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07 June 2016 @ 11:36 am
[WotMK: Hexcrawl] Session Eight  
Dramatis Personae:
  • Shining Star, mandragora sorcerer-priestess of Nyarhé.
  • The Green Knight, mandragora briarwitch.
  • Bonnie, kong Auspicious Orator.
  • Amos Burnham, a human from Earth.
  • Elaphe, a chuzan junior member of the Black Rose.
Healed and rested after their battle against the animated dead, the group loaded up their horses and wagon and headed back toward the road under a cloudy sky. Elaphe "scouted ahead," meaning that he went straight to the road and to the nearest farming village, asking if the people there had seen a raptok traveling with a mandragora and two amanita. He didn't get much of an answer other than that they had seen them, but he did notice that a bunch of debris and wagons had been piled up on the southern end of the town across the road and two farmers were standing on top of the wall with bows. After looking around a bit, he headed back to the rest of the group, who were much slower since they were traveling with a wagon.

When the group arrived at the village at dusk just as the rain started, they immediately went to a tea house and paid for rooms on the floor and stabling for their mounts. The common room was filled with villagers, all of which were armed with bows, pitchforks, scythes, and other farming implements, who glanced nervously at them as they entered but soon went back to their talking. After a short meal of travel rations and watching the villagers leave and come back in groups, the group collapsed on the floor and went to sleep, though the Green Knight used a quick incantation to reduce his need for sleep, and so woke up in the middle of the night fully rested.

He left the inn and headed out into the rain, checking the wall at the south of town. Three villagers were lying inside the wall on blankets, dead or nearly-so, and when the Green Knight checked out the other side of the wall he saw almost a score of animated dead, mostly feathered with arrows. Looking over the villagers, he spotted a chuzan who seemed to be in charge, and questioned him. He used the Royal Speech, the mandragora ability to speak directly into others' minds, transcending language, and the chuzan spoke a little Floral, so they were able to communicate. The chuzan told him that the dead come every night, from the south, and that the villagers hadn't disturbed any graves or anything else and had no idea what the source of the problem was. He didn't know much else, and the Green Knight went back to the tea house.

In the morning, the group ate and left the town (having lent no aid whatsoever to the villagers--amoral sword and sorcery protagonists go! Shrug photo shrug001.gif), stopping briefly south of town on the road to look at the pile where the villagers had placed the bodies of the zombies on a pyre in preparation for burning them once the rain let up. Bonnie and Shining Star inspected them from a safe distance, both in case any of them were still moving and because they smelled truly disgusting, and were able to determine that the bodies were relatively recent and probably local. They were mostly wearing peasant homespun, so if a necromancer was raising them, they were doing it nearby. Then they set off to the south.

The party spent the whole day on the road, slowed down by the cart and the road which was little more than a mass of mud with only the faintest effort made at keeping the foliage away from it, occasionally seeing groups of travelers from the south. One group of six farmers, the group stopped to talk to, asking about the raptok, the mandragora, and the two amanita. The farmers told him that people of that description had passed through their village and they had warned them about the walking dead, but the murderers had laughed it off and kept going. The farmers also said they were going to tower town, because it had to be safer than their village.

Bonnie took out the haunted shield and asked Summer Rain, the ghost of the murdered chuzan, if she could tell her anything more about her murderers or about the animated dead, but she didn't have much to say other than being extremely vengeance-focused.

The group saw a kong messenger riding south as fast as he can with the armband of tower town officialdom on his arm. Bonnie called after him first in Chaian, then in Floral, but he didn't show any reaction to either language. Then she tried to ride after him, but lacking any dots in Ride, she lost control of her horse and utterly failed to catch up. The group found her later, her horse eating grass by the side of the road, and later camped on a hill in a copse of trees since the rain had slowed their travel and they didn't make it to a resting house before nightfall.

The night passed uneventfully, and the next day they traveled until around lunch time, when they reached a crossroads and a fortified village with the gates closed. The walls were just a wooden palisade, but they still stood and there were guards above the gates who opened them after a bit of bantering--the exact line was, "If they were walking dead they wouldn't talk back." The group went in, found a tea house under the sign of the drunken bear, and asked around about the murderers they were pursuing. They heard that an older guard named Snow had seen them, and there were some other strange things the townspeople had seen as well. A group of grey-robed monks, possibly members of the August Order of the Threshold, a group who makes a study of death and its boundary with life. Several [URL="http://zelda.wikia.com/wiki/Sheik"]Veiled Ones[/URL] from Sarasa, guardians of the peace between the nomadic Sarasan clans, far from their grassland home and also heading south. Something was happening.

Then they set out for the bazaar to sell off their cart, which was only slowing them down, and buy some armor for Bonnie.

Newly outfitted in a thick leather coat, Bonnie, as well as Elaphe, Shining Star, and the Green Knight looked for a hedge witch to perform the bonding rite to link Elaphe's claw strider as a familiar, and they found more than that--a house with a shingle outside that had a black tower in a forest or jungle and below that, Muskalan writing that said, "Onyx, Disciple of the Abyss." They entered and saw a sitting room with a low tea table, a pot of tea on a brazier, and three cups already poured as a mandragora woman beckoned them to sit.

Shining Star looked back to her schooling and remembered hearing about a secretive group of sorcerers in a crater in the far north, in a windowless fortress built around a well said to have no bottom, who made their study of the pipes, the Warp, and other worlds. When asked, Onyx said she could perform the binding ritual, and Elaphe and his raptor settled down on opposite ends of a ritual circle, Onyx lit the incense, and it began. Shining Star, Bonnie, and the Green Knight waited the hours of the ritual--though the Green Knight developed an inconvenient leg cramp from looming too hard--and when it was done and Elaphe felt a new sense of connection to his claw strider, Bonnie immediately asked Onyx about her knowledge of necromancy and the walking dead, but Onyx said that it wasn't her area of study. Undeterred, Bonnie followed up by asking about alchemy and what she could teach, and the two settled down to bargaining, though with Elaphe wondering how long this would take and how much further they were falling behind their quarry.

Meanwhile, during all this, Amos Burham wandered the streets of the city, but since we were coming on time I ended it before we were able to deal with what we found there. Next session will start with that.


Bonnie's player wanted to learn the recipe for ghost rum, but I said that Onyx didn't know it. She does know the recipe for spirit flower tea, which lets those who drink it see immaterial spirits, which is probably something that will come in handy in the future.

This is part of me seeding events in the world that the PCs can react to if they choose. The first one, the election, was less interesting, but here's something in the group's way that's bringing back the unquiet dead. Will they stop it? Will they just try to avoid the zombies? We'll find out!
 
 
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