Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ossa

Sunday, June 8, 1650

This being Sunday, there are no Greeks upon the road, and the party makes good time towards Ossa; the road north winds around the south edge of the mountain, and by the time the party must stop for the heat of the afternoon they have reached the village. It is very little to speak of, much like the other villages I’ve mentioned - these are not towns, merely little settlements.

Looking up, it is possible to see that Mt. Ossa still has a bit of snow on it, at the very top. The village of Ossa is quiet, the residents inside and waiting for sunset (the end of sabbath) - there are no moslem villagers. There’s no one to ask for directions, but there is a road past Ossa, and a small sign that says ‘Spilia’.

Not long after the party stops for the heat, they hear the body of soldiers moving along the road towards Ossa - the sound of armor and feet approaching. The soldiers will catch up to the party quite soon, and will march through Ossa, on their way to Spilia. An exact count indicates there are thirty-four of them.

67 comments:

Nasira said...

Whispering, "those are probably the guards that the rebels spoke of; maybe an additionl or a replacement force?"

Symeon Kokolas said...

(apologies; my post didn't stick and I didn't reload the page to confirm it was there. I will repeat it.)

"Agreed. The question is, should we follow them, or wait between the towns? If we follow the soldiers now, we might end up in the middle of a fight. If we stay and wait, we could miss them. I think we should stay and watch the village. What do you think?"

Nasira said...

"Relius and his men will be here by the third day, probably. It is the rebels that we want to talk to so it stands that we should wait, keeping an eye on the village. We should also stay out of sight, after all we don't need to have villagers talking about us. I hope that Relius is a reasonable person. Let us wait."

Alexis said...

Where would you wish to wait?

Symeon Kokolas said...

Upslope of Ossa, hopefully somewhere we can watch the path between Ossa and Spilia.

Alexis said...

No trouble, if Nasira agrees. You can find a rocky site overlooking the road and well concealed ... and a place to rest through the heat of the afternoon.

Nasira said...

Sounds perfect.

Alexis said...

About two hours before the sun sets, a group of men who are definitely not soldiers, appear on the road, going up the mountain. They are carrying a mixture of heavy-looking scimitars (tulwars), jagged knives and the sorts of hooks used for baling hay. The group is dressed as peasant Greeks, caps, short woolen jackets, neckscarves, and short leggings. They pass by, below you, silent as thought.

Nasira said...

How many are there of them and can we discern a leader?

Alexis said...

There are, you are fairly certain, 23 of them. The very last four come three minutes after the main body, one of them being enormously heavy - more than three hundred pounds, although only perhaps 5'8" tall.

No leader can be discerned, as none speak nor give any signals.

Nasira said...

Whispering "Hmm, do we have some facts backwards? I thought the fat one was already up there."

Nasira said...

Still whispering, "Actually, by the numbers this group might be part of the other, officially dressed bunch. Are we still waiting for the rebels to come?

Symeon Kokolas said...

"Something doesn't feel right about this group... let's follow them. The large man could be the spellcaster they talked about, or I could have misheard them. I think it's time we got closer to whatever is going to happen, or we could miss our chance."

Nasira said...

"Okay. Let's follow at a distance but not so far as to lose them."

Alexis said...

Presuming the party is not so foolish to drop onto the road, you make your way along the hill, keeping the last of the group in sight.

The journey takes about an hour altogether; it is full dark by this time, so you cannot be too far away ... the full moon was only two days ago, so you can follow them with that light, as the moon rises.

At that time, the village of Spilia is within sight; it is nestled deep in a ravine, so the party - and the men below - are no more than fifty yards from the nearest house.

The men stop to gather, to lighten their loads, dropping packs and bags in a pile next to the road.

Symeon Kokolas said...

whispering "They are preparing to fight. We can earn their trust by offering aid, though they will be suspicious. Would you rather approach them now, or after?"

Nasira said...

"I am not sure if I would like to join up with rebels, if that is what they are, unless their cause was truly noble. We know nothing about them - except that they are seedy looking. Personally I am more interested in staying just in the background."

Alexis said...

(OOC: Not a bad policy, since in Religious wars, other religious persons are often killed before spoken to)

Symeon Kokolas said...

"That seems the most prudent course of action. Let us observe and try to remain unnoticed."

Alexis said...

As you both watch, the men, weapons drawn, walk into the village, behind the buildings and out of sight. The large fellow is the last one to disappear.

Time passes. There's no sound that anything happens.

Nasira said...

I am up for watching a bit longer. Is there a guard on the packs and bags?

Alexis said...

No, no guard.

At once there is the sound of yelling, and weapons ... and soon after, screaming. It sounds as though there are a hundred voices - and you see a flash of light, and a single scream of a dozen men.

After only a minute, several of the village windows will show a glare of candlelight, as members of the village awake.

Nasira said...

Nasira will carefully approach the sounds of fighting and will try to ascertain the fate or situation of the large, round person. She will prepare the spell Sleep, in case of emergency.

Alexis said...

Nasira will find herself at the start of the street; several other persons have slipped out of their front doors, to have a look - all in the same direction, to some unidentified place further up the slope from the village. Nasira cannot see anything; and the village is not very large, only about 8 square adobe houses.

Shouting and yells, the sounds of men dying, more flashes of light ... a dim glow in the direction of the sound that might be caused by torches - that is all that Nasira can know. The sounds are at least a hundred yards distant, perhaps further.

Nasira said...

Nasira will continue to approach the sounds of fighting, less slowly but still carefully.

Alexis said...

She will see something small and dark, no more than four feet high, cross the road at the other end of the village, from left to right. It will disappear behind the furthest house.

Nasira said...

In either of the groups of potential combatants, did we see people this small? I will be careful again but continue to approach.

Alexis said...

It's been night, it's dark ... you couldn't possibly account for every possible participant.

You can reach the far side of the village - at that point the sound of the battle has begun to diminish.

And at this point I have to describe something that only Symeon can see, and only Symeon can react to:

Something is moving up the slope towards Symeon's right - breathing heavily but making tiny, desperate sounds of fear.

Symeon Kokolas said...

"Over here!" I hiss, still somewhat shocked at the sounds of carnage. I will wave in my direction to reinforce the request.

Can I still see Nasira?

Nasira said...

If I notice Symeon I will freeze and quietly pay attention. I will stay with him.

Symeon Kokolas said...

I'm trying to get the thing's attention, so I'm directing my action at whatever it is while trying to keep an eye out for Nasira.

Alexis said...

The moment Symeon makes any noise at all, whoever is moving stops, and then immediately begins moving away - in this case, up the steep slope and bare rock. Having attempted to get the thing’s attention, you’ve frightened it.

Nasira, at the moment, you don’t know where Symeon is.

Symeon, at the moment, you don’t know where Nasira is.

Neither of you can get the other person’s attention, since Nasira is down in the village and between buildings, while Symeon is still up the slope and in the trees.

Nasira said...

Nasira will continue on, slowly and carefully, occasionally looking back.

Alexis said...

Nasira,

Towards the fight, I presume.

The sounds of battle have quickly fallen off. As Nasira comes to a place where she can see into a wide ravine, there are bodies everywhere ... including, it would appear, the large body of the fat fellow who was coming up the trail. It is the Greeks who have been successful. Several of them are moving about the bodies, making sure they are dead. The ravine is clear of obstructions - but it is evident from the dead that it was the ravine that was being defended.

Symeon Kokolas said...

Having scared off whatever it was, I will instead go and look for Nasira, as quietly as I can.

Nasira said...

I will continue to watch staying hidden. I want to be able to see in all directions. Do I see the bodies of the pack of Turkish soldiers? How many Greek combatants do I see, any leaders?

Alexis said...

About ten Greeks left alive. Impossible to tell which are leaders and which are not. Many of the bodies are Turkish soldiers, but if they are the same soldiers you saw on the road yesterday - that you cannot be sure of.

Suddenly you will hear a very loud shout. "WHERE IS IT!" rises the cry.

A large man, mustachioed, in a dark silk shirt and wearing a short leather jacket, appears carrying an open box appears in the ravine, lit by the moonlight. He shakes the box, which is empty, and then hurls it among the bodies. "It's not here!" he shouts.

"Someone must have escaped with it!"

"FIND HIM THEN!" roars the large man. Immediately, the others fan out, rushing into the edges of the clearing ... one is moving to within five feet of Nasira.

Distantly, Symeon will hear the sounds of the fighting end - followed by the distinct shouting of one man; but without any certainty about what was said.

Symeon Kokolas said...

I will continue looking for Nasira, heading in the direction of the shout. I am trying to move quietly and keep to the shadows.

Nasira said...

Nasira will cast the cantrip Groan to cause a loud groan to emit from a nearby bush or structure, in order to attract the coming man's attention away from me. I will continue to hide and wait for him to pass, watching him carefully.

Alexis said...

Symeon will drop down towards the village (in the direction of the shout). He sees nothing at present.

Nasira's ploy works - to some degree. As she can only throw the cantrip as far as 10' (range on all cantrips), the man moving towards her hears the groan and turns to investigate - shouting out, "There's someone here!" ... which will in turn bring half the searchers immediately to the general part of the trees where Nasira is.

They will quite probably discover her in a matter of seconds.

Nasira said...

Nasira will stand up and ask in her boldest voice, "Can I help you gentlemen find something?"

Alexis said...

(OOC: omg.

Eleven battle raged passionate Greeks have just slaughtered upwards of forty muslim soldiers, only to get enraged further by having something go missing which they expected to find, some kind of object - which was established that they were looking for on the shore two days ago. And now a muslim woman stands, refers to them 'superciliously' as 'gentlemen,' as though she were not just hiding in the bushes watching them.

This is fairly predictable)

The leader will advance upon Nasira, shouting, "WHERE IS IT?"

Nasira said...

(OOC - I didn't sense a lot of options so I figured shock value might be the best way to go.)

I did not intend disrespect in my tone but something akin to comradery.

"That crass fatso must have dropped it off back at the village. We had hoped to relieve him of it before now but lost track of him. I only just caught up to him but didn't have time enough to get close. I was sure he had it. Might I see the body?"

(OOC - do the tags work?)

Alexis said...

They all look baffled.

"What?" asks the leader.

Symeon Kokolas said...

(way to stump them :) )

Let me know when I would be close enough to see/hear anything and I'll do what I can to help.

Nasira said...

"Oh, I am sorry. We haven't been introduced. I'm Nasira of Larisa. My clan and I have been following that fat caster, or "Lemming" as we called him, for a short while now. But now he's dead, and I presume you have checked the body. Perhaps we could all work together before some fool skirts it away?"

Alexis said...

(OOC: I know that Nasira is trying to create a plausible lie ... but these are not fools)

The strongest fellow, the mustachiod leader, will say, "Grab her."

Four men will attempt to grapple. Would Nasira like to roll initiative.

Nasira said...

I will not struggle. "Eh-hem, perhaps I haven't made myself clear, captain. I am not here alone. Indeed, members of my clan, or should I say guild, have taken up positions on this side of the ravine. The plan was that no one would escape your fight. Although a few of us were late. Indeed your leutenant here must have heard him Groan when he fell out of that tree (pointing.)

Alexis said...

The four men will grip you tightly, two on each arm. The leader will reach forward, and rip away the cloth from your hair and face, and slap you to stop you from speaking further. You get as far as "... or should I say--" before he cuts you off.

"And what is the real name of this one you call Lemming?" he will ask, not too kindly.

Nasira said...

Supressing the bitterness of being uncovered, "I am no Turk! Most of us can't even pronounce their names. Lemming was much easier and more accurate."

Alexis said...

(This is not a very believable explanation, as Turkish names are not particularly difficult to pronounce)

"No, you are no Turk," says the leader, noting that Nasira is an elf. "I think we will not kill you. Bind her and we will interrogate her later!"

The men quickly tie Nasira's arms and legs, and gag her. Though she cannot see it, one of the men, the one who was first moving in the direction of Nasira, will move towards the tree where he did hear a thump, and will momentarily search around, puzzled - but it is of no consequence.

Symeon - you have come close enough to see the men begin to bind Nasira's arms and legs, rather nastily as it happens. Whatever Symeon might do, or might wish to do, is summarily cut off when you feel a massive hand seize you by the back of your clothes, and pull you bodily into the doorway of the nearest building. You’re pushed against the wall by a man who is utterly massive - at least six feet nine inches tall, and over three hundred pounds of solid muscle. He puts his finger over his lips to indicate that you should be quiet, and looks out the window - the window which is more than six feet above the floor.

It is a small house, only ten feet by fifteen, with naught but a bed, a table, a chair, and a few furnishings. There’s no light except that which comes in by the window. A candle on the table is unlit.

The large man makes a sign at you - as an assassin, you recognize that he is asking you if you are a Christian.

You may reply, using very simple, similar signs, which indicate one concept (and please, make it a very simple concept), if you wish … for the moment, that would be the only silent way for you to obtain information.

Symeon Kokolas said...

I will reply in kind, showing the sign of the fish (presumably, or whatever would be appropriate).

Nasira said...

"But-oof...gak...umph...rrrr!"

How hard are the knots?

Alexis said...

Nasira,

Hard. You're not strong enough to free yourself.

Symeon Kokolas said...

(to clarify, I want to indicate that I too am Christian)

Alexis said...

(OOC: Sorry fellows; posting this on all three threads. I'm sick and at home and sleeping most of the time. Just hit a wall, I guess)

Symeon Kokolas said...

(no worries; hope you're feeling better soon.)

Nasira said...

OOC: yes, do feel better soon.

Alexis said...

Symeon,

Outside, as the men move away from the village (taking Nasira with them, apparently), the tall fellow has a look out the window, and then speaks very gently to you:

“Are you with those men? Or are you hiding from them? Who are you?”

Symeon Kokolas said...

"I am Symeon of Alos. I am not with those men, but I do want to talk to them. They have taken my traveling companion. What can you tell me about them?"

Alexis said...

"Why do you wish to talk to them? What would you say?"

Symeon Kokolas said...

"I want to know if there is anything I can do to help take my country back. They seem the sort of men to know. Do you disagree?"

Alexis said...

"They are not the sort to take back the country, if I understand you correctly," says the man. "Which I take to mean the removal of our oppressors. These men fight for a cause that is something different than love for a land ... they have identified the means, and seek to gain it. We have done what we can to obscure it. But if you will insist on giving them aid ... I cannot let you leave this room alive."

Symeon Kokolas said...

"You are an honest man, that much is plain. Tell me what you know of them and what you mean by 'means'. You will have my word not to help them or your chance to kill me when you are done. If you must kill me, at least try to help my companion; she is not involved in this."

I will wait, at ease, for him to proceed. I will stay calm and focused on him, giving away not the slightest hint of a desire to flee. Of course, I plan to lie to him to escape if he is not convincing, so I'm not too concerned about a fight.

Alexis said...

He thinks for several moments. "You say they have taken your travelling companion. I think that is the first thing we should address. Then, if you are willing and able, we shall join my friends before the dawn."

He will open a standing cupboard, draw out a large cloth which he shall tie over his shoulder in order to make a sack that hangs at his side, and take up a maul, whose handle is six feet long.

"Do you have preparations you must make?" he will ask.

Symeon Kokolas said...

(repeat post, sorry if this is duplicated)

"I am ready."

Alexis said...

This thread (cougar) is continued on the next post. For the moment, I will be following Nasira's story, while Symeon and his new acquaintance - name of Aric - will prepare themselves to free Nasira.