“That’s very useful. I’m kind of an amateur practitioner of well really only one disguise but it’s worked a lot so far. And I don’t have a magic hat to help so it takes more time to get into it. I’ll probably show the group later.” Vishal tells Juhaan a bright smile of his face.
The young dancer then speaks up once again to address Talan. “I’m sure you have much more credit than you give yourself. I know very little about nature, medicine, surviving not in a city. I got some training but....I wasn’t very good at it.”
A small smile shows up in Juhaan's lip while he touches the hat, removing and returning to his normal figure "Why thank you, I'm slightly attached to my hat"Juhaan said. "It is lucky, you see? I ain't never died while wearing that hat."
Seeing the dramatic transformation of Mr. Juhaan reminds Taran of a certain bright-eyed girl from Tashalatora. With her teasing voice in his head, Taran let's slip a small smile and the natural response comes without a thought.
"Does that mean you have died without your hat, or have you simply never gone without it?" Taran immediately freezes after the words sneak past him, their tone playful and light unlike his normal reserved and respectful demeanor. He stumbles back forward, eyes downcast as he rushes out the apology. "I'm so sorry sir, you reminded me of my friend, and I spoke without thinking. We're on a mission, I shouldn't get distracted like that. I was trained better, I'm so sorry."
He continues forward, twice as vigilant after his lapse.
Thinking about things Juhaan has said and done created a tickle in the back of my mind. Then, remembering that Taran has been friends with Sim for years, I thought a roll might be appropriate, since he has definitely seen her transform before. Does Juhaan strike Taran as possibly being a Changeling?
Insight- 17 / 7
or straight Intelligence 6 / 18
Both with advantage in case you deem that appropriate for the roll. Hopefully I'm not busting Morgulz's bubble if I figure it out this early.
He grins with a big smile to Taran "The latter of course. What's the point of having a lucky hat if you don't wear it all the time?" he says "And you can continue to call me Sir if you want. Unlike Ishhareth I have no qualms about it and it kind of balance things out." He continues walking, flat cap replaced by a bowler hat.
Wanting the awkwardness to go away Vishal decides to address the silent member of the group and says, "So....what about you Caelius? Where did you come from? What would you like to share? I'm sure Taran can translate."
Taran quickly starts relaying Caelius' intents, though the process is slowed by the translating of ideas into full sentences.
"Mr Caelius says he comes from the Kilbilnar monastery." Taran hesitates, "He says, I think it is magic, he says he can create a hand, create ice, I think for damaging opponents. He can create light as well, and... Hurt people. I don't think he wants to talk about that one. It must be bad. Did you learn all of that at the monastery Mr. Caelius?"
" Okay so since we're on about hurting things... we need a battle order, in case we meet trouble. I take point with the Bird. "
Druhdaar hasn't looked at anyone in particular. His eyes remain fixed on the clouds looming over the rolling grass fields, down in the valley ahead.
" Also, we're approaching the Riedran border: best everyone be on your toes and stop yapping for a while... "
Sniffing the air with a worried look he then grumbles something about rain, silently pulling up the hood of a filthy, fur-coated cape over his head as he keeps walking at a brisk pace, stepping over rocks and mud puddles without seeming to care.
This post has potentially manipulated dice roll results.
(OOC: I'm not sure we if should change the weather, so I'm not including rain in this. Also, I'm going to be breaking this into a few pieces, a montage of the camp and night activities. I figure people can break their own answers so we can cover multiple potential points in prep for tomorrow's post. Also, Taran will prefer range, though he can handle dashing to the frontlines if we need it.)
A few hours after the conversation about their preferred roles in combat, the group finds an adequate site for a camp. Far away from the roads and amongst the last of the rocky outcroppings of the mountains before they hit the grassy lowlands of Riedra. As soon as the group agreed on the campsite, Taran becomes a blur of activity, digging a fire pit and pouring two liquids together to instantly ignite the gathered tinder into a low blaze, hidden from sight of anyone more than a few feet from camp. On the fire he puts a pot of broth and begins making a stew from the various nuts, berries, and plants he gathered during their journey or has stored amongst his equipment. The meal is a little bland but filling. Taran eats quickly then moves off.
For the first he unspools his fishing line and begins laying alarm wires around the campsite, tying rocks and small lead balls to key points in the wires not only to weigh them down, but to act as noisemakers if they are disturbed by intruders. (Assuming Thieve's Tools to make a trap is dex+prof 25 )
For the second, Taran sneaks out of the camp, unwilling to disturb his companions. (Not rolling a stealth, because I don't mind if people follow Taran for this, but he's trying to not bother the others). He heads back up the trail to a spot he noticed a while back. After making sure the area is clear, Taran pulls out his chalk and traces a copper coin onto one of the dark stones. He then back up one hundred feet and pulls out his crossbow. Replacing his broadhead bolt with a practice one that has a cork head, Taran takes a deep breath and begins firing at the tiny target. (With disadvantage due to distance 7 ). After two hundred shots, he stops, rewaxes the strings and tightens the worn wooden body. Stowing the weapon he draws his shortsword from its ragged leather sheath and works his way through three sequential katas, performing each five times with increased speed. Then he takes a whetstone to the blade and repeats the process with his dagger.
Throughout the entire practice session, which will last for about two hours if uninterrupted, Taran mutters under his breath and shakes his head. Critiquing each point, each step, and every shot.
In the end, he returns to camp to take his turn at the watch (Edit for Perception 12
(OOC Edit: I think I entered the disadvantage wrong, so I tried it again. Not sure what how that one is supposed to work but the first time it rolled 4 dice, added sets of two, and gave me one of those sets of two, which was clearly wrong. )
As the group travels Vishal is more than happy to fill in any lulls in the conversation. He mianly talks about himself because he doesn't know what else to talk about. Most of what he says isn't useful information. He mentions that he has an older brother and a younger sister. That his favorite color is blue. And that his favorite animals are red pandas. That he plays the drums and actuallly brought them with him. When the group gets to talking about combat potential and where they prefer to be Vishal says, "I prefer to be in the frontlines as wells. I can back up to mid-field if I need to but chakrams don't return and these are the only two I have. Plus I need to touch people in order to heal them."
When they reach the campsite Vishal is able to set up his own sleeping area but isn't much help anywhere else. However, he is more than happy to talk to you as you do things. As he is passed food Vishal smiles and giving it a taste he hesistantly, and as polietly as possible, says "This is good Taran. I'm really impressed with what you can do. It just....doesn't have the strong flavors I'm use to. I'm going....to just spice mine up a little bit." As Vishal says this you see his eyes begins to consentrate and glow blue as he mumbles to himself. Paying attention to his broth you see as it begins to glow as well. But rather than the blue that is his eyes its instead a visible spectrum of colors. The broth changes from red to orange, to purple, to blue, to all the colors you can thing of. This only lasts for a moment before his eyes, and the spectrum of colors, stop. Smiling Vishal says, "That's probably my most useful spell."Before he takes a bite and sighs as the food has a stronger flavor to it.
With some time after dinner and before he should rest before watch Vishal spends the remaining time practing his dancing. Not really caring if others watch he does it within the confines of camp still. He starts with some simple stretching before going into some more intense things such as splits, handstands, and backflips. He then launches into a full hour of practing a routines that includes flips, kicks, and other sharp intense movements that can almost be mistaken four combat. Anyone who has attened a festival at one of the strongholds recognize this as the routine that the dancer do during the stories of Haztarati.
Caelius swiftly sets up his sleeping roll and helps Taran and Druhbaar with anything they want help with. Otherwise, Caelius reads from a small book. He thanks Taran for the filling meal, offering the young man praise. He attempts to continue to read his book but is distracted by Vishal's practice, practically mesmerized by the bard's actions.
Whomever wakes Caelius up for his watch notices his Eberron dragonshard colored eyes glow softly in the dark. During his watch, Caelius meditates in the silence of the night.
After using Mold Earth to dig out a fire pit for Taran and to raise up a small mound of soil to block out the rising eastern winds, Druhdaar goes off on his own to gather some information.
** OOC: I'll do 2 Perception Rolls for him to look for wildlife, feel free to use or discard Advantage as needed , or use his passive Perception instead - roll 1:14 / roll 2: 9 **
((considering the result is sufficient, this is what happens next:))
After walking for a few minutes away from the camp, he spots a small raven looking at him from a skinny-looking pine tree. Raising his eyes towards the black-feathered bird, Druhdaar sends out his awareness towards it.
" Fresh and cool is the evening, little father. The wind carries no sound to my dull ears other than its own. These hills look barren to my kind, yet we both know they teem with life. What have you seen and heard on your journey over the green ? Was there others like me and mine moving below on thy feeding grounds ? "
The raven gives a brief caw in response to Druhdaar.
"I have seen no creatures like you moving on these grey peaks. Some distance west on the green ocean, there are many two-legs, some of whom simply ignore us and some of whom are loud and clumsy, suspicious of even us birds." (Basically-no, he hasn't seen anyone here, but there's a group of two-legged creatures several miles west of you-likely Hillcorn and the fortress)
The journey passes peacefully, with your watches at camp finding no particular danger. Around midafternoon of the day before people are set to begin arriving, you get to Hillcorn, which looks like a quiet, ordinary village from afar. The cluster of buildings is surrounded by miles of fields of pomow plant. Pomow is a hardy plant that can be grown in a variety of climates and is extraordinarily multipurpose. The meat, root and seeds can be eaten, the core contains juice, the fibers are woven into clothing, and strips of rind are sharp enough to shave with. As you get a little closer, you notice a few things that tell you Hillcorn is slightly different from most villages.
One, the number of people in orange and yellow (the colors of the Harmonious Shield) is far higher than normal, indicating a Riedran contingent stationed within the village itself, like Ishhareth warned you about.
Two, the structure containing the hanbanali monolith is not at the center of the village like they usually are. In fact, you cannot see it at all.
And three, the shape of a kintam is at the edge of the horizon to the south. By your guess, it probably also safeguards the monolith shell behind walls and guards.
As you near the village, you all hear a soft, gentle voice in your heads. The work shift is now over. Retire to your homes for meditation upon the day's events, or gather with your fellows to discuss your days before the evening meal. You all know that this is the Soothing Voice, a telepathic effect from the monoliths that allows the quori to broadcast messages to the populace. It's nothing more than communication, they are unable to look into minds or affect actions with it. You can see black, white and brown clad commoners making their ways in from the fields. Evidently you've arrived just as the workday is ending and the period of free time and relaxation before the evening meal and prayer service is about to begin.
(OOC: How I'm going to handle you guys splitting the party. I'm not going to put stuff in spoilers, I'll just separate it clearly. You will have today and the weekend to complete your tasks, and then on Monday I'll move to the first people arriving.)
Those entering the village:
(First, please describe your disguises and roll a Deception for me. For those using a disguise kit, I will need a DC 15 Dex check-add proficiency if you're proficient-for advantage on your Deception roll. Juhaan gets advantage because of his thing.)
The village is precisely what you'd expect. Smooth, rounded stone buildings line the organized streets, lit by glowing crystals embedded in the walls. Symbols denote the purpose of various public buildings, as most Riedrans are illiterate. The streets are mostly full of black, white or brown clad commoners speaking to each other, although a few orange or yellow clad Harmonious Shield soldiers are present as well-some clearly off duty and relaxing alongside the commoners, who treat them with the utmost respect, and some on-duty and running errands for superior officers. You can see the symbols for a music hall, smith's, clothing depot, Sturdy Wall office, Bountiful Horn office, Guiding Path office, and a simple gathering place that is likely a place for people to talk and worship if they wish.
Those scouting outside the village:
Outside the village, the fields themselves stretch for approximately a quarter mile in every direction. Following the map, you find the gathering spot approximately half a mile from the village itself, in a natural divot that conceals it from sweeping eyes. A few trees are scattered around the edge of the depression, and a small stream makes its way down one side before pooling at the bottom.
Vishal spent some time this morning getting ready, doing it in private as he attempted to remake over his entire body. Using makeup, brushing and letting his hair all the way down his back, putting on a stuffing a bra, plus some pad stuffing in a pair of painties Vishal attempts to put on the illusion of a woman. Wearing just some very simple common black clothing, and leaving a majority of his items, including the map, with the others the only thing Vishal takes with him is his Chakrams which he has hid on his person in order to not raise an eyebrow. Speaking in a higher octavice and putting on a general performance Vishal attempts to look like a woman. Upon seeing everyone while in full drag he speaks, his voice slightly higher, "Call me Vivian while I'm like this. This is a character I put on when we need more female dancers. While I'm in this persona please use female pronouns."