Seriously, call Kenny Loggins because you're in the Danger Zone!
M, as in Mancy
Recent reports of trouble in a small town in New England, and three visitors to town with noses for trouble and personal pride in taking care of "little problems" in little towns...
Isabella arrived in town, stepped carefully arcoss the muddy streets on her way to the Magistrate's Office. As she entered, she caught Sophie the Midwife fixing her skirts, but the sharp-eyes Isabella noted Sophie's left hand was still closed around whatever she had stolen from the shelf. Saying nothing, Isabella noted to herself that Sofie was not to be truste, and prepared to explore the surrounding area.
Karl, still dressed out in his soldering togs, wandered through town briefly and headed to the inn to put down his gear. Waiting on his pillow was an unsigned invitation to a party up at the Manor outside of town. Always up for some free spirits and full of confidence, Karl prepared himself for a party.
Heinrich woke up to the sound of crows calling in the forest. After another night on the road, he woke up slowly, wondering how many more years he could keep running from what he knew was in the dark. Stretching out to be sure he still had the moves to escape quickly if needed, Heinrich moved warily towards the woods.
Karl hummed a merry tune to himself as he strolled up the well-kept steps of the manor house. He stepped into the foyer, and saw that someone had smeared syrup or jelly of some kind all over the wall. Wanting no part of people who would think such a thing is good fun, Karl decided it was best to leave quitely before being noticed.
Heinrich crashed through brush and tree branches, almost twisting an ankle as he pushed blindly through the woods. He had caught wind of the reek of the undead, and knew it for what it was. However, these undead were being directed by an unseen master, and had him cornered. Picking up a likely stick, Heinrich set himself for the inevitable fight to come...when it was all over, Heinrich was leaning on his stick, his shirt torn and bloody, but all of the undead fiends were laid to rest. Thanking the fates for his lucky escape, Heinrich started slowly moving towards town, and rest, while pondering his new insight into what he faced--undead could only mean a Vampire.
Isabella, having seen Karl head to the northwest, decided to avoid his odious company and move to the southwest, to an abandoned keep. It seemed a likely place for skullduggery, and in fact she wasn't there but a moment when she whirled to find someone following her. Jack, the servant boy from town, clearly had a crush on her and had followed her here. Never one to turn down a useful servant, Isabella smiled sweetly and Jack follwed along like a loyal dog at her heels. Figuring if Jack could stumble around this place without trouble, she was off the trail of the unseen menace and needed to head back to town for clues.
Karl, now lost and thinking he was heading to town, instead wandered slowly towards the fields, the noise of his passing scaring away any threats or clues, as creatures fled his slow, fumble-footed passing.
Isabella, arriving in town with Jack in tow, heads to a nearby hill to get a better view of the area. Seeing a windmill in the distance, and remembering some monsters enjoyment of the soothing wind sounds, she heads to the northeast. On her way out of town, she spies some local militia, mostly nervous townsfolk taking their turn at guard, and, one smile and fan-flap later, off they go secure the Windmill location ahead of her. "Come, Jack!" she called, as she let the militia lead the way.
Heinrich finally staggered into the doc's office, wondering what was wrong with these townsfolk--he just saw the militia heading in the opposite direction of the woods where he was attacked. It took the doc a while, but he got Heinrich patched up. As Heinrich was easing off the examination table, still favoring his left side, he saw a few nervous citizens bringing in the body of Lady Hanbrook--murdered in her own home! Grimly, Heinrich heads south once again the sounds of Lord Hanbrook's sobs fading as he walked, determined to root out this evil.
Isabella saw the body being taken to the doctor's office, and thought it prudent to wait a moment for the militia to get a bit further ahead. If the fiend is acting in the open, she must be more careful. So she stopped at a place always excellent for wasting time--the magistrate's office. It took a great deal of patience to deal with even low-level bureaucrats, and she found her endurance for their antics growing as time slipped by.
Karl continued to plod through the peaceful fields north of town. After smelling some very nice flowers, he saw the dust rising from the militia on the road from town to the windmill. Figuring they might have something to drink, and getting a bit bored, he headed towards them while watching for likely trails to retreat down rapidly, should it come to pass that the militia was not just out for exercise.
Heinrich continued his stealthy progress towards the abandoned keep. After his attack in the woods, he was taking no chances, and again limbered up in case he needed to dodge a few blows from the undead. He had an unsettled feeling that the Vampire he stalked was becoming more powerful out there in the dark places.
Karl finally arrived to the Windmill, where he met up with the militia who are generally just hanging around expectantly. Bumming a drink and sharing a few stories, Karl relaxed, feeling comfortable surrounded by fellow soldiers.
Heinrich crept over the battlement of the keep, not trusting the main gate. From the wall, he could see it was truly abandoned long ago, overgrown with weeds. Another dead end. On his way down the stairs and out the gate, he spotted a glimmer of metal, and tucked the newly-found dagger in his belt on his way out, now unsure of where to go, and wondering where the Vampire would strike next.
In town, the good doctor didn't hear any more sounds coming from the examination area. Lord Hanbrook and quited at last, and, with luck, gone home. A dark cold terror seeped into the doctor as he saw the ravaged, bleeding body of Lord Hanbrook slumped over the body of his wife, together again in death. The doctor pretended not to hear the sound of footsteps moving slowly in the back room, praying whatever was there would leave him in peace...
Heinrich headed over to the blacksmith and convinced the blacksmith to loan him a horse. If he had to run from the undead, he wasn't doing it unaided.
Isabella and Jack arrived at the Windmill. She saw immediately that any tracks or clues had long been erased by the bumbling Karl and his militia buddies. Sighing in annoyance, she admired the pistol of one of the militia and received it as a gift, before turning away from the rabble and heading back towards town.
Karl continued to hang out at the Windmill, and was rewarded for it when a paniced coachman pulled up. Reassuring the man he'd be safe so long as a soldier of his caliber was with him, Karl waved goodbye to his militia cronies and hopped into the coach.
At the distant Manor, a grisly scene unfolded as the dead came to unlife, and began staggering forward under the will of their master...
Isabella arrived at the Blacksmith, but found nothing to her liking. She may have missed something, though, as that lunatic Karl sped through town, causing quite a disturbance.
Karl, for his part, was on top of the coach, one had on a bottle, the other on the railing, urging with drunken glee for the coachman to go ever faster. When they finally stopped, the horses tired, they found themselves at the Abandoned Keep. Karl hopped down to explore a bit, and found an odd book bound in a strange leather that, if he wasn't drunk, probably would have warned him about something.
Heinrich wondered why Karl fled at such a pace from the North, and strode with grim purpose up the road. Arriving, he concluded Karl was an idiot, as the only danger here was from the now sleeping militia, enjoying the noonday sun. With a roll of his eyes, Heinrich helped himself to one of their hunting rifles and planned his next move.
In the basement of the bereaved Hanbrook house, the staff wondered at the sinister sounds that came briefly from the cellar. Whatever it was, by the time the unearthly howl ended, the very sky seemed darker.
Karl, while staggering at the outskirts of the marsh, learns from his coachman that the town Magistrate enjoys a good bottle himself.
Heinrich moved towards the fields, frustrated by his slow movement, feeling every second slip by like a knife slowly being slid into the heart of the town.
Isabella made it to the covered bridge, and found the mad ravings of the late Lord Hanbrook in a diary cast aside. Surely such dark thoughts could only speed the coming shadows.
Back in town, the oppresive unspoken fear became too much for Sofie, and she began to spread crazy rumors about everyone, just to see who would listen. She liked the fear in their eyes and the confusion it caused. Who could trust anyone now?
Heinrich moved through the fields quickly, discovering little but fearing much. Everywhere he looked, nature told him that the fell power of the Vampire was growing.
Isabella, tightening her grip on her pistol, entered the Old Woods, and found a mysterious charm. Jack suggested it was an old gypsy charm and that she should keep it. Feeling eyes upon her, Isabella put the charm on, and decided to travel west.
Karl, now completely lost in the marsh with his coachman, and thinking the man highly suspicous, asks leading questions that, coupled with his dwindling supply of whisky, leads him to further insights.
A dark chill passed through everyone in town in the afternoon, as a murder of crows landed on the town fountain, and would not be frightened off. A dark omen, they muttered.
Isabella made her way towards the marsh, finding little of value as she passed the bedraggled Karl and his soggy coachman on the road.
Karl marched forward, hoping he impressed Isabella with his military bearing. As he entered the Old Woods, he stumbled and fell over a pile of human bones and decaying bodies. As the coachman wretched, Karl commented how odd it was that so little blood was pooled around the bodies. The thought began to form in Kar'ls head that something unhealthy was going on in this town after all.
The fetid smell of undeath greated Heinrich as he entered the Manor grounds. He was ready for them, and when the undead came, he made quick work of monsters. Searching the manor for any clues, he found a book of medicine on the kitchen table. Convinced nothing remained here, he prepared to leave.
The distant town clock tower chiming surprised everyone, causing them to look up at each as even the crows fled. Was the hour so late already? It felt that time was almost out for the town...
Karl returned to town, not sure what to do next. None of what had gone on made sense in his muddled head. As he dug a fresh bottle out of his bag, the crumpled invitation fell out. Of course--he should have realized all along that the fiend would challenge him man to man in his lair. With a swig of courage, Karl headed back to the Manor, where he knew the fiend lurked.
Heinrich saw the sun growing red in the sky as it crept closer to darkness. After a stop at the Magistrate to be sure he was thinking clearly and as cunning as a bureaucrat, he knew time was almost up, and what needed to be done. The first encounter with the undead told him what he should have realized sooner--the Vampire was laired in the Old Woods. He moved as quickly as he was able to the scene of his showdown with the fiend.
Isabella, seeing the forboding figure of Heinrich moving carefully to the woods, realized what was happening. The late hour, the gypsy charm...of course! The fiend was in the woods, and must pay for the trouble it had caused.
All three of them could feel the power of the undead master growing rapidly.
Henrich moved as quickly as he could towards the woods, but he was no match for the speed of...
Isabella, who stormed into the woods, and tracked the fiend to its lair. She had sent word to town for aid, and the Reverend and Doctor both came to her call. The Vampire rose up from the shadows, its looming presence causing the Reverend to quail in terror and begin chanting prayers. The good doctor cackled maniaclly as he did his master's bidding, and plunged the scalpel into Isabella's shoulder as he ran to his master's side.
Isabella, with an annoyed look and a nod of thanks to the Reverend, fired her pistol well, shooting through the doctor and greivously wounding the Vampire. Snarling, the Vampire swept forward and flung Jack across the clearing with one hand, bringing his other down on Isabella too quickly for her to even react. But then, the glimmer of the gypsy charm shown in the fading sun, forcing the vampire to flinch and miss his attack entirely.
Outwardly calm but knowing she wouldn't get another chance, Isabella reversed her grip on the pistol and slammed it into the Vampire's chest. As the Reverend's prayers continued, the Vampire sank to the ground, and turned to dust just as the sun sank behind the trees.
Peace, served up by the skills of Isabella, returned to the little town.
Isabella returned to town to great accolades, and left well rewarded.
Heinrich had seen the fight in the woods, and knowing evil was vanquished, drifted on to the next town, where he'd heard rumors of dog-people.
Karl was found passed out in the drawing room of the manor the next day, and when informed of the good news, offered to buy everyone a drink. He was later made leader of the the local militia.
Very well done. An enjoyable read. Thanks.
Seriously, call Kenny Loggins because you're in the Danger Zone!
M, as in Mancy
Thank you! I'll probably never play Karl again...I'm not sure he was ever aware why he was in the town...