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Twilight Dale: Regeneration

The final part of the Twilight Dale arc, in which a group of adventurers attempt to unravel the mystery behind a sudden famine in the once lush lands south of Stormwall.

Having fully discovered the dire circumstances of the Dale, the adventurers seek to uncover the true source of corruption and offer hope to the suffering people.

Date

Aug. 23, 2019, 9 p.m.

Hosted By

Rysen

GM'd By

Rysen

Participants

Willow Artur Arcadia Mikani Thea Rukhnis

Organizations

Location

Outside Arx - Northlands near Stormwall - Twilight Dale

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


The morning is fading into noon, and a wolf lies on the ground. Whatever had caused it's eyes to take on the inky hue seems to have left, as the animal ceases to breathe. The crows circle high over the heads of Willow and Arcadia, as the pair notices Artur redrain moving quickly in their direction, accompanied by a young boy with a bow slung over his shoulder.

Willow takes the time to point out some of the dead woman's wounds, whispering about foul play to Arcadia, and winds up studying the horizon in search of anyone who might be responsible. Anyone? Anyone responsible?

Deliverance, an albino falcon arrives, delivering a message to Willow before departing.

Willow checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.

Arcadia checked perception + occult at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.

As he follows the boy through the brush towards the cave, Artur has his attention on his surroundings - but he almost, almost misses the two women. "Arcadia, Willow!" he calls out to the pair. "Ruhkhis is tending to the sick woman at the farmhouse. This young man." he gestures to the boy with the bow. "Says there's a cave nearby that has the herb that we need to treat her."

Arcadia has moved away from the dead bodies, not able to stand looking at them. She moves off to the shrine and begins to poke around. She suddenly stiffens and instead of running shifts closer to the base. Wiggling and pushing rocks away. Because when has Arcadia ever chosen the safe option?

"It's just up ahead," confirms Rolth. "Gods and spirits!" he shouts when he sees the body of Lessie. "No!" He rushes to her side and lifts her up. "Wake up, Lessie! WAKE UP!!"

As Arcadia beings moving away some rocks and dirt near the base of the shrine, her hands instantly sink into wet mud. Raising her hands, she finds that blood has mixed into the dirt at the base of the shrine - a lot of it.

Willow tries to edge between the boy and the corpse, like that will somehow help him unsee it, blanching a little. The body doesn't bother her much, but the distress seems to. She fails to get there in time and only seems to notice the blood when she glances aside. "...that...would explain absentee spirits," she reasons. She grimaces and looks to the treeline again.

Arcadia lifts her hands and stares at the mud with a look of absolute horror "Uhh... guys. This is mud, right? Not what I'm thinking it really is?" Trying to keep her calm and mind off the blood, she returns her hands to the pit "What else is in here?"

Willow checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.

Rolth looks up at Willow, and turns to Artur. He rises to his feet, and runs a fist across his face, trying to wipe away the mucus and tears. "The cave is not far," he says in a sterner tone.

Setting his hand firmly on Rolth's shoulder, Artur steadies the boy. "Back up." he tells him quietly as he moves to pull him back - bodily if he needs to. "I'm sorry, but Lessie's gone.. and we need to find out what happened so that we can help." comes the comment as he turns his attention to Arcadia. "What?" he asks, in confusion for a moment, as she comes up with blood. "I've.. heard of something like this before. Frosthaven."

Arcadia eventually stops digging, looking at the animals that have been left near the altar, she wipes her hands on her pants. "I think blood magic has been used here." She looks to the boy then, naturally suspicious. "Who are you? And what plant?"

"What happened at Frosthaven?" Willow asks quietly of Artur, watching the boy still for a moment or two. The hole she's curious of, its true, but she does /not/ want to get her hands dirty handling it without the stick. She nods at Arcadia's conclusion though.

Rolth blinks at the pregnant woman with golden hair, as Artur places a hand on his shoulder. "I... I'm Rolth, m'Lady," he says to Arcadia. "Rukeneese asked us to get an herb, and the only place I know it to grow is near a cave not far from here. An old hermit lives there too."

Artur nods his agreement to Rolth. "His mother was the sick woman we were directed to." the Prince explains as he glances to Willow. "There was a town.. saved from famine.." This is all starting to sound familiar, and feel familiar. "There was a city, called Frosthaven, found by Fabian Ashford. They were saved from a famine and plague by an Eurusian. It turned out that he was a blood mage, who meant well, but eventually turned, and started to use the townspeople for his own gain. Prince Daren was in an expedition recently that found the city and broke the ritual. It collapsed.. but noone knows what happened to the mage's relics there."

Arcadia cocks her head curiously "Hmm." She stores that information away for later. "Right." Hands on her hips, crossbow safe across her back. "This cave. Where is it? Best we not linger."

"Is there anything to be heard about Eurus that doesn't basically /require/ Cardia do a little genocide not to look like the good guys right out of the gate?" Willow asks, probably rhetorical, as she listens.

Rolth nods in agreement with Arcadia. "Follow me, m'Lady, Your Highness," he says to Arcadia and Artur. "It's just up ahead - but we should be careful. There are sometimes wolves in that place," he says, eying the wolf that met with Arcadia's crossbow.

Willow follows the people heading for the cave, trailing a pace or two behind.

As Kaldur leads Wiglaf into the hall's temple, Tura remains next to Thea, nervously running her hand over a golden necklace. Mikani continues to pour over records, now completely unimpeded.

"I hope Duke Kaldur is not upset with my husband," begins Tura to Thea. "He's really done the best he could. It's certainly not his fault the crops have failed recently. He's sought out the very best advice."

Mikani looks up at the woman, "Who does the accounting for the town? I have a few questions." Mika asks gently.

Drawing his spear, and settling it in his off-hand, Artur frowns as he glances towards the cave, and he starts to make his way towards the front - he'll be handling the leading at this point, because if there's a threat, he's going to want to protect the others from it. It's just what he does.

Thea notices the necklace around Tura's neck but asks first,"What exactly has happened here?"trying for a soothing tone.

Tura, pulls at her necklace more rapidly. "Why, I do, My Lady," she says. Turning to Thea, Tura says, "Nothing out of the ordinary until we had such a rich couple of harvests. It was about time too. That foolish shaman and her stupid sacrifices and rituals hardly brought in any profits. The trouble's really only started since the spring. I... I'm sure it will get better. Maybe you could send to Stormwall or Arx for a bit of extra food and money, you know, for the peasants."

Arcadia is a scout. It's what she knows and what she does. She very unsubtly jostles for point.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Artur before departing.

Mikani checked charm + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Mikani watches Tura and nods as she speaks. "WE can do that." She murmurs before looking down at the forms. "Looks like the last three years have done very well ... what did you do differently?" She looks up at the woman and smiles her warm and calm smile.

Rysen GM Roll checked willpower(1) + manipulation(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.

"Nothing significant, My Lady," says Tura, projecting confidence. "Just got some better advice is all."

Thea lifts her eyebrow at Tura,"What was the name of--this shaman?" She watches Tura still, her voice quiet,"That is a very pretty necklace. I don't think I've ever seen one like it..."Thea mentions offhand, her voice quiet.

Mikani nods, "I see ...." She looks down at the papers and makes a tisking sound. She looks up again at the woman. "Want to try that again?" Mika's smile is still warm but there is a bit of steel to her tone. "What started three years ago? These numbers are almost ... unbelievable."

Tura smiles at Thea. "The shaman's name was Selith. The bard, Lessie, was quite taken with her. She was really shaken up at her passing too. But things got so much better so quickly." At Mika's questions, Tura turns to the Crovane lady, and hesitates for a moment. "My husband took the advice of the sage of the forest. Valore, they call her."

Thea glances at Mikani,"The numbers--what isn't matching?" She returns her attention to Tura,"What advice was given"she asks, her eyes still on the woman. Appearing patient. She hopes.

"Only minor discrepancies, I'm certain," says Tura to Thea. "And I can't speak to the advice. It was given to my husband only. All I know is that Selith advised against it, and then she was gone. It turned out she'd passed. Some brigand must have got her while she was praying to those silly spirits. A rock to the head I'm told. Sad way to go."

Mikani nods a bit. "Not that I'm accusing anyone ... the numbers just look bloated. As if it was editied for tax purposes." Her eyes watch Tura more. "That is a horrible way to go ...." Mika frowns at the story.

"That is sad,"Thea's lips thinning. "What did you help your husband with,"Thea continues with Tura. "Have you ever met Valore? Can we meet her?"

"I helped him only with the books - keep track of bushels sold - that sort of thing," says Tura. When Thea asks about Valore, she wrinkles her nose. "Oh, no. I would't recommend it. For all of Valore's sage advice, she's a rather filthy creature - certainly no one you'd condescend to speak to, My Lady. She lives in some horrid cave to the west, though I would /not/ recommend paying her a visit." She frowns, and glances towards the hall's temple where Kaldur and Wiglaf disappeared. "If you'll excuse me, Ladies," she says, curtsying, "There are a few matters I must attend to. Please make yourselves at home."

Arcadia checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

Artur checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 44 higher.

Brushing her pants for nonexistent dirt, Thea's lips curve into a smirk,"Good thing I -would- go and speak to whomever I please." She bows her head to Tura however,"Thank you for your hospitality. I will be sure to tell your cousin I met you." Thea admits to Mikani,"I think I would to go to this cave..."

Mikani nods to Thea. "Yeah we might want to go and take a trip." Mika agrees before she rolls up the scrolls and slips them into her pack to speak to someone about later.

Artur, Arcadia, Rolf and Willow quickly make their way toward the hermit's cave. The wooded are here between farms also seems to be languishing, devoid of leaves and life, save for the persistent caw of crows. "There it is!" shouts Rolth. "It's just ahead!"

Nudging Arcadia, Artur brings the woman to a halt by raising his hand to bar her path. "Stop Rolth." he barks in order, his suspicions suddenly up. "Notch an arrow, Countess. I see two wolves. You got the one on the left?" he asks, and then looks to the boy. "I want you to shoot the one on the right when the countess tells you to. If you miss, I'll protect you. Understand?"

Arcadia sees the wolves at the mouth of the cave and brings her crossbow to her hands. She does give Artur a slight nod to the question he had murmured to her before getting to the cave. She readies her bow, aimed at the wolf Artur told her too.

Rolth's brow darkens with a look of resolve. He nods to Artur. "Yes, Your Highness!" he says, unslinging his bow from his back, and setting the string in a fluid motion. He knocks and arrow, and partially draws, waiting for the command to fire from Arcadia.

Willow continues to hang back behind the better armed and armored others. Were it not for the promise of protectiom already gotten from Artur, she might try and shield the boy, but as it is, she would rather be less of a hindrance to the people with the weapons hurting the predators nearby.

Arcadia checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 36 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + archery(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 31 higher.

Arcadia lifts her hand, a silent signal given and then woosh! Her arrow slings forward, aimed directly for the first wolf.

The arrow and bolt fly at their targets, driving deep. There is a fierce wimper and both animals leap out of the cover of the cave, bearing down on Arcadia and Rolth with an uncanny speed. To those who are familiar with wolves and their habits - such aggression has rarely, if ever, been witnessed by wounded animals.

And that's when Artur steps forth, swinging around his spear to take up a defensive position to protect the woman and child as he narrows his eyes. They shall not pass! "Reload!" he yells at the two.

Artur checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 25, rolling 29 higher.

Willow checked charm + animal ken at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.

Artur checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.

Getting all flustered when the wolves start moving in, Willow chucks her knotty little length of wood she's been using as a walking stick at the head area of the wolf coming at Arcadia, trying to distract it even if she has little chance of hurting it.

Artur checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 8 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked strength(5) + brawl(6) at difficulty 1, rolling 103 higher.

104 inflicted and Artur is harmed for serious damage.

As the creatures rush in at Artur, the Prince sets his feet and prepares. Swinging around the point of the spear, he's able to slam it down against the wolf that is rushing at the child, the hard smack of the blade knocking back the wolf as the second one moves towards the pregnant Countess. This is probably why it was a good idea that Artur did eventually get in front of Arcadia.



Knowing that he's not going to get Beastbane around in time, the prince uses his own body to protect Arcadia from the attack coming at her, and the wolf's jaws sink into the Prince's side, causing him to give a sharp scream of pain, as the armor gives way, and teeth dig into his flesh beneath. That's going to leave a mark.



And the crows caw. Fresh meat.

Arcadia checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 20, rolling 42 higher.

Thea checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 9 lower.

Rysen GM Roll checked willpower(2) + survival(3) at difficulty 35, rolling 9 lower.

Arcadia doesn't waste a second. She reloads and shoots that arrow into the chest of the beast on Artur's side. Killing it. So far, wolves 0. Cady 2.

Rolth's eyes open in shock as Artur smashes the on rushing wolf with his spear and leaps in front of the second wolf, frothing to reach Arcadia. As Arcadia brings down the wolf, whose jaws remain in the Redrain Prince's side, Rolth fumbles his arrows and drops it to the ground.

Willow checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

Mikani checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.

Mikani hears the wolf and sees it nearing the group. Sliding her throwing dagger from its sheath she throws it at the wolf. The knife burries itself into the eye of the wolf. She moves towards the group. "Is everyone okay?" She looks around double checking that Cady is alright before looking over the others. Mika looks at Thea before drawing out the dagger. "We should get something for your wound Artur."

Arcadia stands, shocked and breathing heavily. Covered in dirt and blood she's a sight. Blinking her owlish eyes she greets Mika, "Good timing." She checks herself "I'm okay." Glancing to Artur's wound she pales. "Damnit."

Both wolves lies on the ground, ceasing their movement. The crows continue to caw above, as blood drips from Artur's side. Just ahead of the group is a cave about with a space approximately five feet in height.

"We need to get that herb. And the hermit.." Artur is clearly hurt, but he's trying to pull himself together as he holds his hand to his side to try to tighten the armor around the injury. His visage is pale, his attention focused on the cave. "Let's move." he growls out. His hand holds at his side as his other grips Beastbane as he starts forward.

Mikani checked intellect + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 18 higher.

Willow says, "What herb?"

Arcadia checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 10 higher.

Willow checked perception + agriculture at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

Willow checked perception + agriculture at difficulty 20, rolling 16 higher.

Mikani checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 5 higher.

Kopis in hand, Thea steps just beside Mikani. Hearing wounds though, she instantly straightens and her demeanor turns serious,"I'll take care of the wounds,"dying the wolves briefly before she glances to the crows.

Artur checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 41 higher.

Rolth, slowly recovering from his shock, describes the herb to Willow, who, in a short time, notices the herb, as does Artur.

Reaching for it so Artur doesn't need to pull or stretch too much with the huge gaping bite and a

Arcadia begins to search for the herbs but stalls when hearing Thea. She gives Thea an innocent smile. Yep. Distracted from searching now.

Reaching for it so Artur doesn't need to pull or stretch too much with the huge gaping bite and all, Willow plucks some of said herb to give to Rolth.

"That's it.." Artur rumbles, gesturing towards where he sees the herb. "..that's the one we need." But that's not where he's stopping as he starts into the cave. "If you're in here, hermit, show /yourself/. I have your blood." he rumbles in a growl.

Rolth gratefully accepts the herb and races back towards his house to hand it off to Rukhnis.



Artur's command is met with silence from within the cave - silence, save for the incessant crows.

Mikani cleans off her blade and sheaths it. "Remind me to thank Rysen for the beautifully balanced blade." She smiles trying to not think of all the wolves and the blood. "Do we have a torch for some light?"

Thea works on Artur's deep wound. Getting her hands bloody of course,"Valore is in this cave, yes?"her words probably for Mikani. Stitching up Artur carefully, she mentions to the Redrain prince,"Try not to tear them..though I'm sure I'll be restitching these---"

Mikani nods to Thea. "That is what Tura said .... though I hope she wasn't lying about this one." Her dark eyes look over the cave curiously.

Mikani checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 1 lower.

Artur checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 40 higher.

Thea checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 8 higher.

"Who?" Artur asks as he holds still for Thea. "Just patch it, we need to get into that cave. There's blood magic at play."

Willow checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 9 lower.

She hangs back because of course she does, but Willow still winds up following all the cool kids into the cave. Now sans crow whacking stick. Surely leaving it ther was done on purpose?

Hearing the whimper, Artur straightens, and glances to Thea. Without another word, he starts moving into the cave quickly, the spear held to his side and forward so it can be quickly depolyed - and also to knock any crow out of the way the gets stupid and close to him.

Thea secures the bandage and answers,"She is the towns newest shaman,"but pauses as she hears a sort of whimpering,"Does anyone hear that?" Before she ask more, Artur seems to have and off he goes. Thea trails behind the injured man, kopis at her side just in case of---crows or anything else.

Mikani doesn't hear the whimper but runs after Artur into the cave. "Cady ... stay back." Not that Mika know really what is going on she just knows Cady is a great bow person. She pulls her dagger as she runs.

Artur enters the cave with Mikani, Willow and Thea close behind. The cave is not very deep, and the pair quickly see an aged woman with long white hair, and mossy, brown teeth. She has a dagger in her hand, and it is held to the throat of Elly, the red haired young woman that had been on the road and later at the inn. Elly is whimpering and tears stream from her eyes. "Just let me go, please... please," she says. Blood trickles from a wound on Elly's arm, perhaps from a struggle. The aged woman looks frightened at the entrance of the nobles. "Stay back!" she shrieks. "What're ye doin' here?! Leave me be!!"

Artur checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 24 higher.

Mikani checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 41 higher. Mikani rolled a critical!

Thea checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 22 higher.

Thea Mikani artur=I mean, you got the kick ass blow with the small wpn. So--I feel like the big one should be Mik.

"Shut up." It's all Artur says. There's no flowery speech, no trying to convince her to lower her weapon. Instead, the wounded Redrain prince, bleeding and more than a little pissed off advanced on the old crone, the blade of the diamondplate spear flashing in the darkness of the cave before he drives it past Elly's side, pushing the woman back to force her back from the emancipated redhead, and opening her up to the other attacks after his feint.

When everyone bursts in on the old woman and Elly, it looks like Willow might be about to lose her damn mind at the threat posed to the young woman, not unlike when she just threw the stick at the wolf outside. She even starts to step forward, partially in step with Artur... and then her face goes blank for a moment, her eyes losing focus, and she stops on one foot, rooted to the spot as if staring at something.

Thea steps in stride with Artur, her gold-flecked green eyes slanted and angry. Silent and with her face masked, Thea simply draws her diamond plated kopis back and drives it into the older woman.

Mikani moves and in a fluid step, she throws the dagger. As if drawn on a string it sinks into the woman's chest after she is pushed back by the force of Artur and Thea's blow. She sighs as she is happy that the young woman is safe from the crone.

Valore is thrown back from Artur and Mikani's attacks, and Thea drives her kopesh home, as she stumbles backward. She lands hard on the ground and Elly screams and runs toward Mikani. Valore coughs, and her eyes being to roll backward, blood pooling all around her.

"Thank you!" says Elly, wildly. "Oh thank you!" she says, throwing her arms around Mikani and holding her tight.

"Thea, take care of Elly. We need to get back to the house to assist Ruhkis." See, Artur remembered her! The Prince is frowning as he looks down at the old woman as she bleeds out. Something doesn't feel right, but he's not saying anything on it instead he's looking to the others.

Mikani hugs the girl and pulls her away from Valore. "You are welcome. Come ..." She softly guides the woman further away for Thea to check her out.

While everyone else is having rather more exciting adventures, Rukhnis has been busy with her patient at the farmstead. In the absence of the local herbs that she's sent the others off looking for, the physician is not in the least daunted, substituting for these fresh ingredients the tried-and-true remedies of simple flushing and restoring the proper balance of water and salt in the dehydrated woman's body. Glamorous work it's not, but Rukhnis carries it out in a reassuring, calm and business-like manner, with a slight hint of doggedness that suggests that Mol isn't going to die on /her/ watch, not if she has anything to say about it.



By the time Rolth arrives at last with the herb she'd requested, she seems to have second thoughts on using in her medicines a plant from right outside the cave of a sinister blood-magicking hermitess -- and in any case Mol seens to be doing amazingly well as it is -- so instead Rukhnis carefully wraps the plant sample in a bit of parchment, puts it in her medical kit, and takes her leave after providing the two boys in the family with exhaustive instructions for how to care for their mother going ahead. From the story imparted to her by Rolth, it also doesn't sound as if her presence is going to be any great boon to those engaged in battle, so the physician makes sure to pay a visit to the sad ailing cow along the way, for which the creature is naturally as grateful as a cow can be. So grateful!

Willow blinks, and looks surprised, only noticing the carnage after the fact. She looks at Elly with something less than relief.

Willow checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 64 higher.

At least Willow doesn't seem suspicious. Probably its more just concern.

Elly walks with Mikani out of the cave. The crows remain, but are utterly silent.

Artur checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Willow checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.

Mikani checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.

Thea checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 7 lower.

Having seen to the cow as best as possible under the circumstances, Rukhnis gives it an affectionate rub on the withers and then carries on with an inspection of the rest of the farmyard and its surroundings, noting the conditions of any other animals as well as both wild plants and crops in the area. As she does so she's making her way generally in the described direction of the cave, but she seems to consider it her priority to make sure that all is as well as it can be right where she is, and put in a helping hand anywhere it isn't but can be made so. Eventually, though, she's on the edge of the farmlands and headed off into the blood-soaked wolf-and-crow-haunted wilderness.

Mikani checked intellect + occult at difficulty 20, rolling 54 higher.

Off somewhere along the back wall, Willow starts digging beneath a blood drawn image of a triskelion, below the place where the lowest point of the sigil is pointing down.

Mikani looks around and finds a box. She opens the box and sees the trinkets inside. Her body moves to the nearest stream with the box in her hands as she works to clean them and fix what has been done. She makes the sacrifice needed. Some alcohol. Spirits always did seem to like Spirits.

Rukhnis checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Reaching the cave unerringly and seeing its entrance yawning a short ways before her, Rukhnis slows her pace, her steps now soft and meticulously placed as she approached. She pauses to one side of the opening, listening, and hearing nothing but the relatively quiet sounds of those inside investigating the space, she finally makes her still cautious way inside. "Well," she says then, observing the whole group searching inside, the frightened and rumpled Elly, and the blood-pooled corpse on the floor, "you have all been quite busy."

Thea checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.

Thea calmly turns to the voice of Rukhnis, a brief smile on her lips,"Ruhknis..."

Rukhnis checked perception + medicine at difficulty 15, rolling 41 higher.

Rukhnis's eyes narrow a bit as she approaches the dead hermit woman sprawled out in the floor in a ruddy puddle, and she crouches down carefully to one side of the body as she looks it over. "This is the strange hermit who was suspected of poisoning the land somehow?" she asks as she makes a matter-of-fact inspection of the corpse.

Thea undoing her mantle, Thea passes it off to the frightened Elly. Kindly mind you. "Here you are."

Elly gratefully accepts Thea's mantle. "Thank you, m'Lady," she says. She glances towards the corpse of Valore and cringes, staying on the other side of Thea.

Rukhnis grunts quietly at the clear signs of violence on the woman's person which just as clearly led to her demise. She frowns a little harder at the gash on the dead hermit's hand, though, her eyes darkening. A faintly disgusted noise escapes her, and with a grim shake of her head she gets back to her feet.

Stepping between Elly and the old woman's corpse, herself, Willow promises the girl, "I am going to have a work crew come out and take care of an orphanage for the children who've lost their parents in all this."

Mikani comes back after finishing the ritual. She thanks the spirits in Northlands Shav for them coming back to the land. She drinks most of the rest of the bottle before giving them the last drink of the whiskey. "By the first and last drink, I thank you. Please return." She murmurs again before patting the statue and heading back to the others.

"There will also need to be forage sent to the farms hereabouts, to tide the animals over until slaughter season or through the winter," Rukhnis states factually. "Of course the people will need much help as well, but I am sure you all have made note of that well enough back at the village." She exhales slowly, gaze drifting around the cave, before giving her head another small shake and turning to look back out at the woods beyond the opening.

Elly nods to Willow. "Thank you, m'Lady," she says. "You have been a great help to us, and we won't forget it."

Something seems to trouble Willow and she asks Elly, "What brought you out here, if you don't mind me asking?"

Rysen GM Roll checked composure(2) + manipulation(5) at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

"I came to gather herbs," says Elly. "I'd spoken to Valore sometimes, but it was as if she went mad. And those wolves came... it was all so dreadful!! If it wasn't for you, she might have killed me."

"I really want to know about the Governor,"the southern woman murmurs. "He had to have known something,"Thea mentions.

Rukhnis turns her head thoughtfully towards Elly as she hears the woman's words answering Willow's question, and looks quite closely at the girl. "You knew her, then," she states, with the least bit of a question in her tone that seems to ask without words, "how well, and what did you know?"

Mikani looks at Thea and nods. "The books are cooked. They bolstered the numbers to give a better report." Mika pulls the papers out of her holster. "The crops though should come back. Just need to send some provisions."

Elly nods to Thea. "Certainly Wiglaf knew something was wrong. He should be removed as soon as possible. With all the good people who've died, she should be hanged." Elly glances at Rukhnis. "Not very well. I knew that she lived out here by all the good herbs," she says.

Willow nods, for sure. She is basically still suspicious as hell, but Elly's answer makes enough sense that she can't see a way to press it or follow up that would not look perhaps a bit paranoid. Besides, eyes in the Dale will hopefullu report if something remains off.

Rukhnis checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 69 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked wits(3) + manipulation(5) at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.

Thea lifts her eyebrow a bit at Elly's answer but then asks,"Who do suggest as a new governor?" She considers to Mikani, thinking outloud,"Maybe I can speak to my Duchess. See about getting some provisions out here."

"Well," Rukhnis says to Elly, even as her eyes stayed fixed on theyounger woman in a rather penetrating and unnerving way, "it is well that no one came to any serious harm here, aside from the evil woman herself." Her eyes drop then, slowly and deliberately, to the girl's arm. "But please," she goes in a deceptively mild and level voice, "will you please tell me what has happened to you arm, to cut it so? I can take a closer look at it, and treat the wound so it does not fester."

"Thank you," replies Elly to Rukhnis. "Valore cut me while I was struggling with her," she says. "Right before you all came to save me." She seems to ponder Thea's question a moment. "Maybe Beeta or Varseth - but I think Duke Kaldur would know better."

"That is most unfortunate," Rukhnis sympathizes, in a tone that's nevertheless at least as stern as it is sympathetic. She raises her eyes to give Elly another look, both dark and frank, and says, "Whatever one thinks, it is best never to dabble in such things as this woman has done. Even if one can dream up some possible good from it, such good will never materialize. It will only be darkness and misery to anyone involved in such things." She pauses. "If any in the village have any notion what she has been up to, I hope you of all people, having been here today and seen what you have, will speak out against all such practices."

Elly nods to Rukhnis. "Of course. She went insane and tried to kill me! I really can't thank you enough, she says, turning to Thea and Mikani.

Thea gives one final look as she wipes her bloody hands on her now blood soaked pants,"You are welcome." Pausing, she realizes as she mentions,"This is as far north as I've ever gone you know."

The adventurers make their way back to the Riders Rest Inn. The shrine has been restored by the efforts of Arcadia and Mikani, and Elly seems hale and healthy as ever as she makes her way back to the Inn beside Thea and Willow. Before the group leaves for Arx, Rolth and Murffy offer their warmest gratitude to Rukhnis, and inform her that Mol is doing much better and has even managed to walk a little for the first time in days.



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