A Keep On The Borderlands: Arrival

Kaodi

Adventurer
Brother Comoray does as has been suggested, though he is perhaps mildly annoyed that Sh'aah thinks he needs direction to wash off some plant goop. Better to endure such than to undo any progress made with his new companion.

" I think that the fire burns in her heart. In that she honours the goddess, " says Brother Comoray. " So yes, I do like her. "

With a miscievious grin, the priest adds, " It merely remains to be seen how much. "
 

ahayford

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.
Greggory is a bit shocked by Lady Arcata's generosity.

Thank you....My men will appreciate it. I'm afraid I don't touch the stuff. Father was a bit of a drunk.

As far as options....I think we have two choices....


Greggory picks up his stick and draws a road leading out from the fort.

First, we try and draw out anything that might have taken up residence at the fort. We make ourselves up to look like a small supply caravan come to supply the fort from the river. We'll have a small group head up the road and then fake a broken axle here, well in view of the fort. The rest of the men would lie in ambush positions along the road in these rocks.

Greggory draws a ridge line and some rocks a the amush point.

If nothing comes out, we lose nothing. If we manage to draw them out, we gain the advantage. The second option....

Greggory draws an arrow at a point along the wall.

I noticed a small breach here, on the west wall. A small group could sneak in under the cover of night to investigate the fortress. It would mean crossing no mans land without cover and climbing over the abbatis. Once we reach the fort though, we should be able to make it through the wall here behind the stable....assuming that whatever is in there sleeps.

Greggory looks at Lady Arcata and her body guard expectantly.
 

jkason

Villager
Bastian Sangue, human cavalier

Bastian frowns, considering.

"Well, I'm not much for sneaking, myself," the cavalier says, gesturing vaguely to his clanking metal armor. "But I would like to get some kind of eyes on the place before we set ourselves up as bait. I'm not sure we need to get inside for some preliminary scouting, though. But since you've steered clear of the area since you left it, Greggory, it might be good to get at least a basic glance at the landmarks to make sure they haven't shifted in the meanwhile.

"If we can verify the ambush site still seems intact and viable. I'd rather that plan, where we can take advantage of our full force, than risk losing anyone from our already-compact company separated from us for an infiltration."
 

Axel

Villager
Sh'aah

"Good," is all the half-orc can think to grunt in reply. After standing and watching Brother Comoray continue to clean the statue for a bit longer, and with nothing more to say, Sh'aah wanders off without a word to find a water source.

Must try to catch some of the rabbits tonight. Good eating on them...

His path takes him near enough to the circle of three plotting humans, where he notices the scrawled lines and shapes on the ground. The ranger studies them as he lopes past thinking Funny sort of writing for human writing. Looks magical. Probably too much talking again...not enough doing. Should go see the living dead tonight when everyone sleeps and count them. Less talking that way.
 

Shayuri

Villager
"I agree the ambush is the only real way to engage," Arcata says, poking idly at the drawing with a stick. "But I hate to get into a fight knowing nothing of our opponents. We need more information. It's a risk, but we need to scout the enemy...get at least an estimate of their forces and disposition."

At that, a small lizardlike head popped up from the large satchel she'd set down beside her and emitted a querying sort of chirp. Arcata smiled and reached down to scratch just under the corners of its jaw.

"No, not you. If you could fly, maybe...but they'd cook you for dinner if they caught you, and then where would I be?"

The critter chirruped and popped all the way out of the bag. It had the approximate body shape of a very lean, somewhat small chicken. Its forelimbs were fairly short...long enough to reach the ground, and its own mouth, but no more so. Its tail was flexible, a little like a cat's...not like a normal lizard's stiff tail at all. Perhaps its two-legged mode of walking required a tail that could counterbalance it more flexibly. The tiny scales that covered the creature were a mottled pattern of green over most of it, fading to brownish over the forelimbs and legs.

It gave Greggory a curious look, then padded to the fire where it squatted down to enjoy the warmth of it.

Arcata sighed. "What I wouldn't give for one of father's spyglasses right now."
 

jkason

Villager
Bastian Sangue, human cavalier

Bastian regarded Aracata's familiar a moment. The small lizard-bird had unsettled him at first, but he'd quickly come to realize that while it might look odd, it was as loyal to his liege as he was (or, he was ashamed to admit, moreso). Still, the Lady's concerns gave him a vague idea.

"What do beastmen eat?" he pondered aloud. "I mean, bloodthirsty folk like that are carnivores, and if they don't maintain livestock, and I can't imagine they do, then surely they hunt, yes? Maybe if we set ourselves to watch a good game trail or a watering hole, we might catch sight of a hunting party, and either question them ourselves or perhaps extrapolate vague numbers by how much they seem to be catching?"

OOC: Please note: my character is trained in military strategies and the like, but I'm fairly horrible at it. Go easy on poor Bastian for having to verbalize my malformed ideas. :)
 

Axel

Villager
Sh'aah

Sh'aah's ears were well tuned to odd sounds. It was a neccesity of survival in the wild parts of the world. As he passed, Sh'aah distinctly heard the big warrior that deferred to the Lady mention the beastmen and his ears pricked up.

Turning around, he volunteered a statement without prompting for the second time that day - surely a new record. "I know about beastmen. Why talk about them when tomorrow we fight the dead at the fort?"

OOC:
Hey, many people trained in military strategies are god-awful at it. Many people that aren't are probably fairly handy at it but just haven't tried.

[MENTION=21938]Dr Simon[/MENTION] What does Sh'aah know about Beastmen? I've fought against the Broo in Runequest that you mentioned they were based on, but that's all I've got to go on. Any chance that Sh'aah would know a few basic facts (diet, night vision, preferred environment etc)?
 

Shayuri

Villager
"The dead?" Arcata asked. "According to Sergeant Greggory, the keep was attacked by Beastmen, and overwhelmed. If there are forces still holding it, they'd likely be beastmen. Come sit with us, Sh'aah. If you know about beastmen, then we're all very interested in hearing what you have to say."
 

Dr Simon

Community Supporter
[sblock=Sh'aah]
Beastmen are scavengers and opportunists. They eat anything, living or dead although they prefer fresh meat (despite their herbivore appearance). Generally they are lazy, slovenly and undisciplined. It's unlikely that they would post any kind of organised guard, but then it's also unlikely that they would have taken it in the first place, so....

Knowledge (local) will give you more information.
[/sblock]

[sblock=OOC]
This is kind of cool. Four pages and the GM's only posted three times, including this one!

Knowledge (local) will give information on the beastmen.
[/sblock]
 

Axel

Villager
Sh'aah

Sh'aah's brow wrinkles, and he scratches the back of his head while he processes what Lady Arcata has just said. Still, he takes a few steps towards the trio and squats down in the dirt with a good view to all three. "Beastmen are bad news. They are tough and strong but lazy and with no order to things, like Orcs. Eat everything like dogs, but fresh meat is better. Like dogs in many ways, now I think about it. Bad smell, bad teeth, noisy, many things the same." He grins a little, trying to emphasise that the last sentences were an attempt at a joke.

Looking to each of the three in turn, he asks "Why was this place attacked? Not normal for them to attack a strong place. Need to know more to keep everyone safe." Pointing to Greggory, the half orc adds "He said only corpses there now. Corpses are dead, yes? If all are dead, then no problem?"

 

Shayuri

Villager
"Well...not to speak for the Sergeant," Arcata said, "But I think he was just trying to say that the people in the keep had all died. When he gave a more detailed account, he let us know that he hadn't been back since he and his men escaped...so we're not sure if the keep is still held. We're planning for the worst though."

She looks at Greggory. "You mentioned a banner they flew as well. A clawed fist of some kind, wasn't it? If beastmen are so feral, it seems unlikely they'd use a banner with that kind of symbol on it. It makes me wonder who's giving the commands."
 

Axel

Villager
Sh'aah

The half-orc shrugged at Arcata's explanation of events. "Don't know that sign. I will go see tonight. Count the beastmen. Will be back before people are ready to go tomorrow."

With that, Sh'aah rose from his squatting position and resumed his search for water. Surely even the soldiers could have found something by now. After water I need to repack. Shouldn't need everything, and it will be faster and quieter on foot. Leave the horse here. Need my bow...axe...little food and water. Should be enough. Wonder what the clouds are doing tonight?

OOC: I may not be available for the next few days... and I really do intend him to run off solo for the evening (tiredness is just fine) to the keep and back again - if physically possible. Seems like something he'd do, plus he's reasonably capable of it for now. Dunno how it should be played out (seems selfish keeping it in the IC thread).
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
Once he has finished with his repairs, Comoray says a short blessing of Velshionne and then goes to take council with Arcata and Bastien.

" Might there be anything I can do for you, Lady Ducat, before I turn to administering the spiritual needs of the soldiers? " he asks. " I assume that you have been discussing your plans for when we reach Fort Key-11. If there is any insight I can afford you, I do so happily. "

OOC: As Brother Comoray undoubtedly has the highest skill in Profession (Soldier) of anyone in the party, I imagine he is probably familiar with basic military formations and tactics.
 

ahayford

Villager
Greggory seems to respect Bastion's military bearing, but the fact that he is playing babysitter for the noble whelp makes him a bit suspicious of his abilities.

You may be right Bastion. Ambushing a hunting party might be a better way to catch the enemy unaware, as well as maybe getting us a few prisoners to interrogate. Broken down caravans are much more tempting targets for bandits, maybe not so much beastmen. There are a few game trails here, to the east of the fortress in some of the heavier woods. Although I caution again, we don't know if the creatures took up residence or just moved on at this point.

Greggory nods to lady Arcata, confirming her statement.

Yes, but a figure of speach.

Greggory stands up and folds his campaign seat. Stretching his legs as he does so.

Well....I consider my dinner paid in full. If there isn't anything else Lady Arcata, my men and I are going to get some sleep. It isn't every day I get to sleep defended by a nobles honor guard. I leave the course of action in your capable hands.
 

Axel

Villager
Sh'aah

Further down the hill, Sh'aah followed his instincts to fresh water. The soldiers had managed to find it as well - which was well and good. At least they wouldn't die of thirst if he didn't come back tonight. Filling his waterskin at the stream, he heard again the tingle of the metal links of his armour and was reminded how unhelpful such a thing would be on his scouting mission. Should leave armour behind. Too heavy. Too noisy. Not helpful.

Rising up after drinking his fill and filling the lizard hide that served as his water skin, Sh'aah almost jogged back to his gear such was his eagerness to get ready. Rifling through all his worldly possessions, the ranger selected his gear with care. On one side he placed things he definitely didn't want - the spear, most of his dried rations, rope, grapping hook. None of it would be helpful tonight. On the other side, he placed things he wanted - his prized double axe, bow, chalk, caltrops and healing potion. Lastly, he scratched his head trying to work out what to do with the remaining equipment. Should take cold-iron arrows. Doesn't sound like Beastmen...probably Fairies controlling them. Might need to kill one...easier with these. Bag of goo...I don't know. Heavy...shouldn't be close enough to need it. Handy though... No. Leave it.

Finally, he unbuckled his chain shirt and threw it in the pile with the spear. It would be easy enough to go bare chested all night, winter was mostly past. Repacking his backpack with the much more limited selection he was cheered by the thought of going at his own quick pace, and off-road. Before setting off he grabbed a strip of dried venison to munch on, then shouldered his gear and set off in a straight line for the keep. Road goes the long way, keeps to valleys. Faster in a straight line. Less Beastmen too. I think...
 

Shayuri

Villager
Arcata nods at Greggory. "Thank you, Sergeant, for your information and counsel. Whatever happens, you can be sure that you'll have a chance to strike back at the creatures that took the Keep."

She then nods at the priest and moves over, making a place for him at the fire.

"Please sit, Brother. I should have been more explicit in inviting you to join us before...you are always welcome to join these meetings of policy and planning. As for the current dilemma, I think we've done what can be done for now. Sh'aah has volunteered to scout the Keep tonight and report back in the morning with word of whatever waits within the walls. Until we have that report, it's hard to plan more than general strategies."

"You've been spending time with the men though, Brother. How is morale? If we call on them to fight to retake the keep, will they do so with fortitude?"
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
Brother Comoray nods politely as he sits down. Rubbing his hands together, he puts his hands out to the fire to warm them.

" I believe that you can trust in your men, Lady Ducat, " says the priest as he looks into the flames. He turns his heard to look at her, and adds, " I do not know that you could say that spirits are high, per se. After all, it was not good fortune that brings most of us here. But I believe they are, for the most part, determined to see this through. The blessings of Velshionne give them strength to go on when their courage might otherwise falter. "

Turning back to the flames, he says quietly, " Yes, I do not think their spirits will be tested too strongly until we know of how we have fared in battle. "
 

ahayford

Villager
Greggory lays a rough spun blanket down by the fire and attempts to get the first decent night's sleep he's had in weeks.
 

Dr Simon

Community Supporter
Sh'aah's Journey

[sblock=Sh'aah]
Sh'aah travels through the night for a couple of hours, at a brisk jog over the rolling hill country near the fort. Eventually he comes within sight of the fort. There are no signs that the beastmen have any patrols out, but there is firelight coming from within the fort. Possibly there is movement atop the palisade as well.
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Attachments

Axel

Villager
Sh'aah

[sblock=Sh'aah]
Coming in sight of the fort, and mindful of the open ground that all forts need around them, the Ranger pauses and squats in a spot with a clear view to the structures. He waits until his thighs begin to ache - roughly half an hour - to satisfy himself that there are no creatures moving between him and the fort.

Don't know how to get close enough without getting caught. Be smart Sh'aah! Not stupid. Patient hunter is a good hunter.

Mindful of the moonlight and open ground, Sh'aah decides to head to his left in an arc and climb the hill. Always liked hills better. Good views. Less fairies. Maybe see over the wall. Count the fires.

He sets off, far more cautiously than the first leg, and more mindful of all the various factors that a prey can use to detect a hunter. Movement of grass against the wind, smell carrying downwind, and even carelessness with rolling stones and breakable sticks on the ground. All these things can give away an otherwise good position if a hunter is careless.

OOC: Moving stealthily (Stealth +7 with no armour, +8 in "hilly and rocky terrain") to the left hill. Intending to climb the hill (if no creatures on it!) and get line of sight over the pallisade.

Nice pic! Hand drawn?
[/sblock]
 

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