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Post Solis Occasum: Dusk

It was discovered during the debrief that there are at least four and as many as nine missing bodies from the Village of Eresport. There are still many questions left to be answered - what has caused the dead to rise again? Where are the missing corpses? Who is behind it? How can it be fixed? The answers (hopefully) lay in the village of Eresport. Another expedition is being organized to journey to the village and see what answers will be found.

Open to anyone interested, I will be able to run for a group of 7. Priority given to physicians, investigators and Harlequins.

There is a high probability of combat and gore -- human only.

Date

April 6, 2019, 4 p.m.

Hosted By

Reigna

GM'd By

Reigna

Participants

Ian Olivia Oswyn Rukhnis Aethan Rhiannon Rysen Vitalis Kaya

Organizations

Location

Outside Arx - Crownlands near Arx - Village of Eresport

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


Ian gets ugly, singed, stained, multicolor scarf from Aged Satchel.

Aethan gets Sharkskin Spaulder from Canvas Backpack.

Aethan gets Reinforced leather pants from Canvas Backpack.

Aethan gets Wide-brimmed leather hat from Canvas Backpack.

The call went out that there was another expedition planned to Eresport, and given the situation last time with reanimated corpses lumbering about after nightfall, this time those of a martial and investigative bent are highly encouraged to join up.

The designated meeting spot is the main gate that leads outside of Arx, on the bridge that crosses the Gray river. Reigna is there, riding atop a massive ebony Artshall Destrier, dressed in leathers with her hair braided tightly and wound in a tight bun at the base of her neck. Beside her is a cart full of various supplies and a somewhat bored looking driver who is chewing on a slender reed, the tip bouncing with each movement of her teeth. Reigna dismounts as the others arrive and waves them over. "First, I would like to thank you all for volunteering to go on this journey. There is danger and for those of you willing to face it to get to the bottom of this mystery, I appreciate it. The village is about a five hour ride from here. I have provided all the supplies you should need for a few days. Hopefully it will not take that long. Remember, we do not know what the cause of this is yet, and while we are fairly certain it is not a plague, being safer is rarely a sorry thing." She pauses, looking around to those gathered. "Go out there and find out what is causing this... undeath. Remember that those attacked by these creatures exhibited symptoms of the same malady. Good luck."

Once in the past, Ian promised to lend his blade whenever Reigna needed it, and so here he is, proving that promise wasn't just all talk. Also he brought his brother with him, as this is just about right for a Kennex family outing. Looped at his belt just about where a sword ought to be (and isn't) is a... um. If one were inclined to be generous, they might say it was a scarf. If one were not inclined to be generous, they'd ask why it smells like dead fish. Ian's treating its presence like it's totally normal to have a hideous scarf looped at your belt. At his other side, a satchel bag hangs from a long strap that crosses his chest. He's not great with horses, so hopefully someone gives him a really patient one. Or lets him ride in the wagon.

Olivia arrives to the meeting spot in her armor and her physicians coat. She aslo has her handy dandy satchel, with flower samples for comparison later. Rhiannon is with her this time. Despite the impending danger Olivia has her usual smile. "Ready for this cousin? It could get hairy out there._

Oswyn has geared up and is along for the journey this time. It might be a little odd to see him in armor, but there he is. The stuff actually looks like it's been used, too. He stands, hands curled around the straps of the backpack he's wearing, and nods.

Rukhnis has heeded the call to return to Eresport today, not being the one to leave any kind of horrific and depressing business unfinished. She listens to Reigna intently as the woman speaks, nodding to her with grim resolve from where she sits in the saddle of her own mount, a nondescript dun gelding whose deep chest and muscular hindquarters suggest endurance and perhaps a fair bit of speed -- both probably useful characteristics if fleeing from undead hordes is likely to be necessary again. She keeps casting glances over her shoulder as if looking for something or someone, but finally settles her gaze forward with a slight shake of her head.

Aethan is not the most accomplished rider either, but at least he's managed to stay on the horse the whole way, so that he doesn't add to the chaos. He's clothed in leather armor, though sans weird-smelling scarf -- apparently his resemblance to his brother Ian has its limits. He dismounts as well, listening to what Reigna says with a serious expression, and though he does not reply, he does nod.

Rhiannon is there near Olivia. She's in leather armor meant to blend in with the forests and trees and has a bow with quiver on her back as well as a swort in a belt at her waist. "I am always ready for things to get 'harry', Olivia. That's why you bring me along to these things. Hopefully I can be of help in finding a solution as well as watching your back."

Oswyn gets knife from adventurer's belt.

Reigna offers another nod, her own expression a solemn thing, though there is pride in her eyes at the willingness of each of them. "Thank you. Sincerely." The young Marquessa has a warmth to her, a way of speaking that conveys the depth of her emotions, her attention as it falls to each face is intent enough, heavy enough that one might feel truly *seen* by her. She turns to her horse and mounts with enough smooth grace to show she's quite familiar with riding. She herself is clearly intent on going with the party, decked out in an ivy-themed set of armor, the chest piece looking to be from some immense snake -- her helm, held in one hand, appears made from the same beast's skull. It's a different look for the healer. Still, she seems comfortable enough. There is a look to Ian for a second, and then she looks to Olivia, "There is room in the cart, for those less comfortable riding. We can tie any spare horses to the back."

Olivia waves to all those that have gathered. "Smaller group this time. Good thing I think we got most of the corpses burned last time..." She leans over to Rhiannon for a second, "I would use the excuse I am going to do inventory, but if you gathered our supplies, no one would believe me anyways." She grins to Reigna as she climbs in to the cart.

Ian nods to Reigna, not bothering to hide his gratitude that he won't be forced to try to ride a horse. At least not yet. Between the weakness in his legs and the whole 'I'm a sailor and we really don't do horses' thing, it's probably better for everyone this way.

Oswyn eyes the horse he's borrowed with a resigned sort of expression. He gives the beast a couple of awkward pats and then clambers up onto its back. Seems practiced enough, though he is by no means elegant.

Rysen arrives on his Crovane war horse, and rides to Reigna's side. "Sorry I'm late. Have room for one more, My Lady?" he asks.

Aethan also seems willing to tie his horse back and climb into the cart -- they probably don't need to also deal with someone who's been injured by falling on his ass as well. He does so, climbing in beside Ian with a nod to Olivia as well, settling in but not looking like he's getting comfortable -- he's still watchful of the surroundings.

Rukhnis lets out a quiet breath, looking better satisfied to see Rysen joining the group. Among all the other reluctant looking riders, she herself sits her horse with an easy posture but a somewhat careful grip on the reins, and gives the impression of having once been used to riding but having grown out of practice in it. Nevertheless she manages to offer Rysen a graceful bow from horseback in greeting.

A horse certainly isn't Rhiannon's specialty, at least she is athletic enough to stay up on one, choosing to ride near the cart--assuming Olivia will be inside. She uses both hands to control the horse, though. She nods at the others, her golden hair carefully hidden beneath a leather helm.

Reigna flashes a grin to Rysen and inclines her head before putting on that snake skull helm, "It is good to see you, Lord Rysen! And no problem at all." She gives a last glance to make sure everyone is ready to go before she digs in her heels and sets her horse to a brisk walking pace. The day is still young, just past nine in the morning, with a slight bite to the wind that comes in from the sea. The sun is warm however and the sky is clear. "We should arrive at Eresport well before dark, assuming we do not have to stop often," says Reigna, in a classic jinx. Still, she leads the way, her horse's tail flicking back and forth, clearly glad to be out on the road.

If you don't look at Ian's intense electric blue eyes, he looks downright bored as he slouches in the rattling cart, watching the countryside go by. Half asleep, even. But his eyes are alert, his gaze incisive. He's not looking at the pretty trees on this bright and cheerful day. He's looking for anything moving between them that shouldn't be.

Olivia waves at the people who join her in the cart. "My lords. If this ends up being half of what it was last time, get rest while you can..." She smiles and curls up a little bit closing her eyes.

Rysen grins and nods to Reigna. "Thank you, My Lady." He runs his steel-clad hand over the mane of his horse, and his gray eyes flick back to Rukhnis for a moment. He laughs a little grimly when he hears Olivia, and notices her close her eyes.

Rukhnis nudges her gelding over to ride a short distance away from Rysen, while watching their surroundings in much the same way Ian is, except without the outward attitude of boredom. She herself observes their surroundings along the way with a look of keen vigilance -- not nervous or edgy, just alert.

Ian checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 14 higher.

Aethan checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 4 lower.

Rysen checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 1 lower.

Rukhnis checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 12 lower.

Rukhnis checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 2 lower.

Olivia checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 6 higher.

Oswyn checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 2 higher.

Reigna has rolled a critical success!
Reigna checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 14 higher.

Ian checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 10 higher.

Rukhnis checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.

Rysen checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 3 lower.

Aethan checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 17 lower.

Olivia checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 6 higher.

Oswyn checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 7 higher.

Reigna checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 13 higher.

Vitalis checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.

Vitalis checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 10 lower.

Vitalis draws rein, riding up to join the group from their left, his mount, Braci dancing with the energy of his first adventure out of City and its environs. The young explorer has a job keeping the gelding in check, and smiles with the effort of containment. "Marquessa, our flank is secure." He'd disappeared some time ago and now returns to the others.

The journey is rather uneventful, for the first two and a half hours. The horses keep a steady pace, the cart ride could be smoother, but it's handling the dirt road well enough. It is getting steadily warmer as the sun climbs the sky and the breeze seems to fade to only the occasional gust of cool air. As the road takes a turn through a pair of particularly close trees, those with keener senses are aware of the disguised trap, triggered by the rolling of the cart, setting into motion, the release of a block that kept a large log held aloft, which is now swinging down in a terrifyingly fast arc, heading directly for the cart.

Rhiannon has rolled a critical success!
Rhiannon checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 11 higher.

Rukhnis lets out an exclamation of startlement and warning as she spots the log trap headed directly towards their small band, and quicker than thought she sidles her own gelding sharply to one side, not away from the log's trajectory, but towards Rysen's mount to shove him and his horse out of its path.

"Wh---" Oswyn starts to say as the log somes whooshing out. His heels kick the sides of his mount, his hands tugging on the reins to wheel it away from the danger. And really, it's about all he can do just to stay seated.

Olivia checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 4 lower.

Aethan checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 1 lower.

10 inflicted and Olivia is harmed for moderate damage.

20 inflicted and Ian is harmed for moderate damage.

10 inflicted and Rukhnis is harmed for moderate damage.

Ian goes from seemingly half asleep to moving fast with nothing really in between. He suddenly jerks forward towards the driver, knocking him aside with his cane as he does so. That shove with his cane will leave a bruise, but nothing like what happens to Ian a moment later when the trap that he saw coming is sprung. Ian takes a direct hit from a tree, but manages to grab the reins in case the horses are going to startle away.

Olivia looks up as she sees the log coming right at the cart, perhaps her idea of rest was a bad one. She see that Aethan isn't paying attention. She scrambles to her feet and shoves him to push him out of the cart. She turns at just the right time, the log barely grazes her, but does knock her down. Her face scrunches up in pain.

Rysen's horse Bandit bays and leaps forward when Rukhnis startles him. "Rukhnis!" roars Rysen she's thrown from her mount. He leaps from horseback, and rushes to her side, drawing his weapon and desperately scanning the surrounding forest for any incoming danger. "Are you alright," he hisses to Rukhnis, crouched low in a defensive stance.

Rysen wields a keen-edged longsword.

The warning shout rises to Vitalis' lips as chaos unshackles the otherwise orderly advance. Plenty seemed aware, but so sudden is the trap they're all slammed and buffeted. Someone tripped that trap... the cart or someone waiting out of sight. He'll find out what. The young lord's keen eyes rake the environs, Engima's coils leaping to hand as he wheels his horse.

Vitalis wields Enigma.

Rhiannon moves quickly to the side of the cart, her eyes scanning the area around as she pulls her bow around off her shoulder, holding it with one hand and the horse with the other.

Aethan isn't asleep, but apparently he might as well be, because he completely misses the log coming down on them. When Olivia pulls him out of the way, he doesn't try to pull back, rolling out of the cart and managing not to get hit. He sees that she does, though, and he stands up quickly. "Are you all right?" he asks her as he goes to help her up should she need it.

Rhiannon wields Woden, an osage wood longbow.

Rukhnis grunts in pain as both the impact of the log and the sideways rearing of her terrified gelding send her flying onto the hard packed dirt of the road. She lies there for several moments, a little dazed, then staggers to her feet with a suppressed wince and looks immediately about, first for Rysen, whom she realizes is right there, just fine and already waving a sword around, and then for her poor horse. "I am fine," she brushes off Rysen's question, and then darts over to take the reins of her gelding, who's upright again but skittering and shying with pretty understandable fear and pain.

Oswyn swings down off his horse. "Careful," he says. "Might be bandits or something." This is perhaps not necessary for him to warn against. He's heading for the cart, and the injured, squinting at them to assess injuries.

Despite the trap being sprung, there is no war cry, no sound of impending invaders, no rushing soldiers or shavs following up the ambush. There is a startled flight of birds, but beyond that, the forest is quiet. The startled driver is knocked from her reverie by Ian's strike and she tumbles off the side of the cart and right under the hooves of Reigna's horse, Nightfall. There is a thud as hoof meets head and Reigna hauls back on the Reigns and the war horse rears up and pirouettes in a trained maneuver. Reigna leans in towards the neck as the horse pivots and settles back onto all fours, the Marquessa hopping off the animal's back to check on the driver. "Damnit!" The Marquessa is reaching for her satchel, "She's bleeding and her pupils are very large, despite the light. She needs treatments I can't give her out here...." She looks up at the sky and then back to the cart. "Can anyone else drive the cart?"

Olivia winces a bit, "I got hit harter in the grand Melee" She slowly gets to her feet holding the left side of her ribs. "I think my armor did it's job." She looks around seeing everyone draw weapons. She hears Reigna shouting and that draws her attention, so she runs over, with a slight limp.

Ian apparently got hit in the chest with a tree AND got the driver nearly killed, so he's turning the reins over to whoever wants them and sitting down and being quiet for a while.

Rukhnis speaks softly to the gelding in Eurusi for some time, hushing him and stroking him on the neck as he finally begins to settle down. Keeping one hand still on the reins, she then passes her other hand over the horse's side, gently but firmly, assessing to what extent he might be injured. As the animal flinches away from her touch, she lets out a quiet sigh of regret, and whispers something else in the gelding's ear. "He must go behind the cart," she says, then, with a dubious glance around, asks, "Can no one drive? I have driven a small amount, but I am no expert."

Rysen curses under his breath. He sheathes his sword, and moves to check on the others, frowning to see the injuries inflicted on Olivia and Ian. He comes to stand beside Reigna, gazing down on the injured cart driver. Raising his gaze to Reigna, he says, "I'm not sure how effective I'd be, but I'm willing to drive the cart if no others are more suited." There is a look of determination in his eyes to reach Eresport again should the Abyss open before him.

Rhiannon shakes her head, even as she tries to get her own horse under her control. "I can scout ahead, but I would be no good with driving a cart," she admits as she rides up slightly behind Olivia, keeping watch.

Oswyn shakes his head. "I'm not a great choice for driving," he says. He makes his way over to the driver, frowns, and then turns his attention to Ian, leaning in to examine the man. "That looked like it hit you hard."

"Not the first time I've had a tree fall on me," Ian tells Oswyn, brushing him away. He's not really showing any obvious signs of injury. Of course, if there's a giant bruise developing under his layers of leather armor, that wouldn't be visible.

Reigna is examining the driver swiftly, opening one eye then the other. The woman makes an attempt to bat away Reigna's hands, muttering, "It's too bright. Stoppit." and the Physician looks relieved, "She is coherent, that is a good sign. Still, I'd feel better getting her back to Arx. I think if Rukhnis and Lord Rysen are willing, they can drive the cart. Lord Ian? I know you best and know your skill -- if you would take lead, I would be grateful." She helps the woman get to her feet, and the driver does, despite her clear headache, seem like she's mobile. She and Olivia help the woman up onto Nightfall, and mounts behind her. There is a touch of guilt in her eyes as she looks towards Eresport. "Please be careful my friends. I will leave some of my guard in my place."

When they're asked if they can drive, Aethan shakes his head, though he gets out his weapon now, holding the axe in his hand and hopefully being more aware now.

Ian shoos Oswyn off, and goes where Reigna sends him, which is... a horse? Because nobody wants him taking the lead on a horse. He's REALLY not good at horses.

"I wasn't aware experience with getting hit by a tree gave one immunity from being harmed," Oswyn tells Ian, his tone very dry. He backs off, though, and squints at the others.

"I suppose it is up to me, then," Rukhnis says, sounding extremely doubtful about the wisdom of this. "You may continue riding, if you prefer it," she says to Rysen. It is likely easier for you to keep guard that way." She hoists herself up onto the seat of the wagon with another quiet grunt, and settles in to take the reins in a firm but cautious grip. She mutters to herself, "For all its faults, at least the traveling show did not involve driving horses into villages full of undead."

Vitalis makes a circle of the scattered riders and wagon, seeing no evidence of anyone or thing following the trap, circles back, drawing rein near Rhiannon, "I've certainly had more fun with trees." His eyes sharpen at the injuries, not one to tend to them and making no pretense. "It doesn't seem an attack is imminent."

Olivia nods to Reigna. Then she turns to Ian, "Rhiannon is Ashford's best scout. If you should feel her talents nessicary." With that she heads over to check on Aethan, "You ok?"

Rhiannon sends Vitalis a quick grin and then moves back out of the way for Reigna to get on her horse and get the driver back to Arx. She looks around at the others and then ensures that Olivia gets back into the cart. "I can scout, if there is a need."

Rysen glances at Rukhnis with a dark look. "It seems there is no more dangerous place than the driver's seat," he says. "I will be seated there beside you." He steps over to his horse, and whispering to him, takes his reigns, and leads him to the rear of the cart, securing him to follow behind. Making his way back to the front of the cart, he steps up into the driver's seat, and glances back at Reigna as she departs.

When asked if he's all right, Aethan nods, taking a step or two as though to either demonstrate or to make sure that he's actually all right. It seems he is, since he's moving fine. "Yes," he confirms, "I'm all right. Thank you for that."

Rukhnis snorts at Rysen but only says, "As you wish, then." She herself doesn't really look at all pleased to be stuck on a rattly lumbering wagon behind everyone else instead of helping to scout the way, but she clucks her tongue reassuringly at the horses so that they at least may feel better about their lot. She adopts a stoic expression as she waits for everyone else to be ready to continue their way on to the dead village.

Oswyn returns to his horse and clambers back onto it. The horse is trying to move away, so the result is Oswyn fumbling about before he manages to reclaim his seat. Again, not the most elegant rider.

Ian looks at Rhiannon, and then he looks over at the driver. He's been spending a lot of time looking over at the driver since he accidentally shoved her under the hooves of a horse. He's not, when it comes down to it, the best liar in the world, and so it's visible in flickers of emotion on his expression and in his eyes his mental calculus for the situation. He's already nearly killed the driver. He's not going to risk getting Rhiannon killed, too. "No, I'll take point."

Olivia smiles at Aethan, "No problem... here to help." She says as she is ushered back in to the cart by Rhiannon. She takes up her regular spot in the corner and tries to deterime the extent of her own injuries secretly, no need to worry people.

Rhiannon looks amused at Ian's reaction. "I'm the Commander of the Ashford Tree Scouts. Sure, I'm on a horse in the open, but I'm still a scout. The skill isn't limited to trees. It is my job. Quite literally."

Rysen frowns deeply as he takes the cart's reins. As Rukhnis moves to the back, he utters the words, "Thank you. You are welcome to ride Bandit if you wish," and waits for the word from Ian to set out.

"I'll take point," Ian repeats. He never raises his voice, but he doesn't have to. There's a mix of command and stubbornness even when he speaks quietly that makes it clear he doesn't intend to be moved on this subject, not after what just happened, and if pushed he will flat out start giving orders.

The log has snapped the cords that were tying it in place and the log itself rests on the side of the road. Reigna salutes and leaves three of her guard, with the fourth refusing to leave her side as she rides back towards Arx. The quiet settles in and the sun remains just past zenith. A little time has been lost, but they are half way to the village and they still have several hours of daylight left. The horses pulling the cart are quite mellow, likely chosen for that exact quality on this trip. They seem amiable to the change in dirver and don't really give Rysen any hassel.

Vitalis offers of Rhiannon's skill, "If concealment is no concern, two can scout." Ian and Rhiannon both. "I can attest to Lady Rhinannon's skill as well." A third and potentially less biased party. But when Ian bows his neck, the explorer lays off, Reigna having given over command.

Rhiannon backs down respectfully as Ian makes up his mind and then she moves to the back. "Then perhaps I will keep an eye behind us?" The chain of command must be followed. Her military training such that she certainly doesn't try to compare anything. She nods to Vitalis and then puts her bow back into the slot on her back.

Rukhnis doesn't take Rysen up on his offer of his own horse, as she seems to feel it's her duty to keep a close eye on him. Instead she folds her arms over her chest, and little gingerly, and resumes her vigilant inspection of road and forest, poised lightly where she can either take the reins or go shoving Rysen out of the way of things again if necessary.

Oswyn checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 7 higher.

Vitalis checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.

Rhiannon checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 4 higher.

"We're keeping everyone together," Ian tells Vitalis. He nods to Rhiannon. "That's a good idea. But don't let yourself fall behind." It's not, probably, a huge instiller of confidence, the trouble that he has getting onto a horse's back, but he gets there eventually, and they press on.

Rukhnis checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 7 higher.

Aethan checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 4 lower.

Ian checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.

Rysen checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 12 lower.

Olivia checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 5 lower.

Oswyn rides along quietly. He does squint at those injured from time to time, though the further they go, the more he frowns. "...Does it sound like we're the only living things around here to anyone else?" he finally asks.

Olivia calls out to Oswyn, "It was like that last time... I had not really noticed though...."

Rukhnis's mouth takes on a grim set once more the further they go along the road, her eyes flicking watchfully about for any sign of trouble. Though nothing terribly menacing seems to be inclined to show itself, she doesn't appear to find this at all reassuring. She mutters to herself, "It is so quiet again. That was not a good sign, the last time." She nods slightly in response to both Olivia and Oswyn.

Rhiannon nods, remaining in sight of the cart. "The animals and birds are quiet. Unnaturally so," she describes almost softly, riding close enough to be heard and then shifting away from the cart again to ensuring nothing can sneak up behind them.

Ian doesn't comment on the situation, but he seems more cautious. He notes the angle of the sun in the sky, without pausing the trip. Since getting there before nightfall seems to be important for some reason.

Kaya enters silently and moves over near where Olivia is. She does not say anything but observes and listens intently.

Aethan begins to walk, his eyes on the road ahead, axe in hand. He tips his head to the side when Oswyn comments on the silence, and his eyes narrow as he nods once, but doesn't say anything for the moment.

Hair risen on his neck, Vitalis' eyes scan, sharp. Ears strain for sounds that do not come. He gives a tight nod, grunting, not adding much more than that to the eerie silence. He falls in behind and to the right of Ian, just ahead of the cart.

Oswyn nods, and gets extra squinty. Really, his eyes are slits and his face is scrunched up, like he's trying very hard to see something.

Not noticing much between the clop of hooves and the rolling cart, Rysen looks warily as the sun arcs through the sky. He maintains as quick a pace in the cart as seems prudent, given the recently sprung trap.

"The last time," Rukhnis comments reassuringly, "the silence meant we were very close to what seemed to be the limits of where the undead walked."

As the party continues down the road, the village comes into view. The houses are just as they were left. All of the doors are ajar, some more than others, buffetted by winds. THe air here is very still and it seems cooler here than just outside the village. In fact, mist has gathered in the gully bordering the village, thick and hazy, unmoving, protected from the sunlight by the grand canopy of trees that ring the village. This time there are no visible bodies laying on the ground, no sound of buzzing flies to fill the air. Just that unnatural stillness, the quiet. The houses circling the square, the doors like gaping maws leading to darkness within. Welcome to Eresport.

Before doing anything else, Ian looks for a solid wall (maybe of a house or something?) and sets the cart up near that in such a way that cart and wall become a defensible position, should one be necessary. It's not exactly circling the wagons, but it will have to do.

Olivia hits the ground running... or well stumbling. She is not very Athletic. She doesn't bother waiting for orders... or anything at all. She is rushing over to where the plants were last time, trying to make her observations, take more samples if needed, see the overall effect her prayers may have had.

Rysen quickly leaps down from the drivers seat and walks over to the rear of the cart to find Olivia. When he notices her recklessly running off, he sprints to her side, at least until he can make sure there're no surprises waiting for them.

Oswyn dismounts and lingers by the cart, still squinting. Olivia's beeline toward the flowers gains a curious look, and he aims his squint thataway.

Vitalis maintains his position relative to Ian, posting off of him, keen senses trained on the silent and strange village. When Olivia darts forward, his eyes snap to Ian and without prompting, spurs Braci to ride in escort of the heedless woman, a low oath uttered as Engima again slips into loose grasp.

Aethan glances after Olivia as she goes to the flowers, and he squints a little bit, too, before he takes a few steps toward Oswyn, saying something to him in a lower voice as he watches what's going on.

Rhiannon dismounts, tying her horse away from the others a bit, but still close enough to defend. She takes off after Olivia as well, standing back to defend, her bow in her hand. She remains somewhat between both parties, ready to defend and wary of anything that might sneak up on them.

's eyes narrow as she notes the mist in the gully, and she rubs her forearms briskly. "The mist came up before the dead rose, the first evening," she says quietly. "I do not like to see it here now, when the sun is still high. It does not bode well." She too leaps swiftly down from the cart, though she first checks all the horses again and gives them a few soft words of reassurance before taking a better look around.

Oswyn shakes his head at whatever Aethan says, seeming a touch distracted as he replies.

Kaya seems fairly unrattled seeming to focus her attention sharply on the area. She keeps pace easily with Olivia, almost as if she is silently watching over the lady. She seems ready to snap into action if needed as well

Ian takes note of Olivia and Kaya dashing off. He also takes note of the fact that Rysen is dashing after them. He looks to Vitalis. "Go with them. Pick her up and carry her back here if you think it's getting too dangerous. Have the other one carry Lady Olivia if she won't come."

Ian is probably not talking about gentle cradling carrying. Not when a fireman's carry will do.

Noticing Vitalis riding after Olivia, Rysen halts, feeling assured the Lady of Ashford will be safe. He returns to the cart in search of Oswyn. "You are a scholar, are you not? If you wish to look around, I would like to accompany you, and perhaps share some theories about what might've occurred." He glances at Rukhnis to get a sense of her plans.

Aethan nods at whatever Oswyn says in reply, and he quiets then, looking after Olivia and Kaya briefly, though he doesn't follow.

Oswyn nods at Rysen, a little absently. "Yeah. Thank you," he says. "I'm Oswyn." He frowns in the direction of the flowers, then casts his gaze about. Honestly, he's looking a little constipated with the intent expression and the squinting.

Rukhnis says, "Let us look to see if there is any sign of what happened to the bodies that have gone missing, or of anyone else having been here since our last visit." She casts her gaze about, beginning to make her way cautiously around the village, looking for any traces of fallen (or walking) corpses, or for any other tracks or signs.

And then... Rysen suddenly doubles back. Ian locks eyes with his brother and makes a gesture for him to follow them instead. One person with basic survival instincts for every person without basic survival instincts.

Olivia checked intellect + agriculture at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.

Rukhnis checked perception + survival at difficulty 45, rolling 3 higher.

Rhiannon checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 3 lower.

"Will you walk with me and Rukhnis," Rysen asks Oswyn, and steps to the side of his servant as she begins to scout out the village. Turning to Rukhnis, he says in a low voice, "I moved through all these homes last time - but I'd like to take a second look."

Kaya checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 41 higher.

Kaya checked perception + survival at difficulty 45, rolling 3 lower.

Rysen checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 5 lower.

Kaya checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 1 higher.

Vitalis has rolled a critical success!
Vitalis checked perception + survival at difficulty 45, rolling 73 higher.

Rukhnis nods to Rysen in agreement, replying, "We can make our way methodically about the village, indoors and out, and see whatever there is to be seen."

Kaya stands protectively close to Olivia, Kaya seems ready to do what is needed to keep the Lady protected. Her eyes have a sharp focus as she keeps her bow quickly readied at her side in her left hand. Kaya keeps close enough to Olivia in order to help drag off Olivia to safety if needed.

Aethan catches the look from his brother, and he still doesn't say anything, but he does starts after Kaya and Olivia. He doesn't seem to be looking for traces of anything in particular, but he does have his axe handy just in case he's called upon to use it.

Vitalis sits tall in the saddle, keeping a sharp eye out as Olivia works, a nod to Ian accepting his direction and ready to cry warning at the first sign of danger.

Oswyn checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 11 higher.

Oswyn stops his squinting and rubs his eyes, frowning for a moment at Rysen and Rukhnis. "I... alright. I'll do that," he says, nodding. The frown fades, and the scholar goes along with the two of them.

Ian stands on the cart, where he's turned it into a makeshift barricade/home base with the help of a wall, and keeps an eye on people as much as the mist permits, and an ear on people where watching them is impossible.

Olivia is kneeling, digging in the dirt, oblivious to all the activity around her. She hmms loudly as she stands up, "The plants are dying. I think this is a good thing." She announces to no one in particular. She she turns and sees it. The well. She definitely approaches the well a bit more carefully than the flowers and peeks down it.

As Rysen, Rukhnis and Oswyn move systematically through the village, Rysen says to Oswyn, "I believe you were present when Olivia gave her report about the risen corpses, the strange flowers, the soil, and the lack of spiders." He glances towards one of the houses and draws his sword as a precaution preparing to enter. "Any theories on what might be the cause of that sort of phenomena?" he asks in a low voice.

Rysen wields a keen-edged longsword.

Aethan wields diamondplate axe.

Oswyn wields knife.

Vitalis spies something, tugging Braci's head around to get a better look at something, he looks up, seeing Rukhnis likewise studying. He meets her eyes and nods, looking off west. "Lord Kennex." The explorer's voice is pitched to carry to Ian's perch on the wagon. He points west. "Tracks out this way. Relatively new."

Rukhnis moves slowly through the village, gaze trained intently on the ground, her footsteps light and carefully placed so as not to destroy any traces before they're spotted and inspected. As she goes she agrees suspiciously with Vitalis, "These prints are too recent. They have surely come since our last visit here, and likely not long ago. And those..." Her gaze shifts of towards the west. "Yes. Those go where our treasure-seeking friends from before went off to."

Kaya does not let her guard down. Kaya keeps close to Olivia as she works not disrupting the Lady but protectivly standing guard, ready for any action needed. She glances over to the west but returns her focus to the area imediately around Olivia and herself

Olivia checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 7 higher.

"How many tracks?" Ian calls back to Vitalis and Rukhnis. He's capable of projecting his voice when he has a reason to. "And what kind?"

Olivia looks up and yells out to the group, "I think I found one of our missing corpses! Am I going back in or does someone want to volunteer this time?"

"They are ordinary human tracks, so far as I can tell," Rukhnis replies to Ian with a frown. "I cannot discern them so well as to tell whether they may be an ordinary stride from a live human or the lurch of dead one."

Vitalis nods, confirming Rukhnis' report, "Five of them by my count." He pats his mount's neck, the horses' ears pinned back, hooves dancing uneasily. He murmurs to settle the creature, though it seems unlikely that 'everything's fine' is wholly accurate.

There are a total of eleven houses in this village and one gathering hall. Of these eleven, one is the house the looters were held in, that has been thoroughly investigated. The only other construct is the grain storage silo, close to the town hall. Other features of the village include the well, a communal corral for animals and a covered thatch-style stable for horses. Though there are no animals or horses present, currently.

"Keep an eye out." Ian advises Vitalis and Rukhnis. finally steps off the cart when Olivia says she's found one of the bodies, and walks towards the well. "You need to get this body out?" He asks Olivia.

Kaya seems ready to follow Olivia wherever she decides to go. Still seeming ready to jump into action if needed at any moment

Olivia nods to Ian, "We need to destroy any afflicted corpses. If that is one of them it needs to be burned, if it is not, then we have a new issue being that new people stumbled on this place."

"Five," Rukhnis echoes, her mouth twisting slightly. "We were missing at least four corpses for certain from the last time." She casts a wary glance over at Olivia, probably doubting her safety around wells, especially since Olivia herself seems to feel the same way.

Aethan looks over at Ian when he comes over, before he turns back to Olivia as she answers his brother's question. "I can destroy a corpse," he says, hefting the axe.

Rhiannon walks over near Olivia, still watching outward. "I must respectfully request that if someone is going into that well, that it be me above Lady Olivia, Lord Ian. If you do not mind, that is."

Rysen makes his way to the silo and the town hall. He makes his way inside the town hall first, digging through anything he can find.

Rysen checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 2 higher.

Oswyn checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 34 higher.

"I will go down," Kaya offers not saying much else and still standing guard of Olivia

Rukhnis follows along after Rysen, keeping a weather eye out for any dangers that might lurk inside any of the supposedly abandoned buildings. She too treats each interior to a searching inspection, but she seems at least as intent on safeguarding the two others with her simply through her vigilance.

Rukhnis checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 2 higher.

"Lady Rhiannon," Ian nods towards Rhiannon. "Once Aethan finishes the sling, we'll lower you down. He'll should you how to attach the second part of it to the corpse so we can haul it back up.

Inside the town hall, Rysen steps over an area of the floor that creaks with an odd sound. He glances at Rukhnis and Oswyn, and kneels down. He sheathes his long sword and draws his short, looking for any crack that he might be able to use to pry the creaky floorboard to see if anything lies beneath.

Rysen wields a steel short sword with a wolf's head pommel.

"I heard it, too," Oswyn tells Rysen, sticking back so the other man can do his prying and jimmying. "Huh."

Aethan checked dexterity + sailing at difficulty 15, rolling 41 higher.

Vitalis nods at Ian's command and with a curious look at the gathering at the well and makes a circuit of the village, leaving Rukhnis to watch west.

Rhiannon nods at Ian as she slings her bow over her shoulder again. "I am armed and more than capable of looking after myself." She nods in thanks at Kaya. "Though it is, of course, up to you." She is wearing a long sword as well.

Rukhnis frowns narrowly down at the floor, though she seems to be paying less attention to Rysen's creaky board than to something else that's caught her notice. "Be wary," she says, as if anyone really needed that reminder. "There is perhaps something that is.. drawing insects to this place. There are very many of them here. Far more than should be usual."

Olivia offers her hairpins to Rhiannon, "Not a lot of room down there. I know from experience. No room to swing a sword. I insist you take these."

Ian gets as many people over as possible to help manage the rope, lowering Rhiannon down and getting her back up again. With his weak legs, he'll be useless at that. But the rest of the people at the well will be on 'Holy shit pull her up really fast' duty.

Once the plan is outlined, Aethan pulls up the rope from the well, beginning to tie it into a sling that will hold Rhiannon. Hopefully, anyway! However, it does look sturdy as he's tying it, and it least it seems like he knows what he's doing. Once he's finished, he hands it to Rhiannon. "Here," he says, "put this on." Then he gets ready to lower her down with whoever else is helping.

Rysen pries open the floorboard with his short sword, slips his fingers under and forces it up, pushing it out of the way to reveal a bundle hidden beneath it.

Kaya offers to help lower Rhiannon down with a shrug of her shoulders. "I am smaller and armed to the teeth but ok," she says and moves into position to help

The sun is continuing its trek across the sky. The party arrived at the village a few hours past noon, and have been here another hour or so. So while the sun is not yet kissing the horizon, the shadows are starting to get longer. The perimeter of the village is quiet. No sign of approaching soldiers or ambushers. Those gathered around the well still have enough light to see the shape lurking just under the water.

Rhiannon gets herself into the rope and looks at the hairpins and tucks one into her hair even as she pulls her sword. "Thank you, Olivia." She then moves to the well to let them lower her down. No reluctance here, but she's looking, watching, careful about not leaping into anything without consideration.

Rhiannon checked strength + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 6 lower.

Oswyn glances down at the thing under the floorboard - something cylindrical, wrapped in umbra. Then he squints at it. "Oh," he breathes. He frowns, and then he's leaning forward to pick it up.

Rukhnis blinks as Rysen prizes up the floorboard and reveals what's hidden underneath -- apparently whatever she was expecting, it isn't anything as outwardly innocuous as a bundle. She crouches down a short ways away, fixing it and the shrouded cylinder with a guarded stare. "What in the world is it?" she asks.

"Take it to Lord Ian, please, Oswyn," says Rysen, with a glimmer of deep curiosity in his gray eyes. "Rukhnis and I will check the rest of the area, and then move onto the silo. Meet up with us there if you like." His gaze lingers on the umbra covered bundle for a moment, and then he nods his head to Rukhnis, and finishes checking the town hall for aught of interest before checking out the nearby silo.

Rhiannon moves on the bottom of the rope, like she's trying to get the body gripped for the rope. "It's stuck on something." She has to sheath her sword to pull and tug with both hands."

Olivia looks back down the well, "Is it a child cousin?"

"Can you cut it loose?" Ian calls down to Rhiannon.

Rhiannon has rolled a critical success!
Rhiannon checked strength + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 29 higher.

Oswyn nods to Rysen and Rukhnis, stepping out of the house. He walks a few paces, and then stops and does something that is perhaps not incredibly wise - he unwraps the umbra to reveal a cylinder of stygian, frowns, and reaches in to take out part of a scroll. He extends his arm and squints at the scroll, then the cylinder.

Kaya stands ready to assist where needed

Aethan keeps hold of the rope, waiting for Rhiannon to call up that she's ready to be pulled out of the well.

Rhiannon calls out as she grips the corpse with both hands. She gives the signal to be brought up, not concerned about getting just as dirty. "Pull me out. I've got it, but it seems like it was weighed down at the bottom."

Ian didn't SEEM to be keeping track of the people who went into the house and yet, when Oswyn takes a scroll out of the scrollcase, he barely looks in that direction before calling: "If you're going to read the scroll you found in the zombie village, come over here first."

Rukhnis eyes Oswyn sidelong and with the deepest misgivings as she and Rysen head over to the silo, letting out a resigned sigh as she sees the scholarly man heeding the cylinder's siren song and opening it up. "Well, at least we have found something of note," she says, perhaps with an implied "before we all die" appended onto the statement.

"Gods and spirits," says Rysen under his breath. "With our luck, it's some Abyssal curse that calls the undead like ravens to a battlefield. Nothing can be done for it. Let's check the silo quickly. It's getting later, and it doesn't yet seem like all the bodies are accounted for." He frowns and forces himself to turn away from Oswyn towards the silo.

"Um," says Oswyn looking up and over in Ian's direction and frowning a little. "I'm not going to read the scroll hidden in the zombie village." Like, the fuck, are you crazy? says his tone, which might be a little weird coming from a commoner as polite and meek as Oswyn is. He does tuck the cylinder under his armpit and unfurls the scroll just a little, squinting at it. He seems hesitant to do so. Apparently he's got his misgivings, too.

Rukhnis approaches the silo cautiously, shoving at the door and squinting through it at the inside before she attempts going in. Probably Rysen wanted to be the first to enter, just because he's got a sword or something, but tough. She looks back over her shoulder, then pushes the door the rest of the way open.

Kaya checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

Aethan checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.

Ian gives Oswyn, currently unfurling the scroll (just a little, just to look), a look and a raised eyebrow, but the lion's share of his attention has to stay with the well. Hopefully the scholar knows better than to yell 'Klaatu barata niktu' in the middle of the zombie village.

Rysen wields a keen-edged longsword.

Rysen checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 9 higher.

Rukhnis checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 12 higher.

Oswyn sighs, letting the scroll roll up again fully after his quick glance. "That's not Arvani, or anything I recognize. Granted, languages are not my thing. There's... like glyphs, and pictograms, but I really don't want to, you know... do a spell or something accidentally. By reading half a scroll we found in a zombie village. It is only part of a scroll, though." Now he's bringing it to Ian, stuffing it back in the cylinder as he walks and no longer squinting like Mister Constipated. Just looking nervous.

Kaya starts to help pull Rhiannon up out of the well being assited by others

If Osywn needs Ian to take charge of the scroll case, he'll put it in his bag, but he won't actively take it away from the scholar. He notes the people who went into the silo, but then his attention goes back to Rhiannon and whatever it is rising out of the well.

Aethan glances over to Oswyn just in time to see him unrolling the scroll a little bit. It's his turn to squint now, the words the scholar comes out with not really making him feel very comfortable -- like zombies do? -- but he turns again then to bring his attention back to the well and hauling Rhiannon out.

Between the efforts of Kaya, Aethan and Rhiannon, the lady is able to make her way up the wall of the well. It is not an easy task, and the corpse is... well. Bloated and pretty gross. The skin has softened, and Rhiannon's grip has to be tight to deal with the added weight from the rope tied to the corpses ankles. The ropes are attached to a large rock, a rock that scrapes its way up the wall. The ropes are biting deep into the softened skin at the ankles and the flesh is starting to slough away as Rhiannon reaches the top of the well.

Rhiannon holds onto the body as she lashes it in place and gets drawn up. It's certainly not easy, but she does her best to ease it all along. She certainly doesn't notice if grime gets on her skin or her leathers. She climbs out first and then helps the others haul the body out of it. The smell is something she only notes with a wrinkle of her nose and tries to be careful that gunk from the body doesn't get on her or the others.

Ian whips his scarf away from his belt and, without hesitation, reaches down and tries to loop it once around the torso of the body, to help pull it up before it falls right back into the well again.

Olivia eyes go wide as she sees what is pulled up. "This is not good. This is not good at all...." She makes her way over to inspect the corpse to see if it was anything like the corpses before.

Rysen walks into the silo after Rukhnis, and the two make a thorough investigation. Under a bale of hay, Rysen notices a strange painting. "Rukhnis," he calls loudly, "take a look at that," he says, pointing at a depiction of a gaping maw, with lines that seem to move from sleeping bodies into the maw. He quickly pulls out his quill, ink and journal from a leather bag in his belt, and starts to make a representation of it as best and as quickly as he can.

The additional support from Ian's scarf does help keep the body intact, though the rope is now applying a lot of pressure on the ankles, that big rock threatening to pull the feet off.

Rysen checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

Kaya moves to cut the rope with the rock off the ankles of the body, trying not to get hit by gunk

Kaya checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.

Ian checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.

Rukhnis raises her eyebrows slightly at the picture scrawled loving on the floor of the silo. "That.. does not look good," she observes astutely. She starts to offer the use of a bit of charcoal and parchment, but then Rysen whips out the full kit, and she settles for folding her arms and observing their surroundings as he sketches, and casting the occasional watchful glance back out the door.

Oswyn is about to pass the cylinder to Ian, but the lord seems more concerned with the body. The body concerns Oswyn, too, and the scholar... eases over to squint down at it. Can this guy see anything ever or what?

Kaya checked strength + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.

Ian braces his whole body against the well in an attempt to make up for an inability to brace with his legs and hauls. He doesn't have to get it all the way up, just far enough for Kaya to cut the rope. Hopefully.

Kaya's blade is sharp and quick, able to slice through half of the rope with her first strike, the frayed bits unraveling and snapping, the entire thing about to snap. The weight on the ankles if relieved by Ian's pulling of the rope.

When Rhiannon is revealed with the body, Aethan's brow furrows just a touch more, an almost unnoticeable shift. However, he continues to haul her out, pulling steadily until the rope is able to be cut.

Kaya checked strength + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.

Kaya moves quickly to finish the job on the rope with the rock

The rope snaps free and the rock begins to fall. There is a big splash as it hits the water and sinks.

Oswyn backs away from the body and the well, frowning. "The, um, the body was..." he frowns, reaching up to rub the back of his head and looking really, really uncomfortable. "Um. Well. I mean, I don't think it's ludicrous to say that this has all happened because of, um... magic. Which the body had some contact with." Which he knows because...?

Olivia checked perception + medicine at difficulty 35, rolling 54 higher.

Once the body is out of the well, Ian surveys it. As an Islesman, this is probably not the first bloated, waterlogged corpse he's ever seen, but the smell is enough to get even him to wince. He looks to Olivia and Oswyn. "Do what you need to do. When you need the body destroyed, let Aethan know." Congrats, Aethan. The perils of carrying an ax. Congrats, Oswyn, the perils of accidentally volunteering yourself.

Kaya checked perception + medicine at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.

Kaya checked perception + medicine at difficulty 35, rolling 13 lower.

Rukhnis puts her head back out the door of the silo, her brow furrowing as she sees what the group around the well is up to, and what they've managed to haul up. She frowns at Oswyn, looking so uncomfortable over there, but not being able to really hear what he's saying at this distance only makes her frown harder.

Kaya glances at the body but mostly just keeps her distance from it wearily. She returns to standing watch over the group gathered

When Rysen finish his quick drawing, he hands his journal to Rukhnis, to give it a moment to dry as he puts his owl feather quill and ink in back in his belt pouch. He kneels down near the painting and traces his fingers over the lines of the painting. "Hmmmm..." he muses. "Someone took their time with this. It's been painted with love... Perhaps someone who had access to the silo for long periods of time." He frowns thoughtfully. "Or it was painted by someone after the village died. Between this and the scroll," says Rysen rising to his feet and crossing his arms, "there was certainly a deliberate and well concealed design of someone or something which resulted in the risen corpses."

Rhiannon helps get the thing out once she is out and then assists in getting it placed. "It's horribly bloated." She states the obvious, the extend of her healing knowledge. She goes back to keeping watch and looking for any clues that she can while protecting the group.

Once the body is out of the well, Ian surveys it. As an Islesman, this is probably not the first bloated, waterlogged corpse he's ever seen, but the smell is enough to get even him to wince. He looks to Olivia and Oswyn. "Do what you need to do. When you need the body destroyed, let Aethan know." Congrats, Aethan. The perils of carrying an ax. Congrats, Oswyn, the perils of accidentally volunteering yourself. (re for Olivia)

Aethan doesn't argue with having been named the destroyer of the body, just steps back for a moment to let those who are going to examine it do so. He looks over at Rysen then, his eyebrows raising, before glancing back to the body a little warily, though not warily enough that he's not going to chop the thing up when they're done.

"So it seems," Rukhnis agrees, sounding troubled but not surprised. "But what can it mean? It must have been there for some time." Shaking her head slightly, she adds to Rysen, "they have pulled a very grotesque body out of the well over there." An uneasy expression flickers through her eyes, and she looks up at the sky, at the position of the sun. She frowns again. It's later in the day now than she'd like, in the presence of corpses.

Oswyn checked perception + medicine at difficulty 35, rolling 7 higher.

Kaya stands guard of the group watching the area around them

Kaya checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Ian looks over at the silo, still keeping an eye on the more far flung group members as much as he can from where he is.

Olivia hmms, "This man was stabbed in the back of the head.... but... someone has carved this mouth in this mans stomach...Lord Ian we have a serious problem. New people have been to this village. What ever this is could have spread anywhere....Last time someone was down this well it was for a reason... this is very not good."

Glancing away from the painting, towards the well and the body, Rysen says, "Grotesque, eh? The other bodies all looked fairly pristine, if I remember correctly." He frowns thoughtfully, and says, "We've certainly turned up some new evidence. Let's make our way back to Lord Ian and let him know what we've found, and find out how many more bodies have turned up, and where those tracks you noticed earlier may have lead." He takes his journal back from Rukhnis, and makes his way toward Ian.

Oswyn adjusts his gloves - he does not want to touch this smelly, bloated body directly. He nods along as Olivia describes the wounds, apparently having nothing further to add. There's another quick squint, and he sighs, looking over at the well and only just now looking a bit queasy.

Rukhnis nods to Rysen and follows him out of the silo and back over to their vigilant group leader, casting quick keen glances around the village and particularly at the approach from the west, with their disturbing signs of recent traffic.

Ian nods to Olivia without any obvious worry, although maybe if he's worried his reaction to the smell is masking it, because it really does smell bad. "Alright. I think it's likely his friends knew or guessed about the... curse?" He's not really sure what they're dealing with here. "...and that's why he was weighted down in the well. We'll destroy this one and then --" He looks up at the sun. "I don't completely understand what's going on here. Is tracking these people down important enough to risk not getting out of here before sunset?"

Oswyn wipes his gloves off on the grass and rises to his feet again. "I... can you lower me into the well, please," he says, looking up at the darkening sky. "If there's enough time, I mean."

Rhiannon glances toward Olivia for only a minute. "What was the reason last time, Olivia? Why did there need to be a body at the bottom of that well?"

Kaya glances at the darkening skys and seems to attempt to keep a closer watch over the group

Kaya checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 2 higher.

When Oswyn says this, Aethan turns to him with vague surprise in his expression. "I //can//," he confirms, "but why?" He glances to the sky as well, briefly, before he looks back to Oswyn. "Are you sure?"

The sun is touching the tops of the trees in the west, the shadows are lengthening further. Sunset is about an hour away, true dark, another hour past that.

"Unfortunately, yes," Oswyn tells Aethan, miserably. "If there's something down there I can, um... see, it might explain something." He does look over at Rukhnis and Rysen, asking, "Did you two find anything interesting?"

"Hold up." Ian lifts a hand to stop Aethan from ACTUALLY lowering Oswyn into the well just yet. He's waiting for word from the people who know what the hell is going on (mostly) about how important it is that they get out of here by nightfall.

Olivia hmms, "I am not sure Lord Ian... I kind of want to stay and see if any of the walking dead return here. But I think we should follow as soon as possible as well... I will leave this decision to you my Lord..." She glances around. "Not good at all."

Rysen and Rukhnis approach the group near the body, and Rysen says to Ian, "My Lord, we found a painting in the silo. I've made a copy, but it appears to depict a series of prone bodies flowing towards or otherwise linked to a gaping maw. It was almost certainly painted before the villagers turned." His storm grey eyes shift for a moment to the body, and then return to Ian. "Is this the only body that's been found so far?"



Rysen nods to Oswyn. "Have a look at the painting, if you like," he says gesturing towards the silo, "but I would recommend that we move very quickly now, as the sun is setting fast."

Kaya seems ready to move as quick as is what is needed so they can leave before sunset

"The only one I've seen." Ian nods to Rysen, then to Oswyn adds: "You're probably more likely to see something in the... whatever is in the silo than in the bottom of the well. I'm pretty sure that guy was down there because the people with him knew he would turn. That's why he's also been stabbed in the back." Then he adds something else, in a low voice.

Rhiannon gets out of the harness and after ensuring Oswyn going back down, offers to help him with it. "Let's get him down and then back up as soon as possible, then."

Oswyn's eyebrows go up; he nods to Ian and says something quietly.

Olivia points to the carving of the mouth on the corpse, "Does the mouth look anything like that?"

Kaya seems ready to help lower Oswyn down and back up the well quickly and efficently

Aethan waits, watching the exchange between Oswyn and Ian, though he doesn't try and hear what's being said.

"Well, we will may be able to find the other missing bodies more quickly if we are still here once the sun has set," says Rukhnis, half seriously, half wryly. She glances towards the corpse with a faint grimace. "That one is.. surely more dead looking than the corpses from last time. But stabbing it in the back would have made no difference to that."

Oswyn murmurs, then raises his voice to address the group. "What if we left, went far enough away that we could hear living things again and then some, make camp, and then came back tomorrow during daylight to... look at paintings and things?"

Rysen glances at Rhiannon, then turns to Ian. "Lord Ian, with your permission, I'd like to investigate some of those tracks Rukhnis and others noticed earlier. May I take one or two of those with keener eyes than mine to track them a short way out? I'll return in a very short time, but I'd like to at least get a sense of their direction before we leave."



Rysen looks at the carved mouth on the corpse. He nods slightly. "That's certainly possible," he says to Olivia.

Olivia hmms, "That means... someone carved this... the beings connected to this may have returned at some point..."

Vitalis checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

Vitalis checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 10 higher.

Vitalis checked perception + survival at difficulty 35, rolling 2 higher.

Kaya keeps a watch of the sky and says, "Whatever is decided should be done quickly so we have enough time to leave."

"I am glad to accompany you," she says to Rysen, "and we may see what we may see while there is still light." Which is even more relevant now than usual.

Ian gives Rysen a long, hard look. "You have a half hour. Find out the direction the tracks go, and no more." Then, turning his attention to everyone else: "In the meantime, this body needs to be chopped up, and I'd like to cover the well and weigh down the cover."

Olivia shakes her head, "It must be burned."

Vitalis returns from a circuit of the village, hoofbeats muffled in the turf. "I've made out a path west. Seems to be-" he breaks off spying strange happenings. Carved things. Deadnesses. He squints and continues, "-movement to and fro. We've about an hour of good light and an hour of twilight."

Rysen nods his assent, and glances at Rukhnis. He turns to Rhiannon, and says, "My Lady, will you come with us and see if you can help us determine the direction of the tracks that were found earlier?"

As the sun continues sink towards the horizon, the shadows continue to lengthen and the fog that had been stationary starts to roll in. The well cover is easy to place, and there are plenty of things to weigh it down with. A pyre can be built on the ashes of the previous one, and when the body is placed there, despite being waterlogged, it does burn. There are plenty of houses to choose from, if stayin gin the village overnight is desired. If not, Olivia can point out the superior campsite she found the last time she was here. Either way, our party can easily be borded up or camped out before the sun sets.

Kaya helps where needed so the work is done quickly and efficiently



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