It’s been a few boring months since our last “Special Assignment”, but that all changed this morning. Sgt. Zayno wakens us, with his usual delicate method of shouting and kicking bedrolls. Sometime I really miss my hermitage. Since Cpl.
Snowflake Brilliams is out on leave for a family emergency, Xaphs is promoted to corporal.
Paul asks us all Qs, and mine is about what Loarn missed most while hermiting – I answered that it was feedback from others. But on the other hand, that was also a great benefit – I was able to explore some interesting insights uninterrupted.
Much of the inhabitants of the Ruins of Sabach have gotten their marching orders and cleared out, but we’re one of last groups. Have heard rumors that we’ve been held back to escort supply lines. That may be true, but it’s not our immediate assignment. Cpl. Xaphs has to choose 3 of us to guard the Captain’s mansion. It’s up on a hill, by the brig. Instead of selecting the three of us that are available that aren’t her, (Tmolus, Pen, and I – our last compatriot is still in the brig) we’re all going – she opts to “supervise”.
We report to the quartermaster, and show her our chits for our non-standard equipment. Looking around, we notice that all the blacksmiths and their stations are super tidy, while the quartermaster herself is a mess. Also notice that she has prosthetic to help her compensate for a deformed hand.
We each present our arms, and are asked to show basic proficiency. I am asked to shoot a target with my longbow, but am feeling a little off today, and barely hit it. Q rightfully gives me flak, but I just decide to cheekily play it off, saying that it’s not a normal combat situation – there’s no breeze, less variables, no extra challenge, etc. She laughs, but says she expects better of me next time.
Since we’ll be working overnight, we rest up during the day. But it eventually gets dark, and it’s time to work. Cpl. Xaphs and I (archers) get up on a roof to keep an eye out from above while Tmolus and Pen rotate opposite each other on the ground. Looking out beyond the mansion, we can see the remnants of the army laid out – camps, torches, etc. all lined up in crisp grids. All the fires (except torches) are out during first watch – which gives me an idea while the insects start to come out. I should have a collection of fireflies that I can keep in a pouch so that if needed, I can remove and apply their glowing ends to arrows as needed to sort of trace their path through the air. Might talk to the quartermaster about this idea – I think that very well may curry some beneficial favor.
After a bit, I see a dark figure climb out of a 3rd floor window and silently drop to ground. Using our custom SCRAP system (Standard Cricket Request/Answer Protocol) I send a simple three-word sentence ( ninja, ground, northwest) to the rest of my unit, informing them of this. I quickly tie off a rope and rappel down, while Xaphs to stays up and watches.
I hit the ground at about the same time that two others meet. Tmolus and I go full stealth-mode, and encourage Pen to make no intention to hide his position – as a sort of decoy – maybe he’ll drive the intruder to the both of we.
I notice that there’s something strange about a cellar window a few feet away – the bars are hinged with a latch. Xaphs joins us and has Pen check out window as Tmolus and I head Southwest – she thinks it was a diversion. We stealth extra hard.
Pen breaks in through the window, and gets stuck. Cpl. Xaphs is very much not happy as part of our orders were to not go inside. Despite the good possibility that the “perp” went in here, Cpl. Xaphs decides to follow the letter of the instructions and not go in. So of course Pen “falls” in. It’s a doorless cellar/cell, with a propped-open trap door in the floor. Tmolus and I keep up sentry duty while Cpl. Xaphs tears into Pen.
Meanwhile, Tmolus and I come around corner to see 3 silhouettes along the side of a building. They’re kinda wobbling a bit – drunk? And they appear to be PEEING on the wall! Well, not wanting to take chances with what are clearly unauthorized persons on this off-limits premises, Tmolus closes and silently drops one by knifeblade. I loose and arrow and silently drop the second. Tmolus rotates and takes down the last one before he’s even aware of what has happened to his compatriots.
I have that twinge of worry that tends to come after reacting purely on instinct and training – did we make the right move? How do we explain these three bodies? After a moment I relax – we were investigating a credible threat (the ninja) and simply dealt with these intruders. We check the bodies – they are dressed in our colors, but everything is oddly unkempt. Truly sub-par for our great army. And as I take a closer look, my fears are quelled. They are clearly Sfard (my favored enemy) infiltrators. Our watch ends without further incident.
It’s on Cpl. Xaphs to not only report to Sgt. Zayno, but what to report. She glosses over the building entry, and is put in for commendation. After sleeping for a while. Sgt. Zayno comes in and asks Cpl. Xaphs if he needs to know something, she replies no. We discuss the possible return to the cellar/cell. Neither Tmolus nor I are in favor, but she orders us to go back to the cellar room. Beind under orders, we comply.
It’s night, so there will be a different group on guard duty. Tmolus suggests we observe these guards and adapt our rough plan accordingly. Their corporal has set up watch circuits that take twice as long as the ones Pen and Tmolus were doing. I can see the silhouette of someone sitting with back to chimney, head nodding in sleep. Amateurs. I’d report them for dereliction of duty if it wouldn’t also reveal our actions.
We’re able to easily get to the cellar, and descend through the trapdoor. Pen lights up coin for visibility – we’re in a 15′ x 20′ room with exits to the SE, NW, and W. The room has betting tables, stools, benches, and a bunch of long-mummified corpses. Murdered corpses. We find 34sp (8.5 ea) and a small idol in the South alcove. It’s made of clay with chips of garnet for eyes – looks like Pen’s god of death. He cuts his own arm, baptizing the statute in blood. He asks his god for information, and here is what we learn: these caves predate the town, they’re ancient. At times have been used as a retreat from armies and also a place to stage counterattacks. They’re mostly(?) abandoned and likely haunted.
Examining the floors, I see two sets of footprints in the built-up dust, both average human sized boots, one heading SE and one NW. We go to prints-less W. There’s a 5′ wide corridor that after about 10′ in, opens to the left and continues. There’s something ahead a short (~3.5′ high) door. It’s locked, but not trapped and Tmolus unlocks it, revealing a 10’x15′ room. There’s a bit of furniture in here, but sized for little people. There slashed tapestries, depicting child-sized creatures with large green heads and big ears. I’ve never seen creatures like this, but we all have heard stories describing creatures like this – stories designed to keep kids obedient. Surely, they’re not based in fact.
Pen finds a hidden drawer – Tmolus opens is, revealing a pewter bowl with 321cp (80ea). Pen thankfully carries this potentially noisy loot for the group.
Session Date: 05/08/2017
Title: Del tha Funky Homosapien – Pissin’ On Your Steps