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Old Jan 10th, 2021, 03:59 PM
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Interlude: Plotting & Planning

GM, MechanicsHere's where the Familiars can lay out the details of their revenge plot before jumping into Chapter 3.

Remember, some of the animals have past experience navigating the village. Both Brie and Ernest know the general layout of the town, and could guide the group to major landmarks with relative ease.

Colette proves a preternatural linguist; she is able to speak multiple human dialects, goblin, and all rodent languages. She invites the Familiars to speak in their shared family tongue, which she can understand and speak herself after only a few short hours in their company.
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Last edited by Mallothi; Jan 11th, 2021 at 03:57 PM.
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Old Jan 11th, 2021, 03:39 PM
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Colette, a mouse
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The Familiars are gathered deep belowground, in the relative warmth and safety of a goblin hidey-hole. Having eaten their fill of the goblins' stores and rested a bit, all that remains is to plot their next move. Outside, just a short trot from the den, lies the Impossibly High Stone Wall and the village of Whitebridge beyond. Therein lurks their most-hated enemy, the Witch-Hunter Ulrich von Furchtbar.

Colette the mouse addresses the assembled creatures: "Your bloody vengeance will require planning and preparation. How will you see your justice done?"
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Old Jan 14th, 2021, 03:23 PM
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Ernest the Cat
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Niles, who is lounging near Ernest, gives the cat a swift jab in the ribs with his elbow, waking the old tom with a start. He points a knobby forefinger toward Colette, as if to say, You're gonna want to pay attention now.

Ernest dug his claws in deep to the linens and yawned wide, the goblin's appendage waking him with the start. The cave was cool, yet somehow also warm, and the orange glow made it prime for the snoozing. He laid his head back down, recurling his tail 'round his back end when - THUMP - Niles jabbed the cat again.

"How will you see your justice done?"

Ernest's yellow eye followed the goblin's knobby finger in the direction of Colette. The cat blinked a few times, moistening his glass eye, which always seemed to be uncomfortably dry when he woke.

He still didn't quite understand the mouse's language but caught enough of the conversation to know it was time to make a plan. A plan is good, he thought. A plan means that it's finally time for revenge on the sick and evil man that dared to murder mistress.

The old cat rose to stand, arching his back in a high curve. In one swift motion he jumped from the pile to the floor, and sat beside the rats. "Alright, little ones. The first feat at hand is this - how do we get over, or through, the Impossibly High Stone Wall? " He lifted his left paw to his mouth, alternating licks with rubs of his head as he continued. "I've spent some significant time in the village, and should be able to help us navigate once beyond the stone fortifications that the humans belive to provide some sort of protection. "



 
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Old Jan 15th, 2021, 10:57 PM
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All in all, you're just another toad in the wall

Brijida
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"Oh, the wall! I know how!" Brijida yips, springing to her feet. "The wall is full of holes and cracks! Big enough even for the largest of us to squeeze through."

The vixen, curious and adventuresome by nature, has explored the outskirts of Whitebridge before. Once or twice she has even dared to slip through one of the openings in the wall to sniff tentatively at the air within.

Colette, a mouse
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"Not so, Rousse," Colette gently chides. "Menfolk have been (* More below)working at the wall for days, barring the way." She considers the group for a moment, sizing up each of the Familiars in turn.

"But the wall is not so tall for you, I think. You see, it was named 'Impossibly High' (** More below)by a toad, after all." She whistles something in goblin to Niles and Garth, who both nod their enthusiastic assent. [B]

"It's settled," the mouse squeaks, "The boys will help you over the top when you are ready. While you are away, they will occupy themselves with digging a tunnel for your swift return. This way you may pass back into the forest without assistance."

GM - Footnotes* In preparation for the annual Whitebridge Dairy Festival, the locals have spent recent weeks beautifying the town, main road, and surrounding countryside. Attendance is expected to reach a record high this year, and no expense has been spared in the preparations. Over the past few days, men have toiled away patching holes in the long-neglected perimeter wall, making it impassible to animals for the first time in decades. In a last-minute bid to restore some luster to the village's namesake masonry, companies of brush-wielding children have been dispatched to whitewash the wall and nearby bridges.

** The Impossibly High Stone Wall was so named by the Poet-Prince of Toads, Johannes Wetrump IX, over 100 years ago. As part of its construction, the Impossibly High Stone Wall required many tons of mortar, the production of which displaced nearby toad burrows. Naturally, the toads were galled by their unceremonious eviction, and the wall became a towering symbol of man's cavalier disregard for the wellbeing and proud traditions of amphibians everywhere. The Impossibly High Stone Wall would become the subject of Wetrump IX's most scathing satirical works of verse. Known to its human creators simply as "the wall," The Impossibly High Stone Wall stands at approximately 5' tall, and was never intended to serve as fortification; rather, it was erected to demarcate the boundary of the village proper and for aesthetic purposes, to showcase the pale stone for which Whitebridge was named.
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Old Jan 18th, 2021, 06:26 AM
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Brie
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Now that Brie’s stomach was full of the most delicious treats one could ever imagine -though the others probably wondered how such a small creature could devour such a large quantity of food in so little a time- the dark rat felt much more like himself and ready to plan the infiltration of the town. Assuming a look of importance and intense decision-making, exactly like the one the gnomish general and saboteur extraordinaire Napalmion Bombapart had -Mother had an oil painting of him, possibly because his short stature woke the maternal instinct in her- he started scrawling in the ground with his paw what was supposed to be the village of Whitebridge. Pausing a moment to observe his work and realizing that he might as well have drawn a five-headed dragon for all his drawing resembled the village they sought to enter, Brie shrugged and addressed the ones gathered around him.

"Men, women… ah… goblins," -how could a rat ever be certain about the gender of goblins?- "the humans think themselves clever, surrounding themselves with this not-so-nearly-impossible-high-wall to keep ourselves out. Well, we’ll prove them wrong! Boosting us over the wall should work perfectly, though those of us lacking multiple lives and the ability to always land on our feet no matter how big the fall is" -Brie’s not-so-subtle glance at Ernest made clear whom among the present company he considered the lucky one- "had better wear parachutes." Pausing for a moment to let his idea sink in, the rat continued. "My late sister, Tresse the Trespasser, was famous in all of Whitebridge for being the one rat that could infiltrate any building. Literally any one without exception! One of her inventions was the so-called parachute: a dome-shaped device made of a light, strong fabric, attached to the back of a rat -or any other animal- to slow said animal‘s fall. You might think it a crazy idea, but I have seen it work perfectly as Tresse gently glided down many a chimney to the kitchen below. There was a certain mishap with a cauldron full of hot stew once, sure, but gliding down the wall should pose us no such difficulties. Once inside the village, I say we ask the locals for help."

Seeing that he only received looks of wonder, disbelief and outrage, Brie was quick to elaborate further. "I don’t mean the humans! I mean other animals like us. Think. This is a dairy products festival! Do you think that the rat-mafiaRafia won’t do anything in their power to profit from it? And where the Rafia is, the ca(t)morraCatmorra won’t be far behind, leaving the human-controlled hounds thankfully outdogged and unable to patrol the whole town effectively." Brie sighed. He had hoped to have left the dirty politics and crime gangs of Whitebridge behind him forever. It seemed he had been wrong. "Our best bet is to choose a side and get the information we need – and possibly some „muscle“ as well. It is bound to cost us of course, but I would do anything for Mother, as I am sure all of you would."

Turning towards the goblins, Brie gave them a wide, toothy grin, one that only a rat would consider remotely friendly or attractive. "Then there is the matter of the silver spoon and the doll. Would our dear friends perhaps be in possession of such a spoon or capable of crafting a doll that resembles Mother? If not, we’ll have to search Whitebridge for more than just Ulrich von Furchtbar…"


 
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Old Jan 18th, 2021, 11:16 AM
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Beau
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'Or, ah,' Beau starts, her whiskers trembling with fright at Brie's terrifying suggestion of launching themselves off the top of the wall with something called a pear-a-shoot. 'Perhaps we can find a way to climb down, once we're atop the wall? The humans might've repaired the wall, but I doubt they plastered its entire length. We should be able to climb down- some of us might even jump down,' she added, casting a cautious glance at Ernest.

'As for what we do inside... Well, I don't know these Rafia and Catmorra you speak of, but they sound like they could help. There's also plenty of rats living in the mine,' she said, her voice growing softer with each word. 'I, ah, I don't expect my family to care overly much about my return, but they are just about reckless enough to take any risk, as long as there's food to be had.'

Quieting down for a moment, Beau looks around the group before, cautiously, speaking up again. 'And... And maybe we can even find a human to help us?' Pausing a moment to gauge everyone's reaction, she quickly explains. 'Most humans are not very bright, but there are some among them who are truly dim-witted. Maybe... Maybe we can convince one of them to help us? Humans are quick to believe stories about spirits in animal form- if we can convince one, that would certainly help us a lot.'

Shoulders sagging, the white rat looked dejected at her own plan's slim possibility of success. 'I wouldn't know how to talk to one, though. But I also don't really know how else we are going to get what we need from Furchtbar...'


 
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Old Jan 23rd, 2021, 05:14 PM
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"I love it when a plan comes together" - Colette Oreilles

Colette, a mouse
right-aligned image
Colette's eyes grow round and wide with excitement as Brie describes Tresse's invention. "A marvelous idea, chéri! How clever!" With a whistle-yelp and sharp clap of her forepaws, she rouses Niles and Garth. The two goblins spring immediately into action, jumping to their feet and scuttling off to a dim corner of the den. After a moment's rummaging, they return laden with fabrics, some folded in neat bolts, others trailing loose behind, flapping like colorful banners. "Niles," the mouse assures the Familiars, "is an accomplished seamster. He can craft your pear-a-shoots."

Another clap of her paws and the goblins have unfurled a sample each, holding their swaths out for inspection. Niles proffers a square of cheery emerald gingham, while Garth gently flutters an intricate crocheted doily. "No-no-no!" Colette scolds. "Something less... domestic? And function in addition to form, sweet Garth. Please." Diving back into the heap of textiles, the goblins make one more selection apiece. Snapping his cloth to arm's-length with a matador's flair, Niles reveals what is clearly a stolen baby's blanket. He beams expectantly, flashing rows of sharp bright-white teeth. Garth, meanwhile, very tentatively produces a bundle of fuligin cloth so dark in color that it seems blacker-than-black, as if formed of shadow. Colette lets out a low whistle. "Ah-ha! You've done very well, mon chouchou. A perfect fabric for a mission secrète."

It's at this point that Beau suggests perhaps the Familiars would be better off climbing down the wall. Colette visibly deflates at the notion, the twinkle fading from her eye. "Of course you are right, belle. This is the simpler way. If the height is too great for a jump, the boys can simply lower you by hand, or makeshift a ramp from a big stick, perhaps." She sighs deeply, as if to say, How tragically boring. Suddenly, she brightens. "But there is no guarantee that you won't have to jump from a much higher height later on!" she squeaks giddily. "Who is to say when a pear-a-shoot will or will not be handy?" She dismisses Niles with a wave, and the goblin sets to work immediately. "If nothing else, it will make a fine manteau," she laughs.

The conversation turns to potential allies. Colette nods along as Brie lays out the Familiars' options. "Consorting with criminals is a dangerous business, chéri," she warns. "But if you are certain, you will need to know where to look." The mouse draws a long sewing needle from where it is sheathed in the coils of a nearby spool of thread. Using the needle, Colette scratches a rough diagram of the village of Whitebridge in the dirt floor. As she describes the hierarchy of the two major animal crime families she marks their territories on the crude map.

If the Familiars wish to deal with the rats, Colette explains, they will need to contact Rico Rattin, underboss of La Cosa Nostrat crime family. The rats of La Cosa Nostrat control a large portion of the diamond mines within Mount Myrddin, territory not far from where Beau's extended family resides. If instead the Familiars choose to cooperate with the cats, Colette advises them to seek out Buttons Barone, catpo dei catpi of the Catmorra. The Catmorra is more loosely organized than the familial Rafia, comprised of mostly house cats who slip out their masters' windows to conduct business under the light of the moon. The felines gather nightly--or so Colette has heard--in the attic above Katz’s Jellicatessen. "Neither alliance will be struck easily," Colette says wearily, plopping herself down atop the spool of thread.

When Beau proposes enlisting the help of a human, Rocco chimes in, whistle-hum-shrieking to Colette, who translates: "Rocco agrees, belle. Tricking a human into your service could be accomplished--with the right ruse." Rocco jabbers on, pointing again to the heap of fabric still laying on the floor. "In the meantime," the mouse says, "Rocco supposes he could pass as a small human himself, if properly disguised." Rocco places a clawed hand over his heart and furrows his brow, gazing into the distance and affecting a look of stoicism. "Remember that Rocco is at your service, and will travel with you until he is released from his life-debt."

Brijida
right-aligned image
Finally, the Familiars must determine how they will procure a spoon of purest silver and a doll bearing the resemblance of their beloved Witch. The mouse and goblins, sadly, are of little use in this regard. "We have neither," Colette laments. "It is possible Niles could produce a doll with some guidance," she offers hesitantly, "but a spoon?" Then Brijida, who has been unusually reserved since arriving at the goblins' hidey-hole, suddenly bounds forward.

"I will stay," she yips. She presses on before anyone can protest, "I will stay in the forest. I will find a spoon. I will help the goblin make a doll. A doll just like the Mistress. Beautiful and sweet. Yes, yes!" The vixen is panting now; she seems to be trying to convince herself of this course of action as much as any of the others. "Rats and cats can pass without trouble in the village, but not a fox. Not me." Brijida chases her tail in two anxious revolutions before stopping short and letting out a whine. "I don't want to leave you. No, no! But..."

For a moment, Brijida doubts. But now, looking upon her gathered companions, it feels to the fox as if she is actually gazing into the smiling eyes of her Witch once more, deep pools glinting playfully. "I won't put more of my family in danger."
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Old Jan 24th, 2021, 02:50 AM
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Brie
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Brie was warming up to the goblins much more than he had ever thought possible. They were such clever and resourceful creatures – no wonder the antagonistic humans slandered them in their stories every chance they got. Despicable really, but it was all standard human behavior. What could one expect from people who eagerly committed genocide to keep a pantry intact or a larder unspoiled? There were exceptions of course – well, one exception to be exact, which made Mother’s worth all the greater.

Oh, how I miss you, Mother, thought the rat, his heart heavy with nostalgia. You would have loved it here, in this comfortable goblin lair. You could have taught these fellows so much and they would have protected you from that scoundrel, Ulrich von Furchtbar, and his brutes. Even the devil goose would have been unable to find us here! Perhaps, when you return, all those hunted down by the humans could band together. We could teach them a lesson, turn the tables on them.

"Vive la Révolution!", he cried out shrilly, only later realizing that he had been thinking aloud. With a sheepish smile, he looked at his companions, Colette and the goblins. "Well, this is some kind of revolution, is it not?"

Hoping to not let his embarrassment show, Brie approached Brijida and gave her an affectionate nudge. "It won’t be the same without you, Briji. We never would have made it this far without your cleverness and speed and indomitable spirit. Help Niles with the doll, but don’t risk yourself chasing after a silver spoon. We have a better chance of finding one in the village anyway. Just… stay safe until we meet again."

I must be getting old to speak such sentimental nonsense!, thought the rat with a frown. Come on, Brie, pull yourself together. The others will be lost without your cunning.

"Right, now that we have decided who stays and who goes, let’s plan things further ahead. It is obvious that if we are to choose among one of the two criminal organizations of Whitebridge, it should be La Cosa Nostrat. They should be more sympathetic to our plight and will probably welcome two rats seeking to cause a little havoc in the village. Besides…", here Brie looked slyly at Ernest, "should things go south, we will have a hidden ace up our sleeves – so to speak. A feline ace to be precise! If Ernest were to show some tooth and claw, Rico Rattin is bound to be more willing to negotiate fairly."

Looking at the others excitedly, Brie’s gaze finally fell upon the fabrics the goblins had collected. "Let us not deprive ourselves from all our options. Let’s be prepared for anything and we can choose accordingly, agreed? Now, let’s go avenge Mother! Who is with me!?"


 
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Old Jan 26th, 2021, 03:01 PM
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Beau
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Brijida's announcement made Beau grow just a little colder, a little less hopeful. Rationally, she knew the big fox was right- but still, at the prospect of traveling without their joyful companion, Beau lost a little hope. Shaking off the feeling as best she could, she scurries over to the fox, placing a paw on hers and looking up as bravely as her sad heart allowed. 'You do that, Brijida. And thank you,' she added, flattening her body against the ground. 'Thank you for getting us this far.'

Turning back around to face Brie before emotions overwhelmed her, Beau nodded approvingly. 'For Mother,' she repeated quietly.


 
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Old Jan 26th, 2021, 07:44 PM
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Ernest the Cat
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"Yes, Brijida. This makes sense for you to stay and work to find the objects we need. " Like Beau, the old cat felt a bit uneasy that the group would not remain intact. First the hare, and now the fox? A cat and two rats did not much of a posse make...Sensing Beau's upset, he laid beside her, and in a rare outward show of sympathy, gave her a slight headbutt, rubbing is muzzle along her small body.

"Shall we leave at dawn, then? And the, er, goblinsgents... will come with? Once we have scaled and then pear-a-shooted from the Impossibly High Stone Wall, I can navigate us to gathering place of the rats." Ernest got up from the floor, and paced in a circle once, then twice before settling into an upright and seated position on his black haunches.

He turned then, to Brie. "Yes, for Mother."



 
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 11:14 AM
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For Mother.

THIS INTERLUDE IS NOW CLOSED.

Please proceed to Chapter 3: The World Beyond the Wall
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