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Winter Explorer's Tests

Interested in joining the Society of Explorers? The entrance exams are a mock adventure in the Gray Forest, testing your skills in wilderness survival, combat, and problem solving. No talent at fighting? No problem, the actual risk is only to your pride if you can't find a way to defeat the dreaded shav threat creatively! There may be warming brandy and deadly perils on hand.


May 8, 2019, 8:15 p.m.

Hosted By



Waldemai Ysabel Merek Pharamond Braden(RIP) Rhiannon



Outside Arx - Crownlands near Arx - A Clearing in the Grey Forest

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Braden wields Ebony Steel Broadsword.

Ysabel wields an ornamental twining blade dagger with sheath.

Waldemai is terribly late because he is terribly lost. This does not bode well for his future as an explorer.

Ysabel is here paitently awaiting the start of the exaim

Outside Arx, the temperamental winter weather presents a certain edge to the frosty wonderland. Staggered pines mingle with the oaks and maples, rank on rank of static sentinels await their orders from Petrichor. Upraised boughs bear a heavy sheet of ice and worn snow in a thick, hoary mantle. Flakes blowing about reduce visibility somewhat, making it impossible to see across an open clearing but not quite inhibiting things at a nearer distance. Fortunately a large green tent at the edge of the wooded stand provides an excellent vantage point, multiple braziers affording warmth to those in need. Chips of cedar lend a pleasant fragrance. Three Explorers check tarps and look over prospective candidates, giving recommendations for adjusting packs, fixing up boots where pants come untucked, and those other little issues that can turn a pleasant walk in the woods to a miserable slog of wet wool, frostbitten toes, and bear maulings.

Delilah, as the First Seeker, takes responsibility for perching on a crate and going down a final checklist. She nods to the rangy Lycene Explorer beside her, tapping on the page. "Here, and here. They were spotted this far in?" she asks. "I suppose now's better a time than any to demonstrate skills and take care of it without calling in my cousin and his people. All right." She unfolds her legs, swinging around to stand in front of the cart. A nod and the Lycene puts his fingers to his mouth, whistling long and sharp. Another chirp answers and one of the rangers comes trotting in. "Everyone testing! Aspirant explorers!" calls the copper-haired girl. "Come on in, and let's give you the debrief before we set out. Last chance to run away and be bored for a night!"

Vagari - Cinder Kitten arrives, delivering a message to Delilah before departing.

Waldemai didn't hike all this way through the cold and snow to NOT hear what the story is. "Let's go," he says. He does have a scarf against the cold, and a hammer should the opportunity to hammer something arise.

Merek has made his way to assist, palm upon hilt of weapon while his cloak is shifted about him, hood up. He is listening from the trees on edge of the clearing, while he watches the snowscape towards the others listening to Delilah.

Pharamond makes his way in, a pleasant smile on his face. "Lord Laurent, you're looking a bit better than last time I saw you. You just may be of service today," he says with a good natured tone, keeping his blade pointed downwards as he enters, the shiny metal reflecting the light of torches and braziers. He looks over to the others as well before nodding warmly enough in greeting, despite the cold weather. His cheeks are a bit flushed from either the heat or the chill, it's hard to say, and he waits to hear what they're going to be dealing with.

Braden stands up frop where ever he was sitting as Delilah calls for them. The sound of his armor made so, so much worse in the cold. Also. No one should lick him. He makes his way over to the tent Delilah is calling them in to. "Lord Ashford. I should hope so. I am not sure how cold it needs to be to make steel brittle, but I feel we are approaching that point."

"I am ready," Ysabel says brightly. Today she is in suitable explorer looking winter clothing and has a dagger ready in case she needs it

"I've had reports about an ambush on a settlement about an hour away," Delilah says, tapping her crumpled message in hand. "I originally planned for a run through the forest, but how better to prove your competency than by rescuing a few foresters and farmers?" The uptilted edge of her smile conveys a certain feline edge. "We are headed to a fairly remote part of the Gray Forest. It doesn't even count as a hamlet, and we've little better than a trail off the main road. Abandoned struck, according to the scout's report. If we move quickly enough, the snow might not cover the signs of where they went and where they originated from. The Abandoned might still be about, though I haven't quality intelligence to suggest one way or the other. We had reports of a group calling themselves the Winter Wolves robbing caches and farms, which isn't uncommon at this time of year. Encountering people who put up a fight? That's something else."

Light-footed all the same, she tightens her cloak after looping buttons quickly up to her collar. The adjustment is barely necessary, but pulling a hood over her head helps. Her bow and quiver aren't far from hand, strung over her back. "One of you," a nod to the others, "will read the map to get us there quickly, and I can double-check your work. As we go, we'll set the pace and I want another of you as our ranging eyes and ears, keeping an eye out for anything unusual. Once we get close, we can decide together how to proceed."

Waldemai smiles and takes the hammer from his belt. "Glad I didn't lug this all this way for nothing."

Ysabel checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 16 higher.

Pharamond nods, "Sounds like fun," he says with a chuckle. "Won't it be neat to surprise a few people who were expecting an easy enough bit of pickings of some little farm or a few small cottages to find us waiting, or coming up behind them. Whatever is needed," he seems to say pleasantly and he looks to the team. "I'll try my hand at whatever you all want me to do." He seems pretty comfortable, relaxed, even with the thought of potential combat in snow coming.

Braden glances a bit at pharamond, "I have read a number of maps in my day. I can give it a look?" He says... he also never said he read them right.

Braden checked wits + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 12 higher.

Merek slides back into the tree, while he begins to take position where he can keep track of the people for Delilah, his cloak shifted about as he makes through the snow.

Ysabel while Braden is busy reading the map, Ysabel seems to find the road easily, her sky blue eyes focused as the study the road as she follows it to a fork in the road turning to look down the path leading north and awaiting the others to join her

Waldemai has the hammer ready, and is not even glancing at the map. "Can't read a word," he explains. "Just point me where you want me to go."

Along with Merek, another three Explorers accompany Delilah; the rangy Lycene, the ranger, and a man in a patchwork cloak who probably doubles as a lumberjack, woodcutter, and carpenter in the appropriate seasons. He holds back whereas Delilah stays near the front of the group, giving them room to direct her as necessary. Conversation over an hour simmers right down, limited from her largely to confirm the right way to go. It takes a bit of time to leave the Arvian walls out of sight, and then the trees take over, a wall of them that cloaks the continent in a primeval blanket undisturbed by many human presences. Except for them, of course. The road is solid, though, ruts frozen, and the visitors bound for the city are few and far between. Surprise, traveling in the snow sort of sucks, especially when it blows to get in your eyes. Ouch.

Looking for the road isn't her job, not precisely. "Cottages? Think cabins, these are rough outposts. People accept they're living on a frontier," she quietly tells Pharamond, "but they wouldn't have much. Sometimes a bit of food or a weapon is enough, though.

Braden looks around squinting. He points over at a fallen pine tree. "That way." He grins a bit. "No telling after that. Hopefully we will figure out...." He looks back to the group, "Follow me. Don't get shot.... Baroness you stay close please?"

Pharamond would stand off to one side. He's keeping an eye out for things that might stand out - scent of smoke, things in the trees that look like places to stay or makeshift watches, hints of caves or things where folks might make a home if they're trying to hide from people with real establishments. Just things to help them avoid getting surprised while they're out here. Otherwise his feet crunch softly in the snow, the leather soles and such. " folks who don't have much, when you see walled and protected warmth you're going ot assume there's something there. If they can keep things burning and warm through the winter, then they're better off mor ethan likely than the people doing the attacking. Though if that's their target I'd assume they can't be -that- talented. it is probalby more a case of the being good given their circumstances..." He chats quietly, while following the map readers.

Merek checked intellect + war at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.

Ysabel rolls her eyes at Braden and says, "You are so boring. Fine!" Ysabel crosses her arms as she stands at the fork in the road

The snowy slog through the little crooked path hacked into the trees is like being in a Lowers back alley compared to the Judgment Green. Not much by way of 'road' applies. A lane wide enough for a horse hauling a load of lumber is hemmed in by pine boughs, bushes that scratch, and the occasional boulder. Ruts groove the path, frozen solid this late into the winter, so footfalls can be treacherous. Boughs whack unprotected shoulders, the bad attempts to hack back the forest limited at best. At least the canopy absorbs the snowfall somewhat, but the dim lighting even on a cloudy day keeps the state of twilight rather focused. Up ahead, Ysabel can make out a hulking, low shape blocking the way as the path threatens to veer downwards. Forests aren't flat, and the slope is a rather steep one.

Pharamond checked wits + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.

Merek listens to what is said by Delilah, while he makes his way up the path to do something with some ice. He manages to do what he was doing, but somehow steps onto the ice and spirals to a spin on the ice while he begins to roll away! Oh no, who can save him!

Waldemai checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.

Waldemai isn't literate, but he is light on his feet. "Here," he says. "This is something I can handle." Leaving his hammer saide so it doesn't throw him off balance, he crosses the ice carefully, sliding his feet forward but not putting weight on them until he's sure his footing is solid.

Crack! The shivering slip by Merek throws snow into the air, a fairly hefty amount crashing down. Sound carries through the eerie stillness of the woods, dissipating off into the distance. Delilah draws up to a halt, considering the great, hefty giant of a tree fallen sometime in a recent season. A spiderweb of its roots stick out taller than two men on their heads, and the long beam of the scarred trunk impedes the path, stretching out considerably wider beyond that. Some kind of spiderwebbed silver finish lies against the deeply grooved bark, the snow gathering in the deep runnels. Given its height, even on its side, just climbing over the tree isn't really an easy thing. It has branches still, the unbroken ones sticking up their 'arms' defiantly to the sky in a final spooky tree fist-shake.

Braden checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 23 higher.

Braden climbs his ass right up that tree. No thoughts. No questions. Just climb the tree. He had read the map.. landmarks are in short supply. You need to see what is going on. Amazingly enough. He climbs that tree in his armor. He must be supremely used to wearing it... He shouts down "HEY I SEE A THING!"

Marigold, a cheeky pygmy goat arrives, delivering a message to Braden before departing.

Merek is caught by Waldemai, and blinks a bit. He then nods to him, "Thank you," he says, bowwing. He then makes his way on to follow with Delilah to see what other shenanigans he can do tyo assist.

"Anyone better than me at archery? We could shoot a bit of rope into a tree there, tie it off here, and then pull ourselves over and drop down on the other side. WE could try to move the tree but it's a bit big. Looks too thick to try to use that hammer to break through," he says, walking up to the tree and demonstrating it's side. "Rope ladder/swing/climbing is about the best idea I have unless other people have another suggestion?"

Pharamond says Pharamond.

Braden yells down, "Climb it?"

Waldemai checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 6 higher.

Pharamond checked wits + war at difficulty 20, rolling 9 higher.

Waldemai grunts as he looks at the tree. "I think I can just climb over that." He unwinds the scarf and tosses it next to the hammer...don't want the scarf to catch on something if he falls. "Arr...ugh," he grunts as he hauls himself over the thing. Still, he is a blacksmith...

Waldemai gets himself up. "It's really slippery," he calls back before looking off, squinting a bit. Muscle is a requirement for a blacksmith but not long distance vision. "Hey, there's something over there! Is that what you meant?" he asks Braden.

Braden nods to Waldemai, "Wanna go check it out while these guys figure this out? Could be dangerous. Should be fun."

Ysabel checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 8 lower.

"It looked too slippery, and we saw what happened to Merek there when he slipped on the ice," or so his examination of the tree. "Yeah...I'm looking at this and this obviously didn't fall by itself. It's way too healthy of a tree. Come on...let's go ahead and get this rope tied off and use it to get over. I'm an Ashford...trees are what we do." He looks over then to Ysabel. "How's your archery?"

Delilah GM Roll checked strength(3) + athletics(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 17 higher.

"Not good, I am better with books and people then archery," Ysabel admits, struggling to try to climb the tree and managing to wind up getting covered in scratches

Waldemai looks over at the lump and then down the far side of the tree. "I don't think I can go back for my hammer, so if there's something that gives us trouble I'll just have to punch it, I guess," he tells Braden.

Merek nods a bit to Delilah, while he watches the others. He moves forward a bit to look at things also.

Ysabel checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Pharamond nods and then grins, "How about your knot tying?" He chuckles a little bit more, "You good with a rope, or laces? I'm sure you've worn a fancy dress that needed to be knotted and laced up?" He winks, holding out the bit of rope and pointing to a standing tree, he says, "If you want to tie this off then I'll shoot the arrow over so we can use it to get across?"

Snow continues to fall. The great fallen tree continues to glisten lightly in the wan light, and those atop it shouldn't be too comfortable. That's a heck of a slope going down precipitously just beyond. Once someone reaches the top it is easy enough to see the way the trail drunkenly weaves around the trees and reaches a dip, bending a little to the natural landscape. There's a mound dusted in a fair bit of snow there, making the rather long, low shape hard to distinguish.

Braden pulls a dagger from a sheathe on his breastplate and hands it over to Waldemai. "Stay here and watch these guys with Lord Ashford please then? I will go check it out."

The ranger accompanying the little party steps in to offer her gloved hands as a handhold to boost Ysabel up. "You're going to want to reach for the branch and get a good grip. Then put your foot on the opposite side. See, feel it out. Left side, right side. Don't put your weight full down until you have a firm grip." Sooner or later, with guidance and the occasional helpful yank or nudge, she gets Ysabel to the top.

Waldemai takes the dagger, which he handles inexpertly, and nods. "It's a plan. If there's trouble, we can come get you."

Braden FINALLY pulls his sword out and heads in the direction of the object he and Waldemai saw.

Pharamond goes back real quick and picks up the previously dropped hammer and walking to the tree he grabs it and with two hands, he calls, "Look out on the other side of this tree!" He calls it out, and with two hands, is going to throw it over so that Waldemai can pick it up. THe man shouldn't be without his weapon. And so he goes ahead and strts to climb over the tree.

Pharamond checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 34 higher.

Ysabel is a bit out of breathe and beaten up as she reaches the top. She gives Delilah a thankful look and waits to see what will be happening next

Waldemai points out the lump Braden is heading toward to the others as the get past the tree.

Apparently Pharamond is some kind of gray-back sylvan spider, for once he puts the sword away, he demonstrates that slow and steady ascent wins the race. It also helps to have good boots as he overcomes the tree.

Beyond lies that snowy path that Braden tramps over. Getting down is much easier than going up, for what it's worth. While he and Waldemai proceed forward, the bushes rustle where Delilah and her very small entourage of two go the long way around, wading through bilberry and strangle-fern with an unfair lightness of foot and being.

Pharamond picks up the Hammer, and wields his sword again now tha the's over, and he starts to follow after. He spies the folks up ahead and he stays back, ready to act, and ready to hand Waldemai his weapon again should they get close. But as people have seemingly paired off, his strong blade is out again, ready to hep protect.

Ysabel checked intellect + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.

Braden checked strength + huge wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 6 lower.

Waldemai calls out, "Maybe a tree branch as a lever or something?"

Ysabel eases herself down to join the others. She keeps close to the people with biggger weapons than hers but keeps her dagger handy just in case

Braden:tries that, but fails to move it. "I am not used to working with such large pieces of wood. Someone else try."

Pharamond hands Waldemai his hammer again, as they're approaching, "Or some heavy ass weapon," he says with a grin and hands the man back his tool and looks to the others, spying the item in the snow and being ready. Smiling he points to the mound, "Baroness, got any ideas what that is?"

"Ummm yea it is a broken cart and I think there is a body in it," Ysabel says, wrinkling her nose and pointing out the shape of a body. "It looks like it was headed towards Arx," she adds

Behold the terrifying wonders of... a rather humble cart, the sort owned by rather poor people who subsist on hacking their living out of a forest overrun by the occasional shav, bandit, evil bear, and money-grubbing silk. The snow covering the sides and the seat indicate it's been here for a bit. An axle is snapped on the rutted road. Whatever load was hidden under its tarp is long gone, but not the arm in leather and wool sticking out at a funny angle. It clearly happens to be human. No blood and no signs of damage otherwise.

Waldemai slides the hammer into his belt. "Thank you, my lord," he says, eyeing the cart. "I might be able to do something about that axle, but that arm..." He shakes his head.

Pharamond looks to it, "I'm not sure we need to? If we can go around it...unless there's something that identifies who this belonged to, it seems to me the note to take away here as we continue is that yes, there is violence and thievery out here so we should be on guard and, hopefully, if we see what appear to be any shipments of something." He looks over, "Anyone able to tell maybe what they were carrying? Perhaps if we find it we can get it back to the family."

Pharamond checked wits + medicine at difficulty 20, rolling 12 lower.

Waldemai checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 20, rolling 10 lower.

Merek has rolled a critical success!
Merek checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 20, rolling 35 higher.

Waldemai is doubly sure he can't do anything about the arm now. "Nope. I'll look for a log or something, about that axle."

Ysabel checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 20, rolling 30 higher.

"Wait he is not dead," Ysabel exclaims. She begins to look over the poor man and with Merek's help they get him concious enough to start talkinging

Merek walks with the others, then when he sees the others aren't doing to well, he rubs at his light beard in thought. He does note that Ysabel manages well enough, and nods, while he writes a few notes for them to read after it all. "Yes, he should be fine, with the shift of his body and movement, he's semi-conscious, he possibly has a few fractures, but nothing that a bit of setting wouldn't work well with, you will need to handle the humors to transport him, likely a comfrey and marigold ointment would assist in any issues with the muscles that are there."

Braden looks around "Need me to carry him?"

Pharamond lets out a low whistle. "Well I'll be damned," he says, looking to the others. "I was pretty sure he was dead as a ... well something dead," says Pharamond, pulling his cloak tighter a moment as they've been out a while. He keeps his weapon sort of hidden under it, the blade tending to catch even a little bit of light and he preferring not to advertise their presence any more. Especially given that deliberately fallen tree. He's fairly confident there are eyes somewhere out there.

A bit of work on Merek and Ysabel's part to rehabilitate the poor woodcutter sprawled in the cart is necessary. Clearly quite cold, he weakly chatters and paws at Ysabel's shirt without much seeing her. It's aimed around her shoulder. "Ma..." Coughing rather throatily, he repeats himself. "My boy. Took my boy. You need to run, isn't safe to be out." His repeated warning is given with somewhat greater stength though the man is reduced to mumbling. "They must be in the woods. Never saw them coming, not at all. A pack of them, following us. Had to be. Ellis and his wife didn't have no chance."

Ysabel moves to wrap the man in her fur-lined cloak. "Shh it will be ok, save your strength," Ysabel tells the man, a frowning look of concern on her face

Merek looks over to Delilah, then he offers a nod, while he makes his way back into his trees position. There's a rustle, and he's off to observing, that is, if he's even there anymore, while he takes his time to check on the path ahead also.

Waldemai listens to that. "Now I'm glad I have that hammer," he says, grimly. "I can try to carry the poor fellow if we don't want to leave him behind."

Braden hmms and looks to Pharamond and Waldemai while Ysabel speaks to the man. "I am gonna scout ahead."

Merek checked intellect + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Pharamond hears that and he doesn't care about the light anymore. "How about those good at combat, one to the front and one to the back around the injured here," he intones. "The other two of us on either side but while this is a test, we don't need to be reckless about it . No reason not to take this warning and make sure that those who should be covered are," he says, looking to Braden. He seems to not like the idea but he's not in charge of the man. "Be careful. You've got some non-combatants back here that will need that sword of yours and the Baron's lessons he's been beating into you," offers the Ashford Sword with a little more amusement. "I still want everyone who isn't the best closer to the middle, and -everyone- around the injured there unless people object."

"Raffaele," Delilah gestures to the rangy Lycene haunting behind her. "You and Sir Merek work together to get him back to safety. We have provisions on the road. With Shayla and Ollin, I feel safe enough continuing on. We won't take chances. Let's get him out of here." She gestures and leaves room for Raffaele to negotiate the best way to help the staggered, woozy man back to his feet and supported in a slow tramp back to the road. It's not going to be a fast walk but a safe one.

She nods smartly to Merek and then turns back to Pharamond. "Excellent. That means me in the middle, of course." Her bow unslung from her back, she gestures to Braden. "You led before, will you do so again? The sooner we get on our way, the likelier we'll be to find any idea of who did this. I've not seen enough to confirm if it's bandits or an opportunistic tribe."

Merek also assists the man away before he keeps up with the others.

Pharamond is overheard praising Ysabel: For bringing the dead to life...ish!

Rhiannon checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 44 higher.

Merek checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.

Ysabel now that the man is being taken to safety she peers arouhd

Ysabel checked perception + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.

Braden nods to Delilah, "As you wish Duchess. Stay at least twenty paces back and watch my hand signals." And with that he crouches down a little and starts to lead on.

Braden checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 1 higher.

Braden has rolled a critical success!
Braden checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.

The forest path sweeps ahead of the cart and it doesn't look good. Broken boughs, fallen leaves. Patches welded together into an icy concoction makes footing treacherous, and it's not easy to see as the snow builds up. Its serpentine curves weave with the natural dip and rise of the landscape. True to the warning about "them in the woods" from the injured farmer, the woodlands are eerily still in the way of winter. Muffled noises from the veil of snow amplify those nearer at hand. The air is so cold it hurts, searing into the lungs. Oxygen blown out gathers in misty plumes. Braden can identify something odd as they go along; trees are marked with silvery scratches, like cobwebs. Except their height varies back and forth, sometimes high, sometimes low. It takes effort to spot them, but they're in a definite pattern out there.

Delilah pulls her hood lower and thumbs the oiled string of her bow, comforted by its presence as the exquisitely glossy creation with its odd iridescent finish speaks to highly unusual craftsmanship. It's not a normal wooden bow at all.

Waldemai checked intellect + linguistics at difficulty 20, rolling 1 lower.

Braden stops and squints at the things he sees. He can see they are not normal... but he is not... brilliant so he waves everyone over to get a closer look.

Braden checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 15 higher.

Waldemai goes up to try and examine the silvery things. He shakes his head. "Shavs done something...something to do with winter, maybe?" He shakes his head. "Can';t read this no more than anything else."

Pharamond doesn't even try. He looks over to it and he can't help but chuckle a little bit, though as they're at different heights, he purses his lips. "Any chance they're signals of where trpas or things may be? Wehether one should duck or something else?" He grins that curious smile as he looks over. He's quiet as he asks though, staying ready to defend folks.

An arrow comes shooting out from nowhere. It zips past the tree closest to the cart and right over Braden's head. It thunks into a tree, wedging itself in solidly. The feathers at the end continue to vibrate with that solid hit. Another one comes shooting out, wedging into the ground at the side of the cart.

Braden ducks, reactionary, "WHO THE FUCK IS SHOOTING ME"

Merek has rolled 1 4-sided dice: 1

Ysabel moves to check the silvery things and inspects the writing curiously. Ysabel notices an arrow flying and burying into the cart. She points in the direction the arrow came from. ?Shhh, yelling does not help,? Ysabel says

Waldemai ducks, making himself an even smaller target, and grips his hammer tightly, wrapping the thong on its shaft around his wrist.

Before anyone can see what is happening, a man in white snow upon his dark cloak is behind Waldemai. A black blade with scarlet and orange runes upon it is placed up to him while an arm wraps about him. His features can't be seen as he does. "Drop the hammer," a dark voice tells him, one that isn't too familiar. Looks like ducking and focusing in direction of that arrow wasn't working well for him now.

Braden drops to a knee as a large iron trap snaps around his right ankle and lets out a muted yell of pain... more of an "ERRRRRRR" through his teeth.

When it comes to arrows whizzing in, Delilah's answer is to dart behind a tree, leaving a frisson of crystals in the air behind her. Two can play at that game! And besides, she is far from the vengeful dryad that an Ashford heiress tends to be.

Ysabel checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 3 lower.

Rhiannon checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.

Pharamond calls out, "Traps..." he says, not super loudly but he nods. His eyes now turn as the trap is confirmed when *CHINK that sound of the iron trap hits Braden and then behind Waldemai there's another man, PHaramond does what Pharamonds do. He decides to be a bit larger than life. If it's terror tactics that the bandits rely on, then Pharamond will turn it into a show. He steps forward from where he is, holding his one blade out, and he turns around, "Come on then," he says. "Don't leave me standing here with no one to dance with." He even points his blade towards the one behind Waldemai, directly challenging the runed man. Or at least, hoping to distract him some.

Delilah GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + archery(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

Waldemai sticks his arm in the air, letting the hammer dangle free. "The thong is wrapped around my wrist," he says immediately. "I'll have to untie it."

Braden checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

Ysabel tosses her dagger as more of a distraction then much else it is clear Ysabel just surrenders and shows her empty hands

Another arrow goes shooting past Pharamond's head, thunking into a tree trunk dangerously close to him. The faint whistle of its feathers as it sang past was barely loud enough to realize. There is no other response to the Ashford Sword's challenge, however. Nothing visible.

An arrow goes flying through the air on a shrill, howling high pitch of winter wind. A moment later it slams into the ground just short of Ysabel, quivering violently. The rough shaft ends in speckled white feathers, the whole of it a ghostly apparition. It stands between Pharamond and the baroness, a clear indication of opinion. Another arrow screams from an oblique angle, smacking into the earth short of the Ashford sword's boots. It scuds off the icy ground and spins round and round.

Merek checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

Waldemai checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 7 higher.

The hilt and then flat of the sword strikes Waldemai's side, then his back, as he's pushed away by the 'shav'. The man twirls the weapon then he points the sword to Ysabel as well as the man with the hammer, motioning to him self, "Let's dance," the dark voice says, while he flicks a wrist to Phara, motioning lightly to his companion that is caught in a trap as well as the arrow shooters.

Ysabel checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.

Waldemai checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 49 higher.

Merek checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.

Rhiannon checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 49 higher.

Pharamond checked charm + intimidation at difficulty 20, rolling 5 higher.

Pharamond looks to Ysabel. "Tend to him," he says, pointing to Braden, since she has chosen not to fight just yet. And then he sort of mouths but doesn't mouth, through the playfully gritted teeth...<<and pick up your knife.>> Yes, the archers are goign to be an issue. But he'll have to count on his luck and his armor. He starts to move to flank the man with the strange blade, now that Waldemai's been pushed away. He's even got that blade out, that bright shiny blade.

Braden Braden was getting pulled right up in to a tree with a snare trap. But either luck or skill or instinct kicks in and he gets about 8 feet in the air he cuts the rope. a loud "ACK!" comes out of him as he starts to fall. But once again.... luck or something... he lands on his feet and looks for the shooters.

Delilah GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + archery(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 1 lower.

Ysabel flutters her eyelashes at the man. "I would love to dance with you but I am not sure this is the place," Ysabel says, her hands show she surrenders as she makes her way over to Braden

Braden checked perception + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 12 lower.

Another arrow goes flying past Pharamond, and manages to nick the ground convincingly before it breaks in two. Take that, ground!

Waldemai is lucky to be pushed away, and doubly lucky that his throat isn't cut! He uses the thing to flip the hammer into his hand and starts to whirl it, getting some good speed on the head, and then moves in on the swordsman, "Just like the Sip 'n' Spar," he mutters. "Hammer against sword."

Ysabel checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 20, rolling 18 higher.

Pharamond checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 9 higher.

Merek checked intellect + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.

As the man takes a clean hit from the hammer, it looks like he might come back at the hammer wielding Waldemai. Except, his next move is to take his sword to slash into a fair sized branch in the way of the man while he swirls his cloak to fluff snow into his face. Then he maneuvers away whether it succeeds or not fully.

Pharamond turns to throw his dagger after that last arrow from where he thought the last one was fired from. However, it stays unbloodied, as it goes into the dirt, not finding its target. He continues to look around about them, moving over to cover Ysabel and Bradennow as they try to take care of the man who got hurt in the trap. He's uninjured for now, will attempt to cover them while Waldemai handles the man with the blade.

Braden can't see people shooting the arrows, but he can tell the arrows are coming from a specific direction. That is enough. He pushes a pin and slams his visor down on his helmet. Then he is off in the general direction of the arrows. Sword held up with both hands.

Ysabel checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 8 lower.

Delilah remains firmly hidden behind the thicket of trees. Arrows wail and shriek through the path, striking into the undergrowth and pummeling the earth as they keep pressing in on Pharamond. He made himself an open target, he is certain to be dealt a blow.

Braden manages to land on his feet and take a shot into the woods, but no telling if he manages to actively hit one of the bandits that move like ghosts. Their peer there on the ground is the only one visible, but the archers make effective work with hit and run tactics. Imploring them hasn't stopped Ysabel from being at the heart of the conflict, and the missiles rain down with the unsettling noise and terrifying effect. The snap of Merek's cloak flings snow into the air, a flash of icy crystals billowing right into Ysabel's face.

Waldemai checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 9 higher.

Ysabel shields her face but is covered in snow. Ysabel shakes herself and keeps close to Lord Braden still more so trying her hardest to keep herself out of the combat if she can

Merek seems to think a moment, then he takes his cloak to shift it about him, using the snow distraction to retreat back from combat with the others while he moves away also.

The archer off in the trees shoots another arrow around Braden's head. The blade thunks into a tree, but there's no reaction from the archer that's visible. Even Braden's hunting and searching doesn't find anything before the archer is melted back into the trees again, no imminent arrows on the way.

Delilah checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.

Retreat is the sound of whispering cloaks and cracking ice. It's the moaning hue of a winter's evening. Delilah emerges like a shade from among the silver trunks and wipes off the crystals of snow gathered around the halo of her hood. "Hie! There's some kind of tracks up ahead. Lord Pharamond, get them up and going. You're in!" A swift flick of her wrist calls the Ashford to it. "Messire Waldemai, guard the baroness as we come in. Lord Braden, our route is this way!"

She's bloody fast when she wants to be, and following her dusky attire is no easy feat, especially as she melts into the surrounding undergrowth where plants and trees form a lattice around a forbidding cave.

Waldemai is thrilled that someone told him what to do! He moves between Ysabel and their assailant, hammer whirling in a circle. "I'm with you, Baroness," he tells her, not looking back.

Braden takes a moment to catch his breath and look around... Well he is a little lost... But the arrows stopped shooting the party right? Fair trade... He turns when he hears the Duchess shout, so he starts making his way in that direction, but forward, to meet them as they head up the road. "On my way!" He shouts.

Ysabel casts Waldemai a grateful look and says, "Thanks. I don't think he much liked my charm," Ysabel says lightly

Pharamond nods, as he makes sure folks are getting going. "Let's move it. Before we end up being Shav pin cushions a second time," he says, gesturing. He does go pick up Ysabel's dagger so that it's not forgotten, holding it out to the woman as he looks to Braden. "Let's go, folks. We've got our orders." He's...still grinning. And remarkably unhrut so far which isn't the worst thing for him. And so he keeps the group moving forward as Braden and Delilah set the way once more. He may be older, but he's at least in shape, seeming ready to keep going, the cool air and his warm breath hanging in the evening winter air.

Braden clanks his visor back up as he looks to the group as he is watching. "You have to charge archers or they can shoot you all day." He is grinning too. He nods to Pharamond. He knows Pharamond knows, and was just busy. "Least they weren't very good shots."

Rhiannon melts out of the trees at the cave mouth. "Or they weren't actually trying to do real damage to you," says the Ashford Tree Scout Commander. "Trust me, if I'd been trying to draw blood, I would have." There is a little curve of her lips that's almost a smile. "Welcome back to 'relative' safety." She steps over to offer a handshake to Pharamond for finishing.. at least he's not ded.

Pharamond checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 39 higher.

Ysabel takes back her dagger. "Oh, hello Lady Rhiannon," Ysabel says as she keeps near the group

Pharamond grins as Rhiannon sneaks out and he laughs. "You..." he says with a chuckle. "no wonder we couldn't find you." He looks at Braden and laughs, "She's the only person I've ever seen who can shoot and you'd think that she has to be at one place or height and is actually able to disguise her shots. It's...ridiculous," he says simply and after shaking her hand hugs his cousin.

Merek pulls back his hood, while he walks up next to where Rhiannon is, "Well, surrendering is a useful tool, if you need to do it. But it's best not to throw your only weapon if you can work past that," he says. His light beard is covered in snow, and to Waldemai he bows, "Good hit," he adds.

Braden raises his helmet off as Rhiannon outs herself. He grins and rubs his beard. "So I see..." He looks to Pharamond, "You know this one?"

The cavern is a gash in the forest, a hint of a stony rise that opens into a jagged crevice. It's pretty apparent that someone might easily fit within the space. The height of the gap isn't terribly high. And as soon as Delilah reaches the cleared space within, the rangy Lycene tugs her arm and spins her around in a sharp twirl belonging to a dance floor and not the middle of a wood. He crows, "Captured you! The Winter Wolves prevail!"

One swift turn, and that leaves the duchess facing those following her. "Well done, everyone. Lord Braden, a rule of thumb, running into the woods is often a dangerous route to take against archers. Shav'arvani ambushes often have choke points and rely on a warrior with a melee weapon to be separated." She slings her wrist against her brow. "But you're welcome among us. Baroness Ysabel, very close. I would advise picking up a little in the way of tactics for combat. Attempting to beseech a bear not to attack you doesn't often work, but your skills for identifying trouble and medical talents are excellent. A little bit of practice and I think you'll be ready."

Pharamond is overheard praising Merek.

Pharamond is overheard praising Delilah.

Merek is overheard praising Ysabel.

Pharamond is overheard praising Rhiannon.

Merek is overheard praising Pharamond.

Merek is overheard praising Delilah.

Delilah is overheard praising Bonnie.

Merek is overheard praising Rhiannon.

Merek is overheard praising Braden.

Merek is overheard praising Waldemai.

Waldemai lets the hammer spin to a halt and tucks it in his belt. "Well, that was a testing test," he says. "A man could use a nice warm toddy after that."

Braden puts his helmet on Ysabel's head. "Hmmmm."

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