March 21, 2017
Head Them Off at the Pass
Tserdain 13th of Klarmont
Kifein presents the Company with their repaired gear and says “I hope your gear is as you expected it.”
Griffin gears up. "What are we waiting for, guys?"
Iris says "Just let me know when you're ready to start; this spell will last all day"
Griffin feels like he could march all day! He says “Ree, seriously, you gotta learn this spell too.”
Kifein offers “Let me get you some food and wine, Iris. That will help you recover quicker.”
Kifein returns with a tray of cheese, crackers and wine and asks “Will you allow me to imbue you with energy from Pflarr? My God allows me to Lend Energy in emergencies such as this.”
Iris sneaks a look at Draven to see if he approves as Kifein explains “It is not always effective when we are out in the field, as it greatly taps my ability to draw on my divine power, but in this case, if I remain here and you are going out, it makes more sense to channel it to you.”
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, "Lettin tha girl do all the hard work. No worries, Rema, she be betta for da job’n you anyway.”
Kifein once again lays her hands on Iris and helps her recover some of her spent energy. In less than a half hour, the Grey Company is ready to hit the trail. They have some provisions (though not a ton) and 6 vials of holy water blessed by Kforedz. Kifein shows the group out a side door and Kasiex leads the way to his "secret path"
Iris says, "So gents, any thought as to how we'll lead them in? I know we tossed the idea around a bit, but does any one plan stand out to you?"
Draven says “I fear we'll have to play it by ear depending on what we find when we get there”
Kasiex leads the Company up and over the mountainous spur dividing two parts of the valley. Most of the trip is easy enough, though Draven seems to experience a bit of difficulty from time to time. For most of the trip the valley is not visible, but occasionally it comes into view. Remar keeps his eyes on the sky for Yellow Wizards and the like.
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, “Das good, Rema, watch yer back, watch above, watch all around. Too bad ya neva see em coming anyway.”
Remar keeps his eyes on the sky for any flying wizards but sees none. He does catch sight of a large bird, some sort of vulture or carrion bird probably, high up in the sky, not directly above, but nearby.
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, “Dere it is again, Rema, callin ya out on what ya jus cant do.”
The intervening part of the valley is fairly open and devoid of any good cover. One ruined temple can be seen just to the south and the ruined village that Kasiex named Bankol can be seen up against the mountain on the far side. No other movement can be seen in the valley here though.
Kasiex nods. "I can do that." Watch for me to signal, then come." Iris nods her thanks as he lopes off down the rest of the trail and out into the valley. He heads south a bit toward the temple, then veers back to the west. He uses cover as good as he can. Instead of going to the village, though, he heads to the rocky outcropping.
Iris says, "I'm surprised he hasn't signalled yet..."
Griffin says "Where's he going? He's not heading to the village..."
Iris says, "Maybe the temple ruin? I wonder if he sees someone down there"
Kasiex stops when he gets to the path crossing the valley. He turns and starts waving his arms but it is hard to see what he is doing exactly.
Draven thinks it looks like Kasiex is waving you on and pointing north to the village, his initial destination but to Iris it looks like Kasiex is waving you on to follow him, like he is saying to ignore the village.
Draven says “Ah! I can see him now. He's calling us ahead. North, to the village, though”
Iris disagrees, "I think he's avoiding the village.” Kasiex then turns and continues heading toward the rocky area.
Griffin says “Damn, I didn't see him waving, I was looking back this way!”
Remar could see the Hutaakan waving but is unsure exactly where he was directing you all. You know his initial destination was to go to the village, though he is not moving there now.
Draven says “If we head astray, I'm sure he'll frantically correct us.”
Griffin says “Once we get to the ground, though, he might not be able to see us as well, and we him…”
Iris nods. "That's a good point"
Draven says “Let's do our best to stay low regardless.” Draven heads out, all stealthy like. Iris tries her best to be stealthy following Draven leading the group down into the valley. Iris starts to veer off to follow Kasiex but quickly joins back up with her companions as they head for the village. Remar stands there apparently not even realizing he's supposed to see something.
Once the Company gets down on to the floor of the valley, seeing everything around them is a lot more difficult, especially since everyone is trying to keep their heads down and stay out of sight. Kasiex can no longer be seen, and neither can the village, though it is easy to see where it was due to some landmarks on the mountainside above.
The Company nearly flies across the valley on this fine day, even in their attempts to stay hidden. When you arrive at the abandoned village, they do not see Kasiex there. Iris purses her lips. Despite the enchantment from Iris, the hike is still tiring. Everyone decides to stop and rest for a moment.
Remar says “The path is that way" the Wizard points”
Iris raises her eyebrows but pointedly does not make eye contact with anyone.
Draven says “I heard that!” He continues, “Where is he? Anyone able to see him? I know we've got no high ground…”
Iris nods. "Exactly"
Draven says “Well, after we rest a bit, we should do some searching for him.”
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, "Ere one gotta make sure ere one else knows how much betta they are than you. Too bad they right. Ehh?”
Remar says "Well, -I'll- not discount everyone's usefulness" Remar mutters.
Kasiex says, “I am glad to see you here. I was worried you might not be able to understand my distance signals.”
Draven says “Well, there was some question as to where you were leading us, but all's well that ends well, right?”
Kasiex says, “I saw some movement to the south and wanted to check it out. There was a Traldar patrol moving past the rock. To the west. I wanted to make sure they were not stalking us. I don't believe they were.”
Draven says “Well, we've had a rest, but surely you could use one as well?”
Kasiex says, “No, I am good. Let us continue. We have much to go still.” Kasiex is panting a bit but looks tense and ready to go, as usual.
Draven says “Lead on then, but if you begin to flag, we should stop. None of us should wear ourselves too thin.”
Iris nods in agreement.
Kasiex leads the Company back behind the village and up into the rocks and eventually onto another one of his secret paths that only the mountain goats know. This stretch of the hike proves to be a bit more strenuous and treacherous. Ree dismounts and leads her lizard mount along this stretch of the hike.
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, "All dis sneaking and hidin, wot it be betta to jus light em all up?”
Remar says "There's no one here -too- 'light up,' though. Need I remind you that we must 'sneak,' at high-speeds, in order to be in place for the ultimate in pincer attack opportunities."
Iris pants, "What does that mean, Remar? Am I going to slowly or too loudly?"
Remar says "Uh, no Iris." Remar says, "You are doing fine. It's not you that needs to be reminded of our plan of action. It's..."
Remar continues to have difficulties controlling his mount and staying properly seated during the more difficult passages but does not fall off. Remar muses to himself, “Maybe Mathius fell off haha”
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, "Das funny boy, you think I fall off? Get yer head straight. I don fall off, but Ill wait fer you too!”
Remar thinks to himself “Ah, so you do listen when I think. Good to know.”
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, "I always be listenin, I jus dont care most ah da time.”
Remar growls, "Well, I guess I don't care much either."
Just as the group is ready to descend back to the valley floor, Kasiex calls for everyone to stop. The sun is getting a little lower in the sky, but the valley is still plenty lit up. Iris gratefully takes a knee. Kasiex says, “Look there, near the fountain to the south of Ronkan.” He points to the south. Iris peers in the direction Kasiex points.
Draven says “Now this will be the first test. How will the Traldar respond to this new interloper? And will they tell him about us?”
Griffin says "They're no friends of ours, Kasiex. I think we can watch for a bit."
Kasiex nods, “I know they are not your friends. They are not mine either.”
Griffin nods back.
The group from Ronkan approaches slowly. You can see several other groups of Traldar moving in from different directions as well. Kasiex points to one group approaching from the east. "That was the group I saw near the rock I think. They must have been trailing them."
Griffin grins a cold grin.
Draven says “How... No, that's just not right... but just for reference, my crazed fire mage friend, how far do your fireballs reach?”
Iris silently mouths the word, "crazed?"
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, "Too bad the shiny one don even know wat cRAzeD even means, ehh?”
The Ronkan group edges forward a bit and it looks like several from the new group ride out on horses toward them. The sun sinks lower to the mountainous horizon and the two groups converse.
Remar says "I mean, I could probably get a fireball over there...but...I'd probably end up torching the village instead"
Draven says “I was much more interested in immolating the wizard and his party if he did those Traldar wrong.”
Kasiex says, “It will get dangerous to travel the next mountain path if we do not move soon.”
Remar says, "Unfortunately, we are too far away for any of my spells to be effective. I'd me more likely to immolate us here trying to generate the magical entropy to get the spell to attempt to land a target over there. We should probably move on as Kasiex suggests. At least they'll be distracted and not notice us. We can always watch the outcome over our shoulders."
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, "Ahh, now dat wood be a sight to see. I says go for it!”
Remar whispers "You’re all talk...you don't want me to pyre you any more than I want to pyre myself."
Kasiex looks at Remar and shrugs then nods to the rest and says, “So down through the woods and one more time through the mountains or lay low there?
Remar says "What's the quickest yet most unexpected option? Remember, we have to sneak up on them if you will in case they leave guards when entering the Temple. We want to be able to catch them at the end of a bad battle with the freakshow in there."
Draven says “Yes, we have to stay focused on the long goal, but knowing how he treats with the Traldar, and if they too whittle his forces down any, will be valuable.”
Griffin says "I think we should go through the woods and over the mountains, come up on the temple from the far side. That way we take advantage of the magics on us while we can, and approach from an unexpected angle."
Kasiex leads the Company down once again to the valley floor while the everyone discusses the plans for camping and their next actions and the consequences for the Traldar that will result.
Remar says "I wish I didn't feel like we were just using the Traldar, here." Remar gunts.
Kasiex says, “The Traldar are stupid. They are born to be used. That is their way. They will take what they can, though.”
Draven says “I'm not sure we could have warned them. Not in time”
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, "Not like ya could not ah warned em before ya left their hospitality and swapped sides with these mangy mutts…”
Remar says "Kasiex," Remar says with a scowl,"I've been on the 'used' side before time and time again. I'm sure they think the same of you. What's it going to take for you to change your mind of that?"
Kasiex says, “Proof.”
Remar says "Like?"
Remar says "What do you mean? We're moving. Whistlin' while we work as it were."
Kasiex curls his lip up at Remar and turns back to the darkening trail ahead of him.
Remar says "No. You don't get to just do that Kasiex. Ignore the question with a snarled lip because you 'don't ' really know do you?"
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, "You tell em Remma. you Tell em!”
Iris says "Okay, yes, we are moving, but perhaps we can drop the conversations about the Traldar, just for now. We can't warn them at the moment..."
Kasiex says, “I watch the trail, so you don’t fall.”
Draven says “If it's any consolation, Remar, had we been able to warn the Traldar, wouldn't that have been using them as well, setting them against Golthar and more likely to mistrust and attack him?” Draven continues, “Here at least we are free of that guilt. And they may make their own peace with him and his. Though if he brought gnolls with him, that may not go over well. Justice will be meted out by those with more wisdom than we mortals.”
Iris flashes Draven a grateful smile and Draven says “Now march, you blabbermouths, I'm not carrying any of you.” Iris giggles softly.
Kasiex turns back to the group, though does not make eye contact with Remar. "Where do we camp for the night, past the next mountain trail? I feel that is best as well, Griffin."
Iris says "Remar," Iris says softly, "Do you think the Traldar are safer treating Golthar as a potential ally or as an enemy?"
Remar says "An ally of course. Peace earlier on would have been best. Just too much to do, too little time, and too many mummy-curses."
Kasiex heads out ahead to find a good camping spot in the woods. "You all follow the trail, I leave signs. Find camping spot. Then find you. See you then."
Iris looks embarrassed at Remar’s accusation and swallows hard then looks away, "I'm sorry I let them touch me---you're right, I slowed things down."
After another hour, the Grey Company is settled into a secluded glen in the woods to the far western end of the valley. Everyone is exhausted after their break neck pace across the valley and they wonder if it would be ok to sleep one night without setting watch. Remar casts a spell and the Company beds down under the protection of the surrounding trees and Remar's Mystic Mist.
Griffin says “Looks good, ma'am. Thanks!”
Iris says, "Beyond expectations, thank you"
Kifein says to Draven “I was also able to procure several containers of holy water blessed by the High Priestess. There was not a lot but I hope this helps.”
Draven says “Your people are gracious to a fault, given the circumstances.”
Draven says “"Time waits for no man," as the learned ones say.”
Iris says, "I'll have to do this in rounds, sorry lady and gentlemen. Griffin, Draven, Ree, Remar---I'll get you all first"
Ree responds “Yea, sounds useful, though not really my style.”
Iris says, "Ok Kasiex, you next, then I need to take a break." After casting the spell on several folks, Iris is in desperate need of a rest and sits down suddenly. "Actually, I think I better take a break now"
Iris looks guiltily at her feet, "Thanks Kifein, you're too kind"
Draven says “Even if you were to travel with us, we would have time for you to recover, Kifein”
Iris says, "Oh, I-I'm grateful...thank you"
Kifein chants some words in Hutaakan and places her hands on Iris's shoulders. She suddenly feels refreshed and more like a woman than she ever has before. Iris says, "Wow...wow. That was an interesting experience"
Kifein's whiskers twitch. "Any time." Everyone is sure they hear a low purr but cannot determine exactly where it is coming from.
Iris says, "I think just a few more minutes, and I'll be good" After another 10 minutes, she stands and clears her throat. "Ok Kasiex, I'm actually ready this time." After some resting and casting, everyone but Stephan and Marcel have been imbued with the Quick March spell. They have volunteered to stay behind in order to let the rest of the group catch up to Golthar. They plan to follow Kasiex's path and catch up later.
The weather is beautiful and the sky is clear. Though it is already past noon, the plan is to arrive near the Temple by the end of the day.
Iris stops Draven and says, "Wow, I know we're in a hurry---but look at that view!" to surreptitiously give him a moment to rest.
Draven takes some deep breaths while he's stopped and says “We should really lay hands on some scrying methods…”
Kasiex says, “We must be careful now as we head back down into the valley. We are close to the range of the Traldar here, and most definitely once we make it to Old Bankol.”
Iris says, "Maybe it would make sense for Kasiex to sneak ahead a for just a bit?"
Draven says “I think he was trying not to give away his destination if he was observed. But it must be all clear.”
Iris says, "I'm not sure, I really feel like he was trying to get us to follow him, but to steer clear of the village but we should move on."
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, "Whatcha lookin at ya dolt? Get with the program!”
Iris moves back to Remar and pulls him toward the group. "Shush" she whispers. Griffin looks back and sees that sunlight is glinting brightly off of some of Remar's buckles or straps or something. Iris bends down and mixes some water from a skin with dirt to smudge on the shiny buckles on Remar's attire. Iris says, "You're, ah, gleaming...in places." Griffin looks back at Iris's camouflage job and smiles. Remar thanks Iris, but frowns at his now once again dirty and smudged attire. He bets those Hutaakan notice and judge him later.
The voice of Malthius, echoing inside of Remar's head, "Ahh, Rema, you know them dogs'll be judging ya. Hell, that Iris is prolly arready judging ya for being dirty, and shes the one that gotcha all dirty lie dat!”
Remar says "So, um...why did we come to the village, guys?"
Iris looks at Draven.
Draven says “It's where Kasiex pointed!”
Remar says “You know...in the mountains"
Iris says, "I mean, we could have someone fly, but that's as good as making smoke signals"
Remar says "I'm not on trial you know!"
Iris says "Jeez Remar, I can fly too, I wasn't trying to say anything"
Ree quips up “Um, I can fly too.”
Draven says “Can any of you fly... while invisible?”
Remar says "What? Fly? Um...sorry, I must have uh...been distracted"
Iris kicks the dirt a little with her toe. "No, sorry Draven"
Ree adds “No, not yet anyway!” Ree smiles a bit.
Iris looks strangely at Remar. After about 10 minutes, Kasiex comes slinking up through the tall grass from the south, his bow drawn.
Iris places a hand lightly on Remar's arm and tries to pitch a whisper so only he hears it, "Remar. I don't think you're talking to any of us."
The Company can see a good sized group encamped around the water source. Another good sized group is moving out of Ronkan toward them. You estimate you are about 5 miles from the group and the fountain and about 4 from Ronkan.
Kasiex says, “Your friends? Do we watch this or keep moving?
Draven says “I have some hope that they're stalking the wizard…”
Remar says "Draven, I'd not 'light up' the sure amount of innocence likely involved in that 'chat' up there with a fireball. Not all of them are guilty, wouldn't you agree?"
Iris says "Gents," Iris says softly, "Now's probably not the time for these conversations. Let’s get moving"
Remar says "Well, yes sir! I'm marching, I'm marching. It's just...if we could have brokered a peace., whatever that would have entailed, we wouldn't be using anyone here. We'd be allies 'all-in' damnit all!"
Cast of Characters:Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard
Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer with help from +Patrick Burke
Remar Umerus, an Alphatian battle mage that escaped forced service in the Thyatian army currently marshalled by +Patrick Kelly
Iris Varda, a Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure, now guided by +Stephanie Kelly
Kasiex, a Hutaakan Wildsteward used to ranging the mountains and valleys now led down a new path by +Patrick Burke
and +Jason Woollard as The DM