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  #1  
Old Jan 23rd, 2014, 04:16 PM
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Chapter 2: Frozen Are The Flames

Angles. Perspectives. Points of view. Each a piece of a whole that can only be explained from a certain angle, an individual persepctive, or a particular point of view. Best told by all three.

*******************************


"What's your angle on all this?"

The question followed Olaf as harshly as the winds of Nihlus. Even Slint's tall, wooden pallisade wall couldn't defelct those winds. Neither could Olaf's conscience deflect his guilt for what he could not share with those who desperately sought it.

Some oaths bound tighter than iron, and his may as well have been adamantine. He could only hope those seeking answers found them on their own.

His steps slowed as he passed the ruins of the Brunn family home. An entirely new type of shiver ran down his spine, but he stiffled it roughly, lest he wake the small girl he carried bundled in his arms. The last place he wanted her to wake was here, where she lost everything.

"What's your angle on all this?"

Like an echo, the question voiced casually by the man named Sev, had unnerved him. Not because of what he might reveal. More because he didn't truthfully know the answer himself. Two nights before, he would have stood unwavering in his resolve before such a simple query.

But then, as he looked down at Elsa's tear streaked face, he knew that resolve was as lost to him as the girl's family was to her.

Aye, his angle had changed, and he now walked a lonley road, beset by dangers on all sides. He'd done what he could, but it was not enough to absolve his guilt. That, he presumed, he would carry with him the rest of his days.

He resumed his trek home with heavy steps, and heavier thoughts.


*********************************

From his perspective, Olaf was a damned liar, and Gustav wasn't keen on his guests troping into the harsh, unforgiving wilds of Nihlus on the word of a liar.

The tells had all been there. His nervous fidgets. His averted gaze when answering certain questions. His vague answers on certain topics, completely contradicting his precise knowledge on many others.

The man was hiding something, and though Gustav could read no bold face lies in his reply, he knew something was off. It was what Olaf didn't say that made him a liar.

He would have vocalized it, but everyone else seemed to know it too, even without having a nosey barkeep butting into their business.

That his guests weren't who they said they were had been obvious long before Gustav had walked in on the conversation between Olaf and the group. He hadn't cared, as long as they paid. As far as he was concerned, the way they'd risked their lives to help Elsa's family righted any wrongs they'd done against him.

He reviewed Olaf's answers in his head, trying to catalogue the information the best he could, so that he could offer any relevant advice he might have.

So, the Archmage is a vampire as far as Olaf, or anyone, knows for certain. It's common knowledge here that on the Blood Moon, he hunts in a way that resembles little of the way of a vampire, or at least as far as anyone understands the fanged monsters.

On top of that, some fellow named Verroquez hid a library nearby, likely in the area of Blue Ice Lake. Olaf had been little help in that area, and seemed truly as curious as the visitors as to if that might be the locations.

In fact, that lad Gothos von Crois had headed that way a few years back when he disappeared. Certainly seems like more than a coincidence.

Then Olaf had surprised them all by offering to keep watch of Elsa. He seemed to feel guilty for her predicament, though he explained nothing indicating why.


All that and more troubled the inn keeper, but Olaf made good on his promises of supplies. When Gustav had opened the door for business this morning, a crate of food, water, and adventuring supplies waited on the stoop. Next to it was another crate with 4 white fur cloaks of breathtakign beauty.

He'd brought these gifts to his guests, finding them all in the common room makign their preperations to leave the saftey of Slint's walls.

"It looks as though Olaf left a gift for you all before you set out. To be sure, I think you're all nuts, even the wolf... but if there's anything I can aid ya with, feel free to ask," Gustav proclaimed, meeting each of them with a glance that spoke of his earnestness.

The Gods Above knew they would need all the help they could get.


*********************************

From a point of view upon a nearby hill, an observer watched as four figures emerged from the wooden pallisade. The blowing snows, shrieking winds, and glaring sun light beat down on the path leading from the gates of Slint. Even with the cloaks of white blending with the surroundings, eyes radiating a cold all their own had little trouble following their course.

As soon as the four travelers and wolf disappeared over the rise of the next hill heading east, the observer rose, gave a signal to it's surroundings, and moved to follow.

The snow seemed to caress it's form, and that of the other similar forms separating themselves from the snow, as they moved to follow the travelers into the wilds of Nihlus...

OoCOkay! Feel free to take a few gifts from your negligent DM. In that crate can be whatever slupplies you might need of a mundane nature. Likewise, Olaf gave you all a cloak that gives +10 to hide checks made in snow. It also gives you protection from the cold fully.

So, fill in what you can, ask anything I might have missed, and let's get back to kicking ass and takign names!
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Old Jan 25th, 2014, 07:43 PM
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Jenna made it downstairs first, with a nod to Maeven, who she suspected would be occupying that window seat for the rest of her life. Upon seeing Gustav, she nodded hello, with a sudden panic rising in her mind. Shoot. I don't remember what my "name" is. Well, let's hope no one asks! Gustav showed her the crates, and as the others were still upstairs, Jenna helped herself.

The thick white cloaks drew her attention first. She ran a hand through the soft fur, quickly deciding she'd be just fine spending the rest of the day doing exactly that. Her elder brother, Harley, had a big friendly retriever that Jenna had always loved petting and playing with the few times she had visited the farm since he inherited it from their grandparents. The dog too had been content to just sit and be petted for hours, big dumb doggy grin on its face the whole time. The cloaks felt like the dog, but thicker and softer and without all the farting. Coming to the conclusion that she looked silly sitting on the floor and petting the furs, Jenna eventually picked out the smallest cloak (Kiriel was so tall and elegant), and set it aside for herself.

Turning her attention to the next box, she picked out a few odds and ends. I keep forgetting a whetstone better take this one! She also stuffed a length of rope and a few sunrods into her pack. She debated herself on whether to take a shovel. Jenna had thought that she had seen Sev with one, but her eyesight didn't quite match up to the brilliance of her mind, so she grabbed it. Besides, knowing the pirate, even if he had a shovel, it probably came with a hundred reasons why he might not want to dig someplace that Jenna would. Out in the snow, trenches and igloos could be the key to survival.

Reaching all the way down into the bottom of the second crate, Jenna pulled up a surprisingly large number of whistles, noting that no two seemed to be the same size. Taking a larger one and the smallest one, she tweeted them quietly just enough to move air across the sharp edge of the fipple without vibrating the little wooden ball inside. Determining that the pitches were different, she pocketed both, knowing that having two made for a wider variety of signaling options should they get separated. Jenna resolved to do her best to make the others each take two as well.

* * * * *

As the group left town, Jenna felt a little sad. While part of that could certainly be attributed to the events of last night or to the loss of the company of those who stayed on the ship (or at the inn), Jenna was pretty sure most of it was because flying wouldn't be a wise idea while they were alone on the barren northern landscape. It would be too easy for something to spot them. She stopped long enough to bring forth her psychic armor, and otherwise trudged along, at least thankful for the warm cloak.

OOCTook: whetstone, silk rope, two signal whistles of differing pitches, 5 sunrods, and a shovel.

Manifesting inertial armor, augmented to bring the AC bonus up to +8, as they leave town. The armor is set to invisible.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 03:50 PM
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Normally, Kiriel would be wearing a smile when she came downstairs for breakfast. On a regular day, she would greet her friends with a polite salutation and eat her breakfast with good manners and proper etiquette. In most situations, she would joke with Sev and chat with Jenna and Hiracin, and make sure to greet Luna with an ear scratch and a scrap of bacon.

But today is not a 'normal' or 'regular' day. Today is the morning after the Blood Moon, when she witnessed the Archmage come to Slint and murder a family in front of its youngest daughters eyes. Today is the day that they begin the next step on their current goal, to find and destroy the Archmage. Kiriel's normally pale blue eyes are a flinty gray this morning, hard and cold and seemingly ready to kill. Sev, Jenna, and Hiracin have seen Kiriel angry before, that first morning on the May Bree comes to mind, but they have never seen her like this. This is a cold, seething rage, contained behind Kiriel's normally beautiful features. This is a righteous fury boiling within the shell of a slender bard, that sooner or later will be released upon the creature known as the Archmage.

So Kiriel's breakfast passes in silent and hurried bites, veritably wolfing the food down as quickly as she can. Afterward she sifts through the crates of gear, selecting a few items and putting them in her haversack, lays one of the thick white fur cloaks over her shoulders and turns to the other, speaking the first words that she's uttered all morning. "Let's go."

OOCKiriel also took some sunrods, as well as any potions of Water Breathing that had been discussed and may have been provided. She has a Haversack, so any other potions provided (if any) would also be taken. Of course, she also took one of the cloaks and the 2 different signal whistles as suggested by Jenna.
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Old Feb 24th, 2014, 08:06 PM
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Sev was up again before everyone else, as he never slept well off his ship and worse still when on his own. So he put on his boots and tossed his new winter coat on and went for a walk down to the harbours.

Harbours... The word made the tradesman smile to himself. Where he was used to giant harbours in magnificent cities lined with brothels and markets, Slint had a single, degrading pier with the one shack that housed the "harbour master" when he was on duty, which was only dawn to dusk.

Sev was on his second breakfast ciggarette by the time he reached the pier. Not that it was a far walk, but he was just that nervous. He expected his crew to be back with his ship this morning, but there was no sign of them. Duncan was a good sailor, and a good friend... well, as long as he was paid, but he wouldn't be the sort to steal my ship … right?

Sev had polished off his tabacco pouch from Evermere when he decided he had waited as long as he could. The others would be getting up by now and they'd want to head off to certain doom as soon as they could. It was one thing to chase down legends of missing treasure, but chasing down a vampire lord, who was probably older than everyone in the village of Slint combined, was a whole other matter. Sev was never too keen on facing the undead, mainly that they didn't die when you asked them to, but that's why he kept priests on his crew. Skeletons and Zombies were part of the job description when you raided ancient temples... but this was different. The was like the time they stumbled across that tomb of a draco-litch... except Sev could see the Litch coming all the way from here, and there wasn't a gods damned thing he could do to stop himself. He had a busted rudder, broken oars, and no wind and he was drifting straight into it's maws.

The market was beginning to open up when Sev started back. He was getting short on rolling papers so he thought he should pick some up, but no one seemed to know what he was on about even after he showed them his. Compirmising on a nice pipe, Sev finally returned to the Inn.

The sight of Olaf only made Sev hate Slint more, 'Why is it that whenever I accuse someone around here, the subject gets changed … I'm not going to let anyone slide anymore. Today, I get answers.'

“What's your angle on all this?” he asked the frost giant.

*********

Sev packed up his kit, tipped his barman and made for the gate. He left a sealed note to be given to Duncan when he returned. As they left the “safety” of the pallicade, Sev said farewell to the village and tossed a gold coin back over his right shoulder.

The mood wasn't doing anyone any good, especially himself so he took the initiative to try and raise some spirits.

Dice Perform: Sing:
d20+5 (13)+5 Total = 18
“We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a bear.”
he began to sing.
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Old Feb 25th, 2014, 05:44 PM
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Kiriel's
Dice Perform: Sing:
d20+11 (8)+11 Total = 19
voice is ripped from her mouth by the wind, but somehow her echoing song reaches the ears of her friends. "We're going on a bear hunt." the words come slowly, heavily laden with the sadness clutching her heart, "We're going to catch a big one." Some hint of the determination, of the anger, that is currently driving the bard comes through in the second line.

"What a beautiful day." on a roll now, Kiriel takes the traditional children's song and turns it into a dirge, heartrendingly beautiful and haunting.

"I'm not afraid!" the raw emotion pulled from the beautiful woman is easy to feel, and proof is seen in the tears freezing to her cheeks.

"Are you?" Kiriel looks to Jenna first, hoping to see there a matching will and resolve, "Are you?" Then she turns to Sev, searching for a similar response and hoping that her previous assessment of the pirate captain was not erroneous.

"Oh look! Oh look!" Ki's demeanor changes in an instant as she channels the performer inside, and she looks up at the clouds and spins a smooth circle, A cold cold snowstorm!" Her spin completed, she looks forward again, fiery conviction melting the snow with her gaze.

"We can't go over it; we can't go under it." Strong steps guide her slender frame made bulky by the heavy furs and gear, and she takes a few quick steps to be at the front of the group and dramatically plows through the snow with her body bent forward into the wind, "We have to go through it!"

"We're going on a bear hunt!" Kiriel sings defiantly into the wind, shouting her words to the world that has brought about the deaths of so many innocent people, most recently Elsa's family, who were only trying to survive in this harsh place. The rage that has built in her is vented in these last words of the song, sung full force and with as much power as Ki's lungs can muster.

"We're going to catch an Archmage!"
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Old Feb 27th, 2014, 02:41 PM
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"In the depth of Winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible Summer."
-Albert Camus

The fury of the cold was inversely proportional to the quality of the roads the further the group got from Slint. When the blowing wall of white snow at last erased the safety of the town's walls from sight, the biting and clawing winds of Nihlus showed little mercy.

As the groups' senses adapted to the harsh conditions, they trudged forward at a snail's pace into the storm's lashing gale. At times, they could barely make out the back of the person in front of them as ice caked over any exposed orifice.

Miraculously, they managed to stay upon the path. Sev, leading the way, nearly face planted upon the rough, rocky trail when the wind suddenly abated. He jumped to his feet, thinking himself surrounded.

The shapes looming over him were not enemies, however, but great pines reaching well into the sky. Their heavy boughs were proof against the cutting gusts of the storm, and here the snow fell lightly. Less abrasive then when blown into their faces, the precipitation provided an ethereal beauty to the forest's edge.

At their backs, the blizzard obliterated all traces of their passing. If one stared hard enough at the ever shifting wall of white, shapes seemed to apparate within the snow, then fade away. But those had to be tricks of the imagination, didn't they?

Either way, the path into the forest beckoned, and the returning feeling to their extremities welcomed the break from the storm.

OoCOk, gonna want some things here. Marching order for one. Also, spot and listen checks for future use.

Any other preparations you might make, let me know.
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Last edited by Toba; Feb 27th, 2014 at 04:15 PM. Reason: Damn grammar nazis
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Old Mar 4th, 2014, 07:40 AM
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"Have I ever said how much I hate walking? There's a reason I sail everywhere I go." Sev brushed the snow from his head and clothes, failing to keep it from falling down his coat. "I'm glad to be out of the wind anyway."

Upon entering the edge of the woods, Sev took out his spyglass and scanned the path infront of them.

 
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Old Mar 6th, 2014, 05:23 PM
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Energized from her song, and able to bury some of the anger behind the hope and fierce determination embodied within, Kiriel marches through the blowing snow and blinding white with her head (figuratively anyway) held high. Comfortable in the heavy white fur cloak given to them by Olaf, the bard is reminded of the weather back home, though she has to admit that this is somewhat less hospitable. To be sure, the weather got like this on occasion during the winter at home, but it seems that this frigid state is a constant here, and will only get worse during a true storm. But they'll weather that when it happens.

Upon reaching the treeline Ki lowers the hood of her cloak and shakes out her ebony locks and takes a moment to make sure all her gear is similarly unfrozen and available. Reaching into her haversack she pulls out a piece of tough elk jerky, again provided by Olaf, and begins working on it while
Dice Spot and Listen:
d20 6
d20 7
taking a look around the relatively calm forest. "Well this isn't so bad. Looks like beauty can be found in the most inhospitable of places."
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Old Mar 6th, 2014, 06:31 PM
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"Only because we brought it in with us." Sev playfully retorted with half a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eyes. Packing away his spyglass, Sev looked over his surroundings once again. Paranoia was worming itself into his thoughts. Were those shapes in the snow, or was it just the eyes playing tricks?

Being paranoid was probably the only reason Sev was still alive. He made sure his blades were loose, then turned to Ki. "Here, give me a bite."
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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 08:08 PM
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Jenna had a bad feeling. She wasn't sure whether it was because every time she looked around she was sure she almost saw something or because Kiriel's chosen method of blowing off steam was to be a loud as possible. Of course, it could also just be from trekking through the absolute middle of freezing to death on the way to swim in a frigid lake – that was the plan, right?

At any rate, the woods was the welcome relief from the storm, but Jenna's paranoia was quickly approaching Sev levels. The woods was a shelter for them, but it was probably a shelter for something else awful as well. Jenna's had slipped onto the hilt of her falchion in anticipation; meanwhile Sev was trying to reach around her to flirt with Ki. "Are you sure you two wouldn't rather walk together?" she asked, half teasing, half hopeful. "Keep it down. I'm trying to see." She peered into the white around the trees for... something.
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 01:59 PM
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Kiriel blushes appropriately at Sev's flirting compliment, handing over a piece of jerky as she does so. Despite Sev's outwardly rough appearance and mannerisms, he has proven himself to be a gentleman of the highest order. In spite of her own misgivings, the bard is actually beginning to like the pirate. It is with a smirk and a wink that she responds to his flirting with a coquettish and overly exaggerated, "Oh you, I bet you talk to all the women who feed you that way."
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 02:26 PM
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Jenna studied the trees while her companions studied each other. Her momentary annoyance was forgotten instantly as she picked out small carvings in the trunks of many of the larger trees.

As she moved closer to study them, the images became clearer. Barbaric in appearance, the carvings were hieroglyphics of sorts. Pictured were wolves, moons, and humanoid shapes. Of their meaning, none present could discern anything. However, the ages were obviously variant. Some of the glyphs looked very old, as the bark had begun to heal around and over them. Others were fresh, carved possibly within the last month.

Sev, noticing Jenna studying the carvings, moved up beside her. He turned to say something to Ki, and froze. For the faintest of moments, he caught the definite outline of someone in the blizzard beyond the trees. It's eyes glowed a bright blue-white, like icey fire. It stood like a man, but larger. It wore white furs, and was studying the group with keen, malevolent interest. When it noticed Sev looking, it's eyes narrowed and it faded back into the snow.

Wherever they were, they weren't alone.
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Old Mar 21st, 2014, 06:28 AM
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Sev realized he and frozen stiff for half a second, but was thankful that the others didn't seem to notice. Jenna was a sweet & innocent girl and didn't need to be worried about boogie men in the shadows, and Ki's current state of mind might cause her to go charging off again and this time they wouldn't have an Inn to retreat to.

Women, eh... I'm not getting paid enough for this crap.

"What does the carving say, Jen?"
, Sev asked, finally moving again. "I figure this is as good a place as any to camp for the night if you want some time to study them ... might be some sort of navigation guide or something." Sev was already cooking up a plan to discover who or what it is that is stalking them.

It was times like this that he was glad psions couldn't read him. If Jenna knew what he was thinking, she'd probably kill him herself.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2014, 03:29 PM
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Jenna's study of the carvings was momentarily derailed by Sev. "Ugh. Don't call me Jen." She hadn't even turned her head to look at the pirate. "And they don't say anything. You have to read them." Still staring at the tree, she continued, "It appears to be some sort of history or tradition, based on the varying ages of the carvings. It reminds me of a childhood fad in my hometown. People would make themselves bracelets out of hemp rope and attach tiny wooden trinkets to them. Mine had stuff like the sun, clouds, birds, and wings, because I used to fantasize about flying – you know, before I learned how to actually do it. My older sister was born a big smarty-trousers, and she had numbers on hers, while my younger sister Taryn's was always just random. My father was good with a knife and could whittle us anything we wanted.

"Anyway, there was this girl in our neighborhood who had huge teeth and was kind of weird, and her charm bracelet had moons and wolves and stuff like this. We rarely saw her at night, and figured she was a werewolf or something, although we were all afraid to ask. I'm assuming that these carvings were also made by werewolves. I can't actually decipher them, but I've been memorizing them as best I can, and if we can figure out how to get into that library, maybe there'll be a book there that explains them."

Having finished her memorization, Jenna finally turns to look at Sev. "Unless you know how to read them?"

OOCAutohypnosis roll to memorize = 29. Not sure whether this works for that, but it's do this or carve smiley faces in the tree!
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Old Mar 24th, 2014, 11:39 AM
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"I might be able to make something of them..." Kiriel says as she moves over to the trees. The bard takes a few minutes to go over the carvings, running her finger along them and taking imaginary notes in the air. Some quiet mutters escape her lips while she works and soon a slight sheen of sweat appears on her forehead despite the cold. Finally she grunts in annoyance and turns back to Sev and Jenna. With a shrug she indicates what she says, "I got nothin'."
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