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In Defence of Chickens [IC]

theCourier

Explorer
Talia Eastmoor, Noble

More grimacing. She's utterly disgusted by the sights before her, and her attention turns to the ruin standing close by. "Well. Nothing much else to say other than it's a pity those local boys were... I don't even know what happened there. But. We must persist. Onwards?"

She's breathing hard, but the sudden brush with death has only emboldened her for some reason, and Talia begins striding towards the gate with her sword in hand.

"Fleetfoot" Mac, Squire

The young squire holds down his feelings of revulsion at the sight of the corpses splitting and squelching, and begins clawing at his hair and clothes to get the gross, pollen gunk off of himself. Or as much as he can. "Agh! It's in my mouth! Oh, what have I done to deserve this..." After a bit more fussing around, Mac finally settles down and begins trudging through the mud, following Talia.

Alice, Miller-Baker

The baker stands solemnly looking at the split corpses without a word, then closes her eyes and utters a small prayer underneath her breath. Truly, the worst has come to this corner of the world. "Are we just walking in without a plan? What if more of these things lie in wait? Maybe a few of us should scout ahead."

Koby, Orphan

"We should stick together. Otherwise, we might not end up so lucky like in this fight." Koby avoids looking at the corpses, and instead follows Talia and Mac, nervously fiddling with the doll in his pocket. "It would be nice to go in with a plan, though, that I agree with... Does anyone know anything about this place?"
 
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thirdkingdom

Adventurer
Publisher
Yolo Swaggins

"I say we go in together. If anyone's in there they've already seen us, I think. And anyway, our strength is in our numbers, not individually."
 

"Just standing out here doesn't do anything," Garwin says sagely.

"Right. Let's go," Ranken says. Vasha and Ranken cautiously move forward a few steps and look to see if they are being followed.

Once others start to follow them, Garwin and Prinx also follow at the rear.
 

theCourier

Explorer
Talia, Mac, and Koby

They make it up to the structure, looking around anxiously before deciding to walk through the open gates.

Alice

She hangs back to enter with the rear, fingers drumming against her leg while looking back at the corpses they left behind.
 

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
Wenzel, the Orphan
Wenzel is with the forward group, chest puffed by his newfound heroism. Trutting forward, he walks up to the open gate, stops a few feet from it and leans left and right to look around to see if there's anything suspicious.

Eldegard, Margrit and Markus
Edelgard, Margrit and Markus follow the rest of the group, still a few feet behind them. Edelgard shakes his head at the sight of Wenzel leading the group.

"He's a fool," Edelgard says.

Markus sigh. "He might be," he looks at Edelgard, "but someone will have to be if we're to go through with this." Markus steps forward and joins the forward group.

Edelgard shakes his head again. He glances at Margrit. She shrugs. "Two fools might be enough to get his home, no?"

Margrit and Edelgard stay in the back as the group moves forward.
 

turnip_farmer

Adventurer
You cautiously approach the gatehouse, with no sign that anyone is following from behind. From up close the gatehouse is an imposing looking thing. The stone is partly eaten away and coated in moss and lichen, but you can still make out the shapes of what look like monstrous toads carved into either side, their open mouths containing tubes through which hot tar could be poured onto any attackers.

A rusty iron portcullis still exists in the gateway, though it is currently half-raised from the floor, leaving about four feet of space through which you could enter.

Pausing at the front of the group before going further, Talia, Mac, Koby and Wenzel can see no one. Nothing moves over the muddy ground inside the keep. After pausing for a few moments, however, you hear a faint scratching sound, and something like the sniffing of a large dog, from the interior of the gatehouse above you.
 

thirdkingdom

Adventurer
Publisher
Yolo Swaggins

"Hmm," says the halfling, "it sounds like there may be something above us." He cranes his neck to try and see if there is any access to the gatehouse entrance through the ceiling, such as murderholes, a collapsed floor, etc.
 

theCourier

Explorer
Talia Eastmoor, Noble

She stops at the odd noises, looking up as well. "You may be right, Halfling... Keep looking, and we'll search inside" With that being said, she steps foot into the inside ground of the keep, looking up at the walls. With a wave of her hand, she commands the squire to follow for protection.

"Fleetfoot" Mac, Squire

"Whatever it is, we must tackle it together. You all have my sword!" The young squire nods back at the others, and charges in front of Talia. He looks around, sword poised to strike if anything approaches.

Koby, Orphan

He stays close to the wall after entering the keep's grounds, hugging it close while moving to the right. Having his back against the wall feels safer to him.

Alice, Miller-Baker

Alice hangs back, but as the rear group approaches she begins to feel excited at the thought of what could be waiting in such an old place, and passes her hand over the portcullis before crouching down to pass under it.
 
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turnip_farmer

Adventurer
Looking at the walls of the gatehouse, Yolo can make out little peekholes about 10 ft up, but nothing that could be used as an entrance. The funnels from the mouths of the frog statues look like they may have been used as murderholes, though it's hard to see where they lead, vanishing into darkness. They would be far too small for a man to climb through, but a small child or a halfling with not too many cakes beneath his belt could possibly squeeze up it.

Talia, Mac, Koby and Alice make it through the gate into the keep beyond without incident, and seeing this Bill, Granny, Jack and Calvin follow on their heels.
 





turnip_farmer

Adventurer
Your whole group cautiously heads forward, ducking under the old, rusty portcullis (or, in the case of the halflings, simply strolling beneath).

Bringing up the rear, Edelgard, Garwen and Prinx are the last to step through. As soon as they duck beneath the iron bars, you each hear a snarl and a scrabbling sound from inside the gatehouse to your right, and with a jerk the old portcullis plunges downwards. The three of you just manage to jump forward out of the way of the rusty spikes, one tearing at the back of Garwen's clothes, before they thump down into the soft ground beneath.


As you stand there breathlessly, the dull clanging sound of a large bell resonates from inside the keep. Whatever's in here, it knows you've arrived...

You all stand in the south-west corner of the keep's open courtyard. The ground is overgrown with weeds and brambles, and in the thick mud between them you can make out the footprints of various domestic animals. Many of them look far too large for their shape, as if, for example, a chicken the size of a man had been wandering around in here.

The keep itself is crumbling and old. The wall in the north-west corner looks like it has completely collapsed, while half of the tower in the north-east corner has crumbled away and fallen into a black, gaping hole beneath. Only the south-east tower still looks whole.

Little else remains here from the keep's buildings. There is a well some 20 yards north of you, while one building still stands against the eastern walls, singed black with soot.
 


turnip_farmer

Adventurer
Tugging at the bars a few times, it's clear to Garwen that he could never manage to lift this alone. He's forced to give in as his skin begins to crawl at the touch of solid iron.
 

theCourier

Explorer
Talia Eastmoor, Noble

Talia whirls around looking back at the gate, and nearly trips when turning at the sound of the bell! It looks a bit silly in the moment, so she hopes no one's looking and composes herself by standing up straight and clearing her throat, "Our 'hosts' seem to be well aware of our presence now. We should prepare ourselves for combat, I fear..." Her sword point trails across the ground as all the points of interest catch her attention. She then begins looking for some sort of entry way into the gatehouse to the right.

"Fleetfoot" Mac, Squire

Mac looks back at the gate and pales a bit, then looks up towards the gatehouse. "I didn't see anyone from outside! They must be quite well-hidden." He turns his nose up at the sight of the elf trying to lift the gate and kneels down by it. "That's not the proper lifting technique. We might be able to do something about this, but there would need to be several of us pushing up at it!" He gets in position to start lifting the gate if anyone else is willing to help.

Alice, Miller-Baker

She lets out a load "EEP!" at the sound of the gate falling and dashes off for safety. "We're sitting ducks out here! RUN!" Alice hoofs it to the well, crouching down and circling it, trying to use it for cover against whom or whatever might be in this place.

Koby, Orphan

His reaction is more subdued than the others', instead dropping down on his knees against the wall. As he keeps low, he notices the weird animal-shaped tracks in the mud and slowly approaches them with a befuddled look on his face. "Hey! Come check these out, fellas! It's most unusual!"
 
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turnip_farmer

Adventurer
Talia and Yolo

Checking carefully around the walls, there doesn't seem to be any driect entry into the gatehouse at all. It's connected to the wall of the keep, so the only access must be inside. The only door visible into the walls of the keep is that on the south-east tower. It's also possible there's a way in from above, but it's 30 feet up and looks like a risky climb with the stones all wet and several hanging loose. You do notice during your investigation that you can no longer hear any sounds from inside.

Alice

Crouching down behind the well, you don't see signs of anyone moving in here apart from your group. You do, however, hear a faint, plaintive moaning sound drift up from inside the well.

Koby

The tracks are quite diverse and criss-cross over one another. You do see human footprints mixed in with them, but others seem to belong to cows, or particularly large goats. Others are harder to identify, and at one point it almost looks like an enormous snake has slithered among them.

The Gate

After a pause Bill and Calvin scurry over to lend their assistance to Mac at the gate. Despite their visible straining, it's not clear how much they really contribute to this endeavour; but with Mac's mighty heave and the four of you working together you manage to drag the portcullis back to about the height it was when you arrived, at which point the halflings can't lift any further. You're not trapped in here, at least.
 
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theCourier

Explorer
Talia Eastmoor, Noble

She taps the wet stones with her sword, and then shakes her head. "Not worth the head injury, I'm afraid." She walks up to Koby, wondering what the orphan's getting up to and heeding his call, and looks at the tracks as well. "Strange. Where do they lead to...?" With a casual wave of her hand, she beckons Koby to follow her for back-up as she begins to follow the tracks! "I'm concerned about these, despite the empty courtyard. After this though, we should check out that tower! It looks promising."

"Fleetfoot" Mac, Squire

After he lifts the portcullis back to its original height with Bill and Calvin's help, Mac bends down to take a breather and wipes his brow. "We've an exit now, comrades! Let's keep that in mind as we brave this place." He notices Alice hanging out all the way by the well and approaches it. "Ah, nothing more I would love than a drink right now."

Alice, Miller-Baker

Her eyes widen at the moaning coming from the well and she stands up and takes a look into it. Alice doesn't notice Mac coming over, instead trying to figure out if she can figure out the source of the odd noises. "Hello...?"

Koby, Orphan

He stands up a bit straighter at the approach of the noblewoman, clearing his throat before speaking "It's the oddest thing I've ever seen. Like when a bunch of pigs all get out of a crowded pen after a rainy day but... There's too many different tracks around for this to be normal." He walks alongside Talia while they investigate the direction the tracks head towards.
 

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