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Dread Marches in Sion - Act 1: Scene 1

97mg

Explorer
Shelladda - Grasses & Blood

The wild druidess grunted as the larger foe stepped before his small mischievous colleague. So it would be then, the big one first. Her swish of a scimitar failing, Shelladda tensed herself for what was to come. It was their turn to retaliate, in what had so far been a rather frustrating encounter. It was time for her luck to change perhaps?

She listened for the sound of hooves, the support of her beast, yet thus far her friend was yet to arrive.

[
Initiative Ruddah (Round 4) = 1.
Shelladda Spot Check = 18*.
Initiative (Shelladda & Ruddah Round 5) = 16*.
(*including -1 from arrow still lodged)]


[sblock=Shelladda Stats]
SHELLADDA - a big woman with a big heart and some small ideas

Sheet:
http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheet.html#id=1034457
Level
4, Init 1, HP 29/32,
AC 18, Touch 11, Flat-footed 17, Fort 7, Ref 3, Will 9, Base Attack Bonus 3
Spear: +7 to hit (d8+3)
Scimitar: +6 to hit (d6+3)
Spells: 5/4/3
Ruddah (Animal Companion): 37HP, AC13, INT +0, SPD 40, Gore +8 to hit (1D8+9)

[/sblock]
 

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narayan

Explorer
Bastian Madigore

The Madigore family lands were once one of the richest and most prosperous of the Parcean Island. 1,500 years ago their most famous ancestor, Belalcazar the conquistador sent a fleet across the Sea of Promises to the wild shores of Mgorongoro. His dream was to attempt something no other warlord had accomplished before, to occupy and pacify the Dread Marches of the interior. A region so dangerous it threatened settlements everywhere else on the mainland.

Belalcazar marched the greatest army ever assembled by the Royal States of Parcea across the River of Thorns straight into the hills and grasslands of the Dread Marches. Years of open battle took a heavy toll on Belalcazar, he grew old, humbled by many wounds, but managed to defeat the Gnolls and construct a grand stronghold there. News of his victory promised fresh trade routes and new lands for Parcea. Settlers came by the score and began erecting a sprawling new city around Belalcazar's stronghold, named after him in his honor.

Much of Parcea's wealth was poured into this endeavor. Many of its best engineers and richest merchants followed. Belalcazar's dream of conquering the Dread Marches almost seemed realized, before it crumbled. Gnolls, Giants, and other evil humanoids amassed in numbers greater than ever before, encouraged perhaps by so much wealth brought in by so many invaders. The stronghold and partially constructed city were lost, abandoned, while precious few escaped with their lives.

The damage to the wealth and influence of Parcea never fully recovered. Settlers in Mgorongoro realized they were better off not returning to Parcea at all so long as they never again ventured into the Dread Marches. Many remained in the camps and trade posts established along the supply lines through Mgorongoro. They were the first colonists of the Commonwealth of Athenea.

Belalcazar's ancestors of course lost everything. The Madigore family became bitter, spiteful and evil committing countless atrocities against their political rivals, enemies, and those who attempted to shirk their duties to the family. Over the course of centuries the Madigore family became infamous for their will to do anything to regain their lost wealth and power.

Rumors of bargains made with demons and devils spread throughout the land, inspiring fear and dread to all... but no matter how hard they strive, their lands never fully recovered. Some say now the Madigore name is cursed.

___________________________________________________________________________________________


Bastian Madigore wheeled his warhorse around, staring in disbelief at the lone figure standing defiantly on the steps of the shrine. Meanwhile all around him, Madigore family mercenaries carried out the slaughter of yet another fishing village. Bastian ignored their screams and sorrowful wails crying out into the dusk. His focus was on this would-be challenger.

Bastian looked as though he rode from hell itself armored in black enameled plate draped in a black cape with a crimson red inner liner. His helm was made in the likeness of a demon with red jewels as eyes that burned with magical flame, as did his blade when he wished.

Bastian spurred his great mount closer to get a better look at this enemy, brandishing his fearsome red-hued demon-steel bastard sword. By the light of burning cottages and huts he saw this figure was a woman with robes fashioned out of silver, blue and green scales. In one hand she held a short spear, the other, a bastard sword.

Bastian felt a mocking laugh chuckle forth from his throat. Another priestess of Athenea so close to his family lands? They were getting bolder, but no closer to rooting their so called wisdom and leadership among the local commoners. Bastian and the rest of the Madigore family would never allow it. Athenea was the patron goddess of the Commonwealth across the sea for sailors, soldiers and scholars who preached the merits of community, exploration, righteousness and education.

As the heavy hooves of his warhorse stomped near enough this unwelcome priestess to exchange words, Bastian was surprised how still and resolute she was. Her face was a study of contempt, anger and disgust. Though elderly in years, this lady appeared anything but weak. Her stare burned into him like a lightning bolt while her long silver-white hair flew about her neck and shoulders in the gusting breeze from the sea.

"YOU HAVE NO POWER HERE CRONE!" He shouted with hate, words amplified for effect by the magic of his helm an instant before he felt his breath heave from his lungs as her short spear struck through his breastplate with enough force to topple him off his steed! Down onto the muddy earth he fell, mortally wounded for the last time in his life.

Never before had Bastian felt such pain or the feeling of his own blood choking up into his throat. As his death loomed, Bastian actually dreaded that his last breath would not be the end. His soul was damned. A fate he was born into. A curse he carried his entire life. Centuries of atrocities committed by demons beholden to the Madigore family had a price, and that price was his soul. The anxiety and the dread of this certainty brought distress and restless paranoia for as long as he could remember.

Now that moment was upon him, Bastian realized his life had been a force of destruction without meaning. Yes he achieved much for his family, but every deed, every favor, had a cost at the expense of others. Bastians rewards had a price of suffering for so many. It was only fitting now that he reaped what he sowed. Bastian's final wish was that if he was his fate to be reborn a demon, that he would remain in hell forever afterward.

_______________________________________________________________________________________


Bastian woke to the sound of singing. It was the priestess of Athenea, chanting a holy hymn as the wind rippled the sails fluttering above him under the stars. The sound of her voice pained his ears harshly. Bastian stirred where he lay on the deck, gasping for breath as if for the first time. Other voices broke out, murmurs taking notice of his wakened state. He attempted to rise, found he could not manage it as his arms were chained to the deck. This enraged him so much so that he could barely make sense of his own mind as he released a roar and struggled harder feeling the iron links rattle and the wood creak and strain under newfound great strength.

The chanting stopped as the priestess moved to stand over him. She was no longer angry or full of contempt. What he saw in her face now was merely determination and pity. "It may pain you to hear the holy hymns, but you must endure them. Your soul is still in jeopardy and I must do my best to save it, even if you truly deserve to suffer a hundred lifetimes over!"

Bastian tried to speak, found his tongue uttering the vile infernal language of demons, even while his mind envisioned how much he wanted to destroy her. The priestess frowned and continued to chant, pacing around the gunwales of the ship as it bucked against the waves. The more she chanted, the more Bastian roared and wailed.

Bastian knew then his worst nightmares had come true. He was reborn now, as much demon as man, he felt wickedness in his thoughts and imagination more keenly than ever before. His body was changed also. Stronger, bulkier, with red scales over much of his skin. Some kind of fangs grew from his teeth, he could feel their points with his tongue. Whatever other changes had occurred were still a mystery to him so long as he was chained to the deck.

The ordeal lasted all night. By the time dawn broke, he felt weak as a kitten, but the hymns didn't pain him quite so much to hear anymore. He also felt some use return to his tongue as he croaked. "Who are you?"

"I am Mervonia, high priestess of the Temple of Athenea of the Commonwealth."

Bastian could hardly believe his ears. All his life he was told how much the Atheneans were traitors who stole away the wealth of Parcea to form their own lands. This priestess was one of his families greatest enemies, or so he was told.

"I am sure you have many questions Bastian. This is not easy to explain except that it relates to your great ancestor Belalcazar and a prophecy. A great evil grows within the Dread Marches. You must travel there and recover something Belalcazar found that only another Madigore can recover. Time is running out, but with luck and Athenea's blessing, there may still be time left to save your soul and restore some honor to your family name in the process."
 
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Hours stretched out into days, perhaps weeks, before the ship came once again within sight of land. After the first three days (which had been the worst for Bastian) the priestess had freed him from his shackles, and allowed him to roam the ship freely; it was not as if he were going anywhere. All around him, for most of the voyage, were only miles and miles of empty, churning, angry ocean. It was monsoon season on the mainland, which meant that the oceans were not calm, but rather, windy, and stormy, and violent. Much like the feelings inside him. Bastian did not yet understand what had happened to him, but he suspected that his continued presence in the world of men could only be the result of the priestess' interference. She had done something to him. She had saved him, he was sure of it. But why? It was a question that he pondered for most of the trip, without the slightest hint of an answer. The priestess ignored his inquiries, telling him only that he should eat, to regain his strength, and that explanations would come in due time. Other than saying this, she largely ignored him, leaving him to his own devices.

~My hair is long, and unkempt, as if it had been growing for months. My skin is hard, red, and scaly; and my teeth feel like rows of needles. I have become a monster! Why then, am I still here? Why am I not flailing around in a pit of fire, reliving the regrets of my mortal existence? And if I am a monster, vicious and malevolent, why am I not consumed with hatred and anger? I have no desire to harm the priestess, despite the fact that she is my mortal enemy. In fact, there is something about the churning seas that calm my spirit. The wound from her spear no longer pains me, but when I concentrate, I can feel a strange, tingling sensation, where the wound once was. It is clear, that I am here to serve a purpose. HER purpose. Yes, that feels right. I am hers now, to command, as one would a foot soldier. Or am I? I feel no compulsion to obey, no sense of loyalty. I suppose I should be grateful to her, to find myself still breathing, and yet, I resent her for taking pity on me. I clearly deserved to die. I deserved to be punished for my deeds, for all eternity, but she has ripped that away from me... or has she? Perhaps my current state IS a punishment, perhaps even worse than burning alive in the pits. She said that I had a chance for redemption, but what if that is merely a false hope, the carrot in front of the ass that motivates him to move forward?~

Bastian cleared his mind, not wanting to dwell on such things, turning his concentration to the approaching shoreline. It would still be another hour or so before they were close enough to drop anchor. Perhaps then, when they were finally ashore, the answers he sought would come. He had no way to be sure. All that remained was to wait.
 
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narayan

Explorer
Bastian, Mervonia

The ship that bears you eastward does not carry banners, flags, or other symbology identifying it as a vessel belonging to the Temple of Athenea. It is a small private merchant vessel named Fortune's Promise, no different than a hundred others of its like that come and go from the island of Parcea everyday. This appears to have been Mervonia's idea to keep a low profile.

You overherad Mervonia and the ships captain (an experienced, gruff-spoken Athenean named Rogelio) share words about whatever sails they spot within the regular trade routes. Mervonia expressly ordered that they steer clear of other ships carrying a Parcean flag, without appearing to do so on purpose. It is no mystery to you why that might be a good idea. The Madigore family has many informants and sightings of anything demonic is naturally of interest to them.

Rogelio obeys, although he does not appear happy in the slightest to have you on board. He respects her firstly as someone devout in her faith, but there is more too it than that. They obviously share a history, which is why he is so earnest and daring about expressing his concerns. More than once he's suggested they simply affix your shackles to the anchor and be rid of you. "He's as much as demon as I've ever laid eyes on! It's not proper to have such a thing on my ship!" You overheard him bellow once within his cabin.

Rogelio has six crewman on board, including two sons named Egon and Rath respectively who are close to your age. They keep their distance, as was expressly instructed to all the crew, though they quickly took to wearing swords as soon as you started bellowing and thrashing in your chains.

Meanwhile Mervonia has no other clerics on board to assist her, no acolytes to share the burden of chanting hymns. For three long days she did so without respite, only resting once your mood had calmed. Clearly she is desperate to save you, or desperate to use you, or both? It is unclear what she wants exactly.

_____________________________________________


The first signs of of land you see are rough mountain peaks, stretching southward.

"The SeaWind Mountains..." Mervonia calls out, stepping by your side to share a private word. "The ship will dock in WhiteHelm within the hour. Rogelio's hold is full of Parcean goods he purchased legally while I traveled to your family lands. He was not aware of my plans until you were on board. I hope you will spare him any ill will." She states as much as a warning as a general statement.

"When we arrive in the port, you must conceal yourself to avoid drawing attention. I believe the best ruse is wrapping your skin in bandages under the pretense that you suffer from the rotting sickness, which is both highly contagious and highly feared feared. I will remain by your side in more modest robes pretending to be a common priestess escorting you to the temple for healing spells."

"If either one of us are identified as our true selves within the city, there will be questions, and a reckoning, neither of us can afford." She states with certainty before adding. "If you think to betray me hoping to find your way back to your family, think again. With the blessing of Athenea, I've cleansed your soul of residual sin as best as I can. A true demon will recognize that and destroy you. Your family will reject you and likely do the same, especially with so many witnesses attesting to how I slew you in the first place."

Mervonia glanced at you with more pity in her face. "Accept it Bastian, you were nothing more than a killer as a Madigore. Now you have a chance for a meaningful purpose, free from the sins and expectations of that name. I promise you will not regret it! I also promise to explain the prophecy and answer all your questions once we make our way safely out of the city. For now all I ask is that you agree to do as I bid until then."

"You are not my prisoner. I claim no power over you, nor do I expect any service from you that you do not willingly give."
 
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Aust Thale

Explorer
__________________________________________

<Round 4>


Bleeding Damage ( * )
Fire Damage ( # )
Cold Damage ( @ )
Spell Damage ( ^ )
Spell Healing ( ^ )
Poison Damage ( ! )

The order of initiative is:

(19) Shelladda (-3)(1 Arrow stuck in your flesh)
(3) Short Goblin
(2) Tall Goblin
__________________________________________

Both goblins get wide-eyed with concern as you shriek a war-cry and charge forward with your scimitar prompting a bellowing water buffalo to charge through the brush after you. The tall goblin appears to be protecting the shorter one and steps before you brandishing his shield as he reaches for his battle axe.



Your sword strike misses! You will have to dispatch the tall goblin first to get at the short one, unless you are willing to step past the tall one and provoke attacks of opportunity?

[Shelladda: Roll initiative for Ruddah. Next round (Round 5) you will roll a new initiative as a new combatant (Ruddah) has entered the fray. Ruddah will act on your initiative next round but not this round, as his action was prompted by your yell. Also make a spot check.]

[Joseth: What do you do? As you move into the brush behind the water buffalo you glimpse a large clearing beyond the brush littered with corpses of the cattle herd and Omoro tribesman you were tracking. The slaughter is horrible to behold, ruthlessly carried out with claws, jaws and blades. You also see a lone Mgorongoron female wielding a scimitar charging two goblins.

It is difficult to ascertain much about her from behind (other than the fact she is clearly a fierce warrior) but you are fairly certain you have never seen her before and have your doubts she is a member of the Omoro tribe. She appears to have command of the buffalo, it must be hers trained to come to her aid.

You have already used a move action this round to reach the brush at this point. Roll initiative for this round which will not change for round 5.]


~ Nasty creatures, Goblins. They shouldn't ever be allowed to play with sharp sticks. ~

As Joseth enters the bush, he trades his sword again for his bow, nocking an arrow and releasing toward the Tall Goblin.

OOC: Ranged Attack (Rolz.org) 1d20+5 = 14


Not sure whether he hit the goblin or not, he moves perpendicular to the female such that she is out of his shooting solution.

In Common, "Goblin, are you thirsty for more? " Joseth is trying to draw their attention such that the animal and or the female can bull rush (no pun intended) them.

He felt the gamesmanship, the competitiveness coming. Usually, he reserved it for verbal jousting and more cerebral pursuits, but he was the least bit frustrated tracking the herd all of this way only to find them all dead. Certainly, someone had the relic. If it was these two buggers, his intent was to dispatch them with all of the racial prejudice a tribesman, any tribesman, could have for those nasty creatures. Joseth decided in less than a moment which side he was on in this fight.
 

narayan

Explorer
Joseth, Shelladda vs. the Two Goblins

Shelladda said:
The wild druidess grunted as the larger foe stepped before his small mischievous colleague. So it would be then, the big one first. Her swish of a scimitar failing, Shelladda tensed herself for what was to come. It was their turn to retaliate, in what had so far been a rather frustrating encounter. It was time for her luck to change perhaps?

She listened for the sound of hooves, the support of her beast, yet thus far her friend was yet to arrive.

[
Initiative Ruddah (Round 4) = 1.
Shelladda Spot Check = 18*.
Initiative (Shelladda & Ruddah Round 5) = 16*.
(*including -1 from arrow still lodged)]

Joseth said:
As Joseth enters the bush, he trades his sword again for his bow, nocking an arrow and releasing toward the Tall Goblin.

OOC: Ranged Attack (Rolz.org) 1d20+5 = 14


Not sure whether he hit the goblin or not, he moves perpendicular to the female such that she is out of his shooting solution.

In Common, "Goblin, are you thirsty for more? "

An instant after Shelladda hears the hooves and mighty bellow of her animal companion crashing through the brush an arrow sticks near the left of the tall goblin. Shelladda glances back, spotting a robed Mgorongoron wielding a bow who shouts a taunting question towards the goblins in the common tongue.

Taunts are not necessary to dissuade the goblins from further combat. The charging bison alone is quite sufficient for that, evidenced by their sudden grey pallor and terrified wide-eyed expression. However instead of immediately fleeing they react with desperation and surprising cleverness.

Short Goblin: (Drops his crossbow as a free action, palms something out of a pouch from his belt (move action) and throws it at the charging bison. (Ranged Touch Attack: = 20, Hit!)(Location: Left Shoulder)

Ruddah is suddenly covered in a tough, sticky goo that entangles and restricts movement!

Tanglefoot Bag said:
An entangled creature takes a -2 penalty on attack rolls and a -4 penalty to Dexterity and must make a DC 15 Reflex save or become entangled, unable to move. Even on a successful save, it can move only at half speed.


[Shelladda: Please roll a reflex save for Ruddah, DC 15]

Tall Goblin: Draws his battle axe (Move Action) and hacks at Shelladda. (Battle Axe Attack: = 11, Miss)

It is Ruddah's turn to end the round. Because of the tanglefoot bag he is unable to reach the goblins this round to deal any damage.
 
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97mg

Explorer
Shelladda - Grasses & Blood

At first it was a look of surprise, her eyes seeking from whence the arrow had come. Thankfully it wasn't another goblin. No, it wasn't some third little wretch that had been sneaking in the bushes behind her. It was a fellow Mgorongoron! He too had vocalised a great distaste for the nasty ghastly vermin. It didn't matter what tribe he was from. It didn't matter who he was, right now. They shared a commonality, an obvious hatred for the devious unnatural beasts that taunted her in this chaotic melee.

She gave the archer a brief nod, and turned away. Just in time too. Shelladda stepped out of the path of heavily swung axe. Axes, a useful tool, but even more effective against large masses of flesh. She'd have to be careful!

The thump of hooves abruptly halted. She dared not look, yet sensed enormous frustration from her beast. This was taking too long. It was time to despatch these defilers!

[Ruddah Reflex Save = 9 Fail]
 

narayan

Explorer
Joseth, Shelladda vs. the Two Goblins Round 5

<Round 5>

Bleeding Damage ( * )
Fire Damage ( # )
Cold Damage ( @ )
Spell Damage ( ^ )
Spell Healing ( ^ )
Poison Damage ( ! )

The order of initiative is:

(16) Shelladda (-3)(1 Arrow stuck in your flesh)
(16) Ruddah ^Entangled^
(12) Joseth
(5) Short Goblin
(4) Tall Goblin
__________________________________________


Ruddah becomes instantly entangled in the sticky substance, plowing head-over-hoof twisting its own neck as its horns gouge into the soil. Its painful bellow is loud and cringe-worthy.

[Ruddah is entangled and cannot move; A creature that is glued can break free by making a DC 17 Strength check or by dealing 15 points of damage to the goo with a slashing weapon.]

Many of the nearby predators (lions, jackals and hyena's) can't help but instinctively take note of the bisons fall and vulnerable cry. Even as they lick their chops from the feast of fallen men and beasts their ears and eyes perk up.

A moment later a strange unnerving sound carries across the meadow, both unnatural and hair-raising. It is not the sound of a typical horn, nor that of a trumpet or set of pipes. It is all at once shrill and staccato echoed by a low undertone that lingers sending the animals around you into a panic. Lions snarl and roar, hyenas snap at each other with renewed fervor while the jackals yip and howl.

The source of the sound draws all eyes to a tall figure emerging from the brush holding a sharply twisted and exotic horn accompanied by another half-dozen or so goblins. Clearly their leader, the figure stands over six feet, draped in a large hyena's pelt holding a sharpened bone-tipped spear. His skin tone is dark orange, smeared with black pitch across his face highlighting evil red eyes and jutting yellowed tusks of a Hobgoblin. Beneath his pelt is hide armor, strapped with odd pits of bone, iron and human scalps!

At his side is an unusually large and menacing hyena, striped in black and orange with huge jaws that stares most hungrily of all towards Shelladda's fallen bison. The leaders other hand holds a rope bound to the wrists of a young, skinny, terrified Mgorongoron male dressed in tattered ceremonial robes. (The sort traditionally worn by village shamans.) The prisoner is also gagged with a bloodied leather strap and has several what looks like bite wounds to his limbs.

[Joseth: You recognize the prisoner as Tiassal]

The pair of goblins you are engaged in battle with seem to have been expecting these reinforcements. (Probably they were scouts for this larger war band.) They grin and shriek with renewed bravado as the rest of their group (approximately 100 ft. away) whoop and holler with war-cry's and shouts of encouragement before they charge!

[Shelladda & Joseth:
What do you do? Act out on your initiative turns as normal for round 5. Round 6 will require a new initiative roll. Remember that speaking, shouting (and very limited conversation) can be done as a free action. You will have at least one round before any of the other charging goblins get a proper aim at you with javelins and spears. It may be two rounds before they are close enough to engage hand to hand with axes, clubs and swords.]
 
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97mg

Explorer
Shelladda - Grasses & Blood

Rarely did the druidess ever feel like prey. The same however, couldn't be said for her four-legged companion. A wild herd animal by nature, Shelladda's bond to the beast had come with consequences. Many a time it caused a ripple of guilt in her mind; that an animal destined to roam free in the safety of numbers, or to work diligently on the land in service to her race, had instead chosen to be a solitary friend.

Ruddah had sacrificed much of a normal life to serve this warm-hearted woman. Their friendship was born of many things; adoption and care early in the calf's life, Shelladda's natural empathy and way with nature's gifts, and of course her nomadic knowledge collected as a wandering druidess. They had seen much and traveled far.

The buffalo should have been the one in a herd, not these foul little bipedal tools of evil, growing in numbers at her flank. The tables had well and truly been turned.

The ugly tone of a horn blast signaled change. Shelladda risked a swift glance to the source of the sound, whilst the goblins in front celebrated the arrival of reinforcements.

~At least seven more! And who knows how many more behind.~

Shelladda's way of life was tuned for survival. Not glory or tales of great martyrdom. Not taking blood-soiled risks so as to gloat and demand respect. Life was too precious for all that. Soon, she noted, they would lose all advantage. They would be swamped and swallowed, perhaps killed... or worse. Her instinct matched the buffalo's. Their linkage worked both ways at times. The beast often thought much like a human, and the human often thought like a beast.

Ruddah wasn't one to accept imprisonment quietly. Without the freedom of one's hooves upon the earth, what good was life? With a great wail, writhing in denial, foam flying from her jaw, he fought for freedom with every muscle and inch of flesh.

And then he was free. Slowed perhaps by the stickyness which still clinged, but free enough to follow instinct. Survive.

Shelladda's options were limited. She focused her efforts on the same precious thing. Freedom. Carefully, judging distances and with blade gripped defensively, she backed away, withdrawing from the melee towards her buffalo friend.

But what of the stranger? The man who fought a common enemy? It was time to see if his thoughts matched her own.

To be continued...

[Ruddah DC17 Str check = 19.
Questions before I conclude post and pass initiative to Joseth:
Is Ruddah's check a full round or standard action?
Is Ruddah close enough to be within 5ft of Shelladda at the end of her move (up to 60ft)]
 
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narayan

Explorer
Shelladda said:
[Ruddah DC17 Str check = 19. Shelladda commencing withdrawl (full round action so as not to provoke attacks of opportunity.
Questions before I conclude post and pass initiative to Joseth:
Is Ruddah's check a full round or standard action?
Is Ruddah close enough to be within 5ft of Shelladda at the end of her move (up to 60ft)]

Ruddah advanced near to your position last round. You can reach him with a 5 ft. Step backwards. Freeing himself from the glue with a strength check is a standard action.

Sent from my SM-N920V using EN World mobile app
 

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Mervonia said:
"When we arrive in the port, you must conceal yourself to avoid drawing attention. I believe the best ruse is wrapping your skin in bandages under the pretense that you suffer from the rotting sickness, which is both highly contagious and highly [feared]. I will remain by your side in more modest robes pretending to be a common priestess escorting you to the temple for healing spells."

Bastian nods at her, his mind still in turmoil from his recent ordeal. ~I do not feel the hatred anymore, though my mind insists that you are my enemy. Compassion lives inside of me, like an alien thing, a sickness, except now that it's there, I have come to realize that the hatred which the compassion's presence helped purge from me was the true sickness, a sickness that threatened to damn my eternal soul, and drag me down into the Hells. The only anger remaining within me is directed inward, at myself, cursing my former life, and the misguided ideologies that ruled it. It appears that this woman has given me the chance to atone for that life, a life spent spreading misery, pain, and cruelty. It would be a supreme tragedy to waste this chance.~

Mervonia said:
Mervonia glanced at you with more pity in her face. "Accept it Bastian, you were nothing more than a killer as a Madigore. Now you have a chance for a meaningful purpose, free from the sins and expectations of that name. I promise you will not regret it! I also promise to explain the prophecy and answer all your questions once we make our way safely out of the city. For now all I ask is that you agree to do as I bid until then."

"You are not my prisoner. I claim no power over you, nor do I expect any service from you that you do not willingly give."

Bastian's response is calm, peaceful, and meditative: "I see the truth of your words. Had you wished me dead, it would have been so. You were merciful to me. I can only surmise that there was some spark of good, some small, redeeming quality, that you saw within me, that led you to that course. I am grateful, both that you had mercy on me, and that something inside me was worth saving. It means that my legacy is not yet written, and that the chance to change it for the good lies within my grasp. I shall not betray you, and I shall not fail you. I refuse to waste this second chance that I've been given. Bring me the bandages, I will wear them gladly. Besides, the sight of my new appearance is not exactly pleasing to my eyes. The less I see of my new skin, the better."
 

97mg

Explorer
Shelladda - Grasses & Blood

Shelladda's animal companion was much closer than she'd anticipated. The noise, the approaching evil, had all been far too distracting. She was a simple woman after all.

~Blessed be Karfulu, protector of my beloved.~

With her mount's proximity came a sense of strength, a swelling in her belief that they'd get out of this trap, together.

The druidess stepped back, placing herself beside the great buffalo. Then with a grimace, she tore free the remaining bolt from her flesh. A warm trickle of blood flowed downwards beneath her hide armor as she called a prayer to her god.


"Let earth's beasts run! Fling dust to the air!"

Both her and Ruddah would feel it. A sense of lightening, a tickling feeling of blood and life pumping within their legs. She could have run right there and then, but no. She had other ideas.

She hefted her weight atop the waiting buffalo, raising her scimitar to the air as a warning to any who dare approach. She saw the tribal man who'd loosed the arrows, off in the distance.


"Thank you! Flee!" She yelled in their native tongue.
"Follow if you wish!"

[As a full withdrawl is not required to reach her mount, Shelladda is:
Making a 5ft step back
Using a free action to remove the last arrowhead and taking 1HP damage
Using a standard action to cast Longstrider and sharing the spell with Ruddah
Using a move action to mount her beast. This may or may not provoke AOO depending on your interpretation of the rules.]
 

Aust Thale

Explorer
Joseth Retreats With Intent to Follow

~ Tiassal...oh no! ~

Joseth reacted instinctively upon seeing the goblins. They were stunted creatures, twisted creatures, not usually this clever, and not usually this bold. The hobgoblin certainly upped their moral.
The scale of carnage around him did not quicken his resolve or his stomach. He briefly wondered about the relic as well as Tiassal. Had this been something that was planned, or was this simply being at a really wrong place at a really terrible time.

The back of Joseth's mouth burned, his jaw clenched. Tears briefly welled up as his nocked another arrow. The horn hadn't startled him, and for that matter, neither did the hobgoblin. However, his presence combined with the horde and the fact that they were using alchemy as a battle tactic gave him pause. The bloody entrails and the smell had reached his nose; the adrenaline rush made the stink noxious. He noticed the body parts. The herd and party had been slaughtered, apparently with prejudice. In fact, it appeared the goblins did not distinguish between the herd and humans. With the horn and presence of the hobgoblin, his mind was taken off of the scene for just a moment. Surely there would be a reckoning; however, not if he overestimated his luck and his chances.

The woman and her beast were withdrawing. She said something to him... Yes, he would follow her, but not before delivering a parting gift. He quickly calculated whether he should cover her retreat directly, or, if she appeared safely away, he should try to at least slow the closest goblin or two down.

He yelled back at her, "RUN. FAST."


OOC: TO BE CONTINUED - see questions below; I will delete and replace the ending of this post after answers tomorrow.


OOC: Questions:
# of goblins in war party (est.)?;
What round are we currently in?
Does Joseth have one round to take a parting shot at the closing Hobgoblin and not be in range of the war party return fire for 1 round?
How far away are the closer two (2) goblins, and how close are they to Shelladda and Ruddah?
Do the closer goblins appear to have ranged weapons?
The bushes that Joseth came through? How thick/bushy are they?
 

narayan

Explorer
Joseth, Shelladda vs. the Two Goblins Round 5 Updated


Here is a quick drawing of the clearing and your relative positions.

[Note: A withdraw action is a full round action. Therefore it cannot be attempted by anyone who also takes a move action or a standard action.]


 
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