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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   Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:27 am

With grit teeth, Karnoz wheeled around in a full circle, spinning nimbly on one heel. The dagger was flipped up but a fraction of a second later, he caught the tip of the blade and sent the weapon spinning and whistling through the air towards his escaping quarry.

No sooner than the first knife was sent on its way, the rogue reached to his left wrist and without wasting any movement, drew a second blade, ready to send it hurling out after the first, even if it might be extreme range. If there was a chance, Karnoz wanted that shot....

_________________
"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   Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:35 pm

(Karnoz - Thrown dagger attack on Dire Bat (AC 20): Missed (14))


Gripped with anticipation as he was, Karnoz released the blade too soon. The dagger whispered over the bat's head as the quarry rose slowly over the ground, flapping its wings furiously to escape.


(The dire bat moves another 30 feet away, rising 10 feet aloft.)


Another dagger flipped pointfirst into his hand. The bat was almost out of range for him. Somewhere in the grassland before him, his first dagger fell and pierced the earth as the next blade sliced the wind and tumbled end over end, its launch heralded only by the forceful grunt escaping the rogue's lips.


(Karnoz - Thrown dagger attack on Dire Bat (AC 20): Hit (21))
(Dire Bat takes 4 Damage. Dire Bat is struck unconscious and falls.)
(Dire Bat takes 2 Damage from the fall. Dire Bat is now dying.)


The dagger's arc rose, then fell, its whirling blade descending onto the fleeing bat below. A satisfying "thunk" sang to Karnoz's ears as the dagger bit deeply below the base of the bat's skull.

Disoriented with too much pain and blood loss, the winged beast fell into an uncontrolled glide, with the air between its belly and the ground scant but not scant enough to spare injury. Striking a small mound with its dipping snout, the bat tumbled and flopped and rolled, coming to rest none too silently in the tall grass at the outer limits of Karnoz's throwing range.





(Karnoz has defeated the Dire Bat. 500 Experience is awarded.)


Finding and recovering all of his daggers would take a brief while, Karnoz considered, as the bat's great wings twitched uselessly. Somewhere behind him, fearful breathing subsided, collapsing in a deep sigh of relief. Karnoz was not the only heart content with the bat's looming demise, it seemed.


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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:38 am

No sooner had the bat hit the ground, Karnos lept off the wagon and sprinted to where the bat lay. Sliding to the creature's side, Karnoz snatched the still quivering hilt of his dagger and with cold finality, jabbed it into the base of the bat's neck. A quick side to side jerk was made, intending to sever the spinal column if death was not already upon the beast. In any case, Karnoz was certain the creature would never rise again.

His opponent vanquished, the rogue acted quickly. He drew out one of his newly purchased flasks and set it to the grevious wound, hoping to catch as much of the blood before the flow ceaced. He was not sure of any possible use, but being a dabbling alchemist himself, Karnoz knew that blood and other such things were often used as reagents for spells and concoctions. Perhaps there might be a market or use for dire bat blood.

The flask filled, Karnoz retreaved his dagger, (and arrow if it survived) wiping the blade on the bat's fur, he replaced it in his sheath and went to investigate the first fallen peddler nearest the wagon, catching up and slinging his shortbow as he passed the wagon.

**(a quick observation of who/what/etc)**

Bending down other the fallen, Karnoz checked for a pusle and breathing. In truth, Karnoz didn't care if death had already claimed the peddler. In fact, it would be easier if it had. Not that it mattered really. Karnoz was wel versed in ways to pinch or prick the vital blood pathways while 'checking for a pulse' or discretely crushing a windpipe while leaning over to 'feel for breath'.

Death would claim the first peddler, it was just a question if Karnoz needed to assist in the delivery or not.

Karnoz lowered his head for a moment, reaching to close the lifeless eyes of the first peddler. The final respects done, he moved over to the second peddler to assist.

**(Help him out as little as possible without being obvious. I will use his own shirt or clothing to form a makeshift bandage over the belly wound and assist him out from under the tree where I can tend him better. Keep him talking to learn who he is, what they were doing, what's in the wagon, where can I go to help them and so on)**

_________________
"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 Nov 06, 2009 10:01 am

(Karnoz finishes the Dire Bat with a coup de grace.)


The dagger did its work, slicing between the bat's vertebrae and drawing that tenuous grasp on life to a swift close. Retrieving one of the crude clay vials from his belt, Karnoz put his dagger to further use, prying open the bat's existing wounds, cutting a new wound in one of the creature's neck veins and channeling the flow of warm blood along the blade and into the vial's mouth. Satisfied once the vial was filled, Karnoz replaced the stopper, turning his attention to where the halfling lay weeping and bleeding. A brief stroll through the surrounding grass revealed the gleam of light dancing along the blade of his hurled dagger, and this was quickly retrieved. He took note of the wagon's contents as he passed it again en route to the prone halfling, noticing the slight waft of brandy or rum and the twelve small wax-sealed casks of what was likely the detected beverages. Several more tied-off sacks lay under the teamster seat--five in total--but their contents could not be immediately discerned.


(Karnoz now has one vial of dire bat blood. He also recovers his dagger from the grassland and the arrow from the bat's body.)


And dark intentions were put to actions. The torn and battered halfling's whimpering gasped as a free hand pressed down on his back in feigned compassion, immobilizing him as a second hand pressed its unyielding knuckles deep into the lower reach of the halfling's trachea. After a brief minute, the small body slipped into unconsciousness; with the strangulation maintained beyond that, oblivion would not be far behind.


(Karnoz finishes the Halfling Merchant with a coup de grace.)
(Karnoz - contested untrained Bluff check: 20)
(Peddler - contested untrained Sense Motive check: 3)
(Karnoz wins.)


The scoundrel's acting and body language were flawless; if the halfling's friend suspected anything amiss, he did absolutely nothing to betray the notion.

"Berbollyn..." the ale merchant gasped, "the bat descended on him after killing the mule...so quickly. What of Berbollyn? Is he...no more, stranger?"


(Karnoz - Spot check waived.)


A large sack tucked away in the tree hollow behind the merchant squeaked and writhed. With his mind focused on his friend's fate as it was, he could only halfheartedly brush the sack behind him. But the squeaking and writhing sack persisted, drawing a brief grimace of anger across the merchant's lips.


Karnoz >
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:21 am

"The other?" Karnoz asked, motioning slightly back towards the now deceased halfling. "I fear he did not make it."

His eyes made a quick scan of the tree, the merchant, the stiuation and condition before continuing.
"Lie still now friend. "he crooned, carefully feeling along the merchant's legs, sides and arms. "No broken bones? Ribs? Any other injuries?"

As one might guess, Karnoz could care less about broken bones, but his 'concern allowed him to make a quick check for concealed...anything really. The rogue doubted the merchant had another weapon. If he did, he would have used it against the bat, but one could never be too careful... There were dangerous people on the road you know.

"Do you have anything that I can use to help you with? He asked. If not, I could use your cloak as a bandage."

He administered what assistance he could, not that it would be much. Karnoz was much more skilled at inflicting injuries than correcting them.

"So who are you and what brings you here? he asked, trying to make conversation while he could. He looked back to the squeaking, wriggling bag.

"And what the hell is 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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The House of Ainsley
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:08 am

The surviving peddler's gaze turned bleak as Karnoz pronounced Berbollyn's fate. "Oh, that bat...that damnable bat. Poor, hapless Berbollyn. It was so very much my fault...."

The peddler dragged himself fully from the tree hollow, grunting with great pain and lying against the tree's stout trunk as his apparent benefactor looked him over.

"Lie still now friend. No broken bones? Ribs? Any other injuries?"

"The bat's bite...hggg. The beastie got lucky with that stroke, eh? My name's Kurig, by the way. Apologies for belated introductions, hmm."

Karnoz continued looking Kurig over, though his examinations bore a motive far from selflessness.


(Karnoz - Search check (DC 5): Critical success (28/Natural 20))


Besides the simple improvised club, the merchant's pouches jingled with roughly 40 coins; the metals of those coins could only be guessed, but Karnoz was familiar with both the dull scraping of copper and the resonant clinks of platinum, both of which met his ears as he brushed the coinpurse aside. A small pouch which bore the scents of crisp, fresh leeks and fire-dried beef hung from the belt beside the coin purse...a ration of food, certainly. His shirt was tough brown flannel, his vest bore the coarse fur of gray timber wolves, and both sharply contrasted with the purple sheen and silver-dusted trim of satin pantaloons below...trousers designed for elegance, not for function. His durable fur-lined boots, though serviceable, were crafted from the yellow, dimpled hides of what could have been Omikoroan antelopes--rare creatures in Karkovan lands--and the crafty fellow had thought to hide a narrow, stoppered flask of dull yellow liquid--and many shimmering particles within that liquid--inside his left boot. But even this could not escape Karnoz's inquisitive gaze; whatever the liquid was, it seemed to be a magic potion, and Kurig evidently saw great enough value in it to conceal it from a highwayman's eyes.

"Do you have anything that I can use to help you with? He asked. If not, I could use your cloak as a bandage."

"The cloak shan't be necessary," Kurig answered. "The wagon...beneath the seat I keep a healer's kit for such times as this. It lies inside a brown bladder bag...ghhh...and I certainly could use it now. If you may be so kind, another bag under the teamster seat has bottles of wine. Bring a bottle to me, and you may have another bottle for yourself. Mulloroon Estates...a cabernet, Vintage 1332. Very good wine, though I've little of it. Most of my wine is that affordable yet bitter Horsewold Vineyards swill...."

A wine and ale merchant, Karnoz surmised, which would explain why his words were more refined than those of a typical travelling merchant. But the question of the writhing sack remained....

"And what the hell is that?"

Kurig's countenace paled. "Oh...the sack. A spot of side work. Berbollyn's idea...the idea which killed him, I suppose."

The sack squealed and squirmed in protest as Kurig dragged it from the hollow and set it beside him, then unraveled the knot sealing the bag's mouth. "Berbollyn knows...knew of a halfling village...Erbel, two days' ride south of here. There is a pony trainer who also grooms and trains exotic steeds...wolves, stags, great snakes...some say that he even trained a griffin or a hippogriff once. But he has to train them when they're young, so Berbollyn wondered how much gold the trainer would pay for these."

Kurig's hand closed around the scruff of the neck behind an infant creature's large ears, bringing its tawny-furred head and black, beady eyes from the sack for Karnoz to see.

A baby dire bat...and two more just like it in the sack, if Karnoz's judgements of the sack's writhing bulges was true.

In the end, Berbollyn's ambitions certainly had proven to be dangerous.


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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:41 am

Karnoz went back to the wagon and hopped back inside. Following his instructions, he rummaged about, looking to retrieve the stowed healer's kit and take a moment to check the remaining bags.

Returning, he laid out the kit and proceeded to bind Kurig's wound. Afterwards he made an improvised lean-to from a traveling cloak which served to keep the sun from Kurig's eyes.

And all the while, they made small talk, about the wagon, Kurig's business, the pony trainer and Erbel.... just to pass the time while Karnoz treated his newfound friend.

"With your situation and the mule not able to help, " Karnoz said matter of factly. "It might be best if we returned to Trock Reik. I dare not leave you in case the bat has a mate nearby, but I can make a drag litter and pull you behind me. It would not take long to do so and the town is not so far away."

_________________
"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   Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:48 am

(Karnoz - untrained Heal check (DC 15): Success (16))


The simple healer's kit flopped open and was spread to reveal all its contents: canvas bandages, a darning needle, a crescent needle, wormsilk thread, a tiny finger blade and the copper glass sheen of five small, crude vials of aloe paste, ether, gypsum powder, charcoal powder and pure ethyl alcohol. Though he was far more a killer than a healer, Karnoz sutured meat to meat and skin to skin, then bound the merchant's abdominal wounds tightly with cut and tied lengths of canvas. The measures were makeshift, but they would serve to get Kurig back to Trock Reik. Karnoz would decide what to do with him then.


(Kurig recovers no Hit Points, but Karnoz's successful healing attempt will prevent any physical exertion or Constitution checks from reopening or aggravating Kurig's wounds, which could otherwise lead to health loss and possible death.)

(Karnoz may keep the healer's kit, if he wishes; Kurig certainly will not object. If used to treat wounds, poisons or diseases, it grants a +1 to Heal checks. Since Karnoz has Alchemy skill, we can assume that he routinely brews and replenishes the kit's supplies and thus keeps them from running out.)


"Ah, poor Berbollyn," Kurig sighed, unable to take his mind from his slain partner. "We should have left the bats be hhhggggh! Ah...the stitches...the wound still stings. But I need no litter...thank you, good stranger. I need but a crutch. Perhaps a fallen tree branch will suffice...."


(Karnoz - Gather Information check (DC 5): Success (11))


"So what of your business? You seem to be a merchant of wines and ales."

"Indeed, friend, those and more. I also trade in whiskeys, bourbons, Calaixan cognacs and the many fine vodkas of our motherland. I have rather brisk business in Trock Reik, particularly with her two finest taverns: the Jade Angel and the Bard and Fox. And before the bat struck, I was going to Kurvoss' humble brewery to procure four kegs of Katspeya brown beer for the Happy Mule Inn of Trock Reik. But that delivery will need to be...postponed, regretably."

"It sounds like you barter with a prestigious crowd. Have these taverns entertained any noteworthy guests lately?"

"Yes, truly. The Jade Angel is presently hosting the renowned bard Kuria Linienkosa; she prefers a chestnut brandy with her meals, and such brandy is most commonly found in Padia Forax to the Southeast. As long as the brandy is smooth and flavorful, her tongue will continue to sing The Wren in the Clover and other rich lyrical works. I hope to attend another of her performances soon."

Korig snapped the ends off a gathered forked branch and gauged its sturdiness as he continued. "The Jade Angel is also hosting an important diplomat, an envoy of Duke Eowuld of Konegheim. I know not the nature of his visit, but perhaps he is here to attend to our land's recovery; though our king perished in the war and left no heirs, there is hope that the Empire will appoint a new Karkovan king and return us to the Imperial fold. But the war inflicted vast ruin and lawlessness; such entrenched chaos will not disappear overnight. The Jade Angel's steward asked me to deliver a cask of Vina Blanc wine from Fioriallia, and it so happens that my stockhouse in Palakorsa has four Vina Blanc casks of a 1308 vintage. Perhaps the envoy will be pleased with it.

"As for the Bard and Fox, their special guests include the visiting war hero, General Zuko Hurinog, who with Captain Mitri, Lord Stang, Sir Stern and 800 men defended the gates of Piez Karkovigrad against waves of Brustaggan, Konegheimer and Bardosylvanian warriors for 84 hours, giving the cityfolk time to breach the city's rear wall and escape. There is also Arno Hennbauer of Konegheim, the...controversial archaeologist who was cast from his university and became a merchant after he was caught smuggling several priceless historical relics and selling them to various Thieves Guilds and other unscrupulous buyers. He is not wanted for any crimes, but the City Watch and even the elite Stali Mužčinami are patrolling the Bard and Fox and keeping a close eye on him, just in case."

But Yorgo had assured Karnoz that the Stali Mužčinami would not be involved....

"Finally, there is Alihituir Sallika, a ranking monk of the Seven Leaves Monastery in the faraway elven nation of Fallowvale. He is here to aid in our ruined kingdom's recovery as well, and he is here to train Borskia Zulinov--a lieutenant of the Stali Mužčinami--in the art of the Seven Leaves unarmed fighting style, so that she may in turn train the Stali Mužčinami in unarmed combat for years to come.

"Now, several of the casks on my wagon hold Horsewold Vineyards wine, a cheap merlot which many taverns in this region have found to be popular among commonfolk, merchants and artisans. However, the taverns often request specific draughts for their special guests, and so I tried to accommodate them. Hurinog favors a grape-twinged draught with a strong head and a sour aftertaste, so I brought two casks of Fructe Rosii brandy from Bardosylvania...expensive, but delightful. Hennbauer drinks a semi-sweet Fioriallian cabernet with a very mild aftertaste and a full aroma, so I brought Brezza di Montagna, 1325 vintage...only one cask, as he expects to leave Karkova within the week. And Sallika, an elf who favors elven beverages, believes in cleansing his blood with a smooth honey mead with a brimming head and a sharp, refreshing aftertaste, so six of the casks on my wagon are Duvaun Oros honey mead, brewed by a small conclave of moon elves in Omikoros. A pity that he will not be receiving them in a timely manner; he truly is a good and welcoming fellow."

"You won't soon be going to Erbel to sell these bat babies, either."

"Quite right, friend, quite right," the merchant sighed, limping forth on his improvised crutch. "And I can hardly bear to look at them now. Please, take the batlings. I have no more want of them. And if you should bring them to Erbel, ask for the steed trainer Yolli Jolseren. He will welcome you gladly, especially if you mention Berbollyn. He will not receive news of Berbollyn's death gladly, I wager, but he should be willing to deal most fairly with you and pay generously for the batlings. Or drown the little squealers in the river, for what I care. They have brought enough trouble; you may not want that.

"But for now you speak truly; the mother bat may have had a mate, and I know not if the father will come for us as well. But if he should, we should probably find our safety in Trock Reik. I can ask someone to come and retrieve poor Berbollyn and perhaps my casks as well, once we reach Trock Reik. I shall also be quite happy to see about rewarding you for your aid...for saving my life. Shall we venture on?"


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:51 am

Karnoz paused for a moment after stitching up Kurig's injuries. It seemed a right proper job, which amused Karnoz for the irony if nothing else. The deed done, he used the momentary lull in action to trot back to the wagon and retrieve the requested bottle of Mulloroon Estates and popping the cork before setting it back down beside Kurig, then packing away the second bottle carefully.

The rogue listened well and with great interest as Kurig talked. Inwardly he growled at all the so-called distinguished visitors. It would surely make his job horrendously more challenging. But for all the challenges the merchant revealed, Kurig also had possibly offered him something much, much greater; A way inside the muddle.

Kurig obviously knew his craft and had established contacts in Trock Reik. He was also well educated and dresed very well, which all spoke of wealth and position. His laiden wagon told Karnoz that his deliveries, his very prestigious deliveries, had not been made and were all still expected....and he was without a partner...and clearly would be unable to make the routs himself...... Silently, Karnoz thanked poor, poor Berbollyn for going after those stupid bats and dying in so convienient a manor.

This might be a very worthwhile position to cultivate. Kurig would likely never know just how close to death he had just come...twice.

As Kurig readied himself for the trip back to Trock Reik, Karnoz took a final moment to do what he had not been able to before, investigate Berbollyn's remains and gather up the bags and coins, then move the poor halfling back to the wagon 'respectfully' caring for the remains and gathering his final posessions. He also took the opportunity to investigate the wagon for anything that might help them with the journey, such as food and water, as well as anything else that might be small enough to 'secure'.

The deed done, Karnoz slung his pack, scooped up the sack of squeakers and offered one arm to Kurig for the walk back.


**Since Kurig is hurt and using a crutch, I will likely be carrying everything except perhaps his wine bottle. I don't want to let him get drunk, but his being a bit tipsy wouldn't hurt. For the walk, keep him talking about Trock Reik, the DV's, the Bard and Fox, the Stali Mužčinami, his business and anything else he might want to go on about.**

**As we travel, I will give the first person I see a gold coin if they will go back to the tree and sit there to protect the wagon until someone can come and retrieve it. If they do, I will offer them four more gold coins when we get there.** (paid for from Berbollyn's coins)

**Take Kurig home or wherever he wants to go**

_________________
"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   Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:17 am

(Karnoz gains 2 Platinum, 12 Gold, 35 Silver...and three dire bat pups)

A spread of coins lay scattered from Berbollyn's ruptured satchel, its sundered straps and Berbollyn's wounds telling of how a telling claw rake tore the money satchel from the halfling's body and flung it aside. Foolishly, the halfling was diving and struggling to regain his burden when a pounce and a deep bite brought him to Death's threshold...a threshold which Berbollyn crossed with help from a malevolent hand.

Berbollyn's body was returned to the wagon, and Karnoz took the moment to examine the transporter's contents. Kurig's kegs and casks and bottles were present, as he had said, and a small wooden box beneath the other end of the teamster seat was opened to reveal six burlap pouches stuffed with pork jerky, dried peaches, unleavened sourbread, hardtack, salted cod strips and Southern walnuts. All in all, the yield was six pounds of trail rations, enough to feed two people for three days...or one person for six.


(Karnoz - Search check (DC 15): Success (27))

The only other items worth immediate notice were a simple prybar, a deerskin pouch full of iron nails and a small iron mallet, useful for repairing the wagon while on the road. But then, beneath the lone cask of Brezza di Montagna, something caught Karnoz's eye: a soft glint of metal which flickered between the floorboards of the wagon bed. A quick flick of a dagger revealed a false floor and a shallow space beneath, cleverly cut from the thick beams and planks of the wagon's bed and undercarriage. A broad, flat, riveted steel box was pulled from the secret space, and the shifting of many coins could be heard sliding across a velveted lining. The lock appeared as sturdy and unyielding as the chest itself; surely Kurig must have kept the key with him at all times.


(Karnoz has gained six trail rations and a locked steel coin box; the box weighs 5 pounds and has a Good lock which can be picked or breached against a DC of 30, if Karnoz wishes. If you wish for Karnoz to take the prybar, the hammer and/or the nails as well, Karnoz can take them retroactively.)

With a subtle suggestion, Kurig agreed that the coin box should be taken with them. "If you were able to find the false floor, then others could do so as well. The contents should help in paying a healer's tithe or fee, and I may need to give you some payment as well; all would have been lost if not for you, and perhaps you would be willing to take poor Berbollyn's place as my business partner, hmm?"


• • •

The emptied bottle of Mulloroon Estates soon lay somewhere beside the two miles of road behind them. And before them, the balding farmer and his portly wife leered over the gold Ruble pinched between the dark-clad traveller's fingers.

"Certainly, sir, certainly!" the farmer eagerly agreed. "This coin can keep us in food for a week or more. Let me gather my son...did you say that the wagon was along the road to Kurvoss?"

"Yes. It is south of the road, about one mile west of the crossroads. Look for a towering oak with a large hollow in the trunk; the wagon is near that spot. The other four coins will be yours when I return for it. I should not be away for longer than three hours."


(Karnoz pays 1 Gold)

A tossed coin, a gale of stammered gratitude traversing the breeze, and minutes later the father emerged from the barn with his young son and a daughter in tow, leaving his wife and the younger daughter to manage the farm as he sought out the wagon. Content with the smooth progression of his errand, Karnoz returned to Kurig, who hobbled uncertainly in a mire of pain and alcohol.

The bat babies writhed and rolled across Karnoz's thigh as Kurig led him through Trock Reik's southwest gate. One of the halberd-bearing guards briefly approached the two but could pay little attention to them, as bustling as the roadway was with commonfolk and carts and wagons that day. Satisfied that neither Karnoz nor Kurig looked particularly dangerous, the halberdier waved them through the gate and promptly turned his attentions to a lumbering wagon piled high with alfalfa behind them.

Atop the gate's guardtower Karnoz spied them: a grizzled and jaw-stubbled man with the markings of a watch captain, speaking in hushed tones with a broad-shouldered and shortly shorn woman. Her chainmail sleeves and leggings were polished to a radiant sheen, and the spread-winged eagle emblazoned on her gold-trimmed breastplate was similarly polished to a mirrorlike finish. Both that eagle and the smaller one which spread its wings from the crest of her pot helm told of her membership with the Stali Muzcinami, as did the bas relief eagle which spread its wings across the bits of the expertly smithed war axe frogged at her hip; it would seem that the city watch was receiving special instructions from the mayor himself for that day.

The milling mobs of artisans and laborers teeming in Trock Reik's streets and throughways made passage through the city a mite troublesome, but Kurig knew his path quite intimately. Weaving through the boistrous mobs and striding across the water on a century-old footbridge, Karnoz stood with the limping Kurig minutes later as the latter gestured upward, where an ever-watchful eye set in a brassen pentagon seemed to watch their every move. And Karnoz could swear that arcs and sparkles of wizardry were slowly dancing across the gilded eye's cornea.

"The Library of Boccob, a temple devoted to the divinity of knowledge and to its gathering. Surely the priests...librarians, perhaps, will know of a mend for my terrible wound."

The wine merchant furtively glanced one way and the other, gauging their distance from the crowds. Satisfied with their parted safety, Kurig took a seat on the temple's steps to ease his pains. One hand took the coin box from Karnoz as the other slipped beneath the left lapel of Kurig's vest and emerged with a small and complicated silver key. A twist, a clink and a pop, and a layer of coins greeted their gazes. And twenty of those coins were expertly counted and passed to the dark stranger seconds later.


(Karnoz gains 20 Platinum)

"I thank you again for saving my life, my friend," Kurig offered, his voice softening with emotion. "That represents about one week's profits, and I hope to offer more coin in gratitude once these sales are completed. Of course, if you were to become my partner in my trade, you could live far more comfortably than most any man in Trock Reik! If the temple keeps me here past tonight, can we meet again--and make our formal introductions--over breakfast there?"

Karnoz followed Kurig's thrusting hand to the inn across the street from Boccob's temple, an inn not so much built as it was exquisitely sculpted with a rich variety of uncommon woods, plasters and marbled flagstones.

The Bard and Fox Inn, its well-forged oil lamps and wafting dinner-smoke looming sharply in the evening sun.

Kurig's company had proven to be quite accommodating indeed.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:14 am

"You are gracious Kurig." Karnoz said, humblly accepting the offered coins. "And I would be very appreciative to become your partner. I may have saved your life, you but have saved me from the back breaking work of hard labor...that is assuming I could have found someone to hire me at all."

Karnoz assisted Kurig to a simple room where he was to rest and recover from his injuries.

"I'm sure the priests will tend to you well." he said soothingly. "You seem to know your way around Trock Reik well enough, but surely this is not where you live. I must go make arrangements to collect the wagon before the farmer gets overly thirsty, but where should I go to get another mule...and where shall I bring the wagon once I do?"

Karnoz waited paitently, gathering the information and filing it away for future use. Kurig seemed to like to talk, and the alchahol, mixed with gratitude and trust seemed to loosen his tongue even more.

"Er," he began. "Not to sound grim, but riding into town on the wagon of a well-known merchant, with a dead man in the back, 'might' be seen by some as rather suspicious. Do you think perhaps a written note from you, allowing me access would be appropriate?"

"Finally, forgive me for reminding you of such things, but what shall I do with poor Berbollyn's remains?"



** Prepare to set out to reclaim the wagon, following Kurig's instructions. I will leave the strongbox with Kurig of course, and if I am allowed to, I will also leave the things I aquired on the road too. They should all be safe with Kurig for now and just sit in the corner out of the way. If a priest is willing, see if they will mind the bats for me.

**If the streets and market places are so crowded, then I wonder if there is a special event going on aside from the DV's being in town... See what I can find out...and of course, see if a pocket might be lifted here and there from the thick of the crowd while watching my own pockets.

**Head for the wagon when I'm ready.

_________________
"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   Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:22 am

Kurig nodded, pleased with Karnoz's words.

"I feared to walk any further than I needed to walk, but across the next bridge is a temple to the Traveller God, Fharlanghn. I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for me so far, friend, but when you return I may be well enough to continue to Fharlanghn's temple. Berbollyn often trusted in the Traveller God's graces, but...perhaps he understood that the dangers of the road...well, perhaps Berbollyn merely travels another road now.

"But If you need more coin for whatever reason, I will be here under Boccob's watch. The Boccobian priests will be compensated for what help they have lended, of course."

The priestess standing behind him nodded with affirmation. "Of course, our temple is more eager than most to accept morsels of knowledge or magic in payment. Coin can gain much of what you desire, but knowledge and power can gain anything."

To the untrained eye, Boccob's priests more resembled sorcerers than priests. But for servants of a God of Magic, such appearances could be expected.

"We will attend to this man Kurig's health until your return," the priestess resumed. "His wound is grievous, but we know of many remedies for such harms. As for your need of a burden-beast...."


(The Boccobian priestess casts an unknown spell.)

A crpytic passage barely moved her lips as it passed through them, and her hands cupped and came together in the space before her. Something within that space flashed brightly, and her hands parted. In that space briefly hovered an egg fashioned from golden light, but the egg burst into a shower of sparkles, giving way to the bright-skinned pixie who sprouted into existence in its place.

Taking the pixie up in her hand, the priestess whispered something in an alien tongue...Sylvan, Karnoz reasoned, though he could understand no word of it.

"This forest-friend shall bear a message to the Town Guard's stablemaster at the South Gate stables. His name is Balenskor, and he has helped our clergy before. When he has lent you the use of a good mule, he can come to us later and collect his payment, which Kurig here has offered to settle. So you should make haste to the stables if you would retrieve this Berbollyn's remains before sunset. Walk in wisdom, traveller."

"Be well, friend," Kurig bid Karnoz in farewell, "and travel safely. When you return with the mule, the wagon and Berbollyn, we will continue to the Temple of Travellers to see to Berbollyn's funeral and discuss our future as partners in mercantile. Farewell."

A luminous spindle of green crystal hovered over the gold-robed left shoulder as the golden-haired priestess guided Karnoz back to the temple door. Not far off, mystic murmurs issued from the lips of another Boccobian priest as he searched the library's shelves for one of many cryptic tomes, and the high priestess--the High Librarian, in the clergy's parlance--placed an arrangement of crimson candles on the round altar behind Kurig, its inlaid alabaster runes flickering with unknown radiance as she began to focus intently on something that was there yet not there.

The temple doors were flung open. With a lift of her fingers the pixie left their company, swiftly fluttering into the azure sky to commence her errand. And with a slow bow of her head the priestess ushered Karnoz outside, closing the door behind them and taking her place on the terrace outside, to greet others who might come to the Temple of Boccob.

Outside, the day's pedestrian traffic bustled and flowed. Karnoz's hungry, wandering eyes narrowed at the tavern across the way; two black-armored men from the Stali Muzcinami had come together at one corner, discreetly watching the northeast doors to the tavern...some of Hennbauer's watchers, no doubt. Artisans and laborers wandered eastward and westward, some casting uncertain glances to the Stali and their decorated battle axes frogged at their hips...a burly half-orc with a carpenter's belt and its tools, two oarsmen returning from their work guiding footboats along Trock Reik's channels, a cobbler bearing a new pair of boots for an unknown recipient, a cook brushing her hands on her apron as she departed the Bard and Fox.

Weighing his halberd heavily on his shoulder, a Town Guardsman wove his path through the crowd, and a scarlet-clad gnome watched the guard's back as he passed. When he had walked far enough for her tastes, the gnome darted up to the two oarsmen, casting a brief and wary glance over her shoulder at the Stali guards before addressing the oarsmen in a mirthful tone.

"Pardon, gents. The Bard's Fox has no leg up for me, and I need some iron in visiting my neighbors."


(Karnoz - Innuendo check: Success will never be possible)

The oarsmen looked entirely baffled at the gnome woman's words, as did Karnoz; in his years as a scoundrel he had largely worked alone, and if there was any reason to the gnome's words, he could not at all discern it.

The crowd had an assortment of townsfolk, and perhaps someone among them had a few spare coins to see Karnoz to his daily meat and ale. But who might the involuntary donor be?



Kurig
Boccob priest
High Librarian of Boccob
Townsperson
Peculiar gnome woman
Town Guardsman
Stali watchman


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:41 am

Karnoz kept a respectful distance from the priests and their magics. He did not fear magic, but like so many people, he did not trust it and had learned to be cautious around such people. Such arcane arts could easilly turn even the best laid plans to ruin in a moment. Fortunately, magical people bleed just as freely when stuck in the right places....

In any case, they were willing to help and Kurig was still willing to pay. There was a job to do and still more plans to be made. To that end, Karnoz started out. His gaze swept the street around the temple entrance. He fixed the faces of the Stali guardsment to memory but also noted that the presence of such watchers, as well as the proximity of the temple discouraged his idea to humble some of the locals. Simple thievery was little more than a side sport...and there were easier pickings.

With that, he set out towards the stables.

_________________
"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   Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:46 am

The bridges and streets of Trock Reik were not entirely alien to Karnoz, and he had no delays in coursing through the herds of townsfolk and retracing his steps to the South Gate.

"Sergeant Balenskor?" the guard leaned on his halberd, regarding Karnoz with a wide eye. "Yes, he is in the stables, preparing steeds for the mayoral carriage. But...in my profession, I must ask why such a fellow as yourself chooses to wear a mask when you come before the Guard. Hmm?"


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:53 am

Karnos waved one hand in a dismissive gesture.

"Nothing more than to ward off the dust of the road and the pollen from the wild weeds. You know the state of the paths between townships since the war."

Reaching up, he hooked one finger at the corner of his hood.

"Would you prefer I remove it?"

Karnoz did not want to, but he knew that should he make a fuss or refuse, then the guard would likely only become more interested in his face.

_________________
"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   Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:01 pm

"That I would," the guard muttered. "The lands surrounding Trock Reik have seen several raids by Oily Tetrov and his bandits in recent days. He seems to know exactly when every cart or every caravan leaves our fair city, so we suspect that his eyes and ears reach inside these city walls. And we know Tetrov's face thanks to the Stali Muzcinami's work; we simply must be certain that his face is not yours."

The nearby stable's low stone walls and arched wooden roofs pealed with a deluge of muttered curses and a mule's startled braying, though no cause for the commotion was immediately apparent.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:09 pm

Karnoz shrugged, pulled back his hood and tugged down his mask. taking a moment to scrub his fingers through his hair.

He was not overly worried about his face, although it was not something that he preferred to reveal. The vast majority of people were an utterly forgettable swirling mass. Karnoz just needed to be one of them for the moment. That could be done best by not standing out now. No one was looking for him after all...at least not yet anyway.

He cocked one eyebrow at the guard, awaiting his approval.

_________________
"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   Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:25 pm

"Hmm...no, you are not Oily Tetrov," the guard shrugged with relief, "nor are you anyone else I recognize from the bounty posts. So...you came to see Balenskor, now? Balenskor..."

"Balenskor is right here," a towering guardsman bearing the crest and epaulettes of a sergeant retorted, rubbing his jaw as he stooped and stormed out of the stables. "What matter is this, Orstag?"

"This stranger asked you for by name, sir," the guard offered, gesturing to Karnoz. The sergeant huffed through his nose, miffed at some matter or other.

"I see. So why have you come to see me, stranger?"


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:33 am

"I have come from the Temple of Boccob." he answered, flipping his hood back up, but leaving his mask around his neck like a scarf.

"A messenger should have come ahead of me to ask loan of a mule. At the temple is a merchant, Kurig, who offers complesation for your troubles and will vouch for my character if you so require."

_________________
"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 01, 2010 8:12 am

"That'll not be necessary," Sergeant Balenskor glowered. "I've already met your messenger, sure as rain. That blasted pixie fluttered up and sat on my shoulder while I was inspecting the watchmen's horses...spooked the heat right off my bones, it did! I would have torn my head open on the blasted shodding rack if I hadn't been wearing my helmet. Wait there a moment...."

Gesturing for Karnoz to stay put, Balenskor ducked and disappeared back into the stable. Moments later the clopping of iron-shod hooves on cobblestones rounded the far end of the stables. Balenskor was leading a strong and healthy gray donkey by its bridle, and he led the beast around the fence to where Karnoz stood.

"Boccob's priests have been quite a font of help and information for the Guard in the past, so we trust them and extend a hand wherever they need it. Now, this donkey is a mare named Shanny. For four years we've worked her half to death and fed her with the best barley that Trock Reik has to offer, and she's twice as strong as any other donkey because of that...more than enough to pull your friend's wagon back to town, I'll wager. She's yours for the next few hours; have her back here by sunset--uninjured, mind you--and we'll not charge anyone a single copper Kopek for her use."

The bridle changed hands from the guard sergeant to Karnoz, and the gate to the outer fence was unlatched and swung open to allow the traveller and the donkey egress. Afternoon was yielding to the cool evening already, but the way back to the wagon would be short and brief.


• • •

True to his word, Karnoz returned to Kurig's wagon at just over an hour since the farmer and his son had come to watch over it. The piping and whistling of a small, crude flute led Karnoz to them even before he had passed the crossroads.

But the rogue's discerning eye noted two clay cups among the wagon's erstwhile watchers, and in rounding the wagon he spied dribbles weeping from beneath the stopper plugging one of the casks...a cask of that inferior Horsewold Vineyards wine, he was quick to note, but the taking of such liberty was not among the permissions he had afforded them.

"Oh...welcome back, sir!" the farmer beamed, setting his flute aside to step down from the teamster seat and greet Karnoz and the donkey. "Not much happened since we've been sittin' here...just a stray dog scamperin' after a rabbit an' some passersby...oh. Oh, that."

His gaze followed his benefactor's gaze to Karnoz's finger, tracing through the dribbling wine and sniffing the spilled sample. "Well, we just idled here a mite long, y'see, and we figgered that a few glasses of that wine would tide us o'er till your return. So I sent Argi home for a pair of cups...quite a proper taste to this Horsewold Vineyards, I must say. Cheap, too. I sample it at the taverns sometimes. But surely such a pittance of wine'll not be missed, eh? Seein' as we sat watch for the wagon an' whatnot...uh...we can still expect the other four Rubles now that you've come back for the wagon, da?"


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:38 am

Karnoz took the reins for the mule.

"Thank you Sergeant Balenskor, your generosity will not be forgotten." he said. "Out of curiosity, where are these wanted posters that your man mentioned? I am no vigillante, but perhaps should I see something, might the city offer a reward for outlaws?"

A few moments later, Karnoz left the stables, tugging his mask back into place as he did. His eyes kept moving about, looking for anything out of the ordinary but also looking for potential opportunities as he made his way out the gate and back to the wagon.

****************************

"Hitch the mule." Karnoz said gruffly, making his displeasure at their aquisition known as he passed the bridle over.

As the mule was hitched, Karnoz took the opportunity to tap the stopper and judge just how much wine had been pillfered. He also took a quick inventory of the wagon, to see if anything else was missing from his earlier observation. He did not see the daughter, which meant the girl could have carried back more than just a bit of wine.


**(Review the wanted posters if they are available, before I leave the city. Also, see if there are any easy pickings from the crowds. I will not pick pockets where there are any guards present and I can also use the mule as a shield from any eyes before I go.)**

_________________
"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 01, 2010 11:00 am

(In retrospect, Karnoz looked over the Wanted notices posted at the city gate and found the following:)

Valdasmir "Oily" Tetrov
Human male, auburn hair, brown eyes, missing left eye and two fingers from his left hand, clean scar across forehead, crushed nose, jagged scar crossing the bridge of his nose between both cheeks.
Wanted for countless highway robberies, conspiracy against the sovereign city of Trock Reik, attacking numerous guardsmen and officials of Trock Reik, kidnapping, theft, extortion, torture inflicted against a nobleman and at least eight murders.
10,000 golden Rubles dead, or 12,000 Rubles alive


Niri Maknanik
Half-orc male, black hair (shoulder length), green eyes, branded "R" on forehead for previous robbery conviction, crude black tattoo of a horned skull on his chest.
Close accomplice of Valdasmir "Oily" Tetrov.
8,000 Rubles, dead or alive


Bera Maknanik
Half-orc female, black hair (braided, tailbone length), black eyes, branded "R" on forehead for previous robbery conviction.
Close accomplice of Valdasmir "Oily" Tetrov.
8,000 Rubles, dead or alive


Any lesser highwayman under the employ of Valdasmir "Oily" Tetrov
1,000 Rubles, dead or alive


Asgani Harinov
Human male, usually bald, hazel eyes, branded "P" on palm of right hand (punishment for previous pickpocketing conviction).
Wanted for pickpocketing, theft, swindling and extortion.
500 Rubles, alive


Candara Zetenova
Half-elf female, fair blonde hair (shoulder length), blue eyes, typically wears two silver earrings in her left ear.
Wanted for prostitution, pickpocketing, swindling, threatening an official of Trock Reik and escape from the jails of Trock Reik.
1,500 Rubles, alive


Bargo "the Black Blade" Gerikin
Human male, black hair (short-cropped), brown eyes, crooked nose, jagged scar along left cheek.
Wanted for murdering two watchmen of the Stali Muzcinami.
5,000 Rubles, dead or alive


Delora Kanstinin
Formerly human female, confirmed to be a vampire. White or silver hair (straight, rump length), iris color varies or is unknown, though the whites of her eyes may grow red with blood-thirst or rage.
Wanted for stalking the citizens of Trock Reik, and for breaking into their homes to drink of their blood as they sleep. Citizens of Trock Reik are not to invite Delora Kanstinin into their homes for any reason!
5,000 Rubles, dead. The vampire is usually clad in a scarlet or dark crimson cape with burgundy or dark red trim; bring that to the Watch Captain on duty as proof of the deed. The temples of Boccob or Heironeous should be consulted before pursuing the vampire.


"Jak Prak"
Troll male, terrible burn scars on chest and lower face, frequents the bogs along the river road seven or eight miles southeast of here.
Wanted for brutally killing and devouring at least eight travellers.
8,000 Rubles, dead. Bring the creature's head to the Watch Captain on duty as proof of the deed.


Bockiboo Tinspike
Gnome female, golden blonde hair (usually in pigtails), green eyes.
Wanted on suspicion of burglary and petty theft.
500 Rubles, alive


"Geirr the Fisher" or "Geirr the Brustaggan"
Human male, blond hair (mid-back length, usually kept in a ponytail) with thin moustache and short braided beard, blue eyes.
Wanted for petty theft, swindling and fencing of stolen property.
500 Rubles, alive


(Karnoz - Pick Pockets check (DC 15): Success (23))

(By artfully steering the mule, Karnoz bumped a trinket peddler and knocked her down. Feigning compassion, he took her hand and helped her back to her feet; she was in a hurry, however, and could offer no great words of gratitude for Karnoz as she turned and trotted away with a slight limp. But no matter; she would not notice the ring gone missing from her finger until Karnoz was well away, and that was far greater compensation than words....)

(Karnoz - Appraise check (DC 5): Success (9))


(Karnoz has stolen a silver ring with a finely cut citrine, worth about 300 Gold.)

Peering into the cask, Karnoz estimated that around three pints of the wine were gone...about three cupfuls by any other name. Nothing else in the wagon appeared to be missing; the daughter may have been on some other errand or had simply refused to come along.

The mule was expertly hitched to the wagon by hands familiar to the task; the farmer and his son were good for that much. Wiping the tanning oil from his hands, the farmer bid his son Argi to secure the tailgate and returned to Karnoz's side.

"Well, sir, surely that be worth a goodly four Rubles, hmm? But...if you'll not mind me askin', what's to be done with the dead halfling fellow o'er there?"

Berbollyn's shrouded body still reclined in the dead winter grass. The exposed hands and fingers lifted slightly from the earth, suggesting that the death-rigors had already set in.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:55 am

"Put the body into the back of the wagon. The remains of the dire bat too." he directed, making sure that there was enough room to set the remains in and covered them with a tarp.

The deed done, Karnoz looked at the older man with his arms crossed over his chest.
"I have half a mind to dock you two coins for drinking from our stores without permission."

Karnoz let the threat hang in the air for a moment, but held out one hand, stalling any attempt for the man to blubber excuses.

"But no real harm was caused and a deal is a deal...." the rogue reached into one pocket and methodically and deliberatly counted gold coins, one at a time, making sure they clinked together in his palm as he talked.

"So perhaps I will let this slide, ...provided you can give me some information. I need to know where I might find a tanner in Trock Reik that will treat and deal fairly and also tell me what is happening in the city. There seemes to be a festival or special event coming. What do you know of it?"

Karnoz already knew about the distinguished visitors, but that was from a wealthy insider's point of view. This man, a local and a commoner, might have some more information to share about what was happening on the street. Perhaps a tip or perhaps some gossip that might be useful.

"in any case, you seem to be a good sport." Karnoz said. "And I might be willing to offer you a chance to make some more coin...assuming your lapse with my wine was an isolated incident."
"Two dats ride to the South is a town, Erbel. There is a steed trainer named Yolli Jolseren. Tell him that Berbollyn and Kurig have an opportunity for his special skills, but tragedy has befallen them and they cannot come. If he wishes to partake in this opportunity, he must come to the Temple of Fharligahn here in Trock Reik. I will pay you five more gold coins if you deliver this message and can bring him or his representative to the temple."

"Do we have a deal?"

**(If the farmer has no useful information to give, then I will keep one gold coin, if he does, then I will pay him all five. Whatever the outcome, send them on their way. As soon as they are gone, search Berbollyn's body. Kurig was very well dressed and I am hoping that he will be too. He has no more need for jewelry, trinkets or anything else in his pockets anyway.)**

_________________
"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 01, 2010 12:37 pm

(Farmer - secret dice roll...)

"The tanner? That's simple enough," the farmer replied with timid eyes. "I go to Black Bear Leather and Hide for my saddles and riding gear; they also sell other leather goods, including thick tabards and leggin's and studded leather vests and whatnot. Just go to the West Quarter of Trock Reik, find the wall and follow it north along Perdo Street. Just look for the hanging wooden sign and the bear head mounted just over the door; Andrei the Tanner keeps it waxed so the rain doesn't soak in.

"But festivals? No, I've no knowledge of any. The mayor's birthday was last month, an' Lord Zamarrska...he still rules this region, I suppose...tries to rule it, anyway, e'en though his influence is hardly felt out here. His birthday comes in June, best as I recall. No, nothin' special in the near future; Trock Reik's always this busy, just because it's a big trade city with a buncha rivers around it. We made it through the war well enough, methinks. Pity what happened to our tsar, though.

"But anyhow, da...it's winter, the crops've all dried up and the best way for folks here to get their daily meat and ale is to bring it in from elsewhere. Our fish exports are good, though, and we've horses and livestock aplenty. Plenty of warmer nations are happy to trade with us. Rivers also mean river travel, and we've plenty of boatmen gatherin' their coins up and down the rivers and canals...as far away as Kunyakarova, I'm told. Plenty of travellers come with the lot, too. Without a tsardom to support us, the trades are all we have. I made a pretty profit from my potatoes and cabbage and radishes, though; we'll ride through the winter well 'nuff.

"But I suppose the city's also popular for its walls. Winter means less food, means more bandits on the roads. We've the odd burglar tryin' to live on the backs of honest folk hereabouts, but the real money is on the roadways and rivershores...trade again, y'see. That's how Oily Tetrov got to be so big and scary in this area. He knows who has the money and who has but pocket lint, and he's big enough to take the first and not bother with the second. Mind the roads; it's soon to be dark out, hmm?"

Then the offer of travel to Erbel was made, and the farmer's eyes grew wide with gold-lust. "Yolli Jolseren, you say? Why, of course! I'll have Argi and Jenina prepare our horse straight away! And I'm to bring this halfling to the Traveller God's temple in Trock Reik? A fine offer there; I must accept it, da. How soon are we to be there?"


Karnoz >
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:51 pm

"You have a good understanding of what I want. Yes, all you must do is deliver the message and then bring them back to the temple. It is two days there and two back, so I shall expect you by the fifth day."

Karnoz counted the five coins into the farmer's waiting hand. True, he wanted to punch the fool in the face, but Karnoz was a long term thinker, and this one would make a better puppet than a victim.

"You have done well enough, despite your thirsty tongue. As you can see, I can pay very well for tidbits of information. If you should come by something you think might be valuable, you should come and see me. Maybe some rumors and tips would be worth pennies, but maybe some might be worth silver...or even gold."

"in any case, I should think you might call me 'friend' given our successful business ventures so far and my generous nature, yes?"



**(Sned him on his way, then search Berbollyn's body. Kurig was very well dressed and I am hoping that he will be too. He has no more need for jewelry, trinkets or anything else in his pockets anyway. Afterwards, I will head back and look for the tanner he mentioned to see if i can sell the bat carcass.)**

_________________
"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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Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones
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