A Keep On The Borderlands: Arrival

Shayuri

Villager
Arcata shakes her head.

"I don't think elves would deface their own ruins," she said. "Nor fail to clean it up after the vandals left. This is something else. Something that's still here, and strong enough that the elves haven't come back yet."

"Sh'aah, how are you at tracking? Can you tell what's passed through this area recently?"
 

Axel

Villager
Sh'aah

Sh'aah had listened in fascination to the interplay between the humans who seemed to be in charge. Ruins are ruins, yes? There is no danger...

Still, he had been asked to do something by the boss lady who had given him his chain shirt as payment. Better to do it than argue. Sh'aah leapt down from his horse with a grunt, landing with a solid thump and flattening a cluster of rushes. Ground is soft for the top of the hill. Should be easy to show there are no tracks.

Shrugging off his backback, the half-orc bent nearly double to put his face closer to the ground. Glancing up at the archway, and what remains of the well, he began to slowly lope up the hill. Things always need water. Living things, anyway. Start at the well.

Reaching the edge of the well, he peered over the edge of the wall - checking to see for any obviously alive things. Not seeing any, he bent over and turned his attention to the ground beside the well. Running his hands across the grassy surface, feeling for any irregularities in the soft ground caused by the beastmen's cloven feet, or the orc's armoured boots. He remembered to glance obliquely toward the sun, trying to catch any strange looking shadows in the fall of the land.

OOC: Take 10 on a Survival roll to find tracks. Net result of 17 (19 if Fey involved).

 

Dr Simon

Community Supporter
[sblock=Sh'aah]
There's no sign that any intelligent being has been here recently. A few rabbits, perhaps, but that seems to be it. Sh'aah finds an old arrowhead, orcish by the look of it, but it's probably lain trodden into the grass for years.
[/sblock]
 

Axel

Villager
Sh'aah

Grasping an object from the grass around the well, Sh'aah stands up and walks back down to the group of leaders.

"Nothing bigger than a rabbit's been through here in years. I think the Orcs killed all the Elves here, a long time ago. Happened many times in many places. See?" The huge half-orc holds out his hand, where an old arrowhead sits. "Badly rusted, you see the brown marks? No sharp point left on it anymore. No shaft. All gone, many years ago. Here is as safe as anywhere for tonight."
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
Brother Comoray had been hoping there would be a reason to set up camp elsewhere. But as long as they are not going anywhere, he might as well do something about the face of the statue. Clean it is that is what it needs, or find a way to reattach any pieces that are large enough. On closer inspection, perhaps he can identify if it has any religious significance as well.
 

Shayuri

Villager
Arcata relaxed. Orcs had been her first guess too, but she hadn't the foresting savvy to know how long ago it had been. She found a trifle strange the elves hadn't come back...perhaps the war raged on elsewhere.

Gods, let it be far from here, she prayed silently.

"All right, we'll set up camp here," she instructed. "Sergeant Greggory, pick two of your men to help with firewood detail. You know this area better than we do. And have them keep an eye and ear out for any streams or springs nearby. We'll be low on water by the time we reach the Keep unless we can refill."
 

ahayford

Villager
Greggory nods an affirmative.

Cassie, Janson....Go with Arcata's men to range for supplies. Keep an eye out for extra food and a water source. Tye, Dack and I will hold down the fort here.
 

jkason

Villager
Bastian Sangue, human cavalier

Bastian dismounts lightly, patting bulwark's haunch and letting him begin to graze. He nods to men to match Greggory's on the hunt for wood, then points toward the flattest area nearby.

"We'll start setting up camp there, and set a perimeter watch," he tells the remaining guardsmen, "The lady's tent there, centered so we have the best coverage on it." Then he moves to Arcata's horse and offers the lady a hand down.
 

ahayford

Villager
Cassie glares at Greggory, and makes a few choice hand gestures, which Greggory responds to with an almost angry flurry of signs.

So....I believe there was talk of a fire and some fine victuals. What does a noble lady bring to eat on her outings? Tea and cakes perhaps?
 

Axel

Villager
Sh'aah

Sh'aah unsaddled his horse while the humans chattered away in the background. They were always so talkative, even if they had nothing to say.

Although he wouldn't admit it to anyone, the half-orc was actually growing fond of his recently acquired horse. Though he didn't have a name yet. Must think of a good horse name tomorrow. Bone smasher, or something like that, he thought while brushing it down for the day.

Finishing looking after his animal Sh'aah attached the hobbles to its legs, as he had been shown back in Last Ferry to stop it running away. Grabbing hold of the saddle bags in one arm, and the saddle itself in the other he wandered towards a high spot near the curving wall and threw both down unceremoniously. Reaching inside for his bedroll, he withdrew it and threw that on the ground besides all his equipment and flopped down, content to watch the soldiers run around like a swarm of ants. Simple is better, he thought to himself. These soldiers make everything seem so hard...
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
Brother Comoray glances at Sh'aah as he examines and works on the defaced statue. He says nothing for a few minutes, but finding what he hopes is an appropriate moment, he says, " Not much for the hustle and bustle of military procedures, I take it. "
 

Shayuri

Villager
Arcata gives Bastian a sort of wry, long-suffering look and gets down from her horse without taking his hand...though she's not mad about it. Just a bit impatient, perhaps, at being offered help with something she can perfectly well do herself. Whatever they taught at the mage school she'd attended, being pampered was evidently not on the agenda.

"Yes indeed, Sergeant," she agreed with him. "Come over to the fire and regale us with tales from the Keep. The meat is jerked, but that's better than being spoiled."
 

Axel

Villager
Sh'aah

Sh'aah was surprised when the priest addressed him. Brother Comoray was the first person to speak directly to the Ranger all day. "No," was the almost grunted reply.

He paused a few seconds, then realised he was probably expected to contribute more to the conversation than a single word. "You are good to honour the past. Even if the elf was cruel it is good to remember them to not make the same mistakes. I can help you. Wait a minute," Sh'aah added before standing up and jogging down the hill a short distance.

He stooped to pick a dozen large, flat and dark green leaves from a low shrub and returned with them. "You smash these with water. Good for cleaning blood. Should help. I will show you," the half orc explained. He rpicked up two loose stones from the arcing wall, one with a slightly depression on it, ripped the leaves up into small pieces and placed them in the small depression. Taking the other stone he ground at the leaves and spat on them a few times, turning it into a thick and gooey paste.

Sh'aah turned and offered the paste to Brother Comoray with a smile-cum-grimace. "Here. Good for cleaning things. Try it."
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
" Thank you, " says Comoray, taking the paste and applying it to the statue. " I have never had much use for defacement and vandalism. Sometimes it is necessary to tear down the remnants of the past in order to begin anew. And often it is both useful and honourable to incorporate the past into the present and future. This is where Lady Ducat an I differ, I think. But vandalism, that is just spite without conviction. There is nothing particularly praiseworthy about that. "
 

ahayford

Villager
Greggory takes a few hunks of the jerked meat and hands them to his men before taking one for himself. He unfolds a small campaign seat by the fire and proceeds to wolf down the ration. The meat is salty and tough, but strangely satisfying for someone that has survived mostly on foraged vegetation and small game. After getting about halfway through the chunk of meat, he picks up a stick and begins drawing a diagram in the dirt.

Greggory draws a square.

The fort itself is a simple wooden stockade that is built on a flattened hill. It is surrounded by a ditch with a defense embankment beyond that.

Greggory draws two circles around the square to represent the ditch. He adds lines radiating from the outermost circle to show the embankment and the wooden abatis constructed from sharpened felled trees.

The fort has one central wooden building that the magistrate and officers used as their quarters. The rank and file troops all stayed in wattle and daub structures or simple tents. Nothing really fit for a noble lady such as yourself I’m afraid.

Greggory draws some squares and circles within the walls of the fort.

There is a small meed hall that was built to serve the troops and a smithy to service their equipment. Oh, and the crooked quartermaster who charged double the going rate for basic supplies. Puh....I wonder if he made it out of there alive.

In the center of the “fort”, Greggory draws another square, larger then all the other buildings combined.

And here is what little there is of the great stone keep of Fort K-11. A single story is complete, with the remainder under construction. When my men and I left for our far range, one master stonemason and a small team of apprentices were working on the keep. If you ask me though, progress seemed slow. I’m no engineer, but I think they were in no hurry to see the keep get completed.

Greggory stops at this point in the story and gathers himself. His characteristic bluster seems to drain away a bit.

When we came back, we knew something was wrong from the pattern of smoke in the direction of the fort. We found several mauled bodies on approach to the keep....as if they’d been run down while fleeing something. The bodies were brutalized. When we got close enough to see the keep, it was obvious they’d been in some kind of battle. We could see breaches in the wall and several fires seemed to be smouldering inside the wall. Cassie found a strange banner impaled through one of the bodies, a beast-like claw crushing a human skull on a red background.

Greggory removes a piece of dirty, rough spun cloth from his pack and hands it to Lady Arcata.

We never actually set foot in the fort. We could see several more of the banners on the ramparts, and didn’t want to risk walking into an ambush. Tye said he was pretty sure it was beastmen. Said he’d seen their type of killing before when he was in the legion....before he was arrested for desertion and got sent out here.

Oh, one last thing. We found a name written in ochre on one of our watch towers. Aarach the Skullcrusher. And now, you know just as much as we do.
 

Axel

Villager
Sh'aah

"Sometimes it is good to destroy...Yes, you are right I think. But there must be a good reason. To destroy with no reason is evil itself. To destroy with a weak reason is not wise." Sh'aah says in response to Brother Comoray. He didn't, in all honesty, think that he would have anything in common with the priest. Perhaps he did, after all.

"What is wrong with the Lady? I like her." The half-orc is definitely confused at the Brother Comoray's criticism of her. "She is...nice. I think," he adds, scratching his head trying to think of a better way of describing her.

 

Kaodi

Adventurer
" I do not know that I would call it a criticism, " says Brother Comoray. " More of a difference of opinion. We do not share quite the same priorities, though our general goals align. No reason for any of that to get in the way of our co-operating, however. "
 

jkason

Villager
Bastian Sangue, human cavalier

Bastian offers no comment other than the briefest glimpse of amusement as Arcata foregoes his aid down from her horse. He makes sure one of the foot soldiers sees to securing the animal, since he doesn't trust it to have the same innate loyalties as his own mount.

As Greggory begins his tale, the cavalier sits near Arcata, though he makes sure to leave enough space to make it clear he's taking a protective position rather than one of a peer. His features grow darker as their new companion reaches the description of aftermath.

"And you've kept clear of the whole area since, yes? So we've no idea if the beastmen simply attacked it to mark their territory or have actively taken up residence. Not that either option doesn't pose a problem, mind."
 

Shayuri

Villager
"Probably for the best," Arcata says with a nod towards Greggory. "You didn't have numbers to withstand an attack and, strictly selfishly of course, I'm glad you escaped that fate. We'd have ridden right into trap otherwise." She watches the sergeant's men eating, then says "There's still some wine left if you prefer that to water. It's thin and warm, but the best I can offer at the moment."

After that she leaned over to stare intently at the diagram. "We should assume the worst; that the keep and its fortifications are occupied. We haven't forces enough to risk a direct assault. What are our options as far as you see them?" she asks Gregg, then looks at Bastian as well, inlcluding him in the question.
 

Axel

Villager
Sh'aah

"So you like her then?" the thoroughly confused half-orc ranger asks of Brother Comoray before putting the apparent contradiction out of his head.

"You can wash it off now," Sh'aah adds, putting the conversation firmly back in the arena of things he knows about. "Should wash off paint, blood and charcoal. Bad carvings are different. Need a mason to fix it."
 

Advertisement

Top