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  1. - Top - End - #241
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Perth, West Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Noon, Day 3
    Complication Pool: 3 of 6

    And indeed it was because he chose that particular moment to hook his foot into Stormrir's stirrup, just as he swung himself into the saddle and grumbled "Best be about it then" that Njal saw it, out of the corner of his eye. Something that didn't quite match.

    Nothing hostile; nothing living. It was in what remained of the stables: one small part of the structure was still intact, a couple of roofbeams still with old-looking thatch on them. On top of one of those roofbeams (and maybe that explained why neither Ramiro nor any of them had seen the thing from ground level) there was a glint of steel: something that looked like an arrowhead. And when he focused, what might have been some sort of arc, perhaps that of a bow.

  2. - Top - End - #242
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Njal

    Njal froze, and slowly dropped from the saddle "Why be this eh? Hey, big man, heft someone up there, there be something on that beam" he calls to Roland approaching the dilapidated structure carefully.
    Thanks to Emperor Ing for the nice Avatar

  3. - Top - End - #243
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Verglas

    Sometimes, the way to burst through a wall is with brute force, or by climbing over it, or squeezing through a crack. And sometimes, you just recognize that it's a wall, and follow along until it agrees to move on with the journey because you need it to follow the tracks in the f*cking snow.

    Verglas follows Njal's point, and wearily glances back at Roland.

    "I'm small and light. Heft me up there."
    Despair favours the status quo. It is a luxury we cannot afford. ~ Andrew Nikiforuk

    Quote Originally Posted by jakarta View Post
    I'm an English teacher. You are misapplying the concept of "singular they".
    If you want the full lecture we can do it in private.

  4. - Top - End - #244
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2020

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Roland

    Breathing a congested sigh of relief at Njal's decision, Roland sneezes into the snow as the dwarf spots something previously undiscovered. Roland follows the other 3 pairs of eyes up to the glint of steel on the snow-covered roof and nods, stifling a groan as he rises.

    "That you are, Verglas," Roland says, walking over to the edge of the structure and lifting her easily. "Up you go." With little effort, Roland lifts the wisp of a gnome up as high as he can to try to make it as easy as possible for her to get a closer look.

  5. - Top - End - #245
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Perth, West Australia
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    Male

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Noon, Day 3
    Complication Pool: 3 of 6

    Roland boosted Verglas up onto the beam, which was a horizontal supporting the ruined triangle of the roof and actually a little sheltered from the constant bite of the wind. The beam was thick and made of oak or perhaps wanderwood; rich foundations indeed and surely imported here. The only oaks she'd ever heard of grew in sad-looking twists, barely green, on the southernmost coasts of Gullcry, and didn't last long. This oak could have been brought all the way from the Archipelagos.

    Either way, with its two-foot-wide span, it was easy enough for her to sit on, and from here she had a decent view of the snow-covered yard which all of the farm buildings faced on. An old, frayed-looking hemp rope hung listlessly down from this beam to the stable floor a good eight feet below, secured by a nail and lashed around the beam.

    This was a sniper's nest. Or maybe some last desperate redoubt in the event of attack. She realised that now. Because the gleam of steel Njal had seen from horseback was that of a crossbow, lying under an old, stained oilcloth, with a bolt in the flight groove but the bowstring unlocked. Another ten bolts sat beside it on the beam under another cloth. The crossbow at least looked to have been well-cared-for, or maybe it was more the expense of it: the wood of the foregrip, trigger, stock, and limbs gleamed with oil and the steel parts of the weapon didn't seem to have rusted. The wood of the weapon's foregrip had also been carved with what looked to be representations of gems and a hammer and anvil, which was odd.

    As were the other carvings she could see. The beam itself and the wood around her had been scratched into with markings that looked to be writing. Not the calligraphy of gnomes, and certainly not the flowing, beautiful, terrifying text of the samples of elven writing she'd secretly studied over the years. No, these were much more runic. Dwarven. The one language she hadn't learned to read. And even then, the runes didn't have the customary, straight-up-and-down forms of dwarven runes. These were more ... haphazard. Scrawled, insofar as you could scrawl carvings. As though the writer wasn't fully in his (or her) right frame of mind while doing them.

  6. - Top - End - #246
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Verglas

    Verglas looks around the hidey-hole, then calls down reluctantly.

    "Njal you may want to have a look up here There's a bunch of scrawled and weird-looking dwarven runes Almost like someone hung around in this spot too long and went crazy I wonder what that would be like And a fancy-ass crossbow with like a hammer and anvil worked into it and the solid dwarven kind that you might know more about than me Not being racist about this but if it were gnomish in make then the anvil would have a longer and narrower horn plus the crossbow wouldn't be as big as I am So it seems like this is the kind of spot you hole up in when you want to shoot a bunch of people before they oh say for instance get angry and burn your f*cking house down."

    She bends to take a closer look at the crossbow, and takes another look around up in the nook. If she sees nothing else, she hands the crossbow and bolts down to Roland, and lowers herself into his arms with a grunt of sore joints.

    Spoiler: OoC
    Show
    Search (1d20+4)[13] to notice any other hidden bits in the nook
    Knowledge History (1d20+9)[15] to determine whether the crossbow's markings have a specific meaning
    Decipher Script (1d20+5)[6] to try to make out any of the language in the runes.
    Despair favours the status quo. It is a luxury we cannot afford. ~ Andrew Nikiforuk

    Quote Originally Posted by jakarta View Post
    I'm an English teacher. You are misapplying the concept of "singular they".
    If you want the full lecture we can do it in private.

  7. - Top - End - #247
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Perth, West Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Noon, Day 3
    Complication Pool: 3 of 6

    Spoiler: Verglas
    Show
    The hammer and anvil marking on the crossbow indicated, so far as Verglas could remember, that it was of dwarven make. Magical weapons - such as the maul Roland had found in the roadside shrine - tended to have more intricate patterns carved on them since there was a certain art to causing the energy to flow correctly through the weapon. But the hammer and anvil mark was common enough to indicate a dwarf of the Dragontooth Mountains or perhaps one resident in the city of Thandar had made this weapon. She seemed to remember that the precise angle at which the hammer was carved in relation to the anvil had some relationship to which clan or which smith had actually made the weapon, but the specifics otherwise were lost to the mists of time.


    Verglas had a good look around but couldn't see anything else of interest in the nook; no space for a secret door or chamber, even for someone the size of a gnome, and nothing else but the random scrawlings written here or above her.

  8. - Top - End - #248
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    UK
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    Male

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Njal "Stormcaller"

    Njal shuffles hurriedly across and clambers up with Roland's help. He spends some time looking at the dwarven runes with curiosity reading them aloud to everyone to see if the words have any meaning to the wider group. At Verglas's words he nods, "Aye, looks to be a last stand so it does." He glances at the crossbow then down at the pot where the skull had been, wondering if there is a link between them.

    Looking at the crossbow itself, he nods in approval. "A finely made think. Sure one of you folks would bear it well."
    Thanks to Emperor Ing for the nice Avatar

  9. - Top - End - #249
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Verglas

    Happy that the mystery was solved*, Verglas was content to sesttle back on Horsething and wait.



    * Or, at least, had exhausted the small amount of curiosity she had felt for it.
    Last edited by Toliudar; 2020-10-16 at 01:27 AM.
    Despair favours the status quo. It is a luxury we cannot afford. ~ Andrew Nikiforuk

    Quote Originally Posted by jakarta View Post
    I'm an English teacher. You are misapplying the concept of "singular they".
    If you want the full lecture we can do it in private.

  10. - Top - End - #250
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Perth, West Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Noon, Day 3
    Complication Pool: 3 of 6

    Njal frowned over the runes written all over the beam and the vertical. They were certainly dwarven, but whoever had written them was clearly most of the way out of his mind if not completely departed. The phrases were mostly gibberish, random words here and there, and phrases that didn't even seem to be familiar in the dwarven tongue.

    KA-TET!
    O DISCORDIA!
    HAIL LOS THE RED!
    BLAINE BLAINE THE TRAIN IS A PAIN
    COMMALA AND O-RIZA
    THANKEE-SAI
    .

    Here and there the phrase 'THE TOWER AND THE BEAM' had been dug deep into the wood as well.

    The most understandable bit of text amongst all of what Njal could see was also the one written in what seemed to be the strongest hand, or the neatest carving anyway. It actually wasn't just a phrase. Njal was surprised to realise it was a dwarven kang-soha, a form of poetry popular in some segments of dwarven society; the rigid form appealed to dwarves' mindsets. It was practised often by elders of the dwarven clans as they drew near to the time of their call to join their ancestors.

    She sings the sad wind
    Woman of tears and water
    A lover alone


    Njal had to translate it into Common, of course, which meant the stark beauty of the phrases were lost.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    By the way, the crossbow is a masterwork crossbow - Njal or Roland would see that. Comes with 11 bolts.

  11. - Top - End - #251
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2020

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Roland

    After helping Verglas down from the roof and up onto Ember, Roland grabs the crossbow from Njal and examines it for a moment, stopping briefly for a bout of coughing. It was indeed well-made, but ultimately wasted in his hands.

    For a moment he's a kid again, hunting with his father, shivering in the cold with what passed for their furs. They'd spotted a few deer tracks, but even when dad was in his cups he wasn't stupid enough to think that was a good idea. Those were Lord Wayland's deer. They waited in the brush and sure enough, a plump hare bounced through the clearing not 10 feet away and came to a stop, sniffing the air. Grandpa's old crossbow bucked in his hands and the shot went wide by a mile.

    "I'm not much of a marksmen," he says, looking around at the others for one of them to volunteer to take the weapon. "Dad used to say, 'Roland, you couldn't hit water if you fell out of a f*ckin' boat.'" Rubbing his ear subconsciously where dad had cuffed him, he hands the crossbow over to Ramiro for him to take a look. "Suppose he had to be right about something eventually," Roland says, turning back to Njal and frowning at the dwarf's expression. "What's wrong?"
    Last edited by Riggdgames; 2020-10-15 at 07:15 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #252
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Njal "Stormcaller"

    THe dwarf hands the crossbow over without a word, the cold metal not a thing he was fond of, he preferred the honest work of stones and bones. "A sad poem that one, a well worded one and ye' can feel the loss keen, like the wind blowing through ye'." Happy to let one of the others look after the fine dwarven weapon (or if no-one claims it he'll tuck into the saddle bags) he'll saddel bag up. "best continue after the lass then..." followed by a lower mutter in druidic "even whilst she be prey and likley bones by now...."

    He kicks Stormrir into a canter, eager to be away from the sad ruins of the hut and the bodies and misery within
    Thanks to Emperor Ing for the nice Avatar

  13. - Top - End - #253
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Perth, West Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: A Gathering Storm

    Mid-Afternoon, Day 4
    Complication Pool: 4 of 6

    The four adventurers resumed their course, heading northwest. The hills continued to grow in size and treacherousness, the wind howling and now taking up the scream as it passed through thin defilades of rock and ice. There were still the occasional stands of dead and living fir in the more sheltered areas, but nothing blocked their passage. The mountains of the Spear rose high above them now, a great black ridge dotted with snow.

    And it was sometime around mid-afternoon that Njal realised they were lost.

    Spoiler: Njal
    Show
    According to the map of the Valley of the Spear, they should have reached the Old Fort around noon. Allowing for their various sidetrips and confrontations with local monsters, the time had still clearly passed for arrival. There was no sign of any approach, nor of Lastbreath Pass - only the high wall of the Spear, unbroken and seemingly impassable.

    They were, in spite of his best efforts through howling wind and half-blinding snow, lost.

    Or at least off-target, anyway. The Spear itself was a landmark in itself, so at least they weren't wandering on a flat glacier or unbroken snowfield. And it stood to reason that if the Old Fort stood at the southern end of Lastbreath Pass, then at least there were two clear options to try and find the Fort. One was to assume they had veered west of the Old Fort, and accordingly follow the line of the Spear east. The other was to assume they had veered east, and do the opposite: head west.

    Travelling east, at least, had a concrete anchor available to it: if they went east and found themselves coming to that part of the Valley where the range turned south, they'd know they'd gone east of their target and accordingly turn back west. They would certainly not miss the Old Fort that way, but it would take more time to find the Pass.

    Travelling west, on the other hand, was more of a gamble. If they had come out east of the Old Fort, then they should run into the Old Fort fairly shortly. If they had come out west of the Old Fort, though, then turning to travel west was moving away from the Old Fort and taking so much more time ... especially as they had no idea how far west they had come out.

    And there was one other alternative: trying to reach higher ground still and attempting to see if they could spot some sign of Lastbreath Pass. That would surely take a couple of hours and involve possibly dangerous climbing up into the Spear ... a mountain range impassable except at the Pass, although certainly not devoid of life. Oh, no. All manner of things survived even in cold mountains in Horizon.

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