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#898099 - Sun 31/12/17 19:23 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
nemarsde Offline

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Taras

Bailakask. The Mother of All Wolves, as the Sukiskyn clan call her.

Not just another dreadful tale from his mad uncle, to Taras and his people, Bailakask is a real and constant threat. A wolfen queen, calling all the curs of Dymrak Forest to her cave, a dark bower beyond the escarpment, a gash from whence evil is spawned anew.

Unlike the Tombs on the Ridge, it isn't a childish fear that grips Taras now. No, he knows Dymrak wolves. He can imagine their mother's lair well enough, even if he doesn't fully understand what their mother is.

Well enough that he also knows walking into it---a cave, filled with a pack of malevolent, giant wolves---is certain doom.

The party needs a plan. Taras won't lead his sister's friends, his friends, to certain death. But before he can plan, he needs sleep, so after he's washed down his rations he gets his head down without further ceremony.

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#900358 - Wed 10/01/18 22:44 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
nemarsde Offline

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GM

The red waters ran through the verdant ravine, lit by morning sunbeams.

The herd grazed lazily, Loshad standing watch over them and the ghyll where you rested.

It was a peaceful idyll, but into it you had carried many troubles.

While Zach waded, stripped, into the shallow beck to cleanse his soul and pray, others amongst you sought your own solace.

Because as exhausted as you were, there were things that would keep you awake a while longer.

[G, Z go to NDT15a: Crest Aside
M, N go to NDT15b: Whirlpool Aside
A go to NDT15c: Willow Aside
E, P go to NDT15d: Bank Aside]

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#900359 - Wed 10/01/18 22:55 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
nemarsde Offline

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||GM

A worn leather saddle is slung onto Mule's chestnut back.

A rustic hackamore made of rope is tugged onto the head of an elven pony.

Armour is shrugged on, cords tightened and tied.

Swords and daggers are adjusted on buckled belts.

Cloaks fall over shoulders.

The beck sparkles in the bright light of the sun, clouds of brown dayflies dancing above the surface.

A gauntleted hand grabs a kite shield.

Feminine fingers count arrows in a quiver.

A long-eared owl shuffles its taloned feet on a shoulder.

The sinister black head of a flail disappears into a sack.

A bundle of poisoned throwing darts is rolled up.

And a leatherbound book of magical writings slams shut.

Tap tap tap, a clay pipe is emptied.

The party of eight gather round. Teenagers mostly, Shearlings, and one tall young man, homesteader, archer.

Even a short rest has done you good, and Erenbren also made a fortifying snack out of freshly picked curly kale, found in the ghyll, crumbled cheese, and a splash of wine.

You're raring to go.

Behind you are eight mounts, ready to ride, Mule amongst them. The other elven ponies will stay sheltered and fed in the ghyll.

Before you stands Loshad.

"The Wolves' Den is a cave at the foot of the cliffs," he says, "on the southern bank of the Highreach.

"By day, the cave will be packed with Bailakask's get, but by night they hunt.

"There is no prey they lust for more than a taste of chevall, and I am the last. They will chase me until the sun rises and I will draw them away, up into the fells."

He nods. With the pack hot on Loshad's trail, you will be able to get into the cave, do the deed, and escape.

"Bailakask is more than a wolf. The Dymrak breed came from her corruption, and from her comes the malice that separates them from other wild beasts.

"No wolf can resist her pull, no-one with a wolfish nature can stand unstirred."

Loshad's stamps his hooves, turning to Gracie and Smoke. His deep, fatherly tones are cautionary.

"In that cave, your wolf will forsake you and you will have to kill him."

Click to reveal...
A: Str+2, Dex+2, Con+0, Int+0, Wis+1, Cha-1; Ar 1; Dmg d10+d4(+2); XP 6/10; HP 19/19; Ptn 1
E: Str+0, Dex+2, Con+1, Int+0, Wis+2, Cha-1; Ar 1; Dmg d6; XP 5/10; HP 20/20
G: Str+0, Dex+2, Con-1, Int+0, Wis+2, Cha+1; Ar 1; Dmg d8; XP 7/10; HP 16/16
M: Str+1, Dex+3, Con+1, Int+0, Wis-1, Cha+0; Ar 1(2); Dmg d8; XP 4/10; HP 21/21; Ptn 1
N: Str+0, Dex+1, Con+1, Int+0, Wis+2, Cha-1; Ar 2; Dmg d6; XP 7/10; HP 20/20
P: Str+0, Dex+1, Con+2, Int+2, Wis+0, Cha-1; Ar 1; Dmg d4; XP 5/10; HP 20/20; Ptn 1
Z: Str+1, Dex+0, Con+2, Int-1, Wis+0, Cha+2; Ar 3; Dmg d10(+d4+1); XP 6/10; HP 26/27


Party Makes Camp...
heals 4 damage from Airlyn
heals 3 damage from Erenbren
heals 2 damage from Gracie
heals 10 damage from Narin
heals 5 damage from Panim
heals 13 damage from Zach
Erenbren heals d6=2 damage from N, Z
Erenbren loses 1 Poultices and Herbs
Panim gains 1 Healing Potion


Edited by nemarsde (Wed 10/01/18 23:00 GMT)

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#900362 - Wed 10/01/18 23:03 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
AJ Offline

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Airlin

Knowing the strength of the bond 'twixt her friend and the wolf,

"Aye, but Outside the cave, could he live?"

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#900441 - Thu 11/01/18 11:20 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
Gypsy Offline

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Gracie

For once she looks like the uncertain teenager she is. She shakes her head.

"I am not sure I could do that and I certainly don't want to. Is there anyway I can keep him safe..?"

She glances at Airlyn with a nod.

"..maybe tether him away from the cave or.. even leave him here."

She cannot stand the thought of losing Smoke, especially losing him in such a way. She knows deep in her heart that one day they will part company but she had always envisaged this as him finding a female to mate and that maybe she could still visit him and his family occasionally.

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#900445 - Thu 11/01/18 14:00 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
MikeD Offline


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Maddox

He smiled. It was the sort of thing that =he= might have considered ... distraction.

He finished his packing, ready to go.
_________________________
MikeD

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#900497 - Thu 11/01/18 19:10 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: MikeD]
Nivek Online   content

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Narin

He knew how dire the warning was. In fact, he was still worried that he might succumb as well.

He looked to Loshad to see if leaving Smoke here might be a possibility.

"If that isn't possible Gracie, perhaps you can stay well outside the cave as a scout. I'd certainly not want to be surprised while we're inside the cave, but even that might be too close for Smoke. The pull was incredibly strong the last time I was in Wolf form. I suspect it will be much worse closer to the source."

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#900503 - Thu 11/01/18 19:40 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
nemarsde Offline

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Loshad strokes his silvery grey beard. He sees the affection for the wolf and counsels as best he can.

"Bailakask calls all wolves to her, from far and wide, and she has beckoned to Smoke since you landed. Yes, so far he has resisted her lure, but tonight is the Worm Moon.

"Tonight there will be no resisting. Bailakask will seduce Smoke and he will turn, I promise you.

"Restraining him won't prevent this, but it might keep him safe until Bailakask is dead and her call is silenced."

Taras looks around. They have rope, there are trees and boulders to tether Smoke too, but can they leave the wolf in the ghyll? What if they're all killed, Loshad too? Who will return to free Smoke?

But then he realises the obvious. If the party's killed, they will have lost and Smoke will be in the thrall of Bailakask anyway, a menace, better off dead.

Taras nods at Narin's advice, glad to hear it.

"It's your choice, Gracie." Taras says. Not much of a choice!

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#900528 - Thu 11/01/18 22:42 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
MikeD Offline


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Maddox

So now they had to kill this 'she wolf' that was the corrupter of all wolves, he thought with a sigh. So much for a simple mission.

He got some rope out, but didn't approach Smoke. That was for Gracie to sort out.
_________________________
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#900529 - Thu 11/01/18 22:46 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
Zeim Offline
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Zachariah

He ruffles Smoke's fur and says to Gracie, "Leaving him restrained here would be safer then trying to do so outside the cave. At least here Loshad would know what to do with him. If we tied him up outside the cave, and we were to fail there, he'd be at the mercy of other predators or would starve."

He glances at Gracie curiously. "If we were to succeed, and Loshad were to free him after, could he find you in the wild? We'd be far away and not likely to return here for some time."


Edited by Zeim (Thu 11/01/18 22:47 GMT)

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#900609 - Fri 12/01/18 12:18 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
Gypsy Offline

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Gracie

"I don't know.."

Her anguish is clear. She wants to do the best she can for Smoke but isn't sure what that is. Her eyes go from one to another in the group, searching for inspiration. Her gaze passes over Panim and then suddenly moves back to him.

"Panim, would you have a spell or a potion that might put him to sleep for a few hours? We could take him with us but leave him asleep with the ponies.."

This is a big climb down for Gracie. She has found a compromise with Panim's magic but asking him to find a way to use it is another big step.

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#900611 - Fri 12/01/18 13:09 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
MikeD Offline


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Registered: Thu 18/05/00
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Maddox

"You =and= Smoke could stay and guard the ponies and our backs", he offered.
_________________________
MikeD

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#900662 - Fri 12/01/18 19:28 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
nemarsde Offline

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Posts: 9239
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GM

As it happens, it isn't Panim who carries a sleeping agent, but Maddox. An oil extracted from a precise recipe of pungent, fermented waste, common to almost any human settlement, its odour is surprisingly florid but it is tasteless and if consumed, will send most living creatures into a torpor.

The recipe is something Maddox learned when he was much younger, back in Selenica perhaps. How it's made probably explains why Maddox is always so reluctant to draw attention to it, but its potency is almost eldritch.

Meanwhile, Loshad considers the grey wolf. He said earlier that he was sworn to destroy the wolves of Dymrak Forest, but he can see nature's wild beauty in Smoke, true wolf, and that he deems worthy of saving.

The chevall tells a tale.

"Not far from the wolves' den is a pike on which a manticore once died. That year, it preyed on the wolves all summer, through fall and into a cruel winter.

"So the wolves hid in their cave. They ate their cubs, ate the old and the weak, but did not feed the manticore. Come spring, the manticore had starved to death and the pack survived. The place where its bones lie is avoided by the wolves to this day."

A possible staging post then?

"You can leave Smoke there." Loshad says, "The wolves chasing me will go to ground soon after dawn. Then I will return to the pike, free Smoke from his restraints and bring him to you.

"We can meet you at sunrise, on the escarpment edge, above where Castellan meets Highreach River....

"If you allow it."

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#900687 - Sat 13/01/18 01:17 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
MikeD Offline


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Maddox

He was really glad that a solution that seemed to have merit had presented itself. He really didn't want to subject Smoke to his 'potion'. He had no idea how the wolf would react to it ... animals were different than people. Then there was the question of how much would be 'the right' dose ... how much would be too much or too little.

Thankfully Loshad seemed to have a good, workable plan.
_________________________
MikeD

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#900807 - Sat 13/01/18 11:15 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
Gypsy Offline

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Gracie

Tears spring to her eyes and she blinks them away as she utters a few quiet words to Loshad.

"Thank you. That means more to me than you could know."

At least Smoke has a chance this way and she won't have to choose between him and the others, able now to go with them in support. A great weight lifts from her soul and she smiles.

"I think we are ready then."

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#900862 - Sat 13/01/18 20:24 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
nemarsde Offline

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Taras

It sounds like they have a hard ride ahead. Recalling the map, the wolves' den must be 7 leagues away as the crow flies. Although the fells are mostly barren, they're still rugged terrain and the path will be winding.

Taras's urge is to keep riding west, head straight for the ruins of Xitaqa, straight to where his sister's held captive.

He checks his weapons. The double-bitted axe, looted from Kloss but not goblin made. (Probably looted by Kloss from settlers.) It's lashed to his pack. Taras has his flatbow in hand, leather quiver at his hip.

"So," he says, "by slaying Bailakask, we'll send her offspring into a berserk frenzy. With all the wolves them goblins have penned up in Xitiqa, it'll be a bloodbath.

"And while the guards are mithered, we'll take advantage. As for Smoke, we'll keep him away from Bailakask and once she's dead he'll be right as rain."

The clansman shifts his stance, daring to meet Loshad's dark gaze.

"Aye, very good. So why haven't you slain Bailakask yourself, Horse Guardian?"

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#900863 - Sat 13/01/18 21:06 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
nemarsde Offline

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Taras questions Loshad, and the chevall breathes in deeply. Man-half or horse-half, both are muscled, covered in a lustrous black hide. Despite his craggy features and silver-grey mane, he appears hale, strong. Obviously larger and stronger than anyone in the party.

"I am but one chevall. I have no armour, I have never wielded a weapon beyond a stout club.

"Speed and insight are my best weapons, employed in traps, sabotage. Assaulting the wolves' den I would fare no better than any other horse." Explains Loshad.

He circles around the boulderstone, retreiving a long bundle of leaves hidden there.

Offering it in both hands, he approaches the party.

"Bailakask is not easily slain, and even if you harm her, her son Kalkask can heal them both.

"They are lycanthropes, bound by ancient magic. Magic can break magic, but your arrows will only pester them.

"Yet, like many creatures of the night, they are vulnerable to silvered steel!"

Loshad unwraps the bundle. It is a seax, a short sword with a straight blade, clipped point and a handle of antler. Very old.

It glints and gleams. Silvered steel. Very few smiths know the secret of its forging. Far harder than other steel, it never rusts, and like its namesake silver, can be polished to a mirror finish.

"Not just coins wash down from the Tombs of the Ridge." Says Loshad, "Take this sword, use it well."

[The seax is probably the best fit for Gracie (currently using a falchion) or Maddox (using a basilard and assorted knives/darts).]

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#900866 - Sat 13/01/18 21:26 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
AJ Offline

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Posts: 26349
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Airlyn

Reaching into where her weapon was stowed, the girl asked,

Reckon you could harm a Changer, shifting wolf-folk? Reckon we could kill one as we are?

She looked at the blade, silent and listening, to better determine where it would do the most good.

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#900893 - Sun 14/01/18 00:49 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
MikeD Offline


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Posts: 35312
Loc: Fort Wayne IN USA
Maddox

He listened as Loshad described the 'shape shifters' and the ability to avoid serious damage from normal weapons. And he wondered ... "Can they 'ignore' the effects of poisons as well", he asked the horse-man with a wicked grin of anticipation as he thought about the poisoned daggers he had recently acquired. These seemed like suitable 'recipients' for their 'bite'.
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#900965 - Sun 14/01/18 11:40 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
Gypsy Offline

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Registered: Tue 09/05/00
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Loc: Pidley, Cambs, UK
Gracie

She steps forward.

"I will take the blade. I will wield it for Smoke."

It is a simple statement but full of emotion and intent.

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#900998 - Sun 14/01/18 17:05 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
Exeter Offline


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Erenbren


The Hin druid frowned and pulled on his empty pipe as he considered the chevall's warnings.

"Can they be damaged by such as me... in animal form?"

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#901033 - Sun 14/01/18 21:36 GMT Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
nemarsde Offline

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Registered: Fri 12/05/00
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GM

Airlyn's hears the voice in her head.

Be they harmed or be they not,
'Twill be an unhappy meeting for them,
When our weight greets their faces
In a wanton kiss.


Maddox asks about poison, and Erenbren about shapeshifted forms, but Loshad is a horse guardian living in the wild, not a scholar.

That is more Panim's forte. Although he is only an apprentice, texts on hunting vampires and werewolves are common in Karameikos, a land plagued by both, and are likely some of the most thrilling text he's read. (It's possible Panim passed over books on fertility rituals, assuming they were about agriculture.)

Lycanthropes. Bailakask and her son are werewolves then.

Lycanthropy is a disease created by the nefarious Alphatians thousands of years ago and spread across the Sea of Dawn by merchants and invaders.

Unlike some druids, lycanthropes are not bonded to the Dreamlands, calling upon animal spirits to shapeshift. Nothing so natural.

Once infected, the lycanthrope's body is opened to raw magic, mutated, it is bound and shaped by the pattern of the disease. It is as natural as being doused in oil and set alight.

Most animals can sense it and are disturbed by it, but only humans can catch the disease from the bite of another lycanthrope. Although demihumans (elves, dwarves, halflings) cannot catch the disease, it will ignite an often fatal fever.

Fierce enough fire will consume a lycanthrope and the touch of silver burns them. They may be cut or crushed by silvered steel, or other physical harm so immense it overwhelms the magic binding their flesh.

Panim can be confident his offensive spells will have their desired effect. Airlyn's flail should also, and perhaps Zach too--- His sword, shield and spear have an uncanny zeal.

Otherwise, shooting a werewolf with an arrow would be like shooting hewn stone wrapped in fur.

Lycanthropes are vulnerable to a few poisons. Wolf's bane can paralyse them and even its smell will sicken them. Quicksilver is deadly, but other poisons, unless truly eldritch in potency, would probably go unnoticed by a lycanthrope.

The throwing darts, or plumbata, Maddox scavenged from the Viper goblins are envenomed. A poison deadly enough to kill a goblin in scant minutes, but a poison perfected on goblins, not werewolves. (Panim would think Maddox's sleeping agent more likely to work, if it can be fed to werewolves without losing a hand.)

Erenbren and Narin, however, shouldn't count on their shapeshifted forms hurting Bailakask or her son. Though the druids have proven that giant Dymrak wolves don't enjoy any invulnerability.

[Maddox Aids(Panim) 2d6+Bond, =5, #Miss, GM Moves
Erenbren Aids(Panim) 2d6+Bond, =8+1=9
Panim Spouts Lore 2d6+Int+Aid, 7+2+1=10]

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#901148 - Yesterday at 13:37 Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
Nivek Online   content

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Narin

He listens to the wise counsel and hides a grimace when Gracie picks up the silver weapon. It means of course that she will have to get close to the creature. He always liked her using a bow because it usually kept her away from harm. He had no idea what he'd do if her or anyone else here was infected.

He remained silent with his thoughts. He was now wondering if he was going to trade his sister's life for Stefania's and the thought wasn't one he wanted to consider.

When they were ready, he switched forms to fly above the group. He did not want to talk to anyone.

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#901160 - Yesterday at 15:00 Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
Gypsy Offline

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Gracie

She has two last questions.

"Can you give us directions to this pike? I don't want to miss it. Also when should we bind Smoke? Is it safer to do it here and now or should he be alright ubtil we reach the pike?"

She doesn't like the idea of binding any creature but it is better than the alternative.

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#901181 - Yesterday at 16:02 Re: NDT15: Loshad's Bargain [Re: nemarsde]
MikeD Offline


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Registered: Thu 18/05/00
Posts: 35312
Loc: Fort Wayne IN USA
Maddox

He was a bit disappointed at the unlikelihood that the poison wouldn't work. It meant that he really didn't have anything he could do offensively. So then he would have to find something disruptive, something that Narin would probably disapprove of. And that last brought that wicked smile back to his face.
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