Act 2: The duchy of Drevnedub

A tiny stream of sweat runs down the back of the bard's neck between his shoulders as Closimir breathes a sigh of relief. Nodding to the Duke and stepping out of the Circle of Truth, the musician speaks up to address the court. "My Lord, my thanks to your just court, its honorable members and your divine priests. Since you are going to paint over the signs on my wagon, would it be possible to have them repainted as "Closimir's Traveling Entertainment Show"?"

Explaining to the court, Closimir says, "Also, there will be no need to confiscate any goods since I have no potions which I intend to sell in the duchy. We are merely passing through on our way to Chernobor. Which brings me to the subject which my honorable colleague mentioned and which relates to the boon I hope you might grant me."

Explaining how they first discovered the carrnage, the magician says, "Several of our group first met outside of Pereslav, and when we entered the city we found the holes battered in the city walls, some buildings in ruin, and all of its citizens dead. After checking for survivors and finding none, we left the city and picked up the trail left by an army heading east and west. It was around that time that we stumbled across the only known survivor of the massacre, Olia whom we found hiding in the forest."

Telling the Duke what happened next, Closimir explains, "We decided to follow the tracks back toward their source which lead us to the Tower of Storozhie. Once again, the battlements were damaged and the grounds littered with evidence of a recent battle. Entering the structure looking again for survivors, we found one man dying whom a few members of our group had the opportunity to talk to before he died, but I will need them to fill you in on the details of that conversation since I was not present."

Pausing for effect, the entertainer lowers his voice saying, "However, also occupying the Tower is a group of undead, warriors who died and were brought back from the dead by evil magics and now exist to destroy life. They were very hard to destroy, except that they seemed to be vulnerable to cold. The last we saw, these foul abominations were prowling the grounds around the Tower as we headed down the road which brought us here today."

"With a
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d20 Results: 8 (Total = 29)
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diplomatic smile, the bard ask, "As for the boon, I would first humbly beg you to provide us with a cold weapon to use against the undead warriors to destroy them or, if such is impossible, then send out riders to the surrounding kingdoms advising them what occurred and warning them to prepare themselves."


His eyes going wide at the lie, Burven immediately smooths his
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face as if nothing happened. A sidling glance at Olia to tell whether or not she's paying attention. If she is, he tries to non-vocally
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d20 Results: 9 (Total = 28)
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plead with her not to contradict this 'Closmir'.

Immediately following, he presses further back, trying to edge his cloak up and be even more
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d20 Results: 7 (Total = 36)
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inconspicuous if possible.

Kain snorts at the words {They were very hard to destroy}

"Destroy? We hacked them to pieces and they reformed in front of us. They struck us with fists strong than any man I've faced, and I've faced a fair few. But what really hurt was the intense cold they embedded into you when they struck. Perhaps your Elders might now of a way in which to actually kill the things. Or at least protect against the cold that radiates from them"

As Closimir starts telling his tale, the leader of the elders and the bastard of the duke come to stand by the dukes side. The duke listens with a worried frown, sometimes nodding in recognition, as if he already knows most of what Closimir has to tell.
When Closimir is finished, he thinks for a while, which gives time to the oldest of the elders, who has remained silent until now to speak up:
"It is as it was foretold!" he says in a frail, rasping voice:
"There will be a great war over the throne of Triman, and in that war, the Black Serpent will send forth his minions to finish mans fall from the light of Svarog!"
The leader of the elders turns to him:
"You are right, most esteemed one: the creatures that these men encountered must be of the Black Serpents minions, called forth by sacrificial priests of the Great Foe!"
"We should send troops to combat this threat at once!" Krestnik, the dukes bastard says in an agitated voice.
"And who should then protect our own realm as the other dukes will be more concerned with attacking each other than to make common cause against this threat? No, we will remain here and put our strength on protecting our borders and our people!" the duke answers angrily before turning back to you:
"Magical weapons you say? So you want me to open my armoury to you in stead of setting you up with a peaceful trade? Who are you exactly, and what makes you entitled to carry the might of the angels out in battle?" he asks

Closimir thinks for a moment, then responds
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d20 Results: 6 (Total = 27)
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diplomatically, "Your honor, while we do not claim to be angelic by any means, we have the skills to utilize such weapons. Skills which can be demonstrated upon your request."

"Furthermore, since we are the one group that apparently will be traveling outside the borders of your kingdom and who have faced these monsters unleashed on the world, we are the only ones who will be positioned to use such weapons and destroy these undead creatures before they invade your lands."

The bard continues, "I would submit that arming us is a gambit, but one reasonably calculated to benefit you and your people. Since you plan to keep your forces at home, think of us as a special military unit that you are sending outside of these borders to gather information, track the enemy and destroy their abominations on behalf of the duchy."

"Essentially, we would constitute your wild card in this most dangerous game which is unfolding on each of our doorsteps. Of course, we would return the weapons when the task has been completed."

"I see...." the duke frowns unconvinced.
"Skilled warriors? Well, skilled warriors can fight for either side, and we know many stories where pride or desire has given the Black Serpent means to corrupt even the most pure man, so how can I know you will not use these ancient weapons for evil?"


Abruptly clearing his throat, and stepping forward from the shadows, Burven says aloud "This isn't the safest place for Olia. Lets get her to her kin, and let them sit on the decision until we return. If they'd rather risk their own necks, they can do so, but I don't see the point in wasting time jumping through hoops to prove ourselves to them, when they should be thanking us on bended knee and begging for our further aid."

"Young man! You have forgotten where you are!" the duke thunders as the rest frowns and Krestnik puts a hand on his sword
"The duchy of Drevnedub has defenders capable of facing this threat from the Black Serpent. Do not presume that slaying a few undead will make you masters of the realm. Triman stands and falls on the wisdom of Svarogs teachings, not the ability to kill. The dukes of Drevnedub have protected their people since the war of the Angels, and we will not honor anyone who's only merit is increasing the power of the Black Serpent through killing!" the duke continues agitated

Closimir frowns at Burven for upsetting the tedious negotiations that had been unfolding with the Duke with his unhelpful bravado. Ah, all the grace of a bull being castrated in a glass shop that's on fire, the bard thought to himself as he twisted the well known saying in his mind.

In an attempt to salvage things, the musician redirects the Duke's attention, "Your lordship, regardless of the fact that my fellow's intense concern for the lass, Olia who just lost her entire family, overwhelmed him momentarily, I assure you that no one is questioning your ability to defend your own kingdom nor the skill of your defenders."

"I would also submit that the dispatching of undead in the name of Svarog is not killing, but instead is putting these tortured souls to rest. Such could not increase the power of the Black Serpent, any more than destroying something that is pure evil."

"My logic was just to confront these foul creatures before they reach the borders of your lands, but i also did not anticipate taking all of the weapons you have at your disposal to confront them either. Just a sword or two or something to give us a chance to give them peace."

"Or maybe an Axe as well.." Mutters the short warrior prior to Burvans comments. He glares at Burvan as the young man bursts out.

He eyes Krestniks hand on his sword warily, tensing without visibly so. The young man is as hot headed as Burvan.

He stays quiet other than his mutter however but returns his gaze to Burvan, willing the young man to look at him. When the boy does he raises his finger to his lips, silently telling the lad to keep quiet.

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