The Blood Of The Lion

Day 09 - Stone Cold Love

Nina opens the door to her brother Cyril’s house, lighting the lantern in front and telling the group to go on in. She continues rambling about how no one else in town would help her, and how her brother would leave every once in a while, but would always come back. She claims that he would never leave for this long without checking in with her. The group heads into the house and Nina shuffles passed them, lighting more lanterns inside. She explains that he had a diary but she hasn’t been able to find it. Orik asks where his room is, and she directs him to an open door leading into a small room toward the back.

Jansen asks whether Orik would read someone’s diary, and Orik implies he’s taking it very seriously, as it’s for money which can buy him more mead. Jansen implies that Orik is childish and that he hopes he will eventually “find the light”. Orik ignores Jansen, heading inside the room, finding a scant area with a desk and messy bed. Searching through a nightstand, he finds a bag of dried fruit and takes them, eating them as he continues his search.

Lelouche checks the room for signs of the arcane, but finds nothing. Looking through a chest in the corner, he finds only clothes, two walking sticks, and an empty backpack. It would seem Cyril lived a very simple life, and wherever it is he went, he didn’t think to take his bag, which would imply he intended to return. Lelouche checks the desk and Nina tells him about some letters between Cyril and a girl he had been seeing, and how she had left without warning, only to have a letter show up explaining that he couldn’t follow. Nina continues, explaining that her, Cyril, and the girl had all grown up in the same orphanage. It is clear from her tone that Nina is not a fan of the girl.

Nina grabs some papers out of a trash can by the desk, explaining that they were all she found when she investigated the house. The papers contain sketches of a girl, who Nina confirms to be the one that Cyril was dating. One of the papers is a letter from the girl, telling Cyril that she has to leave and that he can’t follow her. It adds that she wishes she could explain why. Orik begins looking for hidden areas in the floorboards when Nina mentions Cyril’s journal again, but doesn’t find anything.

Falx asks about Cyril, and Nina describes that he is a carpenter and has no reason to leave for this long, especially without telling her. Orik heads to the kitchen, taking a break to look for mead in the pantry. He finds spoiled milk and pushes it aside to find two small casks of ale, which he takes to Lelouche to be cooled. Lelouche casts Prestidigitation on them to cool them, and Orik begins drinking, pleased with himself. After downing them both, he heads back to the room to continue searching.

Lifting up the bedding, Orik finds a tough spot, and finds an opening that leads to it. Reaching into the hidden pocket, he finds a small book which appears to be Cyril’s journal. He hands it to Lelouche, who skims through the beginning which describes Cyril’s days with the girl, whose name appears to be Lily. He eventually skips to the end and finds the entries regarding Lily leaving, and finds an interesting note about how she returned one night and Cyril caught her. He describes that she wouldn’t even look him in the eye, and all she did was drop off a letter and “one last thing to remember her by”.

The last entry mentions that he knows where she is, in “the place we made a home”, and is going after her, but there is no description of where that is. Lelouche asks Nina, but she says that could be just about anywhere. She asks him to read it aloud, and he reads the last two entries again. Nina stops him when he mentions the “one last thing to remember her by” and retrieves a small wooden carved doll from her bag, saying that she found it on the desk but didn’t think anything of it. The doll appears to be hand-carved, and painted using moss stains for the hair.

Lelouche checks it for any arcane power but finds none. Falx asks if he can see it for a second, and looks for any details that might reveal a clue. He realizes that the moss used to stain the doll grows exclusively in caves, and notes this out loud. Nina mentions that there was a cave they used to play in within Mogwam Forest before the forest grew past the cave, making the area too dangerous to enter. There is an implication by Nina that the forest grew at an unnatural rate, but the group dismisses that for the moment. Lelouche asks her to mark it on their map, saying that they will investigate it and return with any information they can find. He asks that they can stay until morning, and Nina agrees to come back to see them off at sunrise. Falx and Jansen eat their rations. Orik falls asleep nearly immediately, and boisterous farts can be heard and smelled all through the house. The group sleeps well enough somehow.

Nina comes by in the morning, making sure to wake up the group and offering to answer any questions before they leave. Lelouche asks her to describe Cyril and Nina draws a detailed sketch, putting it in Lelouche’s hand. The group heads out toward the west, heading down the road the leads to Mogwam Forest. After a junction in the road, before the tree line, the group finds a campsite of a group of warriors. The troupe is human, with the exception of one female half-orc. Their leader mentions they just set up camp and didn’t come from the forest, but is interrupted by two men running back from the forest, screaming.

The men describe that they were attacked by a gorgon on the roads, and another man with them, Solomon, was turned to stone. They describe the stereotypical gorgon and Falx feels they may be exaggerating a bit, but he offers that they all go together since the cave the men describe the gorgon retreating to seems like it may be near the cave they’re heading toward. The group heads with them into the forest, passing the stone statue of Solomon. Rye, the female half-orc, kicks the statue over, but the rest of the troupe members seem too intimidated to say anything against her. The leader leans over Solomon, noting that he is beyond saving and telling the group to move on. Lelouche and Rye both go to loot Solomon’s pockets, Rye attempting to intimidate Lelouche but failing. Lelouche finds a bag of 50 gold pieces and gives half to Rye, who begrudgingly agrees to the silent compromise.

They head into the cave, and Lelouche notices almost immediately that it has been lived in recently, as there aren’t any beasts within which would be expected of a cave if no one had been within it. Falx notices fresh blood on the ground and transforms into his beast form, telling the group that he can smell a large beast up ahead somewhere. The leader of the fighters asks Falx which way to go at the next fork, and Falx tells them which way to go. They eventually reach a point where Falx can tell from the scent that the beast he smells is right around the corner, and he signals to the rest to stop and be quiet. He shifts back to human form and sneaks his head around the corner, spotting the beast.

The beast is lying on the ground wrapped around the feet of a statue, though Falx can’t make out the details. He tells the leader to look, and the leader shuffles forward, poking his head around the corner as well. He then sends his men in, and then pronounce the gorgon dead. They surround it and can be heard discussing the best way to harvest the body. Falx recognizes the gorgon as the girl from the images and the boy as the missing brother Cyril. Checking a nearby make-shift desk, he finds letters from Cyril as well as the diary of Lily.

Reading the diary to himself, he realizes the truth: Lily had realized she was a gorgon and fled the town when her powers began to manifest. She was still in a transitional phase where she could appear human, but was terrified that she would turn him to stone in a moment of passion. When he found her in the cave, she accidentally turned him to stone and decided to go looking for a cure for him. On her way back to town, she was accosted by three men from the wandering troupe and defended herself by turning one to stone, but then retreating when she was stabbed. She came back to the cave, writing one last entry to remark on how hopeless and stupid she felt, and then died curled at Cyril’s feet.

Falx rushes to one of the two men that returned from the forest and places his scythe around the man’s neck. He insinuates that the man has something to confess, but the man feigns ignorance, albeit poorly, and sticks to his story. The leader of the troupe pulls his sword and asks what Falx is implying, and Falx tells him to read the journal on the table. By this point, Lelouche and Orik draw their weapons as well, but Jansen seems more surprised and worried than ready to fight. Rye grabs the man from Falx’s grasp, pushing the scythe to the side, and demands an answer, implying that she dislikes the man and believes he is just the type to do something deplorable.

The troupe leader reads the journal out loud, and everyone realizes the truth. There is a long silence, but the leader eventually speaks out. He tells the group that there is a problem, because although he recognizes that his men were idiots, they are still his men, and the beast is still their bounty. Lelouche implies that yes, that would most certainly mean they are going to have a problem. The men begin drawing their weapons, and Rye tosses the man she had grabbed at the leader, shouting that the man is his, but the bounty belongs to her now. The leader is topped to the ground with the thrown man, and Rye stands with the group as a fight breaks out.

0 EXP from battle + 300 EXP from role-play = 300 EXP total (15800 EXP total)



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