Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald.   Posted by Game Master.Group: 0
Lukas Kohl
 player, 123 posts
 Human, Charcoal Burner
 Wounds 1 / 10
Tue 17 May 2022
at 19:18
Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
The world was cruelly unfair.  Lukas had heartily encouraged the group to go after Granny when they could have left her be.  Lukas had pleaded with his old friend to stop her magic which she refused to listen to, instead turning her deadly wolves against him and his companions.  He'd tried to back off, to consider running away when the wolf leapt at him and begin to gnaw at his stomach.  Lukas screamed in agony as he felt his entrails were being feasted on by the rabid wolf.  He kicked and scrambled away trying to protect his now likely eviscerated chest, his axe waving wildly defensively.  He managed to stay on his feet and took a couple of steps back as mayhem ensued around him.

"Granny, we're only trying to help you!" he cried, tears welling in his eyes from fear, pain but most of all a distraught sadness as even friends turned against him.  He backed off trying to get away from the scene of the carnage, tried to get as far away from the wolves as he could.  He was as surprised as anyone when a bolt of light appeared from behind him and pierced the rabid wolf that was trying to eat him.

He glanced around and saw a wisp of smoke in the hand of Jocelin and a smell of burnt fur filled his nostrils.

"Thanks..." he called, as he tried to backpedal, whilst maintaining his balance.

(OOC: Lukas is taking a Disengage action and moving as far away from the wolves as he can, without turning tail and running)
Game Master
 GM, 200 posts
Tue 17 May 2022
at 21:41
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
As Lukas moved away from the distracted wolf he briefly glanced back to see if Granny Moecher had heard him - but it seemed she had not as she continued her eerie chanting before the fire.


With a whirr of leather Edgar sends another sling bullet towards the wolves but this one flies wide, harmlessly hitting a tree some distance away.

The horribly mangled wolf that had been fighting Lukas ignore the fleeing charcoal burner and lopes towards Jocelin, snapping and snarling at the wizardess without drawing blood.

Another of the wolves, hitherto unengaged charges Edgar but somehow despite it's ferocity fails to land a bite on the slippery halfling.

Pieter finds himself in combat with two of the wolves. The outlaw's flashing blade keeps them at bay - for now at least.

Harkrin and Fyodor find their own wolves savaging at empty air as the practiced combatants avoid canine fangs.



OOC:

Round Two

Initiative Order:

Edgar
Wolves
Lukas & Pieter (tie)
Fyodor
Jocelin
Harkrin

Map update:



Summary of Round Two so far:

- Edgar made a sling attack against Wolf#2 but missed.
- Wolf #1 attacked Pieter but missed.
- Wolf #2 Charge Attacked Jocelin but missed.
- Wolf #3 attacked Harkrin but missed.
- Wolf #4 attacked Fyodor but missed.
- Wolf #5 Charge Attacked Edgar but missed.
- Wolf #6 Charge Attacked Edgar but missed.


Lukas, Pieter, Jocelin, Harkrin and Fyodor you are up!

Jocelin Herzog
 player, 107 posts
 Apprentice Wizard
Wed 18 May 2022
at 01:27
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
"Oh, Granny! NO!" Jocelin whispered as the wounded wolf lunged where her flowing robes had been just a moment before.

And like a shot she was off... running as fast as her legs could carry her towards the fire. As she ran, she shouted, "Would you... let Fel ruin pass... through you... onto us... onto innocents! ... because of... his evil?"


OOC:

Disengage full action, Run.


This message was last edited by the player at 01:12, Fri 20 May 2022.

Harkrin 'Klinka'
 player, 88 posts
 Dwarf
 Ex-Convict
Wed 18 May 2022
at 06:06
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
Distracted by the chaos around, Harkrin swung his axe like a lumberjack - with strength, but very little finesse.


08:05, Today: Harkrin 'Klinka' rolled 93 using 1d100 ((93)).
Fyodor Fyodoreski
 player, 104 posts
 SB: 3, TB:3 Armor:1
 W:10/10
Wed 18 May 2022
at 15:52
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
The kislevite roared a as leapt towards the wolf with his massive polearm. The wolf caught by surprise felt the full weight of the weapon bite into it.



08:51, Today: Fyodor Fyodoreski rolled 39 using 1d100.  Parry - 36.

08:06, Today: Fyodor Fyodoreski rolled 70 using 1d100.  Ulrichs Fury - 36.

08:05, Today: Fyodor Fyodoreski rolled 13 using 1d10+3.  Damage 1.

08:04, Today: Fyodor Fyodoreski rolled 10 using 1d100.  WS 36 - Attack.

Lukas Kohl
 player, 125 posts
 Human, Charcoal Burner
 Wounds 1 / 10
Thu 19 May 2022
at 06:41
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
Lukas intended to get as far away as possible from the wolves.  He knew he would not survive another attack.  He glanced over his shoulder and saw he had a moment of opportunity to get away - but he wasn't a coward, was he?

He saw Jocelin try and break off from the wolves and run.  It was brave, but dangerous but her action gave him an idea!

Seeing the wolves were otherwise engaged Lukas moved away from the wolves and thought he saw a better approach...

(OOC: Since Lukas is disengaged from combat he will try and circle around the wolves who are otherwise busy.  May take a round or two but he intends to circle the wolves and then run at Granny from an angle.  If we can't appeal to reason, two of us should be able to subdue her.)
Granny Moescher
 NPC, 7 posts
Sat 9 Jul 2022
at 20:10
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
By some minor miracle Jocelin avoids the wolves, weaving past snapping jaws and fetid breath as she runs towards Granny Moescher calling out all the while.

Against the lurid bonfire you all see the dark silhouette of Granny Moescher turn her head towards the wizardess. Maybe Jocelin's words got through to the old woman. Maybe she was simply startled. Whatever happened her droning ritual suddenly stumbles to a close. None of you know the exact ritual being used but it is very clear that something has gone wrong.


From somewhere seemingly inside the flames there is a mournful wail, full of anger at being thwarted. It hurts your ears and the wolves whine and howl before loping into the evening darkness.

Then as suddenly as it began the wail ceases. The bonfire flickers and goes out, revealing nothing more than charred wood.

For a moment all is peaceful.

And Granny Moescher collapses in a heap where she is standing.


OOC: Okay you are out of combat guys.
Lukas Kohl
 player, 129 posts
 Human, Charcoal Burner
 Wounds 1 / 10
Sun 10 Jul 2022
at 12:57
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
Lukas headed carefully into the clearing where Granny had collapsed.  Some evil magic had been stopped here but the air was close and tense, whether from the heat of the fire or the stench of fur and blood.

Lukas clutched his bloodied stomach and knew he would need help soon.  He was sick of nearly dying for other people and trying to do the right thing.  He felt afraid that the wolves would come back and finish them off.

He saw his friend there, or at least she once was his friend.  She looked like a little frail old lady asleep by a campfire.  He felt pity for her, whatever had driven her here.  Lukas gripped his axe tightly in his hand and anger threatened to overwhelm him.  She had abandoned the children, and turned her beasts on him, using evil magic in the process.

He raised his axe to end her life here and now.....

And his hand fell to his side.  He couldn't do it.  He hated her right now, but he wasn't vengeful.

"Approach carefully," he said quietly.  "We need rope and we'll tie her up.  Let Captain Schiller decide on her fate." If they got to Middenheim only a fire awaited her.  Her best chance of clemency was with the Captain, but a witch was a witch of course.

He felt hurt, angry and betrayed.  He was a fool for going back for her but she was an outsider like him and she had done much good in her life.

"Why Granny, why?"
, he whispered, "What led you to this?  Why didn't you ask for help with your troubles..."

He doubted the woman could answer but he knew he'd never understand.
Fyodor Fyodoreski
 player, 106 posts
 SB: 3, TB:3 Armor:1
 W:10/10
Wed 13 Jul 2022
at 14:41
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
Fyodor took a step back as the bonfire began to wail, what was this witchery in front of him. His gaze darted back and forth between the old lady, the bon fire and the wolves. And when everything fell quiet he wasnt sure what to do. But then his soldier training kicked in and he took a few steps forward to the now extinguished bonfire.

The others were handling the old lady so instead he carefully used his polearm to poke around in the ashes and burnt logs.
Harkrin 'Klinka'
 player, 91 posts
 Dwarf
 Ex-Convict
Wed 20 Jul 2022
at 12:27
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
Klinka let his companions to take care of the old lady. Himself, he stayed at the back, watching the edge of the forest. The wolves could get back at any time and attack them by surprise. More importantly, they could bring a pack of elves with them!

Nodding towards Fyodor and Lukas, he scanned the area until he was perfectly sure they were safe. Even then, he was not going to let his guard down.
Granny Moescher
 NPC, 8 posts
Mon 19 Sep 2022
at 19:01
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
It is never clear to Lukas if Granny Moescher hears Lukas's words or not. She does speak but her eyes are looking away from the charcoal burner, directed towards the heavens or somewhere else he cannot see.

"I'm sorry I failed you father," she says and closes her eyes. As the charcoal burner watches the old woman's chest rises and falls as she takes one final breath... then stillness.

Morr has taken her.

Fyodor's prodding of the bonfire reveals little more than ash. Whatever dark spirit was being conjured was extinguished as much as the fire itself or never made it to the mortal world. The ritual had been broken before it was finished, that much is clear.

Harkrin's keen gaze scours the landscape, dwelling with Dwarven suspicion on the trees and bushes but no, they too are empty and the wolves fled licking their wounds.

It is Jocelin who cries out. Searching beside Granny's prone body she holds up a book. The covers are some cracked brown leather, the parchment yellow and warped and even as she holds it up for you all to see the young wizardess shudders in distaste.

None of you have the gift of magic as far as you know but there does seem something... off about the book that makes your skin crawl just looking at it.

"It is a tome of sorcery," Jocelin says. "Obviously where Granny learnt to summon daemons. No stay back, no one else touch it! It stinks of dark magic. We must destroy it now!"
Fyodor Fyodoreski
 player, 108 posts
 SB: 3, TB:3 Armor:1
 W:10/10
Tue 20 Sep 2022
at 16:25
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
The large warrior finished poking around the remains of the bonfire. What ever magic had been in it was now extinct and left no trace behind At least not anything that he could see.


"There nothing." he said and pointed towards the bonfire remains.  He walked over to Jocelin to see what all the fuss about the book was.

"Burn book?"
Game Master
 GM, 211 posts
Wed 21 Sep 2022
at 20:42
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
"Yes. Help me start a fire back up."

Jocelin seems visibly nauseated to be in the spellbook's presence and eager to see it destroyed.

Soon enough you manage to have a fire going once more and Jocelin stands watching the book burn away until it is so blackened and warped as to be unrecognisable.

"It's done. Come on we should bring Granny Moescher's body back to the Captain. I don't think we can do more here."

This message was last edited by the GM at 12:14, Thu 22 Sept 2022.

Harkrin 'Klinka'
 player, 93 posts
 Dwarf
 Ex-Convict
Thu 22 Sep 2022
at 12:06
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
"Elven magic, for sure." Klinka muttered to himself as he gathered wood for the pyre where they burnt the book.

"Are you sure we shouldn't burnt he body as well?" he asked, unsure of human ways.
Lukas Kohl
 player, 131 posts
 Human, Charcoal Burner
 Wounds 1 / 10
Thu 22 Sep 2022
at 12:22
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
Lukas looked on sadly at Granny's last breath.  He felt an overwhelming sense of sadness that to the last she had not confided or confessed to what had troubled her so and led to such a violent end.  Though he still felt cross and angry (as well as very, very sore) he could not in his heart feel hatred to the outsider he once looked on as a friend.

"I agree," he said glancing at the Dwarf.  "No good can be had by carrying her back to camp.  It will only distress the children and the rest of the townsfolk.  I say we cremate her here in a place that mattered to her.  I'll tell Schiller she was afraid and wanted to see where her old village was one last time.  We'll tell them that she died, being attacked by wild wolves and we were to late.  It feels like the only decent thing I can do for her now."

Lukas wiped a tear welling in the corner of his eye and looked away from the little old lady who nearly caused his death.  It was to much to take.

(OOC:  Is there a token on Granny anywhere that will prove her identity to the townsfolk when we return.  Unless there is a good reason I am not sure we should be carrying corpses around with us...)
Gerhard Schiller
 NPC, 7 posts
Thu 22 Sep 2022
at 18:44
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
Around Granny Moescher's neck Lukas notices a small wooden pendant shaped like an arrow.

"The mark of Ghur, the Amber Wind," Jocelin explains, wiping away a tear of her own. The young wizardess looks like she's aged ten years in a day.  "Don't worry there is no dark magic to it, just that of natural beasts and wilderness."

Together Harkrin, Lukas, Fyodor and Pieter build a small a makeshift bier for the old woman out of fallen ash branches. With the aid of Edgar's tinderbox you soon have a fire going and the old woman is cremated without incident or ill omen, though with much sniffling and perhaps a few words of your own to the departed.

As you walk back to the camp the first streaks of morning light are visible against the dark and with it it the first chatters of birdsong. En route Lukas is convinced for a moment he sees a raven on a branch turn it's head to look at him, but the next moment it flaps it's wing once, twice and goes aloft framed in the predawn sky before wheeling in the air and heading south.

Captain Schiller is up waiting for you, expression grave but composed, clearly expecting the worst. He can obviously read in your faces you bring bad news.

"We're a day away from Middenheim. Perhaps it is appropriate. I don't think Granny Moescher could have brought herself to leave the Drakwald."
Lukas Kohl
 player, 133 posts
 Human, Charcoal Burner
 Wounds 1 / 10
Fri 23 Sep 2022
at 19:23
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
Lukas had taken Granny' pendant and worn it around his neck.  It felt strange putting it on, but he wanted to have a token of her so they could prove to the others that she had gone, but at the same time he didn't want to put it in his pouch.  It felt impersonal, or unkind to Granny.  He knew he wasn't going to be the one to tell the townsfolk the truth.  Some lies were okay.

Lukas recounted a version of the story to Schiller on their return, omitting anything to do with evil magic.

"Yes Captain, in the end she didn't really want to leave her home.  We may be safer behind the walls but Granny would never have been happy there.  Make sure the children don't hear of the wolves.  I want them to think Granny died peacefully.  They really loved her and they've had nightmares enough in these times."

Anyone who had seen Lukas upon his return would not have failed to notice the gaping wounds in his chest and stomach.  He was a tough man, but knew he needed to take it easy for a while.

"Is there anyone who can have a look at this Captain?  I know Granny normally sorted this sort of thing.  When I get to Middenheim I am going to sleep for a week - only a day or so now..."

As soon as Lukas spoke a moment of doubt crept into his thoughts.  What would happen if they didn't let them in?  Would there be shelter?  Food?  Work for them?  They weren't solitary travellers, they were a small town and a small village and by Ulric's beard there were almost certainly other refugees.  He held his tongue for the time being, there was no point worrying folk further.
Gerhard Schiller
 NPC, 8 posts
Fri 23 Sep 2022
at 20:17
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
Both Edgar and Jocelin excuse themselves after the report having taken it upon themselves to break the news to the children Granny Moescher had been looking after. Jocelin in particular seems to see it as her duty to look after them now until other arrangements can be made.

The Captain strokes his mustache, eyeing Lukas's injuries. "Aye, I can see you've been through the wars lad."

He points over towards one of the campfires where you can see a middle aged woman with a jolly plump face - or at least it probably had been plump before the recent struggles. "That's Ingrid of Immelscheld. She's normally a midwife but she knows how to heal a cut or two. Probably the best you can look for until we reach the city and you can see a Sister of Shallya. Hmmph, or a barber-surgeon."

Sure enough the woman seems to know what she is doing, washing and bandaging Lukas's wolf bites.



OOC: 21:12, Today: Game Master, for the NPC Frau Ingrid, rolled 18 using 1d100.  Healing.

Lukas regains one Wound.

Harkrin 'Klinka'
 player, 95 posts
 Dwarf
 Ex-Convict
Sun 25 Sep 2022
at 16:28
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
"The soon we leave this damned forest the better." Klinka muttered to no one in particular, but he seemed happy when the Captain mentioned they were close to Middenheim. "There are elves, wolves and stranger things out there, between the trees. I say the best way to deal with them is to cut the forest down." he offered and moved to one of the fireplaces in search for food.

"So, have any of you been to Middenheim before?" he asked his companions some time later.
Lukas Kohl
 player, 134 posts
 Human, Charcoal Burner
 Wounds 2 / 10
Sun 25 Sep 2022
at 18:22
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
"Never," replied Lukas to the dwarf.  "This is the furthest I have ever been from home.  I have heard tale that the city is impenetrable behind walls of stone but other than that I know little."  It was then that Lukas realised that he didn't know Harkrin very well at all, indeed he didn't really know any of these people all that well.  They'd all been brought together by fate and then necessity.   He didn't say much typically, but when he did it was usually to do with killing elves, and having now met them he could sort of understand.

"Where's home for you Harkrin?  Are you a long way from where you grew up?"
Fyodor Fyodoreski
 player, 109 posts
 SB: 3, TB:3 Armor:1
 W:10/10
Mon 26 Sep 2022
at 16:42
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
Fyodor was used to death and killing but still felt a bit moved as the funeral pyre consumed the old lady. She had seemed like very genuine lady and she didnt deserve the way she went.

As they returned to the caravan the large Kislevite stayed quiet and let the others, who were more familiar with the local customs, explain what had happened in the woods.

When all was said and done he joined the others around the campfire for a drink.

"No Middenheim. Good city?" the large man asked.
Pieter Marik
 player, 106 posts
 Ostermarker Outlaw
Mon 26 Sep 2022
at 22:21
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
Pieter sat by the fire whilst the others joked - perhaps - of elves and wolves and the dark magic that Granny Moescher had been involved in. He shivered, even by the fire, with the wrapped parcel containing the beautiful blade upon his lap. His fingertips traced out the hilt and he said little, eventually volunteering, "Furthest west I will have been, that's for sure. Heard tales of the city, and their walls and their cells ... strange folks, strange customs."

He said the last of these words in a quieter voice
Harkrin 'Klinka'
 player, 96 posts
 Dwarf
 Ex-Convict
Tue 27 Sep 2022
at 07:25
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
"Home?" the dwarf looked surprised at Lukas' question. He fell silent for a longer while, watching the fire. "Karak Bryn." he replied. "Grey Mountains." he then added and let other do the talking. In all their busy pursuits, walks and fights he didn't have time to think about home - and whether it was really his home or simply a place where he was born and grew up. After all his misfortunes returning there seemed impossible.

"Heard stories about Middenheim. Build by dwarven engineers. Solid fortress. Will be safer than these damned woods infested by wolves and elves." he said, glancing suspiciously at Pieter and his sword.

"Would be good to finally sleep with a roof over our heads. I haven't spent so much time outside my whole life."
Pieter Marik
 player, 107 posts
 Ostermarker Outlaw
Tue 27 Sep 2022
at 23:29
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
With Harkrin's confession, Pieter chuckled, "It is said to be strange, but perhaps no more strange then my home town and, as you say, it has been a long while for us all since we have had beds. If they have beds to spare for refugees"

Game Master
 GM, 215 posts
Mon 3 Oct 2022
at 20:05
Re: Paths of the Damned - Prologue: Through the Drakwald
You swap stories in the light of the campfires until each of you drifts off to a very welcome sleep, worn out by the long journey you have undertaken.

The rest of the journey to Middenheim the next morning is uneventful. As you get closer to the city, you see more military patrols and the threat of the Drakwald seems to recede. At last you see the Ulricsberg, the great rock on which Middenheim is built, in the distance. It heartens you to see the flags of the Emperor and Count Todbringer flying proudly over the battlements, but as you get closer you can see the devastation that Archaon has wrought here. Mass graves are everywhere, the walls are pitted and scarred, and half the city seems in ruins. Even in Middenheim, it seems, life is a struggle. You can only wonder what awaits you in the City of the White Wolf...

Continued in 'Paths of the Damned - Chapter One: Ashes of Middenheim'

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:06, Mon 03 Oct 2022.