Elder Players' - Interlude 22
FRAMED (by Scott)
The party returned to the Ork City of Torkor-doc to deliver the information they had to Dakot. Grotten Redfang informed them he had left the day before to return to the Kobold Capital to help defend it or evacuate it. Grotten had been given orders not to leave his City and that he was being sent reinforcements from throughout the Ork lands. The Finders were exhausted and after a warm meal went to the rooms they were provided. The next morning they met for a late breakfast to decide what their next course of action was. A familiar face presented itself at that time; Gungkrot Stoneface entered the room and delivered some startling news. He first told that he had lost track of the party when they had arrived at Cornwalsh when Damon asked him to find out from one of the Guards at the gate some information. When he turned around the party had disappeared. Damon seemed to avoid commenting on this first bit of information. He went on to say after finding out the Finders had been kicked out of town he offered his services to the Law enforcement community at Cornwalsh to be a liaison between the refugee encampment and the government of Cornwalsh. Everything was calming down till yesterday when word came in that a armed caravan had been attacked on its way to Citadel and the Daughter of Lamar Chadwick, one of the council of Six, the ruling body of Cornwalsh had been taken hostage the force was made up of Bugbears but was lead by a bald, tattooed barbarian from Shronth who fought with his hands and move with blazing speed and a Dwarf matching Oren's description who tore through defending guards.
Those who surrendered were released, save for Tivanna Chadwick and were given a message by a man who claimed to be Collin Macgregor. He stated that the Girl would be released only if Cornwalsh agreed to aid in the battle to free his homeland. It had been Common Knowledge Cornwalsh had stated beyond helping out the refugees they were against the opening of the Azure Kingdom since they were to close if things went awry and they would be the most adversely affected. Things went from bad to worse as the Azure encampment was locked down from anyone coming and going and the orders were issued to search through it for anyone having connections with the Finders and this Collin Macgregor. They also issued a decree that there would be heavy reprisals if Tivanna was not returned and that the only way the lives of those involved in the abduction would be spared was if they surrendered also to face a stay in prison. Gungkrot had only just gotten out before the shutdown knowing from the mood of those in Cornwalsh nothing he said would sway their view. He knew the whole thing was a sham since the description of Zeek showed no signs of his disfigured face. So he road strait through the night nearly killing his steed hoping to outrun the word spreading from Cornwalsh and hoping to get word to the party.
NEWS FROM THE FRONT (by Scott)
The doors to the dinning hall swung open and in strode General Grotten Redfang. Even with his left arm severed halfway up the forearm he was a very formidable figure. He stoped at the head of the table and addressed the party. " Good day. I have some Information that may inerest you all. The Kobold Capital of Wraktoko has surrendered to the forces of Molash without a battle. I have also been told that one of the other capitals of the Toko Triad, Brudkoto had surrendered, months ago instead of being razed as we believed. Both Cities still have their Queens ruleing while swearing feilty to Molash. Now an offer has come to me to deliver to my King to join the growing alliance under Molash and after I see your friend Gungkrot here about his matter I will go to deliver it." With that said he paused and scanned the Finders who were finishing their meal.
(from Chris) Alrighty then, our work here is done. Another successful campaign by The Losers, er Finders. LOL
(from Brian) If Grotten Redfang has any further information about the gnomes who fled Molash I ask him to share it. I am expressly listening for any hints/comments that the previously discovered hidden rooms which we found, and then tried to hide again, have been discovered.
Casiel asks Jeremiah if he is capable of repairing the damage to Grotten's arm. If Casiel gets the chance to talk to Grotten alone, Casiel asks Grotten if he knows of any way to enlist the aid of Gruumsh, LE God of orcs, or his religion in a strike against Molash and his minions. Gruumsh would be much more interested in a good battle than a quick surrender. I'm not sure all of the Finders religious beliefs would allow them to engage in seeking the aid of a CE entity and his religion, but Casiel would have no such alignment problems in a cooperative venture.
(reply from Scott) Grotten Cocks his head slightly and squints as he answers Casiel, " I have heard nothing of those who escaped Zukazon and since the Svirfneblin are usually keep the location of their cities secret that is not unusual. I have been informed that there are still a few thousand deep gnomes still living in Zukazon and though Molash now is using it as his seat of power he has plans to move on eventually and leave it under the rule of the chancellor. He does plan to keep it well garrisoned though."
(from Chris) Do you think if we brought down Molash, his army would fall apart? Why have your people surrendered so quickly? Is it a ploy or a ruse?
Who is, or will be, this chancellor?
(from Mark) Damon turns to Zeek. "While you and Oren were wandering about, falling down holes, and
generally distracting us...we learned that the Deep Gnomish King's chancellor had betrayed his King to Molash in
exchange for power. The chancellor is a power hungry gnome...who sold out his own King and his people for a piece
of the action. Just pitiful...."
Zeek shrugged. "These underground races are so unruly...and chaotic. The King's Chancellor betrays the very King who gave him power...no wonder these races fall so easily under Molash's influence and control. Molash offers Order to the straggling masses."
Damon grimaced, and turned away, grumbling under his breath, "Reading a bit much into this whole deal, really...whatever."
(from Chris) Zeek: If the kobolds have surrendered, what is the point of kidknapping an above-grounder? She's probably dead. I would just report Molash to the proper 'authorities'. I'm not sure what we're supposed to do. At this point, I would be heading to the Azure kingdom and walkthrough the seal and reclaim our kingdom.
Damon: We'll just have to see. Let's get more information from Grotten....
Damon turns to Grotten: Where's Molash? Are you planning to surrender to him? What are his weaknesses?
Zeek: What are his plans?
Damon: Can you help us get to him?
(reply from Scott) Grotten looked questioning at Zeek and the party, "I know nothing of any kidnapping and as for surrender I have just finished Meeting with a representative of Molash who arrived this morn and delivered to me an offer to give to my King. If our Nation would join Molash's Alliance and swear Fealty to him we would retain our current lands and status and be in line to receive some soon to be conquered lands that surround our areas. I am just an messenger for since my loss to Molash in battle and my current disfigurement." Grotten looks down at his missing forearm with a hint of sadness mixed with anger. "I have been assigned to command this Garrison and my decision making powers have greatly diminished. I am just the messenger which brings me to another point. The Delegate from Molash wishes to speak to your party but I warn you that she is here under diplomatic immunity and under my protection as it was my word that was given to that effect. So what say you? Do you wish to speak with her?"
(from Mark) Damon scoffs. "Grotten, if I understand you correctly...you are taking a request for
surrender from Molash to your King...and Molash is promising more of a partnership, than outright rularship over
your people. Remember your lost arm as you deliver that message...."
Grotten nods, his face showing no emotion. "What of the envoy from Molash...will you uphold the promise I have given that she will be unharmed...and treated as a diplomat."
Zeek steps forward. "If you have given you word, Grotten...then we will respect that." Zeek turned and made eye-contact with each person in the group. "I believe I speak for everyone here...do I not?"
Damon put his hand on Zeek's shoulder. "Grotten. You have our word. Bring this 'diplomat' forward. I'm sure she has brought us a message most interesting...."
(from Mike H.) Oren takes a step forward looking angry. "Diplomatic immunity! BAH! There is no such
thing as Immunity! Everytime I attempt to work something out, I get stabbed, sliced, arrows fired at, large boulders
from giants hurled at me, magical spells slapping me in the face, or hit from my own party!"
Oren takes another step forward. "While we may give our word that she will NOT be attacked FIRST!" Oren then looks around to his other party members. "FIRST! I can't promise that she wont have any diplomatic immunity from this!" Oren then reaches down grabs his crotch area while swinging his hips forward.
"HAHA! Make sure she brings some ALE!"
(from Brian) Casiel has no problem with whatever you all decide about all of this and watches for an opportunity to go in search of someone who can further identify his bag of magic beans.
(from Scott) Grotten looked about as thoughtful as you had ever seen an Ork look after what the party had said then shook his head, "Fine, I will relay your comments to her and if you will come with me, Gungkrot I will hear what you have to say." With that the melancholy Ork General turned and headed back to the main hall followed by Gungkrot. Soon after 2 ork guards from Grotten's elite unit armed with mean looking multiple firing crossbows entered and stood to either side of the door. A figure glided in gracefully after. she stood about 6 foot and was dressed in a loose fitting outfit drawn in at the ankles and wrists. Her long sandy brown hair was braided down her back exposing her pointed ears showing her to be probably of half-eleven decent. she wore a veil exposing only her dark brown eyes. Jerimiah whispered to the group that this was the one he had seen when he scryed on the Gnome female, Freegenugen, in the mines below the Gnome city of Zukazon. Ruahdin confirmed that this was the one who had lead the group that he had tried to get in the cave-in in the mines. He said she had been the only one to escape using speed and agility he had only ever seen demonstrated by Zeek.
The woman approach the table and stopping short of it she began. "Good morning Gentlemen, I am Jazmin of the Order of the Balance, I have come to request that you accompany me to Zukazon for an audience with Molash. Molash was greatly disappointed you could not stay when you first met for he was so looking forward to discussing with you about an opportunity of significant benefit to all."
(from Brian) I politely pump her for any info she has concerning what happened after we left, such as to determine whether our secret room was found, Ruadhin's cavernous areas were messed with, and other info she may have, especially in the areas of the enemies' magical abilities. I fear our wizard abilities will not be very strong on November meeting.
(from Mark) (after Casiel gets done pumping Jazmin) Damon asks her, "You can't expect us to come with you without some sort of specifics? What are we talking about here? Just so were clear...this is a deal-breaker for me. If you aren't authorized to tell us more...then you have wasted your time...and ours."
(reply from Scott) Jazmin's expresions are imposible to read behind her vail. She looks to Casiel and replies "The way that you entered entered Zukazon was used by the Gnome Prisoners of War to escape and has been dealt with. We have more than enough spare parts to keep the tunneling machines running for years. The loyalist Svirfneblin are now working in the shops and buisiness is on the road to returning to normal. The mines are being worked by other prisoners as they were when the Old Svirfneblin regiem was running the City. Zukazon will return to being a productive Svirfneblin City under King Doctenfornos and his Loyalist regiem."
She turns to Damon, ignoring Casiel's questions about the magical powers behind Molashes movement. "I assure you that if you come with me Molash will freely deliver the means to clear your names in Cornwalsh and probably make up for you bad reputation there from past mistakes. All he wants is for you to hear what he has to say and you may then decide what course you may take. I give you my word as a sister in the Order of the Balance you will not be harmed as long as you refrain from any attacks on anyone in Kukazon While you are there." Zeek then speeks up "I have heard of the Order of the Balance. They are an order of Monks that believe the world grows stronger with a balance between Good and Evil through the adversity it brings and the choices creatures are given. They are ones to keep thier word."
(from Mark) Damon laughs. "So we will expect her to keep her word about us not being harmed...while at the same time expecting her to be telling the truth about being a member of the Order of Balance. She doesn't even show her face, but we are to take her word. Molash leads the gnolls. Molash conquers other underdark nations. Molash probably orchestrated the kidnapping of that council member's daughter...just to offer us a chance to clear our names."
Oren put his hand on Damon's shoulder and began to say something, but Damon continued. "No...no, let me finish, Orendagar." And then turning back to Jazmin, "We are busy as a whore at midnight, and we have extremely important things to attend to. If you want to rate on that list...answer my previous question. Specifics...specifics. I just want some fucking specifics. If you want this thing to happen, if you want us to come with you...you owe us at least that. Give us something...please!"
Oren took his hand off Damon's shoulder and turned to Casiel. "That's exactly what I was going to fucking say!"
(reply from Scott) Jazmin studied Damon for a moment then turned her back to the group, she pulled her arms free of her outfit and let it drop to expose a curvaceous but muscular back. What stood out the most was a large raised tattoo of a scale. This had been made from carving the image then after it had healed over applying the color. Even Zeek winced a little, "That is the badge of the Order of Balance." he whispered. She turned after redressing and proceeded, "Most all Kingdoms established themselves thru war and threats, and those that opposed them believed them to be Evil. Bringing order to the Underdark can only be bought about thru strength. Diplomacy has been tried but has never stopped the battles between the races. Molash will bring Order to the Underdark first thru Power then educate the beings there to work together. The ends Justify the means." She went on. "If clearing your good name and establishing a better reputation so that you may once again move freely about the surface world is not enough, maybe an offer of power is what a few of you care more about. I cannot speak directly for Molash but he does wish to make an offer of power to you and your party. As for a guarantee of protection I offer myself to be held in your group as leverage for your safe passage. I am if nothing else Molash's Lover and I believe Molash will keep his word as always. I can take you there today and I know you have ways to leave at any moment so time is of little matter. Another thing Molash can possibly aid you with the freeing of the Azure Kingdom from its Current infestation as his contingent of shawmen have means to imprison Devils and send them packing. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain so what say you."
(from Chris) Zeek steps closer to Jazmin and says with a smile, "I believe we may be in more danger from you than Molash's minions. I hope you take that as a compliment. We don't take hostages. As you have stated, we can leave at any time." Turning to the other members of the party, "given that, I would be willing to go with you." The look in Zeek's eye suggests that he is hoping the other party members agree to come also.
(from Steve) Jeremiah is ready to go at a moments notice.
(from Mark) Damon looks down towards the ground. "I'm satisfied that this venture will be at the very least...interesting. I will go with you Jazmin."
(from Brian) Casiel will go as well if that is the group's eventual decision. I am not sure about this, and anyone's ideas as to how we could possibly protect ourselves from Molash's treachery would sure be considered. There were Drow all over the place, gnolls as well, and I expect no quarter from these groups. Casiel
(from Chris) Ok, so Zeek starts talking with her in front of everyone. "So, have you learned the
"Would you like a demonstration?" She says as she glances down at Zeeks hand as it is drifting behind her.
"Interesting...I have yet to find an optimum application for the death strike. It seems that if the target knew our capabilities, they would surrender? Hence, there would be no need for the call of death, would you agree? Or, do consider the Quivering Palm strike as a main form of combat?"
(from Scott) Jazmin replies "Just informing someone you are preparing to deliver the "Palm" to them in itself can gain the response you wish such as their retreat or surrender. It is as much an deterrent as a weapon."