Plot: Grey Circle

  • Everything regarding the Grey Circle plot.

    NPCs - SFP (part 1)
    Naya Carpenter - O'louth (part 2)
    Rebecca Kelten - O'louth (part 3/4)

  • @SFP:

    Part 1 - Founding
    I'll cover this one probably, as it's just the NPC's involved, and an intro.

    Part 2 - Wolf Packs
    I'll provide NPC narratives from Thrax and Olcraith.
    Possible PCs - Tiger77, Olouth, VikingStevens, Knightshadow (you can find him at IoE, I think), Forte

    Part 3 - Secret War
    ME - NPC Narrative from Manether Grey and Mortacius Crane
    Possible PCs - Olouth, CounterfeitRook, Hawkthorn (if you can find him), Loonaya, MetallicSlime, Forte

    Part 4 - The Steward
    Me - NPC narrative from The Steward/Xenefein and possibly Crane again, or Krell Daggerbane.
    Possible PCs - Olouth, Lilyis (in whatever nick she uses now), Loonaya, Hinx, CounterfeitRook, BobNimrod, Hawkthorn

  • This is the post containing all of Grey Circle Part II

    Background: Nayah Carpenter

    The night had just come, placing the caravan city of Arabel within its soft blanket of darkness. The only real source of light was the new moon, a moon whose attempts to shed some light over the quiet city were constantly interrupted by the thick clouds that had covered the skies above Cormyr for nearly two weeks now. As the summer was about to give it to the coming of the winter, the warm summer breath had been replaced by icy winds from the north, wind that found a crack in every house, cave, or as Nayah was experiencing on her own body, clothing on a persons body. Shivering in her cheap leather suit, the beautiful blond elf tucked her self in the thick brown cloak she had brought only the week before. As she entered through the heavy gates of the Eastern wall, the young wild elf only had on thing in mind; A warm meal, a few glasses of wine, and if she was fortunate enough, a bard tale or two before she laid down in one of the warm beds the Tired traveller had to offer…

    Nayah was an orphan. A wild elf, found alone and abandoned in the very heart of the ruins of Myth Drannor next to the throne of Shaundakul, the only known temple of The Guardian of Caravans. Taken in by an elderly priest of said god, Nayah had been brought to Eveningstar at the age of 15. As a child, she had been forced to live amongst the humans, forced to see her playmates grow old, get married, and even dying of old age, while she herself had not aged more than a few years. While she often asked to learn more of her heritage, the subject of elven culture had always been something her foster father avoided. She found comfort in the teachings of Shaundakul, and as she grew older, her small trips to the forest became more and more frequent, and went further and further into the darkness of the woods. One day when she returned, she realised that it had been 4 years since she had last been back to the village, and that her father, the only person who had ever really cared for her, had past away. Nayah left that night, and swore never to return to her home village until she had turned into something her father would have been proud of….

    There were still a few people left in the market square when Nayah passed by. As she walked across it, she noticed a most ugly beast between the trees. A merchant of sorts, trying to sell her wares, yet stupid enough to place them all on the ground, a thing no proper merchant would do, as it made the job of the local thieves too easy. As she used her elven sight to pierce through the many layers of clothing the merchant was covered with, she felt her anger and rage rise to a point where she could do little to control her actions. An orc, a filthy, disgusting, smelly orc within the very city of her god. She walked over there, and ripped the cloak of the beast with one hand, the other already drawing her rusty shortsword to end the orcs pathetic existence. Yet, as she quickly saw, it wasn’t a regular orc. No, it was a half breed, a disgusting result of a green bloods rape of a human. The female brute was furious, yet also deeply frightened. Nayah later came to know the half orc as Vrugar, and would only within a few months have wished that she had ended Vrugars pathetic existence when she had had the chance. The two began to argue, an argument that only didn’t result in a fight because a city guard had stopped them and send the poor ranger on her way while Vrugar was allowed to pick up her belongings and was afterwards send back to the Slums.
    Yet Nayahs unfortunate encounter with Vrugar wasn’t the only important event that would take place that night. As the young woman entered the Traveller, she quickly heard rumours of an odd fight going on deep below in the taverns basement. As she went downstairs, she saw a huge arena, a cage with two brave adventures caught in a deadly struggle. Around the cage were plenty of other adventures, as well as many of the common men and women of the city, cheering and yelling at the two gladiators. Figuring she might as well enjoy the sight, she took a chair right next to the bars, doing her best to memorize every move the two men made in the hopes of one day making such moves herself.
    After a few other fights, a dwarf who had previously been sitting next to her, turned his head and introduced himself as Greg. He asked the young blond, that if anything should happen to him, she would make sure he was given a proper burial. She accepted, and witnessed the fight between this veteran adventure and a huge, powerful Minotaur. Greg lost the battle, and Nayah went in to claim his belongings. Knowing full well that it wasn’t proper, she put on what she could of his belongings, and placed the rest in a bag. Soon after, she was in the ring herself. With two magical short swords as the price, Nayah would have to defeat two orcs, a warrior and a shaman. Never having battled anything more dangerous than a sick goblin, Nayah was scared to death, yet got ready in the blue corner of the arena, while the gnome administrators brought in her two enemies. The battle was long, with Nayah fighting for her life against the two green bloods. Magic flying right past her as she dodged one swing after another, it was no longer a matter of the prize, but a matter of survival. With the adrenalin pumping, Nayah reached for one of the potions in Greg’s belt, hoping to find something that could turn the battle. Grapping on to a thin orange bottle, she pored the liquid into her mouth as quickly as she could, praying to Shaundakul that it wasn’t poison. Angry cries reached her ears as she realised that neither the two orcs, nor the crowd could see her. Giving a quick prayer of thanks to Tymora, she positioned herself behind the shaman, slowly placed her sword behind its neck, and pushed as hard as she could… The crowd cheered, and covered in green blood, Nayah launched herself at the second orc, suddenly realising that she might actually win the fight.

    A month later, Nayah had sold most of Greg’s belongings, a deed which had granted her an enormous sum of gold. But she had gained much more than that. Having found an extreme delight in fighting the beasts, Nayah had spend her small fortunate, not on a house or a farm, but on adventuring equipment. Though she still spent most of her life in the wilderness, she had found her true calling, in the path of the adventurer and the pursuit of evil to vanquish…

    Grey circle part II
    Chapter I
    A walk in the woods

    It was a warm spring day. The sun had finally removed the last bits of snow, and the wild animals of the Cormyran forests were slowly waking up from their long slumber. A young elven woman was sitting on the edge of a large cliff, enjoying the warm embrace the sun was given while she gazed upon the large wilderness surrounding Arabel. Sitting there, she gently stroke the new leather armour she had so recently been given. The sun was reflecting in the Golden Griffon mark placed upon its chest, marking her as one of Felix’s agents, a member of the Thond Adventuring Company. Nayah couldn’t help but smile when she thought back on the last few months heavy activities. She had truly become an adult now, and the resemblance between the young, naïve woman, who had won the pit fight under the Traveller, and the trained wanderer she had become were few and hard to find. She had found friends within the household of Arabels most prominent merchant, and had through them found Wanderer, the mysterious woodsman who had been training her, teaching her how to truly communicate and be at one with the wilds. She had gone from a girl to a woman in only a few months, something very rarely seen within one of Corellons blood. And now she had earned their trust enough to be given her first official mission. Rumours had recently circulated that three of Williams’s caravans had been attacked by a massed group of gnolls, orcs and goblins. While that wasn’t entirely unusual, these beasts had been way too organised for any normal raiding party, and Wanderer had suggested that someone should search the northern wilderness in search for clues, which is what had brought her here, sitting on the high cliff, scouting for any unusual movements. Taking a long drink from a canteen, she brushed away her long blond hair, and continued gazing on the forests below.

    The night was rapidly approaching. Nayah had been sitting at her chosen spot for nearly a day now. Remembering Wanderers teachings of patience, she had not moved at all. She had drawn her newly acquired elven created cloak tightly around her, and simply said perfectly still, being one with the surroundings. Suddenly, as she had decided to call it a night, torch lights became visible in the hills in front of her. Curious as to whether or not it was simply no good adventures or something else, she slowly dissented, her unnatural agility enabling her to quickly make her way down the 60 feet high cliff she had used as a natural watch tower.

    As she neared the torch lights location, crude voices yelling and cursing in the language of the one eyed reached her ears. “Orcs!” she whispered to herself, cursing herself for not bringing anybody along with her. As she got close enough for her eyes to penetrate the darkness of the night, she witnessed something she had never seen before: A huge band of at least 80 orcs and gnolls were setting up an extremely disciplined ambush. Arrows and bows were being carried to a large group of orcs stationed on a small cliff near the road to East Way. On the main road, orcs were setting up road blocks, using chopped trees and well made barricades. They were nearly ready, when torch light became visible on the road from Arabel, and these torches were moving at deadly speed. Thinking it might be reinforcements, Nayah went a bit further into the forests on each side of the road, hoping that they would conceal her better than the cliff sides. Mumbling a silent prayer to Shaundakul, Nayah hide and waited.

    As the group from the western side of the road came closer, Nayah could slowly see the torches reflection upon polished steel, and the crude battle cries and careless high voices which could only belong to one thing; Adventures. She looked to the sky and gave thanks to Tymora for her newfound luck, and began her movement closer to the orcs location. She knew that the orcs would have a very hard time with the archers and decided that if she were going to help it would have to be to take those out. Tying a rope on an arrow, she sent the arrow into the roots of the only tree upon the cliff with the orc archers, creating a path for the adventures to get up there. Just as the orcs noticed the sound of the arrow piercing its way half through the tree, their attention was caught by the storming band of adventures from the road. Though she had become a true ranger, Nayah knew perfectly well that she was not ready to fight on her own. So instead, she began observing the huge leagues of adventures fighting the beasts. The group was lead by another wild elf, the High Druidess and her male companion. The two fought relentless, casting upon the orcs the true fury of nature while shifting from shape to shape, from huge tigers to bears to hawks, all the while lightning killed orc after orc, while vines suddenly appeared from the barren earth and fires appeared left and right. Nayah watched in awe as the orcs fell from the adventures’ claws, swords and arrows. At that moment, she saw a small goblin, dressed in a wolf fur, suddenly beginning communicating with it, speaking in the common tongue! At first she took it as insanity when facing death, but after a few seconds she understood the meaning. With a scream of anger, she launched out from the forest, drawing her long daggers as she ran towards the goblin. The blades shined in the light of the moon as strike upon strike created long deep wounds upon the goblin. Its communication ended in a loud scream of pain as the light within its eyes went out. Before any of the adventures could react, Nayah grabbed the fur and launched into the shadows of the woods, making her way towards the city as fast as her legs could carry her…

    Nayah made it to the city little under an hour after she had grabbed the wolf fur, leaving the adventures at least 3 or 4 hours behind her. Wanderer had taught her how to lose any would be pursuers as long as she was in the wilderness, and she knew that not even the High druidess would have been able to follow her.
    Panting due to the extreme speed she had travelled with, she stopped outside her lords’ estate, caught her breath, and then ventured into the huge mansion of Mr Thond.
    As she entered the door, she saw both her commanding officer, Felix, and the lord himself, in an argument. Trying her best not to interrupt, she slowly back towards the wall, hoping not to be noticed. “Damn it Felix, this is the 4th caravan that has been attacked this week! With Sarah gone, you are the man in charge of the protection. We are losing more and more men as each day passes, because we do not have any edge! Why haven’t any of the Griffons you sent out returned yet?” The bearded retainer looked at his feet, trying to figure out what to say.
    Out of the shadows stepped the blond elf, and handed over the fur. “I think I have something you two need to see…”

  • Grey Circle, part III

    Rebecca Kelten
    The beginning of the end

    The weather had in the last few weeks become increasingly worse. Fall was putting up its final struggle before finally giving up and allowing the cold winter to take over. While it had not yet snowed, the young woman was quite certain that should the temperature continue to decline as it had in the last few days, the cold fall rain would soon become pretty, white snowflakes, covering the streets, the roofs, bringing all the cold and frost which she hated so dearly. Having been raised in the darkest corners of the slums, winter had only ever brought her hardship, and this particular winter had not been any different. She had always been a loner, a single beggar and thief, fighting with the other children and sometimes grown men over maggot filled meat or old bread. It hadn’t been easy, but as a devoted Tymoran, she had always believed that sooner or later the coin would turn in her favour. And it had, twice in fact. First by the old Oghman, who had been so kind as to educate her. He had shown her a different approach to life, a path that didn’t include selling her body or stealing to survive. And then there had been the old retainer of Thond. The old charmer had given her work.
    Through him, through his teaching and guidance she had become a deadly gatherer of information. Her first mission had been to infiltrate the Bhaliiran mercenaries. They took her in, treated her as one of their own. Through Thyden and all the others she evolved from the educated cutpurse to an actual warrior. A quick study and smart wit could have taken her a long way in their ranks. It hadn’t taken her long before she had become the personal escort and protector of one of Lord Bhaliir’s retainers. And while the young beggar grew in strength, so did her attempts to gather information and passing it on to her new mentor. She would likely have gotten far if it hadn’t been for him, for Nathan Wayne. The young woman frowned deeply at the thought of the black knight who sold her out. Had it not been for the quick thinking of Kateb, she would still be a rotting corpse lying beaten within the house of dead. However, she had been given a second chance, and she had no attempts on wasting it. So she had moved on, on to become a real adventure, quickly earning a reputation as a pretty decent warrior. It had actually become such a big reputation that she had become Dean of the University in the Martial Arts department. And from here she had continued her covert efforts to fight evil by smart wit and clever plans. She had taught War wizards in martial arts, she had trained and supported some of the greatest warriors the adventuring population had seen She had even become Captain of the Green Dragons, the most notorious mercenaries in the region.

    The heavy clouds hid the moon as the young woman exited the city through its southern gate. She shuddered in her cloak and muttered a silent curse to the gods of Fury before making her way to the crater of what had once been the Bresk Mansion. The smoke from the ruins reached her nose long before she could actually see the rubble of what had become a burial site of her friends. She drew the small slip the Bar keeper had handed her in the Pride, let the blue light of her Tymoran ring shine upon it as she read it once more, making sure she hadn’t misunderstood the place of the meeting. “Come alone to the site of the once proud noble house” it had said. It had been signed with a crude drawing of a moon and a harp. She thought back to when she had first seen this mystic symbol, on the amulet of Thaegen, the elven friend who now laid buried deep beneath the rubble, giving the ultimate sacrifice to preserve what he had fought so long to protect.
    The young woman entered the Estate grounds, one hand firmly placed on the hilt of her sword while her eyes constantly searched for even the smallest hint of a setup. But she was alone. Relaxing her hand a bit, she chuckled quietly, thinking that if she was to be assassinated, the fools would be out of their minds if they choose a lousy weather as this to do it in. As she reached what had once been the gates, she stopped and took a glance at the place which had claimed so many brave souls. The bastard devil had with one swift swoop taken the entire team of goodly souls willing to protect the city with it to its grave. Only she, her sister in faith Cordova and Lilyis were left. Everyone else had died, protecting the world from the Bresk demon.
    Her trail of thoughts was quickly interrupted as she suddenly felt someone standing right next to her. Where had he come from? Had he been there all along? If not, he must have been one hell of a stealth expert. “One should never mourn those who give the ultimate sacrifice” the mystical man said, seemingly more to himself than to woman at his side. His voice was deep, and carried with it a wisdom which couldn’t easily have been granted to such a young person. Dressed in elven stealth equipment and an adamantine chainmail, the man spoke with an accent she couldn’t quite place. It carried a slight trace of the bedine from the desert, something you didn’t hear often in the caravan city. After a few moments of silence the man slowly turned his head to face the young woman. “I am here to give you a chance to walk in the footsteps of the people who now lay buried here” he said. Rebecca Kelten knew then and there that her life would never be the same again.

    Harpers at work

    “Rebecca Kelten started as the only living member left within the Arabellan cell. Though the mystic man still came around occasionally, he spend most of his time outside the city. And so it was up to the young woman to gather a crew for her self, a crew of individuals willing to give up their lives in the pursuit of good. She found a likeminded soul in her good friend and ally Cordova, and the two quickly continued a long tradition of two man groups doing their parts in making the world a better place. Different as night and day, the two were inseparable, always on the move to seek adventure or rooting out evil to destroy. Cordova was a Tymoran bard and former retainer of Lord Deschurr, famed for her beautiful songs, deadly axe and quick temper. These two unlikely friends quickly became famed for taking insane risks in the name of their faith, and for always arguing and competing on everything from swordplay to who were the best looking of the two. In a time where goodly adventures were few, the two took it upon themselves to live up to the reputation of the Heroes of Bresk who had perished a few months earlier. They did all they could to fill the void that the heroes had left. Though Rebecca was clearly the better looking…”

    An empty mug of tea flew across the hiding place and hid Rebecca right between the eyes, knocking her out of her chair and slamming her into the floor. Mumbling a very impolite curse she brushed herself as she quickly got up, starring with an angry gaze at the blond woman who had thrown the cup. “What in the nine pits of hell was that for Blondie?” the dark haired woman said as she picked up her chair and once more sat down at the table next to the book she had been reading up. “Didn’t ya like it? You know we are only allowed to write the truth and still you pick a fight with me?” Rebecca said as the angry gaze turned into a smirk. “Oh the truth eh? We both know the pretty one is me, hells, even the Senior Magus said so last week. And you are making your journal sound more and more as if Wynn had written it, like a bad love story.” “Yeah? Well the Thayan pigs aren’t exactly known for telling the truth are they? And you know I write better than you do!” the dark haired woman replied, her smirk now even bigger than before. Cordova replied with a battle cry that could have scared goblins to death as she launched across the large stone table the two women had been sitting at, and a hefty brawl began.
    If it had not been for the wide smiles the two women had on their faces it would likely have looked as if they were actually trying to kill each other. After a few minutes of fighting, the two women stopped as quickly as they had started, the dark haired woman sitting next to the door, and the blond woman sitting on the edge of the table.
    After having caught their breath, they looked at each other, and began the dull routine of cleaning up after the heavy mess that had made. Then they went upstairs, strapped into their respective armors, the blond woman in a beautiful mithral chainshirt, and the dark haired woman in a silver, black and red half plate, which closely resembled having been made of actual bone. They proceeded to the door and ventured out into the Arabellan night, their stride both confident and disciplined. Greeting to by passers, they made their way through the Southern parts of the city towards the Arena. A magical sending had announced a fight between a paladin and a banite a few moments ago, and as the knight was a dear friend to the blond bard, the fight wasn’t one they had any intention of missing. Yet they were too late. The foolish night had challenged a rather powerful banite priest, and the fight had been over before it even began, as the priest used his dark blessings to make up for his lack of fighting skills. The few spectators who had come to witness the duel left as the banite priest began unstrapping the paladins’ belongings, claiming his victory. The two women looked at each other, and no words were needed; the priest would never make it out of the slums with their friends’ equipment that was certain. Cordova left the scene quickly, venturing out into the narrow maze of houses which were known as the slums. Rebecca waited until all had left, and then followed the priest no more than 20 steps behind. Rebecca could feel the adrenalin pumping as it always did before a kill. Though she had always believed that killing was wrong, she had also learned that sometimes a Harper cannot win a war if he is not prepared to shed some blood.
    Waiting for Cordova to strike, Rebecca followed the priest, her long cloak covering her hands and arms as they began removing the fake peace knob she was required by law to have on her weapons. But she didn’t have to wait long. Cordova came out of the shadows with a furry not many foes had survived in the past. The priest, suddenly understanding the situation he was in, tried desperately to draw his weapon, though slowly beginning to understand that it wouldn’t matter much. As he finally drew his Morningstar, a well placed thrown dagger from Rebecca ensured that no Tymoran blood would be spilled on this night. Cordova began to gather the belongings and body of her dead friend, while Rebecca placed a firm hand under each of the priests’ arms and dragged him to the sewer grate. With a slight moan, she kicked him into the slimy, stinky sewers, removing any evidence of what had occurred, while Cordova disappeared into the shadows of the slums.
    Rebecca followed the body down, made a quick search for any valuable magical items, placed them in a bag along with the gold pouch, and then ventured deeper into the sewers, following the trail she had become so use to in the last few months, as she escaped yet another crime the two had committed.

  • As Celdor arrived outside the garrison he saw Senior Retainer De’syr step out of the shadows and nod to him briefly. He returned the nod curtly and wondered whether inside she was as angry as he was, yet the two did not exchange words. It would not to do to speak freely out here, nor to let their emotions show. With a soft clatter of metal on stone, Laird Stoneguard of the Iron Anvil arrived flanked by two of his men, clad from head to toe in their clan colours. With the visors down on their helmets Celdor could barely distinguish between them, to him they were as three metal rocks, solid and unyielding. ‘Thanks for coming Karl, lads.’ Bluebeard took off his helm and nodded stoically. He gestured for his men-at-arms to await him outside.

    As the three entered the garrison War Wizard Keridon was waiting for them and ushered them into a back room. There they saw Retainer Carpenter of Thond, sat quietly in a chair surrounded by militia and purple dragons. Lionar Bryant leant across the table toward her, glancing up as the group approached. ‘Ah, the rest of this little conspiracy, so nice of you to join us. Take a seat, all of you.’ Nayah smiled to Celdor as she caught his gaze and he returned the smile. They had been through tougher ordeals than this together and would go through tougher yet. ‘May I remind you all, that withholding information from peace officials is a treasonable offence, particularly when it concerns something as serious as this!’ Bryant bellowed across the room, his face reddening. He held up a thick file, with two words written on the front in Carpenter’s writing, ‘Grey Circle’.

    The four civilians looked at each other. Celdor was the first to speak. ‘Lionar Bryant, war wizards.’ he nodded to each in turn, ‘as it seems you have discovered most astutely, a group of … concerned citizens …’ he gestured to his colleagues, ‘has been undertaking a private investigation of a certain group, the fruits of which you currently hold in your hand. Naturally, being loyal and dedicated servants of the crown, like yourselves, we fully intended to pass the knowledge we gleaned through our undertakings to you, but we would not want to pass on, ah… unvalidated facts that may have misled you in your investigation, and hence the delay.’

    Lionar Bryant circled the table slowly and leaned over toward Celdor, ‘Do you expect me to believe that, Celdor? I thought you were a better man than this, after we fought together against the Lurker, against Etheldrek. And now you skulk around like a common thief, do you believe yourself above the law?’ The dwarf Stoneguard cleared his throat pointedly, cutting off the guard. He spoke deliberately and with great authority, ‘I’m sure I speak for all concerned here in saying that no disrespect was meant against the Crown. As you know, the Iron Anvil has always stood alongside the city and will continue to do so, in this matter as with all others. If what we’ve found here is true, it looks like this group of bandits pose a real threat, and we’ll all need to stand together again. Let’s none of us say anything we’re going to regret.’

    Bryant’s face seemed to relax a little and he breathed more steadily, ‘Karl, the city appreciates your kin’s contribution to its well-being and will always be welcome,’ he glanced to the three elves, Ky’ra, Celdor and Nayah, ‘perhaps more so than some others’. Ky’ra smirked, Celdor and Nayah sat impassive. ‘Now, I’m a forgiving man, but I have my limits. I consider all of you friends and allies, but I cannot brook insubordination, and I cannot tolerate non-disclosure of information relevant to the security of the crown. From now on, we work together against this threat, understood?’ He gestured to War Wizard Keridon who stepped forward holding a thick tome.

    ‘This represents our current state of knowledge on the organization known as the Grey Circle, overlapping your own in many respects. Consider it a gesture of good will.’ He handed the file to Nayah who accepted it with a smile. The war wizard continued, ‘Cross-referencing the information contained in your file with your own, we believe we have located four Grey Circle camps surrounding the city. From these camps, they lay siege to the trade-routes, possibly in an attempt to starve the city of supplies. So far, enough caravans continue to make it through to keep the shortages tolerable, but we cannot rely on this continuing indefinitely. Therefore it is imperative that these camps are eliminated urgently. We propose that joint operations between your relative organizations and the Crown be initiated promptly to do so.’

    ‘Naturally, House Deschurr will be at the forefront of any battle for the good of Arabel. Always.’ Senior Retainer De’syr spoke in velvet, confident tones. ‘Such was always our intention.’ She smiled a winning smile to Lionar Bryant. He held her gaze for a moment. ‘Good. Then it is settled. Let’s forget this ever happened, and give these Grey Circle bastards a thrashing they won’t recover from in a hurry.’

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