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Offline Murometz

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Homecomings (Chap III)
« on: April 13, 2007, 03:25:00 PM »
<GM POST FOR VEE, KADARIN, DUJEK, AND MORUZ, GOES HERE THIS SUNDAY>
Authentic Strolenite™©®

Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

-Captain Penguin

Offline Murometz

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2007, 07:09:21 PM »
<OOC>sorry fellas, this one is slightly delayed. Post will be up this week! Remember, unlike the other group, when we pick up with Vee, Dujek, and Kadarin, it will be 3-4 months after the monastery affair!

WOOT!</OOC>
Authentic Strolenite™©®

Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

-Captain Penguin

Offline Murometz

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2007, 09:10:48 PM »
THREE MAGES


VEE { Meeting the near-legendary Professor Agaroy Zelmundt, in the bowels of the monastery had excited Vee Keykold to no end. After rescuing the irreverant explorer, Vee had spent many hours in conversation with Nimz' renegade son. Zelmundt, happy to be rescued, but devoid of basic human manners and politeness, quickly reverted back into being a maddening curmudgeon, but not before catching Vee up on the his latest exploits and theories into the Great K'tonian Mystery. It seemed the professor was calling it quits in his old age. He intimated to Vee that he was ready to retire from a life of tomb-raiding and library research, and wished to travel to the capital of the Empire, to spend his golden years in luxury. The professor joined Vee, Kadarin, Dujek, and Moruz on their journey east, but within a week, bid the companions an abrupt farewell, and caught a river barge heading south to Jantir, leaving Vee frustrated, but with a priceless clue to the never-ending puzzle of the antediluvean society of the K'tonians. Unable to return to Nimz himself, the professor bade Vee to head for the Clocktower City, bequeething his entire reasearch to the young scholar in absentia. Zelmundt divulged to Keykold the information which other scholars would have killed to possess. Zelmundt told Vee the secret of finding the professor's hidden research, squirreled away in one of the countless, nameless clock towers of the fog-shrouded city. Many scholars had searched for Zelmundt's missing research over the years, but now Vee Keykold, Adventurer-Upon-Return, knew the exact location of Zelmundt's hidden cache of knowledge. Bidding farewell to the professor, Vee talked his companions into accompanying him to his place of birth...Nimz. They continued on their way east and south, leaving behind the Great Escarpment, and re-entering the lands of the Empire.}

DUJEK { Dujek for his part, travelled mostly in silence, resigned to his fate with this group of companions. The necromancer's head injuries had not improved, and thus his temper and outlook rarely brightened. Most of the time, Dujek was lost in deep, silent conversation with the mercurial Koschei. Other times, Dujek experimented with his growing powers, often disappearing for hours on end, exploring some burial site, examining a rotting corpse on the road, or some other similar and less than wholesome activity. Dujek was obsessed with Death...and particularly lately...its avoidance. Death had always fascinated Dujek, but now escaping death was paramount to his thoughts as well. The necromancer suffered from recurring, blinding and painful migraines, though strangely, his spell arsenal was unaffected by this debilitating condition. Nonetheless, Dujek searched for relief wherever he travelled, and eventually grew excited at Vee's mention of "The Articifer" of the Living Mechanics College, an erroneously named, famous surgeon and grafter, who catered to the types of injuries Dujek had suffered. With renewed interest, Dujek agreed to accompany Vee all the way to Nimz.}

KADARIN { Kadarin perhaps changed most of all, as the three mages made their way across the lands of the Empire. When Kadarin first met the Adventurers-Upon-Return he was a quiet and shy youth. Lately, as his mysterious powers, no doubt connected to the strange albino boy always at his side, grew considerably, so did the young man's ego and confidence. Kadarin spent most of his time perfecting his craft, and helping Vee master his new found latent magic-using abilities as well. When he was not delving into the secrets of magehood, Kadarin pondered his life's goals. With the spectre of his insidous uncle now past, Kadarin also wonderd what had caused the man's madness. Did it run in the family? Would I too lose my humanity as my power increased? Was this the ultimate price of magic? These were just some of Kadarin's thoughts....many others came unbidden to the slowly 'awakening' sorcerer. He even spent time researching some of the peculiar items, which he managed to acquire back in the monastery.

While the foursome stayed one night in the mid-sized town of Tollenweicz, Kadarin boldly hired two mercenaries to accompany him and the other mages in their small group on their travels. Protection against the various "nuisances" of the roads less travelled, Kadarin told Dujek and Vee, though if truth be told, Kadarin simply enjoyed having henchmen around, another nod to his new found confidence....as in the stories from his childhood, which told of various mages and their bodyguards, so now did Kadarin feel the urge to build his "magely retinue". After all, the companions had more than enough gold....and the roads were dangerous.}


*****************************************************************************************

It had been three days since the companions bade farewell to Moruz. The stoic warrior, like Agaroy Zelmundt had before him, caught a passing river-barge heading south to Ssembra. The Ouzquin Dremorix decided he would catch a ship heading out to the open ocean and eventually his distant, desert homeland. Vee, Dujek, and Kadarin shared a bittersweet supper with the warrior they had called 'friend' for many months. Many vows and allegiences were exchanged, and promises of future paths crossing, though the three remaining Adventurers-Upon-Return doubted they would ever see Moruz again.

They had travelled quickly, (in no small thanks to their leaden, magical foot), and now three days after leaving the turgid river behind, and four months to the day, since they had left the monastery, the three continued west, crossing over into the Empire proper, and heading even further west, where the foothills of the great mountains, men called the Monoliths, began to spear the lands, and the Empire's rural western wing unfloded before them.

Vee knew these lands well. Though Nimz was first and foremost a highly civilized city, a center of higher learning at the very least, it lay tucked far in the southwestern corner of the empire, nestled as it was, among the imposing Monoliths. To reach the Clocktower city, the companions would have to make their way along the pastural lands of the Empire's 'Low Country' and slowly climb to the many towns of the mountain passes, traversing the rural highlands and making their way through the somewhat feared Judgelands....there was a reason Nimz stayed somewhat isolated all these years afterall.

That night, the three companions (and Mouse), and their two new bodyguards, came upon a farmer's stead, and humbly bought room and board for the night. No sense in causing trouble, when trouble typically found them, Kadarn thought. He would save his gold for this grand city, which Vee kept talking about, the mage decided.

By Keykold's calculations, it would be another four or five days until they would enter Nimz, for though the distance between this farmstead and the Clocktower city was slight, the terrain was anything but, from here on out. Using his charms on the old, well-off farmer, while Dujek and Kadarin looked about the barn, Vee managed to rent three of the man's mules, in order to begin the climb toward Nimz on the morrow.

And so the Adventurers-Upon-Return settled in for the night, sharing bread, beans, and a capon, with the farmer and his son. After some time, once he grew comfortable with his guests, the farmer withdrew a jug of aged, lavender mead from his cellar and presented it to the companions.


<OOC> Kadarin's Mercenaries are two men from [30 Mercenaries], Eager Czolba and Delsordo the Grappler</OOC>
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 01:03:47 PM by Murometz »
Authentic Strolenite™©®

Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

-Captain Penguin

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2007, 12:21:14 PM »
What sort of homecoming would it be, Vee wondered. Atkinshire and Hollyoak were less than a day's hard ride from Nimz, and if he didn't run across Gemma in nimz, he could seek her out there. A moment of caution cooled his ardor, the Lord of Atkinshire likely still had a price on his rogueish head, and the guards would undoubtedly remember him. This wasnt a nest of bandits, Gemma would know half of the guards by name and he certainly couldnt hack his way in to 'rescue' her. She had quashed that foolish notion well before the Duke discovered their affairs.

The sun had started to rise, and with it came the thick banks of fog cast off by the Monoliths. Each was more of a pillar than a mountain, steep sided and tall, half as narrow as most mountains. Most of the monoliths had already been explored by hunters desperate for any chaff or midden overlooked by other explorers. The difference between a crucial and valuable discovery and a chink of broken pottery was splitting hairs in Nimz, no shards were ever overlooked. He had done the same once, scrabbling through the Monoliths, hunting for those scraps of the Legacy. More than once he had found things, but nothing that ever was of any noticable value. His head pounded from too much of the lavender meade, but he couldn't resist, outside of Nimz the stuff was unheard of and impossible to get. Most also considered it an acquired taste.

So many things to do, but the first thing was to find Zelmundt's clocktower. Once he had that horde of K'ton and her legacies secured, he could then worry himself with further explorations of magic and the debauchery he was accustomed to. He looked at Kadarin as he was giving instructions to his new soldiers of fortune, his hand strayed over the pommel of his dagger. No love was lost between Nimzians and mercenaries, most of the people of Nimz remembered when a mercenary company under one self-proclaimed Overlord Havvik turned. Legacy plaze had been looted, half a dozen clock towers burned, and several hundred Nimzians were slain or injured. Czolba seemed like just the sort of merc who had ridden with Havvik, fresh faced and eager to kill. Vee could still remember the face of the red-haired bandit, Pickles, and the expression on his face when he died. Then there was Glordren, and before him Aethelstan...though that one had come back from the Beyond. Scary stuff really.

Vee was ready to be on his way.


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Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2007, 01:41:36 PM »
Yes, the persuit of knowlege in the city of Clocktowers did hold much appeal to Kadarin.  The two sell-swords should help - he'd seen death come far too quickly and he had no wish to visit that particular kingdom early.  Every sword would help.

The two were quite different - Czolba was nearly rabid in his zeal, but that could be useful at the right time.  Delsordo struck him as more reliable, so if the worst happened, Czolba would charge in while Delsordo would screen Kadarin and the other mages.  With their shared afflicition Delsordo and Mouse had a strong rapport.  Perhaps the Artificier could replace their tongues? Maybe we could work out a volume discount thought Kadarin, a wry smile crossing his face.

Funny, all three - perhaps four in time, spell-casters ended up together.  The prize Vee described drew them all.   

And then there was the blessed/cursed wand - it seemed to both save lives and destroy them.  Chaotic, but it had power.  He knew that it possessed but one charge left and if that was used, the wand was forever destroyed.  Perhaps he could find the technique to infuse it with additional power in the great city.







« Last Edit: May 08, 2007, 01:44:39 PM by valadaar »
   
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Offline Pariah

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2007, 02:34:21 PM »
Dujek sat up late that night, as many nights before, going over his notes and bits of theory he'd picked up on their travels, little things here and bigger ones there.  The pains were worse now, his skull finally hardening all the way after his accident, and it made it hard for him to sleep.

The lot of them, all 6, were a rather unsavory bunch, and Dujek wondered what lies that Vee'd pulled over the poor farmer's eyes so they could stay here.

<I>Matters not, warmblood, merely matters that you have a roof over your head.  Sleeps now you need, the road calls, but without rest you won't heed it.

"Yes Mom."  Dujek groaned and poured the rest of his alotment of "lavender" mead down his throat, trying not to gag as he did.  The stuff had all the goodness of goat piss, and the only reason Dujek even tried to force it down was to ease his sleep.

<OOC>I'm assuming that these posts are happening that night, and we'll be on the road later, but if I'm wrong, just pretend my post came first or something...</OOC>
One can cure oneself of the not un- formation by memorizing this sentence: A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field.  Orwell

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Offline Murometz

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2007, 09:47:21 PM »
The road to Nimz rose and fell, as the companions traversed this mountainous terrain. The three mages rode mules that morning, as happily as arch-mages riding their giant eagles. After months of walking, the bumpy, rocky hills of the Empire’s eastern arm, proved rather pleasant astride the sturdy beasts.

Dujek’s mount often brayed and bristled however, due to Koschei’s incessant crawling along its back. This of course did little to help the gnawing, subtle pain in Dujek’s head.

Kadarin rode third, still examining his various trinkets lovingly, and occasionally yelling out some directives at Delsordo and Czolba, who traveled on foot, but were used to marching great distances in rugged terrain at brisk speeds. Delsordo had taken to Mouse and vice versa, and once in a while they could be seen speaking to each other with hand signals and movements. Czolba often complained at the lack of ‘wet work’ as he called it…the work of butchering other men, but otherwise caused little trouble.

*****************************************************************************

They had now traveled for a day and a half. Toward the end of the second day they began to look for a campsite for the night. In two more days, they would arrive at the canyon in which lay Nimz, the Clocktower City. Soon, Vee thought, he would be home, with a new mystery to solve and old friends to see…one ‘friend in particular, he daydreamed as he sat astride his mule…Rodney.

The country they traveled through now, between the last of the Judgelands bucolic burghs and the Monoliths’ impenetrable peaks was a bit wild and unpopulated. Here the ‘Low Country’s” rolling farmland turned craggy and mountainous. They were now rising in a wide spiral, climbing one ridge, only to descend again, and climb the next one, when a shrill scream, a piercing cry for help echoed along the stone hills.

Czolba reacted first, unsheathing his blade, and rushing forward, though the eager mercenary had not yet seen any threat or helpless victim.

Vee saw it first. About a hundred feet away, Keykold could make out a falling horse, tossing its rider. For a moment Vee stared, wondering what had happened to this lone rider and her (it was obvious from the scream the rider was female) mount. A hole in the ground, perhaps a twisted ankle…both? No…Vee thought, the scream was too desperate, too filled with dread.

Then he saw it. A dark shadow descending once more directly at the fallen horse and rider, like an avenging angel from the skies. A hippogriff! Like a shark at sea, it had chosen its target, made its initial strike apparently, and was now coming back to finish off its prey. Vee immediately recognized the majestic yet deadly beast, some bizarre mix of horse and eagle, and well known for its love horseflesh above all other meat.

The flying creature then shrieked as well, a sound much louder and shriller than the rider could ever muster, and dove into the downed horse’s flank, eviscerating and disemboweling the equine while it was still quite alive.

Dujek and Kadarin could see the gruesome scene as well now, but the mercenaries, on foot, could not quite tell what was happening along the ridge, now about eighty feet away.

The rider had apparently broken a leg in her fall, and was struggling vainly to merely crawl further away from the now feasting hippogriff. The horse’s death screams were nauseating, as blood and viscera flew from its torso like a fountain.

Vee immediately looked to the skies. Hippogriffs were uncommon, but not unknown here in the Nimzian foothills, ridges and cliffs. Worse though, from what Vee remembered, Hippogriffs always hunted in pairs….no other beast could be seen yet however.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2007, 11:30:37 PM by Murometz »
Authentic Strolenite™©®

Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

-Captain Penguin

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2007, 06:44:42 PM »
"Put your swords away!" Vee shouted to Czolba and Delsordo. He passed hiw two auxialliary crossbows to the mercs. "Turn that thing into a pincushion!" Vee said as he dismounted from Rodney. If the 'griff turned on them, it would be more likely to come after the mules. Placing the bulk of Rodney between him at the 'griff, Vee let a bolt fly at the beast.

If they were lucky, they could wound the 'griff and drive it away, otherwise they might be able to kill it. There were some nobles in Nimz who paid good coin for hippogriff sweetbreads and tenderloin. If things went badly...well...Vee wouldn't miss Czolba and there was no telling what the two real mages and Mouse might come up with.

There were few things that called Vee to action faster than a maiden in distress, well a maiden in dis-dress might bring him faster but that was uncommon. He reloaded before seeing if his first bolt hit it's mark.


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Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2007, 07:26:08 PM »
Best roll with it,thought Kadarin.  Perhaps the 'Griff would have been content with the horse it took.
 No matter, the die was cast.  Webs would stop the flying beast quite nicely if it came too close.  He'd see what the crossbows would do.  A flying mount would have been nice, but that was not in the cards, he thought wistfully.

There was wisdom in Vee's action, so Kadarin too dismounted and used his mount as a sheild.






   
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Offline Pariah

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2007, 12:20:42 PM »
d**n heroics Thought Dujek as he followed suit and slid off his mule and then crouched down, drawing with his fingers in the sand of the road.  What do you say, you bag of scales, do we just want to wait here and then drive it off with a stink, or actually hurt it now?

We should wai.. Kocshei began, only to be cut off by the sound of Dujek mummering the incantations needed for his spellcasting.  Focusing on the lone hippogriff, Dujek cast his spell and then return to drawing in the sand.

{OOC:}That one spell that involves boiling blood and dealing progressively more damage each turn.  Thanks.{/OOC}
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Offline Murometz

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2007, 10:09:38 PM »
The hippogriff did not apparently wish to tussle…merely dine. At the sound and smell of more humans, the creature shrieked once more and rose into the skies effortlessly, with a spring of its heavily muscled legs. Shrieking, it rose from the almost fully eviscerated horse carcass, and turned away from the coming mages.

It didn’t get too far before Vee’s bolt struck its wing, forcing the beast to momentarily dip awkwardly in the air.

Czolba and Delsordo had taken a moment to position their gifted crossbows, but had managed to fire as well. Czolba struck the ‘griff in its hind leg, and hooted loudly, swearing to personally skin the beast, once it had plunged to its doom. Delsordo had missed with his shot, and predictably remained…silent. Instead he moved closer to his employer. While Czolba may have been the better shock-trooper, Delsordo for his part, seemed more loyal, and cognizant of his duties. The grappler, convinced of Kadarin’s safety, now reloaded his crossbow clumsily.

Dujek’s manic, guttural incantations, sounded dreadful coming from the necromancer’s parched throat and damaged jaw, but whatever he had done…he had caused the hippogriff great pain, as the fleeing creature shrieked and nearly dove again, before barely managing to right itself once more, and depart for the nearby cliffs. It had paid a dear price for its dinner, and as Kadarin watched the creature, the young sorcerer was indeed convinced that the Hippogriff would not get far. Vee and Czolba had hit it, he thought, and he had recognized Dujek’s spell as well. The creature would most likely go down soon.

Vee was thinking the same. Fortunately--if indeed this exotic sweetbreads dinner was to be harvested--the creature had taken off in the same general direction as the six of them were traveling, for hidden close-by, among the stone pillars, lay Nimz.

Czolba went first, as the companions approached the downed rider. Dujek was close behind. As they neared they could see that the prone figure was swathed in leathers and silks. No weapons of any kind adorned the woman’s body. Her hair spilled out from her gray shawl, as she lay there…golden as the honey of Ibsallin’s Bees. Her face, no doubt attractive normally, was frozen in a tortured expression of suffering. As Czolba came up on her body, he noticed that the reason the woman had not managed to actually crawl free from the spot where she had gone down, had nothing to do with a sprained or broken ankle. She had landed upon a sharp outcrop of rock, as she hurtled downward, and nature’s spear had punctured her heart, entering through her back, and emerging from her chest in one split second. The unknown rider was dead.

Examining her body, Dujek noticed Koschei had leapt free of his bossom, and was now “sniffing” a strange square object lying only a few feet from the corpse of the woman.

By the time Vee and Kadarin had crested the butte, and gazed upon the slaughter, fat, black flies were buzzing in the horse’s near-empty chest cavity.

Kadarin had quickly identified the object, which Dujek and Koschei were examining. The size of a large jewelry box…indeed, it was a box…it was made of lead, in its entirety. A sealed parchment was tied with several coils of string to the peculiar container.

Dujek gently detached the note and unfurled it. It said simply…

Professor Galmonoh,

Something to remember me by.

Your dear friend and student, X
.


Vee glanced once more to the skies. The hippogriff was three or four hundred feet away, and heading ploddingly for higher aeries. Keykold would not be surprised if they came upon its corpse in another two hours, he thought, and turned his glance back toward the bloody mess on the ground.

No other horse-eagle abominations could be seen in the bright blue sky.

Rodney brayed.


« Last Edit: May 17, 2007, 10:29:17 PM by Murometz »
Authentic Strolenite™©®

Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

-Captain Penguin

Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2007, 12:39:20 PM »
"Wrap her up gently with horse-blanket and put her on my mount. We'll bring her back to town - perhaps this "Professor" can see to her proper burial.

And don't open that box yet - it is unusual for probably a good reason, and it may bear enchanted defences.  Mayhaps you would petrified or turned into a cricket if you did."

Kadarin would not mind overmuch if the others opened the box - he was curious to see what it contained, but cautious enough not to do so without at least some investigation.

A thought struck him. <I>She is probably magi!</I> He moved over to the horse to see if there was anything there that could identify the unfortunate woman.
   
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2007, 08:05:25 AM »
"Our destinies are dice to the gods," Vee said, looking down at the cooling corpse of the honey-blonde woman laying on the ground. "And even the gods can throw pips." Vee looked at her face for a few moments, seeking some familiarity in it, or perhaps hoping to find her a complete stranger. With a gentle touch he closed her eyelids. If Moruz was still with them Vee would have asked for some of those mirror coins he carried, it did seem fitting.

Thinking of the lead box made him a touch queasy, too much akin to looting. Instead he turned his attention to the slaughtered carcass of her horse. He intended to relieve the animal of it's saddle and other gear as it might carry some further notion as to who she was and he knew of an old custom where there dead were buried with their saddles. It was a silly notion really...he let his thoughts trail off, there was little but darkness and misery along those lines. Instead he busied himself with the loosening of straps and such. They would be moving along soon, and had another guest to bring along.

(OOC - check condition of saddle, and check through to find/inventory belongings)


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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2007, 02:36:06 PM »
Normally stolid, Rodney the Mule grew increasingly uneasy as the party investigated the scene.   The scent of slaughtered horseflesh and the lingering reek of the hippogriff preyed on the normally-calm animal until Czolba was forced to lead the braying beast upwind of the blood-spattered scene.  The mercenary’s muttered complaints were hard to make out, but it was clear that the warrior was frustrated by the hippogriff’s escape.  His battle-lust unsatisfied, Czolba sat down on a rock, pegging small stones at the corbies that had already begun to gather nearby.

Mouse moved quickly to grab a spare blanket for the fallen traveler.  Her hands were surprisingly fair and soft, with ink stains suggesting that she had been a clerk or scholar of some kind.  Her traveling robes were simple and practical, adorned with arcane symbols embroidered around the hem, magical blessings common in Nimz.  A brightly-polished broadsword hung from rings on her belt, but the woman hadn’t even drawn the gleaming weapon from the rings before she fell.  The stout blade seemed wrong for her, too long and cumbersome for so slight a wielder. 

As he approached, Kadarin quickly noticed the numerous tiny pockets hidden in the traveler’s tassel-adorned belt.  His theory was right!  Only a mage wore such attire!  Turning to the horse, he found that Vee had already begun his inspection of the fallen beast.  The heavy leather and wood of the creature’s saddle had been cruelly torn and gouged by the ravenous abomination, ruining the otherwise elegant tack.  Fortunately, the creature’s small saddlebags were intact.

Inspecting the bags, Vee and Kadarin were impressed to discover a scroll case carven of some strange resinous material resembling amber.  Clearly valuable, the translucent cylinder held eight sheets of fine vellum, each covered with strange glyphs laid out in neat rows.  Several diagrams and sketches appeared on the pages, suggesting that a ritual of summoning magic was laid out in the incomprehensible text.

A battered piece of parchment was wrapped around the magical writings:  Faded writing on the tattered scrap listed a series of common, magically-significant herbs and ingredients, with quantities given and a name:  “Kellier Yoman, on the Street of Short”.  If Vee recalled correctly, the man had owned an herb shop when he last was in Nimz.

Watching to be sure the hippogriff wouldn’t return, Dujek noticed that Delsordo seemed fascinated by the leaden coffer that he had recovered.  The massive warrior kept looking at it, a strange expression crossing his features.  It didn’t look like much:  A box of dull metal worked with lotus blossom designs on the sides and stylized willows overlooking a lily-covered pool on the top.  A coarse string held the box shut. 

Dujek’s attention seemed to startle Delsordo, who hurriedly began to help mouse with the woman’s body.  Removing the unused blade, Delsordo helped wrap the frail woman in Kadarin’s spare blanket.  The grappler lifted her as if she were weightless, placing her on the horse with surprising gentleness.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2007, 04:56:22 PM by Wulfhere »
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Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2007, 02:54:18 PM »
"Likely the is either the Professor or the Student, though student is more likely.  She's been sent on a shopping trip for components, I'd wager.  She must have been en route to Nimz, so whereever she came from, its likely behind us. 

Has anyone heard of the Street of Short or Mr. Yoman?"







   
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Offline Pariah

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2007, 10:35:13 AM »
"Well, I'm sure we shall find the truth soon.  Walking into town with a body strapped to a donkey, as we are."  Dujek said, looking once more at Delsordo before he set his pack down and put the box into the bottom of it.  "We'll figure out whats worth keeping later, right Kad?  But let's keep moving."
One can cure oneself of the not un- formation by memorizing this sentence: A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field.  Orwell

(13:23:49) (Chinchillas): See? You can write like an 4$$h013 when you're not writing like a pompous 4$$h013.

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2007, 01:20:46 AM »
"I've heard of Yoman, he fits the shifty merchant stereotype, quick hands, dry lips, stares a bit much,' Vee said. 'He runs an apothecary on Street of Short, but his real business is in importing. Street of Short is easy to find, it's the eastern road from Gristram Market heading to the Hippogriff Gate. Some merchant type decided to donate to the city be having some carvings done to pretty up the place. Problem was he was a pompous fool and had his countenance plastered up and down the Street. The artist got the last laugh, he portrayed the merchant like he really was, big nosed and short.' Vee said with a bit of a laugh. There were some decent taverns on Street of Short, the sort that weren't too highbrow, but he didnt have to worry to much about what was in his cups when he was in them too.

"Yoman might give us a reward for this, or he might call the Daywatch to put us in shackles for Accessory to Murder. You can never tell with Street of Short merchants." Vee said.


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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2007, 12:36:59 PM »
Eager to be on their way again, yet nervous about how they would be received at their journey’s end, the party continued on their rocky path through the foothills of the Monoliths.  Following the winding mountain trails, it would take them at least five days to reach Nimz, even though the place was no more than 30 miles as the hippogriff flew.

These rugged lands were part of the “Judgelands”, a region that had kept its independence from the Empire for hundreds of years after neighboring lands had submitted.  In these rough lands, Imperial law was supposedly honored, but away from the towns, lethal monstrosities haunted the wilderness.  Appearing from the untamed mountains, these horrors were regularly driven off by patrols of provincial soldiery, yet, just as routinely, they returned to plague the land. 

The party’s path soon led them to the infamous “Lane of Judges”, lined by statues erected hundreds of years earlier in honor of the region’s ruthless first rulers.  A stretch of Imperial Road had been built here, leading from the once-imposing fortress of Sivenwell to the Aldenloth Valley.  The fortress had fallen to ruin centuries earlier, and the villages of the Aldenloth had never grown to be more than rural backwaters, so the Lane of Judges remained very much a “road to nowhere”, its wide and even expanse choked with gnarled mountain pines and thorny thickets of blazeflowers.  A narrow footpath followed the decaying roadbed, leading past the vine-covered statues of forgotten barons and counts. 

Rodney the mule apparently knew this trail well.  He kept trying to pull off to the side, drawing toward nearby streams and patches of pasturage whenever one became apparent.  His frequent attempts to graze or drink had become so predictable that the party was surprised when he turned away from a pool just below the path, actually plunging into a thicket across from the dark pool rather than remain on the trail near it.

Dujek was the first to divine what had alarmed Rodney.  Perhaps more attuned to the presence of death, he could make out that the algae-covered heaps within the pool were disjointed bones.  Dozens of skeletons lay scattered in the murky water, with the massive bones of horses and cattle mixed with the smaller remains of mountain sheep.  A human skull lay half-sunken in the mud at the pool’s edge, with its jaw lying a few feet away, out of the pool.

A clearing lay ahead, with hitching posts surrounding a dry, moss-adorned fountain.  The timeworn stone depicted a trio of heroes in classic poses, together holding a water jug aloft.  The patchy moss covering the stonework made the statues look as though they had a strange and hideous skin disease.

Something had cleared away the moss from the cracked bowl at the fountain’s base.  Even from their distant vantage point, the adventurers could make out an assortment of weather-beaten junk that had been tossed in the bowl:  Cracked and faded shields, mildewed saddles, torn sacks of moldy grain, and broken weapons lay heaped in the capacious fountain.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2007, 01:45:45 PM by Wulfhere »
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Offline Pariah

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2007, 04:05:16 PM »
"The bard sing no more of his tales of gold and wenches, no more to spawn his kin in far off lands," Koschei chimed, jumping down from Dujek's shoulder to examine the jawbone.  Dujek himself stopped and caught the attention of Vee, pointing hurriedly to the pool, and then drawing a line across his throat.  "How long would it delay us to turn back and make it to the city by another route?"
One can cure oneself of the not un- formation by memorizing this sentence: A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field.  Orwell

(13:23:49) (Chinchillas): See? You can write like an 4$$h013 when you're not writing like a pompous 4$$h013.

Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2007, 10:58:37 AM »
"That's a good question.  The fountain seems an ill omen but perhaps we should see where Rodney would go. The pool might be the only hazard..."

   
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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2007, 11:43:11 AM »
Koschei froze in place as the tiny familiar noticed movement in the murky depths of the pool.  He couldn't make out what was down there, but the rippling movements of the water didn't all seem to be from the wind.
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2007, 12:14:23 PM »
"I don't remember this fountain, but then again I didn't leave Nimz by this road." Vee said, eyeing the water, his crossbow resting in his hands. "We can reach Hollyoak and Atkinshire and the Patriarch's Road but we would have to backtrack and loose 2 days time, or cut back about an hour and head north. The road is more of a trail and this time of year the Holon river is usually running high. No telling if we could even get across it.

"What about letting one of your hired men," Vee casts a sidelong glance at Czolba, "Scout that path out?" Vee says privately to  Kadarin. "If i were standing with Talia and Moruz I would have no question of facing whatever may lay ahead, but I'm a bit hesitant with our only warriors being the hired kind."
« Last Edit: September 18, 2007, 12:21:17 PM by Scrasamax »


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Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2007, 12:25:58 PM »
Kadarin simply nodded.

"Czolba, can you check out that path there? Yes, that one..."
   
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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2007, 12:46:13 PM »
"Cheer up Czolba, might even be that you can kill yourself something worth eating." Dujek said, grinning, thinking of the many more useful creations he could create from their "friend's" dead body, things that wouldn't need to be fed, or paid.

"Boss, the water.  There's something there besides the dead.  Maybe it's just a carp, or maybe it's kin, no way to be sure."  Koschei whispered, as if their conversation could be picked up in any situation, let alone out here in the wastes.  Cursing under his breath all vestiges of mirth vanished from Dujeks twisted face, "Get back up here, now.  Delsordo, the water, there's something living in it, watch it.  This path is looking more and more trap-like as the seconds tick by."
One can cure oneself of the not un- formation by memorizing this sentence: A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field.  Orwell

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Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2007, 01:09:32 PM »
"Colzba! Get back here!"

Kadarin quickly went over the details of his Grey Entrapping (ooc - web) spell in his mind.  He possibily could cover over the pond with it's sticky embrace should something attempt to come out at them.

Conciously, he put Delsordo between himself and the pond.

"Anyone have any oil?"




   
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