PrP: Saikland Bogs Pt 2
Oct. 4, 2018, 8:45 p.m.
Comments and Log
The massive nine foot crocodile that the group managed to slay lays dead on the edge of the docks. Bianca, who was wounded by the creature, has decided to stay back for the time being to treat her injuries. Which leaves the group one person short while before them is the large keep that was once an outpost for Saikland Greens.
The path to the Keep has long since grown over, but one can make out the marbled paving stones that once led the way. The large vines and bushes are lush and full - but one doesn't hear the buzz of insects, and the call of any birds seems distance - as if far away.
Lucita wields Ember Reckoning, a rubicund dagger.
The silence is unnerving. Years spent in the wilds, on the road, Harlex has come to know the dull hum of the outdoors. He knows--his bones and his blood knows--that something is awful here, even if he cannot define it or give it shape. After parting words with Bianca, he leaves off with the others toward the keep. His helm's top jaw drawn up and Acrimonious held at his side to clear brush or other such obstacles. He recommends a team of Blades to surround their party (her, himself, the baroness, and the Lady Rosalie) as they traverse the overgrowth toward the dread keep. "Stay together," he says, "And try to listen--past the quiet." The black-clad swordsman looks on ahead toward their destination.
Harlex wields Acrimonious, a fiendish longsword.
Men were left to watch over the Legate while the second went to look into the keep. As they approached the keep Violet's face became more and more drawn, lips forming a thin line. At one point she pauses and takes a few deep breaths. It looks like she might be feeling ill for a moment, but it only seems to make her angry. Her lip curls and she forges ahead with even firmer tread toward sthe keep. "Eyes open, this place has something wrong with it," She says as she knocks an arrow to her bow.
Lucita glances back at Bianca, trying to make sure she is alright after having been bitten and sticks close to the group. She bends over to wipe some of the ick off her dagger and arm against some of the grasses to the side of the overgrown paving stones, making sort of a 'yuck' expression before returning her attention to what the group is doing. Her amber gaze sweeps over the area and she murmurs. "hmmm, no bugs here? I haven't been bitten in a while or see them buzzing around trying to find a spot I missed putting that salve you all shared with me that keeps them away.
"Remember, there's a broken summoning circle in there. And in the middle of that, a pool of black water with something churning inside it... its definitely of the Gyre, but the ritual was an old one, and failed." Rosalie cautions as they approach the Keep. She offers as well, "Nothing lived that I could see earlier but... I didn't stay to check if there was a patrol."
The large wooden double doors of the Keep are broken and hang open like a ripped open sore. The splintered wood and one of the doors hanging off of its hinge suggests that something tore through here - but what it was is not apparently clear at the moment.
The doors lead into a great foyer. The table is tilted on it's side, and has been grown over - grass and vegetation has started to reclaim the space. Tattered banners, molded and worn to the point of no longer being readable hang from the rotted wood of the rafters. The side walls show the tale-tell scorch marks of a fire.
"That's even worse. Failed dark magic," Violet says as her nose wrinkles. She glances at the Baroness and then back as they make their approach. Violet doesn't often look upset, but right now she is looking angry. And her glare is directed at the keep. As they come upon the foyer she takes a breath and closes her eyes for a second. Then two. Lips an angry line as she seems to concentrate on something. Sound maybe?
A mingling of chaos and time. He studies the splintered frays of the large doors and he signals several of their men to clear the room before he enters and then, at a signal from his clawed hand, ushers the others inside. Harlex is quiet, his cold and radiant eyes focused. "Appears the ages got to them before we did," he sounds unconvinced by his notion. When he spies Violet in her focused sate, he falls silent. He watches her curiously.
Lucita swallows hard, her gaze slipping over the surroundings. "If anything lingers here, I want it out of my Barony and the area free of taint. This is in the newly expanded area we gained not too long ago. Do we need to get any specialists in to handle it or are we enough, do you think?
Violet checked perception at difficulty 30, rolling 11 lower.
Violet checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.
Harlex checked perception at difficulty 30, rolling 19 lower.
Rosalie checked perception at difficulty 30, rolling 9 lower.
Lucita checked perception at difficulty 30, rolling 19 lower.
Violet is reaching for the canteen at her hip and opening it quickly. As her eyes pop open she takes a gulp from the minty water. Hand on the back of her mouth she stares at one wall and then blinks. Quickly she takes a step away from the walls. "The whole place is infected...it's...semi-conscious I think. And...does anyone see that stuff in the walls?" She points and gestures for one of the men bearing a torch to step closer.
Harlex's brows furrow at the idea of the /whole/ place being infected. "Pardon me?" He is poised to ask, in that moment, before his attention turns from the Commandant to the walls she has gestured to and he waits to see what's revealed. His grip tight on his sword. He could kill a Keep, maybe. Probably.
Now that Violet has brought the attention to it, the walls start to leak and bleed black sludge. It bubbles between the cracks of the rocks, out of the walls, and the burbling of what sounds like a fountain beyond sounds like its starting to gush a little louder.
A stone falls from one of the rafters, smashing onto the table, breaking it. And the moan, it is loud and creeks through the entire room. And the smell - the rotted vegetation, stagnant water, the decaying flesh, the thick humidity - it's a stench that tests the most powerful of stomachs. (roll stamina + willpower at 30 to not upchuck)
Lucita's fingers tighten on the bottles of holy water she holds and her gaze becomes uncertain, darting from person to person and back to the walls, studying them but trying to stay well away from them. "I've no experience with this so must rely on you all." She does not moan or groan or start wailing in fear or bolt for the entry, she just falls silent after that statement.
Harlex checked stamina + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 1 higher.
Lucita checked willpower + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.
Violet checked stamina + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 1 lower.
Rosalie checked willpower + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 11 lower.
Violet backs away from the walls as they bubble over. The hand at her mouth moves to cover her nose and mouth. For a moment she manages and then, "Frecing hell, fuck you!" She says at the wall before turning to puke in the corner of the overturned table. "Well...it's *HOOORK*," She growls and keeps her hands on her bow and arrow. "We need to get to the pool. Holy water, maybe the Canticle of the Sentinel..." Then she takes a few deep breaths through her mouth, in the manner of someone trying not to smell.
Lucita gets half-sized bottle of water marked with Mangata's initial from a subtly textured sturdy yet lightweight trail pack.
Lucita gets a bottle of special brand, Saikland Remembers, premium whiskey from a subtly textured sturdy yet lightweight trail pack.
Harlex lifts his sword-hand, covering his mouth against the smell. He steps back as the stone falls and smashes to pieces the table. Rancid. He tries not to breath through his nose, a hand moves back and his helm snaps closed. At least the wolfish guard would provide a little protection. At Violet's instruction he nods and he marshals the soldiers while she horks. "You heard her, forward guard. These three have to reach that pool." He wasn't any kind of mind for strangeness, and he wasn't foolish enough to think he could kill-the-world-entire with a sword. Some things required different tactics. Success meant the more occult minded made it to that corruption, so be it--they would make it. Eh, once they were all finished throwing up.
Lucita gets the holy warer over and says. "The whiskey will rinse the taste out your mouth and help ... with the smell a little, just rinse and spit it out. This is as bad a smell as... worse than the Tentacle beasts vomit and ichor, and that was really bad." Her stomach seems to be holding alright though she is pale. The holy water is prepared and she says. "Think the Legate can help with the faith part from where she is? I'm not.. one of the faith, I just have this water given me. I can sing but without the choir with me, it will just be an ordinary hymn.
As Rosalie enters the keep, the most nauseating stench she can recall hits her nose. She stumbles, then hits her knees. Falling forward onto her hands, the young woman is violently ill, spilling the contents of her stomach with a few groans between. Once her stomach is empty, she searches herself for a handkerchief, a pocket square, anything really. Locating one, she cleans the gunk from her gloves, then reaches for a canteen, rinsing her mouth of with a grimace.
At Rosalie's distress, he sends over one of the scouts. "Get her back safely," Harlex instructs.
Violet eyes the whiskey for a moment before nodding. She swishes it in her mouth and then spits the mouthful to the side. She takes a deep and steadying breath before passing it back. "Sing the canticle with me, then. It's a form of beseeching, for those in the know," She says with a wry smile before beginning to move towards the inner parts where Rosalie had discovered the pool. As the Redtyde woman seems to be overcome with nausea she is gesturing to have her taken back to the camp and watched over. But then Harlex is doing just that and hse gives him a brief smile and nod, turning to move forward. Despite looking continually green. "I -will- get past this," She can be heard to growl under her breath.
The crumbling and shambling ruins seem to be alive themselves, and beyond the doors is the courtyard. Where there was once a statue and fountain is not an open maw, a gaping, festering wound in the middle of the ruins. Black sludge bubbles and burbles within the maw, the moans of the damned within. It's no wonder that people have avoided this place.
But there seems to be no move to attack yet. Disjointed, confused - it has yet to strike at anyone - the burbling crude substance continues with it's stench and roiling.
Lucita checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.
Harlex steps with the forward guard out into the courtyard poised to defend the chanters until they reach the heart of corruption. When he sees the black sludge, when he hears the moans of the damned, his eyes narrow. Something cold and committed comes over him. He gestures them out but tells them, "Keep your distance." The soldiers spread like the folds of a fan with the Lieutenant at the center. "What do you need of me?" He asked Lucita, Violet with a side glance.
Violet has rolled a critical success!
Violet checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.
Lucita starts to sing, her voice carrying through the area, firm, clear, as it works its way through each segment of the hymn. The holy water is ready to use as Violet directs. Once the song ends, instead of stopping, she just begins to repeat it till signaled to stop. Singing seems to center her, make her less edgy in the surroundings.
As Lucita and Violet start to sing, the black liquid recoils. From the building and it coalesces into a single form at the pool. Making a vague human like shape, it rises it up and strikes out towards the walls around it, trying to make them collapse and bring them down on top of the Blades and Baroness.
Thorley GM Roll checked strength(4) + brawl(1) at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.
Thorley GM Roll checked strength(4) + brawl(1) at difficulty 15, rolling 14 higher.
Thorley GM Roll checked strength(4) + brawl(1) at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.
Harlex checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 17, rolling 30 higher.
Violet checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 29, rolling 16 higher.
Harlex feels a knot in his chest when they begin to sing. He looks back and he swings his sword at the Crimson Blades, "Cover the Baroness and the Commandant!" By cover, he means--their bodies. Meanwhile he's leaping out of the way with remarkable swiftness.
Lucita checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 23, rolling 21 higher.
Violet doesn't so much sing as chant the canticle. She doesn't have the best singing voice and most people are happy to not have her sing. But her voice is strong and the words are clear. They ring with a purpose as she moves forward towards the bubbling hole. Much like Lucita she simply starts at the beginning as she circles. Her green eyes are wide and intense on the hole and she pulls something from her pocket. It is a token that those who were at the last Sentinel's day would recognize. Then the walls fall before she can drop it in or Lucita pour the water. For a moment she is quiet, but as soon as she has rolled out of the way, and deftly at that despite the belly, she says, "Everyone chant with us. You see this darkness, revile it with us!" It's encouragement to her men more than the Baroness or Harlex. They've -seen- things as she has. Again she begins to chant, louder, almost shouting at the black blob. The token of the Sentinel is readied to be tossed into the center of this mess. She meets Lucita's eyes and nods her head as signal.
Lucita continues to sing, if anything more fervently as she spins and ducks out of the way of falling rocks but her shoulders tense and her eyes widen. The woman is stubborn and determined. At Violet's signal she steps forward close enough there is little likelyhood of missing to cast the holy liquid at the blog thing and with a gesture offers any remaining drops of the holy water to coat the weapons or arrow tips though with goo and no solid mass she is unsure how it will work. Once the water is cast, she quickly ducks back behind Harlex and some of the men.
The creature swoons and rolls in pain, unable to hold it's form as the singing continues. As it lashes out, it manages to grab one of the Blades and yanks her into its mass as the woman screams in fear, dropping her blade in the process. Then it's hit with the water. The creature howls and moans in pain as it recoils and shudders.
For a moment, it all retreats into the collapsed fountain, retreating into it's maw to try to avoid the sound of the music. There may only be a few moments before the creature is able to regroup itself and reappear to attack again.
Harlex watches Lucita pour holy water onto the blade of his diamondplated weapon. He studies it, running softly along the fuller of the sword. He looks to the blob, ten feet in height, and looming with all the wild prowess of an idiot-god. The sellsword takes in a breath. As it recoils, he wastes no time. He's a blur of motion; rushing and raising up Acrimonious to stab downward into the surface.
Violet wields Intricately forged ancient steel recurve bow.
Violet casts the blessed token of the Sentinel into the fountain. As if making a wish. And in a way she is as she beseeches. The thing made her puke. In front of her men. There is vehemence in her voice and then it takes one of her own and a growl can be heard in her tone. Her hands ball into fists and she pulls her bow off her back and an arrow once again, moving back while singing, aiming at the black mess. Only this time she has taken a different bow out. A cobalt one that gleams and was made to fight the Gyre.
Harlex checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.
Violet checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.
Lucita checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.
Harlex checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 6 lower.
Violet checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 0 higher.
Lucita checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 10 lower.
The black pool is attacked with the various tokens and weapons, and then the whole pool seems to dissipate, sinking beneath the surface as clearish water starts to rise up in it's place. The creature, whatever it was appears to have been destroyed.
Harlex steps back from the pool as it evaporates. He gives his sword a /look/ after he stabbed the darkness with it and then lowers the weapon and lifts his helm's top jaw to unobstruct his vision. "Is it done?"
Violet takes a moment to breathe deeply. As the water returns she begins to look relieved. Then alarmed. "OUT! The keep is going to collapse," She says as if in answer to Harlex, pointing to the entrance. "Go, go, go!" And of course like any good leader she is making sure everyone else goes ahead of her.
Lucita moves back with the others, looking toward Violet. "You all are so skilled. Is it gone? " She gasps at Violet's comment and turns to run out with the others.
Harlex shoves the Blades along and makes sure the Baroness has begun to flee when he starts out after them before the collapse!
Violet checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.
Harlex checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 51 higher.
Lucita checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.
The escape from the collapsing keep is a frantic one. As beams collapse downward in the main hall, they are easily able to invade them and get through the old doors just as the old building, no longer bound together, finally gives it's final breath and collapses in upon itself, becoming a tomb of its own design. The boats await to bring back the small group of survivors.
Violet gets a goodly ways from the keep before she stops to breathe deeply, a hand on her side. The look on her face is one of both discomfort and satisfaction. "We...give me a second..." She catches her breath and then closes her eyes, obviously focusing on something once more.
Harlex is always so fast. What's his deal. He isn't even much out of breath when they reach the outskirts and observe, in silent reflection, the collapse of the Keep. He looks to Violet for a moment, something curious and uncertain in his gaze. But he inclines his head to her words and he motions the soldiers to stand guard around them for those brief moments until the all clear is given and the mission is, officially, complete.
Now that.. whatever that is.. is gone, the sounds of life start to return to the area - as well as those bugs.
Lucita quietly tries to catch her breath and then looks toward the other soldiers, compassion shows for those who had lost ones. "Thank you all for helping get rid of this threat to my people. It should be safe or them in the vicinity now. Doc said he had arranged payment, yes? And once we get out of here, if room in the boat, Crocadile steaks for everyone and generous measures of wine or good whiskey before we return home?
Violet looks up and gives Lucita a relieved kind of smile and nods. "It's...cleansed," She affirms with a sigh. "And that sounds like a good plan. Listen? The land is no longer recoiling," And she straightens, pulls out her canteen, and takes a gulp of mint water. "To the boats!"
Once life returns he settles at last. Even if he is loathed at the insects. The sword is sheathed, somewhat still shining with the stain of the holy waters. "Whisky sounds just fine for me."
When they return to camp, he sees to any wounded and he makes sure that their specialists (Bianca and Rosalie) are recovering properly. Harlex is quiet, but this isn't unusual for a mission. He busies himself with menial tasks. The dissemination of the dire crocodile, the breaking down of their tents, the loading of supplies into the ships that will carry them home. He doesn't speak on what he saw and if any curious soldiers ask he gives them a growl and they learn better and relent.
When they are loaded onto the ships, he confers quietly with the Legate but is otherwise keeping attentive to whatever is needed. On occasion he will watch the Commandant, perhaps to insure the pregnant woman isn't overdoing it or perhaps it was something else. He also cleans bugs off his armor. Gross.
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