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  #76  
Unread 2nd of August, 2007, 15:05
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Flarrgj nods his agreement with this plan.
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Unread 2nd of August, 2007, 19:51
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6:15 Corpses

Jiangu! Chapter 6:15 Corpses

The heroes cross the bridge in the pre-dawn hours. Half way across the river, they start to detect the stench of the corpses. The putrid smell grows until it is overpowering. Many of the group members retch. Fortunately, the bugs are not active at this time of night.

Kierna and Takeshi lead the group with their night vision, and warn the group to prepare as they approach the pile of corpses.

Then they are in the pile. There is nothing to do but dismount and climb through the dead bodies, and try to lead the horses over the uncertain footing of the pile against their instincts. The bodies have rotted outdoors for another month since the last time the group confronted this obstacle. The smell is no worse, but the bodies are softer and they break as they are stepped on, releasing horrid gasses and soaking the heroes' clothing with their fluids. As they disturb the pile, they begin to detect the many worms and crawling insects among the corpses, and the flying bugs begin to harrass them as well.

After a few minutes, they have penetrated to the far side of the pile. There are still many bodies scattered about for hundreds of meters, but they do not present an obstacle. Poor Kierna must pass back and forth through the pile several more times to coax those horses and ponies that could not be persuaded without expert attention. Once the dirty deed is done, the smell of death lingers with them in their clothing.



OOC:
I assumed that Kierna takes 10 to lead the animals through the pile.
Questions:
1 Do you intend to ambush the evil observation post or bypass it?
2 How many hours before dawn did you start your journey?
3 Are you going to use torches, lanterns etc to light your way at some point, or not? If so=less stealth. If not=move slower.
  #78  
Unread 3rd of August, 2007, 00:08
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Through the pile of corpses, Fugen gestures that the group get off the road and the Kierna should scout ahead a bit. He then peers into the dark, wishing that he could safely use his lantern or a sunrod.
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  #79  
Unread 3rd of August, 2007, 01:26
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Keeping low, moving slowly, sticking to where the ground offers natural cover, Kierna makes her cautious way forwards.
Taking her time, she moves parallel to the road, watching warily for signs of troops laid up in ambush alongside the trail.

[OOC: I'll post some more once someone tells me more about this evil observation post...]
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  #80  
Unread 3rd of August, 2007, 06:59
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Gizerak does his best to follow everyone quietly.
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Unread 3rd of August, 2007, 14:10
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6:16 Empty Observation Post

Jiangu! Chapter 6:16 Empty Observation Post

Kierna finds the enemy observation post. It is in the same approximate location where the henchmen spotted it on her last trip into Dian Province. As Takeshi's avian scout reported, it is not manned at night. There are plenty of signs that is it occupied regulary: flattened grass and scraps of fresh food are two of the many indications that Kierna observes. However, it us unoccupied at the moment.
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Unread 3rd of August, 2007, 23:24
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Having found the observation post, Kierna spends some time locating the tracks that indicate the pathway taken by the post's occupants on their way to and from their station. These she follows for some distance, to identify a likely spot for an ambush should her companions deem one necessary.

With that task done, she returns to the bridge to make her report, satisfied that if there are any unpleasant surprises awaiting the party, they are beyond her ability to find.
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  #83  
Unread 4th of August, 2007, 07:15
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The observation post is on a hill near the road. Kierna can follow a well-worn foot trail to the road.

Based on the intelligence that Takeshi provided from the hawk, the observation post is not manned at night. So the sentries should be on their way back to resume their observation within the next hour before the sun rises.


Last edited by crueldespot; 6th of August, 2007 at 19:43.
  #84  
Unread 5th of August, 2007, 13:31
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"Much as I would like to do harm to those who have harmed the Empire, it seems to me better to bypass these cretins before they return instead of arbitrarily killing them. As soon as we kill somone, other somones will know that we're here..."
  #85  
Unread 6th of August, 2007, 10:56
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Given the lack of immediacy in what Kierna has found, Fugen nods his agreement with Takeshi's asessment and suggest, via sign, that Kierna lead them on a route that would avoid putting them into the line of sight of the trail she found.
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  #86  
Unread 8th of August, 2007, 20:30
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6:17 New Shrine

Jiangu! Chapter 6:17 New Shrine

Led by Kierna, the heroes take a left turn off of the highway to cut through the farms and vineyards. This slows their pace considerably as they must find their way through fences and hedgerows in the dark, and so they do not get very far during the hour or so remaining before dawn. Once the sky begins the lighten in the morning twilight they are able to increase their pace. They follow farming lanes, cross fields and vineyards, and so discover that some of these farms are still in use: the fields have been sown, the equipment maintained, the cattle fed. It seems to be only about 25% of the farms that are still in use, but it motivates them to stay away from the farmhouses and keep a lookout for farmers that may be early risers. Further from the highway more of the farms are abandoned and so there is less danger.

After three miles, just past dawn, they find themselves riding up a rugged hill that lies between them and the road. Due to the rough terrain, this hill is not cultivated and so it is the first area of wilderness they have encountered so far this morning. As they approach the crest, they can see that there is some object ahead at the very top of the hill. They also detect birds of prey circling overhead. When they get a little closer, they see that it is a shrine, recently constructed. An area has been cleared of trees and rocks, a statue and altar have been emplaced, and benches arranged facing them. A wire, twisted into ornamental patterns, lies anchored on the ground around the shrine. A trail has been cut leading from the far side of the shrine down the hill towards the highway. Gizerak is able to determine that this shrine is dedicated to Angara Mainu. The statue portrays a handsome man in ancient robes, albeit with a dour expression and huge animal eyes, with rays of power extending from him. The area is unhallowed.

The heroes hear a faint cough and a moan. A person is laying on the altar! Upon closer inspection, they can see that it is a victim that has been chained down. He is naked and has suffered many wounds. He has been chained here for at least a full day. His body is badly sunburned in addition to his many cuts and bruises. Many small pins and hooks are still attached to his body. Yet despite this abuse, he is still alive. It appears that his torment has been designed to be prolonged.

As the heroes approach, he hears their horses and ponies. He tries to move his head to see them, but he can't due to the angle. He breathes heavily, which leads to more coughing. He doesn't cry out.



OOC
Current location: the hill at 07.5 East / 5 North. The shrine is under the effect on of an "unhallow" spell. The heroes are filled with fear and doubt (the effect of a bane spell tied to the unhallowing) causing them to suffer a -1 to hit and -1 on saves vs fear while in the shine area.
  #87  
Unread 8th of August, 2007, 23:24
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What the... It's not safe here, we have to hurry... there's got to be something coming... or is there? I can't be sure... oh... dammit.

Nimdor races up to the man, and quickly sets to work picking the locks on the chains.
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  #88  
Unread 9th of August, 2007, 04:07
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Flarrgj does not stop Nimdor but frowns. "He is not a good person... cannot be, or would not be here... perhaps we should not help."
  #89  
Unread 9th of August, 2007, 12:25
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"Flarrgj, where I come from, often times the best of people are the ones to suffer public shame. Something you must learn is that sometimes, the ones in charge and in power are not always right. I'd rather not leave somebody in need, but help him."
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Unread 9th of August, 2007, 20:08
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6:18 I am In Your Debt Now

Jiangu! Chapter 6:18 I am In Your Debt Now

The shackles are easy for Nimdor to unlock. They clatter onto the flagstones around the altar as each hand of the victim is freed. Slowly and painfully, he sits up and turns to see Nimdor and the others. He squints at them through one eye. The other is too bruised to open.

"Thank you" he says simply. "Clearly I am in your debt now. Who are you, and for what purpose did you free me?"

Despite his many wounds, they can see that the man is middle-aged, perhaps in his 40s, with an intelligent visage and manner of speech.

OOC:
http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1200153. Average locks. Victim is currently CR1 due to his condition. In game terms, the victim is "disabled" (zero HP, only one move action per round).
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Unread 9th of August, 2007, 21:51
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Glancing around nervously as Nimdor works the locks, Fugen is surprised by the victims response and decides to let those who can respond more directly handle the situation while he continues to keep watch.
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Unread 10th of August, 2007, 01:25
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"You looked to be in need... and I've never been fond of the heavy end of the hammer, if you know what I mean. Are you alright?"
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Unread 10th of August, 2007, 12:58
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6:19 The Victim's Response

Jiangu! Chapter 6:19 The Victim's Response


The naked man furrows his brow, clearly perplexed at Nimdor's answer. "In fact, I confess that I am not alright. I would appreciate some medical attention...and some garments. To what group are you sworn? Not the palace obviously. One of the other villages? Some faction beyond Dian?"
  #94  
Unread 10th of August, 2007, 13:45
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Flarrgj scowels unhappily but says nothing, content to glower intimidatingly from the back.
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Unread 11th of August, 2007, 00:44
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"Gizerak, would you please help him out? Anyway, what happened to you exactly? What did you do to get yourself in this situation?"

Nimdor purposefully ignores his question.
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Unread 11th of August, 2007, 11:16
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6:20 Religious Persecution

Jiangu! Chapter 6:20 Religious Persecution

"Religious persecution" answers the wounded man. "We should leave. They could return at any time. They've come up here to check on me occasionally to make sure I wasn't dying too soon."
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Unread 14th of August, 2007, 03:18
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Flarrgj begins heading on there original intended path with the rest of the group but growls suspiciusly at the man.

"Why were you here to begin with? Shouldent you be gone?"
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Unread 14th of August, 2007, 04:32
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Casting a quick and minor spell to help relieve the discomfort of the subburn and close some of his wounds, Gizerak tries to assess this man while they walk, hopefully figuring out who he is.

"Since we seem to walking the same path at this time, may I inquire to your name? And what exactly prompted the followers of Angara Mainu to torture you so? Do you follow some other deity?"

OOC - cast a couple cure minor wounds.
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  #99  
Unread 14th of August, 2007, 10:47
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21 Stars of Power

Jiangu! Chapter 6:21 Stars of Power

Gizerak’s spells of healing mysteriously fail. He performs the necessary rituals, but the spells simply do not occur.

The stranger smiles grimly, which reveals that his beating cost him some teeth.

“I see you are a priest of Sha-gaat. It appears that he does not approve of you healing a priest of the Stars of Power.”

Gizerak is shocked to hear these words. The Stars of Power are evil deities worshipped in secret cults.

The stranger continues. “I am Dai Peng. I am, or was, the leader of a cult in Chuan.” Chuan is the village nearby. “My followers and I controlled the village after the night spirits drove away those with virtue.”

Termix and Kierna recall their journey through the village of Chuan on the first mission of the henchmen. Two of their comrades. Ko”Dojai and Mortem, were captures and cruelly sacrificed. They can still remember the sound of the crowd chanting in unison “These deaths for you, Stars of Power!”

Dai Peng continues “…Then the rulers of the palace demanded that we swear allegiance to Angara Mainu. I cannot, for my soul already belongs to the Stars of Power, and they are jealous gods. We rejected their demands. Not long after, my followers seized me in my sleep and brought me here. They intend to sacrifice me to Angara Mainu tonight to appease those in the palace.”

“I reveal this because I realize that a priest of Sha-gaat would not strike a helpless foe, and honestly I am sure you would have realized it eventually. I hope that you can realize we are united by a common enemy.”




OOC – Gizerak takes 10 on knowledge religion.
  #100  
Unread 14th of August, 2007, 13:42
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How do we know that we would remain united by a common enemy? I have no desire to be an offering.
 

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