Siege: Dark Districts
April 3, 2017, 9 p.m.
Arx - Lower Boroughs - Commons Square
Comments and Log
Justice, an elegant hunting falcon, Peaches, a lovely white war filly with a peach saddle, Stormy, a silvery gray hunting hound, 1 Grayson Guardsmen arrive, following Reese.
It is dusk, and Arx is all quiet and tense, but down in the Commons of the Lower Boroughs, such is not the case. People have heard through their different sources, coming together or individually, to what looks like an alley, where the last known location of a rumour about Brand's forces had been heard. Some are hiding in a Shav community, where drugs are traded freely, and where no one knows if their next meal is their last. Those arriving at the alley are not greeted with a pleasant sight however... The man who was talking about the rumours, who had informed the informers, is nailed to a building wall by the shoulders, dried blood on his tunic. His tongue has been cut out, and above him, using his own blood, is written the words, 'Traitor.'
A Man wearing a black silk half face-mask dotted with tiny emeralds checked dexterity + stealth against difficulty 25, resulting in 22, 3 lower than the difficulty.
1 Grayson Guardsmen have been dismissed.
Peaches, a lovely white war filly with a peach saddle have been dismissed.
Reese checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 11, 4 lower than the difficulty.
Reese arrives while adorned in all her silvery steel plate. She has a pink sword at one hip and a silver mace at her other hip. An Iron Guard cloak hangs form her shoulders. She is not far from Mae, seemingly having arrived with her. A large hound is close at her heels and a falcon is perched upon her right shoulder. She looks toward the man nailed to the wall, sucking in a sharp breath and then another one. She looks quite troubled, maybe even slightly panicked.
Calaudrin checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 6, 9 lower than the difficulty.
Shadows are always creeping around in the Lower Boroughs. There's one that's moving up on the roof tops, slinking toward the alley. It's a figure in black leathers with a half mask covering any recognizable features. Although he ducks behind one of the valleys that leads to a dormer on the roof, maybe he can be seen, who knows. The figure settles over the alley, looking down at the fuss the body had created.
The figure settles for a view point over the alley*
Halsim is wearing his traditional black, custom tailored robe tonight, hood down. No badge either... so he's not making this an official investigation. Just a concerned citizen looking to root out infiltrators. Upon coming on the scene though, Halsim looks over the body.
It's not normally the sort of place that Viviana would choose be lingering, but then... these are hardly normal times. So, she finds herself looking at the rather unpleasant sight before her in the alley, shaking her head a little. "Well" she comments dryly to the others gathered with her "Someone wasn't feeling subtle."
Mae checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 10, 5 lower than the difficulty.
Halsim checked perception + investigation against difficulty 15, resulting in 47, 32 higher than the difficulty.
Mae Culler is not wearing an Iron Guard cloak. But she does arrive with Reese and Calaudrin. Maybe just tagging along with the Guard entourage. "It was supposed to be right down here-..." She's starting to explain. Then she turns the corner and spots the man. "Oh Gods," she hisses out, then fights the desire to gag. "Oh... that's... Oh..." She swallows.
Calaudrin arrives around the same time as Reese and Mae, wearing his on duty clothes. As they approach the man with his tongue removed, he stares for a long second. Then he holds the back of his hand to his mouth and looks quietly sick for a moment. Thankfully he doesn't actually retch, but there's some noises. When he looks back, he notices Viviana. "Nice seeing you again." Don't mind him as he clears his throat.
Reese looks toward Mae with concern as she struggles with the sight before her. "Um..turn away, Mae." She says, sounding protective, but Reese looks quite bothered herself. She nods to Viviana seeming to know the woman. Reese then looks over the area, searching for any possible clues.
Reese checked perception + investigation against difficulty 15, resulting in 22, 7 higher than the difficulty.
The wind seems to rattle a few windows, and the air is oppressive. From the vantage point, the masked man can see what all else see, but not much more. Well... Remember the last words reported, these men will, was that the Shav community, a small one, most from the Crownlands, was only a few alleys over, and in the open next to a building they often gather, on a street. For when the team decides to move on. For now, the dried blood just sticks to the man on the wall. Poor man. Alas, no one knew him that is here... Reese and Halsim will note the same thing, more than likely.
"This was done with dirty jagged tools and some of his blood was drained. It seems like it might have been some kind of blood ritual." Reese says softly to those close by.
"Either someone wanted to torture this man, or they don't have proper tools to do this cleanly." Halsim gestures to a couple wounds. "Very unclean, jagged." Sounds like Halsims seem a lot of shit, from the clinical way he handles business. Then, Halsim looks to the others. "Still lends evidence to the mans claims. Worth investigating." Halsim gives a glance in the direction of the shav community. "Should be interesting."
Halsim says, "Blood ritual would be conjecture at this point, but a plausible theory."
Viviana offers a little nod to Reese and Calaudrin. "We always seem to run into each other at the nicest places..." Viviana comments with a little shake of her head, before turning towards Halsim. "I suppose at the point you're doing this sort of thing, doing it cleanly kinda ceases to be a concern" she points out.
A Man wearing a black silk half face-mask dotted with tiny emeralds checked dexterity + stealth against difficulty 30, resulting in 50, 20 higher than the difficulty.
"I'm fine," Mae insists, to Reese. Her nose is still scrunched up, and she draws a bit closer to the blonde. Just to prove how fine she is? There's a look over to Halsim, and she considers a moment. "Any chance... we can tell how long he's been... up there?" she asks.
The figure on the roof makes himself less visible, no head poking over the side sort of thing! Moving up the alley of a roof and down the other side. There is a pause as the figure looks back, dark eyes scanning the horizon, pivoting, a hand rolling. He sends a shrill whistle down to the alley, one that a certain Culler might recognize.
The man has been there for at least two days, for those medically or investigatively inclined. It does not seem hard to tell, with all the clear evidence from blood.
"Delightful. Glad that I'm on a diet." Calaudrin comments dryly where he's managed to regain his composure. There's a look that darts between Reese and Halsim as they discuss what happened to the man's body. He frowns when some mysterious whistling occurs and he glances up, but shakes his head. "Maybe the locals have some information." He remarks, looking in the direction of the Shav community.
"Maybe. I guess we try and talk to them." Reese murmur softly in response to Calaudrin's words. She keeps close to Mae.
Viviana nods a little at Calaudrin's words. "Certainly no harm in asking" Viviana replies. "Not sure how many answers we're likely to get, if people are afraid of ending up like our friend here... but, certainly a better option than standing around"
Mae looks up to the roofline, where that figure was lurking. She gives a huff. "Yeah, it's clear up ahead," she says, as she looks back to the others. "I might know them. Or... at least... their kids," she offers up. "Just... um. Can you guys ditch the cloaks?" she asks, with a look to Reese, then Calaudrin.
"A few days, at most." Halsim gives as he looks back to the body. After a moment, Halsim starts to head in the direction of the community. "Nothing to be gained waiting he-" At the whistle, Halsim looks up. "What's that?" The dark brown skinned islander inquires cautiously.
A Man wearing a black silk half face-mask dotted with tiny emeralds checked perception against difficulty 10, resulting in 14, 4 higher than the difficulty.
Calaudrin looks at his cloak, then down at Mae. Then at his cloak again. With a resigned sigh, he unfastens it and balls the whole thing up. Then he dips to the side and stows it away behind a crate or something. "If someone makes off with that..." He mutters half-heartedly. He probably won't come after Mae, but he may give her some looks! "Lead the way then, girl. We've got your back." There's a glance towards Reese and Viviana, seemingly including them as well. A shorter glance to Halsim and he shrugs there.
The figure on the roof tops slips away from sight and moves on ahead. Though at a certain vantage point he pivots, turning back the way he came... keeping low, waiting until he gets the opportunity to signal Mae if she was keeping her eye to the roof line.
"I'll carry it for you," Mae says, with a roll of her eyes, to Calaudrin. She even holds out her hands. "I got my bag," she says. Then she turns to look back to Halsim. "It's ok. Friends... of mine," she clarifies that little bit. "Just someone keeping an eye on us."
Reese does look really shiny in her griffins and dragons. She can ditch the cloak, but she will stand out as a Grayson princess regardless. She doesn't know the meaning of the word subtle. "Sure." She says, removing her leather cloak with the iron guard badge and shoving it into her leather backpack.
While cloaks are taken off, and while someone else moves up on the rooftops, unseen by all, it seems all is quiet for now. A few droplets of rain start to come down from the skies, enough to make a light shower. Thunder echoes across the skies. The man on the wall has that dried blood, matted with the fresh liquid, which pools it to the ground. The Shavs await.
Mae glances back to the roofline again. "Wait..." she squints at the darkness. Then she looks back over. "A group up ahead, just down the alley... At least a dozen."
Reese looks down the alley at Mae's words, giving her a nod in response. She tries to move ahead of the Culler girl a bit as if meaning to protect her should they get attacked.
It's not like Viviana wears much in the way of 'official symbols', but the woman is still probably a less-than subtle figure herself. Still, at the moment, that doesn't really seem to disturb her. She nods a little at Mae's words, offering her just a little smile. "Well, if they're going to be the reception committee, shall we go introduce ourselves?" she asks lightly.
Halsim watches the dozen or so for a moment, then. "Right in our path, and wasn't spur of the moment. Careful, they were waiting for us." Halsim reasons out as he pulls his hood up, the rain becoming an annoyance.
Before they move on, Calaudrin steps back. "Don't worry about the robe, I'm just busting your ass." He tells Mae. "One moment, I'll catch up." He signals to pair of a guardsmen at the end of the street, passing by. He jogs to meet them, has a few quiet words and then returns to the group. As they depart, those two men will begin taking care of the body. As in, having it removed to be examined and then laid to rest. "I don't think that needs to be there any longer than it already has." That's about all he has to say, coming to pace with everyone else.
"Yeah, let's go talk to them," Mae says, to Viviana, but also to the whole crew. "They probably won't be happy to see us, just, um... Maybe let me talk?" she asks, though doesn't sound wholly confident in that. Still, it's said! And she tries to stand a little straighter. She pauses then, to watch Calaudrin, then to see the guards coming to work. He gets a smile. "Good," she says to him. Then she turns. "Okay, let's move..." she says, tucking in close beside Reese, just behind and to the left.
Well, it does not take long, should all follow to find the Shavs, that the team will come across twelve Shavs. Some have makeshift knives, meant for self-defense, five females, seven men, a cat by the fire... When a whole bunch of people come out of the woodworks, a couple draw their knives, and flick them between hands, back and forth, in a warding gesture. One of the females shouts, "Oy!? Who are you guys? Some silks and commoners down here? You pickin' a fight?" A few look strung out on drugs, seeming blase about the new presences, but not saying much, just wary.
The figure on the roof tops continues to cross each roof top, the water starting to make it more difficult not to slip, but his leather boots were built for this, gripping the variation in thatched rooves, tin, tile, or whatever other material they could scramble together to build down here in the Lowers. He's going on ahead, making for a flanking position on the group, where he'll stake out a good vantage point and escape routes. He actually drops down from the roof tops when the Shav group turns to the others.
Viviana, for her part, keeps a hand near the hilt of her weapon... perhaps as much to dissuade any attempts at stealing it as to be ready in case there's some sort of need for action. "Alright, you wanted be the one to talk..." Viviana comments to Mae quietly. "Here's your chance"
Why is it *always* 'picking a fight'. Like people don't have anything better to do. Halsim grumbles something about overinflated egos quietly, before he moves to the side, allowing the others to take point on the talking. He himself gives a good once over on the group themselves.
Halsim checked perception + investigation against difficulty 15, resulting in 51, 36 higher than the difficulty.
Reese seems okay with Mae being the one to speak. She even steps to the side of her so that Mae can see the approaching party. She doesn't seem to notice the masked figured at all.
Calaudrin seems relaxed, though not entirely thrilled to be down here. He too allows Mae the chance to speak, standing just behind her and keeping an eye on the crowd. He lifts his hand and waves at them with a tight mouthed smile.
Calaudrin checked perception + investigation against difficulty 15, resulting in 48, 33 higher than the difficulty.
A Man wearing a black silk half face-mask dotted with tiny emeralds checked perception + investigation against difficulty 15, resulting in 25, 10 higher than the difficulty.
Mae checked charm + manipulation against difficulty 30, resulting in 39, 9 higher than the difficulty.
Mae leads the way. Sorta. Leading from behind! Behind Reese, at least. But soon as they come across the group, she takes a breath, flashes a smile to Vivi, then steps to the side. Time to step up, Mae! "Who are you?" she asks, responding with a touch of edge to her voice. She takes another bold step forward. "And why you harassing me on my streets?" she asks. She pushes tough for a minute, then looks around quickly, and flicks back the hood of her cloak. And then all the toughness drops. She smiles. "It's Mae... Mae Culler. What are you guys doing out here?" she asks. "It's not safe... are you all okay?" she asks. "We heard some nasty stories, and... you know. Cullers not going to let things fall apart, just because there's a war..."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Reese before departing.
The Culler name is one that people know, and all of the sudden, there are exchanged looks. A few nods as well. Knives are put up, except for the head shave lady. "I'm Keto," she tells them. Those looking for any dangers will find none, it's just these Shavs so far, who seem to be on edge themselves. "We're fine, ain't no damn Bringers going to chase us out our home." A small nod of agreement from the others. One of them takes a moment to wipe under his nose, inhaling a small amount of Dust, blatantly before them all, and receiving a look for it by at least one or two. Those that look like nobles, are called out, "What are these /silks/ doing with you though? And that hooded man? Mighty strange, I say," Keto tells them.
If Halsim is annoyed by being called 'hooded man' he doesn't show it. Instead, he simply keeps an eye on the group from his vantage point. "Nothing else around that I can see. They're on edge, and are hardly in fighting shape." Seems Halsims content to remain in the background for this one, for now.
Reese is not just a silk, she a silk wearing gems, alaricite and shiny engraved armor. She removes her helm, revealing her pink ribbons, golden locks and a pretty face. "Greetings. I am Princess Reese." She says toward the gathered group, because there is no point in hiding it. She is well known around Compact and her gear is a given away. "I am making my rounds, searching for bringers." She says. "I hope you all have been safe. Any dangers we should know about?" She says, trying to be charming. Of course she might also be annoying.
Reese checked charm + etiquette against difficulty 15, resulting in 36, 21 higher than the difficulty.
The masked and hooded man who slips into the shadows flanking the group, leans his shoulder against a corner wall of a housing complex to watch them all. Good thing his mask hides his expressions but he otherwise crosses his arms and stands more or less, observant.
Without his cloak, Calaudrin certainly doesn't look as rich as everyone else. Just steel armor on this guy. He glances at the two women however and rocks on his heels. He tips forward to say something quietly to Mae before straightening up again.
Viviana, for her part, just gives a little smile towards the woman who spoke up. Staying quiet was never going to be something that Viviana was good at for long. "This 'silk' killed two bringers at the gate." Viviana explains simply, a little amused smile playing at her lips. "I'm here to make sure that if any are lurking, it's a mistake they don't live to regret. I've no interest in seeing anyone chased from their home, wherever it might happen to be"
Mae gives a little laugh. "They work for me," she says, to Keto. "Nice to meet, you Keto. This is... Princess Reese," she says, to the blonde already introducing herself. "Um... Lady Viviana..." She says, with a tight smile as Viviana does just a little bragging. "Mister... I don't know your name, I'm sorry!" she says, to Halsim. "Calaudrin," she gestures. Then she pauses, as Calaudrin murmurs to her. She gives a nod. Her attention shifts back to Keto. She's going to try to stay positive here! "Anyways, they all volunteered to come down here and protect me, because... I mean. You know. Me." She smiles. "Anyways... There was a man.." She gestures over her shoulder. "He was pinned to the walls. Traitor written over his body. Any idea what happened? We... really need to know, Keto. If you could please..?"
Viviana checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 15, resulting in 28, 13 higher than the difficulty.
The rain picks up, which causes the flame to flicker, and eventually it seems to die down fast. More thunder rolls across the skies, while Keto takes a moment to look between all those gathered. When Reese speaks, there's an upnod to a male Shav, who nods, and tells them, "I, ah... Mi--, I'm gonna need some tax you see? We ain't doing so great down here, and seeing you have all the... Nice things." One of the men makes a sound at Viviana's words, which causes him to pick up a rock, along with a couple others, and they throw them at her. Keto, for her part, ignores them, and looks straight to Mae, while one man tries to get money from Reese. The woman frowns at Mae, "What... A man, pinned to the wall?" She looks to the others, and the rock throwers realize Viviana is dextrous. There's glowers, but Keto raises a hand to calm them. "What'd they look like?" The man was blond and dark-skinned, for those that recall him. Calaudrin is watched, because he has steel on, but one of the women walk over to him, and reach to grab around his arm, "Hey there," she states, fluttering her lashes.
Calaudrin doesn't jerk away when the woman grabs his arm, but there is an over all tension that comes to his person at this unexpected contact. Still, he smiles at her. "Hello... You're going to have to buy me a drink first. I'm not that cheap. Well, it depends on the drink." It's an easy kind of self-deprecating humor. When Keto speaks to Mae, he clears his throat and turns back to the Shavs. "Light hair, but dark skinned." He offers to her, if that's at all helpful.
The man in the mask rolls his eyes underneath it, slowly pitching himself away from the wall of the house, closing further in on the group of Shav's from behind but not really doing much to intervene. Sure, the figure gets closer to react faster but, nothing is done to prevent the stone throwing or the ask for taxes to the Silks.
Viviana neatly dodges the rocks that were thrown her way, perhaps not an entirely unexpected consequence of her words. She might have known they were ill-considered, but then... that's never been the sort of thing to stop Viviana before. She does have the good sense to fall silent again, at least... though she can't resist the temptation to give a cheerful smile and a little theatrical bow, as if concluding a performance, after the last rock skips harmlessly away from her feet.
Reese looks upon Keto with this thoughtful expression. "I am sorry that you are not doing well." She murmurs softly. "I will give you some silver, if you promise that you will not use the money on dust and will only use it on food or clothing or things that you really need that are not dust." She says. She then gets distracted as the rocks are thrown and she sighs. "No need to throw rocks. A man pinned to the wall and killed. You know anything about this?"
Mae looks over her shoulder, at Viviana. There's a /look/. But Viviana doesn't look to be ready to respond, so she just huffs, and looks back to front again. Then she looks to the side, to Reese. She reaches out to thwap the blonde's plate-covered shoulder. "They're not going to use it on dust!" Mae insists. Then she sends an apologetic look to Keto. "Sorry, you know... silks just... have thoughts," she says, with a little smile. She then looks back to Calaudrin, and gestures. "What he said. Light hair, dark skinned... I'm so telling your wife, Calaudrin!" she says, her eyes going wide. Then she looks back to Keto, with a sunny smile. "We can pay," she assures.
Halsim keeps near the wall, away from the others. Halsim does slip a hand into one of his robe pockets though, ready to use one of his alchemical vials if they escalate. The nobles gets a glance, but Halsim otherwise keeps to the background, still.
Ugarte arrives, following Aureth.
Ugarte leaves, following Aureth.
The woman with Calaudrin sighs, and moves back, then there is a look from Keto, "... Teren?" she asks, with a small frown, "He... Did go missing the other day," she then nods a bit. "Two new folk," she motions to a female and male Shav, of nice height, "Saw him last." The two look a bit strung-out. There are chuckles from a few when Reese mentions 'No Dust.' And angry stares. Viviana is ignored now. "But, that can't be him, he just said he was going up to the Upper Boroughs to pickp--- up some chocolate from the nearest store." The man who extortioned Reese moves over to her, and holds out a hand for silver.
"No, please don't tell her!" Calaudrin replies quickly to Mae sounding aghast when he turns to look at her. Then his eyes flicker quickly between the two women in their little group. "They're probably going to use it on food or clothing for the cold weather. Us poor people don't just spend all of our money on illegal things, Princess." He makes a distinct effort to not look at anyone who was rubbing dust away from their noses earlier on. Or anyone strung out.
Calaudrin checked charm + manipulation against difficulty 20, resulting in 3, 17 lower than the difficulty.
A soft sound escapes from Reese's slightly parted lips as she feels Mae's touch against her metal covered shoulder. "Chocolate." She says hopefully, wanting to believe that. "I should bring you some chocolate. Darla in our kitchens..." She murmurs while reaching into her pouch and pulling out a a few hundred silver. She turns to Calaudrin a moment later and her blue eyes widen. "Oh.." She says, drawing back her hand. "I will have to spend this money on food and come back with it. I am sorry, but, I just can't, it wouldn't be ethical."
Mae watche Keto, and when the man's name comes, her smile turns to a faint frown. "We can show you the body, Keto... it's... there's no game here. He was killed, his tongue cut out, and 'traitor' written above his head," Mae explains. Then she blinks, and looks aside, at Reese. Her mouth opens, and her eyes go wide. "Reese..." she manages, after a moment. Then she huffs, and looks aways. "Princess, could you please go cover the rear?" Mae says, without looking at Reese. Her attention is back on Keto, and Mae herself is digging through a coin purse. "Here..." she says, and hands over some silver - more to the tune of a hundred than a few hundred - to the man. "Just... please, tell us what you know."
Mae checked charm + manipulation against difficulty 20, resulting in 21, 1 higher than the difficulty.
There was a moment that the man in the mask was worried that the Shavs would attack the group. After the 'Just Kidding' tactic by the Princess, well, he just steps back and makes a signal to dust his hands clean. He'll go back to watching because, now, he's definitely not doing a thing to prevent anything.
There is a moment, where Reese offers the coin, and then those angry stares turn to heated glares when she backs down on it, calling it 'unethical'. For a moment, it looks like the man asking her for the coin, looks to Keto, and there is a dark look from her too. His hand is a step away from sliding that knife out and pointing it at her chin, or punching her in the face. Or both. That's when Mae comes in with the offer of coin, and Keto looks up with a small tick, one only the Shavs there would understand, a cant, he backs down. The heated glares do not stop, but the tension has become very bad now. A couple look at Halsim, and murmurs amongst themselves. Coin exchanged, Keto speaks, "That's all I know, but we'll come with you to look... Sure." There's a motion, and some stand up, even the cat stretches out... And it seems that all twelve will follow to see the man. "Show us the way."
Viviana is doing her best to be good, really she is... staying nice, and quiet, and watchful as events unfold, having already done enough to get the group into trouble. There's certainly a bit of tension to her form by this poing as well, as the situation seems to flirt with disaster, but she relaxes a little once the offer seems to be accepted.
"That wasn't exactly what I meant..." Calaudrin begins to explain when Reese takes her silver away. But really, when you're sarcastic and crunchy almost all of the time, these kind of misunderstandings happen. He sighs on a lengthy exhale. "Sorry." That's muttered to Mae and he snaps his mouth shut. He's just going to stay over here and continue to be about as charming as a pile of rocks.
Reese looks upon Mae and she has the grace to blush rather warmly pink. The princess seems all conflicted like she isn't quite sure if she made the right choice or not. "Of course, Mae." She murmurs softly, going to guard their rear.
Mae gives a sweet smile to the man that takes her money. There's not follow up to it, she just lets it go, then looks to Keto, and gives a nod. There's a moment to wait for objections from her party. Calaudrin speaks, and she looks back to the man, and offers him a smile, just the same. "'sokay," she tells him. Then, Reese is following orders. Viviana isn't acting up. All is well! Though Mae does squint off into the darkness, and then roll her eyes. "Okay, let's go!" she says, and then turns and gestures.
Merek checked luck against difficulty 15, resulting in 17, 2 higher than the difficulty.
Calaudrin checked perception against difficulty 15, resulting in 16, 1 higher than the difficulty.
Viviana checked perception against difficulty 15, resulting in 11, 4 lower than the difficulty.
Reese has rolled a critical success!
Reese checked perception against difficulty 15, resulting in 24, 9 higher than the difficulty.
Mae has rolled a critical success!
Mae checked perception against difficulty 15, resulting in 74, 59 higher than the difficulty.
Halsim checked perception against difficulty 15, resulting in 26, 11 higher than the difficulty.
No one is stabbed on the path to the man, should none have objections to leading the Shavs to the location. A couple rear back in horror once arrived, and some look away and mutter quiet prayers to the Pantheon. For what has been found... Is the man being taken down by the people Calaudrin asked to do it! Still, Keto does not seem to question the presence of those taking it down, since... Let's face it, the team is about as subtle as a hammer when it comes to why they were there. It's obvious this was official business. "That's... That's Teren, but... What?" She shakes her head.
That is when it happens, all of the sudden, the man who was cheerful after receiving money from Reese finds himself with a knife in his back. He lets out a gurgling sound, and falls down, then four of the Shavs, who had looked strung out, have blades out, jagged ones. One grabs Keto and she screams, as a blade is placed to her neck. Viviana is unable to see it coming, and she has one up to hers as well. Two of the other Shavs find themselves held up by the knives too. Four servants of Brand's Bringers. With hostages. "... Surrender... To the Silence... Let it embrace you... Or. Die," one of them that seems not /fully/ strung out and dead-eyed insane states.
A Man wearing a black silk half face-mask dotted with tiny emeralds checked dexterity + stealth against difficulty 20, resulting in 37, 17 higher than the difficulty.
As the group of twelve Shavs move away from where they had roosted in the alley, the masked man moves to start inspecting the goods they leave behind when inspecting the bowls, food, and a knife that was settled down by the fire. He picks it up in particular, turning it over in his hand, drawing the knife close enough to see what stained the blade. He taps it on an open palm, his hooded face drawing toward where the twelve had gone up the alley. The commotion he starts to hear, the scream, has the masked man doing a stealthy approach to their flank... as quick as he can without drawing attention to himself.
"Ah- well, he's probably still there. I hope." Calaudrin mutters this outloud as they're on their way back to the dead man. Who thankfully (?!) is still there but in the process of being removed. He turns around just in time to see a good chunk of the people around him be taken hostage. "Oh yeah, this is /exactly/ how I wanted my day to go." He's a bowman not a sword swinger or a knife thrower. He takes several steps back, as far as the space might allow and nocks an arrow. "Only the four, keep injuries to the friendlies at minimum." Because how is this not going to end in a fight at this point?
Mae has rolled a critical success!
Mae checked dexterity + legerdemain against difficulty 20, resulting in 63, 43 higher than the difficulty.
Calaudrin checked dexterity + archery against difficulty 20, resulting in 68, 48 higher than the difficulty.
One moment she's watching the locals recoil in horror at the body, and the next momnt... well, knife. That's not exactly a pleasant development, nor was it anything close to the plan. Viviana tenses for a moment at the feel of that blade against her skin, eyes flickering to the others in the group. She remains still for the moment, not wanting to give her captor an excuse... or perhaps that's just waiting for him to make a mistake.
Calaudrin checked command + leadership against difficulty 25, resulting in 19, 6 lower than the difficulty.
Reese seems startled by the quick turn of events. She brings her metal covered right hand close to the handle of her pink blade. A quick glance is given to those gathered here, the warrior princess not seeming quite sure how to respond. Her attention is on her Viviana as she is taken hostage.
"We don't know," Mae is already starting to explain, as she beholds the horror of the blood, the man's condition, all of it. "We were hoping you-..." And that's when Mae is cut off by a squeak. Her eyes go wide. "Please, don't!" she blurts, and holds up one hand. "Please-... we... Just don't hurt them. What do you want from us?!" she says, the words coming out near instantly. Of course, as Mae looks so pathetic and helpless, she's already rather sneakily drawn out her blade, entirely unseen.
Mae gets a wicked, thin-bladed dagger of whimsical design from a bright blue messenger bag.
Mae wields a wicked, thin-bladed dagger of whimsical design.
Halsim checked dexterity + stealth against difficulty 15, resulting in 30, 15 higher than the difficulty.
Reese is very bright in her shiny steel and with her shiny blades. She puts her helmet back on, because she might as well be fully armored. She looks toward the four Shavs holding hostages. She then takes this stance, parting her legs a bit and taking up more space. "This is illegal. I am going to have to demand that you release your prisoners of your own free will and submit yourself for arrest as your actions are illegal, against the law and the faith. As a Grayson, I am giving I strongly advise this." She says, trying to draw as much attention to herself as she can.
Tragedy befell the Great Cathedral of the Pantheon. The people that gathered in worship and hope in this holy place of the Faith instead found horror awaiting them. Trapped in unnatural fog and darkness, they were cut down by the revived corpses of recently-slain Templars, or worse, were slain by mistake by their own defenders. Though heroes such as Knight-Captain Armel, Brother Aleksei, Gisele, Sir Miles and Fortunato rose up, it was not enough. A cruel and hidden figure made sport of them, mocking their efforts to save the innocent. Only glimpsed at by Gisele, she paid the price by being pinned to a pew with arrows, and would have died were it not for the efforts of Fortunato and Miles. The hidden man left once his undead soldiers were destroyed by Armel and Aleksei, his purpose accomplished. Corpses strewn about, their blood covering the floor, and the food and supplies held in the Cathedral burnt to ashes. It's with such crushing failure and horror that the survivors must now live with, even as the one responsible wanders the city free, and able to strike again...
Hostage situations, great. Halsim isn't a charmer... so he just slinks off into the shadows. Pointedly *away* from any face masked men, before he turns and watches. A fighter, he is not... but at least he can look for ways to counter the situation.
The rains don't make aim that much easier, but Calaudrin at least has a sure shot, at least, he would think. That won't hopefully kill the hostage. Meanwhile, Mae has drawn her knife so hidden, and Halsim slips into the shadows, successfully. Reese can tell that this won't be easy. Viviana would understand that one wrong move, and that knife sinks in, but can she avoid it being lethal? Meanwhile... A masked figure is sneaking up behind the chaos. Stand fast. The night is not over, and blood is still to be shed. But whose shall fall. One Shav, who was nothing more than a denizen is laid out, blood pooling around him. The Guards are frozen, they don't have the equipment to deal with this, but they are ready for all-out battle, if it comes to that...
The rain continues to fall. Thunder resounds against the skies. The Agent that speaks for Brand's folk looks up, "Surrender... Or. Die. Kneel. Join us. And let those foolish who follow the Pantheon, whet the dirt." One of the bad Shavs, looks over to Reese, and stares at her, dead-eyed. "We obey only our master."
Viviana checked dexterity + survival against difficulty 25, resulting in 36, 11 higher than the difficulty.
A Man wearing a black silk half face-mask dotted with tiny emeralds checked dexterity + stealth against difficulty 30, resulting in 55, 25 higher than the difficulty.
A Man wearing a black silk half face-mask dotted with tiny emeralds checked dexterity + medium wpn against difficulty 20, resulting in 70, 50 higher than the difficulty.
Well, let it never be said that Viviana was one to play it safe... even with a knife at her throat. She shifts a little against her captor, perhaps just getting a sense for how the man has the blade on her... and then in a lightning-fast motion, she's ducked out of his grasp, taking a step away with her hand already reaching for the hilt of the rapier worn at her hip. Unable to resist a quip, the woman tells her former captor "Sorry, I'm just not the surrendering type"
The rain provides a good cover for the shadow creeping up through the alleyway. True to his form, the crouch carries him a long distance, using obstacles that line the alleyway to assist keeping quiet. The distraction of the Agent's were upon Mae and her group, not behind them, to the flank. None had seen him before this instance. All the talk, the conversation, the drumming of the rain. Sounds provide him as much cover. Sight of black leathers hindered by the droplets of rain, only the bouncing droplets as they break around him give away that he was actually there. And it was those droplets that catch aginst a glint of red rubicund. A soft whoosh that cuts through the rain. A wicked talon of a spike on the opposite side of the blade is what hammers through the Agent's ear (the one holding Keto), crushing skull at once. Those in front of the Agent only see the swiftness of the axe spike, driving in, and the slump that has the Agent's body heaping in the rain at the shadows feet. A deep cowl pools shadows over any hint of swarthy flesh that can be seen, which is minimal, since the black half mask covers the rest.
Mae checked dexterity + athletics against difficulty 45, resulting in 38, 7 lower than the difficulty.
"Okay, Reese... calm words," Mae hisses out. "No one shoot! No weapons, we're... we're okay!" Mae says, though her voice isn't exactly that strong right now. "Look, you... you release her..." She says, gesturing with that empty hand to Keto. "And you take me, instead? Ok?" Of course, that's not /really/ the plan. It's just words meant to distract and stall, right up until, yes. Viviana is already loose, and suddenly a big man is driving an axe into man's head. So Mae takes her chance, and fast as a whip her hand is out from under her cloak and dagger fires out, right at one of the other Agents. No, it's not the bull's eye Mae wanted, but she does catch the Agent's shoulder (and may the Shav's, too, whoops!). It's enough to hurt, and enough to distract the Agent, so the Shav can hopefully break free! Mae then quickly ducks behind Reese! "Time to fight!" she squeaks.
Reese checked dexterity + medium wpn against difficulty 55, resulting in 59, 4 higher than the difficulty.
Reese draws her silvery pink blade, charging at one of the shavs who is holding a hostage. This could get dangerous as her blade could easily slice into the civilian, but Reese is skilled, very skilled. She stabs the weapon into the man's side, hurting him. The man is still standing, but his hostage is freed and unharmed.
Halsim checked perception + investigation against difficulty 15, resulting in 97, 82 higher than the difficulty.
Calaudrin checked dexterity + archery against difficulty 30, resulting in 40, 10 higher than the difficulty.
Those guys who were pulling down the body are useless. Instead of doing anything they just kind of stand there and stare in wide eyed shock when Calaudrin speaks to them. He sighs in exasperation, grimacing when the one man starts replying to Reese. "Well, great. We need a better training program." For the guards or for Calaudrin is unclear. This is all self-contained rambling as he aims at one of the agents, draws his arm back and takes a shot at one of the hostageless enemies. He manages to not shoot anyone else other than his target, which is great news! Well, not for the target, maybe.
Merek checked luck against difficulty 15, resulting in 27, 12 higher than the difficulty.
Viviana checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 25, resulting in 31, 6 higher than the difficulty.
The Shavs did not consider that a sneak attack was to happen, and as such, when the Agent that leads them is struck, blood is splattered all over the place, and Keto makes a sound, reeling forward. As the knives cleave across to shoulders, the Shav freed from it, fights his previous captive, and swings a fist. A blade comes up, but it is defended against, and he slams his head into the other agent. They duke it out onwards.
The one that was struck by Reese takes a blow from Calaudrin's arrow just as soon as he moves to defend himself, and it catches him in the throat, coming out the other side. Blood spills with a gurgle. The one that was escaped by Viviana, lunges at her with a dagger, and tries to stab her, but she avoids it... Barely, and he's coming at her fierce. Two Agents remain, it should be an easy clean-up.
Viviana checked dexterity + medium wpn against difficulty 25, resulting in 70, 45 higher than the difficulty.
Viviana gets her wickedly sharp blade clear of its scabbard just about the time she (barely) sidesteps the thrust of a dagger. A little smile lingers on her face despite the threat to her life, or perhaps that's because of it. "You missed" she informs the man simply, before she lunges in with her own attack, driving the point of her rapier through the man's chest. As she withdraws her blade from the dying man, leaving him to crumple at her feet she informs him "Should have stuck to throwing rocks"
Orathy checked dexterity + brawl against difficulty 25, resulting in 28, 3 higher than the difficulty.
The man in the mask and deep cowled hood, was moving after the slumping form of the first Agent took place. There were no words, simply actions. Actions that streaked the black leather wearing rogue against the last Agent left standing, shouldering into him hard to get a grip upward and then flattening the Agent to the ground, putting all his weight into tackling the Agent to the ground. Limbs fly and grunts are heard! They wrestle it out for a while until the man in the black leathers and mask comes up the victor, locking the Agent in a hold. Should anyone come close with threatening weapons, he shakes his head, chin tipping toward the Inquisitor.
Reese has her pink blade draw as she watches the masked man take down the last Brand servant. She doesn't seem to know who is, but he is fighting on their side, so she doesn't attack. She looks ready to if he charges toward them though.
Mae's eyes go wide as the fight plays out, all of it going so very quick. Of course, for all the action, she's left staring at Reese more than the others. "Oh," she whispers out, as she watches the Grayson knight make that keen stab. But then, yes, there's a fight! So Mae draws out a second blade (her first having been thrown) and then blinks a few times. "Oh!" she blurts, refocusing. "Oh, grab him! The... the one on the ground, not the one with the mask!"
Mae puts a wicked, thin-bladed dagger of whimsical design in a bright blue messenger bag.
Mae wields a well-made letter opener with a blue handle.
The remaining enemy has been brought to heel. Keto just shakes her head, "Thanks," then she looks to the remaining Shavs. With a motion, all of them move with her, and they all head off into the night, if not stopped, taking their dead with them, excluding the hostage-takers, since well... You know. The one that has been tackled makes harsh sounds, "Die... Die... Die..." He manages to graze Orathy's side with the dagger, before it drops and clatters off away, not doing much more than nick him.
With the last one felled and being held captive by the masked man, Calaudrin will lower his bow. He looks at all the dead bodies laying around, "You think it's going to be an easy night..." That's when he steps back and grabs the two lackey guards by the collars. "Come on, there's a mess to clean up down here."
Bloodied blade still in hand, Viviana glances around for a moment, briefly taking stock of the situation. Her gaze fixes on the agent who seems to be rather trapped by their mysterious masked assistance, though she makes no move to attack the rather helpless man. "Hmm, what was it you said earlier?" Viviana asks him, mocking sweetness in her tone, clearly having not forgotten it at all. "Oh, I remember now! Surrender or die"
The fighting over, the black robed and hooded Halsim steps out of the shadows "Brands slaves don't seem to like being subtle." Halsim looks at him. "Minds probably not all there. COuld be wrong."
Reese fades into the background, keeping her sword drawn and watching for any incoming foes or further troubles. She leaves dealing with the Brand servant to the others.
Could the masked man, getting rain dripping into his face, pooling in that hood, hold out? He seems to strain his arms as he settles there on the ground with the Agent held, pinned, locked. A rough voice breaks out from underneath the black mask covering the lower part of his face, "All yers..." to Halsim, making another upward chin throw to emphasis someone should help bind the thing or kill it.
Justice, an elegant hunting falcon have been dismissed.
Stormy, a silvery gray hunting hound have been dismissed.
Mae looks back, to Viviana. There's a tight smile, then she turns and sees Keto already heading off. "Hey-...!" she calls. She gives one spare look to the masked figure. "You got him?" she asks, but doesn't bother to actually wait for an answer. Surely, he's fine. She instead jogs after the departing shavs, for just a bit. "Thank you! If you need anything... Mae Culler!" she calls after them. Because spreading the name never hurt! She then looks back to the others, and finally lets out a breath. "Whew! That was-... My dagger!" and she just now realizes that went somewhere... in this direction. She starts looking around.
The man screams at those that hold him, and tries to escape, but he can't. He instead growls out, "The Silence will come, it will... Bring perfection. Eeeeeeast, reeeeee!" Ok, it is completely insane, "The true power. The Bringer shall guide! Eee... The house that sits in the sun, when the last light falls... The gathering, of fools... Shall... Whet the stones..." Then it slams its head against anything and everything.
"Well, then." Halsim moves over, and gets to tying. "This should be interesting. Can always just kill him later, if he's useless." As the man screams, he gags him with cloth.
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