Fate's Fell Hand.   Posted by Autarch.Group: 0
Autarch
 GM, 2601 posts
Sun 3 Nov 2013
at 23:02
Fate's Fell Hand
You tumble together out of the night onto a carpet of stone on the face of a mountain.

The cave, as it is, is shallow and dry, little more than an overhang carved into the side of the dark stone cliffs. Rustling twigs and dried leaves cover the floor, and decades worth of guano cake the back wall.

The leaves crackle and crunch under boot as the walls open all around you. A ghostly form appears in the darkness. Dressed in the guise of a court jester or fool, giggling madly as it capers about, the fool seems ignorant or blind to your presence.


He holds one or two handfuls of ivory plaques and deals them in the air before you.

Bells jingling, he first reveals the Two of Swords, then its duplicate, followed by the Sorceress, draped in a crimson dress and doublet. When he draws her, he places her at the head of the first column with one of the Swords beneath it. Next, he produces another Two of Swords which hovers in the third column.

"The Wizard," he trills, placing the sickly yellow personage at the top of the second column.

Yet another Two of Swords, the fourth of such cards depends in the third column yet to have found its head.

The next draw provides its head: The Magician, a cerulean blue.

Three more cards finish the draw: the Ladies in Waiting, The Prince of Swords, and The Hierophant from first to third in columns, with each taking the color of its head.

During the draw, the air about you hums, nearly buzzing, and you detect the whiff of an open wound.

The jester, cardless, strums the air before him and sounds, as if generated in foreign lands, crash the cave. He sings:

A lifetime in this plane seems quite in the cards
But if my analysis of the position is right
Within the manor and the lake,
There seems a glimmer of light
For all of a sudden indescribable things
Have shattered the sleep of both heroes and magi.
Strange as it seems,
There's been a run of crazy dreams
And a man who can interpret
Could go far - could rule them all.


With a rousing flourish of trumpets, he vanishes and the air clears. One of you beholds the vista beyond the cave:


This message was last edited by the GM at 23:03, Sun 03 Nov 2013.

Bill
 player, 103 posts
Sun 3 Nov 2013
at 23:29
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Bill stands in awe at this strange jester or creature as he would think. He looks upon the wide expanse of the open meadow below them and asks his companions." So do we make our way down to the lone house on the range there, or try and find that card dealing fool that was just here?"
Omm
 player, 94 posts
Sun 3 Nov 2013
at 23:39
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Omm's jaw hangs agape as the mysterious happenings unfold before the group. When Bill finally speaks, it drags the warrior from his reverie and he stammers for a few moments before finding words.

In a spell-bound, hushed tone, Omm replies, "Yes. Let us journey to the house upon the meadow. Ware, friends!"

Omm draws his sword and boldly steps toward, and perhaps into, the landscape suggested by the vista seen at the back of the cave.

This message was last edited by the player at 23:42, Sun 03 Nov 2013.

Sidd and Zar
 player, 423 posts
 Nearer, My God, to Thee!
Mon 4 Nov 2013
at 19:35
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Sidd peers afar. ''Say... isn't that the silhouette of a mighty tower? There? Behind the moon?''

''Rubbish,'' Zar harrumphs, ''behind the moon. That is not possible. Hm... uhrm... it appears to be so though... Say, how close is that moon?''

''Let's go to the house at the lake then.''
Josh
 player, 77 posts
Tue 5 Nov 2013
at 02:42
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Several times, Arnie opens his mouth to utter some words of wisdom and guidance, and each time shuts it again as one of his companions cuts in before he has his chance.  Eventually he just gives up, sighs, and follows the others down into the meadow.

That's okay man, Felix says as they walk.  It's better to let them keep thinking you're some kind of moron than to start talking again and prove it to them.
Autarch
 GM, 2604 posts
Sun 10 Nov 2013
at 00:48
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
You step from the darkness covered in gray cobwebs that stink of sulfur. Even as you wipe the webs and strands from your face and limbs, they dissolve into smoky wisps that drift down into the tall, dewy grasses.

You and your companions stand atop a high ridge, looking down upon a darkened vale. Above, a fat, gibbous moon sinks slowly below the horizon. Below you can spy the lights of a manor house and trampled fields, all set upon the shore of a glassy lake lit by dancing fireflies. And beyond the manor, obscured by the setting moon, you see a lonesome tower, awash in waves of moon-lit clouds.


Having sunk until it can no longer sink, the moon bows before the sun. Atop its throne in the sky, the sun lights the vale before you -- with a cool, starry-blue light, the same blue hue of the wizard on the ivory plaque, infusing the sky with unmistakable symbolism. The light does not dispel the pervasive haze, and it's through this haze, you trudge, your feet sinking just perceptibly into the tall, dewy grasses.

Between yourself and the manor, the air becomes simultaneously too sweet and too sour, and, because of the gray mists, your feet find the source before your eyes:

The long, plowed furrows are trampled into mud. Bodies litter the field, half buried and crusted with bloodied dirt. Shattered spears, splintered shields, and crushed helms are scattered all around. Cackling crows, their beaks wet with blood, hop about, making a feast of the slaughter.


Arnie's the one who stepped in it, it being the half-filled brain pan of pikeman, his polearm snapped in twain much like his neck. There, the cold warmth of the man's deliquescent cerebral matter soaking his left boot, Arnie curses. It's a good thing young, sweet Del's not there to hear them.

Time: Dawn
Location: Field of the Dead

Josh
 player, 78 posts
Sun 10 Nov 2013
at 01:47
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
The conflict in Arnie's mind spreads to his whole body - the foot that stepped in "it" is trying to leap out in a panic, while the other remains firmly planted.  Arnie struggles to retain his balance, takes a moment to slow his breathing and keep control over his stomach, and then addresses the group (heedless of Felix's earlier warning): We must find out who these men were and who did this to them, and then we must avenge their deaths.  My Lord would have it no other way, and certainly He will bless all of us if we all share in doing His glorious work.
Bill
 player, 104 posts
Sun 10 Nov 2013
at 01:59
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
In reply to Josh (msg # 7):

Bill nods his head in agreement to Arnie's wise words and points at the lone dwelling on the range and says to his friends "Should we start at the dwelling there? It is still standing for some reason among  all this destruction and dismay. Maybe it is for a reason. Hopefully it holds clues there to be found. What say you all?"
Omm
 player, 95 posts
Sun 10 Nov 2013
at 18:58
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Omm nods in agreement with Bill and Arnie's statements. Kneeling down to examine the livery of one of the men, "Perhaps we may learn something of their liege..." Omm searches for any heraldic devices which might adorn a discarded shield or perhaps even a battle standard.

Turning a bit later to address Bill, "Yes. We may yet find answers there. Let's approach. Perhaps get a better look at the place up close before announcing our visit."

Should the group agree, Omm will lead the way, sword at the ready, but not unsheathed.

This message was last edited by the player at 18:59, Sun 10 Nov 2013.

Sidd and Zar
 player, 425 posts
 Nearer, My God, to Thee!
Mon 11 Nov 2013
at 09:15
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Zar glances at the sun full of distrust. ''Did anyone notice that the symbol on the blue mages robe, on the card, looked pretty much like the sign of chaos? Arcane symbols can be difficult to read though... Anyway, if the sun is his, I do not like it.''

''Do the dead wear any colors?'' Interjects Sidd. ''For all we know they serve different masters and killed each other. Especially if there's some three sided contest going on here?''

''Yes, I believe so. And if the blue mage is Chaos, then the red sorceress might be his noble opposite. We ought to be on her side! Except maybe you, Sidd, you might rather belong to that sickly yellow guy,'' Zar adds snidely.

The two former friends glare at each other.

Then they suddenly turn away and help searching the battlefield. Sidd is not above taking up a used bow, if he finds one, and some arrows.

This message was last edited by the player at 09:16, Mon 11 Nov 2013.

Autarch
 GM, 2606 posts
Tue 12 Nov 2013
at 03:14
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
The mist, the mud, and the early morning chill and decomposition, they all frustrate would-be heraldic seekers. Splotches of yellow, blue, red, more red, and yet more red, these you spot across the battlefield. Sometimes the red is wet and sticky, staining your clothes. In a complementary fashion, sometimes the yellow forms small pools. Such is the glamor of battle beneath the cerulean sun.

Sidd and Zarr dive in, forgetting momentarily their quibbles, for with the loss of sweet, sweet Del, life tastes of dust and grit; that's what they remember when they forget to squabble. Miraculously, Sidd locates a 10 foot pole, uncompromised, from which a shredded banner depends. What shreds remain sport red spots. Zarr grins at discovering a footman's headless body, the body still perfectly swaddled in hide armor.

You could stay here or continue to the manor house.

Time: Dawn or thereabouts
Location: Field of the Dead

Omm
 player, 96 posts
Tue 12 Nov 2013
at 03:37
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Omm examines the battle standard for a moment, contemplating what armies might have waged battle in these idyllic meadows. Pulling himself from the reverie induced by deeper thought than he is accustomed, Omm comments to his compatriots, "Not much longer yet to the manor house. Let's continue..."
Sidd and Zar
 player, 426 posts
 Nearer, My God, to Thee!
Tue 12 Nov 2013
at 08:54
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Zar lets the hide armor be. Recently he is feeling inklings of the arcane and higher secrets and all that, and armor is just not meshing too well with this. He is interested in the banner though.

''Give me that,'' he barks at Sidd. Blue being Chaos, red Order, and yellow the scallywags in between is currently just a theory without much grounding. But just in case, a red banner might be the thing to have later. Or is it just blood on the shredded fabric?

''The sorceress' column sported the ladies in waiting,'' Zar muses. ''I only recently dreamed of three women most wise and fair, keepers of all that is destined and good. I wonder whether these are the same?''

Sidd just eyes the former farmer and his hen. ''Or you are just getting lonely? Anyway, let's do as Omm says. He has some sense.''

Zar rolls what is left of the banner around the pole and binds it with a bit of rope, or a belt, whatever's handy, and trudges along with the others towards the manor.
Bill
 player, 105 posts
Tue 12 Nov 2013
at 09:00
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
If no one else grabs it, Bill does not miss the chance at decent protection and he pauses for a moment to don the hide armor. A small amount of protection is better than none he thinks. He then continues to follow the others..
Omm
 player, 97 posts
Wed 13 Nov 2013
at 05:43
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Upon seeing Bill in his newly acquired armor, Omm comments, "Looks to fit fine enough. A nice find indeed!"
Josh
 player, 79 posts
Wed 13 Nov 2013
at 17:54
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Arnie approaches Omm and says We must be respectful of the dead.  If you take his belongings, see that you use them to help aid in his mission.

Further back, Felix rolls his eyes and mutters It's gonna be a long quest if he keeps taking himself seriously like this.
Autarch
 GM, 2607 posts
Mon 18 Nov 2013
at 03:54
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
It may just be the general state of anxiety, but it sure seems to take Bill a long time to shrug off his everyday clothes and replace them with hide armor. Thing is, it's tight in some places on him, especially around the thews of his thighs. As he tugs, pulls, and curses, the midnight blue sun inexorably rises to its zenith.

Only after he has tightened the last strap and clasped the last buckle, do you resume your march through the field of the dead and to manor house with a lake one one side and a tower in the distance.

No guards ask your business (did they all die beneath another day's sun?), so you decide to take the first steps to making yourself at home.

Worn stone steps rise to the ruined manor house. The once-mighty door hangs ajar, covered in moss and vines. Above, a weathered arch bears the relief of three sigils: a crown, crossed wands, and a star.

Just inside the gate is a large rain barrel (half-full of stagnant water), a muddy iron bar used to seal the gate, a sheaf of six spears, and a shield.


When you're not stepping in a puddle, you're crunching fallen plaster or masonry beneath your boots. The noises hang in the air without the bustle of a busy house to absorb them; you don't hear servants clicking their heels or maids swishing their mops.

To the right, there is the door leading to the tower. In front of you, a set of double doors leads to the interior of the first floor. To the left are stairs leading to the second floor. Everywhere else is rubble and decay.

Time: Beyond Dawn
Location: The High Gate

Omm
 player, 98 posts
Mon 18 Nov 2013
at 05:25
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Omm runs his hand along the sheaf of spears before grabbing the final in the line. "A fine weapon. I claim it as my own!" he says while examining the spear tip's edge.

The warrior then approaches the shield and examines it for a moment before adding, "I could make use of this, if nobody else has eyes upon it."

With each passing moment, Omm was beginning to look more like a warrior. He was now decked out in a chain hauberk, a long sword, spear, and perhaps even a shield. He certainly looked the part.

Glancing at the three options for exploration, Omm recommends checking out the first floor of the manor house first. Of course, this is just a suggestion and he does not feel strongly about any of the options.
Sidd and Zar
 player, 427 posts
 Nearer, My God, to Thee!
Mon 18 Nov 2013
at 10:35
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Zar examines the gate's lintel carefully. ''The crown of the golden wizard, the wands of the red sorceress, and the star of the blue magician. This house harbored all of them. Before they started a quarrel, most likely, and all this destruction ensued.''
He looks balefully at the sun and its unnatural light.

Sidd sighs. ''That's all guesswork for now. But if I am allowed to utter an opinion about your construct of cards, I would hazard that the golden wizard is standing in for order, and the red sorceress for neutrality. Figures, a man at each sides, a woman in the middle.''

Zar mumbles a bit at that, but then pushes the pole with the ruined red banner into Sidd's hands. ''Yours then.''

In regard to the best next venue, both only shrug their shoulders. ''Sure, Omm, the first floor is as good an option as any to start searching the manor.''
Josh
 player, 80 posts
Mon 18 Nov 2013
at 18:19
Re: Fate's Fell Hand
Assuming no one vetoes the plan to explore this floor, Felix presses his ear against the double doors to determine if there might be anything for them to worry about on the other side.  If it is clear, he will then walk back and encourage someone else to be the first to actually open the doors.