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 Asthera Land of Magic

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rpannier
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PostSubject: Re: Asthera Land of Magic   Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:23 am

The path is mostly mud, the rain from last evening washed away most of the gravel and rock. It's a fairly short walk to the tree-line and once in the trees the light of the moon dims and scant light is left.
It would be easy to get lost in these wood were the trail not beaten down from use. There are patches where the grass has reclaimed part of the once wide and often used road. But it's not enough growth to hide the trail.

The sounds of the night vary: The sounds from the bay can be heard, dimming little-by-little as the party walks deeper into the woods. The wind rustles the plants and trees. Some animals are out now. The lead member(s) of the party spot a couple of snakes retreating to their homes in the ground. The owls and other night denizens scurry for safety, watch the party move down the trail and return to what they were doing once gone.

For Ventora and Arroun only: You feel as if you are being watched. Arroun is more aware of it and certain than Ventora. And you are being watched.
At this point you can't detect where or who is watching.
The feeling twitches and pricks at Arroun's nose and fur.
For Ventora is more aggravating as it's impossible to tell if it's a person, people or what.
It's also (at this point) impossible to know if it involves magic.

For the rest of the group:
Honoka seems to always be in panic-worry mode, so any feelings about being watched are natural and don't cause any special sensations.

Lorraine is moving to quickly and with too much self-assurance to pick up or detect anything. Lorraine seems so certain of what lays ahead that if she is being watched, she'd miss it.

Amirriah is likely too distracted and too busy having to play mother to Honoka, baby sitter to Lorraine and nurse to Ventora to really notice that she is being watched.

GM notes: At this point no one in the group has the skills to detect or spot whatever may be following, watching or stalking them.
Throughout your rise to the cave and such, I will provide small bits of information that one, two or more characters will notice.
Please do not feel slighted if your character is not included in one or more of these 'sightings'. It's largely based on what you've been writing for your character, what else is happening around you and my own methodology (kind of similar to dice rolls for lack of a better description)

Once everyone has arrived at the marker you may not procede until I give you the description of what the road up the cliffs and to the cave are like.
I am planning on providing a map of sorts to give you a fuller understanding of what you see and how it is to get there
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FluxAscender
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PostSubject: Re: Asthera Land of Magic   Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:26 pm

Arroun took the appearance of the two men in stride, the tilt of his lips unchanged. It was hardly his place to speak for the others. He left his reaction to untangling himself from Honoka's grip, enough to nudge her behind himself until the men had moved on.

Ventora's condition when he finally arrived made his smile widen slightly. Things were definitely getting interesting. The two girls' discontent didn't go unnoticed, either. He chuckled at Lorraine's complaint. The girl's warnings of "sleepwalkers" might be complete nonsense, but she was right that the woods were dangerous. Summerset could no longer afford the rangers that had once patrolled the countryside near the city. Without their intervention, dangerous animals and strange beasts had begun to once again populate the darker portions of the ancient forest.

As they moved into the outskirts of the forest, Arroun slipped the tip of his tail around Honoka's wrist for a moment. Catching her attention, he tilted his head and rolled his eyes toward Amirriah with a broad grin, as if to say, "What can you do?"

As the daylight above faded from bright dapples on leaves, to a soft reddish glow, and finally to the silver of moonlight, dimmed to near blackness under the canopy of ancient trees. Instinctively, he began to lag behind the others. Something was out of place in the woods. For hours now, the young wildling had had the sensation of an itch between his shoulder blades. The sensation prickled like the cold edge of a knife being slowly dragged across his skin.

Ears swiveling constantly, he fell to the back of the group. The elf and the rogue were alert enough to spot anything that might attack te group before it could close, but this... Arroun needed to clear his nose of the smell of mage. Catching Honoka's eye, he put his finger to his lips, then slipped away from the group. Keeping the same pace, he veered off to the side of the path, silently slipping through woods brighter to his feline eyes than to the others. The pale trace of moonlight gave him all the light he needed, and his steps made no sound as he paralleled the group.

Stopping for a moment, he closed his eyes and let his ears swivel slowly, quivering as he scanned the forest, listening for the slightest sound out of place. Mice scurried through the leaf-litter, quietly going about their tiny lives. The night was warm enough that he could hear the scratch of claws on bark as the tiny lizards that populated the city's shingles here skittered up and down trees, searching for insects. The click of a bat's hunting call sounded above the silent flutter of leathery wings. From further off, the sound of a nighthawk's reedy mating call, and the distant cry of a true wildcat.

The forest fell silent at the soft sound of an owl's hoot, one of the great owls, whose wings carried death for all the smaller creatures of this forest. In the silence, the feeling of the itch between his shoulder blades grew worse, and Arroun crouched, slowly turning in place as he stared out into the woods.

Nothing is out of place. No step, no breath, no unexpected silence in the forest. And no scent... Arroun wrinkled his nose in frustration, growling softly to himself.

Lashing his tail, the young wildling moved on, crossing the trial behind the group and sacrificing silence for speed as he circled the group and moved ahead. Even so, his progress was quiet. The elf-girl might, perhaps, notice the silence that followed him as the creatures of the forest hushed at his passing, but no human ear would hear him. Reaching the path in front of the group, he stopped, waiting and listening, as still as a tree, until the others catch him up.
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PostSubject: Re: Asthera Land of Magic   Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:50 pm

"What can you do?" Arroun's voice caught Honoka's attention as his tail wrapped around her wrist. He wasn't speaking to her, it was meant for Amirriah. Honoka smiled a little. He seemed to actually care for her which is what she wanted. Ammirriah, Arroun and even Lorraine actually cared about her and it was a relief.
Into the woods they walked, Honoka staying with Arroun, watching everyone and everything. The animals scurried into the trees, their holes, between rocks anywhere for shelter and protection. She understood them. She had felt that way many times. She bore them no ill-will for being safe.
Though the trail was washed away in places, the trees still grew in ways, leaving the walkway there for them. Some branches hung low, but most grew in odd fashions as if they were supposed to leave the path clear.
The drops of water dripping on her head worried her. It was water, but what if something in the trees took advantage and dropped on her as well. Also, some of the animals in the tree might decide to leave her with a reminder on her head that they were angry they disturbed the animals.

The light dimmed quickly in the woods. She looked up at the sky. She could make out the light from the moon through the branches. It also seemed much cooler. The canopy of branches and leaves kept out not just most of the light, but the heat as well. The ground was wet, many puddles remained. To their left a pool of water covered an area of about 2'. It would be easy for a robber, a cut throat or the like to catch someone alone, kill them, taker everything and hide the body.

"Maybe that's what Lorraine meant by Sleepwalkers?" Honoka wondered. "Maybe the odd girl isn't that thatched in the head?" She felt some odd relief in that thought. Honoka didn't know this area at all except by reputation. The rest of the group did. If Lorraine was right about the 'Sleepwalkers', maybe she knew a lot more.

The walk seemed endless. Honoka stayed close to Arroun, never straying more that a foot or so from him at the same time keeping pace with Amirriah. She wanted to ask Lorraine about the Sleepwalkers, but Lorraine was too fast and she didn't want to appear both a coward and stupid if they were merely a legend.

She turned quickly, startled when Arroun's tail released her wrist. She looked wide-eyed in his direction, relieved he was alive. He motioned for her to shush and disappeared. Honoka rushed up to Amiirriah and stayed close, watching the side for signs of Arroun. She thought she spotted his silhouette, she hoped it was his and not someone elses.

The group slowed as the ground underneath got wetter and muddier. The water from last night's storm had left small pools of water. She was careful walking through, not to make noise. Honoka was pretty good at moving silently. She wanted to go around them, but the sides of the road were also full of water as well.

When Lorraine was close enough to hear her, Honoka took the chance, "What are Sleepwalkers?" she whispered trying to be as quiet as possible.
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PostSubject: Re: Asthera Land of Magic   Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:33 pm

Lorraine giggled very softly, "We're about to see one 'cause it makes the half way...and there it is!"

Along the side of the path was a trunk, sitting upon it a cat, "There it is, we're almost there!"

Closer inspection of the cat, however revealed eyes long rotted away, flesh dried to paper, bones bleached white were visible.

The cat turned its head, with a soft voice that seamed to come from another dimension it quietly meowed.

Grinning a Cheshire smile Lorraine laughed some more, "Now normally me and Arroun could smell these guys a mile away but the forest is so chalked full of them it's just background now!"

Taking a proud stance she said, "See my master get's guests, they sleep, and he wakes them up! But some times they don't wake up right; and that's why I call them sleep walkers! He's the best narcolepsy mage of them all! And don't you forget it!"
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PostSubject: Re: Asthera Land of Magic   Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:54 pm

Amirriah had watched Loraine bolt into the trees with a small sigh, having given up on keeping the flighty girl close. She resorted to keeping tabs on here by her aura, keeping a close eye for any sighs of distress. When the group moved on she kept close to Ventora while Kollon was quietly following at the back, there more to look out for Amirriah than anything.

As the group delved deeper and deeper into the Forrest Amirriah would randomly search out for any unknown or unpleasant auras. Though she knew the forest well, it had been a while since she had gone so far from town, and at this hour. She was beginning to get a little paranoid when all she could sense were the usual animals and the group. It didn't help that Ventora and Arroun were clearly on edge. Then Arroun had to go off and canvass the surrounding forest, only adding to his and her frustration.

Finally catching up to an unharmed Lorraine had brought a small bit of relief. Amirriah had given her shoulder a light squeeze and a plea not run off again. And then the girl had to explain her "sleepwalkers" to Honoka while pointing at the cat-- the undead cat. Amirriah and Kollon visibly cringed at the sight of the wretched creature.

"Narcolepsy Mage" Lorraine had called her master. That's not narcolepsy... Amirriah thought, That's necromancy... A man trying to play god. She knew there was a reason she disliked the old hermit, besides his poison elixirs. Amirriah wanted to protest stopping anywhere near the monster who would do that to some poor cat and god knows what else, but she feared she would vomit as the smell of the decaying animal reached her.
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PostSubject: Re: Asthera Land of Magic   Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:21 pm

Arroun regarded the hollow-eyed cat with disgust. The smell of decay wasn't out of place in a forest, but up close, another smell underlay it. Arroun couldn't have described the other smell in any human tongue, and it made his nose wrinkle in revulsion. Unfortunately, it wasn't that unfamiliar. In the woods of the north, Arroun's people told tails of creatures that froze to death so quickly that they never knew they had died. The tails were never grandiose or exaggerated. In truth, most said the creatures they encountered were pitiful things, decayed and rotting, barely able to move. All agreed, best to simply destroy the poor things. Arroun slipped the knot of the thong wrapped around his wrist.

The sling he habitually wore unwound, dangling heavily as he squatted to pick and egg-sized stone from the path. Palming the lead ball he usually kept ready for use, he dropped the rock into the pouch. He hefted the sling once, then stepped forward. The leather cord *thrummed* as he whipped his hand back and then over, the sling multiplying his motion. The cord slipped from his fingers, and a sound like a giant hornet ended with a loud *thock* as the stone hit the trunk of the tree. The cat's head, in a line between sling and tree, simply disintegrated, small pieces pattering to the forest floor for several seconds after the cat's body dropped to the ground.

Slipping the lead ball back into the sling, the he gave the sling a small flip around his left wrist, then tied it snugly back into place. "Best dealt with quickly. Lorraine, I look forward to meeting your master." The young wildling's voice was devoid of any hint of emotion as he double-checked the knot, then resettled his bag over his shoulder. "Ventora, how much further to our stopping point? I'd like to have the girls under shelter tonight."
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PostSubject: Re: Asthera Land of Magic   Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:49 pm

Ventora looked at the cat in equal measures of interest and disgust, it's stench was strong now, and he reached his hand down to his sword. Before he could draw it, there was a loud thock and the cat's head was gone, Arroun was putting his sling away and Ventora gave him an approving look, before flicking his wrist and snapping at the rest of the cats body and causing it to catch on fire. He cursed Lorraine's master. 'Filthy unnatural abominations. He almost let his building rage loose on Lorraine before catching it and filing it away for later. He wasn't able to stop a half second glare, but was willing to bet she missed it.

He turned to Arroun. "It's another half an hour's walk from here to the first stop, a large clearing in the middle of the forest, it's not much shelter, but it's open. Unless we're up to make the trip to Lorraine's.... Master. Tonight, which would likely be unadavisable.." He felt like they weren't alone, he couldn't help but wonder if it was more of the undead things.. Or thugs following them. But it was a passing feeling at best so he let it go for now.

"We should get going. Now. Id like to be at least to the clearing before midnight. As after that it'll start getting too dark to continue." He looked at the rest of the group, hardly waiting for them to respond before he started walking, trying to dull the emotional spark his bit of fire magic caused. He was saving the rage, the fear, to use if they were attacked, the adrenaline rush they could cause could save his, or one of his companion's lives in the heat of a moment. He spoke quietly to himself. 'Necromancy, just what we needed...'

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The night is dark and full of terrors.

“Hurt spreads and grows and reaches out to break what’s good. Time heals all wounds, but often it’s only by the application of the grave, and while we live some hurts live with us, burning, making us twist and turn to escape them. And as we twist, we turn into other men.”

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PostSubject: Re: Asthera Land of Magic   Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:57 pm

Honoka watched and listened, not just to the discussion between Ventora and Arroun, but also to the sounds around - or rather, the non-sounds. The only sound around them were the leaves rustling from the wind. She didn't expect to hear anything from around them, but there didn't seem to be any sounds from anywhere.
She looked around, nothing. No birds, no squirrels, no rabbits, no snakes. The only thing she saw was the wind rustling the leaves. She couldn't see far up the road, but she was certain she should see a bird or a snake or something.

Honoka wondered if she should say anything. The group probably already thought she was paranoid or overly cautious. Plus, they probably already noticed the quiet too. She didn't have the innate talents of either Arroun or Amirriah.

She tugged on Arroun's arm and lifted up on her toes to whisper in his ear, "How come it's so quiet?"
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PostSubject: Re: Asthera Land of Magic   Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:25 am

Lorraine scratched her chin in bewilderment, and had an unusual grin on her face, "Well...uh...I don't know why you did that. There's going to be a replacement in..."

The silence was suddenly broken by another cat, gliding unnaturally through the brush, to sit upon the same spot as the old one. "...now."

It then turned, mouth open and a voice filtered through...

~~~

"YOU STUPID GIRL! WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT HERE?! DID THAT NIMROD NOT WRITE IN THE DAMN BOOK ALREADY?! USELESS! GET YOU AND YOUR STUPID FRIENDS HERE! Why do I always have to do everything myself?!"

The old man dropped his spell, and he stomped around his house. His earth magic waned but remained strong enough for him to tell where the group was, "Lousy Armond. Can't even follow the rules right...probably hasn't read them...idjit."

He plopped his weakened bones into a chair and waited.
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