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The Kalarian Precipice - Chapter Six

Jeovanna

First Post
Jeovanna can sympathize with the fox a bit there; the speed with which magic has become their go-to solution is startling to her, as well. This use of it, at least, is little more than a bit of expedited digging... the magic to do the mundane, and much more quickly.

The barbarian licked her teeth at the splash. "Too big to be a fish," she muttered to Dain. Well... too big to be a normal fish. There were whoppers in the lakes and rivers of course- not that she ever did much fishing- but they were wily and hard to catch. And unlikely to breach the surface for bugs. There were also water monitors here or there. Dangerous to a small individual maybe, but unlikely to approach a large group.

This was the optimistic overview, though. Best case scenario.

If Metea tried to rush ahead to the river, well, there was no going for it today- she'd catch the tiefling by one horn and pull the woman back around behind her!

<Nature check= 6>
 

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Metea

First Post
Mm, the wilds were certainly providing! So far, at least. Metea carefully plucks a leaf from the Yarramberry bush and tucks it into her book like a bookmark- but actually, it is just so she can sketch the leaf later. Even esoteric herbalism knowledge is useful knowledge. Metea is not generally too good at plants, so keeping a sketch of them and their effects in her book is useful knowledge, even if not secret. Still, she remembered reading something about preparing them a certain way...

<d100=42>

Stuff splashed and rustled in nature. Metea had apparently not learned paranoia in that regard yet. "Do we want to cross the river? I can take care of that, too," Metea began, but before she could cast something to freeze the water across the river for them, Jeovanna had grabbed her by one horn and dragged her back and away.

"Were you a nun in a prior life, Jeovanna?" Metea asked sulkily. She was worse than the teachers in the church, that was for certain!
 

daindarkspring

First Post
Dain's head jerks to his left as he sees what could be scales flashing in the sun. He rips his sword free of its scabbard with a strong motion and unslings his shield from his back to grip in his left hand.

It isn't that he's paranoid. Not after what happened to them in the old mine. No, it's healthy self-preservation that drives his actions.

"Jeovanna, on my right with eyes up the river." His voice is calm, but quick. He turns his head briefly to address Carthum and the others behind him. "Carthum: keep the others in the rear and eyes out for serpents in the grass." They could be dealing with a big snake, or they could be dealing with something far more terrible.

Or it could be nothing.

But I'll be a devil's arse if I'm not ready for the worst...

Dain kicked a stone, or a stick, or whatever was available, in the direction of the scales in the bush. "Out with you." He grumbled.
 

Otiroth

First Post
Hm. Did they really want to cross the river at this point? "If we can get past the thorns, it may be best to wait until the river is a bit... shallower?" Or perhaps, even where they could reach a bridge. This wasn't Otiroth being fussy about his clothes- obviously he could dry those off with some prestidigitation- but more that if they did take a tumble into the river and there was something unpleasant there, they'd have a hard time fishing their comrade out.

That was not to say he had forgotten about the berries, though- he had just gathered as much as was reasonable to gather for now. They might find more later.

<d100=100 :-S>

But something was moving, in the brush. Closer than they might have liked, it seemed. Otiroth flicked his fingers forward, creating little dancing lights that skittered out over the top of the thorns and the grass. Little fireflies, perhaps? If it was a simple insect-chomper, perhaps they could draw it out.

<Deception check=6>
 

Carthum nodded- but his shield was never far from his allies! He'd take up a defensive position, in case anything thought to sweep in from the reeds and encircle them.

They, at least, had a bit of a high ground!
 

97mg

Explorer
Maybe these Yarramberries will be useful, Metea might consider, remembering that an over indulgence of their sweetness is rumoured to open a mind… to the powers of suggestion. An enchantment straight from nature herself. A favorite among seducers and negotiators alike.

Fluttering and dancing lights flicker throughout the suspect patch of thorny bush. Loose river pebbles and an old stick fly in, off the tip of a ranger’s boot as he kicks. All this, as well as the magical disturbance of earth, may have caused an aggravation.

Stood upon this narrow path, ahead some ten yards or so lies the twisting waterway. She is wide yet not so deep it seems, numerous rocks protruding above clear liquid making a journey far to the west and eventually out to sea. The banks are littered with small rounded stones and coarse sand, a mix of white, yellow and black.

Downstream there is another splash, but it is hardly the first thing on your minds, as a scaled beast whips out of the bushes, hissing and ready to strike! It is no tiny viper, or carpet snake, the ranger and barbarian might realise. Dusty scales of green and brown, a patch of yellow beneath the chin. This is none other than a Murras snake! Fiercely protective of young, territorial, aggressive and loaded with a poisonous bite.

<Lets roll initiative. Two characters can enter melee with it at a time. Disadvantage for range weapons firing into melee. For the pacifists in the group, you have the option of using an action on your turn, to jump over it and flee in the river’s direction in you like, we’ll make it a dex check DC12 to do so.

Murras Snake Init = 21.>
 

daindarkspring

First Post
Normally, if Dain had encountered the snake on his own, he would have simply ran from it and avoided a confrontation. This would have been both out of respect for its own right-to-life and not wanting to be bitten.

But now, with others behind him and all of them in danger, he decided he had little choice but to slay it and hope the power behind such things forgave him the trespass. It was a close thing, but Dain had the element of surprise on the creature and he used it to his advantage.

"It's a Murras snake! Get clear of it!"

From behind his shield, Dain slid forward and attacked. After his first strike, he followed up with another in quick succession, his sword sliding through the air with crisp swings.

<To hit: 20. Damage: 11>
<Dread Ambusher attack. To hit: 17. Damage: 18>
 

Jeovanna

First Post
Well, they hadn't wanted to eat field rations for the night, had they? Murras snake flesh was edible, wasn't it?

Jeovanna didn't actually know- she had never tried to fight one before. Usually she avoided them and they avoided her.

Still, Otiroth's investigation into every plant they encountered had made Jeovanna a bit curious as well, and she certainly didn't want to be eaten herself. She'd swing her greatsword in a vicious downward-swipe towards the snake's venomous mouth.

<Initiative=22>
<16 to hit, 14 damage>
 

97mg

Explorer
The big ol’ snake was fast, it's fangs drawn and head flying into view for a grab at Dain’s ankles. Chop, slash, slish! Not quick enough. The alertness and instinct of the ranger and barbarian terminated the threat in a second. The scaled body continued to writhe from side to side, whilst the head now detached, became still. The snake’s jaw closed, one beady eye looking up to them as it clouded over and life drifted away.

“Well, that's one way to do it,” Magaw whispers quietly. “I quite like snakes actually...” Serpents and skulls, it seems the bodyless mage doesn’t mind the cliche.

A good thing they had removed this threat quickly. At two yards long and thick as a dwarven thigh, she would have been well and truly loaded with venom!

Downstream, another violent splash snaps your attention away from the murderous scene at your feet. A groan bellows out from down the way, and then another, followed by a low competitive snarl and the sounds of confrontational a slap.

Throaty deep rumbles. The ranger has heard such things before. Streams and rivers like this can bring easy meals to predators, especially the four-legged and powerful varieties. For a closer look though, it might be wise to keep things quiet.

<Feel free to stealth check if approaching river. Nature check to identify downstream animals based on sound only.>
 

Metea

First Post
"Hey, I like snakes too- but I also have flesh I enjoy having not-poisoned," Metea replied.

Dain and Jeovanna were in their element here, it seemed. And the river was becoming a hot-bed of activity, "is it mating season or something? Or just feeding time?"

The tiefling turned her attention to the river above, and would gesture towards it. Metea was trying to make an ice bridge of a sort- she could only affect so much water at once, but it'd cause less disruption to the river than damming it with 'mold earth'. Ice melted, after all. In the heat, it melted especially quickly!

<Spellcasting: shape water, cantrip>
 

Carthum had his eyes on the thorns and grass behind them while Dain and Jeovanna dealt with the dirty work of dispatching the snake. Even dead snakes' heads could still bite, and it was with that thought in mind that he'd sweep the venomous thing away and into the brush with the tip of his shield before someone could step on it. Not that they were remaining here for long- now, it seemed, crossing the river was ideal. If they followed it, they could just run into more trouble.

"Perhaps amorous. Perhaps driven by tense competition," but it was impossible to say, really, wasn't it? In the heat, everything went to the water.

Carthum had to admit, Metea's ice bridge looked satisfying in that regard... but they couldn't rest on it for too long!

<Nature check=5>
 

Otiroth

First Post
Otiroth grimaced as the warriors' blades went snicker-snack on the angry snake, but said nothing. He had expected it to feel different, fighting above ground where the world seemed 'real', but he felt really no different. The snake was as hostile and unknowable as the walking armor had been, really. Or maybe his mind had just been hardened.

As Metea cast her spell to give them an easy way across the water, Otiroth would try and help out- casting a beam of frigid light from one finger to anchor the floating platform in place.

<Spellcasting: attempting Ray of Frost to freeze water>
 

daindarkspring

First Post
The snake had died quickly.

Serpents are sacred to you, Essithea. They emerge from the dark places and whisper prophecy. Let its blood find its way to you, seeping downwards.

Dain took a quick moment to wipe his blade in the grass in a ritualistic transferal accompanied by a murmuring of Essithea's name. But even as he did so, his head was turned so that his ears could pick up the sounds coming from upstream. Could he identify the sound?

He crept towards the riverbank, his shield raised up in a gesture meant to inform the rest of the party to proceed with caution.

<Nature check: 12>
<Stealth check: 11>
 

Jeovanna

First Post
Dain and Jeovanna were very different in some ways, but uncomfortably similar in others. Or perhaps Jeovanna was simply projecting her own thoughts on the ranger. Jeovanna tended not to overthink it for the most part, but still... in Gnoll society, hunting was important, and far different from fighting to survive.

Never kill an animal and leave it to rot. Hunters did not do that.

Now was not the time to stop and clean a kill, though. "Let us give them something else to fight over," she grumbled, as if that would explain what she did next- taking her greatsword to the snake's slender body like an axe to wood and slicing off a decent portion of it. The head was gone, no need to worry about that- grabbing the tail end of her neatly trisected snake, she'd toss that off into the brush- quite a toss, really- before coiling the muscular chunk remaining in some reeds to hopefully contain at least some of the smell. Or the blood maybe, since that went into her pack.

Onwards, then. They should still step lightly, even if she had succeeded in distracting the hungry creatures downstream...

<Survival check to prep the snake=19>
<Stealth check=24, natural 20 whooo>
 

97mg

Explorer
“You’re probably asking the wrong guy,” Magaw replied jokingly to Metea’s question about local inhabitant procreation rituals. “She’s done that before...” he then mentions, watching with amazement as the barbarious woman makes short work of disassembling the Murras snake’s remains. “What is she up to? I think I’m in love, Oh.”

Jeovanna appears to live on the extremes as far as their undead companion is concerned. Swift and brutal one minute. Quiet and focused, graceful in movement the next. Even with her weight and equipment, the barbarian manages to walk softly and lightly upon their temporary crossing too.

With Metea’s shaping of the river’s surface and form, combined with Otiroth’s frosty icing, a glassy and neatly navigable footbridge is at the group’s disposal.

As the first of you begin to cross, it hits Dain that those sounds around the bend might actually be bears. There was a fair bit of snarling and romping around happening earlier, out in the direction where Jeovanna had tossed some neatly trimmed meat. So for now at least, they were probably distracted. The bears of this area weren’t infamous for attacking innocent travelers. A couple of locals had come up second best when attempting to hunt them though. Soft and furry one minute. A towering and angry claw-swishing beast the next. Best the group gets a move on!

You can’t help but admire a little of the beauty of this river as your boots cool upon ice. The waters are so clear and full of life. A small school of fish darts beneath you, sliding under the bridge as they ride the current downstream. It is a refreshing change to a forest’s humidity and a canopy’s well trapped heat.

Now safely on the opposite bank, that bready smell once again hits your noses. Not far now. A little further northwest perhaps. Further up the bank, you notice a nice patch of river-tumbled stones, and beyond, more thorny bushes.
 

Metea

First Post
"Magaw! Such a romantic," Metea whispers back, while they started across the river. "Maybe we can teach you mage hand?"

She crosses the river with the others, enjoying the novel sensation of the icy chill. The ice is magical, so does not immediately melt, but she imagines in this punishing heat, even the refreshing breeze of the river won't let it last forever.

Once they get over to the other side, Metea observes their bridge for a moment- and decides to leave it. It'll met on its own. In fact...

One last casting, before they leave the river behind! An ice sculpture in the water- a fish shape, small and delicate! It floats to the surface once created, before drifting away on the current. If there is anyone downstream, well, she imagines it'll cause quite a stir! But if there isn't... it's still practice, and every warlock must practice.

At least, it is heartening that for all the trouble in the world... the rivers are still teeming with life.
 

It actually is quite amazing, crossing the river. Watching Jeovanna work. Carthum at least has the good graces to look embarrassed for watching.

Luckily, the necessities of life on the road draws them onwards without too much time to mull over everything. The half-orc sniffs the air, catching the distant scent of something... civilization-like. Was there any mistaking baking bread? Maybe.

Still, the nose knows! They should follow it!

<Perception check=15>
 

Otiroth

First Post
They have encountered many magical things on their trip so far- but crossing an ice bridge on a hot day ranks up there. It is amazing perhaps because it is, to Otiroth, the beautiful side of magic. Abolish the danger, because nothing was hurt by it, abolish the practicality, because they could have probably waded across- but revel in the majesty.

It did not take a fireball to change the world...

Otiroth wrapped one arm around Metea's waist and gave her a little squeeze as she created the fish. He'd watch it float downstream, too. "Ah, Metea! Pure finesse. Perhaps on a night we are hungering for fish, an ice net could sate our needs?" Create a cage of ice around some fish and lift it out of the water? They would be well-fed on smelt indeed! And he'd gotten a bit of a taste for it, back in Immel's court. The potential for mixing spices and herbs was unending...

Hmph, but they should move on!
 

97mg

Explorer
Southern Forests Mudmap



Large version available at http://www.dawnindustry.com/TKPimages/Forest_SM.jpg

Map contains rumored landmarks and locations that Dain, Jeovanna, and any others who might have been off-road in this vicinity might know of. The locations are approximate :) You are welcome to add in other things as we go along too.

Lightning Plain:
A decade ago a lightning strike in this area started an isolated wildfire after an extended dry summer season. Due to an easterly wind, it left an area well-scorched, and is now known as the Blacklands, as for some reason the area has failed to sprout much new life.

Glowworm Glen: A good days walk from the main road store, this little pocket of beauty used to be a popular side trip for nature lovers. A rough track through the forest continues on north, as an alternative route to the south of Viro. The glen is said to truly come alive at night, as tiny fluorescing creatures party, and do their imitation of a star-filled night sky.

Twist of Hypoth:
This old tree is said to have grown back into its own roots and is of religious significance to small tribes of wood elves and treefolk. It was nearly destroyed during the onset of Dolstian Law, as it is theorized to have magical properties. It was saved only through intensive negotiations with the area's inhabitants, and the results of investigation by the council. Any related documents about the history of the tree are not publicly accessible.

Great Oak: A massive tree that stands at the base of a range of rocky hills.

Foy Falls:
A stunning waterfall offers abundant water to the rare travelers who strike north, climbing hills before eventually meeting with an old rope bridge which hangs above a narrow, but extremely deep valley. A nearby elven settlement caters for pointy-ears who have chosen a self-sufficient and isolated way of life.

Olog Tors: Great mounds of granite protrude through the forest floor and poke above the canopy. The view from their peak is said to be breathtaking, and the only sure way to locate the illusive area of the Tox Mine and Big Hole. Both are supposed to be closed to public access and unsafe. Big Hole is a natural feature where the earthen crust has collapsed due to the decomposition of clays. It was once a go-to spot for potters, enticed by waving bands of red and yellow in their final fired work. The mine was once a source of geodes containing amethyst, but has most likely been filled in / destroyed to prevent illegal access.
 

daindarkspring

First Post
Dain stood on the other side of the river, and after a brief examination of the landscape he turned and waited for the others to cross over. Metea's ice sculpture and Otiroth's fawning forced a brief shake of Dain's head, but whether he was amused or annoyed it was impossible to say.

Well they certainly did not waste their night in Kalair...

As Jeovanna passed, Dain gestured with his head upstream. "The bears will eat what is left of the serpent."

Then to everyone: "I believe there is an old farmhouse to the northwest, and unless our noses deceive us, there may be food and a place to spend the night. From there we can strike east along another river to the falls. There are elves there, and they might have information that will aid us."
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

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