IC Attack the Darkness! The Geriatric Brigade

Bunch

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You wake from last nights festivities hung over and weak. Staggering about you see your peers all appear to be in a similar state. At first it feels like a fitting punishment for all the fun you had last night. It had been a long time since the village had anything to celebrate with poor harvest and harsh winters year after year. But then yesterday the neighboring villagers showed up with a plan to pool resources and work together. The odds still seemed long but it was the most hope the village had in months. An impromptu celebration began lasting late into the night. Drinks kept coming and coming. As you mingle with the others you start to notice a few things. Everyone you can find is an older member of the village. The hunger and thirst you feel seems greater than just a normal hangover. You piece together that you've slept through at least two full days. Whatever was in the drinks that night involved more than alcohol. Worse yet you realize all of the younger people in the village are missing. The remaining people with some wits about them search for food stores and determine you have more than a months worth of food left maybe much more with rationing. You have a little time to decide what to do but clearly the clock is ticking.
 

opaopajr

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"Those blasted, daggum youngins took my peaches -- hundreds of peaches! As if peaches for free. Thousands of peaches. Peaches from me!"

/farts "Dang it, Moonpie, I was sayin somethin. Now take yer stench n git! We got company, good lord...

"Now what was I sayin? Oh yeah, bet them youngins took those peaches to go make a cobbler -- without sharin neither! Takin without sharin, and after all we done for 'em!?

"What we got is a cobbler strategic deficiency! I say we find n invade those meddlin kids, and take back our cobbler! Who's with me?"

/tummy growls with more gas build up
 

Endless Flight

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Gruffyn's face turns sour after speaking to the other villagers about the mysterious disappearance of the younger villagers. After the celebration last night, he is certainly in no condition to remember what had happened in the late hours. Maybe I cast a spell and banished them to another plane by accident during the merriment, he thinks to himself as he enters his disheveled hovel. He momentarily enjoys the thought of the irritating whippersnappers of the village banished forever but realizing at the same time that the old fogeys in the village needed them for survival. Certainly he doesn't, after all he is 37. He passes by a mirror and curses. He shakes his head as he begins pouring through his spellbooks. "37, 73, what's the difference". He realizes after a few minutes that he doesn't know any banishment spells, and certainly none that would get rid of all of the annoying youth. But that doesn't mean that somebody else outside of the village wouldn't. Gruffyn always thought that the recent bad luck in the area was no accident, that outside forces beyond nature were at work. But he had no reason to really look into it, until now. He stacks the books back into a haphazard pile and adjusts his bandana holding back his white hair. I should talk to that old stinker Kissinger. Maybe he cursed the wrong god last night while imbibing all those potent liquors. He grabs his staff by the door and goes to find the cleric.
 
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Bunch

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( GM is taking a nap. Shh! :wink: )
You have no idea how on the money that comment is . I woke up to read that. Baby girl hit six weeks and hasn't been sleeping. Add a bunch of holiday, healthcare and tax issues and I haven't had free time. I'm hoping I'm through the worst of it. Lately I'm the one feeling geriatric.
 

Bunch

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You leave your respective homes looking for cobbler or Kissinger as the case may be to find a small group of residents attempting to figure out what to do next.

'Hunt down the bastards I say. Don't give a damn if my good for nothing son is among them. Prick left me to die and a hangover!' says old McAllister.

'I bet the damn snake men are responsible. I heard rumors the swamp was getting thick with them. Never did trust nothin with a forked tongue.' mumbles Old man Reid.

'Well can't say I blame them. It was getting close to them having to choose between feeding the kids or the parents. Would you have chosen differently?' asks Leeta while knitting a sock.

'So what are we going to do now? I'm not leaving. I spent my whole life here. I'm gonna die here but I ain't in a hurry. We gonna try and ride out and plant again? If so someone should figure out if snake men are the problem. I'll stay an plant. Maybe we just go see if we can find something in any of the old ruins to go buy food. ' ponders Farmer Jaks while drawing with a stick in the dirt.

More residents are waking up and joining the discussion.
 

opaopajr

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/being licked in the fafe by Moonpie
*snort* "Huh? Oh thanks, Moonpie, I was dozing off there for a bit."

"Something something about the snakemen doing this? Well poop on them! I say we invade them and take their peaches... or flies, or whatever the hell they eat."
/tummy rimbles, building up more pressure

"Who's with me?"

/scratches Moonpie behind the ears
"Of course you're with me! Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy? Wanna go sic 'em snakies? Yeah? We go sic 'em good and take their stuff!"
 

Bunch

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"Who's with me?"

Rhyll of Rhode looks up. A light returns to his eyes. You all know Rhyll's history. He came back to help his daughter Rhul take care of the farm after spending a life as a soldier. Unfortunately his mind started to go duet to dementia. A grand funk took over him as he realized he was going to lose his mind before his body stopped working . Rhyll says 'I'm in! You may have to remind me if I forget but my body is strong and I will die before I fail you!'
 

opaopajr

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*yawn* :yawn: "Oh hey, Rhyll! Yeah, awesome, you're with me, you're with me! Yeah! What was it we were doing again?" :smile:

/someone clues me in

"Oh... Yeah. :quiet: Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah! OK! :thumbsup: Great, Rhyll, you can help us whack 'em snakes and take their stuff until they give us back our food they stole. That's all some people understand, displays of power. That's real politics." :irritated:

"Does anyone else wanna go? :grin: Anyone wanna bring a cart to bring back our food, or their snakey stuff? :money: And anyone who can talk to them, so they know not to steal our food again?" :gunslinger:
 

Bunch

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Kwill looks a Rhyll with mild dismay. She has helped Rhul care for Rhyll since he came back to live in the village. Most think this is because the avarice Kwill hopes to marry Rhyll and inherit what some believe is the treasure he brought back from his days as an adventurer.

She grabs Rhylls hand and says reluctantly 'Where Rhyll goes, I go.'

A half dozen old men meekly join the group offering to help in whatever meager way they can. It's easy to see they are no fighters but can help carry and watch over things. They gather together a cart and a few old horses that probably haven't seen a saddle in years.

A distracted Gruffyn walks up to the assembled group and sits down on the back of the cart as it's loading up.
 
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opaopajr

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"... Sure thing, Kwill. Glad you could come with us conquering heroes." Towards the rest of the crew of volunteers, "And thank you, too, for joining our last great strike against the darkness of this world! You all will probably need slings, maybe even a torch, just in case to defend yourselves."
/gasses mostly silently, then crop dusts the crowd on the way to Lulu, my donkey

/whispering to Lulu, my donkey, as I fix her lead
"Ooh, Kwills... Yes, Lulu, she will know yet my power. And then she will be mine! For would I not be a man of power by commanding such a force!? Yes, power will be my aphrodisiac, Lulu, power..."
/passes a lengthy, punctuating fart
 

opaopajr

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"So, hero followers, can I call you all that? I think we should get another 10' ladder, just in case. Hopefully one easier to pull apart, that way the rungs can be used for crappy clubs and the 10' poles used as crappy polearms -- and we can turn them into torches in a pinch!"

/pbbbbbbt
/dog Moonpie runs into the cart to hide

"Who said that?"

/pfff...tweeeet

"Well I think it's the cheapest way to get all of you safely armed and with light, just in case. So there! Besides, you hold camp and don't have to go with the heroes into big danger. We can't leave you completely defenseless, though."

/puff

"Alright, alright. Also, I'm old. I wanna keep my other ladder in case I need to get up higher. I don't move like I used to, I'm afraid to take a fall. Better? I'm old, dammit!"

(We buy a ladder, one we can disassemble, before we take off. Off to conquer the snakeys who took our food! And we'll take their stuff!)
 

Bunch

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The men look at Kissinger babble on and emit noise with a mixture of blank stares and dismayed resignation. They disperse back to their homes to bring anything they think might be needed.

Most come back with packs filled with travel goods, axes and their most offensive farming instruments (a mixture of pitchforks, sharpened long sticks, and makeshift weapons) . A few manage to bring small wooden bucklers. At the mention of a ladder two go to their barns and pull down ladders. They are not eager to disassemble them though. One finds 50' of study hemp rope.

'Goddam kids didn't loot me and leave me for dead properly' one named Olaf complains.

The cart is loaded with thing and the old men argue a moment about who could ride in back until someone recalls riding in a cart with no cushions is about as pleasant as being bit by a rat. They gather alongside the cart and look to Kissinger for direction. 'We going up the road to the old abandoned farms near the swamp or down the road towards the river?' Olaf asks.
 
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opaopajr

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"Well, I need to get my bearings again. Which way was fastest, and which way was safest, to get to these Snakeys?"

/leans head into Lulu with affection
*whispers* "I know you're up in years, too, my good girl. But we gotta try, for all our sakes."

"Also, does any of us speak Snakey? Know any gestures they respect or fear?"
 

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"Well, I need to get my bearings again. Which way was fastest, and which way was safest, to get to these Snakeys?"

/leans head into Lulu with affection
*whispers* "I know you're up in years, too, my good girl. But we gotta try, for all our sakes."

"Also, does any of us speak Snakey? Know any gestures they respect or fear?"
When asked if they speak snakemen the group of assembled men and woman shake their collective heads.
Olaf replies 'Snakemen are in the swamp up the road past the abandoned farms. What passes for the beginning of civilization is down the road.'
 

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:sad::thought: Hmm, I am now responsible for the last hope of our town. And I have no one to talk to the Snakies to figure out what happened. It'll just be violence and looking for clues... and I doubt I have enough manpower to force our demands.

:sad::thought: Well, poop. Goodbye to my power ambitions.

:grin::word: OK everybody, how long does it take to get to the next town and how long it takes to get to the Snakey Swamp?

:blah::word: If we are the last chance for us, I need more information on what happened, so we know where to go. Since we can't talk to the Snakies, killing them and taking their stuff -- though cathartic -- will likely kill us all faster from violence and hunger.

:brokenheart: :word: It pains me to say this, but I may have to be prudent. How far away these places are matters...
 

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I leave a Message to Riverside: "Only the elderly left here -- and without provisions. Worried where the young ones went. Presumed kidnapped by the Snakies of the NE Swamp. Sending the last of our heroes there to save us. Send help! More Food and Fighters Needed!"

I also delegate to a scribe and town gossip (presuming one's literacy and another's regional knowledge) the task of an accounting message for posterity.
 

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:grin::word: "Let's try to make it to the Linden Farm before nightfall. I want shelter from the rain and cold while we can. :crossed:
/rubs joints at the thought of cold on them.

:happy::word: "And the earlier we get there the more we can make sure our camp is safe and cozy! :kiss:

:sad::word: "We should also say a prayer for the poor Linden's... and thank their memory for letting us use the remains of their farm for safety. Let's go!":hmmm:
 

Bunch

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The rabble says their goodbyes to those remaining before gathering around the cart and heading out. It's late spring. The weather is warming although still cool enough to make a good pace without overheating. What there was of the spring barley crop has been harvested. The fields look empty, ready for summer fruits to be planted.
You make it about two miles northeast of the village when Old man Porlan says ''Wait here! I have some stuff stashed at my farm down the road.'. People waiting at the cart bust out food and make a light lunch in anticipation of a qucik trek to the Linden farm.

About a half hour later Porlan returnable with a donkey with kegs and bottles strapped to it. 'My special fortified beer! A little something to keep is going.' Porlan says grinning.

You continue Northeast leaving the regularly maintained fields behind. The landscape changes from grain crops to wild flowers and scrub. As you continue on you run across the a occasional game trail but otherwise the passage is uneventful. You take several breaks time allow your companions and horses to rest. It's approaching dinner time when you're about a mile from the old farmhouse. You see smoke drifting upwards probably from a dinner fire.
 

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During Old Man Porlan's return:

:grin::word: "You're a generous soul, Porlan. That's emergency food that'll keep, and liquid courage when we need it, too."

:wink::word: "That said, I think we overdid it last time. I think we lost two days, what told -- and the youngins! -- after our last revel in the cups. It was odd, that... :errr: I don't remember the last time we all had a hangover like that."

:smile::word: "Anyway, it's your stash, Porlan, so I trust you when and how you wanna share it. :trigger: All I ask is you keep in mind we're the town, and possibly the youngins', last hope. No pressure."

----------

:shade::word: "Oh, heeeey! The Linden's are up, cookin' dinner, and a rousin' fire for our welcome!"
:shock::word: " Wait! Wait everybody, wait! I thought the Linden's were disappeared and thought dead some ten years ago? Do I remember wrong?" :worried:
/looks to Moonpie and Lulu if they seem agitated that something's off.

:crossed::word: "Could've sworn this farm should be abandoned." :irritated: "You think it could be Snakies homesteadin' in their place?! Homesteadin' without even neighborly potluck visits?" :angry:
/asks crew their thoughts, memories, and plans of approach.
 

Bunch

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'Fortified beers good for travelin. Keeps well and fills ya up so long as you don't overdo it. An don't worry about me overdoing it again. I still have a headache from last night.'

Porlan adds 'Lindens are dead. I helped bury what was left of them after the snake men attack.
You know that smoke there is odd if'n that's snake men. They eat food raw and s'far as I know don't use fire.
Not sure who's there but my bet is on somethin civilzed'
 

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:quiet::word: "Hmm, good, Porlan. But still, even if Snakies don't use fire, doesn't mean a human who means us harm can't."

:hmmm::word: "Well, we'll need stealthy people, with good eyes, to take a peek if it's safe. So that's obviously me and Kwill, with Kwill taking point, unless..."

:hehe::thought: (Yes, I'll rely on your good eyes, Kwill, while my eyes will rest on your stealthily slinking rump. :evil: Hur hur hur! My plan's almost perfect! :shock: Oh shit, Rhyll! Gotta give him an option, too.)

:goof::word: "Unless we all risk it together and go as a group asking for shelter. That way we'd have numbers to fight back, right Rhyll!, and more eyes to spot if they try to poison any soup they share!"

:worried::word: "But we all might die, too."

:hehe::thought: (Excellent... I look like a wise, generous leader with their best interests foremost on my mind. They couldn't possibly choose to all risk their lives behind Rhyll's strength of arms! I'll be a hero, a rump ogling hero! :kiss:)

:sad::word: "So what'll it be?"
 

Bunch

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The group begins discussing the options in earnest when Moonpie starts barking her happy bark and bouncing around. It takes a while for her(?) to get the groups attention while the assembly of old farmers bickering. She runs off into the tall grass barking. When the old men finally quiet down enough everyone hears Moonpie and other dog like barks returning her calls. She returns and keeps looking into the tall grass barking and wagging her tail.
Shortly after a small humanoid looking roughly like a bipedal golden retriever walks out looking at Moonpie and then the group.
Portlan whispers 'Nuggals!' to Kissinger.
 

opaopajr

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:argh::word: "Moonpie!
/points to the ground, gesturing Moonpie to come back to my feet
/bends over to pet Moonpie and receive kisses
:kiss::word: "You scare me half to death! Could've been eaten by a Snakey-poo in them tall grasses!
:smile::word: "Did you get any ticks on you? Any ticks on you? Good boy, good boy! You came back clean...
:quiet::word: "Unless your new friend here is a tick. Which'll be the biggest tick I ever did see.
/to the Nuggal
:ooh::word: "Are you a big tick? No? :wink: How come you're on the ol' Linden farm and we never done seen or heard about you?" :hmmm:
 

Bunch

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The Nuggal stands at the edge of the grass watching the group. He sees how you treat Moonpie and Moonpie's reaction and begins wagging his tail. He approaches the group confidently with no obvious hostile intent.
He speaks slowly and with some laboring 'Reetin ruumans. Rye call Rido by ruman ro rawt me ror rung. Re here Rook ror mates raken rye sssssssmen.'
He pauses coughing and stretching his mouth a bit.
He adds 'Re ro roon. rorry ro rinrood. rought rarandonded.'
He beckons you to follow him leading you through the tall grass to the remains of the farmhouse. The building is in disrepair but still provides some shelter. Four more male Nuggals sit cooking a collection of squirrels and rabbits. They wag their tails at your arrival and one offers to share his rabbit with you.
They have staked out a claim inside a small bed room where the roof has substantially collapsed leaving the main room with a half collapsed roof and a second bedroom where the roof remains intact for anyone else interested in staying with them.
 

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:hmmm::word: "Rit's rine, rarm ras rarandonded ror rears --" *cough, cough* *HACK* "pardon, that's hard on my throat." :wink: "I'm sure the Linden pack would like anyone who fought back against these Snakies, er, 'Sssssmen', that we suspect took & killed them."

I will thank them for their hospitality, and not being snakemen in the tall grass waiting to kill us, and ask whether the Nuggals are interested in working together.

:smile::word: "Can you give me a moment to talk amongst our pack? If our two packs work together we will have to learn how to cooperate. So my people will want to talk to all of you, share info, build that trust 'n stuff..." :yawn: /waves hand as if waving away formality. :cry: "Also, I want to prepare to host a prayer to the dead and lost Linden pack before we sleep."

Then I go to address my human posse.

:goof::word: "I guess we didn't all die this time! ... :hmmm: So, yeah, can all of you go be nice to the Nuggals, share info, learn how to work together, yadda, yadda, yadda? I'm gonna look around this building for the best place to host a prayer rite for the lost & dead Lindens. :grin: Anyone's free to join me, :sad: but it'll be boring spiritual stuff."
 

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You find a nice spot in what might be the old garden growing beautiful wild flowers and offer prays for the Linden's.

The Nuggals and the gaggle of old men get along quiet well. Apparently your more socially awkward behavior like passing gas and belching are completely unimportant to Nuggals. Exchanging treats and information you learn a week or so back this Nuggal packs camp was raided while the males we're out on an extended hunting trip. The females and pups were kidnapped and taken by the snakemen.

They tracked them to a hill in the swamp nearby but the trail ended there. They backtracked to here to consider their next move. The old men discuss the location the Nuggals are referring to. All agree the swamp was not as close by as the Nuggals seem to suggest. The hill they refer to was known as the Headman's Mound. Legend has it that a great warrior once based his warband in this region raiding the nearby tribes and cities. The mound is supposed to be his haunted tomb. About half the men agree and claim some kin who descend from the tribesman. The other half claim it's an old tale meant to keep kids from straying too far from the village.

The Nuggals are eager to return to the mound and ask for your help rescuing their pack.
 

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:shade::word: "Well how can we say no to such hospitable neighbors! Of course we will go with you to this mound."

:worried::word: "Besides, it's the closest thing we have to a clue to where our youngins disappeared..."

:cry::word: "... them kids may be our last hope to keep our town from starving to death in the coming months, too."

:hehe::thought: (Laying it on thick. Sob stories curries favor with potential allies. Also, seems like they can hunt... :ooh: Huh, even if we fail, we might end up like old fogies with faithful doggies on the porch. :goof: How apropos.)

:quiet::word: "Well, no telling how deep is that burial mound. This could take awhile. How far is it from here? Which would be safer for our sortie party: making a base camp here, or closer to the mound?"
 

Bunch

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The Nuggals are sympathetic to your plight. Like you they face a rough future without their families.

'If we leave first thing in the morning we should get to the mound by mid morning. The mound is just in the field beyond those hills' Porlan says pointing to the nearby hills to the North. The head Nuggal nods in agreement.

Everyone begins setting up camp for the evening in preparation for heading out at first light.
Rhyll, Kwill and Porlan are preparing for tomorrows journey. The remainder of the men set up camp planning to wait here at least until after your initial foray to the mound. The Nuggals go out hunting returning with an modest meal for the group to celebrate the new alliance.
 

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:thumbsup::thought: (We just might have a chance! Now I need to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of our exploring team... OK, I really want power and they gave it to me as leader. But I've always had people get upset at me and I couldn't figure out why!)

/farts pensively
/Lulu snorts and moves away

:trigger::thought: (Think! Fighting men like Rhyll, when they shared war stories with each other, talked something about good leaders and morale, and food in their stomachs. I need a talkey person who people like and more food. :ooh: I also need these Nuggals and Rhyll, Kwill (oh, my sweet Kwill :kiss:), and Porlan to get along.)

/digs deep into ear, then smells it before wiping it off on my pants, also pensively

:quiet::thought: (And figure who is good in a fight, who is good as a scout, and who keeps people healthy. I'm the one that has smart ideas, so that's covered. :music: Probably the only one who knows a lick about medicine, too. :shock: But who'll heal me if I'm down? Ooh, scary!)

------------------------

Kissinger tries to assess the exploration party. Who is good at fighting, good at scouting, and good at communicating, keeping morale. Even though a vulgar, ambitious ass, is still craven enough to listen to others to stay alive. Will reserve party leadership and head healer for himself. Tries to make head Nuggal his co-leader, and whoever the "face" is his second-in-command.

Will leave standing orders to remaining party to bivouac the homestead and glean from the land as much as possible.
 

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/Porlan is your most charismatic. he didnt grab a buttload of beer just to get hammered. who knows he might even have a trick or two about how to nurse a drunk back to health.
/Rhyll is the obvious fighter. hes just a straight up old fashioned big man
/Kwill is the thief. she's cautious with her words and low profile but ever present
/Olaf is gruff and was quick to pick up an ax and a dagger to join the group.
/McAllister grabbed a pitchfork first thing. He hates the snakemen.
/Gruffyn sleeps in the back of the wagon.

/The Nuggals have a reputation as modest fighters but mostly use their pack tactics versus enemies. With their heightened sense of smell and stealthy hunting background they make natural scouts
 

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:worried::word: "I need more information, no two ways around it. We gotta explore this mound. I can't risk our last hope, and our Nuggal friends' last hope, for our loved ones by charging in without knowledge."

:thumbsup::word: "I believe you Nuggals that SssssMen did this, 'cuz you can smell 'em better'n us. But I don't know how many are involved -- and if they are or are not taking orders from an even bigger bully!" :sad:

:sad::word: "Some of us can get hurt, and we'll be hungry, so our lives will depend on holding this homestead as basecamp here. Thank you Lindens..." /makes a sign of blessing "But our first foray must be scouting, quiet-like. Nuggals, you smell and hear better'n us, so you will lead our exploring group."

:grin::word: "Kwill, (:kiss:) you seem to understand them nuances of the big city 'n stuff. I trust you to go with the Nuggals on point to help protect them from human dangers they might not know about. We humans are crafty devils, and if our kind built the burial mound, you'll have a better idea to make sense of its leftover dangers. :thumbsup: Listen to her, Nuggals, and when in doubt of your safety retreat quietly together back to us."

:quiet::word: "Rhyll & Porlan, that'll leave you two with me. We will hang back from Nuggals and Kwill so we don't give away their position, but stay within 100' or 200' of them, ideally. This is hard, but I trust them to come back to us if something is scary."

:thumbsup::word: "Rhyll, we'll rely on your muscle and head for battle. I may make big decisions on where to go and what to do, but you know more how to live through combat. I trust you to command us what to do when we are stuck fighting for our lives."

:happy::word: "Porlan, I'm not as fun as you, so I don't know when I'm being an ass and endagering us all. I have no room for mistakes. Your job is to help me pause before I push us all to the breaking point."

:hmmm::word: "McAllister, I know you wanna kick some Snakie butt. However first I gotta figure out which battles we can win so we can kick the most Snakie butt possible. :devil: That's what this scouting mission is for. Yet I need someone ferocious to protect my rear guard, to protect this basecamp. :gunslinger: I trust you to be that ferocious protector, to hold this homestead so we have somewhere safe to return."

:wink::word: "Olaf, you look ready for bear to fight, too. But not yet. I can't waste our strength. You too will help keep this camp stocked, alarmed, and safe. In fact, I have a special mission for you..." /hands Moonpie's leash over.

:kiss::word: "Moonpie, you're the dog of the base camp while we're away. Olaf now has the leash. If you hear or smell any danger, go wake these humans for help. Yes, even Gruffyn."

:hmmm::word: "Lulu, you're here to help us retrieve any human or Nuggal victims, alive or dead, but only once it's safe. Help eat the Linden's nearby tall grass so the Snakies have less place to hide. Go. Go chew now." /ties Lulu's leash to Gruffyn's ankle, then wakes him if he's asleep.

:blah::word: "Gruffyn, there is a very real risk you might die first from not paying attention, or not helping prepare basecamp. Please listen to McAllister, Olaf, and Moonpie. You may want to stay awake for this part." :cry: "I am trusting you not to die. We don't need to be so sad this early. Lulu can protect you, as you protect Lulu. Let her eat grass and you be her alert tether."
 
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Bunch

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With a plan in place everyone becomes more relaxed for the evening. The Nuggals and Kwill spend a little time working out how scouting will go. The Nuggals will leave one of their members moving close by Kwill while the rest scout ahead even further.

Dawn breaks revealing a clear cool day. Good weather for travel and visibility. You pack a light scouting pack and say your goodbyes to the men staying behind at the farm.
Travel is quick across the former farmland. Even the low hills do not prove much of an impediment. As you come down the other side of the hills into what was once another valley the land begins to turn spongy. The floor of the valley is moist slowing progress slightly.
'This isn't right. It's been a long time but I've been here before and this was not a wetland. It was woodlands. ' Porlan says worried.

Kwill and her Nuggal companion she's taken to calling Spot return. 'We didn't see any signs of the snakemen on the way but Fido says he saw some tracks going to and from the mound on the north side of it. Fido says the same area they found last time still smells heavily of snakemen but no obvious camp. The spot is about half way up the mound on the East side of the mound. What do we want to do?'
 

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:angry::word: "Hmmm, clever devils, Porlan. Not only did they steal any woodland evidence of trees or their stumps, but they filled the land with the nemesis of mankind's oldest ally fire... water. They are undoubtedly sly in their villainy.":irritated:
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:sad::word: "Thanks, Kwill and Spot. Sounds like the North is their entrance. Can you estimate any numbers from their tracks? :smile: And it is good the Nuggals are with us. I think their noses found an air vent."

:devil::cake::word: "And, they might be home, since the smell is so strong. Part of me wants to check for any other entrances on the mound, start a smoky fire at the entrance, and smoke them out." :gunslinger:

:worried::word: "But they may be holding our loved ones hostage, too. If bound or caged, that smoke would kill 'em just the same, and by our own hands." :cry:

(How big is the mound? Like a big hill? Or more like a 2 to 3 story tight dome? Any other South, West, or East entrances?)

:evil::word: "I think it might be time for us to go in as a group. We will give you scouts a 50 feet head start to be sneaky. If you gotta fight, keep it to quick and quiet opportunity strikes, or otherwise come back to us and we will smite together." :gunslinger:

:hmmm::word: "We in the back will work the torches, and leave a trail of them, so you in the front can work candles. Snakes have bad eyesight so using darkness against Snakies may be silly too. But this is so as to not mess with Nuggals' sense of smell with too much with smoke. Their smelling the Snakies beforehand might save our lives."

:ooh::word: "Oh! Just in case, if they get weird and want to surrender and tell us info where our youngins are... take it!" :grin: "I need info where to find our people. If they then attack us in our care we can kill them as it comes to pass." :alien:
 

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Kwill looks at Spot confused then adds 'I think you misunderstand. We only found one place that smelled like an entrance and it was the on the East side. The it smells like a large number of snakemen and at least some of the Nuggals and human went North. Spot says he doesn't smell some of his pack but he's unsure if the scent is just getting lost or whether some prisoners are left inside.'

With no obvious sign of active snakemen movement the group heads up to where the scouts found the strongest scent. A bit of searching reveals what the Nuggals were unable to find. There's a small latch that when pulled lets a section of rock slide back sligthly. When pushed by several strong members of the group the rock slides back. Inside is a small landing followed by stone stairs leading down a steep hallway.


/OCC the mound is quite large. you estimate its about 40-50 ft high, 150ish ft wide and more than twice as long.
 

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:ooh::quiet::word: "Oh. Of course..."

:trigger::word: "Hmm, so we got a lead that both some Nuggals and Humans have been taken North. How strong does Spot or Fido say the scent is? I am wondering how long it may last given the wetness and the weather." :worried:

:smile::word: "Either way, we cannot leave any victims behind... or unknown Snakies between us and camp! :crossed: So let's check out the mound as quickly as we can. I think we should get ready for combat -- armor and weapons ready!" :alien:

:grin::word: "I am going to give you guys some chalk, crowbar, iron spikes, candles, and a 10' pole to poke things safely from a distance. Do you need a hammer, rope, and grappling hook, or shall we carry it until needed? We want you light and silent." :wink: "We'll keep the other half of the chalk, shovel, sacks, and have several lit torches, along with making a trail of them at intersections -- oh, and be armed and ready, too." :gunslinger: "Return to us at the first sign of big trouble."

:thumbsup::word: "If we can, I want to be done with this mound before late afternoon and be back at camp by nightfall, any mobile hostages included. That said, torches limit our time, so the faster we can scout for our family, the better. We may want to bring twine next time."

/turns to Rhyll :gunslinger: "Light hammer or sling, Rhyll? I'm not used to this." :goof:
 

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Rhyll responds first 'Hammer. Slings are for wide open spaces.'. He takes a position against a wall for cover looking down the stairs as the Nuggals and Kwill begin their descent.
The Nuggals head down first trusting in their vision, noses and natural instincts. Kwill takes the ten foot pole and wraps a mitten on one end to deaden the noise. She proceeds slowly behind the Nuggals.

The Nuggals and Kwill reach a medium sized landing at the bottom of the stairs. A stone sliding door is shut and issue the south wall. A pair of sturdy wooden rods are propped up against the door beneath two round holes in the door. Listening at the door reveals no additional information.
 

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:worried::word: /whisper "Kwill, is it a trap? Does our entrance/exit to the outside have similar holes? I'll check without touching anything..."

/reports back

:errr::word: /whisper "Should we leave an iron spike in the entrance/exit to keep it jammed open? How do we get inside? I trust your experience with these things." :smile:
 
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