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Assuming I survive my all day conferences... I will try nd get a post tonight.

@Lady Amalthea
Should I move Thomas and Satilla in my post?

A glint.
A cutting of air.
Nothing more nothing less.
Spotted from the corner of the eye.
Heard on the wind as it came.
But all too late.

He was right. His perception and deduction sharp, but his reaction slow at the draw. Agility and deftness was never quite his forte, did one really expect every street rat to be capable of leaping from rooftop to rooftop, parkouring all across the city like some would be assassin? No, the psion took refuge in the mind, in the Noosphere where his psyche leapt from one subject to another, gathering the knowledge of the ages. The memories of the world brain, a sphere of consciousness travelled by those who walk a higher realm. But what good is knowing it is a trap when just as he predicted, the simpleton amongst them ran in with an axe to cleave the head of a horse? Hacking, endless cleaving the sounds of the bait being taken and all that butchered meat wasted. It was a shame, but as the half-orc emerged a full mess of visera and gore, asking the genasi if he wanted any part of the spoils, the glint of an unnatural wasp stung the half-orc.

Yet there was no time to smirk in the superiority of his own intellect accurately predicting this result. For in the matter of moments the goblins pressed the assault, everything exploding into action as darts flew into the air. Maybe there would be an assassination yet, the genasi had dropped down to take cover, lying low from the shots blown. Their warrior having snuck over by the woodland stride, the cleric taking the other path as they crossed. Good, it was all positioned proper as he thought, taking the high vantage atop the cart, and yet what boon was given was also taken. As the psion realized the goblins had not been above killing the animals in tow, thus if they spooked or slew their beasts of burden, then this wagon would never reach their destination in time. Thus rein in hand he started to pull the lumbering beasts to turn, hopefully putting a distance between their living animals and the raiders.

Do you what sound a man makes,
When an arrow punctures his flesh?
When a shaft digs into his ribs?
When a point piercings his lungs?

There was no pain at first. No feeling to it. Just a expiratory gasp, a subtle sigh. It was not some great cry of agony, no dramatic point of death, but a subtle exhale on the parting breath. This was the sound a man. It was the air leaving the lungs as they collapsed, forced out the change in pressure. Like a popped balloon, or more so one crushed by the forces at play, the lobes wilted away. Blood and air from the outside tunneling through the wound, filling the void of space. It was this soft forsaken cry which trumpeted the arrival of pain.

Then came the body's response. The heave, the wheeze, the breathlessness, as the sudden shock alerted the all slow brain to realize what had happened. The flank branded hot from the arrow half-embedded into the chest, from the sticking up and sliding between the ribs at just the right angle to make its way into the airy organ. The immediate action that followed would be the wince, tension and pressure applied to the flesh wound, wooden haft between the fingers to stabilize and reduce the bleeding. And though the brain itself was wracked with screams from nerve fibers on fire, the mind was focus on finding who it was that fired the shot. The direction and angle of entry, the ear and eyes tuning to the balance and sight of the poor unfortunate soul that had so foolishly attacked him.

And though it seemed the sudden disappearance of the flute-playing bard made a scantily-clad rogue appear from the scholar's dark carriage, to which certainly was not the scholar they had been travelling with unless those horns were for more than just impressing the ladies. Of such a question raises why the bard, who was perhaps nauseatingly pleasing to the eyes of men who were intoxicated by the company of such women, ducked inside the carriage to summon her possible protector? A mystery to be considered at another time, as first there was a lesson to be learned. And whatever spell was cast by the tiefling at the offending creature seemed to agonize and antagonize it some, burning away at the candle of rage as it Seethed with emotions at whatever was being shouted at it in some language uncaught by the psion under the distraction of an arrow embedded in one's chest.

His vision turned to the right, of where the roguish warrior had slunk off to, spotting the poorly hidden attacker, and then another engaging the girl. There must be more, there were more, as those deep chocolate eyes had spotted two in plain sight moments earlier and he had expected some movements flanking from the woods to their right. But now those eyes still widen in pain and shock surged with more than adrenaline but terrifying insight. Those abyssal pupils bore locked into that hideous cretin's eyes, staring deep into its sockets, boring a hole through with mere vision alone perhaps! But no, more horrific than daggers for deathstares were the connections being made, entangled waves of psionic energy like invisible tentacles lashing from the psion's head. If eyes could see what the mind has thought of, if words alone could adequate describe the terror that the lone goblin would experience as the target of its arrow became a thing that should not be!

And it was all in the mind of that sole goblin. However clever, or however dumb the creature was, the psion's vengeance was repaid in kind. As within a blink of its terrified eye, its body froze and jaw dropped, eyes rolled back and a earsplitting shriek became its last words. It was done, but not over, no for this very insult and injury, the goblin would not die a peaceful death. He recounted every sin against him, and gave the poor thing its due as the waves of psionic energy intensified, piercing its way through the softened mush the remains of the shattered psyche. And then in a gloriously gory finale, the goblin's head burst in a shower of skull and brains, eyeballs flying out as blood sprayed from the stump of its bleeding neck.

Retribution done, the psion slid down the wagon's seat slumped against the cover of against attacks from the northern flank. A tactical move hopefully though spotting the injuries of their warrior himself, he could turn his attention to that goblin later if it dared to face him after seeing what a bloody mess he made of its ally. And from the looks of it, perhaps what Kiki herself had done to its other friend. Resting his powerful head back against the wagon, grounded body leaning on the wood for his support, the arrow still embedded in his thorax confirmed these were the killers of those horses. And if their Lordsman was right, they have also killed this party's employer and his work contact. Best interrogate one of the goblins to find out, though a psychic interrogation may reveal his powers, if not the fantastically visceral display that may have matched the half-orc's wanton axing. Hopefully the others were finding themselves in better luck.

Still though... This punctured lung meant he would be a bit short on breath, alive but certainly every breath was like breathing fire.
I need healing.

Half a day into today's travels, behind them the High Road running south from Neverwinter, upon the Triboard Trail that would lead to Phandalin. It was a small miracle that they had made it this far without so much of a gnat to bother their travels. No bandits had accosted them, only the flies that pestered their oxen under the day's sun, and the moths that were mystified by the fires of their camp by night. Uneventful, and uneventful was good, the faster they arrived to Phandalin, the faster he could get paid and return to Neverwinter. Unless of course the journey was meant to be a one-way trip, of which he would have the dwarf's brains splattered inside his skull for such treachery. The kids would have enough for two weeks only, scratched and scrounged out from what savings the psion had, a few glittering gold pieces and of course just enough for himself to purchase a horse to travel back and resell at Neverwinter. Hopefully though the dwarf could loan him a vehicle to get back without charge. Either way there was no intention on staying around in Phandalin, not with his responsibilities and Neverwinter despite all the hardship it had given him, was his home. These others amongst him may have their own purposes, the wizard always annoyingly reminding everyone of both his affiliation with the Lords, and spellcasting tactics. A daily spiel for the sake of the half-orc perhaps, as for the umpteenth time Seethe reminded the party. At least the flute and accompanying lute were less grating. That is until the lutist ended on a short note.

The Triboar Trail ran itself into the woodland a few feet further in. And there in the path, where the greenery and foliage began to overgrow the dirt-trodden plod, was a morbid sight. Amongst the verdant glen two creatures lay, slain by arrows embedded into the their lifeless bodies. What horror was it that claimed the lives of the horses basking under the high noon sun? Their glassy eyes burned out from staring perpetually into the light of unrelenting day even as the leaves filtered out some of the morning beams. Did they die in shock and panic? Suddenly finding themselves riddled with sticks and metal? Neighing and screaming as they fell upon the trampled earth? Did their riders turn back or attempt to as the first arrow met its mark? Yes riders for one was saddled, still geared, and certainly no wild horse would use a road and travel in pairs. What happened here?

They did not a natural death clearly, for what beast uses arrows to kill a steed? No beast made these marks, but what ones made those arrows? Something clever, clever enough to use tools. Bandits perhaps? Looking at the lay of the terrain, it would be likely this was a trap. Holding the reins the silent Psion pulled the oxen back, signaling the beasts to hold their advance just before the edge of the small forest. A hand held up to the rest of the group if they were watching, a cautious stop. Something was amiss. The day was warm, and there was no stench of rot yet in the air. These horses were untouched by anything save the arrows, and how their bodies blocked the path to proceed. Around them ample coverage from nature's blessings, a perfect set up for an ambush was it not? Travelers could not rush forward by the dead barricade. No beast had come to eat the free offerings, nor drag it back to their dens to devour. All of it seemed to cry out trap. Every strike against it considered in his mind.

Watchful waiting, then. the best course of option to see which fool would be the first to be richly rewarded. Either by whatever belonging the riders had left behind, or by more black-feathered arrows. Should it come to it, the psion would demonstrate his ability, taking a moment to refocus his mind, letting go of some knowledge gleaned from the Noosphere and preparing himself for what Seethe had so eagerly been expecting. Perhaps today would be the genasi's lucky day, and finally he would be able to sling some spells, maybe even the Barbarian might hew some limbs off some poor sap. With any luck it would be the half-wit half-orc who would rush down the rest of the road to investigate closer. After all those horses looked heavy, and the brute was probably the only one with the muscle to push them away.


The problem with playing characters in characters is that if not done correctly, it will get tricky with the group dynamics.
Since currently both members accounted for are one person, yet there is no IC knowledge of them being the same person.
Therein both were assumed to be hired by the dwarf. And thus technically both would be owed 10 gp.
Thus Cas would be paid 20 gp total if the deception remains throughout the party.

You'll have to work out the details with the GM, but since our characters don't seem to know each other that well, no one knows Cas is behind both personas. Hence they should be treated as unique party members until otherwise discovered to be one changeling. At which depending on what happens when the deception is revealed, will be interesting...

I understand that.
However our characters do not know this.
There is a difference between OOC mechanics and IC perception.

So there are for IC purposes 7 people in their party:
Ilisandoral - Scholar 'hiding' in his carriage.
Ardiane - Bard sitting horseback playing the flute
Elki - Young cleric sitting at the back of the supply wagon
M - Mute psion driving the wagon
Kiki - Mercenary 1 / scout
Bar - Mercenary 2 / loose cannon
Seethe - Nobleman of the Lord's Alliance.

Two vehicles in transport:
one being the wagon owned by the Dwarf which we are to escort,
One belonging to Ilisandoral

Is this an accurate party count?

Neverwinter the city that was. Beset from all sides yet still it prevailed. Neither volcano, nor sea, nor forces dark could crumble her majesty. And from the rubble of her walls, the sealing of her wounded chasm, once more the city rose. Not as glorious as before, for the still new was her spark, but still she survived. And the greed of men came down upon her, like suitors to a bride, before the first seeds had spouted. Those who were born to her womb, who have struggled to scratch out a living through and through as if trapped by her maternal grasp, they were pushed out. Those who kept their silence in the cycle were viciously thrown into the pit, as looters came to prosper, new inhabitants clawing into the old city, finding ruins and old villas to haunt. New blood trickled in as the walls fell down, and opportunity lay for those aggressive enough to carve out a piece of Neverwinter's ruins. These distressed streets paved piece by piece over the years, and Lord Protector Neverember hand came down upon Neverwinter years ago to stabilize the resurfacing factions. Renewed the spirit, invigorated by the desires of outsiders to control and divide, uniting the once splendorous city under their own banner, every district flooded with new arrivals as travelers from near and far come. It was the dawn of a new day over Neverwinter.

Yet it was not the city he remembered. The city was a harsh father, teaching him what lessons in life he took with him. A cruel master tormenting you hunger though the markets were alive with all manners of food. Long ago, a dry throat thirsted over the taverns lit with carousal and flowing ales, and a weary head rested dreaming of the warm beds of the inn below him. Born nearly two and a half decades ago, M never knew who it was that left him there to be raised by the streets, taken in not by the orphanage that found him there, but rather by the city of Neverwinter itself. Who would adopt a child without a voice? Did they think he was slow? Addled and unable to speak his mind? His caretakers never bothered, keeping the boy alive, but thin and meager, and yet still he took after his rightful parents and survived. They at the orphanage gave him a name, one he no longer uses after leaving that place of sadness. For in the streets of Neverwinter he adopted a new moniker, a name to call his own, for it was he who bestowed it upon himself. Rechristened and reborn, the boy swore he would one day make a home for all the forgotten children.

How long ago was that? Toil and sweat grunted, blood and tears shed. An old building partially restored with what scrap lay in the Chasm's rundown district. A humble place reclaimed from an broken down inn, looted dry of goods by the structure still standing. A roof partially caved in, leaking in the rain, a creaking wood and rickety stairways, and a sewage system long in need of a washing. Through the years by his work the inn became a safe haven for other children left behind. A place quietly run by what they'd consider an older brother, a kind stranger who treated them like family. The coins earned from every odd job that rolled his way, going towards keeping the children fed and sheltered. In a way the makeshift orphanage was his kingdom, and he was the Prince in rags, a working class citizen with a noble heart. What gracious charity was accepted by those few who knew of his work, certainly with two dozen kids running around parentless he alone could not be there all the time. So at times the widowed women came, or the eldest of the children, to keep an eye on the ever-changing lot. They came and went freely, it was there so they could have a place to call home, even if they had wandered well and lost.

There were rules however, and the finances were managed by himself, shrewdly negotiating the prices of daily meals and goods. Work was difficult, and coins were precious, each to be spent prudently in the marketplace. Not the finest nor the freshest of produce and breads, nor the best quality cuts of meats or fish, but there was always something at the table. Where they could all join together as one large family, each taking a bit under the eye of big brother. A simple life, a small pleasure afforded by the wages earned, and a bit of subliminal manipulations. Being a psion had its perks, as he had discovered at an early age. The vast knowledge of the Noosphere waiting to be plucked by his mind, raided for its contents until eventually a new topic was sought to be learned and the memory of the old ones faded away. It was after all how the boy learned all his skills, reading, writing, mathematics, everything was available in the mystery of the Noosphere as the collective body of thought. And this was merely the beginning of what his mind could do.

So looking back, Neverwinter was still visible on the northern horizon smaller but still ever present. A few days away would be fine, there was enough food to last, a few coins left with the eldest Laura and Jules. They were good kids, wouldn't spend so lavishly as the others, knew how to be safe and keep the money tight. In the care of those so dependent on the shelter, it would be respected, unlike those who sought to use its innocence for all sorts of illicit activities. Yes, thieves and other scum had sometimes found it a tempting target, and those honorless bastards found themselves at odds with the building's protector. A solo scoundrel would be easily dispatched, their brains impaled and pierced by psychic ravaging, until their bodies were left brain dead. But a gang or group would be more difficult, especially when they threatened the safety of the kids. To which it was easier to come to an agreement of providing a stipend of money monthly, and some services in exchange for 'protection.' Yet every month they squeezed harder, asking for a bit more each time they came back. The factions wouldn't lend a hand, keeping order elsewhere in Neverwinter, and the rest were vying to rebuild and glean a position of higher power. All the politicks making it difficult to voice anything in the will of the mighty.

Fortunately there was favour with a dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker. Who occasionally provided small jobs and contacts for work throughout the city. A man of talent could always find something to use his mind for, even with the strange mutism he had. Whether it was a simple go fetch this from this person from one of the self-style nobles, which a former street urchin could do with ease, slipping in and out of the bustling city and reappearing later like magic, or assisting scholars in finding information scattered throughout Neverwinter. The psion swallowed his pride and served effectively, though never quite telling anyone his name. Rather, he was referred to as either 'Errand Boy' or 'that quiet one' or whatever name his direct employer decided to call him. This time Gundren had hired him for a mere 10 gold pieces to escort a supply wagon to Phandalin. Phandalin of all places, a grungy little settlement wasn't it? What was there to behold? The dwarf wouldn't say, and certainly the mute didn't ask. Work was work, certainly the dwarf had amassed a strange group.

First was the bard, ever cheery atop a horse, a half-elf girl with locks of golden hair in the wind as her coy smile made the psion doubt her nature. Perhaps it was because he too wore a mask and concealed a hidden talent that the mute man found this girl's mannerisms to be unsettling. For behind her tugged in two another carriage, for some scholar they had hired, one who had yet to be seen thus far. Yet like the stranger, he too was not ready to reveal his own talents and invade the minds of his fellow travellers, especially not that of the Barbarian half-orc. Yes, it was almost a redundancy to say barbican half-orc, and this one as much of his ilk and kin were short on brains. All muscle without thought, a stupid creature that spoke too loudly for its own intellect, telepathy would most likely frighten the simple minded, the voice of gods or demons, or whatever other power they believe it to be talking to them. At least he managed to keep out of the creature's strange ritual of 'testing armor' as their hire called it. Three members to be wary of, as it was.

And then there was lutist, who often accompanied the flutist, another female and a traveler from afar by the looks and sounds of it. He had kept his distance from most, his silence being the bastion that gave him reason to remain aloof, yet she was some sort of warrior by the weapons she carried and armor she wore, though one who prefer finesse over brute strength he concluded by her sleek form and supple armor. Yes, being the one to listen and observe, to think rather than speak, there was the benefit in being a thus far the group's watcher. It was he who drove the supply wagon, sitting with the reins in hand as the oxen plod forward along. A team of horses would have been faster, yet the equipment carried behind him seemed quite the stash. How much was it worth to the dwarf to get it all to Phandalin? A mining operation by the sounds of it, the secrecy and the man involved. Dwarf and his brothers, even taking a guard to go scout ahead? 10 golds was 10 golds, and a man's good faith and trust had been bought for less. Still, the mystery of Phandalin piqued the interest, and what motivations the others had for accepting the job. The traveler he could understand needing the work, and the barbarian perhaps some hired muscle, the bard entertainment for them both.

Then the final two where the academics, a fiery nobleman and a young girl. The former was a member of the Alliance no doubt, the airs and way he carried himself, buried in books or recounting a tale. Perhaps that was why he was here, official business sanctioned by the Lords. He was a genasi of fire as suggested by those crackling curtains, the redness of his iris burning with the look of superiority brightly glowing. The latter was a young girl, not one far younger than Laura by her looks, still wide-eyed and wondering about the world. A holy symbol marked her office, a worshiper, someone who prayed for a miracle to come and thanked the gods for their deliverance. Prayer only did so much, thrown at the mercy of the uncaring gods, the chaos of their dice and the cruel justice of their self-righteousness. And as for magic, magic was either a gift at an accidental birth, borrowed from a moment, or learned to be forgotten. Only the strength of the mind and one's own will persisted. Was he not living proof of that?

Enough looking back. Reminiscence was to be put behind him. For a few days this rag-tag group would be his acquaintances. Three women, and three men, one unknown, each of differing personas certainly, for a balanced grouped it would seem, and each had their role, two mercenaries, two morale keepers, a scholar, a captain and a servant. Strange that the barbarian refused to wear clothing in front of such young ladies, but perhaps decency for one as dimwitted as the half-orc was out the window, despite how much the Lordsmen could protest for. The psion himself wore simple clothes, his thin and lanky frame beneath a shabby white tunic and brown patched linen trousers, his boots clearly his only pair as thin as the soles ran worn down as he walked. A weather-beaten traveler's cloak across his shoulder, serving as a blanket for chilly nights sleeping atop the wagon, he could sleep anywhere by now despite carrying a bedroll. The silent one amongst the group preferred to keep a close count on the supplies promised to be delivered, in case something was missing from the cargo and their pay suspect to thievery, and of course someone had to notice any bandits approaching from the rear and snap the reins to rush the oxen forward. Though their journey so far had been quiet, danger always lurked on these roads thus vigilance was key. They were party united by the threads of their simple task, to guard this supply wagon safely through to the city ahead. What compensation was there should anything happen between Neverwinter and their destination? Was it really worth to risk your life 10 golds? Or would it be more fitting to risk a total stranger's? But the new names of his troupe was learned and placed into memory, written somewhere into the Noosphere. Ardiane, Bar, Kiki, Seethe, and Elki...

And he would remain a stranger to them,
Though they may call him many things,
His name was truly and only his own.


So just to be clear the party would number 7 people currently then?

With 1 person not yet seen ever.

Technically I suppose M could deduced this.
After all 3 characters are played by the same mind...

Is there a Discord group for this yet?

Well done on the introduction.
Thomas Richard Harrison

Location: The Crossed Swords, Lair of Goody-Goodies.
Interacting with: Satilla, and then the rest.

An alchemical silvering potion then was it? There was such a potion to produce the transmutative effects Satilla was going for, although this may be an inferior substitution. Ideally they'd be armed to the teeth with anti-undead weaponry. Silver, holy water, and the like. But time was short, and the dead were restless. They were off to see the wizard, or rather necromancer, some dark lord of the undead? An ancient power that has risen once more? One who was building an army to invade the realm of the living? From what Thomas had seen of the exploding undead, it was quite an interesting thought. To set minions with denotative charges, suicide shamblers, what magical art was this? Raising the dead was one thing, but the ability to detonate them may have been a secondary spell, or even some alchemical trick. There was a potion for pretty much anything after all these days. For in a realm of magic, it was not how is it possible, but rather how it was done.

"Oh, I could teach you some basic alchemy Satilla," Thomas mentioned still grinding away at the silver bits while listening to the rest of the team mull about the tower. As long as they stuck together like sovereign glue they should make it out alive. Teamwork was crucial to these things, and hopefully the seven of them would be enough, even with one just recently recovered, and two not very useful folks to be standing on the sidelines with each other. Supports, as they'd be called. Hopefully they would catch the Necromancer off guard, but it was unlikely, the tower might be warded and watched over by magics unknown. Yet what a grand adventure it would be, sure beats going around taking care of small monster problems like kobold infestations and goblin raids. To have an actual target and mystery would surely be a great experience for the boy. And if they found any of the necromancer's books, Thomas would jump on the study of the dark arts, for educational purposes of course. Although it was theoretically possible to channel the powers of the moonlight to summon hordes of the undead... "Hrm, I'll go and have a look then, the main issue is the gem and the fire scarab. Probably going to be pricy."

Keystone was taking the lead here, although Thomas was always confused as to who was technically in charge, between the trio of Keystone, Sana, and Kyra. Didn't Kyra call for this assembly? And yet it looked like Keystone called the shots into order. Either way it seemed like they had some time to gather themselves and their things together, Thomas pretty much already done so with his daily preparations. Spells at the ready, although if they needed light maybe it would be wise to take a few minutes in the sunlight to get a cast. Either way, it was time to... Be Prepared!

"Anyone think it'd be worth it to get some sorts of bright light? 200 grams of purified alchemical reagents won't be cheap I reckon. Else I'll try and see if we can work something out with the shop owner, bring back something rare or somewhat from the tower for em." Asked to the general group as to whoever wanted to chime up and make the executive decision that Thomas was going to ask Kyra.
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