The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow.   Posted by ylva.Group: 0
Hester Darkeye
 player, 44 posts
 Strange girl she is.
 Coming home she is.
Tue 4 Aug 2020
at 10:37
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
Hester met Bristle's eye.  She opened her own eyes wide and then wider still, huge round pools of blackness.  She stretched her arms as wide as they would go.  Human arms do not stretch so far nor do human eyes open quite so wide and even if they did, they wouldn't look like that.

"I have no idea.  I was a child when I was driven out, but it answers some of the questions so it's a working theory.  I was tainted see?"
ylva
 GM, 61 posts
 The GM
Tue 4 Aug 2020
at 18:58
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
"Here in the dark where nobody will find you," the ghost sings, for no readily apparent reason. "Tell me, where is evil bred? One, two, she's inside you. Do you think the monsters know they're monsters? I wonder, did they ever wonder what drew them to this place? Welcome home, I've been waiting, it's just like you left it..."

Once again, her focus suddenly sharpens. She is looking at you, and she smiles. That smile is a terrible thing, too-wide and crooked. There is something in the expression that is uncomfortable, as though it is being inspired by something that smiles should not be. Her gaze, likewise, is discomfiting as it flicks to each of you in turn. It feels like being weighed, measured, and found wanting, all without the slightest bit of passion.

"I am lost," she murmurs, except the voice resonates not in your ears but within the silent spaces in your mind, "and I will never be found again."

The ghost dissolves into sparks of spectral light and vanishes.
Hester Darkeye
 player, 45 posts
 Strange girl she is.
 Coming home she is.
Tue 4 Aug 2020
at 20:07
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
When your eyes are like huge black mirrors it's impossible to roll your eyes and so Hester didn't but almost under her breath she (almost of course, only almost), she muttered, "Yes Annabelle.  I know I'm a [EXPLETIVE DELETED] monster."
Arell Kirkwood
 player, 42 posts
 Paladin of Abadar
 AC 19 HP 64/64
Wed 5 Aug 2020
at 15:20
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
"They'd better not have been giving themselves to demons." Arell muttered.

What a mess.

"Think she's gone for good?" he asked Hester.
Hester Darkeye
 player, 46 posts
 Strange girl she is.
 Coming home she is.
Wed 5 Aug 2020
at 18:12
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
Hester looks into Arell's eyes and she doesn't blink.  Her voice is almost a whisper.  "No.  I have to believe there is hope that she can be laid to rest."
Bristle Chonk
 player, 70 posts
 Cleric of Death and Info
 AC 22, HP 36/36
Wed 5 Aug 2020
at 18:58
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
"We may not see her again, but I doubt she has passed to the afterlife just yet. But I guess that still leaves the question, 'What do we do next?' If there are demonic influences here, how do we go about tracking it down or drawing it out?" She contemplated her own question, casting a bit of Guidance on herself as she did. She offered the same magical Guidance to her companions as well, if they wanted it.



Used guidance to see what Bristle knows about locating the demon responsible (if that really is what is behind all this). Would current events be within a demon's capabilities?
13:50, Today: Bristle Chonk rolled 20 using 1d20+7.  Knowledge: Planes, with Guidance - how to find demon.

Also, Bristle will cast Guidance on anyone who wants it.

Bristle Chonk
 player, 71 posts
 Cleric of Death and Info
 AC 22, HP 36/36
Thu 6 Aug 2020
at 18:23
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
"Actually, now that I think about it, this does not seem to be the work of an actual demon. Although they may still be involved indirectly. Especially demon-cultists. But I believe the lady from our dreams is probably the key here. Connected through Annabelle in some way. Caleb. Did you have any further insights? It sounded like you were on the verge of a realization of some sort." She hadn't noticed it at the time, but did now that she had time to process all that had been said.
Caleb Miller
 player, 43 posts
Sat 8 Aug 2020
at 08:35
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
Caleb had been listening to the others only in the peripheral sense as they discussed the ins and outs of the ghost, preferring to keep his eyes on the Shadows Bristle had talked about. He turned his attention back to the group when he heard his name, though he certainly made sure to keep an eye upwards while he spoke. "Huh? Oh, right, Annabelle. Didn't you notice, she wasn't acting right. She was drifting in and out of awareness, but not in a normal way. Towards the end too, when she just broke down into that laughing," he said, shuddering at the memory. "That wasn't right either. She wanted to keep going but something else wanted her to shut up right then. It actually reminded me of this one time I got paired up with a mage over Cheliax way, he'd cast a spell or two and people would just do whatever he said, didn't matter what they wanted."
Hester Darkeye
 player, 48 posts
 Strange girl she is.
 Coming home she is.
Sat 8 Aug 2020
at 09:51
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
"So one of this pile is a dead witch and she's gone ghost?  Or are we looking for a Necromancess?" Hester still looked a little on the confused side.  Correction, Hester looked a lot on the confused side.  This habit normal people had of coming back from the dead just blew her mind.  She expected that when she died, she'd just return to primordial slime.
Bristle Chonk
 player, 74 posts
 Cleric of Death and Info
 AC 22, HP 36/36
Sat 8 Aug 2020
at 19:59
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
"Not a witch's ghost," Bristle said. She began pacing as she contemplated the situation. "At least probably not. Your powers before death matter very little when you become a ghost. The circumstances of your death are a much bigger factor. A Necromancess is more likely. Or, at least something with strong necromancy capabilities."

The cleric of Death scratched her chin inquisitively as a few mental puzzle pieces seemed to fall into place. "Whatever is going on here seems to be very clearly linked to Annabelle. The strange things in town only happened after that... happened to her." She gestured regretfully toward Annabelle's body. "Her family were the only ones who were killed in town without being taken away. I was going to wait until after we faced whoever was at the root of all of this to put her to rest, but I think it may do us more good if we laid her to rest immediately. Doing so may sever an important connection the dream-woman has to this land."

Bristle moved toward Annabelle's body, ready to bring the unfortunate girl up and out of the cave with the help of her undead bear. "Hester. Where is the most appropriate place to inter a member of your village? Where would Annabelle likely be most at peace? This may not solve all our problems, but there is a good chance it will make our problems much less immediately dire." The Changeling woman made sure to keep one eye on the shadows above just in case they reacted poorly to her plan. If they could hear her words at all.
Hester Darkeye
 player, 49 posts
 Strange girl she is.
 Coming home she is.
Sat 8 Aug 2020
at 21:13
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
Hester had no wish to die ever and so no wish to be buried and if she were buried, it would be nowhere near this village but Annabelle was a local girl so Hester guessed it was probably the Cemetery just to the East of town.  "Cemetery I guess.  Do you know, I don't think I ever went to a funeral."
Caleb Miller
 player, 44 posts
Sun 9 Aug 2020
at 06:20
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
As Bristle voiced her idea, Caleb listened quietly, only to shake his head when she finished speaking. "I don't think the cemetery in town is a good idea. The girl's fixated almost entirely on betrayal, probably by that dead family with all the money in the chest if I had to take a shot in the dark. I know I wouldn't want to be buried where people who sold me lived. Maybe just take the body outside this cave for now, if you think that'll do something to make killing whatever's in here easier?"
Bristle Chonk
 player, 75 posts
 Cleric of Death and Info
 AC 22, HP 36/36
Mon 10 Aug 2020
at 14:27
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
"Let's give it a try," Bristle agreed. She hoped Annabelle would be pleased when she found out the ones she had had killed were since turned into burning skeletons. "We can figure out our next steps once we get out of here alive. However, I am beginning to think that our true foe may not actually be at this location. I have a feeling she is working from afar, using Annabelle as her conduit to this location.
Hester Darkeye
 player, 50 posts
 Strange girl she is.
 Coming home she is.
Mon 10 Aug 2020
at 14:31
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
Hester sighed a sigh that was part resignation and part relief.  "I'm glad it's not here.  I keep remembering why I left and how they kicked me out."
Bristle Chonk
 player, 77 posts
 Cleric of Death and Info
 AC 22, HP 36/36
Thu 13 Aug 2020
at 02:18
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
As she helped to secure Annabelle's body, Bristle took a moment to contemplate the cave system they were in so that she might determine if going back the way they had come was actually the best course of action. The last thing she wanted was for them to get lost down here, but based on what she knew of the surrounding terrain (aided by a spell she had cast), she knew that going forward might actually prove to be a more expedient decision.

"Caleb, how buoyant is that rope of yours?" she asked the man with infinite twine. "There's a pond about a mile from the hill we entered through. Hester probably knows the one I'm talking about. Based on the direction it's in, it seems extremely likely that it is fed by this underground river. I think we could probably get out by simply floating down river. We could secure Annabelle to the inside of my skele-bear's rib cage and mosey on down the river until we see daylight! It's up to you guys if you want to risk it though." It was obvious Bristle would be willing to try either direction.
Caleb Miller
 player, 45 posts
Fri 14 Aug 2020
at 06:01
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
As Bristle laid out her plan, Caleb shook his head. "I'd rather go back the way we came, partly because I left the rope tied up for easier exiting and because we don't know for sure where this river leads or how far we'll have to walk before it opens back out. Always better to go with the sure thing." As he spoke, he began to rhythmically strum his fingers against his crossbow's stock, tossing glances up at the ceiling. "Either way though, can we get moving?  Every second we're in here is a second those shadow things could decide to come kill us, and I'd rather not be standing where they can swarm us on all sides when they do."
Hester Darkeye
 player, 51 posts
 Strange girl she is.
 Coming home she is.
Fri 14 Aug 2020
at 11:18
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
"If we go back the way we came", said Hester, "Somebody will need to lift me.  I'm afraid I don't know how to climb."
Bristle Chonk
 player, 78 posts
 Cleric of Death and Info
 AC 22, HP 36/36
Sat 15 Aug 2020
at 01:46
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
"I'm not much of a climber either," Bristle agreed. "Especially in this armor. But I will concede that returning the way we came in has distinct advantages. Let's go." With Annabelle secured to her skeleton bear, she urged it to return upstream. She grabbed ahold of its rib cage to help herself get back across the water as well. She was no better at swimming than flying.

As she began to enter the little lake once again, she added one last nugget of insight. "Oh, and about the shadows surrounding us. Don't let a wall to your back lure you into a false sense of security. The incorporeal undead are often unhindered by such simple things as "walls.""
ylva
 GM, 66 posts
 The GM
Thu 20 Aug 2020
at 00:29
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
As soon as you pick up Annabelle's body, the shadows overhead begin to roil as though they were a single body. They swoop down in graceful, deadly arcs as you frantically paddle back across the lake. Where their claws pass through flesh, they leave a cold feeling and a growing sense of anxiety and confusion. Illix falls at some point in the scramble back out of the cave; it's hard to keep track of where everyone else is. The world is a chaotic blur of shadows and light, hauling the bear's corpse along with that of the girl, sprinting for the exit. The shadows chase you the whole time, hungry and vicious as they slash over and over at your heels, all in eerie silence.

Finally, you erupt out into the light of the setting sun, and the shadows do not follow you out of the cave. You are standing in open, clean air for the first time in what feels like a much longer time than it could possibly have been. The forest trees sway around you in a light breeze. Behind you the large hill has no sign of the terrible things that happened beneath it; the statue on its summit, of a holy knight of Sarenrae, seems terribly misplaced here.
Caleb Miller
 player, 46 posts
Thu 20 Aug 2020
at 08:08
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
As they burst out of the cave, Caleb continued running for at least ten more feet before spinning around, bringing his crossbow to bear at the entrance, his whole body taut as he breathed heavily, eyes wide as he waited for the first sign of movement to fire at.
After standing like that for maybe a minute, his breathing began to steady as he looked to the others, performing a quick head count and checking for visible injuries. "That... was awful. At least they only got one of us, and we got the girl's corpse out. Let's bury her and find shelter for the night, because I am not going back in that damned cave after sunset, not for all the money in the world."

This message was lightly edited by the player at 08:08, Thu 20 Aug 2020.

Hester Darkeye
 player, 52 posts
 Strange girl she is.
 Coming home she is.
Thu 20 Aug 2020
at 12:16
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
"Are we sure that Illix too can't become a matrix for Her power?" asked Hester.  Then she shrugged and added, "Let's hope not."

She too turned to face the cave, aiming the crossbow on her wrist and waiting for anything monstrous to come out.
Bristle Chonk
 player, 80 posts
 Cleric of Death and Info
 AC 22, HP 36/36
Thu 20 Aug 2020
at 19:16
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
Bristle breathed heavily as she finally made it into the light of day, her undead trailing not far behind her. She made sure the burning skeletons she had left closer to the entrance to the cave were also collected on their way out and sent them to stand in a line at the threshold of the cave. They would act as an extra deterrent for the shadows if nothing else.

"It is too bad that Illix didn't make it out, but honestly, we are lucky more of us were not swallowed by the shadows." Perhaps she would have felt more sorry for him if they had known each other longer. But as it was, the risk of death was always high in their line of work.

"But yes, let's give Annabelle a sendoff that will put her spirit at rest. Then we can hope against hope that Illix does not become a new conduit." Bristle was opperating under the assumption that as horrible as Illix's death was, it was not nearly at the same level as Annabelle's death. And therefore he was unlikely to become the same type of spirit as Annabelle. In fact, in all liklihood, Illix would become yet another shadow...

Bristle cast a bit of Guidance on herself and tried to determine the best way to lay Annabelle to rest. And then did her best to follow through on those insights.



14:13, Today: Bristle Chonk rolled 17 using 1d20+12.  Knowledge: Religion with Guidance - Lay Annabelle to rest.
ylva
 GM, 67 posts
 The GM
Thu 20 Aug 2020
at 19:30
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
The most likely place to find sanctified ground, Bristle realizes, is likely by the statue atop the hill. If nothing else, a place commemorating a knight of the goddess of the sun is as clear a place as any to stand in contrast to a death lost in darkness.

The hike up the hill is quickly accomplished, pushing up the steep slope and hurrying against the sunset. Once atop, the statue is clearly that of a warrior - armor, shield, sword. It bears Sarenrae's ankh, and the inscription beneath reads:

Sir Elias Halson

Friend
Brother
Soldier

To stand vigil against the darkness, that it not spread once more.


At the foot of this somewhat unsettling monument, a grave is quickly dug, a body lowered into it, and dirt filled back in atop. As the last shovel of dirt falls on the ground, several things happen. First, you hear a scream of cheated wrath, echoing only within your mind rather than any audible sound. Second, Annabelle's ghost reappears by the fresh grave. She raises her spectral hand, almost but not quite touching Hester's cheek, mouths the words "Thank you" silently, and vanishes with a sense of finality in the disappearance.

And finally, the tension and unease that had filled the air since you first went into the shadows surrounding the abandoned village of Falcon's Hollow snaps and fades. The shadows are merely shadows once more. There is no sick, writhing feeling of anguish, nor a sense of being watched. Merely a forest, and a statue, and a grave.
Caleb Miller
 player, 47 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2020
at 06:54
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
Caleb clutched his head as the screaming began, and very nearly went for his weapon when Annabelle reappeared, only to relax as she vanished, taking the oppressive weight of the atmosphere with her. As quiet descended, he simply stared at the spot where the ghost had stood before speaking.
"I'm guessing that was a good thing we did just now, so is all that's left a final scouring of the cave to reclaim Illix's body if nothing else?"
Bristle Chonk
 player, 86 posts
 Cleric of Death and Info
 AC 22, HP 36/36
Mon 24 Aug 2020
at 19:09
The Shadows of Falcon's Hollow
"She is with Death now," Bristle muttered as Annabelle disappeared. She found her muscles relaxing as it became clear they had succeeded in their task. A wave of exhaustion washed over her. The ordeals of the last two days had been intense and constant. She felt she would sleep well tonight. But it was not time to rest just yet.

"Yes, we should retrieve Illix if possible," Bristle agreed. "Probably bury him here too, just to be certain that the voice in our heads doesn't get to him. And then," Bristle sighed, "I will have my burning skeletons dismantle themselves, as promised. I'm keeping the cow and the bear though. They aren't cheap to raise and I like my new bear skeleton. I have a feeling I can find a buyer for the burning cow skeleton. Unless one of you want to buy her?" Bristle would be willing to sell the burning cow, at cost, if someone wanted to ensure it got destroyed here rather than get sold to someone else.

"Regardless, other than making sure Illix's body is given the respect he deserves, we should double check to make sure the villagers are really all gone before we leave it as a ghost town. There is a chance some people were entranced like so many of the animals and were out wandering the woods or caves in a stupor. Unlikely, but possible. Other than that, I believe our work here is done..."