The gathered crowd listens intently to Akos's words. While most listen with respect and a bit of awe for the growing fame of the heroes, a few continue to whisper among themselves. However, others shush them and soon all are listening with, at least, grudging respect. They all seem to weigh Akos's words of wisdom with deep thought. These are the elders and merchants of Old City, after all. Even the man who decried the 'heathens' softens his gaze but Akos can tell the man is still wary of the mercenaries.Akos gets up and dusts off after cheking everyone and turns to the crowds.
"Good citizens! Here you have a chance to see that those who might be termed villains are still beings of flesh and blood. While some..." he motions toward the priest "...may be loathsome and others..." motions toward Mambru "...are hard to understand, they are still people with their own problems and beliefs. Just like you, sir..." this time he motions in general direction of the crowd, not exactly pinpointing the man who cried "heathen!" - "...your piety does you credit, but do not be too quick to judge those less fortunate. For you know not what you might do if hungry on the street. The gods gave you plenty, you have your homes, families and food. You have The Five you can count on. Even in trying times like these when trouble rears its ugly head, you can see The Five working against the calamity." At the mention of the five he motions toward his group first only then waving it around to include the city. It is done subtly in one motion, but the idea is there. The group barely connected to The Five may now be firmly lodged in the crowds minds as the extension of them.
"Please, disperse, let us handle the miscreants and don't offer the terrorists this big a target."
"Then you and your god are both fools," Narzissa snaps back. "You don't want to save me. Fine. I can live with that. But don't expect me to convert to your deity or any other gods. Gods are charlatans. All of them. Yours has fooled you into submission... what you call sacrifice and devotion, and you readily admit its for nothing but you sacrificing your life for him." She shakes her head in disbelief. "You and I will never agree." She turn her back to the knight, as if to say she's done listening.Tim scoffs at Narzissa, He replies to her in a loud, firm tone, so that the crowd might hear clearly as well: "If I assume too much, then so do you. I have no desire to save you. I have a desire to see justice done. And while we're on the subject of deities, my god does NOT offer salvation. He offers us the chance for a better life, by serving him. Ours is a life of sacrifice and devotion to duty. Syvatogor does not offer to save my soul, he offers me the strength to protect it myself, to earn my own way, in this world, and in the world beyond. He doesn't fill my belly like some helpless infant; he gives me the strength and will to fill it myself. And because my god offers nothing, he cannot possibly be the liar and thief you proclaim him to be. IN FACT, I would venture to say that even deities who deliver on their promises are in fact robbing their followers of their own individuality and self-determination. Such deities make their followers into weaklings. With Syvatogor, this is not so. The reward for self-sacrifice in the course of serving Syvatogor is the opportunity to sacrifice even more. That's what most people will never understand. You don't become strong by being served; you become strong by being of service."
"Your debate continues to stir up the crowd even though it's best for all that you don't incite them to violence," Mambru notes to Tim. "You should listen more to your friend's words," he motions to Akos with a head bob as the guards shackle his and Narzissa's arms behind their backs. "He's done a better job at making me think about my own life than you. You're blustering just makes me angrier. Either speak to me no more or cut my ear's off."Tim looks at Mambru, then continues in the same, authoritative tone: "While it may be true that many dieties see their followers as pawns, or even cattle, it is not so with Syvatogor. He shows his compassion to us by filling us with courage, in the face of overwhelming adversity. He shows his compassion to us by allowing us to fail. Failure is an effective teacher; that which does not kill us, makes us stronger. You should grow a backbone, and stop blaming the gods for your own weakness."
"Justice for those in power," Mambru replies. "I will not believe in anything else from The Five."Breva listens to the heretical talk with the heavy heart. He feels the call to speak in favor of his own God, but these misguided souls are likely beyond saving. He shakes his head and simply says, "While you have been blinded a true heart can see the path of real righteousness. If we can't save your soul we can at least see justice done."
"That buffoon," Herleva says with surprise. "What is he doing out from behind a desk?" She shakes her head in dismay. "The news about the missing guards is troubling. The Gate of Scales is never left unguarded."Tuck looks at the strangely comical scene for just one more moment, before deciding to return to the others. Staying in the shadows for a few blocks, the kobold then whispers a command to Mutt.
"Run," he instructs while climbing on the big dog's furry back, and off the two go, quickly back to the scene of the fight.
When they are almost there, Tuck dismounts and nimbly moves through the gathered crowd. He motions a fast greeting to his companions while moving towards the halfling commander Herleva straightaway.
"The Gate of Scales is unguarded," he reports, quiet enough so that the crowd would not hear it, or at least not everyone. "The Regulars seem to be in a, well, parade, led by Lord Horatius Demos Atticus, towards the Masque Arch."
The kobold is careful to leave out his personal feeling about this in his tone, except for his worries about the relocation of guards.
"Any more deviltry and I'm going to need some serious time off," Vinccenzo says. The Sectarian Guard is still nursing his wounds but is ready to press on to the gate.Upon hearing Tuck's news he pulls his companions together. "Perhaps this," he gestures at the bodies and prisoners, "is just a distraction. I think we best make our way to this gate in some haste. I fear there is more Devilry afoot this day."
Mambru said:"...Your blustering just makes me angrier. Either speak to me no more or cut my ear's off." [...] "..You'd be surprised how corrupt your fellow guards are when enough coin is offered..."
Breva can instantly tell that Solomon's grin and gaze are not a bluff. His eyes show no remorse for his actions or the fate of the missing guards. Breva isn't sure if the evil priest knows what happened to them, but the paladin is sure something is hidden behind those eyes."Treachery is ever more potent than a ram. We must assume the worst." But he eyes Solomon and Mambru with suspicion. What is your game he wonders to himself. He is sure they are still playing them. He pauses to look for clues.
sense motive twice and search: 1D20+6 = +6 = 26
1D20+6 = +6 = 19
1D20+2 = +2 = 11
The Loremaster is able to lock eyes with the mercenary. The sly magic tries to influence the man's will, but Mambru easily shrugs off the charm attempt. He shakes his head and blinks and then glares at Akos. He has sensed the Loremaster's attempt to charm him. He says nothing but he bares his teeth like a wild animal that wants to sink his fangs into flesh.Akos looks from one to another.
"We should look into it whatever the reason. If their superior is replaced by a doppelganger, or just plain incompetent and duped into something, the guards would have to follow orders. In a moment, just to fortify myself."
He mutters a spell and instead of healing himself as indicated he attempts to charm Mambru. Only then he triggers his belt of healing closing his wounds.
Mambru turns his glare from Akos to Tim.
Tim levels his sword at the now helpless Mambru, and rests the tip of the blade gently on his left ear.
Tim smiles, "What a novel idea. You have inspired me, thank you. You obviously know something about what has transpired here, with regard to the missing guards. Why don't you speak up, and give me a reason to forego your inspirational suggestion?"
Tim's innermost thoughts:~I'll not butcher the man's ears, but he doesn't know that. Perhaps I can make him squeal, if I don't come on TOO strong. Let's test him.~
"I don't think you should take them," Roland motions to the prisoners. "Down there." He looks at Vinccenzo. "How sure are you that these other cells are secure?"Breva reaches into his pack and pulls out a coil of rope. "Perhaps this will make the decent easier?" He sets about securing one end of the rope to something sturdy enough to hold even Tim's weight. "Who would like to go first?"
"There are some strange footprints outside, but I don't know if they came into here or if they went somewhere else," Vinccenzo replies.Akos frowns at the initiative.
"Why do we want to go down there? Are there tracks indicating someone recently went? I mean, it is a secret passage, not the main entrance."
Just before Tim descends into the hole, Tuck comes up to him. "I don't think they went that way, but I can't say for certain." He looks back at the wailing woman. "But it's safer that dealing with that," he says in a low tone. The kobold urban ranger helps secure the rope with BrevaTim scoffs, jokingly, "Ok, you've twisted my arm. I will go first. I am broad-chested, but even I can fit in a 8-foot diameter hole. I'd estimate my girth, frontage-wise, as no more than five feet across. Maybe 7 feet, depending on what position I'm holding Rizvan in."
Tim grabs the rope, tests its strength with two, sharp pulls, and then lowers himself down into the unknown...
Vinccenzo said:"What about the doppel-?" Vinccenzo begins to ask.
Herleva said:"Go! We'll stuff him in a wardrobe if we have to... he's quite harmless tied up, gagged, and unconscious," Herleva insists.
"I'm with you," Vinccenzo agrees. "Let's go!"Tim pauses at the edge, before actually beginning his descent.
Tim says, "No, you CAN'T handle him. Even bound and gagged he can still work his magicks. Vinccenzo, you're with me. Where is the nearest actual prison? I don't mean the one or two courtesy cells in every guard post. I mean the actual main facility. You and I will take Mani there with haste, and see to it that he's properly imprisoned. The rest of you, secure the area, and await our return! We shan't be but a few minutes."
~She sure did seem anxious to get a hold of Mani and shoo us away. Something doesn't sit right about her. I'll need to watch her more closely from here on out.~
Falen:Akos is still not happy with the prospect of going down into the tunnels. With unknown rat-people in the underground, thieves guild that surely goes through the tunnels occasionally and now potentially foul sorcerers minions...and all of them knowing the underground better than the heroes...he really doesn't like it.
With Tim rushing out, he shakes his head. His skills could help unlock the doors that would otherwise remain closed...but he has no intention of rushing through the city yet again. He instead takes time to calm the irrate nobleman and motions to the man the guard singled out for help.
"Hello, stranger, maybe I can help with the instructions while our good guard is busy. What are you looking for?" As an afterthought he adds
"And do you have the papers to move through the city unhindered? We are in special situation, as you may have heard."
@Aust Thale a man in silvery armor that retreats into his long robes even as he speaks is motioning to Falen to approach
Captain Launceleyn listens intently while Captain Emenheisier seems stunned in silence. His men sheath their weapons and urge him to let the Elites of Riftwatch to handle the situation.Tim replies, "Guards are missing from their posts, either because of foul play, or because of bribery and/or betrayal, we don't know which. And we discovered a secret passage beneath the guard tower, which might explain how Whats-His-Face's men are able to travel without being seen. Need we say more?"