El head swivels back and forth watching the rapidly dwindling group and feeling slightly insulted that shishakli would doubt their handiwork, though not enough to add to the conflict. They feel an odd pull in their gut, smiling as Cyndral takes the reins and pulls the group back into shape.
"I'll stick around here for a little longer as well if that's alright, not a huge fan of big groups anyways." El grins wolfishly, revealing teeth of the same nature. "Don't get into too much trouble without us yeah?" They unsling their pack and stab their longsword into the dirt in front of them before picking up their lute and picking at the strings, listening carefully to the notes in order to tune it.
Tobias gives a nod of understanding but says nothing further to the gnome woman.
Hearing others decide to stay behind Tobias throws his hands up in resignation. "Might as well all stay then." He shakes his head and just takes a seat on the old gnome's porch. "Never seen so many want to take their time on getting to safety," he mutters to himself. "So, I didn't catch your name. I'm Tobias."
The woman sits, watches everyone prepare to leave and then sees most of them decide to sit down again “Oh, staying for a bit are we? Hehe, never have I seen such an indecisive bunch. I’m Agnes. The pleasure is all yours” She takes another large drag from her pipe, keeping a close eye on the group that have began to settle around her home.
As the group settle, Ront walks over to Tobias, his leg still hurting from Gnarls' attack. He slumps onto the ground with a great thud and waits a minute before speaking quietly to Tobias "Ront is sorry for attacking the Dwarf woman. I... I just felt so angry when I knew she was one of them. One of the dwarfs from Gauntlgrym. Ronts people are all gone now because of her people and Ront keeps seeing her staring. Like she wants to kill him too. I don't know how much I can trust her but I will try. What part of the surface world are you from? Do you get the Orc blood from your mother or father?"
As Ront approaches and explains himself, the cleric's shoulders sag and he lets out a long breath. He wonders if this is what it was like for the caretakers in his orphanage when the children kept coming to the for every little perceived slight. He gives his simple companion a half-smile. "I don't know the answer to your second question. I was raised with other unwanteds in an orphanage run by the clerics Torm in Mirabar. I stayed the area for most of my life, serving my city... then Torm." He gives a glance toward Eldeth, "I don't think I'm the one who really deserves the apology. C'mon," he says standing and ushering Ront toward the dwarf.
Tobias approaches Eldeth, keeping himself between the two. "I know it doesn't forgive what he did, but Ront here has something to say," he begins to the dwarf. "Now, Ront, explain to her what you told me." Heshakes his unbelieving what he is attempting here. Touching his holy symbol, he mutters, "Torm give me some strength."
Listening to Tobias’ answer Ront looks quite sad “It is hard without the support of your clan. Ront has found it hard” As Tobias looks at him more closely now, it comes apparent that the large Orc is in fact younger than he originally thought. Tobias’ second statement comes as a bit of a shock “No, no! Ront can’t do that. It would be dishonourable it would be...” he stops half way through his sentence as Tobias moves towards Eldeth “Argh” Ront stands up and slowly walks over. He looks at the dwarf. The height difference between the two is quite comical “Ront... Ront is sorry for attacking you. Ront saw your sword and just felt so angry. It brought back all of these feelings. This anger” His words sound reasonably sincere but quite forced. It sounds like this is what he wanted to say, he just wasn’t quite ready to be put on the spot like this.
Eldeth looks up at the Orc “It’s ok. I’m sorry for what my people may have done. If they have hurt those that you loved then I truly am sorry. Maybe if we make it to Gauntlgrym, we can try and bridge some sort of gap between your people and mine. It won’t bring anyone back but perhaps it will stop any more bloodshed” Eldeth is fairly hard to read at this point.
Ront grunts, shrugs and turns away. As he walks back to where he was sat he lets out another muffled grunt “Maybe”
El looks disappointed for a brief moment realising that everyone is going to stay, but it disappears as quickly as it came. "Miss us already?" they smile at Tobias. El watches the humble change in the full blooded Orc's behaviour and feels another pull in their gut, similar to the last time. Curious about the sensation and deciding that if the others are sticking around to wait then they'll have to make their own space. El walks over to Cyndral, leaving their mostly empty bowl behind for Snuffit to lick and laying their shield against the longsword left stuck in the dirt.
Verim looks back, his initial push to get everyone moving has halted, as he turns back and sees the majority of the party staying seated, he pauses for a moment, takes a deep breath, breathes out slowly and closes his eyes, does his breathing twice more. His eyes open once more and he walks towards the party members. “Are you all staying? What happened to moving on? Who knows what spies Ilvara has sent, one’s who may be considerably quicker than us, especially after our confrontation. The powerful magics of this world can fool us all, who knows if when Shish comes back he’s not been replaced to a mere husk to look like him! Verim paces uncontrollably, back and forth back and forth. An unseen panic washes over him as the underdark is getting to him. Well? What plan do we have if that happens? If we are flanked and they attack us soon? Verims eyes appear in an irratic burn, he’s not collected enough to deal with this. Verim looks at the gnome woman. I’m sorry
Cyndral offers Verim a sympathetic look, thankfull that there is at least one other amongst their numbers who saw the value in having most everyone move on. With a gesture to come sit beside him, he shrugs slightly.
"You and I are of one mind on this, Verim. But unforunately it seems our friends are placing loyalty and numbers over logic. I would prefer, as I said before, to leave just one person waiting here to meet with Shishakli, to minimze casualties should things like you've described occur. But I am neither king nor Tyrant, if our friends have decided not to move, I cannot make them do so. I am not Ilvara, I'm not going to chase them through these tunnels at whip's end claiming it's for their own good. Everyone who sat down understood the risks in doing so, and I'm sure, understood that Shishalki will be furious to find their duplicity behind us was for nothing when we've made no forward progress. And yet, we sit."
Verim takes the seat next to Cyndral. He pats his shoulder as he sits down. Thank you Cyndral. I’m appreciative of this sentiment, but I won’t just sit here and twiddle my thumbs, if you care to join me I’d like you to join me in scouting ahead ,those here have able fighters and in the time we have gone will give time for Shish to come back, when he does the others can join us. Verim rises once more, holds his sickle and shield tightly in his hands, his eyes burn but more of a twinkle can be seen in his eye. It’s up to you, but it would be great to have someone have my back Verim smiles and holds his shield hand in an open palm for Cyndral.
"That wasn't too hard now," Tobias says and leaves Ront to lick his wounded pride.
"I'm not about to head off and leave half of our strongest behind," he replies to El. "I cannot watch after all these others on my own. Those four," he points to the kuo-toa, myconid and the twins, "haven't proven useful if it comes a fight. Those two are probably going to end up killing each other," to the dwarf and orc. "That one's a loose cannon and he would probably make a deal if it meant to save his skin," to Bupido and JimJar.
"Logic," Tobias snorts, "would have cut our potential loss at one, and he's the one who is the the most skilled at navigating this place." He rubs the back of his neck in frustration. "Please just stay with the group. No point in stirring up a hornet's nest ahead and bring them back to us when you two can't handle it. Or worse..."
Cyndral shakes Verim's hand, but looks a bit uncertain at Tobias' words as he does so. He can only shrug afterwards and ask to both and yet to no one, "Good points argued on both sides, and an unknowable outcome either way. What is a man to do?"
El turns to Verim, "I agree that it is a risk to stay, which is why I chose to remain behind with cyndral, two can spot a spy better than one and I doubt those creatures that can take a form like wearing a set of clothes would ever work for such a monster." El stops, realising that they were focussing too much on the specifics of Verim's words and not the meaning behind them.
They step back, letting the others discuss. Then to Tobias they wink, "aww you consider me one of our strongest." El then sets aside the jokes for a minute and turns back to Cyndral and Verim. "If you must go then take another with you, three is a good number for a scouting party. I would volunteer but I'll let you decide if another would suit better for a covert mission. After all I channel most of my magic through my instruments and it may only draw more danger to us."
(OoC: sorry if I'm not super cohesive, using my phone atm and it's really hard to type since it's real glitchy)
Verim sighs deeply. ”I too consider you as one of the strongest. But as others have pointed out we would be sitting ducks if an attack were to occur. We will wait for Shish to return. As long as we stick together threats won’t be a problem, he looks into the distance, lost in space I just feel useless right now. If our tracks can be lead we must at least ensure no sign of our movements here can be traced. He sits down in a huff, but sadness can be seen on his face. He pulls out his amulet once more and mutters in a strange language. He turns to look at the group. We really do need to move soon. Verim glances at the gnome woman. Do you have any shortcuts, hidden passage ways or somewhere close for quicker transportation which can aid us when we leave?”
The woman sits and thinks. Not long afterwards she simply says “Nope. There used to be a few passages around here but this place moves. It twists and turns. The old passages close and new ones open. It takes a long time but eventually everywhere changes” She continues to sit and closes her good eye. She appears to be meditating and focusing.
Once the group finally decide that maybe it’s best to wait for Shishakli rather than pressing too far ahead, a long time has passed. You each sit and rest, doing whatever it takes to take your mind off waiting until in the distance, from the direction you all came, there is a slight noise. Ruffling and scraping. The slight sound of footsteps. The old gnomes eye suddenly opens as she shouts out in common “Who goes there? Reveal yourself!”
"No problems then?"Tobias asks, his tone even and without malice. He stands to work out the stiffness from the additional rest. "Everyone here seems anxious to continue."
The half-orc bids Agnes a farewell... again, and falls in line towards the rear. As the group continues their journey, Tobias also looks provisions to allow their trailblazer on focus on navigating the group through the tunnels.
Tobias manages to finish making his thieves tools just before Shishakli arrives back at the group. Back at the forge he was used to making big weapons and armour with some finer details. Small items like thieves tools were always a bit of a problem in his big hands. With the blessing of Torm on his side, Tobias manages to craft the small tools quite easily.
The old woman replies “All of you stay safe”
Once Shishakli moves forwards to lead the group, Tobias looks at his fellow travelers and gets the feeling that they’re not hesitant to move on. They’d just prefer to move as more of a group down here. It’s worked well so far.