Urvan Kron.   Posted by Zag.Group: 0
Urvan Kron
 player, 8 posts
Sun 27 Feb 2022
at 04:56
Urvan Kron
There is something very disconcerting about finding such a space in a place you thought you knew so well.

One would think that any boy might be excited to find out that his home had a hidden door, in the basement no less, but the tone of his father's voice, the chill of the stone, the inky black that prevents him from seeing anything, even if it had been inches from his face. Dread creeps into his mind as the minutes past, and Urvan was not the sort that was normally easy to scare.

Perhaps to ease his mind, perhaps because he was looking for a place where he could get into a more comfortable position, he begins to explore his little nook.

The chest was another surprise. Chests like this one were expensive, and his family was poor. Not as poor as some of the city peasants, but certainly not wealthy enough to leave such nice things to rot under the house. What's more it was not rotten, it smells faintly of cedar, and it was bound in iron fittings.

He lifts the lid on oiled hinges, feels the dry straw with its familiar barn and mattress scents, and then his fingers brush over something cool and hard and heavy.

What can it be? He has no idea, his mind races with different possibilities but discards each of them in turn. What is it? Why had they hidden it here? Was this what they were after? Some sort of secret wealth?

20:44, Today: Urvan Kron rolled 9 using 1d20+6.  Perception Roll, DC12, Statue

This message was last edited by the player at 05:15, Sun 27 Feb 2022.

Zag
 GM, 41 posts
Mon 28 Feb 2022
at 02:02
Urvan Kron
Urvan hears the cellar door open, and someone calling for a torch.  The sound is deeply muffled, and he only understood the request because the person must have bellowed.  The door to his hiding place fits tightly, so his is still in the velvety darkness, with absolutely no light penetrating.  He can hear two different voices, one highish and one very low, but he can't make out what they are saying.

Reaching beyond the trunk, there is only another couple of feet before he feels cold earth.  No part of this secret area is tall enough to stand in.
Urvan Kron
 player, 11 posts
Mon 28 Feb 2022
at 02:56
Urvan Kron
Urvan sits there alone in the dark, in the cold, with nothing to break the spell of the constant black for some time. He can hear himself breathing, and his young mind wanders into all sorts of odd places as his imagination takes over.

These are mostly the innocent fantasies of boyhood, that these people are some kind of visiting nobility, or that they are bandits that his father will beat up, he is reminded of all the different stories and tales he has heard before bed.

He does not know how much time has passed before he hears the voice, it could have been five, it could have been thirty, but he hears it clearly now. Not a figment of his imagination, but real and near and it sets his heart to beating faster once again.

He is still as he can be then, a natural instinct many children possess. A holdover from days when natural predators were still a thing to be feared in the caves and forests of their distant past. He barely even breaths as he sits there, eyes closed, listing.
Zag
 GM, 45 posts
Tue 1 Mar 2022
at 04:15
Urvan Kron
Urvon listens as two, or maybe three men stomp around the basement, breaking things.  At one point he hears a crash fairly close and a small splash against the door.  I voice calls out, "Idjit!  Tha' were good beer.  We coulda drunk tha'."  Urvon can smell the yeast and the hops, and he knows some of it is leaking under the door.

Finally the noises subside.  The boy starts to wonder how long he should wait before coming out.  It feels as if it has been hours, alone in the dark, but he knows it has only been a quarter of an hour or so, when he hears a new set of footsteps.  These are sharper, somehow, crisper, and he can hear a series of taps against the wall, coming closer.  When the tap hits his door, the sound is like a thunderclap, and it rings in his ears.  "There," the staccato voice matches the footsteps, "a door, a hollow, something.  Open it.  Now."

After some shuffling, the door is prised open, and the bright torchlight floods the little compartment.  "Ooohhh.  Look at this!" says a much deeper, rounder voice.  Large, calloused hands reach in to drag out the chest, which still sits open.  "Oof, heavy.  I think it is gold.  This is a ... a woman?  With a snake body?"

"Stop.  Do not touch it.  It may be cursed," barks the man with the clipped tones.  Urvon can only see his boots.  They are slim, well-polished, with a pointed toe and hardwood heels.  "It is a lamia, another sign that we have done Hera's bidding."  The man steps closer to the opening and strikes the chest shut with his cane.  "Bring the box upstairs.  Get another to help carry, if you need.  Suddenly the cane pokes its way into the opening, striking the floor between Urvon's feet.  It is drawn back, ready to poke again, surely into the boy's chest next time.
Urvan Kron
 player, 13 posts
Tue 1 Mar 2022
at 05:09
Urvan Kron
Urvan jumps despite himself as the impact resounds in the tiny hollow space, not a literal jump, but a sort of involuntary shudder. The boy feels a wild, almost animal terror come over him, literally trapped in a hole, his parents nowhere to be seen.

He watches unmoving, eyes fixed on the chest, on the voices as the heavy ironbound box is slid out. Hears the satisfaction in the voice, the curious way he says Lamia, his curiosity piqued beneath a wave of anxiety and fear. How did they find him? It had been so hard for him to find it and he had been told that it was there? Who were these people?

Those boots, he had never seen anything like them. Who polished boots?

With the box gone the space seemed somehow less safe, there is nothing to hide behind, nothing else to divert or distract. Just a young boy in a space intended for an entire family.

The cane is quick, the impact loud in the silence. What could he do?

He couldn't seize it. He obviously couldn't fight grown men, grown men who had some how gotten past his father. He couldn't run, he couldn't call for help.

Dimly in all the excitement he recognized that the man was probably using his cane because the space was very low and very small and the damp ground was now soaked in pungent smelled ale. The man with the boots doesn't want to crawl in here, he doesn't want to get filthy, and the other man is taking care of the chest.

So Urvan does the only thing he can think of...

Given the description of the space I am going to assume that any sort of dodge, or suspension in the crawlspace is not really feasible?

If this is the case, he will tense up and resolve to try to take the blow without reacting in the hopes that the man will just think he has struck soil or damp wood.

If there are other options here, I will stand by and choose if they are presented. Thanks!

Zag
 GM, 49 posts
Tue 1 Mar 2022
at 15:14
Urvan Kron
You could have tried shifting so that you are doubled over, your back pressed against the ceiling of the small space, but you would have to succeed at a stealth roll at big penalties to do it silently enough.  Since you're just trying to stay still and let the cane hit you, you are flatfooted.  Staying silent and still is going to be a Will save.  I'll roll an attack for him, but it is only a d2 of damage, because he isn't really trying to attack.

09:09, Today: Zag, for the NPC Kaarn, rolled 15,2 using d20+6,d2.  Kaarn poking his cane towards Urvan.
Oh, that's not good.  Take 2 HP and make a will save at DC 15.

Urvan Kron
 player, 14 posts
Tue 1 Mar 2022
at 16:06
Urvan Kron
There is an old story, a popular story in that region, about an old culture of great warriors. About a boy and a fox.

The telling changes with the region, but in the one Urvan's mother told him, there was a boy who was the son of a great warrior. The boy steals a fox cub from a rich mans estate, the foxes are the rich mans exotic and valuable pets. The boy hides the little fox cub in his clothing, and when the cub is discovered missing everyone in the area is questioned.

Over the course of the story different people interrogate the boy, and each time he outwits them, and at the end of the story, he has outwitted his interrogators and it appears all is well, when the boy smiles and falls down dead.

When the people go to see what happened, they find that the fox cub had been chewing a hole through the boys stomach throughout the whole telling of the tail, and the boy was so tough, and so strong, and so concerned with the honor of his family should he be found out, that nobody was the wiser. He endured it all without complaint, till the end.

Urvan is not thinking of this particular story, but of all those sorts of stories told to him by his family over the years. About making them proud, about not yelping like a dog when struck.

He slowly, very slowly exhales till there is no air in his lungs, he flexes his stomach till the ridges are hard and pronounced, he goes to a place in his mind. A place he sometimes goes with the day is very long and the work is very hard.

He barely sees the cane before it strikes, just a flash of shadow from the lamp, not fast like he had meant it to hurt but just a firm probing motion, meant to dislodge whatever might be in the hole.

It strikes Urvan in the chest, hard, as he predicted. He flinches, he sways, the pain flares and radiates from the spot.

But Urvan does not cry out, he does not stumble, he does not even exhale. Like a dead thing he does not react at all, aside from his face which is fixed in a resolute grimace.

The moments pass, and slowly, ever so slowly, he allows himself to gently inhale, his starved lungs gradually filling again in the ensuing silence.

07:44, Today: Urvan Kron rolled 17 using 1d20+10.  Will Save w/ Hero Point, DC 15. Do not react
Zag
 GM, 52 posts
Tue 1 Mar 2022
at 17:31
Urvan Kron
The cane catches Urvan perfectly in the solar plexus, making a bone bruise but, fortunately, not drawing any blood that might have come away on the cane.  The weapon is drawn away, and Urvan can hear it tapping against the wall, completing the circuit of the basement.

Another set of feet come down the stairs, though they are barely more than a whisper.  "Aarnik, here you are," the new voice calls out.  It is a deep man's voice, similar to Urvan's father but without the strength and ability to project.

"Behyd, what are you doing here?  This is Hera's business." says the man with the cane.

Ignoring the question, the new voice continues, "I see you killed them both.  No trial, then?  Were there any others in the manor?  Servants, perhaps?"

"They resisted.  Five of my men will be laid up for months and another is dead.  You would have me treat them gently?  In any case, we found proof.  A trial would be only a formality."  He pauses before answering the second question, "No others.  They ARE servants.  They would not have any of their own."  Urvan is left wondering what the last comment means.  He hears the tapping of the cane, finishing the circuit of the basement, then the footsteps ascend the stairway.

Urvan waits for hours, even dozing off for a while, but the basement remains empty.  Finally his full bladder drives him out of his hiding place.  He wanders out cautiously, listening and peeking at every corner, but it seems they have all left.  Finally he makes his way to the front door, where he can see his parents' bodies lying in the courtyard.  They have been beheaded, and it takes him a moment to locate the heads; they lie together in the garden.
Urvan Kron
 player, 16 posts
Tue 1 Mar 2022
at 18:25
Urvan Kron
Youth can act like a shield.

The developing mind can only conceive of so much, the world is only so big, the notion of loss and tragedy and pain is only so broad.

The words wash over him like ice water, each one unknowingly being engraved into his mind for the rest of his life. Lamia, Aarnik, Behyd. Resisted. Five Wounded, One Dead.

Servants.

It isn't real, not yet. he is just numb, shocked into a sort of stupor, his mind reeling.

When Urvan awakens, and clambers from his hiding place, dirty and pale, his feet reeking of hoppy ale, he would never have guessed that his parents were actually dead. It was beyond him. He simply knew that he could not "do his business" inside, and after so many hours hiding there in dark he had guessed that these men were gone. He had heard nothing.

But they are dead. That is the truth of it. There had been hard fighting, one hinge of the door had been torn from the stonework, there was blood here and there, and was pooled in a great amount around their bodies. The house, the compound is a shambles, furniture overturned, mattresses hacked open and the straw spread about. The hearth fire is out and the home is cold.

It starts to rain then, the mists coming over the tops of the mountains and bringing a cold  drizzle that promised to build into a storm.

Urvan haunts the house for a short time, wandering, lost, not wanting to do what he knows must be done. The pain is too much, the loss is too much, and he cannot even begin to think about what he might do now. The why of it, the immensity of it all, is too much for the boy.

He begins to feel absurd, wandering the same rooms, seeing the same things. Replacing a cup here, a broom there.

He knows this ground, knows it to be stubborn and rocky and unyielding. He elects to take the easier path, out of the rain, and he plans to bring their bodies into the house, to inter them in the basement where he hid.  He just starts to drag his mother's body when he hears a gentle voice behind him.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:35, Tue 01 Mar 2022.

Zag
 GM, 54 posts
Tue 1 Mar 2022
at 19:45
Urvan Kron
Sorry, I cut you off there, because you are going to be interrupted before you do all that.  As you can see, I saved your original text in a Private section.

"Don't be alarmed, son.  I'm not here to hurt you."  Urvan recognizes the voice.  It is the man who confronted the cane wielder in the cellar.  "I am deeply sorry for your loss.  I would have prevented it if I could.  I would be honored to help you bury them, if that is your family's custom."

You can write up the next part.  He will introduce himself as Iwo Behyd, help with whatever you like in honoring the dead and will be silent through the work.  To any question of why this has happened, he will reply "I can't tell you, son.  Not here, not now."  He waited for you to come out because he could tell that a third person lived here, and figured out you must be hiding.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:50, Tue 01 Mar 2022.

Urvan Kron
 player, 17 posts
Tue 1 Mar 2022
at 20:00
Urvan Kron
Urvan jumps when he hears the voice, his eyes suddenly wild, looking ready to flee.

But the older voice, the deep and mature voice with its soothing paternal tone at least keeping the boy from bolting like a startled deer. The words are kind, sympathetic, understanding. What's more, they provide some sort of desperately needed direction.

The work proceeds as the storm increases in strength, far faster with a grown man able to lend a hand to the task.

They are almost done when Urvan stops. What are the customs of his people? He barely knows. Distant memories, a crypt? being underground? candles?. Did he dream it? make it up?

What does he want?

"Can we...take the heads?" he asks very softly, the voice almost lost among the rain and thunder. He seems to catch the expression. "We keep the skulls" he says uncertainly, a little more loudly. "I think."

Did they actually keep the skulls? Did he just want to keep the skulls? Some last token of his family, all he has in the word. He has idea of a sort of shrine, or does he remember one? Some last connection. Would the man understand?
Zag
 GM, 56 posts
Wed 2 Mar 2022
at 04:38
Urvan Kron
While they are working, Iwo Behyd introduces himself, and explains that he works for the Queen, not for the church as all of the attackers work for.  He is a slim, non-descript man, slightly below average height, and very soft-spoken.  He works hard helping to dig the graves, but Urvan can see that the man is not even as strong as he is himself.  Urvan is so used to adults all being strong.  His father once lifted an entire granite block into place himself -- probably 400 or 450 pounds.

During a quiet point in the storm, when the grave is nearly dug, the man says softly, "I don't think you should stay here by yourself, Urvan.  If you like, you can come and work for me in the palace.  It's just ... I don't think you are quite ready to be on your own.  I won't be soft on you -- I'll make you work hard.  But you do not look like a boy afraid of hard work."

Later on, when the grave is dug and the bodies are laid in it, side by side, Urvan asks very softly, "Can we...take the heads?"  Iwo raises an eyebrow. "We keep the skulls" the boy says uncertainly, then a little more loudly. "I think."

"The ... skulls?" Iwo says, "Umm, sure, lad.  Should we clean out the soft parts and include them in the grave?  Otherwise, the smell will soon be enough to drive Hephaestus away.  Back in Olympia I have an elixir that will clean them to sparkling, with no smell, if that's what you want.  Do you want me to take care of cleaning them up as well as we can here?  Or do you want to do it?"  A bolt of lightning strikes only a few hundred feet away, and the thunder is deafening.

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:39, Wed 02 Mar 2022.

Urvan Kron
 player, 18 posts
Wed 2 Mar 2022
at 05:33
Urvan Kron
Urvan looks terrible, his ivory colored hair wet and lank, his eyes red and puffy from where he had been weeping.

It is not an easy decision for the boy, despite all that has happened. That home had been his life, all he had ever known really. His family had worked very, very hard building it and walking away from the whole thing, leaving it to rot, or squatters, or even another family. It felt wrong.

But he is also scared, scared to be alone, scared that the other men might come back. He couldn't do what his father did, he didn't know what to plant and when, he didn't know how to read the weather to bring in a harvest. He would starve out here, he believed, and then he would need to leave anyway. It would only be delaying the inevitable.

Urvan is silent for some time, staring at the way the rain spatter kicked up from the freshly disturbed earth.

"I can work." Urvan says with a hint of pride beneath all the loss and despair. Although the boy seems to not want to admit it, part of him leaps at the chance to turn over all these looming responsibilities onto an adult, despite Iwo being a stranger, despite all that has happened.

"Please." he replies at the offer to clean the skulls and looks up at the man, his eye narrow against the rain. "I think they are supposed to go in a box, when they are clean." he adds very softly, uncertainly. "There is a family...crypt. Somewhere." The boy is obviously lost, never having had to deal with the loss of a family member before, but operating off of what little he had gleaned from his parents during his short life.

The boy flinches from the thunder, not dramatically, but he has had a long day and his ears ring from the concussion. He stares hard at the spot where the bolt touched down for a time.

"Thank you." he finally says and looked back to Iwo. He wipes at his nose with the soaked sleeve of his shirt, trying not to cry anymore.

There would be time later, time to ask about the other men, why this had all happened, but the boy is nearly spent, and he suspects that they still had a long journey before them.
Zag
 GM, 58 posts
Thu 3 Mar 2022
at 01:10
Urvan Kron
"OK then.  I'll try to do a clean job of it." Iwo says.  "Fetch me four big pails of water, then go see if you can find some wood, hammer, and nails and we'll try to repair the front door, at least enough that it will stand shut for tonight."

When Urvan returns with the first two pails of water, Iwo Behyd has removed both of the faces and placed them in the grave with the bodies.  He managed to take them off nearly whole, and they are almost recognizable, at least, if you knew in advance who they had been.  He dunks the skull in one of the buckets, swishing, then empties the bucket on the ground.  Then he starts a process of scraping inside the skull with his knife, rinsing with some water, then scraping some more.  After repeating the process with the other skull and two fresh buckets, the skulls are passably clean.  One is noticeably larger than the other, with a bit of a brow ridge and a wide, pronounced jaw.

The two manage to hammer on a board that holds the two broken pieces of the front door together.  After some dinner, they sit near the fire.  Iwo gives Urvan time to talk, if he wants.
Urvan Kron
 player, 19 posts
Thu 3 Mar 2022
at 01:31
Urvan Kron
After a time, Urvan screws up his courage and moves to watch what Iwo was doing, mostly because he does not want to be left alone.

The boy had seen animals slaughtered and butchered, goats, chickens and pigs. This was obviously different, and he looks unsure, a little faint perhaps, but he stays by Iwo even if he looks away for long periods of time, silent, miserable and vacant eyed.

He wonders who this man was that could do such a task so readily, who did not flinch from it, but seems all too willing to accommodate.

It is far easier then they were just skulls, fresh skulls yes, but they seem important somehow. Despite the morbid business of obtaining them, the boy takes some small measure of comfort that he would have them. That they would still be all be together in some small way.

Fixing the door is simple by comparison, and although there was plenty of food and Iwo was an excellent cook, the boy understandably eats very little.

He prods a little at the fried pieces of potato on his plate before he finally spoke. He had been silent for some time.

"Do you know why this happened?" He asks very softly, although it was easier to hear him now inside, despite the steady drum of rain on the roof. "Do you know who those people were?"
Zag
 GM, 59 posts
Thu 3 Mar 2022
at 03:29
Urvan Kron
Iwo pauses for a long time before answering, making the pops of the fire seem especially loud.  Finally, he says, "Lad, I do know.  At least, I know who they are, and why they believed they should do what they did, though I'm not certain they were correct.  However, I am not going to tell you now.  Someday, I will tell you, when you're older, when you are ready to hear it."

Waving off the boy's protests, he continues, "Since you have agreed to work for me, I have a few rules.  When I say you should not know something, you must trust me.  In return, I will never lie to you.  I might refuse to answer, but I'll never say to you something I know to be false.  You should respect that and not try to dig up the information yourself, unless I say you may.  I know too many secrets that are dangerous even to know, so you must respect when I put some information off limits.

"You and I are involved in a dangerous game, and there are more rules you must follow.  I will protect you as I can, but sometimes there are things more important than your life, or mine.  I may send you into danger, possibly even to do something for the Queen or country that I doubt you will survive.  However, I will tell you why you act and why I think it is worth risking your life, and I will never ask such a thing if there is an alternative.

"If we are in an emergency situation, I expect you to obey a direct order, even if it seems crazy or unimportant.  You can ask the reason later, when there is calm, but in the heat of an emergency, you must obey.  It could save your life or someone else's.

"Tomorrow we will leave for Olympia, where we will live in the palace.  I only have one horse, so we will load on him as much as we can that is important or valuable and we will both walk.  These things belong to you now -- I will not take them from you -- but I may hold them a while until you have the means to protect them from others."  He gestures at the many bookshelves filled with books.  "There are too many books for us to take.  They were your father's?"  After a thoughtful pause, he continues, "No, your mother's, I see.  I will look through them to see which are the most valuable, but you should choose any books or any things that have a special meaning to you, and we'll pack up what we can.  Even if we were to return as fast as we possibly could, I doubt that there would be much left, so take what you can't live without.

"Let's sleep now.  We have two long days ahead of us."

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:42, Thu 03 Mar 2022.

Urvan Kron
 player, 20 posts
Thu 3 Mar 2022
at 04:33
Urvan Kron
Sitting there at the dinner table, eating in silence, the storm outside, the fire in hearth, Urvan waits for the answers he so desperately needs, but they do not come.

Iwo Behyd is obviously a perceptive man, and he nips the boys thoughts off at the bud before they are even fully formed. Of course he was already thinking of trying to learn the information elsewhere. In his simple childish way he was already trying to make some sort of plan, not realizing of course how juvenile and fantastical it would have seemed to an adult.

The boy opens his mouth to speak, but the conditions keep coming, the information keeps coming, and eventually Urvan closes his mouth, processing it all, staring at his plate.

The first part appealed to his youthful desire to be taken seriously. The boy had no identity,  no real self perception. He had only been entrusted with cutting wood by himself within the last few years, and his mother was naturally protective. This man, this stranger, is talking about sending him into danger, real danger. Normally he would be excited in a way that many young boys would be, but after all he had just witnessed, a sort of sober reflection comes over him.

The second part is equally strange. They were going to live in a palace? with the Queen? Urvan had never even been to a city, a few small towns, but nothing larger than a few hundred structures. He had seen illustrations in some of his mothers books, but that was it. They were going to Olympia, the greatest city in the world, to live in a palace. He might as well have been going to the moon, for all the frame of reference he possesses

The third part brings him back to center. He knows everything in the house, or he believes he does. What's more he knows more or less what a horse can comfortably carry on a long journey, although he has no idea how many things the man has of his own. Still, he thinks of a few things he already knows he will bring, if they have not already been looted.

By this point Urvan has already accepted, in his posture, in his demeanor. Rather than pick things apart one by one, he nods in agreement, scoots the chair back, and takes his plate to the basin as he always had. There would be nobody to clean it for him  this time.

He wants to say good night, but not knowing the man well enough, he simply does a double take makes his way to bed where he collapses into in. He does not remember falling asleep, only the taste of tears and the howling of the wind outside before unconsciousness mercifully claims him, plunging him into the deep dreamless sleep of emotional exhaustion.
Zag
 GM, 62 posts
Fri 4 Mar 2022
at 04:52
Urvan Kron
When Urvan wakes in the morning, Iwo Behyd has already divided the books into four piles.  "These" he says, pointing to the smallest pile, "you absolutely want to take."  Indicating the second, small pile, he says, "these we take what you like, otherwise we destroy.  They, umm, they would help to make the church's case against your parents."  Pointing to the third pile, he says, "these we take what we can, maybe hide the rest.  And this last pile is pretty worthless.  Unless they have sentimental value to you, we just leave them for the scavengers, who will be here in three days."

Iwo pulls from behind the first pile a small wooden box, almost two feet square but only a few inches high.  He opens it to reveal a crossed pair of weapons, each a curved blade attached at right angle to a carved and jeweled wooden handle.  "Other than the books, this is the only thing of value I found.  I think they are called kamas."  Urvan is surprised; this is yet another secret, here in his own house, that he did not know about.  His father had always talked about the way of fighting without weapons, and yet here is a valuable, master-crafted set of blades.

The two get everything they plan to take packed up, burn any of the sensitive books they aren't taking, and head out.  Iwo has more instructions for the young man, "We don't want to meet anyone on the way.  So I want you to walk about 50 yards ahead of me on the road.  If you see anyone coming towards us, sprint back to me and we'll get the horse off the road and hide.  Try not to be seen.  If you are unsure where to go, wait for me or come back and we'll work it out."  He has more instructions, including a whistle signal to wait and another to return immediately.  Finally, they get going.
Urvan Kron
 player, 21 posts
Fri 4 Mar 2022
at 05:20
Urvan Kron
It still does not seem real the next day, not until Urvan came out, rubbing his puffy eyes and sees Iwo already up and getting ready.

The boy had learned his letters, his mother had seen to that, but he had not taken to reading anything but the simple primers they owned. His mother was the reader, and most of her things were complicated medical books, dry and uninteresting to a rambunctious child.

The first stack of books he trusts Iwo on, the second he looks at, unsure for a few moments. It occurs to him that much like the skulls, that this was his last chance to keep something that might tie him to his family. They were obviously dangerous, but he was willing to take the risk. He could always destroy them himself he supposed, after he had read them some day.

"I'd like to keep them sir, if we can." He says, agreeing that they could leave the third pile

And then he sees the box.

What lays within is a true surprise. His Father had never mentioned them, and much like the statue, and apparently the books, they were worth a lot of coin. The jewels alone, if they were real, must be incredibly valuable.

But then why did they live out here? Why did they work so hard? It didn't make any sense. Perhaps Iwo would tell him more soon, or perhaps the books held the answer. He very gently runs a finger along the handle of one of the weapons, then gently closes the lid.

So many questions.

Then more instructions. These at least makr sense to him. He could do these things, and so as his first task he learns the signal whistles until he is fairly sure he could recall them if needed, and begins to get ready. With the weight of the books, and the box, and the skulls, he only takes a few small essentials. His winter set of clothes, a bowl, and a few utensils.

Soon he is looking back on his house from just down the path, his parents bodies resting there, about to walk away from all he had ever known.

He stares for some time, commiting the place to memory, the wind tugging at his hair as the last of the storm blows itself out. Finally he turns and begins to walk ahead of Iwo, remembering his task, and trying to keep a clear head despite all that had happened.

They have a long couple of days ahead of them.
Zag
 GM, 65 posts
Sat 5 Mar 2022
at 06:16
Urvan Kron
On the late afternoon of the first day of walking, Urvan hears some people approaching.  As instructed, he runs back at full speed to tell Iwo, who is already leading the horse off of the road by the time Urvan reaches him.  He points to a stand of trees with a fine crop of ferns and says, "Lie down there, position where you can just see the road.  Don't break any of the ferns."  Meanwhile, he continues deeper into the forest with the horse.  Just as the two men on horseback come even with Urvan, he is surprised by Iwo Behyd crawling silently up behind him.

They watch in silence as the two men pass.  They are dressed in the same sort of rough-woven clothes that Urvan wears, though one of them has actually dyed his shirt a pale green.  Their horses are nothing special, just bay mares of the sort Urvan has seen men ride in the area.  They each have a large bundle behind their saddles, wrapped in cloth so it is impossible to tell what is in it.

Iwo doesn't move until several minutes after they are well out of sight.  Finally, he asks, in a whisper, "Have you ever seen those two men?" to which Urvan shakes his head.  "Neither have I, and it is too soon, anyway, to be anyone from the Church returning.  Follow.  Stay quiet."  He heads back into the forest to where the horse is loosely tied to a tree.

Make a stealth roll.  It only affects whether or not you get a compliment along with your lesson.
Urvan Kron
 player, 23 posts
Sat 5 Mar 2022
at 06:29
Urvan Kron
Urvan was nothing special when it came toc stealth and woodcraft, but he had gone hunting with his father on occasion, and he at least knew how to be still and patient.

The boy does as directed, and hurries along until he reaches the indicated spot, then carefully gets down in his belly, smelling the verdant scent of the bruised vegetation all around him.

To his eyes the men seem unexceptional, their rough homespun, their rangy bay quarter horses, and their faces do not stand out. He wonders what Iwo sees that he does not.

The minutes pass, the sound of the birds begins to return, Urvan remains patient, just like if they were hunting.

Suddenly Iwo gets up and begins to move after then. Urvan also scrambles quietly to his feet and moves after his benefactor, brushing the leaf litter from his clothing and trying to keep pace.

"What did you see?" He asks softly, before they are too far along.

22:20, Today: Urvan Kron rolled 13 using 1d20+5.  Stealth. Hide in brush.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:13, Sat 05 Mar 2022.

Zag
 GM, 68 posts
Sat 5 Mar 2022
at 19:00
Urvan Kron
Iwo points a few paces behind Urvan.  "You snapped a twig, there.  Trying to be quiet in the brush is the exact opposite of on a road.  You slide your feet along.  Brushing through the dead leaves sounds loud to your own ears, but as long as there is the slightest wind, it is a completely natural noise that is not noticed beyond a few yards.  However, break a stick and the sound is like Zeus' thunder -- that's why you slide, so you are only pushing the sticks aside.  On a road or a floor, you pick your feet up and set them down cleanly, toe then heel, rolled very slightly so your heel doesn't slap flat."

(You may assign one of your next level's skill points to Stealth right now, giving you an extra bonus now which is then normalized when you next level up.)

He unties the horse and they return to the road and continue.  Walking together for a bit, Urvan asks softly, "What did you see?"

Iwo shrugs and smiles slightly, "Nothing special.  They were just travelers with nothing to do with us.  But we don't want to meet with the church crew who will be coming to clean out your house.  Too many questions we don't want to answer."

As the sun sets, they head well off the road.  The older man hands Urvan a cookpot and tells him to get water.  When the boy looks around in confusion, Iwo taps his right ear twice.

Roll perception against DC 14 to hear the water burbling.  If you fail, Urvan will point in a direction.
Urvan Kron
 player, 24 posts
Sat 5 Mar 2022
at 19:28
Urvan Kron
Iwo points out things that Urvan had never really given thought to. He was familiar with trying to be quiet, but the man took the whole thing very seriously, down to specific instructions, and of course Urvan listens, the man being his benefactor, his life line, practically all that is left of his world at this point.

With the dusk settling and the night sounds starting to come alive Urvan suddenly finds that he is very hungry. The introduction of the cook pot is a welcome sight, and after some prompting, the boy easily picks up the tell tail trickle of water over rock.

He sets off, finding the stream and filling the pot in a clear spot before skimming off the various detritus. He takes the full pot back, carrying the hefty thing without much effort.

"Thank you again, for taking me with you." He says among the chirping of crickets and the breeze in the tree tops. "I don't know what I would have done " he shrugs.

Today: Urvan Kron rolled 24 using 1d20+6.  Perception, DC 14, Find Water.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:29, Sat 05 Mar 2022.

Zag
 GM, 77 posts
Sun 6 Mar 2022
at 23:48
Urvan Kron
The following morning, the two pack the horse up again and head out.  Well before noontime, Urvan again hears someone approaching, this time a wagon being pulled by two horses, plus another couple of men on horseback.  He runs back to tell Iwo, who leads the horse to the west side of the road, up a fairly steep hill but leading to an overhang where they can watch without being seen.

As the group approaches, Urvan can see that the wagon holds two people, a man, who is driving, and a woman.  The woman is striking: taller than the man and with long, straight, jet-black hair.  However, her most striking feature is the tattoos, which cover every visible bit of skin.  Urvan can make out the image of a peacock feather coming up her neck on to her ear on her left side.  On the right side of her face is a large cat of some sort.  She wears a hood, so he can not make out her brow other than to catch a bit of red and a line of green.  Her appearance is so surprising that he makes a tiny gasp when he first sees her, earning him a stern look from Iwo.

Once the party is well past, Iwo whispers, "That was Erastoo, high priestess of Hera.  It was she who organized the assault on your parent's home.  Clearly, they think there are more things of value there, if she is coming herself to evaluate it."  He chuckles quietly, "She will be angry with Aarnik that he didn't leave a guard.  Eventually she'll learn that I was there, and that I didn't return with Aarnik.  She will likely figure out who you are, and she'll probably try to have you killed.  She is an ugly enemy, that one, but we'll be in the palace, and should be safe enough.  We'll plant another story of your origin, and that might slow her down, a bit."

Late in the afternoon, the cloud breaks and Urvan gets his first look at Mt. Olympus, looming up from the hilly forest they have been walking through.  It is another hour before they reach the gates of the city, and at least 30 minutes more of walking through the busy streets before they reach the palace.  The structure is immense, with towers and crenellated walls surrounding several buildings.  Iwo points to a small building, barely more than a shed, really, and tells Urvan to wait behind it.  After a few minutes, he appears, now without the horse or bags, and he leads the lad into the largest of the buildings, a massive structure that is easily thirty or forty times the size of the house Urvan's father built.

They enter through the kitchen, Iwo chatting amiably with the cook and receiving two plates heaped with chicken legs, potatoes, cooked carrots, and a large apple dumpling.  He leads Urvan up some stairs and through a couple of mysterious turns in the hall to a room that Iwo declares is his 'base of operations.'  It has a bed, a large table with eight chairs, a desk with another chair, and many bookcases.  Iwo fills one glass with wine from the spigot of a barrel that is wedged in between two bookcases.  He half-fills another, topping the glass off with water from a pitcher on the table, and hands the latter glass to Urvan.  "You can stay here tonight, you'll have to do with a blanket on the floor.  Tomorrow we'll find a room for you."

Soon there is a knock, and Iwo waves Urvan to hide behind the door as it opens.  Three porters come in with all their bags, and a fourth man dressed in palace livery says that the horse has been brushed, watered, fed, walked a bit, and put in stable 19.  Iwo thanks the men, giving each of them a coin.  He closes the door and bars it, and Urvan realizes that the bar dropping him place gives him the first feeling of safety that he has had in days.  The two eat their meal before settling in for the night.

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:18, Mon 07 Mar 2022.

Urvan Kron
 player, 27 posts
Mon 7 Mar 2022
at 00:15
Urvan Kron
It had not been the longest journey Urvan had ever taken, but it was close

The boy finds himself sequestered deep within a castle that would have been beyond his wildest imaginings a few days ago, full of good food, and behind the relative safety of a solidly barred door.

Although he is not aware of it, his body begins to finally relax, finally drops it's guard after days of trauma and hyper-vigilance. He is suddenly so tired that he can barely stay awake, and it takes real effort just to roll out his blanket and to put his modest belongings in the corner.

He collapses there, pulling the blanket up and around himself, expecting to go to sleep at once, but he doesn't. His body is still a little.behujd his mind and he can't seem to sleep.

His mind just won't stop. Everything, the day if the attack, the attack itself as he his in the dark, still images and voices burned into his memory. Finding his parents, the burials, it all won't leave him be.

Urvan tosses and turns for a time, remembering the bizarre Erastoo, remembering the way the castle caught the light of the day with it's banners fluttering. Then he remembers it all again, and again.

He doesn't remember falling asleep, exhaustion finally taking hold. Dimly he tells himself that there are answers, answers in Iwo, answers in the books, answers in that tattooed woman. But there were no answers now, despite all the questions that unceasingly smolder in his mind.

He also recognizes his uncanny luck in Iwo. The man is still a stranger, but he has already acted on Urvan's behalf time and time again. It is not charity, he reminds himself, there will be work, he is sure.

The next time Iwo glances over the boy is finally out, a bundle of blanket, a pallid face with a hint of rose about the cheeks, a mop of tangled ivory hair. A lost and frightened boy but with potential perhaps, and strange blood in his veins. A stray, brought in from the wild, bedraggled and wild eyed.

How will he adapt? How would he take to this new place?

Who could say?