Winneke paced within arms-reach behind the cart, muttering to himself. "Taken by vultures," he chanted, "stolen by relentless talons." The illusionist reached out a hand and touched the drape. Winneke cried in horror and threw himself away from the cart as he saw a feathered claw where his hand should have been.
A few villagers stopped and watched in bemusement as this strange man clutched his left arm under his coat and looked about him suspiciously. Ignoring the stares of the crowd, Winneke creeped after the cart, hunched over to hide his horribly transformed appendage.
He moved up to the side of the cart, inspecting the drape carefully, believing it to be cursed in some way. Slowly, almost minutely, Winneke reached his other hand towards the drape. Before he could grasp the cloth, however, a voice called, angry, from the head of the cart.
"Get away from there, beggar!" Winneke's head swung round to see the cart driver craning his neck to glare at him. At the almost crazed glance from Winneke, the cart driver started and averted his gaze, unsure if the situation was about to grow worse.
Still clutching his left arm beneath his tattered coat, Winneke smiled broadly at the cart driver and skipped level with him on the road. The cart driver eyed him suspiciously. "I am Saltur Winneke, ringmaster of the most famous menagerie in all of Osvar," he nodded his head low in greeting to the driver. The horse slowed to a halt as the driver pulled back the reins and fixed Winneke with a stern look.
"Saltur Winneke is dead. His menagerie is gone, beggar. I'll kindly ask you to step away from my cart now." At these words, Winneke shrank back, pain spread cross his dirty features.
"Dead? I'm dead...But how?" In his excitement, the illusionist pulled his left arm out of from beneath his coat and placed it behind his head. Slowly, realisation dawned on him and he threw his hand down, and stared. He flexed his fingers as they should have been, the feathers were no more.
"You need help," the driver stated simply, getting ready to gee his horse onwards once again.
"You're right, sir!" Winneke lunged forward, arms outstretched, imploring the driver to stay a few moments longer. "I need help seeking what's under that drape. I do not know what curse you have fixed upon it, but I would very much like to see the treasure you so readily conceal."
A look of confusion burst from the driver's eyes and he smiled at the illusionist warmly, pityingly. "You truly are mad..."
Saul nodded his agreement to his new companion's plan, then remembered the situation and whispered "Ok." instead. Saul watched closely for the footprints in the ground ahead of him and, taking a deep breath, stood up and followed them over the lip of the hill.
"My thanks to you friend! I have no need of the artifact myself, you are more than welcome to it. I think I can persuade my generous host to trust you, so long as you maintain your path of rightousness persona." Barabus chuckled. A rightous demon. It was to comical to contemplate!
Returning his attention to Saul, Barabus began the first stage of the plan:
Oh perfect. Two champions of light. If you start singing with the fluffy rabbits and dancing in moon beams I swear I'll drink holy-water!
Saul opened his mouth to reply, but as the druids drew closer, he thought better of it. The demon could say what he liked, but they were on a quest, and together, the forces of good would triumph!
"As you wish." Drake said, turning to leave. His curiosity about the stone didn't change the fact that there were 6 Durgerek between it and him, and he hadn't survived for this long by challenging those odds. Willingly, at any rate...
Drake made it to the camp, and asked where he would find Belnora. He was pointed to a small tent, near the east edge of the camp. "I've been told that you will be leading a convoy to the Sky Valley." He said, as he approached. "I'm to be the scout for this expedition. We shall leave whenever you're ready."
"We can leave now. Get your gear, meet us at the south edge of camp." Belnora said. "The soldiers that will be accompanying us should already be there."
"I'll meet you there in half an hour." Drake said, before heading back to his room and grabbing his gear. He was there before the half hour was up, and they moved out along the road, with Drake leading the way, about 300 feet ahead and off to the side of the road, the better to see an ambush.
Screwtape passed he druids swiftly and soundlessly, the only attention he drew was from one priest who glanced and sniffed at a leaf that moved from the wind of his movement which did not alarm the man. Saul on his footsteps they entered the temple, stepping inside the stone corridor he darted into a side door pulling the invisible Saul with him, shutting the door quietly he spoke two indecipherable words and with a faint red glow the two re-appeared, "I sense enchantments, invisibility scrolls will set them off, what do you suggest?" He whispered to Saul breathily.
Xander strode through the trees, wary now. She had not been aware of the native druids, and had been taken by surprise by one. While he had not been a danger to her, a group might be, and so she trod with care.
Ahead, she heard voices. Creeping closer, she prayed that the new Quietness she had installed in her mailcoat would hold up; it would give her away in a moment if the enchantment failed. Sword in hand, she continued forward...
What she found was unexpected; a youth, standing with a man dressed in rags. There seemed no risk, so she decided to reveal herself. Straightening to her full height, she stepped into the open, adjusting the white surcoat she wore over her chainmail.
As she approached them, she asked "How did you end up in here?"
NOTE: this has been edited slightly, to account for the confusion as to where Saul and Screwtape were...
Saul had a very good idea of how to avoid the enchantments, but he was weary of it. He didn't want his new...friend to mistake him for something he wasn't.
What does it matter? He'll find out sooner or later. Of course, if you were to let me take control for a moment or two...
"No!" Saul hissed, drawing a curious look from his ally. Licking his lips with dread, Saul continued:
"I have a...um...spell book. It might be able to help us...but..." His mind raced furiously. He couldn't tell the truth, not yet. "I have a spell that will...make our presence seem less important. But it might attract attention. If you could stand guard outside, I'll cast it, and we can be on our way."
Before he could do anything else, a woman emerged from the trees. Saul froze. She'd seen them! He glanced at the druids, who seemed to be reaching the climax of their ritual. With any luck, they wouldn't have noticed her.
"Do you know of this one?" Barabus whispered to Screwtape, intreagued by the peculiar aura surounding the woman.
Screwtape peaked out of the door and sure enough he saw the woman approaching, seemingly invisible to the druids, he then muttered "Of course, I will deal with her, cast the spell, quickly," Before stepping outside in the shadow of the entrance, watching the woman with curiosity.
" Interesting, another, she covers her mind but I sense her....". Opening his tome slightly which seemed to extrude from his palm, melded into his flesh he scanned through for any records of her. " Yes... yes here she is, Xander, I remember, I made her lose her toys as a child, told her they were all so very filthy."
Intrigued by the sudden appearance her quickly closed his hand and reopened it, the tome sliding back into him leaving him unmarked then with a flick of his mind he replied to Barbarus' question "Yes, from long ago, I knew her as a child, I know not why she is here or what she intends, she is skilled in the arcane arts to some degree, I cannot see into her head like I can most, she hides it."
Saul decided to let his companion deal with the woman, he had to seize this chance!
Opening his bag he threw items out until he revealed the bundle of stained red cloth at the bottom. Lifting it out reverently, he pulled the cloth apart to reveal a thick, steel rimmed tome. Some books were simply too old and strange to be known as books anymore. Tome fitted this one nicely.
Get on with it! He could be back soon!
"Easy for you to say!" Saul whimpered, looking at the small silver bowl set into the cover of the tome. It was concave, and stained a faint, rusty red. It was about the size of a child's open mouth.
Saul laid the book on the floor and pulled the dagger from its sheath at his hip. Its jagged black blade glinted in the flickering torchlight. Saul raised the dagger in his right hand, and placed it against his left palm. He was trembling, and the unholy blade cut him several times before he could brace himself. In his mind's eye, he saw his mother. Smiling at him.
He sliced the dagger across his palm, following the straight line of scar tissue where he had made a hundred similar cuts before. The blood left his hand and drifted slowly into the bowl, like feathers on a breeze. It still scared him how his blood did that.
The bowl was soon full, and as soon as the last snowflake of blood dropped into the bowl, it emptied, gurgling away into the tome. He didn't want to know where it went or how it got there.
The ancient artefact shook for a few seconds, then snapped open with such force it cracked the stone floor where it's cover struck the ground. saul gazed at the open page, and the words, dark chants and rituals, burned themselves into his mind. His very spirit shrieked at the evil that was embedding itself in his head.
In a dark recess of Saul's mind, Barabus reveled in the power flooding past him. Once he was free, he would take great pleasure in reading the book. But for now, Saul had that privilage.
The book slammed shut, and Saul slumped onto his back. He took a few deep, calming breaths, then checked to make sure the cut on his palm had closed, just like it always did.
He had the spell.
Viverin searched the plains high and low around the area, with no luck of finding a trophy within the landscape and the few animals he came across were either too quick or not worthy enough of a trophy. The whole time, he made sure to watch and see how far he was from the lake, not wanting to lose sight of it for some reason.
He sat down for a minute, thinking of where to check next...and noticed a footprint near the rock. He took a gander at it, seeing what it was and where it was headed. It turned out to be an animal print, one of a large size and somewhat fresh. Deciding that it was worth it to try and hunt this beast down, he headed off in the direction of the beast, making sure to watch out for more tracks. After a while, he noticed something, other prints were joining the fray, some that were vaguely dog-like ands a few thatwere distinctly made by boots. Regardless, he followed them still and soon found an elevated...Mini-cliff? The thing wasn't tall enough to be considered a cliff, not in the slightest (being about 30 feet tall) but it still held some features that were associated with it.
Anyways, he went closer to it and started searching around, looking for the next clue as to where the beast went. After a minute of searching, he found a cave, neatly conceald by a few very large rocks. He then headed inside, being greeted by the smell of a fresh kill or three.
As your eyes adjust to the darkness, you notice the cave is relatively small and aside from the pile of a man and his dogs, there is not much to look at here aside from a rock jutting out of the ground about seven feet tall and wide enough for three men abreast to stand behind.
[Roll a d20; the result will determine the procession of this description]
After examining you a bit further, and considering your claim a bit longer, the cart driver tells you that you may see what is under his tarp if you would 'entertain his presence' and ride with him...
H. F. S. & Griff
Cerkushy remained silent for a moment apparently having to consider his own limitations for once.
If I were the type of spirit to give trials of proving your worth, surely this nobility of yours would count for something.
But these are sheer matters of practicality.
The heart of this issue is that for me to move along with your mind, and trust me when I say that is what we all want here, I need the life and strength of a sacrifice to match each of you, respectively.
Are you implying that you would kill enough small creatures in this forest and say that their collective energy matches yours?
Oh to hold so much of the world in such contempt!
I am beginning to like you a bit more, Hunts From Shadows...
And your respective integrity are something to be fathomed , regardless.
And I suppose an offering is an offering; life is life.
Very well, I will remain here for now; be hasty with your dark harvest.
The goblin tumbled to the ground, leaking purple blood from its wound (highly unusual for the species, or really any that you know of).
It tries to move towards you grunting and shrieking in pain before it finally gives up the ghost and falls over: lifeless.
Ah, good, a skilled killer; you will do fine for my use...
The band of orcs still are a bit shocked but have focused enough to realize what had happened.
'Master is an...accurate title.
He is a sorcerer who lives here, worshiping gods of madness & such...
And his "pet" is...well we haven't a name for it, but it is a fearsome beast that often threatens are very lives down here.
I have been waiting for some time now- waiting for the star to fall, and the damned fool took it first.
So I need you to help me get it back, and reasons etc. will be saved for later.'
A glint of light catches your sight in the air as something that could very well be no bigger than a coin or as large as a chamber pot flies through the cold air and lands an untold distance away to the northeast.
No sooner had you noticed it than had one of the cloaked men done the same and shouted out,
to his companions.
A couple other saw the light briefly in the air and after some muttering of likely agreement, they begin to follow it, not bothering to consult you.
As you keep your eyes on constant watch for movement, you are startled by sharp voice speaking to you:
[i]Drake, I am glad I finally have you alone for a moment.
Before you say anything, allow me explain myself: that large boulder you found in the house a while ago?
I have followed you from there.
Right now I simply reside as a spirit in your mind, but that is only now...
What I have been wanting to propose to you is that once this little mission of yours is through, kill the Elvin maiden.
I know it is surely beyond the confines of your petty contracts, but I promise a contract of my own in return, if that would suffice.
For now, I need only an answer...
But action will be required later...
I am always open to accepting contracts... If the payment is good. Drake answered silently. As to killing the elven maiden, Belnora, that could prove difficult. The Durgerek with her are no easy foes, and I haven't survived this long by being reckless.
He kept constant vigilance throughout this, despite the surprise of an unseen voice speaking to him. He also couldn't shake a nagging suspicion that this could, in fact, BE Belnora, testing his loyalty, but figured there wasn't much he could do about it until they had their treaty.
Drake found a likely spot to camp for the night, not far from the road, but also defensible in case of an attack. "We'll camp here tonight." He said, when Belnora and the Durgerek caught up. "Rest, as we will need an early start if we are to make the city by nightfall."
Njall poked the corpse with his boot to make sure it was dead. Turning to his green-skinned comrades, he shrugged.
'Guess we got rid of the goblin after all' he chuckled, wiping his sword clean on some nearby grass
Turning back to the stone, Njall cleared his throat.
'So, uh... what do I call you? And what is it you want from me? I'll kill just about anything if the pay is right'
Again with the secrecy. Usually Rafe didn't care why someone wanted something stolen or who that someone was but right now not knowing really annoyed him. He thought of asking the elf more question but then decided against it. It didn't really matter. If anyone was going to walk out of here with the star it would be him. But he had to get rid of the elf first.
Rafe looked the elf over with a measuring glance.
"How fast can you run? Know any levitation spells?" he asked Auriel. "I'll need a distraction," the thief continued, ignoring Auriel's protests. "Get ready to run."
"Wait! What are you planning? What do you mean run?" the elf demanded, stepping away from the thief.
"Just run," Rafe said, taking out the rest of the stones he had picked up earlier. "Doesn't matter where as long as it's away from here. Don't worry, you can see in the dark, you'll be fine," he reassured the elf.
Not waiting for Auriel's reply, Rafe threw the rocks at the monster. It jumped up, growling in confusion and anger. "Hey! Over here!" the thief yelled, then jumped for cover.
Geron didn't utter a sound, but could feel the rotted flesh around his cheeks crack and break slightly as his smile stretched to a width it had never done so before. Jasper, disturbed by his master's sickening grin, followed behind him as he, in turn, walked behind the band of men. The lich's mind was alight, thinking of the possibilities this discovery would present; but more importantly, how it will help him.
Ah, a 'star' has finally fallen for me. Would a wish suffice? Maybe a sacrifice? Seven centuries and I will finally have an audience, or perhaps a second? Who's to say?
"Have you all made wishes yet? It is a custom, or was atleast."
Geron finally asked as they walked torwards an ever darkening horizon.
"Entertain you with my presence?" Winneke scoffed, climbing aboard the cart and planting himself next to the driver. "Good sir, I will entertain you with tricks and tales, illusion and ideas." He grinned widely at the driver, a sparkle in his eyes. Holding his right arm aloft, he flourished the hand and laughed gloriously as a dozen vultures, no bigger than a man's thumb, flew forth from his sleeve, calling high-pitched screeches to one another.
The driver attempted to bat away the winged creatures that circled his head, but Winneke assured him they were quite harmless. "Be wary though," the illusionist reproached the man, "these creatures of mine have relentless talons." The driver shifted uncomfortably as the vultures swooped down around his waist, one suddenly rising again carrying a small coin purse. "Relentless, thieving talons!" Winneke laughed excitedly.
Reaching up, the illusionist snatched the thieving vulture out of the air and, upon opening his hand, presented the driver with the coin purse. The culture was gone. Startled at the trick, the driver glanced above his head and saw nothing but clear skies. He smiled appreciatively at Winneke as he took his coin purse.
Impressive, magics, sir." The driver said, feeling more at ease with the strange man than previously before.
"I thank you," Winneke nodded. The illusionist hesitated a moment, on the verge of making some statement to the driver. "This treasure..." he waved vaguely at the cart's load, "where might you be taking it?"
Griff had hoped that just one animal would be enough for Cerkushy, he hadn't intended to slaughter many of them. Killing innocent creatures wasn't something he wanted to do either. He thought the situation over. Cerkushy hadn't said anything about the person it had to be, and Linley had it's fair share of criminals. Killers and thieves that no one would miss. Removing one of them might even be considered a good deed. He had killed people before, evil mages, tyrants and more of their type. While thinking he looked behind him, in the direction of Linley his face showing that he was deep in thought.
"Are you okay?" Aquea asked, apparently worried by this new expression that she couldn't recognize.
"Just fine," Griff said, already going over a list of known criminals in his head.
H.F.S bolted off into a tree, in a split second the screeching of animals started, blood, dead and injured birds and other animals started dropping out of the tree. H.F.S knew it would take many dead creatures to equal one of H.F.S's kin, though it is no problem to kill them. it didn't respond to the question I thought, so either it can't hear my thoughts, or it just won't tell me for its advantage. Though if it is communicating through thought why wouldn't it be able to hear my thoughts these and more thoughts were swirling through H.F.S's head as he continued going form tree to tree.
Aquea cried out in alarm at the sudden sight of so many dead creatures and blood. Griff raised his hand to cover her eyes but the damage was done. He decided then that he didn't want her to see him doing the same. Even if the only alternative was to kill a person, at least he could do that cleanly. He sighed heavily and decided on his course of action. He told himself it was for Aquea's sake, but deep down, he really wanted to know if Cerkushy could provide on his promise. Besides, it would be difficult to get her home if her had some curse or revenge to worry about. At least that what he was telling himself now.
"I will...be back soon," Griff said. He turned and headed for the stone bridge, Aquea followed closely.
"I want to go home," Aquea said sadly.
"I know, and I'll get you there," Griff said. "Can you wait in the river here for a moment? I just need to-"
"No!" Aquea said. "Don't leave me alone..."
"Alright, alright," Griff said. Aquea looked tired from using her wings for so long. She floated into Griff's arms and he carried her as he began to step across the bridge.
"You had better mean what you said" Griff thought, assuming Cerkushy could hear him.
Rolled an 18
Viverin goes to investigate the rock, pulling out his sword so that he wouldn't end up like the man and his dogs.
The monks had moved the "Gift" to the top floor of one of the high towers and Lanencuris was in council with some of his officers in what might have been the town hall.
The great northern Warlord sat at the head seat of a long rectangular table. His massive sword laid against the chair and his helmet rested on it's hilt. He sat with his chin resting on his fist listening to the points brought up by the other warriors before him, and as always, there was a representative of the Summit Monks in attendance.
"Why do we not simply march on Sky Valley?" one of the warriors spoke up. "No force can withstand the strength of the Durgerek!"
"We are indeed a mighty force, but we do not want to go to war with every army south of the Belt, at least not yet. We need to show other kingdoms that they have a choice other than surrender or death, and that they have the chance to become allies of the Legion." replied Garthoge who had returned from his expedition with yet another "Gift of Zagrakoth".
"If I may Warlord?" interrupted the warlock of the Order.
"Speak." replied Lanencuris.
The warlock gave a respectful nod before addressing the rest of the council.
"Zagrakoth has spoken to the Elders again, I received a raven just hours ago."
There was murmuring from all except Lanencuris, who only continued to sit and listen.
"The God of Black Stone has warned us of a terrible threat. He has warned that there is commotion in the Ice Lands and that powerful things are stirring. A scout ship was sent as soon as the message was passed down and we expect them to return with news in a week." the monk finished.
The warriors were silent. They were all reliving terrible memories or stories told to them by their parents of the war with the White Beasts. The only sound in the room was the quiet chink of metal moving as the Warlord leaned forward.
"Your silence is pathetic." he remarked with scorn. "Do you all quiver in your armor at the thought of the White Beasts? You, who call yourselves the hardened warriors of Black Stone? The first time we faced them we were weak and divided! We were unfamiliar with our enemy, but now, decades of progress and battle have passed, but you still go weak at the knees when the beasts are mentioned? WORTHLESS! The creatures from the Ice Lands have never faced the strength of a united Durgerek army, led by a champion of Zagrakoth! If they truly have returned and plan to attack us again, then we give them a reckoning the likes of which have not been seen since the war of the gods!"
The warriors cheered and chanted the name of their Warlord. Nothing could break the Durgerek.
Xander moved closer, and felt hr amulet stir. Allowing her mind to connect momentarily, she found the signal confused; there seemed to be powerful magical presences nearby, and potent magic of a scale above that of the druids outside. Worryingly, it felt like some chaotic evil was about to happen
As she reached the man in fron of her, she allowed her hand to return to her sword, "What are you doing here?" she demanded, "Are you the reason the druids are so worked up?"
"Don't worry, calm yourself, they do not yet know we are here, why they are stirred is not to my knowing," Screwtape said politely stepping aside to let her pass."
"we are here on a mission which doesn't concern you, and if you seek what we seek your intentions should be for good or problems will be had." he continued as he turned and stepped into the room where Saul was. "Saul, we have company, ready yourself." he said, watching the door to see if she followed.
Saul heard the voices outside and hastily re-packed his bag. Keeping the dagger clutched firmly in his right hand, he lept up and pressed himself against the wall, just behind the door. He raised the dagger into a striking position...
Its just your "friend" the demon whispered and he's brought the woman with him. More crusaders of light. Oh goodie. You might want to sheath the dagger by the way...
Saul nodded and did as the demon suggested, walking instead to face the door just as it opened.
Caw walked in, and behind him in the hallway stood the woman. Saul glanced at Caw, who seemed completely unconcerned by her presence. He guessed that she must be here for the same reason he was.
"Hi there." Saul began, extending an awkward hand towards her "I'm Saul, what's your name?"
Saul mentally kicked himself. What kind of a heroic greeting was "hi"??
"Hi there, I'm Saul. What's your name?" The boy was young, gangly and awkward, and seemed almost painfully aware of it.
She accepted the handshake, and in reply: "They call me Xander the Bright, Mistress Maker of the North." Still smiling kindly, she moved him gently out of the way and surveyed the room.
Saul was aware of how he'd been sidelined but tried not to seem concerned by it. Licking his lips he cleared his throat and looked at Caw.
"I've, urm, prepared the spell...it ought to..." he faultered. He had no idea what it would actually do. Normally he could tell but this one, it seemed powerful. Evil. Unpredictable.
Would you like me to interpret it for you? the demon asked
"Do it." Saul thought sharply
Well, seeing as you asked so nicely, how can I refuse? The spell you read was Vabadiel's chant of oblivion. Barabus lied, laughing inwardly All within 5 meters of you when you cast it will fade out of existance for a few minutes, while remaining safely anchored to the physical realm. Basically, you become little more than a hazy shadow. You'll be nearly undetectable.
Barabus reached out and whispered quietly to Screwtape
"The boy thinks the spell will merely conceal us." He sniggered "This is about to get amusing."
Saul cleared his throat and began again
"...That is, it'll make us undetectable." he glanced briefly at the woman, and was dissapointed to see she wasn't admiring his magical talent. He continued "By...urm, fazing us out of the physical realm into oblivion, so no magic can detect us and no-one can really see us!" Still no response. Saul opened his mouth to continue
Please, just stop! Barabus cackled You're embarrassing me!
Saul's shoulders sagged. "So, yeah." He finished quietly.
What viverin found behind the rock wasn't that suprising. A pair of mountain lions, presumably the ones responsible for the man and his dogs deaths, were huddled behind it, sleeping. It would seem that one was injured, though the wound seemed minor at this distance. Still, he didn't risk getting too close anyways though, fancying another idea. he stuck to the sides of the cave, inching his way along so as to make as little noise as possible.
As he moved his way along, he hit a patch of land that didn't feel all that stable, maybe it was sandy, maybe it was hollow, he didn't know. All he could tell was that he didn't want to stand on it anymore than he needed to so he moved off as quickly as possible. Finally, he had both lined up in his sights and sideways, and with that, he attacked, striking overhead, hoping to strike both at once...
(rolled a 16)
And hitting, cutting into the first, dealing what he hoped was a mortal blow, and mildly slicing into the second.
As you wish...
The voice of the stone makes a hissing noise:
Realize that that was a feeble goblin, and let yourself wonder what else I can do to this world around you...
As the voice finishes, the trees begin to shake as though it was flexing its muscles, and then they stop.
If you kill such for the price, how much is my boon worth to you?
I am, after all, Hagalz, the one who may disrupt the world; my boon would surely be an asset...
The great beast glares at you with nearly demonic eyes.
Enraged, it leaps towards the crack in the wall through which you threw the stones, and though it cannot fit, it continually tries to grab at the air where you stood.
Auriel never left to run, rather he painfully grabs you by the shoulder and yanks you towards him:
'By the spirits, what are you doing?!
The last thing we need is this thing on our backs, and when it comes to its senses and stops trying to get through this crack, it will be coming down this tunnel for you and me, and I won't meet my end by your hands!'
At that, you releases his grip and throws you to the ground.
As you land with a sharp pain on the stone floor, you catch a glimpse of Auriel running down the passage in the direction you were heading before he extinguishes his light and you are left in the orange glow of the room just beyond the wall.
The men did not bother to respond, or even turn around, clearly not caring for much else besides their apparent mission.
Minutes later, the man with the map catches up with the apparent leader and says something inaudible to him; the leader then halts the party and turns to face you:
'Right, then, it looks as though we have come quite a long ways; the star we saw earlier is very near to us at last.
And as for you, you have served us well enough, and we thank you.
If you would provide us with your name and town, we shall see to it that a small fee is payed to you within the week.
The rest of you, let us finish this final leg of the journey!'
And with giving hardly a moment for you to respon, he turns back around.
'Heh, oh that-
Some sort of an institution of magick in the city's northern district.
Basic things: pots, pans, lanterns...
You probably know the one: lots of towers.
Never understood why wizard needed all those towers...
You know I was going to take to the nut house, but I think after a trick like that, you may be more interested in the other institution.
H. F. S. & Griff
(H. F. S.) As the animals thudded to the ground, they quickly decomposed into the soil.
Something between a rumble and a purr grows in your thoughts:
You've done quite well.
For now this will do; the other one's sacrifice will surely be enough for me...
Go, help him; I do not trust that he will follow through, and he may need a slight 'push.'
(Griff) [i]That's right, go, and know your place, Griff...
The first beast cries out in pain, unable to even lash out at you.
The second one leaps away from your sword, still receiving a wound.
It quickly emits its claws and begins to back away from you slowly, staring you down the entire time.
Quickly, it stops backing away and instead jumps, head held back, but claws put forward fully, at you.
Before you can scramble away from the great beast, it inflicts a wound on you, thankfully just your off-hand.
Drake woke well before the dawn, in an attempt to puzzle out what the voice he had heard the previous night could have been. He relieved the Durgerek who was on watch, as he wouldn't have been able to fall back asleep anyway. The only thing he saw during the night that could have posed a problem was a lone wolf, probably curious about what was making the fire, and which quickly faded back into the darkness.
He woke up the party just as the sun was peeking over the horizon, and prepared breakfast over the coals of last nights fire. After everyone had eaten, he buried the coals to avoid a forest fire, and prepared the group to move out.
"If we're lucky, we won't meet with any trouble on the road." Drake said to the group. "Be on your guard just the same, though. I'll warn you if there is anything ahead." With that, he started off along the road, still keeping to the woods where he could, while the rest of the group trailed behind him.
H.F.S stopped just before striking down another creature as the voice told H.F.S enough creatures were killed, H.F.S was in a tree to far away from griff, for griff to hear H.F.S 'while I will follow griff, I will not force griff into to do an action griff doesn't want to do' H.F.S leaped down form the tree and walked up griff, H.F.S said 'so what are you going to do now, the voice said that I have made enough sacrifices'
"By...urm, fazing us out of the physical realm into oblivion, so no magic can detect us and no-one can really see us!" Xander raised an eyebrow, and the boy seemed to falter.
"So, yeah." he muttered, almost to himself, and was silent. Xander paused, in case there was more, but nothign was forthcoming.
"You're planning to cast a spell, and you don't even know how it works?" she shook her head, and consulted her amulet, letting it extend the senses of her mind...
She blinked, and shut off the connection. There was something powerful here, something chaotic and evil, and full of so much power that the amulet was thoroughly confused. It seemed to think there was at least three different sources present...
She looked around the room again, looking for the source, then focussed on the boy. He was hiding something, and not very well. Still smiling, she advanced.
"I can sense something powerful, something... evil" she said sweetly, though there was an undertone of menace, "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"
Saul gawped at her. How did she know??
Busted... Chuckled the voice
"How can you just say that?? How'd she know? Can't you conceal yourself?" Saul thought quickly. He'd walked into cathedrals before during services and no-one had batted an eye-lid!
She has powerful magic. Even YOU should be able to see that!
"So what do we do?" Saul began panicing, his mind racing, simultaneously trying to talk with the demon and come up with an excuse. He drew a blank.
"Urm..." He stuttered...flailing in the dark, as he took a step away from the woman, utterly preterbed by her demeanor "...it...could be...the bandits!"
That the best you can do?
"Yes! I mean...yes. The bandits that attacked caw here. They could still be nearby, waiting to attack any straggling druids..." He glanced conspiritorially over his shoulder, then leaned towards her "They could even be INSIDE already!"
Remind me to take over control of your tongue first...
Griff stopped at the stone bridge and let Aquea sit down on the edge. He took out his flask to have a drink but found it empty.
"Right, forgot that," he thought.
He gave the flask to Aquea and told her to refill it with water for her, as they might be away from the river for some time. She had just jumped into the water to refill the flask and refresh herself when H.F.S. asked Griff his plan.
"There is a path back across this bridge that leads north," Griff said, making sure Aquea didn't hear. "The path cuts through the forest and both sides are lined with trees. It's an area where many bandits and thieves like to wait. I figured I could find someone there and...do what had to be done. I'd rather it not be an innocent person if I have the choice,"
Aquea flew up out of the river, splashing water behind her. She looked more energized and less nervous after her swim, but she still hovered closely to Griff and seemed wary of H.F.S.
"You act in such a disgusting manner and you would wish to know my name? That is quite a demand, Minx, especially when you have given me no information as to what you want with 'them'."
Geron had stopped walking when he replied to the leader of the masked men. Jasper began to draw his serrated blade and growl viciously. The lich's smile shown like obsidian in the daylight; his skin held a pale, yellowish tint. The very sun seemed to be repelled by his noxious grin and decayed flesh.
"Now, please, tell me who you work for and what you want with 'them'."
H.F.S listened to Griff, when H.F.S heard the words, bandits and thieves So it is true the surface races to steal form each other in mass thought H.F.S. Once griff was finished H.F.S said 'I will follow you to these "bandits and thieves" as you call them, but I will tell you that I will decide who to help after we get there'
That didn't go as planned. Rafe thought as he stood up gingerly. I swear that that crack seemed wide enough. But I guess it worked out well enough. He was rid of the elf and both the beast and the old man seemed to have disappeared somewhere. Seeing his chance, Rafe went into the circular room.
I is it just me or is this crack getting smaller? he thought when he finally managed to squeezed himself into the room. Now that the beast was gone the chests looked much more appealing. The star could be in any one of them. Not wasting any time, the thief started searching through the chests, pocketing anything that looked valuable or caught his fancy.