Ar'Zarrcal will offer to provide long term care if the Chelish? Cheliaxian? marine. Please let me know if the Marcellano agrees and we can do some RP regarding those scenes.
GM - does the captain request his axe back? I could certainly use it if we end up encountering more of the dead. I assume this ship has neither the proper equipment nor the time to forge/craft one for myself.
"Fer one, I weren't born Andoran. Fer two, we're free to believe what we like. I've got no problem using "evil" fer good. Now hold still ye pajama wearin' buffoon." Rasso says, smearing liberal amounts of fiend's blood on Marcellano's wounds.
Looking around the deck he says aloud to anyone listening, "Anyone else who's hurt can come see me termorrow. I can patch ye up then. In the meantime, I've got zombie funk to drink out of me throat." Retrieving his bottle from where he'd set it on the deck, he returns to his cabin muttering under his breath about zombies in Aquan.
Give you my other two castings of ifernal healing Marc'. That's 20 HP.
"Ah well that probably explains it. Most Andorans I've met would balk at using "Evil" for good. Not that I've met many, though." Marcellano nods in thanks for the healing, then heads downstairs to his cabin to get some rest, after donning his breastplate.
Actually Ar'Z, I don't need long term care anymore.. just bed rest'll do it with Rasso's healing. I didn't expect to actually get two doses lol.
The grimly dressed necromancer strides across the deck, momentarily pausing to peer down at each carcass as he makes a circuit about the ship. Though his hood hides his facial features well, one still gets the impression the man is carefully calculating and measuring everything he encounters. Mindless dredges. Unlikely that they would crawl aboard a ship of their own malice. More likely that something foul sets them to such a labor. Fenyx calmly saunters over to where Ar'Zarrcal is crouched, a response to the inquisitive look the rune-scarred dwarf shot him.
As his gaze falls to the Forge-Master, he intones in Thassilonian, "Овие суштества не се резултат на страдање, копнежот, ниту злоба. Тие беа поставени во нашиот пат намерно, со цел. Дали тие биле испратени по нас директно или едноставно по некој патува оваа река е непознат. Ние треба да бидеме на нашиот чувар, без разлика. Можноста за предавник во нашата midsts не е веројатно. Ова е случај, тие најверојатно ќе се движи да се утврди вината на најлесен цели бродот на Црвениот призрак: нас."
Turning to regard the rest of those gathered on deck, especially the captain of The Wraith and Captain Styvanus, Fenyx begins in common, "These mindless wretches are not the result of atrocities visited against the living transforming corpses into wicked vessels. They exist at the behest of some person or thing, likely with the express purpose of halting any investigations or forays into this region." Fenyx steps slowly about the icy ship deck, and gestures towards the water-logged corpses that are presently being piled up. His gesture widens to incorporate the entirety of the crew's surroundings as he says, "This is Andoran - a purported land of freedom. Why then would the dead linger of their own volition? I'm afraid it is too unlikely to be so."
The necromancer leans forward against the starboard rails, staring out across the frozen lands sprawling out before him. He shakes his head slowly, then turns again to those yet listening. "We should be willing to accept the possibility that The Whispering Tyrant's forces have penetrated this far south, while praying that it is not so. Either way, I would venture to guess that the answer will be made known to us soon enough."
Coolly observing the merfolk healing the pale human, Teladon cocked his head slightly peering at the magic involved. Wordlessly the elf watched as the auras unfold, enveloping the man and the dark oily residue knit the wounds together. Nodding to himself in understanding the elf turned to leave the deck but stopped short when he heard the pale mans words. Despite the severity of the situation and Teladons aching arm, the elf laughed to himself. Foolish human! To think a spell such as that was invented by your people? Yours is not the first culture in history to worship devils, nor do I suspect it will be the last. Everything is a cycle.. and it will all repeat Turning away the elf whipped his scimitar around in a single arc, slinging the blood and ichor off sword and into the water, and then gracefully he slid the blade home with a quiet click. Turning around the elf wordlessly make his way off the deck and back to his state room ignoring the others. I will tend to my own wounds. Teladon thought, suppressing a shivering at the idea of a non elf touching him. That is how one becomes forlorn.
In the morning I will memorize a single Infernal Healing. And I will heal myself with it. In the morning I will attend the funeral. doubt I will have nothing to say, I have something planned to honor the crew's memory in an elven way.
On a second note, during combat I always keep a Windy Escape prepaired. I will reserve casting it for a critical strike, sneak attack or when I am dangerously low on hit points.
Talavuc sighs just as a golden-furred hound appears. Just a bit late, she thinks to herself as she pats the dog on the head. The dog follows in tow as she descends the stairs from the aftcastle. She kneels down next to one of the corpses, giving it a quick look. As she does so, the hound gives a soft, curious yip just as it disappears, the noise echoing in a slightly otherworldly manner. She sighed again and shook her head.
"Collect the bodies," Captain Brevin shouted to his crew. She looked down at one of the deceased sailors, and started to gather the man up, looking for where the crew was collecting the dead. She did what she could to help with the corpses for the time being, aiding in the collection of the dead into the keelboat.
Talavuc approaches Captain Brevin once the bodies had been collect. "Captain, you mentioned encountering these undead before at Falcon's Hollow. What was the state of the town when you left?"
"I wish I could say it was on fire," Brevin notes sarcastically as he watches Teladon departing, his words to Talavuc seeming somewhat distracted at that. "Unfortunately, it was still standing." Fenyx's approach elicits an arch of the captain's brow and a disconcerted look of frustration crossing his face. Exhaling a breathy sigh, he hangs his head and nods slowly before sliding the haft of his axe through the loop on his belt.
"Whoever made 'em, there were a dozen more in Falcon's Hollow," the captain admits with gruff tone, "but we killed most of them trying to hold our place in the river. Once we were sure that there was nothing to be done and no one was coming back, we sounded a full retreat and pulled up anchor." Tilting his head to the side, the Captain scrubs one hand at the back of his neck. "Not a proud moment."
Looking up to Fenyx, there's a visible expression of distrust when he meets the necromancer's eyes. Saying nothing of it, though, he instead turns his attention to Talavuc. "Anyone who traffics in the souls of the dead ain't to be trusted."
With that indirect accusation, the Captain starts to head below decks without another word.
Forgot I had to GM my weekdays Pathfinder campaign on Roll20 last night. Took up my whole evening. I'll put together the funeral when I get to work, then transition us to Falcon's hollow a little later in the day. Sorry for the delay!
The somber task of handling the dead is one that comes with a heavy heart for the crew of the Red Wraith. It is evident in the deflation of their previously boisterous attitudes and celebratory nature that the loss of members of their own crew -- especially in foreign waters -- is a hardship that will take time and perseverence to overcome. In an age as deadly as this, every dead crewman means learning to trust another as they are brought aboard. This is doubly difficult for those who live their lives on the fringes of legality as this crew appears to.
As the hours drag on, the corpses are piled up like cord-wood above decks and covered with a canvas tarp held down by sturdy stones. The blood is mopped off the deck and over the sides of the ship, back into the river, and while the red stains of battle will forever mar the bronze hues of the Red Wraith's midship the memory of the departed will prove to be more ephemeral and difficult to hold on to in such an ever-changing world.
Evidence of their death will last longer than the memory of their lives. It is an epitaph that applies so broadly these days.
<< Aboard the Red Wraith, Andoshan River, Andoran | Dawn | Snowing, Cold | Fireday, Erastus 6th, 4715 AR >>
"Lo there do I see my Father..."
"Å det ser jeg min Far..."
Dawn light looks like a gray haze on the cloudy eastern horizon, bathing the snow-covered land in muted illumination. Tiny specks of farmland villages line the riverbanks, twisting fingers of smoke coming from their chimneys the only sign of life this early. The cold above decks is bitter, but the wind has died down and the snow falling in thick, fluffy flakes seem to hang suspended in the air.
"Lo there do I see my Mother, my Sisters and my Brothers..."
"Å det ser jeg min mor, mine søstre og mine brødre ..."
The crew of the Red Wraith have gathered on the port side of the ship, captain Brevin included. A men beside him, one of the many ruddy Ulfen warriors in his service, sings loudly in a droning Skald chant, tears welling in his eyes. Word had spread across the ship that his cousin, Feldi, was one of the two crew mates who perished in the attack. Another member of the crew sings the same chant, but in the Taldan tongue for the dead of this land to hear.
"Lo there do I see the line of my people..."
"Å det ser jeg på linje med mitt folk..."
Creaking ropes groan in protest against the weight they bear as one of the ship's two keelboats piled high with corpses is lowered down into the river. The bodies of the dead -- the crew and the villagers who had been cursed with undeath -- each piled atop the other. The crewmen of the Wraith should be with their armor and weapons, but the harsh times have meant that no supplies can be spared, not even for honor and glory in the afterlife. It is a greater statement than most would know.
"Back to the beginning..."
"Tilbake til begynnelsen..."
As the boat is lowered into the river, the crew watches on with silent reverence and contemplation. The ropes are detatched, cranked back up as the keelboat begins to be pulled away from the Red Wraith by the current of the river. It bobbles, cants and is pulled alongside the ship. The crew follows, watching the keelboat's voyage away. As they follow, the crew comes to meet with a lone crewman on the aftcastle with a longbow in hand. He draws a single arrow from his quiver and holds it loosely in one hand, waiting for something.
"Calling me to join them, bidding me to take my place among them..."
"Ringer meg å bli med dem, bød meg å ta min plass blant dem..."
Captain Brevin approaches the bowman, then kneels in front of him to place a burning lantern at his feet, the top opened to expose the flame. As he backs away, the archer lowers the arrow into the flame of the lamp, catching the oil-soaked cloth wrapped around it alight with flame. He lifts the arrow, droplets of fire falling from it and draws it back, readying to fire.
"In the Valenhall beyond the horizon..."
"I Valenhall utover horisonten..."
As the keelboat comes into view beyond the aftcastle, it swiftly draws away from the ship on the river's strong current. Once it passes a hundred feet or so, the archer lets loose with the arrow, sending it sailing through the snow like a shooting star up into the sky, a burning orange spot among countless points of white.
"Where the brave..."
The arrow falls, dropping in a steady arc before punching into the pile of corpses stacked in the keelboat. In an instant, the bodies are engulfed in a ball of rising flame that belches up a billowing puff of black smoke.
Now engulfed in flame, the boat becomes a fiery beacon on the water, pulled ever further away from the ship but always visible even amid the falling snow. The fire burns brightly, a roaring conflagration of honor and grief. The shape of things to come.
Ar'Zarrcal bowed his head to the wisdom of Feyronix Dagganauth. He knew that the undead legions of the Whispering Tyrannt were the specialty of the other ambassador and while he himself had a good deal of knowledge in that regard, Feyronix likely possessed more.
""Ние треба да работат кон целта за обезбедување на сојузи меѓу нашите колеги членовите на експедицијата. На Chelixian и елф изгледа најверојатно да биде прифаќање на нашите иницијативи. Предупредување, на Мер-суштество dabbles во црна волшебствата на господарот на пеколот која е unsual за некој во вработување на Андорци. Ние мора да ги држиме очите отворени. " He said in a low voice, still holding the captain's battle-axe in one hand.
If there were to be more of the walking dead that he would deal with not only would he have to part with his exotic coffee beans to obtain the battle-axe, but he would also have to offer prayer to the Goddess of Runes for power to combat the unliving.
With no small amount of frustration the rune-scarred dwarf went below decks and found the captain, tossing a tightly bound leather pouch within his free hand. He made his way to the captain and placed it before the man. "Ta dem. Du rane meg, men jeg må øksen mer enn jeg trenger dem." He said with a grumble in the Skald language.
Taking the bag, Brevin furrows his brows and looks to Ar'Zarrcal as if in serious consideration. He tugs at the drawstrings with one hand, then brings the pouch up to his nose and takes a long, deep breath of the contents. A coarse, deep laugh erupts from the captain a moment after. "Coffee," he states in a firm, pleased tone before cinching the bag shut again.
With something of an affable smile, the captain withdraws a small stone from a pouch at his belt. He tosses the stone over to Ar'Zarrcal in a gentle, underhanded lob. When he catches it and opens his fingers, the water-smoothed stone reveals a rune engraved on its surface. A Skald rune for "Hope," though the language shares its alphabet with dwarven and the rune mean the same thing in both languages. The double-meaning to Ar'Zarrcal is lost on the captain.
"Du trenger at mer enn jeg," the captain explains. The axe will only save Ar'Zarrcal's body, but hope...
Hope can save his soul.
"You'll need that more than I."
Reflexively Ar'Zarrcal caught the stone and brought it to his eyes, the pad of his thumb smoothing over its water-polished surface. He looks upon the rune and then closes his eyes against the pounding pain in his skull. Whatever tortured memory of his past sought to claw its way up from the buried depths of his mind failed, though not without a struggle.
"Takk skal du ha, men Thassilon provies alt jeg trenger." He uttered in a low, polite acceptence.
Inwardly however he sneered and found the gesture distasteful. Hope was a weakness and a fantasy that paled before the power of Thassilon and Karzoug. His time in Xin-Shalast had broke him from wasting energy on futile dreams of hope or salvation. He would not make the mistake of placing any trust in 'Hope' again.
The Sihedron upon his brow blazed a dim emerald for a moment, before fading away. With a respectful dip of his head to the Captain, the herald of Shalast turned and returned to his cabin.
As a light snow fell upon the deck of the Red Wrath, Teladon sat mediating in his chamber. Focusing on the sigils and elven glyphs that lay in front of him the magus focused on the power underlying the symbols. Blocking out the wearing aches in his sword arm from the previous nights battle, the elf ran his hands along his spell book. Concentrating, Teladon gazed over the hidden power and mysteries of the arcane that lay inscribed within the elven tome. Finding the incantation he was seeking, the elf looked past the script and into the primal power that suffused it. Slowly he began, quietly chanting the words of lost Azlant. Drawing the power of the aether tighter and tighter to him, Teladon felt the energy of creation begin to build within him. Finally, when the slight elf could draw no more, he invoked the fourteenth binding of conjuration. Instantly he felt the pain in his arm begin to fade as his broken wrist began to knit and his torn muscles began to heal. Sighing in relief, Teladon rolled his arm, feeling the restored movement. Knowing however that his time was short, the elf continued to scan his arcane tome, planning for the day ahead.
Several hours later..
Wrapped in furs and mask in place, Teladon glided his way down the passageway of the Red Wraith. After memorizing his remaining spells for the day, the elf had wordlessly gone to the galley where he had collected several of the wooden bowls that he had seen used during last night’s meal. Returning to his cabin, Teladon withdrew his fine steel dagger and spent the next hour smoothing the bowls and inscribing around the rim in flowing Azlanti script the words for ”Honor”, ”Bravery” and ”Warrior” Giving a nod of satisfaction at his work, Teladon picked up the bowls as well as a several candles and made his way out onto the deck.
As Teladon rose onto the deck he did so like a quiet sentinel roused into life. With silence the elf watched the Ulfen men say their own good bye. Though this was his first time among the northern men, it seemed oddly comforting to note that both of their rituals involved fire and water. As the men grieved and songs were sang, the elf watched as the boat was loaded into the water and then set on fire. Nodding to himself, Teladon stepped forward. This was not a place to make a scene, but honor must be shown, even to human barbarians such as these. Reaching the edge of the deck Teladon laid out one bowl for each of the slain crew. Affixing into the bottom of the bowl, Teladon placed a bit of candle. Once candle was in place, the elf rose and took a five foot step back. Then, with a wave of his hand he willed the candles into light. As each took to the flames, the list of virtues that Teladon had witnessed was illuminated. Quietly pausing to allow a speaker for the dead, the xenophobic elf gave a nod. That they were savages was of no concern, it was as honor dictated. Watching as none came forward, Teladon waved his hand and called upon the second binding of movement. Levitating each of the bowls he carefully guided them into the icy water. Despite the cold of the morning, Teladon watched behind his mask and waited until each was out of sight. Summer to Winter, Darkness to Light, Fire to Water. Be one and seek out your brightness. The elf thought as he sent the souls of the men onward to a new life. Then as the last of the bowls disappeared down the river he turned and left the deck as quietly as he came.
Marcellano spent much of the day getting rest, and thus missed the funeral as well. He did, however, make sure to get something to eat when it was offered in the galley, before retiring back in his room.
I can understand their grievances for their dead, but wasting one of the keelboats like that? They're foolish if they think they won't need it in the near future. They'll likely regret sacrificing it like that.. better to just tie the bodies with rope and weights, give a blessing to whatever god they worship, and toss them overboard. Its what we did with my Uncle.. its what we did with all of our dead.
Marcellano takes his time resting and keeping to himself, obvious to his less-than-liked status amongst the crew. The real journey begins soon.. best to be rested.
The two days on the Andoshan river that followed the attack on the Red Wraith were comparatively quiet. The passengers of the Andoran expedition were able to witness the full spectrum of Ulfen grieving, from the somber tones of the funeral to the raucous celebrations the following night, full of singing, drinking and story telling in memory of the deceased. No intruders spoiled these moments, no attacks fouled the grieving process for these sailors; time and foreign faces their only considerations.
Before dawn on what would be their fourth day since leaving Almas, the members of the expeditionary forces are roused from their bunks and informed that they are approaching their destination. In the dark of early morning hours, with the sky blackened by clouds and steady, heavy snow whistling through the air the dark silhouette of Falcon's Hollow can barely be seen.
What was once a busy community of farmers and lumberjacks has had the life choked out of it by the frozen grasp of winter. The two dozen some odd buildings in the town are buried past their windows in deep snow, some drifts actually swallowing homes past their roofs. Like the rest of the Andoshan, the water at the docks has frozen solid and is covered in snow. Ships lie abandoned at their moorings, covered with snow and hanging sheets of ice.
Falcon's Hollow has become a ghost town.
<< Falcon's Hollow, Andoran | Pre-Dawn | Snowing, Very Cold (8° F/-13° C) | Moonday, Erastus 9th, 4715 AR >>
It is noticeably colder here at Falcon's Hollow than it is anywhere else the team has been. From the deck of the Red Wraith, they can feel the blistering cold in the air that tries to steal their breath away with every gust. "Drop anchor!" Captain Brevin hollers to the crew, and soon the sounds of clanking chains and shouting crewman fill the dark. The anchor goes speeding down from the bow of the ship, crashing through the packed ice on the river and down below.
"We'll lower you down in the keel-boat, but the ice is too thick to go anywhere in it," the captain says to the expedition team, "you'll need to walk in to the town on the ice. Be wary on the way in, we felled near a dozen of the walking dead by the harbor. Some of their bodies are likely still stuck in the ice or buried under the snow."
As the crew prepares the last keel-boat for lowering down, the dark of pre-dawn shares little secrets with the crew, and beyond the range of darkvision and torchlight Falcon's Hollow is a snow-covered mystery waiting to be uncovered.
But for one lost soul, the mystery isn't in Falcon's Hollow...
...it's what's just arrived.
* * * * *
The noises were hard to hear at first, until the crash of shattering ice made it clear that he was no longer alone. Within the pitch black confines of one of the many abandoned houses, the sound of activity in Falcon's Hollow sends a burst of adrenaline and alertness through a survivor's body.
Jolted from sleep by the sounds, Ordrud son of Oruk can already see the light of torches from the frosted window of his commandeered hideout. Lanterns swinging in the wind, silhouettes of movement, bright red sails. The vessel is familiar to him, even at this distance; rescue or reinforcements.
Progress, in either direction.
Map: Falcon's Hollow
@Ordrud: I made it purposefully vague as to what building you're in. Feel free to choose as would make sense to him.
Ordrud could not believe his good fortune. Finally, fate was smiling on him. That Ulfen captain was back. Who else would pilot that ice-breaker up here? He buckled on his armored kilt and sheathed his sword in its scabbard on his back. He shrugged back into furs that he had abandoned while inside and prepared his snowshoes. His food stores were empty, so there was nothing there except to tighten his belt.
He watched the ship deploy the keel-boat. He knew that he couldn’t call to them from here. His hunters would hear if they were within a couple of miles. He timed their arriving pace to meet them at the land end of the docks. When he couldn’t wait any longer, he went out the second story window that he entered The Rouge Lady above their single story barn and carefully closed it. It had proved a good shelter, even without the posted entertainment. The cold bit but reminded him that he was still alive. He lashed his snowshoes to his feet and attempted to smooth his tracks in the snow Survival take 10+5=15, so they weren’t visible from the road. Then, he climbed off the side opposite the road into a couple feet of fresh powder Climb take 10+8=18. With purpose, he started to hustle toward the docks: across the head of the Lady’s dock and across the heads of the other docks. At this point, he was visible to keel-boat and probably the Red Wraith, too. He waved his left arm to get their attention but continuously surveyed for enemies Perception take 10+6=16. He didn’t want to fall now after surviving this far.
The group sees a large humanoid about seven tall hustling toward them on snowshoes. He wears furs over a cold weather outfit as dressed as you can for the temperature. Skis and a two-handed weapon handle protrude above his head and shoulders. He waves to you and continues to silently approach.
Fenyx prefers to move amid the center of his new allies, for obvious reasons. Surrounded by immense drifts of snow in all direction, so much so that entire dwellings are engulfed in the frozen onslaught, the necromancer is on high alert. If they were able to steal onto the boat days away from the village, who knows what waits for us? The Shalasti (I'm going to pretend that's a word, anyways) ambassador regards his counterpart Ar'Zarrcal with a knowing look.
"Be on your toes, brothers," he begins, briefly turning to Talavuc as he continues, "and sister. Any of those accumulated mounds of snow could be hiding more of the beasts we encountered two nights prior aboard The Wraith. I will, of course, defer to our leader's judgement in the matter, but know that my services as an expert on matters involving the once-but-no-longer dead are at your complete disposal." Fenyx bows formally to the assembly, a flourish firmly midway between humble and grandiose.
Perception Check: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
"Assuming my prattle has not worn its welcome, I am inclined to offer that it might be prudent for some of us to clear the aforementioned debris while the rest wait eagerly with proffered weaponry." The necromancer reaches into the depths of his robes and retrieves a short metal rod. Several gestures, clicks-and-clanks later, he is holding a shovel and wearing a slight smile. The smile disappears, however, as his head snaps forward in the direction of the approaching half-orc.
"This one seems a bit too lively to be a carcass - a survivor? And a big one at that."
Rasso having been roused from his bunk, takes the time to drink one of the potions that the Eagle Knights had given them. He follows it with a shot of rum, a large chunk of lard fried bread and a raw onion. He then takes a minute to summon his eidolon.
Scuttling onto deck he watches as the keel boat is lowered down. Whole town's been turned into a gods damned Winter Week display...creepy. Seeing Ordrud approaching, he asks no one in particular, "Who in the nine hells is that?" He moves casually to the railing, ready to leap down and defend the Wraith if necessary.
Drinking a potion of endure elements.
Secretly pleased the way that the slits of his mask were lessening the glare from the ice and snow, Teladon stepped off the side of the keel-boat and onto to the icy river. As he did so the wind gusted around his fine tooled leather boots, kicking up a cloud of white powder. Lightly the wind continued to howl with its keening shriek and slowly each of the elven warriors steps were erased by the by the windblown snow. Moving across the snow and ice towards the town, Teladon listened as the runelord emissary prattled on. Clearly he has forgotten the slight done by his people to my kin. Teladon thought when the necromancer called them friends. But mine is a people that does not forget and they do not forgive. In that moment, surrounded by outsides, the magus was even more grateful then usual that he had his mask. Gritting his teeth in the knowledge that he would have to spend weeks or possibly months with the humans, Teladon quietly sighed. Elders, if only you knew what you had asked of me.
Trudging along the windblown snowdrifts, Teladon pushed though the calf high snow towards the front of the group. As they neared the abandoned village of Falcons Hollow, Teladon placed one gloved hand on the pommel of his ancient blade. As a Spire Guardian he knew his strengths and weakness, and even if he was in the mood to talk, he would not do so with an outsider. No, he would let another speak but should the words fail, he would be ready. He always was.
When woken up in the wee hours before morning Marcellano takes the time to prepare himself for the journey ahead. First, he dons his full compliment of cold-weather gear, then his breastplate, taking the time to carefully make sure it is on properly, and finally his furs and cloak on top of the breastplate. His soldier's uniform, still bloody because of the lack of unfrozen water to clean it, he stuffs in a sack and packs it in the bottom of his backpack. I'll get that cleaned up later.. won't be wearing it until we're done, probably.
When packing the rest of his gear into his backpack, he goes over everything to make sure he's got all of his stuff where he wants it. Healer's Kit and surgeon's tools.. gunsmithing tools.. check. Coffee and coffee pot? Check. Spare set of cold weather gear? Check. Rope and grappling hook? Check. Food.. oil.. canteen.. compass... flint and steel.. check. Tent? Check. Shovel and foldable 10-ft pole? Check. Blanket.. bedroll.. snow shoes.. check. Powder horn.. bullets.. hex nails.. alchemical weapons.. check and check.
After putting everything in or on his backpack, he puts on his bandoliers containing his potions and alchemical weapons, puts on his cleats and tricorne hat, then heads upstairs with his musket in hand, cutlass, boarding axe, and one powder horn with a bullet pouch hanging from his belt.
When he gets up deck and just before he prepares to board the keelboat, Marcellano pulls his Ioun Torch out of his pocket and lets it float around his head. Probably won't need this for long.. but best not to be without it until dawn. Scanning around and seeing everyone else prepared, Marcellano nods in approval that he's good to go.
Upon stepping onto the ice, and glad that he's wearing his cleats, Marcellano takes the front right behind and to the right of Styvanus. When he spots the large, cloaked figure waving at the group, he puts both hands on his musket and readies himself, but without appearing hostile, just in case. The journey's just began, and already we're finding people.. hopefully this isn't some kind of trick..
This is what my guy looks like (mostly), but plus a pair of bandoliers and the other stuff hanging from his belt.
Also, Lucent, what position are we at on the map, and how long till daylight?
Back at the funeral..
Talavuc remained quiet and solemn for the funeral. She wanted to pay respects for the dead men, but this was their way and they were someone else's people. Why a boat, she asked herself. Wouldn't it be better to set a pyre on the shore for a short time. If the dead had truly been picked up at Falcon's Hollow, then they wouldn't be likely to trouble them again while on the river. She looked around nervously for a moment, Unless they believe it might be more pervasive than that. Had it spread further? If the rune-servant's words were true, then it very well might be. Her thoughts drifted for a second to her spear and staff. I need to get a cutting weapon. She glanced at her fingers. If only I could grow claws like that Andoran! The thought screamed in her head for a moment, but as she realized she had missed part of the ceremony, she redirected her attention to it, trying to remind herself that right now, it was the thing of utmost importance. Honor for the dead. A cold salve for the wounds left by their passing.
She climbed from the keelboat as it settled on the ice, wearing the outer fur parka that she had left off on board the boat until now. It was part of the entire outfit, but the relative warmth on the ship made it unnecessary, a little part of home. Now, the fur parka, dyed with muted designs, was a necessity. The hood kept most of the snow and cold away from her face. She glanced down at Naasvit, still a bit cantankerous from the "arduous ordeal" of that infernal boat, but oh so pleased to be off it. A twinge of jealousy hit her. Ahhh... To have such a wonderful winter coat of fur myself. She tugged on a strap of the mink's custom-fitted armor, which earned a yip and clack of teeth from the mink. "So fierce..." she mumbled, grinning and giving the mink a light stroke on the head before she turned to regard the rest of the group.
She nodded to the Thassilonian as he spoke. "I assume that we all will defer to his judgment. That was the understanding that I got during the meet over three days past." She started forward, examining the way as she did and giving a sharp whistle, similar to a bird's call, that shifts suddenly, dropping in tone a bit. The giant mink next to her's attention suddenly shifted and it began to keep up with her, sniffing at and probing the snow. It is quickly noticeable that although the animal leaves. However, as Talavuc steps, the snow seems to fall inwards and fill her foot prints perfectly, leaving no evidence of her passage. It is as if the snow itself didn't want her followed.
"Naasvit and I will stay in front and scan for bodies." She continued to move forward, the mink keeping pace.
As she moves forward, the figure on the docks draws her attention, earning a look from the mink as well. I hope this is one of the team who came before us.
Talavuc gave orders to Naasvit to use the Heel and Seek tricks. She wants him to follow along with her and help search the drifts ahead, trying to find a safe path to the docks. She's also looking for tracks or other signs of recent passage in the snow.
Talavuc's Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
Talavuc's Survival: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (5) + 13 = 18
Naasvit's Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21 plus scent and low-light.
Attention: If everyone could let me know what they're using for light-sources (if anything) that would be awesome. I know some of you can see in the dark, and those of you with low-light can see fine thanks to the Red Wraith's lanterns burning brightly.
Everyone else will either need to have a light source of their own or be close to someone else who does because it is pitch black out. You can get to the docks without a light thanks to the ship's lanterns, but anywhere past that you'll be stumbling blind in darkness.
As the group descends down from the ship onto the ice, the path outward towards Falcon's Hollow proves to be a treacherous one. Drifts of snow two feet deep cover thick river ice frozen solid by the polar chill in the air. Where the snow has blown down to a few inches, patches of the frozen river can be seen, and its slippery surface makes for uncertain footing.
Up ahead, the enormous figure in bundled winter gear is hard to make out. Part of his bulk appears to be armor over and under which his winter survival gear is fitted. But Fenyx is right on one point, his movements aren't like a zombie's. Too precise, too cautious, too animate. That doesn't preclude something more horrifying, however.
Halfway to the pier, Talavuc spots something in the snow. While searching for tracks in the powdery, windblown snow proves fruitless there is something below the snow that catches her attention. A moment of pause and a swift brush of her hand later and she can see the curled digits of a human hand reaching up from the snow, frozen completely solid. A few feet away, a gaping skeletal face stares blankly up through the drifts, empty eye sockets filled with ice and toothy maw locked in a perpetual scream.
These must have been the ones that attacked the ship previously. Now, they are grisly reminders of the town's ultimate fate.
There's no exact position for you all on the map as of yet. You're coming up from the river. Your exact direction of approach is your call. Ordrud can more clearly say which pier he's on, if you're going for him. It's not too important to know exact placement at present, however.
As for daylight, you know it's pre-dawn. There's not even a glow on the horizon right now, so you have at least an hour, maybe more. No one on deck has any precise timekeeping means.
Ordrud is not using a light-source relying solely on his Darkvision and the light sources of the distant humans. At their current distance, Ordrud's armor and wounds are not distinguishable.
Let's put the Red Wraith on the compass arrow in the bottom-right of the map. The keelboat team will touch down at the Ferry Dock #6. Ordrud is approaching West to East along the shore where the docks anchor and has timed himself to meet the team when they would reach the top of the dock of #6. Let's say that the team is taking longer than Ordrud estimated, so Ordrud arrives at the top of the #6 dock when the team arrives at the bottom (river-end) of the #6 dock. OK?
Got my head lit up like a beacon right now, as my Ioun Torch is currently floating around my head. Probably not the smartest thing, but oh well.
Nightmares had woken Ar'Zarrcal early that day and he was one of the first on the deck as they neared Falcon's hollow. He dressed warmly, in the heavy fabrics and furs of an outfit specially designed for travel up frozen mountains. Beneath that, iron and steel gripped the squat form of the dwarf. His armor incorporated several sizable plates of deep gray sculpted metal with an underlying mesh of chain links. complete with a helm sporting the serpent bodied, many winged icon of Lissala and hardened leather and chain gauntlets. The white tabard with the Sihedron he wore over the armor was all but concealed by the heavy furs. When the keelboat was launched, Ar'Zarrcal said his goodbyes to the captain, urging him in Skald to remain near this time. It had become clear to Ar'Zarrcal that the Ulfen captain had abandoned the first expedition party when trouble had reared its undead head.
Though he did not look it, Ar'Zarrcal was eager to be getting off the Red Wraith, even if it meant climbing through formidable drifts of snow and traveling across potentially treacherous ice. Though he believed he handled himself well enough aboard the river vessel, he was a creature born of stone and rocks. His place was upon the terra firma, be it in the moutains or on the rolling hills, or even in the very caverns of the deep earth. He did not have some of the fancy snowshoes that some of his group wore, but his water-proof leather boots were designed for the cold weather and he trusted them to do their job.
No torch found the dwarf's hand, for he was content to utilize his dark vision where it was needed. When the Cheliaxian soldier lit up the area around him with magic, Ar'Zarrcal shied away from him. The light would hinder his own natural advantages. Still, he would remember that some of his companions might need light - if needed he might etch the necessary runes to aid them to see in the blackness.
"Let us be alert, but at the same time we do not need to foolishly provoke an ally who has been waiting for aid. At the meeting, we were told that one of the expedition was an orc-blooded soldier named Ordrud. I do not have a full grasp on the language of Belkzen, but if one of you do, perhaps call out to the figure by name?" Without thinking of the established heirarchy of command, he looked first to his fellow ambassador of Shalast, before turning to the humble and so far soft spoke Styvanus.
Ar'Zarrcal wished he could be of more use, but while he had studied some Orcish, he could speak little of it. He believed that they had bastardized the fine Dwarven alphabet with their harsh, clipped tongue. These biases had always kept him from a true grasp of the language.
- HP 25/25
- AC 20( T: 12/ FF:16)
- Fort + 4|Ref + 2|Will + 2
- Init + 2
- Perception +1
Styvanus keeps his farewell with the Ulfen Captain as short and formal as possible. He had his suspicions that the Captain had abandoned the first Andoran party at the first sign of trouble, a fact that set sour in contrast to Rozier's 'leave no man behind ' policy. Never the less, he saluted the man as he set off in the keel boat.
His pack was filled to the brim with supplies for the arduous expedition. The weight slowed him down a bit, but it was a necessary burden. He had secured his cold weather outfit under links of chain, his fine suit of chainmail was displayed like a flag of his country, white and blue . Spiked gauntlets adorned with images of eagles covered the lower half of his arms. He wore a layer of winter-colored animal furs, under an over-sized blue leather overcoat on top. He wore his cleats in preparation for crossing the icy surface.
He held his shield in his primary hand, and gripped his ever burning torch in the other. He kept a keen eye out for danger, expecting the tortured dead to rise up to greet them at any moment, he struggled to make out the large form in the distance in the predawn hours.
" We'll find out who it is soon enough, keep your eyes peeled, there's no need to alert anyone else to our arrival by shouting over great distance." He stated flatly to the dwarf, but with no ill will." Stay on your toes, weapons at the ready." He added, trudging forward calmly.
When the large waving humanoid approaches within the dim light (for a Human) of the everburning torch, he says in Common, "Andoran? It's good to see you." He stops waving and walking to let the group close the last 20-feet.
Eventually, you see a Half-orc that stands about 6-feet, 10-inches; large by either Human or Orc standards. If one notices his hair, it is surprisingly crimson red contrasting with his grayish skin tone and obsidian eyes. Peeking from beneath his kilted breastplate armor, one can see complex, multicolored tattoos covering his limbs. He scabbards a greatsword on his left hip. His fur-covered, cold-weather outfit, and backpack are well-worn and blood-splattered. He appears still wounded. Bloodied by all soldierly measures.
"Name yerself stranger. Who is it that walks alone in the ken of the frozen dead?" Rasso's tone isn't unfriendly, but it's not welcoming either. Both his claws are held ready at pectoral height, his red eyes focused unblinkingly on the orc thing.
"Ordrud, spawn of Oruk, warlord of Death's Head," he answers flatly. "Are you rescuers or replacements?"
For now, Talavuc will be using the available light and that carried by others to see. She'll use a sunrod when needed, possibly when entering the town.
Talavuc grimaces at the dead in the snow. Much closer to the walking dead from home. Her eyes slowly pan about, looking into the darkness for a few moments. I hope that some got out alive.
Talavuc approaches the newcomer, Naasvit in tow. The giant mink approaches the half-orc slowly, sniffing at him. She looks at Ordrud, examining him for a moment. "You're wounded. What caused this?" She keeps her spear light in her hand, at the ready, but not in a threatening manner. Naasvit continues to sniff at Ordrud before she gives another sharp whistle, similar to the higher of the two before. "Naasvit, manners." The mink turns bounds through the snow back Talavuc's side.
Forgot to mention, Fenyx also has an ioun torch floating about his head.
"Not to cut short the pleasantries, but perhaps we could discuss matters in a less exposed location? Preferably somewhere lacking a frigid gale - or is the village even less hospitable than it appears?" Fenyx meets the half-orc's gaze as he says the last bit, carefully measuring the brute's response.
"I agree with the necromancer, we shouldn't be standing around here, exposed like targets. Especially not with half of our group - myself included - shining like big lit-up bull'seyes." He keeps his musket nearly at the ready as he's saying this, keeping a watchful eye to the shadows.
"Orc - Ordrud, it would be wise if you could show us to one of these buildings where we can talk more privately and set up a defensive location in case more of the dead show up. Know of a good spot?"
- HP 25/25
- AC 20( T: 12/ FF:16)
- Fort + 4|Ref + 2|Will + 2
- Init + 2
- Perception +1
"Good to see you Ordrud. If You've been camped here and know of a more secure location to set up a base-camp, then we could talk on what needs to be done now." Styvanus nods to the sizable half-orc, whom he hopes truly turns out to be an ally. I don't think I want him on my bad side. He thought to himself smirking slightly.
He leaned over to Rasso, speaking lowly. ಕೀಪ್ ಅ ಲೊಸೆ ಎಯೆ ಒನ್ ಹಿಮ್ ೞ್ರಿಎನ್ಡ್. ಃಒಪೆೞುಲ್ಲ್ಯ್ ಹಿಸ್ ಸ್ಟೊರ್ಯ್ ಇಸ್ ಟ್ರುಎ, ಬುಟ್ ಲೆಟ್'ಸ್ ನೊಟ್ ಗೆಟ್ ಔಘ್ಟ್ ವಿತ್ ಒಉರ್ ಗುಅರ್ಡ್ ಡೊವ್ನ್ ರಿಘ್ಟ"
He bowed his head slightly before addressing the group." Ordrud, take the lead, We'll have your back." He begins, no deception in his unfaltering voice. " Rasso, stay beside our new friend. Let's get moving."
Walking, talking fish men? Necromancer? They really are scouring Golarion for volunteers.
"If we're not leaving, then we should head to the Goose 'n' Gander. There's enough of us now to handle the hunters." Ordrud turns and heads into town leading the way. Over his head, he says, "The town has been abandoned. I can brief you. By then, the hunters may be back. You have anything to eat?"
As the group confers with the orcish arm of the previous expeditionary force, they stand amidst the field of ruin that was once the harbor of Falcon's Hollow. Bodies frozen in snow and ice are trapped in the throes of termination, their gasping mouths now packed full of snow and ice, riddled with arrows and cleaved in twain by axes and swords.
The wind picks up, causing brief whiteout conditions as the powdery top layer of snow whirls and snaps through the remains of the town with a howl on the wind. But something in that wind, in the way it howls seems unusual. While the branches of dead, stickbare trees clatter together, the ice up against the hull of the Red Wraith crunches and grinds, it's as if there's some other sound just behind all of the others waiting to be heard.
As the whiteout clears, everyone can hear it clearly and as plain as day. Faint noises that sound like whispers and voices on the wind blow and drift. They speak only in nonsense and hushed syllables, but their significance implies not an immediate threat, but perhaps a more far-reaching one. To Talavuc, the threat is as clear as day.
It is the Morozko.
Fenyx: Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Fenyx: Knowledge (Nature): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
Fenyx: Knowledge (History): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
Ar'Zarrcal: Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
Ordrud: Knowledge (Local): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
Talavuc: Knowledge (Nature): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
Teladon: Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26
There have been stories for decades about fierce storms in the lands bordering the Crown of the World. Worst yet are the superstitions that these hungry storms, called morozko by the locals, were actually sentient things. Most of the superstition is just that, the projection of animism on an inanimate force by an underdeveloped culture. However, there is something unusual about that particular weather. While not intelligent itself, a morozko is directed by an intelligent force. Much like spells that control weather, but on a broader scale and longer duration. The implications here is that this weather is of a supernatural source, and one directed by an intelligent, thinking force.
There's something unnatural about this storm, beyond the whispering. There's some sort of sorcery commanding it, driving the weather onward, and it's more evident and obvious here than anywhere else Ar'Zarrcal has been.
This is a new horror in the cold. The storm hadn't ever whispered before while he was here in Falcon's Hollow. Local superstition from Ordrud's birth home spoke of Ulfen legends of "living storms," and that seems somewhat relevant here, but he can't recall all of the details.
This is without a doubt a morozko, which carries with it all of the dread circumstances. Frozen dead, whispers on the wind, this is the exact same weather that tormented and harried her people for years, now come so far south as to turn the whole world to ice. There is nothing natural about this storm.
The cold, the strong winds, all of it is commanded by an arcane force, likely an intelligent spellcaster or individual commanding a magical artifact of some kind. This lies outside of the boundaries of what control weather could do, which implies either a previously unknown or esoteric form of magic. It is clearly evident that the weather pattern around Falcon's Hollow is being magically manipulated, but without further study determining the source may be problematic. There is no immediate danger from the storm itself, outside of the environmental variety. Teladon is fairly sure that there is no awareness in it. Whatever the source, the sheer level of power required to create an effect like this is staggering.
Rasso gives Styvanus a wink of acknowledgement. As the wind picks up, he looks around suspiciously. At the sound of the hushed ethereal whispers reaches them Rasso looks to the others. "Anyone know what them there creepy ass voices were?"
"Those voices weren't here until you arrived." Ordrud replies to the fishman.
I've been staring at that damn geese sign for two days. I hope it has all the food that I imagined. I'm starving. He thinks to himself to keep the horrors of the wind from his imagination.
"Well, at least I know I'm not going insane, and I'm not the only one hearing it. And yes, Ordrud, I can spare some food once we get inside. I've packed enough for over a month, for my self at least. I can spare a bit, as well as get some coffee brewing. Could use some in this damnable weather.."
Marcellano walks in silence from then on until they get to the inn, thinking about the old days back in the Shackles. Back in warmer weather. Glad I brought coffee on this expedition.. I knew it was going to get cold, but I didn't think this damn weather was haunted as well. I'm really starting to miss those heat waves back in the Shackles..
"Let us seek shelter and then Ordrud, spawn of Oruk, can explain the situation here. He is but one part of the expedition we were sent to find. Let us hear his story where the wind does not whisper." He looked at the towering half-orc with obvious suspicion. His lips twisted downward into a deep frown as snow and ice got blown into his ragged black beard.
The mention of Coffee did not improve the dwarfs mood. Alas, Ar'Zarrcal traded away his coffee, but by the strange arcane forces directing these winter storms, he was certain that far greater difficulties lay ahead. Worse came to worse, he could nearly boil some grog and force the liquid down his throat.
He trudged forward toward the buildings, following behind the lead of the half-orc. "You mentioned hunters. You will explain this to us, Yes?" he asked of the grey skinned brute though teeth gritted against the cold. His breath steamed in the air and he pulled his heavy winter cloak more tightly about his stocky frame.
The whispers startle her for a moment. How dearly she had wished that this was not what had harried her people for so long, and yet part of her wanted it to be the same. Perhaps then, she might find some answers.
"Morozko... We must get inside now. The dead walk these storms, driven by a desire to snuff out warmth. It is not wise to be outside."
An upset look crosses Talavuc's face as they headed for the abandoned building. It is obvious to everyone around her that the erutaki is deeply troubled by the current development. Naasvit, sensing his companion's worry, stirs about anxiously in the snow.
He trudged forward toward the buildings, following behind the lead of the half-orc. "You mentioned hunters. You will explain this to us, Yes?" he asked of the grey skinned brute though teeth gritted against the cold. His breath steamed in the air and he pulled his heavy winter cloak more tightly about his stocky frame.
"Yes." Ordrud grunts in reply.
That Human and Dwarf look cold. It isn't cold, yet. At least that female looks like she can handle the weather. He wonders to avoid thinking about the connection between the whispering wind and undead.
Trudging soundlessly through the windblown snow drifts into the abandoned village of Falcons Hollow, Teladon shivered. Self-awareness told the austere elf that the shiver was not caused by the wind and the cold. Growing up within the Spire, surrounded by the old northern winds and the steaming cauldron sea Teladon knew something of the cold. No, the shiver was not caused by the temperature; it was caused by something far, far worse. Cocking his head into the wind, the elf tried to push his senses outward listening for the snow veiled babble, trying to understand what others might call madness.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
Walking onward to the village tavern, Teladon continued to listen quietly. His training had taught him that there was far more happening at this moment then the others realized. None of the Elder Counsel would be able to call a storm of this magnitude into existence. Perhaps the legendary mages Nex or Geb could have done something of this sort, but here? Now? Shaking his head the standoffish elf continued to mull over the possibilities while subconsciously shying away from the light carried by the pale human and moving up to guard the right flank nearest to Talavuc. This is magic that much is clear. It also carries with it the touch of the arcane. Interesting, I had initially thought it might be druidic in nature, but now I don’t think so. Whatever it is, it’s exceptionally powerful, perhaps to the degree of an artifact...
Maintaining his steadfast march through the snow, Teladon was interrupted in his thoughts by Talavuc speaking from behind her fur-lined parka of a Morozko. Closing his eyes, Teladon gritted his teeth before taking a long deep breath. Just loud enough to be heard over the wind, Teladon leaned in towards Talavuc and whispered.
Morozko’s… The elven magus whispered causing a puff of hot air to disperse from his mask . Are they linked to something? It would be very old.. It must be an artifact and something that would have to tap into ley energy or another form of immense power. Does your people have any stories of such objects? This does not make any sense, if it was a artifact, it would likely be immovable and geocentric.. Unless.. It was a focused attempt by many individuals involving a large scale ritual.. but that.. that would require and a staggering amount of coordination.. but spells such as this do exists.. I know because one was used on my people to bring down the sky..