Welcome to the Greenbelt:
For the last couple of years, you have been an assistant inquisitor at the temple of Abadar in New Stetven. The Chief Inquisitor, Nolam Grimjaw, is a very different teacher than Gwalmaer the priest. Where Gwalmaer would use beatings and worse to insure obedience, Grimjaw could keep order among a half dozen trainees with the sound of his voice and he didn’t speak often. A slight smile from Grimjaw would feel like the highest praise and a scowl would feel like a flogging. Grimjaw said slightly more to Najara than the other assistants and he smiled at her more often than he scowled.
Several days ago, Najara was leaving the temple on a routine mission when she was stopped by a courier with a letter for Grimjaw. She directed the courier to the Chief’s quarters and went about her business. When she returned to her quarters, she found her belongings had been packed for travel with two pieces of parchment sitting on her pack. One parchment was a letter from Grimjaw:
This temple has received a special request from the Lord of Restov. We have been asked to send an Inquisitor to help establish law and order in the Greenbelt. The Inquisitor tasked with this mission will face a daunting task—bringing the Justice of Abadar to a lawless land. For some time I’ve been looking for a fitting opportunity for you to leave this temple and serve Abadar as a fully fledged Inquisitor. This is our opportunity, I’m certain you won’t let me down.
P.S. I know this is the whim of a silly old man, but I’d like to think you’ll remember me when you use the gift I left you.
Picking up the second parchment, you discover it’s a charter of exploration and settlement issued by the Swordlords. Lifting the charter revealed Grimjaw’s gift, a set of masterwork manacles.
For the last few months, Vivian has been wandering the city streets purposeless. While she has dedicated herself to adventure, she’s yet to find the adventure she’d dreamed of when she left Pharasma’s temple.
A few nights ago, Vivian was walking through town when she noticed something—a person was lying motionless at the end of an alley. She went to see how she could help, but there was blood, way too much blood. Someone had slit a young man’s throat and left him to die. Examining the body Vivian realized it was the same young man she had “pranked” several months ago. His right hand clutched a piece of parchment with an official looking seal. Without thinking Vivian grabbed the parchment and ran before someone found her with the body of a man she was too closely associated with.
That night in her room, Vivian woke from her sleep with a start. The dead rich boy was sitting on her bed looking at her. A wistful smile was on his lips. “I’m glad you got the Charter,” he said. “And I’m very sorry about the trouble I caused you earlier. Father is the type who just has to go to the law with every little quibble.”
The boy told Vivian that the parchment she had taken was a charter of exploration and settlement granted by the Swordlords. His father had acquired the charter for his son at great expense. “Something about toughening me up and making something of my life,” the youth muttered. The young man hadn’t been keen on going to the Greenbelt to settle the wilderness, so he couldn’t understand why he gave his life fighting the thugs who tried to steal his charter.
“I guess they don’t need any more wolves out there,” he finally said. “That’s why I’m glad you got the charter. Not only are you not a wolf, but unlike me, you’ll be able to fight them without dying.”
And that’s how Vivian Deberth found herself on the road to the Oleg’s Trading Post with a blood stained charter.
It’s amazing how many people you had to bribe to get a Charter from the Swordlords. For all the talk about how Brevoy needs to tame the wilderness and recapture what is rightfully theirs, you’d think they’d be passing these things out by the hundreds. Perhaps it’s because of your diminutive stature or maybe they didn’t think knowing ten ways to roast a squab was the most useful skill to have in the wild. But you got your charter and got on your way to Oleg’s Trading Post.
You can’t quite stop wondering about the elf. She was cooling her heels in the same waiting rooms and bribing the same officials you were. Honestly, you thought she was naturally going to get the charter. And from the way she glowered at you, she thought it should have been hers too.
When you were pressing for your inheritance in Restov, all of the gathered nobles, clerks, and courtiers laughed at you—except one, Balov the Dwarf. You never gathered what Balov’s title was, but while all the others mocked your claim, he sat and stared at you.
Eventually, you left the court of Restov in humiliation. You went to the humble inn you had stayed at to gather your things. Sitting on your bed were two pieces of parchment. The first was a letter that read:
I’m just an old dwarf who’s seen more human comrades die than he’d care to remember, so I’m probably mistaken. But I think I knew a man that bore a strong resemblance to you. If he was who I think he was and you are who I think you are, my old friend’s grandson deserved better from that lot than they gave you today. This may not be much, but this scrap belongs in the hands of a true son of Rogarvia, not the insolent pup I’m supposed to give it to. Make the most of it, boy.
The second parchment was a Charter of exploration and settlement from the Swordlords.
Since leaving his tribe, Andarr has been feeling restless. He’s travelled far and wide, seen many strange and unusual things, but there is something he needs to accomplish. The problem is he doesn’t quite know what that is.
The other day, Andarr was travelling through the woods with Firemane when the great cat alerted to something. Rushing to investigate, Andarr found a young woman, little more than a girl, being attacked by a band of goblins. It didn’t take long for Andarr and Firemane to drive the little pests away. The girl was badly injured, so Andarr saw her to safety at the nearest town.
The girl was very grateful to Andarr for his help, but was very upset about not being able to continue on her journey. She had a charter from the Swordlords of Restov to explore an area known as the Greenbelt. Her injuries would prevent her from fulfilling the Charter’s commands. For some reason, she insisted on Andarr taking the charter and travelling to Oleg’s Trading Post. For some reason, Andarr took the charter. Perhaps this may be the purpose he was looking for all along.
I'M GOING TO BE A KING!I'M GOING TO BE A KING!
I'M GOING TO BE A KING!
Juwwem had lost track of how much he’d had to drink that night. He knew he’d thought that before, but he’d never said it aloud. A huge man in jet black armor stood up on the other side of the tavern and walked towards the inebriated gnome. “So, you want to be a king?” He growled. “Here, take this. Let’s see if you have what it takes.”
Juwwem expected to be punched, kicked, or perhaps picked up and tossed across the room. He did not expect to be handed a piece of parchment with a fancy seal. When he came too the next morning, Juwwem examined the parchment. It was a genuine charter of exploration and settlement from the Swordlords. Maybe you couldn’t really become a king with one of these, but some good might come of being a minor noble. And with this charter and a bit of luck, you might pull it off.
You approach Oleg’s Trading Post a couple hours before sunset. It looks like it’s going to rain tonight. Fortunately, it looks like the Trading Post’s roof will keep the rain out. Well, mostly at least. The man hammering away at the roof seems to be taking care of that.
The trading post is surrounded by a ten foot tall rectangular wooden palisade. There is a twenty foot tall tower at each corner. Smoke rises from a chimney in one of the buildings.
Rain...I like rain.
The slender young redhead wasn't aware she talked out loud, expressing her thoughts. On this long road- long, boring, and overwhelming yuuuky road- there wasn't many travellers. At last, the outpost was in sight. Tonight, she could maybe have a warm bath, a good meal, some company...
Hopefully even some LIVING company: the ghostly spirits she saw once or twice while she was travelling weren't much of a chitty chat type.
Vivian stopped walking, to take a better view of the place and its surroundings. She took a long, deep breath of the evening air, simply happy to be alive.
With a smile on her face, she tries to shift the weight of her backpack on her shoulders for the final part of the road.
Wonder if I could run all the way to the palissade? Let's try!
Giggling like a child, Vivian darts to the place known as Oleg's trading post
As Shix crests the last hill before the Olegs, he stops to take a short rest and takes in the sights before him and ponders.
Here, finally here, the green belt......its very green and ..uh belty?
In any case I'm here now after a long and arduous trek, leaping crevasses, fording rivers, trudging through swamps, and uh.....um...you know thinking back on it, it probably would have been easier just to follow the road.
"Easier but not enlightening!" he bursts out,"right Sebastian?" he asks the donkey that's carrying most everything he owns. In reply Sebastian takes advantage of the stop in forward walking and chews on some nearby grass.
"Right!" Shix answers for him. "Cause if we had taken the road we wouldn't have found those delicious (though slightly toxic) berries along the way, Which led us to that great pudding recipe, that we can combine with basic acid to get us some......"
After ten more minutes of a stimulating one sided conversation, Shix remembers that he was on his way to that nice little outpost down the way and continues on.
Andarr, while gently stroking his friend's neck, asks him "Firemane, is there such a thing as fate?"
As usual, the only answer he gets from his lifelong companion is a gentle lick.
"Not much has happened since we left the tribe... But I feel saving that girl from those little freaks is a sign, and not a coincidence. This... charter" he eyes the piece of paper dubiously "somehow feels to me like more than just a Tshamek document... I feel it contains a bit of our fates. I cannot say why, though."
"Well" he adds, while using his senses and his experience of the wild to find the right direction to travel "Shall we be on our way? I feel we must make haste." Nodding, the firepelt cougar starts trotting along his friend on the dirt road to the Outpost.
"Let us meet this Oleg... and see what a trading post looks like." He grins "First time for everything!"
Having made his way to the outpost, he spots the man working on the roof. Cautiously, for he has learned that Firemane can have an unsettling effect on people not used to him, he approches the compound, cougar in tow. When he is within earshot, he stops and calls out: "Well met, friend. I assume" holding up the document "You are the Oleg this speaks of?"
The wooden pallisade and the watchtowers of Oleg's Trading Post reminded Juwwem of the fact that these weren't the civilised lands where he hailed from. "This charter is going to get me in more trouble than I first thought."
Juwwem sees a man with a cougar talking to a man on the roof. "Now that's an impressive creature!" he thinks as he pulls his mule Poi who refuses to move much further.
"Hello sirs, I'm Juwwem Stonefriend and this is my not-so-cooperative mule Poi. Could you point me to a stable for him and a drink for myself?"
|Najara the Ironsighted|
A pair of muted gray eyes darted rhythmically to and fro as they appraised the contents of the dual letters set before them. Najara’s stubbornly straight forward thought processes systematically assimilated the knowledge conveyed within the words eliciting the slightest curve to corner of her lips. She had heard of this land, the area known as the Greenbelt, part of the much larger stretch of infamous notoriety aptly named Stolen Lands. It was a land sown with chaos that had been allowed to grow wild with wickedness for far too long. The fact that Abadar had chosen her to be his instrument to reap this savage frontier of ruthless banditry and other such unlawful behavior filled her head to the brim with a delicious pride. This was her opportunity to prove to the men of the earth and the gods above that she was indeed one of the worthy. She shall not fail.
With thoughts drowning in a zealous fervor, her master’s almost too kind words were enough to shatter her remaining resolve. A full-fledged smile cracked her steely countenance. And despite being alone in her own quarters, a hand immediately shot up cover the evidence of such frivolity. This sudden and wondrous development was most welcome, but it is no excuse to forget oneself.
Najara proceeded to dump the contents of her prepared pack upon the cot and set to task meticulously repacking the items herself. And once finished, the young woman made a hasty departure from the compound taking care to avoid her master and fellow pupils. Such encounters would surely lead to awkward parting words she would rather altogether avoid. A mere hour later she was on the road towards her destination, Oleg's Trading Post.
You notice more details as you approach the stockade.
There are three buildings in the compound. The largest building in the west is a stable, in the northeast corner is a small house, and the southeast corner has a bunkhouse. Between the stable and the house is a covered pen for storing trade goods. Between the house and the guest house are two large tables and a fire pit. The smoke is coming from a chimney in the house.
The man is working on the roof of the guest house. "Yah, I'm Oleg," he says speaking around a few nails he holds between his lips. "Only Oleg in dese parts, so must be da one in your letter. I don't s'pose da letters got mixed up and your da guards I asked fer?"
He takes a closer look at the approaching strangers. Seeing two gnomes, a girl, a Shoanti shaman and a cougar, and an inquisitor, Oleg shakes his head. "Nah, yust travelers," he mutters. "Oh, well. My wife Svetlana's inside. She'll see to your beds, supper, and boardin' your beasts. Though I s'pose dat cat o' yours may want to stay outside to keep from spookin' da ponies."
After the rejection of Restov's court and the further insult of having his only heirloom 'confiscated' it took Gordom a few hours to gather his thoughts and get headed towards Oleg's Trading Post.
"Well, Beor" the ranger says while leaning from his saddle to offer the horse a gentle pat, "I'm not so sure I like taking charity from that old dwarf, but this may just be the opportunity we needed. If anything comes from this we'll have to make sure to settle our debt."
By the time the palisade surrounding the trading post comes into view the sun has already started to set and small drops of water have begun to fall; indicative of what Gordom was sure would be a larger storm.
"Let's get you out of this rain and see about some food. Tomorrow we can set about this exploration nonsense"
"Guards, you say? Well, this document does speak of "striving against banditry and other unlawful behaviour to be encountered"..." replies Andarr. "As for Firemane, my companion, you are correct. It would be better for him to remain outside. He knows how to fend for himself." Firemane lets out a disgruntled roar at the assertion. Andar just grins. "Supper does sound like a good idea at the time."
Looking a tad dubiously at the other people who have just arrived (not having seen many gnomes in his life), he can't help but let his glance linger on the two small ones. "Well met travelers. What bring you here? I am Andar, shaman of the Shriikirri-Quah clan, and I hail from Belkzen." He ends his sentence with a slight nod.
"Greetings! I'm Shix Firley, Master cook extraordinaire. Pleased to meet you." Shix then reaches for Andarr's hand and shakes it vigorously.
"I've never meet anyone from Belkzen before, whats the food like? Whats your favorite dish? Do you have a favorite dish? Perhaps you could show me how to make it?
Without really waiting for reply he turns to the large cat next to Andarr and bows deeply,saying "Greetings I'm Shix Firley its a pleasure to make you acquaintance noble cat." He then try's to pet Firemane, circling as he does so an muttering to himself about what spices would go best with it.
|Najara the Ironsighted|
Najara glanced skyward and scowled as if she had a prayer of intimidating the clouds themselves. She cared not for the rain which seemed unfortunately imminent. The sooner indoors the better.
The woman nodded appreciatively to the shaman and “master chef” for respective introduction. ”I am Najara the Ironsighted, assistant inquisitor of the Church of Abadar.”, she formally announced aloud to the man perched upon the rooftop as well as for the benefit of those gathered nearby, ” Oleg, I assume you are you the point of authority for this post? Can you enlighten us as the nature of any troubles that have been plaguing you of late, perhaps over an evening meal? I cannot speak for the others here, but I have been personally charged with the task of eradicating the banditry known to these parts.”
Vivian pats the mount's flanck
I'm Vivian Deberth, I'm an explorer, and an adventurer. Nice place you have there, master Oleg. I just hope your wife could make me a warm bath...
I guess everyone there is thirsty, so why won't we go inside before the rain starts to fall? The first round is for me!
With a warm smile, Vivian picks up her backpack and starts walking to the guest house
Come in people, before I change my mind!
She laughs heartily
"Eradicatin' banditry," Oleg mutters as he climbs down from the roof. "Yust like stoopid city folks send 'explorers' when we yust need bowmen... I'll help you with the horses." He leads the way to the stables and will soon have the mounts bedded down for the night.
Entering the house, you notice the smell of hearty stew and freshly baked bread. A woman is bustling around the kitchen. "Hello," she says. "I heard you talking to Oleg outside. My name's Svetlana. I'm so glad you're here. Did I really hear that you're going to get rid of the bandits?" She starts serving big plates of stew to everyone.
After seeing Poi ready for the night, Juwwem gladly accepts Svetlana's big plate of stew. Awwwww that smells great... " It wasn't so much hunger as just getting something decent to eat instead of his on-the-road meals.
"Well met Svetlana, I'm Juwwem Stonefriend. It seems indeed like we're all here to help with the bandit problems, together with some other things. What can you tell us about these bandits? Are they troubling you here? You seem well defended but I've heard your husband was hoping for guards to arrive."
Yummy! I don't know what it is, Svetlana, but it smells good!
I'm Vivian Deberth, but please call me just Vivian.
Honestly, my plans for tonight are more along getting rid of my stinking clothes, have a good bath and a good meal, a few drinks, a few laughs, a few songs....
Say, Svetlana, does anyone here sells clothes? I can't bear mine much longer...
Then, having a few informations about theses bandits would be helpful, especially if we're expected to fight them!i'll defend your secret recipe of this stew, your husband shouldn't worry!
Vivian smiles and sits, putting her backpack down and massaging her shoulders
"Though I agree on the stupid city folks part... Getting rid of bandits is far from stupid. Bandits are vermin. Do you have an infestation?"
Seeing the man's apparent reticence to consider them as help, Andar shrugs, asks Firemane to remain outside as he fetches food, and enters the house. He makes his way to kitchen, guided by his sense of smell and the hunger that suddently makes itself known the moment he smells Svetlana's cooking.
"Greetings, Madam." He nods slightly. "If there are any bandits menacing you, I shall do my utmost to crush them." Andar smiles. "Although I do hope it can wait until after dinner!"
He sticks around in the kitchen, waiting to hear the other's opinions.
Arriving just as the rest of the group has headed inside, Gorodm first sees the man repairing the roof.
"Sir! Would you be the Oleg of Oleg's Trading Post? Would you like some help with that roof before the storm picks up?"
Gordom looks at the sky, trying to predict how bad the storm may get:
Survival Check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
"Da roof should hold for da night," Oleg tells Gordom. "Yust had a few holes I wanted to patch on da guest house."
Svetlana looks like she's grateful for the praise her stew's earned and even more grateful for each offer to help with the bandits. "The bandits have been bothering us for three months now. The stockade looks impressive, but it's just me and Oleg out here. The merchants that send us trade goods say they're going to send guards, but they haven't bothered to yet. It's a good thing you got here tonight because the bandits will be here tomorrow for their monthly collection."
Svetlana laughs heartily when Vivian asks about a bath. She stops laughing and says, "Sorry, I guess you haven't been in the wilderness very long. I haven't had a proper bath since Oleg and I came out here. In these parts, a bath is just two buckets of water. You dump the first over your head, lather up, then use the second to rinse off. Tell you what, since you've been travelling a long time and you're going to help with the bandits, I'll even heat the water for you tonight." She takes a moment to look at Vivian before continuing, "Your clothes are pretty beat up. I think I can find one of my old outfits. We'll have to take it in some, but we can make it fit."
After noticing the stew, Shix immediatly pulls out a small book that appears to be falling appart and scorched in several places, and asks,"Please miss you must tell how you made such a tasty looking stew! Did you season the meat first or let the broth season it? Whats the ratio of meat to vegetables? How long has it been cooking? What kind of wood do you use to heat it? All the while he's rushiing about the kitchen tasting this and smelling that.
After hearing of the dastardly bandits here to steal the recipe Shix gets a serious look on his face. " We must prepare some defenses. Seal the gate! Raise the drawbridge! Ready the......the....." Turning to Svetlana and asking " What kind of defenses do you have here anyways?"
|Najara the Ironsighted|
Najara kindly accepted a bowl of bubbling stew and thanked Svetlana appropriately. ”Such an outspoken passion for justice is refreshing.”, she chimed in with an acknowledging glance towards Andarr and Shix, ”It is assuring to know we are all here for the same common goal. Svetlana, what amounts to this monthly collection? And the party that arrives tomorrow, how many do they typically number?”
Gordom takes his horse into the stable, then heads for the main building where, still unbeknownst to him, the other adventurer's have gathered. Walking into the building Gordom is surprised to see so many others at such a small and remote outpost.
"You all do not look like traders. And you there,"nodding at Vivian"you don't look like you've been away from the city a day of your life. What brings you all the way out here?"
After making sure everyone has plenty of stew and bread, Svetlana serves herself and sits down to eat. While she's eating, she tells you about the bandits.
"The bandits first showed up about three months ago. There were about a dozen of them on their first visit. There was a man with a bow and a woman who wielded two hatchets running the gang. The woman did most of the talking, so we guess she's in charge. She said we had to pay them 'taxes' or... We'll she nearly chopped Oleg's hand off with one of her axes and threatened to give me to her men to... Well, that first time she took my wedding ring as a 'token of our gratitude' along with all the valuables they could get their hands on."
"They come here and take all the coins and trade goods they can carry away. They show up on the first day of the month just like regular tax collectors back in town. The last couple times they've come, It's just been the man with a few of their cronies. Tomorrow's the first, and I'm sure they'll be back."
"Well ma'am, I'm sure those of us capable would be more than happy to help you settle your debt with these thieves. Is there anything else you can tell us? Do they approach from a particular direction? Do they always come around the same time of day?
Gordom turns towards all those gathered around the table.
"I think it would be wise to use this time to discuss our options. do we set an ambush or go with a straightforward confrontation? We don't have enough time to get familiar with the area or set any traps before tomorrow so an ambush would be a little tricky. But I'm not too keen on giving away our element of surprise either."
"Now, now, Gordam. There's no need to resort to violence so quickly. Perhaps what we have here is just a misunderstanding. Maybe their not thieves at all and they really are tax collectors(albeit overzealous ones)or they at least believe themselves to be. In which case I'm sure a nice polite conversation could solve this whole misunderstanding."
|Najara the Ironsighted|
Beneath the table, a clenched fist tightened itself with every sentence of Svetlana’s recollection. ”There will be no more taxes.”, she stated with the firmness of steel. Najara turned to regard the latest new comer and his sensible straight forward suggestion, ”Indeed. The element of surprise is a valuable one we should not unwisely cast aside. Your forethought is much appreciated, but alas we did not catch your name?”
”We are short on time, and although we have only briefly met, all of our words thus far speak of a common purpose. I look forward to working with you all to see things set right.”, she said, although her own statements covered some misgivings. This sure was a motley crew to have so miraculously assembled this night. ”Perhaps it is best that we describe our various professions or skills so that we may better formulate a plan. Who here is trained with a bow or sword even? I myself have had such combat training with weapons as well as words.”
"Indeed, as Najara said, there shall be no more tax collection... or, let's call a cat a cat, thievery. Using violence, or the threat thereof, to force our hosts to pay, and threatening a wife in presence of her man..." Andar clenches his jaw. "I can think or nothing fouler. On the honor of my tribe, I will help deal with these bandits in a... definitive way."
Turning to Najara "As for my set of skills... I am a Shaman, and the Firepelt Cougar is my totem. Firemane accompanies me, and I can conjure the power of nature to help us, or to harm our enemies. What set of skills might YOU have?"[b] Turning to Gordom: [b]"I think the easiest way to deal with these bandits is to let them come in as they usually do - after all, they have no idea Oleg and Svitlana have visitors. We hide in the compound as best as we can... We let them come inside, then close the barricade and deal with them. Simple as that."
He turns to the assembled company: "I hope to clear one thing though: These men hurt our hosts - as previously mentioned I am honor bound to assist them, for they have offered me shelter, and that is sacred to my tribe... I do not know much of Tshamek law, but I believe we are not in any place that has "Preesons" or "Guarts", otherwise, there would be no such brazen lacts of unlawfulness." He stops for a moment, takes on a hard visage, and scans the assembly. "If these people mean to do Svitlana and Oleg harm, I will have no mercy." He shrugs. "I just wanted that to be clear before we started."
|Najara the Ironsighted|
”And no mercy shall be given. Luring them inside seems practical, perhaps with a few archers position along the palisades for an advantageous point. Then under threat of arrow, we offer them the choice of a surrender.”. Najara’s tone betrayed obvious skepticism. ”It it doubtful they would accept but it is a fair offer and should help assuage Shix’s concerns.”
Juwwem can't help but shiver a bit at the mention of so much violence. He feels a bit relieved when the other gnome mentions another option.
"Uh.. folks, I'm not sure we should be so hasty in fighting. If things don't go the way we expect these bandits will not take kindly on Oleg and Svetlana or their home."
Juwwem thinks for a second before continuing.
"How much money would satisfy these bandits? We might come up with the money as to trick them in thinking everything's going as they planned. When they leave we could follow them and see what it would take to get your and our things back. If they're truly bandits we are going to have to deal with them anyway. If they're not, we should be able to solve it by talking."
Juwwem looks around with a hopeful look in his eyes.
"What do you think? Am I mistaken?"
Trouble with giving away the money asken is that next month, they will ask our poor hosts more money, money they won't be probably able to pay. And maybe we couldn't pay neither. These bandits seem quite bloodthirsty.
If there is a fight, we must give no quarter, because they wouldn't give any second thought before killing any of us.
And if I may be able to defend myself, as you are
she points to Naraja
Its not the case for Svetlana. And they will most probably..
fulfill their threats first.
Do the bandits enter the post or do they stay outside it?I propose that Svetlana stays inside, and only her husband shows with the money. Stick to the routine the bandits are used with. We must stay hidden, and strike quick and hard, to get the most of the surprise. If we use bows, just aim at one or two targets, to put them down. There's no use in wounded bandits who can fight back.
And if that hatchet wielding woman still have your wedding ring, Svetlana, i'll do my best to get it back to you.
Stealing plain money is a thing, as long as the people you steal still have enough money to live. Stealing a piece of jewellery you cherish so much, the symbol of your love... it's bad.I couldn't sink so low.
"Miss Vivian, that's not what I ment. What I ment to say was: there should be no next month. I agree we have to settle this now, I merely propose we keep the alleged bandits oblivious to our presence and then investigate who they are, where they are and what we should do next. That could include fighting them but better prepared."
"The name is Gordom. I'm a hunter for a living so I normally like the idea of tracking our prey back to it's den. But tomorrow I think it best to strike early while our enemy is divided. I think I might have a plan."
"City-girl," Gordom says, looking in Vivian's direction "Our hostess already offered you a pair of her old clothes, did she not? Why don't we disguise you as her so that we can still lure the bandits in while allowing Oleg and his wife to hide; away from the possibility of getting hurt. The disguise need not be that great, we just need to get the bandits in the walls before they suspect."
"Now, if we are truly attempting to bring order to this land than it is only fair if we offer our guests the opportunity to surrender first. If they do, we bind them and can go from there. If they refuse, well, wee man here is going to have to get used to fighting eventually. We just need to make sure to take at least one alive so that we can find the others."
"What do you say? Oleg and his wife are safe, we at least begin with the option for negotiations, and if all else fails we should still be able to have the upper hand."
Andarr frowns at the very mention of bribing the bandits.
"The simplest tactical option in my opinion is simply to lure them inside. And there is no way I am going to pay off highwaymen, that would then be back for more. They need to dealt with once and for all, and swiftly at that. Honor demands no less."
He turns to Oleg and Svetlana.
"It seems these bandits have been plaguing you long enough. Are they so brazen that they would simply walk into your trading post? If so, what Vivian proposes makes sense - simply lure them in, while we are all hidden at the best of our capabilities. Oleg should lure then in, then run inside the house and lock the door... And open it only once this is all over."
"Of course, we'll have to capture one alive for interrogation... The woman with the hatchets seems a natural choice, since she is likely to be the one with the real information."
Andarr cracks his knuckles.
OOC: Tactically speaking (using the map) simply lure them into A1, once they are all there, Oleg makes a run for A6 (or pretexts to go in and get the money), then closes the door. Afterwards, we simply run out of our positions hidden behind A3 and A2 and destroy them.
Also, I don't think that hatchet lady will be there. I could be mistaken, but that's what I got from Svetlana's story; the whole gang showed up the first day for intimidation factor, but then Bonnie left it up to Clyde to run the show after that.
Let's hear how the bandits work usually first. Then we should take a better look to the outside of the trading post, so we can plan our actions better.
Suddenly, Vivian's eyes sparkle, and her voice hastens
THERE IS ANOTHER WAY!
Look, we all agree our gentle hosts should be protected, no? I think that maybe we ought to ambush the bandits not here,at Oleg's post, but on their way back to their camp, when they have their money. They won't expect any troubles on the way back, even maybe letting down their defenses.
We surprise them, we beat them, letting just one go: he will say to his "friends" another bandit group attacked them on the way back, and Svetlana and Oleg won't be suspected.
And maybe we could track him down to his camp, but I guess that the six of us couldn't attack a whole bandit ring.
Of course, any money we get back we'll donate to Oleg. What do you think of it? Could it be done without too much risk?
Oleg has joined the diners by this time, sitting in a corner, slowly eating his bowl of stew. Svetlana answers Vivian's questions about the bandits' tactics. "They normally ride right in like they own the place. The second time they came, we barred the gate. They just threatened to burn the fort down with us in it. We've left the gate open for them since. I'm sorry Juwwem, but I think they want to take everything we have. They won't be happy until they come here and we've either run away or they take us for their 'taxes'. They didn't take everything at once because the merchants keep sending us more trade goods and the trappers keep giving us more pelts."
After listening a few minutes, Oleg quietly heads out the door. He returns a few minutes later with an earthen wear jug. "Wild berry wine," he announces removing a cork from the jar's mouth. "Made it myself. Been savin' it for a special occasion. Looks like dis is special enough. Trust me, dis lot is no tax collectors. Even if dey were, dey shud be punished for threatenin' Svetlana like dey did." Oleg takes a swallow from the jar and passes the wine on to Juwwem.
"I like da idea of trappin' dem," Oleg says. "Dey been less careful da last couple times dey've come." He looks away from his listeners and starts pushing his stew around with his spoon. "Dey don't dink I can even protect my own woman."
Svetlana interrupts with a few comforting words and Oleg continues. "I won't let you use Miss Vivian as bait. I... We... Dat is, Svetlana's been hidin' when dey come to visit. If dey see a girl in da yard, dey'll know somethin's up. I'll be your bait." Oleg starts shoveling stew into his mouth to avoid saying anything more, but you notice he's sitting straighter than he did previously.
With his last hangover being more than a week gone, Juwwem gladly accepts the jug Oleg passes him and pours some of the wild berry wine in his mouth.
"Allright, they're bandits and I agree with you that they shouldn't have threatened you folks like that. Just be aware of the fact that this fight doesn't have to happen now and here. We're going to take care of it. I'm glad miss Vivian shares my view on this matter. What about the rest of you, do you still insist on acting this quick?"
Juwwem hands the jug to Andarr.
|Najara the Ironsighted|
”Juwwem, your concerns are valid, but I have to agree with Gordom and Andarr’s proposed line of thought. From Svetlana’s account, I believe we are dealing with a gang of no more than a dozen. The first time they appeared is when they would have logically mustered their full numbers as a show of force. Now that they’ve grown lax, this is our time to strike while their numbers are split. But if we engineer a confrontation tomorrow, we must be prepared to follow it through swiftly to the source. We must keep at least one alive, as Andarr suggests, to divine the location of their main base so that we may eradicate the remaining vestiges of this threat.”
"That's very brave of you, sir, made even more so by how uncommon bravery seems to be these days."
Gordom turns towards Vivian. "City-Girl there is merit to your plan. I just worry about if the cowards decide to make a break for it. We need at least one hostage in order to find our way back to the others."
"Svetlana, you mentioned that the bandits haven't been coming in full strength recently. Is the size of their group consistent? Would you say it's closer to five men or ten? Or more? And do you recall how many of them were there the first day? An exact number isn't necessary, just whatever you can remember."
After asking his questions Gordom faces Juwwem and although his tone stays level it is hard not to see contempt creeping into his look. "Wee one, you seem intent on following the bandits back to their lair. I ask you what benefit we could gain from this that could not also be gained from a full interrogation? We follow your plan and we risk losing out opportunity to strike a divided force. I would much rather fight five or ten bandits at a time than a full thirty. And if their group does send a party to find out what happened to the lot that is coming tomorrow, so much the better. Besides, Oleg and Svetlana have suffered enough at the hands of this lot. There shall be no more 'tax'." Gordom practically spits the last word as if it was itself distasteful.
As she considers Gordom's question, Svetlana starts counting fingers on her hand. "I think there were six of them last time," she says. "The man with the bow and five of his followers. They were all mounted and had some pack animals as well."
Oleg looks at Vivian and says, "Ambushing dem on da road is a good idea, but which road do you wait on? Dey come by different paths and never take da same path in as dey take out."
After hearing this, you all realize that you approached the trading post from different paths. There are trails heading north, south, east, and west from Oleg's. And they don't go to far into the woods before they start splitting into other trails.
"Well, it doesn't sound like we'll be able to lay a trap for them anywhere but here. We need to decide on a course of action so that we can start working out the details. The way I see it, we have those who want to make our stand here and those who want to track the bandits after letting them steal from Oleg. I propose a vote. I, for one, say we make a stand here."
|Najara the Ironsighted|
Democracy. Assuredly the fastest way to accomplish absolutely nothing. But Najara held her tongue and instead forced herself to humor them in the chosen decision making process. ”I also vote to set ambush here.”, she was quick to state her opinion with a nod of strong agreement in Gordom’s direction.
"Considering the opinion of most of this company, the approval of Oleg and Svetlana and also the wise words from miss Najara here.." Juwwem nods to the stern looking brown haired woman, "I'll agree on setting up an ambush inside the trading post. As you can probably see, I'm not much of a warrior but I would like to help nonetheless. I must say it's good to see such willingness to take action."
"hmm, it would seem I'm greatly outnumbered here. I would much rather not resort to such violent means first, but it would appear to be happening anyway...." Shix is quiet for a moment as he stares at his glass of wine and tugs at his little goatee."...so my vote as it were would be to confront them here where at least we have the element of surprise and a fortification."
Shix then turns to Najara looking a little as serious as is possible for him."You asked about our various skills before, and while it is true that I am a cook, I am also whats known as a sorcerer. From what I can tell the plane of fire flows through me. It can be quite destructive...." and with that Shix turns to Oleg, his countenance back to his happy self asking " Oleg, you must tell me what berry's you used in this wine, its delicious."
"Berries, mostly," Oleg is actually blushing because of Shix's praise. "My fadder showed me how to find dem when I was little. Gotta go way out in da woods to find dem. Missed dis year's batch. Didn't want to leave Svetlana alone long enough to go berry pickin'."
"They normally show up about an hour after day break," Oleg replies.
|Najara the Ironsighted|
Najara's eyes narrowed slightly on Shix with his ambigous relevation. "You will be in the thick of things when the confrontation inevitably turns sour. Many a weapon will likely seek you as the nearest target. If you wish to reconsider, I offer to take your place. These wouldn't be the first petty thieves I've had to stare down."
"Oleg, what weapons do they typically carry? Do any of them stand out as anything more than a common thug?"