Bravely brave Sir Keegan rode forth to kill a lot...

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Raina
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Unread postby Raina » Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:18 am

At the sound of Kestrel's voice, Shanti looked up. "My mind doesn't really seem to stop exactly. But I can pause... What did you want?"

Smiling, Shanti closes her book. Kestrel was a mystery to Shanti in many ways. First and foremost because she wasn't a natural inhabitant of Eberron, instead belonging to the fey wild. She had many many years under her belt compared to Shanti, and had so much knowledge she could impart. Shanti had been wanting to ask both Kestrel and her cousin all about their race and home lands. But the Eladren seemed content to keep their council to themselves. Still there was something about Kestrel that reminded Shanti of her brothers. She couldn't quite put her finger on it and yet it was still there.
I wonder what Kesterel could want?

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:31 am

Kestrel gave a restrained twitch of her head that was the ghost of a nod. Combined with a quirk of her eyebrow was... almost a smile. "Very well."

She crouched down on her heels next to the young halfling. She spoke quietly enough that the conversation was clearly between the two of them, but not so quietly that no one could eavesdrop. There was nothing to be ashamed of, even if Kestrel did not see the point in bombarding the young mage with unsolited advice. "Our last couple of battles were... difficult in a variety of ways, but most notably because our opponents were hardy and well-armored. We... all have different abilities, it is certain. But we... tend in a similar direction."

How to say this? Tommy and Kestrel stabbed things or shot them. Merlin slashed things or shot them. Crusher... crushed things. Ardam helped coordinate them, and Shanti seemed to be shooting things as well. It might be more useful if the girl did something different.

"I have worked with mages before, and while I am unfamiliar with your specific training, I am aware that there is some flexibility in the part a skilled caster may play in battle. While your assistance is valuable--" Kestrel had still not gotten used to the idea that valuable and invaluable supposedly meant the same thing in Common. "--I believe that perhaps you are... not expressing your full potential by following our lead and dealing out direct injury as we do."

That unfamiliarly long flood of words passed, and Kestrel halted herself to wait for a reply from the halfling before her.

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Raina
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Unread postby Raina » Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:38 am

Shanti's brow furrows. She looks as if she is trying to work out some very hard puzzle. She gives a hard sigh.
"Well... it used to be that magic was only in theory. I didn't learn the spells to hurt anyone. Combat and war were just something that took one of my brothers from me. But now everything has changed, and it IS fulfilling to use my spells for their intended purpose..." her voice trails off as she realizes that she is probably rambling and making little sense.
"What I am trying to say is that I haven't ever studied combat or combat theory and I just plain am inexperienced. Suggestions are welcome."

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:46 am

"War can be... difficult... for those left behind," Kestrel offered. It was the best she could do, seeing as she had little love for her own family and suspected they would grieve only publicly in the event that she fell on the battlefield. "And you seem to have... found your courage much faster than many good soldiers." It was important to praise the halfling so that she did not feel she was deficient. The best commanders could make their soldiers feel valued, even as they kept the pressure on to keep training and keep growing. They would see if Kestrel was up to such a test.

"However, you are not a soldier. You are not... limited as I or some others are. I... kill," she said simply but grimly, summing up her entire career and her entire place in the universe rather neatly with those two words.

"It is possible to for you to distinguish yourself by... other means, such as making spaces impassable or debilitating enemies in ways that do not necessarily make them bleed. Have you had any study in such things?"

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Raina
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Unread postby Raina » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:45 pm

Shanti looks momentarily confused. Wasn't that the point of battles, to make the enemy bleed before the enemy hurt you? But actually, Shanti does know what Kestrel means. Her eyes brighten.
"You might be surprised at how many spells there are that make people bleed. Or maybe not, if you've been around a lot of wizards. However, I think I may be able to retrain a different spell that might help do some of the things you describe." Her mind begins to work on the puzzle and she seems excited as if maybe this could work.
"not that it wouldn't do any damage, mind you. But it might help in making a door impassable. Yeah, this might work..." She pulls out a quill and begins to scrawl, already she is lost in thoughts and theories.

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:59 pm

As it turned out, offering the young intellectual a new puzzle had been a good move. The halfling was interested in making a contribution, advancing her own skills, and was willing to accept guidance in the arcane from a warrior who cast no magic.

No further conversation was necessary. Kestrel had conveyed information and Shanti had accepted it. Already the wizard was diving back into her writings as though Kestrel had never been there. With a rare and brief smile, the retired assassin considered herself dismissed.

This was going all right. These were good comrades, and even the two questionable ones--Merlin and Tommy--were proving their loyalty. Probably they were as surprised by this as Kestrel had been. Good comrades indeed, which was the best Kestrel could ask for from them. Given, it was not a particularly intimate relationship, but there was some trust involved, and despite her past--or perhaps because of it--Kestrel was willing to give that where it was due. Certainly it was a rare enough thing to be valued.

Kestrel walked over to a corner of the room, trying to keep as many of the entrances in her field of view as possible. Sinking down smoothly with her legs crossed comfortably, Kestrel took the longsword from her back and laid it on the floor next to her. She pulled out a sharpening stone and began running it down the length of her short sword. Too many well-armored adversaries would dull any weapon, and Kestrel intended to ensure hers stayed up to standard.

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Unread postby Pendragon » Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:52 am

Bodies in pit? Check.

ALL bodies in pit? Check. Well, all the inert ones.

Something to cover said pit? Ch . . . uhm, no.

"Raftifrapazoid!" Merlin muttered. "Anybody say any boards, or large heavy crates? Is there trap for this pit? Anyone?"

And while he looked from one to another of his group he observed Kestrel draw the wizard aside. He wondered, for a brief moment, which would influence the other more. Each could use something the other had in abundance - Shanti could use courage or, perhaps, indifference. Kestrel could use a little more wide-eyed innocence.

And he could use some help covering this pit.

"Crusher?"

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orbrover
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Unread postby orbrover » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:42 am

Crusher finally raises his head.

"I apologize for my silence. I was deep in thought. I am troubled by several things. First, I dislike picking myself up off the floor so much. I must learn to be a better fighter. Second, the darkness of creatures such as we have encountered - not to mention the darkness of those who created such creatures - stuns me. Also, I wish to worship my adopted god, Moradin, as Ardam worships and honors his in battle. I have much to learn.

Perhaps now, however, is not the time to ponder such things. We have much to do - much light to spread in this dark place, and others. With that in mind, I wish to not cover the pit, but to burn the bodies within and to say some words that will hopefully put their spirits to rest. I would then oblige your desire to cover the pit with whatever we could find, but denizens of this place surely know it exists.

Kestrel, I would welcome any suggestions you have for me as well. It is time we learn to act according to our strengths and be wary of our weaknesses. I have only so much scrap leather and oil with which to repair myself, after all."

Something akin to a smirk spreads across his face as Crusher rises.

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Unread postby DungeonMaster » Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:27 am

((There are two pits. One in the room you are in and one in the room to the east. They are both without hatches or lids or any kind. They are 10x10x20 deep with naught in them but dust and the occasional nonmonstorous spider.

Excellent rp all. Take an additional 100xp, everyone who has posted since my last post.))

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orbrover
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Unread postby orbrover » Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:23 pm

<<sweet>>

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TommyFlitfinger
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Unread postby TommyFlitfinger » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:05 pm

Tommy roused from a light sleep. He sat bolt upright. His head cocked to one side. He brought his finger to his lips in a requst for silence.

He listened for a second. He then motions with his hands bringing one in front of the other and repeating. Footfalls he is signing. He points down the dark corridor to the east beyond the second pit. He signs recon and just as quickly is gone down the corridor signaling don't follow i'll be back.

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Unread postby Pendragon » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:26 pm

Merlin scowls at the odd gestures from the little theif.

"It doesn't matter if the denizens of this place know of the pit! *I* don't want to . . . "

Then the meaning of Tommy's signs sank in. Footsteps?

Merlin drew his swords as he finished with, " . . . fall into either of them myself. Too many little tads fall into wells every year."

He decided to keep up the patter while he crept on light feet toward the door Tommy had used.

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Raina
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Unread postby Raina » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:30 pm

Shanti finishes retraining her spell. She looks up in triumph just in time to see Tommy's signals. Her eyes widen. "He's being useful after all. I didn't know if he really meant it or not..."
She strains her ears, but doesn't hear the footsteps that Tommy did.

Shanti's mind falls back on the first time she met Tommy. Such a "halfling rogue" He had tried to swindle them then, and she wondered if mere words were enough to be able to trust him now. After all, she hadn't heard anything... She shuts her spellbook and moves towards the door.

"I wonder what he's really up to. Can we trust him? How do we know he's being honest with us?" She directs her comments to the group in general, a worried look is on her face.

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Unread postby Pendragon » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:54 pm

Merlin scowls lightning at the halfing wizard, her words having fouled his planned ruse. He wanted whomever to think they weren't on to them! His shoulders sag, though, and his edges drop - swords included - because she hasn't learned to think tactically yet.

How could she? She didn't grow up in his family.

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Raina
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Unread postby Raina » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:03 pm

Shanti notices Merlin's disappointment. "I didn't mean to get in your way. It's just that Tommy worries me. I don't trust him. He SAYS he heard foot steps but..."

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Unread postby Kai » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:06 pm

Kestrel's sharpening stone made another long pass down her blade. At Crusher's request for her advice into his tactics she merely looked up to stare at him silently for a few moments before returning to her task. She had offered enough input for one night, and saw no reason why she should be directing the entire group when most of them did just fine on their own.

Then Tommy seemed to catch the sound of encroaching steps. She stayed where she was as instructed, and ran the stone down her blade again. If Tommy's goal was to investigate the presence of enemies without alerting them to Tommy's alert... it was best to make the same sounds she had been. Her weapon was sharp enough already that it did not make the horrible screech of a neglected blade, but still. To her elven ears it was loud enough.

Merlin went after Tommy, and Kestrel followed him with her eyes as she gave another long scrape with her sharpening stone.

"I'm sure he simply has to relieve himself, Shanti," Kestrel commented, shaking her head once sharply to signal silence. Another stroke with the stone. "He likely desires privacy more than our concern. Leave him be. He will return in his own time." Of course none of them believed any such thing, but she hoped the girl would take her hint.

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Unread postby Raina » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:12 pm

Shanti mentally chides herself for Kestrel having to give her the hint in the first place. She may be naive and unexperienced, but she isn't stupid Giving Kestrel a part knowing, part chastised look, she quietly moves away from the doorway while trying to listen for Tommy's return.

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Unread postby TommyFlitfinger » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:12 pm

You all hear a cough from behind and turn round to see Tommy has returned. In one hand he holds a hobgoblin head. Over his shoulders the decapitaded body is to be found.

He sluffs of his load which lands with a dull thud. His visage is grim. "There are about a dozen of these monsters down there each as large as the next" he reports. "Well equipped, trained and specialized. Shooters, Brawlers, Spellcasters, and a Bugbear commander the size of Sharn.

"If we do go further in, we are in for a real fight. One that we mightn't walk away from. Wouldn't it be best just to put as much space between us and the rift as possible?" he asks hopefully.

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Unread postby Raina » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:17 pm

Shanti turns with a start, a look of disgust on her face.
"How the hell did you get back in here carrying that without my seeing you? And why aren't they missing their buddy?"

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Unread postby Pendragon » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:20 pm

"That many, you say . . . "

Merlin looks at the group, man . . . and woman . . . to man. And woman.

"Sounds to me like useful information. Time for a little planning, says I."

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Unread postby Archmage » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:23 pm

Ardam rose quickly and clenched his left hand into a fist. "Never! We must not turn away from our task! We have sworn to prevent the return of Orcus to this plane, and while binding oaths aren't really the specialty of my goddess, I can't imagine she looks fondly on liars. I am no liar," Ardam continued, reaching for his blade, "and I will cut down any man, hobgoblin, or beast that stands between myself and preventing the oppressive rule of demonkind over this world!"

"The greatest evil," Ardam practically bellowed, "is when injustice persists and good men stand by and do nothing. And that's not going to happen, at least not as far as I'm concerned, no matter what the rest of you decide to do. I hope you back me, but if you don't have..." Ardam glanced at Tommy. "If you don't have the courage to risk your life for freedom, there will always be others who do."
Image

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Unread postby TommyFlitfinger » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:31 pm

Tommy listens to Ardams word, they hit him hard, and strangely. He looks down at his feet. "I wish I had your faith. I never really understood all this fight the good fight stuff."

"All I really know is there is a squad of trained killers down that hall bigger than this lump here, who in case you haven't noticed isn't exactly tiny. I won't run if you don't but I don't want to meet an untimely end because I had a sudden attack of conscience."

"So are we really decided, we are going after the fortune and glory, the stuff dreams are made of?"

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Unread postby Pendragon » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:34 pm

Merlin grumbled. "Thanks, Ardham, for yelling frenetically and spoiling any possibility of a surprise attack. You want to carry the day? Well - all right then, carry it we shall, but surprise makes the day easier to pick up.

Now KEEP YOUR VOICE DOWN!"

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Unread postby TommyFlitfinger » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:35 pm

"They aren't within earshot. Nearest one is 120 feet away, Merlin."

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Unread postby Pendragon » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:45 pm

" 'If you rely on deafness, you can be certain of echos.' " It's in the Ranger's Handbook," Merlin told Tommy.

"And if it wasn't, it will be."

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Unread postby Kai » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:46 pm

A faint frown flickered across Kestrel's angled elven features. Certainly Tommy had gathered valuable intelligence, and perhaps it would be best to rest further back from such a group. Kestrel did not particularly relish the idea of camping out within earshot of formidable enemies.

But leaving entirely was not acceptable.

Her expression of mixed concern and disapproval was swept away by another, less clear emotion when Ardam began his odd righteous rallying ramble. On the one hand, what a bizarre thing to do. No wonder people like him drew such attention to themselves. If Ardam went around yelling his ideals to the heavens his whole life, it would be a short one indeed.

People like Kestrel's old squad would find him quickly enough.

But... The realization came slowly and somewhat reluctantly, as if the thought itself resisted being formed. That doesn't make him wrong.

"You are not wrong to be anxious, Tommy," Kestrel replied slowly. "But even if we retreat to rest, we will return. And we will fight. Your assistance is a helpful thing, but I want no unwilling allies. Any here who wish to turn back and enjoy their remaining time in peace... I will not resent it. But I will not go with you."

She'd never really taken a stand on anything before. Not anything specific. Like a child finally learning the word "no," Kestrel was learning to tell the world what she intended, and that nothing would stop her. It felt good.

It might get her killed. In fact, it seemed certain to get her killed.

It still felt good.

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Unread postby orbrover » Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:40 am

Crusher sees and overhears his allies give and take. Not everything makes sense to him, of course. The nods and glances between Kestrel and the others seemed like a form of communication, too subtle and vague for Crusher to interpret. The Dwarves he spent the last few decades with were more direct in their communication - a trait that Crusher adopted and appreciated. Seeing Tommy return with such a shocking trinket certainly indicated that directness, and action, was the most appropriate (and comfortable) choice.

"By Moradin's Hammer, Tommy! Have you balls of basalt!? Alone you accomplished that? Impressive! I look forward to hearing that tale over a round of ale someday soon.

But, now, 120 feet is much too great a distance - let us close the gap between us and them, and then crush their foulness from our world forever. This 'rift' calls to us - to close it forever. The deities have brought us here for just that purpose - I can feel it - and I feel we will all be highly rewarded according to our wants and desires.

Merlin, my friend, beware holes in the ground! Haha!"

Readying his shield, swinging his hammer through the air (testing its balance), Crusher moves towards Tommy and stands next to him. "Tell me, brave Tommy, which foe shall feel Moradin's might first?"

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Unread postby Pendragon » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:15 pm

Lifting his eyes heavenward for Deific guidance and patience, Merlin clenched his teeth against fools.

"Which one, say you, Crusher? Which one? Do you think even a Dragon rushes heedless into combat with foes he knows aught about? PLAN! P. L. A. N. Or however you spell it in Dwarvish! I'm told even THEY understand the value of foreknowledge!"

Belatedly he received an infusion of Deific patience and, griting his teeth, he smiled balefully at Tommy. "Now, youg sir," he said, laying an arm across the halfling's shoulders. "Would you do us the courtesy and service of telling us *exactly* what you saw on your way to collect that trinket? And on your way back. Spare no detail, and whilst you tell, let those of us with wit in the matter begin to figure how best and quickest to deal with all you saw.

Even before I hear any of your telling, I'm going to urge we use stealth!""

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Unread postby TommyFlitfinger » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:54 pm

"I went down the hall there and saw that it led to the ancient barracks of the keep. Lower confined enlisted barracks to the north more spacious officers quarters to the south. The reason I heard footfells was they were marching in formation. Some kind of ceremony was taking place. I saw about a dozen Hobgoblins and one huge bugbear who was clearly the commander. They finally marched themselves in formation. Then this one was brought out in chains." Tommy says giving the beheaded corpse a kick. "It was clearly some sort of trial. It went on for a while but I couldn't understand the language. It ended with the bugbear ripping this ones armor off and beating him soundly and then tossing him down the corridor, nearly hitting me. This lump just laid there in the corridor howling with tears. The others went back to their respective rooms. After the crowd departed I was able to sneak up on this sorry beast and dispatch him to bring him back here."

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Unread postby Kai » Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:51 am

Kestrel folded her arms, standing still enough by habit that she hardly seemed to move the air when she breathed. Practiced though she was in giving few cues to her thoughts, the sudden end of all the normal tiny nonverbal signals was a signal in itself. To an informed observer it was as though Kestrel were frowning with every muscle in her body right down to her feet.

Tommy offered interesting intelligence, and Kestrel felt obligated to focus on it above all else. Trials indicated dissent in the ranks. Someone with authority to defend or standards to uphold. It meant that this someone was clearly not entirely successful. But that was information for a somewhat longer period of observation and interference. More than likely they were not here to subvert their enemies by means any more complex than a massacre. It was the habit of this group to simply kill whatever got in its way and have done with the matter.

Fair enough, and certainly not without its strategic merit. Carving a swath of death through the enemy ranks was effective and created a diversion in enemy concentration from their larger plans. Sadly this diversion came at the expense of those doing the distracting, as they were likely to be the first to fall so that others might survive.

This time, though, there were no others. There seemed to be no one within easy call who could pick up their mission if they fell. The hazards of a small unit. Briefly Kestrel missed the solid reassurance of a full army at her back, metaphorically if not always literally.

They could not afford to spend time and concentration doing this the careful way. Time was on the enemy's side. Curious as she was about the particular social fractures worth exploiting among their enemies, there simply would likely be no opportunity.

"Hn," she grunted, mostly to herself. "Suggests dissension in the ranks. He was made an example to someone. There may be disunity worth exploiting. Given the time."

Having said her piece, Kestrel shut her mouth. The others would either understand or they wouldn't. If the latter, it could perhaps be left to Kestrel herself. They'd had great success before with recruiting from the enemy's ranks when they learned that their demonic masters cared little for them. In return, Kestrel and her allies had spared them.

She spared a quick flick of a glance to the beaten and decapitated hobgoblin. He was a stranger, and on the wrong side of every line worth drawing. Her continuing stillness betrayed a displeasure she could not have articulated well to her companions. For the most part they were not soldiers. They couldn't understand.

For Kestrel, the honor of her word had been her personal standard of good. Breaking her commitments was the only evil she knew. Sometimes she was obligated to slay well-meaning men and women. Sometimes she was obligated to ignore injustices for the sake of maintaining the greater order. Sometimes she had hurt the people she loved for the sake of commitments and burdens to which she had been born.

To do otherwise would be evil as she knew it. So she'd done as she'd agreed, to be all that she knew of good.

So who was this one, then? What really placed him on the wrong side, if not ill-fated commitments? The previous underlings they had encountered had not as a rule seemed to hope for destruction, chaos, and death. They seemed to care little for the goals of their masters. They merely obeyed.

Tommy had done as he thought best to protect his allies. His first obligation was rightly to them, including Kestrel herself. However, one footsoldier to another could spare a moment to compare. Tommy had not been wrong. But this enemy had... perhaps not needed to die. Judged, beaten, rejected, and left to cry his last breaths in fear of both enemies and allies, this enemy had died poorly.

But such private moral conflicts could not be anything but short-lived. Let men like Ardam fret over right and wrong. Kestrel was just one soldier, and those questions were not her business.

"We should fall back to rest. Return later. Need to pace ourselves when numbers are against us."

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Raina
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Unread postby Raina » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:44 pm

Shanti listens to Tommy's tale. "did you ever think maybe you could have gotten information from him before you just..."

Shanti stops mid sentence. What's done is done and there is no point in even saying what she was about to say. She is not entirely able to shake her first impression of Tommy and yet, Shanti has to wonder what she would have done if a prisoner had been thrown at her as she hid in the hallway. Not a comfortable thought to ponder. She pushes it from her mind.

"At any rate, there is no point in running away now. I didn't go through all the battles we have fought in vain. I agree with Merlin. If the guys are as big as Tommy says, we need stealth and good planning. Surely there is some way to take these guys by surprise and be victorious. It is the best way to defeat them so that we can finally close this rift."

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Unread postby Pendragon » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:25 pm

Merlin is nodding when Shanti finishes. "I don't suppose anyone . . . " and here he is regarding Kestrel, " . . . can think of a way to exploit a schism quickly? Anyone able to pass as . . . " He looked with distaste at Tommy's trophy. " . . . one of those? Beasts, I mean, not severed heads.

"Because if someone could, he could get qat them and dismantie their cadre one body at a time, starting from the edge. Maybe."

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Unread postby DungeonMaster » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:14 pm

((I have rolled for random encounters and determined there are no random monsters to be encountered in any rooms you have already visited. You do know that a goblin ran away from your last fight with the intention of alerting the others to your presence. So those ahead of you must be expecting you to come forward and not go back.

Everyone take anothe 100 XP for role play.))

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:45 pm

The faith of her cousin was a strange thing, and Kestrel could never quite be sure she had it. Evidently he valued her opinion in these matters, but it was not quite the same thing. The woman was aware that her cousin looked upon her as the local expert in dividing those who ought to trust one another. It was quite likely he fancied himself the latest and greatest victim of her skill. So it was a grudging trust at best, and likely a temporary one.

"In case it were not obvious, attempting to impersonate our enemies is of little use without the ability to speak their language," she commented. It was the kind of totally mundane but utterly crucial thing that would be easy to overlook by someone like Merlin who did not presume that he would be the one on such a mission.

"Further, what I know of sensible siege strategy will not assist us here. A protracted battle is not in our favor because of numbers, and we do not have the available time to starve them out. Without a better idea of this structure even the possibility of burning them out is... not promising, unless for some reason it serves our purpose to merely drive them deeper into the structure. We must be quick and keep a line open for retreat in case we require time and space to regroup. If it becomes a protracted battle, attrition will favor our enemies."

She glanced over her shoulder. "I suggest we fall back to the room where we took refuge before. That is the nearest and most defensible location for us to gather our strength. We must take such opportunities when we get them. If there are any objections, I would like to hear them now. Otherwise we should discuss these things where it is more secure."

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Raina
Halfling or not, I still talk over your head!
 
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Unread postby Raina » Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:48 pm

Shanti sees the logic in what Kestrel is saying, and immediately begins to get ready to vacate this room. With almost reverent care, she gathers up any books and papers she has been studying.

"Falling back seems to be a good idea. Whatever our plans are, I am going to need to be sure my casting ability is at its fullest. This will necessitate sleep, and I would much rather sleep in a known secure location."

Wand at the ready, she securely cinches her pack and slings it over her shoulders.

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orbrover
Mr. Sunshine
 
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Unread postby orbrover » Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:47 am

<<I thought we were resting and, by now, had taken an extended rest. I guess we'll discuss it tonight and find out for sure.>>

Crusher hefts his hammer high into the air, mimicks a human stretching. Iron cords and leather sinews make quiet cracking noises at his joints.

"Planning. I know the word well, Merlin. I've lived eighty years with the Dwarves. D.W.A.R.V.E.S. We plan everything - where to dig, when to dig, how to build massive structures, *and* how to attack and defend. We are currently discussing our P.L.A.N. and I'm merely asking Tommy for his share of the information."

Crusher is unsure if his attempt to match the inflection Merlin had in his voice succeeded. He is less sure if his new companion will take this as the friendly banter Crusher intends it to be, or if Merlin will be offended. Dwarves bluster and chafe endlessly, but their friendships are rock solid and not soiled by insignifcant slights - usually just the opposite. All he can do is wait and see.

[see you all tonight! :^) ]

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