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Party 17

Tai2k7

Party Dad
CHAPTER 1: INTO THE MISTS
The lot of you are no strangers. Having banded together on more than one occasion to protect the town of Daggerford. So it isn’t much of a surprise that when the Duchess Morwen is having guests over for dinner, you all are invited. You consider her quite the friend considering how much you have served her duchy over the course of your stay, and the benefits from such a friendship are quite nice indeed.


The night is brisk, the full moon ominously bright as you maneuver your way through the nearly vacant cobblestone streets. Even though the city isn’t the largest, it is normally much more lively, but their superstitions must be getting the better of them. Tugging on your collar you push the thoughts to the back of your mind, making haste. Best not make Ms. Morwen wait any longer than need be.

As you arrive and are lead into the dining hall, the scents of various dishes begin to overwhelm your senses. Eagerly you find an empty seat, watching others file in after you. The Duchess is seated at the head of the table, looking much more distressed than usual. But of course you all exchange pleasantries as she attempts to hide her unease.

You all eat and discuss recent happenings in the town, everything seeming to be alright until the Duchess clears her throat and begins to speak in a gave tone.

“I… don’t mean to interrupt this fine night we have been having.” She begins hesitantly. “But we do have some important business to discuss. The reason I invited you all here tonight was because I have some concerns about a group of wayward travelers that are camped outside of Daggerford’s walls. I first assumed they were harmless, but then I had begun receiving reports about how they were harassing residences of my town as well as visitors for money and wine. Threatening to curse anyone who doesn’t pay what they ask.”

Taking a moment to reach for a glass of wine before her, she would take a generous sip before setting the drink back down and continuing. “I had sent some guards yesterday to try and scare them away, but it appears as if they couldn't’t get the job done. They returned speaking only good things about these travelers, clearly charmed or hexed. I would like to keep this as peaceful as possible… but… they seem not to take to a kind request. This is where the lot of you come in. I have a message I want delivered and I want you to deliver it on my behalf as soon as we finish dining here.”

“If they are not gone by dawn.” Duchess Morwen mutters. “Their wagons burn."
 

Toothless

Bust :(
Aki hated when the moon was high.

Upon initial inspection, it seemed like quite the boon. A high moon meant bright skies. It meant empty streets, and the land was illuminated by a dim, pale glow.

It also meant odd magic, legends, and tales of beasts that would crawl from the night. It seemed every scary story had the full moon as its backdrop, like it was the universal stage of horror. She could admit, there was something unsettling about the alabaster orb in the sky, how it lingered in the pitch blackness of night, like an eye staring right back at you.

That wasn't why Aki hated this time, however.

She moved quickly through the vacant, cobblestone streets. Her dark cloak fluttered in the wind like smoke, with her vivid red hair like fire. She wore her hood up, as per usual. On most occasions, it kept the sun from her eyes or deterred the odd look or two from pickpockets and bandits looking to steal her coin.

Tonight, it kept her from looking at the pale goddess above.

When Aki arrived at the manor, she drew her hood back, revealed a petite girl bandaged in straps and leather armor that she meticulously buckled in one by one. She glanced up, offered a half-hearted smile and a nod to the Duchess, then made her way to the hall.

When dinner came around, she found a seat to the left of their lovely host. Her fork poked absentmindedly at her honey-roasted duck, still as delicious as the last time she spent the evening here. Duchess Morwen treated them well, as per usual. The rich food danced on her tongue, coated her taste buds with silky sweet goodness. The wine burned bright in her stomach.

She only made small talk, however, and her gaze regularly fell into the distance. It was week two of her and her party's search for her father, and so far, they found nothing. To be fair, she expected as much. When you're looking for someone who visited a place almost 23 years ago with the barest amount of a description, you had to be realistic.

Still, she would be lying if she said she wasn't downed by the current outcome.

Aki looks up from her duck stabbing when the topic grows darker. "Curses? Charms?" she asks. A deep frown creases the redhead's face. She expected a pleasant evening, not more to worry about. She sighs and runs a hand across her face, feeling the anxiety bubble like steam from a pot. "I mean no disrespect, Duchess. You've treated my party and I quite well, and I have much to be thankful for."

"I cannot help but feel you've treated us lavishly to simply get something you want."
 

Meridian

New Member
Black leather creaks as the small figure seated in the tall chair adjusts her legs, crossing one over the other and placing her feet back on the table as she slouches in her seat. A lute lies placed casually on her lap, currently untouched. Her voice, surprisingly raspy and slightly deeper than you would expect from a gnome, rings out clearly across the table.

"That's how these things go, Aki. The rich don't know how to just ask for a thing; needs to be dressed up in food and drink, make the fact they need help from someone other than their gold pouch a little more palatable. I say enjoy it; the same question is getting asked, but at least you're getting something nice out of the asking." Her already finished meal and drink have been pushed to the side to make room for her feet; her hands are interlaced on the back of her head behind her swirl of pink hair, the picture of contentment and relaxation.

She fixes her gaze on their host. "Now, nobody wants to have to burn anybody's wagons down, am I right? We'd be happy to go talk to these folks for you, maybe drink some wine, maybe play some songs. Calm things down a bit, get them to move on to greener pastures. Sounds like a damn good time all around." She reaches down to her lap and plucks a string on her lute, waving her other hand at the table almost dismissively. An illusory image appears; a wagon, some carefree looking folks smiling as a pink haired gnome strumming a lute, a red haired woman in dark clothing, and a dashing halfling stand before them. The halfling is in the process of handing them a bottle of wine, and the wagon gives the impression of movement away, despite the stillness of the image.

"Not feeling too comfortable about the threats though, so I think we'll forego those. Sound good? Of course it does, fantastic, we'll take some of that food with us, a bottle of wine, half the payment up front, and we'll be back in three shakes of a displacer beast's tails." These last few sentences are spoken with increasing quickness, completely ignoring that their host had not responded. "Assuming, of course, that that is agreeable to my friends here." She looks to Cade and Aki, lips quirked in a questioning smirk.
 
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Toothless

Bust :(
Aki turns her lower lip toward Auda's words.

The girl had worked for the Duchess for some time now, enough to consider her a close acquaintance if not a friend. She still couldn't understand why someone would go to such lengths for something they could've done in a matter of seconds though. The lavish banquet, the pampering of servants, and now even the wine seemed eclipsed in the shadow of this revelation. Did the Duchess truly care about her and her party members? Or was this all a ruse for yet another job?

"I... suppose," Aki says, then fixes her hair back behind her pointed half-elven ears. "If she wished to do business, she could have simply come and asked. I have always been one to enjoy the lavish meals, but I do not like feeling indebted to someone. Especially if that meal cost more than I could make in a month." Her fork prods at her honey-roasted duck again, now little more than an expensive pile of meat and bones.

The corner of her mouth turns down as Auda speaks again. "Did you not hear? The Duchess told us she attempted a peaceful request. And I do not know about you, but threatening to curse others for coin and wine does not sound like one who would respond to 'peaceful requests'." She taps her finger against the table, lost in thought for a moment. She pushes a memory out of mind by leaning over the table and filling another glass of wine.

"Sometimes force is the best solution, Auda. I will not tolerate black magic in this town."
 

Meridian

New Member
Auda's lips twitch a bit, still smiling, and she waves a hand and dismisses the illusory image. "I did hear, but, as you so astutely pointed out, the Duchess' methods can certainly rub folks the wrong way, yourself included. She attempted a peaceful request; I, however, have yet to do so. Black magic is not the only thing that can charm; and I myself am known to weave a spell or two with my music, and capture the minds of the crowd. All music is black magic, if you play it loud enough."

She smacks her pack with a hand, and a muffled drumbeat starts to play from within it as if from nowhere. Auda begins to strum a tune on her lute, still leaning back in her chair, feet up on the table. "I'm not a mercenary by any means; I just know how to put on a good show. There is no harm in talking; and of course, you will be there, blade in hand, should harsher methods become necessary." She punctuates her speech with a particularly skillful and dangerous sounding tune, that corresponds perfectly with the cascading, abrupt ending to the drumbeats. She ceases playing, and turns her head to the halfling.

"Cade, what are your thoughts on the matter?"
 
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SmplyCmplx

New Member
"Well you ladies seem to have your heads about you..." Cade said as he finished his second course of roasted duck. He so enjoyed parties, he hadn't had a proper party since he left home...it had been so long now.

Cade sat lightly in his chair, and to any with an untrained eye he may appear to be completely distracted by the food and drink, but that wasn't so. Cade's eyes had never stayed overly long in one place. His hands were never far from his sword and his muscles we're ready to pounce should the need arise.

"My opinion on the subject is of little import...but since it be you asking milady Auda, I say we go talk to these rascals. If they make so much as a wrong twitch, why I be prepared to scewer the lot of 'em I is." Cade meant it too. He had learned a lot since leaving home, and one of the most important lessons he had learned the hard way, was talking didn't solve everything, and what it didn't solve, the sword usually did. His former teacher had taught him that his sword was never to be his first answer to a problem, but it should always be ready to be the second and final answer.
 

Podrus

New Member
Lucky ran through the streets of Daggerford, throwing open door after door, be it a tavern, a shop, a locked door that needed a little bit of persuasion, or even a home or two. He knew he was late, and like always....he was lost. It had really been a constant problem for Lucky ever since he left Athkatla, hell, he wasn't even supposed to be in Daggerford but he went the wrong direction after trying to read a map.

Ever since he was taken away from home, all those years ago, he had wanted to return. He survived the fighting pits of Athkatla, a brutal arena where he had to fight and win to earn his freedom. The boneheaded Halfling somehow managed to learn how to wield a flail, throw an axe, and somehow outmaneuver and out think his opponents, with each and every lesson being one that caused pain and agony until he got it right. He had managed to lose countless times, with only a handful of victories to claim, but after years he bought his freedom. And what did he do with that freedom? He went the complete opposite direction than he was supposed to, and somehow he found himself in this strange town.

Luckily for Lucky, he had stumbled his way across a group willing to wave his stupidity off to the side and instead respect his other talents, notably his ability to wield the large weapon strapped to his hip. But while said group was dining on a wonderful meal, enjoying the beautiful music, and being treated like Lords and Ladies no doubt, Lucky felt the pain of hunger roaring in his stomach as he tried to navigate the town.

After what seemed like ages of barging in on nice family dinners, and at least home where an act he would have preferred not to see was taking place, Lucky finally got to the Duchess' home and was shown exactly where the dining hall was. When he walked in he quickly found an empty spot at the table, his tastebuds drooling for the roasted duck that he was told would be presented, only to find his spot empty and his companions in a bit of a tense conversation.

The only bit that he seemed to catch was Cade's opinion on skewering something or another to which Lucky shook his head,

"Why would you skewer duck? It should be slow roasted whole over a flame, brings out the best flavors!"
 

Toothless

Bust :(
Aki glances over to Lucky, gives a shake of her head. The halfling's thoughts always seemed like they had a habit of getting away from him. She sometimes stared at him for a time, watching his eyes lazily set on the non-existent horizon. She found his lack of attention annoying at first but after a handful of adventures, she'd be lying if she said it wasn't endearing now.

"Not that kind of duck, Lucky." Her gaze turns to Auda and Cade, prying apart their words like a delicate mechanism or a trap in-front of her. Her arms cross below her bust as she leans back in her chair. "I don't see the purpose of giving them any more chances," she says, a low, irritated buzz rising in her voice. "They met the guard. They would be fools to think that would be the end of it. If anything, they're anticipating our arrival, and are setting an ambush."

"I do not know about all of you, but I'd rather not be on the receiving end of what is clearly potent magic."

Another glass, another gulp of wine. Aki likely should not intoxicate herself, especially if they may wage a fight before the end of tonight. The warmth helped with the idea of what very easily could be a snare waiting to bind them all, however.
 
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Meridian

New Member
Auda looks over at their host and gives her an apologetic look, then back at the rest of the party. "Glad you could make it Lucky. I was just thinking how invaluable your assistance will be. Aki, I'm sure we can discuss the best way to approach the problem once we're longer troubling our gracious host. We can all agree that we should be able to handle the problem, however we end up doing so, yeah? Of course, this is assuming we take the job; I don't normally do free shows, if you get my meaning." She looks at Duchess Morwen and raises an eyebrow questioningly.
 
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Tai2k7

Party Dad
Of course, your usual fee is ready for you upon your return," the Duchess looks down, timidly. It is clear that she is truly afraid of what will happen if this situation is not taken care of. She continues to eat, but only the occasional small bite. When dinner is wrapping up, she looks to you once again, "Please, make haste and convince these people to move on, I don't wish for anyone to be hurt."

After she says this, you all are ushered out of the keep, and you begin your walk down the cobblestone path from the city gate, the biting wind tears at your clothing and armor once more, it howling in the distance- or perhaps wolf was. Nevertheless you all continue onwards, there being no time for superstition.

After exiting the through the main gate and heading towards the hill these visitors are camped on, the darkened night seems to grow darker even with the light of a bloated moon. You see a dozen men and women gathered around a large bonfire. They are in high spirits, a couple of them sing and dance around the fire while others find joy in their seemingly bottomless wineskins and flasks. Three barrel-topped wagons are parked at strange angle with their horses, a half dozen of them, tied to a nearby tree doning bright coats with bangles and tassels.

While approaching the lively bunch, a male human from the group approaches with a wide smile in both his eyes and lips, a younger woman and man flaking him on either side. “Welcome, my friends.” He greets you warmly. “My name is Stanimir. How may we help you on this beautiful night?”
 

Toothless

Bust :(
"If she truly wanted it solved, wouldn't she like to hear how?" Aki mutters again, unaware of her rudeness.

The concept of discretion and manners never occurred to the redhead, even after all her time in Daggerford. She didn't have time to waste. Every second spent here was another second that passed back home. Every second back home was another opportunity for those she loved to be hurt. It was why when dinner wrapped up, she was more than happy to usher out of the manor, with her allies in tow. The sooner they could deal with these charmers, the sooner she could return to her search.

Aki grits her teeth as the trope steps outside, fighting the burn of the wind's chilly blades. It pierced through her black cloak and leather armor, ran icles up and down her veins. The feeling was incredibly unpleasant, but it was familiar for a girl on the road. Sometimes, the temperature dropped so low that frost built up on her back and shoulders, turning her into a shivering wreck. Thankfully the weather wasn't that cold, but it was enough to bring some painful memories to mind.

She pulls her hood on, wraps the cloak tighter around herself like a blanket. A tremble runs through her body as the howl rings above the town of Daggerfall. "W-well," Aki says, hunching her shoulders to stop more body heat from escaping. "Perhaps we won't have to d-deal with them if the wolves do first."

As they arrive at the hill, Aki straightens up. She watches them drink as music and laughter fills the air. Her eyes scan over the odd angle of the wagon barrels, while her nose catches the scent of wine and alcohol. Something then pulls at the back of her mind. It was quiet, gentle, like a sleepy lull urging one to go to sleep. The idea of giving in, having a drink, and joining them in song and dance became more and more a possibility in her mind. No doubt the alcohol had some part in it—the girl drank more in a day than most do in a week.

"Right," Aki says, after pulling her attention back. "Stanimir. What is all this exactly? Are you a guild? A militant company? I've been in Daggerford for some time now, and I haven't encountered any of you folk until now." Despite clearly talking to the man, her gaze drifts around and about, toward the men and women's waists. She uses her keen half-elven eyes to scan for any weapons they might have.
 

Podrus

New Member
Lucky watched as those around continued to discuss and eat their food, all the while his stomach growled and begged for something, yet his plate stayed empty the entire time that he was there. He tried to listen in, understand just what the discussion was about, but just as he thought he had a bit of an understanding, they were whisked away and out into the cold. Lucky shook his head, "And I had just gotten inside, now back into the cold again. Just my luck!" he stated, clearly annoyed with the situation as they walked.

He moved his short legs, the three foot tall Halfling doing his best to keep up with the brisk pace being set by Aki, shaking his head still. "Hey now! The rest of us aren't exactly gifted with legs like your's Aki, can we slow down at least a tidge? How important is this show that Auda's doing anyways?" he questioned, somehow having convinced himself that the Duchess just wanted Auda to put on a show, one that she wasn't willing to do for free. Confusion filled Lucky's mind, trying to make sense of the conversation that was had.

Skewering, a free concert, now the concert wasn't free, something about meeting the guards. If he knew any better Lucky would think that this was more likely to lead to a fight than to a concert, something that caused him move a hand over the flail on his side. The howl in the distance causing him to jump, grip on his weapon tightening even more.

As they exited the gate of Daggerford the wind only picked up, no longer protected by the buildings and walls as he stepped. Chills ran up and down Lucky's spine as he looked around, the grip on his weapon only tightening, the light starting to fade even as he looked at the sky to see a bright, shining moon. "Something seems off..." he whispered softly to himself, wondering exactly was at the top of the hill.

But as he got closer and closer, hearing the joy and laughter coming from the carts, smelling the stench of wine in the air, he wondered if his worries were misguided. It seemed like a group of travelers just having a good time, but still, why wouldn't that sneaking feeling leave the back of his mind. Though, with a bit of effort he let go of the weapon, letting it go back to rest on his hip as a strange man walked up.

Though, as per usual, before Lucky was able to say anything, one of his party members, Aki this time, began to speak to the stranger while Lucky tried to keep what little wits he had about him.
 

Meridian

New Member
In the silence after Aki speaks, Auda steps in, hoping to head off any violence or ill will."Nice to meet ya Stanimir, nice night for a chat, don't you think? I hear you folks have been having a good time out here, talking to travelers coming in and out of town. As my friend here so kindly asked, what is your purpose here? While I certainly don't mind a good party wherever it may be, some of the townsfolk are getting a little restless about it; you know how those city people are. What do you say we throw a little sendoff celebration, play some music, have some drinks; really get it all out of our system. In the morning, you folks can be on your merry way to greener pastures, we can head back in and calm down those boring townsfolk who don't appreciate your patronage, and everyone has a good time. Sound good?"
 

SmplyCmplx

New Member
Cade barked out a laugh at Lucky comments, but quickly stuffed his mouth with food as they were ushered out into the cold night air. Roasted duck and biscuits and mashed potatoes got shoved in equal measures into his mouth and he spent much of the brisk walk savoring the flavors and chewing the food.

He stood behind Aki and Auda, and near Lucky, as the Gnome and Half Elf engaged in talking to the man. Cade wasn't much for diploamcy and he kept one hand resting comfortably on the hilt of his sword. His eyes scanned the party and their surroundings, an uneasy feeling settling upon him.
 

Tai2k7

Party Dad
Smile unwavering Stanimir nods with a laugh. He claps his hands and two of his companions offer you some wine. “Don’t worry, friends, we have no wish to make enemies of Lady Morwen, as we know that is why you are here. I have a story to tell all of you. First you listen, then we go.”

Important Info.
If you would like to do the optional adventure to advance to level three, decline hearing the story. Accept if you would like to skip it. Remember this adventure is extremely deadly and must be fully completed to earn all the levels offered.
 

Toothless

Bust :(
Aki furrows her brow. She steps forward, dwarfing the gnome with the wild pink and fuschia hair. Even with her incredibly short stature, only a few inches above five feet, the hooded redhead surpassed the other girl's sleek, toned-back style.

"Perhaps you did not understand my companion, so I will rephrase it for you," Aki says. Her voice drops low and quiet, like a rumble of thunder, while her words hiss like the blade of a knife. "You will not offer us drinks. You will not tell your story. You will leave. Right now. Whether voluntarily or by force. I suggest packing your things and vacating the premises while all your limbs are still intact. Gods know those things can be quite useful."

Her eyes dart to the wine, then back toward him. Again, the back of her mind pulls at her, drawing her attention from the overly-cheery man to the round, seductive flasks of their leather wineskins. Oh, how easy it would be to reach out and chug from their offered drinks, to give in to their sleepy seduction. Aki finds her tongue dry, her throat parched as the memory of the manor burns bright in her stomach. She sates the memory with a drink from her own wineskin.

"I will not tell you again, Mister Stanimir. Leave. Or we will make you leave."
 

Meridian

New Member
“Aki, maybe we should hear them out; they have offered to accomplish our task for us, for the cost of a simple story. We need only lend an attentive ear, and we can return to the gracious lady, money pouches open and ready to receive our reward.” She turns to Stanimir. “Excuse us; in the interest of full disclosure, we have been told that your people have been taking money and wine from the townsfolk, and my companion is not fond of curses.” This last word is spoken with a menace of its own, implying she is not fond of the idea herself. She turns to Aki. “I understand your desire to enact justice: however, perhaps we should consult our companions. Might be the case they would rather not risk being cursed themselves, when a simple story can sort this all out. We humor their little tradition and we can go our separate ways, no blood spilt.”
 

Podrus

New Member
Lucky heard the words from Stanmir, and he shook his head, even while listening to his companions debate whether or not they would sit for a simple story. His hand wouldn't leave his weapon, almost as if he needed it to tell him things would end up alright. He chewed on his lip as he took a step forward near the two women debating just what their plan would be going for. "A man with good intentions wouldn't welcome us to a party when told to leave" He said softly.

There was something about Stanmir, a bit of danger that Lucky seemed to pull from every word he spoke, almost as if his kindness itself was a threat. And while Lucky didn't know much when it came to the....smarter things in life, his years of fighting for his life had taught him how to sense danger.

"We should leave."

His eyes moving to the human man towering in front of him, darting between his cohorts who were offering wine as he shook his head, a dark feeling filling his stomach as he shook his head. And with Auda mentioning curses he once again nodded.

"Right now."
 

Meridian

New Member
“Well, Stanimir, looks like my companions are not in a story sort of mood. Guess they’re a little on edge tonight; the moon can have that effect on people when it’s like this. Of course, I’ve got my edges too. Might be best for everyone involved if you and your folk take your leave; happy to offer you this bottle of wine as a parting gift, even.” Auda pulls a bottle of wine she clearly stole from the Duchess out of her pack and offers it to the man. Her mouth is smiling, but her eyes are hard and fierce; there will be no third offer of peace.
 

SmplyCmplx

New Member
Cade actually liked stories, it was one of the things that had made him journey away from he into the taverns of the big folk. But apparently his friends were not in a story mood. He was a little bummed at missing out on a good story, but Lucky had a good point. No one good tries to invite you to a party when being asked to leave. This folk was up to something. He slid his blade an inch out of its sheathe in warning. It was all the warning he ever gave, but he had been taught how to fight fair...and how others would expect it. He had also been taught how to disappoint that expectation.
 

Tai2k7

Party Dad
Stanimir nods, his feature taking on a more downcast expression. "I am disappointed, but you must remain in the favor of your lady." He claps his hands above his head, and everyone in his troupe begins gathering up things, putting out fires, and packing up their caravan. "We will be off of the lady's land within the hour." He bows respectfully. The companions closest to him look at eachother and reluctantly begin helping with the cleanup.

With nothing left for your group to do, you begin walking back to the keep.
Although it seems as if this strange night is not yet through. The night is eerily silent as you near the keep, the scent of blood and gore tainting the moon-scented wind. This makes you pick up the pace along the cobblestone streets, weapons sliding into hand as you round the corner with the keep coming into view. It doesn’t look like where you had dined nearly an hour ago.

The large wood and steel doors appear to be torn open by something rather large, four mangled corpses of guards remained out front. Their armor seeming as if a bull had charged and dented their breastplates. Blood stained the cobblestones out front and the braziers had been extinguished on the inside of the entryway, not shedding any light on the inside of the situation.
 

SmplyCmplx

New Member
His sword was already out of it's sheathe by the time Cade's feet touch the blood stained cobblestones. The red stone felt sticky under his bare feet, like he had just stepped into Farmer Baggots bee hive again. He put a finger to his lips to keep anyone from saying anything. He wondered just what could have happened here in the time they had been away.

His instincts told him that they didn't know where the enemy was, and if they were lucky the enemy didn't know they were here yet. "Only a fool runs into danger." His mentor had often warned him. They needed to be smart about this. Brains had never been particularpy his best subject. But he understood fighting. He looked to see if the blood stains had footprints or tracks to indicate where the attackers had went to.
 

Podrus

New Member
Lucky walked with his group back to Daggerford, ready to collect his reward and finally find some food to fill his begging stomach. But all the while back down the hill and towards town, there was a chill resting at the base of the Halfling's neck, telling him something was wrong. So he remained silent as they walked, hand still gripping his flail in one hand, his knuckles as white as a ghost as he kept walking. His eyes began to dart from one side to another, heart racing as they finally came upon the gate and he looked forward at the mess of gore laid out in front of him, shaking his head.

"Looks like an animal...but what beast could do this to four armed men?"

His mind immediately went back to the howl that he had heard when they first left town and his free hand reached back to grip the shield that rest upon his back. Lucky kept looking around, the adrenaline starting to fill his body as he slowly started to put one foot in front of the other, trying to see just what may have taken place here, maybe see the creature that caused this level of carnage.

"We're in for a fun night"
 

Toothless

Bust :(
"A means to an end, Mister Stanimir," Aki says, eyes narrowed back to him. She would have none of his excuses, nor would she give him the chance to hex her or any of her companions. Something odd strikes the girl as she watches him clap. Her gaze turns around, sees the men and women simultaneously stop, then begin clearing out their things. The Duchess said the guards were charmed, she thinks to herself as the party leaves the hill. It wouldn't be a stretch if all of those men and women were charmed too.

"I don't like that man," Aki grumbles to the group. "He reeks with scum and villainy. If those guards were truly hexed, what says those men and women were not hexed too? You saw how they moved when he clapped. No gathering of their attention. No explanations or orders. I doubt they were all listening to our conversation. Many were too distracted dancing or being intoxicated to hear." She brings a hand to her face, rubs it about a moment. "I have a feeling 'Mister Stanimir' is more than he..."

Aki's words freeze as the scent of iron catches her nostrils. Her pupils dilate, her face goes ghost-white. It takes her a second to realize she was in Daggerford, not a damp, dusty dungeon. Her footsteps quicken to the shattered wood and the twisted metal gate, then slow at the sight of the bodies. Her shoe touches the edge of the combined pool of blood, coming away red. The girl swallows, then exhales sharply as she leans over to investigate.

"An animal, capable enough to take down four armed men," she says, looking over the bodies in front of her. "We were gone no longer than an hour, so the men must have died sometime during then. It's strong, judging from the mangled metal gate. And unless the wind changed directions and blew out the braziers from behind the wall, it or whatever it's working with put out the lights, meaning it favors stealth."

"That means we may be dealing with a large dark-furred beast that ambushes its prey."
 

Meridian

New Member
Auda was feeling good about tonight. Sure, these fans she'd managed to pick up were a bit of a handful when it came to not fighting every last thing that came their way, but that's just how people are when they've had a rough life. She understood the need for violence; she just tried to channel that reasonable reaction into other pursuits as best she could, just as she did with her music. Things had gone well, despite Aki's misgivings, which Auda was listening to while they walked. The traveling folk had taken their leave without a drop spilled, and they'd be getting a nice plump sack of gold for hardly a few minutes work just as soon as they turned the corner and...

"Gods damn it straight down to the Nine Hells. We were gone for AN HOUR."

Auda listens to the others reactions to the bloodbath before them intently after her aggravated outburst.

"An animal? Inside the city? Even a small town like this has to have guards. This sounds like a more monstrous sort of problem. Perhaps we should locate some of those guads and alert them of the danger. Although I have the sneaking suspicion you three might just be the most capable of dealing with such a beast; I also have the terrible feeling I'm going to end up coming along."
 
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