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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Rules-based RPGs --> Dungeons and Dragons --> The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Related thread: D&D/Horror game
Related thread: Hidden Corruption Q&A
GM for this game: t_catt11
Players for this game: Raven, Bromern Sal, Eol Fefalas, Blackthorn, breebles
    Messages in The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
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breebles
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Karma: 23/1
345 Posts




Kithran's grin nearly splits her face in two at the sound of her feline companion's battlecry. He's gone from her side in an instant and is beaten to the small zombie horde by only her arrow. The arrow spins the first zombie around just in time to see the Kazari's blade sink into its chest, and to watch as Ch'dau's massive jaws clamp down on and devours its face. She sheathes her bow and draws her blades as Gib and Arancon rush forward. She's right behind them as Cedric and Midge begin their incantations.

Meanwhile, the cat-man in his fury seems almost unaware of the zombies reaching for him as he rushes into the cabin. He disappears from her sight and she's bombarded by both rotting limbs and a swarm of bugs as she tries to cut her way through the pack. Her desire to backup Ch'dau is matched only by her love of a scrappy fight.

Then another roar from the Kazari erupts from the cabin as the party outside finishes off the last of this mangled cluster. Gib and Arancon are ahead of her once again as the three charge into the cabin.

By the time Kith is able catch up, she watches as Gib tears his shield into the backs of some of those creatures, clogging the entrance to one of the rooms. She can see flecks of a silver-haired cat warrier and gore within as she rushes by, but there is no chance to assist them. Instead she continues forward, mad in her dash to help the bladesinger, pinned to the wall by one of those sick, giggling monstrosities. She flips her daggers up as Arancon bashes the thing away from him, and sinks both blades deep into the thing's back. She rips the daggers away and steps aside as it falls dead once more to the ground.

She spins around, ready to assist the warrior cleric and Ch'dau dispose of the last of the creatures, but Gib is already sipping his wineskin and the woodsman is finally through the door. It's quiet again, save for the sobs of the father and his sons as they huddle in each others' arms near the paralyzed woman. Kith gives them room and picks up a piece of the woman's garments that had been torn away to wipe the zombie bits off of her daggers before resheathing them.

Not one to offer comfort or bother with support that isn't slaughter-related, Kith moves toward the room where it seems her silver-maned ally still breathes. She is just about to pop in when she hears Gib respond to the exhausted rumbling of words of the Kazari, "And what good will it do?" Gib is saying, as he thrusts his wineskin forcefully into the room, "Drink something and rest while I look over your injuries."

He looks out and notices her, but looks around her, more interested instead with the woman on the floor, "Cedric! The woman needs attending," and then he enters the room to tend to Ch'dau.

With not much more to contribute after the fight, Kith leans against one of the walls instead to observe those able to offer healing and support. The woman has shaken her paralysis, but the blank, unmoving look on her face is that of someone who will never fully be healed again. Nonetheless, the Solanis cleric rushes to her aid and begins his prayers. Across from her, Gib is guiding the large cat-man out of the small room, and Ch'dau sinks slowly to the floor.

The cabin is trashed, but not unsalvageable. She imagined the rest of what was left of their day would be dragging rotten zombie corpses out of this place. She sighed, wondering if they would need to be burned and re-buried as well. The rites of undead burials were lost on her, but they were likely a little more work-intensive than those of the innocent.

Gib leaves Ch'dau's side and Kith makes her way over to the Kazari, "'Enooooough,'" she says, her voice light and mocking as she impersonates his battlecry, kicking him lightly in one of his bloodied legs, "'Roooooooooooooooar!'" She squats down beside him, "Basking in the glory of your victory, cat-beast?"

((OOC: any response))

"Apologies that I could not share in that glory with you, but a certain bladesinger was in need of a little backup. My condolences that you have once again missed your chance to join the, what was it? Eternal Hunt? Maybe next time," she pats his large shoulder, "we'll just have to keep trying."

((OOC: any response))

"I--" suddenly children appear at her side. They're loud, and gazing admiringly up at Ch'dau. She hops up immediately and jumps away. Shambling undead corpse, she can handle. Loud, abrasive children, she cannot. She leaves her friend to the mercy of the boys asking to pet him and retakes her place holding up the wall on the other side of the room.

She's there for only a moment before the Therassor priest is before her, motioning for the other cleric and the mage to join them, "One of those gigglers was having its way with the mother when I arrived," he says, his voice low, distraught but contained, "Not in the same way as we've seen thus far. It was raping her," Kithran keeps her mouth from dropping at that thought, but can feel her eyes widening. What? How? Why? "Have any of you ever heard of a creature such as this, or a circumstance?"

She racks her brain for any speck of mention of anything like this in all of her life, but comes up empty. She had been resigned to even believe in the undead just a few days ago. She looks to the others, "Do they still derive . . . pleasure from such things? These gigglers are different from the others, but they can't, procreate, can they?" She glances behind them at the blank woman, then focuses on the clerics, "The woman, other than her shock and trauma and whatever else, has she been affected by the giggler in any way?"



Posted on 2018-11-01 at 15:08:08.
Edited on 2018-11-02 at 22:25:15 by breebles

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 346/54
6080 Posts


investigation

The party waves away any paltry reward that the woodsman might have to offer, but they do inquire about the undead and when they were spotted. 

"Ah can't say as ah've spotted 'em afore, meself," he explains, "though game 'as been scarce 'o late.  Woods 'ave been more quiet, if'n ya ken me meanin'.  Nary a bird for days... a week, mebbe."  He shakes his head.

"Ah been rangin' farther to find meat, was out 'untin' taday.  Left yestermorn, spent tha night in tha woods.  Were 'eadin home this afternoon, saw tha tracks coming from tha northwes'; a whole slew 'o footprints.  Ah saw a man dressed all in black, Ah did, right afore tha dead came outta tha ridge at me.  'e didn't seem none too afraid 'o them, even after 'e saw tha lot.  Mother be me witness, the bastards didn't even look at 'im, they just came fer me - and for me 'ouse and family!"

DMs note: if there are anyother specific questions, let me know, and I can edit that in here.

Later, you do what searching you can in the failing light.  Even in the thick mist, it would be difficult to miss the trail; a great many footprints in the soft dirt lead off tot he northwest, just as the woodsman said the would.  It is abundantly clear that the undead traveled in numbers through here - and it is quite possible that there are more around.

Eventually, the light fades too much for further exploration, and you return to the cabin.  The woodsman and his boys are busy hauling the deal from the cabin, with the boys showing remarkable work ethic despite the grisliness of the task and the tenderness of their ages.  The wife, who previously accepted healing aid without comment, does not lift a finger to help.  She sits, silently, in a chair, staring towards a wall - but very clearly, staring into space. 

A bonfire is made of the corpses, just to be sure that they do not reanimate again.  The night passes without incident. 



Posted on 2018-11-06 at 16:23:03.

Bromern Sal
A Shadow
RDI Staff
Karma: 142/11
3808 Posts




Moreno watches the poor woman in the gentle glow of the fire and shakes his head. There's likely no amount of care that will free her from the nightmare her eyes keep seeing. Gods bless her. He has returned to pondering her situation many times throughout the work that the group set about in their meager attempts to erase the damage of the day. Roasted flesh, sweet in his nostrils, only makes the reality of her situation more apparent to the cleric. In this case, however, he is severely lacking. Perhaps if he were of the Mother's clergy he might be able to offer better comfort but raised in the Temple of Therassor and tempered in the fields of battle does nothing to train a man in caring for the shattered emotions of a woman.

Cedric has done all that he can as well, and with the burning of the bodies and the location of the trail revealed, they await Solanis' Light to break dawn before setting out after the mysterious black-robed man. This is a good concept, though the Priest of Therassor wonders at how much sleep any of them are going to get after the events of the day.

Pulling his cloak about his shoulders, Gib shifts into a more comfortable position and reflects upon the conversation he'd held with others in his party earlier that day about the strange and horrid behavior of the giggling fiend. Though appalled, none of them had been able to shed any further light on the matter and Moreno is no better off with his thoughts. Haunted by the foul images, the warrior priest falls into a fitful slumber from which he awakens frequently and finds himself searching for trouble in the shadows each time.

Upon the early gray's kiss upon the horizon, barely visible through the line of trees adjacent to the cabin, Gib untangles himself from his cloak and seeks the cabin's source of water to refresh himself. Careful to remain aware, he tends to his morning habits and then returns to the others whereupon he regains his armor and lifts his scriptures in his left hand.

"I invite those of you who want to join me in supplication before the Battle Lord before we begin our day."

Catechisms are followed by open prayer within which the priest offers great thanks for the party's safety in their work the day before, particularly for those whose behavior is rash enough to get them killed. Finishing his prayers and study, Gib works on his breakfast at the same time as discussing the plan for the day with his companions.

"Northwest takes us deeper into the furthest regions of the Kingdom," he states. "I would have thought we'd find ourselves marching towards Sendria but here we are. I am attempting to recall maps of the area that I've seen but even with this image in my head, I don't know how far we are from any of the major landmarks that I might remember. I'm afraid that I've no further insight into what might lie ahead."

Offering a single apologetic shrug, the warrior priest continues. "I would suggest being consistently watchful all the while moving to support one another as we progress. Kith might do well to scout ahead a bit provided we can find a means for her to communicate back to the rest of us without alerting any adversary of her position. So far, we've had Shinara watching over most of us—" here he pauses as their deceased and ravaged companion bull rushes his thoughts. "—but we cannot allow this foolhardiness to continue or we'll soon be whittled away into nothing."

When the rest of the party is ready to move out, Gib offers a prayer over the cabin and the those who reside within asking Therassor to protect the household from further atrocities. Then, he takes up his usual position next to Arancon and, keeping his shield on his arm and a hand on the hilt of his sword proceeds towards the Northwest along the trail of the undead.



Posted on 2018-11-06 at 18:09:59.

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 346/54
6080 Posts


elsewhere...

"You did WHAT?" she hissed, fury crackling like lightning in her blue eyes.

The young man on his knees before her pitched his forehead into the dirt.  He had seen that look before, and recognized the peril that resided within. 

"Mistress," he began, as the words tumbled from his mouth, "we have ramped up our efforts to find more candidates for the Ritual.  After all, to anchor..."

"Silence!" she snarled.  Her foot came up and connected with his nose with a sickening crunch, but the robed man on the ground dared no whimper.  "Do not think to educate me as to the importance of the Ritual, nor those we need to complete it!"

In silent fury, she brushed an errant patch of blonde hair back behind her ear.  "Whose idea was it to expose us to the enemy through such carelessness!"

The prone man stammered.  "It... Mistress, the idea was mine, but you know that I lack the authority to carry it out!  I asked Berevis if it might not be wise, what with the failures of late, I have always served our Lord with all my being.  I..."

"Enough," she spoke with finality.  "Berevis will be the one to feel my wrath, then.  It is true, you have always served with your entire being."

Feeling a glimmr of hope, the man on the ground sobbed thankfully.  "Thank you for your mercy, Mistress. Thank you.  I..."

The older women held up a hand, waved.  Momentarily, a young woman, no more than fifteen winters old, joined her.  The younger woman hung her head.  "Yes Mistress?" she asked quietly. 

The priestess smiled softly.  "Lyssa, Brother Danton here has given his entire being to our Lord.  Wouldn't you agree?"

You girl cocked her head, as if considering.  "Yes, Mistress.  He has."

The older woman nodded.  "And yet, he is a fool.  Here, take this," she spoke, as she pressed a short knife into the young woman's hands.  "Open his belly for me, please - but do it carefully.  Do not nick his organs or cause him to die just yet."

The sound of several giggling voices could be heard drawing near, even as the man on the ground moaned in despair.

"It is time," she continued, "for Brother Danton to truly give of his entire being.  The hunters are hungry, and they do better with frresh meat.  Living meat."

Wide eyed, the girl listened to the intructions. 

"When you are ready, allow them to feed to their fill," she spoke firmly.  "But he will not die until then, are we clear?"

A wide grin spread across the young woman's face.  "Of course, Mistress!"

She ignored the ghouls that pressed in close, except to rebuke them midly.  "There, now - wait your turn!"

The man on the ground wailed for mercy, but remarkably, did not move - even as he was turned over and the knife in the girl's smal hand began a series of excruciating shallow cuts.  His screams, now, were another manner entirely; the arose in exquisite agony as the blood welled out, and the hunters giggled and licked their lips in anticipation...




Posted on 2018-11-07 at 16:43:38.
Edited on 2018-11-07 at 16:44:25 by t_catt11

breebles
Resident
Karma: 23/1
345 Posts




"I invite those of you who want to join me in supplication before the Battle Lord before we begin our day," Kithran hears the Therassor priest say, though she pretends she does not. She remains in her corner with her eyes closed, the one farthest from the door, leaning back against the wooden walls, her hand on the hilt of the dagger in her lap. Her sleep was light that night, though moreso at the idea of more undead clamoring through the door, and less for the awkward position in which she decided to sleep.

What remained of the day before, after their victory, shed only a little more light on the next leg of their journey.

"Ah been rangin' farther to find meat, was out 'untin' taday." The man had said, answering the party's inquiries, "Left yestermorn, spent tha night in tha woods. Were 'eadin home this afternoon, saw tha tracks coming from tha northwes'; a whole slew 'o footprints. Ah saw a man dressed all in black, ah did, right afore tha dead came outta tha ridge at me. 'e didn't seem none too afraid 'o them, even after 'e saw tha lot. Mother be me witness, the bastards didn't even look at 'im, they just came fer me - and for me 'ouse and family!"

"Did you get a glimpse of what the man looked like, other than his clothing? Distinctive facial features, scars, weapons? Symbols on his clothing or person?"

((OOC: Hopefully some info, DM? But any response))

Kith nods and listens as the others disseminate the information the woodsman is able to offer.

The rest of the day had been wrought with dragging and burning bodies. The work wasn't too hard, considering all those able to help, but they had lost the light quickly and remained on alert for any signs of another attack. Graciously, Therassor or Solanis or both had allowed them a peaceful, though uneasy night of rest.

Eventually the sun, bright and horrible through the fog, willed Kith out of her rest and she joined the others in a light breakfast before they make their way.

"Northwest takes us deeper into the furthest regions of the Kingdom," Gib is saying as they work on their food, "I would have thought we'd find ourselves marching towards Sendria but here we are. I am attempting to recall maps of the area that I've seen but even with this image in my head, I don't know how far we are from any of the major landmarks that I might remember. I'm afraid that I've no further insight into what might lie ahead."

"Sir,"

((OOC: oh no, have we not learned this guy's name? I don't like Kith calling this guy "sir"))

"you must know this area well. What have we to expect in our journey to the northwest?"

((OOC: assuming some response))

"That's something at least," she turns back to Gib.

"I would suggest being consistently watchful all the while moving to support one another as we progress. Kith might do well to scout ahead a bit provided we can find a means for her to communicate back to the rest of us without alerting any adversary of her position." Kith nods her agreement to that plan, and Gib continues, "So far, we've had Shinara watching over most of us—" he pauses for a moment, his eyes slightly losing focus, before finishing his thought, "—but we cannot allow this foolhardiness to continue or we'll soon be whittled away into nothing."

"I don't mind scouting ahead, I'm much quieter without you armored lot beside me," she offers them a sardonic grin. "Perhaps we can work on a bird call or something of the sort. Though," she thinks aloud, "I haven't heard or seen many since this blasted fog swallowed us all." She shrugs, "If we can't think of anything, I can simply return to you if I find anything of interest. I am not the type to charge in, as you know," she turns that small grin to her large cat friend. "Though if I do end up in trouble, please feel free to charge in as wildly as you like."

((OOC: assuming there is no argument with her taking the lead. I can retcon as necessary))

The group eventually finishes their meal and prepares for their journey. They find the unmistakable path of the undead once more, and Kithran leaves her spot beside Ch'dau, now taking point as their scout, and stealthily moving forward through the mist.



Posted on 2018-11-11 at 16:30:08.
Edited on 2018-11-12 at 02:01:38 by breebles

Bromern Sal
A Shadow
RDI Staff
Karma: 142/11
3808 Posts




"Northwest takes us deeper into the furthest regions of the Kingdom," Gib states as they work on their food, "I would have thought we'd find ourselves marching towards Sendria but here we are. I am attempting to recall maps of the area that I've seen but even with this image in my head, I don't know how far we are from any of the major landmarks that I might remember. I'm afraid that I've no further insight into what might lie ahead."

"Sir," Kith uncharacteristically turns to the woodsman and politely addresses him, "you must know this area well. What have we to expect in our journey to the northwest?"

((OOC: assuming some response))

"That's something at least," she turns back to Gib and the warrior priest nods appreciatively.

"I would suggest being consistently watchful all the while moving to support one another as we progress. Kith might do well to scout ahead a bit provided we can find a means for her to communicate back to the rest of us without alerting any adversary of her position." Kith nods her agreement to that plan, and Gib continues, "So far, we've had Shinara watching over most of us—" he pauses for a moment, his eyes slightly losing focus, before finishing his thought, "—but we cannot allow this foolhardiness to continue or we'll soon be whittled away into nothing."

"I don't mind scouting ahead, I'm much quieter without you armored lot beside me," the rogue half-Syl offers them a sardonic grin. "Perhaps we can work on a bird call or something of the sort. Though," she thinks aloud, "I haven't heard or seen many since this blasted fog swallowed us all." She shrugs, "If we can't think of anything, I can simply return to you if I find anything of interest. I am not the type to charge in, as you know," she turns that small grin to her large cat friend. "Though if I do end up in trouble, please feel free to charge in as wildly as you like."

Looking askance of Arancon first, followed by a raised eyebrow request for additional feedback from any of the others, Gib waits until all have either acknowledged and passed on commenting themselves, or offered their input, and then adds his thoughts.

"You're right, Kith," he states grimly, "there are few enough nature sounds that a bird call will probably be inappropriate. Be safe and return to us with any discoveries. Check back every so often so that we know you're not lost to us and please, make the intervals reasonable."

When ready to move out, Gib properly outfits himself and shoulders his heavy pack. What I wouldn't give for a pack horse or wagon, he mentally groans. With the rest of the party moving as a company along the evident path that the zombies so graciously left them, the warrior priest keeps his eyes peeled for danger. Occasionally, along their march, he'll whisper songs of praise to Therassor, or prayers and catechisms. As thoughts and recollections come to him concerning the undead they've already encountered and labeled, he'll offer this knowledge to those around him in a quiet, low voice so as not to allow it to carry. Aside from shifting his pack or his shield to more comfortable positions as they move about his shoulders, his hand rests upon the pommel and crossguard of his sword. Attempting a state of vigilance, Therassor's cleric also works to keep spirits high and minds focused to the task at hand.



Posted on 2018-12-12 at 11:36:10.

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 346/54
6080 Posts


what terrors still lie in wait?

Kith has several questions for Arden, the woodsman.

"Did you get a glimpse of what the man looked like, other than his clothing? Distinctive facial features, scars, weapons? Symbols on his clothing or person?"

The man shook his head.  "Na really.  'e wore all black, robes as it were.  Ah didna get close enough to see 'is face, not with all tha dead comin' this way."

"You must know this area well," Kith stated. "What have we to expect in our journey to the northwest?"

Arden frowned slightly.  "Woods, mostly, though na too thick.  Game trails here and there.  A stream lies a 'alf day that way.  There be some cliff faces on tha other side 'o tha woods, mebbe a couple days off?  A few caves an' such there, as well.  Then, more woods for leagues."

Leave is taken, and the group sets out with Kith scouting ahead.

It becomes quickly apparent that the woodsman's estimation of distances maybe skewed by his experience with the area; it takes nearly a full day to reach the stream he spoke of.  Of course, the ground is soft, the group is cautious, and the territory is unfamiliar.

He did speak true; the underbrush is fairly thin in most places, but the silence of the wood is absolutely oppressive.  Frrom time to time, a twig or branch will crack, you might swear that you see movement just in the corner or your eyes... but never can you spot anything directly in the accursed fog.  Of the black robed man, there is no definitive sign; anywhere you might see footprints, you see many of them from the horde of undead.

As the light begins to fade, you reach the stream.  It is perhaps eight to twelve feet wide in most areas, sitting recesssed beneath banks of clay and tree roots some two or so feet down.  A few rocks jut from the water, causing the only noise you have heard all day aside from the wind and the occassional snap or a branch.  The water itself appears to be no more than a foot or so deep.  The darkening sky here is only visible though a few small cracks in the trree canopy above.






Posted on 2019-03-19 at 16:12:58.
Edited on 2019-03-19 at 16:16:16 by t_catt11

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
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7282 Posts


Fluffy little backpost

“You look as if you wish to chastise me, friend,” Ch’dau chuffs in response to Gib’s disapproving glower, “Go on, then,” he breathes, leaning heavily against the gore spattered wall, “I shall wait here for a moment and hear it.”

Pausing in lifting his wineskin to his lips, Gib narrows his eyes and shakes his head, "And what good will it do?" Slamming his open wineskin into the cat man's chest he notices the small spray of water that strikes his companion's furry chin with little amusement. "Drink something and rest while I look over your injuries."

The Kazari manages a faint shrug, his ears and whiskers twitching as water from the proffered skin splashes his chest and chin. “Likely very little,” the cat-man concedes, his rumbling chuckle muted by a swallow of water, as the battle-priest’s gaze turns, momentarily, to the common room… There are some truly fine warriors amongst you monkeys, Ch’dau muses as Gib calls out for Cedric to tend the woodsman’s wife, but, even the finest of you tend to think overmuch when it comes to battle, just as you believe I do not think enough…

The cleric of Therassor’s eyes seem to reflect grim thoughts as they drift back to the Kazari’s wounds. Whatever those thoughts are, though, Gib keeps them to himself as he inspects the cuts and bruises beneath the Silver Cat’s fur. “Come with me,” the warrior-priest orders after a moment, hooking a hand around Ch’dau’s elbow. Guiding more than anything else, Gib assists Ch’dau to stagger back into the cabin’s common room and, with the big cat’s tail swishing happily (if weakly) behind him, he props the Kazari against a wall. A satisfied (if pained) purring rumbles in Ch'dau's chest and the Silver Cat of Coria sinks slowly to the floor.

Grabbing his wineskin before it falls from weakened hands, Gib inadvertently sprays the silvery-furred feline with water. "Serves you right," he chides as he takes a swig and then places the stopper in the nozzle. "You seek death."

“I seek honor,” Ch’dau corrects, lifting a paw to wipe away yet another splashing of water, “if it is in death that it is to be found, so be it.”

"I will ask Therassor for another miracle on your behalf, friend,” the priest returns, “You have survived your foolishness by his design and maybe he will continue to show you favor. Be not dismayed if it is not the case, though." Gib looks his friend directly in the eyes. "But if it is, you must remember the grace he's shown."

“I will remember,” Ch’dau nods humbly before Gib calls upon the healing powers of Therassor, “Thank you, my friend.” His eyes close as the healing magic sweeps through him, knitting rent flesh back together and assuaging the associated aches and pains. Momentarily lost in relief, the Kazari hears the woodsman express his gratitude and the clip of Gib’s boots on the floor as he walks away, but he reacts to none of it. For now, he’s content to sit and rest and allow Therassor’s grace to soothe his battle-weary frame…

"'Enooooough,'" Kithran’s voice, light and mocking, tickles at Ch’dau’s ears and stirs him from his respite, even before she playfully kicks one of his bloodied legs, "'Roooooooooooooooar!'"

His eyes flit open and, as they fix on her, a purring chuckle escapes the Kazari as the willowy woman sinks into a crouch beside him.

“Basking in the glory of your victory, cat-beast?” Kith asks, a teasing smile playing on her lips.

“Perhaps just a bit, Little Kitten,” he replies, the tip of his tail flicking in amusement, “It has been a few hours since our last, after all.”

"Apologies that I could not share in that glory with you, but a certain bladesinger was in need of a little backup. My condolences that you have once again missed your chance to join the, what was it? Eternal Hunt? Maybe next time," she pats his large shoulder, "we'll just have to keep trying."

“Indeed,” the kazari chuckles, a massive paw closing over her hand as he leans over and lightly presses his forehead to hers, “Should all else fail, I have no doubt you could pick the locks and sneak me in, yes?”

“I--,” Kith begins. Whatever words were to follow, though, are left unsaid as, at that moment, the woodsman’s sons appear beside her.

Ch’dau knows of the roguish woman’s distaste for children, so it doesn’t surprise him in the least when she jumps up and skips away. What does surprise him is that these two human cubs are approaching him at all, let alone so eagerly. At first, he can manage nothing more than to blink in bewilderment at the boys… Brave little monkeys, aren’t you? He can’t help but think. Where are your parents? Have they not told you that Kazari eat human children?... Then, the smaller of the two reaches out a hand as if to actually touch him and the cat-man’s eyes go wide. “Wha… what are you doing,” he asks, unaware that he might have actually recoiled from the lad’s reaching hand.

“Ther’ssor’s man said I could pet ya,” the smaller monkey says, his tiny hand coming to rest just between Ch’dau’s eyes, little fingers scritching away as he continues, “yer a good kitty fer savin’ m’ brother…”

“I…” The Silver Cat’s expression seems to be being molded into something between confusion and annoyance by the boy’s attentions. “I am not a kitty… I…”

“‘E’s a K’zari,” the older boy interjects, his demeanor a bit more timid than his brother’s…

An obviously baffled Ch’dau blinks at the older boy, offers some semblance of an acknowledging nod, and then turns his gaze to where the others are gathered across the room. He’s not certain, but he thinks he sees an amused smirk tugging at Gib’s moustaches.

… “Thanks fer savin’ us, Mister K’zari,” the elder boy continues, snatching the cat-man’s attentions back, “Would it be a’right if I pet ya, too?”

Pet me?.. The Silver Cat blinks, again, because, at the moment, that seems to be the only reaction he can manage… Pet me? I am a Kazari, not a barn cat! I… I… Oh, Bak’chu’s balls!... The kazari’s chest heaves and a resigned sigh whooshes from behind his pointed teeth. “Very well,” he nods to the older boy as the younger one practically climbs into Ch’dau’s lap and starts scritching at his chin…

“Gooood k’zari. Gooood k’zari,” coos the young one, stroking at Ch’dau’s whiskers.

“Stop that… I…”

“Ya got a real name, Mr. K’zari,” queries the older one, his hand moving from petting the cat-man’s head to inspecting one of his flicking ears.

“I am called Ch’dau, little rrow’ka,” the Kazari answers, “Could you not do…”

“Wha’s a growl-caw mean?”

“It means ‘brave one’ in the language of…”

“Do ya ever wear real clothes? Hows come ya ain’t got no armor? Wha’s them funny knifes called?”

I told you that I would remember Therassor’s grace, friend Gib, Ch’dau sighs, but I shall remember this, as well.



Posted on 2019-03-20 at 14:02:27.

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7282 Posts


I think this catches me up....

Subject to the admiring attentions (and innumerable questions) of the boys, Ch’dau had all but missed the first bit of conversation between his compatriots and the woodsman. He had caught snippets of questions and answers here and there… something about how the horde of shamblers had come from the north and west… something more about a man in black to whom the dead seemed to pay no heed… and a pitiful few snippets beyond that until the two human younglings, at last, succumbed to the stress and excitement of their day. When, Keziri be blessed, the two pink-skinned cubs drifted into the realm of slumber, Ch’dau slowly wriggled himself from beneath their napping forms and crept, as quietly as he could manage, toward where his troupe and the woodsman conversed. The Capashan didn’t bother to ask questions of his own, at this point, as he imagined most of the truly pertinent ones had already been lofted by his companions and, should he have missed anything important whilst “entertaining” Arden’s younglings, someone would surely fill him in.

((OOC: Assuming that’s the case, of course&hellip)

As the afternoon crept toward evening, the party engaged in relatively short scout and search of the area around the cabin. That particular exploration did little more than lend credence to the woodsman’s testimony, though, and left Ch’dau with the sense that, while they had run the shamblers off from Arden’s home, there could very well be many more still lurking nearby, even if they hadn’t caught sight of any. Night encroached all too soon, necessitating an end to their examinations, and the party returned to the woodman’s place. When they arrive, Arden and his boys are busying themselves with hauling the dead from the cabin. The Silver Cat’s ears and tail twitch in the Kazari equivalent of a proud grin at the sight. “Those are likely the bravest human cubs I have ever seen,” he comments offhand as he peels away from his friends and moves to assist the boys in their grisly task. When the last of the twice-dead terrors has been stacked and the pile of them set alight, Ch’dau retreats from the heat and stench of the pyre with the boys following close behind.

“Have ya fought a lot o’ them things, Mister Ch’dau,” the older boy (whose name he’d learned was Jarod) asks, halfway between the bonfire and the cabin’s door.

The kazari grunts and nods; “I have rrow’ka. More than I care to count in these past days…”

“C’n I be a growl-caw, too,” queries the younger brother, tugging imploringly at one of the big cat’s fingers as he scampers along beside him.

The question evokes a soft chuckle from the Silver Cat and he scoops the little monkey up into the crook of his elbow. “Rrow’ka is not a title you are given, little one,” he explains, “it is just something you are, yes?”

“An’ I am one?”

“Yes, Brenton,” Ch’dau nods, “you and your brother, both. In fact,” the kazari continues as they reach the doorway, “given what I have seen from the pair of you, today, I think, perhaps, Rrowl would approve if I honored you with titles that can be given.”

“Really?” the boys chorus, staring up at the cat-man in awe even as he crouches down and sets Brenton back on his feet.

“Indeed,” Ch’dau chuffs, squaring the boys up to stand side by side before him. He rests a massive paw on the older boy’s shoulder; “From this day on, you will be known as Kh’ur Jarod…” his other paw rests, now, on the younger boy’s shoulder, “…and you will be known as Kh’ur Brenton of the Black Claw Clan.”

Both boys grin widely at the presentation of their names but little Brenton’s face is quick to screw up into a quizzical expression. “Wha’s a kur mean?”

Kh’ur,” the kazari corrects with a chuckle, “is a title that means ‘honored warrior’ in the language of my folk.”

“So, I’m a warrior?” Brenton prods, his grin and his brother’s, too, widening all the more.

Again, Ch’dau nods. “You will be once we have completed the ritual, rrow’ka,” his eyes tick from one boy to the next, “Are you ready?”

“Yes,” squeaks Brenton as Jarod nods enthusiastically.

“Very well,” Ch’dau’s paws lift from the boys’ shoulders as he rises to his full height and folds his arms across his chest. “Kh’ur Jarod, Kh’ur Brenton; do you swear to face each battle with honor…”

The boys blinked, first, at Ch’dau, then at each other, then back to the cat-man, and they both nodded slowly. “We swear.”

“…Will you swear, with that same honor, to defend your Clan and kin to the last…”

“We swear!”

At this, Ch’dau unsheathed his falcata and gently rested the flat of the blades on each of the boys’ shoulders. “Do you swear these oaths, not only to me but, also, to your Khan, and to Rrowl, Lord of Battle and the Hunt?”

“Yes,” Brenton squeeks.

“We do,” Jarod nods, his excitement a bit more restrained but no less visible than his little brother’s.

“Well done,” the big kazari chuffs, lifting his blades from the boys’ shoulders, “Now, honor your ancestors, and show me your war faces!”

For a brief instant, the boys both looked utterly confused, as if neither of them had any idea what a ‘war face’ might be. Then, a light of realization sparked behind young Brenton’s eyes. He bears his teeth, doing his best to mimic the snarl he’d seen on Ch’dau’s face when the kazari had first stormed into his room, then throws his head back and “RRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWRRRRR!!!”

Jarod grins and follows suit.

Chuckling, Ch’dau sheathes his blades, then reaches out and tousles each of the boys’ hair in turn. “Warriors if I have ever seen them,” he laughs, shooing them inside, “Go now, little ones, and get your rest. Khr’a only knows what challenges you might face on the morrow…”

((OOC: Okay, enough playing with the furless cubs… on to the next bit!))

The breaking of the next day’s dawn brought an end to the routines of keeping wary watch and finding fitful rest. As had become the routine since he and Kith had fallen in with the cleric of Therassor, the rising of the sun was quickly followed by Gib’s invitation to prayer before breakfast. Ch’dau attends, of course, even though his supplications are offered to Therassor’s Kazari counterpart, and, once the troupe has gathered for their meager morning meal, the battle-cleric broaches the topic of the party’s plan going forward…

"Northwest takes us deeper into the furthest regions of the Kingdom," he states. "I would have thought we'd find ourselves marching towards Sendria but here we are. I am attempting to recall maps of the area that I've seen but even with this image in my head, I don't know how far we are from any of the major landmarks that I might remember. I'm afraid that I've no further insight into what might lie ahead."

“Mmmm,” Ch’dau grunts around a meager mouthful of meat he’s managed to pick from his repast, “I, too, would have imagined our course leading us to Sendria’s borders. Whether or not I am happy that it doesn’t, though…” A non-commital shrug finishes the sentence.

"Sir," Kith uncharacteristically turns to the woodsman and politely addresses him, "you must know this area well. What have we to expect in our journey to the northwest?"

"Woods, mostly, though na too thick,” Arden replies from behind a faint frown, “Game trails here and there.  A stream lies a 'alf day that way.  There be some cliff faces on tha other side 'o tha woods, mebbe a couple days off?  A few caves an' such there, as well.  Then, more woods for leagues."

“That’s something, at least,” Kith says, turning her eyes back to Gib.

"I would suggest being consistently watchful all the while moving to support one another as we progress. Kith might do well to scout ahead a bit provided we can find a means for her to communicate back to the rest of us without alerting any adversary of her position." Kith nods her agreement to that plan, and Gib continues, "So far, we've had Shinara watching over most of us—" he pauses for a moment, his eyes slightly losing focus, before finishing his thought, "—but we cannot allow this foolhardiness to continue or we'll soon be whittled away into nothing."

"I don't mind scouting ahead, I'm much quieter without you armored lot beside me," the rogue half-Syl offers them a sardonic grin. "Perhaps we can work on a bird call or something of the sort. Though," she thinks aloud, "I haven't heard or seen many since this blasted fog swallowed us all." She shrugs, "If we can't think of anything, I can simply return to you if I find anything of interest. I am not the type to charge in, as you know," she turns that small grin to her large cat friend. "Though if I do end up in trouble, please feel free to charge in as wildly as you like."

Ch’dau’s ears twitch and his tail flicks in a combination of amusement and affection as his gaze settles on Kithran. “For you, little kitten, I would charge in as wildly as your Capashan cousins.”

"You're right, Kith," Gib states grimly, "there are few enough nature sounds that a bird call will probably be inappropriate. Be safe and return to us with any discoveries. Check back every so often so that we know you're not lost to us and please, make the intervals reasonable."

“Quite,” the kazari concurs. His expression takes on a more serious affect as his gaze pans from one face to the next, then, and sighing, he offers; “I would suggest paying close and cautious attention to whatever of these caves Kith might discover along the way. It would seem to me that such places might provide harbor to these shambling s#!ts. We would do well to either avoid them altogether or, should that not be possible, clean them out, one and all, before moving on to the next…”

((OOC: Any further input or discussion on this matter, here&hellip)

Leave is taken, and the group sets out with Kith scouting ahead.

It becomes quickly apparent that the woodsman's estimation of distances maybe skewed by his experience with the area; it takes nearly a full day to reach the stream he spoke of.  Of course, the ground is soft, the group is cautious, and the territory is unfamiliar.

Arden did speak true; the underbrush is fairly thin in most places, but the silence of the wood is absolutely oppressive.  Frrom time to time, a twig or branch cracks, and, more than once, someone swears to having seen movement just in the periphery of vision... but never is anything spotted directly in the accursed fog.  Of the black robed man, there is no definitive sign; anywhere footprints are encountered, though, many of them are obviously those of the undead horde.

As the light begins to fade, the party reaches the stream.  It is perhaps eight to twelve feet wide in most areas, sitting recesssed beneath banks of clay and tree roots some two or so feet down.  A few rocks jut from the water, causing the only noise you have heard all day aside from the wind and the occassional snap or a branch.  The water itself appears to be no more than a foot or so deep.  The darkening sky here is only visible though a few small cracks in the tree canopy above.

Ch’dau paces a short, clipped patrol route along the bank of the stream, cursing the gathering dark and, to a lesser extent, the eyes of those party members who might have difficulty seeing in it. Rest and caution were needed, of course, but, given Arden’s estimations, the Silver Cat had hoped to have been farther along than they were. The stream looked as if it might be easily forded, after all, and, if he could take Kith and Arancon, both of whom had eyes accustomed to seeing through the dark as his, they might manage a bit more scouting ahead. Doing so, though, might mean leaving the others succeptible to attack from any direction and, all in all, given the enemy they faced, that didn’t seem as good an idea as it might sound.

“What say you, Khan Arancon,” the big kazari asks, pausing his pacing for a moment to regard the bladesinger, “Are we to make camp on this side of the stream or do we cross, first, and scout the other side before we call an end to the day?”



Posted on 2019-03-21 at 15:59:10.

breebles
Resident
Karma: 23/1
345 Posts


On the Road Again

The path is much more arduous than the woodsman had let on. The brush isn’t too thick in most places, and alone Kithran is able to move at a decent pace while keeping an eye and ear out for trouble, but doubling back every so often, and trying to keep her steps light quickly deters any hopes she may have had of covering a larger amount of ground.

She is in silence for most of the day. It was almost heavy, this silence, and she knew the others felt it as well, but on her treks out ahead of the group, with the pale white of the fog surrounding her every way she looked, the silence felt crushing. As quiet as the rest of the group was, she couldn’t help be feel a slight tinge of relief in the pit of her stomach each time she approached them. The soft rustling of leathers, the familiar padding of their steps. She would nod to them to let them know she was still alive and the way was clear, or to point out more of the shamblers’ footsteps, before turning once more and disappearing into the veil of fog.

As midday passed, the eeriness of the silence was dissipated just a little by her irritation that they had not yet reached the river. That slight irritation grows as they only arrive when dusk begins to fall upon them.

The river is wide. It could provide protection, should they setup camp nearby, or at least allow for an early warning system if anything attempts to approach from the other side.

Kith waits for her comrades to arrive and assess the situation on their own.

“What say you, Khan Arancon,” Ch’dau says, his words the being the first sounds to cut the silence other than the babbling of the river behind them, “Are we to make camp on this side of the stream or do we cross, first, and scout the other side before we call an end to the day?”

She watches the bladesinger as he completes his own surveyal of the grounds and offers his decision.



Posted on 2019-03-21 at 21:09:29.
Edited on 2019-07-11 at 14:48:34 by breebles

Blackthorn
Regular Visitor
Karma: 8/0
71 Posts


At the Stream

As the light begins to fade, the party reaches the stream.  It is perhaps eight to twelve feet wide in most areas, sitting recesssed beneath banks of clay and tree roots some two or so feet down.  A few rocks jut from the water, causing the only noise you have heard all day aside from the wind and the occassional snap or a branch.  The water itself appears to be no more than a foot or so deep.  The darkening sky here is only visible though a few small cracks in the tree canopy above.

What say you, Khan Arancon,” Ch’dau says, his words the being the first sounds to cut the silence other than the babbling of the river behind them, “Are we to make camp on this side of the stream or do we cross, first, and scout the other side before we call an end to the day?”

The Bladesinger surveyed the scene before him, searching for something, anything to indicate the proper course of action. "I don't like either choices. This all seems too familiar, like the road to Crandel, full of fog and unexplainable noises. I feel as if an attack could happen at any time."

Looking around for confirmation of his feeling, Arancon adds "Unless anyone has any better ideas, I say we keep moving, ford the stream and take our chances on the other side."



Posted on 2019-03-28 at 14:58:42.

Bromern Sal
A Shadow
RDI Staff
Karma: 142/11
3808 Posts




Tired from the day's journey, Gib is ready to set camp. His nerves have been prickly all day where even the occasional rolling of his broad shoulders does nothing to relieve the tension. But only the gods know whether we would get any actual rest this night, he muses while grimly scans the woods about them. 

“What say you, Khan Arancon,” Ch’dau says, his words being the first sounds to cut the silence other than the babbling of the river behind them, “Are we to make camp on this side of the stream or do we cross, first, and scout the other side before we call an end to the day?”

The Bladesinger surveys the scene before him, searching for something, anything to indicate the proper course of action. "I don't like either choice. This all seems too familiar, like the road to Crandel, full of fog and unexplainable noises. I feel as if an attack could happen at any time."

Looking around for confirmation of his feeling, Arancon adds, "Unless anyone has any better ideas, I say we keep moving, ford the stream and take our chances on the other side."

Lips forming a thin line beneath his mustaches, the warrior priest resigns himself to continuing the day's journey. He has nothing to add, no wisdom to share, and knows from long marches in the military that voicing his readiness for a break does nothing positive to the mood of the party. A mood that is dampened already... 

"We are on a righteous mission, friends," Gib decides to succor the others as much as he is able. "Let us remain sharp and know that a little water on the boots will not have an eternal impact."

Gauging the shoreline, the bearded priest attempts to determine a reasonable place to ease their efforts. Finding what he believes to be the best, he points it out to Arancon. "There, perhaps?"



Posted on 2019-03-29 at 11:56:43.

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 346/54
6080 Posts


the ford and beyond

Fording the stream proves to be a little more treacherous than one might have thought; the water moves faster than it appears, yet the bottom is surprisingly slippery.  Midge struggles a bit once, and Ch'dau reflexively helps the cid avoid catastrophe with a steadying paw... only to lose his own footing and take a most undignified seat into the water. 

Still, nothing more than pride is injured, and soon, the party reaches the far side without further incident.

The far bank proves no more interesting than the near; the soil is somewhat rocky, a bit sandy, the undergrowth is pleasingly sparse and the trail is fairly plain.

As dusk rapidly falls (thanks to the unnerving mist), the group sets forth to make camp.  A fire is made, food is prepared, watches are assigned.

Sometime after midnight, Kithran sits, fire to her back (so as to not interfere with her night vision), when she is startled by a scream off deeper into the woods.  It is a man's voice, though it is not particularly close by.  Silence, then he screams again, this time trailing off to nothingness.



Posted on 2019-07-11 at 11:14:24.
Edited on 2019-07-11 at 11:15:43 by t_catt11

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7282 Posts


Putting the stripes back on

Much like the path that had led them to it, the fording of the stream had been more trying than appearances might have let on. Beneath the perceived calm of the water’s surface lurked faster currents and a streambed much slicker than imagined, both of which contributed to a more tentative crossing and, at one point, the need for Ch’dau to reach out and save Midge from a misstep that very well could have swept the cidal away. Save for that incident, and the unceremonious dunking of his own hindquarters that resulted from the “rescue,” though, the party made the far bank with little more than wet legs and wounded pride.

Creeping mist and encroaching dusk dissuaded the party from moving much farther and, following a brief and thankfully uneventful scouting of their surroundings, the decision was made to make camp for the night. A fire was lit, food was prepared, and watches were assigned in the face of the gathering night and, after drying his fur by the fire and filling his belly, Ch’dau settled himself against a tree, tending his blades before allowing himself to drift of into a guarded slumber. The first part of the night passed without incident and, for a short while, it seemed the rest of the small hours might follow suit. As the evening drew on, though, and the Silver Cat began to find himself lulled further into sleep, a distant scream echoed from somewhere far off in the woods, stirring the Kazari instantly into wakefulness. He was on his feet before his eyes were fully open, blades in his hands and ears twitching in hopes of capturing a more precise location of the screech that had shattered the stillness. His gaze swept the periphery of the camp and he sniffed at the air, too, making sure that there were no immediate threats, before he made his way to Kith’s side. He crouched next to the watchful woman as the renewed silence, once again, gave way to another distant cry… “What do you make of that, Little Kitten,” he asked softly, his own senses fully alert to their surroundings, now, “Has it only been the screams or has there been giggling, as well?”

((OOC: Short and sweet. I'm only assuming that Ch'dau hasn't heard, smelled, or seen anything aside from the screams, of course. If otherwise, let me know and I can edit.))



Posted on 2019-07-11 at 16:39:35.

Blackthorn
Regular Visitor
Karma: 8/0
71 Posts


What goes bump in the night?

Awakening in the darkness to the sound of a distant scream, Arancon uses his senses to reach out around himself, attempting to disern any dangers lurking in the shadows around the campsite. The Kazari, also aware of the disturbance, is instantly on his feet, blades drawn in readiness for battle. The silence seems to stretch on for an eternity, then another scream, far off, further into the woods, sounds in the night. Although the scream is distant, the sound is almost deafening to the ears of the perceptive Sylvari.

(OOC: Arancon is using his Awareness skill to listen and look for any signs of danger and locate the source of the screams) 

Arancon observes Ch'dau crouching next to Kith, who was on watch and therefore already awake. “What do you make of that, Little Kitten,” the Kazari asked softly, “Has it only been the screams or has there been giggling, as well?”

Rising from his resting place, drawing his sword, Arancon looks to the rest of his companions to see if they are awake, ready to rouse them from their slumber if need be...



Posted on 2019-07-12 at 11:57:12.
Edited on 2019-07-12 at 11:59:47 by Blackthorn

   


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