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Curse of Strahd [CLOSED]

Baba Luga

Vestige
[div=border: 2px solid gray; padding: 10px ]After a few minutes spent out in the light rain, gathering their wits and discussing what to do with Faria's body, the group returns to the larger house through the open rear door. There doesn't seem to be anyone else on the ground floor; it's easy enough to take a quick survey of the kitchen, dining room, parlor and entry hall. The front door is still open. Occasional creaks and hurried footsteps are audible from upstairs.

By the front door, Otrev sits in his cage, flapping and strutting impatiently. "Oh, there you are. What did you find for us? I hear the rain that drowns the slow, fat worms. You should grab them quickly, before they turn to mush."[/div]
 

Epiphany

Proverbs 17:9
Conscious that the residents of the house are victims, and very conscious that they weren't technically invited in, Moire calls out up the stairs. "Ho there! Are you alright? We've dealt with the fiend. Is there a town doctor we can fetch for you?"

For while she and Hircus, and apparently the Druid, have various abilities at healing, such magics are limited. The townspeople may be more comfortable with one of their own. And, frankly, they're on uncertain footing here as it is.

Glancing at her companions, the Paladin grins wryly and says "Syvis, I think your bird friend missed you."
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
[div=border: 2px solid gray; padding: 10px ]Berenice.jpgThe floor above Moire's head creaks and soon the woman who was in the dining room appears in the dimness at the top of the stairs. She remains partly hidden in the hallway up there, showing only half of her tearful, bruised face. "Thank you, but no, please. We will be fine. Those men who looked in ... the guards will come soon, I'm sure. Do not put yourselves in their way. You have done a great kindness for us, and I don't know why, but quickly, you should leave. Don't suffer any more for my sins."

With that, she pulls back further, looking down the stairs with just a quarter of her face exposed.






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ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
The rain falling on the cleric's soaked head plays havoc on his nerves as he stands just outside the back door. Hircus suffers from a sick stomach, the fatigue of a fight and a complete loss of patience. "We must retreat. We have done what we can for this family."

Hircus takes a step away from the house and scans the open area behind the house for any signs of onlookers.
 

Abrahms

One Thousand Club
Lifting the large cage, Syvis smiled faintly to Moire though there was still a hint of unease underneath as she replied, "No ... his concern is only for food." The elf nodded at Hircus' words, "We need to lick our wounds and decide our path -- didn't you arrive here with another task in mind?"
 

Epiphany

Proverbs 17:9
Moire feels deeply uncomfortable leaving the scene. It's reminiscent to the breaking and entering she once did in another life time and it's not an emotional context she ever expected, or wanted, to experience again. Nonetheless, the wishes of the woman who owns the house seem clear so the Paladin nods courteously to her and says, "Whatever your sins, matron, you and your family didn't deserve what happened to you all. May Ilmater and your community grant you peace of mind."

With that, she leads the group from the house back onto the streets. "We have done what we can here," she says, nodding in agreement to Hircus, then nodding at Syvis' followup question. "I'd like to find Nina if we can. She was a talkative enough girl earlier, I imagine we could learn much of what we need to know while resting ourselves from this fight." Once more, Moire presses a hand to her side and looks pained. "I imagine we could all use that. Let's find her, find out what she knows...and possibly look into lunch at some point, yes?" A smile flashes briefly on her face as she remembers certain practical considerations.
 

jfish

Junior Member
Ina hesitates but nods somberly at the woman's advice to leave, following Moire as she leads the group back out into the rain. The elf looks up at the sky, sighing lightly. "Finding Nina and her friend would make the most sense. I worry for the young girl, too. Perhaps we'll have more luck at the lake?"
 

Epiphany

Proverbs 17:9
"Let's see if she's in that grove of trees over there."

Having already gathered the group outside of the house (since it's awkward having a protracted conversation in the living room of someone who asked you to leave), Moire heads in the general direction she saw Nina fleeing in. With a glance at Syivs, the Paladin reaches out and gently touches the elf's arm, offering to carry the bird cage. "You might have more luck than the rest of us in following her trail, so I'm happy to keep your hands free."
 

ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
"The is probably long gone by now, but maybe you can pick up her trail." Hircus shakes off a chill and wipes the rain from his face. "Even if we don't find Nina we need a place to go to ground for a little while."
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
[div=border: 2px solid gray; padding: 10px ]It's a short walk out into the meadow and among the sheltering trees. It's quiet and dry in here, and Syvis instantly sees signs that people regularly come to this secluded place. There are even names and signs carved into some of the trees. The freshest sign, bent saplings and flattened grass, points almost directly east, towards the houses along the road that runs north from the center of this town. The nearest house is two or three-hundred feet away.

While Syvis studies the ground, the cage in Moire's hand jostles as Otrev slaps and struts, perhaps under the impression that everyone here now understands what he's saying.[/div]
 

Abrahms

One Thousand Club
Handing off Otrev's cage gratefully to Moire, Syvis went to her task, a part of her wishing she still had a form available -- a stronger nose would make all of this much easier. Crouching down to study the ground, the noise from Otrev's cage kept catching her attention. "Ah ... he'd likely be more peaceful if someone were to find some seeds or insects for him," she spoke over her shoulder. "You don't have to, I can try to find some later ..." she turned her attention back to the task at hand, leading the group further into the cluster of trees, her hands trailing across the markings cut into the various trees with a frown.

Turning back to the group, "The trail heads towards those houses -- I'm unsure if Nina would go to the closest one, but it's a better direction than we had before." She tapped her nose, "Worst case if we catch our breath, I can try to sniff her out if the rain hasn't washed away her scent."
 

Epiphany

Proverbs 17:9
Having little else to do to help the tracker, Moire peers into the brush and looks for seeds and insects. The former seems in scarce supply but surely she can turn up a bug or two for the little bird.

The Paladin lowers herself beside one of the trees and feeds the bird while gazing around at the signs and names carved nearby. "A good thought, Syvis," Moire says to the Elven druid, and when she looks at Syvis, she has that kind of rare smile that comes from a genuine warmth of character. "You stood with us against one of the deadliest monsters I've heard tales of and even now your thoughts are of how you can help us. I wish I could say we've helped you in equal measure. We may be newly met, my friend, but I hope I can call you that. Now, have a seat. After this morning's efforts, it's best to catch our breaths and see if we can pick Nina up during the noon celebrations in an hour."

Then Moire glances over at Hircus and Ina before adding, "Unless we want to take up our affable host's offer for lunch, of course."
 

Abrahms

One Thousand Club
At Moire's comments, Syvis blinked a few times in surprise, "Ah ... I felt I was merely doing what was expected of me ... it does not make sense to work against the pack, and so far you are the only ones that seem more ... real in a sense. Muttering the names of gods I vaguely recognize, while all others here seem to amble blindly." The amber-eyed elf scratched behind one of her ears, "I like the sound of friend ... perhaps later we can discuss what I was searching for when I seemed to travel worlds instead."
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
[div=border: 2px solid gray; padding: 10px ]The little cluster of trees provides excellent cover while still letting those within see the houses in both directions. About two-hundred feet away, back at Claude's house, a man in the town's guard livery steps out of the back door and looks around. Scanning the meadow, his gaze fixes on one point in particular, and he starts slowly walking away from the house towards the place where Faria's body lies. He stops every few feet, craning his neck and leaning to the side before moving forward again.[/div]
 

ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
The drizzle continues to annoy Hircus as the big man slowly paces near the edge of the trees. Moire's question causes the clerics head to jut back away from the suggestion that they attend that demon's lunch. "I would stand in the rain and fight vampires all day if it meant avoiding the Baron's lunch invitation. If we can assume the lucid folks of this town are either in league or in hiding from Strahd, then I would wager Vallakovich is no friend of ours."

Hircus watches their new friend Syvis examine leaf and branch, but tires of it quickly. Instead, returns to worrying about their predicament and watching their rear for anyone following. Seeing the town guard do his strange dance across the meadow he slowly moves his bulk behind a tree and turns to give warning to the rest of the group. He gives a short click of his tongue to get their attention then tosses his head back over his shoulder indicating the direction of the town guard. "We have a curious guard bobbing across the meadow toward our mess. We may want to move along soon."

The cleric continues watching the guard from the cover of the trees until someone let's him know it's time to go.
 

jfish

Junior Member
Ina joins Hircus in observing the guard's movements. "It might be wise to hold off for a while and see how they react to a dead vampire..." Ina ponders, "Maybe we're the first to stand up to this Strahd in 300 years? I mean, we could also be run out of town and have to fend for ourselves. Or bring back enough wine to win them over. Most people have a price, in my experience."
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
[div=border: 2px solid gray; padding: 10px ]foggy meadow.jpgWhile Ina and Hircus watch from the trees, the guard slowly continues his approach to Faria's body. He takes a spear from across his back and uses it to move aside the tall grass in front of him as he goes. When he's about twenty feet from the corpse, a second guard appears from inside the house. Her features are inscrutable in the thickening fog, but it's clear that she's hailing her companion. He waves her over and she walks out to join him after closing the back door behind her.

The two guards cross the remaining distance to the corpse together, spears in hand. When they get there at last, the male guard uses the butt of his spear to push at the ground. Then both guards recoil. They speak briefly to each other. The woman nods and runs back to the south, aiming for the gap between Pullo's hovel and the larger house where Claude lives. The male guard stays behind, standing back from the grim discovery and slowly watching the expanse of meadow before him. He alternates between stepping a bit closer to the inert vampire, then backing up again, and scanning the field, both far and near. He's definitely interested by something he sees in the grass just past Faria, and then, looking across the meadow, his gaze stops on the grove of trees you're in. Something seems to dawn on him, and he takes a few steps forward before stopping and returning to his post. But he still keeps a close watch on the little copse, no longer scanning so broadly.[/div]
 
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Abrahms

One Thousand Club
Syvis glanced back at the guards investigating, peering around the nearby trees towards the dead body of Faria. "... I do not think we should linger. That one, seems to know something is here. Once more come to hold the position I expect he'll investigate here." She turned to look at the houses, "We should move somewhere our track is harder to trace."
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
[div=border: 2px solid gray; padding: 10px ]izek.jpgTwenty minutes or more pass while the guard waits and watches, bored and tense. The weather stays the same, foggy with a light drizzle. Birds, squirrels and other tiny animals arrive at the grove looking for shelter, but complain and keep to the periphery and higher branches when they find humans and elves there. Otrev certainly doesn't make any efforts to welcome his fellow creatures.

The female guard who ran off earlier eventually returns with four additional guards holding shields and spears. The group is led by Izek Strazni, the Baron's man with the monstrous right arm. Syvis is the only one who hasn't met him already. At Strazni's direction, two of the guards unfold a heavy tarp and place it on the ground where Faria fell. Strazni speaks with the with the man who stayed behind to watch the body. The guards all appear to treat their commander with fear and deference.

While the two guards with the tarp continue their work down on the ground, the man speaking to Strazni points out across the field to the grove of trees over a hundred feet away. Strazni's gaze follows and he furrows his heavy brow and takes his battleaxe in his left hand. He points to the four guards not preoccupied with the tarp, and they line up on either side of him. Then Izek Strazni and his retinue start walking deliberately across the muddy field, heading for the tight cluster of trees.
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Epiphany

Proverbs 17:9
"So they approach," Moire says, eyes narrow as she examines the approaching group of guards. "I don't like the look of the Baron's man anymore than I did the first time we met him. But he and those guards are operating in their capacity as the protectors of this village."

"It's come to this then; do we deal with them honestly, as men and women who've done nothing wrong but save a family from a vampire? Or do we flee, for fear of suspicion that they may be the vampire's thralls? The former carries risk, if the latter is true. But the latter will condemn us in the eyes of the people of this town. And while we don't know them well enough to know the value of their good opinion, we also don't know why we're here in the first place. And being barred from this place could cost us the chance to find out the truth, if it's hidden within village walls."

"What say you, my friends?" Moire still reclines against a tree, visibly weary and still bloodied from the battle. "If the majority wishes us to try to flee, I'll respect that. I'm willing to remain alone for that matter, so that only I may be captured, if capture is indeed our fate. Or we can stand together, as the heroes of this town that we actually are. What say you?"

For her part, the Paladin slumps back and waits to hear from her friends. Fleeing isn't the foreign concept it is for many Paladins, for she well knows a pirate's life and that life involved a great deal of running when the occasion called for it. But it galls her, that she and her friends did right by this town and they may flee like criminals instead.

And within, the worry lingers. How deep runs the influence of the vampire lord who mastered Faria? Did they pull up a weed in this village, or just one root?
 

Abrahms

One Thousand Club
While the group sat, Syvis continued to work on coaxing Otrev out of the clumsy and noisy cage while watching across the field. Seeing the man with the unnatural arm, the hairs on her own arms and back of her neck rose -- were she a cat at the moment she would have had to fight hard to prevent hissing in his direction.

Seeing them approach didn't ease her either, she looked over at Moire, "I -- I must confess that man puts me on edge, I want to run immediately -- I wish to be proven wrong, but I find it hard to feel comfortable dealing with someone who has a limb like that." She bit her lip, "Their expression -- their posture, does not read to me as ones looking to congratulate heroes." The wood elf nervously played at her necklace, "At the same time I have not been in a village in so long -- and never in this one before, I don't know what to expect."

Adjusting her seat on the ground to prepare for sudden movement she looked at the others, "I'll follow the pack."
 

ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
"We have done nothing wrong in the eyes of Torm, Ilmater. We have served justice on the vampire, once Faria. I do not think these men will see our deeds in the same light. But Moire, if you will stand here and face them, so will I." Hircus surveys the group for reaction. "Torm is my law, so I fear no man's judgement."

Hircus wonders if he is convincing anyone. His words feel flat in his mouth. His impulse is to make a retreat, leave this cursed village and never return. He does none of these things until the rest speak up with an opinion. In the absence of a commanding officer he will defer to Moire's orders.
 

jfish

Junior Member
Ina breathes deeply, shakily. Strazni makes her hair stand on edge a little - she hadn't forgotten his...advice the day before, his cold behaviour. She wondered whether his (admittedly vague) familiarity of the majority of the group would work in their favour or against it... she figured regardless that there would be hostility between the two groups. And, if Moire's state was anything to go by, it wouldn't end well for them. She sees her own trepidation reflected on the faces of her friends. Not sure whether that's much comfort, though. She grits her teeth, peering at the approaching guards. and leans heavily against a tree in a feable attempt to quell the instinct to run, rubbing her face in her hands.

"If our return was for naught, I'd rather face what may come head on, amongst friends. May whichever gods are watching be more merciful than our mortal foes."
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
[div=border: 2px solid gray; padding: 10px ]Walking through the damp meadow, Izek Strazni and his four guards approach the small copse of trees. Otrev flaps a warning to Syvis. "Look out, I think they are coming for your home!"

At the margin of the trees, Izek motions for the guards to stop. He circles around cautiously to the left, peering among the branches and trunks until he catches sight of Moire, Hircus, Ina and Syvis. "You," he says with flat disdain. He closes his eyes and exhales through his nose. Opening his eyes again, he turns his head to look back at the two guards who stayed behind with Faria's body.

"That is your work," he says, nodding at the distant corpse. "Making more trouble. Provoking him against Vallaki. Come out now and answer. And do not think you fool me, trickster, if that is you in there," he adds, speaking directly to Syvis.

"No," cautions Otrev, "you mustn't leave your cage."[/div]
 

Epiphany

Proverbs 17:9
Moire rises from the tree she'd reclined against and steps forward, a little unsteadily with one hand pressed to her side. She's since cleaned her handaxe but the trusty weapon remains slung on her belt. The Paladin's lack of armor is obvious, as her shirt is torn on the side where the vampire bit through it into her side and she makes no effort to hide her bandages.

"Izek. I see you've discovered the monster we slew." She nods in the direction of the corpse. "My friends and I discovered it preying upon Vallaki. Upon a family, and more than one. Upon a woman and her child, sir." Moire stands straight despite her pained side and her voice is pitched for the guards as well as the intimidating figure of the Baron's man. "If you want an answer, yes this is our work. Work that saved your people. Work we've bled for. If you have a quarrel with us protecting children, perhaps we should discuss this with the Baron? We're available at your lord's convenience," she adds, sweeping a hand back to take in the other three members of her party. Then the Paladin's lips quirk into a smile. "Except for the trickster. We parted ways with him this morning and he wasn't involved in this holy work."
 

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