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  #121  
Old 10-03-2008, 07:44 AM
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"Er, nothin. Just caught wind of some piss. Mine I think." Then he brightens. "You find anything else out from these yahoos? If we know where their village is, we can join them there in a day or so," he estimates. Roy still didn't anticipate finding anything beneath the ground but rats and spiders. The voice from his dream, he puts out of mind.

The big man looks at Eswald. "Here that? We could have killed you if we were 'evil' like your pal the priest said. But we're letting you go, and we'll come and see if we can't help you with your problem soon." Then he draws even closer, adopting the some of the intimidating tone of the previous evening, and growls, "I'm sure you'll give us a nice friendly welcome when we meet again."
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  #122  
Old 10-03-2008, 10:56 PM
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Ewald looks at Roy, and it's the fear-free look of someone who knows he has nothing left to lose and doesn't truly expect to live.

"Ya, well, maybe you could wait awhile before showin up at our town. Y'see, I gotta explain all these people you just murdered. Won't go over too well. So if you're really wanting to come by, it'd look a lot better if you had that damn giant's head in a cart. Know what I mean?"


His casually hard tone softens. "Look. You guys, whatever you are, are the only hope our folks have of getting rid of that ****ing thing. Obviously you don't have to. You can turn around and walk away. And then sooner or later we wind up getting a mob together and trying to put the damn thing down ourselves. I can tell you how that'll go. So here it is: we're in a fix, and you're not."

Meanwhile, the strengthening sun sends red rays creeping up the standing stone. Soon, the crudely painted beast figures on it fairly glow in rosy--or is it bloody?--light.
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  #123  
Old 10-03-2008, 11:12 PM
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The priest looks to Ewald. "Considering we didn't kill any of your friends and let them escape, it shouldn't be too hard. We'll go find this giant of yours. You and your friend are free to go."

His expression sours. "Word of advice, though we have control of the beasts now, we might lose ourselves to a bloodlust if this were to happen on the night of the full moon. I suggest you get home soon and stay inside."

Jorgen begins to walk to the stairs. "Let's see what is hidden here."
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  #124  
Old 10-03-2008, 11:32 PM
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"Can we let them go now!?" Sylin yells, his face contorted to match the exasperation of his words. "I know that there's little to death for me other than a release from this...this! But they're just what we used to be, and they got in over their head...and..."

With a sigh Sylin moved over to the stairs, "You decide, i'll just be willfully ignorant. See you inside..." And went down.
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  #125  
Old 10-03-2008, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ewald
"So here it is: we're in a fix, and you're not."
"We're not!?" Ulric, for the first time since these people have met him, is actually angry. The rage just rolls off of him, his gold-yellow eyes shining so brightly from beneath his matted hair that it seems they might burst into flame. He strides up to the man in steps that seem longer than his legs ought to be able to make, and seizes the collar of his tunic with one hand, an almost comical sight considering how scrawny Ulric's arm is. Almost, because Ulric's other hand has its fingers splayed wide and curled slightly inward, and in the weak dawn light his long fingernails look eerily claw-like.

"Do you have any idea what this is like, to be constantly fighting a monster that lives inside your own blood!?" Ulric tries to shake the man, but simply isn't strong enough, and just ends up jerking him about weakly. "You can run from a giant, you can fight a giant, you can kill. A damn. Giant!" Ulric is screaming, almost . . . howling? "What's the worst thing you've ever done? You don't have to say it, just think it. Now think of something worse, a whole lot worse. Now think that you didn't mean to do that thing, but you couldn't stop it. Now think that you might do it again. And again. And again. Every time the gods-damned moon waxes full!" He lets go of the man's tunic, shoving ever so slightly. It isn't a very strong shove, but there's enough pure rage there to make the man stumble back a step or two.

"So think about it, if you can manage that. Think about what it's like to be a monster against your own will. To be hunted, to hate yourself and have everyone hate you. And then to have them turn to you because they want you to use that strength to fight for them. Ha!" A bitter laugh, full of resentment. "Ask monsters to fight for men! You've heard the stories, the old songs. Monsters die a monster's death, at the end of a hero's blade. We fight your giant, well, sure, we might kill him, but who's to say we stop there? Who's to say we don't just keep killing, on and on, forever!" Ulric throws his arms back as he shouts the last word into the sky, mocking the rising sun for the fact that it will always die when the moon returns.

"You're in a fix, then. Fine. But you'd do best to seek your help from men, or try to solve your own problems. Maybe you'll die. Sad, I'm sure, but there are worse fates."


The fire in his eyes wanes, his posture relaxes, the moment past. He looks to Jorgen, and it seems a spark still lingers, like he's not the same as he was before this morning. "I'll follow you down. I need . . . to know, to stop this somehow."

Last edited by Ascendant; 10-03-2008 at 11:44 PM.
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  #126  
Old 10-06-2008, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascendant
"You're in a fix, then. Fine. But you'd do best to seek your help from men, or try to solve your own problems. Maybe you'll die. Sad, I'm sure, but there are worse fates."
Roy nods at the boy's impassioned speech. But something at the end rubs him the wrong way. "'scuse me, Ulric," Roy taps him on the shoulder. "Like thousands of villagers across the land, I suffer from a Feral-Unction Compulsion disorder (basically FUCd), same as all of you. But I still consider myself a man. You stop thinking of yourself as human, and you're on a bad path."

The big man turns to Ewald. "OK, you heard our friend here. Don't make him attempt to shake you again! Go'wan home. Oh, and thanks for the advice about the giant, we'll try to find a nice big cart on our way."

Then to his companions: "Well, let's see what's down there." He adjusts the green strip of fabric about his neck, swings his club over his shoulder and heads for the stairs.

 
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  #127  
Old 10-06-2008, 09:41 AM
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Preston moves to the opening into the ground, not even looking back at the retreating humans. Give me a half minute and then follow. He pulls out his short sword, checks its edge, and puts it lightly back into its scabbard. Preston begins moving carefully down the stairs, melding into the shadows as he goes.

 
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  #128  
Old 10-06-2008, 10:00 AM
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Eswald can offer no resistance to Ulric's grab, and when Ulric pushes him away, the stricken hunter collapses to the ground, grimacing and clutching at his arrow wound. He looks up at the group, ashen and angry, as Ulric, and then Roy, tell him how things are. His pal cautiously scoots over to him and supports his upper body, and both watch as the shapechangers, one by one, turn their backs and begin descending the stone stair.

"They're...just letting us go?"
Mallan blurts breathlessly.

"Obviously,"
comes the strained reply. "Now help me up. We need to leave these ones be...I don't even know what we'll tell the others. Come on. Gimme hand..." His voice grows a bit fainter as you descend, and presumably Mallan begins assisting him down the hill.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The staircase is crudely hewn from the dirt and rock of Toar Amon. If any of you have seen a building large enough to have cellar steps before, you know these are different, because no stone was brought in to finish them. It's more like hiking down a rocky trail.

The space is confined and quickly becomes stuffy. Even the shorter men need to hunch: the ceiling's no more than 5' high, and the walls close in to no more than about 5' wide as the stair spirals down. Perhaps twenty feet it descends before it levels off. Morning light filtering from above means you can see somewhat, owing to your supernaturally keen vision. But up ahead, there is no light source whatsoever.

Old cobwebs appear to be your only company, and barely a whiff of the constant breeze at the Toar's summit reaches down here. For what was this made? Escape? Storage? Some other purpose...less wholesome?




single file only. I'll need to know your order of advance. For now I assume it's the order you went down in--Jorgen, Sylin, Urlic, Roy, Preston
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  #129  
Old 10-06-2008, 10:46 AM
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JÚrgen ignores the two men and follows his group into the depths of Toar Amon. As he walks he reaches into his quiver and extracts a spear. The priest holds it before him and softly speaks aloud "Uller, please grant me your blessings and provide me the morning light to help show the way." He pauses for a moment as he holds the spear overhead, it seems as if the spearhead is absorbing the light from the morning sun, and in a matter of moments it seems to shine with a light of its own.

With his prayer spoken the priest waits a few moments as requested by Preston and then begins to follow him down.


 
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  #130  
Old 10-07-2008, 10:25 AM
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"After you Preston." As biggest and slowest, Roy enters last when the group finally goes in after their scout.
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  #131  
Old 10-07-2008, 11:31 AM
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Preston leads the way further into the cave, staying just in front of the edge of the light. He moves slowly, being careful and taking note of any details he can find. Occasionally he sniffs the air, and his head is constantly turning this way and that, looking and listening for any indication of traps or other inhabitants.

OOCTaking 20 on rolls that allow them, Hide, Move Silently, and Search. Results 32, 32, and 26 respectively.
 
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  #132  
Old 10-08-2008, 08:13 PM
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The group proceeds carefully and at the slow pace set by Preston, in the lead. The passage continues more or less straight for about 40' or 50'.

Caution pays off when Preston detects an irregularity in the floor. Something doesn't look right. Halting the party, he pokes around a bit...and discovers a carefully concealed sheet of canvas, dirt-hued and discolored just like the stone floor! Pulling this aside, Preston confronts a disquieting sight. Jorgen, right behind, moves his spear so as to cast better light on the situation. Both men can observe what lies ahead, but the space is far too cramped for anyone else to see.




so the order is Preston, Jorgen, Sylin, Urlic, Roy (I think?)
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  #133  
Old 10-08-2008, 08:20 PM
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"Why did we stop? What's going on?" Ulric whispers ahead. It's unclear exactly why he's whispering rather than shouting, except that it just seems appropriate to the situation. He tries to crane his neck to see what's going on, but a thunk as the top of his head hits the low roof puts a stop to this. Crouching even lower to clamp a hand to his head, he waits for a response to his questions.
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  #134  
Old 10-08-2008, 08:36 PM
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"Pit trap" Jorgen responds in a low voice. "It runs wall to wall and it is 10' across. There are spikes at the bottom. The ceiling is too low to jump across. Perhaps we can climb down and make our way across then climb back up."
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  #135  
Old 10-08-2008, 10:45 PM
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Being at the end of the line, Roy can't see a damn thing. But that doesn't get him down. He catches some of Jorgen's words... something about a trap. "We're trapped? Who has spikes up their bottom? We're climbing up a giant cross?" he asks, craning his head to hear what everybody's saying.
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