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Party 1

Baba Luga

Vestige
Moire and the imp exchange another series of ineffectual blows, prompting an imp from the crowd to come forward and show what it can do. This newcomer lands a telling blow against the paladin, and the original one angrily tries to drive the interloper away, but fails and is dejected.

As for Ina and Hircus, the imp menacing them dives in to have a go at Ina, but she's able to shove it in the path of Hircus, who, despite his incoherent babbling, lands a severe blow. The imp breathes a cloud of thick orange smog at the pair. Ina closes her eyes in time; Hircus doesn't and is blinded for the time being.

As the detritus of the imp's breath weapon clears away, Ina can see that the surrounding mists are fading once more. The colors are pale, sickly yellows and grays, with a touch of orange vapor that clings to you. Several of the surrounding imps are drifting away, vanishing into the gray clouds. In the distance ahead, the faint, shadowy outlines of two huge mountain peaks fade in and out of view.
 
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Baba Luga

Vestige
misttrees.jpgWith Ina's help, Tegan is able to avoid kicking blinded Hircus in the head, and the three can grab each other and ensure they stay together. The imps have stopped attacking this group, and any of the little creatures that remain peel off and fade away, grumbling as they go, while the fog surrounding you grows ever lighter in color and starts to thin. The stinging grit clears from Hircus' eyes and now he and Tegan can see the two mighty mountains that Ina first noticed. The closest is mere miles away as you drop downward towards a vast, mist-shrouded forest of evergreens, the wind roaring in your ears. Only a thin trail of the amber smoke remains. It actually leads ahead of you, marking a lazy path down into the treetops. The air is damp and cold, and the acrid smell of ozone flows into your nostrils.

The second imp accosting Moire, the one that actually landed a blow, carefully disengages and takes off into the clouds. Only her original assailant, the imp that never hit, remains, apparently determined to get in just one strike before departing. Like the nearby clouds, its body has grown pale gray, and as it fumbles around looking for an opening in Moire's guard, its delicate wings just stream away in a puff of vapor. Suddenly realizing it can no longer fly, the creature panics and flails its limbs wildly, trying to latch onto Moire's clothing.

Not being students of natural science, none of you is sure how long it will be before your plummeting bodies reach those treetops. You're all certain, however, that it will probably be far sooner than you'd like.
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
You're falling with incredible speed now, following the orange plume down towards the forest, Tegan catches fleeting glimpses of two landscape features through the fog: To the left, an open field with a building near its center, and, off to your right, a hill that is mostly bare, save for a large tree and a circular outline on the ground. If things keep going the way they are, it seems like you're going to hit the forest between these two places at your current speed of nearly two hundred feet per second.
 

TemplePhantom

New Member
Tegan reaches out his hands in hopes that his allies can grab hold and stabilize their descent.

Having found nothing useful regading his current situation, Tegan looks toward the Hircus and mouths "Magic" while shrugging his shoulders. Attempting to spur Hircus to action, should he have another helpful spell.
 

Epiphany

Behind Your Chair
Moire had gone rounds with that imp. It's cloudy composition and warm orange tones were surprisingly pleasing to look at, but it's unrelenting hostility marked it as an adversary. Albeit one as ineffectual as she'd been. Neither had made a mark on each other. It's determination to win any kind of victory had been too much for it, thought.

As it's form disintegrated, Moire tries to grasp it, moved by some kind of unexpected sympathy. Monster though it might be, it's panic seems real. Yet her fingers flail through it's substance, catching nothing. Until there's nothing left but some kind of tiny, hard round object that she snatches out of the air before it's whipped away by the speed at which they're moving.

Only at this point does the Paladin finally look around and realize the clouds have thinned, a forest is rising up to meet her and at least her companions are within sight (and even earshot) just ahead. It shouldn't be this way. As one of Illmater's own, she should be in front to meet her fate first before them. But there was no help for it now.

Still falling, Moire bows her head, not to avoid her destiny but to focus instead on what mattered most. "Blessed Illmater, shelter me as I've tried to shelter others and welcome me into your company at the end of all things."
 

ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
Hircus swings his arms around like two large windmill with little effect. His sight begins to return but it is no reward. Greeted by a view of the ground as if born on the back of a great eagle he quickly shuts his eyes again. I have had this dream before and I always wake up before hitting the ground. he thinks as he forces his eyes open.

He sees Teegan mouthing something to him. "What? I can't hear you! Gods, what is he trying to say? Mad chis, mat chick, mag check... Magic!" Hircus exclaims with glee as he realizes it was a question not a solution to their predicament and with that, his face falls, "Nah lad, I ain't got a prayer to make us sprout wings and fly." Hircus, realizing that his words never made it to Teegan's ears. The cleric closes his eyes and accepts this pitiful fate.
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
As you pass through the final margin separating you from the misty treetops, a familiar voice speaks from nowhere in particular, declaiming a brief phrase in an unfamiliar language. Your fall has taken you to the point at which you're able to make out individuals branches in the trees, when, without any sensation of shock, your descent suddenly slows to a fraction of its speed. The crone's voice chortles in your ears as you ease into the water-logged, spiny foliage, which scratches and soaks you as you settle lower and lower, finally coming to rest in a heap on the forest floor. A gentle patter of raindrops follows you down to your landing place, which is adjacent to the still-smouldering stump of a large tree, the massive trunk of which stretches out across the ground. Many smaller trees and shrubs have been crushed by its fall.

Once again, you are cold, damp and have no idea where you are. And now, there's the added discomfort of hunger and thirst; your bellies groan and gurgle as if you haven't eaten in days. But at least you're all alive, which is more than can be said of the mud-caked woman at the base of the tree stump. Her scorched head is tilted back and her arms splayed out as if beseeching the sky.

END OF PRELUDE
 
Chapter 1

Baba Luga

Vestige
CHAPTER 1: THE ELEMENTALIST
forest2.jpg Here you are, exhausted and dazed, among the shrubs and briers. All around, mighty, vine-bound trees stretch up into the fog. The ground is damp and as the cascade of water shaken loose by your descent tapers off, you can hear songbirds and the occasional spatter of rain.

You're all a bit scraped up from the slow fall through the pine branches. Everyone except Moire still has soot from the imps' breath streaked on their faces and clotted in their hair. You're all parched and ravenously hungry.

Based on the burnt odor in the air and the smouldering tree stump nearby, lightning must have struck recently. The rest of the tree stretches out for maybe fifty feet along the ground where it toppled over. The largest of you could maybe reach your arms three-quarters of the way around that trunk.

Most out of place is the dead woman who stands chest-deep in a water-filled hole near the jagged stump. Her head is burnt; her face and torso are coated with gray mud. A wooden staff juts out of the hole next to her, and one of her open hands holds a small, mud-encrusted object. A filthy backpack is on the ground within her reach.
 

Epiphany

Behind Your Chair
When death doesn't claim her, Moire suffers the bruising impact to the ground and, with effort, forces herself back to her feet. The lump of orange amber in her hand she slips into a pocket, for the sight that greets her will need her full attention.

As her companions collect their wits as well, and as Tegan presumably searches the dead woman's backpack, Moire tends to the woman herself. Bending down, the Paladin slips her arms around the woman's chest, just beneath the corpse's arms, and she heaves the body out of the water-filled hole and pulls it several yards away until she's able to shelter it under the protective shelter of one of those great trees still standing. With great care, Moire folds the woman's arms across her body and closes her eyes. The mud-encrusted object in one hand gets passed to whoever stands closest, probably Ira or Hircus if Tegan's busy with the pack.

And once the body is arranged, Moire drops to both knees, bows her head and intones a prayer. "Oh Ilmater, see before you one who never had the opportunity for the Turning, who died alone, unremarked and without help. Her suffering is at an end, O God. Now gather her into your great arms, Ilmater, and see her to her final rest. Praise be to you, O God. Life is suffering and death is its release but with you, Ilmater, no one ever suffers alone."

Her prayer complete, Moire rises and returns to her friends. "I would bury the woman but we have nothing to dig with. She rests. So it falls to us to see to ourselves, for we will join her in short order if we don't see to food, water and shelter. Once it's night, perhaps I can gauge our location from the stars, if indeed we've been returned to Toril. If not...then we'd best try to find the path that poor woman used to get here and backtrack it, in hopes of it leading us to rescue. What say you, my friends?"
 

TemplePhantom

New Member
Tegan lies on the ground, eyes closed, thinking to himself "It's all a dream. It's all a rotten, insane dream. I hate crones, I hate imps, I hate falling, I hate claws digging into my shoulder, and most of all, I hate..." he sniffs "the smell of... burning flesh, gods damn it, what is it now?" Tegan's eyes open, and much to his dismay he hasn't woken in one of the small tavern rooms he's used to from his days as a shipping guard. Even worse, he's fighting vomit as the smell of the burnt corpse stabs his nostrils like a fetid needle.

Tegan observes the scene, and after a time his sensitivity to the odor has waned. He approaches the pool containing the woman's corpse and sets his sights on a dingy backpack. "You don't mind, do you love?" he says to the corpse as he begins to peruse the bag's contents.

Tegan grimaces at the unwelcome sight of the largest beetle he's ever had the misfortune to encounter, but it quickly skitters along and he's able to lay the items out on a nearby root, which protrudes from the earth.

Tegan holds the strip of dried meat in his hands, eyeballing and smelling it, trying to understand just what it might be. After a few moments, he gives up the endeavor and decides the only way to really know is to eat it. A few nibbles tell him that it's gamy, but he's so hungry he doesn't care and he shovels it down. He pops the cork on the water skin, gives the contents a good whiff while he wipes the rim on his shirt, and tentatively takes a sip to chase the meat. It's not pleasant, but it goes down. He tries his best to shake off as much grime from the backpack as he can before reloading the contents and walking around to his allies, showing them the contents and allowing them to take whatever they feel useful and to have a drink from the water skin."

All except Moire, to whom he describes the bag's contents and throws any requested items to her from a distance. "I can't believe you touched that" he stifles another gag "thing. Can't one of you magical types clean us up a bit? I hate being this nasty." Tegan looks himself over, and his words are delivered in an agitated tone.

"As far as paths, while we fell I saw two points of interest. There's a clearing with a structure and a hill with a large tree. It may be a good place to get the lay of the land. They're about a mile from where we fell, and in opposite directions."
 
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jfish

Junior Member
Ina groans as she rolls onto her side, spitting out dust and a few pine needles.

"This is all really happening, isn't it?" She says to nobody in particular. She notices the others already getting up and moving, so clambers to her feet, brushing her hands off on her tunic. Seeing Moire picking up the unfortunate woman's body she feels a prickling sensation on her neck, but is unsure of the trigger.

She begins to walk over to the paladin, looking with interest in the bag as Tegan holds it out. She pulls the dagger out, turning it over in her hands.

"If nobody else minds, I'll hang onto this. I'm not built to throw a punch like the rest of you," She smiles wryly.

Making her way over to Moire she takes the offered object and stands vigil as the paladin finishes speaking, waiting a moment before crouching beside her and talking in a low voice - out of respect more than to hide her words.

"Do you also worship Lathander?" She asks, gesturing to Moire's tattoo, "perhaps they might also offer guidance in a situation like this? I feel like it wouldn't hurt to ask for all the help we can at the moment."

Ina then inspects the muddy object in her hands, scraping the dirt off gently. She looks over at Tegan, nodding.

"A mile isn't far, there might bee someone there. Perhaps food or firewood if not. I don't know much about surviving in the wild, if I'm honest, I'm more of a city girl."
 

ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
Laying on his back in a thick patch of ivy and brush where he landed Hircus slowly pats himself down to determine if he is still in one piece. The self-examination turns up more than a few sore spots. He does a quick sit up and his head pops out of the tall ivy. Seeing that his companions are fixated on something else at the moment he lays back down and lays a hand on his chest.

Quietly he whispers, "I am not sure why I have been spared from death yet again Commander Torm. I can only imagine that it means I have yet more path to tread for you. I shall walk it." Hircus presses his palm more firmly on his chest and reaches a hand to the sky. "Torm! Fuse together this broken form and knit this torn flesh. With this favor I once more vow to carry your shield of righteousness." A warmth spreads across Hircus radiating from his open palm and filling in the painful areas with a familiar prickle that lets him know that Torm has granted his request.

Hircus once more does a quick sit up and calls out to his companions. "Is everyone well?" He stands and walks over to find Moire attending to a corpse, Ina scrutinizing a muddy object and Tegan rummaging through the belongings of what Hircus can only assume is the property of the corpse.

Wanting to have nothing to do with the looting Hircus moves to Moire and squats down next to the body saying, "This does not look good." He kneels closer to the body and leans in close propping himself with a hand on the tree trunk. "Torm, reveal what you can about this unfortunate story."

He notes what he finds to the others as he checks out the body, "She's not much older than me."

He reaches out and grasps the head by the chin and turns it left and right. "Huh. Covered in clay. Either she smeared herself with it or someone else did."

He sits the woman forward and sticks a hand under her armpit. "There is still a warmth to the body. This happened very recently. Maybe within the last hour." Leaning the body back down he removes the necklace strung with teeth. "We can take this with us. Maybe someone can identify her by seeing this. She may have kin that doesn't yet realize she is missing."

"Struck by lightning. That's easy enough to see." Hircus says with finality.

Broken from his examination by Tegan's comment directed toward the magical types, he spins around. The words do not sit well with Hircus. He squares to Tegan and says, "We woke without memories, were forced into a black game of chance by a witch, sucked through a portal, attacked by demons and dropped from the sky into a strange land not one of us recognizes and you think your laundry is the best use of our skills? Son, you need to reorganize your priorities."

"Now to more pressing matters. We need to find shelter. If you say you say a building a mile from here then it makes the most sense to head that way. If there is no one there then we at least will have some kind of shelter." Hircus washes his hands in the water and readies himself to head to the structure Tegan spoke of.
 
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Baba Luga

Vestige
It is quite difficult to wrest the body from the water-filled hole it stands in. The mud makes everything slippery, and the abandoned staff that's still in the hole keeps bumping Moire in the head as she leans over to adjust her grip. At least the hole is narrow enough that she can place one foot on either side of it for leverage. Finally, the thing is done.

Ina accepts the knife from Tegan. It's more of a work tool than a weapon—clearly the broken-off tip of a larger blade, artlessly bound between two poor pieces of antler. In the antiques trade, this type of primitive weapon is called an "Uthgardt Stabber" in derisive reference to the northern barbarian tribes, but it will serve just fine as a dagger until something better comes along.

The mud-caked object in Ina's other hand is a small, crude doll woven out of twigs and straw. Another of those folk objects of interest to scholars but with no market value.

You are all painfully thirsty, and the water that Tegan offers around is little enough, but it's better than nothing. You'll all need more by nightfall. The same goes for the jerky that Tegan ate. It was just enough sustenance to start his stomach rumbling in earnest, without sating his appetite.

You have all gathered near the body, where Moire laid it out several yards from the pit. As Hircus finishes chastising Tegan, an orb of dim light the size of a grapefruit silently rises from the muck-filled hole where the woman just was. Still above the hole, it floats up to eye level and flares brightly, blinding you all briefly. Then, with no apparent mouth, it whispers a brief phrase that sounds uncomfortably like the germ of the repeating chant Ina, Hircus and Tegan heard through the amber portal back in the dark grove.

Lofting a bit higher, the glowing sphere drifts by, heading farther into the woods. Its course passes about ten feet from you on your left as you face the pit.
 

jfish

Junior Member
Ina smiles slightly at Hircus’ admonishment of Tegan, reminded of herself when she first left home. She habitually pockets the doll and glances up to see the orb rise up, wincing at the brightness.

"What in the..." she follows it with her eyes as it floats along before looking confusedly between her companions, "do we follow it?"

Her eyes return to the hole where it came from and she notices the staff. She hesitates before going to pick it up, giving the orb a wide berth and looks into the hole to see if she can see anything else in there.
 

ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
"No my dear Ina," says Hircus as he reaches out to put a hand on Ina's shoulder, "That is a will-o'-wisp. It is not the guiding light that it seems to be, but rather an evil thing meaning to lead travelers astray. It does not surprise me to find one here." Hircus glances at the body of the mud-caked woman. "It may even have been birthed of this peculiar circumstance. Did you hear the chant as it passed by?"

Hircus looks down at the necklace of teeth in his hand. He considers it for a moment then tosses it back on the corpse where he found it then wipes his hand on his trousers. "My patience for this forest wanes."
 
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TemplePhantom

New Member
"We'll see whose complaining about laundry when you start getting sores in your crotch and rashes from the filth." Tegan grumbles, barely audible. Tegan spends some additional time picking dirt out of his hair and lamenting the loss of his meticulously coiffed curls. His grooming is interrupted by the sudden appearance of the luminous orb.

After watching it travel, and hearing Hircus' explanation, Tegan proudly states "We go *that* way!" and points in the exact opposite direction from where the will-l'-wisp was moving.
 

jfish

Junior Member
"Oh!" Ina raises her eyebrows as Hircus explains, grinning, "I heard it, yes, but I’ve never seen one before, interesting."

She then turns on her heel and approaches Tegan, plucking a stray leaf from his hair. Ina offers the staff to him, "Unless you think one of the ‘magical types’ might find more use for this," she winks, steps back and appraises him, absently running fingers through her own tangled hair.

"Perhaps there is a well at this building you saw?" She suggests, shrugging, "But Hircus is right, our priorities at the moment are to find a way out of here."
 
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Epiphany

Behind Your Chair
In that strange otherworldly space, Moire hadn't noticed the sensation of hunger, thirst or fatigue. Just the faint notice of cold grass. But here, she was all too reminded of how strongly the body yearned to survive. Judging by the pinched faces and looks of dismay on her companions, they were no better off than she was. For their sake especially, they couldn't afford to remain idle here without shelter or the necessities for living. What little food and water had been found was far from adequate. They needed to leave.

As the wisp rose up, Moire searched around the clearing for tracks or any sign of how the dead woman had arrived here. And as it begins to drift off, the Paladin listens to her companions and shakes her head slowly.

"My friends," she begins. "We woke in a field under a strange star. Orange mists brought us to this place, a journey that that poor woman may have aided in at the cost of her life. This light seems connected to an already strange series of connections. I share your mistrust and caution in this situation. But we can't make a rash decision. We can't afford to. If we can fin an actual trail from here, let's follow it. If we can't, following this light which may also be part of this mysterious bargain of ours, seems the best course. The very worst thing we could do, in either case, is to choose a random direction and start walking when we have absolutely no notion of where we are. Agreed?"
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
will-o-wisp.jpgThe dead woman's possessions have been passed around so that Ina now holds the dagger and the muddy little doll. Tegan has the quarterstaff and is wearing the filthy backpack that carries everything else but the live beetle and necklace of teeth.

With a word of divine encouragement from Hircus, Moire begins searching around for signs of the deceased woman's passage to this place. Meanwhile, Tegan moves about the area and cranes his neck to try and get a sense of which way the mountains lie. With the low clouds and dense tree cover, he has no idea which way leads towards the mountains, field or hilltop. The wisp bobs around nearby, making sporadic feints deeper into the woods before coming back to entice you.

Before too long, Moire finds some bent branches and a couple of footprints approaching the flooded hole from a direction perpendicular to the wisps' path. Meanwhile, the wisp seems to tire of its games and departs. It flits away among the trees, flickering rapidly as it goes. As it does so, several shrubs in its wake quiver as if struck by a brisk wind. One, then another flails its little branches about, steps out of the earth and totters towards Ina and Hircus, who still stand over the body. Farther away along the wisp's path, cloaked in fog, two strong, evergreen saplings of roughly human height each move a full five feet to one side and reposition their branches so that they resemble crude wooden effigies planted in the mist.
 

jfish

Junior Member
Ina is first alerted to the creatures by a strange creaking noise coming from her right. She peers around Hircus’ form, yelling in shock as the shrub creatures charge towards them. The next few seconds are drawn out agonisingly slowly as Hircus falls before her and she’s left facing three shrubs rustling towards her. She gasps as a needle just catches her arm, scratching it but not doing any real damage.

Her adrenaline catches up then, her eyes flicking to the necklace that Hircus had discarded a few minutes previously. Ina drops to a crouch, grasping the necklace and lobbing it over the shrubs, praying to any gods listening that it would prove a decent distraction. She laughs sharply in disbelief as they dart backwards, using the few valuable seconds to hook her arms under Hircus’ shoulders and pull him behind cover as best she can, crude elvish curses spilling from her.
 

ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
Watching the will-o'-wisp bob away in the distance Hircus notes a stirring in the brush not too far away. "Gods! What now?", he says as two small scrubby bushes step their roots out of the ground like a farmer pulling weeds. In another moment the ambulatory weeds are on him and flailing sharp branches in his direction. One bush catches Hircus on the side, but he deftly steps out of the way of the second. Spinning back around Hircus eyes the strange vegetation with the rage of his patron Torm seething in his eyes, when out of the blue he is hit with a dart from an evergreen tree he never saw coming. Hircus falls to a knee and then collapses into the forest floor. "Damned... Fores...", he gasps as he falls unconscious.
 

TemplePhantom

New Member
Tegan turns his head at the sound of Hircus' sudden collapse, only to catch a similar spine in between two of his ribs. He staggers, unsure of the lethality of his wounds but still able to stand. Unable to properly gauge his enemies, who are excellently camouflaged, he sets his eyes on a destination, and runs. As he runs, he sees Ina and Moire trying to aid the fallen cleric while the movement in the brush increases. The frightful prospect of a evergreen scented death spurs Tegan to tap his adrenaline reserves and he highsteps in quick succession (to avoid tripping on the underbrush) while waving to his comrades and shouting "Time to go!" as he passes.
 

Epiphany

Behind Your Chair
Tegan's cry, "It's time to go!" echoes in Moire's ears. But Hircus' need is too great.

On bent knee, she places her hand on his shoulder and whispers "Ilmater, give this man Your grace. And if it comes at the cost of my own, then thank you for making it possible for me to pay it."

Despite the impending threat from the animated vegetation, Moire feels healing power flooding out of her into the fallen cleric. Then she grabs him by the shoulder as he rises and scrambles backwards. His thrashing of one of the bushes buys her cover to escape and shame colors her cheeks as she realizes she's been reduced to running from vegetation. But as she sprints for cover, her feet catch in the undergrowth and once more vegetation brings her down. Crawling as quickly as she can, she moves to rejoin Tegan and Ina as Hircus runs past her.
 
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jfish

Junior Member
Ina watches Moire worriedly, struck at the possibility of losing these two people she’d began to consider friends, cursing whatever force caused them to lose their memories. She lets out the breath she’d been holding as Hircus stirs. Arms shaking, she barely gives him time to adjust as she hoists him to his feet and then takes off after Tegan, realising as she passes him that the others aren’t as close as she’d expected. She slows about 15 feet past him, looking back worriedly, relief at seeing the others catch up turning sour as she watches Moire trip.
 
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ZombWie

Hircus Hornbrow
Hircus comes to a little groggy and being hoisted back up on his feet by Ina. He can only assume that he was healed up by Moire, but Moire now has problems of her own. Hircus takes a mighty swing at the nearest twig creature and misses. Recovering quickly he feels a jolt of energy gifted by Torm. Hircus interprets the gift as confirmation that he is on the correct path. Hirc lifts his right leg into the air and crushed the woody figure into a pile of kindling under his heel.

"This forest will not take us Moire! You must fight! I have done what I can." Hircus turns and leaps through the low brush and deadfall like a deer and laughing a mighty laugh as he escapes to chase after the others.
 

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