Never, over the course of recorded history of the World of Meleon, have soldiers on foot beaten armored riders in open combat. And the centaurs of the Erlenwood are probably the best riders in the history of the World of Meleon.
When Anfortas, the runner, leads them to you, and the horse-men realize that you want to pose any sort of resistance, they simply ride you down, and do not halt.
Yes, you might hurt some of them.
Yes, Cailín's might hurt them in ways unimaginable.
But as they see that hold their kin prisoner, they turn, after riding over you, and attack again. This time, with a greater intention to hurt.
Chaos, blood, and pain, and cooling darkness. One, by one, by one.
Then, you dream. Of great battles, and of the princes Telegon and Aldrin. Of King Allwoes, and the Tempest. Of a silver river, and of your ancestors in a magical place, one as old as time itself.
And within the shadows of your mind, you find two sparks of pure fire.
"You need to fight on", whispers the one. And the other tells you:
"You belong to me!"
Later, probably a day, or two.
The bags over your heads have been removed a while, and someone gave you water. Cailín's gag was taken away as well.
You are hungry, as you've not eaten since the fey took you. You gear, and all your weapons are gone.
It's night when you come back to yourselves.
You're lying on the bottom of a round pit into the earth; the walls are made of loose, wet earth, imposssible to climb.
It has rained today. You know because the ground beneath your beaten, broken bodies is wet.
You see that Wenchell is gone. Probably, he died.
The moon shines through though trees that shield the pit from the sky.
"They took my eyes, so I couldn't run any more."
In the narrow pit, on the opposite wall, Anfortas, the herald. The one who maybe brought all this trouble upon you. Empty sockets, where his eyeballs should be.
"The knight is worse off than me, though. He tried to run, and they cut his leg."
You can make out that Anfortas is cowering over another body. It's that of the knight from Tizona, Balboa. Even in the relative darkness, you can see how he is trembling from fever. His left leg has been cut off below the knee.
Serafin looks around the pit and becomes quite worried when he doesn't see Wenchell.
"Enough coin to carry him through the year he said..." Serafin says, his gaze loitering momentarily on Anfortas's plucked out eyes; he almost vomits, and looks upwards to the stars in an attempt to calm down.
Just how high is this pit... maybe we could boost someone out?No, there's bound to be a guard.
For now he just watches the night sky for any signs of movement above.
"I think I will keep my singing to myself. At least, when anything sharp is within arm's reach of our captors. While I might get used to not being able to speak, or sing ever again, kissing would be so... boring."
Sveinki quickly examines Balboa's leg - and the result of his examination is disheartening. The Tizoniard's body is burning, even inside the cold pit. Sveinki might suspect blood poisoning. Inside the pit, as things are, Balboa will likely die soon.
Anfortas' situation, in contrast, appears outright surreal. It appears his eyes have been removed without otherwise damaging his face, or his skull. Supernatural powers caused this, anyone who cares to examine the eye-stumps will realize this.
Outside of the pit, deep night. You cannot see the moon, though its light still reaches you.
There are no noises from animals, just the quiet moving of the waves that are the heavy branches of the trees.
It would be foolish to assume the fey have not set up some sort of sentinel, to watch over you. But if the sentinel is there, you can't make it out yet, neither by sight, nor sound.
It takes you a moment to realize that Anfortas chest, and the long chains are still with you in the pit, half-buried under the watery mud. That might be a way to improve your situation. - But maybe its not wise to anger your prison guards by trying something foolhardy.
Outside the pit, no discernible sound can be heard, except for the soft rattling of wind onto the trees. If the fey - or whatever other woodland spirits may act as your jailers - are watching you, they either do so from afar, or are really way more silent than the chattering and twittering pixies are usually said to be.
Inside the pit, Anfortas sits next to Balboa, quasi motionless.
The chest he had been protecting, with the long chain forged onto it, lies in an empty corner of the pit, seemingly forgotten.
"I am far lighter than any of you," Cailín says. Then she frowns. "Of course, I'm also the shortest."
"You could stand on my shoulders and we could use the edge of the pit for balance, that way, even if you are too short to see over the edge on the side we are on, you can look across to the other side of the pit and get a view of what is around on that side. What do you think?"
If Cailin is game, Sveinki will help her get up on his shoulders. They can then move around the edge of the pit (while using the wall for balance) to get a view of what is around it.
Greg Svenson, aka "The Great Svenny" Original Blackmoor Participant
Anfortas rises his arms, in a gesture that would be harsh, had he any fight left in him.
"Please, don't. I am sworn to protect that chest with my life. I am also sworn not to reveal neither what its destination was, nor what I know about its content. The fey took it from me, because they now that, if I can't bring it to its destination, I cannot leave it, either."
Some of you might remember vague rumors you've heard about the herald. [INT 15+]
Yes, they are said to have a strange code of honor. But would it be more, like, guidelines...? Surely, the kid doesn't want to die here. Not for honor, at least...
The chain lies, half-buried, in the mud where you lay when you woke up. Yes, it could be a weapon. And yes, in conjunction with the chest, it could maybe serve as a very primitive version of a grappling iron, now that you think of it.
Outside, the forest remains quiet. Too quiet to be peaceful.
Post by Radio Dask on Aug 10, 2016 14:29:40 GMT -6
"Herald, if it means getting out of this pit alive, I think we could keep a secret or two. We don't even have to look at the contents. Just take my cloak, fold it inside and under whatever it is that's in there, wrap it up, and put it to the side. Who's to say you even saw us open..."
Sveinki says "hey, I have an idea as to how we might get out of here. We could form a human pyramid. I think that Glordir and James are the strongest, They could stand at the bottom, bracing themselves against the wall of the pit. I could then get up and stand on their shoulders, maybe with a little help from Serafin and Cailin. I could lean back against the wall so my hands are free. Then Cailin could climb up, maybe with a little help from Serafin to me and I could lift her up to where she can get out. From there she can search for rope or a strong vine and lower it into the pit, allowing Glordir, James and Serafin to climb out. Then I could use the rope, or whatever, to tie around Anfortas and you could pull him out. We could repeat that process for Balboa, if he is still alive at that point. And, finally, I can climb out. What do you think? Shall we get started?"
Greg Svenson, aka "The Great Svenny" Original Blackmoor Participant
Anfortas, in a way noticeable to all around him, tenses when Serafin asks him about giving up his strange treasure chest. For all you know about the order of the Heralds, he might well want to fight you for it, if you decided to take the chest by force. Usually, it shouldn't pose a challenge to beat down a blind man. - But in this case, given that you witnessed first-hand how Anfortas outran a small herd of centaurs, it might well be harder than it might seem to an unsuspecting onlooker.
But then, the confrontation is averted, as Sveinki takes the lead, and, after some trying, and some possible loss of dignity through the knotting of limbs together in the wrong way, manages to create more or less stable construction, a mixture between what in the days of yore used to be called a "raider's ladder" and the aforementioned human pyramid.
You manage to reach the edge of the pit, and you manage to peek outside:
The forest around you remains empty, and forbiddingly so. You cannot see any sort of sentinels, or other sorts of creatures that would be there to watch you.
In fact, the forest around you appears bare of life: A few steps from the pit, the trees and the underwood glitter, like from hoarfrost, but it is not particularly cold around where you are.
To those who are descendants of the Band of Agnarr, and have perhaps listen to one or two fireside tales of their ancestors flight from Asterion, this should mean something.
Around the pit, though, the earth is wet, and warm, and in accordance to the spring weather outside the Forest Kingdom.
You will see another thing, though:
Right ahead of the pit, someone has planted the Staff of Ravens - Cailín's precious item of heritage - right into the ground, a single wooden pole.
No light or other magical energies emanate from the Staff of Ravens - but there has to be a reason why it is there, has it not?
Your other possessions are nowhere to be seen.
If you are valiant enough to face whatever consequences there may be, you can climb out of the pit, in this fashion.
Inside the pit, Glordir's spell seems to have stabilized Balboa, very much in the same way they affected him at the tavern in Basswood Village: The knight sinks into a deeper, calmer sleep. But he will live.
Cailín clambers up the makeshift pyramid, hauling herself over the edge of the pit, aggravating still-healing -and-still-very-bruised ribs in the process. She makes a careful sweep of the perimeter, peeking into the shadows of the tree line, noticing but not entirely knowing what the rime of coldless ice could mean. She leans close, watching to see if her breath, too, crystallizes in the air like it did during the winters along the Raven's Road....
She then busies herself looking for stout vines or creepers enough to fashion a rope. It occurs to her, as she pokes through the underbrush, that the smallest and lightest of the company might not be the best choice for hauling those larger and heavier than herself up the side of the pit....
Her thoughts trail off as she spies the Staff of Ravens, and she sucks in a sharp breath, wincing at the twinge across her ribs. She snatches her staff from where the fey planted it.
"Mock me, will you?" she snarls, as much to any unseen captors as to herself.
Then the thought comes to her that perhaps she could use the staff, driving it into the side of the pit as a tenuous handhold so one of the others could make his way out of the pit to help in winding a vine rope and hauling up the others....
Hearing the information Cailin relayed to the group, Glordir realizes there is no need for a guard. We are prisoners in the forest until the man in red (or who ever he serves) releases us or we become the ruler of the forest. Once we everyone is out of the hole, Glordir will begin exploring the immediate surroundings. An odd peace and excitement fill him, almost as if he has belongs in the forest itself. His father had told him of the first time he entered into the forest, but Glordir never truly understood his father's words until now.
As Cailín removes the Staff of Ravens from where the fey had planted it, the silver rime around the pit seems to flicker - to move. Should Cailín notice, and wave the stick around a bit, the borders of ice will, again, strangely tremble, and seemingly readjust to where Cailín is standing.
So, the Staff of Ravens keeps the Feyfrost away? Hmmm...
As Serafin and Glordir follow Cailín out the pit, another, sudden change can be felt, even as it occurs, soundlessly.
The walls of the pit are, too, beginning to tremble - not, as if they were, what about to come down on those who remain in your mudd-filled prison, but... As if they were closing in.
In the half-darkness, down below, those who remain in the pit can see that the structure of the pit's walls itself seems to change. There is a sudden life to the earth that was not there before.
As if the dead soul was suddenly readjusting itself... In an organic kind of way.
Outside the pit: Cailín, Glordir, Serafin.
Inside the pit: Sveinki, James, Balboa (unconscious), Anfortas (blind).
Those of you with a Wisdom score above 10 will, for a split-second, share a vision:
A man, not unlike Glordir, with human and with Elven facial traits, lies in a spring forest, his skin grey, like from disease. A woman, not unlike Cailín, cowers over him, as if she was tending his wounds.
The couple seems similar to you, yet... Different. Older. The trees around them... Look younger.
Then, that vision is gone.
Those of you with a Wisdom score below 10 will, at the same time, perceive - not a vision, but a chilling sound:
Like an angry song, from many shrill, child-like voices.
The song in your heads will last a second, maybe longer, not unlike the sound a Dwarvish warpipe makes.
And then, it's gone.
And all of you are back where you were a moment before. Cailín, holding the Staff of Ravens. Anfortas, laying his hands on the walls of the pit, whispiering:
As Glordir climbs out, Sveinki says to James "Ok, you are next. When you get the the top get everyone ready to pull out Balboa. I am going to help Anfortas get to the rope so he can climb out next."
He goes to Anfortas and says "I am going to lead you to the rope. Can you climb out on your own or do you want me to tie you into a harness and have the others lift you out?" while he takes him by the hand and leads him to the rope. If Anfortas wants to be lifted out he will use the rope (or whatever) to make a harness for him.
When he hears the angry song he says "I hear angry voices, we better hurry!"
Once Anfortas is on his way up and out of the pit, Sveinki will go to Balboa and gently drag him over to where the rope is and, when Anfortas gets to the top, he will start to make the harness to lift Balboa out.
Once we accomplish all that, he will climb the rope out of the pit himself.
Last Edit: Aug 22, 2016 6:41:49 GMT -6 by gsvenson
Greg Svenson, aka "The Great Svenny" Original Blackmoor Participant
Post by Radio Dask on Aug 23, 2016 13:16:24 GMT -6
Serafin will try and help people out of the pit once they reach the top, scanning the trees for movement between the climber's arrivals. Whatever or whoever made that noise, he does not want to meet them.