Pepper felt her body free from the harsh freezing of limbs and muscles. Her mouth was stuck in a growl but suddenly screamed. She dropped her swords to cover her mouth, killing off the sound. Was she stuck screaming?
Glancing to the priests, she flushed and thanked them. "Sorry for...thank you. I don't know...what were those things?"
As they took stock of the pilgrims, helping those in need and making moves to continue to Crandel, she sheathed her blades and walked around a bit. They were dead or sick, whatever they were. She remembered the yell of ghoul. Ghoul. Weren't those from children's horror tales?
Finally getting herself under control, the smile returned if not as wide. "I'll keep an eye on those trees. Where ever you need me, folks. Crandel by dark, definitely somethin' we need to get to."
((Pepper is going to keep watch on the trees, swords ready to pull and fight.))
Vengador was doing a fantastic job interviewing the pilgrims. Aedan did his duty, standing on the outside of the group and keeping the pilgrims to the center. He wanted to flank Vengador where he could hear the discussion a little better, but he still managed to take a few notes. Everything these people said was useful information, both for the party's own wellbeing and for future ballads. The act of writing busied his mind and kept fear at bay, but he kept The Hammers loose in their sheathes.
Crandel by dark. That was the goal, though Aedan wasn't sure it was realistic in this fog and under threat of attack at any moment. Whenever Aedan looked up from his notes he was certain he could see horrible ghostly faces forming and suddenly dissipating into the fog. Still they marched through the clammy mist. Crandel by dark. Aedan put his diary away and drew his what he considered his only real weapon: the dulcimer. No song burst forth from the strings yet, but Aedan felt certain his time to play would be soon. Crandel by dark.
The giggling monstrosity had been fast. Faster at least then the shambling corpses that revealed themselves. Irel prided herself in her accuracy with the arrow, so her only consolation for missing the mark against such a creature was that it had evidently been skilled enough to grasp their nibble "bard" of the blades. It was a poor consolation though as the bard cried out and then sickeningly silent. Oaths did not flow so easily from her lips, but the flow of creative curses from Talca was a comforting dose of familiarity in this awful stench-ridden night.
As Rae and Kharox drove the cackling undead back, Irel circled around the pilgrims and party opposite of Talca. The two a pair of watchful hounds around the party and fallen pilgrims. Her bow trained at the forest and road. Undead were something she was only familiar with in dusty tomes and old stories. Whatever concern she felt for the roguish young compatriot was supplanted by long training to protect and defend. The spells at her disposal could do little to assist in the healing of the pilgrims or Pepper. And the clerics certainly had the fallen well in hand.
“The town is not far, melloneamin,” Talca said, “if we hurry, we can be there before full dark.”
After the confusion following battle and shambling death amoungst them, the veteran guardswoman finally spoke up. "I agree. We should make for the town as fast as legs can take us" Irel said in a gruff voice said, reaching forward to touch Pepper on the shoulder. Giving the "bard" a quick look-over for her own peace of mind that she was well. The clerics did good work and she seemed well enough. A soft thank to Kith-Jora was uttered under her breathe in Silvari before releasing Pepper.
"I'll be ready to ensnare the unclean dead should they attack again, to buy time to put distance between them and us." Irel's gravely voice was soft, barely enough to carry through the group as she straightened back up and returned to her guard position.
((Irel is on guard primarily, keeping opposite of Talca so they have near or total 360 coverage by arrows. If they get rushed by a large group of zombies. Irel is prepared to use Web spell to ensnare the undead to buy the group time to retreat. Failing that, if they get swarmed at close range, she'll fall back on Cat's Grace for Pepper since she's been injured, and a Shield for herself.)
Posted on 2016-04-18 at 11:59:49.
t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 349/54 6201 Posts
enough of this
Once the dead and wounded are tended to, the party moves out, with Talca at point. As the twilights deepens, the oppressive, sticky mist deepens; odd sounds seem to echo through the night.
The pilgrim leader is unable to share much useful information. He knows that the dead walk in this area, but cannot say why or from where they come, nor does he have any divine insight. The pilgrims come from various points along the countryside, and are bound for the Lysoran shrine. He will not reveal the exact location of the holy destination.
It takes more than an hour, but suddenly, the wooden palisade seems to materialize directly in front of the companions. A lone guard stands at the gate, torch 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. "Fair enough. Ye may enter the town of Crandel, but cause no trouble." He glances back and up on the palisade. "Let them in, Les."
As the party moves forward, the guard speaks again. "The Nicked Shill be straight ahead - only inn in town. Ye ought to be able to find a bed there."
Upon entry to the town, the pilgrims take their leave, stating that they will seek refuge with believers in the town. Once again, they thank you profusely for your help.
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.
A young, befreckled brunette maid greets you warmly enough, however, 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 have strong ale and small beer," and with a measured glance at the sylvari, "and 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 a 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. After a time, conversation around the room appears to pick up 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. Any news from the road to the east?"
The trip to Crandel was an odd sort of thing for Pepper. Despite trying to smile and strike up conversations, she couldn't quite shake the feelings of unease and worry at dead things. Dead things that still moved. Dead things that giggled. In the thrice hells, that was nigh enough to kill her humor!
She kept to the pilgrims and the fine priests. If trouble came, she would fight. But for once, she hoped for the luck of Shinara.
Finally in Crandel, settled in for a nice pork stew and ale, she felt the return of good humor and better tales. The pair of travelers sharing their table was a welcome sight, even the wary or loud locals she might hug in thanks for driving back this bad day.
Lips tugging into a dimpled grin, she gave a flip off and back on of a two toned leather cap in faded blue and red. "Well met, in return. Nor do we recall seeing yourselves, and likewise welcome word of the roads beyond. The weather made a merry muddy mess of things, enough to suck your boots off into a mire."
With a lean in, voice lowering a touch, she added. "More unsettling though was a mist and bit of trouble that giggled and shouldn't be moving but did. Enough to say, be wary that way. Even in the day. Though a fair group of Lysoran pilgrims swore the night be worse."
She gave the marred lady and common gent a friendly enough eye back, returning to a more relaxed smile. "Pepper's the name, tale teller. These are goodly friends, travelers all."
Despite the welcome, the common conversation, she hoped the more astute in the group would watch for reactions from this pair.
"Right, then!" he calls, hand nervously clenching a spear. "Who goes there? State your business!"
"I am Rae, of the White City reserve militia," Rae returned, "My companions and I were passing through, and seek rest and refreshment within the town. With us are followers of Lysora, who also seek refuge for the night."
As the guard let them in, Rae paused a moment to also give warning, "We've met with trouble some distance back on the road, a few shambling corpses. Be alert, but also don't allow fear to control your actions."
* * *
"Talca, is it my eyes, or do the lights seem strange to you as well?" Rae murmured to the pathfinder as they continued into the city, "Whatever this mist is, it seems heavier here than on the road, doesn't it? Admittedly, perhaps it's simply the difference between sunlight and moonlight to my eyes in this weather, but perhaps we shouldn't relax too much."
* * *
Inside, Rae glanced around the Nicked Shill. All things considered, she was not entirely unaccustomed to such a greeting. Either they didn't receive travelers often, or they were wary of them, or both. Yet, it was not something she was concerned about, and she gave a warm smile at their greeter.
"Stew sounds quite lovely, something warm to stave away the evening's chill," Rae replied, "And a few rooms for the night as well for our group."
If a wine bottle was brought out at the request of any of the others, Rae would also have some, otherwise she would have small beer. Feeling a bit wary herself, dulling her senses with anything strong didn't seem like a good idea.
As Pepper was first to reply to the other travelers, Rae smiled. She was a bit concerned with how quiet Pepper was before they arrived, but now she was certain that food and lodging were the main thing she had needed. It was something they all did, but perhaps something Pepper felt more keenly than them.
The manner of the man indicated wariness, but Rae wasn't going to call attention to it. Given the atmosphere, anyone had right to be wary.
"I am Rae, and as Pepper mentioned, we had an encounter with a number of corpses that seemed too active for comfort. It was some distance along the road eastward from here. We were just fortunate that they struck at the time they did, when we were still within range to defend the surviving Lysorans of the initial attack."
Though not all of them, Rae had to think, before pushing the thought from her mind. There was nothing that could be done, and dwelling on such things was not helpful in the here and now.
Posted on 2016-05-01 at 13:34:10.
Edited on 2016-05-01 at 13:37:22 by Reralae
The last hour on the road brought them, at last, to Crandel and, despite the unusual silence hat had fallen over the group – no songs from Aedan, none of Pepper’s usual banter, little else, in fact, aside from Vengador’s initial queries of the Lysoran pilgrims – Talca found himself glad to see the stout palisades of the town when they seemingly materialized out of the fell mists that enshrouded the countryside. The relief at having made the town aside, though, the Syl pathfinder was reluctant to sling his bow until after Rae had appeased the guards at the gate and his comrades and the pilgrims whom accompanied them had been admitted and found themselves safely (he hoped) within the sturdy walls. Once inside, though, and with the gates securely closed behind them, Talca did sling his bow and, as the pilgrims took their leave, offered them well-wishes for safer travels in the days to come.
With the party now reduced to its original number, Talca strode the dirt streets beside Rae, not failing to take note of how the sticky, unnatural fog seemed to cling loosely to the town’s roads and buildings, causing the light from the few lanterns and torches to shimmer eerily from their windows.
"Talca, is it my eyes, or do the lights seem strange to you as well?" Rae murmured, vocalizing his own thoughts, as they continued into the city, "Whatever this mist is, it seems heavier here than on the road, doesn't it? Admittedly, perhaps it's simply the difference between sunlight and moonlight to my eyes in this weather, but perhaps we shouldn't relax too much."
“It is not your eyes, arwenamin,” Talca answered softly in reply, “though I cannot say if it’s the light or the mist that is the stranger. As odd as it is to hear myself say so, I’m anxious to be away from both, inside somewhere.
And, fear not, astalder,” he said in answer to her last, “My eyes will remain ever keen on our surroundings. After this day, true relaxation will be difficult to come by.”
The Nicked Shill was much as he expected it might be – smallish to fit the size of the town, well-lit to ward off the clinging dark of the night outside, and it’s patronage largely comprised of local folk whose conversation seemed to die down a bit when the party entered and leery glances were turned their way. The young tavern maid who greeted them, of course, seemed more hospitable than many of the patrons but, as was the case in many human towns across Antaron, when her eyes took in the Sylvari among them, there was something akin to intolerance masked behind her manner.
“Thank you, miss,” Talca said, shrugging out of his cloak as the girl ushered them to an empty corner table and informed them of what was on the menu. He made a conscious effort to not speak a word in his native tongue in places like this as he was well aware that the prejudices and preconceptions (deserved or otherwise) that humans held of his people were much like sleeping bears… one does not poke them. “If you can scare up some of that wine, I should like to try it,” he smiled, taking a seat that provided him a good view of the room and it’s occupants, “and some of your bread and cheese, if you please.”
As the others ordered, Talca’s eyes skimmed the place, making note of entrances and exits, posture and position of the clientele, and every tiny thing he had ever been trained to watch for… like the two foreigners who sat at the far end of this very table, for instance. The man was a burly fighter-sort, it seemed, with a gaze as watchful as Talca’s own. Talca met this one’s gaze evenly, if only briefly, and returned the nod of understanding when it was offered. The woman in the fighter’s company was less surly than he. She didn’t truly smile when she regarded Talca and his companions but her expression was far more sociable than many others, here.
Some moments after the serving girl had returned with their repast and the drone of conversation throughout the place had once more risen to a more typical level, the woman in the purple cloak turned to greet them; “Well met, fellow travelers. I do not recall seeing you on the road, so I would think that you did not come from the west. Any news from the road to the east?”
He was glad to see Pepper chirp a flourished greeting in response. The “bard’s” encounter with the ghoul had surely been more traumatic for her than it had been for the rest and, given her comparative silence on the road following that encounter; Talca had worried a bit as to the woman’s state of mind. He smiled, now, though, as she introduced herself and opened the way for others to do so, as well.
There were others in the group more suited to tavern-talk than he was, so, when it came his turn, he simply offered a nod and a friendly smile when he said “Talca,” then left the word play up to the likes of Rae and Pepper. For his part, the pathfinder tucked into his dinner and, of course, kept keen eyes and ears on the goings on inside The Nicked Shill.
Posted on 2016-05-03 at 09:45:24.
Edited on 2016-05-03 at 09:53:22 by Eol Fefalas
Vengador silently pondered the responses to his questions as they made their way to Crandel.
He was also content to remain silent when the town guard challenged them at the gate.
It was only after the group of adventurers had finally seated themselves at the tavern table, that Vengador chose to break his self-imposed silence, long enough to order a hearty bowl of stew, accompanied by a generous portion of bread and cheese, plus an ample tankard of ale to wash away the taste of the day.
"A Round of Wine for Me and My Comrades," bellowed the Cleric of Solanis, "And Also for the Man and His Lovely Lady at the End of Our Table!"
Vengador settled back into his self-imposed silence, content to devour the contents of the bowl set before him, while he alertly listened to the conversations around the table from the vantage point of his seat at the opposite end from the man and blonde lady.
He had chosen to buy wine for all his companions, plus the two strangers; rather than to argue with Talca that although he had been wrong at first about the approach of UnDead beings, the Dawnbringer had been correct in his warning about UnDead lurking in the mists!
So as the Dawnbringer quietly, for him, chewed his meal seemingly lost in thought, he bowed his head in prayer to Solanis, as Vengador began to cast a Detect Magic spell in the direction of the man and woman at the end of the table.
((OOC: In the light of the unsettling events of the day and the disturbing atmosphere of the light and fog in and around the town, Vengador casts Detect Magic to determine if there is more than meets the eye in regards to the man and woman at the opposite end of the table from where he is sitting ??? ))
"Wine? Now aren't we the fine gent? I'll never be one to turn it aside. Now where's that lute." Pepper dug about and pulled free a lute that had seen far better days in some other bard's hands. In hers, it would do for now until their own friend had regained his own composure.
"The entire journey was a rather frightful one. And I can't say I've ever had the experience before of facing...Oh what did you call it, Vengey? A ghoul?" Her fingers tripped along the chords tuning them, though her eyes kept watching their friendly companions at the table for any responses as she spoke. Especially that last bit. Though she felt rather daft not having a whit of understanding what that thing was.
"Dead walking...mists rising...pilgrims of Lysora assaulted. Seems like a tragic bardic tale of misfortune. Not another week on the road!"