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  #211  
Old Jun 20th, 2022, 07:58 PM
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“The Leech Consortium”
A mental voice comes into everyone’s head. It is a mixture of voices all speaking at once. ”Ugly strange mammals. We seek sustenance. We woke in the darkness and the hirsute ones came. They brought us out and we could see. They desired things and we provided. In return they carry us and we feed. You kill us with the bright light of outer space but you can be forgiven yet. Join us, come let us see again and guide you to your greatest desire.”

You each see the one thing you want most in the world. It is offered to you if only you will go through the door.


 

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Old Jun 20th, 2022, 09:51 PM
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Autumn Luwddoc
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Autumn turns to Ria with a nod. "That's an idea, it might take awhile to set up, but might be worth it." She then opens her eyes at Bran. "Magical leeches, hmm, I never thought of that." The voices then appear to them and she looks at the others. with a shock expression. "I think they are getting desperate and worried."








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Old Jun 21st, 2022, 06:48 AM
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Ria Siannodel
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Ria looks at everyone. She says "I think we should go outside and rest to make sure we have all our spells before we try this. I will start work on some mirrors, but we could have a couple of people go back to the village to collect as many mirrors as they can find. That would help with getting sunlight into the mine. I am ignoring what the leeches said. I refuse to stay in the dark so some leech can make sure I know a lot about machines." She seems to be trying to get the rest of the group to accept her plan.


 


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Old Jun 21st, 2022, 10:54 AM
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Ness
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A ten-year-old Jiminy stands in Lord Valeson's court, awaiting judgment. All power lies in the hands of the Lord, and Jiminy will live or (more likely) die at his whim.

The Lord Valeson smirks and draws out the suspence before doling out the homeless youth's sentence.

But what's this? There is a disturbance and a hubbub in the back. Then the unmistakable ring of steel on steel, calls for reinforcement, and screams of death. The guards in the room race to take up defensive positions, but it's no use.

Two heroes burst into the hall with a crash, slashing through the constabulary with scimitars flashing like lightning. They move so quickly Ness can't quite get a look at their faces.

Ness is first mesmerized by the martial grace of the dashing man of the pair as he moves through Valeson's guards like a scythe through ripe grain.

But then his attention shifts and is held by the woman of the pair. Although, again, he can't quite make out her face, he can tell she is very beautiful, long raven hair trailing behind her as she leaps to the air and dispatches two foes at once with deadly strikes.

Like a fire in a gale, the two rage through the soldiers until all, including Lord Valeson (who had cowered and begged for his wretched life quite pitifully), were dead at their feet.

The two spoke as one as they slowly turned towards Jiminy. "Son, we have come for you. We're here to take you home."


A middle-aged, goat-legged Ness stood stunned for a moment before the treasure door. Then he shook his head to break the spell.

Hmmph. All these years and toils later, and in so many ways, I'm still a little kid. I suppose I'm not the only one.

"I suppose I should thank you, leeches for that vision. It was rather illuminating."

Ness turns to his companions. "Friends, let's try one thing before we move on to 'Plan B'." Ness looks at Ash-Man, sure he will understand what 'Plan B' is. Then he turns back to the leeches to attemp to broker a peace.

"We are from outer space. You don't understand us. To you, it may seem fine that you showed the hairy ones things they wanted, you went on them, and were able to see.

But to people from outer space, this is not fine. It is an attack. The hairy ones did not know that they would see what you show them instead of just what is really there. They did not understand the impact to their lives when they let you on them. So, to we outer space people, it is an attack.

There are many, many of us in outer space. Outer space is so big you can not even imagine it. We have strange powers you don't understand there. It is utterly hopeless for you to try to fight against us.

So, if you want to live, you must behave in a way that is acceptable to us. You must only ride on people from outer space that we outer space people agree have decided to let you ride on. You don't get to decide who lets you ride - we do.

We can ask the hairy ones if any of them want you to ride on them again. They may say yes, or they may say no. From time to time, we may have a criminal in outer space that must be controlled for our peace. Such criminals may be people for you to ride and monitor. It may be possible we can find nobody for you to ride at first. Can you maintain wihout riding?

You might think it's a good idea to ride as many of us as you can and fight others of us with those that you ride. That's only because you don't understand how big and powerful outer space is, and how hopeless that battle would be for you.

If you don't behave by our rules and if you ride people we have not said you may ride, we will destroy all of you. Hopefully over time you will come to understand us, and this will never be necessary.

Take some time to think about what I've said, and decide if you can live by these rules or whether we must exterminate you."


Ness looks back at the villagers and shrugs.

 

 

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Old Jun 21st, 2022, 03:10 PM
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Ash
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Crouching in the corner of the room, Ash watches James' antics with mild amusement, a half smile quirking on his lips at the constant tirade of noise coming from his lips. the change that has come over the man since the mountains fall was remarkable, not just his appearance which was strange enough but the normally silent reserved man seemed to have lost whatever filter he had and seemed to just be saying thoughts as fast as they entered his head.

He leapt back upright however as Gavin lunged for James, whether to pull him away from the door as Ness was very close or to push him inside who knows, but the sudden movement by both men put the Woodsman on edge, the beast inside him stirring. James deftly avoided the large Lizard mans advance however and turned his attention back to the door, imploring the creatures inside to speak to them.

The fact they answered was surprising enough but the words they said, sliding into his brain telepathically were more surprising still, could they really do that? they had that much power? stranger things had happened he supposed. just days ago he would not have thought lizard men or satyr's existed let alone were from his village and could spit lightning, or throw flames from their hands, so was it so unbelievable that these strange creatures had unusual powers too?



Ria as always was making plans and making alot of sense, with Bran splitting his attention between agreeing with her and examining the door and key closely. Since the change he seemed to be a lot more knowledgeable than before. Ash was sure the small man could figure it out. Stepping over to Bran as James carries on his conversation with the door, Gavin watching him closely, ready to pounce again if the Satyr proves to be possessed already instead of just acting strange

"Pup, if its safe for me to touch, perhaps i should hold onto that key for now? James and Gavin seem to be acting very strangely and i don't want you to get hurt if they try to take it from you and let those things out. I don't doubt your skills as a wizard but they are both physically a lot bigger than you. they are less likely to try to take it from me don't you think? at least until this mirror thing you are building is ready"



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Old Jun 22nd, 2022, 09:33 AM
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After speaking to the leeches, Ness noticed a look of concern on all of his companions' faces.

"Say, uh, is something the matter? I'm getting this sense that people might be feeling upset about something."

 

 

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Old Jun 22nd, 2022, 02:49 PM
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Gavin

Gavin hears the voices in his head and the promises they make, and a vision forms in his mind. He looks as he does now and he is standing in the yard of a farmhouse. The sun is shining brightly overhead, with just a few wispy clouds floating by. The sun is warm on his face and several chickens skitter about the yard, pecking at the ground in search of a meal. The door opens and a tall man steps out. He is a few years older than Gavin and his skin is darkly tanned from working in the fields and taking care of the animals all day. The man has a stubbly heard and short brown hair, bleached lighter than normal by the sun. Most would consider him handsome, even with his milky white left eye, the product of a beating Gavin had given him a few years earlier.

Sandor doesn't smile as he steps outside and walks over to Gavin, but neither does he scowl as he normally does when he sees Gavin. He stops a few feet away and looks into Gavin's eyes, before slowly extending his hand to the dragonborn. "I have held onto this grudge for too long", he says. "It's time to let go of the things we did as children. You have said you are sorry enough and I believe you are sincere. I accept your apology."

At first, Gavin can't believe that he heard Sandor right. He has desperately wanted to be forgiven for so long, it almost seems like it can't be happening. But as he stands there, looking at Sandor's outstretched hand, he realizes it is. Slowly, he reaches out and takes the rough, calloused hand of the man he maimed as a boy in his blue scaled one. They shake briefly, then let go. Gavin knows they aren't friends, but being forgiven makes him feel like a weight has been lifted off his chest and he can breath right for the first time in years.

The vision fades and Gavin feels the weight of his sin pressing back down on him and he staggers under the burden. It was so real he almost believed it. But no leach, no matter how magical, can give him the forgiveness he desires. Even if Sandor allowed one of the leaches to ride him, it wouldn't be real. He has to earn that on his own, and the fact that they dangled it as some sort of bribe makes him angry. "You can't offer me that!" he shouts, then he seethes quietly to himself and barely registers Ness is talking to them, but the longer the satyr talks, the more Gavin is able to pay attention. When he is done making his offer, Gavin motions for them to all move away from the door and go outside the cave entirely. He doesn't want to take chance of the leeches somehow hearing what he has to say.

"I can't agree to your plan without first talking to the miners who were being used. There is too much we don't know. The miners were unwilling to leave the mine, even at night. That suggests to me that they weren't truly in control of their own bodies. I will not agree to sentence any person to that fate, even a criminal. This has the feel of evil to me, like a parasite controlling the body of another. Also, we don't know what effect carrying these leeches will have on a person. We know they are being fed upon, but we don't know what the leeches are eating. Do they just need a little blood to survive, or do they eat something like a person's memories? What if they lay eggs inside the person, and their victim is killed when the young hatch. I want to work out problems by talking as much as possible, but I'm afraid I think we need to eliminate the leeches. Maybe talking to the miners will change my mind, but I doubt it."
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Old Jun 22nd, 2022, 06:29 PM
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Bran Gelbman
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Bran quirked an eyebrow slightly and gave Ness a slightly puzzled look. "I'm not so sure I would say they're terrified... when I'm scared threatening murder is not exactly my first response..." Bran countered.

Bran then went pale at the satyrs' words... "I.. I would never do something like that!" Bran exclaimed in surprise. "I mean not to my friends... I'm no fighter so yes I guess If I had to fight some one I would rather trick them in to falling in to a trap..." Bran admitted slightly flustered and his use of his illusions and spells in the past had already proved that that was indeed how he would fight.

Gavin then attempted to restrain Ness and it became clear that the others had their doubts about whether the satyr was in control of his own actions.

"There's no enchantment on him as far as I can tell!" Bran hastily cried out... "I... I think this is just how Mister Ness is..." Bran then declared with a wide eyed look.

A glazed look then briefly entered the young gnome's eye as the leeches responded to Ness' shout but as an illusionist Bran was quite used to recognising that which was not real and with a look of determination the young gnome concentrated as he threw off the false images inside his head. "You should not offer something which you can not provide..." Bran whispered softly as the image of a perfect family unit slowly faded from his mind. One where his father was alive and well, his mother fit and healthy, his sister happy and smiling and Bran himself an average normal boy as he had once been.

Bran then looked up in surprise having not realised that Ash had got so close. "It's quite safe... merely a key to both the lock and the magic placed upon the door..." Bran replied as he carefully handed the key over. "Keep away from the door though... I would not relish the prospect of having to get the key back from you if you lost control..." Bran added softly.

Once the group had moved back from the door Bran nodded his head. "I agree with mister Gavin, my gut tells me not to trust these creatures..." Bran admitted. "And I would not subject another being to a life of mental slavery. If they need blood to live I would at most give them a pig but nothing more..." Bran expanded.

"It seems we are not going to go beyond the door tonight so let us wait... we should surround the door with ash as Mister Farrin suggested and put a watch on it so that no leeches are able to creep out." Bran began. "In the meantime some of us should return to the village... we should take back the Mithril to Master Ardin and recover the bodies of the villagers from the marsh to be laid to rest and the body of the hellhound to be stored as I believe it's hide could possibly be used for armour or in a protective item." Bran began as he began to put a plan together. "Those in the village can then collect as many mirrors as possible as well as other additional supplies." Bran added with a thoughtful look.

"Once the miners wake up we can also talk to them about their experience though I would be surprised if they feel positively about being controlled." Bran added.

"I would suggest Mister Farrin, Mister Ness and Miss Ria head back to the village. Mister Farrin's strength might be needed for the bodies and Miss Ria will know best what is required for her plan. That will leave myself, Mister Gavin and Miss Autumn waiting here with Tomas and the miners. Miss Autumn and I have some resistance to the leeches thanks to our new forms if one of the leeches does manage to slither out and it will hopefully not take the rest of you too long to return. Then in the morning we can return to the treasure room better prepared!" Bran finished as he looked to the others expectantly.





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  #219  
Old Jun 22nd, 2022, 09:15 PM
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Ria Siannodel
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Ria smiles at Bran. She says "I think that is a good division of our group. Let's be off, Ness and Ash." She goes over to the chest and transfers the mithral in it into her bag then gathers her weapons and shield."We will be back as soon as we can and hope to find you all on the surface."




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Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 04:26 AM
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Ash
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Taking the key from Bran, Ash gave him a soft smile before looking back at the door, holding the key in his hand, thumb absentmindedly rubbing over it as a look of pain and anguish flashed in his eyes for a long moment as he stared, tears forming as he looked around at his new pack before turned away and pushed the key into his pocket, moving to the far side of the cave to brush his eyes unseen, finding a comfortable spot to stretch out, back resting against the wall and watching everyone forming plans.

Gavin keeping a close eye on James, Ria gathering the Mithril from Bran's chest and somehow fitting it all in her bag. Bran's plan is a sensible one but he disagrees with a couple of points, mainly that it means leaving Bran and Autumn alone in the cave with only Gavin there to provide physical protection. The Tanner's Boy may now have scales and the stature to match his own, but he is still the Tanner's Boy at heart and too good nature'd to do what needed to be done.

From his place at the back of the room, Ash speaks out as Ria takes charge and tells James and Him that they are going

"No. I'm staying with the pups"

"It's a good plan but the bodies in the marsh are not a priority right now. If you insist on taking them back though then Gavin is more than big and strong enough to handle them as well as me, and i'm sure he would prefer to keep an eye on James right now, he seems concerned"

"Besides, Gavin can't see in the dark as well as i can so makes more sense for me to stay behind in the cave doesn't it? I'm well rested from earlier so i can take the first watch while Autumn and Bran rest outside with Tomas"



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Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 09:06 AM
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Ria Siannodel
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Ria smiles at Ash. She says " That's fine. I will ask the villagers to clear the bodies as the area is now safe. I know Ardin will want the armour to work on at the very least." She turns to Bran and hands him three small discs of copper which glow with a bright light. Putting these across the door might help to keep the leeches at bay. Jimmy and I will be back as soon as possible with mirrors and anything else you need us to bring.




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Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 10:48 AM
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Departure and rest
The leech’s reply is an emptiness perhaps they are willing or perhaps just biding their time. You’re relatively sure that, just as with non-sapient leeches they will require a host to survive. Though, without looking in the water, it’s impossible to know if there might be cave fish for them. Either way a portion of your group heads into town and the rest make camp outside the cave.

For those who head to town getting mirrors is not terribly difficult with the Dame able to provide one about half a person’s height. Others are usually about a handspan or two. These are treasures of the villagers and each asks that it be returned if at all possible. At the smith Ardin is happy to get what is needed and asks Ria if anyone needs a good breast plate or chainmail as he’s willing to provide and it will only take a day or so.

For those staying the dwarves wake in a couple hours. Each seems a bit sad as they do and each laments the loss of gold and mithral asking if it’s still in the treasury.



 
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Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 02:23 PM
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As he said he would, Ash takes the first watch. finding a comfortable position to keep an eye on the entrance to the Mine, as well as close to the others as they rest. Throughout his watch, he runs his fingers over the key in his pocket, glancing back at the others as they sleep, the miners still not awake at that point. his mind in turmoil as he fights an internal struggle against the voices inside, now both internal and external

Given their reactions, the leeches had made offers to everyone in his pack but they all seem to have rejected them. he knew he should do the same but the offer they had made was tempting, too tempting. he knew that it must be a lie, how could they make it happen? how could they have that much power? but what if?

Since the mountain had fallen things had changed, magic had entered the world and creatures had changed, Kaeleigh, Autumn and Ria had become Elves, Gavin a Dragon who could breath lightning, young Bran a gnome who could work wonders of magic and rats became Wolves. so was it really that hard to believe these creatures from the cave could do what they offered? how could he not take that chance

As the night drew in and the moon began its journey, Ash made his decision and changed his mind a dozen, if not hundreds of times before he finally stood, casting what he hoped wasn't a final glance over his pack before heading quietly into the cave, being careful not to disturb the rings of ash and charcoal at the entrance and around the entrance elevator. He suspected that the others would likely hear the elevator when he started moving but by the time they could bring it back up and follow Ash would have opened the door and his most heartfelt wish would be granted.

Working the ropes of the elevator on the way down, his muscles straining to work it alone, his mind was still working through his decision, but as was his nature, both before the mountains fall and especially now after the change, once he had made his decision then it would come to pass.

As he approached the door, pulling the key from his pocket he could hear the leeches voice in his head again, offering their promise once more. pausing only briefly to make sure the ring of ash by the door was still in place before hopping over it and sliding the key into the lock, his fingers tingling as the magic holding the door closed withdrew from the key and the door swung open.

His eyes had yet to adjust to the darkness inside as Ash called out into the room "I am here as we agreed, now keep your promise"

"Mirielle and Maya, give my family back to me"


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Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 03:02 PM
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Gavin

Gavin is fine with the idea of going back to the village with Ria and Ness. He can help carry things just as well as Ash, and it seems like Ash wants to stay at the mine. Besides, he does want to keep an eye on Ness. Ria is right that there's no reason to carry all of the bodies back right now, but he will carry the corpse of the hellhound. Everyone already knows about the rat creatures, but seeing something like the house might cause a bit of a panic. This way, he can take it to his parents and tan the hide, then Ardin can maybe make some armor out of it. Hoisting the body over his shoulder, he starts walking back to the village with the others.

On the way home he decides to press Ness one more time about the thing in his hand that he has been playing with, and apparently talking to, for a while. Ness has deflected questions about it a couple of times, but maybe now will be different. [B]"Ness, what is that in your hand?"/B]

Back at the village, Gavin will stop by the blacksmith shop with Ria because he is interested in seeing Ardin's reaction to the mithril. While there, he hears Ardin mention he could have a breastplate made in a day or so. "I would be grateful for such an item, Mister Ardin. I would be happy to give you back the chain shirt in exchange for it. That way, someone else can use the shirt."

After leaving Ardin's shop, Gavin lugs the body of the hound to the tannery. He tucks it into an out of the way corner and covers it with some sacks so no one will find it before he wakes up and shows it to his parents. Then he walks as quietly as he can to his bedroom, takes off his armor, and slides under his blanket. It is quite a while before he finally falls asleep. He can't get the image the leeches showed him of Sandor forgiving him out of his head, even though he knows it was a lie. He fervently hopes that Sandor will forgive him someday, but he knows no magic will make it happen. Finally, after tossing and turning for what seems like forever, he manages to fall asleep.

In the morning, he wakes up feeling better, but not feeling fully rested. He wanders into the kitchen where his mother, who somehow knew he was home, is fixing a breakfast of bacon, eggs, and fried bread. Gavin gives his mother a hug, she kisses his cheek, then fusses over him as he eats. His father walks in as Gavin sits down and joins him for breakfast. There is plenty for everyone and his parents are full of questions about what he has been doing. He fills them in about his time at the manor house, their fight with the rats and the hound, and the leeches at the mine. While he was worried about the general populous knowing about the hound, he doesn't leave anything out. When they are done eating he takes his parents tot he body of the hound. "Bran seems to think the hide can be used to make some good armor, so I brought the body home. I'm not sure if any of the rest of it can be used for anything. I will ask Dame Kriea about it this morning."

Gavin gives both of his parents another hug before heading off to meet the others. When the dame gives them the large mirror, he will ask her about the hound. "Dame Kriea, we killed a hellhound yesterday. Bran said he thought the hide could be used for armor or something, so I left the body with my parents. Do you know if any other part of the creature could be useful? Do you think having the body cold pose any danger to my parents?"
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Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 08:38 PM
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Autumn Luwddoc
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Autumn waves at the three that are leaving. "Be careful, never know what's out there, and good luck!" She then looks around. She's concerned about the leeches,the giant spiders is bad enough, kill or be killed, but the leeches, the idea of someone, or something trying to mind control her is a frightening thought. She doesn't know what the others big dreams are, but hers was simple. She would like to meet her father, she had no other dreams. Guess she is just a simple girl.








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