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Dragon's Egg - Act IV

Discussion in 'Dragon's Egg RPG' started by Steerpike, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Marius
    Marius glances at Branwyn to gauge her reaction to the dwarf. The kid seemed cute enough to him and about as vicious as all children tend to be at that age. He hadnt met a harpy before, but at least this one had done him no wrong, and he did not particularly like this blusterous dwarf threatening her with his book of grudges or whatever it was he called it. He didnt much like the fact that the dwarf seemed to be insinuating that the group would not be able to have a civilized diplomatic discussion with the orcs even though the orcs seem to have done nothing but been completely honest up until this point (not to mention that the two-week copper had said it would be fine). Honestly the dwarf seemed nothing but mean and potentially dangerous.

    Marius tightened his grip and clenched his teeth, as he watched the dwarf carefully. He was skating on thin ice in Marius' mind. The dwarf had better be watching his words as carefully as Marius was.
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    The Orc Camp

    Burnbright cannot understand the conversation passing between Liadan and Korgak, but she understands enough to know that some of the conversation is about her. "Tell him I'm a Shieldmaiden of...of Srilkind. I'm not scared of him."

    Korgak just looks at Burnbright a moment, then back to Liadan. "You are a strange company. Most in the north stick to their own kind."

    When the talk turns to the dwarves' hammers, Korgak's toothy grin widens. "Of course I kept the stunties' hammers. Whatever else might be said of the runts, they know how to forge." He gestures off-handledly toward one of the tents across the camp from the where the dwarves are imprisoned. "My weapons master will have those stuntie-sized handles off of the hammers and put on something that an orc can grip. Fine additions to my armory."

    The Woods

    ((Let's get the timeline synced. Bressel comes into the camp ahead of Baldhart, Cadell, et al., and he gives his account of what is going on in the camp. Masama greets Bressel with a firm grip. When the others return, leaving only Burnbright and Liadan in the camp, Masama appears to grow somewhat worried, though it is hard to tell with the big man. If you want to RP the arrival of people from the orc camp, feel free. The post below assumes everyone is at the camp. By that time, Cadell has also told Baldhart and the others what the dwarves in the cage said - namely that they intend to fight)).

    When Callan and Baldhart get out of earshot of the rest of the group, Callan reaches up to take Baldhart's shoulder, bending the larger woman down to speak quietly in her ear. "I know you've had some dealing with dwarves, but I don't know how much. I've had plenty, and I can tell you a few things. They won't lie to you, at least not that I've ever heard of. If a dwarf tells you something, he'll stand by it or die trying. Even if it's a fool's decision to do so. When those dwarves told Cadell they mean to fight if turned loose, they weren't just blustering.

    "Also, this Book of Grudges is like an oath they've taken. If you're in the book, then you're going to pay in one way or another. Think of it as a promise the dwarves make to themselves and those who offend them. From what I've seen, it carries down through generations. I've seen dwarves come to near-deadly blows because one's great-grandfather slighted the other and the grudge carried down. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if they put your little harpy girl in the book, you're going to have a big problem. And if Darin was who I think, it's going to to be worse."

    Meanwhile, Nissa and Brok are speaking of a similar topic - namely, grudges. "Ye have an admirable purpose, valkyrie." Brok says. "Protection o' the innocent is a noble thing. But sometimes, the deeds of the parent passes to the child, and to the child's child, and so on."

    When Aliron speaks up on the subject of Brawnen, Brok whirls around, his grip tightening on his staff. He relaxes a bit when he it is a member of the party.

    Peace, elf. Let's not dwell on this now. I'm no Grudge Master, and I cannot tell ye what will become of yer harpy whelp. But I do know Korgak's in the book, and will be in it again fer the foul deeds against my kin this day. That's what is important right now. Your friend gets me lads out of there and we'll give these orcs what fer. And ye'll be heading to the Drimmen Delve to tell what happened here, and all ye know of Aslaug and the goings on in the north."

    Marius remains hidden. Brawen is crouched beside him, still mostly unmoving. But she appears to have lost interest in watching the proceedings between Brok and the others and is now moving he doll back and forth along the frozen ground and humming almost impercetibly to herself.
     
  3. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Liadan

    I nod in interest as Korgak speaks of the hammers, following his gesture toward the tent. "I'd like to see the hammers, if you'll allow. No doubt they're of very fine craftsmanship." I toy idly with the chain of my pendant again, hoping to draw Korgak's attention to the silver. It may be easier to bargain with him for the hammers if I don't have to initiate it myself. I just wish I had more to use as leverage... like the topaz in the bow I left behind.

    But, perhaps there are other things. If push comes to shove, I could give them locks of my hair to twine into bowstrings. It's definitely long enough, and if they're already using dwarvish weapons, why not go another step and incorporate the elvish? I can only imagine the tales that would come from that, though... how they bested me in battle and shore off my hair as a trophy whether or not they ended up slaying me first. Would it be worth it, though, if this plan succeeds?

    Cadell

    I look at Brok when he mentions the captive dwarves and my intention to free them. "Have you any ideas that might aid us in bargaining or negotiating your kinsmen's freedom, or at least getting their weapons returned to them? If they are trophies of the orcs' victory, no doubt Korgak will be fiercely protective of them, and murderous if we dare to steal them outright. I haven't seen the hammers, and so I can't estimate their worth." Perhaps Liadan has ideas of her own, but there's no realistic way for her to hare them with us now.

    I look down at her longbow, which I retrieved from where she left it before we all returned to camp. The topaz embedded in the wood is worth a fair amount, and Liadan no longer strictly needs it there now that she worships Fraxinus instead of Oercus. But I don't want to tamper with her weapon unasked, and I fear to compromise the bow's integrity if I try.
     
  4. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    "Did I fail to clarify that it was Celexa who killed Darin? I would hope that the deeds of the parent don't pass to the child when the parent's only deed was to lose a battle. If you had to kill the child of every defeated foe... yes, it is best we do not discuss this circularly. I work for Brynhild; Her position on killing innocents is clear enough. I can tell you that I do not know which harpy was Branwen's mother, and that only one harpy struck Darin. He walked away from that battle, and he accepted Branwen as being one of us. There were two among us who did not accept Branwen, and they separated themselves. If Darin had a problem with Branwen, he could have voiced his opinion, and he knew we would not harm deserters.

    "Brok, I hope this information would keep Branwen safe from a... Grudge Master."

    I listen to Cadell speak of hammers, and Brok's 'we'll show 'em.'

    "Any chance you and the dwarves we save--if we succeed--could simply return to the Delve? We are taking a personal risk to free your people, simply because it is the right thing to do. If your people immediately attack the orcs, there are consequences. First, you will lose to the orcs. You alone have the skill and might to kill many orcs, but not nearly as many as are in that camp. Second, the attack will destroy the credibility of our talk of peace. The orcs will crush Ballara, and they will justify their attack saying they were tricked by humans and dwarves. Humans are treacherous tricksters, they lack honor, no human child must reach adulthood.

    "I realize that nothing I say changes the fact that you and the orcs are at war. I only hope you will consider the innocent people of Ballara, and the need to protect the Delve from Aslaug. Everything we have discussed becomes meaningless if none of us reach the Delve because we are forced into an avoidable battle with the orcs.

    "And let me remind you again of my past with orcs. I don't regret dying. My sacrifice saved the lives of many others, so Brynhild told me when a Valkyrie brought me to Her. It was a good death."

    Hopefully, the implication is clear enough: a bad death would be calling orcs dishonorable, breaking a truce, fighting an I winnable battle, and getting a bunch of innocents killed if the orcs are half as vengeful as a dwarven grudge master. Or as my father... is this what he was like after I died?
     
  5. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    "Callan... that is very helpful. Any chance the orcs know dwarves are truthful? I will have them swear that they will not attack Korgak's camp once freed, under the condition that no dwarves from the Delve are attacked by Grey Wolf orcs. Nissa told me to be careful about what oaths I take. I should be careful about what I ask of a dwarf too..."
     
  6. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    I politely ask Brok to ponder my words, and that I mean no disrespect to him or his people. Then I excuse myself and fly to Baldhart, and tell her what I have heard.


    Baldhart


    I hear Nissa, and I turn to Callan. "I'm under the opinion that things will go very badly for us—and for Ballara—if we arm the dwarves, or even ask Korgak for their hammers. For all their talk of honor, do dwarves believe in a Life Debt? I mean the idea that when someone saves your life, you owe them?

    "My people speak of this, though I personally don't care for the idea. You save a life because it is right, not because you want to make a person in need become your slave. Still, if there's a Book of Grudges there should be a Book of Life Debts or a Book of Deeds or a Book of Those Who Somehow Managed to Not Piss Off a Dwarf.

    "And Branwen isn't the only child with a mother to answer for." I turn to Nissa and say, "Of course, the only other child in our group is my sister, the younger daughter of Reinhard Eisenberg."

    Nissa shrugs. "Well, I really am your cousin. I suppose to a dwarf, any human would look more like your relative than I do."

    She flies over to Tumi, and I don't bother to ask why. I say to Callan, "I better get to my sister. If you wish to come, I won't object. If you stay..." I tell her how many orcs are in the camp. How many fighters I know of, how many red sashes. I add, "Nissa knows, but if I am dead, her body will fade... I think. I'll try not to get myself killed to prove that, but if Nissa fades, assume all in the camp are dead or worse."

    Unless Callan has more to discuss, I head to camp. ((They can walk and talk if Callan goes to the orc camp.))


    Nissa

    I fly to Tumi and ask how he's holding up. Then I prepare to ask him a favor.

    [​IMG]
    I flash a bashful smile like a small, vulnerable girl in need of a knight in shining armor. I won't lead him on in a way that is inappropriate… I truly do need him, that much is sincere. If he happens to think I'm attractive—even if in a big-brother/little-sister way—that only means he will listen.

    "Tumi, I would love to tell you that what I'm about to ask is important to Brynhild, but... that would be dishonest. I know where Brynhild stands on protecting the innocent, so what I would ask of you is aligned with Her path in that sense. But I'm not asking as Brunhild's Valkyrie. I'm asking as Nissa. When you first saw me with the backpack on, I'm sure you were wondering what a simple halfling girl was doing talking to your captain being closed doors. That's who I was before my life was taken. I was ordinary. Being half-halfling made me stand out, but I was going to be a baker... maybe an old maiden if I lived to be old, since I'm short even among halflings. And too skinny.

    "I'm still that girl. Just with wings, and the job that comes with them. And you met another girl like me today, who is ordinary looking—but forced into a life that makes being ordinary impossible. She's Aslaug's daughter, as you know. But if anyone asks, she is Baldhart's sister. They are Sisters in faith, so to say that is not a lie. I won't ask you to lie... Just make sure that no one knows of her relation to Aslaug. It could get her killed, and though not living beyond my teens worked out for me, I want Burnbright to grow up."
     
  7. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Aliron:
    "It is best to stay off the subject of killing children or members of our group. We should focus on the dwarves being held, how best to get them out and the bigger issue of those that are looking to change the world for their pleasure and glory."

    Bressel:
    "I understand holding a grudge on some subjects, but killing people for sins of their fathers, grandfathers, or even great grandfathers is ridiculous. You would kill someone for the actions of people they never met. Seems the only purpose in this is to continue the violence and hatred. You would kill them for their father's actions, then they would kill your kin in a generation or two, for nothing more then your actions. If this was everyone's actions, there would be no peace ever, and everyone would have to carry around a very large book with every family name that ever wronged them."
     
  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    The Orc Camp

    Korgak flashes Liadan a toothy smile and calls out to one of his red-sashed guards in the orc tongue. "Fetch me one of them stuntie hammers."

    The red-sashed orc grunts and disappears into the tent indicated by Korgak. He returns a moment later bearing one of the hammers. It it short-handled, but with a large head carved with dwarven runes. Korgak takes the hammer from him, hefts it, then offers it to Liadan. It is quite heavy.

    "The stunties know metal, I'll give 'em that," Korgak says. "If your friend is bringing that armor she promised, I'll be the envy of the other orc chiefs." Korgak laughs. "Armor of bronze and a stuntie war hammer. My enemies will shrink before me."

    At the sight of the hammer, the dwarves in the cage stir, gripping the bars more fiercely. Korgak glances at them. "The hammers stay with me. You tell them stunties that when we let them go they leave with the clothes on their backs, nothing else. Spoils of battle."

    The Woods

    Branwen stays quietly beside Marius, though she seems to have lost interest in the conversation with Brok. She continues humming softly, and Marius can feel (though very faintly) an undercurrent of power in her tune. The little harpy's eyes are fixed on a spot in the undergrowth that surrounds them, and after a moment a gray squirrel pokes its head from a bush. It approaches Branwen docilely, drawn by her soft song. It stops before Branwen and Marius, head cocked at the harpy. Branwen lets out a soft giggle then keeps humming. She seems to know enough to be quiet and cannot be heard by Brok, though the elves in the party catch brief snatches of her tune in between words spoken with the dwarf.

    When Baldhart asks whether the orcs know dwarves are truthful, Callan nods. "Korgak will know it, at least. The rest of them may not. But Korgak isn't likely to admit to it."

    When the conversation turns to Grudges, Brok's expressions darkens. He tells Baldhart "Our ways are ancient and have served us well. We don't just turn 'em against our enemies. We live by them ourselves. Any wrong done by Dain would've passed to Darin, to be borne by him, had he lived." Looking to Bressel, he says "I'll not have our ways judged by outsiders. Help us, or don't. But look to yer own kind, too. It don't take a Book to keep generations of humans fightin' one another. Our way prevents the kind 'o fightin' you humans do. A dwarf knows that what he does falls not only to himself, but to his kin. It makes him careful. And when a Grudge is settled, it's limited by what's in the Book. It doesn't extend beyond that. Wars the likes o' what you humans have is rare among dwarvenkind.

    "But I agree with yer elf friend," he says, gesturing at Aliron. His grimace tells you that agreeing with an elf doesn't exactly sit well with the runemaster, but he says nothing more about it. "We get my kin out o' the hand of them orcs, then we worry about the rest."

    Callan tells Baldhart "A dwarf will consider himself indebted if you save his life, but where that debt falls against their Grudges, or the shame those dwarves in camp feel at being capture, or their need to avenge their kin for that matter, I couldn't say. There's no book for it that I ever heard of."

    Callan falls in beside Baldhart when she's ready to go back to the orc camp.

    Brok answers Cadell's questions, saying "The hammers were forged in the Drimmen Delve. Far beyond the capacity of the orc mind to forge. Korgak won't give 'em up without a fight, and I daresay he'll get one sooner or later. You've got to understand, if we go back to the Delve without avenging this wrong we go back with our heads low. Might as well shave our beards off, we let them orcs get away with what they done. But a dwarf knows priorities. Might be you can secure an oath from my captured kin to hold their fight until later. Might be they'd agree to it if there's a greater purpose to be served by waiting. But in matters of honor, a dwarf makes up his own mind. I cannot speak for those who are captured. But from what you know about Aslaug, and what's happening in the Delve, might be that you can convince them that getting you to the Delve is more important now. Might be they'll wait to settle up with Korgak and his curs laters."

    Brok wraps up by saying "Your harpy is safe from me, though I don't like her kind. When you get to the Delve you can tell the Grudgemaster your story. If what you said is true, ain't no reason she should go in the book. But dwarves have no love for harpies. She won't be welcomed in the Delve, though she'll be tolerated if Dain says she's to be."

    Tumi looks pleased when Nissa approaches him. "I'm alright," he tells her. "Just a bit out of my depth here, dealin' with orcs and dwarves. Ballara's a simple town. We protect our own and don't have much dealing with folk other than those what come up the river from Alfoss. Never been too near orcs or goblins without fightin' or tryin to avoid a fight."

    When Nissa talks about her background, he flashes what is meant to be a charming smile, though the effect doesn't entirely sit right on the villager's face. "A comely halfling you were. Are, I mean, Miss van Donk. If I was a younger man..." He smiles ruefully and shakes his head. "Don't you worry 'bout that Burnbright of yours. Her secret is safe with me. I don't want to see no harm come to the child, and I don't want Aslaug's eyes turned toward Ballara no how. If she thought we had her daughter here, no telling what she might do."
     
  9. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Liadan

    I watch with interest as an orc brings out one of the hammers, and take it when Korgak offers. I hope I don't shame myself or the company by being unable to heft it.

    [​IMG]

    The hammer is heavier than it looks! I try again...

    [​IMG]

    There, much better. I glance toward the dwarves, then speak again to Korgak as an idea strikes me. "You aren't the only one wielding the weapon of another kind. I have a dwarf-made flail, found underground. It isn't the right size for me, but with changes made by your smiths, perhaps you would be interested in an exchange?" Korgak never said anything about the hammers leaving with those who aren't dwarves, after all.

    "One hammer, for the flail, this silver--" I pull out my pendant to show him "--and ten strands of my hair, to make bowstrings. You'll not find anything better." I pull my hair forward over my shoulders, letting him see the length of it. "If you use men's armor and a dwarvish weapon, why not include something elvish as well?"

    [​IMG]

    "What say you, Korgak? Do we have a deal?"

    I pray this works. I may not be able to reclaim both hammers for the dwarves, but one will be of help, at least.
     
  10. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    As we move, I tell Callan, "My intent is to resolve this as quickly as possible. Let's keep it simple for the orcs. This armor is payment for the dwarves' lives and, hopefully, Korgak's consideration of a truce. Defending his own land is not breaking the truce; attacking other lands is.

    "As for the dwarves, I don't want them breaking the truce either. I'll try to get them to agree they will leave the orc camp and head straight to the Delve, and that they will not provoke a fight with orcs. Self-defense does not break this oath, nor are they oath-breakers if their king refuses to accept the truce and orders the dwarves to return to Korgak's camp."

    Hopefully, we're not too late. Cadell spoke of the dwarves' want for their hammers, and the dwarves would…

    "Let's move quickly, at least out here where running won't make the orc archers nervous."

    With this armor on, I am not too swift for Callan. I didn't realize how freely I moved without it until now. I'm glad to be rid of it, but the armor I purchased saves two lives. If I am successful, Brynhild, I hope you deem this sacrifice* worthy.


    *((I think Baldhart's actually ahead on the sacrifice:battle ratio, but still… gotta keep practicing her religion, especially now that she calls herself a nun.))


    As I move I think of the possibilities. One that bugs me the most is one where Burnbright is asked to stay overnight. I need to come up with a response, and not just leave her there… again.

    "A question for you, Callan... do the Grey Wolf orcs know you? Do they know of your home, and have they troubled you at all? I don't know what I'll say when I speak to the orcs, but I may need to clarify that my Sister is leverage to me, but not to Ballara. If being a woman warrior makes you an outcast, that may add credibility to my story—one I will not tell if there's no talk of extending Burnbright's stay. Of course, if Korgak's orcs don't know you live alone in the wilderness, you might prefer to keep it that way."
     
  11. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    "No need for the formality, Tumi. You can call me Nissa if you prefer."

    I try not to let his compliment...

    ((CHA))[​IMG]

    ...make me blush.

    "I…uh…" –am a bit flustered. Relax, Nissa. Compose yourself. Valkyries of Brynhild don't gush over this stuff.

    "Iiii–didn't expect to get caught up in a war between dwarves and orcs. Either. Heh. I suppose you'd expect a servant of the battle goddess–who actually met Her face-to-face–would favor war. I don't. Neither does Brynhild. She favors justice, the willingness to fight for it. Pacifism is worse than war when it means you do nothing about evil. War is worse than pacifism when you commit evil deeds and claim your cause is good.

    "It's easy to fly above it all as a valkyrie spirit and know which battles are just, which are not, and which side is just. The warriors in the middle of it don't have the luxury of knowing this. Even me, in this body, getting involved... I wonder if the lizard men and kobolds I killed deserved death. They were after Burnbright, so it seemed I had no choice.

    "Were they any worse than these orcs? Are these orcs as bad as people think? I have no way of knowing until their actions prove one way or the other. I think the talk with Korgak is worth the risk, to protect Ballara. If the orcs raid Ballara again after this talk, then you must get the word to Inquisitor Brecht in Alfoss. You know the location, and I can draw you a map…"

    [​IMG]
    "…uh, after we return to Ballara. I was chasing the orc when he ran, so I may have missed a few key landmarks.

    "Anyway, Tumi, would you be willing to make the trip to Alfoss should the orcs attack Ballara?–or choose a runner if you prefer someone less capable with arms be the messenger? I need your captain to understand that talking of peace is for Ballara's safety. We don't mean to trust the orcs blindly, and we certainly don't mean you let your guard down. We need to make it clear that we have a plan to retaliate if the orcs do not intend to honor the truce. And all of us will help stand watch during our stay in town."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    The Orc Camp

    Korgak looks at the silver pendant Liadan offers, then flicks his eyes at Liadan's, then back to the silver again, his eyes shining. It is almost possible to see the visions dancing through his head - bronze armor, dwarf weapons, elf-hair bows, silver...it all adds up to a lot of prestige for a half-starved orc tribe.

    "Where is this flail?" Korgak asks. "If it is a fine weapon I may trade a stuntie hammer for it."

    The Woods

    "If you can forge peace between the dwarves and orcs you should move to the south and become a politician," Callan says wryly, glancing sideways at Baldhart. "No offense to your religious pursuits, but you may have missed your calling." She flashes a quick smile. "There may be a chance to get the dwarves to leave without a fight. But if you can't, and if we're there when the fight starts, what then? We just stay out of it and let them cut those dwarves down, or do we throw in with the dwarves?"

    When asked about the Grey Wolf orcs, Callan says "They've never bothered me. Or, if they have, I never knew they were "Grey Wolves" at the time. I doubt they cross the river much to the north of Ballara. Other orcs in those parts that might not like the Grey Wolves prowling around. As for the details of my home...you do what you have to do to keep Ballara safe. Don't worry about me."


    Tumi considers Nissa's words about the justness of battle and who deserves death. "They're not quite like us, though, are they? Kobolds and orcs and lizards and all, I mean. I can't say from lookin' that one of them deserves death or don't, but if they're comin' after you and yours then you do what you have to. It ain't the same as killin' a person is it? I mean...well, you know what the gods think, I reckon. I can see the gods caring about whether you cut down an innocent woman, or child. Maybe even about dwarfs and elfs. Folk what are civilized-like. But you reckon the gods care if you might'a killed a lizard man that didn't deserve it?"

    Tumi's ruminations turn more to the practical when Nissa mentions getting a message to Alfoss. "I'll see it done, Nissa. Whether its me or someone better suited to runnin' a message down river, I'll see the message gets there. And don't worry about the captain. He's a practical man. Truce or not, he'll wanna finish that palisade and keep a sharp eye on the land around Ballara."

    After Baldhart and Callan leave, Brok says to the others remaining in the camp. "Keep yer ears sharp. If them orcs turn on yer friends, as orcs are wont to do, you will want to be swift. I'm movin' closer to the camp. My magic will keep me hidden from orc eyes. I won't go in, but I'll get a good look at what's going on. First sign of treachery, you'll hear my yell and we'll move to the aid of yer friends, and of my kin."

    With that pronouncement, Brok holds his staff firmly in front of him and heads off into the woods in the direction of the orc camp.
     
  13. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    I thank Callan for her politician comment and tell her, "Looks like Mother's teachings were far more helpful here than I'd've expected." The thought of dwarves dying and us doing nothing is not pleasant. "I don't want to stand and do nothing, but Burnbright's twelve. If she sees me fight, she'll get involved. And make no mistake of that.

    "We were in a tough spot against our first sorceress—not Celexa, the one who killed Darin the dwarf, but Celexa's underling. A cowardly knight hid behind an overturned table, claiming he did so to protect Burnbright. I was paralyzed by a spell, a wizard woman was lying unconscious—harmed in her attempt to save me from getting shot—and the knight still did nothing even as Burnbright begged him to. When I got up, I told Burnbright I loved her—it was all I had time to say, and I wasn't sure I'd live to say anything else. I ran my sword through the magic user and to my surprise, her last desperate attempt to spite me was to rush Burnbright—who was right at my side with a sword in her hand! I believe it was stained with the blood of a lizard man.

    "We all survived that battle. The skull I keep count of my kills on was worn by the lizard sorceress. A graceful creature. I hated to kill her, though she certainly deserved it. The dwarves don't deserve death. I'd hate to see them die foolishly, but helping them would get us all killed, including Burnbright.

    "I think throwing one dwarf at the other and beating both unconscious would put me in the Book of Grudges, but I think our best bet would be short of that—to hold the dwarves if they try to rush the orcs. Still, tall women holding down dwarves. Laughter from orcs. Book of Grudges. Well... I don't plan to get myself knocked up, do you? We won't need to use physical force if we can get the dwarves to agree not to make trouble before the cage is open. No threats. That'll only make them want to fight more. Maybe if they understand how their actions would endanger a twelve-year-old girl, I won't have to beg."
     
  14. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    "Brok... be aware of the wolf. Its scent found you earlier.

    "I trust you'll regroup with us if your friends arrive here safely."

    It's not a question. The dwarf controls his own destiny.

    I say to Tumi, "Brynhild rewarded me with a body that does not fade away after a few minutes. I'm sure She had no problem with my handling of the battle. It's not the gods' approval I wonder about. I mean... I've watched many battles, but only participated in a few. My first battle was the one that killed me, and I didn't have a lot of time to decide anything. I guess I'm just saying that I don't know if this mortal form makes me easily confused, or if the path is much clearer when viewed from above instead of walking it.

    "But I think your understanding is clear enough, Tumi. If you do go to war with the orcs, it will be challenging to spare the children unless you spare their mothers, or what adults can't or don't fight. That's why we have a harpy. Without adults to watch over her, she'd have died. Even Ghendra the gnoll freed human children when he razed Srilkind. I don't know how one justifies killing people in their homes, but he spared the children. The dark elves targeted children.

    "Tumi, do you know how many valkyries—bigger, stronger valkyries—would gladly take my place? There are some who look forward to the day Brynhild sends us down to fight and die and fight some more and die and come back some more. I wonder if Brynhild chose me because She knew I'd take a more subtle approach."
     
  15. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Liadan

    Oh, cachu. I knew something was going to go wrong. "It's in a nearby town, across the river. When my companions return with your armor, I will discuss with them the fastest way to retrieve it." I don't dare offer to go and get it myself, right now; that would mean either leaving Burnbright behind alone, or taking her with me and risking Korgak's anger.
     
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  16. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    The Orc Camp

    Korgak grunts softly then holds his hand out for the hammer. "If you come this way again, I'd like to see that flail. Maybe we will make a trade then." He looks at the glowering dwarves, and then across the camp in the direction of the trail leading in the direction of the river. "Speaking of that armor, where do you think your friend is?"

    Burnbright stands with lips pressed thin but doesn't say anything. Not that she can understand the orc, but a lack of understanding doesn't seem to have prevented her dislike from being evident on her face.

    The Woods

    Brok nods an acknowledgement to Baldhart as he leaves the trail. "Alas, I cannot disguise me scent. But I'll keep an eye open for them wolves. Both eyes, in fact. And if I see 'em I'll try to get upwind. You get my kin out, I'll me ye back here."

    As the camp settles back in to a waiting mode, Tumi continues his conversation with Nissa. He doesn't know how many valkyries are waiting in the wings. "How many valkyries are there, miss...er...Nissa? I heard story as a lad, of the old days, and valkyries and Veborg and all that. And I believed 'em to. But as I got older...well, you know it's hard to tell what to believe. I always pictured valkyries as fierce and beautiful and without mercy. But you sound like you got a lot of mercy in you."

    Heading back to the orc camp, Callan says to Baldhart. "Your Burnbright sounds like a fierce one. She'll make a fine warrior, if that's the path she chooses. Seems set on it, from what little I've seen of her. That's how I was at that age. Wanted to be a shieldmaiden, like from the old days, you know? Heard the stories and wanted to be just like them, riding off to battle in glory. Then I spent my time in the southlands and got my fill of war."

    When Baldhart, Callan, and whoever decided to return to the orc camp with them near the perimeter of the camp, the orc guards move out to meet the group and escort them back to the camp. The orc with the wolf hangs back near the edge of camp, keeping a tight grip on his animal.

    Branwen eventually tires of the squirrel and releases it from her thrall. The animal sways a moment, as though uncertain, then bolts into the bushes. Branwen spends a few more seconds copying Marius' stealthy stance, then tromps through the undergrowth to where the others are. She positions herself near Aliron, looking up at him a moment, then at everyone else, and then up the trail in the direction Baldhart went.
     
  17. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Liadan

    I hand the hammer back to Korgak, cursing my foul luck. I shouldn't have pressed my luck so soon. I hope the dwarves will be understanding of what I tried to do.

    I look in the direction Baldhart and Cadell went to retrieve the armor, watching and listening for any sign of their return.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I think I can hear something, but I can't see them yet.
     
  18. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    I enter the camp. Burnbright does not seem to have enjoyed her stay. Korgak holds a dwarven hammer. I won't ask why.

    I stand before the chief as a warrior does. I will not twirl like a maiden presenting herself to a suitor, those assholes. I stand as my father taught me when he trained me no differently than his men. A male orc will wear this, possibly Korgak himself.

    "I am back, Sister," I say to Burnbright... then to Korgak, I go on, "...with the armor, as promised. I trust you are pleased with it. It's good as new, and the most expensive thing I've ever owned. If giving it to you saves two lives, and lends credibility to the truce I propose, I am glad to part with this here."

    If Korgak likes this, I say, "Korgak, if you agree to release the dwarves, I wish to speak to them." One is naked. I add, "Perhaps I can speak to them while they dress." I try to avoid mentioning that I want to speak while the dwarves are still locked up. I believe that I will have Korgak's answer sooner than his guard can open the cage.

    If Korgak agrees to free the dwarves, I will remove my armor. I will ask Burnbright to assist, in part to prevent myself from awkwardly bending over, but mostly to get her close to me.
     
  19. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    "I was one of the first thousand. The seven hundred sixty-eighth, to be exact. But once Brynhild had Her thousandth, the new girls started working under other valkyries. Who gets paired with who, and when... that's up to Brynhild. I got to pick a relative of mine, which is very lucky, I think.

    "A lot of them are tall and strong like Baldy—Baldhart, that is—and not quite as tall and muscular as her, but... pretty much like you picture them. Many were fierce fighters in life. I don't know how many were like me, killed by the first opponent. I'd like to think I'm not the only one.

    "I dropped fire and oil on lizard men and fish demons. They died screaming. I'm capable of mercy as well as retribution. If I am supplied with fire and oil in Ballara, that is how I will protect the innocent from attackers during my stay. Hopefully, you won't need me to do that."
     
  20. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Aliron:
    He winks at Branwen with a smile.When the dwarf leaves, Aliron moves to the best place to view the camp without entering the camp, bow ready and hides in wait and listens for any sounds of conflict. (If Branwen follows I will put a finger to my lips and exaggerate moves to stay quiet, try to teacher her the signal for silence.)


    Bressel:
    Replaces all his weapons in proper places, then checks his large sword while he waits.
     
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