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[5E] The Kalarian Precipice - Chapter One


Otiroth & Metea:

Otiroth & Metea: The girl giggles and blushes a little at the Tiefling’s kind words.

“I’m Dira and I’m almost eight,” she states proudly before looking up to her father once more. “Can we?”

He considers the offer to walk with this oddly unique pair, and decides that little harm could come from it. They are clearly at a different end of Marix’s extremes, and today is a day for sharing.

“Indeed,” he says to Otiroth. “Most of our travel has been lonely and tiresome. If you’d like to walk with us a way you are most welcome.”

He introduces himself as Arrol with a small bow, a worker of earth at the northern reaches of Cillat. A quiet place of flat pastures and mountain rains. Not exactly scenic by any accounts, but perfect for the cultivation of hardy root-vegetables. An honest life.

As they walk, Dira’s eyes often drift to the tailed lady. An innocent kind of envy.

“We should ask if they’ve seen one,” Dira eventually suggests, though she does not wait for a father's approval. "So many legs, but leaves its skin behind. We don't leave the doors or windows open any more."

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Carthum & Dain

Carthum & Dain: Quietly enjoying the gamey flavor of your snacks, it seems only Dain is able to multitask as this moment. Then again, the crowds are large and varied, so much to absorb as you admire the scene and patiently wait.

The running woman becomes a prominent feature in Dain’s view of things. A slender lass with a brown blouse and a dark skirt, darting between seated picnicking fast-breakers, nudging around other’s standing and staring at the tower, it is clear to you that she is nimble on foot, an excellent judge of distances, and also in a great hurry! Behind this grasshopper of a girl some morning-goers stand and point her way. Then one nearer you calls out, “that way!”

Within the chaotic stew of people another form cuts through the flock. Being tall he is much easier to spot, arms pumping as he tries to match her speed, probably frustratingly as she edges further and further away from his pursuit. Quite likely a guardsman. You catch a reflection of light off the hilt of a sheathed blade. A yellow belt around his waist confirms your suspicions. He is a servant of the councilors in one form or another.

<It looks like the woman will be at the edge of the audience shortly, probably by the time my next post comes around.>


Ether: Somewhere

Long shallow breaths.

Still, cept for the rise and fall of a chest and the slow beat of a heart.

Eyes fixed.

The kindred had chosen, and once complete the circle would break. A snake, gnawing the tip of its own tail, would end the self-destruction, look aside and view the weak as prey once more.

One simple act rehearsed a hundredfold, but in truth reality is never the same twice, and nor would this be quite as instructed…

To pass these final moments he reflected on an old song, a friend's favorite.

“To far depths their wisdom did go,
soiling the magnificent with density of lies.
Forward and retreat the darkness does flow,
and the few who know,
tear away the disguise.”


First Post
Metea: Exotic Wares

"Well, it is good to meet you, Dira. I am Metea- and my friend here is Otiroth," the tiefling replied.

It was shaping up to be a good day, and all thoughts of being late for another meeting were lost under the new distraction of making both herself and her sorcerer friend look good in front of these out-of-towners. City hospitality, right?

As they walked, weaving between excited crowds with their eyes fixed on the tower, Metea listened to Dira with the sincerity that such dire proclamations required. Perhaps she was humoring the girl a little, but less so than she had been Otiroth. "They sound horrible," Metea agreed. "They shed their skin- like a snake? A snake with legs?"

Maybe Dira's father had a more direct description?

She had been copying books recently, and while the words were something she usually let drift away, the illuminations by older clerics and scribes stuck with her a bit more. Some of them were of fantastical beasts, and those images played in the back of her head as she listened.


First Post
Otiroth: Exotic Wares

This was going well! At least, it seemed to be. "Those don't sound like any creatures I've heard of," Otiroth admitted, though he'd rack his memory. "But, they're going after people too? What do the guards say?"

Or, more importantly, what did the farmer think they were?

It was hard to keep completely casual, while they lingered so close to some decent information. Otiroth could not resist trying to press for a little more information. If nobody recognized what these beasts were... they could be magical in some way.

The idea that he'd stumbled upon something that 'only the Burning Rose' could fix was a pretty enticing idea... even if every new recruit to the Rose probably thought they had stumbled upon the same thing when they first started, too.
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First Post
Dain - The Grove

Dain's intense interest in the proclamations from the great tower was interrupted by the woman weaving through the crowd, and even more by the man who chased her. The armed man. The Guardsman. Glancing over at his half-orc lunch companion, Dain did not think he had noticed the chase that was underway. He couldn't entirely blame him: the goat jerky was fairly incredible.

Essithea...what happens here?

Standing up slowly, Dain slipped his pack from his shoulders and lay it down. His eyes were now firmly fixed on the woman about to emerge from the crowd. Honestly, he wasn't sure what he was going to do, but something inside of him burned with the desire to do 'something'. This desire almost felt like a memory, and that stirred him up even more. His body tensed with anticipation, and he was keenly aware of the weight of his sword that was currently sheathed and on his back for ease of walking.

"I believe we may have a situation, my friend." Dain spoke somewhat quietly, but with the current hush that was over the crowd, with only the occasional forced word from the tower to broach it, it was audible enough if one was paying any kind of attention. "Perhaps your goddess can direct you?"

Carthum One-Tusk: The Grove

Metea was not coming. Again! He had forgiven her before, when she had missed his ordaining ceremony. Said she had had something very important to do. And he had believed her. But again? Carthum grumbled something under his breath, taking another bite of goat meat. He might not need the boost the dark wanderer implied, but he could use a bit of meaty comfort food to take his mind off of things.

Of course, Dain alerted him a moment later. Carthum set his jaw. "Suru speaks that we should defend the weak and the innocent," he replied.

The guards were generally righteous, or so he had been taught, but Carthum had experienced some trouble with them before. And he'd heard rumors, about their training grounds and the violence they encouraged there. This guard might have a true reason to be chasing this woman- with a sword. Or she could have cast a cantrip and been flagged for death because of it.

"Come- it would not suit us to stand idle. I will talk to the guard- you, the woman?" Carthum suggested.

He wouldn't really wait for a response from Dain, for even Carthum realized his plan was probably a foolish one, and had little chance of working. Still, it was the festival. Anything short of murder could perhaps walk as a learning experience.

"Brave knight!" Carthum closed on the guard he had spotted, ignoring most everyone else. He, of course, had not drawn his mace- no, he simply looked to see if he could cut the guard off before he got out of the crowd. "Suru's Light has spoken of this day! Pray, accept his anointment!"

Carthum had just been taught how to do those last week! It was mostly just an oily thumbprint, but the prayers were obviously genuine. And everyone could use the prayers of Suru!


Otiroth & Metea

Otiroth & Metea: Arrol and his daughter clearly appreciate the showing of interest and lending of ears. Odd to them perhaps, that a farmer from distant lands might have something to tell.

Dira had started this, and her father could have shut it down, but the choice was made not to. What harm could come? Perhaps something or someone in this town had an answer, or explanation to save their livelihood.

The horn of the tower was deadly silent. Names aren't created, they arrive of their own will. Was it four years ago that people had waited some hours for the call? Much like a babe, there was no way to know when the name would finally join it's place on the world.

Wandering at a relaxed pace towards the tower’s grounds, Arrol spoke further. Words chosen carefully in the presence of his child.

“Our farm is a small one, a flat plot where yams and kollock roots enjoy ample soil and few, if any pests. Around us, neighbors tend to hardy vegetables or graze stock for wools, furs and meats.”

“There are struggles sometimes, with the odd carnivorous beast descending from the hills, or wild dogs as one might expect. Never caused me worry. Only rabbits seem to share a liking for my pasture.”

He squeezes Dira’s hand and smiles to her apologetically. A sore point?

“Some months back my friends complained of finding stock dead. Dry and still as if baked in the sun. But no great wounds, no tears to flesh, just small umm, holes sometimes. It was weeks before a shed skin was found, and then more and more. A long layer of flesh with more legs than man can count, well a yam-man can anyway. Some folks say they’ve seen them at night, wandering across their land, but I haven’t yet. Patty’s mother, a friend of Dira’s did visit not so long ago, and their troubles dare I say, sounded serious.”

The sun is creeping well above the horizon now, golden light brewing behind the shade of the ominous tower. To the north though, the sky isn’t it's usual airy sea of wondrous blue. It almost seems like painted tones of pink and yellow.

“Look at the sky father,” Dira asks pointing back the direction they’ve come.

“One thing is sure,” Arrol continues, “there is more to see on this Isle than a farming man might ever know.”


Carthum & Dain

Carthum & Dain: As Carthum parts ways with his friend, the last piece of jerky going down as he rushes off, the colors in the sky begin to take on tones quite unfamiliar. It's almost as if pastel waves of silken salmon and wheat hues have been marbled across the sky.

But this is not a time to stand about!

The half-orc makes good use of the wider gaps between audience members at this far edge, and approaches the hurrying guard. He doesn’t slow at your appearance or kind offers.

“Not now, Priest! Catch that defiler!” His voice is loud and direct.

He gestures towards the woman who has just broken free of the crowd and is aiming a little away from your secret stump, towards a road still scattered with late arrivals, not so far from Dain.

Indeed, she glances at the ranger immediately after hitting ground that isn’t shared by blankets and onlookers buttocks. Having not a guardsman’s rope around your waist, Dain, she looks to the roads ahead instead.

<Carthum: The guard has shown no interest in stopping his pursuit. It is likely that you can match his speed if you wish to follow him, as he is about to try and barrel right past you. We can roll initiative if you want to try something else?>

<Dain: If you strike off at an angle away from the crowd, there is a chance you can intercept the woman if you wish.>


Pesserl: Pink Skies

The old councilor snapped awake with a jolt, a dizzying closeup view of the tower’s upper wall blurring and spinning in his eyes. He was tipped on his side, rolled in a ball like a defensive hedgehog.

Clearly time had passed, but he didn’t know how much, nor did he particularly care.

Sitting upright, Pess wished he could rub that aching shoulder. Sometimes the other arm felt like it was there, other times it certainly wasn’t. There was to be no relief for what cold stone had done in those brief moments asleep.

Staggering and knees creaking, with one hand on the stone for balance, he arose and risked closing his eyes. This is how it was to be done, they’d instructed.

Carefully he rotated on the spot, and walked forwards in a blind search for the balcony wall. A boot-toe bumped it after a few steps.

A wheezy breath, an attempt to open his mind, and he opened both eyes and soul to the world.

Pesserl gasped.

This wasn’t some minor detail or intricate symbol of the year to be.

This was… terrifying.

Almost at once he found himself on his knees, one hand groping for the horn’s lips. Dread washed over the poor messenger like a tide of silt. He knew then, what must be said. This certainly, wasn’t going to be a year of “fruit”.

Then to make things worse, a shiver rumbled down his spine. Something else was wrong. Something else was here...


First Post
Metea: Exotic Wares

Metea imagined that the guards did not bother too much with farmers off the roads. She suspected as much, but would not say anything about it.

Instead, she'd listen in, though it seemed the creatures were still a mystery. One that they'd probably need to get eyes on themselves to do anything about; but it seemed quite a trip, and they'd not accompany the farmer and his daughter that far.

Walking alongside Otiroth, a bit of her peskiness dulled by the seriousness of what they were talking about, the tiefling looked skywards when Dira pointed out the sunrise. It was an unusual color indeed; though in truth, Metea was rarely out and about this early. Staying up through the wee hours into morning wasn't so unusual, but being outdoors during that definitely was!

She'd nudge Otiroth with her shoulder, in case he hadn't taken note of it, too.

The silence from the tower had become notable.


First Post
Otiroth: Exotic Wares

"I am deeply sorry to hear of such sorrows," Otiroth said, and truly, he meant it. "And we may not know what those creatures are, but I could still offer a poultice that could offend the noses of those dogs and keep them away from livestock," he offered.

Indeed, traveling out to see these beasts would be better, but...

Metea nudged him then, and he'd follow her gaze to the splash of colors in the sky. He was not sure if he understood her concern- though the colors would have made a fine backdrop to a tryst in the grove, he imagined. The silence of the orator was notable, too- was this common for the naming ceremony? More's the reason he was right to skip it for the past few years.

If the Orator would hurry it up... perhaps declare it the year of the tiefling or something else scandalous... there may still be time for said tryst.


First Post
Dain - The Grove...and beyond

Dain seemed to agree with the cleric's plan easily enough. Better for him to make contact with the fugitive, as he was an outsider anyway. He probably had much less of a reputation in the village, and thus had far less to lose than the half-orc acolyte. Snatching up his backpack, he took off at an angle to intercept the fleeing woman...or girl. It was hard to tell which.

As he turned, regret at having to leave the vicinity of the tower raced through him. But with any luck, the booming voice could be heard for some distance. As his boots kicked up gravel and dirt, sprinting forward, he saw for the first time the odd color of the sky above the mountains. The colors were not something he thought to be natural, and a quick glance over his shoulder at the crowd confirmed his suspicions that it was not normal for the rest of the village either. He also saw his cleric friend trying his best to impede the guardsman...

Truly this is to be a moment of great importance! And I think it no coincidence that I chase this girl! As surly as my heart told me to act on her behalf, I believe that with every step I may come closer to the truth of my past!

He doubled down on his racing sprint. When he came within earshot of her, he called out. "I can help you!"

If there was a hidden path nearby, or a place he knew of to conceal her, perhaps she would agree to his help? He had grown quite familiar with such places after his arrival.

Carthum One-Tusk: The Grove

"Truly, you act in the light of Suru's graces!" Carthum extolled.

He'd give chase to the guard in what seemed an act of solidarity, orcish muscles pumping to get him ahead of the guard.

And then, well, he'd trip. Or at least, he'd try and trip, and make it look like an accident, to tumble right in front of the guard and maybe trip him up as well.

After all- Carthum One-Tusk was notoriously clumsy!

<Is there a roll for deliberately falling down? >


First Post
Jeovanna- No use hunting

The bustle had driven off all of the good game.

That was normal, though. Hunting too close to the roads was always hit or miss, as most beasts were wary where they knew humans and other species frequently traveled. It also was hit or miss for the hunter, as Jeovanna did not want to set out any traps where some unwary citizen might stumble into its iron jaws.

But she had known the festival was coming. Had listened to travelers passing by talking about it for near a month. She had planned ahead, and had enough hardtack and jerky to last until the crowds began to disburse and it was once more safe to hunt properly.

She was not far from the main road; a position that let her hear much of what was happening on the roads without being extremely obvious herself. Her favorite game trail, grass beaten down but still growing, also held her favorite place to take a crest- a black rock that seemed quite out of place among the otherwise normal trees and brush.

Jeovanna listened. Heard the mumble of citizens, and looked upwards. Through the branches of the trees, the dense canopy, she could just barely catch a hint of a very unnatural color in the sky...

Perhaps that was being announced at the naming festival? She had dallied out here long enough. There was nothing to fear in the crowds; so many strangers, none of them would know.

She was just another visitor.


Otiroth & Metea

Otiroth & Metea: Past fellow late-arrivals down the gravel road ahead, you can now see the beginnings of the great tower’s grounds. People extend like a great herd from the looming basalt’s base, all the way along the grasslands that meet with the end of this track.

Most of the other south-pointed travelers give you plenty of berth, whilst others seem content to linger on the road near timber lodgings and shopfronts, waiting for the imminent announcement, or look to the heavens and wonder at the sky’s unusual coloring.

Dira detaches her hand from her father and moves beside the Tiefling, adding a skip to her step. “Have you ever tried yams?” she innocently asks.

Arrol offers Otiroth a little nod of thanks along the way too.

“If you have something that might serve a purpose, then I would be a fool not to at least try...”

Then there is a moment’s hesitation, before he adds, “but what might a yam-man possibly have to offer in exchange? We have traveled light you see.”

Indeed, they don’t seem to be carrying anything much at all. No packs, sacks or pouches are visible.

“Perhaps in return, there is some labor I could do to pay the debt?”

He then turns to look down the road towards the tower, and his brow crinkles, as though he might have seen something interesting.

<See Carthum & Dain’s post for more info.>


Carthum & Dain

Carthum & Dain: Carthum closes in on the guard in a snap, the strength of his half-orcen calves a pounding power upon the great tower’s landmass. Falling in a realistic manner before the woman’s pursuer, however, seems to be beyond his ability this day, despite any prior practice. With Carthum tripping and sliding a little, the guard takes a simple leap to dodge this unexpected obstacle, all with a deep scowl upon his face.

He is not fooled.

As easy as it might be... to believe that a young half-breed cleric could fair better at chair-polishing, than physical prowess, he knows this was no accident. He runs onwards, turning for a moment to vocalise severe discontent.

“Later, Orc! Later!”

Threat issued, he charges ahead, looking out for the fleeing woman. Where did she go?

Dain knew. Damn she was quick!

“No thanks,” she calls back, responding to the stranger’s offer of assistance. The voice is as youthful and confident as her movement.

The young thing flys up the gravel road, starting to weave between arriving townsfolk.

“Well scuze me,” an elderly lady scowls.

“Whoa, watchit,” a villager pushing a little old cart snaps.

Then she pops down an alleyway, between two old timber sheds.

<Dain: You have lost sight of her temporarily (3 seconds-ish). The alleyway can be entered here via the road, or there is a possibility that an adjoining laneway might intersect.
Carthum: Should you arise and resume the chase, we will place you a round (6 seconds) behind the guard. For now, he is still visible!
Other Players: It is possible that Metea, Otiroth or Jeovanna could witness a woman sprinting in the opposite direction, pursued by a Ranger, as you are approaching the event by the same road. The decision is up to you. If things get confusing I can draw a little map?>

<Rolls used to determine above events: Opposed Dex checks and Deception vs Insight (Carthum vs Guard).>
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<In case it helps. Not sure where Jeovanna is yet, up to you :) >


First Post
Metea: Exotic Wares

Metea was about to respond, when some shouting and fast movement from ahead caught her eye. Early morning ruckus, no doubt; with so many newcomers, it was no surprise that some of them were likely drunk and rowdy, and where there was rowdiness, there were the guards.

Killjoys, really!

Of course, amongst all the brown of the peasants and the silver of a running guard, she'd spot something far more interesting to her own- a flash of familiar green! It took only a fraction of a second, especially from this distance, for her mind to fill in the necessary blanks to turn this situation into nasty, cruel human guards doing her brother a disservice, and she'd abruptly bolt ahead to scramble around the crowd in her own crazy charge.

Metea wasn't exactly a long-distance runner, or a sprinter, but by the gods, she was going to get there, whether winded or not!

She let him out of her sight for two minutes!


First Post
Otiroth: Exotic wares

The sorcerer would tell the two about his shop a bit more- it was further in town, far enough to avoid most of the chaos of the festival.

Otiroth shrugged. "I am sure something can be worked out. My master is quite free with worthwhile remedies, it's the perfumes and 'love potions' that he-"

The conversation was interrupted by more than just the morning rush and the strange sunrise- it seems the guards were on the chase! Now, Otiroth's normal, completely natural inclination was to avoid the guards, as it was safer to avoid them than to worry too much about policing every thought and drop of blood in your body. Sometimes it could not be avoided, though. This was not one of those times, they had merely to wait until the guard ran past; whether or not he found the woman, who had cut off into an alleyway so quickly Otiroth had barely spotted her, was not really his concern.

Metea went springing off like a gazelle then, though, and with an apologetic glance towards the farmer, he would follow her.