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/qst/ - Quests

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Thread LXXXIV:
Long story short, have a new job and its hours are frequent but irregular. Currently debating what's the best course to take with that in mind, but in the meantime its been far too long since I've had a thread.

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Lamia%20Legacy%20Quest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LamiaLegacy
Opening Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCQmQwKEEOM
Story Thus Far: https://pastebin.com/0uGE3GVE
Season: Early Spring

Money: 1425

Sasha: Skill list
Ranching +4
Scholar +3
Marksmanship +6
Natural Ability (Lamia) +3
Intrigue +4
Casting (Draconic+4 Roc+3 Leviathan+3 Troll+1 Elemental+1)
Falconry +1

Not happy at the prospect of more degenerate trolls setting up shop between your traders and Bralin, you decide to do the prudent thing and torch the bodies. Leaving Artyom to deal with the body of the runner, you strip the less than flammable bits off the bandits before moving the bodies. With Liama and Veles backing you up with much needed muscle you manage to drag them into more or less a pile and scratch out a firebreak into the soil around them with their own weapons. Focusing inward, you send a gout of flame at the bodies and sustain it until your sure they'vve caught. Standing out of the way of the smoke and smell, you rifle through the inflammables that you pulled off the corpses. Nothing really of note, some small trinkets, a waterskin smelling suspiciously of alcohol, second or third-hand weapons and armor. You ask Veles to give it a once over in case you missed anything right around when Artyom returns with the last body. Unceremoniously tipping the body off into the pyre, he then tosses a severed arm into the center. With a snort of derision he moves toward the pile of 'loot'.

[We do something wrong?] You ask, wondering if there's a mores or taboo that you'r breaking.

He shakes his head. [More than they deserve is all. Bandyta should be left to rot. Look at this.] He says, pulling out the strip of silk he tore off the leaders undershirt. [Silk in the colors of House Purobka. The bastards likely have been rifling through the ruins of my old home.]

Not wanting to be caught by that last bandit you spend the better part of the day moving cautiously and covering your tracks until, having judged yourself well enough away, moving at double time until dusk. With everyone bone tired, you offer to take second watch so everyone else can hopefully get a full nights rest.

>Give me a 1d20 travel roll, lower is better.
>Also, please state any specific action you'd like to take while traveling.
Rolled 2 (1d20)

Let's just try to avoid coming into contact with any more bandits.
Trolls'll leave when the corpses run out. Bandits will stick around as long as they smell some money to be made.
Rolled 18 (1d20)

Sing a song!

The night is blessedly without incident, which is just as well given how brutal the shift you pulled is. The next morning finds you blearily waking up to what, in all other respects, is a beautiful day. Setting out once more, you eventually get your second wind. With no signs of any pursuit, and the manic energy of the lightly sleep deprived you remember some tunes that your father used to use to whistle while working on the ranch. Whistling not being one of your strong suites, you start humming the melody before abandoning that to sing the lyrics. You're pretty well invested in the song when you hear a cough behind you. Turning, you see Artyom once more.

[I do not wish you to stop... whatever that was.] He says hesitantly. [But I had an alarming thought.]

[What is it?] You ask, brought back to the situation.

[Purobka was looted, and largely burnt out when you found me, yes?] He asks, working the small strip of silk over in his hands.

Recalling the first encounter you had, you respond. [Stonework was largely intact but everything was put to the torch.]

He murmurs to himself, before continuing, [Bandyta would likely scavenge the place if the Kozaks were not there. I wonder what is to stop them from taking the place for themselves? All our silk would have went up with the rest of the town, but my old Lord had a cache built beneath the dyeworks. It would have been insulated from the blaze and would take some searching to find it. If this silk came from that cache those who found it would have to have been there for some time.]

[Which would mean...]

[That they would likely be establishing their own holdfast in the ruins. I would ask that we check the place before we carry on. If only to make sure. I do know that your mercantile pursuits are not strictly aligned with my desire for reprisals, but nevertheless a bandyta holdfast in the ruins would be within striking distance of any traders coming from the north.]

[We've only really got supplies for a couple days, it'd be cutting it fine.]

He raises his hand placatingly, [I only ask that we look, if not now, then when you take that first caravan to Bralin.]

[How'd you figure that?]

[Bralin will not provide escorts on the way, which means you will need outriders for the caravan, lands being lawless as they are. As I am sworn to you, I have no doubts you would send someone versed in your dealmaking, and knowing the land. Only few seem fitting for that role.]

You ponder this revelation, a bandit stronghold right alongside your trade route would put a damper on things real quick.

Let's aim for scouting on it on the way back if our supplies hold out.
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"We'll be doing some scouting on the way back." You announce, making up your mind. "Possibility that it might get heated but if possible lets keep ourselves out of sight. I'd rather we have a few more guns on our side if we're gonna go up against bandits."

Laying off a more eastward course you head out keeping alert and quiet for any signs of bandit interlopers. Without much to keep you occupied, you try and work on some of the more discrete training for Daisy. The little falcon takes to it far better than the earlier attempts. By the time you make camp you're confident that she'd be a pretty good small game retriever, at the very least. Having covered a fair distance on your new route, you have Veles and Artyom scout out for any signs of enemies while you set up camp. They return saying that outside of some old disconcertingly large troll horde tracks, there isn't much in the way of activity. Confident you'll be fine through the night, you pull last watch and retire early after a light dinner.

>Give me another 1d20 travel roll please.
Rolled 17 (1d20)

Rolled 1 (1d20)

Rolled 18 (1d20)

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Waking early you're pleased to note that the night went by completely without incident. After another light meal, wanting to stretch supplies as much as possible for your detour, you set off on the easterly course. Near midday you get your bearings and you recognize a few signs that you're near Purobka. Elbowing Veles, you point out the little batch of burned earth where you and the Kozaks burnt the remains of the first degenerate trolls you encountered. That was around the time you realized the implications from how old your neighbor really was. Giving him a prompt, you let the old snake pontificate about the area as you continue, largely for Liama's benefit.

Further on through the badlands, you catch sight of Purobka. Getting low, you beckon the other two Lamia to follow you as you try and get a good vantage point. Willing your illusory scope into action, you sight down your rifle at the ruins. While its clear that the place was sacked, there is very visible signs of habitation, the most obvious of which are the ragtag group of centaurs milling about the burnt out manor house. Counting at least nine, you're about to go back to sortie when Veles points out two approaching dust clouds. You watch as another score of Bandyta, clad in a mix of looted Kozak and Hussar gear approach the holdfast. The approach of the other dust cloud triggers a flurry of activity in the bandits, pulling loot and other sundry out of several of the ruined buildings.

Soon the second dust cloud reveals itself to be a group of Hussars, clad in the yellow of House Krasick. You watch their leader approach the bandits, and after a few words, a box is brought out. The hussar lifts up the shroud and peers inside, before signaling his compatriots. They set their own chest down in front of the bandits, who open it. Even from here you can see the glint of sunlight hitting gold. Satisfied, the bandits give the Krasick Hussar a nod, which is returned, and the pair who brought in the gold chest hoist the shrouded crate between them before turning to leave.

Well now...
>What action would you like to take?
I want to shoot the Krasick leader, but at the same time, we'd probably get found...
I mean, we could probably burn them all, but still...

We will go back, report what we've found, and come back to raise their camp to the ground.
Come back LATER*
We'll pause here, pick up tomorrow. Managed to get a pair of days off to rub together for once. After that, we'll prolly slip into slow burn mode, depends on how things work out.
I'll be re-blueing my gun in the mornings this week, so I can't participate until after that's done for each day, and if there's time between that and work. After work (21.00 EST) I'll be free, though.
Despite your itchy trigger finger, the idea of going up against a combined charge of several dozen hussars with just the three of you isn't your idea of a fair fight. You quietly watch as the hussars leave, crate in tow, and set off further south. The bandyta watch them leave before their war party moves the rest of the goods back into the ruins. With activity at a minimum, you fall back to the rest of the group to let them know what went down.

It takes all of your convincing to get Artyom to not charge in, once he finds out, namely through the promise of dealing with the bandits later. Putting Purobka to your back, you spend the rest of the day moving due north passing the last nights campsite before finally turning in a good distance further north than when you started the day. Given the speed with which you were able to make it to Purobka, you're still well within your comfort zone for rations you all agree on a larger dinner than usual. Letting the food settle, you take up first watch with Veles.

>One more 1d20 roll if you would, lower is better.
>Also any actions or discussions you'd like to have.
Discuss with our hosts the possibility of a scouting raid on those bandit cunts.
Rolled 3 (1d20)

Forgot dice. Perhaps discuss with our retainers the possibility of a joint raid on the suspected bandit outpost.
Rolled 18 (1d20)

Ask how many soldiers he thinks we'd need to take out the bandits reliably.
Ask Lliama too.
Rolled 14 (1d20)

Hosts? We're in charge of the party.
At the same time, we don't have the resources for a scouting raid, nor the manpower, really. If we're going to attack them, I want as many rifles as possible.

At minimum: 12 rifles in ranks of 6.
They likely are melee only, so our rifles will fuck with their heads and we can probably get many of them in only one volley. Most of our men have muzzle loaders, so we'd have to mount bayonets as soon as we started firing.

We may get two volleys in before we'd need to be in a melee. Though, we also have two mages. At any rate, once they are in such a position as to not allow for ranked fire, we should engage in melee with bayonets. Spears, even short ones, are terrific against cavalry.

We also need to let Artyom actually kill something sometime. Either that or convince him to pick up a rifle.
We should at least try to get him to let someone with a breach loading gun ride on his back in battle.
"How many rifles you think we'll need to clear that mess up back there?" You ask quietly.

Veles is silent for some time, "I cannot say, I am no military leader. Though if it is a repeat of the last incident, not so many would be needed I would imagine."

"I was thinking of grabbing Zhou's men and giving them a workout, maybe leave a couple for Artyom to vent his frustrations on."

"Then mayhaps you had do it after you get the caravan to Bralin. Let those merchants set up shop and head off on your own. Get Bralin to participate. It may be beneficial."

"How do you figure that?"

"I am not one for tactics, but I do know that the meeting raises many questions. For one, why is Krasick working with Bandyta. To be Bandyta is to reject both the Kozak and the Szlachta laws and ways of life. They are scavengers, looters, thieves, and are usually hunted down the moment they are detected leaving the wastes. The wastelands themselves are so inhospitable that a bandyta will not leave a bloodline, children rarely survive the conditions. They are so reviled that working with them was considered a crime so vile that a Szlachta house would consider their lands forfeit. At least, during the last major conflict it was."

"When was that?"

"Several generations ago. The war that put Sigismund's line in power and unified the Casimiran. That Krasick is working with these ones now suggest that they are desperate, or in a stalemate, but even then their payment is suspect." Seeing your questioning look in the light of the dying fire, he continues, "What use could a Bandyta have for gold? They can pawn off trinkets for supplies posing as Kozaks visiting more remote holdfasts, but not something like bullion. Most of the 'unthinkable' instances of bandyta working as hired mercenaries has been largely in exchange for food or other supplies, like the supply tithe the Kozaks got in exchange for border guard. This suggests that the Bandyta have a third partner, not just the Krasick, that they are getting supplies from. Or that the leader of the Bandyta in Purobka has aspirations of lordship and legitimacy. Furthermore, what was delivered to the Krasick in exchange for such a payment. I believe the contents of that crate had to be of some importance to warrant using the Bandyta, and is something both you and Bralin might be interested in discovering."

"Oh, well, I didn't actually consider that to be honest. Was more worried about the trade route and how to best defend it." You admit.

"Well, now that you are thinking of it, have you any suspicions? I cannot think of anything myself, but an even more outside view might have insight I do not."

My creeping suspicion that there is some other way for us to get into these lands besides our mountain pass is growing.
Maybe someone figured out a path to get a boat around.
Maybe the phoenixes did.
Unless the bandits have begun trading with another uninvolved house, they may be trading outside the system. What are the other bounds on the centaur lands?
The only other way in would be to try to get through the mountains that line the east, west, and south coasts, as far as we know. As >>1878276 said, there is possibly another way in that we've never found, and the Phoenix may know about it. If it's there, we need to destroy or take control of it and kill all of the Phoenix that are with it.
(Not only to get rid of the aid that's being given to our enemy but also to re-confirm our position of having the only way(s) in and out.)

I want to talk to one of those elves that the Casimir lords have as advisors...

No matter. We will think more on this once we've gotten back home and taken a day or so to rest.
We'll send a letter to the Ork detailing what they're looking for, and we'll head out again with the caravan.
"My creeping suspicion is that there is possibly another way in that we've never found, and the Phoenix may know about it. If it's there, we need to destroy or take control of it and kill all of the Phoenix that are with it."

He nods, "An unlikely scenario, but continue."

You take a moment to regain your train of thought, "That or there might be a neutral lord profiteering off the conflict and dealing with the Bandyta directly. I'd like to speak with one the elf advisors that the Casimiran have, they might know more."

"The second scenario you suggest seems more likely." Veles says, "My sires wardings should have prevented any attempt to cross the range, and the one near my lair was only weakened due to my magic I believe. Not to mention the inhospitable routes that must be taken. Not to mention the ideology the Phoenix seem to espouse about their own superiority seems at odds with cooperation. Couple that with the language barrier, and I find it unlikely that they would have made contact in such a short span of time. As for the advisors, well, thats likely something best asked when we return to Bralin."

"We? So you want to come along with the caravan guard as well?"

"Let us just say that there are some questions that I would like answered."

Eventually Caff and Jack awake, and you leave the two shadows to their unenviable second shift. After a heavier breakfast than most, you make double time towards the mountains, eventually reaching the pass before noon. Sending Artyom and the shadows ahead on the new road, Veles, Liama and yourself make your way up the winding tunnels to his lair. Making good on your promise to Liama to let her get some question time with Veles, you move off to the rookery and deposit Daisy on her perch. Looking back, you see Dahz, apparently looking for a quiet place to lay down, retreat up into the gateway room.

>Stay and talk with Veles and Liama about something, (Specify)
>There are things that must be done at the ranch, (Specify)

Your consistent training of Daisy over the course of the trip has familiarized yourself with the ins and outs of falconry, upping the bonus to +2
>>There are things that must be done at the ranch, (Specify)
I want to check in quickly. Need to make sure that nothing caught on fire while we were gone.

Also: Tai's food is waiting for lunch.

After that, we should start writing a letter to Serrak about what they'll be wanting in trade goods.
(PRINTING MONEY. LITERALLY. Also, never teach them about hemp paper. It's infinitely better and easier to make than wood-pulp paper)
>There are things that must be done at the ranch,
Make sure there is no news. Check on the hands and McCain.
Wanting to make sure that your week away didn't lead to any disaster at the ranch, you follow Dahz into the atrium and open the gateway. Slithering through, you're greeted to the sounds of industrious labor. Rounding the corner of the house, you can see the beastfolk still hard at work putting the finishing touches on the redoubt. It seems McCain had some peculiar ideas on how to improve on the thing once you'd finished with the heavy labor. There's now a roof of sorts, rising up level with the fighting positions. From this roof, you can see the center rising to a solid looking watchtower. Covering this new structure is a generous layer of earth, making the redoubt look more like an watchtower on a hill that has had a trench dug around it. Approaching the structure, you see the beastfolk give you a quick salute before returning to work. Seeking out McCain, you find him over by the horse paddock.

"Welcome back Miss," He says nonchalantly, "Take it the rest of the boys'll be back soon?"

"Yeah, decided to put your own touches on our earthworks?"

He smiles, "Just needed something to work on, what with you taking care of the heavy lifting. Not to mention, we've got it situated now where it won't turn into a mudbath if it rains. Not to mention the base of the tower would be a good munition store. Hard to put to the torch."

"Well, I suppose I can't argue with that." You concede. "Anything of note happen?"

"Well, that Lady Wu lass popped a coyote at about 200 yards with one of the old rifles. Wish she hadn't done it so late at night, roused the whole camp. That said the buggers made a play at the henhouse a few nights prior, so I'm not too upset over it." He says, walking alongside you as you head for the house. "How about you? What happened on the other side of the mountain?"

Heading into the house, you let him know everything that occurred in the Casimiran lands while appropriating some of Tai's leftover cooking. You finish with your intention to let Serrak know about the trade deal, and to make his connections with the merchants.

He takes in your story, before musing, "Well, if'n we do hit that bandit encampment, we'd best do it quick and quiet. Otherwise it'd be declaring ourself outright. Less that the enemy knows about us the better."

"Veles suggested we work with Bralin to remove it. Possibly a gesture of good intent. Judging from the look on your face, you don't agree."

"It'd be more people knowing about it, meaning more word would get back to the enemy. As for the caravan, I don't imagine it'd take long for your orc friend to wrangle up some traders."

"As soon as I get letter to him, of course."

"He's back at the worksite, saw him leave a couple days after you left, but came back shortly. Bugger has a little headquarters set up there."


>Head out to see him immediately
>Wait for the rest of the group to return
>Stick around the ranch and see what else has gone on in your absence
>Wait for the rest of the group to return
Group up, then go do your business with the ork.
Man, business has a way of keeping one busy. And not reclining on a ranch enjoying its workings.
Rolled 2 (1d2)

We really don't need them to talk to him. He's not going to attack us.

>Head out to see Serrak
This. Perhaps we could use the time to review the redoubt.
But we can do that anytime. We'll also meet them while we're in Serrak's camp, as it's on the road south.
Oh certainly. But if you were to do it now, it would be in time that we are not otherwise engaged.
We won't be engaged after we talk to him, and I'd prefer to do that sooner, rather than later.
Figuring it best to not wait to see Serrak, you do take the time to check out the redoubt before you go. Heading up to the site, you weave yourself through the flurry of activity and head inside. The inner building that grows into the tower is solid, and from the looks of it, the ladder that goes up to the watchtower is the focal point of the room. Each side of the inner room has a lip extending two thirds of the way across, and from the looks of it, a hanging series of hanging doors are being made to allow defenders to quickly move across in the event of an actual assault. You're a little disappointed that, given the realities of your form, you won't be able to head up to the apex of the tower, but given that you doubt you'll be pulling sentry duty on your own personal ranch its understandable. And of course, that isn't to say you can't just seat some solid cross spars into the tower to act as tail holds at a later date.

Figuring you've spent enough time, and with no sign of Liama emerging from Veles' lair, you set off down the road towards the work camp. With the late afternoon sun on your shoulder, you head south down the new road. It's amazing what a group can do with just a week of work, judging by the framework going in over the freshly laid posts. Happy that the workmen are making progress on the inn, you seek out the foreman, James, and tell him to let Artyom and the shadows know to hold here just in case Serrak wants other eyewitness reports.

Serrak's tent is still in its original position, and you suspect he never had it taken down, but you announce yourself causing a muted rustling inside before the orc pops his head out. "Oh. Miss Masterson, you're back earlier than I anticipated. Please, come in." He says, beckoning you in with his prosthetic. Following him inside, you see him sit down at his desk and put his feet up, obviously in good cheer. "What news have you brought me? Good I hope?"

As with most things, a mix of good and bad. We'll start with the good, first.
I have arranged for any merchants we send to be permitted to trade. [explain what they will find valuable, and what they have to offer]
I will have to accompany them for the first few times until they get used to the route and acquire permits of their own to enter the city, but after that they can help each other.

Now, for the bad news. There is a group of bandits laid up in the ruins of Purobka, the city that Artyom, one of the two Casimir that follow me, was from. Said bandits are being funded by House Krasick, our enemy at the moment. While Bralin will provide some men to help escort us back, they will not be able to send anyone to provide protection on the trip there.
In favor of having better relations, I would like to hold off on clearing the bandits out until after we've gone back to Bralin, as then I would be able to get them to help remove them, and they would likely find it favorable. Especially if we find evidence of Krasick aiding the bandits.
Yeah, this sounds good.
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"As with most things, a mix of good and bad. We'll start with the good, first. I have arranged for any merchants we send to be permitted to trade. Food seems to be the first and foremost concern, Bralin is a breadbasket of the Casimiran, and the Krasick centaurs have exploited that by harrying the peasantry to the point where the outer fields are left untended. Our merchants could likely turn a good profit on perishables alone, provided they could get them there in a timely manner. As for what we'd get out of it? Metalworks and silk, I'm not certain, but the only real source of silk is the Phoenix Empire, yeah? We could make bank. As for luxuries we could give the Casimiran? Paper. I'm looking at an equivalent surface area return for paper products in a holdfast that doesn't produce silk. There aren't many trees in the plains and badlands of the Casimiran, and the few they have in the southern lands usually go towards building materials and the silkworms. I will have to accompany merchants for the first few times until they get used to the route and acquire permits of their own to enter the city, but after that they can help each other."

Taking all that in, Serrak reclines back in his desk. After a moment he says, "And the bad?"

"There is a group of bandits laid up in the ruins of Purobka, the city that Artyom, one of the two Casimir that follow me, was from. Said bandits are being funded by House Krasick, our enemy at the moment. While Bralin will provide some men to help escort us back, they will not be able to send anyone to provide protection on the trip there. In favor of having better relations, I would like to hold off on clearing the bandits out until after we've gone back to Bralin, as then I would be able to get them to help remove them, and they would likely find it favorable. Especially if we find evidence of Krasick aiding the bandits."

Contemplating this, Serrak muses for some time, before responding. "Well, I can see a few avenues on how to go forward here. For one, we will want to capitalize on the silk market before the flood of our own merchants drops that price dramatically. I can get a line to a bookshop in Snake's Landing and get a shipment of paper here in roughly three days. As for silk buyers? That'll be easier, but likely will be on the mainland. I can arrange things, but you will have to provide protection and aid negotiations. I'm thinking a 60-40 split of the profit margin, lions share to me for use of my capital and connections. As for everything else? I can get word to merchants and get a caravan set up in roughly the same amount of time. As for the bandit situation? Do as you feel is best. Though there are two things you have mentioned that you may have failed to notice, but first do you agree to my terms?"

I will, if only because I still owe you money. Otherwise, I'd argue for a 50-50 split.
Now, what have I missed?
I can agree with this. We'll pay off our debt, then we renegotiate.

And since we're apparently the ones with responsibility for the bandits, I guess we'll get a gaggle of boys formed later.
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"You've done a lot for me already, so I can hardly refuse. That said, once my debt is repaid, I'd prefer an even split between us." You respond.

He smiles, "Provided this is as you say, the silk will go a long way towards that. And give me a much needed return to dangle in front of prospective investors."

"Now, what was it I missed?"

"Firstly," He says, counting off on his fingers, "This place called Purobka is a recent ruin, and from my understanding is only a slight detour on the route to Bralin. You might want to discuss with that prospective heir of yours, and your other centaur allies, about acquisition to serve as a waystation of sorts."

"I don't know about that, it was Artyom's home so he might not take kindly to its use." You say, unsure.

"Would he rather it be a ruin or a bandit stronghold?"


He holds up a second finger, "You mentioned paper products are worth a mint and that trees are scarce in the area. You happen to be sitting on a pretty large source of lumber. One might be able to make a good profit partitioning off a small area for forestry, or possibly just flogging off lumber from clearing out areas for buildings, like the hot spring you've mentioned." Seeing you contemplating that he holds up a third finger, "Lastly, and one that I just thought of and is more of a general thing. You might want to see if you can 'acquire' the means and procedure for producing silk yourself. Production is one of the closely guarded secrets of the Phoenix Empire, the fact that these Centaurs have it will put a big dent in their economic plan. Further proliferation and innovation can only benefit us in the long run."

"Won't that hurt our trading? The paper to silk exchange rate?"

"That will normalize once more traders get wind of the deal, perhaps by then you will have convinced them of the virtues of firearms and cattle by then. Perhaps you can use this Purobka situation to expedite your negotiations on the former."

"Forgive me for asking, but I'm assuming you'll want a cut of all these ventures?"

He scoffs, "Hardly, it will not do for us to be business partners in this trade route if you are entirely dependent on me in all aspects of your business. Consider these tips a safety net, if you will."

Thanking him for the advice, you part ways after hashing out the specifics on the trade route. With three days before this trip is due, you figure on making the most of it. You're about to leave the work camp when you catch sight of Artyom and the shadows, who've just arrived. Falling in with them, the seven of you head towards home with your mind on the opportunities Serrak has laid before you.

>What now?
Artyom, I have a question for you. After we remove the bandits from Purobka, how would you feel if we were to take possession of the ruins and build it into a way-station of sorts?
I would have to bring the idea up with Tatiana and Lord Bralin first, but I believe that it would be a good place to set up a trading post later on down the road.
Can we back this up with suggestions on who he thinks would be relatively respectful and competent local defenders?
You know, if he happens to know anyone outside his hold he trusts.
I doubt it. The Kozaks are scattered, he likely doesn't have any friends in other holds that COULD move there, and anyone that's not a Kozak that's outside of the walls of a city is a bandit.
Wouldn't hurt to ask, though. I suppose.
Yeah, maybe he has some bros in another clan.
You wait until your a bit of a distance from the building site before you pull Artyom aside and slip into Casimiran speech. [I need to ask you something.]


[After we remove the bandits from Purobka, how would you feel if we were to take possession of the ruins and build it into a way-station of sorts?
I would have to bring the idea up with Tatiana and Lord Bralin first, but I believe that it would be a good place to set up a trading post later on down the road. Would you happen to have anyone you know who'd be good to keep the peace there?]

[Myself, for one. I can see to it that House Purobka gets a sepulcher, and I'm sure several of the underground stores have yet to be breached. The Lord prior to my former liege liked secret tunnels. Many turned out less than optimal, my late lord turned his fathers failures into an irrigation system. Many of the dead ends and odd pathways got turned into supply caches. How many are still useful I do not know, but I do suspect that House Purobka's advisor still lurks in them.]

[Even after all this time?] You ask, shocked, [Wouldn't they have moved on by now?]

[The land was still green, and the advisors bring prosperity. Purobka's was a reclusive sort, and made a home in some of the tunnels. I do not doubt that if spared the massacre, an advisor would be able to subsist well enough, even through the winter. As for rebuilding the village? I do not have any prospects. I imagine that your auxiliaries would welcome a home more than bedrolls in the field.] He says, alluding to Zhou and his people.

[Well, that is good, but how do you feel about me using the land?] You ask, diverting back to the problem at hand.

[You are my new liege, I changed my heraldry in Bralin to reflect that. Any acquisition by you extends part of the glory to me.] He says, shuffling awkwardly, you're surprised to think the big burned hussar is embarrassed. [It would be... agreeable, a sort of unity, for one to make my old home usable again. In any form.]

Then I will do what I can.

>Head back home
Well, I guess we'll add it to our plans then.
And try to think of some people to stick there in a long term watch sense.
We'll talk to Tatiana when we get back.
Not wanting to exacerbate the hussars discomfort any further, you head for home. Back at the ranch you find Liama having finally prized herself from her talk with Veles, calling the discussion 'enlightening' she scarpers off to her tents with the shadows in tow, presumably to return to business as usual. Speaking with McCain, you let him know your intention to provide escort to the merchants and to clear out Purobka. Hoping he can get word to Zhou and the rest on the sly, you think over hwo to broach the subject with Tatiana.

That all can wait, however, as more pressing matters consume your attention. Namely your first proper dinner cooking in over a week. Tai has certainly pulled out all the stops, pulling a number of chicken and potato turnovers out from the oven. Each pasty is a meal in its own right, and slathered in gravy. Working your way through a whole pasty with the rest of your employees, you catch up with the important news before you feel the early onset of vittle induced sleep. With nothing particularly urgent, you bid everyone good night to head up to your own room, in your own bed, to sleep off your own home cooked meal.

The next morning has Tai severely broaching the egg reserve for everyone, and despite the feast last night you're eager to dive into the morning plate as well. After breakfast, everyone moves off to take care of their own responsibilities. Tai is looking after the smaller livestock, McCain is putting the finishing touches on the redoubt with Zhou and the crew, and Artyom and Marie are taking shifts on cattle watching. Tatiana has been scarce, but from what you understand, she's been working on replenishing her stock of medicinal herbs, appropriating one of Tai's herb gardens in the process. With a couple days to plan, you try and work out the best course of action.

>Anything in particular?
We need to talk to Tatiana to take care of what she thinks about the prospects of taking over Purobka.

After that, ask Mari if she wants to come when we leave with the caravan,

Finally, we need to spend some time with either Tai or Zhou to learn Phoenix better.
If we're looking for tatiana, we might as well help her find some herbs.

And bringing along the harpy for our next huntin and killin' trip might be good. Spot the bandits, and all that.
Rolled 18 + 3 (1d20 + 3)

I don't know if we know anything about them, but a knowledge check wouldn't hurt.
>rolling for scholar check

More than that, I want to have more time with her to try to get her to like us more (I want to romance her.) and we promised that we'd take her with us the next time we went over, two times ago. She was tired after the shit-storm in Snake's Landing, so she didn't come last time.
We need to make room for her THIS time if she wants to go this time.
Yeah, all signs point to harpy when we head out.
I'm still not sure who we should talk to about getting armed dudes to permanently set up shop out in that waystation though. Maybe we can put up ads. I guess we could put lliama and her mercs on it, but I have a feeling they'd want something more action-y.
Zhou and his people would probably appreciate having their own home, and having them there would only help us.
Granted, I would make them fight for it, so all of them who would want to live there would need to help rid the place of the bandits first, but even still.

Hiring strangers who don't owe us anything may be a bad idea. Though I don't think that there's much of another option. They would at LEAST need to be interviewed first. Probably by McCain if we can't-do it ourselves.
Figuring that getting your plan for Purobka cleared with the prospective heir is the best way forward, you set out to hunt down Tatiana. Searching around, you eventually find her tending to the commandeered garden, winding a sprout around a small trellis.

[Do you have a moment?] You ask, waiting until she's finished with the delicate process.

Rising up from the plant, she takes a step back from the garden. [Of course, what was it?]

[We made a stop at Purobka, Artyom's old home on the way back. Apparently Bandyta had infested it.] You say letting her process the information, [Planning on clearing it out just wondering your thoughts on us, or rather me, appropriating the folwark for my own purposes.]

[I do not have an issue, it is abandoned, yes?] She says, [I can imagine some of the Szlachta getting upset though. Kutkh owning Casimiran land? It's something unheard of, which would likely upset a few. I would imagine it'd be publicly declaring yourself and your allegiances, especially if trade is your goal. So you should account for that. If you are asking for my blessing? Well I am not on the throne yet, so I cannot begin to make that assurance.]

You exchange pleasantries for a while, with her cataloging the bumps, scrapes, and bruises that the youths attached to Zhou's group have acquired in the last week. It seems without a direct focus for her healing expertise Tatiana opts to prepare for the next big emergency, wherever it may appear. Figuring you've spent enough time distracting her, you move on to the next order of business.

You seek out Marie, who's currently swapping cattle watching shifts with Artyom and catch up with her. Letting her know about the caravan, you let her know she's got a slot on the guard patrol if she so wants it. After letting her enthusiasm abate, you also mention that you're probably gonna see about acquiring Purobka, should you liberate it and needing to pick up the phoenix lingo, from either Zhou or Tai.

"Not sure that's a good idea." She says, frowning, "Not the language bit, but rather who to learn it from. Tai's generally pretty busy with all the domestic chores and such, and as far as teaching goes. Well... he's less than optimal. Zhou has the problem of not quite grasping our speech, so learning from him will need a translator which kinda defeats the purpose."

"So what do you suggest?"

"Probably Liama," She says with a grimace, "From what Eli and Caff have said, she's fairly fluent in not just common Phoenix speech, but also the highborn stuff. Something about perpetuating a legend her mother had or something. I don't much care for her, but she's probably your best bet."

"I take it you've made your peace with them then?"

"I've not forgiven them, if that's what you mean." She says, puffing up indignantly, "But its better to be civil, and at least it seems to be working for them. Don't ask me to get all buddy-buddy with Liama though."

I'm not going to ask you to do something you don't want to, and thanks for the advice. I always appreciate your input.

Well, I'll let you get back to your own things.If you need anything feel free to ask. Talk to you later.

>Go find Liama to ask about Pheonix lessens
Fair enough.
Say, you still want to come with us on our next trip out, right? We're gonna be fighting baaaandits.
We already told her and asked her.
>Letting her know about the caravan, you let her know she's got a slot on the guard patrol if she so wants it. After letting her enthusiasm abate, you also mention that you're probably gonna see about acquiring Purobka, should you liberate it
ah jeez. Guess I missed that.
"I'm not going to ask you to do something you don't want to, and thanks for the advice. I always appreciate your input."

"Don't worry about it Miss Masterson, it won't get in the way of work. And thanks for the vote of confidence."

Letting her puff up with pride, you figure you had best get a head start on the lessons, "Well, I'll let you get back to your own things.If you need anything feel free to ask. Talk to you later."

Leaving the harpy to her business, you saunter over towards the shadows encampment. Inside, you can hear the faint angry muttering and occasional invective you've come to associate with Liama performing some TLC on her oversized rifle. Waiting for it to simmer down, you politely knock on one of the wooden tent poles before heading in. Inside, you catch the black and yellow lamia putting the final touches on her rifle. Setting it to the side, she straightens up. "That'll settle you for now, you little bugger. Oh hey Miss Masterson, sorry, put off cleaning when we got back. Won't do to let it set too long."

"No worries, just checking in. We'll be heading back over with a merchant caravan in a couple days. Gonna try and turn Purobka into a showcase for firearms, planning on bringing Zhou and a couple of his boys for the demonstration. Only problem is, well, I'm not too conversant in Phoenix Speech."

"High or lowborn?"

"Either, never really was much of an issue. Until now that is. Was wondering if you could help."

She clucks her tongue, "I dunno, three days isn't enough time to really go over too much, but you did follow up on letting me question Veles, so I'll do what I can."

"How'd that go, by the way?" You ask, wondering about her interest in the old snake.

She straights up clothes before diving into a chest full of papers, "It was enlightening, to say the least. He's got a whole lot to talk about, and if only I can get some Schola around to write it down we'd be better off. Beats the stuffing out of a trying to get info out of the Old One. Or his library for that matter. A lot more fun too." She emerges from the pile and gives you a little smile. "Shall we begin?"

>Give me a 1d20+3 roll, if you would.
Rolled 19 + 3 (1d20 + 3)

ere ya go.
I don't think that I need to roll.

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