Chapter 1: Harvest (IC)

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Talanall
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Chapter 1: Harvest (IC)

Dawn, 2 Imogen, 973 IR
Outer Bailey, Grimilon Keep
Zeno, Enteria

Having presented yourselves to the guards on duty at the main gate of the keep, you've been allowed inside the outer bailey, and directed to a relatively out-of-the-way spot, on the opposite side of the yard from the castle's blacksmith and stables where it will be difficult for you to get yourself set on fire or trampled to death. Despite the early hour, the castle is already awake and buzzing with activity, although the Master of Horse for the stronghold, whom you are supposed to meet concerning mercenary work, is nowhere in evidence.

While you cool your heels awaiting his attention, you have time to size each other up. The most striking so far is a black elf—he's literally so dark that you'd lose him down a well if he closed his eyes, with skin like coal and dreadlocked hair of the deepest possible shade of blue-black. His eyes show like blue ice against this background, and he has somehow been tattooed with white ink, lending him an entirely otherworldly air. He's armed with a spear, and near him you can see a short bow and various other personal effects.

Somewhat overshadowed by the elf, two . . . things. Scaly, humanoid in shape . . . kobolds?!? One of them is two feet tall if he's an inch, mottled grey and brown, and clad in a tiny little suit of mail and a cloak. The little creature's hands are compulsively busy with a set of tools, but it seems unarmed despite the armor. On the other hand . . . those claws of look substantial.

The other kobold is much taller, which is to say that it stands somewhat shy of three feet tall. This one's scales look a bit ragged, and that's to say nothing of mishmash of leather and nobles' silks that swath its body, or the bands of yellow cord that it's wearing in place of jewelry . . . or the . . . are those SPRINGS it's wearing as rings, set with colored glass "gems?"

Less exotic, there's a dwarf in scale mail with an enormous axe and a shield leaning against his legs. Well, probably it's a he; the chest-length beard suggests masculinity. He looks like his nose has been broken at some point in the past, and there's a sour expression plastered across his face, like maybe he's stepped in dog shit and has just started to notice the smell. Not a cheerful look at all.

And another dwarf, though not obviously associated with the first. This one's a woman. Probably. At least, her hair is up in a bun, and there's no beard, and she's more . . . woman-shaped than the first. Although that's admittedly no challenge whatsoever. She's wearing studded leather or brigantine armor, there's a short sword at her hip, and a morningstar looped at her belt as well, and there's a truly stuffed backpack propped against the wall near her, along with a bow and a halberd. Obviously, she believes in being prepared.

Then there's the hobo. Or maybe a runaway wizard's apprentice? It's hard to be sure even of his race, although the luminous green eyes would suggest elven heritage of some description. Regardless of his species, his robes are stained, and patched here and there with what looks like sailcloth. And it looks like he probably trimmed his own hair with a knife, just enough to keep it out of his eyes in the front. A second glance shows that he doesn't stand like a hunched derelict, though; he may look like he weighs as much as a petite human woman, but his hands are knobbed and callused like a sailor's, and his hair, a deep blonde at the roots, is bleached white from exposure to sun.

Not far from him, there's a rangy-looking, mustachioed human draped in hide armor, with sensible travelers' garments under that. He's lightly armed with a club and a wooden shield, but they both look businesslike. Alone among your fellowship-to-be, this man has acquired a pack animal; he clutches the reins of a rabbit-eared mule in one hand. Not far from his heels, a large dog—or is that a wolf—with gray and cream fur lounges.

Last but not least (and actually, the first to arrive) there's a positively enormous human male. He's easily six and a half feet tall, and he must tip the scales at more than 300 pounds. He's dark-haired, and has the old-young face that often settles onto young people who've come up from poverty and have worries beyond their years to give them premature lines around the eyes and mouth. He's got a short sword strapped to his hip, looking more like a knife due to his sheer size, and there's a crossbow slung next to the backpack across his shoulders. A hint of steel at his neck suggests the presence of a chain shirt under his jacket and cloak.

Edited by: Talanall on 02/03/2017 - 15:53
Talanall
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Shortly after the last of you joins the cluster of would-be mercenaries, the castle's smith starts up. Under the noise of his ringing anvil, it should be easy to talk without being overheard by anyone who isn't in your part of the bailey.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

With the first ring of the anvil, Rasnak jumps with a look of panic. Reflexively he zips back behind the large human, moving in the blink of an eye with serpentine grace. As the anvil sounds again, he realizes the source of the noise and breathes a sign of relief. He looks up sheepishly at the large human that he jumped behind for cover. "Usshhhh, ssssorry."

Obsidian_Spoon
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Having spent next to no time in a castle, Vexandi is quietly absorbed in watching the hustle and bustle of human life, examining the stonework of the wall, listening to the noise of the castle. He is also quite interested in the two kobolds, watching them move and fidget. He's contemplating the dwarves; how they stand, the scour of the male. His gaze passes over the giant, almost focusing on him, for Vex has never seen anyone so large. The last two members of the group receive the same treatment of quiet observation and notice. His gaze never exactly focuses on anything in particular, but he is watching and listening to everything.

MinusInnocence
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Rory considers the fortifications, confused at first upon hearing the first of the humans near the gate refer to the structure as a "castle" or even a "keep." But maybe this is what passes for a stronghold this far south in the woods, and those who live here could certainly do much worse. The restless dead, and worse, that lurk just beyond the treeline would have a difficult time scaling the walls or forcing the gate en masse.

She leans on her halberd, considering the rag-tag group before her. It would be safe to assume they are only here this early in the morning for the same reason she is, by the manner of their dress and gear. In particular she watches the enormous human and the other dwarf, studying how they carry their weight and what she can discern about the quality of their gear. Careful not to be caught staring, she occasionally turns to regard the kobolds and the rest of the party.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Dafyd
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Leland appears reasonably content inside the bailey of the castle, though his attention seems mostly focused on the mule and wolf that accompany him. He briefly looks over the rest of the band assembled together, lingering a moment on the pair of kobolds. His eyes flash briefly in amusement, but he otherwise contentedly minds his own business. The clang of the smith's hammer cause both mule and wolf to startle a bit; he murmurs to the wolf in a strange tongue, but to the mule, he says soothingly in the common language, "Easy, Horace. You don't want to make an ass of yourself already, do you? We want to make a good first impression!"

Cronono
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The brown and black Kobold steps forward. His right foreclaws tap against their complement from the opposing hand and yield a satisfying echo of bone against bone. The impossibly fragile "jewelry" he wears on each digit somehow manages to survive the repeated impacts of talon against talon. In Common with a slight Draconic accent, he yips:

"I am Vandersrike, known as Lord by the humans of Zeno. My tribe has suffered greatly yet endures. I intend to come to terms with Maeric Dorn and expunge the predations of the cartels from this territory. Despite the soft flesh of many of you, I am intrigued at the possibility of forming a single bargaining unit with which to ensnare additional restitution for the impending labors to be performed as mercenaries at the direction of Lady Grimilon. Such a bargaining unit would also, of course, serve to minimize the associated risk to its members from such endeavor requested by the principle to our action."

He turns his head to judge the reaction of the brown-grey kobold. Vandersrike concludes:

"In short, if you are interested in the benefits of collusive bargaining power, I would entreat you. If such an arrangement does not meet your standards of conduct, you need but sneer."

Straightening his back slightly, he attempts to make eye contact with each of the assembled.

MinusInnocence
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"I'm Rory. Thanks, but no thanks, Lord Vandersrike. I'm more interested in the work than the pay, but agreeing not to disclose that to our employer is about as far as I will collude with you."

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Arkenian
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Evrinel looks at the kobold like he has seen many odd things and a kobold isn't really on his list. He says in a rough voice, "Where I am from, if you make a deal with farmer-folk it is either honorable and honored, or one of the parties ends up dead. It generally discourages them from bothering us with trivialities." The sneer in 'farmer folk' is quite distinct. He pauses then, as if just thinking of something, and adds, in more pleasant tones that somehow sound practiced, "A pleasure to meet you, Vanderstrike, Rory," nodding to each in turn, "I am Evrinel."

Fixxxer
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Johten does not laugh at the small, fearful kobold's reaction so much as he expels air from his nose at a slightly faster than usual rate. He considers the others and his surroundings, taking it all in coolly. The way he keeps occasionally looking around, he might be looking for someone. Or he might just be bored. "Anyone got a deck of cards?" he asks, probably rhetorically.

Dafyd
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Somewhat sympathetic in his tone, Leland reflects to the kobold, "Your bargaining posture is highly dubious, my Lord," but he adds, "We would do well to wait until we hear what our gracious hosts have to say, and perhaps our colleagues here will reconsider." Suddenly realizing that he's talked to a kobold, a horse, and a wolf without introducing himself, he reddens slightly and wonders, "Where are my manners? You'd think I was raised in the woods. Hpmh!" Gesturing to the mule with his free hand, he begins, "Here we have Horace," and gesturing to the she-wolf, he adds, "And this is Raksha." The druid appears relatively content with himself for a few seconds, then appears to remember something. "Ah. And I am Leland. At your service." He bows once.

Talanall
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Even as Vandersrike's attempt at collective bargaining falls through the floor, a group of creatures, each of them nearly as tall as the big human, comes strolling into the bailey from outside. They're accompanied by a somewhat wild-eyed guard, who stammers, "I'll just, ah, tell the Master of Horse that you're here," and then slips inside the keep.

In doing so, he leaves all of you pretty much alone with the dozen or so muscular, orange-skinned humanoids. The smallest of them, an Amazonian-looking female, seems to be the leader, although "small" is very much a relative term. She is tall enough to look your enormous card-playing companion in the eyes. Oddly enough, she seems to recognize him, and flashes a grin at the big man, displaying prominent canine teeth in the process. A set of very plain stud earrings gleams dully in the morning light: one each of copper, bronze, and iron. A well-stuffed backpack rides on her shoulders, with an unstrung bow strapped to one side, and she has a substantial wood and leather shield on her left arm. Her right hand grips a short-hafted spear, maybe four and a half feet long, nearly a quarter of which is taken up by the broad, leaf-shaped iron point of the weapon. She wears a gleaming vest of chain mail over a short-sleeved shirt and knee pants, and a steel skullcap. Oddly enough, she also is barefoot.

Her entourage is impassive, by comparison to their leader. Like her, they are armed with shields and those nasty looking spears, but theirs are strapped onto the harnesses of their backpacks. Most of them are armored with brigandine instead of chain, as well, but like their leader, they are barefoot.

"Good morning, Joe!" She . . . well, 'booms' would be the wrong word, because her voice is quite feminine, if oddly accented. But she's effusive in her greeting, and switches her spear over to her left hand as walks over to the man-mountain. Offering her newly-freed right hand for him to clasp, she jokes, "Signing your life away as a soldier, hah? Us, too, it looks like!"

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Obsidian_Spoon
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Having to redefine his definition of "largest humanoid ever seen", Vexandi studies the newcomers with somewhat more noticeable interest. While doing so, he speaks to those of the group he has been waiting with. His common speech is thick with accent, and resonates with deep, musical notes akin to some large, metal wind chimes. "I am named Vexandi Iwu. I was raised in the woods."

Fixxxer
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"Well, a man's gotta eat, after all," says Johten, clearly pleased to see the hobgoblin company. "Good morning, Mbali," he says as he takes her offered hand.

Talanall
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Vexandi's approach starts up a low mutter of surprise and interest among the hobgoblins, as they mutter and click to each other. Evidently they've never seen a black elf before, either.

Their leader shakes Johten's hand, and then strides over to offer a handclasp to Vexandi, "Good morning, Vexandi Iwu! My name is Mbali, and these are the Nkonkoni."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Obsidian_Spoon
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Grinning, because he thoroughly is enjoying all this newness and excitement, Vex accepts the hand and greeting. "What a beginning to this day."

Darker

Rasnak, having left the huge Johten's shadow, still glances nervously around, especially with the addition of the hobgoblins. "Usshhh, Hello. I'm Rassssnak," he says part to Johten, part to the others gathering. Unlike the other kobold, his Draconic accent is much heavier, possibly accentuated by his obvious nervous mood.

Talanall
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Vexandi gets his hand clamped in a hard, callused grip that briefly makes him think blood might spurt from the tips of his fingers. Mbali may be cheerful, but she also is strong. The hobgoblin leader gives his hand a couple of firm shakes, and then lets go.

As she lets go, the guard returns, and hurries back out to the gate. On his heels, a tall, imposing half-orc in a quilted gambeson and leather breeches emerges from the castle. A fine-looking warhammer rides at his belt, and an ornate golden chain of office shines at his throat.

Without any fanfare, he walks over, and speaks, pitching his voice to carry, "Alright, your attention please. I am Maeric Dorn, the Marchioness's Master of Horse. I presume all of you are here with regard to the recent announcement for mercenary work. If not, you are in the wrong place and I advise you to leave immediately."

He waits for a moment, sees nobody is moving, and continues, "Very well. I will discuss the details of the contract momentarily. First, let's clarify who I'm dealing with. I take it that you hobs are together?"

"Correct. I speak for the band." Mbali answers him, suddenly all business.

"Very well," Dorn replies, inclining his head, and then turning his attention to the motley assortment of other prospects, including you. Finally, he asks, "The rest of you are singletons? Anyone else here working together?"

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Dafyd
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Leland nods at the group of hobgoblins and greets their apparent leader, "Welcome, welcome." He asks, "You'll be joining us, as well?" His voice sounds good-natured and genuinely curious.

Fixxxer
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Johten shakes his head no. "On my own," he confirms.

Darker

Rasnak follows Johten's lead and nods in agreement. "Yessss, yessss... ssssinglton."

deadDMwalking
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"Me and this kobold here work as a team," Henrik explains, pointing at Vandersrike. Whether it was because he was afraid of being excluded with the hobgoblin band available or he liked the idea of collective bargaining he had no chance to explain.

Dafyd
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Surveying his future companions a moment, Leland replies to Maeric, "We three are with my Lord Vandersrike, as well." He indicates himself, Horace the mule, and Raksha the wolf. To the kobold, he queries cheerfully, if such a thing is possible, in Draconic, "That brings us to five, does it not?"

MinusInnocence
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"I'm alone." Rory makes a brief mental inventory of the hobgoblins' weaponry but after that, gives the Master of Horse her full attention. She leaves her halberd and bow in a pile with her backpack on the ground behind her and stands with her feet apart in what would be a wide stance for any non-dwarf, and her arms clasped behind her back.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

deadDMwalking
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Henrik eyes Rory. "Lassie, if you be alone still tonight, you're welcome to join me for company. I don't bite." Henrik waves vaguely at the assemblage. "Maybe the only one." Henrik tries a friendly smile, but it comes across as a somewhat creepy leer.

MinusInnocence
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"Now we know what happened to your nose," Rory replies, still facing forward.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Dafyd wrote:
To the kobold, he queries cheerfully, if such a thing is possible, in Draconic, "That brings us to five, does it not?"

Vandersrike responds quietly in Draconic: "Seven."

Looking back up to the Master of Horse, the Little Lord reverts to his slightly accented common-yipping: "My tribe is quite accepting. Our tribe is assembled and prepared to discuss your needs."

Obsidian_Spoon
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"I, too, have arrived alone." Vex steps back to his original place by the wall and waits for the Master of Horse to say more.

Talanall
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Dorn doesn't wait for Evrinel to speak, since the half-elf is, by process of elimination, by himself. Instead, he addresses the entire group, "Bleak banyan fig orchards have been located in an isolated region of this march. The contract on offer requires the eradication of the orchard itself, along with all equipment and structures associated with it. No tree to be left growing, no plow, cart, or building left unburned. Exercise caution. The trees will suck the life out of you if you spend very long in their shade."

He smiles a little, but it's not a cheerful expression on him. "Those of you who are unfamiliar with the cartels will be unaware that they employ the undead as farm laborers. Evidently the damned trees can't suck the life from something that's already dead. You're to destroy the undead, especially the overseers, which you will be able to identify by the presence of thin silver spikes driven into their skulls. They probably will resist you; the overseers are supposedly a bit smarter than your average shambling corpse, and have been observed to command the regular workers. Presumably they can do so in battle, as well."

"In addition to the undead, you are likely to encounter at least one necromancer, who also is likely offer resistance. By all means, take him prisoner if you find it practical to do so. If the opportunity presents itself, retrieve any spellbooks and other documents from the orchard and return with them. They may provide insights that can be used against the cartelists."

"Any silver spikes found in an undead creature are to be extracted and inventoried. Retain one, and then burn the others in a hot fire until they warp and tarnish. If possible, verify that they are magically inert. Return with all of the spikes you find, destroyed or not."

The half-orc pauses, looking over the group for signs of glassy eyes or inattention, and asks, "Do all of you understand the specifics of the task at hand?"

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

"Cut down the trees. Burn the farms. Salt the earth. Kill anything that moves, whether it's alive or not. That about right?"

Talanall
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Entirely seriously, Dorn replies, "You can skip the salt. Nothing grows under a bleak banyan. Otherwise, that's correct."

As he was talking, a servant brought out documents, a pen and ink, and a smooth board from inside the keep. Another servant clutches a bag, holding it like it's heavy even though it's not particularly large. Dorn beckons them closer, and takes up a paper. "This contract stipulates your terms of payment. Briefly, you will each receive two silvers per day, with the exception of her," he points unerringly at Mbali even though his eyes are fastened on the contract, "Whom I hereby appoint as commander of this expedition. She will receive six silvers per day. That includes today."

He continues unrolling the scroll, and goes on, speaking rapidly but deliberately, "These funds will be payable, in full and in cash, upon completion of your mission. The Marchioness also will provide you with food and board. These bullae are the insignia of her household. You are to keep them on your persons at all times. Upon display before a vassal of this march, or his household steward, it guarantees you shelter and reasonable provisions as a representative of Lady Belda's household. If you abuse this trust, I will be obliged to maim you by removing your right hand." The utterly unemotional delivery of this last bit of information is more convincing than any show of authority could ever be.

Dorn goes on, "Should you discover any caches of bleak banyan wine, those are to be destroyed as contraband. Any other valuables shall be seized in the name of the Crown, and conveyed to this place to be disposed as the Marchioness directs. The estimated value of any seized goods shall be appraised by the Marchioness or her designated representative, and a commission of ten percent of this figure shall be awarded as prize money to be divided among you. Since there are . . ." he pauses, looks up and squints at the group, "twenty of you . . . that comes to twenty two shares, since the captain of your expedition receives a triple share."

He scribbles a note on the document.

"Anyone agreeing to this contract may designate a beneficiary who is to receive his payment, including daily compensation, any prize money, and a gold mark, in the event that he is killed during its execution."

He looks up, and says, "The whole thing is wrapped up in legalistic argle-bargle, but in plain talk, that's it. Come up and make your marks, if you agree to the bargain. Otherwise, best of luck to you."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

MinusInnocence
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"If the spikes are not magically inert, should we still bring them back?"

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

"Yes. We have not had an opportunity to study them, so we don't know if they can be reused. If they can, then the cartels must be deprived of those resources."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Johten thinks for a short time, but is already moving while Rory's question is being answered. "I've had worse deals," he says as he signs his name. He glances briefly to Mbali. "And worse straw bosses, too, I'd wager."

He replaces the pen back in the ink and steps back. "I'm Johten," he says to the group. "My last employer called me 'Big Joe.' Can't imagine why."

Talanall
Talanall's picture

One of the hobgoblins, an older male who is also clad in a chain shirt instead of the brigandine worn by the majority of the troop, says something, and all of the others laugh uproariously. Except Mbali, who glares daggers at the older hob. Unfortunately, he's speaking Goblin, so the joke will have to remain private for now.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Rasnak's demeanor changes considerably when he realizes the entire hobgoblin group will be coming with them. He excitedly takes the pen next and scribbles out something on the paper. "Yessss, Rasnak will sign!

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

"What type of provision is there for terminating the contract? Say I get word that my mother id dying and I need to go visit?" Henrik doesn't really consider it a possibility, but doesn't want to be hunted as a fugitive if they're unable to deal with the cartel. It looks like they have the numbers on hand, but you never know what a situation will bring until you're deep into it.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Vandersrike walks up to Dorn with swagger. Although he takes the quill, he punctures the dotted line with one of his talons. He then delicately and carefully describes his heirs and beneficiaries as follows:

"The fleshy male dwarf who offered to breed at the gathering of this mercenary troupe and the beast loving human shall take from my estate in equal parts, provided they observe the traditions of the Kobold tribesmen. In the event that the observance of tradition is unclear, the final arbiter shall be the coward Kobold in this assembly who shall receive remuneration of 10% of my final estate prior to division among my heirs."

Vandersrike delicately hands the quill to the next mercenary to make a mark.

Talanall
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Dorn tells Henrik over Vandersrike's head, "There is no penalty for failure to perform, excepting that you don't get paid. If you walk off the contract, give your bulla to her," indicating Mbali. "You don't wander off with a bulla, if you know what's good for you. Speaking of. Jakson, start handing those out to our signatories. And find out where breakfast is."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Dafyd
Dafyd's picture

Leland accepts the pen quill from Vandersrike and signs for himself, Horace, and Raksha. Without comment, he holds out the pen for another to sign.

MinusInnocence
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Rory takes the pen and signs. She has another remark, but closes her mouth almost as soon as it opens, thinking better of it. "Breakfast, then we march?" she asks the Master of Horse, accepting the mark of the Marchioness from Jakson then moving to shoulder her pack and gather up her weapons. Although the bag is filled nearly to bursting, far more of her kit is strapped or lashed to the outside, including a shovel, pick, and other essentials.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Mbali takes the pen and makes her mark, followed in succession by her hobgoblins.

Meanwhile, Dorn replies, "I should hope so, but I recommend you refer your question to your new captain. After I speak with her."

For her part, Mbali replies, "Yes, we eat, and then we march. After I speak with him."

Dorn passes the contract to Jakson, and he and Mbali go aside to the other end of the yard, next to the blacksmith. While they're talking, another servant arrives with a big basket of hot rolls.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Obsidian_Spoon
Obsidian_Spoon's picture

Before the contract is handed off, Vex makes his mark as well. "I do not care what happens with my shares on my death. If possible, I do ask my skull returned to the Succis Expanse, and left in the shade of her trees, facing to the west."

deadDMwalking
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Henrik makes his mark and helps himself to a roll. "It's good to know hobgoblins can live on this type of food. If the stories were to be believed, I would have thought they subsist entirely on human babies."

Talanall
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One of the hobgoblins replies, deadpan, "Only for special occasions. We're surprised you eat bread instead of gravel, dwarf."

His Common shares the same odd accent as Mbali's, but makes it evident that her role as spokesman owes to leadership rather than an incapacity for them to speak for themselves.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

"Gravel? Maybe if they had some of sufficient quality. Down in these parts it's all mud. Now some fresh marble chips with a little limestone and we'd have something. Of course, you'd probably take it for granite. Har Har har," Henrik laughs, far too amused at his own poor joke.

Talanall
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"Dwarves don't like stale shale. Noted," replies the hob, before taking a massive bite of his roll. He emits a happy noise, and says, "There's sausage in it. I approve."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Johten helps himself to three rolls. He doesn't move as if rushed or excited, but the first of them is gone so quickly that a viewer might be momentarily forced to wonder if it really existed in the first place. He takes his time with the next one.

MinusInnocence
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Rory perks up. A roll wasn't very appetizing, but anything with meat in it would be nourishing enough to prepare for the road ahead. She takes three and nods her thanks to the servant, then makes her way over to the black elf and hands him one. "From where do you hail? I met an elf on the way here and he was much more like the others in this neck of the woods."

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Mbali hashes through her discussion with Master of Horse Dorn, who eventually calls Jakson over and takes what looks like a scroll case from him. The two spend a few minutes reviewing its contents, part of which seems to include a map. They pore over it for a few minutes, talking quietly under the continuing noise out of the keep's smithy, while the rest of you eat. Eventually all of you have grabbed some food, and the basket is carried over to them so that they can eat, too.

The whole discussion probably takes twenty minutes, and at the end, Mbali strides over and calls out, "We march! Ulwazi, Sibusiso, Gwala and Kakaka, you take the rearguard. The first few miles are through open farmland, but you take good care after we get to the forests. Let's move. We have a long journey today."

The hob who was joking with Henrik, along with another two, converge on Mbali's second-in-command, the older hobgoblin in the chain shirt. The remaining hobs form up with Mbali, pretty much instantly.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Johten polishes off the final bit of his last roll, brushes his hands off on his trousers and heaves his considerable mass off the ground and into a standing position, stretching while he waits for the rest of the posse to gather their things.

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