Grisly Eye Games

Black Griffin 38 - Quinn

In the ninth instalment of Black Griffin the party interrogate their prisoners, learn little of the mysterious Commonwealth and acquire a new comrade-in-arms...

This campaign diary taken from the in-character chat channel from session 38 of my ongoing playtest campaign, lightly polished and annotated.

Black Griffin is a play-by-chat game that runs every week on Roll20. The party are mercenaries in the employ of the infamous Company of the Black Griffin. Lowly even for sellswords, they have been placed on punishment duty as company fetches: bounty hunters charged with capture of deserters for trial.

Black Griffin Encampment Map Preview
Scene VIII: The Interrogation

When we last left our baleful bounty hunters they had just interrupted a cadre of Flock spies overturning Ba'Raknul's tent. Tense combat ensued and Orin was badly wounded, but the spies were subdued.

Then a mighty crash! While the party were waylaid by the spies, more of the camp defences were sabotaged. This time a wall falls, leaving the camp exposed to the dark trees of Friar's Wood.

After some rest, our fetches decided to interrogate the spies. They make their way to the wine cellar cum camp prison in the heavily-guarded, ruined manor house that Captain Larke has commandeered.

As the party make their way there, they see a nervous looking fetch waiting.

Quinn stands around 5'8” tall and is slight of build. He has a nose slightly too big for his face, thick overhanging eyebrows, and squinting brown eyes which are too close together.

A thin, almost lipless mouth sits above a weak, clean-shaven chin. Black, slightly greying hair protrudes from a dark hooded cloak that has seen better days. The cloak is little more than a bundle of leather offcuts held together by filth.

He shuffles nervously from one foot to the next.

Orin
looks behind themself to see what he’s looking at.
Ba'Raknul

approaches the fetch.

Yes?

Biron
glares at the fetch, standing beside Ba.
Quinn

turns to Ba'Raknul.

We been sent to look for Corporal Ba'Raknul, squire... If ya knows him or could direct, would be grateful some!

Biron
grumbles and takes a step forward...
Orin
snickers behind a sleeve.
Biron

You are?

rests his hand by his axe and stares down at him.

Quinn

doffs a non-existent cap and bows slightly.

The name’s Quinn sir. Quinn Wheatsteal. You be our Corporal?

Ba'Raknul

Looks Quinn over closely before pausing.

Keep up and we'll fill you in after we've talked to the prisoner. This is time sensitive.

He moves towards the prison.

Quinn

grins nervously.

Fill us in? What, like kill us?

Orin
Maybe.
Biron
grunts and moves along with Ba.
Ba'Raknul
Sorry for the brief intro, I am Corporal Ba’Raknul. Ba will suffice.
Quinn

grins at Ba.

A pleasure to be meetin' ya, squire.

Orin

tries on one of Biron's glares but can't keep a straight face.

They cover by turning to catch up with Ba.

Biron
whispering to Ba Don’t like ‘im.
Orin
You still don't like me.
Ba'Raknul
whispering back You don't like anyone.
Orin
See?
Biron
snorts and keeps moving.
Orin
starts to chuckle but ends up sucking their teeth and grabbing at their fresh wound.
Ba'Raknul

looks over his shoulder.

There is no need for formality with me. As long as you don't get us killed and do your job, you're good. Him on the other hand…

He flicks a thumb towards Biron.

…He'll take longer.

Orin
turns around and walks backward so they can look at the new fetch.
Quinn

looks over towards Biron.

Take longer to be good with, eh? Sure, I can win 'im over.

Biron
ignores the small pest.
Orin

rolls their eyes.

Sure.

They turn around and continue on toward the makeshift jail.

Quinn

looks towards Orin.

I ain't killed none, just up here trying to earn a crust. Man's gotta eat, good coin in war. Can earn a pretty crown or two.

Orin
sighs.
Quinn

shrugs.

What? You join for some noble cause or sommat? Can keep your causes in ya breeches. Can't eat high-minded ideals none!

Biron

rolls his eyes back to the group.

barks Get a move on, talk on your own time

Biron
growls.
Quinn
What's these prisoners done, then?
Orin
Ambushed Ba. He's sore.
Ba'Raknul

keeps the pace up.

They were in my tent. We need to know why.

The party, along with their new member, find themselves at Larke's digs. As they climb the steps, carefully treading over loose chunks of stone debris, to the grand entrance of the crumbling manor house, they find the way is blocked by two stern looking mercenaries. Judging from their scars and age, these are veteran members of Larke's elite guard.

The Soldier

sneers as he looks you up and down.

What do you bastards want?

Ba'Raknul

smiles.

Agata sent us to talk to the captives.

Quinn
scratches at his stubble with the filthy nails of his right hand.
The Soldier

laughs.

Ol' Aggie, huh? You must be fetches.

Biron
remains quiet and holds up straight, with his normal unamused expression.
The Soldier

turns to his comrade.

Ugly business, fetching. Not work for a true fighter!

Quinn
grumbles Man's gotta eat.
Ba'Raknul

smiles again.

And I suppose watching the rain is?

He chuckles as if laughing at his own joke, eyes on the soldier the whole time.

The soldier

growls.

Watch your mouth, fetch!

Quinn

grins.

Nah, they ain't just watching the rain none, Corporal. They be guarding against snow!

Biron

gives an angry sideways glance towards Quinn.

We're here to do a job. Can we get on with it.

Orin

You must be hungry, Quinn. You keep talking about it an awful lot. Here.

They reach into their pack and toss some ration crumbs his way.

They turn to the guard.

Whatever the job, it's all about how you end the day, isn't it?

They offer the guard their wineskin.

Quinn

scrabbles to catch the crumbs.

Be rude to turn down food some!

The soldiers each take swigs of the wineskin then begrudgingly raise their halberds and stand aside.

The Soldier
Straight the cellars, mind you! No exploring.
Orin
nods.
Biron
gives the guards and then Orin a single nod and walks in with Ba.
Ba'Raknul

nods and smiles again.

Thank you very much.

He heads on past toward the cellars.

Quinn

leans in to Orin, grinning.

Can't help finking those boys just called us thieves. Never been so offended.

He tries to keep up with Ba.

Orin
narrows their eyes at Quinn before turning away.

The atmosphere inside the manor house is very different to the camp. The constant din of mercenaries doing their favourite thing, grumbling and complaining, dies out here. Servants bustle past you. The walls are adorned with paintings and tapestries, only some of which have been vandalised.

Quinn

looks around him whilst absently scratching at his crotch.

Oh, very la-di-da. How the other 'alf live, eh? Reckon those paintings be worth a pretty crown.

Biron

snarls.

Touch them and lose your hands.

In one room you spy several lieutenants sitting at a large table, heavy with fruits and wine bottles. At its head sits Vins, telling some bawdy tale. They don't even notice you pass as you take the stone steps into the cellar.

Down in the cellar it is very cold, and very dark.

Quinn

snorts.

Just appreciatin' the art. Love a bit-o-paintin', me.

Shattered glass litters the floor, and grim men and women are chained to the low walls. The group are greeted by a grey-looking man, stooped and carrying an array of knives.

Biron
stops and picks up a handful of shattered glass and keeps it in his hand.
Ba'Raknul

stops before they go in and turns to Quinn.

Listen, this is serious. We need not to be giving things away or letting the captives think we're disorganised. Don't speak out of turn please, while we are here.

Quinn
nods at Ba and looks sternly at the knives.
Biron
turns and eyeballs the new one silently. He grunts and turns away to follow Ba.
Orin
chokes on the dungeon stench. They cover their mouth and peer closely at each person chained to the wall.
Ba'Raknul

moves to the grey man.

Okay.. You know who I am?

Grey Man
nods sullenly. What you want?
Ba'Raknul
We're here to talk to the captives.
Orin
Agata's orders.

The man nods and leads you through a passage to another wine cellar, this one quieter than the last. Lit by a single torch sit three mercenaries chained to the walls: a lean looking woman, a young man, and an older man with streaks of grey in his long black hair and black beard.

Grey Man
These are Privates Wren and Lucas, and Corporal Eggard.
Biron

grunts to Ba.

Let me have the woman.

With that, the grey man walks off, leaving you to your business with nary a word.

Orin

quickly steps in front of Biron.

We're just here to talk... for now.

Ba'Raknul

whispers at them.

I have a plan. Just threats.

Quinn

raises an eyebrow.

‘For now’?

Biron
stares at Orin and then just pushes them aside.
Orin
raises an eyebrow at Ba.
Wren

turns to her compatriots.

Say nothing! Leave the talking to me.

Biron
looks at Ba, irritated, but backs off.

Private Wren bears the muscular physique of a heavy swordsman.

Orin
Wren, eh? Not your real name, is it?
Wren
Whose name would it be?
Ba'Raknul

walks in and announces to the room.

Look, this goes one of two ways: either he talks to you…

He motions to the large Biron holding a handful of glass.

…or they do.

He motions to Orin holding their wine skin.

Orin
Not very smart, are you... Wren?
Quinn
leans in to Ba Fink it would be best to split 'em ser.
Ba'Raknul

nods.

I think this ‘private’ has too much influence in here.

Biron
whispers to Ba. I have a way to make them talk
Wren
I ain't stupid. And I don't believe for one second we're getting out of our chains alive.
Biron
gives Wren a cold look. There’s worse ways to die.
Orin

looks back at the others, then back to Wren.

Sorry, Wren... you know us fetches, we're hard to control.

Wren
Like I said, we ain't leaving these chains alive. And there is no way we're not going to get tortured either. You gonna double torture us to death, or summink?
Orin

Aw, don't think like that. I'm pretty sure you are getting out of here alive, you know that?

turns to Ba and Biron and winks.

Quinn

steps between Biron and the chained captives.

We ain't come all the way here to torture wretches chained to walls. I'm sure the good lady here can be convinced otherwise...

Ba'Raknul
Okay. Orin pop our lady’s chains. Biron have a chat, and I mean a chat, in the other room. Me and Orin will chat with these poor wretches.
Orin

gives Ba a dark look. They walk over to Ba.

whispering I don't think that's a wise idea? Certainly not as a first resort?

Ba'Raknul
If you could hold the door for us Quinn.
Quinn
nods and opens the door.
Ba'Raknul
walks over with Quinn and quietly talks.
Biron
follows.
Ba’Raknul
Listen. I am not okay with torture or even fear tactics and pressure. Understood?
Quinn

leans against the door frame.

Course, no need for everyone to be interrogated none. I'm sure the good lady here will be keen to sell out her underlings if that’s what they really are. Always our way innit? Shat on from above.

Biron

growls.

Traitors are traitors. They deserve nothing.

Quinn

sniffs and winks at Biron.

I'll go with you then, laughing boy, see if we can get some sense outta this one.

Biron

rolls his eyes.

growling Go get the keys

Quinn

suddenly lights up.

Couldn’t we just, erm... improvise keys?

Biron
From the guard, idiot.
Quinn

waves his hand dismissively at Biron.

I'm talkin' about future endeavours 'ain't I, chuckles?

Biron

tries to mask his irritation while in the cell, but it slightly comes through.

He growls louder.

Get. The. Keys.

Orin

sighs at Biron.

Here.

They walk to Private Wren and pick the locks on her shackles.

Biron
glances up at Orin as they do this.
Quinn

rubs at his jawline and whistles under his breath looking at Orin.

Me and you are gonna get on just fine.

The crude shackles aren't difficult to pick and as Wren stands everyone is amazed at the sheer size of her. Ba and Quinn lead the seemingly fearless woman into another room.

The two men left behind seem more frightened than the junior officer.

Biron
leads Wren to the next room. As they get in he pushes her to the ground.
Quinn

follows Biron. He reaches into the smelly tattered backpack at his shoulder.

Got some old rope 'ere somewhere...

Biron

nods.

Bind her legs.

Orin
looks uncomfortable at Biron walking away with Wren, but turns back and gives the two remaining men long, hard stares.
Ba'Raknul

laughs at the men who seem more scared.

Trust me, you'll have a much better time in here... providing you talk nicely with my friend here.

Orin

What I said to Wren is absolutely true. You will get out of here alive.

Do you believe me?

Eggard
Alive? Really? You expect us to believe that?
Orin

Here, have a drink. I bet you're thirsty.

They offer Eggard a drink from their waterskin.

Eggard

laughs and turns his head.

I'd be a fool to accept a drink from a fetch!

What is in that wineskin though?

Orin
Ha! Smart man. Some of Sly Ben's finest. A sip?
Eggard

looks to Private Lucas, who shakes his head vigorously.

Well, might as well. Could be my last...

He eagerly gulps down some wine.

Orin

helps Eggard with the skin then nods to the private.

Save some for this one.

They turn and offer Lucas a drink as well.

Lucas
says nothing, just shakes his head and glares.
Orin
But really. I mean it. We put ourselves on the line and made a deal to see you out of here safely.
Lucas
spits at Orin's feet.
Orin
sighs.
Eggard
Be honest, fetch. What are our chances of getting out of here alive?
Ba'Raknul

sighs and calls over from where he stands at the door.

Why keep fighting? Wren here is playing nice and I've seen tougher people than her break for Biron.

Lucas
laughs darkly at Ba's remark.
Orin

thinks for a second.

Your odds are all but guaranteed. There's just one thing we're a little confused about. If you help us clear it up, that'll be a definite.

Ba'Raknul
goes back to being quiet.
Eggard

snorts.

Guaranteed? We hang people for less than...

He trails off.

What do you want to know?

Orin

All we need to know is what your orders from the Flock were for last night.

They lean in and start checking all of Eggard's pockets and layers of clothing.

Orin finds a piece of flint, a few copper coins, and a filthy rag... nothing you wouldn't expect to find in the pocket of a mercenary.

Lucas
looks startled.
Eggard

Fl-flock?

Can we talk privately?

Orin

gives Eggard a knowing look.

Of course.

to Ba Can we put the Private in with Wren?

Ba'Raknul

nods and smiles.

Another for the bad room. Gotcha.

Orin
unlocks Lucas' shackles.
Ba'Raknul
grabs the man tightly and marches him through to the other room.

Meanwhile, in the other cell…

Quinn

grins widely as he starts tying the captives legs

Never been one fer takin' orders much… from me equals anyway.

Wren

looks defiantly back at you.

It doesn't have to be this way, you know? We don't have to work for the bastards. We could work for the good guys. You know, for a change!

We could be helping the common folk. Earning good coin for it as well.

Instead of pillaging the poor sods.

Biron
in a cold monotone voice Quiet.
Quinn

smiles sadly at Private Wren.

I don't want to see no-one hurt none. But he…

He flicks his head back towards towards Biron.

...he seems to like hurting folk.

Wren

turns to Biron.

You think when they're finished putting down the Commonwealth they'll stop there?

Biron
You have no honour.
Wren
They won't turn their heads North next?
Quinn

leans in to Wren.

And there's worse that can happen to a woman in a cell - I don't need to be saying it none, but...

Biron

gives Quinn a disgusted look.

He turns back and slaps Private Wren.

Wren
spits blood in his face and laughs.
Quinn

puts his hand up towards Biron.

Let’s not be doing none of this just yet, eh? We can all talk. Civilised like.

Wren
laughs.
Biron
growls deeply.
Wren
What does it matter? The Peasant King is coming. The Kings are losing. You'll all be dead by year’s end!
Quinn

leans in to Wren again.

Look, I don't think I can stop him hurtin' ya none. Not sure I'd try that hard if truth be told. Why don't ya tell him what he wants to know, save him biting ya...

Biron

looks at Wren.

You're a fighter?

Wren

peers at Biron.

...aye?

Biron
You a coward?
Wren
I'm a fighter. Being a coward’s neither here nor there.
Quinn

sniffs.

Seen him bite a man's face off once... while he lived. Don't wanna see that with you, ‘specially not if he’s gonna defile ya as well...

Biron

barks.

Shut it!

Wren

turns to Quinn.

Who’s to say I haven't bitten a few faces off meself?

Quinn

puts his hands up.

Don't mean nuffin by it, just saying, like.

He turns back to Wren.

Yeah, but I'd wager the one being eaten hurts more.

Biron
Death comes to all fighters, whether here or later, whether it’s from your peasant king or a beast.
Wren
Aye, but some deaths are coming much, much sooner.
Biron

Yes, they are. But how has not been determined.

takes a step forward to the woman on the floor.

growls. Wanna die on the floor. cowering.. Or die with a weapon in hand.

Wren
I think I already made me decision on that matter. I wanna die sticking it to those three fat bastards sitting on thrones!
Quinn

sighs.

No one needs to die none. Let the woman answer ya questions and let her live...

Biron
grabs the woman by the throat and lifts her to her feet.
Wren
struggles to break free of her bonds, but alas to no avail.
Biron
pushes her back against the wall hard.
Quinn
Look, I wouldn't give the Father's happy sack for this war, we're mercenaries just trying to earn a crust. Why don't ya tell him what he wants to know then you can go back to ya grand crusade or what not.
Biron

glares into her eyes.

Tell us then, who is this peasant king?

Wren
chokes, trying to speak but unable to.
Biron
releases his grip.
Wren
lands on her knees, coughing and spluttering.
Biron
Weak.
Quinn
tries to catch her and soften her fall.
Wren

snorts.

Untie me and tie yourself up, then we'll see how you fare being throttled.

Biron
Who is the peasant king, and how is he working? You tell me, I release your binds, give you a weapon. You don’t…
Wren
You... really don't know?
Biron
glares aggressively.
Wren
He's the man who started the revolution, the first to raise arms against the pretender’s men. He leads the Commonwealth.
Biron
Where is he?
Wren
Probably in the Capital. Or commanding his troops near the frontlines. He's a general, don't you know. Now, you mentioned something about a weapon?
Biron

spits.

How did you get into our camp?

Wren
Took the coin, like everyone else. East of here, five years ago. Well before the Commonwealth was even weaned. Now, that's two questions you got for free. Where. Is. My. Weapon?
Quinn
takes out a husk of dried jerky and slumps down beside Wren.
Biron

snarls and slams her into the wall again.

I didn’t say how many questions. You answer them, you get your weapon. Understand?

He glares at her, nose to nose, and pushes hard against her collar bone.

Quinn
holds the jerky between his teeth and stands up, trying to get between Biron and Wren.
Biron

snarls aggressively.

Stand down, private.

He pushes Quinn aside.

At that moment Ba enters the room with Private Lucas.

Ba'Raknul

looks around the scene and pauses. He decides to go with it.

See? This is what you're in for.

He throws the man in towards Quinn.

Biron
snarls.
Ba'Raknul
Tie him up. The other is cracking now.
Quinn

tries to catch the other captive before he falls on his face. Then he starts tying him up.

muttering Shoulda sung some, no need for anyone to get hurt...

Ba'Raknul
leaves the room.
Biron
looks again at the woman, eye to eye.

Back with Corporal Eggard…

Eggard
whispering to Orin I... I just want to go home...
Orin
Don't we all.
Eggard
Give me that and I'll tell you anything you want to know.
Orin
Where is home, Eggard?
Eggard
South. Barrow. I've had enough fighting. Get me a writ from Old Aggie. An exemption, leave. And I'll talk. In writing!
Orin
Well, I certainly can't tell you where to go from here when you leave. Hell if I'll stop you.
Eggard
You might not. Others might. But not with a writ!
Orin
I doubt an exemption is necessary. Agata wants nothing to do with you anymore.
Eggard

laughs.

You’re not listening. No writ. No talk.

Orin
I understand. I'll ask. But tell me one thing... how does a Corporal such as yourself end up taking orders from such an obvious plant as Wren? Your lesser, even.
Eggard

grinds his teeth a little.

She's not the one given the orders, fetch.

Orin

You use that word like it's an insult...

They shrug.

If she's not giving you orders, why did she think she could tell you to keep your mouth shut?

Eggard

shrugs.

We got a deal? You need to talk to your commander?

Orin
This is give and take, Eggard... I'm not going to hand you the prize without a little something first.
Eggard
Like wot?
Orin
How. Do you. Come to be. Taking Orders. From the Flock?
Eggard

shrugs.

How do you think? They offered to let me go home. No way I'm getting out of the fighting here without one of your lot coming after me. So I cut a deal with 'em.

Orin
How did they think they could deliver on their promise?
Eggard
They didn't. Like you, they wanted a little something first. And here we are.
Orin
I see. Well, let's see what we can do about it, then. Please excuse me.
Orin

walks into the hall and shuts the door behind them.

Ba? A minute?

Ba'Raknul

laughs.

Go ahead, Biron, their boss is talking privately with Or-- Oh, speak of the devil.

He turns to Orin.

Quinn

looks up towards Orin as they enter, then back towards the captives.

Shoulda sung some...

Orin

So apparently he's just a merc through and through. Made a deal to get out of the war in one piece, but had to pay for it first.

They turn to Quinn.

Shut that door, please?

Ba'Raknul

leans in close and whispers.

Why were they in my tent?

Orin
He won't give me that information unless we make the same deal with him.
Quinn

smiles and climbs back to his feet, looking towards Biron as he does.

There ya go, laughin' boy, that's how you ask. ‘Please’.

He strides over and shuts the door.

Orin
I don't see why we shouldn't. Giving him a writ of passage has no effect on whether Helia will take him or not and we can just burn it once we hand him over.
Ba'Raknul

thinks for a moment.

If you go back in tell him it’s on, then come through into the other room and play like we've got everything we need and there’s no reason to keep the other two.

Orin
He's been honest with me so far, and we've got nothing to lose in my eyes. It's just whether Agata will see it that way.
Ba'Raknul
Maybe they'll give us the rest. If not then we talk to Agata.
Orin

nods.

Send someone to talk to Agata just in case?

Ba'Raknul

nods. He turns and goes back into the room with the two privates.

Pack up your stuff, boys, we got what we needed.

Orin

walks back into the room with Eggard.

It's done. Just a matter of putting ink to paper.

They nod and walk away again, shutting the door behind them.

In the privates’ cell, Wren fights against her restraints…

Ba'Raknul

finds the cell guard and whispers.

Go tell one of the guards out front to fetch Agata. They should tell her we’ve broken the traitors only we’ll need Walter the scribe to finish the job.

The grey-looking man seems to want to argue, but he’s heard quite a lot of Biron’s growling and seen Wren lying unconscious. He rushes off up the stairs.

Wren
YOU TRAITOR, EGGARD!
Biron
smiles grimly.
Wren
YOU CAN'T TRUST PRETENDERS!
Biron
You could of fought your way free.
Ba'Raknul
Gag her. Unless she’s got useful info, I don’t wanna hear her.
Biron
slams the pummel of his axe across her face to shut her up.
Quinn
sighs and walks-- then seeing Biron, runs-- over to the woman.
Biron
picks her up again and smacks her back down.
Quinn

tries to push between the two.

She ain't no use to none, dead!

Orin

enters the room.

Well that was easy enough. I mean... you're all mercenaries after all.

Biron

snarls at Quinn aggressively.

You need to pack it in. These are traitors. Don't be so weak. They'd kill you in a blink.

Quinn

scowls.

We're in a warzone, ya fool. No shortage of folk to hit. She's tied up and probably facing the choppin' block.

Biron
snarls and squares up to Quinn.
Ba'Raknul
Biron, she's done. Unless they're gonna talk they're going in a different cell to be sent for execution.
Orin
Definitely facing the chopping block. Would've been different if she'd opened her mouth, though. Eggard's got himself a writ of release.
Quinn

puts his hands up and smiles.

Look, I don't mean nuffin by it. Not looking for trouble. But it’s beneath you, innit? No honour in smacking around a tied up woman is there?

Biron

through gritted teeth Talk to me out of turn again or get in my way…

He grabs Quinn by the scruff, pushing his face towards him.

…and you'll regret it.

He lets go of Quinn and pushes him away, then storms out of the room.

To be continued...