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RP: WInter's Valley-Chapter 2

mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
edited February 3 in Role Playing
WInter's Valley-Chapter 2

Long has he slumbered, too long. His purpose long abandoned, for long abandoned has he been. He once had a name, but that name is bitter in memory, and hated. Never shall that name be heard again.

Abandoned! A bitter fury, a primal, emotional rage rises up within, fueling his dreams and spinning nightmares. Winter is harsh, but not for him. He cares not for Her cold bitterness, for it matches his own. He enjoys the suffering she brings. He yearns for it, craves to maim and starve, just as the great Winter Herself does. His dreams are the reliving of his torture reaped on others.

His Masters! Curse them! They created him, nurtured him, gave him life and meaning, gave him happiness! Then they stole everything from him, destroyed his birthright and left him, caged in his nightmares.

His masters abandoned him...

For too long he yearned for their return. He prepared everything for them, just as they always wanted. But as the years passed, and he began to whither, he realized they were not coming back to him.

What if they were injured? What if they were harmed?

NOT SO! They were the mighty creators! Nothing could hinder them from serving their purposes! Had they wanted to return, they would have returned. Nothing could stand in the way of their will.

When the time came for their lives to have surely ended in old age, he knew. He knew they hated him. Their professed love and appreciation for everything he did for them was a farce. He was a tool only to them, nothing more. A utility. Were he truly appreciated and loved as they claimed, they would have treated him as one of their own. They would have never abandoned him.

And so, impotent and lonely, he simmered for years, left to his own devices and slaking his rage on the occasional wanderer unfortunate enough to mistake his lair as a refuge from Winter.

And as the weary and lost travelers, fleeing the battle for their homeland, stumble blindly into his home, suddenly and all too eagerly...

He awakens.

Post edited by mashedtaters on


  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    Hello friends! This is the second chapter of my Winter's Valley role playing campaign.

    If this is your first time visiting this thread, I bid you welcome! You may join in at any time, simply send me a PM. The rules for my world are contained in the first chapter of my game, "RP: Winter's Valley-Power Shift."

    You can find the first chapter of the adventure here:

    You can find the rules contained in spoilers here:

    If you wish to join, do not feel that you have to read all or any of the first chapter. That is NOT REQUIRED!!!!

    All you need to do is read through the rules, create a character with me following those rules, and then I and the other players will fill you in as you go. If you wish to read the first chapter in its entirety, you are of course welcome to do so.

    Welcome, and happy roleplaying!

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    edited February 3
    Below is a brief recap of the first chapter.

    The Kingdom of Astorwind was ruled over by a ruthless King named Corak. He had an advisor named Colden Cramnoch, a dwarven lorekeeper, played by @Skatan , who may have been the only person in the world the King actually liked. Colden had an orcish friend, a servant in title only, named Lagrord, played by @ThacoBell .

    Astorwind shared a border with the Bloodeye Clan, a small, roving nation of evil, human-sacrificing barbarians. An army of orcs mysteriously drove the Bloodeye Clan out of their homeland on Astorwind's northern border. As orcs are typically disorganized, this was very concerning to King Corak and his advisor, General Gressick.

    General Gressick was a former barbarian leader of another group of barbarians. He petitioned the King that the Bloodeye Clan could be convinced to join forces with Astorwind in driving off the barbarians. It was a ruse designed with the sole purpose of alerting the Bloodeye Clan's leader, a sadist named Aros, when and where to strike at the Astorwind forces. The forces of Astorwind would be ambushed by the Bloodeye Clan while they were fighting the orcs who, unbeknownst to any but Gressick, had joined forces with 3 large frost giants.

    To allay any suspicion from himself should the King get wind of treachery, Gressick convinced the king that his son, Prince Casak, was staging a coup to take the throne.

    The King granted Gressick's petition and sent Colden Cramnoch (and his slave/servant/whatever half-orc Lagrord) to seek an alliance with the Bloodeye Clan. Along he sent his royal guard, Nareth played by @ashafetov , and the assistant dwarven priestess Sus'Ann, played by @lolien .

    They set out with Gressick's daughter Garta, their guide to the barbarian camp, and two other soldiers, Jirt and Kefto, to seek the Bloodeye Clan to establish what is meant to be a fruitless alliance.

    On their way, they discover an ancient ruins that gives hints of a time before Astorwind's founding that were more peaceful and advanced. Astorwind and the rest of the world, as far as anyone knows, has fallen under a dark enchantment where winter is extremely dangerous and deadly. They learned from the ruins that this was certainly not always the case.

    After traveling through the ruins, they came upon the Bloodeye Clan, thus alerting them that Gressick's plan had been set in motion. Their mission failed in their mind, they set back for the Astorwind army and got separated from Sus'Ann. Aros and the Bloodeye Clan followed them and ambushed the king just as they were about to flee the orcs for their lives.

    The party learned then that King Corak was once a raider who actually conquered Astorwind with the help of Gressick, Aros, and Dizrym, one of the 3 frost giants. After conquering Winter's Valley, the 4 raiders then split the land amongst themselves.

    King Corak's estate grew more powerful every year as the decades passed.

    The frost giant, Dizrym, wasted his estate in gluttony.

    Aros spent his whole time torturing and confusing everyone under his estate and eventually just grew bored.

    Gressick's estate fell on hard times during a particularly harsh winter. He petitioned King Corak for help during that Winter, but Corak ignored him. Gressick's tribe of barbarians was wiped out by winter.

    And so Gressick swore vengeance on Corak and orchestrated this coup with Aros and Dizrym. The last chapter ended with Gressick slaying Corak and the party fleeing into the wilderness with Prince Casak where they stumbled into an unknown cave.

    Please note that LOTS of details were spared in the recap above. The first chapter is 30 pages long, so I had to cut some things out of the recap.

    Post edited by mashedtaters on
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    edited February 3
    Prince Casak stands up, brushes the mud from his shoulders. He looks around him and a bright flash from the storm outside lights up his features as he searches through his satchel for a torch and flint. His face lights up in its characteristic sneer of contempt.

    Then the torch lights, bathing you all in a soft glow and you finally see who made it out with you. It is Prince Casak, Jirt, Colden, Lagrord, Nareth, and 4 human guards and 1 dwarven guard who decided to stay loyal to Prince Casak. Nareth knows them all. The the human guards are Fent, Billmar, Westik, and Crol. The dwarf is a casual friend of Colden's as well named Retkathar.

    Prince Casak looks to you all, his long hair plastered to his face with mud, rain, and blood. He looks at you all with a strong sense of disappointment and displeasure.

    "Blast, this is all? I shall never regain the throne..." he mutters. Then, more loudly: "We shall have to make camp here until the fire and storm outside die down. There's nothing for it. Then I demand that we climb out of this Sun Godforsaken hole and kill that traitor Gressick. Any who seek to save their own skins will be instantly executed for aiding and abetting a criminal. Am I clear?!" He screams that last part furiously, his face suddenly twisting into a visage of pain and desperation.

    As in answer to his outburst, suddenly the earth beneath you shakes and knocks you all to your feet.

    "What in the world is that?!" screams Retkathar.

    The cave opening behind you collapses, throwing up a puff of black dust, dousing the torch, and sending you all into darkness.

    How do you react?

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,952
    Colden stands up again, glad for the small quake to come and interrupt the prince before he made an even bigger fool of himself than he already done. Colden doubted he, and this small rag tag band of misfits could ever really have a proper chance of putting Casak on the throne so he had not yet decided if it would even be his goal. "I'll cross that bridge when I reach it", he thought to himself, but he can't shake a small, nagging thought that without his father Corak alive and the logical succession from father to son in place anymore, perhaps other candidates to run Astorwind would be better for the the greater good. He throws a quick glance at Nareth. Loyal, benevolent, respected and a bit thick in the head. All the best needed qualities for a king, as long as he had a great advisor by his side of course.

    Standing up, he felt nauseated by his dirty creased clothes. He hadn't had a proper bath or change of clothes in ages, he smelled and his clothes were filthy. He did what he could, threw an old cantrip he hadn't thought about in a while; Mending, to fix any tears and small holes in his clothes. There, now that's better.

    Looking back it sure seems the only way forward is.. forward.

    "Is everyone ok?" Colden says to everyone. "It seems we have but one choice, so we might as well head forward." Colden also throws a Light cantrip to help the humans with their pitiful eyesight see better in the dark.

  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 225
    Nareth raises up, cleaning himself from black dust. It seems like it sticks to skin. He did not like Casak before and his love for the young Prince did not grow stronger since then. The Captain ignored complaints for a while until it became unbearable.

    " Everybody's alive? Stay alert ", he repeated a rhetorical question then sudden flash after Colden's spell blinded him for a while. " Ahh.. For Refiner's sake! "

    He looked around with curiosity examining the pit.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    Casak gets up gingerly to his feet, looking rather pathetic indeed, his hair in shambles and his face covered in new mud and dust from the collapse. Luckily, the greatest injury to anyone is the prince’s damaged pride.

    Nareth examines the walls and sees they are of finely worked stone.

    “Oy!” spits Retkathar, standing up to his feet. He has a fiercely black beard and a shiny bald head, though he is still very young for a dwarf. Young and eager, as Colden may have seen him, but always slightly reserved and uncomfortable in the older, more respected dwarf’s presence. Never one to drink as much as other dwarves, and hardly one to speak up, a dwarf of average skill and accomplishment, but generally pleasant company, nonetheless, as one of the few dwarves in Astorwind willing to socialize with the King’s advisor.

    “This here is dwarven worked stone, if I ever seen it!” he continues. “Aach! Me Da and Ma used to live in a hall like this when I was a young lad! Very young, but I remember. I remember it in me bones!”

    The stone of the cavern glimmers in the light with a smooth, reflective sheen, worked naturally into the stone from years of patient, stubborn polishing.

  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 225
    Kram normally was totally immune for Nareths racial predjustices being the King's Right Hand, therefore the captain's respect to the Lorekeeper always was and is still quite deep. Nareth did not much like dwarves themselves, however. Well, say, as well as other races. It pushed him in for a clunky joke:

    " Looks familiar, master Retkathar? Perhaps ya knows the way then? As I have absolutely no clue about our whereabouts. Yer bones might be indeed very useful here. ", irritated by Casak's complaining, Nareth was in quite bad mood lately.

  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 225
    I will try to stick more to Nareth's personality this time. Let's be fair :)

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,952
    Hehe same here. Colden, now not trying to influence the King Corak and perhaps not even the "prince" anymore, might actually become a but less diplomatic now that the group is isolated from political affairs. Without a goal of creating a solidified and safe Astorwind under one king, let's see which of his character traits become the prevalent. Hence, why he acknowledged Nareth as rather thick in the head @ashafetov , hehe :P

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,035
    *Lagrord lets out a sigh, hoping that Garta had followed*

    At least her father is likely to keep her safe He thinks to himself.

    "I can see in the dark, let me take point."

    *Lagrord moves to the edge of the torchlight*

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    edited February 4
    Casak, his torch relit, looks at the collapse behind you. “Blast!” he spits. “There is no way to dig ourselves out of this...!”

    “Looks like there’s only one way to go,” says Bilmar thickly, an old, scraggly bearded veteran whose extreme unintelligence and lack of ambition has held him back from seniority advancement. Nareth is the highest ranking military member here and so, under normal circumstances, would be in charge directly under the prince. However, due to the circumstances of the destruction or capture of the Astorwind forces, the dilemma of who’s actually in charge is an awkward weight in the air.

    As Retkathar, Nareth, Lagrord, and Bilmar converse, Casak scowls darkly at them, his face full of contempt, but otherwise says nothing. For now, he looks to be asserting his authority in making the only choice: to move forward into the catacombs. Who would disagree that this is the best course of action, anyway?

    Prince Casak joins Lagrord in the front, uncharacteristically not giving the orc an emotional jab of any sort, other than his usual scowl he reserves for everyone lately.

    Together, you walk as a group into the tunnel as it slopes ever downwards. While Bilmar seems a little too thick in the head to be afraid, the other three human guards, Crol, Westik, and Fent are gripping their weapons tightly as they cast fearful looks around them into the alien corridor. Jirt seems unconcerned, no longer a stranger to ancient ruins, as he follows Nareth, his eyes alert. Retkathar is almost excited as he scurries about silently, examining the stone, his thick black beard waving and his bald head gleaming. The prince wears his characteristic sneer, as though the darkness itself is somehow beneath him.

    Post edited by mashedtaters on
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    Though the orc’s sight is a boon, it doesn’t allow him to see much further than the light of the torch.

    For one thing, the tunnel winds and turns at odd angles. Aside from the workmanship, it does not resemble the famously straight and open dwarven corridors or halls spoken of in legend. It winds this way and that way, curving back and forth.

    For another thing, the collapse of the tunnel kicked up a lot of the characteristic black dust, which heaps in the corners of the stone halls. The air is thick with the fine dust, which may have caused people of a different age to cough and hack in a lack of ability to breathe. You realize dully that, despite the ever present nature of the black dust in the air, food, and water, it never seems to give you much of a problem other than to dry out your mouth if inhaled in heavy quantities, or to block your vision, as it does now, when most inconvenient.

    Just as you begin to notice that there does seem to be some sort of repeating pattern in the zigzagging of the tunnel, you come to a fork in the path. One direction head upwards to the surface of the mountain, sort of in the direction you came from but at a different angle. The other heads back downwards into the depths of the mountain. The slope is certainly noticeable, but not dangerous. Colden and Retkathar’s dwarven senses tell them that there is perhaps about 20 meters, or 60 feet, of earth overhead.

    “At last, a way out!” says the prince, looking upwards. “Follow me!”

    “But wait!” says Retkathar. “There is no exit that way.”

    Casak scowls deeply at the dwarf, his face condemning him for speaking out of turn. But otherwise, he says nothing.

    “And how do you know that?” says Westik, a new recruit to the royal guard with a bright face and a happy, blissful, and naive disposition.

    “There’s no wind,” says Retkathar. “We should feel at least a little bit of air going that direction if it opens to the surface.”

    “Well, then it seems it hardly matters which way we go,” says Jirt, folding his arms. “I for one would rather go up than down. Maybe the surface is closer up there and we can make it out more easily.”

    Casak looks at Jirt as though saying, “Yeah... that’s what I said,” but otherwise stays silent. He is a man of many expressions.

    Retkathar looks down at his hands submissively.

    What do you do?

  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 225
    Nareth agrees with Jirt, he tries to hide his lacking of cavern promenade experience with fake confidence:

    " Up we go then. Stay behind the group... your Majesty. ", the last title he said with an obvious effort.
    " Now it is yer turn, master Dwarf. ", he taps Retkathar's shoulder. " Maybe ya show us the way? Considering all yer cavern experience, of course. And don't ya worry, we'll cover yer back. "

    Nareth silently draws his sword and gets ready to follow Retkathar.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,035
    "I've never spent much time in tunnels. I'll defer to those more experienced."

    *Lagrord strains to see any kind of change in the tunnels ahead*

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,952
    Colden is feeling annoyed. These weakminded fools don't realize they are in most likely in tunnels of great archaeological value and leaving them with no more knowledge of who built, why and where they lead would be such a huge waste. Besides, where are they going anyways? The kingdom is lost, the king dead, their plans utterly ruined. He doesn't want to sow discontent in the group by taking a firm stand against the others though. This time. He opens his book and in the light of his mage light he scribbles many notes of the underground caverns, where they approximately entered, how long they walked, the depth, the stonework etc. His dwarven heritage allows him to decypher his surrounding like a chef would know the ingredients of a dish he has cooked many times just by looking at it.

    "Very well.. let's go up." Casak in charge.. sort of, for now. Colden was sure that he could probably assert his command over this group, but for now he allows the power balance to remain unchanged.
    Fellows, my GF is here for a couple of weeks (after 2 months apart) so less screen time than normal until around feb 22. I'll join and post when I can but apologies if my posts are late sometime.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    Casak steps forward, taking the lead, his torch in one hand, his long sword in the other, and his scowl still on his face.

    The passage continues generally upwards, making the exact same patterns as the passage you just exited. It zigzags this way and that way at the same angles and intervals.

    Retkathar steps forward and places his hand on the wall facing downwards. His fingers are blackened from the touch. You notice that the walls facing you as you go upwards are blackened, but the walls facing your backs are clear, worked stone.

    Retkathar places blackened fingers to his lips, tasting the blackness. Then he spits it out. “Soot,” he explains. “I think these were once some sort of chimney system. It would explain the turning and zigzagging pattern. They would have wanted to collect as much of the ash as possible before it left the mountain. My father told me stories about...” he gets more and more excited but suddenly stops when he sees the prince glowering at him.

    With imperious, pouting impatience, Casak turns away back up towards the passage, leading you farther up.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    The passage, or chimney, or whatever, continues in the exact same pattern as the one you just left, gradually meandering upwards. Colden and Retkathar notice that the surface is nearer.

    You hear ahead of you the grumbling and growling of orc voices, snorting and barking in their native tongue. Casak puts a hand up, motioning you all to be silent.

    You peer around the corner and see a group of 6 orcs milling about the rubble of a cave-in with lighted torches. Presumably, whatever caused the earth to trap you within these tunnels has also trapped this group of orcs, separated from the main army. You guess that they were pursuing you during your flight and got turned around in the storm and smoke.

    They are standing there scratching their heads and completely oblivious to your presence. You see the lifeless arms and legs of a few members of their patrol sticking out from the collapsed rocks and dirt. Apparently, some of their number did not survive the collapse.

    The prince turns to look at you all, motioning with his hands that he intends to attack, as you outnumber them. He indicates that he will lead a silent charge into their ranks and that each of you will back him up, including Colden and Lagrord. He is very clear and concise in communicating silently.

    Then he sets himself, prepared to charge, giving one look over his shoulder to ensure you are watching him. You realize that he may be the best trained warrior in Astorwind now that King Corak is dead.

    Do you follow the princes orders to ambush the orcs?

  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 225
    I would try to convince orcs to find an exit together, or fight the greater evil together. But not Nareth.

    Nareth gives Casak a short nod and silently approaches the rock to take a cover. His sword is drawn and it is needless to say that he tries to prepare himself for sudden ambush. He notices Jirt and two other soldiers and gives them a short command to follow him with the gesture of his left hand.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,035
    *Lagrord draws his rapier and dagger, keeping close to Colden*

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    Without waiting to see what Colden does, Casak silently charges into the orcs, downing the first one without a noise. Nareth cuts the second down, and Jirt kills a third.

    By the time the last few are aware of what happened, they are dead on the ground, swimming in blood.

    Casak wipes his sword and looks at the wreckage in the light of his torch. "Blast, this exit appears to be more covered than the last," he sneers.

    Retkathar tries not to look too smug, but he can't help it.

    You search the bodies and find a few poorly cured skins of water. Crol takes a drink, and his face blanches, but its better than nothing. He passes it around and each of you take a drink. Even if it is contaminated, it is better than nothing.

    This prompts you to check your supplies, which you note are low due to your hasty retreat. Each of you has a waterskin that will last you about a day or two. Your food reserves are low, but with rationing it should make it through the week.

    "We will have to look for supplies," admits the Casak grudgingly. "Who knows where this tunnel leads, but trying to dig our way out is, perhaps, madness. It would likely take days, and without a water or food source... well, we would be too weak to fight the orcs likely on the other side. I fear we must resign ourselves to the possibility that we won't make it out of here in time to..." he gulps, his face pained and angry. Then he spits, " time to intercept that traitor, Gressick. My father was a fool for trusting him... he..." For a moment it looks as though he is about to cry or break down at the revelation of betrayal. But then he snaps out of it, swallowing his disgust and contempt.

    "What are you looking at?!" he snaps at Westik, who happens to have his characteristic goofy grin on his face. Instantly the smile disappears and the naive kid snaps his mouth shut.

    The prince huffs. "Don't take any of the orcs food," he says. "It is likely human flesh."

    And with that he heads back into the heart of the mountain, not looking over his shoulder.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    You come to the previous fork in the road, and take the only option left to you. You travel deeper into the belly of the mountain, marveling at the stone.

    Perhaps it is the admittance that you are not getting out of here tonight, or perhaps it is the realization that there are hundreds of feet of earth between you and the sky. But the adrenaline rush that has kept you all going for days suddenly catches up to you and you have to accept that you are exhausted.

    There is no fuel for a fire among the crumbling stone and blackened dust, so you settle yourselves down in the middle of the hall for a cold meal of army rations on the hard ground. Each of you has your supplies, thankfully. You pray in thanks to the Refiner that you had the presence of mind to grab your packs before you left. But you know their limits. If you can't find a way out of here or some food source of some sort, you will die.

    The four human guards, Fent, Bilmar, Westik, and Crol settle themselves somewhat separate from you. Jirt joins you along with Retkathar, who rather shyly sits next to Colden. After setting each of you on watch rotation rather bossily, Casak settles himself alone on the outskirts of your makeshift camp.

    This is an opportunity to get to know some of your companions. Or you can get some rest immediately, or do something else entirely.

    What do you do?

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,035
    *Lagrord's mood is too dark to tr and ingratiate himself with those who likely don't even consider him any higher than a pet or tool. He tries to get some sleep*

  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 225
    edited February 17
    Nareth's mood improved, he relished the moment of calm with pleasure, and yet he was glad that the sullen Casak was sitting separately and not interfering. He took his leather bag and examined the belongings. This time, the preparations were carried out in a hurry and, except for the rest of the rations from the campaign, he had nothing remaining.
    @mashedtaters can you please remind me, how much do we have? As I sis not pay much attention myself, or shall we roll it? I have the list of Nareth's belongings from Chapter 1 here:

    He has Strength 16 (+3):

    Backpack 5lbs
    Rope 10lbs
    Bedroll 5lbs
    Winter blanket 3lbs
    Cold weather outfit 7lbs
    Waterskin 5lbs per day (4pints or .5gal), 1 day (??? How much is left?)
    2 torches 3lbs
    Food— 1lb per day, 7 days (??? How much is left?)
    45lbs total

    First Aid bag - 1lbs
    Long sword - 3lbs
    Long Knife - 1 lbs
    Dagger - 1 lbs
    Spear - 3 lbs
    Iron Buckler - 2 lbs
    Iron Helmet - 1 lbs
    Bracers - 3 lbs
    Iron plate - 2 lbs
    Cape - 1 lbs

    " I'm afraid we need to spare food and resort to rationing again. Men, does anyone else have food? We need to ration it properly. Jirt, me lad, you should have something, don't ya? "

    Nareth laid out all his food on a cloak spread out aside and the amount looked rather sad. He has thrown another quick glance on orcish rations and turned away with disgust. He hoped they won't need to resort to this.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    You still have all your equipment as listed, no need to cross anything out.
    The only thing you are low on is food and water.

    “Here we are,” says Jirt, throwing his rations into your pool. Westik, the young happy man, and Bilmar, the old idiot, throw their rations in without hesitation, as does Retkathar.

    Crol, a burly middle-aged soldier with a scar down his face and a reputation for bloodthirstiness, hesitates. “‘Fraid I don’t have any, cap’n,” he says.

    Fent, a scrawny archer with a thick mustache and a penchant for winding up in the brig for misdemeanors among the village, looks at Crol as though nudging him on.

    “An’ no water, neither,” continues Crol.

    “As Crol said, neither of us have any food or rations left,” he says.

    You look at them with some manner of suspicion. Nareth was never the one to make appointments to the royal guard. That responsibility used to be shared between Casak’s two bodyguards, before their deaths yesterday, and General Gressick. Every now and then, the King would have appointed someone to his guardianship who may have tickled his fickle fancy.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    edited February 17
    Now that you’re here together as a matter of circumstance, you realize that these are not the members of the guard you would have chosen to accompany you into the wilderness.

    Westik, foolish, naive, and eager, incredibly inexperienced, and rather incompetent with weapons. His appointment to the guard had been selected by General Gressick a few months ago, who never gave a reason for the strange decision. In foresight, you realize it may have been an attempt to weaken the strength of Corak’s retinue.

    Bilmar, who had been a royal guard for as long as can be remembered by anyone in Astorwind. The man had a certain stubbornness within him born only of certainty in ignorance and stupidity. One of the reasons Corak liked him so was that he obeyed orders from the king to leave him undisturbed no matter the emergency, much to the frustration of Colden and many of the other villagers. His gross stupidity forbid even the king, in his whimsical fancies, to allow the old man to advance past the responsibility of doorman.

    Crol was a sort of mild acquaintance to one of Casak’s elite bodyguards, Forek or Calen you can’t remember which. Until the prince screamed out their names in their deaths, it was hard for you to remember that they were individuals with lives and personalities. Their deeds of mischief and near cruelty in the village, and their robotic loyalty to the prince, often overshadowed who they were.
    Crol is much the same way in that manner, though his bloodthirstiness was often disturbing in contrast to the annoyances and inconveniences that Casak and Calen and Forek put to the villagers. While Casak never actually harmed anyone, simply content to lord his authority and magnanimity over the foolish peasants, Crol had a certain darker reputation. Many of the villagers blamed him for sudden murders of people in the village that couldn’t ever be quite pinned on him, but who had mysteriously died after getting into a confrontation with the burly man. While Casak was pragmatic in his vices over the villages, “indulging in them wisely,” as his father would say, Crol seemed to have no such qualms, if the rumors were to be believed.

    Fent was sort of an enigma. He came to the castle many years ago and weaseled his way into Corak’s heart and up the military ladder with honeyed words and audacious displays of showmanship with his bow and arrow, a weapon he called, “The Taker.” He swore that it was magical, from the ancient world from before the darkening, and that he had won it in some daring, dangerous duel against a mysterious beast. That items regularly went missing whenever he was around led rumors to spread that his coming upon the weapon may not be all that it seemed at first. Nevertheless, nothing could ever be pinned on him to hold him in the brig long enough for serious consequences. He always claimed his innocence and that he was of the highest moral character, destined for greatness and thus unable to be touched by the base instincts of mankind.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    Fent and Crol had developed a sort of friendship, though it was more of a relationship of mutual benefit. Fent was the brain and Crol was the brawn. Together, they were viewed as villains by the members of the village, and as trusted, invaluable allies by the royalty of the King and even Gressick.

    That their behaviors now are suspicious are hardly surprising to any of you that know them. It would not surprise you if they were holding back on what their actual personal rations and water supply was.

    Of course, you doubt they are very well stocked, at least not much more than yourselves. No one had time to gather supplies in the sudden flight through the fire and storm. It crosses your mind that they may be seeking to establish their capacity to abandon you and the prince at the first opportunity, which may possibly be to your benefit. It could be stressful to have to constantly look over your shoulder with them around. Antagonizing them by confiscating their meager rations could cause them to resent you and give them motivation to not leave you in peace, if that is their plan.

    You expect that they followed you, in contrast to the unwavering loyalty of Bilmar and Westik, accidentally or pragmatically. Now that the order of Astorwind is fallen, they will likely seek out other places for their fortunes.

    You have a decision to make. Do you confront them about their likely lie or do you let this rest for now?

  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 225
    edited February 18
    " ... And no water, aye? "
    The captain replied with a grin. Nareth ignores Fent and speaks directly to Crol:

    " Is that true? ", Nareth comes closer, " Just mind that, I am not going to search through your belongings, no. But if somehow, somewhere I will discover that you lied, consuming our common grub - I will act according to the law of wartime, as it should be with traitors. Did ya hear me, Fent?

    Look, I don't expect the outstanding generosity from folks like you, but considering our current circumstances you'd better be frank with me. It appeared, we are all in one boat now and need somehow manage to survive together. And that's what sharing means.

    Nareth unpacks the ration and draws his knife to carve it to equal portions for all. While doing this he continues:

    " Westik, I appoint you as my assistant. Whatever happens, make sure your arse is close to our merry party. Keep your eyes and ears open, okay? Just watch and learn from people like Jirt, but for now you can assume that you received a promotion. [/i] "

    Post edited by ashafetov on
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    edited February 19
    Crol looks at Nareth with some manner of relief. “Oh no, Cap’n Nareth, I ain’t got any water or food at all, no sir.” He clutches his bag to himself tightly as he speaks.

    “As I said, sir, I have no water or food, but I do thank you kindly for making sure that we are all taken care of,” Fent says obsequiously. “Were someone to hoard supplies, it could mean our very deaths. We need men like you around to make sure we do the right thing. Without you, who knows what could possibly happen to us. I just want to say how grateful I am to you that you’re looking out for our well-being. I hope that you keep your promise and deal appropriately with any scum who try to steal from our very throats.” He looks over at Bilmar who is absently picking his nose. “Wouldn’t you agree, Bilmar?”

    “Huh?” says Bilmar, looking up, his finger shoved deep into his skull, buried in his thick mane of scraggly, white facial hair.

    Westik gets up at Nareth’s proclamation of his promotion, eager to please and do his part. He comes to the captain like an excited puppy. Too excited.

    “Wow, thanks Captain Na—oof!” With a strangled yelp, he trips over his own two feet and slams hard into the stone floor, the loud SMACK of his head reverberating through the halls.

    “I’m ok, I’m fine!” he says as you move to help him, his eyes spinning and watering as he tries to appear better than he really feels. The hard smack of his meaty face into the unforgiving stone made each of you wince in sympathy.

    Crol starts laughing harshly, unable to contain himself. For a big guy, his laugh doesn’t seem to match his body. It is high-pitched and quick, underlaid with glee at Westik’s misfortune.

    Westik, clearly embarrassed, starts to join Crol’s laughter with an I’m-a-good-sport-so-don’t-think-even-less-of-me nervous chortle, and gets up to his feet shakily.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    edited February 19
    As you are helping Westik, Fent clears his throat. “Erm, I don’t mean to be a bother, good Captain, but I think you want to see this.”

    He points at Bilmar’s half open sack. You see in it a partial sack of rations and a water skin. Bilmar looks at you uncomprehendingly, his finger now at his side where it belongs.

    “Tsk tsk tsk,” Fent smacks his teeth in disappointed sounds. “Bilmar, how could you? Don’t you know that we all need to share if we are to get out of here alive?”

    Jirt stands up, his face furious. “What by the Refiner’s name, Fent?” he says. “Don’t pretend you didn’t put that there in Bilmar’s bag! I saw him place his supply in the pool with my own eyes!”

    Fent’s eyes narrow in self-defense. “What are you saying, Corporal?” he says. You note that they are of equal rank. “Are you impugning my honor? As you know, I hold myself to the highest of standards in moral character and integrity. I understand how these types of military campaigns work, sir! I, even I myself, have been known to give up my own rations for weeks to feed the wounded in our patrol, and you dare stand there in your self-righteousness to impugn me?”

    Bilmar looks on, still oblivious to what is happening.

    Jirt rolls his eyes. “Cut the act, Corporal,” he says. “It’s not like you have a perfect record, and I seriously doubt you went hungry in your magnanimity. I want to see the contents of your pack. Now, Corporal. Then we’ll figure out what to do with you.”

    “Fine,” says Fent. “An honest man has nothing to hide.” Quickly, he picks up his bag and turns it upside down. The contents fall out, standard issue. There is a bone dry water skin and an empty sack of rations, but otherwise he has no supplies.

    “And, for good measure...” says Fent, deftly snatching Crol’s bag, who struggles at first until Fent gives him a solid kick in the chest, knocking him over on his back. Fent turns the contents inside out, and, similarly to Fent’s bag, all that falls out of Crol’s bag are standard issue equipment, an empty water skin, an empty sack of rations.

    Post edited by mashedtaters on
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,230
    edited February 19
    “Now, I’m not one to be so indecent as to demand that you submit to the same search you have so outrageously put upon me,” he says to Jirt haughtily. “I do not question your honor, only your intelligence.”

    Jirt’s eyes flash in rage at the insult, but, his accusation defeated soundly, he is forced to remain silent.

    “But, we are in a predicament,” Fent continues delecately, looking at Bilmar. The old idiot of a man still continues to be completely unaware of what you are all talking about.

    “Perhaps your righteous indignation would be better spent on those that actually do wish to hoard food for themselves,” Fent says, kicking Bilmar’s bag to the floor and showing the contents of his bag. Out pops a half full water skin and a half full bag of rations.

    “Of course, I recommend that your punishment be lenient,” says Fent, folding his arms. Only then does Bilmar seem to notice what is happening.

    “What..?” says Bilmar, confused and guilty. “I... that is... that’s not mine!”

    “It’s in your bag, sir,” says Fent, kneeling down with grace as though speaking to a naughty child.

    “But I...” Bilmar looks around for a possible solution to his quandary. He spits and stutters, but no intelligible words come out.

    Fent looks back at you from his kneeling position, as though defending the old man from your ire like a mediator. “I think in times like this, mercy may be the best approach,” says Fent generously. “A traitor’s death may be too harsh for the good old man here. Perhaps a temporary ban on rations? I’m not one to know, good Captain Nareth, as I’m not a leader with your insight and wisdom. I just wish to convey that I’m sure he didn’t know what he was doing.”

    What do you do?

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