Winds of War (Open)

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Winds of War (Open)

Postby PoisonedDragon » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:17 pm

This RP is open to all, but please read the OOC thread before posting.

Vicril Silversong heard the approaching footsteps, but did not move. He remained in his pose, knees on the ground, feet tucked under him with their balls flat on the ground, his hands resting lightly on his thighs, palms up. His eyes were closed, but he did not need them to know what lay before him. The Monestary of the Order of the Silver Dragon was situated high in the foothills of the Marching Mountains, and the cliff edge next to which Vicril was meditating overlooked the northern edge of the Calim Desert. To the south the desert stretched on and on until dissolving into the horizon, though Vicril knew that if one travelled long enough in that direction they would eventually find themselves on the shores of the Shining Sea. In his mind's eye he could clearly see those shores, those brilliant waters, and in that sight he found peace.

The footsteps stopped, and still Vicril did not move. He knew who was there. The urgency of the footsteps as they approached, the nervous shuffling of feet now that they had stopped, and the long robes now flapping in the breeze clearly identified a Novice of the Order. Only Initiates and Novices were required to wear the long robes of the Order at all times, and Initiates were forbidden to leave the Monestary grounds, so it could only be a Novice.

Vicril opened his eyes at last, and in one fluid motion scooped up his staff from where it lay on the ground in front of him, stood and turned to face the Novice. The movement was so quick that it startled the Novice, a young boy of no more than fourteen years who Vicril knew as Jara. Jara took an involuntary step backwards at the unexpected movement, but regained his composure quickly. He straightened his robes, and bent into a bow from the waist. He maintained the position while Vicril looked him over. Among the order it was forbidden for Initiates or Novices to address Masters until directed to do so. Vicril could easily see that the boy was agitated. He was perspiring slightly and his breathing was quite heavy, as if he had run most of the way up the steep incline from the Monestary. Vicril's voice, like his expression, betrayed no hint of emotion as he spoke.

What is it that distresses you so Novice?

The boy held his pose, bent at the waist, hands clasped in front of his chest as he responded.

Master Silversong, I have been directed by Grandmaster Dona to summon you. She has called for the Seven to meet with her immediately.

Vicril was shocked and somewhat puzzled, though as ever, his expression betrayed nothing. It was not unusual for a Novice to be asked to deliver suck a message when the Grandmaster wished to speak with one of the Masters. What was unusual was that Grandmaster Dona would summon all of the Seven at once. Such an event had happened only once before in Vicril's memory, more than 20 years earlier when he himself was but a Novice. Without responding, Vicril began his descent towards the monastery. He moved quickly down the path, so quickly in fact, that though he walked at what he considered a leisurely pace, Jara had to run just to keep up.

The gates to the monestary grounds were open as usual, and Vicril passed through and swiftly crossed to the center of the courtyard, then turned left and walked straight up to the main temple. Jara stopped outside, Novices were not allowed to enter the temple, and knelt to the left of the doors. Vicril didn't even slow, he passed through the open doorway, not even pausing as the two Adepts behind the doors left the temple, pulling the massive doors shut behind them. Vicril could see that he was the last to arrive. The other six Masters were already kneeling on the tiled floor, arranged in a semi-circle in front of the slightly raised dais upon which sat Grandmaster Dona. Vicril quickly moved to his place, second from the right in the semi-circle.

Once he had taken his place, Grandmaster Dona opened her eyes and looked around at the assembled Masters. As Vicril looked at her, he marvelled once again at the aura of supreme tranquility that seemed to radiate from her. She sat perfectly still, her legs crossed beneath her, her hands folded in her lap. She appeared to be a woman of middle age, though Vicril knew perfectly well that she had been Grandmaster of the Order for more than seventy years. As he looked at her, she turned her head ever so slightly to look at him, as if she had felt his gaze. Her eyes locked on his and he felt the weight of her age and wisdom press on his mind. He fought the urge to look away and kept his eyes on hers. After a moment she gave him the briefest of nods and turned her eyes back to the center of the room. She spoke slowly, as if choosing each word with the greatest of care, her melodious voice carrying throughout the room effortlessly, though she spoke quite softly.

I offer my greetings to you, Masters of the Order, and I thank you all for responding to my summons. I only wish the reason for the summons was not so dire.

Vicril felt a chill run through his body at her words. Grandmaster Dona never spoke lightly. If she said the situation was dire, then it must be so indeed. Grandmaster Dona raised her right hand from her lap and lifted a scroll that was sitting on the dais next to her. She held it out on her palm so the assembled Masters could see it.

This morning I received this letter from Syl-Pasha Ralan of Calimport. It describes an attack. A merchant caravan travelling from Memnon to Calimport was destroyed three nights ago. There were no survivors.

To both his right and left Vicril could sense impatience from his fellow Masters. He could understand their feelings, merchant caravans were waylaid by bandits quite frequently, and it hardly seemed necessary for the Syl-Pasha of Calimshan to send such a report to the Order of the Silver Dragon. But Vicril knew that Grandmaster Dona would never have summoned the Seven if there was no more to it than that, so he waited patiently for her to continue.

The Syl-Pasha believes that one of the criminal organizations within his realm are responsible for the attack, and he requests our Order to increase our presence along the trade routes between Memnon and Calimport to prevent future tragedies. Furthermore he asks that we quietly look into the matter and see if we can discern the identity of the culprits.

Again Vicril could feel the unrest of his fellow Masters, and he knew as Grandmaster Dona looked around at them that she could sense it too. They obviously felt insulted that the Syl-Pasha would dare to demand such a thing of their Order after all that they had already done for the land for so many years. It seemed to Vicril that only he could see that Grandmaster Dona still had more to tell them.

I believe that the Syl-Pasha is wrong. I do not believe this attack to be as simple as he claims, or I would not have summoned you. And I know he does not believe it is as simple as he claims, or he would never have sent this letter. If we are to understand this riddle, we must read between the lines. Clearly, the Syl-Pasha requires our assistance, or he would not have sent the letter. And yet, he dared not voice his true suspicions in a letter, lest such a letter fall into the wrong hands. I would hear your opinions, after you have seen the letter for yourselves.

With a flick of her wrist, Grandmaster Dona sent the scroll sailing through the air, to be deftly caught by Master Sylva at the far left of the semi-circle. Master Sylva examined the scroll in detail, reading it twice, before rerolling it with a slight shake of his head and passing it to his right. When it reached Master Rassa, who sat in the middle of the semi-circle directly in front of Dona, there was a longer pause. Rassa spent longer examining the scroll than the three before him, though he only read it once.

It seems odd. Calimport produces and exports the finest quality paper on the Sword Coast. And yet the Syl-Pasha chose to write his letter on vellum, the preferred medium for Wizards scribing scrolls. This fact, combined with several inferences within the text would lead me to conclude that the Syl-Pasha suspects a Wizard or Wizards to be behind the attack. Beyond that I can deduce nothing.

Vicril saw Grandmaster Dona nod ever so slightly, indicating that she too had come to the same conclusion already. It confused Vicril, because the news that a Wizard had a hand in the destruction of a caravan was not so rare. Many bandit groups had at least one Wizard among their number. Meaning there was more too it, that there was something Rassa had missed, something serious enough to cause both the Syl-Pasha of Calimshan and Grandmaster Dona to take the matter very seriously. The scroll remained only a very short time in the hands of the Master to Vicril's left before being passed on, and Vicril took it gently, turning it over in his hands several times before unrolling it and reading it. As Rassa had noted, the vellum was of the quality used by Wizards for the scribing of magical scrolls, but not for much else. He also noted the inferences that Rassa had mentioned within the text and came to the same conclusion that the Syl-Pasha suspected Wizards. But Vicril knew there had to be more.

He rerolled the scroll but did not pass it on. Instead he studied it for a few moments, while turning over in his head all that he knew of Calimshan from his days out in the wide world. His eyes fell on the seal, the crest of the Pesarkhal family in red wax. Something wasn't right about that, but he couldn't say what. Syl-Pasha Ralan was a member of the Pesarkhal family, so it made sense that he would use their crest for his seal, but something was wrong. He closed his eyes and cleared his mind, letting his thoughts wander back to his last trip to Calimport. In his mind's eye he visualized the banners and flags hanging from the palace in Calimport, banners and flags that bore that same crest. He could see them clearly, fluttering in a light breeze, purple and gold on a black field.

He opened his eyes and stared at the seal. Fear spread through him as the implications of what he saw sunk in. It was an odd emotion for him, not since he had returned after defeating Kaaz had he felt fear like this. When he spoke, his voice was barely a whisper.

Red.

Grandmaster Dona, who had also closed her eyes, snapped them open and looked at Vicril, interest glistening in her eyes.

What did you say Master Silversong?

The wax of this seal, it is red, but it should not be. The seal is the crest of the Pesarkhal family of Calimshan, Syl-Pasha Ralan's family. I remember clearly my days in Calimport, and more clearly still I remember the banners that hung from the palace walls. Banners that bore this same crest. Purple and gold on a black field. No red.

The silence that filled the room following Vicril's statement was immense as the other Master's absorbed what he had said. Grandmaster Dona stared at Vicril, the tiniest of smiles on her lips. Then she looked around at the other Masters.

Master Silversong has come to the same conclusion that I came to myself when I initially examined the scroll myself this morning. Syl-Pasha Ralan is a shrewd man, he does not make mistakes. The choice of vellum over paper, the words in his letter, and the use of the red wax instead of the purple favored by his family. These are the clues he has given us, trusting that we would come to the correct conclusion. The Syl-Pasha suspects that the caravan was attacked by the Red Wizards of Thay. He has asked for our help, and so he shall have it. Master Sylva?

Master Sylva stood and bowed to Grandmaster Dona, awaiting her instruction.

Take twenty Adepts. You will be charged with the protection of the trade route between Memnon and Calimport. Disguise yourselves always as beggars and walk the route, staying close to the caravans whenever possible. Master Rassa?

As Master Sylva left, Master Rassa stood and also bowed.

Form two teams. One is to infiltrate Memnon disguised as beggars, the other Calimport. They are to observe and defend. You will personally see to the safety of Syl-Pasha Ralan. The rest of you may return to your duties within the monestary.

Vicril fought the disappointment that washed over him. He had hoped he would be selected, especially since he had come to the correct conclusion where the other Masters had failed. He pushed away those thoughts and rose to leave with the other Masters. As he approached the doors, the last to leave, Vicril heard Grandmaster Dona call out from behind him.

Master Silversong, could you wait a moment? I would speak with you.

Vicril turned and crossed back to his place on the floor, moving to kneel, but Grandmaster Dona motioned for him to sit closer to the dais, directly in front of her. Vicril obeyed, moving into position, realizing that he had never been so close to her before. They sat in silence for some time, Grandmaster Dona looked at Vicril as if studying him thoroughly.

I have watched you with great interest for a long time, Master Silversong. When you were first brought here as an infant, I knew that the Order had gained a powerful recruit. As an Initiate you showed more potential than any other I have seen in all my long years as Grandmaster. When you left here an Adept, I knew that you would accomplish great things in the wider world, and return to us a Master. And so it is. Moreso than any of the other Masters, you understand this world and how it works. And so I would ask that you leave and journey again.

To Thay?

Grandmaster Dona shrugged, her eyes twinkling.

If that is where your journey takes you. Your task will be to investigate the attack. You will determine whether the Red Wizards are truly behind it. If they are, then yes, your journey will surely take you to Thay, for you must uncover their motives. If they are not, then you must uncover the true culprits.

I will leave at once.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two hours later Vicril passed through the gates of the monestary and onto the path that would take him down and out of the foothills of the Marching Mountains. He had changed into his travelling clothes and gripped his enchanted staff tightly in his right hand. He had decided to start his investigation in Calimport. As he made his way down the path, the fear passed through him again, mingled with excitement. He realized that as much as he enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the monestary, it could never compare to the happiness he felt on the open road, the whole world laid bare before him.
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby Thenician » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:58 am

Rid marveled at the contraption before him. He couldn't help but feel a little impressed at the ingenuity surface dwellers possessed when it came to torturing their captives. Primitive though it was, it made it no less effective. He was less happy, however, with the lack of cooperation from his captive. A young looking woman, no older than twenty-five years he assumed, was laid on the sinister machine. Restrained by numerous chains and shackles and hardly any clothes left to speak of. The bandits Rid had hired to capture the priestess had decided that they earned a bonus for the job and taken it upon themselves to collect on a daily basis. And they could have at her for all he cared, if anything it would only help the torture along, clerics of Ilmater were stubborn after all, it's almost as if they liked it.

The shack that housed the torture device also contained many other inventive tools, most of which Rid could only guess at their purpose but assumed it was something creative. There were no windows, a barely intact roof, and the doorway was blocked only by some large rags nailed to it.

Rid approached the priestess slowly, examining her bruised and bloodied body. Noticing with some delight the large scab on her abdomen where one of the more insatiable bandits had carved "Grath wuz heer." with a series of tallies carved below it. It was up to twelve now, with the last mark still bleeding. The chains that bound her limbs had been kept tight since her capture three days before, and her extremities now looked blackened and were surely beyond salvation.

"I hear the bandits saying that they've seen scouts from your order asking questions today." Rid whispered in her ear. "Your friends must be concerned that you disappeared." She just stared at him, her eyes distant, yet still trying to look stubborn, as if glaring at an imaginary foe.

"I promise you, you'll be dead when they find you." He whispered again. "But if you don't tell me what I want to know, that could still be a long time from now." It was a bluff, he could not risk staying even until morning with the Order of the Golden Cup nearby, but at this point anything was worth trying. As he stood up to leave her ear, he cursed the fact that his master was slain before teaching him to simply rip information directly from someone's mind.

"The only question is," he continued aloud, "Do you want it to be painful? Or excruciating?" Rid paused for a moment to look around the shack for inspiration. Not being all too familiar with many of the tools at his disposal, he settled on a meat cleaver that looked like it had had a long and busy life. "I want to show you something." With a slight grin, he took the cleaver in hand and quickly brought it forcefully down on her right arm, severing it just above the wrist, and shaking the shack with the sound of metal chopping into wood. The woman cringed at the sight of the cleaver, as she could do little else, but after it chopped into the rack and she felt no pain she seemed to relax a little.

"I'm sure you didn't feel that, I'm going to show you why." Rid took the severed hand by the wrist and easily broke it free of the chains now that it was loose. He waved the blackened hand in front of her face. "Do you see this? This is yours." He said almost comically, fighting the urge to slap her with it a little. "And this," he continued as he held the hand above her mouth and squeezed the black ichor from it onto her face. "Is your dead blood. Now someone in your position, I'm sure you've seen what happens when dead blood is mixed with clean blood in a living person." Her eyes widened at this, realizing that all the torture she'd endured would pale in comparison to the pain her body would feel, and even more so at knowing that she might survive in such pain for hours.

"So this is what I'm offering you, tell me where to find the monk, and I will sever your head immediately. I'll even allow you to say your final prayers." He added casually, though still undecided whether or not he meant it. "Otherwise, I will loosen your chains and be on my way."

For the first time the woman opened her mouth to try and speak, but her mouth was dehydrated and her voice weak. Rid quickly looked around the room and found a bucket of water in the corner filled with metal rods which most certainly were used to brand torture victims. He took the bucket and turned it over her face, letting the iron rods fall on her as the water splashed face just slow enough for her to steal a few gulps before it was all wasted on the floor and rack.

"Talk." Rid commanded.

"Rot in the Abyss!" She spat. Rid only smiled sadistically as he leaned down to place his lips by her ear again.

"Ladies first." He whispered. As he stood up again, he telekinetically released the lock on the pulleys that held the chains tight, letting them loosen just enough to restore circulation, and leaving the chains on the arm he had mutilated tight so that she would not bleed out prematurely. Reaching behind his neck, Rid pulled the hood of his cloak over his head and turned to leave the shack.

Outside he came face to face, or rather face to chest, with Grath, the leader of the bandits he had hired and a handful of his lackeys in tow. Before a word could be spoken, Rid's hand emerged from under his cloak holding a small leather pouch bulging with gold coins. "You may want to clear out of here, there's going to be some very unique screams coming from inside very soon."

As he turned to leave, another of Grath's men stepped into his path. Quickly looking around, Rid noticed he was surrounded.

"So me an' the boys were thinkin'..." Grath began.

"A dangerous venture, to be sure." Rid commented as he returned to face him. Grath looked confused for a moment before continuing.

"You have all this gold for a kid your age, we was wonderin' just how much more you have."

"You don't want to do this, Grath." He warned.

Grath and his men laughed, clearly thinking no more of him than just some twisted brat. The mocking and gesture went on for about a minute before Grath drew a short sword and held the point of it to Rid's chest. At this the circle of men followed suit and drew an impressive variety of weapons. Rid tilted his head up a bit to look Grath in the eye, in doing so revealing his left eye and surrounding tattoos to be glowing white and a sinister smile formed on his face. From the bottom of his cloak a thick semi-real mist spread quickly to blanket the ground and cover the feet of everyone nearby, spooking the crap out of the few smart enough to know they should be scared.

"You don't want to do this, Grath." He said again, only this time he made it sound like an invitation. The look of confusion on Grath's face was obvious, but more obvious was his reaction. In Rid's opinion, typical surface dweller behavior. Grath stepped in to thrust the blade he held to Rid's chest, but the moment of a step is all he needed to finish manifesting a concussive barrage that struck Grath and each of the men holding weapons to him like a minotaur with a great hammer. The concussive blast that hit Grath crushed his skull and killed him instantly, but Rid couldn't be bothered to aim as carefully with the rest of the men around him. Two of them had been hit in the chest and likely had multiple broken ribs and internal injuries of which they would soon die, and the third was fortunate enough to only get his left arm torn off at the shoulder. It came as no surprise to Rid that he was the first to turn and run, trying futilely to keep his blood from gushing out with his other hand. The rest of the men just looked at each other for a moment, then quickly scattered in every direction.

Once they were safely away, Rid relaxed his psychic tension and the mist at his feet quickly materialized and condensed into a sticky dew that coated the ground. The pouch full of coins was still tied neatly and sitting lazily on the ground next to Grath's body. The brute hadn't even bothered to tuck it away. He pulled it up telekinetically just high enough to snatch it with his hand as he walked away.

He had made it no more than fifty feet from the shack when he heard the first excruciating scream coming from within. Barely discernible prayers to the broken god could be heard under the woman's cries for mercy as Rid left the scene.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

By the end of the next day Rid had spent Grath's pay to charter a coach from Trail's End to Ilmwatch. A few days after arriving he was able to find a small boat that was on its way to Lyrabar, the the port capital of Impiltur. From there it was a simple matter to find passage on a worthy vessel to cross the Sea of Fallen Stars to Westgate.

The trip was mindnumbingly uneventful, nothing so much as a single pirate ship in the distance. The crew was grateful, of course, but Rid could've used some diversion. The whole way to Westgate, he could do nothing but think about the next target. The rogue in Athkatla. To say that it would be like finding a needle in a haystack was an understatement, but what concerned him even more was that getting the job done there would likely be a very different challenge from kidnapping a priestess of Ilmater who happened to make it a habit of straying a bit too far from the gates of Heliogabalus alone on a daily basis.
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby PoisonedDragon » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:08 pm

Vicril made very good time. After leaving the foothills he turned southwest, moving in a straight line towards Calimport. His years of dedication and training allowed Vicril to move much more quickly than the average man, and he was able to cover seven miles every hour at an easy pace. Thus walking ten hours each day, and spending the rest of his time in meditation, after only two days he was more than halfway to the city.

As the sun began to set on his second day of travel, Vicril happened upon a small oasis, just a few trees and a patch of grass surrounding a small pool of clear water. After only a moment's consideration Vicril decided to stop for the night. He moved the the grass on the edge of the pool and removed his sandles, smiling at the feel of the grass under his bare feet. He removed his hat was well and laid it on the grass, covering his sandles, then moved close to the edge of the pool. He went to one knee and dipped his hand into the cool water, lifting a mouthful to his lips. The magic ring he wore on his left hand allowed Vicril to survive indefinitely without food or drink, but he still savored the feel of the cool water in his mouth. Vicril stood and went back to his hat and sandles, then knelt beside them, assuming his traditional meditation pose, facing the pool. He laid his staff on the ground before him and closed his eyes, clearing his mind of all but the pure tranquility of the world.

Several hours passed in relative silence, the only sounds those natural to the environment, the wind in the trees and the soft lapping of the pool. Then, distantly at first, Vicril became aware of another sound, one that grew louder with each passing moment. It was the sound of hoofbeats, of riders drawing nearer to the oasis. Focusing on the sound, Vicril was able to distinguish four seperate sources, along with other sounds of the riders themselves, raucous laughter, weapons slapping against thighs, and the unmistakeable clinking of a bag of coins being jostled by the pace of one of the horses. Vicril remained on his knees, attuning his mind to the approaching sounds. They were close now, no more than a hundred yards. Now fifty. At twenty yards the laughter stopped and the horses slowed to a walk. Two of the riders held a whispered conversation as they approached, but it was too quiet for even Vicril to hear from that distance. He could guess that the topic of their discussion was him. Ten yards away they stopped and dismounted, four pairs of booted feet hitting the soft sand and moving closer. Still Vicril did not move, he remained perfectly still, kneeling on the grass.

Well, well, well boys. What have we here? A trespasser I thinks.

The voice that spoke came from almost directly behind Vicril, and from the laughter that followed he could that the other three were moving to pin him between themselves and the pool, two on his left and one to the right. The man spoke the common tongue with an accent similar to the Calishite. He could tell that the men were probably brigands, fresh from a raid and still burning with a lust for combat.

Hey, you, this heres our water hole, and unless you want to feel my blade I says you better hand over all you got.

Vicril heard swords sliding from scabbards, first the speaker's, followed within moments by the other three. Still Vicril did not move, but he prepared himself none-the-less, focussing his mind on the positions of the brigands, tensing his muscles for action. The speaker took a step forward, directly behind Vicril, moving closer.

Did you hear me scum? I said hand it over.

Vicril did not answer, but he could hear the tension in the man's voice, and knew that he did not have much patience. Sure enough, seconds later the man raised his sword and swing it in a heavy downward strike, thinking to cleave Vicril's head with the blade. At the last instant, already well prepared, Vicril threw himself to the right in a sideways roll, causing the man's to overextend himself and stumble forward, his blade embedded in the grass. Instead of following through with the roll to come up on his feet, Vicril planted his hands on the ground halfway through, and pushed hard against the ground, extending his legs as he did. Exactly as he had anticipated, the man behind him to his right had started forward when the monk moved, putting him in exactly the right position to receive a savage kick to the head as Vicril sprung out of the roll.

The brigand was flung back by the force of the kick, landing hard on his back, unconcious. Vicril landed lightly on his feet, spinning to face the remaining comabatants, who had moved forward, swords drawn as their leader wrenched his blade from the soft soil. Vicril moved into a defensive stance as one of the attackers rushed him, thrusting his sword in high at Vicril's chest. The monk easily dodged the strike, grabbing the man's wrist with his right hand and savagely twisting it. The man dropped his sword at the same time as Vicril delivered three swift punches to the man's exposed ribs. Then, spinning, Vicril pulled the man forward and delivered a vicious snap kick to the back of his head, knocking him to the ground. By that time the leader of the four had fully recovered and moved in beside his remaining ally. The two of them seemed more cautious than they had at first, and wisely so, since two of their group were already down, and Vicril hadn't so much as blinked.

The two attacked together, though not very well. Neither was particularily skilled alone, and they had absolutely no coordination. It was a simple matter for Vicril to dodge their wild slashes and thrusts as he waited for an opportunity to strike. The man on his left gave it to him first. He made a strong horizontal slash with his sword, too high, that Vicril easliy ducked beneath. The monk stepped quickly inside the man's guard and, channeling the power of his ki into his palm. The energy released itself into the man as Vicril's palm connected, the stunning force causing the man's body to jerk and twitch as he was thrown back. Spinning to face the final attacker, Vicril raised his arm just in time to deflect a vicious cross-slash with the bracer on his right arm. Continuing his spin, the monk smashed his left fist into the man's face, driving him back a step. He dropped to the ground to finish his spin, sweeping the brigand leader's legs out from under him. Stepping to the man's side, Vicril placed a foot on the man's sword arm and went to one knee. With one quick strike he delivered a blow to the man's temple that knocked him out cold.

A quick glance at the four brigands spread around the oasis told Vicril that they would live, but weren't likely to recover for several hours at least. He gathered up their weapons and threw them into the middle of the pool, then examined their horses. As he had expected, the leader's horse had a large sack of coins tied to the saddle, mostly silver, and Vicril highly doubted that they belonged to him. He untied the sack, then led the horses to the edge of the pool and looped their reins around a nearby tree branch, feeling it would be cruel to leave the four men out in the middle of the desert, even if they were brigands. He donned his sandles and hat, then picked up his staff before walking out of the oasis in the direction of Calimport.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two days later Vicril walked through the gates of Calimport. He had only a very few ideas about where he should start looking for information, but he had a stop to make before he could get started. He made his way through the winding streets of the outer city until he came to the wide avenue that was one of the city's temple districts. He made his way up to the temple of Ilmater, the Broken God, and pushed his way through the large double doors into the cool interior. The place was fairly empty, a few worshippers kneeling at the feet of a shattered statue, a depiction of Ilmater in all his broken glory. It obviously wasn't a temple day, and Vicril doubted this particular faith had many worshippers in a city like Calimport anyways. It took some time to find a cleric, but once he did he handed over the back of coins he had recovered from the brigands without hesitation. He knew that it would be impossible to locate the rightful owner, even if they were still alive, and he himself had taken a vow of poverty when he joined his order. The temple of Ilmater, however, cared for the sick and the dying, and Vicril knew that they would put the coin to good use.

After many professions of gratitude and several blessings from the priest for his generosity, Vicril turned to leave. He had reached the temple doors when he heard someone calling out. He turned and saw a flustered young woman waving at him and moving towards him as quickly as her tight robes would allow. She was not dressed in a cleric's garb, but from the ink stains on her hands Vicril deduced that she was a scribe.

Excuse me, sir. You wouldn't be from the Order of the Silver Dragon would you?

I am.

The woman looked thoroughly relieved when he answered and she reached into her sleeve to withdraw a piece of parchment, folded and sealed, which she held out to him.

This message came in from our temple in Heliogabalus about a fortnight ago, addressed to a member of your order. They asked us to find someone to deliver it since your monestary is so much closer to Calimport than Heliogabalus. Of course, we're stretched dreadfully thin here, and until now haven't had a chance to send it. Could you possibly make sure it gets into the right hands?

Of course I can.

Vicril bowed to her as he took the parchment, and accepted the scribe's thanks graciously. As she walked away, it occurred to Vicril that he had no idea when he might be returning to the monestary. Then he remembered that he would soon be travelling to Memnon anyways, and with Master Sylva and twenty Adepts patrolling the trade route he was sure he could find someone to carry the message the rest of the way. He only hoped the matter wasn't too urgent, as it had already been delayed by a fortnight. It was only then that he glanced down at the parchment to check the addressee, written on the outside in black ink:

Vicril Silversong
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby rhatigan » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:38 pm

"On a mile wide, silent isle; the crow man sits benieth the fallen."-Rx.

"You th' grave diggeh?...." a burly voice sounded. Rhatigan stood upright. He was unwrapping the bow line of his row boat from the pier. He turned around to see a fat bellied man in uniform coming down the pier. The man was deputy of the saltwood town guard. Rhatigan knew him to be a good hearted man from around the taverns and bars. Some how this was the first time the man ever spoke to rhatigan directly.

"ye'sir... Any thing th' matter?". Rhatigan stood holding the rope. The night fog in saltwood had a heavy sea smell and stained the whole town whitish with the saline vapor. Tonight it blanked the whole harbor in dull grey. The deputy came closer to examin rhatigans face. Rhatigan pulled back the hood on his rain coat giving away any suspicion.

"ah, hah. Not with me son...." the deputy looked into rhatigans nearly empty row boat. The boat was long enough to lay a single body down strieght. With two benches, rhatigan could easily move it himself. He only had a few bags with him tonight. He came to town for a good book to read. Believe it or not. "got some news that a very undesireable couple of men been askin 'round town.... Says they're witchhunters..." the deputy caught eyes with rhatigan looking for a responce. Rhatigan showed no suprise. The man went on. "now I'm not makin assumptions here.... I was thought that maybe you should know that they're askin around about who lives out on silent island." the deputy reached a hand out for rhatigan to shake it. "now, You been in this town for three years and you've done nothing but good service." rhatigan shook the mans hand as he continued. "you buried my mother... I'll never forget what you've done. I'll have your back if these men come askin hard questions.... Y'got me son?" rhatigan nodded his thanks. "thank you sir, I don't have any reason to fear persecution. But thank you." the deputy let him go. Rhatigan got into his boat. "g'night sir." with a salute and a "g'night" the man was off down the pier.

Rhatigan sighed and kicked off the pier. He could sence where he was going due to familiarity. He rowed quietly off into the fog. After a few minuts of murky grey blackness rhatigan looked over his shoulder to a small lantern off in the fog behind him. He was heading towards silent island. The towns graveyard. It was a mile wide island, half a mile out into the harbor. It was renovated and recreated by the talented tradesmen of saltwood. The island sat on a large slab of bedrock. A small army of stone cutters hollowed out a web of catacombes that went down a few stories under the surface graveyard. They also dug out a small appartment for the grave keeper. Rhatigan was given the job by the kind old man who was the grave keeper up untill he died. Rhatigan drank with the man from time to time at one of the local dive pubs.

Rhatigans boat scraped up onto a dark gravel beach. The gravel was the stone pulled out of the catacombes durring construction. Hopping out of the boat and pulling it up further up onto the beach rhatigan contemplated the deputy's news. Taking his bags out of the boat he sighed and let it slip from his thoughts. He made it down into the tombs before he realized that he wasn't alone. Entering his appartment he let his rain coat slip from his shoulders. There were two men clad in all black uniforms going through his belongings. He cleared his throat to get their attention.

The taller of the two emedietly stood up strieght and took a deep breath in. Rhatigan walked across the room with his bags in one hand. The man in black emedietly started blurting out a speach he had to have practiced. "sir rhatigan, you are hereby under arrest for questioning in unspeakable acts and hedonistic practices.... You are to come with us without incident." rhatigan put his bags down on a table and turned to face the two witchhunters. "and if I do not comply?" the other witchhunter spoke up. "then you are convicted guilty where you stand and you will face trial." rhatigan smirked. All he wanted to do was sit down, relax and read a bit.

Both men closed in and drew the long rapiers at their sides. Rhatigan responded by taking a step backwards. drawing his enchanted "dreadfang" dagger that was always on his belt, rhatigan smirk turned into a snarl. He crouched low and flipped the dagger in his hand. "forgive me if I dare not to cooperate." the two witchhunters froze. The tall one who spoke first lunged in first. Rhatigan turned the mans thin sword aside and grabed him by the wrist. With a quick cast rhatigan sent a painfully numb sensation up the mans entire arm. Droping his sword the man fell back clutching his chest. The numbness reached his heart. Only once rhatigan felt the icy grip reach the mans core did he let go. The second witchhunter attacked with a long stab that caused rhatigan to dash back. He bounced backward and shot foreward like lightning. With a practiced hand rhatigan ran his slender fingers along the blade of the mans rapier, all the way up past the handguard, past the hand, and gripped the wrist with a steely lock. Rhatigan pressed his dreadfang dagger deep into the witchhunters stomach and held him there. The witchhunters face locked in shock as his innards started to decompose. The enchanted venom on the blade seeped deeper into the mans torso. As rhatigan pulled his kriss dagger from the mans belly a thick black liquid sprayed out and splashed onto the floor. The witchhunters body sagged. Rhatigan held the mans body up by the wrist as his intestines spilled out in a pile of putrid ichor. Rhatigan let the arm finaly drop.

Standing in silence among the two dead witchhunters. Rhatigans face was blank. He put his dagger back in the sheath on his belt and sighed. "damnit....." he kicked one of the dead men. This ment he had to start moving again. Just when he started getting comfortable too. Rhatigan calmly went about his appartment gathering a few items that he needed. He didn't make any attachments in saltwood. With only a single bag rhatigan set out of the catacombs. He walked to his row boat and contemplated his next move. he just murdered two men of authority. he would have to lay very low for a while. He was pulling up to a saltwood pier he abandoned his boat and started off through saltwood.

On the edge of town there was a group of gypsy travelers who made a camp circle with their mule drawn carts. Rhatigan approached the camp openly and asked a few of the older members of the group if they would allow him to travel. They agreed and gave him clothes when he openly but quietly, admited his reasons for traveling. "we do not judge..." an older man with a large mole on his cheek said. "all are free to come and be free with us...." rhatigan nodded his thanks. "so where are you heading next?" he asked. "westgate.... We go to trade." rhatigan smirked. "westgate it is....." rhatigan excused himself a tryed to get some sleep.

"two more dead. One Layed down by the hand of ice. The other by the bite of dread."-Rx.
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby Thenician » Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:48 am

It was late afternoon in Westgate as Rid stood in the shadow of the inn he had rented a room in. It was hardly the kind of place a person with taste would choose to spend a few nights in. Most frequently visited by dockworkers looking for a cheap whore and a cheaper brew, or sometimes the other way around. The quality of the clientele wasn't a coincidence, as the only reason Rid had chosen this establishment to spend the night was because it was the first inn he found after getting off the ship from Lyrabar.

The shadow cast by the inn made the narrow alleyway between it and the next building almost completely dark. Added to that the pile of crates stacked next to the inn and the contrast from the afternoon glow, Rid was comfortably certain that anyone passing by on the cobbled road ahead would be unable to see him. And pass by they did. Even being off any of the main roads by some distance, Westgate's docks were frequently busy enough that quite a few travelers and merchants crowded even this road.

As he stood quietly in the shadows, he randomly probed the thoughts of anyone who passed by. Most were completely unaware that their minds were being violated, and it was just as well since their thoughts tended to center on any number of things Rid had no interest in. The few who were sensitive enough to feel his presence poking at their consciousness just looked around with a confused or spooked expression on their face for a few moments, before eventually shrugging and moving on. Each time it happened, Rid would cautiously wait until they left, then chuckle at himself. Enjoying the naivety of the common surface dweller. Suddenly, a short blade appeared at his throat.

"I'll be relieving you of your coin purse now." A casual voice said from behind. Rid cursed himself for not noticing, his attention had been focussed entirely on the road ahead of him. The dark alley he stood in was obviously a perfect hiding place for muggers and the like. As a hand started reaching around to the front of his cloak he felt disgusted at himself for being just as naive as those he mocked.

Rid was just about to make the man a permanent part of the ground he stood on when it occurred to him that thieves who make a living in large capital cities tend to know things. As the rogue loosened Rid's coin purse, he concentrated and the man behind him and began 'listening' to his thoughts.

Wow, this bag is pretty heavy. Jackpot!

"Wow, this bag is pretty heavy." The rogue said casually. Rid laughed inwardly as he remembered that most of the time, thieves tend to speak their minds, no matter the situation.

"I've encountered fewer expenses than expected during my travels." Rid replied in the same casual tone.

"Is that so? Well then, thank you for your cooperation. I'll be on my way now." The thief pulled his blade away from Rid's neck and stepped back several paces before turning to run away. As he did so, however, his body failed to move and he tripped over his own momentum. He struggled to move but could barely do more than twitch and occasionally spasm as Rid walked slowly over to him.

"Leaving so soon?" He asked, with the sadistic tone returning to his words. "And I thought we were going to be good friends."

"Wha... What's going on?" The rogue asked, the arrogance now gone from his words and replaced by confusion and fear. "Are you doing this? Who are you?"

Rid stood at the man's feet for a few moments as he twitched on the ground. The ectoplasmic mist that forms when he manifests powers slowly creeping to cover the man. "I'm the man you're going to beg for your life." He said finally, knowing full well that proper intimidation is mostly about appearances.

"Yea, of course! Anything you want! Just please, stop this." No sooner did the man utter the words that Rid released his psychic hold on him and the mist quickly condensed to leave a thin sheen on the ground and the rogue alike. He quickly stood up, still confused but a lot less spooked now that he could control his body again, and began wiping the sticky dew from his face and clothing. "What's this stuff?"

"That is the mark of Kaaz." Rid bluffed. "You may wash it off if you wish, but the curse has already tainted your soul."

"Curse? What curse? What's going to happen to me?" The rogue began talking quickly as panic returned to his voice.

"From this moment until I deem it no longer necessary, you will be my servant." He could barely contain his laughter at the charade, but if it worked it would turn out to be much more useful and much less trouble than torture. "You will obey me, failure to do so will cause the curse to rot your soul, your body will wither and become ash. You will disperse into the wind, and not a soul on this earth will remember you ever existed."

The thief hesitated for a moment, as if finding the story a bit much to swallow. "How do I know you're not just pulling my leg?"

"Would you care to test it?" Rid replied gleefully. The man seemed to think it over, then realized that there's far too many mysterious magics in the world that he knew nothing about, and decided it wasn't worth the risk.

"Alright then, what would you have me do, my lord?" He asked sarcastically. At this Rid couldn't hold it in anymore and let a faint chuckle escape before composing himself.

"First of all, I must insist that my servants kneel when they address me."

"Oh you have go to be-"

"I said kneel!" As he said the words, he manifested a wave of telekinetic force that came crashing down on the man's shoulders, forcing him to his knees in an instant. He let out a gasp of pain as his knees hit the ground with a force equal to having fallen from the roof of the inn they stood beside. The kinetic force also shook the walls of both buildings and Rid realized he might have overdone it a little. He looked over his shoulder to see if anyone was coming, but after a few seconds of nobody even looking down the alleyway, he returned to the rogue at his feet only to see him kneeling with palms on the ground and head hung as if worshiping at a temple. "You will answer my questions."

"Yes, my lord." The sarcasm now gone from his voice.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next morning Rid watched from the window of the room he had rented at the inn as the local personnel in charge of such matters cleaned up the bloody mess from the alleyway. The rogue had proven a far less useful source of information than Rid had hoped, not that it would've saved his life if he hadn't been. On the plus side he had been able to learn who to speak to about hiring some extra sword arms. It would certainly cost more to hire people willing to make the trip all the way to Amn as opposed to hiring people once he got there, but the way things usually turned out, it was likely their service would inevitably be free of charge.
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby PoisonedDragon » Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:22 pm

Vicril stared down at the parchment, and at his own name written upon it. He was struck in that moment with a strange sensation. It seemed impossible to him, that this message should be meant for him. After all, he hadn't even been planning to come to the temple in the first place. That decision had come to him as he approached the city with the bag of coins he had recovered from the brigands. He was pretty sure he knew who the letter was from, there was only one person in Heliogabalus who would name him specifically when contacting the Order of the Silver Dragon. But he hadn't seen or spoken to Issaya in over two years, not since her brother Jarryl had been killed in the battle against Kaaz. Vicril found the priest to whom he had made his donation and asked for a private place to open the message. The priest showed him to a small private chapel, Vicril entered, and the priest closed the door behind him. Vicril knelt on the floor before the altar and turned the parchment over in his hands several times before breaking the seal.

Vicril Silversong,

It is with great regret that I write this letter to inform you that Issaya, last of the House of Karth, has passed on to the Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia. Before her death she begged of me to pass along a message to you and you alone, regarding the circumstances of her demise.

She was fond of taking walks alone beyond the walls of Heliogabalus, despite frequent warning of the dangers of such trips. She refused to heed our council, determined as she was to spread the teachings of the Broken God to those in need. When she did not return from her most recent excursion, a search party was sent out to find her. They found her in a small shack about a day's ride from the city, strapped to a rack. She had been viciously tortured and forced to drink her own dead blood. Such wounds are curable of course, but she refused any form of treatment. It was as if the spirit of the Crying One himself had possessed her, and she preferred to endure the suffering that it might in the end ease the suffering of others. She survived twenty-three days in perpetual agony, and died but a few short hours ago.

She requested my presence during her final moments, and it was then that she revealed to me the identity of her attacker, or at least as much as she knew of it. She asked that this information be shared with you, and you alone. I reluctantly agreed. She told me that the man who tortured her was young, no more than an adolescent, though he appeared as though he had endured many hardships of his own over the span of his short years. He has no hair, and one of his eyes is white as though dead, and much of his features are distorted by twisted brandings. Most notable, however, she mentioned an aura rage, pain, and hatred, in addition to an evil radiance that she likened to that of the Illithid Kaaz, whom you faced alongside her and her brother Jarryl. She believes that this young man is a remnant of Kaaz's evil forces, and warns that his questions as he tortured her, were all about you. She believes that he is seeking retribution for the death of his master.

In her final breath she begged that you do not grieve for her, her suffering has ended.

Varyk Iareth, Chosen of Ilmater


As Vicril finished reading the letter, a single tear fell from his eye to splash on the parchment.
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby rhatigan » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:43 am

"from dawn to noon, from noon to dusk. The winds of freedom roll on rusty wheels."-Rx.

Rhatigan traveled with the gypsy caravan for a couple days and discovered that they were in fact nomadic refugees. Many of the group had lived they're entire lives on the move. Living off the land or trading for vital supplys. As the sun set on the first day the caravan encountered a band highway men. The men blocked the road with a large fallen tree that they hooked up to a pully in the tree above them. There were a few men ready to pull on the rope to raise the fallen trunk. Their leader who made her self obvious by her lavish jacket and wide brimmed hat. They looked like they once belonged to a very wealthy man. The woman standing on the fallen tree held her hand up to stop the caravan. The group leaders came to the front to negotiate. Rhatigan remained silent from the carage he sat on content to just watch the situation unfold. He couldn't hear what they talked about from where he was but he could read lips. The highwaymen wanted a toll. The gypsys didn't have any money so they traded off a few rations of food. Once the highway men had their payment they quickly raised the thick tree up off the road. The caravan continued down the trail through thick woods in single file. The elder that was riding with rhatigan told him what happened. "that group.... They are hungry. They ment no harm. They just needed food. We have plenty.... The way of things will repay us for showing kindness.... Even when faced with enemys...."

Rhatigan took the old mans words to heart but secretly questioned them. As they passed the highwaymen rhatigan observed the way they franticly clawed to get the food. He felt no pity and his face showed it. The clothes that the gypsys gave him were old and smelled like one of the mules that pulled the cart he sat on. With his dark beard and shaggy hair he looked the part.

Towards the end of the second day they reached westgate. Rhatigan waited untill they were well into the city before thanking the elder he rode with and left him a little money stashed in the old mans jacket pocket. It was all the money rhatigan had but they would use it better. Rhatigan switched his clothes swiftly and hopped off the cart as it rolled into the entrance of the local market. Rhatigan adjusted his clothes and sighed. He didn't smell but he did need a shower. Badly. He stepped into the curb and started walking looking for any signs of the black market. Every city has one. A library of forbidden books. Slave trade. Narcotics. Dirty work. Anything one would need. You just have to ask the right questions to the right people. He had a few trinkets that would get him a pretty penny if there were any wize buyers.
Rhatigan found a shady old man selling items on a blanket and asked him a question worded in a riddle. The old man laughed and pointed across the street at an alley. At the end of that alley was a single metal red door. Once inside rhatigan was greeted with the smell of incent smoke and the smell of old secrets. Most of the men milling about the darkness didn't look rhatigans way as he strolled. He dropped a necklace of woven silver set with peculiar dark gems etched with arcane runes on a counter top infront of a man with a thick beard who was peering at a gem with a monoscope. The man looked down and gasped. "shadow diamonds?... No one has these...." the man picked up the necklace and looked up into rhatigan emotionless face. "you do now.... I need money..... And a job." the man chuckled. "money I must give you. But work? Someone like you can find anything you need out on the streets of westgate, my friend....." rhatigan held out an open palm. "fine. Let's not waste time.". The man paid rhatigan almost exactly what he figured the necklace was worth. With some money in his pockets rhatigan felt better.

Once back on the street he started walking and found himself near a seedy speakeasy near the docks with a dark alley next to it. Rhatigan got a feeling of dread from that cold darkness as he walked past and smirked to himself. He could almost see what happened in the ghost of the moment. He figured he could find some help inside. Maybe a beer, or two.... as well as some company for the night.

Rhatigan sat at the bar and ordered a beer. One of the girls that worked at the pub came over to him and started to hang all over him. Rhatigan entertained the thought of paying for her services but when she started asking questions about the strange knife on his belt he strangly lost interest. He sipped his beer and let her talk. He waved the bartender over. "you know any body lookin for an able blade? I need some "employment" if you get me." rhatigan hoped he said that loud enough.

"Facing west, walking familiar shadows. Dirt is dirt no matter where you go."-Rx.
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby Thenician » Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:23 am

"So you're looking for a bodyguard to get you to Amn." The woman said leaning on her cluttered desk. She was tall, taller than Rid at least if not by much. Her hair was long and the richest shade of auburn he'd ever see. And her skin, although clearly pale by nature, looked tanned by the sun. Both of those features brought a bold contrast to the light blue shade of her eyes which looked through a few loose strands of hair that fell over her face.

"Or two, or three." Rid replied as he looked at the few men and women that loitered in the room. The room was the whole second floor of a tavern near the west entrance to Westgate, along a very busy main road. There were many chairs around, most in a circle around a small table cluttered with all sorts of paraphernalia, the rest just scattered about the room. About half of them were in use by supposed employees of the bodyguard company as they pretended to talk quietly among themselves while listening to Rid's conversation. "Judging by what I see here, one might not suffice."

Every head in the room turned to look at him. One man jumped up from his chair and opened his mouth to speak, but a quick look from the woman in charge made him reconsider. With an agitated huff, he sat back down and the woman turned back to Rid.

"I assure you, my employees are all skilled and experienced." She said coolly. "Their backgrounds vary, of course, but suffice it to say that they all have a good reason for choosing this type of work." Something in her voice suggested more than she was saying. It made sense given what the rogue had told him the previous night, a bodyguard service was the perfect cover for any number of illicit mercenary activities. "But, if you're not convinced and have the coin to spend, I'd gladly hire them all out to you."

"Let's see what you have."

"Line up!" She shouted. Within seconds the six men and two women in the room dropped what they were doing and lined up across from Rid and their employer. All the men and one of the women did so with military precision, which was likely the origin of their training. The second woman, or girl rather, as she barely looked older than Rid himself, caught up only moments later at the end of the line.

Rid walked to the beginning of the line up with the auburn haired woman in tow. The first man seemed entirely unremarkable and Rid stepped right past him to the next one, the largest of the group and also the one who had stood to confront Rid a moment before. He looked older, maybe in his late thirties. Many scars and tattoos marked his face and what could be seen of his body. His head was shaved bald except for a long braid of black hair from the back of his skull. It was obvious he had seen many battles and lived to tell about it.

"This is Duncan." The woman introduced as she stood behind Rid. "Not sure where he's from, but he served as a soldier in the Sembian navy for some time, he didn't take to retirement, so I was lucky enough to find him in my employ. He's been doing good work here for four years now." Four years would've put the man in his early to mid thirties, certainly not old enough to retire. Rid could only guess what acts of barbarism or treason this savage looking man could've committed to get him discharged or worse to have him end up here. He nodded and moved down the line.

Before him now was the first woman, standing about the same height as the auburn haired woman behind him, making her a few inches taller than Rid. She looked to be in her late twenties and had a slender figure and dark skin, her black hair was dreadlocked and tied back. And the look in her dark eyes was that of a professional killer.

"This is Phade. When I asked what she used to do, she made it clear it was none of my business." The woman behind him said half joking. "But she does good work and everybody gets paid." It was obvious to Rid even without the introduction that this woman was an assassin. He nodded and moved down the line.

The next four men were as unimpressive as the first and Rid skipped them all. He stopped at the end of the line, where the young girl stood at attention. She had fair skin and dark brown hair, he assumed her to be human until he noticed a small point of skin poking through her hair where her ears would be and knew she was half elf.

"Mileen here is the newest member of our family." The auburn haired woman introduced. "She claims to have learned some magic from her grandfather who has recently passed, which is how we ended up with her."

The introduction seemed to sadden the girl, but she only showed it for a moment. Rid couldn't understand exactly why but he felt a strange connection to her. "Life takes us strange places when we are left alone." He whispered to her from under the hood of his cloak. He turned to face the woman behind him and nodded again.

"Have these three meet me outside the Iron Anchor Inn at dawn tomorrow." Rid instructed, handing her a heavy bag of coins as he did so. As he turned to leave he could hear the line up disperse and the woman open the bag to confirm the contents.

"Pleasure doing business." She said as he closed the door behind him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As Rid entered the tavern of the Iron Anchor Inn he was stopped after one step through the door by one of the whores that worked the place.

"Welcome back, handsome." Said the scraggly looking woman that could only look less appealing in the daylight. "Have you reconsidered my offer?"

Rid thought for a moment on how to reply, and even entertained the idea of telekinetically ripping her to pieces where she stood, when he heard someone speak loudly from the bar.

"You know anybody lookin' for an able blade? I need some employment if you get me." It was as good an excuse as any.

"Excuse me." He said to the whore as he walked to bar.

Rid grabbed the drunk that had fallen asleep next to the man and pushed him to the ground, taking his place on the stool. When he didn't wake up on impact, a few men nearby picked him up and dragged him outside. More likely to rob him than doing the tavern a service. Rid placed a gold coin on the bar and signaled to the bartender, who soon arrived with a large mug of ale. He had no intention of drinking the putrid looking liquid, but it made for a natural appearance as he probed the man's mind.

His surface thoughts were nothing extraordinary, mostly focussed on the girl on his lap. He had been lucky enough to earn the interest of the only decent looking one in the whole place. As he probed deeper though he could hear something else. Something awake in the man's subconscious. Probing deeper still, he felt a chilling darkness that was somehow familiar. Familiar as it was, the feeling it gave him was unsettling enough to make him lose focus and force him out of the man's mind with an audible grunt. Rid didn't look, but he suspected that the man's eyes must be upon him. He knew now at least that there was more to this man that it appeared.

Meet me outside at dawn, be ready to leave. He whispered telepathically. Something that would surely spook a common man. And please, have a drink on me. He added, sliding his mug over between them before standing to leave.
"I love stealin', I love takin' things."
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby PoisonedDragon » Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:11 pm

Rayna crouched low in the lower branches of the tree, listening intenty, trying to recapture the sound that had caught her attention in the first place. She had been wandering the Reaching Woods for three days, with no sign of anything unusual, despite the fact that her Commander had seemed so convinced. The reports from Scornubel had certainly been troubling, but so far she had seen nothing to confirm them. That didn't mean she didn't believe them, on the contrary, she was now sure that something was indeed very wrong. She hadn't seen anything out of the ordinary, but she hadn't seen anything ordinary either. The forest was quiet, far too quiet. For three days she had seen neither bird nor beast, a fact which disturbed Fenrir, her Dire Wolf companion, even more than it disturbed her. Ordinarily the forest should have been teeming with life, the kind of natural environment that most appealed to Rayna's nature. But there was nothing, and Rayna was determined to remain until she uncovered the cause.

Then, after three days of searching, she had heard it. It had sounded like a scuffling in the undergrowth, but when she reach the spot from where it had originated, there had been nothing there. She knew that she hadn't imagined it, because she sensed that Fenrir had heard it as well, and it had put him on his guard. She knew that the Dire Wolf could tell that the sound didn't belong, just as she knew so herself. So she stayed incredibly still, perfectly blended into the natural surroundings, listening. The sound came again, off to Rayna's left, and her quick eyes managed to catch a glimpse of red among the leaves before it was gone again. Moving in perfect silence, Rayna jumped to an adjacent tree, landing nimbly on a low-hanging branch. She moved quickly from tree to tree until she was directly above the place where she had caught the glimpse. Whatever it was had moved on, but Rayna cast her sharp eyes around and saw it again, just a flash of red in the midst of green, but it was enough.

She moved on with great caution, leaping from tree to tree, using the brief glimpses to pick the fastest and safest course of pursuit. It wasn't long before she caught sight of a tree-line, indicating that she was coming up on a clearing, and silently thanked Silvanus for the stroke of luck that would finally put her quarry in full view. Sure enough, within moments she was pressed against the trunk of a large tree looking into a small clearing. Her eyes nearly leapt from her head when she finally got a good look at her prey. The red she had seen was part of a robe, a blood red robe worn by a tall, pale human with a shaved head. He was incredibly thin to the point of looking unhealthy, and a portion of his scalp was covered by tattoos that seemed to shift position in the evening light. He stopped in the middle of the clearing and turned a full circle, as if checking to make sure he was alone. Rayna remained prefectly still, but did feel a little relieved when his eyes passed over her without pause.

Once he had completed his inspection of the clearing, the man reached into the sleeve of his robe and extracted some small item, though Rayna could not see what it was. She fought the urge to confront him, deciding instead to see what he was doing. He began a slow chant, making gestures with his right hand over the item held in his left. Rayna immediately recognized an arcane spellcasting, though she lacked the training to identify the spell being cast. Suddenly the item in the mage's left hand flashed briefly and a dreadful moaning sound filled the clearing. Rayna felt that she recognized the sound, and became furious as she watched, her suspicions being confirmed as a misty shadow rose from the ground at the mage's feet. The shadow formed itself into sinister, spectral figure robed in darkness. It had no visible appendages, but in the middle of where a head would be were two glowing red pinpoints for eyes. Rayna could feel her control slipping. She couldn't tolerate even the weakest of the undead at the best of times, vile perversions of nature that they were, let alone a Wraith, a creature born of evil and darkness with no other purpose than the destruction of all life.

The Wraith formed fully to stand, for lack of a better word, in front of the mage. The two were approximately the same height, though it was hard to tell with the Wraith, whose form kept shifting. Slowly, Rayna lowered her hands to her hips and silently released the snaps that held her longswords in place. The mage and the Wraith seemed to be having a conversation. Certainly they were both speaking, though Rayna could not understand the language being used. Several times throughout the conversation the mage would let out a little laugh, and Rayna could not help being repulsed by the sound. She carefully eased her swords from their scabbards, then edged along the branch of the tree to bring herself into a better position for attack. The mage's back was facing her, and she felt sure that he was a bigger threat than the Wraith. She put her right foot in front of the left and braced herself, planning a quick strike with her right-hand blade to fell the mage, and a follow up with her left against the Wraith, since it was her left-hand sword that was specifically enchanted to be useful against insubstantial beings.

By the time she realized something was wrong it was far too late. She had leapt from the tree, her form perfect, her right hand leading. As she brought the blade down however, instead of the expected resistance to her slash as her sword struck the mage, there was nothing. There was simply nothing there, and the lack of resistance caused her to overbalance and tumble head over heels. To her credit, she recovered well, following through with the roll to come up on her feet in the middle of the clearing. She spun as she heard sadistic laughter coming from the edge of the clearing behind her, and cursed herself for a fool when she saw him. The mage had never been in the clearing at all, it had been nothing but an illusion. The wraith had moved away from the center of the clearing and was hovering several feet from where she stood, watching her intently. The fact that it didn't attack her immediately only confirmed Rayna's fears that it was under the mage's control. The mage looked at her with pure malice in his eyes.

Foolish girl, did you truly think one such as you could oppose the might of Thay? How does it feel, knowing that you are about to die?

He let out another vicious laugh, then with greater speed than she had ever seen before he cast three more spells in succession. The first filled the gaps in the trees with thick webbing to a height that she could not possibly hope to jump. The second caused more than a dozen fresh undead creatures to rise from the floor of the clearing, creatures which Rayna easily identified as Ghasts. The third created a shimmering doorway at the mage's side. The Wraith, meanwhile, had turned to face the mage, who after his castings locked his eyes with those of the spectral entity.

Kill her.

With that, the mage stepped through the doorway and was gone. Surrounded, Rayna knew she was in trouble.
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby Ash_Ev » Sun Jul 12, 2009 7:35 pm

The day the messenger came had been overcast and gloomy, with rain threatening to break through. It was clear to most that a storm was approaching and it was only a matter of time before it began. The wind had already picked up and could be heard howling as it passed between the buildings. Ash was with his master Duke Cajanis as the duke walked the halls of his extravagant home. The Duke’s home was protected by a large stone wall, and although noting like a castle it had been designed to be a strongly defensible fort. Ash had lived here most of his life and had been raised by the Duke’s master of arms. Ash had one purpose since he had first been given to the Duke and that was to fight, train and obey. Ash no longer doubted the tasks his Duke would ask of him. Over the years of his career he had become numb to most emotions. Ash was one of many who had been brought in as boys and trained into the men they were. Unlike many of the others he did not suffer from the nightmares of his actions. Ash had accomplished his goals without questions, without mercy and without remorse. He had proven himself in this way time and again and was now one of the Duke’s ten personal bodyguards. He was one of eight soliders with the remaining two guards being skilled in the arcane ways.

The messenger had come quickly and Ash saw him approaching from down the hall. Ash recognized the man as one of the Duke’s spies, though he could not remember the man’s name. The messenger was sweating and out of breath. Evidence that he had been running for some time in search of the Duke. The messenger did not slow as he ran towards the Duke. Ash could see that the man’s hands were empty, but Ash always saw elements of a threat. It was his paranoia that had saved the Duke in the past.

As the messenger approached Ash stepped in front of the Duke, raised his spiked tower shield and readied his spear as though the messenger were an invading horde. The other bodyguards rallied beside Ash and presented a unified front, as they had been trained to do. The Duke, who often found his bodyguards paranoia extreme also allowed them to do as they were trained. They were attack dogs, and that was just the way he liked it.

The messenger slowed as the bodyguards readied for him and slipped in his haste to stop. The man’s hand flailed in wide circles as his feet came out from under him and his tailbone hit the ground. The man was still breathing hard and a look of panic and desperation came across his features.

Ash and the other remained where he was, acting as a wall between his lord and the messenger. As it usually happened in these cases the Duke simply told them to stand down. Ash complied and stepped aside, allowing the Duke to step forward to speak with the man.

“M’lord, I have news.” The messenger said in a gasp, as he still tried to catch his breath.
“Go on then. Out with it man.” The Duke said impatiently. The Duke was not known for his patience.
“Of course… I bring terrible news Great Duke…” The messenger hesitated a moment, but after seeing the irritation in his lord’s glare he continued.
“Your son… Mykayas… he has been slain.” The messenger winced once the words left his lips, expecting the explosion he was sure to come. Ash felt his blood grow cold at the news. His Duke however showed no immediate emotion. Several seconds passed in silence and Ash could see his Duke breathing deeply. Finally the Duke spoke.
“Tell me all you know.” His voice was low; hardly above a whisper.”
“I fear I do not know much. Your son had been traveling with a merchant caravan travelling from Memnon to Calimport. They were waylaid by bandits and slain to a man. I came to learn this from a man I met in Calimport who spoke of it. He had your son’s family ring bearing your crest on his hand. He claims to have no knowledge but said that the man that had been wearing this ring had been killed and he had traded a mule for the ring days earlier.”
Ash watched as his Duke struggled with the news, but no tears were shed.
“Where is this man now?” The Duke asked.
“I have taken him captive and have brought him back here. He made many promises of wealth and women if I were to release him. I believe he knows more than he will say to me. I do not have the necessary skills to acquire further information. He has been taken to your cells to await your visit.

The messenger reached into his pocket and retrieved a small gold ring, which he held up for the Duke to take. It only took a moment for the Duke to nod and close his grip on it.
“Yes, this belonged to my son.” The Duke’s voice nearly broke as he said the last words, though Ash could see angry growing.

“Ash.” The name sounded like a command coming from the Duke, and Ash stood at attention.
“Yes, my lord.” Ash’s response was practiced and decisive.
“You know what has happened here, and I will seek my revenge. You will be my hand in this. Do you understand? I want every person that had any knowledge of this to feel my pain.”
“Yes, my lord. It will be done.” Ash answered. With a wave of his hand the Duke dismissed him.

Ash knew that his lord had faith in his abilities. Ash knew he would not be able to return until a great deal of blood was spilled. Ash did not have to ask to know that a horse and a large bag of coins would be waiting at the stable for his departure, but first he would speak with the prisoner. The messenger may not have had the tool or skill to gather further information but Ash had developed just such skills.

After the interrogation Ash knew his next course of action would be to travel to the murder site, where his journey began.
I am a soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight.
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby rhatigan » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:29 pm

"The pedals of dead flowers smell better than some living. The aroma of a life over ripe." Rx.

"Oh. come on love, take me upstairs...." the girl was pressing her body up against rhatigans and undulating slightly. Rhatigan just sipped his beer and casualy rubbed a hand on her shapely hip and thigh exciting her with his grazing fingers. He had her practicaly squirming. He was just about finished with his first beer when a young looking guy slid up next to him at the bar. Rhatigan could sence the presence of a mind slayer probing his thoughts. Rhatigan put up no resistance. He only looked at the young man for a moment examining his face. Once the young man started speaking in rhatigans mind, rhatigan listened. He was quite familiar with being spoken to in this method from his long career in the bonelotus society. He was glad someone heard him. It wouldn't hurt to see if the price fits the job. Rhatigan fineshed his beer and reached for the beer that was slid closer to him. The girl leaning on him smirked as he took a sip. "that's not yours...." rhatigan paused mid sip. "quiet...."

The door to the dark room bursted open and two tangled bodies staggered in on the stream of hall light. The door was kicked shut and rhatigan found himself pushed up against the back of it. In the dark the girl franticly kissed at rhatigans neck. She undid his shirt and started down to unbuckle rhatigans pants. Rhatigan stopped her when she almost got his dagger belt off. She froze when rhatigans hand caught hers with a steel like grip. Rhatigan nodded in the dark towards the bed. "get up there.... Get naked....". The girl did as she was told and lay seductivly across the bed. Rhatigan undressed slowly. He locked the door to the room and stepped closer to the bed. The girl got up on her knees and in the dark of the room ran a hand over rhatigans lean muscles. Her fingers ran down the ritualistic tribal scars that covered his whole body. Rhatigans neck, hands, and feet were alone free of the swirling ripple patterns. The girl was speachless. She had been with warriors and soldiers with many scars but she had never seen anything like this. Rhatigan let her sit in amazement for a few seconds before he let his own hands start exploring her body.

The window to the room slid up with a dry scrape. rhatigan was already awake. He was laying on his back with a naked female sleeping on his chest. She was snoring lightly. Keeping his eyes cracked open he watched a lean leg step into the room. A very thin man followed that leg and stayed low in the dark. He had a knife in his hand. Rhatigan caught a quick flash of light shine on the blade. He let the intruder take another step closer before he acted. Taking an even slow breath in he slid the girl off his chest. The man who came in the window froze rhatigan could feel him holding his breath. As the naked body of the bargirl turned away from him rhatigan sprang up from the bed.

Compleatly naked rhatigan lunged at the intruder. He slammed the thin man against the wall and dropped him to the floor of the room. In the struggle rhatigan kept the mans knife hand pinned to the ground. With his free hand rhatigan came crashing down on the mans jaw with his elbow. All of his wieght with blow. Pulling back his arm rhatigan hit him again with an elbow. The mans body went limp. Luckily the small fight didn't wake rhatigan guest. She would have made a big fuss about this that he didn't need.

Rhatigan placed a palm over the uncontious mans chest. His eyes flashed a pale blue as he absorbed ever last flicker of this would be assassins life energys. The scars on his body shimmered in a wave going from his hand once over his entire body. Standing up rhatigan looked down examining the clothes and face of the man he stood over. He was a bonelotus assassin. Not a very good one but he was bonelotus. They didn't take kindly to anyone leaving the society.

The girl rolled back over and cooed. All she could see was rhatigans back in a stream of moonlight that came in the open window. "Mmm.. Look at you.... You coming back to bed?...." rhatigan looked over he shoulder at her. "quiet..." he slid back down and pulled her ontop of his body. Rhatigan never needed too much sleep. He would rather indulge himself in the simple pleasures.

The next morning, as soon as the sun was up over the buildings of westgate rhatigan was awake, fully dressed and putting on his boots. The long haired girl he slept with woke up and streatched. Rhatigan thought she was better looking when he was drunk. "where are you going so soon?.... You want some breakfast?" she said revealing her naked body. rhatigan chuckled and tossed some money onto the bed. "that's ok doll. Here's some more to take care of our visitor." rhatigan tossed some more money and pointed beside the bed at the pale and cold dead man laying on the floor. The girl simply gasped. She had seen more than a few dead men. "when?..." when she went to look at rhatigan he was gone. She just stared at the empty door with her mouth open.

Rhatigan sighed as he stepped out into the morning sun. He didn't know what to expect but he kept and eye out for his young looking target. He yawned big and leaned against the outside wall of the tavern. Rhatigan rolled himself a cigarette, as he did he laughed about the raised voices coming from the room upstairs. Putting the unlit cigarette between his lips rhatigan squinted against the glare sun in his eyes as he looked up and down the street. Was he too late? Was this a waste of his time?....

"over night a crow lays two down. One will see another day, the other however will not." Rx.
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby PoisonedDragon » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:38 pm

Rayna could tell she was in trouble, and couldn't believe she had fallen into such a trap. The undead surrounding her started moving towards her and she knew she would have to act quickly if she wanted to stand a chance at surviving. Quickly sheathing the sword in her right hand, Rayna drew in a deep breath, focussed her mind on her environment, and called out to her surroundings in a lilting chant. Almost instantly the grass at her feet responded to her call. It began to grow rapidly, thickening and elongating into sturdy vines. The effect spread quickly from her central location to fill almost the entire clearing. Immediately upon forming, the vines began to tangle themselves about the legs of the Ghasts, rooting them to the ground where they stood. One or two of them managed to break free, but even so, they were slowed significantly and Rayna had much more time to assess her position. The Wraith continued to move unimpeded, and Rayna could feel its evil presence drawing at the edges of her mind. She shook it off and slashed out at it with her remaining blade, the tip of the sword caught the Wraith and it recoiled as her blade cut deep. The Wraith was obviously startled, it had clearly been counting on its incorporeal nature to protect it from the Ranger's physical attacks, but the heavily enchanted blade in Rayna's left hand had no problem damaging it normally.

Drawing her attention from the Wraith, Rayna spun at the nearest Ghast and struck out with her sword, delivering two quick strikes in succession. The Ghast let out a terrible wail before crumpling to the ground, once more a lifeless corpse. She then flipped the sword into the air, catching it in her right hand so she she could strike out quickly in the other direction, driving the blade through the skull of a second Ghast, felling it instantly. Tearing her sword free, Rayna danced back a few steps to avoid an attack by the Wraith, who seemed to have recovered from her attack. She struck out at it again, again landing a solid hit and forcing another retreat by the insubstantial being. Rayna felt claws raking against her back, but they could not penetrate her armor. She reversed her grip on the sword's hilt and stabbed backwards, feeling a small rush of satisfaction as the thrust penetrated the Ghast behind her. She pulled the blade out and spun again, slashing out with her sword to sever the Ghast's head from its shoulders.

She suddenly felt a chilling sensation spread from her left shoulder, and knew that the Wraith had once again resumed its attack. As an incorporeal being, her armor did not protect her from its deadly touch, and she was forced to throw herself into a forward roll to prevent prolonged contact. As it was, the Wraith's attack had not sustained long enough to do any lasting harm, but her left shoulder was numb and the arm all but useless. She forced herself to her feet and noticed that several more of the Ghasts had broken free of the entangling vines and had begun moving slowly towards her. Rayna ignored them for the moment, the Wraith being her chief concern for the present. It moved in to strike again, and Rayna worked her sword furiously to parry its attacks while waiting for an opening. As it attacked, she stepped to the side, moving as if to parry its strike, but it was a feint. As she expected, the Wraith attempted to adjust its attack to avoid the parry, and that was all the opportunity Rayna needed. She turned her arm sharply, bringing the blade of her sword in a downward strike on the Wraith's "arm". It shrieked in pain and attempted to retreat, but Rayna was right on top of it, slashing and stabbing furiously, slicing off large pieces of its form which then fell to the ground to disappear in a wisp of smoke.

The Wraith let out a final unearthly wail before fading completely, and Rayna was finally able to turn her attention back to the Ghasts. She quickly assessed the situation, and smiled in satisfaction when she realized that even those Ghasts that had managed to break free were once again entangled by the magical vines. Rayna took the time to cast another spell, a rather complex summoning, and smiled grimly at her success when a huge Dire Boar appeared beside her. It was much taller than she was and nearly twelve feet long, with spiny armor on its head and running down its back. The boar stamped the ground a few times, then began rampaging through the clearing, trampling and goring the Ghasts in its path. Within moments the clearing was filled with the lifeless corpses that had once been animated undead. Rayna sheathed her sword, then approached the boar. She placed a hand on its forehead, silently thanking it, then dismissed it. Looking around Rayna realized that the webs surrounding the clearing were still in place, and didn't know how long it would be before they dissipated. She thought about simply using another spell so that she could pass through them unhindered, but decided it would be better to call for aid so that her superiors would have a chance to look over the scene.

She took a small twig of holly out of a pouch on her belt. Holding it out before her she let out a long, lyrical call, then waited. A few seconds later a small bird landed on her outstretched palm. She leaned close, whispering to the bird, which then gripped the twig and lifted off, flying swiftly out of the clearing. Somewhat tired, Rayna stretched out on the grass, which had now returned to normal, and settled down to await the arrival of her allies.
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby Thenician » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:31 am

Rid watched from the window of his room as the man he'd met the previous night stepped outside the inn to wait. He only saw him for a moment, since he left the view afforded by the window when he leaned against the wall of the building. He thought to probe his mind again, but decided against it, whatever hidden terrors he had lurking in his mind were his own, and they would prove soon enough if they were to Rid's advantage. He tilted his head to try and see down the road in the direction the mercenaries would most likely come from, and at the very edge of the view the small window allowed he could see three figures moving toward the inn. One large, one thin, and the small one trailing behind.

Rid had woken up just before dawn and took his time getting ready. All that remained was his cloak, which hung from a rusty nail behind the room's door. He summoned it to him telekinetically and placed it gently on his shoulders as the rest of it flowed lazily down to cover him entirely. As he walked out of the room and closed the door behind him, he reached behind his neck with his telekinetic power and pulled the hood of his cloak over his head, shadowing most of his face.

Before leaving the inn, Rid approached the now empty bar, where the innkeeper had fallen asleep. He smelled like he had bathed in the house specialty, along with at least one person's vomit. Having no intention of touching the man in such a state, he instead screamed psychicly into the innkeeper's dreaming mind as strongly as his own mind would allow. Instantly, the man jumped awake. Only slightly less startled by the hooded figure standing before him as he had been by whatever nightmare he just had.

"Oh, it's you." The innkeeper said relieved. The smell of the rancid drink still strong on his breath. "Did you just scream at me right now?"

"I purchased a large wagon and two horses yesterday." Rid said, ignoring his question. "They should have been delivered to your stables late last night. Fetch them." He placed a gold coin on the bar before turning to leave.

As he stepped outside, he saw the mercenaries arrive. They were staring at the man leaning on the wall as they approached, likely wondering if he was Rid, since none had seen him without his hood. But as soon as he stepped outside, Duncan acknowledged him and the others followed suit. Digging his fingertips under his breastplate, he pulled out a folded parchment and handed it to Rid.

"That's from Miss Rehal." He said as Rid took the note and opened it. "Just details of our contract, she asked me to deliver it to you."

Rid looked over the the contract, but didn't bother reading it. After looking at it for a few seconds, he folded it and tucked it away somewhere under his cloak. He took a moment to examine the crew he had assembled, as none of the mercenaries had any equipment when he saw them the previous day. Duncan wore a battered looking breastplate that had as many scars as he did. He had a heavy looking two handed spiked mace that seemed to pulsate with magical energy slung from a leather harness strapped to his shoulders. Phade wore a suit of studded leather armor that was slick black in color, Rid assumed it had some magical qualities, though none were easily discernible. She had a light pick slung on each side of her hip from her belt. Like her armor, they were also black in color, and likely had some magical augment. Mileen wore a loose fitting robe that was colored a light shade of purple, with navy colored trim on the cuffs of the sleeves, the shoulders and collar. She wore a cloth belt with several magic wands tucked in it on her left side, and a belt pouch hanging from the right which likely held potions or other such material nonsense wizards often carried. In her right hand she held a short staff. It was small enough to wield easily in one hand, though whether it was even intended for close combat remained to be seen. They all wore standard size backpacks on their shoulders, except Duncan who was large enough to comfortably have his backpack strapped to his waist and left leg.

Finally that left the fourth man. Rid noticed that, though some of it was peculiar, none of his equipment seemed obviously magical. He assumed that the strange coat he wore, at least, must be magical since he wasn't wearing any obvious armor. Either that or he was very confident in his abilities, which is what Rid hoped for.

"So..." Duncan began, glancing at the fifth head in the group. "Is he with you?"

Before Rid could answer, the clacking of hooves and wooden wheels on cobbled road could be heard from behind him as the innkeeper brought the wagon around, pulled by two strong looking horses. He stopped the wagon in front of the group and stepped off, almost tripping over his own feet as he did so.

"There you are, sir." Said the drunk.

"You have to be kidding!" Duncan exclaimed, drawing attention away from the innkeeper. "The horses sure look tough, but how is this rickety cart gonna get us all the way to Amn?"

"It's only as far as Teziir." Rid replied. "I've made arrangements for a more appropriate method of travel there. For now, you will take the reins. Everybody on."

Without hesitation, Duncan climbed to the seat and took the reins. The rest climbed on the back of the wagon with no complaints. Rid climbed in last and assumed a meditative position facing the rear of the cart. Before leaving, Rid communicated with the strangely dressed man telepathically again.

Stay quiet for now, I will explain everything soon.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The day passed with no interruptions. Mileen and Duncan chatted a little, but Rid payed no attention. He was not surprised that the assassin was the quiet type. Finally, the bottom edge of the sun met the, Rid raised his head for the first time from his meditative position.

"Find a place to stop, we're making camp." He instructed.

"You're the boss." Duncan replied casually.

Before long, the wagon found its way far enough from the main road to comfortably make camp. Everyone jumped off and began stretching. Rid levitated himself off the wagon and walked a few yards away from the group. Smiling to himself about what he hoped was about to happen.

"By the way, boss." Duncan shouted as he grabbed some of the camp gear from the wagon. "When you gonna introduce us to the other guy."

Rid almost laughed out loud, but managed to keep it to a broad smile hidden away from the rest of the group. He turned to face them, looking like nothing more than a dark shadow with his hood up and the setting sun against his back.

"Him?" It was more a statement than a question. "Kill him."
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby Thenician » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:51 pm

rhatigan lit his rolled cigarette without the use of matches. he simply touched the end of it with his index finger and inhaled. exhaling a thick plum of smoke rhatigan sized up the three people who stoped infront of him on the street. they were obliviously sizing him up. the smell of his cigarette was strangely pungent. he over heard the conversation and had every intention of staying quiet. the only level of involvement he had was that he was there and he was listening. he got on the wagon like every body else smoking his peculiar smelling cigarettes. the smell seemed to stay in the back of everyones throat. it was an herb called wierdroot. a narcotic plant that gave any one with a penchant for magic an increase in abilitys. it causes the user to slightly hallucinate that they're powers are stronger thus driving them to the limits of they're control. the substance is highly addictive and rhatigan had been smoking i for centurys. a strange still cold settled around rhatigan. it seemed to buzz and hum from time to time. rhatigans pupils dialated to massive sizes and blacked out his entire eye. he seemed to stare ahead with a glassy look, absorbing traces of the black wind of magic from around him. rhatigan compulsivly chanted a mantra in his head drawing energy, but when he was under the influence of wierdroot he would mouth the chants wispering in deep gravely breaths.

when rid called for a stop rhatigan hopped off the wagon and sat down cross legged at the base of a tree to roll himself a new cigarette. he kept his ear open as they started to talk about him again. here it goes. time for introductions. rhatigan wasn't shocked that rid had ordered his men to attack him. he deemed it neccissary to the group that they knew who they were dealing with. if they could kill him easy he wasnt worth bringing on the mission. but if he killed these three the job might be much harder with less able bodies to split the work load. rhatigan smirked big and almost chuckled to himself. he put his newly rolled cigarette up behind his ear and took a deep breath in. he looked up at each of the three before him and made eye contact with each of them. his pupiles were starting to shrink back to a normal size and his grin was welcoming. standing up causaly, rhatigan brushed the dirt from the back of his pants and stood up strieght.

naturally the man rhatigan had come to know from the group as duncan was the first to take a step foreward. hefting his massive mace the man swung at rhatigans head without hesitation. rhatigan crouched down and back avoiding the swing, as well as back swing as the man pressed on. rhatigan was on the defensive dodging and dashing just out of the way as duncan tryed to cave his skull in. keeping his sences sharp rhatigan was aware of the other two's movement around the wagon. duncan came dangerously close a few times causing rhatigan to give his full attention to the large man. growing slightly irritated rhatigan started fighting back. anticipating another large swing rhatigan ducked the blow and closed the distance. reaching up with both hands rhatigan grabbed duncan by his ponytail and his chin. stepping behind the larger man rhatigan droped his hips and twisted duncan sideways. duncan recovered slightly, taking the brunt of the toss on his hip and shoulder with both hands firmly griping his mace. rhatigan detected a spell being cast and looked to the source. the female wearing the dark armour had disapeared into the ethereal shadows. rhatigan was trained in the same techniques. luckily for him it was her armour that gave her this ability. because he knew what to look for he was able to sense her every movement while cloaked in that particular shadow magic. she was coming his way. he chanced giving duncan a heavy hammer fist across the chin and didnt get his guard up fast enough. phade blinked back into the material world just as she connected with rhatigans chest and with a double foot dropkick. she disappeared again before she hit the ground.

Rhatigan rolled backwards as duncan swiftly got to his feet. somewhere behind duncan, rhatigan could feel the female mage he had come to know as mileen was casting a few spells. with her second spell she disapeared in a much better invisability spell. one that rhatigan had a harder time keeping track of. duncan growled and wound up for a big swing. it seemed odd to rhatigan why he would be swinging from so far away but he soon found out why. phade blinked into reality with her weapons drawn. she had her two battle picks hooked over the end of duncans mace. as he stepped foreward and swung phade leapt and launched foreward. rhatigan brought his hands up to block but blinked when phade popped back into her shaddow. within a split second she popped back and swung at rhatigans head in a mid air flip. rhatigan ducked as fast as he could. her weapons came close enough for rhatigan to make out the notches and dents in the used picks and detected an enchantent on them. with phades attack past him rhatigan shot his hand out towards duncan, firing three our four blazing light blue shards of magic energy at once. the shards looked like daggers of crystal light. rhatigan was on the move and used the same shadow technique as phade. a thick pool of smokey shaddows whipped up around rhatigan and in a "woosh" he blinked into the shadows. two of the crystal daggers struck duncans right arm and shoulder the rest flew past harmlesly hitting the tunk of a nearby tree and fizzing out of existance. he apeared behind duncan and gave him a sharp thrust kick to the back of one of his thick knees. duncan groaned and dropped down alittle. rhatigan wound up and swung a roundhouse kick that collided with the side of duncans head at the ear knocking him to the ground.

rhatigan got hit with a blast of magic fire from behind that engulfed his whole right shoulder. phade blinked in to attack rhatigan at the same moment that mileens fireball struck and exploded against his shoulder. phade shrieked as the fire burnt her face. she dropped down to her knees with her hands covering her eyes.
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby Thenician » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:46 pm

Despite her injury, Phade seized the opportunity to attack Rhatigan, she gambled that he would be at least as distracted by the fireball as she had been. She approached to attack quickly but cautiously, her arms still crossed over her face, with her picks held ready. Just as she stepped to attack, Rhatigan leaped into her, reaching up to grab the haft of her weapons before she could bear them down on him and pull them to his sides, forcing her to release them to not be locked into a grapple with him. Before she could blink away Rhatigan quickly spun the confiscated weapons around in his hands and impaled them both under her ribcage, straight through her armor and into her most vital organs. The icy look on her face instantly thawed when she felt the cold metal of her own weapons piercing her body. As if the fatal blow had yet to be delivered, Rhatigan followed his attack by reaching for his Dreadfang dagger and in one swift motion thrusting it into her lower abdomen while at the same time throwing his shoulder into her.

As the blade remained in her body it pumped venom into her with ferocity. The toxin quickly turned her flesh, organs, and bones alike into a rotten sludge that quickly oozed to the ground as her body collapsed. Rhatigan never withdrew the vicious blade, he merely waited until enough of Phade's body decayed around it to let her fall away lifeless.

As he watched his second victim of the day fall away, he checked his surroundings. To his left was the setting sun, where Rid's shadowy figure stood motionless watching. Behind him he could hear Mileen beginning to cast another spell, but before he could identify its nature, he heard an animalistic roar coming from his right. He looked to see Duncan had already returned to his feet. As he shouted with rage, his muscles and veins bulged with adrenaline.

Rhatigan decided the wizard was the most immediate threat and turned to confront her. Only when he saw her, he realized there was three of her standing there, all seeming to be chanting a spell. He extended both hands toward them, firing a double volley of magical crystal daggers in their direction and spreading them wide enough that at least one would hit each. All three were struck by the spell and all three vanished as if they were all illusions. As soon as he realized the ruse he turned to face Duncan, whose howling had subsided enough to let Rhatigan hear more chanting coming from behind the savage man. The realization came too late as he saw him begin to glow with a potent magical aura.

With the magic infusing his body, Duncan's muscles grew even larger and his skin became thicker and darker and took on the texture of stone. It was this new statue of the man that looked almost twice as broad as the original that resumed the attack. He accelerated toward Rhatigan with unbelieveable speed. From behind him he barely caught a glimpse of Mileen as she cast a new invisibility spell on herself and vanished from sight.

Duncan was upon him in a moment, swinging his mace wildly with greater speed and ferocity. It was as though the weapon was now practically weightless to him. Rhatigan barely evaded each swing with no small effort as he continually stepped back. One of the swings came close enough for the spikes on the mace the tear several scars into his coat, which immediately began to repair itself. The next attack presented an opportunity as Duncan raised the mace over his head in an attempt to swing downward. Rhatigan quickly stepped in and thrust his Dreadfang dagger up under Duncan's chin. The sound of metal striking stone echoed as both men paused for a moment.

Duncan tilted his head down to face Rhatigan and and revealed a grin made of stone. Rhatigan tilted his head up and matched him with one of his own. It was at that moment that thin pieces of stone began to flake away from around where the dagger had impacted. It had penetrated just deep enough through the stone armor to inject the vile poison into his flesh. Having seen the effect of the poison on Phade, Duncan quickly planted his foot in Rhatigan's abdomen and kicked him away. He tumbled once but landed on his feet a few yards from Duncan in time to see the small amount of venom eat away entirely at the man's jaw. At the same time, he noticed that the invisible chanting nearby had gone quiet and he could sense crackling in the air as though a magic spell was ready to strike from any direction. Before he could concentrate on it to determine its location, Duncan charged at him with renewed rage.

At the same time, Rhatigan sensed a presence standing behind him and in that instant he felt a small feminine hand touch his shoulder in the same spot where the fireball had struck before. He gasped in pain as the searing hot electricity left Mileen's fingertips and surged through his body. As Duncan stepped into range he swung his mace back behind him and brought it in a wide powerful arc toward Rhatigan. At that moment, through force of will alone, he was able to resist the paralizing grasp long enough to reach over his shoulder and take the girl's hand with his free hand. He twisted her hand into his control and pulled her in front of him, with the dagger still in his other hand, he plunged it into her abdomen and used the leverage from it to swing her small body between his and the oncoming attack. No sooner than he had positioned her there, the spiked mace smashed into her back forcing her into Rhatigan and knocking them both on the ground, her body falling lifeless on top of his. Though his dagger remained impaled in the girl, he could see the life had already faded from her young eyes as blood leaked from her mouth onto his body.

From behind her he saw that Duncan already loomed over them, mace held over his head, ready to smash them together into the ground. Without hesitation, Rhatigan threw Mileen's body to his left and let his dagger slide out of her as he rolled to his right. Just barely avoiding the mace as it slammed into the ground. As he rolled away he was able to stumble back to his feet just in time to avoid another wide swing. That's when he noticed that Duncan's attacks were becoming slower and very sloppy.

Though the Dreadfang dagger had failed to deliver enough of its toxin to kill him, the place where his jaw had turned to liquid rot and melted away was bleeding profusely. Rhatigan continued to evade the attacks, each one more easily than the last. Before long, Duncan's attacks had become sluggish enough for him to easily counterattack. After each failed swing, Rhatigan thrust his dagger into his opponent's stone body, letting whatever small amount of venom he could seep into his body. Each time the few drops would cause that part of his body to shed its stone coating and rot away, leaving a small hole to add to his bleeding. After the fourth of such counterattacks, cracks formed all over his body as the constant assault finally caused the spell to fail and his stone skin faded away.

Duncan let out a guttural moan, which is probably the best he could must under the circumstances, and took another swing. By this point his attacks barely would've had the strength to harm Rhatigan even if they were to land.

Seeing that the battle had become one sided, Rhatigan chose to end it quickly by bringing his dagger into his opponent for the last time, thrusting it into his adam's apple. The attack instantly severed Duncan's spine, making his body fall limp and slowly drop to his knees. Rhatigan followed his body as it fell, allowing as much time as he could to let the blade's venom spread. By the time Duncan's body began to fall sideways, his entire neck was already a barely contained mass of semi-liquid putrification. As he fell over, Rhatigan let his weapon slide away from his victim. On impact with the ground, what was left of Duncan's head readily came loose and rolled away, stopping only when it collided with Rid's feet. Rhatigan turned to face the cloaked figure of the one who just moments before ordered the three mercenaries to attack him.

"Well done." Rid said casually as he stepped over the mutilated skull and walking toward Rhatigan. "You've far exceeded my expectations."

"A wise leader would've used their strengths better." Rhatigan sighed, sheathing his dagger. "Not throw able bodies away on a test." He finished as he sat cross legged on the ground facing Rid, he took the weirdroot cigarette from his ear and placed it between his lips. "What are you expecting of me next?"

The sinister smile faded from Rid's face. "My master once taught me that people are like any other thing." He began casually. Looking at the bodies of the mercenaries in turn. One at a time, he reached out telekinetically and pulled their coin purses to him. First Phade's, then Mileen's, and finally Duncan's as he stopped to stand in front of Rhatigan.

"Be they ally or enemy, like things, they have a measurable value." Rid continued as he floated the small bags of gold between him and the necromancer. "These three were weak, and their value insignificant. I am in pursuit of my enemies, and any one of them could've dispatched them with the same ease as you did." Rid released his psychic grip on the coin purses and let them fall to the ground between them. "I give you this value, and ask that you join me in my hunt."

Rhatigan touched the tip of his cigarette with his finger to light it. With his other hand, he reached for the bags of gold, weighing them in his hand. "I'm going to need some details. Who, where, why, you know?"

Rid resented having to explain himself, but he realized he was in the presence of a powerful potential ally, and if somehow his enemies were all together or had acquired new allies of their own, he was going to need his help. "There's three of them. A rogue in Athkatla is the one I'm currently tracking. Besides him there's a ranger and a monk. I have reason to believe to rogue is somehow involved with the Shadow Thieves."

"Shadow Thieves, eh?" Rhatigan said, spitting to the side as he occasionally did when her smoked. "Not going to be easy, they have numbers."

"More importantly." Rid added. "The Cowled Wizards. If either of us use our powers within the walls of Athkatla we risk retribution at their hands."

"That's going to be a problem for me." Rhatigan laughed, exhaling smoke. "I'm a magnet for the black wind. I don't have a means of masking my magic, they'll sense me undoubtedly." He shrugged and looked at the corpses around him. "We could've used these three."

As he mentioned the black wind, Rid suddenly recognized the chilling chant he heard deep in Rhatigan's mind. It was a chant his own master, Kaaz, had used on many occasions to draw dark energies to himself in order to perform certain rituals. "It won't be a problem." He said as the sinister smile returned to his face.

"Alright, I'm in." Rhatigan said finally.

"Good. You deal with the bodies." Rid instructed. "I'll assemble our camp."
"I love stealin', I love takin' things."
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby rhatigan » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:27 pm

"three more line up as soldiers and fall by dread alone. its a crow that is paid to bury them. Oh, The crow and his shiney things...." Rx.

Rhatigan smirked at rids orders. "tell you what... I'll finish this then clean em..." rhatigan never liked taking orders but one thing he wouldn't do was take orders from a kid. He could feel how powerfull the kid was, his kind of dangerous ambition. Rid was a kid that was trying to change the world. Make it his way. Rhatigan respected that but had to teach rid where they both stood in terms of command.

Rhatigan sat and smoked sitting on the ground. He pulled a small notebook and a thin charcoal pencil out of the bag strapped under his arm and scooted closer to the putrid remains of phade. Dipping the tip of his finger in the black and brown liquid he swirled it around. He looked into the patterns of rot and started drawing runes and arcane symbols in the shapes he saw in his intoxicated state. The page he scribbled on began to be crouded by black scratches. Rhatigans pitch black eyes remained locked on the swirled puddle. He stood up and held the page out at arms length. With a laugh he tore the page out of the book and placed it down to soak in the ichor at his feet. The page quickly absorbed the blood and muck. Rhatigan smirked and discarded the scene. He was scrying with the blood and saw the flow of life. The girls blood and guts told him her story. And she definetly had More talent than rid knew.

Rhatigan put his notebook away and fineshed his cigarette. Tossing the small butt into phades remains he took a wide step out. Standing with his arm up over his head rhatigan took a deep breath in through his nose. Turning his palms out rhatigan slowly lowered his arms. As his hands fell the bones and bodies of the mercenarys jerked upright. When rhatigans hands got out to his sides he brought his palms together to his chest. Rhatigan controlled the dead flesh with an almost telekinetic force. The bodies and bones floated together with an unnatural magnetism. Rhatigan snarled and clenched his hands as if he was holding a ball. His shaggy dark hair bristled, his glassy black eyes glared. An ethereal black smoke started to rise from his shoulders and hands. As he brought his hands together the bodies crunched together into a floating ball. Squeasing his hands closer with gnarled fingers the ball constricted, squeasing a large amount of blood and viscous black gore. The bones popped and crunched, the armor crunched and fell off. Squeesing the ball of flesh as small as he could rhatigan let it drop. Letting his energy fade, rhatigan smirked. Taking a running step he kicked the ball of remains off into the woods, blasting a spray of blood that followed.

He chuckled watching the ball disapear through the brush. Rhatigan stepped closer to the wagon and started cleaning his boots with a rag from his back pocket. Throwing the rag away he laughed as he watched rid set up camp. "we need to discuss your opponents.... You can't leave anything out." once camp was ready rhatigan sat cross legged. Him and rid had some talking to do.

"only the woods know what happened on this day, The woods and the worms. Moon light reflects on a small lake of decay." Rx.
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby PoisonedDragon » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:57 pm

As Vicril left the temple of Ilmater he felt as though his head might burst if he was not able to clear it soon. After rereading the letter several times he realized that he now had two mysteries to solve, as well as a probable death threat hanging over his head. As he walked through the streets of Calimport he turned the information over in his mind. Six of them had gone up against Kaaz just over two years ago. Of those six, two had died during the confrontation itself, Jarryl and Adoros. Now, with Issaya's death, the remaining members of their group were down to three. There was Rayna, with whom Vicril had become very close during their previous adventures. He felt he should attempt to find her and warn her, but didn't know how he could, since he didn't know the exact location of Evereska, and it would be unlikely that she was even in the city at all, since she so enjoyed the freedom of the open world.

That just left Garret. Of all the member of their group, Garret was the only one who never really fit. The rest of them had sought out and faced Kaaz simply because it was the right thing to do, and to prevent Kaaz from harming the innocent any more than he already had. Garret had held no such ideals, and seemed to make it a point not to engage in any ventures that did not involve his own immediate profit. He had agreed to join the hunt for Kaaz out of pure self interest, since Kaaz's actions were directly interfering with Garret's business, and if Kaaz had continued to gain in power Garret likely would have had to shut down all together, if he even survived. Since Kaaz's defeat, Garret had likely returned to his business in Athkatla. He had told them all one night, after having far too much mead, that he ran a small Thieves Guild in Athkatla which specialized in what he had called Protection and Procurement, which of course meant extortion and burglary. As he looked back on it, Vicril had to admit to himself that he had never like the Halfling, but that didn't seem like a very good reason not to warn him that he might be a target for retribution for his involvement in Kaaz's destruction.

Of course, Vicril had no idea if he would even get a chance to travel to Athkatla to track Garret down, it was possible that his investigation into the Red Wizards would take him in the opposite direction. He could try commissioning a messenger or a local Wizard's Guild to carry the message, but didn't really feel it was the right thing to put in a letter. He shook his head a few times to clear it, he would worry about that later, for now he had to focus on his more pressing task. He had no idea where to begin, so he decided to stop in at a few local taverns and see if anything could be overheard.

After a few hours of wandering, Vicril had learned three things of interest. The first was that the son of a local noble, Duke Cajanis, had been killed in the attack, and that the Duke was commissioning his own investigation into the attack. The second was that contrary to their usual style, none of the major criminal organizations in Calimport had taken responsibility for the attack, which was odd, since usually an attack of this scale would be exactly the kind of thing one of the Pashas would want the others to know, a demonstration of power. The final thing that Vicril learned was that, contrary to earlier reports, there had in fact been one survivor of the attack. It was said that he had gone mad, and was now being kept in the Syl-Pasha's private dungeon on suspicion of conspiracy.

That evening Vicril sat in silent contemplation in a room granted to him at the temple of Ilmater. After his earlier contribution to their order, the priests at the temple had been more than happy to give him the use of the room for as long as he was in Calimport. He sat cross-legged on the small bed and thought hard on all he had learned. The criminal organizations in Calimport were obviously a dead end. Had any of them been responsible for the attack, they would have claimed it, if only to show off the extent of their power to the rival Pashas. That meant that an outside party was involved, and certainly gave credence to the theory that the Red Wizards of Thay might be involved, even though Vicril had no solid evidence linking them to the attack. Frowning at that, Vicril considered it further. It was unlikely that the Syl-Pasha had simply jumped to that conclusion, so there must be something that Vicril wasn't seeing, maybe something to do with the sole survivor of the attack.

Which brought Vicril to the second point for his consideration, the survivor. The rumors he had heard, confirmed through several independant sources, did say that there had indeed been a survivor. A single man had apparently survived the attack, although the sources were saying that he was badly hurt and raving mad when he had been brought into the city. The sources also said that the man was currently being held on suspicion of conspiracy, suggesting that the authorities believed he may have been involved in the attack as an insider. Vicril almost laughed at that. The Syl-Pasha certainly was not stupid. The conspiracy charge was obviously a ploy to keep the man safe and under guard, just in case the real perpetrators of the crime returned and tried to finish the job. The rumors of the man's madness might be an extension of the same ploy, an attempt to convince anyone who might be interested that the man couldn't possible be able to provide any useful information on the crime.

Finally, there was the dead son of Duke Cajanis. Vicril had heard a little of the Duke, and by all accounts he was a brutal man, but a fair lord, and Vicril's heart went out to him for his loss. The thought of another investigation into the incident brought out a wariness in Vicril, especially one that had been commissioned by a lord whose son had just been killed. It was likely that, in this case, Duke Cajanis would have no interest in justice, only revenge, and that any investigation into the matter with such a goal in mind might conflict with Vicril's own interests in the matter. On the other hand, an investigation performed by a skilled individual with the sponsorship of a Duke would be incredibly effective, since one of Vicril's major concerns was that he might not be able to procure the information he needed without paying for it. Vicril came to the decision that should he ever cross paths with the person or people conducting the Duke's investigation, he would suggest a partnership in the interest of justice. Thereby he would be able to benefit from information he might not otherwise get, and at the same time would be able to attempt to steer the investigation in the right direction.

But first, Vicril decided he would pay a visit to Syl-Pasha Ralan, and try to get in to see the survivor of the attack. Master Rassa had visited Vicril in his room a few hours earlier and informed Vicril that he had been granted an audience with the Syl-Pasha at dawn. Vicril had not bothered to ask Rassa how he had known that Vicril was in the city, or how he knew that Vicril would want an audience with the Syl-Pasha. Such questions would have been unnecessary. Vicril had known that Rassa's team was in Calimport, and knew that they had likely marked his entry to the city, and Rassa was smart enough to figure out the rest on his own. In many ways it made things easier, Vicril might even be able to ask Rassa to find out who Duke Cajanis had chosen to conduct his investigation. Making a mental note to do just that, Vicril lay down on the narrow bed to get a few hours sleep before dawn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Vicril woke just before dawn and was met by Master Rassa outside the temple. On the way to the Syl-Pasha's palace, Vicril asked Rassa to find out who Duke Cajanis had assigned to investigate his son's death. Rassa agreed, mentioning that he had considered the same course of action that Vicril had been planning. Like Vicril, Rassa was afraid that any investigation by the Duke would have vengeance as its ultimate goal instead of justice. Vicril also asked if Rassa knew anything of the survivor from the attack. Rassa confirmed that in the course of his duties protecting the Syl-Pasha, he had been able to confirm that the survivor did exist. He was also able to confirm that the conspiracy charge was a blind against their enemies, but that the man was indeed quite mad. Vicril suppressed his disappointment at the news, and only hoped that even mad, the man might be able to provide some useful information.

They reached the palace shortly after dawn, and Vicril was shown to a small, private audience chamber where he found Syl-Pasha Ralan reclining on a small throne. Master Rassa remained outside the chamber, so that only Vicril and the Syl-Pasha occupied the room. Vicril bowed to the Syl-Pasha and began to speak, but before he could say a word Ralan raised a hand to silence him. Then, lifting a heavily adorned rod from where it was leaning against the throne he tapped it against the ground three times. Three times the rod flashed, each time a different color, the flash pulsing through the room. Once done the Syl-Pash returned the rod to its place and spoke.

I apologize Master Silversong, but one can never be too careful, even within one's own palace.

Your caution in this matter is understood Syl-Pasha, and appreciated. The situation would appear to be much more complicated than one would believe at first glance.

Syl-Pasha Ralan frowned a little and nodded, his face showing the lines of his age, though the rest of his body remained fit and strong. Ralan then made a motion with his hand, as if asking Vicril to continue.

Syl-Pasha Ralan, I must begin by telling you what an honor it is to be here, though I wish our meeting could be under better circumstances.

As do I, Master Silversong, Grandmaster Dona speaks highly of your abilities.

Thank you Syl-Pasha, I will do my best to live up to her expectations of me. Both Grandmaster Dona and I deduced from your message that not all is at it seems with this recent attack.

As I had hoped she would. You must understand that conveying one's true feelings on such a subject in a letter would be most hazardous.

I agree. I also agree with your belief that this attack is not the work of any of the criminal organizations within the city. I believe that an outside force is most definitely involved.

On that fact we are in total agreement Master Silversong.

I have not yet seen, however, what has led you to draw the conclusions you seem to have drawn. I have not yet seen any evidence to suspect Thay's involvement.

Those targeted by the Red Wizards rarely do. I assume then that you have heard of the survivor.

Vicril nodded.

It is unfortunate, but he died from his wounds late last evening, or I would have allowed you to question him yourself. Shortly after having him brought here, I had him questioned by several of my most powerful Wizards and Clerics, to determine the truth of what he had experienced. He was quite made when he was brought in, but they were able to obtain much valuable information from him. It seems the caravan was attacked as they made camp for the night. Their sentries had not yet been posted, and many of their able-bodied men were so involved with preparations that they did not realize they were under attack until it was too late. The majority of the raiders were simple bandits, but our witness was able to tell us that he saw the three men who were directing the attack. He described them as being tattooed mages dressed in crimson robes, and with the spells used to extract such information, I am well inclined to believe him. It appears that it was a misfired spell that drove him mad, and made it impossible for our Clerics to heal his wounds. My men are perpetuating the rumor that he is still alive and under guard in the hopes that the attackers may attempt to strike at him here, that we might gain more solid evidence of the involvement of Thay.

Vicril nodded again, convinced that even without further evidence, the theory of Thay's involvement was correct.

Then I must pursue my investigation elsewhere, to follow other leads.

Of course. You will want to travel to Memnon obviously, as it was there that the caravan originated. You may be able to find some clue as to why this particular caravan was targetted by investigating the trade company which is based in that city. From there, my men have located a man in Athkatla who may have some relevant information, I would suggest travelling north to Amn after your business in Memnon is completed.

And who is this informant?

His name is Ribald. He owns and operates the Adventurer's Mart in Waukeen's Promenade in the city. He may seem a simple shopkeeper, but there is much more to him than that, and if he claims to have relevant information then we must at least look into it.

Very well, once I have finished in Memnon I will travel to Athkatla and seek out this Ribald.

Vicril was happy for the chance to travel to Athkatla, for it would allow him to seek out Garret and warn him of the possible threat.

I would like to thank you for your assistance in this matter Master Silversong, and to remind you that your utmost discretion is greatly appreciated.

Vicril took the tone in the Syl-Pasha's voice to be a dismissal, and bowed low before taking his leave. On his way out, Rassa handed Vicril a slip of paper. On the paper was a name, a description, and a short note from Rassa. Vicril waited until he was back in his room before reading the paper fully. It was regarding Duke Cajanis, and the man he had selected to conduct the investigation into his son's death. The note at the bottom from Rassa indicated that the man would likely visit the scene of the attack within the next day or so, and that if Vicril wanted to meet him there would be few opportunities better than that. There was also a short description which Vicril commited to memory, and a name:

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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby Thenician » Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:38 pm

The sun had set and darkness had taken over, there was no moon that night and the cloudy sky covered most of the stars, making the glow of the campfire the only noticeable light. Rid stood beside the fire with Rhatigan sitting cross legged across from him. He reached into his cloak and pulled out the note that Duncan had given him earlier, Rehal's contract.

"She's going to be upset." Rid commented casually as he dropped the folded parchment into the open flame. He took a deep breath and exhaled heavily, dropping the hood of his cloak as he sat across from Rhatigan.

"If you must know." He said while looking at Rhatigan through the flame. "Of the original six, three of my master's enemies remain alive. Of those, the next target is a rogue in Athkatla. I know he has some affiliation with the Shadow Thieves, but I don't believe he's a member. That will certainly make dealing with him much easier. Although I have no intention of letting him live, I must first learn what he knows about the other two. All I know is that one of them is an elf woman, the other is a very skilled monk."

Rid paused for a moment to glare across the flame at Rhatigan. "I don't care what happens to the woman and the rogue, so long as they end up dead. But the monk is mine."
"I love stealin', I love takin' things."
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"How 'bout I alter your face?"
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby rhatigan » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:33 pm

"Swiming shadows dance; Dark and hard behind the void; a dance we can't see.". Rx.

Rhatigan listened intently. Sitting with his side to the fire to keep from seeing spots, he meticulously carved a three inch tall wooden statue of a man with a small, black bladed throwing spade. He added painstaking details to the armour and hair but left the face blank and smooth. As rid talked he remained quiet focusing on the wooden figure. He smirked admireing his work in the firelight. This was a man that rhatigan had never seen before so naturaly his face was unknown.

Rhatigan turned to face rid across the fire and tossed the wooden man into the flame. "that's fine with me.... I don't like elves too much...." the wooden figure burned away. "think they know it all.....". Rhatigan was never sure about winning fights. Anything could happen and he knew this. What he did like to know was how prepared he or anyone else was to deal with this potential"anything". "keeping the elf in mind.... What about this rouge? Anyone with the shadow thieves has to be a big shot in their world.... Or at the very least well connected. Any thing I should know about him? " rhatigans eyes returned back to normal as it got later. His wierdroot wore off leaving his eyes bloodshot. "don't leave anything out....." rhatigan flipped his throwing spade over in his fingers.

He was aware of rids ability to communicate through psychic links and didn't doubt that his own thoughts were being read as well. His mind was clouded by the wierdroot headache he was currently fighting. He squinted and looked away from the open flame. Black shadows darted in his vision causing him to blink often. Looking off into the dark of the woods behind the trees that were lit by the fire rhatigan spoke in his head hoping rid heard him. "..... And don't you lie to me...."
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Re: Winds of War (Open)

Postby Thenician » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:22 pm

The next morning Rid was awakened just before sunrise by the sound of dozens of crows fighting over the mangled remains of the mercenaries Rhatigan had disposed of in the distance. He cleared the waking fog from his mind with a quick meditation he learned when he was very young. It was one of the first things Kaaz taught him. Of course, he used it to keep him aware and awake during intense training, but it served in more subtle ways as well.

Once his mind was clear, Rid scanned his surroundings. The fire had become a pool of dimly glowing embers. The sun was still below the horizon, but the sky was just light enough to let him see the immediate area of the camp. Closing his eyes, he reached out with his mind to explore more thoroughly. He sensed the horses were still tied where he had left them the night before. He thought to probe Rhatigan's mind but decided against it, it didn't really matter if he was awake or not, and Rid didn't really want to face the man's inner darkness again anyway. Even though he was now aware of what it was, it didn't make it any safer to explore his mind.

Releasing his concentration, he opened his eyes again. The sky had grown considerably brighter in the minute or so since he last saw it, though the sun was still below the horizon. Finally he stood up, slightly disappointed that no bandits or thieves had sneaked into the camp to get themselves murdered. He turned to face the horses and wagon and walked toward them.

He stood for a moment examining the straps and buckles which kept the wagon attached to the horses. He had never before had experience with it and found himself confused at something that should be one of the simple tasks of every day life. Eventually, he decided to unbuckle everything and take it from there. He telekinetically reached for every single buckle on the straps and undid them all at once. The harnesses fell off both horses simultaneously and the wagon rolled away a few feet. The sudden shift startled both horses which grunted and fought against the reins tied to the tree for a moment. Rid realized that they were likely not used to their harnesses and saddles suddenly detaching without someone nearby.

He was about to levitate the spare riding saddles from the wagon onto the horses but decided against it. If the horses were spooked again and injured themselves, the trip to Athkatla would take far too long. Rid disliked working with his hands, it was tiring, dirty, dangerous, and most of all, primitive. But under the circumstances he was forced to concede and grab the saddles out of the wagon himself. They were heavier than he expected, so he decided to just saddle his horse, and let Rhatigan do the other by himself whenever he decided to get up.

Once finished, he looked at his hands. They were dirty. He pulled a waterskin from under his cloak and poured some water into the air in front of him, making it hover in place before him. Tucking the skin back under his cloak, he slowly formed the hovering water into a ball with his mind. Concentrating on it, he forced the ball of water to spin, faster and faster until small drops began spraying away from it as the centrifugal force became greater than the psychic energy containing it. He placed his palms on either side of the water ball and the friction instantly made the ball spray a fine mist all around that quickly vanished as it settled on the ground or evaporated. Withing seconds the water ball had sprayed away into nothing and Rid looks at his hands again. They were a little pink and sore, but very clean.

As Rid walked back to the middle of the camp, he noticed that the sun had just began peeking over the horizon and the campfire was now just a smoking ash pit. Standing next to Rhatigan, he faced the burnt pile of wood and ash. He reached through it with his mind, using his telekinetic powers to pull at the earth and soil under it. With a quick mental tug, the ground opened into a small pit as the earth was pulled to the sides and up. The remains of the fire fell into it and was quickly covered again as the soil was pushed back into place. To an uneducated eye, as was the case with most surface dwellers, it would've seemed as though the ground suddenly swallowed it.

"We're going." He said after a moment. "There's a saddle for your horse in the wagon, we're not taking it."
"I love stealin', I love takin' things."
-Bender B. Rodriguez

"How 'bout I alter your face?"
-Thenician Dusk
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