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Wired*Nun 11th of November, 2005 06:24

Something Wicker This Way Comes - Baarak
A full breakfast still sitting somewhat heavy in his gut, Baarak strides strongly across the moors. The wind is brisk, but not too chill, the sun peeking occasionally between low scudding clouds. Mists hug the ground, winding among the rocky ruins of some ancient shepherd's huts and pens. A hound follows him along, ranging left and right, not because it is his, but because it is right for this place.

Heading for somewhere, Baarak finds himself of divided mind. On the one hand, there is pleasure aplenty awaiting him in Twixorami...duels by day, nastiness by night, and everything in between. On the other hand, the thought of the great unwashed is making him faintly ill, the clean, clear open spaces attractive right now.

One thing is for sure, if I keep walking through Shadow long enough, the decision will be made for me, if only by my subconscious...

As if in response to that idle thought, there comes a faint crunching sound from far behind him, and a woof from the hound as it stops, looking backward. Hand on his blade, Baarak turns smoothly to see what caught the dog's attention.

A figure is lurching in his wake, some hundred yards or so back. Manlike, it seems to be a scarecrow of sorts, with straw sticking out of its sleeves and joints where none should be. He is reminded of a year spent on Shadow Earth, watching B-grade horror movies.

The dog begins to bark, loudly, and backs slowly away from the shambling apparition.

jedric 11th of November, 2005 19:13

His cupidity aroused he decides against simply shifting away from this place. The strangeness of the sight causes a brief rueful smile to appear on Baarak’s face.

The Wizard of Oz meets Pumpkinhead! How strange, I wonder if a spirit animates this thing or if its an automaton controlled from elsewhere? Could this be the local form of life?

Shaking his head Baarak quickly gives Rayk the command, “Guard.”

The hound moves to a heel position, becoming silent and watching the scarecrow, he quiveres in a mixture of fear and excitement.

Baarak draws his blade, he feels it better to be ready, there is a time and place for trust and while this might be a friendly scarecrow, Baarak does not choose to take such chances.

Not today thank you!

His mind goes back to the incident with the giant slug creature and the beautiful blond maiden. Baarak had arrived to see the beast menacing a terrified semi-naked young woman. He’d killed the beast of course, quite a difficult job too, only to find that the blond was actually a shapeshifting sorceress who had earlier transformed an innocent young warrior into the said beast, and as such Baarak had inadvertently killed the victim. The sorceress had then tried a binding spell on Baarak, she’d died of course, so there was at least some small measure of justice to the affair.

He takes several backward steps, slowly, carefully, and calls out.

“Hold there, if you be friendly stand and explain yourself!”

As he does so he begins bringing the sign of the Pattern to mind, meanwhile assessing the vulnerabilities of this bundle of twigs and hay.

Let’s take a proper look, what are you?

OOC: I’m assuming the hound [Rayk) responds to vocal commands such as Heel, guard, sit, stay, attack

Wired*Nun 12th of November, 2005 21:03


OOC: I’m assuming the hound [Rayk) responds to vocal commands such as Heel, guard, sit, stay, attack
[If you want him to - what's the point of being a Lord of Shadow if you can't command a dog...]

Wired*Nun 12th of November, 2005 21:06

The thing doesn't pause in its advance, moving surprisingly quickly. Without hesitation it lurches up to him and makes a clumsy attempt to grab him with its wicker arms.

jedric 13th of November, 2005 05:59

As the scarecrows stumbles toward him Baarak sighs and steps to the side, he whistles to the dog to get it moving too.

A the straw man comes near Baarak aims a blow at its thigh with his blade, whilst simultanteously attempting to shove it with his off-hand.


[If you want him to - what's the point of being a Lord of Shadow if you can't command a dog...]
Dunno, the issue has never come up before! :KO:

Wired*Nun 13th of November, 2005 06:35

The blade passes through the thing's thigh without much resistance, and it falls over. Still, as if animated by some malevolent spirit, it keeps trying to come for him.

jedric 13th of November, 2005 07:43

With a wry smile Baarak circles just out of reach.

"Persistent bugger aren't you?" he comments.

When he is ready he strikes at the scarecrows arm, he goes for the arm on the same side as the damaged leg, his intent to disable both limbs and thereby cripple it.

[Assuming this is effective] He steps out of range and brings the sign of the Pattern to mind in order to examine the scarecrow on the metaphysical level.

Wired*Nun 13th of November, 2005 23:33

After chopping the thing to all necessary bits, accompanied by growlings from the hound, Baarak begins to raise the Sign. Before this is completed, he sees two figures coming down the path. Both look like the thing he just dismembered. He should be able to bring up the Sign completely before they arrive, if they are no faster than the last thing.

So it resolves. The Sign hangs before him, a twisting fire in his minds' eye. Through the Sign, he can see some energies animating the straw and wicker golems. The next question is, as always, what to do, as they approach.

jedric 13th of November, 2005 23:41

Interesting! Magical energy? But are they guided?

Baarak watches the scarecrows walk toward him and looks for any sign of an energy link, some sort of master control. If there is none he must assume they are semi-autonomous, sent out with set commands and left to fend for themselves rather than directly controlled.

As they approach he will be ready to disable each of them should the need arise.

"Stubbornness... It'll get me killed some day!" he comments quietly to himself or perhaps the dog.

Wired*Nun 14th of November, 2005 07:04

Even with the Sign up, he can easily dismember these two as well, watching for their energy construction. They are clumsy and seemingly not self-aware.

They seem to be animated by some strange energy which he has never seen before - it is not sorcery, or at least, nothing he has ever experienced. It is not Logrus, he thinks - his father showed him some samples of that once upon a time. It is certainly not Pattern. What does that leave? Something else...

Examining the three in bits before him, it doesn't take long before he sees four coming down that same path, behind him, as if following. This is beginning to get tiresome...on the other hand, Dad always said to learn as much as you can from each new situation...

jedric 14th of November, 2005 19:54

His interest piqued once again Baarak changes his course slightly to see the reaction of the four scarecrows, their progressive increase in numbers is not lost on him.

Should they change their course to match his own he performs a circular course and heads towards the point he believes they heigh from. As he moves he hums the tune to the Green Bottle song whilst muttering slightly different lyrics.

“Four Scuzzy Scarecrows, shambling before a fall…”

If he is unsure of the exact location/direction he will slow and then disable the four constructs, then wait for more to appear thereby gaining a better idea of their point of origin.

Wired*Nun 14th of November, 2005 21:21

He hacks up the four without too much difficulty, still maintaining the Sign before him. The energy animating the golems seems to dissapate when they are dismembered.

Looking back along his path, he observes the more-or-less expected eight shambling wicker men fade into reality along the path, clearly entering this shadow from another, probably following his shadow trail.

jedric 14th of November, 2005 21:36

Baarak's casual interest gives way to concern, perhaps a hint of fear or worry.

So, I am followed, time enough later to find who sent them. They are no threat to me individually, but if they double in number every time I smash them then I'll soon be facing a hundred or so of the damn things. Let's see if they can follow me through shadow.

He quickly turns about and begins a short shift through shadow, away from this place, the hound at his heel as he jogs easily along, aiming for a more mountainous place and some sunlight, a bright blue sky'ed day in the mountains.

Baarak only pauses to check behind him when the shift is completed to his satisfaction.

Wired*Nun 14th of November, 2005 21:54

Baarak easily outdistances his pursuers, oddly glad of the companionship of his newly-acquired hound, so reminiscent of one he had so long ago. Of what use is a pet, I don't need any such thing, he thinks somewhat angrily, then dismisses the thought as unworthy. It's not a sign of long as I don't value it too much.

Arriving at his destination, he sees nothing and no one out of place.

jedric 14th of November, 2005 23:09

Walking slowly along the mountain trails Baarak glances back occassionally to see if the scarecrows reappear.

Seems strange, I wonder if they were after me at all, or perhaps they are but move at a set pace.

He sits atop a rock to think for a minute or two.

Common sense dictates I go on, but I don't want to leave a mystery behind me. Should I go back? Find the origin of these things? Should I just go on? What if they were sent to capture me, or was I just in the wrong place at the wrong time, their mission to capture a living victim? ... I'll go back, I'll be wondering about this for the next fifty years else.

His mind made up Baarak grins and whistles to Rayk.

"Come on lad, lets go scare a few scarecrows."

Wired*Nun 15th of November, 2005 00:11

As soon as he heads back, the eight golems reappear. They seem to have been following him, albeit slowly. They spread out slightly and head directly for him.

jedric 15th of November, 2005 01:01

"Predictable devils aren't they boy?" Baarak asks the dog rhetorically.

He turns and sets off matching the speed of the golems and carefully shifting shadow toward canyons and caves.

Carefully he leads the golems through shadow to a cavern with a shallow slope as the only means of exit, once he and Rayk reach the top Baarak performs a short sharp twist of shadow aiming to cave the slope in and leave the golems trapped at the borrom of a pit.

Let's see if they can get out of that

Wired*Nun 15th of November, 2005 21:31

The golems mill around endlessly, trying to climb out, but not able to. The wind blows. The grass grows.

jedric 15th of November, 2005 22:41

Baarak leans forward to watch the scarecrows for moment.

"Enjoy you dance my friends, I'm of to search for the Crow Man."

If there is a Crow Man! I cannot allow this, I must know if this is chance or I am in danger

Baarak pats Rayk on the head and comments, "Come lad, let us go."

With that he sets off again, carefully doubling back thorugh shadow and attempting to reverse the scarecrows' course, he tries to track their trail back to the point of origin.

Wired*Nun 17th of November, 2005 00:37

It is not long after he is out of shadow range of the trapped golems that he sees a double squad of figures - sixteen, what a surprise - heading toward him in a spread line, as if following his shadow trail.

jedric 17th of November, 2005 04:26

Well I'll be damned to Chaos and back. I was expecting too much for it to be that easy I suppose. Well lets go through 'em.

"Up and at 'em Frayk." he calls as he breaks into a run, gathering the stuff of shadow about him he begins to shift drawing Frayk along with him, gathering speed, moving faster, gathering momentum willing thechanges to come faster and more frantically.

As he draws near the line of golems he draws his sword and lays about him, left and right, as he rushes through and continues his movement into a full-fledged hellrun.

OOC: I'd like to increase the size and toughness of the hound too as part of the hellrun. That OK?

Baarak heading back to where he encountered the first scarecrow. From there he'll try following its shadow trail if at all possible.

Wired*Nun 19th of November, 2005 23:47

The ground shifts under him, Frayk growing in limb, tooth and claw, looking more and more like the hellhound Baarak wants. The ground flattens, the air moistens, and soon he is panting, walking back down the moor path where he first found the critters.

Following its shadow trail backward, he finds it enters a low cavemouth in the side of a round hill. On the top of the hill is a small stone circle, such as he has seen in different places about this shadow. Some kind of place of worship, or calendar, for these primitive peoples...druids and wickers and moors, oh, my... The cavemouth shows fresh footprints going in and out, as well as the marks of wicker feet leaving the cave. The floor is flattened, as if by routine use, and he can see that the cave's sides have been smoothed somewhat. The smell of wood smoke hangs in the air.

jedric 20th of November, 2005 05:11

Baarak pauses just outside of the stone circle.

A little caution here I think, someone or something inside but is this a snare I wonder?

Relaxing his mind Baarak calls up the image of the Pattern once again.

If there are no discernible signs of dangerous magic or other power he enters the cave cautiously, leaving Frayk outside as a guard. If there are he will try to figure how to nullify them.

Wired*Nun 20th of November, 2005 05:57

The Pattern reveals some kind of power source deep in the hill, something he has never seen before. It matches the energy of whatever is animating the wicker men. There is nothing immediately by the cave mouth that seems dangerous.

jedric 20th of November, 2005 06:47

Baarak carefully enters the cave, sword in hand and Pattern sign raised [if feasible]. The hound he leaves on guard outside.

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