The night before...
Maria looks over the strange markings in the journal. The flowing script seems familiar but she can't quite place it. Ysildaë peers over her shoulder and points out that several of the letters look similar to her native elvish tongue, Ärh’Édheliti, but elegantly flow between them making two characters appear as one. Draconic, the investigator thinks. Working quickly she sees a few words she can translate. The journal appears to be discussing magic and possibly describing spells.
Following the fight late that night...
Muraisa raises an eyebrow searching for the source of the shouts. To the south, back near the entrance to the bridge, she sees a older woman searching through the crowd. Bent over, looking under and around people she is clearly searching for children. A stir rises in the encampment and other voices begin to shout, searching for family members.
Following the shouts, Maria begins to make her way back towards the bridge as Kayin recovers his salvagable munitions. Titan rushes after Maria only to feel a soft hand take his arm. Looking back towards the fallen creatures, a young priestess of Teysura takes hold of Titan. [b]"These undead were not of the apocalypse. They were created tonight by a servant of the Harbinger. I felt the surge of dark energy drawn from Emghēt’füar," she whispered before rushing off to continue her work of aiding the injured soldiers.
Up at the bridge, the situation becomes clear. In the commotion of the battle several children have gone missing. All told, more than twenty cannot be found anywhere within the encampment upon the bridge.
Ysildaë had been sleeping in the tower with Anarin, the priest of Daysra. She probably would have returned there after the conversation trailed off. First, because she isn't about to sleep in the muck when she doesn't have to. Second, she was hoping to get his help with the disease. How would her night have turned out and when would she have returned to the bridge in relationship to this rising?
Returning to the Bright Tower, Ysildaë finds the room empty upon her arrival. Weary from the day, she begins to unwind, examining her gear. As she turns to her small stash of belongings she left there, she notices a small, folded piece of parchment sealed with a bit of black wax bearing Anarin's family crest.
Breaking the seal, the monk reads a short note. "Ysildaë, I have a found an enclave of the faithful. They are sworn to the SRD. We search for a path across the lake bed to Her landing. I shall return when we find the way.
With a sigh, Kayin reluctantly nods his acquiescence with the alchemist's words. "True, and if you feel that you have to offer that help, then I guess I'll follow along for now." He lets the matter drop, though his expression still shows his doubt that Maria herself is up for the task.
After hearing the details about the situation on the bridge, the oracle shakes his head slowly. "Okay, this might just be my nasty and suspicious nature at work, but I'm thinking that the fight down there," he says with a twitch of his head in the direction of the exposed lake bed. "Was a great, big, fat distraction for us all. Get people looking that way, then come in and grab the brats." The oracle's expression shifts to one of puzzlement then as he continues. "No idea why anyone'd go to all the trouble though. I doubt anyone here could muster up any kind of ransom payment, money or otherwise."
Muraisa said several nasty words in various tongues as she scanned the ground for signs of where the children had gone. If this was some kind of mass kidnapping it wouldn't be hard to spot the path 20 odd children had taken, or the people carrying them.
Survival: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
Watching Muraisa checking the ground intently, Kayin eventually realizes what she's looking for and offers what help he can in the task, even calling upon some aid from a handy spirit.
Survival Check (Aid Another): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Muraisa's Survival check gets a +2 bonus from the successful aid attempt, and an additional +1 from a casting of guidance.
Muraisa searches the ground for any sign of tracks, but the throngs of people in this area make such a search quite difficult. Just as she was about to give up, she notices a small wooden toy sword near the edge of the bridge. A splattering of fresh blood stains the flat, wooden blade. Along the ground, Kayin points to several drops of blood on the cobble stones that make the transition from the bridge to The Dragon Road. The barbarian quickly picks up a faint trail of footprints tracking the blood southward down the street but the trail quickly fades.
Muraisa quickly gathered the others, tense and clearly riled up. "They went down that road there. I'm not sure what happened, but we need to go now. There's blood." If it was a child's blood then there was going to be...consequences. Whoever had done this would survive, Muraisa would make sure of that. Death would be far too swift. They needed to live a long, painful existence to full appreciate what they had done.
The elven noble reads her lover's letter with a smile. She unbraids her hair and takes a bath. The undead were so filthy. She will return to the bridge when she awakens in the morning far cleaner than when she left.
|Titan the Hunter|
Catching up with the others, Titan relays the priestess's warning.
"The priestesses of Teysura seem to know more about this thing than the rest of us. Those dead men we dispatched back there are different for a good reason. They're different because someone created them - intentionally. I'm told there's a priest of the Harbinger nearby creating those things", the hunter explains darkly. "This can't be a coincidence. Do you think he made off with these missing children?"
Maria's mind flashes back to the other missing child she once found; a clear-cut ransom case. But twenty? TWENTY? That and the clearly far more sinister elements at play... any hesitation fled from Maria's thoughts.
"Whoever did this was powerful enough to create undead. These children could have been taken for many reasons; some ritual, perhaps, or indoctrination into a cult- we don't know what we're heading into."
Maria nods to Murisa, apreciattive of the directional aid. The noted blood makes her mind race; she doesnt have the tools now, but she could tell quite a bit from it. Maria takes a sample of the spilled blood for later analysis.
"They will be expecting us. I advise we be careful and do not let ourselves be known, or else they have 20 hostages in their hands and we will never get inside."
"What madness would drive an idiot to create more undead? You cannot shake an axe without taking ones head and being covered in its poisons." Muraisa shook her own massive weapon to demonstrate.
"They can expect us all they wish. The faster we follow the less time they have to prepare, and the less time to do whatever it is they wish with the children." The Barbarian was clearly not in the mood to move slowly on this, and was eager to follow the trail. "Besides, unless they are very close to town we should overtake them before long. The undead are rarely famed for speed."
With the hunter's confirmation of his suspicious musing, Kayin groans tiredly and answers his question. "Well, the timing is awfully convenient if it was someone else, so let's go with this priest as being involved." The oracle's attention then shifts to Maria and he nods before pointing to their camp. "Since we're obviously going to be doing something about this, I suggest we get back to camp, ready ourselves, and get our missing member as well." With another groan, the young man rolls his neck--wincing when he gets an audible *pop* from it--and makes his way back to the shared tent. "I don't know if it's too early for this s$%~, or too late, but someone needs to die for involving me in this sleep-depriving conspiracy business," he mutters (mostly) to himself.
"I have my doubts that undead are the ones who took the children; or at least, nothing like what we've seen. All being reckless will do is endanger the children more than they already are; if they're not in immediate peril, then being patient will prevent much grief. And if they planned to kill the children immediately, they're likely already dead."
Maria sighs, trying to remain patient with the over-eager barbarian.
"This is about the children, not about killing whoever is responsible. That is only our second priority; if we make it our first, then we risk the deaths of many. We need to get those children out before we make ourselves known, if at all possible. More than that, we need to figure out whats going on before we act."
"This priest seems likely, but I doubt they're operating alone. If I'm right, this is involved in what we discussed last night. We have to expect complexity, not run in without so much as a plan."
Returning to the bridge, the group gathers their armor and gear. Prepared, they traverse the long, raised bridge to the Bright Tower. A trio of sentries clad in armor of Haemil stand at the ready, guarding the tower's entry. After a quick conversation, a messenger is sent to the elves' chamber in the guest quarters.
A gentle knock on the door awakens the young Celes. She opens her eyes to a soft voice. "Miss Ysildaë, you have visitors at the front doors. The Tower is on lockdown, and they won't be allowed entry."
"Thanks be unto you."
Ysildaë will brush than braid her golden hair into a crown so that it isn't something an errant undead can grab onto. She then dons fresh silken robes and pens her priestly paramour a note.
Then she descends the Tower to meet with her companions.
Since she doesn't know about this missing children, she will be thinking that they are returning to the prison to use the forge and explore the tunnels.
Muraisa was already moving towards the trail they had found. "~Change on plans,"~ she called in Evlish. "~Some b****d spellcaster had started raising undead and kidpaning children. We're going to get the kids back,"~ or an unholy vengeance on there behalf, the barbarian considered.
Ysildaë grips her silver-wrought necklace with the faces of three goddesses at Muraisa's words and looks up to the glittering heavens.
Returning her sights to more earthly visages, "Know you where the children have been taken? Sniff them out, big bear?"
|Titan the Hunter|
Is there anything nearby that we could use as a sample of the children's' scents?
"Bjorkus can give it a shot. Find something that the children might have held", Titan says as he begins to look around. "An article of clothing would be ideal. A worn and well-loved toy might work as well."
Titan's answer to Ysildaë's question prompts the oracle to mention the toy sword that Muraisa had found. "That might have a scent worth using," he remarks as he finishes donning his armor before giving his equipment a quick check to ensure that he's got everything.
@Valjoen: Should I make a fatigue check (as required by Tainted Spirit) for the bridge fight, or can I wave that off because the fight itself didn't actually take any rounds?
@Kayin - No need.
Leading the group back to the bridge, Titan takes the wooden sword from Muraisa and offers Bjorkus a smell. The bear sniffs up and down the blunt edge, finally dragging his tongue across it. Bjorkus then sniffs the air and the surrounding area for several minutes before slowly making his way southward through the streets.
Meandering through the quiet streets of the Point, the bear backtracks several times until finally coming to the town square. He looks momentarily towards the Constables Príosún before sniffing at the ground once more. Circling the clock tower several times, he finally stops and bellows at Titan, pawing at the front door.
Careful of the bear, the elven noble woman opens the door to the clocktower.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
Muraisa raises her axe, whisps of smoke rising from the terrible weapon as she made it clear her intent was to remove the door in short order...but after a moment she paused, and grounded the butt of the weapon again. She looks at the others in clear impatience, waiting for them to finish what they intend to do only begrudgingly. She wanted to work with the others, but wasn't going to wait long. While she did she too scanned the area and the door, to see if there was anything else.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
We're at #27 on the location map, correct?
Arriving at the clocktower, Kayin positions himself among the group so that everyone is either in arms' reach or no further than a short step away and begins to cycle through his usual round of minor magical reinforcement. After the initial casts are completed, the oracle takes a further moment to cock and load the crossbow, checks that his weapon cord is firmly attached to the rapier at his side, then wordlessly nods his readiness.
Everyone in the party has resistance cast on them. Order of casting--if it becomes needful to know who expires first--is Kayin, Muraisa, Ysildaë, Toraim, Maria, Titan, and Bjorkus.
Effects: Resistance (+1 saves, 1 minute duration). Weapon Cord (left): Yes; Weapon Cord (right): No. Encumbrance: Medium (-3 ACP, 20 ft.).
"I hear nothing," Muraiasa murmured to the others, "But there still might be an undead or a trap on the door or the otherwise. Can anyone open it subtly, or shall I smash it down?" Faint whisps of smoke rose from the massive weapon as she hefted it, clearly eager to put it to use.
Earlier . . .
Ysildaë drinks some anti-plague
Fortitude Against the Disease, Daily edition: 1d20 + 6 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 6 + 5 = 15
Unless someone had a better idea Muraisa moved forwards and past Ysiladae, moving with as much quiet haste as she could muster. She could feel stupid for not trying to open the door later.
Sneak: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
As a Ralomenor, Ysildaë is used to charging first to challenge the forces of the Harbinger. However, she can tell that the half-elven woman is going through a lot and that it is important to her to be in the vanguard. Ysildaë understands. Much of her own self conception lay in her ability to help others by shining as a light in the darkness.
She follows the other woman in to the clock tower. How stealthy could she be with a titanic, glowing-red axe?
Muraisa, did you see that we leveled?
Maria thought, strongly, that they should have checked the door-it eas insane not to. It could still have been surrounded by magics- or even a mechanical alarm, a delayed trap, and who knows what else. But the time for aggrivation was later.
Maria follows suit with the barbarian, walking as silently as she can manage and keeping an eye on every element of the space they wander into.
I am assuiming things are dimly lit. If otherwise, subtract 2 from both rolls
Stealth: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25
Perception: 1d20 + 1d6 + 10 ⇒ (16) + (6) + 10 = 32
The three women enter the clock tower to find a small room at its base. In the far, right corner, a stairwell leads to the upper levels. To their immediate left a stack of open crates are covered with cobwebs. In the back left corner of the room, a small work table is turned askew. Several sheets of rolled parchment lie upon the table, partial hiding several wooden tools and a small leather bundle, tied closed with a wound cord.
Staring at the stairwell, as the obvious way to go, Muraisa quickly checks the sack. Someone else could do the reading, she didn't have the patience for it. She was smart enough to move with a little caution.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
The oracle pads cautiously into the small chamber and looks around, then mutters under his breath and makes a few gestures with his free hand. A look of intense concentration takes hold of his expression as he slowly and carefully looks about the room, and even up towards the ceiling.
Casting detect magic. Is there anything that registers as such within the room, or--provided that the ceiling overhead isn't too thick to scan through--above them?
Effects: Resistance (+1 saves, 1 minute duration). Weapon Cord (left): Yes; Weapon Cord (right): No. Encumbrance: Medium (-3 ACP, 20 ft.).