CALLIN will follow TAKASHI's lead. Letting the warriors watchful eye choose our course of action.
TAKASHI (to CLAUDIA, but so all can here): "Look at the open windows, and the way that things have been recently moved here. In my experience, when you leave a house for some time, you will always close the windows to prevent damage from the environment. Someone has been or still is here. Be wary!
Claudia, have your bow ready, as will I. We will approach the nearest building directly. CALLIN and ATACIUS, approach from its flanks. TOBIAS and GRAIN, follow behind us a bit. And keep your eyes open for movement in the barn and house beyond."
ATACIUS will unmount his pony and move to the right flank, trying to keep himself hidden from anyone watching from the house/barn.
Are there any signs of the place being inhabited apart from what TAKASHI noticed? Smoke from the house, clothes hanging drying, piles of firewood, presence (smell, sounds, droppings) of domestic animals (dog, horses, chickens).
CLAUDIA nods. She doesn't have quite the nerves that she had at the farmhouse with the Damned, but she is on high alert and there's only the slightest tremble in her hands as she nocks an arrow and waits.
ATACIUS, nothing like that, no. It looks pretty deserted, but something does catch your thief's eye... the growth on the ground in some places may look a little trodden for this place being deserted.
(OOC: Until GRAIAN and TOBIAS confirm their participation [or not, either of which is OK], I'll handle most of this at a high level. For the moment, I'm not assuming them one way or the other)
CALLIN will nod, draw his War Hammer and Sir Flinnagan's Shield and move to the left flank. CALLIN will also chant a prayer to the Light to guide them on this adventure.
GRAIAN sighs, this was such a nice ride.... given that the last place was full of Damned he decides Stinking Cloud might be more appropriate. Staying on his horse he keeps slight behind the others, looking around him as they move.
Moving west past the shed and close to the intact barn and house, you see another intact house to the northwest about 30 feet alongside a fallen house and sheds, a central building that has collapsed and a barn to the southwest that is in ruins.
The intact barn's doors are closed. It looks like the house's doors are closed as well.
There are areas where the grass has matted down a bit. It could be animals nesting here, or something else?
TOBIAS thinks that the others are being silly.There's no one here! He shrugs and follows behind them.
TAKASHI will point out the matted down areas of grass to Claudia, and for now will walk around them. He and will motion Claudia that the barn is their destination, with each of them flanking a side of the closed barn door. He will silently watch to see what ATACIUS and CALLIN do before proceeding.
CALLIN will continue to flank on the left keeping his eyes peeled for any danger.
ATACIUS will move trying to remain hidden.
GRAIAN will continue to move forward until he is about 90' from the barn
TOBIAS will try to be a little closer, 50' away, on Claudia's side of the door.
Claudia nods and positions herself on one side of the door, her hands holding the axe at a ready position. She looks around at the others positioning themselves and then waits for TAKASHI to open the door.
TAKASHI nods at Claudia, and attempts to open the barn door and return to cover as quickly as possible. (If it pushes inward, he'll do that with his foot, trying to keep his bow readied and steady.)
It's the smell you notice first. That coppery smell of blood, followed by the scent of decay that grows on you, and becomes overpowering as the barn door opens further.
Inside is a gruesome sight. On the ground, some sort of strange charms and woodcarved figures surround a grotesque figure made out of stone. It has one eye, an open mouth full of teeth and is brandishing an axe and dagger. It's hard to tell if it's multi-armed or multi-legged. CALLIN, it's like nothing you've ever seen before.
It is splashed with blood and behind it is a pit with what appears to be burnt offerings.
The smell seems to come from a corner where there appears to be -- something -- piled, but you can't exactly see it yet.
Claudia gasps and makes retching noises, overcome by the smell and sight.
TAKASHI: "By the old gods, what abomination is this!?! Nevermind for now, we'll come back once the area is secured, but for now we need to check the other buildings. Let's check the house next."
With that, TAKASHI will motion to Claudia to follow him and carefully advance towards the house nearest to the barn.
CALLIN: "This place stinks of the darkness. We should purge this place to the the Light shine once again. " CALLIN then looks to TAKASHI after realizing what his friend said. "Yes let us clear the rest of the grounds."
TOBIAS looks shaken as he moves with the others towards the house. "Who could be doing this so close to Appleton? What if it's someone that already lives in the village?"
Claudia makes sure the door is closed, her face pale and splotchy from her shock at the sight.
At TOBIAS's words, she gasps. "Master TAKASHI... TOBIAS!!! Nobody would do such a thing! It has to be something else!" She looks uncertain and scared at the thought. "It has to be...." and she tightens her grip on her battle ax and tries to take deep breaths.
As you get near the house, there is no obvious sign that it is occupied. The door in the front is shut. A quick glance by ATACIUS tells him that it is locked. You can see into the house from the outside and ATACIUS can see that there are seven bedrolls or sleeping areas in the main room of the house and the remains of a fire in the fireplace. The general appearance is of a place that was recently occupied! The windows have been cleaned off, allowing someone inside to look out easily.
TAKASHI will peek through the corner of a window, and motion ATACIUS towards the door.
TAKASHI: "ATACIUS, do you think you can open this door up for us? Before we make a lot of noise?"
ATACIUS will quietly moves nextt to TAKASHI and nods at his request. He'll pull out his tools from the satchel and try to open the lock.
rolled 1d100 for a total of 73 > 34 :(
The old lock resists ATACIUS's attempts to pick it, and he hears something fall off the handle on the inside. Nothing happens that he sees or hears.
GRAIAN dismounts and ties off his horse with the others then joins the group at the house "This is not a pleasant place", he looks around wondering if anyone, or thing, is watching them.
Your elven eyes and ears don't make anything out. It "looks" like it's deserted, but then there is what you found in the barn...
TAKASHI watches ATACIUS fumble with the lock, and grimaces when he hears the thump of something falling inside.
TAKASHI: "Let's check around the perimeter to see if there are any other entrances before we make more of a racket. CALLIN, ATACIUS, and GRAIN - you three go right. Claudia, TOBIAS, and I will go left. We'll meet in the back and decide what to do next."
With that, TAKASHI will lead the way, going counterclockwise around the home, looking for other doors, unlocked windows, or alternate forms of entrance/egress.
ATACIUS packs his tools back into the satchel without a word, and quietly proceeds to the right side of the house. Hand on his sword he takes a peek around the corner.
TOBIAS draws one of his daggers and tries to look brave for CLAUDIA as he follows her and TAKASHI around the house. Occasionally he looks back to make sure nothing is coming up behind them...
The house is plain, with a window in each wall. The two side wall windows (east and west) seem to look into smaller rooms. Both appear to be empty. The back wall has a small, covered wood rack, which has freshly chopped wood in it. Another covered enclosure seems to have been for smaller animals, and is empty and falling apart. The window in the back looks into what appears to be a food preparation area. This has evidence of meat being butchered, as there are blood stains that look fresh, and some bones on the floor. There are several stained sacks that might have something within. There are no other entrances. There is a small pen with a rotting fence behind the house that looks like it held animals.
TAKASHI: "Looks empty to me. There's one more house to scout, then we can relax a little more, perhaps."
TAKASHI will make his way towrds the other house, scanning the area for any threats as they make their way to the other house.
Does everyone else want to go into the first house, follow TAKASHI or do something else?
TOBIAS wants to keep following the well-armored folks with weapons...
ATACIUS will take a closer look at the kitchen window to see if there's a way to open it from outside without breaking it.
You might be able to slide a dagger and pry at it.
ATACIUS will try to pry it open with a dagger then.
GRAIAN will continue to the other house with Callin..... and assume Atacius will follow quickly
Ah, these elf's, always assuming... :)
TAKASHI, CALLIN, GRAIAN, TOBIAS and Claudia carefully approach the second intact house, which is NW of the first house. From the outside, it looks just as deserted, but like the first house, the door is closed. However, when you peek inside, it's a far different scene than the first house.
Where the first house was spartan in the bedrolls and sacks being the only visible sign of occupation, the scene in this house is opposite. Clutter, arranged in odd formations or perhaps charms or totems - such as a rake propped up against a wall, with pieces of what looks like skin and fur draped from it in deliberate fashion.
There are not bed rolls, but clumps of grass, dried leaves, sticks and bits of fur making what looks like nests or sleeping areas. There are five of these. There are bones and bits of dried meat scattered around the "nests" and what remains of the furniture has been broken up and shoved up against the fireplace, where the remains of a fire can be seen.
There is nobody in the front room that you can see.
In the stillness of the area, you hear something break from the house that you just left.
TOBIAS (looking around): "Where's ATACIUS?"
TAKASHI winces at the sound of something breaking in the distance.
TAKASHI: "Did anyone see what ATACIUS was drinking on the way out here this morning, perhaps?"
TAKASHI will stow his bow, and draw his sword and shield for close quarters fighting. Then, he will test to see if the front door is locked or not, gently trying to open the door.
The door is not locked and upon jiggling the handle, you hear something fall within with a clatter, perhaps bones? It has that sound of bones.
TAKASHI will softly countdown from 3 dow to 1, and upon reaching "0", he'll swing the door open and see what this house has in store for all of us.
Again, it's the smell that hits you. Whoever or whatever lives here does not bathe as the smell and stink is strong of sweat and other odors. There is a smell of rancid meat here and other odors that you'd rather not think about.
This front room has the aforementioned "nests" that I described. You can see that some sort of charm or figurine made out of bones is what fell to the floor, a crude way of perhaps letting someone know that the door had been opened. There are three exits from this room, one to the back, and one each left and right. There is nothing else of note in this room that you haven't seen already from the window.
There is no apparent reaction to your entry, and it is quiet, except for Claudia's quickened breath as she is right behind you.
TAKASHI will point Claudia towards the right door, motion to CALLIN to take the center door, and then will advance himself towards the left door.
TOBIAS frowns and puts his hand over his mouth and nose. He positions himself back behind CALLIN, but not directly behind so that he has a chance to see what's through the doorway if it opens.
GRAIAN is next to Tobias, wondering what they have started.
TAKASHI and CLAUDIA - The side rooms, are cluttered with broken bedframes and appear to have not been used by whoever was in the front room.
CALLIN, TOBIAS and GRAIAN - The back room, which is the kitchen, holds a horror. There are scraps of armor and clothing on the ground. As you look further, you realize that some of the bones are familiar looking -- humanoid for sure. The pile of scraps and rotted flesh in the corner tell the grisly tale.
GRAIAN - the armor looks elven in make.
TAKASHI, after making sure the room is clear, will move back to where the others are gathered - in front of the scene of horror.
TAKASHI: "This does not bode well, my friends."
You hear TOBIAS' muffled voice from behind his hand: "No kidding! So what do we do now?"
CALLIN: "By the LIGHT what vile darkness did this to these poor men" CALLIN will begin a prayer for the fallin adventurers.
ATACIUS: While going from one house to the other, the littleling will look if the horses are where we left them.
ATACIUS enters the house his friends are, looking for something in his satchel. "Look what I found... Whoa! What's that smell!" he says stopping and covering his mouth and nose with his cloak.
TAKASHI: "If I am right, then I believe we have found some, if not all, of the missing elves that were sent up to this area some time ago. They found a grisly end, which I would like to avoid.
Whoever did this does not appear to be here right now, so perhaps a thorough search of the two houses, the barn, and the shed are in order. Then we need to figure out what we are going to do next..."
GRAIAN walks over to the remains and kneels down, resting his hands on the pile of bones "Farewell my Brothers may the winds fill the sails as the ships bear you back to the land of our forefathers. I swear that your fall will be revenged and those that inflcited this upon you will soon no longer walk this land." Standing up he looks at the others "My friends I humbly ask for your help to rid this land of the vile creatures that have done this."
CALLIN: joins GRAIAN and puts his hand on his shoulder. "I vow to stand at your side and rid the world of the darkness that brought this upon your brothers."
TAKASHI: "Friend, you need not even ask, though it is appreciated. We always do our best when we stand together."
GRAIAN:"Yes, together we are strong, thank you." He finds blankets and carefully wraps up the remains and armor, "I would like to take these brothers back to the sea for a peaceful final resting place."
ATACIUS skillfully slides a dagger into the window and it pops open, swinging inside. You see a cup fall from the top of the window, apparently a type of signal to let someone know that the window was opened.
(You may try to catch the cup, roll 4d6 and if it's equal/less than your DEX, you can tell me how you catch it!)
rolled 5, 2, 5, 6 on 4d6 for a total of 18 > 11
It falls juuuuuust beyond your fingertips, and smashes to the floor.
The good news is that nobody seems to be in the house to hear the cup fall.
ATACIUS will climb trhough the window into the house, dagger in hand.
The smell inside the "kitchen" is of dried, stale blood and rancid meat. There is a small water pump along one wall, and the door leading to the main room. As a result of being closer, the smell comes from the sacks and the staining looks like blood. There's nothing else of note in this area, as the cabinets and shelves are bare.
ATACIUS will stealthy approach the door, will open it slowly and peek through the crack.
You are looking into the main room that was visible from the front window. There is the door that leads outside. You see that when you jiggled the handle, a small rock wrapped in leather had fallen to the floor, a crude method of knowing if someone entered. There is an exit to the left and right as well, probably to the side rooms you saw from the outside. You don't see anyone here.
ATACIUS will look, before proceeding to check the side rooms, at the kitchen floor to see if there's any loose board that might hide a trapdoor to a basement.
You don't find anything in the kitchen that reveals a secret door or trap door.
The side rooms look unused, although tracks in the dust lead to the windows and back.
The sacks in the front room contain dried meats and some sort of pottery jugs stoppered with soft wood cones. The liquid inside is thick, smells sour and strong.
On one of the bedrolls is a small charm - it has a single eye carved into what appears to be bone.
ATACIUS will check if the other windows have similar 'alarms' like the front door or the kitchen window. Then he'll check if any of the bedrolls are warm before pocketing the bone charm.
The side windows have the leather wrapped rock set up to drop if the window is opened.
The bedrolls are not warm. They have an odor to them... not human, you know the stink of an unshowered long-leg.
You may put the charm in your inventory. There's nothing else in the other bedrolls.
ATACIUS 'How can they set all these traps on door and windows and leave the place?' the littleling wonders aloud. He'll kick the bedrolls to see if they conceal something. If it looks the place could have an attic he'll look around for the access to it.
The bedrolls don't hide anything and there is no sign that there was an attic.
And that's a very good question! :D
ATACIUS just shrugs at the conundrum. 'Clever bastards.' he mutters to himself. He will then absently gather all three leather-wrapped stones, leaving the windows open, and walk out the front door, leaving it also open, to look for his friends.
It's easy enough to figure that they are in the other house. You can go there, or explore other parts of the thorpe.
ATACIUS will go to the other house.
Sure go ahead and continue up above. :)
CLAUDIA catches a glimpse of what is in the kitchen and corner and her face goes pale. She rushes out of the house to the front and you can hear the sounds of retching and then some sobs. After a few minutes, she comes back in, her face pale, but her hands are tight around the battle axe and she seems determined.
TOBIAS is standing by the doorway when Claudia comes back in. He brushes some of the hair back from his eyes and asks softly, "Are you okay?"
CLAUDIA takes a deep breath.
"Yes, I'm OK, thank you." she says. Her voice is only a little shakey.
"What do we do now, Master?" Claudia asks TAKASHI.
TAKASHI: "I think a thorough search would be wise, now that the area appears to be threat free. What do the rest of you think?"
TOBIAS thinks for a minute, then says, "We probably should. But one of us should probably keep a watch outside, in case they come back, right?" with a quick side glance at Claudia and then back to TAKASHI.
TAKASHI: "Claudia and I can stand ready out here, and cover both avenues of approach, while the rest of you perform a thorough search. I'd hate to overlook some vital information before deciding what to do next."
After one last look at Claudia, TOBIAS goes back to the back room and starts poking around, first through the bits of armor and clothes, then checking around the walls and floor for any type of hidey-hole that someone might have used to hide something away.
CALLIN: "Agreed. Perhaps we should start with the barn. That seems to be the shrine that ties this all together. Also once we have searched, perhaps we should burn this dark place to timbers. If it is of importance to these creatures, perhaps they will come to us."
ATACIUS: "Remember when be burned the remains of the attacked caravan? That happened less than half-a-day from here to the NE. The orcs came to see what happened." says the littleling. "That means they'll be here anytime soon if we burn this place. We don't know how many will come and if we'll be enough to face them, because they won't be happy about it."
TAKASHI: "True. And I believe that those who did this are creatures of opportunity. Destroying this place will simply make them move on somewhere else. I think we would do best to pull the weed out by the roots, right here."
It takes about an hour to poke through the thorpe.
A more thorough search of the barn turns up little else - although it appears that a couple of the elves might have been sacrificed to the shrine in the barn - two humanoid skulls that could have been elves are in the pile of refuse and bits of flesh and bone in the corner.
Same with the houses. Whoever lived in the first house was spartan in their belongings as there is nothing aside from the bedrooms and "alarms" that had been left. The second house reveals little else - the furniture and some odds and ends of the original human inhabitants have been dumped in the two side rooms, and an almost animalistic living space and food preparation.
The rotted, fallen remains of the other buildings don't bear any secrets of who was here recently - their contents are debris and left-behind bits that speak to the human farmers that lived here once.
TAKASHI, you and Claudia do not see sign of anyone while the others search the thorpe.
It is now late morning.
ATACIUS: "When we came across the orcs, there were other beings with them, man-like but more... more savage looking." the littleling recalls. "One of them had this wicked necklace, with what looked like shrunken heads and carried this nasty dagger. Maybe it's thier shrine we found here."
TAKASHI: "Yes, well spotted ATACIUS. I wonder if our friend Apsuna and her flock have seen traces of this group in their flights around the area. Time for a decision, my friends. What do we do?
We could try and talk with Apsuna, which will take us time to travel to and speak with her. We could stay here and try to prepare an ambush, hoping that those who did this return and that we are strong enough to take them down. Thoughts?"
TOBIAS: "Did anyone see any signs of which way they came from, or went to? Maybe one of them dropped something what would give us an idea of which way to look."
CALLIN: "Talking with Apsuna sounds like a good idea. Her eye to detail is uncanny. If anything has moved across this place, she would be aware of it. I feel we should offer her a gift as well. Best to spoil our friends. Do we have time to purchase a cow from Appleton? I do feel we need to purge this place once the creators of such carnage are delt with however. Places of darkness like this, have a tendancy to draw more darkness if left unchecked."
ATACIUS: "Warn Apsuna of what's going on is a good idea. Maybe she's seen something that could help us." he agrees.
TOBIAS groans at the thought of escorting a cow cross-country again. "Um... maybe I should... return to my studies, until we find out more."
So you're going to get a cow, then go back to Apsuna to talk - that's the plan I'm hearing? If nobody objects, I'll write to this later today.
TAKASHI nods at the plan. TAKASHI: "It is worth a shot, I think."
(If we're heading back to Appleton first, TOBIAS will stay at the house and hit the books when they head out again. Apsuna always makes him a little nervous, anyway.)
GRAIAN will also stay and study... Knowledge is good!