Silence of the Caravans: Planning

Part I of Saga

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Aerlan
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Silence of the Caravans: Planning

Aerlan made note of the gesture as Paplo strode off. He moved to his own rhythm, thus ignored it. The mage stood up and closed his eyes, focusing his ether and Will back into the earth. With a pulse of thanks towards the Earth, Aerlan returned the stone spikes and chair to the ground beneath his feet. A soft, deep hum shook within the mage's chest as he released the magic and headed for the cave. Earth was the friendliest of the elements in the Defier's opinion. Enduring, warm, all encompassing. Yes, that's how Aerlan would describe it. With a vast emptiness in his heart, it was to the earth that Aerlan was closest. Well, besides the Harvester constantly on his back. A dark chuckle from over the Eidisi's shoulder came as the only reply to this thought.

Upon entering the cave, the mage's voided eyes looked around closely. It was what he expected. Small, rocky, uncomfortable. It fits a purpose. He looked curiously at the goose and then at the Avriel. Two birds... I wonder if the goose is female... Perhaps there were a few eggs in that nest. Humorous as the thought was, Aerlan didn't laugh. Aerlan never laughed. Instead, he turned his attention to the discussion between Paplo and Noth. Noth was useful. Such a prime target could not be ignored, especially if the payout was as lucrative as Noth stated. This mission would require the presence of all three. Though he felt no loyalty, turning on these two was not logical. Noth brought intelligence and Paplo was the middle-man. Perhaps the other Flayer would be useful in other ways, but for now he was a social connection. Aerlan's network of contacts was small still so he valued the ones he had. Heists would fill the pockets too. Benefits outweighed the risks.

"This caravan is indeed a seductive target. On the surface it seems almost too good to be true. With such riches guarded by so few, I worry if it is a trap set to lure out would-be thieves like us." A slender finger reached up to tap his chin. "How many guards? How much weight in loot? Do you know the terrain where we would intercept our target?" More questions spun in his mind, but these few seemed important to begin with.
word count: 403
"Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world... No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he. I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance"
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Limbo
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Silence of the Caravans: Planning

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Paplo found not much from Noth’s cavernous residence had changed since he had last visited. The goose seemed the only new change, for Paplo had not ‘met’ the animal in his previous visit. Fortunately, Paplo was too wise and serious to disregard any possibility of cross-breeding between Noth and the goose. It was clear the two were far too distant genetically-wise for successful reproduction, yet the possibility of the two sharing a stone bed in the eve was quite plausible for an individual such as Noth. He obviously took pride in his avian descent, and due to his social ineptitude, finding sexual comfort in fauna lacking speech was quite possible – as possible as it was intriguing.

The goose was as feral as the owner, for it immediately took a disliking to Paplo, something he did not enjoy. What had been an attempt of physical aggression from the goose’s part had now become a silent scorn within Paplo, whom secretly vowed to consume the animal whenever the chance came. It would be interesting to see how Noth reacted when his mate had suddenly disappeared, even a goose abandoning the bitter avriel. Leaning against the rocky walls and crossing his arms, Paplo listened.

A robbery. Theft was a common crime amongst civilizations, especially in humanoid societies. Finding out said was Noth’s objective did not shock the Mortalborn in any way. Before he could speak, Aerlan had made very appropriate questions, Paplo speaking afterwards.

“I believe we’re to face danger regardless, although it depends where the final destination of said transport is.” said Paplo. “Trading routes to the west are often valued as secure and very common, which I imagine does not call for much protection. North, East, and South, on the other hand, hold many dangers of either invasive forces or unsecure relationships between cities. Nonetheless, the current refugee crisis within Etzos has most likely caused a decrease of pay for employees, for the willing to work are many. If this is true, despite meeting heavy protection, it is unlikely their skills can adapt to a well-elaborated plan. Which I expect you to have crafted already, Noth.”

“As a last point, I’d like to state I am very confident in our group’s abilities, and so I trust that whatever it is we encounter shall be of no issue to our capabilities. For the moment, I’ll state that I am interested in this proposition, so please share further details in order to better understand our target.”

More violence? Paplo sighed – mentally, of course. Physically, he offered a comforting smile to Noth, trying to encourage him to share further information.
word count: 453
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Silence of the Caravans: Planning

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The pair entered into his home, seemingly eager to learn what reason the terrible Avriel had for calling them away from their homes. He regaled the information that he had gathered about the caravan, or at the very least the most basic pieces of information to ascertain whether or not they still retained interest in his schemes. He had endeavored to recruit Paplo Ynush for the efforts due to his talents in acting and also his experience in the dreadful act of murder, but now he saw that the blue-fleshed companion that he had brought with him was far more likely to engage in such carnal and bloody scenarios than his ally. The ability to shift about stones and rocks could be incredibly deadly with the right terrain advantage, and Noth knew exactly how to spot loose dirt and rock that could easily give way in the form of a landslide. It took less than a trill for him to make an addendum to his plans, desiring immediately to utilize the newly discovered talents for some manner of spectacular ambush, though that had been the general idea from the beginning anyways.

Aerlan spoke, agreeing that the caravan was a fair target for the band of villainous ne’er-do-wells, though he instantly added that the proposition seemed almost too good to be true. It was a reasonable assumption for him to make, especially since he had no background information that could be used to trust the twilight hybrid, though it seemed his dissatisfaction with the plan revolved more around the idea of treachery on the part of the caravan as opposed to on the part of Noth. He had considered it as well, but it was incredibly unlikely that drunkards disseminated knowledge in such a matter to lay a trap, and he was under the impression that the aforementioned intoxication would wipe away any subtleties that would allow for any trickery. It wasn’t the greatest source of information by its very nature, and the twilight hybrid resolved to keep his sources more private so as not to inculcate any stress upon his compatriots lest they perform at a subpar level during the actual execution of their operation. The blue Eidisi asked several others questions as well, wondering at how much loot could be gained through their malicious act and how the assault would actually take place.

Noth simply held up a finger, though it was less of a hushing motion than a calming one, as if though the plans had already been laid out in the Avriel’s mind, and in a way that was true. He thought in a very tactical fashion whenever it came to conflict, and thus he had tasked his mind with the goal of gaining the precious jewels hidden aboard the caravan, working through potential scenarios and possibilities until he had come unto one that seemed the most likely for success, though the minute details of such a plan were still very much in the air, and also quite dependent upon the circumstances of the caravan whence they arrived.

Before he could reveal his grand plot to the pair, Ynush intervened, noting that they would likely face danger no matter what plan was formulated. Noth nodded, agreeing to the statement wholeheartedly as if though it had been upon his own mind as well. It was true that there was an inherent danger in any business of the criminal sort, especially when there was a high risk of violence and the escalations of murder and death that came associated with those acts. It could very well be that the journey ended the lives of the trio, and that they would simply be erased from the annuls of history, pathetic losses to a pathetic and greedy cause. His insight into the relative protection provided towards the caravans was rather useful, though admittedly it was fairly common knowledge. Those trade routes that ran nearer to frequently hostile nations were certain to be more heavily reinforced than those that only ran towards friendly and pacifistic governments, but it was a statement that allowed him to more thoroughly place the relative threat level of the caravan they would be facing in battle.

“I share your confidence in our abilities, Ynush, especially with such incredulous talent operating amidst us.” Crimson eyes peered over to the Eidisi before flickering back to a central space between the two. “The caravan itself is departing from Etzos and will supposedly be arriving at Hiladrith. Due to the relatively western location of that city, I believe it is reasonable to conclude that the caravan shall not be nearly as heavily guarded as one which passed near Rhakros or Sirothelle.” A pause as he recollected his thoughts, playing through each question mentally and observing the reactions on his companions faces as he spoke, “My source of information has revealed that there will be something around a dozen guards, though the recent refugee crisis means that some of those are undoubtedly untrained and unskilled in the arts of battle. It would be prudent to assume that some veterans are amidst their rank, though the price of experience means that their number will be the bottleneck to the entire population as opposed to the other way around. Unfortunately, it does seem rather unlikely that there will be vast layers and layers of gems aboard the caravan, but I am assured that there is at least one full shipment as well as a variety of other general trading goods that we may gather. I trust that a three-way split of all profits will be satisfactory to our more greedy aspirations?”

“As for the plan itself. The terrain that we will encounter is likely to be heavily forested, similar to the terrain just outside. This means that it should be fairly simple for us to conceal ourselves in the underbrush, at which point I would like to divert the enemy into the woods, away from the beaten path so that they are unlikely to receive any reinforcements or simply run from our assaults. Personally, I’m under the impression that the easiest way to do such a thing would be to knock down some trees, though perhaps with your talents, Eidisi, we might be able to simply forge some manner of wall. Obviously, we are at a numerical disadvantage, which means that we need to be able to hit from the shadows and perform hit-and-run tactics. With your superb acting talents, Ynush, I’m hoping that we’ll be able to keep them all edge throughout the entire ordeal, and also conceal our numbers and tactics by enforcing the core emotions of fear and terror.”

“Meanwhile, I’ll be using my own visage and my talents at murdering things to eliminate targets. If there are any addendums to be made, then we might form them during the journey.”
He caught his breath, glaring at the two as if though to question whether they had any more interrogatives for him before continuing, “Now then, if that’s settled, and if you agree to what has been planned thus far, then I ask that you pack some things for several Trials travel, and then meet me here.”

“I have horses to acquire.”
word count: 1222
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Credit to Pegasus


As a note: Noth is a Grandmaster in Intimidation. That means that he's at least as scary as the Count from Sesame Street. Beware.

"The tyrant confuses those he can't convince, corrupts those he can't confuse, and crushes those he can't corrupt." - Anonymous
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Silence of the Caravans: Planning

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Paplo nodded periodically whilst the avian spoke, not only in agreement or understanding, but also to psychologically encourage Noth to continue his speech. Small gestures of agreement had their role in any conversation, providing comfort and perhaps inspiring confidence in the speaker. Body language, attitude, and visual contact were other tools Paplo employed to psychologically mingle with other individuals, and the results were obviously satisfactory. This was made obvious by the fact that, despite being a ravenous monster beneath his flesh mask, he was still alive. He must’ve been doing something right.

The teacher found Noth’s information to be quite complete, and his plan quite detailed. Furthermore, it seemed logical from a tactical viewpoint, even if said topics were somewhat bizarre to the peaceful Mortalborn. Battles and strategies in such large scales had too many factors to precisely predict, quite similarly to life goals. For said reason, the blue eyed male often let his life follow the paths of chance rather than that of elaborate schemes or pre planned design. Regardless, Noth now proved his capacity for proper planning, or his capacity for abstract thought - fact that was, in truth, somewhat surprising.
“I salute you for this elaborate scheme, my friend,” spoke Paplo. “However, I shall repeat what you just said: they may be twelve individuals to take care of, and we are only three. Whilst you and Aerlan here certainly have the capacity to cause harm, I shall admit that my own offensive aptness is minimal.”
Pause.

“Do not be insulted, but I believe I have a better position for someone like myself. Instead of doing a poor job by your side, I am under the impression that my use would be much greater were I to infiltrate within the caravan’s group. From within, I will not only be able to measure their capabilities correctly, but also the chance to sabotage their defenses were they to need them. Perhaps the moment we move past their group in order to lead them astray from their route, I can leave our company and, instead, seek their companionship for whatever reason. Once inside, I shall do my best to mingle with the individuals whilst the rest of your extravagant ploy can take place.”

There wasn’t much more to say from his side. The premise of the plan was quite good, and the profits could be noteworthy were they to be acquired. Gems and stocks of all sorts were somewhat irrelevant, but clothing, and the trust of both avian and Eidisi, were much better prices. At the same time, the Mortalborn felt somewhat annoyed with the whole concept of theft and assault, and his part with it all. If only he had made a more friendly acquaintances rather than his power hungry mongrel, his lifestyle could be far more sedentary. Perhaps he could’ve met a chef, and be employed within a fine restaurant. Perhaps he could’ve mingled with high society, where speech and conversations revolved not around the death of others, but instead lamented the death of important events and fancy galas.

Alas, said thoughts were untrue and fantastic, and were discarded because of it. Reality took preference, and she spoke about a certain man in Etzos that had leashed the Mortalborn like a dog. Vuda had to be dealt with, and thus any promise of normality was stripped from Paplo’s life.
“This is a good find. Profits shall be large, and the experience we’re to gain from it all shall serve us in the future. Very well done, my friend,” he said, flashing a smile towards Noth. “Think about what I said. I shall go prepare myself for the journey.”


And so Paplo left, going nowhere, really, for what he donned is what he possessed. Perhaps he would visit that one bakery that gifted old hard bread and chew a couple of dozens loafs for a while. Yes, that seemed like a good plan.
word count: 667
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Silence of the Caravans: Planning

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Come and get your Loot!

(There's plenty more where that came from)


NOTH:
Rewards:

  • Story: +5
  • Collaboration: +5
  • Structure: +5

These points can NOT be used for magic

Knowledges:

  • Aerlan: An Earth & Wind Mage
  • Aerlan: Introduces Himself With a Demonstration of Skill
  • Animal Husbandry: Leaving Enough Food Behind for Vern
  • Discipline: Don't Make Too Big a Threat of Yourself
  • Etiquette: Unharmed Travelers Can Provide Rumors and Services
  • Field Craft: Maggots as Alternative Food
  • Intelligence: Gauging the Profits and Risks of a Caravan Heist
  • Intimidation: Writing a Letter in Blood
  • Leadership: Demand the Newcomer to Account for Himself
  • Leadership: Hold Your Associate Accountable for His Recruit
  • Leadership: Presenting The Plans for a Caravan Heist
  • Leadership: Show No Fear
  • Logistics: Always Another Detail You Overlooked
  • Logistics: Counting on the Target to Supplement Your Needs
  • Logistics: Weight vs. Bulk vs. Cost vs. Availability
  • PC: Aerlan: Eidisi Mage
  • Persuasion: Honestly Acknowledging Your Distrust
  • Psychology: Fearful Reactions are a Drawback to a Bad Reputation
  • Tactics: Use Aerlan's Skill to Create a Landslide
  • Writing: Using Rabbit Blood as Ink

Loot:

Still only in the planning stage

Loss:

Nothing to speak of

Injuries:

None to speak of

Fame: 0

No new monstrous acts yet

Devotion:

HA! Not you

___________________________________________________________

KOVIC:
Rewards:

  • Story: +5
  • Collaboration: +5
  • Structure: +5

These points can NOT be used for magic

Knowledges:

  • Aerlan: A More Logical and Passionless Criminal
  • Aerlan: An Earth & Wind Mage
  • Aerlan: Introduces Himself With a Demonstration of Skill
  • Field Craft: Forests All Look the Same
  • Field Craft: Walking on Cleared Ground vs Forests
  • Flaying: Sensing the "Sinner" in Others
  • Logistics: Don't Risk Your One Good Suit Outside
  • Noth: More Educated Than You
  • PC: Aerlan: Eidisi Mage
  • Perfect Form: Helps Resist The Elements
  • Persuasion: Maintaining a Confident Attitude
  • Psychology: Accepting Your lack of Education
  • Psychology: Fear That Noth's Extremes Could Rub Off On You
  • Psychology: Glad That Obtaining a Cloak Did Not Require Murder
  • Research: Seeing if Noth and Aerlan Will Get Along
  • Tactics: Better Suited as an "Inside" Man

Loot:

A new cloak

Loss:

Nope, even got Aerlan to buy your cloak

Injuries:

None to speak of

Fame: 0

Sorry, this is all very private

Devotion: +10

I'm taking it upon myself to catch you up on several instances of "Concealing your true identity"

___________________________________________________________

AERLAN:
Rewards:

  • Story: +5
  • Collaboration: +5
  • Structure: +5

These points CAN be used for magic

Knowledges:

  • Defiance: Creating a Breeze to Serve You
  • Defiance: Creating Spikes of Stone
  • Defiance: Raise the Ground to Provide a Seat
  • Defiance: Returning the Earth to its Original Position
  • Detection: Sense of Smell to Gauge Proximity
  • Etiquette: Copy Partner's Mood if You Have no Better Indicator
  • Intelligence: Magic Skill is Offset by Physical Weakness
  • Intimidation: Spikes of Stone as a Threat
  • Kovic: A Self-Serving View of Friendship
  • Location: Noth's Cave
  • Logistics: A Rich Target Could be a Trap
  • Logistics: Don't Give Away How Much Money You Possess
  • Noth: Leader of Al'Angyryl Faction
  • Noth: Unpleasant Demeanor
  • PC: Noth: Half-Avriel
  • Persuasion: Be Ready to Give Small Gifts of Cash
  • Persuasion: Magic Speaks Louder Than Words
  • Politics: Minions: Harvester vs. Elements for Mage's Emotions
  • Research: Does Victim's Daily Behavior Change Flaying Results
  • Tactics: Do Not Reveal Aberration Skill

Loot:

Still in the planning stage

Loss:

-5gn for Kovic's Cloak

Injuries:

Nothing yet

Fame: -2

Act of Magic
This is all done in private

Devotion:

Nothing to speak of

Comments:

Sorry this took me a bit to finish.
Multi-player threads are always trickier to grade, as something done in one player's post can actually give knowledges to one or more of the others.
Fame will be heavy when you guys actually pull the heist.
Kovic, I have to say that though I love your wit, it often takes up so much of your posts, that it somewhat reduces the knowledge I can find to give you. :(
I certainly don't mean that as criticism. If you don't mind losing a few knowledges to continue being the joker we have all come to know and love, I certainly have no objection. :lol:
I know this is only the beginning of a series. I can't wait to see the finish to this.
PM me with any comments or concerns :)
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