Cyndral lightly ground his teeth, unable to look the priestess in the eye as she made her rounds. Whether this was some sort of test, or just an exercise in breaking their spirits, he couldn't say, but it made his stomach churn and bile bubble at the back of his throat. He couldn't help but think back on his father, on the dark days after his human mother's passing where the man had revealed the true cruelty of his soul and raised his son in the Drow tradition. Hatred for the sake of hatred, a sense of superiority just because of racial identity. It was precisely the sort of evil, insane thinking he'd left home to try and rid the world of. And now here it was, before him, and yet he could do nothing to change it or even harm the woman behind it that would amount to anything more than needlessly throwing his life away.
Yet still, he found his voice coming unbidden, in the tongue of the Underdark, to ask a question whose answer he both desperately needed and never wanted to hear. "And what of I, priestess? I've heard tell how your people feel about us half-breeds. What fate is it you have in store for me, that I would wish for servitude in its place?"
Ilvara looks towards Cyndral. Her hand still firmly resting on her whip. “Do you know how much the richer Drow of Menzoberranzan would pay for a Half-breed to keep them amused? They will however, pay less for an insubordinate one however. So if you wish to keep your ugly little face in one piece then I suggest you stop asking questions and remain seated” Ilvara continues to walk. Stopping at each prisoner and looking at them. She looks over the injured Deep Gnome, then towards Buppido the Derro before looking at the Derro. She continues over to Turvy and then to Topsy. A thick bead of sweat forms on Topsy’s head. She doesn’t know where to look and her eyes suddenly dart towards her wrists. Ilvara follows her gaze “What is the meaning of this you mistrustful little wench!” In less than a second, Ilvara’s Scourge is wrapped around the throat of the female Deep Gnome. Her brother Turvy stands up and shouts out a word in Gnomish that everyone understands “NO!” Before being jabbed in the side by Shoor’s stick, sending him backwards and making him sit again on the bench behind. Ilvara begins to drag Topsy along the ground by the neck with her whip.
El considers for a moment, then speaks up (in Undercommon) "Your Holiness, our friend here simply slipped out of her shackles when falling. Clearly they were left on far too loose, please, a damaged Gnome won't fetch half as much and I'm sure a High Priestess such as yourself knows the value of Gnomes as 'workers' especially deep gnomes" (Persuasion)18)/(Deception11)
OoC: Technically this is a Persuasion check but El is also bluffing about the value of deep gnomes hence the Deception check as well. (If they actually are valuable slave then the deception isn't necessary)
"Oh no. This won't end well. Worse if she checks everyone." Gnarls tenses, conflicted. His instinct is to fight but the warning from Cyndral holds him. Gnarls speaks out loud:
"She is no threat to escape against such mighty captors as you. A slave with that kind of dexterity and fight in her is sure to fetch a higher price is she not? Let her live. Think of the extra profit a brother-sister set could fetch!"
Ilvara pauses and looks at the squirming Deep Gnome on the ground. She grabs Topsy by the collar of her tunic and lifts her back onto her feet, pressing her fingers into the flesh of her cheeks. Examining her closely. “Yes... I think I could get a fair price for a pair... If you cross me again then you will feel my true wrath. Or maybe I will take out my anger on your brother and make you watch” With that, Ilvara releases her grasp of Topsy. The hand that was holding her now moves quickly towards the Gnomes face.
Unarmed strike 12
Ilvaras hand hits straight into the side of Topsy’s face.
“Shoor, make sure that these bindings are fastened tight. If this happens again then there will be severe consequences” With that, Ilvara makes her way towards the gate and stands watching Shoor work. He opens the shackles with a small key and straps them tightly around Topsy’s hands, feet and neck before making his way towards the gate. The gate closes and the cell is once again left in silence.
Having kept his head down as he has learned to do over the many years as a scout in the Underdark, Shishakli now moves and watches the priestess and guards leave, mentally sending a message to the group saying "We were right to stay quiet. Now they will likely let us be for a short bit. We should see who else we can free from their chains to prepare for when the guards, and hopefully only the guards, come back to transport us." He then will set his chains aside, and go around the cave helping anyone who wants it, to free themselves from their own chains.
Verim too has remained silent throughout the ordeal, facing away from Ilvara to the left and keeping his eyes shut as not to rouse suspicion of his unique form. He has been listening however, keeping quiet was definitely what needed to be done. Once Ilvara has left Verim will once again sneak to the gate and inspect on where Ilvara is going and if she speaks further about the Prisioners
Sneak Check 7
Perception Check 15
Verim will then saunter over to Shishakli keeping the rope within his clothing
With a whisper in Common
”I beg of you, aid me in removing this bondage, I lack the strength to do so some assistance would be greatly appreciative”
Verim would like aid in removing his chains but not break completely to prevent suspicion in the future.
Cyndral sighed, a bit of his fighting spirit returning to him with Ilvara once again out of sight. The others had the right of it, perhaps next time the door opened would be the best time to make a break for things, with or without scouting out the prison ahead of their escape. Squinting in the low detail of his darkvision at the detail of his bonds, he resolved to attempt to at least free his hands, assuming the rest would be easier managed if he had at least that much freedom of movement. As he did so, he returned to the mental conversation, not wanting to risk the guards somehow overhearing.
"Well, mister Tobias, if I am able to free myself of these bonds, I certainly would be able to make better use of your shiv than I would the club I gave you. However if we can just get to a place where I can call upon my magic again, it will likely do us all more good in someone else's hands who cannot fight with arcane methods."
Tobias moves to help Topsy to her feet before to the gate slams shut. "Are you okay?" he asks looking over the wounds she sustained and ushers her back over to her brother.
"I agree," he says in reply to the older deep gnome. "If those three come are around we don't have much a chance. However, we have no idea when they plan on moving us. Also, I don't think we are going to fare well with most of us being unarmed."The half-orc sighs heavily. "I would be more useful if I could reconnect with my god. I haven't felt him in some time."
"If we are to be fighting our way out, you all may call me Shishakli. I, too, am better with smaller weapons than large, though prefer to keep range when possible." Shishakli responds to Cyndral while making his way from person to person assisting their escape, adding "These damn drow" glancing at Sarith ((insight on if Sarith truly is trustworthy: 7)), with a quicker glance at Cyndral as well "... will not let us leave if they're still breathing."
Once the Priestess leaves and everyone begins quietly moving around, the huge beast known as a Quaggoth who gained just a scratch from Ilvara’s rod begins talking through Stools spores “Oh, oh this is odd. I’ve never had a conversation like this before. Can you all hear me? What in the lords name is going on? One minute I’m just taking taking a nap and the next, I’m in this cell with the lot of you, getting hit by some crazed woman who clearly doesn’t know how to treat Prince Derendil the third!” This is not what you expected from a Quaggoth. As you look slightly confused by his name and the way he acts he starts again “Yes, yes, I know. I don’t look like much of a prince but that is because of this blasted spell that was cast on me a few years back. Now… Now I look like this!” He slams a fist into the ground before sitting back down.
Topsy first looks at El and Gnarls “Thank you both. I fear that that could have been the end of me if you hadn’t stepped in” She begins to rub her neck, its usual dark colour has now started to grow red from where the whip has grappled her. As Tobias looks over the wounds she thanks him before making her way over to Shishakli “As one Svirfneblin to another, can I ask that if I fall during this escape, will you help get my brother back to Blingdenstone?”
The injured Deep Gnome begins rubbing where the wound of Ilvara’s wand had hit is and looks up “JimJar’s the name and making deals is my game. I’ll bet anyone 2 gold pieces that I won’t be getting hit with that thing again. When are we leaving this place?”
The red haired dwarf has also composed herself, feeling thankful that out of the four sleeping in the cell, she was the furthest away from the Priestess “I’m happy to fight alongside you all but we really need a plan. Once we are out of this cell, where do we go? Who knows the Underdark? And I don’t know about you but I came here with my families sword and I intend on returning it to my home, as well as picking up some other personal possessions that might help. We could do with finding them too. I’m sorry, I’m not very good after waking up… My name is Eldeth and it will be an honour to try and help you all”
Verim looks across the bridge, things look as though they have returned to normal, the three guards remains at their posts, watching over the prison gate. There is no further sign of Ilvara after she crossed the bridge.
As Shishakli makes his way around the pen, he tries to look at the full drow to try and see whether trust is the right option but can't read it, he instead tries to help all he can, everyone he frees then, in turn starts to try to help others.
(OOC - Wow, some high rolls there. All NPC's are now free apart from Turvy. Verim and Tobias, if you can roll your own Dex with advantage)
Cyndral did his best to keep the scowl he felt forming from his face at Shisakli's assertion, reminding himself that from their viewpoint, he would have a hard point trusting himself or this Sarith as well. Still, his natural urge for diplomacy kicked in, and he did his best to smooth over the slight with a careful choice of words, trying to guide the conversation in a more cooperative lean.
"Yes, my small friend, we can all agree that no-one outside this cage should be trusted. We should look forward and plan our flight, anywhere but Menzoberranzon sounds like a wise idea. Turvy, was it? Can you tell me more about this Blingdenstone you mentioned? Is it safe? Or perhaps connected to the surface?"
Shishakli turns to both Topsy and Turvy and says "no need to worry. We'll all get out of here. I'll make sure to help you back to your home." And then turning to Eldeth says "I know the Underdark quite well. I've been a scout around here for a long while. Let's focus on getting out of this cell and I'll see what I can recognize from out there."
El has been working on their neck shackle and joins the conversation while still trying to remove it. (22) "I may have a plan for enticing the guards into a trap but it's risky. Also Eldeth, was it? I have something I'd like you to take a look at though if gemstones are not your area of expertise I understand, in fact if anyone can tell me what this is and if it'll be useful in any way..."
They hold out a Carnelian Gemstone (clearly what they have been fiddling with) but are not fully occupied by any answer that might be given, instead they are thinking hard, strategising the groups' escape.
Stretching his arms and legs, Gnarls thinks to the group: "So what's the plan? I can fight without a weapon if need be. You don't survive gladiator battles without a few tricks up your sleeve. What's it look like out there Verrim? I can't see much in this dark I'm afraid. I mentioned this before, but if we need a distraction this should provide a short one if thrown well."
Gnarls produces a coin from his robes and flips it in the air once.
El beckons for everyone to listen. "Look, we don't have any decent weapons or a way to break out of the cell quietly so the next best thing is to do it quickly and before Miss Scary Priestess comes back for another round. First we'll have a few roles we need to assign, we'll need someone to get the guards attention and that's where our friend Gnarl's coin comes in. Two of need to fake an argument just loud enough for the guards to overhear that someone has gold. Then once they come over we'll need to get them into the Cell before they think to make us line up, I can stand in their line of sight and pretend to be taking off my chains, when I'll actually just be wearing someone else's oversized manacles for easy escape. Once they enter the Cell our 'larger' members and those of us who are armed will ambush them. We can't have everyone waiting out of sight but once the first group begin the ambush everyone should join in. So set up by getting into position but make sure there are enough of us still on the benches that they assume they are safe. Once we attack I'd wager we have little time before reinforcements arrive so hopefully we can use magic outside since those guards in the tower almost certainly have crossbows. Any questions?"
OoC: Decide who does what provided this is a-okay with your character and DM can fill in the other roles with NPCs?