Stings was a bit surprised by the boys response but he didn't want to push the boy as other patrons started to watch what was transpiring.
Allowing the boys answer to stand with out any more prying, Stings makes his way back to the table and sits down near Haiden. He picks up his cup of wine to block anyone in the room from reading his lips and whispers to Haiden and the rest of the group that is present, "The boy is basically just interested in adventurers. But something isn't right with him and a few others in here, they seem to have a strange look in their eyes!"
With that, Stings downs the rest of his wine and says, "When Valerus comes back I think we should move out."
Posted on 2008-04-19 at 01:31:56.
Edited on 2008-04-19 at 17:10:31 by DeGotti
With lodging now secure for the night, Valerus goes back down the stairwell into the common room of the inn. His party is still sitting at the table and to Valerus's discerning eyes each of them look ready to leave.
A confirming nod from each party member leads the druid to bypass the table and head towards the door. His companions follow suit and get up from the table to leave. Kyuss strides to the front followed by Haiden and Severus. Stings was moving a bit slower than the others, but Valerus knew he was only making sure no one followed the group of adventures to the elm grove.
Once all of the party was outside and half way between the inn and elm grove, Valerus stopped the group. Stings and Haiden tell him of the young boy and the strangeness of a few other patrons. The words "charmed" and "bewitched" are tossed around in the group leading Valerus to make a defensive minded strategy for entering the elm grove and meeting the hermit. "Kyuss, will you be so kind as to lead us? I will follow you with a spell ready to thwart any charms if it will be needed. We know nothing about this hermit, but it is better to be safe than dead. Haiden, you and Severus stay in the middle and look for anything out of the ordinary. Stings, you cover our flank and let us know if we are being followed or watched by anyone."
The young druid then reaches up to his neck and grasps his holy symbol, an earthen disk, that is strung around his neck. The others know he will call for the aid of his goddess should danger present itself to them in the grove. "Alright, lets be careful," a nod to Kyuss lets the ranger know he is ready to enter the grove.
Valerus will go with group 2 to the elm grove in the following order: Kyuss, Valerus, Haiden, Severus, and Stings. He will also prepare to cast Protection from Evil upon Kyuss if he senses an imminent act of hostility as they enter the grove.
“Didja guys see those people we went by?” Sentinel The Small asked as he held his hands out to keep anyone from hustling helter-skelter into the ransacked, dilapidated building that was once an inn. “Lots of ‘em looked stoned to me! Drugs? Charmed? Spells? Zombies? Whaddaya guys think?” He didn’t wait for answers as he quickly went on. “Hey, whaddaya say we be really careful here in this big ole shack? I mean, lookee there! Broken windows, blood soaked all over, everything outta whack, glass all over the floor! Woowee! I’m thinking we do this. First look everywhere, including at the dust, before we move or disturb anything. Gotta be clues visible. I’ll take a quick round to check for traps, but I don’t see anything obvious yet. Everyone, be careful, cautious, and on the look out. Weapons ready – it looks abandoned, but is it?! Garrus, why don’t you and Fandil and Katai check out all the upper floor, overturned furniture, blood, anything up here. Maybe glance out the back door, just in case, too. Me’n Gunther and Oriel’ll mosey on over and carefully check out the stairs and the basement down there. Oriel, maybe you and your bow can keep a watch over all of us, with particular emphasis on the stairs and that dark basement. Let’s find out all we can, and who knows, maybe there is treasure here? Yell for me if anyone needs a trap check or a lock opened.”
When they begin examining the steps, and Sentinel has the safety rope on himself, he says to Gunther, “ Hey, Big Holy Guy, pray for safety, OK? And by all means, if I yell, grab that rope and pull me back up to safety!”
Sentinel The Small sort of takes a leadership/coordination role on the search in the dilapidated and disarrayed Inn due to his thieving skills. The group, being careful of all the broken glass and the wet spots from the rain, splits up somewhat, although all in reasonably close contact, as three search everything in the 80x60 room, including dust, floors, furniture, windows, blood, rear door, etc. The other group carefully initiates examination of the tricky rotting steps and basement. The lighter warriors (e.g. Sentinel) will test things first, with a safety rope tied around his body. The basement group intends to light a torch (Guthher’s) for examination and entry to the basement. The stairs will be tested and Sentinel’s ropes will be used as necessary to descend or to protect people as they descend. If entry is acquired, Oriel will continue to keep watch on all, and the basement will be searched in detail by hopefully both Gunther and Sentinel. No stone will be left unturned. If there is action/fight, the group, collectively and individually, will choose courses of actions that protect all first, and victory second.
Posted on 2008-04-20 at 01:02:01.
Edited on 2008-04-20 at 01:06:45 by Consortium
Group 1 - Gunther, Oriel, Sentinel, Fandil, Deathstalker, Katai
Entering the trashed inn you immediately notice that there is no dust. Dampness and mold is everywhere from the ruined walls and missing roof tiles. The smell of spoiled ale and foodstuffs abounds in the place and rot is everywhere. Cautiously the halfling moves forward and picks his way through the debris looking carefully for any traps. None were to be found. Deathstalker, Fandil and Katai begin to go over things meticulously. Pushing aside broken tables and chairs, looking for any sort of clue they could think of. Many clues were to be had, but all they showed was that there was a massive fight here. No bodies and no weapons were to be found. Just broken stuff.
On the other side of the room Oriel and Gunther were being led by a now suddenly serious Sentinel. The thief was in his element, searching for traps and moving towards the darkness of the stair leading downward. A torch is lit by Gunther and after having a rope tied around his waist the halfling cautiously begins to move down the stair. Then quickly with more confidence. The stair is wet and soaked through, but still very sturdy. Removing the rope the halfling turns and waves his companions downward and the three look into a foul basement. The smell along is nearly enough to make everyone in the group gag.
The cellar is extremely gloomy and reeks of rotting foodstuff and garbage. The place isn't that much in shambles but leaking liquid and garbage can be seen coming from the many boxes and casks throughout the room. Some of the boxes have been smashed open and rotting food is scattered about the floor of the room. On the north and east sides of the cellar walls are two doors. They look to be smallish doors that lead into pantry areas as is common in inns. The floor is wet and garbage is spread near and far. Halfway down the short stair Oriel narrows his eyes and lets out a hiss to stop the group. "I smell something." Sentinel looks up at the crazy human, pinching his nose shut with his fingers and says in a quiet voice, "Ya think?!?" Oriel grins despite himself and says, "No, its something else.. I smell swamp."
Halfway down the staircase are Oriel, Gunther (with torch) and Sentinel. Above searching the room is the rest.
Group 2 - Kyuss, Haiden, Stings, Valerus, Severous
Leading the group out of the inn with a friendly wave towards the inn-keep the group glances towards the towering elms and heads down the small path. The narrow trail winds among majestic elms, at times disappearing into thick shrubbery. The bushes between the trees are dense, rising to a height of eight or ten feet. The elms themselves average 75‘ tall, and they are the only trees here. They are widely spaced, allowing much sunlight to pour between their ancient boughs.
As the group continues on cautiously, they finally come into an open space and ahead see a ramshackle cottage. On the porch sits a very venerable human man with some sort of rodent on his shoulder. As soon as the party comes around the corner the old man stands very slowly, holding onto a gnarled staff for support. The group stops and the man watches carefully. The man once stood about 6' tall but now has lost inches due to his stooped and bent back. A long white scraggly beard reaches down to the bottom of his chest and he seems to struggle to fully stand up and face the group, leaning heavily on his staff. After a moment's pause by the group and the man he speaks in an out of breath voice. "Well? What do you want?" The head of a small weasel pokes through the folds of his clothing near his shoulder and watches the group steadily.
You are standing about 60' from the cottage where the old man is standing on his porch.
Posted on 2008-04-20 at 04:00:48.
Edited on 2008-04-23 at 22:38:32 by Tripwire
Not wanting to frighten the old hermit, or incite him to action, Valerus waves for the party to halt. Kyuss stands firm as the young druid comes to his side and is soon flanked by the remaining party of Haiden, Severus, and Stings. Valerus hopes to show the old man they have nothing to hide, and he has nothing to fear from the party.
"Greetings, my name is Valerus Cain, servant of Beory, and these are my companions. I wonder if I might have a bit of your time to ask you a few questions?"
Valerus will wait for the old man's reaction before proceeding. If the reaction is favorable, I will post my questions from the Q&A Thread. If I sense the reaction is unfavorable, I will attempt to soften him up with a few questions about the ancient elms and surrounding plant life.
"Whoa!" Sentinel The Small says to everyone, as he hears Oriel say he smells swamp. Sentinel The Small hates swamps (being a mountain type) and hates Lizardmen even more. "Whoa".
"Here's the plan. Oriel, with that great nose of yours, and with my trap/secret door skills, we'll cautiously lead the search of this basement. It's good that the stairs are still formidable and can hold any of us. Deathstalker, take a quick look out that back door, and let us know if anything is off-kilter. Then let us light your lantern so we will have two lights down there. I'd like you to stay at the head of the stairs where you can observe anything that might sneak up on us. You got our backs! If we yell, come on down and pitch in with your big weapon. Here's the order - Oriel with his sniffer and Deathstalker's lantern plus a weapon, closely followed by me with my weapon out, and then Gunther with that shield and a weapon, Katai can take the lit torch from Gunther and be ready to cast or use a weapon, and Fandil, you take up last place, but you need to crawl down low like me when we get down there to search. Let's go."
The group will head into the basement after the quick check out the back door, lighting the lantern to go with the torch, and using Deathstalker to secure our backs. They will descend in order, with the first order of direction to come from Oriel's nose for unusual smells (other than the rot) and the interpretations of it. In the basement, if they encounter action, they will protect themselves aggressively, yelling for Deathstalker to come down. We will search everything in the basement, including looking at the floor for footprints or guidance. The thief will check all for traps and will look hard for hidden doors, especially when opening the alleged pantry doors. "Good" food/drink/valuables, if any, will be secured and later loaded on the cart. The overall intent is in this order:
1. Looking for clues/info, particularly Oriel's "smell lead"
2. Protecting themselves
3. Finding any special paths/doors/tunnels, etc, and then decicing what to do.
4. No item, furniture, shelf, pantry, table, wall, floor will be passed over.
Posted Monday - just for Trip.
When following Sentinel's lead, Oriel holds the lantern in his left hand and his longsword in his right. I presume he also has his buckler on his right arm - since if he can shoot a bow with a small shield on the arm, I assume he can hold a lantern that way as well.
Gunther knew immediately that the smell of the swamp in the cellar could only mean one thing ... Lizardmen!
His mother's father had spoken often of these vile creatures and the many battles that had been fought by his forefathers against such ravagers!
The young Paladin reviewed the tales in his mind as he chose what course of action to take, saying a quick and reverent prayer to his God for the guidance he would need to employ in the ensuing investigation of the cellar.
At Sentinel's request, Gunther passed his torch to Katai to free his left arm and hand to grip his Medium Shield, returning his Battle Axe to its proper carrying place to free his right hand to pass the lantern from Deathstalker down to Oriel, before selecting his BroadSword to brandish at a moments notice in case of a sudden attack, or just to utilize the point of the blade to poke around at the scattered debris in the cellar.
A sudden rush of adrenaline surged through the young Paladin's body as he alertly made his way down the stairs, thankful for the feeling that he was now earning the gold coins he was given by the merchant when Gunther had signed on for this adventure to investigate the Evil in Orlane!
and little gnome friend Fandil The Wise had their weapons out (for Sentinel The Small that was a SHORT sword) as the carefully went down the stair. Sentinel, stayed inches behind Oriel as the group would initially depend on Oriel's nose that knows. Sentinel kept his eyes open, looking for traps, locks, hidden doors and used his weapon to move rubbish and old food on the floor. He and Fandil intended to check every inch of the basement, up/down/under/through before this was all done, and to help the big guys carry back anything of value. If danger or action came, they both would duck/dive low and find defense, but help any friend aggressively in need. This might be intense, but it was also going to be exciting!
Posted on 2008-04-21 at 23:47:03.
Edited on 2008-04-22 at 12:04:30 by Consortium
Haiden tried her best to hide how uneasy she was of a hermit with vermin on him. How is it possible for a living creature to have such an animal on him? Listening to what Valerus was saying she kept an 'at-ease' position beside him, carefully watching the Hermit he reacted to Valerus had to say.
Haiden keeps calm and prepares to react to anything that comes about. Weapons are not out or seen, but daggers are ready to be thrown if attacked. She will smile and listen intently without moving toward any weapons.
Stings walked up to the left flank of the party from his spot at the back and watched the Hermit and the surrounding area for any strange movements or hostilities.
When Stings saw the rodent on the old man, it automatically made him shiver! He had been around lots of rodents from his time on the streets when he was younger and he didn't like them then and he dislikes them even more now!
Stings will wait to see how the Hermit reacts. If he is hostile then Stings will use his throw 2 daggers at him and then draw his long sword. If something comes from the surrounding woods he will throw them at the closest target then draw his long sword.
Not really being at ease with people and even more with strangers Kyuss decided to let Valerus do the talking. Being one more in tune with nature he loved this little grove. Not really expecting such a thing in a land of farms the trees truely warmed his heart.
Seeing the old man and his weasel kyuss was on guard but didnt let it show. The only reaction Kyuss allowed the old man to see was his reaction to the beautiful grove of trees and the peace they brought to him.
The group stopped as they eyed the old man and his pet. The old man watched the group carefully before Valerus spoke, "Greetings, my name is Valerus Cain, servant of Beory, and these are my companions. I wonder if I might have a bit of your time to ask you a few questions?"
Severous spread to the left a bit, wary but watching the trees up and down to see if he could see anything, he also watched the old man carefully just in case he started casting. Nothing that he could detect was there except for regular birds and no sign of spell casting was evident as of yet. Haiden, Stings and Kyuss all were on alert, ready for action but trying not to seem aggressive.
The reply from the old man was a bit startling. "I see things around here. I know you came into town this morning. However, I don't know you yet. Before I can trust you, you need to gain my trust. Go. Do whatever it is you came to do. Then come and seek me out if you are at your wits end. I will be watching and learning. Prove yourself to me and I will give you information you may need." At that the old man turned his back and waved off any other questions from the group and opened the door to the hovel. As he passed in, over his shoulder the weasel turned and watched the group until the door closed behind him.
The group stood in a bit of a daze, frustrated that things were not going as smooth as they could or that they couldn't get any more information from the old man. But it was only the first day. They were paid to do a job and no one said it would be easy. Gathering together the group discussed what they would do next.
Immediately the group looked to Oriel and asked if he could specify the smell. Shaking his head he replies, "No, it is just the entire basement. It could be anything, some moisture or underground stream from the swamp. I don't know. It just smells out of sorts so be wary."
Deathstalker listened to the halfling and the rest of the group and tramped upstairs to the back door of the establishment and saw it was stuck in place firmly. It looked like the wood had swollen from water and the exit was unusable unless it was bashed down. The only entrance to the inn was the door they came in, or the windows if they were broken. Moving back to the top of the stair the warrior gripped his battle axe and waited tensely guarding the groups back as they went into the dark.
Sentinel and Fandil both eased down the stair. The torch held by Katai and the lantern that Oriel wielded didn't allow any infra vision in the darkened room so they had to use the lanterns light to look through and begin searching the room. The sputtering of the torch was causing shadows to jump and move and everyone was on edge and tense. Gunther moved down behind the two and was following closely, his broadsword and shield firmly in hand. A prayer on his lips as he tensed in anticipation of combat. Oriel drew his slim longsword and held the lantern firmly, holding it up a bit to try to get a good idea of the room and the boxes and crates. Katai as well used the torch as well as possible trying to illuminate everything before going forward.
After the group had gotten their eyes adjusted as best as they could the search began in earnest. Everything was moved and pushed. Boxes were overturned, tables were moved, everything was inspected. The floor was mired in small puddles of water and garbage was everywhere. The rotten smell was enough to gag a person but wasn't bad enough to turn the group back. It was a disgusting process of digging through everything there. The only thing that seemed to be of any worth was three kegs of wine that seemed to be still good. Other than that it was just spoiled food and destroyed boxes.
The only thing left was to check the two doors in the basement...
The group was a bit confused and dazed by the hermit's response. They just looked at one another unsure of how to respond.
"To the temple?" Valerus asked and was greeted with nods from everyone. There original destination was now the only place for them to go before meeting up with the other group to discuss what they had learned from today's excursions.
The hermit's words were cryptic at best and Valerus thought of them as they walked. The young druid moved up beside Kyuss and said, "He speaks in riddles, which is not uncommon for druids as you well know. My old master was quite adept at it. Still, I'm not sure what to make of the old man. Is he one with the land? A wizard? How is he watching us and how can we earn his trust?" It appeared their trip to unravel some quesions had only produced more questions.
The party passed the inn and walked along the north side of the lake. Valerus noted the buildings they passed and wondered what answers, if any, they would find at the temple.