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Author Topic: Chapter the Second, The Road to Canagadi  (Read 25916 times)

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #75 on: February 02, 2013, 11:43:35 PM »
(because I want to do something)

Inan felt a sigh escape his parched lips. Sounds pricked at his ears, and it wasn't the squabbling of the moadi birds, it was the shifting of rock, pebbles. Footsteps. His mind whirled, he was in no position to fend off an attack, but sometimes mercy could be found in the company of strangers. The desert is always harshest just before reaching the oasis. He drew up his strength, and did the only thing he could do.

Inan whistled. His lips twitched and he moved his tongue as best he could despite the d**ned devil bird's foul enchantment. It wasn't a shrill sound, but rather a weedy creaky sound that fluttered from him, a bird with a broken wing. He whistled slowly, the opening movement of the priest's call to prayer.


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Offline Murometz

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #76 on: February 19, 2013, 05:17:59 PM »
Quote
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.

Iskander glanced above, peering into the darkness, but in the moonlight (Tagu's make-shift torch was almost burnt down), all he could see were darkened angles of jutting rock-face and various ledges, and dark shapes. He followed the path of what seemed to be the last of the falling pebbles. Silence again.

Meanwhile the cave-mouth continued yawning its invite. Though shapes and perhaps even some movement could be gauged from where they stood, the cave was too dark to see anything inside clearly. The stench of rotting meat however was over-whelming

Quote
He peered out into the night by the waning light of the fire, praying to see nothing.

Yet even as he did, he saw--something. Two birds, though ones not born of nature, somehow had landed silently a mere two dozen feet from Zuan. In the campfire light, their scaled hides glowed and almost shimmered. Soulless black motes for eyes, cocked sideways, began studying Zuan. One opened its bizarre, quartered beak, as if to yawn, a horrid sight. The other began cawing ever so gently, with a sound unlike that of any bird Zuan had ever heard. It seemed to be cooing a lullaby.

Quote
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.

And that is when they heard a sound coming from somewhere inside. A-a-whistle? They could all hear it now...a weedy creaky sound that escaped from the cave like a wounded moth, and briefly fluttered upon the night's light breeze.

« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 05:22:54 PM by Murometz »
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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: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #77 on: February 19, 2013, 06:15:34 PM »
Iskander shrugged. There was only so much fear he would let birds instill.  "Okay, lets get this done."

With that he signaled to Tagu and entered the cave, talwar and shield at the ready.

   
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Offline Murometz

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #78 on: February 19, 2013, 07:27:22 PM »
Tagu followed obediently...within seconds the others could hear the sound of Tagu retching his evening meal.

The cave was huge, Iskander had seen cathedrals in Abodroc with lower ceilings, and the the main problem was now, as before, the lack of light. Tagu's improvised fire stick was little more than a glowing ember now, but the light it gave allowed  them to at least make out some things. One--the floor of the vast cave was littered with human forms in various states of death and near-death. A dozen or more bodies, some whole, some in parts...lone arms, legs and heads strewn about haphazardly. Two--flies, some rather large, buzzed above and over the feast of flesh in small swarms. Rats (or gods knew what) slithered here and there, occasionally emerging from body cavities.

Corpses corpses everywhere...but no sign of birds.

The stench was an almost physical thing lurking within the cave. Lowering his torch, Tagu could see his boots were slick with black blood and viscera. Tagu retched again, this time dry heaving, and glanced at Iskander sheepishly

Inan, sitting against a wall, noticed the movement and could plainly see the two night-time intruders enter, though there was little he could do about it. The whistle had taken a lot of his energy, and he now lapsed from his Devil's Stare, his unmoving pupils now focused on the two strangers, unable to warn them...to put out their light.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 07:46:12 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 Dozus

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #79 on: February 19, 2013, 10:08:55 PM »
Zuan's eyes widened. The moadi-birds! They were supposed to be but legend! Divine Broker, forgive my uncunning doubt!

As sweat poured down his brow, Zuan's mind hurried to find some way to rid himself of the birds. He studied them, much as their sight roiled his quivering stomach, trying to look for some chink in their black-scaled hides. The one yawned its toothed maw again, the other nudging up against it, almost as if...

Coursi blinked in surprise at his own genius. Of course! They need sleep! Moadi-birds, after all, are no different from any other creature, he reasoned. Now only to provide them their rest.

Slowly, with one hand still training the crossbow on the beasts, Zuan reached into his coin purse with the other and pulled out a cobre. Whispering a prayer to the Divine Broker, he dropped the coin into his gilded coffer, echoing impossibly beyond the walls of the small box. Drawing sweat from his brow, he cast his hand over the fire, issuing a flow of water to cast down over the flames, extinguishing them.

(OOC: Cast Create Water)
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Offline Shadoweagle

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #80 on: February 20, 2013, 12:42:36 AM »
The dirty spellwriter grinned mischeviously at Iskander's hurriedly changed plan about entering the cave, and Nisher Stryne was only a few seconds behind him, "That's the spirit!". His grin soon faded, however, and his face turned grim as the licks of flame from Tagu's torch caressed the plethora of body parts and whole bodies strewn across the ground of the cave.

At the sound of Tagu's stomach betraying him, Nish's lip curled up in distaste and he spoke softly, "Show some composure, eh?" Though in reality this was something even Nish - who had seen his fair share of death - was unprepared for. His face was pale, yet his eyes were focused - as he was told back when he was studying his craft: Only a fool shies away from the unpleasant and gruesome. This is when we must be most alert.

"That whistle... it was a person's, wasn't it?" He asked to nobody in particular. He set about studying the bodies below him, as well as what little he could see from the firelight in the cave.
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Offline Murometz

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #81 on: February 20, 2013, 01:15:28 PM »
Nisher peered around the cave as best he could, then suddenly froze, and almost shivered involuntarily. Against one of the rock-walls, sat a man--upright, eyes wide open, lips quivering ever so slightly. He was covered in drying blood yet seemed---alive? It was the eyes, Nisher was sure. The eyes seemed alive.

Just then, Tagu's make-shift torch finally flickered out as the large man cursed aloud.

They were plunged into darkness, with only the stench and the skittering and buzzing of tiny scavengers for company inside the mammoth cave.

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

With a loud, obnoxious HISSS, Zuan's water-magic extinguished the camp-fire, now plunging him into darkness as well. The two birds made some scratching noises...Zuan waited, crossbow at the ready, listening to his own breath in the near-darkness. A few moments went by. Then a few more. The birds were either gone, or?
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 01:26:05 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 Shadoweagle

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #82 on: February 21, 2013, 03:06:29 AM »
A man! And it looked like he was upright and alive! But Nish paused, worried. Why was he not moving or registering if he was alive? His eyes appeared open... At this point, the torch spluttered out and the spellwriter betrayed himself with a little ' Yelp!', before realizing what had happened.

Frowning heavily in the dark, Nisher Stryne promptly pulled his book open, its ancient vellum soon glowing an eerie green/blue light in the cave. Without delay, the spellwriter strode over to the unidentified man and kneeled down beside him. "Hey!" he spoke in a harsh whisper, "You still kicking, guv?" Nish patted the odd man on the cheek, perhaps a little harder than was necessary to see if he could get a response
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Offline EchoMirage

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #83 on: February 21, 2013, 04:45:20 PM »
Anquetiti followed the wary band, uneasy.
'Curiosity did kill many a cat - and you, lady, are a stray' she thought.

They reached deeper, and as the torch went out, she realized that the man against the cave's wall was no other than Inan.
She knelt from the other side of the mystic, and - in the dark, now - shook the man. "Come on, move" she whispered with urgency, then almost recoiled at his rock-like paralyzed body, all muscles tense yet none moving.
What to do? He would not move!
"Can you carry him?" she whispered to the others.
Then, she whispered to fate and to the magic binding him...
He is not the one you are looking for, his form not fit to hold such spells, a narrow miss is no contact at all, you lasted so long, now might be enough, what are the odds? Certainly low. Let him go. Let him go.
OOC: Foul is Fair currently on Inan. I hope he gets a re-roll with the bonus! :)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 04:03:21 AM by EchoMirage »
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Offline Murometz

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #84 on: February 21, 2013, 05:07:10 PM »
Quote
OOC: Foul is Fair currently on Inan. I hope he gets a re-roll with the bonus! :)
OOC: That is a splendid idea! Yes, Inan gets a new roll to break the bird's psionic hold! Hopefully, Scras checks these spoiler ooc's :P
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 Dozus

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #85 on: February 21, 2013, 09:49:46 PM »
Zuan peered uselessly into the dark, his mouth dry with anxiety. Despite his best efforts, the night was too dark to see any detail. He dared not light his lantern, lest it attract any more of the things.

He slowly slunk to the ground, clinging to the hand crossbow and pointing where the fire had been. They cannot be gone too long, I'm sure, he thought unconvincingly to himself. The rest of them will return soon enough. The merchant wondered if he'd be able to stay awake with the light gone, but between Hezzab's droning snore and the cold sweat of fear that soaked the folds of his kaftan, he had little worry about sleep.
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #86 on: February 22, 2013, 10:56:20 AM »
OOC: D20 check - 13, Does Inan break the cursed devil bird's hold?


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Offline Murometz

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #87 on: February 22, 2013, 12:03:16 PM »
OOC: Yes he does! since your roll beat your 12 int

OOC: Inan has also figured out a few things intuitively while sitting here atrophying. 1. The birds are diurnal, and become torpid at night. 2. They are roosting, not unlike bats, (by the dozens!) in the nooks and crannies of the massive cave roof. Any light or sudden activity can potentially wake them...
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 12:09:54 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: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #88 on: February 22, 2013, 10:34:09 PM »
The curse of the birds fled Inan's battered body. It seemed that the astral realms would have to wait a bit longer before he explored them as an untethered spirit. He moved slowly, deliberately. He raised a single ragged finger to his dry chapped lips, shhhhh. He then pointed to the ceiling of the cave, gestured with his hands, thumbs hooked together with his fingers splayed out (bird) and then two hands together by his face, eyes closed.

He then pointed to the exit and nodded his head.


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Offline Shadoweagle

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #89 on: February 23, 2013, 04:44:23 AM »
"What are..." Nish trailed off as he realized what the gestures of the man were meant to imply. With a worried glance to the roof, he nodded, glanced at Anquetiti and then the rest of the group. With a heavy swallow, Nish hesitantly and slowly closed his book, allowing the sorcerous light of the pages to wink out almost sadly.
He could only trust that the others had seen the robed nomads movements and understood the reasoning. The spellwriter reached out a hand in the dark to grab the arm of this stranger and help him up - it felt wet. Blood? Just how badly was this man injured?

The cave was black as death, and all that could be done was to slowly but surely make their way towards the entrance; the dim moonlight shining like a beacon in the emptiness.
If all else failed, Nisher Stryne DID have one last trick up his sleeve which may be able to cause havoc to near all of the birds - especially while they were defenseless and roosting; but in order for his allies to be safe, they needed to be within torchlight. It was not worth the risk at this stage.
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Offline Chaosmark

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #90 on: February 23, 2013, 09:51:44 AM »
Saano

Unsettling eyes kept watch on the outside of the cave as the rest of the mismatched group entered and discovered Inan; someone needed to cover their flank. At the tattered man pointed to the ceiling of the cave, those same eyes glanced upward to the roosting birds. He had scanned the cave as the group had entered, but the absolute darkness had hidden the dangerous predators hanging above them. This was a nasty, nasty situation to be in. Splitting his attention as best he could, Saano attempted to keep watch on both the Moadi Birds and the area immediately outside the cave mouth.

Hopefully none of them will wake those d**n things up...
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #91 on: February 24, 2013, 07:51:45 AM »
Anquetiti waves at them, and proceeded to sneak outside, supporting the weakened Inan. The birds slept? Well, she wasn't one to wake any sleeper unless she wanted to. The mystic was so heavy - was he badly wounded? Nay, he was of a tougher breed. 'Shh, come, it's just a flesh wound.'
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Offline Murometz

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #92 on: February 24, 2013, 12:52:03 PM »
Indeed, the mystic dervish Anquetiti called "Inan", was in bad shape. He dragged one leg which looked like it had been chewed on, and copious streams of blood were pouring down his ear, shoulder and arm, where he had lost a lobe. Not as serious of an injury, but a bleeder. Bird pecks, of the toothed variety, scarred his scalp and one of his nipples had been chewed on as well, and now bleeding profusely.

Anquetiti's soothing words of healing revived Inan considerably. He went as best he could with Anquetiti's and Nisher's support. Saano guarded them as they backed up out of the gruesome cave, his bow at the ready. Tagu, many shades of pale, and stoic Iskander followed quickly and warily.

Finally, they were out, and headed back through the shrub and their camp.

Moments later they approached the camp-fire, which had ben recently doused with water it seemed.

Zuan Coursi nearly leapt from the ground, crossbow in hand, but with relief on his face at seeing his companions return.

It was well past midnight now, yet no one but Inan was sleepy.

As if portending a return to normalcy, a pack of red-jackals howled somewhere in the distance.

Saano was lost in thought, still clutching his bow. Iskander had his brows furrowed as well. Unbeknownst to both, they were contemplating the same thing. Until this night they had only heard of Moadi birds. Now that they had encountered them...would it be wise to leave this nest of iniquity as is, and escape with their lives? Were they dooming the next group of travelers to a pre-ordained gruesome death?





« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 02:44:00 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 Shadoweagle

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #93 on: February 24, 2013, 04:50:51 PM »
Nish stumbled into the dark camp loudly. He was not a strong man, and supporting this sizable nomad was no easy task for him, even with Anquetiti on the other side. He smiled smugly when Zuan lept up in surprise, the trade priest pale as though he had seen his death. "So jumpy, priest? Did you think us jackals?" as though anticipating his words, the creatures in the night let out a howl. "We have found a lost soul in the night. Perhaps you'd be able to patch him up some? And then lets get out of here, I say! Let the next travellers passing by courageously overcome the beasts!"

His duty done, the shrewd spellwriter eased the man on the ground and went about poking around the camp. First on his list of tasks was to retrieve the sack he had pilvered from the obnoxious trader earlier and assess its contents - not before checking it for traps or tricks, of course!

 The night air still sung to him, and he felt as though he could almost hear the words... Moadi bird. Moadi bird. Wings of steel. Wings of steel...
 A manic smile spread on Nish's lips, and he flicked open his book and dabbed his quill in a pot of ink.
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Offline valadaar

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #94 on: February 24, 2013, 06:08:10 PM »
Iskander had little to say, not trusting himself to speak after the horror that was the cave.  He had seen horrible things in his life, and perhaps had done some, but nothing compared to that.

Perhaps someday he would come back, with more men then birds, and plenty of brush and oil, to torch that place.

Or, another voice in his mind spoke out, it could be a useful location for some people. Knowledge, even fell, had value.

Neither thought he let show on his face.

"For once I agree with the spell-writer.  Though perhaps we should leave a sign or note for the next travelers."
   
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Offline Dozus

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #95 on: February 24, 2013, 09:56:38 PM »
Zuan had to prevent himself from launching a bolt as the returning party surprised him. He slid his relief into annoyance at Stryne's remark. "You might have come sooner," he sniffed. "Though I assume you too have met the moadi birds now. I fended them off and they managed nothing on our camp, if you were interested."

The merchant came over to look at Inan. He tugged his beard, examining the tattered and tanned flesh of the desert dweller. "A rough creature, this one," he murmured to no one in particular. Drawing a cobre from his purse, he whispered a prayer to the Divine Broker under the title "Insurer of the Flesh" and cast his hands over Inan's body.

"May that restore your health enough for travel, friend," Coursi said with a nod. "And not a moment too soon. We find ourselves in agreement, gentlemen: let us be along our way, and quickly."

(OOC: Cure Light Wounds on Inan.)
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 09:58:32 PM by Dozus »
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #96 on: February 25, 2013, 07:28:16 AM »
Inan felt himself restored, and mended, though his robes remained filthy. He fingered the amulet he again wore around his neck. It was reassuring to have it back. He offered his thanks to those who had seen him worthy of their magic, and he promised to offer them the strength of his own abilities when and where the time came.


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Offline valadaar

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #97 on: February 25, 2013, 08:07:55 AM »
Seeing the newcomer's discomfort, Iskander removed his pilgrim's robes.  It revealed the banded armour he wore underneath.

He pulled on his usual clothing, a somewhat better, though non-descript robe, again concealing his armour.  Iskander was a strong believer in not putting all ones cards on the table. 

Looking at Inan, he handed him the robes.  "They are not much, but they are unbloodied and in relatively good condition. Do you need a weapon?" Iskander asked, pointing to the dagger at his own belt.



   
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Offline EchoMirage

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #98 on: February 25, 2013, 11:32:12 AM »
"Let's take our stuff, and be off - before the Deathwings wake!"
Anquetiti stood there, already packed.
Omnia mea mecum porto.
Plus, if she hurried, perhaps none would realize the promised riches from the slain caravan weren't there. Though, she did not promise any riches per se - she just said they're free to keep any they find.
She smiled, and helped the others pack.
"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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Offline Murometz

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #99 on: February 25, 2013, 08:42:39 PM »
They rode north through what was left of the night and well into the next day, before setting a road-side camp once more. Official introductions were made between Inan, Anquetiti and the four original companions. There was not much to discuss. Both parties were headed north, and would continue on together. Inan was grateful the group had saved him, and reiterated that his own code now bid him to travel with them, until he could repay his debt. Anquetiti' thoughts were her own, and her mischievous eyes gave nothing away of her goals or intentions.

What else was spoken about at this fire? That, alas, is known only to the six participants. Was the true reason for their journey to Canagadi mentioned by the four to either or both, the mysterious woman and the desert mystic? This narrator knows not...but the six slept soundly that night, and Tagu guarded vigilantly.

The next day more travel along the now narrower trade route north. Toward evening, they came upon a roadside inn along the road, but their good fortune did not last The inn was burned down and abandoned. Another night beneath the stars.

Day Three, Anno Moadi

The sounds and smells of civilization finally filtered through the dreary red-gray horizon ahead. Caravans could be seen. Riders on horseback, (no camels here) featuring the deep purple and emerald greens of Zamorza's flag, kicked up dust as they thundered back and forth.

They rode further and finally, the intimidating walls of Zamorza, known euphemistically as the Wicked Pearl of the Ban-Ral-Sab, or simply, "Zamorza the Wicked", reared in front of them. People were everywhere now, hawkers on the roadside selling food and gods knew what else, urchins running to and fro, begging and stealing from passing caravans, merchants, tradesmen, knights, troubadours, clergy...travelers of every shape, size and vocation. A whole town had seemingly sprung up around the city-state proper.

North, far beyond the city walls, they could see a thin blue outline of mountains on the horizon. Canagadi--the borders of that country, a mere days ride north of here.

They had reached a literal crossroads, as four massive paths, one from each cardinal direction, met at the octagonal walls of the city. They approached the walls from the southern path.

As they did, they understood the reason for seeing so many people on the outside of Zamorza's walls. The great giant sign at the barred gate, explained all...

No one shall be allowed entrance or exit, until deemed otherwise by her Magnificence, Cuiswintha, Queen-regent of Zamorza. The words were accompanied by the well known bright red circle with a black spot in its center. All knew this dreaded mark. The sign of Plague.

Perhaps Zamorza was not a viable stop for them.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 09:06:03 PM by Murometz »
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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