“So, we gonna put on masks or something this time?”
After a brief discussion, the answer to Gruum's question turns out to be "or what." Faustus spends the next few minutes free-climbing up the side of one of the nearby warehouses. Most of this time span really consists of the tall human's just running back and forth, jumping up and down as he tries to grab hold of the edge of the roof. He falls off on his first attempt, but on his second try, he actually manages to hoist himself up.
Shortly thereafter, a length of rope from Gruum's pack has been secured to the roof, knotted to provide handholds for Priss and Graveldick, and your motley crew of ne'er-do-wells is ready for action. It then turns out that "ready for action" is actually a synonym for "ready to sit and wait." Nearly two hours go by without event.
Cragar is the first to know when that changes; the dwarf hears a slight commotion in the street to the north of his chosen vantage point. He can't really see what's happening, but the sounds suggest the booted feet of a group of men, and there are clinks and scrapes of metal on metal.
A few seconds later, one burly guardsman, a bull-necked human man approaching his middle years, strolls into view and stations himself at the mouth of the alleyway opposite Cragar--he's clearly setting up to prevent someone from running away without being seen. He's wielding a guisarme or similar polearm.
Almost immediately thereafter, a loud male voice calls out, "Open in the Satrap's name!"
The demand is repeated a moment later, this time to the accompaniment of a loud rapping sound. Probably a stick, dagger pommel, or similar hard object against the warehouse's front door.
Very faintly, Cragar hears after this, "Break it down." From the crashing noises that follow, it sounds like the Satrap's Finest have brought along a portable ram. This development is loud enough that the gnomes on the roof of the next warehouse over have no trouble hearing it, either.
For the moment, the guard Cragar actually can see doesn't appear to know Crag is there. But he could look around at any minute.
Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold
The Satrap's guards ply their battering ram against the front door of the Whiteflower Building. It booms like a vast drum under the onslaught, and there are splintering noises. But for the moment, it holds.
Meanwhile, Cragar ambles up to the guard across the alleyway from him. He holds his shield in two hands in front of him with two of his daggers on clear display atop the shield. "Just two gold," Cragar says a bit too quietly. "Two gold for a little extra protection against the scum of the city."
The soldier's answer is immediate and profane: "Do I look like I have time for you? Fuck off before I put you under arrest for interfering with the Satrap's business, peddler!" He favors Cragar with an extremely unfriendly glare, his fingers tightening around the haft of his polearm.
Structures in purple have but a single story. Blue and orange structures have two stories.
The guards continue their work on the front door, although there's not much effect yet.
Initiative14 - Smugglers12 - Guards02 - Cragar
It is currently Cragar's turn.
The dwarf mumbles apologies to the guard sergeant he'd disturbed, and retreats about ten feet to the other side of the street from him, stowing his daggers once he gets there.
The guards do a little more work with the battering ram, and finally break the doors open with a crash that Fricka and Gravington have no trouble hearing. They drop the iron-shod length of timber, and retrieve their weapons instead. Cragar's placement in the street allows him to see all of this clearly. He doesn't have a good vantage point to see inside the Whiteflower Building, but one of the guards on the front door wears an officer's emblems, and since he shouts, "Throw down your weapons, or we'll use lethal force," the dwarf presumes that there's someone in there, and that they're unusually well-armed for people who're supposedly working in the lumber business.
Cragar shuffles backward, putting another ten feet or so of distance between himself and the action, and watches what's going on at the front door. His eyes are wide as dinner plates in an exaggerated expression of concern and dismay.
Round FourThe guards clustered at the front door go charging inside, and a moment later the clangs and shouts of battle are audible to Cragar from his position in the street outside.
Fricka and Gravington both are too far away to hear even such a loud noise, muffled as it is by the walls of the building. But they're definitely close enough to hear something that sounds like a door's creaking hinges from the next alleyway south of their position.
Initiative14 - Smugglers (Red)12 - Guards (Gray)09 - Gravington (Blue 4)05 - Fricka (Blue 3)02 - Cragar (Blue 1)
It is currently Gravington's turn.
Gravington perks up slightly as he hears the door open, but controls his excitement and holds still to let the situation develop a little more.
It is currently Fricka's turn.
Gravington is delaying.
Fricka moves (carefully) eastward along the edge of the roof, trying to put herself at a better vantage to warn the rest of the group if their quarry shows up.
Meanwhile, in aid of his ongoing performance as a hapless street vendor, Cragar freezes with a stupid look on his face.
The sounds of shouting and fighting from the smugglers and guards inside the lumber warehouse are a bit louder now in the ears of Fricka and Gravington. They're pretty sure they hear someone hurrying, not quite running, along the alleyway immediately south of their perch.
Gravington stays put for the moment, seeing no point in stirring himself up when he can't even see anything yet.
Fricka is a little more proactive, and stops at the corner of the building's roof, where she has a reasonably good vantage point to see down the alleyway all the way to the street, as well as to signal to Gravington if something interesting happens.
Cragar continues to lay it on thick with his wide-eyed street vendor routine, but at this point nobody's really paying attention to him. The sounds of fighting inside the warehouse are louder, and accompanied by angry shouts.
A human male bursts out of the alleyway between Fricka and Gravington's building and the Whiteflower Building, and into the one that discharges into the street near Cragar. Seeing that a burly, ill-tempered looking Guard sergeant is waiting there, he pelts down the alleyway in the opposite direction. The fugitive is wearing something that looks very much like a cheaply-made studded leather jack, which probably affords him a little protection without interfering much with his ability to move freely.
The guard immediately follows him, sticking a whistle in his mouth and blowing a shrill blast as he runs full-tilt after the fleeing man. Despite his much heavier coat of mail, he gets a respectable turn of speed. It's unlikely that he'll actually catch his man, but the frequent twists and turns of the alleyway will make it so that the guard can keep him in sight for a bit.
Fricka signals vigorously to Gravington that someone is coming. The gnome says nothing, makes no sign to Faustus or Gruum. But he readies himself to exert the powers of his mind.
Initiative14 - Smugglers (Red)13a - Fricka (Blue 3)13b - Gravington (Blue 4)12 - Guards (Gray)02 - Cragar (Blue 1)
Cragar pretends still to be in shock and awe, but sidles up close to the corner of a building, where he can peer down the alleyway and see that things are (so far) going more or less to plan.
The sounds of fighting are still going strong inside the warehouse, but nobody outside really seems to have time for that. The fugitive hurries around the corner, and into range of Gravington's psionic power, and the gnome exerts himself.
Immediately, the fleeing smuggler gives a cry of pain, more startled than agonized, and starts a nosebleed. He doesn't stop moving, though.
Initiative14 - Smugglers (Red)13a - Gravington (Blue 4)13b - Fricka (Blue 3)12 - Guards (Gray)02 - Cragar (Blue 1)
Fricka can't see Gravington's brainpower at work; to the gnome woman, her coworker is just sitting there with a weird look on his face. Hurriedly, she moves westward to try to give Gruum and Faustus SOME kind of visible alarm signal.
Meanwhile, she and Gravington can hear at least two guards running pell-mell down the alleyways nearby—indeed, one of them is blowing almost continuously on a whistle, and the noise alerts both Fautus and Gruum that SOMETHING is happening, and that it's coming closer pretty rapidly. Cragar can see that his grumpy sergeant is nearly to the bend in the alleyway.
Gruum stands there blocking the alley and casually leaning against his readied greatclub. He's tugged his cloak down to obscure some of his features, and puts some effort into looking at intimidating as he can.
The runaway smuggler looks up at the noise Fricka makes on the roof sees both her and Gravington, and blurts, "What the FUCK?" But he doesn't even break stride, hustling down the alley and turning the corner right below the two of them, where he sees Gruum looming ahead of him and mutters, "Shit." He continues onward, though, since Gruum is at least not visibly a member of the Satrap's Guard, and cuts west down a side alleyway . . . and sees Faustus. It's right about then that the penny drops.
Gravington doesn't have a line of sight on the fugitive anymore, and since the smuggler has already heard Fricka, Gravington doesn't want to risk that the Satrap's guard (whom he can't see, but can identify pretty easily because the whistle is standard procedure when they're chasing someone) will hear him moving—belatedly, the gnome realizes that he doesn't really have a totally innocuous explanation for why he's on someone else's rooftop. So he waits.
20 - Gruum (Blue 2)
14 - Smugglers (Red)
13a - Gravington (Blue 4)
13b - Fricka (Blue 3)
12 - Guards (Gray)
06 - Faustus (Blue 5)
02 - Cragar (Blue 1)
Cragar and Gravington are delaying.
"Time to let the talls do their part," whispers Fricka to Gravington as she moves back from the edge of the roof to avoid potentially getting seen. She moves back from the edge and prepares herself to bolt westward if she has reason to decide the gnomes have been discovered by the authorities.
It is currently Faustus's turn.
Fricka has readied an action.
Cragar continues to wait and watch, as has been his general pattern of behavior so far in this operation.
It is currently Gruum's turn.
Fricka has readied an action.Faustus has readied an action.
Gruum trots down the alleyway and ducks around the corner to come in behind the runner, boxing him in. The only escape now is through him or Faustus.
The fleeing smuggler seems to be on the same page, and he's motivated to try hard, so he sets his shoulder down and prepares to bull his way straight through Faustus.
The disgraced university student kicks once as the fellow comes into the outer extreme of his range, but misses, and quickly recovers to try again with a hook into the oncoming thug's midsection—again, to no avail. And then they collide, and Faustus braces himself. In the end, the runaway smuggler is on the ground, on his back, and Faustus is standing over him.
20 - Gruum (Blue 2)
14a - Smugglers (Red)
14b - Faustus (Blue 5)
13a - Gravington (Blue 4)
13b - Fricka (Blue 3)
12 - Guards (Gray)
02 - Cragar (Blue 1)
Cragar is delaying.
Smuggler #1 is prone.
Gravington swings down from the roof, and calls out loudly. "Why, you were running from the lawful authorities. I demand that you remain here until they can apprehend you."
Fricka was ready to move if it looked like she and Gravington were about to be discovered by the authorities. She may not have expected Gravington's Errol Flynn impression, but it's indisputably true that discovery is now imminent. She heads west as quickly as she can.
Meanwhile, the guard in the alleyway hurries in pursuit of the fleeing smuggler, rattling down the alleyway to pull up behind Gruum with his guisarme in hand. "Oi, what's all this, then?"
Immediately, Gravington replies to the guard, "This man appears to be a fugitive. He ran right into us as we were taking a shortcut to the Cartwright's. Not his lucky day!"
The guard's skepticism is pretty evident, though—the rope Gravington swung down on is right there, still swaying vigorously in plain view. You can all practically hear him thinking, "Quite a shortcut."
Out in front of the warehouse, Cragar goes on with his "wide-eyed street vendor" routine, although at this point there's really nobody to observe him anymore.
Back in the alleyway, Gruum turns to face the guard, "We's-a-just mindin' our own business and this guy comes a-runnin' through the alley like he's up to no good. Don't know these other fella's but it looks like just a group of concerned citizen's is all." Gruum nods toward the fleeing man, "You lookin' for this guy? Want me to help make sure he don't try to pull nothing and comes on quiet like with you? Always glad to do my civic duty and all." Gruum does his best to look like the upstanding citizen that he is not.
The smuggler, meanwhile, has landed on his back on the slightly muddy floor of the alley. Irritably, he asserts, "What'm I supposed to have done, then? I was minding my own business until this jackass," he points at Faustus, "decided the alleyway belonged to him and I wasn't to pass. You should arrest him!" Wisely, he doesn't try to get up, sparing himself the potential discomfort and embarrassment of getting kicked in the teeth by the aforementioned jackass.
Faust looks at the guard plainly and says, "This man came running fast as he could down the alley way. We heard the guards' whistles. I was standing here, and seemed the least I could do was help the guard catch him. I haven't hurt him in any way." Faust holds his hands out to his sides to show he isn't even carrying a weapon.
The guard looks extremely skeptical of Faustus's claims, although everything the big human has said thus far is factually true. But then again, Faustus's just-the-facts approach is laboring uphill under the burden of Gruum's "we were all down this alley for totally unrelated reasons, minding our own business and being strangers together" and Gravington's shortcut to the cartwright's shop that somehow necessitates climbing around on a roof.
It's probably going to take some fast talking to get him to come around before he loses his patience with you entirely.
"You are a most discerning and intelligent officer. It was unwise of me to try to mislead you. The real truth is that we were advised of your operation and wanted to see the action go down. We weren't trying to get in your way, but things went sideways. Fortunately you were quick enough to salvage this operation," Gravington tells the guard sergeant, in a conciliatory tone of voice.
Gruum's head feels a little funny when the gnome talks, as the orc senses a bizarre mental sensation, almost like he hears jingling bells—even though his ears are sure that there aren't any bells to jingle.
Fricka does her best to be stealthy as she creeps westward across the roof of the warehouse. Her best isn't especially good, though; Gravington may have put the whammy onto whatever passes for this guard sergeant's brains, but he didn't do anything to the fellow's ears.
"How'd you know we were making a rai—" the burly human begins, breaking off before he finishes as the sound of Fricka's movement alerts him that someone's still on the roof. "Someone's up there."
Gruum shrugs, mostly ignoring the guards statement, "So, you want me to just let 'm keep goin'?" Gesturing toward the supposed smuggler, he moves as if he is going to unblock the passage for the man to run through and grumbles, "Though you wanted this guy to stop is all. But if you're just inspectin' roofs and all I'll let 'm go."
The runaway smuggler pants, "Maybe they're burglarizing the place. Could be your lot had the wrong address all this time, eh? You ought to arrest this lot and let me go." He makes no move to get up, probably reasoning that if he tries, Gruum's going to hurt him.
Faustus crosses his arms across his chest and scowls down at the smuggler, but refrains from doing anything nastier, like kicking him in the face. For now.
Faustus has readied an action to trip Smuggler #1 if he stands up.
"Now that you have the one who ran out of the warehouse, I would suggest it is better for everyone if we get out of your way and let you attend to your duty. You're likely to get a promotion for bringing him in single-handedly, you know." Gravington gives a knowing wink.
The guard looks dubious over the idea of a promotion, but glances back over his shoulder and mutters, "Yeah, the lieutenant's a stickler for paperwork. Specially when it isn't him who's got to write it. Alright, get the fuck out of sight. If he sees you, it's out of my hands."