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PRP: Trouble in Alexandri

Alexandri is a town sworn to House Rubino-Zaffria situated within a couple day's ride from Gemecitta, a farming community that helps to provide a portion of the food to help feed Gemecitta's citizens. Recently, they have sent reports to Gemecitta that their harvest has been disrputed by a raids from a local group of shav'arvani, and they will not be able to meet their annual harvest goals. A food shortage is imminent for the winter season for both Gemecitta and their town if they cannot get their stores of food back. They have requested aid from their liege lords, Houses Rubino and Zaffria, to help get back the food that has been stolen from them.


Dec. 27, 2018, 2 p.m.

Hosted By


GM'd By



Miranda Reese Vitalis Harlex Fecundo



Outside Arx - Lyceum near Gemecitta - Village of Alexandri

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Alexandri is a town sworn to House Rubino-Zaffria situated within a couple day's ride from Gemecitta, a farming community that helps to provide a portion of the food to help feed Gemecitta's citizens. Recently, they have sent reports to Gemecitta that their harvest has been disrputed by raids from a local group of shav'arvani, and they will not be able to meet their annual harvest goals. A food shortage is imminent for the winter season for both Gemecitta and their town if they cannot get their stores of food back. They have requested aid from their liege lords, Houses Rubino and Zaffria, to help get back the food that has been stolen from them. And this is where the intrepid party starts, within the the town of Alexandri, where the leaders are anxiously awaiting their arrival within the town hall.

Reese arrives at the town hall while ready for adventuring and trouble in all her gear, including a very warm winter cloak. She is quiet about her arrival and seems ready to follow the Lead of Lady Miranda. Still those who look her way get a polite smile of greeting.

Vitalis draws rein, shifting in his saddle to get more comfortable as he pulls alongside Miranda, "What's the plan, Cap-i-tan?" The keen-eyed explorer has been watchful thusfar in case those raiders decided to hit a harder target.

Riding on his black destrier, Fecundo stays near where Miranda is through the trek to this town hall, a watchful eye on their surroundings, "So, sistermine....what do we know so know me...out of touch lately."

The sellsword has been hired for the singular purpose. Really, it's for when the fighting starts. Like the others, he dismounts after the approach to the town hall, though staying back to not confuse his intention. Harlex isn't here to chat with the locals. The Crimson Blades Captain has and continues to maintain a steely professionalism. Clad in darkened plate-mail, swords on his left hip, he rests the claws of a gauntlet on one of the pommels.

Vitalis eases back ceding the lead to Miranda, dismounting as he draws near Harlex, "Where would you attack from, were you hitting this place?"

Harlex checked wits + war at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Harlex looks past Vitalis and studies the township. The defenses and the structures. "I'd take my time. Burn homes on the outskirts. Give them a chance to hold up in the hall. Once I'd dealt with the guards, then I'd turn this into a pyre." He raps on the surface of the town hall.

Fecundo looks back to Vitalis and Harlex and considers for a moment, but does not interrupt.

Upon arriving in Alexandri and finding out where the leaders are located, Miranda replies easily to Vitalis, "Town hall it looks like." She looks to Fecundo and shrugs, "Not too much, Brother, just needing to see what's going on with the harvestables and what we can do to fix it. I don't mind getting some of the Shavs to bend the knee if possible. Maybe they're low on food too. Could be something to look into." Once at the town hall, she dismounts and takes a look about the place to see if there is any obvious signs of destruction caused by these Shavs that're causing trouble. She'll head inside, offering, "Let's see what they've got to tell us."

Reese looks to Vitalis, Harlex and Fecundo, giving them all a polite smile of greeting that touches her blue eyes. She then turns her focus to Miranda, nodding in response to her. "I guess we should go see, Lady Miranda." She says, seeming to agree with her. Her expression is somber.

Vitalis's eyes narrow at Harlex, "For a raid. Dead people don't make food you can steal." Still, he looks around thoughtfully, spotting those homestead and avenues to the Hall. Access to water. He offers to see to the horses if no townfolk present themselves.

"No," he agrees, "But if you were returnin to a town already pilfered, then you're only comin back to finish the job. Another town might make it--easier. If they hear what happened to the last." Harlex seems thoughtful but, before he says more, he turns and heads into the town hall. A nod is given to Reese and the others as well.

There are is no obvious damage to any of the buildings as the party travels to the town and heads to the town hall. What they do see are people peeking their heads out to see the strangers who have come. Wide eyed children peek out from behind barrels or other places, while nosy adults can be seen gaping at them through windows - those are likely the gossip mongers in the town. Some come from outside the building to see the party walk through, tilting their heads in curiosity. When it's clear their destination is the town hall, they go back to their business. Inside, the town hall is set up like any town hall, with a line for petitioners, and tables for the leaders to sit behind. There's chairs for those who are just there to listen to the day's events and activities that might need seen to. The town guards protecting the hall ask after the party and their business there, and once given usher them inside ahead of all within the hall. The party gets the same looks of curiosity - some mixed with annoyance because they skipped ahead in line - as they did outside. One woman stands from behind the table and offers the group a deep curtsey, as this is presumably the group from House Rubino-Zaffria they were expecting. "My lords and ladies," she says, addressing them all with that same honorific, not knowing there are not nobles among them. As she rises, she says, "Welcome to Alexandri, and thank you for coming to hear us out. I am Marsali, leader of the town."

Falling in step with Miranda as if it's a comfortable thing, Fecundo steps into the town hall, nodding to Marsali, but letting his sister take the lead on the discussion.

Once inside the warm building, Miranda pulls back her heavy cloak, revealing her armor with the Rubino crest upon it. Red falcon on white diamondplate would stand out to just about anyone. A polite nod of her head is given to Marsali and to others at the table. "Greetings, Marsali. I am Lady Miranda Rubino. The Duchesses have heard of your trouble and have sent me and mine to see what we can do for you." She gestures to the group with her. "Please, do fill us in on the problem. We know only that there is the threat of a food shortage for Gemecitta and here."

Vitalis removes his helm and whistles for one of the bolder looking kids to come close. A coin dances over his knuckles and disappears when the scout opens his hand. Another flourish and then there are several coins in his palm. One for each horse. "See they're taken care of, eh? And let me know if you see anything odd out here." He grins and follows the others into the Hall, easing off to the side where he can most easily watch the room and take its temperature as the discussions proceed.

Harlex moves as the group steps to the front. He eases against a wall and studies Marsali briefly before he looks from town folk to town folk. His brows cinch a bit, as if he's still chewing on a thought. But he doesn't speak, retaining the quiet violence of his presence.

Reese is here along with the others and not far from Miranda. She looks toward the woman who spoke, giving her a polite smile of greeting that seems somber and is likely still warm. She tries to seem empathic and understanding. "I'm Princess Reese Grayson. I cam with Lady Miranda." She says, clearly deferring to her.

Reese checked charm + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

One of the bolder kids, an older boy, grins wide at Vitalis and easily nicks the coin from his hand. "Will do, milord," he says, and starts to gather the horses and take them to the stable. That's where most of the town's livestock is cared for, and those who are visiting as well. Other children come piling out, and then follow the older boy, each chittering away quietly at him about what he's going to buy with the coin and if they can have anything with it too. Of course not long after the children break up and head to other parts of the town - each to a different place - likely to see if they can earn coins of their own from Vitalis.

Meanwhile, inside the town hall, Marsali gives Miranda a look of obvious relief. "Thank the Gods you came," she puts a hand to her heart. "Things here have been rather difficult. And, now it's no longer just our harvest that's being stolen, but our livestock is being taken too. Meat that we rely on for the winter to feed our town," she tells Miranda, though her eyes fall to Reese when the woman identifies herself as a princess of House Grayson. She gasps faintly and curtsies even deeper to Reese. "Your Highness. We never expected our plight to reach the ears of House Grayson." And, perhaps, there is a bit of awe there too. Indeed, tongues do start wagging in the building, though because Reese has deferred back to Miranda, Marsali's attention goes back there all too readily. "It's shav'arvani. One of the stable hands caught them trying to get into the stables to steal our horses too. But, it's largely the farms and the outlier holdings that they're raiding. They come in the middle of the night, when most are asleep, and take what they can before leaving."

A smile of thanks to Reese, and Miranda takes a moment to introduce the others, "Colonel Harlex Valtyr, Lord Vitalis Mazetti, and Prince Fecundo Valardin, formerly Lord Rubino." She nods a bit to the information shared. "Has anyone been hurt by these thefts, as yet?" She's not yet calling it raids, exactly. "And has there been any indication as to why they're stealing the food?" She offers, "Shortage of animals or trouble amongst their own?"

Harlex folds his arms across his chest. Once he completes a curt survey of the town folk his attention returns to the voice of them; Marsali. When she mentions shav'arvani he takes note and what has been taken and how they take it which he seems to absorb with a practiced focus. The black-clad swordsman is otherwise composed in his menacing silence. Unlike the others, he doesn't appear to try to make a good impression. Or is unable (which is most likely the case). Everything about him foretells of the wandering mercenary and that armor, well, if not a sellsword perhaps some knight belched from the abyss. Though he does finally say something, after all that silence. "Captain Harlex Valtyr," he notes. Like an after thought.

Vitalis gives a press-lipped smile as the children scarper off. Inside, when it becomes clearer that these people are on the brink of starving, things grow rather more grim. "Where do they go, these raiders? Has anyone here seen them personally?" He seems on the cusp of asking more, but Miranda's asked it.

Marsali gives a grim faced look. "We're farmers, largely. We're not really trackers, so we haven't been able to find where they are taking things. Some of our guards tried following them when they tried to take the horses, which was within this week, but they were lead astray and in circles." She gives Miranda and the others an apologetic look, looking down at the table as if that's some failing on their part. "We've never had trouble from them like this before, and we're not really sure why they're doing what they are doing. Those that live in the area are a day or so away from our village, off in the forest to the west, and so we rarely see them - if ever. They prefer to keep to themselves, and we know better than to travel near them. We're not really skilled warriors either. The guards here are to keep the peace in the town, but aren't really trained to waylay larger groups of people wanting to do harm to it or its citizens, or trained to stop large raids on our food stores."

Fecundo smiles to Miranda, "Not letting that go yet, hmm?" He smiles a little, "If it is the Shav...there are a few ways to look at ths, really." He looks to the others, "Is it out of malice or need that the raids are happening?"

Harlex examines the end of his gauntlet, one of the claws curled in to scratch at the black leather underneath. "They have a reason. Wolves move their huntin' ground, when its been compromised or lost. They have a need to steal, not a want. So we ought to find the reason." He instructs Miranda more than Marsali. "Any casualties durin' these raids?" He asks, finally, to the town's voice.

Miranda is quite fine with the others asking questions. She nods to the words Marsali offers and her information, looking thoughtful. She glances to each who speaks and seems interested in the answers. Her stances is relaxed and she gives a light nod to Harlex, in agreement perhaps or understanding. Hard to say.

Vitalis's eyes flicker between the peers gathered and Harlex, clearly one standing astride the line between grim pragmatism that violence may rule the day and sympathy for the plight of folk hungry as Winter's bite deepens, to whomever they swear their oaths and give their prayers. He nods at Harlex's doubling of Miranda's query, he does rather want to know how far these raiders have gone, how desperate or fierce they may have become.

Reese listens to the discourse with thoughtful attention and still seemingly somber. "We could try and see if we can track them. You might have said but when was the last raid and where did your trackers get to until they were lead astray. And when was that?" She says, maybe trying ponder if it is possible to still track them.

Marsali's head bounces about at all the questions being asked. She tries to her best to keep up with them. She answers Harlex first, since his question seems easiest to answer. "There have been a handful of casualties. Those too stubborn to let their food stores go. I get it, it's food and winter is coming, and we have taxes and tithes to pay." Some is likely in food stores to Gemecitta, which is how the villagers get by. "But, we can make do, if needed. It'd be a struggle, I admit. But, we could." Her face holds a grim pallor. "It was when we weren't certain we could make do, though, that we sent word asking for aid. I don't think they're coming to just kill us, it's definitely the food they are after. And they'll use enough force to take it if they have to, even if it means killing people who refuse to give it up. Food is life, I guess." She looks to Reese next, who asks another question. "The most recent raid was this week, when they tried to get our horses from here in town. That's the most brazen they've gotten. You /might/ still be able to track them, if you've skilled trackers among you. As I said, we're not really trackers ourselves. We mostly stick to our farms and grow our own livestock, so we don't really have a need to hunt. Or, we didn't." Which means they just /might/ have a need to hunt now, not that there's much game to be found in large farms like this.

"I think the Princess Reese and I are skilled enough trackers," he reassures the group. Harlex nods to Marsali's explanation. "Life lives on life. That is the Law, darlin', we all got to follow it." Coming off his perch on the wall, the sellsword looks between the others. "This horse thievin' incident is our best bet for gettin' their trail. From there we can figure out what's caused this rattle of the food chain."

Reese looks to Harlex, nodding in response to his words, seeming to agree that they are good trackers. The princess looks somber and concerned, but she falls silent for the moment.

"It seems to me something's changed. If you've been living with them in semi-close proximity for years and they havent' been an issue until now, something's changed." At the mention of good trackers, Miranda lifts a questioning brow to Vitalis. A glance to Harlex and Reese then and a soft chuckle. "We are not in short supply of trackers." Heck, she can track. "If there are no other questions, I think we need to be shown to the stables so we can see what might still be found there. It's the most recent attempt." She frowns, "What would they want a horse for now, though, I wonder."

"If not to ride? Meat, I would expect," Marsali answers solemnly in response to Miranda. She motions over to one of her the boys in the room, and says, "Please show them to the stables." The boy nods and then looks to the group expectantly, and waits to see if they have any other questions for Marsali before he starts to lead them to the stables.

Vitalis purses his lips and surveys the plate-wearing trackers, keeping some counsel to himself as he takes a deep breath through his nose and looks off west, as if he could see through the walls, "West, you say?" His attention snaps back to Marsali, "And most recently they hit the stables here?" Where their horses are. He makes a quiet noise in his throat, but continues, "How much has it snowed in the last week?" When Marsali directs a boy to take them to the stables, Vitalis is quick to fall in step. He'll leave reassurances to those more suited (and believable).

Reese pulls up the hood to her cloak, seemingly getting ready to head out into the snow. She looks to Miranda. "Yeah, if anyone can track them. If they can be tracked, we can." She says, looking between the gathered party with confidence.

Fecundo hmms softly and nods to Miranda, "It's your call, sistermine. I'll take whatever lead you offer."

Marsali gives Vitalis a look when he mentions snow. "Not over much. We're in the Lyceum after all. Not much snow gets down here, and when it does it's not for long. It hasn't snowed this week at all," she tells them.

Miranda nods, "We'll check the stables, see if there's anything they left behind for clues. Then head west, regardless. See if we can't pick up their trail on the way." She looks to Marsali, reaching into her pack to pull out a map. "Could you mark on here where their camp usually is? YOu said it was west, about a day or so?" She sets the map out on the table, holding it open for Marsali.

Marsali looks over to someone else in the group and motions for them to come forward. This time it's an elder man who offers a bow to the royalty and Miranda and the others, and then looks over the man. He grunts softly, then takes the writing utensil and makes an X next to the place. It's in the forest, to the west of Alexandri. Marsali looks back to Miranda. "Was there anything else?" she asks, looking very eager for the party to handle this matter for them.

Miranda glances to the others, "Anything else?"

Harlex steps in to look at the map briefly before he moves to wait for the others. Of course, this far south, he wasn't too worried about snow. But the sporadic nature of it did make it hard to farm crop reliably and it meant supplies would be slower to reach them from the northern territories. He steps out back into the town.

Miranda shows the map to the others after looking at it herself. "I think we're good. Thank you Marsali, for your help. We'll see what we can do." A glance to Vitalis when he asks about snow and she grins a bit, before starting to head out. "Come on, we need to catch up to Harlex before he takes care of this without us." She offers a small smile at that.

Reese looks over to Miranda, shaking her head. "Nothing else, Lady Miranda." She then looks over the map.

Vitalis closes his eyes and opens his mouth, closes it. "Right." No snow this far south. "I've been in Arx too long." At least they were spared the green-black slushy mess. One can hope. They step outside into the gray and the chill, breath pluming away as Vitalis moves along, eyes sharp for any of his own youthful scouts as they make their way to the stables. Once there he'll scan the stables quickly and then ply the enterprising lad for information as they gather their mounts and prepare to set out.

Harlex checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.

Vitalis checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 31 higher.

Miranda checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 8 higher.

Reese checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 25 higher.

Fecundo checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 2 higher.

When it seems that the party is done with questions, the boy finally starts leading them to the stables. The stables are across town from the town hall, and so it's a small walk at the least. As Marsali indicated, there's no signs of a recent snow, though there is a brisk chill in the air. For the south, that's probably a light breeze really, that feels warmer to the northerners. Imagine all the southerners bundled in up furs while the northerners only need light cloaks. The boy says, "This is the general area where they were trying to steal the horses from. Our guards started with a set of foot prints here, and that lead them out into the plains." He motions to what look like scuff marks now, likely because people frequent the stables, but a but further away Harlex, Reese, Fecundo and Miranda can see the start of the prints. They lose them quickly, because there is still high amounts of traffic in the area, but Vitalis is able to pick up the trail again rather easily. There is a definitive path leading westward.

When it seems that the party is done with questions, the boy finally starts leading them to the stables. The stables are across town from the town hall, and so it's a small walk at the least. As Marsali indicated, there's no signs of a recent snow, though there is a brisk chill in the air. For the south, that's probably a light breeze really, that feels warmer to the northerners. Imagine all the southerners bundled in up furs while the northerners only need light cloaks. The boy says, "This is the general area where they were trying to steal the horses from. Our guards started with a set of foot prints here, and that lead them out into the plains." He motions to what look like scuff marks now, likely because people frequent the stables, but a but further away Harlex, Reese, Fecundo and Miranda can see the start of the prints. They lose them quickly, because there is still high amounts of traffic in the area, but Vitalis is able to pick up the trail again rather easily. There is a definitive path leading westward.

Reese is with the others. She does her best to study the foot prints and is able to make out the first set, but then loses them. The girl seems relieved when Vitalis is able to find the trail again. "Oh, Lord Vitalis.." She says with gratitude. She then will start to head westward. Reese seems to be following Miranda's lead though and she will slow down or stop if in order to meet such.

Along with the others, they spot that initial trail. Harlex is rather light in movement within the plate-mail, due in no small part to its design, and no heavier on his frame due to that immeasurable strength. But the sellsword loses it among the high-traffic refuse. Skillfully, however, its picked back up. He nods to Vitalis, prepared to follow him and that discovered trail westward with the others.

Miranda spots the tracks, but when she loses it, she simply looks over to Vitalis. "Tell me you got it, my lord." She grins, almost expectantly. They must have done this before. She does pull her cloak a touch over her - she may have lived here all her life until Arx - recently - but it's still COLD to her.

Churn around a stable is likely to mar any useful sign, and the scout works quickly through the swirl and bustle of people and livestock coming and going, singling out a set that stray from the paths of those staying within the town's bounds. "Five people, headed that way." His breath swirls away on a cold gust, he squints closely, "Can't say much more-" he peers a moment longer and gives his head a shake. When Miranda gives the sign, he'll set out, scanning ahead and down as they go.

Not a tracker by nature, Fecundo does try, but leaves it to those who are experts in such and not getting in the way.

Miranda is not one for wasting time, nodding. "We should get going." A double-take on Vitalis and a curious, "Are you all right, my lord?"

Vitalis's footfalls sound rhymically on the ground and he breaks his keen attention to toss a puzzled glance at Miranda, "Are you kidding?" His color is high and his eyes bright as they return to the trail, "I live for this."

Miranda nods, satisfied, apparently with that. "Good. Lead on, then, hmm?" He has the trail after all. Once they get going, she'll keep alert, awareness of her surroundings, watching and listening for potential trouble.

Before the party gets far, Vitalis's boy comes running with some of his compatriots. "Milord! You forgot your horses," he reminds him, then he makes sure the other kids pass out the reins to the proper people before shooing them away. He doesn't linger himself. The party is now free to ride and follow the tracks too, should they choose, or just walk with their horses.

Harlex saddles up, giving a 'click click' with the corner of his mouth. He tosses the kids a few coins for the trouble. "Much obliged, son." They got ahead of themselves, it seems, but mounted up it'll be an easier ride after these renegades.

Vitalis flicks a coin in the air, a high winking arc, taking the reins and fixing his eyes on the trail as he mounts and urges his horse forward. If it becomes hard to keep the trail ahorseback, he'll dismount and trot leading his mount.

Reese is by a horse herself and following the tracks on foot for now. She seems to be trying to keep a close eye out for things.

Miranda slides up onto her horse and nudges her horse forward with a nudge of her thighs. She keeps an eye out for trouble, and an ear, and murmurs to her brother a moment once he's on his own horse.

Miranda checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 14 higher.

Harlex checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 14 higher.

Fecundo checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 6 higher.

Vitalis checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 24 higher.

Reese checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 40 higher.

Fecundo looks to Miranda curiously and seems to consider what she asks them. He pauses and then nods and says something back softly.

The trail continues on for several hours, and seems to be pretty easy for everyone to pick up - even the less skilled in tracking - once they get far enough away from the town and especially the busy thoroughfares that might have confused the guards when they tried to track the shav'arvani previously. They manage to pass several farmsteads, those that are managed for simply crop production and livestock production separately, as they pass through, until they get clear of all the outlaying areas that might have humans living in them. They are now riding across the plains, and once they get to that area, they can see where the tracks widen a bit, and it's switched from human footprints to human and animal foot prints. Lots and lots of animals. And somewhere in there, also, is a wagon that seems to have been loaded down with something. Goods perhaps?

Reese sucks in a soft breath as she continues to track.She looks toward a comp in the distance and seems thoughtful. The girl then starts off slightly and looks down at the ground. "Giant wolf-like tracks, but giant wolves, dire wolves and their salvia. It is green goop." She says, being careful not to step in or touch the goop. "It could be tainted." She then adds.

Harlex rides beside the others and at Reese's indication he looks toward the ground, across the various tracks. The saliva slime. "Could be what's been houndin' the shav'arvani. Could be they were attemptin' to flee. Which way does the wagon go? We ought to follow that, at least. They could've been chased nearby."

Tracks! Lots of them. Ungulates. People. A wagon. "Wolves?" Vitalis looks from Reese to Miranda, a knowing flicker passing between them. He fans out to look more and holds up a hand, signalling he's seen something. He squints ahead, "'s a camp ahead." Gray eyes narrow and he listens closely, "I don't think it's in use. Fire's kicked over and doused." He squints more into the gray-on-gray of branches and sky, "There." He points, and any looking along his arm in that direction will see a curl of smoke on the horizon. Vitalis looks to the others and pauses at the goop, crouching to poke it with a stick, nose wrinkled. He sucks a breath over his teeth, regrettting it as the chill on the air sends pangs into his jaw. He looks at Miranda, "How do you want to play this?"

"I just can barely see the one print and I am not sure what direction to go in, but I could make a guess." Reese says in response to Harlex and Vitalis. She then peeks over to Miranda, looking to the Lady for direction. "We could visit the camp first and see what they know maybe? But yeah, likely the wolves were hounding them."

Miranda eyes the green goop and her brows furrow. For the moment, she regards it a bit, then glances to Reese and finally to Vitalis. Green... goop. Fun. "We can follow these tracks easily enough. Let's check out the camp. I want to know what's driving the Shavs. Could be these wolves, certainly. Likely, if the wolves are eating what they would hunt or are driving the animals away, the people would go to where they knew food would be." She mms, "Any indication if the wolves are following the people?"

Fecundo frowns a little, "Sounds like it could be a chain of events...the wolves hound them, they hound the village?" He hmms a little, "Talk first?" He glances Miranda's way, "Might need the peacock after all?"

Vitalis stands up from the goop-poking venture and looks at Harlex, "Could be these folk have fallen in with the Gyre's scatterlings. Saw some of that north a ways. Brigands, some too far gone, some not." He nods at the notions proposed that the wolf or wolves could be making the forest lean hunting for folk living here. He scans the tracks and can't really make much more out of the one sign. "Can't say, sorry." He tosses a chin towards the smoke, "Shall we?"

Harlex studies the camp indicated by Vitalis and he nods. "Possibility. Need a better look. More evidence. If that's the case, Alexandri has a problem bigger than a few stolen sacks of grain." He looks to the others, "Its not in use. We may have missed them. Or we'll find their bodies," he notes and clicks his horse, ready to move.

Reese nods in response to Miranda's words, giving her a gentle smile. "Sounds like a good plan to me." She says toward her. She then turns to Vitalis. "Well they could be foes. I guess there is only one way to found out." She adds musingly. She gets ready to move herself.

Vitalis gets eyes on the trail again. They have a destination - that curling smoke - but in case there's more to the trail - or sign of dire wolves - he's keeping a sharp eye out.

Harlex checked perception + survival at difficulty 35, rolling 2 higher.

Reese checked perception + survival at difficulty 35, rolling 16 higher.

Fecundo checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Vitalis checked perception + survival at difficulty 35, rolling 14 higher.

Miranda checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Miranda nods to Fecundo, "Just might at that, Brother." She scans the tracks, curious about the people. "I just want a look about the camp. Won't take long and might be telling."

Vitalis checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 30, rolling 32 higher.

The trail, at this point, isn't too terribly difficult to follow. There's human tracks, animal tracks, and wagon tracks galore. And, though the group has a head start on the party, and it might otherwise be easy to catch up with them, those looking for wolf tracks in their stead are causing some delays in doing so. Fecundo and Miranda are the first to see something strange, since they're not looking for paw prints. Up a head, not far away, there is a dead animal. Wait? No. It's not just one. It's more like three or four. Meanwhile, Reese, Harlex and Vitalis actively look for paw prints, and they do find them. Not just one pair, but two. They're hard to see at first because the heavy travel of the people and livestock and wagon before them are obscuring any new tracks. But, they are there, definitely trailing after the people.

Fecundo frowns at the sight of multiple dead animals, looking to see if it looks like more animal attack or other.

Reese continues to track with the others. She sucks in a soft breath at all the dead animals. "This is not good." she says softly to those with her. "I think it is two wolves?" She says toward the others as if wanting to confirm what she thinks. "They are following them, it seems?" She adds a moment later.

"Follow one," Harlex says, "Find the other. These shav are bein' hunted." The sellsword looks toward the other trackers, then to the dead animals they've found. "Easier to track people than wolves. Let's focus our efforts on them. If its pursuit, they'll start gettin' sloppy. We may need to hurry. If we aim to save any of them." Although he doesn't seem confident they aren't already too late.

Miranda nods, "Follow the people, the trouble has already found them. Let's keep moving." She frowns at the animals, taking a moment to see what killed them. Arrows? Knives?... Claws? Teeth?

Reese looks to Harlex and Miranda, giving them both a somber nod. She starts to pick up the pace.

Fecundo nods, "Animal attack....definitely." He looks back to the group, "Dumb queston now...anyone good with a bow here?"

A quick examination of the livestock easily shows this was an animal attack. There are multiple bite marks, most notably on the threat - an animal kill.

Vitalis nods, but looks at the signs with some ease entering his expression, "I have to say I'm a bit relieved. I wasn't looking forward to tangling with cultists." He straightens and dusts gloved hands on his breeches. "We'd best hurry. If they've got the scent..." He shakes his head at Fecundo's question, setting a foot to stirrup as he hauls up, "I've got some reach, but, it'll be close quarters for me. If it comes to that." He urges his horse forward, setting a brisk pace, but not leaving the others behind.

"Only ever seen bows make dire wolves ornery," Harlex says with some thought. Studying the throat-torn beasts. "Keep at the flanks if you got lighter armor, overwhelm the senses. Don't get caught in their fangs. They will maul you quicker than we can get them off you." Just a bit of friendly advice. If needed. "Let's keep movin'," and he follows along with Vitalis.

With the human and animal trail easier to follow, the party makes up for some of the lost time. It's about another hour or two before they start to catch up and as they do they also see the tree line to the forest. They pass the corpse of what looks to be one of the wolves, and what looks to be one of the shav'arvani raiding party. The herd seems to be entering the forest ahead, and they just barely make out people moving or riding around them to usher them into the woods faster. Some shouts can be heard from afar - not enough to make out entire words, but just enough to make out they are speaking in the Lycene accent. The other wolf can't be seen, either it was chased away or it is hiding somewhere.

As they pass the corpse of the wolf, Miranda does a double-take on it. She makes a face, as if smelling something horrible. "Tainted," she comments from her horse, just loud enough for the party to hear. "Try not to get bit, folks."

Reese looks toward the people in the distance, continuing to follow after them. "I cannot understand what they are daying." She then adds to Miranda. "Oh, tainted, of course they are." She says and sighs, a long suffering sign. "I don't see the wolf." She adds, looking over the area as if trying to locate such.

Fecundo looks to Miranda and nods a little, though does unsheathe one of his axes, just to hold on to the reigns with the other hand. He frowns a little, "Anyone have a handle on the Shava language?"

A weapon in hand sounds like a good idea. Harlex follows Fecundo's motion and loosens his sword from the scabbard. Though he keeps it low for the moment, his other hand holding fast to the reins of the horse.

Harlex wields Fang, a wolfish red-steel sword.

Vitalis wields Enigma.

Miranda wields Razz, a diamondplate scimitar.

Fecundo wields a matching pair of steel axes.

Miranda follows her brother's example, though the motion might be delayed slightly as she tries to understand what is being said. Her hand tightens slightly on the reins, the other on the hilt of her sword as she points it down. No second wolf? She lifts her chin a bit and looks as if she might be... concentrating? Sniffing? Crazy woman. Who knows what she's doing?

Vitalis snorts at Miranda's warning, glancing with a wry and dry expression at the huge beast. "Good on you," he murmurs at the dead shav'arvani, presuming the man fought, though he spends no time to verify, pausing instead to say a prayer over the fallen man in a different tongue. He might normally crack a joke at Fecundo's question but only nods. The silvery coils of his weapon slip loose, caught in loose fingers, light. He settles himself into the saddle and readies, "When we get close, I'll ask where they saw the other wolf?" He peers at Miranda, edging towards where they can see folks milling about.

Reese checked perception + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 8 lower.

Reese wields Devotion, a silvery pink alaricite short sword.

Reese looks over the area, but she looks unenlightened and likely didn't come up with anything. She looks over to Miranda as she sniffs and her blue eyes widen, but Reese does not comment. She has her silvery pink blade drawn now, but is not pointing it at anyone.

Vitalis checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 36 higher.

Miranda nods to Vitalis, "Yes, please." She stops her horse after a moment, scrunching her nose a bit as she seems to smell something to the right. Her honey-brown eyes seem to track something to a bush, then to another, but not nessecarily one after another. "It might be hurt, that second wolf." She nods towards the forest off to the right. It's not a direct path to the shav, that's for sure. "I think we can pick up its trail after." She nudges her horse with her knees again and gets it moving towards the people they're hoping to help. "People first."

Vitalis keeps edging his horse closer to the fleeing shav'arvani, and then draws rein sharply. His horse paws and snorts, the scout giving her neck an apologetic pat, "Tracks. And blood." He veers to the right, squinting as he searches, still trending towards the people as commanded. He notes Miranda's look off the direction of the trail he'd seen and nods, pressing forward until they're in hailing distance of the harried people.

Harlex follows the others and his attention is focused enough on what Miranda indicates too, the possible wolf, before looking toward the shav'arvani ahead of them. He keeps close ranks. Weapon in hand, its a matter of waiting. But he's clearly ready also to let the more diplomatic party members do their works.

Vitalis lifts his voice, calling to the fleeing folk...

Vitalis says in Lycene shav, "The wolf is to the right!""

Vitalis revises, pointing...

Vitalis says in Lycene shav, "To the north!""

There is more shouting as the party gets closer to the shav'arvani. Bickering back and forth? An urgency to their words? Panic? Or, perhaps, all of the above. And then they pause a moment, and see the riders on horseback coming at them, with wielded weapons, and the urgency only gets greater. They are doing their best to usher the livestock into the forest, and then something strange - to them - happens. Vitalis starts shouting in their direction. One is turning their head toward wherever he pointed, and due to whatever he shouted, nods back to Vitalis in a perplexed way, and turns back to the others to direct some orders at them. They scramble forward, and start climbing whatever trees are available; taking no chances with other people or wolves, it seems!

Miranda watches the folks scramble into the trees and says, "Lord Vitalis. Did you, by chance, threaten to sic Harlex upon them?" He does look, after all, very deadly. And serious. Miranda asks this very deadpan.

"It's a common shav tactic," Harlex replies as /dryly/ and deadpan. His gaze continues to sweep the forest, prepared for what may come. "They're safe up there, for now."

Reese watches Vitalis, looking impressed as he directs the Shavs. She then turns to Miranda and then to Harlex, looking faintly amused despite the situation. "Safe from all sorts of wolves up there." She murmurs. She has her blade still in her hand and looks ready to fight.

Miranda looks to her brother. "Well, -your highness-," she deadpans to her brother, "I believe you're up."

Fecundo gets off his horse and sheathes his axe. He looks to Miranda, "Watch my back, would you." He looks to Vitalis, "Do they speak the common tongue, Lord Vitalis...did you ask?"

Miranda swings a leg over her horse and dismounts, offering the reins of her horse and her brother's to Reese, "Ribbons, if you wouldn't mind?" She moves towards Harlex, murmuring to him a moment before standing near her brother to.. watch his back. Peacocks.

"We'd best be sure we're safe from them, I couldn't see if they have bows." He takes cues from the animals now left to their own devices, if they're pressing away from something, it's a good bet that's where the wolf is. Though, if they're particularly agitated, they may move away from any threat, included mounted arvani. He presses forward, warily, trying to keep trees between himself and the tree-bound shav'arvani, while keeping a sharp lookout for the wolf. He shakes his head, "I warned them about the wolf. They know we're from Alexandri and have tracked them." He's scanning the woods, listening, scenting, watching... and murmurs to Fecundo, "I'll ask." He stays ahorseback and glances with some puzzlement at Fecundo before lifting his voice to the raiders in the trees. And now Miranda. Huh.

Vitalis says in Lycene shav, "Do you speak arvani?""

Harlex tongues his canine tooth and looks toward the treeline. He looks back to Miranda after she murmurs to him and nods in agreement.

Reese takes the horses reigns. She does not tie them up, but keeps with her own horse and seems ready to guard the animals if needed. "Don't run where we can't get you, but don't let any wolves eat you either." She says toward the horses. They probably cannot understand her though.

Fecundo looks to Vitalis, "Just in case....please translate." He looks to the Shav in the trees, "I am Prince Fecundo Valardin, though the Rubino are my family. We are not here to do any harm, just to get answers. Right now...the remaining wolf is our concern. We are no threat to you if you are not to us."

Vitalis lifts his voice to the shav'arvani in the trees, repeating Fecundo's words as best he can in their tongue.

Miranda stays near her brother, giving him and Vitalis space, but close enough to defend his royal Peacock-ness at a moment's notice. She glances about and draws in a sharp breath, perhaps a sniff? Naw. "The taint's gone. The wolf isn't close, so we can let them know it's safe to come down, if they wish."

One of the shav'arvani peers around the tree at Vitalis. He squints at him. It's likely the one from before. The other three are keeping a look out, a bit too worried about the wolf than they are about the people right now. "We speak the language," he says, his accent in heavily broken Arvani, but understandable. Also heavily Lycene.

Reese looks to Miranda, looking relieved. "It is?" She says toward her and gives the Lady a smile that reaches her blue eyes. "That is very good news. " She then looks to the horses. "You here, that you are safe."

While the others consort with the tree-hidden shav, Harlex moves his horse to the side. He looks for the signs of the wolf; blood trail, paws. They'll have to pick up the scent eventually.

Vitalis is off the hook with the call from the trees copping to understanding arvani. He eases back in the saddle, he nods, touching his forehead briefly in acknowledgment. He slews a look, "Good news for now. But it's out there still." Hurt. Maddened. He looks off towards the north and then to the shav'arvani in the trees. Translation services no longer pressing, he goes to join Harlex.

Fecundo nods to the speaker for the Shav and focuses there, "The wolf, for the moment, is gone. Are you willing to come down and speak with us?"

Miranda grins over at Reese, "Maybe -safe- is too soon a verdict. For the moment, safe." She winks at the Princess, then returns to guarding her brother's back.

There is quiet murmuring among the trees, so quiet that not even Vitalis can understand what they are saying as they briefly switch back to the shav langauge. After a moment, the one that spoke nods. "We will." And they climb down the tree. It's a risk they are willing to take with the wolf gone for the moment.

After stepping back to give them room to come down, Fecundo looks to Miranda and the others a moment before looking back to the speaker for the group, "How long have you had issues with the wolves? Is that recent?" His weapons are shethed and he looks to be trying to put them at ease.

Lou GM Roll checked composure(3) at difficulty 10, rolling 3 lower.

"Name is Drake," the one that spoke before names himself. Drake takes in Fecundo and the rest of the party a moment and frowns at those still wielding weapons. The ones behind him stay wary, not at all ready to trust these people who are clearing 'silks' from the looks of them. "Wolf problems started a month back. Maybe longer. Eating the game, or scaring them away. Food's scarce." This also tracks with the missive that was sent to Gemecitta. It takes time to travel south.

Harlex studies the woods for a time and maybe notices those wary glances from the shav coming down to meet the others. Its obvious enough they aren't very thrilled with the encounter. So, for the sake of it, he sheathes his weapon. A small breath from his nostrils with a tine of agitation.

Razz is sheathed while Miranda remains alert. She's not eager to fight, and lets her brother work his "magic" while she looks about. She watches the others, listening for the moment.

Fecundo glances back the way they came, "Looks like you managed to take one down....maybe harm a second. More than the two?" He looks back to the speaker again, hands where they can be seen. He looks over the group and frowns, speaking in a concerned tone, "How many did you lose?"

Reese seems to believe that they are safe! The girl is a warrior, but she is a princess and no wolf. She is letting her guard down and everything. She coos at the horses. Reese then looks to Miranda. "Too soon?" She says and looks around as if searching for wolves once again.

Vitalis fans out further, still mounted, keeping a watch over the woods and on his compatriots and the uneasy shav'arvani. Negotiations aren't his strength, so he sticks to what he does best - being watchful. In the interests of setting folks at ease, he does reaffix Enimga to his hip.

Second best.

Reese sheathes her weapon as well and sucks in a soft breath. She gives Drake a polite and yet still somber smile of greeting. "So there could a be a pack of them." She muses

Once the weapons are put away, the shav'arvani friends of Drake seem more at ease. They come closer to the party, to stand vigil for Drake. Or, maybe, in case he can protect them better. He's the clear leader of the group. And Drake's friends? Are a young, ragtag group, probably not more than 18 or 19 in age. Drake seems a bit older. He looks from person to person who speaks, taking his time in making sure he gets the language right. He mostly speaks in his native pidgin with his fellows usually. Not much call for him to speak Arvani even if he knows it. "We took down one, and harmed the other, though the livestock harmed it more." He motions to where the animals went through the woods, giving the woods an annoyed look for a moment. They'll have to find the 'food' again, if the wolves haven't found it first. Could be where the one that was harmed got off to, to find a meal. Or, find a pack to get a meal. He turns back to Fecundo, and glances to Reese, and nods. "There's more. Many more. More than we can handle. Whenever we send a hunting party out, it's never certain if they'll return. They are stronger, faster."

Miranda glances towards the forest as Fecundo and Drake speak. She frowns a bit, listening. More abyssal wolves? Swell. She nods a little and murmurs, "Time to cull that herd."

A deep breath is taken by Fecundo and his frown deepens slightly as he looks over who remains, "Is this all of you or are there more? Someplace that can be protected for a time while the wolves are hunted? Do you have any injured that need care?"

"Many more..." Reese says and then looks toward Miranda, giving her a nod of agreement. "Sounds like it, Lady Miranda." She looks somber and no longer relieved.

Harlex steps toward Miranda and the others, observing this ragtag band of tribals. "Don't forget what brought us here," he notes. "We'll hunt down the wolves, try to drive them away from the woods. But," he looks to Drake and the others, "When its through, we'll need you folks to broker peace with Alexandri. They took a hit, from your raids. Though I don't blame you for lookin' out for your kin. Just the way of things."

Vitalis is still patrolling, keeping only a cursory ear on the proceedings with the shav'arvani. He does catch the bit about 'more wolves' and keeps at walking the perimeter, looking for tracks or blood that might lead them to where the beast holed up.

Again, the younger shavs givin the Arvani wary looks when they start asking about their home. Drake quells them a bit, seeming to understand this. "We knew the risks. Our people were starving. We took a chance. We're willing to talk, if help can be given. But the talks must go through Ashala. She is our leader." He looks over his shoulder, back to the woods, then back to the group. "Our village is another few hours yet. Through the woods. We know where they keep the den, but it's getting dark and ... well, it's better to lose the livestock we went for than to become food ourselves," he warns. "We will feed and house you tonight, if you decide to stay. You will be safe, I promise. My mother is Ashala, and I speak for her." Which might explain the deference of the younger ones. They don't look too keen on the idea of hunting wolves in the dark. And, it is getting late.

Vitalis is overheard praising Miranda: Steady as she goes.

Reese is overheard praising Miranda: Take care of her people in her house!

Miranda nods a little bit. "It seems to me that this is a case of the two villages were fine until the abyssal wolves came. But, instead of talking, it became theft and some trouble. Still, I think even the village leaders wouldn't blame these folk for trying to survive. But the wolves will need a plan and removal somehow." She nods to Drake, "I think it's safe to say we should continue and accept your Hospitality, Drake. Plus, I'd feel better knowing you got home safely."

Vitalis wheels his mount when the younger men seem to be inviting them to stay. "We should see if we can round up those animals. Where's the nearest water source?" Hopefully not towards where the wolves are? Also, Vitalis can simply track the lot of them. "It's worth a shot." He eyes the darkening sky.

Harlex looks between the others and then Drake. He nods, still mounted atop his horse. "History is on their side," he tells Miranda, "That talkin' wouldn't have done much good." The swordsman nods in gratitude to the group. "Let's get on then. Whatever we choose to do."

Miranda moves to her horse, taking the reins from Reese, "Perhaps, Captain. I'm not judging. I don't blame them for doing what they needed to survive. And most would have ignored their cries for help because they're not part of the compact." She swings up onto her horse, "I'm not one of those people." She looks to the group, counting heads to see if they can carry a few on their horses?

Drake shoots a look between Miranda and Harlex. He nods to Miranda first. "We will guide you there, and you will be safe in our encampment. No harm will come to you, as hospitality dictates." Which might mean they know a bit of the Gods themselves, and would not invoke such traditions had they not. Even if they are shav'arvani. Most have roots in the same faiths as the Compact. He turns back to Harlex and nods his agreement. "We would have asked for trade, but we know it to be illegal in the Compact. We did what we needed to survive." He gives Vitalis a grateful look. "We appreciate and accept the offer of help," he tells the man. Once the chatting is done though, he whispers to his fellows, and then they start to lead the way to their encampment.

Reese allows Miranda to take back her horse. She gives her a somber smile. "I am all for getting tainted wolves." She says to the others, seemingly willing to go along.

Vitalis draws rein, brow furrowing as he looks behind them towards where they found the dead shav'arvani and the wolf corpse. He switches to their preferered tongue, "Your brother..." The words are similar enough, and the sentiment, it doesn't need translating.

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