Last time: Within Tierra Del Cielo, the town of Salvation is besiged by a growing supernatural threat.
Joining the badger-Hundred Rivers Nineteen, the party headed off towards the town, but were interrupted by a fusillade from a then-unseen assailant, sending their vehicle careening offroad..
Animated skeltons and weapons approached from the darkness, and engaged the party!
Upon the enemies' defeat, it was decided to reach Salvation by foot…
[Expedition] [Go West - Distance 6]
Hachi-Roku: OKAY so for many of us this is the first time engaging with the expedition system.
Hachi-Roku: So there'll be some bumps and buhs and ups and downs but we'll work it out, SOMEHOW.
Hachi-Roku: To help get into the mindset of what, I think, would be most beneficial to us as a group, is to at least put this in the back of your mind:
[OOC] Hachi-Roku: "Each scene is framed by a Travel Action… The travel actions aren't necessarily the only things that happen - every voyage involves lots and lots of things like these, encounters with monsters and other travelers, obstacles that need to be dealt with, and even long meandering marches and various conversations - but the idea is that you focus in on the ones your group is interested in actually having scenes about, and gloss over the rest."
Hachi-Roku: In short, imagine what your character would find interesting about the area, or what they're on the lookout for, or perhaps just what their general 'theme' or 'mood' is, and if you're called up directly to invoke a travel action, you can propose something to the effect of [their interest] or [their awareness] or [their aesthetic]. Maybe, maybe this will work
Hachi-Roku: That is, if you don't have something in mind already.
Hachi-Roku: Of course, this will be besides Travel Actions that I, the GM, declare upon the party.
Hachi-Roku: But likely there will be some push and pull, give and take.
Hachi-Roku: With that said…
Smoke billows from the wrecked carrier. Ruined weapons and shattered bones lie strewn across the greenery at your feet.
The sky hangs dark, and a haze fills the gaps where the canopy does not.
Fortunately, you have a road guiding you, so getting lost is less of a concern…
Claret peers off into the darkness. He adjusts his glasses. He squints. "So, here's the thing…" [I think I'm gonna start with Charting A Course?]
I think I'm gonna let that happen, yeah. [It's also a good guiding hand, both in and out of character!]
Claret rolled 5d6 and got 3, 2, 5, 3, 3 ( Total: 16 ) for Rolling Wayfaring…
((I think… if I say [Approved], that's your signal to execute your roleplay, roll your dice, basically play your hand.))
[OOC] Claret: Yeah, of course!
That's one success!
Claret: "…The road'll get us going a ways, I think. But that isn't the last we've seen of those things. Alida, we'll…" He pauses. He considers. "We'll probably want to follow your lead." [Predicting "Dodging Patrols" , which is to say, 'the next invocation of that scores +1 Progress.']
Claret paces. He's framed by the pyre of the carrier. [Hey Hachi, name another action coming up.]
Issa: "I can scout ahead if need be. I'm hard to see, in smoke and dark."
Claret: "Oh yeah?" He smiles. "Not well acquainted, so yeah - could leave that to you."
[Not all roads lead to Salvation. Some take the scenic route. 'A Choice of Paths' is something to expect.]
Claret: "Was in the area before. There's… actually an offshoot trail, coming up. Might be a bit safer. I'll keep an eye out."
Issa smiles. "Just say the word, and I'll dart on ahead."
Claret: "Not that I recognize much in the dark." He shrugs.
Issa: "Well, I won't recognize anything, so we'll be even!"
Alida nods to Issa, "Scouting is a good idea. Either me or you, though I'd say you seem more comfortable in shadows than I."
Claret snaps his fingers. "That's the spirit."
Issa grins. "No more spirits, please, had enough of skeletons."
Ridwan breaks off a branch from a nearby tree, before wrapping part of it in some cloth. He then dowses it with a liquid from his satchel, before sticking *that* in in the flaming wreckage.
Eidolon glances at Issa, amused. The eye observes, of course, but Eidolon himself is easy to observe, so he's glad they've a scout.
Rivers studies Ridwan as he works and says nothing, but he audibly sniffs, searching for a scent, right before Ridwan tosses it into the wreckage.
Ridwan: "Not as useful as a flashlight, but I ran out of batteries on the last job and haven't had time to resupply."
Alida: "Are we planning on marching through to night or attempting to fortify a spot down the road for a camp?"
Zephyr: "This one would imagine rest would come eventually."
Ridwan: "Probably best to stay on the move, while we've still got the adrenalin pumping."
Rivers rubs a paw along his striped, furred head. "I'd like to cover as much ground as we could, staying out here long enough will be the death of us."
Eidolon: "Better to pace yourself. We've a job to do, and there's no sense arriving exhausted. Although, if we expect to get to shelter before night falls…"
Claret nods to Issa. "We'll go when you say it's clear." [So… sounds like the next travel action is yours! Name it, get it approved, talk a little bit about what that's like, make the roll, I think.]
[OOC] Issa: *freezes* Oh. Um.
[As the GM, I wholeheartedly agree with this. :D]
[OOC] Claret: No worries! It's probably [Dodging Patrols], since that has a bonus and is appropriate for scouting ahead and not getting attacked.
[OOC] Ridwan: There's a list of some suggestions here! The one peter took gives you a bonus if you pick "Dodge Patrols" so that's proably a good option to start with.
[OOC] Ridwan:
[OOC] Issa: Okay….and then, I, uh…
[OOC] Claret: You sort of montage-like, describe, to your heart's content, what's that like. It can be one line, it can be more - you could say, talk about darting forward through the brush, Hachi might describe glimpses of what you're avoiding, signs of danger you detect. And you'll make a Stealth roll, in that case.
[OOC] Eidolon: Narrate the action of scouting ahead and dodging patrols and guiding the party through said patrols, and roll Stealth, and then yowl at Hachi to tell you what to do next
Hachi-Roku: It's defintely a more freeform bit of roleplay, at that juncture.
Hachi-Roku: Feel free to express your style!
Issa smiles-and then tugs a hood that's tucked down the back of their collar up and over their head, obscuring more of the auburn braids, the bare pink of skin. Their flowing garments blend into the shadows of the growing dusk as they slip ahead, off the road and into the brush.
[OOC] Ridwan: After you do that, you'll make a skill check. Here, that's 2d6, plus a number of d6 equal to your skill rating. So in the case of dodge patrols, you'd use stealth for 2+2 = 4d6. Rolls of 5 and 6 count as successes! If you don't get any good rolls, you can also spend LP to add +1 to any given roll in order to force successes.
[OOC] Eidolon: rolling stealth is… you have 2 stealth and we have a +1 from Peter, someone else can figure out what the actual roll needs to be
[OOC] Eidolon: I think 5d6, since base 2 + your 2 + peter's bonus? i think? someone back me up
[OOC] Claret: Yeah!
[OOC] Issa: So 5d6? Was that enough or do I need more narration?
[OOC] Claret: Count 5s and 6s as successes. That seems like enough to me!
[OOC] Ridwan: naw, peter's bonus isn't to the roll itself, it's to the progress gained on a pass
[OOC] Claret: oic yes
[OOC] Claret: it makes it more valuable to do, not easier to do.
[OOC] Eidolon: Yup you're good :3 and ohhh okay 4d6 then, sorry
[OOC] Claret: Whoops!!!
Issa rolled 4d6 and got 4, 2, 6, 2 ( Total: 14 ) for -rolling Stealth
You hear the faint click-clack of guns reloading, echoing between the trees…
[But you get 1 success! That's enough to pass by safely.]
[OOC] Alida: You can spend luck on that 4 to make it 2 successes, if you'd like
[OOC] Ridwan: That's one pass which is Enough! If you want, you can burn an LP to change that 4 into a 5 and take one of the bonuses mentioned under 'sending additional successes' in that entry, but it's optional!
[OOC] Eidolon: you can spend an LP to raise that 4 to a 5 if you want, and get a second success to spend on… some kind of informational advantage or yoinking an item, I think; your call whether you want to or not
[OOC] Issa: Before I do that…how/when do we regain LP? Don't wanna burn it TOO fast
[OOC] Issa: n/m, just saw answer
Fortunately, that loud noise tips you off to the otherwise windchime-like tinkling of the floating weapons, and the soft crunching of leaves and sticks beneath the feet of more skeletons.
Eidolon is watching for Issa, who watches for the patrols; when they signal from afar, he signals to the rest of the party- get off the road, get back on, so on, and so forth.
[OOC] Issa: Gonna bump that 4 to a 5 and hunt for more intelligence with the second success
[OOC] Issa: Sorry, needed that extra bit of info 'fore I could make that call
[OOC] Claret: no worries <3
Issa dares to nudge a little closer-to get a clearer view, to perhaps gain some clue as to where these accursed things are coming from.
You note a route that will circumnavigate their location… and spot something else interesting besides. [Check your PMs]
Issa finally makes their way-ever so carefully-back to the others, giving a quick explanation of the path they've found that will dodge the worst of the enemies. And… "I saw two enemies we did not fight before. And both which I would rather not."
A high-pitched shriek pierces the silence of the darkness, but no noticable movement has happened, and it doesn't seem like it was about the group in particular.
Might have just been a jaguar.
A really… really soprano jaguar.
Claret nods in appreciation, not risking even a murmured thanks after the shriek cuts through. Gratitude's clear in his eyes, though. They get moving.
Ridwan: "Hmm. So noted."
[Progress: 2/6]
Eidolon: "I would like to have seen them. I think, perhaps, I will like to have not crossed their path. Well scouted."
Ridwan quickly scrawls out some runes on a peice of paper, then sticks it into a nearby tree. Some light wards to hopefully keep the spiirts away form the roads before they're dealt with.
Taking the path around the hostile presence has led you somewhat deeper into the jungle, and it isn't long before well-traveled trails are a thing only within living memory.
Issa: "One was a suit of armor, hollow but moving," they say, voice pitched to nearly being just a breath of the wind. "The other…fast. And fire. Screamed."
Looks like someone needs to [Blaze a Trail,] whenever anyone is ready to do so. [Don't let me rush you!]
Ridwan: "A dullahan?"
Issa: "Very dull, yes." A brief flash of a smile, white in the darkness. "But aye. Fits."
Alida: "Hopefully they will not want to follow us through the brush," Alida whispers back. "Someone can cut a path ahead?"
Ridwan pauses, then puts up *another* ward after a moment of consideration.
Zephyr ends up taking the lead, he has no weapons but his sheer size is clearing most of the bramble out of the way as he stomps on through. [Blazing A Trail]
Zephyr rolled 5d6 and got 6, 3, 2, 4, 1 ( Total: 16 )
[One success!]
The brambles and bush give way at your size, and stay bent in deferrence to their new natural master.
[OOC] Zephyr: Going to take the +1 die option if I get to choose
Various bugs quiet down in reverence. (And fear, probably.)
[OOC] Ridwan: you get to pick when it says "spend successes:" yeah
[OOC] Hachi-Roku: why would you ever not always take the +1 die one
[OOC] Hachi-Roku: like it makes more sense if it's "spend successes in succession:"
[OOC] Claret: I should probably make that change yeah
[OOC] Ridwan: don't look at me this is all beta!!
[You get one progress.] [If you get a second success you can get the +1 die option as well as another progress!] [If you get third success you can get Yet Another Progress! But you're also Wearied.]
[If you are content with this, continue your tromp.] [Or spend luck.[
Zephyr will spend 1 luck, sure. [+1 MP, +1 Drive]
You're making good progress! Would just about put the roadmaker's union onto a strike…
There's enough breathing room for everyone to compose themselves in preparation for the next challenge. [Skillchecks associated with the next travel action are at +1 die.]
[Progress: 4/6]
Ridwan: "Hmm."
[OOC] Issa: If nobody's got anything, I've got an idea.
[OOC] Ridwan: Typically, I think the idea is to go from person to person so that everyone takes a shot at doing something until the bar fills up before repeating… but also I do got one I wanna do. :D
[OOC] Issa: Go, Ridwan, I've already gotten a chance.
Ridwan comes to a sudden stop after they've been travelling for a few hours, lifting his gasmask up as he squints at something just above the treeline.
Eidolon: "What do you see?"
Claret stops in his tracks.
Ridwan: "Are you familiar with Weirding Pathways?"
Alida: "I mean I'd call this whole situation a Weird Pathway, friend."
Ridwan: "Well, there's weird, and then there's Weird."
Ridwan: "Basically I've found us a shortcut we can use to get to town, left over from when the spirits themselves dispursed."
Eidolon: "!"
Ridwan wrinkles his brow. "Your inflection sure carries a lot of weight, there."
Ridwan: "They may be some still lingering in the pathway… but they're usually harmless."
Eidolon: "Not… familiar. I've heard of them in my travels. I've always… had an interest."
Ridwan: "Imagine a tunnel, except it's made up of ghost energy."
Issa: "Like a hole made by worms."
Ridwan squints. "Yes. And it ignores things like physical distances, enabling quick passage between points."
Zephyr nods a few times before speaking up. "Smoothskin show through actions, not words, yes?"
[Approved, but after you make your offering, wait before rolling.]
Eidolon: "I have heard the term 'strange paths'. Weird, strange… I've heard there can be a cost to pay to secure one's safe travel."
Ridwan: "Of course."
Alida: "Fighting ghosts, walking ghost paths. This is a very interesting job indeed. I am ready." She elbows Claret. "Should be fun."
Ridwan takes a seat on the ground and takes out some vials full of spices and a candel. He sprinkles some of the spices onto it before lighting it with his make0shift tourch. "The spirits are mostly of soldiers, right Rivers?"
Rivers nods. "Yeah. Either fallen or battle or passed relatively peacefully. Soldiering was in Salvation's blood, metaphorically and I guess literally."
Ridwan nods to himself, arranging a stack of coins and some bullets around the candle before clasping his hands together and inhaling the smoke from it. [An Offering Has Been Made]
The smoke runs up into your nostrils, and then a second tendril swirls off to the side, streaking across the ground for two meters before coming to a stop.
The haze from above cascades down, cutting through the darkness, falling upon the smoke.
The faint smell of gunpowder and dried blood permeates the air as flecks of smoke scatter about like sparks, but dissolve harmlessly around you.
From the line of smoke rises a simulcrum of a large gate- shaped like large logs lashed together, surrounding a cross-barred portcullis.
The 'gate' writhes, as it too, is smoke.
Ridwan picks up the candle as he stands up while lowering the gas mask once again. (( Roll now? ))
The lit candle flickers, and its flame leaves its wick, floating up to about what would be chest-high on Zephyr- it forms into a small badge: A pike crossed with a rifle. And then, as though as it was suddenly coming into view, an image of a bear-Hundred forms around the rest of it, wearing loose fatigues, hefting a pike and rifle along its back, ephemeral and waiting.
It looks at you, waiting.
Ridwan rolled 5d6 and got 6, 3, 6, 1, 3 ( Total: 19 )
Zephyr stares back at the ghost before addressing Ridwan. "What does one do now, Smoothskin?"
The ghost-Hundred sharply nods its head, and turns, bending over and grabbing onto the bottom of the portcullis with both arms, and heaving it up-
Ridwan: "Give it a moment to see if it assents - ah, it does!"
Ridwan: "And now we walk through. Don't uh. Take anything if another spirits offers you something along the way."
Behind the portcullis is a star-striken portal, swirling of darkness and stars- and you notice now, the haze in the canopy directly is gone, and you notice it is nighttime.
Issa has watched raptly through the whole thing, on the shadowy edge of the proceedings. "One guesses that we move quickly, now?"
Alida hesitates warily gauging the bear hundred, before following Ridwan's lead through the gate
Ridwan: "Correct."
The ghost-Hundred gives a cross-brow salute to Ridwan, before moving its mouth- it said something, but no sound was made.
Eidolon watches, held somewhere between -reverence- and an intense, visible desire if not need to -observe-, but the moment passes and he follows Ridwan through.
Ridwan heads on through after returning the salute.
Issa smiles and follows Ridwan into the gate, when there's space-with a brief motion that seems somewhere between a salute and a bow at the ghost.
Claret follows warily through.
Ridwan: "Hmm."
Rivers clicks his tongue as he follows the party, sticking to the middle of the group. "Uh… this is all definitely more than I heard. Damn."
Ridwan: "Haha, well it's a bit of a trade secret."
The gate shuts behind you, the smoke dissipates, and the haze returns to the sky…
Ridwan: "Do we want to head into the thick of the spirit army and town presumably, or… it seems like we've been offered a route straight to their commander as well?"
Issa: "A commander sounds like a source, and answers."
{The Weirding Pathways}
Ridwan nods, "That's my take too, though I admittedly don't have a lot of dealing with fighting armies." He glances at Alida and Claret for confirmation.
As the gate shuts behind you, you enter a world of inverted color- humanoid (for lack of a more setting-appropriate term at the moment) figures walk around as black figures, with purple hues- the skies and ground are dull greys with streaks of darker greys within them giving them definition-
Claret doesn't confirm much.
Buildings around are large, military-style pop-up tents, or long rickety log cabins,
These have splashes of color on them, as thrown by a lazy artist.
Eidolon spins around, slowly. Seeing everything.
The dark figures walk in lockstep, single file- or they carry weapons matching their hues- or they seem to converse among themselves, but only dull hums are heard.
There's a pulse to this place, but it follows no heartbeat, instead bearing down on your own. There's a sense of pressure- tarry not long, else it suppress a beat.
Alida: "Eh, can't say I have experience with an army much less a ghost army, but talking to whoever is giving orders and attempting negotiation seems like exactly what we were hired for." Alida trails off looking at the colors of the encampment. "Are they all like this?"
Eidolon nods, as if in acknowledgement of receipt of a message. "(Not a place for the likes of us.)"
Issa smiles thinly. "Worst case, we'll be at the center, not at the edge."
Ridwan: "Not *exactly* like this, obviously - they're influences by the spirits that use and create them. But in a general sort of sense, I suppose they're all like this, yes."
Zephyr trails on after the others, not having much to add to the discussion.
Ridwan: "Though the answering spirit offering two destinations is a little strange, admittedly."
Ridwan turns and nods to their guide. "The commander, then!"
Ridwan then turns back to the path and starts walking, having made that declaration.
Rivers uneasily nods back and follows, keeping close. "You really -have- seen a lot, huh?"
[OOC] Alida: If we can get to someone to speak to I'm happy to attempt a charm to get past [A Blockade] if that's allowed
Ridwan: "The world's full of interesting things to find, if you go lookin' for 'em."
Issa looks at Ridwan with much more interested eyes than before. "I would hear your tales sometime.
Eidolon: "And that is the truth." His voice is quiet, muted- unnecessarily so, perhaps.
As Ridwan walks, more and more buildings come into focus, but they quickly start forming solely into a repeating pattern of pop-up tents, tents, tents, and they fall more and more into line with each other, becoming more orderly, and the spirits around them are less doing their own thing and more focused, organized.
Further along the path, they begin holding formation, weapons at ready.
Ridwan: "I guess they *might* be a little more interesting to people that didn't live them, based on reactions I'm seeing now. Hah."
Alida makes a point of keeping her own weapons stowed and doing her best to looking non-threatening
Your path leads to a much larger tent, one with a makeshift awning and heavy curtains barring its entryway, flanked by two soldier spirits. The spirits salute before pulling back the curtains, showing another starry-portal much like the one you stepped through to enter. [This is your exit to 'the commander.']
Ridwan returns the salute, before ducking inside. Or well, outside.
Issa gives another not-bow, not-salute and ducks "inside" as well.
Stepping through the gate…

…your eyes adjust to the darkness.
You stand on a ruined concrete road, long broken as evidenced by the growth of weeds and reeds through its cracks. Before you is a wrought-iron gate, bent and twisted, inbetween a long iron-barred fence with spikes jutting up, deterring fencejumpers.
The jungle hangs heavily behind you, and seems to grow overwild behind the gate.
Ridwan: "And… here we are."
A steel plate with an inscription across it is on one half of the iron gate- [Manor 'Sabre Three']
Claret whistles lowly.
Issa eyes the tableaux in front of them with a tilt of their head. "Well. That's an ambiance."
"Oh… oh no," uneasily warbles Rivers, and he bites his lower lip, hunches his shoulders, as though he's readying himself against a blow.
Claret: "That's…"
Claret: "…That's a real old name, isn't it?"
Eidolon: "…that place, the Pathway. It seemed familiar." Almost to himself, and then he tilts his head towards Rivers. "Recognise the name?"
Rivers nods, swallowing a lump. "That friend that called me here, his name's Manfred Seed. But that's not a birth name."
Issa: "That does not even /sound/ like a real name," mutters Issa, without a hint of irony.
Ridwan fusses with the gate entrance, attempting to pry it open as Rivers elaborates.
Alida: "Sounds like there was intel you left out of our hiring, friend. What have you not told us?"
Eidolon: "Ahhh. Oh, dear."
"He took it himself, some twenty years ago. His birth name's Manfred Three, fourth of his line. This manor's part of a… well, I guess it'd be inheritence?" Rivers says, somewhat unsure.
Zephyr: "Three is clan number, yes? What does smoothskin find unreal?"
"He was a big part of Salvation's agriculture planning, and-" Rivers explanation is cut off by a *WHOOSH* of dark energy, pouring forth from the gate-
[Prowess to not be knocked back] [1 Success needed]
Eidolon: "!?!"
Issa rolled 2d6 and got 6, 2 ( Total: 8 )
Ridwan rolled 2d6 and got 1, 5 ( Total: 6 )
Ridwan braces against the gates.
Claret rolled 5d6 and got 2, 5, 4, 4, 2 ( Total: 17 )
Hachi-Roku rolled 3d6 and got 5, 1, 2 ( Total: 8 ) for Rivers
Zephyr rolled 3d6 and got 3, 3, 2 ( Total: 8 )
Claret leaps to one side, rolling to the trail dirt.
Eidolon rolled 4d6 and got 5, 2, 3, 3 ( Total: 13 )
Alida rolled 2d6 and got 5, 5 ( Total: 10 ) for Prowess
Issa crouches, knives suddenly out and digging into the dirt for purchase.
Alida jumps deftly to the side, dagger in hand
The energy washes over the party, and it swirls about- something catches Zephyr behind a knee, and as he goes down another pushes him up- he's sent flying into a trunk of a tree for [-20 HP]!
Alida: "I don't think they brought us here to talk!"
Zephyr lets out a grunt before getting back to his feet. "This one okay. You be focusing on what is in front, yes?"
The iron gates writhe with large amounts of mana, dripping of dark red and purple hues, shimmering with sickly greens, and the haze above shifts to a static mix of peppered whites and blacks.
Eidolon plunges his sword into the ground in an instant, and it leaves a furrow in the earth, but he stands his ground!
As the energy swirls, there's a loud pop from off into the distance, off to your right- who knows what cardinal direction that is- very likely a large explosion from somewhere, but not beyond the gate…
Ridwan: "Yeah, probably not!"
Rivers lets go of his sprawl across the ground and picks himself up, snarling.
Ridwan: "Most of them don't like talking! I thought I mentioned that?" Ridwan lets out an awkward chuckle and lets himself slide back away from the gate now that it's doing weird things.
"Shit. Either my friend's behind this somehow or he's in deep, deep trouble. But he wasn't a magic kind of guy, and this seems way out of anything he could do, damn near well out of anything I've ever heard of!"
Eidolon: "There's only one way to find out, and that way is forward. Yes?"
Issa shrugs, and bares their teeth in a bright grin. "Seems a better tale this way, yes?"
Ridwan: "It's… it's pretty far into the 'rarely it's exciting' side of the sliding scale for jobs!"
[The gate before you… ahead of you lies immense doom.]
Hachi-Roku: Ehehe, whoops!
Ridwan: "Cannot imagine this is being done *intentionally*, there is *way* too much power being tosses around willy nilly!"
[The gate before you… ahead of you lies immense doom.]
[Brute force can be applied, and you can enter, but even the most naive neophyte can sense its thickness.]
Ridwan mutters to himself. "I wonder if this is like when that smoke stack got haunted, except, like… for an entire battlefield…?"
Eidolon grits his teeth, eye suddenly lit brightly, casting a beam of light into the swirling miasma. One that's attenuated instantly, of course, but…
[There must be a way to suppress or disperse some of this energy, however, you can ignore that option entirely and advance against this force at full strength.]
Ridwan: "Ah… yeah, that's one way of looking at is Issa."
[Choose your adventure.]
Issa: "Hmm. Anyone have a lot of salt?"
Ridwan: "Always."
Issa: "Or…" They glance up at the gate and go just /slightly/ pale. "Perhaps some tactical reconnoitering would be advisable."
Eidolon lowers his head, digs his sword into the ground deeper, arches his back- and his wings unfurl in green-purple light, and the Eye in his chest pierces into the Miasma. [In….sight?]
Eidolon rolled 4d6 and got 1, 5, 2, 3 ( Total: 11 ) for yolo
Claret winces. "Might be able to…" …He doesn't come up with anything just yet.
Ridwan: "Aye. If nothing else, thinning out some of the army ranked should lessen the ambient energies… the commander is drawing on. Might help find the source that spawned them, too."
[OOC] Issa: Would Archeology or Academics be any good here?
[OOC] Hachi-Roku: sure, give me an academics
Eidolon- Perceive one thing!
[OOC] Issa: I have advantage if it's about history.
Ridwan: "Uh -"
[OOC] Zephyr: I may roll Sorcery to try and disperse it but I want to see what the info gathering gets us first.
Issa rolled 5d6 and got 4, 3, 2, 1, 1 ( Total: 11 ) for -Rolling Academics
You do, in fact, have advantage, Issa!
[OOC] Issa: Okay. So what does that MEAN?
Eidolon must know. He must know, even if it is impossible. [From where, and how, does this doom flow?]
[OOC] Claret: Advantage: 4s count as successes
Advantage means you get successes on 4s as well as 5s and 6s!
[OOC] Ridwan: Advantages means that in addition to 5 and 6 counting as a success, so do 4s
[OOC] Issa: Good. Spending LP to bring the 3 up to 4, and that'll give me two.
Issa- ask Two Academics questions!
[OOC] Issa: Uh…scheisse…
[OOC] Issa: Is there anything in the history I've studied that pattern-matches to this kind of effect, and…what am I looking at, right now, that doesn't fit with what I know to be true?
[OOC] Hachi-Roku: I can give you one and then the other, sure
[OOC] Issa: Gotcha.
[OOC] Hachi-Roku: as in, after I tell you the first one, you can change the second if you want
Eidolon watches, and Knows, and his eye blinks and he staggers backwards- the beam once again attenuated- he maintains his grip on the sword, and holds his ground, breathing deep of the wrath-mist.
[OOC] Issa: Oh! Okay.
Ridwan: "Is that a normal maxwellian thing or…?"
Issa stares at the gates, eyes flicking back and forth, not quite seeing. "What would be here that could cause such a thing? The only thing this place was before, was a battlefield."
Ridwan: "That's sort of what I was worried about."
Ridwan: "That the battlefield itself had birthed the spirit, I mean."
Eidolon near-whispers. "A bloodline. Rage, thought dimmed, thought beaten into plowshares, thought buried in the ground, grew and flew and flows-"
Issa's head snaps around to Eidolon. "Yes! Yes, it's a…" They pound a fist against the side of their head for a second, rattling their brainpan. "Great weapons. Great weapons literally melted down for plowshares."
Eidolon: "Someone… never gave up the ghost, as it were." He laughs, once, softly. The eye blinks, a few times. Like it's clearing smoke from itself.
Issa: "Three, three weapons, and….and now what?"
Ridwan raises an eyebrow.
Ridwan: "Wait, you mean this is a battlefield spirit haunting a *relic*?"
Rivers brushes dirt from his dark clothes. "It'd probably help to have weapons instead of plows right now, yeah?"
Issa: "Uh, possibly relic-s, plural."
Ridwan: "Okay."
Ridwan: "As the current expert,"
Ridwan: "We're pullin' back."
Ridwan very quickly gets away from the gate.
Issa: "Yeah, I don't think we can bring this to a suitable climax right now…" And Issa follows Ridwan.
Ridwan: "I assume Salvation proper isn't too far from here?"
Eidolon: "A progenitor of the Threes. A long-simmering rage, thought redirected towards other pursuits, rancorous, bursting forth like a broken dam." His curiosity is satisfied. For now. He backs away from the gate.
Claret backs off, keeps up with the rest for the retreat.
Issa looks at Eidolon, mid-retreat. "Progenitor? As in the maker, forger?"
Alida: "You're the ghost expert." Alida moves away from the gate, heading back towards the relative safety of the treeline, sticking close to Claret.
Rivers uneasily looks around. "Uh… I'd hope not. I'm not sure where it'd be from here." [If someone can think of a way to get some vision… climbing with Prowess, splitting the haze with Sorcery, or something else…] [And then someone else can do a Wayfaring]
Alida attampts to climb a tree to get a good view of where to go ((A prowess roll for that or a specific Travel Action?))
[OOC] Hachi-Roku: Just prowess
Alida rolled 2d6 and got 3, 1 ( Total: 4 ) for Prowess to climb!
[OOC] Alida: I'll spend 2LP if it's allowed!
[OOC] Hachi-Roku: you can
Zephyr grunts in agreement before backing off. He still doesn't seem too pleased about getting flung into a tree. "This one will try something, if you be permitting." He gathers some air essence before attempting to divert the haze. It would be trivial to see if things were clear. [Sorcery?]
[OOC] Hachi-Roku: prowess got it
Alida: It's a shaky start, but the leapoard Driftin catches her footing and eventually makes the top of a tree to look for the lights of a town or campfires, anything that isn't the malevolent manor behind them really.
[OOC] Zephyr: OK
Eidolon: "An early member of the Three bloodline. A generational curse, a grudge, a wound in their family's fabric, thought mended." He blinks slowly at Issa. "Possibly also the forger, from what you've said."
Issa: "Ahh. A Three made three. That…is going to be bloody confusing."
Issa: "You'll have to be careful to pronounce the capital TH."
The dark energies persist past up the canopy, giving the manor's area a haunting aura. But further off to the right… buildings, poking up, a few kilometers away, the town of Salvation. And a large plume of smoke billowing out from one side. Various rooftops burn. Up high, the wind carries the sound of faint shrieking to your ears.
It is both of moral voice, and something else.
[OOC] Hachi-Roku: *Mortal voice
[OOC] Issa: Lemme guess, sounds like the thing from the woods.
Given your perch, Alida, you gain +1 die to Wayfaring to reach Salvation, now that you know its direction.
Actually you know what if you actively lead the way, you autopass. If you have someone else do it, they get +1 die to get there.
Zephyr seems to be content waiting for the Driftin to come down from the tree with news.
Ridwan: "Capital TH… not T?"
Alida calls down, "I see the town, but it looks like there's not really a place to rest there yet either." She starts making a careful climb back down. "I think I can get us there, but it may not be quick. How many live in Salvation, Rivers?"
Issa shrugs and grins at Ridwan. "'T' isn't the sound you hear, now is it?"
Eidolon nods. "Capital TH."
Alida: "It appears to be under attack, I'd say likely by one of the spookies you saw on your scout Issa. Maybe by both."
Ridwan: "Hm. I suppose so."
Eidolon: "…oh, dear. Best to hurry, then."
"A few thousand proper, traders and processors and merchants, and then hundreds in the surrounding fields as farmhands, or something like that," responds Rivers.
Ridwan: "Right, all the more reason to start thinning out the rank and file."
[OOC] Alida: Auto pass or take the roll? can we get goodies from the roll?
[OOC] Hachi-Roku: autopass- if y'all were to fail teh roll then you'd get there Late and it would be Bad
[OOC] Hachi-Roku: getting more than one success won't get goodies this time haha
Alida leads the way! "I'd say we should be rady for the fight"
Ridwan: "Yeeeah, these are definitely the fighting sort of spirits. Glad I didn't wind up here alone."
Issa: "You could say they've got a fighting spirit alright."
Eidolon laughs! It's… a bit of a grim laugh but definitely a laugh.
Issa's smile isn't much better-the screams do nothing for their mood.
The crumbled road offers little direction, and you find it faster to weave through the jungle than to traverse the broken path. As you near, you begin hearing the faint sound of fireman's bells, along with various shouts, and the occasional shriek.
Ridwan does seem to have genuinely enjoyed the bad joke, at least! Not that it's easy to tell behind the mask.
Two-story townhouses start to come into view, silhouetted by a mix of smoke and haze and the fire behind them.
The buildings are well weathered and worn, their style visibly aged in decades, windows are boarded up, looped barbed wire along the rooftops.
Zephyr: "What does smoothskin do when alone with fighting spirits?"
Ridwan: "Cast very, very fast."
Claret dives forward and pushes Ridwan down suddenly, shouting - "TAKE COVER!"
Ridwan: "Also it's unusally to run into even one, much less…" He gestures. before being pushed aside.
Alida: "They're expecting us!" Alida levels her pistol at the glint she sees in the window, providing cover fire for her allies
Issa, Eidolon- you can do one thing right now, and only one thing.
Ridwan, you got pushed down. (A good thing, too.)
Zephyr nods to Claret, taking cover themselves.
Alida: She attempts to find cover for herself in the process as well!
Issa dives for the nearest thing resembling cover in a swirl of blue and purple.
[OOC] Alida: I'll prioritize cover fire over cover for myself
Pow pow pow!! Bullets ricochet inside the open window- there was one uncovered window, opened…
Eidolon is very bright, and very shiny, and everyone else is small and dark and quiet, and perhaps. [Trying to draw attention from people trying to get to cover!]
Zephyr attempts to use some wind magic if allowed, to slam the window in question shut? [Sorcery]
Moments pass, and you can hear an echoed clatter. Another moment later, and a white pillowcase floats in view, hung from a coatrack. A shout from inside: "OKAY, OKAY, YOU'RE NOT DEAD!"
[Sure, roll it.]
Zephyr rolled 5d6 and got 3, 6, 1, 1, 1 ( Total: 12 )
Ridwan: "Not YET!"
And the window slams shut on itself, while another thud is heard, along with a loud, muffled curse.
Issa: "Not y-" Issa shuts their mouth, glancing at Ridwan, biting their cheek to stifle adrenaline-fueled, hysterical laughter.
Eidolon snickers.
Claret unhands Ridwan, and laughs. Stifled, tense laughs, but laughs.
[It's your move, true believers.]
Ridwan: "Glad that's sorted out at least."
Ridwan sits up.
[Continue further into the city?] [Breech the building somehow and confront the entity within?]
Ridwan: "Are you, also, not dead?"
[An unannounced, third action?]
Zephyr: "You be telling other smoothskins to present offering for threatening this one."
Alida: "Come out if you're not the enemy! Otherwise we'll clear the building with force!" ((No reason to leave our backs open to a threat))
You see a coattrack attempt to push open the window, but it's unsteady, and isn't finding a latch or something, after some banging, it opens, and the coatrack leans perilously out of the windowsill as it pushes it open.
Ridwan: "Information count, Zephyr?"
Issa just watches, peering out from behind their scrap of cover. "Are they pushing the window open with a…coat rack?"
Eidolon: "It seems they are."
"YELL LOUDER, DAMNIT!" the voice roars. (A female voice…?)
Zephyr: "If it leads to completion of job, this once accepts."
Issa: "Might these goodly…beings…be a source of vital information for the doing of our jobs?"
Ridwan nods.
"OH THANK FUCK I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO MAKE MORE NOISE THAN THE DAMN EXPLOSIONS. YEAH. YEAH GIVE ME A SECOND." The coatrack leans a bit further out of the window, and tips- it falls down a story to the ground, chipping its head.
Ridwan: "Wonderful."
Eidolon is… trying admirably hard not to laugh.
Issa watches the whole thing with an amused, nearly /be/mused expression on their face. "I cannot tell what genre this tale shall be…"
But down -with- the coatrack is a length of knotted rope tied to its legs, leading up into the windowsill.
Claret: "Well,"
Ridwan: "I'll admitted I was sort of hoping for the door to open…"
And in the windowsill pops a wolf-Hundred, greyed and scarred, her fur frazzled, wearing a light-armor chestpiece, and also missing her right arm.
Claret rubs his hands together, walks forward, and climbs up.
"C'mon up," she growls, this tone only slightly less loud than the yell. She projects well.
"It's a pain for me to climb down."
Zephyr doesn't hesitate, following after Claret after they are done with the rope.
Eidolon is glad to, for-sure, see someone alive in all of this, and follows everyone up the rope.
Issa stands up, stretching a little. "Ah, well, if she doesn't have an arm, that makes more sense." And they follow up the rope.
Ridwan: "Fair enough."
Alida grimaces at another climb, but pulls herself up after
Up in the room is a fairly normal master bedroom- but the bed's messy, there's empty bean cans strewn about, a radio in the corner (off), and a small chair against one wall, opposite the window. Looks like that was her sniping spot. A cracked door leads further into the house, but at a glance you can't see what else is there.
"And the ground door's barricaded," the wolf-Hundred continues a sentence that she didn't verbally start.
Ridwan: "Stands to reason."
Eidolon nods. Figured that was the case. "How long since this… started?"
"Name's Casing Thirty, call me Casey. And most of this-" she gestures to the cans, "-and that-" to the rifle alongside the chair "-and the door thing has been brewing for a while."
Ridwan: "Ah, the… spirits, more specifially." A pause. "Ridwan El-Mofty, travelling exorcist."
Issa gives a jaunty wave. "Issa. Librarian."
Zephyr: "This one is Zephyr Seventeen."
"Damn seems like it's all coming to a head tonight. All the spookies and ghosts and whatevers finally stopped being rumors and started being a menace." She paces a bit in thought before replying to Ridwan. "Not sure. First I heard of anything weird happening has to have been about three months ago. Or that I noticed, at least. Lots of stories about this area, given where everyone's come from."
Alida: "Alida, Bounty hunter." She gives a slight nod to Casey.
Claret: "Claret K. Moorghan. We're looking into the haunting."
Rivers enters last. "Rivers Nineteen."
Ridwan: "Hmm. Right. I suppose the site of a former battlefield is bound to attract rumors and stories, even if they're not real. Mummors getting louder about three months ago, though, and then taking that long to fully come to a head…"
"At first it was just something that people sorta claimed what was eating random farmhands. 'Eating' being just a term for them disappearing, that is." Casey wipes her snout with the back of a gloved hand. (The rest of her is lightly armored, too. She's ready for a fight.}
Eidolon: "Heh. Another three." Pause. "Eidolon. What's been happening -before- the spooks?"
Ridwan pulls up his gasmask as he mumbles a bit more to himself while thinking.
"But really, we just figured it was deserters," she mumbles, before sitting down in the chair.
Issa rolls their eyes expressively. "Three months, three weapons, Three clan. Someone has a taste for repetition."
"What's with you folks, definitely not from around here, and even crazier to be coming in just outta the jungle," she inquirers, with a stare that is sizing you up.
Claret: "I travel."
Issa beams at the one-armed Hundred. "Thank you!"
Ridwan: "Quelling spirits is sort of what I do for a living, and you had someone ask for help with the matter." He gestures with his head towards Rivers.
"Picked a hell of a time to visit. Try again during the hot season," she snorts.
Alida: "This is not the hot season?!" Alida asks a bi alarmed.
Ridwan: "The rest are… a happy coincidence? This is a really bad haunting and any help'll go a long ways."
Rivers nods. "I'm here to visit Manfred Seed-" and right about as the syllable leaves his mouth, Casey very purposefully turns her head to look right at him with a very gauging stare.
Oh, Issa doesn't miss that, and while their smile doesn't dim, they're watching both very closely now.
And then she begins to laugh, slapping a knee with their hand, stomping a bit too.
"Yeah, yeah, you and about another hundred Hundred!" she guffaws. "He might be dead."
"Eh- what?!" exclaims Rivers, stumbling into a bedpost.
Issa smiles shrewdly. "Might that have somethin' to do with the mess of magic around that manor?"
"Oh he was alive last I knew," muses Casey, suppressing her laughter. "-but given the contract mess and the deserters, and the deserter supporters…" She looks at Casey, interested. "Eh? Something going on out there?"
Ridwan: "Wait, you weren't referring to the haunting being centered around the manor…?"
"It's happening everywhere, gasman. 's why I was gonna take your heads off before the everything happened." Casey leans in, leaning on an elbow. "Sounds like you know something, though."
Ridwan: "We stopped by on the way in. If you think it's bad here…" He trails off with a shrug.
Ridwan: "What was that about contracts, though?"
"Ah, yeah, right, y'all aren't locals." Casey sits back up before continuing. "Shit in Salvation has been kinda rough- cashew harvest took an unusual downturn, bananas turning early, coffee's bitter but not in a goodway- and that put a strain on the contract negotiations for the season. Some of the farmhands and farm owners and families went back to mercing- they're called the 'deserters,' on account of they want to go back to what's known as the Old Ways- fighting instead of farming."
Softly, almost inaudibly. "An old thing thought dead and buried, eh?"
Eidolon: "Ahhh."
"Enough idiots got it into their heads that with all the combat experience that Salvation's got as well as the various hand-me-downs and repurposed military stuff lying about, that Salvation oughta go from town to city-state to nation, in a very direct way. Which I think you understand on its face," she snorts.
Ridwan: "And with that the desire to unearth the relics, and start digging up bad blood." Ridwan rubs at his face.
Eidolon looks at Issa, nods. "And thus was the long-forgotten remembered."
Issa rubs their face with an increasingly grimy hand. "I wonder if you're not putting the egg after the chicken. Who knows with mystic bloody crap."
Ridwan: "That's a fair point, it could be the haunting influencing the townies rather than the other way around."
Casey scratches behind an ear. "Seed's one of the bigger mover and shakers here, half-elected half-hereditary position of Salvation Trading Board. He stuck to his guns- metaphorical guns o'course, and has long pleaded the case of, well, not doin' that."
Ridwan: "Suppose we'll see what effect exocising some of the ghosts has and find out."
Issa grins slyly. "There you go again. What's next, putting them on a diet?"
Issa: "They can't get thinner, they're dead."
Ridwan: "They're not getting enough lead."
Alida: "Maybe." Alida addresses Casey "What made the pull for independence so appealing? Something wrong with the local government to cause a rebellion?"
"Hah!" Casey barks. "Y'all travelling performers, too?"
Zephyr glances between the group conversing, but once he has heard that they will be exorcising more ghosts he goes back to looking out of the window.
Eidolon: "Presumably just… simple desperation finding an echo in ancient rage."
Casey looks to Alida, then looks up, searching memories. "It really seems like it was this last season of contracts. Like everything started going wrong at once. The harvests started ripening too quick. Remembering good times with friends long gone, but forgotten how they lost 'em. Someone stripped the mythril plow- a ceremonial thing, in the city hall o' sorts- of its bearings. Roughnecks pickin' fights and becoming the deserters."
Claret steps over to the window, gazes out into the distance.
[OOC] Claret: I'm out, post logs~
"And then the spirits." Casey leans her head back. "The spirits just seem to me like the cherry on top o' this shit sundae."
Eidolon nods. "The final, visible sign, of… something."
"Maybe they came to reap us all back to the ground. To feed the land. To what end, I couldn't even know," she trails off.
Alida: "welp, we're here to stop all that, I beileve." She gestures to Ridwan and Zephyr, "Or at least help them to anyway."
Zephyr: "Smoothskins not here to collect payment?"
Alida: "After, generally. No one works for free. Though the risk might prompt upfront costs."
Issa shrugs. "Library pays me a salary. I'm here for the story."
Ridwan: "Helping for reward is *technically* helping, and with a problem this big that's all that matters. I'm not too concerned about that part though, so long as i get enough to restock my work materials."
Casey nods. "For what I said earlier, Seed's probably not dead. But there's no small number of guys lookin' for him, and I think they're lookin' for a scapegoat, in a very literal sense."
Ridwan: "There a particular place these deserters are congrigating? Working our way over there might be a good first step."
"He should be in town, but with that explosion just now… well. Knowin' him he's probably trying to help put it out. Idealistic fool…" Casey stands, and grips her rifle.
"Sure is. And I'm coming with y'all."

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