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  #61  
Old Aug 1st, 2019, 01:10 AM
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With the bard seemingly on shaky feet, Amice mentions the accomodations offered her by Elbereth. The rest of the group agreed that a rest would be welcome and so they followed the ranger towards the house of her mentor. They walked for roughly an hour through the forest city with only intermittent and sparse views of elves about - clearly indicating that the denizens were still wary of the group. Eventually, Amice stopped beside a thick tree, above average in height. The group exchanged confused glances, as nothing overtly indicated that a house was anywhere near them; however, the ranger assured them that it was up in the tree - though the rope ladder she had been anticipating to use was unfortunately absent. Hzrd, with aplomb, stepped forward to right this situation and scampered up the tree with impressive dexterity. A moment later, the rope ladder descended and the group, one by one, ascended.

At the top of the ladder, they found a wooden door partially obscured by vibrant green foliage. Inside, the house was quaint, but cozy - with two beds of straw lining one wall and a variety of chairs elsewhere. In the corner, the group found a basket full of fruits, vegetables and dried meats that Amice assumed - with only a slight hesitation - was also welcome to the group. There was no hearth for a fire nor stove for cooking, as one might expect in a wooden home high up in a tree.
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Old Aug 1st, 2019, 06:59 PM
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Amice the Huntress
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Amice followed behind Quest up the ladder, making sure he didn't lose his grip. At the top, she welcomed everyone in, on behalf of her mentor, giving a traditional welcome in Elven. "This is the safest we've been in awhile, and the safest we're likely to be for some time into the future," she said, making sure everyone was comfortable. "So let's take advantage and get some rest."

Allowing the others to take the straw mats, she set up her sleeping roll and sat cross-legged upon it, munching on a piece of fruit. Despite her own advice, she had a feeling it would take a little while for her to relax, even in the relative comfort of her mentor's home.

"We should talk in a little more detail about the visions you all had, once you're up to it," she said quietly to the others, who were clearly profoundly impacted by the experience. "Then we'll make what plans we can for the next leg of our journey."

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Old Aug 6th, 2019, 12:03 AM
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A Bard Called Quest
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Quest is grateful to have a place to rest. Only, it seems to be rather far away. He would have been amazed by the size of the elven city. It seems to be an entire forest on to itself. But his mind is still a mess: scrambled, unable to piece together a coherent thought. The bard barely manages to walk beside the group and keep pace. Eventually, Amice points out the rope ladder. Quest clambers up.

They settle in. Quest hugs his pack tightly and tries to sleep on one of the straw beds, facing the wall. It doesn't work. After struggling for a while, the tiefling gets up and joins the ones still awake.

"I would like to sleep, put this day behind me. But it won't let me. So I will talk about what I saw. The elf woman, she showed me my past, how I got here. Things I had forgotten." Quest pauses. For a long time. Still, like a statue. After an uncomfortably long gap, he continues, "The ship I came in, it crashed. We saw it in the pirate's cove. There is an orcish stronghold. In the forest. They went there. Then onwards. Deeper into the woods. I saw a large clearing. Rubble in the center. Like a ruined city. I heard a screech. Could have been the green dragon. What was it called? One that Brixim killed. Then it ended. The visions."

The tiefling goes silent again. He does not even look at the food.
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Old Aug 6th, 2019, 03:07 PM
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Brixim
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Having walked off the most of his nausea and more familiar with disturbing images routinely assailing his senses, Brixim bites into a piece of fruit before offering his insight:

I too saw what seemed to be the fall of this elven city with the green dragon and her master at the heart of it, but oddly the vision fell apart into a rainbow of colors in my mind. I have never seen anything like it. I wonder if that insight suggests we changed fate's path? Perhaps that would have happened had we not succeeded in defeating the evil that lay beneath the hobgoblin's camp.

The first vision is always the hardest. Brixim says sympathetically as he pats Quest's shoulder kindly. You must remember these are not always things as they are but only as they may be. You control the visions, they do not control you.
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Old Aug 11th, 2019, 09:46 PM
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Hzrd Slashwhip
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Hzrd sits with his back against the door listening to the talks of visions and future plans. Starting as blinks his head starts to droop as his eyes get heavy. In no time at all, he gives up the fight against sleep and dozes off before the rest of the party.


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Old Aug 15th, 2019, 01:40 AM
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Amice the Huntress
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Amice listened carefully to the description of the visions, frowning with concern. When they were done, she shook her head. "That sounds...disturbing, to say the least. I'm rather glad I didn't have to go through that. I much prefer information to come in more traditional ways. Speaking of which..."

She related what she'd learned from her mentor to the others, about the ruins in the southwest woods, near the coast. "There are two ways to get there," she told the others. "If we travel through the forest, we'll pass dangerously close to an orcish stronghold. Though I'm comfortable enough in the woods, I've had my fill of enemy fortresses for quite some time."

"The other way is by water. I confess I'm not much of a boat person." Glancing around, she said, "The coast there is rocky and dangerous even to an experienced sailor. Does anyone here have any skill with sailing?"

Waiting for anyone for the group to chime in, she finally said, "Also, there's some sort of trouble with fey creatures escaping through a portal and into our world, so that's another thing to be wary of." Sighing, she added, "The elves stopped sending scouting parties that way fifty years ago. Too many losses...all of them, in fact." She lowered her eyes, grieved by the loss of so many elves to the encroaching danger.

Shaking off the sadness, she spread her hands in a shrug. "So I suppose the first step is to decide which path we wish to take to get there: forest or coast?"

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Old Aug 19th, 2019, 12:29 PM
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[QUOTE=Foibel;8484156]
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Brixim
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Quest, I wonder, why do we keep seeing the dragon? Is the creature not dead? My visions typically show me what the future holds or can hold, but these things seem to be from our past. Who was the elven woman you saw in your vision? Does she have some role in this? She was not an enemy, correct?
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Old Aug 20th, 2019, 12:27 AM
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A Bard Called Quest
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"It was my past", Quest replies haltingly, "that I saw. Though to me, it is just as obscure, and inscrutable as the future. Did I say elven woman? Sorry, I must have jumbled it up. The fortune teller, she kept drifting in and out as I went from vision to vision. There was no elven woman in my past. I saw Wild. She was a tiefling, like me. She was the first one that I had seen. Before that, I thought I was a particularly malformed orc." The bard produces a painful smile.

"She taught me of my heritage, my identity. She turned me from a feral animal into a person. And then they killed her in the morning. I did nothing." Quest goes silent for a moment. His eyes start filling with tears. He wipes them off. With a broken voice, he continues, "The dragon and the princess, they died. At least physically. Maybe a part of them survived, who knows with these things."

Turning to Amice, the bard says, "The ruins in the Southwest woods, they are probably the same ones I saw. The hooded ones, the orcs, and the goddess with the dragon, they were all there at some point. It is beyond the orcish stronghold, so we will have to find passage somehow. I don't know, I might be able to talk to them, work out a deal? As for the naval route, I have had my share of travel on the seas. I have helped with the ship's operation here and there. But I cannot claim to be an expert, by far."
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Old Aug 30th, 2019, 03:44 PM
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Amice lay her hand sympathetically on Quest's shoulder as he told the group of his friend's death. "I'm sorry for your pain," she said softly. "I've lost important people as well."

She glanced at the others. "Quest had a vision about the forest, and he's right about everything seeming to center there. I, of course, am far more comfortable in the woods than aboard a ship, so if nobody has any strong objections, I suggest that we plan our path that direction."

She gave a brief smile, saying, "I like the idea that the rainbow ending to your vision of the elven city might signify a change of fate. It gives me hope, and that's something we'll all need plenty of, before this is over, I suspect."

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Old Sep 2nd, 2019, 11:52 PM
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On a slightly uplifting note, the party retreats from their heavy conversation into the absent mindedness of sleep. When they awake, they find Amice already up and preparing a meager breakfast from her mentor's humble stores. Having had a night to consider their path forward, they each ready to offer their opinion on the group's next steps - with the ranger's having already been stated the night before.

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Old Sep 3rd, 2019, 01:18 PM
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A Bard Called Quest
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Quest wakes up to find himself in much better spirits in the morning. Maybe it is because it's the first time in ages they slept without the looming spectre of death hanging over them. The accommodations were spartan, but adequate. As is the breakfast, which evidently Amice has had prepared by the time he is awake.

The bard lumbers up to the huntress, grateful to have a morsel to eat. He slept on an empty stomach. And an empty heart, but let's not go there. It is a new day, after all.

When they are all up and munching, Quest pipes up. "Hey, so sorry about yesterday, and thank you for putting up with me. I was... less than myself." He clears his throat. There are things simmering under the surface. Nwonis a good time to bottle them up.

"I like the woods. Let's do that. Like I said, if it is possible to negotiate with the orc village, I am more than willing to give it a go."


 

 
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Old Sep 3rd, 2019, 07:56 PM
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Old Sep 11th, 2019, 05:16 PM
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The Tabaxi wakes after a deep sleep. After sleeping in a sitting position against the door the large cat stretches his arms up to the ceiling his full length before touching his toes and arching his back.
As food was already available he takes a plate and starts picking at it. Clapping Quest on the shoulder, Hzrd starts to talk with a mouthful of food. "So have we decided to take the woods over the Sea. Probably best. If you can't talk then I am sure my blade is getting thirsty again."


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Old Sep 11th, 2019, 11:39 PM
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With a quorum seemingly reached, the group packed up and set off - leaving Elbereth's humble home and the city of the elves behind. To the surprise of none within the company, the farewell was lacking in fanfare as much as their reception had been. While they continued towards the exterior of the city, they felt the ever watchful presence of eyes peering down at them from the trees; however, as soon as they were back outside in the Wood proper, all watching ceased and they all knew they were alone once more. Amice, as per usual, took the front position in the group's progress as they blazed a trail through the Wood towards the ruin from Quest's vision and Elbereth's recounting.

To the group's relief, the morning passed without incident nor orc sighting - despite knowing that they were traveling in the direction of the stronghold. Around noon, they stumbled upon a small pond where they broke from a midday meal and to refill their water skins. Before setting back out, the ranger suddenly motioned for the company to rush to the treeline away from the pond to take refuge in a hiding place among the underbrush. Though none save Amice had heard whatever had spooked the ranger, no one objected and they were soon glad that they did, as a contingent of roughly a dozen orcs emerged from the tree line on the opposite end of the pond. Behind them, they pulled at harnesses which muzzled large wolf-like creatures with saddles on their backs. At the water, they removed the restrains from around their jaws and let them drink. At one point, Quest's heart nearly stopped as one of the monstrous creatures lifted its snout to sniff at the air, but when it returned its lolling tongue to the cool water below the tiefling found himself able to breathe once more.

When the creatures and their orcish masters finished, they set back off the way they came. A long while passed before Amice gave the signal that it was safe and the party fell from the tree line. Quest - still dazed by the near miss with the orcs and their ferocious mounts - offered to the rest that the creatures they saw were called worgs. He recounted some terrible stories from his time among the orcs of watching them fight and feast on the flesh of victims that never had a chance against their impossible sharp maws.

OOCDo you head for the orcish stronghold or do you go around to get to the ruins? You'll need to spend a night in the forest - out in the open - if you choose the latter option. With the former option, you'll get there just before dusk.
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Old Sep 12th, 2019, 11:18 PM
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Amice slowed her lead to allow the others to catch up. Speaking quietly, she discussed the group's options.

"We don't actually have to get much closer to the orc encampment," she informed the group. "We could take a longer way around. It would mean an extra night camp, without much shelter." Glancing in the direction they'd been heading, she added, "Or, we could take our chances by roaming closer, then skirting around the fort. We'd likely arrive at the ruins by nightfall, taking that route."

"Neither path is safe," she cautioned her friends. "We're all too familiar with the dangers of the fort. And if they've brought those...worgs in, they might be able to sniff us out. We can't be certain whether we've remained undiscovered by skill, or luck."

"The longer way means an extra night in the forest," she continued. "Aside from exposing ourselves to the usual dangers of the woods, it certainly doesn't guarantee we'd be out of range of roving orc patrols." Glancing at the others, she added, "And most of the dangers we'd face are far better than we at nighttime battles."

Looking at each of her companions, she asked, "What do you think? Long way, or slip past the fort?"

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