Knowing that the Drowess has seen him, Tam slowly goes back around the way he came whilst placing his elven arrow back in its quiver and slinging the bow across his shoulder in an act/attempt at nonchalance. He comes back through the midst of the party, who are now closer to Respen and Nelvandra, bows to the Drow Sorceress, never taking his eyes from her while doing so, then turns to Respen, reaches out a hand, and says:

"It is so good to have you back. I was very worried about you."

Tam, then winks at Respen and gives a sly smile as he looks towards Nelvandra, and adds: "However, I see you have acquired some unique treasure in your adventure."
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Sylvar B.

Sylvar is not convinced....The rest of the party seems to be okay with allowing you to venture with us. I will tell you the same as I told Tam when he first joined our group and before he had proven himself... I swear before Odin the all Father, and before Ullr, who guides my arrows. I will see you dead before being taken captive, if you betray us I will have my revenge either in this life or the next. Sylvar looks Respen in the eye... you'd better be thinking with your brain rather than with your manhood, if misfortune befalls us on her account it will be your fault. Sylvar takes on last look at both of them. Then says to the party if we are going to attack this fortress we need a game plan. I can conjure a swarm of rats to attack the Orc camp. They will spread disease as they go. That should at least weaken them...I still like the idea of setting the fortress a blaze from the inside. It would be a good way of reducing the number of enemies we will have to face later.

Aust Thale


~ This dissention in the ranks is a distraction ~

Laddie, what in the Nine Hells have you gone and done?!? Oathed to a Drow sorceress? And a vampire no less? Nevermind if you are controlled or not; are ye daft, boy?!?
Vale pauses a moment and laughs heartily, clearly injecting levity into the uncomfortable standoff.

And beggin’ ye pardon m’lady. I am certain that you are indeed a noble and clearly desirable woman, even for an elf. However, do ye know the fellow you have taken up with?!?” Vale winks at Nel, “If you have visited Laramon, have you seen my dog?” This question is addressed to Nelvandra, but meant for Respen to hear, “And Vega? Gus was in her care.

Vale continues with the conversation as it segues into what is going on now with the party. He addresses the entire group after Sylvar's comments about planning.

I have estimated the distance from the cliff site to dig a tunnel down into the ground here and going to the cliff site over the last couple of days. I’ve started the tunnel back about 40 feet from our campsite. I’m working my way down at a diagonal angle below the ground level of the canyon, moving slowly so as to not collapse the area close to the cliff face. I can also cut a tunnel at ground level if we want to do that; with the angle I took, it won’t take much. We’ve reconnoitered the area and have a pretty good idea of the comings and goings, troop strength, and tendencies down there. Why on Oerth they would put hill giants on watch is beyond me; either they are magical illusions, or they are a force lacking in intelligence directly inverse to their numbers. That giant Drow, what did you call him, a mageling? He prances around here as if he owns the place. I don’t know which weakness I prefer: pride or stupidity. They appear to have either in equal measure. I like our chances."

"Sylvar, your idea has merit, as does the idea of burning the place. However, I'd like to burrow underneath to see if there is ingress/egress from below. In addition, as we have not seen that largest war-party that entered come out, it's possible that they went underground. It's also possible they teleported somewhere, perhaps to investigate the pasting we delivered their scout and war-parties, or perhaps to their primary target. I can't recommend a frontal assault, and given my complete and utter failure in silencing the last ogre mage, I am uncomfortable with engaging more than one spell caster at a time. If Respen and Nel give us additional tools toward that end, all the better."

Aust Thale

Respen - To Sylvar, Vale, Dewydd, Lathir, Thallok, Kleborn, and Tam

~ Respen Coraellus, you should have known it would be difficult ~

Respen is simultaneously disappointed and thankful for his friends' reactions. He appreciates that they are on guard on his behalf; however, Nel is what she is to him. He made a decision, damn the consequences. He casts a look at Nel, then releases her hand as Syl turns away from him. He listens to Sylvar's suggestion and replies to the group, "I like it."

Respen is vexed by Sylvar's lack of trust. He is about deeds not words, but perhaps it would assist in his coming around.

As Dewydd flirts with Nelvandra, Respen again clasps Nel's hand and draws her close. With Dewydd's proposition to Nel, Respen's eyes narrow, "Good luck with that, human. I’m sure Nel’s sister might find you...satisfying." Startled with his visceral reaction to Dewydd, Respen is mildly embarrassed, but he tries unsuccessfully to hide it. He isn't used to being jealous. Perhaps he is more controlled by Nel than he thought.

He shakes himself out of the distraction, and replies in kind to discussion regarding attacks on this fort, Glimval, and their current state of affairs. He listens as the party brings him up to speed. He tries to use the opportunity to repair his relationship with Sylvar, giving him deeper insight into Ky, Dame Clare, and Nel. "Syl, my cousin elf. You don't know the whole story." He lowers his voice and quietly tries to reason with him. "Nel was subjected to repeated magical song and lyrics. Like yours. That was how my mistress controlled her. Bardic magic. There is a young Drow named Ky. Dame Clare compelled her the same way she compelled me. And Ky used her magic to condition Nel to accentuate the aspects that Dame Clare wanted to accentuate and dull those she didn't. Her reaction is simple: she didn't like your lyricism because she recalls Ky's."

Respen continues conversation with the party, answering Vale's questions about Vega missing and notifying Laramon of it, as well as Gus being in Laramon's care. He does not share Gus' demonstrated survival skills in Margull's tower with Vale. Some things are better left unrepeated.

Continuing on with planning, Respen discloses where he believes he fits in, "I believe at least Syl, Thallok, and I should go underground with Vale, if not most of us. I like Sylvar's idea of introducing magically induced disease into the fort, as well Lathir attacking from above. However, we need to know that we can control both. We don't want to count ourselves as accidental casualties. And I agree with Vale. I think something might be under the fort. Right or wrong, we need to know."

Corrected your spelling; the bard's name is Kylaendra, hence, "Ky" not "Ki."
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
The party's conversation with Nel spans about 25 minutes in its entirety. It is now Patchwall 22, CY 963, 11:00 AM.

Seeing that the discussion is just that, i.e., a polite discussion, and seeing that there is no longer the possibility of an inter-party brawl, Lathir takes to the skies in Vulture form, as he has been doing for the last few days.

Lathir, using Vulture's natural sighting distance, Spot Check: 40
Lathir, Spellcraft Check: 30

When Lathir returns 30 minutes later (11:30 am) he has the following to report:

1] Lathir saw the Drow walking around the fort again. This time, he was little (well, if you call 6'7" tall, "little.") He walked around each side of the fort wall and cast some sort of spell. With the long-range sighting ability of a Vulture's natural eyesight, Lathir is able to see the Drow's somatic gestures with perfect clarity (Spot Check: 40); he is then able to get a general idea of what type of spell is being cast (Spellcraft Check: 30): The Drow is casting some sort of Protection spell; it is similar to Protection From Energy, but from the somatics, it looks more focused and/or specialized, and longer-lasting. The spells are being cast on the fort wall and inner structures.

2] The platoon of Orcs comes back out of the fortress, and re-joins the main body of Orcs.

3] A female Hill Giant, dressed in the manner of a Shaman, was seen briefly outside the wall, talking to the Drow. Then she went back inside.

It is now 11:35 am, by the time Lathir has relayed the above information.
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I laugh again, this time in goodnatured humor. "Worry not Respen. My words were meant more as a compliment, not as a proposal! Being a little protective is a good thing - just ensure you mind the fine line between protectiveness and insecurity. The first is an endearing quality, the latter an unsightly trait.

When Lathir describes the spell being cast, I shrug and share, "If I were him, I would be protecting all of that wood from fire. It seems to be what he's doing too. Frustrating. How many enemies are there estimated to be in total between the camp and the fort? Too many and we might be better served just alerting local authorities and offering our services if they decide to act... Failing that, if you are all set on fighting the enemy now, I suppose I could tone my recklessness down a bit and deal with the orc encampment while you all handle the fort. Are there any casters down there from the looks of it?"
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
More Supplemental Info About The Fort

The Dead Giant on Thread Page 21 said:
"..."There are over 50 giants, and 30 Ogres in Nosnra's tribe, along with some other giants that he hired to help him in the mines. The Great Orc Mak has also sent over 100 of his troops to aid us; Nosnra also has many Orc slaves, a gift from The Mak. The slaves are followers of Marek who would not join the True Cause. Nosnra has an alliance with the Skullseeker Bugbear Tribe, which is over 50 warriors strong. The Trolls of the Armbreaker Tribe also swear allegiance to Nosnra, and there are at least 20 of them. Their leader, Brunk, is the strongest Troll I have ever seen. Nosnra is also allied with a Dark Elf Wizard, named Quinnlan, whom he seems to trust. He recently gave Quinnlan his own giantess harem, although I am not sure what that little, scrawny Elf plans to do with such fine, large women. He's the size of a baby compared to them."

Dewydd notices something: the dead giant referred to the Drow as Quinnlan. But Nelvandra referred to him as Glimval. That means one of two things:

1. There is more than 1 Drow in the Giant Fort with a taste for Giant females.


2. Quinnlan is an assumed name / alias for Glimval.

Lathir adds the following information, based on his patrols:

1. The exact number of Orcs is actually 156. There is the camp commander, who is served by 5 sergeants. Then there are 5 platoons, numbering 30 Orc soldiers each.

2. The Orc Leader wears Full Plate Mail, and carries a HUGE 2-Handed sword, which actually looks too big for him to wield properly.


Creator of The Untamed Wilds
Lathir Engages the Strategy

When Lathir describes the spell being cast, (Dewydd) shrug and share,
"...I suppose I could tone my recklessness down a bit and deal with the orc encampment..."
Lathir holds out his left hand in a halting gesture.
"Hold up there. That thought has merit.

I know I am not prone to speaking at length, but I feel some necessity. I am deducing some possibilities based on our gathered information and what Nel has conveyed. In Skorane, we discovered a tunnel system beneath the town with teleporters and another tunnel leading to the unknown. Nel confirmed that this is indeed used by the Drow of the her birth city to come up and travel between there and that other city under where we are, now. It stands to reason that a tunnel system would exists under this very fort, since the machination we are currently witnessing are allocated to a Drow matron from that city.

What I like about Dewydd's last off-hand statement is that while we have been hitting patrols on this side of the fort successfully, we stand a good chance of running a skirmish against the Orc encampment that will provide us more information concerning the response time and prepared strategies of the beings in this fort
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
The Axe Speaks

Vale’s axe interjects, wanting to make its opinion known: “Drow nobles working with surface folk against their own kind; what is this world coming to? I suppose it a good portent, though. Hey Nelly, do you think you could introduce me to your sister, and her big spider? Love to meet ‘em both!” The axe roars with laughter, “Although I doubt that either of them would be able to say the same; I tend to have that effect on the undead. I render them speechless... THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY!!” The axe roars again, reveling in its rudeness, “But seriously, if you fellows want to strike a blow against those red piggies down there, you’d do well to make your first strike using stealth, targeting the leadership of the force. Grunts ain’t nothin’ without their whips to keep ‘em in line.”

Aust Thale

Vale Responds to Lathir

~ I like the Druid ~

Vale listens intently. Fighting these baddies in skirmishes wouldn’t be a bad way to go, as long as their reinforcements were cut off or bottlenecked. He can’t resist the sleeping hill giants, though.

“Useless sentries in the towers. Would like to smack them in general principle. Lazy oafs. Lathir, what day you gents let me consult the gods regarding this? We might be better off sneaking in and fighting off these baddies from behind them, where we can limit their reach.”

OOC: Vale casts Augury over successive days to ask questions that help their decision. He has spent some time the last few days watching fort and camp movement as Lathir has.

Vale begins to chant to himself in low baritone Dwarvish, praying to Clangeddin Silverbeard for the battle to come. His eyes glow a deep purple, a hue not yet seen by the party as associated with Vale's priestly spells.

Patchwall 21 (Yesterday): "Lord Silverbeard, I pray Augury as to the consequences of an action: woe or weal? We solemnly ask what will happen if we frontally assault the fort?”

Patchwall 22 (Today): "Lord Silverbeard, I pray Augury as to the consequences of an action: woe or weal? We solemnly ask what will happen if we attempt to sneak into the fort?”

Vale clearly shares the results as made known to him.


Frontal Assault: Woe be to you all if such foolishness is attempted. Weal to the Giant-kin, who would gain great wealth.

Sneaking: Weal to you all when the fort is approached with wisdom. Woe to the Giant-kin, who shall be caught unprepared.
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