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Dwarf Mine GM (played by Malcolm)

"The orcs attacked me close to the Inn" says Father Geoffrey, "maybe half a mile away. Not so close that help could come easily. I might have lost my holy symbol then. Normally I wouldn't travel at night, but I met a halfling in the road, who was suffering from stomach pangs. I used my holy symbol to help heal her, then took her back to Fort Middlesburgh. So I had it then. That was why I was delayed. I needed urgently to speak to the Lady Helena before she arrived at Great Whiteminster, otherwise I wouldn't have risked it."

The clergyman takes his outer cloak off and warms himself by the roaring log fire.

Mr Swathmore gets close to Pint, to speak to him so that the others can't overhear.

"Fifty it is," says Mr Swathmore to Pint. "I'll give you ten now, the balance when we get to Great Whiteminster. I'm not Mr Swathmore. I'm a noble, a very important noble. Baring knew who I was, and Rosalind knows who I am, and Fr Geoffrey knows. The others don't know. So don't tell anyone. In fact I'm King Duncan III".

Mistress Weather's cat pricks up its ears, and runs into the kitchen.
Pint (played by MordosKull)

Dang, now Pint wished he had charged more.

"Seriously?" He whispered back up at the fellow. The King?? Here?? Why??

Too many questions, and very very few answers, all Pint knew was that things just got a lot more interesting.

"Alright, yer majesty. I'll see wot I can do." He whispered back and then went on to see where Brenna had gotten to, she needed to heard this.

Also, just what was wrong with that cat? It had been acting strange all day.
Brenna (played by Juls)

"We're planning to head to Fort Middlesburgh tomorrow, Father," Brenna replied. "If it's only a half mile, it might still be on the road. I'll help you look for it when we go past the spot in the morning."

She wasn't super thrilled about the idea of traveling with Lady Helena, but avoiding the annoying woman was no longer the top of her priority list. Just getting out of this flea-ridden, lousy excuse for an Inn as soon as possible was. If that meant sucking it up and traveling with the others, then so be it.

And she just couldn't shake the idea of being forced to the palace because she was under arrest. Why else would she ever go there? Of course, she didn't have any idea of Mr. Swathmore's true identity.
Dwarf Mine GM (played by Malcolm)

"Mr Swathmore" passes ten gold coins over the table to Pint.

"It was a mistake to come here", he says, "When I was a prince, Rosalind the landlady was my mistress. We had Henry Fitzroy together. MY father the King (as was) and I set her up in the inn here to keep her out of Great Whiteminster, and I keep in touch. Foolishly. I should have guessed it was a trap."
He sighs, and looks old and defeated.
"Can you get the barmaid and I out of here safely past the orcs?" he asks. "I'm tired, but I'm not so ill I can't travel."

"Orcs are only active at night", Fr Geoffrey explains to Brenna, "They can't stand daylight. So our danger is in the next few hours. I'm very afraid that they are planning an attack. But there is very little I can do against them without my holy symbol. With it, I'm a powerful advocate with the gods on your behalf."
"It cannot be a coincidence that you were here to see the Lady Helena" says Caitlin, "Someone must have planned to disrupt that meeting. Someone in control of the orcs."
"That's pure speculation, Caitlin" says Macey.
"But she is right, isn't she?" says Lady Helena, "Holy symbols do not fall".
Brenna (played by Juls)

Brenna could only nod to Father Geoffrey as he explained to her about orcs being active at night... like she was born yesterday. As arrogant as another Geoffrey I know...

"Speaking of the orcs planning an attack... Is anyone up in the tower keeping a lookout for them?"

She'd almost forgotten that she'd been planning to go check up there!

"Father, how certain are you the orcs are planning to attack the inn? And not simply waylay travelers?" she asked, weighing her chances of slipping quietly down the road the half mile to see if she could find the fallen holy symbol. Maybe Pint would be up for a trek...
Pint (played by MordosKull)

Pint accepted the coins and counted them quickly before pocketing them. As he heard the familiar jingle of coins being added to his already hefty purse, he found himself grinning. All this time he'd been chasing around an invisible target and trying to figure out things that he honestly had no business trying to figure out. The only exciting things that had happened to him in this journey was fighting the Rhinoman and killing that orc.

But now he was in the zone. He was a mercenary, and he was finally getting paid to protect and kill. Truly, his purpose in life as far as he was concerned.

"Donna worry, yer majesty." He chuckled at the old king, wishing that he hadn't told him about his past with Miss Rosalind, frankly he didn't care and the less he knew about these royals, the better. "Yer in the care now of a Bloodhorns mercenary, best warriors ye've e'er seen. I'll get ye and yer old flame outta 'ere." Or at least he'll kill a good bunch of orcs in the process.

"Now if ye'll excuse me, I gotta talk to me associate 'ere. Donna go nowhere now!" Pint would then scoot towards Brenna, all while keeping an eye on "Mr Swathsmore", making sure he didn't get waylaid while he was talking to the rogue. "Oi, Brenna! Come listen ta this." He said and gestured for her to lean down so he could whisper to her ear and tell her all the new info. How Swathsmore was actually the king and needed to be escorted out of here safely.
Dwarf Mine GM (played by Malcolm)

"I don't think there's anyone up in the tower" says Betty, "they're all down here trying to solve the murder".

"Humans don't normally travel at night" says Fr Geoffrey, "I'm an exception, because of my holy light. It enables my horse to see. So the orcs must have been planning to waylay non-humans, for example dwarves, or they must be planning an attack. That's all I can think."
"The dwarves." says Lieutenant Peter, "I knew the dwarves were mixed up in it somehow".

"What are we going to do?" says Lady Helena, "You've brought me to this grotty Inn, now it appears we're under attack. Who's going to get me out?"
"I'll get you out," says Fr Geoffrey "But first I need to talk to your Ladyship."
"Look, we've already discussed this, Father" says the Petulan ambassador.
"Well she won't be married if she is killed by orcs" says Fr Geoffrey.

"Oh no", says Mr Swathmore to Pint, "I arranged the marriage between my son and the Lady Helena. The King of Petula will blame me if she is killed. But my priority is the barmaid Kitty. "
Brenna (played by Juls)

Expecting an orc attack and still no one was in the watch tower!? "Maybe send someone to keep watch?" she tried suggesting lightly to Lieutenant Peter.

Brenna was about to go march up there herself when Pint whispered his news in her ear. And she could not help the surprised expression that crossed her face, then a blush at the informal way she'd addressed the KING, even thinking him some delusional old kook.

She realized she was gawking a bit and quickly looked away. Was Kitty the king's bastard daughter? A bastard herself, Brenna could not help but feel an immediate connection with the girl. Particularly if it was her brother that got to enjoy the trappings of royalty while she was here wiping down tables in a flea infested, orc ridden tavern in the middle of nowhere.

But if the king needed protecting, she couldn't very well ask Pint to go with her to try to fetch Fr Geoffrey's holy symbol now.

She took a deep breath and nodded. "You think this place can withstand an attack tonight? We can have the horses saddled and ready before dawn and head out at first light. If we push hard, maybe we can make it all the way to Great Whiteminister tomorrow."
Pint (played by MordosKull)

Pint held his head a little as the King started fretting about the situation. He knew that ignoring clients' worries was bad for business but the dwarf just loathed weakness of character and King Swathmore, if that really was his name, sure was a worrywart. "Relax, alright? I got it." He said back to him.

Now back to his partner in crime, he rubbed his beard thoughtfully as Brenna wondered if the inn could withstand an orc attack. "No more than a dozen orcs I'd say, and that's not considering they might have archers, or spellcasters, or even siege equipment, and I ain't even talking about trebuchets or ballista-- a single ram would be enough to flatten this place." Not exactly dwarven craftmanship and all.

He shook his head when she suggested making a run for it through the forest. "Nay, we'll be sitting ducks. I may be able to see in the dark, but ye all are gonna have a hard time navigating through the forest with who knows how many greenskins prowling about. 'Sides, running away ain't something we dwarves are known for." This wasn't even Pint's pride talking, he was a mediocre rider at best, and trying to ride a horse suited for humans at full gallop was probably going to end with him falling off the saddle. Man... he really missed that camel...

"I think our safest best is to fortify this place and try to make it through the night. I've got plenty of experience surviving sieges."
Dwarf Mine GM (played by Malcolm)

"The tower" says Lieutenant Peter, "Baring always had a guard posted at the tower! Everyone has been running around like headless chickens when there are orcs out there. Someone go up a take post immediately."
Two soldiers run up the stairs.
"I'm in charge here" he says, "I know there's been talk of making a break for it. No-one is to leave this Inn until the murderer is found. Except for Fr Geoffrey, of course, he wasn't here when Baring was murdered so can't have been responsible."

"We've got a murderer on the inside and orcs on the outside" says Lady Helena, "So what are you men going to do about it? Way things are going, it looks like Henry Fitzroy won't get his bride."
"Don't say so" says Caitlin, "Not that he won't get his bride, of course, if you don't want to marry him, then say so. But surely we won't all be killed by orcs. Not with the dwarves here. They are doughty fighters."
"The orcs could have attacked the Inn at any time" says Macey, "So why now? Is it because of my valuable cargo of spices?"
"How would they know of it?" says the Petulan ambassador, "No, I fear that I and the Lady Helena are the target. Someone is trying to disrupt the wedding."
"On which subject" says Fr Geoffrey, "I must speak to the Lady Helena. If you won't permit me to do it in private, I shall do so in public. Your ladyship, is it with your free consent that you marry Henry Fitzroy?"

Lady Helena looks for a moment uncharacteristically hesitant.
Caitlin prods Brenna.
"Tell her to say no" she whispers.
Brenna (played by Juls)

Good... at least there'd finally be someone keeping watch. She wasn't terribly thrilled with the idea of not being allowed to leave in the morning. But with how inept Lieutenant Peter seemed, she wondered if she might not have a good chance of simply absconding come first light. Not that she was making any final decisions just yet. There were still far too many hours left until daylight and a whole lot of stuff could change between now and then. Or they could still be sitting here... stuck in a stalemate.

Brenna scrunched her brow and shook her head at Caitlin. "I ain't stickin' my nose into that mess..." she whispered back adamantly. Nobility often had to marry for political purposes, nothing too odd or unusual about that. She supposed that was one benefit of being a bastard daughter. The chances of her brother successfully "selling" her for an alliance was probably slim. Though it wouldn't surprise her too much if he tried.

"Why poison Baring to disrupt the wedding?" Brenna asked, not quite following the Petulan ambassador's leap in logic. Of course, at times like this, logic wasn't the only thing at play. Emotions were running high and if there was some fear that someone had a reason to disrupt the wedding, then likely they'd relate everything back to that, whether the two events had anything to do with each other or not.
Pint (played by MordosKull)

Best idea that Lieutenant Peter had all day as far as Pint was concerned. "Wait up, lads! Lemme go up with ye!" Pint said as he too wanted to check the tower. It'd give him a better idea on what was going on here.

'Keep and eye on his majesty while I'm up there. We still got us a bloody poisoner in our midst.' Pint whispered to Brenna, letting her handle the wedding business-- which as far as Pint was concerned was the more complicated of the two, he'd always prefer to fight orcs than to plan a wedding.
Dwarf Mine GM (played by Malcolm)

"There's a move on to disrupt this wedding", says the Petulan ambassador, "but it is important for the relations between Petula and Westerland that it go ahead. Many men would like to marry their daughters to Henry Fitzroy, and he himself is not a dutiful son - he won't marry to please his father of his own free will. So why not take out Captain Baring, then bring orcs against the Inn, to kill everyone, especially the Lady Helena? Who could detect such a crime? That is the meaning of this, I am certain of it."

"But does the Lady Helena herself agree to the match?" asks Fr Geoffrey.

Lady Helena sighs. "I feel stitched up, Father", she says, "I appreciate that this match is important for Petula and Westerland. But Westerland is a petty little kingdom, it really is, poor and on the northern frontier, pestered by orcs and all sorts of even fouler beasts. And Henry Fitzroy isn't even a prince, he's a bastard. I deserve better than this, I really do. But if I refuse, what will happen? The King of Petula might give me some hedge knight. So I'm taking Fitzroy."

"Well the situation is clear," says Fr Geoffrey, "I must marry you when we reach Great Whiteminster. Which we will, do not fear the orcs."

Caitlin scowls. "I must just go outside for a moment", she says. She opens the door to the compound, and Mistress Weather's cat darts back in. It sits on the table where Mistress Weather is sitting, and she mumbles to it.

Pint reaches the top of the towers with two soldiers. He can hear Betty and Martha arguing in the room below, which was the disguised King's chamber.
"Let's see if Lieutenant Peter marries you, now your boyfriend Henry Fitzroy is off the scene" says Betty, cattily.
"Shut up Betty, the orcs are coming for you," says Martha, "you'd like that, wouldn't you?"
"Well Peter will get promotion to Captain, if he sees these orcs off. Then you'll be marrying a Captain. I envy you, Martha. Not the same as the King's son, of course ..."

It goes on in this sort of vein.

"The orcs are out there," says a soldier to Pint, pulling out and readying the ballista, "but they won't post another one to be shot. They're not stupid. Not that stupid, anyway."
Pint (played by MordosKull)

As he reached the top of the tower, Pint overheard some kind of gossip going on between two of the women through the floor tiles-- how shoddy was this craftmanship that it wasn't even sound proof!? Was his first thought. Pint could hear them clearly but it was the context he didn't understand, nor truly cared of, something about marrying pretty boys or something, Pint felt like he was going to hurl.

He ignored all of that nonsense to focus his eyes on a thing of true beauty.

"Oh baby! Where have ye been all my life!!?" He exclaimed and went to inspect the ballista, whispering to it sweet nothings and caressing it as if he were trying to seduce a comely woman. "Oooh, sweetheart, yer so bad..." He said as he ran his hands across the underside of the siege weapon.

"Gotta tell ya lads, didnae think ye'd have one of these beauties 'ere! Maybe we can pull through the night after all." He told the guards. "Now who's ready ta kill some bloody green skins!?"

As the guard questioned the orcs' next move, Pint rubbed his beard thoughtfully, trying to draw knowledge from previous battle experience. "They donna have a choice, they either put another sentry or they try to go in blind and get slaughtered like the pigs they are." Said the dwarf as he drew his bow, getting ready to snipe out any orc he saw.

"Wot's more likely to happen is that they'll try to hide the sentry better this time, hmm." He glanced at the guards. "I donna suppose ye lads have a spyglass with ye, eh? I could use it and make good value outta it since I can see in the dark." He knew the other dwarf Rin had one, but Pint didn't want to run downstairs and then back up again.
Brenna (played by Juls)

((The visuals of Pint with the ballista gave me a good chuckle! XD))

The ambassador's reasoning and logic seemed like a bit of a stretch to Brenna. Her eyes slid over to "Mr Swathmore", judging his reaction to the insinuation that Henry Fitzroy was ultimately responsible. But, even with some of the less than flattering rumors about Henry, she could not imagine the bastard prince arranging the death of his own mother just to get out of marrying Helena.

For a second, she was tempted to follow Caitlin and see what she was up to. The girl's fixation on Henry, that Brenna had originally brushed off as purely the fantasies of a teenaged girl, was seeming to run deeper than that. And she would have had access to her father's array of spices and substances. If anyone in present company wanted to disrupt the wedding, it was her. That didn't explain the orcs though...

But Pint had asked her to keep an eye on the King, so she stayed put. Her eyes followed the cat as it darted in, wondering how it had gotten outside in the first place. Last she'd seen it, it ran into the kitchen. Someone must have let it out the backdoor.

She thought she could still keep an eye on the king and talk to Mistress Weather, so approached her table. "Mistress, how did you come by such a beautiful and unique cat?" she asked, hoping to win some favor from both the witch and the cat. For more and more she suspected it might be a sentient being.

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