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Kanaxe_Ru

Senior Member
Chapter 1: Into the Mists

The trek to the temple is rough and hard, but the thieves and beasties and general not-so-niceties of the roads typically steer clear of people who look like they can handle themselves in a fight. It is for this reason that you four, one way or another, manage to form some semblance of a group as you make your way up north towards your common destination. Despite your differing backgrounds one thing you share in common is that none of you have ever traveled up into this region, so aside from the occasional caravan pointing you in the right direction you're mostly just following the roads and hoping they'll lead you to where you're going.

In one particularly long stretch in between towns, you find yourselves wandering what appears to be a massive forest of green, teeming wildlife abound as the dirt trails stretch off in both directions endlessly. Traveling on foot makes it tough on you to keep a steady pace, and you're forced to make camp once or twice between the trees despite the looming bad weather in the distance.

As you continue traversing this lonely path, each of you notices in spurts the surprising speed at which the weather shifts for the worse, turning from a clear spring night to near overcast, then to thick rolling fog that sweeps closer with every passing minute. This latest night it nearly comes up to the edges of your camp, like the faint embers of your campfire are the only thing keeping the pure darkness at bay.

Despite this you agree you have to keep moving, and when all have you have woken up you step onto what little of the dirt road you can see and push on. Soon after you move the mists begin to recede, shying away to a comfortable distance as the faint morning light begins to peek out from above - though only faintly, shrouded behind a blanket of thick clouds. Still, at least you can see the road in front of you, slowly turning from mud to light gravel.

The trail, now not much larger than a faint footpath, eventually opens up to what seems to be the edge of a run down village. This early in the morning it almost seems like a ghost town, empty streets whistling in the wind and creaking doors barred shut.

No sooner do you enter the village proper is your attention taken by a soft whimpering to your side. Glancing over you notice two faint figures standing at the edge of the lifeless street, standing just outside of a massive house that pokes out of the looming mist.


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ramonlimon2

Junior Member
Jasper stands ill at ease, taking the fog and the silence as signs of foreboding. He is used to the bustle of a larger city, where even in the wee hours of the morning people are up and about their business.

Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Jasper approaches the figures as well.
 

Unencumbered

New Member
Marcon couldn't shake the feeling that his little band of travelers had taken a wrong turn in the forest back there. He felt some relief that they had left the oppressive fog behind them but something about this place was making his skin itch, and that was never a good sign. He closed his eyes and took a few deep lungfuls of air. "Calm, calm, calm" he intoned under his breath. It wouldn't do to lose control as a newly-arrived stranger in town. Although, he mused, there wouldn't be many witnesses to any destruction...

He followed the others at a distance, hoping that Jeymus would get directions so that they could be on their way again quickly. Marcon was ready to leave this depressing place behind.
 

Moonpenny

New Member
Clover wanders up from behind, waving the tendrils of mist from her face, "I don't know how you're all navigating this mess. Oh, hey, we're in a town. I guess that means we're on the right path to the shrine, at least. Maybe they've got an inn with hot food here. Wouldn't that be nice?"
 

Unencumbered

New Member
“I can’t believe you’re talking about food” Marcon says to Clover in Elvish, “this place is making me feel queasy”.
 

Moonpenny

New Member
Clover flushes brightly, "I didn't have much dinner last night. Oh... hey, look, halflings, we could ask them."
 

ramonlimon2

Junior Member
In Elvish, Jasper interjects, "They're children, not halflings. Standing outside in an empty village. Something is going on here, and an inn might not be a bad place to ask some questions."
 

Kanaxe_Ru

Senior Member
As most of you approach the two children, you begin to get a better sense of the immensity of the house. It stands far above the rest of the village houses, its tip almost disappearing beneath the edge of the mist that still seems to permeate the atmosphere around you. Despite this, and the strange appearance of Jeymus, the children don't seem to deviate from their whimpering as the githyanki approaches boldly and floats two copper coins up to their faces. They seem uninterested in the money.

The younger, a small boy, appears to continue to cry and whimper as the older girl addresses Jeymus. "N...no? I don't think so," she says sheepishly, confused at his inquiry about the shrine. "Whoever that Tom-as is, he must be really nice to have a shrine. But Momma never told us about him, so I've never heard of him I guess."

She pats the boy comfortingly before glancing timidly at the house behind them. "Momma or Papa might be able to give you directions... but Thor doesn't want to go back in the house because he's scared of the monster, so I have to stay here with him until he feels better. You could probably go in and ask if you'd like, Momma and Papa are really friendly and they love having guests over."
 

Unencumbered

New Member
Children, house, scared, monster? The words slowly filtered through to Marcon and his own memories tugged at him. Memories of the long days and longer nights he'd spent scared and alone.

Snapped out of his self-absorption Marcon ran up to join Jeymus. Frowning at the hammer Jeymus was waving about in the air, he crouched down so he wasn't towering over the children.

He looked at the girl with what, he hoped, was a reassuring smile. "A monster, you say? What's a monster doing in your house?"
 

Moonpenny

New Member
Wandering from the back, Clover knew that the rightful place of the trap-finder was in front, even when walking into otherwise friendly situations. Especially when walking into otherwise friendly situations.

'Hopefully they don't call attention to it, I wouldn't want to be accused of being mistrusting,' she thinks.

Clover steps seemingly absently towards the house, examining the home and its surroundings.
 
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Kanaxe_Ru

Senior Member
"The fog isn't that bad, we play outside all the time," the young girl says with a weak smile, glancing about as the fog still seemed to permeate the air. "When it's always foggy, you just learn to like it I guess?" When Marcon asks about the 'monster', her smile falters and she openly frowns at him. "I don't know why the monster is there but I think Momma and Papa brought it downstairs to the basement a bit ago - they wouldn't tell us why, but it's really loud and I think it might even be a bit hungry."

At the mention of the "monster", the boy sniffles loudly and begins to bawl openly, causing his sister to hug him more tightly and attempt to comfort him. "Shh... come on Thor, it's alright. The big bad monster can't hurt you out here." Despite her best attempts he seemed to be inconsolable, and the girl turns back to Jeymus with an apologetic stare. "I'm sorry, when he gets like this there's no moving him from his spot. Momma and Papa leave the door open for us when we play outside, so you can just go it and try to call out. It's a big house though so you might have to walk a bit until you find them."
 

Moonpenny

New Member
Clover winced at the tall man grabbing the kids and, a moment later, at kicking open the door she hadn't yet checked. She'd heard a story once about a rogue who wanted to disable the traps in an abandoned goblin complex so simply bought an entire herd of sheep to force through the gauntlet.

Probably she shouldn't tell that story to Jeymus, who incidentally was looking at her expectantly.

Flashing a brief smile, Clover ducked a curtsey and scampered inside to check for traps.

'Baa.'
 

Unencumbered

New Member
So the parents know about this monster, huh? Marcon considered. And it's loud and in the basement... hmm... It's probably just some contraption for heating water.

Marcon had heard of such contrivances installed in the wealthier houses in Waterdeep. Since this was the biggest house in the area this 'monster' was likely nothing more than a noisy machine.

He opened his mouth to ask the girl another question, but before he could get the words out Jeymus hoisted her up and took her out of earshot. Quickly getting to his feet, Marcon shouted at the githyanki's back: "I'm not sure we need to get involved here! And put those kids down!"

He watched in horror as his companions kicked in the door and then barged in without knocking. "Oh for goodness sake" he sighed as he raced to the house. He braced himself to perform damage control with the owners.
 

ramonlimon2

Junior Member
Jasper looks around for peeping neighbors or anyone else who might be watching the confrontation. Seeing nothing, he will follow the group into the house.
 

Kanaxe_Ru

Senior Member
"No, no...! Let me go!" The girl cries out and struggles as Jeymus heftily picks her up slings her on his shoulder. The boy recoils in fear and attempts to make a run for it but is easily caught as well, wiggling to no avail out of the large man's grasp. The wrought-iron gate to the front is already half-opened, and as Jeymus strides towards the door and kicks the grand mahogany doors down, he finds that it gives way all too easily - like it could easily tear off its hinges with just a little bit more pressure. There's a large creaking sound as the door flies open, almost crashing against the walls of the main hall within but barely stopping short of an impact. Unperturbed Jeymus continues marching on ahead, the rest of the group slowly trailing behind while the children continued to struggle and kick. Their cries echo through the immaculate yet strangely quiet hall, its breathtaking decor out of place given the state that your group is in right now.

As soon as the last person had crossed the boundary through the foyer into the house proper, the three behind Jeymus could see a bit of... mist begin to apparate around the two children on his shoulders, their forms seeming to shift. Or were they turning to mist themselves? "Mama, Papa...help... " Slowly the crying began to fade, their voices weakening and tears beginning to slow.

While the others took time to process this strange happenstance Jeymus would notice after a few seconds the weight on his shoulders lighten and the struggling stop quickly. If he turned to look at either side he would for a moment find two children slowly growing weak and strangely light in his arms, almost like they were having the life drained out of them by some strange outside force. "Stop, stop... s..." There's a slight jerk downwards as both children suddenly fall limp and dead in his arms... but it's soon gone, as instead of solid bodies Jeymus feels like he is carrying loose forms of sand, starting to slip through his armlocks.


Out of nowhere a chilling, whirling gale rushes in from the iron gate behind them, banging it shut tight as it whooshes up and around all four party members. As it passes through everyone can only watch the once flesh-and-blood forms of the children sift out of Jeymus's grasp and are cast away into the wind like a million specks of dust, dissipating into the deep nothingness beyond.

In an instant, there is but silence as the wind fades down the hall and you hold your own breaths in shock at what just happened. After a few seconds there is the faint sound of paper floating through the wind behind you. When you turn around and check, you see that a small note had slid across the floor behind you, innocently presenting itself. It reads:

"That's awfully rude of you. You should make up for it by playing a game with me. How about some hide and seek?"
 

Moonpenny

New Member
Clover looks down at the note and states, as if speaking to the paper, "If you kids get bored of hide and seek, I just want you to know I've got a deck of cards and would be happy to show you some games."

She follows Jeymus, mumbling, "It can't hurt to offer, anyway."
 

Unencumbered

New Member
Marcon stood, open-mouthed, trying to make sense of what he'd seen. Jumping at the clang of the slamming gate, he turned and his eyes dropped to the floor. He read the note. He shook his head, trying to clear the wool dulling his senses and read the note again.

"Look, I don't think... we don't need to...", he started. Then, more forcefully as Jeymus and Clover moved off into the building, "where are you going?! You can't seriously be going along with this?"

Had the world gone crazy? He turned to Jasper who of his three companions he felt the closest to. In Jasper he felt was a kindred spirit; someone who had also spent his early years scratching out an existence on the tough city streets.

"Come on Jasper, let's get out of here."

Marcon waited a second for a response, but Jasper seem to be engrossed in examining the elegant hallway.

Sighing, he stepped back through the open door and tried to shoulder open the gate. But where he expected to feel metal scrollwork he collided instead with a solid barrier and rebounded, almost losing his footing.

He shook his head again and slowly reached out a hand. An inch or so from the gate his fingers hit an invisible force. He worked his hands up as far as he could reach then down to the ground - there was no way through...
 

ramonlimon2

Junior Member
"Yeah, there's no way out but through, I'm afraid." Jasper says after hearing Macron run into the gate.

"Something magical, and by all accounts probably malevolent, led us here. That's why the weird mist and empty village. Either we find out what's causing this and escape, or we die here," he shrugs and returns to his investigation.
 

Moonpenny

New Member
Clover simply starts searching the room. The walls, corners, floorboards, furniture, absolutely everything. She uses a mage hand to check the ceiling and upper walls.

"Maybe one of these rooms has a secret door or invisible hiding place, we find the kids, then get out of here as quickly as possible."
 

Unencumbered

New Member
Trying to ignore the sinking feeling in the pit of his belly and taking strength from his companions‘ stoicism, Marcon re-entered the house.

In the absence of an obvious escape route, sticking together seemed like the best plan.

He took a deep breath. “Alright then, let’s do it” and Marcon joined in the search.
 

Kanaxe_Ru

Senior Member
Unsure of what just happened to you, you begin to search around the room, trying to find any sort of way out. The main hall you enter is almost breathtaking in its glamor - at least it would be, if you all weren't incredibly creeped out by the strange scenario you had all found yourselves in. At one end of the hall, a sweeping red marble staircase climbs to unknown heights; at the other is a black brick fireplace, dark and cold as obsidian in its unlit state. Mounted above the mantle is a fine gleaming longsword, a windmill cameo worked into its hilt.

To the far side there appear to be two finely decorated doors both leading into the same long room, a small closet of sorts laying inbetween. There's a smaller door to the rightmost fine door, simpler and thinner - probably leading to a servants' quarter of sorts. To the immediate right of the foyer from which you entered is another large oak door, strong and sturdy. The floor itself is pristine and nearly spotless, save for the occasional imprint of what seem to be child-sized footprints leading in all directions - even seemingly into or out of the walls.

Searching around the perimeter, its wood-paneled walls are ornately carved with idyllic scenes of frolicking nymphs and satyrs surrounded by twisting vines and blossoming flowers. While searching around you peer a bit closer and notice that interwoven into the fairytale-like design are serpents and skulls. Every so often, you find the occasional drawing on the walls in charcoal - mostly just haphazard lines and crude shapes, but also some stick figures surrounded by random shapes or scribbles. The figures appear in all sorts of positions and orientations, and some of them look like they're split in two.

A few minutes after you pick up the note and begin to search this extravagant hall, the silence is softly broken by the faint melody of a harpsichord beginning to play. It's a soft and soothing melody, and seems to drift down from the second floor.
 

Moonpenny

New Member
After examining the drawings, Clover looks up the stairs, "So, there's got to be someone up there at least, right?"
 

ramonlimon2

Junior Member
Jasper slowly walks around the room, examining the drawings on the wall but finding nothing particularly notable. He checks the closet, and to his delight finds a set of fancy black robes and a top hat. He puts the top hat on and shrugs on as many of the robes as he can, draping the child-size ones over his shoulders as accent pieces. Taking a moment to look in the mirror and adjust the costume, he purses his lips and mutters, "I need a mustache."

"Hey, let me know if any of you find something I can use to draw like a thin villain mustache. The charcoal must still be around here somewhere," he calls out to the others. "I'm gonna see if I can find any in the kitchen."
 

Unencumbered

New Member
Crouching down and running his finger over the corner of one of the scribble drawings, Marcon collected a little of the charcoal. He rubbed it between finger and thumb and sniffed at it. “Just charcoal” he shrugged. He felt disappointed, although quite what he’d hoped for he couldn’t say.

He stood up again. “So, Mr Pyl’Cin-Tun, you think we’re seeking? I was hoping for hiding or, better still, getting the hell outta here...”

“Maybe some of these panels are hiding an escape route?” he muttered to himself.
He walked around the room, knocking on the walls at intervals, listening for a change from the dull thud of solidity. Nothing.

Then he caught sight of Jasper in his new ‘outfit’. Frowning at him, Marcon said “Is that a... disguise...? I was just about to wipe this charcoal off my finger, I can do that on your face if you’d like?”
 

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