Golden Palace - Ascension

The Base Camp - From the Journal of Stray

Finally my days shadowing this opulent faction, the Grisa, has paid off, well not in a monetary way, but I’m a patient man. They appear to have met up with two other militant forces, in some form or lieutenant and officer base camp, where they seem to be organizing their combined forces. With a lack of an in to this group, as of yet, I’ve had to rely on my more stealthy nature to figure out a way in.

Thankfully for them, my skill set seems far more advanced than the scouts they have been sending out into the deserted lands, as their scouts have been unsuccessful recently, so it would seem a forward display of my skills seems the best way to gain their favor. Upon presenting myself to them, they are wary, and look down on me for my background, but a group as plotting as the Grisa will have a surplus of dirty deeds that need doing, so I’m still confident in my choice of ally.

I’m escorted, under guard, to an audience with Farrick, a half – elf in ceremonial armor, and to Amilian, the leader of the Grisa as near as my intelligence has gathered in watching this group. I appear to have been lotted up with a further set of allies, and a motley crew we are for sure. There is a young Eladrin, at least I think he’s young, it’s so hard to tell with them, I’ve spotted him in the camp, he seems associated with the Weiss faction, and to have a good deal of military experience. The other Duo I’ve noticed in with me, is kind of impossible to miss! The “human” seems to read each of us in the room with a very intelligent and calculated gaze, he seems to read into everyone a bit too much for my liking, I’ll limit my communication with him. Luckily for him, he’s plain as can be next to the 7 ½ foot behemoth he seems to have allied with. This gnoll is fearsome looking even for his kind, covered in burns and scars, sporting a dual bladed axe and an excess of strength. He seems in a barely contained rage at all times, for his sake, I hope his companion keeps him reigned in, the older soldiers here seem to remember the Gnolls of previous wars, and eye him cautiously.

It would appear that all of us have either been conscripted or “volunteered” to work together, as a scouting party for this conglomerate of factions. There appears to be some interesting infighting between Farrick and Corone, who I’ve learned is of the Red Water Loyalists, and her second in command , the grizzled dwarf, Dune Warsaw, seem to assess each of us, and don’t appear impressed. Their current plight seems to be with the Yellow Hand Rebels supply chains. These peasantry from my home lands seem to have finally gotten tired of their lack of food. At least this group of factions, seems to have the right idea, if the peasants are starved, and fighting for more food, take what they covet most, and they may be able to crush this rebellion with a minimal loss of life. There also seems to be talk of some officers, of which Weigref is one of them, the Eladrin militant, Xavardon, seems to know lots about him, from what I’ve gathered of his brief history lesson to the members of the tent, Weigref is the same man that drove the peasant armies hard in the Gold Expansion War, raping the lands with his slash and burn tactics, and then dismissing the army when it was over. The peasantry must be desperate indeed to rally under such a man once more.

We’re dismissed with vague plans to look for the rebel supply train to the south, and then steal what’s best, shouldn’t be too hard, and destroy the rest, and learn what we can , but to not engage, the officers. As we depart the tent, there are cries to arms coming from the gates, and as we approach the cliff there appear to be a pack of dogs attacking the base, I don’t fully believe they aren’t drawn to the smell of the gnoll.

All seeking to prove ourselves to our new doubting bosses, we each jump to action. The “Human” , Vesmir as I learned in the tent, instantly shape changes into a dog, and begins to bark at the dogs, his background is definitely not human! Regardless, I’ll take his distraction as cue, and quiet as can be, I stealth down the wall and move out to engage the beasts. Unfortunately the canines spot me, so I sneak in amongst the tents, let them come to me on my terms.

As I back into the tents, it seems diplomacy didn’t work, and the dog/man changes back to a humanoid form, moving along the wall, he eyes up a target, and with some intricate hand movements, a shadow shoots from his outstretched hands to take out one of the dogs in one hit. He calculates the distance and moves on down the wall calmly, mental note, don’t attempt to run from this one.

I glance back as I take cover, to see the beast begin to engage the fray. He initially seems to jump off the cliff, however with a quick move of his clawed hand, he seems to slide successfully the full 30 feet down the wall, not missing a beat, he emerges from the dirt cloud, axe in hand and a feral snarl to his face. He takes a bite to the leg with the first dog he engages, and he barely flinches and just snarls at the beast. He has an intelligence in his eyes, however dim, that shows he knows what he’s doing, and his ferocity is beyond any I’ve seen growing up on the streets. I’ll keep him at a safe distance, but in site.

With the beast, or Grizh as he seems to be called, drawing the attention of the beast, I take my moment to show my stuff. Some fancy footwork to get myself out from the tents, I see the dogs attention, well on the larger dog, with a quick spring, and practiced precision, I bury my dagger in the dog. Confident in the beasts death, I continue into a flip off the Gnolls soldiers, may as well give these fancy nobles a show. Mid air, I see as the Eladrin soldier, seems to instantly assess the situation, and just walks off the cliff. As is the tendency of their race, he disappears in a portal, appearing at the base of the cliff, crouched in the dissipating dirt cloud, drawing his gleaming long sword. He moves into the fray, shouting a command at the gnoll to move it, and unbelievably the creature obeys without question, setting them up on either side of the dog, while he buries his blade cleanly through the beasts spine.

Hearing cries from the gate, I sprinted off, to see a guard out there, crippled to one knee. With one dog with it’s skull smashed in, but another closing in for the kill, i make a quick wish for some luck on my side, I spin a dagger from my hand with all the skill I can. My luck holds true, the dagger flies past the kneeling guards ear, to bury into the dogs chest, felling the creature. A quick turn and a bow to the main tent, I see the battle is almost over. Vesmir up on the hill appears to have taken out two dogs more, one on the threshold of a tent, and the last I catch a glimpse of as, an area inside a tent he is intent on begins to fill with howls and dark whispers. The barks and growls of the dog quickly changes to cries and whimpers , then silence. The intent look on the wizards eyes are disturbing as he scans the grounds for more foes, I promptly averted my eyes.

The clean up begins, as I move about the camp, “helping” with the dead outside the gate, and checking in with my new allies. Xavardon seems intent on seeing how he can best help the Weiss faction, such a good little soldier. Grizh seems to have reverted to his primal nature, and is consuming a dog he killed. I strike the image from my memory and make a note to never share a meal with the beast. Vesmir has moved down to the tents , and seems intent on searching the beasts. His skill set is most definitely in the arcane, and he deduces that one of the dogs is carrying a scroll, either designed to deliver or receive a message. The fact that it is coming directly into the camp, we all begin to speculate, was a spy getting sent information, or is one of the factions sending information out to the enemy on their move to the north? He speaks on some form of tracking system with the canines relating to the lights on their chests, and how the ones in the tent is brighter,I stop listening and move on…scholars. The scroll is found in the Red Water Loyalists tents, and Dune seems distraught, and immediately goes to consult with Corone. I make my way up the hill to report to Amilian, who graciously seems to give me a nod of …. respect ….. admiration ….. acceptance, whatever it is, it wasn’t a sneer of disapproval, I can feel my coin purse getting heavier already, and not just from the young upstart guards contribution. He seems wary of the other factions, handing me a note, and telling me to stay alert when I’m out there of the others actions, like you have to tell a street rat orphan to be alert and suspicious of everyone.

The scouting party, I guess thats what we are now, are allotted some tents, and are directed to head off in the morning on our quest. However, as night sets in, my work is only just beginning, I head off to the larger peasant forces below. Desperate soldiers are always eager with drink, and lose with stories, and their coin purses, may as well see what money I can make in a game of dice before I leave “civilization” and my daily company is the militant Xavardon, mysterious Vesmir and the … mangy Grizh. We certainly were effective here, I suppose a quick allegiance isn’t necessarily NOT in my best interests.
Base camp

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Godfrey

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