View Full Version : The Long Road
2012-10-26, 09:00 AM
You are one of the head Palace Guards in the city of Rasquert. It is a large port, and is the capital of Utya. It usually sees dozens of merchant ships per day, bringing goods from across the globe to sell in the large market district, but today the ports are seeing very little action at all.
The city has been under siege for the past six months from the opposing nation of Schore, and the citizens are starting to get antsy. There hasn't been a single arrow fired, but the circle of war machines around the outside of the city has steadily scared off most merchants from attempting to approach. Tension has started to increase, and there has been some dissension among the population. Schore's army has demanded that you surrender the city, and hand over your personal friend, Amy Villevaue. She is the daughter of one of the nobles in the city, and you've known her since she was 4 up until her current age of 19. It's a mystery why Schore is after her, but her family isn't too keen on handing her over.
You've been called in to a meeting with Josephine and Credence, her mother and father, along with Butch, the captain of the town guard.
Butch: Welcome everyone. I've called you three together because there has been unrest in the population. Our current intel suggests that the peasants are planning on grouping together, storming this area, and taking Amy by force. I believe the time is upon us to attempt an escape for her. Does this sound acceptable to you?
Credence: I said we should have evacuated her months ago. If something happens to her, I will make sure you pay.
Josephine: I hope for your sake she lives through this.
Butch: Indeed... How about you? You'll be escorting her and making sure she makes it safely to our allies in Bingerden. Are you willing?
2012-10-26, 11:29 AM
Othe clears his throat before responding. He'd had a feeling something like this would come up sooner or later.
Othe: Boss, there's only three people I'd trust to take her anywhere at the moment; me, you, and Uncle Crossbow. He's pushing fifty and you've got to stay here so the lines don't collapse faster than a loaf without yeast. Quite frankly if I can't do it it can't be done.
Lord and Lady Villevaue, I know things are tough but no one's in any shape to be threatening anyone, right? I'll take good care of your daughter. I'll swear it if it makes things easier. Now, I have three questions:
Where is Amy, how do I get outta here, and how do I contact you when I succeed?
2012-10-28, 10:40 AM
Butch exhales a sigh of relief. You notice now that he was holding his breath, unsure of your response.
Butch: Thank you Othe. I'm glad I can count on you. I believe it best if you two *he gestures at Josephine and Credence* do not know where she is taken. I invited you here to be privy to the knowledge of who she is going with, but not where. So, with your consent, I would like to begin planning with Othe alone.
Josephine: This is an outrage! We have every right to be here and know where this guard is taking her.
Butch: No. If the city is captured, I do not want them to be able to get to your daughter through you. The fewer people that know where she is, the better.
Credence: This plebite is correct Jo. We should leave them to do this. He turns a cold stare to you. I don't think swearing in will change anything. This is a test of your abilities and, frankly, I don't think you're up to the task. I'm sending along two of my best bodyguards -- I know where their strengths lie.
Butch goes to protest, but Credence cuts him off with a glare. He gestures to Josephine and the two leave the room.
Butch: Ignore him Othe. He's just rich and worried, and idle threats are about all he thinks he can do. I believe you are the perfect man for this job. He reaches behind him and grabs a map.I've laid out a few possible routes for you to take. There are three potential cities that I believe will be safe for her; Dunbar, Auchterarder, and Haddington, and I've laid out potential routes to get there. I don't particularly like the route over the ocean, because if something goes wrong you have nowhere to turn to for help. But, on the other hand, it might just be the fastest. On the land routes, you'll have to canoe up the coast a little ways to avoid the siege. Overall, this journey will probably take you a bit over a month, so you'll have to stop in some villages along the way. Which route would you prefer to take?
Each city has its own advantages and disadvantages as a safe place to be, and the different routes -- water, land, or hybrid -- also have their differences. The water one doesn't leave you with any escape route, so if something goes wrong, you're probably dead. I didn't put in geographical features or smaller cities, because those will be handled as we go along. If you'd prefer, you can add your own route.
Butch: As for how to contact me when you get there; don't. We'll send word when the city is safe to return to. In the meantime, you'll be sent with enough gold to create a new life for yourself out there, if only temporarily.
2012-10-28, 12:33 PM
Othe glances curiously at the map before rolling it up. He tosses the roll in his satchel on the ground before turning back to the Captain, motioning with his extended hand that he had a decent grasp on things.
Othe: I don't trust the sea gods either, so I think I'll be heading towards Auchterader- that said, circumstances could change. There's no reason to over-think it; the enemy actually probably has a better idea of the best route than I do, so guessing and taking off as quick as we can will probably give us the best chance.
Bending down and shutting the satchel before picking it up, Othe scratched the back of his head a bit.
Othe: What I'm really worried about is those two that they're sending along. They'll probably stick out like a sore thumb, especially if they're packin'. Well, maybe they can make themselves useful... Boss, whatever happens, don't die. I'm off. Say goodbye to Uncle Crossbow for me.
Waving backwards, Othe sets off to Amy's place. He grabs the money sack, packs a spare small piece of lumber (club) into his bag as well as a regular tunic (cloth armour). The last things he scoops in before leaving is one of the wall's lanterns and some of the oil necessary for running it and the extra hemp rope that was meant for impromptu repairs.
2012-10-28, 12:54 PM
As you turn to leave, Butch tosses you a small bag, and it hits your hand with a jingle.
Butch: Here's some coins to help get you there. I'll have a small boat ready to go in about 15 minutes down by the harbour. Don't go dying on me yourself, and I hope to be drinking with you by the next harvest.
[You gained 5 gold pieces]
As you head out of the main guard quarters, you nearly walk into the door as it opens on you, revealing Amy. She's dressed in very nice (but still practical) travel clothes, betraying her nobility almost immediately.
Amy: Othe! It's been far too long! How have you been? Father says we're going on a journey together. It sounds like a blast - just like when we used to go camping together, remember?
Two men follow her in, and Amy looks a little bit less happy with their presence. Ah, how rude of me. These two gentlemen will be coming along with us. Robert is the man in charge of security at my father's estate. George is the most experienced personal protector there. He's used to following my father on potentially dangerous business deals.
Robert and George each give you a casual but friendly nod in turn extend their hands as way of greeting. You notice that George is carrying a fairly large travel bag.
Amy excitedly says So, when are we to set off?
2012-10-28, 01:26 PM
Othe narrowly escapes the door opening on his thin nose as he backsteps to see one of his favourite people in the world. He smiles and bows a bit before remembering himself, and gives a slight, wary wave to the well-equipped men inside. His attention then turns to those energetic eyes of his friend, and his lips almost frown before forming an insincere smile.
Othe: Unfortunately there's not a lot of time to catch up at the moment, Amy. We ought to get going immediately- the longer we wait, the choppier the water gets, and I do know how much you hate a bumpy ride. It'll be quite a bit like camping- we can reminisce when we're on the boat, okay?
While speaking to her, he stealthily motions for George to come near when Amy is has left out of earshot. He speaks quickly and quietly.
Othe: You look like a strong guy, but if there's anything in that bag that we don't need, you should probably dump it- otherwise this is going to be a long trip, capiche?
2012-10-28, 01:36 PM
George: We had to fight to get her to bring only this much -- that's why we're so late. Barely had enough room for a change of clothes for myself and Robert in there. What's the plan?
You explain the general plan of attack as you walk down to the docks.
George looks like a well-built man. He's wearing a heavily padded vest to make travel easier but to still offer protection. He carries two short-swords strapped to his back behind a wooden buckler, and you note a bulge on his leg where he no doubt has a concealed dagger.
Robert has a shortbow and a satchel full of arrows. You doubt they'll last the whole journey, but assume that he has some backup plan. Overall, they seem a competent pair to have along.
They each have some small backpacks that have rations in them. When you get to the docks you find that Butch left a similar one for you there as well. They're big enough to hold a weeks worth of food and water, as well as a small emergency first aid kit - Things like cloth and some alcohol, to help patch up any weapon wounds. The next town is about 4 days travel away.
Butch isn't down here to see you off personally, but there's a few dock-hands around.
2012-10-28, 02:01 PM
While grabbing the gear laid out for him and waiting for the preparations to be completed, Othe chats a bit with his friend at the docks, Heird.
Othe: Mornin', friend. I know things have been rough in your line of work, lately, but I've got a deal you can't afford to pass up. I've got a whole silver coin for you to get drunk on in exchange for what you know of the coast and weather. I dunno when this will all blow over, but when it is I might just have another silver coin waiting for you then. Your knowledge is your trade, but what good is a trade that doesn't get you any money, y'know?
Ribbing him, he produces a single silver coin in a closed hand. Othe is careful not to show anyone else in the docks the money- ports invite crime in even the best of times, but at this point flashing money is a good way to get one's throat slit.
2012-10-28, 02:13 PM
Horthe looks greedily at the coin then says Aw, shucks Othe, you know me. I'd give you what I know without the coin. *He grabs the coin anyway, stuffing it into a fold in his robes quickly*
Whelp, I've heard tell of lots of pirates in the area lately. With the guard watchin' that circle of war, there've been more of them dishonest folk showing up. I have noticed that sailors who travel along the coast have had more luck dodging the pirates, but there's no cliffs around here to protect you from the enemy if you do that. If you give us 30 minutes and as much silver to cover the boat and our asses, I'm sure me an' the boys could rig up a small decoy ship to distract 'em. As fir weather, it's been great. Red skies every night. Though, I've heard tell that it's been rainier than usual a little ways inland. The coast is pretty safe right now. You can dock anywhere you like, as it's mostly sand bars within a days travel. There's rocks to prevent larger ships from coming in, but in the small boat you'll be in, you'll have no troubles. Don't travel too far north though. There's trolls in them there hills.
2012-10-28, 03:16 PM
Othe clenches his teeth as he slowly withdraws thirty silver from his bag. It hurts him deeply to part with the money, but he's able to stomach sacrificing it with some difficulty.
Diplomacy roll: 11 + 5 = 16
Othe: I'm giving you fifteen minutes. You know what I've had to do to earn this money. You often tell me you're the quickest sailor of the lot; why don't you prove it, huh?
2012-10-28, 03:33 PM
Horthe flashes you a toothy grin We'll do the best we can. He whistles and four dockhands come over to him. He tosses each of them a silver and relays instructions. They all quickly get to work, and you can't help but admire how fast they move. Within 20 minutes, they've got a servicable decoy ship set up, complete with a few straw men to even out the illusion. The rudder has been fastened into place, and the main sail is set up to capture as little wind as possible so the outward currents can take the ship towards the pirates.
All that's left now is to leave. Horthe helps each of you onto the ship and then waves you off I look forward to our next meeting Othe. Stay safe.
Thank you for your help Mister Horthe. May this port see much more action again.
As you depart, the dock hands set the decoy ship to sea. The current quickly catches it and pulls it out past some rocks rising up out of the water. Sailing a safe distance away, the trap plays out almost comically perfectly. Two small pirate dinghies come out and accost the ship, pulling alongside it. It takes the pirates until they have boarded it to realize what's happening. You can hear their shouting from where you are, but by now it's far too late for them to catch up to you.
You row along without an incident, mentally keeping track of how far you have travelled, conversing as you go and discussing what each of you is good at. The conversation flows smoothly and calmly, much like the waters you travel through. You learn that George is a history buff, and he promises to recant some tales he knows of later. Amy seems completely fascinated to be out of the city, and admits that it has been a long time since she has been out. Robert remains quieter, answering questions when asked, but always keeping a stalwart eye on the surroundings.
You make it to the blockade line without incident.
2012-10-28, 03:52 PM
You slip by the blockade line completely unnoticed. No one seems to be watching the water -- it's approaching dinner time anyway, so there's not too many sentinels around.
Several hours later, the sun has set and there is a cold breeze coming off of the water. You are a ways up the coast from the blockade, and your muscles are starting to protest the inconsistant rowing. The night of day 1 of your journey is here.
Amy stifles a yawn and says Hey boys, I don't know about you, but I'm starting to get awefully tired. Were you planning on stopping anytime soon?
2012-10-28, 04:08 PM
The young guard waves fondly to his friend from the boat, giving a bit of a grin now that the money's been spent and they're on their way.
Othe:Don't go drinking yourself into a coma now, pal! I'll bring ya back a souvenir!
Othe had no actual intention of bringing back a souvenir; even if his mission wasn't fatal for him and did succeed, it was hard to imagine that Rasquert would be spared Schore's fury. Before such thoughts could be fully entertained, he was distracted by the amusing display of plunderers invading an empty craft.
He was further sidetracked by shockingly interesting conversation. Most of the other guards were dullards or as depraved as the worst criminal elements, and Othe was shocked to learn the meatier fellow was also a history buff. Othe himself had been lead to reading out of necessity for his duties, but it seemed his passing fancy for knowledge of the past was trumped by the giant's genuine love of all things old.
In the past he'd always seen the two as an obstacle to meeting Amy- the men were older than he and had outwitted many of his attempts to meet her in his younger years. Perhaps he had mis-judged them.
Of course, hopes of this were dashed upon questioning Robert; it was said that brevity is the soul of wit, but there was definitely such a thing as saying too little. The head bodyguard didn't exactly have a stick up his ass, but he could definitely be less dismissive.
Conversation slows after the blockade. Eventually, Othe notes that everyone, including himself, are a bit pressed by exhaustion. Amy voices her fatigue without reservation, but Othe's used to her wiles.
Othe: Amy, don't be such a princess. You said you were excited to go camping again, right? The best part is pushing yourself a bit. You're finally free again- it's only a couple more hours. Aren't you excited to watch the stars without having to look through a window? Let's keep going until we reach where we were intending to go, okay?
2012-10-28, 04:21 PM
Amy sighs and says Oh, all right. I guess it has been a while since I've seen them from outside the city. She contents herself with lying back in the boat and appreciating the view. It looks like Robert chuckles to himself a little, but when you turn to look at him, his face is its usual deadpan.
The next few hours are mostly silence, penetrated occasionally by Amy asking about different constellations. What's that grouping of stars? Is that the great dragon? Why do they call it the hoops of hope? You're able to answer several of her questions, but whenever something comes up that you do not know, Robert seems able to spout out the answer.
It is approaching the night's zenith when you break your intended shore. Amy clambers out of the boat and seems glad to finally be back on her feet, doing a little spin on the grass up past the beachfront.
After securing the boat, George takes three sleeping bags out of the bag and volunteers for the first watch.
2012-10-28, 04:32 PM
Upon landfall, Othe helps Amy from the boat. Once everyone is out, he smashes a hole in the bottom of it and kicks it out to sea. Once that's done, he prepares a small fire (presumably with Robert's help) and his sleeping bag.
Othe: I'll take second watch. Interrupted sleep is the nature of a town guard's work. As long as I get my hours I don't really care what order I get them in. I'd watch the north most closely, by the way- if a troll comes down from there we'll need to know pronto. Sleep well, everyone, and congratulations on taking the first step of the journey.
2012-10-28, 05:28 PM
Four hours later, George wakes you from your sleep. Used to such shift-work, you get up without much complaint, and let George get his sleep. The night starts to drag on after a while, but you are used to this and pull through. You notice some wolves off in the distance, but they don't seem to care about you. Around the 3rd hour of your shift, the sun starts its rise, and Amy and Robert awaken. George is still sleeping like a log though.
Robert gestures and mentions that you should probably get some sleep while you still can, and Amy starts picking out some rations and gingerly eating them, making a somewhat displeased look.
2012-10-28, 06:12 PM
Robert's suggestion and Amy's disgust bring forth a thought from Othe, who decides he can make use of their early awakening. He smiles semi-mischeviously.
Othe: Robert, as much as I'd like to sleep, it's difficult to sleep when I see our little noble suffering the lousy food. She'll get accustomed to it, but that's going to take time. At the moment we've got a luxury we might not get in the future- an extra hour, and a nearby forest. If you were to go foraging, sir, I think you might find some nuts and berries- having some variety will help keep us sane and healthy. I said I'd watch four hours, so I'll finish my shift. The only thing is that you need to watch for is a pack of wolves- I saw them in the distance about forty minutes ago.
Robert had more than once stopped Othe from sneaking into his lady's home, especially in a time when hormones were more of a factor. Payback's a bitch.
2012-10-29, 11:02 AM
Robert looks at you, and a clever smirk spreads across his face as he figures out what you're about. That sounds like a great idea. Amy, would you like to join me in searching for some berries for breakfast?
Amy, remaining as oblivious as usual to the games being played around her perks up at the mention of fresh fruit, then looks over your way.I think Othe has had a long night. I'll stay here and keep him company.
Robert's smirk dissapears as he stands up and begins walking away. Be careful. We're not too far away from enemy lines just yet.
2012-10-29, 12:25 PM
Othe positively beamed at his old friend as he placed his fists on his hips. While he was (obstensibly) still on watch, he was also quite relaxed at this stage- who would attack them right after they'd waken up? He'd heard trolls turned to stone in the day, at any rate.
Othe:I'm touched that you'd choose my company over the old fox's... that is, of course, unless you stayed because you like snoring that could wake the dead.
The guard, still smiling wide, thumbed over at the unconscious George, whose rumblings were difficult to ignore. He then shook his head with the nostalgia of it all.
Othe:Sleeping below the stars, a trail mix, and the two of us together... it brings back memories, huh? I'm glad you neglected to mention any of the times I took you out of the city besides camping... I wouldn't want these two gentlemen to think I was unprofessional, no? Wait a second...
Stroking his chin, his eyes searched the girl over for any sign of guilt or mischief.
Othe: Look at you, Amy Villevaue. You've become more cunning than the devils in the fire by half- the same girl that choked down my failed baking experiments without complaint being bothered by trail rations? Maybe you should consider a career as a stagemistress?
2012-10-29, 05:22 PM
Amy laughs at your jest then looks sadly at the half-eaten rations in her hand. Your 'failed baking experiments' as you call them at least had some flavour and some love put into them. I'm told these trail rations give the body all they need, but they do no such thing. They are simply abominations masquerading as food. Have you actually tried any yet? She hands you a piece.
See? Just aweful.
She then focuses on something over your shoulder, and the smile immediately leaves her face. She rotates around you pulling up her hood as she does. When you look over your shoulder you notice three men walking your way. They are garbed in the war clothes of the Schore army. They've just finished becoming visible atop a slope in the distance, and are maybe a 3 minute walk away. In the gentle slopes of the field you are in, there's nowhere for you to hide. They approach steadily.
2012-10-29, 05:49 PM
Othe: ****. I can't think of why Schore troops would be here... I was careless. Hey, George! Wake up you sod! We're going to have company in about two minutes! Clean up what you can, we're going to hide in the forest.
Othe lightly kicks George, careful not to awake him in a way that would make the man cut his legs off. Othe begins to squeeze the ration in his hand in a panic before realizing what it is. He pulls out his club and keeps it at the ready.
Othe:I've got a plan. Big guy, toss me something sharp. Amy, get moving with George. They absolutely can't see you. Go, go!
Using whatever George tosses him to cut his own arm, Othe bleeds all over the rations before putting them all over the ground. He then rips some of his tunic to bandage himself with before sticking the meats close to the fire and grabbing his sleeping bag. He then follows the other two into the bushes nearby.
Othe:I'm counting on the heated meat with blood catching the noses of the wolves I saw earlier. That way our problems can take care of each other. That said, we're still probably going to have to fight something, so be ready to run or fight, capiche?
2012-10-29, 06:36 PM
Geroge gets up groggily, then sees the approaching men and sobers up quickly. He tosses you one of the swords lying on the ground next to his sleeping bag, quickly throws the sleeping bags into the pack while Amy runs ahead. By the time he's finished putting together the gear, you have finished your preparations.
The approaching men notice your group begin to run away, so they start running towards you as well. George turns and runs, and you give chase behind him. You run as fast as you can towards the brush ahead, and you manage to gain ground on the more heavily armoured men behind you, but there is no sight of the wolves you hoped to lure.
All of a sudden an arrow flits right by you and strikes one of the men in the leg, immediately stopping his run. The other two men slow down their chase, and another arrow strikes a second's arm. The final man pulls out his shield and holds his ground. You reach the brush and turn to find that he's standing defensively while the other two help each other up and turn around heading back to camp.
Robert grabs you and Amy and pulls you into the bush, uttering a quick This way to you. He leads you deeper into the brush and to a well covered area where you can quickly discuss a plan.
George: What just happened?
We must have got unlucky -- they probably sent a random patrol around and it happened to converge on our location. This brush doesn't last long, and I don't think it would be wise to leave on the opposite side of it, because that's where the trolls were rumored to be located. There's another patch of brush maybe a mile to the east of here, and we could probably jump from patch to patch. How well can you three sprint?
Probably as well as you can
Hmm... What do you think, Othe?
2012-10-30, 10:26 AM
Looking back and forth in a slight panic, Othe decided to follow Robert's sensible plan. After all, he'd tried to call wolves on his enemies like some sort of magician- he clearly wasn't thinking straight. That said, they had to hightail it before the enemy noticed Amy or else they would have to kill them for sure.
Othe: Let's run. One of them has a wounded leg and it will take awhile for them to contact anyone. Since George has the pack and you're leading, I'll carry Amy. Get on my back.
2012-10-30, 02:22 PM
Amy looks at you slightly askance. I may be terrible at sprinting, but I'm not a piece of baggage. Besides, I greatly doubt that you can keep your normal pace with me on your back. I'll run on my own.
And with that, she turns around and walks off, with the clear expecation that you three will follow.
When you break the brush line, you can see the three men a ways away. Two of them are helping the third hobble back to camp. They're still keeping an eye out for you, and they watch you dash across the field, but after a little ways you drop behind a hill and out of sight of each other.
After the first dash, Amy looks quite out of breath, and Robert also looks a little haggard. You decide to slow it down a bit - after all, your persuers are injured and may not even be after you just yet. You make your way from brush to brush for the next few hours, pausing to rest as you need it and keeping an eye out for any potential persuers, but all you see is the countryside and the occasional farm. You keep a wide berth from the houses, but none of those that are out working seem to notice or bother you. You do notice some wolves heading back to where you were before. Maybe they are the same ones as ealier? It's hard to tell. Conversation slows down as you travel, because most of your effort is going towards keeping yourself moving and hidden.
The brush begins to become thicker, and the patches of hillside become smaller as you travel throughout the day. After about 8 hours of travel, you've found yourself at the edge of the forest. Robert knows of a path through the forest to the east of where you are, but he's unsure exactly how far it is. It could be as far as 3 hours of travel away.
The time is currently 4:00, and the sun is high in the sky. It is bright and cheery out.
2012-10-31, 11:54 AM
Thorns, dirt and leaves adorn Othe's frame after the half-day trek. He's beginning to feel rather ragged- he never did get his other 4 hours- and is secretly quite glad for Amy's indignance at his order. At this point, although he'd rather never see another forest again, he's not really up to doing much but agreeing with the old fox's worldliness- albeit with a tone of sarcastic joy.
Othe: Hoo-ray. Another forest. Really can't wait for that. Lead the way.
2012-10-31, 09:51 PM
Your group travels along the forest's edge searching for the path. Several times you hear strange animal noises from inside the forest, but they don't seem to be coming any closer or farther away.
Hmm, I don't think I've ever heard of anything making those kinds of noises before... This forest used to be home to nothing larger than wolves.
I've never set foot in this forest. Any journeys outside of the city I've taken have always ended before here... I'm beginning to get the feeling I don't want that to change...
Hmph. I'm not afraid of anything this forest throws at us.
After about two hours of travelling along the forest's edge, you find the main path leading through it. It's fairly well travelled, and you can tell nature has been beaten down around it. It's about 5 or 6 meters across and can clearly handle multiple lanes of carts travelling through it.
It's 6:00 and the sun is starting to dip down to the horizon. The weather is clear, but the forest is starting to look dark.
I don't know if I want to spend the night inside that forest, but if we dawdle around out here, the army might catch up with us... My knowledge of the land inside this forest is minimal, but I believe there is a common camping ground about 4 hours in. If we could find that, we might have somewhere safe to spend the night.
2012-11-02, 06:51 AM
Deciding to head into the forest, you begin the walk through it.
As you walk, the forest gets darker and darker. The sun normally has a hard time piercing the branches, but this close to dusk it's even worse. Every so often you hear more of the strange animal noises, and once you thought you saw eyes staring out of the forest at you, but never anything more substantial. George regales you with tales about the forest
This forest is one of the larger ones in this end of the continent. It's named 'The Eustice Forest' after the man who first charted a path through it - Sir Eustice of Utuun. It's possible to get to the northern part of Utya without travelling through it, but doing so could add as much as a month to the journey, so most merchants avoid doing so. The path we're on isn't the only path, but it is the main one, and many of the others have been lost or forgotten. A long time ago, a green dragon resided in this forest, but the villagers he had dominion over around this forest eventually got tired of paying him tribute and living in fear and had him killed... George continues rambling on as the night wears on, his words a bit of a comfort against the growing darkness. Unfortunately, none of your group knows too much about the forest in its current state.
After about 2 hours, the darkness has grown to the point where you can barely see the path in front of you. George breaks out a torch and lights it, continuing to lead the way.
A short while after that, you notice Amy starting to lag behind a bit, when she stops and says Hey... do you three see those lights? and points into the forest. Looking out you don't see anything.
I'm afraid I don't see anything out there my lady. Sometimes fireflies light up very briefly at this time of night, could it have been that?
No... It's more of a constant, blue light... Are you sure you can't see it?
2012-11-02, 01:42 PM
Othe looks deeper, still unable to see much of anything but darkness. He turns his head to Amy with a sardonic look, but she's definitely in her adamant "I'm sure I'm sure" sort of pout.
Othe:I'm not seein' much either, but with a look like that I think Amy's convinced it's there. I used to hear stories at the church how pagan gods appeared for maidens as a horned horse or something and not to trust them- could be the same sort of thing.
In fact, there was something like this they talked about... A will... A will of... Something....
Religion roll: 8 + 2 = 10
2012-11-03, 12:26 AM
You remember hearing about a small insect named a 'Willow Wasp'. They are fierce creatures that defend their home by savagely stinging all invaders. They have phosphorescent abdomens that release a blue light, which they use as a warning whenever any creature comes near their territory.
They aren't supposed to be active this time of year, but it's pretty warm in comparison to last year, so maybe they built their nest early this time.
2012-11-04, 12:12 PM
Tweaking his ear in thought, Othe eventually comes up with an answer. He does not blurt it out, instead taking his time to collect his thoughts before telling his group calmly and quietly.
Othe:...They're willow wasps. They have some religiously important reason to sting people that come near and so we should probably give them a wide berth. No sense going that way, after all.
2012-11-04, 01:29 PM
Amy continues to stare, transfixed at the darkness.
I think I've heard of those too... Their sting is not at all a pleasant experience, from what I remember. I think we should leave them be...
You continue along for another little while, when Amy again speaks up.
I think I hear voices now... Coming from the path up ahead of us. Do you not hear those either?
I don't hear anything... Maybe we should get some rest? We have been travelling for quite a while... On the other hand, the camp grounds should be less than an hour away.
2012-11-04, 01:49 PM
Insight: 16 + 4 = 20
An idea catches Othe's mind- if Amy was hearing faint voices, it's possible that it could be coming from the nearby camp grounds. Did that mean the enemy was there? Bandits? Traders? Monsters?
Othe: Maybe we're the ones that are tired. I think Amy's got good eyes and ears, maybe; we're not too far from the campsite, after all. That means following her ears should get us closer to the campsite- but then we'll be meeting someone there. I think the decision should be left to George- if you're feeling ready to fight, we should check it out, but if you're at not at 100% maybe we should find avoid contact.
2012-11-04, 02:15 PM
A good bodyguard is always ready for a fight. I'll be fine as long as we don't have to fight an army. I'll put out my lantern so
We should probably try to approach quietly. It would probably be better if we knew who they were before they knew who we were.
You follow Amy's ears through the forest, and George douses his lantern at Roberts advice.
After a little while of travelling, you start hearing the voices too. They sound like a group of merry people. The light from a campfire is the next thing you spot, and soon after that you are close enough to see the camp grounds. There are maybe a hundred people here, all gathered around various camp fires. They're exchanging stories and cooking food and are generally mirthful. Some are playing guitars, and the general merriment they are having seems to drown out the various twigs you seemed to step on as you were trying to sneak up on them.
2012-11-04, 02:45 PM
It's a sight for the tired young man's eyes to see the merriment and excitement of the average folk. He grins a little as the thought of filling his gullet with hot drink and gambling. His lips buzz as he spits at their own fear and puts his now un-tensed arms behind his head.
Othe:Man, do I feel stupid for worrying. Let's take a load off, shall we? Put those weapons away, or you really will need them; these people are a bit allergic to iron if you know what I mean.
Walking into the group, Othe questions the first half-sober man he can find. He extends his hand in greeting, giving a bit of the narrow-eyed smile he often gives when meeting people he drinks with.
Othe: Heya stranger, know where me and three bodies can get a drink and feed? We're getting alarmingly low on inebriation and merriment. Also, d'ya play dice?
2012-11-04, 03:00 PM
Your three companions follow you in, Robert looking a little irritated about you announcing the presence of your group, George looking ready for a good time, and Amy warily keeping an eye on all of the drunken men in the area.
The man energetically takes your hand and shakes it. Hullo there feller! My name's Ron. Welcome to the campgrounds! Help yerself to whatever you like! the man says as he gestures towards several picnic tables that are full of various cooked meats and sandwiches, along with several kegs of beer. There's a donation cup, but I don't think anyone ever uses it. The gambling is all but done for the evenin', but I'm sure if you call out a few people will join in.
Sure enough, when you look around, you see a few practiced eyes are looking your way after hearing your mention of dice.
Amy and George take the mans invitation as fast as they can, and head straight for the table to grab platefuls of food. Robert, on the other hand, eyes up the food suspiciously before muttering something and sitting down in one of the gathered circles.
2012-11-04, 03:27 PM
Othe decides to delay eating to sit at a somewhat bare table. He pulls from his bag a small pan in which to roll some dice, and begins to rub two silvers together in his hand in the customary signal to begin a game. He grabs a drink of something cheap in order to not only get drunk, but encourage the same behaviour from his company.
2012-11-04, 03:43 PM
Six men get up from their positions around the different campfires and come to join you. After a round of introductions and some idle chatter, you figure out who the suckers are and who knows what they're doing.
As you play and chat them up, you try to steer conversations towards local news. You discover that most of the people here have been cast out of their homes by the invading army. A lot of them came from well-off families, and so they have quite a bit of money, but nowhere to go with it. So, they've all settled here to hide out the storm. They also tell you that if you take the north path out of here, it will take you on a shortcut out of the forest. You even manage to win a fair amount, though to try and avoid any bad feelings, you lose some games near the end, and wind up taking away only 19 silver pieces.
As the night wears on, the drinks and noise begin to get to you, and soon enough your eyelids start to get heavy. Amy is already asleep when you go to lie down, and you notice that the long hours are starting to wear on George too. You don't know where Robert is, but at this point you are too tired to care. You sleep on an extra sleeping bag offered by the partiers.
2012-11-04, 03:51 PM
You wake up feeling very rested, but to a very different world. The forest looks lifeless, and there are absolutely no remnants of the party last night. The trees look nearly dead, but even in their state, no light seems to penetrate the branches. Even the air around you looks thick and gray. You find you aren't sleeping in a sleeping bag, but on a bunch of moss. George and Amy are still passed out in their sleeping bags, and Robert is standing at attention, keeping watch.
He turns at your waking up movements, and addresses you. It seems something happened over night... I woke up several hours ago to... this. I didn't wake you three because there wasn't any threat around, and I figured you needed your sleep. Have you ever heard of anything like this happening?
2012-11-04, 04:18 PM
Othe merely blinks. If not for the cash in his bag, he'd think a plant had caused them serious hallucinations.
Othe: Let's just pretend this one didn't happen, okay? We ate, drank, and made some money- and that's all that really matters.
2012-11-05, 07:49 AM
You wait around in the crushing silence for a while before the others wake up. It's almost impossible to tell what time it is, because light barely penetrates the dead branches above you. As you wait, you constantly feel like there is something watching you, but whenever you turn to look, you can't find the source of that feeling.
Eventually, Amy awakes, and then George a short while later.
What... What happened? We were at some sort of party last night, weren't we? Where are we now?
When George stands up and looks around, the colour drains from his face. Oh, ****... He gets up and quickly begins packing up the sleeping bags. We need to get out of here, fast... He begins looking around for potential exits from the clearing. You and Robert have long since identified them, and there are six -- One heading south, two heading northeast, two heading north, and one heading west.
2012-11-05, 12:53 PM
Othe helps collect the gear up (although much less in a panic than george) and points to the left-most path leading north.
Othe: Relax big guy, most of the things that cause that kind of fear can smell it, too. We should head north and a bit west and stick to the plan. That said, if you don't want to fight it we should vamoose. Good to go, Amy?
2012-11-05, 03:52 PM
We don't have time to relax. I do not want to meet whatever caused this... That is something I cannot protect any of you from.
Once all of your possessions have been packed up, you head towards the northern exit with George moving quickly ahead. When you get close to the exit, however, Amy pipes up Hey, uh, I don't mean to be a bother, but I think those Willy Wasps, or whatever you guys called them followed us... She points towards the western exit, and this time you see them, clear as day in the forest around it. They look smaller than a candle's flame, but there's probably 30 or 40 of them giving off their soft blue glow.
I guess we should move northward, and hope they don't follow us?
Either way, if that path continues westward it would just dump us out by the sea with nowhere else to go. Shall we continue?
2012-11-05, 04:34 PM
Amy's designated protector has to simply sigh and shrug his shoulders. He appreciates that she can see them before they come across them, but it's a little vexing for her to be more perceptive than her guards. From what he recalls, Willow Wasps aren't supposed to be a really common creature, and they'd already seen them twice. Paired with the disappearing travellers, George's story, and the fact that George was freaking out, it was likely that something bad was going to happen.
Othe was getting used to bad things happening. Those last few months on the wall recently had been the worst days of his life, and in comparison this trip was a cakewalk. He'd just have to play it cool and keep the hysteria under control- if George really got wound up there'd be no stopping him, and although Amy was tougher than she looked she was still putting on a brave face. Maybe he should make a joke?
Othe:Next time you want to lead us through a dark forest, Mr. veteran, I'll have to decline. Let's just keep heading north- steady pace, George. I don't really get what has you so on edge, but we don't really have the rations to be running ourselves ragged or getting lost.
Thinking a second as he keeps walking, he adds:
Othe: Amy, you wonderful thing, keep spotting the Willow Wasps. Running through a group of those would really ruin our day.
2012-11-05, 04:47 PM
I'll do my best...
You can tell that her spirits are a little down, but with George acting all antsy, there's no time to slow down for her. You head out the northern exit, and continue along the pathway. Your group travels for several hours, but the forest doesn't seem to change around you at all. There haven't been any forks in the road at all, but you can't help but feel like you're going in circles.
Eventually, Amy just sits down and says Enough... We're clearly lost, and I'm really getting tired of walking. Can we please just take a break?
George responds with a dark No... Can't you feel it? Something out there is watching us... Following us... We need to keep on moving... Get out of here...
2012-11-05, 04:59 PM
As the hours of aimless walking begin to even take their toll on the cooler heads, Othe decides he's had enough of George's mad rambling, and stops in front of him.
Othe: George! I don't know what's setting you off, but you need to get a hold of yourself! Grit your teeth, I'm not holding back!
Clenching his left fist, he throws a wild punch at his companion's large cheek. He bares his own chompers as a mix of fury and empathy drives his fist forward. Can violence solve this? Is it what George understands? Othe does not think too hard about the answers to these questions, and puts his faith in the teachings of his male friendships and brotherhoods.
2012-11-05, 05:05 PM
George takes a practiced step back, and your fist hits his chest. It feels like you hit the tree standing beside him.
2012-11-05, 05:17 PM
Stepping back himself, Othe massages his fingers- the skin's a little torn from the impact; he's probably injured himself more than George, but at least he's given him pause. Adrenaline courses through the younger man's veins and gives a bit of fire to his latest speech, which might have had more impact had he actually hit him in the face.
Othe: Well, whatever. Listen! What happened last night was strange. What's happening today is strange! But we are destroying ourselves with our anxieties! George, your senses do not control you! Robert, your experience may mislead you! Amy, your concern allows your body to abandon you! Something is clearly wrong, and I'm going to figure out what it is. Stay put and relax, I'm going to climb a tree and figure out just what's going on.
Finding a branched tree that he can likely climb, he begins his ascent.
2012-11-05, 07:03 PM
You start climbing the dead tree in what starts off seeming like a great idea, but quickly turns sour. The branches break off in your hands, and there are spiders lurking in every hole in the tree. You somehow manage to make it to a respectable height without falling, and from there you have a decent vantage point to scout the nearby forest.
It seems to stretch on forever... However, you do spy a small cottage, a little ways off the path from where you are. The path that you are currently on just keeps going north and south as far as you can see.
2012-11-06, 03:50 PM
Shimmying back down the tree, the more confused but calmer Othe relates what he sees- the clouds block the sun, there seems to be nothing but the forest, but that he's also found a small shack from his vantage point.
Othe:I couldn't see much of help besides a cabin... maybe someone lives there and can give us directions; follow me.
2012-11-06, 04:20 PM
Even if it's abandoned, it does give us a place to stay for a short while. Lead on.
Departing the path, you launch headfirst into the dead trees of the forest. It takes you less than a minute to find the cabin. It's a little run down, but still seems fairly sturdy. The paint is chipping off, and looks like it used to be a nice green colour, but now it looks unpleasant. There is an old path that leads out of the area the cabin is in, and some slightly overgrown ground leading from the path to the cabin.
I guess I'll take the lead... George walks up to the door, tries the handle and finds it unlocked. It opens with a loud creak, and he sticks a head in, then shouts out in surprise.
Oh no! What's wrong? Amy cries, moving up to help him.
George pulls out of the door, flailing around. There's spiderwebs inside the door. I hate spiders!
You move up and find the cabin to be quite cozy on the inside. There's a small wood stove, a couple of chairs and a couch, and three bedrooms, two with bunk beds and one larger bed. There are also many nice decorations around the walls, from a giant grandfather clock to a pair of decorative maces attached to a wooden plaque on the wall, with the inscription 'Ubi non sunt necessaria ad diem'. Amy and Robert follow you in, with George still doing the 'spider dance'.
Wow, this place is really nice. It would be a lot nicer if it wasn't in such a crappy area though... It doesn't look like anyone has lived here in quite a while. It might be nice to spend the night here. I know I'm tired of sleeping on the cold ground.
I'm going to take a look around the outside and see what's around here. Othe, can you do a security check on the inside of the cabin?
2012-11-07, 01:36 PM
Othe gives a low whistle as he enters the place. It didn't look like much from the outside, but he's a bit shocked at how nice it is inside. Throwing his pack down on a bunk bed with a tired sigh, he yells back to his bossier journey mate.
Sure, but I claim top bunk! Highest seat in the house.
Regardless of whether or not his companions grumble, he then gets down to business, albeit in a lackadaisical manner. He focuses on determining what the stove might have cooked and when, whether the bed linens are usable (plague and bedbugs are not too fun), evidence of vermin, what time the clock says and when the maces might have been made. After this "thorough" check, he slumps down in a chair to rest after a bit of a stressful day.
Othe: Lemme know if the ol' fo- I mean, when Robert comes back. I might just take a nap.
2012-11-07, 05:02 PM
Nothing looks like it has been used in a long time, but there isn't exactly much dust either -- Just bits of wood from where mice or other vermin have been in the ceiling. There is no evidence of vermin inside the bedsheets, but you would feel a lot better if you slept inside your sleeping bag on top of them.
It's hard to tell how old the maces are. The wood in the handle is in better repair than the rest of this house, but that might just be because it's been sheltered from the elements. Either way, there are no visible structural faults, and they look like they were kept good care of.
The clock is stopped at midnight.
After ten or twenty minutes, Robert returns with his report.
It's just more of the same forest all around. This cottage is in a clearing that's about 100 feet across, and I'm not sure where the path goes. It curves to the right a ways into the forest, but I don't think it would be wise to follow it alone right now. There is also a small graveyard in the back, although it looks like it hasn't been used in as long as this cottage. There are 3 graves in it, but the names are too weathered to make out.
Bah, you're just a coward. I'll go follow the path for a little ways and tell you what I find. I'll be back within the hour.
George heads out for the door.
Amy follows him outside. I'll grab some firewood, to try and heat this place up a bit. It's getting a bit chilly in here.
2012-11-07, 10:27 PM
Not feeling particularly chilly or like following Amy as if a dog, Othe is content to lie back in the chair he'd already taken to for a bit. Robert wasn't his favourite company in the world, but then again neither were the woods, spooky trails or unmarked graves.
Othe: I don't know what's got those two off in such a hurry. Honestly, George is quick to assign cowardice for someone who shrieks at the sight of a spider- not to mention how he was freaking out earlier today. I guess Amy's trying to keep him from losing it again; have you ever seen the big lug get like that before, chief?
Stretching his back with a slight crick and crack, Othe sorts his lower body into a rough standing position as he goes to check out the clock a bit further. Boredom and curiousity get the best of him- usually old clocks are off, but very rarely do they stop at exact times, especially those like noon or midnight. Lazily he fiddles with the hands before forcing the central cavity ajar- he's interested, quite appropriately, in what makes the thing tick.
2012-11-08, 08:46 AM
George is a superstitious man. He's lost those he was sworn to protect to powers outside of his control before, and he gets a little nervous when something similar happens. Have you ever seen what a wizard can do Othe? I've seen men reduced to ash from nothing but a look and a word from a wizard, and I get the feeling George has seen worse. I don't blame him for being afraid of the supernatural. They're pretty scary.
Playing with the hands, you find that they are well oiled, and they move easily. It would be trivial to set the time on it, but you don't know what time it is. When you open the clock's central chamber, there isn't anything special about the body of the clock. It looks similar to the one back in Amy's house, albeit older and with less care taken of it. There is an inscription on the base of the pendulum that reads 'The hands of time reach for us all'.
2012-11-08, 12:20 PM
Othe rolled his eyes as he shut the latch on the clock's front. He never saw the point of poetry on furniture.
Othe: The closest thing I've seen to a wizard was a woman who would wash clothes down at the crik and knew a couple tricks that made 'em dance or change colour a bit. The way I see it, dead is dead and a torch doused in chemical fire can get rid of bodies too. All I'm saying is the first man to panic is often the first man to die. I'd rather George stay with us than run himself off a cliff due to some bad juju.
Yawning, he plops back into the chair with a lack of dignity only excercised by guards. He eyes the clock again.
Othe: Speaking of wizardry, that's a heck of a thing to get all the way out here. When you think about it, no one could have built the shack in one trip so that path ought to lead someplace- and the clock probably came from a city. Only city slickers would bother putting something stupid on the inside of a clock. I never knew any clockmakers from home- do ya know where the family got theirs?
Cleaning the dust from his eye, he continued with a slight laugh.
Othe: I guess I must be tired to go on so long about nothing. Maybe I ought to go out and see if I can't find something to eat, huh? Maybe you should see if you can find a map or something here, I haven't had any luck.
2012-11-09, 08:21 AM
Robert looks like he's going to answer, but then there is a commotion from outside. Amy is shouting something and screaming. Robert gets up before you do and is halfway to the door when it bursts open and Amy runs inside.
There's something moving in the graveyard... It looks like... corpses are getting up out of the ground... What is this place?
Robert moves quickly and grabs his bow while Amy gets more and more pale.
Don't worry Amy. Though their appearance may be frightening, the undead are slow and fairly easy to get away from. We should be alright if you calm down and listen to me.
Amy does not seem to be calming down very much.
Robert starts taking charge of the situation. Othe, did you bring any weapons with you? I'd rather not have to protect two people in a fight if I don't have to. It's a good thing we haven't unpacked yet. Grab our things and let's get out of here as quickly as we can.
2012-11-09, 11:59 AM
Instead of complying, Othe quietly walks over to the weapon display. Ripping off one mace for himself, he pulls the other one and rolls it along the filthy floor to Robert's feet. Cocking an eyebrow, he speaks in a bit of a disrespectful tone.
Othe: No can do, Mister Veteran. We have ourselves here a decently fortified position and you want to go running off through the night as if we know where we're going. What if Georgey-Porgey doesn't show up on the way? Besides, we've got the right weapon for the job- even in my backwater hometown the church carried maces around. If you wanna run off and find George while we hole up in here, be my guest, but otherwise make yourself useful and help me move the couch.
The ceremonial mace was heavier than military-issue, but Othe merely rested it on his shoulder as one might a polearm or hammer as he pushed the furniture towards the door.
2012-11-09, 06:12 PM
Amy, how many were there? Robert quickly asks, while giving you a scathing look.
I only saw 2 or 3...
Robert relaxes slightly. If that is all there are, then we can probably hold out here. Don't let them grab you. They're usually very strong, and could wind up ripping your arm off. He moves over to the couch and helps you shove it up against the door, shirking the mace you pushed to him.
Amy moves over and awkwardly picks it up. It looks too big in her hands, and she clearly has no idea how to hold it. What should I do?
Try and stay in the center of the room.
Almost immediately after you push the couch up against the window, there is a loud banging on the door. It sounds like someone is trying to break it down by punching it. Peeking a glance out the window you see 4 walking corpses gathered around the door, clawing and smashing at it.
2012-11-24, 09:41 AM
Othe's eyes size up his preparations. He'd like to have more barricades, but there wasn't really time. He passed his lantern to the young lady before readying his mace- if they were planning to punch holes in the wall, he could probably crush the limbs as they broke through. In such a situation, an overly heavy weapon actually better suited his purposes.
His attention turned to his scared friend behind him. He'd need both hands, so he was grateful that she could manage the lantern at least. She had been strong up until this point, but he had to wonder if she'd snap under the pressure. Considering the entire journey more or less depended on her cooperation, if she was going to break here she'd probably break further down the line anyways.
Othe: Listen to me, Amy. I want you to keep the room lit as best as you can. I also want you to watch the other rooms. If anything is coming, let me know immediately. You have to survive, Amy. It doesn't matter what it takes, survive. Old man, I hope you know what you're doing..
2012-11-26, 08:36 PM
Me? I hope you know what you're doing... We are in a bad sit..
He stops mid-sentence, then draws his bow and aims it behind you. There is a smashing of glass as one of the zombies breaks a small window, and robert lets an arrow loose, hitting the zombie in the neck. Its left arm goes limp, but it just switches to its right arm and starts grasping at the frame of the window. It is too big to fit into the bottom part of the window, but the upper half would be large enough for it to get into. Fortunately, that's a good 5 or 6 feet off the ground, and the walking corpses are not known for their dexterity. You spot two more behind him who are moving along the side of the shack. Amy keeps the flashlight on them as the steady thump thump thump on the front door grows louder. You think you hear whimpering, but it is hard to tell over the pounding. The door doesn't seem like it's going to be able to last too much longer, and it looks like more of the undead are showing up. You count 5 out the side of the shack, moving towards the windows.
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