Valley of the Dead: Chapter 1 "A gathering of heroes"




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    Valley of the Dead: Chapter 1 "A gathering of heroes"

    *thummmm* *thummmm* *thummmm* *thummmm* *thummmm* The sound of the cathedral bells, muffed by the distance and the light morning breeze, echoed trough the peaceful autumn countryside surrounding Angelwatch. The town's white and gray buildings, made of stone and lime covered brick, now shone with the light of the morning sun, marking the center of the wide grassy plain that was the heart of Muirlane.

    The scenery was fascinatingly beautiful, the yellow grass, brown leaves and clear blue sky showing the magnificent spleandor of autumn in the central regions of Danu.

    On the Western Road, a paved and wide trade route leading towards the city lying in the distance, a long stream of people, carts and wagons slowly made their way away from Angelwatch. The populace seemed disheartened and gloomy in comparisson to the colourful crowd, that now marched towards the town.

    All manner of traders, bards, adventurers, mercenaries and peddlers eagerly ventured forward, making their way to this new place of excitement and dynamic events, their bold and cheery faces making more than one retreating commoner shake his or her head with lack of comprehension.

    One of the adventurers advancing towards the town of Angelwatch was Peth Hethas, a short and slender Gnome, with tanned skin and gray hair pulled back in a tight braid. He walked steadily, keeping his distance from the other travelers and had apparently submerged himself in thoughts.

    A little ways behind the Gnome, rode a large, muscular man, with flowing brown hair and blue eyes, his armour and shield polished to a blinding shine. It was as if Kyelingar Godtouched had walked out of a fairytail and was now here to save the day. However, his vigilant eyes surveying the surrounding countriside and the stream of travelers, proved he was not light hearted by any means.

    The noise of the cart wheels crackling along the pavement was accompanied by talking, the beating of hooves and trio of dogs barking at a cow that slowly and quite uncaringly followed a wagon. However by far the most noise was caused by the curses of a very fat man with a round straw hat, who apparently was quite vexed by his indiferrent donkey, that had decided to stop on the side and start grazing on the dry autumn grass despite it's masters' wishes to cointinue moving.

    A little way's off, on the left side of the paved road, a little girl sat on the ground, dressed in a worn and simple gray dress woven of crude hemp. Her attire had been stiched in several places, and her feet were bare, covered with semi healed bruises and scratches, while the rest of her was covered wtih dirt and dust. The girl was skinny, no older than eight, with long messy brown hair and hazel eyes that were now red with tears.

    If one could see past the girl's unwashed clothes and dirt covered face, he would note her apparent cuteness. She now sat on a small grassy rising to the side of the road and sobbed quietly. None of the travelers seemd to mind her however, both the ones going out of Angelwatch and the ones traveling towards it.


    ***


    Meanwhile, at the Southern gate of Angelwatch, that marked the spot where the road from Targellis made it's entrance, a crowd was gathering. The ringing of the cathedral bells was very loud, almost overcomming the buzzing of the large group of people that now populated the small mud-covered plaza in front of the massive wooden doors of the Gatehouse.

    The city walls were tall, made of white stone and quite thick, and were surrounded by wooden shacks and hovels. All manner of peddlers and traders were shouting over one another, trying to sell everything from salted fish to linen clothes. The crowd's interest however, was drawn elsewhere for the moment.

    Apparently the people were excited by an unusial scene - a large man with thick red hair, left to hang freely beneath his shoulders and clad in leather armour, with an axe hanging from the holster on his hip and a grand composite longbow on his back, stood in the center of the crowd. He towered over everyone, but even larger than him was a magnificent white ram, it's massive muscular body bigger than even the strongest bull. The animal seemed intelligent and quite aware of it's dominant physique, and now observed the much smaller humans around it with quickly shifting eyes.

    The man had raised his muscular right hand, and from it's grasp hung four bloody decapitated heads, suspended by their hair as gruesome trophies. "This is what you will find in the countryside! Angelwatch is not safe anymore!"

    The man's voice boomed, momentarily dwarfing all other sounds in the small mud covered plaza. As more and more travelers approached the scene, the crowd grew larger, now only a handfull of people being able to reach the gate and make it inside the city.

    One of the newcommers was a very tall and muscular lad, green eyed, blond and clad in chainmail, as if he had come out of a young maiden's dream. Maximus calmly eyed the gathering, briefly surveying the group of people and the large, wild looking man in the middle.

    Further out of the way, where there were less people and less noise, stood yet another giant of a man. His silvery hair and metallic eyes contrasted with his untamed feral look, as Sansalar reluctantly stopped to observe the situation. His scimitar remained sheathed, but the walking stick in his hands seemed eerily capable of dealing out punishment.
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  • #2
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    Peth pauses between steps, his attention caught by the unusual -- the child on the side of the road. Taking a step to get out of traffic, he stands still for a moment, travellers passing him by absentmindedly.

    Never one to rush in, he cocks his head curiously and examines the girl from a safe distance. His hand brushes the pouch at his belt, unconsciously checking that his treasured journal and pen are close at hand in case anything worth recording were to occur.

    After a moment, having satisfied himself that nothing dangerous or untoward seems likely to occur, he steps forward. "May I perhaps be of some assistance, young lady? Your clothes are in quite shocking condition." Tactfully, he does not mention the evident bruises, although he does call to mind several spells for healing, should they be necessary.

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    "So this is Anglewatch?" says the green eyed paladin when he enters the city.

    He moves in to listen to more of what the man with the giant ram had to say. "I should see about finding new companions. I expect many others have come around for the same reason as I."

    Maximus calls out to the big man, "When was this, can we expect an attack?" He crosses his arms as he waits, keeping an eye out for potential allies.
    Last edited by hellrazor111; Sunday, 27th September, 2009 at 07:35 AM.
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  • #4
    The little girl sniffed and raised her head. "I lost Tatters!" she said with a sobbing voice, while grabbing her left index finger. "I uh... um... I got scared and i dropped him." The girl's eyes began tearing up again as she spoke with her thin trembling voice.

    Spoiler:
    And the first check in the game goes to cheshire_grin Roll a Spot check for me please! IC is up by the way.


    ***


    The red haired man eyed Maximus with a discerning stare, before answering with his thunderous voice. "This - he waived the decapitated heads of what seemed to be severely decaying cadavers - I found them just outside of town, in Miller's Field. That's half a league to the North-East for you newcomer. The dead have never been so ferocious, to be wandering past the Reaper's Gate, I know that much. More men are needed to guard the populace, instead that gathering of Paladins and Clerics intend to rush head-first in the Valley."

    The man paused as he mounted the heads on a long pole, making them seem like some grim victory trophy.
    Last edited by Myth and Legend; Sunday, 27th September, 2009 at 11:01 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myth and Legend View Post
    The little girl sniffed and raised her head. "I lost Tatters!" she said with a sobbing voice, while grabbing her left index finger. "I uh... um... I got scared and i dropped him." The girl's eyes began tearing up again as she spoke with her thin trembling voice.

    Spoiler:
    And the first check in the game goes to cheshire_grin Roll a Spot check for me please! IC is up by the way.
    Spoiler:

    Wasn't sure how you wanted me to roll, so I used Invisible Castle...

    1d20+5 = 24

    Also, I'll take Dark Orange as my speech color.


    "And who is Tatters, youngling? Where were you when you dropped it, and what frightened you?" Peth asks all three questions with equal interest; all knowledge is worth having, after all. As he waits for the answer, he glances at the index finger she's clutching, seeking clues.

  • #6
    On closer inspection, it is apparent that the girl's bruises and cuts are shallow and most likely caused by her playing barefoot in the wilderness. Her dress is old and worn, but the tears in it are obviously due to it's state of disrepair, rather than caused by aggression of some kind.

    The child seems nervous talking to Peth, the way she is pulling her finger and twisting her arms as she speaks suggests that she is over excited and probably in shock.

    "Tatters is not an IT, he's my friend! - the girl speaks louder now, she seems passionate about the subject, almost as if she were scolding the Gnome. - I dropped him when i saw the White Lady at the lover's bridge. I shouldn't have left him there, but i was scared! He will be mad at me now."

    The girl gets up and starts walking in a circle, holding her head in her arms.

    "Tatters doesn't like it when i leave him somewhere. He gets reeeealy mad if i go play without him. Will you help me find him?" The girl blurts out the sentaces in rapid succession, and judging by her intonation and tempo you get the feeling that by far the worst thing is Tatters being mad at her.

    Spoiler:
    Roll Knowledge: Local to see how much you know about the White Lady
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    Peth gives a simple half-bow, without a hint of sarcasm or insincerity; as he straightens, his eyes sharpen as they always do at the hint of a mystery.

    "I did not mean to offend; I am but a newcomer to Angelwatch. I'm sure Tatters will forgive you, if you were frightened."


    Could Tatters be more than a simple girl's plaything? A magical doll perhaps? And what is this White Lady, to terrify her so that she drops a treasured friend?

    These thoughts flash through Peth's analytical mind in mere moments as he wracks his memory for anything relating to a White Lady.

    Spoiler:

    Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 8 = 16
    Note that if the White Lady is undead, a magical beast, an outsider, or an elemental and the "identify a creature" portion of Collector of Stories applies, I get an additional +5.
    Last edited by cheshire_grin; Monday, 28th September, 2009 at 08:06 PM. Reason: Fixed Knowledge roll not showing up.

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    Sensalar shakes his head in disgust, momentarily clearing the silver hair hanging limply before his eyes from long days of traveling.
    "So the rumors are true," he whispers to himself. "and the taint has touched beyond the warriors of this fair land to drive the good people to contemplate exile."
    He searches for a concealed place to take on the familiar aspect of the hawk and observe the forming crowd and the large man at it's center more discreetly.
    "This situation will never do." he thinks.
    miscellaneous list O' junk
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    player:"How much damage does a gnome do?"
    DM:"depends on his stats and his weapon."
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    Watching the exchange of the girl and gnome from a short distance away, Kye is touched by the little girls story. The man's big heart fills with the pain of her loss and he knows that to stop this sorrow he must act once again.

    "Blessings from Helm to you little ones," he says to the girl and gnome. "And fortune has smiled on you this day, for the chosen of Helm has heard your plight! and The Watcher has moved my heart to help thee in thy time of need."

    He unstraps his shield and adjusts the hilt of a sword that sticks up from behind his left shoulder. "Pray tell me where do we seek the White Lady?" he asks armor clanking as he adjusts straps and gear.

    spells

    0 level: Create Water, Detect Magic, Detect Magic, Mending, Purify Food and Drink, Read Magic
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    Last edited by HolyMan; Monday, 28th September, 2009 at 08:10 PM.

  • #10
    Peth's potent memory and his vast mental collection of lore reward him with the local story of the White Lady. Before he can make use of the information however, a large mail clad man interrupts the conversation. He has the appearance and manner of a Cleric, and speaks quite eloquently.

    The little girl seems intimidated and quite lost at Kye's words however. She scurries away when he adjusts his weapon and shield, and now stands five feet away from the two adults. "Wh.. what?" She doesn't seem to understand most of what Kye said, but does her best to answer with as serious an expression as an eight year old could muster. "I don't have any pl... plinght, but i can ask Merry if we have some in the house. If i get you this plinght, will you help me find Tatters?"



    ***


    Sensalar stands a little ways off from the crowd, and he can see that the rickety old wooden shacks and pavilions around the Sotuh Gate form a sort of small slum type district, and there are numerous narrow and muddy passageways between them, most of which are littered with rotting garbage and debris. Some half a mile to the North-West the Aasimar's keen vision can spot the shining of a stream, and the shades of a small glen. Everything else around Angelwatch is flat, green and yellow autumn farmlands and fields.

    Meanwhile, the large man soon finishes mounting the zombie heads on his improvised battle standard, and continues talking. "Angelwatch is full of newcomers, most are looking for easy coin and adventure. - he almost spits the last word out. - However some are here to help. Those of you, who are men of worth and who do not wish to follow the Lathandreans in their Crusade, I say let us organize patrols, arm the men and guard the outskirts of town from the advancing horrors of the night!"

    Some of the younger lads in the crowd begin to cheer, but a large part of the people's faces turn sour as they begin walking away. Murmurs such as "Let the town guard do it." and "Why should i risk my skin fer nottin." could be heard here and there.



    ***


    The pleasant singing of birds and the washing of the nearby stream are all that can be heard in the small grove that goes along Willow Creek. A few hundred feet from the narrow path that leads from the Northern mountains to Angelwatch, is where Thok had decided to stop for the night. He can now see that it was a good spot, as no one bothered him during the night, and his campsite is almost impossible to spot from the unpaved path that goes trough the glen, not that anyone used it this early in the morning.

    Just as he is wandering what to do next, the Half-orc spots a young human female walking in the distance, dressed in a plain brown dress, that seems to be common for the women of these parts. She is shouting something but the rustling of the autumn forest and the noise of the creek muff her voice. She seems to be looking for something or someone, and is walking in the direction that Thok came from last night



    ***


    The ringing of the bells of Lathander's grand Cathedral echoes trough Angelwatch, letting the populace know that dawn had arrived once again, dispelling the horrors of the night. The paved round square before the imposing structure is already full of people, as Dawnbringer Ferviel - Angelwatch's High Priest of Lathander, stands on a wooden podium, alongside a tall, middle aged man clad in golden full plate, with a gretsword strapped to his back. The crowd listens to the Dawnbringer's ceremony, some with more zeal than others, but many are quietly talking about the man next to Ferviel.

    Surrounding the podium aere more men clad in various types of armour and wielding a variety of weapons, from swords, bills, maces and flails to even staffs. They all seem to be associated with the Temple to Lathander, as their armour and shields are covered with gold, or at least painted with bright yellow, and the sunrise emblem can be seen on several breastplates.

    One of the men watching the ceremony is Dakyras, gray eyed and dark skinned, and skillfully concealed in his cloak. He does not stand out amongst the commoners, but if one looks carefully he will notice the steel in his eyes.

    A bit to the side stands Latham Brack, his gentle features and calm face concealing the true power hidden in his arcane magic. Next to him stands a hooded figure, that closely watches anyone who gets too close to Latham.

    At the back of the crowd, with his back to the stone wall behind him, stands Alevyth Balwer, a seemingly perfect human lad. So perfect in appearance in fact, that if one is to look at him with concentration he would be shocked to find no disproportion or flaw.

    Soon the Cleric of Lathander finishes his ceremony and blesses everyone in attendance. He steps away and lets the man next to him speak, and a sudden silence falls over the crowd.

    "Greetings citizens of Angelwatch, blessed be all by the Morninglord!" His voice is deep, smooth and calm. The man talks like a noble, and his manners are impeccable. He now stands before the crowd with his hands behind his back, the sun gleaming off his polished suit of gold encrusted full plate. "I am Lazarus Trimenheim, a Paladin of Lathander. Some of you may have heard of me or of one of my many exploits. I have not come here to boast however, but to bring you most fortunate news. Me and my brothers in faith will rid your fine town of the undead menace once and for all."

    A roaring comes from the crowd, and it takes some time before Lazarus can tame them with gestures. "I am sure the Morninglord is pleased with your enthusiasm, indeed there is a goodly deed to be done! I now summon all men of skill and aptitude amongst you, to come and approach my subordinate, Sir Andrew - the Paladin points towards one of the men that are on the ground in front of the podium. He is donning red and gold plate mail, and has a great red brush like ornament on his helmet. - And enlist your services in writing and in heart, so that together we may vanquish this evil!" Lazarus finishes his speech and observes the crowd with an approving gaze, as the cheering is resumed once more.
    Last edited by Myth and Legend; Tuesday, 29th September, 2009 at 11:58 PM.
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