It was the morning of the second day after the museum heist, the day the party was to depart for Procampur once again to seek out the vision troubling Xiang. The companions had their traditional breakfast at the Copper House and were preparing to leave when Lord Burl arrived. The militia captain was accompanied five others; two humans, two elves and a gnome, varied in their appearance except for the dark red uniform tunics they all wore.
The companions had spent the last two days well. Xiang focused his energy on recovery; the monk was nearly 100% and ready to confront whatever awaited him in the forest surrounding Procampur. Carric and Avienda had explored the town, meeting or re-acquainting themselves with its residents and merchants as they shopped for supplies. Beau and Starch had also bought provisions and equipment for the journey ahead, but both were more secretive on how they’d otherwise spent their time.
Delwyn had spent a good deal of time at the Duke’s mansion, delving into the mysteries of the silver statue from Earthfast with Ianni and Baerron. They had made some progress, but Delwyn was glad he’d have another few days to research the statue before it needed to be returned to its owners. He was also guilty about not accompanying his friends on their next journey, especially one so important to Xiang. He hoped the monk understood that the mysteries of Earthfast were as important to him as the golden ram skull was to the monk.
Delwyn was therefore delighted to find out that Lord Burl did not intend to send the Peanut Butter Squad out alone. Burl dismounted with the others and greeted the party. “Good morning to you all. I bring you greetings from the Duke, and a wish for a safe and successful journey. To that end, we would like to send along a group to assist you in your travels.
“As you obviously know, the Duke has been leaning heavily on your services during this Zhentarim crisis. It occurred to us that having a group of adventurers such as yourselves on our permanent payroll makes a good deal of sense. Thus, we’ve culled from the ranks of the militia and other specialists known by the Duchy to form this band. We’re calling them the Redshirts. We’d like them to travel with you, to aid you as they can and to learn from you as well. They will be no burden; in fact, I’m sure they will prove their usefulness.
“Please meet Darnell Duval, known as ‘Dutch’, the leader of the Redshirts. Dutch is an able fighter and an excellent battlefield tactician.” The human nodded respectfully to the party. He wore twin scimitars at his waist, and had a crossbow slung across his back.
Burl continued introductions. “This is Blaine, our heavy fighter.” This human, almost as large as Starch, was encased in heavy plate armor that looked like it had seen plenty of use. He held his full helm in his hands; above his shoulder protruded the pommel of a greatsword. He gave the party a curt nod.
“Next is Anna, a wizard of no small skill.” The gnome blushed modestly. She stood less than four feet tall and wore traveling clothes under a harness that held innumerable pouches and containers. At her back was a fierce-looking crossbow scaled to her size.
“Finally we have the brothers Dillon and Mac. They may look alike, but their skills could not be more dissimilar.” What Burl said was clearly true. Mac wore a holy symbol of Lathander over studded leather, and carried a brightly-colored shield also emblazoned with his god’s symbol. A shortsword was sheathed at his waist and a longbow and quiver was slung across his back.
Dillon stood back a step or two from the others. He also wore studded leather, but his was dyed a deep blue that was almost black and matched his pants and boots. He carried a longbow that looked to be a twin of Mac’s, and wore a rapier and dagger on his belt. Avienda thought he looked like a tall, thin, elven version of Beau, and smiled at the image.
Burl introduced the party members, then continued. “To be clear, the Redshirts will accompany you as a support team only. They will aid your travel and watch your backs, but I want this to primarily be a learning mission for them.” He looked pointedly at Dutch as he said this.
Beau pulls his hood down a little hiding his face even more. Uncomfortably meeting the group of strangers. He pulls a sheet of paper from his pocket and writes something on it. Then folds the paper and quickly shoves it in his pocket. Few moments later Carric feels a tug on his robe near the pocket, as if someone were trying to get his attention Carric gives the Redshirts a perfunctory greeting and turns to Lord Burl. “Might we have a word with you in private Lord Burl?”on.
Burl nods, and said to the Redshirts, “Give us a moment, won’t you?” After they’d moved to a discrete distance, Burl waited to hear what the sorcerer had to say.
Carric cut to the chase. "What’s this all about? Why the “green” shirts?"
Beau replies to Carric, “It just does not feel right, and I have some business that needs tending to. If everything is on the up and up, then you have plenty of muscle and I can be spared. However if this is a trap…” Beau pauses, “well you will all can handles these hired thugs.”
ooc: figured Beaus discomfort in the situation was a good reason for him to stay in Procampur, explaining his absence at the live session.
Burl rolled his eyes. "Several reasons. One, certain members of your party made it explicitly clear after the museum incident that they resented being at our beck and call. While the Peanut Butter Squad can’t be replaced, hopefully we can nurture this group to perform similar functions for the Duchy as needed. What better way to do that then have them accompany and observe you in action? Two, your friend Delwyn was very concerned that he would not be able to accompany and aid you, and we thought that having reinforcements would better your chances of success, as well as easing his mind.
“Speaking of the museum, I never had the chance to give you the reward you were promised.” From his saddlebag he pulled six small sacks, handing one to each of the party. Within are assorted small gems, which Carric was expertly able to estimate to be worth 500 gold.
Starch listened stoically as usual his face betraying his building anger, “Enough is enough.” He huffed quietly eyeing up Beau and Carric, “We need to stop questioning Lord Burl and the Duke on every decision they make or we should just part ways with them now. This hostility and questioning of authority has gotten out of hand. He sends us alone and we complain that we don’t have enough information or help, he gives us help and we bicker about that. I’m done with it.” Starch turns to Lord Burl “I for one am glad to have the extra help along thank you kind Lord.” He turns to the rest of the party, “We should make haste the evil that holds the Rams Skull won’t wait for us to bicker half a day about whether or not to accept this gracious offer.” With that Starch walks away and greets the Red Shirts properly doing his best to make them feel welcome.
OOC: He’s got a point there Mr. Eaves Saint Eavesdropper. :)
Carric absentmindedly took the sac of gems, then listened to Starch’s strange outburst with a befuddled look. “Uh… all I did was ask what this was all about.”
He then turned to Avienda, Xiang, and Delwyn. “What do you all think?”
Starch is indeed responding to Carric asking to “whats this all about? Why the green shirts” which as far as I can tell was not part of a cantrip. In the furture we may want to use italics or an underline when there is an A and B conversation going on that not everyone is privy to.
Xiang rises after his two day slumber. The mediation did wonders for his aches and pains as he sets his sights on this skull and the evil which has hold if it. As he enters the area he find some of the members milling about and a group of strangers in red. Nodding to starch " I am sorry if I am late , where is everyone?"
Avienda rolled her eyes behind Starch’s back as he stood on his soap box. Grinning wickedly at Carric she made kissey faces in Starch’s direction as he walked away from her to meet the Redshirts.
Shrugging towards Burl, Avi bowed graciously. “Thank you for the generous offer of help Lord Burl. We will do our best to babysit,” she shook her head, “train them properly! Come on Carric, new friends!”
“Well met Xiang glad to see you back to your agile self!” Starch remarks with a hearty slap to Xiang’s back. "The group you see before you is the “red shirts” they are a group, not unlike our own, of adventurers that the Duke and Lord have put together to back us up in the field. As a thank-you we will be instructing them on the finer points of adventuring, kind of like an apprenticeship. Once they learn what they can they will be a team much like ourselves. This will allow them to work in service of the Duke and lighten our load." Starch turns to point to Carric and Lord Burl, “Carric and Beau are talking to Lord Burl over there bellyaching about getting help. You should speak with Lord Burl before we leave and he will give your cut of the reward money for our work at the museum. In the meantime let me introduce you to the reds.” Starch goes about introducing the group with about the same detail as Lord Burl had.
Walking back towards the Redcoats with Carric, Avienda whispered to him, “if we are the peanut butter squad they should be the Jelly.”
Carric, clearly surprised that Avienda and the others were being so agreeable, shrugs and follows the rest.
Beau said nothing to the Lord, no belly aching here!! just cynically watching all that happens. Beau is not even close enough to Lord Burl to talk to him without screaming, have I mentioned Beau DOES NOT trust this guy.
When the oppurtunity presents itself Avi will lean in to whisper to Beau, “I don’t trust it either. It’s safer to play along for now.” She looked around at the group, and winked at Beau, “we could take them!”