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Author Topic: Chapter the Second, The Road to Canagadi  (Read 24063 times)

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Offline Chaosmark

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #50 on: January 25, 2013, 08:35:29 AM »
Saano

Sleep had just claimed the Guardian, and was loathe to release him from her thrall. But release him she did when Anquetiti's cry was heard, and Saano left his tent about the same time that Nisher called out to wake both Zuan and he. Nothing good could be happening with such volume, vehemence and suddenness this late in the evening, so he had taken the extra bit of time to grab the tools of his trade. "Evil always awaits in the night. Just think of how many jobs would be lost if it wasn't."

He paused, taking in the distressed newcomer. She was certainly pretty, with a bit of exotic appeal, but the image that came to mind was that of a bush viper rather than a delicate bird.

"Did I hear the name 'Moadi' a moment ago? As in, 'Moadi-Birds'?"
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #51 on: January 27, 2013, 04:02:46 AM »
Anquetiti

"Yes, sadly yes. Come, quickly, before they eat them all!"
She fell in along with Nisher, then turned back, wiping her tears and putting on the visage of a truculent teen: "I'm going, for sure!"
... aaaaand skipping out on the runt if the rest of you don't follow.

She brandished a knife for emphasis of her determination, all nine inches of the blade a mockery of the arsenal carried by the armed men.
"Captain, the buttocks are moving from the pink into the red and purple spectrum! We cannot maintain this rate of spanking any longer!"

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #52 on: January 27, 2013, 06:47:54 AM »
Iskander cursed inwardly, even as he stood up.  "Come on Tagu, lets go."
He hoped some of the bodyguard would accompany them, thoug he had his suspicions.  He scooped up his pack and quickly followed.  "Might want to slow down a bit," he said as he ran, for the armour he wore was holding him back.  He had not been planning on a midnight sprinting.   "How many of the d**n things did you see- rather important detail.."

He was not sure why he was coming.  This newcomer meant even less to him then the company at the camp, but she was interesting at least.

And so far the rescue planned appeared to be storming the camp like some crazed dervishes.  I suppose there are worse plans, he thought.
   
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #53 on: January 27, 2013, 07:25:31 PM »
Tagu followed obediently, but not before grabbing a branch from the fire to use as a torch.

As Anquetiti led Nisher, Iskander, Saano, and Tagu through the scrublands, the bright half-moon was the only other light afforded them. Luckily, this wilderness of cracked red earth and shrubbery, proved easily navigable.

It did not take them long…

Anquetiti spied the lone boulder she had earlier used for cover and slowed, the others on her heels, Nisher chanting maniacally, Saano silent and focused, Iskander likewise stoic.

Anna gestured ahead and the companions could now see the outlines of some chimney-like natural structure, a misshapen specter of darkness against the sky, a hundred or so yards away.

http://www.skianything.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/5242011-Capitol-Reef-Chimney-Rock-Trail-Tower-Web.jpg

As the companions slowed they could only hear their own breath and the now-distant sounds of grunting camels and neighing horses from their camp. The scrublands were otherwise silent. Even the cackling jackals had quieted.

“Some cave?” Tagu postulated and then tensed, awaiting Iskander’s further instruction, as he lofted his make-shift torch and stared at the sinister rock-formation ahead.

------------------
“We will make for the crossroads, get everything ready.” Bulvan muttered to one of his bodyguard.
“You noticed the Midnigh--?”
“Yes, of course. And he noticed me. No, I sense nothing of true value is for sale here. And now, they chase monsters in the desert night! No, this is not for Bulvan. That—woman—was no woman.” He summarized with distaste in his mouth. “We depart!”

Moments later, the soul-merchant’s wagon shuddered and began its roll.

“Farewell, Zuan Coursi! Next time we meet mayhaps I will buy from you again!” Bulvan shouted as his caravan caterpillar-ed its way south in the near-darkness, pole-lanterns bobbing.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 10:12:20 PM by Murometz »
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #54 on: January 27, 2013, 08:11:31 PM »
At the sight of the domineering natural structure ahead, Nish ceased his mutterings; sense was beginning to take control over his body. He glanced backwards towards the dim light of their camp; was that the sound of wagons wheeling away? No matter. Though he would never admit it aloud, he did wish Zuan would catch up and join them - much as Nish hated to admit it, the stuffy priest -did- have some useful tools at his disposal.

Nish surveyed his surroundings, cursing softly beneath his breath before turning to Saano, Tagu and Iskander, "Not much in the way of cover to sneak up. I don't know how smart those moadi-birds are but i'm sure it will only take one to summon the rest. I could make my way up first and take a look around if you like. I have a... er, knack for not being noticed. Thoughts?" Nish unclipped the latch of his sturdy tome and flicked his book to the page which held his scrawlings to become unseen. In the darkness, the page of the tome beheld a soft, eerie blue light which danced and twisted alongside Tagu's firelight. On the luminous page, runic inkings were slowly being edged onto the page as though by an unseen hand - the spell was only about halfway rejuvenated. With a faint 'tsk', the Spellwriter unclipped his quill from the small cylinder of ink on his belt and raised it to the pages, making deft strokes and lines as he re-inked the page manually. Between strokes, Nish glanced between Iskander and Saano, the question still on his face.

((OOC: Recharging the spell 'Sight Unseen'. Halfway recharged, so will takes up one round instead of two.))
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 09:44:58 PM by Shadoweagle »
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #55 on: January 27, 2013, 10:04:29 PM »
Inan

Most of the bleeding had stopped now. He sat, lost inside the Devil-Stare, then opened his eyes suddenly and let his pupils adjust to the dark. Ah, it was night now. How longhad he been here? Their caravan had been ambushed near sundown. The half-woman...Inan briefly wondered if she was dead as well...no matter now...

He looked around the cave. His tormentors were nowhere to be seen. Bits of flesh and even a few semi-whole monks sat or lay there motionless strewn about the cavernous natural chamber, many with their eyes still agape, some with only empty sockets where eyes once were. Inan surveyed the scene as best he could, with only a sliver of a moon shining in from somewhere without, keeping the cavern from being engulfed in darkness. And somewhere overhead as well, he thought, but could not lift his head to see.

Ah, there it was. The talisman. It lay a mere six centimeters from his chewed up boot (and partially chewed-up foot.) Six centimeters. It would not be impossible, but the strain of it could kill him.

Inan began to focus all of his inner energies on his big toe. (cue kill bill scene)

(ooc: Inan currently is down to 2 hp's. With a d20 wisdom save roll with a -3 penalty, Inan can momentarily break the Moadi-Bird hypnosis/paralyzation enough to move his toe enough to reach the talisman. With a successful dexterity d20 check on top of that, he can snag it.)

« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 10:10:18 PM by Murometz »
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #56 on: January 28, 2013, 04:33:27 PM »
A wizard was certainly most valuable to Anquetiti - brawny cutthroats were easy enough to get.

"Do not wake them, and do not let them see you" she whispered and placed her arm on his shoulder, slightly twisting his fate, making him less noticeable by the Reaper, less tempting for sword tips, a little more elsewhere when dangerous magic was concerned.

(Foul is Fair! Nish gets +2 to "not getting chewed up" until something bad happens to him)
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #57 on: January 28, 2013, 05:24:31 PM »
"Sounds good," said Iskander.  In fact he was quite happy with this idea.  The blind rushing seemed to him somewhat sucidal.
"Tagu, it might be too late, but use the boulder to shade the light.  No need to make it easier for the birds."

The faint moon would provide little light, so the toarch was a necessary evil, beacon as it was for the birds.

He unslung his bow and scanned both earth and skies for birds,

"Silly question, but do the d**ned things fly? And how many did you see? A handful, a dozen or some great abysmal horde?"
   
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #58 on: January 28, 2013, 08:02:25 PM »
Saano

Saano listened to Nishers suggestion as he scanned their surroundings. "No, you probably shouldn't go up first. I'm familiar with the ways of the hunt, I can scout the way first." He nocked an arrow to his bow, ready to be drawn and fired at a moments notice.

"As for numbers, I think we must assume the worst. The longer it takes before they notice us, the better, regardless of the size of their swarm. I'd suggest picking off the outliers first, as quietly as possible."
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #59 on: January 28, 2013, 08:20:48 PM »
Nisher felt a faint tingle dance it's way along his spine at Anna's touch; an almost unpleasant feeling, except accompanying it was a feeling of great... luck? The shrewd man had a sudden urge to play the dice in Kings Bounty in the nearest tavern, but he shook it off and gave the new girl a menacing stare - there was far more to her than she was letting on, and Nish did not like being led.

Nevertheless, he shook off his thoughts and turned to Saano - now was not the time to be giving the woman twenty-questions. The Spellwriter regarded the Midnight Guard for a moment, then with a shrug, snapped his book shut with one hand, the added light it gave off extinguished by the action, "No complaints here. Off you go! We'll follow your trail in, oh, three or four minutes? We'd best make it quick and thorough if a life is at stake, yes?" Nish all but patted the man's back to urge Saano to go on his scouting trek. After all, why risk your own life if someone else volunteers to do it for you?
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #60 on: January 29, 2013, 12:15:34 AM »
(roll roll: 6. -3 for a 3, total fail, Inan doesn't snap from the Moadi hypnosis)

Inan shuddered as the Devil Stare faded from him, and he slipped his consciousness back into his battered and blood splattered body. He felt all the agony and the weakness from exposure and dehydration. He tried to force all of his will into moving his half big toe to hook the loop of his talisman. The inches were greater than the distance between the shimmering sands and the cool face of the moon and his concentration failed. The birds had him. The others were dead, but many of them had been inexperienced, they had not danced in the desert, or beaten a fell goat at black riddles. He did not see the body of the woman among his brethren, so there was a chance she was free and alive. There was also a chance that she was not inside the cave, or had been eaten first.

If death was to come to him, he decided he was going to meet it and fight Death like a black djinn.


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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #61 on: January 30, 2013, 12:22:13 PM »
Saano began making his way toward the irregular mount moving quickly and quietly, bow notched.
After a hundred feet he slowed taking in the dark protuberance. Peering into the moonlit darkness he could now spy what he thought was a darker shape against the giant rock…a cave opening.

Then he suddenly turned to his left as he heard a single, plaintive, lonely shriek.
A raven, by the looks of it, sat on a shrub twenty feet away. Even in the dark, Saano could tell this was no ordinary crow. The moonlight glinted off its body, as if its feathers were metallic.
The bird stared at Saano.

A hundred feet or so behind him, the rest of the companions slowly made their way…

---------------------------

Back at camp, Zuan Coursi checked on his camels and stoked the fire. Someone had to stay back to guard their mounts and supplies after all and Zuan was not one for running blindly through the wilderness battling creatures of the night. As he sat there and waited, sleep now forgotten, he wished momentarily, that he had purchased one of those kinjals from Bulvan after all.

A sudden shriek from somewhere, not close, but close enough to send a shiver down the trade-priest’s spine. What was that?
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #62 on: January 30, 2013, 09:02:21 PM »
Saano

Saano twitched ever so slightly as the bird shrieked. He slowly turned his head to look at it, raising his bow and drawing back the arrow on the string. If it cried again, it could bring down the entire swarm right on their heads.

Gently...gently...Don't spook it...

The darkness of night muffled the soft twang as the hunter loosed his arrow.


[OOC: Bow-strike on the bird. Center-of-mass.]
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #63 on: January 31, 2013, 05:49:10 PM »
The loosed arrow whistled centimeters from the ebon bird as it sailed past.

The bird cocked its head toward Saano as if committing him to memory, a single black eyeball reflecting the moonlight, then took off quickly and silently into the night, toward the rocky hilltop.

All was silent.

As the others advanced Tagu suddenly stumbled over something. Shining his improvised torch toward his feet, they spotted a chewed-up, severed human head, with a lipless grin and empty eye sockets. Nisher noticed tiny yellow ants using the nasal cavities as a two-lane thoroughfare.

« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 05:52:10 PM by Murometz »
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #64 on: January 31, 2013, 07:26:59 PM »
A faint frown plastered across Nisher Stryne's face. He was not particularly disturbed by the sight of bone and gore; his sorry early life had desensitised him to the sight of death, as it had desensitised him largely of empathy. The spellwriter kneeled down and peered with morbid curiousity the ants using the nasal cavity as a highway to the nutritious organ inside.

Using a stick, Nish nudged the skull, toppling it over and disturbing the ant trail with childlike cruelty. He then stood and glanced at anquetiti with a wry smile and a callous comment, "Friend of yours?" without awaiting a reply Nish started off again, walking at a fast pace - did he just hear a bird call? "Lets go see what trouble Saano has gotten himself into!"
 
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #65 on: January 31, 2013, 08:38:23 PM »
Minutes later they had caught up to Saano, who stood almost at the pitch-black cave entrance of the rock formation. Close up, they could tell it reached at least a hundred feet into the air, and was nearly the same in width.
 
The cave yawned its foul breath. The unmistakable smell of an Abbatoir. Yet no birds.

Pebbles cascaded down the red-rock suddenly then stopped.

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #66 on: January 31, 2013, 10:10:19 PM »
Nish - wisely towards the back of the group - peered upwards along the face of the rock wall, above the cave entrance, "What was that...?" He spoke softly. A faint shiver rolled down the back of his spine. His magic-induced fervor was well and truly dampened by now, and visions of sharpened beaks and wicked spiny wings tearing through his flesh ran rampant through his mind. "Okay, if these birds are as smart as the stories say, they will know that at least one man is lurking out here. I say we get into the cave as quick as possible before they realize how many of us there are! Less room to fly in there anyway, i'd say!"
Nish nervously nudged the person in front of him - Iskander - in the back to usher him and the group into the yawning maw of the cave hurriedly.
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #67 on: February 01, 2013, 05:39:48 AM »
Anquetiti heard the whistling arrow, and prepared her composite bow - worse for demonstration of determination, but far better suited for killing birds.
She was taut, ready to fire at any Moadi to appear - or to sprint as soon as things went badly.
"Captain, the buttocks are moving from the pink into the red and purple spectrum! We cannot maintain this rate of spanking any longer!"

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #68 on: February 01, 2013, 06:57:58 AM »
Iskander snarled at Nish as he drew his talwar, looking him in the eye with a malevolent stare.  He opened his mouth to say something, stopped, and redirected his attention about.

Quietly, Iskander spoke, though obviously measuring his words, "Rushing into dark caves is not something I have done before, nor intend to start doing.  If you wish to charge in boldly again, please indulge yourself. The smell of trap seems stronger here then the smell of the corpses,"  Or you, Iskander thought, but left unsaid.
 
He stepped back to take a good look up where the pebbles had fallen.  A rockfall would quite nicely tenderize the group for the birds.

"If he's being eaten alive, why no screams?  If he's dead, little need to rush. " Iskander then fell silent again, intently listening and trying to make out any details on the cliffside.




« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 07:05:33 AM by valadaar »
   
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #69 on: February 01, 2013, 08:22:48 AM »
"That's the thing with Death-on-the-Wing - they freeze your limbs with fear, until you are even too scared to scream, and only then they eat you. Why, are you afraid?"

She gazed left, right, on the lookout for any treacherous scaled bird, and when nobody was watching, she eyed the way back.
No shame in running, girl. That merchant looked rich enough to afford you around, and no one ever blames a girl for being scared.
"Captain, the buttocks are moving from the pink into the red and purple spectrum! We cannot maintain this rate of spanking any longer!"

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #70 on: February 01, 2013, 10:42:14 AM »
"Only a fool would not be, given the circumstances. Corpses, darkness, unknown threats. Yes, fear is a logical response, more logical in fact then us being here. But here we are, and trying to help.  We can go back, if that is your preference."

Iskander was starting to get a little impatient with those who mistook caution for cowardliness, and his tone of voice showed it.
   
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #71 on: February 01, 2013, 11:26:35 PM »
Zuan's eyes bulged, his body instinctively frozen. He was accustomed to sounds in the city - wails of street urchins, the drunken threats of night gangs shouted to one another - and he was hardly a stranger to the roads. But there was a tone in this cry that struck him.

He had hoped to stay away from the danger by staying with the camels, not invite it to his fire.

The priest reached into one of the camel bags and produced a small crossbow. He fitted the bolt case onto his belt and loaded one into the weapon. "O Director of all Goods, guard my property and flesh this night," he murmured. "Let not thief's blade nor beast's claw defile my goods, for the sake of Thine own glorious revenue." He peered out into the night by the waning light of the fire, praying to see nothing.

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Offline Chaosmark

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #72 on: February 02, 2013, 11:52:42 AM »
Saano

Two minds were in complete unison as the arrow whistled by the watching avian, missing by mere inches.

Oh...crap. The bird flew off, leaving a mentally-cursing Saano in its wake.

How long do you think we have?

Not a clue. If rumors are true, those things are rather intelligent. It could ignore us entirely, or bring the flock in for an ambush.

Rather embarrassing to get eaten by a bird after beating all the things you've encountered before.

Oh come now, you really think a flock of measly birds can take me down?

The hunter boldly continued forward toward the cave, another arrow ready to be loosed at a moments notice. Once was a fluke. He wouldn't miss again.


[Time Skip]

"They know we're here. They're hiding for an ambush. They wouldn't just run away from a few people after taking this many victims. Even scavengers will fight to keep a hard-earned prize." Saano gestured to the cave. "The important question to be answered is, 'Is the trap in there, or out here?'"
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Offline Shadoweagle

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #73 on: February 02, 2013, 03:43:57 PM »
Nish sighed heavily at Iskanders' stern words and stopped nudging his way forward. "Very well then, lets take a quick look; but I do not want to stand on the doorstep all night waiting for them to come to us!" The spellwruter edged around Iskander and took a step towards the entrance, peering in and around the foul smelling cave. "Say Iskander; how about we light one of Saanos arrows and get him to loose it in there light? Is that pleasing to you?" he glanced back to the fixer with a raised brow.
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #74 on: February 02, 2013, 07:29:45 PM »
"Nothing would please me more then bringing all the flames of hell to this cursed place, and if our friend here is carrying fire arrows, then I am all for it.  Does anyone have cloth and oil if he is not?"

<ooc, need gm post to see what the heck was seen during the 30 seconds since Iskander started looking.>

   
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