Nov. 24, 2019, 6 p.m.
Outside Arx - Lyceum near Granato - Tramonto Cove
Comments and Log
It is just past noon when the longship carrying the landing party beaches three quarters of a mile from Tramonto Cove. The sun beats down on all those aboard, but there is a cool sea breeze coming off the water. Leo, the Igniseri captain says to Quenia, "This seems to be the spot marked by Lady Ariella and the late Count, may the Queen keep his soul. The cove is just north along the sand, I believe. The cliff should give you cover from all eyes save those that might come from the sea, and you should see any ships before they see you." The other two crew members leap into the lapping waves, and steady the longboat to allow the landing party to disembark. "May Mangata watch over you," says Leo. "We'll be here until you return, and the rest of the flotilla isn't far. If we see you in trouble, we'll do what we can."
Quenia gives a short nod to the captain. "Thank you, Leo," she tells him, fidgeting a bit in her armor, which she's not all too used to wearing. She grins over at her cousin, "Ready to go explore some potential land for Igniseri?" She gathers up her own pack and supplies, and hoists them on her shoulder. This usually social butterfly definitely looks out of place in the wilds. "Those of you who can track and spot things, I ask that you keep your eyes sharp for anything dangerous. My own skills rely on finding things in books, not so much things in the wilderness," she tells them. "Let's go see what this place holds."
While on the ship, Ian traded his cane for a basket hilted sword that he wore at his hip, freeing both hands to hang onto things -- which he had to do, because his balance on the shifting deck is hilariously bad, especially for an Islesman, if he doesn't have his hands on something attached to the deck. But as they move to disembark, he exchanges his sword for his cane, and he also gets a... scarf... out of his bag. He doesn't wear it around his neck (because OMG the smell), but rather wears it looped at his hip like a whip. He scans the landscape before leaving the ship, first at ground level, and then at higher elevations.
Aethan has much better balance than his brother, as is probably understandable, giving their respective conditions. Other than that, they look very similar -- Aethan is what Ian will probably look like in 10 or 15 years. He has an axe strapped to his hip, and he looks around as well, his eyes narrowing just slightly as his brows draw together in a more thoughtful look.
Vitalis's hand lingers on the gunwale lips moving silently before he hits the wet sand, leaving squelching footprints in the sand. He nods at the captain and crew as he makes shore - his lute staying aboard, "Take good care of her," he grins. At Quenia's direction he fans out from Ian, eyes and ears sharp, absorbing the place, devouring it. Helmet tucked under his arm to better facilitate his efforts, he pads along. Not far.
The ground is covered in fine, golden sand. After about fifty yards, the sand gives way to broken rocks and other tidal debris, and then to a sharp incline some seventy feet up to the edge of a grass-covered cliff.
Tilting her head curiously when her cousin refers to his lute so affectionately, Alessia shrugs as she moves forth, her glaive strapped to her back. She glances around, scoping the surroundings much in the same way as her companions.
Quenia gives Ian's scarf a look, but wrinkles her nose when she catches a whiff of it. "Do I even want to know what that is for?" she quips lightly, giving Ian one of her famous Igniseri looks. She takes her time walking along the shoreline, making certain to carefully pick her way along the beach
Thea is stepping off the ship, quite comfortable for now. Helm tucked under her arm, her medical supplies tied to her one hip as well as her dagger. Thea's kopis is on her other hip. Her gold-flecked green eyes take in her environment just like the others.
"I don't know what it's for yet," Ian answers Quenia in a distracted tone. He scans the top of the cliff. "I don't think I'd be able to pick someone out against the sky up there, long as they stayed low. Bowshot is..." He looks along the beat. "Uh, pretty much the whole beach."
Vitalis checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 58 higher.
Quenia checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 2 lower.
"And to see what the story'll do for me back in Arx," Ariella replies with a roguish grin and a glance towards Quenia.
Save for a bright red sash and sheath, she's decked out in earth-toned leather armor. A saber hilt juts from the sheath, and once they're on land, her hand's never all that far from it. Wary, amber eyes dart about the party's surroundings as their first steps are made; hers are light enough to verge on balletic and ready to shift towards aggression at a moment's notice. Since Quenia's not /exactly/ used to wandering the wilderness, she doesn't stray far from the Marquessa.
Alessia checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.
Ian checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 24 higher.
Vitalis is careful to stay upwind of Ian and his scarf, looking back to the assemblage. His eyes tighten marginally as he looks at his cousin, among the others. Gray eyes scan up the cliff, looking up the craggy height. He squints, shielding his eyes from the sun. "It's a good lookout. Want some eyes on it, Marquessa?"
Thea checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 42 higher. Thea rolled a critical!
With everyone having diembarked from the longboat, Leo and the crew get the longboat ready for a quick withdrawl to the sea if necessary. The winds move over the adventurers, muffling sounds and smells, save for the gentle lapping of the waves along the coast. The immediate view north is obstructed by a bend in the coastline, which may also offer some cover for the adventurers as the trek through the sand.
Aethan is alert and looking around, but he seems to be leaving the more serious scouting to others, glancing to his brother as Ian looks around. Quenia's question has him letting out a little huff of amusement, and though it's small, it does sound genuine. He does not comment on the scarf, letting Ian do that, but he's listening to the observations of the others.
Ian's answer only seems to make Quenia more curious. However, it's Vitalis's question that draws her away from the mystery scarf. "Yes, if you can get someone up there. There may be pirates or smugglers in this area, so its best to use caution where possible. And, if there are pirates, then Ariella can collect the bounty Velenosa has put on them when they gave her a privateering license." At least, as far as Quenia is concerned! She's speaking in more hushed tones now that she's reminded herself, and others, that there could be people here.
Ian's gaze sweeps up the cliff. "We going up there? I can climb this."
"I'd go up there but I'm not so good at blending in." Alessia says, with furrowed brows. Nor is her armor particularly stealthy.
"White armor doesn't blend. Who knew? Maybe if you lay on the sand." He grins at Alessia, toothsome, and then looks to Ian - sliding to Quenia, "One or two?" And if she says two, he'll clamber on up with Ian. Else, he'll keep those sharp eyes out.
Thea shakes her head,"I'm a lot of things, but climbing? I'm not really..."the youngest Malvici eventually admits.
Quenia glances up the cliff, then looks to Ian and Vitalis. "I think two is better than one, so two. Just in case someone is lying in ambush up there. Safety in numbers."
"Neither am I," Ariella remarks while glancing towards Alessia, "but if someone /else/ wants to scout it for me..."
Her fingers graze down the length of her hilt until they hit the guard.
"Probably take two, though," she supplies, even shifting her gaze Quenia-wards for an inquisitory moment--
"Okay, yeah, two. Just in case."
Ian takes a couple of careful steps through the shifting sand in the direction of the cliff, then stumbles. As he's picking himself back up again, something he catches sight of out on the water draws him up short. "What the fuck...?"
As she heads over to the bend in the coastline, hand lightly brushing over the hilt of her dagger, Alessia stops on noticing something. She squints before glancing back to anyone in her group near enough to hear. "There's someone tied to a rock..."
Aethan does not volunteer to climb, deferring to the others, though when his brother starts that way and stumbles, he frowns, his eyebrows raising as he looks out toward the water as well, scanning it thoroughly. "What is it?" he asks, but he doesn't have to wait long before Alessia supplies the answer -- presumably, anyway.
Thea finds herself walking along the northern shoreline. "You see that too,"looking to Ian?"
Ian shades his eyes against the sun. "I... think I see a person chained up out there."
Wash spent some time ensuring that the longship was adequately grounded and reviewing the instructions for the crew. Not because the captain wasn't competent, just because he's cautious in such matters. He catches up belatedly and hitches his swordbelt. "Someone will have to swim out to them." He says, shifting a useful knife from his belt to his teeth so that he can unbuckle his belt.
There is a pause before Quenia responds. "Someone . . tied to a rock?" she asks. She walks forward to where Ian stumbled and takes a moment to look in the direction where he indicated, tilting her head upwards. Of course, she just gets sun in her eyes and she doesn't manage to see it at all. "Up on the cliff?" she asks.
It's still a distance away, but out in the surf, near a part of the beach that narrows between a huge fallen bolder and the cliff, there appears to be a figure linked to a rock in the surf, visible in the direction indicated by Ian and Alessia. The figure is drooping, as if unconscious, and the waves batter against its knees.
"Out in the water," Ian clarifies to Quenia. "Out there." He points. "Can we row out there? I can swim, but I'm not sure there's not some kind of trap here."
Wash rebuckles his belt. "Take all the fun out of things." He mutters.
Swim. Right! Quenia changes direction to see where people are /really/ looking at someone tied up to a rock. She does her best to hide a blush that forms on her cheek. She /did/ mention she's not really the outdoorsy type! "I, er, can swim. Not well. But I can." She pauses, "But, taking a small boat out there, maybe one of the rescue boats on the ship, would work too." She grins over at Wash. "I mean, if you /really/ want to. . . . " she teases. "We should all go though, if we're going to check it out."
Alessia wields Requiem - an ancient glaive with an iridescite handle.
Vitalis holds up a hand, "Wait!" He looks up the cliff, out at the rocks, the tide, the distance. "We'll be spotted for sure. Let Ian and me climb the cliff and make sure we can get out there unobserved."
Thea nods,"No. I see him. He's chained,"smirking at Wash,"sorry to ruin your stripping there, Lord Wash." She begins to getting her supplies ready,"If someone gets him..."her dagger and kopis close.
Nodding at her cousin's words, Alessia stays where she is as she waits for those who plan to scout to climb the cliff. "I'll wait close by. Send me a thumbs up if it's clear." She says, though remains vigilant, brandishing her glaive.
Quenia nods in agreement with Vitalis. "Indeed. Best to make sure we're not going to be pelted with arrows for going out there." She looks between the two, Ian and Vitalis, "Could you please go have a look, let us know if its safe?"
Ian checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.
Vitalis checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 11 higher.
"Probably not for /fun/..."
Ariella's right behind the Marquessa, lips pursed. "Are you sure that /you/ should be heading out there?" she murmurs in her cousin's ear, hand bracing on her shoulder. "We'll be /right/ out there in the open, and even if the /cliff's/ safe..." Either way, she unsheathes the fire-red blade at her hip and takes a couple more steps forward, so she's positioned in front of Quenia.
Quenia wields Resurgence, a rubicund saber.
Ariella wields Revival, a rubicund saber.
Vitalis checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 4 lower.
Ian checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 25 higher.
Vitalis checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 25, rolling 11 higher.
Ian checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 25, rolling 15 lower.
Quenia glances over her shoulder at Ariella, giving her an amused look. "I did once help rescue a Knight of Solace, you know. Just because I don't go out into the wild often, doesn't mean I haven't." She winks at Ariella, then looks back out to the water, then up the cliff. "But, I also know when to rely on the skills of others when I can't make do for myself," she notes to her cousin. "You just don't want Luis to me Marquis if something happens to me," she mock complains. "Never worry, I made Bastian the Marquessa. But, ya'll gotta fight over who'll be regent." She grins.
At the base of the cliff, Ian stops to dirty his hands with the fine, chalky dirt there and slides his cane into a little loop on his belt clearly designed for this purpose. His climbing style is intense, brute force that relies almost completely on upper body strength. His calloused fingers grip tiny cracks in the stone and he pulls himself upward. His direct path up the cliff doesn't leave a lot of room for moving along the cliff to keep himself shielded from view, though. Anyone looking would be able to see his dark form outlined against the sheer stone.
Thea wields Skystrike, the finely crafted diamondplate kopis.
Where Ian is brute force hauling himself up, Vitalis climbs leveraging lesser strength with finesse. And thus arrives at the cliff top unnonticed, crouching as he looks inland. He hisses quietly when Ian's clatter draws attention. Thinking quickly he picks up a stone and hucks it off south along the cliff, hoping to draw off some eyes. Maybe Ian can use the ruse to lose the - presumably - unfriendly eyes...
Ian doesn't look in Vitalis' direction when he gets to the top. "You'll have to signal back down. If I do it they'll know there are people down there," he says to the other man in a low voice, while he slides his cane out of its little loop so he can use it again. As a cane, as a sword, who knows.
Vitalis checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 40, rolling 14 higher.
"Sure, but what'm /I/ supposed to say back home? 'Oh'," the grinning privateer's voice pitches up into a thoroughly innocent register, "'it totally wasn't my fault that the Marquessa got pirate-murdered, I swear!' I have a /reputation/, Quenia! A good one!"
"A consistent one! And it doesn't have room for letting my cousin get killed on an expedition..."
Another, longer beat, and then the sentiment at the edges of her voice is nudged aside for the appropriate level of levity given their proximity to danger:
"Gods," she mutters with a wrinkling nose, turning a squint towards the cliff to watch Ian and Vitalis climb, "regent-- you'd /really/ put that on me, huh? Fucked up..."
Once the lookouts are in place, Wash heads out into the surf with his clothes on. "Shallow enough to wade out anyway. Tide is going out anyway. Why would anyone tie someone up during an ebb tide? Not going to torture anyone with an ebb tide." He grumbles striding out into the surf.
Aethan watches as Ian and Vitalis climb, looking up as they go and squinting before his attention is caught by the falling rock. He blinks, a light frown touching his face as it drops, but there isn't much he can do about it at the moment, and so he starts to follow Wash into the surf.
Quenia winks at Ariella, though keeps the proper amount of concern on her brow. "I don't plan on dying today. That's why I surrounded myself with competent people," she motions around to Aethan, Thea, Alessia, Wash, Ian, Vitalis, and even Ariella herself. Most especially Ariella. "A good leader plans for these sorts of things." She glances over at Wash. "Yeah, that does sound rather strange. Why would someone do that?" she looks between he, Aethan, and Ariella. They are the sailor types on the ground.
Head turning as the stone is cast by Vitalis, Alessia's brows furrow, her gaze drifting from the two men to the south side, biting her lips as the tension rises. "Please head away from them." She murmurs, notably anxious, as she watches for any who may be watching.
Thea watches Ian and Vitalis climb, her eyebrow lifted. Turning her direction to Wash's voice,"Do you need help?"not really sure what she can do with a chained man on rock, but hey. Can try.
Vitalis signs down, signaling the presence of potential hostiles... three... three hostiles. Ian is not getting down. Vitalis signals Ian to 'get down!' How the man interprets that will be seen soon.
"I mean, he'll still /starve/," Ariella readily notes with a circling hand. "Eventually. Also--!"
A handful of long, brisk strides mean that Wash ought to hear it when she adds, "-- it could be a trap!" /technically/ still whispering with both hands cupped around her mouth.
"Wash, Aethan. Wait." Quenia calls out a quiet warning to the two men about to wade into the surf. "It looks like Vitalis might be sign.... yeah. He is."
Wash turns back into answer Thea in time to see Ian retreating down the cliff face again. That was not the plan. He moves to put himself in a concealed position, if one is availalble. That altitude would give archers an advantage and he doesn't want to be a pincushion out in the open. "Anyone bring a bow?" He asks. "That's a bit of a throw for me." He readies a trio of rubicund daggers regardless.
Things happen in quick succession -- the sight of three people on the bluff, the tossed rock. Ian takes all of this in with sharp eyes, ending with Vitalis not retreating. And he does as previously posed -- doesn't look at Vitalis again or react to what he's doing, doesn't look or signal over the cliff. Whoever's there can just go ahead and think there's one person here, at least for now.
Aethan stops when Quenia asks her question, and he tips his head to the side, considering before he says after Ariella, "Could be a trap, yes. Or maybe someone was planning to come back for him before the tide comes in." He doesn't move further out, waiting to see what happens with Ian and Vitalis.
The three at the top of the top of cliff seem to be arguing, but one soon turns from the other two and approaches Ian, while the other two remain at a distance. As he gets closer, he says in a thick Lycene accent, "You are a part of Dame Irena's crew? What's the problem?" Vitalis remains unnoticed, low in the high grass of the cliff not twenty feet from Ian's position, while the others remain below, unable to hear the conversation above from the wind, though they can see a bit of the form of the Kennex lord barely on the lip of the cliff above them.
"Fuck..." Alessia says quietly, noting her cousin's signals and that Ian doesn't descend. She doesn't move from where she is.
Thea checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 30, rolling 10 lower.
5 inflicted and Thea is harmed for minor damage.
Ariella checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 24 higher.
Until she notices the trio approach Ian, and sheathes her glaive, swiftly heading on over to where she expects not to be seen while they're distracted.
Alessia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 37 higher.
Vitalis's lips press flat when Ian stands stock still, eyes boring holes in the man. Vitalis keeps to the grasses and looks between the man approaching Ian and the two staying at a distance. He flips the stay on Enigma and waits... coiled like his whip.
Vitalis wields Enigma.
Quenia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.
Fortunately for Ian, he LOOKS like a sailor. Especially from a distance, the details that something isn't right might not show through. He also, because he left his sword on the ship, looks like he's only armed with a diving knife. He grunts and makes a vague gesture off in a direction that's not the direction where his friends are. He's going to let them get closer, where they're more easily ambushed -- which will hopefully buy the others some time.
Thea goes to climb the cliff, making some headway. She does okay until, half way up, her foots catches a loose stone and well. Thea slips, falling down the face of cliff. That doesn't look good!
Climbing up the cliff face, Alessia's deft hands holding onto depths until she makes her way to a position in which she can comfortably wield her weapon.
Aethan checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 8 lower.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Thea before departing.
Quenia frowns a bit when she sees what's going on. "We'll probably want to help Ian out of his pickle first, take care of the three up top, and then handle the man in the water if the tide is ebbing out." With that, she decisively makes her way toward the cliff and stats to scale it. Going up is easy, getting back down might be harder.
5 inflicted and Aethan is harmed for minor damage.
The only cover Wash can find is that of the cliff himself. With the tide ebbing, there is no hurry on helping the marooned mariner. So he tucks the knives away and starts to climb.
Wash checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 105 higher. Wash rolled a critical!
The man, who is rather portly, with receding black hair who is speaking to Ian raises an eyebrow. "Should I alert the village that we are under attack?" he asks, standing his ground, and beginning to study Ian's gear more closely. The other two remain some 40 yards back, seeming to argue with each other.
Loping back to Quenia once her message is delivered, Ariella hisses, "If you're /sure/ you won't go ruining my rep, then I probably oughtta make sure /he's/ gonna be okay..."
Ian on the edge of the cliff gets a quick headtip, and then Ariella's darting that way too. As if it were made of rigging rather than rock, the Igniseri lady climbs at high speeds, angling to position herself roughly one dynamic flip away from the top.
Maybe a third of the way up, a quick check of her surroundings leads to a doubletake, which leads to a quick wave for Quenia.
Aethan looks around to find some cover to climb as well, starting to do so. He's capable of it -- or seems to be at first -- but about halfway up, a stone slips from under one of his feet. He loses his footing, and though he tries to catch hold of something he slides back down, slicing his forehead on one of the rocks when he lands. There's a hiss of pain, but he tries to keep as quiet as he can -- now that he's already made more of a noise. Oops.
Alessia wields Hydra's Fang, a rubicund dagger.
Ian finally speaks, that thick, thick Isles leaving no question of where he's from. His voice is calm, tinged with a hint of wry humor. "You could, but you'd look pretty silly when nobody attacks it." He offers his hand. "Lord Ian Kennex." The only thing that sets this moment apart from a casual conversation, to look at him, is the intense focus in his electric blue eyes.
Wash adroitly negates the need for climbing. He leaps from one outcropping to the other while readying a rope. He listens to the exchange between Ian and Portly while tying off the rope. He lets the end dangle, and steadies it to help haul up anyone to climbs. He leans backward focused on the conversation behind him.
Portly, whose name is Ricco, raises an eyebrow. "L...Lord Ian Kennex, the famous pirate hunter, yes?" says the man, taking a few steps backward. "What are you doing around these parts?" Beads of sweat form on the main's forehead, and he looks like he's about to panic.
Vitalis's eyes crunch closed as he can hear the scraping ascent of those below. Well, reinforcements are good for when things go sideways. He creeps closer to the pair arguing, using Ian's confusing stance and the argument as cover.
When Wash drops the rope down, Aethan wipes the blood from his hand before he takes hold of it, starting to climb. With the assistance of the rope, he makes much better time and also does not fall again, hauling himself upward quickly.
Ian angles his head; his eyes glitter with a sharp smile that barely shows on his face. "Aethan and I heard there might be pirate activity in the area, and we thought we'd check it out. You haven't had any trouble, have you?"
Thea checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.
Vitalis checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 30, rolling 29 higher.
Ian checked command + intimidation at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.
Thea notices the rope. Paying no attention to her injuries just yet, she gripes it, climbing up with better ease.
Quenia checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 30, rolling 29 higher.
Ricco glances back at his companions nervously, and then turns towards Ian. "...what if I have, m'Lord?" he says.
Quenia is careful about climbing up the side of the rock, methodic even, and quite, quite dexterous. There are some small moments where it looks like she might not quite have a grip and she manages to secure it, and at the end she makes a little leap to the last part and is in a place where she could, if she wanted, come to Ian's aid. She holds herself there, waiting, watching. She grins a bit when she hears the conversation going on with Ian. It's then that she eases her way up the edge of the cliff. "Ian, really. I told you I think it's just silly party goers causing a ruckus up here. Though, I'm told the view is lovely. That you could see for miles around from the top of the cliff." She finishes climbing up and brushes herself off. She gives pause, as though she didn't know someone was there. "I'm sure Aethan will be along shortly," she tells him, but gives quite the charming smile to Ricco. "Who is your friend?" she asks, curious as she winds her way over to the Kennex Lord and wraps a hand around his arm. Her own accent is quite Lycene. "I told you not to have any fun without me." She winks at Ricco and gives him a suggestive smile.
Wash checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 3 lower.
Alessia checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 40, rolling 9 higher.
Ian is calm, so ridiculously calm. There's nothing in the way he stands or the way he speaks that hints at a threat, but there doesn't have to be. It's all there in the confidence and dark humor in his eyes, like he's going to -enjoy- what comes next. When Quenia shows up nearby, he shifts how and where he's standing subtly, so that getting to her would require going through him. "He hasn't introduce himself yet."
Can Thea be charming? Who the hells knows. Stepping forward, she curves her lips into a smile at Ricco,"Nothing I'm sure. But do you cant fault men for doing their job, can you?"her gold-flecked green eyes bright. Her accent is very southern as she continues,exaggerating a limp. Kind of. She is hurt, the blood obvious,"I dont suppose you could give me a hand could you? A drink maybe. A bandage."
Vitalis lurks, watching from his position near the two arguing men, nerves tingling, breathing steady. Waiting... waiting...
Speak of the devil and he appears, it seems, because almost as soon as Quenia mentions him, Aethan pulls himself over the top and stands quickly, reaching for his axe. He doesn't draw it yet, though, nor does he speak, taking stock of what's actually happening before he does anything.
Wash digs into his satchel and throws a bottle of vodka up on the ridge. "See! I told you I could get to the top without spilling any!"
Quenia has a sort of infectious smoothness that seems to put Ricco at ease. When Thea speaks, he says, "We have rum and good wine, m'Lady, but, but..." He mops the sweat from his brow, and one of the men standing further back says in a voice inaudible to all but the lurking Vitalis. "They are enemies, I swear it! I will alert the corsairs. It is either be rewarded, or die as a traitor, like poor Torino!" He turns from his companion, and attempts to make a break in an northwesterly direction.
Vitalis checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 47 higher.
Sheathing her dagger before making her presence known, Alessia smiles warmly at Ricco. "We may have been a little overcautious. We thought Lord Ian was stuck up here." She chuckles lightly.
Quenia laughs merrily over at Wash, allowing that laughter to touch her eyes. "So you did!" she calls out to him. "So, all the more for you to share, right?" she asks, then glances over at Ricco and her face just simply brightens. "Truly? You'd share? The Kennex boys offered to tell me stories at the top of this cliff, about some dashing doer dares and some of their antics on the sea. But if there's more to go around all the merrier!" she tells him, doing her best to keep this particular one distracted.
And there it is - bolting prey. Vitalis surges from the grass, whip flickering out to snare the fleeing man's leg, set his feet and prepare for the yank.
Though once the man make a break for Alessia scampers to the top to offer her cousin aid.
Alessia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.
Alessia wields Requiem - an ancient glaive with an iridescite handle.
As Wash's bottle of vodka hits Alessia's snakeskin boots, the fleeing man's feet are instantly bound by Vitalis's whip, and he falls flat on his face into the grass. The younger man blinks, and stands petrified.
Ricco is entranced by the potent charm of Quenia to notice his companion disappear into the grass. The younger companion rushes in the opposite direction of where his friend disappeared and shouts, "Ricco, Ricco! What in the name of Gild is going on! We're going to die!" He seems absolutely terrified.
Ariella checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 14 lower.
Ariella's already climbing along the cliff in an effort to place herself on the strangers' flank when the commotion tells her to stop, cling, and listen for a spell.
Giving the bottle an odd look as it bounces off of her feet, Alessia rushes over to the man as she's captured. Brandishing her weapon, she aims the blade against the man's torso, without touching... yet.
Thea relievedly hears Ricco,"Thank you! Where did you get it?" Thea smiles a little,"How about a towel? You look like one that could help me out. I may have twisted something you see, and a bit of a whiner." She looks at him, hopeful,"Do you have a story to tell, well I try and tend to my ankle?"
Wash rolls up onto the clifftop and then to his feet drawing his blade. "Not if you surrender first." He assures the younger man.
Wash wields Intricately forged ancient steel cutlass.
Ricco looks between the relatively benign words of Thea and Quenia, and the grin faces (and scarf) of Ian and Wash. He puts up his hands in total confusion. "I am not your enemy," he says, walking backward slowly. The boy, named Guido, standing beside him, says, "Don't let them kill us," eyeing Alessia and Wash carefully.
Quenia peeks around Ian to take a look at the younger companion. She's about to say something when Wash rolls up onto the cliff, breaking the ruse a bit. She then glances over at Ricco, giving an elegant nod of her head. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Ricco. I am Marquessa Quenia Igniseri. Tell me, how did you come by this cliff?" she asks, keeping up the charm and the smiles, and being generally at ease with herself. "No one is going to die, I assure you, if we can manage a polite, pleasant conversation, and we can find out what's going on here in the cove." She looks over at the water, thumbing in that direction. "And that man otu there, of course."
Ian is calm as things start to get crazy, just standing there, in a position where he protects Quenia from any stupid ideas Ricco might get in his head. The way he reacts to Aethan when he clears the cliff is subtle, but he's clearly deferring to someone with authority. Someone who looks like an older version of him.
Aethan pulls his axe free as well now, but he doesn't speak, only a presence for now while Quenia does what she needs to do.
Quenia checked charm + seduction at difficulty 30, rolling 34 higher.
Vitalis coils his whip and nods to Alessia as she levels her glaive at the man. "I wouldn't let her cut you with that." He gives it, and Alessia, a dubious look, selling the warning, and gruffs at the man, "Get up. Join the other two."
Ariella checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 8 lower.
Thea sees Wash and sighs,"That wine really was sounding good." She looks about the cliff realizing....theres a couple missing.
As Quenia drops the act, Ricco begins to comprehend his situation. "You all are clearly very skilled," he says forcing a smile. "We are simple villagers, that is the truth. Dame Irena sometimes give us goods, and we sometimes take them to Granto, Gremetica or Southport to sell them. That is all. We are not pirates," he says, looking at Ian, Aethan and Wash. Guido is standing very close, eying Alessia nervously, as she has his companion at glaive point. Ricco continues to Quenia, "If you can offer us protection, Marquessa, and employment, perhaps we can help you instead."
Alessia checked composure + manipulation at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.
Wash sheathes his blade and stoops to pick up his bottle of vodka. "I have vodka." He points out. "Not wine." He looks down the cliff at the person in the surf. "Tying someone up to drown in an falling tide sounds like something pirates would do." A proper seaman would wait until a rising tide, but Wash leaves that part unsaid.
Thea pauses then, stepping forward,"Southport you say? What sort of goods?"She has more questions, but hey. One thing at a time.
"Oh believe me, cousin, I don't want to..." Alessia gives the man a sorrowful look while keeping a firm grip of blade, even as he rises. "How do we know we can trust you?" Her voice is gentle, perhaps a perplexing contrast given the sharp object pointed at the captive.
"Silks, gold, silver, spices, incense - all manner of goods, m'Lady," replies Ricco to Thea. "It's good business, and we don't ask where it comes from, eh?"
"Let me guess:"
One dynamic action flip later, Ariella darts across the top of the cliff with her saber drawn and her eyes fixed north to the north. Her free hand's already gesturing towards that end of the cliff, because--
"It's got something to do with those caves over there, right?"
Her eyes quickly scan around the rest of the expedition, grabbing onto what contact she can manage, before returning north.
"And the well-armed people who might come and go from it, and are /definitely coming, right now/?"
Ian gives Alessia a dry look. "We can trust him because I'll kill him if he turns on us." He looks back at Ricco. "But I don't think he's going to make himself my enemy."
The man being held by Alessia, still with Vitalis's whip around his legs, totally defenseless, says, "Ha! I... I promise I will not run! Just don't run me through!" The last part comes out almost as a shriek.
"I could do that, considering I am considering annexing this cove into Igniseri lands, and expanding our operations here." Quenia says with a considering look and a light nod of her head. "But, I'd want to hear more about this operation you have going on, who that person is tied to a rock out in the water and what they've done, and all about who Dame Irena is first before making any final decisions. For all of that, I'd be willing to offer protection, and a place of employment." She glances between Ricco and the younger boy, certain Alessia and Vitalis have the third in hand. "I'd rather see people live a productive, happy life where I can, when I can." A pause, and she looks over at Ariella, "Caves?"
Thea nods slowly,"I'm sure my Duchess Calypso would hate to hear the opposite,"eyeing Ricco.
"And 'ship', and 'people', and 'well-armed'," Ariella quickly tells her cousin. "I think we're /made/..."
Wash is staring Northward himself having belatedly spied the same cog rounding the point and slipping into a hidden harbor. "Great. They'll have at least a crew of thirty. That cog there Ricco? Who commands it?"
Ricco looks hard at Quenia. "Alright, Marquessa, but Limerance is listening. Do not betray us. There are caves to the north, and Dame Ir~" the sound becomes a gurggle as Ricco pitches forward with a pair of crossbow bolts in his neck from some unknown location.
Ariella checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 20 higher.
Ian checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 29 higher.
Aethan checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 14 lower.
Quenia checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 7 higher.
Wash checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 2 lower.
Vitalis checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.
Thea checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 13 higher.
"They've got something built into those caves!" Quenia exclaims as Ricco pitches forward, and gurgles, her eyes on that very area that she's spotted. She removes her arm from Ian's and starts going over in the direction of something or another. "A trap door, over here. Make sure to look out for others, just in case there's more." She happens to point out just where she saw the trap door, 60 feet away from Ricco.
Vitalis points to a closing trapdoor and cracks his whip, "There! Trapdoor." He sprints for the site, eyes sharp for other archers, hunkered low as he goes.
Ian's first reaction when Ricco falls is to change positions, putting himself between Quenia and... something? He might have caught the direction the bolt came from, and he's now shielding her from that. "Aethan. Trapdoor. Sixty feet, at your three o clock." He shouts none of this -- in fact he keeps his voice low enough that someone who was in a panic or otherwise distracted woul have a hard time hearing him.
Guido screams, and Barbinus, the one that Alessia's been pinning down says, "Wha - what's happening!?"
Alessia checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 29 higher.
Quenia would have started that way, but given that Ian has positioned himself to keep her safe, she stays back. She did say, after all, she has people that's got her back. She'll trust them to do just that.
Vitalis checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 8 higher.
Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) at difficulty 10, rolling 19 higher.
Almost as soon as Ricco falls, Aethan's head jerks toward where it came from. He doesn't immediately see it, but Ian's words have him nodding once. His face is just as impassive as it was, but he gets down low and gestures for Guido to do the same. "Get down," he orders, "now!" He starts toward the trapdoor then after Vitalis.
Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 5 higher.
Hearing the sound, Alessia only allows herself the briefest of glances before Vitalis heads off leaving her with the captive, on whom she keeps her amber eyes focused.
Thea points watches the ship moving,"The ship. It's heading north...I think that's where the caves are."
Vitalis checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 40, rolling 1 higher.
Wash stoops to check on poor Ricco. Not that he has any skill with medicine to speak of, but he'll check to see if the man is still living at least.
Vitalis checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 13 higher.
Vitalis hisses as the door opens and a bolt flies out, flinching clear and striking down into the (literal) bolthole with his whip. His aim: to snare the crossbow, arm, whatever, and again, brace and yank - hoping at least to foul any further shots at most, to haul the culprit out by some part of his body.
Aethan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.
A woman with wild hair, and faded green clothing comes spilling out onto the grass, when Vitalis pulls her from the trap door. Her crossbow flies from her hands, and she lands heavily, but draws a dagger and hisses through her teeth.
Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.
60 inflicted and Aethan is harmed for moderate damage.
Aethan gets to the trapdoor about right when Vitalis pulls the woman from it, and he doesn't spend time on her -- figuring that the other man has her well in hand -- and instead pushes past, engaging a second one that had been hiding behind her. There's the sound of an arrow loosed, as well as it hitting flesh -- Aethan's flesh -- but except for a grunt, he doesn't seem to think about it, and instead swings the axe to separate the attacker's head from his body in short order.
Outwardly calm, like he's just standing on a street corner watching the world go by, Ian's eyes nevertheless betray that he understands the seriousness of this situation. When the crossbow falls close enough, he knocks it away from the woman with a swipe of his cane. It might be notable, his total lack of reaction to Aethan getting shot.
"Nothing we can do for him now." Wash says, crouched next to Ricco. He tugs on the sleeve of Ricco's callow companion. "Get down. Stay with us boy and you won't end up like him. Get down." He readies a dagger to throw. Sixty feet is a long throw but he readies it anyway in case it is needed." Their one reliable source of information just got shot, so Wash is protecting the next best thing.
"Get down." Alessia says to the man she's guarding, since it's pretty clear his party is being attacked too, before joining the fight.
The attacker's head falls from his body from Aethan's axe along with a gout of blood, that sloshes onto the stairs of the passage leading down from the trap door.
Thea makes her way down to the trap door, finally! Spying stairs, Thea carefully and cautiously descends them, hearing--a lot of voices as she does. Hand on her side, she prepares silently.
There is an audible gasp from Quenia while she watches the scene unfold and Aethan take the head off of one of the attackers. She moves whenever Ian moves, keeping in his line of protection. Otherwise, she's keeping watch out for anyone else that might be coming up and attempting to attack them.
At Wash's command, Guido hits the deck, looking very nervous, slightly less so to be beside the Kennex lord.
Seeing that the arrows are no longer flying, Alessia grabs hold of the man by the arm firmly, before dragging him with her towards the others, glaive still held in her free hand.
"I see Thea has gone into the trap door. Perhaps we should follow her?" Quenia suggest to Ian. "I'll remember to stay behind you. They seem much more prepared than the vagabonds that had that Knight of Solace held captive..." Her one and only exciting adventure since being in Arx.
Wash will up Guido once it is clear that the arrows are no longer flying and gesture toward the trap door. "Come on. We're getting into cover. Where does this trapdoor lead? Down into the caves?" He drags Guido along, bodily if necessary. "Typical. Try to have a nice luncheon on the beach and pirates ruin it. They're like ants. No one invites them and they get into everything."
Vitalis grunts at the arrow lancing out of the hole and into Aethan and then flinches back at the swing and gout of blood. "Gods." He looks to Ian guarding Quenia and their captives, nodding at Alessia, looking at Wash and the prone scruffy young man. The dazed woman with her dagger. "Watch her." Folk seem to be headed down the rabbit hole and he hustles to the cliff-edge to get some rope. Captives need tying. He'll see to that as quickly as he might, trailing the others, captives in tow.
Guido nods to Wash. "But be careful, m'Lord. There are traps down there. Avoid the wooden steps."
Quenia glances keenly over at Guido. "You know the traps? How to disarm them?" she asks.
Once he's sure that there are no other people about to shoot them with more crossbows, only then does Aethan check on the wound that has been inflicted. Luckily, though it's not great, it hasn't left a bolt sticking out of him that he has to decide what to do with. He gives an all-clear sign, before he starts down into the trapdoor, axe still up and eyes peeled.
Ian touches Quenia's arm, urging her to hold up. He looks to Wash. "You got this?"
Alessia checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 21 higher.
"Make sure she's tied up," Ariella adds while edging towards Quenia's back. Once or twice, she checks behind herself, towards the door, for signs of /more/ cave-dwelling bandits surging up to meet them.
"Question her, if you can."
Quenia glances back to Ian and nods. She dutifully waits, glancing back to Wash as Ian addresses him. She smiles over at Ariella. "I'll make sure to tell Lucita how well both you and Ian guarded me." She winks at her cousin, then waits to see what's happening before they move.
Thea pokes her head from the trap door,"Before we go further, Can I quickly see to anyone's wounds? So they dont get worse?
Deftly disarming the woman holding the dagger, as she makes her way to the group, though ensuring the woman remains unharmed, Alessia smiles. "Thank you for your cooperation." She says, though keeps no less of a firm grip on her weapon.
Wash passes that information along once they are inside the tunnel. "Good advice. Avoid the wooden steps. Any other trap doors up to this area? You got a name young man?" From boy to young man, Wash measures up his respect for the young man. "He's coming with us. He knows we're his only passage through this alive." He is eager to get into the passage though, as
Vitalis checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 43 higher.
...as the surface feels very exposed at the moment.
When Ian is sure that Wash and Vitalis have the situation in hand, he nods to Quenia and proceeds down the trap door, going before her and bearing in mind the advice of the wooden steps.
"Guido, m'Lord," replies the young man, taking up position behind Wash.
"Thank you for your help, Guido." Quenia offers genuinely, as she moves behind Ian to follow him down the trap door. "Aethan was injured slightly," she tells Thea as she pops back up to tend wounds.
Vitalis retrieves the rope and ties the hands of the captives behind their backs, "You're cooperating, I know." He shrugs at Guido, "Consider it a formality." It's a deft tying he does, implacable, but not cutting. It's like he's done this before. Maybe a lot. His hands flicker over their wrists and he steps back, checking the work before moving along. "What kind of traps? Do you know the trick of them?" Vitalis is peering down the passageway after the two who have already gone. Did they hear the warning? "Hey, hold up." He calls down, loud enough to carry a bit, but no shout.
"They're fake steps, with broken blades along the side, so that they slice into the legs of anyone who steps on them. Once Melia, tried to sneak into the cavern to steal some silver. She nearly died, and still uses a crutch," he says with an angry scowl. "Perhaps Igniseri will be better," he says softly, but as Vitalis binds him, and apprehension washes over his face, and he says, "or not."
"Ever seen more than just the one ship Guido?" Wash asks, waving off Vitalis' suggestion that Guido be tied up. The other two he cares not for, but Guido has proved himself in Wash's eyes. "Igniseri is better than a lot of things. And that's coming from a Kennex." He jokes with Guido.
As Thea and Wash, followed by Ian, Ariella and Quenia make their way down the steps, careful to avoid the wooden steps, of which Aethan counts 3, the sound of a woman's voice rings out in the cavern below. "Let not a one of the live, Mates!! Send 'em all to the Queen, and loot anything ye find! For Gild and for freedom! Slay them all!!" Suddenly, Aethan and Thea notice a small group of four cuthroats moving towards the tunnel, and two of them are carrying crossbows.
"Igniseri treats its people with generosity and kindness. We give you the tools you need to survive happily in life." Quenia offers to Guido. "We've taken in a number of freed thralls from the Mourning Isles who've thrived amongst us." This is all quietly spoken as they work toward the next set of complications. She grins over at Wash, giving him a fond look. "I'll take the compliment that's in there." She winks at him, then pays attention to what she's doing. As she hears the voices, she actively undoes the bindings on her rubicund saber, keeping it out just in case someone slips past Ian, easily holding it in her hand in a familiar way. "I knew I should have worn my hairpins on this trip. I could have thrown them at someone," she grumbles quietly.
Guido actually manages a smile and says to Wash, "There's more than one ship, but they come in at different times. Dame Irena's is by far the most dangerous. And Hussian has actually spoken of taking the heads of the Kennex brothers Aethan and Ian by name. He is very dangerous. If you see him, you must run." there is serious fear in the voice of Guido.
Aethan checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 14 higher.
Ian reacts quickly. He draws Quenia to the side, against the wall, creating a space where everyone else can pass easily. Again, his positioning means that any hit aimed at her is going to strike him instead.
Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) at difficulty 10, rolling 13 higher.
Thea checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 21 higher.
Rysen GM Roll checked dex(3) at difficulty 10, rolling 1 lower.
Aethan makes his way carefully down the stairs, looking around and avoiding stepping on anything to make them be heard. He stops when he hears that voice, though, stilling and waiting to see if he hears anything else before continuing on.
Wash provides Guido with a useful knife, just in case, and then throws a rubicund dagger at the first enemy he sees. "Spoken like a man who has never seen Ian fight." Wash says grimly.
"Gods," Ariella exhales with a glance over her shoulder towards Wash and Guido, "I /must/ be doing something wrong, if--"
The privateer snaps her attention downstairs.
An arm begins to extend past Quenia's midsection... and then she begins drawing a saber of her own. When Ian goes ahead and pushes the Marquessa aside /anyway/, Ariella splits a conflicted look between them, but opts to twist away and leap a couple steps closer to the bottom instead of lingering. Metal rings from her hip on the way down.
Once the captives have been tied, Alessia heads on over to the stairs, as cautiously as need be.
Thea makes her way down the stair silently, close behind Aethan. She is cautious, listening closely.
Ian flicks a brief look back to Quenia. "If I become a target, I'll have to go. Will you be alright?"
"I'll be alright." Quenia assures Ian. "I can protect myself," she waves her sword a moment. "I learned just in case I needed to. Insisted on it even."
"Go," Vitalis offers to Ian, "We'll be better served by you cutting them down, than by you standing aside." He is offering to stand between Quenia and whatever comes. And he's got the sharp eyes to - whoa - Quenia is swinging her blade around. Maybe he'll stay close to her a little further away.
Ian gives Vitalis a careful look, then nods. "Better not to risk it, if they know who I am." He leaves Quenia under Vitalis' guard, and... the way he moves forward is really not promising, those careful steps, that cane. He doesn't seem worried, though.
Aethan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 31 higher.
Quenia was only showing off the sword, not swinging it recklessly to the endangerment of others. "You've got this," Quenia says after Ian, certain he's going to be just fine. FINE!
Thea checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 24 higher.
Rysen GM Roll checked dex(3) + medium wpn(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 28 higher.
Aethan checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 50, rolling 15 lower.
Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 4 higher.
65 inflicted and Aethan is harmed for moderate damage.
Thea checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.
Vitalis checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 1 higher.
Quenia checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 0 higher.
As soon as the pirates charge in, Aethan doesn't hesitate. He foregoes care now, taking the rest of the stairs quickly and swinging the axe again. Leverage is on his side, as well as height, and this time cleaving one of the pirate's heads nearly in two before the other pirates even get a chance to attack. He pulls the axe free with a grunt to round on the others.
However, there's a cost for that, because as he's pulling it free, a second pirate swings a saber and slices his left arm. There's a hiss of pain as he brings up his axe to engage him again.
Pausingly and without skipping a beat, Thea throws her dagger with precision. One of the pirates fall, not even knowing what hit him. As she goes to to move, an arrow goes flying in her direction. Thea manages to quickly to presses herself against the wall, missing it.
25 inflicted and Vitalis is unharmed.
Ariella checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 4 higher.
Vitalis sees a crossbow lifted and readied at Quenia, or at least in their general direction and steps between the shooter and the Marquessa, teeth bared as the thing bites into his armor and skims away, a heavy gash laid in leathern plates.
Vitalis checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.
His face drains of color and he recoils his whip reflexively, a soothing gesture, adrenaline singing along his veins at the close call.
As two of the pirates fall down dead, Ian Kennex reaches the last step of the tunnel, and gazes out into the cavern as Aethan engages another pirate at melee. To Ian's left, a warrior clad in leather steps forward and draws two elaborate cutlasses from their scabbards. He spins his blades and dashes towards Ian with incredible speed. Two more pirates, perhaps guards of this captain, rush towards Ian, Aethan and the others in the tunnel as well, while Irena's voice rings out: "Five hundred thousand pieces of silver to the one who brings me their heads!! Fortune and glory!!"
One of the pirates gets a good hit on Aethan's arm, and that's all he gets. There's another hiss, the hiss not of pain, but of alaricite being drawn free of its sheathe, and then Ian's blade is there, knocking back the pirate's sword. He holds the other part of his cane sword (the cane part the blade usually goes in) like a parrying dagger. "Porter's going to be so mad he missed this," he says to Aethan.
Ian checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 2 higher.
Wash will descend to the bottom of the stairs as the fighting spreads out into the level floor of the cavern's space. He throws a dagger at the first pirate he sees with a crossbow.
Rysen GM Roll checked dex(5) at difficulty 10, rolling 9 higher.
Rysen GM Roll checked dex(3) at difficulty 10, rolling 5 higher.
"We should get closer so you can help the others," Quenia urges those who've stayed behind. "While I imagine Ian, Aethan, and Thea can take care of themselves normally, there's no telling how many pirates are below." She grips her sword tighter now. "They could become overwhelmed."
Ariella checked dexterity at difficulty 19, rolling 14 higher.
Ariella checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 21 higher.
Vitalis nods at Quenia's urging, still a bit shaky from stepping /into/ an arrow's path, moving forward to back the others up. A look cast up the stairs, listening, to make certain they're not surpised by pirates descending from above.
Ariella checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 26 higher.
Wash checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 22 higher.
Alessia runs down to engage with the pirates, intent to ensure those below have all the aid they can get, though she pauses before emerging, ensuring she's not jumping into an ambush.
Alessia checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 7 higher.
Wash checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 2 higher.
Rysen GM Roll checked dex(5) + medium wpn(6) at difficulty 30, rolling 32 higher.
85 inflicted and Ariella is harmed for grievous damage.
Alessia checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.
Rysen GM Roll checked dex(3) + medium wpn(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.
Alessia checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 37 higher.
Quenia moves down behind Vitalis, still keeping behind, but not so far that if she needs to attack someone who slips past that it's a huge stretch for her. In other words, she'll be ready - should that happen.
Wash is throwing money at the enemy. Not literally, but his rubicund throwing daggers are valuable enough that a greedy pirate might take one and run. The first one lansd a glancing blow on the right hand of one of the crossbow wielders, and the second dagger lands in his throat. Wash has a rest of the deadly deck fanned like playinge cards in his off-hand, throwing with his right. He sidles left out of the stairwell, attempting to circle the fighting between Ian and Aethan.
"'Ariella Igniseri'!" follows the barely perceptible sound of the leaping Lady's feet touching down before the captain.
"Not that /you'll/ have much use for it, but-- you know--"
Firelight gleams off of scarlet metal as it carves a wickedly slim line from the captain's left hip to his right shoulder.
"In case someone /else/ manages to make it out of here."
The next several seconds are a blur of singing metal, grunts, and red flashes. Ariella's one saber dances between his paired cutlasses as if they choreographed this ahead of time, and all the while she rolls, lunges, and darts around him, seeking an opening past the blades.
But the seconds keep ticking.
And another red flash arcs through the air, warm and wet.
"Fuck..." Ariella groans, staggering back and wrapping her free hand around her middle.
Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 30 higher.
As soon as she's in full view of the enemy combatants, Alessia's fending of the strikes of one of the pirates, though she manages to block the weapon with her blade. Swiftly she cuts the woman down across the torso. Perhaps a fatal blow as it is but she stabs her through the throat as she falls for good measure.
Vitalis checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 36 higher.
Only the captain remains, the sooner he's cut down the better. Pirates are known for having eye patches... this guy's going to need one, Vitalis doesn't need to get very close to CRACK CRACK CRACK, strikes to hands and ... his face.
Ian knocks aside the sword that cut his brother with his alaricite blade, and presses the attack. It's brutal and elegant at the same time, the methodical way that he takes the man's guard apart until he can slide his sword right into the pirate's chest through a gap in his armor at the armpit. He's calm while he does this, serene, even; as the man he just killed falls, there's no hint that he's registered that he's the one who took a life. No triumph. No remorse. Just on to the next threat.
Quenia carefully edges forward as much as she dares, and tries to pull Ariella back to safety, keeping her sword at the ready as much as possible while potentially wading into the fray. Her goal is mostly to get her cousin back to safety!
Brows furrowing as she spots Ariella's grievous wounds, Alessia glances about her surroundings determined to vanquish anymore threats that remain, not giving her kill's lifeless body another look.
As Wash's dagger sends a pirate to the Queen, and Alessia sends down another - while Ian steps to his brother' side and slides an alaracite blade into another pirate's armpit, causing his eyes to bulge in disbelief, and his body to fall to the ground lifeless, Wash's unfortunate prediction was correct. Another twenty of Irena's crew seem to spilling forth from her ship like yellow jackets from a nest. Indeed, the fury of their champion as he engages with Ariella, and the voice of their captain seem to be urging them on to death or glory.
After his current attacker gets felled by Ian, Aethan glances toward his brother and tips his head toward the captain, before he himself falls back to cover the rear in case of some other contingency -- and to assess his wounds as well while the other fighters finish them off .
Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 22 higher.
Thea checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.
Alessia checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 25 higher.
Rysen GM Roll checked dex(5) + medium wpn(6) at difficulty 30, rolling 29 higher.
85 inflicted and Ian is harmed for moderate damage.
Thea checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 50 higher.
It's not until she stumbles and nearly hits her knees that Ariella even /considers/ that maybe she shouldn't strain against her cousin's grip. At least it doesn't take more than a couple of seconds to hit that point.
(There's so /much/ blood gushing through the freshly ripped gap in her armor, and it's /so/ dark...)
Even then, her eyes are glued to the dual-wielding pirate while Vitalis stuns him and others close in. As soon as she relents-- as soon as she's in the relative safety of the space near the tunnel's entrance--
-- her gaze flicks between the stairs and the fray a couple times, then she collapses back against the nearest wall and calls, "Medic-- I need-- I need to get /back/--!" while leaving her sights set on the melee.
At no point does her grip around the hilt loosen.
Wash draws his cutlass and confronts the pack of twenty sailors incoming. "Avast you bucklings! Your captain's dying, and an Igniseri fleet is blockading you in! The Pirate Hunters of Kennex have come for the Dame. Every swabby lays down arms is no pirate to us! Kill any one of us and the lot of you will hang as pirates." He still carries his rubicund daggers in his offhand of course. "Twenty sailors who've yet to wet their blades against a ship full of Kennex and Igniseri soldiers. Ask yourself... each of you. You want to die today? For a man who'd just as soon tie you to a rock to drown if you cross him tomorrow?"
Thea moves down the stairs quickly, sword ready. She reaches down, pulling her dagger from the pirate along the way. She kinda needs that back.
Wash checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.
Aethan checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 45 higher.
Ian steps into the place that Aethan occupied without hesitation, bringing his sword up at a lazy angle. "You look familiar," he remarks. "I think I remember killing your brother."
He's not as fast as the captain is, but his he's better with a sword, his technical precision just barely trumping raw skill, even with his disability holding him back. Their blades clash, beat off of each other. At one point, the furious captain forces his way past Ian's guard to stab him through the stomach. There's a moment where Ian staggers, but when the captain tries to push through to finish off his 'weakened' opponent, Ian suddenly knocks his blade aside with his "parrying dagger", steps in, and runs him through.
Their faces are inches apart when he says: "He fell for that, too."
Noticing one of the bearded men is guarding the champion, Alessia quickly engages him, taking the man's attention from her party. She strikes him down as swiftly as the woman before, managing to evade his blows with her blade. The diamondplate cuts across his throat before he falls.
Wash is overheard praising Ian: To come to blows with Ian is to look death in the eye.
As the Champion slides to the ground from Ian's blade, with a futile rage burning in his eyes, and Alessia cuts down the last of the pirates nearby. Wash's words bring a crack to the morale of the rest of the crew. They pause a moment, looking at each other. "Avast, ye scurvy sea dogs!! Attack, drive them down to the Queen!" Irena's words ring a bit more hollow in that cavern as Alessia and Ian turn their attention to the remaining crew, who were probably less war-like than those that have already been cut down.
Quenia finishes getting Ariella settled and situated in relative safety, then rises up and moves forward once more, eyeing the battle, the Captain, and the pirates joining the fray. "Any man that puts down is arms is welcome to join the Igniseri payroll at double whatever Dame Irena is paying you, and will be outfitted with gear as well, and we'll find housing for you and your families." She stands taller, saying. "I say this with the authority I bear as Marquessa Quenia Ingiseri."
Ian lets the champion fall off his blade, and then raises his head, his blade coming to the exact same lazy angle it held before. It's a silent dare: Who wants to try to succeed where the best of you failed?
Quenia checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.
Vitalis strikes rapidly at the champion and dodges back, near to Quenia who he promised Ian he'd protect. He helps her to get Ariella to somewhere safe, behind their wall of blades and bravado, before returning to the back rank to snipe and foul any who dare step forward.
After the hollow words of Irena, Quenia's strong voice carries through the cavern. The promise of security and wealth, cause the sailors to turn with an eye of distrust on the captain who would gladly throw their lives away to avoid facing justice. "Aye, I'll join 'ee!" shouts a black-haired young woman, as she throws down a dagger and puts up her hands, walking slowly toward the group. Many of the other sailors seem on the verge of doing the same.
"What's the point of five hundred thousand silver you'll never live long enough to /spend/?!" echoes through the cave, because even bleeding out against a cave wall, why would Ariella keep her mouth shut?
Why shouldn't her voice drop into a colder register when she wonders, "/My/ ship's out there in the blockade; what do you think they'll do to the men who tried to kill their Captain, if you /don't/ surrender...?"
"Sailors. Brothers. For all sailing men are brothers at sea. You're not swordsmen or mercenaries. You're honest men, with only dishonest work to do. Here is a Marchessa, bringing you honest work. Will you spit at that, just so that you can be run through like all of Irena's dishonest men? Leave these ill-destined ventures. Your captain has no hold on you other than her silver, which will shortly belong to the Marchessa. Do you wish to die for someone else's silver? When the Marchessa is offering so much more, and honest work beside? This is an honest blade. I'll not let it sully itself on an honest man." Wash walks toward the group, to put himself between them and the one that is surrendering, he doesn't want her to get stabbed in the back. "Be you honest men? Honest sailors? May I call you brothers of the sea?"
The mention of a blockcade may be the final straw. Several more sailors come down the plank, and stand between the party of the Countess of the March of Granato and Irena, holding their weapons, and looking at Irena with disdain.
At Wash's words, a cheer breaks out among the remaining crew members, and even Irena's guards turn their weapons toward the captain who chose to rule my manipulation, terror and fear.
Vitalis is overheard praising Ian: Utterly implacable.
Vitalis is overheard praising Wash: Quick on his feet.
Vitalis is overheard praising Ariella: Bold and brave.
Vitalis is overheard praising Thea: Fearsome daggers.
Vitalis is overheard praising Alessia: Fearsome glaive.
Vitalis is overheard praising Aethan: Bold and brave.
Vitalis is overheard praising Quenia: More bees won with nectar than vinegar, and still more with silver and solace.
As the others seem to have the situation well at hand with regard to the remaining pirates, Alessia doesn't lower her glaive, though her demeanor relaxes a great deal.
Thea exhales as things seem to be calming. Realizing she's a bloody mess and well, there are others, she sets to work,"Who's broken and bleeding?"
Quenia watches as she and others manage to plant a seed of thought amongst the sailors that finally blossoms. She gives a small, satisfied nod of her head. "If you wish to join the rolls, come down to the beach so we can take your names. You will be absolved of any deeds done today, and have a fresh start." That said, she looks to Thea. "I'd appreciate it if you could look to Ariella and any one else who's been injured, and if you're feeling up to it, to the sailors who turned to our side."
"It's only after the crew defects to their side that Ian betrays how hurt he is. His black clothes pretty well hid the blood from the wound in his abdomen. He slides his sword back into its 'sheathe', turning it into a cane again, and goes to rejoin Aethan. "Looking forward to seeing Porter's face when we tell him about this."
Vitalis isn't a trusting sort and begins the process of disarming these honest men - the ones who've thrown down their weapons. Wash may disapprove, they're new brothers and sisters after all, but he's not taking any chances. He'll remain alert until they're underway to the mainland.
Quenia grins over at Ian. "I think I want to be a fly on that wall when you do," she winks at him. "Or, if I can't be there, I want to be at whatever dinner you retell the story at."
Once the sailors are sorted, he collects his rubicund daggers and find Guido. He congratulates the young man on his calm, collected manner. He gives him a pencil and book and tells him he'll need an assistant taking down the names of those that surrendered and joined the Marchessa's service. He makes special note of the men that turned their weapons on Irena, and reminds them of the Marchessa's gratitude for their bravery. He doesn't object to anyone being disarmed. Honest men need no weapons when the fighting is done.
Ian gingerly starts to unbutton his coat and vest so he can get a better idea of how bad the damage is. "Wash will tell it better," he says to Quenia as he does so. "Especially if you get him drunk first."
Guido, who had stood beside Wash as he delivered his speech, looks very relieved. He finally sits down, and just breaks into tears - not tears of sadness, but out of a feeling of hope that he might never have felt, to stand in the presence of such might and mercy.
Lowering her glaive, finally, as agreements are reached, Alessia helps her cousin disarm those who've surrendered. Her brows furrow as she glances at each injured member of her party.
Ian tugs his scarf free from his belt and folds it over itself, then presses it to the wound in his stomach to stop the bleeding. Either he doesn't know enough to know when he should be worried about the injury, or he knows enough to know it's nothing to worry about. It's hard to tell which. He looks up at Quenia: "Today, it staunches wounds."
"The plum wine then," Quenia says decisively. "Will get you drunk as quick as any rum or vodka, and you won't even notice it." She gives a firm nod of her head on this, grinning as she looks between the Kennex men. She looks over at Giudo then and says, "Thank you for your help, and the start of your service to Igniseri." She glances back to Ian, the scarf, then back to Ian and just laughs softly. "Oh... oh my. Should I tell Zoey that you use a dirty scarf to hold your wounds closed?"
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