SR's - Silent Gods (Inactive)

Game Master stormraven


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Rat Bastard

Marcus has no problems reading the fresh tracks below the window, knowing the family as he does. It appears that at least one or two of the younger Guthwite men came through the window - probably Martin and Uller. A couple more sets of prints showed up from the porch by the front door. Judging by the worn through sole print, and knowing that Merl is fond of wearing out his clothing, one of those must be his. There is a scuffle out here and someone - or several people - were hurt judging by the fresh, non-necrotic blood. But, in the end, it appears the Guthwites prevailed. And given the unbalanced weight on certain prints and the odd movements... Marcus strongly suspects ol' Merl was swinging the largest weapon.

A note of interest... the difference between city-folk and frontiersmen (like the Drear folk) is that the frontiersmen are, to the youngest child, harder and more dangerous. In most of the 'softer' and more 'civilized' towns down valley, a large portion of the population will be L1 Commoners. In Drear, the only L1 Commoners are the smallest children. Most people from about 10 year old are probably L1 Warriors. Nearly all of the adults in town range from L1 to L2 Warriors or L1 to L2 Experts. There are also a few L3's in both categories. In other words, a band of goblins raiding this town are likely to get shiv'd and/or held off by 12 year old girls until more able help can arrive to polish them off.


Marcus Braun wrote:

The words strike hard for Marcus as he knows the value of good lumber, but the importance of burning the deceased lest the evil mist return. He approaches Guthwite and leans in close, whispering.

"The Finiose house was...a nightmare. I can't see how anyone could live there now, not after what happened. They're welcome to stay with me and mine until we get more lumber and rebuild. We could use the house to build a pyre for all the poor souls lost, use the animals we have left to haul some rocks to surround the house, have some folk smarter'n me to say some kind words, and make sure our friends don't come back to see us some night. Just a thought."

Merl nods, "A'right. We'll do that then. We can drag the dead animals to the Stuyvesant place. It's fallin' down a'ready. We'll burn them there - can't have'em mixing with the ashes of our kin. We'll light them both at sun-up. It's closest we can come to the full rites." The old man pats the ranger on the shoulder, "You've a good head, son. Before you go traipsin' off tomorrow - you come see me. Hear?"


Lyrica - Ritti dropped down well after you all left the kitchen and I already rolled for anyone in the kitchen to spot her here.
Second, this is Ritti 'Red' Rallo... and she cannot be caught by mere mortals, even Paladins! At least, in her imagination, she can't. ;)


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Marcus wrote:
"Your help is welcome, he says, bowing stiffly."

"Well thank you, Marcus. I promise to stay out of your way while you are tracking. All I ask is that you kindly let me know if I am getting in your way at all."

Marcus Sense Motive DC 21:

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12

Why in the world is Marcus upset about what I said? How could the everlight be offensive to him?!

Bluff: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21

Lyrica picks up on Marcus' anger in regards to her remark on her beloved Dawnflower. However she tries to hide the fact that she noticed this and tries to smooth things over politely. She certainly does not want to offend the young man and remains sensitive to his feelings.


Merl Guthwite wrote:


Merl nods, "A'right. We'll do that then. We can drag the dead animals to the Stuyvesant place. It's fallin' down a'ready. We'll burn them there - can't have'em mixing with the ashes of our kin. We'll light them both at sun-up. It's closest we can come to the full rites." The old man pats the ranger on the shoulder, "You've a good head, son. Before you go traipsin' off tomorrow - you come see me. Hear?"

Yes sir, I will. The lumberjack strides off to help with the sweep of the town, wondering along the way what the old man will ask of him tomorrow.

stormraven wrote:

Marcus has no problems reading the fresh tracks below the window, knowing the family as he does. It appears that at least one or two of the younger Guthwite men came through the window - probably Martin and Uller. A couple more sets of prints showed up from the porch by the front door. Judging by the worn through sole print, and knowing that Merl is fond of wearing out his clothing, one of those must be his. There is a scuffle out here and someone - or several people - were hurt judging by the fresh, non-necrotic blood. But, in the end, it appears the Guthwites prevailed. And given the unbalanced weight on certain prints and the odd movements... Marcus strongly suspects ol' Merl was swinging the largest weapon.

Marcus paces around the perimeter of the Guthwite house before motioning for the scoundrel to come over.

Look here, Jak. The boys came through the window here, see? Can't say if they were thrown or jumped, but either way they're ok now, so it makes no matter. Merl come around from the porch here--these are his prints. I could be wrong, but it seems as he was the one swinging the big axe, and he found his mark. That one's hard as granite, he is, stronger than some men half his age.

And in another time and place...

Lyrica Strom wrote:
Marcus wrote:
"Your help is welcome, he says, bowing stiffly."

"Well thank you, Marcus. I promise to stay out of your way while you are tracking. All I ask is that you kindly let me know if I am getting in your way at all."

I'm big and slow. If you're in my way, you'll see me comin', and have time enough to move. He half smiles, his mood already lightening at the girl's earnestness and his own uncharacteristic joke.


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Marcus wrote:
"I'm big and slow. If you're in my way, you'll see me comin', and have time enough to move."

Lyrica returns the smile and replies to the ranger, "You think your slow?! Just look at me in this old suit of armor? I feel like a turtle. I may have lots of protection, but I am sure not going to be able to move fast!"


Ezekiel cautiously examines the goat's remains, taking care to avoid touching the creature directly if at all possible. While Rowan is a constant in the back of his mind, the thoughts are at least muted knowing he is doing something to help. And this is definitely something.

When gathered with the others and Merl, and having cleaned himself of any residue, he reports what he's discovered. "That creature, it's a bad sign of what may come. That goat, I can safely say it was not taken by the undeath. That was still living, changed by the mist and some form of magic. And this probably won't be the first we find like it. Wherever that mist touched, it could have changed anything, mules, bears, even people.

"It looks like it could take into itself other creatures too, just like we saw. The bigger it gets, the more it needs. As big as it was, I would guess it would need a couple people to get bigger. And then, and this is real frightening, whatever it ate just might be aware of what happened. A person, it might still be some kind of alive, able to talk even."

"Rowan."

The realization of what he just said hits home for a moment. He had allowed the excitement of this discovery to take hold. He coughs to cover his pause before continuing. "If we find something like that again, we'll need to be cautious. Not just for our sake either. Someone gets taken in by one, we'll be putting more people in danger. Not just burning the bodies, try not to get any of it on you. No telling how it might react, even a small bit."

Stormraven & anyone else who wants to read it:
By cleaning the residue, Ezekiel is careful not to clean himself in a source of drinking water. Any contaminated clothing will be burned.

Horror Check: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19


post is better suited or the discussion thread. :)


Rat Bastard

I'm gonna give folks a few more hours to react before I fast-forward to dawn.
Jak - you mentioned wanting to quiz Merl. Is that still true or did Marcus provide the info you needed?


Just to be thorough...

Jak finds ole Merl as the town finally begins to wind down after the horrible night. "Master Guthwite, I have a few questions. Probably nothing.. just making sure as many details are accounted for as possible." He gestures vaguely back over his shoulder towards the man's house. "While doing our sweep of the town, we ran into two bodies between your place and the river. What do you know about those?"

Not that I expect it to be necessary, but...
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14


Merl doesn't blink, "Me and my boys put'em down. You all were busy with that goat-headed thing so we dealt with'em as best we could."

He seems to be giving you the straight truth.

Bluff: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (8) + 0 = 8 purposeful fail


(hp 11/35, AC 18, T 13, FF 15, Initiative +3, Perception +9)
stormraven wrote:

I'm gonna give folks a few more hours to react before I fast-forward to dawn.

Jak - you mentioned wanting to quiz Merl. Is that still true or did Marcus provide the info you needed?

Aerik is ready for rest. I'll move on unless someone needs to ask him anything.


Jak nods. "That's what we thought; just wanted to make sure." He's about to walk away when another thought strikes him, "So, should we dispose of those bodies differently than we do the bodies of those who died last night? I mean... if they're touched by that mist stuff, Ezekiel seemed to think we should treat them specially." He shrugs, "I guess Ezekiel should answer that."

Jak is good to rest and move forward.


Merl checks the skyline, looking for any trace of dawn. "Doc may have another opinion and we'll do what he suggests... but I was thinkin' to throw that filth on the pyre with our poor animals. It'll be outside of town and the biggest blaze we can make. That's the best we can do, I reck'n... Go get some sleep, son. You look worn."


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)

Lyrica is all set for rest.


"Burning should be fine, but I worry about what'll happen after. This ain't natural happenings. Don't let anyone breathe in the smoke coming off it. And keep any remaining animals well clear of the burning grounds."


Jak nods to the doc and the town's newest old leader, "You two should get some rest as well. Tomorrow likely won't be much easier, I'm guessing."

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz


Rat Bastard

Just a FYI... the Stuyvesant house where they are going to burn the animals and undead is an empty house up-river, around the bend. To give the level of detail on the town map I wanted, I had to zoom in enough that you can't see the Stuyvesant place.

OK, we've got enough sleeping characters that I feel good about hitting the Fast Forward button. I'll get up a post as quick as I can.


Yep, I'm ready to rest as well, though before sleep I'd like to hone my axes, though I suppose I could do that in the morning as well.


Our heroes finally give in to exhaustion and fall into fitful sleep among the cots brought into the Assembly Hall. While they sleep, the most stalwart of the town's survivors begin the process of sorting and hauling the dead to their ersatz pyres. The animals and undead are shoved into the ruined remains of the Stuyvesant place, a family that died out years ago. The town dips into its meager supply of oil to liberally douse the bodies and building - ensuring a hot and hopefully smokeless blaze to cleanse the foulness from the village.

At the Finiose place, warned of the carnage inside, Merl sees to it that only he and Eluon carry bodies further than the porch. In the small house, they stack the dead like cord-wood with slats between the layers. It offends both men but there is no other choice. They again draw from the precious oil supply to ensure a roaring funeral pyre. Outside, the townsfolk pile rocks and soak the nearby barn and Rallo household, in case the fire spreads. Full buckets are kept ready.

The eastern horizon shows a smudge of leaden grey as Elsbeth, Marisol, Allegra, and Rowan move among the folk still asleep in the Assembly Hall and gently wake one and all. The survivors of the Black Mist of 1066 walk the Low Bridge and gather in the open space before the Finiose house. Grief hangs heavy in the air like a tapestry woven of communal pain.

Around the Drear women and children, the town's men gather with blazing torches, chasing away the darkness and forming a protective perimeter. Merl wears his church-goin' best... a rumpled black coat. He looks more uncomfortable than anyone can remember. He looks over the townfolk and says quietly, "If Harmon were awake, I'm sure he'd have somethin' el-ay-gant and upliftin' to say. Me? I ain't got the words... 'cept to say that I hope the Gods smote the fiends that did this to our friends and family. And if the Gods don't... well, then WE'RE gonna do it ourselfs. We're from the Drear. We guard what's ours and when can't do that - we avenge'em." He casts a glance at the men with the torches, "Do it."


Flickering torches arc like meteors and strike the Finiose house, setting it ablaze. Olivia, drops the mask of burgeoning womanhood and clings to her mother, sobbing uncontrollably for a home and a family lost. "Daddy..." Rowan rubs her daughter's shoulder even as she hugs her, her teary eyes fall helplessly on Ezekiel.


The Strom and Howell women stand together, providing what support they can to the overwhelmed even as they weep over a lost mother and lost friends. The Brauns and Balatins - together when the Mist struck and the dead came for them - swirl around Sara. She has always been their anchor, and she tries to be that now. She consider her daughters, somewhere in the maelstrom of flames, and looks to the Ranger who blames himself for the loss. "It wasn't your fault; the Mist was too quick. You brought Eluon home otherwise... he might be in there too." It is all she can offer without going to pieces.


Rat Bastard

The Wynns stare at the fire in a different kind of Hell... they wonder whether it is better to mourn a definite loss or live with the painful hope that a Vanished mother and wife might someday return.


Jak stands with his father mourning the loss of nieces, grandchildren, and friends. Jak feels a small hand sneak into his. In the light of the blaze, he sees Ritti on the other end of the death grip. Her grief is dry-eyed with the odd nose sniffle that she wipes, unlady-like on her sleeve. She stares at the fire for a time.

Finally, she says, "You're going after'em." It isn't a question. "You find'em, Jak... and you f@c< them up for me, OK? You need help, you ask me." She pulls her hand free, wipes her nose, and sprints away to join her family.


Rat Bastard

Dawn breaks over the mountains, eclipsing somewhat the bright funeral pyre. The smoke rises in the air, hovering over the mourners before it tops the ridge-line and is caught by a persistent wind that whips it away towards the sea...

OK, guys, it is the next morning. You are running on about 4 hours of sleep but, with adrenaline, it feels like eight. You get HP back, spells, powers, and all that jazz. So head out to Zarzanna? Marcus, you want to find Merl first?

A's HPs: 9|14
E's HPs: 10|10
J's HPs: 9|10
L's HPs: 13|15
M's HPs: 14|14


NN_Woman wrote:
The Strom and Howell women stand together, providing what support they can to the overwhelmed even as they weep over a lost mother and lost friends. The Brauns and Balatins - together when the Mist struck and the dead came for them - swirl around Sara. She has always been their anchor, and she tries to be that now. She consider her daughters, somewhere in the maelstrom of flames, and looks to the Ranger who blames himself for the loss. "It wasn't your fault; the Mist was too quick. You brought Eluon home otherwise... he might be in there too." It is all she can offer without going to pieces.

Marcus hears Sara, but doesn't turn to face her, instead staring at the flames. He lets her words hang in the air for a long while, before breaking the silence.

That's...kind of you to say. Proximity to the fire causes him to perspire despite the chill air, sweat tracing a path from Marcus' forehead and mixing with tears as it ends in the tangled mess of his beard. The big man audibly grinds his teeth as he balls his callused hands into fists. Still not turning from the blaze he speaks again, anger rising behind his words though he doesn't much raise his voice.

I'm no mage, and I sure's hell can't swing my axe at no mist. But that mist didn't come from the wild, or even the gods. They can't be bothered with the likes of us. Only one creature in the world can bring this much evil, and that's man. Some wretch somewhere called that mist to our town, and while I can't do much to stop black magic, I can find anyone hereabouts, forest or hill.

Marcus spares a glance off into the wilderness before finally looking at Sara and Eluon.

I will find who did this, and when I do, they'll beg to run into that fog. With that, the ranger stalks off, trying to cool his head before, ultimately going off to see Merl.


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)

Lyrica wakes up the following morning and remembers her new reality and the tragedy that everyone is living. Although saddened by the loss all around her, she makes the effort to meditate and pray to the Dawnflower. While it is still quiet, she sits with her legs crossed with her back straight up and she begins to meditate, listening to the silence within. She calms her spirit and tunes in to the presence of the Everlight as she feels the tingle of her spirit surround her. Finally after nearly an hour, she lets herself return to the present and she prays.

"Blessed Dawnflower, you are my gentle guide and you bring me comfort in my grief. Guide me today this moment and every moment as I come to see and know your presence in this world. Today, this morning I pray to you to bring comfort to those who are in pain and grief and heal their wounds both visible and hidden from view."

"As the sun rises, guide me to go forth this day and serve you and bring blessings to those whom I meet. Create in me a pure heart that I may ever be at one with you and bring comfort to your people!"


Marcus finds the new, old Hetmon in the morning, after the service, sweeping pyre ashes off his front porch. The fires still burn and will throughout the day. "'Morning, Marcus. I'm glad you come. Folla me." The Ranger trails the old man through the house, noting the disarray in the home - over-turned chairs and blankets stuffed into window gaps. They stop at a pantry.

"You youngsters are fixing to do somethin' brave and dangerous... This might help." He pulls a waxed canvas bag from a slot in the pantry wall and slides out a hickory handled battleaxe made of fine steel with a razor's edge. Marcus smells the oil on it. "This is Beula. She was my grandfather's and he passed her to me. I'm gonna lend her to ya, on the following terms: Bring her back in one piece along with yourself and those other folks. A'right?"

He places the axe firmly in the Ranger's hands and pushes him towards the door. "We pulled together some gear for you folks. Maybe it'll help. It's in the Assembly Hall kitchen. Now, get going and good luck."

Beula is a Masterwork Battleaxe - 1d8 (20/3x)

In the kitchen are items gathered from the townsfolk. You gents are free to take what you want:

  • (5) backpacks
  • (6) large sacks
  • (12) torches
  • (1) Hooded Lantern
  • (1) Bullseye Lantern
  • (8) pints of lantern oil
  • 50' rope
  • (15) days of rations
  • (3) compound short bows
  • (90) arrows in 3 quivers
  • (1) Light Crossbow
  • (1) Heavy Crossbow
  • (60) bolts in 2 quivers
  • (1) suit of Leather Armor pieces


(hp 11/35, AC 18, T 13, FF 15, Initiative +3, Perception +9)

would one of the farmers have a sickle i could borrow? id like to have not only something with more "oomph" than a dagger, but also something with slashing dmg in case of zombies or evil tree stumps. :)


Rat Bastard

Sickles and Scythes are both available. Enjoy!


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)

After meditation and prayer, Lyrica is feeling hopeful and makes her way into the Assembly building kitchen and joins Marcus.

"Good morning." She greets the others. "I hope you all slept soundly and found some strength with the short rest.

Looking over the equipment, Lyrica comments, "This was most generous for people to give their hard earned supplies for this cause. I will take only that which I hope to put to use."

Lyrica picks up one of the shortbows and draws the string back to test the strength. "This could prove useful in circumstances where I cannot use my scimitar. I thank you, Master Guthwite, and will take these in my need."

Lyrica picks up a bow, a quiver of 30 arrows, 5 torches, a few empty sacks, some iron rations and several flasks of oil for her lantern. She then begins to stow them in her pack and on her person.


NN_child wrote:
Flickering torches arc like meteors and strike the Finiose house, setting it ablaze. Olivia, drops the mask of burgeoning womanhood and clings to her mother, sobbing uncontrollably for a home and a family lost. "Daddy..." Rowan rubs her daughter's shoulder even as she hugs her, her teary eyes fall helplessly on Ezekiel.

Ezekiel watches as the Finiose house burns. All the emotions he knew he should be feeling, yet all he felt was coldness inside. Coldness and guilt. He looks over to meet Rowan's gaze. Moving over to them, he places a firm hand on each of their shoulders. Intending to embrace them, the guilt instead gives him this course.

"We're going out there, Rowan, some of the others and myself. We'll find out what did this, and we'll make sure the Drear doesn't have to worry about it again. Stay focused on keeping Olivia safe, we'll be back as soon as we're done." The bonesetter gives Rowan a smile, before turning to Olivia.

"And you mind your mother, Olivia. Your uncle will keep you safe." With that, he turns back to finish watching the burning.


Ezekiel takes the time in the morning to prepare several mixtures. The fire had proven effective yesterday, so he decides to try a few new ideas. He wasn't a fighter, he knew that much, but there were things he could do, things which might help. Filling his medical satchel as full as he thought he could handle, he meets up in the assembly hall's kitchen. "Marcus, Lyrica." He nods to each in greeting and looks over the equipment.


Merl Guthwite wrote:

Marcus finds the new, old Hetmon in the morning, after the service, sweeping pyre ashes off his front porch. The fires still burn and will throughout the day. "'Morning, Marcus. I'm glad you come. Folla me." The Ranger trails the old man through the house, noting the disarray in the home - over-turned chairs and blankets stuffed into window gaps. They stop at a pantry.

"You youngsters are fixing to do somethin' brave and dangerous... This might help." He pulls a waxed canvas bag from a slot in the pantry wall and slides out a hickory handled battleaxe made of fine steel with a razor's edge. Marcus smells the oil on it. "This is Beula. She was my grandfather's and he passed her to me. I'm gonna lend her to ya, on the following terms: Bring her back in one piece along with yourself and those other folks. A'right?"

He places the axe firmly in the Ranger's hands and pushes him towards the door. "We pulled together some gear for you folks. Maybe it'll help. It's in the Assembly Hall kitchen. Now, get going and good luck."

Marcus whistles as Guthwite unwraps the axe, genuinely admiring the craftsmanship. She's a beauty, he says, feeling the grip and then carefully testing the sharpness of the blade with a fingertip.

I promise I'll return her, and do her justice in the meantime. Many thanks. He shakes the Hetmon's hand with a firm grip, locking eyes and saying gravely: I trust you--keep our people safe. Nothing left to say, Marcus leaves to outfit himself for the trip.

I’ll take Beula, clearly, and 2 pints of oil, 4 days of rations, the heavy crossbow, and 30 bolts. If Jak wants the crossbow, I'll take one of the shortbows instead.


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Ezekiel wrote:
"Marcus, Lyrica."

"Good morning, Ezekiel." Lyrica replies. "How are you? Did you find anything in that old goat last night? I just could not bring myself to go through it. Well, Master Guthwite has shown us all of this equipment that the town has gathered for us to use. Do you see anything that you think would be helpful to bring? I've already pack several pints of oil as well as rations and a shortbow. There is plenty left if you see something else that you need."

Turning to the others, she asks everyone, "What do you all propose we do first? I know I would like to go out to Angarak's Peaks, but perhaps first we should follow Jak's suggestion and go visit Zarzanna first to see if she knows anything. I don't know much about her, but I am willing to hear what she has to say."


Red wrote:
Finally, she says, "You're going after'em." It isn't a question. "You find'em, Jak... and you f@c< them up for me, OK? You need help, you ask me." She pulls her hand free, wipes her nose, and sprints away to join her family.

Jak nods down at Red. Her words and attitude would have brought a smirk and a quip any other time, but standing in the ruddy, orange light of the roaring bonfire fueled by their friends and family… Jak squatted down to look at her eye to eye. It was no secret that Jak had always liked the little trouble-maker. But it was more than her mischievous streak. She was tough, smart, and knew the value of keeping her eyes and ears open. He drew the knife from his boot, deftly flipping it over to offer it to her handle-first. "I will and I will." He looks around at the gathered townsfolk, then back at Ritti, "The Drear has a lot of tough folk. And a lot of strong arms. What we need most right now is a few people with sharp eyes and quick minds. I'll keep the tracking group out of trouble… you do the same here in town. And if there is more trouble," he waggles the knife between them. "This is for last-resort situations only. But you use it if you have to." He gives her a half-grin, though it doesn't really touch his eyes. As she takes the blade, he grabs her small hand in their secret trouble-maker's shake. "I'll check back in with you when we get back into town."

He watches as she sprints back to her family, "… and please, please keep your wits, Red."

The following morning, at Merl's place where everyone is gathering…

Jak shuffles up, yawning as he hitches up his pack and nods to everyone in greeting. "Yah, I'd like to check on her first. The Drear could use every ally right now, and I'd like to make sure she's fine. It's a delay, but it may give us more information about the Teats before we get there… which could prove invaluable." As he talks, he fishes through the equipment, picking out a few useful items for their trip.

Marcus wrote:
If Jak wants the crossbow, I'll take one of the shortbows instead.

I'd actually prefer to take one of the compound shortbows, if that's fine with everyone. What is the strength rating on them, anyway?

So Jak is taking: 1 shortbow, 1 quiver, 2 large sacks, 3 torches, and 3 days of rations. I think we should definitely bring the bullseye lantern and the rope. Does everyone want Jak to carry those as well? I don't mind. Let me know.


(hp 11/35, AC 18, T 13, FF 15, Initiative +3, Perception +9)

As the gathered villagers watch the pyre, Aerik stands in between his sister and father, putting his arms around their shoulders.

"I... have to go. We have to make sure whatever that was doesn't come back. I will.."

He remembers that promise three years ago.

"You'll be ok. I'll take care of you."

"I will... do my best to find mother. Be strong and safe. Don't go off on your own. Stay with the group."

Safer as a pack than a lone wolf.

The druid gives his sister a kiss on the cheek and cups her face with his rough hands as he looks into her eyes before turning to his father.

"Father, the water I created... It will disappear after a day if it isn't drank. I'll replenish the barrels before we leave, but if we aren't back by tomorrow..."

He leaves the rest unsaid.

Someone will have to go get clean drinking water if I'm killed on this excursion

Later, when the new/old Hetmon offers the gathered gear, he will pick up a sickle and test its blade.

"This'll do for flesh or bark alike. Thank you."

He grabs a large sack and 3 days rations as well.

I have 50 ft of rope already, and Aerik uses his light spell instead of a torch or lantern typically, so I'm pretty good with just that.


Rat Bastard

Moving on... if you decide to grab more gear mention it in the OOC. I'll more than likely handwaive it.

Our heroes quickly pack their gear and leave the Assembly Hall, carrying the hopes of the town with them. They cross the Low Bridge, walk through the now strangely empty village, and head up the hill to the bluff. Jak glances at his family home as they walk past it along the ridgeline above Dies Drear. They pass the nearly empty mule paddock and cross the swinging rope and wood bridge that carries them over the forested bluff on the other side. From there, they set a course deep into the wilds, past Aerik's hut... They quickly pick up something of a wide animal trail that must lead to Zarzanna's home. A casual look at the muddy trail shows boot-prints, mostly small ones, that seem sized for women and girls.


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)

Lyrica walks mostly at the side of Marcus and observes how he works in the outdoors.

At the sight of the muddy trail, she turns to Marcus and says, "I may not be much of a tracker, but I can recognize those foot prints well enough to see that they are likely children. Is there anything else you can tell by simply looking at them?"


Jak looks curiously at the bootprints, "Oh, I had assumed they were from the young ladies who went to see Zarazna..."


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Jak wrote:
'"Oh, I had assumed they were from the young ladies who went to see Zarazna..."

"Forgive me, Jak, but can you remind me what young ladies went to see Zarazna?"


Jak pauses, trying to discern if she's joking or is legitimately in-the-dark about Zarzana's "services" to the girls. After a second, he gives her a half-smile, "Ya see, Lyrica… when a young man and a young women love each other with a certain amount of … um… recklessness, Zarzana can be relied upon to help the young lady preserve her reputation… if you know what I mean."


Rat Bastard

Don't let me stop the RP. Just assume the conversation continues (or not) while you walk...

The trail winds through the forest which quickly goes to wild. After a mile, it is clear these trees have never seen a woodsman's axe. Pine needles coat the ground. Sharp-spined bushes and low trees guard either side of the narrow trail. Even here there is some evidence of the Black Mist - the odd dead rabbit or bird stretches out in the underbrush or is crashed atop a bramble. This tree or that tree is mysteriously blackened with its limbs twisted... But the further you head away from the village and the presumed origin of the wave, the more things return to normal. Eventually the dead silence of the dark woods and wind-stirred lichens is punctuated with the brightness of infrequent and shrill bird calls.

Doggedly pursuing the trail, our heroes slide down a small, crumbling escarpment into a muddy plain - a lesser tributary of the Wahika. Here the large trees give way to stumpier bog oak, hazel thickets, and sawgrass. The feel of daylight after the thick forest is appreciated but leaping from grassy hump to grassy hump in the semi-solid bog is like an exhausting game of hopscotch. Soon, nearly everyone is flecked lightly with mud.

Halfway between the near bank and the smudge of brown that indicates the far side, our heroes pass the bloated corpse of an elk. Its tongue lolls out and its eyes are rolled back. It seems the Black Mist was deadly even here.

Another ten minutes of leap-frogging sees the heroes in the shade of the far escarpment. The trail winds along the escarpment heading down-mountain. As they follow it around a sharp bend, the smell of alder smoke hits them.

A rocky outcropping takes up a good chunk of the escarpment and holds a rough cave entrance that is blocked with a stout, rough-cut, wooden door showing gaps at the top and bottom. Smoke issues from the top gap along with a little light. The bright, flickering quality of it suggest it is from a good sized fire. The muddy trail is soon replaced with a modest stripe of moss along the bank and surrounds a path of round, river rock, stepping stones that leads towards the door. Staked into the ground by the door is a spear topped with the skull of a bear. Red paint lines the eye-sockets and stripes the bear's muzzle. Green gem stones replace the eyes and glow in the sockets. A leather cord knotted with feathers, bones, and bits of bric-a-brac trails down from the skull and winds around the spear.

It appears you have found Zarzanna's lair.

Aerik or Marcus may have seen Zarzanna before since they all roam the same woods. Chances of conversation would be slim though.
Ez may have met her once as she'd be curious about the bonesetter in town and they both have apothecary leanings.
Jak and Lyrica would have only perhaps seen her at night passing into or through town. Lyrica - at her mother's strong behest - would have no contact with the hag, hence her naivete about the services provided. :)

Feel free to improv around and react based on those guidelines.


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)

Walking with Jak . . .

Jak wrote:
"Ya see, Lyrica… when a young man and a young women love each other with a certain amount of … um… recklessness, Zarzana can be relied upon to help the young lady preserve her reputation… if you know what I mean."

As understanding dawns upon Lyrica, her faces blushes red again. She then replies to her peer, "Jak Howell, how do you know such things when I do not? I hope you do not see this as a reasonable option when a young woman becomes, well . . . you know . . . implanted with an unwelcome seed. I suppose this is why it is important that you get married after you fall in love with somebody, but before you start having well . . . you know . . . having a close intimate relationship."

___________________

Later . . . at the sight of Zarzana's door.

"Oh dear, this Zarzana certainly doesn't make this place the most welcome for strangers. I hope she doesn't take offense at our visiting her."


Lyrica wrote:
"Jak Howell, how do you know such things when I do not? I hope you do not see this as a reasonable option when a young woman becomes, well . . . you know . . . implanted with an unwelcome seed."

Jak barks out a laugh, and he looks up with a wry smile and -- SPLORT!

… plunges a boot into about a foot of muddy water, brown water splashing up and spattering his clothes. Jak furiously tries to spit the gritty water from his mouth as he struggles to free his boot. "Implanted with an unwelcome seed?!" He heaves his foot upward…

… and a socked foot is yanked from the boot. "Oh, for f@ck's sake!" He reaches down to pull on the doggedly-stuck boot. "I only know what my ma told me. And there you go painting every guy up to be some red-horned, mustache-twirling demon preying on unsuspecting, innocent girls. Ever girl I've ever known certainly knows where a calf comes from as well as at least a rough idea of what the calf's ma did to get pregnant in the first place. What a girl decides to do when she CHOOSES to get in the situation to get herself knocked up is up to the girl, as far as I'm concerned… what I see as reasonable doesn't really even come into it. AND WHY WON'T THIS TWICE-DAMNED BOOT COME OU--" As if by command, the boot springs from the mud with a loud sucking sound, smacking Jak in the eye… leaving a grayish streak on his face.

Grumbling, he wipes his face with his sleeve, "When we report back to the Drear, can we gloss over this part?"

---

At Zarzana's place…

"Yep. This is weird." he says as he takes in the door and the bear-head. "You think this is in response to the mist? Or does she just have a very unique sense of style?"


The next morning, Ezekiel does his best to avoid Rowan and Olivia despite his desire to see them, afraid his resolve will crumble before Rowan.

Wasn't sure where Rowan and Olivia were staying with their house gone. Ezekiel would of course offer his home to them, giving the two of them his bed while he sleeps elsewhere. If they accept, instead he'll arise before they awake and sneak out.

As everyone gathers to say their goodbyes, Ezekiel tries hard to keep his head down, though with so few remaining he knows how hard that will be. Shifting the pack on his back, he moves closer to the edge of town after seeing Rowan amongst those gathered.

Movement out of the corner of his eye makes him turn to see Olivia standing there. One look at her face makes it clear who her parents were, bringing conflicting emotions to surface. Quietly he moves to her, tears in her eyes as well as his own. He rubs her head with his hand, trying to form the words he wants to say. "Olivia, I, I don't know what to say. But please, don't worry. You need to be strong, for you mother. I know, it's alot to ask. Not just you, anyone. I wish things could have been different, honestly I do. But what's happened, I mean. Just please, be careful, okay?"

Finding himself starting to ramble, he pauses for a moment before turning to leave when another voice interrupts him. "Olivia, we should let Uncle Ezekiel go."

"Rowan"

Ezekiel looks up to see her standing at the corner, calling to her daughter but looking at him. Something in her eyes, he can see it, something she wants him to say. Is it real, or is he imagining it? He tries to form the words he wants to say, but they don't come. Not now, not yet. His resolve begins to crumble. Why should he go? What can he do to help? This is a battle against who knows what, what can he do to help? Shouldn't he just stay here with them, with these two most important people in the world to him?

Ezekiel takes a step, one backwards turning to leave. He meets Rowan's gaze for only a moment. "We'll come back, and so help me I'll do what I can to keep you, to keep the Drear safe."

His words spoken, Ezekiel turns to leave, the lie he had just told Olivia in his mind. This is exactly how he wanted it. And that he feared more than anything he had felt before.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As they approached Zarzana's, Ezekiel keeps to himself mostly, his mind on other things. When they pass by the elk, he spares it a moment, considering examining the creature before continuing on. He decides against the idea for now. Best to ensure Zarzana's safety first. He had met her once, though it was brief and more of a business related visit. In many ways, he was glad for her presence. There were some things he never felt quite comfortable with. This was affirmed by Lyrica and Jak's conversation, another thing to take his mind off his worries. They hadn't asked for his opinion yet, as others might.

He becomes all business for a moment when Jak pulls his boot out of the mud, letting a small laugh escape. "Make sure to check for leeches. Considering that, that thing last night. Who knows what else might've happened. Considering how quickly the creature consumed and expanded, a leech similarly affected might display similar...I think you should check for leeches."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seeing Zarzana's lair, "I just hope that's the worst to greet us."


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Jak wrote:
… and a socked foot is yanked from the boot. "Oh, for f@ck's sake!" He reaches down to pull on the doggedly-stuck boot. "I only know what my ma told me. And there you go painting every guy up to be some red-horned, mustache-twirling demon preying on unsuspecting, innocent girls. Ever girl I've ever known certainly knows where a calf comes from as well as at least a rough idea of what the calf's ma did to get pregnant in the first place. What a girl decides to do when she CHOOSES to get in the situation to get herself knocked up is up to the girl, as far as I'm concerned… what I see as reasonable doesn't really even come into it. AND WHY WON'T THIS TWICE-DAMNED BOOT COME OU--"

"Jak! First of all, please watch your tongue. My ears are not use to such language! Just because you are with adults, doesn't mean that you need to start swearing like one. Now, let's keep this a lot less offensive with some better choice of words. Secondly, you should know that I do indeed know where calves come from. Clearly their mother! But I also know that we are not animals and that we humans all have a divine heritage given to us by the gods and we do not need to let our animal instincts take over. So if I can make a suggestion, a young woman should choose to avoid getting herself into those positions by not putting herself or the young man into a position where they are each tempted by such strong urges. Similarly, the young man should make the same choice and if they are unable to control their urges, then they definitely need to simply avoid being put in such tempting positions. They should clearly wait until a time comes in their life when they are married to their beloved soul mate. Only after they are united in loving marriage, should they permit themselves to listen to those feelings. Thirdly, you should watch your step and then you wouldn't need to worry about pulling your boot forth from the deep mud. At least you've learned to tie your shoes and we do not need to worry about leaving your boot behind!"


Rat Bastard
Ezekiel Druiminn wrote:

Wasn't sure where Rowan and Olivia were staying with their house gone. Ezekiel would of course offer his home to them, giving the two of them his bed while he sleeps elsewhere. If they accept, instead he'll arise before they awake and sneak out.

We can RP asking them to stay with you when you return. :) For the first night, everyone was staying together in the Assembly Hall.


(hp 11/35, AC 18, T 13, FF 15, Initiative +3, Perception +9)

Aerik listens to his companions banter, thinking how just two short days ago he was enjoying his solitude in the forest. For a long while he takes in their conversation before joining in.

"Humans and animals are not so different. They have the same instincts and urges. Just speak different languages, is all. Coupling is natural and necessary for survival. The mating instinct is no less human than the desire to breathe or eat, or to fight for ones life."

"A mother bear will tear your head off if you threaten her cubs. Does that make her a mindless savage beast? What would any of us do if we found the party responsible for unleashing the black fog on our town?"

He lectures Lyrica, his voice almost a snarl.

"Life is not a pretty dance with a fair maiden in the sunshine. Nor is it a song or an endless rainbow. It is a hard struggle for survival. We live. We work. We breed. We die. If the crone can help us find the cause of these affronts to the natural order, I will accept her help. But I mislike her meddling with the cycle of life and death."


Rat Bastard
Lyrica wrote:
"Oh dear, this Zarzana certainly doesn't make this place the most welcome for strangers. I hope she doesn't take offense at our visiting her."
Jak wrote:
"Yep. This is weird." he says as he takes in the door and the bear-head. "You think this is in response to the mist? Or does she just have a very unique sense of style?"
Ez wrote:
"I just hope that's the worst to greet us."

A cracked and slightly echo-y voice cackles and wheezes from the rough-hewn door. "Mayhaps worse may yet greet you. Oh, yes, it may... but that depends on the coming and going of things. Yes, yes. Depending on why you're comin', we'll see how I set you going. Heh heh."

The light coming through the cracks in the door, silhouettes a small figure moving back and forth on the other side. The cracking voice turns its attention from the Bonesetter. "Need makes strangers of us all, girl. Welcomed or no, people come to my door. Even unwelcomed, here you are, eh? Ha!"

The silhouette pauses and crouches near a knothole. You can almost feel an eye watching. "Who and why? Why and who? Which is chicken and which is egg?"

Hearing Conversation DC:0+4+5+5=14 (dist, through door, circum) Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19

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