Lambs

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The seven Chosen wake up trapped in the rootlets and vines of a giant tree, circling a small valley where a druid ritual is taking place, on a stone platform engraved with symbols. They see many stunted gnarled trees with a vaguely humanoid shape around them, and could only guess the grisly fate that awaited them.

Osric refused to be held: he called on his feral abilities and broke free, but is accosted by druids, who plead him to return to his place, because the ritual is too important and everyone’s lives depended on it. Osric isn’t sure of what to do, but decides to go along with the druids for the time being (even if it is because there are too many of them). Sylrah, who knows a thing or two about magic and rituals, recognizes it as something related to a fertility rite, the day being the summer solstice and everything. Jose decides its time to make a run for it, so he slips his bonds, but is captured in a druid’s spell, entangled in vines.


But the ritual starts to go awry because something, other than the moon, is eclipsing the sun. The druids start to become worried, as moanings start to come from everywhere and small droplets of blood rise from the ground, turning into a thin red mist. The druids start a different chant, but things go really wrong and a big crack appears on the stone platform, and the great tree also cracks and starts to wither.

The druids start to panic, and the Chosen manage to get free from the now rotted vines. They ask the druids what is happening, and they say that it is very bad, and that “it” cannot get loose. When asked, they say it’s “Death” that is bound there. Jose, now free as well, doesn’t wish to get caught in it, and climbs over the huge roots and out of the valley. Osric, however, decides to remain in his place.


In a few moments, elemental spirits start arriving at the rim of the valley: huge animate mounds of earth and living clouds, chanting along with the druids. The druids say they are trying to call the spirits and the gods, to help them.

The stone platform now cracks down the middle, and so does the tree, and blood gushes out of it, showering them all in blood. When they look around, corpses start to erupt from the ground, moaning “Help me…” They start grabbing and biting the druids, and the Chosen decide it’s time to run for it. A skeletal warrior lunges towards Sylrah “Help me… I can’t see!!” She is grabbed, and a few others are bitten and injured, and Borin is rendered unconscious by a jet of black smoke hissing from the cracks in the stone seal. But they manage to get free of the undead mob and climb out of the valley and past the spirits.

As they move further away, the eclipse becomes complete. The seal is completely broken and a huge black cloud billows from the ground beneath it, the great tree splinters into pieces. The spirits bellow, but then something bursts, a palpable invisible force, and they disintegrate. After a moment of complete silence, the most unwholesome shriek pierces the moor, something between a wailing and an infant’s cry.


After running as fast as they could through the moor, the rest of the group catches up with Jose, who is feeling quite pleased with himself for having made the right call in taking off. As they recover their breath and get to know each other, Osric, Borin and Jose share a good dose of contempt for the aelfen and the little one, as well as Jose insistingly making passes at Sylrah. This prompts her to ignore them and pretend she doesn’t speak any of their languages.


While trying to find a shelter for the night, Corvus rummages through a few old carcasses and finds a few weapons and trinkets. During the night they are accosted by three riders, humans who interrogate them and prepare to run the non-humans through. Osric realises they have no scent and as they trespass Thelgar with a sword, it goes through him without shedding blood, making him shiver and cramp up. The riders are ghosts of the fallen warriors from the cataclysm, and as the group tries to escape, Sylrah remembers that silver is used to repel dead spirits, and relates this fact to Corvus. Luckily, he had nicked a few silver bracelets and amulets from the corpses, and with them they manage to banish the spirits for a few moments. When the ghosts return, Jose decides to deceive them with an illusion: knowing the history of this place, he conjures an image of a group of elven riders, drawing the ghosts’ attention away, giving them time to escape.

Later that night they encounter more angry, frustrated spirits, but thanks to the silver amulets and more of Jose’s illusions, they manage to evade them enough so they can survive until the sunrise.


The next day they trod through the moors, still seeing the dark ominous cloud in the distance. At the end of that day, they cross the edge of the Forbiddance, and finally are out of the moors. Soon they come across a smoking pile of burnt corpses, next to what seems to be some kind of ritual circle with remains of melted candles, and dried blood splattered everywhere. Sylrah never saw symbols like these before, but she can tell quite clearly that the circle sits right on top of a ley line, a stream of power surging through the land. It seems the line might go all around the moors. Osric and Thelgar also find wagon tracks, going in two different and opposite directions, roughly a day and a half old. They decide to follow the oldest set of tracks.


Surviving thanks to Osric and Thelgar’s hunting skills, they reach farmland and spot a small cottage, with a few more houses ahead. The house seems deserted and to have suffered a kitchen fire, and is as if it was left in a hurry, at least 2 days ago. Osric finds a nail scratches on one of the doors, so some violence might have happened. They stock up on food and decide to look for a well to get water. On their way, they find a carcass of a goat on the side of the trail, with bite marks on it, which Sylrah, familiar with treating wounds, can’t place the origin. By this point, the more vocal members against the aelfen start to have a measure of respect for the knowledgeable girl.


They find the village deserted, with most of the doors ajar. Some of the windows have been boarded up. Borin hoists the village well’s water bucket up, only to pull up the soggy cadaver of a woman, strangled by the rope. They find one house, with the door blocked, with people inside, but aren’t allowed in, and given no explanation.

Meanwhile, while exploring one of the abandoned houses they encounter another villager, who seems ill. As Sylrah aproaches to help him, he lunges at her, trying to bite her: it is clear that he had become an undead flesh-eating creature. Outside, Borin is also attacked from behind by the corpse from the well. Thankfully, they manage to put both creatures down, by bashing their skulls in.


But soon they hear a humming noise coming in their direction, and something flying towards them, as well as the sound of horses. They hide, and witness the arrival of an airship, from where ten people, equipped with weapons and lots of gear, drop down from ropes. Two of them wield staves, which they proceed to use for some kind of sorcery, as if they were searching the area. One of them finds the group, and they have no choice but to let themselves be captured peacefully. The riders arrive shortly after.

As it turns out, these men are part of a fianna, a itinerant problem-solving company, that met some of the survivors of the town the day before, and were asked to help. They take the group in for questioning, as well as the surviving family. One of them, upon learning of the group’s story, suggests they consider recruitment into the fianna.



--Nuno 18:40, 23 February 2011 (UTC)