Goriel and beyond, part 6

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Goriel and beyond, part 6

Postby Graybeard » August 13th, 2012, 7:23 pm

[OOC: OK, new topic, and likely the last here... there's a whole rest of the world out there, after all ... I'm going to make one assumption here on a question that was left dangling in the last thread.]

A number of rather sleepy adventurers rose before the sun; there would be good reasons to get an early start on this day.

Sister Rose and Therese had had a very long, penetrating conversation the previous night, and it left Rose ever more convinced that they were doing the right thing by bringing some closure to the Blaise situation. If this band of outlaws really did have something to do with what Therese called the Convergence ... well, it would have to be dealt with. She busied herself with preparations as the Sisterhood woman made breakfast; it had been decided that Therese would stay behind with the noncombatants, helping them move the camp to somewhere safe, while Drusia went with the combat team. That would actually work fairly well, Rose thought. That same route-finding trick she and Therese had used in town should be helpful to get the combat team re-united with the others. [OOC: Note that if anyone, particularly Drusia, feels otherwise, we can retcon this without significantly affecting the rest of this post. /OOC:]

The porridge prepared, Therese joined Rose and a rather bleary-eyed Argus over the steaming bowls. "Don't worry," she told the Tsuirakuan. "I promise to take good care of your growing family. They'll be safer down here with me, I think. I know the back routes to and around Goriel. Besides, Drusia, with her teleportation skills, will be more useful with the others than I will."

She paused for a bit of porridge, then asked Argus a question. "So how does it feel, knowing that you're soon to become a grandfather?"
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 6

Postby Drusia » August 13th, 2012, 7:30 pm

Graybeard wrote:[OOC: Note that if anyone, particularly Drusia, feels otherwise, we can retcon this without significantly affecting the rest of this post. /OOC:]


OOC: Nope, this was actually what I was hoping for. ^^ All good. /OOC

....

OOC: Actually, I can't think of anything to say that wouldn't interupt the question Therese just asked Argus, and I'm looking forward to that answer, so I think I'll just stay pat for the moment. /OOC
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 6

Postby Jack Rothwell » August 13th, 2012, 7:37 pm

Tamina mumbled something unpleasant in her native tounge as she sat up and pawed her way out of the bedding she'd wrapped herself in. The kobold stood up and cast a disaproving eye at the rocky terrain, scuffing it with boots containing feet which were usually bare. The gravelly texture was too far a cry from grass to consider going native.

She cast such concerns aside and made a beeline for the breakfast area.

"Bacon?" She inquired, as she skidded to a dusty halt with a hopeful smile on her smile.
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 6

Postby Drannin » August 13th, 2012, 8:31 pm

Argus smiled gently. "It feels good," he said quietly. "Like I'm finally reassembling my family. There's a lot of things, too... concern for the child, how to introduce the young one to its aunt... but none of that matters. I'm going to be a grandfather." He closed his eyes. "I'm sorry if I can't say more than that. This kind of thing... it goes beyond words."

Argus opened his eyes again. "However, I am concerned over the safety of Brad and Lillith. Things are going to get very dangerous, I fear... I worry for them."
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 6

Postby Alberich » August 13th, 2012, 8:54 pm

Breakfast eaten, the group split up as Drusia had proposed -- "Harker and Tamina to lead the way, Argus and Rose to provide the necessary magical offense, and Udo for pressure," plus Drusia herself (since it was "her or Therese" and Therese was staying behind).

Udo didn't ask what he was supposed to put pressure on, but with such a female-heavy party he was sure he could find something. He brought a pack anyway for any handy loot that might turn up. If not, he was still going to ask for those Gibazov papers back - Rose had promised them to Jamie but there was no sign of her. After all, it was he and Tamina who'd risked ther necks for them, not these people, and it was Jamie who'd killed Mr. Wizard that they'd been looking for, not them.

They soon reached the previous day's battlefield and saw the ravens had gotten to work already. None of these corpses held much interest, except for any Rites of Repose Rose cared to perform. None of them had any loot except their weapons, none of which had enough resale value to concern Udo.

The question remained where to go from there. Easy enough - even Udo could see that this was a place for Tamina's tracking skills and kobold magic. Even in these mountains, there was no way a group that size could move around without leaving tracks the kobold could follow. So she did. Past noon they trekked and into the afternoon. And even at a distance they saw the scavengers gathered on a nearby mountaintop -- which led them to a gruesome discovery. The ravens flapped up and to the side as the adventurers climbed up - but they did not go far, and protested the interruption raucously.

For atop that mountain lay what looked like the recently-dead remnants of the Outlaw Clan Gyermanov. The men lay in a circle, the women and children off to the side. Some of the latter had seemingly died of poison, and some of slit throats or stabbed hearts. Each of the men had died of a cut throat. All had their "death tokens" lying beside them, like the body Therese had found the other day - and all seem to have died willingly or at least peacefully. Amidst the circle of dead men was a cracked clay pot lying on its side, and each dead man held a dark stone, with a white stone lying close to the pot. Perhaps a kind of lottery had been taken. No one would ever know - or, at least, none of these would ever tell. None had any possession worth taking or even touching. They had left the world as poor as they entered it.

It didn't take much exploring to see that these people had been living in nearby caves - or that their noisome, dark shelters were no healthy place to explore. In fact, there were only two places of interest --

One was another mountaintop nearby, easily spotted by Rose's sharp eyes. Ravens were gathered there as well; and perhaps another funeral, a little earlier than the mass suicide, had taken place up there? Perhaps the remains of a guest...?

The other was a cave much further down -- which stank in a way that made Tamina want to flee. She could sense magic in there as well - not Ralkin magic, but a dreadful flavor quite far from healthy killikah ways.

* * *

Meantime, back in Camp, Tim had one comment for Therese. "This wagon belongs to the Veracian embassy. We can't travel on the roads - not with the Duravsky and Gibazovs patrolling for us we can't. Rolling back to Goriel City is out of the question. So, I think we abandon it, take the horses, and it's the embassy's loss. If you could make a shelter for it, we could hide it there and write the embassy later on where they can recover it. If not, I think the elements will get it before they ever do."
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 6

Postby Drusia » August 13th, 2012, 9:47 pm

Meantime, back in Camp, Tim had one comment for Therese. "This wagon belongs to the Veracian embassy. We can't travel on the roads - not with the Duravsky and Gibazovs patrolling for us we can't. Rolling back to Goriel City is out of the question. So, I think we abandon it, take the horses, and it's the embassy's loss. If you could make a shelter for it, we could hide it there and write the embassy later on where they can recover it. If not, I think the elements will get it before they ever do."

I blink. "We're not going to get to ride in the wagon anymore?" I ask, mildly horrified.

"I'm not what you'd call an experienced horseback rider...." Not that I can't ride a horse... I just don't get along with the creatures very well. And the feeling tends to be mutual.

-- Desiree

OOC: And, in case anyone missed it, I just pitched a straight line to Therese (or Tim, I suppose, if he wants to make another bid for Desiree's romantic affection) to invite Desiree to ride with her (or him). Feel free to take her up on it, or ignore it, as you prefer. ^^
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 6

Postby Graybeard » August 13th, 2012, 10:50 pm

[OOC: There's a problem here. Let's briefly pause stuff at the pointy end, except for repartee among the characters :mrgreen: , and resolve things back at the camp, because a point has been missed...]

Brad looked incredulously at Tim. "What do you mean?" he asked. "We have ten people to move -- ten and a half." He cast a loving look at his wife, who of course blushed prettily. "And two horses. I, uh, don't think we can fit five on a horse. If we're not taking the wagon, we're going to have to find another way."

[OOC: So does anybody have any bright ideas? Let's look for some clever solution here. It's not that Therese isn't interested ;) , but there's an in-character issue that has to be dealt with.]
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 6

Postby Alberich » August 13th, 2012, 11:11 pm

"Well," said Tim, "Therese, you're the only one here who knows the countryside" -- he rightly discounted the idea that Anfisa had been out here in the rural areas -- "I also assume we're going to leave this country without taking the road back to town. Assuming Blaise stays dead and we're heading someplace we know...you're the only one who knows other ways out of this country. So I think that puts the ball in your court for any overland escapes.

"The only other way is if Rose can use a magical communication" -- he didn't know if Therese had been trusted with information about the magic parrots -- "to get an airship sent up for our relief. In which case we hide out 'til it shows up, and anyone who doesn't leave on it gets away from there. I doubt Veracia would send one just for Brad and Lillith, let alone Desiree and Anfisa, but if it's needed to move Rose and me - that might justify it.

"In the gravest extreme, I suppose Harker might be able to slip into town to deliver a message to the embassy for the same purpose. But he's known in town and I'd rather not do it that way."

He remembered that Eli had left a personal message for Desiree, but he wasn't going to deliver it in front of everyone. Better to wait 'til they were actually moving.
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 6

Postby Jack Rothwell » August 14th, 2012, 4:46 am

"Sooo... we're going up there?" Tamina said, pointing to the mountain top. "Not in the bad-smelling cave with the evil magics? Nice, clear air outside!" She added, still pointing at where the ravens were flying. "Think I can smell candy!"
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 6

Postby Graybeard » August 14th, 2012, 8:49 am

[OOC: OK, deus ex machina time ... but there are some other reasons for this.]

Therese had been listening calmly to Tim as he raised his concerns about the Gibazov and Duravsky patrols. Really, how had this young man come to believe their adversaries were ten feet tall? To be sure, their capabilities were considerable, but they couldn't cover the whole state containing Goriel at once. Nonetheless, he had a point. The clans seemed unusually skittish, and their patrols were both more frequent and more annoying than usual. The group could probably make it back to Goriel unimpeded if they stuck to the back roads ... but "probably" wasn't good enough.

After some quiet reflection, she decided to take a chance on the reliability of this group, and reveal something that the Sisterhood would have been angry with her about discussing. Well, she'd seek forgiveness later if necessary. She cleared her throat. "There is an alternative," she said. "About ten miles southeast of here, in the farm country, there is a small town called Rosteriel. The people there have no love for the clans of Goriel, and they have ample means to keep the Gibazovs and Duravskys from getting too nosy in their town. I suggest we head there."

Brad looked dubious. "Southeast? But doesn't that take us away from Goriel? How is that going to solve our problem?"

Therese produced a mysterious smile. Now comes the part I may wish I hadn't got into ... but what's done is done. "Have faith. Rosteriel is not exactly what it seems. We have used Rosteriel to help get those women whom we rescue away from the clutches of the clans. One might call it a terminal on the underground railroad to freedom." Another mysterious smile. "Literally. I just hope that none of you are skittish about old, ruined dwarven technology that may not be quite as broken-down as it is believed to be."

-------------

Meanwhile: [OOC: Check the "Background Noise" thread for antecedents to this... /OOC:]

"It's still usable," Bauti reported back to Haniko Goto and Arsoro Kurou. "It," in context, was the elven travel platform she'd gone off to check on.

Goto gave her a blank, predatory look as she considered how to turn this information to her personal advantage. "And where is this resource of which you speak?"

The Tsuirakuan wasn't the only one who could look predatory. "I wouldn't think to bore you with the details," she purred. "Let's just say that it's set in a complex of old dwarven ruins and leave it at that. We'll still have some cross-country walking to hook up with our friends, but nothing too bad."

Arsoro Kurou's ears perked up when he heard about "dwarven ruins." Going to a place like that might offer ... other opportunities. "And what is the name of this complex?" he probed. "I have a certain professional interest in such things, you see, and it may be mentioned in some of my texts." And if it isn't, it damn well will be by the time I'm done with you ... although I'll hold onto that little bit about the travel platform for my own purposes.

Bauti considered withholding that information, but they'd find it out soon enough. "Small town called Rosteriel, way out in the boonies, not close to much of anything. It's of little significance to anyone but us. Now get packed up, we'll still need to trek into the mountains." She leered. "But we'll have some fun with those bastards when we get there."

-------------

Sister Rose looked around the group. "Okay, the mountain top it is," she said. That would have the advantage of giving them the high ground as a lookout point for whatever was coming next, which wouldn't be a bad thing.

-------------

Sonny stretched his large muscles as he arose from the small shelter where he'd spent the night. Trolls weren't picky about what they ate or when, but they did like their meat fresh if possible. It would be nice to hunt one more time before getting into the Small Ones' territory so deeply that a hunt wouldn't be feasible without drawing unwelcome attention. Ah, ravens seemed to be circling above the next ridge over. Probably there was a mountain-goat carcass or something similar there ... and where there was one mountain goat, there would be more. He packed up the camp site and prepared to follow the ridge.
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