Classic Fantasy (Against the Darkmaster) - Search for the Orb of Silver Dawn
#11
Episode 7

Is Kaylana there?
Yes

Is she alone?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

Who is there?
Punish / Victory

Hmmm. Makes me wonder if it’s enemy soldiers? It’s by the docks and they have been trying to push into the city, so it’s possible, but
(Somewhat Unlikely | 8[d10]) Yes

Okay... Is she alive?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Any dead bodies?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Were they friendlies?
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes

Sounds like this is the situation...

Collan and Arnstein came to a modest home near the docks. Dead soldiers, defenders of the city, along with fallen attackers, lay on the street. In the distance, a block away, they heard the ringing sound of steel on steel, with shouts and cries.

The door to Kaylana's home was slightly ajar, a bowl of potatoes half skinned, spilled on the ground, along with a paring knife. The two soldiers looked at each other and Collan’s face went white. 

"Kaylana," he whispered, worry on his face.  

Arnstein drew his one-handed battle axe while Collan pulled out a short sword. Arnstein gripped Collan’s shoulder and put a finger to his lips.

They stepped cautiously into the home, Arnstein first, Collan following behind.

Round 1
Assessment Phase:
Perception vs Stealth
Collan Perception:
41 = 26[d100]+15

Arnstein’s perception:
84 = 54[d100]+30

For enemy soldiers. Are they stronger than a typical Hillman warrior?
(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

Not by much. We’ll go with this.

Typical Enemy Warrior
Lvl: 2-ish, MR: 15L, Armor: LA, DEF: 20 TSR: 15 WSR: 15, HP: 55, Attacks: +55 Wpn / +55 Ran, CT: NH, Rog: 15, Adv: 15, Lor: 0

Is there more than one inside?
(Somewhat Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...

There are others fighting just a block away, and who knows how that might influence things.

Vs Stealth of enemy soldier:
25 = 10[d100]+15

What is the soldier doing?
Persecute / Dispute

Arnstein’s stealth:
76 = 51[d100]+30-5

Partial...

Arnstein and Collan moved into the home stealthily. Arntien’s axe scraped against the wall as they enter and they heard a man's guttural voice and a woman’s muffled whimper. A guttural shout and then a slap and a chair fell over into view on its side, bearing a woman, bound to it, with a cloth gag in her mouth.

(The complication was that they didn’t move quickly enough and she took some hurt. Superficial impact:
48 = 48[d100]

36-50 Beat to forearm. Drops weapon or shield. If they aren’t holding one, target Stunned.

Blow is to the head I think instead since she’s tied.)

Her face is bruised. Blood ran from a gash where her head hit the floor.

Dazed, she blinked unsteadily at Arnstein, then her eyes focused and flickered to Collan...Her eyes widened in recognition and hope, and she heaved against her bonds.

Action Declaration
A wicked serrated blade came into view, first its point then the rest of the blade.

Longsword?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Is the enemy soldier bloodthirsty?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

No, he’s scared, trapped behind enemy lines, and trying to leave.
Arnstein will engage him. 
Woman is bound and will struggle.
Collan will rush to aid her.

Move Phase
The enemy soldier, in leather armor and a longsword, shouted again and then turned the corner, jogging toward the exit, his face white. Arnstein raised his axe, intent on braining him as he passed. Since the enemy is surprised, he won’t be able to attack in the first phase. 

Arnstein didn’t hold back. Collan rushed to untie and assist his sister-in-law.

Spell Phase A
N/A

Ranged Phase A
N/A

Melee Phrase:
Technically the soldier would go first but he’s not aware is is trying to leave, so he’ll go in other phase.

Arnstein attacks (+20 for surprise, -20 for defense--enemy can’t parry)
199 = 94[d100]+105+20-20
20 hits and a lethal critical

53 = 3[d100]+50
Minor forearm cut. +4 Damage, 1 Bleed, and Stunned.

The man saw the flash of steel and reflexively raised his forearm, and his leather bracer took Arnstein’s heavy blow. The axe’s blade sliced through the hide and crunched into the man’s forearm in a splash of blood. He reeled from the pain and slammed into the wall behind him, sending a shelf of crockery smashing in white powdery shards.

Other phases...
N/A

Enemy Soldier (Medium human) – Level 2, HP 55, Damage 24, 1 Bleed, Stunned

Round 2
Action Declaration
The soldier will defend completely since he can't attack. He's stunned so only gets 1/2 CMB to parry.
Arnstein will attack completely.
Collan has the bonds cut and is pulling his sister-in-law free from the chair

Movement
Everyone is in their same places.

Melee
Arnstein goes first because the other man is stunned.

105-20 def -27 (half parry)
103 = 45[d100]+105-47

10 hits and light critical
He’ll do impact crit.

Enemy Soldier (Medium human) – Level 2, HP 55, Damage 35, 1 bleed
21 = 11[d100]+10
Blow to the upper leg, painful bruise. +5 Damage and -10 activities

Arnstein’s blow was a weak one in the confines of the narrow hallway and the soldier turned away most of it and only the flat of the axe blade slammed into the man’s leg.

All other Phases
N/A

Enemy Soldier (Medium human) – Level 2, HP 55, Damage 40; Bleed: 1, Penalty: -10

Round 3
Action Declaration
Does the soldier give up? Likely given his current state and that he’s scared.
(Likely | 3[d10]) No

Okay. Too scared to think straight. He’s not stunned anymore, so he’ll go for an all out attack on Arnstein.

Arnstein will meet him.

Collan will aid by flanking the attacker on his side.

Melee Phase:
Arnstein will parry with 60 then fight back.

Enemy Soldier goes first

1d100+55-25 def, -60 parry

66 = 96[d100]+55-85

Doh. He got open ended on Arnstein.

Roll low...
19 = 19[d100]
(Yes! Whew!)

66+19 = 85 vs Medium Armor, but -10 to his attack from his injury so 75 on the table.

The man screamed wildly, raised his blade, and hacked with ferocity. Arnstein blocked, turned aside one blow and then another, but part of the blade slammed into his chain mail. 

He takes only 4 Hits and no crit. But he’s still injured from before.

Arnstein (Medium human) – Level 2, HP 130, Damage 49, Bleed:

(That leaves Arnstein with +45 CMB to hit him back)

104 = 79[d100]+45-20

10 Hits and Light.

Minor chest wound. +3 Damage, 1 Bleed, -5 to all actions

Arnstein's axe bit into the man’s chest, cutting through his armor, slamming him backwards into a kitchen table, breaking it in two. The man groaned but couldn't turn in time to meet Collan.

Now Collan’s attack:
76 = 46[d100]+50-20

5 HPs

Collan slammed into the soldier with a cry, his short sword piercing the man’s side.

Enemy Soldier (Medium human) – Level 2, HP 55, Damage 59; Bleed: 2, Penalty: -15

End Combat

The soldier gasped, white from fear and blood loss and then he slipped in his own blood and sank to the ground, his eyes flickering up into his head.

“Well done,” Arnstein said, kicking away the longsword from the man and then shoving him over with a boot.

(50/50 | 4[d10]) No
The soldier looked to be in his late twenties.

He was a youngish man with shoulder length hair, a leather cap, leather greaves and bracers. A dagger in his belt.

Anything else on him besides his weapons and armor?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Arnstein pulled out a small leather packet. Inside he extracted a folded parchment that appeared to be orders, but they were in no tongue Arnstein knew. Around the man’s neck was an iron band with runes.

Arnstein took both, staunched the man’s wounds. “We can take him to Lord Tozak for questioning.”

“Collan,” Kaylana asked, sitting again in the now-upright chair, a wet cloth to her head. “Thank you for coming. Who is this?”

Arnstein introduced himself, and looked at Collan.

Collan looked away.

"What is it?" Kaylana asked.

“I am Arnstien,” he said. “I met your husband.”

“You did? Is he well?" her bright eagerness, cut through her own pain. It was like a dagger thrust to Arnstein's heart. "I received a letter from him a month ago and--”

“He is dead, milady," he shook his head, heavy with sadness. "I am sorry. His last words were for me to find you and let you know.”

She reeled, clutched at Collan blindly. Collan knelt beside her and took her in his arms as she rocked back and forth. 

Her weeping tore at Arnstein’s heart. “He died well, fighting these invaders. His last thoughts were on you,” Arnstein said.

The woman said nothing, her choking sobs cutting the air.

“Collan, I don’t think she should stay here,” Arnstein said quietly to him. He picked up the enemy’s sword, strapping it around his own waist and then easily picked up the wounded soldier. “The fighting is nearby and it could spill over into this street. Come with me to safer streets.”

“You are right,” Collan said and he pulled Kalya to her feet. He whispered to her. “We must leave, Kaylana. There are more enemy soldiers close by. Can you walk?”

She nodded into his chest, still shuddering against him. Together they stumbled after Arnstein to a higher levels.

Squads of soldiers rushed passed them down into the neighborhood where they fought back enemy invaders, slaying those who would not surrender.

---

Arnstein helped Collan take Kaylana home.

“You brought ill news,” Collan said in front of his home. “But you have my thanks. The truth is better than clinging to some false hope.”

“Thank you, kind sir,” Kayla finally said, sniffing, her eyes red. She held Arnstein’s hand for a moment. “You saved my life.”

“Collan did too,” Arnstein said giving his hand to Collan to shake. “You fought well and bravely. Fight for the memory of your brother and for those who cannot defend themselves, and courage will see you through.

“I shall,” Collan vowed.

Arnstein bid them both farewell.

---

Arnstein took the injured soldier to now-captain Idair, who promised to keep him under guard until Arnstein came for him. Arnstein then gathered Parth, Shuaneer, and Loremaster Coamr, at the palace where they looked over the items collected from the fallen soldier.

Inside Coamr's room:
Loremaster Coamr looked over the orders.
139 = 89[d100]+70-20

“It bears resemblance to ancient elvish, but corrupted... by some other human dialect. The glyphs are old...very old,” he traced the orders with a wrinkled finger, and squinted down at the script. “But yes, I can read the script and decipher the code within it,” he smiled. “You’re welcome.”

Ambush / A representative

Was it a kill squad for Tozak?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

“These are orders for some men to infiltrate the city, using the distraction of a different attack on the docks. Then under the cover of darkness, they were to scale the palace walls and kill Lord Tozak,” his face paled. “There may be others! We must see to his safety!”

“Dark is a ways off still,” Arnstein said with a nod. “There is yet time. What of the amulet he bore?”

“The runes are in a different tongue,” he said and began to puzzle out the markings.

90 = 50[d100]+70-30
Imprison / Love

Finally, he gave a soft chuckle. “Well, given more time I could puzzle out the exact meter and structure of the poetic phrase, but suffice it to say that it appears to be some form of endearment, a bond from his betrothed.”

Arnstein frowned. “Can you speak with him?”

“I believe so,” Comar said.

“Then let’s find out what he knows.”

---

At the barracks, Captain Idair waved them into a locked room where the enemy soldier sat with hands bound with leather cords behind his back. Dark eyes met theirs as they entered.

Is he willing to talk?
(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

The soldier is resistant but he’s scared (already established) and likely wants to be home. It’ll take some convincing, but they’ll get a +10 bonus.

Shuaneer will take the lead with Coamr acting as translator. She’s not trying to deceive him or even intimidate him per se.

Shuaneer looked at the man. He looked back at her, unblinking.

She brought up another chair, flipped it around and straddling it, settled her arms across the chair's back. She watched him calmly. “I tell you truthfully, it will go poorly if you do not cooperate. But if you do cooperate, you will come to no harm.”

Coamr translated and the soldier glared at her.

She sighed, pulled out a slender and ornate dagger. The man jerked his head back reflexively, eyes going wide. She held the dagger out to Arnstein.

“Cut his bonds.”

“What?” Captain Idair and Arnstein asked together.

“Release him. He’s not going anywhere, and we need him to trust us,” she said.

Arnstein shrugged and then did as he was told. When the leather bands were cut, the shock on the man’s face was evident but some suspicion there as well. He slowly massaged his wrists, never taking his eyes off of them.

She poured some wine, drank some from a cup and then passed the cup to him. “Please drink. I can tell you’re thirsty. I told you that it will go well with you if you tell us what you know. You can trust us.”

Coamr translated.

Charisma:
158 = 88[d100]+60+10

The man looked at her and then to the others, then lowered his head, but after a long moment he finally looked into her eyes and nodded.

The questioning didn’t take long. He willingly gave what information he could.

Does he know anything about who’s commanding the invading army?
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

Does Shauneer recognize the enemy commander’s name?
Songs and Tales:
103 = 43[d100]+60

Was he the same captain that was under Ravkeen from centuries before?
(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

“He mentions Ag’thar. That is a name of darkness, of death,” she said with a frown. It means “Blightbringer in the old tongue.”

“Yes,” Coamr also frowned, tapping his cheek in thought. “You are correct. Blightbringer... If I’m not mistaken, the same title was given to a captain of Ravkeen’s forces many years ago, but surely this Ag’thar you faced, Arnstein, cannot be the same person, is he?”

“How could I know that?” Arnstein shrugged. His face darkened at the memory of his encounter with the dark-plated commander. “He was fully covered from head to toe in dark plate armor. I never saw his true face.”

“It may be that this commander is the same and is kept alive by some arcane means, or that he has elf lineage, or most likely, that he’s simply taking on the same title as Ravkeen’s earlier commander.” Shauneer said.

Does he know why they are attacking Silver Bay?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 3[d10]) No

The questioning continued.

They learned that the captive’s name is Grend. That the man’s tribe is from a continent far to the west. All the men were rounded up and forced to fight. He doesn’t know why.

He himself wasn’t part of the kill squad. He wasn’t well trained enough for that, but he was leading a squad of ordinary soldiers as part of the diversionary attack force. The rest of his squad was cut down, and he ended up fleeing into Kaylana’s home.

Does Grend know anything about the events that Michi spoke of on the Skywind in episode 3?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 3[d10]) No

Does Grend know who commands the Dark Knight commander?
(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Grend nodded and his face took on a somewhat worshipful expression. “Edraithdir,” he said.

“Is that--?” Coamr began.

“Yes, ancient elvish,” she said, her eyes narrowing. “In the common tongue, it means ‘One that Saves’.”

Coamr nodded and an expression of excitement mingled with horror crossed his face. “Ravkeen took on a similar name during his invasion centuries ago. ‘The One Who Brings the Dawn’.”

“Blasphemy, there is only one Dawnlord,” Arnstein said.

“Ravkeen’s actions brought only a new dawn of death and destruction,” Shuaneer stated flatly. “It is a common practice to hide the unsavory behind a more palatable name.”

“Typical politician,” Parth added with a sour expression.

“Well, ancient accounts confirm that many in his force truly believed he really was the Dawnlord of old,” Coamr added. “At least initially.”

“So, what does all this mean?” Captain Idair asked.

Arnstein and Shauneer shared a look and Coamr paled.

“It could mean that Ravkeen walks the earth again,” Shuaneer said. “That he has a new following.”

A long silence hung in the air. Parth's face went white and he grabbed at a nearby table to steady himself, spilling the wine.

“And that his war of conquest has begun anew,” Arnstein added. His statement was punctuated by the sharp crack of a hurled boulder from a ship-borne catapult that slammed into a nearby tower, sending masonry spilling into the street, scattering shouting citizens.

3 XP for facing a Fellbeast and a Dark Knight Combo.
1 XP for surviving the threat

Arnstein (Medium human) – Level 2 XP 25/30, HP 130, Damage 49, Bleed:
Drive Points: 1
Hero Points: 3

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#12
Thoroughly enjoying this read, keep it up  Tongue I really like the characters and the setting you've created, feels very real with the way you write it.
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#13
Thanks Iskuu! It's comments like this that make me want to keep chronicling and sharing these games. I appreciate it!

Btw, if anyone wants to get a good deal on the 'Against the Darkmaster' core rules PDF, it's part of the non-OGL bundle on BundleOfHolding right now for another few days I think. A splendid deal IMHO, even more so with the other stuff offered: https://bundleofholding.com/presents/NonOGLFantasy

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#14
Episode 8
That night, Arnstein and Shuaneer met Lord Tozak in the palace.

Captain Idair had warned Lord Tozak of the possibility of assassination, and the guard had been doubled on the palace grounds and in the palace itself and Lord Tozak's typical meeting place had been changed. A full six guards, heavily armed, stood outside the meeting room where Arnstein and Shuaneer met with Lord Tozak.

They met in a “Remembrance Hall”, a room dedicated to an event of special historical or religious meaning. This particular hall was one of circular construction atop one of the spires attached to the palace.

“Ah, thank you for coming, both of you,” Lord Tozak said. He stood near a set of rectangular, curved stained-glass windows set in the walls in a complete circle.

He was dressed in worn black clothing, atop which a worn and serviceable breastplate with numerous dents and scratches told tale to many a scrap with death. His chain of office hung from his neck. His well-trimmed dark beard framed a hard but handsome face.

The entire look came off as sensible and not ostentatious in the least. An arming sword hung from his waist and a long dagger from his belt on the other side.

What do the windows depict?
Busily / Delicate
Waste / The mundane

Delicate artistry and embellishments in the thick colored panes depicted events from “The Wasting”, a cataclysmic event in the ancient days when the land was decimated by a dark blight that crept across the land, consuming forest and dell and croplands in a mist-ridden darkness. Humanity and its allies on the brink of devastation gathered together and prayed to the Dawnlord for aid.

Another set of windows showed the “Dawnsgiving”, an event where ancient tradition said that humanity (man, elf, dwarf, and their allies) was saved when the Dawnlord himself gave his life upon the mountains. His blood and tears turned to liquid gold and light that burned away the darkness, cleansing the earth in a new birth that lasted a millennia.

Thus the mountains were named Nienor emyn, or in the common tongue, the Sorrowhills and the sea that took his tears and his blood, the Malthen gaer, or the Golden Bay.

I used this for the elvish in these place names (Sindarin)  https://funtranslations.com/elvish

“It seems I made a good decision promoting this Idair to Captain. Already he has brought news that has likely saved my life, though he claims the credit goes to you two.” He beamed at them. “And so, it seems I am in your debt for the warning about the threat on my life.”

He motioned toward a side table with some wine and cheese. “Wine?”

“Thank you,” Arnstein said with a slight bow and took a goblet, while Shuaneer folded her arms and shook her head.

“Still upset are you?” Lord Tozak eyed the elf woman and took a sip of his own wine. He sighed, “I cannot spare the manpower to chase down this Rivener of yours. My city needs our forces here.”

“I’m not asking for an army, only a score of hand-picked men,” she said.

“My scores of hand-picked men are busy,” Lord Tozak said. “They defend this city, its walls, and lands. That is my primary responsibility!”

“And while they do, Azrut the Rivener runs amok doing the Light knows what!”

“What would you have me do? We are nearly completely cut off!”

“But had you given me those men when I asked, three days ago, we could have cut our way through ‘ere this noose was cinched,” Shuaneer rejoined.

“I couldn’t spare the number you asked for then, and I can’t spare them now. In any case, those lands are King Rillelon’s responsibility,” Tozak said. “He has tasked me with defense of this city and the three bays. That is what I have sworn to do. That is what I will do.”

“But--”

“My Lord,” Arnstein interjected, taking a sip of the sweet wine. “Since the siege began, have you received any word from King Rillelon?”

Shauneer glared at Arnstein and then back to Lord Tozak.

(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No

Lord Tozak shook his head. “I ordered runners sent out before the city became completely surrounded. But that was a week ago. I haven’t heard any reports back.

What is the mission he wants them to do?
Release / Friendship

Is this about an ally?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Is Kibehunga by Golden Bay part of the same nation?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Is it within Tozak’s stewardship
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

In that case, it wouldn’t be an “ally” but a subject if Tozak is Lord over that city as well. So, this mission must be somewhere else.

He paced across the window, and turned facing them. “I called you here to ask for your help,” he said. Shauneer’s eyes flashed and she was about to speak, but he held up his hand. “Hear me out, Lady Shauneer. I think this will be to your liking and will aid both our purposes.”

She gave a curt nod, and he continued.

“The Lord Duke of Haldemarsh Keep, Duke Heldro, is a personal friend and ally. We were brothers in arms many years ago, and have vowed to aid each other should the need arise. Well, that need has arisen," he said and gestured out the window to where shouts and the clamor of battle continued. 

He pointed to a map spread out on a low wooden table. "Duke Heldro’s keep lies at the head of the Bronze Bay, amidst the Halde Marsh. I need you to go to Duke Heldro. Secure his aid in our defense, assuming he is not assaulted yet as well. A small hand-picked squad, no more than four, will help you get through enemy lines and see you to the keep.

“Once you secure his promise of aid, that squad of men will have orders to aid you, Lady Shuaneer, in your personal quest to hunt down this Riviner.”

Arnstein nodded and stroked his bearded chin. “I will, of course, aid you in this Lord Tozak. If by my actions I can bring deliverance to the people of Silver City,” Arnstein said. "I shall."

Shauneer gave a slow nod and a grim smile crossed her beautiful face. “It's less than the score I had hoped for, but it's something. You will also have my sword on this quest, Lord Tozak.”

“Good. Very good,” the worry lines eased somewhat on his face. “Then choose your men and gather your gear but see that you leave by first light. There is little time to waste!”

They bowed and took their leave, and the guards at the door quietly shut the door behind them.

One final question:
Is Tozak attacked by the kill squad? 
He knows about it and has taken precautious. 
I’m going to say it’s unlikely that they’d be able to reach him.
(Unlikely | 3[d10]) No


---

Arnstein, Shauneer, and Parth slept little that night and the hours passed in needful preparation. They stayed at the barracks and gathered supplies, arms and amor. They tasked Captain Idair with finding a small squad of hand-picked men while they met with Coamr to hopefully find a way out of the city. For an hour they poured with him over old maps until their constant questioning set him on edge and he ushered them out, saying to come back before dawn.

In the wee hours of the morning after they had packed supplies and gear, they went to check on him.

Research using his Lore skills +20 taking his time (all night looking) and -20 for difficulty... So
143 = 73[d100]+70

He brushed dust off some old map cases, dated more than two hundred years old, and spread them over the table.

“I found something,” he said, around a smoky brazier. Once more his bleary-eyed gaze held them, and again with an excited gleam in his eye.

He pushed a yellowed map across the table towards them and pointed at a faded dotted line that went under the northern wall. “A passageway,” he said.

What kind of passageway is it?
Move / Success

“This passageway was called The Night Road. It was used by smugglers centuries ago to smuggle illicit goods in and out of the city. It was ordered barred and locked over a hundred years ago when assassins infiltrated the city and killed one of the visiting princes of the realm.

“On our end, it has been under lock and key and guard ever since.”

“And the other end?” Parth asked.

“Old reports say that it was caved in to prevent its use,” Coamr said.

“The reports ‘say’? Was it actually?”

“Yes...and no.”

“That end was indeed collapsed, but I found another document written in code, which I spent last night deciphering,” he puffed out his chest a little, straightening an inkpot, and smoothed a couple of new documents out onto the table. “It turns out that secret tunnels are quite useful for the kingdom’s own spy network as much as they are for smugglers and thieves. You see, a new tunnel exit was opened for kingdom use here,” he pointed to a section on the map that led to a copse of woods nestled between two hills.

“Does Lord Tozak know about this?” Shauneer asked.

Coamr shrugged. “Who knows? But the fact that he didn’t suggest it makes one wonder, does it not?”

“Nicely done,” Arnstein smiled and stroked his chin studying the passageway. “Nicely done, indeed.”

As they left, Coamr passed the information about the secret passageway to Captain Idair.

---

Do they get any sleep that night?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

The night passed in constant threat and racket. A night attack on the walls, with horns blaring, and flaming pitch from sea-borne catapults bursting in the streets and hundreds fighting fires kept everyone awake and on edge.

That morning, in the smoky pre-dawn light, they met inside a ruined granary near the north wall by a locked and barred ion gate. Captain Idar stood with four scouts, hand-picked for their skills in stealth and combat.

The men were all dressed in supple leather armor, oiled to a dark brown, with cloaks of mottled browns and greens. Each carried composite bows, bore full quivers at their waists, and arming swords and long daggers in weapon belts. Over a shoulder each carried a small bundle of food and clothing.

Their weathered faces told of long days in the wild.

“These are some of our Pathcutters,” Idair said. “They are specialized in moving quietly in the wilderness. They know the surrounding lands well. They have all received their orders. Sergeant Lancet here is their leader.” He pointed to a man with light brown wispy hair, partly balding, and a flat nose that looked to have been broken more than once.

The sergeant looked about the same size as the others, slender and lean, like they could move across hill and dell at speed, swift as an arrow.

His hard eyes regarded Arnstein. “Are you going to slow us down?” Lancet asked the large man flatly, his eyes passing over the huge maul and other gear. “We need to move quickly.”

“I can carry my own weight,” Arnstein held the other man’s gaze and shifted his gear in his bulging arms.

“Quietly?” The sergeant asked.

Arnstein smiled but said nothing and their eyes locked, a promised a meeting of flint and steel.

“That’s enough,” Captain Idair said. “Your job, Sergeant,” he tapped the other man's leather breastplate, “is to support these people. Help them reach the Haldemarsh keep, and after that, to follow the Lady Shuaneer’s orders to hunt down a threat in the countryside.”

“Yes sir,” Sergeant Lancet said flatly, saluting, fist to chest. He shut his mouth with a grimace.

Pathcutter
Lvl 4, MR: 15L, AT: LA, Def: 20, TSR: 30, WSR: 25, HPs: 80, Attacks: +60 Blade / +80 Bow, CT: NH, Rog: 40, Adv: 45, Lor: +10

Does Tozak open up the armory to them, effectively dropping the WL of arms and armor by 1?
(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...
Yes, but only for Fare Level 1 items. All others require normal Fare. So, Fare 1 items are free.

Do the Pathcutters have a Healer’s Kit among them?
(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Bandages?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...
Each one has one Bandage.

Is Tozak supplying rations?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

The city doesn’t have a huge food supply. They rely on regular shipping. Food shortages are already being felt by the lower classes. Rations Fare Level is increased by 1.

Gear updates:
  • Arnstein (WL 2)
  • Leather greaves and bracers (both for FL 1 each)
  • Metal helmet (FL 1) (-5 perception)
Finally some more armor!

Shuaneer (WL 1)
  • She’ll get two knives.
Parth (NPC)
  • He’ll add Leather Armor
  • Leather helm
  • Two knives

Captain Idair bade them farewell. Before the light from the east had crested the walls, Idair opened the rusted metal gate with a grating squeak. A few steps led downwards to the dark passageway of The Night Road. 

As Arnstein turned to descend the steps after the others, Idar grabbed his arm. “Bring aid quickly, Arnstein. We cannot hold the walls forever!”
Arnstein nodded, gripped Idair’s arm in farewell, and then jogged down the narrow steps that led to the dark, musty, narrow tunnel.

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