"I canna'sae I know this Black Fist Lady all too well. But that's a pretty accusation to be go throw'n over some bad blood." Doozey found himself admonishing Graxx alongside a stern look. Both halfling and Mastiff go back to staring at Yip, grimacing in their own way as helplessness starts to settle in more and more. "Unfortunately, Mister Utar. We don't have too many choices in the matter. If we only had the coin, then maybe-....."
Doozey trailed off there as Graxx spoke. Curious but inspired, Doozey tries to join in using his own Lute, if only to assist Graxx. Though with a certain amount of hesitance upon noting Neya's and Utar's reluctance.
Elden to Utar: "Not that I know of... He changes from quiet to barking at a moment's notice. These farm noises and manure scent you all created are the first time I see him react to some sort of stimulus. Though I admit we didn't try much other than treating his wounds and asking a few unanswered questions..." Then, overhearing Graxx's conclusion and Doozey's questioning of it, Elden's face becomes a bit red as he corrects his perceived mistake: "Oh no... no... no... Yip has been barking since he arrived. The Black Fist knight was simply here at the wrong time... I guess."
Once Graxx begins beating his drum, the soft yipping stops once more. Yip's head turns to meet the source of the sound and, within a few seconds, begin yipping again in a manner the matches each strike on the drum: "Yip... Yip... Yip..."
Just as Neya voices her agreement with Utar, Yip begins to add a few words in between each yip:"Yip...The smalls shambled... Yip... wet before the eyes... Yip... clack, clack... Yip... the shadow ship, fog... Yip... blood, and flame... Yip... village no more... Yip... Yip."
He then screams loudly and suddenly. Graxx can't help but stop playing his drum in reaction to the yelp. Seeing this, Doozey decides not to join in with his lute after all. The human warrior and the halfling hunter exchange a surprised look for a moment, simultaneously concluding that Yip has probably had enough music for the day.
Villonah breaks the silence that follows: "Any idea what any of these words might mean? The reference to the ship and the village seem straight forward enough, but the rest..."
"Blood, and flame... and smalls shambled..." Doozey repeats, brows furrowed and hand at work absently petting a whimpering Biscuit. "I am not much of betting man -- despite being something of adventurer-..." He smiles to the others at the jest, though it soon fades into a pensive frown again. "But if I had to place some odds, I would say there is your clue of infernal involvement, if not, Abyssal. Blood and Flame and all that. Then, there's the smalls shambled and wet before the eyes -- a physical threat drudging up from the sea, no doubt."
After saying all that Doozey cannot help thumbing his chin a few times. "Either way. We won't be getting much further here, so perhaps we see to our other lead on this one, yah?" He looks to the others for confirmation.
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
When you realize you're doing too much: Signature.
Listening to Yip, Utar is at once filled with the sense that these words could mean everything. Looking at him, ragged, injured, bloody, Utar can only see a poor soul broken by whatever it was happened to him. Neya's salve, Graxx's drum beat, Villonah's magics...
"His words could be everything. They could be nothing. Bottom line is we aren't exactly helping Yip. All we would be asking is that he relive a little of whatever happened to him for no respite. That seems a poor trade."
Graxx responds to Elden giving the Acolyte a wink puts his hand out in a calming motion.
"I got what your saying."
Graxx turns to Doozey in response to the statement about the bad blood with the Black Fist. Graxx tilts his head to the side and says..
"Listen Doozey, I ain't one for jumpin' to conclusions but uh..."
Graxx makes a clicking noise with his mouth.
"It ain't lookin' good for the Ol' Black Fist."
Graxx puts his hands out in a reassuring motion and raises his eyebrows.
"Now don't worry I'm not lookin' for a fight. Ya'll told me to try to give 'em a benefit of a doubt. I'm just sayin' we need to keep an eye on them and this woman. Should we find her next? If I had to bet I'd say the Black Fist are behind this in some way and she was making sure Yip here wasn't gonna give them away!"
Graxx acknowledges Utar and Doozey's statements about leaving.
"We can go wherever ya'll like or we can sit here with our teeth in our heads."
"The way I see it, Yip has given us everything he was able to and anything else we do is likely going to make him retreat further into himself. While some of what he said is yet unclear, we shouldn't discard any of it."
'It's time we move on and get some information from the Black Fist. We may not get anything more about the raiders themselves, but perhaps other important clues such as where and when they attack."
"Thank you for allowing us time with him, Brother Elden."
CRAP members exchange a few different takes on what Yip's words might mean but mostly arrive at the same conclusion: submitting the poor man to further questioning will likely torment him further, and probably not benefit the party much more than it already did. Villonah doesn't seem to either agree or disagree with that view, remaining silent during this latest exchange.
Brother Elden responds to Neya with a "Yes, thank you...and you too... I mean, you are welcome... and thank you... come again... I mean, I'll be here if you need me."
In agreement, the group leaves Elden and Yip behind and make their way back to the Temple of the Silent Shroud's entrance. As soon as they step outside, They notice Brother Keefe standing a few dozen feet away, signaling for you all to approach. He is alone, and the group approaches.
"I take it you saw Yip... Quite a sad scene, poor man..." Without waiting for a response, Brother Keefe changes subjects: "You may remember I wanted to ask you a favor a few moments ago. Well, an acquaintance of mine is looking to investigate the disappearance of a merchant who was on his way to Phlan. I had mentioned I might know just the right people for the job. I am sure he would pay you well, as you can imagine." He seems to purposely put exaggerated emphasis on the words "acquaintance" and "you can imagine" while looking directly at Utar, Neya, and Graxx. Once he is done speaking, he looks instead at Doozey, Biscuit, and Villonah, giving them a pleasant but forced smile.
(@Lerus: Insight check to see if he's got a problem with small people! >:U Insight: 10 .)
There's a moment earlier with Graxx in which Doozey gives him a puzzled look. Then he remembers Graxx mentioning a tribe, and it all visibly clicks in a silent 'ah' and nod prior to the group moving on outside. "I prefer a middleground to that one, but yes. Off we go."
Both Doozey and Biscuit narrow their eyes just so at Brother keefe, noting the forced smile, but commenting nothing on it. "I must say that certainly sounds like something for an experienced tracker, at the very least." He says proudly with his chest all puffed out. Until Biscuit nearly bowls him over in place a paw over his shoulder. Fortunately, the stoutling manages to regain his balance swiftly, and shoots the dog a mild glare. "I was getting to you and others, ya know. Hmph!"
Turning back to Brother Keefe, he straightens out again while throwing a few trepidation filled glances back at the Mastiff. "Granted, we were on our way to another task... Uhm... If you could tell us more about this friend of yours, or even better yet their missing merchant, it certainly would help. That and article of clothing they may have left in town, even if some time ago." By way of explain the last part, Doozey just pats Biscuit on the head until he lets out a proud sounding 'Boof'.
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
When you realize you're doing too much: Signature.
"I think he's tryin' to tell us somethin' secret."
Graxx extends his right hand with his palm facing up with his left on his hip resting.
"Listen brother. These here folks are good people. Now.. It seems like your tryin' to tell us something by sayin' your words funny. I aint' got time for puzzles so if you just say what you mean and mean what you say we can be on our way to finding this merchant." say Graxx.
Graxx then glances down toward Doozey.
"Now please. Tell our tracker friend Doozey here what he needs to know. Times precious. If this merchants been taken, they might not have long left." say Graxx politely but bluntly.
Recognizing that Keefe is emphasizing those choice words for a reason, Neya tells Graxx, "Yes, and exercising an amount of caution. While we are in good company, there is a chance that there are more ears than we realize."
She then asks Brother Keefe, "I'd wager this merchant has not been in Phlan for a long time?"
Doozey's insight check: Brother Keefe has nothing against short people. As far as you can tell, he probably just doesn't trust you and Villonah yet, having just met you and all. The others though, they worked for Keefe before, so they might know something he is trying to reference.
"Listen," he begins to explain. "I do not know the details, that is why I am referring you to my acquaintance. As in, you know, a colleague of mine from my second job...." He looks around to see if anyone remembers... or if anyone else is nearby.
After a few seconds of awkward silence, Brother Keefe relents. Looking at Villonah, he says "Not everyone goes around advertising their allegiances, but I can trust the three of you, and if you trust the others, then so will I." He lowers his voice. "My Kelevorite brothers do not know of my allegiance to the Lords' Alliance, and right now it is the faction member Keefe that is requesting this favor, not the follower of the Silent Shroud, do you understand?" He assumes you do and continues: "Look for Dornal Whitebeard at The Velvet Doublet, a male dwarf who is also a Lords' Alliance agent. He agreed to wait for my champions at the festhall until the end of the day today. He'll have the details of the mission, and as I mentioned earlier, is willing to pay for adventurers he can trust. I ensured him he could trust you, as I do."
He stands there waiting for your reply and looking over his shoulder. It is obvious that he would like to reclaim his Kelemvorite persona sooner rather than later.
(OOC: The Velvet Double is marked with a "T" on your map. It is now late morning, think 11am-ish.)
"Yes, I'd like to hear Whitebeard out. If a missing merchant has his attention, then whoever intercepted the merchant surely had a reason to take more than just the cargo. Who knows? Our search may reveal insights into the increasing number of strange occurrences in the area."
Satisfied with your agreement, Brother Keefe takes on his Kelemvorite persona once again, says his goodbyes, and wishes you "all the luck he can bestow on you." He then turns and walks back towards the graves, no doubt to restart a grounds-keeper errand or pray to his deity.
With two, or possibly three, different tasks at hand, CRAP leaves the Valhingen Graveyard through the same main entrance they used before. The graveyard is quite large so the walk is not necessarily a short one. MOst priest and acolytes working the grounds continue to do so as you pass, but a few stop and wave goodbye in politeness. As before, the Valhingen gates are open. They lead the group directly onto a bridge that crosses one of the arms of the Stojanow river and then into the walled portion of Phlan.
Random encounter: 41
Before the group can cross the bridge and continue their journey towards The Velvet Doublet, an enormous toad jumps out of the water an onto the bridge. Though it is looking another way to begin with, the beast turns its neck slightly and notices your approach, becoming somewhat defensive. Its bright green and yellow skin is moist and shiny, and its slit-shaped irises fail to give any sort of warmth. Nonetheless, the creature is seemingly waiting to see what the group does, or maybe not...
(OOC: You may have a split second to react and perform an action. If it is an aggressive action, we'll roll initiative instead and then you'll take your actions/turn.)
Wordlessly, Doozey tries not to slowly draw out his Light Crossbow, but wouldn't level it up the strange toad. Instead, while getting the thing firmly in his arms, he seems to intentional prick his finger on a strange metal bit, revealing as the blood drizzles down along special groves alongside the weapon its purpose. A faint hum and sparks dance along the bow string. All the while Biscuit growls and lowers its body, readying to spring into a full run at the creature at any moment.
"Easy boy. Easy.. Might not be what we think... Maybe. Hmm..." He tries to study it, and figure out if the toad is just an abnormal behemoth, or if it was behaving far more intelligently than it should. And if the former, ready to scare or run it off with a shot.