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  #106  
Old Dec 16th, 2020, 06:37 PM
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Late Morning, 19th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate - Gerhard Eisenhand
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ᚲᛟᚾᛊᛖᛞᛜ her point, Gerhard had to admit that it would be counterproductive to bring the two creatures with them to the mine. "Ja, so I pay you for them now and when return I pick them up." With a care born of his large digits Gerhard took several moments to count out a sum of coins before tipping them into Kraith's hand. "Maybe double check all is there. Sometimes I'm not so good with counting out the little things." As he turned back to his new uhyggelig bjergged Gerhard paused to look over his shoulder at Kraith and ask one last question. "Schepsel, on need to answer now but... Could you find more of these tatokala veliveli? If you could, we may have more to speak about another day." Ragnar was reluctant to say too much within earshot of the strangers, but these dire mountain goats were a curiosity that could be of use to Tyskland. It seemed uniquely well suited to the climes of the homeland and clearly had physical advantages besides which.

The view from atop Tanngnjóstr, as he had decided to name his mount, was an interesting one for Gerhard. He was not accustomed to riding animals and was finding the experience surprisingly enjoyable. Truth be told the rocking motion as it walk was slightly soporific and at times he found himself feeling drowsy despite the relatively short journey to the mines. Once they arrived at the campsite itself Gerhard was unimpressed with the leftovers. 'Catch my soldier's leaving such a mess they'd be soundly chastised' he thought to himself.

"Do we think there is any value in one of our ever-so-strapping companions to turn the mine cart back to its feet?" The 'doctor's' comment was not without merit. They might be able to save some time if the shorter of them could ride in the cart. "Naja, I give it a try. What's the harm nur?" Dismounting Gerhard strode over
Dice STR:
3d6+1 (4, 3, 4)+1 Total = 12
and gave the upturned cart a heft.
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  #107  
Old Dec 16th, 2020, 09:16 PM
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Morning, 19th of August, 1885.
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Jie's commotion brought all eyes to him and the snake, which had emerged from its resting place and was now out in the open. Clearly a rattlesnake, or at least is was before the nearby hellstone deposits had deformed it into a now-hideous shadow of its former self that Western settlers had dubbed a 'weeping rattler'. Stretched out to nearly four feet long and thinner than a coil of rope, the serpent was sickly pale and oddly lumpy in sections where its scales had taken on a tough, rocky texture in juxtaposition to its otherwise flexible form. Eyes that had paled to a similarly milky white darted around at the large forms that now surrounded it. Raising a tail that looked more like a hunk of rock candy the size of Nudillos' fist, it shook with the sound of a small landslide before deciding it didn't like its odds and slithered further down the canyon, away from the group and quickly losing itself among the scree of the dry riverbed.

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Rhii, having been summoned to provide aid, quickly shed her attitude and swooped to the tiefling's side once the snake had moved on. She examined his arm, noting two large puncture wounds. "Hold still... this will hurt." Without waiting for a reply or even a moment so he could steel himself, she straddled Jie's forearm and jabbed one of her small fingers straight into one of the holes. It looked... uncomfortable to say the least. She held it there for about ten seconds with eyes closed, apparently concentrating on something before removing her digit. She looked at Jie and nodded with satisfaction. "Good, it was smart of you to suck it out immediately. The venom doesn't seem to have taken hold." Working quickly, she reached into her medicine pouch and pulled out one of the yellow cactus flowers and a teeny tiny glass vial. "Open your mouth, please." She spoke with a curt bedside manner. Not rude, but the tone of someone that is used to dealing with patients and has no time for whining or questions. Stuffing the petals into Jie's mouth, she uncorked the vial and let one single drop of clear liquid fall in as well. "Chew that up, but do not swallow. We're making a poultice"

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By the time she had cleaned the wound and produced a tiny roll of bandage she instructed Jie to spit the contents of his mouth directly onto the punctures. Rolling the bandages over his arm, it seemed impossible that the tiny strip of cloth would even make one full rotation. But it did, again and again, seemingly endless in quantity until he had a neatly wrapped wound. The wound still throbbed, and the pressure of the wrappings only served to increase that feeling, but Rhii succeeds on a First Aid action! Li Jie regains 4 Health and he can't benefit from another First Aid action until he takes additional damage.it seemed well on the mend!

With that excitement behind them, the fairy turned back to Dr. Ouzo. "Now then... what were you asking about my lights? Oh yes..." Closing her eyes, Rhii raised her hands and mumbled a string of words that sounded faintly Gaelic but ultimately undecipherable before a Rhii succeeds on a TN8 Fairy Lights Arcana test.
Rhii succeeds on a TN10 Fatigue test.
Rhii's Fatigue Accumulation ticks up by 1.
dozen tiny points of light surrounded her. Each one small, even for Rhii's size, they were the size of gnats or fruit flies, but gave off a powerful glow. "Their power in this realm is tied to my essence and they will not leave my immediate vicinity, unfortunately." The weight of the situation hit her finally, and her eyes darted around to the others. "Ahh... yes. The moths... Well if I am truly the only one able to provide light in the darkness then perhaps I should remain centered in the group?" With a deep breath of finality she nodded and looked towards the mouth of the mine. "Shall we? These lights will stay by my side for about an hour before returning to the Fae."

Seeing Gerhard advance into the mine, Rhii followed shortly behind to keep the area lit. It was no effort for the giant to right the sturdy cart and place it back into the tracks. It seemed no worse for wear and could be pushed along if desired. Doing so also uncovered a trio of bodies, though the smell hit them well before the sight. Dead and partially rotting, two of them were clearly miners; their tattered shirts, pants, suspenders, and boots were plain of color and material. The third seemed a modicum more well-dressed, though their clothes too were shredded. Rhii's fairy lights illuminated the immediate area quite well, though once their light diminished at the edges it did so immediately, leaving only pitch black beyond their range. This beginning section of the mine was fairly clear of debris. Every dozen yards or so thick wooden posts held up support beams and every other post had a lantern hanging from it, though the ones they could see were unlit and from the darkness ahead of them it seemed they would find more of the same.


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Map of Mine Twelve
 


Map of Yellow Ledge

Lore Entry Unlocked: Weeping Rattler!

@everyone I don't think it was mentioned publicly, but just so the rest of you know in addition to the Con (Stamina) test to resist the rattler's venom Jie had lost 3 Health in the attack. Rhii's First Aid action restored him back to full!

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  #108  
Old Dec 20th, 2020, 07:22 PM
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Li Jie. Late Afternoon, 18th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate.
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Li Jie
’Jie! Friend Jie!’

Jie stared at Ouzo with his crazed eyes. ’Are you dying? Are you experiencing hallucinations? Madness?’ He shook his head slowly, but then stopped as if he wasn’t sure. ’Am I hallucinating?’ It was difficult for one to ascertain whether or not they were experiencing an altered state of consciousness. He mused over this as he sat in the dust at the entrance to the mine before…

The mogwai landed on him and stabbed miniature fingers into his snake bite punctures causing him to flinch in pain,

"āi yā!"

The shriek echoed around the ravine and the demon-man clamped a hand over his own open mouth. The tiny fingers drew his hand away and replaced it with yellow petals. The cactus flowers he’d seen about the place now seemed to be becoming a poultice. Jie was intrigued but speechless as he chewed the petals like a cow might its cud. He opened his mouth to allow the mogwai to add a drop of clear liquid and dutifully chewed some more. He watched Ouzo, waiting for him to make fun with a look that promised a vengeful Mandarin lesson upon his next hangover.

The mogwai had improved his condition though. His natural fortitude had withstood the venom and now the medicine had closed over the wound. Jie bowed low to Rhii, earnestly in wonder at her skill and grateful for her ministrations. He owed her a debt which he intended to repay at the first opportunity. For now, though, they needed to keep on their path.


Inside the maw of the mine, Gerhard had turned a cart back on to its wheels on to the tracks. Jie Move two squares west of Gerhardstood as a shield at the front of group, drew his dao and PER check see belowstrained his senses down the left tunnel. He bid Rhii follow a little after him for light and hoped he was sharp enough to guard against ambush. Then he waited for the others to join him.

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  #109  
Old Dec 20th, 2020, 07:48 PM
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Late Morning, 19th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate - Gerhard Eisenhand
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ᚱᛖᛏᚢᚱᚾᛜ the cart to it's proper place on the tracks was relatively easy for Gerhard but something about the orderliness of the act was particularly satisfying and 1 SP: Bravery - 1d6 extra Toughness against the next damaging hazard you face during this encounter.fortified him mentally for the discoveries to come. For a moment he was distracted by the light that the smallest of their number had produced, taking a solitary moment to delight in the jewel like quality of them before turning his attention back to the cart. Though it might prove itself useful some part of Ragnar couldn't deny that if there indeed was something in the mine then the righting of the cart 1 SP: Good Instincts - Make a Perception (appropriate focus) test with the same TN as the test you just made to learn the most likely immediate consequence of the action you just performed.would likely have consequences for them. Between demons and magic and the simplest of senses there was no knowing what might have been alerted to their presence through his actions.

Carts like it were common enough in mines, and following the rail with his eyes it seemed like this mine would have at least a mile worth of the metal threads running through it. From experience he knew that the metal could carry vibrations surprisingly far, and the mines themselves often lent longevity to the right kinds of sounds. One particular incident several years ago stood out in his mind when a squadron of fresh recruits had been petrified by what turned out to be a colony of bats nesting several hundred feet below ground in an abandoned mineshaft. Watching the Chinaman draw his weapon and take up the vanguard position, Gerhard gave the cart an experimental push and led it down the left path after the Chinaman and the pixie-woman. "Little light-bearer. Maybe think about getting in cart. Likely safer for you that way I think..."
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  #110  
Old Dec 21st, 2020, 11:36 PM
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Ouzo
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After it seemed clear that the snake had left, Ouzo realized he didn't feel any real disdain towards it. He glanced back at Nudillos. Was the demon cow once seen as a similar threat, resting in a field, only for a passerby to come across it and attack, seeing it only as a monster? It seemed that the Attunement was not kind to everyone.

At least Rhii was here. "Fantástica... Poetic too: a spitting bite as the wound, and a spit to cure it. Though I fear the prescription for assault from a demon skunk..." When the little blue fairy displayed her fae magicks, illuminating the area around them, Ouzo almost made a joke about the extended relationship between fairies and demonic bugs, but quickly decided against it.

"Ah, yes, perhaps this will be of use as well," He holds up a partially-spent oil lantern. Now that the imminent danger had passed, he continued, though slightly lower than if he had his arm slung around a stranger at the bar. "It was discarded here among the camp remains. I believe this place was the camp of our predecessors. Slatterbaugh's first team. I believe this place was... the site of their demise. See there, that empty spot - there was a sixth bedroll here. We know the demon moths can drain their prey into dust, if not entire nothingness, but a missing bedroll would suggest at least one survivor." He looked to the cave entrance. "Drawn out of their shelter by the campfire light, no doubt. I cannot imagine any survivor of such a swarm to delve deeper inside... perhaps the demon moths they disturbed had scattered, or chased after the survivor, away from here...?" He wondered aloud, though it was difficult to tell if the thought of fewer demons in the area was a logical deduction or wishful thinking.

"Ahh, regardless, whether it is lit now or deeper into the mines, it seems our predecessors left us a little gift," Ouzo raised the leftover lantern and rattled it, sloshing its oil like a nearly spent drink. "Though if all the same, I might prefer one of you to hold it. Makes for a poor omen to keep an oil lamp near a lit smoke, no?" The Spaniard looked to each of the others - the investigator, the bounty hunter, the giant, and the minotaur, all seemingly capable in a scrap - and asked for any of them to keep the lantern.

Afterwards, Dr. Ouzo followed a few paces behind Gerhard, Ouzo attempts to Stealth, rolling a 17! (If this fails, his Scouting Talent re-roll is 16.)careful to step lightly over the earthen floor. Once inside, Ouzo's hand had tucked into a breast pocket concealed inside his duster, gripping at something unseen.


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  #111  
Old Dec 22nd, 2020, 11:47 PM
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The Mine
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Watching Rhii patch up Jie made Nao feel slightly better about the fae’s healing abilities. She’s resourceful, I’ll give her that. Her manner suggests she knows what she’s doing too, I like that. Some of the tension Nao hadn’t realized she’d been holding in her shoulders relaxed, only to come back tenfold when Gerhard righted the overturned cart and revealed the bodies. Her whole body was now tensed like a bowstring, but Nao knew this feeling, the feeling before battle. She let it settle in the back of her mind, sharpening her senses and survival instincts, though her outward appearance was as calm and amused as ever.

”I can carry the lantern, Ouzo-san.” She offered. ”I can walk on the other side of the cart to spread the light out a bit more and work with Rhii-san.” Once on the other side of the cart, Nao focused less on her eyes and more on her ears, listening to see if she could hear anything before it got into range of the light.


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  #112  
Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 09:18 AM
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Late Morning, 19th of August, 1885.
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After setting the cart back into its tracks, Rhii took the advice offered to her and perched on its front edge with her bow drawn and an arrow nocked, her eyes restlessly darting around to the boundaries of her fae lights. When pushed, one of the cart's wheels gave off a small, repetitious squeak. Under normal circumstances it would have been relatively muffled and easily overlooked, but the repressive silence of the enclosed space pressing in and the ominous threat of whatever might await them ahead made it all the more noticeable. Good Instincts StuntGerhard realized that with this vehicle in tow it would be next to impossible for the group as a whole to remain undetected, if that were ever a consideration. However, Ouzo's individual covertness was made easier by comparison; he moved with light steps and seemed to almost fade into the background. In addition, if they needed to move something heavy with speed the jötunn could easily push the cart at a near sprint, even if it were laden with ore or people or whatever might need transportation out of the mine.

With Jie and Nao leading the group, Knuddelmaus and Dr. Ouzo bringing up the rear, and Gerhard and Rhii sandwiched in-between with the cart they had advanced only a handful of steps before the tiefling came to another fork in the rails. This one headed in his direction before splitting off to his right. If Slatterbaugh's sketch was any indication, this was the miners' staging area. The prospector and the yokai-hunter, both on alert, extended their sense into the darkness as best they could, perceiving nothing threatening. A quick scout of the area revealed the chamber opened up a bit wider than the mine shaft, approximately 15 meters in any one direction. The rails ended rather abruptly with a second mine cart butted up against a wooden bumper. The space was littered with mining paraphernalia; picks, shovels, helmets, gloves, and other equipment lay strewn about the uneven mine floor. A small alcove in the back had a number of large crates stacked up to the ceiling, a barrel of water with a dipper in front of them. A brief glance throughout brought nothing else noteworthy to the group's attention, although spending a few moments could result in a more thorough search.

Continuing ahead the track gradually turned North. The party passed a few more deceased miners here and there, sometimes forcing them to handle one that had perished on the rail and blocked the cart. Each one had been slashed repeatedly with deep gashes across all parts of their bodies, and more than a few limbs were missing. After a couple dozen more meters of tense, silent advancement the tunnel began to widen again, this time on their left side. Following the crude map, they were coming upon the new excavation that led to the incident. A free-standing post marked the divergence and Jie could just barely make out the beginnings of a pile of rubble beyond that, still mostly shrouded in darkness. Nao, on the other hand, had focused less on her sight and pushed her auditory senses beyond the veil of darkness that surrounded them.


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  #113  
Old Dec 27th, 2020, 08:15 PM
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Late Morning, 19th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate - Gerhard Eisenhand
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ᚲᛟᛟᛊᚺᛊᛚᛁ working his eyes around the enclosed space, at least much as the limits of their lighting would allow, Gerhard's mind was slightly uneasy. Each squeak of the cart's wheel was a blunt nail boring it's way into his temple over and over again. "I think we likely not have surprise element... Be on your guard" he rumbled quietly, though more out of ambient instinct than for any real purpose. Fingers gripping the cold edge of the cart Ragnar considered internally what options were available to him should the demons attack. While he himself was more than capable of defending himself, doing so while maintaining the Gerhard persona would significantly more complicated.
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Old Dec 28th, 2020, 01:40 PM
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Li Jie. Late Afternoon, 18th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate.
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Li Jie
Jie’s nerves jangled as he walked carefully through the mine. Gerhard’s reminder needn’t have been spoken, for the squeaking of the mine cart was an unwelcome accompaniment to their stalk. Jie wasn’t willing to divert and so moved past the staging area to approach the new excavation. He focused and activated his demonsense, his senses segueing from the plane the group occupied to that of the ghost realm. Unquiet spirits and whispers of death passed across the front of his mind requiring him to calm and push out unhelpful signals. He sought to locate these cursed demons and put and end to them.

Jie saw several auras. Although he had yet to lay eyes on the Demonika Leipdoptera, he'd been thinking about and imagining them overnight. He could sense their presence the strongest.

"The demon moths pass this way daily," he reported to the group. "And two others. More powerful. Unique to the others." There was nothing more to report and he knew the sense would give him warning should demons approach. He felt untired, like Success on fatigue check.
Can't be surprised within 10 yards with demonsense switched on.
5 minute duration so let's keep moving.
he could maintain the sight for longer, but urged the others on with a look. Jie's newest concern was how to draw the demons out in small groups instead of en masse.

"There may be dangerous numbers of demons. Is there a way to draw them out in smaller groups?" he thought out loud.
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Old Dec 29th, 2020, 03:43 AM
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Ouzo
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"Knuddelmaus," Ouzo whispered, keeping focus on his footsteps and distance from the cavern wall. "The supplies abandoned here... do you see another lantern? With oil?" When they advanced far enough to see the crates near the water reserve, he almost asked the minotaur to check those too, but thoughts of it erupting with demon moths as a makeshift hive made him reconsider.

At Jie's thoughts to draw out demon moths in small numbers, Ouzo had little to suggest. A campfire outside, while they all waiting in hiding, for them to pass by and disperse into the night? There was the oil lantern, to throw as a decoy in the event of a swarm. His eyes went to the mining cart, catching their flickering lighting at long, odd angles. Not enough room for all of them. The second cart they passed, left butted up against a barrier, might be able to shelter the rest of their group. But they wouldn't all have Gerhard's strength to so easily - or quickly - flip it upside down into a shelter. In the end, he decided to remain silent.

Dr. Ouzo glanced over the bodies without any real surprise or alarm. Not the greatest smell, but one could only expect so much from the hole in the ground of two ancient tribes' alleged ritual crossbreeding. A quick scan of each corpse: slices. With only a few missing parts? No punctures like Brahms' feet. Strange. Perhaps... the demon moths only fed on live flesh? Then why were any of the corpses missing parts at all? It seemed that there were at least two distinct dangers in this place, and that perhaps the miners and the first search party encountered them separately. The miners: large, bulbous red-eyed slashers. And the first search party: the demon moth swarms. Perhaps... these two dangers might be used against one another...?

Best to keep focused, here and now. The Spaniard kept along with the others; they'd learn what caused these injuries soon enough.


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Old Dec 30th, 2020, 09:01 AM
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Late Morning, 19th of August, 1885.
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"Knuddelmaus, the supplies abandoned here... do you see another lantern? With oil?"

The minotaur turned suddenly and peered in Ouzo's direction, his beady eyes searching out the stealthy Spaniard in the darkness. Though they were only several meters apart, it took a moment before Knuddelmaus uttered a low "Hmph." The grunt was apparently an acquiescence as he proceeded to make a circuit of the mine's staging area. Leaning forward and with a series of sniffs that varied in length and strength, Knuddelmaus rolled a 16 on a PER (Smelling) Test!he let his nose lead him to the pile of crates. With a quick glance, he instead leaned over the one on the ground and reached his giant hand behind, pulling out a strapped pack. On his way back to Ouzo he opened it and stuck his snout inside, sniffing further.

"Hmmph." The eloquence of this noise hinted at satisfaction. He thrust the pack into the good doctor's arms and Ouzo could immediately see a lantern hanging from one of the straps. An assessment of the find revealed this lantern to be full of oil, enough for several hours of light. Additionally, the pack appeared to have been someone's emergency stash, forgotten in the demon-filled exodus. Beyond the hardtack, jerky, canteen, flint, and other standard accoutrement, a few items of unique significance were uncovered. The first was a small towel wrapped around something cylindrical, a wick poking out the top. The implication was clear; inside was a single stick of dynamite.
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The second object was a piece of cheesecloth folded around a number of dark-colored, marble-sized items and tied off into a makeshift bag. A
Chocolate Covered Cherries

"Guaranteed to put the pep back in your step!"
A Barca Bros. product.
tag on the tie gave away what was inside.

The Barca Brothers ran a series of mobile snack stands throughout the West. Their stellar reputation was well-known by anyone that spent time in the Protectorate as a business that produced not only delicious morsels and refreshments, but that also specialized in items with supernatural properties only achievable in the wake of the Attunement.



Advancing just a bit further the group came upon the fork on the Baron's scrawl. To their left was the new excavation; piles of uncleared rubble mixed with more dead bodies combined with a narrowing of the tunnel made for a forbidding impression. The shaft closed in to just a few meters wide before their light could reach no further. They would have a difficult time advancing two abreast through that tight of a space.

Further north the rails continued and Jie could just make out the beginnings of a slight curve where they would ostensibly find one of the two main hellstone excavations. Rhii remained silent, eyes wide, waiting for something to happen. Knuddelmaus likewise did not speak, although Gerhard's and Jie's warnings did set him on edge, as much as one as stoic as he could be. The minotaur pulled his weapon free from its holster; in his watermelon-sized fist he clutched a revolver that could have been mistaken for a hand cannon. It would have taken Ouzo, Jie, or Nao two hands to wield the monstrosity, and even then they would have done a poor job of it. The cylinder held five rounds and each chamber could easily let the stick of dynamite pass clean through without touching the sides.


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  #117  
Old Dec 30th, 2020, 06:43 PM
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The Mine
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Nao grimaced at the squeaking cart, finding it a bit distracting, but even so she was able to make out the sound of wind, or wings. It didn’t seem to be close yet but she informed the others quietly. She stared at the crates and the oil lantern thoughtfully. ”Maybe we could build a bonfire and lure the demon moths in.” she suggested softly. She hefted her gun, continuing, ”Then when the buggers come to investigate we snipe them.” She glanced over at Knuddlemaus and did a double take, just barely catching herself before letting out an awed whistle. “They say it’s how you use it that’s important but that sure is an impressive size for a gun!” Though she whispered, the intensity of her statement made it clear to the others that under normal circumstances it would have been an exclamation.


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Last edited by Reistar; Jan 6th, 2021 at 07:44 PM.
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  #118  
Old Jan 3rd, 2021, 04:41 AM
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Li Jie. Late Afternoon, 18th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate.
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’…a bonfire…’

Jie seized upon Nao’s idea. If the moths were indeed drawn to flames, then they could set an ambush. ’Perhaps they were creatures as simple as ordinary moths and would sacrifice themselves on the flames? That would be even better!’ But even if their enemy were only mildly distracted by flames it would play to the group’s benefit.

"A bonfire decoy is a good idea. Choose the location of a battle. Lay an ambush." Jie’s eyes glittered zealously in the lantern light. The wait would be tense but, as his demonsense had revealed, they wouldn’t wait more than a day; hopefully a half day, for the slaughterers to appear. Surely it wouldn’t even be that long. The smoke would soon be smelt throughout the mine.

He looked to the others to see if they supported this gambit.

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  #119  
Old Jan 4th, 2021, 01:17 AM
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Ouzo
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Dr. Ouzo inclined his head in gratitude to the minotaur and rifled through the pack in silence. There was more than just another oil lamp. The sleek eyebrow over the fell doctor's scarred eye raised up. He grinned. "Explosives and magical candy? Exactly the sort of pack of someone whose parties attracts demons. It all makes sense now..." If only said monsters weren't still about such that Ouzo could share the joke aloud with the others; such was the true grievance of the demons' presence.

He glanced about, looking to give the second lantern to one of the others, but in not wanting to give away his presence to any nefarious onlookers, he slung the entire pack over his shoulder and continued on. It was only a moment later that they paused to discuss their plans anyways.

"This is the Western phrase, then: like so many moths to a flame?" The conman began, emerging from the shadows and into the lantern light. "If this is the way, the fire should indeed remain humble, so as to not suffocate us entirely, yes?"

"A location to choose... Hmm..." As Dr. Ouzo thought on it, he kept one hand oddly close his mouth and fidgeted his thumb against his forefinger. "Perhaps near the first intersection, so as to cast light down both tunnels. But remember, is possible that some of the demon moths may have already fled, having chased the first party? We'd not want to lure them back in, or worse, towards our mounts. Hmm... He mumble-whispered aloud to himself: "The bedrolls from outside... five of them remaining... with the mine entrance spanning perhaps say cinco meters... at a person and a half tall... Surely there are some nails or pitons left about..."Perhaps... Perhaps we tack the bedrolls into the mine rafters nearer to the entrance, to create a barrier that fully obstructs firelight, but not our withdrawal? We could even hide behind them as cover, waiting for the moths - or worse - to investigate the fire. Those of us with rifles and pistols to take aim between the sheets - ahem - while those with more intimate weapons and-" Ouzo glanced to Knuddelmaus' hand-cannon, then looked him up and down as if seeing him in a new light entirely, "... and other means... might keep watch towards the outside, at our flanks."

"... Your thoughts?"

After discussing their plans, the Spaniard paused in his step to call another matter to the group, almost as an afterthought. "Oh, and the good Knuddelmaus found this." Dr. Ouzo produced another oil lantern and offered it to the others, still disinterested in being a light source himself. It came from a new miner's pack slung over his shoulder, which he then produced another parcel: the magical chocolate covered cherries. "At least one of our predecessors was well prepared. Ever heard of the Barca Brothers? These are best in a bind than in boredom, and better still for those of you who, ah... make for bigger targets," He looked to Gerhard and Knuddelmaus at his comment about size, but offered the candies to anyone in the group.


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  #120  
Old Jan 5th, 2021, 12:24 PM
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Night, 19th of August, 1885.
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With Nao providing the initial inspiration and Jie adding a dash of context, Dr. Ouzo finishes up the conversation with some specific details and turns it over to the group for consensus. With his trademark grunt, Knuddelmaus surprisingly follows up with actual sentences! "Well, it's not the worst idea I've heard this month. It's bound to be better than whatever got the first team killed."

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Rhii seemed more enthusiastic. "I like the part where I get to stay behind cover and not wait in the middle of the violence to get eaten. Maybe not all giants in this world are total rubes... And since we have a few of those metal fire canisters, I don't suppose you'll be needing a fairy-beacon anymore?" With a sigh of relief Rhii releases the hold on her arcane fairy lights and they spiral away from her a short distance before disappearing into the ether from whence they were summoned.

With the team in agreement they got to work preparing a small fire for their ambush. There were plenty of mining instruments available to be used as pry bars, and with more than enough hands short work was made of one of the wooden crates. The largest and most accessible box was opened to reveal not a whirlwind of demon moths as Jie had feared, but instead supplies for extending the rail. Two meter sections of iron rail track were cross-stacked with thick wooden beams and a dozen or more sacks contained rail ties. The entire crate would have taken the strength of at least four minotaurs or jötunns to move. Luckily, as they disassembled the top and sides into smaller planks suitable for burning, the contents remained neatly stacked.

Meanwhile the remaining bedrolls were gathered and some of the rail ties got pounded into the entry beams with a discarded sledgehammer. They didn't reach all the way to the ground; everyone's legs from the knees down remained exposed to whatever was in the mine, but perhaps that was enough? The group hadn't heard anything about these demon moths being intelligent in any capacity. The entire process was not so difficult and in less than an hour they had a small fire going at the first fork, about ten meters from the mine's entrance. The wood used to construct the crate was definitely softwood; possibly pine or fir. As such it gave off a healthy amount of smoke, although the size of the flame and the fact that they stayed out of the tunnel kept the group relatively safe from worries of excessive smoke inhalation.

With the trap laid Ouzo, Rhii, and Nao took up their positions at the bedroll-curtains while Knuddelmaus, Jie, and Gerhard stood nearby with eyes on the ravine and the ledge above for any signs of disturbance. There was little else to do but Jie's demonsense expires!
Ouzo's stealth expires!
wait... and wait... and wait... At one point Gerhard spotted a few coyotes that had assembled at the ridgeline, possibly sniffing out the decay of the corpses. They assessed the group of two-legs that blocked them from their quarry and decided it would be best to hunt elsewhere. It wasn't until the sun completely disappeared behind the mountains, turning the fading purple sky mostly black and the stars came out that anything interesting happened.

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Nao picked out the wing beats first, and in seconds they caught their first sight of Demonika Lepidoptera. It was certainly moth-like, and the verbal picture given to them by the survivors were accurate enough, but hearing the physical description of a demon and seeing it first-hand were two entirely different things, as the two in the group that could actually call themselves demon hunters well knew. The monstrosity flitted into view and hovered near the ceiling, erratically circling the fire. Each time it got close enough to feel the intense heat it backed away, only to make another pass. It was shorter than a human, but at over a meter in height it still made for an imposing sight if it were to fly at your head.

As the group assessed their target another darted into the firelight. Then two more. After a minute they counted seven, all with unstable flight patterns, although they never seemed to collide with one another. For the time being they seemed engrossed in the fire and oblivious to those that had designs on their demise just a short distance away. Rhii silently drew an arrow and nocked it onto her longbow. The minotaur, gigantic pistol at the ready, looked to the others for the cue to unleash its payload. If they wanted the first strike, now was the perfect time.


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Current Characters: Prince Brucían Pough | Rolf da Minek | Kyai Applecore

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