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The voices penetrate the dull ache that his world has become. Opening his eyes, he can make out the group of other forms, waiting for his vision to become more stable and stop showing him double images. Pushing himself up on his elbows and then onto his knees, he brushes himself off and takes stock of the situation.
No pack animals. Check!
Little or no shelter. Check!
No weapons. Check! Almost forgot the spare dagger in the boot and the longsword at his belt, so all is not lost.
All in all it looks like a fine mess. At least it wasn't raining.
Dusting himself off, he approaches the group of his fellow travellers.
"Well met!" he says rubbing the side of his head, "Ulmarek Wolfson, pleased to make your aquaintence. Has anyone seen the pack horses? We might have to do some digging but do we want to go to much further without our gear in this weather?"
OOC-Sorry to be a bit late to the table. Seems like we have quite the group.
Tonight is going to be...Difficult...To say the least.
Eager to get on the good side of the other adventurers, and very hungry, he addresses the group.
"Does anyone have any food? If nobody has much, I suppose we can hunt. Er....How about...You - " He looks to the other Half-Elf - "And you - " looking at Retay, - "Come with me? Unless of course neither of you can hunt at all. Just a suggestion..."
Looking around him at the desolate, snowy ground and narrow paths, he reconsiders his suggestion.
Then again, I don't think there's an awful lot of life around here, except us...Fools we are, for traveling in these conditions...
(OOC: Just how the *loud beep* does Overwrite turn itself on!?!?! Gah!!)
The fur-clad barbarian seems reluctant to leave the site, occassionally voicing his fears for any others still buried, but the mountain's rumbling frightens Retay. The ground shouldn't make noise. Well, the ground shouldn't fall on you either. As the group moves out, Retay remains near the head as instructed. For an obviously powerful barbarian, he doesn't seem very confident in himself.
On the other hand, when the elf-blooded man suggests a hunting trip, Retay quickly comes forward, unslinging his shortbow. "I'm good at hunting," he says proudly, as if it's the greatest skill anyone could have. Considering the conditions, perhaps it is. "If there's anything out there to hunt, I'll find it."
I've trained my entire life to defend others from attack not the elements, whole lot of good that makes me. There must be something I can do. Other than being a decent pack mule Norgold felt helpless, living in towns and cities most of his life had never prepared him for the current situation. A few nights on the road escorting wagons was one thing but this...
"I still have a little bit of food in my pack. Its not enough for all of us to have a full meal but it'll help keep us warm through the night."
and now for the bit that really turns the stomach...
"We need to make sure any and all spell casters are well rested, if they can ready the proper spells things could be a lot better tomorrow. I lack hunting skills but firewood I can handle. Retay... before you go if I could... borrow your axe. It's a tad big for chopping wood but it looks like the best we've got."
He looks to Desmona, waiting for her approval.
(OOC: looked back and couldn't tell if we are above or below tree line. Will edit if Norgold is off to chop imaginary trees)
Retay looked blankly at his favoured greataxe, then at Norgold. "A little big?" He laughed, pulled his fur cloak aside, and slipped a smaller – but still very large for woodcutting – battleaxe from his belt. "Try this," he said, passing it to Norgold. "I want it back, though, please."
Realising they would have to share to survive, he added, "I've got plenty of food in my pack. Would've lasted me sixty days on my own, without hunting. There are a lot of us, so it wouldn't last near that long, but we have other food. We shouldn't starve too soon."
((OOC: I intended to mention my other equipment earlier, but I never did... Never mind.))
He breathes a sigh of relief at the mention of food. He has evidenced a startling drop in his already low weight since the vampire attack, and the thin supplies his group had weren't helping.
He fiddles with his hair or tries to look like he's helping as the group settles down and starts setting up camp. His magical talents have always made life on the road easy for him, and the finer points of outdoor survival still largely escape him.
As he lays out the meager rags he plans to sleep on, he sings a tune in Abyssal. The melody is dark and discordant, and details the treacherous beauty of Malcanthet. From time to time he stares at the sky and longs to fly again.
"Hunting sounds like a good plan if we can find any tracks after this avalanche" Ulmarek takes stock of surroundings "but if we're to survive the night without tents, perhaps it would be wiser to build ourselves caverns of snow so that we aren't sleeping in the wind?" The last thing he wants to do is cover himself in more snow today but if it'll keep him alive until sunrise, then that's the plan. If there are enough of the others willing to set up the camp, he will be happy to offer his skills as a tracker (low light vision) and it might get him a chance to check out that bizarre lighting strike/source that caused this calamity.
As Damian watches the others consider heading off for food, he raises his voice slightly. "Before we consider food, I think a place to stay for the evening might be more of a priority. Surviving in the wilderness isn't my strong suit. Is anyone else skilled in that area? Any ideas for a place to stop?"
Damian scans the horizon for a clearing, or any open area nearby, with a grim look on his face. Not his strong suit? That's an understatement.
"Spot" - (1d20+4)
As Khazrael raises his lament in the crowds behind him, the odd language catches his ears. He waits for a pause in the haunting song, and falls back for a moment. "That's... very interesting. What was that?"
Tiriel stays close to Katrine as the, now large, group moves on. At the mention of hunting and tree chopping she can't help but laugh to herself a little. Aren't we above the tree line? There's not likely to be much wood here and even less to hunt...
As they walk Tiriel watches those in front of her. Eventually she notices that the human* that Lissa is talking to seems to be having a hard time carrying his load (which doesn't look too heavy at all). After a few moments of consideration Tiriel approaches the two and addresses Damian, "It looks like you're a bit ...over packed. I can carry some of your gear for you, if you'd like that is." Tiriel keeps her eyes on the path ahead as she speaks, worried that another avalanche could come crashing down the mountain side.
Tiriel also politely refused any prior offers of "magical" help to deal with the cold.
[ooc: *is Damian human? I couldn't find the answer quickly and I'm a bit pressed for time. Please let me know.]
Seeing Retay's reluctance to leave the site of the avalanche, Tryntha moves close to him and offers a bit of reassurance,
"The land has called some of their spirits back to its service. They are not lost, they are merely answering a different call now. I have used my magic to make sure we have found everyone still within this world. Take heart, as I am sure we will need your strength in the coming days."
The fiery-haired native merely nodded to Desmona when asked to lead the group towards the road, and in the direction of Immilmar. She worked to lead them through the easiest paths through the snow, so as to not tax the energy she knew they would desperately need during the evening.
As the light began to fade, and talk started of resting and finding food and shelter Tryntha looked for an appropriate site that could provide some kind of wind break.
Survival - (1d20+7)
"I should be able to conjure sustenance for all of us each day if given appropriate time to rest and replenish my energies each day. It is not the most pleasant of food, but most would agree that the alternative is less than ideal. As for our other needs, we definately will need to find something to burn for warmth through the night. That could be a most difficult task what with the snow. If we had some form of shelter that would help retain the warmth also."
Her voice makes all of these things seem like possiblities as she tries to keep a positive attitude among the survivors. Her smile is genuine and used often, accompanied by a reassuring touch when necessary to keep spirits high.
As Tiriel offers to help carry things, a look of relief rapidly appears on Damian's face, and he chuckles heartily - which appears strange, given his periodically stoic demeanor. "Normally, I'd say 'no, I'm fine' - but the truth is, I'm really not - and to be perfectly honest, there's not that much of value in there. I very much appreciate the offer. There's a reason I buy a horse whenever I travel."
Slipping his backpack off his shoulder, he rustles through it, and pulls out a pair of scrolls and an additional bundle of crossbow bolts. The new items quickly disappear under his cloak, and Damian hands the backpack to Tiriel.
Katrin trudges along beside Tiriel, watching the people from the caravan intently and with no small amount of suspicion. She turns down offers of magical help, telling the casters to save their magic for those who need it more. She checks her pack to see how much food she has left for the road--enough to last her a week at least. However, she has very little in the way of wilderness survival skills, and scowls at the run of bad luck she and her friends had been having recently.
"Demon queen? So I'm guessing it was... Abyssal? That's what it's called, right? Bizarre-sounding language. I stick mainly to languages of the people I've met - except for the one dabble in Draconic. Where'd you learn it?"
Damian drifts back a bit to Khazrael and extends his hand. "Sorry, I don't know if I introduced myself. Damian. You're the one who blew up the snow, right? I think Lissa said your name was... Khazrael?"
He glances around at the desolate landscape, and the others as they try to figure out what to do for the evening. "I don't suppose you've got any clever ideas about shelter."
Survival check (1d20+4) wow, that was rather sad for a ranger.
"While I haven't ever done it before, the theory of building a temporary shelter out of snow doesn't seem that far fetched. If nothing else it will keep the wind and any falling snow off of us while we use our body heat to keep warm and survive the night. Doesn't sound very comfortable but I'd rather be inconvenienced than frozen solid." If there's anything salvageable from the caravan that might make it easier to build a shelter, Ulmarek will point it out (canvas covers from the wagons, dead horses...sorry if your attatched to them but they can provide a quick wall to a shelter...not to mention a supply of meat if we get hungry enough). "Since it appears that the caravan master met a bad end, should we suggest a leader to make the decisions to get us through till morning?"
At Khazrael's dismissal of the relatively dire situation, Damian chuckles and smiles. "True. Sometimes I envy those who can use the Weave well. I probably had some spells which would have me less worried, but it's back there buried under several hundred tons of snow now. With my horse keeping it company. I don't relish the thought of sleeping under a dome of ice. Not after our recent experience."
Tiriel takes Damian's backpack and slips it over her shoulder to join with her own pack.
"Just tell me when you need it. We had horses too, a while back." She tells Damian. "We really shouldn't push our luck out her in the open. Our best bet might be to find a cave or at least a ledge, we can shelter under. I never thought I'd say this, she says glancing at Katrine and Lissa, "But Callos' silly rope spell would have been handy to have here and now."
As the group walks, Tanner opens his hand, and the flame appears. He says to the others, "If you feel the need to warm yourself by Gond's Light, please speak up, and I shall move to you. As for food, do not worry about me, for I will be fine. I also do not need much if any sleep. As for warmth and shelter, I have an idea. I could summon a wall of fire around our group. Do not approach within twenty feet of the flames, for then they will start to burn you. I can keep this wall up for the entire night if necessary; however I have never tried, for it requires some concentration to do so. Because of this, our group will be protected in more ways than one, for any creature that passes through the fire wall will certainly get burned; plus, it will provide us with warmth through the night. We should have a contingency plan, however, in the event that I lose my concentration. The other thing that worries me is such a circle of heat may cause a similar event to what we just experienced. If someone more learned of the ways of nature could help find a place for the spell to allow for a camp to reduce catastrophe, it may increase our odds."
Damian nods at Tiriel, a look of frustration crossing his face. "I couldn't agree more. No offense, Lissa, but the idea of sleeping surrounded by snow doesn't thrill me."
After Tanner suggests his ... rather unorthodox plan, Damian doesn't look particularly convinced. "That... doesn't make me feel wonderfully safe, either. I'm not exactly at home in the wilderness, but... well, first, we don't know how deep the snow is we're standing on. A wall of fire would melt quite a bit of snow, and that could possibly cause another avalanche, like you said. It could also leave us in a rapidly forming lake. Plus, second, you'd be sending up a beacon for miles - even if it prevented anyone from approaching while it was up, it would still tell some creatures we were here. Plus, not everything hates fire."
Damian sighs, and scans the horizon. "There's got to be a ledge, or a cave, or something we can hide near."
Upon hearing his suggestion, he gives Tanner Gondsman a piercing glare.
You can't make a wall of fire around us!! What's to say none of our group sleepwalk? What if someone needs to urinate during the night, and accidentally walks into a giant flaming wall? No, I really do not think that will work. However, I agree with Damian; Chances are there's a cave or ledge that we could all sleep in tonight.
Surveying their surroundings, he attempt to locate a likely cove for the group to make camp.
Spot Check 13 (6+7)
I don't think food will be a problem, however. Our resident plainsman seems rather capable, and I pride myself on being a good hunter. I'm sure there'd be some goats around here, maybe a few birds haven't forsaken the area. They wouldn't be difficult to catch.
(OOC: Did I mentioned I *beeeeeep*ing hate Overwrite?)
Should have just stayed in the city... he mutters underneath his own breath.
While his exterior is calm and quiet, in his head, he continues to whine and moan about his predicament:
Could have been a journeyman, could have been a master perfume maker... but NOOOOOO~~ had to go out and see the world... could have been working in an almond scented lab over a good cup of tea... but NOO~~~ just had to come out here... I hate nature, so. so. much...
Candle Bearer of the Red Cloak fan club
After Damian speaks against his suggestion, Tanner says, "Let me get this straight...you don't want anyone to see where we are and rescue us?" Tanner starts laughing at the idea when Grynde chimes in. Tanner listens still smiling and says, "Perhaps I should explain the gift of Gond to which I speak. Only one side of the wall is hot - the other is completely safe. I can shape it into a ring or into a normal wall. Either is about 20 feet high. If I made it into a small ring, it could act like a bonfire that wouldn't require any fuel except that of my faith. If I had made it bigger, it could provide us with protection should we need it. I would need to ferry us into the center, but it could work."
He looks at Grynde still smiling, "I am not sure if you heard when I said that I do not require sleep. I would not allow one of you to get too close to the wall if you did sleep walk. As for needing to make water, you would be free to do so in privacy," Tanner makes a motion out into the wilderness. "Plus, not everyone can see in the dark, and it would provide those with light enough to see."
"As for a cave, I would think that such a place fit to house us may be an option, but I would gather that all sorts of creatures like bears would be using it. We could easily kill such creatures which would provide us with meat, and I could help tan the hides, but I thought our goal was to get out of this situation and back to civilization and not go spelunking."
At that, Tanner flips his cloak which seems to move of its own accord, and he begins to rise into the air. "If it is a cave you seek, then I shall get an aerial view." Tanner continues to rise into the air, and he begins to survey the area.
Spot - (1d20+2) Survival - (1d20+2) - to help find a place where a cave might be
Damian shakes his head as Tanner rises into the air, and mutters under his breath for those around to hear, waiting until Tanner is out of earshot. "If I thought anyone was randomly passing by to rescue us, sure. But if they were, they're probably buried under tons of snow. If anything's out here, it's not likely to give us a hand."
He glances around at the others as Tanner surveys the area. "I'm sure his heart's in the right place, but I don't plan on being anywhere near a wall of fire in the middle of a snowfield primed for an avalanche. We've already survived one disaster. I don't plan on relying on luck a second time."
He watches Tanner rise into the air, a little jealously, but also with a smug grin planted upon his face.
He knows little of angles, eh? Foolish human. If he goes high into the air, then an entrance to a cave will become hidden. Gah, forget it.
I think we should resolve this. There's not an awful lot of good ground to sleep on, whether surrounded by a large flaming deathtrap or not, and I don't think it would protect us from all the elements. It would be much easier to simply find a cave and make a fire at the entrance, rather than have a massive wall around us.
(OOC: I also think we should resolve this damn thing, there's been about twenty posts on the subject)
Retay's eyes bulge when Tanner begins to rise. Although he was used to magic, men spontaneously taking flight was something new. "W-w-what? H-how?" he said, craning his neck to keep watching the flying cleric.
Eventually, overcoming his shock, the barbarian suggests something of a compromise. "Well, a cave would probably be better. Natural shelter. No chance of the rock losing its concentration! Your wall of fire could guard the cave entrance, and even if it should fail, it would be a defendable position. And caves don't melt." Yeah, like mountains don't fall on people?
The armored human, Tanner, floats upward into the air. The dramatic display of his powers amazes some and annoys others. Tiriel smirks and rolls her eyes for Katrin's benefit, the two of them sharing a private joke.
Ulmarek's unconventional idea of creating a snow shelter seems feasible, particularly if Tanner lends his fire controlling abilities to help melt the snow, but in the end, most of the more experienced members of the party seem suspicious of this radical idea and instead recommend simply finding good old-fashioned shelter in a cave if possible.
Norgold, Damian, Retay, and the two rangers, Grynde and Adalmar, fan out across the snow. The occasional scraggly pine trees offer little in the way of promising shelter, but before the sun sets, Grynde has found an outcropping of rock that looks large enough to perhaps be useful.
Although there is no cave per se, the group is able to dig away the snow at the base of the outcropping to create a makeshift shelter.
Norgold uses Retay's axe to fell a pair of evergreens. Their trunks and branches are used to create a primitive lean-to of sorts against the rock overhang.
The shelter isn't large, but it looks like the close quarters will help conserve body heat in any case. Those with food generously share them with the others who are without.
In the hour or so before nightfall, some of the survivors quickly survey the area looking for potential game. Unfortunately, this snow-covered plain appears to be barren, without even tracks of small game.
The moon rises on the horizon, waning and no longer full. Almost immediately, Katrin drops off to sleep, seemingly even more exhausted than everyone else. Some survivors quietly meditate or pray.
Olfacht mutters to himself under his breath. His nostrils flare as the musty odors of sweat, damp fur, and pine needles mingle inside the shelter. Khazrael sings a quiet tune, grooming the feathers in his hair, and seeming surprisingly cheerful considering the circumstances. Tryntha, the Rashemi woman, also maintains a positive demeanor, though one wonders whether this is just a brave front put on for everyone else's benefit.