The High road from Freeport.   Posted by TheDudeAbides.Group: 0
TheDudeAbides
 GM, 397 posts
Fri 11 Jul 2014
at 22:28
Re: The High road from Freeport
    The group mounted their horses and guided them carefully out of the stand of trees. The early morning air was fresh and a slight breeze floated in from the ocean; it caressed them gently as they rode forth. The messenger that had thundered by earlier had long passed from sight and the dust of his hurried passage had already settled back on the well traveled road. The group set their sights north and headed off at a steady gait.

    Several days on the road passed without event. Each night the group made camp in a suitable location and took turns on the nightly watch. There were no dreams or visions and no more riddles presented themselves. They were riding parallel to the river that flowed south down the finger of land which stretched into the dark blue ocean. It was easy to find suitable resting areas with fresh water and grazing land aplenty. The mood was remarkably good. They had encountered few other people on the road. An old woman and her son traveling south to Freeport and a grain farmer driving a cart of wheat were the only living souls the group saw.

    In the late afternoon on the 5th day of travel, the party of would-be heroes were chatting away and enjoying the afternoon sun when a smell of death greeted their nostrils. Up ahead, carrion birds circled and the scent grew stronger. As they proceeded forward the remains of something large came into sight off the road to the right. It was covered in insects and several birds tore fiercely at it's flesh. Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be a horse and rider. It was impossible to tell who the rider was but it was evident that he had died in a fight. The remains of his sword arm still clutched the handle of a dagger in a defiant gesture. It is impossible to determine anything else from the corpse without closer examination.

The party is roughly 80 miles south of Tiro


7th day of the 2nd month: 16:00 PM.

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:30, Fri 11 July 2014.

Jada
 player, 77 posts
 Beast-Kin
 Monk
Fri 11 Jul 2014
at 23:10
Re: The High road from Freeport
With his sharp sense of smell, Jada was the first to notice the foul stench of the decomposing corpses. His ears perked up and he began scanning each side of the road for trouble until they came to the corpses."Hey. You guys aren't going to say that we have no time to bury the dead are you?" He asked as he continued to study the surrounding terrain for signs of ambush.
Lalita Chandra
 player, 121 posts
 Beast-Kin
 Caster
Fri 11 Jul 2014
at 23:38
Re: The High road from Freeport
The gill shook her head as she looked over at the corpse. "T-this is terrible..." she murmured quietly to herself. Just what could've happened here? At once, the voices became awefully loud. She held her hand up so to lean her head against it, the noise driving poor Lalita to have a headache. Why all of a sudden were they so riled up? She shook her head lightly, before veering her attention towards Jada as he spoke.

He asked the others if they were too busy to bury the body, to which Lalita just shook her head. "N-no." she stuttered, the voices still bothering her. "The least we can do is give them a proper burial. Glub."

This message was last edited by the player at 23:40, Fri 11 July 2014.

Lucinda Eravyn
 player, 186 posts
 Elf
 Alchemist
Sat 12 Jul 2014
at 00:10
Re: The High road from Freeport
Lucinda did her best to avoid looking at the body. She had read all about the effects of death before, about rigor mortis and how the body slowly rots away, especially after being eaten by the various animals and insects. But somehow...seeing it for real was different. It was...colder maybe? She couldn't really say to be honest. She just sat there and stared for a time, vaguely listening to the conversation with a frown on her face. Sh-she would get to the mountain right?
Lynessa Crescent
 player, 100 posts
 Human
 Fighter
Sat 12 Jul 2014
at 01:23
Re: The High road from Freeport
Lynessa recognized the stench as soon as she could smell it. She'd smelled it before... homeless men, women, and children found tucked in the shadows at the farthest end of long alleys, poorly hidden murder victims... though never this strongly. She flinched away from the odor as they drew closer to the source, and brought one hand up to cover her nose and mouth against the stink of death.

She shook her head at Jada. She supposed if someone found her body on the side of the road, she'd want that someone to give her a proper burial. She dismounted Jasper, and approached the bodies to get a closer look. She wondered how long they'd been here, and what had happened to them. Had they been killed, and if so were the killers still around? She doubted it. Who could stand this stench for more than a few minutes at a time?
Devi McCain
 player, 65 posts
 Human
 Caster
Sat 12 Jul 2014
at 19:48
Re: The High road from Freeport
Devi gave the corpse a cool look. Growing up the way she did, she'd seen decomposing bodies like this one countless times before, sometimes in an even worse state. Cycle of life, her uncle had always told her, and he'd been right. In some ways, she'd always considered it beautiful that from death life could spring. It was not so beautiful up close, though. And she had seen many corpses, but none of them human. Her stomach heaved as she came closer, a combination of the stench and proximity of death getting to her. She covered her mouth with her sleeve.

"I'd prefer to move on. Whoever killed this man might still be nearby. Most beasts don't leave their prey like this, so I would guess people did this. Besides, his body is being returned to the earth. I consider that the most proper burial of all." She then shrugged awkwardly, one large shoulder moving, then the other. "But I will help you dig if you decide otherwise."

She then stepped forward abruptly. She was probably least given to sentimental fancy of the group. The best thing they could do for this man was find out who he was so his relatives would know some rest. Covering her mouth tighter, she patted the man down for any signs of his identity or his reason to be here. She checked for saddlebags as well and anything that could point out what killed the man. It made her eyes water and her skin itch but she felt someone would have to do it.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:54, Sat 12 July 2014.

Lalita Chandra
 player, 122 posts
 Beast-Kin
 Caster
Sun 13 Jul 2014
at 12:39
Re: The High road from Freeport
Lalita jumped down from Appolo's back and walked up to Devi's side, she then crouched down and examined the body closely. "Any chance this cod've been the oarfish we saw a couple days ago? Glub." She asked the other girl.
Jerischo Elsinoir Addis
 player, 44 posts
 Human
 Bard
Sun 13 Jul 2014
at 18:22
Re: The High road from Freeport
"Well, that would be an abject shame," said the bard, as he and Comet trotted over.  Unlike the others, he didn't dismount, and instead scanned the surrounding area, searching for any reason to bolt.  He was brave like that.  Brave and prudent, as he liked to call himself.
TheDudeAbides
 GM, 399 posts
Mon 14 Jul 2014
at 19:08
Re: The High road from Freeport
    The group approached the battered corpse and Devi was the first to touch the man. As she patted him down it was clear by the tattered remains of his clothing that he must have come from Freeport. The shredded and blood soaked remains of a tabard were barely discernible through all the carnage. If the remains were the messenger, he must have rode north nonstop. It was apparent that he had been dead for at least 12 hours; for this to be possible, he must have driven his steed for several days without rest. A sealed note fell from within the man's shredded clothing as Devi searched for some type of identification. It was stamped with the seal of the Temple of Light but no other markings could be seen.

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:58, Tue 15 July 2014.

Jada
 player, 79 posts
 Beast-Kin
 Monk
Tue 15 Jul 2014
at 02:01
Re: The High road from Freeport
Once it was decided that they would stop, Jada dismounted and moved to take a look at the body. He hadn't sensed danger, but even if he had, he knew that he would better suited to deal with it on foot. Having no experience with corpses, Jada was content leaving any investigation to the others.

"I don't sense anything near by." He said as he searched for a spot with soft dirt and a branch or something to be used as an impromptu spade. "It is only a burial if you actually bury them.." He pointed out before looking over the ground for tracks for signs of a beast. A few times he crouched down and looked like he was sniffing the ground. "Any sign of what killed him? If it was a beast we might want to take extra precautions for the next few nights."
TheDudeAbides
 GM, 406 posts
Tue 15 Jul 2014
at 02:08
Re: The High road from Freeport
    Jada's search of the ground revealed both horse and human tracks. His sharp eyes were able to discern the traces of at least eight horses and at least three independent humanoid tracks. It was nearly impossible to tell if they were the the tracks of travelers or a group of bandits. The hard packed road didn't provide much more then the most vague of information. There was no sign of a beast, and the wounds on the man were indicative of bladed and blunt weapons.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:10, Tue 15 July 2014.

Lalita Chandra
 player, 124 posts
 Beast-Kin
 Caster
Tue 15 Jul 2014
at 02:22
Re: The High road from Freeport
Lalita fell to knee's, her body shaking violently as she quickly raised her hands to cover her ears. "Q-quiet!" She cried in her head as she tried to gain control of herself.

The voices, what was triggering them now? Her head throbbed painfully as they became louder and louder, her skull feeling as if it were about to split. She wanted to scream! And then, she heard it. That one voice, that one word. Once it had spoken up the other fell eerily silent. However, what soon came afterwards left the girl utterly speechless. As she saw terrifying images of rotting corpses and death flash through her mind. Her eyes widened in shock.

At that moment the fish felt as if she had lost all capability of speech. She continued to sit there, breathing heavily as if she had run from death itself.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:06, Tue 15 July 2014.

Lynessa Crescent
 player, 103 posts
 Human
 Fighter
Tue 15 Jul 2014
at 02:42
Re: The High road from Freeport
Lynessa knelt down and scooped up the sealed note. She held it up for the others, allowing them to see the wax seal bearing the insignia of the Temple of Light. Perhaps this was the man that had passed them five days ago. Or, maybe this man was carrying a response to the first man's message. Or, maybe the man they'd seen before had nothing to do with this one? She supposed none of those questions were quite as important as what to do with the sealed message. Opening it seemed like the smartest thing to do. Lynessa had no delusions about the importance of information: lives could depend on this message reaching its recipient.

“Do you see anything to identify him, Devi? Perhaps something to tell us where he- Lalita?” She caught the fish-kin dropping to her knees from the corner of her eye. She watched Lalita's display, her face creasing with confusion and concern.

“What's wrong,” she asked. She knelt next to Lalita and leaned over to look the girl in the eye. “Lalita? What happened,” she pushed, the letter temporarily forgotten.
Lucinda Eravyn
 player, 190 posts
 Elf
 Alchemist
Tue 15 Jul 2014
at 03:16
Re: The High road from Freeport
Lucinda looked around, more than a bit confused by this chain of events. So apparently, that man was the messenger they saw earlier? He seemed so alive not so long ago...to see him like this. She shuddered, a nervous feeling filling her stomach. She had seen dead things before of course. She had picked apart plenty of animal carcasses for useful alchemical components. But all of those smelled  like formaldehyde and perfume...not like this. Well, she did suppose there were those times when she needed necrotic flesh from rats. Those didn't have formaldehyde. But that wasn't the point! The point was that this was different. This was bigger yes, but it wasn't like the corpse of a cow...this was a person she had seen so recently. She shuddered again and hid in her cloak for the moment, looking away. It was best for her not to look, right? She shuddered again. No...maybe she really should look at it. Once they were done...she would take care of him properly. Or offer to at least.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:20, Tue 15 July 2014.

Devi McCain
 player, 67 posts
 Human
 Caster
Wed 16 Jul 2014
at 12:55
Re: The High road from Freeport
Devi raised her eyebrows as the fishwoman seemed to get into trouble. Lynessa handled the situation adequately though. She would gently try to take the letter from the guardswoman: if this was accepted, she would open it to read its contents.
TheDudeAbides
 GM, 413 posts
Wed 16 Jul 2014
at 19:20
Re: The High road from Freeport
    Devi moved behind Lynessa and easily took the letter. Lynessa was completely per-occupied with Lalita and barely noticed as the taller woman slipped it from her grasp. The red wax of the seal was unbroken and in the familiar crest of the Merchant Guild. This was particularly interesting as the messenger was wearing a tabard emblazoned with the markings and coloring of the Temple of Light. Devi opened the letter revealing only a few lines. She read them aloud to the group,

"Captain Merand,

    The High Priestess of Light, Lismore, has passed. The city is now fully under our control. Muster the Dredmoor and send them north to Denair. The fools within those high walls must either join us or perish. They cling with a dying grip to the secrets of the old ways, and yet they too will be consumed. Colosai Meroque, my brother.

Songbird
"
Jada
 player, 83 posts
 Beast-Kin
 Monk
Thu 17 Jul 2014
at 04:10
Re: The High road from Freeport
Jada's search for digging implements was interrupted by Lalita's hysteria. She is reacting to the corpse? I suppose it is a bit disturbing. "How about you take her to some fresher air while we take care of things here." He suggested to Lynessa.

"Well that sounds ominous." He remarked after Devi read the letter. "Any of the names or details mean anything to anyone?"
Lynessa Crescent
 player, 106 posts
 Human
 Fighter
Thu 17 Jul 2014
at 17:46
Re: The High road from Freeport
Lynessa nodded to Jada, then slipped her hand around Lalita's and shifted to put herself between Lalita and the grisly visage. “Come, the smell won't be so bad if we move downwind of it, and if you keep your back to the body you won't have to look at it.” Like Jada, she assumed that the fish-kin was squeamish and that the unpleasant sight had upset her. Still, she hadn't thought to take Lalita away from the body. Perhaps she had misjudged the beast-kin?

“Captain Merand is in charge of the soldiers stationed at Tiro,” she offered. “'Join us or perish'... that sounds like an plans for an invasion of Denair, but Tiro is a defensive outpost.” She shook her head. The message didn't make sense and, Goddess, was the High Priestess really dead? She'd never been particularly religious, but the thought that someone with the influence of the High Priestess could die made her keenly aware of her own mortality.

Or maybe it was the rider and his horse that made her feel that way. She gently tugged on Lalita's hand, trying to encourage her to move away from the bodies.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:28, Thu 17 July 2014.

Jerischo Elsinoir Addis
 player, 46 posts
 Human
 Bard
Thu 17 Jul 2014
at 18:31
Re: The High road from Freeport
The sight of the others mourning stirred something in the still-mounted bard.  Something strange.  Or maybe that was the message.  The death of the High Priestess was neither overly surprising to him, nor was it something that actually pushed him much, save for the fact that it meant that another surprisingly good person had died, which he supposed was a tragedy of an by itself.  But the body and the horse. . .He finally dismounted,  his feet making nary a sound as he came over, and knelt next to the fish-kin whose name scared him.  He spared a glance at Lynessa, his eyes practiced to be sympathetic.

"Come on, young Volkove.  Come on.  This won't bring them back.  We'll take care of them;  I'll give them a proper dirge."  He wasn't lying about the dirge part either;  he'd do it.  Dirges weren't something he had too many of in his repertoire, but he had one.  It was more for an agrarian death, but in a pinch it could do to help guide another's soul to the afterlife. . .well, that was what dirges were supposed to do at least.  He'd never seen it happen.
Lucinda Eravyn
 player, 194 posts
 Elf
 Alchemist
Thu 17 Jul 2014
at 18:37
Re: The High road from Freeport
She decided to speak up now that they were talking about dealing with the body. She was never the best with dead bodies, but she knew how to dispose of them properly and safely. It was important to do it just right or someone could get hurt or sick. Luckily she had taken care of enough rats to know what to do. she spoke up, although a bit timidly. "W-well, um...I-I guess I can provide the acid...I-If nobody else will..."

This message was lightly edited by the player at 19:07, Thu 17 July 2014.

Lalita Chandra
 player, 127 posts
 Beast-Kin
 Caster
Thu 17 Jul 2014
at 19:07
Re: The High road from Freeport
"I'm...fine." Lalita finally glubbed, taking in a deep breath. She stood up from where she sat and giving the others a small smile, began to act as if nothing had happened in the first place.

"I just a small headache." She admitted, looking at Jerischo and the swordfish. "But it's gone now. Sorry for worrying all of you."

The fish-kin's eyes then lowered back onto the bodies in front of her. "Whale, lets get this swimming shall we?" She said, looking up at Jada and Devi. She added, "I'll help however I can."

Lalita wanted it to be clear that she wasn't squeamish of bodies but more importantly, that she wouldn't be a hindrance to the group.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:08, Thu 17 July 2014.

Lynessa Crescent
 player, 107 posts
 Human
 Fighter
Fri 18 Jul 2014
at 04:37
Re: The High road from Freeport
Lynessa frowned. She suspected that Lalita was making light of some bigger issue, but doubted that calling her out on it would do any good. Jeri seemed to have brought the fish-kin's bubbly nature back out anyway. "Maybe you should talk to Lucinda," she suggested. "She might have a potion or... something to help if you have a headache."

To Lucinda, she gave a curious glance. "Acid? What do we need acid for?" She knew very little about caring for the dead. She had always assumed you just... dug a hole, said a few words in memory of the deceased, then buried them.

She watched Jada searching, presumably for something to dig with, but her mind was on the message Devi had read. Why would a message of that nature be sent to Captain Merand? And what did the author, Songbird?, mean by "the city is now fully under our control"? Did he mean Freeport? She chewed her lower lip and looked south. Her thoughts turned toward her family and her friends in the guard. Had she left them just before they needed her most?
Devi McCain
 player, 68 posts
 Human
 Caster
Fri 18 Jul 2014
at 16:32
Re: The High road from Freeport
Devi gave a slight shrug. "These names mean nothing to me, besides the Priestess, of course. The meaning itself is very clear though: some opposing force must be ready to make a move. If this captain Merrand holds a high position, it seems the stakes are high indeed. All I know is that the only people that can be trusted are those here. The Priestess saw something in each of us, after all."

She straightened her back. "We must make haste. Let's bury the poor sod and get on with things. If we wait too long we might be dealing with a full scale invasion. Perhaps the Priestess knew what was coming in some way." She poked around in the soil a bit, to see if it's possible to dig in it, then gave Lucinda a Look. "My girl, I hope you're not suggesting letting the acid have its way with the man by means of a burial. Burying the corpse is meant as a sign of respect for the deceased, after all."
Lucinda Eravyn
 player, 196 posts
 Elf
 Alchemist
Fri 18 Jul 2014
at 17:41
Re: The High road from Freeport
"O-oh..." She said looking a bit embarassed. She just wanted to take care of the body properly. She suppposed this was one of those weird traditions that her parents had warned her about. She would have to be more careful in the future. Desperately trying to change the subject, she remembered Lynessa's words. The whole mess with the merchant's guild was over her head. She had heard of the merchant's guild before of course, they were the men in fancy clothing who came to buy up her shop's stock of alchemical items every once in a while and argued with the clerks and her parents about money a lot. She frankly had no idea what to do about it. She hoped that there wouldn't be a war, even if her parents had said they tend to make a lot of money off of it. But she couldn't worry about that right now! She needed to focus on what she could do in this moment. She nodded to Lynessa and walked over to Lalita. "U-um, where e-exactly does it hurt?"

As she asked the question her mind raced with the possible causes of her current afliction. Could it be an imbalance of humors? Perhaps an inflammation of the muscles? Or perhaps some sort of injury? There were many possibilities, and she needed more information to sort out exactly what she could do.
TheDudeAbides
 GM, 420 posts
Sat 19 Jul 2014
at 00:07
Re: The High road from Freeport
    The group settled on burying the body and set about locating a proper spot off the main road. It didn't take long to find a soft spot of ground and Jada set about digging with a flat rock that served quite well as a digging utensil. Once the man had been placed into the ground and the dirt thrown over the corpse, the group spent a moment in silence honoring his passing. The night was quickly arriving and the group set up a makeshift camp located a solid distance from the recently buried dead. The night passed without event and the party made their way north once more to Tiro. The next day and a half went smoothly on the road. The group had begun to run low on food and the overall attitude seemed a bit somber given the recent burial. Most of the members remained silent, they had things on their minds.

The party arrives at Tiro

9th day of the 2nd month: 15:30 PM.