02 - Necessary Evil

The Performance
Travok is struck with a bout of stage fright at the prospect of closer scrutiny of his "fortune telling" in front of an officer in service of the Baron, and performing for the unfleshed. In a semi-theatrical flair, he comes up with a vague excuse to Thorn that the stars are not properly aligned, and that the future is too murky. It's quite clear that he's uncomfortable, but he manages to play it off as though the feast is not sitting well.
After the Performance
Relieved at (at least temporarily) avoiding a display of fortune telling, the dwarf sincerely thanks the spirits that the show passed Rasputina's judgement. His heart leaps in his chest when Rasputina declares that the must perform for the Baron. Thankfully the journey is uneventful and no one pays much attention to the dwarf. He takes the time to concentrate on his feelings. Somehow the thought of telling a made up fortune is more frightening than facing off in battle against monsters almost certainly raised from the dead. He shakes his head ruefully to himself. Finding the need to talk, he quietly makes conversation with Willow as they make the trip to Phlogiston, relaying his sudden onset of stage fright, listening to her talk about how she managed. Quite in character with her high energy, she makes a quite proclamation that he is more than capable of giving the best fortune telling this side of...whichever ocean they happen to be closest to. Grinning at her, Travok does actually feel more prepared in case they actually perform for the Baron.
The Capital
Travok glances about the views of the city. He quietly says to Willow "Not at all like Rosha Than'Dur is it lass? There's nay any magic here. Feels cold. From more than the snow."
Sorrowind Manor
Travok, like many of the group shrink away in revulsion as they see the floor. Horrified thoughts race through Travok's mind as Grisha explains the Baron's fondness for anatomy. Taking a deep breath, Travok focuses himself and tries not to appear too disgusted. As they enter the dining hall and meet the Baron, the floor and the fascination with anatomy, and the unfleshed servants all fall into place. Travok is not surprised at what interests this man that is half machine. He suppresses a shiver at seeing someone who is the antithesis of the magic of life that he lives day in and day out.

Attempting to fit in as a member of a troupe, Travok takes advantage of the offer of the fine food of a Baron's table, and makes several expansive requests for rare and rich foods, and expensive wines. He has the grace to look mildly ashamed, but the Baron, as a skilled host encourages the members to enjoy themselves. Travok does his best to enjoy the food, avoiding conversation, but grows concerned as Thorn is deftly outmanouvered in the conversation. Though not the most refined, Travok does recognize that Thorn is a skilled speaker and worries about what will happen if some of the less....diplomatic members of the group are called upon to speak extensively. Travok slightly relaxes at the distraction of the newcomer, but becomes tense as ever before when the man speaks and he recognizes the voice. Tense though he is he still manages to think to himself that he is less frightened now than he was before the performance. He simply stops eating and lowers his utensils...waiting for the Baron's response to Thorns almost mocking reply.

As soon as the huntsman spoke Samm knew that the jig was up. The man's voice ("If he is indeed a man," thought Samm as he scanned the person, looking for any sign of exposed flesh beneath the wrappings) was instantly recognisable, and the content of his message was unsurprising. In fact, what was more surprising was that they had managed to get this far at all. He hoped that Rasputina wouldn't be too put out that she had been an unwitting victim in their ruse. She seemed a nice enough girl. Probably better for her that she did find out it was a ruse though, instead of falling in love and pining away for Thorn when they left, even if Thorn did genuinely like the girl he wasn't ever going to settle down with her.

"I'd be happy to give you a more detailed account of the battle than my friend here," Samm added after Thorn, "but that is pretty much the jist of it to be honest - it was only through sheer luck that we managed to pull through and it cost us all that we had. I've been in some pretty tough fights in my time, and that was certainly up there as one of the toughest." As far as he could tell, they were entirely at the Baron's mercy, and he figured that a bit of honesty was all that was going to get them out of this. The Baron did seem genuinely interested in his soldiers, and enough help might just pay for their lives.

The huntress looks over at Samm, and now knowing the gig was up, looked over at the Baron and added, "Of course, if he had of stuck around, he may not be here with you now Baron," and then turning to look at the leather encased huntsmen, she adds, "Your trail disappeared very quickly, did you port away like a coward because I was looking forward to ripping out your throat," then turning back to the table, and examining her nails, she says, "... and to answer your question Baron, some anti-venom would be good if you could spare it, the poision is interrupting my beauty sleep. I normally look like her," she adds with a smile on her face and points at a little brunette waitress who would be lucky to be half of the young shifters weight.

Although you cannot see the Baron's mouth behind his breathing apparatus, you can see his face pull into a smile at Thorn's comment regarding almost spilling wine and you can even hear a slight wheezing chuckle over the mechanical whirring and hissing of the device on his back.

Thrale looks (?) to Willow as she half-challenge and half-threatens him and simply shrugs, his hands folded him impassively in front of him.

The Baron looks to one of the attendants, a pixyish blonde that reminds you somewhat of Dax, although this girl is clearly far more comfortable with her sexuality. "Illumination...do your lord a favor...and retrieve some of my unfleshed anti-toxin...from my tertiary laboratory...would you? It won't do...to have my guests so full...of toxin while we try to...enjoy our conversation." The young woman nods, smiling, and exits the room swiftly as the Baron looks back to you and leans forward, placing his elbows on the table and leaning his chin upon his hands, his eyes locked on Samm.

"Most curious. Are you...this parties battle leader then? You have the form...and kinetic confidence of a...seasoned warrior...far more than any of your allies," he quickly turns to Willow at this, "I understand you...are a bit of an impetuous thing, my dear...which in and of itself is not a bad thing...so please do not feel that I am insulting...your prowess as a warrior. I only mean to say that...he appears to fight with more with...of a warrior's mind...and you more...with a warrior's heart."

Feeling satisfied to have perhaps calmed Willow's temper at any perceived slight, he turns back to Samm. "I have dubbed my three...martial minions as the lasher, the drover...and the spiner. Which did you feel was...the most threatening? Were any of them seen...as a non-threat? What abilities might they have had...which would have insured your capture?"

As Samm is about to speak, the Baron interrupts. "Once you are finished...perhaps you, or any of your companions...could answer what exactly...it is that you are doing...on Nethicar...and why you were meeting...with a known enemy...of the Black Isles?"

As Samm speaks, the young blonde, Illumination, returns with a moderate sized leather case that she places in front of the Baron. He says a quiet "thank you" and places the case in front of him, untying the small leather string holding it shut and he unrolls some sort of minor surgical kit in-front of himself. His attention still focused solely on Samm, his hands move deftly and quickly, removing a needle of brass and green glass, and a small vial of a red liquid that glows with the same intensity as the unfleshed's blood.

Willow giggles at what the Baron thinks is an apology ... she's been called way worse the impetuous before.

As the Baron is taking the needle and the hopefully anti-venom out, Willow stands and turns to the huntsmen, "Be a dear and take this for me. Wow you must be truly ugly, what with the Baron liking to see most of the skin of his pretty servents and other Lieutenants," she says to Thrale Unther dropping her longbow, quiver and cloak in front of him, "... and careful with that cloak, it was a gift," she adds, trying to get a read on the
Trying to see if she can read him, is he ignoring the shifter, can she smell him getting mad, see his muscles under the leather glove tensing, etc:
Dice Roll: 1d20+8
d20 Results: 7 (Total = 15)
huntsmen and trying to catch any hint of anger in his eyes.

"Well, I've been around the block a few times, I wont deny that," Samm chuckled in response.

As the Baron went over the various creatures they had fought Samm's brow knotted, recalling the fight and assessing which of their enemies most suited each moniker. He wasn't a fan of giving the Baron the tools he needed to capture his allies, especially if they might still need to evade capture in the future, but he lacked the skill to lie as convincingly as Thorn, and he didn't want to anger their host.

After the Baron's interruption he paused a moment, to make sure the Baron wasn't going to speak again, before launching into his analysis, in a surprisingly professional tone. "Well, you must understand first of all that we didn't deal with the threat in the most efficient manner, and our band is not the most typical, so any kind of difficulties I highlight might not hold against your usual bandits. However, I must say I felt that the one I believe you refer to as the 'Lasher', and the 'Spiner' worked well in concert. The former was remarkably nimble, fighting in very similar style to myself I have to say, and did an excellent job of protecting the more fragile 'Spiner' whilst it unleashed it's volley of poison."

As the Baron began to unpack the rather macabre surgical kit Samm's voice slowed and his attention fixed on the fast moving hands. He did not like the look of this antidote, mind you, he had never particularly liked the sawbones despite the very necessary, and on occasion surprisingly skilful work they did.

Glancing up he saw the Baron still looking at him expectantly, and Willow was - he tensed up suddenly alert - Willow was standing up and moving towards that Huntsman. "Oh god, I hope she isn't going to do anything stupid. I really really, hope she isn't going to do anything stupid," Samm prayed silently. She stayed sweetness as she opened her mouth however, and Samm relaxed again, a slight sigh of relief escaping. "Clever girl," he thought as he realised what she was trying to do, "Playing with fire though... I think you might have been spending a bit too much time around Thorn."

Happy that the situation wasn't about to erupt into violence he continued, to draw the Baron back to himself, although his eyes revisited the medicine repeatedly as he did so. "I'll have to presume that the 'Drover' was the other common one we faced, although I fail to see reasoning behind the name for that particular one. I'd say that that particular soldier was the least of our troubles, but I can see its use in chasing us down had we run, so I would by no means suggest it is poorly equipped. To be perfectly honest, a large contingent of the 'Lashers' would probably have secured our capture with little trouble, they seemed to have enough ability at preventing escape on their own."

Satisfied that he had answered the Baron's initial request for an assessment sufficiently, after all he'd provided the man with an accurate answer to which enemy had caused them the most trouble, and which the least, he turned his mind to the second. This he was much less comfortable answering, far too close to the murky waters of politics for his liking. Still, he didn't want to Baron to think he was avoiding answering, so he replied carefully "Ours is a diplomatic mission, and presuming you're referring to the guy who your huntsman shot, he met us at the dock and told us to come with him, so we did. "

"Diplomatic. Yep, that was a word those fancy politician types chucked around all the time. Just the kind of word that Tempesta would use. Hit the nail on the head there Samm," he thought smugly as he leant back into his chair, happy to let the Baron or one of his allies take the conversational reins again. "Although why they can't just say have a wee talk I don't know."

Willow turns her back on the huntsmen and rolls her sleeve up, winking at the Baron after Samm had finished with him, and noticing the sweat on her fighting instructor's brow.

"Well Baron, you've fed me, quenched my thirst and provided me with a poor excuse for a butler, so you may as well hit me with that needle thing, Samm has a weak constitution when it comes to needles. He'd rather face down a boat full of pirates then visit the ship's doctor," she says light heartedly, smiling pleasantly at the Baron and, rolling her sleeve up, presents her arm to him, looking him straight in the eye.

As the Baron starts to put the glass vial into the needle case, she asks innocently, "So, Baron, with all these beautiful people around you. Well, all but one," she pointedly turns her head to look at the Baron's huntsmen, before returning to the Baron's face, do you get much action, or is it not only your breathing that is a bit wheezy ???"

All sweetness and light and smiles and honey and pretty daisies ... that is Willow ...

The Baron nods as Samm speaks, looking at him most intently, nodding as he speaks. "Well, I don't expect...any general is proud...when his soldiers fail...but I sincerely appreciate...your honesty. If you were instructed...to meet with the late Mr. Leafstride...I can only assume you have some connection...with the Rahyr. I also assume your...diplomatic mission...involves me. Now seems like...as good of time...as any."

As Willow goads and taunts Thrale, trying to get a rise out of the warden, she finds the only response is being ignored. He does not stonewall her completely, looking to her when he speaks (in spite of leather wrappings covering his eyes) and looking at the objects she drops on the floor, but does not respond in any meaningful way: no shrug, no clenched fists, no quickening pulse or breathe.

As he finishes addressing Samm, he beckons Willow closer, taking her arm with a gentle hand. He looks up at her before the needle goes in but after her question. "Now then my dear...that is not appropriate conversation...for the dinner table...is it? And while I understand...why you may want...to get a rise...from Thrale...I hand-picked him...for his patience..." he says and again, you can all see the form of his face shift as though he is smiling.

He lets go of her arm and rubs a small dot of blood from her arm with his thumb and you realize you were all so enraptured with his words that none of you even noticed him administer the evidently painless injection. "You will wish...to sit soon, my dear...the antitoxin leaves most...lightheaded." Feeling challenged, the stubborn and brash young huntress refuses to sit, even when she feels her head swoon and her vision goes blurry for several seconds, but she does manage to stay standing.

And, as soon as the vertigo came, it is gone, along with the sense of nausea, muscle fatigue and general lethargy that has plagued her since the unfleshed's venom entered her veins. Looking back to the Baron, he is already readying another dose. As he does, his eyes remain looking at all of you. "Would anyone like some dessert? Perhaps a top-up on their refreshment? A pipe perhaps?"

"Well I might as well go next, It doesn't look like I'll explode or anything, and as to a top up, that'd be much appreciated maybe even a few more pints of that ale you have, it was good. " pulling his sleeve up along with the dagger he has hidden up there, Thorn takes his shot before grabbing his mug, and leaning right back in his chair.

As the lightheadedness fades, Thorn comments "Well, as much as I like to talk, I have neither the patience nor skill with all this political and strategy talk. If ya need me, I'll be entertaining myself, I'll try not to break anything , although I do get facinated by shiny things on occasion." laughing at himself and really nothing at all, Thorn relaxes in his chair, and plays with an acid orb, paying attention to whats going on around him, without really seeming to.

Finding himself bored with that fairly quickly, Thorn turns to the Baron & Thrale saying "With your leave, I did find I was having quite the interesting conversation with Rasputina there, by your leave, I wouldn't mind seeing what she does around here. Her descriptions made the job seem alot less interesting than I think it is" Standing up and grabbing his drink, Thorn, gives enough pause for someone to object, before heading to follow Rasputina, making small talk with the help as he makes his way towards the door.

Samm's eyes remained fixed on Willow as the Baron administered the injection. His muscles tensed as he saw her sway, and he half-made to rise, ready to catch her should she fall. However, he relaxed again as he saw the colour return to her cheeks.

"Can't say I've ever had much of a sweet tooth, so I'll pass on the dessert." Samm replied cordially as the Baron offered them more delicacies, "And I don't think it would do me well to lose to much control of my senses this evening, so I'll pass on the drink as well."

He sighed as he looked around his companions. Willow was still busy trying her best to rile up the Baron's huntsman, Thorn was busy chasing Rasputina, and Corvana was still giving him the silent treatment. The huge mungo looked like he was making the most of the food available, packing away enough for at least two. "Well," he said as his eyes completed their sweep, returning to settle on the Baron, "looks like it falls to me to go over the politics as well. I'll warn you now, this sort of stuff ain't my strong point, so I apologise in advance if I say anything inappropriate."

He leaned forward to being to relate their mission, then seemed to interrupt himself, "Obviously these matters are of a private nature - I presume you trust your lieutenant and your servants, but I thought I'd double check first." When the Baron nodded in affirmation Samm continued.

"Like you said, we did come here at the request of the Rahyr, although all of us have a more personal stake in the situation as well. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that if we didn't quite a few of us wouldn't be here right now. I certainly have wouldn't, at least not without a generous incentive. I guess I should start at the beginning to explain things properly, which was several months ago."

Samm settled back into his chair, clearly getting into his story-telling mood. Whilst his style was not as vibrant and engaging as Thorn's, he had learnt a couple of tricks across his years (after all when you're not in the mood for gambling, or have run out of things to gamble away, there's precious little else to do aboard most ships), and the content more than made up for any shortfall. He went over the Ash Elf raid and their chase of Admiral Zaryl. He skipped their pit stop at the Pharos, after all, it wasn't strictly relevant, and he was savvy enough to know that it probably wasn't best to advertise any weaknesses in the Rahyr's defences. Several minutes later, he terminated in Mira Morrow, "A place every bit as blasted as legend said, no offence m'lady," he interrupted, tipping his head towards Corvana, and took a long drink as he gathered his thoughts.

After a moment composing himself, and an involuntary shudder at the memory of those claustrophobic caves, packed with the dead he continued at a more sedate pace. "Inside the bowels of the isle, we finally tracked down our quarry, Admiral Zaryl, looking a little worse for wear, like most people in those caves, or the lucky ones I should perhaps say. Unfortunately, what we didn't find was any trace of the stolen prisoners. At a loss of what to do next, and being simple folk, we decided to see if the Admiral had left any clue as to who she had sold them too, and lo and behold she had, right there on her desk lay a letter, who mentioned a mysterious F. Sorrowwind. Of course, this was far to complicated for any of our simple minds, so we gave it to the Rahyr when we got back, like good little citizens, who said that that might be you, and it might be worth asking you how you knew Admiral Zaryl?"

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