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Dragon's Egg - Act V

Discussion in 'Dragon's Egg RPG' started by Steerpike, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    I grab the creature by the neck, and I intend to keep the crowd calm. By attempting both at once, I feel my technique is weak, and when I speak I can't help but feel my voice is not nearly as authoritative as it was during the negotiation, such as it was…



    I position my arms for a sleeper hold—but is the creature already asleep? I could just ask—

    "A sleep arrow, Alin?"

    I ask Callan, "Keep the men from crowding me. The creature may be down."



    ((I'll have Baldy address the men in another post. I'll hold off until SP confirms whether or not the shape-shifter is KO'd as it seems to be.))
     
  2. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    I fly over to Burnbright. As I do, I see the white-haired man change to a gray creature.

    [​IMG]

    "Burnbright—please don't rush—Baldy's not talking to a human, but a gray shape-shifter. I saw him change when Alin's arrow made him fall asleep."

    Did it take her uncle's form?

    "Walk with me. Tell me… did the man resemble someone you recognize and trust?"



    ((Whether Nissa addresses the men or not depends on the GM post…))
     
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    ((The creature is definitely out cold at this point; I'll post again for the Guardhouse once everyone else has had a chance to react))

    Nissa

    Burnbright is wide-eyed and flushed when Nissa gets to her, but the force of Nissa's personality manages to focus the girl. Her knuckles are still white on her spear, however, and her eyes glisten. "We're supposed to be the good guys," Burnbright says, wiping at her eyes and smearing dust across her face. "It's all my fault. My mother was good before she had me. You can ask anyone. Then I came along. And now we're tricking people so we can kill them." She wipes at her eyes again, making more of a mess of her face. "What's wrong with me? Why do I do this to people?"
     
  4. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    "There is nothing wrong with you. Wipe your eyes and let's find out what is happening now. Maybe the creature was tricked, maybe not. Maybe letting the creature go seems the right thing to do, but not if the creature is going to continue hurting, killing, kidnapping.

    "But I'm making assumptions just as you are. If you really want to find out what's happening, let's walk over there. The men are less likely to do something awful in front of you."

    If the men hadn't noticed me in flight, I ask Burnbright,

    "Would you kindly wait while I get my backpack? The sight of my wings may cause trouble."

    If she agrees to wait, I'll get back inside Tumi's and don my backpack.
     
  5. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Cadell

    I flinch as an arrow embeds itself in the scarred man's chest -- didn't Baldhart swear to let him walk free, and name everyone within earshot as witnesses? But my shock turns to bafflement as the unconscious man becomes a gray-skinned... creature, is the best word I can find for it. What does she plan on doing with it?
     
  6. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    Seeing that the creature is asleep, I leave it be, for now.

    "It sleeps," I tell the others. I loosen my grip so the creature can breathe.

    "Conal… we are not evil like this creature. This creature tortured you, tried to take my sister, and I heard you call him murderer. I know we can't let him walk, which is why—"

    I look intently into Conal's eyes.

    "—I gave him five seconds to accept my offer of protection. He refused me, tried to bargain, and conveniently forgot I said 'offer expires in five seconds' in all the confusion. I didn't lie, but I wouldn't call my approach honest or honorable. Like I said, I did what I had to…

    "…to get you out alive."

    I let those words hang for a moment. I don't want this honor shit to become a bug up everyone's ass.

    "If I were honorable, I might not have used intimidation tactics. I might have compromised, offered a show of good faith or whatever it is that negotiators do. I wouldn't know. And if I'm 'honorable' now, I don't know who will suffer because I let a torturer, a kidnapper, a murderer walk away. But I would suffer the guilt of letting him walk, letting him torture, kidnap, kill…"

    I grip the head in a way that I can snap the creature's neck. I say to Conal,

    "Me saving your life doesn't change the fact it's your command, Conal. Will you permit me to end this creature now? A quick, painless death as payment for his cooperation. Not the deal he wanted, but… what's left of your prison can't hold a shape-changer, and there's no justice in letting him walk. I would challenge any argument there's honor in that.

    "With your permission, Conal, let me end this thing's life."
     
  7. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    My eyes grow wide when the monk shoots the scarred man, and wider still when the scarred man transforms into the grey...whatever-that-is. I feel my pulse pounding and my knees shaking at Baldhart's request of Conal, but at the same time I recognize the wisdom in her approach. She acknowledges Conal's authority to decide this prisoner's fate for the same reason I do not cast my magic: we need the good will of the people of Ballara.

    I maintain my position just around the corner of the guardhouse, but I peer around the corner, watching this drama unfold.


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  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    The Guardhouse

    Conal looks at Baldhart, then at the creature in her arms, and grunts. "Finish it," he says, then walks back into the guardhouse, still moving gingerly but looking quite a bit better thanks to Liadan.

    The townsfolk gathered around look on grimly. Callan pushes through a couple of them in the perimeter around the guardhouse and heads back in the direction of Tumi's place.

    Nissa

    Burnbright finishes wiping her eyes, her cheeks reddening. Dirt is smeared across her face. She readjusts her grip on her spear and says "OK, let's go see."

    With the scene unfolding outside of the guardhouse, no one is paying attention to Nissa and Burnbright. All eyes are turned in the other direction, except for those of Callan who pushes through the circle of people around the guardhouse and heads toward Nissa and Burnbright.
     
  9. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    I see Callan's disapproval, but say nothing. I pray to Brynhild.



    My beloved goddess of battle. My fellow monk and I have both made oaths to protect Burnbright, one of your youngest followers. Like Alin, the word 'honor' holds no meaning for me. The creature who lies before me spoke of honor, but that was when trickery and threats failed. All he could do was hope I would let him go.

    And I was tempted to. Mercy just felt so... nice. So right. Yes, I'm the good one.

    But I already uttered the word 'heart.' Alin was ready, and he didn't falter from his oath to protect. Without him, would I have faltered? Would I have let this creature continue to earn a living causing misery and death? If I failed to save Conal, would I stoop to this creature's level? Would I try to make him scream?

    I will work on being
    strong. Just kill the enemy. No more, no less, and no more asking permission. Just rid the world of those who think nothing of harming innocents. I'm doing the world a favor.



    I snap the creature's neck.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  10. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    I get my backpack, and now I see Callan does not look happy.

    I say to her calmly, "I take it you expected a different outcome?"
     
  11. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Aliron:
    Aliron steps from the crowd.
    "It was a good shot, but it only sleeps." Aliron announces. "I made no oath to the creature and the deal was limited to mere seconds, which had long past. I am good with my Diety, no false light shines on her alter. But there was falsehoods on this beast from the start. I ask, did Baldhart make a deal with this beast or was it the form of Conal? Or some other fake disguise? How does one know that a shape changer does not change his word with every change of appearance?"
    Aliron turns and walks away.
    "Do what you want with the creature, I have done my part in protecting our group and this town."
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Guardhouse

    The helpless creature is easily killed by Baldhart. In its natural form it is slight, and in its unconscious state the neck twists easily.

    The crowd watches for a few more seconds after the creature is dead. Then someone says "All right, the pallisade ain't going to build itself. We still got orcs ta worry about!"

    The men around the guardhouse disperse, returning to pallisade-building duty, leaving the members of the party and Big Sam outside.

    Sam frowns at the dead creature. "Let's do something with the body. Don't reckon anyone wants to see that thing laying around."

    Nissa

    Callan stops for a moment as she nears Nissa. She shrugs.

    "I don't feel sorry for that...whatever it was. But I was a mercenary in the south for a few years. I've held prisoners and I've been one a number of times. That you can count on people to honor parley, even your enemies, is the only reason I'm breathing."

    She gives Burnbright a curt nod and heads off in the direction of Rik's.

    Burnbright starts out toward the guardhouse again, walking faster.
     
  13. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    My gut clenches as Baldhart snaps the grey creature's neck, but my gorge doesn't rise - thankfully. I am unsure how long my disguise has left, so I immediately head back toward the inn stables so I can release the magic. Better I do that in a controlled fashion. When I arrive at the inn, I make sure the coast is clear, then slip into the first empty stall I find, or, barring an empty stall, Uala's.


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  14. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    "Understandable, Callan. To be honest, I do pity the creature. But no good would have come from sparing him. He deserved to die--and that's my opinion--that I have wings doesn't make a differing opinion less valid. But I expect Conal's opinion was the one that mattered. We need Conal and his men on our side when we discuss the matter of the orcs."

    Nissa:1D20+3+3+2 → 25(17 + 3 + 3 + 2)#cha - it's relevant

    "Callan, would you mind if I told you about the first friend Baldy made on her voyage to the north? Burnbright--you remember Rydh, don't you?"
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  15. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    "It was a clean shot, Alin. I only dishonored myself, not you. You gave me a code-word and I spoke it."

    I follow Conal inside. "You said the creature killed someone. Would you mind telling me who died?"
     
  16. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Guardhouse

    Conal heads straight for the next to the last jail cell, Baldhart close behind. "Father Adelbrand," he says, and sure enough the priest is laid out on a cot near the back of the cell, mostly covered in coarse blankets until Conal pulls them aside. The bedding is soaked in blood, and Adelbrand stares lifelessly at the ceiling, his features twisted.

    Conal drops to a knee next to the body.

    "He was helping me with the prisoner, tending to the man while at the same time trying to get answers out of him. As the night wore on, we took turns--one of us talking to the prisoner while the other slept. Thought we might wear him down that way."

    He pauses, then looks up at Baldhart. "I was asleep when he got Adelbrand. Never saw what happened. He hit me with something, hit me hard, and then the bag went over my head." Conal rubs absently at the back of his head, which is now healed thanks to Liadan. "That creature spent most of the night beating on me, and telling me Adelbrand was dead and I was next if I didn't help him get free..."

    Conal trails off, clearly replaying much of the night in his head. After a moment, he sighs and rises. "We best take care of his body."

    Outside, people have dispersed, gone back to pallisade duty, leaving Big Sam with Cadell and Liadan. The big man looks exhausted but seems alert enough thanks to all of the commotion. He clears his throat and says to Cadell, "Beggin' your pardon...don't see much of your folk 'ere in the north. Seen a few in my southern days, but not any that was keen to help humans. Mind if I ask where your from?"

    Nissa

    Callan stops and turns back to Nissa. "Conal and his men have never left the north. Their understanding of civilization is...limited." She sighs. "Tell me your story. I suppose it has some bearing on this?"

    Burnbright has stopped as well. 'I remember Rydh," she says. "From Srilkind...." A cloud passes over her features at the memory of the village, but she pushes past it. "I wonder what he's doing now. Not everyone stayed to see this through, did they. Maybe they're the smart ones."

    Rik's

    There is no one in the stables--apparently all are inside pending the conclusion of whatever drama was unfolding at the guardhouse. Cali is able to use the stables without interruption. Even the stable boy is gone at the moment, probably inside the inn with the others.
     
  17. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Cadell

    I turn to Big Sam as he speaks, and try to hide the shadow that clouds my thoughts when he asks about my homeland.

    [​IMG]

    And fail.

    "Liadan and I both come from the same forest in the south. Aelwyd Eirian. I used to serve the Queen as a knight, and Liadan was the chief healer. Though the Queen tolerated my dealings with the humans in the area, and sent me north in the first place, she did not approve of me befriending dwarves here, among other things. Long story short, I was exiled, and Liadan forsook the Queen and followed me."
     
  18. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    "No, he didn't stay. But it's important you understand why he left." Thinking a bit, I add, "Not that I'm a mind-reader. I'm telling you why I think he left, or what was apparent from what was spoken."

    I face Callan and go on (making sure to address both Burnbright and Callan equally)…

    "Baldhart and Rydh became fast friends, both serving their respective battle deities. The wool dress she wears today is a rather expensive gift from the cleric, and they've had each other's backs—her charging through a burning building to pull him out, him with his healing magic.

    "But not everyone in the group was agreeable. Even Burnbright here had words about bravery with a knight who is no longer with us—alive and well, just… performing other duties. Sadly, the adults in the party made bickering and arguing a habit. Discussion turned to shouting matches, and people did their own thing behind the backs of others.

    "I would say it was the level of disagreement that caused Rydh to leave, but the straw that broke the camel's back is the strange part:

    "Baldy, Cadell and a wizard who has gone her own way all did something that is considered dishonorable to some: they refused to kill a harpy because she was a child. Not only would they not kill her, but they pointed out to the rest of the party that to abandon this child was a death sentence. The girl could not survive on her own. It turned out that Aliron was climbing to the nest with the same idea on her mind—he was ready to stand against those who would harm the harpy child—daughter of a harpy who nearly killed Dain's son and used her siren song to tease Rydh with a painful vision.

    "And so an argument broke out, and Rydh and a barbarian left.

    "I just found it sad that these friends who were fighting together for a great cause were torn apart over differing views of honor, of all things. A term whose definition no one can agree on, not even Tyr and Thor."

    I now address Callan and say, "I don't know why you're walking away, and Burnbright, I do know why you're upset—why both of you are.

    "But I would ask you to look at the delicate situation we're in. First of all, Baldhart's only purpose just now was to save Conal's life. I don't think she cared one way or the other about the gray man. She did wait for Conal to give an order. But why?

    "I'll tell you my guess—which I already told Burnbright: the gray man killed Father Adelbrandt. If not, why have we not seen him in all this commotion? I believe he is dead, and since Baldy asked what to do with the gray man, I assume she wasn't sure if that was the case.

    "So think about it. Here we are, ready to tell Ballara of the peace talks we made with the orcs. Do you think Conal and his men would take us seriously if we let a priest-killer get away with murder?"

    I turn toward the prison.

    "You two are both free to think as you will, but we only know part of the story right now. I would like to reserve judgment until I have all the facts. I'm hoping I am wrong about the fate of the priest. We spoke for a while, and… I consider him a friend. But, I'm out of the loop—with the other valkyries, I mean. So if I want to know whether Father Adelbrant is dead or alive, I need to go over there and ask."

    I start toward the prison, but I stop momentarily, and turn to Burnbright and Callan. "Would you ladies kindly accompany me?"
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  19. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    I kneel before the body.

    "He was a good man, Conal. Is. There's life after death. You saw Nissa. She's kind of a spoiler, far as that mystery goes.

    "I am a nun, you know. Brynhild's only nun, so Nissa tells me. And Liadan, the elf who healed you, is a priestess. If you need someone to perform a funeral, we don't intend to stay long, but… he deserves a proper burial."

    I look at Conal.

    "Thank you. I mean, for letting me kill him on my terms. I wasn't sure what would be considered honorable by the men of the north, which is why it had to happen out there, publicly, and with your permission. I was hoping you would permit me, honestly. If I let that guy walk away, only to find out he killed Father Adelbrandt, I'd have a hard time calling myself 'honorable.'

    "Please allow me to move him. Where shall I place his body?"
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  20. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    I quickly release my disguise and return to my normal appearance. Pausing only to pat Uala on the nose once I am finished, I quickly race back to the guardhouse, remembering that as Cali, I do not know what just happened.

    "What did I miss?" I ask breathlessly of whoever is near, mostly for the benefit of any Ballarans who can hear me.


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