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Turn 93 on to the keep

You finish up your breakfast, and ask and answer your questions, before packing up and preparing to return baldwin to his father. Heading out, you ride in a formation keeping close watch for any signs of bandits or other undesirables but find nothing. As you approach the keep, the bell tower sounds the alarm, and several armed guards rush out, happily surrounding you and escorting you to Lord Reynold. Lord Reynold ushers you all into his office, and a strange look passes over his features as he lays eyes upon his son. Not the sort of look you'd expect after being reunited with his own offspring, but then it's not YOUR child after all. Reynald speaks "Thank the Gods you have returned safely with the child. After you left, I discovered my advisor Antar was responsible for faking the ransom, and that he will be executed in the morning. He thanks you and again offers you payment of 500gp.

Gareth gently pushes the reward monies back towards Lord Reynolds. "We sought the safe return of your child because it was the proper choice, not for monies m'lord. I would speak with Antar and the rest of thy servants, however, to make sure this was not one member acting in collusion with others. Furthermore, as my party has been wearied sorely by this trek, I would ask shelter for us for a day or two to restore provisions, properly check our mounts, and allow much-needed rest."

"Antar is sch4eduled for execution, and may not have visitors. Shelter for 2 days will be provided and you may feel free to speak to any person not incarcerated.

Gareth nods respectfully. "Thank you for thy generousity, m'lord." The knight turns to leave, but turns again before taking two steps. "Might I inquire as to why Antar is not permitted to be questioned by a knight of King Arion's company? As the bandits are a blight upon all lands, not merely m'lord's, they become a concern to the crown. As ranking representative of the King in this area, it behooves me to speak with the villain. King Arion would be most curious about connections and movements of the brigand forces and their infiltration of his nobles. I am rather certain he would also be most curious about the reasons for denying him this information. Lord Reynold?"

King Arion would be most curious about connections and movements of the brigand forces and their infiltration of his nobles. I am rather certain he would also be most curious about the reasons for denying him this information. Lord Reynold?"

"Apparently I was misinformed of your mission which from what was reported to myself was to map the land. NOT to interfere in various governments and laws. The law here is and always HAS been quite clear. The guilty shall have NO visitors before their execution. If King Arion wishes to change a law he himself agreed to, then you should have brought that missive with you. Until then Sir...the law stands! Now leave me. I have business to attend to"

Vincas bows deeply before Lord Reynald as he backs from the room. He reaches out with a hand and tries to drag Gareth with him. "Of course my lord, we meant no disrespect. We only sought to protect you and your heirs from conspirators, but if you're certain Antar acted alone and you are at no further risk we will certainly leave. You see, we feel there may be more agents at play here, but if you're comfortable with the situation, we'll take our leave. Good day to you." Vincas will back from the chamber, an obviously forced smile on his face.

Never did we seek to interfere in government my lord, nor have we. There is a difference between a visitor and a questioner, just as there is one between visitor and jailor. My concern is for the many peoples of this land, in thy writ and beyond. The king cares for all and is responsible for all; sending this man's secrets to the grave without questioning subjects many people to unnecessary risks. I am sure my lord cares deeply for his people and has considered ..all.. aspects of the situation. We shall leave thee to thy business, lord Reynold; Pikahl's blessing watch over your people.

As soon as the party is outside the doors, Gareth turns to them and speaks softly. "Keldar, can you cover thyself and another with that invisibility to sight? If so, I would like you and another to follow the lord around and send us word if something strang happens. Reggie, Arilyn, and Jahl - how does a trek to the kitchens and such to speak with the servants of the keep sound? The keyhole ears often find out much more than one would expect. Wulfgar, Vincas - would the two of you come with me to speak with the guards, smithy, and especially this Antar if we can talk with him? Everyone else, roam the keep and keep eyes peeled. I want to stress that this is NOT a combat situation. All are simply to observe and report back to me, understood?"

"I will search around the keep and look for anything unusual. I wouldn't mine some company, since I don't like these cramped places anyway. Who wants to go for a stroll??"

Reggie's eyes light up, and without a second though, grabs hold of Arilyn's hand, and drags her off towards to kitchen shouting behind him for Jahl to keep up with him

Vincas listens to Gareths plan and nods. "I'd be happy to go. This is all too cut and dried for me. We should have a conversation with this Antar, and maybe a few words with the boy after he's spent time with his know, to find out if he notices anything odd. He didn't even bat an eye at the fact that I was here with the other newcomers. He's either very trusting or not at all interested in the trek you completed." Vincas frowns and rubs his chin. "You know, Keldar's probably our best bet to find out what's going on here. He's got a few tricks up his sleeve, as does Reggie. They can get around unnoticed and observe things if you catch my drift. Maybe we should allow him to go where he feels he'd learn the most. He's got good instincts on such matters. But I agree that he should observe Reynald for awhile, he just doesn't seem right."

As Lord Reynold offers the money, Jahl prepares to step forward but is cut short by Gareth's refusal. Jahl briefly scowls at Gareth as he watches the coins being quickly taken away. Resigned, Jahl silently follows along with the group. Jahl nods understanding as Gareth passes out orders. "Good Idea," Jahl agrees. "We'll try to find out as much as we can." "Alright Reggie and Arilyn, lets get go- Where?" Jahl looks down the hall to see Reggie nearly dragging Arilyn off to the kitchens. Chuckling, Jahl races to join them.

"Right, right, right..." Keldar moves into a large bunch of you, and casts his invisibility spell. "I'll track sir, what's his name around. Just drop something on the floor

Arilyn half-heartedly tries to pull her hand away from Reggie's hand. A smile crosses her lips and she begins to giggle. She thinks that Reggie could close his eyes and sniff his way to the kitchens. Her tummy begins to rumble and she starts to laugh uncontrollably. The previous days horrors disappear from her mind as she sees the determination and drooling look on Reggie's face. Like fish in the birds in the sand in the desert...what is more natural than Reggie in the kitchen. She waves back to Jahl, " is going to take the both of us to make sure Reggie controls himself." She pulls on Reggie's arm, "You will be good...Reggie...c'mon, promise me you will control yourself."

" I'll go with you, as long as you tell me what just happened? I'm pretty sure I just saw you all turn down five hundred Crownies.", Kay's voice deepens, "No thanks folks! Just returning your son was reward enough for us!". The warrior's tone returns to normal, "Good Lent, you guys aren't 'Heroes' are you? You know, the type who go around doing good for the sake of doing good? Not that I have anything against it, but are you for real?"

As Keldar begins casting, ominous thunderclouds roll across the sky. It begins pouring rain onto the party as soon as the spell is cast. Keldar turns invisible, but casts a shadow still.

The knight spreads his palms and stares upwards into the downpour in an unvoiced, "Why me?," and shakes his hear wearily for several moments. "Keldar, when thou- you... when you are casting, please remember that your magics can backfire and make things more complicated or painful for thy allies. Try to leave a little distance between us next time. Incidentally, before you follow your assignment, you need to dry off. The shadow you can still hide, but the trail of water might just give you away." Gareth motions to the others with him and walks away chuckling to himself about something... and chuckling... and chuckling - thought certainly not breaking down

The knight interrupts his chuckling for a moment. "There are those within this world, friend Kay, for whom a warm thanks or even the simple knowledge of aiding another, protecting another, doing a good deed simply because it wants doing, is more precious than any amount of cold coinage. We are not 'Heroes,' just fellow travellers that take our payment in self-respect and honour." The knight continues his chuckling walk away...

As the party organizes itself outside of Reynold's doors, Caoimhin seems lost in thought. At last he looks up and says, "It's not clear to me why we're investigating this. Surely, something here is not as it seems: but it is not our role to sort out all the squabbles in all the petty baronies. Somebody wants to eliminate the heir and take the throne for himself, and surely he's as much a villian as all the other barons. I say we..." He continues as Reggie leads Arilyn and Jahl to the kitchen, but trails off as Keldar casts his spell. He watches intently as Keldar casts, and raises an eyebrow. "Most peculiar," he mutters. A few moments pass, and he shakes his head as if waking. "Anyway. I say we put as much distance between ourselves and this place before we become enmeshed in a struggle of no interest to us." He looks around at the party, who are now all walking in different directions, and shrugs. "Or perhaps not." He jogs a bit to catch up with Gareth, and says to him, "I'd like a word with you in private, Gareth. Not now, but when we have a little time later." Caoimhin jogs back to Barbaxle and the rest of the aimless wanderers. He walks up alongside Kay. "Now, indeed, you're starting to get a feel for the party. Gareth is what you'd call a capital-H Hero. Our party is more or less under his leadership; much less so than an actual army --- not a one of us is a regular, and we're all free to go our own way when we choose. But as much as I have differences with him from time to time, I find myself agreeing with him more often than I might like." He smiles a little. "Sometimes it means we pass up a bit of a reward. But we've had no problems feeding ourselves, and we're well respected by all we meet. Even from my rather more mercenary standpoint, I see a certain wisdom in Gareth's decision: 500 crowns is not so much in the grand scheme, and it leaves the good Baron a little in our debt. But not so much that we're worth eliminating."

Vincas shudders at the mention of the reward. "I agree with you, I'd have kept it. But since I'm just recently a member of this team I decided not to interject my terror at the sight of all those coins being taken away."

A voice appears in an area beside you. "We wern't really turnin' that money down were we??? I thought you were just bargnin fer a better deal. Who's in charge uv the money here!"

Keldar mumbles and shakes the water off himself. You then watch his shadow dissappear into the shadow cast by the knight. "Well, with me shadow, I can let yas see where I am. My sneakin' should help me hide the shadow... or I can use it just ta scare em." "Ho ya, could some one get a courier ta run this to Durant fer me" A peice of folded Paper appears and floats to the floor. It is sealed and has `Durant' written on it. "I'll pay ya again, once I get me some monies. AND DON'T YA BE SNOOPIN'!"

Gareth nods his head in acknowledgment. "Certainly Caoimhin. I suspect everyone will be busy the rest of the daylight, but we should all remeet for supper. Perhaps directly afterwards? It would not hurt to check the horses a further time..."

Kay watches Gareth go by, "I see.". She looks up to the sky and then to the others, "Lets get out of this rain, chainmail chaffs like a sonnofab.", Kay quickly pauses, remembering where she is, and who's near."Lets just go somewhere dryer."

Kay responds to the Invisognome, "Returning the boy was reward enough, eh? And geez, could protocol allow the guy to be just a little happy to see his kid?

the clouds overhead split as well, and small clouds follow each group in the party. You suddenly realize it isnt raining anywhere but upon yourselves....and people in the keep are beginning to look at you oddly.

Kay looks to the clouds, "Er, guys? What's with the rain?". She spends a few moments trying to get away from the clouds..Sudden movement, fake to the left, and then the right! Kay notices the others staring back and forces a grin, "Strange weather, we're having here? Heh Heh."

Keldar cusses, then pops back into sight. He looks up, hoping the clouds vanish with his appearance.

Caoimhin frowns at the tiny rain cloud moistening his short hair. He pulls the orange kerchief out of his belt, and ties it around his head. "Well, as I have already said, I do not see why we wish to stay here. Especially now, since we have no chance of remaining inconspicuous. I have no specific destination in mind; we could just wander the keep --- an architectural tour, perhaps? Or we could go back to our quarters and see what interesting information we can find there." He smiles wistfully. "It's been so long since I've been on stage that I'm starting to lose lines, and perhaps whole parts. It's not enough, maybe, to just read the old tales to myself. I may need to stage a performance sometime soon." He looks around the hall. "Not here, though. This place has a feel too foul. I find I just want to leave this barony."

As Keldar reappears...nothing changes. "Wow... now I'm a village witch, cursin' people and all". Keldar will concentrate on dispelling the clouds.

As keldar speaks, the clouds overhead begin swirling, and twisting, causing high winds similiar to hurricane conditions.

"Anyone able ta dispell magics!!!! This is gettin' outta control, and I can't do nothin' to it!!!!!"

"So this all your fault?!", Kay shouts while try to keep herself from blowing away."You know, sometimes if you kill or knock out the spellcaster, the spell would disperse! Maybe one of us should try that? Huh?"

With a grim look of dispare Cole offers the only advice he knows to Keldar "No magic has worked properly since we began this mission and when I have tried I have been rained on by colored daisies turned blue and even rendered unconscious". Turning and taking a few steps away from the freak storm he mutters aloud "But every other time it wore off in an hour or so".
Cole sits on the ground and fumbles with a jet black stone he pulls from his pocket. With the other hand he attempts to brush his wet and matted hair as the gusts blow it back in his face.

"Was hopin' it was something that just you guys were sufferin'. Like some bad cheese or somethin', and I'd not bug me... We all gotta move outside this place, or we'll have the buildings blown ta bits. Need ta get into the middle'a nowhere and either hide in a cave or burrow or somethin'!!!"

"Hold there Reggie and Arilyn," Jahl calls out loudly as Gareth ponders what to do/where to go. Watching with interest, Jahl witnesses the magical circus as Keldar disappears and the rain and winds begin. Cursing in the sudden wetness, Jahl pulls up the hood of his cloak to at least keep his head dry. "Perhaps the use of magic should be curtailed a little, yes?" As the winds begin Jahl waves Reggie and Arilyn back to the group. Seeing that Reggie will not be detoured from his trip to the kitchen, Jahl races after to fetch them.

Turn 94