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 Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones

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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:59 am

Karnoz cursed silently at the noise and backed away. His mind worked quickly, with his origional plan scuppered, he had to invent an alternate route out of the brickhouse and soon!

Turning, the rogue snatched a cup from the nearby pile of clay junk just a second before rushing back through the darkness as quickly as he dared. A rough idea had formed in his mind regarding the structure, and so he made his way back towards the first, unfired kiln while keeping the other two kilns between him and the door with its unwelcomed guests. Stuffing the cup into one of many pockets, Karnoz climed up the kiln's conical walls towards the rafters above. From there, he might be able to make for the windows while the darkness and distance above would aid his evason from prying eyes.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:08 am

(Karnoz has taken a simple red clay cup)

A ruddy and simply spun cup came away as Karnoz plucked it by its handle in passing, hurrying back over his steps through the warehouse. The hull of the cup was easily a thumb's thickness, ensuring that it could endure a bit of abuse without breaking...and ensuring that it would peal with a frightful report if it did so break under ample force.


(Strong Door was previously damaged, beginning at 18/20 Hit Points.)
(Watchmen - attempt to break down Strong Door (DC 23, four men + improvised battering ram): Success (25))
(Watchmen deal 13 Bludgeoning Damage; Strong Door's Hardness negates 5 Damage and Strong Door takes 8 Damage. 10/20 Hit Points remain.)

Like most fixtures in the brickhouse, the sturdy oaken entrance doors were built to withstand the brunt of the occasional industrial accident. Such endurance would buy Karnoz a bit more time, but even over that distance did he note the metallic groan of wrought iron hinges straining against their bolts as the Watchmen heaved and brought their repurposed street bench against the door's face with sweat and thunder.

Following the cart tracks and the flickering firelight from the blazing kilns, Karnoz wove and darted back to the cold kiln, then leaped and threw himself at the stone's tapering height as the wooden thunder sang from the windowpanes again.


(Watchmen - attempt to break down Strong Door (DC 23): Failure (15))

(Karnoz - Climb check (DC 5): Success (11))

The stone under his hands was remarkably chilled with the breath of winter creeping down the flue and into the sleeping coal chamber...a slightly unpleasant touch, to be sure, but far preferable to the blistering heat with which the other kilns would greet his ascent.

Karnoz clambered up the kiln's dome and clamped his arms around the smokestack, digging his boots into whatever toeholds the rough bricks offered. The dusted floor ebbed beneath him as the walls again cried with thunder.


(Watchmen - attempt to break down Strong Door (DC 23): Success (26))
(Watchmen deal 7 Bludgeoning Damage; Strong Door's Hardness negates 5 Damage and Strong Door takes 2 Damage. 8/20 Hit Points remain.)

(Karnoz - Climb check (DC 15): Failure (8))
(Karnoz failed the Climb check by 5 points or more. He falls 10 feet...)
(Karnoz - Tumble check (DC 15): Success (29). Karnoz takes no Damage.)
(...and attempts to catch himself...)
(Karnoz - Climb check (DC 15): Failure (12))

Karnoz seemed to be doing well as he shimmied further up the smokestack. But to his dismay, he turned a wayward ankle amid his climb, and a crucial toehold slipped out from beneath him while he scrabbled for another.

The pressure of his arms against the racing brickwork slowed his fall appreciably, and his bent knees spared him injury as his feet returned to the kiln's sloped dome. But his momentum did not abate; rolling off the dome, he kicked away to avoid striking his head against the hull and, alighting on all fours, he found himself back where he had started.

Stifling his curse of vexation, he cast off from the floor again as wood cracked against distant wood anew.


(Watchmen - attempt to break down Strong Door (DC 23): Failure (19))

(Karnoz - Climb check (DC 5): Success (10))


(Watchmen - attempt to break down Strong Door (DC 23): Failure (18))

(Karnoz - Climb check (DC 15): Success (17))

Spurred with the fire of his previous failure, Karnoz's gaze pierced every brick and every mortared seam between him and the reaching rafters where he strove to be, then ascended like a spider with a bellyful of fury and desperation. The gathered kiln-heat under the ceiling offered a touch of relief from the smokestack's hoary caress, and there did Karnoz kick away from that stony face to seize the nearest rafter and dangle precariously.

His eyes never veered from the rafter's length, nor from the window enticing him at its end. His escape from the workhouse was almost within reach, and he needed neither the hammering watchmen nor the nearly thirty feet of space below him to remind him that failure at this point would be grievous indeed.


(Watchmen - attempt to break down Strong Door (DC 23): Success (26))
(Watchmen deal 12 Bludgeoning Damage; Strong Door's Hardness negates 5 Damage and Strong Door takes 7 Damage. 1/20 Hit Points remain.)

(Karnoz - Balance check (DC 10): Success (17))

"Put your backs into it!" bellowed the Watch sergeant in a voice which was not quite far enough for Karnoz's comfort. "We're almost through!"

And that time, the impact of wood against wood came not as a thunder, but as a splintering, deafening roar chased by the steely skipping and grating of a stout iron hinge plate shearing free from its bolts and hurling them, with itself, across the cobbled traderoom floor. Karnoz's time of grace was at an end.

He slid his hands one by one across the rafter's topside, checking his balance. To sway too far leftward or too far rightward would peel his hands free from their support and send him careening to the unyielding floor well below. But in this aim was he true, and he ambulated briskly over the yawning expanse to set his heel onto the broad oaken windowsill which had beckoned him with freedom.

The cup weighed firmly in his deep pocket as he pressed against the window glass. Though flight was so near, it would surely not do to grow sloppy with complacency or cocksureness, even at that moment.


Spoiler:
 

Karnoz >
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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:34 am

Karnoz did his best to ignore the thunder the guards were making. His only amusement was thinking about the brickmaker cursing the guards about paying for the ruined door, especially if their escapades prooved fruitless should he escape.
In any case, the sound of the broken hinge indicated to Karnoz that it was time to go. While he was not sure, the rogue considered that there would likely be a rain spout of some such at the corner of the building, spilling into the river. That would allow him a good method for scaling back down the wall into the alley. Even if not, the building corner would provide better hand holds than the wall face.

As Karnoz ballance at the window, he timed his exit with the pounding of the door, all the better to cover any would be sounds the window might make as he passed through. Then down to the alley and away, avoiding leaving fresh footprints in the snow if possible. Damned snow, he needed to break away and get to another buisy side street where his tracks would be lost with the masses, then to his hidey hole....

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:11 am

Shrewdly taking advantage of the situation, Karnoz deftly flipped the window latches and pushed the glass away in timing with the rolling impacts of wood against wood. The bite of the winter winds again greeted him as he pushed the window open and crouched on the sill, looking to the building's corner for his avenue of escape. And his expectations proved true: the black contours of a waiting drainpipe descended there from the roof's gutters, murmuring faintly as the slush from the roof sloughed and tumbled down its throat and into the lapping river below.

Snaking along the cold outer brickwork, Karnoz took hold of the lead gutterpipe and quietly closed the window behind him. The clamor of a shattering door split the air inside, and through the glass he could hear the muffled bellows of the watch sergeant barking his command to search the entire workhouse. Karnoz had quit the workhouse and had left the Watch no wiser to his escape; there remained but the descent to the alley below, then the workhouse would be but a memory.

But the Snow Queen had not spared the drainpipe from her attentions; the drainpipe was as broad as a man's thigh, but its joints lay crested with wind-tossed rime, making the ready fingerholds treacherous. Karnoz swung his right leg around the drainpipe and began his descent while the guards, unaware of his furtive departure, tore through the brickhouse in their search for him.


(Karnoz - untrained Climb check (DC 8): Failure (7))
(Karnoz - Tumble check (DC 15): Success (30). The damage from the fall is reduced by 1d6.)

(Karnoz takes 4 Damage from the fall. 28/34 Hit Points remain.)

Alas, while the guards had failed to hinder his escape from Trock Reik, the drainpipe sped him on his way a bit too swiftly for his tastes.

What had seemed like a proper handhold betrayed him, and that familiar "fluttering stomach" sensation gripped Karnoz as his fingers slipped from that icy pipe coupling. To his credit, Karnoz clenched his jaw and permitted not the least yelp or wail to escape his lips as he plunged into an uncontrolled descent, sliding down the drainpipe with all the speed of gravity. And though he landed on his feet, he landed hard, and both of his knees throbbed from the impact as he rose to stand at the river's edge, the drainpipe continuing its idle murmuring as it belched more kiln-melted snow into the rolling water behind him.

Yorgo would certainly pay for sending Karnoz on this painful fool's errand, and he would be very lucky indeed if his approaching death were quick and painless.

The grayed, wooden wall of a carpenter's shop faced him as he stood from his sudden slide, and both its dark interior and its winding side alley offered ways of continued flight. Further westward, the alley fell into a recess with a brief flight of stairs, leading past a nearby brewhouse and to the thoroughfare beyond. The amusing thought of sneaking up behind the Watch and closing the ruined workhouse doors behind them crossed his mind, but he never was one to dance so close to the fire.

And behind him, a shallow shoreboat slouched at the end of a sturdy dock, providing another means of escape...provided that he hadn't already grown sick to his gills of the river and all its boats by that point.


Spoiler:
 

(He still has that clay cup, too. ;) )

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:21 pm

Karnoz pressed himself against the wall, silently considering his next move. He discounted the boat, mainly because he would both be exposed and with Hennbauer's last known rout of escape, the river downstream was likely teeming with guards already. No, his rout would have to be through the city.

Decision made, Karnoz hugged the walls, ducking to avoid any windows and staying to the shadows. He made the left turn, hoping that the high walls and narrow back alleys had provided gaps in the snow that might prevent tracks. regardless, Karnoz knew he had to cross the street eventually and get to busier areas to be lost in the crowds. If he could get to the warehouse, he would be safe.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:46 am

(Given the late hour, crowds might be pretty scarce. But you never know....)

The narrow side street between the carpenter shop and the brewery ended in a narrow, crossing alley thrusting through the variety of artisan buildings built into each other over many years past. As Karnoz expected, the pavestones stretching through the alleys and backstreets had been mostly untouched by snow and ice, though the nipping winds were ever present.

His rented room in the warehouse lay somewhere to the Southwest, though not near enough for his taste. The river steadily lapped against the encroaching ice everywhere eastward and southward from him, and his ears caught a clash of pitched voices somewhere to the west. Or was it the southwest? In these writhing, echoing confines of brick and hardwood, he was not entirely certain.

Perhaps he could stand to draw near enough to determine their originating tongues and gain either insight or advantage by them. Or perhaps he could not dare to risk discovery.


Spoiler:
 

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon May 20, 2013 6:07 am

Actually, by crowds, I mean places wheree others had made multiple paths through the snow. Karnoz can intermingle his foot prints in with them and ruin any attempt to follow his trail.

Karnoz did in fact spare the few precious moments to evesdrop on those voices in the wind. The guards within the warehouse would be occupied for several minutes tearing apart the now departed building but a secondary back up team might be lingering. The opportunity to hear what might be planned would do well, especially if these fools had underestimated him.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:53 am

(Good thinking with the footprints-in-snow idea there.  You never know if the City Watch or any investigating Stali might even have a Ranger or two among them....)


(Karnoz - untrained Listen check (DC 5): Success (20/Natural 20))

The voices were distinctly snapping and murmuring from a more southward direction, but the echoes distorted whatever they were saying.  Skulking low through the narrow alley, Karnoz brought himself nearer to their sources.

Roughly a spear's toss around the corner from where Karnoz lurked, the drifting snow had piled against a wrought iron gate spanning the alley.  The gate's thick brass padlock rattled and clattered against the bars as one of two scowling Watchmen yanked their cornered quarry by his ample hair and crushed his face against the gate with jarring force.  Their quarry, though a vagrant rough of visage and wiry of limb, was starkly intimidated by his oppressors, stammering his feeble answers against barked accusations.

"...knew about the curfew in this district!" the flanking guard growled over the impact.  "You will tell us what we need to know, or this will end very badly for you!  Who is Raven Murder?"

The vagrant sputtered and struggled to resist the coarse fist which mashed his face against the unyielding bars.  "I...I do not know!"

Though their longswords were sheathed, their menace was no less bared...and they bore other means for other ends.  With an exchanged glance and a nod, the grappling Watchman shifted his stance rightward as the vagrant's interrogator unclasped his frog and released his truncheon from his hip.  In a sweeping, fluid arc, the tempered black oakwood crashed against the lowlife's knee tendons with a resounding thwack, evoking a sharp yelp and crumpling him at their hobnailed feet.

Releasing his quarry so, the junior Watchman drew his truncheon in kind, and both loomed over the hapless vagrant with their scornful tongues.  "I will ask you again.  Who is Raven Murder?"

"I swear by Pelor's eyes," came the dismay-wrenched answer, "I know not the name!"

Both Watchmen drew back with their truncheons, betraying what brutality would come.  They were clearly hunting for Karnoz, and so the safest course of action would be retreat.  But perhaps Karnoz could slip past them without inviting their attention....




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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:18 am

Karnoz spotted the boat moored just across the street but again, he discounted escape by the river. Still, with these guards so preoccupied with beating some poor wretch, he very well might be able to backtrack to the left and slip down the alleyway behind the guards without their ever knowing he had passed.

Move silently, hide in shadows and all of that.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:46 am

(Karnoz - Move Silently check (-2 for light ice and snow): 16)
(Watchmen - Listen check (-5 for distraction): 5)
Slinking back the way he came, Karnoz took advantage of the guards' diversion to take an alternate route. Through the narrow passage ahead beyond the once-trodden corner, the sharp crack of wood against bone--and the pained wail which followed--masked the soft crunching of rime beneath the rogue's furtive passage.  A sidelong glance assured Karnoz that the guards were too busy with their beating and manhandling to glance in his direction, and so he darted past unnoticed.

Another sparse flurry of snow drifted from the rooftops as the wind gusted briskly over Trock Reik.  Through a broader alley to his right, Karnoz could still see the kiln smoke rising from the brickworks.  The Kalenkova and Daughters moneychanger and treasury loomed over him as he drew near to the checker-tiled thoroughfare which stretched from the Northwest Gate to the South Gate.

He was then much nearer the Southwest Gate and to his rendezvous with Hennbauer.  But his rented quarters in the fallow warehouse lay somewhere to the Northwest, across the broad thoroughfare.  There he could collect himself and his goods while plotting his way out of Trock Reik.  But with the city guards on alert and fewer travelers and bystanders wandering at that hour, could he dare to take the risk of forfeiting the shadows in crossing the roadway?




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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:56 pm

Karnoz quickly assessed his situation. He knew that at least one search party was occupied in the warehouse, and if the guard was as thorough as they were optimistic, they would be tearing the warehouse apart for some time. Likewise, the two-man patrol seemed rather zealous about 'extracting' information from some poor slob and might also keep themselves entertained for a few minutes. the trick was who else might be lurking about.

Ever aware of his surroundings, Karnoz kept to the shadows and peeked out, looking both ways along the street before ducking back. He really wanted to head back to his hideout, change his disguise and vanish into the city. Unfortunately, Yorgo needed to answer for his betrayal lest he continue to stir up unwanted trouble. The gate was nearby and if the guard hadn't secured it yet, they would surely tighten their hold on the city once it was discovered that he had given his pursuers the slip. likewise, Yorgo would likely be settling into his own self-importance, thinking that his wondrous plan had eliminated his rival and his rival's killer. It would not take long for the peddler to learn of his plan's failure and either fortify his position or bolt entirely.

Time was of the essence, and so, Karnoz would look to the gate and flee the city.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:19 am

Tufts of snow sifted over the checkered pavestones and along the walls as Karnoz, peering furtively around the corner, gauged the lay of the thoroughfare.  Across the avenue, a thick pyramid of heavy barrels rose against the far wall, cresting the tinsmithy roughly a spear's throw from where he stood.  Not far southward from those barrels squatted the tannery where he had profited from the dire bat's hide; though hours beyond the shop's daily close, the distinct odors of tanning oil and decay yet wafted stiffly in the midnight breeze.

At this distance, Karnoz noted a pair of lantern-bearing watchmen marching northward atop the city wall, a stout spine of stone and timber which rose twenty feet from the soil of Trock Reik.  At the reach of a longbow's arc behind the watchmen, the wall ended at the looming gatehouse, its portcullis raised and its throat yawning to greet a small caravan of merchant wagons, halted for a routine entry search.  Karnoz spotted another lantern's light roving through the shadow-shrouded upper floor of the gatehouse; below, two more lanterns and their bearers paced along the wagons, carts and vardoes, and another watchman--one clad in the livery of a sergeant--calmly discussed a matter with the merchant leader standing at the caravan's fore.  Karnoz had no way of gauging how long the merchants would be stopped at the gate, though the stances and postures of the merchants themselves seemed not anxious in the least; quite likely it was that the merchants had nothing to hide and would be on their way into the city ere the hour had passed.


(Karnoz - untrained Listen check (DC ??): 14)

A surprising burst of feathers split the air overhead, and Karnoz reflexively ebbed back behind the corner and into the shadows.  By the grace of serendipity had he done so, for his ears then caught a pair of voices emerging from the parallel alley just to the north.

"..........an open window, it could be a distraction......incidence.  Only a fool would brave the rooftops...weather."
"And if this Raven Murder is indeed a fool?"
"Then we shall.........corpse in the morn.  Now come.  Watchman Puggoro spotted that gnome not far from...........eludes us, but if we catch her, perhaps she will talk."
"Did we not catch her........gling sorcerous goods just before autumn?"
"She peddles more than.........of the local thieves' guilds, quite likely.  But Captain Tannaslav released Miss Tinspike, citing lack of evidence.  More likely.........bribed him with his..............that she knows Tannaslav better than he knows himself."
"To Puggoro, then.  She cannot outfox the sum of us!"

With haste, the hurrying footfalls shuffled away toward the Northwest.  Relieved of their presence, Karnoz dared to peep around the corner again and found the source of his surprise: a large raven perched atop the stacked barrels across the thoroughfare, its black feathers casting an eerie sheen of azure in the pallid moonlight.  Seeming far more aware of his presence than the watchmen had proven, the raven stooped and turned its head as Karnoz's cowled head emerged, fixing him with an unflinching, one-eyed gaze.

Another alley lay open nearly a stone's toss along the wall at his left hand.  It would be the safer way to progress towards the gate, but the stacked barrels, though risky, could offer a useful place to hide while he plotted his next move.  He could also use the barrels to ascend to the roofs, though that way would be a bit more risky with the city wall and its watchmen so near.

And without his "Josef" disguise, Karnoz could expect no leniency from the City Watch if they should descend on him.  Worse, Karnoz yet wore the vestiges of Peluko's countenance, and Peluko may have earned almost as much suspicion as Mitri had.  But whoever had tipped off the City Watch about Raven Murder cornering Hennbauer...how much had that informant told the Watch?  And in the eyes of the law, had Peluko the boatman and Raven Murder the assassin unwittingly become one in the same?

It would seem that the art of disguise was not without its occasional shortcomings.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:29 pm

Karnoz's mind raced with possible solutions to his current predicament. His mind likewise analyzing many of the tidbits he had picked up along his escape rout. With one patrol occupied in the warehouse, a second occupied with a beating, a third leaving the area and the gate guards distracted with the caravan, now was his time to skulk across the wide street and to a new hiding spot behind the stacked barrels.
Karnoz carefully considered his next move; while he still had Peluko's identity, the decision to use his image had been an act thought up by Karnoz and only while he had been on the hunt. He very likely doubted that any informant would have had such information to pass onto the guard. Likelwse, the guard that had intercepted him on the river with Hennbauer, had also come looking for Raven murder specifically, not Peluko. Even if word of the boatman being a possible accomplice would likely lead back to Peluko's home and thus, point to old Mitri. A dead end for the tin pigs to run down,...exactly as Karnoz had intended if the need arose. Still, Peluko was a well known individual and Karnoz did not wish to be seen as him either. that would only lead to suspicion and questions about the boatman's business directly after a river encounter with armed criminals had been reported. So Karnoz took a moment to peel away much of the Peluko appearance, leaving just enough to leave his facial features altered, but unspecific. Likewise he shed the heavy cloak, quickly turning it inside out, trusting the the interior might be a different shade and texture than the outer layer. Lastly, he scrubbed his fingers through his hair, Peluko was likely well known for his grooming standards, and a more unkempt appearance might aid in his being identified as a no-named, commoner of Trock Reik.

Finally, Karnoz took a deep breath and offered a quick prayer to whatever god might be willing to listen. He had a plan, a wild plan based on educated guesses, but a plan never the less. Clearly, the guard had been briefed about Raven's being in the city, and with the zeal of which the guard seemed to pursue him, the assassin guessed that a fair amount of coin or prestige had been laid out for his capture. However, this gate and its guards had not yet lowered the gate, making way for these merchants, and so Karnoz estimated that the word that Karnoz was as close as he was, had not reached them so that the gate might be sealed. So, his prayer ended, Karnoz turned and marched up towards the gate.

"Guards! Guards!" he called, jogging up. "A fight! One of your patrols is in a fight!" Karnoz turned and pointed back towards the area where the beating was taking place.
"A great scuffle with men in masks!" he continued, turning and directing his information towards the merchants, "One of the guards was cut here to here! Blood spraying out!" his hands making wild gestures to punctuate the issue. "Looked bad, so I ran for help!"

Karnoz wanted the attention, not so much on him, but on his words. The guards might be spurred to distraction based on their comrades and or the possibility of sharing in spoils. Meanwhile, the merchants were likely bored, cold and tired, would likely rally around him to hear a tale of interest and gossip.
"I hear tell that there's a murderer running loose in the city!" he said quietly to one of the lead wagon driver. "Bad business that, the guard are trying to flush out his gang and finish it, but its spilled into the streets instead. Bad time to be going into town on those same streets, no?"

Be ready with good stories to cover any likely questions; 'Who are you' 'What are you doing out' etc... Obviously, I am trying to stir up the group...if possible either get the merchants to react to the guards or maybe even encourage the merchants...or perhaps the guards suggest...that the caravan wait outside until the issue is settled. in either case, I would like to slip in with the caravan, either get mixed in with the people or conceal myself in a wagon. If worse comes to worse, use the commotion and wagons as cover and drift out into the darkness to hide.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:05 am

(Karnoz - Disguise check: 23)

Though he acted with haste, Karnoz knew his own face well enough to exercise goodly care with its features, both the real ones and the false ones comprised of mere putty, paint and horsehair.  With a fleeting glance into a frozen puddle to assure himself of his work, he hastened in his deliberately acted gait and made for the Watch Sergeant, taking refuge in audacity and earning several concerned stares as he did.  The beating of wings high behind him betrayed a bird's sudden, heavy ascent.  Or was it a pursuit?


(Travelers - Spot check waived)
(Watchmen - Spot check: 13)
(Watch Sergeant - Spot check: 10)

"Guards! Guards!" he addressed the Watchmen mid-stride.  "A fight! One of your patrols is in a fight!"

The colorful travelers mirrored Karnoz's consternation, and hushed murmurs questioning the caravan's choice of destination were exchanged.  Leaping to quell the disturbance, the sergeant turned from the caravan master and greeted Karnoz with a calming gesture.  "Peace, citizen!  Peace!  Where transpires this disturbance?"

The rogue duly answered, befitting his guise.  To the caravan master's chagrin, the sergeant beckoned for his subordinate's attention, then returned his own ears to their informant...ears, but not eyes, for the sergeant had begun to produce a Wanted notice from his belted scrollcase.  Karnoz was prompt in noticing that the heavy sketch on the notice reflected his own visage, veiled in black cowl and red kerchief.

"...men with masks and blades killing a Watchman, you say?" the sergeant scowled in question, raising his voice over the approaching din of iron-shod hoofsteps and never looking up from his paper.  "Corporal!  Gather a band of Watchmen for rescue.  The Watch has already been alerted to a hired killer this night, but we were expecting that scoundrel to be acting alone.  Perhaps we can corner this Raven Murder yet!"


(Watch Captain - Spot check: 25)

"Or perhaps the hired blade is nearer than you expect."

The severe, bass-timbred voice growled from its zenith atop the armored steed drawing near from aside the Watch.  The sergeant's gaze hesitantly parted from the scroll with some degree of alarm, rising to Karnoz again as he did.  The less veteran corporal's reaction was far swifter to turn, and turn he did...with a sharp address and a sharper salute.

"Captain Klausius!  We...we were....  Welcome back, sir!"

The mounted Watch Captain declined to return the corporal's salute, so focused was he on Karnoz's face and Peluko's garb, with eyes so intense that Karnoz could feel their perception burning through that embossed steel visor and into his form.  "Something about you seems...untoward, citizen.  The stiff weave of your hair, more bestial than human.  The errant trace of charcoal beneath your left eye.  The obtrusive seams of a longcoat never tailored to be donned inside-out.  The pallid smudge of grease paint at the line of your jaw.  I wish to ask you about these and more...much more.  You will come with me at once."

His voice snapped sharply in an aside to the Watch Sergeant.  "Belay that rescue, Sergeant.  We shall interrogate this...citizen--if indeed he is such--immediately."



(Karnoz - untrained Spellcraft check (DC 16): Automatic Failure)
(The raven is casting an unknown spell....)

Karnoz steadied his nerves as the sergeant conspicuously rested his mailed hand on the pommel of his longsword, and the captain had already brought his brindled Hrothjurgandr warhorse about in anticipation of flight and pursuit.  What he then heard came from above without warning: the whispers of stout feathers carving the snow-flecked breeze, and an anomalously human chant among them.

And then the sleek, checkered tiles at Karnoz's feet exploded with a thick, white mist, instantly reducing the Watchmen, the wayfarers and their wagons to mere shadows in the fog, and by that moment's passing not even those shades remained.  For yards around where he stood, a dozen blinded tongues lashed and wailed against the obscuring mist:

"Magic!  To arms, comrades!  To arms!"
"Where is he?  He was right here!"
"What stinking sorcery is this?"
"Captain!  Where are you?  We await your command!"
"Shadrias!  Why did you lead us to this city of devils?  Shadrias!"
"Nyet!  'Tis me!  Stay your blade!"

So obfuscating was the mist that Karnoz could see little further than the arm which he instinctively raised to shield his eyes from the startling display of wizardry.  And it was on that arm that the hounding raven alit.  A raven which then cocked its head to look him in the eye.  A raven which then addressed him in Pesselrek's voice:

"Remember, Josef: The Dark College of Morribord, in a year and a day.  Now go."

The raven snapped its scintillating black wings wide, preparing to ascend anew.  To that minute, Karnoz had laid upon himself alias after alias, disguise after disguise and falsehood after falsehood.  And somehow had Pesselrek's familiar found him all the same.

And yet the raven had called him Josef.  Had Karnoz's web of deceit already grown so thick and intricate that he could fool even a wizard's arcane perceptions?



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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:45 pm

Karnoz's fingertips tickled the hilt on one of his many daggers, preparing to possibly fight or flee when the mysterious fog appeared, followed swiftly by the raven and its cryptic message.

"Well isn't that a kick in the head..."... he mused silently to himself. Still, Karnoz was not one to leave an opportunity untried. Right now, he needed to make good his escape while this unplanned chaos backed him. Crouching low, he moved carefully but quickly forward towards where he knew the gate was, shouting orders to add to the confusion among the guards.

"Quickly, he went down that alley!"
"Look to the rear! Look to the rear!"
"Get that wagon moving out of here!"
"Sergeant! Fetch some more torches!"

Although the rogue kept up the distractions, his own ears were keenly listening through the fog, moving towards the sound of horses and away from anyone that might be a guard.

If I come across any lone civilian or merchant in the fog, a quick pick pockets might be useful. Once I get to the horses, a quick smack from that studded club should be enough to get them to bolt forward. (and hopefully bowling over the captain and some of the other guards.) Most importantly, get out the gate while the fog lasts.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:16 am

Karnoz's deceptive shouts stirred a wave of reaction through the fog, the better to divert any unwelcome attention and thus conceal his own tracks.

"Which alley?  Where?"
"Torches!  In this fog?  Will that help?"
"Ignore that voice!  It is the scoundrel!"
"But what if we do need torches?"
"Will somebody pray calm those blasted horses?"

Somewhere overhead, the raven circled in crisp whispers, and the fog moved with it.  The rogue knew enough about magic to realize that the raven, its caster, was the locus of that veiling spell's existence.  For as long as the raven strayed not too far from Karnoz--and for as long as the raven did not perish before Karnoz could escape--the opaque fog would continue to shield him from the sight of many.  Did the magic have an all too finite duration?  He surely would not be wise to linger for over long and find out.

Karnoz was, at that moment, closing on the uneasy whinnies of the draft horses, as dismayed with the magical fog as the people were.  He was prompt on his toes, halting abruptly as the very Watch Sergeant whom he had approached stumbled past him, taking the nearest beast by its bridle with hushed words of calm and encouragement.  His attention bearing entirely on the frightened horse, he had yet to notice Karnoz at his rear.  And Karnoz, like any of his kith, would have done quite well to take advantage of his ignorance.



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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:06 pm

Karnoz's fingers twitched as he subconsciously saw a big, fat target appear on the guardsman's back, but murder was not foremost in his mind at the moment. Escape was. Knowing the Sergeant was otherwise preoccupied, Karnoz circled around through the fog, leaving the man unmolested. The horse however, was another matter.

Rounding on the animal's flanks, Karnoz reared back and slapped the horse on its wide flank with this trusty club before darting back into the mist.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:10 am

(I can safely assume that Karnoz is hitting the horse with a standard attack.  Since he's just trying to spook the critter, a Sneak Attack might be a bit much.  Shocked )


(Karnoz deals 3 damage to the draft horse)
(Draft Horse's fear check: 5)

Furtively sidestepping around the preoccupied sergeant, Karnoz's leathered hand unfrogged the studded club as he went.  He found the horse's rump and, with a swift backswing, he laid into that rump with a sound crack.  The beast immediately reared with a scream, and its injurer shrewdly crabwalked away before its forehooves returned to the ground.


(Dice dice dice...)
(Draft Horse tramples Watch Sergeant for 6 Damage.)

Despite the protests of its weary mate, the horse bolted forth and the wagon lurched with it, much to the teamster's cries of alarm.  Those cries were met with equal dismay by voices all around...all, save for one.

"There!"

Karnoz's hand clapped against a wall of granite and feldspar, and what pinpricks of starlight had pierced the fog then faded from over his head.  He had trodden into the barbican's maw, and escape was so very near.  But the hooves falling onto stone raced in frequency, bearing in his direction and carrying with them the rhythmic clattering of steel plates and chainmail...horse barding.  What disturbance he had caused had diverted less seasoned ears yet in the same swoop had invited the ears of someone more seasoned.

"Surrender now and Tyr's justice may yet be merciful, criminal scum!"

The Watch Captain was in pursuit and closing in too swiftly for Karnoz's comfort.  Worse yet, as one of the caravan's merchants hastened past Karnoz in his chase for the wagon, one of the watchmen inspecting the caravan had fallen in behind him.  Through the heavy mist, Karnoz could barely perceive the watchman's form.


(Karnoz - Concealment check against the Watchman (20%): 53)

And with those alarmed eyes leveling on Karnoz, followed with the raising of that bared longsword, Karnoz knew that he had been perceived in turn.



(The Obscuring Mist spell: Now with improved special effects!   Very Happy)

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:39 am

Karnoz smiled at the guard's hesitation and after tugging his mask into position, quickly bolted along the wall and towards freedom.

It was not just a race to escape. No, there was always a method towards Karnoz's actions. Karnoz trusted to his own skill and also his being free of heavy armor to stay a step ahead of any metal-plated guard. But in running, Karnoz knew that the guard would likely pursue....and probably be placed in between him and the unseen, charging warhorse.

He also had a plan regarding escape from his pursuers as well. If his luck held, the other two wagons were near. Unencumbered as he was and with darkness, fog and confusion all around him, sliding under a wagon and out the other side should be a simple enough trick, making for a formidable barrier even to a captain and his armored beast to maneuver around. Towards that end, Karnoz picked out his acquired clay cup and threw it, aiming for the cobblestone road outside the gateway. With any luck, other eyes might be focused on the popping sound behind them and spare an extra second should a masked stranger bolt past them from the other way.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:07 am

(I was starting to wonder if you might have forgotten about Karnoz snatching that mug from the warehouse....  Wink  )

Though he kept his studded club in hand, Karnoz thought more of evading the coming blow than of parrying it.  Ever more a thief than a warrior, the agile arts played more to his strengths, and meeting the guard in a contest of arms would likely have been folly.

"Stand and deliver, dog!" the watchman blurted, swinging wide as Karnoz drew his cloak about himself, tucked and rolled in a flowing stride.


(City Watchman - Longsword Attack of Opportunity on Karnoz (AC 14): Missed (9))

The tip of the longsword sparked against the flagstone wall, missing the tumbling scoundrel entirely.  Without slowing, Karnoz rolled out of his guileful dodge and back onto his heels, resuming his sprint.  A clamor erupted behind him as he capered past a startled dancer with a whip of her skirt, then slid through the chilling slush beneath the next wagon's tongue.  And still the fog swirled and pursued him.

"Captain!  I just saw him!  He...."
"Get out of my way, fool!"

The clay cup which Karnoz had earlier acquired slipped easily from the folds of his dark garb and into his hand as he left the barbican behind.  But with the mist so thick around him, aiming the cup for anything further form him than a spear's length would be a gambler's toss at best.  "Anywhere but here is good" he reasoned as he leaned over the wagon's tongue and hurled the cup.  And as he heard the splintering of kiln-glazed clay against the city's outer wall, followed by the hastening of an armored steed, Karnoz knew that he had aimed aright.

"Curse this infernal mist!  Where is he?"


(Karnoz - Hide check: 21)
(Wagoneer - Spot check: 10)
(Merchant - Spot check: 17)
(Karnoz - Concealment check against Wagoneer (20%): 49)
(Wagoneer - Spot check: 16)
(Karnoz - Concealment check against Dancer (20%): 67)
(Dancer - Spot check: 7)

Hidden among the caravan as he was, Karnoz escaped even the notice of men so near that he could spit on their boots from where he stooped.  If the Town Watch were concentrated to his east, perhaps the moment had come for him to elude westward and leave Trock Reik behind, at least for the while.



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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:47 am

His diversion successful, Karnoz knew that now was the time to make his escape. Even though things were well in his favor, a sudden bolt from the midst of cover would not do. Even now, he did not know if all the guards had been distracted. In fact, it was likely that a couple were still circling like sheep waiting to be led by the nose. To that end, Karnoz made note of the boots about him, making sure to evade any metal plated ones he might see. Keeping the horses near, the rogue slipped out from under the wagon and slithered out towards the freedom of darkness away from the still cursing captain.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:09 pm

With prompt glances to one side and the other, Karnoz continued to creep away through the caravan, crawling under wagons and keeping himself well from the horses' hindquarters.  Though haste would not do at this delicate stage, sloth would earn far worse; the spell which concealed him from many unwelcome eyes would surely not persist for long....


(Karnoz - Move Silently check: 21)
(Watch Captain - 14)

Every fiber of his body instinctively froze as a familiar quartet of armored hooffalls drew near.  From where he crouched beneath one of the rearmost wagons, he could hear the deep rumbling of his charger's breath in the midnight chill.  The Watch Captain paused for silence, listening intently.  But on finding no sound out of place, he brought his horse about and barked his next order.

"I want all of these wagons and carts searched!  Leave no sack unprodded and no barrel unopened, for they may now conceal this murderer from us!"

Karnoz suspected that the captain himself, who had already proven his keen perceptions, would commence his search with the wagon nearest him...the wagon beneath which Karnoz skulked.  Choosing his moment, the rogue slipped away by the side opposite the captain and his steed.  And again did the circling fog follow him.

"Captain!  The mist is retreating from the gate!  It's leaving!"
"...and Raven Murder is leaving with it, no doubt."
"Should we pursue, Captain?"
"Not at all.  He is beyond the bounds of Trock Reik now...beyond our dominion.  With that fog hanging over him, our crossbows are unlikely to strike him.  And Tyr only knows what surprises he may spring on the unwary watchman who hounds him into that fog.  Our task is no longer to take him; now, our task is to keep him from ever entering Trock Reik again, that he may never again endanger us or the folk under our defense."

Even as those words rumbled over the expanse, Karnoz felt a smile twitching at his lips.  With his talents for disguise, keeping him out of Trock Reik might not be so simple as the City Watch suspected.


Karnoz has escaped Trock Reik with his life and his freedom.  1,500 Experience is awarded.

Karnoz now has enough Experience to advance to Level 6!

When Karnoz next pauses for rest and recovery, he may immediately take his next Level in Rogue or in any other eligible Class.  Alternately, Karnoz may postpone taking his next Level, as he has fulfilled all requisites for the Assassin prestige class...all expect for tutelage from a master assassin.  Perhaps more information about master assassins awaits Karnoz on the road ahead, should he seek it out.  What shall it be?

When he was too far south from Trock Reik for the reaches of the City Watch's crossbows, he found a stone amid the fog and paused to steady his breath and collect his bearings.  It was moments after when the obscuring mist dispersed as quickly as it had come upon him.  Glancing skyward, he beheld the vague black form of a raven retreating among the stars, circling Trock Reik towards the northwest; its duty done as bidden, it would be rejoining its master soon.

And Karnoz could tarry no longer than that raven did.  Nor would his quarry tarry in Kurvoss once Yorgo learned that Raven Murder remained a threat to his schemes.  But where, to that end, was Arno Hennbauer?

The road to Kurvoss lay at Karnoz's feet, inviting his return.  But then, his eyes caught something peculiar: a lantern's light, shining sharply against the nighttide, swinging in a brisk arc somewhere along the Zelezo Kanvica.  Perhaps it was a trap.  Perhaps it was Hennbauer.  Perhaps it was some other matter, entirely unrelated to his work, and a distraction which he could not afford.  Whether to pursue the light or to ignore it lay entirely at Karnoz's discretion, and he could do naught to tell friend from foe over such distance.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:53 pm

Karnoz allowed a smile and a chuckle to escape his lips. All the chances in the world, and the guard had not been able to stop him from going where he wanted to go. Then again, how could a twit like Yorgo ever hope to understand someone like Karnoz anyway?

As he watched the bird depart, his eye caught the glint of light along the river. While Karnoz needed to continue onto Kurvoss, he also needed to find Hennbauer. With that in mind, the rogue crept slowly towards the light, using his skill to stay unseen as he investigated.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:02 pm

Following his instincts, he crept low among the snowdrifts and the clumps of browned, slumbering grass as he crossed the road and slinked across the field towards the river, watching the lantern's beckoning sway. So long as he stayed beyond the reach of Trock Reik, he could make his way unimpeded.


(Karnoz - Hide check: 21)
(Arno Hennbauer - Spot check: 8)
(??? - Spot check: 27)

Through the dim air, Karnoz could just make out the form of Hennbauer's noteworthy wyvernhide coat, wavering among the trees at the river's edge and flickering in the dancing firelight from the lantern which he waved. But then, without warning, a rude hatchet sang out from its frog and bit into the ground at Karnoz's feet with a resounding thunk, drawing his attention along with that of Hennbauer and several half-shrouded figures lurking among the brush.

"Enough with that skulking about. Show yourself, friend, or I may not be so friendly with the next toss."


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:14 pm

Karnoz was tempted to snatch up the hatchet and return it to the owner...blade first, but that would probably be unwise. I probably wasn't a sentry or Hennbauer would not be standing out in the open as he was. Since this was apparently where he was expected to meet Hennbauer, Karnoz stood, revealing himself, but still wary and ready to bolt if needed.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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