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  1. - Top - End - #151
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Galathir's Avatar

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    Shaking her head, Janen rushes back into the kitchen and starts scooping utensils and other items into a rough wooden crate that was lying by the door. Quickly setting it outside along with the locked box, she gathers a large breath of fresh air, and helps Alwynn drag out a modest chest of drawers that seems to contain clothing and bedding materials.

    Coughing from the smoke, you set it outside but by then the house is well and truly ablaze and it would be foolish to go back in. Hideous screams, almost too high pitched to hear, issue from the loft and as the fire consumes the roof, the whole structure collapses in a gigantic cloud of noxious green smoke. Scrambling desperately, you manage to pull Wilbur away from the burning debris and save the few belongings you've pulled from the house.

    Wilbur hacks deep in his throat for a few minutes, but he recovers and lies weakly on the ground, too exhausted to do much more then tilt his head to see the remains of what was once his home.
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  2. - Top - End - #152
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Alwynn plonks himself down next to the old man and admires the blaze.
    "So, dear fellow," he begins. "Might I recommend that you start talking?"

  3. - Top - End - #153
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Galathir's Avatar

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    Wilbur coughs again, and then sits up. His face, while still rather ashen, looks almost normal. "I'm happy to talk, but I'm afraid I don't know much more then you do. I haven't been myself lately. I know my daughter has been getting . . . weird and perhaps I should have stepped in and put a stop to it, but she was just so convincing. She's dead now, isn't she, and I've got nothing. I thank you for leaving me alive, but I fear I have nowhere to turn. Perhaps it would be best if you left me in Dunwich. I can mayhap find work there and someone willing to take me in."
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  4. - Top - End - #154
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    (1d20+3)[8] sense motive


    "Perhaps you should, in time, but now you're going to need to try and tell us more. What were you doing getting involved with the Mazurewicks, of all things? Does Robin not provide?" Saddened by the man's story, but worldly enough to know that there's more to it than he's being told, Vinto kneels beside Wilbur. "We need to know what's going on here. We can't deal with more of these cults springing up." As an aside, he explains to Alwynn and the others about the Mazurewicks, and their travesties. "If there's anything you can tell us - we need to let the right people know, now."

  5. - Top - End - #155
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Galathir's Avatar

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    A shadow of fear crossed Wilbur's countenance when he heard the word "Mazurewicks", but only for the briefest of seconds and then his face fell back into the blank stare that he had previously shown. "Yes . . . Robin . . . of course he provides. It was all my daughter. She found this book, an ancient tome of some sort, but I only saw it once. And evil thing. She did all this, and she did something to me . . ."

    Wilbur coughs violently and as he covers his mouth with his hand, he leans forward, almost falling over. He just manages to recover himself and sits back upright again. "There was something about a dragon though, or someone of dragon blood. Their eyes are strong, you know. Perhaps that would bring back my memory."
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  6. - Top - End - #156
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Galathir's Avatar

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    Janen looks around at her companions. "Perhaps there is indeed some truth in what you say. I am afraid we have no dragons with us, but I have their blood in my veins, and that is the best you will get here. Time is not on our side, and while we cannot leave this matter unresolved, duty does call us elsewhere. I shall help you if I can, but I will expect your honesty and expediency."

    She kneels beside Wilbur and stares into his vacant eyes with her bright silver ones. The breeze tosses her hair around but she remains perfectly still, as if trying to summon up all the power of the draconic heritage and the blood of her ancestors. Slowly, the normal colour of Wilbur's face returns and his eyes grow brighter and more aware. Wilbur brings his face a bit closer and then, his left hand moves in a flash of silver, and he leans back, relaxed.

    Janen's look of concentration is frozen on her face for a second, and then is transformed into pure shock. Her eyes open wide and her mouth opens as she sways back and forth like a tumbler trying to balance a long pole in his hand. At first, you see only the thinnest hairline crease of red along her neck, but as she leans backwards, her head tilts and the crease widens into a gaping gash that seems to have been cut all the way to the spine. Blood gurgles out, frothy pink, and a single drop of crimson appears at the corner of Janen's mouth. She gives out a wheezing, bubbling gasp, and then collapses backwards, sprawled in a grotesque mockery of the magnificent draconic ascendant you had come to know; her snowy wings lying askew and now stained with blood. A final whisper of breath issues between her lips and you can make out the name: "Norvartis . . .".

    The wind suddenly picks up and gently blows her hair around in beautiful serenity and all is still.
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  7. - Top - End - #157
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Alwynn is crouching next to them, watching the man with narrowed, suspicious eyes. Despite his readiness, however, even he isn't quick enough to grab the knife.
    Instead, quick as a flash, he raises his staff and smashes it into the old man's face, shattering his nose. Almost at the same time, he twitches his wrist and a slender twig slides into his grip. He points it at Janen and swishes its magic at her, his other arm cradling her body.
    As he does this, he howls at the others, "Noone searched him? No one thought to check him for weapons?!"

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    Trying to Cure Light Wounds with the wand.

  8. - Top - End - #158
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GrassyGnoll's Avatar

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    Sanfeng catches the geezer's head and drops a hammer fist on his skull, putting an end to his cunning.

    "The body is a weapon," Sanfeng grumbles. The stolid orc watches Janen bleed out. Brut's expression sours at the latest turn in their fiasco of a road stop. He doesn't utter his final verdict, though it dominates his thoughts.

    And caution is a shield.
    A post about nothing.

  9. - Top - End - #159
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Vinto curses himself, curses his fool trust in the man, and his lack of forethought. Though he'd only just met her, the unnecessary death of a friend and one who would stand against the dark was always something to mourn. If not for the suddenness, the shock of it, he might have saved her...

  10. - Top - End - #160
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Galathir's Avatar

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    As Wilbur falls back to the ground, a smug grin appears on his face, but it is soon smeared into a bloody streak as Alwynn's staff and Sanfeng's fist pummel his head. He collapses motionless save for a single twitch of his legs as a small pool of blood puddles around his head. The silence of the early afternoon is only broken by the snapping and cracking of the remaining embers and the soothing rustle of the grasses in the wind.

    All is still for a moment, and then Janen's body slowly begins to fade away. At first it is only a faint translucence at the fingertips, but then her entire body begins to fade from view; even the blood-soaked earth beneath her turns back to its original form and after a few moments, there remains no sign of her previous existence.

    You gaze in surprise, but then you somehow hear a faint but familiar voice speaking to you. "Cast aside your fears and sorrows, my friend. Your companion is safe with me now and she has passed into my presence with honour and valour. She has called upon the Favour of the Dragon and I have brought her home. Continue on your mission without sadness, and I shall endeavour to send a new companion to aid you. You will know him by the sign he shall bear: a pendant of gold, in the form of a dragon, with tooth and nail of adamant and eye of ruby. Take courage then, and stay the course. My faith in you is not lessened and I have full confidence that you will see your duty through until the end."
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  11. - Top - End - #161
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Alwynn caresses Janen's hair as she fades away. He stays knelt, gazing at the spot for some time after she's gone. He mutters something, sighs, and then gets up to stare at the fire again, looking hard for any movement - just in case.

  12. - Top - End - #162
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Galathir's Avatar

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    You gaze in silence for a moment, and then get to your feet. Time is passing and you might as well make use of the daylight while you can. Turning you backs on the accursed homestead, you head back to the path and continue west. The way is rather rough going for a few miles, with damp swampy patches and deep ravines crossed by fragile swaying rope bridges, but you pass without incident. The road once again evens out and the soil turns ever sandier and drier. The towering trees that have accompanied you thus far become shrunken and surrounded by a sea of wiry shrub brush. By the time dusk arrives the trees are almost gone and with the last gleam of the sun, you can see before you the open stretch of desert. The sky is calm and clear now, but you all know of its reputation for sudden and violent storms.
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  13. - Top - End - #163
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    "The next time we stop at a place, I vote we burn it to the ground first," Vinto jokes, "That way we'll get a decent breakfast, at least..."

  14. - Top - End - #164
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    "Hmmm," Sanfeng hums in agreement. The orc uses the shaft of his greataxe as a makeshift walking stick along the rough road.
    A post about nothing.

  15. - Top - End - #165
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Alwynn protests, "but then we wouldn't get to try their delicious dinner!" He licks his lips at the memory.

  16. - Top - End - #166
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    "Knowing the Mazurewicks, it was probably human flesh, turned and disguised," Vinto teases.

  17. - Top - End - #167
    Colossus in the Playground
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    That causes Alwynn to stop in his tracks, his features passing through a variety of expressions. After a minute he shakes his head and starts walking again. He gives Vinto a mock-stern glare.
    "You just can't let me enjoy anything, can you."

  18. - Top - End - #168
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    "Relax," he carries on, "If you begin turning into an unspeakable abomination, I'll make sure you're well fed and cared for. You have my word!" he holds his hand over his heart, and his face is even solemn for a second, before he bursts out into laughter, unable to sustain the jest.

  19. - Top - End - #169
    Colossus in the Playground
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    "You mean you don't think I'm already an unspeakable abomination? Aw, that's sweet. Nicest thing anyone's said to me all... minute."

  20. - Top - End - #170
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Galathir's Avatar

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    You crest a small rise and before you the ground falls away into a long narrow valley, running north to south, and stretching out of sight in the glowing purple shades of twilight. A thin stream meanders its way through the bottom and the sides of the valley slope up gently to meet the sandy wastes on the other side. A dry dusty odour is carried on the wind blowing into your faces but everything is silent and still.
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  21. - Top - End - #171
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Sanfeng gazes over the lowland valley. The bright, distant wastes hurt his beady eyes.

    "Let's not dally in the open. What is it you lowlanders use for shelter in sandstorms?"
    A post about nothing.

  22. - Top - End - #172
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    "Ususally I just hide under whoever's larger than I am, and hope for the best." Vinto's a bit forlorn; his jests don't take much edge off of his failure at the Mazurewicks'. As well, if there was a storm coming, there wasn't much place for them to take shelter. "In all seriousness, we should search for someplace to weather ourselves."

  23. - Top - End - #173
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    You all stand at the edge of the shallow valley pondering your next move. The moon has begun its slow stately climb across the star-studded sky, shedding a faint white glow across the land. A cool evening breeze rustles the leaves of the shrubs around you and the air is full of the sultry, sensual peacefulness that only happens on those rare warm evenings of late summer. At first you think it is your imagination, but you almost hear the words of a song, the melody rising and falling with the gentle sweetness of a rich baritone. The words grow louder though, and the person singing them gradually approaches.

    " . . . Oh, twilight comes and softly now,
    The glowing wisps of cloud above
    Fade out from view and now I vow
    That you shall be my lasting love . . ."


    You gaze in wonder as you can make out the dim figure of a man striding up the path you have so recently trod, heading towards you, apparently unaware of your presence. His soulful (and perhaps, overly sappy) lyrics are accompanied by the delicate plucking of a lute. He continues on his way, apparently oblivious to the three of you.
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  24. - Top - End - #174
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Vinto leans toward Alwynn, a bit of humor creeping back into his voice. "Looks like I'm not the only one who likes you~"
    Last edited by chrisrawr; 2011-06-07 at 11:51 PM.

  25. - Top - End - #175
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Alwynn harrumphs at Vinto, then calls out to the passing man, "Hey, fellow! Stay a moment. Do you know anything of this path?"

  26. - Top - End - #176
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Galathir's Avatar

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    His singing stops immediately, and he turns to look at you with an appraising eye. He is dressed in entirely in light blue cloth, with well worn brown boots and a wide brown belt around his waist. He has a thick thatch of brown hair and a neatly trimmed beard along with friendly green eyes. He straps his lute across his back with a casual motion and smiles.

    "Oh, greetings fellow travellers. I had not known that Robin send an audience for me to grace with my song. Had I know so, I would have had a hat out for donations!" He give an easy laugh and sweeps down in a low bow. "My name, dear sirs, is Galwaith Harkenford the Fourth. If I can be of service, my time and talents are humbly yours."
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  27. - Top - End - #177
    Colossus in the Playground
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    "Donations? Here, have a lolly." Alwynn holds out a bag of sweets.

  28. - Top - End - #178
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    Galwaith drops to one knee and graps Alwynn's outstretched hand. He reaches delicately into the bag, as if it contained a treasure he had spend a lifetime searching for, and carefully plucked a single candy from the selection offered. He holds up his finger and solemnly glances at each of you in turn. He places it in his mouth, and savours the flavour with all the charismatic flamboyance of a lolly connoisseur.

    "Outstanding, absolutely the best lolly I have ever tasted, and I sir, am forever indebted to you for the sublime enlightenment you have so freely granted upon me. I had thought that a lolly of this magnificence, no, this . . . splendiferous supremacy, could not exist upon this earth, but you sir, have taught me otherwise. You have my lasting friendship and undying gratitude. I hesitate to add to the kindness you have already shown me, but I say, old chaps, would you mind terribly if I was to join around your fire this fine evening? I fear I have but little to offer in the way of food, but I do have a bit of fine Icarian Brandy and tales enough to make the hours pass swiftly."
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  29. - Top - End - #179
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Alwynn beams.
    "At last! A true cognoscente on the subject of sweet dainties! Help us decide where we shall place aforementioned fire, and I will show you the really good stuff."
    He drapes an arm over the man's shoulder and searches the landscape dramatically.

  30. - Top - End - #180
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Galwaith swaggers next to you as if the two of you had been friends for life. He keeps up an incessant chatter as he follows Alwynn. "Has anyone ever told you that you are a gem of civility and kindness out there in this forsaken wilderness? Indeed, I was expecting to go hungry tonight, soothed to sleep by nought but the sound of my own voice and a bit of brandy. Instead, I find a fire, food, friends, and the most delicious deposit of candied confections and luscious lollies. A fire though, if I recollect correctly, I was through these parts just a few months back and I believe I made camp just a hop, skip, and jump up the valley. A lovely spot, sheltered from the wind, level and convenient to the stream. A bit late for it now, but it was also a fragrant repository of the juiciest blackberries you have ever seen. I spent the entire evening lying on the soft grass listening to the robins and sparrows sing and smelling the fresh odour of budding honeysuckle. It's just up this way, you can almost see it from here, you'll love it, I promise you. You do have food right? I could eat a horse, although I'd much rather not. Perhaps a roast ox? With fresh wild mushrooms and onions and maybe some roast potatoes? I do believe there was some thyme growing and that makes for some fantastic roast potatoes, especially if you have a little salt, which I don't, but I trust that you do. Or we could just eat lollies all night and talk about your travels and how a lovely lad such as yourself finds himself on the edge of the desert instead of gallivanting around in some formal ball or lawn party."
    Last edited by Galathir; 2011-06-08 at 11:19 PM.
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