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Author Topic: Homecomings (Chap III)  (Read 33845 times)

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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2007, 01:33:03 PM »
Czolba turned to rejoin the party, but had only moved a few feet when a loud flapping and croaking ruckus was heard from the clearing ahead.   The mercenary crouched behind a stone outcropping and he leveled his crossbow as two ungainly creatures clumsily landed near the ancient fountain.  Resembling deformed vultures more than anything else, they bobbed their heads in rhythm with croaking calls that were only recognizable as speech with the greatest concentration.

“Walkers like to swim, eh?  Hek hek hek!” the first one croaked to its carrion-encrusted associate.

“No swimming here!  Bring goldy for toll first, if walkers want to swim! Hek, hek, hek!” responded the other.

“Come to see Hrewkawkhw, walkers!  You like swim, but Hrewkawkhw think you dressed funny to swim now! Hek, hek!” the first one called, apparently impressed by its own wit.

The aggressive mercenary looked toward Kadarin, waiting for permission to fire at the monstrosities ahead.
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2007, 03:26:03 PM »
"Scabby buzzards,"  Vee sneered at the beasts, "Fly back to your keepers and trouble us no more. Unless you would like a Nimzian Welcoming party." To emphasize the point, Vee cocked the swing-arm of his crossbow. "I've taken my share of vuchlings, won't hurt my feelings to add two more black feathers to my belt."


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Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2007, 05:56:30 PM »
Said quietly. "If they are being so bold..."

Kadarin makes a quick look behind and to the sides....

   
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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2007, 07:53:36 PM »
The creature calling itself Hrewkawkhw reared up, spreading its wings in indignation.  "Walkers pay!" it croaked shrilly.  "Walkers give goldy to Hrewkawkhw and Crerarwl if walkers want to wralk road!  Goldy die on road, so goldy belongs to Crerarwl!"

Suspiciously, Kadarin scanned the nearby trees.  Those vulture-things could have allies, allies moving to ambush the party even as the disgusting things in the clearing croaked their demands.  Nothing he saw seemed out of place.

Meanwhile, at the front of the group, "Eager" Czolba wondered what his employer was hesitating for:  War Leader Havvik would have moved against the foul things the moment they'd appeared.  Spotting the cautious mage checking the trees, he looked around more carefully. 

There!  In the trees beyond the clearing, there were at least eight huge nests of some kind!  In a moment of inspiration, Czolba realized that must be why the group hadn't attacked yet:  The wizards were clearly waiting until the rest of the disgusting vulchlings showed themselves!

Signalling to the others, Czolba stealthily pointed out where the distant nests were.  It wouldn't be much longer now.

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Offline Pariah

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2007, 08:05:59 PM »
Dujek saw the nests and grinned, two could very well play at anygame, but three would make it all the merrier.  "Beautiful nests, don't you think, Kadarin, very much so.  It'd be very bad if anything happened to them, and the eggs too.  Though I've always liked my eggs fried, not hatched." Looking to the two highwaythings so that they could see the entirety of his mis-shaped skull, half detached jaw and all.  "How wise do you really think it is picking a fight with two mages?  Though if you want to try I'll gladly make a pet out of your innards."
They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers... They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came. They were inspired by dubious virtues.  China Mieville - Perdido Street Station

Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #30 on: September 20, 2007, 10:54:43 AM »
In response to the raucous croaking of the indignant vulchling, others of its kind began clumsily launching themselves into the air from their resting places in the nests beyond the clearing.  Their croaking cries were largely incomprehensible, but occasional phrases could be made out by the adventurers. "Walkers pay Crerarwl riiige!" seemed to be the gist of their distant cries, as the awkward flyers struggled to get above the trees.  Apparently, they were better at soaring than flying, and hoped to win enough elevation to begin circling the party's location, much as their smaller kin would circle a dying animal.

One of the new arrivals, a creature larger and more filth-encrusted than its fellows, instead settled into a large dead tree that projected from the boggy pond to the right of the clearing.  The blasted tree had a large hole above the branch where the newcomer had settled, and the slovenly creature immediately began rummaging through the hole with its beak.  As it searched through the debris-filled hole, the party could make out portions of the avian's hoarse, croaking speech.

"Grawnd warlkers! Whry (mumble... mumble...) Chrerahrk of ther Crerarwl!  Reekreed thatr warlkers feed Crerarwl byr godsr!  Whry (mumble... mumble...) sharr nort?  You carn't fryyy canr you?  Hek, hek, hek!"  Any further comments from the ungainly creature were impossible to make out, as it retrieved a large rib of some sort from its stash and began industriously gnawing upon those few bits of flesh that yet clung to the relic.

The creature's oratorical skill was unimpressive, but it was apparently the best that the disgusting flock could produce.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 05:03:00 PM by Wulfhere »
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Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2007, 07:37:05 AM »
Quietly, "Back me up on this one.."

At nearly a shout, "Alas, nobel leader, we were ignorant of your claims!  I beleive we can make amends with this!"

Kadarin drew from his pack a large, golden crown.

"Here is payment worthy of your station! Note how the sunlight makes it glitter!  Would this not be worthy to sit upon your .. brow?

Is it not so glorious that any who were to wear it could be king?"

And with that statement, Kadarin made ready to toss the crown...

Edit: modified to take into account Vee's objections...




« Last Edit: September 21, 2007, 12:06:01 PM by valadaar »
   
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2007, 11:56:04 AM »
"Are you mad!" Vee said, "I'd rather shoot them from the sky than give them that crown. You know what it is worth, put it away before they demand it instead of just gold."

(OOC - Bluff)


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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2007, 12:31:31 PM »
(OOC:  Sense Motive isn't these guys' long suit... They fall for the bluff, big-time.)

Four of the avian menaces dropped out of the sky, converging on the fountain with ludicrous cries of “Mrine! Giver mrine!”, but they weren’t as fast as the two already there.  Hopping awkwardly toward the fountain, their heads lunged forward with serpent-like speed, both grabbing the crown and tugging awkwardly at it. 

Last into the clearing was the massive Chrerahrk, nearly one and a half times the size of his flock.  He simply bowled aside his fellows and wrenched the gilt crown from their beaks.  The other four circling vulchlings, realizing that they had missed their opportunity, flew over the clearing, raucously crying “Nok fairrr!  Nok fiarrr!” 

Chrerahrk was enchanted with the gaudy coronet.  He promptly slid his head through it, seating it around his neck, upon the greasy ruff of feathers at its base.  The glittering jewelry actually looked pretty good on the filthy scavenger, as he reared up straighter, circling with his wings raised in a show of force that reduced his minions to groveling and cowering.

"Chrerahrk... Grrreeetik Kingr Chrerahrk grantik reave forr grawnd warlker to to departik!  Begorrn, warrlker!  Hek, hek, hek!"
« Last Edit: September 21, 2007, 12:35:44 PM by Wulfhere »
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Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2007, 12:38:47 PM »
With a slight bow, "Thank you, your highness." Kadarin then looked at the rest of the group, "Shall we?", and began to move.

 "Colzba - sorry for spoiling your fun. But these critters might still give you a chance so keep your eyes open. Don't think I trust them for a second."

"Should be interesting to see what he expects of the next group coming through here."










   
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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2007, 10:13:17 AM »
Kadarin began to turn away, but then Czolba's furtive movement caught his eye.  Muttering something like "Filthy scavengers!", the bloodthirsty mercenary leveled his crossbow at the vulchlings' leader.

"Stop!" cried the wizard, and Czolba paused, glaring at him.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 11:56:27 AM by Wulfhere »
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Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #36 on: September 26, 2007, 07:01:00 PM »
"Is this just bloodthirst, or do you actually see something?" Kadarin said through clenched teeth. "Can you even count?"





   
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #37 on: September 27, 2007, 02:43:43 AM »
"Czolba, save your arrow for something that can't talk, there should be plenty more things interested in eating us between here and Nimz." Vee said. "It would be a waste of an arrow anyways." Vee pondered how well one of those brittle-boned scavanger's would stand up to Red Hatchet's old ax, then moved on, best not to dawdle, scavengers draw predators...everything in the Judgelands draws predators.


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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2007, 03:07:35 AM »
Czolba lowered his crossbow slightly, but it was clear that the mercenary was looking for a fight.  Perhaps he ensured his own disappointment:  The cowardly vulchlings were clearly intimidated by the prospect of facing such bloodthirsty foes.   They backed away, watching from a distance while the party passed the litter-strewn fountain and headed on their way.  The bird-things’ carrion stench was nauseating, even after they had retreated, and their leaders’ friendly offer of a gore-encrusted goat skull had Mouse looking distinctly ill.

As the party left the area, they kept their distance, but a few of the scavengers were visible for the next several miles.  Apparently, the persistent things hoped the group would send some “business” their way.   

The abandoned remnant of Imperial road wound through the mountains, slowly gaining elevation.  As they progressed, the ruins of Sivenwell were visible in the distance, their ill-omened mass barely recognizable as a stronghold.  A distinct feeling of relief went through the party as the grim pile was left behind. 

As nightfall approached, the group began searching for a good place to camp.  Tomorrow would see them in the settled lands around Nimz, so one last night in the wild remained to be endured.   A promising site appeared ahead, but another group had apparently set themselves up there.  A number of tents and piles of equipment indicated that some sort of “dig” was underway nearby, and the banner flying before the encampment was that of the University. 

Strangely, the camp appeared to be entirely deserted.
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2007, 11:36:18 PM »
Vee snapped a crossbow bolt to ready, holding the weapon cautiously in front of him. The would be rogue moved around part of the perimeter of the camp. "Professor Sereff Femaister, guessing from the white and blue banner, from the University," He paused, looking at a spray of blood across a wooden crate. It's top was busted and the contents removed. The Professor's Mass Detector was in pieces, whoever raided the camp was more interested in the gold balancing weights and the silver couplings that mounted the oscillator to the body of the device. Whoever it was, it didnt look too much like local raiders. They took almost everything made of a precious metal but left some recovered scraps of ktonian metal, and some other common tool forms generally found on a promising dig site.

"Raiders, bloody raiders. No respect for history, just an eye for gold and ransom."
« Last Edit: September 30, 2007, 11:45:54 PM by Scrasamax »


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Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #40 on: October 01, 2007, 10:57:35 AM »
Kadarin looked at the shambles of the  camp, and took a careful look at the blood stains.  "Quite dry, so its been a while."

He thought twice about doing some looting himself, but the potential conflict with Vee, who seemed unusally put out by the raid, stopped him from more then thinking.  Czobla was looking about with a strange mixture of fear and eagerness.

It's so hard to find good help these days thought Kadarin to himself with a sigh.   

"Czobla, please do a check of the camp's parimeter and watch out for footprints.  Try and avoid shooting any survivors please."

To the others, "We don't have a lot of daylight left - do you want to camp at this ill-starred site, or find someplace else?"




« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 12:39:57 PM by valadaar »
   
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Offline Pariah

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #41 on: October 04, 2007, 02:51:52 PM »
"I... We, could still get some use out of him.  The human nose is a wonderful organ when it doesn't have to share it's blood with such frivolties as the brain, what bit of malformed jelly passes at it in his head at least."  Dujek said, as Czobla walked away.  Dropping his pack, he rummaged for a few moments, muttering dark obscenities as he did, finally coming out with his battered grimoire.  "Hands, feet, entrails... Ah, here it is, noses.  Finest bloodhound ever fielded by man, though a bit heavy on the blood and abscent on the hound."

Looking around he finally focused in on Vee, "What do you think?  More than capable of tracking down your old master, what might be left of him, no?"
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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #42 on: October 04, 2007, 03:44:39 PM »
It did not take long for Czolba to determine that not only were there no survivors in the camp, there were no bodies, either.  His check of the perimeter showed drag marks leading out of the camp where several corpses had apparently been dragged off.  The mercenary's voice was uneasy as he spoke.  "That's not like most bandits... I could see them taking the bodies of their own dead, but their victims?  That makes no sense.

"Also, these drag marks,"  he added, pointing, "Its almost as if they're daring someone to follow their trail."

Even Rodney the mule seemed a bit uneasy at that thought.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2007, 03:46:58 PM by Wulfhere »
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Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #43 on: October 04, 2007, 06:37:53 PM »
Kadarin thought for a second, and none of the possibilites were pleasant.

"Well, we've seen ghouls in action before, but they generally don't bother to move the corpses - they just eat right there - and often before they stop twitching.  Orcs and the like would, but they'd likely carry them unless their camp was really close. 

I think the best we can do is report their deaths to the authorities, though we seem to be having our hands full of the dead. " Kadarin looked at Dujek,  waiting for a reaction.

"The trail will keep to the morrow - I suggest we move away a bit to camp. I don't, for one, want to stay here."



   
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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #44 on: October 05, 2007, 02:46:06 AM »
"Femaister wasn't my old teacher, I just happen to know of him. He's considered a crack-pot by most of the other professors and lecturers back in Nimz. If you heard half of the theories that fly around in the city, you would realize that being called a crackpot by the likes of the university folk takes some doing." Vee said, he had a bit of admiration for the man, not so much for his theories, but he certainly stuck to his crossbows (OOC - since you can't stick to your guns when guns dont exist : ) when it came to his theories. "I for one always thought he would be done in by a shaft collapse or end up as hippogriff bait."

"I think we should make our camp away from both the road and the camp, no need to attract attention to ourselves."


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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #45 on: October 06, 2007, 01:00:11 PM »
It didn’t take the party long to find a good spot to set up camp.  It might not be as comfortable as they would have preferred, made on a rock-covered slope near the crest of a hill, but it was well-hidden from the road and the adjacent hills.  The nearby summit gave a commanding view of the adjacent slopes, so the party members on watch were likely to spot any approaching enemies.

Shortly after midnight, the moon set.  Without its ghostly radiance, darkness reigned in the wild lands.  Small spots of witchfire glowed where phosphorescent lichen grew upon fallen tree trunks, and the buzzing of the region’s relentless mosquitoes was the only sound.
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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #46 on: October 10, 2007, 12:19:28 PM »
The night seemed to last forever, with the party members tossing and turning on the rocky ground.  The only one who seemed able to rest was the stoic grappler Delsordo.  The veteran mercenary seemed able to sleep anywhere.

Kadarin and Mouse huddled quietly in their cloaks, trying to keep watch in the night's chill.  Others in the camp tossed and turned, their efforts at sleep stymied by the stony ground of the campsite.

Then, the night's silence was broken by a noise:  A sound of armored figures approaching, rapidly approaching the camp under cover of the night's blackness.
"Nothing real can defeat us:  Nothing unreal exists."
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Offline valadaar

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #47 on: October 10, 2007, 12:55:16 PM »
Oh crap, thought kadarin, activating his ring and disappearing..

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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #48 on: October 10, 2007, 02:41:13 PM »
Vee sat up, he rubbing his face for a second before grabbing his crossbow and dropping a quarrel into the action. A quick pump of the lever and the bowstring was drawn back and ready to fire. He blinked, Kadarin had gone from a gloomy silhouette to gone in a blink, d**ned mages, if nothing else though the brigands might be in for a surprise. Vee gestured at Czolba to form up with him, if they could concentrate their fire, it could be useful.

(Spot and listen checks to identify if these are brigands or a possible Nimzian patrol)


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Re: Homecomings (Chap III)
« Reply #49 on: October 10, 2007, 03:04:18 PM »
As they closed in on the campsite, Vee was able to make out the raiders' harsh voices, cursing gutterally in the language of the Orcish clans. 

The darkness hid much of the Orcs' movement, but the party members could tell that they had scant moments before the hideous creatures would reach their camp.

(OOC:  Only Delsordo is asleep.  The rocks have ensured that the rest of you are tired, but awake.  At least 18 foes approach.)
"Nothing real can defeat us:  Nothing unreal exists."
- Buckaroo Banzai