First Comes Love Pt. 4
(OOC: Low stakes combat possible; spots held for existing characters in this arc, but new characters may be able to be worked in! Send me a message.)
May 16, 2023, 8 p.m.
Aethan Ahrsen Denica Filshiar Gaspard Ian Jan Neilda Tesha Titania Zyn
Outside Arx - Mourning Isles near Tyde Hall - Isles of the East Wind
Comments and Log
By the morning, all parties who had been seeking information on Nils had found one another again and were filled in on the various things learned the evening before. Gaspard and Filshiar came up empty handed after chasing Lomme. Neilda found nothing - or so she says - pursuing the secret lead she had been after. With everyone now filled in that Nils has been taken by a group of people-smugglers (or slave traders, if you prefer), and that the plan is to follow a ship used by those awful people headed in the direction Nils was taken, it comes time to decide who is going where.
Neilda and Gaspard stay behind at Tyde Hall to keep an eye on any further potential smuggling or slave trading. Aethan stays behind, begrudgingly, to try to speak with Duke Archeron. Ahrsen and Zyn decide they're going to take Ahrsen's ship, too. Which leaves everyone else on the Kennex ship in pursuit of dangerous people, with one Tommen at their service.
On open seas, it's hard not to be obvious when following another ship. Thankfully, many of the islands around Tyde Hall are near enough that sailing in the same direction as another ship isn't /so/ suspicious as to cause an immediate confrontation. It's now a few hours past midday, and the smuggler's ship is veering off a known trade route toward a very distant island that isn't (officially) claimed by the Compact.
Ian's initial reaction to the division of labor (and specifically, Aethan staying behind thus leaving Ian in command) isn't favorable. Words might have been exchanged. But there's no sign of whatever reticence he expressed to his brother, come the next day; he's fully stepped into his 'the Aethan that we have at home' shoes, giving orders that keep their ship at least partially hidden beneath the horizon, while a chart of the local islands and the soundings of the waters around them helps him narrow down where the ship is going without having to follow too close. Probably. He's not as good at this as Aethan or Wash are.
Jan's lips purse as she notes the change in course. She vanishes for a short while and then returns "If the charts are right we're in no-one's land." Her gaze seeks Ian "That gives us more...uh." She lifts a hand to rub the back of her neck "Freedom in how we address this, unless you see things differently?"
Open seas. Denica is not a sailor. She likes to go sailing, but the actual sailing a ship isn't something she will volunteer to do. Life is about knowing your strengths and enhancing them. Beyond basic tasks, she's really here as emotional support and cheerful conversation. "So, when we capture them and seize their assets, I realize they should go to Tyde-- but-- if you ask me, they should be used to help ex-Thralls. I think that would poetic." The artist shrugs and looks forward to the capturing part as she looks out across the deck. Denica is keeping an eye on the ship in the distance, but also everything else around it and them. Watching pictures move.
Filshiar paces the deck of the Kennex ship. He wasn't especially pleased at having lost Lomme's trail, but is glad that the group's combined efforts resulted in a solid lead. For a moment, he can be seen staring off into the distance, the breeze whipping his hair around his face, but he eventually turns to meet the others. "I simply want to bring the lord back safely," he says, meaning whatever people want to do with the rest of it is up to them. Denica's idea doesn't sound like a bad one, though.
"How I see things isn't as important as how Duke Archeron will," Ian comments to Jan. "If he wants any prisoners we take handed over to him, and Aethan agrees, that's what I intend to do." He looks over at his cousin and, a little more pointed, adds: "Either way, nobody on this ship is killing prisoners if they don't want to swim home." It might be funny except for the fact that Ian really sounds like he means it.
Tesha was told not to get stabbed. Which meant that by the end of this whole adventure she was most definitely going to be stabbed. That's just how her life worked. She'd borrowed clothing from the Duke and yes, she looks silly. But blood didn't wash out of silk easily and pants were far more needed on this outing. She's been carefully watching things and when the ship goes off known routes there is a bit of a frown. It's probably too late to suggest checking to see if the ship screams Kennex. "Well, if they are heading off of lanes claimed by the compact this might get a bit more dangerous." she admits. "Though I'm willing to go along with that if everyone else is." the woman states. She gives a nod to Ian's words, "No prisoner killing, agreed."
Titania is not a killer, she is a talker a diplomat. Ye she can fight but to take someone's life unless she has to, to protect herself or someone else it won't be her. The woman's leans into the railing closing her eyes letting the wind wash over her, to be on the open sea for her is both beautiful and terrifying. She will follow what orders she is told, for the moment she is quiet.
Jan shrugs "It's not his island. If it's a legal matter the law's not going to back him up but Aethan doesn't need more stupid shit to worry about." Draws in a deep breath "Prisoners are always such a fucking pain in the ass but I'll make sure if we grab some they make it where they got to be in one piece. Course, we get anywhere near that ship on this ship it's GONNA be bloody. We're not exactly known for letting pirates just sail off."
"He's not going to miss a finger or three," the princess opines, but then she goes quiet. Denica looks back to the ship on the horizon, studying it as the waves make the sea ripple.
"If we're not out for so much blood," Filshiar says with a look to Jan at what she says, "Then maybe a direct confrontation isn't the best way. Should we move in by land somehow?" His gaze falls on the others to see what they think.
"I don't mind spilling blood," Ian remarks to Filshiar. "I don't expect we'll get out of this without fighting. But I don't like the idea of going in blind. I assume they have some sort of defenses on this island."
Tesha gives a look to Ian and the others, "Maybe take the launch over? Though that presents its own problem if we get caught." she ponders on that. "If we take the ship in directly it's going to cause confrontation and that's what we're all trying to avoid from what I hear." she states.
"Yup, traps and stuff, might be good to get an idea of some numbers. I could do some reconnaissance, stealth into the bushes, and see what I can find out," Denica volunteers for danger.
Jan poofs out cheeks "Yeah, Pirates and their booby-trapped booty-holes." She shakes her head in disapproval "Vermin."
Ian checks command and sailing at normal. Ian is successful.
Jan checks command and sailing at normal. Jan is successful.
Tesha checks perception at normal. Tesha marginally fails.
Denica checks perception at normal. Denica is successful.
Filshiar checks perception at normal. Filshiar is successful.
Ian and Jan's skilled command brings the ship around almost the whole of the island smoothly. It's a fairly standard northern Isles island - trees and overgrowth along much of the coast suggest it isn't supporting a thriving fishing population. And the Eswynds haven't leveled it for its lumber. The ship comes up short as a rocky outcoropping proves to extend further out into the sea than expected.
Walking to the edge of the boat, Denica leans over the railing feeling the wind in her hair and she studies the shoreline. Keen eyes note the colours and shades and that gives her some movement to focus onto. Turning back to their assorted group she says at large, "there's a small settlement beyond those trees." Then she points. "It's not a town. I'm pretty sure it's a camp, but like an established one. Probably big enough for a dozen people, but nothing like--long term either. A camp," she shrugs a bit and offers the details of what she saw.
Filshiar gives Ian an understanding nod at the mention of spilling blood. If it comes down to it, he's not either. Then, it's off to the edge of the boat to keep a careful watch as the Kennex lot bring the ship around. He points the shoreline and adds to Denica's observations. "There's a dock over there. A small one, but it looks abandoned. Lots of overgrowth, so I thinks it's been that way for a while. Could be a good point of entry."
Jan lets Ian see to proactive while Jan sees to more tedious bits like rules while they wait, prepping for potential prisoners and protocol in case they don't return before joining those going on a boat and navigating her boat quietly alongside Ian's boat "Gods, don't tell us we came up on the wrong side of the island." She seems heartened by the news of the abandoned dock "It's good cover for sure."
Glancing over at Filshiar when he mentions the dock, Denica looks back at the others, "an active camp and an abandoned dock...?, They must have another one somewhere else to come in and out not too far from here? Or they are trekking..."
Tesha's trying to be useful, but she's not really been sailing for a long time. Nor is her eye giving her great help today. She doesn't get in the way of the others, but tries to see if she can spot anything that might help out the cause.
Titania checks perception at normal. Titania fails.
Ian catches the rapid changes in the soundings barely in time to keep the ship from actually running aground due to the outcropping of rock, and a few quick orders and a flurry of activity aloft changes the ship's course to get her out of the way of disaster. "Alright," he says, once the ship is out of danger. "I assume the harbor they're using is back where their ship put in. This dock might be a better way in. We'll need to take the launch, though. The ship's too likely to be seen." He starts giving orders to this effect, adding: "There might be a reason the dock is abandoned, so look sharp."
Jan helps to lower the boat and then helps the others into loading in-with Ian she offers the help but isn't as liberal with his personal space as she is with the on others. Once in she takes up the oars to row.
Titania nods her head following what ever orders are told her, she looks to the knight giving him a smile. She is quiet, she been quiet this entire time. She moves to get ready to go over with the group.
Filshiar moves away from his scouting position and says, "Good plan. Let's keep our eyes and ears open." He watches as Jan helps prepare the launch and will help others in along with her if they need it, before climbing aboard himself.
Ian doesn't hesitate to take an offered hand as help getting into the boat. He sits down hard once in it, in a motion that looks like if it hadn't been a sit, it would have been a fall. It isn't an especially graceful beginning, but Ian on ships just in general isn't terribly graceful.
Appreciating and benefiting from the rowing capabilities of others, Denica offers her services as scouting and watching the dock area for movement or any other signs.
Tesha is also good with following orders as she wasn't in charge here! There's no rules! Or well, there are some rules. Ahem. She helps with things needed to get the boat launched. And she's going as well. "Hopefully the Gods we'll make sure we aren't going to get into too much trouble." she murmurs to herself.
Ian checks perception and survival at normal. Ian is successful.
Filshiar checks perception and survival at normal. Filshiar is successful.
Titania checks perception and investigation at normal. Critical Success! Titania is spectacularly successful.
Tesha checks perception and investigation at normal. Tesha is successful.
Denica checks perception and survival at normal. Denica is successful.
Jan checks perception and survival at normal. Jan is successful.
Tapping a finger along the side of the boat, Denica tries not to lean because that won't be helpful. Rather she sits up and tries to use her eyes more than her height. Study the dock, she says of it, "that docks been there a really long time. We could use it. Carefully. Like two at a time. We shouldn't all stand on that dock. I advise against it."
Jan says, "We can use the vines, wedge the ships good with the vines tying it up it'll be good cover and they ought to hold.""
"I won't be able to run the launch up the beach, but if a couple of you can, we can land there instead of the dock," Ian suggests. "I think we'll have time. Birds aren't acting like there are people around."
Tesha's good eye is squinting for a moment and she focuses on something for the moment, "The dock should be fine. The camp Denica was speaking of can't see the dock." she points to what she's looking at. "That trail is overgrown, not much has been traveling through there but some wildlife. I'm guessing that the dock can't be seen from there. But if the beach is the better option I'm for it and will help." she states.
Filshiar will point out some movement in the distance, little squirrel-like creatures that draw out a smile from the knight. "Likely enough game here to support that camp without much need for supplies."
"I think Princess Denica's mostly worried about us falling through," Ian explains to Tesha. "Porter nearly died doing that once. It's worth worrying about."
Jan says, "Porter. Our Porter. He was nearly done in by rotten wood? gods. No wonder he became an Archlector."
"If there's a better way than the dock, I would take it. If it's the only way or it's a better location, we just have to be really careful," the princess says of the dock option. "I'm not use sailing, but I am pretty stealth, I can go either way with anyone. I'm ready." Ready for what? Who really knows, but Denica is always ready.
Titania makes a motion at the group, she silently points to a tree. "Its perfect, if someone can climb it it be a great to gain advantage point." oh she can speak! she looks between them all.
"It wasn't all that rotten," Ian explains to Jan. "We were all pretty eager to get where we were going -- been at sea for a while. He jumped onto it. He's a pretty big guy. He got pretty banged up falling, and broke a rib on the rocks below. Would have been worse if the tide had been out."
Jan says, "He's big but it's a fucking DOCK. Yeah, if shit like that happened to me more than once I'd be quick to get right with the gods too. Let's just haul it up in the vines if no one's got other ideas."
"I didn't think about that. Good idea to not take the dock then." Tesha states to that. "I can imagine Porter probably wasn't too happy about that whole situation." she nods to that. "I'll follow you all." she tells them.
Filshiar considers the condition of the dock and decides that no, he would not like to fall through that thing. “I’m a little heavy with all this armor, but can to climb if nobody else wants to,” he says in response to Titania’s suggestion.
"He mostly wasn't happy about how much we were laughing at him," Ian admits. "Instead of going down there to get him." Once they land the launch on the beach (and not the dock) and he clamors out, it becomes clear that he wasn't kidding about not being able to run it up far enough that it won't float away. He stumbles on the sand, and it's about all he can do just to get himself to more solid ground.
Titania looks to Filshiar, "If you want to help me, I can try and get up into. It does not seem like it shouldn't be a hard climb." she says to the knight.
"I mean. It is funny," Denica points out trying not to snicker at poor Porter's misfortunes. There's a smile at Jan at her commentary on his choice of vocation. "Well, I am not going to climb a tree. I've fallen out of them twice, three times if you count the treehouse."
Jan remains near Ian, arm extended to offer assistance. She only was dumb enough to offer to carry him. Only once and never again so instead she remains nearby with an arm behind her for him to latch onto if he chooses to.
Ian does get himself to solid ground alone; he might not be able to help run the launch up the beach, but he's not going to peel anyone else away from the task. He's studying the tree Titania indicated by the time everyone gathers, but makes no effort to actually climb it himself, yet.
Filshiar gets out of the boat and will help anyone else out who comes after. Then, he trudges up the beach toward that tree. "Alright then, I'll give you a boost," he tells Titania. And be ready to try and catch her just in case.
Tesha imagines Porter grumbling at his brothers and that puts a big old smile on her face. She's then moving to help with getting the boat onto the beach. This is why she borrowed pants! "This is all the excitement I need for the rest of the year." she breathes out.
Titania nods her head and moves to the tree, she waits for the knight, she looks down to him with a grin. "Thank you." she starts to move up into the tree slowly trying to stay out of view of being seen.
Jan waits below, somewhat anxious and ready to catch if need be. Protective cousin is protective.
Titania checks perception at easy. Titania is successful.
Titania looks down at them as she starts to climb back down, he breaths deeply as she comes down happy she has the knight and her cousin to catch her if she falls. Once down she looks to the group, "The wildlife path goes near the camp, there is as I can tell cover enough that we should be able to follow it and snoop on the camp with out being seen."
Ian waits at the base of the tree, a little bit out of the way (you know, in case Titania falls because it's not like he'll be any use catching her) until she climbs down. "Alright. Let's go see what there is to see. I'd like to cut the head off of this operation if we can."
Tesha gives a look around the group while Titania was climbing the tree, "So far so good." she whispers.
Jan checks dexterity and survival at normal. Jan fails.
Ian checks dexterity and survival at normal. Ian marginally fails.
Filshiar checks dexterity and survival at normal. Filshiar is successful.
Tesha checks perception and investigation at normal. Botch! Tesha fails completely.
Denica checks dexterity and stealth at normal. Denica is successful.
Titania checks perception and investigation at normal. Titania marginally fails.
Ian is legitimately just trying to make his way up the overgrown trail without tripping over anything and ending up on the ground. No scouting, no stealth, just trying to not do exactly what he does, which is hook one of his feet on a root, be unable to feel that his foot is trapped until it's too late, and end up hitting the dirt hard, biting off a curse as he goes down.
Jan crouches and shuffles along trying to make her way to scout the periphery and winds up with an arm tangled in vines with long sharp thorns. There's a startled "Son of a turd-smoker!" before biting her bottom lip and going very very still with a pained expression.
LOOK AT THIS GRASS! It's so green! Oops, Tesha is distracted and her eye is following something else entirely for the moment. Is that a /FLOWER/?! Let's see if it is!
Titania is trying to follow along but form some reasons she is lagging behind and stops as she starts to itch her arms, a frown comes over her lips, "Son of a..." she says softly to herself.
While others are shouting at nature, Denica slips into the trees out of sight... She's small and she's quiet, when she wants to be, which is usually when she's about to get into or cause trouble. But, either way, there she goes into the trees off the path, playing the roll of oak tree number three in this theatrical play.
Filshiar moves along with rest, doing his best to keep quiet, even in his armor. He chooses paths that would rightfully help his footsteps fall silently, but eventually catches some of the others having trouble. There's a lot of noise being made, possibly too much for them to carry on safely. After a moment of thought, he grits his teeth and slips ahead alongside the path. It won't be until he's up ahead of the group that he starts to make noise himself, an attempt to distract anyone up ahead who may have been alerted, so that he can try to draw them away from the rest of the group.
Ian checks luck at normal. Ian is successful.
Tesha checks luck at normal. Tesha marginally fails.
Titania checks luck at normal. Titania fails.
Jan checks luck at normal. Critical Success! Jan is spectacularly successful.
The luck that had carried them through this far seems to wear off all at once, with the combined disturbance catching the attention of the camp. Filshiar gets ahead of it, drawing the initial few responding to the noise. He crashes through the brush and startles them, but he is outnumbered three to one. "I don't think he was alone," One masculine voice says. Another shouts, "Check the woods!" More people can be heard scrambling to their feet as Filshiar is surrounded. Ian, Jan, and through Jan grabbing her arm, TItania, are able to retreat back along the path to the dock, and to the launch. Tesha is not so lucky, but her capture seems to appease the group, for now, and diverts anyone from going down to the dock immediately. Denica is stuck being Oak Tree Number 3 for a little while longer.
And then, realizing Tesha was not heading back to the dock, Ian goes and gets captured, too. On purpose.
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