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Heart of the Earth - Pursuit

Karli, an emissary representing the Red River clan, tells of the desecration of one of their sacred altars deep in the mountains, and the theft of an enormous and ancient uncut ruby called the Heart of the Earth. She has asked for the help investigating the site and returning the sacred Heart.

[Part 2 of the Heart of the Earth PRP.]

Date

Feb. 21, 2020, 11 p.m.

Hosted By

Rysen

GM'd By

Rysen

Participants

Rowenova Blacktongue Rukhnis Rosalind Jules Arcadia Ian Mikani Oili

Organizations

Location

Outside Arx - Northlands near Stormwall - Red River Valley

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


The party, for the most part, gathers around an ancient alter inside a cave known to Red River Clan as the Throat of the World. Strange runes have been carved into various parts of the cave; however, Scout Rowenova and Mikani Crovane have noticed that some of them have been covered in blood.

Blacktongue has just pointed out three circles, forming a triangular pattern facing downward, and Rosalind had noticed a set of tracks outside the cavern leading off to the northeast.

As Finn stands looking at the circles, and then turning to gaze at the empty altar where the Heart of the Earth once rested, his features contort in rage.

Nova just finished telling Jules 'why not' check behind the altar there, while packing away her alchemy paraphernalia. Then, she motions yonder. "I am going to head out with Lady Rosa." Unless anyone here, inside the Throat of the World, might object. They only have a moment more before she will jog away!

Blacktongue looks over to Fin curiously when he reacts to the symbol "I take it that means something in particular then? Care to share?"

Rukhnis stands at the altar, fingertips resting lightly on the depression in which the Heart of the Earth once lay. A deeply uneasy look has appeared in her eyes at the mention of blood magic, and she shifts a guarded look across the chamber towards the symbols discovered on the wall. It's not likely she has any clue what they mean, but that doesn't seem to reassure her much. Shaking her head slightly, she shifts her gaze cautiously towards Finn.

Seriously, bouncing on her toes. Rosalind is looking at those footprints. She lifts her cloak over her head, ready to take off.

Jules is, in fact, moving to check behind the altar to make sure that the gem didn't fall behind it. His own pace and movements all seem very relaxed and but his eyes to seem to be scanning about quite actively as he well enough knows that all sorts of things end up falling on the ground. Thankfully, Jules has not known the pain of stepping on toys left out by children. Still, he looks carefully.

Finn slams the butt of his spear into the earthen floor of the cave. The heat of the place, brings beads of sweat to his face. "I would never be able to face my ancestors again when we should meet in the Spirit World should I fail to return the Heart." Finn shakes his head at Blacktongue. "I cannot say. My mother would likely know, but it is unknown to me." The warrior's pale green eyes shift to Rowenova. He nods, and says, "You found tracks, aye? Lead us to these monsters."

Arcadia stayed at the mouth of the cave, her bow in hand and a keen eye and ear to the surrounding woods. She's not going to let everyone get ambushed in a creepy cave. She looks back into the cave and waits as Rowenova and Rosa come to join her at the mouth.

Rukhnis checked mana + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.

Arcadia checked mana + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 0 higher.

Mikani checked perception + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 72 higher. Mikani rolled a critical!

To Finn, Nova glances back, "Lady Rosa found those, I do believe." Then, the wolf scout heads out, grouping up with Lady Cady and Lady Rosa, both. She grins big to them both. "Ready!"

Also Ian. Ian is there too. Hi, Jules! He's satisfied himself that there's no immediate threat lurking further down the cave, and returns to find the investigators still investigating.

Finn glances over his shoulder at the altar, and drops his head, closing his eyes in shame. With a determined look in his eyes, he follows after Rowenova.

Rosalind exhales and excitedly smiles, getting her longbow ready,"Oh good! I mean I waited patiently and -everything-!" Liar! The tall Ravenseye starts to gladly lead Nova, Finn, and Cady toward the footprints,"This way!" And they begin to head northeast.

Arcadia stiffens slightly, her head cocked to the left "Something feels wrong. I don't know what exactly. But it does."

Rosalind checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.

Arcadia checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

The uneasy look on Rukhnis's face has deepened into something faintly sick, and she pulls a profoundly disasteful grimace as she lifts her hand from the altar. She makes a noise in the back of her throat that conveys a definite impression of "ugh" without being quite that articulate, and shifts a questioning gaze over to Mikani as if expecting her to have something of the same reaction.

Blacktongue frowns and looks around for a last moment before moving to follow the others. Pondering the gathered clues but staying with the group

Rowenova checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 61 higher.

Jules finishes looking around the altar and there is certainly on gem there unfortunately. The man looks around from that point. If there was anything to sense, he remains oblivious to the fact and almost looks as if he's ready to cheerfully state something when he seems to notice a slight degree of tension and Arcadia's words. He stops and his eyes shift about the cavern, he doesn't really know why everyone is tense and yet he senses it.

Mikani makes a face as she looks at the blood. She mutters under her breath in Eurusi as Rukhnis looks over at her. "Well ... this .... this is not good." She sighs and redoes her hair with her iridescite hairpins. As if she needs to just touch them for a bit.

Blacktongue arrives outside the cavern and finds the afternoon light visible over the mountains sorrounding the cavern. The larger group of about forty Red River warriors is waiting, and watching as Rosalind, Rowenova and Arcadia begin to examine the tracks in the earth leading from the cavern's mouth toward the northeast.

Ian doesn't know why everyone's tense, and also doesn't show any signs that he even realizes there's tension in the air at all. "Can anyone tell me how far this cave goes?" He asks, assuming there are appropriate people to ask.

Mikani says in Eurusi, "Abyssal beseeching ... think we can get really hot baths when we get back? I mean hot enough to get rid of the top layer of skin?"

With a quiet laugh, Nova pulls around her own bow (a recurve one which is a Halfshav joke, most likely, due to being half refined and half wild). Then, she follows along after the 'patient' Ravenseye, doing so with her cobalt-blue gaze carefully scanning every tiny detail found: not only up close but further yonder, too.

Arcadia has her bow in hand too, only lowering it when getting to the campsite, her foot kicks at first the ash and then what she thinks is a rock. It's not. It's poo.

Catching Ian's question, Finn calls, as he leaves the cavern, "It goes all the way to the very life's blood of Arvum's."

Mikani wields Swallow Feather and Duskstone Hairpins.

Rukhnis snorts softly at Mikani in response to whatever the other woman said in Eurusi, though the wary of a flicker of a gaze she passes across her surroundings suggests that those words haven't done the least little thing to put her at ease. Glancing over at Ian, then back at Mikani, then towards the subterranean passage in question, she finally asks dubiously, "Should we even go down there?"

Rosalind actually snickers at Cady, silently. But her serious face is back as she looks about the camp. She steps over to the fire, kneeling down, her hazel green eyes looking about,"They haven't been gone from here too long..."

"That's... not really an answer." To most people, it would be an answer, but the literal mindedness that makes Ian so resilient against a litany of horrors also keeps him from understanding. And Finn is gone, so he's left answer-less. "I went a little ways down," he says to Rukhnis. "It gets hot fast."

Moving through the poopy camp, Nova makes sure to deftly dodge any bad spots, being quite nimble. Sir Flop is equally careful in his own leather booties, but he actually has his hackles up and sometimes growls, too. Nova quietly reciprocates with her own growl and looks up, "About 50 well armed were here." Then, she motions over toward the perturbed hound. "Also, I think Lord Ian has been right all along, too."

Blacktongue looks over to Ian and Rukhnis "I suppose a better question would be to ask if there are any other ways into that cave." Then he gestures after the warband "Shall we?"

Mikani moves to keep her hairpin close and at the ready. "Keep your eyes open. This was a beecheeching." Mika will say it because no one else did. "Don't want to know if they were successful."

Mikani follows the scouts.

Arcadia lifts her boot to her nose, and sniffs. "Ugh. That's not from an animal and something is seriously wrong with their diet." She brushes her boot on some grass before looking to the other scouts, "Fifty? Where do you think they went too? "

In Rukhnis's opinion, it seems to be less a non-answer than a bad one, as in, it sounds like a bad idea to go wandering down in the direction of whatever Arvum's life blood might be. "Perhaps there is molten rock down there?" she ventures. "I have seen such places, back in Eurus. Generally it is not a good idea to approach them." She appears resigned to doing so, though, if anyone else judges it essential.

Jules comes along behind Mikani, but eying the blood, making no comment and instead simply waits. As she makes a final observation, he looks around the cave and asks, "Beecheeching?" Whether or not Mikani answers, he seems as though he's planning to follow the woman in whatever direction she intends to go.

Rosalind checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 35 higher.

Mikani nods to Jules, "Yes ... trying to summon forth something from the abyss. See you can call out and try to get an Archfiend or even a God to answer you. The way you do that is through beeching them." She answers simply.

Ian looks to Rukhnis, then down at the cave. "We'll need a light source. It gets dark fast. Or we could go with them." He nods towards the retreating backs of their compatriots.

Mikani takes a glass paned iron lantern from Black Leather Holster Hip Bag with Crimson Accents.

Mikani takes a glass paned iron lantern from Black Leather Holster Hip Bag with Crimson Accents.

Rukhnis closes her eyes briefly as Mikani explains beseeching -- not that it seems to be any kind of surprise to her, but rather an extremely unwelcome reminder. When she opens them again she looks around at everyone else, then gives a small shrug of resignation. "Well, they have sufficient scouts tracking whoever left the cave, and I am of no use in a fight, so if we wish to look further into the cave, I will not object to going down there."

Nova carefully pets Sir Flop behind one of those adorable ears before then diligently scouting for the exit route the large group may have previously taken. She also looks to that growly hound who sniffs around after Nova makes motion toward Arcadia.

Overhearing Rowenova's assessment, Finn looks grim. "Fifty warriors," he says, glancing toward Karli. "We have to do what we can." Karli's fingers, flit a bit over the shaft of her spear as she looks around. To Arcadia, she says, "Can you tell which way they went?"

Silently stepping around, Rosalind pokes around. Noticing a few left behind broken arrows and such, she says,"I think they may have some of archers and well--," she walks around somewhere,"they didn't seem to have much with them. So either Shavs or definitely people that know how to survive..."The redhead grins though,"Not as great as a northerner though.

"Might as well," Ian decides, finding a lantern that Mikani left behind. Before going, he tugs a pair of goggles from a belt pouch and puts them on, keeping them situated high on his head but easy to lower into the place in the case of smoke (or should investigation-related puns be required). "Keep an eye on the flame. If it starts burning lower, it's a sign to go back."

Ian gets custom fitted goggles from Oiled leather bag.

Blacktongue is not going to tell the nobles what to do though he will say "I'm not much use in a fight either, not one where I'm expected to participate personally anyway."

Rukhnis checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 35 higher.

Ian checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 36 higher.

Mikani lights up two lanterns. She gives one to Ian and keeps the other for herself. "Just stay by me Jules ... okay? Promise me that?" She looks at Jules with large dark eyes. Mika than nods to Ian's comment and keeps heading in.

Nova motions eastward, "They moved east, and we can easily track them now, due to the sheer numbers. If we intend to approach head on, we will want to keep a detail around Lady Crovane and have us scouts move ahead, so we can warn of notice and keep from being noticed until we are ready." She looks up to figure out what time it is now, according to the sun.

Jules gives a slow nod of his head to Mikani as he's following along and says, "I'll stay as close to you as I'm able." His tone not a whisper but definitely soft as his eyes shift about, "Funny I should be thinking about Weegs Bay right now, I've never even seen him." His laugh is weak, almost forced, "Where to Lady Mikani?"

Arcadia looks to the road and then up to the trees, "Want me to see if I can spot them from above? May help with us getting ahead of them."

Rukhnis nods slightly to Ian, then falls in with everyone else, pausing only to beckon invitingly -- yes, invitingly, down the black passage to the lifeblood of Arvum! -- to Blacktongue should he want to follow on this foray that surely can't go wrong in any conceivable way. But the further they go, the more treacherous the passage becomes with crevices and debris, and her steps become progressively more cautious and her breaths shallower.

Rukhnis checked mana + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 0 higher.

Mikani checked mana + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.

Blacktongue will totally follow along into the deep places of the earth, composed and utterly fearless.

Ian moves slowly as well, picking his way along, taking his time. Sweat stands out on his forehead the deeper they go; he's wearing a lot of armor to be wandering around in this kind of heat. When he catches sight of what's ahead, his gaze slides to Ruhknis. "You might be right about the molten rock. I assume it glows like metal does when it melts." His voice is soft, not so much in deference to the awesome power of the earth's core as, you know. It's really hard to breathe down here.

Arcadia kicks one of the very few spindly trees, "Yeah no. These won't get us high enough anyway." She considers, "I suppose we press on and wait until we find an advantage point."

Mikani trades looks with Rukhnis as they walk further and further into the cave. "The air is getting thicker ... right?" She says to the others. "It's not just me right?" She tries to shake it off as she continues to walk with the group. "Someone is doing primum magic ... or has done primum magic."

"It does," Rukhnis answers Ian, just as softly, though the quietness of her tone seems to have as much to do with distraction as lack of breath. And perhaps, for her, there really is a hint of reverence too. "You can hear it as well, if you get closer. A sort of low and fluid thrumming. And the fumes will make it harder and harder to breathe." Shaking her head slowly, she murmurs, "If there was once primum concentrated here, there is so no longer. Only traces of it, spread about and faded."

Blacktongue checked perception + alchemy at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.

Ian unhooks his scarf from where it's looped at his hip like the world's most horrible whip. He holds it up. "Lady Mikani, if you're going to keep going, I'm going to get this wet and you'll need to keep it over your nose and mouth."

It's Ian's comment that suddenly seems to drive home to Rukhnis that someone particularly vulnerable is here, and not just hardcore fighter guys like Ian and expendable people like herself. Her gaze tracks sharply towards Mikani, and she says nearly as sharply, "You should not come any farther." It's likely worry rather than simple snippiness that puts that edge in the physician's tone, and her next words are moderated somewhat. "Indeed, likely none of us should go any farther. The effects will not be good, with any length of exposure."

Mikani eyes the scarf and shakes her head. "I can get my face mask wet. But I am not wearing that." Mika laughs and pulls up her hood and pulls the face mask into place after getting it wet to help her clear up the air. That made it better. "I'm fine. We need to continue ... to make sure something didn't come through." Mika's dark eyes set on Rukhnis. "You know we have to."

Blacktongue checked mana at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

Arcadia looks to the track and to Nova, "If we're fast and quiet, we could probably get ahead of the warband. When we get close, we could split up and go around." Arcadia probably should wait for Nova to agree, but Cady is already off on a jog.

Ian holds the scarf out to Mikani again. "You're wearing this if you're staying here." His tone is flat. "It smells like an alchemist's lab down here, and you're pregnant."

Jules looks at Mikani flatly and his eyes harden a bit, "No we don't ... no you don't. If Rukhnis says you should not then you ought to listen to her." There's a momentary pause and he looks back to her, "I'll go if we need to go my lady. There's no need to completely ignore it. Besides, there might be something I need to see down there anyways."

Blacktongue frowns as he sniffs and looks around the underground, he nods in agreement with Ian "It does, I'd know. Most of what I smell is sulfur, valuable and foul smelling. Not particularly dangerous though. As far as underground voyaging though its not as dangerous. Spirits once dwelled her though, so we should be cautious."

Mikani looks at the scarf. "What does it have that my face mask doesn't?" She tries to not snark but she feels snarky. Though she does take the scarf and wrap it around her face. See Rysen she can play nice with others.

Mikani checked intellect + occult at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.

"Do we have to?" Rukhnis's tone has gone from worried to flatly stubborn. "The primum here may only be from the presence of the Heart of the Earth, and from its resonance with Arvum's lifeblood. In which case, it is only to be expected that it will have faded. And you do not have only your own life to worry about." She gives Ian a small but firm nod, clearly in agreement with him. "The unborn are very susceptible to such miasmas that their mother is exposed to." She doesn't appear pleased with Mikani still being down here at all, now, though she looks grudgingly at the Crovane lady as she at least dons the scarf.

Jules is apparently being ignored by Mikani but he can keep glaring and wait to see if she replies.

Ian dumps about half the contents of his waterskin on the scarf, making the smell, if anything, worse. He hands it over, seemingly having made his peace with mitigating the risk to Mikani and her child, since keeping her out of trouble would require tying her up. He raises his eyebrows to Rukhnis, and shrugs. We do what we can do, right? "Alright. If any of you start feeling dizzy, we'll re-evaluate this."

Rowenova checked perception + survival at difficulty 50, rolling 2 higher.

Mikani nods, "If something broke through spirits can do more than we can. Further down I'm guessing are Fire or Earth Spirits we can ask. We just need to get to them." Mika turns to look at the glaring Jules. She actually looks sheepish. "Can you speak to spirits? I'm not saying I will succeed but I know I have a shot at it."

After Arcadia's words, Nova slinks forth with Sir Flop moving along stealthily, too.

Jules listens to Mikani's question very carefully and nods his head to her, "I most certainly can." He then grows silent and watches her.

Rowenova checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 10, rolling 24 higher.

Rukhnis is outright scowling now, though it's hard to say whether this is just to do with Mikani's stubbornness or something more besides. She's definitely looking more reluctant than ever to go any further. But she only jabs at her right palm and mutters dourly under her breath.

Ian mutters something to himself about how it's probably going to wind up being demons. Aloud, he adds, to Jules: "You're not going to talk her out of this. I've chased after enough people like her to know that. Let's get this over with." He lowers his goggles over his eyes. They're not airtight, but they'll keep the worst of the smoke and particulates out, at least.

As they move through the mountainous terrain, doing what they can to keep up with the Northern noble with whom they move, Nova and Flop soon crest a ridge and peruse what they can see so far below. Though, they both duck, too, peeking over the edge.

Arcadia checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.

Arcadia checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 50, rolling 3 lower.

Blacktongue decides to take a scraping of some of the local sulfur from the cave wall, staying well behind Ian, he'll keep the pregnant noble lady company when he's done. Blacktonuge is a professional servant after all.

After a long moment of glowering down the passage, Rukhnis says in a slightly more intelligible mutter, "I should not go down there, where the spirits are. I will stay to the back, just close enough that you can call for me if anyone finally feels themselves in need of the advice of a physician." No bitterness there! Actually, she sounds more uneasy and desperately unhappy than anything else.

Arcadia checked perception + survival at difficulty 50, rolling 31 lower.

Arcadia checked perception + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 42 higher.

Ian checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 40, rolling 87 higher. Ian rolled a critical!

Mikani looks at Rukhnis, "You can give me a complete work over when we are done. I will let you poke and prod me until you are satisfied that I am safe and healthy."

Rukhnis checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Arcadia checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 10, rolling 26 higher.

Unable to alter Mikani's decision and with Ian's reply, Jules relents and simply moves to follow along with Mikani at this point. He's not giving any further indication of his feelings but simply carries along.

Arcadia nods briefly to Rowenova's signal before sneaking on tiptoe ahead. Finally she makes her way to the ledge and perches beside Nova to see what she's found.

Rukhnis just looks at Mikani for an uncomfortably long span of time, lips pressed tightly together, and refrains from saying whatever thoughts they are that go along with that gaze. Letting out a long breath through her nose, she gives a very small shake of her head that breaks the eye contact, and waits for everyone else to go on.

Nova briefly smiles to Cady as she joins her then looks back beyond the ledge before quietly whispering, "We should head back."

Ian draws back suddenly. There must have been some sign of danger, noticeable only by him, because the alternative is that he actually IS a time lord. About a half second after he draws back, there's a rush from a blast of incredibly hot air. He mops sweat away from his forehead. "Gods. It's easier fighting Harlex Valtyr in the height of summer." He turns back. "I'm going to go on ahead a short ways. The passage ahead is really hot. I don't think it'd be safe to follow me." It's not really safe for him to go in the first place. "I'll, uh, tell you guys if there are spirits."

Oili checked perception + survival at difficulty 50, rolling 4 lower.

Arcadia murmurs to Nova as she points over the ridge "I think they're headed for the abandoned land between Stormwall and stormheart. I imagine once they get there, there'll be no chance to head them off without death." She looks to Nova, "If we head back, we've failed." She looks to the lines, "Between us we may be able to cause havoc with our bows."

Oili checked perception + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 10 higher.

Mikani frowns but nods and stops at Ian's words. She stops following to wait.

Ian checked stamina + survival at difficulty 50, rolling 68 higher. Ian rolled a critical!

2 inflicted and Ian is harmed for minor damage.

Oili checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 10, rolling 4 higher.

Before Ian is able to get away, Jules adds, "Or if you happen to see a dragon ... or something." His final words are spoken to indicate he felt ridiculous saying the first part. He turns to Mikani and rocks on his feet while he waits to see how she proceeds and then, seeing she's staying still he ads, "I don't expect it goes down too far, do you my lady?"

Rukhnis grunts quietly at Ian. Apparently that's all the response that's forthcoming. She folds her arms over her chest and frowns hard at Ian's retreating light.

"If there's a dragon down here, you'll know by the screaming," Ian says dryly before starting down the hot passage.

Ian shields his face from the punishing heat with his arm, not that there's really any shielding anything in here. He looks out over the vista that spreads out before him, barely able to catch his breath. "So, uh. Look, if there are any spirits down here, the people who can talk to you are back up that way." He points, both voice and gesture betraying that a not insignificant part of him feels that what he is currently doing is ridiculous. "I'm no good at this stuff." Having seen what he can see and delivered his message, he moves to withdraw.

Ian checked stamina + survival at difficulty 60, rolling 21 lower.

25 inflicted and Ian is harmed for moderate damage.

Arcadia suddenly slithers forward, "Wait here. Let me check. I'll be right back." She clearly is sneaking down the ridge trying to get a closer look at the war band.

Oili didn't stay in the cave. She got what she wanted from the experience. Stalking back to the entrance, she joined Arcadia and Rowenova to stalk after the footprints of the presumed perpetrators, though that too is likely a question that was already answered. She stalked after Arcadia and Rowenova in silence as they scouted after the source of the footprints. She likes the forest, though she's clearly never been much for sneaking through it as she snaps twigs and manages to find every acorn. As Arcadia prepares to head down the ridge, she tends to the bow she brought with her just in case.

Arcadia checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 30, rolling 110 higher. Arcadia rolled a critical!

Rukhnis shifts her weight from one foot to the other while drumming her fingertips against her arm, which might be construed as a wildly pronounced fidgetiness for someone who's usually doing her best impression of a statue's shadow. She also keeps staring hard down the passage, except for when she flicks vaguely agitated glances towards Mikani instead.

Nova nocks an arrow into her bow and keeps it at the ready to cover, too, but otherwise stays where she is.

Ian is pouring sweat by the time he emerges; he might have easily dunked his head in a vat of water. There's tension around his eyes, but no other real indication of actual pain. "It's just a lake of melted rock down there," he says, sounding a little breathless, still. "I told the spirits the people who could talk to them are back here, but I don't think there were any down there. It's too fucking hot for spirits." It's too hot for anything. "Let's go."

Blacktongue is waiting with Mikani as he looks bemusedly in the direction Ian went and asks her "Does he do this sort of thing often?" then Ian returns as soon as he finishes the words "Alright then. At least we can say we looked."

Jules has little enough to do during this time and pulls around his backpack and opens the flap, he looks through for a moment and asks those around, "Would anyone care for some mead or ... rum? I should add some whiskey." He's about to say something else when Ian pops his head up and he nods his head quickly and asks, "Can I get you anything to drink Lord Ian? Dehydration is a killer." Perhaps alcohol is not the way to rehydrate but maybe it is for a Kennex.

Mikani nibbles her lip as she looks at him. She frowns as she sees his injuries. Her dark eyes flit to further down the path. "Tell Rysen ... tell him I had to do it." Mika says before she darts further into the cave. She shouts as she goes imploring the spirits. "Evil people came and they spilt blood in your holy places. We need your help to cleans the blood ... we can't do it alone. We need Earth. Fire. Any spirit that will aid our cause to come and make this place clean. Please hear me. Please!"

Arcadia checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 50, rolling 16 higher.

Mikani checked mana + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.

Rukhnis snorts at Ian for that report, but regardless she looks faintly relieved. Not entirely pleased with what's visible of Ian's face, no, but all she tells him is, "I can prepare a salve for your burns that will keep them from festering and scarring. Are we to go after the scouting party n--?" And then OH MY GOD WHY IS MIKANI RUNNING DOWN THAT PASSAGE. Rukhnis bites off her words with a stifled exclamation of startlement and furious dismay, but she's far too late to actually stop the woman.

Rysen GM Roll checked per(4) + survival(5) at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked per(4) + survival(5) at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked per(4) + survival(5) at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.

Arcadia sneaks down the mountain until she's about 80 yards from the troops. She watches for a long moment. The troops carry axes, spears, shields and bow and all wear leather armor. Her owlish eyes focus on the shaman in a bloodied feather headdress at the front. Her eyes narrow for only a moment and without an actual thought, she aims her bow and shoots an arrow straight into the back of his head. It's only after he's gone down and the shout goes out does Cady suddenly spring up and begin running.

Arcadia checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 40, rolling 1 lower.

Mikani checked stamina + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 11 lower.

20 inflicted and Mikani is harmed for moderate damage.

Ian makes a grab for Mikani, but she's through the passage before he gets a hand on her. He swears and turns around to go get her.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 25, rolling 19 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 25, rolling 9 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 25, rolling 28 higher.

Arcadia checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.

Mikani swears. If anyone knew Marin'alfar they would be blushing. She can't feel the spirits. "Please ... please." She tries to call them again as she heads back. Tears tumble down her cheeks as she tries to make it back before she passes out. The darkness starts to close in around her.

Jules is actually preparing to take a drink from the bottle he's pulled out when Mikani darts down that passage way and he yells out, "You daughter of a motherless sea-monkey!" Jules looks at the bottle in hand then realizes everything he's holding is probably flammable and drops everything. He's not the swiftest of people mentally but he is starting to dart back here, "This is basically dual, you get back here!" His arms flailing about in the fashion of a inflatable noodle.

55 inflicted and Arcadia is harmed for serious damage.

40 inflicted and Arcadia is harmed for moderate damage.

Since the far more athletically inclined Ian has already gone after Mikani, Rukhnis is left to simply stare burning daggers after the woman while seething furiously in Eurusi the whole time. "And do not YOU go down there too!" she switches over to Arvani long enough to snap at Jules.

Rukhnis says in Eurusi, "That stupid, stupid, /stupid/ woman! Who could imagine a greater fool than that reckless dolt Arcadia! Spirits' breath, the idiocy!"

Rowenova gets Diamondplate Gauntlets from Messenger Bag.

Rowenova gets Diamondplate Stomping from Messenger Bag.

Rowenova gets a leather vest with fur lining from Messenger Bag.

Rowenova gets a leather skirt with many pockets from Messenger Bag.

Rowenova checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 50, rolling 14 lower.

Arcadia ducks and dives and flings herself into the bushes and she manages to dodges the first three arrows. Cocky, always so damn cocky, she jumps up and sticks out her tongue "Nah Nah Nah! Your mother was as pretty as a skunk." It's then an arrow pierces through her shoulder and the taunt turns to a stream of obscenities, especially more when another arrow gets her thigh. Shit.

Ian checked stamina + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 3 higher.

2 inflicted and Ian is harmed for minor damage.

Oili checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 50, rolling 34 lower.

Somewhat impressed with the sudden assassination, Nova starts shooting from her recurve bow at the enemy troops, trying to help cover Cady, but she does not succeed. She suddenly swears something obscene, herself, right after the noble woman does so. She jumps up sprints down toward the injured woman as fast as she possibly can, even if she ends up 'coming out' from her prior cover. Of course, Sir Flop whines forlornly, but then follows along after his crazy charge!

Rukhnis checked dexterity + brawl at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.

Jules checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

Oili leans against a tree watching from the ridge. To pass time, she's picked up a twig and started pulling some of the ends off. Down below, all hell begins to break free, and she drops the twig. "Nova. It's time to pew pew." Reaching for the bow next to the tree, she nocks and arrow and shoots it down towards the congregation. It sails heroically through the air only to end up in a tree on the mountain side. Nova runs off to mount a rescue and Oili coughs. "I'll just stay here." She's probably not much help in her robes.

Arcadia checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 39 higher.

Arcadia checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 50, rolling 46 higher. Arcadia rolled a critical!

Oili checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 50, rolling 34 lower.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 27 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 13 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 22 higher. Rysen GM Roll rolled a critical!

Stupidity. So, so much stupidity. And the worst stupidity of all kinds of it, which is to say, the sort that gets people actually injured and leaves Rukhnis having to fix them. This circumstance is enough to provoke the physician to actually lunge forward in attempt to get hold of Jules's arm, but-- no, she hesitated too long, it's too late. Her outstretched hand is left with nothing in its grasp but thin air. Or at least with air somewhat thickened by the quantity of Eurusi imprecations being hurled into it.

Rowenova checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.

Rowenova checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 41 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + ath(5) at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.

Thank god for adrenaline! It's kicked in good and proper and while she's swearing like a sailor, she fires two shots. One into the neck of the first archer who got her and one into the groin of the other archer. She shouts as the man starts screaming, "Maybe now you won't be such a dick. Ha ha. Get it? Because you no longer have one." The adrenaline is short lived because here's Nova and now she's running again.

Arcadia checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 29 lower.

Jules cannot seem to come to grips with leaving Mikani behind and does get out of the grips of Rukhnis with a panicked look on his face. He's back to running after Mikani and his eyes darting about wildly for the lady. He's not a particularly well built man and he's certainly not especially athletic but passion for somethings overrides sanity. That bit of anger he held as he prepared to take off towards the woman is followed by a sad expression overwhelming him. If Lord Ian had suffered severe burns, the tears of the man are likely evaporating before they are especially visible and so perhaps he just looks a little sad instead of distraught.

Nova certainly pew pewed but sadly missed. Now, she just runs, sending her bow back behind her broad shoulders. Maybe they will get lucky, and any shots she might take in the back might hit that around the time that the scout jumps and pivots into a spot between Arcadia and the shooters. Should Nova be able to scoop her up, she will try and to run her out of danger!

The band of warriors quickly move into formation as the blood feathered shaman, whose own wound is bleeding from the gash given by Arcadia's arrow, screams in Northlands shav at the top of his lungs. Several of the warriors closest to Arcadia begin sprinting up the mountainous terrain with their shield before them and spears in hand, while leaving a open avenue of attack for several archers who fire on Arcadia, after the Marquessa puts several arrows into their comrades.

55 inflicted and Rowenova is harmed for moderate damage.

40 inflicted and Arcadia is harmed for serious damage.

40 inflicted and Arcadia is harmed for moderate damage.

Mikani runs into Jules as she and Ian are heading back. Ian and Mikani are kind of holding each other up. Mikani is trying to not pass out as they walk. "Can't find the spirits." Mika says with huge amounts of sorrow in her voice. "We should get back before Rukhnis has me locked into a room."

"Oh, for fuck's sake." Now Ian's got Jules AND Mikani to steer back out of the passage. "I told you. It's too hot for spirits. They've got a lot more blasted sense than we have."

Jules checked stamina + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 12 lower.

15 inflicted and Jules is harmed for moderate damage.

Rowenova checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 27 higher.

Rowenova checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 50, rolling 12 lower.

Rukhnis's eyes as they stare down the passage to catch sight of the others are liable to make it hotter still down there. They're alight with an interesting combination of deep worry and intense wrath, and look as if they could spark an explosion at any instant. She also keeps edging a little further down the passage and then twitching herself back again, clearly not wanting to leave everyone down there but just as clearly realizing it's a terrible idea for anyone else to go that way. And she has Ian to rely on, if no one else.

Oili checked mana + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 5 lower.

Mikani laughs softly, "Fire spirits ... they are all heat." She says softly. "What I would give for a water spirit ...." She says softly as she helps pull Jules out of the cave as well. She speaks to Rukhnis in Eurusi.

Mikani says in Eurusi, "Worse than Cady? I at least said sorry and have remorse .... I'm far better."

After having jumped between the shavs and Cady, Nova managed to block one of the attacks, but the arrow shatters when it hits diamondplate and sends a splinter into the neck of the scout who growls low. It is but a flesh wound, though, and a couple more arrows come flying and hit the Stahblen noble she tries to protect before Nova can scoop her up. She finally manages to, though, in a bloody mess. Then, she makes a run for it to try to get out of firing range. Though, she is not fast enough before more arrows come their way. She keeps Cady held close, making sure the angles are right to shield her from harm.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + medium wpn(4) at difficulty 40, rolling 4 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archer(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archer(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 6 higher.

Ian half-leads-half-shoos everyone out of the hot passage. "Even the fire spirits have better places to be. Let's go." He gives Rukhnis a brief, but grateful look as he passes her.

Rowenova checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 49 higher.

Jules only needs to see Mikani being lead out to turn around himself and start running back out of the cave. He saw the only thing that he needed to see. As much as he's able to move swiftly, he moves swiftly. Likely Ian never even needed to reach Jules unless for some reason Ian is faster dragging Mikani than he would be running back himself.

40 inflicted and Rowenova is unharmed.

Rukhnis is not in the mood for humour. Not that she ever really is, but now less so than ever. Whatever Mikani has just said to her, it earns the Crovane lady nothing but a blacker look than before, even as the physician's gaze passes across her with swift clinical regard. There's probably still some worry in that look too, but she seems to determine that Mikani is well enough to get the hell out of there at least, and that's enough for now. "Yes," she agrees with Ian in a clipped tone. "Let us go. Now."

Blacktongue nods and makes after Ian and the others, having had more than enough of caves for today, and having gotten his spirit sulfur sample. Because it might matter eventually.

Rowenova checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 2 higher.

Mikani just keeps her head down as she continues to help Ian out of the cave.

Jules checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.

Ian checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

Blacktongue checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Rukhnis checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Several arrows come their way, and Nova manages to zig and to zag away from the 'whistles' of a couple but one hits her on the back. Thankfully, its kinetic energy is completely diverted by the bow she slung back there before. She leaps over the ridge behind which she hid before, but now she just keeps running and shouts out, "They come! Their shaman is dead! Get ready! Injured incoming, too!"


Oili slides her bow along her back and picks up a couple of rocks along the edge of the ridge before returning to face the fleeing Rowenova and Arcadia. Quietly, she starts to recite a song she was once taught to honor the earth's love, rocks set out in a specific pattern. By the end of the song, the rocks formed a circle with a single dot in the center. Finishing her song, she moves the one in the center to the right and makes a request behind her teeth. In answer, the small rock she found splits in two. There's a frown, but as Rowenova jumps over she turns to follow. "Find a safe place to put her down so I can treat her."

Great. Rukhnis has already got the walking wounded with her, and now there are more injured people waiting for her here. But those words only seem to spur the physician into action, as she picks up her pace into a ready jog towards the scouting party, medical satchel at the ready. She does come to an abrupt halt and turn a little pale as she sees Cady some ways ahead of her looking near death. Again.

Arcadia occassionally curses over Rowenova's shoulder as she bleeds all over the woman. She waves away Oili, "We'll be sitting ducks."

Sweat-soaked and more burned than he wants to think about, Ian just sighs and tugs a piece of silk out of the same pouch where he was storing his goggles. He tosses his scarf to Rukhnis. "Tie Lady Mikani up if she decides to go hunting spirits again." He tugs his last piece of armor, the hood with a tear in it roughly patched, on.

Ian gets a voluminous silk hood -usually kept pushed back- from Oiled leather bag.

The group of forty Red River warriors glance towards Finn in a bit of shock when they hear from Rowenova. It's clear to Ian and any other trained warrior that the sacred ground of the Red River Clan has not readied any of their warriors for command. A look of panic rests on most of the faces of the warriors.

Mikani rolls her eyes, she couldn't help it. She deserved the comment so she bit back her remark as she just keeps up with them.

Ian checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 7 higher.

Rukhnis checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 8 higher.

Rowenova checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 26 higher. Rowenova rolled a critical!

Rowenova checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 15 higher.

Mikani checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 9 higher.

Jules checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 15 higher.

Oili checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 3 higher.

Arcadia checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 7 higher.

Blacktongue checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 0 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) at difficulty 10, rolling 24 higher.

Jules looks around somewhat panicked at the information of bad guys coming this way and mutters to himself, "If only we were in the city ... I know a guy." He shakes his head though and sighs. He looks around for rocks and any other projectiles to throw as needed. He glances briefly over towards Mikani, he's not amused in the slightest and actually looks quite angry at this point. He opens his backpack and pulls out a jar of honey, "My last jar of Laurent." His tone sounds concerned, "Does anyone have a torch?"

Nova jerks her blood-stained, wolf-framed head from Oili's direction toward the yonder warriors, apparently intending to run past them for potential cover of the injured Cady who is in her arms right now. On her way, she actually notices the dumbfounded looks and shouts out, "Lord Ian! They need orders!" If there is somewhere she can put the injured noble where Oili and Rukhnis can treat her, Nova tries to find this, but only after she has moved beyond the milling warriors.

At the crest above the party from Arx and the Red River warband, the enemy warriors begin to come into view, slowly spreading along the ridge line into a fighting formation. Shields form a wall, and spears are placed in a ready position. Archers stand form up behind the initial shield wall and take aim.

Ian checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 2 higher.

Rowenova checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 24 higher.

Jules checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 4 higher.

Oili checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 0 higher.

Mikani checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 2 higher.

Arcadia checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 5 higher.

Rukhnis checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 6 lower.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.

Blacktongue checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 1 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 10 higher.

"Take orders from Lord Ian!" barks out the bloody Nova as she ducks down behind a large boulder and then carefully rests Cady down, trying hard not to just drop her so either one of those 4 arrows in her is not pushed deeper. Once she has set her down, Nova quickly prepares her bloody bow with a bloody arrow... everything about her is SO BLOODY right now. And, she makes haste to help out the young warriors, too.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + medium wpn(4) at difficulty 40, rolling 12 lower.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + medium wpn(4) at difficulty 40, rolling 11 higher.

Ian checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.

Oili checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 10 lower.

Rukhnis checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher. Rukhnis rolled a critical!

Blacktongue checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 17 lower.

40 inflicted and Oili is harmed for serious damage.

40 inflicted and Blacktongue is harmed for moderate damage.

Blacktongue says, "...I have armor?"

It's got to instill at least SOME confidence, the way that Ian starts giving orders, roughly getting everyone pointed in the right direction and making sure nobody stabs themselves/each other ... and casually sidesteps a spear without even breaking the cadence of his speech.

Arcadia is lain down and suddenly realized she's full of arrows "Oh. Look at that." Seems the adrenaline finally wears off and she passes out with shock.

The archers unleash a volley of arrows, and a loud shout echoes over the ridge, as the spear warriors in the front line, throw their spears, and then draw axes and run down the ridge toward the Red River warriors as they stand with a look of shock on their faces. Many of the Clan's warriors are struck, and there are many screams of agony.

Ian checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.

The words of the Sword of Stormward, even as he evades a spear aimed at his head, bring focus to chaos for the Red River Warriors. Finn clashes his spear on his shield, and, at Ian's direction, the warriors form into a defensive formation - at least facing the direction of the enemy.

Jules takes a good sized rock from his little stash that he had built up, before all the chaos happens, he takes a quick swig from his Toska Premium Aged Rum - 989 AR. The moment that swig is done he prepares to throw the rock at the first target he sees. While he's preparing that throw he says, "Lord Ian, if you want, I have Laurent honey if you want me to try to set them or any place on fire." The man's on edge though, not enough alcohol in him quite yet but perhaps as the battle carries on he'll get a bit more relaxed.

Mikani checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.

Mikani checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 6 higher.

Jules checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 4 higher.

Mikani is hiding behind the boulder where Ian left her. Yet that doesn't mean she can't help out. She pulls her dagger and throws it at a bearded warrior. Her aim is true and finds its home in the man's neck making him drop to the ground gurgling on his own blood.

Rukhnis checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 30, rolling 33 higher.

They don't have to be good. Ian's not asking for good. They just have to not run away and not fall over the moment they see blood. "I'd rather not deal with a grass fire right now," he calls back to Jules as he draws the alaricite sword out of his cane. Oh, except now there's probably a grass fire.

Rukhnis catches the scarf reflexively when Ian tosses it to her, and only once it's in her hand does she subject the weird smelly length of fabric to a brief stare of nose-wrinkled bemusement. But only for the briefest moment, as other concerns are rather more pressing just now. Shoving the scarf in her satchel (for safekeeping?) she breaks back into a run headed for the bouldery refuge where Rowenova has brought the grievously wounded Arcadia. An arrow flies her way, but somehow she manages to execute a fluid dodge like a gliding dance step, and it misses her eye by a fraction of an inch.

Practically in the same motion, she ducks behind the boulders and drops to her knees beside the countess, eyes sharp and bright. She checks Arcadia over carefully but still quickly, assessing the broad scope of the damage before going into details. The diagnosis seems to be that she's been shot full of arrows! But Rukhnis doesn't try to remove any of them just now; all she does is give each of them a gentle wiggle to test whether they've impacted bone or not, and then she's pulling out bandages and moss, salve and sponge, and preparing to staunch the bleeding.

Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 10, rolling 120 higher. Ian rolled a critical!

Jules has the full skill of a skilled twelve year old full time rock thrower. As the rock flies, chance would happen to allow the rock to glide behind the shield wall. That rock happens to bean one of the archers in the head. That archer happens to shoot one of his own men in the back. This my friends, is not luck, this is what happens with a full training session with Princess Reese.

Blacktongue checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 15, rolling 14 higher. Blacktongue rolled a critical!

Oili checked mana + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 6 higher.

The alaricite blade sings free from the wooden body of the cane as the warriors close in and... What happens next is honestly hard to see because of how fast it happens. Ian kills the first person as part of the draw of his sword, dealing a brutal slash to the man's face, and as he brings the sword around, slices through someone's abdomen, sidesteps a swung ax, and pretty as you please runs through the person who swung it. It only takes a few seconds, but by the end, neither Arcadia nor Rowanova are the bloodiest people here. He lifts his other hand, pointing with the haft of his cane at the hill. "YOUR MEN ARE DYING WHILE YOU COWER, FEATHERS!" In case anyone wanted to know what happened to the shaman... yeah, he's over there. Also, lung capacity.

Mikani checked mana + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 11 higher.

Rowenova checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 24 higher.

Blacktongue is usually about either causing horrible things to happen with poison not being a healer. However knowing ways in which the body breaks, coupled with the fact that the difference between poison and medication is often a matter only of dosage? Lets Blacktongue fake being a healer remarkably well. The worst of the wounded Red River warriors made stable and Rukhnis assisted on Arcadia's injuries as well.

Ian checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 16 higher.

Jules checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 11 higher.

Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.

Ian checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 32 higher.

Not far from Ian, Nova has her bow out and looks like she might be delaying, but no wait! She suddenly spots her intended target and draws back the bow string before letting the arrow fly for one of the beefier of their foes. Right through the abdomen the arrowhead sinks with a sick noise, and the stout one pitches forward, bending over the arrow that entered his body.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + medium wpn(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 35 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + medium wpn(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + medium wpn(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + medium wpn(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 20 higher.

Rowenova checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 12 higher.

60 inflicted and Ian is unharmed.

55 inflicted and Ian is unharmed.

60 inflicted and Ian is unharmed.

Rukhnis is intensely focused on the task at hand now, enough so that the battle a short ways away might as well not even exist. It does come to her awareness, though, that Blacktongue is making use of some medical skill himself, which means -- hooray! -- she has a healing aide to boss around. Making a sharp beckoning gesture to him with one hand but without ever fully taking her gaze off Arcadia, she tells him, "Here, help keep her limbs and the arrows still while I trim the shafts down so that I may bandage around them."

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 13 higher.

Oili follows Rowenova back towards the rock, but as she goes to round the corner and arrow sinks into her shoulder. She doesn't finish the journey. Hey eyes seem to be somewhere else entirely as she drops to the ground, curling towards the ground, hands pulled inward. Blood is starting to leak down the apothecary robe she's wearing as she starts to mutter something under her breath. She rocks back and forth and finally she yells something about the spirits inflicting the pain of time. The only answer is the sound of more death. Her forehead touchs the ground.

Jules checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 3 lower.

45 inflicted and Jules is harmed for severe damage.

Mikani tried to call out to the spirits again. They still weren't here. Instead she is met with the feel of blood magic. She vomits as the whole thing makes her ill. Or was it what was in the cave.

Rowenova's arrows skins into the blood feathered traitor to shamanic ways that seems to lead the enemies ranks. Though the other warriors are too deep in the battle frenzy to notice, the feather clad leader, struggles to rise to his knees with a crazed look in his eyes.

Jules remains quite pleased with himself for a bit too long and reaches to take another drink from his bottle. He sees the volley of arrows coming his way at that point and drops the bottle to try to dive out of the way. Flesh is a funny thing, it seems so flexible but the moment that first tear forms in the skin, it parts ways with a gentle ease to allow full access to the meat of the body. Jules thigh has greeted an arrow with a warm embrace as a friend, the tears of that embrace are a dark red. The man falls to the ground and cries out in pain but oddly, he recovers rather swiftly and takes another of his rocks to fling at the shaman that Ian has pointed to earlier.

Jules checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 35, rolling 5 higher.

Ian checked command + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.

Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 35 higher.

A press of people are surrounding Ian, making it hard to tell exactly what's going on in the middle of the crowd, but none of the screaming is coming from him, and it's a fair bet that arterial spray isn't his, either. Every now and again he can be seen 'dodging' hits by hauling would-be attackers around to use as human shields.

After letting out a mournful bay, Sir Floppington joins the fray, doing so to help safeguard the medic boulder and help out Ian, too. A bite here and a bite there, and a few who are still up are left gimping around and most likely soon to be felled by the Lord's sword.

Oili checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

After some time, Oili seems to gather her senses again. Taking stock of where she is as the battle rages around behind them, she pushes herself off the ground and staggers forward towards Rukhnis to help with Arcadia. No words shared before she staggers off and after the rest of the Red River Warriors who are writhing on the ground. Now the worst of their wounds are sealed with a poultice made from the forest. Even if she's bothered by the land and doesn't feel at home here, she still does her duties as required.

Rowenova checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 50, rolling 9 lower.

As Blacktongue and Oili attend to the Red River warriors who had been seriously injured in the initial assault, four of the wounded rise again and rush the enemy, widening the wholes in the enemies line.

Mayhaps, a bit cocky here. Nova sets up not only one but TWO arrows in her recurve bow and deftly draws with both points aimed directly for the crazy-looking person on the other side. She certainly wanted those somewhere special, but the wind must have kicked up just slightly there, and her whole aim goes awry!

Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.

Jules checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 5 lower.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + medium wpn(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 27 higher.

Rysen GM Roll checked dex(4) + medium wpn(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 13 higher.

65 inflicted and Ian is unharmed.

65 inflicted and Ian is unharmed.

65 inflicted and Ian is unharmed.

Jules, the Rock as he will certainly be known after this, throws his next rock directly at the shaman. When the rock flies, it flies true and strong. As the rock flies, Jules watches it strike the shaman's shoulder. If there's one thing we've learned, these guys can't take a hit because Jules' has enough force to cause that shaman to stumble and drop a large uncut ruby. Jules' eyes go wide with the sight of that deliciously stunning large red stone and the first words out of his mouth yell out, "Dibs!" Forgetting what they're even doing there in that moment and forgetting the fact that other people around them are shooting and certainly it would have been better for the man to pay attention to the battle before laying claim to things he wouldn't be allowed to keep no matter the result of this battle.

50 inflicted and Jules is harmed for severe damage.

Jules checked stamina, willpower + survival at difficulty 50, rolling 33 lower.

Jules checked stamina, willpower + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 20 higher.

Jules remains alive, but close to death.

Jules is incapacitated and falls unconscious.

Mikani checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.

Dibs, the magical word to lay claim to anything to the person who says it first. Jules had laid claim to the ruby but what savage would let that stand!? Not these savages, they are the worst type who do not honor the rule of dibs. A long-haired savage drives his spear into Jules' chest. If there's one thing that is accepting of anything, it is Jules' heart. Yes, Jules even accepted the thing that moves to destroy him. He crumples to the ground, not like a sack of potatoes but like a sack of rocks because this man is the rock (thrower.)

Mikani growls as she spots the shaman. The spirits aren't answering and there is too much blood. So she throws her one of her axes at the shaman. She smiles as it sinks into his head sending him hurtling backwards. With him gone maybe the taint would leave as well.

Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 21 higher.

Oili checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 20, rolling 5 higher.

Arcadia is not in good shape. Those arrows have done their share of damage, though at least not enough to kill the woman right here and now. But still, there's no lack of work to be done on the woman, and none of it is work that Rukhnis is going to be rushing through. It's only when the physician looks up from trimming arrow shafts, bandaging wounds, and working out one arrow awkwardly lodged in the countess's shoulder that she cautiously peers out from behind the boulders and sees Jules lying on the ground after having been speared by a long-haired savage. She hisses softly between her teeth, looking frustrated and stymied for a moment, but then when Oili begins to drive the enemy back with her arrows, the Eurusi woman quickly jumps up and darts out to Jules, crouching down again next to him in turn. He doesn't look good. But that's never stopped Rukhnis before, and it doesn't look like it will now either.

Rukhnis checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 30, rolling 35 higher.

Anchored by Ian and his amazing (extremely blood soaked) armor, the line of red river warriors is pushing forward, breaking up the attackers as their confidence grows. Somehow, Ian can see enough of what's happening immediately around himself to occasionally shout orders that keep the inexperienced warriors from accidentally making holes in their own line and/or stabbing each other, but beyond this immediate battle, he's probably not aware of much that's going on. Someone else falls at his feet, writhing. Ian's not going for kill shots, just looking to disable as many people as he can as fast as he can, before moving onto the next. There's a brutal clinicality to it.

Oili stands up and brushes her hands off after the work. From the battle she hears her favorite crovane make a death kneel, a spear pushed through his heart leaving him on the ground. She pulls the bow around and off her back as she walks by Rukhnis. "You want to go get Jules?" Oili doesn't wait for an answer as she stands in front of the stone that was providing cover, with wounded shoulder, arrow sticking straight out, and begins to loose arrows at savages circling the body as quickly as she can circumstances withstanding.

"For Heber!" roars Finn, as the enemy line begins to break. Colin, Heber's brother, stabs a warrior who turned his back next to Ian. "Finn, the heart!" he shouts, pointing to the uncut ruby near the corpse of the fallen shaman with Mikani's axe still buried in his skull.

With her bow still out, Nova readies yet another arrow as she steps sideways, doing so with a purposeful stride until she is somewhere she can intercept any attacks which might try to get at Oili or Rukhnis. Meanwhile, she lets fly another arrow, especially if anyone tried attacking Sir Flop... they are gonna get it!

Mikani looks over at Finn. "I will cover you as you get the ruby."

Mikani is ready to throw any of her other axes, hairpins or what not to take out any but Finn that would go after the heart.

Finn nods to Mikani, and notices a one of the enemy archers kneel down to take the heart. Sorcha's son launches his spear, and strikes the archer's leg. She scrambles to get up, wrestling with Finn for control of the ruby.

Mikani checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 67 higher. Mikani rolled a critical!

Rukhnis is getting to be just about as bloody as the fighters by this point. Minor injuries aside, the spear wound to Jules's chest is a grievous one and is furnishing an abundance of crimson gore that the man himself would likely be appalled to see on any other occasion, but luckily for him he's past noticing it now. Also luckily for him, the spear doesn't seem to have actually gone straight through his heart, as he is still alive -- barely. That being the case, Rukhnis is kept extremely busy applying a massive amount of moss to pack the wound along with an equally diverse array of sponges, bandages, and other absorptive materials. She doesn't even seem to notice the arrows flying every which way all around and over her.

Mikani watches as Finn gets the ruby. Though the moment the archer stands and raises a dagger to stab Finn in the back, Mikani shouts a battle cry in Northern Shav as she launches her other axe at the archer. "The Heart is of the Red River People." Mika stands on top of the rock like a badass as the others flee. Her way of saying that they better not cross her.

After letting fly another arrow which ultimately kneecaps the last person who tried kicking Sir Floppington out here, Nova pipes up. "That's right!" after Mikani's words!

Oili maintains vigil over Rukhnis for as long as she needs. The few stragglers left that think they can get a quick kill for their merits is wrong. They just end up with arrows in them. There's a large sigh of relief when they get the heart back. "Great! I'm glad they got the heart back."

The enemy army begins to break up, and if there are some of the enthusiastic red river warriors who chase them off at a run, Ian isn't one of them. He falls back closer to the boulder, totally to protect the healers and those being healed and not because he really wants to just lean up against something for a while. He's spattered all over with blood, none of it his, and bits of people's insides, also none of them his. He looks surprisingly okay with this. Maybe he's just tired, but he looks calmer than he has since the trip started.

Although she has no bits and pieces which could become kibble all over her, the Scout Rowenova is pretty bloody, too. Not as bloody as Ian is, but still bloody. It all clings to all that fur, making a matted mess of her. She finally slings her bow behind her once more and then wolfishly grins. "Well done, My Lord." says she before she heads out to help pick up warrior people who have been felled by their former foes.

Mikani tries to not get in the way as Rukhnis and other healers work on Jules. Mika doesn't let herself be seen until she has other stuff done. The world needed to be healed. She could cry over Jules later. She could let Jules scream at her later. So she does what she knows will work. She helps Finn take the Heart to the Sacred Cavern to perform a cleansing ritual to allow the spirits to come back. Allow the Red River peoples to be reunited with their spirits of fire and earth..

With the enemy in full retreat, a shout goes up from the Red River warriors. Finn comes to Ian, and thanks the lord for his leadership, and entrusts the Heart to the shaman Oili to return to his mother. After the party returns to Sorcha with the warband, a long night of feasting followed by the deep sleep born of exhaustion leads to the clan making their way to the Throat of the World to return the Heart of the Earth to the altar, after it has been thoroughly cleansed.

Ian tugs a cloth out of an inner pocket of his coat, where it has been kept mostly blood-free, and goes about cleaning his sword while he leans all his weight on the boulder, watching the last knots of combat clear up. He knows a few of these people now, not the least of them Finn, and he hands out the occasional understated compliment as the group returns to the village.

Oili lets her bow fall and then uses one hand to swing it around her one good shoulder. The other shoulder she rubs at it. It's tender, but she can't stop working now. She joins up with Mikani and the red river warriors. A nod is leveled at Mikani. "Now we have to clean the other mess up." She doesn't clarify, but Mikani probably knows.

After making sure Sir Flop is A okay, Nova gently pets him. When time permits, they will both clean up, doing so during the taint cleansing.

Jules wakes up.



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