Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

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Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Mar 16th, '17, 16:10

Nayveen, having separated from her temporary companions, heads west, towards home and family. Keeping to herself, the trip is light and generally uneventful within the relatively safe borders of Katan.

On the second night, just after completing her meditation, she receives a message by magical means. While difficult magic to master, this is not an unheard-of method of communication to her, occasionally being employed to allow the wood elves' druidic sect to communicate with the various communities and raiding parties scattered throughout the lands of Katan and surrounding territories.
ooc: for details of the spell, see Sending

"Nayveen, there is a situation at Relanon, which the humans call Miriam. You are best placed to resolve things there. Warden Aenghaur awaits your assistance."

This is the first time Nayveen has been contacted so directly. The message is terse, to the point - perhaps a limitation of the magic itself, but perhaps also a sign of the druids' detachment from the rest of the woodspeople of this land. Either way, it's rather shocking, and certainly puts any other thoughts you were having at the time out of your mind for the moment.

You have a general knowledge of where the community of Relanon is found: in old, old forest, another day's travel to the southwest of your current location.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Mar 17th, '17, 09:33

Nayveen changes course to ride southwest, now that she's aware 'Miriam' is a place she already knows. She picks up her pace while she's at it, though attempting to use the bracelet doesn't occur to her.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Mar 24th, '17, 11:26

Having altered course, you follow several disused tracks and reach the edge of the woods about an hour before sundown. You can see the ancient trees towering far above you, trunks wide enough that you could hide a horse behind one, vast canopies setting the ground far below into near-darkness. There is a sense of power emanating from this place, that ancient natural power that pervades any area untouched by 'society' and 'civilisation'. Is there anything in particular you'd like to do before entering the territory of the elves who occupy this location? You should expect your arrival to not go unnoticed.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Mar 24th, '17, 11:55

Who, me? It's not like I wasn't invited. Hopefully, not carrying any contraband either, but we'll see. Nayveen just keeps riding, while staying on the lookout.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Mar 24th, '17, 11:56

Roll a perception check.


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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Mar 24th, '17, 12:13

Knowing what to look out for, you catch the soft footsteps of two approaching people, as they very slightly crackle on the dry leaves lining the forest floor - though you note they are taking care to use the trees to keep out of line of sight for the time being.


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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Mar 24th, '17, 14:43

OOC: just to be sure, what language is Nayveen saying that in?


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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Mar 24th, '17, 14:51

The footsteps stop abruptly, and a moment later a pair of wood-elves emerge, bows drawn and pointed at you, saying in elven, "This forest is not for outsiders to tread. Identify yourself." They are wearing leather armor over cloth tunics and carrying very little - only a dagger, waterskin and small pack on their waist, presumably holding a day's rations, and a quiver on their backs bristling with arrows. All parts of them - armor, clothes, faces, hair - are coloured in camouflage patterning matching the forest, and you get the sense that they would be incredibly difficult to spot if they didn't want to be found.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Mar 24th, '17, 14:56

Nayveen switches languages without missing a beat, raising her hands to show she hasn't drawn a weapon. "Nayveen Growlinglance. Warden Aenghaur is waiting for me, or so I've been told." She does feel a bit overdressed for the occasion, but it's not a new feeling.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Mar 24th, '17, 15:08

A pair of soft thuts behind you signal a few more of these elves jumping down from the trees. The pair in front of you immediately relax at your words and give an honest, welcoming smile. "I am Stralo, and this is my brother Daroth. Behind you, Coslara and Viodo. We are all of the Duskweald clan. Please, follow." As they turn to lead you deeper into the forest, Daroth speaks, "It is good that you have come. The situation is most... unusual. An 'investigator' has arrived from the city, yet when we moved to turn them away, they simply stared down twenty bows and demanded to see whoever was in charge. We have them in custody now, and the Warden has asked for someone with experience of the city's military to act as go-between, both to establish the veracity of their reason for coming, and as a buffer should they turn out to be an assassin or otherwise untrue in their intentions."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Mar 24th, '17, 15:16

Nayveen nods, and explains and she goes along. "Interesting. They do have something to investigate. I found a sheaf of paper in a secret vault under the town square in Marble which contained nothing but gibberish, except for the local name for Relanon somewhere near the bottom, though I wasn't the one who recognized it. It was the only lead they had, since every suspect was dead or escaped and all their other papers were burned."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Mar 24th, '17, 15:35

As you head deeper into the woods, one of the elves behind you starts slowly humming a tune, which rings out among the trees in a drifting, haunting fashion. There are occasional responses from somewhere far to the left, or on the right, high above; and as you listen in you catch snippets of other melodies drifting past.

"They had such papers with them," continues Daroth. "Though the Warden was not impressed by them. Your knowledge of the situation will be invaluable. It is good that you have come, indeed."

"Clutching at straws, they seem to be," adds Stralo. "But if this is really connected right to the king," the venom and disrespect injected into that single syllable is impressive in its own right, "then it would be best we resolve this swiftly."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Mar 24th, '17, 15:42

"I couldn't agree more. Speaking of which, as one of his 'saviors' I was on an errand for him, which I abandoned when the others decided it would be wise to agree to assassinate someone on the off chance it might incline one of the king's childhood friends to go visit him." She's not quite as good at it, but she manages some sarcasm at least. "I have a few items worth investigating of my own."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Mar 27th, '17, 14:59

"I'm afraid personal matters will have to take a back foot to the resolution of current affairs." you arrive at the edge of the settlement of Relanon, and as you do, two more elves riding elk with huge antlers pull up either side of you. The rider on your right greets you, "Welcome, Nayveen. We were informed of your arrival. If you would dismount, we will tend to your horse. It is surely in need of rest after a long ride. Please take anything you require with you from your saddlebags to save time retreiving it later. Relanon is rather vast."

The shift from being in forest to being in the settlement itself is very subtle - the elves take great care not to offend the natural surroundings. Even so, you can see ladders snaking up the sides of trees, and fire pits and wood stores in several places. Further up, off the ground, are a number of residences and larger halls built on the spawling branches of the huge trees, with bridges and walkways snaking between them. This is one of the oldest and largest wood elf settlements, home to over a thousand - it achieves this capacity by sprawling over a wide area, linking several hundreds of the larger trees into a single network.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Mar 27th, '17, 19:08

Nayveen raised her eyebrows--the conspiracy surrounding the king wasn't exactly 'personal business' for her--but elected to stay silent and wait. She retrieved everything but her horse's feed and her old armour before following her guide.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Mar 30th, '17, 14:46

You are led up into the trees and past several buildings before arriving at one with two armed guards posted outside it. "I appreciate you must be tired from your journey. You will dine with the warden later, however, it was her intention you meet the... investigator... as soon as possible, that you might form your own impressions with as little bias as possible. She stressed that this was very important. We are to have no missteps in these turbulent times."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Mar 30th, '17, 16:47

Nayveen makes no answer, since it doesn't seem prudent to comment that she has no lack of bias already. She just nods and is ready to continue on.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Mar 31st, '17, 00:04

Your guide, who you note failed to introduce himself, then gives a quick knock on the door, pausing for half a beat before opening it. Inside is a comfortable dwelling; bed at one side, table with chairs opposite, where sits....

((Skyetashi, introduce/describe your character!))

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby skyetashi » Mar 31st, '17, 17:11

A middle aged woman presumably in her late 20's early 30's sat patiently at one of the chairs with her eyes shut almost as if she was asleep. She wore well traveled clothes and armor while not new at all with a simple look one would Confirm that they have been well taken care of, each strap and buckle sturdy and well maintained. Despite wearing her armor a sword and shield were kept to the side, and even a small dagger over there as well.

One’s eyes would be drawn to her facial features however as an eye patch covered her right eye and her Red hair was drawn back with Raven feathers holding the ponytail in place. The edges of her hair seemed to almost be a different color but could be chalked up to a trick of the light. She was not a beautiful woman, nor a regal one, but a warrior who had served her time and seen parts of the world.

Slowly her eye would open revealing a crimson red eye that surveyed the pair of elves that entered the room, slowly her eyes settled on the female of the group. "You’re different than the others, are you here to try and judge me then” She spoke in a simple direct manner but at the same time seemingly unconcerned about her predicament. “ Would you care to take a seat? It’s easier to talk face to face instead of watching you stand there” she motioned to the other chair inviting the female elf to sit.
Tales of Katan: Andraste

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Mar 31st, '17, 17:27

Nayveen, the guide who led you here gives you a friendly pat on the shoulder and says, "I will be outside if you need anything," before closing the door behind you, leaving you to your business.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Mar 31st, '17, 22:54

Nayveen was certainly not a wood elf; the pale skin and blue hair were a dead giveaway. (She also had somewhat less grace and more elegance, but that difference was harder to define.) Given that she wore leather armour, two swords, a bow, a shield on her back, and a miscellaneous assortment of gear, she definitely had the look of an adventurer, also. Her demeanor was stern, possibly by default.

She was taken off guard, though she had seen more perturbing things, and recently. "Judge you? You speak as if you're here as a criminal. Explain." She moved behind the chair, crossed her arms, and rested her elbows against it, which seemed as relaxed as she was going to get given this introduction.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby skyetashi » Apr 1st, '17, 18:25

A thin smile played upon her face for a moment at the elven womans refusal to sit as an almost silent approval. “ Judge, interrogate, appraise, Examine, evaluate, there is a large amount of words however I consider it safe to presume you were brought here to get an idea of me” she shut her eye as she slowly started to speak again. “ I am Called Andraste, and our king has charged me in finding information on the attack that was launched on his birthday, My travels have lead me here, Hopefully I can find what i’m looking for before something untowards happens here”
Tales of Katan: Andraste

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 1st, '17, 18:55

Nayveen paused, and explained as best as she could without admitting that she'd been there when the first lead was found, "Unless you have more information than I do, you don't know what you're looking for. If you don't tell me the extent of your investigation thus far, I can't help you here."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby skyetashi » Apr 3rd, '17, 16:28

Slowly she opened her eye looking past the elf in the room, she slowly stood up and walked to the window looking outside it for a while. As the time ticked on she started speaking again “ I am looking for a device that was used in the stages of the assault on the kind, it was found by a few people and looks like it was going to be used but they failed.” she turned around to stare deeply at the woman in front of her. “ I will find all of these devices, and i will destroy them
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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 3rd, '17, 19:05

Nayveen stood up and watched, still keeping her arms folded. "That is rather vague. As far as I know, the assault on the king had three components: A cadre of innocents who were controlled by some magical force, and the use of some ritual tool resembling a red sword. Are these the devices you mean? I have no reason to believe there is one here, though if there were it would have no value to us."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby skyetashi » Apr 5th, '17, 17:32

“I am being vague Because I don’t fully trust you, But, those devices are what I am looking for, and Through scrying my investigation has led me to this place.” she leaned against the wall watching her. “ You don’t need to trust me, nor I you, but we do need to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Tales of Katan: Andraste

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 5th, '17, 18:59

"If by 'this' you mean 'an attempt on the king's life', the only way to ensure that it never happens again is to ensure that there's no king. I would better phrase the mission as one of finding out who is responsible for the attempt and how they did it, so that at least this particular method can be made less available.

"I must disagree, though. If I can't trust you, I can't help you, and if you're deliberately vague about your investigations, they cannot proceed." Nayveen shrugs. "It's not as though we can wave a wand in no particular direction and then declare our work is done."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 6th, '17, 13:57

ooc: Nayveen, as your conversation proceeds, please let me know when you have formed a sufficient impression of Andraste that you are ready to go speak to the Warden, and whether or not you'd like to take Andraste along to that meeting.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby skyetashi » Apr 7th, '17, 14:49

"" You miss understand... whats to stop some one from summoning a creature here, to cause chaos and death to the elven people." she glowered at the woman through her eye, then let out a sigh. "I just want to make sure this doesn't happen again, Considering we both know details surrounding what happened, either we are on the same side in wanting to make sure an attack doesn't happen again, or we're working for those who would cause chaos and strife." she walked over to the woman. " Putting our differences aside and working towards the common good, and proving though our actions instead of just simple words, that's how to build trust between ourselves and our nations is it not"
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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 7th, '17, 17:35

"It seems presumptuous to say that the particular intention of those behind the attack was 'to cause chaos and strife'. Every creature we saw was being controlled, and there were no wanton acts, though there could have been. All their efforts were directed first toward the assassination attempt, and then, when that failed, toward reducing their chance of exposure as much as possible. We don't know their motives, though we know they went to great lengths to conceal them. This has me inclined to believe there's more to it than you suggest.

"Perhaps you've been misled, or perhaps you blind yourself willfully, but it appears to me that your first priority should be to understand who led the attack and why, unless you have reason to believe that they've shared their methods regardless of how secretive they've been about everything else. My news is a few days out of date behind yours, so do enlighten me if I've missed something important." Nayveen's hands slowly went to her hips as she looked down, her demeanor still frosty.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby skyetashi » Apr 9th, '17, 12:16

Andraste stared at her. “The Reasons why they tried to kill My liege? I have some theorems on that. Worst case scenario both leaders are assassinated, since the elves and my people don’t like each other it wouldn’t take much for someone to take control of either faction and push our people towards a war. The fact is, you don’t need to know what their goals are, but understanding the after effects of what would happen should certain events unfold can give you a strong idea of what your enemy is plotting. The fact that they summoned a devil would also indicated that they have no qualms on how they accomplish their goals, and the fact that they used one of those skulls, and might have a second would imply that they have been planning this for a very long time, so our foe is rather patient.Chaos is not what they did, but the effects paranoia and actions of others afterwards.”

“It was the papers that were recovered from their base that pointed to miriam-in-the-woods, and when I got here I did some scrying and was able to confirm a second skull is located somewhere in the woods. I will admit, the king would like it to study and put under lock and guard, however he has no qualms with it being destroyed either, but I think it would be best to get a drop on our enemies plans before they can launch it this time wouldn’t it?”
Tales of Katan: Andraste

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 9th, '17, 14:26

"If you have reason to believe that there's a demon skull here, I can help you find it, as much as I'd prefer to hunt down something better-tasting, if given the option. I have no leads on it whatsoever, and can only take you on your word about it. There's been at least one other incursion in the woods within a few days travel, but it was nowhere near this location, and I haven't heard any reports of them here."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby skyetashi » Apr 9th, '17, 15:02

She held out her hand offering a friendly smile. "It will be a pleasure to work with you, hopefully i can return the favor later"
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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 9th, '17, 15:33

Nayveen shook the hand loosely, only really using her first and half fingers. "Whatever you say. I have no authority here, so this search won't go far if you don't seek that out, first. All I can tell them is what you've told me, so I'm still waiting to find out why I was needed, here."

She called outside to whoever was waiting, "I seem to have the gist of it, that means it's time for the go-between to go between, doesn't it?"

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 9th, '17, 15:54

The door behind you swings open after a moment, and you can see it's one of the guards who are stood outside it that does so. "The Warden is waiting for you." He waits for you to step outside, and shuts the door behind, before saying, "Just follow the path to the largest dwelling in the centre, can't miss it." He points you in the direction you are to go.

Andraste, you are very clearly not invited to come along - it would appear you are to wait a little longer while the elves deliberate over what to do with you.


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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 10th, '17, 14:46

The large building is set amid the branches of a massive tree, almost wider than it is tall. The front doors stand open, and inside there is a hog being roasted over a flame, carefully held within a stone brazier. A heavy-set woman in ornate clothing covered by a rather rough apron is tending it, adding a few drops of liquid from various skins and throwing on a pinch of spice as you enter. She looks up at your approach and gives a warm, welcoming smile. "Come in, come in. You're right on time. I'm just applying the final touches."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 10th, '17, 17:18

After raising her eyebrows for a second, Nayveen walks inside. This isn't what she was expecting from the warden, nor was she aware of an invitation to dinner, so she waits for further word.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 11th, '17, 11:44

"Have a seat, make yourself comfortable," she waves at a pile of cushions stacked against one wall. "Tell me, how is the city? The usual chaos?" she asks casually, almost absent-mindedly, and you get the impression she's more making small talk than truly interested.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 11th, '17, 17:03

Nayveen sits down awkwardly, and lies back for a moment before answering, seeing as she is a bit saddle-sore. "I've been there twice in two hundred years, perhaps I'm not the one to ask... There is a certain caffeine-and-sugar exuberance to the place that is much as I recall it, though."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 12th, '17, 05:10

"Is that so? And how about the king and his retinue? Impressions? Have they become any more... likeable?" the hog has stopped rotating, and she fetches a large bowl and knives, beginning to carve slices of meat off it.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 12th, '17, 19:03

"Well, now--I've only met them once. But the king's brash and likes the sound of his own voice, and there's not one diplomat in his whole council that I've seen. They're an ambitious lot and every one of them wears a mask to hide their true nature. So, if they're reformed themselves I'd wonder what it would be an improvement from." She paused for a moment, then asked, "Are you the Warden?"

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 13th, '17, 02:14

"Yes, I suppose a formal introduction is in order. I am Warden Kel Aenghaur of the Duskweald clan. I have been in communion with the elders and frankly the situation Is grim. More than that though, it's entirely unprecedented." She leans in and whispers in a much more serious tone, "They are making preparations for a full evacuation." She stands up, and carries the now-full plate of hog meat over to a small table where various vegetables are laid out. "Come, have a seat, let's eat." There's a certain casual whimsy about the sudden changes in tone, and the flippancy, calling you over to the table after you'd just sat down on a cushion.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 13th, '17, 05:48

Nayveen thinks nothing of standing up again, it's not as if she's four hundred years old. Her interpretation of the change in tone, though, is that the seriousness was a moment of sarcasm. She's not even sure the thought of 'evacuating' is one that makes sense, and certainly doesn't believe there's any sign of it being necessary. She takes a seat at the table.

"'The situation'? We're not talking about the weather, are we? Or the Katanese. I haven't seen much sign of trouble from either. The one I was just meeting for you seems content to believe that the assassins who tried to summon a demon on top of the king have another giant skull hidden somewhere nearby, not that the last one seemed to do them any good."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 13th, '17, 13:14

"The weather, the demons, it's all related, exactly! The skull, too. That all they want? Tell them they can have it in a month's time, we'll be done with it by then. First, let's eat. You didn't happen to bring any tasty morsels from the land of sugar, did you?" She puts some food onto her plate, then hands you the serving tong.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 13th, '17, 20:57

"No... It could cause problems if I tell her you already know where the skull is, and she might get impatient if the search takes a whole month. If you want me to break the news... or if anyone does it... it's going to take a good explanation of why we have the skull, one that doesn't sound anything like why the assassins had one. Mind you, I still don't have any idea what use they found for it, either." Nayveen decided to stop short of asking for more information, instead she served herself food like her host seemed so intent on.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 14th, '17, 04:39

In between mouthfuls of food, she tells you, "There is no search required, dear. It is in use, though in a rather crude fashion, practically a doorstop," she chuckles, as if she finds the very idea to be amusing, "The skulls, they amplify magic, increase its potency. That's why everyone and their left sister wants one." She sighs, "I suppose there's no harm in telling you now. The Warden of each enclave or clan has one under their care, kept in secret. We are not so foolhardy to wield them as weapons in conflict, before you ask. No, they are only kept as a final emergency answer, to allow easy opening of stable doorways to our true homelands, the feywild. It is there that we will retreat, and gather together, all of us, and start making preparations for the war that is to come."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 14th, '17, 06:07

While the revelation came as a surprise, it wasn't exactly a shock so long as Nayveen was still in denial about it, so she started with what she saw as the only pertinent question. "Was the one found in the city stolen, then?" After that was out of the way, she shifted back, though it wasn't good for her appetite. "What can you tell me about the Feywild? Your version sounds very different from the one I'm familiar with." She tried to keep her tone consistent with that of someone who'd had no first-hand experience with the magic of the Feywild, or creatures from it.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 14th, '17, 06:25

Roll an arcana or history check and we'll see how much Nayveen knows by herself.


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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 14th, '17, 08:51

Thinking back, Nayveen would remember parts of old stories, told to her over a century ago, about how elves originated in the feywilds, a place of vibrant colour and great magic, and that the planes had been much closer together, interlinked, long in the past, but have drifted apart since.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

"It's possible it was stolen - or bought, or found. You can be certain we weren't the only ones to hide them away at the end of the last great war." She stands up and walks over to a shelf on the side, picking up a dark green bottle and a couple wooden cups. Returning, she offers, "Vinewine?" before pouring herself a healthy measure and setting the bottle near you. "The feywilds... well. They are a place of great light, and of power. If you look at this world, and imagine long ago, all of the darkest essences being stripped out, and the brightest ones... separating into the shadowfell, the material prime and the feywild... that is how it came to be, when the ancient gods were establishing this garden. Things are much more potent in the feywild, and much deadlier too. What we have here is a good place to live, much calmer and quieter. Less adventure, here. Less insanity."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 14th, '17, 11:45

Nayveen declines the wine, on account of it being too early for her to start drinking. Especially when talking about the Feywild. "I don't relish the thought of returning there. The last, and only time I visited the Feywild I was gone for most of a century, but I only half-remember the time. It was awkward, to say the least."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 14th, '17, 11:56

"None of us are especially looking forward to the prospect. Unfortunately we're running out of options, and have precious little time to find an alternative solution. The kitano trees are a double-edged sword in that regard."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 14th, '17, 12:03

"The last monster from the lower planes I faced was in an unusually prolific grove of kitano trees." Nayveen briefly describes the location.

"Do they simply make it easier for portals between planes to form, or is there more to it than that? No one has properly explained what this problem is that needs so much solving. I haven't seen anything that suggests imminent danger, nearly all the trouble I've encountered recently has been caused by dire predictions, not dire events."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 14th, '17, 12:12

"You are very perceptive. It is little wonder the elders asked you to help, here. The kitano trees, yes, they act as sponges, absorbing planar energies - why they alone work this way is unknown, but if they go untended, and are allowed to cluster together, they weaken the divides between planes. With a skilled hand, you can even manipulate them into forming portals, though in the wild they only create focal points where planar travel is made easier. We have been carefully managing their growth, however since these Katanese have moved in, it's become impossible to tend to them everywhere..." she shakes her head sadly.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 14th, '17, 13:30

"I never thought that allowing too many trees to grow would be listed as one of Katan's problems, let alone near the top of the list. I thought we kept the trees' nature a secret from them to discourage them from cutting them all down. I've also had the impression that protecting them has always been more important than culling their numbers, before now." Nayveen is finding this hard to believe.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 14th, '17, 13:37

"We protect them, yes. They are like anchors, keeping the planes from becoming completely disconnected. But at the same time, too many all together leads to instability - which wouldn't normally be a problem, except with the demon horde knocking down the door... sometimes you have to space the trees out so that a fire does not consume the entire forest."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 14th, '17, 13:49

"There seems to be no shortage of creatures available for hire who have no qualms about cutting down trees faster than they can be regrown. If the alternative is evacuating the plane entirely, to escape an inferno no less, why don't we call on them? Or are they more dangerous dead than alive? After all this time preserving the sacred wood, it would be absurd to watch it bring about its own destruction along with everything else, if this is really worth considering."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 14th, '17, 14:11

"It's not that simple. There are other actors at work, in their own ways. That katanese king, for one. If him and his ilk weren't already aware of the threat before that attempted assassination - if that's even what that was - they will certainly be so now. The human they've sent for the skull is clear enough message of that. You can think what you will about humans, but they have a certain dogged persistence to them. Perhaps their short lifespans drive them to achieve. Who knows? They certainly have the ear of at least a few gods, and when the demon hordes spill forth I'd rather not be caught in the crossfire. Would you stay and fight, and die? The elders say the demons have fully taken over the shadowfell, and as such, they believe it's too late now to stop them here. We must draw our line in other sands, and with greater forces at our backs."

She finally looks to have finished eating, but she is not done speaking, now taking on a more authoritative tone and giving you no opportunity to interject. "Take the evening to rest. Tomorrow, you must convince that woman to go back to the city. Accompany her if that's what it will take. Speak to someone in charge. They must be made to understand that to meddle in our affairs now will be catastrophic for them. We will not be holding ba-" She suddenly stops, and looks to a point on the wall behind you, though her eyes are unfocused. A moment later, "The elders will send an emissary to the human capital in one week. They ask you make sure the humans are ready to receive them." Her voice softens again, "I'm sorry to lay this burden on you. Once you have done this, ride home and join your family."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 14th, '17, 14:26

Nayveen is a bit lost by the end of the mixed messages. "I'm to tell her the skull is here, and she can have it if she waits a month, I'm to tell her to leave tomorrow, and I'm to... in order, what is my task, now?" Adding to her bewilderment, she was sent to the city in the first place to try to find weaknesses in the Katanese and learn more of their strategy. This had nothing to do with any of what she was just told. "What do you mean by 'ready'? You don't just mean fo me to ensure they have a feast hall prepared?"

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 14th, '17, 14:31

"Yes, precisely. If they want it, it's theirs once we're done with it. Until then, they have no business in our forests. As for the emissary, it's simple - they only need be ready to listen."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 14th, '17, 14:42

"This is Katan we're talking about... I'd be impressed if divine intervention could pull that off. I'll ask them to give us a hearing, at least. My credibility is diminished by the group's failure to negotiate with the king's old friend Orlov, though. Conveying the message to their visitor, that should be easy enough, at least. So long as she trusts me."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 14th, '17, 15:44

"Thank you. Now, with the more pressing matters out of the way, tell me, how have you been through all this?"

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 14th, '17, 16:01

Nayveen isn't prepared for the question, so she takes a moment (and almost pours herself some wine) before answering. "I wasn't sure rescuing the king was a good idea. I'm still not sure the spell would have failed if I hadn't intervened, although it might still have gone awry, due to the dark cleric.

"I hoped, afterward, that getting into the King's inner circle would help out in the long run, unfortunately there are so many insane people within that circle, including the king himself as I learned, that it turned out not to be very profitable. I'm still puzzled by this revelation about Katan's 'specialist marks'. You do know about those, don't you? Perhaps more than I do, considering the king was vague about explaining their purpose."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 14th, '17, 16:10

"They like to mark their people, yes. I'm not sure anyone really knows why, besides to exert control over the population. There's some sort of basic tracking spell to do with the border obelisks, but the magic is so subtle, we haven't noticed any other effects in all the time we've studied them."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 14th, '17, 16:26

"According to what they told me, nearly everyone is given an incomplete mark, and only a select few ever have their mark 'finished'. This was the result." Nayveen shows her hand, with no mark, then with the wanderer's mark, then with the specialist mark, then with no mark again. "If my last mission wasn't largely a waste of time, this is the reason why. They give these to special agents, and with it comes special permissions, though I don't yet understand what those are.

"Unfortunately, everyone who helped the guards at the plaza received this mark that day, and none of us are model citizens... or wanderers, for that matter. The others each have their own allegiences, and the other three have been led so far by a... devastatingly problematic and very young human. When I left them, she'd just agreed, on behalf of the others, to go to Helix to perform an assassination for an irrelevant motive and without knowing what she'll receive in return, apparently because she believes she'll be able to dictate terms to her employer, afterward.

"Assisting them was a stressful experience, but so was speaking to the king. I was desperate to escape by the end... I don't believe much good can come from getting entangled with them."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 17th, '17, 08:10

"More and more complexity... I wonder how deep the badger-hole goes. And yet it is those badgers we may find ourselves standing shoulder to shoulder with against a greater foe. What choice do we have? When two stand opposed on a sinking ship, should they take up swords or buckets?" She comes over to take a closer look at your hand. "I would like one of our sharper minds to examine this before you leave, if you have no objections."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 17th, '17, 17:53

"None. Though, I've brought other items that I would have examined as well. This bone was animated by the skull in the city, and seems fiendish in origin. And this bracelet is the same as the others given to what I suppose I should call the three assassins, to transport them to Helix somehow."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 17th, '17, 18:04

She looks at the items, and remarks, "You have been busy, haven't you? This is well outside my... area of expertise, shall we say, however.." she then cups her hands, but in a closed manner, as if holding something, and closing her eyes says the words of a brief spell. When she finishes, opening her hands, a small bird emerges, and immediately flies outside, purposefully heading somewhere. "Eenara will join us shortly." She sits down and pours herself another measure of vinewine.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 17th, '17, 18:56

Nayveen caves in and pours herself some wine, too. She waters it, though.

"Just a bit. I haven't had a need for the potions I was given, at least."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 20th, '17, 09:09

At the mention of potions, she perks up, "Potions? From abroad? Do you happen to also have recipes? I'm always looking to add to my book... may I taste a drop?" She seems almost too eager.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 20th, '17, 17:51

Nayveen sets down her drink deliberately before responding as carefully as possible. "Well... no... I brought them from home. My tribe should have the recipes, and the druids should know the rituals for enhancing them. That's how they came about." She couldn't imagine why anyone would write these things down when it was easier to memorize them, to avoid the need to check notes while out hunting for ingredients. Perhaps it made more sense for foreign recipes, with absurd reagents not likely to be found outside some bazaar where most of the goods were fake.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 21st, '17, 05:46

"Oh... well." she definitely looks disappointed. "Don't worry about them, then. I was hoping..." she trails off and steps over to the window, looking out. "Ah! We are in luck, it seems she was not far away." she looks back at you, "Eenara is a high elf, a member of the house of Silversent. She has only been with us a year, after coming here from across the southern sea, tracking a vile monstrosity through the ethereal plane. She has proven herself a valuable and trusted ally, if you can look past her, ah, eccentricities. She means well but can be rather blunt; try not to take offense."

You may roll a history check to see if you've heard of house Silversent.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 21st, '17, 07:36

Nayveen nods. Being a high elf herself (and one who often has to look past her own eccentricities), she doesn't expect to have trouble with Eenara.

She also considers letting the warden taste the potions anyway, because if she recalls correctly their origins weren't exactly well-explained when she obtained them. It doesn't strike her as urgent, though.

History: 1d20+2 => 15, 2 => 17
Advantage from Tides of Chaos, because why not: 1d20+2 => 5, 2 => 7

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 21st, '17, 08:40

Nayveen would know House Silversent as being one of the ancient, wealthy, prominent elven bloodlines. They are highly altruistic, doing a lot of benevolent work for multiple good causes over the centuries, and being patrons to artists and musicians, etc. It's perhaps surprising to hear of one of their number being involved so deeply with the wood elves, but all things considered, it's a worthy cause to support, so why not?

---

Not long thereafter, a relatively young elf enters with a cursory tap-tap on the door to make her presence known. She has bright silver hair, bordering on white, and violet eyes, matched by a flowing violet robe that seems to billow more than the air around her should cause it to. The most striking feature however is a large spell book, easily two feet across, which hovers by her left hand, flipping from one page to another as she moves her fingers.
"You sent for me? Is it time to dispatch our gues- oh, a visitor? Good afternoon, stranger?" Her accent is unusual, rising at the end of every sentence to make a question of it, though you note she phrases her speech as questions too. Definitely foreign. She gives you a quick glance, her eyes quickly catching the bone sword at your waist, "I take it there's trinkets that need identifying, then?"

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 21st, '17, 16:00

"That's correct... I was invited to speak with 'our guest', but I've just returned from a mildly harrowing adventure of my own. I did some by some oddities while I was out. I'm Nayveen of the Growlinglance tribe, formerly of the Whitewater family." Calling them a noble house would be a stretch, she thinks. Especially after all they'd given up, more recently. She lays the items out on the table, and takes a drink.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 21st, '17, 16:03

"Whitewater, was it? I don't believe I've heard of them?" She goes over to the table, and with a quick manipulation of her fingers, the book settles on one particular page, and moves out in front of her. "This everything, then?"

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 21st, '17, 16:28

"It wouldn't be recently, that's for sure. Yes. If it's not too much trouble, this armour might also warrant inspection... though it certainly seems safe enough to wear." Nayveen notices the other piece of magical junk she's carrying, and presents it more for the warden's benefit. "This is a kitano wood wand that... when suspended by this cord, points to the nearest kitano tree." She demonstrates. "It seems like something the wardens could find some small use for."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 21st, '17, 16:43

The warden takes the Twig, and goes to fetch a piece of string.

Meanwhile, Eenara says a quick incantation, and with a flourish of the hand, her eyes cloud over until there's no iris nor pupil, just a pair of pale, glowing silver orbs. She leans down and takes a good close look at both, focusing especially on the bracelet. "Well, isn't this an interesting thing? Created by a true master enchanter I'd wager?" She gives you a quick look over too, "I've seen such armor before, there doesn't seem to be anything different about yours?"

Eenara then pulls out a smaller journal, of low-quality, rough parchment, and tears out two pages. Replacing it into a pocket, she produces a large pearl, and a quill, which she places onto the first piece of parchment, and letting go, it stays vertical of its own accord. She begins what you can see to be an identification ritual on the bone sword; the quill starts scratching out words onto the parchment as she does so, and when it's done, she picks up both the sword and the paper, giving the former a twirl and the latter a read before handing it over to you. ((There's nothing new that you hadn't already learned through your own experimentation. See pm from 2016-09-15 if you've forgotten)). "Some latent energy still left in that one? Shame it's so unbalanced, makes it hard to use I bet? Need a blacksmith to add some counterweight? Any questions before I start on the bracelet?"

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 21st, '17, 17:07

"I haven't used it, yet. I suspect it would be unfortunate for whoever is stuck by it, moreso than usual for such items. I am concerned that it might be harmful to the user as well, though... especially since I still don't know where it comes from, or what connection it has to other planes and the creatures there. It was animated, along with many other bones, by an immaterial creature that seemed to inhabit a giant, monstrous, indestructible skull, so it's already not in my best judgement to carry it around. It hasn't helped my reputation, at least..."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 21st, '17, 17:17

"Any sword would be unfortunate for whoever is struck by it, don't you know? Far as I can tell, this one has a sorta... shadowy... projection? Slightly offset from this plane I suppose would be a way to describe it? Like it cuts at your essence as well as your flesh? Makes for a good weapon I suppose, if you can manage to hit your mark?" She turns and starts working on the bracelet, and while she does so, you can see the warden across the room fiddling with the Twig, seeing how it realigns itself no matter how she might try to spin it...

The identification on the bracelet finishes, and she hands you the second parchment after again reading it for herself,
Fleet Messenger's Bracelet
Wonderous item, rare (requires attunement)
While attuned to and wearing this bracelet, you may cast the Phantom Steed spell at will, without expending a spell slot.
If you cast it again before its duration ends, the first steed is dismissed.

She seems somewhat shocked by what she reads. "I think there's more to this bracelet than the identification ritual will reveal? When I was looking at its aura just earlier, there was the faintest trace of... divination magic, of a sort? If I hadn't been specifically looking for any unusual traces I probably wouldn't even have caught it? Maybe you'd be better off not putting it on?"

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 21st, '17, 18:01

"A hidden divination enchantment... perhaps it's to help make it easy for him to find the bearer, since he wanted to hire the group to catch and murder a thief. There's not much use in that if it just leads to more thievery, I suppose.

"Summoning a... ghost horse is not as impressive as I thought these would be, anyway. I thought there'd be more teleportation. Thank you. Anyway, I might as well sell or dispose of it. I never agreed to work for him, but I don't think he's the type to care. Nor will his associates, given we failed the task we were sent to him for the moment our 'leader' agreed to this one."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 24th, '17, 13:19

"Haven't you seen this spell in use before? The phantom, is so much faster than a normal horse, can cover far more ground in the space of a day? Doesn't get tired? I can see.." She is interrupted by the warden saying, "Look at the mark on her hand, dear."
As she does so, with your demonstration as above, a slight smirk comes over her face, "Well isn't that rather pretty? Doesn't seem to have any magic different to a normal one from what I can tell?". She turns and takes a couple steps over to the warden, and asks, quietly but not in a whisper, "That everything now? You got plans for the investigator or shall I zap them back to the city?"
The warden shakes her head and says, "No, there's no need for that. You can go back to your work with the roots now."
As Eenara turns to head out, she gives you a wave and says, "Nice meeting you?"

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 24th, '17, 14:07

"You don't need to sell it to me right after warning me about it," Nayveen mutters, leaving the bracelet on the table. "It seems all these marks have the same potential, so it still is 'a normal one'. It's just been activated.

"If that's all, that's fine. I'm sure we'll meet again." She's not in a hurry to decide what to do with the items, but remains troubled enough by them to forget about her drink.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 24th, '17, 14:22

Once the wizard leaves, book floating leisurely at her side once more, the warden moves over to you, handing back the Twig. "Is there anything else you'd like to discuss tonight? Otherwise, you're free to go rest, and deal with our guest either later tonight or tomorrow morning, as you see fit. The elders have placed that responsibility on your shoulders, so I'll let you be the final judge as to when to resolve the situation."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 24th, '17, 14:32

"I'm more concerned about 'how' than 'when'. She says a scrying spell determined the skull is here, and seems to have concluded, as I did, that it's only relevant to the conspirators, somehow. If I tell her it's here, she'll expect it immediately, and if I tell her we have it, she'll assume we're complicit.

"I'm no diplomat. My choice would be to lie and tell her we're looking for it, and then tell her we've 'found it' when you're done with it. I'd still need a way to keep her from growing impatient for the month inbetween. Another adventure might do it, though I'd think her supervisors would follow up if she didn't report in for weeks, anyway, so we'd have to keep the false reports coming somewhat frequently while so diverted."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 24th, '17, 14:55

"You are thinking in the right direction, but I fear the weariness is starting to catch up to you. If they are in possession of magic to find the artefact, and you tell her to wait idly while we search for it, she would surely ask to lead the search and conclude it immediately. Or at least, to wait until we find it. While I do like the idea of sending one of the humans off on a wild duck hunt elsewhere, first we have to get around the immediate issue of how to make her leave. And I imagine you don't want to spend the next month entangled with her, either."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 24th, '17, 15:16

"I've had worse in the past week." Nayveen decided not to admit that she likely wouldn't get along any better with her own family than with the stranger. "I could test that, I don't think she'd trust me much less if I admitted the truth within half a minute if she did insist. But, if I do tell her we have it already, what excuse do I give her for refusing to take her to it or let it go for a month? It seems to me that would only make her more bold and determined, and we'd still have to find a distraction, either way. Is it my duty to come up with one?"

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Dry
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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 24th, '17, 15:20

"We only haven't killed her because we could do without the... complication, that would bring. She is well aware of this, and I can only hope she'll be careful about pushing her luck. We aren't renowned for showing humans hospitality, as you're well aware. That said, you've spent time among them, I have not. If you believe that will work, and have ideas for a suitable... adventure, did you say? It may be worth trying."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 24th, '17, 15:27

"Very well... I'll go back and speak with her." Nayveen looked at the items she'd left on the table, again. She'd have liked to just leave all of them, but it seemed impolite, so she took them all back. "You have no use for these, then?"

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 24th, '17, 15:31

"The twig is an interesting curiosity, but utterly unnecessary. I can't imagine why someone would go to the effort to place such an asinine enchantment on an object. Perhaps as a prank? The bracelet, by what Eenara said, should not be left with us. However, that swordish...bone, could certainly be put to good use. Magically imbued weapons always are. I couldn't just accept it freely, when we are already imposing so heavily upon your time. What would you ask in return?"

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 24th, '17, 16:00

"It's only been a burden to me thus far, but if you'd prefer a trade... Like for like? Perhaps not another weapon, but some other piece of equipment. There's nothing I have that I'd refuse to trade... though a lack of magic hasn't ever been one of my problems."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 24th, '17, 16:21

"I see, well..." she casts her eye around the room, where it settles briefly on an ornate bow hanging on the wall near a window, before moving over to a table set up with the various trappings of a herbalist and ritual druidic spellcaster. "Like for like you say? I suppose I could offer you my old hunting bow. It's decorated that wall for far too long, and I certainly have no use for it these days. Rather bloodthirsty that one, it whispers to you, and you'll find yourself whispering back... do not use it unless you intend to kill your target." Her voice has a tinge of regret to it, and she quickly moves on to say, "Or, if you are fully armed, then I have this pendant I've been working on using old techniques nearly forgotten... when you attune to it, you will find things just... start working out for you. In subtle ways you understand, it won't make you a dragonslayer overnight, but over time, the effect starts to add up."

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 24th, '17, 16:34

"Hmm." Nayveen takes a look at the bow, and strokes her cheek with some concern. "My bow never complains, and I do like the sound of a good luck charm." She turns away and tries to show enthusiasm for the new device, though if she were buying it she'd be very suspicious. "I feel like I haven't had much of that in the past, whether true or not. Has Eenara had a look at it, or is it still a secret?"

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 24th, '17, 16:45

"Just because she's proven herself trustworthy doesn't mean I'm willing to give over all my secrets." she says with a wink, as she goes over and fetches a finely banded stone of agate threaded onto a leather thong. "As I said, you will need to attune yourself to it. Perhaps you may wish to do so before continuing your conversation with the human." You hand over the sword, and the exchange is complete.

You now have a:
Druidic Luckstone
Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
While wearing or carrying this polished agate, you gain a +1 bonus to ability checks and saving throws.
Additionally, you gain a single luck point to use as per the Lucky feat, which if spent restores on a long rest.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Namaphry » Apr 24th, '17, 16:56

Nayveen nods and accepts this. The extra time taken to attune to the luckstone is also time she can use to finish her drink of wine! She's considerably more confident about going to meet Andraste, afterward, though the wine has more to do with it than the luck.

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Re: Scenario 4 - The Secrets of the Woods

Postby Dry » Apr 24th, '17, 17:01

Once you finish attuning, you may head out and make your way back to Andraste, or a room for the evening, or resume your converstation with the warden.


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