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    Default [IC] Dwaer Depths I: What Lies Beneath

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    Chapter One: What Lies Beneath
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    Our adventure begins on a crisp, blustery evening in mid fall. Already the town has grown anxious as winter approaches and bets are being placed when the first major snowfall will close off the Pillar Pass. There are many lodging options available in Echo Bend from the scant and Spartan to the luxurious. For a few coppers a day you can rent a “cave” for the winter; a small room dug underground with little in the way of luxury other than a bed and a communal bathroom at the end of the hall. These accommodations are run by Echo Bend’s greediest lot, preying off of the stranded caravan travellers who cannot afford better living quarters. Many who venture down to hibernate in the caves never last the winter. For those with more to spend, inns and other long-term winter homes are available. Those who rent these tenant apartments tend to depart Echo Bend come spring, never to return. Hence, these stranded souls are often referred to as Snowmen. They appear when winter comes and melt away come spring, never to be seen again. The children of Echo Bend have taken to building small armies of real snowmen in the streets of this section of town, both for their own amusement and as a way to pester those living there. The snowmen and the caves are located on the northern side of town, facing the Pillars and the cold wind that rushes off them. The southern side of town boasts the nicer establishments of Echo Bend’s permanent residents. It is here among the two story houses of heavy stone that a crowd is gathering in the dead of night.

    Half the town has awoken as the alarm bells are rung from the southern ramparts of Echo Bends walls. The guardsman ringing the bell alternates the pattern of “Fire” and “Enemies” which indicates trouble within the walls. While most residents have the common sense to stay indoors, curiosity or a sense of duty has gotten the better of all of you. Leaving your lodgings from whichever part of town you now call home, you follow the sounds of the bell and the rushing of guardsmen towards the southeastern corner of the town. Who knows what trouble awaits you as you duck your head against the harsh winds pummeling you from the Arrows. Arriving on the scene, you find a crowd gathered outside one of the nicest looking homes in all of Echo Bend. A ring of soldiers bearing torches surround the place while others are braced against the front door, apparently trying to hold it closed. Even as you watch more guards appear with hammers and wood, quickly starting to board up the windows. The Captain of the town guard sits on horseback within the ring of his men. His deep blue cape snaps in the breeze as he stands in his stirrups and bellows out orders to the guards.

    “Seal the windows and bring oil! I’ll not have them overrun the town!”

    Nearby, dressed in naught but an expensive looking nightgown is an older woman crumpled on the ground. She holds her head in her hands as she weeps. At the order to put her house to the torch, she lets out a wail and turns towards the captain.

    “No! Please! Don’t burn it down!”

    With her face now revealed, you can all plainly see a nasty set of slash marks that rake across her face, oozing blood. Two women attempt to tend to her, but she pushes them away in her fit of woe.
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    "What is he thinking?" From the small crowd made up of those who live in town, Michiko rushes forward, her sleep-tussled auburn hair fluttering in the wind.
    "STOP!!!"
    She stands upon the very tips of her toes next to the Captain's horse, looking up at him with a measure of anger in her blue eyes.
    "What's in there? Whatever it is, there must be some way to stop it. We could put together a team of mercenaries or something... Something, anything, that doesn't mean someone needs to lose everything they own!" She looks over towards the woman, then looks back at the Captain. "It's probably all in that building. She doesn't deserve to lose it all, and how would she pay to feed herself?"
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    The pale elf woman emerges from the darkness ghost-like, her white hair and cloak suddenly radiating the torchlight. She glides forward without heeding the armed soldiers, concern knitting her brow as she watches the stricken woman.

    Hearing a girl shouting at the captain, Jalaera pauses at the unexpected outburst.

    "Lives are more important than possessions, child." she says loudly. "What is in there, captain?" She glances at the injured woman. "If there are innocents involved we should try to save them before you fire the home."
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    "I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it."

    "Why do the caterpillar and the ant have to be enemies? One eats leaves, and the other eats caterpillars. Oh, I see now. "

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    Michiko's eyes go wide with surprise at teh elf's words, and her hand comes to her mouth briefly. "I didn't think..."She shakes her head, and walks towards the distressed women as she draws close, she says a word in Sylvan, and the tears and blood evaporate from the woman's face. Michiko places a hand on her shoulder, and looks up into the woman's eyes. "I know this is hard for you, but you need to tell us. Is there anyone inside?"
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    A young female human also reaches the scene. She streches her arms as she comes closer.

    "The hell what's going on here?"

    Even tought she appeares sleepy her body tricks the people it looks like she is a little innocent girls who should sleep now and not walk around at night.
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    The Captain stares down from his high horse at Michiko with a look of scorn. This close to the man, she gets a better look at his face in the dim light. His coarse beard and angular features give him a harsh and stern look, but hiding behind his steely gaze the young sorceress can see fear. Whatever it is inside that house, it has this old man spooked, though he is doing his best not to show it.

    "The lives of this city are more important than a rich woman's baubles, girl."

    As Michiko moves to help the woman and Jalaera repeats the question on everyone's mind, the Captain seems forced to answer.

    "The dead have risen. I'll burn this whole block down before letting them take to the streets."

    Using her magics to clean the old woman's face, Michiko finds that wounds are largely superficial. The old woman stops her sobbing and becomes even more panicked.

    "My maid Indala and Gorgon are still in there! You have to help them! THEY'RE ALL I HAVE LEFT!"

    She throws herself onto the ground, overcome by her grief.

    OOC: Anyone with Knowledge (local) can make a check to try and learn a little more about the old woman.
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    The shadows across the street from the embattled home part, and a tall man steps from them, his eyes flat and hard and his hand at his hip, resting on the brass and wood handle of an odd object, possibly a weapon. A shortsword rests on his other hip, and he is wearing light armor and a small shield; he has the bearing of a man that expects and is prepared for violence. He seems to take a moment to gain stock of the situation, both looking at the wounded woman and at the measures of the town guardsmen. He then strides forward, a detached calm coming over his features.

    He walks past the gathered guardsmen quickly, but without excess haste, moving confidently and calmly up to the captain. He looks up to the mounted man, raising a single dark eyebrow in question. "If we set fire to the structure, it may give the creatures an opening through which they could escape; further, we couldn't predict where that opening could be. It may be better to open the door and focus our concentration on that; they will pour out from the obvious and predictable opening, and we can kill them until they stop. The undead are not tacticians, nor should they be difficult to kill if we outnumber them." His voice is nearly inflection-less, but he speaks loudly and clearly, his tone measured and strong enough to cut through the general tumult to reach the ears of those nearby.

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    Demos has an eye out, and a healthy suspicion of the whole situation.

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    When the captain speaks of the undead, Jalaera freezes in indecision. These are not the kind of oppenent she is accustomed to.

    But then the dark man approaches and lays out his thoughts. She grimaces as his restrained coldness.

    "The undead are not tacticians, nor should they be difficult to kill if we outnumber them."
    "But you cannot know that without knowing what ... why are they in this home at all?" she asks, suddenly confounded.

    When the woman shrieks again, the elf rushes closer to her and the young woman. "What is this? There are people inside yet?" She stands and sets her jaw, ready to bolt for the burning structure ...
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    "I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it."

    "Why do the caterpillar and the ant have to be enemies? One eats leaves, and the other eats caterpillars. Oh, I see now. "

    - Jack Handy


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    Michiko kneels next to the grieving woman, her hair straightening itself, than forming a ponytail as a small ribbon floats from her pocket. "Let these people help you. We'll do our best to make sure they get out safely."
    Michiko stands, and strolls back towards the captain. I think you know that there's quite a few people here who won't stand for you burning down a house with people in it, especially considering this man's information." She inclines her head in Demos' direction. "I think we should listen to what he has to say; he's calm enough about this that he probably has some previous combat experience." She looks up at the guard captain. "We need to do anything we can to help those people."
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    Demos sees the fear behind the Captain's eyes and can tell that this is the type of man that tends towards overkill in desperate situations. Typical of someone with a military background, he'd lop off a hand to treat a splinter. The gunslinger senses no ill will from the Captain but realizes the man is willing to do whatever it takes to stop this threat, even if that means burning an innocent woman alive.

    In response to Demos's suggestion, the Captain shakes his head. "No, I won't let them come pouring out that door. If they overtake us we'll put the whole city at risk. If you want to go in there and deal with them, I'll hold off my men for the time being."

    Michiko's soothing words help calm the old woman down. Hearing that all may not be lost, the crying woman regains even more of her composure and scrambles hastily to her feet. She looks out into the crowd and shouts.

    "I can pay! If you'll rescue my poor Gorgon and sweet Indala, I'll pay. Please, don't let them burn down my house."

    Most of the crowd shrinks back at her pleas, not willing to brave the walking dead for any number of coin. Two figures (other than those who have already come forward) march out to join you. The first is a tall and handsome man clad in chainmail with a sword on his hip and a shield on his back. The second, much smaller than the handsome man, is a gnome who vaults out of the crowd into a handstand before twirling into the air and landing on his feet. He is clad in simple hide armor with a small shield on his back and a bent dagger tucked into his belt. As he plants his landing he immediately strides forward, seemingly always on the move, and makes his way straight towards the woman.

    "You're Ms. Stormscale, aren't ya? Heard a thing or two about your late husband in my travels. I must say, it's an honor to be of service to you, Ma'am." He gives her a low bow, tucking his one foot daintily behind the other. "Tell me, were these nasty things naught but bones or did they have some flesh on them yet?"

    "Oh...well...the one that attacked me was nothing but a skeleton. Those empty eyes, they were terrifying!"

    "I'm sure they were Ma'am. We'll take care of 'em for you, now don't you worry."

    The little gnome skips over to one of the town guards who is holding an armful of wood for boarding up the windows. He grabs the mace hanging from the man's belt and hefts it. Though it is not a particularly big weapon for the guardsman, it proves fitting for the little gnome.

    "Right then, you ladies care for a dance?"

    He directs the question towards Michiko, Jaleara, and Lyra, though he throws a quick wink towards Demos and the other man.
    Last edited by King Tius; 2012-07-25 at 04:11 PM.
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    Already in movement, Jalaera merely flashes a broad grin at the gnome as she runs toward the front of the building.
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    "I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it."

    "Why do the caterpillar and the ant have to be enemies? One eats leaves, and the other eats caterpillars. Oh, I see now. "

    - Jack Handy


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    Michiko watches the energetic gnome, than turns back to the Captain. "If it looks like we won't make it out, I'll send out a red signal. Green means it's safe to enter." She turns back to the gnome, drawing forth a crossbow. "Always up for some fun!" She smiles widely at him, before following Jalaera up to the house.
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    Lyria walks slowly to the front door her attemps to help aren'tblocking her mind. She will wait for the tall men to go in front, best thing since some of them seem to know what they need to do. On a secound thought she might ask herself what she knows about the people living here. Do they have a wothfull collection? And on another thought how did Undead appear in the building, if Lyria goes to tales they normally appeared on graveyards or in dep dungeons with a lot of cropse.

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    Knowledge Local:(1d20+4)[16] To recive the facts you spoke of or any kind of information about the wealth in this house. Also maybe strange things like sobbing at night or so.

    Kowledge Religion(1d20+0)[2] Religion is my choice due to the way she thinks. You know Graveyards are normaly near a church. Seeking knowledge about the facts. What is a skelet, weakness and strength. And as mentioned how could they appear in a house.(not knowing if necromany or some kind of graveyard under the house.


    Whatever the results are she looks annoyed at the Gnome.

    "Not really. I think you would step on my feet to much and it's not the right time."

    Either she takes him seriouse or she doesn't get the real meaning.
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    Demos draws a strange, smoothly curved weapon of wood and brass from his hip. It seems like a cannon, but in extreme miniature, and it has two barrels protruding from its handle. It looks as if it was once fine, but has been beaten down by time; the metal is burnished and the fine etchings on the wood have been smoothed away by countless hands, or by countless uses. He pulls back a small lever at the back of the weapon, and an audible click sounds out.

    "I don't like the idea of going in there. Too many corners, not enough room, and plenty of opportunities for ambushing. The smart thing to do," he gives the captain a hard look, "is to draw them out here, where numbers and maneuverability are at our advantage. That said, if the leadership here dissents, I'm still willing to save those women." He gives the distressed lady a polite nod. "For a price, of course, but a reasonable one to be discussed at a later time." He seems no more worried or stressed than one would if they were considering which cabbage to purchase, or contemplating how best to pack their luggage.

    Demos strides forward, tall and thin, a sharp contrast to the gnome next to him. "I'm not sure that I'm fond of your bluster, gnome, but I approve of your practicality and bearing. Let's do this as quickly and cleanly as possible." He sweeps his eyes over the gathered people that seem willing to enter the building, taking their measure.

    "If you can take a hit or crush bones, get up front. Any spellcasters, get in the middle for better protection and for maximum accessibility, especially healers. I'll take the rear guard and watch for anything attempting to flank us; I'm significantly deadlier at a distance than up in something's face, so I can't stand in the front without getting myself killed. Make any preparations you need to; we move inside in thirty seconds." Demos' words are clear, firm, and without bluster or bravado; he isn't confrontational, but he clearly does not expect dissent.
    Last edited by RaggedAngel; 2012-07-25 at 07:25 PM.
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    Toland

    Walking down the road on an otherwise uneventful evening, Toland whistles a tune quietly to himself. He was returning that evening from his duties at the Temple of Iomedae, which were limited. He is wrapped in a long trench coat, battered and with the collar turned upward. He wears the jacket's hood now, and it hangs over his face enough to obscure his eyes.Toland searches not the streets but the alleys for something more interesting to do. His eyes take notice of two female street walkers who stand on a corner, and they seem comely enough, but not what he was looking for. Two alleys over though, he sees two men squatting by a fire sifting through a satchel, and his linger there. That could be more interesting, he thinks. Is that Hopsing and Bower? I've been looking for them...

    That was when Toland sees two horses rushing by him, and he shifts his gaze towards a gathering crowd. Something was certainly going on there. With a small sigh, Toland pats the pommel of his sword and changes his course towards the commotion.

    Anything that would get the town's constabulary motivated might be worth looking into, he thinks. Straightening his stance and peeling back his hood, he alters his course into the nearby merchant's district, where the more well heeled citizens lived.

    When he arrives, Toland hears an older woman who seems vaguely familiar to him, pleading for someone, anyone, to help her. As he listens to the others, he hears mention of undead and offers of coin to go in there and rescue members of her household staff. Who was she?

    Do I care?

    Toland listens to the guard captain talk about burning the house, and others concerned with how burning it might take away the only choke point they had against this undead incursion.

    This could be interesting.

    Opening his jacket to reveal his chain mail armor, Toland steps into the center of the ring where some others had gathered. As he walks, he unlimbers a small shield from his back and opens his jacket to reveal his chain mail. Facing the guard captain on horseback, the fop with blue cloak, Toland smiles and bows to the gentlemen.

    "Good evening, Captain. I am Toland Albright, a Paladin of Iomedae" he announces, looking at only the Captain. He manages a sideways glance at the others gathered. It's a rough looking crew, and that was putting it gently.

    "I hear talk of an undead uprising. Skeletons even. Of one of our good citizens wounded, of women feared lost in her humble estate. I hear offers of coin to do something about it even, but also of concern for too many corners, not enough room and allowing evil to set its foot on to our soil. Gathered around here be some brave men and women willing to go into darkness. What more needs to be said here? Duty or job the task is clear, I say. Now, it must be done"

    Toland looks at the Captain first, than turns to look at the few other brave souls.

    Diplomacy Check

    (1d20+7)[11]

    He points towards the door of the house with a grim smile on his face.

    "I am going in there, now. Anyone who will follow me, do so now. Every moment spent here, is a moment those women inside may not have. If we don't come out, please Captain, burn the house so our bones do not return as something vile" Toland bows once again to the Captain, taking his leave. Toland shrugs off his trench coat field jacket, and hands it to one of the guards as he passes them and stands 20 feet in front of the door.

    The Paladin rolls his shoulders and neck, than secures the straps on his shield and reaches for his morningstar. He gives it a testing swing, and now satisfied, tenses.

    He gives others a moment to come to his side, than raises his shield in front him.

    "For Iomedae!" Toland cries, and raises his morningstar high in the air for a moment, displaying morningstar and shield, complete with holy symbol to the crowd. Some answer back with the same cry.

    Success of invoking cheers.

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    Toland prepares to charge into the house. He appears to be planning to lead with a bull rush, to clear the way.
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    Demos reacts rapidly to the appearance of the paladin, drawing back and nodding slightly, the faintest of grins on his face for a bare moment. "Excellent. Let's all file in behind the holy warrior, then, and hope his god will fill in the gaps his shield might leave behind." Demos sounds earnest and respectful, though an attentive listener may notice an undercurrent of amusement. He moves to stand a few feet behind the larger man, nodding in his direction. "Lead on."
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    Michiko leans over to one of the nearby guards. "Do you have some kind of bludgeoning weapon I could borrow? I fear my bolts may just pass through their rib cages..."
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    "What's so bad with corners? Everywhere they can make an ambush we could do as well, right? And to be true undead aren't the brightest guys here."

    Lyria sights a bit as she saw the paladin and his speech.

    "Martyr aren't the best to follow after all, but they clear the way . So lead the way nameless fellower of Iommedae."

    Lyrie will try to take the position far behind. She knows that in worst case this would allow her to suprise the others. After all she doesn't know them and everyone could be a maniac mass murderer.
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    Demos raises his eye at the remark, nodding in assent a bit, as if he was pleased that Lyria hadn't simply taken his word on face value. "The issue for myself, at least, is that I fight at-range; and beyond myself, I'm sure we all have some method of attacking a target that reaches further than our own arms. It's just the reasonable thing to do. The skeletons, however, can't do that, or at least I don't believe they can. They'll resort to their claws, or whatever else slashed up that woman's face. That means we're reduced to their style of fight, removing a large potential advantage. And as for the paladin? Good warriors make poor martyrs. He isn't serving his god by dying here." Demos' words are quick, calm, and devoid of any significant emotion, though he seems a bit more cheerful than he had a few minutes before; the danger, it seemed, agreed with him.
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    Default Re: Dwaer Depths [IC]

    The little gnome seems incredibly eager to enter the house. He stands holding the guard's mace and prances back and forth from foot to foot, seemingly born to dance.

    The Captain gives Toland a curt nod. "If you can purge the house, so be it. I'll give you until dawn to see the place cleared."

    Michiko is able to secure a club from one of the many guards standing about. Just as the guards are stepping back from the door and preparing to let you in, the gnome gives a shout of excitement and somersaults forward, darting through the crack in the door as it opens. The rest of you quickly follow suit, pouring into the antechamber of the opulent house. With a resounding thud the guards shut the door behind you.

    The house is eerily dark and quiet as a tomb. As the dust settled and no skeletons or zombies immediately attack you, the lot of you strain your ears to hear any signs of life. It doesn't take long for you to hear a whimpering sound coming from up the stairs.

    There is a stairway leading up to a balcony on the left of the antechamber. The house's main entertainment room to your right which has a pair of couches and a piano.

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    Demos scans the room for a long, slow moment, searching for any sign of the living or the dead. After the door has been shut and the dust has settled, he speaks in a voice that carries no further than the others around him, his eyes sharp and unblinking in the half-light. "We need to decide now; sweep the bottom floor or the upstairs first. Either way, we need to be ready at any moment. Weapons out, and be as quiet as you can until the action starts. When it does, don't be afraid to be loud; if we can draw them all out, it'll make our jobs easier. Do not shoot or swing until you confirm what you're hitting is undead; it would be unfortunate to kill the women we're trying to rescue."

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    Michiko looks around quickly, before speaking.
    "I think we should head upstairs first. I think I heard something up there, and it would be best to take people out of danger as quickly as possible."
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    Default Re: Dwaer Depths [IC]

    Toland

    Looking around the room, Toland all but ignores the guards behind him closing the door. As far Toland was concerned, they may as well have locked the door for all he cared.

    "Good" Toland says, as he hears the door close. "Now they're locked in here with us" he says with a grim smile.

    He pauses for a moment to survey the scene, and than strains to listen to the quiet sobbing again.

    "If we can hear them, so can they. Whatever they is, here. I would surmise if they can cry, they must be hidden and safe. Neither of which we are, right now..." Toland says, and his voice trails off.

    He looks around for a moment, careful in his assessment.

    "Older house, if there was something moving above us or actively looking, we would hear creaking yes? Lets send some of us up, but two of us guard the stairs. We need to keep eyes down here too. I'll stay here with one other. We need to find them and get out, but we need not be flanked either. If six can do it, four can do it"

    Toland moves over to the stairs when others move to go up.
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    Default Re: Dwaer Depths [IC]

    Moving to the center of the room, the white elf looks all around and says, "I will stay. I will help control the creature's movement inot the room." She slowly moves the point of the long partisan from one open doorway to the next.
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    Default Re: Dwaer Depths [IC]

    Lyrie looks around , but after the paladin spoke up she didn't move to the stairs and just sights.

    "That is really dump Mr. Paladin. If I understand you right we should send 4 people upstairs where things are fine and leave 2 downstairs where things are still dangerouse."

    She looks at the others hopefully find someone who agrees with her.

    "We should clear this level of the house befor we go on top. Just think if they attack you. You said 4 can do what 6 can, but I don't think 2 can do what 6 can. So we should stay together until we know what we have to deal with."
    Last edited by Zefir; 2012-08-01 at 05:20 PM.
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    Default Re: Dwaer Depths [IC]

    Demos stares at Lyrie for a moment, trying to decipher her accent, before replying. "Right; I agree that we should not split up. Against an unknown number of foes, with unknown skills and abilities? Breaking into easily managed pieces is just doing their jobs for them. We should remain in as large a group as possible unless absolutely necessary. Now, we need to decide; head upstairs or clear out this floor?" Moving as he speaks, Demos walks to the stairs, looking up them with a readied pistol.
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  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: Dwaer Depths [IC]

    As the debate continues, the elf echoes the young woman's sigh. "Oh ... I am not getting any older but somebody in this house might be getting eaten alive."

    She strides quietly down the hallway, weapon at the ready, and leans forward, casting quick glances into the two darkened rooms.


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    "I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it."

    "Why do the caterpillar and the ant have to be enemies? One eats leaves, and the other eats caterpillars. Oh, I see now. "

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  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: Dwaer Depths [IC]

    As the group whispers in the main room about how to proceed, you hear the occasional scraping sound coming from upstairs. When they do happen, you notice the sobbing gets louder. Demos moves to the stairs to keep an eye on the landing and Jalaera creeps forward down the main hallway. Fortunately, her steps prove light and agile enough that she barely makes a sound.

    Though none of you have a light source, the flickering torchlight sneaking through the boarded up windows provides an eerie illumination. To the left of the hallway is the house's kitchen. Jalaera immediately notices that there is a wood door that leads to the basement stairs (which are right under the stairs to the second floor). Or, should I say, there WAS once a door there. Now Jalaera sees splinters of wood and fragments of the former door hanging by its hinges.

    To the right is the house's dining hall. There is a large, well crafted mahogany table. Even more interesting than that, however, are the four skeletons that are standing in the room. They are clustered around the large window by the dining room table, looking almost forlorn as they stare blankly at the hastily thrown up wood.

    Kiernan hops excitedly from foot to foot, waving his little mace back and forth like a conductor's wand. He is even humming, though it is so quiet you can barely hear it. As the group argues about what to do, he seems quite content to stand in the middle of the room, his head perpetually on the swivel.

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  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: Dwaer Depths [IC]

    Disturbed by the sight of the skeletons wavering around the window under their own power, Jalaera shakes her head and looks back down the hall at the others.

    Using the most basic of motions - and hoping there's enough light for the thers to see - she indicates four enemies are in the room to her right.

    She aims her weapon at the nearest ribcage, waiting patiently for backup to be in place ...



    Action I think that's a ready attack if S1 activates a move.
    Last edited by Gorgon_Heap; 2012-08-01 at 07:58 PM.
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    "I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it."

    "Why do the caterpillar and the ant have to be enemies? One eats leaves, and the other eats caterpillars. Oh, I see now. "

    - Jack Handy


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