EE1: Stonekeep - Teardrops part 2
Sept. 8, 2020, 9:30 p.m.
Outside Arx - Lyceum near The Roseward - Edge of the Roseward - Volkov Forest
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EE1: Stonekeep - Teardrops part 2 has started at Outside Arx - Lyceum near The Roseward - Edge of the Roseward - Volkov Forest.
As the group goes off the trail, to follow where the scout disappeared to, upon reaching the fork Svoli looks them both over. Noting the blood and what seems less movement to the left. Svoli looks over the path a bit more to see if any further information can be gleaned from it. "I'm thinking the left could be the scout. But I couldn't say for sure." She says with a shrug, looking to Dante and Daria, both, to see what they think as well.
Daria casts a glance to Svoli and Dante. "It could be they were attacked," she says, but looks towards the right path a bit oddly. "But then, I'm not sure why the ones who went this way didn't continue to follow them. Could've followed the blood trail on the ground. Why go the other way?"
"Perhaps they're heading back to the Keep, for some reason?" Angelo offers. "They may not have trackers. The scout could even have killed theirs, or they're in a hurry for some other reason."
Here, perhaps, Lora will side with Angelo. There's a little tilt of her head at him. "Perhaps they are headed to the Stonekeep, to raise some sort of alarm. I imagine they did not expect to be set upon like they were."
Daria nods. "That could be," she says. There's a motion to the left path. "I can run ahead and see what I can find a bit further along?" she suggests.
So, Brigid who is merely quietly moving along would have decided to cast her lot in that Stonekeep may have been the direction, especially if it's a place easily fortified and ripe for an ambush. Then again, the Moore is merely here to back up any decisions that might be made and glances to Daria, "That sounds like a good idea but I'd be careful and try to remain off the road itself, something tells me they may be waiting for us to trudge along it."
The reddish-haired prodigal scouts ahead taking Brigid's advice. She disappears sticking to the grassy areas where she isn't as noticeable (it still helps she's wearing green which makes her blend well) and doesn't return until a few minutes later. The news she carries back with her isn't good. "Dead," she says with a sigh. "It looks like they shot arrows at him. Someone attacked him directly and he may have killed this one before he died." She lowers her head with respect momentarily. "There's a tower up ahead. North atop a hill. Couldn't see beyond it." She points in this direction. "And, I'm not completely sure of this, but there might be villages nearby, too."
"The Stonekeep sounds like a logical place for them to head to after being attacked without expecting it. I agree - we ought to head that way," Dante says after listening to the rest, and Daria's news seems to confirm it once she returns with that grim information. "Right then, let's do so carefully and head towards the tower. Unless anyone thinks we should check the villages out first?"
That seems to settle it, then. Lora draws her cloak tight around herself, as if to fend off some of the damp chill, and is content to wait until the ranger returns. Upon receipt of news that the other scout is truly dead she closes her eyes, bowing her head for a beat, before straightening up. "No," she decides. "If there are nearby villages, they are likely allied with these Lamenters. We'll find no friends. Only a burden for another day. Perhaps in actual daylight. You know the path?" The last question is for Daria, full of expectation.
Daria nods to Lora. "I think so, but I couldn't get a good view of the base of the tower. We should be cautious approaching. Not sure who's up there now, or on the lookout." Still, she gets ready to plod up the road again.
Dante checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 35, rolling 5 higher.
Daria checked perception + survival at difficulty 50, rolling 12 higher.
Daria checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 40, rolling 16 lower.
Brigid checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 35, rolling 21 lower.
Lora checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 35, rolling 0 higher. Lora rolled a critical!
Making the trek to the actual Stonekeep is easy enough; it is a well maintained dirt road, fanning out to the many villages, from the hub that is the massive but decrepit aforementioned fortification.
Just as they start to get closer to it, they come across what seems to be a gathering of at least thirty individuals, some wearing the distinctive plate armor of the combatants they've met previously, and others wearing robes and other clothes in black. Thirteen men, clad only in trousers, are kneeling down before someone wearing red robes in contrast to all the black. A grim-faced woman presents said red robed man with thirteen silver-braided whips, each given to the men. Something is spoken in Lycene shav as they lift their whips and start to scourge themselves violently, their heads bowed but their bodies shaking in nerve-wracking pain.
About this time, the group accidentally rustles some leaves, drawing the attention of the patrol in attendance to this 'ceremony'. The five men turn, spreading about, and somehow come short of actually detecting the DiFidante entourage.
it has a well maintained*
Dante checked command + war at difficulty 35, rolling 15 higher.
Brigid checked command + war at difficulty 35, rolling 1 lower.
Chewing on his lower lip as they're nearly spotted by the patrol, Dante grinds his teeth after watching the ceremony up ahead - and more importantly, the amount of black clad soldiers. "Our odds are pretty miserable here...perhaps we ought to go check those villages before launching an attack on Stonekeep itself. Just in case we can find others who may wish to join us on it. Or really, anything that could help - like an entrance underground."
It was a miracle to be sure, that they go undetected given Brigid's rustle of a few leaves but then again she was in full armor. There is a quiet brandishing of Canon, bright eyes focused on the horrid picture painted. Zealots! "I can maybe appeal to their honor? Issue a challenge as a Knight of Gild." This was murmured low enough that it hopefully goes unnoticed among the cries of wincing and pain with the scourging.
Lora checked composure + performance at difficulty 55, rolling 6 lower.
Amund has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 2
Daria is plainly mesmerized by some of this stuff going on, and doesn't realize there's branches and leaves underfoot until something snaps. She winces and drops closer to the ground, pushing curls of hair back out of her eyes. There's a glance to Dante and Brigid and slow nod to Dante. "Maybe," she says. "But then also -- they could just turn us over to them."
It IS a miracle that Lora manages to be as quiet as she does. Perhaps it's the new leather armor? Either way she trails along behind, creeping up until she too can get a good view of what's going on. She watches for a couple of moments, holding her breath - and even if she maybe has no idea specifically what they are doing, the generalities are enough to make her let that breath out, eventually, in a little hiss of breath. She goes very still when the guards turn to become more alert, then shakes her head. "If we go to the villages, they'll just... have more villagers. These men with the scourges are likely not tremendous warriors. I'll see if I can distract them." And she's going to do exactly that, creeping a few paces off and murmuring, "You lot, did you see the commander come through here?" But not really loudly enough for them to properly hear it.
Brigid checked intellect + theology at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.
Indeed, for now, Lora's attempt falls flat, but it also goes undetected.
The ceremony takes on a bizarre element as the first couple of flagellants just collapse forward, bloodied and unconscious. They are carried away from the ceremony while it continues, undeterred. The whips they used are strained so that their blood is placed into a clay cup, which is then shattered.
Some villagers approach, attending to this profane ritual, but the guardsmen winging this group bears the livery of the Lamenters.
Something glints from the tower of the Stonekeep, the blue glow brief but eyecatching.
Daria makes some kind of strangled noise when Lora pops out of hiding and tries to get attention from the congregants. There's a grunt mixed with some other shav thing to say when one has just been put on high alert and she is sighting the closest patrolman with her bow. Fortunately, they are much too absorbed in what they're doing, and they continue their ritual undeterred.
Brigid checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 3 lower.
That shimmering spark from the tower catches Brigid's eye as well, glancing towards the despicable cabal before them and then looking around for any sign of a possible road or path leading in. For now, the Dame of Solace hunkers down to see if waiting this out might be the answer, "Might try to scout around to see if there is another way in? There is something in the tower giving off a glow."
"They will eventually run out of supplicants," Lora observes, after the first few have dropped from bloodloss and pain. She's clearly disturbed by this, sitting still something of an act of willpower on her part, like enduring it is not something she cares to bear even if she isn't the one flailing herself. "We could wait. We could.. interrupt them. Most of them don't look like they're in any condition to fight, now. On the other hand there might be more coming; maybe we should just... leave them. Come back and deal with them properly." By which she's probably referring to bringing an army. Details.
Kneeling and watching the whole display plus the flash up top the tower, Dante sighs and nods slowly at Brigid and Daria. "Yes, we probably should do that, Scout around and see if we can find some way in or anything helpful at all." Lora's suggestion is met with a frown, "If we can't find anything, then yes - likely we may need to do that."
Daria peers towards what Brigid calls attention to. "It has to be camp light. They have a fire lit atop the tower, maybe?" She's not entirely certain, but refocuses on the group in front of them. At Brigid's and Dante's words concerning searching around the structure, she nods.
The light catches Lora's gaze too, distracting her from the horror in front of them. Really and truly. In fact she tilts her head a little as if trying to catch a clearer bit of something just barely audible, a birdlike little tip that fixes her gaze on the tower. Whatever her impression is maybe isn't worth sharing. She only frowns though, and looks between the others, and as the notion comes to scout further ahead she looks to Daria again.
Daria checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 10, rolling 15 higher.
Daria checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 21 higher.
Brigid checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 10, rolling 6 higher. Brigid rolled a critical!
Lora checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 10, rolling 3 higher.
Dante checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 10, rolling 30 higher.
Daria leads the group carefully, using the distraction being provided by the still ongoing ritual to cover their movements. It's a bit rough going as it forces them a bit more into the trees and bushes, but the prodigal is determined to get them safely around any other surprises. Eventually, they wind up finding another route that leads them around the tower.
The tallest part of the settlement is plainly visible from this side. There are few men roaming the ramparts, the garrison apparently focusing on the spectacle taking place just outside the opposite end of the fortifications.
From here, that blue glint is also visible, if one pays careful attention to the window of the tower. With the curtains billowing open after a gust of wind, one can catch a glimpse of a pale harp with bright blue strings. Each of those strings seems to catch the light of the sun and reflect a cerulean blue color in its stead, until a moving cloud obscures this effect.
From this vantage, a crack in the wall can also be spotted, one that is being patched, but it seems as though the work has stopped. Certainly, a group could infiltrate that area with a better and greater distraction.
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