Chapter 1 now draws to a close, as we move on to the next part of our story. You may refer back to chapter 1 through this link if you wish to read back.
I'm going to fill in the blanks for this trip, primarily to save time. If you feel anything I say here is not appropriate for your character, please send me a private message about it, or track me down in chat.
I am also taking this opportunity to introduce the eighth and final member of your group. Please remember that you are to treat each other just as you would NPCs who acted in the same manner. Also, please refer to the current maps to learn more about your present location and surroundings.
It took just over four hours to reach the heavily traveled path that you have come to know as Destindeterre's main trade road. By cutting through the forest, you thought you could shave some time off the trip, however a few of your new companions had difficulty navigating the terrain. Freya, of course, had no trouble keeping pace, though she did not prove at all fond of your chosen destination. The little winged girl, Saeessira, spent most of the trip on some shoulder or other, playing with that little bird she introduced to you last night. The lizardman, too, managed to slow the group down at times, though he never spoke up on his own behalf.
Shortly after you reached the trade road, a caravan passed by headed for Vista. They were on their way back to Vista after delivering spices from the Far West, and offered a good deal of recent news from the Elven city. Apparently there have been several Orc raids on outlying Elven settlements in recent months, and Destindeterre has gotten hard pressed for soldiers.
Somehow you thought you'd find this whole "back to nature" business a lot more enjoyable. Over the past several hours, you've managed to acquire a collection of rocks in your shoes, tear the sleeves and base of your robes, and get hit in the face by more small branches and leaves than you care to count. While you kept up with Taylen at first, you eventually found it easier to lag behind, letting others take the brunt of the woodland's minor adversities.
By early in the afternoon, you were relieved to finally reach a trodden path, even if it was still dirt. When a small trading caravan passed by on its way to Vista, you were very tempted to ride along, and would have if not for the thought of finally seeing Destindeterre. Instead, you managed to barter a new set of traveler's clothes and a couple days' supplies, in exchange for a little "creative writing" on your part.
Most of your new companions seem amenable to their current surroundings. Even the half-human girl has managed to cheer up. Before the caravan went on its way, you noticed her giving a few coins and a letter to the caravan's guard captain. Since then, she's stayed at the head of the group, along with Taylen and Aust.
While you have managed to get used to hanging about with this motley crew, the idea of going to visit a city with them did not sit at all well with you. Your companion's lack of further interest in locating Soranil also proved disappointing. When you brought this up with him, he answered that the odds of finding Soranil now were even less than before, since his business in the area seemed complete. Sadly, this made sense.
You remained at Taylen's side during the four-hour trek through the woods. After your initial conversation, you said very little to anyone, and by the time you reached the trodden path, it seemed like a better idea just to stay among the trees. A caravan passed by, and until Twin Moon woke up, you thought you might grow stir crazy waiting for your new companions. Stroking your owl companion helped to sooth your nerves, and when everyone finally moved on, the two of you kept among the trees on one side or the other of the trail, scouting the path shortly ahead of the group.
As the group moved on, you passed the time by getting to know the unusual group of travelers you've found yourself with. The most talkative among them proved to be the heavy-set fellow with the long beard. The two of you had absolutely nothing in common, but that made for all the more interesting conversation. After the two of you introduced yourselves to each other, he told you about his kind, about their living habits, and in particular their drinking habits. He seemed to have a fondness for ale. In turn, you've told him a bit about living in the trees. After a little while, Ithar disappeared into the Khazmon's beard. After some brief hearty laughter on his part, the dwarf took little notice of your companion.
Shortly after reaching a path of trampled land that they referred to as a "trade road", the group soon encountered a group of travelers heading in the opposite direction, accompanied by several wagons. You distracted a few of them with playful giggling, some aerial showcasing, and a little light show. Before you departed, one of them gave you a lovely silk scarf for your troubles. It fit you well as a belt. It also looked very nice with the string of "round shinies" that Ithar acquired while they weren't paying attention.
It felt good to travel with someone who knew where he was going again. He led this motley crew through the trees for several hours, accompanied by his fellin friend. You passed the hour conversing with the half-human girl, mostly about food and about the city of Vista. She seemed to find this whole place rather confusing, and finally confided in you that she had never before ventured beyond the farmlands surrounding Vista.
After several hours, the group finally reached the trade road that runs between Vista and the Elven city of Destindeterre. Shortly thereafter, the group paused for a short while to discuss recent tidings in the surrounding areas. Apparently, there have been a lot of problems recently, and the area has a distinct need for soldiers. This could prove to be your lucky break after all.
Once your companions parted ways with the passing caravan, Ara once again latched onto you. This time, she seemed to want to hear more about your life and travels. You decided it might be better to keep some of the gorier details to yourself, as you wouldn't want to scare her off. For those few stories you did tell, however, she practically hung on your every word... not to mention your arm.
This place is nothing like where you came from. Most of this group are taller than you, and you had to hustle at times just to keep up. Trudging through brush under a thick awning of trees didn't help your pace either. Though, once the little winged girl decided to perch on your shoulder, the others slowed down a bit. She said she hadn't seen anyone like you before, and seemed interested in what you could tell her about Dwarven kind. After briefly introducing yourselves, she listened intently as you told her about Almadaen, Dwarven ale, and various other parts of your culture. After a while, talking about ale made you kind of thirsty. Too bad you didn't have any.
Then there was that odd little bird that she kept playing with, until it ducked into your beard. It tickled you at first, but once it settled down, the little thing was hardly a bother, and you didn't want to upset the girl on your shoulder, so you decided to leave it be. It then occurred to you that the girl also had wings. You asked her what it was like to fly, and she told you about living among the trees. In the end, living in trees sounded as silly as before, though it was just as well that you asked. That dream from last night didn't seem quite as strange anymore.
The group ran into a caravan after a while, and stopped to chat and barter. You used the opportunity to buy a new backpack and a couple wineskins, complete with wine. It wasn't exactly like ale, but after all this time without a stiff drink, it still hit the spot. Later, once the caravan went on its way, the girl returned to your shoulder, wearing a bright pink sash tied around her waist, and a string of pearls over her shoulder like a sash.
As if this day hasn't been long enough, you find yourself lagging behind this group, walking through the woods, for several hours before they finally stop early in the afternoon to talk to a caravan. You remain among the trees during the encounter, getting a little rest while you can. Afterwards, the little winged girl pelts you with more stones to wake you up. This time, though, she giggles while throwing them, rather than yelling, and doesn't aim for your head. On the whole, it was a less unpleasant experience, but it was still good that she kept her distance while doing it.
You would have preferred to rest longer, but the group moved on. They'll have to rest some time, though, so for now you accept what you can get, and tag along.
You never got to find out what the locals thought of your story. It seemed that the ones with large pointy objects had very little interest in stopping to listen. You had to duck away in alleys and other unpleasant places for long periods, before things finally settled down. Vista may not have been the best place to go after all. Finally, though, you did fall in with a small group of fellows who seemed more than interested in your 'unique' talents.
A halfling by the name of Reval Redsash suggested a place where you could get your hands on a rather large sum of money for a single night's service. The city treasury had a large shipment coming in, which included a blue gem of particular interest to Reval. You would have two 'associates' for the undertaking, and could keep as much as you could carry as reward. Unfortunately, your two companions turned on you, and things went downhill from there. You managed to make your way out, and just in time too. The others were caught by the guards for all the noise they made.
You again had to slip away, and managed to hitch a ride out of Vista with a passing caravan... or rather, under one. Nestled among the undercarriage supports of a heavily laden trade wagon, you waited out the trip for a few days, coming out while the caravan merchants slept, and helping yourself to whatever you thought they might not miss for a while. You figured that you could always slip away once the caravan got somewhere comfortable.
Unfortunately, one of the men noticed that their supplies were not all accounted for. They didn't think to look for you right away, but you decided it would be better not to take the chance. As the wagon passed over a bridge, you quickly slipped away from the wagon and down to the bank, where you hid away. That was early this morning, and you have been under this little bridge for several hours. Each time you thought it might be safe to come out, you heard rustling and low mumbles coming from the trees nearby.
Jean brushes off his raggedy fop's outfit, smoothing out torn silks and straightening frayed leather belt.
"Now then, what sort of folk seem to be about now..."
Jean puts a cupped hand to his ear, listening for any more of the "nasty guards-men."
I need some activity out of you people, or this game is going to go nowhere fast.
You can hear the muffled sounds of footsteps over the low murmur of the stream whose banks now hide you.
The faint sounds of gently running water reaches your ears. There is likely a stream flowing nearby.
Taylen and Willias
As you round a bend in the road, a small wooden bridge appears along the path ahead.
Dashing across the trodden path towards the south side allows you to motion for your elven companion. You then catch a glimpse of the bridge as well. A few seconds later, you reach the edge of a small stream. It is no more than ten or twelve feet across, and probably a few feet deep. The water appears reasonably clear, and moves slowly. You can see a bed of rocks and moss at the river's edges.
Something breaks through the foliage on the far side of the stream, a bit downcurrent from your hiding place. It has feline feet, and from the size of them, whatever it is probably has a size advantage over you. You can see only a little above its ankles.
Your companion runs across the trail in front of you, waving briefly for you to follow before she disappears into the brush again. A few seconds later, you notice Twin Moon perched on a low branch nearby the bridge.
Willias, now you know. She was
As you head into the trees after your companion, you lose sight of the little bridge. Only a few seconds later, however, you spot your companion standing at the edge of a stream, looking down into the water.
You feel the half-human girl yank your arm as she steps forward. The surprise of it nearly makes you lose your footing, but you manage to remain stable. Ara also appears to recoil slightly, as her own strength roughly matches yours.
Reyolen, Falaanla, Ruvyen, Drakkenmaw
As the trail bends off to the left a short distance ahead of you, the leather-clad elf darts off into the foliage off to the right of the trail. You hear the half-elven girl call out, "Let's go!" then lunge forward after the departing one, only to come to a jolting stop again within one or two paces.
"Tag, you're it!" Ithar announces, seemingly with no provocation, then leaves the Dwarf's beard and takes off into the trees after the leather-clad elf.
Jean squints and scans for some sort of shelter from this feline visitor.
For a brief instant, you notice a small, shadowy movement beneath the far side of the little bridge, just upstream of you. However, the motion quickly disappears before you can get a good look.
The water smells fresh, and at this vantage you can see almost to the bottom. A small, silvery fish swims by near the center of the stream. Another fish appears as you scoop your tongue into the water, and spashes a bit of it up onto your nose as it darts past. More likely than not, you could drink this water without consequence. It would also work quite well for bathing, if you or your companions were interested in using a stream for that purpose.
You manage to change your vantage slightly, so that you can see a little more of the figure on the bank. Your efforts are helped more by the creature's motions than your own, as it steps down to the edge of the water. The feline is in fact a member of the Fellin race, wearing earthen leather garb from mid-calf upward. You then notice that the creature is distinctly female, as she bends down to touch the water with her nose, bringing her entire figure into view.
Three other figures also approach the shore, wearing leather boots, and assorted legwear. You cannot tell whether they are human or elven, even from your current vantage, but all three of them are the right height to be one or the other of those. One of the figures, a woman of recent adulthood from the sound of her voice, asks loud enough for you to just barely make out, "What's the good word?"
The half-human girl leads you off the trail a short ways, bringing the two of you up behind Taylen at the edge of a stream. The fellin woman has stepped down to the water's edge, and appears to be kneeling in. The stream appears to be about twelve feet across.
"Ohhh... my head..."
Jean puts a hand to his head, and staggers out from beneath the bridge slowly.
"Is there... someone there? I seem to have been... wounded... by highwaymen... they were after my clothes and my wallet... fortunately, I escaped them... I hit my head on something, and awoke under this bridge... unh..."
Jean stumbles over something in the river, then comes to a halt in front of the party.
"I don't suppose... you saw... three tall men, about yea high," Jean gestures, standing up on his toes, "running this way?"
Jean sways, putting a hand on his head.
"I don't suppose you saw a cleric, either?" [ 03-26-2002: Message edited by: Arttemis the Twink ]
[ 03-26-2002: Message edited by: Arttemis the Twink ]
For purposes of preserving the laws of physics, Arttemis' halfling crossed the stream via the bridge, rather than by walking on water.
Also, Taylen, beware of controlling other people's characters. Whether Arttemis falls over or not isn't your decision to make.
Fortunately, you were already headed for the bridge when the figure emerged from beneath. You reach him just a few feet from the bridge's near side, as the small figure of a halfling in very flamboyant garb stumbles over the stones of the storeline towards you.
"Thank you. My name is Jean-Olivier D'Underhill. I work as a... how do you say... I acquire many trinkets, of a sort, from the higher class merchants, and then sell them at prices which cannot be outdone to the lower class peasant-types. I also work with locks, and I am fascinated by mechanical devices."
Jean rubs his head.
"Now that I've introduced myself, you should introduce yourself, and your oh-so-fine friends, as well!"
Taylen finds that description slightly odd, but ignores it for now. "I am Taylen, the fellin is Freya, the other elf is Aust, and I'm afraid I didn't catch the half-elf's name." [ 03-26-2002: Message edited by: Taylen ]
Now that he thinks about it a halfling traveling alone, relatively unarmed strikes him as odd.
[ 03-26-2002: Message edited by: Taylen ]
ooc: Eh, sorry about that, I hope this little edit helps a bit. [ 03-27-2002: Message edited by: Reyolen ]
[ 03-27-2002: Message edited by: Reyolen ]
Reyolen and Drakkenmaw:
Please refer to the local overhead map to see where your characters are, and to the events which transpired thus far, before presuming that you can see the halfling pass, or the water's edge, or the bridge, etc. Anyone who has not acted up to this point has been walking slowly down the trail, and I have shown this progression on the closeup map over the past few days. Still, neither of you have a direct line of sight with either the bridge, the water, or the halfling.
Aust, Taylen, Freya, and Ara were all in a position to see the brightly colored halfling crossing the bridge (though Aust would need to move to see where the little man is now). Ruvyen and Falaanla have yet to post, so the issue hasn't come up for them. Reyolen, since you were borderline on close enough (and just got back from your RL trip), I'll allow your actions, however I'd like something from you that justifies putting you that extra two steps forward, within line of sight range. Drak, you're going to need more of a description of your approach, as you were (by your own statement) lagging back from the others.
[ 03-27-2002: Message edited by: Ford Prefect ]
As you hover up the trail ahead of Khazmon and Silvan, you pass a bend in the trail. Down the trail a short way is a bridge, not that you need such constructs yourself, which appears to cross over a stream. Ithar disappears into the trees off to the trail's right side, and when you follow him, you find yourself hovering over a river. Your small companion is nowhere in sight.
Off to your side, several members of the group seem to have gathered around something small and colorful. Whatever the object is, you hear Ara introduce herself to it.
The halfling, whom you only caught a brief glimpse of through the corner of your eye as you turned the corner of the trail, has now wandered out of your sight again. There appears to be a small bridge a little ways up the trail, roughly where you saw the small figure.
The little fellow you saw cross the bridge a moment ago now appears to be a halfling, roughly three feet in height, and wearing a gaudy outfit with signs of heavy wear. A small line of blood appears to run from the top of his forehead down the side of his face. You cannot tell if he has been injured elsewise.
He walks over at a quick pace until he is within a few yards of the group. Silvan, seeing the group gathered around something, heads in closer until he can see what they are gathered around.
"Hmm... I could swear those lizardmen damaged my axes in some way..."
Khazmon looks up from examining his weapons, and sees that the rest of his companions are... waaaay over there. Had he really been looking over his axes for that long?
"Damn..." Khazmon mumbles to himself, as he runs to catch up.
I wonder what it is...
Saeessira then flies over to the jumble of color to take a look. She then looks around for a small pebble, and lobs it at the thing, she then shouts...
Hey, WHAT ARE YOU!!!
She then giggles
You just had to cross the stream to get that drink, didn't you? There was plenty of shoreline on the side you were on, but nooo, you decided the water would be cleaner on the other side of the bridge
The water tastes refreshing after your long walk. Unfortunately, you don't get to savor the taste of it for long. As you stand to rejoin the others, two heavy blows land upon your back and head. Your vision fades to darkness, as a searing pain overtakes you...
ooc:Aanile, Reyolen, Taylen
Sorry to hit you with this, but you failed both listen and spot checks, and took two clubs to the back for a total of 12 hp damage. You are now unconscious.
Movements catch your eye from across the river. The fellin woman's owl companion suddenly begins to hoot wildly, as two hideous figures emerge from the brush behind Aust, striking him from behind with large wooden clubs. Two more creatures emerge from the other side of the trail a short distance further up, both wielding similar wooden clubs, and shouting indistinct war cries in harsh raspy voices.
Your stone goes wide, striking the half-elven girl on the shin. At that instant, you hear Ithar cry out, "Bad! Bad! Bad!" and you notice sudden movement in the corner of your eye, as two large, hideous creatures emerge behind Aust and strike out at him.
A small pebble wizzes by your head, and bounces off the shin of the half-elven girl beside you. The stone's source appears to be a small woman, shorter even than most halflings... or she would be, were she not hovering at least thrice your height above the water.
An instant later, you hear a commotion coming from across the river. Two orcs on the far side of the river are running along the trail towards the bridge. Two others stand over the elf who crossed over onto their side of the bridge a few moments before. Considering the rustling that kept you hidden earlier, your decision not to reveal yourself before now was probably a good thing.
You turn a bend in the trail as you follow along the route you saw Silvan travel a moment ago. Once around the corner, the half-elf comes into view, along with the robed elf. The two of them stand near the end of a small wooden bridge, with Ara leaning away from the trunk of a tree, supporting herself by an arm. Two orcs stand on the far shore of what appears to be a stream, each with a large wooden club in its hands. You can hear war cries in the distance ahead of you.
You can hear indistinct shouting in the distance, the likes of which you have not heard before. The last remaining person within your sight, who had been obsessing over his axes for the past hour at least, now runs along ahead of you, now rounding a bend in the trail ahead. In a second or two, he will be out of your sight as well.
The group is now in combat. Everyone post your actions, and do not worry about initiative order. You all get your full round of action at this point. I'll take care of who goes when, and if you react to what someone else does, we can simply presume that you delay until that time (unless you would have acted after the other individual anyway, making the whole point moot). However, don't presume to accomplish too much, and check the map on the game website to see where you are.
After all, proper predators surprise their prey...
"Look alive, soon-to-be comrades in arms! I see some steenky orcs awaiting my fine daggerpoints! Come, let us help our comrade in arms!"
ooc: can I get a description of the bridge, please? Are there guardrails I could stand on so my height advantage wouldn't be so... well...
ooc If anything is bad with this description go ahead and change it Ford. You weren't on when I posted it to ask questions. [ 03-29-2002: Message edited by: Taylen ]
[ 03-29-2002: Message edited by: Taylen ]