Ugly, Inc.  Baboons and more of those Nalinivati-cursed archers.  Ash could hear that some had come up the stairs behind him, and maybe along the other hallway, as well, he couldn’t be sure.  It was so LOUD.  He kept his focus on his own hallway.  Whatever happened to the others would happen, but he had to keep this hallway protected.  Ash could feel Crow behind him, could almost make out her dark feathers in his wide peripheral vision.  At least he wasn’t alone.

The baboons came first, wild creatures doing who-knows-what in this inn.  They were strong for their size, but definitely not capable fighters.  They thrashed around him ineffectively.  One of them nearly managed to bite his arm, but Ash managed to pull away at the last instant.  Snake Style AC:33 to cause the baboon to miss.

Then the archers loosed.  The first one completely missed, probably trying to squeeze his arrow through the mass of baboons.  The second arrow was on target for Ash’s chest, but the arm he pulled away from the baboon luckily also knocked the arrow off target, and the shaft clattered harmlessly to the floor. Deflect Arrows on the second arrow.

Crow, aim for the archers.  I’ll get these infernal animals out of the way

Ash held up his arms in a boxing stance, and took two quick swings at two of the baboons surrounding him.  Two baboons, most likely completely unaware of why they were here and what they were doing, fell dead to the floor.  Sorry, fellas.  It’s just business, you know.

Hit AC 20 and AC 28.  DMG 8 and 13, killing two baboons

This message was last edited by the player at 05:28, Wed 21 June.

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Buto
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A mob of baboons ran up the stairs toward Buto.  The poor creatures certainly had no choice in their being here, but here they were, and being driven to attack.  Buto said a word of apology to them under his breath and then honored them with a quick death, one enormous swing of his axe slicing through all four furry bodies as they scampered up the stairs.  Suddenly the howling in the stairwell was silent.  The howling from the hallway continued.

An pair of arrows flew up the stairs, one thunking into the wall nearby, but the second bit deep into Buto’s leather armor, drawing a trickle of blood.  Buto drew his axe back, readying it for another swing as he moved down the stairs.  He could not quite make out who was there, but the two pair of feet were a giveaway.  As he neared, Buto found two more leather-clad men with bows.  His swing was fast and vicious, striking one of the men on the side, his blade biting deep through the man’s leather garments.

Buto moves to within 10′ of the two men he can see and attacks.  Hit AC 22 for 22 pts of DMG.
Shield Remaining: 39 rounds
AC: 22
HP: 26

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Crow
———————————————————–
Crow burst into the hallway with the rest of her crew, preparing to stop and cover the way she had come when she heard a cry from her little nestmate. “ Ash’s needs help” .  Kray was clearly shooting at something down the stairs, and couldn’t help Ash himself.  Feeling the urge not just to aid his call but also to have his back from whatever was coming up the stairs… and whatever might get through Ash, Crow abandoned her plan and raced past Jinx, Crutch, and the elf.

She snapped off a quick warning and command as she raced past.  “I’ll help Ash.  There are more behind me.  Delay them, yes? “  She doubted Fario would be any use, but any oncoming Apes would meet their match in Crutch’s claws and Jinx would have any archers sleeping on their bows.

With that, she raced past Kray and found Ash engaged with a horde of monkeys and a pair of piggies with bows.  She skidded to a halt, wings half flared like air brakes, and prepared to deal with the opposing archers.

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Cruch
———————————————————–
Even as Crow rushed past him she gave him and Jinx a command to watch their backs.  So Cruch moved back the way he had just come and held himself ready to attack whatever came around the corner.  “Jinx if you see an archer put him to sleep will you?  Fario shoot whatever you see coming around the corner, baboon or man.”

16:49, Today: Cruch rolled 27,11 using d20+9,d6+5.  readied claw attack.

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Jinx the Black
———————————————————–
Jinx moved with her brother, she and him would hold the line in the room and not let anything past them.  She would even use her spear if she needed too to defend her brother and her friends.

Ready an action to put a human to sleep.

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Temple
———————————————————–

Glancing out of the corner of his eye, The Skinner sees arrows fly and apes attack through the windows at the opposite side of the courtyard and – sighing – changes direction to head that way with some thought of attempting to flank and decimate the archers before things get too heated.

Not sure from the map because I can only see one floor (mine) but I want to try coming up behind those archers loosing arrows at Ash. There’s stairs north of them, a hall south of them and I can’t see if there’s access into either.

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Narrator GM
———————————————————–
Kray now in the thick of the battle with the others opens up with a rapid shot.  He watched as both arrows thudded into the wood floor at the archers feet.

Ash dodged and batted away blows and an arrow before he went on the offensive himself.  He hit the front two baboons and killed them with his deadly martial arts while stealing himself for the next round of arrows and baboons that would come his way.

Buto having no combatants right in front of him, bound down the stairs 3 at a time and crashed his axe into the archer on the left with an ugly-sounding chop as rib bones were crushed.  The archer moved from the combat further into the room and then took a shot.  The arrow flew true but didn’t inflict much damage on the Suli, take 3 damage.  The other backed up 5ft and took his shot at the ugly Suli.  Two arrows came out rapidly and while they both hit Buto only one made it past his armor, take 8 damage.

When both men backed away, Buto saw two more archer behind a table.  They both shot and while you were distracted both archer hit for a total of 14 damage.
[Private to Buto: Buto look at the small map at the upper right.]

Cruch readied an attack knowing the baboons were coming and sure enough, they hit the corner and rushed him.  Cruch swiped across with his claws and took the throat of the first baboon.  The next 2 tried to bite bim but missed him.  The third came up as well but it too missed.

Then the first archer came slowly around the corner trying to get in a shot at Cruch but Jinx’s magic put him to sleep and he fell over.  The second moved just enough to take a shot at Cruch and hit him square in the chest for 7 damage.

Temple was trying to find a way to get behind the archers near Ash but there was no way unless he went inside the 2nd floor and then down one of the stairs to come up behind and that would take entirely too long.  There was the option of heading through the windows before Ash or behind Kray.  Lastly, he could go in the window below him and come in behind whatever Jinx and Cruch were fighting.

Fario shot at the archer with his readied shot and hit him for 8 damage.

The baboons on Ash couldn’t bite you at all.

The archers now took a shot at Crow seeing the new combatant.  Both arrows hit Crow in the leg and shoulder for a total of 13 damage.

Your turn!!

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Crow
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  Hp 24 AC 18

“Two on one. Yes?  Let’s see if a pig can shoot a bow.” 
Crow smiled with pleasure as she worked her bow.  She loved showing the pinkies that, for all their arrogance and assumed superiority, they were soft and weak.  These were bad odds for the dark archer, but she revealed it just the same.

Two arrows lashed out quickly at one of the assassins, Crow eager to even the odds.  One struck true, but the other might have glanced off its armour.

Rapid shot on closet archer
Hit AC 18 for 13 damage
Hit AC 26 for 14 Damage

07:15, Today: Crow rolled 18,26,13,14 using 1d20+12,1d20+12,1d8+7,1d8+7 ((6,14,6,7)).

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Temple
———————————————————–

With flanking taken off the table as an option, The Skinner makes a martyred sigh and instead scurries along the rooftop, sure-footed upon the sloping tiles and swings down through the window at the end of his run – one he saw when making entry into the room along the hall long minutes ago – so that, in the next few moments (once he’s caught his breath) he can open the door and step out in front of the archers he’s quite, quite sure are standing outside of it.

Confirming my last round as a double-move, this round as a move-and-open (well, open-and-move) putting me behind the door ready for a 5′ step when the next round comes around.

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Jinx the Black
———————————————————–
Jinx had put one of the archers asleep and with a very wicked smile she looked at the other and sand a soft song beckoning the other man to fall asleep as well.

As the song hit the man he too fell dead asleep next to his companion.

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Cruch
———————————————————–
One baboon had already been torn to shreds by his claws, and three others came at him.  Cruch clawed and bit them with a hunger for death even the baboons couldn’t match.

Where once stood three baboons now stood none as Cruch’s claws and teeth ripped through the baboons like paper.  Blood sprayed everywhere as the baboons were torn apart, leaving a grotesque toothy grin on Cruch’s face.

Fario wasn’t even able to get in another shot but he kept his head on a swivel as he checked back up behind him to make sure the others were still behind him.

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Buto
———————————————————–
The archer managed to pry his body off of Buto’s axe, his ribs scraping audibly across the wicked metal blade.  Terror in his eyes, the man turned to flee, but Buto’s axe crushed the remaining life out of his body before he got a step away.

AoO Hit AC 27 for 24 damage.  Dead archer.

Buto hardly had time to savor his victory as another volley of arrows struck him, some of them finally deeply enough to break through the red mist.  Buto, brutal as he may be, and often unworldly, is not stupid.  Despite is bravado and enjoyment of battle, he does not seek an unnecessary death.  He has been known to make tactical withdrawals as he did when facing Kazmojen.  Understanding that he may not be able to sustain another volley of arrows, and seeing that he cannot reach the group of archers in time to stop them, he retreats back up the stairs, putting himself out of the line of sight of their arrows.

Still brimming with rage, and eager to rejoin the fight, Buto snarls at the little black bird behind him. Heal! Now!


AC:22
HP:4
Shield Remaining 38 Rounds

This message was last edited by the player at 13:10, Tue 27 June.

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Asho Iduska
———————————————————–
Ash saw the twin arrow fly beyond him and catch Crow.  As much as Kray was his best friend and adopted brother, Ash was actually closer in age to Crow, and the two of them had raised Kray together when he was still very young.  That experience had forged a bond between them that was often unnoticed.This is taking too long.

Rather than continue squabbling with these baboons, Ash turned his attention on the more serious threats down the hall.  He gave one of the baboons a Heismann-quality stiffarm, followed by a quick spin, and dodged past both of the apes.

Acrobatics rolls of 28 and 20 to avoid AoOs from the baboons.

Once past the zoo-escapees, Ash took two quick steps and then brought a big boot up, catching one of the men square in the chest, knocking the wind out of him, and causing him to fall, gasping for breath, to the floor.

Who’re you looking at, fools.  You should be lookin’ at the only man, who is lord and master of this inn, that is better than you are!  And here he is!

Move 15′ and trip ATK one of the two.  Trip ATK CBM 31

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Kray
———————————————————–
HP27,AC 23

Kray watched Buto’s giant rear disappear down the stairs, only to reappear moments, later, bristling with fresh arrow shafts and barking orders.

It wasa measure of how Wink’s death had shaken him that the little archer did not bristle or even really acknowledge Buto’s tone or command.  No more deaths.

“Fall back.  You have more arrows in you then my quiver!  Crow, Ash, we need to Fall Back!

He placed one hand on the angry Suli and held his necklace with the other, channeling his divine power into the strongest magical healing he could muster.  Then he set his feet and prepared to cover the rest as they fell back

  Empowered healing – Channel cure moderate wounds.  13+50% – 19 HP to Buto
“Help Crow, I got the stairs.

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Narrator GM
———————————————————–
Crow, liking the odds he has against the archers, takes aim and fires two arrows.  The first shot just barely missed the man and thudded into the wall behind the man while the other got him right on the thigh.  It was painful as the guy grabbed the arrow and broke it off while grimacing.

Temple moved to where he could help in the fight and was ready to make an appearance.

Jinx put the last archer to sleep that she was fighting while Cruch took care of all the baboons near him.

Buto, so savage with the butcher’s axe as it easily takes out another archer makes a tactical retreat.  With many arrows protruding from his torso, it was time to get healing from his black-feather friend.

Ash did some kind of pushing maneuver and rushed past the two baboons that were looking for blood and caught the archer unaware as Ash’s boot knocked him into the wall with enough force to drop him to the floor on his hands and knees.

Kray was there for Buto when he begged for healing.  Using his god-given powers of healing he did just that.  Buto’s wounds began to mend after he ripped the arrows out of his flesh.

The archer near Ash was about to do something but caught something out of the corner of its eye and decided to flee down the hall.

The archer on his hands and knees was suddenly kicked in the gut flying five feet down the hall and a large orc-baboon-looking figure stepped into the doorway to face Ash.  It wielded a falchion and swung it in hard at Ash with both hands missing just barely as it crashed into the door jam beside him.

The baboons rushed Crow biting at him but neither could get through the sharp defenses of the winged archer.

The archers down the stairs moved to a position they could shoot up the stairs and found only Kray as a target.  Two of them shot at Kray but only one arrow hit him for 5 points of damage.

Next round.  I updated roll20 again.

===========================================================
Kray
———————————————————–
AC 23, HP 22/27, 37 rounds of Iron Skin left

Kray put paid to his words to Buto and let fly two arrows in rapid succession.  For all his tough words, he wouldn’t last long in two-to-one odds, but hopefully he could keep them pinned down until the others cleared the second floor.

He called upon more of his divine power to cast a spell without stopping for word or gesture, fueling it with pure fervor, and blessing his bow with Divine Favor.

   Cast Divine favor (10 rounds) using Fervor to cast as swift action, rapid shot on whichever archer looks injured.

Hit AC 27 for 13 damage
Hit AC 19 for 14 damage

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Crow
———————————————————–
AC 18, HP37

Buto!  Ash needs help. Looks like we finally found these Ape-Men.  Let’s see what color they bleed.  Yes?

Crow took a step away from the critters, feeling more than seeing Kray’s slight frame behind her, working his bow.  </i>Back to back, eh? </i> Not the first time they had held off an assault like this, and she would make sure it was not their last.

  “They will not get us like little Wink.  Yes?  Stay focused nest brother.”

Crow worked her bow at the baboons, pining one to the wall behind it but catching her bow against the wall as she moved to give Buto a path past in the narrow hall… her second shaft falling from the bow un-shot.

Rapid shot at baboons
1st shot- Hit AC 27 for 12 damage
2nd shot – Nat 1 –

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Buto
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Buto heard Crow’s call and headed her direction, shoving his way past Kray and then Crow.  Finally a worthy opponent.  Buto did not concern himself with the arrows still protruding from his body, a couple of the shafts snapping off as he shoved his way down the hall, elbowing the last living baboon as he went.

Move with acrobatics (check 14)

What he saw at the end of the hallway was an odd cross between Cruch and a large, angry ape.  Buto couldn’t imagine what gods-cursed wizard, for this was surely the creation of a wizard, had made this beast.  Time to undo that work.

Buto roared, the cry echoing through the hallway, and his odd, smoke-shrouded arms seemed to almost fill the entire area. Despite that, Buto still seemed capable of moving that enormous axe of his in a regular motion, already drawing back in an intent to strike.

Cast Longarm

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Asho Iduska
———————————————————–
Ash could hardly believe the thing standing in front of him.  Of course, in comparison to the floating, eye-stalk-covered testicle they had seen in Kazmojen’s lair, or even Kazmojen himself, this ape-being would be relatively light on the eyes.  But, shine his scales, the thing stunk.

Fortunately for Ash, the Ape-Orc had to turn its eyes to the archer and kicked the wheezing man down the hall.  That moment gave Ash the opening he needed, and the struck the beast’s other leg out from under it, causing it to crumple into a rank heap on the floor.    Ash took the opportunity to deliver a big kick directly into the thing’s side.  I don’t know who you are, but you met your match right now, hcause I’m a psycho, and I’m comin’ after you!


ATK 1: Trip Nat 20, success!
ATK 2: Hit AC 29 for 10 DMG

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Cruch
———————————————————–
Cruch and Jinx move to the two sleeping men and begin to tie them up for questioning later.

They also stay where they are incase there are more enemies coming.

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Temple
———————————————————–

As Ash manages to kick the legs out from under the massive, ape-like thing engaging him the door at his side is abruptly thrown open and The Skinner lunges out like a particularly unholy fright-house clown, leather coat flapping and the stitched-together beak of his mask parting in a wet and horrifying fashion… There’s a flash of far, far too many chisel-like teeth and unnaturally long, curling fingers as the abhorrent surgeon leers ineffectually around the corner with something of the effect of a sideshow spook then recoils back, unable to perform any particularly effective attacks while the corridor is occupied and he’s having to work around Ash.

So that’s where he’s been!

Striking around the corner at -2, hitting 16 for 8, and a 20 for 5 with claws, then a 24 for 5 with a bite.

Opening the door as a free action, then hitting an 18 for 14 and a 22 for 16 with claws, a 26 for 17 with a bite. There’s a 5′ step available if I need one.

00:38, Today: Temple rolled 18,16,22,16,26,17 using 1d20+10,3D6+4,1d20+10,3D6+4,1d20+10,3D6+4.  Hello! This is the Skinner, And I would like to share with you Sneak Attack!
16:33, Today: Temple rolled 6 using 3d6 with rolls of 4,1,1.  Corrected damage.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:36, Fri 30 June.

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Narrator GM
———————————————————–
Kray had gotten hit but that didn’t stop him from taking aim and hitting the one that hit him.  Both his arrows hit the man and Kray watched as he fell back out of sight.  But that was short-lived as someone else took his place.

Crow was next and she stepped away from the bloodthirsty baboons and shot at them both, but with them jumping all around trying to get at Crow she missed one but the other died to the arrow she put in its head.

Buto cast a spell and came into the hallway where he saw a strange-looking humanoid baboon man laying on the floor.  Ash had obviously tripped it.  Then he saw Skinner reach around a corner and slash at the thing from a doorway.  His claws seemingly having no effect on the things flesh.

Ash had tripped the beast and then hit it for good measure.  His kick didn’t seem to do anything to the thing.

Cruch and Jinx tied up the two men and pulled them to the door behind them where Fario could keep an eye on them.  They waited in case more archers or baboons showed up.


Toungueater stood up from being tripped and roared as he struck out at Ash for his insolence.  He slashed again with his falcion and this time he was way more accurate.  If not for Ash’s reflexes he surely would have scored a deadly hit.  Hit AC34 for 14 damage.  His second attack missed poorly as he couldn’t recover from the heavy hit he made.

The archers down on the first floor took aim at Kray again.  Again only one of them hit the tiny bird-like man for 6 damage.

The last baboon moved to engage Crow but wasn’t able to get through his armor as it bit Crow.

You guys turn once more!

This message was lightly edited by the GM at 08:19, Sat 01 July.

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Jinx the Black
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With the mend tied up Jinx got ready for whatever would come around the corner next.  She readied and action to put any man or woman to sleep as soon as she saw them.

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Cruch
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Cruch dropped his music for now.  He wanted to not waste his song in case there wasn’t any enemy heading their way.  He did ready an action to begin the song if someone came around the corner of the room.

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Kray
———————————————————–
AC23, HP 16/27

“Get this thing off me, your nestmate needs help.  Crutch, Jinx, Fallback!> 

Kray reacted to his sister’s instruction without hesitation, large drops of crimson splattering against the inn walls as the archer spun around and rapidly loosed one arrow at the baboon accosting his sister.  His blood brightly stained the iron grey feathers covering his body that glinted in the uneven torch light.

The baboon had it much worse.  The arrow took itdirectly in the chest, and it was driven back by the force of the shot bofore dropping dead to the floor.

In a second spray of blood droplets, Kray pivoted back to the stairs and took the remaining archer in the shoulder, the downhill shot driving the man to one knee for a moment.

divine weapons as a swift action, rapid shot
HIT AC23 for 19 – Baboon dead
HIT AC21 FOR 15 – archer…  hurt?
07:53, Today: Kray rolled 23,21,19,15 using 1d20+11,1d20+11,2d6+8,2d8+8 ((12,10,6,5,1,6))

This message was last edited by the player at 08:09, Sat 01 July.

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Crow
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AC18, HP24/37
Crow barely reacted as the large arrow whistled past her and thudded into the baboon in front of her, clearing her sight to the giant orc-ape.  It would be a tough shot, around both Buto and Ash, but Crow had spent years practicing shooting through tight spaces and around her crewmates.  She leaned against the wall of the hall and let two magically infused arrows fly along the space between the way and her friends, straight at the abomination.


HIT Ac17 for 13 magic damage
Hit AC 30 for 7 magic damage

08:06, Today: Crow rolled 17,30,13,7 using 1d20+11,1d20+11,1d8+6,1d8+6 ((6,19,7,1)).

This message was last edited by the player at 08:10, Sat 01 July.

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Buto
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Buto swung his Axe, which burnt with a green acidic spray as it coursed through the air,  the Suli’s  smoky limbs flashing past Ash, to strike at the Orc-thing as it attempted to stand.

Hit AC 27 (includes bonus vs. prone) for 35 DMG (5 acid)

OOC: After a discussion with the DM, Buto did not succeed the acrobatics check last round to move past the now-dead baboon, meaning he would have been stopped and not in range for an AoO.  This round he moves forward and attacks.. Temple should also get an AoO as the guy stands.
This message was last edited by the player at 04:54, Sun 02 July.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash, reeling from the strike of the Orc-Ape’s blade, lunged at the creature to grab it, but the beast was too quick and managed to avoid him.

Ash flexes Improved Grapple.  CMB 23.  Failed. 

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Temple
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Unable to take advantage of the thing’s being knocked down because there’s a wall providing it with cover (and also unable to do the thing any practical harm for the same reason), the Skinner hisses in irritation and so, rather than trying to hurt the thing just reaches back with an uncannily long, gangly arm to grab something from the bed.

From the perspective of the orc-ape, an unnatural limb clutching a thick fluffy pillow swings into view and slams the latter into its head, whereupon a world of feathers explode over it, forming a useful distraction.

Since I’m useless again, the Skinner will Aid Another, adding 2 to Ash’s AC.

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Narrator GM
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At Kray’s bidding to fall back, Cruch and Jinx drag the tied-up men back with them down the hall.  They don’t get very far but they are closer to Kray.

Kray finished off the baboon with a shot through its open maw.  Kray swiveled and shot back down the stairs hitting one of the men.  The man didn’t fall back and would soon return fire.

Crow shot two arrows at the orc-baboon man and both hit the breastplate on the creature but Crow couldn’t tell if it injured it or not for it didn’t react to the arrows.

Buto who was now able to move past Crow got within range, with his exceptionally long arms, and struck out at Tongueater.  His axe bit deep into the things flesh as it howled in pain.

Ash tried to trip the thing again but Tongueater was ready for the move and braced himself.

Temple grabbed a pillow and stuffed it in the face of Tongueater hoping to distract it from killing Ash.

Tongueater wanted this snake-man dead so he could get to Buto who had just stung him deeply so he sliced Ash twice with his blade, Hit AC26 for 14 and AC25 for 13 16:36, Today: Narrator rolled 26,14,25,13 using d20+15,2d4+9,d20+10,2d4+9.

The archers at the bottom of the stairs returned fire on Kray. Another arrow got past his defenses hitting him for 5 damage.

Your turn again, please have your AC and HP posted if you don’t already.

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:47, Mon 03 July.

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Crow
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HP24/37, AC18

Crow took charge of the fight.  She usually left this to Ash when in tight quarters, but he clearly must be suffering from blood loss at the moment.

She focused hard on the target and then began to bark orders, directing her crew to attack its weakest areas.  “Ash, back off. Buto, take his legs.  Chop him down to stumps.  Yes?  Skinner.  Claw his hamstrings.   Cruch, Jix, Help Kray!”

“Ape-man!  I can smell your fear from here.  Or did you just shit yourself?”

She chased her words with an arrow shaft directly at his exposed abdomen.

  Hunter’s bond – Grants all within 30 ft of Crow +1 Hit and +1 Dam against the Ape-Orc.
Single bowshot against the thing
Hit AC 25 for 9 Magical Damage

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Kray
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  HP 16/27, AC23

More crimson stained the Tengu’s iron grey feathers,  the feathered ends of three arrows mixed with those nature had provided… unnatural additions to the war priest’s metal plumage.

Kray didn’t fight in a rage, but instead in a cold focus.  He could feel the hot blood spilling from his wounds and knew he would not be able to continue to hold the stairs in this state.  His concern wasn’t for his own wellbeing, but instead the fear of leaving his sister and friends’ flank exposed to the assassins down the stairs.

Kray’s power didn’t just let him empower his weapons, delivering divine wrath on anything in range of his bow.  A warpriest is just as good at staying in a fight as they are at removing others from it.  Kray channeled his power into his wounds, stitching them up through sheer force of will while still managing to launch a pair of arrows at the archer below.

  Fervor on self for 5 healing
Rapid shot on Archer; if first arrow kills, turn to shoot the Ape Orc
Hit AC 28 for 20 Damage
Hit AC26 for 13 Damage

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Asho Iduska
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AC 21, HP 6

The Orc-Ape slashed at Ash, but the quick Nagaji managed to block the strike.  He couldn’t stop the second swing, which cut deep into his scales, blood spurting out onto himself and the Orc-Ape, alike.

Ash used what little reserve he had left to sweep at the thing’s legs.  He knew he could not hold on much longer, but Ash had long-since realized that his purpose in their merry band of misfits was to delay them long enough for that hulking, heaving beast that is Buto to do what he did best.  If I can just hold him off a bit longer

So much of Ash’s blood had pooled on the floor that, even though the Orc-Ape placed his feet wide and solid on the ground to counter Ash’s leg sweep, the thing’s feet slipped askew, landing firmly on his backside in a puddle of Ash’s making.

The normally loquacious Ash remained unusually silent, for once, focused on keeping the Orc-Ape down, should he try to get back up to finish the job of killing Ash.

Ash flexes Fury’s Fall. 

This message was last edited by the player at 09:09, Tue 04 July.

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Buto
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Buto saw the beast strike Ash, which the Nagaji quickly countered, bringing the ugly thing to the ground.  For just a moment, Buto thought this half-orc, half-ape would have fit well into their aesthetically-challenged clique.  Well, coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Buto swung his axe again with those unnaturally long arms, the blade biting deep.

Hit AC 24 (including bonus vs. prone) for  25 DMG (including 1 fire)

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Temple
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The Skinner, having established that he can’t usefully wound the ape-thing without being in a position to flank it continues to do what he can to impede it instead, reaching back towards the bed and – this time closing his hand around the handle of a large ceramic pot which he brings out and swings into the head of the fallen ape.

Unfortunately for said ape, it’s not an unused chamber pot and they killed the person whose job it was to clean it but hey, that’s karma for you.

18:41, Today: Temple rolled 29 using 1d20+9.  Aid Another.
Natural 20 to smash/stick a full chamber pot on the ape-thing because I am literally incapable of hurting it absent a sneak attack and I can’t sneak attack it. Aiming to give Ash a +2 to AC again, for whatever good that’s doing.

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Cruch
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Cruch with the help of Jinx, pulled the two tied up men to the next hall and that is where he waited to make his next move to head down the stairs.

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Narrator GM
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Crow barked out orders to the others even as he put an arrow to his string and shot.  The arrow hit the orc-baboon, but it clearly didn’t seem to phase him.

Kray used his powers to heal himself slightly then shot down the stairs at the archer.  Both his arrows hit the man and he dropped dead.

Ash once more tripped Tongueater the ape-man couldn’t catch himself quick enough.  He then flexed a new maneuver.

Cruch and Jinx move the men to the hall and ready for their next move.

Fario trains his aim down the hall that Cruch and Jinx just came and readied a shot should anything come.

Tongueater stood up once more ignoring the threat to be hit again, which happened as Buto punished him for standing with a nasty cut that looked like it would have severed the arm.  Tongueater in all his rage struck out once more at Ash hoping to finish him before they finished him.  His falchion sliced into Ash for the killing blow that didn’t come thanks to the pot that distracted him at the last second.

The archers down the stairs kept up their fight on Kray.  One of them hit him again but just barely, for 3 points of damage.

Your turn once more!

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Crow
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HP24 AC18
Blood Crursed Tree Crawler! Ash, you slimy-scaled dung-brain, FALL BACK!”  Make him come to Buto.  Kray, I need you.  You others, cover the stairs, I won’t no arrows in my back.  Yes?

Clearly her arrows weren’t hurting this thing, so she decided to try one of her most recent purchase.  Maybe, just maybe a little heat would slow this thing down. Time to roast this sow!

Two long, talon-tipped fingers reached into the magical bag and drew out a pair of arrows with silk bags over the tips. The bags didn’t stop the steel heads from driving deep, but they did hurt the flight characteristics just a little.  She would need to make these shots good.

  5ft step forward, rapid shot on ape with Slow Burn Arrows.  1d6 fire next round for each hit
Miss AC 12 for 14
Hit AC 23 for 9

20:31, Today: Crow rolled 12,23,14,9 using 1d20+10,1d20+10,1d8+6,1d8+6 ((2,13,8,3)).

This message was last edited by the player at 19:49, Sat 08 July.

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Kray
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HP 15, AC23
Kray responded to Crow instantaneously, forgetting in the moment the little body he had been partially protecting.  It was a body, though… and nothing he could do right now could change that.

The little archer spun on the spot and took a quick step around the corner, losing sight of the archers at the bottom of the stairs at the same moment catching sight of the tableau taking place at the far end of the hall,

Ash was covered in blood, with Buto’s smoky arms snaking past him.  Tougne Eater looked bloodied but savage, inexplicably covered in what looked like the contents of a chamber pot… and feathers.  What was happening down there?

He barely felt the last arrow that struck him, which was a bad sign.  Kray focused his power again for the second time in 10 seconds, stitching up the wound with ease, but leaving the older ones to continue to ooze crimson on his steel feathers.

Two arrows sailed past his sister, under Buto smoky arms, through Ash’s spurting blood, and into the massive Apr-Orc at then end of the hall.


Fervor on self for 4 healing
Rapid shot with divine favor, point blank shot, divine weapon, and hunters bond
Hit AC30 for 14 Damage (+2 magic enhancement)
Hit AC24 for 20 Damage (+2 magic enhancement)

20:46, Today: Kray rolled 30,24,14,20 using 1d20+12,1d20+12,2d6+10,2d6+10 ((18,12,2,2,4,6)).

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Asho Iduska
———————————————————–
The beast stood amongst the ever growing pool of slime that, thank Nagnivati, also now included some of it’s own viscera.  The swing was hard and wild, but would have certainly finished Ash, when, out of the doorway, flew a white receptacle, very much shaped like one of Sela Narys’ own pots, but containing something quite unlike anything she had ever produced at least, in the kitchen.  The muck covered the beast and caused just enough of a distraction that the beast missed its swing entirely.

Thanks Temple! Ash managed to squeeze through his clenched mouth.

Ash took the moment of distraction to kick at the beast’s legs again, this time using the slippery mess on the floor to employ a twirling kick that he recently saw a guy in the training grounds using.  Although somewhat awkward in Ash’s employ, the maneuver proved effective, again sweeping the legs out from under the Orc-Ape.  Once the thing was on the ground, rather than taking another useless shot at it, Ash took a quick step backward and prepared for the next onslaught.

Trip CMB: 31 succeeds.  5′ step back
AC: 21 HP:6

This message was last edited by the player at 04:15, Sun 09 July.

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Buto
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The beast, now blood and shit stained, full of arrows that continued to whip past Buto’s swings, fell to the ground again as Ash performed some kind of dance routine.  It was almost enough to laugh at, if they hadn’t just lost a companion, and were not in dire danger of losing another.

Buto just continued his onslaught, swing his axe with malice at the now-prone Ape-thing.  His flaming axe cut deep into the beast again, burning it’s skin and blackening the clothing around it.  As he drew back, the flames on the axe sputtered and went out.

Hit AC 30 for 25 DMG and 2 magical fire DMG.  Elemental Assault expended.
AC 22, HP 23

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Temple
———————————————————–

The Skinner doesn’t answer as such, instead just peers out, looks both ways and, with a birdlike tilt of his leather-beaked head ducks back into the room, closing the door he opened in order to pop out to try and assist Ash and promptly vanishing from sight.

He’ll probably turn up again in a moment.

OOC: Breaking line of sight and entering stealth. I can then either pop the door and savage the guy if he presses the attack (which I will hear) or duck back out the way I came in.

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Narrator GM
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Real quick update…

Between the birds’ arrows and Buto’s vicious attack with his axe finally take down Tongueater.

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Cruch
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Cruch moved down the stairs skipping a step at a time and hit the archer on the left with a claw.  The claw didn’t penetrate the armor on the archer but now in reach of both men, it will make it easier to get them next time.

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx came right behind Cruch but stopped at the top of the stair and began her song.

The right archer suddenly fell to the ground asleep.  Another one bites the dust!

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Narrator GM
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Cruch moved down the stairs and attacked the archer but didn’t draw any blood.  Jinx put the other asleep.

The archer backed up 5ft and then shot Cruch right in the chest with a hard blow for 7 damage.

No archers could be seen down the stairs at this time.

Your turns again.

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Crow
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Crow didn’t lower her bow when Buto’s ax finally kept the ape on the ground.  To her count, there were at least 2 more pigs on the loose, and from Cruch’s snarling there was more downstairs.

“Jinx!  Ash needs you… again.  Buto, makes sure that thing doesn’t get back up.  There are still bows on the battlefield,  Yes?  Stay vigilant.  And take one alive.” .

Crow advanced down the hall, on the lookout for the last few pinkies.

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Kray
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The Ape died.  But Kray wasn’t done fighting.  He couldn’t be yet.  Once the battle was over, he would have to face the small shadow on the floor, and he wasn’t ready for that.

The tengu pivoted once again, and moved past Jinx, freeing her up to follow Crow’s order.  “Ash’s bleeding badly, I will help Crutch.” 

Kray pivoted to the stairs but found no target to shoot at.

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Asho Iduska
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A pair of arrows flew past Ash, catching Tongueater in the neck, and then a final swing from Buto struck the remaining life from it’s body, which subsequently collapsed in the puddle on the floor.  Ash, within inches of having lost his life, exhaled a deep breath and placed his hands on his knees, huffing with the effort of having held Tongueater at bay for so long.  Between gasping breaths, Ash could only manage a few words. That was one tough S.O.B.  I hope he doesn’t have a brother running around here.

Ash felt like crumpling to the floor in a heap and napping for a couple of weeks, when Crow ran by shouting orders and reminding him that there were still archers on the loose.  Ash wasn’t sure he would be much good to them at this point, but he stood up behind Crow, trying to catch his breath and not think about how ich blood he had lost.  Ok, Crow, have a look.  If you see hem, shout.

Ash flexes Deflect Arrows.

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx had a grin on her face as the man fell down.  That went away though when Crow told her to go heal Ash.  That man needs to figure out how to not get injured…. she thought to herself.

Move to Ash while pulling out her wand.  When she gets there she touched him with it healing him for 5 points.

“What did I tell you earlier?  You can’t be doing this!!”  The comment was said with a smile though, as Jinx loved caring for the man.

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Cruch
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With a fresh arrow in his chest Cruch didn’t even seem to notice as he stepped forward to the archer.  His claws slashed and this time one opened a gnarly gash on the mans face.  Cruch then lunged forward and bit down hard on the mans left arm tearing a gapping wound on it as blood flew.

26 total damage on him.

16:11, Today: Cruch rolled 12 using 2d6.  boar style.

16:10, Today: Cruch rolled 26,7,18,7,26,7 using d20+8,d6+5,d20+8,d6+5,d20+7,d4+5.  claw claw bite.

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Buto
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AC: 22 HP:23

Unlike Ash, Buto’s blood boiled as he saw his opponent collapse to the floor.  This was his stage, where he belonged.  His axe sung in his hands and he felt, for once in his life, at peace, despite the blood and gore that flowed around him.  Here were no intrusive thoughts of his life before the orphanage, or his unrequited feelings for Teyefe.  Here existed only Buto, his axe, and his next victim.

As Crow rushed past, Buto turned, realizing that the others were still dealing with those archers down the stairs.  Time to finish the job. Buto ran down the steps, shoving past Kray, again, to join the fray with Cruch.   Buto got about halfway down the steps before he whipped his axe forward at one of the archers facing Cruch.

Hit AC 34 for 26 DMG

This message was last edited by the player at 08:34, Tue 11 July.

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Temple
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As the conversation outside seems to shift to something more amenable than urgent slaughter, the Skinner opens the door again and steps out, looking neither way before he flicks the catch on the hall window and vanishes out of it, spindly fingers and elongated toes clinging to the rough stone wall with disconcerting ease as he scurries up and around to the formerly archer-infested hall. hearing the sounds of conflict coming from that general direction.

Getting back outside and, if they’re not slaughtered by our combat monsters by the time I get there, looking to interdict and/or flank enemy archers.

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Narrator GM
———————————————————–
Crow barked out orders once again and then moved down the hall to the intersection.  Peeking around the corner she doesn’t see anything.

Kray moved to the stairs talking to Cruch and posted at the top of the stairs looking for targets, none to be found at this time.

Ash waited for Jinx who came up and gave him some lip service for getting injured again.  She healed him up and prepared to do it again.

Cruch stepped to the archer and clawed and bit the man.  Blood spayed all over but the man didn’t fall.

Buto came storming down the stairs looking to ad archer blood to his axe but couldn’t see a target yet.

Temple moved back outside and down to the courtyard.  He knew the baboons had gone through the windows below so he moved towards a window to possibly flank the archers below.

The archer that just got clawed and bit dropped his bow and threw up his arms.  “I surrender!”

No other enemies are seen at this time.  Your turns.

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Asho Iduska
———————————————————–
Ash thanked Jinx for the healing, which caused his wounds to cease seeping blood, and partially knitted some of the deeper cuts.  But he was still pretty bloodied and couldn’t bring himself to move.  A silence had fallen in the hallway where only a moment ago were screams of anger and agony.  Somewhere in the distance, likely downstairs he heard someone offer to surrender.  Ash looked at Crow and Jinx, Fool would have fought to the death if he knew how we treat our prisoners. Then, raising his voice as much as he could, he shouted, Is that it, then? You boys had enough yet?  Your Tongueater lies dead at my feet, and as you can hear, my tongue is still firmly attached to my body.  Throw down your weapons and come out, and you can leave this place alive.   Ash couldn’t manage to squeeze out anything more, taking a series of shallow breaths, trying still to recover from the battle.

This message was last edited by the player at 06:36, Mon 17 July.

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Buto
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Buto tromped down the remaining stairs to find Cruch with a man who had his hands in the air, and another who had succumbed to Jinx’s charm.  Usually it wouldn’t be a point of pride for a woman that she could put men to sleep left and right, but Buto doubted Jinx saw it that way.

Buto quickly took some rope from his pack and tied the sleeping man, while looking around for any remaining archers.

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Crow
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“There was one more pig with a bow up here.  No more arrows in the back. Yes?  She raised her voice, and kept her eyes searching every corner and shadow… the gift of her race making sure that nobody could hide in any of them.

“Come out now.  You would not like it if my friend Skinner found you first.  Yes?  You cannot out-race him, or hide from his awful visage.  Best to surrender then find out what he does to those he decides to play with. TEMPLE  Seek him out.  Yes?  No loose ends.

SHe lowered her voice and looked at Ash, still looking one feather-width from death, despite Jinx’s magic, and spoke to the green-skinned witch.  “Can you get him back to fighting shape?  We need to clear this inn then move fast.  Would not look good if we were found here, the only living amongst so many dead.

She waited for Jinx to work her arts on the blood-soaked brawler before they moved to clear the rest of the inn.

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Kray
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Kray finally lowed his bow, all visible threats gone, and moved back to Wink’s body.  He knew Jinx had checked him, but he used his own skills with healing to double check.  Crow always told him Check twice before you go through the trouble of digging a hole.  Yes?

Wink wasn’t ready to run with them.  They needed to be better when bringing on new crew in the future.  He didn’t deserve to die like this.  Crow should have told him no.

Once he had checked Wink’s vitals, or confirmed that there were none, he took off his own cloak and wrapped up the little shape.  Despite their similar sizes, Kray easily moved Wink around to get him fully wrapped…  years with the giant bow had left Kray stronger then most Orcs.

There were tears in his eyes when he looked up, coming back to awareness of the rest of the inn, and he looked around to see what everyone was up to, and to Crow to see what the plan was.

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Narrator GM
———————————————————–

Ash and Crow called out to anyone still listening.  They knew that there was one archer downstairs that had surrendered and knew that there was at least 1 more archer somewhere down the hall from Tongueater’s corpse.  No sound came forth so perhaps the man fled?

Buto tied up the sleeping archer and Cruch did the same to the one that surrendered.  That meant they had 4 now that were tied up.

What will you do next?

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:42, Sun 16 July.

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Temple
———————————————————–

The Skinner grins as he hears the call and shifts up and over the peak of the roof, scurrying quietly along as he reaches the edge and leans over it to look through the window, trying to locate the remaining archer before anyone can chase off after them – and, perhaps locating any effort on the part of the foe to regroup.

Half-speed, using stealth I head from the roof on the east side to the roof on the west side and peer through the top of the window frame.

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Narrator GM
———————————————————–
While Skinner was scaling the top of the building he heard a door open.  He managed to make it to the edge to see someone running from the house.

The man is only 20ft from the house when you see him.

Do you all want to talk to the men or search the rest of the place out? 

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Crow
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Once Ash was back in fighting shape, or as close as the green-skinned witch could get him, Crow got the search in motion.  “Kray, check on the boys below.  We will take Wink with us when we go, but we must be about our business.  Yes?”

“Jinx, Ash, we need to clear the first floor, then find this elf.  We will take anything that shines before we leave, but we must be quick.  We will be blamed for this slaughter.”

With that, she leads the two down the stairs at the east end of the hall, looking for any additional enemies on the first floor… and also any sign of the original occupants.

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Kray
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“Yes Sister.  We should stay in groups.  Nobody bleeds out alone.  Nobody else”

Kray descends the stairs to join Buto and Crutch, helping to secure the prisoners and check the first floor.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash listened, but no relies came to his call for surrender.  At least one more archer is still on the loose.  <Seagreen> Jinx, be a dear and hit me with that wand again, and let’s be on our way.  Ash then followed Crow down the stairs, eyes on the lookout for incoming arrows, ready to deflect them, should they come.

Ash moves down the stairs with Crow.

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Buto
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Buto finished securing the ropes on the sleeping man who was just starting to come to.  Once he was satisfied, Buto hefted his axe on his shoulders and tromped off towards what he thought was the front of the end.  If there were any others hiding out, they must be in that direction, and maybe he would find some sign of survivors.

Buto heads toward the front of the inn.

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Jinx the Black
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“I think we should put all four of these guys together and then Cruch and I with Fario can watch them while you all scout out the rest.”  Jinx didn’t want to have two groups of prisoners.

If Crow was good with that then she would bring the two prisoners down.

“Ash bring Tongueater down to help with the interrogations will you?  And where in the hell did Temple go off to now?”  Jinx hadn’t seen the masked wonder in so long she hoped he was still alive.

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Asho Iduska
———————————————————–
In response to Jinx’s call, Ash grabbed the body of Tongueater, whose days of eating tongues were past, and carried it with him down the stairs.

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Temple
———————————————————–

The Skinner flows down the side of the building, uncanny fingers clasping at wood and stone alike as he follows this last fleeing enemy into the woods,  the leather of his mask stretching around an unholy smile that broadens into jagged, uneven fangs as he follows, sniffing for his enemies trail.

Following the fellow as best I can, at least until he stops running – using stealth where possible, scent to stay on his trail.

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Crow
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Once it was clear that the Inn was empty, and that Temple was missing, Crow gathered the group in the main room and gave some quick instructions.

“We need to find Fario’s friend, take any clink we can find, and be gone before anyone stops by to ask questions.  We do not want to be here when the watch arrives.  Yes?  Awkward questions. “

“Ash, Cruch, Jinx, Kray.  Gather anything valuable you can find.  Stay in pairs.  Buto, which one of these pigs killed Wink?”

Crow approached the group of prisoners and drew out her long knife.  “Your tongue eater is dead.   You will be too shortly.  Unless we get what we need.  You understand?”

She then calmly slit the throat of one of the two archers that were captured downstairs.  She waited while his boots kicked and blood sprayed all over the main room and the other three prisoners.

“You understand.  My friend here is looking for someone. You will tell us where they are.  The one that answers best gets a horse and a head start.  Yes? 

With that she gestured for Fario to describe his companion.

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Buto
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Buto released the rage that he’d been carrying and felt a wave of fatigue roll over him.  He was not winded, as Ash had been, but his swings would have a little less punch, if he needed to raise the giant axe again.

If it is retribution you need, Crow, then let it be this one who took Wink’s life.  If you simply wish to know that his killers are dead, their pieces can be found in the hallway, just near the top of the stairs.  Their deaths were certainly quick, but not painless.

Buto couldn’t find it in himself to mourn.  But he did wish he could have gotten to Wink a moment sooner.  Maybe.  But pondering the maybes left one staring down a hundred imaginary roads, unable to take any of them.

Buto then waited for Crow to finish questioning the man that would eventually be killed by his axe.

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Narrator GM
———————————————————–
When Crow, Kray, Ash, and Buto check out the place they find no other archer to be about the place.  They could be hiding but there wasn’t enough time.  When the group ended up in the kitchen they found a lot of items and coin placed on the huge table used to prepare meals on.

Treasu2,680 cp, 1,953 sp, 742 gp, 18 pp, and 4,500 gp worth of various art objects (paintings, sculptures, silverware, wine, and so forth) weighing a total of 120 pounds. This loot obviously belongs to the murdered guests and employees of the Lucky Monkey.  Each of the men had masterwork bows and short swords and a dagger.  They all had on masterwork hide armor as well.  On the bodies can also be found a total of 2,000 gp worth of small assorted gems.
Magical treasure (knowing detect magic will be used): A cloak[Private to GM: +2 resistance], Bracers[Private to GM: Bracers of Falcon’s Aim], a set of glasses[Private to GM: Eyes of the Eagle], a headband[Private to GM: Headband of Inspired Wisdom +2].

On Tongueater: Hide Armor[Private to GM: Rhino Hide Armor], a belt [Private to GM: Str +2], and lastly a masterwork falchion.

After a quick inspection of the kitchen to make sure there aren’t any other things that have fallen or were hidden, you find a secret door under the stairs that led up to the second floor.  The door is unlocked.

[Private to Temple: After about 10 mins the man stops running and begins to walk.  He constantly looks lover his shoulders looking to see if anyone is following him.]

This message was last edited by the GM at 12:49, Tue 18 July.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash dumped the body of Tongueater conspicuously next to the man Crow was questioning, to put a fine point on her threats.  Rummaging around the kitchen, he came across the door under the stairs.

Once Crow was finished with her interrogation, he showed her what he had found.  I’m as curious as the next guy, but before we go crawling around in any basements, we ought to find out where Temple is.  He hasn’t shown back up, and I’m startin’ to get worried.  We should send out a search party and see if we can track him down.  Or maybe you wanna fly a circle around the place and see if you can spot him, Crow.  I can keep an eye on this door to make sure nothin’ comes crawlin’ out of it.

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Narrator GM
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Added for the questions about looking for Shensen.  None of the men know who you are talking about.  One man looking to possibly take the offer of a horse and a head start says, “Tongueater wasn’t the leader here.  It was some woman that was his master or rather his leader.  Didn’t catch her name though as we were only hired here to take the place.  She come from that city on the bay.  Ptolus I believe is the name.”

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Crow
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Crow’s ears perked at the mention of this woman, but she gave Ash her attention about Temple.  “It is concerning.  I would not want to lose anyone else today because they didn’t stay with the group.  I can search quicker.  Cruch and Jinx can grab the horses.  We need to move.

She turned to the pinkie who spoke and gave him a nasty smile.  ” No guest bodies.  Yes?  They vanish?  Let me be clear.  Tell the giant snake here EVERYTHING I might want to know.  When I return, he will tell me what you said.  If it is enough, you get a horse.  If not, I let him eat you.  He starts with the feet.  It is not pleasant to watch.  I can only imagine how it feels. Yes?  You tell us where the guests are, where this woman is, why you came here… everything.  You didn’t walk here.  Horses, carts, camp.  Everything.   You best still be squealing when I get back. 

Crow gave Buto a long look before she swept from the room.  “Leave at least one alive until I return.  Yes? “

After exiting the inn, Crow leaped into the air and let her powerful wings take her up and around the inn, her large white eyes catching everything that moved in the night scanning for the skinner.

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Temple
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The difficulty with locating the Skinner from the air is that there’s a canopy layer between the air and the ground… So it’s likely to be difficult to spot him advancing on the tired and understandably nervous bandit, moving from tree-to-tree with the intention of jumping the poor bastard the moment he’s vulnerable or slows down.

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Narrator GM
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Temple, you follow along silently another 5 mins, you hear telltale sounds of horses that are in front of you.  (Not moving)

The man that spoke up before gets a lot more worried as Tongueater is tossed at their feet.  “Listen, I already told you we didn’tsee any one else. The bodies of anyone that was here are on just in the treeline to the west.  We came here cause we were hired by this woman I told you about.  She wanted to have this place for reason I do not know.  We have our horses to the north about 20min walk through the forest.  There is a trail that leads further to the north from there that leads to one of the main roads to Tarsus.”

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Asho Iduska
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Ash looked over the group of four leather-clad prisoners lying on the floor.  The rage of Cruch’s song no longer filled him, but some of the shafts from their arrows did, which made it difficult for Ash to keep his cool.

Ash flexes Intimidating Prowess

So, no one knows anything about what you’re purpose here was?  Just kill everyone in the inn and then **** off?  Where are you lot from?  Tarsus? Doesn’t matter, really.  Doesn’t look like anyone here’s gonna earn their ticket back home.  Buto, you about ready to swing that axe again?

Ash waited to see if the group would offer anything more.

Intimidate check: 20

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:02, Fri 04 Aug.

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Buto
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Buto, understanding the purpose of Ash’s question, picked the axe back up easily, and walked into line-of-sight of the four.  Buto can always swing the axe Ash.  Of course, axe is not as sharp now, so, Buto might need a couple of swings to finish the job.

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Temple
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Moving amenably along, his leather mask distended in a horrible grin The Skinner stretches his legs a little, fully expecting his target to slow down some when coming to the horses – or perhaps to have an ally there.

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Kray
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Kray approaches Fario, understanding that they were likely not the only ones to lose a companion, a brother in arms, this night.  ” Let us not give up hope.  Your companion may have escaped.  We can travel to this clearing.  It will be grisly business, but we will stand with you.  If she is there, we can give her the proper rites of her people. If not, then we can hope she finds a way to get you another message.”

Kray stripped a room of sheets and blankets and began making parcels out of the loot.  Once Jinx and Cruch returned with the horses, he wanted to make quick work of packing up.  He also wanted to stay busy so he didn’t have to see, or hear, what Ash and Buto were likely to start doing.  Crow had said to leave ONE alive, and Kray thought Buto was likely to take that command literally.  Not that he cared, really, he just didn’t want to watch.  It wasn’t the killing, or the blood, that Kray loved about combat.  It was the challenge.  And there was no challenge in execution.  There was a need for it, though, for these, but there were other, more eager, hands to carry it out.

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Crow
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With dawn still a little way off, Crow’s sight was still limited in the dark, but she makes a slow sweep of the surroundings.  She is a gifted hunter, and so knows to look for the signs of someone passing, being dragged, or of a fight. She is equally concerned for Temple as she is about any enemies that may remain, or signs of the local watch coming to investigate.

  Sweep of the area around the inn, about 60 Ft up.  In bow range, if someone wants to try their luck… they better hit though. 🙂

Perception – 26
Survival – 24 (for Tracking)

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Narrator GM
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With the amount of cover from the trees it is impossible to find Temple without know exactly where he could be.

The man finally reaches a spot where there are a dozen horses tied up in the trees.  There are some muffled words spoken by the man and then another muffled set of words by another younger sounding man.

Fario’ face is that of horror when the prisoner says that all were killed and taken to the edge of the woods.  He nodded to Kray but didn’t look too well with the news.  “This one better hope she isn’t out there and that she somehow escaped.”  Fario managed to say through gritted teeth.

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Crow
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The thin monster would have to care for himself.  Crow was focused on getting the shine, finding this elf’s body, and getting out before the hangman’s noose found them.  The would need to make sure nobody saw them on the road between here and the City.  They would be blamed if they were even seen 20 leagues from this place. Pigs would squeal and they would swing.

Crow saw Jinx and Cruch go to gather the horses and knew it was time to packup.  The pinkies inside had more than enough time to talk. Hopefully Buto left onealive, but she really didn’t care.  There were dark clouds swirling around this whole thing, and the more she learned the more questions she had.

Crow landed hard, her focus on other things, and strode into the inn.  “Did they tell us where to find the elf?”

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Asho Iduska
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Ash gave the archers until Crow’s return to speak up, but amongst the group of them, they had nothing further to offer.  I take it you didn’t find him?  That’s troubling, but I know he can take care of himself, so I guess he’ll show up.

Ash walked over to the bound men and kicked one in the gut.  That’s repayment for one o’ these arrows in me hide. Looking back to Crow, Ash signed using their hand signals. These slugs got no more bargaining chips, Crow.  They can’t live. He then spoke openly Let’s have a look at what’s in this door before we make our next move. Maybe our missing companion while show up in the meantime.

If there were no objections, Ash walked over to the door under the stairs and opened, it, ready in case an attack came.
Full Defense

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Buto
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Buto saw the signals flash from Ash to Crow, passing the message that they all knew already.  They couldn’t let the prisoners go.  One might have escaped, Buto had the feeling that this is why Temple was still missing, likely stalking the soon-to-be very unfortunate mercenary.  But these mercenaries before him, well, sometimes the sun shines on you, and sometimes it does not.

While the others were occasionally squeamish about handling dirty work, Buto was not.  He and Temple were somewhat alike in this manner, that lack of conscience, or, at least, ability to see the world for how it is and not allow those realities to weigh on their conscience.  Buto wasn’t really sure how Temple handled it, but the end result was the same.  However, Buto’s handling of dirty work tended to be much more workmanlike than Temple’s.  No threats or enjoyment or examination.  Simple.  Brutal.

Buto’s axe flew into the air and crashed to the floor.  Once, Twice, Thrice, Frice. Or whatever comes after Thrice.

Coup De Grace x4

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Temple
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Temple is utterly amoral, devoid of anything resembling a conscience or empathy but he’s also not one to take pleasure in the suffering of another or to hold grudges – his is a more clinical, distressingly empty sort of moral vacuum than most of the others.

The Skinner on the other hand is a monster in an approximately human skin-suit and he drifts through the undergrowth as the mercenary signals to the younger individual left to watch the horses (someone logically had to be) then drifts forwards, aiming to get close enough to pick his first target – no sense wasting a perfectly good stroll in the woods now, is there?

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Narrator GM
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As the Skinner approaches (within 50ft now) a few of the horses react to his presence.

Roll initiative if you beat a 14 go ahead and post your action.

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:33, Fri 21 July.

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Temple
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The last thing The Skinner does before breaking cover to advance on the two men is to permit the flowing colours of a rather delightful mixture of chemicals to trickle over his tongue – one inspired by the colour-shifting skin and blood of their recent acquaintances – and which causes his own flesh – and the borrowed flesh he wears as his own skin – to flow with colour and blend into the world around them.

It makes him achingly hard to see as the horses catch the scent of blood and monster and the forest comes alive to stalk the survivor of the inn, green and brown light shattering around The Skinners form as he lunges out of the treeline.

Drinking an infusion of Blur before I advance.
I out-react them.
Temple advances and attacks, getting to hit 18 for 10, or 5 if he’s denied Sneak Attack because undergrowth gives concealment and fuck my life, apparently. ^_^

15:49, Today: Temple rolled 17 using 1d20+8.  Initiative.
15:54, Today: Temple rolled 18,10 using 1d20+9,3d6+4.  Charge and sneak attack.
15:57, Today: Temple rolled 6 using 1d10.  Concealment (1-2).

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Narrator GM
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Temple burst from the underbrush in a blur.  The two humanoids hadn’t reacted to the horses at this point so as he approached the older male, his attack was clean.. The blade went in and out quickly so he could prepare for any retaliation.

The man screamed out which all but terrified the horses and the young man.  The young man screamed out as he saw what had made his older companion scream out.  The grotesque mask and form of the skinner.

The young man was doing everything he could just to keep his horse controlled and hadn’t even thought about fighting at this point.

The older man turned and pulled his short sword.  He tried to slash at the colorfully blurred form of the skinner but failed to hit him.  “Go tell the lady we have lost the Inn.”

Temple you are up again.

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Temple
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“Stay boy, save your friend.” the Skinner cries out, dissonant undertones playing through his voice as he unfolds his taloned fingers and parts the wet, gaping maw of his needle-jawed mask before lunging onto the older bandit, aiming to bear him down onto the ground, screaming in order to encourage the youth to try to come to his aid, the screaming likely cutting off after a few moments of red-painted thrashing when he goes for his prey’s face with his maw.

Okay, that’s a hit for: 11, 20 and 28 (confirming with a 27) doing 15, 12 & 15(30) (I forgot it wasn’t a charge) or doing 8, 5 & 8(16) if he’s in the undergrowth. If he is, none of the attacks fail due to concealment.

16:17, Today: Temple rolled 13,15,22,12,30,15 using 1d20+10,3D6+4,1d20+10,3D6+4,1d20+10,3D6+4 with rolls of 3,4,1,6,12,1,1,6,20,4,1,6.  Full attack.
16:19, Today: Temple rolled 27 using 1d20+8 with rolls of 19.  Critical threat.
16:21, Today: Temple rolled 22 using 3d10 with rolls of 4,10,8.  Concealment (1-2).

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Narrator GM
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The young man jumped on the horse and turned the horse and sped off.  He didn’t want to have anything to do with the wild creature that just attacked his companion.

Meanwhile, Skinner jumped onto the man and eviscerated him with a precise attack.

Man is dead and young man is 40ft away.  There is a 10ft wide path he is speeding down heading north.

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Temple
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Evisceration would likely be less horrible than the nightmarish series of crunching noises that end the life of the downed bandit as The Skinner’s head clamps over his… But the thunder of hooves draws the monstrous surgeon up and forward before his prey has even stopped kicking and thrashing, the undergrowth all but embracing him as he’s forced to disdain his claws for his bow – which prove highly unsuited to the process of loading and firing, smeared as they are with blood and viscera.

Okay. A move action takes me 15′ towards him, cutting the distance to 25′ (half speed in undergrowth). I enter stealth and draw my weapon as I move, aim, fire and miss by a country mile.

16:42, Today: Temple rolled 7,1,9 using 1d20+6,1D8,2D6.  Twang.

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Narrator GM
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The Skinner left his kill and took his bow in a clawed hand but they weren’t suited for such a task and the string from the bow snapped, the arrow falling to the ground next to him.  The youth kept heading to the north and was shortly out of his line of sight.

The kid was lost to Temple now unless he chose to take a horse and follow.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:06, Sat 22 July.

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Narrator GM
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In reply to Asho Iduska (msg # 503):

Ash opens the door under the stairs and is immediately assaulted by a sulfur smell and burnt flesh.  You see stairs going down about 20ft before opening to a room.

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Crow
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Crow was not surprised at what she saw when she returned to the common room.  All four captives lay dead or dying on the floor, from what appeared to be massive trauma from a large bladed weapon.

And Ash… who should have been part cat instead of snake for all his ability to stick his nose into new trouble… was looking into a concealed door.

She spoke quickly and sharply with Buto

“I said leave one.  Did you not hear?  Or did you not care.  Do you think you are too smart for all of us?  You know better, are wiser, more experienced.  There are more decisions to make than just which end will I cut off first.  I cannot have members of my crew that go their own way simply because they like the way that blood splatters.  Are you a beast. Yes?
That kills for pleasure, or a man with a brain who work with a team.  You need to make your choice Buto.  This crew is about more than just slaking your bloodlust.  I would rather not have your ax if I have no say where you swing it.”

She had more to say to him, but now was not the time.  He had to learn that in order to be a part of this crew, he had to follow instructions in the moment.

She turned from him and advanced on Ash, almost hoping there was something down that hole to vent her splean on.

  “Kray, let us see what Ash has discovered”

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Kray
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Kray had all the valuables piled up in sheets and linens by the door for when Jinx and Cruch returned.  He heard more than saw what Buto did to the prisoners and stayed out of things when Crow returned.  Buto was going to be a problem, as he had predicted, and he for one didn’t think his skill with that ax was worth the trouble he would cause.

When Crow called his attention to what Ash had been about, Kray unlimbered his bow and took the lead at the stairs.  Crow would want to go first, but her bow was better from the back.  His was just as useful up close, and made more sense to be taking point.

As he looked down the stairs and started to descend, he couldn’t help qui[p at his scaly brother. ” Did you really have to let one rip right before we walked down here?   You could have at least gone outside first… 

Kray will slowly walk down the stairs, his dark-visioned eyes not needing a torch.

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Temple
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The arrow whistling off into the distance inaccurately* seals the success of the boy and The Skinner hisses angrily, turning back to spend a few moments decorating the camp with the remains of the survivor of the party… It’s hasty and it’s hardly polished but it’s artistic, and he’s careful to keep the scent of blood down-wind of the horses as he experiments with the pliability of tendon and bone before plunging his hands into the dirt a few times to clean them and moving to gather up anything in the camp – including the reins of the horses, which he threads through one another to make a string that he starts to lead back to the Inn while his unnaturally pliant flesh and the stitched-on leather of his true face flows back into a mask and coat.

It’s a shame to lose the clarity, to have to return to the pale-fish weaknesses of Temple but there was blood and there was terror and a chance to show off a little and at the end of the day, he’s had worse nights.

* I re-rolled as per the incomplete house rules for natural 1’s and the follow up didn’t miss, so it was only a failure.

This message was last edited by the player at 23:58, Mon 24 July.

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Buto
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Buto let Crow caterwaller about until she had her fill.  For all the rage he had, Crow had quite the tempter, herself.  They told all the tales they had to tell, Crow.  These were no more use to us, and only a liability.  Certainly they were all looking for ways to escape those bonds.  Ash gave you the sign that we should end them.  Buto finished the job.  Buto would not kill your prisoners, Crow, if they had value.  The other time was, well, unfortunate.  This time merely necessity.  Now, shall we take a look down these stairs?

Buto stepped the the small door under the stairs.  This was definitely NOT a Buto-sized door.  He had to slide his still-elongated arm through the door, and then squeeze one shoulder through the doorway.  Once it was in, he had to squat down to allow his head to slide under the doorframe, and then the rest of him came through into the stairway, complete with awful scent.  Why did these stairways always smell so bad?

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Asho Iduska
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Ash pushed in behind Kray, not wanting to be stuck behind Buto’s enormous rear end.

A fart joke?  Really, brother, I thought you could do better.  Lemme try.  Hey Kray, this place stinks, but at least it isn’t as bad as your mother’s cooking.  If you had a mother.  Stupid orphan. Ash chuckled to himself.

Now get down these stairs, orphan.  There’s still a chance our elf proprietress is down here.  Maybe she hid when the attack came.  It was her Inn, after all.  She probably knew there were these stairs down into the devil’s bunghole.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:02, Tue 25 July.

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Cruch
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It didn’t take Cruch and Jinx long to head out the back door of the kitchen and head to the stables to get the horses.  They led them back to the back door just as the others began to head down the stairs.  Finding somewhere to tie off the horses, Cruch and Jinx did so and then moved to the stairwell.

The stench coming from below was pretty bad.  Something or someone had clearly died below.

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Narrator GM
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I am assuming you all will head down the stairs and see what has happened.

The room at the bottom of the stairs is dominated by several large tanks, kegs, and other brewing equipment. The tanks are hacked to pieces, and the floor is a stinking morass of muddy earth soaked with a mixture of beer, mead, and blood. A terrible battle must have taken place here.

The last survivors must have made their final stand in this chamber.  There is now a mutilated headless burnt body that lies slumped against the base of a battered keg.  The fire must have started from that body as blast signs start at the feet of the person and go outward.  Surprisingly, there are a few items on the body that are still intact.  There is a mace, a ring, bracers, and a headband all radiate magic.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash followed Kray down the stairs, taking in the demolition of the brewing room.  Woah.  Something went down in here.  Looks like ol’ Tongueater maybe had a temper.  Look at what they did to that sad sack.  And what a waste of ale.  I get fighting against someone, can even understand gettin’ so riled up you hack their body up a bit.  But what did the kegs do to anyone?  Why chop them up?

Then a tough thought struck Ash. <Seagreen> Hey Fario, you better get down here.  I hope this ain’t your ladyfriend, but you’re gonna need to check.

As he descends the stairs, Ash looked around for any other signs of life in the basement, or any other passageways leading from the place.

Perception Check: 26

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Buto
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Buto followed Ash and Kray into the cellar and took in the same scene of destruction that Ash had.  He did not pine for the alcohol though, for Buto did not drink.  But his heart did ache a bit to see a very similar, wanton destruction as that which could occur at his own hands.  Somehow seeing it through the eyes of an outsider made it worse.  This must have been the Tongueater.  It looks as though he’d fought a furious battle here, and afterwards . The mists of rage had now fully dissipated from Buto’s head, and the clarity with which he saw the mess below made it hard to look at.  He still descended the stairs, but he made no attempt to search the rubble.  The others could look over that body on the floor.  Buto would watch their backs, in case any hiding mercenaries decided to attack while they were on the stairs.

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Temple
———————————————————–

Moving at no great speed and with rather more care for the line of horses he’s bringing with him than haste, Temple reaches the road and heads around to the stables, where he can loose-line them outside then explore for the possibility of oats as a reward for the relatively steadfast animals he’s just recovered, while waiting for the others to finish inside.

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Kray
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Kray took in the scene.  Quite the battle indeed.  Whoever this was put up a fight.  But no other dead here. Whatever happened , the attackers left no dead did they take no loses?  Or are their dead somewhere else, waiting removal after the deed is done. This was the only body in the whole inn why leave it?

.Tongue Eater?   He did his work with blades and rage.  This was done with fire and skill. No of the raiders we have fought so far used any spells or explosives.  This room does not fit the rest of the inn.  Fario?  Is this your friend? 

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Crow
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Crow gave a low cluck of approval. Her little nestling had the right of it. This room was different. A message?  A target?  Who was responsible for this.  Crow let Fario inspect the body while she appraised the items with a glance, realizing that this job should pay handsomely without a glint from the elf for payment.  He would pay though, and no less for not fixing his mate.

If this is not them, then we take the look and head north to this sight that is suppose to house the bodies.  We need to be away.  Yes? 

Once Fario checks the body, Crow will gather the loot and head back upstairs to start loading the horses.  Her will get the majority of the load, since she will fly.  She then heads into the air to see if she can spot this clearing.

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Fario (NPC)
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Fario moved over to the body but was already shaking his head.  The body was far too tall and a bit more wide than Senshen.  Her lithe form would be a pitiful sight to see. “That is not her thankfully.  But, if you ask me, it seems that the explosion started at the body here and moved outward.  Maybe this was a wizard defending the place?  I saw a few other doors down the hall we can check before leaving.  Perhaps she is there?”

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Crow
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Crow nods her accent, but heads up the stairs anyway.  you can clear the rooms, I want to the check the area.  .

Kray will follow Fario to check the rest of the rooms.

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Asho Iduska
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Ok, then let’s check these doors and then put an egg in our shoe and beat it.  Crow’s right, someone is bound to stop by this place, and we don’t wanna be here when they do.

Ash takes the lead heading down the hallway and checks the doors. Perception: 14

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Narrator GM
———————————————————–
When you all move forward and check the first room you find this room contains fruit and vegetables, although most have been cast carelessly to the dirt floor by bandits searching for treasure.

You move to the next door you see a sign, NO FIRE BEYOND THIS POINT. This room was used to store meat and other perishables. opening it you automatically feel that this room feels moist and humid. Several sides of meat hang from hooks set into the ceiling, and a number of storage bins line the west wall. The far end of the room is empty except for an open metal box lying on its side; the box is lined with slowly melting frost.  Nothing else in the room.

The next door seems to have bulged and is now stuck in the doorframe. It is 2 in. thick; Hardness 5; hp 15; break DC 18.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash searched the first two rooms, looking through any cupboards, shelves, closets, etc.  Looking for any hidden doors, valuables or signs of the missing elf. Perception: 27

He saw the bulging third door and called Buto over.  Buto, it looks like we need a locksmith of your ilk.  Do you want to take a swing at it?

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Buto
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Buto walked over to the door.  His mood still dour due to the scene around him, even though it was now clear that the damage had been an explosion, rather than a rampage.  The damage was already done, mentally speaking.  But needed, was needed, so Buto lumbered over to the wooden door, raised up his axe, and played the part of locksmith, again.  The axe crashed into the wood, and with an ear-piercing squeal, the hinges gave way, and the bulging wood was forced out of the frame, the door falling into the room beyond.

Auto hit the door.  Damage 24, Lockpick.

This message was last edited by the player at 08:47, Sun 30 July.

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Kray
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Kray clicked after the boys , wanting to load the horses up and go but refusing to let anyone else go into danger without him.  There was still something strange about this whole basement, so Kray doubled back and gave the fire wreckage another look, trying to make sense of the scene.  He also looked closely at the metal frost box, sniffing to tell what use to be inside.  Even cold meat leaves a scent.

. Can Kray ID if/what spell was used to create the fire?  And what (was) in the box!

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Narrator GM
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Kray moved back to the main room and looked over the blast area.  He could tell it wasn’t burning hands so that really only left fireball as the spell.  It would explain why everything is black even up the stairs a bit.

Ash, you didn’t see anything of any worth in the first room.

When Buto smash the door in he was immediately hit by severe cold take 8 points of damage.  The rest of you in the hall can feel the immense cold coming from the room.  Buto you see a strange brown mold all over the door and floor just inside the room.

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Buto
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Buto takes 3 pts cold dmg, reduced by 5 pts due to Suli resistances

The room beyond the door emanated a deep cold.  Even overcoming Buto’s natural resistance to frost.  The Suli rubbed a hand over the skin of his arm as if to warm it.  Buto looked at the odd mold growing in the doorway.  It seemed very out of place for an inn, to allow something like this to grow in the larder.  Wary of a trap, Buto called to Jinx and Cruch, for they often had knowledge of many things, natural and other.  Jinx, Cruch, Come look at this.  Is it dangerous?

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Asho Iduska
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Ash checks the second room as he did the first.  Perception 24

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx could feel the cold back where she was even.  When she came a little closer she could see the brown coloring of it and the mossy look to it.  “It can be dangerous but only if you stay next to it.  If you think about it, it would be perfect for a larder, you just need to keep away from it and it would keep all your meat cold.”  Jinx turned to Cruch and said, “I wonder if we could bring this to the inn.  Just need a way to transport it is all.”

She turned back to Buto and suggested, “why don’t you check out the room.  You will get a tinge of cold again as you pass through the mold but on the other side you should be good as long as you stay away from it.”

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Buto
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Taking Jinx’s advice, Buto stepped carefully over the brown mold.  Another bite of cold nipped at him Take 3 DMG as he stepped through, and then he was past the chill and in the room.  Looking over his shoulder, Buto called back to Jinx, <Aqua>Looks like you were right, Jinx.  As soon as Buto passed the mold, the cold stopped.

Buto looked around for any occupants, dangers, or items of value.  Perception Check: 25

This message was last edited by the player at 15:07, Sun 30 July.

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Narrator GM
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When Buto entered he got nipped again by the mold but as he past it the severe cold relented.  In the middle of this room is a well that is 30ft deep.  Just beyond in the southwest corner Buto finds a woman’s form lying still face down.

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Temple
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Having seen to the horses and deposited them in the stables for now, Temple washes the majority of the blood from his body – in those places where it hasn’t mysteriously vanished into the leather of his ski… Of his coat, and then heads to the door of the Inn, where he spends a moment or two listening before opening it to look inside, beginning the search for his companions.

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Buto
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Buto stares at the form of the woman for a moment.  Could this be Fario’s companion?  Unclear.  Buto was struck by a moment of indecision, should he call Jinx here?  She would suffer the bite of the cold upon entering, but then, so would this woman if he carried her out.  Based on her current position, lying still and face down, he considered that the cold might kill her if she were currently only mostly dead.

So he tried first calling to her.  Lady.  Hello Lady.  Do you hear Buto?

If she does not respond, Buto will call to Jinx to come in and check on her.

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Narrator GM
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The woman doesn’t respond and thus Buto calls for Jinx.  Jinx isn’t too happy to go through the mold for she knows the result but Buto had found someone and it could be Fario’s friend.  Fario reacts with hopefulness when Buto calls back for Jinx to come forward and give some healing.  “Is it her?”

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx comes forward feeling the bite of the mold seep into her bones.  Her teeth clattered from the severe cold it put off.  She moved over to Buto and pulled her wand out and applied a few healings from it to the woman and then herself.

In no time the woman began to stir.

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Narrator GM
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When the woman awoke she thanked Jinx for her care.  “I am Shensen. Where is Sarcem? Is Tongueater dead?”  Her words were coming out faster than she could think.  “I must contact our leader.  Did you kill Triel?  I heard the guards say that they were going to some mines under Ptolus.

Fario hears Shensen talking from outside the room and calls to her, “Shensen I am here, we came as soon as we could.  I think Sarcem is dead but so is Tongueater and the rest of his murderous gang.  Triel must have fled before we got here.”

After a short back and forth Buto, Jinx, and Shansen came back out of the room.  Once again, Jinx had to use her wand to heal all three of them of the frost damage the took.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash took a step forward as the group came out of the room with the odd mold around it.  So you are Shensen?  And you seem to know ol’ Fario here I guess you were being straightforward with us this time around, Fario.

Well, lady, one of my companions has gone to look for any other survivors, but as far as we can tell, your guests have all left the land of the living.  Why would this gang attack an inn, I’m wondering?  Seems like an odd target.  I mean, we scoured the place as we went through it not much of value to be found.  So I’m thinking there’s more to this story.

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Kray
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Kray cocked his head in a very bird like way and listened hard to everything the inn keeper said. This is the type of information that Crow would surely want.  So many names, and with no context, it would be easy to mix them up.  Kray thought to offer aid like Jinx, but there still might be more fighting, and he wanted to keep his magic to avoid future death, instead of current discomfort.

. Was this Sarcem a wizard?  He might be in here I am afraid.  .

Kray thought about the wrapped piles of loot upstairs that may or may not be the property of this woman or her guests.  Her guests that probably hadn’t paid thier tabs before dying.  It might be best to get the horses loaded before she could come upstairs and ask too many questions.  He was torn between hearing her responses or quickly moving upstairs to load the loot.  Curiosity won out’ as it always did.

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Crow
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Crow noted Temple returning from the first and landed next to him

did any escape?  Did you find the other bodies?   . It would not be the first time temple had let a quarry escape.  Legs, even mutated ones from magic, could not match wings and strong eyes.

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Temple
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“One, there was a boy looking after the horses. He saw nothing but blood and horror. We should aim to leave within the hour however.” Temple reports, comfortable in the knowledge that a fast horse outpaces wings as well as feet – unfortunate, but not something that’s likely to bite them in the backside just yet, with everyone who actually saw anyone having died.

“And here? Anything remarkable?” he inquires, looking about for a moment as he leads Crow in whichever direction has voices coming from it.

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Crow
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Crow smiled to herself at the thought of a horse that thought it could out run her but this piggie had an unknown headstart and the light would make spotting the dust cloud harder.  Not worth the feathers.  But let Temple think he could outpace her on a horse.  One day, should the need arise, she would disabuse him.  But she didn’t mind being underestimated by pink skins.  They would look down at her and hers regardless, best let their ignorance lead to folly and downfall.

death here too. None breath but those we brought with us.  This Fario will be disappointed I think.  His friend likely lies dead in this clearing to the north.  Let us gather together then load the shine. You are right, we need to be away. 

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Temple
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In the end, it’s simply a function of biology. Strix wings are uncommonly powerful for humanoids, but they generally top out at around twenty-four miles an hour for short bursts (give or take), while horses generally top out at around twenty-five and can keep it up for longer – especially if you have more than one available.*

A study of the biology of movement and the limitations of the anatomy of various species was something Temple studied long ago, albeit for rather less wholesome reason than foot races.

“Did you find the woman we were here to rescue?” he asks, still heading to the balance of the group.

I did look this up out of curiosity:

Running just mentions speed, it does not specify type.
Folks with a climb speed cannot run with it.
Folks with a swim speed can run with it.
Folks with a fly speed don’t get a decision made for them, making it the DM’s call.
The Fly spell explicitly does not permit running as a condition of the spell.

So most folks come down on ‘folks with a natural flight ability can probably use the run action’. Running is something you can do for Constitution in rounds, and then it’s Constitution (not Fortitude) checks to keep it up. Horses have run and endurance, so unless Crow’s got a speed boost to her flight, a horse’ll leave her in the dust.
Unless y’know, she just shoots it, they’ve only got like fifteen hit points. ^_^

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Narrator GM
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In reply to Asho Iduska (msg # 545):

Shensen was still recovering and now in Fario’s arms when Ash and Kray asked their questions.  “I honestly don’t know, but this Inn is very important to our organization.  Perhaps that is why?”  Fario couldn’t give a better answer about it either as he held Shensen.

“Sarcem was a wizard, he had me gather the mold and retreat to that room and block myself inside while he try and make a last stand.  I heard an explosion outside the door a few minutes after I was able to seal the door.  I am thinking the explosion was Sarcem, did you find him?”

Crow didn’t know if the group had found Shensen or not but as Temple was heading to the kitchen door, Kray was beginning to move some of the items to one of the horses they had brought with them.

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Asho Iduska
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Shensen either could not or did not want to provide any insight as to why they had been attacked.  Fine, we’re not here to get involved in their mess.  Get the elf, get out.  That was the job.

I couldn’t say for sure if we found him, but there’s a body out here that looks like it successfully made a last stand.  If you’ve got a weak stomach, I’d recommend averting your eyes.  Nalivinati knows he’s got no eyes left to avert from anything.

Ash was sure that Crow’s feathers were itching to be out of this place, and he had a bad feeling about it, as well.  He didn’t know if any of the mercenaries had escaped, but this was an inn, and although it was outside of the city, it was bound to have some visitors.  No time for chit-chat.  We can scratch out the details on the road. We’ve got what we came for, namely you, Shensen, and we need to be on our way.  Maybe this Triel will make herself known before we go, but we can’t wait around.

Ash could hear Crow’s voice pecking in his brain.  Stay focused on the job, but look for opportunities for more clink always, yes? He turned to Fario before heading up the stairs.  You asked to to help you find and rescue Shensen.  It’s done.  Is there anything else your organization would miss from this inn?  Now’s the chance to grab it. Who knows when you’ll have the chance to return.

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Crow
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Crow walked into the main room and noticed the pile of linens stuffed full of glint but no sign of the crew yet.  They must still be downstairs.  She grabbed the bundles and began lashing them to her horse.

it is unfortunate that you could not kill this nestling of your kind.  They will bring back trouble. Yes?   .  It was the second time the thin Man had chased a quarry by himself and the second time he failed to bring them back or take them down.  Unfortunate, but expected.  He was a stalker, not a hunter.  Once he quarry took to the wind, his skill in the shadows were wasted.

After the loot was loaded, Crow went down the stairs to find the rest of the group.

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Kray
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Kray was not satisfied with that answer, and knew Crow would not be either.  These elves had been very vague and unhelpful from the start, and things continued.

.  I think we need answers before then Ash.   Once Fario gets what he wants, he tends to not like to speak.  We are allies, but you tell us nothing.  This must end Fario.  We saved your friend.  And lost ours in the bargain. Start talking.  Why is this place important. Who is this Triel?  TALK.  Or Wink might not be the only person buried today. 

That was crossing a line, but he had lost his new friend, and was not in a good place.

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Buto
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For maybe the first time in their very long and spiky relationship, Buto found himself agreeing with the small bird-person.  Ash was all business, get in, get out, get away.  The life of a coward, really.

Buto, for his own part, was not overly emotional about anything, but he thrived on purpose.  Saving the elf woman from an attack gave him a momentary purpose, but it had cost them Wink.  Buto had hardly known him, and could not be said to care about the small, dark figure.  But he had been one of them, the group who, even in an orphanage were outcasts.  The outsiders among outsiders.  And they owed him at least something for his sacrifice.

Buto stepped up behind Kray, allowing his enormous build to threaten.  His spell had not yet worn off, so his limbs were still smoke covered, adding to the feel of danger.  The small bird is right, elf.  Buto can forgive your incompetence.  It is not your fault if you cannot fight or protect your own.  But you both hold back answers.  Why is this inn important for your organization, that you would protect it with a wizard, and that it would be attacked by such a large force?  Buto does not believe you know nothing. 

Intimidate: 21

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Crow
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Crow walked in as they were assailing the elves with their questions, each one more angry and forceful than the last.  Crow held no less rage, this pale skin had been feeding them tales and trying to play them like puppets on strings.  But she was more worried about getting out with the haul they had.  Answers brought no shine.   Well’ that was short sighted, and she didn’t believe that, but it was a good guide for today

. All three of you are right.  These answers must be given. But we need to be away. One escaped.  They will bring more back.  Yes?  We should be gone before that happens.  Their answer can wait for the rose.  But mark me well, elfin kin.  If you do not give the answers we seek, you will not arrive at the city with us.    There are many spots to bury two bodies on the way home,  and I for one am done losing my crew for your games.   Your kin lives by NO fortune of your own hand.  It is by us, and our loss, by our skill and risk, that she lives.  You have time to think on your answers while we load up and ride out.  But not too long.  Yes.

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Temple
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It’s true that Temple hasn’t had a great deal of fortune following people on the streets or under the trees – surprising, given his obvious mobility, but there you have it. He doesn’t seem too troubled by the lack however, answering “Not any time soon, I think. If they were close, then they would have staged out of that location, not a spot in the woods.”

He breaks off from the stroll through the tavern to nod at the others and join the general exploration effort – whereupon it doesn’t take him too long to find the Brown Mould by virtue of the way it chills the air. This begins a thoughtful period of experimentation in which he attempts to secure a small, non-lethal sample of the mould for later use – after all, the ability to keep samples of tissue on ice would be of no small value to him.

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Narrator GM
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Temple gets his sample along with a good bit of cold damage for his efforts.  He secures it safely (I assume).  The rest of you get on the horses and begin your journey back to Ptolus.

Since it is about daylight I assume you are going to be taking your time once you are a distance away.

By the time you see the gate to Ptolus once again it is getting close to sundown.

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Asho Iduska
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Crow with the help of Cruch, had already loaded up the horses with the various valuables they had taken from the Lucky Monkey.  Ash wondered if Shensen had noticed?  The wares were wrapped up well, so one couldn’t say for sure from looking at them what was underneath, but a few sharp corners of picture frames were somewhat visible.  Oh well.

Before they saddled up and headed off, Ash had one last piece of business to attend to.  The tall Nagaji trodded back up the stairs where Wink’s light had been extinguished.  Only the blood that had seeped into the wooded steps was left to indicate that he had ever been there.  His body was currently somewhere amongst their things outside.  Reaching the landing of the second floor, Ash skirted the pool of blood from the many eviscerated bodies that had run into Buto’s whirling axe.  Then he walked down a crooked hallway where the body of Tongueeater had lain.  Ash felt a certain pride in himself.  All of that training at the Citadel if Iron Might had paid off.  And he finally felt like he knew his place in the crew.  He used to be the muscle, but that position became obsolete when Crow brought on the mountain that was Buto, unpredictable as that might be.

Ash knew he should have fallen in a couple of swipes of Tougueater’s deadly blade, but he had managed, again and again, to deflect, delay and diminish the opponent, allowing Buto, Crow and Kray to finish him.  That reminded him that he owed Temple a more genuine word of thank you, for his quick thinking with that bedpan had certainly saved Ash’s scales.

After a few moments consideration, Ash returned down the stairs to the body of Tongueater.  Well, my friend, you were a tough Son of a Mongoose.  Guess you’ve earned a seat at Ash’s table of honor. Ash bent down and went to work with a knife he kept in his pack.  A couple of minutes later, and Ash once again carried a covered, somewhat head-shaped bundle on his back.

The Nagaji stepped out of the front doors of the Lucky Monkey and found the others climbing into saddles and making ready to leave.  Once in the saddle, Ash found his way over to Temple.  Thanks again, Doc.  I thought the nurses usually handled the bedpans, but I’m glad you found time in your schedule to dump that one.  Came just in the nick of time.

Along the way back to Ptolus, Ash found a moment with the sibling orcs, Cruch and Jinx.  That wand o’ yours works wonders, Jinx.  I don’t know how much power it has, but I’m happy to buy you another, if it can keep my scales intact. Ash turned to Cruch, and with a mischievous smile, quipped Your fangs are lookin’ mighty white, Cruch.  Didn’t have an appetite for baboon today? It wasn’t a fair comment, but Ash was trying to lighten the mood.  Despite not knowing Wink that well, hell, he didn’t even recall ever having seen the small shadow man at Pent-In, it hurt to lose one of the group.  It was a stunning reminder that, in their line of work, people could and did, die.

Ash hated to think of how he would react if Cruch or Jinx were lost, or any of the others.  They had each found their niche in Ugly, Inc.  What would they do without Crow to drive them or Kray as their moral compass?  What if they lost Jinx and her incredible magic or Cruch and his songs?  Ash had to admit that even the Doc and Buto, always the most fringe of the outsiders, had become indispensable members of their crew.  Well, they weren’t likely bound for a career change anytime soon.  Best they look out for one another better than they had looked after Wink.

During the long day’s ride, Ash managed to get Crow and Kray alone for awhile.  He had noticed Crow’s anger at Buto, and her threats to kick the Suli out of the crew. He had warned her from the beginning that the damnable mountain would be trouble.  Ash had no qualms saying I told you so but that wasn’t the point of talking with Crow about Buto.  Your monster is proving harder to control than you expected, eh, Crow?  You managed to manipulate him into the crew, but I ain’t sure we can keep that cannon from swinging around and blowin’ us all to hell.  But despite my previous commentary about the idea, bad idea in fact, of bringing him onboard, we can all agree that we’re a more powerful crew with him.  So, how do you recommend we keep that powder keg from getting us all killed? It was a pointed question, but an important one.  They had to find a way to keep some control on the Suli.  That rage was dangerous, and they all knew it.  But even when he wasn’t in a fury, he was unpredictable.  And unpredictable was bad for business.

By the time they reached the city, Ash was thoroughly exhausted.  The healing from Jinx’s wand stitched his wounds perfectly, but it also took something out of you.  The magic of the healing must use one’s own reserves of energy to work.  Ash could hardly wait to get back to the Den and fall unconscious in his bed.  He imagined that, if he closed his eyes, he could fall asleep in the saddle.  Recipe for a broken neck, for sure.

The spire was in view for the entire ride back, so the real indicator that they were close to home came as the city gates appeared over the horizon.  It was so close now, Ash could almost taste Sela Narys’ stew.  Although it was too late in the evening for stew.  She would probably do her best impression of Tongueater if he pressed her for a bowl of the thick potato soup at this time of night.  A few minutes more, and they finally reached the gate.

This message was last edited by the player at 09:00, Fri 04 Aug.

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Temple
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Securing the sample requires a modicum of work and involves a little modest frostbite, but the eventual end result is a well-packed box of straw from the stable inside of which is a stoneware jug of modest size, inside of which is a perilously small scraping of brown mold secured through the careful use of a broom handle and a spoon – an amount too small to have the usual leaching effect on Absolutely Everything In Five Feet but sufficient to chill its surroundings nonetheless, while the insulation serves to drastically slow its eventual growth into a full-sized patch.

This is then placed anywhere that seems appropriate for transport back, preferably with plenty of padding between it and its carry-horse, while Temple’s main contribution to the loot is the horses and their tack (along with any other possessions from the camp) which he brings out of the stable as everyone is getting ready to leave.

Ash, meanwhile?

He’s studied for a moment, before the glassy-eyed mask of the doctor tilts and he replies calmly “You don’t always think before you act, Asho but you usually manage to find the time to do so sooner or later. I’d be… disappointed, if you weren’t around any more. I only regret that things turned into such an uncontrollable melee inside that I couldn’t flank out the archers as I was attempting. Every time it seemed like I got close, the battle shifted.”

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Crow
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Crow flew along with the group, trading off between getting height to check their back trail and staying down with the crew.  She lighted on the ground it walk for a minute with ash when the brawler made it clear that  he wanted to talk. She listened, head cocked so one eye stared nagaji as he expressed his concerns.

She did not have an answer for his concerns,and unlike with the rest, she saw no reason to pretend she did.  Ash was to be a leader, and he was one she trusted completely.  Him, and Kray.

Your concerns, and my reasons, have both shown to be as good as prophecy.   Yes?   He is a problem, and we may need to remove him from the group.  But so far, he has done nothing that we would not have done, eventually.  In his rage, he has never acted against our purpose, just our commands.  There is something there.   He does not want to lead, and he does like to be a part of the crew, and he does respect us.  Or he would not still be here.  He must be called out when he acts against our lead.   He follows strength.  There are other reasons that I think he is a value, but his ax is enough for now.  But I am open to your opinions or suggestions,   This bull may be more that one hand can steer. 

Crow meant what she said, and stopped the group short of Ptolus.  She had two things to discuss, and she handled the somber task first.  .  Wink, he was not with us long, but he did risk, and give, his life for the crew.   Those arrows could have easily found my back, or Kray’s.  We need to give him the respect in death that he earned in life.  I do not know his people, or their ways,  do any of you know how they are honored in death?  What is done with their physical remains when they past into the shadows? 

Her other topic was directed that the two elves, once the question of Winks remains was decided.  They had answers, and only until an hour’s ride from Ptolus to give them, or the crew would be discussing what to do with their remains after Winks,  she had told them this, and had meant every word.  Well, perhaps she really did not plan to kill them.  Perhaps.

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Buto
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Buto rode, unaware of the discussion about him that went on between the snake and the birds, as was usual for him.  Buto lived a life apart from almost all others.  As if he were surrounded by a bubble of his own making that separated him from those around him.  He could interact with them for short periods, but the bubble always remained, dividing them.  Their concerns were foreign to him, mostly, and his to them.  It didn’t mean he could not enjoy the company of his companions, but simply that he couldn’t quite understand them nor they him.

Despite the loss of the little Wink, and the troubles with Crow, Buto felt fulfilled on the ride.  The battle had been tremendous, and he had fulfilled his purpose.  Or had he?  Wink had not survived.  But had Wink been part of his tribe?  He thought on the question for awhile, but still could not say.

At some point, Buto found his way over to Jinx.  The Orc woman also seemed to live in a bubble of her own making.  They were similar in that way, maybe, so he posed the question to her. Jinx, are you sad about Wink?  What do you think happens to him now?  He was from somewhere else, right?

This message was last edited by the player at 09:05, Fri 04 Aug.

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx had asked to have Wink buried near Ptolus.  It was the only home besides the shadow realm, that Wink knew and she thought it appropriate.  She rode in silence with his small frame laid in a blanket and across the horse that she had tethered to her horse.

When Buto came up and disturbed her silence she gave him a half-hearted smile.  “I am sad about Wink, yes, I mean he trusted us after we freed him from capture.  We were supposed to look out for him.  Damn that Ash for splitting off the group!  If he had just stuck together Wink might still be alive.  I guess I am also pissed.”  She thought about the other part of his questions then.

“I believe his spirit returns to the shadow realm.  He should be at peace there, or at least I hope.  I will try and see if I can talk to his spirit the next time I speak to the spirits.”  Jinx replied after a bit of thought.

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Cruch
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Cruch had already cleaned off and had put on the rough armor that Tongueater had been wearing.  Tongueater was about his size and the armor fit quite well.. even more so as once it was on it expanded and decreased in size in certain areas.  Jinx had said it was magical and she was right.  Of course, the thing smelled like baboon and he would need to clean that but it was a nice piece of armor.

“Baboon?  I had me fill down in the hallway.  I tell ya, it doesn’t taste like chicken.  Don’t think those things had a bath in quite a while.  I saw ya got yourself another head to put up in the Inn.  Can’t wait to see how this one looks.”  Cruch smiled wide showing off his teeth.  He still had dried blood on his face and would need to get it cleaned before they got into town.

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Kray
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Kray agreed with Jinx about Wink’s remain and found what he thought was the perfect spot .  A small clearing of earth, totally covered by the foliage by s dozen large trees, so close together that their leaves completely blocked out the sun, killing any possible undergrowth.  It was a spot that would live, and had lived for some time, in perpetual shadow.   It was small, easy to miss, and beautiful.  Just like Wink.

He pointed it out the rest, and insisted on helping to dig the grave.   He wasn’t worried about a headstone . Calling out a grave’s location just encouraged grave robbers.  The point was to put the loved one to rest, memorialize them.  At least, that was the Tengu way or was the strix way?   Kray didn’t know where his people’s culture ended snd Crows began and what was really just the patchwork culture of orphans.

He asked Jinx to oversee the ceremony, unable to speak for his friend with breaking down.  He knew Crow would say a few words, but Jinx had a better feeling for Wink’s nature, he thought, and would find the rig hit words to help rest his physical remains.

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Jinx the Black
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When Kray had found the nice little area to bury Wink, she gave him a nice sad smile.  Jinx wanted to say some words for sure when all was ready.

Jinx and Cruch helped dig the small grave, deep enough so that no animals would dig out his little body.  Once he was fully covered Jinx said some comforting words.  She spoke about how she met him and just the things she knew about him from their time in Pent-In.  They had talked a little since he joined but not a lot since they rescued him from below the city.  It wasn’t a good mix between them, she didn’t talk much and nor did he, so not a lot was shared except the darkness which they both liked.

After about 10 mins of talking Jinx finished and gave ground to anyone else who would like to speak.

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Narrator GM
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Once the funeral was completed you all got back on the road and hit the Southgate.  As per the usual, there was a line to get in since it was near to getting dark and most people came in after dark.

When it was your turn to go through you were stopped by the gate guards.  “You there show your papers!”  The guard called out.

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Crow
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Crow had a few words to add to Jinx’s service.  “We in this crew, we are bound by history, bound by the crucible of Pentin, bound by repression this city inflicts on his for the shape of our faces.  Two things, yes, that we should take from this.  The price is high in  the work we do.  We need to learn, and be better.  And I would take Wink’s place for any of you.  Yes?  We fight for each other.  Perhaps we die for each other. Let’s make sure we LIVE togther too. Yes?

As they approached the queue to the city gates, Crow pulled Temple aside.  ” We have the papers we need.  Yes?”

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Temple
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Temple, who had been engaged in a perhaps rather one sided conversation with Ash after his modest effort to provide cultural context for Winks funeral sank without a trace times his head at the winged woman and reaches into his coat for a leather wallet of paperwork, “I most certainly do, and I should hope that you have made a habit of carrying yours, I spent long enough making them.”

Opening the wallet, he goes through the contents before finding his own identification papers, his writ of chirurgical mastery, his license to import miscellaneous (squiggle), not limited to (squiggle), up to the value of (ink blot, squiggle) and his authorisation to defer entry taxation until seasonal collections, examining them carefully (each is exquisitely well done, with just the right amount of cack-handed sloppiness and dog earing to have been churned out in a back office by an intern working a government press – one of the rookie mistakes of the amateur forger is to aim for perfection) and then dismounting to present them to the guard, asking in a bored tone of voice “Busy shift?”

This message was last edited by the player at 19:38, Fri 11 Aug.

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Narrator GM
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After showing the guard your proper papers you all entered Ptolus.  South Market was bustling with movement.  Vendors were beginning to pack up their wares and head home for the night.

Where will you all go?  Directly to the Inn or somewhere else?

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Temple
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OOC: We have an unknown number of horses and an unspecified amount of camp loot in addition to everything else. Taking them to an ask-no-questions trader to sell would probably be a good start.

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Narrator GM
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OOC: The amount of horses and camp loot is put in the Ugly Inc loot thread.

No problem on heading to sell what you want.  Just let me know where you go as you have the map and say where you want to go to sell stuff off.

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Crow
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Crow preferred to let the “doctor” handle the entry into the city.  Less trouble, fewer questions, when the pinkies with pikes at the gates interact with their own.  She wasn’t sure if there was any blood on the loot, but it wouldn’t look good to have it inspected too closely.

Of course, she wasn’t sure how much “of their own” Temple really was.  But all they saw was pink skin and round ears…. they couldn’t see the teeth, leather, and darkness that lay just beneath the surface.  She shuddered and led her horse through the gates once the guards had waved them through.

“Let us get our merchandise back to the Den.  We can discuss what do about our run-in at the inn once we are settled”

  Crow will lead the group back to the Den, then spend the afternoon sorting and cataloging the loot with Kray’s help.  She plans to head out at night to learn more about this “woman” who wanted the inn.  Curiosity only for Crow… but Kray wants his pound of flesh.  or fleshy shadow. 

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Kray
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Kray gave a half-hearted attempt to assist his sister with sorting and appraising the haul from the Lucky Monkey.  His emotions had traveled from shock, to grief, to self-blame, and finally to cold anger.  He could blame his sister, for bringing the unprepared Wink into a situation he was not ready for.  But he knew Crow hadn’t really wanted to let Wink come… that she had let it happen because Wink wanted to be a part of something… and the others from Pent-in wanted to give him a chance.  Kray himself was more to blame than Crow.

He could blame Fario.  The elf was too secretive, too content to send the crew into unknown danger with the barest information possible.  he was happy to use them up and didn’t care if they took losses.  But in this situation, unlike the last one, Fario was driven by panic and fear for his kin.  It was hard to blame him for the exact same emotions Kray would have felt in the same situation.

Now, Kray didn’t think they would be working for the elf, or this group of his, ever again.  Crow valued information, intel, and respect, too much to be continually used like lackeys.  These hunters flew in dark storm clouds, and Crow would not lead the crew into an unknown storm again, not for the meager coin this group offered.  Not for any coin, maybe.

No, Kray knew where to focus his cold rage.  This “Lady” that had sent the assassins to the inn.  She had whole crews of blades and bows at her disposal, and more to match.  Wink’s death probably passed unnoticed, one small item in a report brought by the lone survivor.  Well, Kray intended to deliver it to her personally, at the tip of an arrow.

He waited impatiently for Crow to finish reviewing the shine, then dragged her out to start asking questions.  He wanted to know who this lady was, and were she slept.

  Crow and Kray will reach out to one of her fences about selling some of the loot, but also to get some information about the lady.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash did his best to look inconspicuous as they passed through the city gates and, for once, kept his mouth shut.  The brief burial for Wink weighed on him more than he expected it to.  This little stranger hadn’t meant anything to him.  But he was still from Pent-In and that carried a certain bond with it.  Ash figured a few pints back at the Den would sort him out and put a shine back on his scales.

Ash rode lazily in his saddle until they got back to the stalls where they had picked the horses up.  It felt odd to walk on his own two legs after so long on horseback.  The whole world felt like it was shifting underneath him.  By the time they got back to the Den, the sensation had subsided.

Hey Cedric, Hey Horus!  I hope things here have been well.  Your kindly proprietors return!  I’m going to drop some things off upstairs, could you have Sela Narys whip up some fried potatoes and sausages, and let’s just fill up a tray with pints and see how long they last, ok? Ash dropped his things, including the somewhat round, cloth covered bundle, upstairs.  He would need to stop off to see Granny for that.  His other two trophies should be about ready to pick up.

After a quick wash up using a large bowl that he filled with water from a pitcher, Ash dressed quickly in the same unassuming, workman’s clothing he always favored.  Tough, tan pants and a loose fitting white shirt with a darker brown, leather vest. One never knew when one would need to get dirty.  Best be dressed for the occasion.

Ash returned downstairs and offered for any of the others (explicitly managing to keep Buto from hearing the offer) to use his room to freshen up, if needed.  A plate of Sela Narys’ delicious fried potatoes with pieces of sausage mixed in stood on the bar with a couple of pints next to it.  Horus, you’re a good man, even if you are half-fish.  But hey, snakes and fish, we got no enmity between us, right?  Now if you were part mongoose

Ash’s patter trailed off as he raised his pint. Then, looking around at the members of Ugly, Inc that had gathered at the Den, he said his own few words.  Well, here’s to another successful Ugly venture.  One friend has returned home, and the rest of us continue the voyage.   Ash took a big swig of ale, followed by another, emptying the stone cup and reaching immediately for the second.

I’m gonna go pay a little visit to Granny tomorrow.  Temple, you might be interested to stop by at some point.  Granny has quite the collection of curiosities, at least to my uninitiated eye.  And afterward I’ll be heading to the Citadel for some training, if anyone wishes to join.

When he found a moment between pints, Ash pulled Crow aside and offered to help transporting their haul of goods or visiting the Dwarf, if she needed.  Though Ash is not a curious fellow by nature, he did want to be there for Crow.

The night deepened, and Ash emptied pint after pint of ale, the liquid never had much of an effect on him, for his Nagaji nature burned through the blood-poison too quickly, but it did help numb any feelings he might have had about their missing partner, and that was good enough.

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Buto
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Buto rode back to town at the back of the group, ostensibly to watch their rear, but he wanted to be alone.  He pondered Jinx’s words awhile.  Maybe it was better for the little shadow to be back in his own realm.  Buto understood from his time with Teyefe that there were other places of some kind, outside of their own world, but no one seemed to be able to reach them.  Strangely, from time to time, others from those places did arrive here.  Buto didn’t understand it, but maybe Wink was not dead, and had simply returned home.  Well, the body he inhabited here was certainly dead.  So be it.

When the re-entered the city, Buto followed the group back to the Den.  He still did not have a permanent home and had made do using a variety of places for.a temporary bed since leaving the employ of the Volus Family.  He thought about visiting them again, maybe asking for a room, but he was not ready to face Teyefe again.  Things were always complicated.

Buto sat near Jinx as he ate without enjoyment from the plate before him. It was good of you to say some words for Wink, Jinx.  Buto has thought on what you said.  Buto thinks we will never know where Wink has gone, so Buto will choose to believe Wink is returned to his own home.  An orphan here, perhaps he had a family somewhere else.

As he ate, Buto occasionally held out small pieces for Yozhik to nibble at.  Buto did not let the small hedgehog run free here, for Sela Narys had threatened to add him to a stew if she ever caught him in the Den.  People thought Buto had a temper, but he wasn’t sure he could hold a candle to the fire in Sela Narys’ belly.

After he finished his meal, Buto, who, to Ash’s chagrin, did hear the offer to use Ash’s room to clean up, took the Nagaji up on his offer.  The Suli returned, looking fresher and in clean clothes.  It is good that you go to the Citadel tomorrow, Ash.  You need all the training you can get.  Buto will come along.  Buto needs no training, but a skirmish or two could be fun.

After he had eaten his fill, Buto found a little-used corner in the back of the kitchen and curled up.  All of the rooms at the Den were full, so he would have to make due with the floor tonight.  Better that than the muddy streets of the Dock.  He thought again about his need to find someplace to stay.  He couldn’t go on living like this.  He resolved to look for someplace the next day before drifting off to sleep.

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Temple
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Humans are, on the whole visual creatures and not much given to thinking overly hard about the things they see as long as they’re within the bounds of what they expect – Temple looks like a slightly blood-spattered surgeon in good quality clothing with papers that look legal but worn, so that’s what he’s assumed to be.

He chips in a little with the work of realising the value of the horses and tack, having a solid working knowledge of the underside of the city and having occasionally consulted on veterinary matters for some of them (he’s not by any means an expert, but the thing about horses is that no-one is likely to waste magic on them, but they’re also not likely to accept ‘the will of the gods’ with a few tears if normal medicine should fail, so there’s a great deal of pressure for results in that field), beyond which he’s mostly interested in getting his small, insulated sample into a nice, cool basement where its rate of growth can be kept slow and he can use it for preservation purposes.

Before he goes, he does pause to nod at Ash’s offer and replies agreeably enough “It shouldn’t do any harm. I’ll come over at… say ten?”

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Asho Iduska
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Despite drinking well into the night, Ash was up well before the 10 o’clock meeting time agreed with Temple.  As usual, his body filtered the alcohol quickly, leaving him without a trace of hangover.  Ash left the head-shaped bundle in his room when he went down for breakfast, and only went to retrieve it once Temple had arrived.

Ash led Temple the short way down Park Row in the docks to the haunted looking shack that was Grammie’s place.  The shop’s sign creaked on rusted hinges, revealing the name of the establishment: “The Mournful Menagerie.”  The front of the shop was cluttered with an array of bizarre taxidermy creatures, from winged monkeys to giant sea serpents, all displayed in twisted poses. The smell of rotting flesh lingered in the air, and they could hear the distant sound of animal calls coming from within.

I told you this place was quite the treasure, Temple.  Well, maybe more of a diamond in the rough. Let’s see if Grammie is home. Ash recalled that Grammie had been inside that stuffed Owlbear that last time and had come out of a hatch.  Nalinivati knows in which animal he would have hidden himself this time. Hey Grammie!  It’s your favorite scaled customer, come to claim a couple of heads I left for mounting.  And, I have another here that will need  the same treatment.  This one’s such a beaut, I want the nameplate to say Gorgeous George. Ash waited to see exactly where Grammie would pop out from this time.

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Narrator GM
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When Fario and Shensen entered through the gates they wondered if the group would want them to follow them until they were paid for saving Shensen, but once the group dropped off the borrowed horses and the horses that they captured. Fario and Shensen knew that they weren’t wanting them to follow.  So, Fario said to them all, “On the morrow if you return to Tyro, we will be there at high sun.”  Fario and Shensen went their own way then disappearing into the crowd.

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Cruch
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Once everything was brought to the Den and Cruch filled his belly with drink and food he said to the others, “I need to head to the orphanage and speak with Temar.  See if he has a lead on Revus yet.  It would be ironic that the night we are away, Revus would show himself and we missed our chance.  If anyone wants to come with I wouldn’t turn you away.”

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Narrator GM
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When Ash and Temple arrived at Grammie’s place Grammie was helping an elderly woman.  There was a bundle of fur on the counter that Ash nor Temple could tell what it was.  After a moment Grammie looked over at you and held up his finger to say one minute.

Of course, it took longer than that.  The woman almost looked like she could be stuffed herself anytime soon.  In a creaky old voice, she thanked Grammie and headed out the doorway.

Grammie disappeared into the back with the fur ball and returned with a large box a few moments later.  He set the box on the floor before Ash and said, “Well take a look and see if I captured what you were looking for.  I did the scowl and everything.  Oh, and I did the name as you said.  May I ask where you got the name from?”

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Crow
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Crow allowed some of the evening to be spent on careful inquiries about this lady, the inn, and the elf they rescued.  She was not as curious as Kray about it, seeing little profit in it and not having the same urges for vengeance as the little war priest.  Knowledge was a coin all its own, and one never new where it would be needed or spent, so she indulged her nestmate for a while before insisting, they made a decent bedtime.  Tired minds made mistakes, and they had not slept in two days.

They were up and at the Den earlier enough to watch the snake and the stitch head off to the stuffer.  The Den would soon be filled with the snarling faces of fallen foes.   Crow shook her head at this, but there was some value to it, and little hurt, so she left it without comment.  She did have words for Cruch when he mentioned he was headed to the orphanage.  Crow declined to join, but had a request.

“We need our payment from the “dwarf”.  You could pick it up on the way home.  Yes?  There are strong words to be had after the last job, and in general, for our most frequent employer.  Best not to have them now.  It might throw him off if I am not there.  Things might slip.  Yes?’

She also mentioned to the group that there were some items from the raid that they might get better use out of than shine, and suggested they all meet up for dinner to review what was taken and stake claims before she took the rest to the fence.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash opened the box that Grammie presented.  Ash jumped in startlement at the grimacing face of the Minotaur staring at him.  For just a moment he’d seemed , well, Ash had thought it moved.  The work was exquisite, at least to Ash’s untrained eye.  He would not have been surprised to see the Minotaur take a breath.

Underneath the angry scowl of the Minotaur was a brass plate, etched with the name Ash had appointed to the creature.  Abdullah the Butcher.  Seemed like a fitting moniker for the beast that had nearly sliced Ash in half.  Grammie this is incredible!  The name?  Well, I knew a guy once, back in the mines, Abdullah.  He was the camp butcher and, while he didn’t look anything like this monster, he was equally handy with the big butcher’s cleaver as this fella was.  And so, Abdullah the Butcher.  Ash closed the box and then glanced back to Grammie. There should be another one here, Grammie.  Smaller, dark-skinned fella.  Name of Mullev.  Is it ready?

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Buto
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Buto uncurled himself early the next morning.  Sela Narys had not yet arrived, but Horus was already there, tramping around between the bar and the stockroom, getting things ready for the day.   Buto managed to obtain a couple of stale biscuits from the day before and ate them mirthlessly before gathering his things to head out.  Horus, tell the others, whenever they come, that Buto will be gone for the morning.  But will be back later in the afternoon.

A few minutes later, and the large Suli was out the door and headed toward the Citadel of Iron Might.  A little training in the brisk morning air would help loosen his muscles, aching from a night on the floor of the Den.

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Temple
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Quite how one fits a ‘giant’ sea serpent into a city store without some fairly heroic manipulation of interior space is open to question, but in truth a sea serpent doesn’t need to be especially big to seem pretty damn’ giant to a normal, walking-around person and there are some really quite impressive teeth on the stuffed head that Temple spends a moment examining while commenting “I generally have more interest in the interior of the things we kill, but I can see the value in preserved anatomical specimens. I wonder what she does with the organs?”

Of course, he waits for the older woman to be done with her client – one does not rush business – and then for Ash to pick up his trophy and drop off the next one, commenting only “And people consider my… hobbies… unusual.” in a dry, dry tone of voice.

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Narrator GM
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Grammie looks at Ash to see his look when he opened the box.  The look said it all and he was quite pleased by it.

When Ash asked about the smaller one, Grammie pointed a long-nailed finger to her temple.  “That is right, but what do you have here for Grammie?”  The old man pulled open the satchel and pulled out Tongueater’s head.  “Ooooo, now he is an ugly one!  Where are you going to find these heads Ash?”

After he answers, Grammie says, “what name do you want on this one?  I wasn’t able to get the smaller one done.  Things have been a bit hectic since the Conjuncture.  It has been quite the year so far.”

This message was last edited by the GM at 07:42, Mon 21 Aug.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash frowns to learn that Mullev, if that really is Mullev, is not ready yet, but tells Grammie it is fine and he’ll return soon to check on the progress.

As to the new specimen in front of them, Ash answers. Well, Grammie, I spend a lot of time in the Warrens, and you know, you find the strangest things down there.  And I figure, they deserve a good home.  Now this guy, what a looker!  That’s why I wanna name him Gorgeous George.  Fittin’ for him, I think.  Oughta make for a good conversation piece. Ash pays Grammie for Abdullah the Butcher and, with that bit of business concluded, he turned back to Grammie. Now, my friend here,(indicating Temple) as he says, ain’t much for the outsides.  Whaddaya do with the guts when you’re done with hem?

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Narrator GM
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“The innards are giving to the stray dogs in the neighborhood.”  The old man looked to Temple then and asked, “but if you want them I can give them to you.  You should come by daily sometime just before dinner.  Now then, I have quite a backlog right now.  I can get both of the mountings back to you in 5 days.  I hope that is okay with you.”  The old man scooped up the payment Ash had presented while he waited for the answer.


Buto had gone to the Citadel in the morning.  By the time he had arrived, the place was quite busy already.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash indicated that five days was perfectly fine for him.  He gathered the box that contained Abdullah the Butcher (Ash wondered what the creature’s real name had been, if it had even had a name.  Things as ugly as Abdullah, or orphans from Pent-In for that matter, had a tendency to be forgotten about, and things that seemed commonplace to others, like a simple name, could be completely neglected.  Well, you ferocious beast, you have a name now, and even a home. Let’s get you back there, shall we?

Ash turned to Temple. Well, Doc, not sure if that was useful to ya or not, but thanks for comin’ along, anyway.  I sorta have the feelin’ that if I ever came alone, and ol’ Grammie was in just the wrong sorta mood, that I might end up as one of his displays.  And I know I can handle myself, but Grammie gives me the creeps.  I’m gonna head back to the Den now and see about getting Abdullah here mounted on the wall.  You’re welcome to join.  It might be worth checking in with Crow.  And maybe Cruch will be back.

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Buto
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Buto waited a while before he found a good sparring partner.  As he waited, he watched some of the others, but did little more than warm up his limbs.  Buto never found use in practicing forms.  A waste of time and effort in his mind.  The axe would fly where it would fly, and the blood would flow.  That had always been enough for Buto.  He would certainly never be the exemplary swordsman.  But he was confident in the knowledge that the exemplary swordsman would die to his axe just as any other.

Eventually, he found a sparring partner in an enormous Firbolg.  They sparred for a number of short sessions, each time stopping as both were out of breath.  No one scored points, and each gave as good as they got, but Buto was certain he would have been declared the victor, though in a close decision.  They agreed to meet again the following day and parted ways.

Buto washed himself up and went in search of someone from the Order of Iron Might with whom he might speak about a room.  If he can find some member of staff, Buto will ask about how he might find a room.

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Temple
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“At the moment I have no good storage solution for them, but I do have an interest in the organs and parts of exotic creatures.” Temple admits, looking thoughtful as he considers the new addition to his workshop, “I am in the process of putting together a usable cold storage space however.”

Afterwards, he goes on to ask “How much do you know about skeletal and muscle structure however? We might want to talk anatomy at some point.”, the conversation mostly turning to matters of capturing the vitality of life in motion in a static format and how one interprets the range of motion a set of bones offer.

But likely not for long, as Ash has business to be attending to and Temple agreed to come along.

“I can’t say that I found him to be that disconcerting, but in truth I’ve never been the best at understanding the way people feel.” the surgeon admits, surprising absolutely nobody in the process. As for what he might be about to get up to in the here and now, as they walk through the street and Ash explains his plans, he explains “I should get back to work myself. I’ve been providing medical services at the Order of Iron Might. Effective injury care that doesn’t require magic seems to be something of a revelation to them.”

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Kray
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Kray was quiet most of the morning, as they prepared for the day at the house and then as they journeyed to the Den.  Crow knew this wouldn’t last, Kray’s thoughts always bubbled out in the end, and gave him the space to work them out before he let them loose. She was sure she knew the topic, but he surprised her often on where his mind ended up even when she knew where it would start.

Once the inn had cleaned out, and they were the only members of the Crew left in the back room, Kray dropped the crusty end of a bread loaf on a crumb covered tray, and let the words pour out.

“The inn job, it didn’t go well did it?  I mean, I get it, we never should have let Wink come, and he couldn’t gotten killed a dozen times over in that warren, but honestly so could the rest of us.  We were running around, chasing shadows, and finding only arrows in the back.  If it wasn’t for Temple’s quick work with a chamber pot, and Ash’s on fast feet, he would have ended in that clearing next to wink.  You and I work great together, and we mesh well with the Ash, but the group as a whole does its own thing.  We gotta get on the same page, and we need to have one voice that we all listen too. Buto…  man, Ash would be dead without him, but that was only because Ash was operating more as a street fighter and less as a fight leader. We need to spend more time working together.  Your plan was good, it always is, but once the arrows start to fly, we start to fall apart.  We need to work on adapting DURING a fight, and how to rally together. And WHY we need to do so.  You told Ash twice to fall back, but he was too cold-brained stupid to do it. 

Kray took a deep breath, and then finished his thought ” It was good that you had Crutch get the pay out.  We need to distance ourselves from that group.  Our skill is our planning, our attention to detail… the preparations and execution.  They keep getting us in places we CANT prepare for.  We don’t react as well as we plan, and they seem hell-bent on leading us blind by the nose.  We should take this pay out, invest some time as a team, and then get back to what we do well.  We are making too many enemies, and getting too well known. ”

Kray wound down at the end, going from a rush of words to picking each with care.  He finished to speach looking down at the table, and eagerly looked up to see what response his sister would have, and how his words had been received.

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Crow
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Crow listened without interrupting, knowing her nestmate needed to get everything off his chest.  Kray was protective of his friends, having so few he could trust, and love, in the Pen.  And because he had been protected so much as a child, he sought to do they same who needed it.  It was unsurprising that Wink’s death would effect him.  As always though, he saw past the surface currents to the storm clouds in the distance. There had been some serious team failings at the inn that could have cost them more than one unprepared tag-along.

Crow didn’t morn Wink.  By all rights, he should have died in that citadel below the halfling’ shop.  He was not prepared to join the crew, and by letting him come to the inn, she had put him in a position to get himself killed.  It was his choice, but she knew it was a likely outcome.  The cynical voice in her head said it had a purpose… reminding the rest of the crew the cost of mistakes and the need for practice. But that voice only spoke up AFTER Wink died, not before.  She had let him come because she had overestimated his ability to keep himself alive.  But the question was now, did she care?  That thought process was one she would not share with Kray.  He clearly did, and she did not think he was able to look at it from a more pragmatic perspective.

“We will talk to the crew about it tonight, when we meet up to review the takings.  And Ash and I will talk.  We are still new to this, compared to other crews, and success can lead to overconfidence when it is not tempered with failure.  But I agree with you about these elves.  They play a game hidden in dark clouds, and only a fool flies into a cloud without knowing what hides inside. “  Unless that fool is being chased by a more dangerous foe.  And the list of possible foes chasing them was steadily growing.  And was this Eye Tyrrant a foe?  Crow shuddered to herself at the mere thought of that thing.

She changed to subject to what Kray would like to see them work on as a crew, and where they should look for their next score.  They spent the rest of the day in conversation, seeking additional bread and cheese for their tray when hunger interrupted their discussion.

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Narrator GM
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Buto arrived at the Citadel of Iron Might and sought someone to speak with about attaining a room.  It didn’t take him long as someone pointed out an office for him to go to.

Without thinking, Buto entered the office.  Sitting behind the desk was a surprisingly striking human female.  She looked up from some papers and said, “excuse me?  Do you have any manners?  Do you know how to knock? Do you even have an appointment?”  Her tone was harsh but not angry.


Cruch had gone to the meeting to collect the gold they were promised from the dwarf.  Jinx was along as well, but as usual, she let Cruch do the talking. Once the dwarf was ready to see them he called them into the same room they had been before.  Once they sat down he began, “So, I heard from Fario that things didn’t quite go as planned.  You lost a member of your group.  We are sorry for your loss.  I do want to thank you for saving Shensen.  She means a lot to our group.  And for that, we have prepared a reward for our thanks and your loss.”  He tosses a decent-sized pouch onto the table before Cruch and Jinx and says, “there are 10 Dragons for each of you inside.  It was more than we were prepared to offer but we felt it was fair because of your loss.  Now, Fario told us about this Triel person who supposedly led the attack on the Inn.  I will do some digging around and find out more if you want, I can bring you any information.”  Cruch explained that any information could be brought to the Captain’s Den down by the docks and left with the bartender.  The last thing the dwarf asked was, “if we need any further assistance with anything, can we call upon your group?”

Cruch couldn’t speak for the group on such things but did give his thanks and said that they could send word if something was needed to the Den.

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Buto
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Buto stopped dead in his tracks as the woman scolded him.  For a fraction of a moment, he was back in Pent-In.  The woman reminded him so strongly of  Phinara Daemyar, the psychologist at the orphanage who had hounded him for years to write in a worthless journal.  He never understood what she had wanted, but she had been very keen about the journaling.  This woman sounded exactly like  Phinara Daemyar, and looked startlingly like her.  Buto was not entirely sure it was not her.

Recovering from the surprise, Buto blundered on in his oblivious, unintentionally offensive way.  If Buto knocks, you will need new door.  Maybe it’s better this way.  Your door is maybe not so new.  Buto could also knock on the walls and furniture.  New office for you. Buto looked around at the somewhat worn furnishing of the office as if sizing up the amount of knocking he would need to do.  Buto told to come to this office, ask about a place to live.  The streets are ok, but a bed at night would be better.  Buto can pay, or can do some work.  Buto is good with horses, he cared for the Volus family horses for many years.    Buto knew that mentioning the Volus family could sometimes open a door.  Although he worried that it might get back to the family, he needed to find a place to stay, especially as his wealth was growing under the watchful wings of Crow and her crew.  Maybe working with her was not so bad, after all.

Buto looked to the woman, who seemed even more frustrated now that she did a moment ago for some reason, and waited for her answer.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash arrived back at the Den, carrying the large box with the trophy he had received from Grammie.  He handed the box to Cedric and asked him to hang the beatuiful thing on the large, mostly empty wall behind the bar.  It’s just the start of our new decoration, Cedric.  There’s more where that came from, so keep in mind how we might expand the collection.  We ought to have a couple more ready in a week or so.

The small cat person took the trophy with a surprising amount of reverence and interest.  Despite being rather fastidious, some might even say punctilious, Cedric was not averse to the macabre.  He had been an adventurer for a short period, and had spent much of his youth traversing the streets of the city.  Excellent, Master Ash! Quite a specimen you have here.  And expertly preserved, I must say.  I guess we can begin to hope that you and our other owners are ready to take an interest in the somewhat mottled decor of our humble establishment?  A gallery of trophies should make a fine conversation piece for the great room.  Perhaps I might suggest an adventurer’s theme?  The docks are already so overgrown with nautical establishments.  Well, certainly you owners know best.  I’ll get right to work on this piece of art.

Cedric disappeared with the box and Ash made his way into the kitchen, where Crow and Kray were chittering away in a mix of Tengu and Strix, flipping between the two smoothly, in the practiced way of multi-linguists, where the language was often dictated by the ease of presenting the idea at hand.  Some languages just offered better phrasing to pass particular ideas.  As he entered, Crow had been saying something about flies and fools, which meant she could have been complaining about practically anyone.  That was pretty typical for Crow.  Rarely could anyone meet her standards.

Ash joined in the conversation, picking up in Strix. I see you two haven’t been bothered to move your feathers today.  Content to sit on your earnings, maybe even head into retirement?  But then who’s gonna crack the whip on all of us lazy loungeabouts? Ash pulled up a seat at the table, leaned back and put his hands behind his head.  Ash was most at ease in a pose that reflected being at ease.  I guess we just wait to hear what Cruch has to say when they get back?  Then we plan our next move?  What do you think, Crow?  Are we done working for these guys?

This message was last edited by the player at 07:13, Wed 30 Aug.

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Cruch
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Once Cruch and Jinx had spoken to the dwarf and collected their reward it was getting to be midafternoon.  Cruch didn’t want to be walking around the city with so much gold so he and Jinx caught a carriage and made their way back to the Den.

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Temple
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Temple, intermittently keeping up his end of the conversation escorts (if that is the word) Ash back to the bar before moving on, heading for the Citadel of Iron Might, not so much with an agenda to be getting on with as the intention to pick up a little more experience in the field of stitching up the kinds of injuries meathead warriors manage to do one another while training and otherwise roughhousing.

It doesn’t take him all that long to cross the town, even with his more or less automatic trail-breaking switches in direction and use of otherwise inaccessible routes to skip walls or cut between streets. He doesn’t even think of it any more, but simply makes use of the city with the ease of a natural skulker.

He of course, doesn’t bother the staff too much, rather he just checks in at the infirmary and – assuming that there are folks in need of it – commences treatment.

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Narrator GM
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In reply to Buto (msg # 595):

The woman looked puzzled at first about who this big man was speaking about as he was speaking in 3rd person.  “You have come to the right place.  Let me see if we have rooms available Mr. Buto.  You are a member of course?”

A quick nod from Buto had her gather up a booklet and page through it.  “Ah yes, we have a room available but I must tell you they are very plain rooms, nothing fancy.  You will be required to clean up after yourself and also, you said you have experience working with horses.  That will work out nice.  Your rent can be covered by 2 hours of work in the stabkes daily.  If you will miss a day we just request you tell us prior so we can ensure to cover down.”

She handed you a key and then returned to her work once you left.

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Crow
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Crow easily switched to common as Ash slithered into a seat, cocking her head to eye his muddy boots, his posture suggesting he was seconds from placing one or both on the table.  The switch to common was a subtle tweak at his uncouth manner… common being the language of pigs, after all.

“Someone has to look after the finances while you spend the day decorating the hall with frozen reminders of your near-death experiences.  Do you like to remember what it felt like to nearly bleed out on an abyssal’s axe blade?  Or an ape’s scimitar?    In both instances, it had been Buto’s ax that had saved him.  She didn’t bring it up, but it was a very unsettling, even if affirming, thought.  He had said Buto would be an issue, which he was.  She had said he would be invaluable as a fighter… which he was.

She dropped that line of thought, sick of chasing her own mental tail feathers, and switched to Strix.  “It is a riddle.  Yes?  What pays like a midden, but rewards like a full chest?  These elves.  We made out well.  Just shy of a 1000 winged dragons, when all is sold.  And 6 magical tools that we can split among the group.  Once the crew decides what to keep and what to sell, I will take it all to market tomorrow.  Could use you for the heavy lifting.”    Too many guards made a target, but she liked bringing Ash along.  His slim build and lack of weapons made him look less like a hired blade, but few really wanted to test his height and “monstrous” look.  He looked vicious and venomous.  Perfect in her book.

“Kray and I were talking about how things went in the inn.  Wink…  should not have come.  He was not ready, and didn’t know how to fight.  But, we still almost lost you.  Yes?  And you do know how to fight.  You and Kray, you looked like started cats in a new house, running back and forth, chasing shadows.  Temple… he does his own thing…. but he was there at the end. “

Crow softened her tone.  The cost of Ash’s mistakes had been paid in his own blood, and Kray already felt the weight of Wink’s death.   “You two took down the Ape, with Buto and Temple’s help.  We when stood together at the end, we eliminated a dangerous and powerful fighter.  We need to stay in control during the job, not just before.  A plan is vital, but it lasts only till the first shaft flies.  Before we take another job, we need to work on group communication during a fight.  You are the battle leader.  Yes?  A crew can distrust when the orders come from one flying above, in safety, telling them to risk blades and blood.  You lead from the front.  But you have to remember your first job is to direct the others around you, not using your scales to sharpen the mark’s swords.  “  Her lips quirked at the last, indicating she meant it in jest.  She was walking a fine balance here, not wanting to put him down too much, but also desperate not to let the thrill of survival and a pile of shine distort what had happened in that inn.

“Come see what we pulled in.  The crew will all get a chance to lay claim, but no harm in checking it out first.  There is a belt here I think will compliment the green on your scales….”

This message was lightly edited by the GM at 08:30, Thu 31 Aug.

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx listened to Crow.  She was right on all accounts of how the battle at the inn had gone.  She had lost Wink and they all almost lost Ash.  It wasn’t a successful fight in her book.  A life that had nothing to do with them for someone the group cared about.  The 100 Dragons wouldn’t bring back Wink, not in the least.

“Not to beat a dead ape, but it is true what crow speaks.  We should have stayed together and fought together.  That goes for you as well, Temple.  You were MIA most the battle.  What were you doing?  If you were scouting it was the wrong time do to so.  We know you are stealthy, let’s put that to better use next time and do the scouting before we barge in and get ourselves killed and hanging on someone else’s mantle.”  Her words were not mean and spiteful, if anything there was a bit of sorrow in them.

When the loot came out, Jinx had her eyes on a headband that held a black onyx in the centerpiece.  “You said that this would increase wisdom?  If no one cares I would like to have this.  It will enhance my slumber song which will aid us greatly in future battles.”

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Crow
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On one of two of the tables in the back room of the inn, Crow had the haul carefully organized into three piles.  The random jewelry, candlesticks, and valuables belonging to the inn’s residents were grouped on a table to the side, next to the arms carried by the raiders.   The two groups were bound for different merchants, and only on display for transparency’s sake.  She doubted someone in the crew would want to lay claim to any of it.

The third group of items were neatly spaced along center table, on display for each member of the crew to review. As the crew returned from their various errands and activities, she explained what each item did and its sale value.  Using a combination of her own experience and Kray’s magical gifts, she worked out the basic functions of each.  Most of them were items she had either seen or even worked with before.  The eagle-stamped bracers could be seen on the wrists of half the bow-wielding fools in the Delver’s Squares.  Anyone who made their living dredging the dark, confined midden beneath the city was a fool, whatever the shine they dragged back out.

The cloak was also easily identifiable by Kray’s gifts.  A simple piece of clothing that wrapped one in magical protection.  The square was full of them too.  Kray had also been able to confirm Crow’s guess about the headband.  The priests that he had worked with when learning his potion craft had prized them highly, and talked about them often, according to Kray.

Ash had already inspected the belt before the rest of the crew had filled the room.  Common on brawlers, high-end sell swords, and fighters in the arena alike… anyone looking for a little extra edge when bashing someone over the head.  He might have to draw straws with Buto for it.  There would be no arguments over spoils… those things could easily lead to discord and schism.  Dueling claims would be resolved with a simple pull of straws.  Not the most effective way to make sure the crew made the best of its resources, but it did help make sure the crew stayed together to use them…. and not on each other.

The other items were a little harder to identify, but Crow was fairly sure she knew what they were and what they could be sold for.  The thick crystal glasses helped improve eyesight.  Not the way people with poor sight use shaped glass on wires to read a parchment, but magically enhancing healthy eyes to new heights.  She thought it could be useful for her, the first one to see the threat was usually the one who lived to tell of it.  The armor was the hardest.  It was clearly magically reinforced, light and flexible.  Any of the crew could benefit from it, as almost all of them preferred mobility in their armor over heavy plating.  She thought Ash should claim it, but he trusted his speed more than a second skin to keep his first whole, and had become enamored with the belt.  Cruch probably should take then, but she would keep her own council on this topic.

She let them check out all the items, answering questions as she could, and stake their claims before she did the final math on what each should expect from the haul.  It was a rough amount, depending on what she could actually get from the traders.

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Buto
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Buto, having accepted the room at the Citadel of Iron Might, and agreeing to work a couple of hours most mornings, which ought to see his business generally done before the crew took off on their errands, shambled back across the city toward the Docks and the Den.

As he pressed his way through the small doorway into the back room, he found the others mostly gathered, with the variety of spoils from their most recent job at the inn.  They’d made out much better than they had on most of their recent jobs.  Yes, maybe it is worth sticking with Crow a while longer.  Despite that thought, Buto had the feeling that the day would come when they would part ways.  Try as he might, wish as he may, Buto would never be fully one of them.  Crow, Ash, Cruch didn’t trust him.  Kray hated and feared him in equal measure.  Temple was too distant to let others that near, he would likely never be part of a crew, either.  Jinx might accept him in some small way, but that wasn’t enough.  But it was enough, for now.

The attention shifted quickly to the magical gear laid out so eloquently on the table.  Except for the belt that Ash had already absconded with.  A belt to make one stronger.  Crow seemed to think there would be a contest between the two for it.  Take the belt, Ash.  Certainly your skinny arms can use all the strength they can get.  Buto has enough might of his own making. In fact, Buto had his eye on something else entirely.  The cloak, which provided magical protection.  Teyefe had told him of them, and the twins had each worn one, although theirs had been of much finer make.  The result was the same, though.  Defense against spells.  Especially those that could worm their way into your mind, make you do horrible things.  Buto knew little of this kind of magic, but he knew it existed.  He feared losing control to his own rage.  What would it be like to lost control to the whims of another?  Buto shuddered at the though. Buto is happy to take the cloak.  It is large enough, will fit Buto well.   Buto scooped up the cloak and fastened it in place of his mundane cloak.  He felt nothing.  No indication of any power or magic.  No feeling of protection or sheen of light.  It must be working, but it seemed it was down to trust.  Well, Buto wasn’t much for trusting anyone or anything, but he needed a cloak, and this one fit as well as his last, whether or not the magic would protect him.

What now, Crow?  Has anyone learned who this Triel person was? Are we done with the dwarf? Buto did not normally bother to ask after Crow’s plans, but he was curious to know if they would continue their current path, or start afresh in another direction.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash, unfazed by Buto’s comments, strutted around the back room with his belt on.  Unlike the cloak, the feeling of newfound power was evident to Ash.  He had not physically grown in any way.  It was much like the feeling of strength he gained from Cruch’s song.  An internal, invisible power.  But it was certainly there.  He was just glad he hadn’t needed to fight Buto for it.

Ash picked up on Buto’s questioning of Crow.  If we’re all done shopping for the evening, I guess our illustrious leader should get down to the business of telling us what our next step is.  That is, of course, after everyone has taken a moment to gape at that incredible new trophy on the wall.  Abdullah never looked so fearsome, even in life.

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Temple
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The meeting of course, needs to be later in the day for Temple to be there, but he turns up for it nonetheless, listening in the impassive way he has that’s somehow more blank and emotionless than the leather mask, which at least appears to express curiosity, fascination and… something very much like hunger.

Until Jinx addresses him, which he accepts willingly enough – largely seeming to be without ego in the matter of his use in battle, which is something he simply doesn’t value beyond its obvious utility “At first, scouting. The halls were narrow and I’m not a battering ram so once you got out of the room, all I could do would have been to follow people and offer moral support. Afterwards, when a general melee broke out I was attempting to flank and ambush the hit-and-run archers who were attacking you, only for them to… Well, hit and run. In a less confined situation, I would have been picking off spellcasters, archers and the like from ambush. High-value targets.”

A casual shrug, indicating that he’s not dissatisfied either “Ultimately, it was a situation where I would have been better killing on my own, or not at all. I have however, taken steps to offset the difficulties I was having in the undercity, should we be working in the dark again.” – without moving, a ripple of uncomfortably Skulk-like colour-shifting rolls over the surface of his tight-fitting (one can only hope that it’s merely ‘fitting’) leather coat, momentarily causing it to match the brickwork behind him.

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Cruch
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Back in the back room with the others, Cruch took his seat.  One thing he liked what they had done with their meeting room was that they had purchased larger than usual sturdy chairs that he, Ash,  and Buto would be able to sit in comfortably.

Cruch had his eyes on the hide armor that Tongueater had been wearing.  He had all but claimed it after the ape beast had fallen in combat.  The rough grey colored hide was firm and looked like it could do much better than the hide he was wearing.  “Crow did you figure out the other properties of this armor or is it just magically enhanced for extra defense?”

When the topic came up about Triel, Cruch had something to say, “We spoke to the dwarf about Triel and their group is going to do some snooping around but I suggest we do our own as well.  Though if we can get them to give us some gold for doing a job that we would already have taken that is good business, right Crow?”

“He did give us this.  It was more than they originally offered.  He did seem to feel bad we lost Wink.”  Cruch placed the bag of Dragons on the table.  As he did the coins made quite the sound…

100gold each

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Asho Iduska
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Ash, with the image of Temple saving his life with a pot of feces, couldn’t have felt more differently than Jinx.  During their ride out to the hotel, he had spoken with Temple about their strategy in a fight, and had come to understand more of what Temple’s skills in that regard are.  A frontal assault would never be his strength.  Well, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone looking at him.  Just as Ash would never be particularly adept at sneak attacks.

Jinx, I’m amazed at how you knocked out so many of the archers, but if you want to complain about missing persons at the Inn, you might look to your brother, first.  Where was the ferocious gnashing of teeth we’ve all become so accustomed to?  But, then, I can’t fault anyone for how they handled themselves at the Inn.  Kray and Crow pointed it out to me earlier.  We were so disjointed. So uncoordinated.  Our hand talk was good, but we still need to practice it.  Ash hadn’t really intended to make a speech;  he only wanted to rib Cruch a bit, but somehow he’d been overcome.

Anyway, that’s assuming we’re taking another job.  Crow still hasn’t told us what our next move is

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Cruch
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Cruch knew better than to listen to any ribbing that Ash dished out.  He was a fast talker and only meant about half of what he said.  It made it very difficult to tell what the real truth was from the false, for anyone not knowing him.  Cruch knew him and had battled not only beside him but against him while in Pent-in.  They would be together a long time.

“I think I will be spending my evenings at the Stalliin Pub with Temar.  Speaking of which, it is getting to be about that time.  Anyone want to join me besides Jinx?”

This message was last edited by the player at 04:45, Sat 02 Sept.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash spent most of the next few days between the Den, the Citadel, and running errands for Crow.

In the Den, Ash was slowly removing piece by piece the Grotto trappings.  Thankfully, most of what had been done by the previous owner involved standing set pieces around, some fake columns and stones here, some sashes there, the odd purple-pink-and-blue decoration on any shelf or table space available.  Ash piled the various pieces in his room.  Although they didn’t fit the Den’s future scheme, someone might want them, so Ash asked Crow to try and unload them.  It would be good to have them out of the way.  As he removed the pieces, he uncovered a number of scratched or broken bits of wall, floor, shelf, table.  Apparently the grotto pieces had not only been decor, but had also been used to cover some of the damage that had occurred to the establishment over the years.  Ash left it as-is.  He would need to find someone in town who could do some minor repair work at some point.

At the Citadel, Ash resumed his training with the large Lizard, Rusk, exchanging violent strikes and throwing each other around the training grounds.  He met in turns with the lithe Litorian woman (he’d learned that her name was Marel).  Their bouts were more fluid, full of sweeping maneuvers and quick strikes launched from unexpected angles.  The two of them danced back and forth across the training grounds, their movements at times taking the form of a practiced waltz, interjected by unsuspected changes to the movements as each tried to catch the other off-guard.  Ash also met Buto in the Citadel, though the two did not train together, outside of practicing some of the hand gestures with the others.  Ash learned that Buto had moved into the Citadel.  Ash cursed himself for not having the same idea.  He loved the Den, and he couldn’t imagine giving up his room there, but the Citadel had become quickly a second home to him, and Ash wondered how much he could benefit from being permanently stationed there.

Crow’s errands amounted mostly to carrying loads of goods from A to B to sell them off to this or that merchant.  She made more of a fuss if it was an important merchant, driving him up the wall about no fingerprints on the merchandise, ensuring things were packed and presented just so to allow her to get the most coin for the wares.  Well, it was annoying, but some of that coin ended up in his own pocket, so Ash tried to keep his grumbling to a minimum.  Although, to be fair, a minimum of grumbling for Ash was still a significant amount.

After a week had passed, Ash returned to Grammie’s shop to retrieve his next two trophies.  They were as incredible as the first one, almost living in the natural, ferocious poses.  He wished that he’d asked Grammie to give Mullev a more peaceful expression.  Instead the Skulk was grimacing as if in mid-attack.  Well, they had met in battle.  Maybe it was fitting.  Ash handed the boxes over to a surprisingly excited Cedric, who quickly hung the trophies, with brass plates reading Mullev and Gorgeous George, next to Abdullah the Butcher.

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Crow
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Crow let each of the crew pick out what magical items they might want, glad that there was no disagreements.  Temple didn’t seem to care for any of them, so he would get the largest share of the coin, once Crow had sold all the items.  She picked the last item for herself, the magical glasses.  In a fight, the first person to see the other usually won. The same was actually true with traps too, if you thought about it.

In response to both Ash and Buto.  “First, I will need to sell all this.  The dwarf pays little for what he asks, but we tend to find good shine on his tasks.  We have made more on the last two jobs than on everything else we have done.  Combined.  I do not like working with him, he sends into dark clouds and gives us no charts to follow, but we have made our own clink from the opportunity.  We will spend no effort on his inquiries unless they suit our own.  This Triel…”  Crow trailed off.  She did not look at Kray, but she did swivel her head to eye everything EXPECT the little bird.

“There is no shine in payback.  We took 15 of hers, she took one of ours.  The inn is empty… she can easily take it if she wishes.  The elf will not have us to clean it out again, so the bandits should have an easy job of it if they wish.”

Kray would not like that answer, but killing this Triel would bring no profits or peace.  “We need to spend time practicing together.  Somewhere with a little room.  I have been eyeing a warehouse on the river.  Somewhere to store some merchandise between sales, with enough size to work the crew as a whole.  Our plan was good, and we each fought well.  Yes?  But we did not fight smart, together.  A fight is twisted ball of chaos, like 5 ravens in a burlap sack.  It takes practice and coordination to keep everyone working together.  Let us take a few days to rest, sell the takings, then we should spend a few days together, practicing.  Perhaps this Citadel of Steel could be a good place.  Buto, can you see if we can work out there as a team?” 

“I will sniff out some work for us.  There is always another job.  Yes?”

She put on the goggles, with their think panes of crystal and flexible wire cage, and turned to the group. Her large white eyes were magnified several folds to an almost unbelievable size.  “How do I look?”

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Kray
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Crow was right, Kray did not like what she had to say about Triel.  And doubly so because she was right.  Maybe this Triel would come after them, but why?  Add her to the list.  They would make enemies doing this smash-and-grab work.

” I think Temple is right.   That came out of left field, as Temple had not spoken for several minutes, but that was Kray’s way.  He went from quiet, thinking about things for a long time, to a torrent of words.

”  We have a new name to add to the list of those who have a grudge against us, a list that is growing quickly as of late.  We can’t hunt them all down… and that would probably add even more names.  The beast from the deep, the madam from the inn.   Teh list will grow and they know who we are.  One was kind enough to send us a head.   We need to disguise ourselves when we go on these jobs.  I know feathers, wings, scales, and smoky arms are hard to hide, but we can try. New names, for when we are on jobs.  Masks, hoods.  No signs or sigils.  Temple, any ideas on what we can do to disguise ourselves?  We all have a little extra coin now, let’s invest a little in keeping ourselves anonymous.”

The little feathered archer couldn’t keep his excitement in check by the end.  Clearly, wherever his previously serious musings had taken him was causing his feathers to quiver.  “Aliases!   Dark stalker, blood weaver, Killgore…  Night wing!  It will be fun!  But we can only use them on jobs.  It would defeat the purpose.  What do you guys think?

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx sat back.  Kray was quiet at times but inevitably he would burst out with a lot to say about a lot of things.  Crow had made her point about Triel and while Kray might have thought it good to not pursue it, Jinx didn’t, and by proxy that meant that Cruch didn’t.

Cruch and her had a job to continue with going to the Stallion Pub to find this Revus or whatever his name was.  This would keep them occupied during the early and late nights.  So, training during the day with the others would be a fine idea.  They needed to practice more but also practice in tight spaces.  That was the problem they ran into at the Inn.

One other thing that Jinx had discovered with the Captain’s Den was that there was a secret door heading down from the larder.  She had only told Cruch about it thus far.  He had said that he wanted to check it out after dinner one morning.  Everyone else had scattered off to the four winds and that left Jinx to go with him.

The secret door was opened and leading down into the darkness was a ladder.  Of course, to the two half-orcs, darkness was nothing foreign to them so they went on down the ladder some 20ft before hitting the bottom.  It was a stone floor which had a small trickle of discussing water running through and away from them.  The space down there was about 10ft tall and 10ft wide.  They decided to follow the running water and not far away it came to a small caged-off exit where the water fell another 20ft to the bay of Ptolus, or at least that is what Jinx said to Cruch.

With the dead end, they both decided to head back in the other direction.  They moved past the opening in the larder and continued on.  Jinx figured this must have been some sewer system cause a number of times they came to an intersection that they had to follow.  Cruch made sure to mark their way as they chose routes.  The sewers all moved up at angles of about 45 degrees or so.  Jinx assumed they all headed up into the city and to the Spire that stood tall in the city.  They saw many exits along the way as they went up.  It wasn’t hard to spot for rainwater usually fell down onto the stone floor.

After an hour of trudging through the sewers, Jinx thought she heard something up ahead.  A quick nudge and a point to Cruch and he was on alert.  It sounded like a scraping sound.  Nothing like they had heard to this point.  They moved forward and from around a corner, a large ugly beast with gangly arms and smelling disgusting appeared.  It saw the siblings and charged at them.  Slicing its razor-sharp claws through the air trying to hit Cruch who was in the lead.  Cruch immediately started his song and his own claws deflected the strikes from the beast as it neared.  Jinx tried to put the thing to sleep but it didn’t affect it at all.  All Cruch could do was go on the offensive and claw at the beast.  Cruch knew he was in trouble when the beast’s wounds began to heal after he hit it.  Jinx grabbed her spear and stabbed at the creature too opening wounds that slowly began to close.  After a few tense moments though the creature succumbed to the wounds, but they still closed as the creature regenerated.  Jinx luckily had heard of beasts like this and so with quick thinking, she grabbed a concoction she had recently made, alchemist fire.  “Fire should stop the wounds from closing! Or was it acid?”  Either way she tossed the alchemist fire on the thing and sure enough, it died finally.  A huge sigh of relief the two decided to head back and tell the others what they had found.

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Buto
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Over the next few days, Buto moved into the spartan room that he had acquired at the Citadel of Iron Might.  His few belongings (which could be carried almost entirely in his very mundane backpack, were situated there.  He found the simplicity of the room fit him.  No frills, nothing soft, just a place to lay his head for a few hours.  He would need to find a better place to keep his gold, as the stack was growing.  At his first opportunity, he asked Temple if the man could recommend a way to best store gold outside of hiding it in a mattress.

Buto began working in the stables at the Citadel the following morning.  Luckily, most of the livery staff were as equally grumpy and uninterested in idle chatter as Buto, so he was able to go about his work in peace.  Buto immediately took a liking to a number of the horses, even allowing Yozhik to sit on the back of a couple of the tamer animals as Buto went about his work brushing and feeding them.  It felt good to have a job again, however mundane.  Buto did love his other job with Crow and the crew, despite his tendency to keep to himself when they weren’t training, but there was an enjoyment in the simpleness of caring for animals that he could not deny.

When Crow asked about joining the training at the CItadel, where most of the crew had already purchased membership, Buto shrugged and said, You pay the guild, they let you in.  Come whenever you want, Crow, and we can spar a few rounds.  Buto’s training still consisted mostly of swinging a wooden version of his enormous axe around wildly.  The wooded end would not slice, but he left a fair share of opponents concussed after a whack to the head.  Often Temple appeared shortly thereafter to stitch and bandage. He seemed to have made a good business for himself at the Citadel.

Buto did not spend much time with the group during the week, preferring the solitude, but he did make time to practice hand signals with the them, though he declined most of the rest of their training.  They may need to work on their coordination.  Buto’s coordination was just fine.

When the topic of aliases was raised, Buto answered in a very Buto way. Crow, Buto is just Buto.  There is no other name needed for Buto. Eventually  after Crow’s harping about the importance of protecting themselves, along with his realization that Temple was also taking care to protect his own identity, Buto gave in. If Buto must go by another name hmm, Buto always like the name Jeff.  Jeff the Unequaled charges into battle! Buto chuckled at his own joke, although, he did not suggest a different name.  Apparently he was content to be Jeff.

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Temple
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Temple actually looks surprised at that – he’s not used to having someone openly buck the pressure of their peers in order to voice support for his thinking – and it takes him a moment to tip his head to Kray and answer the question with his initial line of thinking.

“At this point, it’s going to be difficult. Buto, for example is fairly distinctive. We could call him Lillian and tell people he dances in clubs on weekends and they’re still going to see a seven foot square wall of unspeakable violence looking for someone to happen to while carrying a weapon that’s even more distinctive than he is. That ship, as it were has sailed.” he points out, nestling a cup of herbal tea in his gloved hands and leaning back in his chair, “Now me? I’m not making where I live public, I’m doing most of my ‘Work’ using an alter ego and I usually go masked. There are few places I can’t show my face as a result but I pay the price in not being able to live comfortably and having… troublesome landlords. Most of you are somewhere between the two extremes.”

“As things stand, we’re not strong enough to survive the ire of someone big unless we’re useful, which means having a reputation, something we are in the process of developing. My recommendation would be to look into the history of other gangs and groups who have made the transition from no-one to someone and see what we can apply. Having allies wouldn’t hurt either. I’d suggest the Balacazars since they own this whole district and are known to sponsor or take tribute from lower-level gangs. Meanwhile, if anyone does come after us… Try to leave enough of them for an object lesson to be made and hope – hope that they’re not as clever as I am.” – which is a boastful way to close, but Temple being Temple probably just means that he’s already worked out a number of ways they might end up in serious trouble if someone approached it just right.

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Asho Iduska
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Well, if that big, blue beast is going to be Jeff, He said the words as if he’d just eaten a bite of those gods-cursed broccoli sprouts Sela Narys made when she was feeling especially grumpy then maybe I’ll be Jake.  Jake the Snake, a plumber making his way in the big city. Ash paused for a moment, rubbing the place where a chin would be on a human, in consideration.  It’s got a nice ring to it, but it’s a bit too plain for me.  Maybe i should be the Ultimate Warrior!  Nah, something about it isn’t quite right.  Ah, I’ve got it!  You guys can call me Macho Man.  So we have Boss, Feathers, Macho Man ugh, Jeff.  What about the others?

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Cruch
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“How about we call you ‘tiny dancer’!  You dance all around the battlefield.  As for me I like Animal, having two names doesn’t seem easy during a battle anyways.  Jinx can be Sandman.  She puts them to sleep!!”  Cruch laughed at the last bit.

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Asho Iduska
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You make a good point Animal.  Why not just call me Trip, then? Ash whirled, swinging a foot around the way he often did when bringing an opponent to the ground.  Although Tiny Dancer, has a good ring to it.  I’ll keep that in mind, in case we’re ever picking names again.

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Fario (NPC)
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We are going to fast forward 5 days now.

The crew had been busy training and also finding out about any other jobs that might be available when on the 5th day a pair of familiar half-elves came into the Captain’s Den.  It’s Fario and Shensen is with him.

It was during breakfast and Ash, Cruch, and Jinx were there to greet them.  “We bring more news about the Triel person.  If you are willing to help us once more it could be worth your troubles.”  Fario grabs a decent-sized bag of coins and drops it onto the table.

If someone looks inside they find 200 dragons inside.  “We know that while you say you would assist with capturing Triel, Tyro knew you wouldn’t do it without coin up front this time.  There is a matching pouch once the mission is accomplished.”

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Asho Iduska
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Well, well, well.  If it isn’t our old friend Fario.  Come to dine and dash?  Do a little sip and sprint? Ash put down a glass he had been drying as Fario walked further into the great room that was currently devoid of customers.

When Fario mentioned Triel, Ash’s ears perked up as much as a snake person’s ears can perk, which is to say, none at all, but he did stop talking long enough to hear what Fario had to say.  After Fario dropped the bag of coins on a table, he had Ash’s full attention.  Ash did bother to look inside and saw the 200 dragons.  And another 200, Fario had said.  Ash had to stop himself from instantly agreeing, trying to hear Crow’s nagging voice in his head.  Never do for less what you can do for more.  Well, Fario, that’s a nice gift you’ve brought us. I’ll consider it payment for rescuing your wizard friend. Ash swept the bag from the table before continuing, indicating that the money was gone, whether they took the offered job or not.  Now, about this job.  Just what is ol’ Tyro looking to have done?  Maybe a little bouncing job?  Or he’s got a cellar full of rats he needs cleaned out?

This message was last edited by the player at 13:24, Sat 16 Sept.

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Cruch
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Cruch gave a wide grin when Ash took the sack of dragons and said it was payment for the wizard job they had done.  Ash was playing a slippery game though for their crew was only 7 and Tyro had a guild behind him.

“Yes, what does Tyro want from us?”  Cruch looked Fario dead in the eye as he asked the question.

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Fario (NPC)
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Fario wasn’t too pleased by what Ash did.  Fario honestly thought that they would have gotten paid to find his friend, but Tyro had made the decision not to.

Shensen sat down at the table next to Jinx and waited for Fario to explain.

“Tyro wants you to kill Triel.  He knows she went below the city and is hiding out in some caverns below, so yeah he got some rats to be killed in a cellar.  If you and your boys are in the other sack will be the reward cause Tyro ain’t giving anything more.  If you want in I got a map I am to give you that leads to the entrance to the caverns below.”

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Asho Iduska
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The money was good.  Much better than what they had been promised in previous jobs. This was serious for Tyro.  Or maybe the group had earned some modicum of his respect, at least as far as their abilities went.  Ash didn’t have to consider long.  The money was good enough for Crow, and he knew his feathered-brother was itching for some payback for Wink.  Jinx, too, for that matter.  They would both want to see the end of Triel.

Gimme the map, elf.  We’ll take the job.

As the other members of Ugly stop by throughout the day, Ash will ask them to stay so they can plan and review the map and any more information that Fario provides.

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Temple
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Temple is slightly – slightly – more predictable now than he was after the first slave-den run. He usually shows up once or twice through the day to get something to eat and he’s generally not given to spending more than a short while circling the area to look for watchers in order to do so now.

By his standards, that’s positively relaxed, a state of affairs which does not long remain the case after he hears about their assassination job, remarking before the briefing is shared in any great detail “Eighty thousand or more people in this city. Nobles, warriors, merchants, tradesmen. They live in mansions and apartments, flophouses and hovels, any of which we could infiltrate or assault… and we get asked to go and kill someone in an undercity cave. We might as well have set ourselves up as Delvers at this rate.”

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Fario (NPC)
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Fario handed over the map pleased that Ash and the others were going to be taking the job and then the two of them left.

As the morning moved on the others came to the Den to ‘check in’ and that is when Ash, Cruch, and Jinx went over the job and the map.

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Kray
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The birds entered the pub about midday.  Kray was starving and tired of hunting for a warehouse.  He knew why it was important, they couldn’t keep storing their haul in the back room of the Den, especially as the increased.  It was too out of place for the business, and the cartloads of goods leaving aa tavern were suspicious.  And he knew Crow wanted to mix in some additional lines of business.  The had made good shine lately, but it was a dangerous trade that brought notice and enmity.  It should be ONE of the ways they make coin, not ALL.

Once Ash relayed what Fario was asking, Kray hopped on it like a…. fox.  “That is some good clink, and she is likely to have twice that in stuff we can take.  What do you say sis? 

He knew better than to bring up Wink.  Crow would not be moved by vengeance or the like… but good coin?  Yeah, hopefully, that would work.

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Crow
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Crow eyed Ash and Kray in turn, then the rest of the group.  Her eyes, pure white and large for her head, looked even bigger through the crystal panes of her new googles.  The metal nose piece, shaped like a top half of a silver beak, made her look ever more like a enormous raptor.

She took a moment to fiddle with the straps of her new quiver, hastily purchased once Temple had explained the finer failings of putting sharp objects in a cloth sack holding magically compressed space.  It was able to hold all her new arrows, and a few spare ones for Kray’s bigger bow, and no risk of creating an open maw into a magical abyss.

It was an uncharacteristic sign of indecision for her, and she wasn’t aware she was doing it.  She did not want to go after this Triel.  A woman who commands a gang of 20 sneak blades and enforcers like Tongueless would certainly have a good crew protecting her.  UNLESS she used most of her strength on that raid, then it would be the perfect time to attack. But it was a risk, and not one she cared to take.

She also wanted to send a message to Kray.  He was more sentimental for other than she was, and losing Wink had hit him hard.  He wanted to take those emotions and sate them with action, with Blood.  It would do no good. He would need to learn that emotions cannot be fed, they must be accepted… flow through and past.

But 4000 gold pieces was a substantial sum.  They were under no obligation to finish this job.  She had not agreed to it.  They could investigate, see this Triel’s strength.  Perhaps even learn what was so important about that inn.

<rose>”We did not agree to kill this Triel.  We will agree to investigate.  The inn was hot mess, little intel and too much left to chance.  Yes?  We do this on our terms.  We will see where this map leads and decide one we know more if we want to take the hit.  Have any of you learned about this Triel yet?

  Crow has spent some time the last few days seeing what she can learn about her.  Knowledge local – Rolled 30

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Asho Iduska
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Fario handed over the map and then turned to leave the Den.  Hold up there, princess.  This is all you’ve got?  A shoddy, scribbled map of some tunnels?  You gotta give us more than that.  What’s down there?  How many? Do they know we’re comin’? How did Tyro come by this information?  The crew isn’t gonna be keen on runnin’ off half-cocked again.  We gotta know something about what we’re gettin’ into.

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Fario (NPC)
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In reply to Asho Iduska and Crow:

Fario doesn’t know much about the map.  “I don’t have any of that information.  What I can tell you is that Triel Eldurast was a one-time town guard of Ptolus who escaped punishment after murdering several of her fellow guards while on duty. This event took place nearly a decade ago, so the specifics have grown hazy in the memories of the people of Ptolus. Nothing has been heard of Triel since her escape, so the guard and citizens eventually assumed she succumbed to her wounds and died.  That was until a day ago when she was spotted at these very docks purchasing a small boat and then heading out into the harbor.  She was followed and watched as she entered a cavemouth along the coast.  They didn’t enter not knowing what they would find.  This map shows where the entrance is.”

Crow you found the same information out minus the boat and cave.

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Temple
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“Which does…” Temple interjects, as Crow explains her feelings about the Inn “…lead us to an important point. Before hitting any large, obvious surface targets we should take the time to scout them properly. I appreciate that the Inn was time-critical, but one or two of us…” – a ripple of blending colour flows across the human-looking man’s coat in a viscerally organic fashion, making his outline fade into the chair and room he’s in before it settles back to unremarkable brown – “…have a knack for stealth. Had we scouted properly we might well have had a better count of them and certainly wouldn’t have been quite so surprised by the inexplicable monkeys.”

After that interjection, he waits and listens until Fario’s story brings him upright sharply, looking narrow-eyed and dangerous for a moment “Nearly a decade since she was last seen, but someone identified her on the dock with sufficient surety to not just follow them, but for someone to lay this kind of money on the line? Who made the identification and how well did they know them before?”

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Buto
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When Buto finally arrived, the others were all gathered in the back.  Crow quickly caught Buto up with the offer; the group was still discussing a number of points.  For Buto, planning usually involved deciding whether to swing from high to low or low to high, so he sat in one of the large chairs around the table and began playing with Yozhik while the others talked, interjecting his only opinion on the matter as he took a seat.  This lady and her men killed Wink, and were only a few strikes away from having others, as well.  Finding her and killing her is a good thing to do.  And vengeance doesn’t usually pay so well.  Buto is happy to join.

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Fario (NPC)
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Fario was almost out the door with all questions answered when Temple asked who gave the information to Tyro.  “His name is Artus Shemwick.  He is one of many spies we use to gather information for us.  The description provided by Shensen was enough for him to recognize her, so he followed her out in a boat of his own.”

If there was nothing else he and Shensen left.

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx was pleased that word came of where this Triel was holed up.  She wanted to kill her for the loss of Wink, her friend.  After Fario left the group to talk and go over the map she said her peace, “We need to kill her!  For Wink!  I understand we need to scout and find out more information about the place so we don’t go in blind, but if that isn’t possible we need to do as much planning about our tactics as possible and then just go there.”

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Crow
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Temple took the words from Crow’s lips… so she held her tongue while the others spoke up.  She didn’t bother trying to get anything from Fario… the only thing he brought was clink. Either he was a  mindless lackey… doubtful, his kind were too arrogant for that… or he just lied.  She thought the second, but either way didn’t waste her breath.

“This pinkie stays hidden for 10 years on threat of the noose, then appears 3 days after we thwart her raid at the inn?  Curious.  Yes?  Temple, you have the right of this.  We need to know more, and you can get it.  It will be dangerous, likely she was bait on a trap.  But they won’t expect you, I think.  And they will expect more.  One scout, hard to see.  It would work.:

She didn’t want to lose any of the crew, and Temple was valuable for his skills outside of a fight.  But there was a solid chance he wouldn’t come back. He had suggested it, and was smart enough to see it the same as she.  His call.

“Do you want us near, in case of trouble, or will that just lure more to you?”

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Temple
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Some might describe him as having been ‘voluntold’, but Temple merely smiles, “That’s where I was going with this. I’ll do a little shopping and then take a stroll this evening. I’ll find a quiet spot to watch from, take the day to see who comes and goes and then leave that night to report. If I get the opportunity. If it looks safe, I’ll press into the cave proper but with that much time in hand, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

As for backup, he gives a small shake of his head, “No, I don’t think so. You’ll all either need to be in a boat or entirely too far away to support me. If I’m caught, I’ll either be killed or imprisoned for torture and you’ll find out which later.” – a flicker of a cool, wry smile passes his lips – “You never know, I might even get a job offer if I’m helpful enough when they’re flaying me.”

Specifically, Temple is going to buy:

A climbing kit (+2 circumstance bonus to climbing) for 80gp.
That, coupled with his climb speed giving him a +8 and the ability to take 10 under almost all circumstances means that he can spider-man straight up a brick wall with no handholds. That ought to be sufficient for a rough cliff face and cave.

A stealthy bodysuit in rock colours (+2 circumstance bonus to stealth) for 50gp.
That’ll push his stealth up to 18 as long as he’s not wearing armour. He won’t be in ‘immediate’ danger and will be able to work for some time, so he can take 10 which makes his stealth check to beat for anyone to spot him 28 and the odds are good any checks will be made with penalties for distance and not being on alert.

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Narrator GM
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With the plan made to let Temple do his scouting, he takes off at dusk making his way out of the city and up along the coast to the approximate area the map showed.

Once he arrives it is dark already but out away from the lights his vision is quite clear.  He sets up his gear and heads down the face of the Cliffside.  The climb takes him down 90 ft to a ledge where he is able to find purchase and be able to secure himself for a long time.  There are also scraggly bushes sticking out from the rocks that hide his position quite well.  He then waits and watches…


As for Cruch and Jinx, you both have been going to the Stallion Pub every night and it finally pays off.

What will you do when the man enters?

This message was last edited by the GM at 06:58, Wed 20 Sept.

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Temple
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Well, he’s slightly more venturesome than that – at least once, once it gets properly dark he’s going to head down to the cave entrance, inching over the bare stone to peer inside – perhaps even entering, depending upon what he sees, doing so.

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Narrator GM
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Once dark enough, Temple climbs down further and looks over the edge of the cliff into the cave.  From the top of the cave to the water below is only about 15ft with the cave tunnel being about 10ft wide.  Temple can see that the cave moves so far that he can’t see the end.  Or perhaps of the curves in the watery entrance.  Not seeing anything to warn him away, Temple follows the stream as he climbs on the ceiling (I assume you can do that in mutated form?) He follows it for about half a mile before he sees light up ahead and hears falling water as if a waterfall is up ahead.

How close do you want to get to the lightly lighted area?

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Temple
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It’s harder, and he has to go more slowly, but between the rough stone and the fact that he’s taking his time, Temple can slowly work down the tunnel – which is where the waterfall serves as a muffler to any noise he might make.

Slowly, with exquisite care he shifts to the wall closest to the corner leading to the light in order to get a look at what’s casting it – trusting to the dark and the shadows to serve as a measure of protection if he’s careful.

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Narrator GM
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Clinging to the wall, Temple crept closer till he could see a huge cavern.  The water ran to Temples right as he looked into the cavern and fell away from sight.  To the left of the running water part of the cave wall was dug out to make a platform that was about 20ft wide and long.

The light was coming from some torches that were on stands that were 10ft apart. At the end of the platform.  He also saw that there were a bunch of planks stacked between the two stands.  On the other side of the planks the ground ended and hanging from a rope was a cage about 5ft off the edge.

Far down in the cavern (90ft down) was a lake and another platform where the rope was tied to.  Beyond that he could see man-made structures with a least 6 different doorways.

Had to edit the last sentence.  Made my post at work without looking at the map.

This message was last edited by the GM at 06:08, Thu 21 Sept.

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Temple
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This… is not a small task and for a moment, Temple can only be grateful that he scheduled an entire day for it as he clings to the sheer rock with aching limbs for a long moment before moving – using the flicker of the torches to conceal his advance as he looks to get past them and into the large, obviously natural cavern where he can expect to find ledges and nooks to stage from as he does his best to map the dizzying space.

This message was last edited by the player at 05:55, Thu 21 Sept.

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Narrator GM
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Temple finds a spot to be able to view with relative security inside the large cavern.  It gets to be quite late (midnight) and he has been there for quite some time when he finally catches some movement in the cavern below.  A couple of human approach a contraption and ring a bell.  It is easily heard throughout the cavern and shortly after that the cage creaks and begins to swing slightly and then starts to move down into the cavern.  It takes about 2 mins to descend to the small building the men had walked into to ring the bell.

Once it stops far below the 2 men get inside and then the cage begins moving back up to the platform.  2 men come out and use the planks to build a walkway to the cage and then the 2 men climb out.  After an exchange of words the 2 men disappear through a door and the other 2 get in the cage and it then begins to go back below.  The cage then comes back to the top to rest again.  This happens again in about 8 hours.  Always 2 men for 2 men.

There is no other movement but once it is daytime, Temple can hear noise far below coming from somewhere deep inside.

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Temple
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It’s tiring, it’s exhausting and it’s boring… But Temple invests literal hours in his watch and in expeditions out to the cave mouths to peer down them and to listen, mapping the spacious central chamber while staying the hell away from the light (but using it to keep an eye on what’s going on with the men coming and going).

A couple of times during the day, he fastens himself into a nook with a few short lengths of rope and permits himself to doze for long enough to remain alert before returning to his task, intending to have as good a map of the location and the staffing here as he can produce before he returns to the surface, once it gets dark.

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Cruch
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In reply to Narrator GM (msg # 635):

When Revus Twindaggers enters the tavern Cruch almost blows their cover.  He and Jinx had been trying the best they could at disguising themselves but it isn’t easy when they are as big as they are.  Still, Cruch sits in the corner that he had picked out and just waits out Revus hoping to follow him when he leaves.

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Narrator GM
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After two days Temple returns to the Den as planned.

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Temple
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Temple arrives after hours, more or less without being seen as a part and parcel of his usual scout-around-and-look-see-before-entering arrangement, which he would be the first to admit is something which takes time out of his day more often than he’d like, but once he does so he commandeers a table along one wall to lay out a small book of thin scritta paper on which many cryptic charcoal notes have been lain out as well as a larger, rough-paper map which is less thickly festooned with markings.

He then waits for the group to assemble and – with an eye to potential eavesdroppers – keeps his voice low as he turns up two lanterns so everyone can get a good look at the documents he’s produced.

And then he begins.

“The roof of the main entrance had some fifteen feet of clearance at (insert time of the tide here) and wasn’t much wider, if at all. There’s around half a mile of tunnel beyond it, unguarded and rough-walled. Took me a while to get down there, but once I did things got… odd.”

How odd, he then proceeds to explain “There’s a waterfall. But the waterfall leads down. There are no locks in the passageway and the cave entrance is on the Bay of Ptolus, which as we all know is on the Whitewind Sea. Somewhere along that passage, something is happening which permits a lake below sea level to exist. It probably won’t affect us, but we should be aware of it.”

“At the end of the tunnel, at the top of the waterfall there’s a lit platform. I navigated around the light and settled in to watch. The platform’s got a heavy cable leading down to a set of structures on the opposite wall, at the level of the lake. On an eight-hour basis, at (insert the two times I saw) what looked like human guards use a travel cage to move up and down the cable, with guards at the top constructing a short walkway to permit the users of the cage to get out of it – not into it. If I had to guess, that suggests that this entire setup is built around keeping someone in and that whatever it is either doesn’t require a large staff, or they stay down there a long time and are rotated out in pairs at the end of a shift. No idea yet how food is delivered.”

“There are two additional beaches in the cavern, one on the shore opposite the structures and one around a short passage at the far end, either might make suitable rally points if we choose to infiltrate. Without risking detection, I couldn’t venture to the doors down there, but there’s a possibility that the passages connect to the dungeons somewhere in the rock, and even if they don’t we’re going to need a solid exit strategy before we try anything, although personally I recommend kidnapping the two departing guards at one point and interrogating them for more information.”

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Crow
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Crow nodded in approval.  “Very thorough.  Well done.  This intel will be invaluable.” 

Crow let her eyes roam around the map.  It would be quite the nut to crack.  Temple’s assumption that it was more prison than stronghold was interesting and possibly correct.  But it was also a perfect trap.  Limited, controlled access.  Just as difficult to get out as in.  Boat would be the only way in or out for most of the crew.  And once they went down that waterfall, they would be at the mercy of that one exposed cage.  Temple and her could move freely, but nobody else.  She could carry Kray, but this was not a three-person job.

“We cannot rely on that elevator to get us in and out.  Too risky.  We need a way for the rest of you to get up and down.  A potion, a spell, something.  Temple, Jinx.  Thoughts?”

“Taking the guards would be good.  They leave by boat.  Yes?  Where does it take them?  It would be better to take them in the city, not on the water.  And it would be better to take just one.  Bad things happen, but not to two armed guards at the same time.  It will raise questions and alert this Triel.”

Crow’s mind raced through the possibilities as she waited for Jinx and Temple to respond.

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Kray
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As Kray looked at the map on the table, his mind splintered into two voices, each arguing their conflicting points across the silent space of his consciousness.  One was that aspect of his nature that longed to prove himself. To show his power vastly exceeded his size…. to test his limits for himself.  To see what he was capable of.

The other voice was the one that worried for his friends… that treasured the family that he had acquired through shared pain and hardship.  A voice that was all the more strident and cautious after the loss of Wink.

That would be a true test of what the crew can do.  It would take all of Crow and Temple’s preparation, every resource the group could bring to bear, and certainly some close-quarters adaptation.  Was it even close to worth the pay? 

“Getting in is the easy part. Even without the elevator, we can climb down the ropes.  Some of us can go down first to secure it before the rest come down.  Doesn’t sound like they have sentries.  The problem will be getting back up.  Any ropes with be wet… hard to climb that far up with slick gear.  I do have spells that can give us cover as we ascend.  I also have spells that can make the guards talk… without resorting to torture.  That hasn’t been proven to get us reliable intel in the past, after all.   

As he looked around the group for their responses, he was filled with excitement… and anxiety.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash listened to Temple’s recount of Triel’s hideout.  How the man could lay still and just watch for so long was beyond Ash.  A body needed to move.  Ash would certainly never have made it unnoticed, and had he, he’d have been asleep and snoring within minutes.

Ash generally prides himself on being a jack-of-all trades, able to whip up a solution to just about any situation, martial situation at least.  But he was glad that the others had skills of their own.  The information from Temple might save their lives, might have saved Wink’s life if they had given him the time at the Inn

I like Temple’s suggestion, Crow.  With his skills, I reckon Temple could follow one of the guards back into the city.  Maybe you, Crow, could keep an eye from a distance and let us know which way they’re headed.  Our good friend, Misses Sandman, can put the bloke to sleep and then we see what we can get out of him.  When we’re done with him, we pour some drinks down his gullet and leave him lyin’ in an alley in the warrens.  We’d still be on the clock, but we might have a better picture of what’s waitin’ for us.

Ash walked around the table, giving his body the bit of motion in needed in order to think properly.  Now gettin’ in might be tricky, if we want to do it quiet.  That means we can’t call up the platform.  I figure Temple can climb down, and Crow can fly down.  Kray can at least glide.  The rest us us are either gonna have to climb down the cables, or maybe we can fashion a kind of handle to slide down the cables like a zip line.  Gettin’ back out well, I think that’s only gonna be possible with the platform, unless one o’ you has some magical abilities I don’t know about.

Ash stopped and looked at the others, awaiting their thoughts.

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Jinx the Black
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Jinx listened and looked over the rather detailed map that Temple produced.  To her, it seemed interesting that there were only two guards on at a time and they were the ones that ran the operation of the cage.

“So, let me get this right.  Two guards at the bottom signaled the ones at the top.  Then the cage moved from the top to the bottom to pick up the two guards which then moved up to the top.  The guards at the top got in and traveled back to the bottom and disappeared while the cage went back to the top?  Okay, so it seems to me we have a way down via the cage once we deal with the two guards.  I am able to pray for my spells and ask for something that will allow us to fly or levitate at least to the top. (I can do 3x levitate) If we want to spend the coin I could get a wand of spider climb but it is spendy.  I just wish we knew what was inside the complex!  Getting one of the guards will be key!”

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Crow
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Crow nodded to Jinx in approval.  She always came through will clever, full-sail ideas.

This place.  It is odd.  Yes?  As you said, it works like a prison.  Or a slave pen.  More focused on keeping in.  Temple, you saw nobody actually leave the cave.  Yes?  How would you suggest kidnapping a guard?  Take them both from the front guard house?  Or did you see them leave? “

“There is something more here.  A wrinkle that will help unwrap with parcel.  Crutch, Jinx, do you think you could learn more about this place?  Everything that happens is seen by someone in this city.  Some of us can scout the ground above.  They must get supplies somehow, and it may not be the main entrance.  Temple, perhaps you can see if anyone ever leaves this place.   Another day learning more would not be wasted.”

“Thougts?”

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Temple
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Having bathed, eaten and slept Temple doesn’t look like he just spent most of a day clinging to a wall gazing down on his potential prey, but the evidence nonetheless stands to show that he did, gently nightmarish though that is.

And of course, he remains on-task as they enter the planning stage “None of the magic that comes to mind would let us move a group out of the area should the cage be lost to us. At least not affordably. There are scrolls and potions which might, but they’re invariably expensive.” Temple assesses, visibly considering the question but coming up empty if they’re to work within budget, then nodding at Jinx “A wand would be one option but, as you say would be expensive.”

“As for an abduction, whether by magic or direct action and interrogation I approve of the idea of performing it in the city. Between our varied talents, we should have no difficulty in following and securing a lone human… And no, I did not see anyone leave the complex, but by the time I saw the guards ride the cage, I was down by the lake. It is my assumption that they were being rotated out, but you are correct. They could have been simply replacing the guard staff on that post.”

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Crow
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After a day spent futilely looking for more information on the prison, Crow faced the group across the lantern-lit map in the back room of the Den. They knew nothing more about the mysterious stronghold than they did the day before.

We have two options. Yes? We can sneak in, attempt to find this Triel, and get out before we get trapped at the bottom of this abyssal midden. “ Crow didn’t like caves. If you couldn’t see the sky, it made her uncomfortable.
“Or, we can use their defenses against them. They have been considerate enough to place themselves at the bottom of a hole with one exit. Once we take the guardhouse at the top of falls, we control the elevator. No one in or out.”

Crow picked up an arrow that had been lying next to the map. It had an odd-shaped head. There was some type of wrapping directly behind the arrowhead.

“They could have enough food for a long siege. These structures you saw at the bottom, Temple. They were wood. Yes? Bad way to go. Trapped in a hole, fire taking all the air you need to breathe, heat crisping your skin. “

Crow set the arrow back down, then laid out her plan, looking each member of the crew in the eye in turn… as was her way.

” We take a few boats and gather at the entrance. Temple, you can take the two guards. Yes? Jinx can help. Put one to sleep. With Kray’s magic, the one that wakes will speak truth to us. Numbers, exits, Triel. If there are few blades, or other exits, we sneak in. Buto and Kray can hold the exit, Jinx can get us all back up in a pinch. ”   Kray wouldn’t like that, but between his bow and Buto long arms, they could hold the dock if things went bad. And Kray could get up and down the shaft on his own.

” If the numbers are too high, and there are no other exits, we parlay. A dozen barrels of pitch and a few fire arrows will test their loyalty. Yes? They give us Triel, or they roast. We wait till the flames die then finish what remains.

Crow looked to see how her words were received. Kray and Ash would support it regardless, but she was curious what Jinx and Temple thought. They had sharp minds and would see any holes in her plan.

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Temple
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“No, most of the structures were stone. Some wood, but at a guess they took full advantage of their being in a cave.” Temple states with a small shake of the head, lightly rattling his fingers on the table in a staccato beat as he considers their next move, “And Jinx was correct. I had assumed the guards were leaving the cave as part of a regular watch change, but if they were simply manning the guard station, then the regular entrance may be somewhere else.”

Tapping the map – such as it is – lightly, he explains “I saw no evidence of anyone entering or leaving through the river tunnel. That means there are three possibilities. Either the entire – or some large portion of the – guard staff rotates, say every week or two, they live down there full-time like some sort of demented troglodytes… Or there’s some other way up and down inside the complex. If it’s the former, then every so often a fairly large boat full of armed men is going to arrive at and leave the docks hereabouts and not be gone for very long. If it’s the latter, then it’s going to be a well-kept secret. It seems to me, we need to do some investigating.”

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Asho Iduska
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Ash continued to pace, as the movement helped his snake-brain process things.  Never the most intelligent of any group, Ash is by no means dumb, but he does have trouble sitting still when he’s thinking, an aspect of his character that was well-catalogued by all of his instructors at Pent-In.

The little man has the right of it, Crow.  We ran off half-cocked to that inn because the job was now or never.  But, if this Triel is hiding out in this cave, I suppose there’s no need to rush off to our deaths.  Better to take a few days and see if we can learn anything else.  Kray and I can go looking again for other entrances, and maybe some extra time will help Cruch find a map or something of the place, and we ought to learn if they are sending in replacement guards or supplies from the outside.  Who knows, we might find a way to smuggle ourselves inside.  Who knows, maybe one o’ your smuggler contacts will know who’s getting business from the place

Ash stopped talking as he stuffed a muffin, fresh from Sela Narys’ oven, into his mouth, taking advantage of her momentary absence in the immediate kitchen area.

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Crow
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Crow knew she was looking for excuses not to go down in that midden.  And Ash and Temple had given her more than enough.

“The clink, we already have. Enough to feed us for a while.  No rush to get the rest.  Temple, can you keep watch on the entrance, see if anyone else comes in and out?  Jinx, can you take turns with him?  Skydrop can help you keep watch.  Yes?  Ash and kray can keep looking for alternate exits.  I will see what I can learn from my trade connections.  They must buy supplies from someone.  Arms, food, wood.

Crow eyed the big Suli.  It will be tight quarters and poor numbers when we go down.  We will need your ax sharp and ready.  In the mean time, no one has checked on the orphan in days.  Can you ensure they are still safe?

She turned to Cruch. “Do you think you can learn more of this place? Or are your skills better spent searching with Ash and Kray

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Buto
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Buto nodded when Crow asked about visiting the orphans.  <Aqua>Buto will go, check on them.  It would be good to stretch Buto’s legs.  At the next opportunity, Buto will pay the Black Lantern Orphanage a visit and ask after the health of the 4 kids who were kidnapped.

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Narrator GM
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In reply to Cruch (msg # 643):

After a few hours and a few drinks, Revus leaves the pub.  You both follow him, it isn’t hard as he is drunk.  He makes his way to an alley and looks around.

Assuming you both keep semi-hidden, he doesn’t spot you and enters the alley.  You both head to the corner and see him enter and close a door.

Cruch and Jinx tell the others this during the meeting with Temple.  Do you all want to do anything else with Revus at this time?

At the meeting, some plans are made with Jinx stating she can help and Cruch agreeing to see if he can find maps of the place.

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Buto
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When Cruch mentioned that they had found Revus, Buto suggested they at least check out the place.  Whether before we go into the cave or after is your call Crow.  Buto thinks this boy, the orphan, where it all started, is still wrapped up in this. And Tyro is offering money for information about what the eye-tyrant wanted with the boy.  Buto could go and speak with this Revus.  Buto is good at talking to people.  It is one of his many natural talents. If Crow wishes, Buto will visit this room (along with any who wish to come along) after he visits the Orphanage.

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Crow
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Kray was tired of being scared of Buto and just watching the rest let him kill everything in sight because of the value of his ax.  His idea was IDIOTIC, and likely to kill the only lead they had to the Laughing Guild.  He said as much.  Directly.

“You.  Good at talking to people?  If by talking you mean turning into corpses.  There has not been once that you have gotten anything more from someone than the contents of their veins.  You have actively kept us from learning valuable information.  The only thing having you following Revus would do is guarantee that our only lead to this guild will wind up dead.  And the only thing we will learn is what he sounds like while bleeding out.  Honestly. “

Kray snapped his beak shut with a click, gave his feathers a little ruffle, and turned to Cruch.  “While we investigate the cave a little closer, maybe you should see what is behind this door. “

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Crow
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Crow spent the next few days working on her contacts.  On the surface, she was checking in on any special orders they needed, and spikes in demand for various products, and  rumors about good marks.    She also checked out a few small warehouse options near the Den.

But through all that, she weaved in questions about Triel’s stronghold.  Nothing overt…  “I heard a rumor of a smugglers den at so and so location…. Saw boats sailing right into the cliff by so and so… there an Inn, few hours ride from town, heard it was hit by a crew run by…. ”

Everyone got a question or story designed to draw out some information, but nobody got the same one.  This Triel didn’t seem like she was well connected with the City at the moment, but lack of care could get one’s feathers in a clump.  And it was tough to fly with clumpy feathers.

Knowledge Local:  18, Knowledge local: 32

After spending 2 days on rumors, she took to the skies to help Kray and Ash search the area around the entrance for the last day

Perception:  24, survival would be the same total if that is a better skill for this

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Kray
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Kray was glad to be out of the city for a few days, even if it was combing the barren countryside along the coast.  The horses made for a nice change, and he spent time getting use to riding.  He was still terrible at it, but he loved the challenge of a new skill to learn, especially if his stature made it harder.

It was also good to spend time with Ash without Crow’s ever-watchful eye and listening ear.  They goofed off too much and had more fun than she would appreciate.  It was great.  And best of all, no Buto.

Well, at least for the first two days.  Crow joined them for the third, but even that was ok.  Her wings could cover a lot more ground than the horse, and she wasn’t nearly as able to chastise them from 100 feet in the air.

Through it all, Kray kept an eye out for valuable plants he could use for recipes.

He also used a little magic to help him learn the lay of the land.

Three days search the wider area around the entrance for possible other exits or signs of supplies/traffic. Used Lay of the Land spell on the first day to give Knowledge geography And looking for potion ingredients. Knowledge Geography – 14,  Perception – 18, 22, 13.  Herbalist – 13

This message was last edited by the player at 15:19, Thu 05 Oct.

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Temple
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Temple does, in point of fact have something of a day job in his work at the Citadel of Iron Might, although his main reward for it is the way he’s filling notebook after notebook with precise, detailed depictions of innovative physical trauma and means of treatment – varying his methods and his techniques as he works on determining the most reliable and effective ways to address the myriad of clever (and not so clever) ways warriors (and adventurers) come up with to do one another grievous injury.

He settles in his two new reading-lights, procuring a small cage for them when they’re not confined and he relocates his tiny ooze sample (still in a flask) to the bottom of a small hand-pumped well to provide cold water on demand while he works out his best means of getting a proper surgery again.

But he does invest a few hours each day – coinciding with the times that the tides* provide access to the cave – on his overwatch, doing his bit to learn if there’s any sort of regular access going on.

* We’ve got three moons, so I imagine that the tides are kind of wonky, but we’re also at the end of the Whitewind Sea and the Bay of Ptolus, so they’re going to be pretty large. No way the cave can be accessible to a boat 24/7, so Temple only really needs to stake it out a couple of times a day.

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Buto
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Buto turned to look at Kray as if seeing the tiny bird for the first time.  His face broke into that odd smile he wore at times. That Buto is willing to do what must be done, when the others have no guts for it, is a point of pride.  When the job calls for killing, Buto kills.  When it calls for intimidating, Buto can do this as well.  Ask your sister what an accomplished locksmith Buto is.

In a blink, Buto’s countenance changed from goofy smile, to a look of pure malice.  You should remember, little bird, that it is only due to Buto’s axe that anyone here draws breath after that inn. Perhaps next time, Buto will leave it to you.  You can spend the rest of your life, however long that may be, wearing their deaths around your neck with the little shadow..

Buto stood and stormed from the room, taking the back exit into the alley.

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Cruch
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Cruch had agreed that he would go see Revus.  But as Buto spoke and was obviously upset he thought it might be good to go after him and ask him to go along as well.  Nothing more intimidating than himself and the big Suli.

“I will go to Revus and see what I can find out.”  With that Cruch left and went out into the back alley where Buto was standing.

“Buto, come with me.  We will go see about this Revus.  I think between the both of us we can figure out some kind of information that will benefit the group.  What do you think?”

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Narrator GM
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After four days of you all trying to figure out if there is another way into the complex the group talks to a few sailors who say they know of two aquatic elves that head out into the bay with a whole boat full of foodstuff and supplies.  The sailors don’t say any more than that.  After a bit of coaxing (25gold) they reveal that the boat leaves before dawn and comes back after dark, empty except for a boat full of fish and crustaceans.

They say that the times vary on when this happens, not every Friday and such.  It has been almost a week since they have seen the two elves.

They haven’t watched where the boat goes and no one you speak to has followed.

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Crow
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Crow took Ash & Kray to try to find these two salt elves.  It was their best way of getting intel without having to go into the cave and snag a guard.  It also presented an opportunity to draw them out.  If this shipment was disrupted, someone would have to come find out why.

Kray knew a few spells that might help and made sure to have them on hand when he went with his older sister and taller brother to the dock.  He first directs them to pick up a naval chart that includes the section of the coast, then tells his sister to put on her glasses and finds a spot to stand that has a good view of most of the docks.  She looks pretty ridiculous, as the glasses seem to be mocking that her already bird-like appearance by giving her even more raptor-like features.

Cupping a small sliver of brick, he channels his power and casts a spell he has never used before, causing his sister to go into a trace for a full minute… hher eyes wide and unseeing as they stare into ghosts of the past.    It is a dangerous magic to cast, as it left Crow totally unaware of the outside world.  Of course, anyone wanting to take advantage of her would have to cope with a 7ft tall snake trained in back ally brawling and 5ft raptor wielding an orc-sized bow studded with iron spikes.    So Crow at least is safe while she views echos of the past on the dock, looking for any signs of the two elves.

  Kray casts Ears of the City on Crow, allowing her a diplomacy check (she is using perception instead, as allowed by the spell) to gather information each round of the spell – 4 rounds total, each gathering as much information as 1d4 hours spent using diplomacy to gather information.  She is focusing on the two elves.

Diplomacy 34 for 4 hours,
Diplomacy 21 for 1 hour,
Diplomacy 24 for 4 hours,
Diplomacy 33 for 1 hour,

10 hours total of diplomacy to gather information on the two elves

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Buto
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But doesn’t sulk, ever, but he has learned to remove himself from situations when he feels he’s starting to lose control.  So, when Cruch found him in the alley, Buto might have looked upset or as if he were sulking.  In truth, he was seeking the nothingness.  The absence of emotion and the presence of control.

One of the best ways to regain control, according to Zhin, was to find a task to take one’s mind off the emotions.  So Buto was happy to accompany Cruch to visit this Revus.

The two, though both having been in D Block at Pent-In, had never developed much of a relationship.  Well, Buto didn’t relate to almost anyone, so, no surprise.  Buto found, walking through the city with Cruch, a kind of connection he’d never noticed before.  Cruch was gruff, but open, and he had a wicked sense of humor.  Buto laughed on a number of occasions as they walked.  Strange.  How had they been at Pent-In so many years and never spent a moment together?  Well, Jinx has always been attached to Cruch, and he was incredibly protective of her.  Perhaps he’s always been afraid of Buto.  Most of the other orphans had been.  Whatever the reason, Buto enjoyed the walk, and by the time they reached the place Cruch had described, Buto had forgotten completely about the incident with Kray.

So, Cruch, how do you want to do it?

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Narrator GM
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Whether by luck or just good investigation Crow and Kray are able to find the aquatic elves.  The were found gathering a bunch of supplies and were on their way to the docks.

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Kray
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Kray needed a piece of their ship so they could be tracked.  He nodded to the other two to follow him and carefully followed the elves at a distance, trying to determine which ship was theirs.

Kray Stealth – 16, Crow Stealth 30.  Kray will try to get close enough to slice off a splinter of their boat.  If they look like they are in danger of casting off without him getting the chance, Crow will distract them by trying to hire a boat.   

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Narrator GM
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Kray, Crow, and whoever was with them at the docks find the elves finishing up loading the boat they have.  After striking up a conversation about the fishing out in the bay, Kray manages to get himself a piece of the boat.

Edit: the boat is 20ft long by 8ft wide.  The boat is laying low in the water as far you you can tell.  There is a pile of supplies that are about 5ftx10ft in a pile in the center of the boat.  As a guess you would think it is enough for perhaps 30-50 people for a week.

This message was last edited by the GM at 07:12, Thu 12 Oct.

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Kray
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Kray took the splinter of wood and his chart to the back table at a tavern right on the docks.

“So, the spell will allow me to track the boat on this chart, letting us know where they take the supplies.  Is it the main entrance we have seen?  Or somewhere else?  It will also let me know when they have returned.  We can follow them to their home and have a nice chat.  We will need the rest of the group, I think.  Ash, you want to go rustle them up?  We probably have 3-4 hours at least.  Crow, you might could fly up to the cliff face and watch them as they enter the cave.  You can easily beat them back once they leave.  If you don’t see them, Ash, me. and the others can track and question them. 

Kray snapped his beak shut in surprise.  He had taken charge, mapped out a whole plan, given orders to both Ash and Crow, and she….  looked pleased.  He just barely stopped himself from preening.

  Kray will cast Track ship and watch the map to see where the boat goes.

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Crow
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Crow knew this was a dangerous line of work she had taken up with her two adoptive younger siblings.  And that she might not always be there to lead them.  She took every opportunity to let them try their skills, to lead when they could, to grow.  One day they might need to run the crew, or make their own.  Ash was already her battle leader, taking charge once the blades were bloodied.   SHe could easily still run things from the air, but she prefered to let him take the lead from inside the fight.

Getting Kray to develop the same way was more difficult.  He was her shadow in combat, and was always looking for her direction.  It was good that, during this hunt, he was taking charge.  He could do things with his spells that she could only dream of, and he needed to grow with confidence as he grew with his powers.

It was with that midset that she simply nodded and stood.  “Watch your back here. Yes?  Ash and I will be back once we are done with our tasks.  Do not wait on me. 

  Crow will take to the skies and fly to the cliff above the cave.  She will take up a hidden watch for the boat for roughly 4 hours.  If she doesn’t see them in that time, she will fly back. 

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Narrator GM
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Ash and Crow took leaving Kray at the docks alone.  It wasn’t far to the Den if something happened and besides Ash shouldn’t be too long.

It took Ash an hour to get the rest of Ugly Inc and head back to see Kray waiting paitently.

Kray you watch the map and about midway out into the harbor the boat stopped.

Crow you can roll a perception check about the hour mark.  DC25 to see the small boat.  If you see it you will find that it is not moving any longer.

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Crow
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Crow spots the boat, unmoving in the distance.

  Nat 20, for a 38 if this still counts as the city for favorite terrain, 36 if not. 

She hesitated for a long minute, weighing being spotted with learning more, and decided that she could learn nothing from here.  With a powerful thrust of her legs and long sweeps of her wings, she took off over the harbor.  She flew high, as high as she could and still be able to see the elves on deck.  Her goggles helped with the effort, giving her great vision over long distances.

Back at the inn, Kray marked the spot on the map where the boat has stopped.  The boat was certainly small enough to fit into the cave, so unless they were waiting for the tide to provide better access, there was no reason to stop that far out.  Hopefully, Crow would see what was going on.

Once the rest join him, he catches them up on whatever Ash didn’t and keeps an eye on the boat until it starts to return to the docks.

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Narrator GM
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Crow saw the boat stop and waited a good 30mins before deciding to fly overhead.  He saw the two elves packing stuff in large grey-looking sacks and tossing them overboard.

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Crow
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Crow mentally marks the spot in her mind and flies back to the cliff top, hoping she was taken for a sea gull.  Or albatross, with her wingspan.  She will wait till they leave before flying back to Kray

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Narrator GM
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Once the elves were done with the task of dumping the goods they both jumped in and disappeared from sight.  3 Hours went by and it was nearing the time that Crow had made a decision to go back. 4 hours had passed since she had left him and Ash on the dock.

Crow flew back to the dock and the crew was waiting for her there.  Kray said that the boat was still in the same spot when Crow arrived.

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Crow
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Crow strode into the Tavern and looked with satisfaction that the whole crew was there.  And a tinge of annoyance.  So many ears in the room.  She would have preferred to use her native tongue to catch Ash and Kray up to speed, but the others did not know it.  They needed to invest some time into a shared language so they talk without fear of eavesdropping.

She took a spot at the table with her back to the wall, so she could at least see who might be paying their conversation too much attention.

“They took the supplies to a spot out in the sea and then underwater.  They were still under when I left… several hours after going under.  These salt elves, they can breathe the water.  Yes? “  She had not known that. She disliked elves… mostly because everyone thought strix were just winged drow.

“Two options, I see.  They went into the cave under the water,  to keep from being followed.  Good idea.  Hard to keep secret if boats keep going in and out.  Other option is there is an underwater entrance.  Less likely, I think.  But possible.  And useful to us if true.  But an expensive waste of time if not.  We could search the water for hours and find nothing. ”

She cut off her musings.  It was an unecessary watse of effort.  Once they took the elves, they would know for sure.

“Either way, we wait for the salt-born to reutrn and follow them home.  Then we talk.  Kray can make them speak only truth.  We find entrances.  We find numbers.  Then we plan attack. “

She would have liked to stay out and watch them until they returned, but the weather had looked to turn bad, and she had no desire to get caught out in a gale.

” Temple and I will follow them.  find where they live.  Then we will all pay then a visit.  They will talk.  Yes? 

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Temple
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“It seems like a workable plan but I suspect all we shall learn is who pays them and to whom the boxes are delivered – if the two are not the same people. Were I arranging this, they would never see anything inside the cave. Irritating, impractical but paranoid. No reason not to try of course, if they’ve been doing it for a while they might have gotten sloppy but… I’m not expecting much at this juncture.” Temple offers, looking somewhat tired from days spent rushing about the city, trading watch rotas for surgical work and back again.

This message was last edited by the player at 04:06, Wed 18 Oct.

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Narrator GM
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After a few more hours the ship begins to move back to the docks.  Doing as you had said, the elves are followed to a dumpy place down in the dock district.

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Crow
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Crow followed the pair through the streets.  Despite being tall, dark skinned, and be-winged, she did not stand out in the diverse crowd of the Ptolus docks.  She knew how to follow someone in a crowd without losing them or being spotted.

Stealth – 22, Survival (tracking) – 18

She lost sight of Temple shortly after leaving the tavern.  She made no effort to keep an eye on him.  It irritated and impressed her how he was able to vanish from even her hunter’s eyes, so it was less emotional to simply not try.    Of course she didn’t know where he was, she wasn’t trying to see…

The dump was not expected.  This area of town was mot much better then where they stayed.  She took her time, giving it a once over, to see how many people were inside, possible exits, and anything else see could learn.

Perception- 25

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Narrator GM
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Scoping the place out where the two elves went, Crow found that there was a front entrance and also a back one as she moved around the block and down the next alley.  The windows had heavy curtains blocking vision to the inside but as they listened they only heard the two elves inside.

Testing the doors Crow finds they are both locked.

What do you do?

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Crow
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Crow will look around for Temple, hoping to have him keep watch on the house while she flies back to Tavern to get the rest of the crew.

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Temple
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At least some of the things Temple does when he’s looking to break a trail are quite expressly designed to give the slip to someone in the air, although that may well be because he knows how Crow works and has adjusted his routine to keep him from being found by others, rather than specifically seeking to evade her.

Sadly, one thing he hasn’t done in the wake of moving his entire life from the whorehouse attic is inform people where he’s actually living now (it’s almost as if he doesn’t want to have to relocate again) and that means that contact is more or less only on his schedule. He turns up at the tavern twice a day (morning and evening) most days and of course, he watches the cavern as he’s been asked to, but he’s simply not around for pick-up tasks except by prior arrangement.

So it’s probably a good thing that they have a prior arrangement and that Temple is given to overthinking things – which is why there’s a short list of ‘sorts of places to check if you need to find me’ that he’s long handed over to Crow and she finds him in the third of them (the shaded lee of an upper floor balcony or steps overlooking the area we’re watching).

A few quick hand-signs and he signals his acknowledgement with the warning that he can only watch one side before settling in to keep an eye on things while Crow completes her task.

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Narrator GM
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With everyone in tow, Ugly Inc is now at the door where the elves are staying.  It is night time and given the location in the docks many of the locals are inside the bars already so there aren’t many people on the streets at this time.

Go ahead and do what you want to do in a post.  Roll initiatives as well just in case.

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Crow
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Crow talked over the plan with the group. The less commotion the better, so the plan was not to break into the house. These elves, this was just a job for them. Yes? A little quiet convincing should do the trick. And maybe a spell from her little nestling.

Once the group was arranged, with Temple and Skydrop watching the backdoor, Crow leaped into the air and took perch on a nearby roof. She prepared to follow them if they fled, trusting that her wings would give her the edge in a chase.

It had been agreed that Ash would take the lead on talking to the elves, with Kray there for magical support.

Init 27. HP 37, AC 18

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Kray
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Kray was rather pleased with himself.  His spells had found the elves, and tracked them to the supply site, then let them find the elves on the way back.  He usually looked at his powers as things to aid with combat, but he was fast learning that he had much to offer even before the fletchings met the wind.  Perhasp even to lessen the need for shafts at all, in some cases.

He had another spell in the bag.  One that would ensure these elves spoke the truth.  Buto’s menace had proven that it simply made people speak, not made them speak the truth.  Kray would make sure they actually got the information they needed, not just lies and blood.

Kray stood to the side of Ash at the door, his large size drawing any attention from the Tengu’s slight build.  Two talon-tipped hands rested casually on his bow, like a walking staff.

He meant to focus on the door, on preparing for whatever suprises the elves might throw at them, but he was distracted by cat that was hiding inthe eves of a nearby building.  Was it a white cat with black spots, or black cat with white….?


Init 5. HP 27, AC 19

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Asho Iduska
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Once Crow and Temple (presumably as the man was nowhere to be seen) had taken up position, with Skydrop flying overhead(again presumably for the small flying lizard-thing was also hard to see), Ash led Kray, Buto, Cruch and Jinx toward the door of the Elves’ hovel.  The group looked as if a group of ghouls from the Harvest Festival had infested a group of Cold Moon Festival carolers in an attempt to overtake that holiday and subsume it into the Harvest’s own celebrations.

Ash took the lead with Kray, hard to see in the dark, next to him, and Buto and Cruch looming over his left and right shoulders.  Jinx, as usual, stood in the back, likely preparing one of her wicked lullabies in case things went sideways.

Ash knocked at the door.

Initiative 17, AC 21, HP 44

This message was last edited by the player at 07:05, Thu 26 Oct.

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Buto
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Initiative 6, AC 20, HP 51

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Temple
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Temple makes himself visible as he moves to overwatch the rear of the building, but does little if anything to indicate to any observer that he’s ‘with’ the newly arriving group.

00:49, Today: Temple rolled 22 using 1d20+8.  Initiative.

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Narrator GM
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Ash knocked on the door to where the elves had gone.  After a minute someone calls from the other side of the door.  “Who is it?”

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Asho Iduska
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Ash, never the brightest of any group, was nevertheless pretty quick on his feet in most circumstances.  Probably a quality attained from years of learning to read attacks and manuevers and react to them in a split second.  So, he ran with his first instinct. Yeah, we’re here about the shipment you just dropped off.  There was a problem.  Open up.  Ash did his best to sound serious, but not threatening; the type of unamused growl of a hired hand whose been sent on an errand that he doesn’t feel is worth his time.

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Narrator GM
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There is nothing but quiet after Ash had spoke.

How long do you wait?

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Kray
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Kray waited next to Ash silently, and he could tell his scaled brother was out of his element.  He was great in a brawl, and good at keeping the team focused in the fight, but this was not his element.  Kray knew Crow wanted them each to grow, to take on new challenges, but Ash wasn’t ready for this yet.

The little archer looked up at the roof where his sister/mother/nestmate was perch and waved her to come down.  This needed her touch, rough as it might be, before Buto turned the door into kindling.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:35, Sat 04 Nov.

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Crow
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Crow kept her eyes moving, listening to what was happening at door below.  She didn’t miss the sign from Kray, and sighed as she lept off the roof.  She did not want to see what happened with the little chameleons happen here.  If they got away, Triel would surely be warned and maybe even flee… or worse, prepare for their attack.

She landed hard by the door and gave it one sharp slap with a talon-tipped hand.

“Enough of this.  Yes? We will discuss your last delivery, or you will see if your boat carries any cargo from the bottom of the bay.  I doubt you would like hauling 3 weeks of supplies on your back out to the back entrance.  Yes?  And the client, she expects supplies, or your hides.   Open.  Now.”

  Intimidate – 26.  I am relying more on fear of us and what we might do then actually trying to bluff them into thinking we are what we say we are, hence intimidate over bluff.  I can roll bluff too if needed. 

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Narrator GM
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After a few more tense moments of no noise the locks on the other side of the door are heard being unlocked and the door opens.

“What was wrong with the shipment?” said the voice on the other side of the door. “We delivered everything as ordered!”

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Asho Iduska
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Ash stepped forward, putting his foot into the doorway to prevent closure of the door. now, now, let’s not talk about this in the street for anyone to hear.  You fellas got any coffee? It’s been a long day and we’ve got a few stops still to go.

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Temple
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Temple shifts his point of focus a little from looking for evidence of attempts to escape to looking for signs that anyone is heading off to carry word or gather up trouble – they were luckier than they deserved with the locksmith after all, that a local minority militia or gang didn’t choose to interject.

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Crow
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Crow took the opening Ash provided and pushed into the room.  “Wise decision.  We have much to discuss.  Better not in the open, as my friend says.

Crow waited for the rest to pile throw the door as she took stock of the room.  She looked for back exits and hidden threats.

Perception – 20

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Kray
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Kray let out a small sigh as the door opened.  He knew he made the right call, getting Crow to come down, but it was validating to see it work.

As he followed Crow in, Kray took a spot in one corner, attempting to be forgotten among the rest of the looming crew.  Easy to overlook him, and that was an advantage if this went south.

The feathered cleric touched his necklace of holy symbols and muttered a few words under his breath.  A wave of unseen, unfelt magical  energy filled the room.

Zone of Truth – Will save or must tell only truth – Save DC – 15

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Asho Iduska
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Will Save (Ash) – 25 – Success.  Will Save (Buto) – 16 – Success

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Narrator GM
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They elves place was nothing spectacular.  The main room everyone was in now was well kept but small, 10ftx15ft.  It was obviously the living area.  There was a place to cook in the back with 2 doors on opposite walls that were currently closed.

“So, what was the problem with the shipment?” one dared to ask a few moments later.

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Crow
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“It is a nice job for you.  Yes?  Easy money, running supplies to hideout.  It ends today, I am afraid.  The loss of revenue will hurt you.  I understand.  We will compensate you.  This is good.  Money, for no work.  Yes?  And you will not share the fate of those in that watery crypt.  You like the clink of coin, and breathing.  A deal you can agree on.  Yes. “

She paused there, to let that all sink in.  It was a very small room, and it was currently filled with large, heavily armed strangers.  Ash, Crutch, and Buto towered over the salt-born, with Buto’s clearly visible axe able to split them both in two with a single swing.  They had spread out, with Ash between them and the front door, and Crutch moving around the room to get behind them.  Jinx and Kray probably avoided all notice between the towering bodies and her threatening words… which was good.  They were the most dangerous.  Jinx would put them out before they could take one foot out a window, and Kray had enchanted them without notice.

She fished a bag of coins out of her endless pouch with her left hand and eased her longsword in its sheath with the right.

” You have few choices here.  There is gold for information.  You ease our passage into the cave, you make money.  You live to find new work with clink in your pouches.  You run, or fight, or lie, and you die.  A big decision after a long day of work.  I know.  But one you need to make, and now.  What do you say? The coin, or the sword?” With each option, she emphasized what she held in each hand – a bag of coins, and the hilt of her sword.

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Narrator GM
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It wasn’t much of an option for the two elves.  They had no loyalties to the people in the cavern below.  Heck, they didn’t even know them besides the courier that dropped off a list of goods needed and the initial location of where to bring them.

“You pay us for no work?  For how long?  We will show you the entrance below the water no problem.” The same one said the last part once they were told how long they would get paid for.  The elf was telling the truth and seemed eager not to have to do the work any longer.

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Crow
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Well…  that was easy.  But why not?  It did make sense.

Crow waived for the rest to be at ease, and once she asked what they were paid per shipment, she fished that amount from the pouch.

“That is to show we pay.  And there is more.  We will pay the same to take us out to the entrance.  First, we need to know everything you can tell us about this cave.  Where you take the supplies, what you see when you deliver them, how many men do you think are there… everything you can.  Now I pay you for words spoken while you ease in your own chairs. This is good.  Yes?”

Crow looked around the space, and followed with “May we sit?  This will take a little while.  I want to know everything.”    As she spoke, she bounced a few fat gold coins on the palm of her hand.

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Asho Iduska
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Ash relaxed, not so much at Crow’s command, but the tone from the Elves, almost relief, signaled that they definitely weren’t the type to die for their employers.  Probably co-opted into something they didn’t care for; maybe it was due to their ability to access that underwater entrance.  The thought struck Ash and, as soon as he could get a moment, his hands moved quickly to pass a message to Crow. If they will show us the underwater entrance, we need a way to get there.  Ask if they have something.

Otherwise, Ash lounged about, always keeping an eye on the elves and listening at the door, though, he figured, if anyone approached, Temple would give them warning. Perception (Nat 20) – 31

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Buto
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Buto, for once, actually tried to play the part Crow was always haranguing him about.  Be quiet, look dangerous.  Well, Buto didn’t love being forced into such a role, but he remembered how well it had worked at times in the past, so he did as asked.  Even at Crow’s gesture to relax, Buto kept his axe in view of the elves, and remained ready to swing it.  Maybe they wanted to cooperate, but it couldn’t hurt to remind them of how short their future might be, if they did not.  Can’t be quiet and dangerous without the dangerous part.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:20, Mon 13 Nov.

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Temple
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It is certainly Temples intention to warn the group should anything on the street seem amiss…

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