The Blood Of The Lion

Day 14 - Meandering In the Mogwam

Orik looks around the fire-lit cave and finds a pile of unused firewood. Pulling the bodies of the original surveying team as well as the shape-shifting creatures from the stone pile Falx had made, he dragged them into an area on top of the wood and created a large pyre. As he watches the bodies be consumed by the flames, he takes a ration from one of the bags they found and eats, unconcerned with the gruesome act. Lelouche takes one to place in his bag and another to eat now, realizing they may not stop for food again very soon. Falx does the same, dividing the gold they found in the bags to each member of the team as he takes bites of his food. Falx places Jansen’s portion into his bag as he sleeps, still unconscious after feinting at the scene.

Rye places two days worth of rations on Jansen’s chest, and takes the last portion for herself, sitting down to eat with the others. Falx checks the map that the original surveyors had been working on as he eats in silence. It would appear that the surveyors were professionals, as they were mapping every off-shoot in the cave and taking very detailed notes on areas with potential for cave-ins or sinkhole collapses. Falx makes a mental note that this information would probably be useful to The Torrey Company and he’ll have to mark down as much as he can going forward. He also notes that according to the other map, they were correct in their assumption that the way out is up ahead.

Lelouche attempts to talk to the survivor that they are there to rescue him and take him home. The man nods in frightened agreement. The group can’t tell if he is agreeing or just complacent. Falx checks the man over and determines that he could help the man recover a bit quicker by washing off his face and possibly applying a cold press of some kind to it. He rushes back down the main cave path to the river they’d passed, sending a cloth down on a rope into the water and pulling it back up before putting his ropes away again. Rushing back, he finds Lelouche tearing a tourniquet from the unused clothes in the bags they found, and tying it around the survivor’s wrist to stop the bleeding where his hand was torn off. Lelouche uses Prestidigitation on Falx’s cloth to make it cold for him, and Falx places it on the man’s head.

Lelouche walks to Jansen and notices he’s still asleep. Lelouche kicks him to wake him up, and Jansen comes to wondering what happened. Visions of a dream feel just out of reach as he gets distracted looking around at his surroundings, confused. He notes very vocally that the man’s bandaging was done in a sloppy fashion as he approaches him. Jansen asks the man to open his mouth and blood drips from the man’s lips. Jansen stares in, attempting to see if he can do something about the man’s bleeding tongue.

Jansen realizes that his best bet is to cauterize the man’s tongue wound to stop the bleeding. The man seems wary of him and the rest of the group, and Jansen realizes that after his ordeal, the man can’t possibly trust that they have his best interest in mind. This, in addition to his inability to communicate with them, will make cauterizing the man’s tongue difficult if not impossible. He decides that the risk of the man passing out from blood loss is too great not to take the risk. He motions to the man to open his mouth wide.

Grabbing a red-hot poker from the nearby fire, he positions it and prepares for the man to struggle when it comes in contact with his tongue. Just before he applies it, he whispers “This is going to hurt, I’m so sorry.”. The man shudders and lets out what would be a scream if he had the ability. Through it all, he manages to stay conscious and falls backwards as Jansen lets him go. The man seems unaware of what purpose the pain had as he crawls away from Jansen.

Rye notes that she is offended by Jansen not noticing the rations she left on top of him. Jansen walks back to where he had feinted and finds them on the ground. Picking them up, he begins eating one in the corner of the cave. Finally finding a moment to clear his head, his dream from a moment earlier comes back to him. He begins recalling what he can remember from Visions of the Ring 02. He tells all that he can remember to the group, though no one has any input for him at this time. Orik masturbates furiously.

The group heads back to the main path of the cave, Jansen leading the blind man and helping prop him up as he occasionally stumbles. Continuing up the pathway leading uphill, the group spots light far ahead. They head out into the daylight, Falx continuing to map the area until they reach the mouth of the cave. Although they’ve lost their bearings, Falx assures the group that they’ve arrived just over the border of the Southern Valley, south of Sophia’s plantation.

Falx takes a moment to check the eye-patch again, looking up toward the sky. He locates the lights again, and realizes they seem to have slightly moved, but with no discernible pattern. He maps the way from the cave entrance to the nearby road to complete his work, putting the mapping equipment back in his bag. The group decides it would be best to head to Sophia’s plantation since they are nearby and it is almost sunset. They arrive as the sun is setting, and a farm boy working out front greets them.

Jansen asks the boy if he remembers him, but the boy doesn’t. Lelouche recognizes the boy as Yorn, the boy who was being chastised the first time they visited the plantation. He greets the boy by name, and Yorn asks if they’ve met. Lelouche explains that they stayed there recently with Nina, and the boy seems to recognize them by reputation. He asks if they would like for him to go and fetch Sophia, and Lelouche asks him to go ahead. He runs off, returning with Sophia at the door as the group arrives at the front porch.

Sophia greets the group, mentioning that Nina is with Cyril at the moment, and they are ready to travel. The horses have been fed and maintained. Rye introduces the blind man, and Sophia hurries to check the man over. Sophia asks if they’ll release the man to her care for the nightm and the group agrees. She tells Yorn to go and fetch milk of the poppy and to prepare a bed for the man. Yorn takes the man with him and heads into the main house. Rye gives the man the name “Stumpy”, to which Sophia smirks before turning serious and telling her that isn’t funny. Lelouche asks about Cyril’s condition to change the subject.

The group is led to see Cyril. He seems to be in much better condition than last time they saw him, as he is sitting up on the bed. Nina prepares a washcloth and soap to tend to him. He seems to notice the group as they come in. Color has returned to his face. Lelouche greets both Cyril and Nina. Nina excitedly says hello, happy to see the group has returned. Cyril manages to stand slowly, then walks to Lelouche and offers his hand. Cyril asks if they are the ones that saved him, and Lelouche confirms it. Rye yells from the back “Hell yeah we are”. Lelouche asks if Cyril has had the events explained to him. Cyril mentions that Nina told him he “was attacked by a gorgon on the road” and they brought him back to be recovered. Lelouche looks over Cyril’s shoulder and Nina is shaking her head, indicating that he doesn’t know of Lily’s death.

Rye, not realizing the delicacy of the situation asks “Wasn’t that …?” but Jansen interrupts her loudly, shouting “WASN’T THAT A CRAZY ADVENTURE? Yes it was… but let’s talk about that later”. Orik mentions that Cyril had “half a chub” when they found him. Cyril very uncomfortably says “Okay” to him, confused about the fact. Lelouche explains to Nina what happened with the mapping and how Sophia is tending to the man they found. Nina gasps at some of the gorier details, and once again when Rye mentions the man’s name is Stumpy. Orik corrects her, saying the name is “Stumps MacKinzie”. Jansen calls them both inconsiderate, but Orik and Rye pass off the comment.

Nina asks if they intend to return the man to the Torrey Company. Lelouche and Falx talk it over, and Lelouche tells her that they intend to take the man with them when they drop her and Cyril back at Falqueth, then bring him with them through the forest on their way back to Warren Tower. Jansen suggests they sleep at the plantation for the night. Nina agrees to head back to Falqueth with them in the morning.

Falx motions to Nina to talk in private. He asks what she told Cyril. She explains that he doesn’t remember even leaving Falqueth and hasn’t asked about Lily. She didn’t have the strength to tell him that the gorgon was Lily and that he had found her. She isn’t sure he should know until he returns home, where he’ll have a place to recover from the trauma. Falx tells her that he will leave the situation to her judgement.

The group heads to Sophia who leads them back to the barn to rest. Lelouche confirms they’ll be heading out in the morning, and asks about the blind man. Rye jumps in, reminding him that the man’s name is Stumpy. Lelouche mentions they don’t know who he is really, and Sophia commends them for rescuing him. Lelouche seems regretful, saying, “if only we’d gotten there sooner.”

Before the group heads to bed, Falx heads outside and maps out the positions of the lights in the sky, then waits while laying on the ground and then waits an hour. After the hour, he checks again and the lights don’t seem to have moved. He waits another hour and checks one more time, but they don’t appear to have moved still. He heads to bed, content that he will think more about the nature of the eye-patch in the morning.

The group sleeps, and Jansen has flashbacks in the night to the dream he had in the cave. He sees his mother from the dream and realizes she is the mother and the house is the same house from the first vision. He awakens, exclaiming that he hasn’t gotten that much sleep in as long as he can remember. He tells the group “I feel like I’m ready to do anything.” He turns to Orik, telling him that whatever he did to prevent snoring during the night, to keep it up. Lelouche says that it might have something to do with drinking before bed, since he had no alcohol the day prior. Rye wakes up relieved that she is not waking hung over for the first time in three days. Falx dumps out his river water and refills it with the water from a well outside the barn.

Jansen turns to Orik and smugly asks him what it’s like to be sober in the morning, saying he probably doesn’t remember what that’s like. He immediately apologizes for the taunting, saying he isn’t sure what came over him. Orik flips him off and heads outside for “a warm piss.” The group is fully awake when Sophia comes in with breakfast, asking them how they slept. Jansen looks out the door toward Orik, and tells her that they all slept very well, and thanks her. She tells them that their friend (she hesitates and whispers “Stumpy?”) is awake and asking for them.

They go to see the blind man, and he seems to recognize that they are arriving. The man signals for paper and a young boy brings him a small table with a parchment and quill. He seems uneducated by his writing but able to communicate. He writes “You saved me?” and Lelouche confirms they did. The man writes, asking about another group he found, saying that he found another group but they were gone one morning and he woke to being beaten by the creatures. Orik reminds him that his party is dead, and he writes very slowly and shakily “I know”. Lelouche tells him he’s lucky to be alive, and asks him what his name is. Orik and Rye argue over whether his name is Stumpy or Lucky. He writes his name, Samson, and Orik shouts out “What a shitty name” to the man’s dismay.

Jansen chuckles softly, but then corrects himself, “That’s not funny.” The man attempts to smile, but seems very uncomfortable being made fun of and isn’t hiding it well. Falx explains to Samson that they plan on returning to Warren Tower through the forest after stopping in Falqueth, and asks if he would want to come with them to return to his family and friends. Lelouche adds that they have a cart he can ride in. Rye stares Samson down but doesn’t say anything, accepting that a nerd might be in her cart. Orik jokes again, asking if Samson wants any chicken, particularly a wing. Rye says “I guess I can let half a nerd in my cart.”

Samson writes down that he would want to go back and he thinks he can travel but won’t be any use in a fight. Lelouche tells him he can just hide out in the cart. Samson agrees. Falx goes and gets Nina, says they’re ready to go. Lelouche asks for more milk of the poppy for the road, and the boy confirms that Sophia ordered some be sent with Samson.

Nina brings the horses around front. Lelouche leads Samson to the cart and loads him onto it with Cyril, who appears to be capable of climbing onto it himself now. Nina climbs on Risky Biscuits with Lelouche. Rye jumps up on to Top Bun. Lelouche bids Sophia goodbye. Rye tells her she’s “a cool old lady” as she turns Top Bun toward the main gate. Jansen, Falx, and Orik walk alongside the cart as they head toward Falqueth. They arrive before noon, Orik waiting outside of town to avoid law enforcement, heading north to the west road out of town to meet them on the way out. The rest of the group heads to Nina’s house. Cyril climbs down form the cart and thanks the group again. He turns to Nina and tells her that he remembers leaving town now, but he doesn’t remember why. He asks her why he left, but she tells him they’ll talk about it tonight. Nina gives them each a look to indicate that she’ll handle the situation. Lelouche assures Cyril that he’s a strong guy and he’ll recover from this. Rye tells him he was a strong rock, which produces a small laugh from him.

Nina thanks the group again once Cyril heads inside, and Nina offers them three horses for their trouble, seeing that they would have enough for their entire group. Lelouche accepts but Jansen complains quietly as she walks away that he would prefer money. Nina heads to the barn and comes back out with three riding horses, equipped with saddles. Lelouche claims a light brown horse, naming it Baklava To The Future. Jansen names his horse Indiana Jones And The Last Croissant. Falx names his horse Wheat. Rye claims the full name is Wheat Science, but Falx disagrees.

The group heads out the west exit and meets up with Orik, who they find practicing hand-stands by the road. Orik hops on Risky Biscuits, the only horse without anyone on it. The group heads west to the forest. As they enter, they see a few signs that people had been through, but no path that they can see after a few minutes in. Falx attempts to remember something that could cause rapid growth in nature like what they’ve heard about this forest, but can’t recall anything of note. Lelouche, as they walk, feels for arcane energy, and feels an energy he can’t recognize as anything particular as of yet. Falx checks his patch again, and the colors appear to have moved. He attempts to remember their last position, but can’t manage to remember, almost as if that part of his memory is just a large blank. He notes this, and attempts to write down the current position, but can’t manage to think of how to describe them. It appears the effect is having some sort of mental block on him and he can’t express the information. He decides to attempt expressing the information by talking, attempting to explain the locations of the lights to Lelouche.

Lelouche hears Falx attempting to speak but he sounds as if he were attempting to mimic Samson. Falx seems unaware of this and asks if Lelouche understands. Lelouche explains that it all sounded jumbled and he couldn’t understand anything. Falx realizes he has no way to express the information to anyone, and manages to tell Lelouche that. They agree that there are three lights, but that is all they seem to be able to convey outwardly. Falx attempts to make a mental note, but realizes that he may not remember this in the future due to the effect.

Lelouche attempts to write down details about the problem in his spell book. Grabbing a quill from the mapping equipment, he puts it to the page. Instead of black, the ink appears to be a pattern of pure color, a moving pattern that looks almost like a portal through space and time. The quill fights his hand while it moves, only allowing him to write half a character before he can’t move it any further. After a variety of tests, he realizes that he can write in black ink but if he attempts to write anything that describes anything other than there being three lights, the quill fights him and again the ink is a maelstrom of color. Lelouche suggests they bring it to the Sentinel or Mage’s Guild to get the item appraised for it’s power.

The group continues through the forest, Falx counting steps as he goes. Everyone else is on their horse while he walks slowly on the side. Jansen asks how he knows he’s heading in the right direction. Falx insists that since he grew up in the woods, he can find his way around. Falx patronizes the group as being young and not knowing as well as he does. Jansen and Rye both speak out against him, telling him he doesn’t know where he’s going. Jansen, possibly realizing he just agreed with Rye, apologizes and tells him he isn’t sure why he said that. Rye argues more with Falx, and Falx tells her she can go off on her own if she thinks she knows the way better than him.

Heading further in, they begin having to go around groups of trees to get the cart through. Jansen again brings up that they aren’t heading in a straight line and Falx might not know where they’re heading. Falx assures them that he knows where they are and they’re on the right path. While he says this, he turns back to the path and silently realizes he may not know where they are heading. He notes how long they’ve been traveling and knows that it’s daytime, but he can’t see past the tree tops. He decides to climb a tree to see the position of the run, and Rye agrees to come with him. As they climb, they look up every time they reach a new branch, and see the tree tops above them. After a while, they detect that they don’t seem to be making more progress toward the top, only progress from the ground, and eventually even that seems lessened to the point of being undetectable. They climb back down and explain to the group that as far as they can tell, the forest seems to be bending perception and they aren’t sure if they’re even getting farther through the forest. It appears to be reacting to them and preventing them from reaching the top of the tree line, and maybe even getting through the area at all.

Rye takes Falx’s quill, and searched for a stone. She digs a rock up from under a root and marks it before throwing it. The group looks at her, confused, but realizes she must be testing the limit of the effect. They head in the direction of the rock, through a small group of trees. They leave the cart while they explore through some nearby trees, going after the rock. After a bit of walking, they find the cart is in front of them, and when they return to it, the rock is sitting where they started, near the upturned root, still marked. She picks it up and throws it backwards down the open path and follows it, and finds herself back a bit on the trail. She throws it forward again, this time attempting to stay within the limits of the trail. Following it once again, she finds herself a bit further down the trail. She attempts to go around the corner and then peer back, but as soon as she is unable to view the cart as she turns a corner, she spots the cart in front of her and and realizes she is looping in some way. The group sees her walking up from a different direction than she just left. Remembering their recent battle with shape-shifters, Lelouche immediately asks Rye what his horse is named. She correctly names it Baklava to the Future. He seems relieved, but asks her what she has found out. She responds that she’s very confused, not explaining further. Rye puts her rock in the cart before grabbing the cart to drag it with her down the path a bit. Again turning the corner, dragging the cart with Samson in it, she finds the group in the same way she found the cart the previous time.

Falx heads down the path himself, again coming from the other direction when he returns. He explains that he thinks they are unable to move forward but only go backwards. He sits and think for a bit, looking around for anything he can detect without moving. He feels confident that what they are experiencing is not a trick in his head, but is actually occurring, even if he can’t fully understand it.

Lelouche stands in the center of the clearing and closes his eyes, feeling out for any source of arcane energy and attempting to discover what is occurring, as well as where the way would be to the west side of the forest. Rye contemplates throwing Samson into the forest as a sacrifice. Orik hammers at a smaller tree, breaking it in two and dragging the top part to the clearing. He expresses that he thinks they all need to move forward together. He drops the top of the tree on the ground as a marker.

The group moves forward, and turns the corner ahead. They immediately realize the clearing isn’t in front of them and that they might need to stay together at all times to keep moving forward. They continue on.

300 EXP from role-play = 300 EXP total (17400 EXP total)

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Korberos

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