IC: Livonia's Lament (in game - July 3rd onward)

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Sanya decides to tell a story of when she was travelling trough a gulch, and encountered a brave close to death. She healed him with her blessings, and he told her of a band of brigands that had raided his camp. They returned to the nearest town- where some of the brave's fellow hunters had escaped to- and gathered a party of braves. Together, after an exciting battle, they drove out the bandits. (Performance roll: 13 + 3 = 16)
 

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Geraldine's
PC: Caden
Time: still after lunch

"Oh, hey! How're you doin' sport? Heard my niece and you are big damn heroes. How's that feel, big man about town? Seems like you're in demand."

He deflects hard, compliments your growing rep, ask where you've last seen Hanalee, and then bumbles a half-assed excuse about going back to his smithy guild representative work. It all comes out with amusing bluster, yet completely transparent. He seems mostly harmless, like trying to throw money at Hanalee's adventure buddies to settle her down faster.

Any passing comments or messages to Uncle Hondo? Any other desires after lunch before siesta? Otherwise we may move into siesta from 3 PM to 6 PM.
 
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Squash Blossom Maiden's House
PC: Sanya
Time: middle of 8 PM

"Ooh, they sound so dreamy~! Did any maidens steal the brave's packs to their blanket, or throw their arms and cape around the heroic braves' neck?" Soft-Jute feigns swoon into her gaggle of friends.

"My favorite part was when they were whooping those bandits' asses, scattering them about like gerbils!" Big-Cheeks throws air fists and mock arrow shots.

"He was very lucky to have the spirits guide you to his dying body!" another maiden says.

"You feel compel to him, or it be luck?" Modoc tries to ask.

"We could use a talent like your when my friends and I hunt for wild sheep." another brave next to Falcon's-Pellets adds.

More conversations bud, several around you, during this interlude between stories. To whom do you focus on replying?
 
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Sanya tells Soft-Jute of when the braves were reunited with their wives, and of the tender words exchanged between them.
 

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Squash Blossom's Maiden House
PC: Sanya
Time: still 8

"Ooooh~! I just love happy ends!" Soft-Jute coos and the gaggle of maidens continues tittering along these same lines.

"Hey everyone, a grey fox. Weird, shouldn't it be more afraid of us?" The Red Grass Valley guest maiden points to the patio's entrance. There is definitely a fox crawling on its belly towards all of you, still a good 25' away.

As the talking hushes a bit to make sense of this, you all hear the fox's wimpering. Whoa! It just lunged for an exposed strip of dried rabbit snack, froze in its tracks -- and then tipped over!

Tipped over? Frozen stiff?

"Back up, ladies, who knows if it's rabid?!" A brave rushes between and braces back some of the prettier guest maidens, shielding them from the fox merely 20' away.

This starts a tumult of screaming and carrying on as only young adults can. People are in a flurry, rushing about, clinging to friends, partially undressing checking for bites. Big-Cheeks and Falcon's-Pellets come to worry about you after helping each other. You do not see Sweet-Pea the acolyte on your blanket anymore...
 
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Squash Blossom Maidens' House

Sanya meets Big-Cheeks and Falcon's-Pellets. "Are you two safe? Have you seen Sweet-Pea? He isn't here!"

"Yes! You weren't bitten and didn't know about it, were you?" Big-Cheeks pats you around checking for blood.

"I see him by the dead fox. What's he doing?" Falcon's-Pellets points him out.

You see Sweet-Peas papoose the fox like a baby with somebody's blanket. You hear Gagu'bia over the noise, crying and carrying on to keep 'her babies' safe. People pass before you and their sounds are all about.

Through it all you see Sweet-Peas cradle the wrapped up stiff-legged fox under arm, like a monstrous dead baby carried as though were food baskets. He searches the crowd and spots you, his face serious as he points you out and beckons you to him. He is ignoring another maiden and brave at his side pleading with him to run from the possibly lethal bundle.
 
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"Don't worry, I'm not bitten. I'll be alright." Sanya runs to Sweet-Peas. "Do you want me to use my healing?"
 

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Squash Blossom Maidens' House

"Don't worry, I'm not bitten. I'll be alright." Sanya runs to Sweet-Peas. "Do you want me to use my healing?"

"No, your reputation." He beckons a large brave and Big-Cheeks; they start towards you both. To you, "I need you to come with me outside and wait, then agree with my story to this crowd afterwards."

As Big-Cheeks and the large brave arrive, "You, big man, I want you to guard this entrance so the crowd feels safe. In truth you are keeping them away from interfering and getting hurt.

"Big-Cheeks, you will go back and forth from our big man here to us, relaying news. I will tell you what to reveal to the crowd, you tell me the truth of their feelings. Smooth things over as best you can. Distractions are welcome.

"As for you, Sanya, come with me." He leads you outside the patio and house, around the corner into a darkened area not facing many dwelling entrances. He dumps the stiff bundle, pulls out a pair of mini-baskets and twists them. One woven pattern glows then winks out of existence --the mini-baskets now produce Light. "A small favor from a friend," he says in passing.

He unwraps the bundle, grabs a stick and wraps his other hand in a rag, carefully unwraps the last without touching the fox. "Where's the point of contact... Sanya, without touching let me know if you spot a bone shard, encrusted fingernail, or bite wound as I turn this sister fox over."

Fingernail? Your passive medical spots a bite wound by its left haunch as Sweet-Peas turns it over. It's flat and wide, as if by a human?!
 
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Squash Blossom Maidens' House outside
PC: Sanya
Time: almost quarter till 9

"Good eye. Can you estimate how fresh it looks?" (Medicine roll at DC 11.) The acolyte pulls out a bit of tobacco and whispers a prayer, crumbling it into the wound. "We need to get the protective ritual back up soon and re-open talks..."

The acolyte rests back on his haunches, finally looking at you. "Weird bite, isn't it? No long, narrow snout with deeper canine teeth. That's because it is from a human... or more like was a human." Takes a deep breath, "From your estimate it will take ten minutes for sister fox to rouse from this paralysis.

"We'll leave her here with some dried rabbit snack and then I, with some braves, will track her back to her den. You do not have to go. You are a guest, we should protect you." He starts checking his medicine purse's gear, mumbles, "Besides, I'd worry..."

Still checking gear for part two of this adventure, he asks you to say this was a simple case of animal death by fright. Poor thing was hungry and risked everything for one last chance at food. It sounds plausible until you look at the grey fox and see its rib are not so exposed.

"Big-Cheeks will come soon. Do you have any questions for me?" He looks nervous for the first time you have seen.
 
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(Medicine Roll: 18 + 3 = 21)
"Do you know of any afflictions that would cause a human to become rabid like this? Or are there bad spirits at work?"
 

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Caden just shurgs Uncle Hondo off and settles in for a siesta. He finds the old fella curious but is more concerned with other things at the moment.
 

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Geraldine's, a cozy upstairs bedroom
PC: Caden
Time: approaching 6 PM

Your siesta did you good. The heat of the hot summer day was slept off in your shaded bedroom. And the outside tree even had small songbirds warbling softly through the afternoon. There was a bit of a to-do in a downstairs private room with some lady social club, but your room muffled almost it all.

It was a busy, and mostly lucky, morning. What is on tonight's agenda? Any precautions for tonight? What'll be taken and what'll be left in this room?
 

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Squash Blossom Maidens' House outside
PC: Sanya
Time: almost quarter till 9

"This isn't rabies. That's assuredly fatal. But similarly bad." He looks about to shadowed areas, as if in precaution, "Unclean spirits is a good guess. I won't say names until we are in the protection of a sacred smoke circle.

"It is a rather fast acting paralytic, so as to better catch prey. And it can linger on materials." You notice the acolyte is still meticulous about not touching the fox directly.

"Sister fox here will wake in about ten minutes. Paralysis happens usually under a minute or two, often faster to us humans and the like." He gives you a look of concern, "That means either its den is very close and you all are in danger until a sealing smoke blessing is placed..."

And here he looks again to the clustered shadows he inspected before, "Or it is walking the town tonight."

Anything more before Big-Cheeks arrives?
 

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Squash Blossom Maidens' House, outside

"Should we organise a patrol? I'm sure there would be braves willing to be recruited."

"Hmm... Let's focus on eliminating one possibility at a time." He smiles wry again, eyes still darting about, alert. "What we protect ourselves from is smart, like us --" You hear the crunch of footsteps and he holds his breath.

The steps near... "Hey, Sweet Pea, still here?" Big-Cheeks rounds the corner, not looking as confident as you're familiar seeing. "They are calming down plenty, but they ask for you and Sanya. Got good news?"

Breathing again, "Tell them it was just a weak animal with a spooked heart. It was desperate and tried our large 'den' as a last gasp. Sanya will attest the same as needed."

"And what was it really?" Big-Cheeks presses.

"Something you already know is not safe to speak of in unprotected company." Her eyes grow big at that; the acolyte puts his finger to his lips to stress silence in reaction. He adds, "I'll need your brother, Falcon's-Pellets, and maybe another who is good with tracking and running away. We have 8 minutes until sister fox wakes." She gives him a curious look. "You know I need at least two messengers, for I am no good at running away." His resigned smile draws out from her a gasp and she throws her arms around him.

"You better come back, you asshole!" in a hoarse whisper. She releases him, wipes her eyes, and turns to you. "Be ready to put on your best clown face, Sanya. I'll be back with two allies for stupid-hero here. Then you come back with me to smile everyone into a safe and happy mood." And she's off -- to return soon.

"So..." You see the crippled acolyte seem not so confident as before, almost small. While muttering he grabs a bit of leather, dips it in soot, and smears it under his eyes, making strange hand gestures with the other. Likely casting a spell? "Anything else you would like to ask me?"
 

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Squash Blossom Maidens' House outside
PC: Sanya
Time: approaching 9 PM

Big-Cheeks brings her brother and a maiden you haven't met before. Together with Sweet-Peas they nod you off and huddle. You return with Big-Cheeks and soothe the crowd with your sensible explanation.

Your friend beelines to Gagu'bia and whispers to her as you explain away medical questions about sister fox. There are chimes of agreement about such animal behavior, which is a good sign. You see Gagu'bia throw an herbal mix onto the hearth, perfuming the air, and declare it time for sacred stories. The crowd starts to settle back into happy storytelling. Big-Cheeks joins your mat, facing with an eye to the entrance, "Come, let's listen to good things!"
-------------
Time: approaching 10 PM

Things are wrapping up, and several have already taken a nap on their mats. Someone new sneaks in and shakes sleepy-eyed Gagu'bia awake to relay news. She jolts fully awake, points out some leftover food, and scurries to you both.

"Things are not looking good, my chicks. Go to the Grandmothers' House, your talents might be needed. It's a few doors down, Chipmunk here knows the way," pointedly referring to your friend sharing your mat.

Big-Cheeks hurries to the door, turning back expecting you to follow, then on out. Gagu'bia throws another herbal bundle on the dying hearth embers, singing what sounds like a lullaby, but you know as strong song medicine to ward babes from evil.
 
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Grandmothers' House
PC: Sanya
Time: 10 PM

"Hello dears, things are not looking good." They lead you to Falcon's-Pellets sitting on a mat getting a nasty bite on his exposed thigh attended to. Besides shaken and a little woozy, he looks like fine.

"Brother! Are you alright?"

"Have no bad dreams, Chipmunk. Nothing a little rest cannot heal." She hugs him and looks to the escorting grandma for answers.

"We have a salve and good song already on him. He has a strong heart, he will make it." She waves you both to the next mat, "He, however..."

Sweet-Peas is lying on a mat asleep, his shirt raked across by a massive clawed paw?, looking pale. Big-Cheeks sits next to him, yet holds herself back from touching him. "He got the greater exposure of malice, overtaking him for frightening minutes while they were underground." Another grandma comes by, offering you both a tisane of willowbark, as well as for the patients. "To think, under a nearby home, using a fox den as cover. We sent a larger group and an elder to complete the warding..."

"His wounds, we can treat overnight. He should take it easy from his ceremonial elder duties tomorrow. However..." she looks over to you two, "his spirit will need prayer to get past the dream attacks." Looks at all three patients, including the unmet maiden from before, "They all will need a 'shaking hand' (form of prayer-work) over them tonight as they rest."

"Which of you would like to spend the next few hours helping pray over his dreams?"

(Reminder, refreshing your spell slots -- and being ready for Ol' Salty Clem's quest -- will likely require Long Rest. Not a fun choice, but still a choice.)
 

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Grandmothers' House (physical healers)
PC: Sanya

"I should be the one to safeguard his dreams. If you don't mind, Big-Cheeks."

"... Thank you, Sanya." She hugs you, and pushes a pouch into your hands. "So I can help your prayers while away." It's a prayer bundle, filled with her good intent. And she runs off to hug her brother and other maiden friend before leaving.
-------------

This will take you until 2 AM at the shortest, messing with your Long Rest. However you have time to chat with the grandma healers, or be present when Sweet-Peas comes to, if you so choose. We can start with you having early breakfast back at the Squash Blossom Maidens' House (last minute gear checks) ready to meet Ol' Salty Clem at the Main Street Well. Let me know what you prefer.
 

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Caden will gather his wares and set out. He will head to the town job board and see if he can't find something more lucrative to occupy his time while he waits for his other situation to develop.
 

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July 3rd, Geraldine's
Updated Bulletin Board -- Livonia's Lament

NEW! Trial - Claim Jumper Murderess! Starts this July 4th, Friday morning, at Main Street Well.

NEW! Exterminator - Badgers messing with my claim! Critters won't leave me be! See Ol' Salty Clem at the Honey Well.

Tailor - Bead your Deeds on your Shirt? Want latest Fringe? See M. Trouvier

Bounty - Robbed Mayor seeks Capture of Thieves! Lost Precious Valuables!

Update! Bounty - Missing Claim Holder! Family seeking Justice! See Thistlegrass clan. (torn, ochre handprint, written "She dies tonight!")

Sale - Dowry. Combs, blankets, tools, more. Broken Heart, Won't Need. (Blushing Phlox)

Reward - Closed mine shaft! Dangerous mystery! Need Gutsy Braves.

Update! Reward - Oldest Graveyard has Weird Omens! Seek Holy Man and/or Braves. (Thank you, closed. New Graveyard by town restricted -- by Elder permission only.)

NEW! Miners & Clerics - Old Graveyard needs help for large job tidying up the grounds. See The Elders Place for details.

Cook - Good ol' Greenvalley Lightfoot Home Cooking. Sticks to your Ribs!

NEW! Entertainment - Travelling wonders & delights! Seek the Red Tent Tonight!
 

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PC: Sanya
Time: Early Morning

@ Grandmothers' House
Sweet-Peas-from-Twisted-Mesquite came to an hour before dawn. Sanya, you could see gratitude in his eyes. He even comments on the prayer bundle Big-Cheeks left and thought you made it yourself while he was asleep.
[Tell him the truth, or not.]
Before you set off to the maidens' guest house he tells you, "Be safe. Take what you need, especially water and your armor. You cannot wear it while traveling the summer sun, but it may be the difference between life and death far away from enough people." The acolyte won't be attending his duties today. Before slipping back to sleep he adds, "Come back to your family here. Just come back..."

@ Squash Blossom Maidens' House
You rush into the house, an hour left before you meet Ol' Salty Clem by the Main Street Well. Gagu'bia, the house grandmother, rouses from her seated vigil by the hearth, wrapped up in colorful blankets like a cocoon. "Baby, you return to us!" she says to you in a strained hush, beckoning you over.

"Your family talks of you helping today the touched-in-the-head Easterner who drinks too much. Is this true?"

[Gagu'bia wants to know where you are going, who with, and when to expect you back, like concerned family.]
"Alright dear, travel with Grandma Spider's wisdom. Choose the gaps you span with strands carefully. What do you leave with us here?"
[What of your stuff are you leaving here in her protection?]
"Before you go, I have medicine for you, so that you can come back to us! The times are scary before the big ritual, like last night. I cannot let you wander these mountans unprotected.

"Here, this bundle brings good smells to the camp fire. It can protect you from 'restless and malicious'." She looks at you knowingly, a deliberate omission of naming certain subjects. "Sometimes you need to add your own prayers, even a sacred song, if the intent is dangerously strong." She gives you
medicine: sacred sage herb bundle.

"And because we know you can heal, but he probably cannot, you must take this medicine, too. A tisane bundle for healing, add water -- best hot -- and the resulting potion will last a day. Carry the blessed water in any basket or pottery jar." Leans in, "You may want to use your own waterskin to hold it, as he may be too crazy to follow such simple instructions." She gives you medicine: healing tisane bundle, a potion of healing that needs to be prepared ahead of time and then only lasts 24 hours.

@ Main Street Well
"So you made it! And here I thought my luck so bad yesterday that you were a pink elephant from drink teasing me with hope." Ol' Salty Clem is there, smiling, with a packed donkey. Any particularly heavy pack on you he will offer to take and also pack it with the donkey. "Thank ye. It sometimes feels yer the last person left ta believe me."

"Alright! We go get those stinkin' badgers!" And you both are off up-mountain!

[Just give me answers to the bracketed red part questions above, AND a Survival roll. We're doing group Survival checks, until Ol' Salty Clem's trust is fully won over and he defers to your expertise in the skill.]
 
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[Sanya tells Sweet-Peas how Big-Cheeks left him the bundle.]
[Sanya tells her all about her job.]
[Sanya leaves all her things behind except her weapons, medicine and armour, which she doesn't wear.]
[Is there a link to the dice room anywhere?]
 

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Ol' Salty Clem's offer to unburden you of your heavier stuff is known as 'gentleman-like', in Easterner. You can easily insight it would hurt his pride to refuse completely. The armor can go, but the shield must be readily accessibly, on or off the donkey [your choice].

Your weapon can be held in-hand. Your explorer pack is relatively easy with back straps, and good for quick access to your waterskin. Speaking of which, Ol' Clem seemed to have brough plenty of extra water in his saddlebags.

"I only plan to be up there today, have you look around, then down by nighttime tomorrow -- or the next day. Two to three days is all, just so another pair o' eyes can see how big my infestation is."

[Infestation of badgers?! Nature check DC 7 for the curious.]
 

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Badgers don't gather in such numbers, they are not *that* sociable. Seems weird already.

[Group check, Survival DC 12. And I'll also check if there's any encounters in your next two '4 hour' block.]
 

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Upmountain from Livonia's Lament
PC: Sanya
Time: 10 to 11 AM-ish

This travel experience is complicated by going uphill on rough trail switchbacks. Ol' Salty Clem seems to be having trouble with his donkey (he packed it a little inefficiently). And he is not listening to his donkey's path sense, taking sharp grade "short cuts" between switchback corners. Sigh...
[Your Survival roll matters to help him and shift your speed from slow to normal. He might even build trust and defer to you in the future?]

After a few hours pass, you see a distant human figure sitting upmountain, watching you. Clem comments quietly, "My lower miner neighbor, Nehemiah. We... get along here and there.

"Us miners are a reclusive sort away from town. Don't want poachers while we go back to town for supplies. We rarely talk direct, but he knows about my damn badgers."

The 'lower neighbor' Nehemiah stands up as you approach within 500 feet. "Seems like he wants to talk."

Nehemiah yells, "Whatever the hells is in yer damned claim is rousin' the knockers in my shafts!"

As you meet, "Sorry, yer with a lady. Pardon my speech, ma'am," he nods apology to you. "Clem, yer madness is infecting my claim. What're you gonna do about it?"

Clem introduces you, adds, "This 'n here is gonna figure out that damn badger madness!" He beams with pride.

"Watch yer tongue, you cur, wimmen present," Nehemiah gives Clem the stink eye. "Miss Sanya, what're yer ideas so far. 'n have you the time ta look at mine on yer way back."
 
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"I'll be able to search your mine after I help Clem. I think there might be a disease being spread, but I'm not certain. Still, be careful not to get bitten."
 

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"Diesease? Shee-" Nehemiah remembers a lady is still present, "-oot! I saw none, but heard the death knockin' in my shafts. But if you say there is diseased mongrels about, best be safe and you'll be sure, Sanya miss, I'll stay away."

Clem smirks, "Can't hunt silver dying in yer bedroll from fever, can ye Nehem?"

"Nope! -- Oh what the devil is one o' them doin' out o'er here?" Nehemiah points out a burly human figure cresting a rise 200' to your side (South). Looks greenish brown in skin tone?

"Meaaaat!" and it beelines towards Clem's donkey. Not very well, it looks mightily exhausted, but it raises its axe and charges heedlessly towards the pack donkey. As it approaches you can tell it's an orc, from its fanged mouth and burlier than human normal size. [The orc crosses 45' towards your gathered location, focusing on the donkey. There is 155' between the orc and all of you. Tell me what you do!]

"Nehem, if you don't mind," Ol' Salty Clem pushing him aside, "I got a badger to kill. It done threaten my donkey, Luisey." He whips out his handaxe and dagger, standing ready between the orc and 'Luisey'.

Nehemiah picks up a rock, reaches into his shirt, pulls his hand back out, and starts moving his fingers into strange gestures. He then holds his glowing hand to his side and shouts at the orc in a guttural language unknown to you.

The normally ever-patient, forever-suffering donkey recognizes it's being hunted is starting to spook!

And you?
 
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Sanya raises her amulet and casts Shield of Faith on Clem as a bonus action, quickly turning and laying a soothing hand on the donkey as an action.

[Animal Handling 21.]
 

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[Sanya's on point! :cool: Level-headed and ready to go!]

Nehemiah's Claim
PC: Sanya
Time: late morn, @ 10:30-ish

Next Round.

The orc looked at Nehemiah with confusion and snarls back something on the verge of language? Regardless it lumbers closer to all of you, struggling, eyes locked on the donkey. Your passive insight senses obvious desperation.
[Orc closes another 45'; now 110' away.]

"Thanks, lass," Clem looks back in appreciation. "Back off, I claim Luisey!" He grimaces and swaggers threateningly closer 30' to the orc. The intruder flinches, but focus return to the donkey.

Nehemiah follows behind Clem 15' behind, gleaming hand still to his side. "He said, 'Dying. Meat & rest now!'" He shakes his head, "I don't see others, but could still be an ambush. Yer call, hoss."

The donkey is soothed by you, but definitely still wants to bolt. It'd need a few rounds of your presence nearby (within 10') for reassurance. The approaching orc is really stressing it out, but you do not have to skill test again. It just has herd abandonment fears.

And you?
 
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Sanya decides to leave dealing with the orc to the men. She continues to soothe the donkey, but keeps a watchful eye on the orc, Clem and Nehemiah.
 

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Nehemiah's Claim
PC: Sanya
Time: late morn, 10:30-ish

R3
The orc heads straight on to Luisey, salivating froth and hoarse gasps, closing in to range of the men. Clem starts swinging in melee, but both swings miss! (Is he rusty?) Nehem releases the glow in-hand, a thin blue-white beam flies forth and strikes the orc, leaving rime crystals upon the ground as the orc walks ever closer, albeit slower now.

R4
The orc doesn't strike Clem who is in the way?! He just walks beside Ol' Salty and tries a strong shove -- which is resisted back mightily! Then Clem swings with his handaxe a critical blow! -- felling the orc -- yet he pulls back at the last so it's not fatal! (Guess he's not so rusty afterall!) Nehemiah moves to the orc's side, guarding against any surprise while waiting for you two to get rope to secure it.
------
"Nehem, Sanya, he could have struck back at me. You saw it. But I'll be damned, this badger he didn't!" He looks at the tied up orc in confusion.

"Hush your filthy mouth, Clem," Nehemiah retorts. "And you and yer badger talk, makes you seem daft...

"They don't usually make it this way, this far North and West. And almost never alone. It's weird, a mystery." Nehemiah looks at you both. "Well, guess I got visitors for lunch today. Clem, give me a hand here with its body. Time fer you two to see my claim camp and figure this out."

[You are now out of 1st lvl slots. Still have cantrips. The camp isn't far, but is out of immediate sight. Any questions or actions now, during the move, or through lunch?]
 

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"Yeah, this'ns a badger. But if I had an infestation of these'ns I'd be dead already. Heh, you're funny Sanya, c'mon talk sense already!" Ol' Salty Clem gets up to go to the donkey and putters.

Nehemiah follows him with his eyes, commenting to you once he's out of whisper hearing distance, "Not the first time he's left us all confused about his badgers complaint." Looks at you, "Also orcs don't like making their long time home underground, like other critters. And rarely stay in such a place so long. And certainly not as a clan. And never patient with some lone intruder digging through their home space.

"He'd have been dead many times over already if he was suffering such a number of orcs... and I would be, too. Honestly, I chalked it up to being an old coot and leave well enough be. But now it's stirring up weird sounds in my tunnels, and I got no idea what you're in for."
 

opaopajr

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Nehemiah's Claim
PC: Sanya
Time: Noon

Your host fixes a deep broth soup with some of the extra water Clem brought. "This'll make the dried rations go farther," throws in the bones of his last grouse catch. "And probably unstop me up from all that salty, dry meat so far," Nehemiah kids with you.

As a group you've been discussing what to do with your bound prisoner, when it finally announces it's awake: "Broth, please... Broth."

Nehemiah growls back what sounds like angry coyotes fighting, gets some broth and goes to the orc, who by this time seems to have understood and, with much effort, sits up and props himself against this tunnel's wall. After giving him a bowlful, your host returns to the iron pot and the safety of your group. Nehemiah tastes the pot's soup with a spoon, a visible sign that it's not poisoned. The orc nods with understanding.

"You all talk, but reach no decision. I see why you spared me," the orc smirks. "You need a brave leader like me to tell you what to do."

Ol' Salty in one swift motion grabs his handaxe and stands up, as if to kill him in cold blood. Nehemiah gestures reaching out to stop him. The orc laughs, "Not yet, old wolf! I need my full strength before I rightfully claim alpha of this pack. I might even spare you the long death of hunting alone while old... you might be useful for my revenge.

"Now, you will call me Ghraac. Later, when our deeds grow, we will have longer, better names."

[any questions? etc.?]
 
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