We begin in the White Waste. All are going about their daily routine as dawn breaks over the camp. Shepherds make their rounds as usual. Some are on the walls at different points. They are watching the surrounding endless waste as well as the camp from their perfect vantage above. Shepherds are walking the paths in the tent cities and other makeshift shelters built by Castors. While the camp starts a new day the Sisters of Mercy are hard at work. Some in the chapel praying to the Goddesses while others of their order who have been awake for hours are preparing the day's first meal. They feed everyone: their fellow Sisters, the Shepherds, the Castors, and prisoners working the mines. All who are in need of a hot meal will get one under the watchful eyes of the Sisters. Although it is essentially a prison the food is the biggest equalizer of all. Everyone eats the same. From the highest Sheperd or Sister to the lowest prisoner. Outside the temple's kitchens, those among the Castors who have earned the privilege have stopped by for their daily rations. This is a privilege only afforded to a few of the very pious or very helpful among the Casters. A group of Sisters prepared their daily ration of food by magically conjuring it having channeled their faith in the Four. The food is bland but filling. It will spoil in 24 hours. No one gets more than anyone else here, well by going the 'right way' about it anyhow, and all are cared for in the strictest interpretation of the word care. Castors are provided for which is the bottom line of Aurelian's decree. Some do not like the privilege of personal rations. Although reserved for Castors' camp leaders mostly, it is also rumored to be a gift/bribe for camp informants. Standing in the ration lines your never more in the spotlight than if you're caught trying to cast within the camp walls.
How do you go about your morning? What is your routine?
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DM - Shepherds of Truth
DM - Dumat's Institute of Higher Magic
DM - Order of Medusa
Wallis Bernotto - Dzenda: The Cracks
Sometimes a Nat 1 tells a better story than a Nat 20 ever could.
Commander Sir Caspian Cross stepped from his private rooms in the Chauntea tower garrison adjusting his plate mail as he came into the spiral staircase the led down. Caspian's rooms were housed in the top of the tower making his trek below a long one. The tall Commander moved through the other Shepherds of Truth devoted to Chauntea passing him in the spiral staircase. Younger men and woman beaming at him as they went about their business as he made his way down as dawn broke over the camp. Caspian is slightly distracted by some dispatches he was given late the night before after he had already retired. Riders had come to the camp unsettled his sleep in more way than one but Caspian managed to get back to sleep after making his decision. The Commander stepped out into the brisk morning air looking around at the four points where guards were continuously posted on watch. The guards stood at those points in far too relaxed a stance without giving any sense of alarm. This usual sight soothes his frayed nerves as he moved through the camp towards the Temple of the Four the freshly fallen snow crunching under his well-worn leather boots.
Sister Bhalla moves about the kitchens with the quick efficiency of routine. The sights and smells of the morning meal surrounding her calming her nerves. She busying herself preparing the rations for Castor Astrid D'elia, a human druid, who has been helping her in the medicinal herb garden coaxing plants from the stony, frozen soil within the Temple grounds. Sister Bhalla did not sleep well the night before having been woken by her acolytes when a group of riders, who had from the camp in Loughcrew nearly a week away, for rest and food. They delivered news to the Commander they had told Bhalla but the riders would not divulge their mission to the dwarf regardless of her pressing them with honied mead and warm stew. The men and women, the four riders in the group from Loughcrew, slept now in the empty beds in the infirmary. Sister Bhalla instructs her Sisters of Chauntea not to let the riders leave before she returned after she had given Astrid her ration then left the kitchens for the front doors. Taking her cloak she put it on then headed out of the temple into the brisk morning.
The two leaders of the camp meet half way between the temple and the garrison. Bhalla looks up at Caspian with a frown reading the distress on her friend's face.
"These came last night," Caspian says handing the dispatches to Bhalla who takes them and begins to read.
"Surely they're wrong," Bhalla says in a serious and hushed tone after reading the dispatches. "Are we...what do you plan to do," she then asked as Caspain rubbed his bearded chin with a tired sigh.
"We wait," Caspain replied taking the dispatches and putting them into a space between his loosen breastplate and arm. "I do not believe in punishing them for nothing," he adds looking out over the camp now curiously.
The Commander nods a greeting at an older human man being aided to walk by a younger human woman. The man nods back out of respect while the young one looks away, a hint of disgust on her face.
"I will back you in whatever decision you make Caspian but Chauntea be with us if this trouble reaches us as well," Bhalla replies with a frown as Caspian nods.
The crispness of the frigid air woke Haldur rather ruthlessly, and as he climbed from beneath his makeshift tangle of threadbare blankets he stood shivering for a moment in the unfamiliar atmosphere. Still, the chill bite on his bare torso drove his senses to full alertness, and he stretched the night's stiffness from his muscular frame. He tugged his boots on and stepped out into the burgeoning rays of dawn and made for the nearest water barrel, helping himself to an icy ladle's worth. Still blinking the sleep from his eyes, the fighter walked a bit further on until he found a slightly removed area that was already receiving the first hints of sunlight and he began his daily calisthenics routine. His fitness was his first line of defense of course and he made it a point to maintain readiness, much as any good warrior would ensure their weapon was sharpened and honed. The cold ground seared his exposed flesh where it touched, but he gritted his teeth and pushed himself through, determined to acclimate himself to this inhospitable environment by sheer will alone if nothing else. One thing about Haldur "Halberd" Hightower that most could agree on; the young man had more moxie than sense.
Completing his routine, the fighter returned to his small tent and slipped into his wool tunic and checked his equipment to ensure all was in order. Satisfied with the state of his belongings, the young man emerged once more and began to look around at the others in the camp beginning to stir and start their day. He believed he still had a little bit of time until he had to report to his employers, and so he glanced toward what had been pointed out to him as the area in which the day's rations were dispensed. Not entirely confident about his independent venture but driven by the rumbling in his stomach, the young man began to tentatively make his way toward where he believed the rations were served, all the while keeping his eyes open for any indication he might be in the wrong place or pursuing an ill-advised course of action.
"Hmm...ahh,"with a big stretch for such a small creature, Folzi Tarklesby wakes in his tent in much the same manner for the past fifty years - give or take. He runs his fingers through his salt-and-pepper hair and takes in the always-brisk, morning air. He dons his heavy outer clothes, pulls up his hood and steps outside. Looking around with his large, gray eyes - the crows feet clearly visible, everything seems as it should be. Many gnomes making their way to the temple kitchens.
"Stormnozzle! Has anyone brought us the morning rations," he says to a younger gnome. The younger gnome hands the older one a small basket of rations. "Just the usual rations this morning then? Hmm,"he says with a slight bit of disappointment. Folzi takes two for himself and gives one to his aid. "Here, find some others who may be in need... Better yet. See if you can trade them for something useful." He takes a bite of his breakfast, then enters his tent.
Lebenha is, as she used to, cleaning herself in the cold water from a bucket. She wash her silver hair and the first rays of sun send little glimmering on her exposed skin where the little silver scales, like fleckes, that dots her shoulders and back. She enjoys the morning sun touching her skin as she dries herself calmly. She puts on her robes again, ignoring if there are someone watching or not, she was wearing simple grey robes, not as thick and warm as the other needs, part of her heritage, and she was proud of it so, she makes sure that everyone notices it. She smiles to no one in particular and walks over the place were the Sisters start to give their rations. She stops midway, though, and looks around the prisioners camp that has been her home for the past years. Not her home, she remember to herself, her prison. And soon she will leave that awful place for good.
Does she sees the commander and the sister speaking to each other? .
Somewhere in the camp, in some plain looking, unimportant tent, Lyra Vaughn suddenly awakes. The last few months had always been like that, at some point the night was over for her and then she was just there, lying in the tent, slowly inhaling the ice cold air and listening to the sounds of a world around her that slowly came to life. She had all the time in the world, no need to hurry. After a couple minutes of lying around, she reached out to open up one side of the tent. Lyra slowly rose up, starting some easy stretching practice while still halfway burried under the blankets, eyes blinking against the dazzling morning sun. One look at the every-so-busy supply chain, a shrug, and she was back in the tent, nestling down in the blankets. To Lyra, the time in the camp was a somewhat weird experience. The absence of pressing matters she would have to attend to gave her an amount of free time she simply wasnt used to. And to her, it was totally fine to waste a good portion of it doing nothing. It took a little while, but even lying in the tent began to bore Lyra, and she finally left and slowly strolled over to where the rations werre distributed. For anyone who might have been watching, this was the first time they ever got a real look at her. Stepping out of the tent was one of the rather new resident of the camp, a girl that couldnt be much older than a teenager. While she was quite obviously human, her blond hair had such light tone it nearly blended in with the surrounding snow, and in contrast to her almost carefree way of walking, her sapphire eyes were wide awake and sharply darting around the camp, surely alerted to any potential inconveniences. Upon picking up her food, she chose to head away from the crowded center of the camp to enjoy her not that enjoyable breakfast in solitude, only accompanied by the sounds of nature. After a little resting to digest the food, Lyra continued the stretching she had started in the tent, slowly making her way to the more exhausting exercises that were to ensure her physical fitness. She finished her routine with a last period of running and then came back to the place where she had held up her meal with a little cone of ice in her hand. With an annoyed look on her face, she first inspects the cone and then the bracelets on her arm.
Prestidigitation to further freeze the ice cone in her hand. Calling high: 56
She then makes her way back to the field with her tent, unsure what to do, but with her hopes up to find any sort of interesting occupation.
Halbred hears distant whistles. His routine is watched with great interests by Shepherds and Sisters alike. You even catch the attention of a few detainees (I'll use this because prisoners honestly apply to those in the mines only) as you work out. The air is frigid on your bare skin I need a CON save please DC 13, it's very cold.
Folzi you do not get rations from Stornozzle nor does he share his meager ration with you. The much younger gnomish manservant reminds you nervously that he's not allowed to collect your ration for the hundredth time and remains in the tent you share with three other gnomes. Most tents in re gnome village house eight or more so you know you're lucky for having the luxury of that much space! Frustrated you rise from your tent heading out to get your ration yourself after seeing the extra in the basket has spoiled. The 24 hour enchanted food failing to keep. As you walk out of your tent roll perception with advantage to see if you notice the Commander and Sister Bhalla talking. These are two figures you know very well from early mischief in the camp as well as weekly council meetings.
Lebenha (loving the visuals) your tent-mates give you your privacy as best they can in the cramped tent. The young one now sharing your tent is marveling at your scales. She's a half-elf teen with a brand on her face, a symbol of her servitude. The sight saddens you knowing she 'belongs' to some Noble house but how she ended up here you aren't sure. Walking out of the tent after putting your robes back on give me a perception check.
Lyra give me a perception check to see if you notice the Commander and Sister Bhalla speaking.
The White Waste camp has a stone, magic resistant, 50ft high wall with watchtowers and garrison at each corner. Each watchtower and garrison represents the four Sister Goddesses. Their followers who have joined the Shepherds of Truth spend 5-year rotations of duty or lifelong devotions. It's also rumored to be punishment for misconduct in other duties. Each garrison is an armed stronghold supplied with food, water, and defenses if a siege should occur. NW tower is of Sune, NE tower is of Chauntea, SW tower is of Msytra, and SE tower is of Mielikki. It is known that Sune and Mystra are the Goddesses favored by the wealthy denizens of the Empire. The Emperor himself is a loyal worshiper of Sune. These two Goddesses have the least representation here in the White Wastes both groups seeing the camps more as a punishment than a duty often favoring collecting Casters and other magic lawbreakers than watching over them as their calling. Shepherds from Mielikki are the third largest group while the Shepherds from Chauntea have the biggest representation and are in almost all the levels of leadership. Chauntea and Mielikki clerics, paladins, and monks seeing the camps more as a calling to serve and protect the Casters and other groups as magic is seen as a natural gift but this is not talked about freely.
The red blocks indicate roads. The West Road and the east road are the only ways out of the camp. West road goes further into the White Wastes towards the mines and rumored to be the end of the world! The East Road goes towards the Warring Strait into the harbor of the former capital city of Caorthann which now lay in ruins made by the Weave Waste. Sul Na Mara, a massive port city, is the new capital.
Tents in the Northern Ward are Elven, gnome, and halfling settlements. They choose to stay separated by heritage but not Caster class. Even Rangers, Rouges, and Barbarians with magic gifts of these races are welcomed.
Tents in the Southern Ward block are ALL human separated by class of Caster. Their hierarchy is known: Sorcerers above all having inborn magic abilities followed by Warlocks with their patrons, and Wizards having to learn their magic.
The lone tent is the human Clans of the Wild/Bard and Rogue area known as 'the wilderness' nearest the Mielikki garrison. ALL humans non-Caster classes reside here. They eek out their existence separate from them own race because of their ties to the earth and what is seen to their Caster superiors as primitive magic.
Sisters of Mercy reside in the temple in the center of the camp. They provide food, medical care, and spiritual guidance as well as run a school open to all detainees.
The wooden structure by the East gate into the camp is the gallows. This is where criminals found in the camp are executed after a trial of Shepherds and Sisters. The first Commander of the camp often left Casters to rot as an example for people inside the camp as well as those first arriving for processing as a warning.
Hrain wakes and rises slowly, taking a moment to enjoy what little warmth his blanket provides. Once up though his movements are very efficient and essentially the same as every other morning for the last eighteen months.
He dresses and eats a simple breakfast giving thanks to both those who prepared it and Sune for granting them the ability to do so. Then returning to his spartan quarters he arms and armours himself, the plate mail as familiar as an old friend and the longsword an extension of his arm. He takes a moment to appreciate the exquisite engraving on the pauldrons and breastplate, iconography of Sune displayed alongside the imagery of the oath he has taken in her service.
Ready for battle he moves to a training area he prefers for its view of the camp allowing him to interact with others and stay aware of the mood of the camp. He move through his katas, each routine focusing his martial skills and his body in different ways, complementing each other and readying both body and mind for whatever he is required to do.
Finally, after washing his face and kneeling in front of his shield, and the emblem of Lady Fire hair set in it he prays, both for the wellbeing of all in the camp and for the strength to defend any who need his arm or his spells to protect them.
He looks up to the heavens as he finishes wondering what will come to pass on this day.
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Hrain - Level 9 Human Fighter - What is and What Should Never Be.
Lyreis - Level 6 Elf Fighter - Eberron: Omega
Duquesse - Level 3 Fighter Level 1 Rogue - Order of Medusa
Caerlan - Level 2 Rogue Level 2 Wizard - Dumat's Institute of Higher Magic
River comes out of her trance sleep before dawn, excited for the day, she wraps herself up in the threadbare clothing she's accumulated in her last 50 years here, paying particular attention to her feet and slips out of the sleeping quarters quietly. She has learned to move quickly to keep her small wood elf frame warm, but never warm enough. She pops in at the ration station, quickly washes her hands and arms and dries quickly.
Hrian finds his fellow Shepherds in the same mood as usual, foul. Sune Shepherds mostly come to the camp out of punishment he's learned very rarely do they come for the true devotion he feels to do Sune's work at the camp. His finds hope however among the other Shepherds of Chauntea of which there are many. So many in fact that their fellow Shepherds arrive nearly every other day to the camp to replenish their ranks making Chauntea the largest group at the camp. Sune Shepherds he knows has resorted to hiring mercenaries to fill their ranks in camp. Hrian has been charged with keeping these men and women in line as well as showing them the ways of the camp.
OOC: Phade and Traveller have a talk and include me.
Riverwing joins the Sisters of Mercy and most greet her with smiles. Moving easily about her morning routine she gives out rations to her fellow Casters with the same tempered joy as most of the Sisters. Occasionally River has to break up an argument in the ration line with the help of the trusty Shepherds watching over the morning's exchange but usually, the morning is slow to start.
OOC: Everyone can address their checks now. Post at will.
River moves among the line in her various duties, interacting lightly with many. She maintains a strict respect for ranks here and stays well away from the Shepherds as they move about unless they address her directly. Always watching for anything that's different from the normal morning routine.
Noting an unusual tenseness this morning among the sisters she focus' her attentions on finding out more.
Halbred your unphased by the cold and finish your routine going to get your morning ration from the Temple. You know you can eat in the Sune garrison but the Shepherds there barely speak to you and give you the general feeling you do NOT belong. Everyone but a young captain who you and the other sellswords look to for guidance named Hrain treat you all with a general indifference. Hrain however seems a forthright and honorable sort of man. Although he might be younger than you, during your bouts in the practice rings he seems no less adept with a blade.
Riverwing notices the unrest amongst the Sisters and approaches one named Gilly she knows will answer her questions.
"Good morning dear," Gilly says, the old human woman smiles at Riverwing awaiting her greeting in return.
"Good morning Gilly!" River says grasping her hands in her own "I hope I find you well this morning. I am troubled Gilly, the camp is tense today. The Sisters are concerned. What is happening?" She sits near her patiently awaiting her answer.
The young fighter gave a small nod of thanks and a weak half-smile as his ration portion was handed to him, and glancing around the camp again, trying to ignore those few bedraggled residents and detainees that happened to glance in his direction, his brown eyes fell upon the Sune garrison in the northwest corner of the camp. His duty station, as it were. Didn't exactly feel like it to the hired warrior, however. Some of the Shepherds, while eminently polite and professional, had a coldness about them that made one feel alien and alone in their presence. He was not yet salty enough to comfortably join the boisterous and bawdy group that comprised most of the other sellswords, his own experience being modest and tame by comparison to theirs, and so Haldur quietly retreated back to his own small, ramshackle tent that stood somewhat apart from the others in the south-southeastern portion of the camp to eat his breakfast alone. The damnable chill in the air had all but frozen his meal before he made it to his shelter, but the tough young fighter chewed it up and swallowed it down regardless. Fuel for the machine.
After his meal Haldur quickly donned his duty ensemble. His chainmail hauberk rattled and jingled as he arranged it on his person but it fit comfortably enough, next came the simple dagger housed on his right hip, and then came the lightweight crossbow slung across his back. He wasn't the greatest shot with the contraption, but it was simply another tool at his disposal. Finally however, his namesake, his primary armament. The fighter couldn't help but smile a bit as his fingers felt the cold, smooth haft of his halberd poleaxe, and as the familiar weight settled into his grip he immediately felt all of the uncertainty and apprehension fade from his mind and body. He adored the weapon because, aside from it's effectiveness in combat, it evoked a different reaction in people than a sword or other weapon did. Guards often used poleaxes, as well as sentinals or bodyguards. There was a stateliness, a sense of guardianship that accompanied the weapon, and the young fighter liked to image that perhaps, somewhere deep inside him, there was a higher ideal to his work than simply selling his strong arm for coin. Regardless of that ideal however, people were made for this thing, or that thing, or some sad few never found what they were made for. Haldur was made to swing a halberd.
Quickly readying himself for the day, Haldur hurried from the tent over to the Sunite garrison and, with respectful deference, asked some of the Shepherds there where he might find Capt. Hrain that morning. The fighter had heard good things about the young Sunite from his fellow sellswords and had been informed that Hrain would be his first point of contact for assignments around the camp from here forward, so Haldur intended to make himself available for any tasks or watch duties that the Shepherd might need taken care of.
He attempts to cast his mage hand while in the tent. Calling high, 13
After a few moments in his tent, Folzi emerges from his tent again, frustration clearly on his face. He then makes his way toward the kitchen to collect his ration for the morning. When he arrives at the kitchen steps, "What's on the menu today, ladies?" He does his best to flash a charming smile and takes the ration not really expecting much in the way of conversation from the Sisters. He lingers around the area nibbling his ration and trying to casually blend in, or rather get lost amongst the larger folk.
"There were riders that arrived in the night," Gilly whispers but then frowns, "they've made our mistress uneasy but she will not share their news," she then says morning with her eyes to Sister Bhalla returning to the dwindling ration line at the dawn breaks completely over camp.
"Time for rounds I think Gillanna," Sister Bhalla then says smiling at River but not engaging. "That firebrand wizard at the Caster camp among the humans has sent a boy for his ration this morning who I turned away. Let's go see if he's not improving or is just trying to extort more of our genersoity," she adds as Gilly gets up from River, turning her back on Bhalla puts a finger to her lips, before then joining Bhalla. They leave the shadow of the temple for the human camp.
Approaching the Sunite garrison Haldur (Halberd which do you prefer) the young sellsword notices the same lazy attitude of the guards outside the garrison tower. They're actually not guarding at all but playing a game of cards flanked by two groups of gathered Shepherds of duty or serking theirs! Some Mystra Shepherds look up and snicker at you as you approach before returning their attention to the game being played. As you get close enough to see the makeshift table which is blocking your way into the tower you can see there's quite a lot of coin at stake!