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Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: wench talk

Nya bobs her head at the request for a refill.  When Ch'dau adds the query about the beared man, she grins.  "You want to speak with Mort?  I reckon 'e'll be awright with it.  Follow me."

Without waiting, she heads deftly for a doorway on the far end of the room, balancing empty dishes with practiced ease. 

"Pardon me, friends," Ch'dau says, taking leave of his companions by stepping over the bench and moving to follow Nya, "I shall return shortly." Having excused himself, the great cat follows in the wake of the little serving woman.

Ducking through, she calls out.  "Mort!  The cat-man wants to talk to ya!"

A muffled voice can be heard in reply.  "Tell 'im to sit tight, I'll be back up in a minute!"

Nya's eyes dance.  "It takes you longer every trip, I think" she calls back in taunt.  "Taking a nap down there, are ya?"

"Poor some ale and get back to work, afore I box your ears, girl!" he calls back.  Laughing, she moved off to pull more ale. 

"Stay 'ere, love," the wench instructs as she heads back into the common room.  "Mort'll be up in a minute."

"Yes," the kazari nods, "Thank you."

Ch'dau finds himself alone in what is obviously the kitchen of the Inn.  A pot of stew simmers over a low flame, and assorted crockery is stacked in a handful of piles. A doorway nearby opens into a narrow staircase; the muffled voice of the Innkeeper came from the bottom. 

Stomping footsteps can be presently heard, and the beareded man reappears from the steps.  He places his burden of two large cheese wheels down on a counter, wipes his large hands on his apron, and thrusts one out in greeting. 

"Mortimer Greenfield, a' your service," he speaks as he grasps the kazari's forearm in a warrior's clasp.  "What can I do for ya?"

Ch'dau's gaze narrows as he searches the man’s face in hopes of sparking any sort of recognition in his own mind but he doesn't hesitate to accept Mortimer's greeting. "I am Ku'hr Ch'dau," the kazari responds, clasping the human’s forearm in kind, "Well met."

Releasing the warriors clasp, the cat-man’s ears tip forward and his tail curls in curiosity. If he'd ever fought at this man's side, he certainly doesn't recall his face. "You have already done enough for me, rrow'ka," he continues, "but I would trouble you for one more honor… Tell me, how is it that you know of the Kazari? I do not recognize your face and, if we have battled beside one another, I apologize for not recalling it. Neither, in my years in these lands of Antaron, have I encountered another of my kind and I find myself interested how you might know enough of my people to have defended our honor so?"

The burly man grins broadly and gestures to a tattered pennant with a green and black checkerboard pattern hanging on the wall above the doorway.  "It's been damn near on ta ten years," he states with a chuckle, "as ta gray in me 'air might boast, but I served with the Lockshir Reg'lars for quite a few seasons.  Was always careful with me coin, did 'ardly any boozin' or 'orin' like most o' that lot does, so when one o' that bastard khord's axemen nearly took me leg at Wolfsview in four forty-five, I 'ad enough set back ta retire 'ome an' open up this place."

He shakes his head, and his left hand unconsciously drops to his leg.  "Tha 'ealer did everything 'e could; Therassor knows I'm grateful ta still walk.  But tha damn limp is there fer good, it seems.  An damn when tha first frosts come!"

He laughs and shakes his head.  "But tha dunna tell ya naught about 'ow I came to know o' the kazari, ah?  If'n I recall c'rectly, it were in Pardinal... Miras, I believe.  The Reg'lars 'ad a contact there, an' while we wer there, one 'o your folk came to serve wif us.  Only knew 'im for a few months, but tha fuzzy bastard saved me life from the 'airiest, ugliest ungoulid sumbitch ya ever laid eyes on.  Thing 'ad slunk up out of a 'ole, was about ta open me guts from behind wif a spear while I were walkin' sentry, but tha cat fella saw it an' tore tha damn thing's throat open wif teeh an' claws afore I even knew it were there.  Then just went back ta work like it were naught."

Mort's eyes shine with the memory.  "Mos' mercs are always lookin' fer an angle.  Lookin' fer a way to scratch out an extra coin or three.  Tha cat fella weren't like that... an' if 'e told you 'e'd do something, it were done or 'e were dead.  'e were a damn sight better man than most 'o the so-called warriors I ever served wif, an' tha way 'e talked, 'e made it seem like all 'is folk were tha way."

He shakes his head.  "Tha's been a long time, o' course.  I cannae say wha' 'appened to 'im, as we left Pardinal altogether a few months later, an' I never seen nor heard abou' 'im again.  Truth be told, you're the first 'o 'is kind I've seen since then.  But I owe 'im me life, so tha least I kin do is threaten' to bash a few silly drunks wha don' know wha end 'o a spear ta 'old when they don't show tha proper respect to 'is kin, eh?"

Mort limps his way to a tapped barrel and grabs a mug.  With practiced ease, he pulls a pint as he speaks.  "Nya's been servin' ya tha reg'lar ale, I reckon - like a good lass.  But 'ere ya go - take a pint 'o me pers'nal store - make tha rest look like swill, eh?" 

He pauses for a moment.  "Also, I were smokin' some jerky up, but I just so 'appen to 'ave some beef left that I 'aven't cut up yet.  As I recall, your kind take ta raw cuts, eh?  If'n ya like, I'll 'ave Nya bring a red chunk to ya."  He gives the kazari a stern stare.  "An' I'll not 'ear of coin fer it.  'avin' all me guts in me skin makes me look at it like repayin' a favor, eh?"

Mort grins.  "Now then.  Back ta tha common roof wif ya.  I 'ave work to do, an tha girl will give me no end o' 'ell if she 'as ta wait on me!  " 


Posted on 2018-08-06 at 16:33:47.
Edited on 2018-08-06 at 17:05:18 by t_catt11

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: business?

Davena is deeply in conversation with Arancon, and initially misses the query from Cedric.  A flush colors her cheeks as she stumbles momentarily for an answer.  "Er... ahem, I mean..." she stammers before flashing a smile.  "Forgive me, father, for I was lost in conversation.  Garn and I are traveling east, to the city of Tenimere and a trade contact there.  Crandel itself holds no business for us; a roof over our head and a break from the road were attraction enough to convince us to stay the night."

The cleric of Solanis scans the room, but by this point, there appears to be little to no interest from the locals in the goings on at your corner table.

Posted on 2018-08-06 at 15:42:53.
Edited on 2018-08-06 at 16:55:21 by t_catt11

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: missing mage

As an FYI - I have put GrinNoCat on notice for the lack of posting.  He's now eleven days in with zero contact, including any response to the multiple messages I have sent.

This game requires a minimum of 1-2 short posts per week, with posts consisting of more than "I attack the orc." 

I fully understand that life happens.  People have work issues, family issues, get sick, go on vacation, etc.  All of the above are fine.

For reference: if at any point, something happens to prevent you from playing, just let me know.  Post here.  Send me a PM.  Email me (  Do something!

If you let me know, we will work something out.  I can NPC your character for a specified amount of time (till quarter closing is done at work, till you get back fro vacation, till you feel better, etc).  If you know that you cannot return in a reasonable timeframe, I can endeavor to find a new player for your character or write them out in a positive manner.  No harm, no foul.

If, on the other hand, I don't hear from you, I will NPC your character for a very short while.  After that, your character will simply take no actions for a short while.  After that, I will either look for a replacement player or write your character out of the story entirely. 

If we are in a town and it makes sense, I will usually find some reason that your character cannot continue on the adventure.  If not, it really does not make sense for your character to just wander off; ergo, your chracter will likely die in battle or have a similar nasty fate befall them (remember - this **IS** a horror flavored game). 

Please respect others enough to not simply drift off and quit playing. 

Posted on 2018-08-06 at 10:42:15.
Edited on 2018-08-06 at 10:44:38 by t_catt11

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: dinner conversation

The woman gives the briefest of sideways glances at her companion, whose mouth tightens into ever so slight of a frown, before she tucks a stray strand of hair behind her ear and answers.

"Indeed," she speaks, "we encountered no such monsters to the west. Though," she admits, "we did hear odd footfalls more than once - not the normal sounds of the road, you understand.  You are correct, the mists seem most unnatural, and they give the feeling that they are hiding something, as it were."

As small talk is exchanged, the woman slowly learns forward more, and her body language shifts, as well.  She seems particularly taken with Arancon; while she is ameniable enough to anyone who cares to speak to her, anyone that is paying attention can see that he gaze continues to return to the sylvari warrior. 

"Forgive my query if it is too bold, sir slvari," she states, "but I wonder... you are a warrior of Megilindar Nost, are you not?  You practice the bladesong?" 

OOC: assuming some sort of positive response...

Her eyes light up.  "How fascinating.  If the tales are true, you have spent as much time honing your skills with that blade as our serving wench has spent out of diapers."  For the briefest moment, her hand comes to rest on top of Arancon's. 

A frown from her companion draws a returned glare from the woman. "Ah, but forgive me," she adds, sitting up straight, "I am Davena, and my bodyguard here is Garn. Alas, Garn does not share my interest in other cultures; what he finds tedious, I find fascinating." Davena brushes a golden lock back behind her ear, and fixes her gaze on Arancon directly, all but ignoring the rest of the party.

"So tell me of your travels, macar.  How far across Antaron have you ranged?"

The conversation in the common room has fully retruend to a normal level; the locals seem to have forgotton that the group exists.   The serving wench returns to check for any additional requests, notices Arancon and Davena in deep conversation, and gives a sly smile and a wink as she leaves.

Posted on 2018-08-06 at 09:55:31.
Edited on 2018-08-06 at 11:37:35 by t_catt11

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: characters added

I have added a list of character names, classes, and a brief physical desription to the first post in this thread.  If anyone would like for me to edit anything, please let me know.

Posted on 2018-08-06 at 00:27:08.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: no prob

I will put this together.

Posted on 2018-08-05 at 19:29:52.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: agreed

Agreed.  Blackthorn, you have really stepped it up, and I find myself looking forward to your posts like I do some of the veterans! 

Posted on 2018-08-04 at 14:18:02.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: nope

Sorry if it was confusing.  You started in the woods near the village of Crandel - southwest of Daviena castle, near the Sendrian border.  Not southwest of Crandel.

You have been traveling west, towards the Sendrian border.  These woman and her companion have apparently been heading east, further into Ertain - same as the pilgrims.

Posted on 2018-08-04 at 12:44:19.
Edited on 2018-08-04 at 14:17:22 by t_catt11

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: get out of the rain, already

The gate guard gapes in surprise at Ch'dau's action, and he stammers in response at the golden coin pressed into his hand.  "Er.. yes, yes it will.  Cover them all, I mean." The guard ducks his head.  "My thanks to you, cat man.  May the gods watch over you and yours this night."

The sentry glances back over his shoulder, up on the palisade, and speaks out in a loud voice.  "Let them in, Les."  At his bidding, the gate is unlatched from inside, and swings outward.

As the party begins to move inside, he speaks a final time.  "The Nicked Shill be straight ahead - the only Inn in town.  Ye ought to be able to find a bed there, as well as food an' ale."


The dirt streets of Crandel are quiet. Many of the buildings and homes are dark, but those with lit lanterns or torches shine with an almost otherworldly light against the sticky fog. As you press forward, you come across one lone, well lit building, and as you come closer, you see a wooden signboard bearing the depiction of a worn, damaged copper coin - the Nicked Shill.

The interior of the inn is well lit, and the atmosphere is fairly bustling, if not truly friendly. Several long tables run most of the length of the common room, with benches lining either side. The tables are by and large occupied by folk in plain garb such as you might see on farmers or laborers, and these locals peer at you with less than hospitable expressions; you could swear that conversation dies down upon your entry.  When the gazes settle on Ch'dau, the voices turn from less friendly to outright hostility; angry murmurs can be heard.

"Maybe you should go get the Watch!" someone announces in a stage whisper to a comrade. 

"Who let a monster in here?" another demands.

Fortunately, that chain of conversation is quelled by a large, burly, bearded man in an apron.  "Ya sorry lot cut that out now, ya hear me?" he bellows in a deep baritone.  "That be no monster - 'es a kazari!  Not only are they a damn sight better warriors than most 'o those what drift through 'ere, but ya can take one at 'is word." 

He points a finger at Ch'dou.  "Ya 'ave coin, cat man?" he asks loudly.  "Are ya 'ere to cause trouble?"

OOC: assuming that the kazari answers in the affirmative and negative, respectively...

"Right, then!" he bellows.  "Nya, get the kazari an' 'is friends sommat ta eat an' drink.  The rest 'o you lot, mind yer own business, or leave - now."  With the admonition, the big man reaches behind the counter and drawns forth a large, heavy cudgel, which he casually leans against.  A hush falls over the room, and it seems that no one will take the big man up on his offer, but after a long moment, two men dressed in the uniform of the town watch stand.  One finishes his ale in a single gulp, the other spits on the ground, and the two leave, muttering and casting dark glances back over their shoulders. 

But that seems to be the end of the drama - for now.  Soon enough, conversation picks back up around the room, though people seem to alternate between outright staring at Ch'dau and the party or pointedly ignoring them.

Soon, a young, befreckled brunette maid greets you warmly enough, and directs you to one of the few open spots - which is in a corner table unoccupied by locals. "Welcome to our inn, travelers," she speaks in an accent very similar to the gate guard's. "Special tonight is pork stew with peppers; we may still have some potatoes. We 'ave strong ale an' small beer," and with a measured glance at the sylvari, "an' I may be able to scare up some fall wine; mayhap there's some left. We've got good bread and cheese, but it's too early in the season for much in the way of fruits."

After taking your orders, she leaves.

There are two occupants at the end of your table; both are humans in travelers' garb. One is a tall, stubble-faced, sinewy man dressed in leather armor and a brown cloak, wearing a sword at his belt. He sits easily, though you notice his eyes periodically sweep the room.

The other is an attractive blonde woman dressed in form fitting black clothing with a purple cloak. She wears a broad-bladed knife at her belt, as well as some sort of silver pendant at her throat.

The man's eyes narrow at you as you take your seat and his hand subconsciously drifts closer to the handle of his blade, though after a few moments, he gives a curt nod and appears to slightly relax.

The woman, on the other hand, seems to view you with more interest. While she doesn't truly smile, her expression is not unfriendly. Upon closer inspection, you realize that her left cheek bears several silvered scars, one of which begins at the corner of her mouth and ends right next to her blue eye.

The serving wench is reasonably prompt, bringing the food in a timely manner; the fare is simple, but tasty enough. By this point, the locals seem to have grown more or less bored with the novelty of the party, and conversation around the room appears to be in full swing again.

The woman at your table moves as if to speak a greeting; the man seems about to object, but she silences him with a glare. "Well met, fellow travelers," she speaks politely, her accent leaving no doubt that she is no local. "I do not recall seeing you on the road, so I would think that you did not come from the west. Have you any news from the road to the east?"

Posted on 2018-08-03 at 16:25:50.
Edited on 2018-08-06 at 00:13:42 by t_catt11

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: all right

Nice hashtag, activist. 

I'm going to assume from here that nobody will object to Ch'dau paying the road toll, and that you will all agree to the peace knots (which are a pretty common requirement inside of settlements).  If not, I can edit and we can play that out.  Otherwise, I'm goingto move things along this afternoon.

Posted on 2018-08-03 at 13:10:24.
Edited on 2018-08-03 at 13:47:20 by t_catt11

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A

You are correct.  That pays for everyone and lets him pocket some coin. I can imagine that he will react favorably to that.

Posted on 2018-08-03 at 11:54:56.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: yep

Just for frame of reference - this is super common.  Ctitizens of a given area or kingdom will typically pay lower taxes for things like this than will foreigners.  And the gate guard is not speaking out of turn - I am certain that Ch'dau has been utterly prevented entrance at some other towns. 

Do think about it.  We're not talking about modern culture, where the only difference is the color of a foreigner's skin (which can still cause barriers).  We're talking about what looks like a legit monster - in a world where monsters are all too real - walking up and wanting in your town or business.  Given the rarity of kazari in Antaron, it is doubtful that any citizen of this isolated town will have ever seen one.  Considering him a "beast" isn't just them being narrowminded; in most cases, creatures that walk on two legs but are not human, syl, khord, or cid are creatures that want to kill/eat the above species in this world.

Posted on 2018-08-03 at 10:39:39.
Edited on 2018-08-03 at 10:40:57 by t_catt11

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: rules are rules

The gate guard responds in a very serious tone and bows his head.  "Please forgive me, milord.  I do not mean to offer offense to anyone's honor.  You must understand, milord... I am but a simple watchman from a simple town, 'oo has drawn the short straw for the graveyard shift."

His gaze then locks on that of the sylvari.  "You see, milord, the law 'ere is that all travelers who are citizens of the kingdom must pay the road toll of one falchion, while foreigners must pay two.  Now, milord, a simple man such as miself might miss the fact that milord 'as terribly pointy ears for a subject of King Jarom, might p'raps mistake yon 'alfling for a child traveling with 'is pa.  It is dark after all, with evil weather afoot; if a simple man like miself were to miss those, naught would blink an eye."

His eyes flick towards Ch'dau in gesture.  "But milord, if'n I were to ignore yon 'airy beast, the captain would 'ave me 'ead.  Even a blind man can see the 'e's no citizen 'o the kingdom... not 'o any kingdom I've 'eard of.  Fact is, milord, 'im being charged a road toll is an honor to 'im, an honor for which 'e can think milord and the 'oly men with which 'e travels.  Elsewise, 'e might fine 'isself lookin' at a mess of spear 'eads instead."

Nonplussed, Ch'dau attempts to haggle the price, but the gate guard is having none of it.  With remarkable fortitude - truly, the skinny man barely shakes in the face of the kazari who stands more than foot taller than him - he holds his ground.  "P'raps the offer is good, p'raps it idn't.  But the road toll, cat man, is five falchions.  And truly, the law 'olds that all travelers should peace knot their weapons and unstring any bows.  So the lot 'o ye - tie them up now, quick like.  Pay tha toll, and get in off of this road and out of tha evil night."

Posted on 2018-08-03 at 10:35:24.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A

Posted on 2018-08-02 at 16:42:12.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A

Okay.  I will note who ever shared food, coin, etc  

Posted on 2018-08-02 at 15:02:57.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: on currency...

Please note that unlike many games, I base my world's monetary system around silver, not gold.  Furthermore, different countries have their own currencies and exchange rates.  If you care to read about it, there is an article here that details currency in Antaron.

If you don't care to read, just note that a "falchion" is the common silver coin of Ertain.  A road toll of a single silver coin is relatively common. 

Posted on 2018-08-02 at 14:11:19.

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: moving on

Discussions are made, but eventually, it is decided that the road for the pilgrims should be safe enough - especially in light of the obligation of the party mages, and the fact that the Lysorans would only bear escort for so far.

Poultices are applied, wounds are bandaged, food and water are shared.  The starving pilgrims are pathetically grateful for the good that is done for them, though as the two groups diverge - with three of the pilgrims obviously hurting even more than ever before - it does cross Cedric's mind that perhaps it would have been seemly to share the gift of the Radiant Father's healing.  Hopefully, no evil will cross their paths, as even the most optimistic individual must know that this sorry lot could scarce withstand a single kobold.

Nearly two hours later, darkness has fallen on the road, though the sticky mist has not dissipated in the least... and if anything, the odd sounds are more frequent.  Once or twice, the party could swear that the sound of maniacal giggling can be heard nearby, but no further attack is forthcoming.

Suddenly, a wooden palisade seems to materialize directly in front of the companions. A lone guard stands at the gate, lantern at the ready. "Right, then!" he calls, hand nervously clenching a spear. "Who goes there? State your business!"

Once satisfied with the response, he lowers his spear and examines the group. "Fair enough. Ye may enter the town of Crandel, but cause no trouble.  The road toll is a falchion each..." his gaze fixes on Ch'dau and he pauses and murmurs under his breath.  "Sweet Mother Miellyah..."  The guard swallows nervously.

"The road toll for normal folk is a falchion each.  The beast will pay five falchions, and agree to keep 'is blades in peace knots while inside these walls." He grips the spear tighter.  "Do we understand one another?"

Posted on 2018-08-02 at 14:03:56.
Edited on 2018-08-02 at 14:05:30 by t_catt11

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A

Okay.  It seems like the majority are convinced to part ways with the pilgrims.  Is that what I'm hearing?

From what I understand, our healers have bandaged the wounds of the pilgrims as best they can.  Even so, you have three with more serious wounds - the leader has broken ribs, two have major gouges from the giggling monster.  There are bumps and bruises among the group, as well.

I am aware the Gib has no intention of expending healing magic on anyone unless he feels it is a critical need, and only after combat.  Will Cedric expend any spells on the injured pilgrims?

These folk are fairly hungry.  Does anyone intend to share any food (or cast such a spell) for them? 


Or are we taking our leave at this point, wishign them the best on the road, and continuing to Crandel?

Posted on 2018-08-02 at 11:35:04.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A

In the interest of moving the game along, you guys can discuss whether or not to offer escort here.  We need not carry on an in-character conversation/argument that can take days to resolve.

Cast votes here, hash it out, etc.  But I'd like to move to the next game post as opposed to arguing for days. 

Posted on 2018-08-01 at 18:27:12.

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: escort?

The pilgrim shakes his head.  "The Shine is holy, and the ground is consecrated.  We travel to offer sacrifice and worship.  Outsiders may not enter the grove itself.  We could have you walk with us a portion, but you could not go all the way."

Posted on 2018-08-01 at 17:10:55.

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: the state of the town

The bearded pilgrim shakes his head at the bladesinger's query.  "We did not enter the town itself.  We lack the coin to pay the road toll, let alone for an Inn; also, our journey is pressing, so we did not tarry."

He continues.  "The palisade itself was strong, though, and the guards at the gate seemed unworried.  Brother Keldwin bought plums from a cart near the gate; if the town were besieged, I would not think that the vendor would be hawking fruit outside the walls. No, I do not think the evil from the road had entered the town."

Posted on 2018-08-01 at 16:04:31.
Edited on 2018-08-01 at 16:56:09 by t_catt11

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: clarifications

Rather than go round and round in the game thread, let me clarify a few things:

* The party has expected to reach Crandel by nightfall.  Even allowing that the pilgrims are much slower than the adventurers, there is no way that they have endured these attacks for four nights between here and the town.  This would mean that the attacks had to have started west of Crandel.

* The pilgrim leader will agree to the above - they have walked the same road in the opposite direction, yes, but their starting point was well to the west of the town, their journey is much farther than four total days.  These are country folk, not surviviors of the town.  That isn't to say that the town is not in jeapordy, but that they didn't come from it. 

* The pilgrim leader has provided information that the road is no safer near the town, which is presumably patrolled.  If it matters, you have not seen any issues on the road farther to the east, which did appear to be as safe as wilderness roads ever are.

* Just an FYI - while Lysoran temples and shrines are typically open to all, a group on a pilgrimage to an isolated shrine may not want an escort may only be allowed to let non-worshippers so close to the shrine.

Posted on 2018-08-01 at 14:55:35.
Edited on 2018-08-01 at 14:58:28 by t_catt11

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A

Haha, fun reading indeed!

Posted on 2018-08-01 at 11:16:14.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: mission

Two of the party member - Midge and Atharis - are supposed to be meeting with a contact from the Secret Storm (the order they belong to).  They have both been instructed to make all possible haste. 

Does that preclude you from taking a week's diversion?  That's your call.

Posted on 2018-07-31 at 18:30:39.

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: pilgrims, more

Addressing the pilgrim leader, Arancon asks "How long has it been since these fiends first started attacking? Have you any idea where they may have come from or what could have provoked these attacks? Perhaps something strange occurred just before the attacks started?"

The bearded man blinks three times, his gaze unfocused.  He takes so longer to asnwer that the bladesinger begins to worry that he has perhaps lost conciousness, yet remained on his feet.  But answer he does, in a choked voice. 

"We have endured this for four nights, now.  Once, twice a night.  They come, they kill, they take." A sob escapes his gaunt frame. 

"What provoked this, I cannot say.  We had hoped that reaching Crandel would end this, but it seems as bad here as it did on the road to the west."

The pilgrim leader is shaking with emotion.  "We are simple folk!  We seek only to honor the Blue Lady!  We have harmed no one, taken nothing, done nothing unsuual at all!  We stick to the road, camp at night, eat the food we brought with us.  Why would these monsters trouble our path?"

Another sob escapes him.  "You will excuse us now, please.  We thank you for your aid, truly.  But we must pray over our fallen.. and Lysora forgive us, we must leave them.  We have not the strength to dig holes or gather stones, and hve learned the cruelty of or enemy - if we tarry to dig, we may as well lie down in the holes with them, for our doom is sealed.  We will not survive another attack.  Our only chance is to get as close to the Shrine as we can, and hope that their attention is diverted for long enough for us to escape their notice."

He moved away from the party, and the survivin pilgrims move to pray over their dead comrades.

Posted on 2018-07-31 at 15:15:26.

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