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EEI: Stonekeep - Refuge and Ruin

An old set of maps has led the DiFidante on a late season journey to their lands in search of some promising bit of local history. This plan is suspended by a heavy autumn storm, forcing them to take refuge in a cave.


Aug. 25, 2020, 9 p.m.

Hosted By


GM'd By



Amund Angelo Brigid Dante Daria Lasalle Svoli Celeste



Outside Arx - Lyceum near The Roseward - Edge of the Roseward - Volkov Forest

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

EEI: Stonekeep - Refuge and Ruin has started at Outside Arx - Lyceum near The Roseward - Edge of the Roseward - Volkov Forest.

Studying the areas around Volkov Wood during the current season is prone to sudden, abrupt interruptions by natural phenomena. Such as when clouds suddenly darken the sky and torrential downpour forces the party to cover.

Thankfully, they are close to a cave, because they are so deep into the woods there is no clearing in sight, and the rain makes it hard to see the trail leading back to their point of origin.

It is now up to this group of intrepid explorers to take advantage of this shelter or not.

Better cold rain than snow, anyway, and despite the inclement weather it's still nicer here than back in the city of Arx. Still. With the sudden deluge and the mere existence of a cave to provide shelter, Lora is clearly in favor. Mostly. If she's less than thrilled with the whole idea of roughing it in general, she's mostly concealed that, but the chilly downpour is far less appealing than another night spent sleeping on the ground. "Unless someone knows of an inn conveniently hidden away in the woods nearby..."

Celeste is, as they say, along for the ride. "This is not my home teritory, my lady," says the former Princess to Lora. "I defer to the choices of those more familiar with the wood." But a look around, at how thick the trees are here, she hazards a guess of, "but I'm thinking the most we might find is some woodcutter's cottage." The rain tinks and falls off of her helm, soaking the pennants of knightly orders, in miniature, sewn onto her cloak.

Daria is somewhat visible in the downpour but not by much, her green garb blending into their surroundings. Rainwater causing her hair to stick in her eyes, she brushes it out of her face with one hand. The Whitefeather Scout is considering the group and the current situation, and replies to Lora, "I do not think well within walking distance." Celeste's gets an affirming nod. She has the right of it.

Chuckling, Lasalle shakes his head, "I don't know these woods as well as our rangers, but I can't say that I've come across an inn here before. The cave is certainly drier than standing out here." He shrugs, "Let's check it out."

Angelo looks rather miserable, pulling his cloak close around him to try and ward off the chill and wet. Despite having spent a year or so with the Volkov, he's not exactly an outdoorsman, or used to 'roughing it', certainly. As the others speak, he looks over to Svoli, who grew up in these woods. "Lady Svoli, I don't suppose you happen to know of any place that might be better shelter than the caves, do you?"

Did Svoli know this cave? Maybe? She had spent much of her youth wandering the Volkov Woods. Disappearing for days, weeks, even months, before she would wander back home. "Nothing nearby that I can remember," Svoli adds, glancing to Angelo. And then, "Safer for the horses and us, if we wait it out in this cave." Svoli replies, slidding off the back of Alban. "As the Lieutenant said, we should check out the cave."

Hearing the group reach agreement, Daria moves towards the cave. Whether it's familiar to her or not as a ranger of the woods, she's evidently interested in taking point before the nobles get too close. "Could be bears," she points out to Lasalle, waggling her bow in passing.

The Templar slides out of the saddle of her Setracy Zephyr - a horse whose coat has a decidely metallic sheen even before it became glossy with rain. "Do the bowmen have lanterns?" Celeste asks. "You'll have more time to set them down than those in melee." Which is to say that once the decision is made, she's leading Flit - her horse - towards the cave. That she's not in charge seems to be entirely a thought not had. Old habits die hard. She follows in behind Daria, one hand on the hilt of her sword.

It isn't much of an option, but it is the only option. "Then we'll stay here for the night," says Lora. In catching Daria's comment the very barest little glimmer of a smile emerges. "If there are, let's hope they are already asleep and don't mind sharing." Which means it's time to dismount, though for the time being she keeps hold of her horse's reins, leaving the initial search for bears, spiders, and other erstwhile cave denizens to someone a little more stabby. There's a little nod at Celeste to follow. "We have lanterns. Something to do with lessons learned in mineshafts."

Lasalle nods, and jogs up to keep pace with Daria. Next to the Whitefeather captain his red accouterments stand out vividly against her own and the landscape surrounding. One hand strays to thd hilt of his blade.

Lora checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 7 higher.

Angelo glances to the others at the mention of a possibility of bears, brows raising. After a moment studying Svoli, Daria, Lasalle, and Celeste he seems to decide the three can take such a beast, and trudges towards the cave. Even if he makes sure to keep them in front, just in case.

Angelo checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Daria checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

The Dame sat resolute and still astride Vane, the visceral bay courser giving a shake of mighty head to clear any lingering rain drops. Brigid however seem unaffected, in fact, the fey eyed and luminously pale Moore looked at home in the woods. A cursory once over was given to Angelo, as if his question only briefly snagged attention before she waited on the others to reach a decision. Dismounting, there is an exhale of breath as eyes closed briefly before fluttering open at the mention of mineshafts to which Lora receives a look. She'd wait on the others of course to explore the depths for now until a call signals it's clear, these woods commanded her attention for now as if at any moment something might creep out of them.

Celeste checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Lasalle checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

Dante checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 9 lower.

Already having dismounted from Alban, pulling her horse glaive free, Svoli joins Daria, Lasalle, and Celeste in checking out the cave. Alban, of course following after her, softly whuffing at her hair. The small woman, turns a little and gently pushes the horse's nose, "Stay here for now, Alban," she murmurs to him, as if the horse could understand her perfectly. The horse puases and then follows her, giving her a tiny bit of space between them.

Svoli checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.

For those able to distinguish it, the cave ahead presents no hidden, sleeping animals, or human remains that seem recent. In fact, here and there they might spot the signs of recent inhabitation, like food leftovers and burned firewood, which indicates that this cave has been used at least recently.

More curiously, past the yawning first chamber there appears to be a narrowing corridor, leading somewhere that the light of the lantern can't quite help make out, just yet. Water drips in a far away echo, on occasion.

Daria is light-footed as she creeps inside, vigilant for danger. Seeing none in the dark cave partly lit by the lamplight from others, she relaxes but not overmuch considering the signs of other visitors. Her brow knits as she inspects things a bit.

"Smuggler's cave?" Celeste asks of those around her. "Or do you think it just a convenient place to shelter at night?" She keeps her voice low enough not to carry too far down the extra passage, but loud enough to be heard by the group that's come into the cave. One of the more recent bits of food on the ground is given a nudge with the tip of her blade. "We should explore deeper to make sure there are no surprises." It comes with a faint tone of warning, like she's learned that lesson through vicious attack before.

The lack of beast in the cave is reassuring, but evidence that the cave has been recently used has Lasalle on guard. He too begins examining the chamber more closely. At Celeste's words his jaw sets in resolve and he nods, he begins slowly zig zagging his way through the opening and making his way methodically towards the corridor. He slides his blade free of its scabbard as he moves.

Daria checked perception + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 2 higher.

Lasalle checked perception + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 23 lower.

Svoli checked perception + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 41 higher. Svoli rolled a critical!

Angelo checked perception + investigation at difficulty 35, rolling 11 higher.

Lora checked perception + investigation at difficulty 35, rolling 4 higher.

Angelo, too, starts to poke around a bit, curious, though he makes sure to stay near someone who's more... Formidable in a physical encounter than he is, whenever possible. He's not made for getting into tussles, after all.

"Hmmm, Interesting... I count at least eight different sets of tracks, judging from the differing sizes and weights," Angelo notes, softly.

Dante checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 12 lower.

Lasalle wields Oath Keeper, the Rubicund blade.

Like the others, Svoli is looking over what remains that signal the cave has been used recently. Though who recently? That is a good question. At Celeste's mention of exploring deeper, she nods in agreement. Like Lasalle, she starts to make her ways carefully toward the passage, pausing as she seems to notice something on the ground, her gaze lifting upward, and she moves to the wall, inspecting something there, too. And then her head cocks a touch to the side as if hearing something in the distance. Taking a couple steps back, she motions to the others. "Tracks leading into the tunnel," she says quietly, before she points to the wall, "bloody hand print there. And," a glance to the passage. "I could hear, very faintly the sound of metal clanking."

Not having heard a roar or the bellow of angry disturbed miners, Brigid glances over her shoulder at where the others are nosing about the cave. The Moore would continue to guard the entrance from an ambush, murmuring softly to Vane as he started to grow restless - acting out in a show of pawing the ground. Ears perk at the mention of a bloody print, groaning a bit at the mention of passages and tunnels, "How many different pathways are there?" That tranquil, austere question lingers as the first stringing of words to pass lips.

Brigid wields Canon, a diamondplate two-handed sword with rubicund cross-guard and pommel.

Celeste wields Reverence, an alaricite longsword.

Svoli wields a rubicund horse glaive with balancing spike.

The lack of bears is encouraging; the recent signs of occupation less so. But as the rain picks up outside, lighting crackling through the dark sky, Lora is content to come in where it's dry, at least. She lights a lantern and holds it high so that it provides some additional illumination, throwing light and dancing shadows on the stone. She ends up near the remnants of the fire, where ideograms of ash and burnt wood likely mean nothing... until she crouches, and retrieves a bit of bloody leather. Her fingertips tack along it, and come away reddish. "This is relatively new."

Daria is sat in a crouch as Angelo reports his news, clutching her bow. "Not bears though," she tells him mildly, but there's some concern over this too if her quick look towards the others is any indication. The former Volkov's report gains a bit more heightened vigilance from the red-haired scout as she stands and looks towards the lady, mouth tightening in a frown.

Dismounting from Andras with a metallic clank, Dante makes sure his pitch black cloak is tight around the diamondplate - not that it can cover it all. Taking a moment to listen to Celeste and Svoli, he murmurs quietly, "Could be, certainly." After drawing his sword, the Marquis heads forward towards the cave a few more steps, trying to discern something from the tracks - then halts when the Lady Volkov says something about hearing metal in the distance and a bloody handprint. "I see." Halting, he waits for a moment, head tilted towards Daria.

Dante wields The Edge of Perdition, rose-warded alaricite longsword.

"How recent? Were they all here at the same time?" Celeste asks, looking through the gloom at Angelo. She doesn't exactly move stealthily, in her mix of chain and plate, when she walks over to peer at the ground as if to see what Angelo sees. Svoli's warning comes as a kind of answer of its own and Celeste's frown becomes a thing of pure intimidation. "If you're not armed, stay more to the middle than the edges so you're covered both ways. If someone with a weapons says run..." To Brigid, "One that we see."

"I'll leave the defending of the cave mouth to Vane - he's instructed to guard." A true Knight's beast, the courser was spoken to in a hushed language not Arvani, before the Moore eases into the cave with a sigh, "I've been in enough holes in the earth to last me a lifetime."

As an aside, "I'll take up the rear, if you others want to start filing in the center as the Dame suggests." This to Lora with a smile then a look to Angelo with a check of brow.

Lasalle chews thoughtfully at his lip. "Damn. I wish Hugo were here. I'd send him to scout ahead." He moves towards to the front of the assembly and scans his compatriots, checking to see when everyone is ready to move. He smiles reassuringly, but his eyes are filled with a quiet resolve.

"As you wish." Lora isn't especially picky about where in this line she stands. She does retrieve a bundle of something from one of her saddlebags though, and lifts the lantern a little bit higher so that it might flood the chosen tunnel, both lighting their way ahead and illuminating the path behind them. There's a little lift of eyebrows at Angelo then, not perhaps to decide for him, but invitation enough. Then, "Why does everything we find always have to be bloody already?"

Hearing Svoli, Angelo nods, as he keeps looking at the tracks that head deeper into the cave. Looking to Celeste, and then Brigid, Angelo seems more than willing to be in the middle beside Lora, surrounded by people with pointy objects and armor. "I should probably visit the salle to learn how to not stab myself, at some point," he murmurs to her, in after thought.

Knowing herself not as quiet as those in leather, Celeste chooses to take a place in the lineup just in front of Lady Brigid. She keeps her sword out, held close to not drag against the floor or wall. "Just the world we live in these days, my lady," she responds to Lora.

Violet-blue eyes flicker to Vane, and then Alban, who whinnies and whickers a touch at Svoli. "Alban says he will join, Vane, in defending the cave." Svoli remarks, her usual brooding, softening as she smiles to the destrier. Did she just say the horse spoke to her? Yep, she did. And then she would join the group in heading into the cave.

Daria catches Dante's look. "Not sure who it could be," she tells him. "These are new people to these parts. Maybe." Of course, with the presence of blood, one can only guess they're not up to any good? She inches up to walk further into the cave.

Further into the cave, and into that aforementioned tunnel leads to a passageway where, to the left, there is a chasm, and to the right, there is a stone wall to hug. It has enough space for a comfortable single-file of perhaps even horsemen, but the surest thing is to walk on foot, until they reach the wider end just across from the entrance. There, they find themselves in an area overlooking another; there is a man-made stairwell leading down just to the left, as it turns out, but this gives them the vantage point of seeing just what they might be dealing with.

A group of plate-armored people, armed with swords, axes and short spears, are roughing up a man who wears some Godsworn robes. The armors are all of some kind of high quality steel and black as the night. What they're saying to said Godsworn brother is hard to make out from the distance, but it seems as if they haven't spotted the group -- yet.

Oh, and their black tabards picture thirteen tears of blood, as well as the letter M.

There is a quiet look shared with all those in attendance, Canon is brandished as quietly as possible as Brigid glances towards Dante and Celeste last as if ready to coordinate given they appear to be the most heavily armored. But then there is a look to Svoli, a woman after her own heart with that glaive, wondering if she also had an affection for hurling.

Celeste follows the others through the cave system, hugging a wall without getting close enough to the oneside to scrape anything. When she spies the godsworn her eyes tighten. "Marquis, this cannot stand," she hisses with quiet urgency. "Archers up here, we take our chances down there to rescue him?" Dane looks to be the bigger meat shield, after all!

Celeste adds, "One chance to surrender," in that same quiet voice. Trying not to be heard at least.

"I don't even want to give them that." Was growled from the Knight of Solace.

Quickly does Dante draw to a stop at the appearance of these malefactors in black plate with crimson tear marked tabards. He flattens himself against a wall, the alaricite sword glowing dully in shadowy, reflected light. His eyes focus on Celeste with a concerned expression, "One of the Godsworn. Do you know who those are that are torturing him? Or why he is here?" Said as quietly as possible, he grips the Edge of Perdition in both hands, teeth starting to grind and nods slightly at Brigid. Looking back towards Svoli, LaSalle and Daria, he prepares them to form up. "Absolutely, Dame Celeste. It cannot and will not stand. If they do not surrender, then we rescue him by force of arms. Archers, get ready. All of the rest of us - prepare to charge."

Lasalle readies himself mentally. He moves hesitantly, not wanting to alert those below. He gives the slightest of nods to show he is ready when the order is given, his grip on Oathbreaker tightening. "If we move as the archers fire, perhaps we can reach the floor in the confusion, and catch them slightly off guard."

Daria is craning her neck to see the going-ons below while holding onto her bow more closely now. There are some obvious signs of her being affronted as well (muttering just a little about all this), but isn't making any moves until the others do. Dante's words are met with a curt nod and her bow is brought out in front of her.

Celeste checked command + intimidation at difficulty 60, rolling 9 lower.

Daria wields cupridium bow etched with white feather.

Well, that hadn't been what Angelo was expecting, as he raises his brow. "They seem to have made this a base of sorts," he murmurs, looking to the stairs. How long had those taken to carve out, after all? The man looks to the Godsworn being beaten, and steels his expression some, even if he knows he's likely to be just an observer in the coming action.

A nod is given and Celeste makes an, 'after you' gesture to Dante. "I don't recognize him, but my vows are new and the distance..." A deep breath does little to settle the battle lust starting to cross the otherwise soft features of the blonde-haired general. And as soon as Dante starts forward, she follows him towards the group of black knights.

Lora checked command + intimidation at difficulty 60, rolling 11 higher.

There is a faint growl from Svoli as she watches down below them. Her gaze narrowing a touch as she seems to be considering how far below them they are, a feral gleam in her eyes. And then she is looking to Dante at his words to them, she was not exactly the best at following directions, but she was ready to pounce. Giving a quick nod to Dante, that she understood him.

Amund GM Roll checked composure(4) + survival(3) at difficulty 50, rolling 4 lower.

Amund GM Roll checked composure(4) + survival(3) at difficulty 50, rolling 7 lower.

With Dante, Brigid, Celeste and Lasalle charging in with Lora tracking behind them, Daria and Svoli get into an optimal vantage for taking potshots if they so choose. By now those strange looking plate-wearing men turn from their quarry, after their presumed commander knocks out the Scholar with a gauntlet strike across the face. There's a metallic hiss of weapons being drawn as they wait for the opponent to engage.

Celeste is charging behind Dante. But perhaps she's so eager to try to spare the life of the Scholar that her demand is shouted a bit too early, some of the words muffled by the stomping feet of the runners. "In the name of the Faith of the Pantheon, drop your weapons and surrender now!" Who knows if they made out the key words there. Maybe all the black knights see is brandished swords and angry looks.

After Dante, then. One would think the element of surprise would be an asset here. A boon. But it is a long way down the stairs, and certain laws of faith demand the opportunity to surrender and so Lora trails along behind, not very far behind at all. Just behind Celeste, in fact, the lantern very high now, a bright beacon that heralds their coming at least as surely as the clank of metal as those in armor descend. She watches one punch the Scholar in the face and closes her eyes, but only for a moment. Then, "Surrender and pray for more of the gods mercy than you have shown this man, else face the justice of the gods upon whose tenets you appear to have abandoned." Not shouted, not muffled, but her voice is clear as cut crystal, as resonant. Nope, no element of surprise here.

They might not exactly surrender, but two of them drop their weapons and the remainder just start to move away, starting to hurry from the cave. Perhaps they think they are outnumbered, perhaps it is discouragement due to the fact they've been caught, but they start to dash to the exit on the other side of this chamber, with two of the armored individuals covering the remaining ones' exit with hastily-loaded hand crossbows, pointed at the group, but without aiming anyone in particular. Their hands tremble a little, further hinting to unsteady aims, in any event.

There was too many questions buzzing in the Dragoon's head and so Brigid lurches forward with Canon brandished to catch one of those crossbow wielding goons off-guard - there would be no escaping for at least one of them if successful.

Daria lines up but holds her first shot until the melee fighters get close enough to provide them the cover as required. She's listening as Celeste and then Lora shout out their warnings, and waits with eyes trained on the armored men and their hostage before the flight of two members of the group and then the others. Seeing the remaining ones with the crossbows, she grunts and re-aims towards the one Brigid isn't moving towards to disable them.

As the group begins to descend, there is a glance back to Angelo from Svoli, checking to see if he was staying up there with Daria. A moment of hesitance, and then she turns back and follows the group all the way down. Her spear in hand and at the ready as she growls angrily at the black knights. Celeste and Lora had said surrender, not run away. Thus Svoli was charging forward to try and stop them, attempting to trip one with her spear.

Lasalle follows Brigid's advance, but tries to cut off the escape routes for the two men covering the other's retreat. Ideally allowing for the captire of the two men for questioning.

Angelo, is indeed, staying up top with Daria. Perhaps he's lending moral support to the others, or praying on their behalf to the Sentinel and Gloria!

Brigid checked strength + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.

Amund GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + dodge(3) at difficulty 45, rolling 2 lower.

Daria checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 25, rolling 12 higher.

Amund GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + dodge(3) at difficulty 42, rolling 2 higher.

Svoli checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.

Daria updates Angelo in the midst of all this: "They're running!" She squints. "Except for two." And, with that, she fires, but her shot isn't successful at actually hitting the second man with the crossbow. He sees it coming, and avoids it.

With the Scholar being unhanded, Dante charges straight at the crossbow wielding guy that Daria went after first. Raising the pommel of his sword overhead, the Marquis shouts at the two goons left behind "Surrender and live, or meet your inglorious end right here! It is the last such warning you will get!" Afterwards, he brings the pommel down with great force, trying to brain the crossbow thug and knock him straight out.

Amund GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + dodge(3) at difficulty 54, rolling 15 lower.

Lasalle checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 5 lower.

Dante checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.

Brigid checked command + leadership at difficulty 45, rolling 7 lower.

Having injured the darkly clad Knight of Bloody Teardrops, Brigid attempts to level with the man and get him to either kneel and comply with any questions, "We're not finished here." Came out perhaps less friendly than she hoped, ghostly blues a tumultuous pummel of chaos glimmering in the half-dark of this hollowed out cave.

Amund GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + archery(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 1 higher.

It probably is not a surprise that the teardrop warriors do not all immediately repent and recant and Lora, once she's made her declaration, steps out of the way so that she isn't in it when the first wave of battle rolls down the steps with bright and shining fury. She doesn't linger overlong, however, and once the majority have fled she descends, moving to the injured godsworn so that she can assess his wounds. This is where what she got out of her saddlebags comes into play, evidence of a healer's fieldkit shown in rolls of clean cloth and a skin of clean, possibly blessed water drawn out.

While the capable warriors are handling the Teardrops, Celeste keeps her place near Lora. On guard, buut not actively running after or attacking. She surveys the battlefield like a commander, assessing the combatants on both side and watching for further danger.

Brigid checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 21, rolling 5 lower.

She had not intended to hurt the guy that badly, just wanted to trip him... and instead left a gash in his thigh from the blade of her glaive. He's probably the one that is now dead, oops. And then she is springing forward to try and chase the ones running away down. A loud raged filled growl as she does so. Even if they were too far away to catch. Which only earns another rage filled growl, mixed with anger and frustration.

The two that covered the exit are actually easily defeated; Brigid tags one pretty badly on the leg and so he falls to the side, crawling back with a steadied hand crossbow now pointed to the knight of Solace, determination in his eyes as he looses a bolt at Brigid.

The other isn't quite so lucky; while Daria's attack flies wide, Svoli's doesn't, and he's caught along the side, bleeding pretty much everywhere. Then Dante steps forward with his strike and the pommel, while usually not fatal to strike with, jostles the man's skull against the wall and he falls limp, lifelessly.

Noticing his other companions have fled, the one living Knight of Bloody Tears, as Brigid put it, shouts, "FOR THE TRUE FAITH!"

Brigid takes a bolt, point-blank, to the shoulder. Ouch. 15 inflicted and Brigid is harmed for moderate damage.

Brigid checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 10 higher.

"The True Faith? Bloody tear drops on black tabards, and harassing Godsworn?" Angelo murmurs, from up above, to Daria. "It's as if they

"The True Faith? Bloody tear drops on black tabards, and harassing Godsworn?" Angelo murmurs, from up above, to Daria. "It's as if they're trying to look like the storybook villains my Nan would always read to me, about," he remarks.

With a wet thwack the crossbow finds that sweet spot in armor, there is a gasp as it burrows causing the Dragoon to take several steps back due to the power of it. Grimacing and gritting teeth, eyes flash towards Dante, "Ask him what he's on about this 'true faith' nonsense before you kill him." Voice raises a fraction, "Unless someone else with a gentler tone wants to try their hand."

The grip on Canon loosens, grunting as Brigid tries to asses the full extent of the damage, breathing fractionally labored as sweat begins to dot starry brow.

Lora checked perception + medicine at difficulty 30, rolling 4 lower.

The twang of the crossbow releasing, combined with the wet thwack of it finding Brigid's squishy flesh is what grabs Svoli's attention. Turning immediately, her eyes narrow on the guard. "I won't be nice," she growls out, eyes narrowed on the crossbow guard. Knowing that she should leave asking questions to someone more suited to it. Svoli does move to knock the crossbow from his hands, so he can't reload it and shoot anyone else.

"I didn't mean to kill the other one," Dante quietly admits to Brigid in her wounded state, glancing at the pommel of his sword with an exasperated squint. "But I will try not to kill this one, perhaps I will be more fortunate." Then the Marquis attempts something he's not very good at - punching the guy in the jaw with his diamondplated fist. Of course, he's no brawler so this is an ungainly uppercut with a bit of a self-conscious glance back at Svoli, Celeste and Lasalle. Just in case they're better at punching people and he makes a fool of himself.

Dante checked strength + brawl at difficulty 30, rolling 9 lower.

Svoli checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 31 higher.

Having the crossbow knocked out of his hands, the man covering the retreat that still survives snarls. "Best you kill me now, because I refuse to surrender to you infidels. By the name of the Gods, you will all get your just desserts!"

It might actually be that Lora busies herself with the downed godsworn simply so that she doesn't have to watch them finish off the remaining Tears, though she does hear that wet sound as the bolt sinks into Brigid's shoulder and looks up, frowning, just in time to watch Dante try and slug the semi-prisoner. Then, "I don't suppose any of you know any field medicine. I think the brother here will be alright but might have broken ribs, and I'd rather not leave him laying here."

"He's a jerk," Daria comments back towards Angelo, beginning to move in now. "What's 'just desserts'?" she mutters also.

Punching THE WALL makes Dante absolutely mortified, not to mention angry at the remaining cultist for daring to make him look so stupid. This time, it's pommel pummeling once again to try to take him down without killing him. Notably, the Marquis doesn't look anyone in the eyes after that display of pure ineptitude.

They were given multiple warnings, so Celeste isn't feeling too bad for the fellow getting questioned. "These are your lands, Marquis. I do not think the Faith will argue your justice here," she says as if that mattered. Lore ets a shake of the head. "Not in my toolkit."

"I believe it's a nice, moist cake, or perhaps a cobbler," Angelo replies back to Daria, there. "Hopefully after a warm bath, in front of a nice roaring fire..."

Now that the action seems to be coming to a bit of a lull in the room, Lasalle takes a look around at the others, "Should we see where the passage goes after the brother and Brigid are seen to? Or should we just focus on this room?" He keeps his guard up but his eyes are already looking around the room for anything that might seem out of place.

As the crossbow is knocked from the man's hands, Svoli turns her head a touch to look to Lora. Her brows furrowing a touch, as if trying to remember if she did or not. "I don't think so..." comes her not so sure reply. But at the guards words, she turns back to look at him. "Could start cutting off fingers," Svoli growls out, the small woman glaring balefully down at the last guard remaining. "Probably a dagger named cake," Svoli comments, her joke perhpas a not hitting it's mark, regarding 'just desserts'.

Dante checked strength + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 22 higher.

" Look, we'll kill you cleanly soon enough but what I'd like to now, is who you represent with such fervor? You've Knights in your midst and before you meet our blades I'd like to know whose tabard we're laying over the hilt of your blade." Very little inflection, even toned and perhaps edged in a bit of a rasp given the fact she was still healing from multiple other wounds and the blow to the shoulder was just another thing to get snapped at for her carelessness.

Then Svoli is talking about cutting off fingers and there is a laugh bitten back and the moment she swings back around to find that Dante has knocked out the man, "Well, at least you aimed at his face this time."

Daria nods to both Angelo and Svoli. The comedy schtick comes to an end here, though, as the man is knocked out. Daria gives Dante an approving (thankful?) look as she no longer has to listen to the yells. Now she just agrees with Lasalle, "We can scout the rest of the caves? To see where the rest might've gone?"

So much for getting an answer. Lora shakes her head. "I imagine we'll find out what they mean by that sooner or later, but we can't leave them here to continue doing whatever it is they've been doing. Wherever they went, we'll now have to find them. Just be careful, hmm? They know where they're going, and we don't." Brigid gets a slightly narrow-eyed look. "Are you going to be alright?"

Now that the cultists are either unconscious, dead, or fled, Angelo proceeds down the stairs. "We might be able to find something that can tell us who they were, down here," Angelo remarks to Lora, as he starts to search the bodies of the two, and would then move to combing over the rest of the area, it being relatively safe now.

Once the man is down, Dante rips strips off of his tabard and binds the cultist looking fellow's wrists and ankles while Angelo rifles through his things. Pouring some water over the unconscious fellow's face, he gives him a slap back and forth to wake him back up. "Enough with the ranting, heretic. We need answers unless you want Lady Svoli to start doing things I'll have to make sure to pretend not to see."

Angelo's search finds a letter, addressed to 'Brother Mercure and Brother Jeremon', wherein someone who calls themselves 'the Chapter-Master', tells them to intercept and interrogate the 'infidel searching the area' around a place called 'the Stone Keep'. He beseeches them caution, and to dispose of the individual after the interrogation if they're proven to be of 'our ancient Enemies.'

Turning restless with the man knocked out now, Svoli starts to pace a bit. At the mention of scouting out the rest of the place, her eyes turn to Daria, and then Lora. "I can--" she starts to say, but Dante's comment to the guard, has her full attention. Her eyes lighting up a touch, she walks back over to Dante and the Guard. "I seem to have forgotten my knife, but luckily we have my glaive here." A touch of a gleam in her eyes.

Upon finding the letter, Angelo, of course, reads it aloud to the others. "I'm assuming they're some sort of Abandoned of course, but of a clearly heretical sect it seems," he ends. "I wonder if the Godsworn might know more, but..." He shakes his head, then. "A pity about the storm. It's likely wash away any tracks our 'friends' would have left, once they exit the caves. In any case, it seems wise to have Daria's rangers look for this keep, perhaps. I'm sure Lady Svoli could assist in the search, as well."

Daria reshoulders her bow and acknowledges the point the DiFidante makes about searching the room. "Well, we know so far they didn't care for this poor man," she remarks. She studies the former hostage as Angelo turns up the letter and reads from it. The contents have her looking a little puzzled at parts, but she easily agrees with the part about organizing a search and nods.

"Unless of course this is the Stone Keep." Lasalle shrugs. "If we cleared this place and cleaned it up a bit it could be a forward outpost. Then we could provide a waypoint for travellers going to and coming fromnthe Roseward." He keeps his sword brandished and uses it to poke at rubble and whatnot in the area.

Lora finally stands and turns to look up from whence they came, at the worked stairs they followed down. "I think Lasalle might have the right of it. The map suggested there was a keep somewhere around here. But we are not going back out in the rain, and I do not especially enjoy the idea of passing the night above without knowing what else is down here." When Svoli starts to make her offer the marquessa's attention shifts, a touch of something akin to expectation appearing in her expression, a silent prompt to finish the thought. Onward, however, is certainly the choice over going back upward.

Brigid merely looks at Lora, not having responded to her initial query concerning her state of being. Attention then goes to the flow of talk around her, listening to call of exploring further into the constructed cave and there is a sigh as sights shift around the room.

Onward in the cave simply leads to a narrow corridor, but this time it isn't an overpass; when the group gets past it, they find another exit into the forest, but in a different place from where they came in. The rain makes it hard to make anything out, but it seems as though they are left to themselves, this time. Unbothered.

For now.

Catching the expectant look from Lora, Svoli's gaze shifts to the Marquessa, "I was just going to offer to help scout out the rest of the place," she says, finishing what she had originally started to say, previously. And she would of course help with doing so. More importantly she would offer to see to the horses and make sure they are settled, and cared for.

"Agreed. Whatever these foul heretics are up to needs to be ferreted out and wiped from the Roseward. We've had enough of these kinds of degenerates in the past, once more shall we deal with them again for the Gods and our people," Dante declares to Lasalle and Lora with a tightening grip on his sword, grimly pushing forward with the rest. A nod of steely resolve is given to Celeste, Brigid and Angelo while agreeing, "Daria and Svoli, get prepared to scout ahead. We'll need your sharp eyes and light step before us."

Lasalle sheathes his sword, and looks up with a grin at Daria and and the Marquis and Marquessa in turn, "So, Whitefeather and Roseward Guard joint outpost then?" His smile widens.

"That would be deeply appreciated." Lora answers Svoli when the thought is finished, though Dante is just as quick to suggest both she and the ranger go exactly that. There's a ghost of a smile that emerges, just visible in the lamplight, and a slight nod then at Lasalle. "It might prove to be a fine place for that. If we can find it. And secure it." Conditionally. And then there's Brigid, whose lack of answer means the marquessa is going to go corner the dragoon anyway, taking advantage of the rain-soaked lull before they follow the corridor to its end.

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