1: Heart of Darkness.   Posted by The GM.Group: 0
The GM
 GM, 185 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Fri 3 Aug 2018
at 18:06
1: Heart of Darkness
Raylosh was, for once, glad to see the chimney-smoke of the village, as they were coming out of the jungle. This trip had been bad. These new customers were heedless and uncaring. They'd brought native Tulita bearers, and large empty baskets. Raylosh was charged with handling the girallon, a filthy, cantankerous beast, whose sense of smell was keen enough to lead them to their goal. Kuryeva was not uncommon, growing in the wild; but overharvesting had put the plant out of reach of casual walks into the jungle. Raylosh was now certain these same people had been the cause of that as well.

Raylosh had started the animal services with Bronden Klondek, a seasoned explorer with contracts serving various interests in the city. Raylosh suspected some of these arrangements were made on behalf of the shadowy Blackwheel Company. But Bronden had not been back in time from his last venture, and Raylosh had done his best to fulfill contracts as they came in. This one was bad smelling from the outset, before even he'd seen the girallon.

Now, they returned, with barely a quarter of the thug's expected harvest. Two of the bearers were dead, One of the guards had a broken arm another was concussed, and brought by stretcher. The dead had been left behind. No one had listened to Raylosh's admonitions, and now the guards blamed Raylosh for the disaster.  Raylosh was more concerned about the girallon, who had escaped into the wild when the Shamblers ambushed the foraging party. Three day's out, and three back. Pain and anguish was their only reward.

Harvester had found a company of men who made more sense than most. They worked together to provide unusual services and goods. It would have been even more benevolent if their services were for free, but it was needful to cover one's expenses. This last chore had been given Harvester due to the fact that 'you've got no nose' which was not a quality Harvester had much considered. He'd delivered the girallon to the explorer's guide, and then waited patiently for the expedition to return. There were opportunities to assist the natives in their daily routine, but Harvester never felt compelled. Then they returned, and it did not seem like anyone was happy.

Vincent's route to the city took him past a Tulita village. Their life was hard, but their spirits always rose when Vincent went past. Vincent's music would incorporate some of their familiar rhythms and the children would skip along laughing and singing. Olou, most of all. Olou would bring homemade instruments to try to play as Vincent walked. And the squeaks or rattles were always amusing even if they didn't always constitute music. Now Vincent could only hear Olou crying loudly as the path took him in sight of the village.

The gnoll in charge of the expedition was in the middle of making it clear that no, there would not be payment, that the kuryeva obtained was not enough, and that they should be expecting to provide better bearers for the next expedition, once they'd gotten another girallon.

Meanwhile Olou was sobbing and screaming for his missing parents.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:33, Mon 06 Aug 2018.

 player, 2 posts
Tue 7 Aug 2018
at 00:31
1: Heart of Darkness
  Vince tried to step off the road into the brush, having learned from his years on the street that it was often best to assess the situation before deciding on a course of action.  As the half-elf approached off the road, his foot happened upon a large stick that crunched more loudly under his weight than he would have liked.  He cringed and froze momentarily, hoping the crying boy's tears might distract from the error in his stealthy approach.  He waited to see if anyone reacted, before he decided what to do next.

OOC:  Bad roll on stealth, good roll on perception. :P

19:16, Today: Vincent rolled 11 using 1d20+6 with rolls of 5.  Stealth.
19:16, Today: Vincent rolled 22 using 1d20+7 with rolls of 15.  Perception.

 player, 3 posts
Tue 7 Aug 2018
at 21:02
1: Heart of Darkness
Harvester leaned against the wall of one of the homes on the edge of the village and watched the expedition's haggard return with heavy heart. They were fewer in number and much worse for ware. The missing girallon was noted but Harvester worried more for the mission persons that he could only assume were the cause of the young boy's tears. Taking the groups ragged appearance into account, Harvester chose to follow what remained of the expedition into the village before breaching the issue.

When the group finally stopped, listening to the gnoll's standoffish attitude due to the failed expedition, and in the face of the crying child, only served to irritate the warforged into breaking his silence. Stepping forward, Harvester placed himself face to face with the gnoll before speaking, "It sounds to me, rather than finding better bearers, your expedition could use more sound leadership. Someone that honors negotiations made in spite of poor fortune. Such as the agreement you had with my company."

This message was last edited by the player at 21:12, Tue 07 Aug 2018.

The GM
 GM, 198 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Sat 11 Aug 2018
at 06:37
1: Heart of Darkness
Vince felt wise watching these strangers from the city from behind the trees. They were rough customers. The Tulita had little choice but to take whatever job was offered, no matter how dangerous. This was the first time that anyone had died on a harvest run, though there had been injuries. Several of the drow crouched near Olou, trying to calm the child. Vincent was near enough to observe.

The gnoll rasped out his instructions in his own tongue, and the men cursed and moved to obey. The gnoll's speech and the curses  sounded eerily similar. The men told the villagers would be paid, after all, for the fruit that was carried out. The gnoll threw a handful of coppers, which scattered near the sobbing child. The gnoll stepped closer to Harvester. It's command of the common tongue had much to be desired, as did its breath. Havester's sense of smell was dulled compared to a human's but it was very foul.

"Therre! Now yourr honorr done! You want girrallon? That one lost it."
The gnoll extended a long finger towards the halfling explorer.

Then the gnoll ordered the others to depart the village. He watched everyone as his men began to file past him.
 player, 3 posts
Sun 12 Aug 2018
at 15:47
1: Heart of Darkness
The half-elf bard waited for the gnoll to take his men out of the village.

Once they were out, Vince moved back to the path and entered the village, making his way toward the crying boy.  Once he got there, the young man knelt down and put one arm around Olou.  "I am sorry, Olou...  I can only assume that you've lost some family.  I can't change bring them back, but I can do what I can to help."

Vince pulled his around, and strummed a few chords, began the first few notes of an old ballad that seemed appropriate for the mood.  He looked the boy in the eye as he sang.

As I walked by the dockside one evening so rare,
To view the still waters and take the salt air
I heard an old fisherman singing this song,
Want to take me away boys me time isn't long.

Wrap me up in me oilskins and jumpers
No more on the docks I'll be seen
Just tell my old shipmates I'm taking a trip mates
And I'll see you some day in Fiddler's Green

Oh Fiddler's Green is a place I've heard tell
Where fishermen go if they don't go to hell
Where the weather is fair and the dolphins do play
And the cold coast of Xendrik is far far away

Where the sky's always clear, and there's never a gale
Where the fish jump on board with a swish of their tails
Where you lie at your leisure, there's no work to do
And the Skipper's below, making tea for the crew ...

When you get back in dock and the long trip is through
There's pubs and there's clubs and there's lassies there too
Where the girls are all pretty and the beer is all free
And there's bottles of rum growing on every tree

No I don't want a harp, nor a halo, not me,
Just give me a breeze and a good rollin' sea,
And I'll play me old squeeze-box as we sail along
With the wind in the riggin', to sing me this song

Once he was finished with the song, Vince spoke to the boy, but loud enough the others could hear, and answer should they wish, as he picked up the copper coins and handed it to the presumed newly orphaned child.  "So Olou, are there any other villagers here who will take you in?  There is an a old saying that 'It takes a village to raise a child', and for this village to survive, I would think they would need every child taken care of, or it will not continue..."  The bard was not ready to take on
the responsibility of an apprentice at this point, but he did have an alternate idea in mind if for some reason there was nobody who would take him in here.

OOC:  I changed one line in the lyrics for the setting.
Original that I used is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zviVCHO2_8k

This message was last edited by the player at 15:49, Sun 12 Aug 2018.

 player, 2 posts
Sun 12 Aug 2018
at 23:56
1: Heart of Darkness
Raylosh was waiting to have this conversation with the gnoll until they were settled in but it couldn’t wait any longer.“You’ll have the grilla back, it was in such a miserable condition that I could count three of its ribs! Oh and maybe giving a name besides training it to respond with a whip will make it pay attention to you. I didn’t take this job for the money, but you’ll get the beastie back for free. Ashura?!”He called out facing some trees in the distance.

A pternadon landed near the group and cocked its head at the group and sniffed in the direction of the war forged warily.“Raylosh! I missshed. He had pretty so song, what happen? What hurt people? Oh fuzzshy baby, no cry” She walked in a slow manner towards the child.

Raylosh snapped to grab her attention. “Don’t scare em, Ash. I’ll let you know later, sorry I left ya behind but we gotta go fetch a beastie from the forest tonight, go get ya some food and wait near the inn.”  He pushed his fingers to his eyes. She flew off, not arguing at all about going to get food.
 player, 4 posts
Mon 13 Aug 2018
at 15:59
1: Heart of Darkness
Harvester deeply regretted being built without the biological ability to spit upon the ground where the gnoll stood. The creature's insolence and indifference were hardly surprising but Harvester wouldn't be the one to bring things to violence. There was a problem that needed solving and the gnoll and it's company were shown to be obviously useless on that front. Perhaps the halfling explorer would he'd been directed to would be different.

Harvester settled for scoffing as he turned his attention from gnoll to halfling but couldn't help adding, "If only you'd lead your expedition half as well as you place blame."

Approaching the halfling, Harvester noticed someone had finally approached the crying boy and was attempting to ease his grief with song. Harvest had though to attempt this himself, but the past had shown many had a hard time finding comfort in being consoled in his metal visage. Approaching the halfling, Harvester waited for him to finish his conversation with the pternadon before speaking up, "Greetings and apologies, the grillon was my charge on behalf of my company. Our contract with the gnoll made no mention of training just delivery and pick up."
 player, 3 posts
Mon 13 Aug 2018
at 21:11
1: Heart of Darkness
All this talk of which company was which and whose in charge of what was growing tiresome. "Aye... Raylosh is the name, really the full blame is on those darn shamblers. I'll have to mark where-abouts the were to make sure any other contracts in the area are more prepared."
Raylosh mumbled to himself about migration patterns while walking around. When he finally made his way around the Drow during his mumbling. "Look son, I lost my family too a long time ago. That pain don't go away, but what did help that pain was vengence. Not the kind ya might think, but making sure that same thing doesn't happen to anyone else. You might be little but I got a big job for you. I need some one to make sure my horse is excerised  brushed and fed till I get back okay?" He pulled out a gold coin and have it to the boy. Raylosh couldn't tell if that kid or the villagers had any animosity towards him. Though he did understand that at one point they're going to get angry at some point.