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  #16  
Old May 23rd, 2011, 05:11 PM
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[I]Gods, I'm tired[I], Silas thought, rubbing his eyes. Fahds words about the arrowhead made no sense. How can it be attuned to me if it's thousands of years old? He was about to open his mouth to ask him just where his shamaness was when he saw the musician approach.

Silas looked at Jamie warily. Another time his own love of music would have made him keen to talk to the musician, but right now he didn't like everyone knowing so much about where they were going and why. And Jamie certainly seemed to know much. He especially didn't like the talk of stalkers. Especially not of flaming shape-changing, now dead stalker-constables. And especially not when there might be more around. How many people knew about them? Was he the only damn fool who hadn't heard of flaming stalkers? At least, not until running in to flaming Isaiah in the flaming ruins. And Isaiah had told him the same...that the ruins would be some defense against "them who live below" as Jamie put it. There were too many coincedences going on for his liking. It's time to get out of this gods forsaken town. His nerves fairly jangled with the stress of the situation. Was Jamie right about the ruins? If he's right, maybe we should lay a false trail when we leave here, he thought wearily.

"Thanks for the advice," he said to Jamie, raising his own mug in a kind of salute. "But Dan's right, we have a canoe". There was no flaming way he was travelling anywhere again by canoe, but the less people who knew that the better. Silas downed the rest of his drink and stood up. "If you'll excuse us, he said, standing up and gathering Dan and Fahd with a meaningful look. "But we have some work to do yet if we're to catch the horn thief. The trail gets colder by the day."

As Silas walked back towards his room he considered his options. It seemed Fahd was his only real lead to Isaiah. Or rather, the arrowhead was. Why had Isaiah given it to him? He needed answers. He intended to be on the trail at first light. Maybe take the canoe down the bend and then ditch it and head towards Fahd's shamaness. It was a start. The decision made him feel a little bit better than he had. He needed to move again. But I bloody will take that advice about the ruins, he thought ruefully. He would tell the boys his plan as soon as they were in thier rooms. If they were ready, he was keen to leave just before dawn.
  #17  
Old May 23rd, 2011, 11:26 PM
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Fahd eyebrows lift at the musician's words. That Aldus's identity had been taken over by a Stalker had been there in Jenson's memories but Fahd hadn't made the connection until the bard pointed it out. It explains the mayor's odd comment about Aldus during the meeting; the mayor's wife must have told the mayor about Aldus being a Stalker before the meeting with Dan and Silas, because Fahd doesn't remember Silas revealing that detail in the meeting. Now the bard knows, which suggests that the news is making its way around Archeebald. Now Fahd, too, wonders when Aldus stopped being Aldus. As the bard has pointed out, if it was before the disappearance of the Ichvaali artifact, that would put the story about it being stolen by Isaiah in a different light. Was Isaiah a scapegoat for a theft perpretrated by false Aldus? Fahd tries to recall any other events associated with Aldus in the time since Fahd's arrival in Archeebald.

"I believe I will, James, at least for a time," Fahd replies mildly to the bard, "assuming there is room for a third passenger in their canoe." I've a feeling they could use a third set of hands in their travels. When Silas rises Fahd follows suit, nodding at the bard as he passes. When they are alone, Fahd asks, "Are we headed to Mayfield then?"

Int check to remember about Aldus
Dice Int:
d20+1 (18)+1 Total = 19
roll

Last edited by Tangler; May 23rd, 2011 at 11:28 PM.
  #18  
Old May 24th, 2011, 09:41 AM
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At the top of the stairs, Silas nods at Fahd’s question about where to head. Mayfield was their only lead, if one could call it that. The boys discuss brief plans, punctuated by Dan’s yawns, and then retire to their rooms for the night.

SilasThe wizard is on his bed and snoring before Silas can even get his boots off. But it doesn’t take the ranger long to slump down into his own bunk and succumb to heavy sleep as well.

His eyes open to a dream of sorts. Silas is on the green of Leyman’s Hollow once again, and there is Emma Jenson, smiling invitingly from the door to her father’s house. “He’s gone now,” she says. “Nobody here now except me. You wanna come in?” Silas takes a few steps in her direction, his eyes moving over her body, her curves visible beneath a thin shift. Then he catches movement from one of the windows and stops. Looking up at the two grimy, second-story panes, the ranger sees the hideous face of the stalker glaring down at him. And there's not just one, but many mandibled heads, waiting inside Emma’s house.

Silas halts in horror, gawking up at the monsters inside. Emma beckons enticingly, her shift blowing in a breeze, her shoulder strap falling to the side. “Come in. I got something to show you,” she whispers, and despite all his willpower, Silas can’t help but stomp toward her. From behind her rears a centipede, its skittery legs caressing her arms and back as she smiles at Silas.

And then… pain. The ranger staggers forward, just before reaching Jenson’s front porch. An arrow pierces his chest, and looking down he sees the arrowhead that Isaiah gave to him jutting from his belly. The artifact is white, unblemished by his blood, and seems to pulse with his own heartbeat. Silas staggers around to see Isaiah lower his bow, shouting something to him. The sound is faint… “South…” The arrowhead seems to pull him in that direction, orienting him toward the man with the mountain lion.

At that moment pain flashes again and Silas jerks about to see Jenson menacing over him. “Gonna kill you boy!” Unarmed and wounded, Silas trips as Jenson comes at him again. The crazed drunk raises the rapier above Silas, ready to hack the boy to pieces... when darkness comes again to Silas’ mind, and black sleep takes hold. He spends the rest of the night falling from one restless dream to another.

FahdFahd does not get to sleep as easily as the boys from Lehman’s Hollow. He spends considerable time preparing for a journey, spiritually and on a more mundane level as well. All the while he tries to remember the sequence of events over the summer and fall.

The strange happenings – sheep being gutted in the night, people coming down with curious maladies, cows giving bad milk, equipment missing – seemed to have been plaguing Archeebald almost from the day he himself arrived. Some had even blamed Fahd for them, but his skill at healing soon put him in the good graces with most of the town. Thinking back, it seems the attack on the town hall and theft of the Silver Horn was truly the start of it. Aldus was the one who reported it stolen that day, and the string of queer events was quick to follow.

As he packs various ritual components, the spiritchaser sees a thin dark stripe beneath his stitching needles and thread. Moving them aside, Fahd finds a shiny black feather. Picking it up, he considers it for a moment – it’s the feather of his spiritual enemy, Grackle. How it got mixed in with his belongings is a mystery, but to those attuned to signs and symbols from the spirit world as Fahd is, it surely bodes ill.

In the morning, Dan is up early. His whetstone fell out of his bag, and he felt it must be still in the canoe. While Dan is retrieving it, Silas makes a quick deal with one of the locals for the centipede plates – an armorer filling his whiskey flask for the day at Barrett’s Pub. Ten gold pennies is his best offer.

As the deal is being made, Dan bursts back into the inn. His cheeks are red from the cold, and his eyes flaring. “The canoe!” he shouts. “It’s ruined! Somebody’s hacked it to pieces! My brother is gonna be pissed!”

DM's NoteSilas and Dan each gain another 5gp.

Feel free to RP plans or discussions you might have had before going to bed the previous night. Just trying to move us along.

Last edited by mountainbound; May 24th, 2011 at 09:43 AM.
  #19  
Old May 25th, 2011, 09:39 PM
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As Dan burst into the room Silas was so startled he almost jumped. He was so on edge already and Dan's near panic was like lamp oil on the fire. His hand darted to his rapier and he half drew it before he realized fully what Dan was saying. As the story became clearer, he eased the sword back into its scabbard, but he was not calmer. Apparently someone didn't want them to take the canoe. He'd said they would take the canoe the night before in order to throw out a false trail but....What the eff? He'd said that to Jamie, who'd counseled them to go north to the ruins. What the effin eff? Then the pain of the dream came to him sharply....remembered pain and the word "South...." ringing in his memory. It'd been so intense, and now this. Now this!. Blood and flaming ashes, he thought.

Hastily Silas concluded the deal, and ushered his companions out of the shop. "South...." rang in his head. He wanted out of this place, the sooner the better. He felt panic try to rear it's head up. He needed to get out. He could feel the snare closing if they stayed in this place. "South...." he heard again in his mind's eye. Once the group grabbed their stuff, he would lead them south, and false trails be damned. And why not? After he'd told flaming Jamie about the canoe....How could he trust north? I'm being hunted by stalkers, have a haunted sword, and have a Ghost Runner who says I've been given an arrowhead attuned to me a thousand years ago. Now I'm haunted by dreams of the man who gave the arrowhead to me...why bloody not follow the ruddy dream? It's better than being hearded like flaming sheep. Silas wanted out...his skin crawled with the thought that anyone, anyone in this town could be a stalker.

Once they'd cleared the shop and were on their way back to the hotel, Silas said,"We need to get out of here. Now. We're being herded and I don't like it. Let's get our gear and head in to the forest." Gods, but he wanted to get out of this town.
  #20  
Old May 26th, 2011, 01:14 AM
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Alone in his room, Fahd sits cross-legged on the floor meditating on the new direction his Journey is about to take. The work he has been doing here in Archeebald has been satisfying, but he's known from the start that it was only a temporary pause in his Journey, and the arrival of the two young men is as clear a signal as he can expect that it is time for the next leg to begin. Though Dan and Silas themselves may not have the answers he seeks, Fahd senses that there are forces in play around them which might provide answers.

The physical preparations for the journey are almost laughably brief, or would have been were it not for the unexplainable appearance of the Grackle feather among his belongings. He contemplates it in silence for a time, wondering at the cause of the spirit's animosity toward him. He has tried to communicate with it but so far the Grackle spirit has refused the attempts, and Fahd is not yet strong enough to force the issue. Eventually he unties his headband and sews the feather in amongst the rest of the feathers hanging from it. When he is done he ties the headband back around his head and finishes packing his sparse belongings in his backpack. He then goes to sleep.

Fahd rises early and heads down to the common room to wait for Dan and Silas. When Dan bursts in with his news Fahd, too, wonders about the destruction of the canoe. He wonders, passingly, if it might have been his own words that triggered it; if someone is trying to ensure that he travels with Dan and Silas, his suggestion that the canoe might not be big enough might have pushed them to destroy it. He can't imagine, though, why someone would go to those lengths to ensure Fahd travels with them, unless the goal is simply to get Fahd out of Archeebald. The presence of the Grackle feather amongst his belongings adds to the mystery. All in all, though, Silas's instincts, if that's what they are, seem to make more sense. Someone is trying to control the route, to herd them as Silas put it. On the surface having them on the water would do a better job of it, but having them on the water might pose other problems. Fahd shakes his head. There's too much we don't know.

Fahd is not the least averse to Silas's plan to take them into the forest. His time spent training with Aisha has left Fahd feeling every bit as comfortable in the wild as in civilization, and gathering food for his specialized diet will be much easier overland. "I am ready when you are," he tells them. As he waits for Dan and Silas, he considers the possibility of finding out from the spirits who is responsible for the destruction of the canoe. "Would you wish to know, if I can find out?" Fahd asks them.
  #21  
Old May 26th, 2011, 09:44 PM
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Silas looked at Fahd, considering. Gods, but he wanted to get out of here. But he also hated not knowing. If Fahd could let them know a little bit more about what they were up against.....

"I'm well ready to get out of here." Silas said, slinging his pack over one shoulder. The weight of it was more than he liked to carry, but gods it felt good to be going. "I would definitely like to know more Fahd, if it won't keep us long." He pulled the strap over his other shoulder, settling the weight comfortably. He tightened a strap so that the pack wouldn't bounce with his stride. "Let's get on with it."
  #22  
Old May 27th, 2011, 02:18 AM
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"Not too long," Fahd replies to Silas's question about how long it will take. "The best chance for success, though, will be if I make the attempt where it happened. We must hope that one of the local spirits happened to be aware of it." Fahd follows Dan to the ruins of the canoe, where he sits cross-legged on the ground. The shaman reaches into a pouch at his waste and withdraws a pinch of moss, which he places under his tongue and closes his eyes. He sits in silence for a moment, then throws his head back, his eyelids snapping open to reveal that his eyes are rolled up into his head, the grey of his irises barely visible. He sits like this for several seconds, then he speaks, his voice barely more than a whisper.

"We are in luck," Fahd murmurs. "There is a spirit present. Now I must hope I can convince it to communicate its knowledge." Without changing the position of his head he reaches for his aklys and the bundle of porcupine quills in his fur robe. He begins rapping the quills against the bone, much as he did when he healed Dan and Silas back at the inn. Whether there is a difference between the rhythm he establishes now and what he did when he healed them is unclear. His lips move as though he is speaking, but no words issue forth, at least none that Dan and Silas can hear. After a short time Fahd's face relaxes slightly, as though perhaps he has succeeded.

Knowledge Spirits
Dice See Spirits dc15:
d20+6 (17)+6 Total = 23
Perform Ritual
Dice Communicate with the spirit dc17:
d20+9 (10)+9 Total = 19
rolls

Last edited by Tangler; May 27th, 2011 at 02:28 AM.
  #23  
Old May 27th, 2011, 11:06 PM
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As Silas adjusts his packs, Fahd arranges his tools and begins to delve into the spirit landscape, looking for a connection. Dan, still upset about losing his brother's canoe, can't seem to stop talking. Sullenly he turns to Silas. "So now you're dreaming about Isaiah. That's kind of... queer, don't you think? I think all this snow has done something to your brain." He laughs mockingly. "But I guess that's all we have to go on, and if you're convinced it was a sign, then... whatever. Here we are waiting for Fahd to talk with spooks, so following the advice of a dream isn't any weirder." The wizard does a quick calculation in his head. "Isaiah didn't happen to say where in the south, did he? I mean, the Archeebald bridge is like the only bridge over the Yakawanna River for miles and miles. If we head south on this side, we'll hit Jessup in a day or two. But if we choose to cross back to the other side, then it will be several days hike back to Lehman's Hollow."

As the two boys discuss directions, the spirit chaser sets to work, opening himself to the world hidden in plain sight. There by the side of the river, the pine boughs quiver overhead, and a breeze sends shivers down your spines. Snow and pine needles whip about you. The wind whispers, but to Dan and Silas, it's only more sighing of the branches. Fahd's eyes snap open at the sound, staring intently up at the trees.
DM's NoteFeel free to make a K (GEO) check to ask more about the towns and local geography.

  #24  
Old May 28th, 2011, 09:16 AM
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Dice Roll:
1d20+5 (14)+5 Total = 19

Last edited by Krimchee; May 28th, 2011 at 09:17 AM.
  #25  
Old May 28th, 2011, 08:04 PM
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Fahd's eyes close and his head drops until his chin rests on the furs covering his chest. He stays like this for several long moments, the quill bundle resting motionless on his aklys, both held by hands which have fallen still. Men, but not men. Shadows. Fahd's eyes open and his head rises. He does not look at Silas and Dan, however. His gaze falls on a large tamarack pine whose branches overhang the river. He puts the quill bundle away in his robe and hangs the aklys back on his belt as he rises and moves to the tree. His fingers trace the path of a large gash in the trunk of the tree. The cut looks quite fresh, and appears to have been made by an axe. "Thank you for the information, friend. Sleep well," he murmurs reverentially, then turns back toward Dan and Silas.

"Tamarack witnessed the destruction of the canoe," Fahd begins. "Spirits, Tamarack called them. Spirits who walked like men, talked like men, looked like men, but were not men. They came from the deep forest, Tamarack said, not from the town, and they carried with them the stink of evil and decay." Fahd falls silent, his gaze distant as he contemplates the last thing Tamarack told him. The covered eye?
  #26  
Old May 31st, 2011, 08:30 PM
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Silas felt keenly to go south. But the ruins to the north....were there even ruins there? "I know it sounds weird. And it is weird, I guess. But this whole bloody trip has been getting weirder with every step we take. He looked pointedly at Fahd with his quill bundle to emphasize his point to Dan. I wonder if there are any other ruins to the south? It would also be good if we could keep out of the towns and avoid people as often as we can. No telling who we can trust, or how far rumor from The Hollow has traveled." Silas tried hard to remember what he knew of the area around Jessup, and all that he'd heard from fellow hunters.

After Fahd came out of his trance and told them about the "men", Silas cursed. "What does that flaming mean? Men who are not men? Then trying to moderate his tone, Fahd was only trying to help after all, Silas asked, "Can you tell us what "deep forest" they came from? Or at least what direction?" Last thing they needed was to run into anything that stank of "evil."
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Old Jun 1st, 2011, 11:07 AM
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status and defensesCurrent HP 12/12, Spirit Healing 6/6 remaining
AC16, AC12 flat-footed, AC16 touch, Fort/Ref/Will +6/4/5
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Fahd appears to take no offense to Silas's tone. He considers Silas's question carefully before replying. "I believe Tamarack's description of the creatures who destroyed the canoe is how it would perceive Stalkers, like what you have already faced, or at least something akin to Stalkers. Something that pretends to be a man, has taken over the identity of a man who has been killed, but is not a man. As far as the direction," here Fahd pauses again, his eyes lifting to look at the tamarack tree before continuing, "Tamarack did not say specifically, and returned to its slumber before I could ask further, but I believe the reference to the deeper woods meant north," he says, pointing.

"If your dreams pull you south," Fahd continues thoughtfully, "that should not be discounted. Dreams are often only that, but can sometimes hold great significance. Do not let the direction taken by the creatures necessarily deter you, however. It may be that they are trying to force us, if we go north, to travel through their territory, rather than being able to bypass them by taking the river. That would seem to indicate, though, that north is the direction they believe we need to go. Before we decide, let me see if I can determine whether north is, in fact, the direction they traveled." Fahd begins examining the area for tracks, broken twigs, etc.

Survival check to find tracks
Dice Survival:
d20+9 (5)+9 Total = 14
roll
  #28  
Old Jun 1st, 2011, 05:02 PM
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"Gods' blood," Silas breathed vehemently. News of more stalkers was definitely not what he wanted to hear. Why was Jamie suggesting north? He must be one of them too. Silas swore.

Seeing Fahd checking for tracks filled Silas with chagrin. I should have bloody well thought of that myself, he thought with embarrassment. Some ruddy tracker you are.

He was decided on moving south now. Everything Fahd said confrimed what his instincts had been shouting at him. Silas set about the site looking for signs of those who destroyed the canoe. It'd be grand if he could confirm where they'd gone before heading south. I'll be damned if I let a spirit chaser find physical sign before I do, he though. Silas was proud of his skills. He just couldn't believe he hadn't thought of looking for tracks himself.
Perception Check

Dice Roll:
1d20+9 (9)+9 Total = 18

Last edited by Krimchee; Jun 1st, 2011 at 05:09 PM.
  #29  
Old Jun 2nd, 2011, 07:07 PM
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Silas scoured the ground, looking for tracks. When he found them, he followed them some way off into the forest. The tracks led north, confirming Fahd's conversation with the spirit. Before long, Silas encountered another track, leading back to the town. He was so intent on his work that he didn't even bother with his usual grumbling and swearing that such a discover would normally elicit. Someone from the town must be working with them, he deduced.

Heading back to the site of the canoe, he gathered up Dan and Fahd, explaining all that he'd found. "I think we should hike The 6 south, he said at last. "I'm still not convinced that we should brave the towns, but at least it'll get us going in the right direction. And, he added, "We'll be able to stop over in the ruins we stayed at before." He wasn't sure how he felt about that, but if they were to track down Isaiah, his last known whereabouts would not be a bad place to start. "What you guys think? I'm all for heading out if you're ready."
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Old Jun 3rd, 2011, 02:11 AM
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Fahd's search also takes him to the north, following two pairs of boot prints which lead him through the trees and eventually back to the river. It occurs to him that, if there are Stalkers wandering around the forest here, perhaps it is unwise to be wandering around alone. It is an uncomfortable thought for the Shaman, because he often does exactly that, spending hours, even days, alone in the forest. Still, better to be safe than sorry, and he whistles sharply. Almost immediately Lynx comes bounding out of the forest to join him. Thus, when Fahd comes striding back along the bank of the river to the spot where the canoe was destroyed, a large cat lopes along next to him. The cat growls when it catches sight of Dan and Silas, but looks at Fahd and subsides when it is clear the shaman is comfortable with the two young men. The cat stands a little under 3 feet tall and weighs about a hundred pounds.

"This is Lynx, my spirit companion," Fahd explains to Dan and Silas. "Lynx," he says to the cat, "this is Dan and Silas, and I will be traveling with them." It is unclear whether Lynx understands Fahd, and if the cat does understand, whether it is Fahd's words or whether the communication occurs on some deeper level and the words are just for Dan and Silas's benefit. Either way, Lynx walks over, sniffs the two, then returns to Fahd's side. Fahd absently rubs the fur between Lynx's upright ears as he listens to Silas's findings.

Fahd nods at Silas's conclusion that someone from town is working with the vandals. "We know there was one, the constable, it stands to reason there might be others," he notes. Was it Jamie, the oh so helpful bard? Perhaps. Not for the first time Fahd wishes he could see still embodied spirits, as that would likely reveal the Stalkers for what they are. He's not sure whether even Aisha is skilled enough for that, however.

"I am ready," Fahd says. "If we are to follow your dream, then south it is. I admit I am curious to see the ruins you visited."
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