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Ankheg

GM_Verdigris's page

2,599 posts. Alias of verdigris.


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"That was... cold!" Laina laughs over breakfast, then helps clean up to leave. Still no great swimmer, she feels much more confident around the water.

"I'm sure we can go much faster now." With that in mind, she keeps up with Cole as they head North and West.

The land, which had grown greener and more natural on the way East, reverses the trend as they head back toward the wound. The ground grows dry and weeds more numerous. By the time they reach the edge of the wound, even the sky to the west has grown odd and ugly; violent clouds hover in the distance, like clotted blood on gangrenous flesh. It is nothing new to someone from Kenabres, but after the relative normality and beauty of the pond, the contrast is sharp indeed.


"S-sure..."

Laina follows Cole into the water, stepping in gingerly up to her waist.

"I... I don't know how to swim." she admits.


Cole Zeff wrote:

"It is cold, but it's invigorating. We can take an early swim tomorrow if you wish before heading back north to check the line."

He makes camp, gets a fire going, cooks a little, and general relaxes and enjoys the neighborhood - likely turning in early.

Laina wakes early to find Cole still tending the fire. "Did you sleep at all?" she asks, still blinking the night from her own eyes. "You should have woke me."

She settles in next to him. "You could sleep now if you want. And then maybe we could try the swimming thing?"


"What? Nooo, not me, Eli. I *am* good with my hands, with my tools. Sometimes it seems like something else, but that's really all it is." The man shrugs again, but puts the rest of his effort into creating a litter to move the drink back to Defender's Heart.


Elyanias Myoch wrote:
"If you think we've seen enough to report to the captain, I won't argue with our return. That cask, though. Do you think we should try and secure that at least? Perhaps a later time." Eli shakes off like a wet dog, and starts back towards the Heart, glad at least that Avery and he are in one piece.

"Ahhh! The cask! I nearly forgot! No, we should at least secure that cask. And then, back to the Heart." Squelching as he walks, Avery moves as quick as he's able back to the Heart.


"Wait! Let me..." Avery tenses as Eli lends his hand, but seeing no ill comes from it, he relaxes, grateful for the help.

"We should head back. We can go north tomorrow."


Again and again, Avery takes the pebbles,presses them against the previous one, until the hole is blocked, and the bubbles still.

"There. That should hold for now. I hope." he says, as he surfaces for the last time. "They're just rocks, for a patch." Avery shrugs, clearly embarrassed by the scrutiny.


Avery presses himself against the wall of the pump, running his hands over it. "I don't think it's too bad, actually. But it'll get worse if we don't fix it." He calls Eli close, then sinks beneath the water, only to pop back up again.

"Yep, right here. I can do it by myself, but an extra set of hands would sure be helpful."

When Eli joins him, Avery hands him a small handful of pebbles. He dives under and begins fitting pebbles into the whole, then somehow smoothing them out and onto the wall.


Avery takes off his tools - pack, bandoliers and all - then strips out of his outer clothes before moving down the ladder. The water reaches to his waist by the time he moves away to address the wall of the pump.

As he moves to his left, a series of bubbles come from the wall to his right. Immediately after, the squelching sounds from the same place.

"Right. There it is. There's a hole. Are you coming in?"


Laina helps as she can with the digging and the burying, but her attention keeps straying to the water.

"Isn't it cold?" She asks, reaching down, she cautiously dips her fingers into it, then shakes them off to follow Cole to the tree.

"I brought one. Maur...uhh, uh, your dad told me to bring it. He got it from one of the guys he plays cards with, I think." Not afraid to get dirty, she digs in to help.

Cole Zeff wrote:
"Now you don't tell anyone about this mind. This is for family."

Laina takes in his instructions,nodding once. Her eyes, already wide with the responsibility, prickle and shine. Quickly turning to study, well, anything but Cole's face, she answers.

"I won't tell a soul... Uncle Cole."


Elyanias Myoch wrote:

"Alright, Avery. Let's move quickly. We make too much noise to have any chance of catching anything unawares. Especially the deeper we go. Let's not be reckless, as we're only two shovels against any pile of manure more than three..."

[dice=Perception]1d20+9

The squelching grows louder, until they finally reach the source of the offending sound.

The tunnel opens into a wider area, a five foot walk way circles what should be the pump room. The elaborate pump machinery sits in the center, sticking up out of a softly eddying pool of water.

"And there's your squelching, Ely. I hope you can swim." Avery nods, pointing out the ladder disappearing into the water below.


"Of course not!" Her face reddens and her stride more than matches his. She bristles for awhile, but in time, the journey draws more of her attention.

Still, they reach the pond just before sunset, the russet and burgundy clouds reflected in the depths of the water.

"Wow!"


"I wish I'd seen her. I've only ever seen dragons in my picture books." She blushes at the admission, realizing how young she must sound, and feeling entirely too old all at the same time.

"I mean, well, if not a celebration, at least an acknowledgement. Something. We're still alive. That got to count for something."


@ Cole

I don't know about that. I'd be... well, something terrible... right now, if not for you." Her shudder is nearly imperceptible as she recalls the multiple times her uncle and his friends had saved her from a terrible fate.


"Cole..." Laina begins, after Ivan and the knights are behind them, and they trudge along alone once more.

"You didn't tell them." she states simply. A flick of her gaze is the only sign that this is a conversation rather than a stray comment. Her step doesn't change and she continues to peruse the nearby brush, looking for dangers.


Serra Iondri Phaer wrote:
'"No, I shall likely not Ascend.... But we shall see what happens, won't we?"

Kastor looks both saddened and relieved by Serra's words, but the small veiled child simply laughs softly to herself. "yes, Sir. We shall see."


@ Cole

Cole and Laina spend an uneventful evening with Ivan and his knights. In the morning, then men are ready to head out, but are headed in the opposite direction as Cole and Company.

" Travel safe, Cole. It's been very quiet out here. I just... well, I saw them go, but I don't trust it, you know. It's never been this quiet before."

He smiles to Laina and wishes her the same.


Beagan Berelcar wrote:
The Gnome's eyes widen, he's cheeks flush a bit. "Oh, maybe I'm mistaken. It's probably a myth. Errr, ahhh, probably just the Librarium and its work." It's really not likely that the rumors were true in the first place, that the swirl means nothing, and even if it does, it's probably not Ara's organization in any case, right?

"Oh, aye, I'm sure that's the case, Ser Beagan. Will you be joining us, then, to work in the Librarium?"

sense motive=14:
He seems to be studying Beagan with much more scrutiny than before.


Elyanias Myoch wrote:
Eli directs Avery's attention to the sound of sucking. "Uh, Avery, is that... normal? Is that part of the ambiance?" Eli even goes so far as to attempt to recreate the sound as best he can, hoping Avery takes on a jovial, 'you fool' attitude.

Avery tips his head, listening. "Uh, N-no-no.... that's not normal. Come on, we need to see to that, right away. The engineer begins to hustle towards the sound, all his tools jangling as he goes.


Serra:
Kastor blanches, his attention caught by his young friend's words. "Do you think so, Helen, truly? Ser Serra is a most devout knight. I should have seen it sooner. Ser, will you take me with you when you ascend? That I might attend you there as well?"


"Nothing, Ser Serra. I just wanted to remember this moment, before you join them." Both respect and a deep sadness color her words.


@ Eli

"We're fine. We go this way. I can't see that well beyond the light of my helm, but my ears are well tuned to the sounds down here."

Eli can also hear the sound of equipment, water, and a squelchy suckiness from the distance.


Beagan Berelcar wrote:

Beagan Beaganizes... because it's what he does.

He nods fervently. "I'm a knight, you know, so I can protect you! It's what I do!"

Quednys' eyes sparkle, though he holds the gnome in high regard. "Oh yes, Ser Beagan. I have heard some of the stories that have come back from the attack on the Gray Garrison.You were very bold, and very brave, from the sound of it. I appreciate your company, and the offer of protection."

They walk in relative quiet for a time, before Quednys answers the previous question. "Oh yes, Aravashnyel has been working with me ever since he came to our town."

He stops, quirking a brow, "Which organization did he speak of?"


Cole Zeff wrote:

"I think you've already answered my question, Ivan. We were sent out to discover if there were any demons or cultists in the nearby vicinity. You say you haven't seen any in the last day or so. How far south were you? I want to give Irabeth some sense of how quiet it is and where."

Cole takes out some rations and offers them around.

"It was like nothing I'd ever seen before, Cole. We could see them, lined up along the line, like they were just waiting for an invitation to cross. There were so many of them, just like on Armasse Day. Suddenly, a brilliant light ran like lightning all along the Wardline. I was knocked back at least 50 feet, and my men too. But all the Demons were gone. Nothing but dust. Nothing.but.Dust!" He shudders, uncomfortable being so close to something so unworldly, even now.


Avery stops to light his lantern helm. He straitens and stares at Eli's hammer then nods as he turns to go.

"Yeah, don't use that in here. No room, and too much importance stuff to break."

Entry is through a trap door, in the middle of the "artery" that runs from the city wall out to the pumps. The ladder goes down and down, into the dim light. Every 20 feet, a narrow tunnel heads out horizontally through the stone enclosure.


Quednys Orlun catches up with Beagan as he is on his way to the Librarium. "Mind if I walk with you, Ser Beagan? I thought we might travel together to see our friend Aravashnyel."


"It's what I had." Avery looks at his trusty shovel, then at the morning star. "No, I think I'm fine like this. It suits me."

Soon after, they are on their way to the southern pump. All across the city as they go, they find mounds of gray dust, some with weapons mixed in, and some larger and some smaller.

The southern pump looks to be in much better shape, and actually seems to still be functioning.

"Still, I should go inside. Are you coming?"


@ Eli The way they came in is still open, so getting out should not prove too difficult.

Avery finds a rather fine quality cask; smaller than the rest, and offers to tap it for a drink before heading out to see the southern pump. He's pretty sure you could make it there and back to The Heart.


Serra Iondri Phaer wrote:

shows incredible patience and then says,

"I have a new book for you tonight. We will see if you like it as much as the other one. There is much to learn."

Kastor's friend joins him towards the middle of the afternoon, though where he is antsy, she proves quiet and studious.

perception:15:
She seems to stop and stare at both Kastor and Serra. At least, it seems so, through the veil.


Cole Zeff wrote:

Cole extends his hand and gestures to Laina with his left. "This is my niece - a powerful woman in her own right and to be treated with respect."

"We're on a mission for Irabeth. I need some information, and we're close to bedding down for the day - joining you would be better than sleeping alone... if there's room."

"A pleasure to meet you, Miss." He nods, reining in his curiosity for now. "I'm Ivan. You're welcome to what we've got."

"Of course, of course. We're headed back to the City come the morning. We were doing Ward Walks for the last week or so, but after the Fire, things got dead quiet, so we thought we'd take a sweep to the east before heading back in. Come sit by the fire and I'll answer whatever I can."

Two other men sit clustered around the fire, with two more already asleep nearby.


Cole Zeff wrote:
"Laina, these are dead bodies."

Laina looks at the piles of dust, the many they've already passed taking on new importance.

"So many of them, all clustered along the wardline, as if in wait... How many have we passed already?" The young woman shudders in spite of herself.

So long as they follow the Ward Line, the clumps of dust continue to smear the ground. Only after they turn to the east do they cease finding the remnants. Some are small, some are larger, but any Cole tests with his blade react the same; withering away from the cold iron.

After they turn east, they see no more of them.

An mile or so away from the line, they find what was once a large crusader campsite. Only 10 or so men appear to remain. The eldest of the lot, a man in his middle years, with the look of Kenebraen old stock stamped upon his features, greets them at the camps edge.

He stares hard at Cole as he approaches, then his face splits into a grin.

"Cole Zeff! Is that you?" He reaches out his hand in greeting, then pulls it back sharply.

"Uhh, best to be careful. Name the 2 Trials needed for admittance into the Heroes' Club and I will name the third." He eyes Laina warily, for any unknown is a danger.


Elyanias Myoch wrote:

He turns back to Avery, in whatever burnt state he finds himself in. "Come. We need to heal ourselves. And I'd say we've earned our drink, wouldn't you?" When the two are, for the most part, healed, Eli searches the burning man after all fire has died. He looks for any identifying symbols, and items of use.

He then turns full attention to making sure they didn't almost die for nothing.

Avery laughs as the danger seems to have passed. His sleeve is gone, but the burns on his arm will heal in time.

"Oh, we *have*. And it's not like he'll have any use for them. I'll do inventory on this bit and find us something decent if it still remains."

Searching the dead man, Eli finds a symbol of The Lord of Locusts around his neck and a brand of a similar design on his chest. On his person, he finds the dagger, and a small book of vile prayers to his demon lord. The dagger proves to be exceedingly sharp, quite capable of peeling off a thin bit of skin with just a light testing of the blade.

Behind the fire lays the bedding area the man must have been using, made of bits of various clothing, though man had seemed fully dressed for the most part. In his personal things by the bedding, there is a small ivory cage holding a live cockroach, and shavings of a similar material piled with bits of broken barrels, perhaps waiting for their turn in the fire.

Neatly piled a bit further back are many bones, including two humanoid skulls.

The barrels hold beer, wine, and spirits of a varying quality, the crates hold potatoes, carrots and other vegetables.


With the help of his spiritual rapier, Eli finally drops the survivor. He falls upon the fire; his greasy clothing catches fire, the flames licking up his flesh.

and you are out of combat.


As Eli tries to cast, the hideous man tries to stab at him again.

"None o' that! None o' That!"

attack: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 + 2 = 181d4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5

Round 8

He grins, licking his lips at the fresh blood. He tries to double it up.

attack: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 + 2 = 161d4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5

Avery yelps and steps back, trying to put out the fire on his sleeve.


Heal check: The man looks surprisingly healthy for someone that should have been trapped down here for a couple of weeks.

Round 7

The man slashes again at Eli.

attack on Eli: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 + 2 = 241d4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
attack on Eli: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 + 2 = 101d4 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4

Avery tries again to help.

attack with shovel: 1d20 - 4 + 3 ⇒ (4) - 4 + 3 = 31d6 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4

fire, high is good for Avery: 1d100 ⇒ 6

Suddenly, Avery cries out as flames catch his tunic and his arm hair begins to burn.

The survivor grins and licks his lips.

"crackle crackle good."

fire damage: 1d6 ⇒ 6


Cole Zeff wrote:

Cole stops a moment and draws his bow. He watches the mound a long minute or three. Satisfied it's not moving, or breathing, or anything, he approaches slowly and stealthily.

He, using the dagger (cold iron if it matters), tries to clear away clumps of dirt to see if there's anything underneath.

The gray stuff looks like dust, and does not move except when disturbed by wind or outside contact. beneath it, lays a masterwork halberd. A nasty slime still covers the blade. At the touch of Cole's dagger, the dust sizzles and withers back.

A few yards away, Laina finds a similar situation, only it is a longsword mingled with the dust.


Round 6, Init 20

The man stabs again at Eli, but grins at Avery. Perhaps he would be easier prey.

attack on Eli: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 + 2 = 171d4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5

Avery gasps in horror as the man stabs at Eli again. "I can't just leave you to fight him alone! I'm a drunk, not a coward!" He swings at the man with his trusty shovel again, trying to avoid the flames.

shovel attack!: 1d20 - 4 + 3 ⇒ (4) - 4 + 3 = 31d6 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9

fire, high is good for Avery: 1d100 ⇒ 82


fort save: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23

Eli's target giggles at his second attempt to stun him. Apparently, he's made of sterner stuff.


Round 4

So intent getting Avery to safety, Eli barely swings at the attacking mad man. The crazed survivor has no such issues, though he too misses.

attack from mad man: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 + 2 = 141d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

Avery blusters, "I'm trying to help you, Man! Irabeth will be irate if I let one of her heroes die because I wanted a drink."

avery attack: 1d20 + 3 - 4 ⇒ (11) + 3 - 4 = 101d6 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5

fire, high is good for avery: 1d100 ⇒ 92


Eli lands a solid hit with his morning star, shaking the man considerably.

Avery, continuing to hear the scuffling, joins Eli. He tries to attack and avoid the fire at the same time. He swings hard, but can't seem to connect.

attack with shovel: 1d20 - 4 + 3 ⇒ (13) - 4 + 3 = 121d6 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9

fire, high is good for Avery: 1d100 ⇒ 39

"n-n-o Fair... two..." Spurred by the abundance of two, the man tries to drop Eli so he might focus more on Avery.

attack, survivor: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 + 2 = 241d4 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
attack, survivor: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 + 2 = 131d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3


Eli's hammer misses, sending a flurry of sparks into the air from the fire.

Initiative
pskg: 20
Avery: 6
Eli: 3

The man closes in, not wanting to miss his next meal. The flurry of sparks, though, seems to affect his vision, for his boning blade comes nowhere near his surprised savior.

attack: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 + 2 = 71d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3


fort: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16

Round 2, Init 20

"Freessshhh!!!"

attack: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 + 2 = 191d4 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
attack: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 + 2 = 211d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

The man lunges, then lunges again, drooling a little.

Avery calls from beyond the casks. "Are you sure? I'll bean him with my shovel, I will!" and moves closer.


@Eli

The little man shrugs and the strength seems to fall from his shoulders, but when he straightens back up, he holds a nasty chipped dagger from the cutting board close to his left. It’s a thin boning blade, and quite sharp. He smiles a little and flecks of spittle fly from his mouth as he stabs you!

”Freshhh.”

greasy knife attack, surprise round vs flat footed: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 111d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

Initiative

init stuff:
Eli: 1d20 ⇒ 3
Avery: 1d20 ⇒ 6
poor starved victim guy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20

Round 1
pskg: 20
Avery: 6
Eli: 3

greasy knife attack: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 91d4 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4

Avery cries out from behind Eli, "What's going on up there? Eli are you ok?" He shuffles forward and chokes up on his shovel, ready to come to Eli's aid if needed.

Eli is up, and right next to the guy.


"Yes, 'The Ascended' seems like a nice positive book. It's a good place to start, I think. " Amber adds a small plate of black stone, and a pouch of chalk to the pile. "These should help as well, I think. He can practice with these."

With everything together, she continues, "Either of you are welcome any time, Serra. You are good company and I'm sure your squire would be as well."


@ Eli

He stoops a little and, shaking slightly, stirs the thick stew. Bits of meat, potato, and even a little onion surface and sink in the thick sludge. He seems to say something back, but it’s lost in the mishmash as he stirs. His legs shuffle a little, but he doesn’t move from his spot.


@ Grasker

As Grasker continues his work on his latest project, Gulur comes, his craggy features as taciturn as ever. He is quiet for a time, thinking, before he finally blurts out his news.

"I think I saw *her*, Grasker. I was sure she was dead, but there was a woman in the distance on my last patrol. She ran from us, but that is not entirely unusual right now. Skyr may be out there. Alone."


Elyanias Myoch wrote:
Eli then moves closer to the casks, hoping that they've merely unearthed a victim, not a predator.

Avery turns the shovel in his hand, but he lets Eli take the lead past the casks.

Behind them, a ragged figure, not gaunt, just ragged, looks up at Eli from his kettle. His stirring spoon hangs in the air, dripping grease and a bit of potato back into the soupy mixture. There is a long moment of silence as he peers at the older man through the piercing light. He shades his eyes against the brightness and tries to see clearly - though it’s obvious his eyes are having trouble adjusting to the lack of complete darkness.


As Cole and Laina reach the end of their southern trek, the wardline and the edge of the river diverge, leaving 100 yards of woundland on the eastern side of the river.

"Look!" Laina whispers, quietly, as she slips closer. In a moment, she is all but invisible.

Cole can just make out her approach to river, and beyond her, the odd clumps of gray dust on the ground.


Serra Iondri Phaer wrote:

"Desna, huh? Does she find much purchase here among the crusaders? Or just among those who follow in their wake?" Serra asks idly, putting the book aside.

He puzzles over the third title, wondering why it was offered.

"This is an interesting choice for teaching children, isn't it? You think the lad should learn of Zon-Kuthon for his own salvation...or to know what happens should he slide onto the wrong path?'

Serra holds the final book in his hand, but waits to hear what Amber has to say of her choices.

"It's hard to say with the gods. Iomedae seems to be the strongest in the area, of course, but worshippers of others are still to be found." Amber shakes her had at the last set of questions.

"Oh no, you wouldn't let them read it themselves. But I thought you might find material that you could put in such a way as to be a helpful warning. You know the story, don't you? about how the Nidalese called out in fear during the age of darkness...and so now find themselves enslaved to Zon Kuthon...and their children, and their children's children. All because of fear."

sense motive:19:
a fleeting hint of something, grief perhaps, slips across Amber's usually stoic expression. Perhaps she has lived through such fear, or lost someone to it. Regardless, her knowledge isn't just academic.


@ Eli

Avery proves surprisingly adept at the digging, his engineering skills saving their work from a poorly timed cave in. It takes 3 hours, but they are able to clear an entryway down to what remains of the bar.

Well built, the bottommost room seems intact, the door wedged sideways holding up an otherwise weakened wall. Beyond, lay rows of casks, several sacks of sundry foodstuffs, and 3 large bins 1/2 full of root vegetables.

perception: 12:
A scent of sweat and latrines hangs faintly in the air.

perception17:
Something scuffs or shifts behind the row of casks.

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