Led by the thirsty Mirthful Doomed, the remainder of the party sets off for the Aylesbury town limit to investigate the drinking establishment called The Gorge.
The Aylesbury Pike was formerly a busy foot-path, however since the Monorail came to town, it has fallen into disuse. The houses and farms outside of Aylesbury Center are ramshackle and unwelcoming. Stone walls and wooden fences come right to the shoulder of the road as if to say 'keep out!' The few locals you see tending their fields or sitting on their porch-stoops seem furtive and suspicious. You notice a wider range of skin coloration than the pure green you've seen so far; some of them have a pallor hinting at the Pale White Men you saw in the Tunnel. You decide not to ask them for directions!
Despite the reminders of rural poverty and degeneration, the late morning is cheerful as the early-summer sun lifts your spirits. Compared with last night's terror in the Tunnel, the air is clean and clear and the mood almost festive. The call of finches and whippoorwills fills the air, and indeed the very leaves of the trees rustle in gratitude to the sunshine.
[d6 = 4]
If The Gracious Provider's directions are accurate, you'll be at your destination in time for a late lunch. Post here if you're going to THE GORGE!
Last Edit: Jun 28, 2011 9:29:45 GMT -6 by mushgnome
The surrounding environment becomes more rugged as you gain elevation. But the road is smooth and well-marked; you are making good time and should be there soon... The morning passes uneventfully and you reckon it is around noon-time.
Cresting a rise in the road, you see before a deep, water-carved ravine eroded from the rock. It is so deep the bottom cannot be seen from where you're standing! The road crosses an ancient, decrepit covered bridge. It is covered with slimy, dark moss and sags alarmingly in the middle! But there appears to be no other way across.
On the opposite side of the ravine is a rustic yet welcoming wooden building. On its wide porch, a small group of Green Old-Timers are smoking pipes and playing cards. You hear bursts of laughter and smell the unmistakable aroma of sizzling meat by-products.
Cautiously, you cross the rickety bridge. Halfway across, Eye cannot resist looking down... unfathomably far below, the icy water dances and roars through the sheer walls of the gorge! He gulps and grabs hold of the guard rail tightly.
But the bridge holds under your weight, as it has held for so many years already, and the Old-Timers look up and grin at your approach. "Bukkit, yew got cussomers!" one of them shouts through the open door.
Stepping through the front door of The Gorge you are greeted by the smell of coffee, sausages, and faint whiffs of last night's vomit. As your eyes adjust to the dim light, you see the walls are covered with railway memorabilia, newspaper clippings, and old-timey portraits of various rugged-looking individuals. Sitting at the bar are several Green Men (some of whom look like they perhaps haven't moved from their stools since last night) and a smiling, buckskin-clad Black Man on whom those sober enough have focused their attention.
The swinging door to the kitchen bangs open with a clatter and a bizarre figure rumbles through! His face is a massive scar obliterating one ear, both eyes, and much of his scalp. He has but one arm and no legs at all, moving around in some sort of wheeled chair. Despite his apparent lack of sight and mobility, he maneuvers deftly behind the bar and sniffs the air in your direction, his single ear twitching expectantly.
Could this be The Bucket?
Last Edit: Jul 15, 2011 7:48:36 GMT -6 by mushgnome
Fated to Die tosses the lapis earrings to The Bucket, who has no lap to speak of, but he hears them clatter on the wooden bar and brings them to his face for a curious sniff. (Charisma check = 16 ... just barely!)
The kitchen door swings open and Buttercup enters. She is a monstrous hag of a Green Woman with a face only an eyeless man could love.
Bucket presents her with the earrings and whispers something in her ear. She blushes bright green and returns to the kitchen with a swing in her step.
He fills a large pitcher of mead to overflowing and says, "I'LL HAVE THE MISSUS FIX LUNCH FOR Y'ALL."
Do you wish to drink at the bar with the locals, or claim a booth so you can talk privately among yourselves?
At the bar with you are a strangely-dressed Black Man and five Green Old-Timers.
The Green Men are in various stages of drunkenness and seem to find your presence amusing. Whether they are laughing with you or at you, you cannot be sure. Nevertheless their demeanor is friendly and they are quick to include you in their conversation. Compared with the puritanical state of affairs in Aylesbury, the "vibe" at The Gorge is relaxed.
The stories they tell are typical small-town stuff: an especially harsh winter, the sorry state of the local economy, the foibles of the wealthy city folk in far-off Arkham, the everyday drudgery of planting crops and tending animals (which they seem to be neglecting on this beautiful spring day).
The Black Man in fringed buckskin garb introduces himself as A Fair Price for Critters. He is a traveling livestock wholesaler here to purchase animals to sell at auction in the city. You notice he is quite friendly with the local farmers, laughing uproariously at their tall tales while barely sipping at his own drink.
The Bucket keeps the cool, refreshing mead flowing, and Buttercup returns with a platter of sausage sammiches (delicious with just the right amount of spicy mustard) and a side of pickled eggs.
All is peaceful and convivial at this roadside watering hole on a sunny afternoon.
Fated to Die: [to the Black Man] "Animal Lover, what say you? Surely you have tales of adventure to share?"
"Well..." begins A Fair Price for Critters, "Most of the animals I buy and sell are basic domesticated types, like piggums, moo-bees, and chicklets. I have a special livestock car and an arrangement with the Railroad. The farmers deliver the critters to the station, I bring them to auction in the city, and they end up on some rich man's dinner plate.
"Of course there are all sorts of weird and wild things living up in these hills, but I don't hunt them down myself--No Sir, I keep to the main roads and only travel by daylight! But these "unique-sters" (as I call 'em) fetch a decent price in Arkham, dead or alive, and so I've been the middleman for a good number of trades."
Critters pauses for a moment, as though mulling the best words to describe the indescribable. "Imagine you took all the critters of the world--mammal, reptile, bird, plant, fish--plus a few not of this world--and chopped 'em all up and mixed the parts together in a bag--then you reach blindly into the bag and pull something out...
"...I've seen things so terrifyingly monstrous that no sane man should ever want to look upon them... beaks and tentacles and claws... but then some so pathetic they bring a tear to your eye... pupkin-tails and baby arms...
He shakes himself back to reality. "Anyway, if you're unlucky enough to catch a monster like that, ask for me at any of the Monorail stations. I'll pay you a fair price for the critter."
Post by crusssdaddy on Jul 13, 2011 0:03:58 GMT -6
Fated to Die: "Did you gents hear the one about the impoverished sorcerer who asked his accountant about lowering expenses? He says, 'Okay Murray give it to me straight... what kind of sacrifices do I gotta make?' Haha!"
"Bucket can we get some sammiches and a couple skins o' drink to go? I think we're gonna go for a stroll in the mountains."