The Kalarian Precipice - Chapter Six


Having walked parallel with Kalair’s northwards road for several hours, you well and truly leave the outskirts of the southernmost settlement in your wake. With each step, your surroundings become less beaten and more organic and wild in form. Tall and sprangley evergreens reach high, their shade falling on an earth littered with hardy shrubs and bushes, the odd grey boulder here and there poking its head above the dark fertility of Marix Isle soil.

The heat and density of the air builds as this new day swings into the centre of morning. An occasional bird chirps or tweets, as warning of your arrival or the call to a mate from the branches above. A rustling in the undergrowth as you pass a small hollow in the stump of a tree. A trail of ants, diligent workers winding upon the throngs of a fern. The beauty and an appreciation of Kalair’s quieter places settles upon it's latest visitors.

Despite your numbers and the encumberment of long-distance supplies, as a whole the group’s movement is well planned and quiet. Following the path of a ranger certainly helps too. For now, becoming lost is nothing of a concern.

Those familiar with the road that is out there somewhere by your side, would know well that basic services for travelers aren’t too difficult to come by. For folk disinterested in city life, the foot, hoof and cart worn track is a source of trade. An hour ahead there would be a small general store, and a humble little tavern. Further on, a row of simple wooden huts where visitors can rest or freely camp, maintained by a kind hearted gentleman named Dod. All easy to reach with a short detour to your east.

All of a sudden, leaves rustle upon the ground, and Dain scouting at your front senses approaching life. Soft but furiously quick kicks against dirt. Then, in a flash of black, a rodent whips along the earth in front of you, before speeding up into the foliage of a neighboring tree. But that is not all. Somewhere out there, to your left a young voice calls out quite far in the distance.

“Mirella. Mirelllaaaa!”

More sounds then, but not a child’s footsteps yet. Like furry lightning a wild fox comes into view, startled by your presence and turning to glare in your direction with beady black eyes and the arisen alertness of a predator’s ears.

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First Post
Jeovanna grimaced at Metea, though mostly at her back. "Tiefling. You're glowing," she'd reply, but Jeovanna's tone was too dry to take much from it.

She was not taking travel beauty advice from a sweaty demon!

Otherwise, Jeovanna seemed to get more and more relaxed the further they went into the woods. The further they got from Kalair. She tensed, though, at the sound of rustling bushes- then actually relaxed a bit when she saw what was following the rodent. The fox was not running- it was chasing! And foxes were certainly normally of no threat to them.

"Hss," she'd warn it off, "back to your owner, or back to the woods!"

The shouting voice- did the child sound lost, or like it was tracking a loose pet?


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Dain smiled at the creature, and it was an honest smile. He liked animals, often times more than people. Especially some people.

Looking back, he motions for the party to halt with a gesture. "This is a good omen, I think. Tsk, not seek to scare off what may bring good fortune." Such was Dain's opinion of the situation.

He crouched down, extending a hand with a bit of goat jerky to the fox. "Be at peace, quick one. Mirella. Is that your name, you pretty vixen?"

<Animal Handling check: 20>


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"Hear that, Magaw? We're to have company, so behave yourself," Metea remained unphazed by the slightest hint of a scolding! Were any of them surprised?

Metea watched the rat scramble, actually, while Dain flirted with the fox. They were a strange group to encounter in the woods!

"Are we close to a town?" It was strange, to think a young child would be out here on her own- unless she'd run far from the road after her pet?


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They'd gone from the path, but not far enough, it seemed! Otiroth doubted a child would know much of what had been happening in the north, but they might as well reunite a child with their pet.

Whether it was the rodent, or the fox...

Carthum was more worried about the child than the animals! They were not far from the road, true, but they were far enough that a child rushing about yelling was dangerous... for the child! There were monsters and bandits on the road, after all!

He'd strain his hearing, to tell if there were any other sounds in the woods that might be lost beneath the child's shouting...


The animal approaches the ranger nervously at first, flicking its eyes upon the assortment of strange folks behind him. Then it smells food, and sensing that this clean-shaven man means no harm, walks forwards to lick at the offered treat before grabbing it between teeth. A hop backwards, a leap, and the fox retreats a little way to savor the snack.

To the party’s side in the direction of where the distant road would lie, the young voice begins to fade away into the distance. In a moment of quiet, your senses pick up on something else as a hot puff of breeze edges through the forest. The bitter smell of smoke, charred timbers, and is that… bread?

Dain’s well-honed outback senses and Jeovanna’s prowess in hunting pick out the aroma’s direction. Otiroth's culinary interests confirm the source, freshly baked he might think. It is somewhere ahead, striking off a short way to the west perhaps. Maybe you aren’t the only folk who choose the lure of nature’s surroundings, over the dry and monotonous path of Kalair’s main road.

<If memory serves some of you correctly:
East: more light / medium density forest and eventually the main road.
North: A narrow riverbed will soon cut through your path, and is often thick with scrub, weeds and hanging vines. Further north, there used to be an old track that leads for many many miles to a set of extremely dangerous steps, down to the seaside (one of the few known places to access the ocean directly). Beyond that the forest thickens, and there is rumour of an abandoned mine in the area.
West: The forest becomes wilder with each step, and thick with dense plant life until meeting the Isle’s cliffs some day or so away.>


Interlude: Hills Behind a Curtain

The long and reverberous note of a downtuned gong bounced it's way through the mountain’s bowels. A once in a lifetime event, or maybe less given a dwarf’s average lifespan of some 350 years. Not a sleeping child, chiseling mason nor wandering drunkard was spared the ominous arrival of this people’s urging.

For a handful of days now, ugly and hard-hided beasts had picked and poked at this demihuman community of highlanders. The first sightings stirred curiosity and disbelief, but the intentions of these strangers were clear from the onset. Obliteration. Genocide. What had begun as small packs of scouting many-legged beetles, poisonous tusks and stinging barbs, was now a great dark curtain. A mass of primeval hatred had been spotted, moving down the mountainside as though a dark and living river had burst.

Even the shade of an elaborately carved cave entrance, and the natural insulation of a great summit of rock, didn’t prevent Warruv from breaking a sweat. The heat had become inescapable, as thermally charged desert air persistently blew southwards, bringing both grit, sand and the stench of death upon it's back.

“Harrukkk!” The order was given from an elder, somewhere behind Warruv and the bearded footsoldiers by his side. Short but tireless arms pulled then, dragging down the ropes that would see this access point closed tight.



The sounds of thousands of legs upon the hard granite of a dwarven land.

Warruv felt himself deafened, tensing, squeezing the grip on his axe tighter and tighter.

The stone door was almost closed, only several feet apart when they arrived. Like a plague of vermin, hungry and angry, the swarm came rushing through the gap.


To the entrance’s sides, great boulders were released, rolling down into the Sandsborn mass with crushing effect. Creature’s squealed as limbs, body, head and more were flattened. It was a good start, but neither Warruv nor his companions would be calling out in celebration yet.

They were still coming.

Warruv sucked in a breath. This was it. He and his kin, his dwarven brothers and sisters, were at war.


There was no turning back. He moved forwards as quick as those stubby little legs would take him, into the jaws of the unknown, and probably the mandible of a beast...


First Post
Jeovanna licked her teeth, and watched Dain's interaction with the fox. It ultimately caused no trouble, she supposed. Bold wildlife was not always a good thing, though. Well enough if you were a hunter and the deer was not afraid- worse if it was simply not afraid because the buck was charging at you from behind.

She exhaled somewhat sharply.

"We are too close to the road already, obviously," Jeovanna grumbled, when their next steps were discussed. So, she was against heading east.

A trek through harsh woods was fine with her, and most of them were doing fine with what was before them already. She'd have to keep an eye on Metea, though.

Jeovanna was not carrying the tiefling!


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Dain lifted his chin, following the scent of food with his eyes.

Towards the west.

Essithea...are you close? I long for you.

"We should follow the scent of food. Perhaps we will find the girl who lost this fox, and perhaps there will be folks eager to speak of the world."

The woods looked dark and menacing, but Dain had no cares it seemed. The darkness, the deep forest...they were his abode.

Voidrunner's Codex

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