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A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen)

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Honey, sorrowful and subdued by failure, flies unsteadily back to perch on Sunrise's free shoulder.

<Soon. I will tell you when to run.>
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It's okay, baby, Sunrise tells her silently. Thank you for trying.
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"Right.  Kitten in pocket"--he tucks the grey beast back in--"cats in bag"--he does his best to finagle Griffin's new friend and Thorn's beastie into the sack against all their instincts, wishes, and health protocols--"and arrow-catcher ready!"  With this last declaration, he produces an old wooden shield from his rucksack and straps it to his left arm.  (The cat sack is briefly gripped with his chin to allow this maneuver.)

Prepared as best he can be for a battle he hopes not to have, Jarek nods to the others.  "Just say the word and I'll lead the charge."
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<Run. NOW.>

The command is a harsh shout in Sunrise's mind. "Go go go!" she shouts, crowding behind Glen as he flings open the door...

...and darkness, thick as soup and impenetrable by any of their eyes, crowds into the small apartment. The darkness is like a tangible thing, slurping into every corner and covering Thorn's candle, which sheds not even a glimmer of light.

They are effectively blind. Outside, the sounds of pitched battle reach them as if from a great distance.
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Glen, without hesitation, quickly taps on his sun-touched ring, and it flares brilliantly to life, casting a cone of light through the darkness fifteen feet ahead. He does a sweep, casting the light around the door, down to the dead end and around them. They see no enemies.

"Follow me. Stay close." He draws his bow and waits for the person behind him to bump up against him before he turns out the door and makes his way towards the sounds of battle, and the carriage.

He readies to fire at any enemy he sees.
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Being suddenly blinded sends a thrill of panic through Jarek, and the sudden flare of light is no less startling, even if it is a relief to have a glimpse of their surroundings.  At Glen's words, he nearly charges  with a bellowing roar--but he'll do none of them any good if he runs out directly onto someone's sword.

(Or a bunch of javelins, his memory of death reminds him in the back of his mind.)

"With you," Jarek bites out, in a deeper, harsher tone as he steps up behind Glen, shield high against stray arrow.  He begins to repeat the mantras silently, the ones his grandmother etched into him, words to turn a man into a weapon.  Rushing river, heartless storm, raging fire--not yet, not yet, the fury is desperate for a target but he will hold the leash until the last second...

Jarek readies himself to enter a rage if he perceives an imminent attack targeting him.
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207 Re: A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:06 pm

Thorn stifles a little hiss of panic, instantly quieting when one of the babies wails. "Shhh, shhh. We have to go, it's alright, it's alright," he whispers automatically to the squirming bundle, hurrying after the light. Even in the darkness it's possible to feel fear rolling from him, intensely aware that if anything out there is aiming an arrow using hearing as a guide, the babies are the loudest thing in the dark alleyway.
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208 Re: A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:11 pm

"I'm right behind you," Sunrise says softly. "Just run. We'll deal with any trouble."

She runs after Thorn, intending to make more noise to give him cover, but between the unwieldy man on her back and the suffocating darkness she barely needs to try; her progress is clumsy and noisy. She peers into the darkness anyway, as if trying hard enough would reveal threats.
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209 Re: A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:27 pm

The darkness is absolute around them, with only the little beam of light and the sounds of battle drawing closer to convince them they're making progress. They might almost believe they could make it out of the alley unbothered when three tieflings surge from the shadows before them. One carries a wicked curved knife as long as his forearm while his companion holds a dagger in each hand, poised to throw. The third, a woman with warm brown skin and dark horns, carries a long staff with a knob the size of a man's fist at the end. They pause at the edge of the light, not liking the look of Glen's nocked arrow.

["That's the one, the green one!"]

["Boss wants her and the babies alive!"]

["What about the others?"]

["Too dangerous. Put them down."]

This much passes between them in rapid discussion before a decision is made and the man with the knife hurls himself towards Jarek as the other raises a dagger to throw.
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210 Re: A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:41 pm

As soon as the tiefling with the curved knife steps into the light, Glen lets his arrow fly at it.

1d20+7= 26 to hit
1d8+5= 8 damage
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211 Re: A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:44 pm

The arrow strikes true, tearing flesh and clothing as it embeds in the man's torso, but does not stop him as he continues to run for Jarek.

[OOC: Jarek, your held action now, please.]
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212 Re: A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:56 pm

The metaphorical leash slips from Jarek's hand with an eagerness that unsettles him--but that discomfort is well hidden underneath the tide of ancestral fury.  In Orcish, he roars at his assailant: "THE TIDE WILL BREAK YOU!"
Jarek enters barbarian rage and will kill anyone who harms his kitten.
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213 Re: A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:15 pm

Sunrise waits, choosing her moment. Then her eyes flash gold; just as the man raises a knife to throw, the earth rumbles beneath him, hopefully enough to throw him off-balance.

At the same time she shouts, ["We're here to protect them! Stand down, or be considered a threat!"]

(Ooc: IF THE DM WILL ALLOW, that is a 16 Persuasion)
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214 Re: A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:27 pm

The charging man doesn't slow at either intimidation or persuasion; momentum and single minded purpose carry him forward. The one holding the staff similarly doesn't falter, stepping forward with narrowed eyes at Sunrise's shout.

It is the one with the dagger raised, the one who feels the earth move as he aims and who sees the ogre lunge forward to meet his comrade, who loses his nerve. Turning on his heel, he moves to flee into the darkness, shouting something unintelligible over the sounds of battle to the other two.
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215 Re: A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:32 pm

In one swift, fluid motion, Glen reaches into his quiver, pulls out an arrow, nocks it, and draws the bowstring back. His eyes burn with hatred as he sees them advancing towards his friends with weapons drawn, standing between them and safety for Thorn and the babies. Jarek’s roar fills him with determination, even if he doesn't know orcish. He takes aim at the tiefling with the staff, and fires.
To hit 24
Damage 8
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216 Re: A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:06 am

Shield in one hand and cats in the other, Jarek takes three steps toward his attacker.  The first two steps close the distance--the third is a lunging kick aimed at Knifey's gut.
Unarmed attack: d20 +3str = 18 to hit
1 +3str +2rage = 6 bludgeoning damage
In other circumstances, Jarek would circle around his foe to flank them, but right now his job is to be a wall between them and Thorn, and he's only moving when the enemy retreats.

"You call that a knife?" he growls in Common.
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217 Re: A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:35 am

Sunrise continues to move forward until she runs into Thorn. "Keep going," she says firmly. "Getting you out of here safely is the top priority."
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218 Re: A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:52 pm

Glen's arrow strikes true, lodging in the staff-wielder's shoulder. She yelps in pain and stumbles back, disappearing for a moment in the wider darkness.

Jarek's hit is good and doubles the man over in agony. He crumples to the ground but isn't quite done for the day; hissing, he weakly slashes his weapon at Jarek's leg. However, the thrust has almost no force behind it (distracted as the man is by the pain in his stomach and the arrow still sticking out of him) and Jarek is able to easily parry the blow with his shield.

"But I can't see," Thorn protests to Sunrise. "What if we run straight into a sword?"

He's hardly finished speaking when the darkness dissolves around them. The woman with a staff leans against the wall, having just yanked the arrow out of her shoulder. Healing light spills from her fingers into the wound, but the intense pain of removing the missile must have broken her concentration.

They can now see their way to the end of the alley, where a black armored carriage has parked and entirely blocks any way in or out of the narrow street. The man who fled after Sunrise yelled at him can be glimpsed running up a flimsy staircase to an apartment door on the second floor. The alley is otherwise clear of attackers, save for the two already engaged in battle with them.

[OOC: Sunrise, you're up with a held action.]
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Sunrise glares at the woman with her staff. Voice suddenly resonant, the snarling sounds of Infernal come from her again. ["I told you, go away!"]

(Ooc: Dissonant Whispers. She takes 10 points of psychic damage and is hit with the sudden urge to get as far away from Sunrise as she can.)

Sticking close to Thorn, she shrugs to readjust the man on her shoulders then and shouts "Go, go, go!"
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Glen's eyes narrow as he watches the woman heal herself and the darkness dissipate. He touches the ring and the now-unnecessary light vanishes. He grabs another arrow from his quiver. He doesn't want the Dagger tiefling to bring more, but the caster could heal herself or the tiefling with the large knife. He nocks, draws, and fires the arrow at her again.

11 to hit
7 damage
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With his foe bent double, Jarek drops his elbow into Knifey's back.  In the back of his mind, he hopes that the man won't try to get back up, even if he can.  In the much more exuberant front of his mind, he relishes the sound of the blow, like throwing a ham against a wall.
Unarmed attack: d20 +3str = 22 to hit
1 +3str +2rage = 6 bludgeoning damage
As promised, Jarek shoves him aside with his foot and rushes onward, closing with the magician, eyes ablaze with blunt intent.
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The man collapses to the ground, unconscious and boneless as he rolls with the force of Jarek's shove. The woman, bleeding from another arrow wound and shaken by Sunrise's attack and Jarek's charge, falters and turns to run, racing for the stairs where the dagger-man disappeared into one of the apartments.

Thorn, still very frightened but at least able to see now, makes a direct dash for the carriage blocking the alley. "That's... yours... right?" he pants as they run.
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"Yes," she pants back.

Once they're at the carriage doors she brings Quivyll down from her shoulders, using her body to shield him as well as Thorn and the babies as the business of getting everyone inside is handled. "He needs a healer now," she calls to inside the carriage, glancing behind to see how Jarek and Glen are faring.
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The carriage door is opened by a man with one of the most gaunt faces Sunrise has ever seen; his cheekbones seem poised to leap off his face and wrestle someone to the ground. His clothes are effortlessly rich, black edged in red, and clerical in style. Despite the loud sounds of battle around them--what is going on out on the main thoroughfare?--he seems almost annoyingly calm.

"Yes, I can see that," he says. His thin, papery fingers look more suited for scribing scholarly tomes than lifting wounded men, but he pulls Quivyll into the roomy carriage and lays him out easily on the floor. "Get in," he orders curtly. "I can't put up the shield until everyone is inside." Thorn does not hesitate for a moment, scrambling inside with his babies tucked close to his chest. He takes a seat on one of the two available benches and makes himself small and quiet. Honey perches next to him, helpfully petting Xilo as he wails.

Sunrise feels pain tearing through her shoulder, then the wet sticky sensation of blood. Whirling, she can see the archer on the roof of the apartments, already reaching for another arrow to loose. (11 damage.)

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Her gold eyes flash bright again and she snarls, spitting incomprehensible words at the top of her lungs. The archer bursts into flames.

(Ooc: Sunrise is showing her low-class roots; for anyone who speaks Infernal, she is cursing like a dock worker. Hellish Rebuke: the archer needs to make a Dexterity check, DC 14. If he fails, he takes 16 fire damage; if he succeeds, he takes 8.)
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