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Subject: [IC] Horror on the Hill, part 2: Into the Hydra's Maw rss

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[OOC]Horror on the Hill: On Baron's Mission
[IC] Horror on the Hill, part 1: On Baron's Mission
[IC] Horror on the Hill, part 2: Into the Hydra's Maw
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You awake in the dark. For a moment, you're unsure of your surroundings. It takes you a while to adjust to the darkness and as your mind clears the web of sleep, it all comes back to you - your mission.

The night is cold and you shiver uncontrollably as you throw aside the blanket to get dress. It is probably a bell or two before the break of dawn. The rest of your companions are also getting ready. Each goes about their activities in silent, shrouded either in anticipation or trepidation of what is to come.

A soldier knocks on the door and calls out that the boat is ready.

Shouldering your backpack, you move out of the room into the night. your breath mists in the cold and a chilly north wind blows across the courtyard. It is eerily silent in the keep and you remember that the forces of the keep must be gathered somewhere, ready to attack the enemy's stronghold, providing you and your companions the diversion needed to cross the river unnoticed.

The soldier beckons and leads the party beyond the garden and behind the houses. While you weave your way through the houses, you hear a baby cry and a mother's gentle consoling. An old woman draped in patchwork shawl stands beside an open door of an unlit house. When you pass her, she smiles and presses a harden bun into Zarrak's hand. Her eyes moist and speaks of silent gratitude to each and everyone.

You choke with emotion and knows that what you and your companions will do three days from now, together with the rest of the stormriders, will possibly mean a future for the people of this land.

Edit: Corrected blatant grammar mistakes
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Not borne of riches and having been through countless hardships in her own parentless childhood herself, Rae understood some of what the ordinary folks had to go through, be it to worry about bringing food to the dinner table that night or whether the body would succumb to the next winter chill.

Rae re-considered the objective of her mission. At the outset it was to continue the search for her parents' murderers, make new friendship in order to extend her network and further her own ends. After all, she learned the hard way that nothing was for free. And being of the female gender seemed to make things somewhat harder, but she certainly would die before ending up fulfiling favours of dirty old men or slaving over a hot stove every night for a man she did not love.

Yet now it was different. Some of these were not just companions of travel, or men of a guild, at least she felt more than companionship for Zarrak and Darkstar. One was strangely loquacious for a dwarf, and the girl, full of strength of character and of heart. As much as the elf irritated her, he intrigued Rae too, for he seemed to be able to see past her and knew her better than she did herself.

Her entire raison d'ĂȘtre was changed. Equitable returns did not seem to guide her choice this time. A part of her now wanted to be part of this, was so that she would see through thick and thin with friends. Another part of her wanted to help the common folks.

A flash of black of the likes of Darkstar's pet interrupted her thoughts, and Rae smiled, glad again that Darkstar had also perhaps found similar reason to be part of this group.

Reminded of her mission, Rae subconsciously checked that her belongings were in order, and that her weapons were at easy reach.
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Cloin was actually grateful when he had seen the enemy campfires the night before. An unseen enemy was much worse. Every danger, every chance at death he saw as one more step toward earning a home for himself. When he had stood on that vista and viewed those enemy conflagrations, he imagined he could reach out and snuff each one with his fingertips. Ah, if it could only be that easy.
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Very soon, the party reaches the northwesterly end of the keep. Another soldier stands ready at a hidden side-door, holding it open.

"This way sirs and ladies," said the soldier that is leading the way for you. His voice sounds squeaky and full of fear. Under closer scrutiny in the starlit night, you realize that he may have seen less than 12 summers in his life.

The way out of the keep lies ahead of you. A gentle sloping ground leads to the river, possibly less than 100 feet away. The only sounds of the night is the howling of the cold northern wind and the roar of the river that gives an umbrage indication of the river ahead.
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Darkstar cocks her head in the night, enjoying the sounds of the chirping crickets and lapping water. The chill air feels refreshing on her skin and the weight of the extra rations she packed sits comfortingly on her shoulders.

She looks back at her companions, feeling that something was amiss. For once, they had stopped squabbling and were busy with their own thoughts nd activities. She will enjoy the silence while it lasts.

Lost in her thoughts, a sudden warmth on her calf causes her to look down. Chalky was leaning against her leg, and as she reaches down with her hand to scratch Chalky behind the ears and reassure her that everything was alright, the dog gives her fingers a wet lick.

Blackie was ahead again, looking back at her with a happy look, wagging his tail. Darkstar's smile is hidden by the night as she regards her faithful travelling companion, all thoughts of the dangerous mission far from her mind.

None of that mattered. There was only this moment. There was no point worrying about their mission three days from now if they couldn't even make it past tonight.

She looks around curiously, wondering if she was imagining the faint singing of a lonely harpy in the wind. She says a silent prayer for Wicky.
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Zarrak stands before the rest of the party.

I came here in good faith and whilst I am not surprised that this faith has not been returned by those who brought us here I am surprised by the level of deceit. I do not think there would be any shame in refusing this mission. However if I am going to die fighting I wish to die fighting goblin-kind, and I would not wish upon the people of these lands the fate that befell my own people. So I will go forward and seek to complete the task that has been set us. Are we as one?
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"I speak not for my own race, but for the sanctity of life. Deceit or strategy or otherwise, the intent by human, elf, dwarf, or halfling, should be one. It may be that today, we humans are in danger. But what of the morrow if we humanfolks fall? Will the enemy strike at the demi-humanfolks then?"

Rae stepped forward to stand beside Zarrak, placing a hand on his shoulder. She continued, "I stand beside you, friend and master dwarf." She then turned to face the remaining group, waiting for their response.

As if by an afterthought, and knowing that it was this mission that prevented them from doing more for the wagon master, Rae drew her scimitar, and raised it to point at the sky, "For Winky!"
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WarMonger2009 wrote:
Zarrak stands before the rest of the party.

I came here in good faith and whilst I am not surprised that this faith has not been returned by those who brought us here I am surprised by the level of deceit. I do not think there would be any shame in refusing this mission. However if I am going to die fighting I wish to die fighting goblin-kind, and I would not wish upon the people of these lands the fate that befell my own people. So I will go forward and seek to complete the task that has been set us. Are we as one?


Darkstar stands silent, surprised by Zarrak's words at first, and then thinking hard about her response. Finally, finding the words that do not come as easily to her, she responds, "Good sir, I am not overly troubled by the truths omitted or 'deceit' practiced upon us and I suggest we not dwell upon it."

"The hour of need is upon us, and the fate of many innocent people like Winky and the other soldiers in the Keep as well as the common folk hang in the balance. The truth is, I am not doing this for the lying lords and scheming Barons. I am doing this for the free folk of the lands, and for the stout hearted stormriders of this group whom I've grown fond of."

"And Wicky."


Blackie and Chalky sense the change in the mood from talk to action and begin pacing back and forth anxiously, eager to be on their way.
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Glad to see Darkstar similarly step up to join Zarrak and her, Rae smiled appraisingly at Darkstar's short speech that just about summed up things.

Rae looked to the rest, and knew that no small amount of courage and luck were much needed for the difficult task ahead.
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The young soldier leads the party down the slope, slipping twice in the dark on the pebble shore to the river. No light was lit as secrecy is crucial.

Waiting at the beach are Anielle with Carrot. A boat rest against the shore with two boatmen on it.

Anielle smiles at them and said, "Well met, my friends. I wish we have met in better times. We'll take you across the river once the signal is given. There!" Anielle points eastward and you turn to look.

A loud shout was heard followed by the whistling of arrows sailing through the air. Very soon, it was accompanied by cries and the clash of battle. The attack has begun.

"This is the diversion that we need," said Anielle hurriedly. "The enemy's patrol will be called away into battle!"

"Quick!" called out Anielle to the boatmen. Turning back to the party, she said, "Get onboard now! No time to lose!"

The crossing was swift as the boat pushed away from the shore. The boatmen deftly guided the boat across the river, moving diagonally eastward as the current of the river sweeps the boat downstream.

The journey takes less than half a bell and the boat reaches the other side of the river. The young soldier and Carrot quickly jumped ashore armed with crossbow to ensure that the coast is clear. At a signal from Carrot, the boatman followed to secure the boat.

Anielle presses a signal tube to Zarrak and tells him, "Here, take this! There's a string at one end. Aim the other end skyward and pull the string, it will sent a signal into the sky to signal the party's return. We'll vigilantly watch for it."

Looking at the rest, she said, "Go now! Much rest on your shoulders. May Halav watches over you."

You stand on the boat and look at your surrounding. The river behind you runs from west to east. Ahead is a 100 feet long and 50 feet wide beach of pebbles and stones that leads to a surrounding 20 feet high slope.

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Zarrak carefully places the signal tube in his backpack, silently showing everybody that is where it is should he fall. He then leads the way up the slope.
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Rae follows close behind.

This is it, she thought, and so it begins.
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In times like these, Darkstar has noticed that there are two types of soldiers. The first category will look backwards, towards safety and the way that they have trodden, subconsciously hoping that the mission will be rescinded, and that they will no longer need to face danger. A look of longing and a hope for a way out. Darkstar has observed that these men sometimes falter in battle, or find their morale or spirits broken easily. For these, their own safety is a material consideration.

The second category has their hearts committed to the cause, and know that they will emerge victorious or not at all. For these, there is no looking back. Their eyes look ever ahead, for that is where their goals and their destiny lie. These soldiers have committed their lives to the cause and have placed the mission before their lives. They would rather die than face failure.

Darkstar climbs over the gunwale into the frigid water, pushing through the wter onto the pebbly shore, her two canine companions at her side. Nothing need be said, and she does not look back.
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The boatmen pushes the boat into the river and jump onboard. Very quickly, the boat disappears from view, swallowed up by the darkness.

Far in the distance, you see flashes of fire and green and the faint sound of battle over the rush of the river.


OOC: Guys, the stage is yours.

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Cloin turns to Tirhon, "I don't like the idea of you holding that device. I just want you to know that."

He levels a withering gaze at the elf before turning to the others, "I suppose that commotion is the diversion. Did anyone catch which direction the stronghold we are supposed to infiltrate is?"

Cloin dons his camouflage cloak while he waits for an answer.
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Rae recalled from memory, and answered Cloin, "The Lord mentioned that the stronghold we are heading to was across the river, he didn't give more detail. He did add though, that his men had found one such hideout at a subterranean level. And as Darkstar was saying, it is more likely than not that these creatures prefer the dark and underground or sheltered places.

My guess then, is to start looking for such places, caverns, holes, such that may be large enough to bear a man's size at least. We should not discount natural foliage too, these could be used in an attempt to camouflage the entrances.

I'm guessing, if this was day, we might also be lucky enough to stumble upon a footprint or two.
"
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The battle sounds in the east lessens while the eastern sky starts to light up. Dawn is approaching. The wind subsides considerably and the only sound that you hear is the river, chirping from the birds and the heavy panting of dogs.

There are two paths leading up the slope, one is directly ahead and the other slightly to your right. You also notice that there is a narrow rocky strip between the river and the ridge on your left.

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Darkstar kneels next to the dogs and scratches them behind the ears. "Blackie, Chalky, can you smell the enemy huh? Can you smell their stinking unwashed feet? Where should we go huh? Find them!"

Darkstar give the dogs the lead and follows closely behind...
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CPiz wrote:
Cloin turns to Tirhon, "I don't like the idea of you holding that device. I just want you to know that."

Tirhon smirks at the dwarf in the wan, pre-dawn light, "Just remember, Dwarf: should you see me running at speed, try to keep up with those short legs of yours." Gazing up the hill, he lets out a sigh before remarking, "Presumably any strongpoint will be on, or near, the highest ground available. We should make our way upwards while remaining alert for patrols."

Tirhon's face darkens, "If their numbers are as great as we are led to believe, they should not be hard to find, and stealth will be the better course." Tirhon turns to Rae, "You seemed to imply that you had some skill at subterfuge. You should scout some distance ahead of us, as any stealth will not avail you in such a large group. Should you see anything, double-back to us that we might decide on a course of action."

OOC: the hills are North of Guido's Keep? Meaning we were swept to the right (Eastward) by the current of the river? If all that is correct, how far to the right/Eastern side of the area of hills we were headed for are we?
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not2fear wrote:
Darkstar kneels next to the dogs and scratches them behind the ears. "Blackie, Chalky, can you smell the enemy huh? Can you smell their stinking unwashed feet? Where should we go huh? Find them!"

Darkstar give the dogs the lead and follows closely behind...


The dogs sniff about the ground. Blackie faces the eastern path and barks loudly and furiously! Chalky takes a few steps towards the middle path up the slope and growl menacingly.

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With practiced ease, Tirhon unlimbers and strings his bow, then knocks an arrow with a single, smooth motion.

"Quiet those hounds, girl, before they alert any and all enemies nearby of our presence!" Tirhon hisses at Darkstar.
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Bobloblah wrote:

OOC: the hills are North of Guido's Keep? Meaning we were swept to the right (Eastward) by the current of the river? If all that is correct, how far to the right/Eastern side of the area of hills we were headed for are we?


Yes, the hills are north and northwest of Guido's keep. Actually, the entire expanse north of the keep are hills and mountains, separated by the river that runs east to west. The mountains are to the east behind the hills.


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Bobloblah wrote:
Tirhon's face darkens, "If their numbers are as great as we are led to believe, they should not be hard to find, and stealth will be the better course." Tirhon turns to Rae, "You seemed to imply that you had some skill at subterfuge. You should scout some distance ahead of us, as any stealth will not avail you in such a large group. Should you see anything, double-back to us that we might decide on a course of action."


Nodding to Tirhon, Rae replied, addressing the group, "Not such a bad idea, elf. I'll pick up the pace and scout ahead."

Removing her coin pouch and handing it over to Zarrak, Rae quipped, "Here, keep this for me, or I might as well light up a torch and go in singing loudly."

She then turned to the middle path and ran ahead of the party up the slope into enemy territory, as deftly and as silently as she could manage.

OOC: Rae would attempt to move ahead of the group to scout potential enemy or enemy hideouts, moving close to the shadows when needed to pause and look, if there's any possible means of concealment. If she finds anything of significance, e.g. enemy or possible enemy hideouts or new routes, she would double back to the party and inform her findings. Here's some rolls, please use as necessary -
Move Silently = 1d100 = (47) = 47
Hide in Shadows = 1d100 = (85) = 85
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  • 474272. taen
  • 1d100 =
  • (47) =
  • 47
  • Move Silently =
  • Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:12 am
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  • 474273. taen
  • 1d100 =
  • (85) =
  • 85
  • Hide in Shadows =
  • Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:12 am
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Rae moves deftly and quickly through the rocky river bank and up the slope. She slips a few times and causes rocks and pebbles to tumble noisily down the rocky slope.

OOC: Heroes overlooking the hills.



When she reaches the top, she peer over it and sees a dense forest with thick underbrush of shrubs and ferns. A narrow path leads north through a canopy of branches and foliages.

OOC: Rae at the top of the slope.

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Rae continues forward down the narrow path, looking for potential enemy or enemy hideouts.
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