< CY 9163, Month 10, Day 20 >
Xarharan Nii Says to the group that night that is time to save the folk of Braddon Bog. Since his recapturing of the loot caravan from Braddon Bog and bringing it safely to the camp of Baron Robert Wheglin, he has been waiting for an opportunity to return its contents to the townsfolk. Gide and Geri put pressure on the Baron to remind him of his vow to protect the town and library. He grudgingly swears to draw some troops away – but it will take a several days to put logistics together to send troops, armaments, and supplies. Separating out the towns and the library’s loot, you leave with the town loot ahead of Taqwill – who is cataloging everything from the library again as the Umbakians made off with the list in their advance guard to Bergen (and he is worried once they figure out what may be in there, they will come back for it!). The Baron’s troops will travel with the library supplied a week or two behind you – waiting for the cataloging to be complete and supplies to arrive.
You load up everything in 4 wagons and pack for a light trip – all the lowlands are under the control of the champion Sir Robert Wheglin now so it should be safe. The trip itself is surprisingly uneventful. The roads are empty what with the civil war going on, but you pass a few peddlars who ask that you bring news of the road’s safety when you return – trade must flow. The wagon’s progress is slow though – especially with the rains and fall weather, and many times you sweat through what appeared to be a perfect ambush spot… but alas, the Lowland Council and Sir Robert have truly won a total victory and no marauders menace you. You do manage to use nearly all the spare wheels in getting the wagon along the muddy roads – more suited to the peddlers than merchants in the bad weather. Cold, tired, and sore it takes you 4 days to make what is normally a 1 day journey.
The Gallant’s New Motto
[Geri] We need a great slogan or war cry. Can anyone think of a good one? i’m going off the idea we are mercenaries here… not tied to a specific place even if we are hitched (temporarily) to a cause by pay or circumstance)… how about “For Brothers and Glory”?
[Gide] “Together We Stand!”?
[Geri] What, nothing from anyone else? Its got to basically be about unity – we see ourselves as one and the only ultimate authority. No gods, no nation, no group or institution can break our vows to each other.
[Relb] To offend one of us, is to offend us all…? “Always be Prepared”, “Faith and Fortitude”?
[Gide] [Gide] I’m partial to “To offend one of us, is to offend us all…” but it’s a bit more confrontational and might put us in a light that says we’d rather fight than get the job done.
“Together we stand” says we work as a team but we fight as a team too.
[Geri] To offend one of us, is to offend us all – I prefer short and sweet, but its good. Always be Prepared – it sounds like a motto, not like a rallying cry – Faith and Fortitude – no thanks on the faith part.
[Chalan] Rather than together we stand, what about together we live, or thrive?
[Geri] To me, that sounds kinda like a formal family motto or strange name for a play. I’m still sticking with Fidelity ’tll death. OR Fidelity unto death – even better.
[Relb] You Fuck with them, you Fuck with me…Ya’Bitch-Ass, Snitch-Ass Cunts! Unto death of course… What, not the tone you’re looking for??? What about, “Shepards of the weak, in the Valley of Death”?
[Geri] I say, “fuck the weak, its them or us… i’ll take them”
[Xar] I’m still going with slurp my backside….
[Geri] Well, we can always not have one.. i was trying to tie the group together a little more. Sounds like deep down Xar and I struggles to give a hoot, but were trying.
The Gallants decide on “Fidelity Unto Death”.
Items Taken from the Dream-Sending
[Geri] Well,since we’ve not been able to decide what to do with them items from the dream sending of Anwin amongst us officers, i’m brining it up as a company issue. Here’s what we know:
6 dark cycle books – a collection of mystical treatise and ceremonies drawing on power from the shadow lands. In short, they are what you’re average peasant might refer to as “bad”. Ring of some black polished stone. We know it impairs healing and causes wounds to hurt more, but it also draws upon chaos and changes the wearer; something random. Books: makes it easier to learn orienteering and geography for those just starting Book: History of ring making, including religious icons and witches tokens Scrolls: Fab Thallium; strips of flesh said to be demon hide – may be fake? Book: History of Gwinn – great reference material Book: Orrish Primer – easier to learn Egg: ??? Scorpion man egg? Poison? I know that now is not the most opportune time to be discussing this, but its gotta get decided some time.
[Geri] I’ll flat out say that the the Books of the Dark Cycle and Fab Thallium interest me. The chaos ring does not, its too random and the known bad effects are too much for me. The orienteering and geography books are great for beginners; i have no interest. The ring making is interesting, but there does not seem to hold much there for me. Gwinnish history – maybe with Taer’s new perspective, such knowledges may interest him. The Orrish primer is quality stuff, someone who does not have the skill can learn it quick. The egg… i have no clue.
[Taer] Hmmm I would be interested reading about Gwinnish history. Maybe we can find something we can use against them if needed in the future.
[Relb] If we’re dealing with the Orrish this winter, that primer book might be handy in trying to work with them. I’m curious about the ring too? I’m not excited about the side effects but, depending on the change it causes? It may prove useful to us, if it was found to be useful in my profesion. I ain’t big on pain etc. but, it could be put to use if we need too, as I am not afraid to try it…?
[Geri] Well, i won’t prevent Relb or anyone trying the ring on… remember it impairs your healing and can cause harm as well – we know this. However, i would prefer it if it was done in safety – away from settled areas; i don’t want any fallout coming back to hurt our reputation. As for Taer studying about Gwinn, i say thats a good idea – having someone else who is willing to study subjects and store knowledge can only benefit us… this way your sources of knowledge are not concentrated in one person. So thats the Books of the Dark Cycle, ring and the library on Gwinn. Any other claims? To clarify – There’s no way to know what the chaos effect will be…
thats the drawback is, its random.
[Relb] So it’s either good or bad…is it perminent? Like Xar’s cursed ring or, is the effect only while worn? How bad is it going to be? Sounds like a it’s going to change him, like transform him? Does attempting to put it to good use out weigh the benefits, if any? So far my healing will suck, it’s going to hurt as well as make pain hurt more and, it’s connection to chaos is going to change me in someway randomly? Would doing this endanger the group, me or, go
against the tenets of the faith of Fiogala? I don’t mind asking Taer for guidance. I might be able to draw out the poison from the egg and use it as well. I doubt anyone would want it? Since no one might otherwise use it other then Xar.
[Geri] We do not even know what it is though.
[Taer] Its not either good or bad in itself. Yes it is permanent, it will transform you somehow. None of us can know what it does… there is nothing obvious in the tenets of the faith to prohibit it, as i understand it.
[Relb] Then I don’t mind trying it. I dislike the draw backs but, curious enough of the outcome to try it
[Chalan] I can tell you that I’ve been tempted to put that ring on since we first discovered what it would do. Chaos may have the potential to do great harm… but the reverse is true as well, and I’m honestly scared of whats to come in the adventures ahead. I’d much rather risk that ring killing me now rather than having it sit around when it might hold enough of an edge to save our asses later. Better die by your own choice than some one elses I guess..
The Chaos Ring
<aside> [Chalan] I’ll volunteer to try the ring. I’m new here and losing me wont effect the group much if it comes down to it.
The group discusses the ring and items brought out of the dream-world where Anwin sent them.
[Geri] The ring will impede healing and cause damage. This we know for sure as an effect. Though its power seems endless – if it causes chaos effects, it already caused on on the man-scorpion we took it from and if its still working, it may work multiple times – though only person can wear it afterwards. Sounds like Gide will have to arbitrate.
Xar eyes the ring nervously, his natural curiosity edging him on. However, his recent experience with the order of Gloombringer has ultimately cured him and he leaves it be, though asks what the drawbacks were again. Gide rolls his eyes hopelessly and puts his hands in the air.
[Relb] Shit, I was just volunteering but, if Chalan wants to try it or, Xar is curious enough, let them have it. I don’t want to muck up my healing anyway. I am curious but, if others want to try then, be my guest. I have no interest in the books we got from the dream sending, though maybe using the Orrish primer would be useful. I don’t want to quibble over the ring or be greedy, just flexible and a team player. I am willing to throw my name in the hat with the other two for the ring but, not enough to fight over it… even if it does end up being really cool. I can take a pass if it helps settle the issue quicker? Not sure how quick Xar’s going to be to take a chance on another ring that’s going to screw up his healing but, it’s his WPR check.
[Xar] I may be curious, but i am not stupid
[Gide] I’ll have to decide who gets first rights. Relb and Chalan are both claiming interest in using it. Geri insists you remove all but your underclothes, lay a weapon and shield next to you. Away from fields or burnable areas (rock) and settled places, place the ring on your finger with the rest of the group about 30m away. This is a seniority issue. I don’t rememeber Xar mentioning wanting to use the ring, just you and Chalan. If you pass, you pass. No sweat. Your hat was in the ring so you have first shot otherwise.
[Geri] We know its going to make healing more difficult. This chaos feature it grants will be permanent. I am against this experiment, and let me say i think its dangerous. Afterwards, I will mana sense you until I am sure no foreign influences exist. I should be able to tell you what has changed as well, if the effect is not obvious. If anything goes wrong, the group will fight to subdue ring wearer; to kill if anything else appears.
[Gide] I think we should have it destroyed. Not a fan of Chaos. But to support the group and as long as Geri’s precautions are followed and the “user” pays for any damages ensued from any need of the party to save their butts he will concide to the experiments. That being said, since two of our party wish to try the ring and Relb has senority he can try it on first and can decide if he wants to keep it. Good luck suckers!
Relb – The First Experiment
[Relb] Fine, if I have sinority then I’ll give it a whirl. Alright lets find a good spot away from everything and everyone so, we don’t scar the shit out of people more then we already do normally. If I go mad, please subdue me quickly…I don’t want anyone else getting hurt
by me or this ring if this turns out badly. Only in Dunstrand…I must be crazy but, lets hope for the best.
> Relb pray’s to Fiogala but as I’m not recognized by her yet all I can do is hope I’ll survive and be o.k. Think like a fox, think like a fox, think like a fox… “Tricksteer Goddess Fiogala, I know you know not of me but, I bore witness to my dear friend Taer’s transformation
and rebirth by your hand and design. I am humbled by what I saw that day and, feel indebted to you for his life and, new path. I wish to help support him down this new road as I too shall follow your tenets. I pary that you my guide this Ring bore of Chaos as I too will now
undergo a transformation of some kind. I know not if it is possible but, I pray that you hear my lonely words in this valley, alone with a distant hope that perhaps you my listen to one fool such as I. You may be my only hope as the trickster goddess that if you can fool death for my friend Taer, that you may be able to trick Chaos to bend in my favor as I wish to better serve you and, my fellow Gallants, my truest friends, companions and, your new hand, Taer. If I truly am lucky as time has shone again and again then may my luck hold true that this message is received in your ears and, are moved to my aid for, I diserve it not but, by your hand perhaps one day I will…In Fiogala’s name, the Fox, the Trister Goddess’s name, please hear my
call through your vessel Taer as my friend, commanding officer, your new hand, follower and, as my guide to you…my Goddess, my protector of yout kits and, foxes alike I pray to thee.”
Taer looks on, saying not a word, having no holy symbol on which to focus. After the prayer, he will stripe down to loin cloth and, move to our chosen spot. He will seek one in the light of the moon in a clearing, where it’s light may shine on him. He will want to have collected fresh
running river water and dirt from the clearing, and gather rocks to form a fire pit and, wood to start a fire. He builds it next to a central rock in the clearing and, sit atop it stone. He will set his sword and shield aside the fire so it’s glow will shine and reflect the light of the flames and the moon so they may be visable to him from where he sits legs crossed. On the rock before him, pour a mound of dirt making a crater, place three small rocks in the center of it forming a triangle, pour water in the crater on the rocks in it’s center, then place branches and twigs on the rocks and, form a triangle og those as well. Take the Cerimonial Dagger(sharp), from Baron Balif Thindle and, cuts his palm and, the finger in which the ring will be placed let the blood flow into the water, stone, earth on the rock where I sit and, then take the blade and stick it in the flames until hot. Then cauterize the wound on my palm but, keep the finger as is…place the srine in the waterpool and, then after the prayor to Fiogala, place the ring onto the appropriate finger after blood has been rubbed onto it’s surface completely. Pray for luck, pray to Fiogala, pay this thing doesn’t kill him so that I may better serve the Gallants, Taer
and Fiogala and, pray to all the elements now combined before me mixed with my blood and, to the Chaos I now willingly bring upon myself and, that the universe may be kind to such a fool as he to take such a leap of faith and, count on my luck and, a godess I’ve never met to see me through this ordeal.
Relb puts on the ring. The area around you heats up. Steam begins to rise from their body and you feel the pain reflected in their eyes as it courses through them, stifling their screams. Soon you cannot see them and the area around you cannot be seen through the steam pouring off their body. The victim yells, sounding muffled, and accompanied by strange noises. You cannot get near from the heat, which curls your hair from a distance. The wearer drops in a heap to the ground and the heat dissipates. As they roll over onto their back, you are transfixed by the change. A massive jaw with tusks protruding up has become part of the wearer’s physical body. Strange half-words come from them, as they realize the ability to speak has been impeded. The rest of them seems unchanged, though they look… younger. Aside from these outward changes, none other are apparent on Relb.
[Geri] The ring itself has changed afterwards, but not diminished in power. This means that both of you may be able to use it to trigger the chaos feature, though only one (obviously) can gain the advantages from wearing it.
[Relb] I do not recommend this to be tried by anyone else but, if they wish, I’ll let them try but, I’ll be keeping the ring now that I’m a freak with big ass teeth! Anyone got a problem with me keeping it? Does some other fool want to try it? Think I’m going to need a face mask and, Familiarity with these things.
[Geri] whoa!!!! holy shit! what!? what are you trying to say!? I can’t understand what you are trying to say. I think he said he wants Xar to try it! Maybe he said “chalan” – i’m not sure. Who else wants to try it? Hey, i’ll do it if you will! hahaha… damn, sorry Relb.
[Gide] Pfa! disgusting. Well, you’ll not be the one sent to town to scout things.
Chalan’s Chaos Feature
[Gide] Who knows? Maybe Chalan will grow a scaley tail and be real ladies man amongst the Lizardman folk.
[Chalan] Hell I was the first to volunteer and Geri told me not to. Honestly that doesn’t seem bad to me, it may even be helpful in some of my… individual problems. Lets do this: MUTATION AHOY!
[Relb] You crazy! I was dumb. Here you go…hope you have better luck but, I’m keeping the ring.
[Xar] Xar shakes his head and says something under his breath in elvish… (idiots….)
The area around you heats up. Steam begins to rise from their body and you feel the pain reflected in their eyes as it courses through them, stifling their screams. Soon you cannot see them and the area around you cannot be seen through the steam pouring off their body. The victim yells, sounding muffled, and accompanied by strange noises. You cannot get near from the heat, which curls your hair from a distance. The wearer drops in a heap to the ground and the heat dissipates. As they roll over onto their back, you are transfixed by the change. A tentacle protrudes from the left side and back of Chalan! The tentacle is small, about 1m+, ugly grey.. it could at best hold a knife. Clothes and armor will need to be modified.
[Relb] Ha! Shit…thought my tusks were bad! Man! O.k. Now that we’ve been fucked pretty good, what else can this thing do…since I’m keeping it? Any other takers? or, do we have enough freaks for Gide to deal with?
[Xar] wow. I thought I was a freak. welcome to the club boys!!!
[Relb] Couple steps forward…a few back, ah Gide???!
[Gide] If any more of you goof-balls want to try the ring I’lm going to disband Gide Gallants and start up Gide’s Circus and Freakshow. We’ll make buckets of coin! <under> we’ll never be able to show our faces in the light of day again……. because we’ll scare babies!
[Relb] Well, not sure it was worth the tusks and public shame but, I will be wearing a mask unless I need to bite someone. I should learn to fight with them… might as well know how to use these suckers, hell may prove useful one day…at least he’s always armed now. I promise not to mess with Magic’s again unless I know what the heck it’s going to do for real…sorry Gide (he says with much effort). Yes I am keeping the ring! After that, there’s no way he’s not going to keep it. Besides, I got a few good ideas for this thing…heheheha!
[Gide] Relb, you sound like a drunk the morning after: “if you make the pain go away, I’ll never drink again!”
[Xar] been there… done that…
[Geri] Xar, Gide, Taer… whats happened to these idiots? We got three weak links now – drains on our healing. I’m finding it tough to care about these new-comers. I feel the ripples of chaos disturbing a peace we forged early on… i’m struggling here Gide, not to vent hard on these pea-brains.
[Relb] It wasn’t the effect I was expecting but, it’s not the worst of the effects I’m sure, nor the best but, then again…it’s chaos. Now I know what to expect from this thing I can put it to good use and, chance the chaos re-roll as a maybe or last ditch effort. As far as the tusks go, it sucks but, at least I can hide them when needed. Talking is going to suck. Biting is cool. Masks are cool, not to be trusted but, better then scaring people…unless that’s my intent. And, they’re better then a 4 ft. tenticle coming out my side…that’s just creepy. Maybe the Gwinnish will worship you as a creature/product of Elincil? Worked for Morgent, hahaha!
[Geri] Masks would be a good idea in those settings though. It depends on the situation… you may be just as likely to have people want to kill you than be afraid of you to the point of
submitting. Certainly it wont go over well to show it in the open, so a mask is a good idea. Of course that will make talking even more difficult. I would say the healing and wound effects are pretty bad, bad enough to deter anyone else. Its not like theres a total screw job… but i dont think its worth it. Thanks anyway, i’ll stick to the Books of the Dark Cycle (which she is reading as you travel as well… she’s looking a little more pale by the 4th day when you arrive).
[Relb] Yep, it’s bad enough that I don’t think I’m going to make Gide suffer any more of us freaks so, I won’t let anyone else even try…it’s to risky. Geri, what’s happening you…I obviously shouldn’t play with things I don’t understand, like magic but, watching you get pale from reading books is strange in itself. You’re not becoming Possessed like that other evil ass book are you? Look at me…I really don’t understand the whole magic thing but, I remember
the last book we got from Anwin and, though these may be from that Dream sending, they still should instill caution and pause. If you don’t mind sharing the basics of what you’re studying so that whatever is happening to you makes sense as to why? Why is it that you are getting paler the longer you read those books? What ever it is, it isn’t natural…? What the hell am I talking about, I’m learning how to Bite people with these damned tusks…sorry if I bothered you Geri. I just want to make sure you’re o.k. too. Don’t want it to go by unnoticed, unasked and, I’m only concerned about your health… the rest? Well I’d trust you’d confide in Gide if something was truly wrong?
[Geri] Hmmmm… “instill caution and pause” – like it did you? If you can imagine you trying to explain what it is to be human to an ant, such is myself explaining the ways of magic to yourself. What i can say is its dark, evil, nefarious, and powerful. Gladly will i pay the
price for such knowledge. Like you, i believe the benefits of what i am doing outweigh the risk. Plus its really action packed – good character and plot, i give it 4 out of 5 bronze stars. hahahahaha
[Relb] Look, I know I don’t got the mind for reasoning that you do and, that you always seek power…I get that, always have. Hell don’t even mind that about you and, admire your drive for knowledge but, is it so wrong to ask of your wellbeing and, state of mind sinse the last
time you sought forbiden knowledge? You got pretty frightning, even for us misfits before that priest expelled that influences of that evil tomb of Anwin’s. I know you’re gaining some kind of power out of all this and, that you’ll use it…you always do but, to say that you seem more unnatural, pale and darker would be an understatement. If you say your fine then o.k. but, there’s reasons for that knowledge to be outlawed. I wouldn’t stop you from learning it even if I could but, do be careful with those Dark Arts Geri…they may paint us in an even more unfavorable light then we already have, including the two freaks of nature that Chaos Ring made out of Chalan and I. We all have shit on our plates, lets not try to eat it anymore then we have
too. I doubt House Malor will be happy you’re learning this either, that Red Cloak fella and, the other Mage hunters didn’t like you already so, don’t get caught o.k. Personally, I got no business in what your doing or, what you’re learning. I don’t care if it’s dark or what have you as, I’m no saint. We kill people and take there shit, merc’s, hired hitman and, sometimes no better then assassins as we use their tactics as well. I took a chance on this ring and, now
I’m a freak so, be careful is all I’m saying. To our Brotherhood first, Fidelity unto Death…lets just make sure it’s theirs, not ours.
[Geri] By the shaved snatch of Ezrilus! Wonk, wonk, wonk! You sound like a mother! You lost me after “power”… you’ve too much wind in ye. I don’t come and kick the spatula outta your hand at “McMutton-King”, don’t tell me how to do my job. <grin>
[Relb] Cunt’n Whiskey Geri…can’t no one be a friend to you once in a while and give a shit. I ain’t telling you shit except to be careful for your sake and ours by not getting us all killed for you studies. Besides, I think Ezrilus wouldn’t want a carpet muncher like me in that nappy-dugout of a clam shell, more akin to Chalan’s new squidly-didly arm! Hell, he’s got 4’ of the thing! should be able to shuck that oster and find that clit in her pus-ladden half-shell…hahaha! Shit! Think I just shot a boog out my nose!
[Geri] Gawsh Relb, i guess aint no one ever cared for me the way you do. Lets get hitched, mom will just love you. Moonlit nights on the swamp, possum gruel, and holding hands while we search for hidden treasure. gulp It all sounds so romantic. Take me away from all this power, money and fame – i just aint cut out for it. <grin>
[Relb] You’re to funny Geri…<tusky-grin> Yeah, I’m a throw back looking cracker-ass. You wouldn’t have me anyway and, you hate the swamp so, don’t even try to get with this sexiness! I’m not even saying not to learn that shit, not like you’d listen anyway. <sticks> If our enemies know that stuff, then I’m glad you’re learning it so, maybe you can counter it when we face some mage that tries to kill us and, we will…that’s just a matter of time.
[Xar] mmmmm… possum gruel my favorite…
Gregore’s Chaos Feature
[Gregore] I can’t decide if you are all crazy or just apathetic. Do none of you care about the rest of the world’s perception of you? … Course not. Its all and only about the company! A group of outcasts already, what’s a couple tusks or a tentacle anyways? So in an attempt to fit in with Gide’s medly of minions, and a rash urge for risktaking, Gregore will request an opportunity to try on this ring!
A few more mutters, but no one outright says no. Gregore dons the ring! The area around you heats up. Steam begins to rise from their body and you feel the pain reflected in their eyes as it courses through them, stifling their screams. Soon you cannot see them and the area around you cannot be seen through the steam pouring off their body. The victim yells, sounding muffled, and accompanied by strange noises. You cannot get near from the heat, which curls your hair from a distance. The wearer drops in a heap to the ground and the heat dissipates. As they roll over onto their back, you are transfixed by the change. Skin grows hard and cracked; red oozing rifts appear randomly on the body and weep clear puss.
<gide> What?!!!!!! I’m surrounded by crazies! You know the tales by the bards where all the freaky people think and act normally and it’s the “normal” looking guy that’s the most bent? That eats babies and castrates cattle? Is that what you guys want? You want mercenary? You want Evil? I’m concerned that the body count might be going up soon…. you guys are making me nuts. and it won’t be caused by no fucking Chaos ring. I need a drink.
[Relb] Hey, I was taking one for the team. I have regrets sure, hell I got tusks! Once I turned freakshow I warned you guys not to chance the ring, for Gide’s sanity if for nothing else. The risk was high and, chaos has proven itself it’s own master. Chelan was crazy to follow, over eager even. Now there were the two of us freaks…if that wasn’t bad enough, now there are three of us, with the red skined oozy Gregore added to the mix, poor Gide has to deal with the fallout of our dumb-asses. How the fuck is he going to explain that three of his men, Defenders of the Low-Lands are now a company of freaks? Shit, I don’t blame him for getting shit-faced! We’ll be lucky if he even wants to keep us on. Who the hell is going to hire us if we can’t go out in public and blend in??? I’m sorry for my part in this but, these two crazy shits…well that’s just stupid of us.
Gide and Geri – Private Conversation
[Gide] Geri, how are you feeling? You’re starting to look a little rough. When we first got together I asked each of us to tell me what you can do, what your specialty is. Time goes on. We change. What I’m asking you is what are you learning in your studies? You know I’ve got your back but you’ve had problems before with your research. I’m not saying no to anything you do but for the group, hell for me, I need to know what you’re getting into. I know I won’t understand the details but I know you can make me understand.
[Geri] Its dark sir, very dark. The last book of forbidden knowledge (which i will remind you i read because Relb was proding us to) has given me some defense against suck works. The dark cycle books will drain me of some life energy, of that there will be no doubt, though they will also grant some crucial knowledge of spell craft and summoning. In short, sir, its worth it. I will lose some of my physical hardiness, but I desperately need some spells to contribute more to combat situations. If it all works out, and my mind stays strong, i will also be able to call forth a minor shadow being from that plane of existence. There is a logical path at work here… a cost to be paid and benefits to be gained. Look what this ring has done though, see the chaos it sews. Relb, like Cage, has broken the chain of command. If you can count on me for anything sir, its to obey that chain. If you tell me to stop, i will. If you tell me to hold off until we can discover more, i will – i offer that as a way of not directing everything towards Relb and making him feel ‘picked on’ (thats difficult for me sir, i feel like busting him in the chops for his insolence). But it only works if that chain is wielded in an ordered, logical manner. We must all obey it. Relb has just stepped back in and decided he can do whatever he wants. You must chastise him – not just put him in his place, but punish him so we all know there are consequences… or it will be like an old woman giving a petulant child a slap on the wrist and everyone will start stepping out of line. In the army, he would be flogged – a half dozen lashes. I leave it to you to decide, but if you go soft, everyone will see it as weakness.
[Gide] I’ve got serious reservations about this Geri… i don’t mind study, but i’m going to have to insist that before you attempt any hocus-pocus, you inform be and seek the safety of at least one of us while you do it.
[Geri] Understood. Also, i don’t know how else to say it, so i am going to just say it… I need a live captive to sacrifice. I guess need is a strong word, i can get by without it, but i’ll have a lot better bargaining position. I’m thinking Umbakian when we reach there. And a backup – Xar’s the only one with magical aptitude and i ask that he be made my official apprentice.
[Gide] I’ll consider – what may be involved in this? You’ve got House Malor to deal with, and i insist that be done before any further steps in your or an apprentices arrangements are made. I’ll give you until the late winter or early spring at best – its that or you will have to leave, because i wont let you endanger everyone else. And you need to take care of it on your own… if you need a loan or anything, we’ll arrange it, but a cost YOU must bear. You owe Taer big time, this will go towards paying that debt.
[Geri] Fair enough, that patience a plenty… it had to happen eventually. In regards to Relb and the ring, he’s being awful possessive without any say so from yourself. I say give him shit duty for a month. Its only gonna hurt us to take the extreme route and lash him… and it means in between main encounters, he’s out of the action – cleaning horses, gear, etc. – thats worse to him than lashes. Leave it to me and i’ll assign him the worst duties that our gimpy servant does, sir! Lets not forget about that too – Willup’s illegal mine and/or smelting operation. With all our money gone to the church of Fiongala, maybe we can replentish there.
[Gide] Ahhh Willup, yes. After we’ve taken care of the Umbakian threat and secured Berithor fighting a 2 front campaign, i promise we’ll turn towards that.
Revolt in the Ranks
[Geri] El-tee, you say the word and the ring is history. I will say that i never heard you explicitly prohibit further uses… but i’ll make it go away if you need it to. Despite some observations that we’re all banded together as freaks, i prefer not to have that be the
way we are thought of. As long as it stays, some may be tempted. Others may ask questions or look into whats happened – and this sort of things we’ll not be able to hide forever. Three members now have used the ring, and they will put an undue pressure on our healing abilities and supplies… for what? Live with that constant reminder, or order us to be rid of its presence.
[Relb] Nope, I’m keeping this bitch of a ring but, I will not allow any further uses. I’ll hide the bitch if needed and, I have tusks as a constant reminder about playing with shit we don’t understand, thanks anyhow. I won’t deny that I thought about putting it on Gide as he
layed there passed out…yes, I was tempted but, no more. The ring stays with me and, I’ll put these chompers to use on the next one among us that wants to try this ring. You know I’ll do it. I guarded that hellish tomb that Geri read in a dungeon for months. I will let no other try it. I may put it to use, in my own special way but, no one else is testing this ring!
[Geri] Really!? So, now you are in charge? I’ll give one chance for Gide to prove he’s in charge and cull this, or else. I can’t believe he actually admits to contemplating putting it on you in your sleep! Step up or step aside, sir <turns>.
[Relb] Only a little but, I volunteered to be the first to try it, the other two are just crazy to follow and, I’d never do that to Gide or any of the other Gallants…that not o.k. and only slightly funny as a joke but, dying afterwards from the backlash for doing so, far out weighted any real danger to him from me. I can’t speak for the other two yahoo’s.
[Geri] That was no joke the way it was spoken, buried in the heart of a serious dispute – don’t try and cover your tracks now. And both you and Chalan expressed interest in the ring at the same time, he just came to me privately first.
[Gide] <severely> By the Maker, what am I going to do with you guys? We pay to have a shiny ring identified. We’re TOLD that it’s Chaos, it is certain to harm us in one way or another and you can’t leave it alone. Relb, it’s bad enough that you tried it. I understand hope. But the rest of you? How many times do you have to be bit in the ass to leave the dog alone? Relb, you’re not keeping the ring. As long as we have possession one of you ass-holes is going to want to use it. And don’t give me this “I tried it first it’s mine” shit. Geri, I need to know the best way to dispose of this item. White Sisters, the guild that you sort of belong to, whatever. I just needs to be gone. If we can cash in on any value it has so much the better. Gods know that it’ll take a pile of coin to even try to remove any of the crap effects it’s had on you morons. Three times, Three times one of you though that magic could make you better even though you knew it would harm you too. Good outweighs the bad?: Bullshit. We are fantastic as a group. Not because one of us is the biggest bad-ass but because we work together. As a group we’ve started to make a difference in the Kingdom! Not just a tribe or a town but the Kingdom. Are we totally successful? No. Are we making a difference? Absolutely! The pretty things and the magic that we occasionally aquire in our journeys allow us to do more but do they really help more then they they hurt us? Magic hasn’t done all that much for us. What has? Each other. We kick ass as a team. Diedre’s brother? He hates us. Why? Because we keep fucking up his plans. What kind of power, men and money does he have? Plenty. What do we have? Not as much as he does but we still trip him up. Not any one of us but all of us….. Which is probably why we’ll need to stay together to stay alive. Bottom line: We are Gide’s Gallants. It’s each of us as individuals, working as a team, taking care of each other, that makes us a threat to our enemies not the trinkets and magical baubles that we find along the way. Don’t cut off your nose in the hopes it will grow back better than it was. We’re great as we are. We’ll get better together.
[Geri] Well spoken… sir! As corporal, i hereby order Relb to surrender the ring. The ring will be held by the El-tee until we can get rid of it completely. I suggest perhaps our contact in Karolak – Paul Dorn, of the Order of the Stone Hand. I propose we exchange it for future services.. we can have Taqwill send it through his channels to not arouse suspicion. I also request Relb be punished for his insubordination and breaking the chain of command.
Arrival at Braddon Bog
Along the road you passed only a lone traveler coming from Braddon Bog who said its in miserable spirits. The lack of movement can be attributed to the rain, which has not let up in days. At least people are moving, a testament to the job the Baron has done in making the roads safe again. The wagon’s progress is slow though, and many times you sweat through what appeared to be a perfect ambush spot… but alas, the Lowland Council and Sir Robert have truly own a victory and no marauders menace you. Ahead is the NE rise that marks the high ground which leads to Braddon Bog. Its raining so hard you can barely see in front of you. There is no one in the fields, as expected in this season, and you can smell peat moss burning from the fireplaces. As you rest the rise, you look down into Braddon Bog and there is a heaviness that comes over you. This place has seen much violence in its time, and it hangs in the air like a fog. Speaking of which, a fog is moving in behind you, almost pushing you into the town. A few of the townsfolk come out to see the passage of such a huge caravan.. but they regard you with blank faces and downcast eyes – hope has fled this place.
Geri orders the “freak team” to circle around to the other road out of town and capture anyone who attempts to leave. Its 2 hours till sun down, but with the black rain clouds it almost feels like night already. The rain is coming down in sheets, soaking everyone to the bone. After a half hour wait, the wagons are plied out of the mud and a weary group of PC’s make their way to the heart of the village. At the fringes everyone can smell and see some of the peat fires, and soon the light from the Inn is visible. a lookout shouts as you approach and a few young boys scramble from the dryness of the stable and begin to help you unhitch the horses and stow the wagons. Dogs begin to bark and the Innkeep comes out, following an excited stable hand pointing at you. Its a rare sight the you’ve seen such dour faces, but as a few patrons and townsfolk gather you can see everyone of them has a dark cast. Though when you tell them who you are and why you have come their faces are alight with joy and hope. A few dozen people have gathered by the time the old mayor arrives. Your team on the other side of town arrives too, reporting no contacts. You explain to the mayor that you are returning the goods taken from the people, and he begins to cry. “You have come to return what we once posessed, but do you bring the cure to what afflicts us!? These goods – clothes, money, food, they are all well and good, but i fear you are now accursed with us! You should flee, save yourselves if you can and abandon this place. For if you do not, you will surely die with us.”