No.723535[Last 50 Posts]
In a time long past, before the coming of the Two, was a time of gods, heroes and monsters. A world as yet unexplored, an age of high adventure.
And in this age, eons ago, four wayward wanderers did find themselves crossing paths. Perhaps it was chance, or perhaps ordained by fate. I alone can elucidate the adventures of these four.
Hearken now to the Tales from the Age of Steel!
We begin at a forgotten temple to a nameless god, on the edge of an eastern cliff facing the sea. The Wayward Wanderers came from near and far, seeking the treasure whispered of in remote corners of the land: a great gem, the Heart of the Sun, kept in this very temple. Normally, it is sealed, but every seven years, on the summer solstice, the temple opens, inviting would be treasure hunters to test their might and prove themselves worthy of this prize. Thus, the four converged, strangers to one another, unknowingly working towards a common goal - along with others…
The hunter, long relegated to a lonesome life, found himself stalking a new type of prey. Unbeknownst to his quarry, he followed an odd, serpentine woman for many miles, leading him to the edge of the world…>>723539
The summoner, surreptitiously coveting greater power, followed whispers on the wind of a great treasure to be claimed. Shirking her temple duties, she took to the wilds, traveling light for many days, until she found herself at her destination…>>723540
To the chagrin of a fellow treasure hunter, the thief followed a stolen map to a great treasure, seeking a great fortune from a forgotten gem. The map, its origins unknown, has a message written on it: "Only the worthy shall claim the heart…">>723541
The accursed heard rumors here and there of a great treasure to be found to the south-east, on a certain day once every seven years. Realizing the day was soon approaching, and with aspirations of greater fortune, he followed these rumors to their source, at the edge of a green cliff by the sea…>>723538>>723539>>723540>>723541
After a grueling journey, you find yourselves at the stone steps leading to the Nameless Temple. Nestled on the edge of a seaside cliff, it is plain to see, even from a distance, that the temple has not been used in an age. It resembles a fortress more than a temple, with great stone walls covered in vines and roots, and oddly shaped watchtowers, many of which are crumbling to dust. Much of the temple has been consumed by a great tree that has grown into it, slowly consuming this ancient structure.
What draws your attention, however, are the great stone doors. They are completely covered from top to bottom in writing, though it is not a language any of you can read. The doors are battered and scratched, presumably from intruders attempting to gain access early, to no avail. For now, the doors to the temple are firmly shut. It is one day before the solstice, around late afternoon. Tomorrow, at sunrise, the doors of the temple are said to open.
From nearby, in the shadow of the temple's overhang, you can see a faint flicker of firelight, suggesting a campsite.
Your presence is unknown to each other, for now.
Despite his distance from the strange creature, Noghu burrows below the surface to hide himself from sight, following the snake through their tremors.
[1d10+2] BurrowingRoll #1 5 + 2 = 7
A dark shape flits through the bushes, darting from cover to cover. A feline-shaped shadow silently pauses, its long tail flicking in anticipation. The form of a large cat in a worn gray gambeson slowly emerges from the underbrush near the end of the stone steps leading to the temple.
The cat, staring at the ancient edifice half-eaten by nature, purses his lips and lets out a quiet whistle. He pulls out a small tattered slip of parchment from some inside pocket, eyeballing back and forth between it and the crumbling structure. Apparently satisfied, he replaces the paper within some hidden pocket and takes a confident stride toward the steps, when something gives him pause.
He sniffs the air. A camp.
That means others. Sometimes danger, sometimes a source of unexpected windfalls. Kalidan waits for a moment, weighing his options, then attempts to creep back into the foliage in order to approach the campsite unseen.
Stealth [1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
I squint through the darkness at the red orange glow in the distance. I'd expected to be alone, but thinking about it that was an ignorant assumption. For whatever reason, if this gem is supposed to be as valuble as folks say, it only makes sense for others to go after it too.
I decide to keep my distance, unrolling my pack a good bit away from the temple itself, and set to work setting up a stealthy little camp of my own.
[1d10+2]DC 4, burrowing out a dakota fire pit and starting a fire in it
Once set up, I pull out some dry meat and my waterskin and eat.Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8
"Ssuch fertile land, perhapss there may be aught to raise here.."
Having traveled so far from the sands of her home, the sorceress Vajra busies herself with an incantation, preparing one of several soldiers for the coming raid.
She raises her clawed hands, ethereal strips of runed cloth phasing into the soil around her.
"Shifting ssands, sscour the trees, a sservants handss i call to me!"
[1d10] Raise deadRoll #1 5 = 5
The ground below you is dirt and weeds. Little obstacle for you. You dig through it as if plunging into water, tunneling below the strange serpentine creature, unbeknownst to her. She appears to be casting a spell of some sort.>>723545
You stick to the shadows and undergrowth, as is custom for you, approaching the campsite quietly, trying to get a bead of what you're up against. You manage to get a good vantage point on the steps, clambering up a tree and peering out.
The camp consists of a single patchwork tent, a small firepit with a black pot, a backpack, and a furled up bedroll. The lone occupant of the camp appears to be a large pony, but they are dressed in brown and black tattered clothes with a masked hood, such that it is difficult to make out details of them. You notice a large two headed battle axe propped up on a rock nearby.
The pony is currently stirring the pot, humming idly. Seems like vegetable stew.
You can also see a second fire starting further down the way, but you are too far to be able to see much of them. Slightly closer is an odd serpentine saurian, who appears to be in the middle of casting a spell of some sort. The dirt a ways behind her appears to have been disturbed recently.>>723546
You hang back near the bottom of the steps and start a camp of your own. Before long, you have a merry blaze going, getting ready for the night to come.
From nearby, you hear a voice chanting. Sounds like some sort of spell. You aren't alone in this place.>>723547
The strips of cloth float to the ground like feathers, the runes glowing brightly as you call on a servant. Sure enough, one appears. From the ground comes a single ethereal figure, covered from head to toe in bandages. It appears to be the mummified ghost of a pony warrior, the dessicated, skeletal mouth the only part visible. The specter floats above the ground slightly, hanging limply as if held up by puppet strings, ready to serve.>Minion is at 10/1
A chill runs down my spine as I hear the chanting, and I swing my head around to look for its source. My lips curl into a sneer. Magic. Of course there'd be some damned magic.
[1d10+3] PerceptionRoll #1 9 + 3 = 12
Seeing as the snake has ceased traveling for the moment, Noghu turns his attention to the location the creature was likely intending to visit. Burrowing towards the temple, he begins to check for proof of a lower level (bricks or cobbled stone) and to see if any of it's loose enough to push in and get a sneak preview.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
"Hmm.. Adequate." states the saurian, circling the specter briefly, before turning her attention to the temple.
She flicks her tongue out briefly to taste the air, gauging the surrounding area.
[1d10] Detect life
>Serpentine senses: As a saurian, Vajra can 'taste' the air with a flick of the tongue, allowing for greater detection within her surroundings. perception checks to detect life gain a -2 to DC.Roll #1 8 = 8
An equus and a serpent. Presumably other treasure hunters. And… is that a mummy? Kalidan also sees perhaps a recent gravesite. The situation may be complex. Best to wait and see. He remains perched in his tree, willing to watch and wait for now.
Slowly, quietly, he pulls a snack from his bag. His movements are so slow that they're imperceptible.
Monch. Monch. [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
You see someone off in the distance, further up the steps leading to the temple. A saurian sorceress, by the looks of it. She seems to have conjured some fell minion to serve her, calling spirits from the ground itself to bend to her will.>>723550
You keep burrowing upwards towards the temple, eventually having to stop once you hit solid rock. Moving around it, you manage to find the rock is carven, and clearly part of the temple itself. You push your luck, digging a bit further, eventually finding one of the many walls of the temple interior. With a bit of elbow grease, you manage to dig a hole in the wall; once you stick your hand through, however, you are stung with a jolt of searing pain down your arm, as if you had thrust it into a fire. It passes quickly, but it is clear that there is some ancient magic at work here, preventing trespassers from entering the temple. Trying to peer through proves rather fruitless, as it is too dark inside to see anything, but you catch some silhouettes of what seem to be winged statues in the dark.>>723551
Your senses tell you there's at least four others in the area right now. There might be more. It's difficult to tell.>>723552
As you chow down on the snack, the pony's ears prick up like a frightened rabbit. With one fluid motion, they spring to their hooves, take up the axe and start pacing about the area, searching for the source of the sound.
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 3 = 3
Kalidan pauses mid-chomp, slowing down his already imperceptible motions to a virtual standstill. He masticates once, twice, swallows and waits.
Undeterred by the potential onlookers, Vajra confidently slithers the rest of the way up to the great temple gate, the mummified warrior floating slowly behind her.
Noghu giggles in pain, recoiling and snarling. Digging out his path a bit more and replacing the misplaced stone, Noghu places one stone ascance to remember a secret exit in case he needs to flee from the inside later.
My sneer turns into a scowl. Sorceress. And a snake, too. I lift my spear and rest it on my lap. I continue to watch the scaley vermin, slowly tear pieces off my dried meat, and pop them into my mouth. Ain't nobody gonna get the jump on me no how.
[1d10+3] Angry watchingRoll #1 10 + 3 = 13
"Someone there?" the pony calls out. She's a mare, albeit a surprisingly large one. No response, obviously.
"…Well, if there is, I'm not looking for trouble." She seems to dismiss the sound, and resumes her place by the fireside. "…Stupid," she mumbles to herself as she spoons out a bowl of stew. She seems to raise it in a slight toast, as if she were sharing the camp with someone else, then starts chowing it down thoughtfully.
After a bit, you see the saurian from before approaching, followed by an ethereal mummy.>>723555
You slither up to the temple with your minion in tow. The great double doors loom over you ominously. To your left is the campfire you spotted earlier. The lone occupant, a large pony in hooded rags, is frozen in place as you appear, staring out at you suspiciously.>>723556
You do just so. You are suddenly aware that the snake creature you've been following seems to have moved on.>>723557
As you watch, she and her thrall keep moving up towards the temple entrance. Seems she's intent on entering once it opens at dawn.
Perturbed, Noghu tries digging up, only to be blocked by the stone steps of the temple. Upset by annoying stone creations of the lesser species, Noghu is spends his time digging for voles and warrens, waiting till the snake moves on from her safe place.
[1d10] underground huntingRoll #1 1 = 1
I grumble. Snake probably got some freaky magic what makes it invisible or walk through walls or something. It might not get the jump on me, but what if it gets the rock first? Maybe I should just nip this in the bud right now. Instead, I just sit there, tighten my grip on my spear, and continue watching her. After a minute I pull out my wineskin, take a short pull from my clear shine, and re-cork it, keeping a sideways eye on her the whole time. The strong liquor sends a shiver through my whole body and warms me more than the fire ever could. I toss the last of my meat in my mouth and grumble a little more.
[1d10+3] More angry watchingRoll #1 4 + 3 = 7
Making her way to the door, she spots the ragged pony, frozen in place nearby.
Presuming them to be frozen in fear, she chuckles wickedly. "Ssteady yourself, pony. Your terror iss appreciated, but it iss not yet your time. I am here merely to wait."
Kalidan watches carefully. The mare appears distracted. The serpent has been seen. By their reactions, it seems they do not know each other. This may prove interesting.
There being no reason to leave his perch, Kalidan ever-so-slowly takes another bite, watching ear-perked curious. His long black tail dangles down, the end twitching every so often.
Keeping Monches Quiet [1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 5 = 5
You chip your claw a little as you hit stone. Moving on, you don't find much in the surrounding soil, save for a few stray worms or tubers. You find yourself inadvertently digging very close to the surface.>>723560
She seems to be speaking to someone out of sight, presumably whoever's occupying the campfire.>>723561
She gives you a suspicious look. "I'm guessing we're both here for the same thing." Her eyes flit from you to the silent wraith that follows you, then back to you. "No other reason to come to this forsaken place." She's not really asking. >>723563
You feel a slight rumbling beneath you, like something shifting underground. The mare seems to feel it too, looking down briefly before continuing to fix you with her hard stare. You also think you see one of the leaves in a nearby tree swaying strangely, but it's probably just the wind.>>723562
You watch as the two meet. Seems the mare is suspicious of anyone who comes to this place. You can only assume she doesn't intend on sharing the treasure with anyone.
Upset by multiple pains, Noghu digs out his own burrow and curls up, believing the snake to be resting here for the night anyways.
>Ready for dawn, will be waked by large enough squabble happening above.
Jealous of the treasure, eh? That's just fine. Kalidan can work with that. The beginnings of a smile twitch at the edge of his feline lips.
He continues to watch. The mummy in particular has some dangly bandages that are of particular seeming importance, dragging along the ground tantalizingly. He becomes slightly hypnotized watching their dance as the ethereal corpse-figure lumbers haphazardly behind the serpent.
Slowly, unthinkingly, he begins to inch himself down the tree and into the brush, intent on perhaps catching said dangly bits twitching so tantalizingly across the ground.
Stealth [1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
She laughs again, a raspy sound like dry wood brushing together. "Correct."
"The power of the gem will prove a mosst useful tool in-"
Feeling the earth move beneath her, she looks down at the stone, flicking out her tongue in confusion.
"..in my planss." she finishes, the wind effectively knocked out of her sails. "Just what iss going on here.."
H'm. Guess it's meeting whoever's at that camp. Well, don't guess it matters. Something happens I can probly deal with it. I decide to pass some time before bed by pulling out my jaw harp and twanging out a little jig.
[1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
You inch down from the tree, but slip and miss your footing. You manage to twist around and land on all fours elegantly, but the gig is up. Both the saurian and the pony have seen you.>>723567
Before she can say anything, you hear a loud rustling sound from the tree, and a felid falls out and lands in front of you, presumably saving face.>>723566>>723567
Startled, the pony wastes no time in seizing her axe, holding it to the felid's head in a swift motion. Her eyes dart from him to the saurian. "How many of you are there?" she demands. "Are you following me? Touch me, and you're going to lose limbs.">>723565
There seems to be a bit of an altercation happening above, preventing you from sleeping. Things seem to be going a bit wary.>>723568
You noodle on the harp a bit, but your attention is drawn by the voices coming from the top of the steps, causing you to lose concentration and play a flat, twangy mess. Seems there's at least three up there.>>723567>>723566>>723565
You can hear an odd buzzing sort of sound coming from further down the way, near the bottom of the steps. Seems like someone's attempt at playing music. The pony is distracted momentarily by it, but focuses her attention on the saurian and the felid newcomer.
Before attempting to surface, Noghu tries to get a feel for the amount of people above him, centering himself underneath the entrance to the temple.
[1d10] percepRoll #1 6 = 6
Slinking back with a hiss, vajra draws her ritual dagger, tail rattling as her minion stirs to life, placing itself between the felid and her.
"Sssands take you! You nearly ssent me to the dead realm, explain yoursself!" she hisses, her pomp replaced with jittery fright.
Kalidan stares at the serpent and the pony, wide-eyed with a look like he was caught with his paw in the cookie jar.
For a moment he considers flight, casting a quick glance behind him to judge potential egresses. Looking back to the treasure hunters, he stands slowly, smoothing his mane with a humble gesture of amusement, grinning sheepishly at the pair, the mummy and its tempting appendages temporarily forgotten.
"Ladies." His low voice smoothly carries over the sound of dusk wilderness.
Meant To Do That [1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
I grumble again and raise my fist, shaking it at the group. "Y'all quiet down up there!" I yell. My rumbling, gravely voice booms across the cliffside. "Can't focus," I mumble. Some of us are trying to make music. I take a deep breath, pop my harp back in my mouth, and get back'a twangin'.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
Glaring, she flicks her tongue out for a moment, then sheaths her dagger.
"Sskulking tree fiend.. You musst be one of the sscents nearby."
"You're likely to be bit if you sstartle a snake, you know."
The large black and gray cat in the worn gambeson, seeing the snake stow her weapon, closes his eyes smiling with his palms upward in a gesture of apologetic dismissal.
"Worse things than having a beautiful creature sink their teeth into you." He winks roguishly at Vajra, then turns to the mare with the axe wielded so closely.
"You mind?" He puts a single digit against the blade and slowly pushes it away from him, then grins.
Feels like three at least. Perhaps even four. From what you can glean, they're distracted at the moment, bickering amongst themselves.>>723572>>723575
The only response you get is a blade pressed to your throat, and a nick on your finger. "Were you spying on me?" the pony hisses. "You working for them?">>723573
You're not sure whether your shouting fell on deaf ears or not. Whatever the case, you get back to playing, churning out a lively boogie melody.>>723571>>723572
Yet another distraction comes in the form of a loud voice shouting indistinctly on the wind. Seems to be coming from the direction of the music, which promptly resumes after a bit. "What is this?" the mare barks irritatedly, still on edge.
Staggered by the change in tone, Vajra looks away quickly, aggressively rattling her tail in response.>>723576
"I have no part in thisss." the saurian replies with a groan. "To think sso many arrived to claim the gem.." she grumbles, scratching her jaw in thought.
Hearing the distant music, Kalidan's ears point toward the source. "Not a bad rhythm," he murmurs to himself under his breath.
The cat blinks at the pony, all friendly confusion. "Insistent, aren't you? No need to be like that. We're all here for the same reason, yeah?"
Turning from snake to mummy to pony, he appeals to the group as a whole. "Look, you… three," he hesitantly includes the vacant corpse minion. "We can all help each other. I'm not even sure what this place is, but if we share information, we may get a more complete picture of what's going on."
Assuming the axeblade is still not uncomfortably close to his neck, he introduces himself. "Kaliban, of Abyssinia," he states, tapping his closed paw to his chest, then tilting his head and looking to his new comrades expectantly.
With the group quieting down a bit I let myself get a little more into my playing, tapping my hoof to the beat.
[1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
Not liking his odds, Noghu once again is content on waiting out the noise, waiting for others to sleep before inspecting back above ground.
The mare seems wary still, but relents, bringing her axe away from Kalidan's throat. Slowly, she puts down the weapon, deciding to trust you, for now. "Kothbiro," she introduces herself as, and pulls off the hood. She's not a pony at all, but a zebra. She has deep blue eyes, and her mane is cut very short. >>723579
You keep playing. The melody rings out loudly across the cliffside, in harsh contrast to the crashing waves below. Despite your solitude, you do not feel lonely. …In fact, you can't shake the feeling you're not alone at all.>roll Perception>>723580
The others seem to have made some peace, and are introducing themselves. You hear the names Kothbiro and Kalidan used. You hear faint music coming from further away.
she pauses, flicking her tongue out again.
"I am Vajra, ssorceress of Abysssinia. There were four creaturess nearby, perhapss waiting for the ssolstice as well."
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
You see a group of at least three individuals of unknown race, silhouetted on a nearby hill. Accompanied by a wagon, they seem to be starting a campfire of their own, keeping watch over the temple for the night. You get the feeling they know you're there, but they don't seem to be making an attempt to engage.
"Four?" Kothbiro parrots. "You and the cat, plus the musician down there… But where's the fourth?…" She suddenly remembers the slight tremor from before, and stamps her hoof on the ground, looking down at the dirt to gauge a reaction.>>723580
You feel a thud
from up above. It seems like they're onto you.
Kalidan, warming to this zebra (who might try to kill him), offers his paw in a friendly gesture of peace. His own deep blue eyes meet hers. "Kothbiro. Nice to meet you." A hint of amusement and maybe something else flash across his face for a moment they share.>>723582
"Vajra," he offers his paw, then laughs. "Abyssinia is a long way away, my dear! I have known others of your kind, but that was a long time ago, in a desert far far away." He gazes at her warmly. "It brings to mind thoughts of home."
Turning his ear again toward the sound of music on the wind, he cocks his head at his new comrades-in-arms. "Do you hear that, or am I losing it? If we're all getting friendly, the more the merrier, right?" His eyes dart back and forth between the two sapient creatures present.
She reluctantly shakes your hand. You get the feeling she wants as little to do with any of you as possible.
She looks towards the source of the music with a furrowed brow. "I'd rather not," she replies, without elaborating. It seems like she wants to avoid attention by any means.
The saurian hesitates, before returning a smile, taking his paw with her claws. "Yess, quite a wayss away, but a ssmall price to pay for the treassure of the temple." she replies with a chuckle.>>723587
"Given the Musician'ss presence we may not have a choice. No doubt he iss here for the temple too."
"Four?" The large black cat, wearing a curious look on his feline face, watches the threatening mare stamp at the ground. "Does that help flood them out?">>723847
Kalidan chuckles mirthlessly. "Look, we have only a few options, as far as I see. We can fight, we can end up joining forces – tentatively – or we can pretend other treasure hunters aren't there and let them follow us, with the added benefit of a possible surprise attack. I know which I would choose," the cat says, making himself comfortable on a flat rock near the campfire and crossing his legs comfortably.
"Let's all play nice for now. I don't want someone thinking they can sneak up on me." He displays an impressive grange of sharp teeth. "It might not go well for them."
Noghu grimaces as dirt falls on his head, squinting his eyes shut as he remains patient and waiting the situation out.
I grunt, take another swig of my shine, put it away for the night, and get back to twangin' away, stomping my hoof with the beat. 'Long as they don't bother me no sense in bothering them.
[1d10]Boing boing boingRoll #1 3 = 3
how silver is my feline tongue[1d10]
Roll #1 4 = 4
[1d10] PersuasionRoll #1 6 = 6
Nothing seems to happen when she stamps the ground. Kothbiro still seems suspicious, but stops doing so, for now. "Thought I felt something before.">>723847>>723856>>723864>>723868
She crosses her forelegs defensively, but gives a stiff little nod. "Fine. But if any of you cross me, heads will roll." She trails behind you with trepidation as you investigate the source of the music.
The source, as it turns out, is a huge, shaggy minotaur in furs, sitting by a firepit of his own. Kothbiro hangs back warily, leaving you to make the introductions as she assesses the area.>>723857
Seems whoever was thumping above has stopped. They seem to suspect your presence. A minute or so later, however, you feel them starting to leave, heading back the way they came to explore something else.>>723861
You keep playing, to somewhat limited effect. It seems to have attracted the attention of the trio up on the hill; as you finish, you hear a few notes of a melody coming from their direction, played on a string instrument of some sort, as if challenging you to play along.
You hear footsteps coming from the stone steps of the temple, and you get the strong feeling you're being watched.
"Hmm.. very well. Disspatching each other so ssoon to the temple'ss opening would rissk exhaustion. If only to face whatever may be insside, i will join thiss alliance."
The cat beams his predator's grin. "That's the spirit. Let's not go killing each other before it's time." His eyes linger on the serpent's frame for a long moment, something either threatening or enticing in his emote.>>723870
Kalidan hops up to join the group as they wander down to the unknown source of music. Seeing a shaggy minotaur with his defenses down, and realizing his cover is already pretty much blown, he goes the straightforward route.
"Ho there!" He greets the beast from a far enough distance as to not be taken threateningly, then closes in slowly. "Friend! I cannot help but notice your skillful tune. I, too, am somewhat of a musician." All smiles and slow movements, he pulls a handmade wooden flute from somewhere near his belt, shows it for inspection, then raises to his lips to play a short illustrative melody for the group.
I Swear I Know How To Play This Thing[1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
Still cautious, Noghu stays in place… cackling softly again.
'Too many.. Wait for sleep.
Following behind Kalidan, Vajra keeps watch on the minotaur, her mummified minion floating nearby.
As I hear someone approaching, I drop my jaw harp and eyeball hoever it is. Some cat? Don't look too threatnin'. i grumble, grunt again, and give the kitty cat a small greeting nod. I cock an eyebrow when he pulls out some kind of pipe and gives it a toot.
My spear still on my lap, I lift my instrument, brush my shaggy beard down so it's not in the way, and twang back.
[1d10]I also know how to play this thingRoll #1 8 = 8
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 5 = 5
One of my ears flick as I hear the sound of some string instrument. Someone else wanting to play all the way out here? Seems kinda odd, but I guess if they ain't attackin' I may as well shoot some notes back. I start and then I hear the felid.
Roll #1 7 = 7
You both play a rollicking, upbeat tune, going back and forth trading musical phrases as if you were clashing swords. By the time you're done you feel like you understand each other on some level.>>723886
The cat is not alone; with him is a lithe snake-like saurian, and a tall, well-built zebra. The latter seems to be hanging back warily.>>723887>>723889
You notice at least three others up on a nearby hill, making a camp of their own as night falls. They're too far away to get a good look at them, but given you're out in the middle of nowhere, they can only be here for one thing. Kothbiro notices them as well, freezing in place and scowling a little. Their presence seems to make her uncomfortable.
My breathing is a little heavy after the song, but I set my spear down beside me, pull myself to my hooves, and hold my hand out to the felid. My voice is a hoarse, seldom used rumble as I say, "Howdy." I look around at the rest of the group and then up to the group on the hill. "Guess y'all're here for the rock too."
The saurian glares towards the camp further away, making note of the position before focusing on the Minotaur in front of her.>>723893
"'Rock'?" scoffs the snake "The Heart of the ssun iss more than a ssimple stone. By all countss, it iss a powerful artifact indeed, with sso much here to protect it."
I turn my eyes to the creepy magic snake, stare at her for a second, and finally step back and sit back down. "Rocks a rock."
Kalidan, also a bit winded, gives the bushy bull-headed beast a warm smile at the end of their impromptu jam sesh. The felid nearly pounces at the offer of a handshake, wrapping his huge furry claw around the Minotaur's hefty appendage.
"That was awesome. You're really good," the cat affirms, nodding. "What do you call that instrument?"
"The rock?…" Kalidan blinks for a few moments before he remembers exactly what he is here for. "Oh. I was looking for something I only know as "the heart of the sun" or something lame. I guess it's just a stone? Doesn't matter to me, really.">>723890
Looking to the other camp on the hill, Kalidan gives a bit of a shudder.
"Should we try to make friends with everyone? After all, we don't know if they're going to attack us later. Best to at least know your enemy."
Turning to the others and sizing them up, he realizes he needs to add something here. "Also, if they're working as a group, it might be beneficial for us to at least form some temporary pact. You know; so we don't get outnumbered."
The short maned zebra nods, tearing her eyes away from the trio on the hill. "I thought there'd be a larger turnout," she shrugs. She doesn't seem to want to be here, but makes the best of it, extending her hoof. "Kothbiro. Only met this lot just now. Seems we're going to be exploring the temple as a group. …Don't suppose you'd want to join in.">>723900
Kothbiro blinks. "News to me. Far as I know, it's just a really valuable gem. Never been one for magic myself." She eyeballs your mummified minion uneasily.>>723904
Kothbiro shakes her head. "I know them. They're not here to make friends. Best leave them be, I say."
The cat finds a comfortable spot near the minotaur's campfire and settles in. "Names Kalidan. Don't need to share your supplies, didn't bring enough for me to share mine. But light of a fire and a fellow musician might be nice to spend the night near. Not to mention, safety in numbers." He does his best to act as though he means that last bit as he positions himself to keep an eye on all present parties, as well as the foreign campfire on the hill.
Eventually, the cat pulls out his flute and noodles on it quietly, one ear perked toward any other activity, wiling away the night, wary of surprise attacks and waiting for dawn.
((ready for timeskip))
I look down at my fire and hum, pulling my spear back into my lap. I suppose I haven't been in many of these temple things, and it wouldn't be all that great if I had to deal with more folks alone. 'Specially they decided it was worth it to attack me. After musing on it for a moment I look up at the zebra, hold my hand out, nod, and grunt.
(Ready for timeskip)
"Hmm true, the gem itsself musst be worth a fortune, but a jewel like it could make for an excellent catalysst."
Perhaps emulating Kalidan, Vajra coils herself up near the fire as well, her minion facing towards the mysterious camp in vigil.
"Until i can examine it, it iss a mysstery. We will see jusst what it can do in time."
Noghu waits till the night to emerge, taking a good look at those camping while skulking far enough away from the fire light. When spotted, he does little to hide himself, only standing still and staring.
(ready for timeskip)
As you all camp together and get better acquainted, Kothbiro keeps an eye on the other adventurers on the hill. When it comes to sleeping, she excuses herself, and returns to her own camp.>>723913
When night falls, and everyone is asleep, you emerge to examine the strangers out of curiosity. Apart from the serpentine one, you spot a large, shaggy minotaur, a tough looking zebra, and a black long haired Felid. Seems they've made some sort of alliance.>>723910>>723911>>723912>>723913
The following morning, you are awoken by the loud, grating sound of stone scraping stone as the temple opens. It is barely light out; the first slivers of sunlight are barely on the horizon, and the cries of foreign birds can be heard in the surrounding trees. If you move quickly enough, you would be able to see the doors opening of their own volition, inviting prospective treasure hunters to test their mettle within. Kothbiro is already up and about, gathering torches and having breakfast, which consists of a few foreign fruits. She looks back briefly to see who will follow before wordlessly heading inside.
I'm already awake before first light and have had a breakfast of more dried meat and hardtack. While not the best meal, it serves its purpose. I gather up my supplies, throw dirt over the embers, and wait. When the gate starts opening I stand back up and make my way toward the temple.
Kalidan sleeps lightly, having prepared everything for early action. At the barest light of dawn, he takes his pack and creeps from his resting place, not bothering to check if his compatriots arise. He makes his way silently into the temple behind Kothbiro, not announcing his presence but not actually putting himself into hiding as he slinks along one wall through the giant stone doorway.
Before entering, he casts a long glance toward the other encampment, wondering whether they were leading or following the unknown group.
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
Waking from an uneventful night, Vajra summons her minion to her from it's watchful position, making her way back up the stairs and into the temple proper.
"Hmm.. Let us ssee what thiss temple has to offer."
Having tunneled back underground, Noghu goes to test the wall he had broken into earlier to see if the enchantment still stands.
You look up towards the other campsite, only to find it abandoned already. The fire's been snuffed out and the tents taken down, as if they were never there.>>723919>>723921>>723923
The entrance hall of the temple is an archaeologist's worst nightmare. It seems to have been ransacked many times by prospective treasure hunters on other occasions when the temple has opened. Great monuments from some forgotten civilization have been smashed to rubble, many valuable ornaments pillaged. What does remain are two great statues flanking the entrance, depicting a pair of lizard saurians, their right hands outstretched upwards as if reaching to the skies. The pillars of the room that are still standing are decorated with knot-like patterns running all the way up to the ceiling. Looking back, you see a carved message left by an intruder as graffiti; it is too gloomy to read without examining closer.
Kothbiro looks troubled by this, looking back and seeing you tailing her. She digs around and passes you each a torch, lighting them with a pair of sharp black rocks she strikes together. "Not much to look at, is it," she comments.
Past the main hall, you can see a set of branching, winding corridors, which slope steadily downwards:
The leftmost corridor is lined with engravings depicting the same two saurians. It leads into a large, circular chamber, which seems to have multiple levels to it.
The rightmost corridor is wider, and has what look like coffins lining the walls, some of which have been smashed open before. Part of the wall seems to have broken further in. While this doesn't prevent you from traveling this way, it would be difficult to clear the rubble, and, more importantly, it blocks your view of whatever lies beyond.>>723924
You burrow through your tunnel and try to move through the gap. It seems you may enter the temple now; at least, it isn't burning your hand off anymore. It is too dark to be able to see what lies beyond, but you could wriggle your way through the opening and take a look.
I take the torch and slowly walk into the temple, ignoring the writing completely. Stopping at the left corridor, I crouch down and check for traps.
[1d10+3]Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8
Audibly scratching through the temple hall as she slinks forward, Vajra takes the torch with a nod, before using it to Examine the graffiti along the wall.
"What a terrible messs.. Time has not been kind to thiss place."
Noghu pulls his way through, replacing the bricks haphazardly, feeling his way around the walls to see if there is a column to hide behind as he waits for others to enter.
Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7
The cat accepts the torch graciously and takes up a place in the group, preferring to stick near the back.
Kalidan picks his way among the crumbled masonry carefully, keeping an eye out for threats. He suspects looking for loot this close to the surface is pointless, so he keeps his attention purely on any living beings besides his compatriots.
Keeping Eyes Open [1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 9 = 9
You survey the corridor. Sure enough, there's a pressure plate set into the floor. Looking around for what it may trigger, you see a few small holes in the wall and ceiling. Either spikes or arrows, doubtless. Kothbiro notices the same thing. "They really didn't want anyone getting in here, did they.">>723934>>723940
You notice they're not words at all, but tallies, progressively getting fainter until they just stop. There must be at least 10. Nearby is a lone pony skeleton in tattered, rotted rags, with a broken legbone, feebly clutching a long rusted shortsword. Kothbiro looks disturbed at the sight, but doesn't voice her thoughts on this grim scene.>>723935
You wriggle in through the gap, your eyes adjusting to the overwhelming darkness. You see silhouettes of statues in the dark, and crouch behind one, blending in with the shadows. From not too far above, you can hear footsteps and familiar voices.>roll Perception>>723939
You swear you see one of the coffins move slightly. Luckily, you're not going down that path. You follow Thungr down the left path, avoiding the pressure plate trap he located, until you get to the room beyond.>>723931>>723934>>723939
The adjacent room connected to the lefthand corridor is even bigger than the one you were just in. What catches your attention is the ceiling. Though it has faded over the centuries, the intent is still clear; it is made as a replica of the night sky, painted in black with white spots representing the moon and stars, all in the exact spot they would be. Kothbiro seems impressed. "Wow. Can't imagine how long this would've taken to make."
You exit the corridor onto a stone platform. A flight of stairs leads to the main circular room, where can see a few bones strewn about. They look like they belonged to adventurers at some point, from the battered gear some can be found near. Four life size saurian statues flank a gate leading to a connecting room. The gate is sealed shut, however, and the means to open it are unclear. The statues are all facing the gate, their arms by their sides.
There are also four closed stone doors in the room. What lies beyond each door is unclear. The doors do seem to open, however, unlike the main entrance.
Kothbiro takes it on herself to start investigating the four statues, looking them over for anything of interest.
Noghu lurks, trying to adjust his eyes quickly as if he was tunneling.
[1d10] percepRoll #1 9 = 9
Not surprised. I suppose if it's something worth taking it's something worth protecting. I avoid the pressure plates without any trouble and make my way into the large room. I look around at the skeletons. Well, whoever died in here has been here a while. Either they got locked in or were killed by something that's probably already dead. I briefly glance up at the ceiling before taking a quick glance around the room to be sure there aren't more traps, head over to the statues, and look them over along with the zebra.
[1d10+3]Roll #1 10 + 3 = 13
Kalidan gives a long stare to the coffin that moved by itself. He prods Thungr to point it out. "Not a good sign, that. Best case scenario, the dead are coming back to life. Worst case, it's the living. I would stay on your guard," he advises, loud enough for Vajra and Kothbiro to hear his warning.
Kalidan, knowing more than a little of the night sky, examines the ceiling for realism and location. If it is in fact an accurate starmap, he reckons, it should be possible to guess an approximate distance from his homeland, where he spent many nights staring up at the celestial spectacle.
Navigation [1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
Following the trio down the left corridor and into the larger room, Vajra approaches one of the stone doors, examining the surface for some means to open it.
"Perhapss the gate can be opened through a door.."Roll #1 6 = 6
You hear the slow grinding of stone. In the gloom, you think you see one of the statues turning its head to face you, spinning all the way around like an owl. The statue is of a saurian, lizard-like, larger than it would be in reality.
It's not your imagination. Each of its body parts individually spin around, turning to face you impassively. The slow thudding of stone on stone rings out as it starts menacingly trudging towards you.>roll Perception again in addition to whatever else you do>>723949
These don't seem like mere statues upon closer inspection. A thorough look over reveals something interesting: they are cut at the shoulders, neck, hips, knees, elbows, and other joints, as if designed to be articulated and moved by some mechanism. Kothbiro, on noticing this, tries to move its arm herself, but it's too heavy to. "Hmm… Maybe they're meant to be put in a certain pose?" she suggests.>>723952
"Let's hope it's the former," Kothbiro replies darkly. "I'd rather deal with walking bones than other looters."
The stars don't look familiar to you at all. You're a very long way from home right now.>>723953
With a bit of effort, the stone door opens, revealing a small antechamber. There is a rather complex mechanism in place here, a series of rusted iron levers with multiple tracks upon which they can be moved. It seems to operate something, but what is unclear. Inspection of the other three doors reveals similar setups. Two of the rooms have urns in them, but a preliminary inspection reveals nothing within but ashes, though there could be more if searched.
"Agreed," the cat responds to Kothbiro.
Kalidan watches Vajra open several of the doors and begin to puzzle out the contents. Cautiously, he dips a paw into one of the ash-filled urns, sifting through them in order to try to find anything worth value, or attention.
Do You Even Sift, Bro [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
>>723955>Lucky Dog: passive; Every dog has its day, and you have yours frequently. Your first turn in combat enjoys a higher chance to be critical, giving your actions Critrange -2 (i.e. An action that Crits on 10 now crits on 8+).
[1d10] Perception (Crit DC-2)
Snarling, Noghu readies spear, watching the strange stone lizard turning to face him and approach him.
He cackles menacingly [1d10] (Crit DC-2), the sound echoing in the dark room as he throws a bola [1d10] (DC-1, Crit DC-2) at the golem's feet, attempting to halt its approach.
> Word of Power: Use a mix of authority and your own personal methods to extract information from a target that you would not normally get from basic means. In combat you can force an enemy to miss their next attack. On Crit you render the target helpless.
>Bola; instant, recharge 2, weapon, ranged: Throws a bola to temporarily disable a target. Bola does no damage, but on hit interrupts the target's current action and prevents movement, requiring them to break free of the binds that turn. On crit, it also sends the target helpless without dealing a wound of damage.Roll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 4 = 4
/ Roll #3 2 = 2
Thungr hums, runs his hand along his beard, and nods. Looking around the room, he notes the four other doors. "Don't think there'd be clues in any'a them other no doubt trapped and dangerous rooms, do ya?"
"Hmm, perhapss.. ssimply moving leverss around is unwisse, for now. Let uss exhaust our optionss before continuing."
Making note of the levers here, Vajra returns to the main room to look down the right corridor.
You rummage through the ash and crumbling bones, finding some long-forgotten sentimental offerings at the very bottom!>+20 gold pieces>>723959
There seems to be writing of some sort etched into the stone sentinel's forehead, but it is too dark to make out.
Your intimidating cackling has little effect on the mindless automaton, while your bola merely bounce right off its stone surface.
Its petrified fingers crack and crumble as it curls its hand into a fist, swinging at you with a haymaker!
She nods and cautiously approaches one of the stone doors, pushing it gently open and slipping into the room. It is cramped, and appears to hold an intricate mechanism of levers on stone groove tracks, as if meant to operate something. This particular room has a set of burial urns lining the rightmost wall.>>724391
The rightmost corridor is blocked by rubble, making it difficult to see whatever lies beyond. The walls of this corridor are lined with coffins, many of which have been smashed open by looters; others, rather disturbingly, appear to have been clawed open from the inside. These are invariably empty.
As you examine what you can see of this corridor, you hear an eerie, spine-chilling cackle as if of some feral beast echoing through the damp dungeon walls, coming from whatever lies beyond the debris.Roll #1 5 = 5
Continuing to giggle quietly with discomfort, Noghu takes the butt of his spear and smashes it against the creature's side, striking with the same force he uses to dig through the earth.
Shatter: recharge 2, weapon; Breaks the target's defenses to open them up for attack. Deals damage and increases the Crit Range for all attacks against them by 2 for two rounds. Can be used against inanimate objects or armor to break and damage them efficiently.
[1d10] DC-1, used against an inanimate target.Roll #1 8 = 8
Scowling at the rubble, she pauses, tasting the air with her tongue as the cackling echoes off the corridor.
With the rubble blocking her path, she retreats to the left chamber, to reexamine the room mechanism.Roll #1 6 = 6
Kalidan grins to himself, pocketing the loose gil (still covered in the remains of someone's loved one) in his well-worn gambeson.
He follows the snake lady. Noting the coffins that have been clawed open from inside, he tuts. "I knew it." He looks to the rest of the ragtag little group. "Y'all ready to smash open a skelly or ten?"
He follows Vajra into the antechamber, checking out the other unlooted urns, hoping to pocket more pocket change.
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
"It sseems the dead are resstless here, yess." she aggrees. "Do try to ssave the bones from breaking too badly, i may have usse for them."
You duck and easily dodge the slow, methodical swing. Seeing a brief opening, you slam the ancient stone with the blunt end of the spear, cracking the side of the guardian. Bits of debris fall off it, but it doesn't seem concerned by this. It swings at you with its off hand in a backhand slam!
It seems there's another traveler further in. How they managed to bypass you is beyond you. Whoever they are, they appear to be warm blooded, and rather large.
You return to the lever mechanism. Each of the four rooms seems to have one. There's no hints immediately visible as to what they are intended for.>>724488
You find a token left in one of the other urns. It's a small, cracked emerald, not much bigger than your claw. It's flawed, and probably not worth much more than pocket change, but it's something.>>724487>>724488
You see Kothbiro in the far right room inspecting the levers. Tentatively, she fiddles with the complex mechanism. With a slow, methodical grinding, one of the four statues in the main room begins to move. Through a miracle of rope-and-pulley engineering, these statues seem to be able to pose via the levers, though they are fixed in place. She is a little startled, but when it becomes clear they are no threat, she begins to think. "Hmm… Seems we have to find the right pose for them…"
She leaves the antechamber, beginning to look about for clues, wracking her brains.Roll #1 7 = 7
Kalidan's grin widens as he pockets the gem. Looks like this venture has already paid off.
The large cat, not easily impressed, instinctively reaches out and pulls one of the levers. "What's this all about, then?"
entering one of the mechanism chambers, Vajra tests the pully system inside, to see which lever controls what movement.
"Interessting.. perhapss we could try to match the sstatue'ss posess."
I meander over to the door with her and cross my arms as look around at the room. "Dern puzzles," I grumble. "Couldn't just kill somethin'. Gotta make me go tiptoing and pussyfooting around." Without spending too long on the leavers, I walk over to the urns to get a better look, keeping an eye out for traps.
[1d10+3]Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12
Having created an opening, Noghu again throws a bola and jabs his spear in the cracked area.
[1d10] DC-1, Crit on 8
Bola; instant, recharge 2, weapon, ranged: Throws a bola to temporarily disable a target. Bola does no damage, but on hit interrupts the target's current action and prevents movement, requiring them to break free of the binds that turn. On crit, it also sends the target helpless without dealing a wound of damage.
[1d10] DC-1 Crit 8 basic attackRoll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
The urns appear to be just that. They are made of blasted clay, once painted in vibrant colors, but the inexorable march of time has faded them to muted shades of grey. Within, you find an odd artifact: an old bronze effigy of a bull, covered in bluish green patina, roughly the size of your hand. The eyes are inset with onyx gems. It seems like quite a valuable artifact!
I let out a quiet, "Huh," and put the artifact away for now. Seeing nothing else interesting, I return to the leavers. "Think we should just go pullin'em willy nilly?" I step up to them and squint to get a better look.
[1d10+3]Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12
As you operate the levers, two of the other statues begin to move. You soon find that it is only the arms and the head that are poseable: the head can rotate 360 degrees, as can the arms, elbows and wrists. The elbows are also hinged. The range is rather limited. Kothbiro nods in response to Vajra. "That'd be my guess too. Question is, what pose."
She keeps searching the area, trying to find some sort of hint.
Your spear bounces off its stony surface. This time, however, your bola is effective, and stops the statue in its tracks momentarily, entangling it.
The statue tries to tear away its bindings.
Upon close inspection, there appears to be something painted on the wall of one of the chambers, though it is so faded by age that you mistook it for just weathering at first. It depicts four saurians posing like the statues at the entrance of the temple, their left arms extended with the palms facing upwards, and their heads turned left. They seem to be reaching to the sun.Roll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
I watch the statues as I move one of the leavers at random.
Noghu strikes again, taking advantage of the opportunity and snarling as he flanks the tangled statue and stabs at it's back.
[1d10] DC-1Roll #1 2 = 2
Kalidan plays with the lever a bit, noticing that the statues seem to respond to his input. He hums a small song to himself as he tries to make the statues dance to his own internal rhythm.
Losing interest, he digs around anything else that looks steal-able.
Loot [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
Tinkering with the statues, Vajra alternates between adjusting the levers and peeking out of the door to see the statue's status.
"Have we found anything?" she calls out from the room. "Perhapss a depiction?"
I look away from the statue and toward the snake. Right. There were other folks trying to figure it out too. "H'm?" I point to the faded images. "Think them pictures are how they should be? With their arms up."
You fiddle with a lever. One of the statues begins to move, extending both of its arms forward fully like some bizarre zombie.>>724499
The back is made of solid stone, and your spear glances off, creating violent sparks.>>724500
You find a long forgotten ceramic jar in a corner. Prying it open, you find little but a foul stench, and black stains of something within long rotted. Some things are best left unknown.>>724501
You bring both statue arms up fully, putting it in a sort of H pose.
Kothbiro returns. "There's those big statues in the first room. Maybe if we copy their pose, the gate will open?"
"Ah, an exccellent idea!"
with renewed vigor, Vajra manipulates the statue into the shape of the entrance pose, slithering into the entrance room on occasion to double check her work.
I deadpan, grunt, and step out of the room and into the main one, already ready to go into the next and get this over with.
The statue keeps struggling with the bola.
[1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
Not in the position to strike its weak point, Noghu disregards the spear and goes to shove the statue over.
[1d10] unarmedRoll #1 10 = 10
Kalidan waves a paw before his nose, trying to extricate the stench. Gross.
Looking at Kothbiro, acknowledging her input, he states, "I think that if the makers of the temple were trying to make a puzzle, this is beyond ridiculous. Why would they make it something just anyone would guess? Maybe they are making it such that the uncommon guesses are the answer. Who are they trying to keep out, here? Who are these puzzles meant for?"
In expose, he jabs at a lever carelessly.
"It does seem obvious, doesn't it. Maybe the hard part isn't getting in, but getting out," she muses ominously.>>724504>>724502>>724505>>724509
Kothbiro crosses her forelegs as Thungr shares his findings. "Well, it's worth a shot, I suppose. Let's see now…"
Vajra, Kothbiro and Kalidan proceed to move the levers around, getting each statue into the correct position. As each one falls into place, you hear a tremendous grinding and rattling as the gate at the back of the room slowly opens.
Beyond lie three more branching paths.
The leftmost room seems to have once been a dead end, but the wall has been broken down by other prospective treasure hunters in the past, opening into a natural cave formation which was repurposed by the architects of this place. You can smell mold, and hear the faint sound of running water.
The centermost path slopes sharply downwards, leading into the bowels of the temple. It seems to be a one way trip. The walls leading to this narrow slope are lined with depictions of snarling, grotesque faces.
The rightmost path leads to a dark room. Something seems to be scuffling about in here. It almost sounds like a fight breaking out.
In addition, you think you can hear voices coming from behind, from near the entrance. Seems like you aren't the only treasure hunters anymore. Kothbiro looks uncomfortable at this. "Let's just pick one and keep moving," she says tersely.>>724508
You shoulder slam the statue, knocking it off balance. It teeters awkwardly for a moment before falling over, crumbling into pieces and falling inert. Your foe has been vanquished!
The perils of this place never seem to end, however. You can hear voices coming from nearby, though it is too dark to see much yet. In the stifling gloom, you can make out two paths available:
The corridor ahead slopes upwards. You can see a faint flicker of light coming from the end, where the path turns abruptly left.
The corridor behind seems to open into a large chamber. You can't see much of it in the blackness.
Noghu lurks into the murky darkness of the chamber, using it once again to lurk and hide.
[1d10+2] LurkRoll #1 8 + 2 = 10
"Ah, sso the path ssplits again.. The path further down iss quite ssteep, would it do uss well to invesstigate the cave firsst?"
I heas toward the righmost path without saying anything. As I step through the open door, I keep an eye out for traps and keep my spear at the ready.
[1d10+3]TrapsweeperRoll #1 2 + 3 = 5
Kalidan notices the two paths on either side ending. He realizes the center, although leading to an unknown path, does not end prematurely, and so takes it, slipping his body down the the pathway which allows for him to transform into another world.
having been thoroughly ignored, the saurian slithers after Kalidan with a huff. "Sss.. fine! ignore me then, center it is."
You head deeper into the darkness, running one hand along the wall, making as little noise as possible as you move. The mossy stone walls open up into a large, open area, but without a proper light source, it is impossible to see what lies ahead.
You hear the shifting and scraping of stone on stone from behind you. In the gloom, you can only just make out the statue reforming itself, as if nothing had happened. You also hear footsteps in the distance, coming from the opposite corridor.>>724512
"Perhaps," Kothbiro ponders. "It doesn't seem likely the Heart of the Sun would be kept in a hidden cave, though. The centermost path seems like the most obvious one, but I can't see a way to get back out…">>724513
Kothbiro shrugs as you leave and follows you with mild curiosity.
You don't see any traps, but you do see a room full of saurian statues. These look quite ordinary, unlike the ones you just witnessed, with no joints to speak of. You can't help but get a threatening feeling from them, for some reason.>>724514>>724512
"Hm, I don't think that's such a good i-"
You go in anyway, squirming your way down the cramped, narrow path feet first. You are unable to see where it is taking you the whole way down.
You soon find out. The path drops you abruptly into a vile, foul smelling pit. Shining your torches around reveals the ground is littered with old bones, most of them snapped or gnawed by some unknown beast. This room is circular, the bones forming a sort of mound in the very center. There are a few ways out of this room, but they appear to be locked. No sign of a key, at least not in immediate sight.
You can hear the slow, heavy breathing of some dread behemoth, relaxed as if asleep, bringing with it a rank, stale, warm breath. No matter where you shine your torch, you cannot see it.
Using his spear to press the floor ahead of him to make sure it doesn't drop suddenly or gives into weight, Noghu continues to lurk away, looking feeling alongside walls if there is any vantage point he could climb up and spectate the explorers from.
[1d10] blind percepRoll #1 7 = 7
In the dim light, the panicked, wide-eyed Vajra makes a valiant effort of tasting the air, looking for the source of the breathing in between holding back gags.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 4 = 4
I freeze as I realize the other two went down the clearly trapped pit with no way out. I briefly consider just leaving them behind, pinch the bridge of my nose, and shake my head. Quietly grumbling to myself, I spin around, let out a little huff, and head down the probably deadly center path instead.
You creep along in the darkness, feeling your way by using your spear as a cane and running your hand along the wall. You manage to make out a ledge up ahead, and with a bit of elbow grease, haul yourself up onto the vantage point via some convenient wall cracks. No sign of whoever else is in here yet, but you crouch and wait for them to approach.
As you listen, it appears they are doing the exact opposite. The footsteps grow fainter, and eventually vanished, as if they changed their mind.>>724518
Seems that whatever it is, it's slumbering beneath the mound of its previous victims. It seems like a question of locating the key and getting out without waking it up.>>724519
"Hold on now. Where are you- Oh, for K'sani's sake."
Kothbiro very reluctantly follows you into the death pit. Your nostrils are assaulted with the stench of death and decay. You find yourself in a wide, circular room, littered with mangled bones. The smell is unbearable; the fetid miasma of centuries of victims of whatever rests in this room. There are five locked doors at geometric intervals, while you can hear a persistent, restful breathing of the dreaded beast. >>724518>>724519>>724514
The three of you are reunited in the pit, along with Kothbiro, who scrunches up her nose at the sight of the place. "What an incredible smell you've disc-" She freezes as she hears the breathing, gritting her teeth and looking to the locked exit panickedly.
carefully sliding over the bones around her, Vajra slowly circles the pit, waving her torch slowly in search for the glint of a key!
[1d10] SearchRoll #1 8 = 8
I tightly grip my spear in one hand and pull back the bear head of my cloak. Running my hand through my long, wild, greasy hair, I mull over the decision I've just made for a moment. "Y'all really shoulda known better," I mumble. "'Specially you, miss wizard. Ain't your type supposed to be smart?"
I crouch down and squint through the darkness, trying to see by the light of the snake's torch. Slowly, I crouch walk around the room looking for some kind of key or some other way out. Even as I search, though, my guess is we'll end up needing to kill whatever that thing is to get out.
[1d10+3]Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8
"Our friend here wasss already two pawss into the pit before i could sstop him." she quietly replies, gesturing to Kalidan. "I wanted to ssearch the cave, but no, that would be too ssimple.."
Seeing the rank breath of a sleeping behemoth, Kalidan takes a breath or two. He finds that the closeness of a situation makes him able to breathe open, finding a home for homeliness (breath incorporated) and a way to breathe naturally.
You spot a glint of metal beneath the bones. It seems to be attached to an iron ring around… something. The breathing gets slightly louder. "Easy," Kothbiro warns, axe at the ready. "We should just try to grab the key and run. Whatever this monster is, I don't know if we can handle it."
Kalidan looks around, trying to keep a cool head and not panic. He tries to see if he can climb back out of the pit, extending his claws and scraping them against the stone walls.
Escape! [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
Chuckling for the first time not out of discomfort, Noghu waits a moment longer before hopping down, exploring deeper into the darkness. Surely the prey will reach her eventually, it gives him plenty of time to set a trap.
You try to scrabble up the walls, but can't get a grip on all the moss and slippery stone, falling back onto the bone pile with a loud clattering echo. The breathing stops for a moment, but then resumes. Kothbiro stares at you fearfully. >>724668
You keep feeling your way through the area, your eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness. Before long, you can make out some basic shapes in the gloom:
Two statues flank a door directly in front of you. You think you can hear something moving about beyond it.
To your right is a stone bridge of sorts leading across a pit. You think you can see someone standing at the other end of the pit, but it might just be another statue, or your eyes playing tricks on you.
Behind you are a set of what seem to be stone coffins, firmly sealed shut, save for one which is slightly ajar.
"You really got yourself into it this time, Kal ya moron," he mumbles. Turning to the others, he asks, "Anyone happen to bring some rope?"
He begins to sift through the bone pile with the others, looking to identify previous victims and possibly locate a clue.
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
Noghu stays low to the ground as he looks to his right, deeming the individual at the other end to be a possible threat. Without making more sound, he tosses a bola across the bridge.
[1d10] DC-1 Bola (Lucky Dog if this would start combat)Roll #1 8 = 8
Spotting the metal but wary of the beast, vajra sends her minion forward to investigate the object, the mummified form shuffling over the bones along the way.
All I can do is grunt and shake my head. "Well," I say in a hoarse whisper. "Guess now all we can do is try not to get dead.">>724672>>724666
Deciding the creepy, ghostly, blaspheme on our pure earth is better fodder than me I decide to let it grab the keys. Keeping my grip on my spear firm, I don't take my eyes off whatever is on top of them.
Kothbiro nods. "Not much, but I've got some." She holds up a spooled length of about 15 feet of rope.
The bones seem to belong to previous adventurers. They are eerily gnawed and… dissolved? in some parts. You find a few belongings of the previous hapless victims of the unseen beast, including a coinpurse.>+15 gold pieces>>724671
Even in the dark, your aim is true! The bolas traps the figure, catching it unawares. It appears to be a revived skeletal saurian, toting rusted armor and weapons of an unknown civilization. You hear it clatter to the ground with a rattle and clank.
As it struggles to free itself, you hear it make a horrific creaking hiss, as if calling for help!
[1d10] Freeing itself>>724672>>724670>>724673
The mummy digs away the bones, revealing the keys… along with the beast they are attached to. It appears much like a gigantic ape, covered in russet fur, its skin a dull grayish black. It has made its nest beneath the bones, currently fast asleep. Thin, spidery scars line every inch of its exposed face. Around its neck is an iron ring, upon which the keys to your escape are placed. Its head alone is almost as big as the average pony. You notice a set of scars around its neck, intricately carven in the shape of unknown runes. Some fell sorcery has kept this beast alive for untold ages.
Kothbiro freezes at the sight of it, clamming up and readying her axe. She points out the keys and looks to you with consternation. "What do we do?" she mouths silently.Roll #1 9 = 9
Far off in the distance, you think you hear a faint, unearthly scream. The great ape remains dormant and undisturbed, for now.
>>724674>crit Bola sends the target helpless without removing a wound>helplessness activates passive>Wild Hunt: passive; After rendering a foe helpless, the Wildguard's first action next turn becomes Automatic. Rendering an enemy helpless with this automatic action does not activate WIld Hunt again.
Running on all fours to seize the advantage, Noghu quickly goes to crush the skeleton's spine with the staff of his spear.
Kalidan pockets the coins without hesitation. They make a soft jingle as they join the small change he has already collected.
Turning to Kothbiro. "Hmm. You think we could use it to climb outta here? Maybe weigh it down with some of these bones, try and craft a makeshift grappling hook."
As the huge ape is revealed in its bony resting place, Kalidan's fur stands up all over.
"Oh. That's a big 'un. Think maybe he's friendly?"
Without getting too close, he tries to examine the iron ring around its neck, specifically whether it would be possible to remove the keys without removing the beast's head.
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
"Ain't hard to figure out," I say, sizing up the huge beast. I point my spear at it. "We move them keys, we wake it up. We got one option." I snort and take a slow step forward. "Kill it." My eyes briefly glance toward the chute we came down when I hear the screech. Looks like those other folk ran inro something too. Shaking my head, I turn back to the ape and eye it for any weak looking spots. Them magic squiggles don't look too good, though. Watch out."
[1d10]Marked for DeathRoll #1 3 = 3
Kalidan nods at the minotaur. "If we don't have to, we shouldn't, but I'm in agreement. Perhaps we can disable it or blind it before it awakens."
Vajra rolls her eyes, the runed gauze around her wrists shimmering with magic
"Let uss at leasst try the more delicate approach firsst."
The wrappings on the mummy's forelimbs glow as the sorceress takes control, maneuvering the corpse closer to the ring, in an attempt to gently free the key.
[1d10] free the key!Roll #1 3 = 3
You smash the skeleton in the spine, easily cracking the ancient, frail bones. The legs keep struggling for a moment, then fall still.
The top half of the skeleton, however, remains animated, freed of the bolas. It claws towards you frantically, snapping its bony jaws!
In the distance, you hear more screams answering the call, and the sound of stone shifting and bones creaking!>>724677
It seems loose enough that you could, with no small amount of dexterity, lift the iron ring from around its neck without disturbing its slumber.
"We could try, I suppose. Not a bad idea, actually," she says, rubbing her chin. She holds out the rope for you to take. "I'm… not the best with knots. Why don't you give it a go?">>724678
You notice that its ears appear to be atrophied. The beast is deaf, which explains why it hasn't woken up yet. You could try spearing it in the eye, perhaps. Or going straight for the neck. >>724680
The mummy fondles the iron ring, jangling the key and trying to pull it over and off the ape's head. This proves to be no easy task, however, and the beast stirs slightly in its sleep, twitching and stirring, letting out a low growl. Kothbiro freezes, frantically motioning at you to abort before it wakes up fully.Roll #1 1 = 1
"I'd wager the thing cain't hear," I say, pointing towards its ears. "We might actually be alright long as we don't jostle it too much. We fight it, should probably go for the eyes first."
[1d10] Hunter senseRoll #1 3 = 3
Ignoring the half skeleton, Noghu kicks the inert half into the pit and sneaks further into the temple while nothing else is around to follow.
[1d10+2] Hide (+2 if i can leave combat)Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11
"Wait wait wait!! Why are you going to have the dead one try?? Wouldn't it make more sense for someone with some natural dexterity to pull it off?">>724681
Kalidan takes the rope from Kothbiro. He fishes around for a large enough bone for his purposes, perhaps a pelvis. Tying the rope neatly through and around it, he tests its heft, then attempts to swing the makeshift grapnel up the shaft.
Up and Away! [1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
Wide-eyed, the sorceress pulled her claws back, forcing the mummy away from the beast a few steps.>>724684
"You are welcome to try. I had asssumed an undead would not alert it from the smell, an unssuitable meal."
"Oh. Hmm." He raises his arm, sniffs at his armpit, pulls his head back and squints. "I see what you mean."
You keep an eye on the slumbering ape, waiting to see if it begins to stir. It seems to be slowly coming to from Vajra's mummy jostling it a little, frowning and shifting. The ground beneath you shakes a little as it starts to move…>>724683
You kick both halves of it into the pit and sneak forward, sticking to the shadows. You can see several more figures moving in the dark, but you can't make them out just yet, nor can you make out the details of the room you're in. It seems the skeleton's alert got the attention of several more, who are on patrol throughout the area now.>>724684
With careful aim, you manage to lodge a hipbone into the tunnel you slid through. You test it for firmness before shimmmying up the rope; it's wedged in very firmly, enough for the average pony to use without much trouble. Vajra or Thungr might have a harder time of it, though.
I glance from the beast, to the cat, to the snake, and finally down at myself. Lifting my arm a little, I take a deep sniff. My eyes widen a little and I shake my head as I get a snout full of the scent of dirt, sweat, and something else I can't really place. Something sharp and earthy, like a long unwashed animal.
"Guess that's it, then." I stand up straight, hold my spear out, and let out a bellowing roar as I advance on the beast.
[1d10] marked for deathRoll #1 10 = 10
Hiding when he can, Noghu tries to find a places where he can stay still and watch a patrol pass him, setting up another ambush.
She holds her claws up wordlessly, her point proven.>>724687
though with the ground shaking, all pretenses of quiet are lost as the beast stirs.
Joining in with the attack, the mummy claws at the creature vigorously as more bandages flutter into the bone pile around Vajra, the rattle shaking in time ominously as she chants
[1d10] Mummy melee
"ssullen boness, hear my call! an ancient beasst i bid you fall! With limbss ssharp and hide sstrong, return to life with thiss sserpent'ss song! Reaper
[1d10] Raise ancient: reaperRoll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
My nose curls at the chant, but I keep my trap shut for now.
He turns triumphantly to face the group below. "Made it!" His eyes widen as combat begins in the pit beneath him. He hesitates a moment, then curses and throws himself back down the hole, claws extending and rearing back for a flying attack from above. He aims for the great beast's eyes, hoping to get in a cheap debilitating shot or two before it is fully aroused.
Dual Wielding + Cleave [1d10] [1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
/ Roll #2 7 = 7
You hone in on the great ape as it stirs, marking it for certain death.>+1 duration due to crit>>724690
You stay out of sight, watching the undead patrol go past. They move in single file, heading to the bridge, led by a skeleton with a candle affixed to its cranium, illuminating the room as it goes. You notice that there are pressure plates just about everywhere; one of the skeletons at the very back inadvertently steps on one and is immediately skewered by spikes coming from the walls. The others don't seem to care.>>724691
The ancient bones that line the Great Ape's lair start to twitch, forming together into a terrifying amalgamate, swirling with black and purple energy. Dwarfing you in size, the Bone Reaper has a stocky build, its feet made of skulls, lacking a distinct head. Its most noticeable features are the powerful forearms; and the huge, blade-like rib bones where the hands should be. It is like some bizarre cross of a gorilla and a praying mantis in this way. It stands ready to fight for you.>>724693
You slash the Ape across the face, leaving a light cut across its brow. It doesn't seem too perturbed by this, frowning and twitching as it begins to stir. Its thick hide could block a spear, let alone your claws. You barely draw blood.>>724689>>724693>>724691
As it begins to stir, Vajra's mummy shambles towards it, raking at its face with bony claws, giving it a rude awakening. The Great Ape shakes it off, rearing up on its back legs. It towers over you all, dominating the chamber with its presence, regarding you all pensively. Its eyes are a deep, soulful amber, sunken like craters in its craggy, gray skinned face. Its arms are built like tree trunks, and its torso like a boulder.
It looks down at the mummy with slight annoyance as it tries to attack again. There is a deafening silence; then, the Ape lets out a star-shattering roar, backhanding the mummy into a wall, splattering it with a single mighty blow. It pounds its fists on the ground and roars again furiously, amber eyes burning with primal rage.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRGRSCAOqh4
With the mummy destroyed, it turns next to the one that scratched it. It shambles towards Kalidan and brings its fists down on the cat!
Kothbiro springs to action. "Mother save us… Okay, it's happening!…" She pulls out her axe and charges it with a barbaric yawp, taking a swing at its legs.
[1d10]Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11
/ Roll #2 4 = 4
Noghu tries to keep track of the plates pressing into the ground, trying to form a pattern in his head [1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
Kalidan lands on all fours, glaring up at the great ape, his hackles standing straight up, his eyes glued wide open with adrenaline. As the giant fists swing toward him, he does his best to roll out of the way.
Ack! Dodge! [1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
"It's happening alright!" I charge with my spear held out, letting out a rebelious yell in response to the roar. My hair falls into my face, but I ignore it as I drive my spear into the thing's side.
[1d10]DC-1 because AccurateRoll #1 1 = 1
The mummy impacts the wall, dust and gauze exploding outward, before drifting down slowly.
[1d3] Turns to reborn
Ignoring the mummy, Vajra cackles at the sight of the bone amalgamate.
"Ahahaha! Wretched creature! Look upon my power and despair!"
With her bandages blazing with cobalt light, she guides the amalgam to lumber forward, bringing it's ribbed limbs into the beast before it.
"Go now, Reaper! Tear limb from limb!"
Splitting her focus, she sends more bandages into the bone pile, calling for another creature.
"Boness of the pit, to me! A champion of sturdy form i dessire!"
[1d10] Summon esper: SlamRoll #1 2 = 2
/ Roll #2 6 = 6
/ Roll #3 4 = 4
/ Roll #4 7 = 7
/ Roll #5 7 = 7
You use the limited amount of time and light to commit the location of the plates to memory. It seems that if you stick to higher ground, you should be able to avoid getting turned into a shishkebab. On the lower level, where the skeletons are, the pressure plates are set out at regular intervals. It seems that this section of the temple is set out in a sort of maze, with several intersecting paths and dead ends. The fact that you can barely see your hand in front of your face doesn't help.>roll for Navigation if you're going to keep exploring
In the distance, you hear a spine tingling roar, as if of some feral beast.>>724696
You avoid getting instant squashed like a grape, but the shockwave from the ground pound is enough to send you flying. You hit the bone pile face first. Your vision blurs, your ears ring, and your head spins.>Kalidan takes 5 hits, helpless>>724697
You charge the Ape with animosity. Without missing a beat, it goes for a low blow, knocking your feet out from under you with a single swift swipe. It seems smarter than it looks. You fall flat on your back, winded from the blow.>Thungr takes 5 hits, helpless>>724698
The Reaper rears up, brandishing its mantis-like forelegs before lunging at the Great Ape. Both its blows ring true, spearing it in the gut. With a roar, the Ape elbow slams the Reaper, knocking it back and off balance.>Reaper takes 2 hits
You reach out to conjure another ally from beyond. This one appears as a swirling tornado of miscellaneous bones and wrappings, with a single prominent claw floating via dark magic on its left side.>>724698>>724697>>724696
The ape kicks Kothbiro away like swatting a fly. She takes the blow gracefully, tumbling over and righting herself. Seeing Thungr and Kalidan fallen, she doesn't miss a beat in rushing over to the former and trying to haul him back up.
[1d10] Helping Kalidan
The Great Ape charges at the Reaper, throwing its arms out in a tackle!
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
/ Roll #2 4 = 4
low to the ground and quiet, Noghu continues to delve deeper into the strange ponymade cave, switching between walking upright and on all fours when he needs to be more mindful of objects on the ground.
[1d10] navRoll #1 10 = 10
I see the sweep too late and crash to the ground. My chest heaves as the wind rushes out of my lungs, but I force myself back to my hooves. Barely managing to catch my breath again, I jab my spear up into the ape's side.
[1d10]DC-1Roll #1 6 = 6
The dust and gauze swirls near the impact, blue light filtering through the air near the highest concentration.>1 to reborn
The Reaper staggers back a few steps, crushing a few bones beneath it with it's weight.
Vajra righting the amalgam like a master to it's puppet, the sorceress mimes bringing both claws together and down on a shadow target. the amalgam follows suit, bringing both arms down into a double axe handle onto the charging beast!
The swirling stormclaw flies towards the beast as well, gathering momentum with it's claw before slamming it into the creature's side!
Vajra continues to laugh madly, her eyes aglow with blue light.
"More, more! Another for the fight! What boness sstill free, i ssummon thee, to join me thiss night!"
more bandages sink into the pit, the remains around her rattling with vigor!
[1d10] Raise deadRoll #1 2 = 2
/ Roll #2 7 = 7
/ Roll #3 10 = 10
Kalidan is knocked aside by the impact and falls prostrate into the bone pile, the wind knocked out of him. It is all he can do to turn over and attempt to clamber to his paws.
He shoots a grateful look to Kothbiro as she rushes to his side. "We should have stuck with the grappling hook," he manages to spit out, along with a little bit of blood.Roll #1 10 = 10
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 1 = 1
You start marking your way through the maze by leaving markings on the stone wall with your spearhead. It's remarkably simple to navigate once you get the hang of it. After not too much longer, you come across what looks at first like a dead end, but then you realize is a great stone door. There seem to be markings on the door, but it's too dark to be able to make them out effectively.>>724701
You stab it in the side, driving the spear deep into the Great Ape's intestines, driving it in as deep as it'll go. It roars again, wheeling around to face you furiously, the wound gushing blood freely. You notice that where the blood hits the ground, it seems to smoke, slowly eating through the scattered bones…>>724702>>724704
The Reaper dodges the charge, countering with a double strike to the Ape's back, but the Ape shrugs this off easily.
The Stormclaw surges towards the Great Ape, giving it an almighty shove with its one bony claw. The Ape is taken off guard, having not noticed you summoning it, and staggers off balance and lands in a sitting position. It huffs and grunts as it rights itself, beating its chest angrily.
You summon the remains of a long-dead saurian; stocky, with a hard bony shell around its torso, wielding a femur as a club. It looks like it was once some sort of soldier, from the rusted iron helmet it wears, nodding to you clumsily and readying its makeshift club.
>Tortoise Saurian racials: Reptilian, Hunker Down
>Reptilian: Saurians are covered from head to toe with thick protective scales, making them unusually hardy opponents. However, they are also very susceptible to the cold, shunning frigid environments. You take -1 hit from all incoming attacks, unless you're hit with an Ice elemental attack, in which case you take +1 hit from all sources for 3 rounds or until helpless. Being exposed to warmth, such as being hit with a Fire attack, can remove the debuff. This debuff also applies when in cold environments.
>Hunker Down: automatic, recharge 3 after effect ends; You are even sturdier than most saurians, possessing a thick protective shell. You can hide away inside this shell, giving you even higher damage reduction, taking 1 less hit than normal (total -2 hits) for the next 2 rounds. However, doing so makes you almost completely immobile and ineffective in combat, suffering a -2 to dodge rolls and -1 to all other rolls. The effect is cancelled if you are knocked helpless, and the DC is raised by 1 for recovering from it.>>724703
To Kothbiro's surprise, you flip over easily, righting yourself and flipping back up into a standing position, shrugging off the immense blow like it was nothing in an impressive feat of acrobatics. "W-well, we still can," she points out. The rope is still dangling there. Perhaps it could be used as an escape route, or by some other means in the skirmish?…>>724701>>724702>>724703
The Ape seems overwhelmed by the bony minions attacking it. Its beady, oddly soulful eyes dart about the battlefield before it shoots out one enormous hand towards Vajra with terrifying speed!
With its other hand, it starts tossing stray bones and bits of debris here and there, warding off anyone who gets too close to it!>roll to avoid taking damage if attacking the Great Ape as an instant action
Kothbiro keeps up her strategy of going for the legs, trying to hamstring it!
[1d10] DodgeRoll #1 7 + 2 = 9
/ Roll #2 9 = 9
/ Roll #3 9 = 9
First attempting to push the door open, if that does not work Noghu begins to search around the floor and walls for anything to interact with.
[1d10] lookRoll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
Still overcome with the power she wields, Vajra only just notices the hand reaching out to grab her!
With the speed of a snake, the sorceress makes an attempt at slithering away!
The dust finally gathers together in a flurry of bandages, reforming the mummy once again! The form is worse for wear, but it dutifully shuffles towards the beast, claws outstretched to attack!
The Reaper reaches a limb of its own, bringing it down into the beasts outstretched hand with fury!
The stormclaw recalls it's claw, battering the beast with it's whirling bones!
Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 6 = 6 / Roll #3 6 = 6 / Roll #4 8 = 8 / Roll #5 4 = 4 / Roll #6 6 = 6
"Can't get through the skin with my claws, eh? There's more than one way to skin a monkey!"
Kalidan dances in close to the beast, doing his best to avoid the macabre attack of flying bones and rocks.
In one bound, he fearlessly throws himself onto the great ape's back, gripping tightly to the iron ring around its neck and pulling as hard as he can.
Grapple [1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
[1d10]. Mummy Dodge
The soldier readies its club, marching forward to deliver a powerful blow!
[1d10] DodgeRoll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
/ Roll #3 7 = 7
I try to steer clear of the burning blood as I pull my spear free. As the ape thrashes around, I spin and try to dodge it and any debris, aiming to stick it in the kidney. From the look of it I might have to pull out my magic killin' axe.
[1d10]stick it with my stickin stickRoll #1 3 = 3
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
Iron Will to stick it.
The door won't budge. You bruise your shoulder trying to brute force it. A look around the area doesn't bring up much either, though it seems that this door is the end goal of this maze. You feel you probably have to do something elsewhere in the maze to get the door to open.>>724707>>724709
You react on pure instinct, dodging out of the way of the incoming grab by mere inches. You curl up against the wall, avoiding any and all damage, watching as the Ape's enormous paw snaps closed, grabbing naught but thin air.
The mummy reforms and charges at the Ape while its head is lowered, clawing at one of its eyes. It roars as the mummy draws blood, spattering the area, where it hits the rocks and bones and smokes like acid. The mummy is splashed with this as well, corroding its frail surface.>Mummy takes 2 hits
The Reaper avoids the barrage of debris, skewering the Ape's hand through to the other side. It snarls and flails, splashing the Reaper with blood from the wound!>Reaper roll to dodge, instant action
The Stormclaw phases through the debris, but the Ape claws at it, grabbing its claw and snapping one of its fingers clean off!>Stormclaw takes 2 hits
The Soldier powers through the debris, shrugging it off with its powerful shell, and cracks the Ape in the mouth with a horizontal swing. A molar goes flying, and the Ape lets out a guttural hiss, dribbling corrosive blood.>>724708
You artfully dodge the debris it's throwing, clambering on to its back. It seems taken off guard by this; the back seems to be a weak point for it, being deaf. You also notice it has an enormous iron two-hander embedded in its back, like some sort of morbid sword in the stone.
The Great Ape roars and tries to shake you off!
You stab it in the vital organs. It roars and pounds the ground with its fists furiously, sending blood flying everywhere along with the debris. Some of it hits you, along with the debris, burning your skin and pummeling you into submission!>Thungr takes 9 hits, helpless at 0/3>Marked for Death ended>>724710>>724709>>724708
Kothbiro's swing is true, and she brings the Ape down on one knee momentarily, slowing its movements. She uses the momentum to use her axe to do a sort of pole vault, trying to join Kalidan in grappling it!
Though wounded, the Ape still has plenty of fight left in it. It swings at Vajra's minions in a wide sweeping attack with both open hands!
[1d10+3] Cleave: Reaper, SoldierRoll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
/ Roll #3 8 + 3 = 11
Noghu chuckles, not wishing to have to back track for something else after all this time. Instead, he begins looking for cracks, looking to slowly chip away at the door with claws meant for digging.
>Shatter: recharge 2, weapon; Breaks the target's defenses to open them up for attack. Deals damage and increases the Crit Range for all attacks against them by 2 for two rounds. Can be used against inanimate objects or armor to break and damage them efficiently.
[1d10] DC-1Roll #1 10 = 10
Kalidan seems almost as surprised as the ape that he was able to latch onto its back, even more so as it attempts to dislodge him. He clings to the iron ring for dear life.
Not getting shaken off [1d10]
Looking down, he sees the handle of a large blade poking out.
"Hello, what's this then?"
He launches a flurry of quick kicks at the blade, attempting to either lodge it further or utilize the blade to rend the monkeyflesh beneath.
Bunny Kicks [1d10] [1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
/ Roll #3 1 = 1
As I'm pummeled into the floor, my spear slips from my hand. I can feel blood ooze out of the side of my mouth, and I let out a wet cough. Quickly, I shrug out of my cloak, suddenly feeling incredibly hot. The edges of my vision blacken and the world around me swirls. The smells, sounds, and sights of the room blur as my entire body is wracked with terror. Then, just as fast as it closes in on me, it's gone. Darkness falls over me.
Thungr's body writhes on the ground, and red foam leaks from the edges of his mouth. A loud snapping noise crackles through the air as his body bulges and bends at unnatual angles. His fingers fuse and elongate into massive clawed paws, and his entire body seems to swell, causing his woolen shirt and pants to burst. His face shifts into something more animalistic, and his teeth elongate into long fangs.
In a moment it's over, and standing where Thungr once stood is a short faced bear scarcely shorter than the ape standing on its hind legs. Unlike the ape, who's eyes show a spark of intelligence, the bears black eyes show nothing but hunger and bloodthirst. Its lips peel back and it lets out a roar before charging the ape.
[1d10+1]slam, crits on 8Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2
"kahaha! Foolissh! Your fate is ssealed creature!"
"Pit of boness, you musst deliver! Ssubmit to me a minion of quiver!" More bandages flow down, more bones stir.
[1d10] summon esper, Marksman shot
The mummy lashes out again, determined to attend its task!
The Reaper stumbles backward to avoid the blood, before levering itself forward to meet the beast head on with a bony claw!
[1d10] Dodge blood
The stormclaw readies its claw once again, spinning into the beasts back with the force of the movement!
The soldier retreats into its shell in an attempt to weather the storm.
Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 4 = 4 / Roll #3 2 = 2 / Roll #4 5 = 5 / Roll #5 6 = 6
You find a sizeable crack in the stone door. After prying at it for a bit, you give it a good whack with your spear. Then another. Then a final, mighty blow. The whole stone door comes crumbling down in a deafening display, giving way to the chamber beyond.
Unfortunately, you have no clue what lies beyond. It's so dark you can't even see your hand in front of your face. You also feel an unearthly chill, and a vague, untraceable sensation of dread crawling on your back.
You get the feeling you shouldn't have done that.>>724714
You dig in deep with your claws, clinging to the Ape like a particularly stubborn barnacle. Despite its thrashing, you stay firmly lodged in place.
As you spot the blade, you kick at it; however, it seems like it's been there for a very, very long time. It barely budges at all.>>724715
The Ape roars right back, charging and meeting this new threat head on. It easily bodies the smaller, weaker creature, ramming into you headfirst and knocking you to the ground.>Thungr takes 5 hits, helpless>>724716
The bones stir, knitting themselves in unnatural patterns. Several finger bones connect, forming a floating arrow, ready to fly at your command.
The Ape bats the mummy away, throwing it to the floor.>Mummy takes 2 hits, helpless
The Reaper's bony surface is melted away by the beast's blood. The Ape intercepts its jab by grabbing the claw and shoving the Reaper away like it's nothing.
The Stormclaw gouges at the wounds created by Thungr, deepening them. The Ape snarls and tries to bat the Stormclaw away.
The Soldier seems to shrink into its shell, limbs and head retreating, becoming almost impenetrable.>>724716>>724715>>724714
Kothbiro is frozen in shock momentarily as Thungr undergoes a monstrous transformation into a terrifying, gigantic bear. Unfazed, the Ape continues its rampage, lunging forward and biting at Vajra!
[1d10+1]Roll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 4 + 1 = 5
laughing nervously, Noghu begins to trace back out out of the maze following the path he took before, hunting the candle skeleton.
Kalidan clenches his kitty jaw and continues to cling tight. He tries to readjust his grip and pulls the iron ring as tightly back as he can, trying to choke the beast out.
Gripping [1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
The Reaper is sent scattering from the tremendous blow, its left foreleg shattering into bony splinters from the impact.>Reaper takes 6 hits, helpless
The Soldier 76
shrugs off the blow, though it is rattled to its bony core by it.>Soldier takes 4 hits
The bear is only briefly stunned by the battering and, further enraged by the ape's attacks, snarls and lifts both arms in the air and brings them down on it.
[1d10+1]Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10
Dodging the bite of the beast, vajra readies her knife as the head of the creature looms above, stabbing forward in reply!
[1d10] restrained strike
The mummy hits the ground once again, turning to dust, this time with no movement to speak of.
The stormclaw whirls into the beast again, tearing it up with a barrage of bones!
The Reaper's bones are scattered violently around the pit from the impact. After a moment, the bones begin to roll towards the center Mass, reforming the body
The soldier peeks it's head out of the shell, striking forth cautiously in retaliation for the rattling it received!
The skeletal arrow aligns itself with the approaching head, zipping forward with great speed!
[1d10] Marksman shotRoll #1 9 = 9
/ Roll #2 6 = 6
/ Roll #3 4 = 4
/ Roll #4 9 = 9
/ Roll #5 5 = 5
As you leave the room of advanced darkness, you easily catch up to the skeleton patrol, following the only light source around. They have crossed the bridge, and are heading towards the room with the statues. Ambushing the candle skeleton won't be easy; it is at the front of the group, and there are about half a dozen of them between it and you.>>724719
The Ape thrashes from side to side, eventually shaking you off. You fall into the bone pile once again, dizzy but still standing.>Kalidan takes 2 hits>>724721
You bear your claws and rake at the Ape, gouging deep trenches in its collar and chest. It flinches and staggers backwards from the blow, accepting this new challenge. Staring you down, breathing heavily from its injuries, the Great Ape hops about on the spot, grunting and throwing bones and debris about in an intimidating display.>>724722
You shank it in the cheek as it lunges forward, artfully twisting your body away from its attack. The pain doesn't seem to register with it, and it pulls away, taking your knife with you, still firmly lodged in its cheek.
The Stormclaw pelts and pummels the beast's head with its whirlwind of bones, causing it to flinch and close its eyes, shrinking away.
The Reaper begins to reform, but its bones are scattered all over the room.
The Soldier jabs its mace into the Ape's eye, injuring it significantly. It growls and bats at the undead minion, but doesn't manage to do much due to its shell.
The arrow bounces off of its head harmlessly, twisting around in midair and returning to you.>>724719>>724721>>724722
Kothbiro willingly lets go of the Ape, bringing her axe down as she falls, aiming to gouge down its side!
The Ape charges bear-Thungr in a fit of rage!
[1d10+3]Roll #1 7 = 7
/ Roll #2 8 + 3 = 11
The bear stands its ground, moving to wrap its arms around the ape and tear at its throat with its massive jaws.
[1d10+1]BiteRoll #1 2 + 1 = 3
File: 1570327582895.png (Spoiler Image, 332.62 KB, 1244x1800, Vajra 3 raw pearl necklace.png)
With her knife still embedded in the beast's cheek, the sorceress rattles her tail in fury!
"Ssandss take you! I will have to pry my dagger from your corpsse!"
The stormclaw builds more speed for the bony claw within its gale, sending it flying forward into the creature!
More bones begin to rumble into the slowly reforming mass
[1d10] Reaper recovery
The soldier extends from it's shell, taking its club with both claws to chop it downward onto the ape!
the bone arrow zips forward to collide into the beast's face!
[1d10] RangedRoll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
/ Roll #3 7 = 7
/ Roll #4 8 = 8
Thinking the situation over hunched in position, he thinks over the rudimentary logistics of acquiring the candle without it going out. Finding fighting off 6 or so skeletons and then acquiring the skull of one with limited movement too difficult to reasonably do, he thinks to his original prey instead. Having once dodged the light source, he now starts to prowl back near where he saw the light disappear far back near the statues, intent on taking either the light or it's wielders with them to the dark, foreboding room.
Kalidan lands on all fours, rage glinting in his feeling eyes. He spends no time at all hurling himself back toward the great ape, swinging at the uninjured eye with razor-sharp claws extended.
Dual Wield [1d10] [1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
The Great Ape charges you, grabbing you by the lower jaw and carrying you with it in its charge, slamming your head against the wall. One, two, three, four times. It tosses you aside like a spent torch, disregarding you entirely. Your head feels light, and you can taste blood.>Thungr takes 7 hits, helpless>>725149
The Great Ape swats the Stormclaw away like an insect, sending its bones scattering.>Stormclaw takes 5 hits, helpless
The Reaper reforms, regaining both of its mantis-like forearms.
The club smack takes the Ape off guard. It flinches and turns to face it with a low growl.
The arrow hits it right in the forehead, driving itself into the beast's skull. It roars and wrenches the arrow free, tossing it away angrily. Blood trickles down its face, hissing and smoking as it spatters on the bones below.>>725150
You slink past the bone patrol, retracing your steps past the statue room and through the adjacent corridor. You find a spacious room with four more statues, all in the same pose, their left hands extended upwards towards an elaborately painted ceiling depicting the stars. You find an open gate, past which are a few more paths to take. You can hear a ferocious battle taking place, with the savage roaring of at least one beast. It seems to be coming from… below?>>725151
You run and leap towards the wall, then use the momentum to leap again, this time towards the Ape. You land on its face, jamming your claws deep into its other eye. It lets out a scream of sheer rage and agony, thrashing about as you blind it. Your claw begins to sting and burn as it is covered in the beast's blood. You are forced to let go, landing on the pile of bones on all fours again.>Kalidan takes 2 hits>>725148>>725149>>725151
Kothbiro's attack works, leaving a huge, bloody gash down the beast's leg. It roars and pounds the ground with its fists at the sudden pain. Grinning, Kothbiro keeps up the offensive, swinging her axe at its kneecap with a grunt of exertion.
[1d10] Avoiding blood
The Great Ape, now blinded, throws itself about in a mad attempt to hit anyone in its way!>everyone that isn't helpless roll to dodge, instant actionRoll #1 2 = 2
/ Roll #2 6 = 6
Kalidan snarls in pain as his paw is burned by acid. He shakes it off and looks up just in time to notice the ape thrashing about, and jumps back to avoid its blind attacks.
The cat nurses his wound, contemplating his next move. Now that the ape is blinded, there is the very real concern of the wild bear and all the undead, neither of which he fully trusts to not turn on him once the combat ends. Assuming he is not made helpless, he carefully makes his way along the wall and scrambles up the rope to the safety.Roll #1 6 = 6
The bear foams at the mouth as it goes down, snapping madly at the ape. Its chest heaves and its claws scrape against the ground as it tries to drag itself back to its paws.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
With her dagger gone, Vajra only now looks to her allies, several horribly mangled. She flicks out her tongue in annoyance, sending more bandages into the pit.
"With woundss to heal and friendss to mend, i call forth one to sslow death'ss end." she intones.
[1d10] Summon esper: heal
with the bones and wind dispersed, the bandages animating the pieces begin to wisp the parts back together
[1d10] Recover stormclaw
The reaper, now reformed from the bones lashes the beast with a barrage of strikes!
[3d10] Reaping strikes
The soldier swings the bone club upwards before slamming it back onto the creature's side!
thrown to the side, the arrow ricochets off the bone pile and the wall, aiming for the back of the ape's head!
[1d10] RangedRoll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
/ Roll #3 5, 3, 10 = 18
/ Roll #4 4 = 4
/ Roll #5 8 = 8
Grinning, Noghu follows after the sound of battle. Surely should his prey wins or loses, either side will be weakened enough for him to finish the job should the situation provide.
You nimbly pull yourself up the rope to safety, watching the situation unfold from above.>>725154
You scrabble about, eventually hauling yourself back up, ready to keep fighting.>>725155
You conjure an apparition from the pile of bones; a black, ominous figure with the skull of a bird for a face. Great bone claws, thin as needles, sprout from within its cloak-like body. It hovers behind you like a shadow, rippling slightly, unfazed by the chaos around you.
It seems to take a while for the Stormclaw to reconstitute.
The Ape fends off the Soldier and the Reaper's blows, save for one. The Reaper skewers the Ape straight through the throat, driving its razor sharp claw straight through to the other end. The blood eats through the bone, making it snap right off the Reaper's arm. The Ape gurgles horribly and stumbles about, clawing at the bone lodged in its neck.
The arrow bounces around, piercing through the Ape's skull, driving itself into the monster's brains. >>725156
You go down a narrow, steep looking tunnel, which eventually turns into a slippery slope, leading you downwards into a pit of bones. There is an enormous, dead ape lying among them, as well as a tough looking zebra with an axe, the serpentine saurian you have been tracking, an enormous feral bear, and a slim black cat.>>725155>>725154>>725153
With these final, fatal blows dealt by Vajra's minions, the Great Ape teeters on the spot, letting out a low, guttural groan. With an almighty crash, it topples to the ground, throwing bones everywhere as it collapses, stone dead.>roll to avoid the debris, instant
There is no time to celebrate. Just a moment later, you are joined by a savage looking Dog resembling a hyena, who slides down the tunnel you all took to get here. He inadvertently dislodges Kalidan's grapnel, sending him toppling to the ground.>Kalidan roll to recover
Kothbiro breathes heavily, looking over to the newcomer, axe still in hoof. She seems too exhausted to fight, but eyes him with suspicion.>>725156
"…And who are you?" the axe-wielding zebra demands, looking at you with inherent mistrust.
Noghu holds up a spear to the zebra, pointing it to the others,
"You all weak, I uninjured. Want to live? Follow."
"Gah!" Kalidan exclaims, as he is stuck by a body in the dim hallway and knocked back into the fetid pit below. Orienting himself midair, he attempts to land on his feet amongst the bones.
recover [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
A great commotion occurs as most of the undead immediately dissipate, adding sand and bones to the already intense debris storm. all that remain are the soldier and the sorceress, who struggle to find cover from the debris!
[1d10] Dodge, soldier
[1d10] Dodge Vajra
"Aahaha! The Beassst wass no match for my horde! An ironic fate, to be sslain by hiss passst mealss."
amid the hailstorm of bone, she slithers to the creature to wretch the dagger free from its face.
[1d10] pull (if needed)
"What sspiritss of healing i could ssummon are gone, their interesst is sspent. We.. well, you all, will have to lick your own woundss for now." she adds, gesturing to her injured allies.Roll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
/ Roll #3 8 = 8
The bear's pupils dilate as it sees its prey fall dead. In one final, brutal lunge it hurls itself at the dying ape as its body begins to shift amd pulse. It roars as the snapping of bone resonates from deep within it once again. At the end of the transformation a slightly battered and significantly more (completely) naked Thungr lies face down on the floor.
[1d10] dodge. If pass it falls short before transforming.Roll #1 10 = 10
>>725160>>725157>Wild Hunt: passive; After rendering a foe helpless, the Wildguard's first action next turn becomes Automatic. Rendering an enemy helpless with this automatic action does not activate WIld Hunt again.
Using the intimidating he has on his side from his dramatic entrance, Noghu turns his head towards the snake he has been tracking, pointing his spear and cackling menacingly.
You will tell me how you make bone walk.">Word of Power: Use a mix of authority and your own personal methods to extract information from a target that you would not normally get from basic means. In combat you can force an enemy to miss their next attack. On Crit you render the target helpless.
"That doesn't answer my question," she replies, tightening her grip on her axe and eyeing you hard. "You with the Arinese? Hm?">>725159
It turns out cats don't always land on their feet. You do a graceful faceplant into the bone pile.>>725160
Both you and the Soldier get pummeled by the debris cloud, though you both shrug it off easily due to your naturally tough skin - or shell, in the soldier's case.>Vajra and Soldier take 4 hits
Once it settles, you wrench the knife free. It's slightly corroded from the blood, but still usable.
"I have a few poultices to go around," Kothbiro replies, not taking her eye off the stranger. >>725161
You manage to avoid the debris as you transform back into your minotaur form. Kothbiro spares you a glance, but remains focused on the newcomer. "What in Mother's name was that?">>725162>>725161>>725160>>725159
You notice the ape moving slightly. Though it remains dead, the wounds begin to close, its damaged eyes reconstituting slowly, flesh and skin and hair reforming with a horrible squirming sound. As it heals, the ape remains inert, non hostile for now. Kothbiro stares in shock, almost dropping her axe as she stares. "…Key," she blurts. "Now."
She rattles her tail aggressively at the intrusion, before pausing as the spear is aimed with purpose towards her.
"You.. Very well."
the gauze wound around her wrist glows, and an image of the wrappings in cobalt blue float from her claws to the ground below.
"It iss the gauze that i channel power through. With it i may bind the dead to my will, though it iss usseless to thosse unfamiliar with the dead artss."
Noghu takes advantage of the distraction of the ape, throwing a bola at her legs and grabbing her by the neck.
[1d10] DC-1 Bola
[1d10] grappleRoll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
I sit up and rub my head. Darn, didn't expect to run anything that strong here. I groan as I pull myself to my hooves and fetch my robe and pack. I throw my robe over my shoulders and shake my head again before pulling the hood up and over my unkempt hair.
"Long story," I grumble. Finally I notice a newcomer. Some little doggy. I brush my robe off and turn back toward the ape, ignoring the slightly aggressive pup for now. Clearly I missed something while I was gone, but at least that darn monkey is taken care of.
I crouch down and search for the key, quickly unhooking it from the collar before whatever kind of freaky magical stuff is happening finishes.
Saurians both living and dead are battered by debris! Vajra angrily brushes herself off, bruised but still standing. "Dissgraceful. At leasst we are rid of the ape. Let uss move on."
The soldier stands silently at attention near the sorceress.
Kalidan lands painfully among the bones, lies there for a short while, then attempts to pull himself to his feet.
He snarls at the newcomer wild dog. "I recognize your kind, dog. You're a long way from home."Roll #1 8 = 8
Kothbiro leaps out of the way of your bola with a shout, doing a forward roll and swinging her axe at you. "I knew it!"
You take the key from the collar while the Ape heals. It doesn't seem to have regained consciousness, completely comatose as its wounds regenerate, stitching together so it may challenge the next would-be treasure hunter. You notice that there are a few other keys attached to the ring. Perhaps they will be useful later on.>>725169
You pull yourself back up. Seems a bit of a scuffle's broken out between Kothbiro and the feral Dog. Meanwhile, the Great Ape appears to be slowly healing.Roll #1 2 = 2
The diamond dog bears his teeth, saying nothing in response but a low growl.>>725170
"You not follow, you not want to live."
Noghu doesn't strike back, instead guarding the exit.
I grab all the keys and look around for the door, not bothering to let anyone know as I unlock it.
"What iss the meaning of thiss?!" hisses the sorceress "you claim you know a way to ssafety yet attack uss? Cease thiss and explain!"
Noghu laughs, slightly more distinct than his normal cackle, "Not safety, I find what you seek. Do not have light."
Noghu guesses, assuming whatever they were after were deeper in the dungeon.
"He's just crazy," I say. "I got the key, witch. Just ignore 'em and let's get outta here."
Kalidan sticks close to the walls and follows the Minotaur through the unlocked door. >>725171
Eyeing the dog carefully, Kalidan gives him a wide berth and does not engage.
"Hmm.. Very well." she replies, following behind you at a slithering pace.
You dodge her attack and make for the rusted iron door at the far end of the pit. She looks confused as you don't attack back, staying her hand but still clearly suspicious.>>725172
After a couple of tries, you find the right key, opening the door to the corridor.>>725174
As you mention having found whatever they're looking for, the zebra relaxes a little, still wary of you. "…Fine. But any tricks, and it's your head. Understand, whelp?">>725171>>725172>>725173>>725176
The stranger leads the way from here, only to find he doesn't actually know where he is. The path splits into two in a T-intersection.
The leftmost path seems to lead to an open area with running water. You can hear faint murmuring voices coming from here, the sound of which immediately puts Kothbiro on edge.
The rightmost path spirals upwards. You can hear sharp, clacking footsteps, like bone on stone, coming from this path. You can smell something damp from this direction, like moss.
As you move further into the dungeon, Kothbiro digs into her satchel and produces three small pouches of what look like medicinal herbs. She gives one poultice each to Vajra, Kalidan and Thungr. "They're all I have for now," she warns. "So be careful with them."
"You are injured, I am not. I would win fight."
Noghu moves forward, gesturing for Kothbiro to give her torch.
"Follow. Moving statues ahead, push over and break.">>725177
"Snake. Moving skeletons ahead too. Do wraps control?"
The cat pads along with the group, collecting himself and (literally) licking his wounds. That acid blood was no joke. Tastes terrible, too.
He takes the medicinal herbs from Kothbiro and sniffs them deeply, pockets them with a grateful smile and a nod.
"Hopefully that was the worst we'll find in here."
Coming to the T-intersection, Kalidan sniffs the air, his ears waggling either direction.
"Perhaps we will have to fight, either way."
She accepts the herbs with a nod. "very well. I may yet draw aid to heal our woundss, but thiss will prove usseful.">>725179
"No, ssomething elsse has brought them back. The sspells to control the moving dead are different, but bring them down and i may gain control." she replies.
Thungr takes the poultice, grunts, and puts it away. Best to hang on to that for later. He shifts his spear back to both his hands, crouches down, and closes his eyes as he focuses on the voices.
[1d10+3]PerceptionRoll #1 6 + 3 = 9
"We'll see about that. Do you have a name, or should I just keep calling you whelp?">>725182
You try to listen in on the conversation. There are three voices you can make out: a deep, gravelly male voice, a second deep voice, this one female, and a cold, reedy male voice.
You can't make out their conversation, as they're too far away and the running water makes it difficult to hear, but you hear some key words: "Galatian", "Heart", "Nicanorian" and "Styr Thenn". The latter name is vaguely familiar to you, but you can't recall where you've heard it before.>>725179>>725180>>725181>>725182
You head right, away from the voices and towards the walking bones. It turns out to be the right guess; the room is familiar to Noghu, being an alternate entrance to the bridge room. The skeletons he saw earlier seem to be in another part of the temple, and the bridge is left unguarded, leading into the maze. The room itself consists of a narrow 15 foot stone bridge, below which is a deep, dark pit.
Kothbiro looks to Noghu. "Well now what? What am I looking at?"
"Learned many paths. Broke door. Returned for light. You light."
Nohu says, continuing into the maze.
Slinking her way up the spiral to the rightmost room, the sorceress looks out to the pit, flicking her tongue out in though.
"Hmm.. a bridge? how ssimple."
At a mental command, the soldier pushes ahead of the others to slowly plod along the bridge, to test the stability of the stone.
[1d10] percepRoll #1 1 = 1
I hum as I pick out the few words I can manage. "Stir then mean anythin' to y'all?" I ask, assuming at least most of the chatter is about the rock.
As they make it to the bridge, he cautiously peeks over the edge and into the darkness. "So, you been here already, doggy?" he asks Noghu. "You said you found what we was lookin' for, didn't ya?"
[1d10+3]PerceptionRoll #1 4 + 3 = 7
[1d10-1] InsightRoll #1 1 - 1 = 0
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 2 = 2
The soldier plods on first, testing it out. It seems quite stable, for now.>>725389
Kothbiro looks grim at the name drop. "…Yeah. Not now though. I'll explain later.">>725390
It's hard to see in the dark, but it looks like there's some sort of alcove up in one of the walls. There's the silhouette of what looks like a felid watching you all. As you begin to cross the bridge, it flits away nimbly.>>725391
The memory of the name eludes you. Might just be deja vu.>>725386>>725388>>725387>>725392>>725389
You start heading across the bridge, Noghu first, then Vajra and her minions, with Thungr and Kothbiro bringing up the rear. As you all begin to cross it, you hear the distant sound of a mechanism activating. Thungr thinks it's coming from the alcove up above. Suddenly, the bridge begins to rumble and shift beneath your feet, moving by some unknown contraption. You lose your footing as the bridge begins to flip upside down, threatening to throw you all into the abyss below!
Kothbiro yelps fearfully and tries to leap off before it's too late!
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
I look up at the felid and grunt. Great. Now some creep is following us. "We ain't alone," I say. I carefully step onto the bridge. Exactly like I expect, something happens and the bridge starts to shift. My heart leaps at the sudden movement, but I keep myself calm and follow Kothbrio and leap before I'm thrown off.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
With Vajra and her soldier further along the bridge, the sorceress and the skeleton rush the last portion in an attempt to escape the rotating bridge!
[1d10] SoldierRoll #1 2 = 2
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
Noghu cackles in worry, quickly shifting his weight and positioning his spear to pole vault across the gap.
[1d10] DC-1Roll #1 7 = 7
You manage to easily sprint across to the other side before it flips, skidding to an abrupt halt.>>725396
You get a running start and pole vault yourself to the other end of the bridge, landing on the platform gracefully.>>725395
The bridge flips on the two of you before you can get to the other side. You slip and almost fall, managing to grab on to a protruding brick on the edge of the walls of the pit. The soldier manages to cling to the edge, but his bone mace falls into the abyss in the process.>>725394>>725395>>725396
Kothbiro does a dive and a forward roll as she gets to the other side. You see the bridge turn upside down, revealing razor sharp spikes on the underside, blocking the way back. Doesn't seem like you'll be able to go back that way, unless you can find some way to flip the bridge again.
Kothbiro sees Vajra struggling and rushes over, leaning over the edge and reaching out to try and haul her up.
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
I shake my head, drop my pack, and pull out my rope. Realizing that her creepy abominations will actually probably be useful, I unravel the full length, drop one end down the ravine beside her, and drop to one knee. "Climb up," I say. "Doubt you're too heavy for me to lift up."
Noghu turns away from the cliff, looking into the maze onward.
"Keep moving. Made noise. They hear."
[1d10]Strength rollRoll #1 6 = 6
"Quiet. I'm helpin' the witch."
Gripping the ledge with her claws, Vajra makes an attempt to reach over and grab extended help!
[1d10] Haul upRoll #1 2 = 2
The soldier mimics the sorceress, reaching for the rope as well.
[1d10] haul upRoll #1 10 = 10
Thungr manages to haul Vajra up on his own, with minimal help from Kothbiro. The soldier, meanwhile, manages to scramble back up and haul itself onto the platform without any outside help. With everyone saved, Kothbiro starts warily pushing onwards into the maze, tailing Noghu.>everyone roll Navigation
"You said we weren't alone," she says to Thungr as they enter. "What did you mean? Are we being followed?"Roll #1 4 = 4
Thungr tightly wraps his rope back around itself and tosses it back into his pack with the rest of his stuff. After, he slings it back across his shoulder and picks his spear back up. "Some cat," he said. "Saw it where that sound came from. My guess is it's the one that flipped the bridge." He follows Kothbrio and Noghu into the maze.
[1d10]NavigationRoll #1 7 = 7
scrabbling back onto safety, the sorceress sighs, her death avoided.
Facing the maze, Vajra proceeds inside with the others, her soldier plodding behind, it's lack of hammer showing no reaction.
"Impresssive they had managed to build ssuch a place. I did not expect to deal with mazes and sspinning bridgess entering thiss temple.."Roll #1 7 = 7
Noghu leads ahead, trying to follow his path he took before.
[1d10] DC-2Roll #1 6 = 6
I give the witch a quick nod. Least she's polite, I guess.
"Did you see what they looked like?" She seems a bit anxious all of a sudden.>>725406
"It's not just defences against thieves at this point," Kothbiro ruminates. "It's like the whole place is designed to test us. Even down to the doors only opening once every seven years.">>725405>>725406>>725408
The maze is pitch black, its great stone walls towering over you, as if the place is built to intimidate. It soon becomes clear that this labyrinth of misleading passages is designed to be as confusing as possible, as it is built vertically as well as horizontally, with stone ladders or flights of stairs leading to higher and lower levels of the maze. All along the walls are carved symbols you don't recognize, along with carvings of saurians usually depicting sun worship; and, at one point, even sacrifices to the sun.
As you traverse the maze, you keep hearing footsteps other than your own. They sound like walking bones searching for wayward intruders like yourselves. Eventually, while following Noghu, you come across a group of them blocking your way. Approximately half a dozen skeletons with weapons in varying states of disrepair are patrolling this section of the maze, the leader of which Noghu recognizes as Candlehead from earlier.
You are currently on a sort of balcony staring down at a lower level of the maze where the skeletons are. A flight of stairs to your left leads to the section they are in, and where Noghu feels the party should go to get to the Black Room. You could, however, try to sneak past by snuffing out your torches, or even ambush them by jumping down from the alcove, though this may prove risky. Kothbiro starts assessing the situation, looking for alternate routes, unsure of how to tackle this scenario.
"No," I tell her. It was kinda hidden by the shadows, so there isn't much more to tell. As I move through the maze I get a little annoyed. Seems like the deeper into this temple thing we get the bigger pain it is, and being played with by someone who's probably long dead irks me a little.
As we make it to the skeletons I shake my head. "Don't wanna fight the skeletons," I say. "But-" I strap my spear across my pack and pull out my short axe. "Looks like we don't got much choice if that's the way we're goin'. How y'all wanna do this?"
Noghu begins to sneak ahead, trying to flank alone before they begin to fight.
[1d10+2] lurkRoll #1 8 + 2 = 10
Snaking away from the light, she begins the slow crawl down the stairs in an effort to stay hidden
"Let uss try the ssafer option first, yess?"
The soldier remains within the balcony, observing the skeletal pack below out of sight.Roll #1 8 = 8
Seeing both of the others sneaking, I shrug, crouch down, and follow.
[1d10]SneakingRoll #1 8 = 8
Kothbiro thinks. "Maybe if we take out the leader's head-" she points to Candlehead- "we could throw them off for a while, since they won't have a light source of their own. Would give us time to sneak by, or ambush 'em. …Or the witch could try to take over one of the skeletons. Maybe. I don't know if that's how magic works." She shrugs. >>725412
"Hey wait, I think we should-"
Opinion discarded. You sneak down the stone steps and around the oblivious bone patrol once again. You maneuver yourself behind them, following their tracks without a sound.>>725413>>725414
Kothbiro grunts and follows you all as you follow Noghu's lead, sneaking behind the skeletons. She snuffs out her torch for now, to make the sneaking easier.>>725414>>725413>>725412
The strolling bones stroll on, unaware of your presence. They do, however, stop dead in their tracks as they spot Vajra's soldier standing at attention. Candlehead points him out with a shrill, creaking hiss. With a jolt, the skeletons spring to action, beginning to throw rocks and spare bones at it!
[4d10]Roll #1 5, 5, 1, 2 = 13
Noticing the band of bones drawing their attention to the soldier, Vajra commands the undead to change it's position, Drawing more of their ire before falling back to the bridge.
During the distraction, the sorceress continues onward, the soldier completing it's distraction before returning to dustRoll #1 3 = 3
There are seven skeletons in the bone patrol:
Candlehead is unarmed, and appears to be the leader and tactician of the group. He seems mostly harmless.
One is headless, carrying its own skull as an impromptu weapon. It seems quite agile, despite its impediment.
Another seems to have been some sort of gladiator, wielding a rusted bident and a tattered net.
Two of them are rather unremarkable, save for the fact that they appear as nearly identical saurians. They are two of the ones throwing things at Vajra's soldier. They are Alpha and Bravo, for convenience.
The third thrower has a sort of leather sling, and wears the remains of a hooded cloak. It looks like it was made out of some sort of flag.
The other thrower has fashioned a mean looking lance out of the spinal column of some unfortunate sod, and wears crumbling stone armor.
In summary, the seven skeletons are:
>>725415>Noncombat talent, immediately become revealed once combat starts
>Lucky Dog: Crit DC-2
Noghu lets out a menacing cackle, throwing his bola at the hooded skelie as he goes to intimate the gladiator into submission.
>Word of Power: Use a mix of authority and your own personal methods to extract information from a target that you would not normally get from basic means. In combat you can force an enemy to miss their next attack. On Crit you render the target helpless.
[1d10] Crit DC-2, Gladiator>Bola; instant, recharge 2, weapon, ranged: Throws a bola to temporarily disable a target. Bola does no damage, but on hit interrupts the target's current action and prevents movement, requiring them to break free of the binds that turn. On crit, it also sends the target helpless without dealing a wound of damage.
[1d10] DC-1, Crit DC-2. HoodieRoll #1 3 = 3
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
Though the dog attacks, I decide to attempt to stay hidden, picking out the leader and preparing myself to fight him.
[1d10]Marked for death
[1d10]Stay hidden (if needed)Roll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
With the dog rushing forward, the sorceress Hisses quietly in frustration, pulling the soldier back from the distraction and sending it down the stairs to meet the skeletons, while her bandages light up, her hiding space glowing blue as she intones:
Sshifting sstones, maze and bone i call from you a phantom form! Fit to fight and ssmassh their forms! REAPER
[1d10] Raise ancientRoll #1 7 = 7
You leap out at the bone patrol with a cackle, hurling your bola. It misses, and draws the attention of the patrol!>>725419
You keep an eye on Candlehead, but as Noghu attacks, his light catches you, betraying your position to the rest of the squad!>>725420
The soldier curls into its shell and rolls down the stairs like a ball, popping out ready to fight by your side.
A shadow begins to form in front of you, coalescing into the form of a Reaper! A flickering shadow like a billowing cloak, with two enormous claws floating by its side, disconnected from any arms, the Reaper's countenance consists of an eerie blank grey mask, ripped from the stone wall itself. It flaps and flickers as it floats by your side, bone claws twitching, eager to tear into the skeletons!>>725418>>725419>>725420
The skeleton warriors are taken by surprise by your appearance, momentarily disorganized!
Kothbiro charges at Lancelot with her axe!
[1d10] Kothbiro Attack
Lancelot counters with a jab of his bony lance!
[1d10] Lancelot Attack
Hoodie grabs a rock and starts spinning his sling!
Limber scuttles away into the shadows!
Gladiator moves to protect Candlehead!
Alpha and Bravo rush to attack Vajra's Soldier!
[2d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
/ Roll #3 4, 3 = 7
Grimacing, Noghu jabs Hoodie with the butt of his spear in the spine, as he had with the previous skeleton he fought.
[1d10] DC-1 ShatterRoll #1 5 = 5
I curse under my breath as the dog gives my position away. Gripping my axe tight, I stand up and charge the skeleton with the candle.
[1d10]axe swingRoll #1 2 = 2
Kalidan, dropping in behind the party, eyeballs the cadre of skeletons before then, sniffs and wipes at his nose.
He extends his deadly-sharp claws, glances down, then retracts them, leaving his bare battle/travel-worn pads.
The cat gears up and charges Alpha and Bravo, sliding in low and swinging at both of them with both of his iron-hard fists.
Dual Wield/Cleave [1d10] [1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
Disarmed as the soldier is, it lumbers forward to deck one of the pair attacking it!
[1d10] Melee, Alpha
The Reaper Joins the soldier in attacking the band's secondary, scraping groves into the maze walls with it's sweeping claws!
[3d10] Reaping strikes, Bravo
Undeterred, The sorceress sends more bandages to scour the maze for minions to call.
"Ancient maze, hear my plea! With arrow and bow ssend one to me!"
[1d10] Esper: marksman shotRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 10, 4, 4 = 18
/ Roll #3 9 = 9
Gladiator falls to pieces as you slam him with the butt of your weapon. The enchanted bones start to reform from the attack, not downed but vulnerable to further attack.>attacks vs Gladiator crit on 8+ for two rounds!>>725423
Gladiator, though momentarily in pieces, hurls the net at you from the ground, interrupting your attack. He takes advantage of the distraction to stick you in the arm with the rusty bident!>Thungr takes 4 hits>>725424
You pounce towards the twins, pummeling them both with a flurry of blows, sending ribs and smaller bones flying! As you go for a final punch, however, Bravo grabs your fist, interrupting your attack and sucker punching you in the face. You stumble backwards, dazed but not downed yet.>Kalidan takes 4 hits>>725425
The soldier shrugs off the blows like they're nothing, shoulder slamming Alpha and following up by crushing the skeleton with the shell on his back, reducing him to bony splinters!
The Reaper joins the fray, tearing Bravo to shreds with a flurry of wild claw swings, sending bits of bone flying everywhere!
You take advantage of both of them being downed, taking a fingerbone from Bravo and raising it as an arrow to command!>>725422>>725423>>725424>>725425
Lancelot jabs Kothbiro in the chest, sending her stumbling and interrupting her attack. She grits her jaw and goes for another swing!
Lancelot swings his lance in a backhand motion!
Candlehead points at Vajra and screams, directing the remaining skeletons to her!
Hoodie hurls a jagged rock at Vajra's Soldier!
A skull is thrown out of the shadows towards Vajra!
Gladiator throws his net at the Reaper!
[1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 7 = 7
/ Roll #3 6 + 2 = 8
/ Roll #4 3 = 3
/ Roll #5 1 = 1
Taking advantage if the situation, Noghu once again repeats his tactics of knocking down and intimidating the skeletons.
[1d10] Word of Power: Gladiator (Crit DC-2)
[1d10] Bola: Hoodie (DC-1, Crit DC-2)Roll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
Kalidan's pretty face is given a solid thump by one of the twins, and so he takes a second to blink the stars away. He pants in the corner, wiping still-flowing blood from his face and surveying any available escape routes. Should it come to retreat, he prefers to have a plan, or at least a direction.
Blinking the blood from his eyes, he focuses in on the first thing he can see clearly, which is a candle-headed foe. He orients his still-spinning head and stalks toward the flickering light, ready to smack the ever-loving litter out of it.
Dual Wield [1d10] [1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 9 = 9
/ Roll #3 9 = 9
Dodging the skull thrown at her, Vajra sends the finger bone zipping off in the direction it came from, aiming for the offending skeleton!
[1d10] Marksman shot
The soldier, having blown Alpha to pieces, Turns it's attention to the ranged one, barreling forward into a shelled bodyslam!
[1d10] Slam, hoodie
The Reaper, splintering it's kill of Bravo, floats haphazardly forward, scraping it's claws along the ground into an upward swing at Hoodie!
[1d10] Melee, HoodieRoll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
/ Roll #3 6 = 6
I cry out in pain as I'm stuck with the bident. Gonna have to clean that later, but for now I continue to focus on the one leading them in hopes the others will scatter.
[1d10]marked for deathRoll #1 5 = 5
You sound your barbaric yawp throughout the maze, rattling Gladiator down to his bones. The reforming skeleton falls apart momentarily, stunned by your cackle!
Your bola goes wide, and Hoodie jumps out of the way, eyeing you next.>>725428
There's three more branching paths, indistinguishable from each other, leading further into the maze.
Gladiator is protecting Candlehead, taking the brunt of your blow. You lay into him, shredding the skeleton to bits, sending assorted bones flying as you rip it to bits. There's not much left of the skeleton when you're done, save for its weapons of choice.>>725429
The finger arrow goes wide, missing the skulking skeleton.
The Soldier and the Reaper are too far off to be able to deal damage to Hoodie just yet, but both move towards it, now in range to attack. The Reaper tears the net to ribbons as it flies towards him, while the rock does a surprising amount of damage, cracking the Soldier over the head and leaving it stunned.>Soldier takes 1 hit>DC to hit things is raised by 2 for 1 turn>>725430
Candlehead continues to elude you, hiding behind his minions.>>725430>>725429>>725428>>725427
Lancelot knocks Kothbiro away with his lance slap, but gets an axe to the chest for his efforts. Kothbiro is left injured and winded, trying to recover!
Lancelot leaves her be, focusing on Thungr with the axe still in his sternum!
With Gladiator down, Candlehead starts hiding behind Lancelot!
Hoodie hurls a stone at Noghu!
The skull clatters to the ground and rolls back into the shadows!Roll #1 9 = 9
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
/ Roll #3 10 = 10
quick to react to the hurled stone, Noghu rolls, staring down the hooded skeleton and barking to throw off it's aim.
>Wild Hunt: passive; After rendering a foe helpless, the Wildguard's first action next turn becomes Automatic. Rendering an enemy helpless with this automatic action does not activate WIld Hunt again.
Automatic Word of Power Hoodie
Kalidan blinks, wipes more blood from his eyes. "Scat," he murmurs, resolving to bleed less from now on.
He shakes his head to clear it, reorients himself and strikes at the candle-headed Skelly with both claws and a ferocity matched by his pain, fear and anger.
Dual Wield [1d10] [1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
Returning to Vajra, the arrow is sent flying towards the Gladiator, pining off of the maze walls to confuse the angle of attack!
The soldier's head is sent literally spinning at it rights itself long enough to send a bony punch towards Hoodie!
[1d10] Melee, Hoodie (DC to hit +2)
The Reaper follows suit, swiping at the skeleton with both claws wildly!
[1d10] Melee, hoodie
Vajra meanwhile sits up and flicks her tongue out to taste the air, searching for the hidden skeleton.
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 9 = 9
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
/ Roll #3 7 = 7
/ Roll #4 6 = 6
My nostrils flare as I become increasingly annoyed. I reach out and try to grab Lancelot by the throat with my free hand, trying to hold him in place while I cleave his skull in two with my axe.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
You bark and snarl loudly, disorienting Hoodie and throwing off his aim. Nevertheless, the rock hits you square in the head, knocking you off balance and leaving you seeing stars. Your vision blurs.>Noghu takes 3 hits>DC+2 to hit enemies next turn>>725433
Lancelot protects Candlehead from harm, taking a blow to the head, sending its jawbone flying. He doesn't seem too perturbed, however, and knocks you away with a swipe of his mighty lance!>Kalidan takes 4 hits, helpless>>725434
The finger arrow flies towards Lancelot, hitting him right in the wrist, breaking his dominant hand right off. His lance clatters to the floor!
Hoodie skitters away from the Soldier's attack, countering with a one two punch combo that sends the turtle-saurian staggering.>Soldier takes 1 hit
The Reaper's powerful double swipe cracks Hoodie's ribs and fractures his left arm. He doesn't seem to mind much.
While you can't detect signs of life, you spot Limber clinging to the walls, hidden in the shadows.>Limber no longer counts as Stealthed to you>>725435
You grab Lancelot, now Lanceless, and pin him to the wall before cracking his skull in half. The skeleton falls apart in your hands as you deliver the blow, crumbling into a pile of bones.>>725432>>725433>>725434>>725435
Kothbiro, now back up, picks up her axe from the remains of Lanceless and sizes up the situation, moving towards Candlehead, who's left vulnerable for a moment. The skeleton leader throws his head back and wails, as if calling for reinforcements!
Hoodie kicks at the Soldier in an attempt to retreat to range!
Limber, not having noticed Vajra having spotted him, hurls his skull at the Reaper!
[1d10] AutocritRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
I drop the skeleton remains. grit my teeth, and let out a low growl as the leader wails. Switching my axe to my off hand, I pull a javelin off my back, quickly heft it to find the center, and chuck it at the unguarded skeleton's skull.
[1d10]Marksman ShotRoll #1 8 = 8
>>725436>Hoodie's crit kick misses due to Word of Power
cackling in pain and clutching his head, Noghu gives a cautious thrust of the spear at the skeletal leader.
>Restrained Strike: weapon; Stab at an enemy with an aimed strike that doesn’t leave you exposed. This attack doesn’t cause counterattack damage, but can only deal 3 hits at max.
[1d10] DC+1 (DC+2 and DC-1 counteracting it)Roll #1 5 = 5
Kalidan grits his teeth as he is smashed to the ground with a lance the size of his body.
He draws in breath raggedly and attempts to climb to his paws, admittedly less acrobatically than before.
Recover [1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
Spying the hidden skeleton clinging to the walls, Vajra rattles her tail as she recalls the arrow, sending it flying off into the dark towards the assassin!
[1d10] Ranged, Limber
The bones of the soldier rattle as it takes a step back, swinging again with a bony claw at Hoodie!
[1d10] Melee, Hoodie
The Reaper surges forward in pursuit of the fleeing skeleton, flailing it's claws wildly!
[1d10] Melee, HoodieRoll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
/ Roll #3 9 = 9
Candlehead's candle head is knocked off its shoulders by your javelin, clattering to the ground and shattering into a hundred shards of bone. The headless skeleton staggers, completely disoriented by the blow, swiping blindly at thin air.>>726011
As Thungr's javelin beheads the leader, you jab at the flailing headless skeleton, knocking it over momentarily. It manages to right itself, not too injured from the attack.>>726013
You manage to pull yourself back up. Your ears are starting to ring, and your injuries are mounting. Kothbiro shoots you a brief glance of concern mid-combat.>>726014
Limber curls into a ball and throws himself to the ground, rolling away from the arrow, which cracks slightly as it hits the wall.
Hoodie fails to retreat to range, getting momentarily stunned by a blow from the Soldier before being snatched up in the Reaper's claws. It lifts the skeleton up before tearing it in half, proceeding to systematically dismantle and scatter its bones with an unsettling, surgical method.>>726010>>726011>>726013>>726014
Candleheadless swipes his claws blindly at whoever's nearby - in this case, Vajra's Reaper.
Kothbiro looks around as a skull is thrown from the shadows, trying to spot Limber.
Limber pries off a rib and throws it like a boomerang at Vajra!
[1d10]Roll #1 10 - 2 = 8
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
/ Roll #3 9 = 9
The hidden skeleton lobs a bonemerang in retaliation, forcing the sorceress to twist away in an attempt to avoid it!
The Arrow, having chipped itself on the wall, writhes on the ground as it tries to become airborne again.
With limber torn to shards, the soldier turns its sights on the now headless, candle-less candlehead, striking it with its bony talons.
[1d10] Melee, Candlehead
The Reaper, having taken apart the skeleton previous, slashes with gusto at the flailing skeleton before it!
[3d10] Reaping, CandleheadRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 4 = 4
/ Roll #3 6 = 6
/ Roll #4 5, 6, 6 = 17
I slip my axe back into my pack, pull out the poultice the zebra gave me, and rub it on my aching arm wound. Letting an audible huff pass through my nostrils, I scrape the floor with my hoof and charge the headless skeleton, moving to crush him against the wall with my body.
[1d10]BodyslamRoll #1 10 = 10
Noghu keeps away from harm, again striking cautiously with his spear as his ears perk, listening to try and find the last combatant.
[1d10] DC-1 (deals 3 hits max)>Perception
[1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 6 = 6
Kalidan, slinking close to the ground, tries to hide himself from the enemies. He notices Kothbiro's look of concern, nods slightly at her, before looking for the nearest high-ground outside of combat.
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
You twist your body gracefully in an arc, avoiding the rib like it's nothing.
The arrow is broken, and is difficult to put together again for the moment.
Candlehead's blows pry a few bones loose from the Reaper's claws, but between his and the Soldier's repeated blows, his bones are scattered.>Reaper takes 3 hits>>726018
Your aching wounds are soothed as you apply the medicinal herbs. Their healing properties are remarkable; you feel better already.
With both of Vajra's minions besetting him, you charge at Candlehead to finish him off. You ram into him with all the force you can muster, hitting him so hard that he violently shatters into a million bony shards. There's not much left of him once you're done.>>726020
Thungr's pretty much annihilated Candlehead by now, but you spot a few of the fragments of bone feebly twitching, crushing them under the butt of your spear for good measure.
You spot Limber clinging to the walls like some overgrown gecko, surveying the fight from afar.>>726023>>726025
The nearest vantage point that you can see is a ledge that seems to connect to a higher level of the maze. It seems like one of many balconies of a sort. Oddly, you can see small multicolored lights on the floor of this upper section, silhouetting a figure that is watching you from afar. It looks like a fellow Felid. Female, with a large sword on her back. As she sees you watching, she darts off into the maze. You recall Thungr's warning of someone having flipped the bridge earlier.>>726017>>726018>>726020>>726023
Kothbiro spots Limber and starts moving towards him with her axe at the ready.
Limber reclaims his skull and hurls it at Noghu!
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
I rub my shoulder as I step away from the shattered skeleton. Quickly finding my javelin, I pick it up and hook it back into my pack with my other two and my spear. Turning my attention back to the battle, I try to find the last skeleton.
[1d10]Hunter SenseRoll #1 7 = 7
/ Roll #2 4 = 4
Noghu quickly reacts to the sight of Limber's toss, trying to bind the skeleton's arm before it can make a proper toss.
>Bola; instant, recharge 2, weapon, ranged: Throws a bola to temporarily disable a target. Bola does no damage, but on hit interrupts the target's current action and prevents movement, requiring them to break free of the binds that turn. On crit, it also sends the target helpless without dealing a wound of damage.
>actions divert whether or not Bola succeeds. On success, the next roll is a restrained strike at DC-1. If it fails, the roll is a dodge. Didn't want this to be 2 posts
[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
Without hesitation, the Felid launches himself up, over the balcony, attempting to follow the unknown form through the darkness silently.
He turns to give one last glance to the party, still in the midst of combat, before dropping to all fours. He pads quietly into the blackness, following his mark with intense feline concentration.
Following the Trail [1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
The Reaper fades briefly, its claws and mask hitting the ground unceremoniously with a clatter. After a moment, the shadows stretch towards the abandoned pieces, which rumble ominously.
The finger arrow continues to right itself from the stony floor.
With her minions disabled or too far away, the sorceress hisses in frustration as she chases after the agile skeleton.
"Hsss.. Get back here! I will carve you to ssplinterss mysself for your perssistance!"
The soldier, having layed out the flailing skeleton, begins trudging after Vajra and the antagonistic Limber.Roll #1 2 = 2
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
You spot Limber crawling up the walls, chucking bits of itself as weapons.>>726029
As Limber winds up his throw, you respond with a quick hurl of your bola, strapping his arms to his body. He clatters to the ground, losing a few bones in the process. A ferocious war cry from you seems to intimidate even the mindless undead, stunning him momentarily.>>726030
You break away from the gang and go after the Felid. It seems whoever this adventurer is, she's been leaving herself a trail of small, brightly shining stones to mark her path. You keep following in the direction that she went, only to find that the trail stops abruptly, and the path forks in several directions. Not only is there a crossroads leading forward, left and right, but also a set of rungs carved into the wall that lead to an even higher level. Your quarry could have gone anywhere. You can't help but shake the feeling, however, that you're being watched.>roll Perception>>726032
Your minions fail to rise as you approach the now helpless Limber.>>726028>>726029>>726032
As Limber falls, stunned by Noghu's bolas and war cries, Kothbiro goes to swing her axe, but hesitates. She looks over to Vajra. "Witch. Will you be needing this one for anything, or should we swing away?"
You hear the clacking of bone on stone in the distance as reinforcements threaten to arrive. Kothbiro frowns. "Let's get moving before we have to fight even more. …Say. Where'd the cat go?"
"Cat flee. His nature."
Interrupting Kothbiro's hesitation, Noghu smashes the spine of the skeleton with the butt of his spear, "We go, too much noise. More will come."
I nod. "Best," I say. No telling what's in the actual maze and past. Best not to waste our energy if we don't gotta.
[1d10]NavigationRoll #1 4 = 4
[1d10] DC-2 navRoll #1 7 = 7
She shakes her head "It iss uselesss to me. My control cannot extend to that which iss already raissed."
With the excitement over, the various undead summoned, save for the soldier, return to inert bones and sand.
"Let uss move on, there are more dead nearby.." She slithers past the bound bones through the exit, the soldier plodding along behind her.
[1d10] NavigationRoll #1 6 = 6
Kalidan follows the trail. Glancing behind and all around him, he pockets each of the shining stones marking the path back.
When faced with a choice of which direction to head, the felid takes a moment to search for further clues.
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
She frowns in disapproval as you simply break the skeleton with a finishing blow, but doesn't comment.>>726035>>726036>>726041
You continue to traverse the maze, avoiding the incoming skeletons. You find yourselves going deeper down to the lower levels, beyond what could feasibly be called a temple. It's like this place was built into a cave system below the temple itself. You can only ponder how much effort went into this place.
You eventually come to the dark place Noghu found. It consists of an elaborate stone archway that once contained a door, but courtesy of Noghu is now just a pile of intricately designed rubble. To call the room ahead dark would be to call a lake a puddle; it is black as death, the darkness almost tangible. It is clear that this is not just poor lighting; there is some sort of fell magic at play here blinding you to what lies ahead. Kothbiro sticks her torch in, only to pull it back completely snuffed out. She frowns in concern. "What should we do here? There has to be a way to be rid of the shadows… Hm…">>726042
You notice pawprints in the dust, leading towards the rungs. You climb them, only to be presented with a long, narrow hallway. Further on, you can see the mysterious cat examining something on the ground, crouching down and fiddling with a contraption. As you climb up, her head turns to you sharply, her eyes gleaming in the darkness. She doesn't seem afraid of you, though; rather, she flashes a playful grin before darting off further down the hall and around a corner, as if inviting you to chase her.
"Was blocked. No longer."
Noghu points to the pile with a satisfied, slightly eerie grin. He then points to the darkness.
"See? Needed light. Now light."
Surprised by the magic at work, The sorceress looks on at the pitch black darkness ahead of them.
"Hmm.. An interessting sspell indeed. Perhapss there is ssomething of note nearby?"
Backing up, Vajra examines the area before and around the door for some sign of spells cast.
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 8 = 8
"Don't think that's true," I say, nodding toward the snuffed torch. I hum and look around with the witch. Some kind of light? Or maybe we're just supposed to go through the dark?
[1d10+2]Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3
"Until we know the sspell's nature, i would advisse againsst entering. Asss the light wass ssnuffed out, sso too might our livess share the fate."
Kalidan watches the contraption with wide eyes. After she leaves, he remains motionless, listening for several moments in the darkness for any clues. He continues tracing her, slowly and methodically, paying special attention to the contraption she left behind.
He takes a moment to examine one of the stones his mark has left as a trail he has collected, as well as count how many he was able to pilfer.
Appraise [1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 7 = 7
No. Command: Now Light." Noghu reasserts.
"Well obviously light doesn't work here, genius." She waves the burnt torch in your face. "You could have destroyed our only clue to getting through this thing, you do realize.">>726046
You turn your attention to the rubble. Despite Noghu's best efforts, some of the pieces of the door are still intact. They seem to depict three torch sconces. Pieced together, they would have made some sort of map, but there's not much hope of doing so now.>>726047
You can't seem to find much of interest, sadly, save for a few stray cobwebs.>>726049
Kothbiro has a brainwave. "Why don't you try sending him in and see what happens?" She points at the Soldier, who's idly kicking at some stray dust.>>726050
You are forced to sidestep. It seems she was rearming a pressure plate trap when you interrupted her.
You have collected about a dozen of the marker stones at this point, though there were many more leading in the opposite direction.
You keep following your quarry. She's always two steps ahead of you, navigating the maze with ease. She doesn't even bother leaving the stones for you to find at this point, though, as if she's trying to get you lost. You only ever catch glimpses of her, just out of sight, waiting for you to catch up.
Eventually, your tracking takes you to a dead end in the form of a wide open room, circular in design. It resembles some sort of arena. Your eyes have adjusted to the darkness by now, and you can see what looks like some sort of torch sconce in the center of the room. There's no sign of the Felid, though, at least not at first glance.
"How? Was stone. Stone not light."
I grunt. "Seems sendin' that thing
in is our best bet. Can't find nothin' out here. 'Less someone has a better idea."
The sorceress hisses at realizing the door's nature.
"The door held the key, a map, ssshattered and usseless now.. Piecing the door together will take time, ssomething we cannot afford to wasste…"
With a gesture, the soldier stands at attention and trudges into the darkness of the room ahead.
The large black felid takes one step inside the cavernous room and immediately spooks. This looks bad. He starts looking for ways out of the room, with particular attention to the way he came in. Namely, turn tail and run. Quietly.
Nope, nope and nope [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
I rub my face with my hand and shake my head. "Yeah," I say. "That'd make sense. Think we should-" I nod toward the undead. "tie it to somethin first? In case it don't come back?"
raising a claw, ethereal gauze wraps around the soldier's shell, ending at the sorceress' wrist.
"Thiss will do. If the magic failss, we will have our ansswer of the room'ss safety."
"It could have held some sort of clue to-">>726058>>726054
Kothbiro's expression sours. "As I thought." She crosses her forelegs and stares down Noghu angrily. "A fine job you did, dog.">>726062>>726058
You wrap some gauze about the Soldier, binding it to you as you send it forth.>>726058>>726054>>726058
The Soldier dutifully marches forth through the archway, vanishing into the darkness. You can hear its bony footsteps clacking on the stone surface as it explores.
After a bit of searching, it returns, trundling back out through the dark veil without a scratch. It seems the room itself is safe, at least on the surface, the darkness being the only impediment. Kothbiro breathes a sigh of relief. "…Don't suppose any of you can see in the dark?" she asks.>>726059
You turn to leave, only to find yourself face to face with your prey as she falls soundlessly off of her perch above the doorway. She's a slender Felid, with grey fur and bright green eyes, about half a head shorter than you. She wears a red sleeveless coat, and a sword is sheathed on her back.
"Find what you're looking for, drifter?"
Despite being taller than her, you can't help but feel like she's turned the tables on you, and the hunter is now the hunted. She takes a confident step towards you, staring you down with a cocky smirk.
"Why would they give clue? You show hunter map to your food?"
I shake my head. Wish I could see in the dark. "'Specially not that kinda dark."
"I cannot, though my ssensess are ssharp, enough to move with ssome caution at leasst." she replies, dismissing the gauze around the soldier.
"If we sstay closse, we may yet pass through alive."
The felid is taken aback to be so abruptly face-to-face with his so-called prey.
"Well," he starts, recovering his wits, "thanks for dropping in!" He laughs awkwardly at his own joke as he tries to look and feel around for an exit to this chamber, his eyes darting everywhere as his mouth prattles off.
"How about those skeletons, huh? Pretty crazy stuff. Shoulda seen the gorilla! You, uh, from here? Tourist myself," he continues searching.
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
"Whoever built this place wants to challenge us to try and claim the Heart, obviously. …You're not very smart, are you, dog." She eyes you up and down. "If you're not going to give us a name, then I might as well call you Fool.">>726067>>726064>>726069
Kothbiro looks out into the darkness. "So, the way I see it, we can either go in and try to feel it out, or try a different direction and see if we can't disable the darkness somehow. What do you think?">>726070
It's a dead end. And this fellow adventurer is blocking your only way out.
She ignores your babbling and keeps eyeing you, crossing her arms and firmly blocking the doorway. "Why were you following me? And give me back my Prism Stones. I kind of need those."
I snort. "Don't know. I like Fool." I run my hand through my beard and think. "Think there would be a way somewhere else? Wouldn't that mean going back through the maze?"
"Word as strong as who says. You followed me
"Your light bad? no light. You want further? We go further. Paw against stone."
Noghu says, dragging his hand against the left wall to give an example.
Realizing he has no escape, the cat finally turns toward his prey, offering a friendly smile and upward turned paws, gesturing peace. "Haven't we met before? I can never forget a beautiful face."
Persuade [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
"It's just one end of the maze, right? This place is huge. Could try looking somewhere else. Might even be able to find a way to disable this. …I mean, we don't even know for sure that this is the right way.">>726075
She seethes quietly and looks away as you come back with a good point, not replying.
She nods as she sees your intent to keep moving forward. "I guess that could work. We'd just have to be careful not to end up getting completely lost.">>726074>>726075
Kothbiro seems torn between both options, looking from one to the other. "So what'll it be, then? Forward or back?">>726077
She snorts derisively at your attempt to turn on the charm. "That doesn't answer my question. Why are you here? I mean I can guess why you're here
here, but why split up from the rest of your group?" It's clear she's not going to let you leave without an explanation.
I shrug. "Guess we move forward. Make sure to move slow and feel out for pits. Main problem is traps. Can't find 'em in the dark. Don't wanna get speared."
Noghu pounds the butt of his spear against the ground a couple of times, dragging it in front of him and looking to Thungr,
"It can feel ground give sooner than you."
[1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
[1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
Kalidan's ears fall to the side and his shoulders slump. He leans against the side of the wall, showing every trace of feeling unwell.
"To be honest with you," he begins, "I've been pretty badly injured. I don't really know any of these parties," putting his hand into the bag to handle one of the shining stones.
He continues, "and, having already taken a few blows, I was kind of just looking to roll out." He pulls the shining stone out and transfers it into an inner pocket.
He continues, "You seemed like you knew where you were going, is all." Pulls his hand out of his pocket, gestures friendliness to her.
He smiles apologetically, showing the remaining stones off in the pouch he's placed them in.
"I believe these are yours."
Sleight of Hand [1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
"I'll try to watch our backs," Kothbiro says. "Whatever that's worth."
You move into the shadows. Your torches are instantly snuffed out; you can't see an inch in this oppressive blanket of darkness cast over the room. As Noghu suggested, you keep moving forward, one hand against the wall, feeling out the room blindly.
From what you can tell, it's quite small; you manage to do a complete loop around in a minute or so. The far end of the room seems to end in a huge wooden door, while from some blind fumbling, you find three torch sconces in front of said door.
Thungr fumbles in the dark, almost tripping over something, losing his place and getting separated from the party.>>726088
She gives you a look. "Hm. Yeah, you're not really in fighting condition, are you."
She takes the stones without so much as a word of thanks, digging around in a side satchel for a bit. "Here. Drink this. Might help." She passes you a tiny flask of fizzing red liquid, with a hint of green. She waits expectantly for you to down it, eyeing you carefully.
I slow down and continue carefully moving through the room, feeling out the floor a little gentler. Pulling out one of my javelins, I try to use it to help feel out the way ahead.
[1d10] navigationRoll #1 9 = 9
"Not puzzle minded, Noghu waits by the sconces, silent but investigative.
[1d10] checkin out sconcesRoll #1 1 = 1
You feel around in the dark blindly, eventually prodding something significantly fleshier than the rest of your surroundings. "Hey. Hands off, mountain man," Kothbiro growls.>>726091
It is undeniably a sconce.
Kalidan eyes the other Felid carefully, as if trying to determine whether or not she would poison him. After a long stare, he shrugs, pulls the whole shot and swallows.
"Yeah," he coughs, trying not to choke. "Not really in fighting shape at all. Pretty much ready to get out of here. Have any ideas?"
He looks her over, now that they are close, keeping an eye for valuables, quality of weapons and trying to place her accent.
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
You down the potion. It tastes bitter, but not unpleasantly so, with a slight burn to it.
"Well…" She thinks. "Not being downed by dead weight is a start."
As you try and make sense of that, your legs suddenly give way, and you fall painfully to the floor. Your body refuses to obey. You can't move, no matter how you try.
She grins. "Don't worry. It wears off after a minute or so. Just enough time to see what you're carrying."
You can't even talk due to the poison, forced to stare as she rummages through your belongings. She frowns in disapproval. "No weapons, barely any gold, only a smattering of rations… The world hasn't been kind to you, has it. Then again you probably deserve it. Taking drinks from strangers and all."
"Ah! Here we are!" She pockets the gold and the emerald you'd found earlier. "Ought to be worth something. Wouldn't you agree?"
She crouches next to you. "Tell you what. You want your loot back so bad, come and get it. I'll be around. Maybe."
With that, you are forced to watch as she turns tail and dashes off into the shadows, leaving nothing behind. At least you kept the Prism Stone hidden.
After a while, your limbs start to respond again. Despite only being about five minutes or so, you feel incredibly stiff and sore. Your legs especially. Other than that, you're okay, for now. No sign of where the thief went, though.
Noghu nods to himself, having confirmed this is work meant for the others. He spends his time making sure there are the sounds of only the 3 of them moving in the room.
[1d10] percepRoll #1 6 = 6
My hand reflexively jerks back as I accidentally grope the zebra. I can feel my face grow a little hot, but make sure to continue keeping pace with the rest of the group. "Pardon," I mumble. Putting the little accident behind me, I take my place with the rest of the party. Seems like they found somethin'?
[1d10+3]Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11
Kalidan groans as he loses strength and crumples, feeling moreso foolish than discomforted, watches helplessly as the thief rifles through his meager belongings. He is almost glad to have nothing worth stealing, but his pride is, admittedly, a bit hurt. As she dashes off, he makes sure to mark the direction she disappears, trying his best to use his sensitive ears to mentally track her path. Good thing all that gold she stole jingles ever so slightly.
Finally the short-term tranquilizer wears off and he is able to rise. Feeling stiff, he stretches a bit. Not much worse than the morning after a night of Abyssinian spirits, but there is a bad taste in the back of his mouth which has more to do with being duped than the draught he downed.
He first searches around for the mostly-empty vial he drank from.
Pocketing that, he takes off, silently tracking his thief/friend down the side path in darkness, tracing her movements as best he can, following in her footsteps to avoid any traps.
Tracking [1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
/ Roll #2 9 = 9
With much fumbling around behind the others, the sorceress leans in to glare at the sconces.
"Perhapss we could place our tourchess into the ssconces." she suggests. "I susspect there iss a pattern needed to open it.."
You use your sharpened senses to judge how many there are in the room. You count five present, plus Vajra's skeletal minion. However, you can't help but feel some other presence in the room, like you're being watched by something not quite of this world.>>726373
Sticking with the rest of the group, you manage to feel out a good layout of the room you're in. The three sconces seem to be placed as if leading up to the door at the far end of the room, two on one side and one on the other. Running your hands over them, you notice certain carvings on the base of each sconce: geometric lines, forming a pattern of some sort. Perhaps a simple decoration, or something else entirely. With enough force, you find, they also rotate on their base, as if on a mechanism. >>726374
There's still a bit of poison in the vial. Just enough for another swig.>Cockatrice Blood x1
You manage to follow her tracks, relying on your keen hearing and sense of direction to navigate the vertical maze. You make your way out of the torch room and through a series of corridors, stairs and ladders, ending up heading far, far down into the recesses of the maze. More than once, you are forced to freeze, and stick to the shadows to avoid being detected by the patrolling skeletons.
Eventually, you catch a glimpse of her. She's stopped using the Prism Stones, presumably to throw you off her tracks. Rounding a corner, you catch a fleeting glimpse of a kinked grey tail turning a corner. You follow this into an open area with a huge stone door at the far end, several statues built in front of it, depicting saurians kneeling with their heads bowed. No sign of the thief, though. She must be hiding somewhere…>>726375
"Worth a shot," you hear Kothbiro say. This is followed by her fumbling in the dark, striking her flint and steel in order to try and light her torch. No such luck, however. It's like this place absorbs all light.>>726375>>726373
A closer investigation of the sconces reveals something odd: they're upside down, the torch receptacle pointing towards the floor.
I run my hand through my beard and let out a half-rumble, half-hum. I try to turn the first torch hole right-side up and slip my unlit torch into it.
Eying the sconces' odd orientation, Vajra makes an attempt to rotate the middle sconce upward.
[1d10] rotateRoll #1 8 = 8
Noghu growls, impatient.
Vajra and Thungr rotate the sconces to the proper position, with considerable effort and a loud, harsh scraping of stone on stone. As the latter places the unlit torch, it bursts into flame, illuminating the room unexpectedly with a sudden violent flare of burning fire. Kothbiro shields her eyes at the sudden flash of light with an audible wince. Once your eyes readjust to the sudden light, you proceed to do the same with the other two.
As the three flames are lit and the overwhelming darkness dissipates, you take a good look around the room. You can see now that the sconces had intersecting lines as decorations, some of which end in circles. Almost like a map. You can also see that the huge wooden door has writing on it. Kothbiro reads it out loud for those who cannot read: "'Light three flames and open the way to morning.' Hm. Not sure if we did this right or not." She rubs the back of her head anxiously.
There are a few ways you can proceed from here:
The left end of the room has two barred metal doors, akin to a jail cell, which seem to lead to a damp, dark place. It seems to lead gradually downwards, further into the maze.
The wooden doors at the far end swing open unusually silently, leading to a huge open area with several stone tombs, treasures, and decorations, all of which seem to lead up to some sort of altar. This altar has an extremely elaborate statue built upon it, though you can't make out the details from this far off. Despite the room being uninhabited, you get the odd feeling that there's some sort of presence in this room.
Another barred metal door leads to a path that seems to slope upwards sharply, being an extremely narrow tunnel. You can feel a breeze coming from it. A way out, perhaps?
You could also turn back, and keep exploring the maze.
I squint and turn away, but otherwise keep as alert as I can with the suddenly blinding firelight. "Huh." Well. Guess that worked. I shrug. "Looks like three fires t'me." Guess we head forward and fight whatever ambushes us in the next room. Without saying anything, I step through the door, keeping an eye out for traps and anything that might be ready to pounce.
[1d10+3]Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11
Kalidan keeps an eye open as he enters the chamber, after a long follow. Sticking to the inside wall of the chamber, he doesn't venture too far into into the playing field, keeping an eye on the exit. He tries to ply the shadows for a form fitting his thief's MO, but doesn't worry too much if she slips him. After all, he's waiting for her.
After all this, he stops and takes a look around the chamber.
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
Hissing at the sudden flare of light, Vajra shakes her head as her eyes adjust to the light.
"Perhapss there iss more to the riddle within the further roomss. The altar may yet hold a clue.."
With the path lit, the sorceress follows Thungr further into the room ahead, the soldier standing by in the main chamber.
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 1 = 1
"Three flames lit. Is right. We move."
Seeing as he no longer knows the way further, Noghu begins to slink to the back of the group, remaining vigilant as they move forward.
[1d10] percepRoll #1 10 = 10
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
As you take a look around, you hear voices in the distance. Your companions must be somewhere nearby. In the gloom, you swear you see one of the statues moving out of the corner of your eye. You turn to look again, but the statue is gone.
You feel a sudden sharp pain in the back of your head as something hits you from behind, almost knocking you over. "Back for more?" the thief taunts as she flits into the shadows again, hiding just out of view. She's extremely good at this. "Thought you would've given up the first time.">Kalidan loses 1 hit
You move further into the room. It seems to be a mausoleum of some kind; the tombs are elaborately decorated, and adorned with gifts and treasures of all kinds. A grave robber would have a field day here. The statues on the altar at the far end, you notice, seem to depict a death ceremony. A saurian lies on a bed of stone, surrounded by robed individuals, their arms outstretched in the same gesture you've seen several times now, as if reaching out to the sun. You notice that the dead saurian's hands are folded across his chest, as if originally clutching something that has been removed.
You suddenly notice what it is that is making you feel like you're being watched. The shadows being cast by the torchlight bend unnaturally on the altar, casting an extra shadow across them, as if of some invisible figure standing there being affected by the light. Its form is difficult to discern, but it doesn't seem to be moving, simply flickering there eerily. Kothbiro doesn't seem to have noticed it yet.
Kalidan shakes off the blow. It's nothing. Compared to the serious wounds he's incurred already, he pays no heed to minor blows. He takes it in stride, his matted fur already thick with his own blood.
He forces his sore muscles into dancing, dropping into a warrior's stance and looking all around him as he takes in his surroundings. Looks like the thief has led him back to the previous party he's made friendly with. At least that's a plus.
Kalidan takes a guess, swipes an unclawed fist at the darkness he guesses she must inhabit.
"Guess I'm just stubborn," he explains, as he swipes around in the darkness, hoping to even the score just a little bit.Roll #1 8 = 8
"H'm…" I crouch down and get a closer look at the dead saurian statue. "Y'all don't think them other folks got here afore us, do you? 'Less this is another damn puzzle or somethin'." I keep an eye on the shadow, but don't do or say anything more to show I notice it. Could be nothing. Could be an invisible monster what wants to eat my guts.
Noghu growls and barks at the shade.
"What are you."
>Word of Power
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
The sorceress flicks her tongue out to taste the air. "Thiss far into the tombss? Unlikely. It could ssimply be in another room, likely part of ssome tesst."
[1d10] DC-2, Detect life
She watches the shape bending the light. "Hmm.. unussual.. ssome ressstless sspirit, woken from the sstolen item, maybe."Roll #1 10 = 10
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
omfg [1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
They don't seem to be in the same room as you, but definitely close by.
You manage to graze her briefly as she flits by. She's remarkably nimble, despite the heavy sword she carries. You manage to get a bead on her as she darts about the room. She's wearing a black hooded mask, her emerald eyes glittering as she perches atop one of the statues. You see her grin under the hood. "You know, the Heart isn't even that big a deal to me. The baubles I'll be grabbing off you and the others, there's the real
treasure. It's what I do."
Without warning, she pounces at you, claws bared, leaping clear across the room at you.
[1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
I sigh and pull out my axe. "Now, why'd y'all go acknowledging it like that? I don't care to fight no haunt if I don't gotta, but now it might get all fussy."
Kalidan drops close to the ground and, anticipating her airborne assault, moves away at the last second.
The large cat tears upward at the thief's belly as she passes, a strong right hook, powerful claw fully extended.
Unarmed [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
You notice that whatever was in the statue's hands seems to be designed to lock in. Like a key.
"Impossible," Kothbiro points out. "This place was sealed.">>726391
You don't detect any life at all. Whatever is casting the shadow, it is not of this world.>>726390>>726391>>726389
Kothbiro notices the shadow, bristling as she readies her axe, her eyes flitting about the mausoleum in anticipation of another fight. As Noghu challenges it, it starts to take more of a visible form. It's the silhouette of a saurian, its arms clasped in front of it, mimicking the statue of the corpse. A voice rings out in reply, a low hissing whisper that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, echoing and bouncing around the walls and high ceiling of the hidden mausoleum.You are in the presence of Iudex Castys.Keeper of the Sun's Heart.Trespassers.You have journeyed far and overcome much to stand here now.One of you will be granted the treasure you seek.You must answer one question.There is no wrong answer.But only the worthy will be gifted their desire.Drifters from distant lands.Why do you seek the Heart of the Sun?
"If we could enter the room, one would asssume it will not attack uss. If it iss tied to the object sstolen, it may only attack in whatever approachess the altar."
You dash to the side and swipe as she lunges, slashing her across the side. She hisses and curls up into a ball, doing a forward roll and landing on all fours. She's injured, but doesn't miss a beat in slashing at you with bared claws, teeth gritted.
[1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
Kalidan hisses, ears back and eyes slitted, as he engages in a catslap battle against this rival cutpurse.
Scratch [1d10] + Riposte [1d3]
He finds himself admiring her more and more. After all, it's been a while since Kalidan has interacted with a female of the Felid persuasion. He finds himself just a bit flustered, to his own embarrassment.Roll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 7 = 7
/ Roll #3 1 = 1
Noghu looks puzzled, on guard.
"Sun belong in sky." he answers tentatively, making sure nothing else is changing behind them.
[1d10] percepRoll #1 2 = 2
Surprised to find her goal seemingly in sight, The sorceress laughs as the question is presented.
"I Sseek the power held within the gem, to bend Abysssinia to my will!" she replies with confidence.
"With the gem'ss magic, i will unite the dissparate tribess under my claws, an empire to sstrech acrosss the ssandss!"
You manage to duck and avoid her swipe, raking her across the chest with your own claws. Your blow knocks her backwards, onto her back. She's winded, but rolls onto her front, running at you on all fours and slashing as she goes!
[1d10+2] TumbleRoll #1 3 + 2 = 5
I rub my forehead as the dog threatens the dern ghost. Not wanting to pick a fight, I sigh and shake my head. Ghost probably knows why I'm here. All in my head. No sense in lyin'. I shrug. "Broke. Gonna get paid to grab it.">>726402
I give the witch a sidelong glance, making a mental note to specifically not let her end up with it.
The cat dodges, the legendary reflexes of his namesake being what they are. He maintains a solid stance on the ground as he watches her pass.
He returns with a swiping strike of his own as she passes, his claws extended. He yowls at her, a gutteral feline scream.
Claws Out [1d10] + Riposte [1d3]Roll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 7 = 7
/ Roll #3 3 = 3
Castys does not reply for a while. Your path is one of curiosity, Noghu, son of Kaath. You came here out of a desire to learn more, to know more, not for material gain. It is fate that led you here, and, perhaps, fate that will grant you our greatest treasure. Or perhaps not. Ignorance and hesitation are defeat.>>726402
Castys regards you impassively. You feel them judging you, staring into your very soul.Your ambition is unparalleled among your companions, Vajra, daughter of Sanesh. I see in your heart a burning flame that would bring light to those who live in darkness. Or burn this land to cinders, if stoked too much. Know this, child of the sands. Those who think they are all-knowing know nothing of what they do not.>>726404A simple motivation. Self preservation is paramount, Thungr, twice cursed child of the Mikill. I see within you a lurking fear, and a beast that threatens to consume you. Entropy and chaos roil in your soul, son of Griss. And chaos begets more chaos.>>726401>>726402>>726404
Kothbiro speaks up, looking antsy. "Enough riddles. Give me the heart. Styr Thenn demands it." She steps up to the altar defiantly, looking brave for a brief moment; as she draws closer to the shadow of the Iudex, however, she quails, and begins to tremble.Your life, daughter of Traore, is one of terror. Terror of the master that bends you to his will. And in his soul, there is nothing but blackness. While in yours, there is nothing but doubt. You, Kothbiro, are your own worst enemy.
She stumbles backwards, breathing heavily, slumping against one of the pillars that supports the room. Castys speaks once again.You have all been judged, and have passed our greatest trials to be here.None of you are truly worthy.But.One must claim the Heart.
The shadow moves, flowing towards the statue on the altar, rippling and bending as it seems to synchronize with its position. With a heavy rattling and grinding, the statue begins to move, rising steadily from its stony bed and walking towards you. Within its clasped hands appears the Heart of the Sun; an enormous golden gem, scintillating with geometric shapes, refracting the torchlight in beautiful patterns on the walls. It seems to radiate wealth and beauty, captivating your gaze.
The stone judge walks on, puppeted by its own shadow. It trudges right by Kothbiro without a glance, then past Vajra. It comes to a stop at the rear of the group, facing Thungr and Noghu. Then, it outstretches its arms, offering the gem to the Dog.
You dodge and swipe at her again, knocking her on her side. She grunts from the impact, winded and beaten. She looks up at you with burning, murderous intensity; then, her expression softens, and she pulls the hood off. She's taken quite a beating; you busted her lip in the fight, and it looks like she hit her cheekbone.
"Alright, alright, enough. That's enough. You win." The cutpurse struggles to her feet, throwing down her bag in submission . "Damn. You're tougher than you look, you know that? …You have a name?"
A chill runs up my spine and I feel my fur bristle. Damned creepy ghosts. 'Least the skeletons didn't talk. "I hate magic," I mumble. "Still don't know nothin'. I gave up bein' afraid. Kicked the habit for good."
I watch as the gem that's going to make sure I have enough coin to survive for the next month or so hovers towards me and reflexively reach out toward it. Only makes sense it'd pick me. I'm the only one what went through the whole dern temple without doing somethin' silly 'cept maybe the zebra.
My hand freezes and my jaw locks as the ghost hands it out to the mutt.
Noghu squints his eyes, snatching the gem after the creature speaks on hesitation,
"Is gem. What it do."
Noghu says, pressing for more information.
[1d10] WoP for more infoRoll #1 4 = 4
The spirit's words intrigued the sorceress, though its denial of worthiness illicited a warning hiss. Who was it to judge her?
her anger was abated at the sight of it, glittering even in the gloom of the chamber with magical power she reaches for it, only for the statue to walk past her!
the hiss turned to a rattling anger as it trudges past her, offering it not to her but to the sands-touched dog!
"Hssss.. you would deny me my prize?! You would grant it to HIM
? What iss the meaning of thisss!"
Kalidan does not take her yield as any solid indication combat has ended. He steps in, glaring at her, kicks her bag away, then halts standing over her and listens to the silence, perking his large ears to and fro to try to detect any danger.
Barring any nearby threats, Kalidan whispers a name to his foe. "They call me Shadow," he bluffs. He offers her a paw, to help her up.Roll #1 5 = 5
The gem's radiance fades slightly as it passes out of Castys' stone hands to you. For you?Nothing.But it is all that will remain of this place.Keep it.Remember what you have seen this day.Remember me, and tell your world the tale of how this passed to you.Memory is immortality.As long as one remains who remembers us, we will never die.>>726410
Castys does not turn to you, but answers you nonetheless.Four are gathered.One covets our Heart out of fear.Another, out of lack of guidance.And you, out of raw greed.The most deserving is he who does not want.And you, Vajra Sandborn, want everything.You could never be worthy.>>726408>>726409>>726410
As Noghu is given the Heart, you feel a faint rumbling. Cracks begin to appear on the pillars that hold this room up. Our time is over.Yours is beginning.If it is gold you desire, we have it in droves.Take what you wish.And run.
Kothbiro doesn't need to be told twice. Shooting Noghu a foul look, she starts running around the room greedily, stuffing her pockets with as many valuables as she can hold before shambling off to the exit. Castys' stone body breaks apart, and the shadow vanishes.
You can still hear your companions off in the distance.
She doesn't buy it. "What sort of parent names their kid Shadow?" she scoffs.
She extends her paw. "Neridah. Neridah Subotai."
Neridah reaches into her jacket and pulls out a flask, taking a swig of some transparent red liquid. It seems to reinvigorate her. She offers you some. "No more tricks," she says earnestly.
You feel a rumbling beneath your feet. Neridah frowns and starts looking around. "Something tells me we shouldn't stay here, huh."
She extends her paw and accepts your offer to help her up*
I grumble. Well, that little statue thing is probably worth somethin'. I take a note out of the zebra's book and grab what I can before following after her.
[1d10]löötRoll #1 10 = 10
Gem tucked under his arm, Noghu says nothing in response to the shade, knowing a cave-in when he hears it. He dashes into the shadows, taking off his loincloth and wrapping the gem with it to hide it's glow as he wishes to avoid the sharp glares of the others he was with.
[1d10+2] LurkRoll #1 1 + 2 = 3
With an answer like that, her rage is palpable, a twitch in her eye as she loudly rattles her tail. "Ssuch inssolence.. I am without wordss.." she seethes.
Such is her rage that she simply leaves the chamber fuming, forgoing the gold to avoid the cave-in.
Kalidan helps her up, hesitates for a moment on accepting her flask. When he sees her drink first, he takes it from her and slugs a few swallows. He coughs again.
Handing it back to her, he gazes at her through lowered lids. "Name's actually Kalidan." He pauses, wipes his lips. "Well met, Neridah. Can i have my stuff back now?" He sends a meaningful glance at the bag he's kicked a small way away.
You grab whatever you can find, at least what you can carry in your blanket. You find a small box full of gems of varying caliber, a tarnished silver mirror, a leather belt set with agates, a sword with an onyx pommel, a brass figurine depicting some forgotten saurian goddess, and a strange sort of puzzle box that refuses to open, at least on initial examination. Might take a while to get to whatever's inside.>>726415>>726416>>726417
You reconvene back in the formerly dark room, finding yourselves at an impasse. The room behind you caves in on itself, and in the distance, you can hear other parts of the temple starting to break apart as well. Oddly, from nearby, you can hear Kalidan talking indistinctly, as well as a second female voice you don't recognize.>>726418
It burns and fizzes as it goes down, having an aftertaste like sour raspberries. However, you find that not only have some of your more superficial injuries all but vanished, but you don't feel beaten up and exhausted anymore.>Kalidan is healed, now at 5/3
She nods reluctantly and digs through it, practically lobbing your coinpurse and collected valuables back at you. She looks frustrated at having been beaten.
The rumbling gets louder, and you can hear stone debris falling nearby. Closer by, the voices of your companions are getting louder. Neridah frowns. "Sounds like our cue to get a move on. Wonder what's going on…"
Seeing exposed dirt from the collapsed walls, Noghu, grits his teeth, placing his spear away and beginning to attempt to tunnel into the rocky soil.
[1d10] BurrowingRoll #1 7 = 7
The sorceress slinks back into the main hall, free from the initial cave-in.
Quite upset from castys' words, she pushes past the others to the upward sloping gate, her soldier plodding along behind her.
"Let uss be rid of thiss place." she growls "There iss an air current thiss way, perhapss an exit."
I nod, more than satisfied with the haul. Maybe this divin' into forgotten temples business ain't so bad after all. >>726421
I look from the dog, the witch, and finally over my shoulder at- was that the cat? I give a dismissive wave in the direction of the dog and follow the witch. Better than dealin' with what was further back in the temple. Ain't even sure we could'a gotten back across that bridge.
You start digging a tunnel, slanting in a gradual upward slope. You are met with nothing but dirt, worms, and more dirt, but eventually it starts getting cooler, and… damper?>>726421>>726422
You slam the iron door open, and it turns to a fine rusty powder as it hits the crumbling stone wall. The tunnel leads upwards and out, and is completely dark. Following the breeze, however, takes you out of the temple eventually, and into a tightly knit forest clearing, near a large pond. Kothbiro follows suit, blinking as she readjusts to the brightness of the outside. "Well. Now what? I don't even know where the closest settlement is to here. …Where'd the fool go?"
Kalidan collects his belongings, pocketing them in his soiled gambeson. After doing so, he turns toward the nearest apparent exit.
He doesn't have to verbally agree for his intent to flee to become apparent. He takes one last desperate look at Neridah, beckoning her with his eyes, before taking off towards safety.
Navigation [1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
Neridah wordlessly follows, her usual confident aura shaken by what sounds like the temple coming apart. You eventually come across an odd room which leads to a tunnel, from which you can feel a slight breeze from outside wafting. You can also see a hole dug in the side of the temple wall, tunneling through the dirt. Looks recent.
I shrug. "Dug out." I look around at the forest, close my eyes, and orient myself toward about where I'd expect to have come from based on how we moved through the temple. "Temple should be that way," I say. "Think we can find our way back after that. I know I picked up a lotta stuff I wanna try and sell. Resupply. Rest."
[1d10]Navigation?Roll #1 2 = 2
Noghu thinks to himself, creating a couple offshoots in case it's needed. Afterwards, he digs out sideways, trying to dig sideways towards dryer soil.
You start digging sideways, then upwards again, eventually popping your head out. Seems you exited into a forest somewhere. You can see a pond close by, and hear Kothbiro, Thungr and Vajra as well.
Kalidan looks at the tunnel, sizing up its chances of holding together while they crawl through.
He turns to Neridah. "I'm not much of a digger," he confesses. "Got kicked out of a noble's house for my litterbox technique."
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
Seeing as he's already stripped naked, Noghu washes the dirt and mud off himself, keeping a side eye to the direction he hears the 3 talk.
"Neither, but there's a first time for everything." She doesn't skip a beat, leaping up and kicking a little as she hauls herself into the freshly dug tunnel and starts squirming through it without waiting for you.
"Fleeing with my
gem, ssurely." spits the sorceress. "I will have that power for my own, judgement of a sssands touched sstatue or not!"
You go and take a wash, getting clean of all the clumped dirt, blood and debris. Something gets your attention, a soft scrabbling sound coming from the tunnel you dug. After a minute, an unfamiliar Felid pokes her head out, slim and grey with green eyes and a red shirt. A large sword is sheathed on her back. She looks around, trying to get her bearings. She doesn't seem to have noticed you yet.
You start heading towards the temple, but more quaking and a loud rumbling heralds a grim sight. The whole temple is collapsing slowly, sinking into the dirt. You watch as the door caves in, and a mountain of rubble begins to slowly form. You can't see many ways to go just yet. This place is largely untouched by the outside world.
You hear splashing coming from the nearby pond.
Kalidan blinks as she takes initiative, sighs, looks at his hands. He looks back up in time to see her wriggling behind worm its way into the narrow crevice.
It's mere moments before he dives in and is wriggling his way into the narrow hole behind her, keeping a close watch on her from behind.
To make sure she is okay, of course. No alternative reason.
He works his so-called 'litterbox technique' into kicking for purchase in the slim tunnel. He cares not that it is doubtlessly sending a spray of sandy earth underneath him, into the god-forsaken temple he is leaving behind. He merely struggles to escape alive, fighting waves of claustrophobia.Roll #1 2 = 2
Crouched low and having grabbed a bola from the shore when he heard the digging from his tunnel.
With surprise on his side, he tosses a bola at the cat's feet and rushes at her with a bark.
[1d10+1] Crit DC-2>Bola
[1d10+1] DC-1, Crit DC-2Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5
/ Roll #2 4 + 1 = 5
Kothbiro's eyes narrow, and it looks like she's about to spit a retort, but then she changes her mind. "You know, my master could use someone like you. Perhaps you've heard of him. He and you share much the same goals: a unified world, no longer isolated. Through your magical abilities and with the Heart of the Sun in his grasp, together you could connect the land and bring about a new age of prosperity."
"How about it? Come with me and Styr Thenn will make it worth your while. He knows power when he sees it."
I watch with stunned awe as the temple collapses. Finally, at length, without looking at either Kothbrio or Varja, I say, "So. Head back to town, sell this stuff, and grab a drink?"
You ambush the cat, tripping her up with an expertly placed bola. She lets out a yowl of surprise and, perhaps, anger, faceplanting hard and struggling against her bindings. "Who the hell?!…"
She is oblivious or indifferent to you following her.
You make your way through the dirt tunnel, emerging into a quiet birch mountainside forest, covered in dirt and who knows what else. Before you can enjoy the serenity, though, you are alerted by a spine-chilling scream from Neridah. Looking over, you see her caught in what looks like one of that Dog from before's hunting tools, flailing to get free. He must've ambushed her.Roll #1 10 = 10
Both of them are back in the clearing. You question the nature of your reality for a moment.
You hear an unearthly scream like an angry cat from back where the pond was. It chills you to your very bones.
I look around at everyone before my eyes stop on the struggling cat on the ground. Another cat. Don't think I recognize this one. Welp. Probably best not to ask. I grunt. "So I'm gonna head back to town." I hook my thumb behind me. "Temple is that way. If y'all found your way here I s'pose ya can find your way back."
"You use my tunnel. Go.
Noghu says adamantly, holding his spear up to the terrified cat.
[1d10+1] WoPRoll #1 10 + 1 = 11
Kalidan pulls himself free of the earth, casting a glance back at the ruined temple before sprinting on all fours to assist Neridah.
He bounds to her side to help her unstrap her bonds, but finds she is in need of no assistance. Planting himself by her side, ready to attack any foe together with her, he catches sight of the hyena from earlier. He scarcely lowers his guard to shout a greeting.
"Ho! Friendly! No fight here!"
The cat appears ready to fight despite his call for parley, though he holds fast for a reply.
You don't need to tell her twice. She slips out of the bolas with ease, springs to her feet and tumbles away from you, looking up at you with one hand on her sword hilt. "…YOU
go!" is the best comeback she can muster, still shaken by the sudden attack.>>726442
The cat's eyes dart to you as you approach her. You vaguely remember the Felid you glimpsed earlier that flipped the bridge on you. She has a slim build, with grey fur, a red coat and a big sword on her back. She looks intimidated by you, looking from Noghu to you, eventually standing down and nodding. She doesn't seem sure what to make of you.>>726444
Neridah looks over to you as you arrive at the scene. "…You know these guys?" she asks, still extremely on edge from the attack.
"Right. Well, I'm just gonna-" I clear my throat, not entirely sure what to say. "Good workin' with y'all?" It wasn't, and if anything all of them but the zebra nearly got me killed, but that's what you're supposed to say in this situation, right?
[1d10-2] Not being awkward before turning around and leaving.Roll #1 10 - 2 = 8
Noghu bares his teeth, cackling out of stress but coming off just as eerie.
"You leave or disarm self. One cat enough."
The cat does a slight double take. You get the feeling she recognizes you from the bridge, but tries to play it off.
"…Well, there's a town a few days from here. I think. Seems like the whole Heart of the Sun thing is a bust, so uh… Well, I'm gonna start heading back towards more civilized areas. If you're doing the same, might not be a bad idea to travel in a group?" She shrugs. "This isn't how I thought today would go at all.">>726448
She just looks weirded out by you, refusing to do either. "What's your problem?" she asks defensively. >>726446>>726448
She looks from Noghu back to Thungr. "Is… is he usually like this?…"
I nod. "From what I seen. I say just ignore him and leave. That's what I been doin'. I'm headed back that way, too. Ain't used to travelin' in a group, but-" I shrug. "Also ain't gonna stop y'all if ya wanna join. Just end up meetin' each other on the road anyway."
She nods. "Better to travel in company. Safety in numbers, right?" She sticks out her paw. "I'm Neridah."
I look down at her paw, reach out, and engulf it in my massive -and a little dirty because of the temple- hand, and give it one short, firm shake. "Thungr."
The sorceress' anger recedes as Kothbiro mentions her mysterious benefactor.
"Hmm.. Travel to thiss temple hass left me unaware of the affairs of the land. Who iss this Sstyr thenn? Another who sseekss to rule?" she asks the zebra, looking to her with curiosity.
She blinks in surprise. "You have not heard of my master? He brought his homeland of Nicanor together in a time of war, and has been expanding his influence ever since. It is unwise to resist him. His influence has spread over much of the southern realms by now, and many smaller kingdoms have pledged themselves to his new empire. Those who do not…" She does not elaborate.
"In any case. My village was one of many who have bent the knee to Styr Thenn. Ever since, we have known nothing but prosperity. His coming was a gift to us. Many fools in other parts do not see it that way, of course. But I guarantee, if you join forces with him, your vision of the world will come to pass."
she listens to the story, nodding as the scope of his power comes into view.
"A powerful ally indeed.. Perhapss i sshould sspeak with him. Do you know where he iss?"
"Galatian," she replies. "They surrendered to him recently. I came from there to this place. It's about two weeks on foot. He'll be there some time to secure the region, then we will move on to the next city."
You've heard of Galatian. It's a powerful city state, and a center of trade in the region. It is also known for the well trained mercenary group known as the Sparrowhawks that are based out of it.
"Even if you change your mind," she continues, "Galatian is the best place to head if you are looking for civilization. Though, if we are working together, the question remains of how to part the fool from the Heart…"
"Hmm.. The dog hass esscaped uss, digging away to avoid my wrath no doubt. Hunting him here will be troublessome, far too much foresst to hide within.. Perhapss the otherss have found him?"
Kothbiro nods. "If we find that cat again, perhaps he could be convinced to pilfer it for us. He seems the type to be good with his hands." She taps her chin. "Maybe some of the others will join us anyway. If they are wise, they will."
Her ears prick up as you hear clamoring from nearby, and Noghu barking something. Seems like something's going on back the way you came. "Speaking of. Let's go find them, shall we."
The four of you reunite in the woods, overlooking a cliff face offering a view of the temple - at least, what's left of it. The ground quakes and rumbles as it collapses in on itself, leaving little more than a mountain of rubble. You are joined by Kothbiro and the newcomer, Neridah, a limber grey Felid with a greatsword. The former eyes the latter with suspicion, approaching her with trepidation. "Who are you then?"
"Neridah. Good to meet you too. I was just telling these guys there's a town a few days out. Seems like this whole gem thing was a total bust, so, uh, might as well travel on the road together till we get there. Right? Assuming none of us want to murder each other in our sleep, I mean."
Kothbiro doesn't seem too convinced, but gives a stiff little nod. "I suppose you mean Galatian. …Guess that's as good a logic as any. Though…" She gives Noghu an uncomfortable look, but doesn't voice what's on her mind.
Kothbiro doesn't seem too willing to give any answers. Neridah just shrugs it off. "Well. Shall we get going? I think Galatian's in a…" She points off towards a distant rocky valley of rocks and moss, through which a river flows. "…That way direction. North. I think"
Kothbiro frowns, crossing her legs defensively. "A bold claim. I'd say Galatian is farther westward, through these woods. I remember passing a similar patch of land on the way here." She points behind her, further into the patch of dense forest you're currently in.
Neridah looks skeptical. "I don't think there's much that way but trees and more trees." Both seem unconvinced, looking to both of you for opinions on where to go next.
Kalidan, having remained quiet while semi-hostile introductions were made, follows along, content to follow inconspicuously without offering input on the direction. Anywhere he can pawn off his meager earnings is fine. Perhaps he can replace some of the rations and supplies he used getting here. And maybe get a good night's rest. Adventures wear him out. He yawns a big kitty yawn, rubbing at some of the sore places on his battered body.
He takes account of the goods he was able to pilfer from the now-ruined temple. Looks like: 35 gold pieces and a flawed emerald.
"What a haul," he sarcastically congratulates himself under his breath. '
Pocketing the small bag of treasure, he looks up at Neridah, half-grins. Maybe the gold is not the only prize retrieved from the depths.
Catching up to the group as Kothbiro and Neridah begin to argue about the way to town, he bounds up a large fir and cups his paw over his eyes, trying to detect hints of civilization over the treeline.
Navigation/Perception [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
I look around and try to orient myself in the direction I came from. I let out a rumbling hum as I try to pinpoint which direction I came from.
>Or, if it's not where I came from, which direction this city might be if I've been there before.
[1d10]NavigationRoll #1 5 = 5
Having cooled off from the temple's escapades, the sorceress remains content to plot in relative silence, glaring out into the horizon.
"Hmm.. Riverss are often the bedss of civilization, perhapss following it's flow may yield resultss?"
"Two cat no good. Scheming.">>727097
Noghu grunts, going back to washing himself. Once the group scatters and starts heading on their way, however, he continues to follow the saurian from afar, pseudo-discreetly."Scales makes bone walk. Gem is not much food, she want gem. Claim her tonight, give gem for bone hunt pack." He thinks to himself.
[1d10+2]Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 4 = 4
Neridah sees you looking over your meager haul. "Maybe we'll luck out and run into a bandit camp on the way or something. Easy way to get some money if you're any good at being seen. …Which you're not, from what I've seen so far." She gives you a cheeky grin.
You scramble up a particularly tall tree, getting a view from the canopy. Seems like the forest extends behind you, sloping up the side of a mountain. Down past where the temple was, the terrain turns into the rocky valley Kothbiro pointed out, sloping upwards abruptly. A plume of smoke is coming from just beyond, suggesting a camp of some sort.>>727132
You haven't been to Galatian, but have heard of it. It's a fairly significant town in the region, and a trade connection for many other major cities. A mercenary group called the Sparrowhawks operate out of it.
After surveying the landscape, you spot a dirt path leading off through the woods. You recall having taken this path to get to the temple, having mostly carved it yourself as you traveled. You also recall there being a tiny hamlet about half a day from it, on the banks of the river that winds through the region. You passed through it briefly, pausing only for supplies, and can't even remember its name. Barely a settlement at all, as you recall, but it might be better than nothing. >>727134>>727135
The surrounding landscape is mountainous, and rife with plantlife. The valley Neridah pointed out seems devoid of civilization at first, but eventually, you spot a single boat docked at a port, which seems to trail off towards… something. It's too far off to be able to make out much, but where there's a port, surely there must be a town of some sort.>>727133https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmDoUuc5uMgThe itinerant royal, lastborn of her family, followed whispers on the wind that spoke of a rising shadow over her homeland. Seeking answers on preventing calamity, she followed her people's tales to an ancient temple, far, far from home…
You walk on your own, following the directions you'd been given at the last nameless settlement, taking a long forgotten path through a dense patch of forest. There seems to be no end to the thickets, vines and brambles, but you're almost there.
Suddenly, you hear something. Voices from nearby. Other adventurers, perhaps. Or bandits. Before you can decide on what to do about it, however, the ground itself quakes beneath your feet, as if disturbed by the stirring of a slumbering giant. The trees themselves tremble, and you hear the momentous cracking and crumbling of stone in the distance.
I adjust my pack and start on the path I took to get here. After that little adventure I'd rather not be on the road longer than I have to be, even if it means adding another day or so to my travel time. If anyone is going to follow me then they'll follow me.
any good at not being seen*
Neridah pointed out*
Spotting the boat, the sorceress gestures to the others nearby. "Ah, a boat there, ssee? The town may be there after all."
she spots the minotaur wandering off into the woods.>>727139
"Sslkinking off into the woodss? There may be a town towardss the river, if the boat iss proof enough."
"What in Soa-Kitl?!" Tlawīli gasps as the very earth shakes beneath her.
She instinctively leaps up and attempts to fly off the trembling ground.
Thinking to herself "What more can this cursed land offer? The ground moving on its own? What is next, rains of fire and winds of knives? Such a strange land, so different than Trakali."
Flying [1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
I briefly stop. "Way I came," I grumble, before continuing back into the woods.
Noghu looks for cover as he waits for the others to get a move on.
[1d10+2]Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10
"Oh very well, perhapss we will join you ere long, if the otherss cannot make their choice." the sorceress replies, waving you off with a claw.
Defensively, he retorts, "I might not be the sneakiest, or the fastest, or the strongest… Or the smartest…" He trails off, having lost his train of thought. Blinks, turns back to her. "Really, I'm more of a jack-of-all-trades." He grins winningly.
Climbing down carefully from the tree (why is descending always so much harder than ascending?) Kalidan shares what he's gleaned.
Addressing the group, he says: "Looks like there's a fire somewhere in that direction," pointing toward the rocky valley. "But that might not be a good sign. Didn't seem like a full-fledged town, probably just a camp. No idea if they're friendly or not." He scratches at one of his fresh wounds, winces as it hurts more than he anticipated. "I'd rather not get involved in another scrape right away.">>727144
The cat watches Thungr take off alone through the woods. "Hey wait!!" He scrambles off behind the huge minotaur.
I stop, close my eyes, and let out a long, low breath. Slowly, I turn my head toward the kitty, frown, and cock my eyebrow.
As the minotaur turns towards him expectantly, Kalidan falters. "I… uh, well, I just thought maybe we could go together. Campfire music is better with more than one musician, after all, and, uh, well, to be honest, I kind of got my ass kicked in that stupid temple. You're a big guy," he explains.
with the cat and minotaur stalking off into the forest, Vajra turns to follow, the soldier clattering after her.
"Kothbiro, it sseemss the others have chossen the forest path. Perhapss we should follow."
I give him a brief nod. What, does he think I'm going to stop him from following me? I already said it'd make more sense to head back to town in a group if we were all going that way anyway. >>727150>>727138
I turn to everyone else with my eyebrow still cocked and continue to wait. Didn't think I'd have to hold anyone's hand.
"Do not give me that look." glares the sorceress, her tail rattling quietly. "You are usseful to me. Allowing you to wander off iss foolissh thiss deep into the foresst."
The undergrowth is sparse enough throughout the woods that it'd provide decent cover if a fight breaks out. You notice that while Kothbiro hasn't spoken a word to you, she is eyeing you with what you feel is misintent. >>727150
Kothbiro nods. "We shouldn't let that one out of our sight," she says in a low tone, gesturing slightly to Noghu.>>727147
Neridah raises an eyebrow. "But master of none," she replies simply.
She considers what you've seen. "Hm. Might be worth checking out. Let's go. ….Or not," she adds as everyone follows Thungr.>>727139>>727142>>727145>>727147
Kothbiro looks pleased with the decision, and follows Thungr onward. Neridah reluctantly slips into line, looking a little miffed at not getting her way.
After a bit of uneventful walking, you hear a voice coming from up ahead, and the beating of wings. Sounds like another traveler somewhere close by.>>727143
You manage to fly up off the ground as the earthquake ensues, the trees shaking ominously, leaves and branches falling around you. The moment passes as quickly as it came, however, and things return to normalcy, for now.
It seems your troubles aren't over yet, though. The voices you heard before are getting louder. It sounds like a rather large group of individuals heading in your direction. It's likely they heard you just now.
I stop, pull out one of my javelins, and continue down the path, this time more slowly. I keep my eyes and ears focused on the voice to try and get an idea of what's further down the path before I run right into it.
[1d10+3]perceptionRoll #1 6 + 3 = 9
Hearing the commotion above, Vajra flicks her tongue out a moment, tasting the air.
[1d10] DC -2 (detect life)Roll #1 9 = 9
The big cat grins impishly. "Wouldn't you like to know?" Kalidan offers Neridah a look and a shrug as they all take off after Thungr through the woods.
Kalidan takes it on himself to stalk through the wilderness offside of the path, keeping an eye out and an ear open for threats.
Sensing the presence of a flying creature nearby, he quickly scales a tall oak, hiding himself above and near the party while steeling himself for a fight.
Stealth [1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
Tlawīli is just above the treeline when she realizes the earthquake is gone, but the voices have only gotten closer.
"Other scaleborn?" She thinks to herself "No, not friendly in these lands."
She remains in the air, spreading her wings and trying to look intimidating.
"If it is feral, it will run, if it is not, hopefully it also runs."
Intimidate [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
Noghu follows at a distance.
Seems like only one person. Winged, large, and cold blooded. A dragon. But not a fully grown one at that.>>727154
Kothbiro wordlessly follows you, her axe slung over her shoulder. As you inch a bit closer, you spot them. A bipedal dragon, female, golden like the sun, flapping her wings idly to remain aloft. She is above you, close to the treeline, looking down at you. Her intentions are unclear.>>727157
You fly upwards, spreading your wings as wide as they'll go as two newcomers emerge. The first is an enormous beast of a minotaur, with a shaggy, unkempt beard and a great spear. Dressed in furs, he looks rather wild to you. The other is a zebra in a hooded coat, with a short mane, wielding a mean looking axe. She doesn't look very friendly, and stops dead in her tracks as she sees you, trying to suss you out.>>727156
Neridah clambers up a nearby tree as well, joining you in hiding. You both peer out at the newcomer, an impressive specimen of a dragon, with glittering gold and white scales. She doesn't seem to have seen either of you yet, currently engaging Kothbiro and Thungr.>>727158
You remain in hiding for now, staring as Vajra senses her environment. You hear the beating of great wings coming from further on, where the newcomer is. Whatever it is, it sounds large, and menacing.
A damn dragon? Don't think I seen many of them. I squint at her, keeping eye contact as I tighten my grip on my spear and I slowly sidestep along the path. If she attacks I'll attack back, but for now it's best just to avoid confronting her and continue about my business.
Glaring, The sorceress snakes her way forward to meet up with Thungr in the clearing, the soldier lurching forward to keep up.
Noghu turns his attention away from the snake for a moment, trying to get an view of the flying creature.
[1d10+1] percepRoll #1 6 + 1 = 7
The big cat watches the winged lizard carefully above even his high perch. He nods at Neridah across the way, trying to make momentary eye contact, hoping to coordinate any actions if possible.
The cat's eyes are wide, ears back, swishing his tail ever so slightly. He slowly crawls along the high branch, steadying himself with his tail movement, positioning himself to keep watch for, and potentially capitalize on, an opening on this potential threat.
Sunbeam gazes wordlessly over the group, considering what to do next
"I did not expect a pack… perhaps intimidation was not a quality choice"
She floats down slowly, trying to not seem too menacing in this awkward situation.
"I apologize for my appearance. It is a strange sight to see a fellow sapient out in such wild lands."
She tries to speak eloquently to Thungr, hoping that he is domesticated enough to understand.
"I am Tlawīli. Of the Koalti family of Trakali. It is my-"
She trails off, taking the moment to actually study the minotaur.
"Perhaps you are more accustomed to a less formal approach. I am Sunbeam. A fellow traveler."
She hopefully extends a claw to Thungr.
Oh, she's approaching me? I move to point my spear at her, but as she actually starts speaking I relax and stand up more or less straight. Guess she ain't a threat after all. I reach out and take her claw in my grimy, slightly sweaty hand. Lot of folks wanting to shake hands today. "Thungr," I grumble.
You catch a glimpse of glittering golden batlike wings through the treeline. Whatever it is, it looks big to you.>>727161
You move forward, seeing the gleaming golden dragon descend to the ground. Kothbiro looks unsure of what to make of her.>>727163
You continue to watch as the dragon, whose name is apparently Sunbeam, introduces herself to Thungr and Kothbiro. Seems friendly enough, for now. Neridah clings to her branch like a lifeline as she watches, looking intimidated by the newcomer.>>727164
As the situation is defused somewhat by your friendliness, the zebra accompanying the minotaur sheathes her axe and nods to you in greeting. "Seems everyone's out looking to make connections today," she comments. "My name's Kothbiro. Thungr here and a few others accompanied me into the sun temple back there. We only barely made it out alive before it collapsed. I'm assuming you felt it just now."
Before you can reply, two more figures approach from the trees; a snake-like saurian, draped in wraps. The other is the skeleton of a turtle-like saurian, wearing ill fitting, rusted armour. It looks like some sort of mindless minion.
'See if others die. If not, look closer.
The dog muses to himself, listening in for any conversation or dialogue .
Kalidan relaxes a bit as the dragon approaches alone, peacefully. He does not fully put down his guard or show himself, however, choosing instead to wait and watch, and listen for any other beings nearby which might signify a possible ambush.
He launches a reassuring glance to Neridah across the way, motioning with his paw to wait and watch.Roll #1 10 = 10
"Thungr." She repeats back.
"Are you native to these lands? I could use some help with navigation.">>727166
"Ah, the rest of your pack."
She then turns to Kothbiro.
"Kothbiro. Ah, blessings upon you that you made it out safe. Or at least, I assume that I am meeting your whole pack and you did not lose anypony inside."
She realizes the morbidness of what she just said and quickly apologizes.
"Oh I should not have said that. I am sorry. Blessings upon any of your companions that did not make it."
She then notices the Saurian and her less-scaled companion.
"Ah, fellow scalekin! A friendly sight. You did not tell me you had so many friends Kothbiro."
She glances away from both and sighs.
"If that temple is gone… surely the stone inside is gone as well. Another trial in my quest…"
I look back down the path, ready to get moving. "Dog's got the rock. We're goin' back to town." I turn to walk away, stop, give Sunbeam a sideways look, decide to wave, and finally actually start walking away.
Slithering out of the tree cover, vajra eyes the dragon with suspicion as she links up with Thungr.
"What'ss thiss? Another ssoul here to claim the jewel'ss power? Hmm.. A pity. The temple'ss collapsse saw to the heart'ss destruction, mosst unfortunate." she adds, waving away the thought.
"I am Vajra, ssorceresss of abyssinia."
Vajra audibly chokes as Thungr immediately shatters the lie. "A sstone of that power and you would ssimply tell whoever assks of it the truth?!"
"Don't care. Don't got it. I'm leavin'."
"Varja." she repeats back.>>727170 " 'A hydra of two heads is always a liar.' "
"It seems you have conflicting stories. Which of you speaks truth?" Sunbeam asks, sounding of genuine curiosity rather than anger.
"We're not really friends," she clarifies. "I met them last night, as a matter of fact. There's also a few more of us. The two cats are probably skulking somewhere, and so is the fool." She looks around, but can't spot them right now, putting her rather ill at ease.>>727167
Everything seems to be going rather well. The dragon seems friendly enough to you.>>727168
Neridah nods and flashes a OK sign as you wait to see what happens. Sunbeam doesn't seem to be hostile, and is oblivious to the faint sound of movement you hear off in the distance. Looking back, you can see a trio of silhouettes at the edge of the treeline, packs laden with loot and supplies.
Neridah does a double take and almost falls out of her tree as Thungr mentions Noghu having claimed the gem.
The sorceress glares at Thungr as she replies, rattling her tail.
"..He iss correct, the sstone iss free, for now. That sssands-touched
dog hass it.." she replies, her words trailing off, dripping with venom.
"He chosse to sslink off ssomewhere, i know not how far away."
'nother want snack. Wonder who hunt better..
Noghu lets off a soft, slow-paced chuckle as he is mentioned by the others.
I pause again and pinch the bridge of my nose. She's still talking to me. Slowly turning around, I quietly grumble something incomprehensible under my breath and nod toward the witch. "Don't know nothin' bout no hydra," I say, "But I got no reason to lie. Now I wanna get back to town before sunset. That's roundabouts a half day hike. Find the dog and talk to him if y'all want."
Kalidan strokes his furry chin. So they were successful at retrieving the artifact after all. Too bad that skulking hyena has it. Anyone less paranoid would be an easier target.
Kalidan nods knowingly at Neridah as she reacts to the news of the Heart of the Sun. He offers a look of solidarity.
Noticing the trio of silhouettes, he gestures surreptitiously toward them to Neridah, and begins to attempt to stealthily get a closer look. Friends? Or targets?
Stealthy Navigation [1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
"Felids I presume? I have always wanted to meet one. And you said something about… a Fool? I have not heard of that species…">>727176
"Felids and a Diamond Dog… I do hope they get along without too much trouble. If, perchance I could speak with him? I would like to see this shard of topaz." >>727178
"It was nice to meet you too Thungr."
She says without a ounce of sarcasm, irony, or self-awareness.
"Yess, yess, fine. Back to town then." replies the sorceress, trailing behind him, the soldier following.>>727180
"Hmph. He hass disssappeared, for now. Perhapss we may yet sspeak with him later. For now, Thungr iss correct, a return to ssafety is mosst important."
I nod. "Likewise-" I pause as I realize I've already forgotten her name. Sunsomethin'? I decide to just leave it at "likewise". Good enough.
"Quite. This is not the turn I expected my journey to take, but I will go on. Do you mind if I accompany you on your way back to town? I am not familiar with this land and am low on supplies." She speaks, trying to keep composure in this awkward time. "Vajra, does your friend here have a name?" She says, gesturing to the soldier.>>727182
Sunbeam walks towards Thungr as to keep his attention. "Sunbeam. It is a translation of my Trākatal name, Tlawīli. Given to me by my father shortly before my second birthd-" she stops, realizing she is rambling on again.
"Sunbeam. My name is Sunbeam."
"The Dog," Kothbiro clarifies, crossing her forelegs. "He didn't give me his name, and didn't object to being called Fool instead. It's an apt one, believe me.">>727179
You and Neridah are both forced to leave the trees in order to creep closer. The three appear to be travelers like yourselves.
The first is a black-bearded, curly haired pegasus with bright golden eyes. He bears a broadsword strapped to his side, along with a lyre. He has a mischievous sort of look to him.
The second is a griffon wearing a long brown cloak. She bears no weapons, save for a pair of wicked looking metallic gauntlets over her left foreleg, accentuating her natural talons. She has some sort of brand or scar on her chest, but you can't make it out too well.
The third is a musclebound saurian resembling a monitor lizard. He seems to be the porter for the group, carrying several backpacks full of materials on his back, shifting his weight around periodically. He has a large iron mace for a weapon.
The three seem to be discussing their next plan of action, now that the temple's fallen, but you can't make out their words from where you are. You recall the three figures that were at the top of the hill when you camped the previous night, which Kothbiro seemed to be wary of.>>727177>>727176>>727178>>727179>>727180
You continue onwards, Kalidan, Neridah and Noghu remaining somewhat out of sight still. Thungr leads the way, going mostly by memory; however, the trees begin to all look the same after a while, and your stomachs rumble. It is mid afternoon by this point, and none of you have had a chance to eat yet. Kothbiro starts to doubt Thungr. "Are you sure you know where you're going?" she asks after a while.>everyone roll Navigation, and foraging if you wish
I cock an eyebrow and watch her out of the corner of my eye as she walks along with me. This one talks even more than the kitty does. I just grunt in response and continue walking. Sunbeam. Right.
I give the zebra a quick nod. Without saying anything, I stop on the side of the path, drop my pack, and sit down to take ten. Unrolling my blanket pack, I pull out a couple of hard-tack biscuits, some dried meat, and my water skin.
[1d10]NavigationRoll #1 6 = 6
Watching the strangers, Kalidan's fur begins to stand out a bit. He retreats into the underbrush a bit, beckoning Neridah closer to whisper.
"I don't like the looks of these three. They're headed the same direction as us, which could mean a few things: They may be trailing us, or just headed the same way. Either way, interaction seems inevitable. Perhaps we should warn the others, plan an ambush. Just in case."
He moves as quickly as he can while being somewhat stealthy, darting through the ground cover back toward the friendly party to warn them.
"I will take your words for it, Kothbiro."
As the day wears on Sunbeam follows the group, trying her best to get to know her new companions. She switches from flying just above them and walking with the rest intermittently. She occasionally asks about the rest of the group. As she notices her hunger growing she instinctually looks around for any edible plants.
Foraging (Special Talent) [1d10+2]Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9
The sorceress fixes Sunbeam with an incredulous look for a moment, before cackling loudly, covering her face with her claws.
"kekekeke!, a name, a name! Oh, you are funny. It iss a ssimple minion, nothing more. Perhapss in life it had one, but to me, it iss ssimply a meanss to an end."
"Still, of what i have pulled from the temple pitss, it hass sserved me well than mosst. Perhaps i sshall repair it when i have the time, raissing good help iss sso diffucult after all."
The soldier stands at attention, empty sockets staring blindly at the dragon.>>727185
Having traveled for some time, Vajra takes the time to taste the air, searching for something palatable to eat.
[1d10] ForagingRoll #1 4 = 4
Hunting for game larger than a quick snack doesn't sound particularly appealing to Noghu, given the bulky gemstone he carries around. Instead, he forages for something to make cordage out of to tie the gem to himself, and not discounting any weird bugs he might try and eat too.
[1d10+1] nav to follow
[1d10+1] forageRoll #1 9 + 1 = 10
/ Roll #2 1 + 1 = 2
You take a breather and assess the landscape as you chow down. Kothbiro joins you in doing so, thoughtfully munching on some flowers. "Hm… That rock formation seems familiar," she muses, looking around pensively.
Eventually, your surroundings click with you, and you get reoriented, figuring out which way to go. You just have to keep moving a little past this clearing and you'll find a dirt trail that leads onwards.>>727188
Neridah nods in agreement. "Those dudes give me the creeps. Though, the big guy looks easy to topple over. Feel like we could live like kings if we made off with his bags."
You move back towards the party, soon catching up with them. You and Neridah both come out of hiding. Kothbiro does a bit of a double take. "You again. Have you just been stalking us this whole time?">>727189
Your companions seem a quiet bunch, for the most part, though Vajra is chattier than the rest. Kothbiro seems very stern and no-nonsense, as well as perhaps a little paranoid. You get the feeling she's hiding something.
You manage to forage some delicious ripe oranges from a bush. Must be the season for them in these parts. Before you can properly tuck in, however, two more figures emerge from the undergrowth, joining the party. Both are Felids, one tall, black and longhaired, while the other is grey and scrappy looking, with a large sword strapped to her back. The latter makes introductions. "Hiya. We're with these guys, don't worry. We were just doing recon before coming back." She extends her paw. "I'm Neridah.">>727190
Sadly, you don't manage to find much, save for a small rodent that evades your grasp effortlessly. You watch as your soldier chases after it ineffectively.>>727191
You keep following them, digging through the dirt expertly. Alas, you find nothing to munch on, as the only bugs you come across are poisonous. No roots thin enough to use as rope either. Perhaps one of the others could help.
Rattling her tail, the sorceress continues to quietly skulk around the forest floor, tasting the air in an effort to pinpoint lunch.
[1d10] DC-2 detect life
[1d10] ForageRoll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
The large black long-haired cat follows up Neridah's introduction with one of his own. "Kalidan." He extends his own paw in greeting.
He addresses the whole group.>>727187>>727190
"That trio from the temple are back. They don't look friendly… A pegasus, a griffon and a saurian. They look like they've seen a fight or two… but they ARE carrying goods. So they might be less likely to attack us, ill-equipped as we are."
He looks around the group, assessing reactions. "I say we lay an ambush, but we don't need to spring the trap unless they turn out to not be friendly."
I quickly wolf down my food, and water dribbles down my beard as I take a long drink of my waterskin. I move to stand up, but realize not everyone is finished yet and sit back down, remaining silent. I continue to say nothing as the cat and the second cat come out of hiding finally.
"Neridah. I am Sunbeam. How interesting to finally meet a Felid. I have only heard of your kind in history books. Is it really true that you always land on your feet? And do you really have nine lives? I have so many questions."
She places the oranges in her satchel, save one which she offers to Neridah.
"Forgive me if this is inappropriate, I am not aware of Felid customs. …or dietary restrictions. Who is your longhaired friend?"
"Gonna stay here," I say. "See if they don't just walk on by. No sense stirrin' up trouble if we ain't gotta."
"Perfect," the cat responds. "That was going to be your role in the ambush anyway. You don't strike me as the stealthy sort. All you have to do is not start a fight."
I grunt and turn my attention back to relaxing.
'Mmn.. Carry it is.
Noghu licks one of the bugs before remembering their danger.
"Kalidan. I am Sunbeam. How interesting are Felid names."
She grasps his much smaller paw with her claw and shakes.>>727198
"A group of fellow travelers? Most of the random travelers I have met today have been friendly… but if they are not, I will stand by you all."
She says, trying to sound calm and determined.
You sense plenty of wildlife in the area, but all of it evades you, leaving you with the sole option of a fat, hairy caterpillar.>>727194
Kothbiro looks sour. "Then we should keep moving. I'd rather avoid having to deal with them. At least not until we get to that town."
Neridah asks what's probably on everyone else's mind. "Who are they?"
"Insurgents. They've been tracking me for at least a week. They wish to undo my master's work. Starting with killing me and taking the Heart for themselves.">>727196
She blinks in surprise. "We're not that rare, you know. …Er, kind of? It's a reflex thing, but we can fall like anyone else. And, uh, not really. I'm sure some sorcerers do, though. Ask away if you have to. Heh."
scrabbling pathetically to try and hunt something yet disgusted by the idea of eating a bug, her hunger overrides her hesitation. she scans the trees for a hint of the others, before closing her eyes and quickly tossing it back.
Hardly satisfied but lacking many options, she struggles the caterpillar down and returns to the group's impromptu resting spot.
The felid is a bit taken aback as the hulking winged lizard greets him with a strong grip and a solid shaking. "L..Likewise," he mumbles as he flutters his squished paw, trying to restore feeling to it.
"Hopefully we won't have to fight," he offers reassuringly. >>727202
As Kothbiro mentions getting to the town, Kalidan wonder's aloud, "Why? What would make it different fighting them there?"
As Kothbiro continues to explain who they are, he begins to understand. "Ah. So, is there safety in the town, or should we try to take them here and now?"
He tries to judge just how far behind the trio is.
Nervous, he says, "Maybe we should just get a move on regardless. I'm not hungry right now anyway."Roll #1 7 = 7
I pull my bear-head hood back and rub my hand through my shaggy, sweat-caked hair. So they really are just headed toward us to attack. I sigh, pull myself to my hooves, and pack up. Turning toward the path, I start walking.
Noghu stays and watches those remaining to rest, noting the minotaur walking forward.
Sunbeams eyes light up as Neridah answers her questions.
"I have never seen one. Is your fur… soft? M-May I touch it?" She says, stuttering with excitement>>727204
"I hope not. A Trakal in another land takes an oath of pacifism. Among other oaths."
While the texture is utterly vile, and the hairs burn your throat, it doesn't taste anywhere near as bad as you'd expect. Though it's not very filling at all. Overall, not a good time.>>727204
Kothbiro shrugs. "More risk of causing trouble in the town itself if they try anything, I suppose. I think we should make a run for it. Try to get away from them and to town as soon as possible."
Taking a look back, you can't see the insurgents anymore, but they can't be far behind, if indeed they've picked up your trail.>>727207
Neridah looks at you funny, not sure what to make of your request. After mentally deliberating for a bit, she concedes, sticking out her arm and looking away, seeming embarrassed. "Fine. Just make it quick."The fur is as soft as it looks.>>727207>>727206>>727205>>727204>>727203
You move on, a bit warier now due to the news of the insurgents in pursuit. After a couple hours of more uneventful trekking, you clear the treeline, and the village Thungr spotted is in sight. It seems to be nestled near another bend of the river, nestled between it and another patch of trees. The area surrounding it is mostly rocks and tall grass. The problem in getting to the village, however, is twofold:
First, it turns out that you are at the top of a rather steep incline leading towards the village. There doesn't seem to be an easy way down, meaning it would be very easy to lose your footing while descending. This isn't much of an issue for Noghu or Sunbeam due to their digging skills and wings respectively, but the rest would have to be extremely careful while moving downwards.
The second problem is that the village is on the other side of the river. You can spot an old wooden bridge leading across, but it looks to be mostly rotted. Thungr recalls having almost slipped and fallen while crossing it when he arrived. You would either have to find another way around, brave the wooden bridge, or just wade through the river, which risks being swept by the current.
Neridah frowns. "I don't like the looks of this." Kothbiro steps forward tentatively, jerking back as she dislodges an unstable rock, which tumbles down the slop and cracks loudly on a boulder below. "Anyone have some rope?" she asks. "I think I lost mine in the dungeon."
I'm already pulling off my pack and uncoiling my rope before the second cat even says anything. I drop the rope on the ground and retreat back into the forest to forage for a hefty stick, sharpen it, and carve a notch into it on my way back to the cliff. Crouching down, I use the back of my axe to nail the peg into the ground facing the opposite direction of the cliff and tie a hitch into the peg notch.
[1d10+2]DC-2Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10
Packing my pack back up, I firmly take the rope in my hand and pull it taught. Slowly, I start to descend the steep hill while lightly keeping my weight on the rope.
"Why do we not just fl-" Sunbeam stops, realizing.
"I am not yet used to the company of non-dragons."
She pauses awkwardly.
"I will fly down now."
Noghu begins to dig steps down hill despite his ability to tunnel, without alerting the others.
[1d10+1] BurrowingRoll #1 1 + 1 = 2
Kalidan eyes the edge warily. He's pretty sure he could pick out a path to safely descend for himself, and possible Neridah, but the others might have a problem. And at the bottom, the river is still an issue. If there's one thing Mr. Kitty doesn't appreciate, it's getting W E T.
He bares his teeth awkwardly as Kothbiro mentions losing her rope in the temple, trying not to make eye contact.
"So, what's the plan?" He looks behind him nervously. "We gotta get to the village to fight these assholes, right? Let me remind you that two out of three of them can fly. We're at a big disadvantage if we stay here."
Kalidan tries to look around for a way that would circumvent the steep incline and/or the river.
Navigation [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
Waiting for Thungr to descend down the rope, the sorceress curls herself around the rope and begins the process of crawl-sliding down to the bottom, the soldier creekily following suit after.
"My thankss, Thungr!" she calls down to him. "Ever prepared indeed."
Kothbiro frowns as you get right to work making an anchor for the rope and start rappeling down. "Huh. I suppose that's one way to go about it.">>727211
Kothbiro gives you a slightly judgmental look, while Neridah just looks amused. "Wish I had wings," the latter comments. "Seems so convenient for getting around."
You fly down to the bottom easily, waiting for the others to descend.>>727212
As you burrow, you dig through into an open space. Before it sinks in for you, it literally sinks in, causing a small landslide as you hit a hole in the ground, causing a cavein on the surface. You are pummeled by dirt, grass, rocks and other detritus.>Noghu takes 1 hit>>727213
Kothbiro nods. "Let's just keep moving. We're almost there. Hopefully they'll know better than to pick a fight in the middle of town. Though I don't expect you or anyone else to help. It's not your fight."
There seems to be a more stable bridge further on downriver, but it would add at least another hour to your journey going that path. As for the incline, you seem to be at one of the less steep parts of it. Further on, it just turns into a sheer cliff face.
However, you do manage to find a relatively stable path to pick your way down the side of the incline. Neridah follows suit, stepping exactly where you step. Before long, both of you are at the bottom, safe and sound.>>727214>>727210
As you each in turn arrive at the bottom unharmed, Kothbiro follows suit, rappeling down rather awkwardly. She almost slips due to her lack of proper hands, but nevertheless manages to slowly and carefully bring herself down, dusting herself off promptly as she reaches the bottom. "Wasn't so hard," she comments.>>727214>>727213>>727211>>727209
After a moment, there is a soft rumbling noise from further up the incline, and rocks begin to loosen and tumble as a crater starts to form. After the dirt cloud dissipates, you see a filthy, browbeaten looking Dog sitting in the middle of it. Neridah gives Noghu a sarcastic little round of applause. Kothbiro just frowns. "And this is why I call him Fool," she says to Sunbeam.
I nod. >>727211
Once reaching the bottom of the cliff, I turn to the dragon and clear my throat. "Y'all, uh," I nod toward the spike at the top of the cliff. "Iffin y'all wouldn't mind flyin up there to grab that I'd greatly appreciate it. Still gotta use it to get across the water."
"Your accent is interesting."
She flies up to the spike and retrieves it and the end of the rope. Returning she hands both to you.
"That was a good idea there. I have never seen something like it. You seem familiar with the land."
"Learned a long time ago," I say, coiling my rope back up to make it easier to carry. "Live in the mountains. Got a lotta practice. Gonna need your help carryin' it across the way, too, if it ain't too much trouble. Just gonna wade through the river."
Safely scaling down the cliff, the sorceress' attention is drawn to the crumbling cliffside. Seeing the dog once again, Vajra glares, her tail rattling, but says nothing.
"Let uss move on. The sship wass further ahead, passst the river."
I deadpan as I watch the dog tumble. "Fools gonna get us kilt if he keeps followin' us like this," I grumble. Shaking my head, I turn back to the more important task of crossing the river. Not trusting the bridge, I look around for another stick I can carve into a second peg to make a tight guideline from bank to bank.
[1d10+2]DC-2Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11
The cat picks his way over to the bridge, eyeing it appraisingly. He does not relish the prospect of wading through the river, so he's hopeful for the bridge to be sound enough for him and Neridah at least.
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
Noghu looks up to hear the clapping, growling and shaking the dirt off him much like the dog he is. Still feeling magnanimous, however, he tries digging stairs into the soil up the way he came from, instead of up the opposite side.
[1d10+1] BurrowingRoll #1 2 + 1 = 3
"I see now" Sunbeam says to Kothbiro.>>727592
"Do you want me to fly this rope across as well? I do not think the cats will be willing to swim across."
She laughs at her own non-joke.
I nod. "Hammer the peg in on the other side tilting away from the water. Cats can do what they want."
The river is thankfully shallow enough to wade across without getting swept away. You find a reasonably sturdy stick, fashioning it into a peg. Kothbiro looks impressed by your outdoorsman skills.>>727593
It seems sturdy enough for the two of you to cross easily. Neridah goes first, gingerly feeling it out and crossing one step at a time. After she gets to the other side, you take care to step exactly where she steps. Unfortunately, you miscalculate, and step on a rotten plank. Your heart leaps into your throat as your foot plummets through the broken wood, leaving you stuck with little recourse. Alarmed, Neridah picks her way back over, grabbing her greatsword by the flat of the blade and extending the hilt out for you to grab onto.>>727594
Unfortunately, the soil gives way to solid stone, leaving little room for burrowing from hereon out. The only route you manage to pick out takes you a ways around from the rest of the group.>>727595
Neridah overhears you. "Yeah, we're not touching that. Rather risk the rotting bridge." She's bristling just at the sight of the water. "I can't swim anyway. Don't really have a choice…"
I kneel down, hammer the peg into the ground without tying the rope around it just yet, and hold my axe out to the dragon.
The world not wishing for him to help, Noghu sets his sights back on serving himself. He tunnels up across the other side of the hill, away from the others.
[1d10+1]Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2
"On it" She flies over the water, close enough to occasionally dip her feet in. Once she reaches the other side she uses Thungr's axe to hammer in the other peg.
As she finishes this, she notices Kalidan hanging precariously off the bridge and flies over.
"I thought you did not want to get wet?" She asks. "The water is quite nice however."
Once the peg is hammered in on her side, I crouch down, pull the rope taught, and tie a second hitch into the peg I hammered in. Adjusting my pack to make sure it stays above water, I grab on to the rope and wade in, using the guideline to keep my balance in the current in case anything happens.
"Ack!" he yelps as his paw breaks through the rotted wood. He eyes the water wildly, his hair all standing up straight. Hanging on for dear life and dryness, he gratefully accepts Neridah's help, grasping the hilt of the greatsword and pulling himself up with it.
Recover [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
Holding for the moment as Thungr assembles a rope pully, i Wait for my turn to cross before beginning the move, the soldier following after.
[1d10] SoldierRoll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 7 = 7
You pop up above ground well away from the others, popping up right as you hear a large rumbling sound. From the rocky slopes above, pebbles and debris start to fall, followed by an enormous boulder, which starts tumbling down the hill in your direction!>roll to dodge>>727603>>727604
You both get completely soaked to the bone from the waist down. The water is cold, and quite clear; you can see the bottom as if it were covered by a sheet of glass, large colorless fish brushing against you as they swim downstream purposefully. You make it to the other side in one piece, sodden but otherwise unharmed. Kothbiro follows you, grumbling indistinctly as she gets drenched, but makes it over safely, taking a moment to catch her breath after wading for so long.>>727602
You grab on to the sword, and Neridah pulls you up with a mighty heave. After a minute to recover, you pick your way over to the other side, a bit shaken but safe and sound for the moment.
Noghu whines and lets out a worried cackle, rolling out of the way.
[1d10+1]Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4
"Thanks," Kalidan says as he is lifted to safety, casting one last resentful look at the river as they reach the other side. He sticks his tongue out at it and turns his back on it forever.
Rejoining the others, he asks, "How was the water? Looks cold." The hint of a smirk plays across his feline features.
I shake one of my legs and brush a bit of the water off before letting my cloak drop back below my waist and pulling it tighter around me. I look at the dragon and clear my throat. "Mind grabbin that for me one last time?"
keeping her bandages above the water, The sorceress emerges from the river worse for wear, the cold sapping the energy from her cold-blooded form.>>727607
"Jusst wonderful.." hisses Vajra, rattling her tail weakly. "I sshould have chanced the bridge."
"The water was very nice." She says, oblivious to the sarcasm.>>727608
"We seem to do this quite often." She says as she flies off to retrieve the spike yet again
"Fall while holdin the line ya slip and catch yourself. Fall on the bridge ya risk goin under and losin control, crackin yer noggin, fallin under debris or some other such nastiness. After my first run-in, weren't a risk I was gonna take."
I give a nod in thanks, untie both hitches, drop both pegs to the ground, and coil my rope back up. After giving another nod confirming that I do do this kinda thing often enough, I turn around and continue toward the village.
You try to get out of the way, avoiding getting crushed by the boulder, but you are clipped by some additional debris that falls in its wake, taking a painful blow to the back.>Noghu takes 1 hit>actually at 4/5 now due to being out of combat for a while>>727607
Neridah gives you a little wink.
"Awful, as expected," Kothbiro replies with a grimace, doing her best to get dry out in the sun. Neridah's curiosity gets the better of her, and she dips a toe in gingerly, only to recoil and bristle as if it were acid.>>727607>>727608>>727609>>727610
Kothbiro stops sulking for a moment and looks to the nearby village, taking a few steps towards it before turning back. "You coming?" she asks, before starting to hike there regardless. Neridah stops for a moment, then shrugs and follows onward.
I walk along with Kothbrio and head into town. After a second, I stop, turn to the dragon, cock my eyebrow, hold out my hand, and say, "Axe?"
pulling herself back upright, the sorceress Follows behind Kothbiro, the soldier clattering behind her.
"Rather risk not getting wet. Yeuck.">>727613
"Let's go, then!" He takes off behind the girls, heading toward the village. He looks back to confirm the group is still together, then searches the ridge behind them for any sign of the trio trailing them.
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
"Ah, I had almost forgotten." She says as she hands his axe back to him. "It is heavier than it looks. I am not used to a weapon of such weight."
I take the axe, grunt, hook it into the wooden frame of my pack, and continue on.
Miffed, Noghu sits down and licks his own wounds, watching in silent dejection as the others make their leave.
Sunbeam walks over to the hyenadog.
"Are you… okay? That all looked quite painful."
She pauses awkwardly.
"Do you need help?"
You enter the village, passing through a small wooden archway reading "WELCOME TO BYWATER!". It is a small little hamlet, consisting of a handful of stone buildings with thatched roofs. It is quite small, consisting mainly of farmland. You can see a lumber mill in town, as well as a forge, a tavern, and a general goods store. It is mostly rural and self sustaining; many of the houses have a vegetable garden attached, and as you approach, you can see a cart full of fresh fish being pulled into town. It has a few roads leading from it off into the mountains or to the river. Most of the townsfolk seem to be saurians, griffons and hippogriffs, though there are a few ponies around as well. Overall, the atmosphere of Baywater is quaint, and not unwelcoming. Many of the townsfolk look surprised to see outsiders coming in, but you don't sense much hostility.
"Oh this is comfy," Neridah comments, looking around with a smile. "Good place to hole up for the day, don't you think?"
Kothbiro has other things on her mind. She looks around with an unhappy frown. "Where's the fool?" she asks all of a sudden. "We need him."
Noghu looks up, puzzled.
"You not bird horse nor bird."
"This is… true." She says with a delay. "I am not a horse or a bird. Come, we should catch up with the group. I can carry you across the river."
She says, gently extending a hand to help Noghu up.
"Do you have a name?"
I split off from the rest of the group. I doubt there's much in the way of places to sell what I picked up in the temple, but there's at least gotta be a place to hunker down, grab a drink, warm up, and relax. I keep an eye out for the former, but primarily set out to find the latter.
[1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
Kalidan smiles as Neridah describes the town as comfy. "Sure," he agrees. "We can grab some supplies and hunker down."
He sniffs the air, catches sight of the cart of fresh fish, and trails behind it, intent to follow wherever it's headed. If the situation presents itself, he intends to swipe a tastyfish.
Stealy Kitty [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
Noghu blinks, pulling himself up.
"Ah, good." She says, gesturing towards him to follow her back to town. "I am sure it is not Fool, as those others call you."
Sunbeam walks towards the river, hopefully followed by the hyena.
"digging hiss way through the river, no doubt. With luck, we may pluck the gem from the flooded tunnel."
equally grumpy Vajra also scans the horizon for a moment. "Where wass that dragon? did sshe wander off too?"
the sorceress' hunger catches up to her, prompting a search further into the town for the tavern. "He will sshow up eventually i'm ssure. For now, i musst tend to the cold and the hunger."
A bit dejected after his digging failures, Noghu acts less cautiously and follows, walking with an even greater hunch than normal.
"You seem to enjoy digging very much. Dragons cannot do that; or at least I have never tried."
She says, as she reaches the river.
"Should I carry you across? Or do you have another way?"
Thungr's been here before, and vaguely remembers which way to go for the inn. You find it eventually, after a bit of looking around: the Dancing Maenad Inn is a squat little one story wooden building, with a rickety sign depicting a mare in a dress in a strange pose. Inside, the structure consists of a stone floor with a bear skin rug, with a few benches, tables and chairs set up, as well as a stone chimney. The fireplace isn't lit yet. A few doors lead to private rooms, and the bar at the far end is well kept and boasts fresh kegs ready to be tapped.
There isn't much of a clientele at this time of day; the bartender and a barmaid are around, both homely looking black and white griffons. The latter seems to be the former's daughter. There are a few citizens of Bywater staying out of the sun and secluding themselves to tables and alcoves. All eyes are on you as you enter, most seeming intimidated by the sight of you all, especially Thungr and Vajra's minion. Some barflies visibly shrink away from you fearfully, and ill murmurs rumble across the room. Kothbiro looks a bit frustrated by the reception. "Maybe you ought to leave it outside," she whispers into Vajra's ear.>>727625
You follow the fish cart for a while, pulled by a large, shaggy earth pony. As his back is turned and he heads into a building, you look around to make sure the coast is clear before striking like a snake, pilfering a large, fresh salmon. Neridah snatches one for herself and flits into the shadows before anyone can tell her otherwise.
"Can't blame nobody for bein' worried about a witch's witchin'," I mumble. I walk away to find the nearest seat with my back to the wall, sit down, and offload my pack beside me.
"Can try and vault."
Noghu says, rubbing his chin.
"…I think it would be better if i just carried you."
"Could make it." Noghu protests.
"I am sure you could. Perhaps we will try sometime. Sometime later."
She says this as she come up behind him and holds him up by his armpits as she attempts to fly across.
[1d10] Flying acrossRoll #1 3 = 3
Kalidan follows Neridah into the shadows, holding his prize like a proud new father carries his firstborn. He snuggles back into the darkness with it and begins to feast. He smiles at his new companion, cheeks stuffed with sweet salmon flesh.
After eating his fill, he stashes what he has room for in his pack and sets off to explore the town. He clambers to the roof of a building to catch a look around.
Navigation [1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
Vajra rolls her eyes but relents, shooing the soldier out the entrance to stand nearby.
as the soldier stomps back out the door, the sorceress slithers further in to take a seat.
Noghu is much, much heavier than he looks. Sunbeam barely manages to stay aloft as you cross the river, holding him in a death grip. Just as you're about to get to the other side, however, Sunbeam's arms give way from the exertion, and the Dog falls into the river, landing on all fours and startling a school of salmon.>Noghu takes 1 hit
She smiles back as you scarf down the delicious, tender salmon together. No words are exchanged, as you're both quite hungry at this point. Neridah practically inhales hers, leaving nothing but the head, tail, and a scattering of bones.
You try to haul yourself onto the roof of a building, but you can't seem to find a good spot to do so. There are no trees around, having been cut down for lumber, and the architecture of the buildings makes it hard to clamber onto a roof without a ladder of some sort. You get funny looks from a passing pony. Neridah is as dogged as you are, however, and starts looking for a way up to get a vantage point.
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
Sunbeam panics, and immediately reaches for Noghu and attempts to pull him back onto land with her.
[1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
The soldier leaves, but it doesn't help diffuse the townsfolk's apprehension towards you. Kothbiro takes a seat as well, drumming her hoof on the table impatiently, her mind clearly still on Noghu.
After a while, the griffon barmaid reluctantly approaches, clearly intimidated by you all. She forces a smile as she comes up to the table. "What can I get for you?" she asks politely.
Noghu aims down with his spear as he falls, hoping to catch a fish on the sharp end as a surprise
[1d10+1] DC-1Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5
Oh. Guess they're sitting with me. "Ale," I say without looking at the barmaid. "And somethin hot."
Sunbeam manages to grab Noghu by the scruff of the neck as she dives down, hoisting him onto the river shore, but not before he's able to spear himself a particularly fat salmon.
Noghu shakes himself dry with little regard to the dragon nearby, looking particularly proud of the fish.
"Could have jumped."
As she pulls Noghu back onto land she apologizes profusely.
"I am so so sorry about that! You just ended up being a lot heavier than I exp-">>727646
"Oh. Yes, perhaps that would have worked better."
She says, upset as she walks towards town.
Kalidan watches Neridah as she struggles to climb up. "Here, what if I boost you?" he suggests, putting his paws together to form a makeshift platform.
Noghu follows a few meters away, occasionally taking a bite of the raw fish.
You enter the quiet little town of Bywater, getting odd looks from the residents. See >>727621
for a description.
Neridah pauses and nods. "Co op works, yeah." She doesn't hesitate to step up on your paws and spring off, struggling to haul herself onto the roof. Once that's done, she extends the hilt of her sword again to you to help you up. "Good thinking!"
Vajra fixes the barmaid with her serpentine gaze "A meal to warm the sscales, pleasse. It hass been quite the ordeal to get here, ssomething cooked would be nice."
Noghu looks uncomfortable upon reaching the town's limits, staying to the outskirts.
"Not my pack."
"Your pack? I did not see you wearing a satchel of sorts. Did you lose it in the river?"
Kalidan tries not to look too pleased with himself as she compliments him. He takes the sword hilt and pulls himself up, nodding a thanks to her. His gaze lingers on her a short moment before he turns to the village below them.
"So, where to next? Still gotta hawk that emerald, maybe get some supplies. Or do you want to just grab a drink and catch up with the others?"
Noghu laughs in his odd canine way, "This place, different tribe."
"I'll just have some mead," says Kothbiro. "Thanks."
The barmaid writes down your orders. "One ale, one mead, one hot cocoa, and one beef stew, coming right up!" She walks off to go hand in the order. You hear her breathe a sigh of relief as she leaves your table.
Kothbiro looks uncomfortable, occasionally glancing out the window as if expecting her pursuers to pop up at any moment. "I was hoping this place would be more heavily guarded," she avers. "It's better than camping in the woods though."
"By the way. Thungr, is it. I was speaking to Vajra before about a possible employment opportunity in one of the larger towns. My master, Styr Thenn, would like very much to have someone of your… skills… under his wing. You'll be well rewarded, I assure you. The only thing is we'd have to separate the fool from his gem. What do you think?"
You get a nice view of Bywater from the roof. It's not much to look at, but it's cozy enough.
"Should look for a store in town," she suggests, stretching out her legs and getting a bit more comfortable. "Maybe see what the others want to do. Maybe even catch up with the Dog and see if we can't nick that gem off of him. Eh? Or-"
She is interrupted by a portly, middle aged griffon hauling a sack of vegetables, looking up at you both. She doesn't seem happy at all. "Would you mind getting off of my house! You can't be up there!"
"Ah. I understand."
She pauses for a minute, contemplating what to say next.
"I am a far way from my tribe as well. It is hard to be so far for so long. But I know I must continue on."
She sits beside him, outside of town.
"What takes you so far from your tribe?"
I tap my finger on the table as I think about it. Suddenly I realize that, having still not sold the thing I found in the temple, I've left all my money at home. "Cover the tab," I say, "And we'll talk."
"Took food. Need to live."
He looks at the half eaten fish on his spear, then to the dragon.
"You no take food."
Kalidan nods. "Store would be a good idea. And we'll have to get the gem off the dog eventually, of course."
The cat stares at the griffon as they are told off, then laughs and gives her a rude gesture. "Why don't you make us?" He stands and leaps to another nearby roof, more to get away from the annoying griffon than to comply with her *rather rude* request.
"Geez, what an old biddy," he remarks to Neridah.
He begins to make his way to the general store, his 35 gold pieces figuratively burning a hole in his pocket.
"Ah you were committed to exile because you stole food? What a harsh culture."
At the talk of food, Sunbeam realizes she is hungry as well.
"I didn't take your fish because you earned it yourself. And I much prefer eating animals of land, not the sea."
She thinks for a moment.
"Perhaps there is more food for us in town?"
Noghu growls, "Not steal, alphas steal. No more alphas, just Noghu."
he thinks for a while about entering a town, eventually coming to a conclusion. "That was not sea."
"Excellent! With your sstrength, the gem will be ssurely be ourss!" replies the sorceress, suppressing a gleeful cackle.
Without replying, the griffon grabs a broom and swipes at you, trying to shoo you off the roof. You dodge it and scarper, Neridah following you. You come to realize you're on the roof of the local goods store now. "Good timing," she remarks, and the two of you hop off the roof and enter the shop.
The interior is dimly lit, consisting of little more than a wooden counter with an odd metal cat effigy that seems to be rigged to wave at you. The shelves are loaded with all manner of useful items for an outdoorsman: rope, torches, lanterns, collapsible ladders, rations, canteens, hammers, hatchets, firestarters, antivenoms, bedrolls, healing potions, backpacks, and binoculars are all on display for a disparity of prices. Behind the counter is a crystal pony with a short grey beard, who seems to be taking a nap. Neridah grins like a Cheshire cat as she sees this. "Score!" she whispers to you excitedly.
"I can try," she nods. "Don't have much money on me, but enough for some meals and a room, at least.">>727669
"He didn't agree to anything yet," Kothbiro points out.>>727663>>727669
The barmaid comes back with the food and drinks, serving them to you in turn. The ale is served in a frothing metal tankard, while Vajra's beef stew is steaming hot, and looks delicious. Kothbiro cradles her mead moodily, not taking a drink yet, looking out the window again. "Enjoy!" the barmaid says cheerily, and leaves you all to it.
"Ah. You are not a thief. You left to leave the thieves."
"I will not steal from you."
She pauses again.
"And you are right, that fish was of river, not sea. How foolish of me. We should try to find the others now."
She says, getting up and walking towards town.
"Said we'd talk," I add. "Ain't promisin nothin yet, witch."
"You too," I say. I pause, realizing what I just said, slowly pick up my ale, and sip it.
Noghu shifts uncomfortably, looking away from the village.
"Mark tree first."
Pretending that didn't just happen, I look up at Kothbrio and cock my eyebrow, waiting for her to go on.
"Mark…tree? I am afraid I do not understand. Is this a diamond dog ritual?"
Noghu blinks again. "Need to go."
"I will be in town."
She walks into town, staying near the entrance.
Noghu finds a place with a rock or tree that's unassuming enough and digs a small hole, burying the gemstone and doing his business over it later in case he needs to find the burial spot later by means other than sight.
Rattling her tail at the dismissive 'witch', Vajra takes a moment to drink some of the stew.
"It would be wisse to agree. I am told Sstyr Thenn iss a warlord of great power, ssuch that your alliance will be mosst fruitful, provided you are sskilled enough to be chossen."
I just grunt, put off by the 'warlord' part.
The ale is quite pleasant, warming the cockles of your soul.>>727677>>727684
"Warlord is a strong term. I would use the term unifier. In a period of civil war, he managed to bring his land together, connecting them as one people. The Nicanorian Empire. Many others have sworn fealty to him since, expanding his territory further. Those who refuse him come to realize their folly in time."
"In any case. It is his - our - intent to refashion the world we live in into one unified kingdom. My master and his retinue are currently north from here, in the town of Galatian. His armies are working to secure the region. I am certain if you were to speak to our people, they would have a place for you. Especially with your skills. Both of you, really."
"If not, well, Galatian is a good place to go regardless. It's the nearest city from here. Much more useful than this little hamlet. Vajra here has already agreed to it. What say you?"
You find a dead tree with a distinctive shape, bury the gem at its foot and relieve yourself for good measure, soon rejoining Sunbeam.>>727683>>727681
The village of Bywater is small and rural, mostly self sustaining. It has a pleasant and inviting atmosphere. Its inhabitants seem like simple folk, toiling off the land in order to keep their village running. Agriculture, lumber and fishing seem to be the main professions practiced; most of the stone, straw-roofed buildings have an adjacent animal pen or vegetable garden, and every once in a while, you see a passing wagon carrying fresh produce. It seems to have a few roads leading from it into the distant mountains to parts unknown, or towards the river. You get the feeling they don't see foreigners like yourselves often, but you don't feel unwelcome here.
It has a few buildings of note:
A tavern called the Dancing Maenad stands on the main road leading through the town, a small, squat little building. Seems to be gaining traction with the day winding on.
There seems to be a general goods store as well, uncreatively named "Dolomite's Goods". It is an unremarkable wooden building.
There is a forge, currently being worked by a powerful looking earth pony, as well as an adjacent lumber mill.
There is also a tiny market active right now, mostly selling fresh food of all kinds.
Bywater does not appear to have very many guards. Those that are on patrol seem to be volunteers from its populace. Seems nothing much happens in this place, at least not enough to warrant an official security force.
Noghu looks around, sticking close to the dragon lady, curious but unimpressed.
"Not with pack, need many to take food. Why here?"
I take another long pull of the ale as I think it over. On one hand I don't want to get myself tied up with the nasty stuff wars bring. On the other, there's probably some good money in it. I click the tankard against the table a little harder than I meant to and sit up straight in my chair.
"No contracts," I say. "I help until I don't."
Sunbeam takes in Bywater, a little off-put by its… simple appearance. >>728125
"I believe this is where the others went. My journey with you all was only to here, but I feel the need to give farewells to your friends."
She surveys the town, searching for signs of where the party went.
"Do you know where they would be?" She says to Noghu
Searching [1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
"No, not friends."
Sunbeam wagers the tavern would be a good place to check, and so you both enter the Dancing Maenad. It is an unassuming little inn, befitting the rest of the town. The floor is made of stone, with a bear skin rug at the fireplace, and a few benches, chairs and tables set up. There are a few private rooms for rent, and behind the polished wooden bar are several fresh kegs. The staff seem to be an older black and white griffon as the bartender and her daughter the barmaid, who has the same feather patterns. There's a few other patrons, including Thungr, Vajra and Kothbiro at a table. The villagers look at Noghu oddly. He stands out like a sore thumb next to everyone else.>>728126
She frowns. "That's not how this works. You'd be in the service of my liege. Deserters and traitors aren't treated with kindness. But if you value your freedom so highly, I won't hold it against you if you refuse to join. It would be in your best interests, but I can't force you.">>728126>>727684
The negotiations are interrupted as Sunbeam and Noghu enter the tavern, the latter drawing a bit of attention.
I drain the last of my tankard, let out a loud belch, slam it down, and shrug. "Ain't no skin off my nose, miss Zebra. Y'all came to me. Still got some stuff to sell off that I doubt this place can pay for, but I gotta drop by my cabin to resupply before that little journey. Don't got no job to turn in, so it ain't like I'm in a rush."
"very well.. if you wish to ssell the treassure, you may asss well journey with uss to Galatian, i am certain you could part with it eassily enough there.">>728130
The accursed dog.. Vajra rattles her tail upon seeing him, but holds her tongue, meeting Kothbiro's eyes and nodding her head towards Noghu.
Unnerved by the number of people staring at him, Noghu keeps near the door, knowing not to enter a bear's cave when it is occupied. He snickers nervously.
I cock an eyebrow. "Y'all-" I pause. "Y'all're actually gonna hike halfway up Mount Staralfur to my cabin with me so I can travel with ya? I gotta grab more 'shine, fresh clothes-" I look down and open my cloak slightly, reminding her that I am, in fact, pretty much entitely nude underneath. "And a bunch'a other stuff. It's a couple few days outta the way."
Sunbeam enters quietly, taking care not to step on the bear rug. She sees Noghu uncomfortable and stands between him and everyone else, trying to look intimidating.
The sorceress hisses in irritation. "Of coursse not. I had asssumed it would be closser, but that far away iss a wasste of time."
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
Kothbiro looks a bit annoyed at the idea of you bouncing. "Well I can't stay here for long. Not with those three after me. I'll be heading for Galatian come morning, and from there we can meet up at the city. If you're willing to travel there, that is. Though, perhaps it would be easier to simply travel there first and stock up on supplies? Seems they'd have more to choose from than your own stockpile.">>728132
Kothbiro gives you a meaningful look. You sense she's wondering how to get the gem off of Noghu. Brute force doesn't seem like a viable option.>>728133>>728137
You take a good look around the village. You don't feel very welcome here. Most people look at you with a mixture of apprehension and curiosity.
At the far end of the main road leading through the town, coming through the archway, you spot three silhouettes entering the village: a cloaked griffon, a pegasus accompanied by a dog, and a large saurian carrying some cargo. You recall Kothbiro and Kalidan's talk of being followed by three figures. You don't get the feeling they have good intentions.>>728135
Your size draws attention as well. Most townsfolk don't look like they've seen a dragon before. Eventually, you are approached by the barmaid, who gives you a polite little smile. "Welcome! What can we do for you?" she asks softly, trying not to look intimidated.
Sunbeam drops the visage when she is approached, pulling her wings in.
"Ah, I did not mean to-" She stops herself in a flustered mess. "Just water would be fine. I do not have the currency of this land."
She continues to awkwardly stand in the tavern.
"Water it is then." You continue to stand there for a moment before the barmaid asks you if you'd like a seat, and you opt to sit with the other three. Kothbiro raises an eyebrow at the awkward moment, tilting her head in confusion. "You're not from around here, are you."
"And hope the little statue thingy I found is worth enough for what I need. I can refill my water skin at the stream, but I'm low on shine, nekkid, and all I gots in the way of food is some pemmican and oats. Enough for two days, but," I chuckle. "Oats don't sit so good on my belly. Ain't too bad, but let's just say y'll wanna be down wind a piece a couple hours after dinner or more." I sigh and rub my nose, just realizing something. "But I guess that also means I don't got what I need to get back home without huntin in the first place. Shoot."
I shake my head and slump down in the chair a little. "Guess it couldn't hurt. My cabin is three days or better out, and that ain't accountin on the time it'll take to get back. Alright. Guess I'll just go with y'all."
"That is true, Kothbiro. My home is very far from here. South from here. Such a different land, so many different ponies."
She says, almost caught in a daydream of home.
She does a bit of a double take as you start talking much more than usual. “Hm. Probably for the best if you do. It’s like the cat said: safety in numbers. Perhaps if you wish to return home, we might find aught worth selling in Galatian afterwards.”
Naturally curious and wanting to see what the strangers approaching the village are up (with the added benefit of getting away from judging eyes), Noghu slinks off to shadow them as they enter town.
[1d10+2] LurkRoll #1 2 + 2 = 4
You seem to have piqued her interest. “What’s it like?” she presses, curious to know more.
I nod and move to take a drink of my ale, realizing too late that it's already gone. Guess that's it. Ain't going home yet.
You creep around the buildings, through a carrot patch and try to tail them as they walk into town. You get a better look at them in the process:
The griffon wears a brown cloak, and a single metal gauntlet over her left talon. She bears some sort of brand or scar on her chest.
The pegasus has a dark, curly mane and a short beard, wearing a fancy orange tunic and bearing a broadsword strapped to his side and a lyre on his back. His dog is large, grey and shaggy, with doleful brown eyes.
The saurian is the largest of the three, with black and beige scales, fierce claws for climbing, and a long, narrow head. He resembles a monitor lizard. He carries an iron mace, a rope, and several packs worth of gear.
As you watch them from the garden, the pegasus' dog picks up your scent, and starts sniffing you out, barking in your direction. The three of them seem wary, starting to move in your direction. "Something wrong, girl?" the pegasus asks, looking around suspiciously. He has an odd accent you haven't heard before.
"Hmm.. perhapss you would be interessted in our work asss well? We have businesss in Galatian, a few dayss travel from here, to sspeak with Sstyr Thenn the unifier."
"Warmer. Much more vegetation. Much more… dragons. Less travelers like you. Rains a lot more often."
Sunbeam sounds like she could just keep listing things. She stares into her water, lost in her reflection a bit.
Noghu burrows out of sight, interested in the prospect of a meal.
[1d10+2] BurrowRoll #1 10 + 2 = 12
You start digging up the carrot bed, disturbing the soil greatly and tunneling a good six feet or so below the surface, being sure to cover up your tracks as you go. There's no disguising the turned up soil, however, and you can feel the dog above digging and growling where you were. The others seem dismissive of this, however.
"Reckon he found something?" the saurian asks, having a deep, bassy voice.
"Probably just a mole," the griffon answers dismissively. She has a low, husky sort of voice. "Come on. We've almost caught up to her." They seem to leave after that.
She listens politely. "I've never been to a dragon land before. It sounds… different. But not unlike my homeland really. Where I'm from, there's nothing but trees and vines as far as the eye can see. Quite warm there as well. I don't think I'll be going there for a long time though. Duty calls.">>728149>>728150
She nods intently as Vajra brings up the idea. "I've actually been working on recruiting some of these misfits to my master's cause. Would you be interested? You seem quite capable."
Noghu follows underneath deep enough not to obviously disturb the surface as he did back at the temple, wondering who they're stalking.
"Ah, I can understand a longing to return home. But this "duty" calls me as well."
The dragon seems a bit confused at the proposition.
"I have much cause as it stands." She asserts. "But now I realize I may not have been seeking the right answer."
She trails off, looking back into her water.
All this conversation is nice and all, but still can't figure out why everyone keeps sittin with me. I look down into my empty tankard, and, not wanting to spook the barmaid who is obviously already uncomfortable, I just hold it up and stare at her.
While you can't see them, you keep following the vibrations of their footsteps, digging tunnels underneath the town. You hear them asking questions to the townsfolk nearby, but you can't quite make out what they're saying.>roll Perception if interested
[1d10] snooping on snoopyRoll #1 5 = 5
"I should clarify. What my master seeks is a unification of the world. No more isolated towns, but one empire. Many have joined his cause already. He's currently stationed in a city a few days from here. Thungr and Vajra here are accompanying me. Would you like to join such a cause? There'll be plenty of lucrative work in it for you.">>728157
If anything, this puts her even more ill at ease, but she forces a smile. "Another ale?" she asks. As you (presumably) confirm, she takes the tankard and gets you a refill.>>728157>>728156>>728151
As the barmaid returns with more ale for Thungr, she asks you a question. "Will you be looking to hire rooms for tonight?" she asks politely.
You hear the word 'zebra' thrown around. Presumably Kothbiro. After asking around a bit, they seem to go off in the direction of the tavern.
Hoping for a confrontation to make for a good distraction to take the small animal following the pegasus, Noghu continues to stalk beneath the ground.
I blink as she seems even more uncomfortable. I wasn't loud or nothin. Shrugging it off, I nod and take the tankard. "Thank ya," I say. I turn back to Kothbrio. "I can spend the night outside town if y'all don't got enough for all these rooms."
"Ah, you do not have understanding."
She pauses for a second, thinking if she said that right or not.
"I would join your cause. I do not know much about it, but I am far from home and short on… what are they called here? Bits? Those. But my conviction is true, and my homeland endangered. I must press on my own path."
She says, somewhat proud of her decent english.
As they draw closer to the tavern, it becomes harder and harder to track them, until, as they ascend the steps to it, the trail fades altogether.>>728163
Kothbiro handwaves the notion. "If we're going to be working together, the least I can do is cover accommodation until we get to Galatian. It's on me. This time.">>728164
"Endangered?" she asks. "Endangered how? Perhaps if your homeland joined my master's cause, he could defend them against outside threats.">>728164>>728163>>728151
The conversation is cut short by the sound of approaching footsteps, and the sound of a few plucked strings from an instrument. Kothbiro looks over, and her demeanor instantly grows icy. Standing in the doorway are three individuals, staring her down with misintent. See >>728148
for a description. The room goes deathly quiet. Though words aren't exchanged at first, it's clear they don't intend on peace.
The griffon approaches, being handed the broadsword by the pegasus before doing so. She walks over to your table, unsheathing the sword. "Remember this? It's the same sword."
The zebra's eyes narrow as she stares down the scarred griffon. "Hypocrite," she hisses. The latter ignores this, turning her attention instead to the rest of you. "We won't waste your time. We just want her, and the Heart. We'd rather avoid any bloodshed here if possible, so just give us what we want and stay out of our way." Kothbiro's expression remains inscrutable, eyes fixed on the griffon.
As Sunbeam is about to respond, the trio interrupts.
"Ah, then we are in agreeance. No bloodshed." She rises from the table, standing at full height and spreading wings. "Then you will all leave now. Yes?"
Nobody is quite sure who she is addressing, but the message is clear.
Intimidate [1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
the sorceress glares at the newcomers, rattling her tail threateningly. "You dare threaten me
?! The Heart will be mine
, and i will not stomach the demands of foolss who get in my way!"
"Be gone, before i parade your corpssess through this town!"
in preparation for the commotion, the sound of rattling bones and chains can be heard from the entrance. The soldier is returning from its vigil.Roll #1 1 = 1
Unaware of where exactly they have lead, Noghu tries his hardest to pinpoint the location of the dog by burrowing underneath the tavern.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 1 = 1
I grumble, shake my head, and pull myself to my hooves. "No trouble is right," I say. "Now,I ain't got no problem with y'all yet, but if you plan on makin a scene I suggest we do it outside of town instead of inside this poor griffin lady's nice bar."
[1d10]IntimidateRoll #1 8 = 8
"No bloodshed. Not yet," the griffon agrees. "We'll leave when we get what we want," the pegasus chimes in, his dog sniffing around warily. "We don't want any trouble with you. I'm guessing you're no friends of hers. You're not with the Nicanorians, are you?">>728167
The three exchange a glance, seeming skeptical of your claims. "I don't even know who you are," the griffon replies, looking a bit amused. The pegasus has to suppress a laugh.>>728168
You keep tunneling in their general direction, trying to dig up into the floor. Unfortunately, you dig right into solid, flat rock, the flooring of the tavern, breaking a nail on it. You hear snarling and barking coming from directly above you.>>728169
The griffon looks to her two companions, who nod in agreement. "Outside, then. We don't want to make a scene.">>728169>>728167>>728166
Before you can head outside like Thungr suggests, one of the stone tiles shifts under their feet, which drives the pegasus' dog into a frenzy, barking and snapping at the floor. No prizes for guessing what's moving the floor. The three seem on edge all of a sudden, backing away. "What is this?" the griffon demands, watching the moving stone like a hawk. Kothbiro looks stony, but can't help but smirk. "An idiot," she replies.
Noghu halts, realizing his prize is above him. He backs up slightly, not wanting to pull attention to himself and his great plan.
I sigh and rub my eyes with a thumb and forefinger. "We can't get rid of this damn dog, can we?"
"You will bring no harm here."
Sunbeams intimidating presence falters for a moment as she asks
As the pegasus chuckles, Vajra twitches in anger, quickly losing her temper!
Leaping up from her seat, she raises her claws as ethereal bandages flow into the ground.
"From ssoil, bone and magic bind, i call below a beasst inside! Wretched three who mock my power i offer thee to sshread and devour! Reaper
[1d10] Raise AncientRoll #1 7 = 7
"We really shouldn't do this in the building. Or in the town at all," I say, sounding more than a little worried. "Just in case."
Still boiling over, the sorceress notes the injuries of the others and takes pause.
"You would ssuggesst i take ssuch an inssult without retaliation? To laugh
at my threatss, ssuch inssolence from them.."
Hissing at the laughter from the pegasus, the sorceress rattles her tail in anger.
"Wretched creaturess! would that we met before navigating that ssandss-touched temple, i would prove my power to you!"
"..In any casse, the gem iss not here. The dog hass it."
You back up, scooting backwards back into your little tunnel, avoiding attention for now. They seem to be moving outside now.>>728172
"Apparently not," Kothbiro shrugs, not taking her eyes off the trio.>>728173
Your confusion seems to confirm his beliefs. "If you don't know, then you can't be one of them. So we don't have any qualms.">>728177
"We're not looking for a fight, we just want Kothbiro and the Heart," the griffon reiterates. "We don't want to have to hurt anyone, but we will."
The saurian, who has until now remained silent, tilts his head in confusion. "Dog? What dog?"
"He'll probably show up soon enough," Kothbiro grumbles.>>728177>>728172>>728173
As the situation de-escalates, the large saurian grabs Kothbiro by the shoulder, forcing her to stand up. She struggles, but is outnumbered, and seemingly unsure whether you'll defend her if it comes to it. Reluctantly, she follows them outside. "You should come with us," the griffon suggests before they do, looking oddly at Vajra's minion. "You know where the Heart is, after all. We'll need to find this dog you mentioned."
I knit my brow. "No, no, it ain't that, I just- well, you seen the fight with that monkey. Last I we need is that happening in town. Someone could get hurt what don't deserve it.">>728178
I pinch the bridge of my nose and sigh. Can't just wait til we ain't with her anymore. Gotta go makin a scene. I shake my head and grumble as I follow them out.
Not wanting to make the mistake of possibly revealing himself, Noghu chooses to trail underground further back, knowing they will have to stop again at some point.
Without replying, the griffon grabs a broom and swipes at you, trying to shoo you off the roof. You dodge it and scarper, Neridah following you. You come to realize you're on the roof of the local goods store now. "Good timing," she remarks, and the two of you hop off the roof and enter the shop.
The interior is dimly lit, consisting of little more than a wooden counter with an odd metal cat effigy that seems to be rigged to wave at you. The shelves are loaded with all manner of useful items for an outdoorsman: rope, torches, lanterns, collapsible ladders, rations, canteens, hammers, hatchets, firestarters, antivenoms, bedrolls, healing potions, backpacks, and binoculars are all on display for a disparity of prices. Behind the counter is a crystal pony with a short grey beard, who seems to be taking a nap. Neridah grins like a Cheshire cat as she sees this. "Score!" she whispers to you excitedly.
Glaring, the sorceress follows, rattling her tail slightly at her wounded pride. The soldier plods along after her.
"What Bussinesss have you with Kothbiro? She musst have caussed quite the sstir to chasse her all the way here..">>728829
She fixes you with an incredulous look. "Oh? The sstoic hunter hass concern for these ssimple villagerss? You did not sstrike me ass ssentimental Within the temple."
"No "qualms" is correct" She says, not sure what a qualm is.
She takes a single step forward, and lowers her arms to her sides, holding her claws out slightly.>>728829
"Thungr is right. If you insist we fight, let us do it elsewhere."
You double back and stay underground, just beneath the surface such as you can hear what's going on above you.>>728829>>728832>>728830>>728833
You are all assembled outside, Noghu still completely hidden from view. The three strangers walk Kothbiro to the outskirts of town. The villagers give you a wide berth, most of them hiding away, the few guards there are looking at you with trepidation.
"Suppose we owe some more explanation," the large saurian keeps a vice grip on Kothbiro's foreleg. The zebra looks uncomfortable. Fearful, even. "I suppose we owe some more explanation," the sly pegasus says. The griffon nods. "It's clear you're not affiliated with Styr Thenn, at least not yet. My name is Berenike. My companions are Firmament and Titus." The pegasus and the saurian nod respectively. You notice Firmament's dog still sniffing around.
"You probably don't want to get too entangled with us, so we'll keep it brief," Berenike continues. "We've all suffered greatly at the hands of her master. We want revenge. To undo his work. If it weren't for this treasonous little spotchka
," she says bitterly, "we wouldn't be as fractured as we are."
"I had no choice!" Kothbiro protests. "They would have killed us all if I hadn't-" She is cut off as Titus squeezes her even more tightly, constricting her foreleg. Firmament stares her down with burning resentment. "If it weren't for you, Vril would never have fallen," he says quietly."My daughter would still be here if you hadn't sold us to that butcher…" His grip on his sword tightens.
Kothbiro sees this, and looks down at the ground. She looks regretful, her lip trembling a little. "Do it then. Get it over with."
"No." Titus speaks this time, refusing to relinquish his grip. "The living aren't done with you yet."
Berenike looks on vindictively, but turns back to you. "We'll take her from here, unless you really wish to get in our way. As for the Heart, well, it's no understatement to say that we need it more than anything. It will help our people's cause immensely. Please, give it to us, and don't get in our way. We don't want to spill any more blood than what's been done already."
Firmament's dog keeps sniffing, but not around where Noghu is this time. She starts perking up, her ears on point, her head raised high. Firmament notices this and turns away from Kothbiro for now. "What is it girl?" he asks softly.
Berenike doesn't notice this, and continues. "So how about it? Won't you help us? We can end this peacefully, here and now."
Noghu waits patiently, trying to get an understanding of what's going on above.
[1d10] PercepRoll #1 8 = 8
"Sso.. you three are a part of a rebellion againsst Sstyr thenn? It iss no ssimple tassk to raisse weaponss againsst a figure ass he. What power drivess you forward? Ssimple passsion? A grand leader? or mere numberss?"
"If what you say is truth, Kothbiro must face Iki-Tal
, or your deity of justice. If it is not truth, your reckoning will be for both deception and betrayal."
She turns her head to the sky.
"But it is not the place of a Trakali to judge the matterings of others. I cannot put my claws on the scales of justice. I am sorry Kothbiro."
She turns her head back to the ground.
"The topaz however I must have."
Sunbeam firmly states, absolutely uncompromising. A moment later, she blinks slowly, and closes a claw, wavering ever so slightly.
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 6 = 6
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 10 = 10
I grunt. "Ain't sentiment," I ssy. "Just nice having places tonpass through without bein attacked.">>728835
I study them quietly as they talk, keeping my spear ready. When they're finished, I shake my head and run my hand through my greasy hair, smooting it back. "Got my own business with her," I say. "Can't it wait?"
[1d10+3] PerceptionRoll #1 2 + 3 = 5
While you can't see anything for obvious reasons, you sure sense it. A faint, distant rumbling, like dozens of footsteps running towards your location. They stop all of a sudden, as if to regroup before continuing forward.>>728837
"It used to be numbers," Firmament answers, not taking his eyes off of Kothbiro. "Only a dozen or so of us left now. You can thank her for that. She told the Butcher where we were hiding, and he came down and burned it all down. Nothing left of it now but dust and echoes…">>728838
They seem satisfied by your refusal to help Kothbiro. "She'll be coming with us then," Titus nods. He pushes her to the ground, taking the strand of rope on his belt and starting to tie her up firmly. Berenike frowns at your firmness on the second condition, however, but presses the matter. "Maybe we can come to some sort of agreement then, gadji?
If you don't mind me asking, what do you need it for? You seem quite set on it. Maybe we can find mutual use for it.">>728841
Firmament eyes you with suspicion. "No," he says firmly. "What's your stake in this, friend?">>728839>>728840
In the background, you see one of the guards on the outskirts of town suddenly slump over and topple off the bridge leading away, struck dead instantly by an arrow to the neck. Sunbeam quickly deduces it must have come from somewhere in the surrounding tree-ridden hills.
Her mild interest is interrupted by the sight of the guard tumbling over dead. "It sseemss you three were followed." she states, pointing the dead out to the trio. "And they care not for this village either."
The soldier perks up, it's eyeless sockets turned to the guard as it shuffles towards vajra, while the sorceress flicks out her tongue, tasting the air for the source.
[1d10] Perception (detect life, DC -2)Roll #1 10 = 10
"Money," I say. "Startin to get the impression it's more trouble than its worth.">>728843
I follow where she points, deadpan, uncork my shine skin, and take a swig. "Dern it," I say. "Shoulda just gone home."
'Chance to ambush, is good luck.
' Noghu thinks to himself, positioning himself should whatever the source of the footsteps are come closer.
Sunbeam swallows uncomfortably.
"A darkness overshadows my home. A prophecy speaks of a shard of topaz that may help my people in their dar-" She is cut off by the guard being shot.
"There. An arrow from above. We are not alone here."
Sunbeam flies up to better get a view, while noting to ask what a gadji
is when they are safe.
Perception [1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
"Followed?" Titus echoes, looking bewildered. "Impossible," Firmament argues. "Marlene would have… sensed it…" He looks down at the alert dog with a frown.
You can sense several lifeforms. A dozen. Perhaps more. They are creeping in the undergrowth, poised to descend upon the village.>>728844
Firmament cocks an eyebrow. "Money? I didn't take you for a sellsword, friend. Whatever you need, we can do our best to provide.">>728846
You fly up to get a better view, but can't see much movement at first. After a moment, you hear a faint whizzing sound. Before you can react, an arrow flies straight for you, clipping your wing. You are knocked out of control and forced to land. Whoever these new foes are, they are expert marksmen, and adept at hiding.>>728844>>728843>>728845>>728846
Firmament's dog starts barking and growling, hackles on end, straining at her collar, pointing in the direction of the dead guard. All three of the rebels forget about their current quarrel and turn around, scanning the treeline curiously. Kothbiro struggles uselessly against her bindings, trying to follow their sight. "What's going on?"
"Company," Titus growls, readying his rope. The other two follow suit, Berenike flexing her armored talon while Firmament draws his sword. Seeing Sunbeam get shot, some of the villagers behind you start to notice something's wrong, hurrying into their houses and taking whatever goods and belongings they can carry with them. A panicked whisper breaks out among them. You get the feeling this isn't the first time they've dealt with these foes.
Sunbeam is caught unaware by the arrow, causing her descent to be uncontrolled. She hits the ground with a thud, landing on her shoulder.
" She curses as she slams the ground with a closed claw and rips the arrow out, snapping it in two and throwing it aside.
"Not average enemies." She grunts through the pain. "Smart. Fast." She glances at the broken arrow. "Cowards."
Couple days worth of rations aughta give me enough time to hunt somethin up, and as long as I boirl it I can just grab water from the stream. I sigh, shake my head, and adjust my pack. Not bothering with any kind of goodbyes, I turn, and head toward the forest.
Grumbling at the group moving again, Noghu has no choice but to follow his prey.
[1d10+3]Perception, trying to watch the trees and avoid any attackers as I head off into the woods.Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11
As the three prepare to fight, Vajra realizes the true numbers of the group (and seeing Thungr turn and leave) she opts to back away from the struggle as well.
"There are a dozen ssoulss at leasst in thosse treess. I would ssuggesst taking Kothbiro and following uss if you wissh to live."
The soldier and the sorceress keep an eye on the treeline as they retreat with Thungr
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
The rebels look intimidated by the news Vajra brings. Nodding to her, Titus grabs Kothbiro and slings her over his shoulder, and they begin to retreat into town alongside Thungr. As you do so, an injured guard runs into town from the back road, stopping to catch his breath as he moves to an archway. Frightened, and breathing heavily, he barely acknowledges you as he dashes up a wooden watchtower, starting to ring a loud iron bell in warning.
As if on cue, the assailants begin to emerge. Diamond Dogs, mostly, along with a couple of minotaurs, all bearing fierce war paint and ragged, mismatched furs. Their weapons are of wood, stone and sharpened bone, yet as deadly as any iron blade. A flaming arrow heralds the raiders' descent into the village, setting the watchtower alight and forcing the guard within to evacuate in a panic, still clutching his bleeding chest. There must be about twenty or so of them, and they take to the streets of the town, breaking into buildings and pillaging whatever they can. A few guards bravely try to fight, but are outnumbered easily. The rebels look intimidated by the sight of them, and keep backing up, eager to run for it.
Three of the raiders, wielding crude bows, take potshots at Vajra, Sunbeam and Thungr indiscriminately!
[3d10]Roll #1 8, 4, 5 = 17
My eyes widen as they take shots at us even though we're leaving, and I let out a loud, angry huff. I swap my spear to my off hand, pull a javelin off my back, and chuck it at the raider that attacked me without a second thought.
I take a deep breath let out a thundering bellow and hold my spear over my head like I'm trying to scare a bear.
[1d10] Intimidate. Just go pillage the damn village.Roll #1 9 = 9
Weaving between fleeing villagers, Vajra makes an attempt to avoid the arrowfire during the retreat.
[1d10] dodgeRoll #1 1 = 1
Hearing muffled commotion, the time to strike is almost at hand. Noghu spends his last moments before he strikes getting an exact idea of where the dog is.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 4 = 4
Aimed Shot. Not Restrained Strike
Sunbeam makes sure to be between the arrows and the party as they retreat, wings spread wide to catch any arrows aimed at the rest.
She thinks to herself. "What strange ones, how do they expect to fight as they go away from the enemy?"
The arrow with your name on it misses. Your javelin hits the raider in the shoulder. He shrieks and stumbles backwards, frightened by the strike and by your bestial roar. He goes to flee, but is stopped by a large hulk of a minotaur, with a necklace seemingly made of pony skulls. He looks like the leader of the raid. He grabs the archer, snarls something inaudible and forces him to stand his ground, taking command of a contingent as they start throwing torches at a house with a straw roof. The fire starts to spread, and before long you can hear terrified screaming coming from inside.>>728855
An arrow hits you square in the chest, driving deep into your body. It takes you a second to acknowledge the injury; mercifully, it hit the right side of your chest and not your heart, but after a moment, you feel weakened. Before you know it, you have fallen, propping yourself up on your hands to prevent from collapsing completely.>Vajra takes 7 hits, helpless>>728856
You keep burrowing, following the sound of your allies. Before long, you're pretty sure you're right below the dog that tried to expose you earlier.>>728858
You keep retreating, making sure to keep watch over your companions as you do so.>>728858>>728854>>728855
Two more arrows are fired, this time at Sunbeam and Titus!
The latter grabs a large rock and throws it at his attacker in response!
Seeing Vajra fall, Firmament doesn't think twice about helping a stranger, flying over to her and trying to help her up.
[1d10]Roll #1 1, 10 = 11
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
/ Roll #3 3 = 3
"Thungr. Keep running. I can keep them here."
She stops, turns and faces the leader minotaur. Her claw glows as she stands still in front of him.
"Go no further."
Purify on self [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
Her slithering escape falters as the arrow finds it's mark, slowing vajra to a shuddering stop, limp on the floor. Breathing heavily, the sorceress tries to push herself back upright.
[1d10] RecoverRoll #1 6 = 6
Not wanting to wait, instead of trying to help the witch up I instead try to pick her up, sling her over my shoulder, and sprint for the treeline. Can't spend time dallying like this.
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
I briefly nod an acknowledgement before running.
Finally jumping up from the hole and unaware of what's going on, Noghu jumps from his hole and slings a bola at his unsuspected prey.
>Word of Power and Bola on target, Lucky Dog applies
[1d10+1] Bola (DC-1, Crit DC-2)
[1d10+1] Word of Power (Crit DC -2)Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4
/ Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7
He doesn't seem to be paying much attention to you as he leads his men in ravaging and reaving the defenceless little town. You try to cast a spell, but are forced to break your concentration as you see an archer getting ready to fire on you again. The arrow flies through the air, and with a swift movement, you manage to swat it away. You're not quite sure where you managed to get those reflexes from. Chalk it up to divine intervention. In any case, the end result is the arrow getting snapped in two like a twig, and the archer being too intimidated to fire on you again, instead slinking away.>>728861
Despite your grievous injury, you manage to get back up, assisted by Firmament. "Are you alright?" he asks worriedly.>>728862
Vajra has already recovered of her own accord, and you put even more distance between yourself and the rest of the group, leaving them to their fate. You are out of the raiders' range, and they seem to have forgotten about you already. You watch from afar as they close in on the rest of the team, engaging them in combat.>>728864
Your quarry above is a dog alright, but as it turns out, not the dog you're looking for. A massive, jet black Diamond Dog with a pointed snout and a wicked looking axe looms over you, almost twice your size. He flinches and snarls as you impede his approach, causing him to stumble slightly as you pop up and bark in his face. He manages to free himself of the bola well enough, but is a bit disoriented from the ambush.>>728860>>728861>>728864
Titus is hit with an arrow straight through the hand. He lets out a guttural cry and stumbles backwards, clutching his bleeding, impaled hand to his chest. Firmament tries to help him up, while he bares his teeth and tries to recover on his own.
[1d10] Firmament help
[1d10] Titus recover
Marlene the dog starts barking and snarling at the minotaur that shot Titus, rushing towards him and going for a harrying gnash to the raider's throat.
Kothbiro falls off of Titus' back during this, and takes the opportunity to struggle hard against her bindings, trying to free herself.
Berenike cracks her knuckles and charges into battle, delivering an ironclad punch to a raider's face!
The raider's leader seems to recognize the threat. He seems to be accompanied by four larger, better equipped raiders, their faces painted white as skulls, who seem to act as his personal soldiers. Surveying the battlefield, he sends these four out to fight the party. They start wading through the remains of the village purposefully towards you all.
The black Dog fighting Noghu swings, but misses his attack, still disoriented.
A raider with a rusted iron mace sees Vajra's minion and does a double take before swinging at the walking bones!
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
/ Roll #3 9 = 9
/ Roll #4 1 = 1
/ Roll #5 5 + 2 = 7
/ Roll #6 9 = 9
Cackling with confusion at how the dog grew so large and found an axe, he strikes not the dog but the axe itself, trying to damage their weapon.
>Shatter: recharge 2, weapon; Breaks the target's defenses to open them up for attack. Deals damage and increases the Crit Range for all attacks against them by 2 for two rounds. Can be used against inanimate objects or armor to break and damage them efficiently.
>Trying to damage the big-ass axe
[1d10+1] DC-1Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7
Having managed to struggle herself upright, the sight of one of the three's pity enrages her enough to perk back up!
"I will ssurvive, Focuss on the battle!" she spits at him, tail rattling.
enraged, she sends ethereal bandages fluttering into the soil.
"From boness deep, dissturbed from sslumber come to me to sslay thesse otherss Dessecratorss that loot and plunder kill them all, no foolss to ssuffer! Reaper!
[1d10] Raise ancient
The soldier, squaring up against the raider, makes an effort to dodge to the side, in a bid to miss the swing of the mace.
[1d10] DodgeRoll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 4 = 4
Alright. Welp. If they wanna stay and fight, s'pose that's their business. I retreat just a little deeper, drop my pack, and decide to take a break to catch my breath, even though my breath isn't heavy. Entirely out of curiosity and for no other reason, I watch the fight.
Sunbeam stands between Varja and the raiders, trying to buy her time to complete her summons.
"Whatever it is that you are doing, I hope it works."
"Do not doubt my magic, dragon." she says distantly between motions, her rattling tail holding the note. "You will ssee my power, jusst as i wisshed upon thosse three within the tavern."
[Last 50 Posts]
You smack the stone blade with the haft of your spear, exploiting a crack in it. The weapon weakens, bits of it falling away and crumbling. He growls in disbelief and yells obscenities in an unknown language at you.>Raider deals -1 max hit, min 1 on success>-2 crit range vs Raider>>728868
Out of a fenced off area nearby, the ground begins to shake and roil. One bony, misshapen claw bursts out, then another - then another, and another. The monstrous, bony amalgamate that clambers out of the roiling earth resembles a spider, made out of mismatched bones in a vaguely animalistic congeries. All the bones are in the wrong places, a hodgepodge shambles of interwoven skeletons in a vaguely arachnid shape. The legs, all made of interlinked vertebrae, end in claws made from assorted tailbones, while the body is almost nonexistently small, and the head is made of several skulls clumped together. At the sight of this monstrosity, your newfound allies recoil in horror, while the raiders look intimidated, beginning to retreat. Even their leader looks shaken, but seems to order them to stand their ground, redirecting his elites to focus it.
Your minion's hard exterior is cracked dramatically by the raider's mace. While sharpened blades do little against solid bone, blunt weapons are another story, and the tortoise saurian's chest is shattered into dozens of shards, some of which are assimilated into your Reaper.>Soldier takes 4 hits>>728870>>728868>>728867
Kothbiro fails to free herself, and is stamped on by a passing raider inadvertently. She curses at them in another language, but it falls on deaf ears.
Titus manages to get up, shaken by the blow but still in one piece.
Marlene downs the raider with a single powerful bite, tearing into the raider's throat. He lets out a strangled cry and thrashes about, grabbing at his mangled neck, slowly bleeding out.
Marlene doesn't give up, going for his thighs next!
Berenike cracks the raider's jaw with her left hook, sending a few teeth flying every which way. The raider teeters in place, dazed from the punch. She doesn't let up, grabbing him and delivering a powerful headbutt!
The black Dog swings at Noghu with his broken axe!
[1d10] -1 hit dealt
Seeing Sunbeam just standing there, one of the elites breaks off and points at her with his greatsword, challenging her as he strides towards her purposefully, winding up a powerful swing of the sword!
[2d10] Highest roll used
The other three start moving towards the Reaper, engaging the monster!
The chieftain lets out a bellowing war cry, raising his club high to rally his troops!Roll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
/ Roll #3 5 = 5
/ Roll #4 8, 6 = 14