Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (We Know Where Mackey Lives)

Gaven says:  "I think we should go east, we know that is where Mackey resides." The cleric steps up to lead the way with his shield and spear, keeping a sharp eye out for traps.

Duran agrees with Gaven and draws an arrow, notching it as he prepares to follow Gaven.

"Let's move on then," concurs Oloc. "Maybe we will not have any need for the reinforcements after all!" The Mage then draws two daggers and readies himself for what may come. He falls in line behind the other party members.

Agreeing with the others, Varros readies his bow and proceeds along with them.

Ignoring the passage to the north, you make your way stealthily down the tunnel to the east. Gaven spies no traps, and you arrive without incident at another cavern with a few bits of rubble, small stones, and dust scattered around the floor. The air is not as damp and cool as it was when you were near the pool.

There are no signs that this chamber is used for anything more than a passageway. You can see multiple lines of footprints in the dust, running back and forth from the cavern entrance where you are standing to an exit in the northeast of the area. The outgoing tunnel at that exit appears to run due north.

You notice again the faintest glow of torch or firelight coming in through the far exit, and you can barely perceive the sound of voices coming from off in the distance in that direction. You cannot make out the sense of the conversation due to the distance and distortion of echoes. But based on what you can hear of intonation and voicing, they do sound human.

The Red Arrow indicates the Free Company's current location and direction of movement.


OOC: Actions?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (Toward the Light)

"What say you," whispers Oloc to the rest of the party. "Likely there are more bandits around the bend from where the light comes. Should we move up and try and surprise them or should we examine the hole in the rubble here first?"

"I would hazard a guess that this hole in the wall is for Mackeys pet snake," says Duran quietly. Perhaps we should plug the hole before moving on so nothing comes out behind us."

Looking around, you see plenty of loose rock at the base of the rubble-fall to use to block up the hole.

Upon Duran's mention of the snake, Gaven turns to the porters and Stan and says, "let us see if we can find and catch some vermin to distract the snake."

While Duran picks out a few likely rocks, Gaven and Stan quickly set a small trap with the cleric's sack, baited with rations, to catch a rat or two. Karnak seems to realize what Gaven and Stan are doing, and he flies off into the shadows, returning quickly with two small live rats, one in each talon. A moment later Gaven's trap pays off, and one more rat – a bit larger than Karnak's is caught.

The rats are quickly tossed up into the hole to distract the snake, while Duran and Varros heft a few of the larger rocks up to the opening, jamming them forcefully into place. In a matter of seconds, the hole is thoroughly blocked up. It would take quite a bit of strength to move the rocks out again. Certainly it could never be done quickly or quietly, so you are quite confident you will not be surprised from that direction. Anyone or anything trying to get through the hole now will make more than enough noise to give you adequate warning to react.

With the hole blockaded, the party creeps up to the illuminated opening leading to the cavern to the west, as Oloc suggested. The porters extinguish the torches so as to not give away the party's approach. You make almost no noise, but straining your ears as you close in, you hear nothing either. Oloc, as the lightest armored, is the first to peer round the corner into the room, ready to signal for a charge depending on what he sees.

However, the mage quickly signals instead to relax, and waves you forward to join him at the corner.

The cave appears to be a barracks. It is lit by torches jammed into crevices in the walls. Numerous blankets and bedrolls are strewn about the floor. There are several rucksacks, backpacks and pouches scattered about among the blankets and bedrolls, as well as a dozen unused torches leaning here and there against the cavern walls. But there are no bandits within.

There are two other openings in the cavern, other than the one in which you are standing. The first is to the north, the second to the east.  Each is about 20-30' wide.


OOC: Actions?

The time is now 4:20 p.m.

The reinforcements Alanna sent should arrive around 6:00 p.m., give or take, just as a reminder.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (The North Tunnel)

Oloc says; "I don't think we can stay here unnoticed for long. My suggestion would be that we push forward as fast as we can, perhaps trying our luck to the north."

The Mage then points to the pile of rock and rubble along the side of the passage. "I think maybe we should be wary of those stones. Perhaps it is another trap? Let us scan the floor very carefully for any wires or other devices."

Gaven agrees with Oloc, but says, "if there is time later, I would like to investigate that dead end."

Duran will follow the others' lead, keeping his bow at the ready in case of any trouble. He hands torches to the porters before leaving the light of the campfire.

Meanwhile, Varros follows Duran's lead on the opposite side.

Swede, who seems to be untroubled by his transition from leader to follower, loads his crossbow and makes ready to move up with the group.

Having recovered Ollie's equipment, Gaven grabs the 10 foot pole and takes the lead as the group explores to the north. The cleric prods the ground and area around the rubble from a safe distance before continuing forward. He keeps a sharp eye out for traps on the ground, walls and ceiling.

Gaven finds no traps, but approaching the pile of rubble along the west wall, he notes an opening in the pile, just over head-high to a man, round, and just wide enough to comfortably crawl through.

It appears as though perhaps someone or something had cleared away the rubble to make a small passage through it to what appears to be an open space beyond.

This much you can tell standing on your toes. More than that you cannot determine without someone clambering up on the pile to take a closer look. The pile is steep, but not so steep it couldn't be climbed with little risk.

The tunnel you are in is very wide, easily 20' across, and after going north past the rubble it curves to the east, where it opens into what looks like another cavern, illuminated by torchlight from within.


OOC: Actions?

Wow, I can't believe I actually got in an XP trivia stumper there.  :-)

"Momma, Look Sharp" is from the musical 1776 which the Maryland Public School system decided we needed to watch over and over again (at least once annually) in the years of and following the American bicentennial.

And of course, even at that tender age, being the history geek that I am, I thoroughly enjoyed it each and every time, though I can't say the same for my classmates.

"Momma, Look Sharp" was a song about a young soldier calling to his mother as he lay dying, hidden in the tall grass of the battlefield:

One of those strange things where the song started buzzing round my head while I was writing in the dying bandit.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday, 12 July 1280, Afternoon (Momma, Look Sharp)

After being certain that Ollie is okay, the Mage asks the others to tend to the boy after he is brought around. He then turns his attention to the dying lad.

Oloc tries to do what he can to save the boy's life, although it looks to him like it may be a lost cause. The young bandit has lost too much blood, and his skin is already pale and cold. Still Oloc tries to ease his suffering. He tells the lad that he will make to see his mother.

Gaven aids Oloc in taking care of the boy. He rips up some more of his cloak to try to bind the wound. It seems however that Oloc's assessment is right. The bleeding just won't stop.

Gaven asks the boy his name and tries to keep him talking by asking him questions about how he was hurt and about the bandits and Mackey and about his mother.

The dying bandit doesn't say much, and a lot of what he does say becomes rather incoherent. You are, however, able to piece together this much by connecting the fragmented statements with the physical evidence you've seen.

The young bandit heard the commotion of the fight and went out to investigate. He tried to snatch Ollie as the latter made his break from Swede. The bandit overpowered the hireling and dragged him back to the cave but, coming over the rubble at the entrance, Ollie must have grabbed a fragment of stone and resumed struggling. Ollie stabbed his captor in the leg, giving him the wound you now see. The bandit knocked Ollie out before he himself fell to the ground. He tried to drag himself toward Mackey and the bodyguards, but he couldn't make it, and managed to get only to where you found him.

When Gaven asks about Mackey, the boy just says he's sorry, he tried, that he hopes Mackey won't be too mad with him. "Tell Mackey I tried, I tried."

When Gaven asks the boy about his his mother, the youth sobs some more, and says something about Yuletide, and cookies, and mumbles "I'll go to the forest mum, and get you the best tree ever..." With a final intake of breath, the young lad expires.

Gaven says a prayer in the boy's name.

While Oloc tends to the boy Duran restarts the fire in order to shed some more light into the cave. He keeps his bow close and is ready to react should any enemies come in sight. He gets the fire relit with no problem. It makes surprisingly little smoke, and sheds enough light to keep the entire area illuminated.*

Varros keeps a watchful eye over Duran as he goes about his work, his bow at the ready. Varros motions to Swede to keep focused on the corridor the air is coming from while he keeps watch on the other.

Swede nods in agreement, and positions himself at the entrance indicated by Varros.

Varros, looking north, can see a twenty-foot-wide tunnel that extends north, and then curves east. Some feet up the tunnel, along the west wall, is a pile of rock and rubble that reaches almost up to the ceiling some fifteen feet or so high. Apart from this nothing else can be seen without moving further up the corridor with a torch.

Once his prayer is done, Gaven suggests that the party check out the area with the pool of water to make sure nobody will be able to come at the company from behind.

The party follows Gaven's advice and moves past Swede's position, into the eastward tunnel. The tunnel shortly opens out into another cavern, this one about seventy feet across, with a large forty- to fifty-foot-wide pool of water in the center. The water appears clear and dark, but unmuddied, as you might expect in a stony cave.

The rocky floor around the pool is fairly smooth, hard, wet and slippery. On the slick north bank, you see a waterskin abandoned on the ground. Closer inspection reveals that the skin has a hole torn in it, and was likely just tossed aside as useless.

Around to the southwest of the cavern is a small stump of a tunnel, which extends about forty feet before coming to a dead end.

 One square equals ten feet. The party is in the room with the pool.


OOC: Actions?

Time is 3:30 p.m.

*I assumed that your sweep with the torch earlier was complete and that you had seen everything there is to see, so no new detail becomes apparent. However the firelight does have the benefit of keeping the entire cavern visibile continuously, unlike the torch.

25 XP Bonus for the first person to name the source of the "Momma, Look Sharp" reference. :)