Tegotha (The Rook, if merciful on the tongue)

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Tegotha (The Rook, if merciful on the tongue)

Post by bridgekeeper3 on Fri May 29, 2015 11:18 pm

Flies swarm the putrid air of the temple and the butchered corpse of a priestess slumped over the desecrated altar. The sacred blood urns smashed, the banners burned and the animals of last sacrifice crushed. On the walls, written in coal is the message "The Old One is Remembered", the priest stumbling on the scene turns pale before vomiting. He struggles to regain his composure before finding a priestess startles him. Even after presiding over many sacrifices and seeing blood spill before his eyes, he still wasn't prepared for it. The act perverting the goddess of blood's rites as bone was crush instead of cleaved, a holy woman left in a state barely indicating that she was once a slyph. Unable to find his tongue, he struggles to speak, wishing to tell the young girl to look away.  He falls to his knees, he must cleanse this desecration and restore the mother's influence. Cutting his hand in small sacrifice to ebrietas, letting the blood drip on the sacred ground he pleads in his head to the goddess.

                  Word of the attack had quickly spread throughout the rook, the message was clear and many similar attacks started to spread like wildfire. Many members of the priest caste feared going outside with many convents hiring raiders and brigands for protection. Each attack was always punctuated by those same words every time written in the same type of chalk "The Old One is Remembered". It seems the war was never over with the old god's followers apparently escaping the sundering but where and how they managed to live on for decades after is still a mystery. Languishing in political instability and fleeting in faith, tradition however leads to many wanting to seek fortune and glory and continue on their old ways of raids and plunder. The uneasy warrior caste and a ever eager low castes had led to many wandering bands of brigands and pirates seeking blood and plunder. Things weren't looking good for the new nation, but even in the city of spires and arteries, the daughters of ebrietas still had followers.

.......................................................................................................................................


                The messenger harpy flies and lands on the window sill of the now heavily guarded keep, the handlers bring it back to it's nest before one of the handlers descends the staircase with the message in hand. Running as fast as he can down the hall, he enters the holy chamber before taking a knee. Half the room is obscured by a thin sheet of cloth with the shadow of a pedestal casted on it.  
 
                       "rise," says a deep voice.

                  The handler is quick to stand up before being greeted by a wingless man covered head to toe in scars and two feminine shadows on the pedestal. One shadow sits perched on throne while another humbly stands beside it. The scarred man takes the message and sends the handler back to his station before going behind the veil. He habitually kneels before the two sisters before getting back up.

                       "did he receive the message?" Carmina asks.

                       "he did"

                        "so how do you-"
                     
                        "this is his mark, his reply" The scarred man quickly replies.

                        "ah, then give it"

                  He steps up the pedestal before handing it to Carmina.

                        "Well done Vicar you can have your leave," Vermina orders.

                        "Not yet, Vermina"

                        "I simply wish to express my doubts about this man, he seems more interested in hunting big animals and leading pirates than cleansing this land of heretics"

                         "have faith Vicar, he served my sisters loyally, he should do the same for me," says Carmina.

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Re: Tegotha (The Rook, if merciful on the tongue)

Post by bridgekeeper3 on Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:47 am

A buzzard flies overhead as the sun bakes above, Cieran kneels down and takes a look at some tracks in the mud. Brandishing his faithful spear, he adds another coat of slow poison on the bronze tip. Suddenly something moves in the brush, could it be his mark? No, no animal is this clumsy. A man bursts through the brush as Cieran points the spear at his throat.

         "speak" Cieran says

        "Puck, we have to get back on track our lady needs us"

        "ssshhh, one don't call me puck, two don't call me puck and three don't disturb me when I'm so close, got it"

        "But sir I"
 
        "no, only after old griffi is dead, but while you're here make yourself useful and signal the party"

         "on it"

            After the man runs off, Cieran crawls through the underbrush before the birds go quiet. He stops and peeks overhead to see a small glimmer of light. Conversation begins to echo through the woods as Cieran climbs a nearby tree to get a closer look. Perched on a branch he spots his mark, a man hunched over a pile of coins, wearing nothing but the pelt of an old griffon. Old Griffi isn't an ordinary lowlife, he has a band whose savagery is rivaled only by the worst of monsters. Looks like Griffi had got himself a prize, an old caravan, probably gnomish led had just been sacked. Griffi seems to have done his usual routine to this poor caravan. The band would kill or subdue the guards, tie up the women and children while plundering everything vaguely shiny with griffi getting first round with whatever he wanted. The sight disgusted Cieran, but oddly this wasn't an ordinary caravan. What has he done? Cieran whistles for his men before gliding to the forest floor.  Two of Cieran's raiders emerge from the underbrush to join him as walks to confront the gang. As he gets closer he sees the true extent of what Griffi had done, people had been shackled ankle to ankle, hand to hand in a long chain. This was a mixed group in chains, some elves, some gnomes and even humans had been among them all wearing bright clothes. Only one slyph was among the chained, a woman with obnoxious bright orange hair. The low lives quickly surround the trio with drawn bows and lowered spears. Eventually Old Griffi himself shows up and exposes his sheer nakedness.

               "well well well, if it wasn't my dear old friend, Puck everyone, savior of the rook and hunter of monsters, I'm flattered that you've come here, as you see I got quite the gang myself and we have the upper hand as you see. but for old times sakes why don't I offer you a sample, you see I have made quite a niche for myself these pieces of meat over here are about to make me rich. You see send some of this good meat down to Tarbu and I get a fortune even if I just send the girls"

             "that's disgusting and I've seen and done disgusting"          

             "well, think of it this way, you have any idea how much a slyph girl costs huh? I'll give yah a day for free if you let me go that sounds like a deal doesn't it"

               "I think I threw up a little, how about this, I kill every last one of you and I get all of these people for free, how does that sound"

              Griffi starts to laugh hysterically as the rest of his gang joins in.
 
            "what's yah gonna do boy, there's ten of us versus three of you, you gonna poke me with that stick"

              "no" Cieran says before throwing down his spear.

             "I thought so"

            "they are" Cieran says before whistling.

         Suddenly arrows fly out from the trees, taking down Griffi's men one by one until only he and a single gang member remain. Cieran's raiders reveal themselves hiding in the trees as a few others emerge from the underbrush.

                "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, just forget about it and we can all be happy, look I'll even give all the slaves for you for free. just please don't kill me"

               Cieran picks up his spear before walking towards the cowering Old Griffi. The last gang member lunges at Cieran only to take an arrow to the neck. Cieran stops to look at the dying boy as he chokes through his blood. He shushes the bandit before finishing him off and turning his attention back to Old Griffi.

            "you feel that, you feel that in your veins, that's the one you had forsaken, our mother the all mother of blood, she is very angry with you as you can feel, but your fear gives her strength just as your boy's death gave her strength" Cieran says.
           "please, I beg of you, let me go I won't do it again I promise, I'll make sure they are willing, I'll work for you, I promise with all my heart I'll work for you, I swear I swear I will never betray you ever again"

            "I'm sorry, you had your chance, but I can't let a monster live"
....................................................................................
           
              The sun rises as Cieran and his band return, the captives had been freed from their chains and left to resume their travels. The band finally reaches the city of Aava to have audience with the daughters of ebrietas.

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Re: Tegotha (The Rook, if merciful on the tongue)

Post by MissMilkMaid on Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:23 pm

The sylph brought before Cieran was a miserable creature, with one wing suffering from a rotting fungus and a haggard filthy appearance, unbecoming of their people. The general could smell him from across the room. However, his captains claim this wretch had important information on the location of a heretic hideout.

“Tell the general what you told us,” one of the captains prompted pushing the sylph forward. “Answer all his questions truthfully and you will be paid your reward.”

The lowlife beggar came forward and started off haltingly, gaining a little more confidence as he talked.

“It was, uh… It was at the inn low down in the in the third spire. A tavern really, called the Fisherman’s Hook” he explained. It was a pour and shady neighborhood, which hadn’t been completely finished and failed to live up to the cleanly standards of the rest of the city. It partially explained the beggar’s filthy state at least. “I saw them holding dead birds and I… hrm… I pretended to be passed out in the corner under the table. I did. I pretended to be asleep, while they passed by. Saw them go through a secret door into some hidden caves back of the tavern. Have to say that peeked my interest and I snuck in behind them.”

“They were taking the dead birds down there and I couldn’t see why they would need a bunch of dead birds all down in a cave. Well… hrm. I found out. They had a beast down there something pretty big and fowl smelling, though I ever got close enough to see it. There may have been more than one. I heard a scuffle like two things fighting over the food. Anyway… these people… them who had taken the beast the dead birds were talking about the Old One. They said they were gathering strength again, that with the beast under their control they’d be able to make a strike soon. I didn’t hear any names, but they talked about a meeting that was going to take place in those caves tonight.”

The beggar looked at Cieran with a significant expression, “This very night. Sounded like there might be quite a few numbers of them, but they never said how many.” He shrugged, “I wanted to hear more, but they began moving back my direction and I had to get out of there. Came right to your captains I did, Sir. I’m loyal to the goddess and her daughters. That I am.” He shifted weight, seemingly having run out of things to say.

He answered any questions put to him, but didn’t seem to know any more than what he’d first explained. He couldn’t identify the two men he’d followed, nor the type of beast they had been feeding. He knew no names, no details on the number of terrorists or plans beyond a meeting that was to take place at the cave behind Fisherman’s Hook that night. It was frustratingly little to go on, but clearly worth attention.

---

An unknown beggar has informed General Cieran of a possible secret hideout for the terrorist heretics following the Old Forgotten one. He claims a monster or monsters is being kept in caves under a tavern and that a meeting between the members of the heretical rebels is planned there tonight. There’s nothing to indicate this source is trustworthy and the info he gives, while tantalizing, is also vague.

How will Cieran follow up on this information?

Organize a raid at once and attack the meeting at the tavern tonight, killing or capturing the heretics and facing down whatever beast or beasts are hidden in the secret caves. Immediate action is the only way to make sure this opportunity won’t slip through his fingers. Cieran is willing to take a dangerous gamble in order to make sure this heretic cell and the monster(s) they’re hiding are eliminated or captured.  

This could be a trap and Cieran needs to be certain of this source before doing anything. Torture the beggar for further information. If this is a trap, the wretch will surely spill the details after an hour or two under a sharp blade. If what the beggar said is true, the extra time required to torture him may make it difficult to organize a raid in time. Also, Cieran may put to the blade a loyal citizen. However, if the beggar is actually a spy sent to lure him into danger, Cieran won’t be running headlong into a trap.

Use the beggar to get more information, before taking a major action. Pay him his gold and promise him much more, if he will go back to the Fisherman’s Hook and spy on the meeting. Tell him to bring back names and details, which Cieran may use to hunt down the heretic cell more tactfully. Cieran is willing to give the beggar the benefit of the doubt. If he really is a faithful citizen let him prove it further. This information is too uncertain to risk a raiding party, but hopefully Cieran will get more information to follow up on. On the other hand, the beggar may never return and the opportunity to take out a dangerous heretic cell will be lost.  

Lead an espionage mission to the Fisherman’s Hook himself. This wretch can’t be trusted and the information he brought must be confirmed or debunked by Cieran himself or those he trusts, before leading an open raid on a city tavern. Following up on the information himself is more reliable, but also much more risky. The small group needed to perform this task, will be much more vulnerable to attack.

Take no immediate action. This may be something, or it may be nothing at all. Cieran will wait and see if anything else develops, before acting on this dubious tip off. A valuable lead could be lost, but also Cieran won’t risk himself or his men in a possible trap. However, the next news on this heretic cell could be a terrible attack on the temples of the goddess, or even an attack upon a more strategic target.
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Re: Tegotha (The Rook, if merciful on the tongue)

Post by bridgekeeper3 on Fri Jun 05, 2015 7:28 pm

Cieran strokes his chin, calling his best warriors into the barracks before giving the orders.

          "good tip beggar, you will be rewarded greatly if you are telling the truth, Hadrin, Roc, bring him to the guard house and keep an eye on him, no torture just watch him"

              "yes sir"

              "If this is going to be a trap I won't wait for it, Caladria go with your warriors to the tavern, go in plain clothes and keep and eye out for anything fishy, report to me by the hour, for the rest of you starting from now we will gradually enter the Inn across the street from that tavern one group at a time posing as travelers, merchants and just about anyone looking for a place to stay. In the event that Caladria's group is in danger, I want them to light a candle in the window and we can reinforce them. Bring your weapons and armor, hide them anyway you can and we will wait until nightfall and if the heretics assemble, we will crush them"

          "but sir I don't mean to... well won't it seem suspicious that a group spends so much time in a tavern without getting drunk" Caladria says

          "fair point, hmm..." Cieran says stroking his chin.

          "well she was a musician" one of the warriors adds.    

         "I... I am a bit rusty and I did trade the fiddle for a blade besides just me is hardly a band"

          "so why don't we just get drunk and save us the trouble," one of the warriors says.

          "no, come on at least a few of you can play an instrument," says Cieran.

          "well I did play the drums when I was at sea"

          "I have fingers I can play a lute"

          "I was a good... um uh," says Adon

          "shut up Adon"

          "huh just give me a washboard" Adon replies

          "Bastros uses the warhorn, why won't he play"

         "if you heard that thing up close, you'd be dead"

                 As the band of "minstrels" assembles and practices with instruments bought from a nearby market. Cieran's men start to separate into groups of 5 or 10, getting together their outfits as they hide their leather hauberks and weapons among clothes and trinkets. Some of the soldiers try to pose as couples to varying success, while others make up their best south island accents and pass themselves as traveling merchants. However some soldiers go the covert and creative method of "town mercenary" and just go in already armed and armored inadvertently blending in with the various toughs making the inn their home. The first groups of warriors enter the Inn, each paying for a room as more and more show up moments apart. Cieran goes with one of the groups and buys a room with a view of the tavern across the street. The "minstrels" soon get into position just as the sun is beginning to set, muscling out the one sad bard playing there. The "minstrels" take turns with "breaks" at the foot of the stage to keep watch on the tavern for anything suspicious. After all is set up, all they have to do is wait for the heretics to meet and spring the trap.
.....

      a combination of options 1 and 4, have an espionage group spy on the tavern to make sure if there's a meeting at all or if its a trap while being ready to attack or respond to an ambush. But in the even that it proves to be a trap, they can just leave before it springs.

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Re: Tegotha (The Rook, if merciful on the tongue)

Post by MissMilkMaid on Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:11 pm

As good as the plan sounded in Cieran’s strategy room, Caladria began to have second thoughts as soon as they turned onto the street the Fisherman’s Hook was located on. Though not too far from the wharfs, this section of the city was an unfinished corner at the base of a big spire. The street was little more than a muddy rut, with cliffs and half finished buildings looming on either side. Wooden scaffolds and stone rubble clutter the street, leaving the path too narrow for carts or large groups. The street seemed all the more wretched and deplorable, because most of the city was actually well organized well maintained.

The Fishman’s Hook itself was backed up against the stone of the cliff and build mostly of poorly constructed wooden planks. It wasn’t large and inside it was dim and a little damp. The front room held the bar a few tables and the stage was little more than a few squat crates stacked close together in the corner.  The back room was darker still with the natural rough stonewall of the cliff as the back wall. A few shelves, some old chairs, several barrels and one rickety table were all that seemed to be in there.

It was clear that the Fisherman’s Hook, seldom served more than a couple dozen patrons at the most and probably entertained less than ten on most evenings. Caladria and her men crowded the tavern to near full capacity just by themselves and they drew baffled looks from the handful of regulars. Their music drew even more curious people from the neighborhood, many asking what the big ado was all about.

The barkeeper was a brawny sylph with one missing eye. He’d seemed a little confused when the musicians kicked out the scrawny want-to-be-bard. The kid was his nephew and most of the time his patrons were too drunk to be bothered by a bad bard and he never expected a group of real player to come here. However, the barkeeper seemed to decide not to question the group of unknown players and simply shrugged in response to questions from the patrons.

Eventually, things seemed to settle down. The poor people and squatters of the little street seemed willing to accept the presence of the players, without having all their questions answered and soon they had a crowd that spilled out into the streets. Every song, even those played badly, were applauded and parents brought their children, holding them on their shoulders. Obviously their music was appreciated, but it was difficult for Caladrai and her people to keep track of the crowd and look for signs of heretic activities.  

Cieran and his group were lucky enough to find an abandoned, half completed apartment on the corner of the street. It was spacious enough for his people and no one seemed to have noticed them. It had a good view of the Fisherman’s Hook, but the crowd gathering around the tavern door made it hard for Cieran to distinguish who may or may not be with the heretics. With Caladria and her people in disguise, it was sometimes even hard to tell his own people from the civilians.

It was about half an hour after dark and Adon gladly pushed aside his washboard and took his turn for break. They weren’t exactly the best players, but crowd seemed to love them, probably because noting ever happened in this shithole of the tavern. It was so dimly lit he could hardly see the faces of his fellow players and the cramped conditions made it very hot.

Pushing his way past some ragged sailors, Adon slipped into the back room. Here it was darker, but more spacious and less noisy. Letting out a long breath, he fluttered up to the top of a high shelf in a dark corner. He always found it easier to collect his thoughts in an elevated place. Pulling out a penknife and a stick, he fell to his habit of carving, hoping Caladria wouldn’t call him back for a while. The music of his compatriots could still be heard filtering through the doorway, but Adon managed to block it out.

This was supposed to be a spy mission, but there didn’t seem to be much opportunity to do any spying. The place was just too crowded. If heretics had planned a meeting here, he doubted the heretics would still do so now.  

Only five minutes later, however, Adon saw the bulky form of the barkeeper slip through the doorway. The barkeeper was follow by two others. The back room was too dark for Adon to see their faces, but by their dress and accents, Adon knew right away that they were from a higher class than the rest of the people who’d crammed into the Fisherman’s Hook.

“We will proceed with the meeting,” one of the sylphs said.

Adon held very still. It was dark and no one noticed him sitting high on the corner shelf.

“This circus show, or whatever, isn’t important and the crowd will just help cover the coming and going of our brothers.”

“You’re probably right,” the other said.

“If you say so,” the barkeeper agreed grudgingly. His rough uneducated accent sounded coarse, beside the voices of the others. With a grunt, he rolled aside one of the barrels and revealed some trap doors leading down into the bedrock at the base of the cliff.

“Make sure all the others know we’re still meeting,” one of the others told the barkeeper, before opening the trap doors. Both him and his companion descended into a cavern passed behind the tavern.  

The barkeeper then returned to the front room. A minute or two later, Adon slipped out as well and managed to inform Caladria. She ordered him to keep watch on the back room. Over the next thirty minutes, four more sylphs slipped into the backroom, before the barkeeper replaced the barrel. Caladria then sent Adon out to inform Cieran.

----

Summery

Caladria's infiltration turned out to be less than subtle in this neighborhood and has drawn a lot of attention. However, there doesn’t seem to be any sign that their true identities or intentions have been discovered. Their music has, in fact, been quite well received by the whole neighborhood, drawing a crowd. The tavern and the street outside are crowded with civilians and movement in and out of the Fisherman’s Hook will be difficult. Violence, the appearance of armed men, or an obvious attack will probably cause panic and would result in several civilian casualties due to the cramped conditions and narrow street.  

Cieran and his men have successfully established themselves in a nearby apartment, without drawing attention. Their presence will remain concealed, while they stay in this building. They are on the second floor and have a good view of the street and the door of the Fisherman’s Hook. However, they can’t tell people apart from the crowd very well from this distance.

Adon witnessed the barkeeper escorting six upper class sylphs to a secret passage in the back room of the tavern. He overheard two of them talking about a meeting. This seems to align with the information the beggar told Cieran and it seems the heretics intend to go through with their plans despite the unusual crowd.

Cieran may:

Storm the tavern: Civilian losses be damned! The beggar was telling the truth and Cieran has the heretics like rats in a trap. He won’t give them the chance to escape. The troops can cut their way through the crowd and attack the heretics down in caves, attempting to capture them and kill whatever monster they may be hiding down there. - Good odds of catching the heretics and relatively low risk to Cieran and his men, however, this will result in the slaughter of innocent people and going into the caves could still prove to be a trap. Even if Cieran is successful, this will reflect poorly upon him and upon the government in the public eye.

Lead a Small Group or Go Alone: There only appears to be half a dozen heretics and, even with the possibility of monsters being kept in the caves, it’s nothing Cieran himself, with maybe one or two others, can’t handle. In this manner Cieran will be able to slip through the civilian crowd with out arousing or harming anyone and sneak into the secret passage in the back room. Once down in the caves, he can confront the heretics and bring them to justice. Bringing more than armed five men with him into the back room shall disrupt the crowd and questions at best and panic at the worst will ensue in the street around Fisherman’s Hook. Odds of not disturbing the tavern will be best of Cieran goes alone, or only take two sylphs with him. – Good odds of finding and catching the heretics, but a higher risk for Cieran and whomever he takes with him, especially if this does turn out to be a trap. However, on the other hand, a low chance of innocent civilians being harmed and it will reflect well on Cieran and the government if he is successful in this manner.

Just Watch and Wait: With so many people and in such confined spaces, it’s too dangerous to confront the heretics here and now. Besides, Cieran still has no proof this isn’t a trap. Keep watching the tavern all night and send agents to try to follow the heretics when they leave. Hopefully, Ceiran can learn who they are. In the meantime, make plans to arrest the barkeeper in the morning. Even if he isn’t a heretic rebel himself, he obviously knows them and is helping them. It won’t be too hard to get the truth out of him, once the proper motivation is applied. - High chance of the heretics escaping for the time being, but could provide follow-up leads. Could prove dangerous for the agents assigned to follow the heretics, but low risk to the rest of Cieran’s men.

There’s something Fishy Here: This doesn’t seem right. Caladria and her troop have drawn too much attention already and this whole set up is looking like a load of bullcrap. If there were a heretic meeting here, they wouldn’t still be going forward with all the commotion Caladria has caused. This is a trap, or something else entirely. It’s time to pull everyone out. The beggar was probably lying. – The heretics (if they exist) get away and continue with their schemes. No risks are taken and no civilian lives are lost, but Cieran looses a possible lead on a heretic cell.
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Re: Tegotha (The Rook, if merciful on the tongue)

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