In turns to the others still in the room "So uh, that was... interesting." he jumps from his seating position upright and points to the maps giving them a very good look, making an effort to memorizing them "I ain't taking those maps, but maybe one of you should" he taps his head "It's all here now". He turns to Ishhareth "So, sneaky mission and avoid fighting? I like your style already!" he smiles "Anything we can do help... uhm... calm the refugees. Other than the safe word you just mentioned. Is there someone that they absolutely trust?"he coughs and spins his hat on his hand.
After Ishhareth replies he turns to Vishal: "I have indeed heard of Kalashtar but speaking in my mind without permission is a big no-no. I heard voices in my head before when I was alone, you know? Gave me a fright. I banged my head against the wall until I went unconscious. Never heard them again! Ha. Showed ’em good, I did. If rats move in, best thing to do is to burn the nest and send ’em packing.” he says smiling as if he did the only logical thing "But you're right when you suggested we should get to know each other and what we can do"
Ishhareth shakes his head in response to Juhaan's question. "The only people they've ever absolutely trusted in their lives are their enemies now, so I'm afraid there's not much I can give you there. Remember, they were taught their whole lives that the Summit Road is a group of smugglers and terrorists serving demons, so being gentle and patient with them will likely do worlds. I've found just being kind can do worlds to keep them calm and help them trust you."
"Kind. We can do kind. Well....I can do kind and not inadvertenly compare people to rodents." Vishal replies with a smile as he takes the map knowing there is no way he could memorize that. He then turns to those still in the room and says, "I...don't really have anymore questions. Do any of you or should we join back up with the other?"
"Nothing wrong with rodents mate. Except when they escape their cage with wheels and procreate like rabbits infesting the place where you live, spreading filth and decease. But they are good in a skewer if youre in a pinch." he says nonchalantly, not taking Vishal's comment as offensive or snarky in any way.
Turning to Ishhareth he adds "One more question please: we have a safe word to recognize the refugees. But how will they recognize us as legit members of the Summit Road and not as being part of a ruse of the Thousand Eyes?"
Ishhareth nods. "There's a counter word for the refugees if needed, mentioned in here." He taps his papers. "Avai. It'll get you into Shalquar as well, should they ask for proof of genuineness." He gives Juhaan an approving look.
"Within Adar, you'll have to settle for the footpaths in the area. There are plenty small ones, you should be able to get to the border quietly. Once you're in Riedra...I'd suggest staying away from any main roads, honestly. Take a path that doesn't bring you any closer to the fortress than necessary." Ishhareth spreads his hands. "It's difficult to get any kind of definitive route established, since predictability is inherently dangerous."
As Taran gets to the bottom of the wooden stairs and arrives back into the main hall they'd all been led through before coming in the small meeting room, he notices the burly shape of Druhdaar sitting on the far side of the underground paved yard, by a small pool covered with water lilies. The big man's face seems lost in private thoughts, his brow slightly bent forward, one of his meaty fingers lazily playing on the surface of the water. His usual countenance, usually so full of danger, pent-up rage and shadows, now seems strangely peaceful as he sits by the small pond, the only sounds being the noise of the two small streams pouring out off the granite stone wall.
As Halrac's boy comes closer to the druid, Druhdaar doesn't seem to notice his presence: all of the hermit's great shaggy being appears to be absorbed by the beauty of the few tiny lilies floating by his side: wide chest and belly rising and falling like big, regular bellows, his gnarled oaken staff circled with leather bands and studded with iron rings is leaning, undisturbed, against the small pond's parapet.
Taran keeps silent as he approaches Druhdaar and the small pool, settling down in Druhdaar's peripheral vision on the other side of the calming waters. He doesn't want to disturb the large man's reverie, so his gaze turns to the mosaics laid in the pool and the surrounding walls. Tracing lines of vibrant color with his eyes.
After a handful of moments though, the itch sets in. The sense of wasting time, time he could be spending improving his meager skills. There are things he can't practice without disturbing Druhdaar though, so he quickly settles on storing, drawing, and hiding various vials, tools, and daggers quickly, silently and unnoticeably. He turns his slight body, hopefully hiding the quick movements so as not to disturb Druhdaar or anyone else in the area. Father's lessons echo in his mind, how to move, how to quickly draw a weapon if an enemy closes, how to hide something from view with no one becoming the wiser. Setting the bar, showing him how far beneath it he was.
Ishhareth leaves you the maps, mission summary, and refugee identifications. You all regather and do some planning, then get on the road from Malshashar. The first half of your journey takes place in Adar, where you walk along mountain footpaths. The second half is in Riedra, where gently sloping hills allow you to walk mostly unhindered through low grass without any path or road.
OOC: You guys have until Friday to do any on the road interactions you want. This includes showing off abilities, learning to do a 5 foot high mud middle finger, and that camp scene if you want to do it.
Taran feels some of the tension leave his shoulders as the group stalks through the forest and the lowland hills. Nature is... simpler thanthe towns and temples. The trees don't have expectations, the eyes of the birds don't judge his shortcomings, he knows the rhythym of these lands. Taran knows the shadows which could hide spies or soldiers, the same shadows he slinks through as they head tl the blrder. His worn crossbow is cradled in his hands, the loaded bolt lazily traveling the countryside, eager for the glint of metal that would i dicate an enemy attack.
It felt good, being back outside. Taran had spent more time in the mountains and forests than in buildings, sleeping under the stars and fending for himself... There wasn't a more peaceful place. Or more useful as Taran kept an eye out for medicinal or alchemical plants to restock his supplies.
While Taran is attempting to stick towards the shadows and actively be stealth Vishal is lesiuarly travelling. His hands behind his head as he treads, naturally light footed from years of dance. He keeps a general eye out but is more looking at his companions and attempting to get a better read on them. Eventually he speaks up and says, "If we're going to be working together we should probably learn more about each other and our abilities. We can share abilites for later tonight while we're not walking. But we can talk about ourselves."Vishal is obviously excited to talk about himself as he has a giant smile on his face and then starts, "I was actually born in Malshashar. My family owns the leathershop right outside of the monastary. We provide all the leather to Malshashar actaully. So if anyone needs new leather."As Vishal says this he looks towards Druhdaar and where he assumes Taran is, "Besides leather working I'm also a trained dancer and parcipate in a lot of the festivals. Of course I was also trained to fight and I'm pretty good with my chakrams if I say so myself. And of course a little bit of magic also helps. Anyways....that's a lot about me, what about the rest of you?"
Towering behind the young herbalist, the imposing figure of Druhdaar remains utterly silent, only giving an annoyed shake of his shaggy mane from time to time, as he tries to blot out Vishal's constant flow of words. His eyes are roving back and forth along the path, ceaselessly scanning the sky above and the surrounding bushes and rocks(Perception and Nature Checks: 13 and 15) . It's hard for some of the others to tell if he's searching for signs of foul weather, for food, if he's wary of enemy presence or any of the other, multiple dangers to be found in the wilderness, but he seems to also have found a natural and steady pace as he follows Taran's steps.
At some point towards mid-afternoon, the small, rocky mountain track they were following leaves the higher Adaran peaks and starts its weaving descent through a range of barren hills, interspeded with a few sad-looking, skeletal pine trees. Further ahead on the horizon, a small gap through a massive roll of cumulonimbi lets four wide and gloriously golden rays of sunshine illuminate an expanse of scintillating green, marking the rolling grasslands of the Riedran border.
As the group makes its way down, the terrain seems to become progressively more and more soggy and difficult to thread, the path soon widening into an earthen road whose muddy surface suddenly scatters into a great quagmire of rocks and broken trees, strewn amongst deep puddles of thick, black clay. The big druid gives an irritated grunt and lays a sun-baked hand on Taran's shoulder as he pushes ahead, coming to a stand within a few feet of the mudslide's perimeter.
With a deep intake of breath sounding like forge bellows, Druhdaar slams his staff into the mud, planting it firmly between his fur-wrapped feet, and as he exhales he places his hand in front of him, fingers spread as if to mime an invisible pushing motion:
The muddy mess overtaking the road gives a great slurping sound as the mudslide visibly levels itself out, water soaking into the ground with unnatural speed, just as various big lumps of black soil come to life, gathering to form small hillocks on both sides of the small corridor that just appeared out of nowhere ahead of the group, carving out an area the size of a small barn door. Seemingly unphased by his display of druidic power, Druhdaar contents himself by advancing on the rest of the mud barrier, and soon his huffing and puffing, accompanied by occasional mumbling and precise gestures of his ham-sized hands has opened a tidy 5-feet wide, 30-feet long gap across the obstacle.
After one last look at his work, the bearded colossus signals the rest of the green guides with a nod:
" Clear. Just watch for tree splinters, over there. Let's get this over with: I'm hungry. "
"Zi'til'natek is this one's home." River responds in a male voice that sounds low and mildly irritated despite her cheerful hopping along. She then takes the black swortsword from her back - the feathers on the guard waving a bit from the action - and holds it up as the crystal in the base begins to glow. After a moment a beam of black, crackling energy flies into the sky as she coos excitedly and claps.
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
Dungeon Master - RoA River - Hexblade 2, Grave Cleric 1(Kenku) - TSR Minami Alani - Glamour Bard 5 (Half-Elf/Half-Lynx) - ToD
Taran moves closer to the group, speaking quietly as they traversed Druhdaar's road.
"I-I don't have any magic or special skills." He hefts up the crossbow shyly, "Father taught me to shoot and fight, I can hunt, cook, fish, track, the temple monks taught me some basic medical skills so I can bandage wounds and make medicines, I've learned a little alchemy kn case we need fire or smoke. I know the Primordial language so I can work on any coded messages from the Road. Just the basics really, but I'm working on improving. If anyone needs anything, just let me know, I'll... I'll get it done. I can even cover your escape, if- if I mess up and we are being pursued"
It was important they knew how weak he was, Taran thought and he silently faded back into the countryside, that way they could adjust and not rely on him to their detriment.
Druhdaar actually turns towards River as the Kenku utters her cooing approval, then looks squarely at Taran:
" Bird is right, " the big man mutters grumpily, his eyes searching for Taran's with fierce intent, " ... stop selling yerself short, kid. You know yer ol' man would claw his face right off, if he heard you talk that way ! "
Looking at Taran's expression, the giant's fiery glare seems to soften somewhat, before he adds under his breath, so that only Taran - and maybe Caelius, if he's watching them - can hear:
" If you don't feel tough, fake it . Works just as well. "
The young guide wasn't sure, but he could have sworn that for the briefest of moments there was a glint of amusement and maybe even a quick eye-wink flashing beneath Druhdaar's discheveled mop of hair.
Taran shakes his head at Druhdaar, "No, Father was..." Taran struggles with the words, "always very clear on recognizing my limitations. You... You can't improve unless you know where you lack, right? If... If you are honest with your shortcomings... Then you can't help but improve after all."
Taran quickly turns to River, "You are right though, my skills can be useful, but it is simply the basics. Nothing like the miracles someone like Mr. Druhdaar can perform. He can close wounds with a touch, and I'm sure your magic is incredibly as well. And the Esteemed Vishal can reach into people's minds. But, I'll do my part. I promise."
Hat on his head and cane tapping the floor while walking near Vishal he adds (assuming no one, outside the party, are currently looking at them)
"Knowing what we can do is a sensible thing to know about each other."he then removes his bowler hat while walking, puts it inside the backup removing a flat cap instead and while he puts it on, his figure changes drastically to an older man with blond hair and green eyes, while his clothes and dueling cane remain the same. His voice and accent also changed wildly when he speaks: "You zee, I'm all about infiltrrration and manipulation and vould rrrather avoid physikal konfrrrontation if necessarrry." He continues walking with the cane nonchalantly, not looking at the others.