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 Singal : Actions

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Mordred
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PostSubject: Singal : Actions   Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:30 pm

1. Use our network of heretics to gain intel on the city, its factions and the city council. Try to use our few followers among the nobility, merchants and slavers to put spies into our targets households.

In any particular area? Or just in general?

3.Send a few of our corrupted knights (lead by Varys under an alias) into one of the other neutral areas of the city and start establishing our power base. I think it would be better to try to take over the neutral areas first, before we clash with the other factions, so that we can rely on enough resources and manpower. However, even then I would prefer it to settle matters silently and discretely. The less attention Singal draws to itself, the better. The knights we send will be disguised and not be recognizable as members of the Eventide. This anonymity has to be maintained at costs. Since very few people the knight's faces under their heavy helmets, few people will recognize them should one of our agents be caught. Still, we have to be very careful. I would suggest area 13 as our first target.

(Varys, 10 CK, 10 CS)

Very well, you send the men to the slums. They are... slummy. It is clear that the people there have nothing to live for, and many have little will to continue in life.

4. Invest a portion of our remaining wealth in ''relatively'' stable trades to slowly make some money. Protect our interest against bandits and ''rogue'' heretics (who not yet follow us). Establish one secure trade route to Sarleon and try to make money by offering merchants to travel with these specially protected caravans. This should both bring us wealth as well as appease the King.

(2 Banners, 20 Pk, 20 Ps, additional 20 Ps) [total: 60 men]

The additional guards provided are well received, particularly through the still dangerous deserts around Singal. Losses are minimal, just a single pure squire. The merchants are clearly happy to have the aid and are paying well for it.

5. Start looking for an additional, relatively big building available near the chapter house to serve as barracks for the future Ghilmen. Also trying to find other needed personal; cooks, stable boys etc.

(20 pure squires)

There are a number of structures around it, a disused residential building with a small market square nearby would be the best solution though those merchants would have to be moved elsewhere. The only problem is this is quite central to the city so places to really do much mounted training are few. Much of the land around the Eventide Chapterhouse is derelict and could be knocked down to create a proper complex.

6. Start looking for Emir Xerxes.

(Sir Malificar, 1 Banner (5 Pk, 5 Ps, 5 CK, 5 CS), additional 15 PS) [Total: Malificar and 35 men]

You hear some rumours that he maybe in the desert, hiding among the tribes but beyond that have no clue.

The slaughtered Veccavi army should have flooded the markets with cheap weapons. With the law of halves in place, weapons and equipment should be cheaper as it is, since the lords have less men to equip. Since the Eventide marched home with the army, they should know exactly what happened to the weapons and to whom they were sold. This should suffice to arm the first Ghilmen (and maybe additional heretics in case of an emergency) without consuming too much of our money.

(Both the troops travelling north as well as the caravan guards once they wait in the cities for the merchants to finish their business.)

You will have to convert Squires and / or Auxiliaries (heretics) to Ghillmen. Just let me know how many you want to do, you could probably afford to do between 5-10 daily to begin with.

7. Send heretic emissaries to other heretic covens and brigand bands to gain intelligence on their positions, strength and opinion about Azlanek's coven.

(Something the heretics should be able to do alone.)

Not enough exposure in the city to gain any meaningful results as yet.

8. Send out pure Knights of the Eventide to fight the criminal forces around Singal. Arrange that especially those bands who oppose the cabal of the twisted heart are found by the knights.

(30 Pk, 40 Ps, lead by 5 Ck and 10 Cs) [Totally 85]

The do much work with the caravan guards above, however the Singalian Army causes you considerable disruption as they have roaving bands out along the road who charge "tolls" and are to numerous for your knights to safely engage. You could try to fight them and would likely clear the roads, but you will take losses doing this.

9. Remaining in the Chapterhouse until further notice

(10Pk, 40 Ps, 10 Ck, 40 Cs, additional 10 Ck as personal guard of the Grandmaster) [Total: 110]

///FYI: Changed Colors to make em readable, Cyan doesn't contrast well with white background Wink --> MP ///
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Ser Varys
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:40 pm

Ser Varys begins to spread rumors that the Cabal of the Twisted Heart is helping anyone in need, and can provide an outlet to their depression. He also sends his troops to help rebuild shelters, and help with the manual labor of the inhabitants. The troops refuse any thanks, and tell the people they owe their thanks to the Cabal of the Twisted Heart.

(( Would you like me to create a thread called Ser Varys Task Three for me to do all mission RP in? ))
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dowpride
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:31 pm

*sir malificar, hearing of this, heads towards the d'shar steppes, to try and find any info he can (same question as sar varys)
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:40 pm

In any particular area? Or just in general?

Just in general. What I want to achieve is to get the info about the important characters that we have already gathered here. Thought it would have been wrong to just assume we already know all of these things.

There are a number of structures around it, a disused residential building with a small market square nearby would be the best solution though those merchants would have to be moved elsewhere. The only problem is this is quite central to the city so places to really do much mounted training are few. Much of the land around the Eventide Chapterhouse is derelict and could be knocked down to create a proper complex.

Would we have enough money to pull the buildings down, hire a few architects to both build a appropriate complex as well as new houses using less space for the people living in the derelict buildings? The poor would then be offered to work on the construction side as well as their new homes, rewarded only with two simple meals. I would only approach the city Steward for his permission and financial support on this matter.

You will have to convert Squires and / or Auxiliaries (heretics) to Ghillmen. Just let me know how many you want to do, you could probably afford to do between 5-10 daily to begin with.

Do all the future Ghilmen have to be heretics? What about recruiting the poor from the surrounding areas? They should be more than willing to enlist.

The do much work with the caravan guards above, however the Singalian Army causes you considerable disruption as they have roaving bands out along the road who charge "tolls" and are to numerous for your knights to safely engage. You could try to fight them and would likely clear the roads, but you will take losses doing this.

Tell them to avoid the Singalian Army for the moment.
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Iskar
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:50 am

1) Your informants return with what they heard in the taverns and streets, providing you with general information about the important figures of Singal. (You may use what is said in the "City of Singal"-thread.) However, your direct influence and the number of your supporters is still too low to be able to place any spies in important households, as being important in Singal and alive means having survived a lot of assassination attempts and uncovered more than one spy as the years pass and the important figures are all always on their guard against such actions.

2) At the moment getting hold of the disused residential building will take all the time the squires you set to it can afford. The steward has not responded so far and does not seem to be willing to condescend to talk to mere squires of a not too well known force of Singal's political and social life.

3) Recruiting the poor would result in much longer training times, as they, unlike the heretics, are mostly in no way acquainted to fighting. Say effectively 5 in three days or something the like. Additionally they would be not that devoted to your task due to being mere mercenaries after all.

4) Some of the merchants are disappointed at the behaviour of your knights who help them against petty bandits but do not put up resistance against any major groups of highwaymen.

5) With the former krom and kral slaves now settled in the Jatu plains the expected wave of new slaves fails to appear. Moreover most of the loot was confiscated by the crown to fund the new settlements or be reworked into farming devices. (Pendor's version of "Swords to Ploughshares" Wink )

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Azlanek
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:44 pm

1) Your informants return with what they heard in the taverns and streets, providing you with general information about the important figures of Singal. (You may use what is said in the "City of Singal"-thread.) However, your direct influence and the number of your supporters is still too low to be able to place any spies in important households, as being important in Singal and alive means having survived a lot of assassination attempts and uncovered more than one spy as the years pass and the important figures are all always on their guard against such actions.

Simply continue with our efforts Additionally, focus more on well respected but not nearly as important and especially older members of high society. This should prove to be a little easier and could be our spies entry into the very households we seek. Our spies will serve a few years under their new master, gaining experience and trying everything to please their lord. They should become trusted servants to their ageing patrons and when these patrons die our spies will hopefully wander to another household, with a bit of luck to one that benefits us. This will not bring us immediate results, but establishing a secret network is a task that needs time.

2) At the moment getting hold of the disused residential building will take all the time the squires you set to it can afford. The steward has not responded so far and does not seem to be willing to condescend to talk to mere squires of a not too well known force of Singal's political and social life.

We simply let the squires continue with their work. To get the town Council on our side, Azlanek himself will beg for an audience with the Steward, trying to convince him of our good intentions and devotion to the well being of the city. Even if he does not accept right away he will have to notice our first efforts.

3) Recruiting the poor would result in much longer training times, as they, unlike the heretics, are mostly in no way acquainted to fighting. Say effectively 5 in three days or something the like. Additionally they would be not that devoted to your task due to being mere mercenaries after all.

We will start with training one small squad then, maybe about 20 men. We will try to get a hold on Jatu slaves for 10 riders and 10 other, very motivated and capable men (if possible one or two former Mettenheim soldiers or Empire legionaires) for infantry training. As 100 of our men are up north, we should have more than enough space to host 20 men temporarily. When they are ready, they can become the first squad leaders/trainers for fresh recruits.

4) Some of the merchants are disappointed at the behaviour of your knights who help them against petty bandits but do not put up resistance against any major groups of highwaymen.

If they really want our protection, they can join in our protected caravan convoys or approach us about expanding this project. We will not throw away our troops for the merchants without anything in return, just because it would be more convenient for them. Nothing will be changed for the moment, but we will let the merchants know about our willingness to discuss such issues.

5) With the former krom and kral slaves now settled in the Jatu plains the expected wave of new slaves fails to appear. Moreover most of the loot was confiscated by the crown to fund the new settlements or be reworked into farming devices. (Pendor's version of "Swords to Ploughshares")

Nothing we can do about that.

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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:27 am

1) Your supporters manage to place servants in the households of a number of lesser patricians, some old aristocrats and three guildmasters of the craftsmen.

2) The old building is now yours but you still have to find a way to get rid of the traders on the small market square in front of it. Moreover the Chamberlain Malik Nalin has let you know that he is willing to receive Azlanek of Tantal.

3) As you will be needing most of your money to pay for the extension of the chapter house you resources are limited in this matter.
Your men find several slaves that would be up to the task of training future recruits:
A former Jatu lancer - able to train your men in battle tactics, riding and close combat at a high level - 1000 denari
seven Jatu raiders - able to teach riding and fighting (melee and ranged) at a medium level - 400 denari each
several sellsword riders - able to teach the basics of riding and close combat - 100 denari each
a captured legionnaire -able to train your men in battle tactics and formations and close combat at a high level - 800 denari
five fierdsvain axemen - able to train your men in close combat and basic formations - 500 denari each
six armoured mercenary crossbowmen - able to teach the basics of close combat and advanced use of the crossbow - 600 denari each
several former armsmen - able to train your men in the basics of close combat - 100 denari each

You have 3500 denari available.

4) The merchants do not have anything in particular to discuss with you, perhaps at a later date.

5) As Mordred said, the 100 knights and squires up north are not at your command now as it was the king's punishment for sending so few knights to repel the invaders. (Would be strange if you drew advantage out of a punishment.)


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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:05 am

1) Still in Progress: Continuing


2) Azlanek and his bodyguard will go the market in one of the following days. He will talk to all the merchants who are present, trying to find out whether some/most/all of the merchants would be willing to relocate in exchange for cheaper use of the Eventide's secure trade route as well as “promises” that the Eventide will look to them to satisfy the order's growing supply needs.

Azlanek will also meet with the Chamberlain as soon as he is ready to receive him. He will be very polite and well informed about the situation in Singal's districts, prepared to talk about the fate of the poor orphans and exotic birds (the info that was gathered on the chamberlain), hoping to get the Chamberlain to like him. Azlanek will also express a conflicted, personal view towards the city. He is both grateful for the city took his order in when no one else would and gave the Eventide the chance to prove its worth, but he also feels that is about time that his order starts to give something back and tries to make Singal a better place. It is home, but one that has to cared for in the future. He will try to support this argument by pointing towards the Eventide's patrols and the trade route, admitting without hesitations that the order also benefits financially from some of the arrangements, but also defending this by stating that you have to make money before you can spend it for the greater good.


3)We will stick to Varys suggestions:

1x Jatu Lancer
4x Jatu Raider
1x Legionnaire

They will be treated similar to respected war prisoners at first, watched for any signs of disloyalty or escape plans. They will be explained that they should see it as some kind of contract. If they do their job well and their recruits flourish under their tutelage, one of them will soon be able to take their place and they will be free to go. They should also see this as a second chance. A chance to stay a warrior instead of being a pathetic slave.

4) Nothing new


5) Nothing new, noted and accepted.
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:41 am

1) Continuing

2.a) The merchants are willing to relocate their stalls if they get something in return and they already have something in mind: They want to become the official contractors for the Eventide's facilities in Singal. As far as you can see their prices are quite agreeable but for two merchants who seem to be intent on drawing large profits from their monopoly-to-be. The local merchants are tightly organised and there is no way to commercially isolate these two from the rest by talking.

2.b) Malik Nalin seems pleased enough and gives you permission to tear down some adjacent buildings in order to build a sufficiently large training ground. The poor populating these buildings are to be employed, fed and housed for the duration of the works. Afterwards Malik Nalin will take care of those that do not wish to enter your service permanently. There are around 100 inhabitants in the houses around the old residential building.

3) The slaves have been acquired and will begin training your men as soon as the appropriate facilities are available.

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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:26 pm



2.a)In case all of this still takes place at the market:

Azlanek will begin to seek the attention of the entire crowd gathered at the place. He will draw them together, putting the entire discussion on display for all to see. He will then make a fiery speech, explaining the situation to the public. He will then again turn to the merchants. He will be calm and soothing in the beginning, saying that he sees many hard working, honest people gathered in this place and that much of what he heard today was received in good spirits and that he thanks Astraea for the moderation and understanding that the merchants had shown. But when he focuses on the two traders who seek to enrich themselves at the Eventide's expense, his voice becomes cold and condemning. He will ask them if they think him to be a fool, that they expect him not to see what they are trying to achieve here and if they think that he will just stand by idly while they try to feast on the order and become fat while large portions of the city are suffering. He will turn to the crowd, trying to draw it to his side, talking about their plight and how much he understands their needs and suffering, that he is here to help them, to make things right, to ensure their safety and the well-being of their families. He will talk about the training grounds, about the Ghilmen of Saint Bernard that will be trained there also to help the guard in restoring order in the district, that this is something that will benefit all its inhabitants. He will ask if it is fair that his noble endeavour is now tainted by greed. He will ask whether they deem it to be fair that they sacrifice their homes and sweat and tears for this future, while others cannot even bring themselves to overcome their lust for wealth and riches. Once he feels he has build up enough public pressure, he will turn to the merchants once more, asking them if they find it fair that they offer reasonable prizes while some of their fellows don't. He will ask them if they think the Goddess of Justice would look favourably on that. Finally he will turn to the two greedy merchants again, asking them if they truly want to insist to drain the Eventide's pockets of this much money, money that will then be missing to help the honest people of the district. Hopefully the Eventide's special intimidation skills together with public pressure will be enough to cause the merchants to reconsider in order not to lose face. Maybe they will even offer to go down a bit or to spend a portion of their profits for noble purposes.

2.b)Azlanek is very pleased and grateful and assures the chamberlain of his support in the times to come. He will set out immediately to make plans on how to proceed that the families of the first pulled down buildings find shelter with other families of the district, so that working barracks can be erected in that place. Once that is done the work on the training ground will begin.
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:15 pm

2.a) Cheers rise among the crowd at Azlanek's speech and even some of the merchants nod approvingly. Yet, coin is still harder than gods and promises in Singal and the two greedy ones cannot be swayed. Moreover, they seem to have invested their money carefully in the past: At their cue a passing patrol of the city watch quickly scatters the crowd supporting Azlanek.
A confident smile on their lips the two leave the square. Before the other merchants leave, however, their spokesman approaches Azlanek personally:

"You see, m'lord, we - he gestures to the other merchants - would very much welcome this contract, but, as you may have seen, the way to good relations with the authorities is best paved with gold, of which those two happen to have more than we can afford for these purposes. Yet, perhaps you also know, that Singal has a ...second currency. If you cannot pay with gold, well, steel does the job as well if you catch my meaning..."

He winks and walks off before Azlanek can reply anything.

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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:24 am

The plans for starting with the barrack constructions can start never the less, since they will need to be completed either way before the area of the market place becomes important. This will give Azlanek a little more time to ponder on this matter. He will set his spy-network in motion, hoping that it will come about enough information about the different merchants, their rivalries and fears to stage a murder scenario that looks like the merchants attacked one another over their ambition to benefit the most from the Eventide contracts. The statement of the merchant's spokesman sounded there might be ample opportunities for a scenario like this.

Later that day Azlanek will hold a small speech in the chapter-house, explaining the situation to the other members of the order and preaching about how important it is for the knights to remain their purity, especially in this heart of darkness. Only by remaining true to Astraea's light will the Eventide be able to bring justice to the world. Azlanek will allow himself to offer a line about how greed and corruption will sooner or later consume itself and that Astraea will reward them for their restraint and responsibility in using their power and upholding their honour in the face of selfishness and injustice.
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:21 am

my lord, isnt going out in the streets yourself opening yourself up to assasination attempts?
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:14 pm

Is rotting behind a wall of cowardice the way to lead a knighthood order? I don't think so.
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:16 am

no, but taking steps to make sure there are no surprises would be a good idea
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:04 am

The spies reveal the following:

The two greedy merchants are cousins and seem to have inherited most of their wealth recently when a childless uncle of theirs died. The circumstances of his death are said to possibly be worth an investigation.

One of the other merchants owes a great sum of money to one of the greedy ones, while the other one seems to have had trouble with the poor former population of a building he had had torn down, ignoring all pleas. He seems to have obtained the building by a shady deal with the local watch captain and wanted to build a storehouse there.

There are whispers the two greedy merchants are working with a band of smugglers to avoid the tolls and taxes.

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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:59 am

Since the two merchants are related, it obviously would not help killing only one of them, since the other would simply inherit his relatives property and nothing would change for the Eventide's situation. Azlanek will try to find out who would seize their holdings if both of them were to die.

I send out 10 knights undercover. They will try to find out more about this smuggler band, seeing whether this connection cannot be used to lure both of them out of their houses at the same time. Most likely by threatening the smugglers, forcing them to arrange an urgent meeting with both of the merchants, if possible on such short notice that they will not have time to contact each other.

To keep the Eventides reputation clean, the merchant who suggested murder to Azlanek will be intimidated and threatened as well, that if he ever talked about this or voiced his concerns, he and all of his family would die. This should keep him quiet long enough for the people to forget these things. Then this merchant can have an accident as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:34 am

The smugglers seem frightened enough to cooperate. There is a meeting place just outside the walls which is out of sight of the city. One of the two merchants obviously does not have any children. His servants say his wife had a miscarriage and died of the complications. He seems to have named his cousins only son as his beneficiary. So the still underage boy will inherit the fortunes of both the greedy merchants, should they die.

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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:38 am

Azlanek will order for the smugglers to arrange the meeting. 6 corrupted knights will leave the city and search for a good spot where they can hide/cannot be seen until the merchants are in place. Depending on whether the knights will be able to watch the merchant's arrival without much risk of being spotted themselves, the smugglers will have been ordered to give them a signal (imitation of a local animal or loud whistling should do the job. A few heretics will be ordered to watch the streets near the city-gates (should we have any heretics living in that area) closest to the meeting point for any strange activity, ordered to make unusual movements known by shooting a flaming arrow up into the sky (of course only once the potential thread is out of sight. Only one arrow is supposed to be fired. 1 corrupted squires will look for the arrow. 1 squire and 1 knight will be near the city wall, making sure no guard will hear the murder of the merchants (Not sure how far away “just outside the walls” is supposed to mean). They are disguised and not ordered to kill any guards, rather just cause a distraction and buy their brothers time. 3 Additional corrupted knights and one corrupted squire will keep the rest the smugglers busy. These are the troops that are to be notified if the flaming arrow is spotted.

Officially the 6 knights are out on patrol, so after their deed they will continue with a mock patrol, returning at noon the next day.

The knights will try to first kill the merchants, then the smugglers, using weapons similar to those that the smugglers use. After the 4 men are dead, the knights will quickly try to make it look like the 4 men fought and killed themselves. 1 man will be sat upon his horse and driven into the desert. The knights will try to hide their own tracks briefly, then set the other horses free to create additional, misleading tracks, before heading off.

Azlanek will of course wait until the news about the merchant's passing are known throughout the city, before notifying Malik Nalin, asking for another audience to discuss this tragedy.
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:50 am

This weeks part of the Meta-game report concerning Singal:


15 K and 30 R to hex 31 for event duty in district 12 (600RP)
15 K and 30 R to hex 31 for event duty in district 10 (600RP)

10 K and 10 R to hex 31 for event duty Azlanek (district 1)

9 K and 10 R to hex 31 for event duty Varys (district 13)

10 K and 14 R to hex 31 for event duty Celdiur and Kendric (district 1)
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:09 am

The city watch found the bodies of the dead and the trails leading off into the steppes. Now the people in the street are talking about what dangers come with cooperating with smugglers and other rabble. Malik Nalin has let you know that he has no time to discuss the petty quarrels of corrupt merchants and smugglers. No suspicion at all fell unto the Eventide.

Remark: Varys has 8 CKs left, not 9, he lost two during the assassination of one of the Red Brotherhood leaders.

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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:38 am

Ser Varys has returned from his successful mission in district 13, which is now under the control of the cabal of the twisted heart. 8 of the 10 CK and 9 of the 10 CS returned. Moreover Varys took 17 slavers prisoner, which have been brought to the chapterhouse. The expenses for helping the poor amount to 200 Denari (=RP).


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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:35 pm

A young squire rushed up the stairs to the grandmaster's office, his face a whiter shade of pale. When the startled guard at the door had let him through he stood in front of Azlanek's desk, breathing heavily.

Mylord, down ... down in the cellar! They are all dead, everyone of them!

Azlanek, who had been reading a letter by then, snapped back to an upright position in his chair.

Who? he simply asked, his voice controlled as ever, but his sudden movement indicated his agitation.

The prisoners, mylord, those Varys has brought from district 13. We had them imprisoned in one of the cellar vaults. There was no other access to the room but through the door we guarded. Yet, as I brought them water, they all lay dead in the middle of the room, their blood running into the drain in the middle of the room. And we did not even hear a noise!

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Azlanek
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:57 am

“Take precautions immediately. Try to find out what killed them and how the blood left their body. Wear gloves and drenched pieces of cloth above mouth and nose. Burn both once your busyness is done. Root out any vermin you find. Tell everyone to wash themselves as often as possible. This may be a sickness. Sent word to Varys, inform him of the situation. Tell him to watch out for strange symptoms among his men, himself included. He should try to reach out to his contacts, find out if they know anything.

Move the corpses out of our hideout during the night. Put them in one of the empty houses. Choose a secluded one, with at least two stories. Wrap them in oiled cloth before you move them and be careful not to be seen. Carry all but one unto the second floor. Prepare to burn them. Put one corpse on the first level and fetch a physician and an alchemist. They are to examine the body. Whatever this is, sickness or poison, I want to know what we are dealing with. Silence them if they get too curious or suspicious. Set up guards. Nobody enters this building without my permission.”


As soon as the squire was gone, Azlanek began to search his own books for a clue. Maybe this was not a disease or poison, maybe there was magic at work.
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Iskar
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PostSubject: Re: Singal : Actions   Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:19 am

Around noon of the next day, one of the guards stepped in.

The physician and the alchemist are here to see you, milord.

When Azlanek nodded, they were led in. One of them was a small man in his forties. His hair was already recessing and he looked sickly, but his eyes were bright and indicated a certain acuteness of mind. His hands showed burnings and cauterisations revealing him to be the alchemist. The other one had once been a strong man, but was now well past his best days. His hair almost white, but his posture still upright and healthy for his age.

Zakariya Gherbazadeh, the alchemist, and Ardashir Naflaqi, the physician, announced the guard.

Milord, we can assure you that the men we examined were not killed by a disease or a poison, commenced Ardashir.

Although they had been poisoned in a way, Zakariya interjected, we found the remains of a strong sedative around their mouth and nose. The substance is called 'deepjuice' and is extracted from special funghi that grow in the sewers. It immediately knocks the victim unconscious but is extremely hard to come by, as the production process is ... hazardous. I lost an apprentice myself some years ago due to it.

Anyway, Ardashir continued, what caused the heavy bleeding and thus the death were very fine cuts of the carotid. I have served as a military surgeon when I was younger and can tell most blades from the cuts they leave. These men were all killed with a very delicate and thin blade, like a ritual dagger perhaps.

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