Chapter 1, Part 1: A Walk In The Woods.   Posted by Elemental.Group: 0
The Warlord
 NPC, 2 posts
Thu 4 Jan 2018
at 21:12
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
The warlord looms over Augustus with axe raised. Despite the wounds he's taken, which should have stopped any living creature, he still fights on, determined to hang on long enough to satisfy ancient memories of his grudge against the lords of the Known Worlds--

--but then the laser beam pierces his helmet, shooting out the back. The giant crashes down to his knees, dropping forward. His limbs twitch for a few moments as whatever unnatural force kept him in motion dissipates, and the remains of his face seem to form into....a smile.

Elsewhere, the other husks are easy prey for the militia and the retinue. It's a few minutes of clean-up, but finally it's confirmed that the attack is over, and the good news can be conveyed to those huddled inside the chapel.

Combat Over

This message was last edited by the player at 21:15, Thu 04 Jan 2018.

Santiago Sangre Mano Roja
 player, 26 posts
 To learn to serve God,
 first serve man.
Thu 4 Jan 2018
at 21:15
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods

 Santiago is moving over the fallen beast towards the Warlord when the laser-fire tears through its decaying head, but he wastes no time when the creature falls, instead spinning on the spot to move through the carrion harvest that have fallen, his curved blades flashing as he severs head from spine with clean, forceful cuts time and again - ensuring that even should there not be time for more, there's little chance of them rising once more.
Augustus Justinian
 player, 45 posts
Fri 5 Jan 2018
at 15:23
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
Augustus staggered back as the creature fell to his feet, the colossal beast crashing onto the bridge and nearly crushing him in the process. At the same time, there was the bizarre twinge of regret. The fight might have been a little more... sporting? fun?... if had it of lasted a while longer, but he knew better than to look a gift horse in the mouth.

He couldn't help it. It had just been too... clean.

Well. At least until Santiago, anyway.

"Thanks, Red. I knew I was missing something," he said with a grimace, as a hunk of bloody flesh went flying his way to land with a splat against his sleeve.

Augustus casually flicked it away. Ah well. That had been expensive. That said, it was probably for the best. If you looked too tidy after a fight, people started to wonder.

He knew what Santiago was doing — and the wisdom in it — but he still couldn't help but quirk an eyebrow all the same as the head parted from the body with an awkward crack of breaking cartilage. Interesting. The monster hadn't gotten any prettier after it was dead, but more importantly, he didn't recall ever seeing a creature like that before. That was going to require some looking into.

You know. Later. In the morning.

Augustus put away the flux sword and stepped off the bridge back into the village. Rapidly, he gave a count, ensuring that no one had accidentally gotten themselves killed, but fortunately it seemed their little makeshift militia had all managed to keep their heads.

"The work's not done yet, but the battle's won. Be proud. What you've done was not easy or for the faint of heart, but you accomplished it together. This village will be safe tonight, for your efforts. Let us remove these bodies off the street" — yanno, lest they give any poor children even more nightmares — "and spread the good word."

And then bloody pray no more wanted to spring up from the water to say hello. That would rather put a sour note on the evening.
Horace Vanson
 player, 33 posts
Fri 5 Jan 2018
at 15:40
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
Horace deactivated his devices and walked toward the Beast and Warlord. He wanted to examine these things -- particularly the beast. It had a strange sounding call -- like a monster with a human inside.

OOC:
Not sure what to roll. Notice? Smarts?

Horace Vanson
 player, 34 posts
Fri 5 Jan 2018
at 21:51
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
Horace has no idea what he’s looking at.
Elemental
 GM, 80 posts
Fri 5 Jan 2018
at 21:53
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
"So the battle was a success?"

"Aye, your grace. They made sure those monsters weren't coming back, and we burned the bodies. There haven't been no more of them coming out the river since. Maybe that big 'un was the one controlling them? Folk don't much care, they're just grateful the curse is gone."

"And then what happened?"

"Well, not a lot. We put them up for the night in the best lodgings we could find, and then the next day, they were just getting ready to move on, when....."

Malcolm Hawkwood
 NPC, 1 post
Fri 5 Jan 2018
at 23:04
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
The next day, the sun rises on a village that wasn't necessarily expecting to see it. You've been honoured guests of the village , and it took a while to get some time alone to sleep--or if you preferred not to sleep alone, there would have been no shortage of opportunities. Free drinks were also on offer in abundance.

It is currently late morning, and many of the villagers are in the chapel, giving praise to Saint Mantius the Soldier, and others are patrolling the lake to look for any other signs of husks--so far, with nothing to report. Anyone who stands still for more than a minute will find themselves pestered by children anxious to hear the stories or get a good look at these mysterious strangers.

That is the state of affairs when a group of horse riders can be seen coming down the road.
Augustus Justinian
 player, 46 posts
Sat 6 Jan 2018
at 08:00
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
Ouch.

As it was, "Ouch" was the first thought that floated through Augustus Justinian's head when the bright glare of morning found itself stubbornly forcing its way through a window to knock at the back of his eyelids. Getting them open took some doing. Squinting through them was even worse. And when Augustus Justinian finally managed to get to his feet, lurching somewhat as he did so, the throbbing headache and dry taste on his tongue gave him exactly the right information to fill in the blanks.

How many had he had last night?

One, then... wait, six? But that was before a rather delightful young woman whose name he had completely forgotten had brought the...

Oh yeah. That's right.

The attempt at recollection brought a particularly painful throb.

That wasn't fair.

By the time Augustus stumbled out of a house he was pretty sure he didn't remember stumbling in to, he was quite fashionably late. And, hopefully, quite fashionably ruffled as opposed to looking like he'd just rolled out of a haystack.

... At least no one had stolen his buttons.

Fortunately for him, one of Augustus' little known but no less important talents could effectively be surmised as: "successfully acting like you don't have a hangover like a goddamn magician." To that end, he was at least able to generously humor any curious hangars-on with a gallant smile and graciously answer any questions, while also not at all looking like it felt as though someone had jammed an icepick behind his eye socket.

Where in the Pancreators name had the others gotten off to? There were still a few questions he wanted answered. Namely, whether the addition of the horrible, accursed sunlight had helped to shed any light on the nature of the two creatures slain on the bridge, and more importantly, whether this was genuinely the end of the trouble for the village, or...

Damnit.

What was this village named again?

It was the sound of hooves ringing on the path that saved him from having to recall the answer. Augusts' hand immediately went for his hair, roughly combing it back out of his eyes. "Well met, gentlemen," he called, squinting a touch in the sunlight as he stepped onto the path. "Who whom do we owe the pleasure?"

Bandits? Hopefully not. They didn't look like bandits. That would be...

Err...

Let's just say he wasn't in the right frame of mind to want to deal with that right now.
Horace Vanson
 player, 36 posts
Sat 6 Jan 2018
at 15:01
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
Horace sat on a roof of a building. He had climbed up there to avoid having to answer any more questions from village children. He liked kids, he really did -- for a while, at least.  But up here, he could tinker in peace.  he fiddled with his gadgets quietly.

His eyes rose from his device to see the horsemen arrive. he heard Augustus' voice rise to greet them from somewhere below. Horace stood and walked to the edge of the roof, where a ladder leaned against the eaves. He was close enough to see and hear them and, if necessary, to speak to them as well.
Santiago Sangre Mano Roja
 player, 27 posts
 To learn to serve God,
 first serve man.
Sat 6 Jan 2018
at 17:23
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods

 Blood spatter is, sadly something to be expected when using a sword of common steel - and the nearly inhuman strength Santiago displays as he moves from cadaver to cadaver, severing heads creates a pretty impressive splash pattern... One that he's not above acknowledging when Augustus addresses him by observing "Your flame blade 'is too clean Sir 'Justinian, 'ow 'is a man to know you 'ave been in a fight?" before finishing his grisly task - after which he rounds up a few of the peasant milita and sternly walks them through gathering the dead and bringing them to the church-yard, where he pointedly ensures that they're prayed for before being burned - on the very simple basis that if you can't ask for the Pancreators Grace for those cursed and lost, how can you expect it for yourself?

 That occupied him most of the night really, since he stood watch over the pyres while cleaning and oiling his swords (as well as the simple leather jerkin he wears for armour) and he's only snatched a few hours of fitful, child-interrupted sleep (it turns out that blood-curdling Hazat-accented threats mostly delight rather than upset them and they don't have the maturity to be properly scared of witch-warriors yet) when the horses approach, something that brings him out of the church with his crossbow couched under one arm and a hand raised to shield his eyes.
Malcolm Hawkwood
 NPC, 2 posts
Sun 7 Jan 2018
at 17:59
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
The riders draw closer, and stop at the far side of the bridge. Their apparent leader disembarks, letting out a grunt of effort as his feet touch the ground. He's a fairly old man, with greying hair and a certain care in the way he moves, while his well-made travelling clothes suggest a noble.

"Sir Augustus Justinian?" he asks, as his guards stand to attention.  "My name is Malcolm Hawkwood, acting regent of this land. I believe I am in your debt, young sir."
Augustus Justinian
 player, 47 posts
Mon 8 Jan 2018
at 07:05
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
Acting Regent?

Okay good. That meant almost definitely, most certainly, not a bandit.

... Yet.

News must have travelled quick. He certainly couldn't think of anything else vaguely heroic he'd done within the last fortnight to warrant that sort of reception. Had a runner slipped out of town?

No. That involved thinking, and thinking still hurt.

August affixed a broad smile anyway, doing his best of impression of a man who was definitely-most-certainly not still hungover. "You owe no debt, my friend," he replied genially, in his usual loud voice. "We have done no more than any man would, should he find himself with the means to give aid to those who need it most."

That was what he was talking about... right?
Tolman Stewart
 player, 26 posts
Mon 8 Jan 2018
at 19:38
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
Tolman picked an auspicious time to appear in a doorway, his arms around two half clothed women.  Seeing Malcolm, they yelp slightly before disappearing back inside.  Tolman is little better, wearing scant more than a bedsheet tied around his waist, the amulet denoting his membership in the Charioteers bouncing off his chest as he walks.  Unlike the two women however, he seems to have no qualms about his state of half dress, and yawning loudly, he approached the conversing nobles.  Clapping Augustus on the shoulder, he grinned "Best night's sleep I've had in a while mate.  We should make a habit of saving villages from certain doom."
Horace Vanson
 player, 37 posts
Mon 8 Jan 2018
at 23:46
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
 Horace harrumphs  at Augustus‘s claim that we are owed no debt.  He follows that up with an eye roll at Tolman.   He moved to the side of the roof and climbs down the ladder, coming around from the side of the building towards the men.
Malcolm Hawkwood
 NPC, 3 posts
Tue 9 Jan 2018
at 14:51
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
"I was on my way to investigate the stories coming from this area, of the dead rising. Would that I could have come sooner, but....well, there are many dark events afoot in my son's lands these days sadly. But as I drew near, I heard the stories of your exploits last night spreading already." says Malcolm, politely contriving not to notice Tolman or his companions.

"I can only apologise for such a rude reception to these lands. I only wish I could have proven a better guardian of them, but....well, such matters are not important now. Tell me,
Sir Justinian, what has drawn you and your companions to such an out-of-the-way spot?"

This message was last edited by the player at 12:01, Wed 10 Jan 2018.

Augustus Justinian
 player, 48 posts
Wed 10 Jan 2018
at 07:28
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
There were sometimes... just... sometimes... where Augustus really wished it was socially acceptable to clock someone in the jaw in front of esteemed company and get away with it.

Right now was one of those times.

As it stood, the only giveaway that something was amiss was a quick twitch of Augustus' mouth when Tolman came siding up beside him.

"Tolman. Timing," Augustus reminded him pleasantly, with a voice of the utmost cheer, without even looking away from Hawkwood.

"Passing through, my good man," he continued, as though Tolman had suddenly turned invisible. "We were bound for the Hawkwood Estate, for the anniversary of the passing of the late Lord and Lady Hawkwood. Lady Hawkwood was a relative of mine, and it has been far too long since I have been able to excuse myself from my duties long enough to pay adequate respect."
Santiago Sangre Mano Roja
 player, 30 posts
 To learn to serve God,
 first serve man.
Wed 10 Jan 2018
at 08:52
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods

 The lack of obvious aggressive action on the part of the riders - along with the fact that they're engaged in a respectable conversation with Lord Justinian - goes some way towards mollifying Santiago, who veers around the church to meet up with Horace as the good engineer descends to ground level, inquiring once he gets close "I could not 'elp but wonder what you would 'ave done 'ad it rained." in his usual dry tones, glancing upwards towards the rooftop in clarification of his question.
Malcolm Hawkwood
 NPC, 4 posts
Wed 10 Jan 2018
at 12:08
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
"Ah, from that branch of the Justinians?" asks Malcolm. "You'll have to forgive me, there's been so much to attend to these last few years since they rejoined the Pancreator, it's been so easy to lose track of the outside world. My granddaughter is the expert on the family trees....but where was I? Ah yes, I would like to invite you and your entourage to stay at my estate as honoured guests....once you are properly prepared, of course."
Augustus Justinian
 player, 49 posts
Thu 11 Jan 2018
at 03:14
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
"Of course. Please, allow my trusted companions—" Well, sort of. "—and I a moment to prepare for travel. I would be most interested to learn on the way of what you can tell us of the trouble has befallen these lands."

This message was last edited by the player at 03:14, Thu 11 Jan 2018.

Horace Vanson
 player, 38 posts
Thu 11 Jan 2018
at 03:30
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
Horace slaps Santiago on the shoulder and says, "Well I guess I'd have to tinker in the rain! No seriously, that would ruin the equipment. It's delicate."

He looks over at Hawkwood and Justinian a bit sourly.

"He's gonna make us get all formalled up isn't he? The last time I used the wrong spoon and I thought that old lady was gonna croak right there."
Santiago Sangre Mano Roja
 player, 31 posts
 To learn to serve God,
 first serve man.
Thu 11 Jan 2018
at 05:43
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods

 Santiago rocks forwards slightly before just eyeing Horace the way he tends to whenever the other man venture into his personal space (maybe the Dervish wasn't hugged enough as a child, or maybe he's just grown used to the superstitious tendancy of people to assume he can read their mind if they get too close) but, as ever he projects more put upon tolerance than actual anger or discomfort.

 "There were rooms you know. Some 'even still 'ad roofs." He answers drily before chuckling at The mention of a formal dinner and reminding him "That 'is a burden you must bear, fortunately, 'it would be scandalous to bring 'a Dervish to dinner 'an likely I will be ensconced, warm before the kitchen for while you ponder 'over matters 'of spoons."
Elemental
 GM, 85 posts
Thu 11 Jan 2018
at 23:37
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
Once everyone is ready, the group is bidden farewell by the villagers--it's not a quiet affair, consisting of cheers and waving townsfolk lining the road as you ride out.


.....


As you ride through the forests of the estate, there's a general sense of decline--the roads are poorly maintained, you pass some derelict structures and abandoned villages, and at one point, a river seems to have overflowed, turning a patch of farmland into a swamp. Malcolm talks as you ride, to fill the silence.

"I don't know how much you know, Sir Augustus....or how much your cohorts know about this place. But my son Oliver married Lady Hermia Justinian, and we were blessed with two grandchildren. Of course, then came the Emperor Wars. A necessary business, to fill that long-empty throne and bring the stars back under one banner of course, but a steep cost." he says looking away for a moment. "Both my son and daughter-in-law were lost in the last days of the Midnight March campaign, and now I govern this holding until young Irene and Vincent are old enough to assume the responsibility."

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:37, Thu 11 Jan 2018.

Elemental
 GM, 87 posts
Mon 15 Jan 2018
at 17:50
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
By the time you reach the house itself, it is mid-afternoon. The estate lies near the coast, and you can smell the sea air as you emerge from a path through the forest that is so overgrown that it felt more like going through a tunnel.

The manor house is a grand edifice, the gothic-esque architecture suggesting it was built in the Vlaidimir era, with one wing being a later addition. The garden is in full bloom, with a large ring of black flowers around the central fountain, and lines of trees along the driveway shedding petals. Off to one side can be glimpsed the stables and a landing pad with a shuttle parked on it.

"Only the finest hospitality, of course." continues Malcolm. "Though this will probably pale compared to what you have likely experienced in your travels....ah, my grandchildren are just coming out now, I am sure they will be thrilled to hear some of your stories."
Horace Vanson
 player, 40 posts
Mon 15 Jan 2018
at 20:53
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods
Horace remained silent for most of the ride, listening occasionally to the nobles speak. Upon arriving at the manor house, he looked for an opportunity to peruse what technology the estate might contain, including the shuttle. Mostly just professional curiosity, mind you, though he will offer to repair or improve anything that seems like it could use it.

He'll also find a place to tinker with his gadgets, probably in an inappropriate place, thus getting grease on something delicate and valuable.
Santiago Sangre Mano Roja
 player, 33 posts
 To learn to serve God,
 first serve man.
Tue 16 Jan 2018
at 03:19
Re: Chapter 1: A Walk In The Woods

 As is more or less always the case, Santiago remains close to Horace, protected from most casual contact by the Penitent badge he wears prominently upon his tunic and therefore free to discharge what he sees as his obligation to keep his friend from getting into too much trouble while tinkering - both physically in the event of his mis-stepping or spiritually, given the dangers of being too free with the arcane arts of technology...

 ...not that he has a great deal of luck with the latter, but you know, he's there to try.