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Ashes of Middenheim Chapter Three (IC thread)


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#41 Orcslicer

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 03:48 PM

"If you say so," shrugged Orderic, clearly unconvinced. "But I have seen you lose control of your magic before, in Middenheim. Consider what damage you could do to Lady Abendroth."
_____________

It takes only a small amount of time for Julen to doze off, but he feels like he has only been asleep for seconds when he is prodded cautiously awake by Skalf. The fire has died down to embers, but has done its job of drying Julen out [Though the stench is quite strong downwind of his change of clothes].
"There's witchcraft or summat abroad," murmurs the dwarf. "Could swear I saw a ghost walking through the trees."

He points through the trees, at a distant spot. Nothing happens again for a while, but between the trees you see a figure gliding along. It appears to be a woman, dressed all in white. She flickers, seemingly, illuminated by the moonlight.

#42 paraicj

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 04:25 PM

Julen awoke, nse wrinkling at his own smell. Hopefully his other clothes, bloody though they were, would be dry soon. His face paled at the words of the Dwarf. A ghost? Fantasma DE la noche... would this infernal adventure ever end? He got up slowly, buckling his sword belt on, little use though it may be. "I will go closer to see what manner of being this is. Be ready with your magics, priest, they have proven useful before." He stretched, unkinking his muscles, still stiff. "Hopefully it is but a wandering spirit of some kind, but we shall see. Nothing surprises me anymore." Ruefully shaking his head, he made towards the figure, moving as quietly as he could.

OOC: Rolled a 26 for Move Silently, not sure where that is on the pass-fail spectrum! :)

#43 Orcslicer

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 05:05 PM

"I'm a priest, not a bloody wizard," growls Skalf, softly. "You want magic tricks, go to a carnival." The priest hangs back, and kneels, whispering a prayer to Gazul.
The duellist sneaks closer and closer without so much as breaking a twig on the ground. As he moves within around ten meters, he can detect noise of her dress skimming the leaves on the shrubs. The white woman becomes clearer, but facing the other way you can tell no more about her other than the dignified way that she moves.

Moving a further step forward to meld with the trunk of a tree, Julen feels an arm clamp around his mouth and a dagger held at his neck.

I'm sure you can tell where this was going, but I rolled a perception test on your behalf in order for me to complete a couple of opposed rolls. Humorously enough, both you and Maeglin are such masters of sneaking, that you fail to spot one another until you practically are touching.

Both you and Hyarion can feel free to continue this encounter how you wish. Maeglin recognises Julen a second or so after getting him at knife point, before which he believes him to be some kind of foul smelling mutant or ghoul or something.

Julen is currently unaware who holds him [Though a challenging perception check will jog his memory of the wood elf's curious earthy smell]. Anna notices none of this drama, and walks on.

EDIT: And just to put things in the right perspective of time and distance, this event occurs after about 25mins wandering from Anna.

Edited by Orcslicer, 25 July 2009 - 05:48 PM.


#44 Hyarion

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 06:08 PM

"... Julen? Why you felt the need to bring that smell all this way, I don't know; but I am glad to see you. I hope I didn't scare you too badly but apologies and stories can wait. I am following Anna to keep her from harm but her reverie can wait. Lead me to the dwarves, if they still live, and I will take you to our campsite which is not far, I know the others will be glad of the good news." said Maeglin, his smile hidden in the darkness, as he released Julen and sheathed his knife.

Striding quickly in Anna's direction, he spoke just loud enough to be heard "Lady, soon there will be time enough for company with your thoughts, but for now, come back and rejoin your companions and be glad."

#45 Eldacar

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 01:03 AM

Allaen only raised an eyebrow in the knight's direction. "I honestly am not sure what you are talking about," he said.

#46 Orcslicer

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 04:55 PM

Orderic lets out a dissatisfied sigh and moves to one of the tents to pray before laying himself to rest, leaving Allaen by the fire with the sleeping Odo. The priest is clearly not having a restful dream, and though he tosses and turns little, he is perspiring and occasionally outbursts into muttering.

___________

Anna reaches with a start for her dagger, startled as she is by the sudden appearance of the elf. "Sigmar damn you Maeglin, you spooked me," she gasps, "Were you foll-" she begins to demand, but interrupts herself with a squeal of delight as she spots the duellist. "Julen, you're alive!" She runs to hug him, all smiles, but withdraws quickly at the prominent sewage smell. "And the dwarfs?"

"Here lass," says Skalf, shuffling from the shadows, and accepting her hug with an embarrassed grin. "Gurni's in a bad way though, and we'd appreciate you'n Maeglin's help in moving him. We're holed down not far off, seeing as we couldn't pick up your trail in the dark."

Edited by Orcslicer, 26 July 2009 - 04:56 PM.


#47 paraicj

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 12:22 PM

Julen's blood ran cold as he was grabbed, something sharp against his neck. To end like this...

His relief knew no bounds when the voice in his ear spoke. Bloody stealthy elf!

He had no time to reply as Maeglin strode towards the figure ,revealing it as Anna. She was, of course, glad to see him, and it was good to see her cheerful. He gave her a quick bow and an apologetic smile for the smell.

"Skalf is right, Gurni is in bad trouble and needs help. Let us save the joy of reunion until he is safe."

#48 Orcslicer

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 12:50 PM

Together then, the stragglers are guided by Maeglin back to the camp, bearing Gurni between them. It is around midnight when you are reunited at the camp. [Presumably with Allaen keeping watch, unless you either forget to post someone or make some other agreement].

#49 Hyarion

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:06 PM

Moving silently was proving all but impossible while he was helping to support Gurni's considerable bulk, much to Maeglin's frustration. Easing Gurni down near the remains of the fire he straightened trying to ease the stiff muscles in his back and legs, he staggered off to go find some sleep.

#50 Eldacar

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 01:54 AM

"So who will take the second watch?" Allaen asked quietly.

#51 paraicj

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 12:15 PM

"I have slept already this night," Julen said, hanging his damp clothes by the fire, fervently wishing he could get out of the rancid attire he was in. "I will take the second watch. Get some rest all of you. The journey back is likely to be trying too."

#52 Ashnari Doomsong

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 10:25 PM

A cough.
Another cough, then a wheeze. Then a groan; his head hurt like the denizens of Hell itself were dancing a merry jig through it, and most of the rest of his body was even worse.
He opened his eyes blearily.
"So, I'm not dead then I take it?"

#53 Orcslicer

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 01:35 PM

Skalf grins to see his friend revived. "Nay," he replies, in Khazalid, "unless Gazul has punished me and sent me to the hellish presence of your company. Get some rest, we've got a long way to go."

The scholar's wheezy revival awakes Odo, and he gets up and greets everyone warmly.
"Ulric has heard my prayers! Julen my boy, I'm glad you are alive! And Skalf, and Gurni... it is good to see you again!"
________________________

With that, the camp settles down, resolving to move on as soon as it gets light the next morning (around 8am). The night passes without major incident, Julen taking the first watch, Skalf is woken for the second. The final shift is taken by Orderic, and it is he that wakes the camp as dawn begins to stretch across the sky.

The sky is beginning to become more patchy with cloud, after a cold night without any cover. The ground is covered in a light dusting of frost that very slowly begins to melt in the late autumn sun.

Once breakfast is eaten, you begin to pack up your things. It is only then that your troubles seem to begin...


"This is impossible!" thunders Odo. He has the box containing the skull in his hand. It flaps open, obviously empty. "It was locked! It was locked and now the key is gone and the skull is missing! I slept by it all night! How has this happened?"

A final note is that though most of you were exhausted and got a good night's sleep, everyone one of you has had a disturbing dream involving the skull. Each of you can feel free to imagine what the theme of this dream was - taking it for yourselves and wielding its power, hiding it so that it may never be found, using it against the hordes of chaos by commanding the beastmen against them... whatever.

Only restriction is that none of your dreams are about destroying it.

Edited by Orcslicer, 29 July 2009 - 01:38 PM.


#54 paraicj

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 02:47 PM

Julen paled at the words of the priest. "Padre, I fear I may be partly at fault. I may have fallen asleep on my watch," he blushed and continued, "but I know not for how long." He shook his head in disappointment with himself, and continued, "It may be that the skull was taken as I slept." With a shrug he continued, "And I dreamed, of the skull. A madness, it seemed was on me. I was using its power to destroy an army at Middenheim, an army of obsenities bent to my will. Disgusting. Maeglin, perhaps you can use your woodly skills to examine the tracks?"

#55 Avaris

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 02:55 PM

Orderic dreamt. In his mind's eye he could see a knight, riding on a black stallion against the hordes of chaos. In one hand he bore a shield, emblazzoned with a white stags head on a black field, Orderic's own hereldry. However in the other he held not a lance, but a brass skull, THE brass skull, the one that they had come all this way to find. From its eyes sprouted beams of light that cut through the enemy, leaving horrendous wounds as it passed. They fled, and the knight dismounted, surrounded by the corpses of his foes. Across the field of battle walked a woman, clad in white. For a moment Orderic thought it was the Lady, but then he recognised it as Anna. She walked to the knight and lifted the helm from his head, moving in for a kiss, but at the last minute decaying into bones and then to dust. The knight stood alone, his face now revealed. A brass skull.

Orderic woke in a cold sweat, shaken by Skalf.

"Would you mind taking watch for a few hours?" he said, seemingly oblivious to the knight's shaken expression and heavy breathing. Orderic nodded, and made to stand, looking to where the rest of the group slept. It seemed that the others had caught up in the knight and he wondered how he had managed to miss their return. More importantly, Anna had also returned, though as he looked at her Orderic remembered that terrible dream. Shivering, he moved away, and it was only an hour or so before light started to spread across the sky. The frost gave a distinct chill to the air, and Orderic wasted no time in waking the others and preparing his breakfast. After he was done, he made to clean and repair his armour, only know remembering the loss of the breastplate, when Odo interrupted his thoughts.

At the priests words, Orderic reached for his sword, sweeping his eyes across the camp. Someone must have taken it, but there must surely be signs of their passage...

OOC: rolled a 4 to search the camp, assuming this is an appropriate skill to roll

#56 Hyarion

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 03:01 PM

...The entire forest was awash with waves of eldritch energy unlike any Maeglin had seen before. Their steady throb was like the beat of a huge drum that thundered in his head with every pulse that washed over him. Even the familiar paths of Athel Loren seemed strange to him. He had been summoned to the Royal Glade, where Orion and Ariel held court during the summer months under the boughs of the Oak of Ages, to discuss this strange phenomenon which (it was rumored) could potentially ruin the Waystones that rimmed his homeland keeping Chaos out and preserving the magic that made Athel Loren special among forests.

When he had been announced and called forth, Maeglin walked into the clearing and knelt in reverence to the Oak of Ages. Neither Ariel nor Orion seemed to be present, but Naith the Prophetess was present along with Tuek, a respected advisor in the Asrai courts. Great events were seemingly afoot. Presently Naith spoke, "Welcome, Maeglin, it is said that you can see the wind and so we have decided to put your talent to the test and see if you have the gift. Come forward, look on the Oak of Ages and tell me what you see."

Creeping forward, intimidated by being so close to the beating heart of the forest which he loved, Maeglin came to a halt and after a few minutes of gazing on the gnarled bark it became obvious that there was a metallic color seeping up the tree and even into some of the leaves. The leaves closest to the trunk were outlined in a brassy color and and their normal glow had tinges of red in the edges. Telling the same to Naith and Tuek, he was not surprised to hear that others had noticed the same thing.

"Young Windreader, our long and secret war must remain a secret." intoned Naith as Tuek began pacing...

He waited silently to hear the rest and was startled to see a cleft foot and long angry streaks of red around Tuek as he circled around behind the Oak....

...emerging on the other side completely a beastman wearing the emblem of one of Ariel's councillors on the shoulder of his tunic. Maeglin began trying to move backwards but his feet seemed as if cased in armor.

A gutteral voice whispered in his ear "and we will permit no spies or witnesses..." he barely had time to register his surprise at the voice or how it had come up behind him when a clawed beastman hand plunged a dagger between his ribs. The last thing he saw was the silver ring normally reserved for the Advocate of Athel Loren, the ring normally on the finger of Naith the Prophetess on this hand holding a bloody knife as his body toppled down to the forest floor....


His stomach already uneasy from his disturbed dreams from the night before, the elf had a hard time swallowing breakfast. The bad news about the skull only contributed more to the sinking feeling. Before putting on his gear, Maeglin emptied the contents of his pack to assure himself that the skull had not come to him. Once his paranoia had been satisfied, he began looking around as he repacked his gear.

"Julen, it is no beast to leave prints in the leaves that we may follow, but it will not hurt to look."

OOC: check every nook and cranny of his own pack to find the skull. 26 rolled for a perception test looking around the campsite.

Edited by Hyarion, 29 July 2009 - 03:08 PM.


#57 Avaris

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 03:30 PM

Searching around the camp, Orderic could see no sign of the skull. The tracks in the mud were all a jumble, and it was hard to tell any of them apart.

Except...

Maeglin was sitting nearby, searching through his pack, and Orderic called to him, wanting a second opinion.

"Maeglin, look here a moment. I think I have a new set of tracks."

The elf stood and walked to where Orderic was. Despite his blindfold, he too seemed to see what Orderic had found. The knight thought it best not to wonder how he did that.

"Tracks," he murmured, "much like a deer or stag. They seem to pass right through the camp. It seems a beast of some type paid a visit while we slept."

"They head north," observed Orderic, "strange for any creature to pass through a camp while occupied, and they pass near where the box was. But how could a deer possibly open it? A beastman would have surely sought to slay us..."

#58 Eldacar

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 04:06 PM

Allaen stood slightly apart from the group, frowning up into the sky. That dream. He had been holding the skull in one part of it, he knew. But he had been... destroyed? He wasn't quite sure. The power had burned through him, a torrent of power like frozen fire, molten ice, and sickening. Something about that strength had felt wrong, twisted, burning him down to ash, over and over. An axe, swinging down to take his head, never quite able to complete the swing before the scene had reset. But always a skull somewhere within the image, always watching, burning with an all but unconquerable rage at... him? Was it him? Or was it just what he was?

A grimace flickered across his face. Something wasn't right, at the very least, and it had to do with that brass skull. A skull that happened, he remembered from the words of the dwarf priest, to be possessed of a Khornate daemon. "Playing games, are we?" he murmured to himself, before wandering back over towards the others.

OOC: I took a few liberties with the dream, since the daemon inside the skull is Khornate in nature. Allaen is a mage, and Khorne doesn't like mages. So I figured that his dreams were more likely to be of him being destroyed rather than his doing anything with the skull's power.

Edited by Eldacar, 29 July 2009 - 04:12 PM.


#59 Orcslicer

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 06:41 PM

OOC: Great dreams from everyone, some really good improv.

Odo frets up and down the camp, hindered from doing anything useful to the search by his blindness, he eventually ends up praying again and again to Ulric for deliverance from his problems.

"One of us is a traitor," he announces grimly, when Orderic and Maeglin have made the report on the tracks. "No human tracks other than out own mean that one of you must have taken the key to the chest." He glowers particularly in the direction of Anna.

"Unless any others of you are going to admit sleeping on watch, we know that the skull was taken at least four hours ago, and Ulric knows how long Julen was asleep for before that. The animal may or may not be a coincidence, but if the skull is not in the camp then we have little choice but to give pursuit. I hope I needn't remind you how important this is... if the skull finds its way into enemy hands, it could spell disaster for the empire."

Edited by Orcslicer, 29 July 2009 - 06:43 PM.


#60 Hyarion

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 06:59 PM

"Then let us make sure that we do not go farther out of our way than we must. Let's go through all of our gear and make sure it is not hiding in a spare cloak." says Maeglin as he begins searching through the folds of of the tent.

Finding nothing, he straightened up from his work and began walking a slow ring around the campsite searching.

"Traitor is a strong word. We have already seen the skull exhibit strange powers, perhaps this is one of them. Do not be quick to give death to the victim of the skull."

OOC 21 rolled for another search test

Edited by Hyarion, 29 July 2009 - 07:21 PM.





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