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StoneWolf18

Within the Depths of a Dream
Moderator
Chapter 1: Into the Mists
The lot of you are no strangers. Having banded together on more than one occasion to protect the town of Daggerford. So it isn’t much of a surprise that when the Duchess Morwen is having guests over for dinner, you all are invited. You consider her quite the friend considering how much you have served her duchy over the course of your stay, and the benefits from such a friendship are quite nice indeed.

The night is brisk, the full moon ominously bright as you maneuver your way through the nearly vacant cobblestone streets. Even though the city isn’t the largest, it is normally much more lively, but their superstitions must be getting the better of them. Tugging on your collar you push the thoughts to the back of your mind, making haste. Best not make Ms. Morwen wait any longer than need be.

As you arrive and are lead into the dining hall, the scents of various dishes begin to overwhelm your senses. Eagerly you find an empty seat, watching others file in after you. The Duchess is seated at the head of the table, looking much more distressed than usual. But of course you all exchange pleasantries as she attempts to hide her unease.

You all eat and discuss recent happenings in the town, everything seeming to be alright until the Duchess clears her throat and begins to speak in a gave tone.

“I… don’t mean to interrupt this fine night we have been having.” She begins hesitantly. “But we do have some important business to discuss. The reason I invited you all here tonight was because I have some concerns about a group of wayward travelers that are camped outside of Daggerford’s walls. I first assumed they were harmless, but then I had begun receiving reports about how they were harassing residences of my town as well as visitors for money and wine. Threatening to curse anyone who doesn’t pay what they ask.”

Taking a moment to reach for a glass of wine before her, she would take a generous sip before setting the drink back down and continuing. “I had sent some guards yesterday to try and scare them away, but it appears as if they couldn't’t get the job done. They returned speaking only good things about these travelers, clearly charmed or hexed. I would like to keep this as peaceful as possible… but… they seem not to take to a kind request. This is where the lot of you come in. I have a message I want delivered and I want you to deliver it on my behalf as soon as we finish dining here.”

“If they are not gone by dawn.” Duchess Morwen mutters. “Their wagons burn."
 

RadientAni

Member
As the tone of the duchess grew serious the smirk on Seraphina’s lips faded. Setting her utensils down she turned her full attention towards their host. Listening intently as the hairs rose up on the back of her neck at the mention of possible hexes or manipulation. Though she had grown used to Kellen and Abalister’s usages of their arcane studies, on the long treck to Daggerford from Candlekeep those months ago, the usage of such arts still made her uneasy.

Taking a meditative breath through her nose she silently bolstered her nerves before speaking. “Lady Morwen, I appreciate the need for these outliers to be dealt with swiftly.” She glances respectively to the others around her, “but I can only speak for myself, In reguards to this task. I will gladly take this message for you in hopes to dispense with the troublemakers quickly.” A Small smile returning to her lips gave a nod of her head towards the duchess then proceeded to pick op her wine glass and drink deeply.
 

VanillaBeane

Double Luck
Kell had not been too concerned with the Duchess' distress initially. Humans could become dour at the smallest of concerns. At the mention of burning wagons however the seriousness of the situation became apparent.

Kell didn't perceive anything but forthrightness from the duchess, and hearing Seraphina's response - a soldier's one of course, he remembered his home. These people, he supposed had become, perhaps not family but a community he cared for. He knew all about protecting his community from potential danger. But in the forest of Comanthyr the forest gnomes did it through hiding and trickery. Is this the way you deal with danger when your home cannot be hidden? Perhaps they could find a way to deal with them without needing to follow through with this threat.

"Two questions duchess, if I may: How are the guards that you initially sent recovering, were the magics used on them very potent? And do we have your permission to pursue other means of removing these vagabonds, beyond this threat?"
 

WangRod_Actual

New Member
As the night wears on, Abalister seems to loosen up, becoming more comfortable in his skin as his belly becomes full of good food and better wine. Bantering with Kell, telling him of a fascinating excerpt he read recently detailing a failed experiment gone wrong by one of the Harpells of Longsaddle, he was completely caught off gaurd by the tonal shift as all heads turned to regard the Duchess. Frowning as she speaks, what blush had applied itself to his cheekbones drained away with the implied threat. He looks across the table to look at Seraphina and listens to her speak.

Pursing his lips, he looks to Kellen and chimes in, "It sounds like no minor charm to be able to so, uh, befuddle the guards of Daggerford. Mayhaps our particular brand of skills could be of use to aid Sera and Kex to deliver this..." He pauses, his brow furrowing as he looks towards the Duchess, "message," he finishes.
 

heybulldawag

New Member
Kex was pleased by the evening’s spread, on her third plate of roasted cod and mashed potatoes. It washed down easy with a tankard of mead. Evenings like this seemed to be an extra perk of the work their band had been doing. She could get used to this, knocking some heads together, getting paid, spending evenings with good company and good food.

When the Duchess began to explain her troubles, Kex nodded along. Seraphina’s utensils clinked down on the table, but Kex didn’t see the need to stop eating. She continued to spoon potatoes into her mouth, attention trained on Morwen. The news seemed troubling, sure, but it didn’t seem like anything their group couldn’t handle. Kex took a swig of mead before replying.

“Don’t think it’ll be a problem, ma’am. We’ll get them out of there, one way or another,” Kex grunted.
 

RadientAni

Member
Unease waning as the others offered assistance, Seraphina very much had not want to go alone. Finish off her wine she folded her hands upon the table no longer as hungry as she was before the Duchess spoke.

Kellen’s second question had not been far from her own mind, as much unease and disturbance these outliers had caused, pragmatism over burning she felt was a much better option. Positively reinforcing his question she adds after a moment. “I second Kellen’s question about other methods, though I hope they won’t be necessary.”
 

StoneWolf18

Within the Depths of a Dream
Moderator
Sighing her demeanor changed by with a soft, almost saddened smile. The duchess would nod, clearly showing how distressed she was. “Please, make haste after finishing your meal. I hate bearing the thought of them pestering my people any longer.”

Soon enough you all would exit the keep, Morwen having to keep a few eager guards from accompanying you. As you all start down the cobblestone path for the city gate, the biting wind tears at your clothing and armor once more, it howling in the distance- or perhaps wolf was. Nevertheless you all continue onwards, there being no time for superstition.

After exiting the through the main gate and heading towards the hill these visitors are camped on, the darkened night seems to grow darker even with the light of a bloated moon. You see dozen of men and women gathered around a large bonfire. They are in high spirits, a couple of them sing and dance around the fire while others find joy in their seemingly bottomless wineskins and flasks. Three barrel-topped wagons are parked at strange angle with their horses, a half dozen of them, tied to a nearby tree doning bright coats with bangles and tassels.

While approaching the lively bunch, a male human from the group approaches with a wide smile in both his eyes and lips, a younger woman and man flaking him on either side. “Welcome, my friends.” He greets you warmly. “My name is Stanimir. How may we help you on this beautiful night?”
 

WangRod_Actual

New Member
Unable to finish any more of the food before him after the proclamation, Abalister consigns himself to idly pushing food about his plate. He stares at the vegetables, a pensive look touching his features. It is not long after that the group takes their leave and departs the Duchess' estate and they find themselves walking the darkened avenues of Daggerford, wending their way to the Caravan Gate along the western wall.

As Abalister moves, he absently reaches a hand into a pouch at his side and produces a firefly. Using his thumb, he presses the bug against his quarterstaff, squishing the insect and smearing its luminescent innards against the shaft. As he does, he speaks, "sufficit unum lumen in tenebris." As he does, the top quarter of the staff flares to light, bathing the group in a soft amber glow. He doesn't speak to the others yet, trailing behind the females as he eyes the missive in his hand, grey orbs scanning the scrawl.
 

heybulldawag

New Member
“You gonna eat that?” Kex asked, chewing on a chunk of roast. She pointed at Abalister’s plate, and jabbed at the vegetables on his plate once it seemed apparent he was done eating. The news hadn’t perturbed Kex much, it seeming like a standard sort of request. She hoped it wouldn’t come to burning their wagons, but it sounded like these vagabonds were asking for it. Kex scarfed down the last of her food (and whatever her companions weren’t going to finish) before gathering her things and heading out with the others.

Kex took the lead as they navigated the streets. It was easy to clear a path through the city with her size and orcish features, but it was late enough that the streets seemed empty.

When the amber glow washed over her skin, Kex glanced back, “What’re you doing back there?”
 

VanillaBeane

Double Luck
Kell hated moving forward without more information, but it seemed they would need to see, and meet, these folk outside the walls before being able to make a judgment.

As they walked towards the city gate, Kell moved at a half-jog to keep up with Abalister in the back of the group. Struggling to keep up with him as he read his missive, and with the women who were moving with the determinations of the warriors they are.

Kell's familiar, in the form of a brown ferret, scurried over as they left the keep. He lifted him, Nimble, off the ground and the ferret quickly found his perch around the back of his neck. "We will likely need you tonight my friend" he whispered."If I survive this walk!" he said just a little louder.

As Abalister's staff starts to glow, Kell narrows his eyes to adjust, having forgotten what bad eyesight humans have in the dark.
 

RadientAni

Member
Dinner done, the last of her food poached by Kex, Seraphina gathered her belongings taking leave first. It having been simply dinner she had only been wearing her green under tunic and doeskin brigga. I will meet you outside.” Carrying her rapier in its sheath she jogged home to her lodgings where she dawned her gear. If there was trouble she had wanted to be prepared.

Several minutes pass as she gears up snatching her shield on her way back out the door. Following the most direct route she took The High Road meeting them half way at its intersection with Dukes Way the sound of her chainmail announcing her arrival loudly against the silence of the evening. Brow dewy with sweat from her efforts she settled herself beside Kex wishing she had size on her side more than armor it was heavy, and even though she was used to it the burden it was still difficult to run long distances.

With Abalister lighting their way she turns with Kex looking back at the fellas still plodding forward. “Abalister, are you alright presenting the letter, or would you like me to relieve you of it?”
 
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WangRod_Actual

New Member
Lost in thought, Abalister stares at the missive as he walks, though if one were to look at his eyes, it would be apparent he is not actually reading. As Kex poses her question, Abalister answers the half-orc, "I am simply lighting th-the way, Kex," before looking sidelong at Kellen, his little legs working furiously to keep up with the human and half-orc.

With Seraphina's arrival and subsequent question, Abalister shakes his head and easily hands the parchment out towards the woman, offering an uneasy smile, "N-no, this is all, ahhh, you. I'm not much for confrontation you, uh, you know. I am just here to observe."
 

VanillaBeane

Double Luck
Kellen watches as Abalister hands Seraphina the letter. He pipes up, words tumbling out of his mouth "Ok then, Seraphina is taking the letter, the big intimidating lady. What is the plan for confronting them? I cannot say I am a master of stealth, but I am small. Perhaps we..." he said, indicating Nimble on his shoulder "...can get more information about their encampment?" He paused, catching his breath "But then perhaps I need to help soften our encounter with them, perhaps they will be worried when two giantesses show up at their wagons, and someone as clearly harmless and charming as I can help lessen that fear." He ends, realizing he had not given anyone a chance to speak.
 

RadientAni

Member
Taking the notice from Abalister she gives a curt nod tucking it behind the leather vestments over her chainmail. “Do not worry Abalister, this shouldn’t turn into a conflict. We simply give them the missive and ask them polightly to vacate.” Turning her eyes back forward she smiled to herself gaining a bit of confidence. “Besides these people likely offered the guards drink and coin and so the guards told a big story to stay out of trouble. Simple as that.”

Listening to Kellen she nods along chuckling at his description, “Are we truely that intimidating Kellen, I consider myself quite the cheerful sort. Kex here has a beautiful smile.” Glancing down and behind she smiles at Kellen. “You do have a point though. If your willing to investigate whilst we deliver this unfavorable eviction notice. I would much rather know who these people are if they do not leave peacefully by morning. We can then better find a way to get them out of the Duchess’ way without resorting to burning their wagons and violence.”
 

heybulldawag

New Member
Kex gave Kellen and Abalister a sidelong glance. She wasn’t too worried about how the request would pan out. Either they left or they didn’t, and they would deal with it then. Avoiding burning their wagons would Ben preferable, but she didn’t think it’d come to that.

“Seraphina might be right, I figure,” Kex grunts, nodding at Sera beside her, When have you known the city guards to turn down drink or coin? Besides, if they value their things, the threat of burning their wagons should be enough to get them out of here. Whether we charm them away or scare them away, we’ll get the job done. No need to be worried.”
 

WangRod_Actual

New Member
Frowning, Abalister listens to the others as they plan on how to best approach the situation. He looks down at the diminutive Kellen as they walk, eyebrows raised at the cunning thought of sending him to scout the encampment. Looking in turn up towards Seraphina, he purses his lips and nods his head in agreement to both women leading the troupe. Way out of his own depth when speaking about dealing with others, possible conflict and the further resolution of said conflict, the scholar opted to remain silent, knowing his role as their walking library.
 

VanillaBeane

Double Luck
Happy with the group's decision, Kellen heads off the road as soon as they are out of the city gates. "I will speak with you when I know more" he says, not giving any indication of how he intends to do so. He walked along chatting happily with Nimble, unable to stop speaking for too long. "I like our new friends, don't you? No one ever wants to argue with me about magic, but Abalister does. What? Oh...uh... the one with the belts. Quiet. Haha yeah that one. The green one? No no no! I'm sure she won't eat you." He goes quiet and stops moving. He's clearly no longer sure where he is. "Hmm, I think it was this way." He heads over a short hill, thinking the flickering lights shining over the crest means that he should be in just the right spot. And he wasn't exactly wrong. As he gets to the top of the hill he realizes he's immediately adjacent to a campfire belonging to the caravans. Glancing back he notices that he inadvertently walked right by some of the wagons, looking for all the world like rock outcroppings in the dark. "This will be interesting" he whispers to Nimble. He telepathically commands the weasel to find some place safe nearby. Not too far though, I may need you. Out loud he ventures a tentative "Hullo!"
 
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RadientAni

Member
Once Kellen took off silence befell Sera gathering back up her nerves. The folk who were part of the caravan didn’t look so terrible or terrifying, perhaps it was all just a misunderstanding of superstitious minds.

Stepping up to the man who approached she returns his smile though hers tinged with guilt. “I am sorry to disturb your festivities for the evening.” Looking to the other two she nods her eyes turning back to Stanimir before introducing herself. “I am Seraphina Driver,” Pulling the rolled missive from where she has safely tucked it shen offers it to the man. “I have been charged by the Duchess to deliver this missive and ask that you leave the City of Daggerford by morning.” Her explanation short, stern to the point.
 

StoneWolf18

Within the Depths of a Dream
Moderator
Smile unwavering he would nod with a laugh. “Ah, simply travel. But, don’t worry. We have no wish to make enemies of Lady Morwen, as we assume that is why you are all here. I have a story to tell all of you. First you listen, then we go.”

If you would like to do the optional adventure to advance to level three, decline hearing the story. Accept if you would like to skip it. Remember this adventure is extremely deadly and must be fully completed to earn all the levels offered.
 

NotHaruka

Member
Half-jogging, Bronria heads off from the road and towards the traveler camp, already fuming. From the looks of things, the group she's been sent to supervise are already minutes ahead of her, and all because some merchant lackwit decided to stop his cart where it would block off a whole street. She won't be upset to see the back of this town.

Spotting the group she was trusted to accompany - she could pick out the gnome from a great distance away - and the entourage of travelers that has come forward to speak to them, she draws herself up and began to march up the hill towards the bonfire with as much regal presence as she can muster. She overhears the tail-end of the conversation as she approaches, and draws the reasonable conclusions: clearly this charlatan "Stanimir" intends to waylay them with his story and hex them. No doubt he's done the same to the guards that have come before. As usual, she'll need to take a firm hand.

"There will be no need for that, thank you," she says loudly, finally cresting the hill and coming up behind the assembled group. Spotting the missive in Sera's mailed fist, she nods at it. "You have been given your warning. If you'd rather not have your wagons torched, I suggest you get on your way."
 

RadientAni

Member
Opening her mouth to reply to Stanimir her reply was silenced by the shouting Bronria, turning her attention to the towering woman she furrowed her brow and glared at her. “We have this quite handled thankyou,” Seraphina’s arms now crossed put off by the intrusion. “Who might you be?” Looking the woman up and down she measures herself standing a bit straighter giving Abalister the side eye for a bit of back up.
 

WangRod_Actual

New Member
The scholar furrows his brow, hearing the shouting from behind. Unaccustomed to such brash action, he slumps somewhat, his shoulders sagging. Clearly uncomfortable with confrontation, he remains silent as the women are clearly at odds..
 

NotHaruka

Member
For a moment Bronria looks taken aback by Seraphina's retort, glancing between her and the rest of the party before settling into a carefully neutral expression. "Bronria Hathorne, madam," she says politely, as though the conversation just began. "Duchess Morwen charged me with supervising each of you and ensuring that these travelers move on without delay." Then she extends a hand, staring hard at the other woman.
 

RadientAni

Member
Taking Bronria’s hand she shakes it firmly. “Seraphina Driver” her tone was much mor agressive than normal as she continued. “As I said we had things covered.” Looking back to Stanimir she gives him a partial smile. “Despite the lack of subtlety Lady Bronria here is correct. We unfortunately don’t have time for a tale, we must beseech you to take your leave now.”
 

StoneWolf18

Within the Depths of a Dream
Moderator
Stanimir would nod, his features taking on a slightly more downcast expression as he called after them. “Of course. I am disappointed that you have declined but there is nothing more for us here then. We will leave at dawn as promised.” And with that he would give a slight nod of his head and return to the merrymaking of his companions, the man and woman beside him reluctantly following after a few more moments.

With nothing more for you here, you all return to the keep. Although it seems as if this strange night is not yet through. The night is eerily silent as you near the keep, the scent of blood and gore tainting the moon-scented wind. This makes you pick up the pace along the cobblestone streets, weapons sliding into hand as you round the corner with the keep coming into few. It doesn’t look like where you had dined nearly an hour ago.

The large wood and steel doors appear to be torn open by something rather large, four mangled corpses of guards remained out front. Their armor seeming as if a bull had charged and dented their breastplates. Blood stained the cobblestones out front and the braziers had been extinguished on the inside of the entryway, not shedding any light on the inside of the situation.
 
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