The Keep pt 1

Note: Again, transcript format and again OP destroyed any color/formatting from MSword.

Chat log started at 20.4.2011 / 14:47:43

Rayden, you surface gagging up sea water after nearly being drowned by a sudden storm. You float in the placid sea beneath the hot afternoon sun though only minutes before you were washed off the deck of the Orion and dragged beneath the waves by a vicious current.

GM: What do you do?

Rayden: Fuck.
Rayden: I get up from the sand and brush myself up
Rayden: nm, I see I’m floating
Rayden: ;/
Rayden looks around
Rayden: Skill [Perception] [1d20+5 = 6]
The raucous barking of seals fills your ears and you can see that you’ve washed up against a rocky cliff. Large, black, and tusked seals bake their tank asses in the hot sun or splash loudly in the calm sea.

g3k (Rayden): is there a beach nearby?
g3k (Rayden): or something to climb on?
GM: You can climb a jagged rock that juts out of the water.
Rayden: Skill [Climb] [1d20+5 = 24]
GM: You can’t see far enough to see a beach though.
With expert grace you climb out of the water onto a pillar of rock.
GM: Now what?
Rayden Stands up and looks around some more
Rayden: Skill [Perception] [1d20+5 = 17]
Rayden can faintly hear distant voices carried on the wind. Looking down the rocky shore you can see a large, square stone keep braced atop a sheer cliff. A short walkway connects it to a lonely tower that rises from the crashing sea.
He can also see a small cove across the bay from you where the Orion sits anchored, perhaps a half mile away.
Rayden dives into the water and swims towards the Orion, looking for shore to get onto so I don’t have to swim
Rayden: Skill [Swim] [1d20 = 18]
You dive back into the water, a seal honks with alarm and dives beneath you and out of the way.

Taking your time (Taking a 10), you swim through the cold sea water with relative ease. But by the time you near the Orion your arms are sore and tired. You splash your way into the cove where the ship is anchored and you hear the raspy voice of the ship’s captain, Hem, cry out. “‘ighness! ’ighness! The mercenary’s alive!” The stooped and weathered old sailor leans over the railing to peer at you with his one good eye.

Prince Theodric appears beside the Captain and looks down on you as you swim closer. Tall and regal, his face is youthful and aristocratic with high cheek-bones and blue eyes. He wears fine fashions, slightly soiled by the sweat and toil of life aboard The Orion and his blonde hair is pulled back into short pony-tail.
Rayden: Ahoy you bastards
Rayden: Get me out of this water
Prince Theodric shouts, “Get a rope! Lets haul him up.” A sailor (Jim) comes running, clutching a line.
Prince Theodric: I’m glad to see you are well.
The rope dangles into the water and the sailor and Captain Hem brace it.
Rayden grabs the rope.
Rayden: Skill [Climb] [1d20+5 = 19]
Rayden easily makes it up the rope and back on the deck of the Orion.
Prince Theodric: We were concerned when we couldn’t find you after the storm.
Rayden: So was I.
Prince Theodric gives a short laugh. Then looks serious. “Are you well enough to fight?”
Rayden: Always.
Rayden grins
Prince Theodric nods.
Prince Theodric: Good.
Prince Theodric: Sir Hastings and young Blair have already gone ahead to scout the Keep. Get your things and go assist them.
Rayden goes into the bunk area and grabs his belongings

Your things are all in one piece, and your weed is still dry. As you emerge in your armor and carrying weapons you see that the Captain managed to get the ship remarkably close to the shore. You need only wade through the shallows for a minute before you emerge on the gravelly beach. Jagged rocks jut forth from the sand like daggers and the cliff around the beach is steep but appears climbable.
Prince Theodric: They just left, you should be able to -
Rayden jumps off the ship’s bow and walks leisurely towards the keep.
From the Keep you hear the snarling and barking of dogs.
Prince Theodric (calling from the Orion): Make haste, it appears perhaps the keep is inhabited!
GM: Roll a climb check for the cliff, there’s no easy way up besides climbing.
Rayden: Skill [Climb] [1d20+5 = 20]
Rayden, you easily make it up and over the cliff and begins the walk up hill towards the Keep.

Meanwhile, back in the Keep…

Editor’s reminder: The Keep is 3 stories tall and a square stone structure surrounded by a 15ft wall. Its rear backs against a sheer cliff and there is a short walkway to a tower built on a pillar of rock jutting from the sea.

Tobias, the dogs have just been killed – though one of the diseased mongrels darted away through the gap in the portcullis. Inside the wall you can see the overgrown yard of the keep. Weeds, grass, and young saplings grow up from the gravel while vines grow up the keep’s solid stone walls.

The wind shifts and you can smell the scent of putrid meat.

Blair Craddock: Sir, it appears the mercenary survived. He’s approaching the gates.
Blair Craddock points out the portcullis towards Rayden’s advancing silhouette.
Tobias Hastings: Oh really? Finally arrives for the party, eh? Good eyes kid.

Intro Descriptions
Rayden has bright red eyes, black hair, and skin as pale as the moon. He wears tight black pants and shirt, he also has a black tabard with red borders, nothing symbolizing any significance. He seems to carry no weapons save for a quiver and bow on his back.

Blair Craddock is a straw-haired youth of about 15 whose boyish figure is in the process of being hardened by a squire’s training. He wears leather armor and carries a small sword. His hand is badly injured and wrapped by strips of cloth. On his back he carries a short bow, a spear, and a small quiver of arrows. The boy also wears a blue cloak with the symbol of the Lord Protector: A shielded crown.

Tobias Hastings: Tobias is a very large man, roughly 6 ½ feet tall. He wears a white ruffled blouse under a blood red overcoat that extends down into a trench. He also wears fitting black leather breeches with high laced black leather boots. Blond hair. Blue/green eyes and slightly elongated ears. A signet ring is slipped onto his finger.
End Descriptions

Tobias Hastings: Well hey stalker. Fashionably late as always?
Tobias Hastings: You missed all the fun.
The corpses of two huge wolfhounds lie just behind the portcullis.
Rayden: Quite right
Rayden: Whoever’s arse was navigating the ship caused me to be late
Tobias Hastings: That would be our lovely captain.
Tobias Hastings: Shall we continue our exploration? I love this gatehouse and all but it’s becoming very small
Inside the wall you can see the overgrown yard of the keep. Weeds, grass, and young saplings grow up from the gravel while vines grow up the keep’s solid stone walls.
You still smell the scent of putrid meat.

Blair Craddock grimaces at the smell but says nothing. His young eyes dart around at the keep’s yard.
Tobias Hastings ducks through the gate to examine the carcass the dogs were orginally around
The carcass is of a large elk, it has been almost wholly consummed. Bits and scraps of meat still cling, rotting, to its skeletal frame.
Tobias Hastings: mmm. Dinner?
Rayden crawls under the portcullis
Rayden: You ladies coming?
Blair Craddock looks indignantly at Rayden. “I’m no lady; I’ll be a famous Knight one day!”
Tobias Hastings winks slyly at Blair then makes his way to the keep proper.
Rayden: Right.

Across the overgrown yard you see a short set of stairs leads to the keep’s main entrance: a half-lowered portcullis and a door of reinforced wood that hangs ajar behind it, revealing the shadowy interior of the keep.

In the far corner of the yard you can see the sagging remnants of a horse stable. The wooden walls are weathered and bowed and the roof has sagged and collapsed in the middle.
Blair Craddock: I suppose that old hag was right. This place can’t be inhabited by any sane person at least…
GM: What are you guys going to do?
Tobias Hastings: It’s the insane ones we have to worry about
Tobias Hastings: Shall we check the stable first before going inside?
Blair Craddock nods.
Blair Craddock: There might be more dogs.
Blair Craddock clutches his sword with his dog-bitten and bandaged hand.
Tobias Hastings: don’t forget that potion I gave you.
Tobias makes his way towards the stable.
Blair Craddock: Yes, thank you Sir.
Rayden: Ladies first.
Rayden beckons Blair to go ahea
Blair Craddock glares at Rayden.
Tobias Hastings: Give the kid a break, stalker. They took a chunk out of his hand and not even a tear.
Rayden laughs out loud
Blair’s face seems to soften with pride at Tobias’ words but quickly hardens into an angry mask at Rayden’s derisive laughter.
Tobias Hastings: ignore the merc. Let’s go
You approach the stable, whose doors lie flat and rotting in the yard. Inside, grass grows up amongst the stalls.
Tobias Hastings: Skill [Perception] [1d20+1 = 8]
Rayden: Skill [Perception] [1d20+5 = 10]
You spend a few minutes searching the stables. Rayden, you find an ancient copper coin in the dirt. The face of some old king stares back at you from it. Beyond that, there appears nothing of interest or value in this place.
Tobias Hastings: Well that was a bust. Next.
GM: Now what?
Rayden moves towards the Keep itself, somehow drawing a switchblade knife from thin air
Tobias Hastings pulls out the oddly curved blade, giving it a spin as he heads toward the keep.
Rayden: Skill [Sleight of Hand] [1d20+9 = 23]
Blair’s eyes widen with surprise.
You approach the short set of stairs that lead to the keep’s entrance. You see another portcullis, this one half-lowered and easy to duck under, and a reinforced wooden door that hangs ajar behind it.
Rayden advances forward, listening for clues of life inside
Rayden: Skill [Perception] [1d20+5 = 14]
Inside the door you see a small square chamber and another reinforced door that also hangs open widely. There are murder holes on either side of the chamber where defenders of this place might stab invaders with spears.

Beyond the second door you can see a large, dark chamber. Unlit but for the sliver of muted light that shines from the doorway onto the flagstone floor.

Editor’s note: Rayden has darkvision and Tobias and Blair did not bring light sources

GM describing to Rayden: The chamber is empty of furniture but tattered tapestries and empty iron sconces hang on the walls. The flagstone floor is covered in dirt and leaves and the scent of rot and mildew hangs strongly in the air.
Blair Craddock: Did we bring any torches Sir Tobias?
GM describing to Rayden: Across the entry hall you can see a heavy set of ornate double doors.
Tobias Hastings: Hmm… i seem to have a momentary slip in thought.
Tobias Hastings: I know a spell that can produce light but i can’t remember the entire incantion…. Not my finest hour
Blair Craddock: We should retreat to the Orion and get some then.
Blair Craddock: I don’t fancy getting stabbed in the dark.
Blair Craddock manages a dark look at Rayden.
Tobias Hastings: Not a bad idea. At least we can alert the others that the courtyard is safe. They can follow us back

Ignoring the others, Rayden disappears into the darkness of the large chamber and moves to the ornate double doors he can see on the opposite side.
Rayden chuckles softly.
GM: What are you going to do?
Blair Craddock: Mercenary, stop! We should get torches and return.
Rayden: I’ll be here when you get back with your sissy torches
Rayden’s Perception Check: [1d20+5 = 8]
Tobias Hastings: Leave the stalker to his games. Let’s go get your father.
Tobias Hastings makes his way into the courtyard and out the front gate.
GM describing to Rayden: The doors are carved with detail and care. You can’t hear anything behind them but looking around the room you can see two doorways pressed into the corners of the rooms – they weren’t able to be seen from the doorway.
[w] Rayden: are those for the murder rooms?
[w] GM to Rayden: Yea.
GM: Damn, gotta remember how to lock drawing to the grid
[w] Rayden: I’m going to attempt to open the ornate door
GM: You will need to perception to see if they are locked/stucked
Rayden: Skill [Perception] [1d20+5 = 22]
Rayden can see that the ornate door appears stuck. He will have to try and bust them open.
Rayden attempts to force the door open.
Rayden: Strength bonus [1d20 = 14]
The door pushes open with a thump as a pile of dirt behind it gives way. You open up to see a brightly lit courtyard overgrown with vines, trees and flowers. The second and third floors of the Keep have open air halls that open up onto it.
Rayden: Skill [Perception] [1d20+5 = 21]
Rayden looks for anything out of the ordinary.
Rayden, old cobblestones are all that are left of the paths that must have wound through this small courtyard. A chill runs down your spine as you see a strange shadow on the second floor that seems separate from the rest. Someone or something is up there, hidden from your sight.
Rayden whistles loudly to alert the others
Your whistle echoes along the walls but no one comes running, you are alone
(Unnamed): You are the only one brave enough to continue?
The tall, cloaked shadow seems to flicker as a disembodied voice calls down at you.
Rayden: Something like that.
The voice speaks down, feminine but with an unearthly reverberating quality.
The Voice: Somewhat sad…somewhat. I had expected more daring from those that follow the princes.
There is an unearthly silence in the courtyard, broken only by your voices.
Rayden: Well, I’m not one to dissapoint. Come at me.
The hidden speaker chuckles lightly.
The Voice: Is that what you want, an enemy?
The Voice: I am not here to fight you.
Rayden: Than do something, because gods you are boring me
The hidden speaker laughs loudly.
The Voice: Yes, I think I shall…
The shadow shifts forward and shrinks. A small girl appears in the light and pulls back her hood. She has fawn colored hair that hangs down to her chin. She is fair featured and when she speaks, her voice is no longer the same unearthly timbre. Now, it is sweet and innocent.
Young Girl: Or rather, we shall do something. I would like an audience with the prince if you would be so kind.
Rayden motions behind him
Rayden: He’s back there if you are so inclined
Rayden walks towards the courtyard wall to inspect it.
Across the courtyard you can see another set of doors.
Young Girl: Can I trust you?
A similar set of double doors is on the opposite side of the courtyard Rayden.
Rayden: You can’t trust anyone, sweetheart.
The young girl smiles.
Tobias and Blair arrive outside the Keep with torches.
Young Girl looks down toward Rayden and from behind her an owl flys out landing on a makeshift stone perch near her.
Young Girl: Maybe so.
Tobias Hastings: Well that trip was nearly pointless. Shall we continue where we left off kid?
Blair Craddock nods and lights his torch.
g3k (Rayden): lol, faces when they see the courtyard light illuminating the room
Tobias Hastings follows suit and enters the portcullis
Tobias, you and Blair enter the large chamber to see it lit up and a set of double doors on the opposite side open to a green enclosed courtyard. The chamber is empty of furniture but tattered tapestries and empty iron sconces hang on the walls. The flagstone floor is covered in dirt and leaves and the scent of rot and mildew hangs strongly in the air. (Though the scent of the trees and flowers in the courtyard are beginning to wash it out.)

You hear voices coming from the courtyard: a small girl’s and Rayden’s.
Tobias Hastings: Seems he found someone
Young Girl looks down toward Rayden and from behind her an owl flys out landing on a makeshift stone perch near her.
Blair Craddock: She sounds so young… what form of person would live here?
Rayden continues walking towards the doors on the other side of the courtyard
Tobias Hastings: Sorry to be cliché, but appearances are deceiving. I doubt she is as young as she sounds
Young Girl: I think your allies are nearly here.
Rayden: Allies?
Rayden chuckles
The young Girl smiles sweetly
Tobias Hastings: Spell [Detect Magic] → Detects spells and magic items within 60 ft.
Tobias Hastings chants softly to himself before heading toward the source of the convo.
Tobias, you and Blair walk into a brightly lit courtyard. Rayden is walking across it towards another set of ornate doors and a small child stands at the railing of the second floor. While there is a stone wall on the first level, there are open air hallways that wrap around the courtyard on the second and third levels.
The young Girl smiles brightly to the newcomers.
Rayden, you reach the second set of double doors.
Tobias Hastings: Well it seems this little piece of heaven does have a master.
Tobias Hastings: Or mistress as the case may be.
Young Girl (grinning): You think I own this ruin?
Tobias Hastings seems to study the little girl.
Young Girl: Or that I am the only one here?
Tobias Hastings: Spell [Detect Magic] → Detects spells and magic items within 60 ft.
The little girl radiates magical auras.
Tobias Hastings: So you have friends?
Young Girl: That’s yet to be seen.
Tobias Hastings: Cryptic, aren’t we?
Young Girl: Yes, for now.
Tobias Hastings: Well i’m loving the banter, but we’ve come to see if this place would be hospitable to stay for a bit, but seeing as it’s occupied…
Young Girl (smiling): It could be yours.
Blair Craddock watches the girl mistrustfully. “What’s your name?”
Tobias Hastings: And the price?
The young Girl gives him a long look. :)
Young Girl: Not to be paid to me, if that’s your concern.
GM: Rayden, what are you doing as they talk? I’m assuming you aren’t getting involved?
Young Girl: Rather this ruin is the dwelling of many animals. The price is the simple matter of dispatching them.
Tobias Hastings: And what of you?
Young Girl: Another matter entirely. I am here to see you.
Tobias Hastings: Another tracker. I might have guessed. And what would you ask of us?
Rayden, you reach the doors. They seem nearly identical to the others. But they are locked.
Rayden begins trying to unlock the doors across the courtyard.
Rayden: Skill [Disable Device] [1d20+5 = 19]
Young Girl: An audience with the prince.
Tobias Hastings: And why should we allow that?
Blair Craddock: She must be one of the Usurper’s assassins! How could she have found us so far north?
Young Girl looks sweetly at Blair. “Or I am here to offer fealty.”
Young Girl: A bargain no one could turn down.
[w] → Rayden: the door is locked. You can feel it this time.
Tobias Hastings: Again. Why?
Tobias Hastings: What’s in it for you?
Young Girl: That discussion is better held with the prince.
The door clicks as the tumbler slides out of place, Rayden has unlocked it.
Tobias Hastings: hmm. And if you found us so easily, why do you request our permission for an audience with the prince?
Young Girl: A gesture of good will.
Young Girl: You already question my motives, as right you should. How would it look if I merely appeared on your ship.
Blair Craddock (whispering to Tobias): What are your orders, Sir?
Young Girl waits calmly.
Rayden opens the door
Tobias Hastings calls out. “Stalker! where have you slinked off to?”
Rayden: I haven’t “slinked” anywhere, I’m right here
Rayden waves sarcastically like a woman
Across the courtyard, the doors are opened by Rayden and the light reveals another large chamber and a startled grizzly bear. It roars angrily as it blinks at the light.
Darkstrom: Welp, this should be interesting.
Darkstrom: Surprise round, you all have one action
Young Girl looks down calmly.
Young Girl (to Tobias): As I said, this place is the dwelling of beasts.
Tobias Hastings: How’s that hand of yours kid? ready for another round?
Darkstrom: I’m setting you up, roll initiative
Tobias Hastings: Initiative [1d20 = 10]
Rayden: Initiative [1d20+4 = 6]
g3k (Rayden): fffffffuuuuuuu
Young Girl: Initiative [1d20+4 = 23]
Surprise Round
GM: The order is Girl, Blair, Tobias, Rayden, Grizzly
GM: You each have one action (maximum of standard)
GM: Since this is a surprise round
GM: We’ll go with you, Girly
GM: What do you do for the surprise round – you are on the second floor looking down.
[TURN] The Girl
The Girl looks down at the others.
The Girl: If I help you, will you allow me an audience with the prince?
Tobias Hastings: If you prove your worth, so be it.
The Girl I will do my best. (smiles)
Blair Craddock is reaching for his spear – his eyes fearful.
The Girl moves to the edge of the railing, and and oversized robes flair at the back extending outward into the wings of a crow.
Blair blanches with shock and fear at the Girl’s changing form.
Tobias Hastings: Stay calm, kid. use your bow. and the potion if you have to.
[GM] [TURN] Blair Craddock
Blair drops his sword and with startling quickness pulls out his bow and an arrow, he strings it and fires.
Blair Craddock: [1d20+3 = 23]
Blair Craddock: [1d20+3 = 8] (Confirm roll)
Blair Craddock: [1d6 = 6]
The arrow hits the bear in its meaty shoulder, it roars with pain and rage.
[TURN] Tobias Hastings
Tobias Hastings instantly becomes stone-faced and moves up to the wall, oddly-curved sword drawn.
[TURN] Rayden
Rayden: Wild Empathy (Cha bonus) [1d20 = 20]
The bear snorts as Rayden adopts a more submissive/concillitary posture. But it doesn’t seem to be any less angry.
[TURN] The Girl
The Girl extends her dark wings and descends to the floor below to land lightly next to Tobias.
[GM] [TURN] Blair Craddock
Blair pulls another arrow and fires.
GM: [1d20+3 = 18]
GM: [1d6 = 1]
The arrow imbeds itself into the bear’s other shoulder but the bear seems to barely feel it.
Blair maintains his ground and says loudly, “Keep your distance if you can. These things can crush a man in one swing!”
[TURN] Tobias Hastings
Tobias Hastings: Well i am not exactly fighting at full capabiltiy here.
The chamber the bear is in is littered with the skeletal remains of animals and the rank stench that washes out of its makeshift den is enough to make your eyes water a bit.
Tobias Hastings quickly runs one finger across the blade of his weapon, leaving an arcing trail of electricity along the way. He bounds around the corner, heading full on toward the bear.
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] MW Falcata [CRIT 19] [1d20+5 = 23]
Blair shouts, “Sir Tobias! Be careful!”
Tobias Hastings: [DAMAGE] MW Falcata [1d8+4 = 8]
The bear roars with surprise as you rush in as it rises, carving a deep cut into its muscled shoulders and back.
Tobias Hastings grins wickedly as the momentum takes him into a spin.
[TURN] Rayden
Rayden: [ATTACK] Switchblade [CRIT 19] [AUTOMATIC MISS] [1d20+5 = 6]
Rayden takes his blade behind his arm and slashes at the beast, only to have it run along it’s thick coat
Tobias Hastings: hmph. nice swing there Stalker
[GM] [TURN] Grizzly Bear
The bear rises to its full height, roaring. (AoO Rayden and Tobias).
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] MW Falcata [CRIT 19] [1d20+5 = 23]
Tobias Hastings: [DAMAGE] MW Falcata [1d8+4 = 6]
Tobias Hastings: coming out of his spin, Tobias brings the blade up, catching the rising bear on the jaw.
Rayden: [ATTACK] Switchblade [CRIT 19] [1d20+5 = 14]
The bear roars in anger as Rayden’s switchblade has trouble penetrating its heavy coat and the curved blade of Tobias catches it in the chin. It reaches out a giant paw and brings it down heavily at Tobias.
GM: Claw [1d20+7 = 10]
Tobias, you duck under it and the claws barely scratch through your hair.
[TURN] The Girl
Tobias and Rayden duck and dodge as the bear begins swiping and biting at them.
The Girl steps lightly behind Tobias, her small hand reaching out for his back. For a moment as she touches him, her nails are long white and flat. Tobias, warmth spreads through you.
The Girl: The bear will not go down easy.
The Girl: 1 [1d81 = 3]
Lee (The Girl): lol heal for 3 damage.
Tobias, without the aid of the Conclave or with muttered prayers or spells the strange girl heals your wounds some.
Tobias Hastings: Hmm. My thanks, my dear.
[GM] [TURN] Blair Craddock
Blair tries to get a clean shot despite having the three of you ducking and weaving with the huge bear.
GM: [1d20+3 = 17]
The arrow flies past the bear and smashes into the wall.
[TURN] Tobias Hastings
Tobias Hastings winds up for another swing, hopefully taking him down before he does the same to them.
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] MW Falcata [CRIT 19] [1d20+5 = 7]
Tobias misses badly and tries to shove past Rayden.
Tobias Hastings (to Rayden): Move over genius, you’re cramping my style.
[TURN] Rayden
Rayden: Skill [Acrobatics] [1d20+9 = 17]
The bear swipes at you as you tumble past.
GM: [1d20+7 = 23]
GM: [1d6+5 = 7]
The claws catch you offguard, they rake through your clothing and you can feel warm blood burst from the wounds as it roars angrily. (-7hp)
Rayden: [ATTACK] Switchblade [CRIT 19] [1d20+5 = 13]
Rayden: [DAMAGE] Sneak Attack [1d6 = 6]
Rayden: [DAMAGE] Switchblade [1d4 = 1]
The bear is now bleeding from multiple wounds, it looks badly injured and that only makes it more dangerous.
[GM] [TURN] Grizzly Bear
The bear lashes out with a paw at Rayden.
GM: [1d20+7 = 16]
The bear’s claws rake down upon Rayden.
GM: [1d6+5 = 6]
Rayden, the impact knocks you into the wall and you crumple. (-6hp you are negative hp now).
Darkstrom: or are you…
Darkstrom: 7+6
Darkstrom: 1hp left!
g3k (Rayden): awww yeah
The bear swings at Tobias as well.
GM: [1d20+7 = 8]
Tobias, you manage to step out of the way but as the bear claws Rayden it tries to grab him while snapping at you with its jaws.
GM: Claw [1d20+13 = 31]
GM: Grab [1d20+13 = 14]
Tobias, the bear’s jaws catch you.
GM: [1d6+5 = 7]
They clamp down on your shoulder, you can hear your body crunch and then it releases – its teeth stained with blood (-7hp).
[TURN] The Girl
Tobias Hastings: Augh! you ugly mongrel!!
Blair shouts, “Sir Tobias! I’m coming sir!”
Tobias Hastings: No! stay back!
The Girl mutters to herself and presses both hands forceful to Tobias’s back.
The Girl: 1 [1d81 = 5]
Lee (The Girl): lol heal 5
Tobias Hastings: we’ve thinned out, you can kill from there!
Blair retorts. “A knight never shirks from danger! And I can’t get a clear shot!”
Tobias Hastings: Thank you again my dear.
Rayden looks very badly injured.
[GM] [TURN] Blair Craddock
Tobias Hastings: Fine! get up here and kill this piece of trash
Blair drops his bow and with lightning speed pulls out his spear as he rushes forward.
He stabs at the bear with all the might of his young body.
GM: [1d20+2 = 12]
The spear sticks into the bear’s fur but doesn’t penetrate its hide.
Blair Craddock: Pholtus guide me!!! Damnable beast!
[TURN] Tobias Hastings
Tobias Hastings is spurred on by the support of the mysterious girl and presses on.
Tobias Hastings: [ATTACK] MW Falcata [CRIT 19] [1d20+5 = 11]
Your falcata barely misses the bear’s mighty head.
[TURN] Rayden
Rayden stabs at the beast as it’s slowing down in the neck
Rayden: [ATTACK] Switchblade [CRIT 19] (2) [1d207 = 16]
Rayden: [DAMAGE] Switchblade [1d4 = 2]
Rayden: [DAMAGE] Sneak Attack [1d6 = 6]
The bear roars and swipes at you as it swings widely in its frenzy.
[GM] [TURN] Grizzly Bear
The bear swings at Tobias and Rayden, its jaws snatch forward as well.
GM: Claw [1d20+7 = 18]
GM: Claw [1d20+7 = 9]
GM: Bite [1d20+3 = 10]
The bear swings at Tobias and its claws catch him as he tries to recover from his swing, the bear also swings at Rayden and then bites at him but both miss by millimeters.
GM: [1d6+5 = 7]
Tobias, another nasty swing nearly knocks you to the floor (-7hp) and the bear tries to grab hold of you and rip you apart.
GM: [1d20+13 = 28]
The bear is now grappling with TObias.
Darkstrom: oops, I take it back
Darkstrom: If I wanted it to grab with its body part and still be able to act normally with its other attacks it was -20 which missed
The bear is unable to pull Tobais into its grasp while still fending off the others.
It backs away, towards the corner.
[TURN] The Girl
The Girl ducks between Tobias and Blair to Rayden’s side. She presses an otherworldly hand on the mercenary.
The Girl: [1d8+1 = 6]
[GM] [TURN] Blair Craddock
Blair moves in to spear the bear again.
GM: [1d20+2 = 19]
The spear hits home.
GM: [1d8+1 = 8]
The spear disappears into the bear’s gut, the bear lets out a rumbling, groaning roar and then slumps down – its eyes begin glazing over and dies.
Tobias Hastings: Aw… kid got the kill shot.
Tobias Hastings: Way to steal all the fun
Blair grins widely. “Praise be to the Gods!”
Rayden: They had nothing to do with it
He looks at Tobias and Rayden filled with excitement but frowns at Rayden’s words.
Rayden: Any more beasties that we should know about, girl?
The bear burbles a death rattle as Blair yanks his spear out of its guts.
The Girl folds her wings which meld back into her cloak.
The Girl: There are spiders…anything beyond that I am unaware of.
The Girl: Though I should say this is a large keep and who knows what else lurks here.
Tobias Hastings: Well not to sound like a poor sport but i highly doubt we are in the best shape to continue on just yet.
Tobias Hastings: The think the girl has earned her reward. We can finish clearing this place out tomorrow
Rayden: Hardly, just wondering what else might be hding out here.
The Girl smiles to Tobias.
Blair Craddock nods. “I agree Sir Tobias, his Highness should know of the dangers.”
You get a better look of the chamber you are in. To your right (from entering from the courtyard) you see two statues set into the wall: One is of a beautiful woman with her hands outstretched and a bowl in them. The other is of a stern, righteous looking man – the perfect physical specimen.
Tobias Hastings: hmph. Typical arrogance
To your left there are stairs leading upwards and a broken door. A set of beautiful double doors is to your far right and the Golden Circle – emblem of the Conclave is embedded into each.

Editor’s note: The statues are of the Gods of the Conclave (the only gods legal to worship in Calithor: Pholtus and Geshtai).

Rayden: Perhaps we should head back to the ship and let the good prince know about what we’ve found
The Girl ‘s owl finds a low perch nearby to watch the group.
Tobias Hastings: Wow. a straight forward and smart idea from the stalker. who knew?
Blair Craddock: I’m ready, Sir Tobias.
Blair Craddock goes back out into the courtyard and collects his sword and bow.
Tobias Hastings wipes his blade on the bear’s fur and follows the boy.
Tobias Hastings: Then let’s go.
Blair Craddock: You never told us your name, Lady…?
The Girl smiles up at Blair “No, I never did.”
Blair Craddock: What is it then?
Blair Craddock: My name is Blair Craddock, Squire of the Realm in service to my father: Lord Protector Craddock.
The Girl: …So free with your name….
The Girl: I am sorry but I will not do the same.
Blair’s eyes narrow suspiciously.
Tobias Hastings: Not everyone is as trusting as you, kid. Let it go.
Tobias Hastings sheathes his sword and works his way out of the keep
Blair Craddock: Then what do we call you?
Rayden chuckles. “Ain’t that cute”
The Girl begins walking back to the courtyard. “What would you call me?”
Rayden takes out a pipe and a strikes a match, a strange smell starts filling up the room.
Blair Craddock looks thoughtful and suspicious. He follows Tobias along with the Girl, not responding.
Rayden follows the group, leisurely strolling behind
You make your way out of the keep and down the rocky hillside until you reach the cliffs above the cove. The Orion sits in the placid water and you can see the crew, the Lord Protector, and Prince Theodric on the deck. They all appear to be watching you. Supplies are stacked on the ship’s deck.
Prince Theodric calls out, “Who is the child?” As you approach the cliff.
The Girl the girl stares down at the boat
Tobias Hastings: I highly doubt she is actually a child, Prince. She wishes an audience
The Girl looks up with a knowing smile toward Tobias.
Tobias Hastings: And suffice to say I think she earned one.
The Lord Protector is suddenly there, in front of the prince – a hand on his sword. “What do you mean Sir Hastings?” His immensely muscled frame is surprisingly nimble for a middle-aged, muscular warrior.
Tobias Hastings: I mean, she helped your only son fell a grizzly
The Girl ‘s owl floats over head before lighting upon a rocky ledge.
The Prince watches the girl with curiousity. “Then she shall have an audience. Though your words are cryptic, Tobias.” To the Girl he says, “Come aboard and I shall grant you your audience.”
The Lord Protector appears unconvinced but does not contradict the prince.
The Girl turns to Tobias and states softly, “Thank you.”
Tobias Hastings smiles slightly and nods down to her.
Rayden: Skill [Climb] [1d20+5 = 12]
Tobias Hastings (whispering): Keep an eye on her kid.
Rayden, the climb is harder than it was coming up. You aren’t able to make any progress. Blair nods silently at Tobias’s words as he begins to climb down the cliff.
Tobias Hastings turns and picks his way down the cliff face back to the ship, leaving the others onthe ledge. (took a 10)
Blair takes his time, following Tobias’s lead (taking a 10.)
Rayden: Skill [Climb] [1d20+5 = 7]
GM: Rayden, you failed the climb check but not enough to fall ;) You may want to consider jumping and rolling. You’d have a better chance.
Rayden: Skill [Acrobatics] [1d20+9 = 18]
Rayden, giving up on trying to climb you just jump and roll gracefully to your feet with the barest coating of sand.
The Girl sits at the edge of the cliff, dangling her feet over the edge watching them descend. When the last has reached the ground she stands and releases wings once more while leaping and floating to the ground.
There is an uproar on the ship in response to the Girl’s more inhuman parts.
The Girl ‘s wings vanish as soon as she reaches the rocky bottom.
Captain Hem falls to his knees, his eyes wide and his big moustache shaking as he wails. The Lord Protector pushes the Prince backwards and draws his great sword, and Slim and Jim race off into the crew quarters.
Tobias Hastings: Whoa whoa. Back off Craddock
The Prince, for his credit, manages with just a gasp before being knocked back protectively by Lord Craddock.
Tobias Hastings: She is fine. Prince granted her an audience. She deserves one.
The Girl says nothing but watches the reaction with quiet amusement.
Lord Protector Craddock speaks in a threatening baritone. “The good gods locked away beings like them for our safety. Now you bring one to his Highness? No doubt it seeks to possess him!”
Tobias Hastings stands toe to toe with the Lord Protector, growling right back.
Darkstrom: The Lord Protector is slightly shorter than you but literally built like a tank. He’s middle-aged, 40s, and barrel-chested and muscular with dark body hair. He doesn’t look at all intimidated by you.
Tobias Hastings: The Prince needs every ally he can find. She just wants to talk. And I never agreed to it being an audience alone.
Tobias Hastings: I am not THAT stupid, SIRE.
Prince Theodric stands and says in a firm voice. “Enough. Lord Robert, Tobias is right. I will listen to what this… being… has to say. With my protectors, of course,” He looks at the Girl, “What is your name?”
The Girl meets his gaze. “That really depends on you.”
Lord Craddock steps back from his confrontation with Tobias at the Prince’s command.
Prince Theodric: I rather dislike cryptic statements, speak clearly.
The Girl: If it would suit you so, then I will speak…differently…but it changes nothing.
The Girl: I don’t offer a name except I may take one you offer.
The Girl: and also to say, that I hope you will call me friend and not enemy.
Prince Theodric: What reason would I have to trust a being such as yourself. What are you?
Rayden puffs heavily on the pipe, watching at the faces of crew members reacting to the smell
The Girl ‘s owl hoots high above.
The Girl: Older than old. A primal dream.
The Girl: One who offers guidance and fealty.
Prince Theodric: One of the Hidden? Those beings of air and magic banished from this world by the good Gods?
The Girl smiles with the mischief of the child’s face she wears.
Prince Theodric waits for the girl to answer. Then getting fed up he says, “You refuse to say?”
The Girl: It is sometimes difficult to answer to stories told from a side I am not familiar with. But I am learning.
The Girl: Yes, would be the most fitting answer…but I promise, “Hidden”, “air”, “Magic”, “good Gods”. Just words.
Prince Theodric: Why would you want to help us?
Tobias Hastings: Yes, that was my question. But she seems to only answer you directly.
The Prince has his arms crossed, his face serious and his brow furrowed with thought.
The Girl: Young Prince, you did not arrive here by accident. It was meant to be. I waited through the storm for you to arrive.
The Girl: I am here to offer you a deal that will benefit you and my kind as well.
The Girl: symbiosis. That is why I am here.
Prince Theodric looks at the girl for a moment, obviously uncertain.
Tobias Hastings bites his tongue, though obviously wanting to speak.
Prince Theodric: What would you offer? What do you want?
The Girl: You sleep in floating coffin while your enemy sleeps in your bed. Your men, strong men, fight bears and withered dogs for possession of nothing while the usurper sits in your castle.
The Girl: I offer, on behalf of the first people…
The Girl: my service -to see you placed squarely back upon the throne to lord over all the human lands…
The Girl: and in exchange you give up, for all time, certain lands that were not your ancestors’ to take.
The Prince clenches his jaw. He looks at Tobias, “You say she aided Blair against a bear. What help did she offer?”
Tobias Hastings: She has healing properties. But the power comes from within her, without the use of spell or incantation.
Prince Theodric: I must think more on this. What are these lands you wish me to cede?
The Girl: What you humans would call “The King’s Wood” and one other, “The Blackwood.”
The Girl: Once you are King, you relinquish both these places to the wild.
Prince Theodric: That’s it?
Prince Theodric: That’s all you ask?
The Girl laughs, a laugh far too adult.
The Girl: Do not take the request lightly. No human may safely tread there again.
The Girl: No part of it may be claimed by men.
The Girl: for all time.
Tobias Hastings: You do realize that the Prince will not live “for all time”
The Girl looks up at Tobias
The Girl: Yes, but just as I represent the old ones, he makes this bargain as representative of all humans.
Prince Theodric’s face grows somber and he looks at the deck. He appears deep in thought.
Tobias Hastings: So my question, if I may interrupt.
Prince Theodric nods for Tobias to continue.
Tobias Hastings: What is the penalty when the agreement is broken
The Girl: We of the old dream will hold all people to this bargain regardless of human ways.
Tobias Hastings: I say when, because humans are foolish and they forget.
Rayden: Hah
Rayden: Hahahahahahahahahahahaha
The Girl: Then it would be wise someone instructs your offspring.
Rayden: HAHAHAHahahaHAHahahaha
Rayden wipes a tear from his eye
The Girl grins at Rayden coyly.
Tobias Hastings: You have not answered the question.
Tobias Hastings: I asked the penalty
The Prince looks over at Rayden, annoyed.
The Girl looks seriously into Tobias’s eyes.
The Girl: “They will be subject to the whims of the first.”
The Girl: whatever those might be.
Prince Theodric: I will consider your offer.
Prince Theodric: The lands you ask for are well-used for logging. The King’s Wood, I would easily part. A private hunting reserve is not of such importance as the quality lumber pulled from the Blackwood.
Prince Theodric: Would you be willing to take just the King’s Wood?
The Girl smiles darkly. “No.”
The Prince looks troubled and stands thoughtfully for a long period before finally speaking again.
Prince Theodric: Very well. When I am King and the Crown of Calithor rests upon my brow I will grant your request.
Prince Theodric: Only then.
The Girl (puffs up happily): A bargain is struck.
The Girl: Then I will serve to ensure that day happens.
Tobias Hastings flips through his book, suddenly bored with the conversation.
Prince Theodric turns to Tobias and Lord Robert. “Lord Robert, would you please fetch my brother. He must be informed of our new ‘guest’. Tobias, I want you to stay with her at all times until I know we can trust her intentions.”
Tobias Hastings: As you wish, Your Highness.
Prince Theodric turns back to the girl. “You said if we need to call you something we must name you ourselves?”
The Girl reaches up to take Tobias’s hand still playing the small child.
The Girl: Yes, Prince, you must name me.
Prince Theodric nods then says to all of you. “What else is it you have found in the Keep? Is it safe for us to enter?”
Tobias Hastings: The outer courtyard yes. Clearing the rest of the keep will take time
Tobias Hastings: i would suggest a guard at the each gate until we have fully secured it.
Rayden: As well as a small cleaning detail, it’s not fit for living at all.
Rayden says in a mock tone of a pretentious person
Tobias Hastings: Obviously….
Prince Theodric (dryly): I’m sure you’ve lived in much worse.
Rayden (“grinning): slyly” If you only knew, sweet prince
Tobias Hastings laughs a little too loudly.
Prince Theodric: We will remain on the ship until you are certain the keep is safe. We are too few to risk attempting to make camp within its walls and with the Orion we can flee quickly if necessary.
Tobias Hastings: Fine. Allow me the rest of the day to rest and Blair and I will return tomorrow.
The Girl: I will accompany you of course.
Rayden: Likewise, I’m tired of bobbing around in the Blue
Tobias Hastings: Of course, Crow.
Prince Theodric nods at Tobias’ name for the girl. “As good a name as any. Crow. Come then, rest and thank you for your service.”
Crow: Crow is acceptable if it is to your liking.
Prince Theodric: Let us see if we can’t clean your wounds.
GM: We’ll end it here. Lord Robert descends into the hold to find Prince Ethan and you are free to rest. Though there is obviously no hammock for “Crow” if that’s what she’s being named.



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