• Closed • Seek and Ye Shall Find (Rorom, Maios, Pepper, Nauta)

Beyond the city of Rharne lies the Stormlands, which is home to a number of farms, forests, fields, and the River Zynyx.

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• Closed • Seek and Ye Shall Find (Rorom, Maios, Pepper, Nauta)

Postby Oracle » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:43 pm

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70th of Ashan Continuing from here
Iris watched with an appreciative smile as some of the strangers came forward to place offerings on the stone. The old woman knew that the giving of gifts was a sacred thing to the forest and it’s guardians. Their offerings would bring them good luck on the journey ahead.

“It means a great deal to me that you are all willing to risk your lives to discover what is at the heart of these disappearances. Mistral Wood has always been a safe place, especially for the children. Something must be terribly wrong if the forest has turned on us.”
Iris explained as she waved her group of seekers toward an opening that led into the forest. The path traveled straight toward the western expanse of the Wood, diving into some of the deepest reaches of the forest.

“I will stay behind, I would only slow you down. “
The old woman explained as looked over each and every one of their faces. “Stay on the path. The guardians of the Wood have been known to remake the forest to their whims. If you leave the path, you might never find it again.” She cautioned in a wary voice. “Go to the west, into the heart of the Wood, and maybe you will find what we seek.”

Iris watched with hopeful eyes as the Seekers approached the westbound path. Oaks and elms moaned in the wind and the leaves whispered in the canopy. If anyone cared to look behind them they may notice that the fish hook Rorom had left behind on the altar was now gone…

Once inside the forest it seemed like they had entered another world. Sunlight filtered through the limbs and foliage to cast lancing rays of golden and radiant emerald light throughout the forest. Squirrels would occasionally dart through the trees and the rustling of larger beasts could be heard in the distance. The westward path continued for several dozen yards before ending at a bend in the road. In the corner of the sharp curv rested another stone altar like the one old woman had been placing offerings on earlier. On the altar there was a rusty twisted iron pipe, a silvery goose feather, a tarnished silver lapis lazuli ring, and a discolored pewter coin with the image of a flame on it. There was no indication if they should take one of these items, or if they should give an offering of their own. Perhaps nothing was expected of them, but still the altar stood, inviting them to make a choice.

Ahead of them, beyond the altar the path continued before being cut in two by a gurgling stream. The stream was wide enough that it could not be passed in a single leap, but there were several stepping stones placed in a line across it.

The Seekers had a choice, to take an item from the altar, leave an item, do both or take nothing and leave the altar as it was when they arrived. Regardless of their choice the first obstacle blocked their path.



"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to"

J.R.R Tolkien


 ! Oracle wrote:
Welcome Seekers to Stage 2 of the Mistral Mystery Event!
Hop on in and lets get started.

Posting Order does not matter in this event. I will make a weekly post, and you may post in any order following my post.

All of the actions your character takes can/will have an effect on future events and rewards. Keep that in mind. ;)

Please PM me if you have any questions! This can include details in the scenery that I have left out that may aide you in navigation.

I will post again on 4/23
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Seek and Ye Shall Find (Rorom, Maios, Pepper, Nauta)

Postby Ptolemaios » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:14 pm

Were he in a better mood, Mais would’ve believed the old hag staying behind was a blessing. Today, however, at this break, at this thrill, Maios felt as placid as the sea during at storm. Yes, he did carry a heavy scorn with him, but the unfair death of his family was not the cause of his clenched fist. It wasn’t even his reluctance to follow some path into a forest he had never liked, nor the idea of going towards what could possibly be the cause for a city-wide alert of missing people. It wasn’t even the idea of doing so at night.

Maios lit another cigarette with a match as he began his walk through the forest. His crippled hand remained under his cloak, whilst the other kept his cloak away from his baldric, where his palm rested atop the blade of his axe. Only after venturing far enough for Iris’ sight he lowered down his hood and revealed his receding mane, as unwashed and dirty as everything else he carried on him. For a family man as determined as he was, Maios hated this fucking village and the forest that bordered it. In fact, Maios hated the whole known world and every creature that inhabited it. That is why he was in such a foul mood. He would have prefered to go into the forest alone, and meet whatever lied inside him on his lonesome. His axe was there to protect him, even if one his hands was severely crippled.

But you know what was even more crippling? His team. These? These are Rharne’s finest? One of them boatyokels with the freaky eyes and the enhanced hearing, some ginger, and a child. The child he vaguely recognized; he had seen her running around the village. Shit, for all he knew, she may have played with his daughters once. He didn't know. Maios rarely spoke to anyone, and even less for the simple pleasure of conversation. Not that he needed to tell anyone that, instead of going into solving whatever mystery laid ahead, he’d have to play babysitter for three rubes. Might as well lose his second hand and wander in alone. The outcome would be similar.

The smoking man walked quietly, his boots squishing the water leaked inside them. Homeless as he was, amongst his possessions he had some rope and rags, which he reckoned could become useful in whatever this was. His eyes darted left and right every so often, almost as if expecting to see Weasel pop out among the trees. Sourness aside, the forest gave him chills, and a really bad feeling. That’s when he drew his axe. The further they ventured forth, the more worried he was about losing the path should the need arise to turn around and bolt. As such, he’d chop the bark of a tree at an angle, creating a visible green patch of sapwood, which contrasted greatly with the dark bark.

At the end of his cigarette, he sighed, drew another, and lit it up. Then he stopped. “We're aff tae mak' something clear; ah'ament risking mah neck fur ony o' ye cunts, sae if yi'll waant tae bide, ye'r aff tae bade claise tae me. Especially ye, wee lassie. A dinnae ken how come yer momma 'n' yer papa let ye oot o` yer leash, bit ye better bide at hand's reach fae me if yi'll waant tae see thaim again,” he said, his voice groggy and low, so low it could probable a shabby bass guitar. His Rharnian accent was as thick as it got. A bit more and he’d simply morph into a keg of wine. He stared down at Pepper. “Ye hear anythin', ye see anythin', or ah tell ye tae, ye come tae mah side 'n' ye grab mah shank. Dae ye ken?”

“As fur ye, Captain Tuna,” Maios said, looking at the Biqaj. “Dae whitevur it's ye dae, bit if something happens, unless ye kin spook wolves, bears or bairn kidnappers wi' yer pure weird een, ye come 'n' bade behind me tae.” With that clear, Maios kept on his way. The ginger… The ginger got no offer of help. The was a rumour in Rharne that gingers were responsible for that strange plague of crabs terrorizing the locals’ crotches. ‘Firecrotch’ they had called it. As a surviving victim, Maios held no love for them.

Upon reaching the altar, Maios quickly laid eyes on the prize. Free stuff!. He didn’t even hesitate to walk towards it, inspect the treasure, and immediately try to pocket it all. Well, everything valuable; the ring and the coin. He didn't like smoking from pipes, nor he liked birds to take their feathers.

Advanced payment. At least something good came out of this shit day.
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Seek and Ye Shall Find (Rorom, Maios, Pepper, Nauta)

Postby Pepper » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:43 am

70 of Ashan, 718
Mistral Woods
Stormlands, Rharne


Pepper listened as Grandma Iris asked the team to stick to the path and head west into the heart of the wood. She'd never ventured that deep yet for all her wandering and hiding in the forest. She was glad to have her mapbook and pencil with her. A few steps down the path, the forest seemed like its usual self: small and big creatures moving about, the wind rustling, the sun dappled shade, the green smell of spring. She turned back for a last look at the village and noticed that the fishhook the biqaj sailor had put on the altar was no longer there amid grandma Iris's offerings. That was something uncanny to be sure, but she'd always felt the woods to be quietly sentient. The strange wasn't nearly so strange here. But maybe this meant something?

Pepper looked again at her companions as they walked further. The red haired man hadn't said much, but had mentioned he'd had been in another similar forest once. The Ywyngyll? At any rate he seemed competent. But she wished with all her heart Maios was with the rescuers. Why did he even volunteer if he was gonna act so grouchy and pissed about it. Pepper took a deep breath, reminding herself that everyone had reasons, and didn't she hear something about him being the last of his family left.. She should be, and truly was, grateful for her good life till now.

Who do you think will take on the leadership of our group? she asked Miret, who was riding on her shoulder.

Before Miret could reply, Maios spoke. Seems he is. Miret sounded subdued too. The man was rough spoken, but he did offer to protect Pepper and even the sailor. So he wasn't likely to be all bad.

I don't think he's gonna bother even asking if we have any skills we can contribute. Pepper was bemused, the systematic part of her personality finding this a gross oversight.

You could ask instead.. Miret offered up a tentative suggestion. The fairy wasn't an expert in human relationship subtleties, but Pepper looked very young next to the three men. Her taking the initiative might not be welcomed by others, and Maios clearly wasn't likely to be impressed.

The same thoughts were in Pepper's mind for she hesitated for some trills more. “Hello. Thank you both for offering to help us,” she nodded at the biqaj and the redhead, “I'm Pepper, and I live nearby.” Their responses would decide whether she revealed Miret's existence to them and offered to have her scout ahead.

They soon came to the bend and Pepper watched as Maios picked up two of the offerings from there. She certainly wasn't going to say anything about it. She just hoped the offerings she had prepared would offset any ill will he had attracted to their party.

She whispered to the sailor, “He doesn't believe in forest spirits or anything I think.” To her, the sailor's unhesitating offering made him the most approachable of their group.

Once Maios moved past the altar, Pepper quietly took out her offerings from her knapsack. On a large leaf she placed a small loaf of bread and a small bowl. “May the missing have had enough to eat and drink, “ she softly said, pouring some of the water from her waterskin into the bowl. She then took out a small map she'd made earlier of the forest with the path to the village clearly sketched out. “May the lost find their way home even though the paths have changed.” She folded the map in half and kept it on the altar as well. Lastly she put a copper nel, a winter wizened apple and a polished river stone on top of the map.

Stepping back, she looked around for a good marker. There. A tree covered with trailing swathes of purple stood alone among the green, almost near where they had entered. She looked for the sun, and made a quick crude sketch, estimating the directions and the distance they had travelled to the best of her ability. The tree, the path, the altar and the stream, all went into the new map.

Closing her mapbook but not putting it back in, she headed after Maios, towards the stream.
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Seek and Ye Shall Find (Rorom, Maios, Pepper, Nauta)

Postby Nauta F'mos Geey » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:06 am

While he had his reservations of the conflicting ideas for the troublesome forest and how the gathered chose to split up, Nauta was pleased it felt like he chose the right group; at least, that was how he interpreted the watchman's scorn towards the party aligned with the old lady. As he observed in Sirothelle, hasty decisions made on emotions were the ones those tasked to fulfill them would have to suffer through. That was enough for the aukari to leave the hostile watchman without a second thought as he followed Iris to the west.

It was also just as easy for Nauta to leave a gift like the older woman before they embarked on their expedition. A quick appraisal of the items he bought at the village, though he knew he could get more on his return, ended with another wreath of flowers left behind. They seemed less useful compared to the others and someone already left something similar- the hook was completely overlooked as Nauta did not take note of it even after it disappeared. As a completely oblivious visitor, it was better to just follow another's lead and hope they knew what they were doing.

The same reason he followed the uncouth man's lead without protest. Iris leading them would have been preferable but the old woman was probably right that she might slow them down. The answers to "you been in there before right? Where are we supposed to go? Any signs? Place?" would be the respectable elder's only guidance he could use, if she had any answers at all. To him, the heart could mean anything and he would rather have a something more specific to direct him... unless it was the other villagers he had to rely on to get to the heart of the wood.

Which left the other villlagers- well, the grouch in the lead with the aukari taking the rear; his bow and an arrow stowed at a convenient spot to reach should any beast or... something else pop up. Better for himself to be prepared than to rely on the man with the thick Rharnian accent, far too much effort to interpret and tuned out midway as the man sounded more and more like the drunks he had to deal with... always looking for a way to prove themselves. It was a contest which with no prize and being more trouble than it is worth, one the aukari would gladly concede.

The girl on the other hand he was more amicable to as she reminded him of his ward. With a warm smile he replied, "Nauta" before a pause to consider how much of himself to share. Concluding there was no a risk and perhaps, even a benefit if anyone searching for him would be led to Rharne instead, he said "I'm from north, Sirothelle, for wine" before he realized his blunder. Already a piss poor story to anyone familiar with Sirothelle, he also remembered there was that issue with the spy in Rharne a while back. Hopefully the village had not heard of it or have no reason to care. His choice to join this group seemed better as he recalled it was the other group the two priestesses chose to attach themselves to.

If there were any other attempts at conversation by any of the two not-grouches, he would do his best to oblige. Otherwise Nauta would occupy himself as a lookout, both for potential dangers and signs that the forest may yield something valuable or familiar to make use of. As Pepper reminded him of Lizzie, his only question, like "are you sure you come here instead of stay at home?" was out of concern. Only because he knew Lizzie had some tricks to keep her safe whilst he was away that he extended the benefit of doubt to Pepper and suggested "you play here much? Know your way around?"

It certainly looked like she did from the maps she produced. Like Iris earlier, the aukari followed the girls lead. Had he not asked around earlier he would have unhesitatingly taken something from the altar instead. The alchemist studied the items which remained, the pipe even more closely. It was undoubtedly rust which made it a lot harder to appraise the item without the special tools he lacked. The dust in the pipe too was old though he tried to at least find out what the burnt out remains were. Nothing he was too hopeful of.

There was only one thing he could do; the bottle of wine familiar to the locals was brought out for the aukari to take a sip of. No doubt wine but still, not the wine which brought him to Rharne but as long as it tasted like what he needed... he smashed the top of the bottle for enough room to submerge the pipe in it- after he had rubbed cut potato all over the rust. No explanation was given of his 'offering' left on the altar and only if asked, he would say the chemical reaction of the two should get rid of the rust. Perhaps if their expedition took more than a day and if they ran into the same altar on their return, Nauta would be able to rub off the rust to reveal what the pipe really was and if it was worth taking back with him.
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Seek and Ye Shall Find (Rorom, Maios, Pepper, Nauta)

Postby Oracle » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:36 am

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The greed of humans was always impressive to Spren. This was probably why the little Tunawa had neglected to help the other mortals that had passed this way in search of the lost. He had watched the previous search parties come and go before being swallowed by the forest. It had been an amusing past-time at first but now their plight was almost pitiful. Spren stood in the branches above this new group of Seekers, inspecting them wary amber eyes. His silvery birch skin crinkled as he narrowed his brows in concentration. Tiny green leaves covered his head in place of hair and white flower buds grew at his left shoulder. Spren wore oak leaf and bark armor traditional to the Fenvani Tunawa, and at his waist was a belt where a fish hook rested, as if it were a sheathed sword.

Spren slid down the silky green leaves and skittered over the branches, following the group. Greedy as always the eldest human of the party immediately snatched up the two shiniest items. The ring and the coin rested in his ungrateful palms. The Tunawa sneered in disgust.

“Trust a human to take everything and give nothing in return!” He declared before leaping down to land on a low branch just in front of Maios’s face.

“Greedy man.” Spren spat, brandishing Rorom’s fishhook at him. It all looked rather silly, a seven inch tall Tunawa threatening the much larger man.

Turning, Spren looked down to peer at Nauta and Pepper with an appreciative expression. “They bring gifts, they are less stupid than you human.” It was not much of a compliment, but it was all the proud little creature would offer to any of these pink fleshly mortals.

“The Fenvani gave you gifts too, to help you find the lost. ” Spren explained while gesturing at the altar.

“We have watched your people be taken by the wood, and we wish to help. The Wood holds your people prisoner, but you know not why. Use the gifts to seek the truth, but you must return them before you leave…if you leave.” The Tunawa stroked his chin thoughtfully before turning his almost luminescent amber gaze back to the group.

“The coin will give you warmth and light, to protect you from the dark.” Spren said sharply, staring at Maios who had pocketed the coin earlier.

“The feather will call the wind to guide you, the ring will calm waters that block your path, and the pipe... " Spren went silent before looking at Nauta with a piercing gaze.

“The Wood does not like it; use it to make paths where there are none.”

Whether or not any of them had noticed, several other Tunawa were clustered in the trees above, chittering softly to one another. It also appeared that a handful of them had slipped down amongst the group while Spren had been talking and had taken the silver feather and slipped it into Pepper’s hair while at the time they had also taken the twisted iron pipe from the altar and sat it at Nauta’s feet.

“I am Spren, the chief scout of the Fenvani” Spren chirped cheerily. "and I will help you find what you seek." The other Tunawa seemed to have vanished into the treetops, leaving only their guide with them.

Spren leapt down from his branch and landed on Maios's shoulder, where it seemed that he intended to perch for the time being.

"The Wood knows you are here fleshy mortals, we must move fast."

However, before they could even begin to advance further in the forest a distant howl erupted to the west and the Wood shifted...

The trees around the group warped, bending around them, their branches dipping low and encircling the Seekers like a green verdant bird’s nest. Spren was frantically clinging to Maios's clothing, his birch wood faced stricken with panic.

It happened in the blink of an eye, one trill they were surrounded by sweeping branches and the next trill, the group seemed to have been transported deep into the depths of Mistral Wood. The items the Tunawa had given them were all thankfully still with them. An emerald gloom hung around them, the canopy above was so thick that little light seeped through. In the darkness predatory eyes gleamed at the edge of their field of vision.

"This is not good." Spren said haltingly as he took in their surroundings.

They stood in a shrouded clearing, with two paths available to them. One leading toward the north and one back toward the east . In Maios’s pocket the pewter coin somehow glowed with its own inner silvery light. Its radiance bled through the fabric as if in response to the darkness. They had light, but they were utterly and completely lost in the depths of the Wood, and at the edge of the clearing, growls and snarls could be faintly heard. Wolves were not unheard of in the forest, and it seemed that the group had appeared right in the midst of a hunt. They had trills, if that to make a decision, the first wolf that appeared was a scrawny gray beast that stepped into the clearing, his eyes filled with hunger and desperation. It seemed that mortals were not the only creatures suffering due to the changes in Mistral Wood. The ever shifting forest was wreaking havoc on the local ecosystem as well.

"Do wolves eat fleshy mortals?" The Tunawa asked nervously from his perch.




"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to"

J.R.R Tolkien


 ! Oracle wrote:
Impacts

Negative
Maios: Maios has offended the local Tunawa with his greed. There may be consequences for this.


Positive
Pepper: Pepper gave a gift, the Tunawa will remember her kindness. This will merit a reward at the end!

Nauta: Nauta gave a gift, the Tunawa will remember him for this. This will merit a reward at the end!


Notes:
Please make it clear which direction you choose to go.

I will post again on 5/2/2018
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Seek and Ye Shall Find (Rorom, Maios, Pepper, Nauta)

Postby Pepper » Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:47 am

70 of Ashan, 718
Mistral Forest, Rharne


Pepper nodded to Nauta as he introduced himself. "I'm sure," she replied to his questions, "There are kids I've played with for arcs together among the missing. I know it has nothing to do with me, but I still feel responsible.." Walking a few more steps in silence, she continued to speak, I've played in the woods for half my life. I just felt that even with the forest changing its paths around, a sense of familiarity might just turn out to have been important.. My parents are going to kill me though, for this stunt." she finished the last under her breath.

She watched, curious, as Nauta picked the pipe and seemed to clean it with.. a potato? And then he dropped it in a bottle of.. wine, judging from the smell.. Maybe she would ask about that if they were successful in their mission.. As they turned away from the altar, they saw a Tunawa land on a branch in front of Maios' face.

There had been rumours that the wood spirits were nothing but the Tunawa. Pepper hadn't believed them, and Spren's words certainly seemed to mean that the wood was sentient and aware all on its own. And that it wasn't happy with the humans. Pepper lightly touched the feather once the other Tunawa finished braiding it in her hair. I hope this leads us true and safe.. Having a Tunawa to guide them was already much, much better luck than she had hoped for.

And then there was no more time to think as the everything shifted around them. A trill that seemed to last too long later, they seemed to have been transported deep into the forest. It was gloomy here, just enough light could be seen far up in the canopy to tell her that it was still daytime outside. As the coin in Maios' pocket started to glow with its inner light, Pepper could see two paths leading from the clearing. She couldn't be sure without seeing the sun, but she thought one led back East, and the other North. She moved closer to the group as growls and snarls began to be heard. It was clear that the path must be chosen quickly.

Miret how does this feather work? Pepper's sending was shaky with dread and urgency.

Try concentrating on where you want it to lead you and... pray? Miret immediately sent back, trying her hardest to send only calm through their connection.

Pepper immediately closed her eyes. Please.. We mean you no harm.. Rather than direct her prayer to an immortal, Pepper found herself addressing the woods themselves. Help us find out why you have turned against us. Help us right whatever wrong has been done.. Lead us where we can do the most good. She found herself pouring all her fear, worry and helplessness into the prayer.

She opened her eyes just as the first grey wolf, a scrawny, hunger crazed beast, stepped into the clearing. She felt her hair being tugged towards the North path (as she had mentally tagged it) and immediately, urgently said, "We should head North." Pointing towards the path, she talked faster, "The feather is tugging me that way, and we don't know how far away from the woods borders we are anyway.." She quickly took in her companions and said "We should make a quick dash before all the wolves come in.." She found herself trembling from fear and adrenaline, her legs wanting to run away, anywhere, any direction would do for them. It was hard to try and remain sane in front of this incipient panic, but if she ran away on her own, even if the direction was right, she had no chance.. Not on her own. She waited on her toes for the others to make their choices and move. There wasn't any more time to plan.
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Seek and Ye Shall Find (Rorom, Maios, Pepper, Nauta)

Postby Nauta F'mos Geey » Tue May 01, 2018 1:09 pm

There was no empathy for the girl's dilemma with her woods and her parents. Nauta had probably- more accurately, actually done a lot worse back when he was a young boy and from his experience there were probably only two solutions for Pepper. "Do a good job or make sure they don't find out." Nauta was hoping she would prove to be the former though, better if her knowledge of the woods would turn out useful and prove the other brute wrong. Looks can be deceiving after all.

Which was why Nauta did not even attempt to play around with the tunawa. He already got acquainted with one that very season that very season- though they already met even before that and knew those tiny things had a few tricks in them. The threatening gesture with the fishhook was not downplayed at all when the aukari only said "let's calm down, put hook down. No one needs to get here right?" even if the man the tunawa stood on brought it on himself. Definitely not one of the locals or he would not have made the mistake of having left without a gift on it and worse, having one claimed for himself.

As Spren explained the purpose of his and the Fenvani's dropping in, Nauta got a little confused with the purpose of the altar but at least the important thing, the functions of the gifts, were explained to them. The alchemist did not share Spren's aversion to the pipe. The other gifts did seem rather useful for their expedition; which was a shame that it was their self proclaimed leader which claimed half of them but if the pipe could affect woods other than Mistral, if may be worth it to take back with him after all. However that would have to wait until they found the reason the wood has turned on the villagers and, he was apart from the Fenvani.

He looked at the pipe at his feet, much more deliberate in his analysis this time but no- he still could not figure out why the wood might hate it. He scratched it and only a little bit of the rust settled on his finger. Judging it was still not enough time, he lathered on a little more of that discarded potato before he put the pipe back into that bottle; which he carried along with him after that.

Nauta had a question for Spren, about how the tunawa knew of wood's realization of their arrival but how the tunawa did not seem to have a clue about the disappearances which could be used now but he was cut off by the abrupt howl before he could even get to the important bit. He did not even have a chance to follow up with it as Spren seemed much more vigilant all of a sudden. The aukari knew better than to interrupt the chief scout in such a moment.

The presence of the chief scout as well as a source of light to illuminate the dark, spooky woods should have allowed the aukari to maintain his composure. Should have if not for the latter also exposing the approach of the wolves. Nauta immediately drew his weapon though he knew wolves would still be troublesome and escape was the better option. All Pepper had to do was give the direction as Nauta who did not care about any other explanation immediately sent his hand towards her as he yelled, "then-hurry-go!" He had himself planted firmly between the wolves and the girl, the other men too if they were by her.

But the men, they should be old enough to protect themselves and despite being a former guard, Nauta was no protector. That was a title more suited for the foolhardy, like Nightshade. The men also looked much more built than the aukari and as soon as he determined Pepper had a good enough distance from the wolves, he too would run to follow and leave the wolves right behind him. He could stall them a little longer for the rest, if he needed to but hopefully, not.
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Seek and Ye Shall Find (Rorom, Maios, Pepper, Nauta)

Postby Oracle » Thu May 03, 2018 8:59 am

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The starving wolves rushed toward the group. Thankfully Pepper was quick to realize how the feather worked, at least with help from Miret. The feather tugged her hair toward the northern path as if pulled on by a non-existent wind. Nauta was quick to hurry the group along and the hungry canines followed behind. They met the northern path at a full sprint, the tunawa, Spren hopped over to Pepper’s left shoulder, hanging on for dear life as they careened further into the woods.

The wolves snarled and yipped behind the group, their pace was swift simply out of desperation. The forest had been constantly shifting for some time, and hunting had been difficult. The pack was on the brink of starvation.

The path to the north cut straight through the trees, dappled shadows crisscrossing the ground as the group surged forward, led by Pepper. There at the end of the path stood a massive shadowy silhouette. It was a enormous creature that dwarfed Pepper and Nauta by several feet. It possessed a long elegant neck that ended in a delicate snout, a pair of neatly folded feathered wings and a long tail. Shades of umber and orange colored its curious mixture of fur and feathers. The patterns of markings and color appeared almost like that found on a butterfly's wings. A beautiful set of horns sat upon its head. The beast was almost dragon-like, but obviously had no reptilian traits. A pair of golden eyes peered curiously at Pepper and Nauta as it silently observed their plight. The look in its gaze instantly communicated intelligence and perhaps even wisdom.

The beast opened its mouth and let out a mournful call that shook the ground and would send shivers racing over the skin of anyone that heard it. The trees began to move, shifting along the ground as if alive. It was as if reality was warping around them; a line of thick ash trees seemed to race between the group and the advancing wolves, cutting the hungry canines off from their meal. The sound of the wolves yipping in surprise as they screeched to a halt could be heard. Once again the forest had denied them the fruits of their hunt.

Spren gasped on Pepper’s shoulder, his tiny twig of an arm pointing toward the massive creature staring them down.

“Guardian…it must be a guardian!” He exclaimed in excitement, looking at the creature with an expression of reverence.

“It must be here to help.” The tunawa cried in relief, hopping down from Pepper’s shoulder and running toward the creature.

The winged creature shifted uncomfortably as the tunawa sprinted toward it. Before Spren could get within ten feet of the beast it let out another, softer call. Taking a few steps away from the group, the creature’s coat shifted in colors, becoming green to match the surrounding forest. It was camouflaging itself almost perfectly with its surroundings until it was barely visible. The creature gazed once more at the group, seeking out Pepper’s eyes specifically. It knew her as a child of the village and seemed to survey her with recognition, before turning and heading through the wall of trees behind it. The trunks of the trees moved apart to allow the creature through, remaining warped in that position after it made it's exit.
The moment that the Seekers lost eye contact with the beast, all memory of it would be wiped from their memories. They would feel a wave of dizziness, recalling only that “something” had been there, and that it had moved the trees and saved them from the wolves.

A new path lay open to them, the opening made in the trees by the creature that they could not clearly remember. The forest opened into a clearing beyond the curiously twisted treets where a gurgling stream crossed their path. Mistral Wood continued on the other side of the clearing although the babbling creek seemed to lead somewhere upstream, perhaps even to a larger body of water. They had a choice, to follow the water or venture into the woodland on the other side of the clearing.

“Wha….what happened.” Spren chimed in almost drunkenly.






"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to"

J.R.R Tolkien


 ! Oracle wrote:
Nauta and Pepper, you have made contact with a guardian of Mistral Wood. Congratulations! However this encounter will be foggy in your memory, and you will be unable to recall exactly what it looked like. You may remember that it somehow rescued you, but nothing else.

Impacts

Negative
None


Positive
Pepper: You were remembered by the guardian. There will be an extra reward at the end.

Nauta: Nauta helped stall the wolves from attacking Pepper. There will be an extra reward at the end.


Notes:

Maios, if you want to join back in, please feel free to do so.

Please pm me if you have any questions.

I will post again on 5/10/2018
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Seek and Ye Shall Find (Rorom, Maios, Pepper, Nauta)

Postby Pepper » Wed May 09, 2018 2:04 pm

70 of Ashan, 718
Mistral Woods
Stormlands, Rharne


Pepper reached the North path at a full sprint. She could hear Nauta and the others behind her, though the wolves sounded awfully close as well. Spren had switched to clinging to Pepper since she was in the lead. Thankfully the path was fairly level and straight with no sudden twists or breaks. As the path ended, Pepper found herself slowing down just a bit, even with the threat of wolves behind.

The massive, shadowy silhouette ahead, which had been the reason for her slowing down, resolved into a truly impressive creature. Several feet taller than herself, Pepper couldn't decide what it looked most like. The huge, vibrant, almost butterfly like wings were what caught her attention first. It was covered with a mixture of fur and feather and Pepper soon found herself seeking and meeting its eyes. They were a rich golden and Pepper felt herself drawn to the curiosity and intelligence that looked out from them. The creature's call was low and somehow mournful, Pepper shivered and glanced back, suddenly reminded of the wolves. The trees behind were shifting around, the space almost warping around, and once everything was calm again, ash trees blocked the path backwards and the wolves could no longer pursue them.

Guardian.. It must be a guardian! Spren's call brought Pepper's attention back to the creature. The tunawa dropped to the ground from her shoulder and ran towards the creature, It must be here to help But the creature seemed uncomfortable with this attention and camouflaged itself while stepping to the side. Only by focusing intently could Pepper make out the outlines of its body, once again she met the Guardian's eyes (as Spren had called it) and some time later, Pepper couldn't really say how long it had been, it moved towards the wall of trees behind it, the tree trunks warped to create an opening for it and it left the area.

Pepper shook her head a bit feeling dizzy, had she dozed off standing up? Clearly not, but it it felt like the tatters of a dream still had her in a grip. There had been.. someone.. something.. She tried to remember harder but the memory receded even further. The only evidence that something mysterious had actually occurred lay in the wall of trees to their back which had saved them from the wolves, and the opening in the trees that showed a new path.

Pepper answered Spren's question, her voice still a bit unsure I'm not sure.. We were saved.. by something.. Her voice regained some of its surety as she went on. Let's just say the woods took pity on us. There are no wolves, and there's a path forward. I think it's pretty clear we are meant to follow that.

Pepper walked to the opening in the walls to see that the short path led to a clearing with a creek flowing through it. Turning back towards her companions she said, I know that a creek runs through the woods. It starts from a pool near a cave system. I can not be certain, but this may be the same creek. We could follow it upstream to see, or we could cross the water and see if there is another path there. I don't see anything from here though...
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Seek and Ye Shall Find (Rorom, Maios, Pepper, Nauta)

Postby Nauta F'mos Geey » Wed May 09, 2018 2:28 pm

The wolf approached. Nauta would have looked back for the other's escape but as a reluctant owner of his own woodlands predator, he knew that would spur the wolves to attack. Another thing he knew from the additional training his scython had with the cubs he retrieved for Les'tral an arc ago, it was all about how big a display he could make for the damned beasts to control them. As Les'tral had, Nauta had his arms raised above him as he yelled "rah! Rah! Rah!" and then shuffled all over with his dagger pointed at the beast. A stupid dance to everyone else but everyone else should be running...

He held off the scrawny grey wolf he faced off against for thrills. Thrills which proved to be more effective than he hoped as its advance was slowed to a stride. Once Nauta failed it's tests of a right foot in and a right foot out with an obviously useless performance, it shook about in evident anger and turned itself around in a rallying howl for the rest of the pack. The aukari with a new appreciation to his mortality could see what it was all about and took a step back in fear, the worst thing he could do because that was one the act which spurred on the rest of the wolves.

A howl from the healthier wolf at the back prompted the first to take action as it rushed towards Nauta and lunged. Only because of his armor the aukari could keep his arm which came up in an instinctive reaction. His arm which meant to hold off the wolf at the throat ended up in its mouth instead which taxed the aukari as the wolf would not get off no matter how hard he swung it loose. With the other wolves soon to join in, steady with their approach, the aukari got a little worried. Just for the chance to use the inert weapon on his occupied arm, He released his other hand at the wolf's belly which allowed it to throw more of its weight towards him and pressure him even more.

A risky move but once the wolf committed itself to the attack, the aukari went 'stab! Stab! Stab!' at where he felt the most weight which forced the wolf to release him with only a few scrapes to his armor. Before it could recover and jointly bury him with the rest of the pack, he threw his dagger- not at the wolves but towards the rest of his fleeing group. With enough energy generated in his wild movements, he was pulled towards the dagger he was tethered to and the flash of light kept the rest of the wolves at bay long enough for the aukari to recover and catch up with the rest.

He caught up with them, barely. As good as the improvements to his armor were, it was a still the heavy Black Guard armor and he would be spent eventually and, a lot quicker than the rest of his unencumbered fellows. Fortunately they ran into that thing quite quickly. Nauta thought the giant was another enemy at first but, what he thought was an attack turned out to be timely intervention which held the wolves off. The aukari would have chased after the Guardian too- it was obviously the safest thing for him to be with in this dangerous forest but then it withdrew and... disappeared...

While he was unable to recall anything about the creature, the bright idea he had as he saw the creature was still fresh in his head. However he was more comfortable with the armor he had on than the other, it saved his arm after all. With three other people, the alchemist was not starved for alternatives and chose the girl. The other two? They were big guys. While it may be a little bit too big for Pepper, "the armor should protect. Just pull harder" on the straps to have the girl properly covered. It was not the added protection he wanted to benefit the girl, but the feature which should help her perform his next set of instructions "if you have to..."

"Run as far as you can, lean on whatever. Monsters won't see you" just like the guardian if she did it right. And then, the one more thing he noticed the girl lacking. He handed two of his throwing daggers over to her. "Poke, no cut. No use to cut with this" as he learned the hard way the first time he had a knife, when he wildly and ineffectively slashed at his opponent with much difficulty for a weapon made for stabbing. For this specific weapon however, "it supposed to throw but..." the lack of confidence he had for the girl's ability to do that was expressed with a shrug.

And then, another shrug at the decision they had to make. As Nauta reminded the group once more, he was not a local and the only person he trusted to lead them was the girl prepared enough to bring a map and had the feather. Maybe it was not a popular idea with the other men, he could not tell, but with Lizzie back in Etzos being so useful to assist the alchemist in the things he was completely inept in, Nauta was quite open to the idea. His only contribution to the decision which had to be made, "last time I follow river back to city. If river go to village, then maybe we follow. Maybe find lost people. Or maybe lost people in cave you talk about. People can hide and get water waiting for us." Food may be the one thing the aukari had not considered but he was also a chef. Food was something he did not believe people would be without.
But I don't want to cure cancer. I want to turn people into dinosaurs.
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