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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 03:32 AM
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Valistar Valistar is offline
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Chapter 1: The Wastelands

Everyone retires to their respective rooms, and Angarato retires to the inn. It is a good restful night in mostly comfortable goose down filled beds, with the exception of Angarato who's bed is filled with straw. In the morning everyone gets a good large breakfast with Maggie and Sergie, who bestow one last gift on Basementicus. An ornate rapier, not magical, but still made very well. Maggie hands Basementicus the darts that she had loaded with poison as well as antidotes for each of the poisons, just in case. In addition, she hands him a vial with extra paralysis poison, in case he wants to reload it. As one last parting gift to the group as a whole, the elderly couple hires a coach to take the group to the edge of the wastelands. Maggie sends Isabel to help guard the coach (mostly to help assure the driver), and Sergie sends Newt, his pet hawk, to watch over the group just in case.

The coach driver stops at the edge of the wastelands and is unwilling to go any further. It is relatively obvious when you reach the wastelands as there is practically a line where vegetation simply stops growing... but there is one difference. There are weeds growing on the wastelands side of the line. The news that the power in the wastelands is fading is now readily apparent. The driver leaves the group to their own devices, and Isabel follows the coach back to Easton. Newt on the other hand, remains overhead watching. There is a fair chance that the powerful bird is scaring away some of the altered ravens as well.

Once the group passes over the imaginary line into the wastelands they notice immediately that nothing really changes except the landscape. It isn't till a few hours of travel later that the group starts to feel slightly uneasy and a slight tingly feeling on their skin. Otherwise it is of little concern. After a few more hours the group runs into a lone zombie, which it dispatches quickly. The zombie isn't carrying anything of any value unfortunately, so the group continues onward. The farther they travel the less life is seen, and after about five hours of travel there is absolutely no life other than themselves and Newt, dutifully watching overhead. The landscape is rocky and mostly gray with black marks all over the place. Every once in a while there are the blackened remains of a dead tree (likely ironwood), but little else of interest.

It seems like forever, but following Newt seems to have paid off after some time as the bird has lead the group relatively safely to the library, which it can finally see in the distance. There is a crater in the ground and everything in the area is blackened with the exception of the dwarven camp next to the ruins of the library. At this point the unease is far stronger, as if someone evil was actively watching and the tingly feeling on the skin has progressed through the rest of the body, causing mild feelings of depression at the same time. It is easily determined that the library is the center of the wastelands, given that the feeling seems to emanate from that location.

The group approaches the archeology camp and is greeted quickly by a pair of dwarves in full plate mail, tower shields, and short spears. "Hey, who are you and why are you here?" The one on the right asks. It is difficult to tell much more than that because they look identical as their armor covers their entire bodies. All the armor of the camp and the tents all bear the same insignia of DWARF. The pair of dwarves doesn't seem threatening so much as inquisitive. Live people in the wastelands are relatively rare after all. The group notices by the shadow as Newt flies away. His job of delivering the party to their destination finally complete.

The camp itself seems to be very well stocked. The tents are all of dwarven design and good material (and most of them brown or beige). A wall of stone (mostly from the surrounding area) has been built to help keep back any undead who might try to attack the camp, making it reasonably fortified. The more odd part is a tower in the middle of the camp with a strange looking ballista like weapon mounted on top. It becomes very apparent it's function when a flock of ravens decends toward the camp and the device fires a large number of projectiles at the ravens, killing all but two of the ravens in the flock with one shot.

This is the basic DWARF insignia: DWARF
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Last edited by Valistar; Feb 2nd, 2014 at 04:03 AM.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 08:43 AM
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For part of the carriage ride, Reynard finishes preparing his spells for the day. The spellbook he reads from is not the same one from before; this one bears the image of an alert fox on its cover and is considerably higher quality than the norm. Closing the cover and carefully storing it in his pack, Reynard turns his attention to the woodlands passing by.

As the one-horse carriage rolls down the road through the bordering forest, the surroundings are relatively quiet. Morning mist obscures the trees, muffling calls of the few birds that haven't started migrating south yet, and lending an eerie glow to the surroundings as sunlight gradually filters down through the foliage. Some of the trees have begun to turn bright orange and lose their leaves while others stubbornly cling to memories of summer despite the notable chill in the air.

The scenery and sound of hoof-beats stir vague memories in Reynard; he seems lost in thought as he fingers a curious, spiral horn amulet that hangs from about his neck. As the trees clear and the wastes come into view, he looks sad for a moment and tucks the amulet under his shirt. At a questioning look from Angarato, he shakes his head and says, "Chasing old memories, it's like grasping at smoke."

The carriage comes to a halt and its passengers disembark, offering varied thanks to the driver. Reynard wishes him a safe return journey then turns to Isabella and takes a knee to embrace the large wolf, "Thank you as well, know that it means a lot to me, what you did." He waves to the driver again as he turns to join the rest of the party and together they enter the wastes.

The journey across the wastes puts Reynard in a quiet melancholy; though he stays alert to their surroundings, he hardly says a word to the party while they're walking. He doesn't take part in dispatching the zombie they encounter but continues to watch the landscape for signs of more.

As the dwarven encampment comes into view at last, Reynard draws out the pendant again and holds it close. He whispers something that sounds more akin to a prayer than a spell causing it to glow with a soft light. "The energy of this place has been bothering me for too long now. It would not do for it to affect our discussions with the dwarves." Taking the lead as the group approaches the camp, Reynard acknowledges the dwarves challenge and responds, "I am Reynard and these are my companions, the Oracle Angarato, Basementicus the Sane, and Thomas the Shy. We are a part of the mercenary organization, here on an assignment to retrieve a book that is believed to be in the ruins of the Shining Library."

OOC: Phew, lotta typing also, have a cookie, you'll feel better
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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 12:23 PM
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Basementicus waves politely to the guards. He says, slightly wearily, "Hey, how's it going?"

His gaze eludes them for a minute as he looks up at the machine on the tower. What is that thing? Some kind of catapult? It grabs his interest.

Dice Eng101:
d20+5 (12)+5 Total = 17


Basementicus wants to strike up a conversation with the guards about the machine, perhaps to appeal to their better nature.

"Hey, is that a mangonel? I've never seen one this close before. It seems to do a great job dispatching those birds in their flocks. Did you build it yourselves?"

Last edited by Explosionguy; Feb 2nd, 2014 at 04:38 PM.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 03:51 PM
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Thomas waves when he's introduced, though he's not completely sure as to how he earned such a moniker. He adds to Reynard's explanation of their presence, and does so in Dwarvish. "That, of course, is why we're getting paid, but I'm very eager to compare notes and look at your dig site, as an archaeologist myself. Perhaps even cleanse the taint out here."
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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 05:25 PM
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"Huh, they think they are archeologists!" snorts the one on the right. "Brother... Just look at him, I can't dispute his claim to be an archeologist. I mean, he's basically made of stone and seems to be fluent in dwarvish!" Replies the one on the left while gesturing to Thomas. He then turns back to the party, "Well, we haven't found any books in tact down in the dig yet, but since we aren't looking for books you are welcome to search. Just be aware that as this is a DWARF expedition, anything removed from the dig site has to be approved by the Digmaster. If you go beyond where our current operations are we will provide no assistance. Naturally, you break anything of value and you will be required to pay for it. What else? Ah yes, DWARF has offered a reward for anyone who can fully cleanse the negative energy field, I believe it is something from the main collection or whatnot. Anyway, if you need anything there is a camp store, but everything there is expensive if you don't work for DWARF. Have a nice day!" The dwarf seems to be running through a mental checklist, but it can be hard to tell through the full plate mail he is wearing.

The other dwarf waits till his brother is finished and then responds to Basementicus, "Aye, the mangonel is quite nice out here. Not perfect to be sure, but it clears out most of those flighty buggers with one shot. The rest are easily dispatched with a crossbow. Luckily attacks seem to only happen once every couple of days at most. Though I'm interested in your friend there. I'll bet that he's forgotten more about rocks than I could learn in a lifetime! Oh, I'm Grinor, it's nice to meet you." The dwarf doesn't bother to even try to shake hands given that his hands are full with his shield and spear at the moment.

As the group is talking to the pair of dwarves, they see one of the camp's ogres come out of the ruins dragging a large cart full of debris behind him. He ultimately just dumps it on a growing pile outside the ruins before heading back in. Animals didn't like the wastelands and especially didn't like the ruins themselves, but the ogres didn't care. They got to do work that was easy for them and got paid very well (as far as an ogre is concerned). Overall the organization here didn't seem to mind the group that was here. After all, no bandits in their right mind would come this far into the wastelands.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 05:59 PM
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The little runs of moss that make up the man's eyebrows scoots towards each other as he frowns. "If we move beyond your current operations, you disavow us... but still hold us liable for damage and expect control over what we find?" Thomas inquires.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 06:09 PM
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"I think you may have a slight misunderstanding." Replies the more gruff of the dwarf pair, "DWARF owns this dig. If you go beyond where our current operations are we won't help you because we won't be close enough TO help you. We aren't actually disavowing you. Naturally, damage caused by monsters and the like will not be charged to you and you will be allowed to keep the possessions of any monsters you happen to kill. We have run across a few skeletons wandering around so far, but nothing that couldn't be handled. Just keep in mind, you are here of your own accord. We here for DWARF and DWARF alone and since we own the rights to the dig site, you should be glad we are letting you inside at all."

Grinor shakes his head at his brother, "He's usually like this, unfortunately." You hear a whistle sound in the distance and Grinor sighs. "Well, duty calls. Sounds like we've got some wandering undead on the north side of the camp. We'll be back here shortly." Grinor and his brother march toward the north side of the camp. Neither seems to be in much of a hurry.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 06:25 PM
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I have no intention of handing over anything I find. "What's the reward for removing the blight?"
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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 06:30 PM
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"Sounds like the subterranean area is quite extensive." Muses Reynard, "We might have our work cut out for us... on another note however, what do you guys think they're doing with the ravens they kill? If they're just disposing of them we might be able to collect the beaks for the bounty."
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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 06:37 PM
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Grinor replies to Thomas as he marches off, "I don't know what it is. Try asking the Digmaster, I think it is supposed to be a minor artifact or something." Then he disappears around a large tent, off to fight whatever threat there is. Luckily, the Digmaster's tent seems to be easy to find. It is one of the larger tents and has the word Digmaster in dwarven, common, and giant (for the ogres).
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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 07:53 PM
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As the dwarves round the corner, Basementicus says to his allies, "Well, they certainly look like they mean business. Both figuratively and literally. Shall we find the boss and ask about the ravens and the blight?"

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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 01:51 PM
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Angarato says to his companions, "The Digmaster seems the ideal place to start, we can meet with him to work out the terms of working in and around their dig site. I think we should explore that part first and determine if the book is within the area of their control and then work our way out and down from there if it is not located. We can also inquire about the Raven beaks and other potential for income while we are here."

Angarato then procedes toward the tent labeled "Digmaster" and peers inside and finds a dwarf sitting behind his desk and says in a respectful tone in common "Excuse me, Grinor mentioned that we should speak with you concerning our interest in the Shining Library, is now a good time?

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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 04:20 PM
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Thomas follows along, letting Angarato talk to the digmaster, considering the reception he got from the guards.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 06:14 PM
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Reynard follows inside, listening to the conversation while poking around and curiously inspecting the tents interior.

OOC: does he have any working models of anything I could play with?
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 09:26 PM
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As you walk to the digmaster's tent you manage to get a glimpse of the two dwarves fighting off a zombie. It is easy to tell that the dwarves are decent fighters, but not quite as good as Basementicus. The only thing they really have going for them is excellent protective equipment. It only takes them about fifteen to twenty seconds to finally dispatch the zombie. It probably wouldn't have taken them quite so long if it weren't for the fact that the zombie was wearing chain mail... probably left from when it originally died.

Inside the digmaster's tent is a small area in the front with a desk and several chairs. On the desk is a large map of the dig site with a couple figurines representing dwarves and ogres. Behind the desk is a curtain which likely leads to where the digmaster sleeps. The front area also has a couple of boxes sitting around along with some artifacts from the dig sitting on top, these are likely not magical. "IS NOW A GOOD TIME?" The digmaster, a gnome, shouts at the party. "Actually, yes, it is a wonderful time. Come in and relax for a moment so we can talk." The gnome gestures to the simple folding chairs in the room. Everything in the tent seems like it can be broken down easily for travel.

"By your looks I'd say you are some sort of adventurers. I could actually use some at this time. Silly union rules prevent me from actively sending my own workers into harm's way unnecessarily, which naturally slows things down to a snails crawl. Assuming you are adventurers and are willing I would like to contract the group of you to scout ahead of our operations to help clear out traps and other threats in a much more expeditious manner. You will be allowed to keep anything carried by creatures you kill. In addition, I imagine you are looking for something specific so I suppose I can let you keep that too. I do have to pay you for this service though. Every trap gem you bring me I'll give the group of you one-hundred gold pieces and every mechanical trap you can show proof that you disarmed I'll give you fifty gold pieces. Any other items you find will need to be screened by me and I will make the determination on whether or not you can keep the items. I even have some tools to help pull trap gems out in a slightly safer manner." The gnome says to the group. Obviously he cares more about business and expediency than your own lives. On the other hand, it is likely quite expensive to keep an operation this large running in a place like this. He might stand to save a fair amount of money off of others disarming the traps.
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