Shielding Alliance

the long walk back

Going back, Turtle walks along staggeringly with a bemused smile on her face and a distant look in her eyes. Surprisingly, along the journey she does not give any indication of pain, although obviously suffering serious wounds. Both the bite marks on her arm and the large concussion on her head have stopped bleeding, however it will be a few days before she is back to bashing. Yet the warrior’s disposition is positive. At one point, while crossing an uphillish bend she jokes; “Feet, don’t FLAIL me now.” A quick wink toward the boy with the large shield shows her high spirits.

Florent takes great comfort from Turtle’s show of courage, and apparent understanding of the perils of combat, even from allies. But his guilt weighs heavily on his conscience as he realizes how devastating a misplaced blow can be. His fighter’s bravado and confidence has been deeply shaken. As he continues to walk he reflects on the success of his healing efforts the day before. In truth, the healing kit he carries was purchased more for selfish motives of wanting someone else who was healing him to be prepared. Seeing the gratitude of the faces of the elf and half-elf as he eased their suffering and restored them to health resonated deeply within the young fighter. Had Imater actually heard his prayers? In many ways he is looking forward to the days of rest and inactivity ahead for deeper discernment and soul searching about his vocation.

Later on, when there is a quiet moment, she raises a wineskin. “I’d like to propose a toast. I’m not sure yet what our little band should call itself, but now that we have all bled good blood together, it would seem we are a group. Even our taciturn guide.” (another wink, and a lift in his direction)

“But I must suggest we now share thoughts on how better to work together, so that we succeed, rather than…FLAIL.” (she laughs merrily for a moment)

“In all seriousness, we were fortunate only because we fought beasts. Against those that are intelligent we shall face a challenge that is much, much harder. We will need to be better prepared.” (she pauses to let this sink in)

Pertinax, “Not unless they are even less intelligent than we, although I will concede that given our inexperience and exploits so far finding such a dimwitted group is unlikely.”

Florent “I woood very mooch like to learn from your experience, Turtell. I know I ave mooch to learn.”

“And, on a happier note, we now have enough loot to warrant a policy on how to divide such spoils. My first suggestion is that our troupe negotiates some sort of long-term verbal contract with Rhaymose to quicken our rise.” (she looks around expectantly)

Florent “I am no so goood at bar-gun-ing or knowing how much is dis. But I can carry eet.” (He opens his pack to show its contents, and gladly waits for someone to take care of the business end of adventuring)

Pertinax, “As long as he doesn’t require us to be exclusive. Which he might demand. By the way, could someone remind me how and why we divulged the information onthe moathouse to Rhaymoss? I seem to have completely forgotten then whole episode.”

“A rare Elven lapse? Tsk, tsk.” (Turtle flicks a small stone at a nearby tree.)

Pertinax, “In any case, I do not mind negotiating with the human at the general store. I do not doubt that he intends to gouge us so I will be very conservative in our dealings. I feel saddened that Osgood feels betrayed by us, particularly to that man.”

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The effort

The effort to haul the carcasses up the full height of the hill becomes Sysiphian after about twenty or thirty yards. Dragging just one along the flat part of the path alone has raised sweat on any involved and shown that while the footing is somewhat dry, the slick carcass of the frog only gets heavier and harder to holdonto as more dirt, rocks, and dead vegetation cling to its moist skin. Gutting the frogs, you discover that they have recently eaten something fleshy. A smattering of coins (16 silver and 8 copper) were found in one of the frogs, and another had a leather dagger scabbard that, while ruined from stomach acids, still had it’s ornamental gem intact, a rough piece of green quartz the size of a human’s thumb.

Investigations of the area where the edge of the path dives to the murk near the beasts attack does reveal something quite out of place. A stake was recently driven into the ground on either side of the path just before the drawbridge. Smears of blood and bits of rope suggest something meaty had once been tied to the poles.

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Going to the gatehouse
Giant frogs; "If they can eat us, then there must be treasure inside!"

“As oy ‘ave said already… oy am naugh right… and am much damaged.. as does our Elven friend seem to be… While you two may be armored to yer teeth and ready for mahr bloodshed… we of the non-warrior toipes may naugh be reedy to continya…

“Turtle’s words seem woyse enuff… and it may be a better ideer than to continya ohn… but dat would be moy feelins… Oy am naught reedy to move inna da house.. yeet…” (Grimacing the whole time while holding his bleeding right arm with his left arm, still smiling and trying hard to be as amiable as possible)

“If’n ya need… oy will do me best to gut dem dare frawgs… but oy need to heel up first, as oy am badly injured heer”

Florent laughs at the clever turn of words) “I am glad to stand watch while someone coots le frog. I ave eaten frog legs before, and they are tres bonne. However, I am not ready to departe already. No offense to your practicing of your art, messiur Pertinax, but you seem more effecteeve with le bow then le magique. We shoold at least see eef le bridge is possible… able to poss… if we can cross eet.”

(Still smarting from the wound no one seems to notice.)

“Well, that’s why its called practicing the Art. I’ll get better. And besides, did you not see that frog fall asleep over there and that other one hesitate and do nothing while Turtle bashed it? That’s the Art, my friend. The Art.”

“But, if you all decide to foolishly yet bravely carry on, I’ll use my bow to pepper our enemies into submission, much like that frog over there. My magic armor is also in effect so I should be protected from other prying tongues.”

(Turtle gestures towards the hill they came down from) “I’m thinking this isn’t the safest spot to do this. If we can drag them to the top of the rise, then when we gut them, the contents will slide out on their own. Plus, maybe our guide can tell us more or help our companion with his injuries.” (she slings her shields and grabs a frog by the foot) “Someone like to give a lady a hand?”

“Very Well. I will elp you madame.” (Florent puts away his flail and struggles to get a grip on the frog with his gauntlets on.) [Str: 15]

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